THE CRAFT OF WRITING

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Master the craft of writing and learn the techniques you need to write an amazing story that connects with your readers. Are you a writer struggling to take your work to the next level? Do you find yourself pouring your heart onto the page, only to get stuck trying to edit it into something you can publish? This three-day workshop will introduce you to the rules great writers follow when crafting their stories and give you the tools you need to write a great piece of work.

You will learn how to:

  • Master the art of telling a great story, and introduce you to the rules that will make you a better writer.
  • Create scenes, pace your story, and use narrative point of view to deepen your stories and make them more compelling.
  • Develop compelling characters that will pull readers into your story.

The live workshop has commenced but you can still take part! Don’t worry if you are unable to join the workshop live. All of the content is recorded and packaged into a downloadable PDF that you can work through at your own pace.

Get the details and sign up here. 

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WEST ELM IN CALGARY!

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Design lovers of Calgary rejoice! West Elm is officially open in Mount Royal Village. The home decor shop known mostly as Pottery Barn’s little sister is going flip the lid on the interior design scene. It is about the same affordability as Crate & Barrel with a bit more panache than IKEA, yet you can find really unique items and design collaborations, much like you would at an upscale independent design shop. Great design, great prices – all in all a great concept that I am so happy has made it’s way to Calgary. I’ve been a big fan for a long time so it is awesome to finally see it in the flesh in my own city. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, check out their fantastic blog Front + Main to familiarize yourself and find some design inspiration.

It is somewhat new for a larger chain store like this to open in an area like 17th Avenue but I love the direction this is going in. I feel if more big retailers opened stand-alone shops (not in big shopping malls) that it would encourage more people to shop in the area and the smaller local stores would have a better chance at surviving through slower times.

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At first glance (okay, I actually went twice in one day so I glanced a lot), the store is impeccable. Each section or department of West Elm is bright, warm and eclectic. The way they set up their displays is to inspire you in setting up your own home; layer up different textures, colours, fabrics and don’t be afraid to be a little bit bold. My favourite department of any store is the kitchen/housewares section and West Elm’s does not disappoint. I found plenty of things I could have taken home with me – a SMEG fridge for one! You can order it in just about any colour – I’m partial to mint green – so if you have the money and the room, you probably should. Ha!

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Another one of my favourite finds is the Fishs Eddy collaboration (which you will see in my New & Noteworthy column in the September issue of Avenue Magazine). I’ve always love the quirky vintage vibe of their products and I’ve always dreamed of going to their amazing shop in NYC – now I can have a little piece of it right here in Calgary.

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One of my favourite parts of visiting different West Elm stores across Canada and the US, is checking out the LOCAL collections which features local artists and makers right in store. It is so special for these artists to be able to get this kind of attention and exposure. So far the Calgary artists that are featured in store are Big City DesignsThe Paper Lover Co.,  Rural CreativeBrownEyedSuzyMedicine River Soap Co. and MTHARU (who I recently interviewed for Swerve magazine!).

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Shop West Elm: 868 16 Ave SW, Calgary

HOT TIP! They are open until 8pm everyday except for Sunday (6pm) – I love shopping in the evening!

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WEEKDAY BREAKFAST: CHIA SEED PUDDING

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Lately I’ve been feeling a little pressed for time. Baby Jack is cruising these days and I find my spare moments to make breakfast, drink coffee or get work done, getting shorter and shorter. I’ve never been much of a prepper but these days I am constantly brewing iced tea, pureéing baby food – and prepping yummy breakfasts and snacks well in advance.

One of my favourite easy breakfasts is a chia seed pudding because it literally takes 40 minutes to make. I usually whip up a batch the night before so it is chilled to perfection. I often top my pudding up with banana soft serve, mix it with gluten-free oatmeal or just eat it plain with some fresh fruit. The great thing about the chia seed pudding is that you can literally add anything to it and it will taste amazing. Sweeten it up with Medjool Dates and homemade almond milk – or by the store-bought stuff if you are short on time (like me).

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The folks over at Prana Biovegan sent over a package of their latest superfood – one that they claim is a triple threat! ProactivCHIA combines the traditional goodness of chia seeds with probiotics. Each serving of this yummy ProactivCHIA contains 4 billion CFUs of probiotics from 2 live strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus & Lactobacillus helveticus). Whoa! Like what does that even mean?!

Prana Biovegan co-founder, Marie-Josée Richer, shares that this new product promotes digestive health while nourishing the body with organic, vegan and gluten-free sources of omega-3, vitamins and minerals. Chia on it’s own is a wonderful source of prebiotic fibre which helps feed gut flora, and now with the added goodness of probiotics with the natural virtues of chia has life enhancing health benefits.

Sounds completely up my alley. Since I’ve been gluten-free for almost fifteen years now, keeping my innards feeling healthy is a number one priority.

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My chia seed pudding is the simplest and easiest you can get – which is great for in the morning when I can add whatever I want to it at the last minute. I made mine with unsweetened Coconut Milk. Three tablespoons of the chia seeds and one cup of Coconut Milk makes a nice happy helping of the good stuff. Simply mix with a whisk. Let stand for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and then refrigerate. Delicious!

Today I topped mine off with toasted sliced almonds and hemp hearts. Super healthy, right? Believe me, if I had ANY maple syrup in the pantry, at least a drizzle would have made it’s way into the bowl.

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The Prana Biovegan ProactivCHIA was sent to me as a sample to try out. I was not compensated and all opinions are my own. You can find these chia seeds at grocery stores across Canada.

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A PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH (+ SUMMER VIP GIVEAWAY!)

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Who doesn’t love frozen yogurt? It has all of the flavour of ice cream yet a lot less guilt. It is totally my go-to hot day treat. Sometimes I keep it simple with Tart fro-yo topped with fruit boba and other times I go all out (like my creation above) and load up on peanut butter cups, gummy candy and delectable fro yo flavours.

I recently popped into my favourite Menchie’s location (614 17th Ave SW, Calgary) conveniently right around the corner from my home. They just launched their new summertime flavour, Oreo Cookie (unfortunately it is not gluten-free but I am told it is delicious!) so I wanted to head down to help them celebrate and create my own #MenchiesMyWay masterpiece. The swirly goodness above was titled ‘Psychedelic Dream Swirl’ and was made up of Nutella and Tart Fro Yo, trippy strawberry boba, peanut butter chips & peanut butter cups with a couple gummy worms thrown in for good measure. Let’s just say it was absolutely delicious.

Which brings me to the reason you came here – my awesome giveaway with Menchie’s! All of the details are below – I cannot wait to see your creations!

 MENCHIE’S SUMMER VIP GIVEAWAY! 

What you get:

  • MENCHIE’S SUMMER VIP PASS (equal to the value of 7 complimentary visits to any Menchies location across Canada.)

How to enter:

  • Follow me at @kaitkucy and @Menchies_CA on Twitter OR follow me @kaitkucy and @Menchies_CA on Instagram. Tweet or share an image of your Menchies creation with “#MenchiesMyWay: NAME OF CREATION– @kaitkucy @Menchies_CA
  • I will be judging based on presentation and your creativity in naming it. The giveaway ends on Thursday July 31 at 12pm MST. Open to Canadian residents only! Good luck!
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I HEART YYC

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Here’s my list of amazing things happening in Calgary right now. Have fun + shop local! Also, spread the good word to your friends. (A photo from my Instagram of the incomparable Pigeonhole).

➔ I HEART YYC

Neighbour Day in Mission: If you haven’t heard of Neighbour Day, you are going to want to check out all of the great events happening all over Calgary. Neighbour Day was introduced after the big flood in June 2013 as a celebration of the incredible spirit and neighbourly kindness that was exhibited through that very hard time. I’ll be popping into the Mission Possible Celebration – live music, BBQ and more! Saturday June 20 (1-5pm)

Poppy Barley Pop-up: The last day of Poppy Barley’s #PARKSHOP pop-up ends on Sunday June 21. Stop by their location at the #PARKSHOP in Chinook Centre to get your feet measured for a great pair of Poppy Barley boots or shoes. They even have a mens collection now so perhaps treat Dad to a pair this year.

Cycle Tracks Launch Party: Head to the Beltline to celebrate the launch of the YYC Cycle Tracks! This is a huge development for cyclists in our city and I hope to take advantage of these safe and helpful roadways in the near future. The event will feature performances by local bands including the Highkicks, Tiny Shrine and Windigo. Food trucks will be on site to serve up delicious food and snacks, and there will be fun and games for the whole family. Of course, this is a great chance to take a spin on the full cycle track network with your friends and family. Sunday June 21 (11am – 3pm)

Park Shop Chinook Centre: PARK presents, for the first time ever, PARKSHOP, a shopping destination in a retail space where shoppers can go to browse and buy from their favourite local designers. Each weekend throughout the month of June, a variety of local designers will set up their own Pop-up Shops, and guests of Chinook Centre mall will have opportunity to support the community by purchasing directly from local designers. Located in the old “PUSCH” store across from Swarovski on the main level. June 19 -21. (9:30am – 9:00pm)

Sled Island: Get ready for amazing indie bands to take over Calgary’s streets and music venues. Next week is Calgary’s coolest music festival, Sled Island. This four day bonanza has everything from music to film and plenty of fun parties in between. You’ll probably want to book the week off of work because you’ll be so tired from rocking out. June 24-28

YYC Food Trucks Summer Frenzy: It just isn’t summer unless you are indulging in delicious gourmet snacks made in a truck. The YYC Food Trucks Summer Frenzy is back in the East Village. June 26th 4-9PM, June 27th 11-8PM, June 28th 11-8PM

PARKSALE: My friends at PARK seem to be on a roll this summer already. Coming up at the end of the month is one of the most fashionable summertime markets – PARKSALE! This is the best place to spy up and coming designers in Calgary – no runways here – it is full on market style at Central Memorial Park. Seriously, some people do their early Christmas shopping at this sale – there are some real gems. June 28 (10am -5pm) 

Fresh Laundry Grand Opening: My amazing friends behind The UnCommons in Inglewood have just opened a gorgeous new shop just down the street. It is called Fresh Laundry and is literally a mecca for apothecary, skincare and of course, laundry products. And they have a moss wall. Can you say Instagram-worthy? Anyways, they are having a Grand Opening party that you won’t want to miss. Details here. July 1 (6-10pm)

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[Photo by Katie Marks]

My favourite new spots:

Simmons Building: The long awaited opening of the Simmons Building is finally here. Stocked to the brim with homegrown talent (and food) the revamped Simmons Building now features Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Charbar (of the Charcut family). Not only that but it has a fabulous rooftop patio that I can’t wait to take advantage of all summer long. Simmons officially opens Saturday June 21st so head down and check it out – this is I ♥ YYC material at it’s finest. 618 Confluence Way SE

♥ THE NEW MARKET: MARKET on 17th has launched a delicious farm-to-table menu under the helm of talented Executive Chef duo, Sean MacDonald and Alex Edmonson. Expect bold flavours and hyper-seasonal ingredients. 718 17th Avenue SW

Pigeonhole: This place is my new fave and it doesn’t hurt that it is a two minute walk from home. The darling space was designed by the folks at RAD Architecture and features some truly stunning elements like a slightly-psychedelic Victorian-inspired wallpaper, delicious bites served up on vintage tea saucers and cups, and the perfect people watching patio. Their wine list is divine. Trust me – #yeswayrosé. 306 17th Avenue SW

Proof Cocktails: I’m blown away by Proof Cocktails. There are places in Calgary that do cocktails and do them well, but Proof takes the art of mixology to a whole new level. Floor to ceiling windows give this cocktail bar the perfect amount of voyeurism while soft leather sofas add a comfort level that most bars don’t offer. The cocktail list is insane – it is pretty much guaranteed you won’t have the same cocktail twice until you’ve tried them all. Bottoms up! 1302 1st Street SW

The Beltliner Diner: I love a good diner and the Beltliner does not disappoint. Not only is the whole menu absolutely mouthwatering but the classic diner atmosphere make it all that more fun. I had the burger (with a gluten-free bun) and was delighted by the amazing toppings included – I mean a fried egg?! I totally didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day – I was stuffed. They have a boozy punch available all day long and I hear their housemade pie is perfection. 243 12th Avenue SW

♥ ♥ ♥

ALSO! My good friend Mike Morrison (of @mikesbloggityblog fame) just launched his new project, Calgary By Bike; a comprehensive map of Calgary featuring 60 amazing places that you should visit along the cycle routes! You can order a copy online or pick it up at participating retailers in YYC!

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MERRY MAGAZINE – NOW LIVE!

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I am so excited to announce that Merry Mag is now live! If you haven’t heard of this awesome handmade and DIY-inspired guide/magazine, you will absolutely love what they are doing for the summer issue! This time around I joined the Merry crew by being a resident-writer to write some of the content throughout the mag.

Anyways, click click click over to the magazine and get inspired for an amazing handmade summer.

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BETTER IN BRIDGELAND EVENT SERIES!

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One of my absolute favourite Calgary neighbourhoods, Bridgeland (though I like to call it Bridgelandia) is celebrating their first annual Bridgeland Cultura Festival on 1st Avenue NE this Saturday from 12-4pm. I can’t wait to stop into some of my favourite Bridgeland hot spots like Luke’s Drug Mart (for vinyl records), Bridgeland Market (for delicious ice cream) and Blue Star Diner (for the best veggie burger in town) along the way. Not only will there be great food and drinks, many of the local businesses in the area will be celebrating too. Live music will bring the whole street alive.

Gablecraft Homes, the people behind Bridgeland Crossings and Bridgeland Hill, are presenting a new three-part event series aimed at building community through experience called the Better in Bridgeland Event Series. The first event in their series coincides with the Cultura Festival this Saturday! This is your official invitation to join them at the Bridgeland Crossing Sales Centre (Parking lot at 824 1st Avenue NE) for a BBQ Pig Roast with Black Pig Bistro. The festivities kick off at noon with delicious BBQ and then make your way over to the Bridgeland Hill Sales Centre (736 1st Avenue NE) for desserts from Twisted Tortes.

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If you can’t make it this weekend’s festivities with Better in Bridgeland you have two more opportunities to get in on the Bridgelandia fun this month – what could be better than yoga, fresh juice and interior design advice?!

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If you can’t make it this weekend’s festivities with Better in Bridgeland you have two more opportunities to get in on the Bridgelandia fun this month – what could be better than yoga, fresh juice and interior design advice?!

Leela Yoga & Cru Juice Wellness Session

  • Date: Saturday June 13
  • Time: 10:00am – 11:00am
  • Location: Bridgeland Crossings Sales Centre – 824 1st Avenue NE
  • Details: Rejuvenate and rehydrate with a relaxing yoga session hosted by Leela Yoga and drinks from Bridgeland-based Cru Juice.

Smart Design Tips with Interior Designer Erica Cook

  • Date: Saturday June 20
  • Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
  • Location: Bridgeland Crossings Sales Centre – 824 1st Avenue NE
  • Details: Join Calgary-based interior designer Erica Cook for an exclusive event as she shares her insider tips on how to “high design” on a budget. Snacks provided by Zipang Sushi.

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This post is in partnership with the Better in Bridgeland Event Series. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that keep this blog on the go!

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#PSBRUNCHCLUB: MOTHERS DAY!

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As I had mentioned previously, my #psbrunchclub menu item launches this Sunday – which just so happens to be Mother’s Day! Since it also happens to be my first Mother’s Day ever, I am so excited for it all to be happening on the same day! Phil & Sebastian‘s brunch menu is now available at their Marda Loop location on Sundays only. Each weekend features a different menu item and I am pleased as punch to be promoting this week’s tasty creation.

The ‘Thanks A Brunch! Hash’ is an absolutely delicious brunch item – bison hash with an over easy egg on top. It is naturally gluten-free but can also be made vegetarian or vegan upon request. It is perfect with a delicious Americano or one of my favourite baby-friendly beverages of the moment – a decaf latte!

The Marda Loop location is a perfect spot to take your Mama for a little celebration this weekend. Brunch starts at 7:30am so be sure to stop in this Sunday, May 10th to grab a bite and a coffee. They don’t take reservations but you’ll be able to grab a couple of seats, no problem!

And just for your listening pleasure, I also created a fun brunch-inspired playlist for you to also enjoy this beautiful weekend. Click here and press play to start enjoying the weekend a little bit early.

Don’t forget to use the promo code ‘sundaybrunchclub’ for 10% off coffee beans at Phil & Sebastian for the month of May.

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#PSBRUNCHCLUB

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Hey Calgary, get ready to get your brunch on! My favourite local coffee makers Phil & Sebastian is kicking off their brand new Sunday Brunch Club this May and I’m here to help spread the word. I’m in great company too – these fabulous bloggers are also part of the club: Katie MarksAnia B, Eleni McMullin and Savaya Shinkaruk.

Each Sunday in May, P&S is launching a new brunch item that’s been conveniently named by all of us. My launch date is coming up soon – I can’t wait to share with you the tasty menu item and some of my other favourite P&S treats! You can also follow along on Instagram at @philandseb and #psbrunchclub to check out all of the amazing and delicious menu items launching!

See you at #PSBrunchClub!

 

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ART OF THE COCKTAIL + GIVEAWAY

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Well, if today’s 27*C weather wasn’t a sign to start mixing and drinking more patio-side cocktails, I’m not sure what is. Oh wait,  The Art of the Cocktail arrives in Calgary this weekend! Perfect timing!

This two day celebration of my favourite kind of beverage – the cocktail – kicks off with the Grand Tasting on May 2nd at the University of Calgary Downtown Campus. The name of the game is ‘Gin, Bourbon, Rye – oh my!‘ and it is promising to be a great way to try out new spirits that you can incorporate into your home bar.

VIP tickets are only $60 (+GST) and get access to the tasting for a whole hour before the general admission ticket-holders are allowed in. Don’t worry about tokens – you can sample and taste away without them. If you are just interested in checking out the Grand Tasting and aren’t looking for the VIP treatment, purchase a regular ticket for $40 (+GST) and get your cocktail on. Or you could enter my giveaway below for free tickets and more…

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May 3rd kicks off with some killer seminars that promise to be a fantastic treat for avid and aspiring home bartenders. Creating Your Home Bar with Jesse Willis is a crash course where you’ll learn everything you need to know about stocking up on home bar essentials so you’ll be ready to whip a tasty cocktail. You’ll also learn about what kind of equipment you’ll need to have on hand that every bartender swears by. Some of the items in my giveaway will be perfect for filling up your bar cart.

Enjoy creating your own one-of-a-kind cocktails at the Bespoke Cocktails seminar with Midnight Rambler’s Chad Solomon. Discover how you can pair flavours together to create pleasing and delicious concoctions. Time to get experimental!

The last seminar of the day initiates you into the world of brown spirits –Bourbon, Rye, The Whiskeys – Oh My! Learn all about the taste profiles of these delightful spirits and what kind of cocktails work best for each one.

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 ART OF THE COCKTAIL BAR CART ESSENTIALS GIVEAWAY! 

What you get:

  • 2 VIP Grand Tasting Tickets for May 2nd
  • Porter’s Tonic
  • Grapefruit Bitters
  • Tiki Bitters
  • Assorted Bar Equipment (muddler, jigger and julep strainer)

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment here telling me what your favourite cocktail to make at home is!
  • For an extra entry, follow me at @kaitkucy and @ArtofCocktail on Twitter and leave another comment here saying that you did!
  • For an EXTRA entry, follow me @kaitkucy on Instagram and leave another comment saying that you did.
  • The giveaway ends on Thursday April 30 at 12pm MST. Open to Calgary residents only! Good luck!

 

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