Monthly Archives: December 2012

A New Year’s Resolution Success Story

It’s that time of year again, the time when we think about that one thing that we really want to accomplish in the next year and fervently promise ourselves that THIS YEAR we’ll really lose twenty pounds, go to the gym religiously, quit our horrible jobs, etc.

The New Year’s Resolution!

Generally the success rates are not good. How often do we have the same resolution (“No, seriously, this year I’m really going to lose twenty pounds!”) from year to year to year?

So I thought I would give an example of my own of a New Year’s Resolution that I actually fulfilled. New Years 2011 I decided to set myself the goal of completing the Across the Lake Swim. I had heard about the swim ever since moving to Kelowna, but was always away when it occurred. In 2011 I promised myself I would complete it, and although I probably could have survived it without too much training beforehand, I decided to prepare by joining the Okanagan Masters Swim Club. I told myself that as long as I attended practices once a week I would be ready for the swim in July. Well, the first practice had me tomato-faced and gasping for air, not because the practice was extremely difficult, but because I was so out of shape! What had I gotten myself into? But I plugged away, attending practices, and slowly getting in better shape to the point where I was no longer exhausted at the end of practice but exhilarated! By my third month with the club I was swimming three or four times a week instead of just once. I made new friends, fell in love with swimming, and couldn’t wait for my first try crossing the lake.

Ashley, Myself, and Paul are ready to go!

Ashley, Myself, and Paul are ready to go in our matching wetsuits!

When the swim finally rolled around I was nervous but ready. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, swimming with 400 other swimmers, both faster and slower than myself. I had received lots of advice from other swimmers about how to spot the finish line, where to place myself at the start line to avoid being run over, and how to deal with the current (yes, there is a current in our lake!). But when the start gun went off for my group, all planning went out the window and I just put my head down and swam!

Running to the finish while also trying to pull off my cap.

Running to the finish while also trying to pull off my cap.

In the end, I swam faster than I thought I would, but that wasn’t important. What mattered was that I had achieved my goal, a New Year’s Resolution completed! And with it came the added benefits of new friends and new swimming challenges.

My Across the Lake Relay team: The Fintastic Four. Phred, Ashley, Myself, and Paul at the finish line.

My Across the Lake Relay team: The Fintastic Four. Phred, Ashley, Myself, and Paul at the finish line. Photo by Angelique Duffield at

In roughly seven months I will be attempting to achieve pretty much the biggest swimming goal there is, crossing not a lake, but the English Channel. That would never have entered my mind if it weren’t for that New Year’s Resolution to cross our very own lake. So go ahead, make a resolution this year. You never know what might come of it.

Winter Love, New Year

We are so fortunate to live in a place with secret spots so close, like Bear Creek.

Fashionate: Saying Farewell to 2012 – Top 10 Trends

The world of fashion does not end at shoes and the clothes we wear on our backs. Fashion spills over into hair trends, technology trends and even lifestyle trends. As the year comes to a close I have narrowed down my favourite trends of 2012.

2012 was a great year for fashion evolution from the hair we wear to the gadgets we love to carry. As we ring in 2013 we take a look back at the memorable looks and styles that defined our year.

10. Chelsea Boots: Every single girl I know has a variation of the Chelsea boot. Whether they are new and fresh, suede, or worn in for years these  boots are the ultimate wardrobe staple this year.


9. Boyfriend blouse: Another must have item. Over-sized with leggings, tucked in, or studded out. This was an ultimate trend setter by the celebrities this year!

8. Ombre Hair: A slow start for this trend in Kelowna but Ombre hair has ended 2012 strong. Dramatic or subtle this is a great technique for our long haired bellas, easily transformed into 2013.


7. Top Knot: The most effortless, yet stylish hair-do of the year. Girls with long or medium hair have been rocking this style out all year whether you are hitting the best new years party in town with a perfectly coiffed top bun, or you are running errands with a pile on top of your head this is one of my absolute favourite looks this year!

6. Colored Denim: This denim trend has quickly become a wardrobe staple. Dress your jeans up or down with your favourite chelsea boots, or studded pumps these have joined the legging family and won’t be leaving our closets for years to come, for both men AND women!

colored denim

5. Men’s Sleek Haircuts: Undercut and slicked back has made a comeback in a very modern way. We LOVE these cuts on men. Each and every guy can pull this cut off in different variations. This is a cut that will spill over into 2013 for sure!

4. Studs/Spikes: This was a slightly more bold trend this year that didn’t catch on in a big way in Kelowna. I love the studded accents on a structured boyfriend blazer or spiked leather heels.

3. Skulls: Happy skulls, angry skulls, big or small, anything skull goes this year!


2. Instagram: Since it’s purchase by social networking giant Facebook, Instagram really exploded this year. Individuals can express themselves through snapshots of their lives. This social tool has shaped the world of fashion, technology, food and entertainment! (@NikkiMPid and @awesomeokanagan just in case you were wondering!)

1. Oxblood Red: This is the new black. Love this colour on anybody!!

See you all in 2013, Stay tuned for my trend report early January!! Xo- Nikki

Focus Friday: Christmas Orchard


Some of the local orchards look like they’ve been decorated for Christmas, with colourful bobbles still hanging from the branches. I’m choosing to appreciate their abstract beauty rather than pondering why it didn’t pay for the farmer to pick this fruit. Anyway, this post marks two years of Focus Friday and In Focus articles — 83 photo features showing unique views of the valley. Thanks to Brandon and the Awesome Okanagan team, as well as readers who have appreciated, liked, faved, shared and commented on the pictures!

For Ermengarde, Wherever You May Find Her

I recently received a Facebook message from my friend Kaela, owner of Frock Clothing Co. in downtown Kelowna. It was partially a thank-you to a number of people she credits for inspiring her and also a large blog post about a chance encounter she recently had, how it affected her, how the person she met was affected, and piece of personal advice. I felt it was important to share her post here, with her blessing of course, in case any other creative types were feeling tired, burned-out or confused about where they are in life.

I got the most incredible letter today from a girl whom I met while she was shopping in my store. Let’s call her Ermengarde for storytelling purposes (after a character in my favourite childhood novel. I was always like: wow. Cool name.) Ermengarde was at a crossroads when we first spoke: feeling like she needed to pursue something creative, but also feeling the pressure to succeed financially. These two things aren’t always mutually exclusive (pretty sure Angelina Jolie isn’t ripping through the ‘seen-better-days bargain basket’ at the co-op looking for the loaf of bread with the most easily removable mold). Unfortunately, the term “starving artist” exists for a reason. There are no pensions. There are no “benefits” if you get sick. Job security is as tangible as a pet unicorn, and you’re often asked to work for free. (think of the exposure!) In fact, most of the artists i know have a Joe-job to cover their bills.

Joe-job (noun): The thing you get paid minimum wage to do so that you can afford your career as an artist; e.g. Server, salesperson, pretending to be a criminal at the justice institute while police in training interview you (yes, that’s a job, and yes, you do have to sign a waiver stating that if your acting is so great that you force an officer to physically restrain you and you get hurt, you will not sue).

My First Impression of Ermengarde: A Paragraph

This girl is beautiful. If you were standing behind her in a bookstore line you’d be irritated because she’s too pretty to be reading books and being all smart. That’s not fair to the rest of us. It crossed my mind that I should probably trip her because life is going to be too easy for her and someone needs to teach her that life is hard. Like a floor. After books fall on you. But then when she speaks she’s gracious and funny. She laughs at herself. She’s totally vulnerable when she talks about her dreams, and vulnerability in anyone is so lovable because it makes us feel less afraid to open our own hearts a little. I remember thinking after she left: wow. That girl will succeed no matter what she does. I actually thought that! When does that happen?? And then I got this letter.

Letter from Ermengarde

She starts by thanking me. She says I am inspiring and that my last blog post really moved her. My first thought: holy shitballs! Someone who isn’t my best friend is actually reading my blog!!!! Yessssssssssss!!!! My second thought: ooooh shitballs. Am I being honest in my blogs? I’m a shit-show. Did I clarify that somewhere?? Dear reader: these are my thoughts. I want to share them with you but be forewarned – I’m a total flake. If you want to be inspired you should find a different blog from someone who actually knows stuff. I can’t remember putting that in my last blog. I have a mild panic attack and then continue reading.

Ermengarde goes on to say that she feels lost. She’s got the 9 to 5 job and the boyfriend. She bakes. Her home is so clean it sparkles and she’s hosting this year’s Christmas party. Somehow her life turned into a cookie cutter existence and she’s lost her spirit. She wants advice. She wants to know if I really believe in jumping into something without having any idea where you’ll end up or what the consequences might be. She asks me what steps she should take. She thinks I’m qualified to answer these questions because I’ve somehow opened a business that’s artsy. Jesus.

Continue Reading…

A-OK and Oook present Trust, March 6th

Trust PosterWe’re so excited to work in collaboration with top community arts & culture blog to bring you a great Toronto act! Trust will be playing at Habitat March 6th with ERAAS + local opener Little Jungles. Come the new year, you’ll have your chance to win tickets to this great show from both of our blogs so make sure you stay tuned in the coming months!

Trust is the alter ego of Toronto artist and Maya Postepski (also of the band Austra) and is signed to the Arts & Crafts record label. The pair met in late 2009, started writing songs together, and formed the band in January 2010.

In recent times, the electronic music scene has gone through a roadblock with many projects repeating the same style of 80s, darkwave, techno and EBM-influenced. The majority of bands that fall in this genre are starting to sound redundant and overly similar to one-another. Sometimes, a genre needs to reseed or take a step back in order to grow a new branch of innovating music.

Though Trust isn’t a new and innovating project setting the path of new music exploration, it does however, represent a unique mix of familiar electronic sound formulations from the past and present. And you know what? Trust does a damn good job of creating solid production with their debut album, TRST. The upcoming full-length is all-around impressive with a smooth display of emotive synth-dance music that exudes a sexy and mysterious vibe.

This may be ERAAS‘ debut album, but Robert Toher and Austin Stawiarz had been making dark, evocative music for years with the post-rock band Apse before moody, sinister sounds became fashionable again in the indie world during the late 2000s and early 2010s. While this latest incarnation of the duo’s music fits into that revival pretty well, they use enough of what they learned with Apse to make them more complex, and unexpected, than some of their contemporaries. ERAAS’ song titles distill dread and mysticism into their most symbolic representations, but that may be the simplest thing about the duo’s music. Even on interludes such as “Black House” and “Moon,” their post-rock background gives their sound a majestic expanse that’s as open-ended as it is massive. Along with drawing on their past, ERAAS also recall like-minded artists devoted to conveying darkness in their music in less than obvious ways: the atmosphere of general dread and loping percussion recall Liars in their “They Were Wrong, So We Drowned” and “Drum’s Not Dead” days, and some of the eerie frost of the Knife and Fever Ray can be heard as well. While the duo might still be learning how to balance all the things they can do well into a cohesive whole, ERAAS’ whispers and shadows offer a different and welcome take on dark sounds.

Little Jungles makes pop songs at heart. Noise for you soul. They’ll eat you alive with their sadness and longing. They’ll bring you down to lift you up. Hearts breaking over and over and over and over and over…

View Facebook Event here.
Get your tickets now.

Where: Habitat (248 Leon Avenue, Kelowna)
When: Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 – 8 PM
How Much: $8 Advance / $10 Door – Available at Mosaic Books (411 Bernard Avenue), Leo’s Video (2680 Pandosy St) &
For: 19+

Christmas Market + Art Show, This Weekend!

bottega_xmas_posterBo.ttega Farm Inn is proud to be hosting their second annual Christmas Market & Art Show Saturday, December 15th & Sunday the 16th from 11am – 4pm. Over the two days, the festive market will feature some of the Okanagan’s Finest Artists, Crafters & Musicians all set in the heart of beautiful South East Kelowna. Christmas Carols will be echoing through the halls courtesy of local musicians, and you will find savoury European baking, Glog wine, artisan coffee and stollen bread to warm you up while you explore Bo.ttega.

The two day event will include over 35 vendors; Wineries, Food Crafters, Artists & Crafters. Last year saw more than 1,500 people take part in this family friendly event, so come and enjoy the spirit of the season!

Admission is $2, children are free. All proceeds to the Kelowna Food Bank.

For more info go to

Bo.ttega 4485 Sallows Road. S.E. Kelowna V1W 4C2 Canada GOOGLE MAP LINK

A few shots taken by Darren Hull at the 2011 Bottega Christmas Market



Okanagan Technology Community New Year Kick Off Party

Accelerate Okanagan invites you to the Okanagan Technology Community New Year Kick Off Party at the Laurel Packinghouse in downtown Kelowna!

Last year over 300 community members enjoyed an evening of great local food, drink and entertainment. Please be sure to register so you don’t miss out on what is sure to be the technology community event of the year.

AO Party
Photo by AccelerateOK

Join us for mouth watering local fare and drinks:

  • Themed cocktails from Okanagan Spirits
  • Wines from Calona Vineyards
  • Local brews from Tree Brewing
  • Free non-alcoholic options
  • Awesome appies

AO Party
Photo by AccelerateOK

To keep you entertained:

  • The Blue Room brought to you by KPMG
  • Poker, Blackjack & Roulette
  • Games, meetups and a few surprises brought to you by Digital Okanagan
  • Tunes from DJ Flyin’ Hawaiian

Ticket price: $30 per person (Premium Members: $20) including a free taxi ride home sponsored by Capri Insurance. This is a ticket-only event. Tickets MUST be bought by 5pm, January 9th. Last year was a complete sell out so sign up quickly to avoid disappointment.

Thank you to our Platinum Event Sponsor: KPMG
Thank you to our Core Funding Partner and Event Sponsor BCIC.

Tweet it up at #AOKickOff

Register Here
View the Photos from last year

Where: Laurel Packinghouse (1304 Ellis Street, Kelowna)
When: Friday, January 11th, 2013 – 7 PM
How Much: $30 per person / $20 Premium Members (includes a free taxi ride home sponsored by Capri Insurance)
For: 19+