5 days in Calgary | What you need to know

Moraine Lake Calgary Travel Guide

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting my friend for 5 days in Calgary, Alberta. Not only did I want to spend time with her but I also really wanted to check out the famous Calgary Stampede, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. I had never been before, and since she offered her place to stay, I thought it was a perfect opportunity (Thanks, Darlene!!!!). This is a great tip for people who want to travel and save on accommodations – visit a tourist destination where you know someone.

I purposely flew in the same morning the Stampede started, departing around 8 am from Vancouver, BC. I would recommend an early morning flight to avoid the mid-day and evening rush. I always like flying to my destination early in the morning and leaving late on my departure date to maximize the length of my travel. I would also recommend flying vs. driving from Vancouver. The flights are not that expensive (mine was $300) and it’s a 2-hour flight vs. an 11-hour drive.

I stayed 5 days in Calgary and would recommend this length of stay to anyone. I had only ever visited Calgary once in the winter and due to the weather conditions, I did not sightsee. Honestly, it was too cold to even go outside lol so with that said, I would definitely recommend visiting in the summer. In the 5 days, I was there, I went to the Calgary Stampede where I attended the Rodeo, drove to Banff where I visited Lake Moraine and Lake Louise, shopped on 7th avenue and drank and ate my way around 17th avenue.

Below you’ll find my Calgary travel guide – recommendations and tips for your next visit to “Cowtown”.

Where to Eat/Drink

Location: Downtown

5 Avenue Place

Brunch: I would highly recommend Oeb breakfast co. It has a large menu with lots of different options to choose from. It took me about a half hour to decide what I finally wanted. I ordered the Upstream (see below) and it was delicious. Service was great and ambiance was lovely. It definitely isn’t a budget-friendly option but if you want to skip lunch, it’s definitely worth it. It’s chef-driven, locally owned and won Best Brunch by Where Magazine and Best of Calgary 2017 & 2018.

OEB Breakfast Co Brunch

Upstream – Organic Spinach. Dill & Vermouth Cured Lox w/Avacado on a butter croissant, brown butter hollandaise, crisp potatoes and market fresh fruit.

Location: Kensington

1136 Kensington Road NW

Lunch: First off, I fell in love with the Kensington area. I would definitely recommend this area for food/ patio drinking. I ate at Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey and ordered the Brisket Sandwich with a Caravel – Hazy Hefeweizen. I don’t normally eat brisket but this sandwich was a 10/10 and the hef. was super refreshing – a perfect summer patio drink. We also had great service here. I feel like you have to eat BQQ when your in “Cowtown” and this place doesn’t disappoint.

Craft Beer at Hayden Block Smoke & Whiskey

Craft Beer: Caravel – Hazy Hefeweizen

Location: 17th Avenue

219 17th Avenue SW

Drinks: Mill St. BrewPub is the first pub stop on 17th avenue and it’s definitely not to be missed especially if you’re a fan of Mill Street brews. I thoroughly enjoyed a flight of delicious in-house craft beers on the patio (see below). The staff is friendly, great service received and a lovely ambiance.

Flight at Mill Street BrewPub

Notable mentions:

728 17th Avenue SW

Lunch: Trolley 5

Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery

718 17th Avenue SW

Drink: Market

Sitting at Market Restaurant Calgary Alberta

Dress: UNIQLO

Hat: Aritzia

Market Restaurant Calgary Patio

Market Restaurant Calgary Alberta

Inside the adorable Market Restaurant

 

Where to Shop

Be sure to hit up 7th avenue where you’ll run into a pristine Holt Renfrew, a massive beautiful Simons and a lovely mall called the Core. When you’re in the Core, be sure to check out The Devonian Gardens. Unfortunately, when I went they were partially closed but a great place for a photo op and a lovely place to stay cool if it’s hot outside. Tip: Skip the downtown Hudson’s Bay and Nordstrom Rack which, are not worth your time.

If you’re staying outside the city, I would recommend visiting the Chinook Centre, which is the largest shopping mall in Calgary and has everything you need including a movie theatre.

Where to Visit

Calgary Stampede

I’m so happy I can now check Calgary Stampede off my bucket list! I have to say it’s quite similar to the PNE in Vancouver or CNE in Toronto except with a lot of cowboys and cowgirls with horses and bulls. Tip: When planning your trip to the stampede, attend on a value day where admission is free during a period of time. Yes, the entrance lines are long but trust me they go fast.

Calgary Stampede Park Sign

Dress: Old Navy

Hat: Aritzia

Fanny Pack: Plum Clothing

I would definitely recommend purchasing tickets to the Stampede Rodeo. It’s an amazing show where all the action takes place. You’ll see barrel racing, novice bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, junior steer riding, novice saddle bronc, saddle bronc, bull riding and bareback. I have to admit the tie-down roping and steer wrestling are hard to watch if your an animal advocate but the bull riding is fascinating. Tip: Grab seats that are on the shady side so you’re protected from the sun’s rays. It’s about a 3-hour show and it can get very hot! Good to know: if you purchase your ticket in advance, it includes admission to the Stampede Park on the day the ticket is valid for.

Bull riding at Calgary Stampede Rodeo

Banff (Lake Moraine and Lake Louise)

My friend and I drove from Calgary into Banff and I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful drives. The rocky mountains are breathtaking (see below). Living in Vancouver, I’m certainly used to being around mountains every day but these mountains look and feel different.

Calgary, Alberta Highway

Our first stop was Lake Moraine and I was blown away by how beautiful and pristine the water and grounds are. After visiting Lake Louise, I would recommend spending more time at Lake Moraine. For one, it’s less busy, two, the water is nicer and three, you can be closer to the water while you walk/hike around the lake.

Calgary Travel Guide Banff National Park

Top: J. Crew

Capris: HUE

Tip: Bring a sweater. It gets cooler as you’re closer to the mountains. This is something that I forgot and wished I hadn’t. Tip: If you can pack a lunch/picnic/cooler and bring it with you, I would definitely recommend doing that vs. spending astronomical food prices at either of the lakes. Tip: Try to avoid going on a weekend. We went on a Sunday and it was madness.

Good to know: There is a $9.80 per adult fee for entering Parks Canada when entering Banff National Park so factor this cost into your travel budget.

Overall, I was quite surprised by just how much I fell in love with this city. I’m a city girl but not a big city girl so Calgary was the perfect size for me (just like Vancouver is ;). I would 100% return to Calgary next summer to explore more of their restaurant and bar scene. Until next time Calgary!

If you’ve ever visited Calgary, let me know some of your trip highlights below.

Amy Johnston, xx

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A Curvy Girl’s Journey to Self-Confidence and Body Positivity

Amy Johnston body positive blog

After my last blog post with guest blogger, Sarah Tripp (check it out here, if you haven’t already read it), I thought it’s time to speak about my own journey to becoming body positive. After all, this topic is a huge part of what my blog will focus on. So, let’s get into it, shall we? 

For the majority of my life, I’ve been considered a bigger girl. Being plus size runs in my family’s genes (no, I’m not blaming my genes for my weight, I’m just stating a fact). Due to my weight, I was relentlessly bullied throughout middle school and for anyone this is completely devastating. Kids can be really mean. Luckily, I lived with my Poppa (grandfather) who made it his mission to tell me everyday that I was beautiful. I can still remember to this day, coming into the kitchen and the first words out of his mouth were, “hello, beautiful” or “hello, supergirl”.

When he left us (RIP Poppa!), those positive, uplifting messages didn’t wake me up every morning but I heard it enough to know that I felt beautiful. His words sunk in so deep that it made a lasting impression on me. I knew it was up to me and only me to continue repeating this message and so I did. Of course, I fell off the wagon a few times, but who doesn’t feel insecure at times? Especially, in the culture we live in today where the message to young girls and women is to aspire to be a size 2. When you come to realize you’re never going to look like the models on tv or in the magazines, it’s the most freeing feeling in the world to let those negative feelings go where you don’t feel good enough. You are who you are and that should be enough. 

Amy Johnston body positivity blog post

Photo by: @kirankaurphotography, https://kirankaur.ca

Dress & Hat: Aritizia

Shoes: Target

Cross-body: Kate Spade

So I’m here to tell you today (in case you don’t tell yourself or have anyone telling you), you are enough and you are BEAUTIFUL! This is a message I’ll share weekly so you too can become body positive. Do me a favour, wake up every morning for the next week and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. List what you love about yourself, inside and out because we know beauty is truly what’s on the inside. I hope I didn’t come off too corny there – haha but it’s true. When the week ends, reflect on how you feel and ask yourself a few questions, such as, “Do I feel happier?”, “Do I feel more positive about myself and my general outlook on life?” and “Do you feel lighter?” (as all the negative energy has exited your body). If you ask yourself these questions, I’m 99% sure you’ll notice a difference in how you carry yourself. 

Body positivity has become a movement (can I get a “HALLELUJAH”!?) and it’s a movement that I fully stand behind and support. Thanks to models like Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn and Denise Bidot for breaking fashion industry norms/standards that only girls who are a size 0 can walk a runway or be photographed in a fashion magazine, and thanks to body positive bloggers like Sarah Tripp for demonstrating on a daily basis that girls who are a size 12 or up can also feel amazing in a bathing suit. 

I hope as well that through worldisrunway.com that I can inspire you to feel beautiful in your own skin. Remember the favour I asked of you above and comment down below letting me know how it worked for you!

Until next time, 

Amy Johnston, xx

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Q&A: Sassyredlipstick, Sarah Tripp talks body positivity

Amy Johnston Sarah Tripp Body Positivity

Just recently I was checking my emails in my local grocery store and I received one that stopped me dead in my tracks. When I saw who it was from I quickly opened the email and skimmed through it, heart beating out of my chest waiting to read the words I was looking for. When I found them I proceeded to squeal in a high pitched voice and repeat “OMG, OMG, OMG”. At that moment, I was freaking out in the middle of the grocery store not caring what people might think of me. I didn’t care because body positivity influencer (my biggest social media icon) had just emailed me back agreeing that she would be a guest blogger on my blog, my very first blog post at that. 

Who’s my social media icon you ask? Well, it’s no other than Mrs. Sarah Tripp from @sassyredlipstick!!!!!! If you don’t know who she is (shame on you if you don’t, jk! ;), she’s the creator of her own blog, sassyredlipstick.com. She has 361K followers on Instagram and has worked with major brands like aerie, Bite Beauty, saucony, loccitane, DSW, ebay and countless others and she’s been seen in Women’s Health, Shape, Forbes and Good Morning America just to name a few media outlets. It’s safe to say Sarah is slaying (slay, girl slay) the blogger game and I couldn’t be happier for her! 

Sarah is a body positive advocate who has inspired not only me, but countless other young women to feel beautiful, confident and sassy in their own skin. I had the opportunity to ask Sarah a few of my most burning questions about the topic of body positivity, dealing with trolls and building an online brand. So, without further ado, please continue reading for my Q&A with @sassyredlipstick, Sarah Tripp. 

Sarah Tripp Sassyredlipstick

Photo by: Robbie Tripp

AJ: What does the term “body positivity” mean to you? 

ST: Being body positive means loving and accepting yourself no matter your shape or size. It means being at peace with your body, even the parts you’ve been told are too big, too small, too jiggly, etc. Body positivity is synonymous with self-confidence.

AJ: Do you respond to trolls? Why or why not?

ST: It totally depends. Usually I do not, because it’s a waste of time and energy. Most of the troll comments/messages are stupid and I’ve learned to block, delete, and move on without thinking much about it. However, if there is something said that I feel needs to be corrected or that I feel the person isn’t realizing that I’m a real human being with feelings who can reply, then I will respond. I always make sure to do it with kindness and let them know that they are being hurtful and that no one deserves that. A lot of times they back off and sometimes even apologize. There are some people you’re never going to change, but a lot of times these comments/messages are sent from people who don’t think their words are going to be seen or people who are having a bad day. Overall, I just wish social media was more positive and didn’t have such a mean-spirited trolling culture.

AJ: How do you personally stay positive despite reading negative comments from trolls?

ST: It’s all about having confidence in yourself and knowing that those rude words don’t define you at all. I once heard a quote that says, If they don’t know you personally then don’t take it personally. It’s so true. If some random stranger wants to send their poison your way, you don’t need to internalize it. That’s just their sadness and insecurity showing. I know who I am, and those who know me as a person know my character. That’s all that matters.

AJ: Do you ever find it difficult to write about positivity when trolls come out of the woodwork? 

ST: Not at all. I would never hide my light for fear of someone being mean about it. For every troll comment I receive, there are a 50 more positive and supportive ladies who needed to hear it. The good will always outweigh the bad, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

AJ: If you could tell one thing to your younger self about body image what would it be?

ST: Being curvy is beautiful! I never had any role models that looked like me so I didn’t have the perception that a curvy girl could be sexy, confident, and powerful. Now that we have amazing women like Ashley Graham and my girl Iskra Lawrence rocking it in the spotlight, there’s a whole new attitude that women our size can be just as sexy. I would tell my younger self to quit worrying about looking like everyone else and start owning you!

AJ: When did you realize you were a role model for young girls and women?

ST: Wow, that’s a tough question because I still have a hard time processing that; it’s such an honor to be called a role model. I don’t look at myself like a hero or anything, I just try to promote my message of self-love and hope it helps other girls and women feel more confident. If I’m someone’s role model for doing that, then I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful. My mission is to help women of all shapes and sizes love the skin they’re in. 

AJ: Who is your biggest inspiration from the fashion world and why?

ST: Definitely Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel. I’ve been a Chanel enthusiast for years and have read many books on CoCo. She was such a revolutionary in a time where women weren’t expected (or really allowed) to do much of anything, and the brand she created is timeless. My Chanel pieces represent so much to me: hard work, elegance, luxury, and legacy. 

AJ: What is the one piece of clothing you would recommend for a curvy girl/women and why?

ST: The ultimate curvy girl uniform is a flattering pair of high-waisted jeans, a cute bodysuit, and a pair of high heels. This outfit accentuates a curvy figure by highlighting the booty, sucking in the tummy while holding tight to the chest, and showing off those beautiful thick thighs. I recommend every curvy girl try it out!

Sarah tripp iskra lawrence body positivity

Photo by: Robbie Tripp

AJ: You just recently collaborated with Iskra. What is one thing you can share with us that she taught you about body positivity?

ST: Iskra was my role model for years and I’m so glad to be able to call her my friend now. She still inspires me with how kind, humble, and inclusive she is. It’s rare to find someone so beautiful and successful who is also one of the most grounded people you know. She is an example to me of how I want to be no matter the amount of success I achieve: making others feel loved and just being a light for good in this world.

AJ: Where would you like the body positivity movement to be in the next five years? 

ST: I would love to see all the major brands and department stores become size inclusive. It’s 2018 and we need to get rid of this “one size fits all” mentality where the hottest brands only smaller sizes or clothes that would never fit a curvy woman. Also, I think it will be the true mark of change when we see Victoria’s Secret include curvy women in their marketing and their fashion shows. That’s when we’ll know that body positivity and size representation has made it.

AJ: How do you think being curvy influenced your career?

ST: There’s no doubt that it’s a huge aspect of my career! I didn’t start seeing success early on until I started opening up about my ups and downs in my self-love journey. Being curvy is a blessing, it’s something I promote because it’s a positive thing! It’s not a negative thing, not even close. Curvy women are powerful, beautiful, sexy, and strong. I want every girl and women out there to know that being curvy is awesome, not something to be changed! 

I thank Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions and for encouraging us to feel empowered in our own skin. I can’t wait to see where Sarah’s career takes her and I’ll be cheering for her along the way.

I also thank you for tuning in to my first ever blog post. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Leave a comment below letting me know who your social media icon is and why. To learn more about worldisurunway, click here

Until next time, 

Amy Johnston, xx

Guest Blogger: Sarah Tripp is the creator of sassyredlipstick.com, a body positive, fashion and lifestyle blog. Connect with Sarah on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and be sure to check out her husband’s book on Amazon, the man behind this viral post.

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Welcome to worldisurunway, a body positive fashion & lifestyle blog!

Hello Gorgeous welcome blog

Welcome to worldisurunway! My name is Amy Johnston and this is my spanking NEW blog – a body positive fashion & lifestyle blog. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come visit and have a read. I have to tell you that I’m so freakin excited. I have wanted to launch my blog now for over two years. Two freakin years!!!! What has taken me so long? Gosh, that story is for another blog post and I want to keep this short and sweet.

To learn more about me and what worldisurunway means, click here. What can you expect when you visit worldisurunway? Expect a lot of positive vibes coming your way! The world is too negative not to be positive. Am I right? 😉 Come visit me weekly to feel body confident and fashion inspired. I can’t wait to see where this goes. On that thought, tune into my first full blog post next week to read a very exciting Q&A with a guest blogger. Hint: she’s from SanFran and she likes red lipstick. Do you know who it is? If so, leave a comment down below and if you’re the first person to get it right I’ll give you a shoutout on social media. 😉

Until next week,

Amy Johnston, xx

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