Country Festival Survival Guide

Photo by McKenzie Fotos.

Summertime country music festivals always promise great fashion, fun with friends and the musician line-ups are becoming bigger and better than ever. Two festivals that should be on everyone’s bucket lists are the two Canadian Country Thunder stops. For the overnight camping experience, the ticket is Country Thunder Craven. Held July 13-16, Craven always promises a rocking good time, and this year headliners include Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Toby Keith. For more info: www.countrythunder.com/festivals/craven-sk. Meanwhile, for day concert-going, Country Thunder Calgary is back for it’s second year at Prairie Winds Park in North West Calgary, August 18-20. Headliners for the event include Blake Shelton, Braid Paisley and Thomas Rhett. For more info: www.countrythunder.com/festivals/calgary-alberta. Western Horse Review is bringing you the definitive survival guide for fashionable festival go-ers that need to beat the heat, while still looking cool and comfortable.

Necessities

Photo Credit: McKenzie Fotos. Outfit by Cody & Sioux.

1. Sunglasses, Sunscreen and a Great Hat

These aren’t just fashionable items, these items can save your skin and head from the sun on a long and hot festival day. Sun-stroke and horrible sun-burns aren’t cute, make sure to regularly apply sunscreen, and mesh current fashion-trends with necessity by picking out an adorable pair of sunnies and on-trend western hat to protect you from the rays.

2. A Water Bottle

Speaking of staying comfortable in the heat, it is so key to make sure you have a refillable water bottle on hand to stay hydrated. We recommend S’well water bottles, not only are they chic and will compliment your outfit, they stay cool long throughout the day. www.swellbottle.com


3. A Phone Charger

Long days swaying to the music and instagramming your favourite bands and outfits mean for low batteries on your phones. Make sure to pack up a back-up phone charger source, personally we are totally crushing on these unicorn battery packs, perfect for a country music festival.

4. Quick and Easy Snacks

You will be the hero of your crew if you pack some light and easy snacks to munch on during your favourite set. Bananas, apples, granola bars, nuts for protein and some candy will keep you guys rocking long into the evening while everyone else had to bail to grab dinner.

5. Travel Sized Beauty Products

Keep yourself looking polished and photo ready with travel-sized beauty products. We recommend packing a small cosmetic bag with mini-deodorant, dry-shampoo, blotting wipes, mascara, lotion, chapstick and a small brush to keep yourself feeling fresh and ready even if the temperatures sore about 25C.

Fashion Musts

Now we get into the fun stuff, this is what country festivals are all about, showing off your cool and eclectic style with your crew, while enjoying some great music!

1. Comfortable, yet Chic Footwear

This is one of the hardest things to achieve, nothing is worse than stumbling around the festival grounds with blisters on your feet because you chose the wrong footwear. Pick cute, low-heeled booties to protect your toes from the crowds, provide some support through those long days and still look on-trend while doing it.

2. A Great Light-Weight Bag

Pair your cute booties with an adorable cross body bag, unique fanny pack, or long strap bag so that you can carry your necessities, phone, and set-lists all in one place! We are majorly crushing on the long fringe cross body Vintage Boho Loves Louis bags, cute, western, and comfortable. A perfect combo – no sore shoulders here! www.vintageboholoveslouis.com

3. Flash Tattoos

Flash tattoos are a must at festivals, but be one step ahead of the crowd and take your flash tattoos to the next level. Head to a craft store and pick up a glitter marker so you can turn your tattoos into your own semi-permanent set lists. Never miss an act when you can look down on your wrist and it’s glittering right there for you!

Photo: McKenzie Fotos. Accessories by Classic Rodeo, Nanton, AB.

4. Layered Accessories

Compliment your flash tattoos with great layered bracelets, hand-cuffs and body chains to fully achieve festival-level cool.

 

Photo: Mckenzie Fotos. Outfit by Classic Rodeo, Nanton, AB.

5. Cover Up

This is both fashion must and necessity. A great light weight jacket, shawl or poncho that is light enough to tie to your cross-body, or tuck in your bag, is a perfect accessory to any chic boho outfit that can double as a blanket to sit on, or to wrap around yourself, if the temperature gets a little chilly at night.

6. Your Tribe Effects Your Vibe

The saying is true, who you surround yourself will make or break your day. Grab your best friends, show off your own personal unique style and enjoy your favourite music together. As festival style has been ramping up the last few summers, it’s important to remember the outfit doesn’t make the event. It’s key to have fun out there and dance like no one’s watching – if you have your best crew with you, it will make it even better!

Grit, Glamour & Goals Puts on a Big Night

Photo by Tara McKenzie

Grit, Glamour & Goals – The G3 organizers Brittany Forsyth, Cassie Hausauer and Rayel Daines with motivational speaker, Amberley Snyder. Photo by Tara McKenzie

By Cassie Hausauer, Photos by Tara McKenzie Fotos

RED DEER, Alberta — Ladies from the western community packed the house at The Harvest Centre at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta on the night of October 22. A sold-out crowd enjoyed shopping from some of Alberta’s best western style boutiques, a fashion show, and guest speaker Amberley Snyder.

Snyder is a professional barrel racer who was in a rollover accident in 2009, that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Just months after the accident she was back on a horse, more determined than ever.

In a room full of nearly 400 women, one could hear a pin drop as Amberley captivated the audience with her story.

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Trish Fossum Granger drove three hours with two excited young ladies.

“My daughters best friend was in a car accident when she was four years old,” Granger said. “Hanna has overcome many obstacles over the last nine years. She rides horses, ski races, shows her 4-H steer just to name a few. Her dream was to meet her inspiration Amberley Snyder. Thanks to the G3 Event’s, not only did she get to hear Amberley speak, the amazing ladies who organized this event made sure that she was able to meet her.”

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Wendy Bunney from Edmonton is already looking forward to next year.

“Everyone I spoke to kept saying what a stellar event it was and the hosts should be commended for pulling it off! Amazing, fun night, and my credit card took a few hits, but I got some great deals! Sure hoping this is a repeat next year!” said Bunney.

Charlsey Whittemore, Owner of B & B Clothing Boutique was delighted to be a part of the event.

“Inspiration, friendship, and shopping describe the event to a T,” Whittemore said. “Not only did guest speaker Amberley Snyder captivate the entire room but the opportunity of being surrounded by other successful boutique owners was an inspiration on its own. The ladies definitely came to shop! On behalf of all of the boutiques we can’t thank the event organizers enough.”

Photo by Tara McKenzie

Taylor Cox came with nine other women, who were all looking forward to a night out.

“Grit, Glamour and Goals-Night at the Marquis was a very well-organized, fun paced, exciting girl’s night out that myself and many others look forward to attending again in the future!” Cox said. “They also had wicked door prizes and great wine! Love my baseball cap and who doesn’t love free wine?!”

Event organizers had decided to create a scholarship for a deserving recipient. Ladies were encouraged to write an essay explaining why they deserved the scholarship and how they are helping the sport of rodeo. Entrants had to be an active member of the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and be enrolled in a minimum six week course.

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This years Grit, Glamour & Goals scholarship recipient is Brittainy Smith who attends the University of Lethbridge taking her Bachelor of Science majoring in neuroscience.

“Two of my good friends, Hope Skoocdopole and Nikki Vanderlee were with me watching the live feed of the scholarship announcement,” Smith said. “I was beaming with joy and excitement after the incredible words from the ladies presenting the scholarship. My friends gave me a hug and said I deserved it. To be honest I cried a little from and the cheering and love I felt. I would love to thank each one of the organizers for putting on such an amazing event for women in the western community. I have received other scholarships but this one will be one of the most memorable.”

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Organizers of the show, Brittany Forsyth, Rayel Daines and Cassie Hausauer are thankful for the support of the western community for this event. Moving forward, they have some serious planning to do to for their next event.

“Overall, there is nothing I would change about how our first event went,” Forsyth said. “Attendees expressed their happiness and everyone was tickled to be there. G3 has a lot of wheels turning already and you can definitely expect more to come from us.”

To view more photos of the event, check out G3’s Facebook Page.

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About G3 Events:

Grit, Glamour & Goals;  G3 Events was created by Brittany Forsyth, Cassie Hausauer and Rayel Daines in the spring of 2016 with the goal in mind to create events which celebrates the modern western woman, to bring people together to encourage, celebrate and support one another, and for a night of fun and motivation.  G3 has also created the Grit, Glamour & Goals Scholarship. For more, visit G3 Events on Facebook or Instagram.

Country Thunder AB is Here!

Guitars

The debut of Country Thunder Music’s inner city festival in Calgary, Alberta starts tomorrow! Featuring Luke Bryan, Big & Rich, Tim McGraw and many more as they invade Prairie Winds Park in NE Calgary for one unforgettable time, the festival takes place all this weekend (August 19-21, 2016).

In case you’re curious about some “insider” tips for making the most of your Country Thunder Alberta experience, we had the chance to speak with Gerry (one of the concert producers), and he had this to say:

Q. Where is the best concert merch to be found?

Everybody’s tastes are different, so we try to have a nice variety of things. The options are spectacular, really. We have long-sleeved shirts, festival sleeveless shirts featuring the music line ups – and lots of men’s and women’s choices. All the artists will have their own merch too. There are also Country Thunder and Lammle’s tents on site that are tricked out, plus the Boutique of Leathers next door. These would be my hot picks.

Q. Are there ATMs on site? What about food?

Yes, there are ATMs on site. There are lots strategically placed around Prairie Winds Park. There are also coupon booths (places where you buy coupons for food and liquor) covering the park . All food and beverage are purchased by voucher. Adult beverages are very fan friendly – priced at $6. There are spirits and beer available, Palm Bay has 2 flavors on site and we have Bud light Apple. No outside food or beverages are allowed in.

Q. Any advice for finding the porta potty locations with the least chance of a line-up?
We do a ratio to make things comfortable, so people aren’t waiting in line. The same goes with food and beverage, so they’re not waiting in line for long times. We have to have lots of those amenities available for people to facilitate an event this size.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Q. Best place to be for a chance celebrity siting?

They typically don’t walk out in the general population, but they have been known to pop into our hospitality tents! As a rule, artists are in their dressing rooms before they go out. But it’s also possible to spot them at a hotel beforehand.

Q. Best way to beat the heat? (Or beat the rain?)
Stay well hydrated. There are lots of water and drinks available on site. There are also lots of treed areas to catch shade. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. Also appropriate clothing for later in the evening, if it becomes cool.

Q. Aside from the concerts, are there any other specialty acts happening?
The Country 105 stage will offer a real nice variety of local artists. This includes the Dungarees (from Edmonton, AB, who have opened up for Miranda Lambert). They will be playing twice on Sunday. There’s also a line dancing group doing a variety of things on site around both stages. There are a number of games that Budweiser will be doing, same with Country 105.

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Q. Are there any upgrade packages available once you’re already on the ground?
If you want to upgrade your experience, you have to do that before you enter our venue. Check out our website for more info at: www.countrythunder.com

Upgrading to the Backstage Experience is really the right way to see this show. Plus you get parking near the site. The value of this festival is excellent and great for the market.

Q. On the topic of parking, any suggestions?
We have very limited for parking for this festival. So the best way is via shuttles from Cowboys, or taxi delivery. Or the LRT is an efficient and safe method of transportation without the mayhem of bringing you car. Or if you’re riding your bike down, AMA @albertamotorassociation has roadside assistance for your bike!

“We are sure excited to be able to be bringing this great venue to Calgary and it’s certain to be an excellent time!” – Gerry

 

Western Wedding – Beautiful B.C.

Date: July 13, 2013

Photographer: Sharon Fibelkorn

Ceremony Location: The home of Mike and Carol Roberts Ojai, Califonia

Reception Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia

The Horses: “I had a surprise entrance planned for myself and Ryley Ray (Cayley’s daughter) that only my parents and my bridesmaids (and just a few others) knew about. We were delivered in a horse drawn carriage from a nearby horse. I will never forget the look on Cayley’s face when we came up the driveway, I could see tears that were streaming down his face. I wanted to include Ryley Ray in as much as possible, and this entrance made her feel so special!”Wilson---horses

The Rings: Katie’s ring was a surprise that Cayley had chosen himself. It features a perfectly round, brilliant Certified Canadian Eskimo diamond. Cayley’s ring was chosen by Katie in California; a smooth platinum band with a beveled edge for comfort when he’s riding.

 

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Their Story: Katie Montague is a successful Realtor from Ojai, Califonia who never imagined she would end up married to a Canadian working cow horse trainer, but fate had its own way of making other plans.

The horse industry is a small on,e and the working ow horse industry is smaller yet. So when a mutual friend had ideas of setting up Montague and British Columbia trainer, Cayley Wilson, Montague had her mind already made up. However, after a chance meeting in the fall of 2011 and a phone call shortly after, she realized maybe Wilson was a person she had more in common with than she knew.

“What I came to find out was that we were both traveling down similar paths, one that we could share our experiences with and perhaps help each other out in others. We decided to be friends with no expectations. During the four months we talked on the phone, I began to see some amazing traits in this man that I would not have guessed. He was a sincere, honest, integral man and I began to admire him greatly for those attributes. He was passionate about his little girl Ryley Ray, and I loved that too.”

The long distance friendship soon turned into something more when Montague visited Wilson at an Arizona horse show.

“We hit it off well and Cayley drove me back to California on his way home to Canada. An hour later, I got a phone call from him saying that he really didn’t think we could make it work with the distance, and he needed to be close to his daughter . . . I think I fell in love with him a little bit right then and there.”

One year later, they were engaged, and six months following was the small, intimate wedding that they both wanted.

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Dress: Katie was stunning in a simple lace gown with material that runched across and tied in at the hip with a lace flower. It had a slit at the hip that allowed some flowered tulle to spill out. The train was minimal, in keeping with Katie’s theme of beautiful simplicity.

Bridesmaids: Dressed in Katie’s colours of coral and turquoise, the bridal party consisted of four ladies. Her maids of honour were her sister and best friend, then her step-sister and sister-to-be rounded out the girls’ side of the party. They wore simple sundresses Katie found at Old Navy with the intent of dressing them in something they could wear again. The flower girl was none other than Cayley’s little girl, Ryley Ray. She was dressed similar to the bride in a darling off-white dress.

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Men’s Attire: Cayley’s best man was his brother, with three friends making up his groomsmen. They were dressed in starched jeans, Cinch shirts and their own boots and hats. Cayley was set apart with a classy black jacket.

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Cake: Katie went with a 3-tiered stacked carrot and lemon cake and found a cute cowboy and cowgirl topper. She topped off the cute western design by asking the caterer to decorate the rest with a horseshoe design.

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Wilson - dad & daughter (650x433)

Flowers: In a unique twist, Katie chose all silk flowers for the wedding. “The wedding was July 13 in Southern California, so we had to be prepared for the heat. I didn’t want to have to worry about wilting flowers and silks made it so much easier. No one would have known had I not told them!”Wilson---wedding-party

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Western Wedding – Prairie Love

An excerpt from our January/February issue, where we annually carry a western wedding feature. Be sure to subscribe and catch next years edition.

Date: August 10, 2013

Photographer: Nicole Wade

Ceremony Location: Willow Creek Ranch, Saskatchewan

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Their Story: Ashley is a Saskatchewan farm girl who grew up riding good horses and making her way through the 4H ranks. She was soon led to the rodeo arena, where she competed in college rodeos and progressed to many rodeo associations across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Tyler, on the other hand, did not grow up in the industry, but got his first taste of agriculture at 19, working on a grain farm, outside of Kindersley, Saskatchewan. He stayed with farming, going on to attend Olds College. It was there that he developed a love for roping, which would lead him to compete on the University of Lethbridge college rodeo team when he moved on to study there.

It was the commonality of the love of the rodeo and farming industries that brought the two together. In 2009, the couple met while both were employed at a feedlot outside of High River, Alberta.

“It was love at first sight. After getting to know one another, we realized how much we had in common and found it hard to beleive we were both living in High River, but grew up not far from each other near Kindersley, Saskatchewan.”

After a short time of travelling back and forth, trying their hand at a challenging long-distance relationship, both Ashley and Tyler moved back to Saskatchewan and were engaged by the spring of 2012.

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The Horses: With a background heavily laden with horses, the couple wanted to include them in their big day. Tyler’s uncle drove the groom and groomsmen with his grand team of Clydesdales, while the bride and bridesmaids made their entrance in a wagon driven by a local neighbor.

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Dress: Ashley’s dress caught her eye as soon as she laid eyes on it. It had a pretty sweetheart neckline and feminine layers of lace lining the bottom.

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Bridesmaids: The bridal party dresses were made by Alfred Angelo; chocolate brown in colour, with matching Macie Bean cowboy boots and turquoise jewelry from Arizona.DSC_3766-ruby

Men’s Attire: To pick up on Ashley’s chosen colours, the groom and groomsmen wore turquoise shirts, chocolate brown tuxedo jackets and Cinch jeans; their attire was wrapped up with boots and hats, of course.DSC_3482-ruby

 

Cake: The cake was a 3-tiered creation, wrapped in turquoise and brown ribbon. With a Montana Silversmith cake topper and fondant horseshoes adorning the front, it made a pretty statement for their western wedding.

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Favours: Ashley’s bouquet was one of her favorite parts of the day. It was fashioned from old antique brooches that she had collected, stuffed into the center of white Gerbera daisies and roses. The arrangements were wrapped in burlap and accented with turquoise pieces.

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Western Wedding – Douglas Lake Ranch

A beautifully styled wedding set at the historic Douglas Lake Ranch.

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Their story: Tina Stone grew up on Vancouver Island, a long way from Douglas Lake Ranch. But rodeo and ranch life drew the B.C. girl to the stunning rolling hills, and in 2003, she took a job on the illustrious ranch. Little did she know that’s where she would find the person she would begin to share her life with 10 years later.

Cameron Jacobs is the son of Stan Jacobs, well-known cow boss of Douglas Lake Ranch. Born in Merritt, British Columbia, and guided by his father, Cameron spent his entire childhood cowboying.

When the two met during the first week of Stone being employed at the ranch, her first reaction was hesitant.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, he’s cute!’ But being that he was three years younger than me, I held my thoughts to myself. After about a year of being close friends, it wasn’t too long until he had me convinced that he was worth it!”

The next eight and a half years took them on some great adventures. They had a stint living in nearby Kelowna; they spent two months in Oklahoma while Cameron attended horseshoeing school; they lived in Alberta, working and making new friends; then ended up back home in Douglas Lake. After that many years and that many miles, Stone knew that Jacobs was what she wanted.

“Finally, he took me for a picnic lunch at Quilchena Falls and popped the question. Then it all began. I had waited a very long time for this moment, I wasn’t waiting any longer, so I decided to plan our wedding in four months. He proposed on May 25th and we were married September 14th. There were some crazy times but it all came together . . . and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.”

Jacobs---bride

Dress: Bought at Viva Bridal in nearby Kamloops, Tina's dress was a beautiful fit and flare with a sweetheart neckline. It was made from a 'romantique' colored satin under an ivory lace overlay with a gorgeous matching belt that added a little bling. Perhaps her favorite part was the stunning nine-foot, satin edged vail. Bridesmaids: Trina's ladies wore locally sourced 'rosewood' coloured dresses from David's Bridal, accented by great boots. Their jewelry was handmade by one of the bridesmaids, adding the perfect personal touch.

Dress: Bought at Viva Bridal in nearby Kamloops, Tina’s dress was a beautiful fit and flare with a sweetheart neckline. It was made from a ‘romantique’ colored satin under an ivory lace overlay with a gorgeous matching belt that added a little bling. Perhaps her favorite part was the stunning nine-foot, satin edged vail.

Jacobs---couple

Bridesmaids: Trina’s ladies wore locally sourced ‘rosewood’ coloured dresses from David’s Bridal, accented by great boots. Their jewelry was handmade by one of the bridesmaids, adding the perfect personal touch.

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Men’s Attire: Cameron, along with the other guys in the bridal party, sported unwashed Wranglers with ivory shirts and grey vests from Moores Mens Wear. The groom and the best man wore a paisley tie, setting them apart from the others, who wore burgundy. Cameron’s western inspired jacket was lent to them by a friend for the big day.

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Boots: Nothing less than Macie Beans for the bride.

Make-up: Trina enlisted the talents of Sheeradiance Salon, based in Kamloops, for a flawless face.

Cake: The beautiful western-inspired cake was homemade by Courtney Brewer, a young girl was also resides on Douglas Lake Ranch.

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Favours: Trina and Cameron’s favours were little white buckets with a hand written date and names, penned by Trina’s mother. They were filled with a little candy, and could also be topped off at the candy bar.

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Flowers: Only $160 was enough to deck out the wedding with stunning flowers, which included calla lilies and gerbera daisies.

Jacobs---wedding-party

Date: September 14, 2013

Photographer: Captured Moments Lifestyle Photography and Design

Ceremony Location: Douglas Lake Ranch, British Columbia

Reception Location: Salmon Lake Resort

Paige Callaway

In our March/2013 edition, we profiled 20 interesting artisans of the West, casting a sweet little spotlight on a few of the most ambitious silver, leather, jewellery and gear makers, fashionistas and even a cake baker. Since then we’ve stayed in touch with nearly all of them, and continue to feed our own inspirations with both their love of the West and independent spirits.

Which was why, when western fashion designer, Paige Callaway, sent an invitation to the launch of her new brand, Pursue Victory, I was intrigued enough to attend.

For one thing, when writer Deanna Beckley initially interviewed her for the feature, Callaway’s words oozed conviction and confidence.

“I feel like positive thinking and action is one of the most powerful things on earth, especially once we grasp the ability to harness it,” she said.  “I think most of my ideas come on road trips. Road trips, good music and hitting every flea market I can find between Calgary and Del Rio. It is endless where one can find inspiration – the trick is harnessing the vision and moving forward with it.”

And secondly, I really needed a new show shirt, and I already loved the look and intention behind the flagship piece of her brand, the Functional Power Collar professional shirt.

pursueartsWhat’s not to love about this logo? Rhetorical question. Particularly since it was created by a designer and photographer we’re blessed and fortunate enough to work with on a regular basis – Natalie Jackman.

pursuepaige&alexHeld at Hotel Arts in Calgary, it was a great evening of fashion and inspiration. I asked my daughter, Alex (on the right) to come with me, and meet Paige (on the left), and we both left feeling the conviction behind this cowgirl entrepreneur.

pursueshirtsAnd with a few purchases in hand.

pursuelabelAlex opted for a unisex tee, and I, the show shirt, which I’ve since worn equally in the show pen, and out on assignment. While it’s not inexpensively priced at $125, each shirt is designed and sewn right in Calgary, making them a 100% Canadian product. And, with the quality and workmanship in the garment, I consider it a lifetime addition to my closet, ultimately translating to a lighter footprint on the earth.

Callaway’s “workshop” is still her computer and a sketchbook, along with a duffle bag of clothes that follow her wherever her adventures and business may take her. “Being able to do business on the spot has proven successful for me. It is similar to the people in Central Park with trench coats and watches, but a lot classier,” she quipped.

Paige really has created a line of clothing that is positive and empowering. Find Pursue Victory on Facebook or visit their temporary website here.

Cowgirl Dirt Giveaway!

Pic by Jenn Webster.

Pic by Jenn Webster.

As a mother and a trainer’s wife with limited “me” time, products in my makeup kit need to be long-lasting and color true to hold up against the hours of errands, meetings, horse shows and travel my life course often sees. Plus, when it’s time to just be a Mommy, I like natural ingredients and minerals that protect me from the sun, rejuvenate my skin and give me a natural look.

When I first came across Cowgirl Dirt, their fresh new products had all of this plus, they spoke to my character. And with cheeky product names (they seriously have a lipstick called “Hollywood Dun It”), I couldn’t resist.

For those who know me, I am particularly picky about my eye shadow. I need a product that will glide on smooth without a “cakey” or creased look and hold the style no matter what the day might throw at me.

Cowgirl Dirt’s new pressed powder comes in complementary dual tones, which makes their already fantastic product even better. On meeting days, I like to use the Arena Sand as a base, which creates a perfect foundation for an application of Barnwood on my eyelids. Then using a contoured brush, I like to sweep another light dusting of Barnwood into my creases in small circular motions. Both colors in this combo are demi-mattes.

On days when I’m after just a quick, simple and natural glow (you know, for the grocery store and running-into-town errands with my kids,) a smooth application of Arena Sand alone does the trick.

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Barnwood (top) and Arena Sand color combo.

But for any of you ladies who ride regularly like I do, the real question is…

How do these eyeshadows hold up after a hot afternoon of riding around in arena dirt, atop a sweaty cow pony?

Well! I can happily attest that after the last couple of hot summer days I emerged from the arena looking exactly as I did walking in. You know, other than the big smile on my face! (A fast-paced, high-torque workout on the pro-cutter will do that to ya <grin>).

The colors didn’t fade away despite dust or sweat.

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The other exciting aspect about Cowgirl Dirt is that all products have the following characteristics:

• Non-Allergenic and Gluten free: perfect for roseacea, acne-prone, and sensitive skin.
• Sun Resistant: contains ingredients with natural properties to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
• Anti-Inflammatory: contains ingredients that calm irritated and sensitive skin.
• Concentrated: only small amounts of products are needed for beautiful results.
• Natural: contains no toxic chemical, artificial preservative, dyes, nano particles, talc, or parabens.

And if you have sensitive skin, Cowgirl Dirt products are 100% natural and organic! You can review a full ingredient list by reading this.

Pressed-Eye-ShadowSo now here’s the best part! Wanna win a pressed eyeshadow from Cowgirl Dirt for yourself? Drop me a comment below and let me know which color combo you’d like best and why. Here are your choices:

• Rusted Wire / Dust

• Barnwood / Arena Sand

• Barnwood / Prairie Fresh

• Huckleberry / Silky Leather

• Oklahoma Storm / Rodeo Queen

• Saddle Up / Renegade Rust

• Muddy Boots / Golden Spurs

• Emerald / Diamond Dust

One winner will be drawn at random and announced on Monday. Good luck!

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6 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

I haven’t always been a fan of cowhide, perhaps because I haven’t had the vision for it into the decor of the log house. Cowhide placemats and runners have just never really taken my fancy. Pinterest has changed all of that and really popped open my eyes to the endless possibilities of cowhide. I’ve grown to love the idea of it so much, I’m venturing a guess that one or two of the people on my Christmas list will be receiving it in one form or another.

If you’re looking for a lifetime gift for the people who share your home, or a unique western-styled option for the urbanites in your life, here’s a selection of uses of cowhide to inspire.

Cowhide is a thought of as a traditional western accent, but with it’s organic elements of hide, hair and colour, it transfers easily into modern spaces.

Decorators know a cool thing when they see it, but I hadn’t ever thought of putting a cow hide in the bathroom. Is it even practical? Will it stand up to the inevitable water splashes?

Ever more daring, how about a bathtub encased in cowhide? So much warmth in the combination of wood grain, browns and hide.

Cowhide on white plank floor is a favourite for me, especially pulling together this minimal look. . .

. . .  or adding warmth and style to an office.

Boho chic gets a boost of Wild west with a cowhide.

No need to go for the whole rug, opt instead for a piece of furniture, like this award-winning coffee-table design.

Cool and chic chairs and ottoman. . .

. . . or these full loungers, really spectacular pieces.

Why not just drape your entire staircase in chocolate brown sensory overload? This one captures my vote.

There’s also a plethora of smaller decor items in cowhide such as mirror frames, lampshades and pillows.

These carry-ons are neat statements of your love of the West. And wine :).

And finally, what speaks of your love of the West more than a stocking crafted of cowhide.

Turns out the Wild West is alive and well in places modern, not  traditional western homes. If I’ve tweaked the idea of adding cowhide (or more cowhide!) to your decor, you can find much more of it at our Make Mine Cowhide Pinterest board, where we’ve amassed a small collection of all things cowhide. (You’ll also find the links for the sources for the photos I’ve employed here.)

Belt by Paige Albrecht. Skull by Dylan Callaghan. Photo by Krista Kay.

For the love of all things cowhide, we’re giving away this gorgeous cowhide belt by our friend and artisan, Paige Albrecht. All you have to do to be entered in the draw is comment below on what your favourite application of cowhide, as depicted in the pictures above, is, or just choose one of your own.

I nearly forgot to mention, to receive a double entry into the contest, just head over to the Western Horse Review Facebook Page, and enter there as well. Happy Friday!