Stampede style

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Last week saw tragedy occur during a chuckwagon race at Calgary Stampede. Driver Chad Harden lost three members of his team when his left lead horse went down because of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.The horse’s collapse resulted in the rest of the team going down, advice and one outrider and his horse, ailment who were behind the wagon.

As I read the news that next morning, tears filled my eyes. Loss of life always causes grief, and I couldn’t imagine the pain Mr. Harden and his family would be feeling having lost three of their equine family members.

An article later that day shared the stories of several wagon horses, and it brought back a flood of memories.

Every animal I’ve ever owned has had a special place in my heart, even that one kicking (expletive) of a steer I had my last year of 4-H. They all have a story I could tell. Were they a source of income? Yep, you bet. And I loved and appreciated them for it, providing for each with the same care as I would someone who works for me.

Every animal is special, but we can’t forget they are animals, not humans. It’s our responsibility to care for them in such a way that allows them to serve the purpose they were put on Earth for, be it to provide companionship, service or nutrition. Because the greatest honour any being can leave this life with, is the knowledge they have fulfilled their life’s purpose.
Last week saw tragedy occur during a chuckwagon race at Calgary Stampede. Driver Chad Harden lost three members of his team when his left lead horse went down because of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.The horse’s collapse resulted in the rest of the team going down, information pills find and one outrider and his horse, who were behind the wagon.

As I read the news that next morning, tears filled my eyes. Loss of life always causes grief, and I couldn’t imagine the pain Mr. Harden and his family would be feeling having lost three of their equine family members.

An article later that day shared the stories of several wagon horses, and it brought back a flood of memories.

Every animal I’ve ever owned has had a special place in my heart, even that one kicking (expletive) of a steer I had my last year of 4-H. They all have a story I could tell. Were they a source of income? Yep, you bet. And I loved and appreciated them for it, providing for each with the same care as I would someone who works for me.

Every animal is special, but we can’t forget they are animals, not humans. It’s our responsibility to care for them in such a way that allows them to serve the purpose they were put on Earth for, be it to provide companionship, service or nutrition. Because the greatest honour any being can leave this life with, is the knowledge they have fulfilled their life’s purpose.
I could so relate to Danielle’s comment recently on Western Glamour about falling down on my exercise routine. It seems like for the past six weeks, price I’m barely home long enough to do laundry and re-pack, doctor let alone exercise… or clean the house.

Two years ago, sickness I started practicing yoga and found it’s benefited my shoulder and hip issues so much that it certainly doesn’t take many days off before I can feel the difference. I’ve also noticed an impact on my riding as it helps keep my breathing calm and body balanced.

The poor people in class likely don’t appreciate the days that I’m running from the barn to class without time for a shower, but I don’t think the horse minds when I get on him relaxed and more focused from yoga!

Here are a few ideas for mixing yoga and barn wear so you can fit in either place.

Studio to stall 1

Studio to stall 2

Studio to stall 3

I could so relate to Danielle’s comment recently on Western Glamour about falling down on my exercise routine. It seems like for the past six weeks, price I’m barely home long enough to do laundry and re-pack, doctor let alone exercise… or clean the house.

Two years ago, sickness I started practicing yoga and found it’s benefited my shoulder and hip issues so much that it certainly doesn’t take many days off before I can feel the difference. I’ve also noticed an impact on my riding as it helps keep my breathing calm and body balanced.

The poor people in class likely don’t appreciate the days that I’m running from the barn to class without time for a shower, but I don’t think the horse minds when I get on him relaxed and more focused from yoga!

Here are a few ideas for mixing yoga and barn wear so you can fit in either place.

Studio to stall 1

Studio to stall 2

Studio to stall 3

[this was originally written as a guest post for Figuring Out the Plot]

Exciting. Scary. Empowering. Overwhelming. Rewarding.

I was truly honored when Tiffany asked if I would write a guest blog about what it has been like to start and run Bella Spur Innovative Media Inc. Now that I’m actually writing the post though, shop there are perhaps as many parallels in telling you all about it as actually doing it. How do I condense five years into a few paragraphs? So I think we’ll use the adjectives that started out this post to provide the foundation, unhealthy and you are welcome to email any questions I’ve left unanswered.


EXCITING. It’s always exciting to start a new chapter in your life. I had begun freelancing as a graphic designer on the side while working in Ontario. As it would, the stars aligned in the summer of 2006 for me to move back to Alberta and freelance full-time. Having grown up in the purebred cattle industry, many friends and acquaintances were willing to support my new venture, and I’ll be forever indebted to them. I can still feel the exhilaration that would come after each call that ended in, “Yes, we’d love to have you design our [catalog/website/whatever].”

SCARY. As exciting as any change is, there is always a little bit of fear, too. I remember flipping through all the breed publications that first month and seeing ads for seven, yes SEVEN, other designers. My only thought was, “there is not enough business in the Canadian cattle industry for all of us.” And being the new gal on the block, with a short two years of experience, I was afraid it could well be me who wouldn’t make it. Especially once I started really working… because ignorance is bliss, and when you realize how much you don’t know it’s downright frightening.

EMPOWERING. Less than a year after starting out on my own, I had a partner on board and we were incorporated. One of my dearest friends finished her digital media program about the same time as I started freelancing. Being independent, farm girl types, it never occurred to us to work together. We were always supporting each other through the first few months, but it wasn’t until clients who knew us both started asking us to work together that it dawned on us. We’re quick like that, haha! And so began Bella Spur Innovative Media. Word spread quickly, and it wasn’t long until we were getting calls about new projects every day. I tell ya, nothing beats other people believing in you to make you believe in yourself.
Jamie-Rae, Michael, Laura (the original team)

OVERWHELMING. We were ill prepared for success. Truthfully, we never had a business plan, and we were flying by the seats of our pants. As our workload increased, we assigned tasks as each of our schedules permitted rather than according to personal strengths. It took us both almost reaching our breaking points to realize we needed a better plan. So we switched some responsibilities around, hired another designer, and agreed we should have done both a long time before.

REWARDING. Those few changes made a tremendous difference to our personal states of happiness and our workflow efficiency, which was certainly reflected in the business. It began growing exponentially again when we were all doing the things we loved doing. The team doubled in size, we redefined roles as needed, and worked with an eye to the future.
Each of us has different goals in life, and all of us are as much committed to the others’ success as our own. We keep an open dialogue about everyone’s lives as much as the business, because we believe work should be contributing to our contentment in life emotionally as well as financially.

That’s our story – the ups and the downs. What I have learned is that success comes from following your passion, and being willing to work hard. We love agriculture, and receive enormous joy from promoting the people who feed the world. However, the first couple of years, I did nothing but work. There were lots of 16-hour days. Thanks to that effort though, I now have the freedom to live life much more on my terms.
I’ve also learned that the rules don’t always apply. They say you should never go into business with your best friend, but that was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not to say there aren’t trials when you do things your own way, but the rewards can far outweigh the challenges.

Finally, whatever you choose to do for work should aid you in your life’s quest. By that, I don’t mean your career has to be exactly what your life’s goals are; what I mean is that your career should help you along your path. If you want to share the beauty of the world through photography, you don’t have to make your living as a photographer – perhaps it’s that your job inspired you creatively and allows the opportunity for travel.

I believe I have a responsibility to honor the mission set out for me in this life, and Bella Spur allows me to do that on many different levels. I am blessed.

If you have any questions about starting a business, or want to swap emails about experiences, you can reach me at laura@bellaspur.com.
I love hats. They are such a personal reflection of style, ask with so many shapes, colors and materials to choose from. And they’re ideal for bad hair days.

For years I was adamant that I couldn’t pull off a cowboy hat, until last summer I was goofing around and threw on a big ol’ Gus-style palm. I looked at Dad and made a face, and he looked at me and told me to find a mirror. Turns out, “Gus” hats work with my face shape – who would have guessed? Next step is a cool hat band, but that’s a post for another day…

Cowboy hats aren’t limited to wearing with jeans and boots, either. They can be the perfect accessory for a dress or skirt, in the right proportion and style.

A little side note on cowboy hat rules: Felt hats are for Labor Day through Easter (and special occasions), and straw/palm hats are to be worn from Easter to Labor Day only. The odd exception can be made for a June blizzard, but that’s it, people.

 

Rockin the Lid 1

Rockin the Lid 3

Rockin the Lid 2

Navajo and Aztec prints are all the rage this year, ask but I’ll be the first to admit it’s taken me some time to warm up to them. While I love Pendelton blankets and woven table runners in my home décor, I’ve been less inclined to add the patterns to my wardrobe.

Everything in moderation, though, and this trend can add fabulous interest to an outfit.

 

Native inspiration 1

Native inspiration 2

Native inspiration 3

Native inspiration 4

Native inspiration 5

Navajo and Aztec prints are all the rage this year, ask but I’ll be the first to admit it’s taken me some time to warm up to them. While I love Pendelton blankets and woven table runners in my home décor, I’ve been less inclined to add the patterns to my wardrobe.

Everything in moderation, though, and this trend can add fabulous interest to an outfit.

 

Native inspiration 1

Native inspiration 2

Native inspiration 3

Native inspiration 4

Native inspiration 5

You might have heard of a little event that takes place here in Alberta, patient called the Calgary Stampede (http://www.calgarystampede.com/)? Also known as “the greatest outdoor show on Earth?” Are you getting the sense yet that we’re pretty proud of it?

Well, web this year hundreds of thousands of people will flock to Calgary from July 6-15 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of this amazing event. Chuckwagons, salve cattle and equine shows, World Championships for blacksmiths, stock dogs and livestock auctioneers, not to mention the richest rodeo in the world, will draw people from all over the globe. And the Garth Brooks concert won’t hurt attendance either…

Where does my mind go? To what to wear, of course! You can pretty well bet the farm that it’ll be h-o-t-t, hot, so light daywear is a must whether you’re in the barns or playing tourist. Nighttime is the time to break out the western glam – great denim, layered accessories, lace and maybe even a little fringe.

Catch y’all in Cowtown!

Stampede style 4

Stampede Style 1

Stempede Style 3

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