07/31/12

5 Questions with Beth Doane and a RainTees Giveaway!

Beth Doane is an incredible girl. The Santa Monica-based 29-year-old is the founder of RainTees and is also a sought-after speaker, author and much more. I met her and her boyfriend in LA in June and knew we had to profile her on the Toque Girls. In addition to answering my five questions, she kindly offered to send a RainTee our way for a giveaway, so, here’s the deal: for a chance to win a RainTee, follow Beth on Twitter or like her on Facebook and then leave us a comment below. You have until Thursday at 10 p.m. to enter.

Without further ado, let’s get to know the lovely Beth Doane.

What compelled you to start RainTees?

In 2007, I was running a fashion company and started seeing how toxic the apparel and accessories production process can be for the environment and millions of garment workers around the globe. I was seeing things like child labor and also saw how the human rights violations of workers in developing countries are horrible. I realized that industry leaders were not taking enough action to stop these injustices and knew that fashion could be made ethically and with fabrics that are better for the planet like 100% organic cotton. I began speaking out about what I was seeing and was determined to create a collection that gives back, so I created RainTees. I built it from the ground up with my vision, knowing that if the industry was going to change I was going to have to do my part to make a difference.

I worked very hard and ran the company from my parents’ kitchen table when we first started to cut costs. It paid off and now we are sold around the world and RainTees launched at the highest attended show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Our mission of planting a tree for every item we sell has helped reforest thousands of acres of land and we also send school supplies to kids in critically endangered areas around the world and our collections feature their artwork. Today, RainTees works with children in over 30 countries and has a pen pal program too, so it’s great to see our fans connecting with youth around the world. 

How can Canadians get their hands on your shirts?
 
You can purchase tees online at www.raintees.com.
 
What other exciting things do you have on the go?
 
I wrote a children’s book about some of the incredible youth I have met throughout the years working in Central and South America. Their stories changed my life- gave me hope that our future will be bright and sustainable. I am really excited to share their stories this fall when it launches! 
 
 
How would you describe your style?
 
Classic. I love clean effortless pieces and often accent my outfits with accessories from my travels. My accessories are almost always vintage – handmade finds from exotic places I have fallen in love with. It’s one thing I can easily take from the places that have inspired me and carry with me wherever I go. 
 
You live in California, so….do you ever wear toques? 
 
I love wearing hats! People don’t realize that LA can be quite chilly in the early mornings and evenings so yes- I do wear a toque every so often! 
 
Thanks so much, Beth!

~Michelle

07/30/12

A Trick for Public Speaking

Do you get nervous with public speaking? I do. My mouth starts to go dry — not a good thing when you’re on TV or speaking into a microphone! But I use a fantastic trick that my voice teacher told me about in high school and it saves me every time.

My teacher told me that Luciano Pavarotti used to get a dry mouth before a big performance. (It’s one of the most common symptoms of stage fright.) So Pavarotti would gently bite down on the tip of his tongue. The pressure triggers saliva. Sounds gross, I know, but I tried it. Guess what? It’s foolproof.

I use this trick for every public speech, presentation or bad case of nerves. If you can’t have a sip of water, just bite gently on the tip or side of your tongue and you’ll be babbling away in no time. Good luck!

~Chris

Photo via here

 

07/27/12

Things We Like Fridays

Hello and happy Friday! If you feel like celebrating the weekend’s arrival, may we suggest you swing by Caffe Rosso‘s new location at the base of the Arriva condo tower on 11th Ave. to pick up a delicious coffee treat? We’ve always loved Caffe Rosso but the first two locations — in Ramsay and on Stephen Ave. — were never that convenient. Now that Rosso is in the Arriva tower, Michelle will be hitting it much more often. She thinks it’s the perfect treat post-working out at Inliv, which is on the 2nd floor of the Arriva building. Congrats on the new location, Caffe Rosso!

Let’s get to other things we’ve been liking this week:

  • Stillwater Spa, one of our faves, recently closed its doors for renovations. While we’ll miss it for the six weeks or so that renos should take, we’re excited to see the new look! We’ll let you know when it’s up and running again.
  • Michelle has loved Beirut‘s music ever since she interviewed the incredible artist, Bradley Harms, who was playing it in his studio at the time of the interview. So she was thrilled to see Beirut perform last night at the Calgary Folk Fest. If you haven’t checked them out yet (or even if you have), you have to watch the band’s stunning new video for the song The Rip Tide. Beautiful.
  • New vino discovery: Joie Farm‘s Pinot Blanc 2011. Happiness in your wine glass.
  • Have you heard about the new Cars2Go service in Calgary? It’s a great idea. Chris’ friend just signed up for all those times she bikes to work and can’t bike home in the evening because of thunderstorms.
  • Wow. Sally Ride was an incredible person. Being the first American woman to fly in space was just one of the amazing things she did.
  • We saw the movie Moonrise Kingdom this week. Ah, it’s a flick that’s good for the soul.
  • Chris and husbs did a breathtaking ride along the Bow Valley Parkway last weekend and finished it off with an early dinner on the patio at the Banff Avenue Brewing Co. Happiness is a pint of their black pilsner and a bison burger.
  • How freaking awesome is this? Absolutely Fabulous has an Olympic edition. Set the DVR for Thursday, Aug. 2! (Here’s the preview. So funny!)
  • Last but not least, hooray for the Olympics! We’re pumped to watch. You can find the full schedule here.

Have a great weekend!

~The Toque Girls

07/26/12

Free People Comes To Calgary

Some dangerously good news for YYC came down this week: Free People will open one of its first Canadian boutiques in Chinook Centre at the end of August. The opening is tentatively set for Aug. 31.

That’s so good for my closet, hyper-dangerous for the wallet. I’m a bit nuts for this brand and its bohemian chic vibe. All the things I love are represented: lace, vintage pieces, ripped jeans, comfy tees, flowy dresses, great little ankle boots and tie-dye sports bras. I’m happy dancing just looking at the web site. It’s like a kid watching fireworks.

I picked out a few of my favourites, like these ripped jeans:

 

(*) A flowery cardigan for fall

 

(*) These vegan leather pants….

with this comfy tee:

Dangerous, indeed. What do you think? Anything you fancy?

By the way, if you’re looking for folk festival fashion inspiration, check out their festival shop! And if you don’t live in Calgary or Toronto, which will be home to the other Canadian location, you can order online. Canadian online customers will now be able to pay direct duty payment up front.

~Chris

07/25/12

Running the Manhattan Beach Sand Dune, or How To Feel Like You Might Barf in Two Minutes Flat

Imagine the most terrible, ruthless stairmaster workout. Now imagine doing it in piping hot sand that crumbles underneath your feet with every step, the California sun beating down on your back. Your muscles scream, but you will not let the heavyset 60-something-year-old man — with his sweat-soaked t-shirt and shorts (yes, this is one of those sweaty-butt-crack workouts. blech) — climb the dune more times than you. So you keep going, up and down, up and down, until it fees like your lungs might burst and your legs will fall off. This is what it’s like to climb the Manhattan Beach Sand Dune. As one woman running it next to me and my friend Tamara last Friday morning said, “It’s like we’re cookies baking on a cookie sheet and the sand is the flour.” So true, lady. So true. I felt my lard baking on the inside and out. This is one mother of a workout; it makes the stairs at Memorial Drive seem like a stroll through the park. A stroll with lemonade and ice cream.

The picture doesn’t do the dune justice. Extra-steep cliffs at the base and the top make for some challenging moments. We conquered the dune seven times. We would have stopped after six but that meant the man with the sweaty butt crack would have beaten us. (Sorry. I keep repeating that detail because the traumatizing image burned my retinas.) Although it was one of the most difficult workouts I’ve had in recent times, if I lived in Manhattan Beach, I would run the dune every week. I love a challenge, as does Tamara, who runs it whenever she’s in town.

To celebrate our dune-running accomplishments, we ate fajitas and fish tacos that night at Mucho Ultima, a buzzing Manhattan Beach spot. We drank margaritas, too.

Why bother working so hard to burn fat if you can’t have fun replacing it?

~Michelle