Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 ways to add SPARKLE to your life

Why SPARKLE? It's better than the alternative, that’s why.

The alternative is living a dull life. A life focused in the negative, in the cynical and the boring. Yeah, that sounds delightful doesn’t it? No. No it doesn’t.

SPARKLE isn’t living with a case of ABD (Attention Bling Disorder) SPARKLE stands for something. It stands for Showing People Authentic Respect Kindness & Love Everyday.

It invites positive energy into your world. When you are doing your best to make sure you are sending that good into the world you will bring it back without really trying.

Does it mean that you are happy in every moment? Not really.

Does it mean you LOVE everyone? Nope. But it means that the ones you do love, you do it right and you do it honestly. 

For the ones you don’t, you don’t give them your energy at all.

Everyday, you make choices that empower you. It is a power you hold.

Here are 5 simple ways to be sure your SPARKLE continues to grow inside of you and with that, is captured by others each and every day. 

1) Go out of your way to be kind to someone. A simple smile to someone. It doesn’t have to be someone who looks like they need it either. Someone in a 3 peice suit, that appears to have it all figured out is just as likely to need a word of praise, a gesture of sincerity as someone who needs a hand up in the world. Don’t only look through the eyes that society gave you. Clear your vision and be open to being kind to everyone. 

2) Go out of your way to be kind to yourself. You probably find it very easy to pay someone else a compliment however if someone pays one to you, do you blow it off? Even belittle what they have said to bring you up? That isn’t honouring the person that was showing you respect and paying you a compliment in the first place. Allow yourself to take in their words with grace. In fact, honour yourself and each day rejoice in something wonderful about you. That, my friend, is not conceit.

What it is, is self love. Practice it and self respect. It honours the one person who is there to love you till your dying day. YOU.

 3) LOVE LIFE. Each day is full of moments that you should treasure. We often have so many of them that we let them pass without notice and then...something so small and insignificant happens, yet it is negative and we allow that one moment to throw all of the beauty away. What a rip off! We wake up...Beautiful moment number one. We take a deep breath...beautiful moment number two. We are graced with people who love us...beautiful moment number three. Keep going. The coffee spilled...ARGH! There goes every beautiful moment. Why do we do that to ourselves? From now on. Don’t. Is it really that easy? Yes. In fact it is. It is a choice. You can choose the beautiful moments.

4) Ask yourself...”Is this really about me?” Before you get angry, upset or frustrated with something or someone, remove yourself from the situation and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself. “Is this about me?” “Would this situation be the same without me in it?” “Am I truly affected by it except for the emotion it is stirring in me?” Drama happens because we allow it to. It never occurs on its own. We take on battles in our lives far too many times that have absolutely nothing to do with us and the best thing we can do about that is to STOP! Do not be a drama llama. Do not invite it into your world and remember. Not everything is about you and that is OK. The freedom you will feel when you adopt this into your life will amaze you and your SPARKLE will freak you out!

5) Look at the positive side of life. Instead of looking for the doom and the gloom. Look for the bright and the light. There is good. There is SPARKLE everywhere; you simply have to choose to see it. It is not being ignorant to the fact that there is evil in the world but paying attention to it gives it power. So that being said, when you pay attention to the good in the world...you give THAT more power.

Imagine if we had more people in the world doing just that. How beautiful would our world be? How fantastic would this Universe look? How much SPARKLE would abound? Be a part of the light not the darkness. You will feel it in your heart and your soul. MAGIC happens there.


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Canadian Youth Business Foundation events

The CYBF helps young entrepreneurs between 18-34 realize their goals (why the hell didn't I know about them when I started MOM & FIERCE ) and offers support, guidance and online resources. 

Well if you don't want to be that guy banging his head against a wall out of frustration then check out THESE upcoming events!! Thanks to the ever-generous Carla Young for sending me this information!

Edmonton Workshop (all free of charge)

March 5 : So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

March 7: Finding the Ideal Customer

March 12: Building and Implementing A Marketing Plan to Promote Your Small Business

March 14: Small Business Operations

March 19: Best Practices for Legal and Financial Health of Your Small Business

March 21: Developing your Business Plan: Next Steps

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Help us launch FIERCE!

OK so technically FIERCE has been around since 2008 and we've had two ultra successful awards programs BUT 2012 marks the official launch of all things FIERCE!

I can't think of a better place to launch FIERCE than where it all began (kinda) so THANK YOU to Amanda Babichuk, head bitch in charge of D'Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar in Edmonton for hosting our official launch party.

D'Lish was home to the first-ever FIERCE awards and Amanda is the 2011 FIERCE Woman of the Year.

There are lots of exciting announcements I'll be making at the launch party PLUS it's a great way to enjoy a cocktail, tantalizing appetizers and connect with some of the FIERCEST women in Edmonton!

Tickets are $25 and available here.

Saturday, March 3
1-3 p.m.
D'Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar, Edmonton

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Do you know Jenny?

I don't but I know her mom. I used to work for and with Jenny Adams' mom, Julie, for like a minute about a year after Jenny was on The Bachelor. 

Jenny Adams, if you don't know, is a pseudo-celeb in Edmonton thanks mostly in part to her stint on that quasi-popular reality show with Charlie O'Connell. Lucky for her, he didn't offer her that rose ... I mean honestly who would want to be hooked up with some guy who stars in a movie called 2-Headed Shark Attack?? In Charlie's defense he is headlining the film with the incomparable Carmen Electra & the buff Brooke Hogan...

Anyhooters, I digress. I know Jenny's mom and if she's anything like her mom, I bet she's pretty FIERCE.

Although I've never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, I know we connect with many of the same people and I heard from the head babe in charge at My Filosophy, Tannis Davidson, that Jenny is now the host of Showhome Parade on CTV. (My Filosophy is dressing Jenny for the show but she may have to move to a Maternity store soon as she's expecting baby #2 this summer).

Kudos to Jenny for seizing her moment in the spotlight and turning her already successful marketing career into a thriving communications career that includes TV, promotions, hosting and blogging.



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what’s one dumb thing that you used to believe in?

So, Danielle LaPorte posts these "Burning Questions" on her blog (genius play on the White Hot Truth thing!) and since she asked "What's one dumb thing that you used to believe in?" I had to answer...
I used to believe that I needed to suffer in order to be safe. 

This all stems from the shit I went through growing up in an extremely abusive home but I remember clearly being 15 years old and getting on the ETS at 6:50 a.m. to catch my bus to school. It was the day after my birthday and my mom had surprised me with tickets the night before to a gala featuring Edmonton Oilers' hottie Craig Simpson . The tickets were $50 each and that was a lot of money for my mom to spend. It was a fancy night out and I even got to meet my crush, Craig Simpson who graciously posed for a picture with me, even putting his arm around me (I totally thought I was gonna DIE!!!).

Yup, that's me and ex-Edmonton Oiler Craig Simposon.
I totally thought I was going to marry him! HA! 

Anyway, I got on the bus, eyes half closed with sleep and accidentally kicked the crutches of a severely disabled kid who took the bus. I was horrified, so embarrassed and didn't know what to do. I crouched in the corner of a bus seat, hiding in shame and really did want to die, I felt so bad. 

The thing is, I didn't do what I knew I should have done. I didn't pick up the crutches, I just hid on the bus seat. Another passenger picked them up and berated me for being so ignorant. 

In my mind, I told myself I deserved to be punished. 

That night, I got home and suffered one of the worst beatings I had ever taken from my stepdad. His excuse was he had found a phone number from a boy and if I was going to act like a slut, I deserved to be treated like one. 

I told myself I deserved it because of what happened on the bus. It was my fault. 

Karma was paying me back for being so thoughtless. 

That was 22 years ago and I still remember that night as clear as I remember kissing my husband goodbye for work this morning. 

After that night, I believed that for every good thing in my life, I deserved to be punished severely. And for years after, I attracted that kind of negative energy and sadness into my life all because I was a scared, 15-year-old girl who made a stupid mistake and didn't know any better. 

I no longer believe that I can't be happy without sacrificing something every damn time I choose to be happy. But there are times when that sad little girl looks back at me in the mirror and I have to tell her that it's OK to be happy, that she no longer has to worry about paying for happiness with her soul. 

I have to tell her that she is FIERCE.

And that, Danielle, is my one dumb thing.


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Pinch your inner Goddess, wake her up and embrace YOU!

Grab your feather boa and sashay yourself to a class with Aime Hutton, Queen Goddess of Awakening Goddess, a Calgary-based company that offers classes for women to embrace THEIR inner goddess.

Aime was a 2011 FIERCE Women of the Year Phenomenal Female nominee who dazzled me with her purple feather boa and insane energy.

She is a speaker, author, coach and above all, Aime is true to her message. She LOVES herself unconditionally and spreads the message of how you can love yourself, too.

Check her out! She was just accepted as a Diamond Member to the International Women's Leadership Association!!

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Sammie Love: You need to know her

I met Sammie Love in 2010 while researching a website called Lushstories.com for a feature on online erotica for MOM Magazine. We became fast friends bonding over our mutual love for wine.

I quickly learned Sammie's story about how she was brutally raped when she was 19 years old, how she survived cancer, and  has struggled with her self-esteem, as most of us do.

Sammie is a fighter; a woman who embodies resilience, strength, courage and passion. I have such respect for this woman and have come to love her like a sister.  Last week, she was flagged for possibly having Uterine Cancer.

As if the universe hasn't flicked her in the forehead enough, now she has to deal with the possibility of another cancer.

Fuck cancer.

But if anyone can beat it, I know my girl Sammie can. Check out her post "The New Things I Like About Me: Just Be Enough."

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Valentine's Day in Edmonton

Want to try something romantical?

Check out what these places have going on:

D'lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar has A D'lishous Lovespell Menu featuring five tantalizing courses for only $65/pp and includes a bottle of Spanish Cristalino Cava. Add three wine pairings for $20/pp.

The Melting Pot has a week-long celebration of the most gooiest holiday of the year so what BETTER way to indulge than with fondue? Check out the various packages they have here.

The Vow. OK so it would take a special kinda guy to go see this chick flick but maybe, just MAYBE, you go with your girls and get your Channing Tatum ON! Dayum, think of the hot fantasies you'll have when you go home to him. Single? Perfect excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the luscious playground that is Channing's body. Now playing at a theatre near you.

Laser Quest: Get a group of friends, couples, girls/whatever and go out and have some fun! VD doesn't have to be seriously mushy; it can  be celebrated with the people you love. Go. Shoot them then head for drinks and food later.

A night in. Edmonton's best chocolate can be found at Kerstin's Chocolate just off of Jasper Ave. Indulge in some of the most decadent chocolate you will find, pair it with some great wine, throw on the Titanic and lose yourself in the moment. Might I personally recommend the Hot Chocolate. De. Frickin'. LISIOUS! 

What are you doing for Valentine's Day?

Tweetstock 007...Are you going?

I'm not usually a big fan of blogging conferences or social media conferences but THIS! Tweetstock 007... THIS I am excited about!

April 12 at the Galaxy Cinemas in Brantford, ON.

It features some of Twitters most recognizable and engaging experts (except me, shocking I know) and will be one you should not miss!

Chris Eh Young, Kathy Buckworth, Duri Al Ajrami, Julie Cole and MORE!

They will be sharing their expertise and dragging you outside of your wordpress templates! All for the cheapass price an affordable $79.95.

I'm planning on going. Are you?


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Realize Success with AWE

If you haven't been to The Alberta Women Entrepreneurs annual conference but you need to kickstart your business into high gear, consider attending this event May 2-4, 2012 in Edmonton, AB.

Although they don't have any speakers announced yet I have no doubt they will put together something stellar. I went in 2009 when they had Ben Barry, Eveline Charles and Debby Travis, and it was highly motivational (plus I got to meet Ben who I love and adore).

This year the format seems more engaging, productive and somewhat geared towards building your own businesses.

Check it out and take advantage of the early bird pricing to be eligible to win a one night stay at the host Matrix hotel.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Marie's 10 Minute Strategy to Working Out

We all struggle with balance and finding time for ourselves. 

Well, one of the women who I follow faithfully on twitter and have her tips sent directly to my inbox, is Marie Forleo. Marie is a Marketing & Lifestyle expert who is listened to by the likes of Sir Richard Branson (seriously, if you don't know who Sir Rich is I'm not giving you a link/definition... google him).

Marie  is brainy, ballsy and could very well be a New York version of moi if I were rich, successful and brunette.

Anyhooters, Marie recently posted a blog/video about your excuses for not working out.

Go. Watch. Sign up. Be prepared to be amazed. Oh and get your ass off the couch. Being unhealthy is not FIERCE.

Oh and don't look at me, I've only restarted my healthy journey and hell NO it doesn't mean I'm giving up wine 

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7 Women Who Rock Our World

I love being inspired and amazed by women who make a difference. I cling to their every word, absorb every ounce of intelligence they share and am in awe of what they have done and what they continue to do. 

Carissa ReinigerI first met Carissa at the Edmonton's Women Show back in 2006 when she had just released her first book Stories From Our Black Books at the ripe old age of 22. I've watched her grow as one of Canada's most amazing entrepreneurs, launching Silver Lining Ltd, become a world-class speaker, philanthropist and inspiration to women everywhere. Oh and for her upcoming 30th birthday in June, she plans on getting her pilot’s license and will be flying around the world in 30 days, starting on her birthday. 

Yeh, she kinda kicks ass.

Ruth KellyI had the privilege of working for Ruth back when Venture Publishing was only three years old. Even then I knew Ruth was a woman to be revered, respected, and renowned for her brilliance. She commands respect with merely her presence, and is an important player in Edmonton's business community. Not only does she give back to the community with her time but she mentors many young entrepreneurs and is seen as one of Edmonton's most influential business people.

Yep, I kinda have some mad respect for Ruth. And even though I swear enough to make a sailor cringe, she still sees the best in me and for that, I feel truly blessed.

Carol deDelleyCarol's name might not the most recognizable on this list unless you remember the brutal murder of her son Tim McLean back in July 2008. McLean was beheaded on a Greyhound Bus by Vince Li who was found Not Criminally Responsible by the justice system. Carol has since been fighting to change the NCR law in Canada and is one of the strongest, most articulate, kindest women I have ever met. She is naturally maternal and her quiet strength and resilience inspires me to never quit no matter how bad I think I may have it. Tim's Law is still one I support and will continue to support until the NCR Law is changed. 

Christie SchultzChristie started Entrepreneurial Moms in 2007 in Calgary with only nine women who attended their first meeting. Since then she has grown EMI to include chapters all over Canada and the US, and partnered with Carla Young, publisher of MOMeo Magazine, to launch Momventures. Christie's stranglehold on the Mommy Industry is undeniable but she is as classy and gracious as she is beautiful. 

Teresa SpinelliTeresa's dad Franco started the Italian Centre in Edmonton's Little Italy in 1959 which quickly became known for it's authentic Italian fare but Teresa's vision has taken the city landmark to a whole new level in 2000 after Franco passed away from cancer. Dealing with the death of her dad and her brother's sudden death before his 33rd birthday, Teresa was thrust into a position of filling her dad's shoes; something she was unsure of and something most people were skeptical of. She surprised herself and everyone around her by growing the business 50% by 2002. I can't imagine the struggles she endured dealing with an old school Italian mentality, being a strong-willed woman, and taking on a business from a man who was so well respected BUT Teresa kicked ass, made no apologies for her success and is now one of Canada's most respected business women. She freakin' rocks. And I was thrilled beyond THRILLED to have her as our first-ever FIERCE Women of the Year awards MC. I asked her to come back for the 2nd one but, you know, she was busy celebrating her 50th birthday in Italy.

 I forgive her.

Trina Read Oh, Trina, I love her for so many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is her empowering position as a Sexpert who helps women embrace their sexuality. I first met Trina at an event in Jasper where she rocked the room as a funny, down-to-earth speaker who made women feel like it was OK to have orgasms. Lots and lots of wonderful orgasms. She is a speaker, author, therapist, and all around FIERCE woman.

Erica Ehm Last, and certainly by no means least, the incomparable Erica Ehm. I remember her as a Much Music VJ. I grew up wanting to BE her. All these years later I still wanna be her. She was a trailblazer in the  "Mommy" industry with her conception of the Yummy Mummy Club, and one of the most genuinely sweet women I have ever met. She supports and encourages other mommy-based businesses, bloggers and writers through her website and really paved the way for everyone in the industry. I love her honesty, her candor and her genuine passion for what she does.

When I met her in 2009, she was telling a story about being at a cocktail party after becoming a first-time mom. She was chatting with a guy who asked, "So what do you do?" She replied, "Well, I'm a mom..." to which he responded by smiling politely and walking away. Erica said she thought to herself in that moment, "Hold on there buddy, I'm Erica fuckin' Ehm!" (And yes, she said that. I remember my jaw dropping at the surprise of such a classy chick swearing but it endeared her to me even more so). And so... the YummyMummyClub was born.

And those, FIERCE bitches, are 7 women who rock our world!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

17 Things You Didn't Know About Danielle LaPorte

It's no secret I love, love, LOVE Danielle Laporte and so I was excited to get this little gem from her opening up and sharing tidbits of personal information. I always find it interesting when someone who is seen as an expert makes themselves a little vulnerable by showcasing themselves as more human than expert so I enjoyed reading this but have determined that Danielle and I would probably never drink together.

from Danielle LaPorte on Whitehottruth.com (her words in bold, mine responses in italics)

1. I think karma is malleable. You can change it. The universe is not tit for tat and God is not keeping score. At least not like that. <--- not gonna lie, I had to look up the word "malleable"

2. I once believed that I was destined to marry Steve Winwood. I was wildly convinced that he was The One for me and shamelessly told everyone we were getting married. <---- I had to look up Steve Winwood, too 

3. Speaking of hot men, I think Michael Franti's Love Kamikaze - The lost singles & remix (only available on special import CD) is the sexiest sexy stuff ever laid down on disc.<--- Starting to think Danielle and I have nothing in common

4. I've had angelic experiences. <---- HAZZAH! We have something in common!

5. I don't eat mushrooms, onions, or tofu. I'm allergic to lilies and codine. (That's 5 things.)

6. I've never had a cup of coffee. Not even a sip. <--- I'm beginning to think her and I will never be friends 

7. I think too many people marry the wrong people. And...I think too many people get divorced too soon. <---- Can I get a HELL YA for this one

8. I have extreme judgement for parents who put their kids on leashes (like you see at malls.) It's lazy and it's mean. <---- I think parenting has become a religion... that's a blog in the works.

9. Being called Missy, Girl, Maam, or M'Dear is very difficult for me <---- Ooooh me too. Sweetie, dear and honey are right up there with, "Girl, I will smack you if you call me that again.".

10. I don't mind paying taxes. <--- I don't mind paying taxes either... on my wine!

11. My favourite movie of all time is The Piano. BTW, what you don't see at the end of this clip -- is that she frees herself and lives. <--- I've never seen this flick, looks too deep for my shallow brain

12. I think long marriage engagements are a cop out. Things do change when you makes vows. <--- My opinion of marriage has evolved over the last 13 years... so...

13. I feel like I'm in a constant state of prayer. <---- See how Zen she is?? I feel like I'm in a balanced state of FIERCE chaos

14. I am an obsessive recycler. If the hotel I'm staying in doesn't recycle, I'll bring the plastic bottles home with me in my suitcase.<--- I recycle my wine bottles. Annnnd I'm going to environmental hell.

15. Last year, I burned all of my journals (starting from age 13), except my Moleskine notebooks from the last two years because they contain outlines for my next five books. However, I did go through those notebooks and tear out (and burn) all entries of painful happenings.<---- That is therapeutic! But I couldn't do that. It would be like erasing my experiences.

16. I am perpetually torn about being nocturnal and wanting to convert into a morning person. I'm thinking of getting up at 4am. It'd be both super late, and super early. <---- I am perpetually inappropriate, er, I mean, the older I get, the earlier I get up. Pretty soon my morning will be starting at midnight

17. I want to learn a lot more about crystals, olives, sound recording, and mystic nuns. <---- Hmmm... I like olives in my martini. Does that count?

Chances Danielle and I will ever be BFFs. Zero. Getting to meet her irl more than once. Priceless. I'll take what I can get.

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In Her Own Words: Shandra Carlson

2011 Phenomenal Female of the Year Shandra Carlson

In 2001 my second baby Mitchell, was born with a Wilm’s Tumour,a childhood cancer usually found in 4-7 year olds, which is a tumour attached to the kidney. Six days before his first Christmas, he had surgery to remove the tumour,and the day after Christmas had another surgery to insert a port to deliver chemo into his body for the next 6 months.

I remember thinking as I drove to and from the hospital over those months, “I had no idea the lives that are impacted here on a daily basis, or how huge this place actually is.” At the end of his treatment and at the ripe old age of 18 months, he was declared cured and cancer free, but will go for annual checkups until he is 21.

Forward a few years and a third baby in tow, I was back to work and experiencing excruciating migraines. After being prescribed a ‘break through’ pain medication, I accidentally double dosed and had a seizure at work. Eight hours in the ER determined that although it was brought on by the medication, I had a benign tumour behind my right eye, larger than my eyeball itself. According to my surgeon, a few months later and I would have been blind in that eye.

Thirty days after that 5.5 hour major surgery, I moved to a new city as a single parent, a new job, knowing only a hand full of people, with no family nearby. Processing the emotions of 3 children going through the separation from their dad and dealing with a new city, new school and new friends, was a task I could never have been prepared for. Trying to heal physically and emotionally while integrating into a new career and lifestyle was nothing less than traumatic.

OH but wait…there’s more! 

A year following the move, I was informed I needed another surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells from my body. Really?! Hearing the words as the specialist said them sent me over the edge. I was so devastated I sobbed and sobbed and got lost as a result. What would have been a half hour drive normally, took an hour and a half for me to find my way.

Last year I experienced job lossdue to corporate restructuring, followed a month later by devastating news that has rocked our little family to its very core. When I received the email that I had been nominated for the FIERCE Awards Phenomenal Female, I was at one of the lowest moments of my life. I was so fed up with being told how strong I was, that I should write a book, yadayadayada. I just wanted things to get better! My kids deserve some happiness in their young lives, don’t they?

The nomination was enough to give me hope and buoy my spirits, but being honoured with winning triggered a new determination and resolve to live up to the word ‘phenomenal’. I want to be an example to others facing difficult circumstances that life IS worth living and that hope lives within the depths of each one of us.

Shandra lives in Calgary with her 3 children and their cat named Lucy, living out her dream of becoming a leadership coach, speaker and trainer. Her book will get written. Eventually.

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Welcome to FIERCE

*sipping my wine* Hey how are ya. Long time, no clink.

So, welcome, welcome... this is FIERCE. What's that? You think it's fantastic? Aw *blush* thanks, it was nothing, really.

Over the next week or so there will be some updates, like adding the video of the 2011 FIERCE Awards, some fresh content, exciting announcements, etc.

For now, sit, have a cocktail, peruse and get to know FIERCE. This is a whole new direction for this community and I'm looking forward to some feedback. Love it? Great. Tell me, I like to have my ego stroked. Hate it? Tell me that too, I'm always looking for motivation to be better.

Questions? There is a page for that.

For now, ponder this. And top up that wine glass, this ain't some shi shi, hoity toity group.

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Fabulous Krista wows the Dragons

Krista Castellerin is fabulously fabulous in so many fabulous ways. I initially featured her in MOM Magazine after being WOWed by her story and charmed by her eccentric and flamboyant persona.

Fast forward almost four years since our initial meeting and she has gone on to not only charm the Dragon's Den investors but secure one helluva FIERCE business deal.

Fabulous Furballs is an upscale pet grooming shop that Krista launched four years ago after complaining to her husband that there was nowhere to buy her precious pup a cashmere sweater (not gonna lie that seems extravagant and odd to me but what the hell do I know?).

She opened up FF in Sherwood Park and evolved it into a Grooming Academy, franchised into Edmonton, St. Albert and Calgary, made some saavy business decisions and kicked some serious ass. Not surprising, the girl came from a high-powered financial management firm in Las Vegas before moving here to be with her husband.

Read more at the EdmontonJournal.com about how Krista did something in Dragon's Den history that no one else has ever done.

Did I mention she was on an Animal Grooming Reality show on Animal Planet? All while wearing feather boas and Stilletos.

Oh and she started her own reality show based on her store.