The Power of Friendship

There's no question that girlfriends are a life-giving, heart-warming, soul-feeding necessity to life. When you have a best friend that will be alongside you through the highs and the lows of life, will laugh with you and cry with you, hold your hand when there just aren't any words, and will be a sounding board when you need to let it all out, you can't help but have an extra ounce of joy in your life. Plus, there's always the fact that there's endless belly-laughs, inside jokes, and the confidence in knowing that she'll always have you back, no matter what.



Summer Style & Best Friends



I don't typically do a shoot in the summer, but I was inspired by a styled bridal shower shoot that I was a part of this spring. Stylist and planner, Heather from Orange Trunk, and photographer, Melanie from Grey Lily Photography, arranged a stunning bridal shower for one of Melanie's real-life brides and bridesmaids whose wedding is coming this August. The end result of this shoot were images that showed real friendship and love, and I was inspired by what I saw!


True to all of the Apostle lifestyle shoots, I reached out to some other small business women to create a collaborative atmosphere where we could work together to showcase one another's talents and to create a beautiful story about friendship. The vision for the shoot was to have two real-life besties hanging out at some amazing Calgary hot-spots on the famous 17th Ave. The feel was to be easy-going, casual, relaxed, and fun (ie. lots of laughter and solid girl time). 

As I was figuring out the details about the whole friendship and laughter theme, I was thinking about who would be a good fit for the model-roles (and role models), and one night I was responding to emails and one came in and it hit me! The thought of "Duh!! Why didn't I think of them before?!?"


Apostle Summer Style Pearl and Dot


The Friends (and models, and muse)

After a number of emails, I met Rio this past winter for coffee to chat about the potential of doing a little project together, but it turned into more of a hang-out than a business meeting. Rio is SO easy to talk to and conversation flowed perfectly (even with my 3yr old in tow)- Rio has a deep kindness, genuine interest in getting to know people, and she seems to have a deep sense of contentment and wisdom...and she may laugh when she reads that, but it's hard to explain how even though she is young and vibrant, there is also a sense of inner-stability that you don't typically see in people our age. It's a beautiful thing, and it really draws you in and makes you feel comfortable and at ease.  


Rio Hanlan and Alyssa Conrad - Pearl & Dot


Fast forward a few months and I met Alyssa. Alyssa is the owner of Pearl & Dot, an incredible Calgary Bridal Boutique, and Rio is her Right Hand, her Ride-Or-Die, and her ally, both in business and life. Pearl & Dot has the best selection of stunning gowns, all set in an airy & bright boutique. When you go there, you'll first notice how warm and friendly the girls are- all welcoming you with a genuine smile. From there you'll see beautiful design- clean lines, crisp white finishings, and a gorgeous two-story floral wall paper wall that has been the focal point of many Calgary photo-shoots. And of course you can't help but admire the incredible selection of gowns- I was drawn to the feminine lace, perfect amount of sparkle, and all the feminine touches. It doesn't hurt that there's a ton of natural light streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows. It's unlike any bridal boutique I've ever been to and definitely a place I always tell future brides to check out!  

Pearl And Dot

...sorry, I digress. Back to Alyssa. Alyssa draws you in right away with her kind eyes and as I said above, her genuine smile. She has a heart of gold and when she talks to people you can tell that she's taking everything in. With a history in fashion and retail, Alyssa started Pearl & Dot and due to her experience, talent and the fact that you can't help but love her, Pearl & Dot quickly rose to be a leader in the industry. Alyssa is intelligent and driven, and her calm but joyful spirit is definitely something I admire. 


The Photographer

The photography for this shoot was done by the amazing Kimberly from Chic & Grace Studios. I love how her photos are soft and airy, yet vivid and crisp. Kimberly has an eye for capturing both detail and emotion, and her work is more than just photos, it's art and definitely something you would love to frame and feature in your home. I believe that the majority of her work is weddings, but she also does engagements, grads, and one of the most interesting facts about Kimberly is that she has a passion for pet photography. Another thing I love about Kimberly is that she refuses to be stagnant or complacent- she is constantly attending photography workshops and classes to learn new tricks and to hone her skills. I love that she doesn't just go from job to job, but instead she sees value in continuing to learn and grow, which is beyond beneficial to all of her clients!

Chic And Grace Studios


The Wardrobe

The entire wardrobe from this shoot was kindly provided by Kit and Ace, and specifically their location just off of 17th Ave in Calgary. From the moment I walked in to select the pieces, the entire staff was welcoming, warm and eager to help! I worked mostly with Gordon, but if he was busy with customers, any of the other Kit and Ace team members were happy to help me!

Kit and Ace

I went in with an idea of the items I wanted to look at and try on, and taking into consideration both Alyssa and Rio's personal styles, it was both hard and easy to find the outfits. And I say hard only because there were SO many items at Kit and Ace that worked perfectly!! 

The clothing speaks for itself, but when I was trying the clothing on I couldn't help but fall in love with many pieces, one of which was a pair of navy wide leg trousers that I couldn't help but purchase. And when I did the try-on's with Alyssa and Rio, almost every single time they commented on how comfortable the clothing was and I also heard "I have to go buy this!!" many times!


Kit and Ace

Thank you so much Kit and Ace for being a part of this shoot and allowing us to feature your comfortable, wearable and fashionable clothing!! All of the clothing you see in the photos from the shoot are from (and available at) Kit and Ace.


The Day

The award for earliest riser goes to Kimberly and her 4am wakeup call {insert shocked emoji face}. Driving to Calgary from Red Deer for our 8:00 start time, Kimberly arrived at my house so that we could navigate downtown Calgary in the morning rush hour together. 

Arriving at the brand new Pearl & Dot Pickup Parlor (they have the boutique for shopping, and an equally stunning, but separate area for brides to try on and pickup their new gowns), we met Rio and Alyssa as well as the hair and makeup masters from Bellamore Beauty.


Hair & Make-Up

Bellamore Beauty

Emily is co-owner of Bellamore Beauty and make-up genius! This girl knows her stuff and we took full advantage asking her questions about what products she recommends, how-to tips, etc. You can tell she is passionate about her work in the way that she answered our questions and was enthusiastic to share her knowledge. Emily took care in what she was doing and the end result was flawless! Alyssa and Rio looked natural and effortless, and at the same time, pristine with their natural features perfectly highlighted. 

Bellamore Beauty

Lesley was the hair stylist for the day and she was such a pleasure to work with. She created the perfect styles to go with each outfit and had no problem working on the fly in the middle of a restaurant between wardrobe changes. She also took any questions in stride and gave all the tips we could muster out of her. Her training and natural know-how created picture-perfect looks! 

Bellamore Beauty

Together, Emily and Lesley were incredible to work with! From quick fixes on set, to changing up the looks between wardrobes, they were not only professional, but they were fun, engaging, personable and a complete joy to be around. Bellamore Beauty has built an incredible team of passionate and knowledgeable professionals, and I am fully confident in recommending them to anyone!

Bellamore Beauty


On Location

Our first location was Una Pizzeria on 17th Ave. If you haven't been to Una and tried their amazing pizza (or delicious Caprese Salad), you are missing out! When you combine a great atmosphere, delicious food, and wonderful staff, you are in for nothing short of a wonderful meal! Or, if you would rather have a picnic, or eat at home, you can also order for Takeout!

Una Pizzeria

Una was a great lunch spot for the shoot- both inside the restaurant and out on the patio, the modern & cozy feel created the perfect setting for a friends' date! The champagne definitely didn't hurt either!

Una Pizzeria Calgary

Thank you so much Una for allowing us to come in and take over a part of the restaurant for the shoot! It was such a pleasure to work with you and to feature your amazing space!

Una Pizzeria


After Una, we headed to another amazing Calgary hot-spot. I'll just start by saying that I have been wanting to go here for the last couple of years, but every time I go, the line-up is around the corner! This has always left me with torn emotions because this place is obviously amazing and I know I need (yes, NEED) to go, but I am also not a patient person. So when Made By Marcus allowed us to come in and host a part of our shoot there, I was SO excited!

Made By Marcus

Made By Marcus

Not only was I excited for my own selfish ice-cream eating reasons, but I knew that the ice cream shop itself was so cute, and it was perfect for Alyssa and Rio's date day because of their assortment of incredible flavours (including vegan options like the Chocolate Fudge Brownie - SO GOOD!!). For those of you that don't venture into the core much, Made by Marcus has also just opened a second location in Hillhurst. And my personal tip for avoiding a potential lineup- go there for lunch! :)


Made By Marcus


The employees at Made by Marcus were happy (yes, happy staff!!), interactive, and willing to let us sample to our hearts' content. Thank you so much to everyone at Made by Marcus - Jo, Brittany, Jen & Jackie...and everyone else we didn't meet!

Made By Marcus



This shoot was incredible! I went into it feeling good, but came out of it feeling on top of the world happy. All of the contributors were SO great to work with, but the team we had on set was simply amazing. We laughed our way through the morning, and everyone just meshed really well. There's something to be said about having six women working together (and I mean actually working TOGETHER), having fun, being inspired, learning about one another and what they can't help but feel the joy & passion that each one brings, and leave with all of those good vibes.

It's now been two weeks since the shoot, and I have nothing but the best memories and love for these women!

Apostle Online Jewelry Boutique Summer Style


Thank you so much to the on-set team of inspiring, driven, and truly kind women, and to the amazing Calgary-based and Canadian brands that helped bring this shoot, and our story, into fruition.


Photographer : Kimberly from Chic and Grace Studios @chicandgracestudios
Hair & Makeup : Emily & Lesley from Bellamore Beauty @bellamorebeauty
Models : Alyssa & Rio from Pearl & Dot @pearlanddot @alyssadevon @riohanlan

Wardrobe : Kit and Ace @kitandace
Location 1 : Una Pizzeria @unacalgary
Location 2 : Made by Marcus Ice Cream, 17th Ave location @madebymarcus 


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