Trendy Techie

Fashion, Tech, and Everything in Between


Palm Trees in the Mountains

italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_1There are few things more breathtaking than the grandeur of the mountains and the sea. In Northern Italy we don’t have the ocean, but where our lakes meet the base of the mountains comes pretty darn close. Lago di Garda (aka Lake Garda for us Anglophones) is home to an absolutely gorgeous microclimate. It’s so hot and balmy there that you’ll find palm trees in place of the pines you might expect of this region. It’s a bit mind boggling to stand on a beach with your toes in the water and look up at snow-capped mountaintops…I think this may be the ultimate place to live.

One of the beautiful things about having family spread out around the world is being able to experience a whole new world when visiting them. Thanks to our extended family we discovered this lovely city called Riva del Garda, situated right on the edge of the lake.


For our day in Riva I wore this bright palm frond dress from H&M and my tan sandals and bright white backpack that I bought here in Italy. It may not be summer yet but it sure feels like it here! Dress: H&M // Shoes: Inuovo // Backpack: Chic & Popitalian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_15 italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_4flora_gelato_riva_del_gardaitalian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_9italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_16  italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_2italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_18 italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_5 italian_beach_day_riva_del_garda_sage_3signature 1


Climbing the Castello di Arco


Ciao from bella Italia! It is so beautiful and warm here. This is my first Italian spring, so even though I’ve been here many times it’s a whole new experience. The flora are different, the air smells fresher, and the clouds sit low in between the green mountains in the evenings. One sunny day this week, we made a day trip out to Arco, a beautiful city down by Lago di Garda and home to a magnificent castle ruin. When we were driving up to it we thought there was no way we’d be able to walk all the way up because it sits atop a steep hill, but an hour later there we stood, taking in the views of the entire valley from above.

The hike began in the lower streets nestled between houses in Arco, and took us up to older walkways used for centuries to get up to the castle. As we walked, the pathways got steeper and the city smaller beneath us. It’s a beautiful hike, dotted with poppies, giant aloe plants, and trees with smooth wind-weathered bark leading up to the base of the castle.

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Castello di Arco was once a behemoth of a palace with 120 individual rooms. Built in the 12th century, it watched over the region under many different owners until 1982, when it was returned to the region as a historic site and opened to the public. Today it has been reduced to ruins, but is still one of the better-kept ruins around this region. Guests can enjoy a drink on the vast lawn overlooking the valley, or hike up a set of ancient marble stairs to the highest tower, which has vantage points that allowed sentries to keep watch for miles in the distance on all three exposed sides of the castle. It was a very windy day, but we had come so far and couldn’t resist going up to the top.

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If only these ruins could talk. Having been around for almost a millennium, they’ve stood through so many of the world’s changes, changes that seem so important to mankind in the moment but that, when juxtaposed against the permanence of the mountains, seem so trivial. There’s so much history here in Italy, it’s such an incredible place.

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Meet the Rocket Scientists who are Reinventing the Heel


Who would’ve thought that, in the 40-billion dollar (read: gargantuan) fashion industry, it would be rocket scientists and surgeons who are reinventing the high heel? That’s exactly what Dolly Singh, formerly at SpaceX, and her team of compassionate geniuses have set out to do at their LA-based startup, Thesis Couture.


“There is nobody driving innovation [in the fashion industry],” says Dolly. “In the world of fashion, I don’t think an R&D (research and development) entity actually exists.” But at Thesis Couture, the team is working hard to develop a stiletto that makes sense for today’s busy woman. Classically, heels have been made with a thin metal bar as the base. Thesis Couture’s heels will be based on advanced polymer structures which, unlike their metal counterparts, will allow the engineers to control the strength and stiffness of the base. Dolly says standing on a metal plate all day “is a physics problem,” and these scientists are out to solve it.


The team consists of an astronaut, a rocket scientist, a software developer and a fashion scientist, as well as the more expected orthopedist, creative director, fabricator, operator and of course, Dolly herself. It is this incredible synergy of industries that makes Thesis Couture a unique breed of fashion house, one I hope we’ll be seeing more of as the lines between technology and classic industries blurs ever more.

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Photo and quote credit to Bloomberg Business.

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Nourishment Delivered to Your Door – Nourish Curated Wellness


This morning I received in the mail my very first Nourish box, and was so excited I had to write about it right away! Nourish Curated Wellness is a Halifax-based subcription box program that serves up delicious snacks and food items curated by two local nutritionists, Stephanie McWilliams and Emily Bush. The quarterly boxes, which ship in January, April, July and October, contain nourishing ingredients and snacks that promote a healthy body and mind.

Here’s a look at what’s in the April box:


Three Farmers roasted chickpeas // squeeze packs of pecan and walnut butter


jade pearl rice ramen // camelina oil // coconut milk


vega smoothie mix // nova greens superfood formula // nature’s aid skin nourishment gel // vitamin D3 capsules

Healthy living has become increasingly important to me over the last year, but there are so many different health-oriented products that sometimes it can be hard to discover what you like. Nourish takes away the guesswork and provides you with a specially curated box of great wellness items, and even supports local by including products made locally in Nova Scotia including Nova Greens and Three Farmers. I won this box from a giveaway on my friend Kayla’s blog, but I will likely be subscribing when the July box comes around! You can order your boxes for delivery or pickup on the Nourish Curated Wellness marketplace. Can’t wait to try these delectables!

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ClassPass Review – One Membership, Hundreds of Fitness Classes

When I started university, I thought working out was “only for meatheads and gym rats,” and I really couldn’t stand going to the gym only to be leered at while standing in a stanky room filled mostly with guys. This image of the gym deterred me from working out for a long time, but when I started dancing again I realized that taking fitness classes is a way to avoid the unpleasantness of the gym but still get that regimented workout experience. The problem is finding a class you can take frequently enough that you get the results you want, but that is not so repetitive that it only targets certain muscle groups. ClassPass has a unique answer to this problem: one membership that gets you into hundreds of studios in your city.


To celebrate the launch of ClassPass in Toronto, they gave me a one-month subscription to ClassPass so I could get a feel for the service and try out some studios around the city. Here’s how it works. For C$99 a month, ClassPass members get unlimited classes to studios in the ClassPass network. Members can take as many classes as they want in a month, but can only visit each studio up to 3 times per monthly membership cycle. ClassPass is not so great for people who get attached to a studio or one particular workout, but it is fantastic for those of us who enjoy variety and want to try weird classes – like “Twerkout,” which is apparently a thing at Brass Vixens studio in Toronto.

During my free month I went to a couple of classes, and I found the experience went a lot smoother than I expected. The ClassPass website is extraordinarily well designed, with all the information you could want about the studios available before you even realize you need it. You can search for classes by date, time, location, or activity, and maps of each studio are conveniently populated with each result. Once you select a class it appears in your dashboard, where you can manage your reservations and keep track of your favourite studios.

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It really is a smooth user experience, and I was pleased to find that the ease of use carried over to the actual classes as well. Each time I went to a studio the instructor was expecting me and welcomed me into class without any awkwardness or confusion, even when everyone else in the class was clearly a regular. In most cases the studios emailed ahead of time as well. Overall I was very happy with my month of ClassPass and, if I wasn’t going back to Halifax this week, I would strongly consider renewing my subscription.

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Officially Bicoastal – An Exciting Announcement!


I am so excited to announce that, as of next week, I will be starting my new position as a Content Developer at Microsoft! I have had an incredible year and a half as a Technical Evangelist, working with talented people to bring Microsoft’s technologies out to thousands of developers, professional and aspiring, across the world. As my internship comes to an end, I am thrilled to make this transition to a full time employee at Microsoft, reporting directly to a great manager in Redmond, Washington. In my new role I will be working in LeX, Microsoft’s Learning Experience, the team behind developing deep technical training for Microsoft technologies.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the Developer Experience and Evangelism team at Microsoft Canada during my internships. Over the last year and a half this team has had such a positive impact on my life, and has really been there for me through some tough times. I’ve found mentors, friends, workout buddies, teachers and more, and I feel so fortunate to have learned and laughed with this family of incredible people.

I’ve always recognized the importance of choosing a company that feels right, that you wholeheartedly believe in, and that you can be proud to build a career at; and for me, Microsoft is absolutely that place. I am honoured to be accepting this position while I am still in school, and over the next year I will be working remotely from Halifax, Nova Scotia as I finish my degree at Dalhousie University. It will be quite an adventure to work on the west coast while living on the east coast, and you can be sure I’ll continue writing about my experiences here on Trendy Techie!

Thank you to all of you who have supported me during my adventures and who have been with me since the beginning – I hope you continue to share these experiences with me as I open this new chapter of my career.

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Fashion is my Chill Pill


I was once given the advice to shut off all devices on Friday nights and make each Saturday technology-free. No emails, no Reddit, no I-know-it’s-the-weekend-but-I’ll-just-finish-this-slide-deck-for-work. I’m starting to think that’s a good idea, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to commit to that. For now I’m using fashion to help me get my chill on.

Sometimes I feel like I live three lives. I’m simultaneously a student at Dalhousie University, a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, and a writer/blogger here at Trendy Techie (which takes up a lot more time than you may expect). And since all three of these are rooted in technology and somewhat intertwined, there is seldom a waking moment when I’m not thinking about something related to these three facets of my life. Like many bloggers, I treat my blog like a job and invest dozens of hours a week in it, usually on the weekends. Trendy Techie is much bigger than what you see here online, there’s a lot of planning, photography, editing, meeting, testing and emailing – lots of emailing – that goes on behind the scenes, as well as some plans that I am very excited to share with you in the coming months! But all this work doesn’t leave much time for mental emptying, and this weekend I came to the realization that I’ve forgotten how to chill.

I’ve always found that what I’m wearing has a strong influence on my mood, but lately I’ve been so busy that my default outfit on any given day is high-waisted structured trousers and a blouse (definitely NOT chill-in-able). So I’ve adopted the habit of wearing clothes that make me feel like a bro and taking what I’m now calling “enforced days off” – days when I can use my devices, but only for things that are strictly NOT work/school/blog admin related. This outfit is my best bro outfit, the most chill-in-able clothes I have that I can still feel okay about going outside in (I still have yet to find a pair of sweats I look good in, suggestions are welcome). Just like the way a pair of heels can instantly make you feel sexy and confident, a snapback can make you feel like all that matters is the ice cream in your hand and the sunshine on your face, and sometimes that’s just what you need.


top: H&M / jeans: Guess / hat: Lids / shoes: city walk / glasses: Charming Charlie

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