One of the beautiful parts about life is learning and sharing experiences with those who have already lived them. We all need a mentor in life whether it’s our parents, a colleague, an old teacher, public figure- the list can go on. Sometimes a mentor will come when you least expect it, and other times you will have to search high and low for that person to help make your life path that much smoother.

Without our health, we have nothing, which is why HOLR is happy to announce it’s newest team member, Karla Gillis.


We asked our new Health Expert some telling questions to help see why this outgoing and conscious gal is the perfect person to mentor us through all things health and fitness.

Our Digital Editor Julia Shelton found out more about Karla through these questions:

Were you always heavily into fitness?

I wasn’t always heavily into fitness, but always had an interest and dabbled in it. My real fitness journey began 12 years ago when I was taking classes downtown Halifax, and the bus stop happened to be right in front of the gym. My bus was running late this particular day so I went in to see about getting a membership since I was working and attending classes nearby: and the rest is history. I believe to this day it found me; and was totally meant to be. My whole life changed that day and I’ve never looked back, or felt so right about something. The benefits I received were countless; from becoming healthy, to my confidence, my work and school performance and my over all clarity and newfound happiness in my life.


What’s the best thing about getting up early?

The best thing about waking up early is pretty much everything! I am such a morning person, I love the feeling of peace & calm before the hustle & bustle of the day begins. By rising early I am able to begin my day on a positive note, instead of jumping up when the alarm goes off, rushing to get ready, eat and run out the door hoping not to be late.


“Waking up early allows me to mentally prepare; go for my morning run, breath in the crisp fresh air, clear my thoughts, set my intentions for a productive day.”


It gives me the time to do my morning ritual of exercise, a little meditation, have a lovely breakfast and set my intentions for a wonderful, positive, productive day! The sky is absolutely stunning early in the morning; something about motivates and inspires me.


Favourite childhood memory?

My favourite childhood memory would have to be when I got my horse. From as far back as I can remember I was obsessed with horses, when I was 5 my parents put me in riding lessons and I completely fell in love with everything about it. I went to the barn near my house everyday, offering my services to brush, exercise the horses, clean the stalls, and help out in any way to the people that were boarding their horses. I wanted my own more that you can imagine, I went on to competing and showing other peoples horses. Years passed by and I never missed a day or one of my lessons, I then started to help teach lessons to the younger kids and when I turned 12 my parents realized this was not just a faze and totally surprised me. I walked in barn on any regular day, or so I thought. There was a big sign on the stall door saying “Karla I’m all yours, Love Stylar”. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday; it’s a feeling I can’t even put into words, definitely one of the happiest days, and memories of my childhood and life to date. 

Current favourite recipe and why?

My current favourite recipe would have to be one of my mom’s old family creations that we call “Russian Chicken”. This recipe is simple, delicious, nutritious and the perfect meal to impress anyone you may have over for a dinner party or that new man you might be dating. The best part is that it only takes 10 min to prepare.

You can put it in the slow cooker, and while your at work it will have the house smelling incredible, be ready when you get home and your family or guests will be in awe. For myself I sometimes make a couple of substitutions just to make it a little healthier, but you can make that decision depending on the occasion.


1 bottle Russian dressing

1 bottle water (use the empty Russian dressing bottle)

1 Pack onion soup mix

1 bottle of Apricot Jam (I use no sugar added)


  1. Combine and simmer till mixture is smooth
  2. Cut up 2 lbs. Chicken – chop into chunky pieces
  3. Add chicken, and sauce to slow cooker on medium for 4-6 hours depending on the slow cooker. You can cook in the oven as well; put in a roaster with cover on, bake at 350 for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare white or whole wheat rice (I substitute rice for whole-wheat couscous or quinoa.)
  5. Place rice, couscous or quinoa on plate, pour Russian chicken mixture on bed of chosen base. Serve with a side of steamed veggies (I use asparagus)

Celebrity spirit animal?

Lady Gaga

Sunset or Sunrise?


Girls night out: cute dress or skin tight denim?

Hmmm, that’s tough one. Probably tight denim but for summer I do love my cute summer dresses.

Tips for someone looking to transform their life?

“Advice I would give for someone looking to transform his or her life is to simply start with one small goal, achieve it, then set another and repeat. Something as simple as drinking more water each day, and cutting out pop for an example. Once you’ve achieved that goal set another small one; add in 15 min of exercise a day; maybe before, or after work, or on your lunch break. This helps to create a pattern of setting a goal and achieving it, which will build your confidence, make you feel proud of yourself, motivate and inspire you. This helps you become your own motivation, which is key in transforming. When starting the process of any transformation, the best advice I can give is; don’t overwhelm yourself and try to change everything in one day and don’t give up!”


Look out for awesome Karla content – soon!
Photography: Mike Parker
Creative Direction / Styling: Julia Shelton