SHOP TALK: Prepping for beach season at York Street Spa

By KYLA CLARKE

Have you seen the Summer 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine? Our Shop Talk for that issue can be found in the Exposed! series — and Kyla Clarke, our gregarious and stylish intern, can be found in the background. In this post, she reveals the prepping that went on before the shoot.

Kyla Clarke models Nordstrom shoes — and her mani-pedi by York Street Spa. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Kyla Clarke models Nordstrom shoes — and her mani-pedi by York Street Spa. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

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Walking through the bright red doors of York Street Spa is like walking into heaven. The converted historic home, which now houses the renowned salon and spa, reminds me of an old mansion or castle — and they  sure treated me like a queen.

Quickly offering to take my coat, the friendly receptionist sat me down in the cozy waiting area (next to an impressively elaborate espresso bar) while I waited for my appointment. When Tanya came down to take me away, she had no idea I was with Ottawa Magazine, but she didn’t treat me any differently after I told her. She offered me one of three (yes, three!) choices of water — lemon, cucumber, or regular. I opted for cucumber and, damn, that stuff is refreshing!

Tanya and I instantly hit it off, chatting about summer, shopping, life … girl talk. But that didn’t distract her from taking great care when handling my neglected tootsies and dry hands. She knew just what to say when it came to suggesting polish colours, caring for my embarrassing toenails, and even what I should get for my mom for Mother’s Day.

Pretty nude shade to keep it safe for photo shoot day!

Pretty nude shade to keep it safe for photo shoot day!

I decided while I was there that I should squeeze in an eyebrow wax (when in Rome, right?), but I was worried because I usually prefer threading, a gentler method. Tanya assured me she would be gentle — and I couldn’t be happier. I did not shed a tear (which I normally do during a wax) and the shape was amazing. So thick and full! She gained herself a repeat customer in this writer, and I walked back out through those red doors feeling like nothing short of royalty.

 

SHOP TALK: Going to great lengths with Caryl Baker Xtreme Lashes

By DAYANTI KARUNARATNE

When I booked my (complimentary) lash extension service at Caryl Baker Visage at Bayshore Shopping Centre, I pictured myself on a stool for twenty minutes or so. I thought the process would be like getting a manicure — a short session during which I would quiz the esthetician about the salon, the service, how she got into that line of work, her weekend plans. It would be a peek into the world of beauty that would someday serve some sort of editorial package.

To be honest, I really only accepted the invitation because I had an event that night — the Riverkeeper Gala — and being a pregnant gala-goer is tough. No drinking, achy back, cravings to be in bed with House of Cards … I needed something to bring back the spring in my wedge-heeled step. Eyelash extensions sounded like it would do the trick. Quick little pampering session, right?

Luckily, the people at Caryl Baker noted my suggested appointment time of 3 pm might not be a good idea. In the end, I was at their stylish face-spa for over 2 1/2 hours!

And perched on a stool I was not. When I arrived, the staff ushered me into a special room, about six feet by 15 feet, and asked me to fill out a fairly long form. (I’ll admit, I started to get cold feet at this point! I could never go through with plastic surgery … ) But the esthetician, Lianne, answered all my questions fully and with such confidence that I quickly started to relax.

The reclining chair — located in a small, quiet room.

The reclining chair — located in a small, quiet room.

Lianne explained that, while other salons might put three or four extensions on each lash, Caryl Baker Visage’s new Xtreme Lashes put one extension on each lash, which makes for a “natural but noticeable” look. She assured me that the extensions aren’t “heavy” and will only cause damage to the natural lash if you’re prone to rubbing your eyes (so not good for little babies who miss their nap, I suppose!).

And then, I lay myself down for the process.

The worst part: eye guards. These are little pieces of plastic that are taped on right below the eye (you know, where we show our lack of sleep.) The more she asked if they were itchy, the more they became itchy. I dug deep: I have given birth. I can do this.

Another bad part: the sound of needle nose tweezers — and scissors, did I hear scissors? — operating very close to my eyes.

The best part: the music, the room, the confidence and fluidity with which Lianne worked. At times she would put one finger on my nose, just to steady me/her. I fell asleep right away!

Xtreme Lashes Before and After

Xtreme Lashes Before and After

Another good part: the glue — medical grade and hypoallergenic — needs to be changed regularly, which means a quiet alarm goes off every 15 minutes. (You’re 15 minutes closer to being done! I quickly lost track.)

The really, really best part: the end result. They’re 11 mm — that’s 2 mm longer than my 9 mm natural length, which I learned is the norm.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup to begin with, but I almost always wear mascara. I guess I’ve always felt my lashes were quite short and thin. Of course, you can wear mascara with these extensions but it’s best to avoid a waterproof one, as so much rubbing is required to remove the stuff. But me, I think I’ll avoid the stuff for the month or so while these suckers stay on.

In the end, the extensions did give me an extra thrill at the event that night, and I’ll enjoy looking a little more put-together. I don’t think they look fake — as my husband said, I just look a little “Disney-ified.” I’ll take that as a compliment!

Plus, Lianne suggested that extensions are great for vacations, when you don’t want to spend a lot of time putting on makeup. Me, I think they’re great for pregnant ladies who might be feeling awkward about their rapidly changing bodies.

Caryl Baker Visage

Rideau Centre, 613-230-2212
Bayshore Shopping Centre, 613-820-2140
St. Laurent Centre, 613-746-5301
Place D’Orleans, 613-841-7222

SHOP TALK: Garden Party Glam

BY SARAH FISCHER

This article was originally published in the May 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

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Photo: Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio; Willow and Forsythia arrangement and vase courtesy of Scrim’s Florist

Twice the Fun
Animapop, a new Italian clothing line, has created the perfect reversible summer party dress. With a photographic floral print on one side and subtle polka dots on the other, this laser-cut neoprene short-sleeved dress is wrinkle-free and easy to wash and comes with its own travel bag. $245. Manhattan West, 322 Richmond Rd., 613-695-0517.

Channel Chanel
Add elegance to your outfit with this unique Chanel-style hat, which is made in Italy with straw, lace caging, and pearl details. Designed for Justine’s private label, this topper is sure to evoke Coco Chanel — and ensure that you are the belle of any garden party. $425. Justine, 17A York St., 613-562-4000.

Step Up
The Alli nude sandal with 3½-inch heel, by Donald J. Pliner, will be your go-to shoe for summer. The asymmetrical elastic bands and padded foot bed will transport you from day to evening in the utmost of comfort, and its neutral tone and gold details make this the perfect versatile sandal. $358. Wolf & Zed, 519 Sussex Dr., 613-860-7463.

Get Prepped
This linen blazer adds a preppy edge to a man’s outfit. The navy windowpane jacket is made by Sand ($695), a Danish company that produces all its goods in Europe. Pair it with L.B.M.’s garment-washed-cotton casual pant ($295), and you are set to accompany your partner in style. Morgante Menswear, 141 Sparks St., 613-234-2232.

Don’t Sweat It
Keep cool in the summer sun with Haupt’s 100% cotton summer-weight sport shirt ($140); its subtle diamond print with navy contrast trim pairs perfectly with a bold printed blazer. Cuff your pants and dare to go sockless with Allen Edmonds Strand oxford dress shoes in walnut ($450). Add an Italian silk Stenströms pocket square to finish off the look ($65).
E.R. Fisher Menswear, 199 Richmond Rd., 613-829-8313.

Looking for something a little different? Here’s an alternative look we shot for this May issue feature.

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Alice & Olivia Kiro dress
$428 from Schad
Rich colour highlights the lush floral print on a fit-and-flare alice + olivia dress. A plunging V neckline cuts a flattering profile, and stretch mesh frames the exposed back zip. Sleeveless. Lined. Pockets. Strong liner underneath to define shape of fit and flare.

Checkered hat
$275 from Justine. Made in England, for Justine’s private label.
Black and white checkered cloth line the outer brim. Black nylon ribbon surrounds top with big statement bow. Straw structure.

Designers Remix – Bau Shoe
$418.00 from Wolf & Zed
Chunky wide heel, pointy toe, ankle boot. Patent beige leather with black elastic detail. 100% leather.

Mirto long-sleeve floral print sport shirt
$225 from E.R. Fisher Menswear
Egyptian Cotton, Made in Spain

L.B.M. garment-washed 100% cotton pant in red
$295 from Morgante Menswear

L.B.M. garment-washed, linen, window pane sport jacket in blue
$875 from Morgante Menswear

Hugo Boss Cennis double-monk strap in dark red
$475 from Morgante Menswear
Zig-zag stitching on front round toe, and on heel.

SHOP TALK: Don’t make Gone Girl’s mistake — avoid a fake kidnapping with this anniversary gift guide

BY SARAH BROWN

This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

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Photo: Marc Fowler, Metropolis Studio

Your anniversary’s fast approaching. Yes, already. Comes around once a year — really quickly, we find. Oh exquisite agony! What to buy, what to buy? Now, Gone Girl readers will remember how horribly awry Nick and Amy’s fifth anniversary went, as Amy marked the date with a fake kidnapping and a decidedly unnerving treasure hunt. If only she had chosen to commemorate the wood anniversary with a bespoke shaving brush and a woodsy soap in a mahogany bowl! Yes, the movie would have been shorter, but, oh, how much calmer and more romantic! With that in mind, Ottawa Magazine consulted the modern bride and groom’s guide to anniversary gifting, selecting some practical ways to show your love — and, hopefully, get lucky — on the big day.

Read the rest of this story »

SHOP TALK: Brunch Bunch brings food + fashion together at Hintonburg Happening

By Dayanti Karunaratne and Kelsey Kromodimoeljio

Have you heard about the Hintonburg Happening? Yes, we all know that the ‘hood is a happenin’ place, but this week it really takes off in a celebration of art, music, food, and, yes, fashion.

Shop jewellery, home decor, and more at JV Studios.

Shop jewellery, home decor, and more at JV Studios.

On Sunday, May 3, our favourite little corner of boutiques comes alive with hospitality and spring fashion. In an event dubbed the Brunch Bunch, Muriel Drombret will host Dunrobin artist Mette Baker, she of the wearable gardens, while Twiss & Weber continues in their rock’n’roll vein with warm leatherette, moleskin, sparkle, and fringe — even a touch of paisley. Plus, following their Big Hair or Be Square event on May 2nd, T&W will be selling “air guitar inspired T-shirts” (i.e., “Bill and the Private Members” and “The Joiners”) by Winged Beast Outfitters.

Paisley dress by 3rd Floor Studio

Paisley dress by 3rd Floor Studio

Check out JV Studios for everything from bling to mugs, VAM Boutique for summer whites and pretty frocks, and Flock Boutique for cute dresses at Flock Boutique. Here you’ll find unique Canadian-made garments and styles perfect for work — and cocktail hour. We love this paisley print dress from 3rd Floor Studio.

The forecast for Sunday is calling for a high of 22 or 24, depending your source. Either way, we say get thee to a Hintonburg boutique for a satisfying and stylish start to spring!

SHOP TALK: Visit Victoire for modern, vintage-inspired wedding dresses from Birds of North America

By KELSEY KROMODIMOELJIO

Earlier this year, Victoire hosted a bridal event showcasing local wedding sources as well as the Birds of North America bridal collection. Fittings can be arranged at the Wellington location of Victoire

Earlier this year, Victoire hosted a bridal event showcasing local wedding sources as well as the Birds of North America bridal collection. Fittings can be arranged at the Wellington location of Victoire

In the April issue of Ottawa Magazine, we look at how we’ve celebrated milestones from past to present. And while weddings will forever be regarded as the bride’s big day, wedding styles and traditions have gone through many transformations over the years. Lately, we’ve witnessed a shift from the grandiose weddings to more personal and intimate affairs that prove to be just as enchanting.

At Victoire Boutique, owners Katie Frappier and Regine Paquette have seen an influx of brides who’ve gone a little simpler in their wedding planning but put a lot of care in adding more unique and heartfelt touches to their special day. Earlier this year, Victoire hosted A Modern Wedding Event for the vintage-loving brides with the collaboration of talented local businesses Auntie Loo’s Treats, Sparrow Floral Design, and Heart Deco Jewellery.

The event also marked the unveiling of the first bridal collection by Birds of North America, a Canadian design label that’s been a favourite to Victoire customers. Knee length cuts, bows, and the 1950/60’s aesthetics work beautifully in this collection for the bride who wants something old, something new.

The Birds of North America bridal line features knee-length dresses in simple silhouettes

The Birds of North America bridal line features knee-length dresses in simple silhouettes

 

Here, OTTAWA MAGAZINE talks to Birds of North America designer Hayley Gibson about the details behind her new bridal collection.

Read the rest of this story »

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SHOP TALK: The Reversible Pocket Square

By JULIA WALLACE

Rania Abdulla's Reversible Pocket Square

Rania Abdulla’s Reversible Pocket Square

As wedding season approaches, we’ll begin to see a lot of interpretations on “dressed up.” Here at SHOP TALK, we say nothing is better than a classic piece with a modern twist. Ottawa stylist Rania Abdulla has done just that with her innovative Reversible Pocket Squares.

Pocket squares that are double sided with two distinct yet complementary textiles, Rania’s creative accessories add variety to any outfit and are versatile to boot. Rania creates the Reversible Pocket Square from repurposed material in her Ottawa studio. As these brilliant accessories are made from recycled material, only a few matching pocket squares will be created and seen about town.

Show both

Show both patterns for a rich, textured look

The Pocket Square can also be worn a variety of ways — folded so that both patterns complement one another, or folded to showcase one of the two sides at a time. This accessory is a one of a kind, two for one deal — providing you an original accessory that is environmentally responsible, locally handmade and quintessentially bespoke. It is a classic piece — a small accessory with big impact.

Further modernizing the traditional pocket square look, Rania encourages her colorful creations to be worn by both men and women alike. Perfect for many occasions, her Pocket Squares can be worn tucked into shirts, jackets and dress pockets, either dressed down or dressed up. They can be worn with a casual outfit for a western cowboy feel, or for a more polished effect – Old Hollywood style. Tied onto the strap of a handbag, the squares add that European flair and a pop of colour to any outfit.

The Reversible Pocket Square is a vibrant twist on a classically traditional item, which expresses that the wearer knows quality and style – trends are fleeting, but the elegance of a pocket square is timeless.

This pocket square would

This pocket square — tied to a the strap of a handbag — would add touch of European flair. 

With wedding season and summer soirees quickly approaching, channel your inner Cary Grants and Katharine Hepburns and be sure to grab yourself a Reversible Pocket Square at her online store.

 

 

SHOP TALK: This spring, androgyny is reborn

BY KYLA CLARKE

Items from Selfridge's "Agender" line

Items from Selfridge’s “Agender” line

For years, androgynous fashion has been all over the runways. Recently, more and more androgynous pieces have been making their way to the streets, which means the closets of couples are starting to look a lot alike. In fact, the British department store Selfridges has recently revamped some of their stores and replaced their men’s and women’s departments with all unisex clothing, as part of their new “Agender” project. This bold move could look towards a trend for the future, not just in the world of fashion, but in our culture as a whole.

“Androgyny” is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics, or a lack of gender. Rather, a sexual ambiguity. There has always been a relationship between fashion and gender: dressing yourself is a way of expressing yourself and how you’d like the world to perceive you, and your gender identity plays a large role in deciding what to wear. With the latest – and possibly boldest – wave of feminism upon us, as well as the growing discussion of LGBT activism, asexuality is becoming more than just a fashion statement.

Jared Leto wears a skirt to the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Jared Leto wears a skirt to the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

It’s always been a bit more socially acceptable for women to wear men’s clothing, but with the inspiration of celebrities like Johnny Depp and Jared Leto, men are doing it too. Some men these days are risky enough to wear traditionally feminine colours like pink and purple, floral pocket squares, or paisley-patterned dress shirts. We’ve also seen men in skinny jeans, adorned like Depp in jewelry, or with long, ombré hair à la Leto.

But women have been wearing accents of men’s clothing for years. Starting with women in the workplace donning male-inspired blazers, dress pants, and collared shirts, the trend has spread even further to baggy “boyfriend” jeans, loafers, and flannel and denim work shirts, leaving the men in our lives wondering where their clothes have disappeared to. If all of our closets begin to meld together, eventually, we might actually stop borrowing our boyfriends’ sweatshirts altogether.

This spring, androgyny’s in Ottawa. You can find genderless trends at Vincent, a women’s boutique on Preston Street. The shop carries high-end brands like Bailey 44 and Ganni. Both brands embody primarily feminine tastes, but they suggest subtle touches of masculinity, making them an excellent introduction into androgynous dressing for those who aren’t so sure.

Looks for spring include collared shirts, tailored dress pants, sporty sneakers, and the continued trend of one-piece jumpers. Colours for spring are subdued: gender-neutral shades of blues, whites, and greys are ubiquitous, and patterns are dainty and subtle. Ganni offers a line of skirts and dresses in a delicate yet distinctive floral pattern that provides a feminine edge to the masculine hues.

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A navy blue collared dress from Bailey 44

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A fun navy patterned jumper from Bailey 44

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A feminine collared dress from Ganni

 

Soon enough, we won’t need to keep stealing our boyfriends’ clothes, but what will we do when they start stealing ours?

 

PLUS: Vincent, and Ottawa-based boutique run by two sisters, will host a charity event for Dress for Success next month on Saturday, April 18. From 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., you can donate your used work-wear for women in need. For donating, you’ll receive a discount on a purchase that day, as well as be entered to win a $250 closet makeover.

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SHOP TALK: The Perfect Indulgence for the Socially Conscious Lush

BY KYLA CLARKE AND HANNAH WALLACE

LUSH Rideau Centre 2 (1)

Good news for Rideau Centre regulars: Lush is branching out and has set up shop in the downtown shopping centre. You’ll know when you’re near — the potent smell of paradise will guide you to their new location at the bottom of the escalator on the second floor, next to Nordstrom. Lush is the perfect “treat yourself” store, and with its socially conscious products, you can feel good about treating yourself to their luxe soaps and bath products.

The British-based chain crossed the Atlantic in 1996, opening their first international store in Vancouver. There are now over 200 shops in North America, and all the products for this side of the pond are made right here in Canada. For years, Ottawa’s Lush was located on William Street in the ByWard Market, but the Rideau Centre’s recent transformation has allowed opportunity for a new shop — and maybe some new clientele too. Here’s a look at some of the qualities that set Lush apart from the rest of the beauty biz:

It’s Local, Naturally

The ingredients for all of Lush’s products come from the grocers and farmer’s markets of the Vancouver and Toronto areas, which are organic, biodegradable, and all natural. They make an effort to limit packaging (which is why the store smells so strongly), and any packaging that does exist is recyclable or compostable.

Fair Play

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Lush’s Charity Pot Body Lotion $6.95 – $25.95

Lush is a company that prides itself on its fair trade, environmentally friendly, and ethical operations. Lush openly condemns animal testing and the use of chemicals and parabens, a widely-used preservative that’s been linked to the disruption of hormone functions. Furthermore, Lush works to support local charities. Their Charity Pot body lotion, made from ylang ylang, rosewood oils, and a hydrating cocoa butter, is the perfect antidote to Canada’s dry winters – and 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity. (Understanding the roots of their products might help when deciding to spend a little more.)

Variety

Lush has a wide range of high-quality products: from skin care to hair care, to makeup to their famous luxurious bath bombs. But Lush is not just for the ladies – they offer a line of natural and rustic-scented men’s products as well. The Kalamazoo beard and facial wash ($9.95 – $22.95) is a two-in-one stop for the busy bearded man on-the-go.

Personal Touch

Many of Lush’s products have the unique aspect of identifying the creator of each product. Connecting buyers to the hands who have made their product is what makes the Lush experience unique and personal. Their website also highlights the company’s transparency, featuring “How It’s Made” videos, full lists of ingredients, and facts about the natural ingredients they use. (Did you know citrus works as the perfect morning mental boost? That’s why they add it to their shower gel.)

Perfect Timing

Lush always offers a special item or two to suit the season. With Easter right around corner, treat the Funny Bunny in your life with an adorable bath gift basket ($48.95), which includes Lush’s Hoppity Poppity Bath Bomb. Not feeling festive? Their vegan Stepping Stone foot scrub ($4.50) is the perfect way to prep your pieds for sandal season.

 

 

SHOP TALK: Q&A with Mèreadesso skincare founder Linda Stephenson

By DAYANTI KARUNARATNE

Now, I had never heard of Mèreadesso, but when Nordstrom sent a gift box full of beauty products in advance of their big Beauty Bash on opening day March 6, I was immediately drawn to its “all in one” approach.Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 9.04.50 PM

And believe it or not, amidst a lot of fun products that my colleagues told me were top of the line, I dove for … a makeup remover? (There were so many great products in there, and my bathroom is pretty tiny, so — after I took a couple goodies — we split up the rest.) Yes, makeup remover. I had just come to the conclusion that using any old moisturizer to remove eye makeup every night around my eyes maybe wasn’t a good idea. That’s right — I didn’t even own makeup remover before!

Mèreadesso face + neck cleanser, which also promises to be a makeup remove, toner, and mask (and comes with a special cloth)

Mèreadesso face + neck cleanser, which also promises to be a makeup remove, toner, and mask (and comes with a special cloth)

Sure, there was a packaging component. (Aren’t we all, deep down, prone to marketing?) The Mèreadesso packaging was simple and clean, and it promised the world: makeup remover, toner, mask. It came with a nifty cloth that is apparently crucial to the product’s success, and it smelled light and refreshing.

I had been using the face + neck cleanser for a couple days when I heard from Mèreadesso. ‘What’s this,’ I thought, ‘this never-heard-of-brand knows I picked it, and wants to connect?’ Yes, there was a moment I wondered if the PR spies were following me home, peaking in my purse. But the more I read about the company — that it was a Canadian company, that the founder, Linda Stephenson, left a solid career working for a number of major brands to set out on her own, that it made without animal testing — the more I felt there was something worth checking out. (Plus, my skin was looking good.)

In my Q&A with Stephenson, I learned that she chose an all-in-one approach in order to attract “a new consumer that was not being addressed by traditional beauty lines and make things as efficient yet effective as possible. I wanted to design a product line for myself.”

Efficient, effective, and maybe a bit self-serving. I like it!

You can meet Stephenson, as well as Nordstrom beauty director Loredana Grama and other experts in the business at the opening day Beauty Bash — just show up at 7:30-9:30 at the main entrance to Nordstrom in the Rideau Centre.

Herewith, the rest of my email conversation with Stephenson.

Ottawa Mag: I understand you spent many years working for major beauty companies. Why did you want to start your own company?

Linda Stephenson, founder of Mèreadesso

Linda Stephenson, founder of Mèreadesso

Linda Stephenson: After leaving corporate, I consulted for seven years in product and business development. Starting my own line was the next logical step. When I became a mom, the idea for Mèreadesso was born. I had no time for any kind of skincare routine and I thought there must be a better way. I also wanted new challenges, variety, and control of my schedule.

OM: What have you learned — about business, beauty, and/or yourself — since starting Mèreadesso?

LS: About beauty, that there’s the customer out there like me that has no interest in multi-step products and this customer has not yet been recognized by prestige beauty.
About business, that the world of retail is changing rapidly. It used to be that you picked a channel — online or bricks and mortar — and stuck with that. Now you need to be everywhere simultaneously and that’s hard to do. Building great partnerships becomes the key. Being in the advance skincare section of Nordstrom is a unique and understandable way for me to reach my customer.

About myself, that I can function fairly well with an ulcer most of the time! But I do try to remind myself to not sweat the small stuff. Being an entrepreneur, I’m constantly faced with obstacles and challenges and my job is to figure out how to get through them, around them, or ignore them.

OM: I see that you have a minor in botany. What can you tell me about the ingredients in my Mèreadesso face + neck cleanser that will impress my plant-geek husband?

LS: The key ingredients that helps my cleanser work so well are the Bulgarian rose extract, aloe, jojoba, grape seed oil, and vitamin E. As light weight, non-greasy, non-sticky oils they break down makeup without needing foaming ingredients like lauryl sulphates. Lauryl sulphates are just detergents that do nothing but make bubbles and strip your face of moisture.

OM: Speaking of men, I read that your products work for men as well. Is this a big market for you? Are there new approaches to marketing that take gender into account?

LS: Often men’s skincare lines are the same formula with different packaging and fragrance. Because of Mèreadesso’s clean, unisex packaging, simplicity of use and neutral fragrance that flashes off, we’ve been attracting men of all ages! Men are our fastest growing demographic. In terms of men and skincare, the internet and social media has really opened up the skincare world to men who might be too shy to walk up to a department store clerk.

OM: How difficult it was to develop this line without testing on animals? This is something that is very important to me and I’m curious why some brands continue to test on animals.

LS: As a starting point in development, all Mèreadesso products contain ingredients that are known to be soothing, calming, and beneficial to the skin. Animal testing is usually done by companies using harsh ingredients that could potentially cause skin irritation. That’s when some companies believe an intermediary step of animal testing is required. The only animal testing we have ever done is on humans — and they were willing and cooperative!

OM: On a practical note, I have used the face + neck cleanser for about a week and am starting to see some mascara smears are still on the special cloth. How should I clean it?

LS: Just throw it in the wash with your towels! I do mine about once a week.