SHOP TALK: Getting serious about the headshot

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven Sarah Fischer. 

After a months-long, post-holiday, hibernation-induced hiatus, SHOP TALK is back! ‘Cause there’s nothing like a headshot to push us to examine our style, talk about clothes, and generally obsess about insignificant details and reveal our egomaniacal aspects.

For me, headshot update time is unnerving — not only because it means organizing another detail into the calendar, but also because headshots involve staring into a camera. This is something I’m very wary of — so much so that I elect myself event photographer at family functions. When I am forced in front of the lens I make a face that ruins the scene. But in my new role as editor I did want something that gave off a little “talk to me” vibe, rather than a “what you said, too funny!” that I usually go for. So that meant another photo shoot.

We get some great afternoon light in our office — and I was excited to ditch the tights, if only for a few minutes!

We get some great afternoon light in our office — and I was excited to ditch the tights, if only for a few minutes!

Luckily, people know this and rally around me come headshot day. Photographer John Kealey pep-talked me via email for weeks in advance and Sarah Fischer took me to Ça Va De Soi, where Francine coached me into different outfits (Francine is one of those amazing retail gems who acts as a pseudo-stylists and helped me to feel confident about my own personal style, not to mention my body).

When the day arrived, John met me at The Whalesbone on Bank Street with his entourage — assistant Matt Brunet and makeup artist Lauren Bartoli. I had a good feeling: Whalesbone holds such great memories and I was pumped from a morning run. I was ready to exude a more serious, earnest tone in my headshot.

After some MAC makeup magic I ducked downstairs to change. (Would you believe I even thought to put on my white top before my lipstick? Gotta thank my mom for making me paranoid of white clothing.) The outfit — white Anne top, beige Eve skirt — was an excellent and subtly surprising combo. I probably could have worn any white shirt and old blue jeans, but this outfit really elevated my spirit. It virtually transported me to a summer patio, which made smiling into the camera a whole lot easier.

Laughing shots are fun, but we managed to get a few serious ones in too.

Laughing shots are fun, but we managed to get a few serious ones in too.

We returned to the office to do some atmospheric shots — holding a magazine at my desk, looking out the window, etc. Here I wore the striped Tainac Ça Va De Soi dress and the amazing Koryne cardigan — which, I learned, can easily be worn as a top, no need for layering (which, for some reason, paralyzes me).

Headshots are always a weird experience that bring out my insecurities, but this day involved a lot of laughter too. I did try to keep a straight face — not a mock smile, or a laughing smile, but a sincere, interested smile. I thought of my daughter falling asleep on my arm, and I thought of my most recent interview subject, who commanded my attention and sparked my interest — something I’m hoping to do with the Editor’s Letter that will accompany the photo.

 

 

SHOP TALK: Tasty Tidings

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

 

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio

Gourmet Gifts
For the home chef on your list, nothing beats top-of-the-line olive oil in wild flavours to incite creativity in the kitchen. $32 for a 750-mL bottle. The Unrefined Olive, 151-A Second Ave., 613-231-3133. This wicker basket makes the gift-giving moment a beautiful thing. $95. J.D. Adam Kitchen & Home Accessories, 795 Bank St., 613-235-8714.  

Fair Fare
Divine chocolate bars are made with fair-trade cocoa butter, fair-trade sugar, and real vanilla to ensure a taste that truly is divine ($4.60 each). These lemongrass sticks are produced by small-scale organic farmers in Sri Lanka and India ($3.20 each). Himalayan salt, from Solay Gourmet, is a pretty pink colour thanks to 84 essential minerals ($10 for 227 g).  Ten Thousand Villages, 371 Richmond Rd., 613-759-4701.

Time Out
Take a moment to unwind and refuel. Get Relaxed Tea, from The Republic of Tea, features calming aromas of lavender and rose petals, as well as chamomile and passionflower ($14.95 for 36 bags). Polenta crisps, in caramelized red onion and balsamic vinegar flavour, are low-fat crackers that are free of wheat, gluten, and nuts ($7.59). Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli, 1321 Wellington St., 613-722-8753.

Blush Bubbles
Celebrate in style with Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut, an elegant sparkling wine made in classic tradition. Sip by the fire for a refreshing and delicate holiday experience.  $29.95. LCBO, 275 Rideau St.,  613-789-5226.

Sweet Treats
For an all-natural warm-up that will satisfy your sweet tooth, try chocolate truffle hot chocolate by Vermont’s Silly Cow Farms ($7.99). Cocomira’s pistachio crunch combines Belgian dark chocolate with toffee and pistachios for a tasty treat that happens to be gluten-free ($9.99). Rainbow Foods, 1487 Richmond Rd., 613-726-9200.

SHOP TALK: Stocking Style

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Triangle Toes
Björn Borg cotton socks for men are the perfect way to add a festive pop of colour to a suit-and-tie affair. $18. Stroked Ego, 224 Bank St., 613-667-3008.

Toasty Toes
SmartWool women’s socks offer trail-tested comfort and exceptional tailored fit. Made from merino wool, these socks wick moisture away from the body and keep toes warm in any weather. $20.50. Mountain Equipment Co-op, 366 Richmond Rd., 613-729-2700.

Stripe Style
Those who love BabyLegs, the funky leg warmers for little ones, will love these socks by the same company. $8.95 for two pairs. Baby enRoute, 416 Richmond Rd., 613-695-3416.

Graphic Gift
Combed-cotton Happy Socks are designed in Sweden for colourful men and women. Reinforced toe and heel panels mean these accessories will be enjoyed for years to come. $12. Roadtrip, 24B York St., 613-562-0992.

Lipstick Legs
Inject a bit of frivolous fun with these knee-highs. The two-tone lipstick pattern and grey background mean endless wardrobe possibilities. $12.50. Fancy Sox, 50 Rideau St., Rideau Centre, 613-230-7439.

SHOP TALK: Best baubles for the jewellery-lover on your list

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Blue Heart
This oval pendant, which was handcrafted in Ottawa, features lapis lazuli — a stone prized for its unique, intense blue colour. $45. Strut Jewelry, strutjewelry.com.

Natural Beauty
Agate from Turkey is framed in gold, then wrapped with gold wire, for an embellished oval necklace. $68. Wunderkammer, 238 Dalhousie St., 613-860-3510.

Talisman Taste
This Georg Jensen pendant combines amethyst and silver for a festive look ($669). The Pyrrha Three Graces necklace is a simple way to give style — and luck — to a loved one (far right, $238). Magpie Jewellery, 430 Richmond Rd., 613-686-3989 (and two other locations).

Wrapped Up
In this stunning choker by Studio Gi, carefully crafted metal embraces a large semi-precious stone to create a dramatic piece sure to elevate any outfit. $135. Davidson’s Jewellers, 790 Bank St., 613-234-4136.

Exotic Elegance
These intricate earrings mirror ornate Christmas wreaths. Influenced by Morocco and the markets of Marakesh. $26. Urbanite Jewelry, urbanitejewelry.com.

 

SHOP TALK: Gifting is child’s play with these kiddie finds

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

 

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Pram Play
This clip-on stroller chain by German company Heiss features colourful interactive parts and sturdy craftsmanship. Plus, it’s hand-carved and non-toxic. $45. Chick Pea Children’s Boutique, 1395 Wellington St. W., 613-761-7600.

Bunny Love
Cuddle up with a cheerful crocheted bunny that is handmade of 100% organic cotton. She wears a pretty dress and is ready to join any tea party. Washable and non-toxic, she is part of the much-loved Anne-Marie Petit collection from Amsterdam. $62. Peek-a-boo Natural Toys, 92 Wellington St. W., 613-421-2329.

Starting Note
Give the gift of music with a xylophone that helps develop hand-eye co-ordination and reinforce a child’s natural sense of rhythm. The bars have rounded corners for safety, plus it’s made of chemical-free kiln-dried recycled rubber wood and water-based dyes.  $27.99. Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, 809 Bank St., 613-234-3836, (and four other locations).

Wooden Wheels
This charming wooden car will keep little ones entertained for hours. A single wire with five different brightly coloured beads is perfect for young toddlers ($22). An adorable wooden elephant can be pushed about by hand or pulled along by its red cotton cord. And it is a perfect set of wheels for a small doll or stuffed toy. Handcrafted in Germany, it’s made from solid alder wood, soft leather, and felt ($58). Nest European Toys + Home, nest.ca.

Show Time
A wooden theatre from Heritage Toys & Games includes a stage and five characters and is sure to bring some drama to Christmas morning ($28). Mixed pine pre-lit tree ($254.50). Tinseltown, 1096 Somerset St.  W., 613-680-7557.

SHOP TALK: Carolynn Lacasse brings Courage to Viens Avec Moi

Shop Talk is written by OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven. 

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

This time of year, SHOP TALK gets a lot of invites. I shouldn’t complain — actually, I wish we could attend more launches, trunk sales, and Christmas parties. But in addition to all the holiday merry-making, this is also an incredibly busy time at the office as we head to press with our annual Interiors issue.

Still, all work and no play make Dayanti + Sarah dull girls, and so we keep our eyes peeled for special events that combine fundraising with socializing, shopping with scene-covering. And when stylish scenester Carolynn Lacasse reached out to us about her Courage Brand launch on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Viens Avec Moi, we decided to get to know this new project — and attend the party tomorrow!

In talking with Carolyn, we learned that, from the start the Viens Avec Moi ladies have been super-supportive of her bracelet initiative, which raises money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. For years Carolynn has been working with this great organization, and has had friends and family use their services. Plus, she was keen to keep the money in Ottawa and felt it represented the mental and physical bravery that her line is all about.

We also learned that she sold out in her first year with the brand, and that because the materials and printing costs are donated, 100 percent of the proceeds go the the ORCF.

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

For her second year, Carolynn has developed a new line of bracelets that stay true to her original version: they’re still unisex, minimalist, and stackable, with one simple washer that allows them to be adjusted for size and acts as a little token for when you need a boost of courage.

And to celebrate the second year with Courage, Carolynn and VAM sylist Renee Morra will be giving away a “closet refresh” consultation for someone who has been affected by cancer. Vote here by December 17 for your chance to win!

 Visit Viens Avec Moi on Tuesday, Dec. 10 to check out the line — and shop, socialize, et cetera.

SHOP TALK: Holiday scenes set the stage for a season of inspired gift giving

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Festive Foliage
A Kate Spade dinner plate, from the Gardner Street collection, adds a touch of nature-inspired whimsy to a meal. ($49.95). Leaf napkin rings continue the floral motif ($9.97 for a set of four). Linen Chest, 2685 Iris St., 613-721-9991.

Service Style
This porcelain dinner plate from Mikasa brings chic elegance to a festive meal ($25). Give your table a bold, timeless look with plates from GlucksteinHome’s Architectural Accent collection ($29.95 for a set of four). The Bay, 1200 St. Laurent Blvd., St. Laurent Centre, 613-748-6105 (and two other locations).

Beautiful Bows
A red plaid silk scarf by Lord & Taylor adds festive flair ($58). This Echo scarf, in a subtle burgundy paisley print, will bring warmth to chilly evenings ($40). The Bay, 73 Rideau St., 613-241-7511 (and two other locations).

SHOP TALK: Slaysh heads online, Virani moves in to Wellie West boutique

Shop Talk is written by OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven. 

Last month, we were surprised to see a farewell note, of sorts, in the window of West Wellington boutique Slaysh.

Slaysh owner updates shoppers about her move online.

Slaysh owner Sarah Hyde updates shoppers about her move online.

Being the nosy, newsy people we are, we poked around for more. So we went directly to the source, Slaysh owner Sarah Hyde, for details on the move.

Her reply, as in the pictured letter, oozed with positivity. “I know the initial thought from most people will be sad but I am truly excited about the new direction,” she wrote, and went on to explain the thinking behind the move from the Glebe to Wellie West. Now, as Slaysh goes online, we’re getting a better sense that Sarah is a smart and creative entrepreneur.

“The decision to go online, obviously was made partially because I will be expecting a baby girl in the new year but also so that I could get back to the things that drove me to open shop in the first place,” Sarah says. “I am really looking forward to spending more time on the creative side of the business rather than just the everyday necessities of being in the store seven days a week. I want to make sure Slaysh continues to have a physical presences through pop-up shops, events, and partnering with other creative people in our city.”

Indeed the shopping hub of Wellington West is fairly bursting with energy these days and Slaysh has clearly contributed to this buzz. And that doesn’t seem likely to change, despite the lack of a ‘bricks and mortar’ home.

“I find that when I sit down to think about the possibilities my mind goes crazy with excitement. I would like to shift the focus to some brands that aren’t readily available from Canadian online retailers as well as work on some exclusive pieces for Slaysh, whether it be a collaboration piece or a private label product.”

Slaysh private label? Exlcusives? Sounds intriguing. But what about the short term? We like instant gratification, and Sarah did have some exciting news for December:

“One project I can talk about right now that I am super-excited about is that for the month of December Slaysh has teamed up with JV Studios for a One Space, Two Shops experience” that will bring the best of Slaysh and Jasmine Virani together for the Christmas season.

In January, 1282-A Wellington St. W. will be the permanent home of JV Studios, and Slaysh will move online.

 

SHOP TALK: Locally-made scarves keep you stylish and warm

Shop Talk is written by OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Red pashmina. $130 for 100% cashmere, $85 for cashmere/silk blend.

Red pashmina. $130 for 100% cashmere, $85 for cashmere/silk blend.

A few months ago, we fell in love with Chobi scarves while checking out the awesome locavore site SMAKK. At the time, I remember thinking ‘everyone needs scarves — they’re such a winter staple and the style possibilities are endless. What a brilliant business!’

Well, maybe it’s the fact that so many of us cling to grey or black trenches for a good chunk of the year, but two more local scarf companies (scarfatieres?) have recently made us craving more cashmere, more herringbone, more cozy and locally-made love!

Karma Cashmere is the ‘love child’ of Praj and Dave. (Check out their website if you’re a sucker for inter-continental love stories!) During their travels, which included a dramatic introduction in the Netherlands and a wedding ceremony on Nepal followed by a honeymoon in the Himalayan mountains, they dreamt of ways that Praj could connect with her home country of Nepal after she immigrated to Canada to live with her new husband, Dave. They kept coming back to the majesty of the Himalayas — and the amazing cashmere produced there.

 

Lucky for us, the idea materialized. Praj and Dave travelled back to Nepal and met personally with artisans who make the pashminas that bring style to our workaday duds. Order from their website — they ship free throughout Canada and even donate a portion of the proceeds to support girls’ education in the Himalayan region.

A classic pattern of houndstooth, this cream and beige infinity brightens up a dark coat while keeping you warm.100% Virgin Wool, $85.00.

A classic pattern of houndstooth, this cream and beige infinity brightens up a dark coat while keeping you warm.100% Virgin Wool, $85.00.

Another take on the classic scarf comces by way of Krista Norris. This season we have heard a lot about ‘menswear inspired fashion’ and these scarves nail that trend. I mean, I love tweed and pinstripes, but styling these fabrics isn’t for the faint of heart (or busy mom). With this collection, which is available at Viens Avec Moi and Schad in Ottawa, Krista offers thick, wool infinity scarves — that, conveniently, are unisex!

Another bonus: Krista is taking part in the Warm and Fuzzy event at Schad. Bundle up, buy gifts, stay stylish. Wednesday, November 20. 6-9 p.m., Schad, 521 Sussex Dr. 

SHOP TALK: Fibre artists Twiss & Weber bring unique separates to Wellie West

Shop Talk is written by OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

It’s taken me over three years to write this post. Now, I’m not generally one to fall into the procrastination trap, but sometimes, I’m learning, it pays to wait.

Tonia, left, and Laura. They make a great team!

Tonia, left, and Laura. They make a great team!

Back in 2010, when I first spotted Laura Twiss cycling stylishly through Hintonburg, I was ready to feature her in our style pages. I dug a little deeper, and learned of her design collaboration with Tonia Weber. Checked out their stuff, watched out for them at markets and festivals, and rejoiced when they opened up a wee atelier on a side street in Hintonburg. All the while, I waited for them to really break out on their own, to claim a piece of Ottawa’s retail space.

Laura and Tonia met back in 2009 in classic Hintonburg style — at a yoga studio, at craft shows, and at Wabi Sabi. They gradually learned that they had a lot in common. For example, both started sewing at a young age, both went to school for fashion design, both had their own line of clothing but couldn’t seem to go where we wanted to with it.

Oh, and they both worked at a bank and never had any childhood illness like chickenpox. (The ties that bind!)

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