Articles by: Alexandra GunnAlexandra Gunn
As Fashion Editor and Columnist for Ottawa Life Magazine, Alex profiles local designers, businesses and the latest fashion trends. Her column, 'Ask Alex' is a trusted source of advice and insight for lifestyle readers across Eastern Ontario. Alexandra is a former television anchor and broadcaster who took on a range of files, from reporting the news and delivering the weather, to presenting long-form features and moderating hard-hitting debates. Alexandra regularly volunteers her time with charitable organizations in her community. You can follow her at @OttawaStyle and @AlexandraGunn.

In Search of Style: Velvet Crush

November 12, 2016 10:46 am
In Search of Style: Velvet Crush

Photography by Ping Hu www.winterlotusphotography.com / Greenery and Décor by Canadian Mountain Weddings / On-Site Assistant: Gail E.P. Gunn

winter-lotus-photography-by-ping-hu-2Feature Image: Winter Lotus Photography by Ping Hu 2 / Fit-and-Flare Velvet Dress by Betsey Johnson $129.99 from The Hudson’s Bay

For the holidays, we’re crushing on velvet. Smooth and soft velvet is a key piece in my wardrobe this season as it adds a hint of the holidays while also translating from work to evening. Go ahead, wear a velvet blazer to the office! Mixing up your style as the seasons change is a sure way to get noticed.

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Velvet Preen by Thornton Bregazzi Dress

You’ll note that this season’s reigning motifs are infinitely more opulent. Lustrous velvet, shimmering sequins and glitter infused accessories all in abundance are what makes this holiday season extra special.

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Velvet Etro Bag

Get ready to strike a pose in luxurious velvet. The opulent fabric is soft to the touch and has a hint of shimmer, which adds an elegant and upscale element to the overall look. Infuse some style in to your classic work wardrobe with a velvet blazer or a fitted velvet dress for a touch of luxe.

Velvet accessories reigned supreme on the fall/winter runways, appearing on the hottest shoes and bags of the season.

We saw an influx of velvet that’s worthy of investment from Bottega Veneta, Opening Ceremony, Preen, Rochas, Roberto Cavalli and Phillip Lim.

From lush accessories to generous swaths of velvet, there is no limit to this ladylike look.

“Velvet has a vintage feel but a glamourous outcome!”

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3.1 Phillip Lim | Adam Selman | Aigner | Akris | Alberta Ferretti Antonio Berardi | Armani Prive | Balmain | Bottega Veneta | Dennis Basso Derek Lam | Desigual | DKNY | Dolce&Gabbana | Dries Van Noten Elie Saab | Elie Tahari | Ellery | Etro | Fendi Gabrielle Colangelo | Giambattista Valli | Givenchy | Gucci | H&M Haider Ackermann | Holly Fulton | Jason Wu | Jill Stuart | Joseph

 

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Kenzo | Luisa Beccaria | M. Martin | Mara Hoffman | Marc Jacobs Marni | Monse | Nicholas K | Opening Ceremony | Oscar de la Renta Osman | Peter Pilotto | Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini | Prabal Gurung | Prada Preen | Rachel Zoe | Ralph Lauren | Roberto Cavalli | Rochas Roland Mouret | Rosie Assoulin | Schiaparelli | Sophie Theallet | Stella McCartney Trussardi | Ulla Johnson | Valentino | Vanessa Seward | Vetements

Meet Ottawa Artist Katerina Mertikas

November 8, 2016 9:00 am
Meet Ottawa Artist Katerina Mertikas

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to meet a celebrated Canadian artist. Katerina Mertikas is best-known for her bright and colourful paintings of children playing outdoors in the snow and enjoying the rain under bright umbrellas. The expressionist artist will have a variety of her artwork on display at Koyman Galleries during her annual art exhibit through November 12th – 28th and will be on-site to meet with collectors and fans on select days.

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The well-known and self-taught professional artist from Ottawa, loves painting and believes strongly in giving back through her art. Since 1993, Mertikas has been partnered with UNICEF after sending in a sample of her work. Since then, her paintings have adorned Christmas cards for years, making her a household name in Canada.

This year, UNICEF and Hallmark have once again selected the artist’s work to be featured as a greeting card. The extensive partnership will UNICEF will see that the cards will be sold throughout Ottawa at Loblaws, Great Canadian Superstore, Pier 1 Imports, IKEA, Hallmark, and many other local boutiques.

me-2nd-photo-by-harrison-koymanunnamed“I’m thrilled to be showcasing my new pieces at Koyman Galleries this November, and I hope to see you at my show! I love meeting and engaging with fellow art lovers and collectors, and the timing is perfect, too—to get us all into the festive spirit! I’m equally thrilled to be partnered with UNICEF and Hallmark again this year—it’s exciting for me to see my works sold on greeting cards and knowing how UNICEF helps children in need inspires me to keep on painting. It’s very rewarding” said Mertikas.

Mertika’s love of vivid colours is evident in her artwork. Many of her art pieces celebrate happy moments and a child’s joy and excitement. It is evident to see that a charming sense of nostalgia emanates throughout her artwork and her compositions often feature peaceful settings.

Two years ago, Katerina was inspired to create a painting called Honouring My Father after the tragic event that took place at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Her painting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo raised well over $75,000.00 for Cirillo’s son. The original painting hangs in Mayor Jim Watson’s boardroom and an embellished print hangs in Ottawa’s city hall for all to view. 

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Katerina has been on the receiving end of many awards. In 2014 she was presented with the United Way Community Builder Award, she has also received the Ottawa Hellenic Award in the arts and was honoured with a “Women of Distinction” award in the arts category, and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in 2000.

The noteworthy artist is proud to be the first Ottawa artist to be selected by UNICEF and displayed on the cover of their international brochure, as well. Mertikas says that she hopes to continue to “give back through art in a big way.” Her best-selling cards, which sell out every year, provide much needed funds to children worldwide.

Meet the Artist

Looking to finally meet the artist in person? Katerina Mertikas will be present to meet and greet with art collectors and fans on Saturday, November 12th, noon to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, November 13th, noon to 2:30 p.m. 

Where: Koyman Galleries (on St. Laurent Boulevard) 

For more information on Katerina Mertikas, visit www.katerinamertikas.com

artshow

Juno Awards to Make Historic Return to Ottawa

November 3, 2016 8:09 pm
Juno Awards to Make Historic Return to Ottawa

The city is buzzing with anticipation for the JUNO Awards returning to Ottawa in 2017 as part of the country’s 150th anniversary. The musical birthday bash will transform Ottawa into not just a festival city but a music city as the JUNO Week celebrations take place March 27th to April 2nd, 2017.

michael-buble-photo-courtesy-of-ctvMulti-Grammy and JUNO Award-winner Michael Bublé will be making a triumphant return as the host of the 46th annual awards which will take place at the Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 2ND, 2017.

Bublé will return to the JUNO stage following his performance as host at the 2013 JUNO Awards in Regina, which garnered him the Canadian Screen Award for best Host.

“I’m just a kid from Burnaby, so to get the opportunity to host this incredible night in Canadian music, for the second time, is amazing,” said Michael Bublé in a news release.

Modesty aside, Bublé is one of the world’s top selling male artists, with four Grammy Awards and four albums that have hit No. 1 on the Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

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This will be Ottawa’s third time hosting Canada’s Music Awards and Mayor Jim Watson has since responded to the announcement with a challenge for the local arts and music community to begin planning an unprecedented week of music in the Capital. “We have so much talent in this city and we want to share your gifts, with Canada and the world,” said the Mayor. “Yes, we want to fill every venue,” he added, “but we also want workshops,

“We have so much talent in this city and we want to share your gifts with Canada and the world,” said the Mayor. “Yes, we want to fill every venue,” he added, “but we also want workshops,

“Yes, we want to fill every venue,” he added, “but we also want workshops, clinics and classroom programming. This is your chance to inspire the next generation of Canadian artists and contribute to the legacy of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.”

As Ottawa gears up for the awards to take over the Capital, locals and tourists can also expect the city to feature a variety of cultural, musical and sporting events and experiences across the city’s major institutions, landmarks, and neighborhoods.

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To date, official programming for Ottawa 2017 has yet to be announced, however a number of key events have already been confirmed for Ottawa to mark Canada’s 150th year, including: Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings curling championship, the Canadian Track and Field Championships and the Canadian Videogame Awards.

Tickets for the 2017 JUNO Awards go on sale Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. ET.

Tickets are available starting at $39 through the Canadian Tire Centre Box Office and online at ticketmaster.ca.

One dollar from each ticket sold goes to MusiCounts, which provides access to musical instruments for Canadian children and youth, via a partnership with the non-profit organization Plus 1.

3D Art Portrait Comes to Ottawa

October 27, 2016 9:53 am
3D Art Portrait Comes to Ottawa

What does a group portrait of Canadians look like in the 21st century? Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland intends to find out.

“What do we look like now and where are we going with technology?” said Coupland in a press statement.

“3DCanada will present a glimpse of what a group portrait can look like in the 21st century.”

3dcanada-dc-scanning-peter-simonsThe crowd-sourced, 3D-printed art initiative known as 3DCanada is a first of its kind and is coming to Ottawa. On Saturday, October 29th between 12 noon and 4:30PM, Simons will be hosting 3D scanning and printing booths at the Rideau Centre, providing their customers with a miniature bust of their likeness.

As a nod to Simons’ cross-country expansion, Douglas Coupland has teamed up with the venerable Canadian fashion retailer to capture 3D samples of Canadians from Quebec to British Columbia. The project will culminate in Coupland unveiling a sculpture made of hundreds of 3D-printed busts.

Angela Stinson, Director of Store Development at Simons says the project is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to Canadian art.

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“3DCanada is the evolution of Simons’ commitment to art – one that celebrates creativity, meaningful connections and advancements in technology. With Canada’s approaching 150th anniversary, this is also a celebration of our nationhood. We’re thrilled to share this collective piece with the entire country.”

This is the second collaboration between Simons and Douglas Coupland. The first project between the artist and retailer produced and ‘Bow Tie’ sculpture which now hangs in the Vancouver store.

Although very little detail has been provided about the end result of the art project, Stinson believes that Coupland will deliver something meaningful to both Simons and Canada.

3dcanada-window-sign“With any art project we get involved with, Simons hopes to engage people’s imaginations. 3DCanada demonstrates how 3D printing, this fascinating technology, can create meaningful art. Every time we host a scanning event to capture 3D images of Canadians, we see the reactions first hand. Young or old – people are amazed at the process and watching their 3D portraits come to life.

Doug is still working on the concept for the final piece, so the reveal will be just as thrilling as the scanning and printing. I can’t wait to see what it looks like!” says Stinson.

The next city on the list is for scanning is Calgary in 2017.

Want to attending the 3D scanning event at Simons?

Who: Douglas Coupland, Canadian novelist and artist.
What: Open public scanning event to add to the portrait of Canadians in the 21st century.  Busts will be approximately 5cm tall and 10g in weight.
When: Saturday, October 29, 2016
12:00 pm – 4:30 pm.
Where: Simons in the Rideau Centre, 3rd floor at 50 Rideau Street.

But First, Coffee

October 17, 2016 9:35 am
But First, Coffee

Photos by Ali Matthews & Andaz Hotel.

Top coffee connoisseurs gathered at Feast + Revel in the recently opened Andaz Hotel for a Barista Invitational showcasing some of the top talent in Ottawa. Baristas from La Bottega, Origin Trade, Planet Coffee, Bar Robo and Feast + Revel faced off to win the title of top barista for their signature hot coffee drinks, signature cold coffee beverages, and best latte art creations.

img_7069The three judges sat front row to oversee all of the creative beverages. Sarah Jennings from the ByWard Market BIA was looking for a flavourful espresso, Chris Petrie from Equator Coffee gave the advice to try and “keep it simple” and Julia Weber from Bank Street BIA was keen to see how creative the latte creations could be.

Guests in attendance we treated to a wide array of sweets, including pumpkin spice squares, scones and even cookies that were shaped like coffee cups. It was a full house as event registration was booked up days in advance of the weekend event.

Local fashion bloggers Chantal Sarkisian, who is always on the hunt for creative and unique events to feature on her blog, saw the event as an ideal opportunity to see what the Feast + Revel pastry shop had to offer.

“I love Andaz’s local outreach and their efforts to feature the best Ottawa has to offer. They are creating an inviting space with delicious food that will help build a community and showcase local talent. But the main reason why I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity was to taste the delicious new sweets by Feast + Revel, and get a free cup of my favourite Ottawa roaster: Equator Coffee. That’s a no brainer!”

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Food and beverage offerings at Andaz are handled by Executive Chef and Ottawa local Stephen La Salle, who was on site to oversee the friendly competition spoke with Ottawa Life.

Ottawa Life: Thanks for inviting Ottawa Life Magazine to your event! How did the idea of a friendly competition of baristas come about?

Stephen La Salle:  We we’re pretty stoked about having a team of baristas in Andaz Ottawa’s signature restaurant, Feast + Revel, our baristas have an amazing energy and were trying out new drinks for our menu so we wanted to give them a creative outlet. We reached out to our coffee roaster, Equator and got the ball rolling.  We just wanted to have some fun and promote coffee shops that we love and create a fun neighbourhood event that could also showcase our new restaurant.

img_7023Tell me why the judges chose Zachary Pantalone from La Bottega was the winner.

Zack had the most cumulative points in our 3 rounds! Equator Coffee came up with the scoring system for all three rounds, we wanted to see what kind of coffee drinks the baristas could come up with that showed off great coffee and great latte art so we had three rounds, a hot beverage, a cold beverage and latte art. Scores were tallied for all three rounds and Zach came out on top! Great latte art, a beautiful Turkish iced coffee for his cold beverage and pistachio infused latte for his hot.

The event registration was booked up days in advance of the event – Congrats! How is Andaz redefining the so-called ‘foodie culture’ and bringing it to forefront in Ottawa?

We’re not so much redefining it but celebrating it! Partnering with our local producers, artisans, suppliers, growers, artists and more is at the core of our ethos, it just made sense to us to celebrate Ottawa coffee culture and our neighbours! The ByWard Market boutique hotel is well known for its design-forward interiors reflecting Ottawa’s heritage, art pieces curated by the Canada Council Art Bank and locally sourced amenities.

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Angie’s Models and Talent International Opens New Flagship Centre

September 28, 2016 9:45 am
Angie’s Models and Talent International Opens New Flagship Centre

Photos by by Ali Matthews.

For over two decades, Angie Sakla-Seymour has owned and operated the top modelling agency in the Capital. Angie’s Models and Talent International (AMTI) has been successful at bringing local talent to the global stage through countless magazine covers, advertising campaigns and film.

img_6044“When we first launched Angie’s Models and Talent International, everyone told us it would be a challenge to uncover international talent in the National Capital Region,” says Angie.

“I think today, it is safe to say, that we’ve more than proven the naysayers wrong.”

For years, a number of Ottawa and Toronto-based actors and models have been putting their stamp on the small screens, silver screens, and catwalks of the world – garnering international praise in the process.  After years of making international strides, AMTI is relocating the flagship centre to Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park.

Members of the media and local influencers were invited to celebrate and mark the new AMTI flagship location at 825 Exhibition Way, Suite 203 with drinks and hors d’oeuvers.

Ottawa’s DJ Ilon was on the scene playing the tops hits for the soiree.

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Ottawa Life caught up with Angie to ask her what’s next for AMTI:

Congrats on your new location, Angie! Tell me why you chose Lansdowne as your new home?

I first came to Lansdowne for a meeting in 2015 and I felt energized by the area! With the total redesign, which includes all the shops, restaurants, the new football stadium, the brick roads, it felt like a little piece of NYC’s meat packing district right here in our very own Ottawa. It really felt like this was going to be the new place to be in the city.

img_6061How will your new space differ from your previous location?

Our new space is modernized, with sleek interior design and is a lot more spacious. The location feels like a community, where Ottawans and those from outside Hull/Ottawa spend full afternoons in the area partaking in everything Lansdowne has to offer.

Were there any particular design elements that you had to have for the agency?

Definitely. We chose this space especially because it gives us flexibility to offer more to our roster. There is lots of space to have editorial shoots and development for our models and actors. Aesthetically, we wanted design elements that were bright and sharp; cutting edge, but also comfortable. We kept the concrete floor and exposed ceiling, as we feel both incorporate the edge of NYC’s meatpacking hard lofts, while also staying true to the heritage history of Lansdowne.

You’ve been in business for 26 years, what’s next for you and your models?

We want to continue discovering amazing hidden gems and propelling all of our talent that the Ottawa/Gatineau area has to offer, to new heights. Develop more supermodels and mentor more leading men and leading women to achieve success on the big and small screens. 3 years ago, AMTI Toronto opened and we’re so happy with the notoriety and success we’ve accomplished there in such a short time. We want to continue to push the envelope here at Lansdowne Place and also in Toronto and we look forward to the next 26 years being even more successful than our first 26.

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Do you currently have any fresh faces that you think will be the next ‘it’ model?

Yes, we do! We have several. Jordan McEwen who is 15 walked in Toronto Fashion Week at 14 and has already travelled to Japan twice and Singapore. Ariel Himbeault is 16, has travelled to New York and has already shot campaigns for Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty, Holt Renfrew and La Maison Simons. Savanah Cane is 17, has just signed in Miami and is the face of NRML Femme Femme autumn campaign. Emily Taylor can be seen on the cover of Weddingstar Magazine 2017 and has shot the Silver Stitch FW16 campaign. Charlotte Marks has been to New York twice, walking in over 9 NYFW shows and has had very successful trips to Hong Kong and Tokyo.

img_6048On the male model side, we’re really excited to see what Kyle, Daniel G., Nonkon, Gabriel, Kyler and Colin achieve. Jafari has received interest in London, has shot the new Andrew Coimbra Autumn 2016 campaign & has shot the latest Nikon commercial. Brandon Keel has worked in New York and Milan, and along with Stephen James, has shot the latest Pure Lifestyle Apparel campaign.

On the acting front, Sam Ashe Arnold has shown at 13 years old that he is the next leading man, having only been in the industry for 16 months. Winter Hymns, a short film he Executive Produced and is a lead actor in, has cleaned up in the festival circuit and is in consideration for an Oscar nomination. He’s also the lead in The Adventure Club, alongside Kim Coates and Billy Zane. John-Alan Slachta just wrapped Season 2 of Nickelodeon’s ‘Make It Pop,’ where he was a series lead for both seasons. Helena-Alexis almost never has a week off from filming and has recently filmed the latest instalment in the xXx (Triple X) movie series with Vin Diesel. We’re also very excited about our emerging leading lady Grace Zanichkowsky, as she is earmarked for series lead roles in two television series’ waiting network approval.

img_6051For any aspiring models, what are some of the assets that will make them the right fit for your agency?

Any aspiring models should have an outgoing PERSONALITY, good body proportions, a great smile and great hair. We also recommend to come see us at one of our open calls, so we can see them in person, talk to their parents and help them learn more about the industry and us as an agency.

Among Angie’s success stories are international supermodel Brianna Barnes, reigning Canadian supermodel of the year, Herieth Paul, and a handsome actor by the name of Ryan Gosling whom she discovered in Cornwall before she was even in business.

For more information on AMTI, please visit www.angiesmodels.com

Ottawa Set to Celebrate Launch of Capital Style Files

September 20, 2016 10:19 am
Ottawa Set to Celebrate Launch of Capital Style Files

All photos supplied by Alexandra Gunn.

Ottawa’s style influencers and industry leaders are being shown the spotlight in the latest Bell Fibe, TV1 series highlighting the capital’s most stylish citizens. The brand new fashion series comes to Ottawa this fall showcasing the city’s most exclusive events, including the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala. Viewers get a behind the scenes look at the wardrobes of Ottawa’s biggest trend setters and how they are working to make Ottawa a fashion capital.

The joint venture between Bell Media and producer Katrina Turnbull explores how Ottawa is more than just a political city. Turnbull says that since the inception of the series and throughout the filming it has been “a great opportunity to elevate Ottawa’s fashion scene. Ottawa is known for being a leader in politics, technology, and the environment, but little is known about the city’s fashion industry. This show has given Ottawa style a platform to showcase local designers, boutiques, and the people working to make Ottawa a fashion capital.”

alex-and-katrina-filming-capital-style-files-2Season 1 of Capital Style Files displays an array of guests including Ottawa Life Magazine’s fashion editor, Alexandra Gunn; creative event planner, Tami Varma; and top fashion blogger, Dominique Baker. The diverse set of guests offers an opportunity to redefine the shortsighted view that Ottawa has a limited fashion scene by displaying some of the guest’s significant achievements and their extensive community engagement.

The first 3 guests documented in Capital Style Files will set the tone for the series and outline some of the arenas in which the style-set work and play.

alex-filming-capital-style-files“These guests weren’t shy about letting us into their lives and their closets. We followed them to the city’s most exclusive events to see how they dress on the town. Later, we go right into their wardrobes. They share how they’ve cultivated their style and exactly where they shop for clothes in Ottawa and abroad” says Turnbull.

The buzz surrounding the series is expected to grow with news that Katrina Turnbull and her Bell team are expected to finalize the filming of Season 1 in the coming months.

“We are filming the second half of Season 1 this fall with an exciting lineup of guests and never-before-seen venues featured on show. Viewers will want to tune in for an exclusive look at Ottawa’s style scene” says Turnbull.

alex-and-katrina-filming-capital-style-filesOttawa’s fashion and arts community is gearing up to celebrate the launch of the series. An official launch party and screening of the scenes from Capital Style Files takes place at the CTV studios in the ByWard Market on Monday, September 19th at 7:00PM. Longtime writer and creator of the fashion parenting site, ouicestchic.com and producer of Capital Style Files, Katrina Turnbull will be the host of the evening and has instructed guests to “bring it” when dressing for the event.

Attending the launch party? Be sure to tweet our Fashion Editor, Alexandra Gunn at @OttawaStyle and tell her what you think of her segment.

For more information on Capital Style Files, please visit: www.capitalstylefiles.com

In Search of Style: Fall Fashion

September 16, 2016 12:07 pm
In Search of Style: Fall Fashion
alex

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexandraGunn. Photo Winter Lotus Photography.

 Fiery in nature, red is a “standout” colour and should be worn when you want to be noticed. A bold red is warm, sensual and immediately pleasing to the eye. Designers warmed up the autumn palate with reds of all hues, showing satin finishes, lacquered separates and even displaying a head-to-toe velvet look that set the runway on fire.

The Pantone Colour Institute’s biannual fashion report highlighted the shade Aurora Red as a staple for Fall/Winter and is expected to dominate upcoming collections in stores. Don’t overthink the shade, just use colour as a way to update your look or to add some sizzle to your fall wardrobe. 

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Kate Spade Small Hemsley Bag $258

Kate Spade Small Hemsley Bag $258

Kate Spade Small Hemsley Bag $258

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chokers: MUST-HAVE ACCESSORY

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Kate Spade Gold Buckle Collar Necklace $228

Kate Spade Gold Buckle Collar Necklace $228

Winners Metal Choker Necklace $19.99

Winners Metal Choker Necklace $19.99

Invention and reinvention are the mothership of fashion, and thanks to an overall ‘90s resurgence, the choker is making a comeback. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a statement choker made from metal, velvet, leather or if it’s embellished with rhinestones, this fall add a little something around your
neck and join the ranks of the fashion set.

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Guess Kielo Faux Fur Vest $148

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Guess Babita Fur Coat $198

Fur, both real and faux, made a strong showing on the runway but it was the use of show-stopping patterns and bold colours that prove that fur is back on the fashion radar. Top marks go to designers Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung and Libertine for offering a twist on the standard style, creating a “look at me” trend that will keep you warm to boot. You don’t need to spend a fortune on this luxe look.

For the cooler evenings opt, for a vest and look at vintage shops for hidden gems. Traditional fur styles and colours are a wise investment as classic looks stand the test of time. An easy way to add fur is through accessories, such as, fur-trimmed gloves or a fur scarf. These small additions will add a touch of glamour to your overall look.

 

Alex’s Fall Essentials

fallfash4Lusomé sleepwear is redefining
comfort in classic sleepwear with
innovative moisture wicking technology
for a dry and good night’s sleep.

seryumLaurel Whole Plant Organics is a
sweetly scented serum with nourishing
plants high in antioxidants, making this
the ideal anti-aging serum and a cult favourite.
You can purchase at ORESTA.

bookOntario sisters Julie Albert and
Lisa Gnat serve up quick, easy
and crowd-pleasing meals in their
latest celebrity-approved cookbook.

The Power of Giving Back: Beyond the Buzz of Boobyball

September 7, 2016 10:57 am
The Power of Giving Back: Beyond the Buzz of Boobyball

Photo by by Valerie Keeler.

A new generation of philanthropists are here and they’re not holding back. A bold and daring campaign has made its way to Ottawa and people are taking notice. Returning for a second year, Boobyball offers a fresh twist on the traditional and sometimes stodgy Ottawa fundraiser all while bringing an unconventional approachability to the topic of breast health.

Boobyball is Rethink Breast Cancer’s principal fundraising event which fosters a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters and brings relevant awareness to the 40s and under crowd. By approaching the cause with style and sass, Rethink has been successful in helping young people be proactive about their health while also attending one of the hottest tickets in town.

The Ottawa Boobyball Committee is made up of over twenty women who hope their efforts help to take some of the fear out of the conversation. Co-chairs Kathleen McGuire and Rachel Kerr are the leading force within the committee and boast of the diverse skill set of the volunteers and how they have become an asset in making an impact across the community.

“We have a really strong team with a wide array of skills. It was easy to place people with tasks that they would knock out of the park. We have event planners, marketing and PR professionals and students, sales specialists, you name it, we have the women for the job!” says Kerr.

Many young women who are starting careers or that have small children, although they belong to a smaller cancer demographic, they too can have lives shaken by the disease.

“When we started planning the inaugural event in Ottawa, someone near and dear to me relapsed with breast cancer. She was originally diagnosed when she was young. It hit home” says McGuire.

Revolutionizing the breast cancer movement takes a “group of smart, fun, creative women. Everyone who’s been a part of it over the past two years have inspired me — they come together with passion to make a difference” says McGuire.

FAll2016_Booby Call outRethink Breast Cancer founder and executive director MJ DeCoteau is proud that Boobyball has become one of the most coveted and high profile fundraising events, raising over $3.8 million dollars since 2002. “After fifteen years the fundraiser has officially become — not just a party —but a movement, with events all across Canada that stimulate breast awareness conversation and engage thousands of young people in the cause.”

As the movement gains momentum, it may be no surprise that last year, when Ottawa kicked off the first annual charity bash, they raised $58,000 dollars for Rethink.

“The funds raised through Boobyball support Rethink Breast Cancer’s work for young people concerned about and affected by breast cancer including education, advocacy, support and resources” says DeCoteau who expects the second year in Ottawa to be a sold-out success.

Style Made Effortless: Summer Guidelines and Power Dressing for Work

July 19, 2016 11:10 am
Style Made Effortless: Summer Guidelines and Power Dressing for Work

Photo by Valerie Keeler. Hair by Stefania Capovilla, Soceity Salon. Makeup by Christina Crosier. 

1. Don’t be afraid to add prints Be bold and master the office-appropriate pattern play. Floral prints and stripes are a safe bet for most work environments, especially when you stick to traditional suiting colours (black, white, and navy). Try adding a floral print blazer or blouse to your standard office look or try on this look for casual Fridays.

page15_Alex_Girlboss Style 32. Reach for White For summer, stock your work wardrobe with standout white pieces. Think of them as fresher versions of your classic navy and black favourites. If you’re worried about stains, wear white as an easily removable separate — like a cardigan or vest.

page15_Alex_Girlboss Style 53. Define your #Girlboss Style The look of the working wardrobe has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years from stuffy skirtsuits to a more flexible and fashion forward dress code. The modern executive style should be cool and commanding. In lieu of a traditional suit, the new power dressing is all about a mixing and matching separates to create a silhouette that says ‘stature’.

Read Between the Lines

Whether they’re vertical, horizontal, or a mix-match of both, stripes are the new-season style. Rare was the designer who didn’t send some kind of super stripe down the catwalk, but my top marks go to Missoni, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, who experimented with layered shades, bold stripes and even perfected the classic stripe. It’s the flexibility of the stripe that lies behind this current moment in the sun. We are all used to the traditional black or blue and white stripe which were strictly vertical or lateral and uniform in width. But in the Spring/Summer shows, designers incorporated stripes into the designs of two-piece suits and even evening attire. For the bold at heart, try mixing stripes of different sizes by sticking to the same colour palette. For simplicity’s sake, take a cue from designers this season and colour between the lines.

Flip through the slideshow below to see Alex’s suggestions for hot new clothes and accessories:


 

OLM_1372 By Valerie Keeler Photography

Photo by Valerie Keeler.

Ask Alex: Double Duty

Q: What can I wear to the office on Friday that will also transition into an evening outfit, so I can join my friends for drinks (or go on a date) without having to head home first?

A: Friday night is the best time to meet up with friends or meet interesting new professionals like yourself after work. By simply bringing a few different accessories to work, you can switch out your office look for a simply sweet date look. For the office, pair a date-night dress with a blazer, a pair of flats and classic jewelry. When the clock strikes 5, switch your flats for heels, add a statement necklace or earrings and grab a cocktail!

complete b vital hydration face maskSummer Beauty Quick Fixes

  • Kat Burki Complete B Vital Hydration Face Mask is a highly-effective face mask specifically formulated for skin in need of detoxification and deep nutrient hydration.
  • Too much sun? SIBU Sea Berry Therapy is a potent first-aid treatment for scrapes and minor burns. sibu.com
  • Skip the salon and get an AMOPE Pedi Perfect for easy shower touch ups. amope.ca $79.99

Raising the Barre

July 14, 2016 10:57 am
Raising the Barre

If you’ve ever done a fitness challenge, you know how daunting just starting can be. All you can think about is just how long 30 days can feel and whether you’ll actually be able to stick with the process and produce the results that got you interested in the challenge in the first place.

BRIT_PREG_HEART_960x960It was an honour to be selected as a brand ambassador for The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge for the month of June. What got me interested in participating was knowing how good a few weeks at the barre feels. A class at the barre is all about fine tuning. With all of the hard hitting workouts on the market, there is often the assumption that intensity, heavier weight and speed is key to a good workout. In most cases, that’s a fair assumption. However, if you’ve plateaued in your workout or are restricted due to pregnancy, age, or injury, you’ll appreciated the ever-evolving low-impact classes.

If you workout often or simply can’t muster up the energy to make it to the gym because it is so boring (we’ve all thought this at one point), then you’ll appreciate the focus on alignment and strength while incorporating the best benefits from the disciplines of Pilates, yoga and orthopedic exercise. Simply put, these disciplines combined offer an intrinsic focus on improving your performance at any fitness level without boring repetitions. TDM classes are upbeat (you’ll hear a range of music from hip hop to show tunes) and there is a surprising bond amongst the classmates. Maybe it’s because everyone is working at their own speed or that you’re often so focused on the tip and tuck that you won’t want to break concentration. It’s also relaxing to be present and focused on nothing else but your well-being for that short 60 minutes. This is especially important for Moms who rightfully deserve a portion of the day dedicated to themselves. Don’t worry about childcare. TDM has that covered and if you’re a monthly member, childcare is included.

At the end of the 30-day challenge, I noticed a big improvement in that lower abdomen ‘seat-belt’ area and how the simple full body fine-tuning actually helped to improve my strength and performance. Once you feel like you’re perfecting the moves, step it up with a Saturday Beyoncé Dance class.

Dailey Method Studio Shoot 2016-Complete Collection-0161What You Need To Know

1. Don’t Be a Hero – start with the lighter weights and take it easy for the first few classes. Starting slow will ensure that you can handle the recommended three classes a week. It doesn’t matter how fit you are – you’re going to be stiff.

2. Focus on Form – to get the best results, you need to take the time to do the moves correctly and that means that you’ll need to sacrifice the repetitions to ensure that you’re doing it right. It takes a few classes to really start feeling like you’ve got the hang of things, but once you do, you’ll start to feel how the small movements really work all the muscles you never knew you had.

3. Pick a Favourite – there are so many great instructors at The Dailey Method, but it’s human to pick favourites and that’s a good thing. Make the effort to find an instructor who makes you want to perfect your form and push you harder. I always like an instructor who is hands on and will walk around the room and correct improper form. I want to get it right (and right away).

For more information on The Dailey Method, visit thedaileymethod.com/studios/ottawa/overview/.

Glitzy Governor General Awards Gala 2016

June 14, 2016 10:12 am
Glitzy Governor General Awards Gala 2016

On June 11, The National Arts Centre played host to the 24th Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala (GGPAA), a star studded evening full of glitz and glam in celebration of an extraordinary group of Canadian artists.

The prestigious tribute was led by returning host, actor Colm Feore and the laureates sat front and center in the mezzanine balcony. During the gala show, friends, family and colleagues of the laureates voiced their praises and the crowd of 2,000 gave numerous standing ovations to those receiving top honours.

Governor General David Johnston summarized the evening best when he took to the podium to say “the performing arts are a great way to tell the story of Canada.”

Ahead of the gala show, the red carpet lit up with a swarm of photographers hoping to catch some of Canada’s cultural community, style and media celebrities.

Style maven Suzanne Rogers arrived to the gala wearing a custom designed gown by Canadian designer Greta Constantine, Jessica Mulroney wore a strapless gown by Erdem and Suzanne Timmins wore a graphic print Emilio Pucci gown. Editor-in-Chief of Zoomer Magazine’s Suzanne Boyd wore a Zuhair Murad gown, political reporter Mercedes Stephenson wore a shimmering gold Aidan Mattox gown from Canadian company Rent Frock Repeat and singer Chantal Kreviazuk opted for menswear on the red carpet with a structured white blazer.

An obvious fit for Fashion Partner of the glamourous gala was The Hudson’s Bay Company. Liz Rodbell, President of The Hudson’s Bay was in attendance wearing a sleek gown from The Room at HBC. Rodbell, who has spent her entire career in fashion, said the gala was a natural fit to partner with. “Hudson’s Bay is proud to be the exclusive fashion partner of the GGPAA’s.  As with any event, fashion plays an important role. It helps to set the tone for the evening and it provides a perfect opportunity for attendees to show off their personal sense of style. I saw so many great looks throughout the evening – Ottawa has great style!”

The 2016 laureates of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards were:

  • Susan Aglukark- Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
  • Michael Bublé- National Arts Centre Award
  • Marie Chouinard- Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
  • Ben Heppner- Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
  • John D McKellar- Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts
  • Robert Lantos- Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award
  • Suzanne Lebeau- Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

Created in 1992 by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn (1934–2002), then Governor General of Canada, and his wife Gerda, these awards are the ultimate recognition of Canadians whose accomplishments have inspired and enriched the cultural life of our country and showcased Canadian talent abroad.

Each year, five Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are presented for outstanding achievement in the fields of theatre, dance, classical music, popular music, radio and television broadcasting, and film. Each award is accompanied by a $25,000 cash prize contributed by the Canada Council for the Arts, and a commemorative medallion.

Previous Galas have featured appearances by such stars as Measha Brueggergosman, Blue Rodeo, Diane Dufresne, Colm Feore, The Guess Who, Angela Hewitt, Guy Nadon, Michel Pagliaro, Christopher Plummer, Walter Boudreau, Serena Ryder, Martin Short, Veronica Tennant and Bryan Adams.

For more information on the GGPAA, please visit ggpaa.ca.

OAG’s Sold Out Le pARTy Exceeds Fundraising Goal

June 10, 2016 4:04 pm
OAG’s Sold Out Le pARTy Exceeds Fundraising Goal

All photos by Simon Stiles. 

Art lovers, artists and Ottawa’s creative authority flocked to the Ottawa Art Gallery for its 20th anniversary fundraising auction.

Sold out in advance, Le pARTy was buzzing with close to 500 people eyeing up the bidding competition for the 65 original artworks from emerging and established artists. The auction showcased a variety of media including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, new media and installation.

Le pARTy is the gallery’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Marking their 20th anniversary and last year at Arts Court, OAG staff joyfully exceeded their fundraising goal, raising $108,000. The funds raised go to support the gallery’s exhibition and educational programming needs. Unlike many fundraising art auctions, Le pARTy returns 40 per cent of the sale price of each work back to the artist.

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A side note to the bidding action was the notable elements of food and fashion. Throughout the evening, Ottawa’s culinary artists from the city’s top eateries offered several courses of flavourful hors d’oeuvres and an array of cocktails were served from the open bar. Fashion and art collided with creative and style enthusiasts, bloggers and the fashionably cultivated who dressed to impress. If there was any doubt that Ottawa has an expansive art and fashion scene, there shouldn’t be now. Part of the social season of fundraising events, Le pARTy is another opportunity for the fashion community to come together to support a complimentary realm.

Le pARTy 2016 is the last auction to be held at Arts Court before the OAG opens the doors to its expanded gallery next door in 2017. Soon to be located at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, the OAG expansion coincides with the revitalization of Ottawa’s downtown which includes the reconstruction of Rideau Street, the expansion of the Rideau Centre and construction of the new O-Train Confederation Line light-rail transit project.

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For more information on The Ottawa Art Gallery and Le pARTy, please visit ottawaartgallery.ca.

Society Salon Celebrates Grand Opening

June 9, 2016 2:20 pm
Society Salon Celebrates Grand Opening

The newest blow dry bar and salon to come to downtown Ottawa celebrated their grand opening in front of city officials, longstanding clientele and friends on Tuesday.

Standing outside the Sparks Street location, Society Salon owner Stefania Capovilla unveiled the new blow dry bar featuring two blow dry chairs and three cut a colour chairs. Sketched by local artist Noah Venkatarangam, the blow dry bar menu features four signature Ottawa- inspired styles to choose from. Looking for silky, straight and smooth? Ask for a the Centretown Sleek. To achieve undone curls, ask for Westboro Beach Waves and when the red carpet calls, ask for the Hilly-wood.

Society Blow Dry Menu

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Stefania is sought after by a mix of government workers and high profile officials. You only need to look to her wall of media coverage to see that her years of styling have include political elites of all stripes from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Conveniently located near Parliament Hill, Society Salon is now welcoming clients from across the nation’s capital to join the roster of well-coiffed clientele. “My clientele has been expanding over the past five years and I wanted to bring my services closer to them as well as provide a much needed blow dry bar to the area,” said Stefania.  “Many of my clients attend work related receptions on the regular or they are simply pressed for time, which is where the blow dry bar comes in. We’ve already seen such a positive reception from the new blow dry bar and I’m certain that new clientele will see the value in the occasional blow dry when we are so accessible.”

When deciding to move closSketch Artist Noah and Stefaniaer to the Hill, location was paramount and it was serendipitous that Esthetics by Lucie was looking for a tenant to share the 1120 square foot space. Lucie Rosano, owner of Esthetics by Lucie, is well known for her beauty bar services including waxing, a new brow bar and express shellac manicure services.

“I saw an opportunity to team up with Esthetics by Lucie and bring Society Salon to the convenience of downtown,” said Stefania. “Lucie has become a mentor to me. She has been in the business for over 34 years and it was obvious that our businesses would be a perfect fit to co-exist in the same space. We’re the one stop shop for all beauty needs. Sometimes I will book a client to come in to get highlights and a cut and then she will head over to see Lucie for a shellac manicure. Providing styling services to my clients has always been my specialty, but working alongside an esthetics studio allows my clients to gain easy access to other services as well.”

Guests enjoyed sugary sweets, champagne and snacks as they congratulated Stefania and Lucie while taking part in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was in attendance to officiate the ribbon cutting and gave the small business owners an official letter to mark the occasion.

For more information about Society Salon, please visit SocietySalonOttawa.com.

The Wellness Mom Workout – Q&A with Fitness Chameleon Kate Laird

May 30, 2016 3:12 pm
The Wellness Mom Workout – Q&A with Fitness Chameleon Kate Laird

Photos courtesy of Kate Laird. 

This isn’t your average fitness class. When you first walk in, you might be a bit taken aback by all the kids running around as the super-powered moms partake in CrossFit-like activity. Medicine balls, rowing machines and weights are just a few of the tools that will get your back into those pre-baby jeans and make you feel connected and empowered by all the other people in the class who are going through the same life changes as you are.

I first heard about Mom & Baby fitness from a close friend who, at the time, had two kids under two and was seeing great results from the class. I was told to bring snacks, toys and my runners. My first class was a striking reminder that I hadn’t visited a gym in a while and that if I wanted to get my energy levels back up, I needed to put in the time. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy the classes as much as I did. All of the exercises have different levels of intensity based on your ability, and of course, IMG_0027doctor’s orders. There were new moms with weeks old babies and moms who had all three kids in tow to attend the class. It was welcoming and surprisingly enjoyable.

If you are a new mom, it will take time to settle in to your new routine, but you will soon realize that the routine requires time for yourself as well. For the moms who are looking to find a combination of ‘you’ time and baby time – look no further.

Long-time fitness chameleon Kate Laird opens up about her fitness journey, creating a challenging and motivating environment in her Mom & Baby classes and how she became a better fitness instructor after having children.

Alexandra Gunn: Kate, you’ve been working within the Ottawa fitness community for years now. Tell me a bit about your fitness journey. 

Kate Laird:  As I was graduating from university, I realized that I was interested in helping people get healthier and feel good about their bodies. Fitness had been a big part of my life for years, so I started tackling a variety of fitness certifications. I began working in the little gym that used to be at the Westgate Mall, then moved to Dovercourt where I stayed for several years and enjoyed teaching everything from strength training, yoga, older adults, pre and post natal, aquafit and personal training. I left to manage and teach at Greenboro Community Centre, and then I felt a big pull to move back towards more yoga.  Currently, I’m teaching at Pure Yoga, Yogatown and I’m also teaching lunchtime classes in people’s offices.  I run a bootcamp for moms twice a week at Modus CrossFit in Westboro, as well as lunch time classes in offices around the community. I continue to feel so lucky that I’ve chosen a career that I’m so passionate about!

How did your most recent endeavor, pre and post natal fitness coaching, come about?

Well I started teaching Pre/Post natal back at Dovercourt eight years ago when I was pregnant for the first time. Having a baby is such a special time in a woman’s life and teaching this group was amazing. I strive to teach woman to be gentler with their bodies when they are pregnant and to move and stretch in a way that will lead to a more comfortable pregnancy and easier delivery. In post natal classes, I love the information sharing and community building that happens while we move back towards our pre pregnancy shape.

Why is it so difficult to get back into a fitness routine post natal? How do your classes differentiate from the typical fitness class?  

As moms, we tend to put everything and everyone ahead of ourselves and with a new baby to care for (and often older siblings as well), it can be hard to place ourselves high enough on the priority list. I remember being very overwhelmed with my first baby. Finally, I committed to 15 minutes per day of strength training, a 45-
minute walk and some stretching at bedtime. After the first few weeks, that 15 minutes quickly grew until I was back in my old pre-baby routine. My IMG_1817classes are different from other Mom and Baby classes for two reasons: Number one – this is a mommy focused class. This is your time!  Number two – we welcome all ages of little ones and any and all children that you have in your care can come. Another bonus is that this is a great way for moms to stay in shape through the summer when the kids are home for summer holidays!

What can a mother expect at one of your classes? What does she need to bring?

In my classes, a mom can expect a safe, balanced and challenging workout.  There is a strong emphasis on full body movements, large muscle groups and good form.  It’s safe for all levels and we can discuss and accommodate you with any pelvic floor concerns. You can expect a relaxed environment that you can tend to your little ones as needed.  During the workout, the babies watch and are often held by me and the toddlers and preschoolers play, explore and sometimes join the workout. It’s a wonderful opportunity for unstructured playtime!  All you need to bring is water and a few snacks and toys for the little ones.

What sort of results can the women expect? What is the goal of the session?

The number one goal for the session is to place an importance on self care. We can only take care of everyone else when we are taking care of ourselves. I cannot stress this enough. As a working, single mom with two young kids, I can tell you that this is key. We need to stop feeling guilty about it and realize that we are happier, calmer, more energetic and function better when sleep deprived if we can make this time for ourselves. Although I don’t place lots of emphasis on “results” because I don’t like being overly focused on weight loss, the results that most people experience are a more toned body, and your shape will begin to move back to where you were pre-pregnancy. I’ve even heard from many moms over the years, that after a session or two they feel like they are in better shape than they were before they had kids!

As a mother yourself, what sort of impact has fitness had on your wellbeing?

I learned early on that the key to functioning on next to no sleep was exercise.  My babies were not good sleepers. On the days that I didn’t make it to the gym that’s when I felt like I couldn’t cope. Exercise and feeding my body right gives me patience when I need it, energy (I still rarely have time for more than 5-6 hours of sleep) and I feel good about myself.IMG_0041

What do you love most about teaching Mom & Baby fitness?

Moms are amazing. It’s a very special group to be around. It’s very rewarding watching moms make time for themselves and are enjoying the changes that follow. Also, I really love when I get to hold the babies!

What goals do you have for your business in the next five or 10 years?

I would love to have a team offering what I offer.  My dream would be to have a team running this style of Mom classes and going into offices for lunch time workouts.

What would you like to say to the women who have babies and are hesitant to make the time for themselves to workout? 

Make the time!  If you can’t do it for you, do it for everyone in your life that you take care of. Do it because you’re setting a wonderful example for your little ones.  I often think, what are we teaching our little boys when moms put themselves last?  What are we teaching our little girls? They become what we demonstrate, so it’s incredibly important to show them that Moms don’t come last in the family.

Ready to workout? Register for Mom & Baby Fitness: clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home.

You can follow Kate on Twitter: @kateyogafit.

Boobyball Returns to Ottawa

May 26, 2016 2:24 pm
Boobyball Returns to Ottawa

Get ready to mark your calendars Ottawa!

Ottawa’s Boobyball Committee was at Inside Out Studio in Westboro to announce the date of Ottawa’s 2nd annual Rethink Breast Cancer fundraiser. Co-Owner Janine Goulet donated her time to instruct a class at the studio, allowing the Ottawa Boobyball team to raise $266 for Rethink Breast Cancer.

The Bobbyball team taking a class from Janine Goulet

The Bobbyball team taking a class from Janine Goulet

During the class, the Ottawa Boobyball Committee announced the fundraiser date. Ottawa’s Boobyball will be held on Friday, October 28. Other cities across Canada include Toronto whose fundraiser will be on October 14, Winnipeg on October 22 and Calgary on October 27.

Ottawa’s CTV Morning host Melissa Lamb was selected to be the fundraiser’s honorary chair.

This year, the Boobyball fundraiser to benefit Rethink Breast Cancer will take place at Lago Restaurant and Bar. At the event, guests will enjoy drinks, dancing and unique activations. Over 400 socially-connected young professionals are expected to mark the second year as another sold out event. Ottawa’s biggest influencers and trend-setters in the media and online community are expected to be in attendance.

Last year, Ottawa kicked off the first annual event raising $58,000 dollars for Rethink. The fundraiser theme for this year has yet to be announced. Previous years’ themes include a space theme, a varsity theme and a circus theme.

Bobbyball at Inside Out Studio

Bobbyball at Inside Out Studio

Tickets are expected to go on sale in July. All proceeds from this year’s event will go directly to Rethink Breast Cancer’s mission to empower young people worldwide who are concerned about and affected by breast cancer.

To learn more about Rethink Breast Cancer, please visit rethinkbreastcancer.com.
For more information on Boobyball, please visit boobyball.rethinkbreastcancer.com.

Pour A Cold One: CRAFT Beer Market Opens in Lansdowne Park

May 12, 2016 10:28 am
Pour A Cold One: CRAFT Beer Market Opens in Lansdowne Park

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Gunn.

Could it be a coincidence that CRAFT Beer Market opens its doors on one of the hotter days this spring? Likely, but there couldn’t be a better excuse to head to Lansdowne Park to taste test one (or two) of their 100 plus beers on tap.

True to its name, CRAFT has an extensive offering of local, North American and European brews. You just need to walk by the Bank Street custom built keg room windows to see the impressive lineup.

DSCN0019CRAFT isn’t likely to fall flat either. With their state of the art draft system (twinned, thinner than average, draft lines to maintain the freshness of the beer) and an impressively diverse menu (yes, they have gluten free, lactose free and vegetarian options), including items like fast food sushi and beer can chicken, it won’t be long before they’re known for offering more than just great craft beer.

Did I mention gluten free beer? They’ve got that too.

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Corporate Chef Paul McGreevy has created a menu billed as “New North American Classic Cuisine”. “These are timeless comfort dishes and traditional pub favourites mixed with modern fare and innovative combinations,” says McGreevy. “We pride ourselves on making all of our dishes in house from scratch and work with local producers and farmers as much as possible to serve only the freshest and most sustainable ingredients available.”

Ottawa is CRAFT’s first foray into eastern Canada after opening in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. “We’ve been keeping our eye on the Ontario market for a couple of years and see so much potential for a concept like ours,” says PJ L’Heureux, President and Founder of CRAFT Beer Market. “There are a lot of great things happening in the Ontario craft beer community and we are excited to help spread the word and be part of such a great community.”

When you pair craft beer, great food and a thoughtfully designed room, you have the formula that CRAFT has been using to achieve success in western Canada and perhaps, eastern Canada as well.

CRAFT opens its doors to the public on Thursday, May 12th.

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