Thursday, December 27, 2012

Designer profile: Vero Diaz

A lot has happened in the last few days. Christmas, Christmas Eve, posadas and parties, to name just a few. Among all the festivities, I somehow managed to find some time to sit down and interview Vero Diaz, a local Yucateca designer. The interview is for an upcoming project that I can't share just yet, but I thought I'd give you all a sneak peak into this Mexican designer's collection, store and life.

Vero has had fashion running through her veins since she was just a little girl and started designing her friends dresses for their infamous quinceaƱera parties. (Quinceanera is a latin girl's fifteenth birthday, similiar to the western sweet 16 idea, but much, much larger and more fabulous) 

From there, its been a steady upward road to success for Vero. Her pieces have moved from her garage to her very own boutique, have been featured in various magazines throughout the country and she even won 3rd place in Elle Mexico's design contest in 2012 (and will be back with a bang this year)

To be perfectly honest I was pretty nervous about this interview, with the language barrier and all. My Spanish is far from perfect, and I had no idea what Vero's  level of English was like, but she immediately put me at ease when she complimented me on how good my Spanish was, and flawlessly jumped between English and Spanish without missing a beat. 

2 hours, many photos and 4 pages of notes in Spanglish later, our interview came to a close. I can't wait to share with you all the rest of the interview, but in the meantime here are a few pictures to tide you over. 

THE dress from the Elle Mexico competition 

Overall, Vero was much more down to earth, modest and ambitious than I ever expected. Since she is such a modern gal you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The next Yucateca designers I will be featuring are the fabulous jewelery of Bicha & Lola! Stay tuned for necklaces, bracelets and rings all handmade out of silver that are to die for!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Spanish Style

Over the next few posts I will be highlighting some amazing local (fashion) talent here in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Although I'm on vacation, following fashion is never actually work and I really want to share all of the cool things I am seeing/experiencing here with you all. Vacation is actually the best time to blog because I can finally do it at my own liberty, not when I have just 5 minutes free because I happen to not be studying,working, at school or sleeping.

Fashion here in Mexico both baffles and amazes me. They don't really have 4 distinct seasons here like we do in Canada, yet there are still "summer" and "winter" clothes. I thought I could head down south with merely a few pairs of shorts, sun dresses and tanks and be good to go. Boy, was I ever wrong. (Savour that because I don't say it very often!) Ya it is lovely during the day here, but at night, it is a whole other ball game. It gets down to about 15 in the evenings (which I know might not seem cold to you guys, but when its 30+ during the day, trust me it is) and it is a completely different kind of cold than in Ottawa. Its a humid cold here that seeps its way deep into your bones and leaves you with quite the chill. Needless to say, I did not come prepared.

In the evenings a sweater is defintley required, and probably pants as well. I thought the ladies down here were nuts for wearing pantyhose, I mean its Mexico! Let me tell you, yesterday I had to run out and buy a pair because in the evening I was quite literally freezing my butt off.  The largest differentiator between winter and summer attire here are the colours. Summer features the fluorescents, brights and bolds, while winter season is reserved for the deep and dark hues. So maybe you will use the same item for both seasons, just the shades may change.

Stay tuned for my first feature on local designer Vero Diaz, who I had the pleasure of interviewing today in her boutique.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Eternal Optimist's Gift Giving Guide

Alright people, we are mere DAYS away from Christmas. I love the Christmas season, it really IS the most wonderful time of the year and start playing my Christmas music as soon as possible. I mean, we only have this one month out of 12 to enjoy it, so yea sometimes its on overdrive.

So, as a self proclaimed fashionista, or at the very least, a fashion lover, what is on my gift giving/wish list guide for the Christmas of 2012?

Infinity Scarf 
I have been coveting an infinity scarf for quite some time now. They are one of the few items that look equally as comfortable as they are stylish. They also carry the advantage of no stringy ends to deal with or get caught in things. Yes, I am clumsy, so yes, those are things I have to factor in.

Riding Boots 
I adore riding boots and am dying for a two-toned pair. They are everywhere these days, therefore it is quite easy to find one within your budget. They can be worn with almost anything, and are a perfect boot for walking around town. 

  iPhone case
I think it is safe to say that Apple has pretty much taken over the world. Get the fashion lover in your life a stylish cover for her phone that will turn her technological device into her best fashion accessory.

   Fur vest
You all know by now I feel about (faux) fur: it is definitely this season's must have item. Get your loved one a fur vest or stool and they will stay fashionable and warm over the winter. 

Well friends, I meant to get this out a lot earlier this month, but due to exams, work and just life getting in the way, I wasn't able to get to it until now. If you are on the ball then you probably have all your gifts picked out, so then maybe consider this a boxing day shopping guide. 

Happy holidays & happy gift shopping/giving! 

What is on your Christmas wish list this year? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Adios Ottawa!

Travelling sure ain't what it used to be...

I am currently in the Ottawa Airport, awaiting my early morning flight to Cancun, Mexico. After working and having my last exam, along with doing all the other running around and errands I had to before leaving, today (yesterday?) has been a lonnnnng day. I feel like I have the right to still call it today seeing how I haven't been to sleep yet.

Amongst my packing, planning and preparing, I got to thinking about how we travel. I have always been fascinated by the idea of travel, I mean you literally spend just a few short hours on a plane and then poof! You are in some new, exotic place. I love it. I love the sense of adventure, spontaneity, not knowing what awaits you, all that jazz. I feel like travel has gotten a bit, well boring lately. Don't get me wrong, I am still happy as a clam to grab my bags and go...but the rustic appeal is gone. We still have access to all the same resources as we would at home. While I'm saying my goodbye to my dad he just leaves it at "Ya text me, or send me a Facebook message, or email or whatever." Even though I am travelling to a whole other country I still have access to (almost) everything I would back home, which yes is convenient, and to be quite honest I probably couldn't, or wouldn't want to survive completely without it, but I do feel it kind of takes away the exoticness and mystery of world travel.

Meh, just some early morning musings. Maybe I need some sleep...but how can I sleep when there is a warm beach in my so, so, so near future?

Although I'll be gone, I yes will have access to internet and continue blogging. Since I am on vacation and have literally zero school work to be done (or to feel guilty about not doing) I have free reign to blog, rant and rave as much as I want or can. So, stay tuned for some Mexican fashion, fun and hopefully, sun.
P.S Here is a sneak peek into my carry on (we are hitting the beach right after I land, I need at LEAST a base of a tan before I blind everyone in Mexico with the glare of my horribly white skin).  One of the many things I am looking forward to over the holidays is having time to actually read for pleasure. During the school year I don't let myself read for pleasure, I mean I would get NO studying done. So, as of today I am at liberty to read not for school, but just for myself and my current book of choice is The Life of Pi. I read it once when it first came out years ago, but hardly remember a thing and feel like its a must re-read before seeing the movie.

What are you guys reading, thinking, doing this holiday season?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How-to Guide: Fur

If you have been on PinterestFacebook or even just outside of your house lately, you are probably well aware that the fur vest has been a huge trend throughout this fall/winter season. And if you are anything like myself, you have been coveting one as well.

The problem is, seeing these trends look fabulous on someone else is one thing, but what I (and I think all of you ladies as well) want to know is...ok, that is all fine and dandy but how would this work on ME?

I am a pear shape. There, I said it. I have a love/hate relationship with this fact, but I have (somewhat) come to terms with it. This means that my lower half is significantly larger than my upper body (think of a pear) and I carry most of my weight below my waist. I have learned over the years that the looks that work best for me are ones that highlight my tiny waist.

Now, that is why this trend scared me. A lot. Love the look, but worried that I would look like a round hairball that came out of a Garfield sized cat's throat. (Visualize this please, it ain't pretty!) This trend did all the wrong things for me, it added bulk to the last place that I needed it.

Did this stop me from lusting over a fur vest? Of course not. Did I buy one? Of course not. What I DID do was find an alternative that actually worked for my body shape.

Ladies, meet the fur scarf. This beauty gives the look of the fur vest without adding the volume in all the wrong places. I love this take on this trend because not only is it a wearable version for pear shapes, but for someone like myself who gets the chills when the house is below 24 degrees Celsius, the fur at the neck help keep you toasty no matter where you are. I got this fur scarf at RW&CO on a recent shopping trip with my mom (more to come on what else I picked up there later on so stay tuned!)

A few pics of how I did this trend. Since the fur scarf was such a statement piece I paired it with a simple cotton long sleeved tee, some leggings with leather like detail, kick ass over the knee black boots and simple gold/pearl combination jewelery.

If you are lucky enough to not be pear shaped and want to give the vest style a try, here is one I quite enjoy from Club Monaco.

***I would also like to add that when I talk fur, I clearly am talking faux! Real fur is luscious and luxurious, but I don't support harming animals in any way, shape or form. No critters will ever be harmed in the making of my closet or blog :)

What are some trends that you have altered to fit your body shape? 
What is your take on the fur trend?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Starting December off with a bang

Can you guys BELIEVE it is already December? I feel like I just blinked, fall was over, and now it is the holly jolly holiday season. Not that I am complaining, I am a HUGE fan of the Christmas season, love everything associated with it and am so pleased that it is now (somewhat) socially acceptable to go all out on the holiday cheer.
                                On our way out to start the day!

To celebrate the beginning of this joyous month, Saturday, December 1st was a busy, busy day full of activities and events. The boyfriend is here visiting and we started off our day by meeting up with the lovely ladies of R.T Estilo, Tiffany and Roohneet, for an interview for The Black Sheep Fashion. Tiffany and Roohneet are best friends who are also business partners. They have their very own line of fabulous statement jewellery here in Ottawa. I walked away with a great interview in the bag, met two fantastic fashionistas and even got some Christmas shopping done. Other than that, my lips are sealed until the 15th of this month when the new issue of the Black Sheep Fashion comes out, so check it out for more on my afternoon with R.T Estilo.
Next up was the Berdy Elegance event at the Lord Elgin Hotel in downtown Ottawa. I heard about this event through my friend Grace Mayele and it couldn't of been better timing. Berdy Elegance does affordable custom suits and shirts, among other things, for men. Since the boyfriend was visiting, this was the perfect opportunity to take him to a fashion event that was actually tailored (quite literally) to him and not to women!  We also walked away from there with some Christmas shopping done. (P.S I am totally loving that about 90% of my gifts thus far are bought local.)

Afterwards we braved the cold for a little "date" in between events. We headed to the theatre in hopes of catching Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, but were too late ("Mexican" time), so we opted for Anna Karenina instead. I may be biased since I am a huge fan of Kiera Knightley's, but between her and the gorgeous imagery of old world Russia, I thought the film was well done. My boyfriend pretty much snoozed through the whole thing and then said he didn't really like the movie. Typical.

We ended the fun filled day with the viens avec moi 1st year anniversary party that also doubled as Carolynn Lacasse's Courage bracelet debut. Check out my previous blog post detailing her project here. It was shamefully my first time at viens avec moi (I've been dying to go for ages, just that Wellington West is SO far from Orleans) and was thrilled to finally have the chance to do so and for a good cause. The boutique is unlike anything I have ever seen before (and that is a good thing). It is in this beautiful old house with the most delightful decorative designs. The event actually felt more like you were at a hip house party rubbing shoulders with Ottawa's most fashionable and fabulous, than at a store. Wine was flowing, tar tar was being eaten and Courage bracelets were being snapped up. My boyfriend was extremely envious of all the other men he spotted sipping on beer, rather than the wine he had in his hand, and when we finally asked where this sacred beer was, to his shock and surprise it was out on the back porch. Being Mexican, he couldn't get over how we are able to just stick the beer outside to chill it and had to snap a picture to send to all his friends back home. I'm pretty sure that was the first (and only) feature he liked about Canada's cold temperatures.

                       The most beautiful chandelier to ever exist.

                   Carolynn with her charming Courage bracelets. 

With such an exhausting Saturday behind us, today was the laziest of Sundays and the only efforts made in any way shape or form were to put up the Christmas tree in my house.
What did you guys do to stay fashionable this first weekend of December?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Courageous Carolynn

I love supporting my friends. I don't know about you guys but, I admire the initiative, time and passion it takes to start something. Its a risky business being an entrepreneur and its not made for the weak of heart. The not for profit route is an even steeper uphill battle. When my friends are doing amazing things for great causes, it is just that much easier to support their efforts. Today I want to spread the word to you all about my friend Carolynn and what she's contributing to make this world a better place.

Carolynn is the creator and designer of the Courage bracelet, a new piece of jewellery that I am sure will not only be on trend but has a purpose. She is doing something that I have never really seen done before. She is donating not 25, not 50 but 100% of funds from her bracelet to her cause (Cancer research and care.) Now THAT is something I can get behind. I like to consider myself a sympathetic person who is well aware that our world is less than perfect and I like to help out any possible way I can, but I am finding that most of these types of products these days are more about marketing than anything and very little of the proceeds go to the actual cause at hand, and I find this heartbreaking. Not only is it not doing justice to the cause they are supposed to be supporting, but it creates a skeptic in all of us, constantly wondering which projects are actually legit.
                                          Carolynn Lacasse

Carolynn's Courage bracelet leaves no room for doubt. Every single penny made goes straight to the cause, and all of the materials and labour were by donation. This is a cause I am positive you will not regret supporting. Almost everyone knows someone who has been touched or affected by cancer, my own grandmother passed away from it many years ago, and at that time I am pretty sure there weren't any projects like this one.

                                  The two models of the bracelet 

You can find out more at the Courage website, or their Facebook page Courage Facebook Page, or even pick up your own at viens avec moi in the heart of Ottawa.

Stay tuned to the Eternal Optimist for updates on Carolynn's amazing project.

Monday, November 26, 2012

True Bijoux Shines Through: Glitterati Holiday Party

Wednesday, November 21 was a crazy day for this blogger. I had class, a group meeting, catching up with a dear friend who was only in Ottawa for 2 days, picking up the boyfriend at the airport, and last but most certainly not least, True Bijoux's holiday Christmas party.

I had class until 7pm, as I do everyday, so picking out an outfit that I could wear to this large variety of activities was quite the challenge. I opted for comfortable casual chic with a pair of black leggings, over the knee boots, a flirty floral blouse and rose gold accessories. The boots are from Aldo, the blouse from Jacob and the earrings, of course, from True Bijoux.
                             Claudine with her new Bijoux!

                                   Noah and Mandy

Since I had so much to do in such a short time, I figured kill two birds with one stone and invite my visiting friend, Claudine, to attend the True Bijoux holiday party with me. I scooted down to 206 Sparks street immediately after my last class to meet up with her and catch the last hour of the party. Every time I walk into True Bijoux, I am blown away. Whether it is byy its sheer size, its sweet staff or by the most obvious, their spectacular jewels, their is always something spectacular there. This time, what I was blown away by was the fabulousness of their event. Not only were there a multitude of jewels (to be expected), there was also a variety of attendees (yes both women AND men), delectable snacks (I hadn't even eaten dinner because I was in class so a large thank you to True Bijoux for feeding me!), wine was flowing, and there was even a pop up makeup station from Murale!
Linsday must have read my mind because I was heading to the airport directly after the party to pick up the boyfriend and a makeup touchup was not only desired but very necessary. I previously featured True Bijoux in an article for The Black Sheep Fashion and when I did my interview with Lindsay, my boyfriend happened to be visiting as well, and accompanied me to the interview. The sweet thing she is, she even sent me away with a few extra cupcakes to bring him at the airport since he had been travelling all day. If he wasn't happy to see me at least he was warmly greeted by Lindsay's delicious cupcakes!
Overall, the party was a huge success. It was scheduled to end at 8pm but the party was rocking until at least 9. It definitely set the bar high for all of the other holiday parties to come!

What kind of holiday parties do you have to look forward to this year?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fabulously Fashionable StartUp Weekend Ottawa

When I strolled into Shopify last Friday for the first day of Startup Weekend Ottawa I expected to come out of this adventure with many things. I expected to meet some cool techy people, to learn a heck of a lot in a small time frame, and to further my start-up idea. What I did NOT expect was to walk away from this experience with was a blog post.

 If you are reading this right now you are probably well aware of the usual content of my blog. It is a fashion/style based blog, and although that is a large part of who I am, I didn't think it would have anything to do with my experience at Startup Weekend. To my pleasant surprise, two of the final projects were actually fashion related. I predict that Trade Avenu will be the new go-to guide for personal shopping. This startup was the creation of Van Tran, and their motive was to connect people who love to shop with people who hate it. Upon entering the website you have the chance to choose whether you love to shop, or whether you hate it. If you are a shopaholic like myself, you may have just found your very own little piece of heaven-shopping with other people's money while making money! Sounds fab to me! If you are a guy who would actually rather sit back and relax and pay the extra few bucks to have someone do the shopping for you, this site is for you as well. Trade Avenu even recruited their very first customer before the weekend was over! Mentor Andrew Draper actually took Trade Avenu for a test drive and recruited Van to pick up a hoodie for him.

My Style Guide was the brain child of Aqeela Somani. It is basically an interactive online closet where you can put outfits together, find inspiration and receive suggestions on what to wear. Users can search for specific items, looks or even just ideas.

Other non-fashion ideas to be on the look out for, including the winner of the whole event, Tattoo Hero, are: CounterBuy, PreggoPager and And...Perfect!.

Overall, Startup weekend was a fantastic and surprisingly stylish event. The girl to guy ratio was not as low as expected, the food was delectable and the venue perfect. Teams were formed, ideas turned into realities, and memories were made.

Flowers from the bf the next day. Awwww 

I could sit here and spill every detail of the weekend, but in all honesty, I'm tired. We just worked for 54 hours and now I'm suffering post Startup Weekend withdrawal. The best advice I can give is to just go and participate in one. Startup Weekends are held around the globe so you have no excuse. This type of experience can't be relived, retold or recreated. You have to experience it for yourself and I promise you won't regret it. Yes, even you fashionistas. Any doubts you have in your mind, get rid of them. There is no room for that at Startup Weekend. No matter who you are, there IS a place for you. The experience is invaluable if not solely for the networking opportunities. I met people, developers, designers, etc who I usually would NEVER meet. Not because they aren't good people, but simply due to the fact that our paths don't cross. After this weekend, I really hope our paths cross a little more often. 
I leave you all with just one word: #hustle