When you find a woman that is strong, inspiring, and authentic, you can't help but want to know more about her.
You want to know how she got to where she is, what her goals are, who she is aside from her list of accomplishments, and you want to learn her secrets.
When you find out that she's a self-made woman,
you admire her even more.
The Woman Behind The Agency :
I first met Nadine Parsons two years ago when I was in the start-up stages of building Apostle Boutique. Nadine owns and operates an accessory-based sales agency, the Nadine Parsons Agency, that houses six brands and sells to over 150 retailers nationwide (!!). With a client list like HBC, Indigo and Nordstrom, plus 147+ independent boutiques, the Nadine Parsons Agency is not only well-known in the industry, but it is a well-oiled machine (with Nadine at the helm of it all).
Not only is Nadine extremely diligent with her business, she is also kind, supportive, and has a humble confidence about her. You can imagine how busy she is with her business, but she ALWAYS takes the time to answer my questions, and offer advice...and I am a small fish in the Nadine Pasons Agency pond (or maybe "ocean" is a better term). The more I learn about Nadine, the more I admire her and want to learn from her. She isn't afraid of the hustle, you can tell the she not only pours her soul into her work, but she fully & completely loves what she does. And who doesn't want that for their own life?! You can't help but be drawn in and want to know more about Nadine Parsons.AB: How did you decide to start your own agency? It sounds so glamorous and the kind of career that takes a ton of hustle to build.NP: I was working freelance with a Canadian handbag designer and came across a jewellery line that was looking for a sale’s rep. We met & hit it off instantly (And guess what? I still work with that line…Biko!). I immediately fell in love with contemporary jewellery and decided to reach out to other designers to see if there was a need for my services and within four months I had five more designers come on board. That was how it began back in early 2013. It was a leap of faith that paid off. I still represent my four original designers and we have continued to grow our businesses in mutual admiration for each other’s workflow and philosophy.Glamourous. There are a few moments here and there, but in all honestly? This business of fashion is no different than any other. I hustle every day on the phone, email, etc. My life is spent constructing perfect emails and sale’s forecasting. I wouldn’t have it any other way though! When I sit in my office and look at the jewellery, I feel motivated to push these artists and drive their wholesale business to the best of my ability. It is a constant cat & mouse to build sales and maintain relationships especially as the business changes daily and the competition is more fierce than it has ever been in this category.(The glamour though you ask…well wearing the jewellery of course! Merchandising the showroom & travelling to show the jewels to some pretty awesome corporate offices south of the border!)
AB: What do you look for when sourcing new Designers/brands to represent?
NP: When I am looking for new brands the first consideration is how saleable is the line. (Not exactly the most exciting first step but the most valuable to running a sale’s agency!) The second is to consider the look. Do I already have the aesthetic covered from my existing line-up? I have to be VERY careful not to double up on look or I risk cannibalizing sales for the current brands. I then have to look at price point and margin. Does it fit in to my matrix? And lastly I look at how long the line has been around and where they are sold. I need to be certain that as I sell a line they can deliver to my retailers on time and not risk my ‘hard earned’ relationships.
AB: How would you describe your personal style?
NP: If I had to describe my personal style I’d have to say ‘Classic with a heavy dose of accessories’. But seriously though, it is always changing & evolving. I have a weakness for full skirts & cropped skinny jeans. I love unique flats and rarely wear heels (Hi! I bike to work almost every day!)
AB: What's the best, and the toughest, part of your career?
NP: The best part of my career is by far the talent that I represent & the ability to have created a job for myself! I love the independence I have in decision making and the ability to work from just about anywhere. The toughest part of my career is staying motivated when getting hit with ‘no’s’ as it would be for anyone in a sales role. (That’s where coffee & sheer determination come in handy…and did I mention…I’m as stubborn & persistent as an ox)
AB: As a little girl, what did you dream of doing?
NP: I wanted to be Barbie when I grew up. She could be anything & everything (In hindsight…maybe not so realistic... BUT I always had a belief in myself that I was capable of making any of my crazy dreams come true!) So thanks Barbie? :) On a serious note, I actually was a performer growing up in music. I went to university for Opera and graduated with a music degree before starting in fashion. I think this set me on the path of sales because I love being in front of people.
AB: You are so immersed in fashion, has it always been a passion?
NP: YES! My mom was a dressmaker and always made me the most beautiful clothing (often times matching). I was obsessed with dresses, Barbies & playing ‘shop’. I think it was natural for me to end up on this track.
AB: You are also involved with The Shopping Channel- what is it that you do with them?
NP: I am a freelance ‘Fashion Expert’ with The Shopping Channel. This means that I 'guest host' shows for fashion brands about every 4-6 weeks. I.e. I go on-air and sell product. I absolutely LOVE it! It’s my chance to sell on a national platform and it has been instrumental in growing my confidence in my wholesale business. My dad still watches every show and that makes me happy in my heart.
AB: On top of running your own agency that represents 6 accessory brands, plus being a contributor on TSC, what do you do in your "free" time?
NP: My free time is spent with my husband, our cat Coco and of course friends. We also travel every chance we get! As I am a true East Coaster…I spend way too much time at the pub. A cold draft and I am there! (I also run almost every morning to clear my head before the hustle starts).
AB: What are some of your goals & aspirations for your career?
NP: I would love to continue to work with accessories and also introduce a ‘learning’ element. I launched monthly workshops in March and it was so well received! It motivates me to share my experiences with others. I would love to intro a teaching component to my role and continue to grow the wholesale ‘reach’.
AB: What advice do you wish you would have been given 10 years ago?
NP: I wish 10 years ago I learned to chill out more! (And stop sweating all of the small stuff. This advice still applies today!) I actually have a flip side to this question. Many people said fashion / retail / wholesale wouldn’t make me happy or make me any money. I love that I still had the gumption to do it and wouldn’t have it any other way! (And am running a successful business to boot). Trust your instinct! It’s 99% of the time the right thing for you!
AB: If we were to visit Toronto, what is on the Nadine's Must See & Do list?
NP: Well, Toronto has some of the best restaurants around! So, I’d have to say you have to hit up a few of my fave spots: Oretta for the best Italian with a fab Art Deco vibe & the Drake Hotel for a great cocktail. I also love VSP on Dundas West for the best premium designer consignment. Finally, I’d say my fave weekend thing to do is stroll along Queen Street West and grab coffee. A little leg rest in Trinity Bellwoods park in the summer is actually the best!
You can learn more about Nadine and the Nadine Parsons Agency by following her on Instagram (@nadineparsonsagency) or by checking out her website www.nadineparsons.com
Spring & Summer 2017 Jewelry
Look Book Photoshoot Part II
This season I decided to do two separate shoots with two different photographers to give some variety and to showcase the newest looks. But even still, there are so many beautiful new jewelry styles from all of the Apostle Designers, I couldn't quite capture them all. (But I sure did try!!)
As always, for more information on any of the amazing businesses that contributed to this shoot, you can click on their logo or accompanying image.
Once again, I began with my muse- the model. This woman is one that I've admired for awhile, she is one hard-working woman! Co-owner of Calgary-based Fond Boutique, a mobile boutique that houses "curated contemporary consignment". She is also a Motivator at YYC Cyle, known to be a powerhouse, and friends refer to her as "loyal" and their rock. How could I not be in awe of this inspiring woman?!
Ladies and gentlemen (just in case there's any men reading this, I wanted to include you), I'd like to introduce you to Dione. Dione is not only a force to be reckoned with, but she is warm, kind, and so fun to be around! I had no problem chatting with her about everything from work, life goals & challenges, and everything in between. It's easy to fall in love with Dione because she's genuine, relatable and hilarious.
For her wardrobe we did a collaboration with Fond Boutique, selecting items from her inventory that worked with the vision for the shoot. Being a consignment shop, we had a variety of things to choose from and were able to have fun putting together outfits that were cohesive, cool and wearable. Fond Boutique is taking part in East Village's new shopping concept "EV Junction" - a pop-up retail park of 12 shipping containers adapted into wonderful retail shops. It is located on 4th St and 8th Ave SE Calgary, from June 1-Oct 1. If you're in Calgary, or visiting during that time, you will need to check them out! Another project in the works for Fond is the opportunity to shop online. So for those of you that are looking for amazing contemporary clothing, well-known brands, at a stellar price, watch for Fond Boutique's online shopping website, coming soon!
This time around I was given the opportunity to work with not just one, but two amazing models. Carmyn is a long-time family friend and a woman that is full of life and has a great vision for...well, anything. She immediately jumps at the chance to try something new, and isn't afraid to go out of her comfort zone. Carmyn has a mind for business and she recently launched her own company, Perspective One Day Home Makeovers (that's right- a one day makeover! Amazing!!), and an eye for style, and not to mention a huge heart!
Carmyn set us up for the shoot at the Fratello Café and roasterie, here in Calgary. Fratello (Italian for "brothers") was started by Carmyn's husband, Chris, and his two brothers, Jason and Russ. Thanks to the boys' dad's entrepreneurial spirit and guidance, the Prefontaine brothers now have five retail cafes (you may be familiar with Analog- that's Fratello!) with an amazing & cozy atmosphere, and you can also order their delicious coffees and quality supplies to enjoy at home! Fratello is such a fantastic local business, with both a local and global perspective. I love the story behind the company, and they continue to grow and thrive!
The photographer was the uber-talented Megan Steen. When I was first introduced to Megan's work I loved the drama and emotion in each image. She truly knows how to work with light and shadow, whereas some photographers prefer to steer-clear of any shadow. Megan loves trying new locations, and thrives in the challenge of finding great spots wherever she is.
Megan Steen is predominantly an engagement and wedding photographer, but she also loves doing lifestyle stories as well. Originally from Winnipeg, but recently moved to Calgary with Ryan, her golf-pro boyfriend, her time is spilt between the two cities 50/50 and her wedding calendar is almost fully booked until the fall 2018.
Working with Megan was fun and easy, and I loved how well she took charge of the shoot. Her confidence and keen eye allowed her to gently direct the models to get the perfect shot and evoke the right emotion. Megan is easygoing, positive, has a kind, gentle (yet confident) demeanor, and she is so easy to get along with! Check out her website, and if you're looking for a photographer for any occasion, be sure to contact Megan!
Now, what more wonderful things can I say about Distilled Beauty Bar & Social House that I haven't said in the last posts...? The atmosphere is to die for, the drinks (including wine), treats and food are amazing, and all their services they offer are relaxing and fun (thanks to the wonderful ladies that work there).
We had the chance to not only have Dione and Carmyn all done-up for the shoot at Distilled, but we also took advantage of their cute patio space, wonderful café area for some photos, AND we had a break for lunch before heading off. And it was all AMAZING!!
As I mentioned, for this shoot, the ladies at Distilled provided both Dione and Carmyn with gel-polish manicures, amazing hair blow-outs, and beautiful makeup application. The hairstyle lasted for days (but they weren't crunchy or stiff with product), and the makeup was glamorous and gave this shoot a completely different look from the others we have done.
Whether you're looking for a mani/pedi, a place to grab a coffee and lunch with a friend, or all of the above, Distilled is conveniently located in Marda Loop and definitely somewhere to check out! You won't be disappointed!!
Right beside Distilled is another amazing Calgary-based company, Village Ice Cream! As if ice cream at 10:30am isn't perfect on it's own, how can you beat flavors like Blueberry Lavender Coconut Milk, Oh Snap Crackle Popin', Melted Chocolate, or Guides Mint (to name a few!). Village Ice Cream gave us a fun, contemporary place to get some great shots, and it was fun to incorporate (and then eat) some amazing ice cream!
Every time I have visited Village Ice Cream, I have been so impressed by the way the staff treat every customer. I believe that this stems from staff loving where they work and being thrilled to be there. With three locations in Calgary, this artisanal ice cream shop is a great place to visit...even at 10:30am!
I am a born-and-raised Calgarian, and there are a number of stores that I can remember going to with my mom when I was a kid. One of these stores is Kismet, located in Kensington. Kismet has so much selection in a reasonable price range, and no matter your style, budget, or occasion, you can definitely find something at Kismet!
I had a lot of fun going through the racks finding the perfect spring-time wardrobe for Carmyn. From a floral bomber, to the most comfortable kimono styled cover-up, to a beautiful tan leather jacket...Kismet hit the nail on the head! Thank you Kismet for being a part of this shoot! It was such a pleasure and I hope to work with you again!
Last fall I met Kayley, the owner of Wrinkle & Crease, a beautiful collection of luxury paper products- from cards, to notebooks, to monthly planners. Kayley designs each item and uses a high-quality letterpress and foil print, creating simply beautiful stationary. Wrinkle & Crease is about writing more, and typing less. There's nothing better than receiving a hand-written card to say Happy Birthday (or Thank You, or Happy Mothers/Fathers Day, I like your face, etc)- so much better than just a text, don't you think?! Wrinkle & Crease is a Must-See, but I warn you, when you see it, you will want it all, and that's ok! It's about thoughtfulness and sending someone a message that they will cherish and keep. Or, if you like to journal, it's a wonderful keepsake and safe-haven for your thoughts, feelings, and life stories.
I incorporated a couple of Wrinkle & Crease cards in this shoot because I, for one, love sending cards, and I also believe in (and love) what Kayley is doing.
As they say, that's a wrap!
This season I have seen a many new styles with fresh colours and designs- it was a lot of fun to get the two look book photoshoots together and I always truly love & appreciate working with all of the fantastic local businesses. Thank you to not only those that I collaborated with for the shoots, but to everyone who is reading this- thank you for the support and encouragement, and for enabling me to do what I love.
Spring 2017 Creative Look Book
Organizing a creative Look Book for Spring 2017 isn't a simple feat, and this shoot definitely came with some hiccups. But when you're determined, flexible and surrounded by an amazing team, you can handle anything that may come your way!
As I take you through this shoot and the stories behind it, you can click on any logo for more information about those that I partnered with for the shoot. And believe me, you will want more information. All of these businesses and individuals are AMAZING!!
The vision for this shoot began with the model. I knew who I wanted, but not knowing her personally, I wasn't sure what she'd think of the idea. Just so you know, I haven't ever hired a professional model, and while I recognize the perks of having a trained model, that isn't the direction I want to go with Apostle. My desire is to represent you and me- real, everyday women that aren't trained to pose, may not be able to gaze off into the distance with a thoughtful, serene and beautiful expression. But we embrace (though may not love) each curve, wrinkle, scar, and awkwardness. When I look for a woman to be the face for an upcoming campaign, I look for someone who is genuine, kind, fun-loving, and inspiring. And all of the traits take on different forms.
Some of you may have heard about the Love for Lewiston Foundation either on local Calgary news or through social media. Lewiston was an adorable little boy, brother to Swayzie and son to Jessica and Ronnie Olstad. Before Lewiston was three months old he was Diagnosed with SMA- type 1 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy causes nerve cells in the brain & spinal cord to break down and die, thus signals from the brain don't go to the muscles). Given less than a year to live, Jess and Ronnie decided to allow others to journey with them through the real, the raw, and the hope. Shortly before Lewiston's 6 month birthday, he passed away peacefully in Jessica's arms. Lewiston was fiercely loved, and he was a true champion and warrior with the most amazing eyes that would instantly draw you in. During treatment, the Olstad family, friends and those that cared for him at the Rotary House would have dance parties, and these parties continue to lift spirits, bring a bit of joy and laughter, and to remember the tiny man with a huge spirit.
The Love for Lewiston Foundation continues to go strong to help raise awareness of SMA and funds for finding a cure, and to help kids who are diagnosed to receive physical and occupational therapy in hopes that they can live as independently as possible. For those of you that are runners, the Lewiston Ultra is a 50k trail run in Shuswap taking place in May of 2018 (start training now!). To learn more about the Foundation, the Olstad family, or how you can help, click on the logo above to visit the website.
While there is SO much to say about the Olstad family, Lewiston, and SMA, I want to bring some focus to Jessica, Lewiston's mom. Jess was first brought to my attention through similar friends, and I later found out that she was a mentor to some teenage girls (now women) that I also mentored years previously (coincidence!!). Anyone that knows Jess had only wonderful things to say about her, including "she is the kind of person the people want to be like". I began to follow her account on Instagram and I saw a woman who has, and is going through shattering loss, but yet through all that crap she continues to shine and have such intense inner joy and peace. A woman who continues to inspire, challenge and encourage those around her. A woman who isn't afraid of letting people see the raw & ugliness of daily life and struggles, and isn't afraid to show exactly who she is (including video of getting her chin waxed). Jess isn't perfect, and like everyone else, I'm sure there are things she keeps to herself, but I couldn't help but be drawn-in and I knew that because of who she is at the core, she is exactly who I wanted to feature as a representative of Apostle.
When I first met Jess I immediately saw how warm and genuine she was. I noticed that she was sincere and loving to everyone and took the time to look people in the eye and say thank you (and mean it). Jessica is outgoing and she knows what she wants, and goes for it. It was such and fun & easy experience to work with her, and I can honestly say that I understand what people meant when they said that she's the kind of person you want to be. My hope is that through this shoot, I could give her a fun day of pampering and relaxing. Photo shoots are exhausting, and I'm so thankful that she gave a day away to me. Thank you SO much Jess!!
This Look Book was photographed by Janice Lee Photography. If you look at her website or Instagram account, you'll instantly see that her photos are bright, clean, fresh...and SO pretty! Janice Lee has a style that is unique to her, and she has an amazing ability to capture beautiful moments.
About 5 hours after we wrapped up the shoot, I received an email that the photos were done!! Umm...Amazing!! As I clicked through each image, I was dumbfounded at how well Janice captured Jessica's "essence" (sounds so cheesy, but I don't think "soul" or "spirit" sounds any better). You can really get a feel for who Jess is, and Janice did such an amazing job at showing not only who Jessica is, but also at showing the jewelry. Janice Lee is not only great at photographing moments and connections, but she has an impeccable eye for detail as well! Thank you Janice Lee Photography!
If you've followed Apostle for awhile now, you're no stranger to Distilled Beauty Bar. Distilled has hosted Apostle for two Pop Ups now, and as I spend my time there for these events, and for my coffee stops, or pedicure appointments, I get to know the owner, Lisa, and the team (I call them Distillers) better and better each time. Lisa is the bomb! I don't think I know of a harder working woman- she is there every day and doing every task from wiping tables, chatting with customers, answering phones...you name it, and she's doing it. You often see business owners sitting back and working on their computers, Lisa does all of that too, but she is hands-on, and I admire that. It doesn't hurt that she's also an amazing person through and through! And an amazing boss hires amazing staff to support her business, and everyone that works at Distilled is happy and enjoyable to spend the day with. For this shoot, Distilled gave Jess a fresh, spring'y manicure, and I'm looking forward to our next shoot in a couple of weeks where Distilled Beauty Bar will be doing hair, makeup and nails! Thank you Distilled!
Conveniently located across the street from Distilled, Crabapple Clothing Company comes through, once again, with an amazing wardrobe that fit my vision perfectly! My thought for this shoot was "a typical Saturday" - going for coffee, out for drinks, and relaxing at home, and so I needed three distinct outfits. With brands like Mackage, Soia & Kyo, Fidelity, Joie, Ted Baker, Velvet, Rails...and SO much more, the owner, Whitney, pulled together some wonderful outfits and knocked it out of the park! Jessica was comfortable, confident, and looked spectacular in everything from Crabapple. Thank you Whitney, and the Crabapple team for outfitting us yet again!
Hair & Make Up :
This was my second time working with SwizzleSticks SalonSpa, and once again, it was such an immense pleasure to collaborate with them for this shoot and have them really create a hair and makeup look that was pure perfection!
But first, let's go back to one of those hiccups I mentioned at the start of this.
I began planning for this shoot about a month in advance, and I really enjoyed working with the SwizzleSticks team for the Winter Shoot and wanted to do so again this time around. I emailed Molly and everything was set and booked.
Fast forward to the night before this shoot. After I pulled the final jewelry selections, I randomly thought I should write out a timeline for the day (I've never done this). Wanting to know who we had booked for hair and makeup I looked at my emails with Molly, scrolled down, and I saw it. I said May 26th, not April! Heart racing, all blood flow ceased and my body went cold. I was legitimately freaking out. I sent emails to everyone at SwizzleSticks that I could. I was finding staff on Instagram and sending them messages, trying to get ahold of someone to see if we could make it happen, or to see if I had to cancel the shoot altogether. It felt like an hour, but within seconds Missy, the amazing Makeup artist, responded, made a phone call, and told me she'd see us in the morning. How amazing is that?! The SwizzleSticks team pulled out a miracle at 10:30pm the night before and made it happen!! (now imagine angels singing in the background)
We had the immense pleasure of Brianna working her magic and creating the perfect "Saturday" look that lasted all day long. This woman knows her way with hair, and seems to know how to manipulate it to do exactly what she wants. The end result was a full bodied, easy curl that looked amazing. On top of knowing her way around the salon (which she would, because she's the owner of this amazing place!), Brianna also cares about playing a part in our world. Together with the Swizz team, they have started Bee Kind to help raise funds to save the bees. For $20 you can buy a jar of fresh honey from their (yes, Swizzlesticks' own) hive, and in return, you will receive a $20 Swizzlesticks gift card!
Back to the lady that saved the day- Missy! Missy created the stunning makeup look for our last shoot on Katie, and I was so pleased to know that we'd be working with her again. It also doesn't hurt that she knew Jess from before, so they had a great time chatting as Missy worked away. Again, I asked for an easy "Saturday" look. I didn't want a smoky eye, or solid lipstick, but I did want to try a baby-winged eyeliner, and even though Jess was initially hesitant when I said "wing", it was amazing and subtle, and even Jess loved it! With the stroke of her brushes, some spritzes of setting spray, Missy's artistry lasted throughout the day and worked with every outfit and location. Now I want to try a baby-wing too...although I don't have quite the skill or steady hand that Missy does. Perhaps that's something that's better left to the pros!
Now on to our locations... going with the theme of a typical Saturday, and also being spring time in Calgary, we needed three spectacular locations that were indoors (the forecast for the day was rain. All day. Rain and cold.).
First, our coffee stop. Alforno Bakery located on 2nd Ave and 7th St SW, right downtown. Since Alforno opened, I knew I wanted to shoot there, and this was the perfect opportunity. Bright, contemporary décor, with lots of natural light (thanks to their sky lights), and not to mention the delicious coffee & treats, I knew I wanted to get in there, and Andrew, the General Manager, happily allowed us in. After a quick break to enjoy the fireplace and a snack, we got to work, and the end result was spectacular. This proved to me that Alforno Bakery was the perfect "stage" for photos, and the perfect atmosphere for coffee, lunch, and treats, any day of the week! Thank you Alforno!
Next up was our "drinks out" portion of the shoot.
When I came up with the concept for the shoot, both myself and Janice Lee knew where we wanted to go- Bridgette Bar! The mid-century charm allows you to feel as if you've travelled back in time and are waiting to join Don Draper and Peggy Olson (from Mad Men) for an Old Fashioned...only difference is you don't have to wear a corset or full skirt in Bridgette Bar's casual atmosphere.
Every corner at Bridgette Bar offered us a totally different look, and we had a lot of fun getting inspired by the décor. Once we got all the shots we needed (but we could have continued for another hour!), we decided to stay for lunch...it was delicious! The Margherita Pizza, Cucumber Salad and Spring Salmon Crudo were all spectacular! Thank you Bridgette Bar (and the ladies at Press + Post for arranging it)!
From there we continued on to "relax at home" with the Smith condo development from Grosvenor. From the moment I phoned them to see about coming in for the shoot, to the moment we wrapped up, every single person we talked to was so hospitable, kind and supportive. They were more than willing to open up their doors to us, allowed us to shoot in all three show suites, and offered to help in any way (including Dave offering himself as a model).
Apart from their hospitality, the condo itself is perfectly located on 6th St 7 15th Ave SW- one block in from 17th Avenue, which is one of Calgary's best locations for shopping, restaurants, and coffee shops. The condo itself offers a number of different floorplans to suit any need, and the layouts are all logical (sounds silly, but I have seen some new condo developments that leave you wondering "why would they do that?!") and allow for easy, comfortable and modern living. Great views, amazing location, and a builder that loves what they do. If I ever decide to move inner-city, the Smith is where I'll be looking!! Thank you, to everyone at the Smith and Grosvenor!
As you can see, it really did take a village to make this shoot happen. THANK YOU to all of the impeccable businesses that, literally, opened their doors to us so that we could create beautiful images that draw you in and inspire you.
What Jewelry Should I Wear With My Party Outfit?
The holidays are once again upon us, and with that comes the endless
stream of Christmas parties, office functions, girls' nights, winter weddings,
and of course, New Years Eve parties!
With every great party comes a great party outfit!
I had the great pleasure of being a guest on City TV's Breakfast Television for a segment on What Jewelry To Wear With This Year's Holiday Party Outfits. The best part about being on BT this time was that I got to work with some wonderful women (and friends!) who agreed to be my models for the morning.
This post is based on the segment that I did for Breakfast Television.
Please click on the BT Calgary logo below to watch the
quick 5 minute segment.
Once again, Crabapple Clothing knocked it out of the park with their amazing selection of clothing to suit any style, event, and every-day wear!With the help of Crabapple owner, Whitney, and the fabulous Crabapple-women, we styled our models in 4 different Holiday Party outfits that were fashion-forward without pushing boundaries, chic, classy and sexy- the perfect combination for any type of party! I am such a huge fan of Crabapple Clothing because of their service and selection. Apostle stands behind jewelry that is versatile, functional and unique, and in my opinion, Crabapple offers that same promise with their accessible fashions. Click on the Crabapple logo to visit their website!
How To Accessorize The Season's
Trends & Party Looks
Holiday Parties, and all parties in general, are the perfect time to have fun with your jewelry and try something new. Mix and match, layer on a number of necklaces and/or bracelets...have fun with it! Don't feel like you need to rush out and get a big, sparkly piece that really is just a one-hit-wonder. Instead, invest in jewelry that will go great with not only your party attire, but with your office wear, jeans & a tee, and everything in between. Choosing such versatile jewelry ensures that you will get the best bang for your buck, and find something you truly love.
With the help of Crabapple, we pulled together four different party looks that can be worn to a Christmas party, home-base NYE bash, drinks out with girls, or to a winter wedding. From the corporate, to cocktail, to cool, these looks cover it all!
First we had Denise in a bright red cami with beautiful lace details was paired with an amazingly comfortable velvet jogger-style pant that we cuffed at the bottom. This outfit was cool, trendy and feminine and I wanted to work with that in the jewelry selection that completed the look.The focus for this outfit was on layering three delicate necklaces of varying lengths. I combined the Five Disc Choker by Gorjana with Leah Alexandra's Honeycomb Necklace and Prism Necklace. This trio maintained the feminine aesthetic, and the choker amped it up and worked with the trendy, cool vibe as well.When layering necklaces be aware that adding a dangley earring could be a bit too much...dangle. If there's a lot of different things hanging around, it can be a bit too much. Instead, opt for a great ear climber like the Sunny Climber. The Labradorite stones in this earring can go with anything and will quickly become your new go-to.
Next I wanted to showcase a popular Holiday (and party) look- the cocktail dress. But this dress that Janet wore was not at all traditional! It had the foundation of a classic dress, but with the great leather trim, deep v-neckline and beautiful green colour, this dress was classy, fun and sexy.To follow the lines of the V-neck, I selected the Desert Necklace by Hailey Gerrits. This necklace is bold and beautiful, and everything about it just worked with the dress. From the colours of the stones, to the shape that beautifully mimicked (but didn't mirror) the neckline, it's as if it were meant to be! The Desert Earrings were also a great choice because they pulled together the necklace and the dress, without being overbearing. I loved that these earring were a drop-style which elongated Janet's neck, but they weren't distracting from the rest of the look.We also decided to pile on the bracelets and go for different colours and textures. Jant wore the Beaded Wrap Bracelet by WYSH Collective, the Stone Bar Cuff by Liel & Lentz, the Trillium Cuff by Leah Alexandra, and the Liberty Bracelet in Iolite and Tanzanite by Leah Alexandra. Combining these different bracelets added touches of different colours but were all very complimentary and cohesive. By wearing a great bracelet stack, like this one, you add a unique and creative edge to your outfit that nobody else will have.
From here we moved to a very contemporary, slightly urban and chic look. MacKenzie wore a fantastic leather legging with a full-volume ivory top and neutral plaid shawl. The shawl added a very classy touch, but when she took it off, the look was completely cool and fun.Because the top was so full, it was important to give a streamlined look with a long, delicate necklace. The Capra Necklace by Taylor Kenney has an oxidized chain and shining gold pronghorn-shaped pendant that continued the cool, urban style. With the Capra Necklace, I paired the Demeter Earrings (also by Taylor Kenney) because of their long and narrow drop. The feminine chains and tiny Labradorite gems added the perfect amount of glamour and sparkle, without being too in-your-face.With this top being so voluminous, it is important to not add too much jewelry and add bulk. For this reason, we added just two very lightweight bracelets. Both the Chaplin Bracelet by Gorjana and the Liberty Bracelet in Labradorite, Chalcedony and Zirconia gems contributed to the feminine look of the earrings, but were barely-there - which was perfect!
Who doesn't love a great black dress? Our next model, Carmyn, mentioned that she always gravitates to a LBD when shopping for an event. I also love that staple black dress, but it also seemed...boring. Instead, we found the perfect take on the Little Black Dress, but this version was much more fashion-forward, contemporary and cool. Although an LBD can be amazing, there isn't much interest, but the look that we selected is packed full of interesting details, yet is completely polished! Although Carmyn was covered-up in the long-sleeved, high-neck, lace top, there was still a sense of mystery and sex-appeal. Paired with this great window-pane print, A-line skirt, Carmyn looked (and felt) amazing.
Due to all the details & pattern in the top and skirt, adding a necklace would have been too much and would be distracting. Instead, I went for a killer pair of earrings- the Lucerne Vintage Clip Earrings are amazing!! And how cool is it that the designer created them using a Vintage Shoe Clip?!
Adding the large Guia Cuff on one wrist, and a Gold Cluse Minuit watch with the Cross Over Cuff, not only allowed this great outfit to shine, but without the jewelry, it would have been nearly as polished or cool.
If there's a Holiday Party outfit (or any outfit!) that you are looking to accessorize, contact Apostle to work with you to find the perfect jewelry to suit not only your outfit, but your personal style as well!
Apostle was at it again! Determined to provide clients with the best images, which not only includes product photos of every single piece of jewelry, or each jewelry item on a model to show how it looks when worn, but also stunning & captivating images that showcase how to style your Apostle jewelry. It is my goal to give you everything you need, right down to the last detail, to know exactly what to expect the jewelry will look like when it arrives at your door.
With that in mind, about four times each year we set out to different venues around Calgary to create a Look Book for you, the Apostle clients. Each photo shoot is a combination of efforts and talents, and it really is a coming together of great minds to create a story for you.
Apostle Boutique's Winter 2016/2017
Look Book Photo Shoot
The weather was perfect. All over the place (which is normal for this city). But perfect. There were moments of clear blue sky (which is great for indoor shots), clouds (which is perfect for outdoor shots), some wind (which is tricky with long hair and lipstick, but creates great movement in the shots), some rain (which isn't great for much, but we were inside for that)...but what really mattered is that there wasn't any snow (which is great for everything!).
The day started at Swizzlesticks Salon in Kensington. Being a born-and-raised Calgarian, Swizzlesticks Salon is a community staple, and in the red and green iron-building on Kensington Road, it's a landmark. I have memories of going to Swizzlesticks as a teenager as a special treat, thinking that I was really grown-up because I got to go to this renowned salon. Because of this, I was honored to work with Brianna, Missy and Molly to really create the foundation of the look for the model.
As we chatted about the vision for the shoot, Brianna gave our model, Katie, the perfect voluptuous wave and curl that lasted All. Day. Long. No matter what we did with Katie's hair throughout the day (and we brushed it, put it in a messy bun, pony tail, she wore a hat, the wind messed with it...), the curl did not fade. While I sat there and watched Brianna work, all I could think was "I want her to do that for me"...and to be completely honest, I also thought "#hairgoals", because yes, for those of us immersed in social media, we begin to think in hashtags (#embarrassing).
Missy McIntyre was the go-to for creating the make-up look. We talked about doing a light smoky eye- nothing too heavy or done-up, but a great everyday smoky eye, with a neutral lip and fresh, healthy looking skin. Missy nailed it! There wasn't a single thing I would do to change the stunning look that she created. Katie is such a natural beauty as it is, but Missy made all of her features pop. The make-up was beautifully done and Missy moved with confidence and ease. And again, this look lasted All. Day. We didn't need to change a thing!
As I mentioned, Katie was our model and the face of this campaign, and it all came about a bit unorthodox. You see, before all of this, Katie and I didn't know each other. However, I was in a tight spot and left without a model one week before the shoot. Feeling the pinch, I started contacting different modelling agencies to see about hiring someone for the job and I was so close to moving forward, but it just didn't feel right. I took a step back to think and realized that when I started Apostle, I wanted to represent real, genuine, everyday women. Women like you and me. Nothing against professional models- they're beautiful women whom are extremely skilled at what they do, and they create beautiful photos. But I want to utilize the beautiful women who are aspiring veterinarians (like Katie), work alongside Doctors while in surgery (like Lesley), and teachers (like Victoria). Real, genuine, kind-hearted, fun women who walk through life alongside you and me. So, all that said, I opted against hiring a professional model and took to Instagram. I came across Katie's account and immediately noticed her smile and kind eyes. She appeared to be not only beautiful, but sincere, happy and completely genuine. At the risk of seeming totally creepy, I sent her a message to see if she would be interested in doing some modelling, and we met the next day for a coffee and to select the wardrobe.
While Katie was a bit nervous going into the shoot, you would never know it. She was effortless and I know that her kind, gentle spirit translated through each photo, and I couldn't be happier with how she did. She's a natural and was amazing both on, and off, set!
For this shoot I was thrilled to be working with Genevieve Renee, a "fine art Calgary wedding photographer" who's passion lies in capturing stunning, intimate moments. But she is also amazing at maternity shots, couples, and commercial work (such as endless images in the local & beautiful Dote publication, countless advertisements, etc). But whatever Genevieve Renee does, she does to perfection, and she maintains her Genevieve aesthetic throughout and you can truly see a piece of her in each image that she captures.
Genevieve Renee is a true gem through and through. Sweet, thoughtful and caring, her ability to take charge of the shoot in a gentle and encouraging way was such a great thing to be a part of. Genevieve's demeanor was professional, yet personal and fun, and she created an environment that made Katie feel completely comfortable and at ease, and her direction was straightforward and positive. I also loved how Genevieve jumped in to help out in any way, including the constant hair-style changes. She is a woman who is gently fierce, and there's no question as to why she is one of Calgary's top go-to photographers. Just follow her on Instagram and you will see what I'm talking about!
Wardrobe was provided by Crabapple Clothing in Marda Loop. This store is not only a staple when it comes to shopping for either a great everyday outfit, or something for a special occasion, but this store and the women in it are dear to my heart and a part of my story. Working at Crabapple Clothing throughout my 20's taught me a lot about fashion, styling and friendship. This was my favorite job- being immersed in great fashion every day, and exploring ways to stretch my own style, was so fun, and it is still a place that I visit frequently to shop, visit with the women, and to get inspired.
When Katie and I showed up to select the wardrobe, we both set to work grabbing items that we loved. You should have seen Katie's fitting room when we started- we had so many items that we ran out of spots on the hooks, that we were using a second room just to keep things organized. This speaks to the amazing variety at Crabapple! I had a vision for 4 different looks, and we not only found exactly what I was looking for, but we also ended up with 4 other additional items that I just couldn't leave behind.
All of the ladies (pictured below at the latest Crabapple Fashion Show) were, and always are, so fantastic to work with. Once they heard what I was looking for, and saw the items we were selecting, every one of them pitched in and helped scour the store for other pieces that would work. It was so helpful to have the help, because these women see the clothing every day and they know what they have. Looking through the racks myself was great, but oftentimes I would pass by something that would have been perfect. So having the Crabapple women there to work alongside me was fantastic. They truly are so great at finding pieces that the client is looking for, and also finding items that are perfect for you but you wouldn't necessarily grab yourself.
All in all, Crabapple Clothing killed it! The looks that we put together were incredible, and when I see the photos, I want every outfit!
A lot of the locations that Genevieve and I selected were outdoors- East Village, along the Bow River, and in front of the beautiful War Memorial along Memorial Drive. However, there is one location that we couldn't do without and that really gave the shoot substance, style and a storyline.
Kensington Riverside Inn is a cozy, intimate retreat that is perfect for those visiting the city, or those who just want to get out of the house for a wonderful & relaxing staycation. I initially approached the Riverside Inn because of the clean, modern and welcoming style. You can't help but feel both comfortable and sophisticated when you walk in and see the unique art collection, contemporary furnishings and stunning attention to detail. Everyone at KRI was kind, happy and beyond hospitable to everyone that came in, and it was refreshing to see people who really loved their jobs and had the gift of hospitality.
For the shoot, we did a few different looks in one of Kensington Riverside Inn's stunning suites. The bed was so comfortable that all I wanted to do was curl up with a coffee and magazine and spend the afternoon there. But, we had more important things to do! We were able to create a cozy "getting ready in the morning" type look, a sexy "getting ready for my date" look, and we also utilized the adorable, private balcony for a few shots. The suite had a wonderful sitting area with a fireplace, and a stunning view of the Bow River. From there we headed to the main lobby area for our "evening out" shots, and we also utilized some stunning art installments in the front reception area.
Our experience at the Kensington Riverside Inn was spectacular. The venue gave our shoot substance, depth and versatility, and I know that we couldn't have achieved the same look anywhere else. Hilary, the Rooms Operation Manager at KRI, was so helpful every step of the way and we couldn't have asked for anything more. Thank you, to everyone at the Riverside Inn for making it such a fantastic experience!
With each photo shoot that I do, I am able to get a better grasp on how to ensure a smooth, successful and enjoyable day. It's also been great to experiment with new outfits and styling techniques, different locations to make sure that each shoot results in fresh & captivating images, and learning more about myself and how I want to run this business. I love working with other local businesses and entrepreneurs, and I am so lucky to live in a city where small-businesses are happy to collaborate and support one another.
This shoot was a big success and I couldn't be happier with how it all came together. It was a huge team effort, and I am so thankful to everyone that was involved!
Genevieve Renee - Photographer
Katie - Model
Whitney (and all the women) at Crabapple Clothing in Marda Loop - Wardrobe
Brianna and Missy at Swizzlesticks Salon & Spa - Hair and Make-Up
Hilary at the Kensington Riverside Inn - Venue
What is Microblading?
Should I get it done?
What does it feel like?
If you're asking these questions, here is everything you need to know!
This post is to give you information about Microblading, as well as an account of the whole Microblading process based on my experience- from the moment I arrived at The Skin Care Studio in Calgary, through 5 weeks of healing, to the Colour Boost (or Touch-Up) appointment, and another week of healing time.
My eyebrows weren't thin or sparse, but they were gnarly- I'd have random hairs that would grow out of my face at a 90 degree angle, and if I tweezed one hair I would end up with a bald spot in a whole different place, they were completely different shapes, and the growth pattern mimicked that of a Cheetah. About a year ago I picked up a brow pencil for the first time and was quite happy with the effect, but I couldn't ever get it quite right, and because of that, I spent a lot of time each morning trying to get my brows looking right (or as "right" as I could).
I became both bored and annoyed at the eyebrow-pencil game each morning, and decided to send a message to Christina at The Skin Care Studio to see about getting Microblading done. After chatting about what I wanted to achieve (not a whole new brow shape, but filling in some bald spots, as well as giving a good base and shape), and ensuring that my skin type and current routine would make me a good candidate, we scheduled the appointment.
What is Microblading?
Microblading (also called Semi-Permanent Makeup, 3D Embroidery, Hair Simulation Effect, or Hair-Stroke Eyebrows) involves a small handheld tool to etch ink into the skin to create a natural looking brow. The tool allows the Esthetician to create individual hair strokes to mimic your own natural hair to create a feathering, or 3D, effect.
Microblading doesn't deposit ink as deep as a permanent tattoo, and because of this, the ink will fade within 1-5 years (time is based on skin type, age, skincare routine, sun exposure, etc). While this may not seem so desirable, the benefit to having Semi-Permanent Makeup as opposed to Permanent Makeup, is that as the trends change, and as you age and your face shape changes, you can alter your brows accordingly. That said, there are some situations where permanent makeup might be the right choice. If you have an experienced and educated Esthetician, they can suggest which is best for you, or combine techniques to create the most natural look with the most desired result. In my case, I am in my early-30's, have a fairly solid eyebrow shape, but they needed some sprucing up, and I wanted the flexibility to change the shape as I age. So I headed to The Skin Care Studio in Calgary to see my old friend Christina to get some brow-help.
Getting Microblading Done
First things first- the numbing cream! A thick, gooey-feeling cream that was spread across my brow bone and had to sit for 30min to take effect. During this time, I read through my 5 pages of procedure info (Christina is VERY thorough!), some chatting, and then through a process or measurements with different types of tools (including a mini level), my face, eye and natural brow shape were considered as Christina sketched out what she thought was the optimal brow shape. We looked in the mirror and scrutinized the area, and together we agreed on the final shape.
Then we picked the colour.
Going into this, I expected to lay down and hear the constant buzz of a tattoo parlour. Instead, I heard the tranquil spa music softly playing as Christina and I chatted away while she worked her magic. The Microblading tool she uses reminded me of a scalpel- the handle was similar in width to a narrow pencil and at the end is a "blade" the consists of 12 needles, all in varying sizes (some are longer, some are very rigid, while others are quite flexible).
The feeling of the Microblading was similar to a cat scratch- not painful, but not enjoyable either. Christina worked at different angles to ensure she got each stroke in the perfect, natural-looking place. To create a hair look, she would do a stroke to create a very natural looking strand. But what I didn't know, is that there's also shading. Now this part, it wasn't fun, and it shocked me at first because it was a series of many little pokes to create a natural shade. These pokes felt worse than the strokes, and could sometimes feel like stabs. But, it didn't last long and was definitely bearable.
Once she had completed both sides, I sat up and once again, we both scrutinized the shape. I pointed out things I saw that I might want to change, or add, and we went back and made sure we were both happy before I left. (And yes, if there was something that I didn't like, it could have been easily removed right then with a saline solution.)
The whole process took about 2-2.5 hours (plus some additional time for talking!) and I was so happy with the result. Obviously with it being a tattoo (or form of), I knew I would see immediate results, but it was just so cool to see how natural it looked and I was surprised by how happy I was with it right away.
The Next Day
When I looked in the mirror I saw two things:
1- I didn't look so "un-done". My new filled in brows made me look like some little fairies had happily woken up before me and started my morning routine as I slept.
2- The ink seemed to be darker than it was the night before! I could have sworn Christina and I agreed on a dark brown, but these puppies looked almost black (maybe not quite black, but definitely darker...although it could also be attributed to the fact that I didn't get home till 9pm and couldn't really tell what colour they were). When my husband saw me he stopped in his tracks and just looked at my brows, and with hesitation he said "So...what do you...think...?" And I laughed and told him that within a couple weeks the ink will fade approximately 50%, and that made us both feel better. I mean, the fact that he said I looked like the angry baby from The Simpsons... I am happy that there's some fading to come!
There isn't any swelling or pain, and the only redness I can see is slight traces around each new "hair".
I am LOVING my eye brows! The color has already faded substantially, and I am am thrilled with the low maintenance, ready-to-go-at-all-times, brows that Christina created for me. I think that being able to wash my face made a big difference in the colour!
For the first 3 days after the Mircoblading procedure, I had to allow for a Dry Healing time. After the 3 days I could get my eyebrows wet, but not do any scrubbing and I had to try to keep soap and face wash away from the area. After each wash, I was to apply a very small amount of Recovery Balm to each brow to help with healing.
I always thought that Microblading was just for women who didn't have brows at all, and thought it was silly to get this procedure done just to help with some bald patches and shaping, but I am so happy I decided to do it!
So far I haven't had any peeling or scabbing, and there is still some very slight redness (more of a pink) around some of the new "hairs".
The number of compliments I have had on my brows or "makeup" (or what they think is just makeup) is amazing. Don't get me wrong, I don't have random strangers come up to me every day telling me how much they love my eyebrows. But I've had a number of compliments from family and friends who knew I had my brows done, and also from a couple people who had no idea.
The fading seems to have slowed down and I can see that the colour of the ink is pretty bang on to what my natural brow colour is.
Still no peeling, flaking or scabbing and the redness is completely gone.
It's nice to know that my love for my "new" eyebrows is still going strong and was worth every penny and every minute. I highly recommend Microblading to anyone who isn't completely happy with their natural brows, or to those who want to save time getting ready in the morning.
Colour Boost/Touch-Up Appointment : 5 Weeks
A second appointment (called the Colour Boost) is important because this is where you can touch-up the areas where the ink has faded more than you wanted, and it also gives you the opportunity to perfect the final shape.
When I arrived at The Skin Care Studio, Christina applied the same numbing ointment and we let it sit for 30min. At this time we looked at my brows and talked about what I wanted to do, Christina made her suggestions (which included changing up the pigment colour just slightly to create a more natural, 3D effect), and when the 30min timer went off, away we went.
The pain level during the "etching" was once again very minimal and bearable. At one point it started to hurt a bit more, so Christina topped me up with some more numbing cream. This Colour Boost appointment was much faster and I was out the door after about an hour. My skin was slightly red, but nothing close to what it would look like after a brow wax, and I felt totally comfortable going to mall right after.
For the next 24 hours my brows were slightly tingley and itchy, but it was very manageable and just a little annoying. Again I allowed for 3 days of Dry Healing time, and did my best to keep the brow area dry and clean (which meant using a damp face cloth to gently clean my face to try to keep water and cleanser off my brows). After the three days, I could wash my face as I normally did (but no scrubbing or rubbing around my brows) and again applied the Recovery Balm to the area twice a day. There was one day where I noticed a tiny bit of peeling in one spot, but that's it.
If one could love a brow, then consider me in love! When friends and family ask, I 100% recommend Microblading, and I definitely recommend Christina at the Skin Care Studio for anyone in the Calgary area.
This isn't what is known as a "sponsored post" (ie. Christina didn't pay me to do this), but when I am thrilled with not only the "product", but also the service, I truly believe in passing along referrals and positive word-of-mouth. Christina is an experienced Esthetician (which includes being an Instructor at one of Calgary's largest Esthetic Institutes), she is educated, and takes her career, and her art, very seriously! If Christina couldn't have, or wouldn't have, done Microblading for me, I wouldn't have looked anywhere else.
To contact Christina, and to learn more about The Skin Care Studio, visit her website : http://www.theskincarestudio.ca/
What I Wish I knew Before:
- As I mentioned, for the first 3 days after the Microblading procedure, the area needs to "Dry Heal". This means, keep it dry. No water and no sweating. If you aren't an everyday showerer like I am, I suggest showering that day so that you don't need to worry about keeping your face dry in the shower. Also, if you like to exercise, do this right before your procedure because excessive sweating before your skin has healed can affect the outcome of your brows (and I also learned that sweat stings- I thought it was a great idea to tackle turkey and mashed potatoes the night after my Colour Boost, and lets just say I got a bit of sweat on my brow and it didn't tickle. However, I patted the area dry with a tissue and had my husband do the rest of the cooking, and all was well!)
- Everyone is different and the way your body responds to Microblading, and the ink, can vary. Some women start swelling before they even leave the studio, some have to manage a lot of peeling, while some women don't have any after effects at all. It really depends on each individual and the amount of work that is done.
If you are considering getting Mircoblading done, make sure you look into the facility and the Esthetician that you are booking with. I have heard some bad stories about dirty facilities or inexperienced Estheticians. Do your research, ask questions, and look for reviews and referrals.