Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baked Spaghetti Squash - Gluten Free

Over the next few months - I will be trying several new recipes.  I hit the wall sometimes when it comes to cooking. Who wants to eat the same thing every day - well other than my husband. But for some reason ideas just don't naturally spring to mind.

For me, it's in wandering through the way other people create food, that I flex that inventive muscle. Cookbooks, newspaper food sections, magazines and cooking shows alway inspire me. It's here new taste combinations can be safely explored and other ways of using a common ingredient are offered.

With so many now embracing Gluten Free diets, I am always looking for tasty ideas. Any recipe using gluten free flours are ignored for the most part as I worry about the process to make them something they were never meant to be. What I look for is the use of alternative flours that are naturally gluten free. For main dishes, they should be created without the need for pasta or bread and still be filling.

Better Homes and Gardens published an article with over 30 Gluten Free Recipes recently - all under 500 calories if you eat the suggested serving size. There were several I thought had strong possibilities and selected two to try this week - Baked Spaghetti Squash and Pork & Green Chili Stew (a crockpot offering).  I tried the first last night. The second I will be trying Sunday, so be sure and check back.
















I have struggled with how to best use Spaghetti Squash for a long time, mostly using it as a pasta/rice substitute topped with sauce or stir fry.  Layering the sauce, meat, cheese and squash this way created a lasagne-like dish that was full of flavour. The recipe says 6 servings - but with my big eaters, 4 servings is probably more like it. I might try this again and take it in even a more lasagne-like direction by adding a layer of ricotta cheese and spinach, but loved it just this way. If calories are an issue - this way is definintely a better choice. Other possibilities arise such as a layered tuna casserole, but that will be an idea for personal exploration later.

See what just happened here?  It's true - as soon as you begin to look at food through another cook's eyes, new ideas seems to evolve naturally.  Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Note - No dairy either?  I found this great article on How to Make Fresh Vegan Moxarella. Haven't tried it yet, but when I do I will add my thoughts.

Baked Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

Ingredients
1                        medium spaghetti squash (2-1/4 lb.)
12 oz                 bulk Italian sausage (I use sweet or mild, but for a spicy kick you can use hot)
1-1/2 C              sliced or coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms
1                        medium red sweet pepper, diced
1/3 C                 finely chopped onion
3                        cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C                 sliced or chopped ripe olives
1/2 tsp               dried Italian herbs
1-1/2 C              purchased spaghetti sauce - your favourite - divided
1-1/2 C              shredded Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, or Italian blend cheese - divided
1/4 C                 snipped fresh Italian parsley (optional)



Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Halve squash crosswise; remove seeds. Place cut sides down in 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microcook on high power 13 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with fork; rearrange once for even baking. OR you can cover with foil and bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Scrape pulp from squash (about 3 cups). 

In a large skillet cook sausage, mushrooms, sweet pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink; stir to break up sausage. Drain off fat.
Spray baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread half the squash in dish. Add half the sausage mixture and half the olives. Sprinkle with Italian Herbs and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Top with half the sauce and half the cheese. Top with remaining 1/2 squash, 1/2 sausage, 1/2 olives, and 1/2 sauce, but reserve the remaining 1/2 cheese for later. 

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Vancouver Recording Artist Jody Quine - Live From the Grammy's, Pt. 2

by guest writer, Vancouver recording artist Jody Quine
Los Angeles. Truly a city where anything can happen. Fill it with thousands of Grammy voting members and its like summer camp.
Jimmy Kimmel didn't happen. As they often do with TV shows, they ‘oversell’ the tickets to ensure every seat gets filled and it seems almost everybody with a ticket was there early. Audience capacity was met good and early.
Wednesday night I got to see my friend Scott Healy, of Conan O’Brian’s Basic Cable Band and a grammy nominee last year, lead a 12 piece jazz ensemble. Man they kicked ass! I stalked the amazing drummer Bernie Dresel, grabbed a selfie and friended him on Facebook. Ya know, Jody style.
Thursday night was the Legacy Concert. It was a bit of a chilly night for Los Angeles. Fog whispered around the people milling about in front of the Wilshire EBell Theatre. We all knew something magical could happen in this 1200 seat theatre with a line-up including Aloe Blacc, John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge and more. The evening's focus was on the evolution of music’s role in advancing philanthropic causes and celebrating the musicians who put on huge festivals to create awareness and raise money.
Left - Grammy Legacy Lean On Me Concert, Right - with drummer Bernie Dresel
As we took our seats, it wasn't long before John Mellencamp took the stage. He began telling stories of his grandmother and playing acoustically with only a single fellow guitar player. One of the original musicians involved in Farm Aid with Willie Nelson, he introduced the man himself who finished off his small set with On The Road Again. Once we were invited to join in. I don’t believe one throat sat silent for this all time classic hit and singing it with Willie himself.
Melissa Ethridge and Aloe Blacc
Several other performances happened at the Legacy Concert including: Deborah Cox, The Plain White Tees, Lindsey Stirling, Walk The Moon, and Robin Thicke. Although Thicke impressed me with his vocals, the poor taste he left in my mouth with his date rape song and on-camera actions last year still linger. I refused to stand in celebration of his efforts.
The highlight for me was Melissa Etheridge. She took to the stage in jeans and sneakers, hair flowing, with her guitar slung over her shoulder and pressed to her hip. She leaned into the mic and whispered, ‘Where’s Aloe Blacc… Aloe?’ Not a name I’ll forget anytime soon, Aloe joined her on stage and with a string quartet and drums they did a version of the Beatles song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. This is what music is about. This was the magic I was hoping for. Not a vocal after that whisper of an introduction from Ethridge. She didn't sing on this song, but with her effortless musicianship, she blew me away with her guitar shredding. She did return to close the show though and of course blew us all away again.
Image by Jeff Knight Photography
Friday evening I was dolled up and out the door, doing the rarely heard of trip to the Metro. Yes, all in my glamour I rode the subway. Two of my close friends had their album - Winds of Samsara - nominated for Best New Age Album and they were having a party downtown. The lights, the room, the crowd of talent all vying for photos with Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman on the red carpet was exciting and alive.
I had barely 40 minutes to work my way through the room, hug old friends, greet new ones I’ve only known online, and steal as many selfies (check out link) as I could then it was into a car with my knight in shining armour (for the 2nd time on this trip) Mark Etheredge. Off I went to the House Of Blues to emcee an event for 300 Grammy voting members…
Our event, The (first annual) Soireé was such an immediate hit they had to move our red carpet to the Grafton Hotel 2 doors down. Celebrities such as O-Town, Bai Ling, Jiff the dog and Malcolm Jamal Warner came. I have done red carpets before, but this one was so packed with photographers and interviewers, I can’t help but day dream of next year!
On stage I had the most wonderful time. Of course I was super excited, so quite ridiculous at times, and some moments I might not live down. But the overall feeling of support and joy still lingers - not to mention the request to have me back next year as emcee (and offers from several others to emcee their future events). Looks like I might have a sideline biz ready to explode!

Left - Malynda Hale grabbing a pic with O-Town after the red carpet
Right -
Malcolm Jamal Warner and I from the stage

Of the night, the performances that stood out mostly for me were Tess Henley, Emilio Solla, Wouter Kellerman, Kevin Lucas, Melanie Amaro, Al Walser and Malcolm Jamal Warner, who picked up flirting with me on stage to entertain the crowd like the amazing performer he is. Oh how we had fun! Nominated for his spoken-word contribution to Robert Glasper's Black Radio 2 in the Best Traditional R&B category. He is, as you’d expect, a natural on stage. His sexy, intense, insightful and poetic lyrics spoken over his fat 5 string bass notes, and supported by an excellent band grabbed the room and had us all enraptured. Of course when he dedicated his 2nd song to me and used my name in the lyrics well… I certainly didn't mind!
Don't forget to check back in a few days when I share my experience at the actual Grammys!! If you missed Pt 1 - click HERE. In the meantime, be sure and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
At The Soiree - Images by Jeff Knight Photography

(NOTE - you can hear recordings of several singles by Jody Quine at https://soundcloud.com/jodyquine. Enjoy!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blanche Macdonald - Aila Hayward, Childhood Memories of the Yukon

Runway images by Peter Jensen

I said in a previous article and that applies here as well - my first step at the last Blanche Macdonald grad show last fall was out of the crowd and into a side room. There the grad students portfolios are all on display showcasing their illustrations, technical drawings and more.

I love looking through these and am actually not all that patient waiting. Oh to have that whole room to myself.  I actually managed to make that happen one season and it was heaven. It's a smorgasbord of delight to wander through the fashion illustrations to try and get a feel for the creative artist who lurks inside.

Aila Haward's artistry caught my eye right away. I love how her designs have a flow to them and the hints of ethnic notes that peak out here and there. The bold colours are captivating and she works textural prints into the mix beautifully.  These illustrations are truly eye candy for me and I can see the looks in my head rocking the runway.

When it came to the show, there is always that reality check as the designers are only allowed to offer a couple of looks. When the mix of illustrations is this strong - I would have loved to see all of them. Something to think about Aila! While the designs on the runway were definitely chosen from the simpler looks in her portfolio, they still incorporated the themes of combining strong colour and textural elements.  Someone near me leaned over during the show and noted their interest as these looks stood out.

So with no further ado, I want to offer this Q and A with another promising young designer I will have my eye on. I would love to see this full collection of looks come into being. Crossing my fingers a full runway show is in Aila's near future.

= = = = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. My hometown is Morinville, Alberta, which is a small town just outside of St. Albert. Up until I was about six, I kind of traveled a lot. I usually spent half the year in Morinville and the other half visiting family. My Dad worked as a miner in a small town called Keno up in the Yukon, which is wear I pulled the main inspiration for my grad collection. My mum is from Northampton, England.

What you like when you were young?

When I was small I kind of liked to be alone, but I was slightly eccentric. I used to play dress up all the time. I remember I raided my mothers closet and stole all her scarfs to make an outfit and wore it more than once. When we did story time together, I would get really into it and act it out doing different voices for each character. My mum always let us be who we wanted to be and always encouraged extra activities. I always wanted to be smart, so I started playing chess and reading fairly young. I also took singing, acting, dance, piano lessons along with going to summer camps.

What were your interests in High School?

In high school I loved most subjects. but mainly the sciences. One subject I didn't like was gym. I usually tried to play Frisbee or fake an injury. In my spare time I was either drawing or hanging out with friends and family. One of my older brothers hung out with the same people a lot, so we were pretty close.  I also worked at the local dollar store as much as possible so I could help afford to pay for my horse, my jumping lessons and shows, although I can't say my mum ever made me pay.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?

I think I probably should have realized that fashion and design in particular were my kind of "true calling."  As a small kid, I used to do a lot of crafty things. I would make outfits for all my dolls by using scraps from my grandmas sewing. I would measure my dolls, make little patterns and then hand sew it all together. I eventually moved on to making outfits for my poor cats. I'm pretty sure I made a tuxedo collar for my brother's cat and he hated it. I will openly admit to still doing this, but my cat oddly loves it.....no lie.

Eventually I turned to a friend and asked if I could make a Medieval costume for her and she said yes. With what little knowledge we had. I measured her out and then we raided her mothers scrap fabrics - I think we got in trouble - and created a beautifully fitted, poorly hand sewn dress. Now I know the dress we actually made wasn't Medieval, but Elizabethan. Either way, I think we did great for 5th graders. After the dress, I took on sewing teddy bears and making rag dolls with personalized outfits and tried to learn how to knit, needle point, crochet, and bead.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive? Did you have some experience in the industry?

Fashion was kind of an extra thing I was going to do. When I was little, I remember telling myself I would be a doctor or a vet. Then when I made enough money, I would go into fashion. After high school, I took pre-vet courses and ended up spending more time sketching dresses and patterns in my notebooks then taking notes. My mum was the one who noticed I was sending myself down the wrong path and maybe should just go for fashion  She said, "Why would you waste your time doing something you kind of like when you could be doing something that you love -your passion" I only finished one year and then my mum bought me my first sewing machine and patterns and fabric to make clothes. She helped me figure out the patterns and later bought me a mannequin and a serger, Even when I decided to move out here. she came back from England to make sure I was ok.



My dad was unbelievably supportive too. He helped pay to hold my seat at school by selling one of his favorite bear rugs and he continually listened to me when I was stressed. I am also blessed to have three brothers and a step brother and sister and one sister in law who think what I'm doing is incredible along as well as many close friends of the family and other family members and friends who are spread across the world. I just can't even express how blessed and honored I feel to have so many supporters and fans

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

After I decided to no longer be a vet, I decided to listen to my mum and look at fashion schools. At the time I didn't think I had that much skill, mainly because I am fairly self taught. But I wanted to see what the best schools were and the obvious ones that came up were London College of Fashion, Parsons and so on. Canada had one in Ontario, and then the number one was Blanche MacDonald. I figured I'd fill out the form and see if they would even accept me with my experience. The next day Jill got back to me with an offer.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are they any high, low or funny moments you can share?

I loved my time in the fashion design program. The teachers are all so nice and helpful and all of us students became really close. It was like a little family. We all wanted the best for each other and supported each other. It was really sad to leave, but we have all managed to keep in touch so far.  I remember Starbucks and Tim Hortons were our best friends....and funny cat videos. The hardest part was the self doubt and feeling that in the end it might not come together, then just saying nope, I'm going to make it work. It's going to be exactly what I want. The easiest was probably wanting to be there. The school just made a very friendly and supportive atmosphere.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection? 

The inspiration for my grad collection is based off of my childhood memories of the Yukon ... in specific Keno, native art, and the mines. The collection is called "Where Queens Are Kings" as a kind of a hint to Keno's town slogan, "Where Silver is King."

Describe your collection.

My collection is contemporary day and evening wear with the main focus on versatile statement pieces. The garments are meant to look sophisticated, be warm, and stay conscious of animal rights (using faux-fur or donated fur and leather). I believe my line is perfect for a young, urban-based women (20-40) who love awkward beauty that goes unnoticed every day, like the mines. These women are confident, intellectual, and driven. They are usually in the public eye and most likely work in the arts, writing, architecture, design, or even fashion itself.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

My color palette was based off of the Yukon in the fall time, so I went with a deep red, a dark grape, grey, black, and gold. For fabrics I used mostly silk (chiffon, taffeta, satin), with a few polyesters (charmeuse and coat fabric), faux fur and donated leather. I did have two custom prints made on organic cotton sateen - the tunnel print of a mine tunnel and the explosion print of a dynamite explosion at a mine.

Do you have a favourite look?

I actually have two favorite looks from my collection. One of them is a one shoulder, floor length patch dress. In my illustrations, it;s the one between the two coats. The second one would be from my runway and it's my explosion dress. I'm so happy with how it all worked out. The pattern pieces took forever and there are so many layers and fine details to it. I love the fit. On that note, I'm extremely proud of my coat. Lining up the pattern on the coat took me a full day to do and so far it seems to be a customer favourite.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I'm hoping I can bring something a little personal to the fashion world - slightly theatrical fun to help women feel confident powerful and sexy. I also hope what I offer can help bring awareness to things happening in our world that we may pass by.

Where do you go from here?

Currently I am in the merchandising course at Blanche MacDonald until next September and am hoping to start interning right after Christmas. I hope to intern as much as possible and would love to try my hand in costume design. In the long run, I would love to become a couture house and hope that my positive outlook, creativity, and determination will help get me there

Can you share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?

Fashion design to me is taking a moment - whether it be a present or past - and turning it into something that makes you feel like that moment .... if that makes any sense.

Anything else I didn't ask you would like mentioned?

The only other thing I can think of is to share people who I admire - Dior, Queen Elizabeth 1 and my man Albert Einstein (idol). And a bit of advice for young designers: just be you, go with your instincts and always be nice

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To contact Aila Hayward please email aila.hayward@hotmail.com.

For more information on the Fashion Design Program at Blanche Macdonald go to www.blanchemacdonald.com/Fashion.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vancouver Recording Artist Jody Quine - Live from the Grammys, Pt. 1

by Guest Writer - Jody Quine

I AM GOING TO THE GRAMMYS.

Sure I’m a recording artist, but my daily life as a mother of 2 grade school children, and a step-son who’s in high school, is about making meals, taking care of our home, making sure our family’s lives run smoothly, chauffeuring, parenting, organizing and doing many many chores, not to mention my freelance web and graphic design whenever I can - and of course songwriting with what’s left in any given week. So going to The Grammys is definitely the other side of the coin.

Though I have been a voting member of NARAS (The Grammys) for the last year and a half, I’m not one for concerts (I’d rather be in them than watch), but when the opportunity presented itself and I was one of the lucky 15,000 to get a ticket to a concert that sells out in under 5 minutes, I couldn't deny the thrill. Then realizing the stadium would be filled with creative and amazing people soaking it all in and giving it all they've got, it hit me hard. WHOA! The Grammys, and I have a ticket.

Immediately the preparations began. I spent heaps of time visiting The Skin Girls in Vancouver getting my skin primed with microdermabrasions, facials, and more! I got my eyebrows tinted, eyelashes extended, and fingers and toes painted. I shopped and shopped and eventually found a really cool dress rental place - Rent The Runway - and picked 2 dresses to be sent to my hotel for me to wear to the big festivities. I set meetings in Los Angeles and organized my schedule of events galore, prepared my family and home for my week away and now I've boarded the plane… ready.

On left - a spray that is to help your feet stay comfortable in high heels
On right - Jody getting a Oxygen Facial and pampering at The Skin Girls


A few of us are going to a Jimmy Kimmel taping this week. There is also the Grammy Foundation Legacy Concert on Thursday with Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge, and Cindy Lauper. Two events on Friday and then one of the big highlights for me, I’m emceeing and singing a song from my latest release, Seven, at an event at The House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. I've written my opening monologue, rehearsed my song and will leave the rest to fate. Awww yes, fate, it is important to remain balanced and calm in all possibly life defining moments, and from this point forward that will be most of the work, remaining calm.

And of course on Sunday the main event. I will be spending the day at the pre-telecast, which you can watch online at GRAMMY Live. It begins at 12 p.m. This is where all the awards you don’t see on tv will be handed out. Several friends are nominated this year and watching them cross the stage to possibly accept their awards will be a prize in itself. Then we’ll toddle across the road to Los Angeles Convention Centre to attend main event - The Grammys - and from there the Official After Party.

So for this stay-at home Mom, this week will be all about wearing dresses and high heels everyday, being preened and promoted, smiling and being present, all while being surrounded by exciting and creative people. I will also miss my children madly but I’m following my own dream and setting an example for my girls that you can be, do, and have all you desire if you focus and work towards it.

Join me if you like and follow me on facebook (www.facebook.com/jodyquines) and/or twitter (www.twitter.com/jodyquine) or here on Olio for exclusive pictures and more blogs along the way!

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For more information on recording artist Jody Quine, please visit her website at www.jodyquine.com
Enjoy this video of her single Come Back Home from her CD - SEVEN.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Black2Blond & La Biosthetique - Nebulous Beauty! with Dylan Beatch & Sara Burke

Image by Genesis Alvarez
After my book launch for #LifeOutsideTheBox on January 21st, I was feeling very low energy. But with the gentle encouragement of event coordinator Sara Miller, I pulled it together and headed out to enjoy Nebulous Beauty -  a showcase and release of a trend collection of hairstyles presented by Dylan Beatch and Sara Burke, of Black2Blond and La Biosthetique Canada. I am so glad as the event was inspiring.

The venue was 303 Columbia, a space I had not been in before.  It offered an open concept, white room with a low stage at one end and a bar along the far wall. Guests were offered a lovely glass of bubbly to sip as we mingled and had our pictures snapped at the media wall.  As I was early, I even managed to snag a place on a couch - a wonderful place to chat. Two people I was uber delighted to see as it had been a long time was Marc Riese and Anna Riese of La Biosthetique Canada.  I had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage several seasons ago at Eco Fashion Week and was very impressed. You can read that article HERE.
Image by Genesis Alvarez

Another fun moment was to pop downstairs to meeting Dylan Beatch and Sara Burke pre-show. Going backstage at any event is wonderfully crazy, but here it was a crazy shift from open white room, to cramped old basement. It had to be a challenge for the entire team.  Both artists were working furiously. Sara in particular was fascinating to watch as she seemed to be sewing the top of her models head?  I'm still curious about that? Perhaps another article!

The evening began with a tea room style runway show with hair models posing in the crowd.  All models were wearing designs by Vancouver's very own Evan Ducharme.  There were two art installation by videographers Laine Butler and Denis Ogrinc of Que Pasta Productions plus music by  DJ's Wolfy and Sam Rutledge. As the evening progressed, Beatch and Burke took the stage to offer live demonstrations. They were joined by the hair models who again posed for the audience.  How these stylists can work so quickly on stage under pressure was amazing and the final looks speak for themselves. A great evening.

I hope you enjoy this Q and A with stylist Dylan Beatch. It gives his journey to becoming a stylist and some background on this event and its concept.

Images by Genesis Alvarez

= = = = = =

Where were your born? Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Vancouver, however my family moved to Aylmer - now Gatineau, Quebec - before I turned one for my dad to finish his PHD in Pharmaceutical Engineering. It was a beautiful place to grow up. There were no alley ways, just hedges that divided the homes and the other neighborhood children that I would eventually call my best friends. My adolescence I spent in Vancouver. My father got a job out here and so we moved.

What were you like as a child/teen? 

I was always a little different throughout high school. I never really cared for the social norms and found my own identity through personal interest. I wore turtle necks and silver chains while I was influenced by rap music. I grew out my curly tendrils and dawned the veil of a hippie when I started to further retract from the general norm. I was very interested in music and any form of expression that where I felt the pull of meaning. I sang in bands; which gave me the thirst for the stage. I was associated with theatre groups throughout the city such as the Arts Umbrella where many people may shared similar experiences. I acquired an honest love for literature in my English and creative writing programs in school. I sought meaning and creation, it was true north for me and the path hasn't stifled since.

Image by Genesis Alvarez
Were there any early signs you would head into this very creative career?

Looking back, I believe there were signs guiding me in this hairy direction. I wouldn't say I was vain as I had poor skin quality in my youth which always weighed down my self image. This being said, I was quite obsessive with my outward appearance. I had tight curly hair which I would put endless effort into making look presentable. I would shower for and hour in the morning; pulling the tangles from my tendrils with conditioner and when finished I would shake the moisture out of my hair like a dog stabilizing myself with my hands on the bathroom counter. I would put whatever product my mother had provided for me in order to keep the frizziness at bay and walk to school with wet hair, Usually about 15-30 minutes late.  I didn't care much for schedule.

These propensities have cost me a couple jobs. The prettiest girls I found were always ones with unique hair. I found the daughter of a hairstylist the most beautiful because her hair was elegantly highlighted and straightened every day. The "goth" women were always interesting to me because their hair was so different. I dated a girl whose hair was entirely braided in those little braids you would get on a beach in some South American all inclusive resort. I always had an interest in hair and would always ask my hairstylists what they were doing and to what effect whenever they would use an interesting technique on my hair. I've actually continued to use some of these techniques from my memory as a prodding 16 year old.

Images by Genesis Alvarez


Share briefly about your journey to become a hair stylist?

My journey into the industry was fairly unorthodox. After high school my friends and I were quite poor. Some were attending college and university which I never really trusted. I watched them attend Poly-Sci courses and Philosophy courses thinking that they would make great dinner guests, but to what definite career their lofty matriculation would lead them I was not entirely sure. Looking back this was a little narrow sighted. I probably would have gone the route of literature and writing, however I wasn't ready at this point; still chasing girls and ephemeral highs. I found myself chronically fired from all of the part time jobs I didn't care much for. The tardiness being the main factor in my lack of ability to hold a job.

 I began cutting hair on my parents porch during a bought of unemployment. My father had been long bald at this point and had purchased a Conair home haircutting kit from Costco and decided that, "If I have no hair to cut then why should I be paying for it?"  I guess there is some irony in the fact that male pattern baldness begat my first set of tools. I would line my friends up in the patio, plastic hilted scissors in hand and replicate the best side parted haircut I could with the limited recollection of what my hairstylist had given me in the salon. These were the first crawling moments of a the beautiful career I have pastured.

Marc and Anna Riese hard at work downstairs in the prep area pre-show. Image by Genesis Alvarez.















I later got hired on at Ego now called a Tonic Aveda as an apprentice. It was the very salon I went to receive haircuts. My mother told my stylist at the time of my practice and he got me the gig. I was eventually terminated from Ego due to tardiness as I was still quite young and unfocused. I finished my apprenticeship at a small salon called Propaganda and ended up transferring to Black 2 Blond as they were transitioning into the La Biosthetique North American Academy and flag ship salon. I had now been working in hair for about 3 years and having travelled to New York for courses with bumble and bumble. Being privy to the La Biosthetique trend show and foundation of education, I felt it time to move on.

Talk a little bit about Black2Blond? What do you love about this salon and what makes it special.

Every bit of what I'm doing today I owe to Black 2 Blond and their continual support of all of my creative endeavors. I found myself at a low point at the previous salon I was working; with very little room to move around or branch out into any creative. My skills were growing very slowly and the colour line I was using I didn't much care for or understand how to manipulate effectively. The education program was minimal, however I responded well to the education we received. This is when I fell in love with La Biosthetique.

 Image by Genesis Alvarez.
I went to La Biosthetique's fall/winter 2013 trend collection show which is a show that showcases the new hair trend that they have created and explain to the audience of hairstylists how to do the looks and how to bring them into the salon. I ended up sitting next to the sales rep, a lady whom I had seen quite a bit flitting in and out of my previous salon. I was amazed by the quality of work that the hairstylists on stage were producing as well as the company as a whole. The show was amazing, the collection was beautiful. It was unlike anything I had seen. Later I had received an email from the manager of Black 2 Blond asking for an interview. The sales rep had decided that I needed a better home and forwarded them my details.

Since the day I started at Black 2 Blond I have been exposed to some of the most talented and inspiring hairstylists I know in the industry, a pleasant and luxurious workplace and support from mentors, educators and my bosses like I haven't experienced in any industry. In short I guess Black 2 Blond represents a place of growth and I'm very happy to be part of the team.

Image by Santiago Firero
La Biosthetique is a partner in this show - talk about this collaboration.

The La Biosthetique community provided us with support back stage in helping with the hair and makeup for the models. They generously arrived with the products to be used in preparation and the products of which we gave in goody bags for the models. They also gave us the new spa line to give away as a gift basket for the door prize. Which was more than we expected, we just kind of asked for everything that we could have and they provided us with all that we had asked.

How did the idea for Nebulous Beauty come about? What is the concept?

I have an artist statement for Nebulous beauty which I will enclose. Nebulous beauty is in reference to the ephemeral nature of the clouds shape. The concept was born of a yearning to take the things that Sara and have learned and the things that we do regularly in the salon and give them a little bit of air and new life.  A cloud has a familiar form, however they each carry their own unique shape. With this in mind we strove to take the shapes that we are familiar with and push them a little bit, creating a new way of looking at what we see regularly. We incorporated the fringe but in different ways. On the longer silver bob shape, we took the fringe and extended it beyond her hair line and let it rest over top of the sides of her hair. The effect is a combination of a bowl shape and a long bob shape. We were largely experimenting with shape and trying to push the boundaries of commercial sellable fashion.

Image by Genesis Alvarez


Fashion Designer Evan Ducharme provided the clothing for the models. How did they add to your concept.

Evan Ducharme's clothing integrated perfectly with our concept. The pieces we chose were ones that held a strong structural form and also incorporated loose billowy fabric that created a cloud like shape. They lent themselves well to the image of the cloud in that they were vulnerable to movement and wind while still retaining their form.


Image by Genesis Alvarez
Each of you completed a live demonstration on stage. That has to be a lot of pressure. Can you first talk what it is like to create a hairstyle life on stage and talk about what your specific work that night. 

It wasn't really pressure, more so a cathartic release of all that we had been working towards. In preparation for the live cut Sara and I had coloured Devin's hair and I had pre-cut my desired shape into her hair. I intended on showing the transformation from a very classic and angular shape to a very flirty and bohemian look on stage. Both of the looks were quite beautiful on Devin, however the latter look spoke more truly to her character. I did this through creating a bob feeling with an undercut prior to the stage and then cutting the top lengths to the base of where the Bob shape was sitting.

 On stage I took the top layers and cut them with a square layer technique; providing her with the playful texture that is so prevalent in flirty shapes. I chipped around the perimeters of this new shape to create softness around the face and expose the bob undercut form, creating a new shape all together. I then shortened her fringe and texturizing it in a way that she can wear with endless versatility. Because of the underlying structured bob shape, she has a lot of freedom in styling the top layers and fringe. She can part the fringe in the center or to the sides with some of the layers spilling into them, creating a very cool and flirty style or she can wear it simply as a fringe.

Images by Santiago Firero


Can you share something about the two art installations by the videographers

The two video installations were done by Laine Butler and Denis Ogrinc. Laine provided us with the psychedelic cloud advertisement. This was to anchor the ethos to our brand and lend a beautiful kaleidoscopic feel to the evening. Denis shot our collection video which was meant to showcase our collection with movement. We chose the video route over images to provide a more dynamic range of reception. Images can be easily picked apart and analyzed where as a video is constantly shifting and moving, it translates mood and feeling much better as a medium.

In closing perhaps you can each share a favourite moment or look from this evening.

Of the many beautiful moments provided by the show and the preparation before hand, there was a particular moment on stage. With all of the business of the day there had been very little time to connect with any of the models and workers on a personal level. Yes communications are light and it is a lot of fun to be working on these projects, however in the grinding moments before the stage there is simply hair to be done, faces to be painted and a room to manipulate.

Images by Santiago Firero


 When I was on stage everything was relaxed. Everything was happening in real time without pressure. When I maneuvered around the cut to Devin's fringe I paused for a moment as we made eye contact. She looked at me and smiled and I asked how she was doing. She replied with "well" and that it was funny that now that everything was rolling we could finally have a chat. I felt more gracious and more connected to all of the models in that moment and appreciated the time and sacrifice in hair that they had given as a platform for my and Sara's creativity. The blast of smoke at the end was also pretty pleasing to me. None of us knew how to work that machine and having that much come out was awesome.