Lookin’ Good Girl — Food for Your Face

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By Vanessa Vaillant

Here at Fat Girl Food Squad, we’re always talking about delicious food. We all love to nourish our bodies with food, but it can also be great for nourishing our skin! Often when you think of foods that are good for your body, they will have properties that are nourishing to the skin as well. Feeding your face and body with food-­based ingredients is a fun and healthy way to take care of yourself.

Green Tea

We all know that green tea is good for the body but it’s also fantastic for your skin. Green tea is very high in antioxidants and also has antibacterial properties. Antioxidants help to fight against free radicals that are all around us, coming from a variety of sources like pollution and cigarette smoke. An easy way to get green tea into your skin is to simply brew up a cup and tone your face with it. Toning your skin before adding moisturizer will keep your skin more hydrated, and you won’t need to use as much moisturizer. You can also use matcha green tea powder mixed into a face mask.

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Papaya

Papayas are not only delicious, they are also jam packed full of vitamins for your skin. They’re full of vitamins A, B, and C, contain powerful alpha hydroxy acids, and also their own powerful papaya enzymes. Fruit enzymes are a great way to naturally exfoliate the skin without actually scrubbing it because they’ll eat away at dead skin cells. This is especially good for anyone who has a sensitivity to exfoliating. The naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids and papaya enzymes will brighten up the skin and help to remove dead cells. You can also look for fruit enzymes in facial cleansers, masks, and moisturizers.

Lush Cosmetic’s The Sacred Truth face mask combines papaya, matcha green tea, and fresh wheatgrass to pack a foodie punch to your skin!

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Beet Root

Eating a rainbow of colourful foods is what you often hear about when aiming for good internal health. If you’ve ever prepared beets before, you will know that they are incredibly pigmented. Beets also contain a high amount of vitamins and phytochemicals. Beet juice can be used to naturally stain the skin — you can use it all on its own as a lip or cheek stain. The colour that beets give is very natural looking on the skin, and can be layered for a bolder look.

Small-batch organic skincare company, Fat and The Moon, make a great lip and cheek stain that
uses beet root for pigment.

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Peach

Peaches were once thought of as the fruit of immortality, so it’s no wonder that peach kernel oil (and as apricot kernel oil) is often used in “anti­-ageing” products. Peach kernel oil is extracted from the pit of the fruit; this oil is naturally high in good fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A and E, meaning it’s great for keeping skin looking fresh and youthful. This type of oil is also easily absorbed into the skin, so it won’t feel heavy or greasy. Look for apricot or peach kernel oil in moisturizers for the face, lips, and body.

Tony Moly makes a super adorable peach hand lotion!  I picked mine up at Pacific Mall.

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Honey

Honey has been used topically on the skin since Ancient Egyptian times. It has both antibacterial and soothing properties, which makes it exceptionally good for anyone with skin conditions like eczema. It’s wonderful for healing because it will sooth the skin and encourage the growth of healthy skin cells. You can apply honey directly onto your skin, or look for skincare products containing honey in the base. You can also make your own body scrub by mixing honey with an exfoliating base like sugar, salt, or ground coffee.

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Lookin’ Good Girl – Pat that weave girl: Toronto’s own Palm Sunday hair salon & gift shop

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Palm Sunday (384 Harbord Street, Toronto) seems more like the Internet come to life and I mean that in the best way possible. Unlike any other salon and gift shop I have ever walked into, you are greeted with beautiful white washed walls with vibrant pops of neon everywhere. It seems to whisper out, “Spring Break” in that James Franco way but less obnoxious and more fabulous. This salon and gift shop works in all type of design with kitschy cool.

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Welcome to Palm Sunday, the brainchild of Kat Marcus, Ronnie Dag and Shane Lyon.

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Just having had their re-launch party over the weekend (being re-branded and re-renovated from their former space, The Saloon Salon), the dream team decided to “turn a new leaf” for the new year and bring their guests a more fun and interactive sensory space while introducing two new members (Shane Lyon and Mark Boots). In the re-brand, they decided to team up (in the gift shop) with more artists, designers and originators who dedicate themselves to craft.

I decided to chat with them prior to their relaunch to get the scoop on Palm Sunday and find out what exactly Palm Sunday means to them!

(1) Who and what is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is a contemporary space fusing hair, fashion, art, and culture. We provide an individualized salon experience that reflects your habits and your hairstyle. Our environment is inspired by radiant beaches to reflect our sunny disposition. We are your all inclusive hair retreat!

(2) What is life like at Palm Sunday?

Life is always busy at Palm Sunday. During the day, we are a full-on hair salon! Cuts, colours, beard trims, wigs and secrets! Our gift shop brings in curious neighbours to browse and get to know us better. Sometimes people stop by to just hang out for a while in our sunny waiting area, and chat with Shane.

During the off hours, we are always collaborating with artists, musicians, designers, makeup artists and videographers on producing interesting content. Some of it serves a purpose, some is to test the waters on other fashion concepts. So far, we have started dipping into photography, wardrobe styling, set design, concept design and creative direction. It is incredible how excited it makes us to then take that energy and apply it to our lives behind the chair.

It is a really exciting time for all of us, it all feels very limitless.

(3) What made you decide to re-brand from The Saloon Salon to Palm Sunday?

Our re-branding came naturally, as we are continually evolving as people, artists and a united team. The Saloon was such a success, and we were excited to create a new endeavour, combining our love for our craft with our admiration for one another. Throughout the process, our dream concept came to life – we wanted to inspire our friends, neighbors, and clients. Our new light airy persona leads to a more relaxing, invigorating experience. We feel rejuvenated and want to share that with everyone who passes by!

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(4) Who are Kat, Shane, Ronnie and Mark? Who makes up the Palm Sunday team?!

Shane Lyon is our new salon director and co-owner. He is a math prodigy, and thrives in customer service. Your Palm Sunday visit begins and ends with Shane. As our salon director, he is in charge of keeping everything flowing. He has built strong relationships with our suppliers – on the hair side and in the gift shop. We lean pretty hard on him, we call him Papa.

Kat Marcus is a vibrant master stylist and co-owner with over ten years experience transforming the way her clients feel about the way they look. She is co-owner of Palm Sunday, and her previous salon (located here) won several awards, including the NOW Magazine readers poll for Best Salon, for two years running. Always open to evolution, she formed her dream team and has finally made the exciting salon she had always envisioned.

Ronnie Dag is a gifted master stylist and co-owner at Palm Sunday. Entrepreneurship comes naturally to Ronnie – she also has a very successful bridal business, and is incredibly innovative. She is a tastemaker, a rebel, and can only be described as a true original. She brings with her a strong styling background in music, film, fashion, and television. Her ability to deliver a vision has kept her busy for over a decade, and her infectious personality keeps her in high demand.

Mark Boots is a talented stylist with a refreshing personality. A designer by nature, Mark’s roots are in fine arts and theater. He has combined his love of hair, design and theater through his work for Mirvish, Canadian Stage, Canadian Opera Company and other theatre productions. He divides his time between the chair and the stage, and is a regular fixture at Palm Sunday.

(5) What can people expect when they sit in the chair at Palm Sunday?

People can expect their experience to be all be about them. They will always be heard, and never judged. We all work together to collaborate on the perfect look for every client, and go out of our way to make sure everyone feels included. We are upbeat, friendly, and reflect a positive, sunny disposition – you are always guaranteed a laugh with the light antics taking place throughout our day. We always listen to our clients carefully to ensure everyone has the perfect look to suit any lifestyle. We want to break free from the antiquated notion that you can’t ‘cheat on your stylist’. We don’t own you, but we will love you like we do.

(6) Who are some of your inspirations

We are inspired by everyone and everything around us. We are constantly evolving as a team and using our life experiences to help one another progress. Our clients always have amazing experiences to share that keep us intrigued and wanting to grow. We collaborate with numerous, artists, musicians, and neighbors, and outside stylists who keep our creative force forever progressing.

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(7) If you could style anyone who would it be

Kat: I would love to give Leo (Dicaprio obvs) a therapeutic scalp treatment and a line up.
Ronnie: I would love to flat iron Donatella Versace’s hair
Mark: I would travel back to 1972 to style Burt Reynolds for his infamous Cosmopolitan shoot

(8) What is your #1 tip for feeling fly?

The simple truth: “always do you.” There is nothing more fly than confidence in your individuality.

Lookin’ Good Girl: Chatting with Rachel Holt of PRiMAALA

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When you’re a plus-size gal in the city, all you want is to be forever fashionable. But strolling into the local mall can often times be a struggle with all the plus-size goods picked over or just not your style. The struggle: it’s real.

But over the course of the last few years, the fashion industry has started to stand up and take notice to us fashionably fierce femmes who want nothing more than to have more selection in plus-sizes. Some of these stores even come in the form of brick & mortar independent shops much like the recently opened shop PRiMAALA (803 Dundas Street West) in Toronto by fabulous lady, Rachel Holt.

Rachel & myself chatted inside the beautifully designed store that specifically caters to the forward-thinking and high-end side of women’s fashion in sizes 12 to 24. The store is light and airy with clean, modern and chic elegance as soon as you walk in. The store is open (in concept) with several fitting rooms in the back and lots of natural light and mirrors.

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Having had an extensive background in the fashion industry, Rachel studied at Ryerson University. For her final thesis, she designed one of the school’s first plus-size collections pushing boundaries and challenging the ideal of fashion normalities. She tells me that she worked for months on her collection sourcing fabrics from New York and creating something luxurious that the plus female would respond to. The response to her collection was bold and it was from this thesis project (and other in-life frustrations), that awoke Rachel’s inner-being to provide an outlet (outside of the online realm) for the plus-sized female.

With careful thought into location (her home at Dundas West happened almost by chance) and into the brands that she would carry, Rachel has tried to keep shoppers happy with the bountiful options available to them. This includes Lundstrom, Comfy USA, James Jeans, Eileen Fisher and Lovefresh bodycare – just to name a few. Rachel tells me, “I have really made a considered effort to make everything contemporary but also suitable for the entire range of sizes.” Her vision is that no matter what size you are, the piece you will try will look awesome. Another thing to note with PRiMAALA is they are the first retailer in North America to carry much sought after line, Caramakoma. “I noticed this line in 2009 and it had always scared me to try and buy something online,” Rachel candidly shared “but I really took the plunge when I bought for the store and it has worked out really well”.

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Since PRiMAALA opened its doors, Rachel tells me the response has been phenomenal with a current look from the store just appearing on Breakfast Television the week we chatted, “People seem to be really excited about the store and what we’re carrying and it feels good”. Touching on the media and fashion industry’s shift in working in body diversity and body positivity, Rachel tells me, “There was a huge article about plus-sizes in The Grid last year, which showcased some great boutiques and fashions and five years ago, you would have never seen something like that.” Thankfully, she believes some of this trickle-down effect comes from catwalks such as Christian Dior or models like Crystal Renn amongst many other celebrities advocating for body positivity and self acceptance inside of fashion and out.

The store at 803 Dundas Street West is just the first step in Rachel’s plan for PRiMAALA. Eventually she would like to work on an in-house line but she does tell me, “I want to get the store to the point where it is a well oiled machine before I introduce that,” as well as learning more about her customer base and what they are looking for. Right now at the end of the day, her goal number #1 remains the following: making people feel fabulous. “I want to make people feel really good about themselves and to know that they are incredible even though they may not fit the mould of what the fashion world has put out for them.”

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To visit PRiMAALA, its operating hours are Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m., Sundays, noon to 4 p.m, closed Mondays. Or check them their website!

Lookin’ Good Girl: Katie Barber on the art of Bookbinding

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Katie and I have known each other for years. Not well but in one of those Met Through the Internet kind of ways. I always admired her rad style and general bad-assery from afar.

What’s intrigued me most though has been her recent study in the last few years of bookbinding. Bookbinders are innovative, passionate and creative. Many attributes I had seen in Katie.A highly skilled craft requiring enormous patience, concentration and knowledge, bookbinding is also a profession kept alive by a few, which is why I wanted to chat with Katie regarding the craft.

Katie was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions recently.

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(1) How did you get into the craft of bookbinding and where did you study?

I started getting interested in bookbinding in the last year of my graphic design program at OCAD. I was studying editorial design and doing a lot of digital typesetting focusing on kerning (the space between letters) and leading (the space between lines of text). I began
wondering where these digital techniques originated and discovered they were all based around Gutenberg’s invention of movable type, also known as letterpress printmaking.

I spent my final year at OCAD studying letterpress with Alan Stein from The Church Street Press,
learning about the rich history of book arts and attending book arts fairs in Ontario. I chose to go back to OCAD after completing my degree to do a minor in printmaking and book arts where I discovered I was just as interested in the physical form of the book as the content. I completed a certificate program with The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists guild where I tried a variety of bookbinding and restoration/conservation techniques in six intensive workshops.

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In September I moved to Boston Massachusetts to attend The North Bennet Street School for bookbinding and technical restoration/repair.

(2) What is the bookbinding community like in Toronto?

The bookbinding community in Toronto is outstanding. It is the headquarters of The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild as well as the location of various books arts fairs such as Wayzgoose and The OCAD Book Arts Fair.

Toronto has lots of great libraries with conservation departments that house and maintain books dating back hundreds of years that are often open to school groups and interested individuals. There is not only a bookbinding
community but also a great book arts community that promotes book craft such as paper making, printmaking and water marbling.

(3) What are your thoughts on the future of the craft?

Though bookbinding has shifted from something that was entirely done by hand to most mechanized production it will always have a place in the modern world.

Personally I feel bookbinding falls into a few different categories. The first is historical bindings, these are the books made before machines that tell us about the history of books and their construction. These books are housed in libraries and personal collections but are often studied to learn about periods of history, tool use and materials.

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The second is design binding, these are
hand crafted using high quality materials like leather and gold. There are also newer bindings done with contemporary materials such as plexi-glass. This work is done on special volumes of information or for personal collections.

The last is paper backs that you would find in big
box book stores. I think these are the least likely to survive the digital book revolution and could easily be translated into on screen media. Though the majority of bookbinding is now done with machines I feel there will always be people interested in the rich history and
physicality of handmade books.

(4) Can you tell me about the bookbinding process? What are important tools for your trade?

The bookbinding process largely depends on what kind of book you want to construct. There are pretty much an infinite number of book structures you could make however a select few that will function properly and withstand the test of time.

Many books that are hundreds of years old still function as a structure though acids have eaten through a lot of their materials.

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There are non-adhesive bound books that are assembled using just sewing and adhesive bound which use glue (PVA or Natural Starches) to hold the book together. The book comes together in steps starting from the interior and often working outwards. Paper must be cut and folded into sections, then sewn together. Glue is applied to the spine and spine lining materials applied for strength. A hard case can be built either on the book (German Case
Binding) or can be built off the text block and attached later.

The most common materials for the cover are cloth, leather or paper. A lot of Japanese papers are used due to their strength.

The tools I used in my day to day range depending on what type of project I’m working on. For bookbinding the tools I used the most are my bonefolder, awl, ruler and scissors. For restoration I used a spatula, tweezers and a scalpel in addition to my regular tools. There are lots of speciality tools for binders and some such as knives and various others are made by the binder.

(5) What is the importance of bookbinding in a digital age?

As someone who has pursued book arts this is the question I have been asked the most. I attended school for graphic design and find my computer to be an indispensable tool on a daily basis. I do however have a passion for craft and find the physical form of the book to be very pleasing. I think it is possible for the physical book and digital books to exist together and there are pro’s and cons to e-readers.

I am more interested in historical books and artist books rather than disposable style paper backs at big box bookstores that are so full of acids they will probably disintegrate rapidly over time anyways. Most of the periodicals and mailing lists I subscribe to for bookbinding are digital and I find it a great way to get lots of information quickly.

I do still buy lots of physical books for pleasure reading because I enjoy the physical experience of the books.

(6) What is the most satisfying thing about being a bookbinder?

For me the most satisfying thing about being a bookbinder is taking the raw materials of the book and bringing them together to create an object. There is a rich history and traditions that go along with bookbinding and it is a craft that takes time and practice to perfect.

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I find it to be a challenge but and its hard to put my finger on exactly what I love so much about books. But I
think they so perfectly bring together craft and content that play off each other in a way that can be either artistic or utilitarian.

(7) For those looking to get into the field, what would you suggest?

For those interested in getting into the field of bookbinding I would recommend taking classes and familiarizing yourself with the history of the book so you understand the various parts and terminology.

Bookbinding is a craft and like any craft practice is the key to success. There a lots of blogs and YouTube videos of basic book making techniques and sometimes just playing around with materials is a great way to start!

There are programs all over the work that teach bookbinding, book arts and conservation so I would find something close to you and get involved.

Lookin’ Good Girl: Interview with Diana Di Poce, Creator & Editor of DARE Magazine

Written by Vanessa Vaillant

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Diana Di Poce is a Ryerson University graduate, Canadian entrepreneur, and editor of DARE magazine, Canada’s first plus-sized fashion magazine. With plus-size fashion on the rise, it is wonderful seeing Canada have it’s first plus-sized fashion publication. I was lucky enough to interview Diana and find out what life is like this plus-sized fashionista, where her favourite places to shop in Toronto are, and some tips on dressing a curvy body.  You can find Dare Magazine online here.

Q – What is life like as a magazine editor and entrepreneur?
Life as a magazine editor and entrepreneur has been wonderful. Having the opportunity to meet and work with such inspiring individuals throughout the past year has been a dream come true.

Building a platform with my team to share information with curvy ladies on the latest in plus size fashion, celebrities and beauty has been such a great experience and I am constantly amazed by the amount of emails and notes that we have received from our readers. They are extremely supportive of DARE and express this on a daily basis. They inspire us in every way possible!

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Q – Tell us about DARE magazine.
DARE Magazine is Canada’s first plus size fashion magazine. Founded in May 2013, DARE is the curvy woman’s digital go-to-guide for the latest in fashion and beauty news, tips and trends. A destination for fashion-forward ladies, DARE is committed to featuring top celebrities, bloggers and models to inspire plus size women worldwide to be daring with their style and to flaunt their curves. All women can be fashion-forward no matter what size they wear—style truly has no size.

Dedicated to catering to women sizes 12+, DARE is a quarterly online publication that offers readers style and trend tips, shopping advice and beautiful fashion editorials. DARE has worked with leading plus size fashion bloggers, models and designers such as Jeanne Beker, Cycle 10 winner of America’s Next Top Model Whitney Thompson, singer Mary Lambert and Karyn Johnson of Killer Kurves to fill our pages with the latest in style.

DARE has reached thousands of viewers worldwide and has received incredible press reception from sources such as Perez Hilton, The Thought Catalog, CTV News and newspapers across the country (Metro News, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, etc.).

Q – What made you decide to create DARE, the first Canadian plus-size fashion magazine?
DARE was developed as part of my fourth year thesis project, a requirement of the Ryerson University fashion communications degree program. I have had a passion for art direction, graphic design and fashion since beginning my degree, so I knew that creating a magazine was going to play a major role in my final project.   I have also been plus size most of my life, so the creation of DARE, a magazine speaking to the curvy, seemed so natural. The drive to create such a magazine came from the lack of diversity seen in fashion today and the fact that as a stylish curvy woman and magazine lover, I had nowhere to turn for my fashion fix. Therefore, when asking myself what to include in the magazine and whom I should be targeting, the answer was simple: women like myself!My professor and mentor, Ben Barry, helped to guide me through the process and has supported the magazine and me since day one.

After the launch of the first issue (the Spring/Summer 2013 issue), the feedback from readers and the press was incredible. It was at this point that I decided to pursue DARE.

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Q – What got you interested in plus-size fashion?
I have always loved fashion. From dressing up dolls as a child to constantly researching upcoming trends as a teenager, fashion has been a passion of mine since a young age. As a plus size teenager, being fashionable was a challenge at times, however I used my love for fashion to create unique outfits (or so I thought at the time!).

My interest in plus size fashion really came about when I first started my research for DARE. Coming across this whole new world of amazing curvy models, bloggers and icons was amazing! Not only did these ladies inspire me to create DARE, they also boosted my own self-esteem and made me feel beautiful no matter what dress size I wore. With this, I knew that Canada was missing a magazine like DARE and that I needed to change this.

Q – What do you think are some common faults that “straight-based” magazines make when discussing plus-sized women and fashion?
When discussing plus size women and fashion, I believe that “straight-based” magazines often stick to very basic styles and don’t offer enough variety. As the average North American woman wears a plus size, the curvy reader would love to see several pages dedicated to showcasing clothing available in plus sizes, rather than just one page in several cases.

Q – What are some of the best experiences you’ve had writing for DARE magazine?
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences working on DARE! Some of the most memorable moments have been interviewing and filming a beauty tutorial with America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson, interviewing songstress Mary Lambert, working on set with international models Kristina Yeo, Clementine Desseaux and Anita Marshall and receiving unforgettable emails from curvy women around the world expressing their love for DARE.

Q – Who are some of your plus-size fashion inspirations?
Some of my plus size fashion inspirations are Canada’s own curvy bloggers, Karyn Johnson from Killer Kurves and Karen Ward from Curvy Canadian—these two ladies are always on-trend and make Canada proud! I am also always keeping an eye out for celebrities Amber Riley, Rebel Wilson, Queen Latifah and Mary Lambert; it’s so inspiring to see these starlets embrace their curves on the red carpet. Finally, models Clementine Desseaux, Denise Bidot, Anita Marshall, Kristina Yeo, Fluvia Lacerda, Ashley Graham (the list goes on) are always confidently flaunting their figure in the latest trends.

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Q – Where are some of your favourite places to shop for plus-sized fashion in Toronto/Canada?
My favourite boutiques in Toronto are Gussied Up, Your BIG Sister’s Closet and SexyPlus Clothing, these stores offer such a wonderful experience and carry the best in plus size fashion. Not to mention, the owners are fabulous curvy ladies! I also love checking out the latest styles at Forever 21+,Addition Elle and Dorothy Perkins at The Bay.

Q – What is your number one tip for dressing for curves?
Wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident! No matter what the latest trend is or what style you are told to wear based on your shape, it’s important to dress your curves in what makes your feel the best.

Q – Where do you want to be in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope that DARE is seen as one of Canada’s top fashion and beauty magazines! I believe that it’s extremely important to embrace diversity and to address women of all shapes and sizes in fashion. Thanks to plus size models, bloggers, readers and magazines, the importance of catering to all women has recently made a huge mark on the fashion industry. I hope that these changes continue over the next 10 years and that DARE can continue to be the voice of us curvy ladies.

All photos courtesy of DARE Magazine

Lookin’ Good Girl: Etsy – more than just handmade goods

Etsy is an retail web-store focused on handmade or vintage items, supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items.

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Many of the items found on Etsy website can cover a wide range including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys.

In Canada, Etsy’s team has taken a pro-active approach to showing that beyond the Etsy brand, each store has a great seller story.  With that in mind, Fat Girl Food Squad went out to investigate how two sellers (Gucci’s Goodies and Love Love Me Do both from Toronto, Ontario)  are using Etsy to their advantage and their advice for this upcoming Valentines Day.

(1) Have you always had an online shop and why did you choose Etsy?

Sarah Carter from Love Love Me Do:   Etsy is my first online shop. I started it about 6 months ago. I choose Etsy because it an international marketplace that offers unique goods and highlights the crafts people well. Etsy is well run with a clean looking and intuitive user interface. Furthermore, it is a household name. I like that many people have not only heard of Etsy, but have shopped on it before and were pleased with the results. Etsy is a trusted name.

(2) Etsy seems to have a very strong community surrounding it.  How has that affected your business?

Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies:  It has definitely changed my evenings that’s for sure.  I have lots of local people contacting me for orders for themselves or loved ones. I have a day job so when I get home most weeks I have a baking order to look forward to.  It is so satisfying to have returning customers too.  Some returning customers are form out of the country buying for their loved ones in the G.T.A.

(3)  How easy is it to set up shop on Etsy?

Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies:  It is extremely easy! I find as long as I have my description write up and a great picture I am ready to go. Everything is self-explanatory and very user friendly, email reminders to pay your bill is amazing and the option to using PayPal is the best.

(4) Tell me more about your business and how did you what you do?

Sarah Carter from Love Love Me Do: A close friend of mine asked me to design her wedding invitation. It was such a fun, engaging, creative and rewarding process that I decided to start a stationary company that specializes in custom design for weddings and parties as well as greeting cards. I have always been a fan of unique, creative, quirky and beautiful greeting cards! There is nothing better than finding the perfect card to give someone.

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Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies: Gucci’s Goodies was something brewing inside of me for a long time, I always baked, enjoyed it and the gratification watching everyone else enjoy it too. In 2011 I decided, why not!? I created my own 12 cupcake flavors and mastered the recipes; I wanted to stick to simple home baked goods, nothing fussy. So my menu focuses on cupcakes, cookies, pies and cheesecakes, I am always open to custom work for parties, allergies and holidays.

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(5) How important is the DIY and craft culture in society right now?

Sarah Carter from Love Love Me Do:  I think as technology and mass produced goods continue to dominate the marketplace that unique, hand made or home made items become even more valuable. DIY craft culture is a way for people to hone in on the creative side of their brain – a facet of intelligence that can be often underrated but I think is so important.

Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies:  Extremely, it’s a way to open your mind and creativity and have a finished piece you can be truly proud of.  I find more people want to take the extra step to save money, recycle and upcycle and there have never been more ideas to do so.  Plus when you DIY you get exactly what you want, totally custom.

(6) What do Etsy retailers offer that other retailers cannot?

Sarah Carter from Love Love Me Do:  Many shops on Etsy offer goods that can be personalized or customized and make very special unique, memorable gifts. Furthermore Etsy is a way to interact with creative people from across the world. It really is a unique and special marketplace.

(7)  What would you suggest for someone who was looking to become involved in the Etsy community as a buyer and seller?

Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies:  As a buyer, I would suggest to take your time.  There is so much to see and search for.  If there is something you don’t see; do not be afraid to ask a seller what you are looking for because everyone is so helpful. As a seller: pictures, pictures, pictures!  They are your friend and the window to the buyers window shopping.

(8) With Valentine’s Day coming up, tell me why DIY and Etsy is the way to go?

Laura Giovannucci of Gucci Goodies: If you are looking for something custom for a loved one with a name or sports team on it, Etsy is perfect!  Or with Gucci’s Goodies, we have custom flavors and colours for that special someone that will reflect on a special moment or memory they had.  Etsy and DIY show the receiver that you took time to think of something personal and special and it was made with love and care.

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Sarah Carter from Love Love Me Do: Easy. It is personal! There is no better way to say “I love you” that giving someone a gift that is customized, personal, hand selected, hand made, unique, memorable and thoughtful

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#BlogLyfe: More Fat Bloggers We Love & Look Up To

Here again are some fierce bloggers we love. Here are some who have, possibly unknowingly and even unwittingly, helped us along the way. It started in the quiet corners of places like DiaryLand and LiveJournal but now our heros and de facto leaders are out. Never SIF’s (Secret Internet Fatties), always wise, and always amped to write about what’s good, and juicy. In no particular order:

 

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Arched-Eyebrow

Bethany is “influenced by the aesthetics of Gwen Stefani, Miss Piggy, Joan Holloway and Dolly Parton.” Rad.

 

Clothes and Shit

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Toronto girl!

 

 

Gisella Francisca

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Posting both in Portuguese and English this girl makes everything about life seem effortless, especially putting together an outfit.

 

Elann Zelie

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Blogger, designer, and entrepreneur. I just really really love her photo spreads. Oh, and all that she does.

Lookin’ Good Girl: Lipstick, How Do I Do That?

Hi, I’m almost 30 and have never worn lipstick. I sort of feel like I missed out on all this makeup stuff while I was busy not doing my homework and riding my bike around and swimming in the Bow River. I didn’t give two hoots then, but I kind of do now, so in recent months I’ve set out to figure out HOW YOU DO?

This video tutorial is far from perfect, or expert advice, but it’s what I’ve gleaned from some late nights online and I’ve gotten more compliments than side-eye. Hopes this helps you, sassy people.

Lookin’ Good Girl: Christina Hug of The Makers Nation helps to unleash the creativity

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In one of my recent internet searches, I came across a fairly new collective in the city focused on putting together event experiences with a focus on DIY, Design and the Technology realm. The collective was titled, The Makers Nation and formed by a bad-ass chick named Christina Hug.

The Makers Nation own, Christina Hug

The Makers Nation own, Christina Hug

Christina set up the event series (such as Creative Cocktail, Meet & Make or the Makers Digest) as a chance for fellow aspiring designers, innovators, thinkers, doers, and builders to come together, collaborate, learn, and, well, build community together. Something we here at Fat Girl Food Squad are so into.

I got the chance to have an e-mail interview with Christina where she told me the importance of DIY culture, what can people expect from Makers Nation and how anybody can be creative!

FGFS: Tell me about The Makers Nation and how did it come to be

CHRISTINA: The Makers Nation exists to help coalesce the creative, tech, and maker communities in Toronto and aspires to make creativity and the act of making things more accessible to everyone. It was started in September of this year when I moved back to Toronto from San Francisco. I wanted to build something that would help support the burgeoning maker community and create opportunities and experiences for people to tap into their creative side.

FGFS: What type of events do you throw

CHRISTINA: We throw all kinds! We host a monthly speaker series called Creative Cocktail, we have a quarterly event called Meet and Make, and we partner with other organizations in the city to put on things like Bot Battles and more.

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FGFS: Who are the partners / supporters that you have worked with in order to put on your events

CHRISTINA: The Toronto community has been so incredibly supportive, collaborative, and all ‘round amazing I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for getting the opportunity to meet with and collaborate with so many talented and inspiring people.

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the Toronto Tool Library, Maker2Maker, and Active Surplus to put on our Bot Battle. For the Meet and Make we were generously given space in the Freshbooks offices and are working with local rock stars like Kingi Carpenter, Amy Egerdeen, Kaye Prince and others.

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But honestly none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the people who were coming out to the events and making time for The Makers Nation in their lives. The reactions and enthusiasm people have shown towards The Makers Nation have been both inspiring and humbling.

FGFS: How much does it cost to become involved in one of the Maker Nation events and what does one get?

CHRISTINA: It depends on the event, our Creative Cocktails are free as all of our speakers are volunteering their time and the event itself is meant to be an informal environment for people to connect.

Our Meet and Make that’s happening in early 2014 will be $100 and includes: two three-hour workshops (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) on things like soldering, bookbinding, screen-printing, and English paper piecing. There will be catered breakfast and lunch (from Dundas Park Kitchen), as well as happy hour drinks and we’ll have a photo booth, plus various stations like a Tattly Tattoo bar and a button-making machine. Basically anything that facilitates creative expression, we want to do it!

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FGFS: What inspired you to create The Makers Nation?

CHRISTINA: After living in San Francisco for three years and being surrounded by the “playful” mentality I mentioned (about living in San Fran), and having access to so many workshops, events, and resources I just found myself wishing I could bring some of that back to Canada. Knowing that there was a burgeoning maker movement happening in Toronto I wanted to be part of shaping what that looks like and support/stand alongside the people who were in the trenches making it happen.

FGFS: How important is DIY culture?

CHRISTINA: DIY culture is so exciting and is already playing a huge role in our lives and shaping the way we do things. With tools like 3D printers digitizing the manufacturing process people who were once tinkerers in their garage now have to opportunity to become entrepreneurs who can design, manufacture, and sell their own creations.

The idea of being a creator over a consumer is so powerful and the more people learn about how things are made, the more they’re going to want to play a larger role in that process.

FGFS: What are the big differences between San Francisco and Toronto (besides weather)?

CHRISTINA: Weather is a huge one; I’m utterly terrified of facing winters again! In all seriousness though I’d have to say it’s a mentality thing. In San Francisco there is a sense of playfulness across all ages that I have yet to see in Toronto. In SF adults will dress up in costumes and parade through the streets, they will try new things regardless of how it will translate to their careers, and build out their ideas not because they think it will be the next big thing, but because they love the process and just want to see it out in the world. One of my personal missions is to create more opportunities for Torontonians to unplug and ‘play’ because that’s where the really fun creative stuff happens.

FGFS: Your mantra is that “Everyone has the ability to be creative” – why do you think people are so afraid of their creative being?

CHRISTINA: Being creative has an element of vulnerability to it; it’s very personal to put something out into the world that you created. Not to mention the fact that there’s this underlying belief that creativity is something reserved for an elite circle of artists and designers.

I think there is a fear of not being “good enough” combined with not knowing where to start, but in those cases sometimes all it takes is a welcoming environment and an opportunity to experiment, which is what The Makers Nation is trying to build.

FGFS: How would you like to see The Makers Nation grow in the next year?

CHRISTINA: I’m seeing the next year as one big experiment, trying things out, seeing what sticks, and finding ways that I can add the most value to the community. That said I am definitely focused on growing the audience for our Makers Digest, and attendance of our Creative Cocktail, and Meet and Make events. I also have my sights set on unlocking other cities across Canada and the US to expose even more people to joys of making. Success is essentially defined as more people feeling like they can self-identify as a maker or creative and being empowered to participate in that culture.

FGFS: Tell me about the next Makers Nation event

CHRISTINA: Our next big event is our Meet and Make happening in early 2014 (still nailing down the exact date). It’s a day-long DIY extravaganza with workshops from local makers, cocktails, and delicious food. No experience is needed you’ll get the chance to develop new skills in things like crochet, bookbinding, screen printing, and soldering and meet like-minded makers in the city. I’m so excited about it because it’s going to be a really fun day!

Lookin’ Good Girl: Strap-On Symposium with Simon

Written by Simon Gilbert

Do you ever feel like something is missing in life? Some sort of hole that can’t be filled, no matter what you try? Is that hole phallic-shaped? Is it missing because you don’t have a strap-on? It sounds like you’re trying to tell me that you need a strap-on. Don’t worry. I’ve got’cha covered.

Assaulting his brother. Who is a penis unicorn.

A Young Simon Sporting a Fashionable Knit Strap-On

I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with strap-ons. I don’t know why. Part of it is sexual, sure. But I seem to do some of my best work when it has to do with this oft-misunderstood sex toy. So when I heard that there was going to be a workshop devoted to making a harness, I jumped on it.

Last week, I attended a Kinky Craft Week seminar (put on by the U of T Sexual Education Centre). I was slightly nervous, as I’ve had bad experiences with sex-seminars. But as soon as I entered the Hart House Boardroom, I was greeted by enthusiastic kinky crafters who wanted to spray their hot glue all over me (but not without my consent first).

Heh. University Sex Toy.

UTSEC Strap-On Sample

Above is the sample harness. Simple, but hot. It’s got that whole, “Daisy Duke with a Dong” look to it. I cut the ass out of mine, because you can’t contain all dat booty! Below are the basic steps. Y’all are gonna need:

– A pair of jeans
– Hot glue or a sewing kit
– Scissors

Step 1: Cut off some of the legs so it’s easier to work with.

Step 2: Cut the fly out. Seriously. No one wants their dong getting all chewed up by a zipper.

Step 3: Glue (or sew) the lower part of the dong-hole. Unless you’re planning on using a really big dong. I’d suggest pulling out the dong you’re going to be using, so you don’t make it too small.

Step 3’: If you’re wanting to make a DP harness, glue (sew) the middle of the dong hole. That way, you have a place for two dongs (or one actual penis and a dong). You might have to play around with this a bit.

Step 4: You’re basically done! Everything else is just a matter of making it look extra sexy. I suggest rhinestones, fringe, and leather accents.

Harnesses can run you upwards of $50, and that’s without a dong. This is a great way to experiment with strap-ons while on a budget.