POST WINTER HIBERNATION ft. Jeska Grue

Hello! It's been a while.

I've been rethinking Doe, A Deer and I have some new ideas that are going to be implemented soon, taking things into a slightly new direction. I spent the last two months trying to think of what to blog about but I was feeling very uninspired in the world of fashion and style. Maybe it's because I stopped working my job in fashion back in December, maybe it's because all I want to wear is wool turtlenecks and cashmere sweaters and long johns, maybe a combination of the two.

The only new thing that seemed to inspire me this winter in the local fashion scene was Jeska Grue. Her clothes are impeccably made by hand, one by one, with ethically sourced fabrics and natural dyes. Jeska's collection counteracts the cyclical fast fashion industry by making timeless and effortless pieces, pieces that you will hold onto and wear for years. 

I dreamed of this wrap top for so long, it's such a versatile piece that can be worn over a long sleeve/turtleneck in the winter and on its own in the summer. I really just need one of everything in her collection! 

We tried to go out outside to shoot the second look but guys, it's still very much winter here and I froze my butt off. You get the idea though.

You can find Jeska's collection at Lost & Found or on her website
The ever talented Monika Gajewski captured these photos and this top perfectly.

 

MEET THE MAKER: BARRE SKIN CARE & FRAGRANCE

When you walk into Bree Hyland's house in the North End of Halifax you are immediately put at ease. A calming aroma takes over your senses as you walk down the hallway lined with old wood floorboards to her soothing treatment room. Customized facials are Bree's specialty, using all natural, in season and local ingredients like honey, Foxhill yogurt and algae as well as Province Apothecary products. Bree also offers skin consultations, waxing and brow/lash tinting as well as customized and signature natural perfumes (that are completely addicting). She has recently started concocting her own tea blends and brews, selling them at BARRE and the Periwinkle Cafe in Cape Breton. On top of all of this she is a painter at heart, making time for her art when she's not doing BARRE. 

I've suffered from problematic skin since day one, and have tried everything in the book. As of late I gave up on trying, as I sometimes do, growing tired of spending money on products and services that never seem to work, but I finally decided to try something new again. I had been wanting to try one of Bree's facials and skin consultations since I met her, so I made an appointment. From my dermatologist's to naturopath's and all kinds of different doctors, I've never felt anyone really put as much thought and care into understanding and explaining my skin as much as Bree did. I can't recommend her enough. Even if you don't have problematic skin the experience of her facials is heavenly and so therapeutic. 

There was a benevolent and genuine manner to Bree that captivated me from the first moment I met her. I had been dying to sit down and pick her brain about where she came from and how she got started so I paid her a visit, post facial, and we chatted over her homemade hibiscus tea.

Where did you grow up? How has this shaped the person that you are today?

My family moved to Nova Scotia when I was 9. We lived in a few different homes in Dartmouth while I was going through junior high and high school. Most of my young life I have lived in suburban landscapes but knew it wasn't for me. In a way, learning about the things that didn't resonate provoked me to search for the things that did. I really value the ways I have chosen to spend my time and I think a lot about what I consume. I had to work really hard to understand what felt right for me versus the way I was introduced to the world.

BARRE Fragrance and Skincare offers a few different services. Did you start with one project and then lead on to others or did you offer everything from the beginning?

BARRE has in one way or another existed as long as I have had my hand in aesthetics. I have always performed services outside of my regular hours when I was working for other business. When I decided to create what I was doing as an official business, I had already been working towards holistic treatments and natural perfumes. I had spent years working on the different aspects of my vision not intending to create a small business. Eventually, I figured there was probably other people like me who would be interested in alternative approaches to self care.

A lot of love goes into your business. What is it about your process that makes your product so special? 

I try to consider the body as a whole. When I focus on the skin, I try to bring in the other aspects of a person's wellbeing that contribute to their health and in turn the condition of their skin. Our skin is not isolated, it is effected by our mental, physical, and emotional state which is always changing. Using ingredients that the body recognizes has a harmonious effect on us. Once you smell real lavender, you never forget it. This is because our body can process it, it is a part of the natural world and so are we. I think this relationship is important. My approach to wellbeing is nourishing, learning how to listen to the body's signals of discomfort to generate ease.

 You started out as an aesthetician working on the opposite end of the spectrum in plastic surgery, how was that shaped your business and outlook on beauty?

I think to truly be critical of something you must spend time to understand it. I formed my opinions which have shaped what I'm doing currently because I had those experiences within the medical/clinical approach to skin care and beauty. Although I learned a lot about the skin and ingredients from my clinical training, I realized by working in those environments that I didn't like the way beauty was discussed. It was usually about an ideal and the remedy was typically to change what is natural or to use something aggressive, overriding the body’s inherent function. This is the way a lot of conditions of the skin such as acne have been dealt with. Strip the skin of its natural oils and try to regulate its oil production. This almost never works. It usually causes the skin to become inflamed or dehydrated which can cause more break out. There are also so many internal reasons the skin might be breaking out. Clinical advice usually only deals with the typical problem through a standardized solution. In my experience, I found that beauty or health is all the components of the body and how they feel, versus how it all looks.

What does an average day in the life of Bree look like?

I spend my time multi-tasking. Some days I focus more on developing new scent combinations for future additions to my line of natural perfumes, or researching different preparations of herbal infusions on the skin. Other days I'll be busy in the treatment room with appointments. I'm also a visual artist so when I'm not focused on BARRE I'm working in my studio. Everyday, no matter what I'm working on I drink steeped herbs!

Greatest challenges with BARRE?

I'm a private, appointment based small business. One of the biggest challenges has been visibility within the public arena. A few supportive businesses in Halifax carry my perfumes but I'm constantly looking for ways to enable people to interact with my business.

Greatest reward?

The relationships I form with my clients and their feedback is very rewarding. One of the best comments I heard was about the perfume Dark/Purple. This scent has a cult following because it is very unusual. Someone who was wearing it was told they smelled like a witch! I thought that was a great response.

Three things you can't live without?

I find these kinds of questions so difficult to answer so instead I'm going list my current favourite herbs : passion flower, lemon balm and hibiscus.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

This one came recently, "you've got to be in the problem to solve it."

                                                      Favourite thing about living in Halifax?

How close the city is to the ocean and how hard people work to stay in such a beautiful place.

What's next?

I'm learning how to read tarot cards. Again, something I have been dabbling in for a long time. I'd love to see tarot readings offered on the BARRE service menu one day!

Do you have any advice for artists/entrepreneurs starting a business themselves? 

Find a way to do what interests you most and make that your life's work. This way, how you make a living never feels isolated from the other aspects of your life. If you are feeling involved on a deeper level with how you spend your time the business aspect comes second to your passion. Creating and working for yourself is a total commitment, a risk and hard work. I think to do it well it has to come from a place that isn't about money alone. 

Thank you Bree!

Check out BARRE's website here 

Find Bree's fragrances at Lost & Found, Big Pony and Elsie's here in Halifax!

HEY MAY

There's such an incredible lightness in everyones feet around here when the dramatic shift of seasons occur, and we're so lucky to be able to experience it. The relief! Oh the relief of making it through yet another winter. The sun shining longer and the days slowly getting warmer and warmer.
Strangers become your friends who you smile at in the street, who you hold the elevator door for, maybe even ask how their day is going or talk lovingly about the weather too. Everything just seems easier. We're tough to battle the winters that we do, but it makes it even more worth it to breathe in the fresh spring air, feel the sun on our skin and our bodies screaming at us to go outside and be active. 
We made it through another winter! Good job everyone. The light is here to stay, until next winter anyways. 
Sarah thrifted this amazing floral combo, and is wearing Willower belt and bag, and Zara trench. Choker and hair piece made by herself.

Enjoy this sunny Sunday. I'm heading to Italy tonight for a little trip, stay tuned.
xx

NSCAD DESIGNER VICTORIA EVA

This year's annual NSCAD Fashion Show, EPOCH, has me so excited. There is so much talent every year, but I think this year in particular is a special one. I sat down with 21 year old designer Victoria Kristofic from Collingwood Ontario to talk about her new collection for April's show. Her neutral palette and colourful embroidery speaks volumes to me! This is the 4th year's first collection and first time participating in the show. Her soft fabrics and playful silhouette's embody an ease and innocence that make you want to put on one of her "sun suits" and head for the desert sun.

Where did the inspiration from your collection come from and how has it transferred into your design process?

The inspiration for this collection comes from a few different areas. The foremost of which would be from a backpacking trip last spring that started in Portugal, and the excitement of exploring a new landscape while also taking time to slow down, step back and observe. Additionally, I've also been thinking about interior spaces, the home, and ideas of comfort and leisure. I try to translate those concepts into the collection with pieces that are light, airy and easy to wear, while still being a little cheeky and fun.  

Do you come from a background of textiles/fashion? Or has it been something you've developed in your time at NSCAD?

Actually, I initially came to NSCAD thinking I wanted to get into graphic design. However, once I saw the variety of departments and studio spaces firsthand, I decided to take advantage while the opportunity was available. Instead of moving forward within the design program, I used my second year to dabble a little more and took a whole range of studio courses from photography to jewellery design. In that year I ended up taking a screen printing for textiles course and really enjoyed it. That was my first real foray into textiles and fashion. 

Your colourful embroidery mixed with neutral/natural fabrics make for a great juxtaposition. Do you have a goal or vision that you want to achieve with your designs? 

Thanks! I think the main goal I hope to achieve with my designs would be to create pieces that are carefree and easy to wear, but still feel special. The embroidery I think adds an additional sense of playfulness, which is also super important to my overall vision. 

Does your personal style come off in the clothes that you design? 

That's hard to say. I think personal style is this incredibly elusive thing. It's easy to identify in other people, but I have no idea how to discuss it within the context of myself. But, to answer your question, I'd probably want to say yes. In the sense that I am designing a collection of casual / loungewear and I consider myself a pretty casual person who also enjoys lounging.

Describe your personal style in 3 words. 

That sounds difficult.

What is your design process? 

A lot of trial and error. I find that if I try and plan too much in advance I'll just end up changing my mind anyways, so the best thing to do is to just dive in and let things come together, then adjust from there. I also work best late at night when the studio is empty so I can spread out and make a mess. Caffeine helps. 

Where do you draw your daily inspiration from?

I am very fortunate to say that my social network is filled with both insightful and creative individuals across a variety of fields, and sharing moments with these people is hands down my greatest daily inspiration.  

When your not at the studio or at school where can you be found?

Sometimes I take the bus to the mall by myself, sample $200 face creams at Sephora, then go home. 

What is the biggest challenge you face as a designer and artist?

There's a very specific feeling that occurs when something works out or a vision comes together. Without getting too poetic, it's a kind of sense of unity or harmony/feeling of purpose that helps justify wanting to be a designer or artist in the first place, which is obviously pretty amazing. The challenge, however, lies in how ephemeral and fleeting that feeling can be. But in a way I think that's also necessary for progression and makes the successes that much sweeter. 

What's next, after this year's collection?

Thats the big question! I have another semester at NSCAD and I'm not fully decided on how to use it yet. I could definitely see trying out a line of accessories or maybe something involving furniture and interiors. I'd also love to take off and do an internship or apprenticeship abroad. Not having a plan is kind of exciting

What do you love most about Halifax, if anything?

Willy's. Double curd. Any day, Any time. 

Check out Victoria's website 

And her dreamy Instagram here

Want to see it down the runway? Be sure to get your ticket for the April 16th EPOCH (here) before they sell out! 

MJM PINAFORE <3

Because sometimes it's too cold and rainy and gross to go outside and take a picture. Spring? Come quickly please.
Check out Maggie's white pinafore, it's heavenly! It's made of a stretch denim that is oh so comfortable. Please excuse my rainy day pout.

Heading homeward for the long Easter weekend and I can't contain my excitement. Can't wait to cozy up to my cottage, good food, family, and dog, man oh man.
What is everyone up to for the long weekend?
Enjoy it!

MARCH CALM

I made this little choker while procrastinating in Sarah's jewellery studio last week. It's so dainty and delicate, I can't seem to take it off my neck! She put them into production and is making them in silver and bronze, keep your eye out for them on her website

1. I can 100% deal with this winter weather, it makes me all kinds of happy. The smallest part of me feels bad for all my winter coats and fur that barely got worn...but just the smallest part.
2. <3 daylight savings. It's so wonderful to have an extra hour of light in our lives. 
3. I have this weekend off and I'm going to spend it planning my trip to Italy in the spring, helping Sarah with jewellery and develop some new and exciting content for you guys! And sleeping, so much sleeping to be had.

Vintage Levis, Club Monaco bomber, Urban Outfitters body suit and vintage bag <3

It's almost Friday can you taste it yet?

SAM

Always admiring Sam's style. She knows what's up. Another face who I always keep an eye open for in Halifax to see what she's wearing. I just started working with Sam so you might just see some more of her, if she's willing :)

Have a great weekend.
xx