Otto’s Bier Hall

Foodie

I love a good gimmick. A costume party, a themed restaurant,… a well-conceived motif. Especially if it’s not just a gimmick. Naturally, I fell head over lederhosen for Otto’s Bier Hall, where the selection of brew is impressive and their long tables gave a nod to the bier markets of Germany and Austria, with a hipster twist of neon tube lights, more than usually stylish servers, five dollar happy hour specials and living plant walls.Photo Credit: google image

I even went with my German friend, who was equally pleased with the selection of currywurst, schnitzel, pretzels and lots of other sharing plates, sides and ‘feasts’ that sound way better when he says them in a German accent.

After a good meal, some brew and a great hangout with friends, a trip to the powder room turns into a highlight … as the gender neutral facilities are also individually equipped with – mystery buttons.

Being the naturally curious gal that I am, it took all of five seconds for me to press the button, when to my delight, the stall was transformed into a blacklight dance party with illustrations on the walls and 15 seconds of music.

Stay tuned for more local gems from the Six, the T.Dot and what we actually just call Toronto. Party on!

Nothing makes me smile more than fun little surprises. Otto’s is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Toronto. Affordable. Tasty. And refreshingly adorable, with friendly staff and it’ll make washing your hands a real party.

5 Surefire Ways to Look Great on Camera

style

I’m heading into the city today, to the Huffington Post Canada offices, to do a shoot for one of their upcoming video series; it features people who come from wildly different backgrounds or lifestyles, having conversations with one another. I’ll be asking 5 questions to a Syrian refugee who now lives in Canada, and she will be asking me, someone born and raised in Canada, five questions of her own.  Stay tuned for that video when it’s ready to roll!

For now, the question is: what to wear for this video shoot?

First, some tips about what NOT to do! All images and photo credits can be found on my Pinterest page. 

No Logos: you don’t want to create extra work for the editors who will later have to blur out that branded item.

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Sorry, Gucci, you’re a no go. 

Avoid busy patterns that can create an optical illusion. You do not want people to feel like they are watching the twilight zone.

Leave the trippy prints at home. Same goes for stripes (unless you pair them with other solids), and plaid (sorry gorgeous oversized blazer… not today)

Avoid shadow-casting pieces that will take the spotlight off of YOU.

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I love a great hat, but it can be a real challenge to properly light someone in a brim. If your hat is a signature style piece, keep the brim minimal and tip it back so your face gets ample light.

Blush tones and pastels are great… in theory. However, in practice, without the right expertise, these can really wash you out. They don’t provide enough contrast and can make your skin look sallow. Yes, celebs will show up for interviews in a diverse palette, but after doing a shoot a few years ago in a pale rose blouse, I couldn’t help but wish I’d chosen something that would give my skin some colour and bounce a flattering hue up towards my face. Unless you can be sure to have a great stylist on set who will ensure you look well-lit and the clothing is flattering (or you have a professional makeup artist doing your colour) – try to avoid nudes, and pastels.

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While stunners, like Ms. Fanning, can pull off a great nude look, you don’t want to look naked on camera (I assume). Also remember: she has a team of professional makeup artists, stylists and lighting experts to make sure she looks her best and that the colours are balanced. No one wants to be a washout. 

Same goes for Black and White – either can throw off the colour balance. White can look too hot and black (the flattering shade) can be harsh and make you look tired.

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Now that we’ve covered the cautions, what should we be searching for as we assemble the final look?

When considering jewelry, keep in mind that what looks great in a still image can be distracting in a close-up video shot, overwhelming the image. I already have a very expressive face and will be choosing earrings that are anchored to my lobes (no swinging bling to create glare or bring to mind a fishing lure); similarly, my necklace will be some delicate, layered gold chains – nothing that moves too much or risks hitting the body mic.

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Keep the bling minimal, and make what you have to say your ‘statement piece.’

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Take some quick pics or a video to see if what you’re wearing translates on camera. Better to check it. The camera won’t lie and you want to know BEFORE you step on set that your highlighter is looking more 80s party-girl than ‘luminous’ and lit from within.

Be ready for your closeup by considering finishing touches, silhouette and your own comfort in the clothes and makeup you choose. Lucky you if you will have a team helping you out with this!

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Your outfit needs to be comfortable, especially if you’re sitting. You don’t want a gap in the back of your pants, or a waist line that cuts into you as you sit. Consider that your hemline will also shorten dramatically if you are seated and you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or exposed. I’ll be choosing a thick heel, for comfort, high-waisted dark denim, and a top that stays put. You don’t want to be fidgeting or self-conscious. 

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A great smile and posture certainly help. I will be thinking of ‘pulling up’ – bringing back all those years of ballet training. Long neck, relaxed shoulders and sitting slightly forward (I hear there will be a couch) should help me avoid looking like the guy in Beetlejuice who has been in that waiting room all day with a shrunken head and rumpled clothes. 

What will I actually put on today? Final answer: A deep ruby-hued top with bell sleeves, some minimalist gold jewelry, layered up, and slim black denim, with boots for an elongated look when I walk on set. I’ll be doing some gentle waves in my hair, for a not ‘too done up’ look and wearing a slightly-darker-than natural lip (no worries about lipstick teeth), HD face powder and lots of mascara. The photos below were my inspiration.

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Wish me luck! What are your best ‘on camera’ tips? Whether for stills or moving images, I would love to hear your best tricks in the comments below.

Ring it in: 2018

Indulge

I love nostalgia. Capturing the moment. Journaling. This site has become sort of a living version of this. I was gifted a supremely awesome new book for 2018: it’s a 5 year journal with a small space for each day of the year, where you can add to each ‘same day’ for the next 5 years in a row. Five years stacked on top of each other with gilded pages; you can scan back and compare at a glance how you were doing on each day. I’m very excited to crack the spine.  Blogger, Danielle at verderamade.com just did a really lovely post about journals, methods and content; check it out!

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I started the Style Sa Vie site years ago to indulge my own creativity: I used to draw a picture of my outfit every day in high school, then technology came along and made it so much easier to bring that into sharp focus. Like choosing my clothes, I don’t write this for other people, that’s not why I started. But here, and on my other blog, where I chronicle my fertility journey with my wife, I get so much back from the kind emails, comments and encouragement of an online community. I sometimes wonder why I do this still. I’m not going to be an Alexa Chung or Aimee Song. But that was never the point. I have a life and a job that I love, and I have a hunch that I will like looking back at a snapshot of what life has been like, whether it’s the year in review, or a decade from now. Style Sa Vie is about the words: Style with a possessive adjective in front of Life. I want to own my life and curate it in a way that I find inspiring. A life of style. A style of living. Life that is mine.

In the spirit of hearkening back and looking ahead, a question: Do you believe in resolutions? For me this year will be about intention- being intentional. I want some guiding phrases, not edicts for a new year.

*Joy – be more joyful, rather than shredding joy with the tools of perfectionism, anxiety or guardedness. I am pretty comfortable with living and embracing vulnerability, but I can definitely get mired down, perseverating on things that just aren’t important. I’m going to Marie Kondo my attitude; does it spark joy? No? Then heave-ho!

*Let Go – This time of the physical stuff: of clutter, of things that no longer serve me. But also the metaphysical stuff: of the idea of perfect, or fears like ‘missing out,’ things taking too long to accomplish, or wondering what the next year will hold. Also, I’m getting rid of the self-judgement. I don’t judge the people I love; why do I do it to myself? I love me. But I should do it better.

*Start Now – this is the moment. Don’t wait for a ‘good time,’ or the ‘right’ time. If I see a repair in the house, go get the tools. If I think about a friend, call that person when it pops into your head. If I want something, what will I do to get it?

* Keep indulging and seeking new experiences. Don’t be complacent. If what I want is to savour a new taste and have another glass of wine. I will. If what I want is to get back to the Ballet Barre… I will do that, too. Also, Be creative. Remember how lucky I am. Celebrate my relationships. Take a deep breath. Don’t be frugal with your love and affection.

*Invest in people who invest in you. And invest in yourself!

*Create routines, but only if they help you reach these goals. I did 365 days of Outfits of the Day last year (which you can find in the style heading), so I can definitely do more mindful writing. Starting today: Journalling.

See you on the other side,

The Style Sa Vie