What do you want to discover in Ottawa?

Friday, September 30, 2011

There's a new salon in town...

And it's here to stay!

I'm talking about Hair Republic, on Bank Street at Sunnyside Ave. It has an edgy and clean look to it. It reminds me of Mad Factory in Toronto (p.s. they give free hand massages there!!). Everything white, with modern art hanging on the walls... my favourite part is the chandelier that greets you at reception! That's like saying "Hello, how can I make your day shine today?" I. love. shiny. things.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle, owner and senior stylist at her new salon.

She is such a kind, warm hearted and friendly person. I walked in, the first day the salon was open to get more information about the place, the type of product lines they sell and to find out what their hair philosophy is. Plus, let's face it, I am the most curious person on arth! Also, I've been finding it difficult to stay faithful to a stylist :S I just haven't found the one!

Michelle explained her salon's unique business model; green, healthy and beautiful! They recycle everything, all the way down to composting the hair! They sell shampoo that doesn't contain harsh chemicals, it's based from natural oils and ingredients. They also offer a rewards program where you collect HR dollars when returning empty shampoo containers to redeem against other products.

I am always looking for good shampoo, because my hair can get really dry. I got my hair washed to test the products before I commit to buying it and got my bangs trimmed too. I can't wait to get my hair done soon!

They haven't even been open for a week yet and they are almost fully booked! I'd say, if you are going to cheat on your stylist, do it with class and go treat yourself at Hair Republic!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chef Michael Smith in Ottawa

Good morning my O'Valleyers,

Last night was among my "top coolest things I have ever done in my life"! To some people, it may sound lame, to my fellow foodies... they would be more than jealous.

I attended the Ottawa Writers Festival- Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen with Michael Smith. What an experience if you are a huge fan.

I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I went early to find out more about the event and purchased my ticket on site. $25 to get in, $10 for 2 wine tickets, $33 for his new cookbook.

I paired up with a nice lady that I met, who was also alone. It turns out that she is practically my neighbour! Ottawa is a small world!

So, because we are both early, we get amazing front row seats (by the mic and by the signing table). We each bought the new Michael Smith cookbook, so we can get it signed at the end of the night. And we did!

The host was trying to ask typical "Food Star" questions, but it was quite obvious that Chef Michael Smith had his own (anti-Food Network) Agenda. His "Jamie Oliver" like passion about locally grown food and nutrition literacy (he called it) was the topic for the night. He avoided answering gimmicky questions about his favorite meal or what he would whip up with lacking ingredients from the host's fridge. He focused on the irony of his cookbook, because he teaches us the importance of how to cook without a recipe. He talked about the importance and innate human behaviour of "gathering, preparing and sharing" food. His focus was about "who is at the table, not what is on the table". Lastly, he delivered his "Soap box" speech about the importance of knowing where your food comes from, knowing who has provided you with the food and supporting local farmers so you can tell the story behind the food you prepared. He had strong views, passionate arguments and touching stories. All in all a fabulous conversation!

The night ended with me asking a question about " We see chefs frying with olive oil, what is your stance?" The answer was clear, don't use your good olive oil to fry with, get a cheap one that is not cold press because you lose the quality when it burns.

I got my cookbook signed and tasted the local wine (Yummy shiraz from Navan!) and indulged in the appetizers prepared from his cookbook.

For more information about the Ottawa Writers Festival, click here.