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Profile: Q&A with our model Amber

Q&A with Amber Pyper

Amber wearing our Amuse Society Teller Sweater

Photography by Robin Gartner

Last week the team held another photoshoot at the V.O.C. offices where we shot all of our new arrivals from PJ Salvage, John & Jenn, Amuse Society, Finders Keepers and more, including some special pieces from our favourite L.A. brands. Lucky for us, we were fortunate enough to work with another incredibly talented Toronto based model, Amber Pyper, who we think perfectly encompasses the V.O.C brand, and models our clothes equally as well!

With such a great reaction from our last Q&A with our previous model, we thought we’d give you another opportunity to get to know one of Toronto’s gorgeous and talented rising stars. You can also find her in the latest Simple Plan video: “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed” - we love it! 

 

Get to know more about Amber in our Q&A below: 

 

Q: Where are you from? What inspired your move to Toronto?

A: I’m from Grand Prairie, Alberta. My background is Irish, Scottish, Ukrainian and Norwegian. I moved to Toronto to model and also because there is generally more opportunity for me here. 

 

Q: Where’s your go to restaurant?

A: Anywhere on Ossington. Or 416 Snackbar.

 

Q: What’s your favourite food? Drink?

A: I love sushi. I also love steak. And favourite drink has to be water…i’m like a fish! Or whiskey. I love whiskey.

 

Q: Favourite sports team?

A: The Pittsburg Penguins. I love Fleury and Crosby. I had family friends in Alberta who were from Pittsburg and they loved the Penguins, so I grew up watching their games with them.  

 

Q: What’s your favourite song right now?

A: Ocean Drive by Duke Dumont

 

Q: How do you like to spend your free time?

A: Playing sports and going to concerts. I love Badminton, Tennis and Ping Pong (I have good hand-eye coordination). Alexis and I started playing tennis recently but obviously had to stop as the weather has cooled down. I also just saw The Weeknd in concert recently, and Shania Twain earlier this year. 

 

Q: How would you describe your off-duty style? 

A: I sort of dress like a boy, very tom-boy or athletic you could say. I love the “athleisure” trend because I’m literally always working out on my time off. 

 

Q: Do you have any favourite pieces from this shoot so far?

A:  I love the [AG Legging in Shade] jeans you guys have had me wear. They’re amazing. I also love all of the John + Jenn sweaters

 

Q: What is the one beauty product you can’t leave the house without?

A: Eyebrow pencil. Anything to do with eyebrows. If I only do my eyebrows, I don’t need any other makeup. I think it’s so important.

 

Q: What is your favourite thing that you own? 

A: I have a really nice faux-fur coat that I love. I also love anything in leather. So my leather jacket definitely tops that list as well. 

 

Q: Describe the most fun shoot you’ve ever done, besides this one, of course! ;) 

A: I did a shoot in Tokyo which was really fun. 

 

Q:  Do you have any advice for girls or guys that are looking to enter the modelling industry someday?

A: I would say that they should definitely wait until they have graduated high school. And also to make sure it is something you really want to do. I would also highly recommend having another hobby or something that you love, otherwise modelling could consume you.

 

A few behind-the-scenes shots from our photoshoot! 

Amber with our makeup artist: Eduardo!

Amber's wearing our new Ark & Co. Printed Cut-Out Dress in Floral Print 

Amber modelling our Free People Lovely in Love Dress

 

Amber sitting down for this Q&A while getting her hair and makeup touched up! 


Designer Profile: Wildfox Couture

Wildfox is a vintage-inspired knitwear brand that has found a home in every fashion lover's closet. 
Based in LA, this label was co-created by two best friends. The creative duo share a love for vintage tee’s and believe whole-heartedly in the magic of of everlasting friendship. 

The brand is known for its edgy graphics that tell a story. Some pieces are distressed while others have cute phrases, adding uniqueness to the brand's dreamlike quality.
With a strong talent for and background in sketching, photoshop, and experience working with a t-shirt designer in her back pocket, Kimberly Gordon started Wildfox with her best friend, Emily Faulstich, in 2007. It has been favourited by A-list celebrity stylists, and influencers alike and is sold in retailers all over the world.


Something Navy wearing Wildfox Denim

Since its inception in 2007 the brand has grown to include dresses, swim, denim, intimates, and eyewear.


Behind the Scenes with Wildfox

Have you ever wondered what inspires Kim and Emily's creativity?
Take a peek at their personal blogs here:
Kim’s Blog: http://wedreamoficecream.tumblr.com/
Emily’s Blog: http://hawaiiancoconut.tumblr.com/ 
Another Wildfox Blog that you will love: 
http://www.ilovewildfox.com/ 

 

"Fox is very 70's and the girl who wears or likes our clothing is not afraid of getting a bit wild." - Kimberly Gordon, Creative Director and Designer, Wildfox Couture


Recipe: Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

Who doesn’t love apple crisp in the fall? We couldn’t think of a more festive recipe that everyone enjoys…and what better time to try it out than this week/weekend? It is one of our last “peaceful” fall weeks before the holiday madness officially begins (omg: 44 days until Christmas…). So if you’re in the cozy, movie-watching, baking mood this week (as we expect we will be) treat yourself and join us in trying this traditional fall recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten - trust us, it’s SO good!

Image source: foodnetwork.com 

Ina Garten's Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

*this recipe makes approximately 10 servings

What you'll need:

5 pounds of McIntosh apples 

Zest from 1 orange

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Topping:

1 1/2 cups of flour

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

3/4 cup of light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 cup of oatmeal

1/2 pound of cold, unsalted butter, diced.

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large oval baking dish (9 x 14 x 2 is standard for this recipe)

2. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. 

3. Combine the apples with the orange and lemon zests and juices, sugar, and spices. Pour mixture into the baking dish.

4. For the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in a bowl. You may use an electric mixer on the low speed or stir with a fork or mix with your hands until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. 

5. Scatter the mixture evenly over the apples in the baking dish.

6. Place the crisp on a pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are soft.


20 Questions With Our Owner, Emily


1. Where are you from?
Oakville, Ontario – but I’m a Torontonian for life (sorry Mom!).
2. What’s your favourite food? Drink?
Food: Tacos all day long.
Drink: If a Dark and Stormy is offered anywhere I have to have it. Union, my favourite restaurant makes the best version – hands down.

3. Where is your go to restaurant?
Union on Ossington! We used to live across the street from this spot. We’ve moved a bit further West but still go back whenever we can. It’s SO good.

 4. What is your favourite pastime?
Hanging out with my dog, Rupert, at the dog park.

5. Describe the best trip you’ve ever taken.
I backpacked by myself through India a few years ago. It was incredible. I can’t wait to go back.

6. Where’s your favourite place on earth?
Home!  My fiancé and I bought and renovated our first home this past year.  It's my favourite place ever.

7. Most embarrassing moment?
There are many. Most recently Rupert, my dog, ruined my sister in law’s gender reveal party for her baby. He stole a cupcake and covered himself and the rug in pink icing.   Surprise! She had a girl.

8. What’s your favourite song right now?
Justin Bieber, Sorry

 9. What is the one beauty product you can’t leave the house without?
Does water count?  

10. You love to workout and stay healthy, what are your top tips for feeling your best/staying healthy?
I always work out in the morning. If you make it part of your daily routine it becomes a habit. Eventually your body starts to crave it. Crazy right?

11. What is your favourite sports team?
Blue Jays. Obviously!

12. Are you a morning person or night owl?
Morning person!  I'm up at 5am every day.  

13. Beer, wine or cocktail?
All of the above! 

14. Running in the city or hiking a trail?
Running in the city!  I live right near High Park.  I take advantage of it as much as possible!

15. East Coast or West Coast? and why?
West Coast! I LOVE LA. The West Coast vibe is so relaxed. The lifestyle is so healthy and it’s always sunny.  I would move in a heartbeat.  For now, I just travel there.

16. You used to be a blonde, do you think they have more fun? LOL.
Yes. I think so. Although life as a brunette is pretty great.

17. What’s your favourite piece of clothing or item that you own?
My AG Farrah Paradox Jeans. They are hands down the best jeans I have ever owned. I highly recommend.

18. What is your favourite brand?
Rails! I own over 20 of their shirts. It’s a bit excessive but I live in them.

19. Where did you get the idea to start V.O.C.?
I saw a need in the marketplace for affordable fashion with a boutique experience. Retailers are getting larger and less personal. Finding great clothing with personalized service is hard to find. We pride ourselves on providing this to our customers!

20. What advice would you give to girls looking to enter the fashion industry and/or start their own business someday?
Learn as much as you can. Expose yourself to everything. Don’t assume you will get your dream job right away. Every experience and opportunity will help you in your path. And of course… just do it.


 

XO Em


Designer Profile: Hen Jewelry

Proudly Canadian and tremendously talented, Genevieve Smolders may be one of the sweetest local jewelry designers you'll find in TO!
She began her unique line, Hen Jewelry, after graduating from Ryerson University's Fashion Communications program in 2008. 
An Ontario native, Genevieve finds inspiration from bohemian culture, nature, and raw materials. All of her pieces are hand-made and unique, adding an overall distinctive edge to her designs.
When she's not creating, you will find her showcasing her collection, and networking with other designers, at local craft shows such as One Of A Kind, and INLAND.
Favourited by Torontonians and jewelry lovers alike, Hen has been feeling the love from a few celebrities too! Mel B, of THE Spice Girls was spotted wearing one of her designs, as was Shannon Elizabeth (best known for her role in American Pie.)
Stop by the shop to see all the pieces from her collection, and maybe you'll be lucky enough to meet her during one of her store visits! 
(Did we mention that today is her birthday?! Happy birthday, Gen!!) 

Travel: In a New York Minute

Last weekend I took a quick trip down to NYC to join Jeff and enjoy some QT with my roommates from Queens. Most people shop when in NYC; and while I love a good wander through SOHO or Barney’s – my objective while in NYC is to eat. There is never enough time or stomach space to indulge in all of the delights and spots on my hit list. Here’s my recent trip’s guide to eating (and drinking) through NYC.

THURSDAY


Lunch at Jack’s Wife Freda:
I’ve been dying to check out this blogger hot spot for quite some time. To pass my solo time, I headed straight from the plane to their spot on Lafayette for a tasty lunch and glass of wine. Perfect start to my NYC trip. 


Drinks at the St. Regis:
How fancy is this? Lucky for me, my friend was staying at this swanky spot for the weekend. A few martinis and lots of laughs later we were in fine form for dinner. The people watching is superb and sometimes it’s just fun to see how the other half lives.

Dinner at The ACE Hotel’s Breslin Restaurant:
This “super cool” restaurant in the ACE Hotel is full of NYC hipsters. The crowd is young and very cool. I was keen to check it out after our recent stay at the ACE in Portland. The lamb burger was so good we had to have two!


Drinks at the Nomad:
We finished our evening with a nightcap (or two) at The Nomad’s Library Bar. We even invited our plus ones. A perfect end to a perfect day.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

Brunch at Sarabeths:
This classic NYC establishment came highly recommended by our e-commerce guru, Shelby. Overlooking Central Park, the restaurant has A+ real estate. Everything is fresh and delicious. Try the avocado salad – it's literally as smooth as butter. Make sure to wash it down with some prosecco.  Afterwards enjoy an afternoon of shopping on 5th Avenue. The shoes!


 

SATURDAY


Brunch at Little Owl:
Little Owl is my favourite restaurant in NYC. It’s teeny tiny and located in the West Village (Fun fact: The apartment from the TV series Friends is right on top of the restaurant!). Having only tried dinner at this gem in the past, we decided to test out their brunch. Everything was melt in your mouth amazing. We even splurged for some dessert donuts covered in Nutella. Yum!  

Lunch at The Standard:
Both the beer garden and the patio at the Standard are super fun on a Saturday afternoon. Located in the meatpacking district – this spot is always buzzing with excitement and way too many people.


Dinner at Del Posto:
After hearing hype for days we decided to check out Del Posto. We sat at the bar – which is way more fun and you can eat their A La Carte offerings rather than participating in the full tasting menu. Everything was delicious. If you do go, go hungry!


Fashion: 5 Footwear Trends

There’s nothing we love more than great shoes, and lately we’ve been noticing some key trends worn by our favourite style icons that we NEED to try. However, with the vast array of options and trends out there, it can be hard to decide what is worth purchasing with questions coming to mind such as “how can I wear these?” or “how will they fit in with my existing wardrobe?” To help you out, we’ve picked our top 5 footwear trends for this season, plus where to get them, and how to wear them. Take a look...

 

1/ Moto boots

 

Image source: (from left to right) Splash News Online, Daily Mail

You won't find a cooler style of boot to wear on your feet than an awesome leather moto boot. These are probably one of the most practical investments we’ve made in our wardrobes, and they’ve carried us through even the coldest of winter temps up to the end of spring. Pair with a t-shirt, jeans, leather jacket, and a wrap scarf for a Jennifer-Aniston/Kate Hudson inspired look (just a few gals we’d love to trade closets with!). We recommend that those of you living in Canada purchase a sturdier pair like the Frye Valerie’s, which have a rubber sole and really high quality leather so they can handle the salt and ice that we trek through all winter.

Get Olivia Palmero's look here: Vest, Turtleneck, Leggings, Boots

 

2/ Mid-calf or ankle boots

 

Image source: (left to right) Getty Images and Daily Mail

If you ask us, ankle and mid-calf booties in neutral tones (think tan, taupe and camel) and basic black are a must have for all seasons. No matter which style(s) you choose to purchase this year, these can be dressed up or down. Look for one with a stacked heel for a comfortable yet really fashionable and still sexy alternative to a stiletto'd boot. We love a great pair of black ankle boots, with a great dress or black dress pant, paired with a leather jacket. Or create a casual look with high waisted jeans, and a basic tee or sweater like Kendall and Miranda (above). Looking for something other than black? We're loving our leopard Yosi Samra’s with #AllBlackEverything. Just for the record, we consider leopard a neutral! 

Shop Kendall's look: Top, Jeans, Backpack, Boots

Shop Miranda's look: Tank, Jeans, Boots

 

3/ Over-the-knee boots

 

Image source: (left to right) Vogue Paris, The Urban Spotter

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that makes a statement this year, we suggest over-the-knee boots. We’ve seen this style on basically every celeb whose style we envy…and we love how there are an infinite number of ways you can wear them. Pair with a skirt of any length, a dress, or dress them down with jeans. There are so many ways to wear this style! For those of you just trying out the trend, we recommend opting for suede, which can make every style look expensive.

Shop Miranda's look here: Jacket, Top, Jeans, Boots

Shop Olivia's look here: Jacket, Top, Skirt (available in V.O.C. stores!), Boots 

 

4/ Lace up boots

 

Image source: (left to right) Bauer-Griffin, Daily Mail

Another style that we’ve seen everywhere and on everyone are lace up heels or boots. Super versatile and wearable in every season, I don’t think we could say no to a great pair of these. To dress them down and make them a little more subtle, throw on a pair of skinny jeans and a blouse. To dress them up, put on your favourite LBD! How could you not love this super hot style?

Shop Kim's look: Tank, Pants, Shoes

Shop Rosie's look: DressShoes

 

5/ Sneakers

  

 Image source: (from left to right) fashionvibe.net, glamradar.com, Daily Mail

Last but not least, one of our favourite trends of all has to be sneakers. We can’t get enough for obvious reasons - they’re super comfortable, plus they look amazing with just about everything from jeans, dresses, joggers, shorts, etc. And with that, they can make any super dressy outfit appropriate for daytime: all you have to do is swap out the heels you would normally wear with your evening outfit with casual sneakers. 

Shop this bloggers look (image on far left): Tank, Jeans, Sneakers 

Shop Kendall's look: Coat, Tee, Jeans, Sneakers

Shop Naya's look: Sweater, Joggers, Sneakers: here or here

 


Entertaining: Throw a Halloween Party

Aside from picking your Halloween costume (if you’re anything like me, hours of thought and preparation are put into the costume each year) - the art of hosting a Halloween party is the next best thing.

Since scary really isn’t my thing, this year I’m opting for a fun, kid-friendly bash. The décor and nibbles will likely be overshadowed by adorable munchkins in even more adorable costumes but that’s a-ok with me! Take a look at some of my fun decoration and treat ideas that i'll be trying out this year!

DIY Balloon Decorations


Image source: Pinterest via Brit.co 

JELL-O Worms (GROSS!)


 

Image source: Pinterest via Instructables.com

 

Marshmallow Mummies

 

  

Image source: Pinterest via Sprinkesforbreakfast.com

 

Spider Ice Cubes


Image source: Pinterest via Buzzfeed.com


Designer Profile: SAM. Outerwear

SAM. is a luxury outerwear brand based out of NYC.
Fairly new to the game, having launched in September 2010, SAM. certainly brings a modern edge to outerwear. Their aesthetic is the perfect mix between alpine-inspired luxury and everyday functionality, making their styles a great option for customers with urban and outdoor lifestyles.
Toronto blogger, JodiBLK , wearing the Hudson Parka in Carbon
Known for their fashion-forward styling, and resilient fabrics - think high-performance materials such as 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation, lacquered nylons, goose down, and fur - SAM. has undoubtedly mastered the “fashion meets function” game. 
Their Fall/Winter collection is now available in V.O.C. stores & on our website, featuring styles that are down-filled and lined with 3M™ Thinsulate™. Both features that will keep you cozy and warm through our frigid winter season! 
The Infinity Parka and Freestyle Jacket are incredibly insulating. Boasting up to 650-fill power using fine white goose down feathers, and an outer nylon fabric making the garment wind resistant and water repellant, to keep you warm. 

3M™ Thinsulate™ is known for its light-weight nature, ensuring warmth without the bulk. The padding is lined throughout the bodies and arms of the Hudson Parka and does an expert job by trapping air molecules between you and the outside. The more air a material traps in a given space, the better it insulates you from the cold outdoor air. (For a more in-depth breakdown, see the SAM. “Warmth Factor” page.)
Fun Fact!
The female model cast in their Fall/Winter campaign is none other than Kelly Rohrbach... rumoured to be Leo Dicaprio's fiancé! #envious.

Fall Activities: 3 Things To See & Do This Fall

As we get further into the month of October and the days start to cool off, it is key to ‘carpe diem’ and make the most of this amazing Fall weather. We’ve compiled a couple of our favourite things to do this time of year, from hiking in the city to visiting one of Toronto’s infamous costume stores. Take a look at some of our ideas below: 

1/ Get your Girly Fall Fix

Applewood Farm Winery, Stouffville
Applewood Farm and Winery is the perfect place to go for some basic apple-picking and cute Fall Instagram photos. Seriously though, it is a pretty ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Did we also mention they have a wine tasting promo? Need we say more?  

Image source: Yelp.com 


2/ Partake in The Halloween Hype

Amazing Party & Costume Store, Etobicoke
One of the most entertaining things to do in the Fall is peruse one of the many Halloween costume stores that go all out during this time of year. The most notable on our list is the Amazing Party & Costume Store, just on the outskirts of the city. Basically designed like a haunted house, it is totally worth making an evening out of visiting this place!

Image source: Blog TO

 3/ Fall Picnicking 

Scarborough Bluffs, Scarborough

The Scarborough Bluffs are an absolute gem located on the Eastern outskirts of the city. This is the perfect place to get some fresh air and take in all of the lovely scenery that this time of year has to offer. Pack some seasonal ales with you and you’ve got a recipe for a stellar day.

 

Image source: Jessica Douglas Photography

 


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