Wine. Fashion. Photography. Welcome to the studio party.
By Meredith Morrison
Standing, from left: Kelley Keefe, Jacinta Keough, Lori Nicholson. Front: Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy.
It’s not everyday five girlfriends from Kinkora are given the celebrity treatment, but for Kelley Keefe, Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy, Jacinta Keough and Lori Nicholson, this night is all about embracing and celebrating their inner divas. And they’re having a blast doing it.
“Work it girl!”
“Own those boots!”
“Make love to the camera!”
The catcalls and laughter flow as freely as the wine in Alanna Jankov’s studio, better known as the Image Factory. The fabulous five are taking part in an experience of lifetime – a professional photo shoot with an award-winning photographer, complete with hair and make-up service, and for this night only, the hottest fall fashions courtesy of the Shops of the Confederation Court Mall.
It’s called a studio party – an innovative experience created by Jankov herself. Essentially, it’s an evening (or afternoon) of laughter, friendship and expressing yourself in front of the camera. It’s an excellent excuse to get together with friends for some quality time, which can be hard to come by once you factor in work, family and busy schedules.
But it’s more than just getting all ‘dolled up’ for the camera. “The goal of the night is for each person to have a group of memorable images of themselves and the group,” explains Jankov. “The focus is creating those images. I set the stage and we just see where it goes.”
Shawna Ryan adds volume with curls to Lori Nicholson's hair.
On this particular night, the theme is glamour and girlfriends. Shawna Ryan of Tangerine Hair and make-up artist Holly Ryder treat each woman to a signature style that highlights and accentuates their already stunning assets. With a polished look and a fierce outfit, each woman transforms into their new role as fashion model. They’re having fun, even though for some of them, the thought of getting in front of a camera ranks up there with getting a root canal. But as each woman steps into the studio, they show each other nothing but support and excitement. All fears and inhibitions are left at the door – the camera is no longer something to be afraid of.
Back in 2007, Jankov introduced the studio party concept in the form of graduation parties. Young graduates, just starting out in the world, celebrating their friendship with a keepsake photograph. The concept expanded and today, all groups are welcomed to the Image Factory for a party customized to suit their own unique needs. Jankov provides hair and make-up services, music, beverages, snacks, a sense of adventure, and most importantly, privacy. “What goes on the studio, stays in the studio,” says Jankov. Prices vary depending on the style of party her clients want.
Don’t worry if this is the first time you are hearing the term ‘studio party.’ The concept has been slow to catch on with Islanders. Many are simply unaware of this service or they have pre-conceived notions of what it entails. “People can be hesitant to try something different,” says Jankov. “The biggest challenge has been getting the word out there.”
“To understand what a studio party is all about, well, it’s basically whatever you want it to be about. I work with groups to customize a party that is memorable, a little outside the box, discreet and a whole lot of fun.”
And having fun really is what it’s all about. It’s also about letting loose and exploring another side of the persona maybe you didn’t know existed. And it’s an experience both men and women can enjoy – either separately or together. “I encourage the male population to give it a whirl,” says Jankov. “They don’t know what they are missing!’
As the last shot of the night is snapped, the ladies gather around Jankov’s camera for a quick look at what has transpired in the past three hours. They laugh and joke back and forth about funny poses, supermodel stances and facial expressions caught on film. But what they also see are images of five confident, self-assured women looking happy, glamorous and beautiful – both inside and out. The studio party captured more than just pretty faces and great clothes – it has captured memories of a girls night out five friends from Kinkora will never forget.
Wine. Fashion. Photography. Welcome to the studio party. By Meredith Morrison It’s not everyday five girlfriends from Kinkora are given the celebrity treatment, but for Kelley Keefe, Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy, Jacinta Keough and Lori Nicholson, this night is all about embracing and celebrating their inner divas. And they’re having a blast doing it. “Work [...]
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They’ve got ‘em, and they’re spectacular. How to get the man cave of your dreams
By Meredith Morrison
Troy LeBlanc gets the best seat in the house - everytime. Photo by Mitch MacDonald
Almost every man lusts for one: the man cave.
A place where he can retire after a long day, watch the game, have a few drinks and get away from the distractions of the outside world. The man cave has become the symbol for all things manly – a place for men to be men, to do manly things. And these days, they’ve become more than just a room with comfy chair, a TV and a strategically placed mini-fridge or cooler stocked with none other than the man cave staple – beer.
Today’s man caves are filled with the stuff dreams are made of. For Anne-Marie Brunet’s husband, Wayne, his dreams were fulfilled when he transformed their basement into his very own movie room.
Wayne Brunet's Man Cave. Photo by Anne-Marie Brunet.
“It was his inspiration for all of this,” says Brunet of her husband’s entertainment-themed man cave. “He loves pool too, so he basically made the basement a place he’d be able to chill in as well as entertain when we have people over.”
In addition to the movie room, Brunet’s man cave also boasts a full scale pool table, bar and a stylized bathroom with glass shower doors. “The bathroom shower was inspired by the amazing bathroom at our resort hotel room in Mexico,” says Brunet. “It’s like a little escape!”
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what any man cave can consist of, and for some lucky cavemen, so is the budget.
But you don’t have to be rich to get the man cave of your dreams – you just need a plan. Troy LeBlanc of Creative Home Concepts is in the business of making man cave dreams come true for any budget. From building custom home theatres to lighting and climate control from the touch of a button, LeBlanc has transformed ordinary basements into modern day Bat Caves. He credits being able to provide these seemingly futuristic services with the lowered cost of today’s technology and widespread accessibility of broadband internet. Even his own basement is a testament of what he can accomplish – a kick-ass home theatre, multi-media room with a 123 inch screen and projector complete with theatre seating.
And did I mention he’s also installed his very own concession stand? Are you seething with man cave lust yet?
Since every man cave is as unique and individual as its owner, anything goes when it comes to style and decor. But when it comes to planning your dream mantuary, LeBlanc has narrowed down the list to five man cave must-haves that will make your lair the ultimate guy’s hangout.
1. A Big Screen TV: The ultimate man cave centrepiece. Plasma, LCD, LED or projection screen – when it comes to television, bigger really is better. LeBlanc recommends a Full HD (High Definition) 1080p for a superior viewing experience. If you’re a huge technology/ theatre buff, opt for the latest 3-D TV sets for a true cinematic experience at home.
2. Surround Sound: Feel like you’re a part of the action by filling your man cave with intense surround sound. Look for a 5.1 DTS (Digital Theatre System) or Dolby Digital. If you have really great soundproofing, LeBlanc suggests you try 7.1 DTS or Dolby True HD.
3. A Theme: Maybe you’re a huge sports fan, or more specifically, a Montreal Canadiens fan. Maybe you love movies, or more specifically, you’re a Star Wars fanatic. Whatever the case, your man cave should reflect your interests. A neon sign is usually a staple in most man caves.
4. Games: At least one (but preferably more than one) of the following: pool table, air hockey, foosball, table tennis, shuffleboard, poker table, darts, Play Station 3, Xbox 360, Wii…the gamers wish list goes on and on.
5. Refreshments: Whether it’s a small bar fridge or a fully-stocked wet bar, you should never have to stray too far for snacks or beverages. Keep it close, keep it stocked and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
A fully-stocked refreshment bar is a man cave must have. Photo by Mitch MacDonald.
They’ve got ‘em, and they’re spectacular. How to get the man cave of your dreams By Meredith Morrison Almost every man lusts for one: the man cave. A place where he can retire after a long day, watch the game, have a few drinks and get away from the distractions of the outside world. The [...]
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By Heidi Brander
Heidi Brander. Photo by Stephen A. Harris
Lately, my Facebook newsfeed has been blowin’ up with various friends’ worries about their wedding plans. I can’t turn a corner at work without being grilled by a colleague for my thoughts on ballroom bustles versus a sweep train (um, what?). As someone who has never planned a wedding (except for my beloved childhood teddy bear, Mr. T, and his betrothed, Beary), I can’t relate to any of this wedding planning stress. All I can say is that if you think you’re stressed out and under all this pressure, try being Heidi Brander on Halloween!
For me, the pressure to come up with the perfect idea for a Halloween costume and execute it with precision is infinitely more daunting than planning a silly old wedding. Old standbys like “Sexy Cat” just won’t cut it nowadays; one-upmanship has become the name of the Halloween costume game. And if you can’t bring it come October 31, you might as well stay home. These days, a costume has to be on the money in terms of pop-cultural relevancy, and even if you wear a seemingly topical costume like Snooki or a Lady Gaga meat dress, you’ll be met with five other partygoers wearing the exact same thing.
If you understand this Halloween pressure to find the perfect get-up, you’ll appreciate my list of topical and creative costume ideas!
The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo
WHY: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was an international best-selling novel, but it’s time to remind people that mystical creatures also appreciate a little ink.
INGREDIENTS: Green scales, snout, temporary lady tattoo, ability to emit flames from one’s mouth.
WHY: Still mourning the death of Bea Arthur? Wish you could bring your favourite Golden Girl back from the dead? Now’s your chance!
INGREDIENTS: Old lady wig, shoulder pads, caftan, red contacts, fake blood.
*Bonus points: Grab three more pals and go as the “Golden Ghouls” (i.e. Blanche Death-a-Row, Deady White, and EstHELL Getty.)
Salt (n’ Pepa)
WHY: All year long, our senses been inundated by movie posters posing the question “Who is Salt?” Prove you know the answer by stepping out with a friend as the rogue CIA operative and the other half of 90s girl group “Salt n’ Pepa!” (Spinderella optional)
INGREDIENTS: (On Salt:) Black trench coat, witchy black wig; (On Pepa): Acid-wash jeans, chunky gold bling, neon crop-top.
WHY: While your friends all dress up like Iron Man (the world’s most indestructible superhero), you can dress up like Ironic Man – the world’s most sarcastic superhero!
INGREDIENTS: Jeans, T-shirt, ability to roll your eyes at everybody’s costumes and make ironic comments like “Oh, you’re a devil? That’s original” and “No, those bunny ears don’t look cheap at all.”
For random updates on wigs, stand-up comedy and cheesy puns, follow Heidi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/heidibrander.
Costume Trauma By Heidi Brander Lately, my Facebook newsfeed has been blowin’ up with various friends’ worries about their wedding plans. I can’t turn a corner at work without being grilled by a colleague for my thoughts on ballroom bustles versus a sweep train (um, what?). As someone who has never planned a wedding (except [...]
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