Monday, December 22, 2008

Style Expert

A few weeks back I was involved in a really cool project. I told you we had a lot going on around here!
The very lovely and very multi-talented Jessica Barabas is a finalist to become a Style Expert on the W Network.
Her challenge was to do a 5 minute make-over with 4 items. Jessica asked me to be her make-over model. Whuhoo. A little intimidating to have a camera doing close ups of your face, but SO FUN!
A producer came from the W Network in Toronto and a local camera man set up in her home, and we did a morning of filming. Luckily I didn't have to do much but sit and watch everyone else work!
Check it out

AND as a special bonus I've invited Jessica to do a Style Expert Q&A here to share some of her style wisdom. I know I can use all the help I can get.
I have often thought it would be great to invite some of the fantastic people I know to visit here at Twomittens, so I'm quite excited about this.

Please welcome Jessica Barabas!
Here is a little background on our stylish expert.
I've been a professional hairstylist and makeup artist for over a decade. I currently freelance for photographers, and do some bridal and graduation looks as well. My mother is a hairstylist, so I grew up in a salon. I love hair as sculptural media, and applying makeup is like painting on a 3 dimensional canvass, so they both really appeal to the artist in me. As far as fashion, I've always been visually entranced - I could window shop for hours, just looking.

Jessica you have a great personal style. I wouldn't call your look trendy, but you always look fresh and hip with an element of the unexpected. You always look put together and polished.
How would you describe your style and what influences you?
Well, thanks and thanks. I would describe my style as one part nerd, one part sexy librarian, with a dash of eccentric elderly lady. I am influenced by how I feel, or by an item of clothing. I may have some extra love for my yellow skirt one morning, and then build an outfit around it. I know my body type and I try to dress to compliment it.

A lot of women, especially busy moms seem to dress for the job. You seem to truly enjoy fashion and have a lot of fun with what you wear. Is that how you approach clothing? Or do you take it quite seriously?
Fashion should ALWAYS be fun and make you feel good. Seriously.

Now that I am a busy mom, I really like to feel dressed up in the day - it makes me feel more energetic. Although I have to limit my choices to fabric types that baby barf will wash out of, ha ha. I understand that some days you just need to wear stretchy-pants around the house for comfort and laziness. However, if I have to leave my abode I will NOT wear them outside the house. Not ever. I get dressed in something that makes me smile.

You managed to maintain your own style throughout your pregnancy. I was both amazed and slightly horrified with my body when I was pregnant with my twins.
You seemed to take it all in stride. Has motherhood changed how you see yourself or your body image?
I think you've described my thoughts perfectly with amazed and horrified. Pregnancy felt like an out-of-body experience to me. I hated things I loved and crave things I hated. My body changed completely. With all the major changes that happened to my body, being well dressed made me feel good about myself. Now I'm almost back to my pre-baby size, but I have a different body shape; I've had to re-learn how to dress it. My body will never be the same but it is great change with a purpose - life and nourishment! So that helps me be kind to myself.

At this point in my life, after having kids and getting closer to the big 4-0 I find myself asking the question at times, Is this age appropriate? I'm not always sure. Not that you have to worry any time soon but do you have any hard rules? Like no knee socks after 7th grade? Or no gouchos after 1974?
Hmm, good question. I don't think that there are any blanket rules that can apply to everyone individually, but I think that everyone should dress for their lifestyle and personality. I tend to dress however I feel like, regardless of whether it is "in fashion".

Ok, how about a few current favorites...
Fave designer/fashion inspiration?
I love seeing footage from big runway shows for the visual eye-candy. I don't have any favourite designers, just a love for individual ensembles that happen to catch my fancy. As far as fashion inspiration, I am addicted to the blog StyleBubble. Its a woman in London, UK, who takes some MAJOR fashion risks. I don't always agree with her style, but I love her panache.

One of my biggest style influences was when I lived in Tokyo for 3 months when I was 20. I saw the most avant guard street fashion there, and no one ever looked like a slob. Not even the average person walking down the street. So, if I ran to the corner store for milk in sweats, I would have looked ridiculous in comparison. At that point I started to have a lot of fun dressing up. To this day I still feel like every day is an occasion to look special, you don't have to wait for an event.

Fave makeup line or product?
I have an unhealthy obsession with finding the perfect lipgloss. I have about 15 different brands of approximately the same shade. I love Makeup Forever for their vibrant pigments, and Ben Nye for the same reason. Oh, and mineral foundation changed my life.

Fave hair product or product line?
I love the smells of TIGI products. I've been using a shampoo and conditioner from abba called Pure Gentle. It is 100% vegan, free of synthetic dyes, sulfate free, and DEA free. Love it. My favourite hairspray was a drugstore brand that got discontinued last year (so sad) and I've been on the search for a replacement ever since......

Fave place to shop for clothes in Calgary...high end? steal of a deal?
For a splurge, I love Purr on 17th Ave. If I was given a free shopping spree, that would be my destination. For a steal, I am a hard-core, avid thrift-hunter. I love searching for elusive treasures, never knowing what I'll find. I also revamp a lot of my vintage finds to personalize them or to fit me better.

Fave accessory?
Earrings and colourful tights.

Speaking of accessories, you seem to have a particular flair for them. Something I can barely manage. Tell us about your latest project.
I recently opened an Etsy store (online site for all things handcrafted and vintage). Its called Crave Again. I sell unique hair accessories and cool reworked vintage clothing. I'm also available to do custom work to the items I sell, to personalize them for my customers. You can find my store at

Thanks again Jessica.
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did.


Peace Sweet Peas said...

I love the interview..very web 2.0 Mrs. Mittens!

I want to know more about the mineral foundation that saved your life. My next makeup project is to learn more about foundation. I'm so scared of the 80s my face is beige paint look.

Jamie said...

Love the interview and the video! Nice work ladies! I am checking out J's store as we speak...

JessyB said...

If anyone cares, I've been working on my etsy store to make it look less pathetic and more like a place someone would actually like to shop. Feel free to stop by....

Thanks again for the great questions Mrs. Mittens, I'm flattered to be a little piece of your blog.