Personnellement, je possède plusieurs sacs de grosseur, de taille de matériaux différents, mais bizarrement peu importe le nombre que je possède, je finis toujours par en porter deux majoritairement. Si bien que j’en suis venu à penser que chaque femme pourrait très facilement n’avoir que deux sacs passe-partout qu’elles pourraient agencer autant avec un look plus formel qu’un look casual.
Je vous présente donc, mes coups de cœur de la collection hiver de chez Matt et Nat . Cette compagnie québécoise offre toujours des classiques que nous pouvons agencer avec des looks différents.
Alors voici le premier sac avec lequel je peux porter quasi toute ma garde-robe.
Ce sac est un compagnon idéal parce que comme tout bon fourre-tout, je peux transporter ma vie dans ce sac. Je ne pense pas être la seule fille a transporter avec moi une multitude d’objets, de produits et de vêtements. Quoi on ne sait jamais quand on va avoir besoin de parfum, de mitaines, de fard à joues et dans mon cas bien sûr de son laptop.
Voiçi deux looks avec lesquels j’aime porter mon fourre-tout :
Ensuite, le deuxième sac dont je pense chaque fille à besoin est un plus petit sac à bandoulière pratique lorsqu’on va souper on resto et que l’on ne veut pas encombrer les allées avec notre énorme fourre-tout. Je trouve qu’il est important qu’il soit à bandoulière puisque de cette manière il permet une aisance dans nos mouvements. Le sac que j’ai choisi me permet de le porter autant avec une tenue plus chic que style très décontracté.
Ce qui est d’autant plus pratique, c’est que ce sac se porte aussi bien à bandoulière qu’à la main.
Vous voyez que ce sac s’agence aussi bien avec un ensemble relax de fins de semaine, qu’avec une tenue plus soignée. La dimension de ce sac permet de trainer quelques produits beautés pour des petites retouches rapides et un porte-monnaie, un téléphone, mais nous n’allons pas y cacher toute sorte de morceaux de notre garde-robe est idéal pour une virée shophing ou un rendez-vous au restaurant.
Ce sac est disponible dans plusieurs couleurs, honnêtement si on veut le porter très fréquemment, on est peut-être mieux avec une couleur neutre. Ainsi on risque moins de se lasser de notre sac.
Vous pouvez plusieurs autres exemples de sac fourre-tout et à bandoulière sur :
Who’s robyn? Robyn is a girl who can’t quite figure out if she is more small town or city. She is in love with both the culture and vibrance of the city life and the nature and peace of country living. For now, she lives in Montreal and works in fashion marketing. Her favourite things to have around are are a good book, a tasty glass of wine, and a loving kitty sidekick.
What is your favorite creative outlet? Probably sewing, or decorating a new apartment. There is something about using creativity in everyday things that I am drawn to. I think it has to do with the amount of use I will get out of the creative effort. A friend once asked me why I am so in to fashion. I told him that unfortunately, some days the only creative thing I might get to do is getting dressed in the morning.
Where do you draw inspiration from? I tend to draw inspiration from every day things. I find the way people interact with each other and their environment to be fascinating. The most inspiriting things for me are seeing people perform small acts of service for others. Just recently I watched this man nurture his dog with a broken leg, letting him walk when he was able to, pulling him in a wagon when he wasn’t, and carrying him when he became upset in the wagon. I am not sure why but I found this to be very inspiring.
What does living beautifully mean to you? I relate the expression living beautifully to happiness and kindness. I think living out your days in a way that makes you and those around you happy is one of the most important things you can do. There is something very powerful in knowing that you have the power and self knowledge to make yourself happy and contribute to the happiness of the people you encounter.
“Because I’m a lover not a fighter ….”- Rinx Anand
Jingle Bell Rock!!!!
“It makes me want to dance” – Shareen Kohli
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
“It’s sweet and not overplayed everywhere… and I love Elvis.”- Dina Khamara
The Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack
“Call me crazy but I listen to it year round!” – Sam O’Hagen
Baby it’s cold outside – She & Him
I’m a fool to want you – Billie Holiday
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
I need my girl – The National
” It was a difficult choice to choose only one song. These are my favorite songs to curl up to when the windows are frosted, and you crank the heat up!” – Sarah Olioff
For Spring, we decided to be a little different and included live models to better show bag to body ratios and proportions. During our photo shoots, we’re usually all business (ya right) but this time around we had quite some fun.
With the holidays fast approaching, we’re feeling the spirit and our bonds are growing tighter everyday; this makes for silly moments and lots of laughs! See below to watch how the day unfolded and get a closer look at what a photoshoot day looks like with the Matt & Nat creative family.
11:37am. No really…time to focus: serious faces, creative direction and concentration.
There you have it, an inside look (and scoop!) of our upcoming photos for Spring 2014. Keep checking in for more news and an inside look into our daily lives!
We’re expanding. More people, bigger office and new experiences await us.
For the past few weeks, our office is a little bit of a crowded mess but we’re actually enjoying the coziness! The design and marketing team is growing and we’re tearing down walls in our current office, for the restructure. Before we do, we though we would have some fun with it though; we enjoy the little things and it makes for a better work environment for sure!
Anyways, this big white wall was calling out to us and then we started looking at the sharpies we had laying around and thought we should immortalize our friendships and quirkiness. So, we took to the wall and started doodling and pouring out our thoughts. Here’s how it went down:
and, for the big finale…*drum roll*…
It’s good to be silly sometimes; take some time today and act like a kid for a minute, you’ll feel the stress melt away, guaranteed! If you do, let us know below what you did and how it went!
Have a great weekend!
American Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It’s time for buttermilk biscuits, gravy, fried turkey and yams!…or is it?
During the holiday season, it’s good to pace ourselves. There’s always someone to see, somewhere to go, something to do …and it almost always involves food. In keeping with our living healthy (and beautifully) motto, here are a few recipe ideas for an equally delicious but less-harmful-for-the-arteries meal:
Butternut Squash With Whole Wheat, Wild Rice & Onion Stuffing
This recipe is perfect for a solid main or a hearty side. It’s a classy alternative to a typical stuffing and looks much prettier when presented in the original squash, for sure.
This recipe, though a little more tedious, is extremely impressive when done right and brought to the table. It is a great alternative to coma-enducing turkey for the health-concsious or vegetarian people in your surroundings.
If you think collard greens need to be soaked in bacon fat to be delicious, this recipe will prove you wrong. A tasty and healthier alternative to this staple of the South.
Quinoa is the hottest seed these days. It is incredibly versatile and has a great texture. For the holidays, dress it up in pretty colours with the fancy vegetables in this recipe.
You gotta have some roasted veggies! Not your typical roasted vegetables, this recipe is the perfect side to your turkey dinner.
This hearty stew can be served as a main or a side-dish, as presented. They won’t miss the meat with this one!
Behold the stuffing! It’s everyone’s favourite part of the Thanksgiving Dinner and you can bet on everyone having two helpings of this one. This unconventional stuffing filled with walnuts and apples will be sure to satisfies your guests’ cravings.
For the grand finale…*drum roll*…easy peasy (and yummy) pumpkin pie! This is a great recipe for a quick dessert, reminiscing of the holiday season.
Alas, ’tis the busy season! The next few weeks are a little hectic for us - the good kind of busy. We are currently in the middle of our Spring 14 photoshoot. This time around we will be using models to demonstrate the proportion of the bags in relations to the body.
In the next few weeks, we will be shooting our campaign shots for Spring 14, our Fall 14 web & campaign shots… all whilst designing the new Spring 15 collection. We are currently scouting for different locations, props, clothing and models. Lots of bags, lots of great people and lots of great ideas, that’s what we’re all about! It’s an exciting week, stay tuned for more updates!
This is it folks!…this is how we shoot the bags. We take countless hours to do and redo shots, until they are perfect. Details are important at Matt & Nat, both when elaborating our products and during our shoots. We aim to give our customers the best of the best.
A glimpse at our wallets for Spring 14. Fun colours and tones of compartments for you anything you can fit in them! These will surely make your lives easier as they are conveniently spacious enough to store all your essentials.
Bags as far as the eye can see…all coming your way this Spring 14!
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon an adorable coffee shop nestled in Greenwich village on W. 8th street. ; Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stop by this location and enjoy an espresso drink or select any coffee on the menu brewed in a Chemex, BeeHouse, French Press, Aeropress or siphon. They also feature a single origin espresso and host tastings daily at 2 pm at the Brew Bar.
Have a look at their website to find the nearest location http://stumptowncoffee.com/
“Celebrating the seasons with my family and friends”
The past month, we launched our Little things Facebook contest where we invited people to upload photos of the small things that make us smile each day. We received so many beautiful responses. We are currently collecting all our responses and will be choosing a winner at random this Thursday. We recently watched a TED talk by Abha Dawesar titled “Life in the “digital now” where she questions if our lives have now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what’s real? This contest, showed us what was really important to people each day. Here are a few entries that reminded us to take a moment and appreciate what life has to offer.
“Feeling my baby kick”
“Kissing him each day”
“Seeing this little guy each morning”
“Fiord in Gros Morne National Park – Brings me peace every time I look at this natural wonder.”
On adore les looks de vedettes! Ça nous inspire et nous donne des idées de nouvelles tenues à essayer. Aujourd’hui, je vous présente des vedettes qui rehausse leur look avec des sacs top tendance.
Évidemment, nous n’avons pas le même budget que ces vedettes, alors je vous propose pour chacune de ces tendances sac à main, un sac de la collection Matt & Nat. Pourquoi Matt & Nat? Parce que tout d’abord cette marque est conçue ici dans notre belle province et que leur ligne est toujours à la fine pointe des dernières tendances.
Je commence par vous présenter un sac style mallette de docteurs tout à fait in cette saison. La preuve: trois de nos fashionistas pref du Cahier ont opté pour ce sac de types fourre-tous
Nos trois vedettes possèdent le sac en cuir de Givenchy. Je vous propose donc un modèle très semblable de la collection Matt & Nat. Tout comme nos vedettes ci-haut vous pouvez le porter à la main grâce aux deux courroies courtes ou vous pouvez également le porter en bandoulière grâce à sa grosse bandoulière ajustable.
Ensuite, nous vous présentons un autre sac que Kim Kardashian et Asley Tisdale aiment aussi trimballer. Ce sac permet de contenir toute votre pharmacie! Ici on vous présente un sac Matt & Nat de style TTG tout comme nos vedettes. Ce sac est structuré et vous permet de le porter comme Kim et Asley au milieu du bras. J’aime particulièrement la finition avec de jolies poches définies à l’avant du sac. Question de ne pas tout mettre vos effectifs dans l’immense poche centrale.
Ensuite, pour toutes les étudiantes, les sacs à dos: c’est génial! Ça permet de bien répartir le poids et de garder une bonne posture. Alors, copiez le style de Asley Olsen et de Maria Meounous et procurez-vous ce magnifique sac à dos de chez Matt & Nat. Il est d’autant stylé que simple et chic.
Si vous avez une soirée plus glam et que vous avez envie de ressembler à la magnifique Jennifer Aniston, je vous présente une pochette très semblable qui pourra passer comme passe-partout dans vos soirées plus chic. Il s’agit du sac Inakis de la collection Matt & Nat. Tout comme Jennifer posez en laissant votre jolie pochette se placer selon vos mouvements
Tendances hiver 2014 par Camille Dg du site lecahier.com
Cet hiver les sacs de différentes couleurs et grosseurs sont les bienvenus. On opte d’avantages pour des couleurs neutres tels le gris, le brun, le noir. Si vous voulez vous distinguer un peu des autres, allez-y avec un sac d’un magnifique vert émeraude. Facile à agencer, cette couleur vous permettra de rehausser votre look dans un tour de main.
Nous vous avons déniché 4 grandes tendances en terme de sac à adopter cette saison.
1. La première le sac futuriste, vintage.
Ce sac se caractérise ses poignées structurées en plus de sa grande ganse à bandoulière ce qui permet de le porter autant sur l’épaule que de le laisser joliment pendre en le prenant simplement à la main. Ce sac est très facile à agencer avec un look professionnel grâce à son allure mallette de docteur.
2. On retrouve de plus en plus de sacs à dos féminins. Matt et Natt en possède d’ailleurs sans plusieurs couleurs. Ces derniers sont, non seulement esthétiquement beaux, mais en plus les bretelles sont assez robustes pour transporter des livres scolaires ou un ordinateur portable. Quand la mode est au service de la bonne posture et des maux de dos, on ne peut qu’embrasser la tendance !
3. Cet automne et cet hiver on voit énormément de pochettes plutôt grandes qui se portent à la main ou écrasées sous le bras. Ces pochettes ressemblent à une enveloppe avec souvent de beaux détails. Voici un modèle plus régulier.
Matt et Nat vous propose également des modèles très intéressants puisque ceux-ci sont disponibles en version pour iPad.
Aussi, ce modèle se portant autant en bandoulière que sous le bras se rallie à la tendance des sacs de style «enveloppe».
4. Le sac pour homme à bandoulière ou à la main
Un sac utile qui est d’autant pratique puisqu’il permet de transporter plusieurs documents. Pourquoi les hommes ne pourraient-ils pas eux aussi agrémenter leur style d’un sac qui a du caractère ?.
Ensuite, pour les hommes avec un peu plus d’audace, nous suggérons de porter ce sac pochette pour homme qui est conçu pour transporter un iPad. C’est la tendance à adopter si vous voulez finir un look avec doigté.
Comme vous pouvez le constater, pour la saison froide, il ne manque pas de choix! Maintenant que vous avez toutes l’info sur les tendances sac de l’automne-hiver 2014, il ne vous reste plus qu’à choisir votre allié pour braver le froid !
Bon magasinage à tous !
What makes you smile? Is it the change of seasons? The sound of airplanes? Watching the sunset? Cracking the first sheet of ice in the winter? Extra foam in a cappuccino? Do you ever get the urge to stop and capture the beauty you see around you every day? Yesterday, en route to work, I had to stop and capture the scenery. The fall leaves fresh on the ground, airplanes flying above as the sun was rising. It was beautiful calm and crisp. Later on, chatting with our design team, we thought it would be fun to run a Facebook contest titled “ The little things” where we ask our fans to send us photos of the little things that make you smile everyday. To tell you the truth, it’s been making our day at the office as well. Here are a few submissions that we’ve received so far.
“Finding a blue sky in unexpected places”
“Hanging out with my homegirl making weird faces”
“Crab on the beach”
“Misty mornings at Cap St. Jacques”
Show us what makes you smile.
Enter our Photo contest here.
Contest ends October 31st.
Well folks it’s that time of year again …. It’s our Canadian Thanksgiving! Time to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather & spend time with friends and family. It’s a little tricky being vegan in a predominant carnivore social circle. Moments of loneliness & being misunderstood are quite regular … I’m sure there are vegans out there who can relate! For this reason, I’ve thought of a few tips & tricks to survive all the harsh stares and glares when you show up to a thanksgiving dinner and mention that you’re vegan (like its a bad thing!) First step : I’ve decided to host thanksgiving dinner for my open-minded carnivore friends who are willing to give it a try! I’m a little nervous but excited to hopefully convert a few… or at least show them that being vegan isn’t as hard as it may seem. I’ve decided to prep a meal plan in advance to woo my friends. Here’s what I have in mind so far. What are your thoughts?
Main course :
Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples
Found this lovely recipe by Gena Hamshaw who claims to have served this dish to a room full of friends who didn’t notice it was a vegan dish. It’s a pretty simple recipe that consists of a savory mix of winter squash, brussels sprouts, and good bread. Here’s the recipe which yields 6 servings.
- 1 pound butternut squash, cubed
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread, whole grain, or, if you are gluten free, millet bread from Food For Life will work nicely. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- For full recipe click here
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic
- (0.80kg/1.75lb) fingerling potatoes
- (0.34kg/0.75lb) brussels sprouts
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp Sucanat (optional)
- 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- View full recipe here
Sinless Sticky Toffee Pecan Pudding
I stumbled upon this awesome recipe by ohsheglows. She somehow managed to make this this classic dessert vegan and almost half the sugar and fat! Here are a few pointers from her “This sticky pudding cake has the perfect amount of sweetness, remaining true to the original classic dessert, without going overboard. The cake is fantastic; once the sauce is poured on, it turns into a gooey, moist, and dense cake. The toasted pecans add a lovely texture to this dish and I don’t recommend skipping them unless necessary. Whatever you do…serve this dish WARM!” - Oh she glows
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the cake:
- 200 grams pitted dates (about 1.5 cups), roughly chopped
- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butter substitute), lightly softened
- 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar (75 grams) OR 1/2 cup Sucanat
- 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans, divided
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 & 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
For the toffee sauce:
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown rice syrup*
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar (35 grams) OR Sucanat
- 3 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- salt, to taste
A few other tasty treats to try :
Appleberry Pie with Olive Oil Crust from Post Punk Kitchen
What is your favorite recipe? Let me know! Have a lovely long weekend everyone : )
It’s been well over a year now that I’ve adopted a majorly gluten-free lifestyle since living with my man (a true-born Celiac). The initial adaptation proved a tough transition, but the positive impact it’s had on my life – invaluable. As a past sufferer of stomach pain and nausea due to a built up candida intolerance, changing the way I ate dramatically improved my health and energy levels.
As a self-proclaimed “foodie”, satisfaction, enjoyment, and indulgence has always topped my must-meet eat list amidst varying restrictions. What I’ve learned through my kitchen trials and tribulations, is that less really is more when it comes to conquering big taste as a lifestyle. Paying attention to the selection and preparation of the foods you eat, skipping out on artificial ingredients for pure and organic alternatives, and simplifying sauces/spices allows natural flavor to speak for itself.
Sweets are no exception, and I love that I can eat them guilt-free without the inevitable sugar crash. When your junk food is loaded with protein and complex carbs, they become more than just a quick-fix treat. While oatmeal raisin still remains my all time favorite (even people who don’t normally do gluten-free or vegan love them), chocolate chip will forever remain a classic please all.
2 3-oz vegan dark chocolate bars, cut up into chunks; set aside
In a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup GF millet flour
1/2 cup GF buckwheat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch or potato starch (not potato flour!)
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a separate large mixing bowl, beat till smooth:
1 1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1/4 cup organic white cane sugar
3/4 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
For the next steps, head over to the original post.
Bon appetite and happy baking!
Our process involves finding and working with new, alternative, and sustainable materials whenever possible. We’ve been using linings made out of recycled plastic bottles for a while now, and have experimented with cork for a few seasons. For our Fall 13 offering, we were determined to include some recycled rubber elements in our collection. We had been toying with the idea for a while, and after some experimentation, we decided to introduce the bane wallet in rubber this season. Because it’s recycled, there can be variations in the surface of the material, that’s part of the beauty, a reminder of the roads well traveled. The Bane sold out quite quick this season, though leading up to production, we sampled a few bags with rubber detailing. The bag we are giving away this week on our Facebook page is our limited edition Soren in Blue. This bag is particularly special as you can find elements of the recycled rubber throughout. We experimented using it on the bottom feet & the inner hang tag on this edition. It was a little tricky as a material to use for the entire construction of the bag unfortunately, but we loved the process and the overall rough, imperfect finish of it that we felt it was necessary to include somehow.
The contest runs from September 30th- October 7th.
You can enter to win HERE.
Today marks the first day of POP Montreal! Our 12TH annual international music festival, that runs from the 25th – 29th of September. The POP fest is a nice way to end the summer and embrace the season change with an explosion of creativity that surrounds the city. The streets vibrate with music, art, film, fashion and conferences at every block.
Here are a few FREE events not to miss:
Tonight : POP Montreal 2013 Opening Party! 6-7:30pm , Quartiers POP, 3450 St-Urbain
Grab a complimentary drink ( or two) and snacks! To kick off the festival right with special musical guests!
Tonight : Fashion Pop / 8pm @ The Rialto , 5723 Parc
Presenting the work of this year’s most promising local emerging creators in fashion design. A panel of fashion industry judges will pick their favourite collection and the winning designer will receive a slew of prizes to help give them that push to jumpstart their career.
Madeleine Voizard & Daniel Quiroz
26- 29th of September : Puces pop @ Eglise St-Michel ( 105 St- Viateur W.)
For Art lovers, here is your chance to discover local artists at affordable prices. Eglise St-Michel ( 105 St- Viateur W.)
Friday 27th @ 4:30/ 3450 St. Urbain
” One of the most important legal minds in the Canadian Entertainment Industry, Susan Abramovitch, will be joined by startups, technology, and new media lawyer Reuven Ashtar (moderator), Secret City Records President, Justin West, and Montreal-based, Polaris Prize winning musician, composer and band leader, Patrick Watson, to discuss the development of music as intellectual property in a contemporary digital context, the cultural impact that this may be having, and how society might want to proceed.”
The fun part of designing bags here at MATT&NAT is that we’re a small family. We’re a creative team of 3, and an office of 12 . Designing the bags involves a lot of style research, grabbing inspiration from our trips and bouncing ideas back and forth in our office. Every bag goes through a little torture before we are completely satisfied. The Sid was originally inspired by a Japanese man on a flight back from California who was dressed impeccably wearing a neat shaped bag. As we approached, we snatched a photo of him to keep for inspiration. His edgy style translated into many of our design choices. The big zippers and strong lines resulted from it.
Our first prototype had a large front zipper pocket and more stitching details. After wearing the bag for a few weeks, we decided to come back to simplicity and functionality. The button pocket in the front and simple lines were a result of this.
The Sid is meant for every day wear. I personally love it for weekends when you need a little extra shopping room! We are currently designing our Fall/Winter 14 collection. Stay tuned for what’s in store!
From Hard Facts to Fun Fiction: “Skinny Bitch” Author Kim Barnouin Pens Breezy Summer Read – By Nell Alk
Chances are, if you’re of the plant-based persuasion, you’ve become acquainted with Skinny Bitch. Heck, perhaps the bestselling book was the reason you went vegan in the first place.
A vegetarian since 18 and at 23 toying with ditching dairy and eggs (and fur—never part of my repertoire—leather, wool, down and silk), co-authors Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman encouraged me, with their refreshingly forthright tome, to transition to the kinder side. Thanks to them, I took the compassionate plunge and haven’t looked back.
Over the years since its release in 2005 (though it came to my attention in 2007), I’ve kept up with the brilliant babes behind Bitch. From Skinny Bitch in the Kitch to Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps, and everything in between, the franchise never failed to relay something new in a way that was both entertaining and educational.
Imagine my excitement when I discovered Barnouin was dropping a novel! After all their lovely lessons in health, wellness and cooking, I was eager to sink my teeth into something a little lighthearted. No ingredients needed, save for sunglasses, a towel and a tall glass of H2O. Indeed, the 44-year-old blonde bombshell had branched out and broken onto the beach read scene.
Skinny Bitch in Love, which hit shelves last month, is nothing if not a blast, a romp of a story set in Santa Monica and following leading lady and skillful sous-chef turned entrepreneur Clementine Cooper. The plant-powered protagonist not only falls in love, as the title implies, but also hits several snags along the way, both personally and professionally. And who can’t relate to that?
Now, I’m not one to fawn over chick lit, but when the heroine eschews animal products, I can’t help but sit up and take note. It’s rare to find a narrative to which I can so readily relate. It’s a guilt-free treat that I highly recommend to veggie and omni ladies alike. Next up from the ever-active author, wife and mother? Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched. (Literally can’t wait to get my hands on it, though it won’t be out until at least next summer.)
In the meantime, Barnouin took a few minutes last week to talk with me about her foray into fiction—what inspired this literary shift, what the writing process was like and why just such a story needed to be told. She also offers advice to the vegan-curious, shares why and how she went veg and hints at what’s up next (besides Hitched) for the Bitch brand.
First of all, congratulations on Skinny Bitch in Love. Had you always been thinking about getting into fiction writing?
I hadn’t. I was really happy doing health [and] nutrition [books and] cookbooks. Two years ago, with my son and my mom on vacation, I’m looking around at all these people on the beach reading summer novels. The light bulb went off. I thought, Wow, I think I want to be part of this. I called my literary agent that minute.
Have you always had the propensity to write fiction, or was this your first stab at it?
This was my very first stab at it. When I was young, I was writing like a maniac. I would write these crazy fiction stories from, like, 10 years old to maybe 13 or 14. I stopped doing it, getting into [my] teenage years, [and] I never tried again after that.
Was it a painful process at all?
Sometimes it can be. Most of the time, no. I can get in the zone and get into the characters and the story. But, other times, when I try to force myself to sit down and do it, it’s like birds chirping in my brain. Most of the time it was an absolute joy. But, there were times when nothing was coming. It does get difficult.
But, overall, it was a positive experience.
It was a great experience. It was such an exciting thing, putting characters together, putting lives together. I’m so glad I did it. I just tried to mix the Skinny Bitch brand and food and being vegan, so it wasn’t coming out of left field.
For sure. It’s seamless. So, for whom would you say the book is intended?
I think it’s for a younger generation. People in their twenties and thirties. It’s nice because those are the people who are influential. They’re the people who are coming up, who are going to be making a difference, hopefully in animal rights or nutrition or food. That would be a wonderful thing.
Agreed. And now you’re editing the follow-up, Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched. Clever title.
It’s cute, you know? They’re fun books to read. I spend so much time doing heavy research on food and nutrition. I like reading books that take me away, get me out of my head for a while. That’s what I like about these books.
Absolutely. There are endless chick lit titles on library and bookstore shelves, but none, I’d venture to guess, are coming from the vegan perspective. Which completely shifts the vibe for the better. I really appreciated that. It was very refreshing. And long overdue.
Thank you. That’s been the whole goal, ever since the idea for these books started back in 2003. It was always to make veganism become more mainstream and more “normal.” We’ve come a long way. It’s getting much more attention. I thought it’d just be fun [to] keep it going, [to] have a character like this. This is our future. This is the way people are eating now. It may be the minority, but that minority is building. It’s all about trying to spread [the message] in a nonthreatening way so people think about it.
Would you say that’s why this book needed to be written?
Definitely. There’s a need for it. It’s nice to get people talking. One of the characters—the best friend and roommate, Sara—[is] not so perfect in the vegan world. I think people can relate to her struggles. Some of the characters are aces at it. For others, it doesn’t come as easily. But, they’re passionate and they work hard, so I definitely want to spread that message.
Did you become vegan for health reasons?
I did. I was sick all the time. I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t have a lot of money to really delve into what was wrong. I was in the bookstore going through books about food, and food allergies would come up. I thought, Maybe food can be pretty powerful. I was so naïve about food, because I ate like crap. I changed my diet, [gave] up all my bad vices. I tried vegetarian for a while and started feeling great. Then I took it a step further: vegan. The whole process took me a year. It was a gradual change. All the sickness was gone. I couldn’t believe that changing my diet could be that powerful. Everyone was like, You look so great! Your skin, your eyes, your hair. And you’re feeling so much better. What’s your secret?
Thus, Skinny Bitch was born. So, what’s your own diet like?
There are times where I think, Have I had a salad this week? [Laughs] But, I go through periods where I eat really well, and really clean, because I want to be able to have my treats. I’m not the person who sits down and has, like, four cupcakes or ten cookies at a time. I don’t go nuts. Moderation helps. I feel like my diet is balanced.
And how has this vegan ethos spread to other aspects of your life?
The first few books were co-written with Rory Freedman and she was really into animal rights. She opened my eyes to so much going on that I never knew about. That got me to look at other areas. That inspired me. That made me realize that there’s more to it than just saying, I’m not going to eat animals. It’s a matter of [living] the lifestyle.
So you put out Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty and Style. Any favorite cruelty-free companies?
Jane Iredale has got some really good makeup. Josie Maran has beautiful stuff as well. I got some argon oil from her line and it’s just spectacular. Mrs. Meyer’s I use for home cleaning. There’s this shampoo I found in a drug store, Shea Moisture. I was amazed by it. It is so good. It’s got absolutely pure ingredients. All things you can pronounce and understand. My main thing is looking at the ingredients. Reading the ingredients of things you’re going to put on your body means so much, because your skin’s going to absorb it all. I’m trying to get people to take charge of what they’re using and know what this stuff is.
Makes sense. Any advice for people considering going vegan?
Be easy on yourself. Don’t think you have to do this overnight. Take your time, do your homework. Eventually, this is how I want to eat. So, how do I get there? It’s just a matter of slowly giving things up.
Or, if they want to cut the crap cold turkey, more power to them! They can start with Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps! [Laughs] So what’s next on deck, apart from Hitched?
A baking book. Eighty recipes of ridiculously good desserts. Easy to make, no crazy, hard to find ingredients.
Skinny Bitch Bakes [a fictional company from Skinny Bitch in Love] come to life!
I like to cook, but I love to bake. I don’t like buying treats. There [are] so many preservatives and additives. Whatever I want I can make myself. I’ve had tons of failures, but trying it again and again you figure out what works. For me, it’s my meditation. Being in the kitchen and baking is so much fun for me. I really enjoy it.
Lucky son and husband! Lastly, what can Bitch fans expect further down the road?
I want to get back into the kitchen. I might do an all-encompassing cookbook. I did the Ultimate Everyday Cookbook a couple years ago. Fiction and cookbooks are on my favorites list, so I may be going back and forth [between] the two of those.
Whether you reside in New York (like I do), frequent it every chance you can, or still haven’t visited, few folks aren’t hip to the fact that the Big Apple is big on gastronomic satisfaction. Beyond being everyone’s favorite way to ward off doctors (get it?), the City That Never Sleeps is packed with foodstuffs to satisfy any and all culinary inclinations. From Momofuku to The Modern*, Del Posto to Dell’Anima*, this place is chock full of ways to tease your tongue and widen your waist. However, less recognized than, say, NYC’s fame-claimers like pizza** and bagels are the no less satiating vegan eateries.
Plant-based places abound and can be found in any neighborhood. From Candle 79 on the Upper East to Blossom in the West Village; from Peacefood Café on the Upper West to The Butcher’s Daughter on the Lower East, there’s exclusively cruelty-free fare to be sampled at virtually every subway stop. Despite seemingly limitless options, my latest favorite train destination takes me straight to TriBeCa. The southbound blue line transports me from my Chelsea apartment to Suite ThreeOhSix, the newest kind dining find on the island. And it’s nuanced, too!
Begun by 24-year-old Chef Daphne Cheng, this recently launched supperclub and academy is tucked away on Franklin Street, hidden in the middle of the block and bearing little indication that it’s there. (Perhaps that’s in part why Underground Eats took such a shining.)
This private loft—which for Saturday dinners seats 16—offers an alternative to your typical compassionate cuisine. Not to knock the meatless meals I’ve elsewhere had the pleasure of consuming, but S3O6 changes the game. And here’s why.
In addition to its under-the-radar space, Suite ThreeOhSix offers a surprising menu every time. Guests won’t know until they arrive what they’re poised to enjoy. They know in advance for how many courses they’re signed up (and the accompanying cost), but what comprises said courses remains a mystery. Ticketholders take a risk, but can rest assured they won’t discover any animal products. What’s more, they’re equally unlikely to uncover tofu and mock meats in Cheng’s dishes. She prefers instead to work with whole rather than processed foods to create her healthy-meets-haute masterpieces.
And masterpieces they are. Accuse me of hyperbole, but no one’s stopping you from seeing—and tasting—for yourself! Cheng’s inventive imagination makes for an impressive spread, unique ideas visualized in real life. And, with this willingness to push the edible envelope, she makes comrades out of otherwise seemingly disparate ingredients, inviting the uninitiated to try foreign combinations of flavors that I’ve never known to disappoint. (And I crash her weekly dinners fairly regularly.)
So, let’s see. So far we’ve got…spankin’ new spot (which, by the way, is très chic). Check. 100% vegan vittles. Check. Intimate atmosphere, lending S3O6 an exclusive (yet still very inviting) air. Check. A focus on fresh, seasonal, organic (and local when possible) ingredients and few if any denatured ingredients. Check. And a visionary chef—with solid credentials, given she not only graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute, but also started her own catering company at 21—in the kitchen. Check.
So, what else? Well, Cheng never serves the same menu more than once, so it’s always a transient experience not to be repeated. This also means that, if you’ve got the, ahem, means you can reserve a seat Saturday after Saturday and never get bored. And, of course, akin to the food constantly changing, so too do your tablemates. Though this communal scenario may not be to everyone’s taste (believe me, I am ordinarily reluctant to share a meal with 15 perfect strangers), it’s perpetually proven a pleasant experience. Who knows, the guy or gal next to you could be your future spouse…or boss…or plant-based bingeing buddy.
Speaking of forming relationships, the elegant setting—defined by high ceilings, classic columns and full view of a bustling kitchen—is an ideal date location. Unlike every other restaurant in NYC, S3O6 is nearly guaranteed to be a first for that special someone.
So, why wait? Secure a reservation today. Bonus? Once Cheng opens her own restaurant—an endeavor currently in the works***—you can brag to your foodie friends that you knew her and her food when…
* Both of these restaurants have catered to my vegan needs and the latter even boasts a vegan bartender. Heck, maybe the two of you can toast to non-vegan spots granting plant-based wishes.
** For vegan pizza in NYC, run-don’t-walk to Palà or Eat Drink Wild. Two Boots also makes magic happen when you’re craving crust without the pus. J Heading to Long Island? Stop by 3 Brothers Pizza Café in Farmingdale, which boasts an extensive vegan menu—thanks to Jay Astafa—including, no doubt, slices and pies.
*** Interested in learning more about backing this vegan venture? Email email@example.com and tell ’em Nell sent you.
Photographs compliments of the chef.
“The most important place you could be on the planet tonight is right here,” spoke broadcast journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell, passionately addressing an audience in Amagansett, New York two Saturdays ago on June 22. Over 100 guests gathered at the Hamptons home of John Bradham, a Manhattan-based attorney who opened his doors to nonprofit animal rights organization Mercy For Animals. The occasion? MFA’s Free To Be event honoring Velez-Mitchell for her vocal role in not only promoting a plant-based diet, but also exposing the realities of factory farming, among other commonplace atrocities perpetrated against our fellow earthlings.
For those who don’t know, Velez-Mitchell hosts a show on HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, evenings at 7 PM EST. While she can’t tackle vegan eating and animal injustices on a nightly basis, she does discuss said or similar topics every Friday. For four minutes each week, this brave anchor delivers what she dubs “an animal segment,” sharing with viewers across the nation what is all too often overlooked by mainstream media outlets.
“I’m very blessed to have a platform to do these stories,” Velez-Mitchell told me during our interview. She lamented, “I really wish more journalists would do them.”
While fellow animal advocates share this sentiment, the purpose of the sunset soirée was to fête a special woman committed to raising awareness, not to waste time worrying about the people—particularly the powers-that-be—turning a blind eye. And so we celebrated Velez-Mitchell, who as an outspoken ARA features on her program myriad individuals operating within this space. From representatives at MFA, PETA, HSUS and Farm Sanctuary to TV personality Steve-O and green athletes Rich Roll and Brendan Brazier, Velez-Mitchell welcomes all kinds of movers and shakers to share their respective perspectives. Of them she says, “Everybody brings another piece to the puzzle.” From breaking investigations to the latest in healthful living, Velez-Mitchell stops at nothing when it comes to communicating conscious consumerism to those tuning in.
After receiving the Compassionate Leadership Award—presented to her by former NBA champion John “Spider” Salley—Velez-Mitchell wasted no time in highlighting the real heroes: MFA and, specifically, undercover investigators.
“Make no mistake about it,” she started. “They put their lives on the line. Risk their lives to go undercover with a hidden camera…to videotape….They have to have the self control to do it not only once, but day in and day out, months on end, to establish a track record…conquering that fear and conquering the depression of recording something they wish they could stop but they can’t, so they can show the world what is really going on.”
While Carlson and I didn’t have an opportunity to talk, Salley—there with his teenage daughter and making everyone he encountered laugh hysterically—was chatty. Earlier, on Bradham’s idyllic back deck, the part owner of The Vegan Vine wine revealed his reasons for eschewing all animal products. “I had to get my sexy back. I was losing my sexy,” he said in all seriousness, pointing to a weight gain, a cholesterol spike and high blood pressure problems as motivations. “I just decided that I needed to start taking better care of myself.”
Though the basketball legend adopted a vegan diet six years ago for what he termed “selfish reasons,” Salley revealed to me more than meets the eye: “When I became aware that every vegan saves 7,500 land animals, I was eating healthy, getting my sexy back and saving lives.” With conviction he encouraged, “There’s no other way to go.”
Velez-Mitchell said something similar when we sat down together, too. Of becoming vegan—which she’d done nearly twenty years before, after meeting rancher-turned-activist and author Howard Lyman—she enthused, “There’s no downside!”
The passed hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts only served to reinforce this fact. Wait staff—sporting tees that cleverly read “carni-bored”—carried trays of savory apps like vegan versions of sliders, crab cakes and chicken satay skewers (thanks to Gardein) as well as crostini topped with nut cheese (thanks to Treeline). Following the speeches and moving video clips highlighting the work of both Velez-Mitchell and MFA (and an appeal to emotion fundraising portion that, between this and a sister event in LA on June 8 honoring writer/director/producer Sam Simon, helped garner over $450,000 for MFA), attendees tended to their sweet teeth, so-to-speak. Across from a table showcasing donated silent auction items, Vegan Treats impressed with a spread that looked like a Willy Wonka dream realized in edible 3D. Donuts, cakes, cookies, cannolis, pies and tarts won over the crowd up until the intimate gala wound down, around 10.
Among those who made the trek from NYC to the beach benefit were Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture, David Benzaquen of Plant Based Solutions, deejay Stretch Armstrong, artist Erhan Mues, chef Daphne Cheng of Suite ThreeOhSix, Compassion Couture’s Spiritus sisters and plus-size model Emily Nolan.
And it’s no wonder so many selfless folks showed up to support the org; as MFA founder and executive director Nathan Runkle reminded everyone, “Our task is nothing less than changing the world. The moral compass of our time—the moral judgment—is how we treat animals.” Cruelty-free food and loot aside, it truly is all about our furry, four-legged, fishy and feathered friends.
As for the movement on the whole, Velez-Mitchell is confident the present trend is poised to snowball until we reach a tipping point; “It’s gonna happen,” she assured me. “It’s just a matter of when.”
Photos provided by Derek Goodwin Photography
Alas, a playground for adults! I was eager for summer vacation this year and decided to jump ahead and take my vacation a little early. I booked a ticket and was off to London, Berlin & Sweden for two weeks. While I was in Berlin I had the pleasure of exploring the OM-D Photographic playground group exhibition.
Upon entering the space, my friends and I were given two Olympus OM-D digital cameras with new SD cards to explore. With 4 floors exhibiting the work of 12 Artists, the amount of art was overwhelmingly fun!
The exhibition is designed as an interactive experience for both artists and visitors where you’re invited to discover the installations and artworks with all your senses , while forming and capturing your own ideas from and with the OM-D.
One of my favorite installations was from Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen titled Sonic Water. They explore sound & visuals by enabling the viewer to interact with a small container of water positioned inside a speaker. As the sounds change, the camera located above the container provides instant feedback as projection.
“Depending on the frequency of the sound and the fluids added to the mix, new patterns are constantly regenerated. From chaos becomes order reflecting the harmonic laws of nature.”
Watch Sonic Water here
We had the pleasure to sit and chat with Jazz musician Matt Herskowitz last week. We asked him a few questions on inspiration and creativity. Here is what he had to say :
I’m a jazz/classical pianist/composer who can’t just choose one style and stick with it. I love going out on the road to play concerts for a month or two at a time, and performing in small, intimate jazz clubs as well as in big concert halls. I’m a stubborn perfectionist in my music, and in my life.
What is your favourite creative outlet?
In addition to music, I enjoy writing as well as creative conversations with really smart people who make you see things differently. Unfortunately I’m no visual artist (my horses have six legs) but I love admiring great works of art. In music, I’m doing just about everything creative I can do: musical theatre, film scoring, song-writing, arranging and composition.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Like most other artists, I draw inspiration from moments of strong emotion, whether it’s a surge of vibrant energy or a moment of soulful pain. I find that I need some contact with the outside world for inspiration; a crazy night out with friends, a romantic relationship (the world’s oldest inspiration, of course), or just the misadventures of life itself, which I’m fortunate to have on a consistent basis.
A few years ago, Inder found this great material at a fabric trade show in Hong Kong. It had a crinkled shiny surface that was kind of perplexing but we fell in love with it right away because it was so different from everything else out there. It reminded us of Washi*, a style of paper handmade in Japan using natural fibers. That’s where the name Japanese Paper came from (it’s not actually paper though– it’s a polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating that makes it super resistant!). On top of it, we have some sort of obsession in the office with things often associated with Japanese culture: the precise traditions, minimalist architecture, the Zen influences mixed in with a totally badass counterculture movement. It took some experimenting with the material (did we like it simple or with a lot of seams? Structured or billowy?) and we designed a few collections around it. The result: amazingly light bags that take so well to color. We just introduced some styles back on our website, for a limited time only.
*Washi (和紙) is a style of paper that was first made in Japan. Washi is commonly made using fibers from the bark of trees, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat. Washi comes from wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper, and the term is used to describe paper made by hand in the traditional manner.