May 11, 2016

Style Fix Spotlight: The Brash Brunette

The Brash Brunette - 1

Megan Racicot
The Brash Brunette

Twitter: @abrashbrunette
Instagram: @thebrashbrunette

So this is the first time I have ever interviewed someone I work with. Megan aka The Brash Brunette has a multitude of talents – she is a published author, fantastic baker, blogger, Kate Spade addict just to name a few – and about the sweetest person you’ll ever meet.

Here is my chat with the Brash Brunette.

Tell us where your love for fashion came from and how The Brash Brunette came to be.

Well, I would have to say my love for fashion started from a very young age. I was always drawn to clothing and colour on television and in the streets. My parents were pretty progressive, always encouraging me to express my artistic side, especially when I’d play fashion designer wrapping myself in sheets and styling them as dresses with my Dad’s belts and ties. I made it clear that I wanted to dress myself and from older photos, its easy to see that I didn’t just pick anything; there was a rhyme and reason to how I would dress myself. I taught myself to sew and make my own clothes as a teenager. My love for all things fashion has really blossomed and grown from all those experiences.

The Brash Brunette - 6

You’re a modern day Martha Stewart. Hands down you have the best decorated office cubicle and you also make the most delicious treats. Is this your true calling in life?

I enjoy things that allow me to express my creativity. I would actually like to own a high end nail salon where I could also sell one of a kind handcrafted pieces of clothing as well as up and coming luxury brands, and I’d also be inclined to open a bakery that spins old school vinyl. My life would be full of the things I love and I’d get to be my own boss – the perfect life in my books.

I love, love, love your Instagram account. Where do you get the inspiration for your posts?

Well, in all honesty…I take a rather selfish approach with Instagram. Life isn’t always pretty…so I like my Instagram to be. I like bright, airy, aesthetically pleasing photographs that capture moments or things I really like..and more recently as a new blogger, products or things that I’ve bought or tried that my friends and followers might also like. I like that Instagram is essentially the photo album of a new generation and that the photos are always accessible with just a click.

The Brash Brunette - 7

Do you have any tips you can give me on taking a good selfie – or outfit selfie.

I’d say lighting is about 90% of what makes a photo great. Natural light helps to make your photo bright, crisp and clear without the use of filters or having to adjust brightness, exposure or contrast. A good selfie or outfit selfie really depends on the person and what they want to show or highlight. Sometimes, you have to play with certain angles to make a photo work. A plain or ultra colourful background can also make your photo pop.

You recently got married how much fun (or stress) was it planning one of the biggest days of your life?

Planning a wedding was incredibly stressful. If I had to do it all again, I would have a simple ceremony at the courthouse and then a small party at a restaurant. It was a huge undertaking as I chose to do a lot of it myself. I’m extremely particular and have a tendency to be a perfectionist, so looking back at it now, hiring a wedding planner would have eliminated a lot of my anxiety. I was fortunate enough to have friends that helped me with all my DIY crafts into the wee hours of the night on multiple occasions, so I am very grateful for that.

The Brash Brunette - 2

You’re a self-proclaimed ESSIE girl. If you were to have your own nail polish, what color would it be and what would it be called?

This is such a hard one! It would definitely have to be a bright matte coral coloured polish and it’d be my namesake — The Brash Brunette.

Kate Spade – you have a tiny addiction – I mean that in a good way. Why do you love her and what is your favorite piece from all of her collections?

I guess I can be real and say it’s actually a HUGE addiction, so thankfully my husband is understanding. I love Kate Spade because every collection is so fun and colourful. The company really pushes the boundaries in terms of their clothing and accessories and they stand out from the crowd. I own clothing, shoes, jewelry, perfume, handbags, kitchen ware, home decor, you name it. I am a self-proclaimed Kate Spade-aholic.

Whatever the season, there is always something at Kate Spade that I fall in love with and covet — when was the last time you saw an ice cream truck purse?

The Brash Brunette - 9

My all-time favorite piece is actually a tie between a large bright pink purse my husband picked up for me in Vegas for my birthday and a smaller gold crossbody purse he got me for Valentine’s. They’re both so fun, flirty and reflects my style so perfectly.

The Brash Brunette - 5

The Brash Brunette - 8

You also run an Instagram account called @ootdottawa where you re-post fashion pics from people in the nation’s capital – showing Ottawa’s most stylish people. How do you pick your photos – and when I am I going to be on there. Hmmm?

Outfit of the Day Ottawa (#ootdottawa) was born out of a passion for fashion and style. After a number of years of posting my #ootd photos to Instagram and seeing others from around the world, I assumed I couldn’t be the only fashionista in our city and decided to start an Instagram account and website ( dedicated to showcasing Ottawa’s fashionable and stylish folk. I also hoped it might foster connections within our city and build a community — because really that’s what I’m about – community over competition. Essentially to be featured you either tag @ootdottawa or use the hashtag #ootdottawa and I repost the user’s image. I also peruse the #ottawastyle and #ottawafashion hashtags to repost outfit posts as well.

Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering a few personal questions?
Do you have a daily beauty routine?

Surprisingly, I don’t. Every day is different, however I wash my face religiously and moisturize before bed, which I think contributes to my clear skin and glow (on good days.)

Let’s hear some of your favorites…

piece of clothing you own: a simple black tailored blazer – great for the office or a casual weekend look.

place to shop for clothes: Definitely Nordstrom but I also like to hit Target in Watertown every so often to restock on the basics like tank tops, slim fit trousers for the workweek and cardigans in every colour.

hair product: Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray – it smells incredible and helps to add volume to my fine hair. I spritz lightly onto towel-dried hair, blow dry & style!

make up must haves: a really great highlighter!

Do you have any beauty or fashion pet peeves?

A fashion pet peeve would be the ultimate crime of socks and sandals. I don’t really have any beauty pet peeves, everyone does what works for them.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’d call my style a crazy mix & mélange, I pair designer brands with budget or thrift store finds and I sometimes try to push the envelope with bright colours, bold prints and textures that might not be considered complementary.

If money was no object – what designers would be in your dream closet?

I would treat myself to the biggest classic Chanel flap bag money could buy. I’d buy every floral and fun dress from Kate Spade and I’d fly to New York to visit all the luxury boutiques and buy one of everything.

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

A manicure. A fresh coat of polish makes my day better, improves my mood and makes me feel like a million bucks, whether I do it myself or have them done at the salon.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I’d be laying in the sand on Cocoa Beach with my husband by my side.

Finally give us three words that describe you best.

Optimistic, bold, fun.

May 6, 2016

Style Fix Spotlight: Laila Saikaley

Style Fix Spotlight Laila Saikaley - BernardiBeautyBlog (2)

Laila Saikaley
 Silver Scissors Salon and Water Salon Spa

How did you find your way into the beauty industry?

It’s simple, essentially I married into the business and started full time with my husband Eli about 11 years ago. But, I’ve always had a love for fashion and beauty.

Most people underestimate and under value the role of a good manager. I think that they are the backbone of a business. What are the bulk of your responsibilities – and how do you keep it all running smoothly.

I agree that a managers role is the backbone of the business. It all comes down to our clients. I’m all about customer service and working as a team, it’s all about the experience and how we make them feel at the end of the day.

You’re a mother of three boys – how is it living in a house full of men. You’re out numbered!

I have been blessed with my three sons and my husband. Living with all men at home is quite the experience, I love it!

Obviously it’s all about sports at my house. I was a hockey mom for over 20 years and I was my kids greatest fan. Having sports at my house 7 days a week – I need my time for my female companionship.

I still can’t believe you have a son who is in his mid twenties. I was absolutely amazed! 

How do you keep healthy and looking so young?

Yes I had my kids at an early age and wouldn’t change a thing. I eat healthy and I wake up every morning grateful for a new day, always smiling and positive, it keeps me feeling young.

Style Fix Spotlight Laila Saikaley - BernardiBeautyBlog

You travel a lot – what are some of your favorite travel destinations?

I love traveling and new adventures.

Most of all I love traveling with my boys and creating memories. However, being that my boys are 25, 23, and 16, I am grateful that they still enjoy traveling with their mama. Lol!

Miami, Europe and Aruba among my favorites and still have so much more to do – South America, Asia and  Australia, are some of the places on my to do list

Your family is in Miami quite often. I love Little Havana and the outdoor malls. When I was there last – I went to Prime 112 Restaurant – the food was so good. I met Michael Irvin. Remind me to tell you the story the next time I see you. What are some of your favorite spots in Miami?

My family and I travel a few times a year to Miami, it’s our second home. There are so many places in Miami that I love and yes, Prime 112 is one and Baoli is another – it’s in South Beach.

Every time I go shopping I promise that I won’t come home with anything black. I fail miserably every time. I would say 75% of my closet is black, gray or charcoal. What about you? I already know the answer but our readers might not.

My wardrobe is all black – lol!

Yes, I do wear all black to work and it just seems that every time I go shopping, black is my go to.

We talked about food the last time we saw each other. Lebanese food is not just about Shawarmas. It’s actually a super healthy cuisine. I love Falafel and Pickled Turnips. What are some of your favorite dishes?

My favorite Lebanese dishes are pretty much all of it but Tabouli would be my number one.

Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering a few personal questions?

How would you describe your personal style?

I would say my personal style is classic with a modern edge.

Do you have a daily beauty routine?

I do have a beauty routine that I exercise every night before bed. Peels and Vitamin C are a must for me, my favorite products are by Natura Bissé from Spain, I can never be without it.

Let’s talk clothes – what are some of your favorite places to shop?

The only time I really get to shop is in Miami and my go to place is Bloomingdale’s. I enjoy wearing clothes that are soft and minimal, I found that is what I’m most comfortable with, followed by a beautiful designer shoe.

Who doesn’t love a great designer shoe!

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

There are so many ways I love to pamper myself, but one of my most relaxing is taking a long hot shower and using a coffee body scrub, followed by body oil and getting a good night sleep.

Finally pick three words that describe you best.

Three words that describe me would be fun, friendly and caring.

May 4, 2016

Party of Five

Party of Five - BernardiBeautyBlog (2)

Angie Poirier Ottawa radio and television personality,  recently added someone new to her life – a little baby boy named Nash. This Mother’s Day, Angie, Adam, Ava and Mila – will have a party of five. Check out our interview.

This is going to be a very special Mother’s Day for you. You have two girls – how different is it this time around?

This time around is very different with the age gap between siblings! Ava is 12 and Mila is 9, so instead of chasing toddlers around I am sharing this experience with them. They are extremely helpful with their little brother and it’s like having mini-nannies around to help feed a bottle or fetch things for me.

Party of Five - BernardiBeautyBlog (4)

Photographer: Ashley Cottee Photography

The timing for baby number three worked out well – you and Adam have two live in baby sitters. Nash is super adorable – you should use this to your advantage – breakfast in bed in exchange for some Nash time. Has the thought crossed your mind?

Oh Nash has become the ultimate bargaining tool!

My youngest is well trained to get me a coffee in the morning (she knows just how I like it) and when she brings it, she gets my baby. Its actually amazing how much more willing they have become to do little things around the house. They see how busy it is with a new baby and are now more inclined to pitch in and help out than they used to be. My oldest will be the perfect age to babysit in a couple years when we are ready to leave him, so yes, built-in babysitters! Lucky us!

Party of Five - BernardiBeautyBlog (3)

I loved the way you decorated the baby’s room – where did you get your decor idea?

Nash’s nursery was inspired by daddy’s man cave and love of sports. Adam spent a year building a beautiful sports themed basement in our home and we incorporated the same colour scheme for the baby’s room. We went with Grey and Navy and pops of 0range for daddy’s beloved Syracuse Orangemen. We wanted it to be more of a ‘mini-man cave’ that he could grow into, opting for things like a studded leather bucket chair and ottoman, instead of a traditional glider.

Party of Five - BernardiBeautyBlog (1)

Babies clothes for boys have come a long way. I’m sure Nash has amassed quite the wardrobe by now. How hard is it not to buy every cute thing you see?

It’s funny, even having two girls I always found myself drawn to looking at baby boy clothing. I’ve always wanted a little boy and am a bit obsessed with the mini-man clothing available out there. Little V-neck sweaters with plaid shirts, jeans and baby sneakers gets me every time. Luckily I haven’t had to buy much just yet! We have such generous friends and family who have filled up his closet with the cutest things. It’s so fun to dress this little guy.

Has Nash gotten his first Bills and Yankee jerseys yet?

Nash is building a nice little sports collection of Yankees, Syracuse and Sens gear! We have yet to get him the Bills jersey, but I imagine by the time he is toddling around, he will own everything in the baby clothing lines for all teams.

Let’s quickly talk about beauty. Although you already have a natural glow, when you’re short on time – what is your quick make up fix?

Lately I’m always short on time! Top knots and leggings define me. It’s actually questionable how I go to the grocery store some days! Haha…

My favourite quick fix is Physician’s Formula’s #InstaReady BB cream. It’s an all in one, that combined with my favourite Amazing Cosmetics Concealer, helps mask the dark circles that come with sleepless nights. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara is my current favourite to hit all the lashes and help open up my tired eyes.

All Mother’s need and deserve pampering. What is your favorite way to relax. Think about your answer – Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

I’m not one to often take the time to relax! I rarely treat myself to spa visits or pampering sessions, but I do love a great massage — and with summer right around the corner, I better get my butt into a pedicure chair!

May 3, 2016

Sweet Escape

I haven’t been to a spa in a while and I was long overdue, so a few weeks ago I visited Oxygen Medi Spa.

It was a little out of my neighborhood – but it was totally worth the trip. I only made one wrong turn getting there.

Okay two. But all that matters is that I got there.

It’s a cute little spot in Orleans. The atmosphere is so inviting and it has that spa smell. You know what I mean right? I just LOVE that smell.

Here is our mini interview with the fabulous staff at Oxygen Medi Spa.

Oxygen Media Spa -

2600 Innes Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1B 3K1

I have a hard time relaxing. The only thing that usually works is running or when I workout at Greco. Now I finally have something that doesn’t involve sweating! I had the Relaxation Facial. When it was over I didn’t want to leave.

Jessica – talk our reader through the different steps of this facial.

For our Relaxation Facial I first start by making sure my client is comfortable and able to relax. I ask for any allergies or skin issues they may have.

First step of this facial is to cleanse the skin with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup or oils on the surface of the skin with light circular movements. I rinse twice to make sure everything is removed properly.

Second step is to exfoliate; I used an enzyme clay mask that breaks down the skin gently without pulling or rubbing vigorously.

After about 5-10 minutes it is removed with a hot towel.

Third step is the face and décolleté massage used with a refined coconut oil so there will be no clogging of the clients’ pores and doesn’t leave a “greasy” residue. Skin is cleansed again.

Last step is a mask, I used the “Repair” Mask as it helps add deep hydration, regenerates and re-balances the skin. After it’s removed by a hot towel, we used a velvet cream to leave the skin nice and moisturized.

Shawna – you showed me the Alpha LED Capsule – as you could tell – I wasn’t ready to hop in and test it out. I am a little claustrophobic. But the capsule has so many benefits – explain a few of them.

The Alpha Wellness Spa Capsule has so many benefits that will help people naturally with light and heat therapy. We can help with post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, pain management, detox, weight loss, cellulite, full body collagen rebuilding, migraine tension and so much more.

The treatment protocol is 30-40 minutes relaxing in the bed, and most of our clients do tend to doze off to sleep, it is that relaxing. Your head is on the outside of the capsule (they do this so people don’t feel claustrophobic).

Shawna you have a whole range of services – including some for men. Can you highlight a few for our readers?

Men are actually taking great care of themselves. There is no treatment that we offer women only and men only. Men make up about 30% of our client database. They come in for ultrasonic liposuction, Alpha Wellness Spa Capsule, waxing, facials and of course our MAN-icures.

Sweet Escape - BernardiBeautyBlog (1)

Shawna, this is totally off topic but how was it like meeting Monika Schnarre?

Great! She is really nice, and very tall! She is also the face for Latisse, to grow your own eyelashes, which we sell at the spa, so it was neat to meet her.

Jessica – we love to offer our readers tips – what are some basic skincare tips every woman should follow as part of a daily/nightly routine.

My main skincare tips I tell all my clients are two things – first, less is more.

You don’t need to do 7 steps every single night, keep it simple.

Second is exfoliate 2-3 times a week to help sloth off that dead skin to keep it looking fresh and smooth, you will see a change in about a month once you add that step to your cleansing and moisturizing routine.

Shawna – you have a monthly membership for facials – it would make an amazing Mother’s Day gift. Tell our readers about it – so they can tell their husbands and kids to buy it for them.

We have an amazing monthly membership for our facials which is only $59/month and this includes 1 facial of your
choice per month:

Relaxation Facial
Renew Facial
Oxygen Facial and/or Non Surgical Face Tightening

Any additional facial during the month is only at $59 extra. One great benefit is that we do extend the offer to anyone living in the same household. If mom has a membership, her daughter can come in one month with her member price.

Sweet Escape - BernardiBeautyBlog (3)

Oxygen Medi Spa has a special offer for our readers!

Oxygen Medi Spa is offering our readers a $20.00 off coupon for one single treatment with a value of $50.00 or more.

Coupon Code: Bernardi Beauty Blog

May 3, 2016

A little piece of heaven

One of my favorite things in the world – and most women would agree with me – is getting a wash and style done.

It’s so relaxing – you have no idea how something so simple can feel so good!

Throw in a scalp massage and I’m in heaven.

A little piece of heaven - BernardiBeautyBlog (2)

A great Mother’s Day gift idea is a gift card for a wash, style and blow dry – plus a scalp massage from the 20/20 services at Texture Hair Salon and Texture Hair Boutique.

Bonus: They even have cappuccino.

It will be a perfect way to pamper any woman in your life. They don’t have to be a mother — an aunt, grandmother, cousin — sister or sister-in-law who babysits her niece and nephews. Anyone.

A little piece of heaven - BernardiBeautyBlog (1)

What is the benefit of getting a scalp massage?

A scalp massage can increase blood circulation – which can help promote hair growth, relaxation and condition the scalp.

It also puts people in a good mood. So if you messed up recently with any of the women in your life — get her this. Never mind the flowers. If you mess up a lot — making this a monthly thing would be an even better idea.


Popular Categories