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This Week's #FF Ishra Sharif of IshraSharif.com



Name: Ishra Sharif
Occupation(s): Marketing at Fidelity Denim. Freelance Fashion Writer.
Who is your role model: I admire a bunch of different people from all walks of life for various reasons whether it’s an influential leader, colleague or a friend. I have respect for those who are super successful but don’t care for the limelight or just have amazing stories to tell. Like this industry friend who used to work for Universal and would be the manager for huge artists when they were in town touring but then left to travel the world and literally covered every part of the globe. Or Barb Atkin, the VP of Fashion Direction at Holts who actually responds to emails super quickly despite being at the helm of Canada’s leading luxury retailer. And Jay Z.
What do you like most about your job: Bringing ideas come to life, being a part of growing a successful premium denim brand, seeing fashion way before it hit stores, having face time with industry leaders and having access to lots of denim and friends who rep great shoe lines doesn’t hurt my closet either.
Daily ritual: Rise, grind, repeat. Gossip Girl and spinning can sometimes be added into that mix. And being in a different city when lucky enough to travel for work — it’s always nice to have a change of scenery.
The most rewarding part of my job is: Knowing that what I have wanted to do from the get-go at a young age is exactly what I am doing now is pretty great — coupling creativity with strategy that brings in results and continuing to pursue writing in a changing media landscape. I can’t do something I don’t love or doesn’t make me happy.


What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? Proving myself by working hard, choosing to grow and being business smart. It takes more than a single strength to get ahead in this industry, especially in a tricky market like Vancouver — it is not always as fun as it looks — but learning from all the things that come your way, mistakes made, be kind and always keep my head on the ground. Understanding how all the different channels of fashion affect one another and not just what you specialize in exactly is really important.
Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: Interviewing Lady Gaga on camera during her early Just Dance/Love Game era. Scary and exciting! The interview went on to become the 2nd most viewed on YouTube on day of posting in Canada, clips aired on radio stations in the States, it was reblogged on many gossip sites and MTV/VH1 even reached out to buy parts of the interview.
Favourite quote: “Two ears, one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.” A friend said that to me and it’s a good one to remember. Also, “Good clothes open all doors” ever since I saw it on the wall at the old Ishara location in Oakridge Centre.
Describe your personal style: Edgy, effortless. I rarely do pink, I love leather. I’m trend-driven but believe in classic staples. I’m can be a tshirt and jeans girl but it’s always jeans paired with a dope t-shirt by Morphine Generation or Religion or just a plain white $5 Forever 21 v-neck or swapped out jeans for a skirt if I have to dress up more. I don’t buy shoes that are boring ever (with the exception of Chucks, Keds, combat boots and a couple pairs of heels). My style changes depending on my mood but I try to have on one item that stands out in some way.
Dream vacation spot? Many…Bora Bora, Ibiza, Greece. Beaches get me.


What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? Skulls, black hearts, shoes, anything with words shown in a cool way and pretty things in general. That’s the overall theme of my Instagram account.
What has been your favourite event to attend? The Room Opening at The Bay was done really well for a local event and a couple shows at Toronto Fashion Week. NYFW is still on the to-do list and would probably become the favorite.
Favourite Restaurant: In the past year: STK in Vegas, Beauty & Essex in NYC, Scarpetta in Toronto, L’Original in Old Montreal while traveling and HousexGuest, Local or Italian Kitchen while here at home.
What is your biggest indulgence? I feel like the mountain of whip I get on my Starbucks is a pretty big indulgence.
If there was more time in the day you would: Possibly learn to cook properly. That would mean I have to go shopping for kitchen stuff…
Favourite social network: It’s used to be Twitter but Instagram is the current fave — you can share creatively in a vague manner. Sometimes, mystery is good.

Photographs provided by Ishra Sharif


Favourite Blog: WhoWhatWear.com and Complex.com. I don’t check personal style blog sites on a regular basis really but click through links off Twitter, Facebook & Instagram of blogs I follow when something piques my interest.
Where do you go for good ideas? A friend’s house where we chill or go for a walk or run talking about music, fashion, business, life in general and things that inspire us…and the ideas flow. At work, putting brainstorming thoughts on a white board then stand back to analyze with my bosses or colleagues — bounce different ideas usually leads to one really good idea.
Last song you downloaded: Goldie – ASAP Rocky
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Stand up for myself more than once both in personal and professional situations and having to turn down work opportunities because I was already committed.
What are you obsessed with right now? I’m always obsessed with mens clothing. Both shopping for it and wearing a few things out there like mens cardigans – they just fall so much better.
Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) I’m working on getting my website up which will be portfolio-based and a couple fun things IshraSharif.com Coming soon!


Thank you Ishra for being our Friday Follow of the week, we look forward to seeing your upcoming website. To stay connected to Ishra and view her upcoming website be sure to follow her on Twitter @IshraSharif and us @CountDownEvents to see other fabulous FFs to come!

This Week's #FF Lisa Wong of Solo Lisa



Name: Lisa Wong

Occupation(s): Technical writer at a software company, occasional freelance contributor to various publications, blogger behind SolosLisa.com

Who is your role model: My mother because she embodies style, intelligence, and good common sense.

What do you like most about your job: I get to wear many different hats, but the common thread running through them all is the opportunity to write and to work with inspiring individuals.

Daily ritual: I start the day by checking my email over a big cup of coffee.

The most rewarding part of my job is: Being able to write!

What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? I’m very detail-oriented. Blogging and writing require great attention to detail, like making sure the prices and names of products mentioned in your blog posts are accurate, you have no typos or grammatical errors in your writing, hyperlinks work, etc.


Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: I got to interview Stuart Weitzman on my blog, which was a huge highlight. Other memorable encounters with fashion luminaries: FLARE editor-in-chief Lisa Tant, Derek Blasberg, Mary Katrantzou, Jason Wu, Joseph Mimran, and Jeanne Beker.
Favourite quote: “Yet all experience is an arch where through Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move.” - ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Describe your personal style: Classic with a twist.
Dream vacation spot? Right now, it’s a toss-up between Argentina and Scotland.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? Beautiful things that I see.
What has been your favourite event to attend? Probably the Joe Fresh Granville store grand opening party. It was fun and unpretentious, very much in the spirit of the brand. The Room at The Hudson’s Bay Vancouver also puts on great events.


Favourite Restaurant: Too many to name! I like Santouka for ramen, Campagnolo Roma for pizza, Kadoya for sushi, and Roundel Cafe in Hastings Sunrise for brunch.
What is your biggest indulgence? Handbags.
If there was more time in the day you would: Actually sleep the 8+ hours that experts recommend.
Favourite social network: It’s a tie between Twitter and Facebook.
Favourite Blog: All the ones in my Google Reader!
Where do you go for good ideas? Books, blogs, magazines, Pinterest, movies...the world offers no shortage of inspiration.
Last song you downloaded: I’ve taken to making private Youtube playlists for music I want to listen to while working, so I haven’t downloaded a song in a while. The last song I was obsessed with and would listen to on repeat was ‘Big Black Car’ by Gregory Alan Isakov.


Photographs provided by Lisa Wong


What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Getting up the nerve to pitch to FLARE magazine for the first time. My hands literally shook as I typed out that first pitch and hit Send.
What are you obsessed with right now? Corgis (because they’re so cute) and home decor (because my boyfriend and I just bought a condo).
Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) I have an article in the June issue of FLARE which is on news stands now, so please pick up a copy!


We’d like to thank Lisa for being our #FF this week and we look forward to reading her article in new issue of FLARE magazine. If you would like to connect with Lisa Wong be sure to follow her on Twitter @SoloLisa and follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to see next week’s #FF.

This Week's #FF Erica Lam of The Style Spy



Name: Erica Lam

Occupation(s): Editor-in-Chief of TheStylesSpy.com
Who is your role model: My mother.
What do you like most about your job: Being creative. Whether it’s brainstorming new story ideas with my managing editor Jan or thinking about ways we can work with brands , I have the freedom to try new things and experiment.
Daily ritual: I’m always checking my social feeds, including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and I sip on green tea with honey all day.
The most rewarding part of my job is: The readers. I always appreciate it when people say they read the site. Whether it’s today or six years ago, it’s still the same feeling and excitement. My team and I work so hard, so it’s always good to hear that people are fans and love it just as much as we do.
What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? Perseverance. I’m a big believer in working hard. Successful people don’t happen overnight. Work hard and keep driving, then you will be that much closer to reaching your goal.
Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: Interviewing David Beckham in LA. Yes, he really is that good looking. Vera Wang in New York. She’s very smart and a straight shooter. Wouldn’t expect anything less from a woman who’s built such an amazing empire.


Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
Describe your personal style: Classic and understated.
Dream vacation spot? Bali.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? My friends.
What has been your favourite event to attend? I attended some pretty cool events at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this past March, I got to meet one of my favourite social media personalities Gary Vanyerchuk.
Favourite Restaurant: Guu. I love the laidback atmosphere and when the staff behind the bar greets you loudly in Japanese.
What is your biggest indulgence? Sour keys candies, they’re so addictive.


If there was more time in the day you would: Sleep or reflect on the day. I feel like we’re really over-stimulated with technology these days and we forget to take a quiet moment to sit back and reflect.
Favourite social network: Tough choice, but at the moment: Instagram.
Favourite Blog: I have so many favourites for different reasons: Gawker, Mashable, Who What Wear, Apartment Therapy, Springwise and Zen Habits to name a few.
Where do you go for good ideas? Blogs and Twitter are great sources of inspiration.
Last song you downloaded: Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia.
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Quitting my job many years ago to pursue The Style Spy. This was when blogging was in its infancy and many people didn’t even know what the term meant. I took a leap of faith cause I knew I found something I was passionate about. It’s always challenging, but that was my best decision ever.
What are you obsessed with right now? The app Draw Something. I’m not the best artist, but it’s still really fun and you get to be creative.


Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) I’ll be relocating to Montreal in June. It’s a big step for myself and Style Spy. We’ll continue to serve Vancouver as always, but this will give me a chance to build the readership out East. I can’t wait!

We’d like to thank Erica for being our #FF this week, and we wish you all the best when you move to Montreal. To connect with Erica be sure to check out their website at TheStylesSpy.com and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to view next week’s #FF.

This Week's #FF Anna and Kristina from the Shopping Bags



Name: Anna Wallner (AW) and Kristina Matisic (KM)

Occupation(s): AW: President and Executive Producer, Worldwide Bag Media Inc., Co-host of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag, A & K’s Beauty Call and The Shopping Bags, Author.
KM: CEO and Co-executive producer at Worldwide Bag Media Inc. Co-host of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag , A & K’s Beauty Call and The Shopping Bags, Author.

Who is your role model: AW: My mother. And Oprah Winfrey.

KM: My mother. She has worked so hard her whole life and has always stayed true to herself, her values and her principles.

What do you like most about your job: AW: I like making something out of nothing. That is what keeps me coming back for more.
KM: I like the variety, we’re doing something different almost every day. It’s not a nine to five desk job and I’m out meeting new people and doing new things. I also like working with a partner. It really helps to share the burden.

Daily ritual: AW: Newspapers and tea when I wake up. If I don’t have 20 minutes to myself for that, the whole day is off.
KM: A morning cup of coffee and (most nights) an evening glass of Chardonnay. The two pillars of my day!

The most rewarding part of my job is: AW: Having a viewer tell me I made them laugh or that one of our shows is set on their PVR! What a compliment!
KM: One of the most rewarding things is having people come up to us and tell us they really enjoy our programs. They say it helps them relax and unwind, plus often gives them a good chuckle. That’s great to hear. I’m also proud of being a small business owner and providing jobs.


What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? AW: I think our biggest strength is perseverance. The fastest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t.
KM: I don’t give up very easily. Being tenacious is a must. My ability to stay organized is also a great asset when wearing so many different hats on the job.
Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: AW: President Bill Clinton, having my picture taken with Tom Cruise (he’s not as short as you may think), a chance meeting with Jackson Browne and the after party with U2 in Las Vegas. But Oprah still eludes me!
KM: Anna and I met Bono once at a party and ended up having a long conversation with him about relationships and how difficult it can be to make marriage work. That was pretty surreal!
Favourite quote: AW: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
KM: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
Describe your personal style: AW: Eclectic. I find inspiration from my travels and both well known and emerging designers. I love discovering new fashion and my thirst for show stopping shoes seems impossible to satiate!
KM: I have a pretty classic style. I like clean lines and shapes, like a great pair of jeans, a well made blazer, a dress that hugs but doesn’t cling. I am loving this season’s vibrant colours but most of the time you’ll find me in neutrals. Stripes are usually about as bold as I get.
Dream vacation spot? AW: skiing the alps. I have traveled a lot and visited some amazing places – Burma is one of the coolest places I’ve been. I absolutely love to spend time in the mountains and Aspen is my favourite annual trip. But skiing the alps is at the top of my bucket list.
KM: Almost every summer I got to the small town of Baska on the island of Krk in Croatia. It used to be a small fishing village on the Adriatic, but now it’s become more of a tourist destination. My family has a 300 year old house there, right on the water Though I’ve been living in Canada for over 40 years, when I get to Baska, I feel like I’ve come home.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? AW: My friends around a dinner table after some wine and food has been had. Cherished memories!
KM: My dog! She’s got an incredible mop of hair which can often stick up in every direction. She cracks me up almost every single day. I’ve also developed a recent obsession with taking pictures of trees, especially flowering ones. Luckily here in Vancouver there’s an endless supply of breathtaking flora.


What has been your favourite event to attend? AW: The birth of my niece Isla is something I’ll remember forever. I have a fabulous photo of her little hand grabbing onto my finger. I also love weddings – especially when they’re out of town. Everyone’s happy and it’s usually a reason to play dress up, which I love to do!
KM: As someone who enjoys dining out a lot, I like to go to restaurant openings. I’m always looking for somewhere new to go.
Favourite Restaurant: AW: There are so many! Vij’s (Vancouver). Umberto di Trattoria (Whistler), Cloud Nine (Aspen, Co), Balthazar (NYC), The Polo Lounge (LA) and The Ivy (also in LA and always with Kristina over chardonnay lunch!)
KM: Oh so many! Vij’s, Le Crocodile and La Buca are three staples. But I also love Flying Pig and Bao Bei for their good food and fun atmosphere.
What is your biggest indulgence? AW: Shoes! And the best food ingredients I can possibly get my hands on.
KM: I’m a bit of a clothes horse, though I do have an excuse, I need lots of options for my work!
If there was more time in the day you would: AW: Sleep longer. Take my dog for longer walks. Spend more time over dinner.
KM: Exercise more. I work out about three times a week but if I had more time (and more energy) I’d try to bump that up to four of five times.
Favourite social network: AW: Twitter. I’m a news junkie.
KM: Facebook. I love its power to reconnect. I just recently got back in contact with a woman I worked with in Japan 20 years ago. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and now we’re catching up regularly.


Favourite Blog: AW: The Moment. If you like food, fashion and culture, you might like it too.
KM: Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Especially her “Go” travel articles that give tips on where to sleep, eat and shop in various locales.
Where do you go for good ideas? AW: Out into the world! I travel, go to restaurants, movies, listen to new music and talk to people from all walks of life.
KM: Magazines, newspaper articles, blogs, talking to friends, having conversations with the experts in your life like your doctor, grocer or waiter. Good ideas can come from anywhere.
Last song you downloaded: AW: First Train Home (Imogen Heap). The entire Ellipse album is amazing.
KM: Young the Giant’s self titled album. It’s a couple of years old now but I was only recently introduced to their music. Love “Apartment” and “St Walker.”
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? AK: There are so many it’s hard to narrow it down. But most recently? I got a german shepherd puppy. Anyone who has one knows what I’m talking about.
KM: Making a wedding cake for Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag was pretty challenging! Three days of work. Baking takes so much precision and patience, not two of my strongest virtues. In a bigger picture sense, staying in TV for almost two decades has been very challenging in and of itself. It’s a tough business, with a lot of ups and downs. Going through divorce is the most challenging personal thing I’ve experience.

Lola as a Puppy - Photographs provided by Anna and Kristina


What are you obsessed with right now? AW: The colour red.
KM: Morocco! We’re going there to shoot an episode of Grocery Bag in June and I’m really excited. It has always been on my list of must-see places. I can’t wait to explore the markets and eat the food. I hear the smells, colours and sounds are incredible.
Any other comments/thoughts you’d like to add: (ie. new business features you are offering now) AW: We’re exploring our digital future and how we’ll exist in such a huge world of content with so much to choose from. We’re working on a new website and a new web series. Stay tuned!!
KM: We have two new shows this year. Buy.o.logic (www.facebook.com/buy.o.logic) airs on OWN Canada. It’s an entertaining health show, think Shopping Bags meets Dr. Oz. And Get Stuffed (www.facebook.com/getstuffedtv) a high octane travel adventure show is airing this summer on OLN.


Thank you Anna and Kristina for being our special guests on this week’s Friday Follow feature, if you would like to see more of Anna and Kristina connect with them on Twitter at @AnnaandKristina and to see more news on special guest #FFs follow us on Twitter at @CountDownEvents.

This Week's #FF Kelsey Dundon of The Anthology



Name: Kelsey Dundon
Occupation(s): Writer, copywriter and blogger at TheAnthology.ca
TheAnthology.ca
Who is your role model: My dad. He’s a writer so he’s always supported my creative career and he’s always willing to be my proofreader -- I can’t even tell you how many 15-page essays he patiently waded through while I was doing my degree in English Literature. (Sorry about that, Pops!)
What do you like most about your job: The fact that it sure ain’t boring! I’m balancing so many things it makes me dizzy, but it definitely means each day is an adventure.
Daily ritual: Every morning I make an intense fruit and veggie smoothie. If I don’t start my day with one I go into kale and flaxseed withdrawal.
The most rewarding part of my job is: Sometimes I wish I went into medicine so I could answer this question with “Saving lives.” But in reality the most rewarding part of my job is getting fanmail from my mother. She’s a HUGE fan of my work.
What has been your biggest strength that’s helped you succeed in your industry? Aside from the ability to write? Being a people person.


Memorable celebrity encounter/interview: Miss America was an absolute sweetheart, even as she politely declined my request to try on her crown.
Favourite quote: “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Describe your personal style: Colourful! Literally and figuratively – I like to keep things interesting.
Dream vacation spot? All of them. I could really use some time away from my desk/computer/Blackberry so anywhere on this planet sounds great to me right about now.
What is your favourite thing to take pictures of? The desert. I just got back from California and the light at certain times of day makes me seem like I’m a photographer who knows what I’m doing. (Which I’m not.)
What has been your favourite event to attend? I’ve had a blast at every single event I’ve hosted.
Favourite Restaurant: When I can actually manage to get a table: Les Faux Bourgeois.


What is your biggest indulgence? Vintage clothes. I have so many they’re spilling out of my closet, which reminds me: it’s time for some spring closet-cleaning.
If there was more time in the day you would: Spend more time jogging through the forest with my puppy.
Favourite social network: I love pretty pictures so I’m addicted to Pinterest.
Favourite Blog: Designer Kelly Wearstler posts the most weird and wonderful photos on her blog My Vibe My Life. I totally dig it.
Where do you go for good ideas? For anything visual I turn to blogs because they’re an endless source of inspiration. For anything writing-related I pick up a good old-fashioned magazine because you can actually rely on people to use compete sentences.


Last song you downloaded: “I’ll Take Care of U” by Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX (I like it so much more than Drake and Rihanna’s version).
What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Starting my own business was no picnic, but it paled in comparison to scaling a 1,200 foot cliff in the Rockies. Turns out reaching the summit doesn’t cure one’s fear of heights.
What are you obsessed with right now? My house! I am giving it a major makeover at the moment and all I want to do is troll home décor shops.

Photographs provided by Kelsey Dundon


We’d like to thank Kelsey for being our #FF this week, we really enjoyed getting to know her. If you like to learn about Kelsey visit her on her website at TheAnthology.com and follow her on twitter @TheAnthology. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CountDownEvents to see who our next fabulous #FF will be.
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