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Summer Handbag Lovin’

When designer Kate Spade died, very suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, the fashion world lost an icon. Of course, to her friends and family, she was much, much more than her designs and products, and their worlds have been changed forever. It’s always a tragedy to lose someone so young, so vibrant and so talented, and a death by suicide is always particularly tragic.


In the days that followed the news of her death, people – women, especially – reached out via social media to express their sadness and their shock. In this age of instantaneous news and a persistent social media presence, it’s not unusual for people to take to the internet for mutual mourning and grieving, to try and make sense out of a senseless situation.


Some women started sharing their memories, not necessarily of the woman herself – most had never met her – but of the Kate Spade bags that meant so much to them. There are more than a few articles that have synthesized the tweets and posts where women poured out their hearts about how their first Kate Spade bag was their first foray into adulthood, into their career. How purchasing a Kate Spade purse made some women feel that they had turned that corner into a grown-up world, that it was a kind of rite of passage for those who had always loved designer fashion from afar, and then finally, one day, were able to make that first purchase. Others talked about Kate Spade stores and pop-ups as being whimsical and so delightful to shop in, and how brightly coloured they were, and that you couldn’t help but smile walking into one of her locations.


It’s impossible to deny the impact Spade made on the fashion industry and in the lives of women all over the world, and in honour of the design icon and her inspirational, aspirational handbags, today we’re bringing you a little roundup of best bags and purses for Summer 2018.

Cute little vase-shaped woven bag.

First of all – like it or not – woven bags are WAY IN this summer! The trend is everywhere but these aren’t your average beige picnic basket-looking bags, these one have been given, as Refinery29 tells us, a major upgrade! Think cool colour combinations, interesting shapes, and every type of handle you can imagine from cross-body straps to dainty handheld ones. So many adorable styles, you’ll want more than one! (Well, we do, anyway!) 

Great colours, perfect size!


PopSugar gives us more trends for summer bags – and we are thinking that some of these can also head straight into fall with us, but let’s not talk about that just yet – that feature fringe, tassels, and zippers galore! We’ll also see transparent bags – or will we? Get it? Cos they’re transparent? Haha…ok, sorry… And, circular bags will also be big – gotta love a fun and unexpected shape in a purse, honestly! 


And finally InStyle has a nice rundown on what’s on trend for the season, and gives us their faves. Side note: that little gator woven bag is so cute! Be sure to check out all the looks and get your own ideas for what YOU want to carry this summer.

Round is in, bigtime.

We always try, here on the blog, to bring you as much fun and interesting stuff as we can in the fields of fashion, hair, makeup, beauty, etc. Today’s post started out a little heavier than usual, but we felt it was something important to address.

Have a wonderful week, friends. Let’s all do our best to build each other up as much as we can.

Posted in Seasonal, Style, Trends | Leave a comment

Aveda How-Tos: Makeup Roundup!

Happy Friday and Happy Glow With Pride Day! Today is June 15th and that means we are exactly halfway through Pride Month, so what a perfect day to celebrate being YOU and finding YOUR perfect look! Willow is really excited to have been able to bring you Glow With Pride, and in honour of today’s amazing event, and the power of makeup to transform, we are revisiting some of our favourite Aveda makeup tutorials in today’s post.

If you haven’t yet been to the Aveda YouTube channel (honestly, what’s stopping you?!?) you need to know that there are DOZENS of tutorials aimed at helping you create that perfect look for you.


Bold red lip? Check! Subtle, neutral look? Check! Smoky eye? You know it! Or maybe you want just the basics. They’ve got that too.


We here at the blog LOVE the YouTube videos because they’re short – long enough for you to get what they’re doing, and short enough not to be overwhelming. We also love being able to pause, go back, pause again, go back…repeat repeat repeat…so as not to miss anything. And, the pause button is your best friend when you want to test something out step by step. Watch step 1, pause, give it a go…well, you get the picture.


So. Enough with the chitter chatter! Let’s get to the videos, and here – in no particular order – are our Top Five Aveda YouTube Makeup Tutorials:


Soft Eyes Red Lip Tutorial

Oh this one is sooooo pretty! Beautiful blush and golden tones on the eyes, soft muted colours on the cheeks, and all topped off with a striking red lip! To die for.


How to get a Dewy Complexion

A work of art needs the perfect canvas and this tutorial not only shows the makeup side, but also gives you tips for prepping the skin in order to ensure makeup goes on smoothly – and stays put. Technique is important too, and in the video we learn how to apply foundation (in this case Aveda’s tinted moisture) for even, complete coverage. There’s a lot packed into this 2-minute video, and it’s worth watching every second.


How to get the Nude Lip

Ah, the nude lip. So sought after! So elusive! Well, not anymore! Take 1:46 out of your day to see how it’s done properly, and recreate the look whenever you want. A perfect look for summer.


Violet Wine Makeup Look

This video is one of the most gorgeous less-than-two-minutes-long videos ever shot. It’s positively romantic, and the final look is dramatic but soft and sweet. Definitely more of a special occasion look for most of us!


How to Create a Classic Smoky Eye

The one we’ve all been waiting for! Smoky eyes are nearly always in style, so why not learn from the best, and dazzle ‘em wherever you go. 


We hope these Aveda tutorials have inspired you this morning! Whether you’re attempting one of these looks for the first time, or you’re looking for a new way to work an old favourite, remember Aveda (and Willow!) for all your makeup, tools, and prep product needs.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and if you’re coming in for Glow With Pride, we look forward to seeing you later today! Chat with you all again on Tuesday!

Posted in Aveda, Events, Makeup, Products, Willow Life | Leave a comment

Glow With Pride: An Exciting Update!

Good morning! We have news, oh boy do we have news for you, and we can’t wait to share it so we are just going to come right out with it:


Our Glow With Pride event, a session with a makeup consultant, taking place this coming Friday, June 15th is now a FREE event. YES, you heard (read?) correctly: this event is now FREE.

“But wait!” we hear you say, “Wasn’t this a $30 for 30 minutes kind of thing?” And yes, yes it was. But here’s the thing.


When we introduced the idea last week, one of the things we mentioned, just kind of offhandedly, was that if you’re not someone who needs or wants to take advantage of the makeup artist one-on-one appointment but you’d like to make a donation to someone who would benefit, but might not be able to afford it, we would be happy to take whatever donation you would like to make. All funds are going to the Queer Trans Youth Collaborative, so it’s a great cause and organization, and we figured we might get a few takers.




What actually happened was our amazing, supportive, and beautiful Willow community stepped up in the biggest way possible, and through donations alone we were able to fund all 10 spots. As of today, there are still nine spots available throughout the day, and they are 100% free of charge.

Honestly, we are overwhelmed by this. We knew we had some wonderful people in our midst and this just proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.


This is one of the loveliest gestures, and the fact that it’s happening during Pride…well, we really can’t thank you enough.

So please, please, spread the word that this fabulous event is happening, there are nine spots available – still 30 minutes each – for you or someone you know to get advice, ask questions, and find your perfect look – all in a safe, judgment-free, and supportive zone.


Again, thank you to our wonderful donors, from the bottom of our hearts. Removing the fee from this event also removes a barrier that might have been insurmountable for someone who could really use this opportunity, and that has got to feel really, really great.


Here’s to all of you!


As always, thank you for reading, and being part of our Willow blog community. We’ll chat again on Friday – have a great week, everyone!

Posted in #HamOnt, Aveda, Events, Makeup, News, Willow Life | Leave a comment

DIY Time!

Welcome back to Friday! Doesn’t it feel like we were just saying that? Honestly, sometimes these weeks just move right along. Anyway, the weekend is almost here, and we are glad to have you along for the ride this morning.

Today we want to talk a little bit about some DIY. DIY = Do It Yourself, in case you weren’t up on the lingo. And as living, breathing, grown-up humans, we really do a LOT ourselves. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part we spend a lot of time taking care of things. For ourselves, our families, our friends…you name it. And DIY often feels really good! You’re handling something that at another point in your life you might have hired someone to do, and for that, you can be pretty proud of yourself!

Constant learning is definitely a byproduct of being an adult – there’s always something new to learn – and today we have a few DIY ideas from Living Aveda for you. Because it’s never too late to start something new!

Living Aveda is one of the sites we turn to pretty frequently for inspiration, and we’ve noticed over the past few weeks that they have a feature that keeps popping up, and they are labeling it “How To.”

We featured one last week, How to Air Dry Your Hair Like a Boss, and that one was really great – perfect for the heatwave we were in at the time! But there are others too, and they are equally great.

Typically highlighting an Aveda product, these little bite-sized blurbs give you the straight goods on how to use that product to the best of its ability, and how to make it work for you. Living Aveda tells you what this product will do for you – and, in some cases, what it won’t do for you. And this is important! Take the Be Curly Curl Enhancer, for example. The article explains how to use it and how to make it work for your curly hair but emphasizes that if you don’t actually have curls, Curl Enhancer won’t create them for you. Honest advertising is important!

So take a look at these fun features, and learn a new skill, or, if this is something you’ve already used/done in the past, up your game a little by reading up on other/different uses!

Get started here:

How to Use Be Curly Curl Enhancer

How to Use Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair

How to Use Texture Tonic

How to Use Hand Relief

We really hope to see more of these How-Tos from Living Aveda in the future! And, if there’s a specific product you’d like a little guidance on how to use, drop us a line. Maybe Team Willow could work up a How-To guide for us as well! Something to ponder, anyway!

Have a great weekend, everyone. Get out there and try something new!

Posted in Aveda, Care, Creations & Transformations, Hair, Products, Skin, Style | Leave a comment

Glow With Pride…Coming Soon!

Happy Tuesday, everyone. AND – can’t believe we forgot to say it on Friday – but HAPPY PRIDE!

Pride is one of those events – well, actually it’s a month of events – that just seems to get better and better with age. Each year we see more coverage of Pride goings-on, and honestly, that’s just the way we like it.

As always, Bent Q has their annual Pride Guide for Hamilton and it’s available online now, so make your Pride plans early, pals…there is a LOT going on this month, and if you want to experience it all, it’s probably best to start, like, yesterday!

This year for Pride, Willow has collaborated with the great people at Unicorn Rebellion (who you really, really, really get to know if you don’t already!) to organize an event that we are extremely excited about.  

On June 15th, Willow will be hosting “Glow With Pride,” and here is everything you need to know about this brand new and fab event.

Glow With Pride is your chance to meet one-on-one with makeup artist!

$30 = 30 minutes in a safe space to be yourself. Ask questions, get tips on makeup application, find your style, and try out a look that is yours and yours alone. It’s easy to be you when you’re comfortable and supported. Let Willow be that place for you.

If this sounds like something you need, be sure to call us at 905-627-8880 to hold your spot. Know someone who could benefit from this great opportunity? Send them the information. Share it as far and wide on social media as you can.

And, if you feel this isn’t for you, and maybe it isn’t really for anyone you know, please consider making a donation to the cause, to potentially reserve a spot for someone who could really use this session, but who maybe can’t currently afford it. Talk about a feel-good opportunity. Because did we mention that all funds from this event will go to the Queer and Trans Youth Collaborative? Well let’s repeat that a bit louder for everyone in the back: all funds will go to the Queer and Trans Youth Collaborative! (@QTYC_Hamilton)

Ten spots are available on June 15th, so be sure to reserve your spot soon! This could be the start of something really special.

Thanks for reading, everyone. See you back here on Friday!

Posted in Events, Willow Life | Leave a comment

No Blow-Dry? No Problem!

Happy Friday, everyone, and Happy June! Wow, May is just gone, now it’s June AND YET it feels like August. Whatcha gonna do, right?


Well, one thing you’re probably not gonna do – or at least you’re not looking forward to doing – in this heat, is heat styling your hair.


Now, we know. There is nothing like a blow-dry to get your hair into the shape and style you want, but when it’s hot, humid, and super sticky out there, the thought of turning heat on your head might be the furthest thing from your mind. Even if you’re lucky enough to have AC in your place, your hairdryer can make things really uncomfortable AND sometimes when that sweat gets started, it can really ruin all the hard work you’re doing. And don’t even get us started on the flat iron/curling wand, etc. – all that heat during a heat wave? No, thanks.


So that’s where air-drying comes in, but we get it, we totally understand the aversion to it. It seems like a good idea at the time, you wash and condition your hair, add a little product and just wait it out! But…but…what about the styling?!? With air-drying you lose some of the control that you have when you wield that blow dryer. Air-drying is literally letting nature take its course…but you CAN help nature along a bit, to ensure you get the style you want. And here’s how!


Our good friends at the Living Aveda blog have a new article/tutorial that can help you kick the blow-dry habit – at least for now, while it’s crazy hot out there – or for any time when maybe you’re without electricity (camping, cottage-ing, rolling blackouts, etc.) Entitled How to Air-Dry Your Hair Like A Boss, it truly is some great advice for maintaining a great look while avoiding the rage- and sweat-inducing consequences of a blow-dry.


And, the number one cardinal rule for air-drying is in there, friends. Actually,

it’s in there twice: Don’t. Touch. Your. Hair.

Baa-aa-aa-d hair day? (heh…sorry…)

This is crucial to ensure a non-frizzy ‘do as the end result! You might think “oh what’s the harm in moving some pieces around or fluffing it up a bit?” but we are here to tell you that touching, moving, fiddling with your locks before they are dry is a big no-no, and possibly why air-drying often gets a bad rap. Once you’ve applied your product, just leave well enough alone, and you’ll be much happier in the end.


If you’re ready to give it a go, check out the article above, collect your products – whether you’re drying curly or straight – and get started!


Enjoy the weekend, everyone! We’ll chat again on Tuesday – see you then!


Posted in Aveda, Care, Creations & Transformations, Hair, Products | Leave a comment

Know What You’re Made Of? It’s Time to Find Out!

Happy Tuesday, everyone, and thanks for being here! The blog just would not exist without you to read it, now would it? So we really appreciate you taking the time to check out what we have to say.


Now, while you’re here, we also want you to think about something, something that a lot of us just don’t take the time to consider. We – and Aveda – want to know what you’re made of.


Not in a tough guy kind of way like “show us what you’re made of, punk!” but in a “what makes you YOU, what makes you unique” kind of way.


This is something new from Aveda, and we are jumping all over it because it’s a really interesting concept. Aveda is showing us what they’re made of, starting simply with a key 3-word list of ingredients for some of their most popular products, and they are encouraging us to do the same:


Your ingredients—your passions, your goals, your personality—are what make you, you. Our ingredients—cruelty-free, environmental mission, powerful botanical science and pure-fume™ aromas—are what make Aveda, Aveda.


If you don’t often think about what makes you, well, you, this is a really interesting exercise. Everyone is so different, so unique, and that’s what makes us all so wonderful. And, as adult humans we often identify by some of our outward traits – our jobs, marital status, parental status, etc. – and we are less likely to identify by our inner qualities like our passions, dreams, goals, things we love to do…the list can go on and on.


Aveda has always been really good about showing and telling the world what they and their products are made of, and that transparency is one of the things that we love so much about Aveda. Want to know what’s in a product? It’s all right there on the website in the ingredients list!


If only we humans were as clear about who we are and what we’re made of.


But there is no reason we can’t be! So today, just for a few minutes, think about what you’re made of, and think about what that means to you. What do you love? What are your dreams? What impact are you making or what impact do you want to make? Dig deep and find the words that define you, the ones that are at the heart of who you really, truly are.  


Does that seem like a daunting task? It could very well, at the beginning. But you know yourself best of all. You know who you are, think of how you want to present that self to the world, and you’ll make it happen.


Thanks to Aveda for opening our eyes to this with their Know What You’re Made Of campaign. And check out the short video below for more information.

Enjoy the rest of the week, friends. Take good care of yourself, love yourself, know yourself…and go get ‘em. See you Friday!


Posted in Aveda, News, Products | Leave a comment

Willow Team Adventure #1: Rosé All Day

Good morning, friends! And a very happy Friday morning to you all! Sadly, we are not leading into another long weekend this time – unless you are in the USA, and in which case, Happy Memorial Day weekend to you! – but it is a weekend, nonetheless, and we are kicking it off with the new feature we promised you back on Tuesday!


We’re still kinda/sorta without a name for this feature, but for today, anyway, we are calling it Willow Team Adventure #1, and we’ll see if that sticks. It’s pretty catchy, and we are going on adventures, so it’s fitting! And what sort of adventure got it all started? Well, we are so glad you asked!


Last Saturday, Kim and I headed over to Toast Wine Bar for an event that they were calling Rosé All Day, because how can you resist something – anything – with rosé in the title?!? Rosé is the quintessential summer wine, and what better way to kick off the summer season than with an event dedicated to rosé exclusively?

Let’s get started!

Now first, a little background. If you don’t know Toast Wine Bar, well we highly recommend making a little trip down to John St. North to get yourself acquainted with them. And before you do that, you can read a nice introduction on their website, and find out a bit more about the two rad women who run the place!


Toast is housed in a gorgeous old Hamilton building and retains that kind of old-school charm that is so great to see in the downtown core, complete with big windows that invite the sunshine right in, and a bright, airy feel that just can’t help but make you smile.


And, in case you read “Wine Bar” and thought “oh dear, that sounds a bit upscale and/or pretentious” let me please quickly tell you that nothing could be further from the truth! The vibe is as friendly, welcoming and comfortable as can be. As well, whether you’re an aficionado of the finer wines of the world, just starting on your journey to wine appreciation, or somewhere in between, Toast has a spot just for you.


But back to the rosé! 

Pretty, pretty!


The event itself was hosted by Danielle, aka New Age Nonna, who was our fun and friendly guide to the flight of wines we received. Danielle is a Sommelier, so she knows a LOT about wine, and we really loved this introduction to who she is on her website:


A Nonna is so much more than a grandmother; she is, in every sense of the way, the matriarch of the family who imparts wisdom, tough love, kindness and a whole lot of great food for her family and friends. New Age Nonna is a modern take on providing the insight, wisdom and expertise on wine, food and living the good life.  It is about bringing people together to share stories and build relationships over a good bottle (or two) of wine and some great food.


Once our wines were poured, Danielle gave us a little insight into the types of wines we were about to taste, then let us get at it!

Pink wine, pink snacks!

Toast provided some pretty pink snacks for us to pair with our wines, and it was fun to be able to take a sip and then a bite of something delicious, to see how it went. It turns out that rosé is great with a lot of different snacks – lucky for us we got to try our wines with chorizo, strawberries, candied salmon, pickled onion, and a beautiful and tasty rosewater popcorn. Did I mention everything was a version of pink?!? Pretty AND fun to eat!


Once we were nearly through with our chatting, sipping, and snacking, Danielle took the stage once again and gave us even more information about the wines we were enjoying, the wineries where they were produced, and other ideas for food pairings. Always great when you can leave an event like this and feel like not only have you enjoyed some lovely food and wine, but you’ve also learned something! Wine education really is up there with our favourite kinds of education. 

Perusing the menu. Toast has excellent food as well as fantastic wines!


We also learned from Danielle that she is available to host private wine tasting parties as well as events like the one at Toast, so we do encourage you to check out her website, follow her on Instagram (@NewAgeNonna) and get in touch if you’re in need of a fun few hours with a wine expert.


And finally, well, what did we taste? Ah, we’ve saved the best for last! The wine details are:


Malivoire Rosé Moira

2027 Rosé (2027 is a ‘virtual winery’, based within Featherstone Winery, and you can read more about virtual wineries here:

The Good Earth Rosé (link to the winery, wine not currently available on site)

13th Street Cuvée Rosé

Taking notes

Such a gorgeous lineup!

A big thank you to Toast Wine Bar for putting on this lovely afternoon, and please do follow them on social media as well, to stay up-to-date with future events and specials: Instagram and Twitter @toasthamont. And another thank you to Danielle, New Age Nonna, for sharing her knowledge and expertise, and a big thank you also to Kim, for a super fun Willow Team Adventure! Looking forward to many more.


Thanks for reading, everyone! It’s nearly the weekend, hope you have plans to enjoy some delicious wine and food with family and friends over the next couple of days. Cheers to YOU! 

Toasting the day …cheers!


Posted in #HamOnt, Events, Food & Drink, Willow After Hours | Leave a comment

Something New From The Blog…Open For (Some) Details!

Good morning, and happy Tuesday! We hope you had a wonderful long weekend! It was a good one to be out and about and, at some points, to stay in and be cozy and comfy. Gotta love a weekend that lets you do it all!


We are starting a new feature here on the blog, and we are excited to introduce this to you today! Some of you may remember the Friday Five where we brought you five things a member of the Willow team had planned for the upcoming weekend, and while that was definitely a fun one, it ran its course, and we decided to move on to something new.


That something – which we are about to reveal – definitely invokes the spirit of the Friday Five, but this time we, your blogging team, are going to be more hands-on, and there is going to be a lot more “taking this show on the road to see where we end up.” We are really excited about this new plan because it brings us out into the #HamOnt community and beyond! We’ll be checking out events, festivals, and interesting local places – everything from bakeries to wineries, restaurants and markets, music venues and, as they always say, much, much, more!


We’re not trying to take the place of any of the fantastic local blogs and other media outlets that specialize in this sort of thing, and we are definitely not professional critics and/or reviewers. The blog will still continue to focus on Aveda, on hair and makeup and what’s happening in the style world and the Willow world, but we also know that a lot of our readers and clients like to know what we are up to in those off hours, and this gives us a chance to keep you all posted, and to support some of our favourite local small businesses, learn about some new ones, and making some new favourites along the way.


We think you’re going to like this new feature that we will be bringing you on a regularly irregular basis. No, that’s not a typo! Unlike the Friday Five that we brought to you on the first Friday of the month, this new endeavour will be somewhat less scheduled, more based on when we can get out to the places we want to visit, and what else is going on in the world of Aveda that might take blog priority.  


And finally, we don’t yet have a catchy name for this feature, so once we get rolling with it, if you have any suggestions, please do send them along!


Are you excited yet? We are going to leave you with the promise that all the details of our first adventure will be revealed this coming Friday here on the blog, so join us then! And in the meantime, here’s a little teaser as to what you can expect:

Cheers to the Willow blog’s newest feature!


Honestly, did you expect anything else?

Enjoy the week, everyone, it’s a nice short one! And we will chat with you again on Friday.


Posted in #HamOnt, Events, Food & Drink, News, Willow After Hours, Willow Life | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Willow, Happy Long Weekend, Ontario!

Did you see them? Oh boy, those limited edition True Hamiltonian and Willow Salon collab t-shirts are KILLER!

The classic True Hamiltonian design – in Willow green!

Oh, and good morning everyone!


We’re just a little excited this morning because it’s Willow’s birthday and we are so looking forward to welcoming you to the salon for 20% off Aveda products AND our sweet, sweet new Ts.


Can you believe Willow is 13? Time sure does fly when you’re having fun and making people look and feel fabulous! 

We see you there, Willow logo, cozied up to the TH logo!


We’d love to know your favourite Willow moment or moments from the past thirteen years, so if you’ve got a story, a memory, or even a birthday wish from afar, please leave a comment here on the blog, or send us a message on social media. Birthdays tend to make people nostalgic and reflective, and a salon’s birthday is no different! There are a lot of memories tied up in that place – and the place that came before the current location, too – so please do share your thoughts, especially if you are unable to visit us in person today.


Not only is it Willow’s birthday, but it’s also the Friday of the long weekend, which in itself is cause for big, big celebrations! We love this weekend for its tradition of being the unofficial kickoff to the summer season. Just think – this is the weekend everyone does all their planting (typically), it’s got a reputation as cottage-opening weekend too, not to mention just kicking back for three whole days of patios, BBQs, and relaxing.


The weather forecast is looking…ok…not stellar BUT you know we can all make the best of it! And it’s going to be warm, no matter what, so that’s a bonus. Silver lining? We are all about that, friends.


And, just a reminder that Willow will be closed tomorrow so our team can have a long weekend too – Happy Birthday to us, indeed!


We hope to see you later today for our celebration, and we definitely want to see you looking sharp in one of our Ts too!


And, whatever you do this weekend, friends, please do it carefully, safely, and responsibly, and have a wonderfully fun holiday weekend.


Thanks for being here for Willow and for the blog, and we will chat again next week! See you then, everyone!

Posted in #HamOnt, Aveda, Events, News, Products, Willow Life | Leave a comment
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