#GIRLBOSS Anita Peeples

Anita first shot us for a collaboration with another local artist and instantly made us feel comfortable and in awe of her unique approach to photography.

Anita’s thoughtful and creative take on photography really brings her photos and subjects to life that tells a story and really captures candid moments.

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1.Tell us a little bit about your business?

Hello!  I’m Anita, and I’m a photographer.  I mostly photograph weddings, with some portraiture, family and commercial work as well.  I take a candid, journalistic approach to my photography, focusing on capturing authentic moments that tell stories.  I specialize in intimate weddings, such as backyard weddings, elopements, rural and outdoor venues.  I also love to photograph urban weddings in Ottawa’s downtown core and of course in my own Hintonburg neighbourhood as well.

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2. How did your interest in photography start?

My high school had a film photography class – I always loved the idea of photography, and once I got myself into the darkroom things just clicked, I loved it.  I was probably in one of the last age groups where, during high school, not many people had cell phones (and if you did have a cell phone it certainly didn’t take photos) so this was my first real opportunity to make photos happen on a regular basis.

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The first thing that peaked my photographic interest were animals – our dogs and cats, the horse I had at the time.  I’ve always found animals very easy to photograph because they really don’t care that you’re taking their photo, they just do their own thing and you try to capture the right angles and moments.  This is probably part of what drove my work towards a more candid style.

When I was in my early twenties I had the opportunity to start second shooting weddings with a friend, and the rest was history!

3. Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

I honestly try not to focus on other photographer’s work all that much.  I think it’s really easy to become caught up in how your own work isn’t like someone else’s, and I think that’s a dangerous and frustrating path to head down.  I love looking at other photographer’s work on Instagram every now and then, but I really just try to do my own thing.  If someone’s hiring me, it’s because they like my style, so I think it’s important to be true to that.

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4.What is it like running your own business? What’s your day-to-day like?

I try my best to keep semi-normal Monday-Friday hours for computer work, especially for things like emails – I think it’s important to have cut off times when you work from home, or else you can easily fall into the pit of never-ending work.  There’s always something to do – client work, social media, marketing, blogging, financial stuff – the work never ends, so for my own sanity I try to stay off my computer in the evenings and on weekends.

Of course, weddings and most photo-shoots end up being on weekends, and meetings with clients are often in the evenings…so I do still end up working a lot more than 40 hours most weeks!

The winter months are less busy for me, which is a nice break, but the summer is just crazy.  Sometimes it’s not fantastic having literally no free weekends over the summer…but when your job is watching people throwing the biggest party of their lives to celebrate their love, you really can’t complain!

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5. Who has provided the most inspiration for you along the way, as you’ve built your business?

Probably my fiancé Josh.  When I left my graphic design job to try photography full-time, it was scary.  It was very much a risk, I had no idea if I’d be able to get enough work, if I had it in me to run my own business…but he supported me the whole way through, he encouraged me to keep going for it and has always had my back when I become frustrated with some aspect the job.  It can be tough living with a full-time creative person when you’re not one yourself, and he’s a real champ about it!

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6. What do you think were the most important mistakes you’ve learned from?

Learn when to turn down clients.  It can be hard (especially when you’re starting out) to turn down money, but if someone wants work done that isn’t your style you need to be honest with yourself, and with them about that.  Trying to force a style of work that isn’t what you usually do will never turn out well.  Focus on taking on like-minded clients, who love YOUR work, and YOUR style, it will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

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7. What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

I don’t think I could stop taking pictures if I tried.  Visuals drive me, creating things drives me…when I’m making things I’m happy.  It’s a huge rush when I really nail a photo I was trying to get.  It’s amazing that I’m able to do this, to take photos and make a living doing it, and I’m incredible grateful for that every day!

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8. What advice can you share with other #GIRLBOSSES in training?

Be nice to everyone, you never know how you will find yourself connected to them in the future.  Trust your instincts; you know what you’re doing.  Taking time off, being a workaholic isn’t something to be proud of.  Ask questions, you can’t be expected to know everything.  Let others help you, and help others as well.  Take compliments gracefully, you deserve them!

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Find Anita on:

Website: www.anitapeeples.com

Instagram: @anitapeeples

Facebook: Anita Peeples Photography

XO,

-Country meet City

Balance Between Your Job and Your Passion

No one told us that discovering our purpose in life, would soon be replaced by intense overwhelm.

We’re writing this blog post after weeks of not having the time (or energy, frankly) to do much blogging, spend time with our community on social media, work on planning the next phase of our blog, or even spending a whole lot of time with our loved ones.

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These past few weeks have been a really busy time for us at work, and it’s been hard to make time for anything else. Stress at work has made it really hard to manage our daily routines, find time to be with our kids, our spouses, work out, or even feel motivated to do anything outside of dealing with our job. Needless to say, things have been pretty difficult to manage, and we’ve been totally worn out.

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For those of us who are working a full-time job, while pursing our passion in our ‘free time,’ it can be very difficult to balance between the two and it can often leave you feeling drained.

This is especially true if you have demanding jobs. We have found that we can’t just drop everything and give 100% to our side projects, and this can be frustrating. Frustrating enough to make us feel overwhelmed, unhappy and uninspired.

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If you know for a fact that you’re going to have to keep your full-time job to help build your empire, then the secret to surviving that transition is going to be your ability to juggle. You can’t allow yourself to spend so much at your full-time job that you end up burnt out.

The thing is – we know we aren’t the only ones out there that are being #BOSSLADIES.

So based on our own experience over the past few weeks, here are a few strategies for finding balance in life between your job and your passion.

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Make time for yourself.

A couple of weeks ago we were asked by our superstar blogging friend Emily of What Emily Said  to partake in a photo-shoot supporting women entrepreneurs.  This is exactly what we needed… some time to remember why we starting a blog, the love for fashion, taking some time to spend with friends, meet new friends and support local businesses.

Plan ahead for periods of imbalance.

One of our mistakes the past few weeks was not making enough time for ourselves. We allowed stress from work to completely exhaust us.

As best you can, try to plan ahead for periods of potential imbalance. The more advance planning you can do, the easier it will be to balance your job and your business.

Prioritize and schedule your tasks.

When you have to split your already limited time between your passion and your full-time job, you’re not going to be able to do everything you want to do. Constant multi-tasking is no way to balance your full-time job with your passion.

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We finally feel like we are starting to live a more balanced life. Not because things have slowed down at work, but because we’re learning new ways to find that balance and harmony between both. We’re trying to get better at making time for ourselves, our families, our partners, our blog, planning, and prioritizing.

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Do you struggle with finding balance in life between your job and your passions?

What are some of your strategies for balancing?

XO,

-Country meet City

5 Super Easy & Stylish Ways to Tie a Scarf – featuring Chobhi

Scarves are one of our favorite accessories. If we had to shop for just one thing for the rest of our lives it may just be scarves, shoes and sunglasses.

The great things about scarves:

  1. They don’t judge body types;
  2. Any one and any age can wear them; and
  3. They are simple but effective.

But how to tie a scarf? That’s another story!  Local artisans we previously featured on Country meet City – Chobhi make beautiful scarves and we adore them!!  So we decided on a couple of our favorite looks and created an easy to follow video tutorial for each knot!


 The Pretzel

Check out our Pretzel Scarf Tutorial Here!


The Infinity

Check out our Infinity Scarf Tutorial Here!


The Simple

Check out our Simple Scarf Tutorial Here!


The Magic Trick

Scarf Tutorial - The Magic Trick

Check out our Simple Magic Trick Scarf Tutorial Here!


The Head Wrap

Scarf Tutorial - Head Wrap

Check out our Simple Head Wrap Tutorial Here!


The Stewardess

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What’s your favorite way to tie a scarf?

XO,

-Country meet City

Meet Chobhi

We met ‘Chobhi’ as neighbors at a previous craft sale we attended.  Blown away by their friendliness and craft we wanted to know more about these beautifully designed and handmade scarves.  Chobhi’s scarves are handmade in Kashmir (the land of Cashmere), combined with nature photography from Ottawa.  These scarves are produced to create ethical fashion and to empower women artisans – all while helping artisans in India support their families.

Chobhi was born out of a vision between two best friends with a goal to design quality scarves from the finest fabrics and craftsmanship in supporting rural artisan women in both Kashmir and Ottawa.

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Chobhi Ambassadors

What’s in a name?  What did you call your business

Chobhi [ch-o-bhi | pronounced chau-bhi] – is the Bengali term for photograph. Our scarves capture Tanima’s nature photographs printed in digital form using vegetable ink. We hope that our ‘chobhi’ or photographs connect with your heart.

Where is your business located?

Ottawa and Toronto.

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How long have you been in business?

3 years, we started in December of 2012.

What types of items do you make?

We make scarves 🙂

What was the inspiration to start your business?

We were inspired by our love of nature, textiles, and colour. It’s amazing what a big difference a soft fabric with a cheerful colour can do to a person’s mood.

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What about your business is the most rewarding?

What is most rewarding about our business is that we are helping artisans in India to support their families. We have met with the women artisans and are so inspired by their hard work and artistry. The second most rewarding aspect is having repeat customers, who collect Chobhi scarves. The fact that more than half of our customers have connected so much to our product that they want more than one, lets us know that we are doing something right.

Do you have a few words of inspiration for someone just starting a small business?

– Have a strong business plan that is customer-centric. It’s important to have a product that connects to customers emotions and fits with their lifestyle.

– Put innovation into your passion by reinventing your products and marketing strategy.

– Take advantage of the wonderful world of social media

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Do you have any other upcoming shows you will be attending?

We are so excited to be a part of the BIG LOVE Makers Pop-up on February 6th @ Makerspace North. Hope to see you there! We are definitely a popular Valentine’s gift.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself!

Both of us co-founders both initially bonded and became friends as kids because of our height.

Tanima is 5’11” and Ronjiny is 5’9″, the average woman from our Bengali community is 5’0″.

 

 

Check out Chobhi on:

We are in love with all of the scarves at Chobhi!! We can’t choose a favourite! Let us know which scarf speaks to you!

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XO,

-Country meet City

Meet Feel Sharpe

Today we would like to introduce you to the lovely duo (and real-life couple) Malcolm and Leah of Feel Sharpe.

Feel Sharpe is a premium apothecary goods business that handcrafts all their products in small batches to ensure maximum quality.

What’s in a name? What did you call your business?

We are proud to be Feel Sharpe. Funny enough we get this question a lot, why is there an “e” at the end of Sharpe. Malcolm, my boyfriend and business partner’s last name is Sharpe, and we thought we can do something with that, and hey we all want to ‘feel sharpe’ 😉

 

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Where is your business located?

Our business originated from Ottawa, Ontario however we currently moved away for University to Sherbrooke, Quebec, so for the next four years this will be our home!

How long have you been in business?

Happy birthday to us! This January will be our one-year mark. Crazy how fast time goes by.

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What types of items do you make?

We make hand crafted men’s grooming products as well as women’s beauty.

What was the inspiration to start your business?

Ah, great story. It was last Christmas when I made Malcolm some homemade soap and facial scrub. Malcolm loved the idea and thought we should share my ideas with the world. Funny enough we actually don’t sell either of those products. We began making men’s grooming products, starting off with our famous Great Canadian Beard Oil, and then later moved to women’s beauty products.

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What about your business is the most rewarding?

That’s a tough question; there are so many aspects of the business that I love. Malcolm and I make a fantastic team by taking each others strengths to build our business. I think the most rewarding part of this is to be able to do it together. We are proud to be a young couple who have successfully built a business together.

Do you have a few words of inspiration for someone just starting a small business?

It’s not easy, but nothing is supposed to be easy. Malcolm and I started this business off in college. Luckily Malcolm was studying business because I don’t think I would have known where to start and that can be stressful! But I think the most important advice I could give is have fun. Create something you like, something you want to dedicate your time and money to, don’t think of it as a job think of it as a hobby, and it makes it so enjoyable.

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What is your go to daily wardrobe staple?

My go to daily wardrobe staple would definitely be my large wool cardigans, especially in the fall and winter. You can dress them up with a cute top underneath or wear them casually with a pair of lulu’s, definitely my go to.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself!

I am an early childhood educator and currently studying to be a teacher 🙂

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Check out Feel Sharpe on:

Website

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Facebook

@FeelSharpeCo on Twitter

@feelsharpe on Instagram

XO,

-Country meet City

Bloggers: Why Community Matters

We are strong believers people were made for a community. We are not solitude creatures, we all crave companionship, and we all need it. However, we do consider ourselves somewhat introverted and have to push ourselves to get out sometimes and definitely love time apart from other people, but that certainly does not mean that we want to be by ourselves 24/7.

We all have different strengths and expertise, and can benefit so much from finding a community, learning with it, growing with it and nourishing from it, and sometimes even leaving it.

Invest in your community.

This does not just mean only ‘like’ posts and ‘post’ posts on social media, this means taking the time and asking each other questions, be modest and humble, listen to each other, observe each other, encourage one another; and you need to do this without bias.

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Community of Competition.

Share your darn secrets – if you are hoarding them you aren’t benefiting anyone. There is so much you can teach and so much others can learn, so pass it on, and keep the spirit of sharing alive.

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Don’t be afraid of nurturing your competition.

Believe in community of competition. If you are competing you are not part of a community, you are in marketing and likely in-it-to-win-it.

We all have individual style, and we all do things a bit differently, and everyone can use some help.

There IS enough room for everyone, so let’s help each other out when we can.

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XO,

-Country meet City

Feature Photo provided by local artisans: Sadie & June

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Instagram

Meet Moo Shu Ice Cream

Meet Liz Mok. The incredibly gifted mastermind behind Moo Shu Ice Cream.

We met Liz initially at the Makerspace North Pop-Up Bazaar back in October but had seen her business on Facebook and drooled over many of her delicious ice cream creations. We were really excited to introduce ourselves to her and to also pig out on some of her delicious  ice cream truffles at the bazaar.

Liz Mok, founder of Moo Shu Ice Cream, poses with one of her sweet creations chilling on top of dry ice in her home Monday July 06, 2015. (Darren Brown/Ottawa Citizen)

Tell us a little something about yourself?

I was born in Hong Kong, and I grew up in a Greater Vancouver suburb with a huge Hong Kong immigrant population. My last name “Mok” means “not” in Chinese so my family thinks that unlucky numbers are lucky for us, but lucky numbers are unlucky for us. I moved to Ottawa to study Industrial Design as CarletonU, and now I’m here making ice cream!

What was the inspiration to start your business?

I had already been making ice cream for three years as a hobby, slowly researching and tweaking methods and proportions for my ice cream base recipe. I had finally gotten to a point where I was happy with the base. Summer was rolling around and I thought to myself, I could either start right now or I’d have to wait until next summer to start. Naturally for someone impatient as I am I opted to quit my job and start right away!

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How do you motivate yourself to keep the business up and running?

Definitely the creative side of ice cream making. Ice cream is like a blank canvas! The ice cream base gives you a beautiful texture to carry whatever flavour combinations that you imagine. While I have less time for that now, concepting and then nailing new flavours is my favourite part of the process.

How long have you been in business?

Only since April this year so we are pretty new!

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What types of items do you sell?

We mainly sell our ice cream truffles, which are small scoops of ice cream dipped in chocolate. Sometimes we sell mini popsicles and ice cream sandwiches! And of course the flavours of ice cream we put out there are always changing. We have some new fun things for Christmas coming out too!

What about your business makes you most proud?

How much I’ve learned in a season. I honestly didn’t it would be this hard and this easy in their respective ways. It’s really hard in the sense that there is always a never-ending list of things to do, things to plan ahead for. And yet it’s easy to give it your all because this is your metaphorical baby! I’m really proud of myself for making the jump, and the business itself is a token of that leap of courage (and a bit of impulsiveness haha). When I look back at the how much more I know now than before I started my business, I’m startled by the difference.

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What do you do in your spare time?

Oh lord… I am not a productive person in my spare time whatsoever. It is Netflix all the way. And eating. I like to go out to eat a lot.

If someone was interested in starting their own business, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Get to know your community! Go to a few craft shows or food shows ahead of time and talk to people. They will often be happy to help get you started, or at least give you tips on what to look for. Navigating license and insurance requirements is hard for start-up food businesses. One of my greatest challenges was finding a commercially licensed kitchen to even start making any product I could legally sell. I was lucky to have already met another small food business owner that let me use their kitchen during their off hours.

Use that social media! It’s free! I’m definitely guilty of not using my social media enough to promote my brand because it IS very time consuming. I get so many new customers who say “I found you on Instagram!” that I’ve really tried to post more.

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What is your go to fashion staple?

My Roots ponte pants because they are sooo comfortable and they look good with everything. The other is my Buff headband. I’ve restrained myself to owning two but it’s hard because they come in so many patterns! I wear one in the kitchen to keep my hair out of the way, I can wear it as a light scarf, or I can fashion it into a touque.

Do you have any upcoming shows before Christmas?

We’ll be at the Lansdowne Christmas Market for the most part of the season. It runs from November 28th to December 20th, every Saturday and Sunday. The only day we’re not is when we’re at Urban Craft’s Holiday Bash on Saturday Dec 5th. We’ll have ice cream truffle gift boxes, waffle cone batter fortune cookies, and Japanese style cheesecake!


Check out Moo Shu on:

Website: http://www.mooshuicecream.com/

Facebook

Twitter @mooshuicecream

Instagram @mooshuicecream

 

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XO,

-Country meet City