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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dartmouth Makers gonna make

make make make make

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 12:58 PM

Beauties by Ann Pryde
  • Beauties by Ann Pryde

Feeling crafty? Well, so is Dartmouth. Already home to many wonderful things, Dartmouth can now add to its growing collection The Dartmouth Makers. A group of crafters and artists established in 2014, the Makers are about to host their inaugural Spring Handmade Market on May 2 and 3 at King’s Wharf (50 King’s Wharf Place, 10am-4pm).

But these crafty cats have a lot more up their sleeves than amazing local wares. Inspired by an Etsy market last year, Rachel Blair-Johns (of Ment Jewellery) and Gina Comeau (Gina Comeau Jewelry) have gathered local craftspeople to help promote what Blair-Johns calls the handmade movement. “If you want to live in a country that makes things, you have to buy from your country’s makers,” she says.

The whole idea is to promote local, and the spring market is a way to foster and grow the arts community in Dartmouth. “We’re Dartmouth proud and maritime strong,” says Blair-Johns. She wants to expand the handmade movement and by doing so, compliment and support the local infrastructure.

With plans for two large fairs a year and several pop up markets, The Dartmouth Makers are a great resource for local craftspeople to display their wares, and promote the significance of local and that’s exactly what Blair Johns wants. “We’re here to raise each other up. We all believe we’re stronger together.”

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Get swept away by Broom Closet Tarot

Queen Street welcomes a space for tarot, rune, tea leave and astrology chart readers

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 2:54 PM

  • Photo by Kimber Lubberts

Take a walk on the strange side. Atop of Put Me On! (1526 Queen Street) is a little room full of magic. Open for only a couple of weeks now, is Broom Closet Tarot. It might be as small as a broom closet, but you'll get big vibes up there.

“Halifax is a very magical city,” says Put Me On and Broom Closet's co-owner Pamela McInnis (or McKickAss, as she prefers), “and there’s no outlet for that.” That void used to be filled by Little Mysteries, which closed in August, but now Broom Closet Tarot is taking the torch.

Up a narrow set of stairs is a doorway framed in fringe, and behind it is a little room draped in deep coloured fabrics. Lit with ambient lamps and a little window, the room “looks like a gypsy caravan,” says McInnis. “It’s somewhere you can go to learn your fate.”

Behind another set of fringe curtains is Nerissa Anders, a tarot reader. Anders used to read at Little Mysteries but now is one of the readers you can find at Broom Closet during the week. Broom Closet hosts a handful of readers—from rune stones and tea leaves to astrology charts and Ouija, you can get almost any kind of reading done. “From the light end to the dark end,” says McInnis. “Without going too dark,” she adds with a laugh.

McInnis and her mother, Joey Robinson, want to expand Broom Closet to become the Neighbourhood Witch general store. Put Me On! already carries the Neighbourhood Witch brand, and McInnis is aiming to be a kind of second Little Mysteries. McInnis says they plan on carrying stones potions, jewellery and more.

So if you’re craving a taste of the unknown head down to Broom Closet Tarot. You can book an appointment (at 902-492-2572) or just walk in, they’ll probably be expecting you.

Nerissa Anders at work
  • Nerissa Anders at work
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Friday, April 24, 2015

What does development mean for the Historic Farmers' Market?

Talking Killam Properties' condos and "farmers' market culture" with HFM's Jessica Ross

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 2:31 PM


Condos are going up at the Historic Farmers' Market’s current location and some aren’t happy about the change. Farmers' markets have been on Haligonians’ minds a lot recently between the Seaport Market's vendor shuffle, and the announcement of a new farmers market at the Halifax Forum, which is scheduled to open May 2nd with 50 tables for vendors. All of this draws attention to what Jessica Ross, president of the board of directors of the Historic Farmers' Market, calls “farmers' market culture”, something she says is of vital importance to the city.

About half the space currently used by Historic Farmers Market vendors was sold to Killam Properties, which will build a 240-unit housing residence that'll take up the parking lot used by customers of the old market, effectively making it more difficult to have the “market experience”. The vendors were told of the sale unexpectedly just over two weeks ago.

Killam is set to break ground in the second half of this year, but the development is likely to affect the space for about two years. This is why Ross and her non-profit co-op of 40 solid vendors are not sure where they will set up shop next. There is still space in the Alexander Keith’s courtyards and a currently unoccupied room, but Ross says due to construction woes they have made no decisions on whether to stay or go and are still on the look out for a new location.

“We’ve been together now for five years. We operate as a non-profit co-op, and we all really want to stay together. There is some uproar because it’s going to be very disruptive. Our access to the building is going to be massively restricted and it’s not going to be a destination unto itself. It’s going to be a hassle. So in recognizing those conditions we’re using this as an opportunity to look at what we want for the future of the market and where we want to best serve our customers,” says Ross.

Ross adds that The Forum market is a smart idea. She feels there is a demand for such a space in the north end. Although she says a few vendors from the Historic Farmers' Market may move to this new location, for the most part they are all committed to staying together. “We want to maintain our status as a cooperatively run farmers' market instead of a privately run project.”

Ross believes that some of the problems the Seaport market's been having are related to the fact that it's managed by the Port Authority, and not a co-op. “We [Historic Farmers' Market] have a lot of integrity in our products. We don’t allow reselling. The Seaport market isn’t very stable. There’s a lot of bad press and political drama happening there.”

As far as her personal views on the matter, she hopes that “farmers' market culture” can thrive in Halifax. “A lot is happening and it’s exciting; I hope we can be unified as a group of farmers' markets in the future.”

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Scallywags' barbershop duet

Fresh shop, fresh 'do

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 5:11 PM

  • via @scallywagsbarbershop

Brad MacDonald and Dylan MacEachern are the well-coiffed heads behind Halifax’s newest barbershop, Scallywags Barbershop (6513 Chebucto Road). After meeting and working together at Sailor Bup’s (5281 Sackville Street), the pair left to open up their own shop.

“We just do haircuts, shaves and beard stuff—we’re not trying to be niche-y about it. People are free to come shoot the shit and hang out,” says MacEachern. (FYI: “Beard stuff” means a trim or a tidy.)

If you’re in the market for a straight shave or a quick trim, don’t forget to bring along your favourite vinyl—their vintage Clairtone, made in their hometown of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, is open to anyone to spin their records on. Just try not to nod your head along too much while getting a cut—like, I'm pretty sure Van Gogh lost his ear bopping along to some Led Zep deep cuts at his barber...

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Custom-fit fashion at 180 Moda

A chance to star in your own version of Avatar

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Smile! Custom formalwear is a scan away.
  • Smile! Custom formalwear is a scan away.

As anyone with a slightly different-than-average body knows, shopping for clothes can blow. Oh, do you have a longer torso than most? Here’s a romper that will almost certainly give you a perma-camel toe! Enjoy! So, sometimes the only way to get properly-fitting clothes is to go custom. But for the less genetically blessed among us, tailor-made clothes are lofty dream fit for the one percent.

180 Moda (5571 Cunard Street) hopes to change that and, after five years of doing private consultation and military contracts, is opening up their first public showroom later this week right here in Halifax. The local company uses body scanners which plots 400,000 data points (there’s no hiding that extra winter layer here) in a grand total of 30 seconds to create an your unique avatar. The 180 Moda design team then drafts digital patterns custom to your exact measurements, before the pieces are sewn to your style preferences and tastes. Despite all this technology and amount of work involved, owner Taura Lee, insists their pieces are very affordable.

“A shirt can range from $89 to $169 depending on the fabric, but then you’ve got something that fits you perfectly and will last. We can do custom wedding dresses for less than $1,000 and if you want silks, satins and crystals those cost about $4,000 to $5,000. Other places that would be $12,000.”

180 Moda works with designers in the body scanning community around the world in such places like Spain, Brazil and USA, in order to create stylish designs that fit and flatter the different body types. “We do a lot of consultation work too, with mostly men, giving advice on what looks best on them and what to wear for different scenarios.” But if you’re not in the market for new clothes, they also do fitness consultations—they layer before and after scans to track progress and plot gains and losses. Useful post-summer training, scary post-Easter binges.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Foxy Moon is feelin' green

Evyeneia Dexter's north end hair gallery is a Green Circle Salons member

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Foxy Moon's Evyeneia Dexter - TOPHER + RAE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Foxy Moon's Evyeneia Dexter
  • Topher + Rae Photography

“I've always been environmentally-minded, but I've chosen two careers in my life that have been pretty bad for the environment,” says Foxy Moon Hair Gallery’s (2725 Agricola Street) owner Evyeneia Dexter. Needless to say when she found out that Green Circle Salons was heading this way, she jumped on the opportunity to team up. The organization is focussed on helping North American salons get a bit greener by offering recycling services that keep hair, chemicals and containers out of our landfills and our water.

“We've always tried to waste as little as possible anyway, as much that’s in our power,” says Dexter, who also makes her own eco-friendly hair products. “They reached out to us in the summer to say they were expanding to the Maritimes and that was all we needed.”

While the thousands of pounds of hair clippings collected by Green Circle have been used in oil spill clean-ups, Dexter says properly disposing hair colour and perm solutions makes a major difference. “Excess chemicals is one of the big ones,” she says, adding that in most salons left over colour is washed down the drain. “It’s that or in it’s the garbage, and either waits somewhere it shouldn't be.”

The new initiatives that Foxy Moon is taking do come at a cost for the salon, but for customer it’ll only make the difference of an extra dollar per visit. That’s a small price to pay to ensure your new ‘do isn’t doing bad things to the planet.

“Our clients are just so excited, because now they're not being part of the problem that they never knew they were part of,” says Dexter. “I can honestly say we are 100 percent green in terms of of our recycling. We have basically no garbage left coming out of the salon.”

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

OMG it's RSD

Saturday = Record Store Day

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 2:25 PM

This Saturday, April 18 will be the eighth annual Record Store Day. Whether you’re an old school purist or a vinyl virgin, you know that Halifax record stores have got some cheap tricks up their sleeves.

Black Buffalo Records (5567 Cornwallis Street) will start the festivities at 9am with live music all day. Local DJs Toucan Jam, Nik Nonsense, and more will be spinning until 4pm and then Skinny Leigh will be charming you with the blues. There will be free pizza (yay!) as well as sales on regular records. BBR is also doing a free giveaway on one of their beautifully crafted black vinyl crates. Send them a pic of your own terribly vinyl storage and you could win!

Taz Records (1521 Grafton Street and 1270 Bedford Highway) will be keeping things sweet downtown with free doughnuts from Scanway Bakery & Cafe. Both locations will have about 300 exclusive RSD releases as well as 20 percent off all second hand items. But wait, there’s more! They will also be giving away an Audio-Technica turntable, isn’t that music to your ears?

Obsolete Records (2454 Agricola Street) is having a tax free sale this year. No live music, as in the past it’s been very busy, but they’ll keep all you record rats happy with giveaways. Expect some prize bags and posters that you can get your paws on!


Are you newbie to the vinyl scene? Don’t fret! Wise record store gurus have gifted us with some tips for building your collection.

When it comes to buying second hand records, Jimmy Donnelly from Taz says to always check the condition of the record. People assume that because a store is selling it, the record will be in good condition, but that isn’t always the case. Except at Taz, he says, “We’re very picky.”

Worried about storing your records properly? Aaron Hartling from Black Buffalo Records has some simple hacks to keeping your vinyl safe. First, don’t store them on the floor. If you have a crate to keep them in, make sure there’s an empty one beneath your records. Dust and dirt could get in there, or what if when all this snow melts there’s a flood? Second, don’t lay your record flat on top of one another, keep them upright or else they could warp.

And finally, keeping that sweet music sounding smooth, Ian Fraser from Obsolete Records says the best way to maintain your vinyl is simply to be careful with it. Handle your records from the edges, and keep the sleeves in good condition. If you’re really finicky he says you can look into buying a cleaning kit.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The bright light at Darkside Yoga

Exercise and energize with heavy metal-inspired practice

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 4:00 AM

  • Photo by Ann Quigley

From Carcass, Emperor and Iron Maiden, Darkside Yoga's founder and instructor Dawn Collins uses songs from metal’s finest, including Halifax’s own Pith, in a practice meant to heal and inspire. At Darkside (18 Rosedale Drive), the physicality of Bhakti and Hatha yoga blends with the artistic expression of metal, creating a synergy of emotion and sweat—the inspiration commanding your movements.

“The intention is to empower people to achieve whatever they feel is their self-realization,” says Collins. It’s intense but empowering. Fast or slow, students move and experiment — yogi-virtuosos if you will — using their space as a musician would in a fired-up guitar solo. As with music, yoga too carries with it symbolic meanings, and as each posture brings out something from within, Collins points out, so can music. “I felt there was this missing link in yoga…that I have to divorce these two realities.” She says it's the choice to do what feels right for you, to “use our tools in our own way.”

Working for over 10 years as a counsellor, and with her own battles to fight, Collins wants metal and yoga to speak for her, and others, when words are simply not enough. “Music is essentially my own healing.” Quite literally, let the music be your guide.

Feel free to drop-in Thursdays from 8-9pm. For more information, call 902-237-6883.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Big Pony rides to Gottingen

Bad ass second-hand fashion hits the north end June 1

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 6:24 PM

Emily Ross and Lindsay Stewart's happy moving faces - VIA @BIGPONYHFX
  • Emily Ross and Lindsay Stewart's happy moving faces
  • via @bigponyhfx

After weeks of hinting about their move to a new location, Big Pony (formerly of 1453 Brenton Street) finally spilled the beans about their new place via Instagram, natch. The quirky second-hand boutique temporarily closed up shop on April 11 and will be re-opening June 1 at 2168 Gottingen Street, replacing Parentheses Gallery, which leaves at the end of April.

Big Pony owners (and all around cool ladies) Emily Ross and Lindsay Stewart, said the move came after their current location was sold by the landlord, but are stoked to move up to the community-driven north end. “We would love to thank all of our customers and the general downtown area for helping to make Big Pony what it is…and we're very much looking forward to getting closer to this weird dream inside our heads as we plan the Gottingen location,” the co-owners said via email. The new location will have all the same great goodies—vintage mens- and womenswear, stationery, jewellery—with a renewed emphasis on amping up their already stellar roster of small independent clothing companies. Giddy up!

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Friday, April 10, 2015

The Paperchase closes next week

But a mysterious new cafe will rise from its ashes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 12:01 PM


Pizza Corner is about to get a little less literary.

Blowers Street's Paperchase Newsstand and Café will be closing its doors, out front and the garage ones up top, as of April 21. Management confirmed the new owner plans to keep the space a cafe and will reopen a few weeks later, but as a new business. Fingers crossed for discounted issues of Gentlewoman and Under the Radar, amirite?

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Plan B needs your support

After a rough winter, the north end merchants' co-op could use a boost

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 11:42 AM


How much of an asshole has this winter been? Let me count the ways.

OK, I won't. I'm working to get over it. But I will remind you of one of the major downfalls of the snowfall—the affect it, and our hibernation, has had on small, local businesses. It's been a rough go for a lot of people, to say the least. Gottingen Street's Plan B, for example, was closed for more days in March alone than it was in all of 2014, leaving the merchants' co-op in a bit of a bind—it's $5,000 behind in rent.

While the shop's ringleader Bob Chiasson says even stopping by to do some shopping could make a difference, in efforts to get off the tightrope that it's currently balancing on Plan B has launched a Go Fund Me campaign. Chiasson writes: "Nearly 80 local small businesses currently call Plan B home and in the 3 short years since we opened 5 stand alone businesses have opened in Halifax that started under our roof. Parentheses Gallery, Toxic Blossom, Black Buffalo Records, Abode and Vivacious Vixen. Turns out at a time when big box stores are killing small mom and pop shops Plan B is a vital small business incubator".

That's just one of the many ways Plan B has contributed to Halifax's small business scene, it's also provided space for visual artists, musicians and local organizations to meet, work and showcase their talents.

Click here to support local business, Gottingen Street and the weird and wonderful Plan B Merchants' Co-op. There are some pretty sweet rewards you can get for supporting the store—like access to its taxidermy stash!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Vintage Swap 'til you drop

Meet, greet and share with fellow fashion buffs at tomorrow's Etsy Vintage Swap

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 5:48 PM

Amy Honey, vintage master
  • Amy Honey, vintage master

Whether you're a vintage seller, or you keep your finds to yourself, you’re going to want to check out the Etsy Vintage Swap tomorrow evening (Thursday, April 9 from 6-10pm) at The Khyber (5521 Cornwallis Street).

With local vintage expert Amy Honey—owner of Fancy Lucky Vintage (4144 Lawrencetown Road) and Etsy superstar—running the show, this licensed event invites you to trade pieces you’re ready to part with, meet fellow vintage hunters and make a donation to Feed Nova Scotia. Consider it spring cleaning with benefits.

What can people expect if they attend?
The event is a swap, so there’s no money involved at all. You can bring up to five items of your own and they have to be vintage and in good condition. You check in at the door, there’s a $2 entry fee for Feed Nova Scotia, and I’ll be looking at all of the items, making sure they meet criteria to sell on Etsy—which is 20 years or older and ready-to-wear condition. You’ll get tokens in exchange for items, hang your stuff on the appropriate racks, there’ll be a bar and then you go shopping!

How did you end up at the helm of this event?
They contacted me and basically asked me to be the east coast vintage representative for Etsy, which is an honour! I’ve been on Etsy for awhile, toiling away. It’s about encouraging and rallying local vintage sellers to use Etsy as a platform. I created the Atlantic Canadian Vintage Team to bring people together, and to help each other. I’d love to do more events that have to do with vintage.

Why do you think it’s important for vintage folks to work together?
I’ve really found that the online Etsy community has been helpful for me over the years. I didn’t know anything at all at first, and in a short time I feel I’ve become an expert in vintage. I feel like if there’s a community of vintage sellers we can help each other learn more about the items we sell.

Would you say the local vintage scene is on the up-swing?
I do still get a feeling that Halifax does have a really good vintage scene in terms of stores, but i wouldn't say it is as strong as it could be. Part of the reason I think Etsy is putting on this event, and why I’m telling everyone about this, is that we would like to see it grow . And it would help everybody, the sellers for sure.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Down Home Dog gets new digs

The north end groomer takes over the former Home Grown Organic Foods on Gottingen Street

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 1:27 PM


With some recurring roof issues giving Down Home Dog (6021 Cunard Street) and all of its furry friends some trouble at its current location, the north end groomer, self-serve dog wash and canine-centric retailer is moving out. While it sounds like a pretty crappy reason to hit the road, it’s great news for pet owners who dig the Gottingen area as Down Home’s taking over 2310 Gottingen Street, former home of the recently closed Home Grown Organic Foods.

“I grew up on Creighton Street, so for me it's moving into the neighbourhood I spent most of my childhood in,” says co-owner and groomer Jennifer Sinclair of the new digs for her shop. “ We are happy to be joining the great mix of small businesses on Gottingen Street.” The Cunard Street location will close end of day on April 12, Sinclair aims to re-opened for Monday, April 16 (with grand opening celebrations to come post-snowbank season).

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shanti Yoga is headed for Spring Garden

More yoga downtown this summer!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 2:42 PM

  • Christin Roper

This summer Shanti Hot Yoga (114 Woodlawn Road and 620 Nine Mile Drive) will enter hat trick territory when it opens studio number three. Its first location on the peninsula will open corner of Spring Garden and Birmingham (on the basement level of the new development where Winsby's once stood). "We focused on the markets that were less developed, going outside the city where there was less yoga and building that up first," says Shanti manager Kyla MacKinnon. "Those markets are a little bit more challenging and we managed to do pretty well. In a way we were missing a whole market of people who weren't willing to travel."

The downtown location will offer the same diverse lineup of classes—of the heated, reduced heat and unheated varieties—and teachers as the Dartmouth and Bedford studios AND you'll only need one pass to attend classes at all three. Shanti Spring Garden aims to be open for July 15.

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Boutique Joliette says its goodbyes

The six-year-old accessories store closes April 8

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Alexis Mahoney in Boutique Joliette, 2012 - SCOTT BLACKBURN
  • Alexis Mahoney in Boutique Joliette, 2012
  • Scott Blackburn

It was back in 2009 that Alexis Mahoney first opened the doors at Boutique Joliette (1870 Hollis Street), an indie jewellery and accessories shop that has since grown to offer a wide range of beautiful things. But this week is your final chance to get your mitts on any of them—with a move to Toronto on the horizon, Mahoney will close up shop after April 8. But until then, she’ll be keeping regular hours (Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm) and everything must go—all the vintage and locally made jewellery, Canadian clothing, wedding-inspired accessories, hats, bags, scarves as well as vintage furniture and lighting is for sale. Joliette is also clearing out fixtures, display cases, cabinets and (attention small biz owners) shop supplies. “The outpouring of support with my closing announcement has been astounding,” says Mahoney. “I’m really going to miss all my amazing customers, they feel like an extended family and it makes me sad to know that it’s ending.”

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