Karissa Pukas in a pink shirt with multiple people's hands doing her hair and makeup in the frame

We all have a team of sorts… the professionals we invite into our lives to help us look (and live) like the best versions of ourselves. Think hairdressers, your favourite yoga instructor, therapist, dietitian, nail tech or acupuncturist. Maybe you have a brow lady that literally changes lives… I do! (She also specialises in areola restorative tattooing for clients who have undergone a mastectomy or breast reconstruction- read more on her later in this post).

I thought I’d write a post highlighting my amazing team who helps me with the inner and outer. A tribe of sorts, that I trust with my most intimate self. Some are local to Vancouver and some are located elsewhere, but accessible online.

I am immensely grateful for their impact on my life and wholeheartedly recommend their services. Even if you do not live locally, most of them share their craft via social media or website content so make sure to check out their linked instagram accounts 🙂 Without much further ado, meet the team!

Category is… Health & Wellness

Dr Stacey Shillington smiling at camera
Meet Dr. Stacey Shillington, ND

I’ve had a few Naturopath’s over the years, but one that has really stood out has been Dr. Stacey Shillington aka @NaturopathicBeauty.

Dr. Stacey is a Naturopathic Doctor with a focus on Acne and Anti-Aging. Committed to healing the body from the inside out, her comprehensive 7 week skin program & wellness coaching has glowing reviews (mine included). I completed her 7 week Skin program, as well as one on one skype sessions. I think her Skin health program is IDEAL for anyone who suffers with stubborn acne- there is so much information and valuable content included. It is well laid out in weekly modules and as the weeks went by, my skin got clearer and clearer.

I’ve always been a healthy eater, but some foods (and how I was consuming them) were contributing to my acne prone skin without me knowing. I now have the tools to nourish my body with what it needs in order to have clear, (dare I say glowing?) skin.

Dr. Stacey has over 10 years of private clinical practice with two of Toronto’s top dermatologists and alongside helping people with her 7 week program or talking to clients in person & via skype, she is constantly sharing free information on her instagram page here.

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Desiree Nielson wearing glasses
Meet Desiree Nielsen, RD.

When I was VERY lost and confused with my health in 2017 and reacting to most of my favourite healthy foods, I reached out to Gut Health pro Desiree Nielsen for help. Desiree is a well respected dietitian, regularly featured on Global News, CTV and other media outlets. Her plant based, anti inflammatory approach is realistic, positive and ignites a passionate spark for one’s healthy eating and self care.

I’m always learning from Desiree. We worked one on one via skype to create a plan for myself and she helped guide me through a very overwhelming time, making food fun again. She’s created a super helpful Gut Health App, written several free E books that are great sources of information and even has her own cooking show called “The Urban Vegetarian”.

Even if you’re just looking for some quick instagram food recipes or grabbing free tips from her email newsletters on Gut Health & everyday healthy living Desiree is sharing cutting edge nutritional topics and the different ways for you to integrate those learnings into your everyday recipes.

Desiree has also written two published books, “Un-Junk Your Diet: How to Shop, Cook, and Eat to Fight Inflammation and Feel Better Forever” and “Eat More Plants: Over 100 Anti-Inflammatory, Plant-Based Recipes for Vibrant Living”

She is knowledgeable, relatable and ready to help you – from cases of simply wanting to eat better to those of us who need a total overhaul in gut loving, she’s your person. Follow her here.

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Hormonal Health expert Dr Jolene Brighten
Meet Dr Jolene Brighten, ND.

I came across Dr Jolene Brighten through a repost on instagram (find her account here) and I was immediately interested in her work. She is considered a leading expert in hormonal birth control related problems. Coming from a background of nutritional biochemistry, Dr Brighten is a women’s health Naturopathic Doctor, practicing Physician, Author and Speaker who has created the first doctor designed comprehensive program specifically focused on helping women dealing with the side effects & long term consequences associated with the birth control pill.

She has just released a book called Beyond The Pill which is an incredible resource for any woman who is thinking about birth control or has been on a hormonal birth control previously.

Dr. Brighten is also the author of the bestselling book,  “Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth: The New Mom’s Guide to Navigating the Fourth Trimester

If you are having trouble balancing your hormones, have PCOS, are looking for alternate ideas for birth control or looking for general women’s health care tips- check out her instagram. I’ve learned a TON from her.

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Lillian Wei, Acupuncturist
Meet Lillian Wei, R. Ac.

One of the first times I saw Lillian, I had a massive bronchial cough. I had originally sought out an acupuncturist for my Breast Implant Illness symptoms- the daily fatigue, fibromyalgia like symptoms and relentless gut problems (and the acne that came with it). The symptoms were overbearing and I was looking anywhere for relief. After reading reviews, I booked in with Acupuncturist Lillian Wei– She specializes in digestive disorders, women’s health and sleeping irregularities.

At the time, my immune system was overwhelmed with symptoms and I easily caught colds. Right after I booked an appointment, I came down with a nasty cold. She said to come in anyways, so I went in for some respiratory help. TBH I didn’t really expect much relief but I willing to try anything. I hadn’t slept well in a few nights due to coughing. She asked me if I had any plans later that day (I didn’t) and then she dimmed the lights and helped me lay down on the table.

I immediately started coughing; Lillian didn’t hesitate for a second in her movement. First, she propped me up with a little pillow, then swiftly put all the little pins into my body. After I sufficiently resembled a pincushion, she covered me in a soft blanket and after the first few minutes I felt a relief I hadn’t found in days. Such a relief, that I fell asleep and slept right there on her table (pins and all). Sweet sweet Lillian let me snooze past my hour long appointment time so I could get some rest. I vaguely remember her checking in on me a few times ever so quietly and then I was back asleep.  I woke up, feeling rested, not coughing and a hell of a lot better.

Another time I went in, Lillian insisted that I’d share her sushi lunch with her. That’s just the kind of soul she is.

I continue to occasionally have acupuncture/ cupping treatment now that I am post Explant. I find it addresses stress and stagnancy in my body.

If you’re in Vancouver and looking for an acupuncturist, Lillian is not only very knowledgeable, she is caring and intuitive.

I’m so glad we met! Find her FB page here.

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West Fourth Chiropractic Storefront
Dr Derek Porter, DC

I’ve been a regular Chiropractic patient since I was a teenager. It’s so deeply ingrained in my wellness routine that I forget that most view it as alternative care. For myself and my family, the Chiropractor has been our go to for not only back and neck pain relief- but general wellbeing. So just like I’d go to the dentist for maintenance/check ups OR when tooth pain occurs- I go to my Chiropractor for regular routine adjustments and he is the first stop if I slept on my neck funny, or pulled something in my back.

Chiropractors correct subluxations (misalignments) through gentle and safe spinal adjustments- with the intent to release tension/stress in the spine and nervous system. 

Growing up, I was a patient at Harbourfront Family Chiropractic in Salmon Arm, BC and I highly recommend Dr Warren Gage  – I still go in for an adjustment whenever I’m in town. The staff is so lovely, Salmon Arm is a small town and you really are welcomed in like family. Dr Gage also specializes in Pediatrics and when Glen and I have a baby, he will be one of the firsts stops.

When I moved to Vancouver after graduating from high-school, I was in need of a new local Chiropractor and Dr Gage referred me to Dr Derek Porter at West Fourth Chiropractic. I’ve been going there ever since. Dr Porter is a kind and personable guy. He takes the time to listen to you and cares about you as a person and patient. He’s given me great stretches and different tips to try at home as well.

Before getting his doctorate of Chiropractic, Dr Porter was a two time medal winning Olympian in rowing and attributes his 12 years on the national rowing team to Chiropractic care:

When you look after your spine and nervous system, you perform better in life, period.

Category is… Skincare // Injectables

The Vanity Lab interior, white calming interior with wood support accents
The Vanity Lab- Your place for anything skin
   

When I first moved to Vancouver, I started asking around for a skin/facial place and one specific clinic kept being suggested. Natasha reached out to me and the rest is herrrstory hunty.

I LOVE The Vanity Lab, their services and their Technicians. It’s a welcoming, bright and superbly clean place. Started by absolute girl bosses Jessica and Natasha, the Lab has been in the heart of Yaletown since 2013. They offer the best in skincare, anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments as well as lasers for skin tightening, skin resurfacing and hair removal etc. The Vanity Lab prices their medical grade products and procedures so that professional skincare is accessible for more people without totally breaking the bank. They often offer social media giveaways, have flash sales or package deals, so follow them on instagram here so you don’t miss out.

 I see Bob (the clinic director) for my treatments and his personality and sass always make my day. If you go in, get him to show you a picture of his cat Pippa- she’s an absolute gem. Bob has been there through my entire skin journey and I have very much appreciated his TLC with my face. He helped care for my outsides and keep my spirits up as I continually worked on nourishing my skin and body from the inside. I will truly miss my monthly time with Bob now that I’ve moved away and will be visiting every trip we take back to Vancouver.

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Dr Pavlou, Skin Technique,
Meet Dr Pavlou, founder- Skin Technique

I’m no stranger to injectables (I’ve previously tried lip filler, cheek filler and botox) though it’s not something I do as commonly now as I previously did.  It’s hard finding someone you trust with your face, that also gives you the result you want EVERY time. I’m often asked who I’ve been to and who I’d recommend and the only person in Vancouver I would trust to do my filler or botox is Dr Pavlou at Skin Technique. Period.

The clinic, located in Yaletown is stunning. A large, open storefront window, with whitewashed rooms and lots of gold accents with a beautiful moss & mandala installation on the wall (pictured above).

Dr Pavlou provides the latest innovations in medical aesthetics at his clinic while reliably providing flawless results to his patients of all ages.  He is always updating his credentials which allows his clinic to offer treatments other clinics do not have. The winner of multiple ‘Best of Vancouver’ awards, Skin Technique offers a wide variety of specialized medical aesthetics and skincare treatments. From Cool Sculpting, to PRP for hair restoration to being the ONLY downtown clinic to provide HALO fractional resurfacing; Skin Technique offers all the top tier treatments available in the industry to their clientele.

Check out his instagram or website gallery for examples of the work he provides- it’s pretty amazing. I’m all for loving what you got- but if you’re looking for a little something extra- he is your person.

Category is… Glam team 

MAXFIELD PALMER, Hairstylist
Meet Hair God, Maxfield Palmer

Maxfield Palmer is the master of effortlessly cool hair.  I was introduced to him by the dazzling Jasmine Lorimer – they had worked together at a contemporary little studio in Gastown called Brush Salon. Brush has clean lines & white decor with a cheeky ‘Girl, roots are for trees’ neon sign accent above the sinks at the back wall. They also have some reallly cool bright green, living moss art pieces and installations throughout that I’m obsessed with. ANYWAYS, back to Maxfield.

Aside from being the sweetest human being ever, Maxfield is an immensely talented colourist & stylist. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with cut and colour walking out of a hair appointment. He is patient, respects the integrity of my hair, fun to chat to and totally nails the tones that I’m after for my blonde.

I’m so happy to have connected with him and have a feeling, I’ll be flying to Vancouver for future hair appointments (blondes will understand).

Follow Him

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Shaughnessy from Studio Sashinko cross legged in jeans and white shirt
Meet Brow Queen, Shaughnessy Otsuji

If you’ve ever looked into microblading your brows, you’ve likely come across brow legend Shaughnessy Otsuji.

Shaughnessy is a wildly talented and highly sought after artist; featured on sites such as Refinery 29 & Daily Hive as well as magazines Allure, Flare & Seventeen to name a few. Her technique makes your brows look like they are 3D and fluffy, (even if you had nothing to start with). She is the owner of Studio Sashiko in Langley, BC that specializes in cosmetic tattooing (brows, freckles etc), areola restorative tattooing and scar camouflage – all single poke style, by hand. The work she does for people wanting areola restoration is actually incredible and v. Powerful.  You need to see photos.

The studio’s name ‘Sashiko’ comes from a word for Japanese needlework that literally translates to “little stabs”. 

I love my brows and I will always continue making my way out to Studio Sashiko for touch ups. 

Follow Her

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Laura Beth Lal, Nordstrom Canada, Style
Meet styling queen, Laura Beth Lal
Laura Beth reached out to me when I first moved to Vancouver and I was so grateful she did. When we first met, I had been looking for a stylist to work with for some bigger events and she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. Anyone who could make her bump look so effortlessly cool and fashionable, I knew I needed to collaborate with.
 
Laura Beth is based at Nordstrom in Vancouver and before she messaged me, I didn’t actually realize Nordstrom offered free styling services.
WHAT. A. GREAT. THING! It was exciting having her pull items for me (in a bougie private room no less) and the Nordstrom team offered snacks and tea. Whaaaat. Get on it. You’ll find some great new pieces for your wardrobe.
 
Laura Beth sourced some awesome stuff for me and I’ve been bringing my friends and family back to use her services ever since.
 
 
Category is… WERKKK
INF Influencer Agency Logo
This category may not be as helpful for you, but I’m mentioning it anyways because these ladies are an integral part of my day to day. I’ve been creating online content for close to ten years and throughout that time, I’ve been represented by a few managers or agencies. Some of those partnerships were not good experiences (to put it v. nicely). Management can truly make or break your career; it’s of the utmost importance to have a good working relationship and flow with whomever represents your business.  When I moved back to Canada in 2016, I changed representation and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done professionally.
 
INF Agency truly helped me transform my brand into a business. Through their guidance, I’ve collaborated with some of the largest players in the beauty and lifestyle industry, had the opportunity to travel with luxury brands around the world and even been featured on North America’s #1 daytime talk show. They opened up opportunities for me in ways I never imagined.
 
Aside from kicking ass professionally, they are a joy to be around personally and I always look forward to catching up. They have my back in business and in life and I’ll forever be grateful.
 
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I’ll be updating this list periodically, so make sure to check back in.
Do you have anybody you swear by? Tell me in the comments 🙂

12 Comments

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