It’s that time of the year again. If the holidays have you a bit stressed out because you need to find that perfect gift, I’m here to help you out with the I want – I got 2016 Holiday Gift Guide. I’ve selected some of my favourite things in the hope that it helps you make choices for everyone (well maybe not everyone, but maybe your pickiest) on your gift list. This is year is heavy on the Canadian content with lots of choices for my favourite things: shoes, jewellery and clothing. My gift guides are focused on the Ladies but don’t totally write me off as there are lots of options for everyone.
It’s that time of the year again. If the holidays have you a bit stressed out because you need to find that perfect gift, I’m here to help you out with the I want – I got 2016 Holiday Gift Guide. I’ve selected some of my favourite things in the hope that it helps you make fun and interesting choices for everyone on your gift list. This is year is heavy on the Canadian content with lots of choices for my favourite things: shoes, jewellery and clothing. My gift guides are usually focused on the Ladies but don’t totally write me off as there are lots of options for everyone.
I have a ton of gift choices to share with you, so let’s start with Part 1 of the I want – I got 2016 Holiday Gift Guide.
“The next best thing to the enjoyment of a good time, is the recollection of it. ~James Lendall Basford”
I like to have souvenirs of my good times. They help me transport to that past moment and relive it once again. Technology has made the accumulation of memories so very easy these days and I’ve taken full advantage of this. High quality photos, video and audio is available to everyone using today’s advanced smartphone technology. Motorola and I have teamed up this summer so that I can share with you on how I #NeverMissaMoment thanks to the Moto g4 plus and the Moto 360. The #NeverMissAMoment campaign challenged me to devise a summertime adventure to share with you.
There are so many possibilities when presented with a challenge like this but there is one place I couldn’t get out of my head: Ste. Anne’s Spa. It’s one of my oldest bucketlist items. When I was first discovering the joy of the spa experience, I learned about this award winning, all-inclusive spa resort situated in the Northumberland Hills of Ontario. People who went raved about it. However, when given the choice of Ste. Anne’s Spa or my yearly Whistler trip or Barbados the spa lost out every time. With Motorola, the perfect storm of opportunity presented itself and I was finally going to get Ste. Anne’s Spa experience.
It lived up to all my expectations and more. I have an obsession with hammocks and one of the first things I saw on the property was this two-person hammock under a gazebo with wind chimes. I was in heaven. Hammocks were placed strategically around the property. This was the place for me. It was so easy to find quiet little spots away from everyone even though the spa was pretty booked up. The spa is on 400 acres of farm land and they have several trails on the property available to guests.
There are more than enough hot tubs, saunas and stream rooms on the property for everyone to enjoy. I was surprised at how quiet they were, especially the gorgeous outdoor grotto. It’s a testament to great design that you can feel alone while surrounded by many people.
You can go to the Spa for a day but the magic happens when you book their overnight packages. The resort is all inclusive so they provide breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. They don’t serve alcohol but encourage guest to bring their own to enjoy with dinner. I was in a room off the main building called the Blue Room (yes, it had was full of beautiful blue things) but guests with large groups can book several of the private cottages found on the property. I had a magnificent sleep-in that room. I always realize the sleep injustice I’m doing to myself at home after perfect nights like ones experienced at Ste. Anne’s Spa.
Ste. Anne’s Spa introduced me to the magic that is Thai Massage. I was taken to an outdoor gazebo for my massage treatment. Ste. Anne’s Spa has several gazebos available in the summer for outdoor treatments. It’s absolutely magical being outside listening to the sounds of nature while the wind gently blows around you. My second treatment was the Contouring Mud Stone Wrap which is like a mud wrap and hot stone massage in one. There is something about being wrapped up like a burrito to stew in botanicals that is just wonderful. The final product of super soft skin is great but I love the whole process. I have high praises for the staff, their welcoming and unpretentious attitudes were very refreshing.
My smartphone is so important to me for capturing my memories. I don’t carry a digital SLR so having a smartphone with a high quality camera is a must. I capture most of my photos with my smartphone so I need something that takes great photos quickly and easily. The Moto g4 Plus has a great 16MB camera. It took awhile to get used to the camera but I expected that. I haven’t explored the Professional mode options of the camera but I’m very happy with the results I’m getting on auto-mode. The quality of the action shots is incredible. I take a lot of photos of me in motion and the Moto g4 Plus delivered the most clear action shots.
Its macro-mode is pretty great too as I tested it at Ste. Anne’s Spa on their beautiful flowers. The details produced by the camera were pretty astonishing as I could see the tiniest details on the poppies so clearly. One of the few Motorola apps on the phone is for gestures. The camera and flashlight gestures are pretty damn handy. I’m don’t normally take advantage of these options in other phones but Motorola managed to make them seamless. I use the camera gesture a lot to capture those fleeting moments without wasting too much time getting to an app. I definitely had my smartphone out more than the average person and the spa encourages you to leave it in the room to escape the outside world. The camera gesture really helped in keeping my rampant smartphone use discreet. I’d whip out the Moto g4 Plus from my robe pocket, quickly snap a photo and put it back. Very handy. Ste. Anne’s Spa is so beautiful, I had to document my time there. I’m very bullish on this camera!
I tried to take advantage of everything available to me at Ste. Anne’s. I did a yoga class an incredibly beautiful studio. Large windows allowed the summer breeze to pass through and the sounds of the wilderness to surround our practice.
I hiked the guest trails and used my Moto 360 to get nerdy about exercise stats. The Moto 360 has turned me into an exercise tracking nerd. I keep track of my yoga practice and make sure I’m hitting my daily step and activity time goals.
I’m not just saying this but I love this phone. It has a stock Android setup which is free of all the bloatware other manufacturers place on their devices. That decision by Motorola easily put the phone in the “hells yes!” category for me. I was sold on it just on this alone. Bloatware is a scourge and this move saved me so much storage space. Thankfully the other features continued to make me a big fan of the phone. It has a slot for a mini SD card expanding the 32GB device storage. Photos and videos always take up all my storage so this was another win. The screen is larger than my last phone but I’m enjoying the extra screen size and the quality of the display. Thanks to Motorola, I #NeverMissAMomentofTranquility with the Moto g4 Plus at my side. I love how beautiful all my photos and videos turned out of this special moment in my life.
You can follow the #NeverMissAMoment campaign by following the hashtag on your favourite social networks. Please check out Motorola Canada on Twitter at @moto_can and Instagram at @motoincan for all the latest updates.
This post was sponsored by Motorola Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely our own.
If you are like me, this is the week to get your Christmas shopping done. So, I’ve created this Gift guide to help all the last-minute folks in Toronto that want to avoid the mall as much as possible. Get to know my favourite shops and the items I think would make great gifts.
Let’s start with the Ladies. I’ve been coveting Byredo perfume for a little while now and I finally bit the bullet this weekend and purchased Bal d’Afrique. I highly recommend. The packaging is beautiful and there a lots of different scents to try. Head to Holt Renfrew or Want Apothecary.
Want Apothecary (1070 Yonge Street) is one of those shops you regret walking into because you want to buy everything. As mentioned above, they carry Byredo perfume but you really want to grab something from one of my favourite brands Acne or the Kastrup backpack by Want Les Essentiels
Buying overpriced lipstick and nail polish is the perfect gift for the makeup junkie. Except for Christmas or birthdays would you have someone spend over $100 on a lipstick? The packaging for the Louboutin Lipstick and nail polishes are works of art. I’ve tried the nail polish and have nothing bad to say and I’m dying to try the lipstick. Head to Holt Renfrew to find these.
Whenever someone asks me what my favourite store in Toronto is I always say Fawn Boutique (967 Queen Street West). Grab anything Black Crane or Markoo and you’ll be set. There is a good selection of great minimalist jewellery too. If you can’t decide, get a gift certificate.
Ever since Rosie the Rebel (961 Bloor St. W.) opened up in my neighbourhood my Rockabilly quotient has skyrocketed (See Instagram). The prices are great and they get new items in regularly. Dresses from Hell Bunny and Collectif are my favourite but be sure to check out the selection of sweaters in store now like the fox one I’m wearing above.
There are so many great local handbag designers these days. Take a stroll down to College and Landsdown and visit Opelle (1234 College St). Circular bags are all the rage right now so grab your trend obsessed friend a Tam-Tam Cross Body bag.
Give the gift of perfect nails with Tips Nail Bar (848 Danforth Avenue). Pick up a gift certificate for a Pedicure and Manicure by this industry famous team. These women know nails and it’s the only nail salon I go to in the city.
You can’t go wrong with a little piece of Dean Davidson. Head on down to Holt Renfrew to see what’s available in store or check out deandavidson.ca.
I have an obsession with the Anzie Aztec Starburst Studs. I’ve stared lovingly at them for years. They come in different stones and price points which you can find at Holt Renfrew or online at anzie.com.
Get a hot as hell Bazzul dress! The studio is in Toronto so you probably can grab one to put under the tree still! I’m in love with the Avion and own it myself. Check out the Holiday picks and get 35% off with the promo code at www.bazzul.com/collections/holiday-picks
The Linda Lundstrom Hot Pink Fox Fowl collar is absolutely breathtaking. If I wasn’t so lazy I would have told you to go to the One of a Kind Show a few weeks ago to buy one there. However, they are available online and I think it’s worth the wait. There are several other colours to choose from too.
The best pompom hat belongs to Eugenia Kim. It’s got a fur pom and super thick wool. Riant Boutique (35 Bathurst St) is where you want to go and buy this.
I don’t often recommend fine jewellery but the Birks Bee Chic® Large Drop Earrings are stunners. I got to borrow a pair during TIFF and I dream of the day when I can drop 4 figures on jewellery and not blink. Head to one of the various Masion Birks locations but I think 55 Bloor Street, Yorkdale and Eaton Centre would be the best options.
The next three gift guide options are for the Guys specifically! Love & Greed is my friend’s new luxury menswear shop and it’s soooooo good. Standout pieces are the Norwegian Rain winter coats. Ditch the lame down parka and get something both warm and good-looking. Norwegian Rain does women’s coats too unfortunately not stocked at Love & Greed. Other great gifts include the TenFed t-shirts (Each shirt purchased, feeds 10 people) and lovely shoes by Oak Street Bootmakers. Love & Greed carries a lot of brands that aren’t available at any other shop.
If was a guy, Nomad (819 Queen St. W.) would be my Fawn. So many great things but take a look at the Cote et Ciel backpacks and the Comme des Garcons gear. Gift Certificates are always great if you get stumped.
Aviation geek, Laird Kay launched Very Plane Clothes this fall. You might have seen some of his amazing aviation photography on Instagram and now you can wear it. There are t-shirts and sweatshirts to choose from. Everything is made to order in Toronto and limited edition. It won’t make it under the tree but they are definitely worth the wait.
Gifting a Star Wars Fan? Take them to the damn movie already! Or if you don’t want to sit through it yourself, give them a pair of Star Wars x Instance socks ($26) from these Toronto retailers Boathouse, Zumiez, Adrift Inc. and The Accessory Bar.
Ynot (831 Queen Street West), locally produced bags are staples with the Biking crowd. I love the Magnetica line of backpacks. They are great for travel and come in different sizes. The magnetic closures are a godsend.
I’m obsessed with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 in a way that has never happened to me before. It’s super slim and is just plain beautiful. I love that it runs Android and is still small enough to carry around daily. I’ve developed a rather unhealthy obsession with SimCity BuildIt thanks to the Tab S2. Check The Source, Walmart and Bestbuy.
Cellphones are great holiday gifts always. Here are my favourites this year:
I’m all about the HTC One M9. I always come back to HTC as my favourite cellphone. Bell, Rogers and Telus all carry the M9
If you are looking for a budget/starter phone, the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 is a good choice. Bell and Telus both carry the Idol 3
I reluctantly left Blackberry several years ago and haven’t looked back until I saw the Blackberry Priv. Physical Keyboard and runs Android!!!!! I’m dying to try it out. Checkout Bestbuy, Telus and Bell or buy unlocked straight from Blackberry
This is the year I learned to love a smartwatch. The lovely folks at Motorola send me the 1st gen Moto 360 in February and this anti-wearable person fell hard. I can’t think of wearing any other watch again. I’m in love with my Moto 360. It’s gets lots of complements and most importantly it looks like a watch! There is a 2nd generation Moto 360 out now that includes a smaller size for women. Guess where you can buy this, that’s right BestBuy!
Elevator (1273 Queen St. W.) is a great Parkdale shop that stocks my favourite Miansai Anchor Bracelets. These bracelets are unisex but Elevator also carries mens and womens jewellery. Be sure to check out Loren Hope jewellery and The Stowe handbags if you are looking for something special.
If you are looking for Macaron for gifts I recommend two places: Colette Grand Café (550 Wellington Street West) and Nadage (780 Queen Street West).
Give the gift of custom kicks. Nike.com now ships you Canada and that means NikeiD is now available too. This is the perfect gift for the sneakerhead that wants unique kicks.
I’d love if Santa brought me the Microsoft Surface Book for Christmas but if that’s a bit out of your budget look to the Surface Pro 4. I love the Surface line of laptops. Check out the Microsoft Store in Yorkdale or Bestbuy.
I always recommend the gift of Culture at Christmas. So definitely consider the following:
A membership to the AGO. I’ve been a member for several years now and I can’t recommend it enough. The place is a gem.
The Design Exchange had a fabulous year of exhibits and parties. Get in on that action with a membership
Go see Kinky Boots! Mirvish extended it’s run till March 6, 2016 with good reason. If you aren’t into Kinky Boots grab a 6 show subscription pack.
Tom Dixon Candles are in Toronto!!! They are as beautiful as his designs. Run over to Lac + Co (72 Davenport Rd) to grab yours.
Introduce your friends to the wonder of Turkish Towels from Zebuu (1265 Bloor Street West). Zebuu is this glorious little home décor shop in Bloorcourt that carries handcrafted items from around the globe. Turkish towels are amazing and they’ve replaced my terry cloth ones for good. If you are tight on space these are perfect. Zebuu has a number of colours to choose from.
I got a Chromecast before it was released in Canada and it was one of the best electronic purchases I’ve ever made. If you don’t have a smart TV this is a great way to turn your regular TV into one. Head to BestBuy to get this one.
For those of you that want to give back with your holiday gifting consider Adopting a Species from WWF. You get an adorable stuff animal representing your species and a Tax Receipt. It’s a great cause that helps to protect species at risk and their habitats. Unfortunately, there are no retailers in Toronto so this one will arrive after Christmas.
I was ready to suggest a Winter Wonderland getaway weekend at Deerhurst that would have you riding horses, cross country skiing, enjoying the spa and cuddling up in front of a gas fireplace but it seems we won’t have a white Christmas. That shouldn’t stop you from creating a little weekend package to be used in the future for your special someone. Deerhurst is a beautiful spot in our great Ontario. Read about my visit here.
I hope this Gift Guide helps all my fellow procrastinators out! Remember, when in doubt get a gift certificate to a local shop 🙂
I first heard of Deerhurst in 2002. I was working at my first software testing job after finishing my programming diploma. It was a startup and the executive team when to Deerhurst for retreat. They were partiers. It made for an amazing work environment at the time. I was in my 20s. I always imagined these retreats as booze filled, hazy weekends with little real work done. There are a few things that have stuck with me from those days: a friend, a crush and Deerhurst.
When the opportunity to visit Deerhurst came about from their owners Skyline International Development, I couldn’t say no. I finally would find out the secrets of this Deerhurst place. The itinerary planned certainly didn’t call for a booze filled, hazy weekend but a relaxing and blissful one. The resort is 800 acres of beautiful wilderness on Peninsula Lake in Muskoka. I haven’t driven north of the city in a very long time and I forgot how beautiful Ontario can be. The leaves were still holding onto the fall colours so the drive was marked by swaths of orange, reds, browns and yellows that contrasted with the ragged, rolling hills of the Canadian Shield. It’s hard to believe that this Precambrian rock that covers a good portion of Canada is more than 3.96 billion years old. The Shield gets its name because it resembles the shape of a warrior’s shield. It was an easy drive with little traffic. It’s 2.5 hours north of Toronto and I can’t imagine how long it takes on a weekend in the summer.
Even though I had this slow burning interest in Deerhurst over the years I was pretty ignorant of what it was all about until trip details were arranged and we drove up the winding road to the parking lot. The resort and Peninsula Lake are way larger than I expected. I’m not sure why I couldn’t reconcile that fact when I saw them rendering and model of the new lakefront expansion Skyline International Development is planning at the resort about a month earlier. Deerhurst is old! It’s been around since 1896. Muskoka is a celebrated vacation retreat area since the 19th century. I always thought of it as just cottage country and the playground of Southern Ontario (apologies to folks that live there) than a vacation destination advertised to people in magazines and papers. I learned that Deerhurst is just like any other resort with all the fixings organized activities, on site spa, indoor & outdoor pools, fitness center, golf, games rooms, water sports, snow sports, restaurants, conference spaces and musical entertainment. Deerhurst is open all year round so it’s not just a summer destination. The resort has activities for all seasons. Guests and choose from rooms and condos. Rooms are located in the main Pavilion or Lakeside. These rooms provide a traditional hotel experience. Condos on the other hand come in 1, 2 or 3 bedroom varies. The condos aren’t attached to the Pavilion but located in a wooded enclave or overlooking the golf course. The condos come fully equipped with a complete kitchen, living room, fireplace and balcony.
Skyline provided us with a 3 bedroom condo. It was massive and we each had our own bathroom. I can’t stress how important this is in a condo vacation space. There was a TV in each of the spacious bedrooms and while we didn’t use them I can absolutely see the value in that decision. So many fights have been averted because of a few extra TVs. The free Wi-Fi access was reliable and I didn’t notice any dead spots anywhere. When I was in Barbados in August our Wi-Fi signal was strongest outside on the balcony. Thankfully, there wasn’t any mosquitoes and the temperature was in the high 20s at night. It was a bit annoying. We stayed one night but I had the most wonderful sleep on that bed. It was so quiet compared to sounds of the city that lulls me to sleep each night. They seem so much louder on the 16th floor so having the silence was special. The bathrooms had amazing water pressure and were a good size. My only complaint is that the bathroom fans are pretty loud. Not a big deal during the day but gets a bit precarious in the mornings and late at night.
Our weekend itinerary included 2 spa appointments, lunch, dinner and brunch. Saturday was rainy so we didn’t get to explore the grounds. There are some short hiking trails on the resort grounds. Guests have access to many activities that are free to guests like golf, tennis, bocce, volleyball and ping pong. There is a beautiful indoor pool in The Pavilion that is beautiful and lets in a lot of natural light. There is a fitness centre and a seasonal outdoor pool. For an extra fee, guests can choose from horseback riding, ATV tours, interactive petting zoo, indoor rock climbing, pony rides and outdoor paintball. The resort experience isn’t complete without live entertainment. Deerhurst has HIT L!ST Live which is famous as the place where Shania Twain’s career began. The cutest activity option is the Build your own Deerhurst teddy bear kit. It contains everything you need to create your own teddy bear for $20.
We had lunch at the Maple Pub and then when to the Shizen Spa. We were treated to the October Spa Special which featured a hydrating facial, back massage and aroma wax foot treatment. The special would be perfect for first time spa goers as it gives a good introduction to the spa experience. We hit the pool after our spa treatments and lounged for moment. Dinner was at the Eclipse Restaurant which is found in the beautiful Pavilion building. I just loved the ceiling height and wooden arches splaying out everywhere. The weekend was on a roll and dinner was excellent. We each ordered the steak options and some appetizers to share. Even though we had a full kitchen in the condo it was superb having the option of someone else doing the cooking.After dinner we got into our pj’s and watched The Man from Uncle on the living room TV. The gas fireplace going made the living room super cozy.
I had an incredible night’s sleep. I’m starved for that kind of quality of sleep. It was so quiet. I usually only hear that level of quiet when I’m in Whistler. I would have liked to spend more time with that bed. I opened the curtains to discover no rain and a partly cloudy sky. Cooperative weather for exploring and photos in between buffet brunches and massages. Brunch was back at the Eclipse Restaurant. It was full featured with everything a good brunch buffet should have: a good selection of lunch and breakfast options with a massive dessert table and multiple juice options. Like all great brunches there were roast beef and omelette stations. After brunch was another spa appointment. A 60 minute massage was the perfect way to finish off our quick trip to Deerhurst. Corrinna is a miracle worker. My back was reset to pre “stressful project at the day job” levels. I relished in this wonderful feeling body I had been granted by these magic hands. We explored the grounds a little bit since the sun had fully came out. I really wish we had more time as I would have liked to explore the trails and see Deerhurst Lookout but the city and Monday called. So this Deerhurst trip dispelled a lot of notions in had. While I’m sure there have been some drunken nights for people here, Deerhurst is a family resort. There are many activity options to keep people happy. If that doesn’t work the TV entertainment options and free Wi-Fi should keep anyone occupied. I have to thank Skyline International Development for the opportunity to solve a mystery in my life and get a taste of a Deerhurst experience.
It’s always fun to watch a debut unfold before you. Tara Rivas unveiled the Fall Winter 2015 collection from her newly minted womenswear line, TMR Collection. Tara began her career altering store bought clothing and after years of that she made the jump into creating custom clothing for herself. This collection is the logical conclusion to those efforts.
“I want to create collections that offer women maximum style with minimum effort,” said Tara Rivas, founder and designer. “My desire is to create clothing that makes women look and feel good.”
For her first collection, Tara has wisely focused on a tight edit of beautifully made foundation pieces that can easily be integrated into anyone’s wardrobe. She’s taken classic pieces and added a bit of flair which makes her collection both stylish and office appropriate. Pleather inserts and mesh detailing bring the style and sex appeal to the garments. In addition to pleather, Tara uses triacetate crepe, bamboo and rayon. The entire collection is produced in Toronto and uses locally sourced fabrics.
Lets take a look at my favourite pieces
Portland Reversible Dress. The reversible dress isn’t a new idea but it’s beautiful to see it done well. This dress looks great on all shapes and it’s perfect for travelling. Nice little bodycon number.
For the last 5 weeks, I’ve been busting my ass at the crack of dawn with Nike and Sidewalk Hustle. Hawley invited me to participate in the Sidewalk Hustle x NTC Sunrise NTC Sessions. Monday mornings, Nike’s Canadian Master Trainer, Eva Redpath leads us through a high intensity 45min interval workout at the crack of dawn. Literally. I’m up at 5am like an insane person to do this workout. The workout overlooks the city as we train at the gorgeous Malaparte space in the TIFF Lightbox.
The first week was very hard on me. I was sore for days. I haven’t kept up with my fitness. I started do yoga at home but I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym in years. That week I swore up and down that I’d never let my fitness sink to the bottom of the barrel like that again.
I’m not usually one for classes but the NTC sessions reminded me of my training days. So very long ago when I was a sport obsessed youth. Many of the drills we performed were exactly the same. It brought back lots of Track & Field memories when I lived and breathed plyometrics.
I downloaded the Nike Training app and it’s really good. This Monday’s workout was almost exactly like Carli Lloyd’s Metabolic Kick Hit which is the featured workout in the app right now. There are so many workouts by master trainers and pro athletes that use little or no equipment. You can even do many of the workouts at home in your living room. I only have a couple quibbles about the app. I love the Chromecast support but the audio should be used by Chromecast too. Right now the picture is on my TV but the sound comes from my phone. Not ideal. The second issue I have is that the instructional video starts several seconds after the exercise timer has begun. So if you don’t know how to do the next exercise you lose time waiting for the video to explain. The Nike NTC app works with Nike+ and Google Fit. I just got a Fitbit and I wish it was integrated with that also.
The sessions are great because Nike also outfitted me in my first pairs of shoes from the brand in over 20 years. It makes sense they would want us to be rocking Nike gear to the sessions and I’m happy to oblige. I love my the funky black and white Nike Free trainers. I wore my Air Max’s all week, I couldn’t take them off.
For this week’s session, Hawley created an amazing workout playlist that helped us push through the burn. Check it out
You can follow the Nike NTC action on social media by following the #BetterForIt, #sidewalkhustlexnike, #nikentc, #nikentoronto hashtags.
Next week is the last day of training for this session but thankfully we are moving to a new time and new place.
My favourite skincare line, Dermalogica has launched their Facemap Our Nation program. Participating Dermalogica partners will be providing free facemapping for interested people.
Facemapping is a zone by zone approach to skin analysis that’s completed by a certified Dermalogica Skin Therapist. They will be able to answer all your skin care questions and give you a skin care regime tailored to your skin conditions. All I can say is once you go Dermalogica, you can never go back to what you have used before. I speak from experience as last year my lovely Skin Therapist put me on a heavy program to get my face in a good place after a year of playing beauty editor and trying all kinds of weird products. I’m back to my never using anything but Dermalogica stance.
Please visit FaceMapNation.com to find out more information on dates and places where you can find across the country to get your facemapped. You have till June 30, 2015 to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about your skin.
Follow the action on social media by following the hashtag #facemapnation
Nao Steakhouse teamed up with me, Sidewalk Hustle and The Soles of My Shoes on a special dinner event in which we invited some of closest influencer friends to experience the food and cocktails of this modern steakhouse. Nao sources its cuts of meat from top local and global producers and accents them with spices and flavours of Asia-Pacific. I invited my good friends Andrew Sardone, Editor of Globe Style Advisor and Philip Sparks, a Toronto based menswear designer.
Executive Chef, Stuart Cameron prepared a wonderful menu that gave everyone a chance to try the variety of dishes on the menu. Here are all the mouthwatering details. We were excited for the epic experience the menu hinted at.
Tuna Tartar – Wasabi Leaf + Avocado + Puffed Rice + Wasabi
Lao Raw Beef Tartar – Squid Ink Chip + Kaffir Lime + Chili
Binchotan Grilled Shishito Peppers – Amabito No Moshio Salt
24 Oz Strip Loin – Dry Aged 40+ Days USDA Prime, Nebraska, USA
Whole Branzino – Red Yuzukosho Marinade + Ponzu Brown Butter
Nao has two levels but we were seating on the ground floor at a large table. I called it the “look at me” table as we seemed to be on display for everyone. Nao is great place for people watching. The crowd skews young professional and up. The bar area was busy with customers having a few cocktails and chatting it up. The two floor setup is great because if you want a quieter dinner you can eat upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of the bar. It was a Thursday night and the place was packed. I think there might have even been some Toronto pro athletes in the place.
We started with some cocktails created especially by Nao’s master mixologist. There is a lot of variety on the menu that’s sure to please rye, bourbon, vodka and gin drinkers. Love sake and tequila, Nao has you covered too. The cocktails are presented in vintage glasses that are super adorable and unique. You almost want to stick them in your bag and take them home with you. I know what you are thinking and the answer is No, not that this event. Actually, Nao has amazing branded Japanese steak knifes that you’d wanna take off with too. No, no we didn’t do that either.
We got settled in with the drinks and then the mountains of food for the First Course started coming. At Nao, Beef Tartar is prepared right at the table. This type service gets me every time; it’s a great interactive experience for the customer. Unfortunately, the Beef Tartar was the only item of the night I didn’t like. I love Beef Tartar but I felt Nao’s was a bit to saucy for my tastes. Tuna Tartar and Binchotan Grilled Shishito Peppers are some of my favourite things so I enjoyed those options immensely. We squealed at the arrival the mains and sides. Andrew and Philip loved the 24 Oz Strip Loin, remarking on how it was the best piece of beef they’ve ever tasted. The Whole Branzio with Red Yuzukosho Marinade + Ponzu Brown Butter was exceptionally delicious and the presentation was out of the world. They spilt the fish along the belly and then laid it flat. I’ve never seen whole fish presented that way before. The sides, like everything else at dinner, were excellent also.
Now, I know I’m supposed to be gushing about how great the steak is at Nao and it really is great but it’s really all about the heavenly Baked Alaska!
It’s one of those desserts that I’ve seen it in photos from as long as I can remember. It’s an unbelievable feat of nature. How does the ice cream stay cold in the oven?!!!!!! I didn’t know anyone growing up who made them and none of my Caribbean family touched the stuff. That being said, there was something so appealing about this mysterious dessert to my young self. I can’t believe it took me this long to finally indulge and let me tell you it lives up to the damn hype. If you go to Nao, the Baked Alaska is a must. It’s beautiful and delicious; I didn’t want to eat it. I wasn’t expecting the Chianti Wine Raspberry Sorbet to rock my world but it did.
Overall, we had a really great time. The service and food was excellent. The Baked Alaska is a must and I’ll be back to get that into my life again. Thank you to the Nao Steakhouse staff for their hospitality. And a massive thank you to Executive Chef, Stuart Cameron for the great meal.
Nao is located in Yorkville at 90 Avenue Road, Toronto.
This is the result of the Eve Gravel Garden Party Challenge style challenge. Eve Gravel sent me a Garden Party kit that included a dress from the SS15 collection and some addition styling items to add to the shoot. I chose the dress but everything else was a surprise. With this box of goodies I was to come up with a Garden Party themed photoshoot. The Red Hat dress is amazing and has some beautiful movement to it.
At first I was like, I don’t have a garden! I thought about going to a park but it was cold and brown out there (this was a few weeks ago). I realized that this would be have to be an I want – I got style garden party and that meant my balcony would take centre stage.
In the #evegravelgardenparty party kit styling items included a super cute pineapple bracelet from Horace Jewelry, Misslyn nail polish (available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) and a pair of incredibly cool Italia Independent sunglasses (available at Pink Eye Optical). I’m obsessed with them with the sunglasses. Perfect bright colour for summer. For decoration was a paper pineapple, booze, cocktail shaker and an Eve Gravel fabric pennant banner.
My garden party guests were some plush guys from Monster Factory to add a bit of a teddy bear picnic feel for kicks. Unfortunately my cats wouldn’t sit still enough to participate. Thankfully, I just picked up a new patio set that would go perfectly. So, I set up my trusty Cannon camera and got my remote shooting app and got to work taking shots on a lovely evening as the sun set.
It’s the end of an era. This Saturday, March 28, 2015 is the last PROM at the ROM party. It’s been 10 years and I’ve attended several PROM parties, so it’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye.
The final PROM at the ROM, PROM X is inspired by the works of Douglas Coupland and the ROM’s latest exhibit Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything. I’m a big fan of Douglas Coupland’s work so I’m really looking forward to what the ROM is calling a Pop Explosion Party that pays homage to this iconic Canadian artist. There will be live music, dancing, electric activities, gourmet fare and lounge areas to relax in between all the fun. Guests are encouraged to “curate an artistic or experimental ensemble that screams avant-garde, be playful with neon colours or celebrate contemporary Canadiana.â€
PARTY TICKET includes food and beverage (open bar), dancing, interactive activities and live entertainment
VIP TICKET includes an exclusive pre-party cocktail reception in c5 Restaurant and Lounge with an opportunity to meet Douglas Coupland and receive a signed Polaroid picture of you taken by the artist. Also includes access to exhibition, VIP lounge at the party, private registration and coat check.
DATE: Saturday, March 28, 2015
TIME: Party: 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM | VIP Experience 8:00 PM
LOCATION: Royal Ontario Museum, Main Entrance, Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, 100 Queen’s Park
DRESS CODE: Avant-garde, experimental, and playful
TICKETS: Party: $150 | YPC Member $125
VIP: $350 | YPC Member $300
I’ve been completely spoiled by my custom fitted boots from Poppy Barley. It won’t be possible for me to buy another pair of tall boots off the rack again because nothing is going to fit as well. Poppy Barley is an Edmonton based shoe brand that I first heard about in the summer. They offer custom, handcrafted footwear that is Canadian designed and ethically made in Mexico. Sisters, Kendall and Justine Barber are the brains behind the brand. The idea of Poppy Barley came to Justine when she was on vacation in Bali. She came upon a local shoemaker and was disappointed when a pair of boots she wanted didn’t come in her size. The shoemaker said no problem, measured her feet, processed her address and payment. A few weeks later, her custom made shoes showed up at her door in Edmonton. While this is an affordable option for many shoe buyers in other parts of the world, it isn’t common in Canada. Justine had the idea that she wanted to bring custom made footwear to the Canadian market.
Justine recruited her sister, Kendall to join her on this business venture. They did extensive research before partnering up with Laura who is the Operations Manager and Lupita who owns the Studio where Poppy Barley’s shoes are handcrafted. Laura and Lupita are based in LeÃ³n, Mexico which has been called the Footwear capital of the world. The Poppy Barley site has extensive material on their manufacturing practices available giving the consumer a level of transparency not seen in the Canadian shoe industry.
The Poppy Barley team visited Toronto in the fall last year and hosted a series of appointments for customers to get sized, check out the collection in person and order a new pair of shoes. I was invited to a breakfast to meet the team and get a look at the collection in person. When I first discovered Poppy Barley, I thought it was a great idea. There were existing companies doing some custom footwear that are American based and I always love seeing Canadians make a go of it.
Buying boots is a horrible experience for me and for many others. It takes so much time to find a pair of boots that fit acceptably in a style I enjoy. Too many compromises are made that leave me mostly unsatisfied with my purchases. I bought my last pair of tall flat black boots over 6 years ago and they reached end of life. I was dreading the search to replace them that I pretty much avoided it. Custom footwear was a perfect option but I’m pretty old school in my purchasing. I needed to see the product in person first. A good Photographer can make any piece of shit look great and that leads to disappointment when it finally arrives at your door.
Kendall and Justine made the Poppy Barley visit even better by letting me in on the Poppy Barley experience. They generously let me select a pair of shoes and took me through the whole fitting process. The fitting process sounds like it’s complicated but anyone can do it from the comfort of their own home. (http://poppybarley.com/how/) For those of you that want an expert’s touch, Poppy Barley hosts fitting appointments Toronto at another great Canadian shoe brand, Brodawka & Friends and Edmonton. Check the website to setup an appointment or find out when the next Poppy Barley Pop Up is scheduled.
This was the perfect opportunity to replace my tall flat black boots. They are a wardrobe must and I there was a massive hole in my wardrobe options. It wasn’t an easy choice and I spent a good chunk of time figuring out which ones to go for. I also flipped between flat and heeled boots because the Poppy Barley heel boots are pretty amazing too. After much bemoaning, I settled on The Foxhunt Boot in all black. It’s a classic riding boot with gold hardware. In addition to the standard foot measurements like size and width, I was able to customize the calf size and height of the boot. I have long legs so having the option to customize the height of the boot was a godsend. Ditto for the calf size as it’s always been a bitch getting boots to fit my calves. I’m an ex-athlete and always felt that the standard calf sizes were made for women with toothpick legs. So here was Poppy Barley that allowed me to order the boot I wanted without compromise. That’s massive!
So the hardest part of this whole process was anticipation. Each Poppy Barley shoe is made to order in Mexico and takes about 4 to 8 weeks depending on the shoe type. I ordered on November 15, 2014 and the boots shipped out on January 21, 2015. I was on vacation in Whistler when they arrived. It was one of the only reasons, I was happy to return to flatland. For those of you that don’t want to wait 8 weeks for shoes, Poppy Barley had a ready to wear line also in standard sizes that you can order from. I’d suggest you go for the custom though.
Unboxing was delightful. The boots were exactly like the samples I saw. I had no surprises in terms of quality. Of course, the fit was like nothing I’ve experienced before. The length and width was perfect when wearing tights or socks while the calf size was spot on. The only part of the boot that required some breaking in was the zipper side of the ankle and that only took a couple wears. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to add grips to the bottom of my boots. I took the Foxhunt boots into the tundra like conditions Toronto seems to be serving up these days and I didn’t slip and slide all over the place. I can truly say they are the best pair of boots I’ve ever owned.
Also included in my boot purchase was an Organic Collonil Leather Care Kit which came with Organic Bamboo Lotion, Organic Protect and Care, Combi Brush and a polishing cloth. I had no idea there was organic leather care products out there. I immediately put the Organic Protect and Care on my boots. It was nice to be able to use the product indoors and it didn’t have the harsh chemical smell that other products have. I haven’t used the Organic Bamboo Lotion yet but have successfully used Boot Rescue wipes to get rid of salt stains.
So, I hope I’ve convinced you to give Poppy Barley a chance. This company is a godsend if you have a hard to fit feet or you just want the experience of custom footwear without going the whole bespoke route. I’m a convert and plan to get myself a pair of Promenade or Highline boots in the near future. I even have a great customer service story to pass on to you guys. I mentioned how much I love the zipper pulls. Well, I broke one and I was fucking devastated. I was put in touch with Customer Service and I sent a few photos of the broken zipper. Thankfully, it was only the pull that was broken and Poppy Barley put a couple zipper pulls in the mail and even told me that they would reimburse me for the cost of getting my Cobbler to put them on. That there is some damn good service!
I love emails that brighten a dreary day. I was having a particularly stressful day at work a couple weeks ago when I got an email from HELLO! Canada. They wanted to include me in their Canada’s Best Dressed list for 2014. My first reaction was jaw drop and WTF are they kidding! I select people to be on lists like this, I don’t grace them. But there it was seriously staring me in the face. Of course, I agreed my ego demanded it. Ha
I had to answer some questions about my style, etc and I was placed under embargo till November 20, 2014. I still wasn’t quite sure if it was real and decided to keep my mouth shut in case it turned out to be some cruel, horrible joke.
The morning of November 20, I got a text message from Kirk of Greta Constantine congratulating me. Kirk and Stephen are also gracing the list. It wasn’t a hoax, yay! When I got in the office that morning I took a look through the list. What the hell am I doing on this list, I thought, these people are in another league. I guess I’m being hard on myself about the whole thing and I should reject these “best dressed fraudâ€ feelings.
I was grateful for the good-natured and necessary razzing by a friend at dinner the next day as it put things back into perspective. Not many people at the office know and I’m great with that as it’s a bit of a weird topic to discuss.
Thanks HELLO! for selecting me as one of Canada’s 50 best dressed people in 2014. I’m outwardly humble about the honour and inwardly fist pumping!
My down parka boycott began last year. I was sick of wearing the damn things and longed for the days when the wool peacoat ruled. (Does anyone remember that?) I have nostalgia for the stylish look of a wool coat but I really didn’t miss the unfortunate side effect of freezing my ass off in extreme cold weather. How was I going to get the best of both worlds?
Last year, I started to wear a down vest from Danier Leather underneath my Philip Sparks pimp coat. This combo did a great job of keeping me out of my down parkas on some really horrible days. It was a good solution but not perfect. The down vest was the purple and really didn’t match the coat. Then spring came and I put all thoughts of winter coats and optimal layering solutions to bed.
During the summer, I received an email from Marissa Freed. She’s the President of Freed and Freed International, an outerwear company based in Winnipeg. The company is 95 years old and you can read about their rich heritage here. She was designing a new line of winter coats for Fall Winter 2014 and wanted to send me a sample of the line to put through its paces this winter. This email came in June and let me tell you I was in full on “LA LA LA LA, it’s not winter yetâ€ mindset. However, she already had buy in from Holt Renfrew and Pink Tartan so I thought something must be going on here and I should check it out. I was totally expecting more of the same down parkas that I can’t stand but it was like Marissa knew what I was thinking. The PDF line sheet for the Freed line was full of these wonderful tweet coats in various silhouettes. Holy Shit, I thought to myself, Marissa is the bomb.
What was Marissa’s brilliant design idea? English Tweed that is treated to be wind and water resistant paired with a removable down vest! 100% English tweet is bonded with a Dintex membrane and a thin fleece lining. Dintex is a Thermoplastic Polyurethane member which is waterproof and wind resistant. Wind and water are killers in winter and one of the major failings of your typical wool coat. The vest is 90/10 fill of down and feathers. It also has snaps which make it easy to remove and secure the vest in the coat. Luxury details like leather buttons, leather elbow patches and a removable fur lined hood round out the coat. The FREED line was everything that I was looking for in a winter coat. I felt like Indiana Jones reaching for that wooden cup, this was my holy grail. And to make things even better, everything is made in Canada. I can’t believe I’m excited for winter in June!
I decided on the Montrealer in grey. It took me a very long time to decide because all the coats are so beautiful. Thankfully, a media preview in August gave me a chance to see the coats in person and try them all on. I was pretty blown away by the photos of the collection but they didn’t do the collection justice. The fabrics were just gorgeous and all the coats looked great on. Again, here I was a staunch summer baby excited about winter in August. I was really impressed.
The Montrealer arrived just in the nick of time. A week later we went into deep freeze and I pulled that puppy out. My first forays in the coat were without the vest. It wasn’t too cold yet and I always wear warm sweaters. The wind resistance is immediately noticeable. One day I got stuck in the rain and I marveled at the water just beading off the tweed like it was Gore-Tex. A coat gets major bonus points from me if there is an inside pocket and of course Marissa thought of that. It fits my phone perfectly.
Levi’s contacted me about participating in their Live in Levi’s campaign (#LiveinLevis). Some select bloggers/influencers use the hashtag and their social networks to share their style stories about Levi’s in their day to day lives. Levi’s also sent us one of their ICON pieces to style to go with our stories.
I came across this photo of myself in grade 9 recently. I’m wearing a well loved Levi’s 501 jean jacket. The first thing that came to my mind was “Anita, you stupid asshole, why didn’t you keep that jacket. Think about how worn in and cool it would be now.” I honestly don’t even know if I could still fit in my Grade 9 clothes. The other thing that came to me from that photo was the emotion that it conveyed to me: Happiness, confidence and a little bit of style with my funky skater/Michie Mee-ish haircut. Levi’s was the denim brand of my youth; it wasn’t like now where there is an overwhelming amount of choice in the denim market. It was Levi’s or bust. 20 years later I’ve realized that when I wear Levi’s, I feel like that 13 year old kid again.
One thing I love about my Levi’s style is simplicity. I never feel the need to dress it up. I feel complete whether it’s tossing on a jean jacket or wearing shorts and a t-shirt. With my love of Levi’s simplicity in mind, I chose the Western shirt dress to style for this story.
One thing I love about dresses is that it’s pretty much one stop dressing. Throw it on and put on some shoes and you are out the door. I’m terrible at layering and I honestly don’t like to wear that many layers so the perfect dress is always important to me. The Fall Winter 2014 Levi’s Icon Western Shirt Dress is a little different due to the polka dots fabric. I think it’s a great detail that gives denim a little modern update. I squealed a little when I got a better look at the fabric.
I love the built in leather rope belt. You can wear it without but I think it gives the waist a bit more definition when worn. Finally, the dress has pockets!!! I’m a believer that all dresses (except bodycon) should have pockets. My look is a no brainer: tights, boots and the dress. The boots I got at The Gap and I was really worried about how often I would wear them. I don’t do brown shoes very well. All my outfits are designed with black or random colour shoes in mind. I hate brown and black for the most part. Luckily, the Western Shirt Dress is perfect with them. I usually wear darker grey tights but I received these via a package of Grey goodies from Upper Canada Mall. It was like all these items came into my life independently only to discover their purpose in my wardrobe. One more benefit is that I can wear it to work.
You can check out how others #LiveinLevis by checking out the hashtag on your various social networks and by watching this video:
The Western Shirt Dress is from the Fall Winter 2014 ICON collection. Check them out online or at the Levi’s store in Yorkdale Mall.
I have a saying that I’ve repeated a lot these days, “I need another one of these like I need a hole in the head”. Lately, its been applied to coats, sweaters and shoes. I said it to myself again once I spotted the Sully Wong x Amanda Lew Kee sneaker collaboration. I don’t need another pair of sneakers because my closet is full of them but the Sully Wong x Amanda Lew Kee Swalk Hi sneaker is one incredible shoe.
Amanda has incredible style so I had big hopes for the design when I heard about the collaboration initially. She has surpassed anything I could have imagined. The shoe is perfection, I cannot lie.
“The SWALK HI collaboration personifies all aspects, both in design and philosophy, which Sully Wong and I share as a team. The design itself is sleek, smart, and constructed with the finest attention to detail and luxury materials. Together we are aiming to give the women’s market a sophisticated limited edition option, in the realm of casual athletic footwear, focusing on quality over quantity,â€ states Amanda Lew Kee.
The shoe not only looks slick as all fuck but the attention to detail on the materials are great. It uses a premium raw-cut leather upper, silver stitch-tag detailing, Japanese leather lined denim interior and black waxed rope laces. The leather footpad is removable making this a great option for those that wear orthotics too.
I’ve been a fan of the brand since the beginning of this blog. It seems like it was only yesterday when I wrote my first of many posts on the brand. It was way back in November of 2005 and I have to thank Now Magazine for turning me on to Christie’s and Andrea’s beautiful designs. Man, looking at those early posts are painful 🙂
To celebrate 10 years, Smythe is hosting a Flashtagram Right Now! Upload a photo of yourself in your favourite Smythe Jacket to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #smythejackets #10X10 #flashtagram. The Smythe social media channels will be posting their favourite shots of their fans. You can follow the fun on Smythe’s Twitter and Instagram pages.
It was an absolute honour to be asked to take part in the Smythe flashtagram. So much so, that a meager selfie of the Reefer Coat wouldn’t do. I got into the studio to show off my favourite 10X10 collection piece.
The Reefer Coat is an absolute stunner. The colour is really vibrant and the gold button are perfect match. Functional pockets and button holes are important things in my life and Smythe never lets me down. Thank you so much Andrea and Christie for the jacket! I will love it and cherish it for the rest of my days.
Outfit Breakdown: Smythe Reefer Coat in Royal, Zara Dress, Manolo Blahnik Heels, Jenny Bird Earrings
August was one of those pinch me is this really happening months. I’m still processing the idea of my face plastered all over Roots stores and their online properties. That’s right, I’m currently part of Roots Sweatstyle Ad Campaign.
As with most amazing things that happen to me it started with a random email. In July, I was approached by Roots to take part in their Sweatstyle campaign celebrating Roots’s 41st anniversary. It was going to be a big one featuring online, instore, magazines and outdoor ads. I didn’t quite understand the large scope of the campaign when I said yes but my ego was all over it. Here is a company that I’ve grown up with asking me to become part of their history. I also love having any excuse to take part in a phootshoot with professional hair and makeup artists, stylists and photographers.
The question I got asked by most people when I told them I was participating was “Did they pay you?â€ I didn’t receive any money for the campaign but Roots would make a donation of $1500 to the charity of my choice. After I heard that my mind was made up and I said yes.
My charity is Hill House Hospice. Two years ago my family went through a really tough time when my Father was dying from cancer. The blog suffered because I was pretty much an emotional wreck. I want â€“ I got isn’t site for airing my very personal thoughts about things, so I’ve never commented on his death here. I’m a very private person when it comes to stuff like that and I’ve never had a desire to make my pain into entertainment for others. I’m not wired to share emotions like that to a broad audience, only to very close friends. Hill House Hospice really did an amazing job of making this horrible experience as easy and respectful as possible for both the living and the dying. I can’t thank them enough for the care they gave my Father in his final hours. He was surrounded by family who loved him in those final moments in a quiet home like environment. So, this campaign is kind of like a salute to my beloved Father who I miss very much. He was the most loving and supportive Dad any kid could wish for. (I’m a big Daddy’s girl, no doubt about it).
The shoot happened to be on the day I filmed Cityline. I felt like a real baller that day, Television show in the morning and national ad campaign in the evening. I brought some of my clothing to mix with the Roots Fall collection as they really wanted to show each person’s own Sweatstyle. I worked with Stylist, Patrick Davis to choose two looks to shoot. Hair and Makeup was handled by Anna Barseghian of Judy Inc. The most hilarious person of the shoot was the Photographer, Ilich Mejia, whose name I only discovered weeks later. He introduced himself with a fist bump while I was getting my makeup done and we got to work. The shoot was so much fun. I felt really good about it. Ilich made me feel like a million bucks and I think it shows in the photos.
I saw the campaign first in the September issue of Flare Magazine. I had no idea it was going to hit the print mags or The Globe and Mail for that matter. The official campaign launch was on August 15 and my jaw dropped when I went to Roots.com. I really had no idea of the scope of this thing when I signed up. It was larger than I believed. I have a full page dedicated to me on Roots.com, this is insane. And it’s not just the Canadian website but also the US and International versions. My jaw dropped again when I walked in to the Roots store on Bloor Street. Seeing my photo in the front window and behind the cash was a very surreal experience. A friend was in Halifax and Instagrammed a photo of the Campaign from the Roots store there. Crazy!
So, I was browsing The Coveteur earlier this week and came across Alana Zimmer’s profile. I met Alana this year at a party and we had a really nice conversation. At the end of this conversation, she gave me a hug. I was happily stunned and I’ve been a fan girl ever since. I’m looking at photos of Alana’s great New York City apartment and her clothing. There are two photos of her in a leather skirt that automatically catch my eye. Can you guess what got me excited?
If you are a long time reader you probably guessed the full leather skirt and you’d be absolutely right. I was drooling over this thing. All the standard questions ran through my head. Who is the designer? Is it real leather? Is it still available and the dreaded how much is this going to cost? Then I remembered that The Coveteur has shopping links and the skirt was clickable.
Turns out, the skirt is from Valentino. It’s made from lambskin leather, in an A line cut and I’m in love. The only problem is the crazy price tag! 5700 Dollars!!!!! I don’t know what I was expecting; Valentino has always been very, very pricey. So the hunt is on for a vintage equivalent or something cheaper!
For those of you that can part with about 6500 bucks you can find the Valentino Long Leather Flare Skirt at Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom.
It’s funny that I was never really into Valentino that much when Valentino Garavani was at the helm. Sure, I respected the designer and his work but never drooled over it. However, the new designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are releasing season after season of incredible design. Pre-Fall 2014 is incredible with stunning prints and animal motifs.
I’m not big on the Evil Eye trend in fashion from an aesthetic point of view. That being said, I’m falling for these Pre Fall 2014 Pierre Hardy Eye Sandal and Pumps. They are obviously influenced by the talisman but I like the quirky and anime like take he’s used in the design of these shoes. I love that the eyes are the most dominate feature on the shoe. The size of the eye and its placement make these shoes look so freaking cute on. In the kitten heel, there is just the perfect amount of toe point showing. It makes me want to squeal with delight.
There are a lot of variations on the shoe. You can see there are kitten heel and regular heel sandal varieties. Pierre has also switched up the materials and colour combinations. He mixed leather, pony and suede. I’m particularly taken with the pony hair sandal in dusty pink, it’s absolutely spectacular.
I haven’t seen any Canadian retailers with the shoes yet but you can find a variety of online retailers out there.
Net-a-Porter and Boutique 1 are selling the black sandal with Net a Porter winning out at $865 to Boutique 1’s $908.
Welcome to my new weekly outfit of the day (OOTD) column called geekigirlStyle. I’m just playing some historical catchup with the month of June and Week 28 will see the column debut in its weekly format.
geekigirlStyle – Week 24
Philip Sparks Top
Vintage Liberty London Skirt
Philip Sparks Kilted Mock Shoes
Gap Tank Top
Rodin Derby Shoes
Summer Dress – Can’t remember the brand and can’t remember where I bought it.
I figured that short lasting and under-performing was status quo in the natural deodorant world. I tried different brands and delivery methods over the years. eventually I learned that I didn’t have much of a choice and gave up searching. Then I stumbled on the holy grail when introduced to Leaves of Trees deodorant.
Leaves of Trees is a luxury skincare line based in Toronto that uses all organic products. Brand founder, Roohi Qureshi, MD uses her extensive background medicine and chemical engineering to choose the best natural fair-trade ingredients that produce healing benefits. Leaves of Trees products are formulated using a base of the highest quality unrefined argan oil sourced from a woman’s cooperative in Morocco. The argan nuts are crushed and then cold pressed by hand which results in a higher concentration of antioxidants which prevent and repair skin damage caused by free radicals. All products are handmade in small batches at the Leaves of Trees Flagship store at 177 Queen Street East. Products are free of artificial fragrances, colours and preservatives.
I attended the press preview at the Leaves of Trees flagship store and there was a lot of buzz about the deodorant. Of course my ears pricked up and I was desperate to get my hands on some. There were two types, Lavender Tangerine and Eucalyptus Mint. Luckily the generous gift bag included some of the deodorant for everyone to test out. I got the Lavender Tangerine one. The Leaves of Trees deodorant uses Roohi’s argan lotion formula so it’s also moisturizing. Kaolin clay absorbs moisture and sodium bicarbonate is a deodorizer.
The Leaves of Trees deodorant doesn’t come in stick or crystal form. It’s packaged in a very smart-looking aluminum tube and it has the consistency of thick clay mask. It sounds weird and you are probably thinking there is going to be this huge weird clay looking patch on my pits. I can assure you there isn’t anything to worry about. A small pea size amount of deodorant is all that is necessary and it’s rubbed on the arm pit like lotion. The deodorant is almost totally absorbed and isn’t noticeable at all. The scent isn’t overpowering which is very important to me as a perfume wearer. I hate cross contaminating smells and I always try to find the skin products that are unscented or with the least amount of fragrance in them.
The Leaves of Trees deodorant blew any previous biases I held against natural deodorants. It kept me surprisingly dry and more importantly smell free all damn day long. I never experienced this before and it blew my mind. I’m a convert and I’ve already reordered the Lavender Tangerine and Eucalyptus Mint online. I highly recommend this product for anyone who is finding their current natural deodorant routine lacking in effectiveness.
The Leaves of Trees line also included argan oil, butters, lip balms, lotions, scrubs and soaps. They also have a custom program for events like weddings and baby showers. The customer can choose Handmade soaps and skincare flavours wrapped in custom designed and personalized packaging. In my gift bag there was a custom sample for each person. Really smart and cute gift.
Welcome to my new weekly outfit of the day (#OOTD) column called geekigirlStyle. I’m just playing some historical catchup with the month of June and Week 28 will see the column debut in its weekly format.
geekigirlStyle – Week 23
Philip Sparks Seersucker Dress
Lacoste Oxfords *
Gap Tank Top
Sarah Stevenson Skirt
Nine West Sandals
Bevel Sunglasses *
Rag and Bone Blazer
Reitmans x Eve Salvail tshirt
Lacoste Oxfords *
Bevel Sunglasses *
Zara Floral Bomber Jacket
3.1 Phillip Lim Chelsea Boots
Jeremy Laing Top
Jenny Bird Earrings
I was creeping on a twitter conversation between a couple of friends who were talking favorably about this new American sportswear company based out of New York City called Trademark. I decided to check them out and I fell in love with the Alcoff Shirtdress.
Alcoff Shirtdress at $228 is a great price and nothing in the Trademark line will be over $500. The Alcoff Shirtdress is available ordered online at www.trade-mark.com but unfortunately they only deliver to the US at the moment. I hope you deliver to Canada soon ladies! I need this dress.
Trademark started in 2013 by Alexandra and Louisa Burch. Yup, the former step-daughters of Tory Burch. Alexandra and Louisa freely admit they have help from their very successful parents. The brand is backed by J. Christopher Burch’s investment company, Burch Creative Capital. Tory is on hand for consultations. It possible this could be a new Burch empire in the making.
So, I enter the party and I’m seeing no one I know. I spot Charles on the stairs to the upstairs patio and move in to quickly chat. I keep walking up to the stairs and finally I notice some folks I know sitting down and I beeline over. So, I’m sitting having lovely conversation with Mary Symons. Confession time. Mary is someone I’ve always wanted to get to know a little better for years but my networking style is let things happen naturally. (She’s awesome BTW) As more guests arrive, people we know come by the table to chat. Mary introduces me to some of her friends and they both happen to work on Cityline. One of those people is the producer, Candy Signorini. They are both lovely and we have a great conversation. Eventually, I head home from the party and that’s the last I think of Cityline. That’s until about a week later when I get a message from Mary asking for my contact info. Candy wants to speak to me. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit confused but Candy is awesome so my contact details get sent over. A few days later, I get an email from Candy and she wants me to come on the show as a guest in a couple of weeks. I’m flabbergasted but of course I write back and say Hells Ya!
We filmed the show on June 27. I was able to get seats for my family to attend the taping which was so great. I was nervous and I’m glad I had a little support section in the audience to help me get though it. It was really cool to see how the show is put together from behind the scenes. I loved how my makeup looked and I met Dave Lackie who is really the sweetest guy. Tracy Moore is an absolute pro and she made that interview so easy for me. I really can’t thank her enough. The show aired on July 4th and it’s online for your viewing pleasure – Cityline July 4, 2014
I haven’t watched the video and I don’t think I ever will. The thought of watching myself makes me feel pretty ill to be honest. I prefer to think about the memory of the event instead. Friends and family say it’s good and I’ll take their word for it.
I was told to wear lots of colour for the show and I decided to take it to obnoxious proportions. So here is my outfit breakdown:
Yellow Zara Blazer
Mint Green Le Chateau Dress (courtesy of Le Chateau)
Nine West Sandals