As we all know by now, I love skincare. Growing up, my mother always put such a big emphasis on properly taking care of our skin, whether it was with the constant reapplication of sunscreen when we were at the beach or going to see the dermatologist when I got my first zit. I was lucky to have her guidance in figuring out which types of products I needed and she was always quite generous in making sure that I was fully stocked up in skincare. The more I aged, the more products I started adding to my daily routine but as I am getting myself ready to embark on a two week trip to Europe, I realized that I couldn't travel with all the products that I love. As such, I decided to narrow it down to ten products, new and old, that I simply couldn't live without.
This past week, I bit adieu to the twenty eighth year of my life and warmly welcomed the twenty ninth. I know that according to society’s guidelines, I should be stressing out about the fact that I am verging on my thirties but somehow, I felt an odd sense of calm about the whole idea.
For the majority of my life, a car has simply been a motor vehicle. As long as it had four wheels and could take me to places, it didn't really matter much to me and I was at a complete loss whenever anyone were to mention a specific car model or the power of an engine. However, my recent experience with Lincoln has completely changed my perception of what cars should be like.
It is no secret that I love enjoying some of the finer things in life. As a millennial, my lifestyle makes me more inclined to spend money on experiences and to eat out and order in often.
In an attempt to build up my credit score, I charge most of my expenses to my credit card. In the past, I earned a small rebate each year, however, I wasn't able to reap many benefits from all of the spending on food, travel and entertainment that I was regularly doing. While there is a large variety of credit cards out there, I’ve struggled to find one that truly fits my lifestyle and needs, until today.
The life of an “influencer” always seems like a dream when you look at their social channel. When you sneak a peek at the behind-the-scenes of a project, you’ll notice numerous pitches, emails and phone calls before a contract is even signed. Once the official paper works are done, the true work begins. The creative part of the job is then followed by further emails to seek the approval of the brands and often, you have to fight for your vision and creative direction of the project. I will admit that paper work has never been my forte and as the amount of contracts started increasing, I decided to look into getting an agency to represent me.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while now, you know that I went through a breakup a few months ago. For those of you who do not know about this particular time of my life, you have some reading to catch up on. Over three months have passed and some of the feelings have started to settle in while others haven’t. Over the labour day long weekend, I had a bit too much time to think and it compelled me to write this blog post.
Growing up, my parents always put a big emphasis on education. Along with after school tuition and the need to score good grades in class (there is nothing lower than an A in an asian household), my parents always made sure that I was well read. What started out with a collection of Enid Blyton books soon turned into the Harry Potter saga and progressed into the classic Regency fiction of my mother’s favourite, Jane Austen. Over the years, my passion for literature remained a semi-permanent fixture in my life. What started out as a great way to improve my vocabulary became an escape from my everyday life.
You know those people who endlessly reminisce about their high school glory days? Not me. I hated high school. Like most kids with a creative inclination, I was persecuted and bullied for not indulging in the banalities of my peers. I was different and the other kids did not like it. From there started the name calling and the body shaming, both from people I dreaded and from others I thought were friends. One year, I was called obese and the next I was deemed anorexic. I was made fun of for idiotic things like having freckles. After I graduated, I finally started to blossom into the person that I was meant to be. I became more confident and prouder of who I was. I finally shed the insecurities that had been thrust upon me for years. At least, that what I thought.
I will forever think of my dearly beloved mother each time I get a whiff of Coco by Chanel. It was the same scent that her mother used before her, and my own mother would choose to wear the Chanel perfume for special occasions. She had other favourites that she wore on an everyday basis, but Coco by Chanel was so unique, so powerful, elaborate and elegant that it remains the one perfume that reminds me of her without fail. It became her signature scent.
I have never been one with much of an interest for sports. I have partaken in some of them, mostly because I was required to do so in high school as part of the curriculum. While I did understand the basics of most of them, I simply didn't understand the need or the passion that some people get out of sports. However, I will admit that there is one sport that managed to capture my interest: tennis.
Although I have been living in Canada since 2009, this season has been a summer of many firsts for me. The last few months saw me camping and eating s’mores near a fireplace, going to my first baseball game and attending Osheaga. For those who might not know, Osheaga is a three day indie music festival hosted in the beautiful city of Montreal. Recently ranked on Forbes as the seventh most lucrative music festival in the world, Osheaga is by far the most important of its kind in Canada.
I was recently reminiscing about my college years. I remember all the wonderful moments spent in school, learning to bake bread and creating chocolate sculptures. The greasy lunches eaten at the nearby diner. I also remembered that money was a bit tight back then and that forced me to eat out less and cook at home more often. Toronto is blessed with a multitude of different grocery stores, however most of the ones populating the downtown core can get expensive. Thankfully, there were a few oases in the city where one can shop at a lower price range so that they can spend their money on the things they really want, and one of them is the topic of today’s blog post: Food Basics.
Physical appearance often plays a big role in our day-to-day life. We pay close attention to the way we dress, to our mannerisms and to the shininess of our shoes. For women, makeup has played a great role in their way of shaping the World’s perception of them and recently, men have also been jumping on the makeup bandwagon. The trick to male makeup is to create a skin that looks natural and even but without appearing lifeless. We do not require extravagant eyelashes and highly pigmented eyeshadows and hence the emphasis would be solely on our skin. I will be starting off this small makeup series with one of the key items to possess: a good concealer.
The month of June this year marked a few things: It announced the beginning of summer, created the very defined line of a farmer’s tan on my skin and it also marked the one year anniversary of my blog. A year ago, I decided to go fully freelance with my career, quit my stable yet boring full time job and set myself to writing about my personal experiences and opinions and sharing them on this platform. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned along this 365 day journey.
When we think of the topic of fast fashion, clothing stores such as Zara and H&M often come to mind. Other than fast food, we seem to only think of clothing when the fast lifestyle subject comes up. However, there are other ways in which our daily lives are affected by the phenomenon. Every time we give in to the purchase of cheaper replicas where no original creativity was required, where products were the result of mass manufacture and without taking in environmental consequences or long term durability, we are giving in to the fast lifestyle. This rushed way of living, when conformity and quick results are pre requisites, surrounds us everywhere, from the mug in which you consume your morning coffee to the sheets you sleep in.
I recall growing up, how much I wanted to be exactly like everyone else. To blend in. To be one with the crowd. I hated my freckles, had body issues especially regarding my weight and I even disliked my name because it set me apart. I dressed in oversized tee-shirts in a shade of brown that was absolutely horrendous on my skin tone and in my own way, I was content whenever I was invisible. My reluctancy to be seen only made me more visible to a small group of bullies which further accentuated my personal issues. I was misunderstood because I was different and I was even mockingly given an award for “most social”. Little did they know that nine years later, I would make social media my full time occupation.
For those of you living south of the Canadian borders, you have most likely started feeling the wondrous effects of spring. With every garden filled with beautiful flowers, the ability to finally shed layers of clothing and feel the sun on your skin, it also means that it’s time to change your skincare routine to adapt to the warmer weather. If you are anything like me, then even your face tends to sweat in the summer. My winter routine of rich moisturizers do not help with this condition either and coupled with an additional layer of sunscreen, my face often creates the illusion that it is melting in the sun by midday. My go-to during the sweltering weather are face gels and i recently tested out three of them that recently launched on the Canadian market.
After an interesting Spring season in Toronto that has earned the city the nickname ToRAINto (at least in my books), I will admit that I am looking forward to the hot days ahead. Summer obviously has a lot of pros: drinking sangrias on patios, laying down in the park with a brand new book, cold brew coffee and most of all ice-cream. However, when you’re a guy, summer also means dumbing down your daily outfits to a max of two clothing pieces. While girls have the option of beautiful floral dresses and cute rompers, the selection for men is a bit lacking especially if you’re used to only wearing solid colours. As such, I have found that season after season, I tend to go back to the same staple look during the hot months: a white t-shirt and shorts.
An event I recently attended was the beginning of a very interesting night for me. Upon arriving at the venue, I was directed to the “Instagram table” where I was sitting quietly until I was very rudely asked to move by a blonde middle aged woman who then proceeded to sit her fellow Instagrammer friends at the table. After this, I decided to take it to my insta-stories to document my particular feeling about this intrusion and it in turn resulted in my inbox being flooded with responses from people who either felt the same way as I did, or that my words were too harsh. Either way, this whole night ignited a few topics that I would love to talk about today on the blog.
Childhood is a fantastic time in someone’s life. You do not have any real responsibilities (including doing your own laundry), taking daily naps is pretty much compulsory and you can eat all the sugar in the world and stay nice and slim. As it is the case with most children, I didn't have a very developed palate. Greens were pushed to the side of the plate, pasta was rapidly devoured and anything with sugar was more than welcome. It’s a completely different story now that I am an adult obviously. I’ve learned about calories, carbohydrates, fats and all the other wonderful things present in our food and that has made me more conscious of the things I put in my body. My love for all things sweet remained unwavered but I learned of healthier alternatives for some of them. Today, I’ll be talking about a great substitute for pop.
Anytime you are at an event, you can usually tell what specific genre of blogging everyone is into based on their conversations. Fitness bloggers often talk about their gym routines or pushing their limits. Beauty bloggers are the first to notice that you’ve bleached your hair a shade lighter. Food bloggers usually crowd nearest to where the canapés are coming out to make sure they get some of the food to use as props in a photo. Those small details are often the best way to know what terrain you are entering while on the blogger battlefield. However the lines have blurred slightly lately as it seems that every blogger, no matter the genre they represent, seems to be preoccupied with the same topic: Instagram.
A few weeks after the end of my previous relationship, I decided that I’ve had enough of moping around and wallowing in something that was long past it’s expiration date. Against the advice of some of my friends, I decided to give in to the modern version of “going to a bar to meet someone”: I downloaded tinder.
As the work week comes to an end, we always look forward to the activities that we will be partaking into during the weekend. Some of them, like doing laundry, aren't necessarily the most recreational or eventful occupations but there are always great ways to spend those two glorious days of rest. Long walks along the waterfront, sunbathing in the park, shopping in cute little boutiques and, my personal favourite, grabbing brunch with beloved friends. Today’s post focusses on the Mediterranean restaurant Ricarda’s.
I woke up one morning, feeling completely numb and unable to move. I remained in bed for a couple of hours, attempting to finally regain control of my limbs and get on with my day-to-day life but it was all in vain. While it has been common for me to be cursed with small occasional depression spells, this was the first time it had ever hit me to such a magnitude. This took place slightly over a week after me and my partner decided to dissolve our two year relationship.
We all have specific food items that we would not be able to resist if we were faced with a plate of it. For some people it’s salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies. For others, it might be a bowl of chips with a side of freshly made guacamole. In my case, I’ve always had a soft spot (a.k.a my belly) for Italian cuisine. Who can resist a beautiful plate of pasta, a burrata salad with roasted beets or a bowl of tiramisu? If you disagree, we are probably not meant to be friends. Obviously the more variations of the same item you eat, the more you start to learn what you like and dislike in the making of the dish. You start becoming a picky eater. You begin to expect to be blown away at each bite of your Margherita pizza and it is with high expectations that I visited Ufficio for brunch a few weeks back.
A few days back, I was walking back to my apartment when I noticed something that caught the corner of my eye: The magnolia trees were starting to bloom. Often one of the first ones to show their buds at the beginning of the season of renewal, magnolias are a far better indicator of the coming of spring than groundhogs are. Spring is a season of regrowth, with trees starting to coat themselves in a bright green duvet of young leaves and all the flowers start to bloom. As it is often the case in the law of the universe, when you get more of something you are meant to balance it out with less of something else. The more flowers start to bloom, the less clothing we seem to wear. With the higher percentage of exposed skin surface to the dangerous UV rays of the sun, it is time to start thinking about sun care.
In theory, the act of roasting coffee seems quite easy enough to accomplish: green coffee beans are poured into a roaster, where they are slowly roasted to the desired degree and they are then dumped from the roasting chamber and air cooled. While one could attempt the whole procedure simply by looking for a specific colouration to the beans, it takes an expert to understand the subtle calibrations in temperature, smell, colour and sound that result in the finished product that they are aiming to achieve. One such master roaster is the owner and namesake of Sam James Coffee Bars in Toronto and the creator of Cut Coffee.
Two boys and a girl meet in New York. The gentlemen are from Waterloo and the lady is from Toronto. They strike a friendship. While this may sound like the beginning plot lines of a new sitcom coming to CBS this fall, this is the premise of the beginnings of the brand KOTN. Mackenzie, Rami and Ben became friends who decided to start up a clothing brand and Rami immediately suggested something close to his roots; Egyptian cotton. When investigating the fabric option, they realized that Egyptian cotton was in danger of extinction due to the issues faced by the producers in the country. Thus KOTN became a brand with an unintentional cause.
Before I shifted professions and became a full time blogger and photographer, I used to be a pastry chef at a popular restaurant in Toronto. There seems to be a certain idealization of the profession and I often get asked whether I miss my old job. The hours were long, the upper management was impossible to please and let’s be honest, working in hospitality isn’t the most lucrative career choice. However, I will admit that I do miss baking sometimes. Thankfully, I usually meet up with a bunch of talented bloggers at least once a month for our Friday Bake Club.
I remember there was a time when I would be awaiting fashion week eagerly, hoping to see a fresh new take on the classics from the designers worldwide. Unfortunately, it seems that season after season, the general level of creativity going into fashion design has diminished greatly and we are now left with a certain fashion ennui. Of course, I am not referring to the J.Crew and Club Monaco of this world but rather to bigger fashion houses that created revolutions of their own.