I often mention how I love Toronto throughout every season. It is gorgeous in Fall, brisk in Spring, warm in Summer and magical in winter. However, I will admit that the drop in temperature and the promise of snow did hit hard this year so I was happy to pack up my bags to head to the Florida Keys for five days. While I did visit Miami earlier on this year, this marked my first time in the Keys and Key West, a place so south that the running joke is that it is closer to Cuba than a Walgreens.
Tis the season to be jolly! Well, okay we still have to get past the Halloween frights first but everyone, including myself, is starting to get ready for the most amazing time of the year. While I am excited for the winter markets, chestnuts roasting on open fires and the smell of pine in the air, Christmas can also be stressful in terms of finding out what to get for your loved ones. Last week, I got the chance to head to a Sephora Holiday preview where we got a glimpse of some of the gift sets coming to Sephora Canada and I was so impressed by them that I wanted to share a selection of my favourite picks on the blog today.
Hello New York! Even though I have lived in Canada for a decade now, it took me a while to make a trip to the Big Apple. Last spring was my first time in New York and it was such an overwhelmingly stimulating experience that I was eager to repeat. So when Andrew managed to get three days off and really wanted to take a short trip out of Toronto, New York was a no brainer. After all, it is only an hour away from home (by plane), it is easily accessible at Billy Bishop Airport right downtown and there was still so much for us to explore in the city. After booking our impromptu flights, we packed our overnighter bags, passports and I figured that it would be the perfect terrain to give the Google Pixel 3 XL a try.
I celebrated my birthday a week ago and while it means the beginning of a new year in my life, it also meant the start of a brand new decade. That’s right, I finally hit the milestone that is thirty. Of course, age is merely a number but after sticking around for thirty years, you pick up a thing or two and you get to learn from your mistakes and experiences.
A friend of mine was heading off to Stockholm this past week and asked me for some recommendations about the city. Since its been two years since my last trip to the Swedish city, I thought that it would be smart of me to pull up the blog post about Stockholm to share it with him. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had never done a blog post about one of my favourite cities in the world! Of course, I decided to remedy to the situation by sitting down, editing my trip photos (you’d be surprised how much of a difference two years can do to someone’s editing style) and putting together this travel diary about the most populous city in the Nordic Countries.
I am really cutting it close with September’s skincare review! It’s been a busy month and amidst all the skincare releases this past month, I will admit that this month’s review might have been slighted affected from all the other product’s that I’ve tried on my skin. That being said, I have given this line a full two weeks trial so we shall base the results on that time frame as opposed to the usual four weeks. This time around, I got to try a line made in Canada from Ontario called Schåf Skincare.
Another year, another TIFF ended. This was my third year attending the Toronto International Film Festival, a star-studded week and a half where red carpets are rolled, Five- Star hotels are fully booked and where the Toronto population gets the chance to catch a glimpse of Hollywood. Furthermore, it gives the media a taste of the award seasons to come, with many of the Oscar contenders debuting at the Canadian film festival. With over three hundred films being showcased over eleven days, the audience then has the chance to vote for their favourite movie which ends up winning the Grolsch People’s Choice award.
After launching in Paris last January and travelling to different cosmopolitan cities around the world including Hong Kong, London and New York, The YSL Beauty Hotel finally appeared in Toronto. It would be an understatement to say that I was excited about its arrival: between its sleek packaging and fantastic formulas, YSL beauty is definitely one of the top beauty brands on the market. As an extension to the Saint Laurent fashion house, YSL beauty brilliantly encapsulates the rock’n’roll spirit with its line of daring products and I was eager to learn more about it all.
Even though I grew up on a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean, I’ve always been happiest in big cities. However, sometimes it’s nice to take a step back from the concrete jungles and just head to a place with a slower pace. Toronto might be a metropolis in its own right but if you step into your car and drive off in any directing, within the hour you will find yourself in a completely different setting. With that in mind, the girls and I packed our bags and took a two hour drive to Prince Edward County.
Founded in 1828 by Pierre- François Pascal Guerlain, the eponymous brand started out as a parfumerie at 42, Rue de Rivoli in Paris. With the creation of legendary scents such as the Eau de Cologne Imperiale for Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie, the brand became a huge success in high society and eventually opened their flagship store at 15, rue de la Paix twelve years later. For four generations, the brand was handed down through the Guerlain family from son-to-son with each generation leaving behind an important piece in the Guerlain lineage (Aimé Guerlain’s Jicky in 1889, Jacques Guerlain’s Shalimar in 1925 and Jean-Paul Guerlain’s Chamade in 1969). While the brand remained heavily perfume-focussed over its 190 year history, Guerlain also expanded into a skincare and cosmetics empire like no other. This month’s skincare review will revolve around the brand’s Abeille Royale collection.
Growing up, I only knew two kinds of Chinese food: the one that my grandmother would painstakingly prepare all day for us on special occasions and the one at Chinese restaurants where there isn't a focus on service but the food is greasy and delicious. Since I moved to Canada, I haven't had much chance to sample my grandmother’s cooking but the second option is still relevant in my life. However, I have also discovered that Chinese food doesn’t have to equate to a restaurant with a yellow sign and poor service. Sometimes, you can find an upscale version of the asian food in a beautifully decorated environment and with that in mind, we went to dine at Soso Food Club.
Guys, can we take a second and talk about the fact that it is already mid August? While it has been fun to soak in the sun and get three shades darker than my usual concealer, I’ll have to admit that I am looking forward to the cooler days to come. First of all, fall fashion is simply the best and secondly, I love being a homebody and put on my sweatpants, brew some hot tea and log onto Netflix. One of the great things about having a good reason to stay indoors is that I also have much more time to concentrate on my skincare routine and namely, do even more masks than usual. Today I just wanted to talk briefly about some of the new masks that I’ve recently either purchased or received as gifts.
Back when I was a child, I recall being told that the best wines in the world came from France and Italy. As an adult I realized that, much like Santa Claus, some of the things that I was lead to believe turned out to be erroneous. I discovered Australian wines and the delectable ones from Chile but it is not until I moved to Canada that I’ve had the chance to give the local wines a try. The Niagara-on-the-lake region in Ontario is one of the major locations for wineries in the country and they have stepped up their game and produced some award winning wines throughout the years. Last week, we had the chance to take a small detour to Canada’s wine county courtesy of Atelier Cologne.
It’s been slightly over a month since the summer solstice, the one day that announces the longest stretch of daylight of the year after which it all goes downhill. After a long winter in Toronto, we’ve been blessed with a fantastic summer thus far and it is standing strong judging by my newly acquired sunburn. Some of the things that often drop at the same time as the tree leaves in autumn are new fragrances. Today on the blog, I’ll be talking about some of the scents that I am most excited to wear, both for the end of summer and the beginning of fall.
For this month’s skincare focus, we are moving away from my usual french brands and crossing the pond to the UK. While we do tend to look towards France, Japan and Korea whenever we think of skincare these days, England has had it’s fair share of fantastic brands. Today’s spotlight is Maria Hatzistefanis’ Rodial.
Throughout history, high fashion designers have always dictated the flow of the trends. From Gabrielle Chanel’s introduction of a minimalistic style for women, Hubert de Givenchy’s iconic little black dress and Yves Saint Laurent’s Smoking suit, fashion designers have shaped the trajectory of fashion and the way people dress. Blessed were the days when they were all driven by their creative force rather than the capitalist one. Unfortunately, most fashion houses suffer from increasing pressure to be profitable and as such they tend to follow trends rather than being at the forefront of fashion anymore.
I was having lunch with the girls the other day and it turns out that we were all craving the same thing: travel. While we have all been to different locations recently, we never managed to go together so we figured that it was time to change that situation. By the end of day, our tickets were booked and two weeks later we packed our bags and headed to the Sunshine State, more specifically to Miami.
Trends usually come and go while style is everlasting. Those are some of the words that I always repeat to myself whenever I try to give in to the impulse purchase of a new trendy piece. I’ve lived through the age of baby doll dresses and pink hair extensions (both pretty but not for me), baggy cargo trousers (also not for me) and most recently the glorification of streetwear with a big emphasis on athleisure and the current obsession with chunky dad sneakers. I have gone through those ages relatively unscratched and with a closet that remained true to my love of minimalist and clean silhouettes. However, there is one trend that I fully decided to embrace this summer: the aloha shirt.
Life truly does work in mysterious ways. Do you ever have something that you really want to do in the back of your mind but simply don't have the opportunity or time to do? That something was travelling for me. Although I’ve always envied my friends who were jetting from location to location, my previous job took too much of my personal time for me to be able to afford the luxury of travelling. Even though I’ve been a freelance blogger for two years now, I still had issues dedicating time to travelling until a few months ago when I started doing more press trips.
Much like the late Frank Sinatra, I’ve wanted to be part of New York, New York for the longest time. Unfortunately due to some complicated logistics, I have never had the chance to step foot in the States in the nine years during which I’ve lived in Toronto, Canada. This May I decided to take matters in my own hand and booked my first trip to the Big Apple in an attempt to decipher the mysteries of the beloved city.
Last month marked the beginning on a new skin related series for me whereby I decided to allocate more time to try out specific product to get a better idea of its effects on my skin over the span of a month. While we started out with one of my favourite brands (Click here to read the post about Avène), I knew that I had to write about another one of my beloved french brands next. The choice was relatively easy and the topic of this month’s skin post is Vichy.
When Giorgio Armani decided to launch his first cologne Acqua Di Gio close to twenty years ago, the designer knew that he was taking a big risk. After all, he was the face of a brand known for its apparel and this first foray into beauty could either become a stepping stone or be a major flop. Luckily for him, Acqua di Gio turned out to be a massive commercial success and it is still the leading men’s fragrance on the market nowadays. To celebrate the launch of Acqua Di Gio Absolu, I was lucky enough to be invited to partake in a sensory experience in Mont Tremblant, Québec.
A few months ago, I attended my very ﬁrst opera at the Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts and I had such a lovely time that I was looking forward to my next excursion to the gorgeous building. Little did I know that it would happen sooner than later and last week, we headed there once again for the opening night of the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.
Out of all the Canadian cities, I am glad that I picked Toronto to be my home. Afterall, the city does offer a lot of opportunities and it is imbued with an intoxication energy that never fails to empower me. However, Montréal was a close second when it came down to finding myself a Canadian home. While the french city tugs at my heartstrings with its gorgeous architecture and food scene, unfortunately its winter was the ultimate factor that caused it to come second to Toronto. I try to visit as often as possible and when Sabrina suggested that we should go for a day trip to the city, we immediately booked our Porter flights.
As I am writing this, Toronto is still surprisingly covered in snow and ice. On the bright side, the weather is supposed to hit the double digits this upcoming week and I couldn’t be happier. Spring is one of my favourite seasons, not because of the blooming of the Magnolias and the melting of the ice block on which I live, but rather because of all the jackets. When you’re a boy, you don't have the beautiful dresses that girls have in the summer and instead, you often have to result to a plain outfit that consists of a t-shirt and shorts. Winter is a write-off as you are covered in the biggest parka jacket that you can find. For me, the two best fashion seasons are spring and fall but unfortunately they are quite short lived. As such, here are four jackets that you should invest on for these few weeks between winter and summer.
It’s common knowledge by now that I am a bit of a skincare junkie. Skin is our biggest organ and it is fully exposed to the outside world so we definitely need to protect and nurture it to the best of our abilities. Skincare laboratories around the world are always working on brand new technologies to help us achieve our skin goals and I am always eager to give them a try. However, unlike makeup, I simply cannot offer you a concrete answer on how much I love a new product within the span of 16 hours. While our skin does absorb quite a fair bit of the products that we put on it, it does take some time for it to truly show any form of improvement. As such, I decided to start a new monthly series on the blog where I’ll be trying a specific skincare regiment or product for the duration of a full month before offering you my opinion on them. For the first segment in this series, I’d like to showcase a brand that has been a favourite of mine for years: Avène.
We are fast approaching the middle of April and it is still snowing in Toronto. I remember the first year I arrived in Canada, it was already warm enough by Saint Patrick’s day for me to simply walk around in a tee-shirt and now I am still debating if I should put away my parka or not. Sure, snow is quite pretty to look at but this prolonged winter is starting to take a toll on my psyche. During the colder months, I do tend to become a hermit and remain confined in the warm cocoon that I call home. However, spending too much time at home does end up driving me a tad mental plus it’s hard to find the motivation to write when you’re not being exposed to anything new. Here’s a couple of things that you could do to spark some fire back into your daily routine without having to move out of your bed.
As I sat down to write this blog post, it dawned on me that my blog is almost at its two year anniversary. I still feel immensely blessed to be able to call this my full time job and it truly wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. What started off as a platform for me to review new food places and openings in Toronto slowly transitioned into a lifestyle blog and a place where I could share my thoughts and feelings. I remember the first time I decided to publish a personal blog post and I felt so anxious about how it would be received and you guys were so supportive through it all. However, when it came down to somewhat polarized subjects, I obviously garnered a few nods of disapproval.
One of the most common questions that I receive via Direct messaging on my Instagram seems to be about social media growth. The subject of growth on the platform has been brought up multiple times in the recent months due to the increasing difficulty to reach a broader audience. With the algorithm set in place, the weird non-chronological feed and the issue of shadow banning when it comes to hashtags, Instagram has become a hard beast to tame. Don’t worry, this isn’t another blog post by a blogger complaining about a decrease in likes or unethical practices in the industry. The focus of this post is about something far more important: branding.
When it comes down to attraction, we all find different traits appealing. Some of us prefer blondes while others love brunettes. We may like our significant other to be serious and smart or a complete goofball. However there is one thing that we can agree on: being well groomed is definitely sexy. Since moving to Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart has been my go-to destination for my grooming products, whether it’s shampoo or skincare and I was excited to check out what new arrivals they have in store at the pop-up that they held this week.