I also write for / Scriu si pentru

I also write for / Scriu si pentru

Revista Tango Romania

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Christopher Bates: Introducing the Ultimate Weekender Bag

Canadian menswear designer Christopher Bates has launched a series of limited edition, hand-made weekender bags inspired by the heritage and design of classic sports cars. The bag is designed in Canada and handmade in a small, highly specialized factory in Northern Italy. The initial run of 100 bags has some very special characteristics.
Each bag features an embossed production number 001 to 100 as each edition will be limited.
Military grade RFID fabric lines the outside pocket for an added level of security, while two-tone deviated stitching inspired by sports car steering wheels adorns the leather handles.
With this edition, the custom tartan exterior fabric is the designer's nod to the classic interiors from the ‘80’s from a special car maker.
Characteristics of the Weekender bag by Christopher Bates: 
-Proudly handmade in Italy; 
-Limited edition, each bag is numbered from 001-100; 
-Shell is made from a durable, water-repellant cotton blend (68% cotton, 32% polyamide); 
-Genuine leather trim; 
-Fully lined with water-repellant jacquard (90% polyamide, 10% polyurethane); 
-Internal zip pocket and straps; 
-Gunmetal feet and hardware; 
-Shoulder strap, luggage tag and protective bag included; 
-The Weekender bag is now available at ChristopherBates.com

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christopher Bates.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

“Un Amico Italiano” by Luca Spaghetti – A Book Review

I read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2010. Prior reading the book, I remember seeing it on displays in my favorite Indigo bookstore in Toronto every time I went book shopping. The hype at the time was all about Eat, Pray, Love, I was seeing this book and hearing about it everywhere on blogs and social media, but for some reason I delayed getting a copy of it for months. Then in August 2010 I found out there would be a movie based on the book, starring Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert, and I saw the trailer of the new movie. This is when I finally got curious enough about the book, so I bought a copy and read it. 

I loved the book, and next I was looking forward to watching the movie. When the movie was in theaters, I was on maternity leave, my son Alex was a few months old, and I didn’t get the chance to go to the theater to see it. While everyone else was already enjoying the movie on the big screen, I was just reading the book, the late reader that I was. Finally, toward the end of 2010, the movie was released on DVD/Blue Ray, and I got it in Blue-Ray format as a birthday gift in December that year, and this is when I finally watched it. 

I loved the movie just as much as I loved the book, while Julia Roberts is one of my favorite actresses. I have always been charmed by her big ear to ear smile, ever since the days of Pretty Woman, and we get to see her signature smile in this movie as well. I loved the scene when she meets David for the first time when we see her big gorgeous smile. 

Then in April 2011 Elizabeth Gilbert came to Toronto for a speaking event, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet her. I attended the evening with Elizabeth Gilbert that took place at Roy Thomson Hall downtown Toronto. It was a beautiful evening – she talked about some of her life experiences, her books, her writing, her relationship with Felipe whom she had met in Indonesia during her one-year long trip around the world that she wrote about in Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed every single minute of that event. The book Committed was also available to purchase at the event, guests could buy a copy of the book signed by the author. Without hesitating, I bought a copy of Committed before leaving there that night. You may remember Committed – it’s another memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, released in 2010, and it is a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, in which Elizabeth writes about her relationship with Felipe and the institution of marriage. 

A few month later while book shopping at my favorite Indigo bookstore downtown Toronto, I saw this book on the shelves – Un Amico Italiano ~ Eat, Pray, Love in Rome by Luca Spaghetti.

Photo credit: Amazon

The name of the author was unfamiliar to me at the time, but the title of the book definitely rang some bells. I took the book from the shelf, I browsed it a bit, read the back cover to figure out what the book was about, and decided that I would like to read it. In a way, Un Amico Italiano was another version of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because it described the events that happened in Rome when Elizabeth Gilbert was there on her trip to Italy, and the story is now told from Elizabeth’s friend’s perspective, while he was showing her around his beloved city of Rome. I bought the book with the intention to read it in the near future. 

I came home with the new book in my purse that day, and I put in on the shelf, thinking that I would read it soon. But weeks passed, and I didn’t get to it, and then I all forgot about it. And then another number of years passed, the book got stuck in the back of the shelf in my home library, and it never saw the light of the day again, until this year. 

Fast forward to 2020 – Corona times. I have worked entirely from home during the pandemic, and just like many other people around me, I stayed home, reduced any social activities to zero, spent no more time in traffic, and suddenly I had much more time on my hands to spend for myself and with my family. And like many other people, I turned to books during this pandemic to catch up with my reading. I read more than 20 books in the last 6 months since the pandemic started and I can’t get enough of my reading. Everybody tried to make the most of this time when we had to stay home, and everybody turned to their hobbies, myself included – reading, writing, journaling, watching TV, crafting, painting, gardening, you name it. Reading has been one of my hobbies that I spent my time with during the pandemic. Lots and lots of good books. Shopping for new books has been another pleasure of mine that I indulged in since businesses started reopening and I could go to bookstores again. 

While on the waves on my recent reading enthusiasm, I reorganized my personal library which had gotten into an unkept state, too unkept for my taste. My usual home library organization is in alphabetical order, per authors; but lately my books were all over the place and they had lost their pristine order that I used to have for them before. One afternoon a couple of weeks ago I spent some time with my beloved books and reorganized them, but this time in two alphabetical orders – the read books and the unread ones. My shelves are wide enough to accommodate two rows of paperback and hardcover books, or three rows of pocketbooks. So my first alphabetical order, the order of books that I have read, found their new spot in the back rows of my library, while the books that I am yet to read are now organized in the front rows of my shelf. This exercise put my books into a new perspective and suddenly I had all of them in front of me, in the front rows of my bookshelf, and I could see all of them, all of my unread books. This also gave me a great opportunity to count how many books in my personal library I am yet to read, and it’s about 100 of them. The total number of the books that I own should be around 400 (I didn’t count the exact number of all my books though). For a while I thought that the number of books in my personal library that I have already read, versus those that I am yet to read, are about 50%-50%. But once I reorganized my library and I counted them, turns out it’s about 75%-25%, which is great, right? Suddenly I felt less guilty for owning so many books that I am yet to read. 

Now that I had all of my unread books in front of me, I got even more excited about the books that I would like to read next, but I also realized that there were so many books in my library that I had completely forgotten about, and that’s because all these years they stayed in the back of my bookshelf and I haven’t touched them ever since I bought them and placed them there according to their alphabetical order. Out of my sight – out of my mind, this is what happened to many of my books. But now things are about to change, and now I’m really excited to read my forgotten and newly found friends – because my books are my friends and I love them just as much as I love my friends. 

One of the books that stayed in the back of my shelf and I had completely forgotten about its existence in my personal library is Un Amico Italiano by Luca Spaghetti. And now that I rediscovered it, I read it this summer; it was a great read and I loved it. While reading about Luca and Elizabeth’s exploits in Rome back in 2003 when Elizabeth made her notorious trip around the world, I couldn’t help but think about her book Eat, Pray, Love that I had read back in 2010. And because it’s been such a long time since I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, I had forgotten that Luca Spaghetti was one of the characters in her book. I had the physical proof in my hands alright, but I didn’t quite make the fully cognitive connection between the book by Luca Spaghetti that I was reading now and the book by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read 10 years ago. So in order to refresh my memory, I pulled out Eat, Pray, Love from my library (which was now in the back row of my shelf, the “read” row), and started browsing it – and yep, there he was, Luca Spaghetti, in Part One about Italy. And then I pulled out Committed, another favorite of mine from Elizabeth Gilbert, to browse it a bit and to bring back some beautiful memories – reading the two books all those years ago, watching the movie, going to that event and meeting Elizabeth Gilbert in Toronto in 2011, writing about all these experiences way back when. Reading Luca Spaghetti’s book almost made me want to reread Elizabeth Gilbert’s two books, Eat, Pray, Love and Committed, and I still have them on my desk as I write this, and maybe I will reread them soon! Shortly after I read Un Amico Italiano I looked up Luca Spaghetti on social media and I connected with him on Facebook and Instagram, we had a nice message exchange about his book. I also started following Elizabeth Gilbert on social media – I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! The two of them are close friends, and now with their books on my desk and my connecting with them on social media, it feels like I befriended them as well, even if only from great distance. 

I just spent the long weekend for Labour Day at my cottage, and I took the movie Eat, Pray, Love with me to watch it at the cottage – I loved seeing it again after all these years since I first watched it, and it was great to refresh my memory on this beautiful story. And I loved seeing Julia Roberts’ big smile again – she’s such a sweetheart, I love her! 

If you loved Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, you will definitely love Un Amico Italiano by Luca Spaghetti. It’s a beautiful book, a charming read, and I heartily recommend it. Now that I have learned more about Luca Spaghetti as an author, I also found out about his other book, Anything Is Possible, which I hope to be able to read soon.

Photo credit: Amazon

Friday, April 03, 2020

“How to Not Wear Black” by Anna Murphy – A Book Review

Recently I read the newly published book How to Not Wear Black by Anna Murphy, Fashion Director at The Times of London. The book is a practical guide to help you find your style and create your forever wardrobe. Also, we will find great tips on the pages of the book how to always look our best with the help of clothes and accessories that are right for us.

The title is very suggestive too – the author teaches us how we can embrace color in our lives and in our wardrobes. Many times we turn to our black clothes because it’s just simpler and easier – don’t we all have multiple pairs of black pants in our wardrobe that we wear almost every other day, not to mention the black blouses and sweaters, and of course LBDs? Anna Murphy shows us how to wear other than black. It’s not like we shouldn’t wear black anymore, it’s just we shouldn’t wear it all the time.

It was a fun and easy book to read, and I really enjoyed it. I found Anna Murphy’s suggestions and tricks really useful, easy to follow, and easy to adapt to our personal style and our wardrobe.

The book is structured in 15 chapters, and in each of these chapters the author talks about different aspects of our wardrobe and how we should approach it in order to enhance our style, as well as boost our confidence when choosing our outfit every morning.

In the first chapter for example, “Bodymapping”, we learn that before we build our perfect wardrobe, we need to figure out our body shape. According to Anna Murphy, there are seven main shapes of our bodies – neat hourglass, full hourglass, triangle, inverted triangle, column, rectangle and rounded. “Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportions”, Coco Chanel said once. Once we know which shape is our body, we can choose the right clothes to flatter us and to fit us best.

In the next chapters we learn how to start building our perfect wardrobe by reviewing our entire closet, keeping the good and getting rid of the bad. Anna Murphy suggests a great technique how to select the winner clothes which will make up our new and improved wardrobe. Some of the questions that we should ask ourselves when triaging each piece of clothing are if it fits, or if we look and feel great when wearing it, and this way we will know which pieces will stay and which will go.

Next great tips that Anna Murphy teaches us are how to combine black with color so that we don’t wear black all the time; how to choose the right colors for us depending on our skin tone; how to choose expressive patterns depending on our body shape. One of my favorite tricks that I learned from this book is how we can use patterns in our wardrobe in order to balance our figure. It’s also a great idea to use patterns in order to attract attention to those parts of our body that we love the most. For example, if you are a triangle, with narrow shoulders and full hips and thighs, then your best bet is a patterned top and a monochromatic skirt or pants. On the contrary, if you are an inverted triangle (wide shoulders and small hips), then wear monochromatic and simple clothes as tops, and patterned bottoms.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is the one dedicated to sustainable fashion (Chapter 8), as I am a big sustainable fashion enthusiast myself. Style is about attitude, it has nothing to do with money, or quantity. We don’t need to buy more, we just need to buy better. Every single effort that we make in order to be more sustainable in our sartorial choices counts – it counts where we buy our clothes from, how much and how frequently we shop for clothes, and so on. I can talk a lot about sustainable fashion, but I will only mention a few tricks that the author reminds us in the book (because we already know all of this already, we just need to be aware of it all the time) – buy less, and buy better. Buy what truly flatters your body, and you will wear it many times. Don’t buy one-time items, because they will just take up valuable space in your wardrobe and in your life. Buy from brands who commit to be sustainable. The author also shares a list of 20 sustainable fashion brands at the end of the chapter, and she encourages us to embrace a slower fashion style. Some of the brands and designers from Anna Murphy’s sustainable list were already familiar to me – Eileen Fisher, People Tree, Stella McCartney. Also, H&M Conscious and Mango Committed collections are on this responsible list – while H&M and Mango are two behemoths in the fast fashion world, these two collections are their forays into sustainability.

It is a great book for all those who love fashion, but also for those who might need a little boost of wardrobe confidence. It’s a book that will teach you how to make clothes in your wardrobe work full time for you.
Photo credit: Courtesy of DK.com

Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Value of a Sheet of Paper (And a Stationery Haul)

I am an avid collector and user of fine stationery. I love agendas, journals, notebooks, notepads, sticky notes, deco paper, letter paper, pens and writing accessories, greeting cards, gift wrapping stationery, all things paper. I have an impressive collection of all kinds of fine stationery in my home office, and I love it so much that I tend to purchase more than I have time to use.

In these times of acute environment issues that we as the human race are facing, I learned to respect and love paper as it had a soul of its own, and not just as a random commodity. To me, paper isn't simply a random commodity, but a valuable asset. To me, respecting paper is respecting the tree that it came from, and furthermore the environment that we live in. Remember, we only have one planet. If she's gone, we all are gone -- gotta be conscious about that, right?

As such, I have learned over time to appreciate paper to its fullest value, and I use it to its full potential without wasting any of it. To me, paper is a valuable asset not be wasted, as I always remember the tree. Each sheet of paper, each greeting card and each notebook are meant to deliver a message of love, and I will never discard it before it does its job and delivers the message.

Just think what a piece of paper can do.
  • Writing handwritten letters to your penpals; 
  • Writing holiday cards to friends and family; 
  • Wrapping gifts for your loved ones; 
  • Jotting down your thoughts in a journal; 
  • Keeping your memories alive. 
And I love to do all these things with fine stationery. Among my favorite places to buy fine stationery in the City of Toronto are Indigo, Winners, Marshalls, HomeSense, Dollarama, Dollar Tree. When I go to any of these stores, I like to immerse myself in their stationery aisle, and if I could, I would never leave! And when I do leave, my shopping bag will be full of stationery!

But I also love to thrift for stationery. I love the stationery and office aisle in a thrift store just as much as I love the stationery aisle from Indigo. Remember the tree? Thrifting for stationery is a great way to save a tree, not to mention the treasure hunt which is so thrilling. Why let all that precious paper go to waste, when it can get a second life on someone else's desk. To me a thrifted notebook, if it's still in good condition, is just as good as a notebook that comes from Indigo or Marshalls.

I also love using online stationery, and PaperlessPost.com is a great resource for those who prefer all things digital. I discovered PaperlessPost.com two years ago, and I came to appreciate this online stationery website for its variety and endless choices. Sometimes it's just easier to say it online, isn't it? The online stationery and greeting cards from PaperlessPost.com are great for that.

And here's my newest stationery haul, all things paper that I love so much. Some of these notebooks and journals have already been written, some of them have been given as gifts to friends, some of them are still awaiting in my home office to be filled with precious memories. Some of them came new, some of them are thrifted.
Photo credit: Victoria West

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Cumparaturi recente – Shopping Lately

Bine v-am regasit dragele mele prietene! Sper ca ati avut sarbatori splendide, ca v-ati bucurat de vacanta de iarna din plin, ca ati avut un Craciun minunat alaturi de cei dragi, si ca ati avut parte de o noapte de Revelion de vis! Va doresc un an nou fabulous si sa va fie 2020 asa cum vi-l doriti!

La multi ani tuturor!
Cat ma priveste pe mine, am avut un sezon linistit si relaxant de sarbatori acasa impreuna cu familia mea, si in prezent sunt in vacanta de revelion, ma voi intoarce la serviciu saptamana viitoare.

Iar in articolul de astazi mi-am propus sa scriu despre unul din subiectele mele preferate – shopping, si as vrea sa va arat ce cumparaturi am facut ultima vreme (adica in decursul lui 2019), imbracaminte si cosmetice. Intr-o alta ordine de idei, acest articol nu va include chiar toate cumparaturile pe care le-am facut anul trecut, ca sa nu fie articolul prea lung, dar si pentru ca nu am apucat sa fac poze tuturor hainelor si produselor de frumusete pe care le-am cumparat; pe unele dintre ele le-am folosit inainte sa le fac poze, astfel incat m-am hotarat sa nu le mai includ intr-un articol de shopping.

Voi incepe cu articolele vestimentare.
Geaca denim Levi’s – o am deja de cateva luni, dar o includ in aceasta poveste de cumparaturi pentru ca anul trecut nu am fost foarte activa pe blog si nu am scris despre experientele mele de shopping in decursul lui 2019. E foarte confortabila, am purtat-o la greu, si a devenit una din piesele mele preferate din graderoba.

Am cumparat si diferite bluze. Cele trei din poza de mai jos sunt model identic, diferite culori, precum si alte bluze in celelalte doua poze.
Am cumparat acest top vara trecuta, pentru vacanta mea din iulie pe care am petrecut-o la casa mea de vacanta din Minden. Ziua nationala a Canadei este pe 1 iulie, si am purtat acest top in timpul vacantei.
Papuci de casa...
Trec acum la produse de beauty.
Doua pachete cu servetele umede demachiante Dead Sea si Garnier, un spray body-mist cu mosc alb, doua masti de par, bombe de dus Dr. Teal's. Unele din aceste produse le-am folosit deja, pe altele le mai am in baie. In principiu mi-au placut toate. As vrea sa spun cateva cuvinte despre bombele de dus Dr. Teal's, cu aroma de eucalipt si menta verde -- au aceeasi functionalitate ca bombele de baie, numai ca nu le folosesti in cada cand faci baie, ci la dus. Folosesc si bombe de baie pentru serile cand fac o baie relaxanta, dar din pacate nu am timp sa fac asta prea des, si raman cu dusul obisnuit, aceste bombe de dus fiind perfecte pentru dus. Pun cate o bomba din aceasta in cada, si dusul ii scoate aroma de eucalipt si menta verde pentru un efect relaxant si calmant.
Sampon uscat Batiste XXL Volume, pudra compacta Rimmel London, manicura aplicata. As vrea sa spun cateva cuvinte despre samponul uscat Batiste, este un produs excelent, I am a long time fan, l-am cumparat de multe ori pana acum, si il voi mai folosi pe viitor. Stiu ca si multe din cititoarele acestui blog il apreciaza, este cu adevarat un produs foarte eficient si isi face treaba bine. Dintre toate sampoanele uscate pe care le-am incercat vreodata, Batiste este de departe cel mai bun; iar dintre toate variantele care exista in gama Batiste, XXL Volume este preferatul meu.
Sapunuri lichide pentru maini, diferite arome
Doua geluri de dus cu aroma de cocos, sampon, balsam
Sapunuri lichide de maini -- diferite arome; un set de bile parfumate pentru incaltaminte, cu aroma de vanilie
Body scrub cu levantica
Bombe de baie
Ruj Wet&Wild, dar si sampon uscat Batiste Tropical. Desi samponul uscat XXL Volume de la Batiste este preferatul meu, am vrut sa incerc si alte arome din acasta gama.
Detangler pentru par Pantene; detangler pentru par Garnier Whole Blends cu ovas; ulei pentru fata; saculete parfumate pentru diferite utilizari, cu aroma de bamboo (set de doua saculete); un set pentru ingrijirea picioarelor. As vrea sa spun cateva cuvinte despre detanglerele pentru par Pantene si Garnier -- ambele sunt foarte bune, le-am folosit recent si mi-au placut grozav. Sunt utilizatoare constanta de descalcitor pentru par, si m-am bucurat sa descopar doua produse din aceasta categorie atat de bune. De asemenea, cateva cuvinte despre saculetele parfumate cu aroma de bamboo -- pot fi folosite in foarte multe feluri in casa, la fel cum ai folosi saculete cu flori uscate de levantica, precum faceau bunicile noastre odinioara: in dressing, in dulapul de lenjerie, in baie, in valize, in dulapul de incaltaminte etc.

Voi ce cumparaturi ati facut recent?

Sa aveti in continuare o saptamana frumoasa!

Photo credit: Victoria West

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Bask-It-Style Event for TIFF 2019 Hosts the Eleventh Annual Media Day at the Thompson Hotel in Toronto

Stars and media alike were welcomed to kick off TIFF at this non-traditional gifting suite 

Another TIFF festival is in town now – Torontonians are experiencing 11 days of cinema, celebrities and glamour. And parties of course. The festival just kicked off this Thursday September 5th, and will conclude next Sunday September 15th. Among celebrities seen at Toronto International Film Festival this year are Jennifer Lopez, Ellen Page, Wesley Snipes, Robert Pattinson, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Kerry Washington, Susan Sarandon, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Biel, Coco Rocha, Anna Wintour, Antonio Banderas, Dev Patel, and many others.

One of the most glamorous parties dedicated to TIFF this year was the annual Bask-It-Style by Toronto based public relations firm GLO Communications. Back for its eleventh year, Bask-It-Style hosted its annual media day Wednesday, September 4th, at the Thompson Toronto Hotel (550 Wellington Street West). Media were invited to preview and experience celebrity VIP treatment from this year’s 20 sponsors, a glamorous event that I also had the pleasure to attend. Taking place during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Bask-It-Style hand delivers VIP gift bags to celebrities on-the-go with a survival-kit of goodies to enjoy while navigating TIFF. From beauty and health to style, tech and food, Bask-It-Style has everything for a star on a busy TIFF schedule. In the past celebrities gifted through Bask-It-Style hotel partners have included: Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Colin Farrell, John Legend, Sir Elton John, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Blake Lively, Olivia Wilde, Tom Wilkinson, Rachel Weisz, Iggy Pop, Princess Charlotte of Monaco, Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and many more. 

“This is our eleventh year of Bask-It-Style”, says Jessica Glover, Principal, GLO Communications. “We are thrilled to be back at the Thompson Toronto Hotel showcasing brands that are in our TIFF must-have survival kit.”

On Wednesday, September 4th, media were invited (by appointment only) from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM to receive the star treatment. This year’s venue was once again the luxurious Thompson Toronto Hotel, which is in the heart of the trendy King West area – the same venue as in the previous three years – 2016, 2017 and 2018. The elegantly designed Front Room is an 858 square foot area that reflects the hotel’s signature avant-garde style, blending luxury furnishings with high-tech functionality. It features built-in audiovisual, including a 60 square foot media wall with plugins for Mac Mini, Apple TV, and HDMI.
Bask-It-Style 2019

This year, celebrities are receiving a variety of sense-provoking goodies in exclusive travel bags designed by Amber & Ash.

Amber & Ash: celebrity limited edition gift bag sponsor
Browns Shoes: media bag sponsor
DK Publishing: Fashion, The Definitive Visual Guide by DK (new edition)
D. O. Rueda: Rueda Wine from one of eight wineries
Dr. Bronner’s: Pure Peppermint Pure-Castile liquid soap
Green & Black’s: milk or dark chocolate bar in one of ten flavours
Hanalei: Kukui oil lip treatment
Indigena Skincare: Botanical “Glowing” travel kit
LIVA foods: date sugar
Michael Hill: 10 karat gold delicate ring featuring six diamonds
MIRA: Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison
Monat: REJUVENIQE™ oil intensive, MONAT STUDIO ONE THE CHAMP™ conditioning dry shampoo
Oteas Canada Inc.: exclusive Fan Favourites tea assortment in biodegradable packaging
Welo: probiotic bars
Sharp magazine: magazine sponsor
Toronto Thompson Hotel: venue partner
Todd’s Better: egg white protein crisps in one of four flavours
Toronto Popcorn Company: grab bag in garlic parmesan or bacon cheddar
Tru Niagen: Tru Niagen supplement
Turo: $200 Turo credit
Bask-It-Style gifts

Celebrity gift bag sponsor – Amber & Ash
This year’s celebrities will receive all of their goodies in a limited edition travel tote designed by Amber & Ash exclusively for Bask-It-Style at TIFF (retail value $89.99). This bag includes versatile straps to go from tote to backpack and features several internal and external pockets for accessibility, as well as a compartment that allows the bag to be placed over a luggage handle. The bag is made of durable, PU coated cotton and embellished with full-grain leather accents with signature A&A lining. The team also had a variety of their Fall 2019 bags on display in the suite during the media event.
Amber & Ash bags

Technology Room 
Drive around in style with TURO
Looking for a unique, stylish ride to cruise around the city or roll up to a red carpet in? Feel like an A-lister with TURO’s exclusive peer-to-peer car-sharing platform. A pioneer of the sharing economy, Turo guests got to choose from a unique selection of vehicles from a community of trusted local hosts. On display at this year’s event there was the show-stopping cinematic DeLorean from Back to the Future film (1985) to give guests a taste of what the TURO inventory has to offer. Guests were treated with a portrait taken with the car.
I took a few photos with the DeLorean outside:
DeLorean time machine from "Back to the Future" film (1985)

Wine Room 
Take a trip to Spain with D. O. Rueda
D. O. (Designation of Origin) Rueda took guests on a trip to Northern Spain as they had the chance to taste 17 different wines from eight of the region’s wineries, with Canada’s master sommelier, Bruce Wallner. Rueda, a wine region in Spain located in the community of Castile de León, is known for its production of the verdejo grape due to its unique climate and land. Guests were treated to a bottle of wine to sip back after a long night of film action at TIFF (retail value $15-$30). The wineries featured at the event were Palacio De Bornos, Finca Montepedroso, Bodega Gotica, Javier Sanz Viticultor, Bodega Verdeal, Sat Rueda Perez, Bodegas Menade, Marqués De Riscal.
Rueda wines

Refreshment Room 
Steep and sip with Oteas
For all the tea lovers, Oteas will be brewing something special with their limited edition Fan Favourites tea combo-pack. Guests were invited to get their taste buds ready for these unique blends of tea. From sweet to spicy and aromatically energizing, these special blends are nestled in plant based packaging and biodegradable tea bags. Good for you and the planet. The Fan Favourite selection, inspired by the fans of films at TIFF, included the flavours Strawberries & Cream, Raspberry Leaf, Organic Earl Grey, Organic Green Tea with Peppermint, Organic Lemongrass, Ginger & Cinnamon (retail value $12.95). Pick your favourite blend, steep and enjoy your film!
Oteas teas
Sampling Oteas tea

Beauty room 
Skincare, haircare and health products

All the hustle and bustle of TIFF can take a toll on your skin. The Indigena Skincare team were on-site with skincare to make you glow! Indigena Skincare’s Glowing travel kit (retail value $215) includes: Labrador Tea day and night cream, Rose Petal eye cream, Sea Veggie face lotion and Blueberry Bliss lip scrub. Their rare botanical extract blends are foraged from the Canada’s Boreal forest and the North Atlantic, leaving your skin nourished and rejuvenated instantly. Skincare and haircare go hand in hand when it comes to being red carpet ready.

MONAT Global’s intensive anti-aging haircare line (retail value $45-$129) unites the best of nature and science to provide luxurious treatments and styling products that give your hair the all-star treatment. Their team were on-site offering touch-ups and hair tips, featuring their flagship product, REJUVENIQE™ oil intensive, along with their MONAT STUDIO ONE™ styling collection. The MONAT product line, which is leaping bunny approved and vegan, includes a professional styling collection, a men’s haircare and grooming line, a children’s collection, pet care and several targeted hair care systems and treatments.
MONAT beauty products
Lastly, no beauty routine is complete without caring for your body. Give your body the star treatment with Tru Niagen’s Hollywood-loved, breakthrough supplement (retail value $40-$67) that supports cellular health. This supplement contains a unique form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside (NR), which helps the trillions of tiny cells in your body maintain good health by helping maintain your body’s ability to metabolize nutrients, critical for cellular energy metabolism and tissue formation.
Tru-Niagen health supplement

Style room 
Sparkle and shine with Michael Hill’s gold collection
No look is complete without some great jewellery to tie the look together. Michael Hill will be bringing red carpet worthy looks with their classic and elegant designs, showcasing this season’s gold essential pieces like their 10 karat gold mini hoop earrings (retail value $139) and their perfect dainty and stackable 10 karat gold ring featuring six diamonds (retail value $449).
Michael Hill jewelry

Reading Room 
Explore the latest titles from major publishing houses in Toronto

Back by popular demand, the reading room will offer guests the unique chance to explore a collection of the latest fall titles from two major publishing houses. MIRA showcased its latest title Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison (retail value $21.99), a pulse-pounding new novel that examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets.
Author J. T. Ellison, showcasing her new book "Good Girls Lie"

Alongside MIRA, the heavy-weight DK Publishing showcased their new and noteworthy fall title Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide (new edition, retail value $65). You will learn all about fashion’s trailblazers and trendsetters in this boldly illustrated, definitive guide that charts style from the late 19th century to the modern day. I also have the previous edition of Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide from Bask-It-Style 2016, courtesy of Chris Houston, marketing director with DK Publishing.
Chris Houston, Director of Marketing with DK Publishing, presenting new titles to guests

Some other exciting items in the bag

The gift bags will also include some exciting products from various beauty, food and lifestyle brands.
Dr. Bronner’s – Pure Peppermint Pure-Castile liquid soap is the brand’s most popular scent, with organic peppermint bursts as you lather. Clean your house and body with no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents EVER!

Another great sustainable and natural product is Hanalei’s Kukui oil lip treatment (retail value $20 USD). This lip treatment delivers intense moisture and silkiness with the use of pure kukui oil and shea butter, while agave and grapeseed oil provide high levels of antioxidants that will help soothe and keep the skin looking healthy throughout TIFF season.

Being fabulous can build up an appetite, which is why Green & Black’s will help you indulge with your sweet tooth with their variety of milk and dark chocolates that offers something for every palate; ginger, current, burnt toffee, hazelnut, sea salt, and almond are just some of the delicious flavours they have to offer (retail value $4.49).

Next, you can feel guilt-free about this sugar alternative with LIVA date sugar (retail value $13.95). A raw, organic non-GMO sweetener made with only two ingredients, dehydrated Deglet Noor dates and love. LIVA date sugar retains all of the nutritional value of dates and all of the trace minerals that are absent in virtually all other sweeteners.

Get three days’ worth of probiotics on the go with Welo’s probiotic bars (retail value $2.49-$2.99). Welo’s bars are locally-made and contain only three grams of sugar, they are perfect for any busy lifestyle!

For a more savoury snack, Toronto Popcorn company treats us to their gourmet popcorn in the yummy flavours of garlic parmesan and bacon and cheddar (retail value $2.75), need we say more? 

With all these yummy treats you can feel guilt-free about snacking on Todd’s Better Snacks, a crunchy treat made with egg white protein (retail value $2.99). With flavours like sour cream and onion, BBQ, white cheddar and salt and vinegar, these flavour filled snacks are packed with 10 grams of protein!

Finally, SHARP magazine takes the pulse of society to bring sophisticated men the information and entertainment that they want and need. SHARP’s pages are full of the latest in fashion, luxury travel, technology, automobiles, food, entertainment and celebrities.

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GLO Communications
GLO Communications is a boutique PR firm creating dynamic publicity campaigns for clients in the lifestyle industry, including: publishing, fashion, beauty and entertainment. They specialize in media relations, PR strategy development, marketing communications, product launches, event management, media training, product seeding and evaluation and measurement.

Bask-It-Style sponsors 

Amber & Ash
Launched in the fall of 2016, Amber & Ash has been dedicated to emerging as a unique voice in the fashion and tech accessories market specifically on Amazon. Every item the brand brings to market is constructed to protect and last while beautifully complementing customers’ wardrobes. Since the launch they have expanded into laptop bags, totes, backpacks, and accessory phone cases; manufacturing thoughtfully carry goods for everyone for every day.

Browns Shoes
Browns Shoes, a family-owned business established in Montreal in 1940, is synonymous with top international designer collections, luxurious leather goods, and exclusive street savvy fashion for ladies, men and children. Browns is one of the few companies that donates 10% of its pre-tax profits to charities. Mr. Morton Brownstein, Chairman, was recognized for his extraordinary fundraising work when he was appointed to the Order of Canada in July 2004.

DK Publishing
The world’s leading illustrated reference publisher whose aim is to inform, enrich and entertain readers of all ages, DK publishes highly visual, photographic non-fiction for adults and children, bringing unrivaled clarity to a wide range of topics with a unique combination of words and pictures, put together to spectacular effect.

D. O. Rueda
D. O. Rueda was founded in 1980, the first D. O. in Castilla y Leon and is ranked as the top white wine region in the Spanish market, according to Nielsen. Situated on a high plateau with a continental climate, Rueda has long cold winters, short springs and hot summers, perfect for the Verdejo grape, the dominant varietal in the region. High elevations and gravelly stone soils allow the Verdejo to ripen by mid-September and develop deep aromas and flavors resulting in dry, fresh wines that are food-friendly and accessible.

Dr. Bronner’s
Dr. Bronner’s is a family business committed to honoring the vision of founder Emanuel Bronner by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating profits to help make a better world. Dr. Bronner’s commitment to social justice, environmental sustainability and progressive business practices is part of the company’s mission to put into practice the principles that inform the philosophy printed on the company’s iconic soap labels written by founder Emanuel Bronner. The company is the top-selling natural soap maker in North America and a major brand worldwide. Based on 2017 sales, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap was sold, on average, every 2.2 seconds throughout the year. For further information, please visit: DrBronner.com.

Green & Black’s
27 years ago, Green & Black’s was launched – a high quality, dark, bittersweet organic chocolate bar, packed with 70% cocoa solids. Founded by husband and wife team Craig Sams and Jo Fairley, Green & Black’s was born in their flat in Portobello Road in 1991. The Green & Black’s brand has now expanded into different formats from small bars to Easter products whilst maintaining its uncompromised values on ethics and quality. With 12 unique bars in the portfolio, Green & Black’s is committed to creating great tasting, innovative and ethically sourced chocolate. For further information on Green & Black’s and to learn more about the brand’s history and ethical production of premium chocolate, please visit GreenandBlacks.co.uk. Green & Black’s products are available at natural health and organic food shops, independent specialty food stores and select major retailers such as Whole Foods, Sobey’s, Metro, Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Inspired by all that the Hawaiian islands has to offer agriculturally, Hanalei company set out to create gentle, easy-to-use beauty products that reflect the essence of Hawaii and the spirit of Aloha. Real Hawaiian botanicals like kukui nut, Hawaiian sugarcane, and noni are formulated into the products. All of Hanalei’s products are cruelty free, paraben free, and sulfate free.

Indigena Skincare
Indigena Skincare began in the heart and mind of a 12-year old little girl who loved her home, nature and the world of beauty. Indigena is a unique combination of nature, science and Indie beauty. They are a Canadian cosmetics manufacturer who has developed a niche in natural skincare using northern boreal indigenous extracts from Newfoundland & Labrador’s remote and clean eco systems and surrounding sea. They do beauty differently – no fillers, just nature, bottled for you. For more information on Indigena Skincare innovations please visit IndigenaSkincare.com.

LIVA Foods
Arising from her powerful determination to reconnect with the sweet moments in her life, founder Lubaina Rakla set out on a quest to create and bring the very best raw and organic date sugar to the market. LIVA raw organic date sugar contains only two ingredients – dehydrated, ground Deglet Noor dates and love. LIVA provides a vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO healthier alternative to traditional sweeteners. It’s a great natural sweetener for all of your baking and beverage needs. Customers can purchase LIVA in a 400 grams canister and coming soon in convenient sachets for when you’re on the go! Life’s a little sweeter with LIVA. For more information, please visit LivaFoods.com.

Michael Hill
The Michael Hill story began in 1979 when Sir Michael and his wife Christine opened their first store in the New Zealand town of Whangarei, some 160 kilometres north of Auckland. Since then, the company growth has been guided by a unique retail jewellery formula. Through dramatically different store designs, a product range devoted exclusively to jewellery and development of high impact advertising, Michael Hill Jewellers rose to national prominence. In 1987 Michael Hill International was listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, the same year the group expanded into Australia. In 2002, Michael Hill expanded into North America, opening its first stores in Vancouver, Canada. The Canadian presence now includes stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Exclusive jewellery collections available at Michael Hill stores include Sir Michael Hill Designer Bridal, Knots, Spirits Bay, Southern Star, Whitefire, and Northern Radiance with Canadamark diamonds.

Discover the brightest stars in adult fiction, from bestselling authors to exciting debuts, HarlequinTradePublishing.com. Harlequin is one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in as many as 32 languages and sold in up to 93 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, itself a subsidiary of News Corp and one of the largest consumer book publishers in the world. Harlequin has offices in 14 countries, including offices in Toronto and New York. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com and Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks. Follow Harlequin on Twitter: @HarlequinBooks.

MONAT Global was founded in Miami, Florida in 2014 by the Urdaneta family, and has since expanded to include Canada and the United Kingdom. Since its inception, MONAT has established itself as a revolutionary hair care line that beautifully unites the best of both nature and science, using the latest scientific technologies and clinically proven proprietary ingredients on the market. This carefully crafted collaboration of science and nature allows MONAT to provide an unparalleled and unique age prevention hair and skin care experience. MONAT’s ingredients are vegan, naturally based, safe, pure and sustainable. They say no to animal cruelty and are proudly leaping bunny certified. For more information about MONAT visit MonatGlobal.com/ca.

A conscious awakening has occurred across the globe. Great taste, and far less waste is what modern grocery consumers want. Oteas believes that in order to elevate our human health, our physical environment should not have to be compromised. The company is committed to using high quality hand blended ingredients, and 100% plant-based packaging. This commitment puts Oteas in a league of their own as a quality tea 100% plastic free, biodegradable and a true zero waste consumer product.

Sharp magazine 
Sharp is published six times per year by Contempo Media, Inc., and covers a wide array of premium men’s lifestyle topics, such as fashion, grooming, watches, personal tech and automobiles. Contempo Media also publishes Sharp: The Book for Men, an ultra-premium, 240-plus page men’s lifestyle tome – in both English and French – biannually. Both publications are available on newsstands nationwide.

Thompson Hotel
Toronto Part of the King West landscape since 2010, Thompson Toronto has become known for its refined edge. A vibrant destination for discerning travellers and in-the-know urbanites, Thompson Toronto is a premier location, offering personalized service, distinctive culinary experiences and the city’s only rooftop lounge with a 40-foot infinity swimming pool. Designed by Studio Gaia, 105 ultra-sleek guestrooms, including three brand new suites for 2016, all feature floor-to-ceiling windows and a list of modern luxuries. Amid Toronto’s hot spots, Thompson Toronto is a star, offering guests food, drink and entertainment options to suit any mood: Thompson Diner, a contemporary classic diner; Rooftop Lounge, a retreat with poolside cabanas and cocktails; the newly-reimagined Lobby Bar; French bistro Colette; and the effortlessly cool nightclub Wildflower. And, with 30,000 square feet of prime event space, including the Rooftop Lounge and luxurious Screening Room, Thompson Toronto offers the ideal setting for conferences, meetings, weddings and more.

About Thompson Hotels
Founded in 2001, Thompson Hotels, a Commune Hotels & Resorts brand, is an international hospitality company that offers sophisticated luxury to its discerning clientele. The Thompson portfolio of lifestyle hotels includes the newly-opened Thompson Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the recently-opened The Cape in Los Cabos, Mexico; Gild Hall and Smyth in New York City; Thompson Chicago; Thompson Toronto; Belgraves in London; and Thompson Miami Beach. Thompson Hotels also has multiple new projects in development, including The Beekman in Lower Manhattan, Thompson Seattle and Thompson Nashville. Follow @ThompsonHotels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. For more information, please visit ThompsonHotels.com.

Todd’s Better Snacks
The story of Todd’s Better Snacks is all about making a great tasting, great-for-you snack with astounding crunch. Tired of the compromise between great taste and good-for-you, Todd set the bar high: make a crunchy and great tasting snack with the best quality protein – egg whites – and do it right here in Canada. The result is Todd’s Protein Crisps. Why egg white? Egg white protein is the gold standard protein for athletes and growing (as well as grown up) bodies. Todd’s Protein Crisps contain over 2 whole egg whites per serving. They’re also gluten and peanut free, keto and paleo friendly, and naturally low carb. Todd’s Protein Crisps embrace classic flavours, and are truly great tasting, setting them apart among high-protein, good-for-you snacks. They have just the right amount of saltiness, huge crunch, and are perfect for hungry kids and adults on the go – at school, at work, or after the gym, so people can feel good about Todd’s, and enjoy a quality snack made of real and local foods, one that satisfies.

Toronto Popcorn Company
Founded in 2013, TOPopcornCo. has since established itself as the city’s go-to gourmet popcorn company. Toronto Popcorn Co. is a small-batch production popcorn company that specializes in creating popcorn – from old time favourites to very decadent ones – that makes use of only premium ingredients. Always fresh and made with love, TOPopcornCo’s quality-over-quantity approach has quite made a cult-following. Starting out as a hole-in-the wall retail concept in Kensington Market, Toronto Popcorn can now be found in retail stores all over the city, and it can be enjoyed Canada-wide by ordering from its website. Toronto Popcorn – it’s not your random popcorn!

Tru Niagen
TRU NIAGEN™ is a unique form of vitamin B3 shown to maintain levels of NAD, to support cellular health. All five peer-reviewed published clinical trials confirm Niagen maintains NAD levels in blood. Tru Niagen is approved for sale by Health Canada as a natural health product (NHP), and it has also received Certified for Sport® status from NSF International, a leading independent public health and safety organization.

Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace where you can book any car you want, wherever you want it, from a vibrant community of local hosts across the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany. Guests choose from a totally unique selection of nearby cars, while hosts earn extra money to offset the costs of car ownership. A pioneer of the sharing economy and the travel industry, Turo is a safe, supportive community over 7.5 million strong with more than 275,000 vehicles listed and over 850 unique makes and models available. Whether it’s a truck to help out on moving day, a Tesla for an exciting new experience, or a classic VW bus for a picture-perfect road trip, Turo lets you find the perfect vehicle for your next adventure. Discover Turo at Turo.com.

Welo (short for We Love) was founded in August 2016, after they were inspired by what they had learned for themselves about the importance of probiotics and gut health. All of their products are made from ingredients they stand behind, and every product sold supports water, education, or food projects in Kikima, Kenya.
During the event
Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography