I also write for / Scriu si pentru

I also write for / Scriu si pentru

Revista Tango Romania

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.

Follow Bask-It-Style and its sponsors on Twitter:

Follow Bask-It-Style and its sponsors on Instagram:

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

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Karate Tournament in Burlington, Ontario, Canada

My son Alex is a karate student, he is 9 years old, he has been doing karate since he was 7, and currently he holds a blue belt in karate which is about half-way toward the black belt in karate. He participated in a friendship karate tournament this past May, and he got the 4th place in the tournament, as well as his first medal in karate. I was really proud of him. 😊 This was his second karate tournament that he has ever participated at. The first one was last year in June, in Windsor (a Canadian city in the South of Canada, close to the border with the United States), at that time he had a green belt in karate which is the previous belt before the blue belt; but at that tournament he didn't get a medal and he was disappointed. So this time, when he got his first medal in karate at the tournament in Burlington, it was a really great experience for him.
Alex at the karate tournament in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, May 2019
Alex practicing with his Sensei before the karate tournament started
Alex during the karate tournament
Alex during the karate tournament
Alex receiving his first medal at the karate tournament
During the karate tournament in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, May 2019
Photo credit: Victoria West

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My dear friends and readers, I would like to wish you a fabulous holiday season and a very Merry Christmas! May all your wishes come true, and may you and your loved ones be blessed with love, happiness, well-being and all the best in the world!

I will spend this holiday season with my family at home. The Christmas tree is already decorated, and my son is very excited about Santa coming to town. I am about to start cooking the turkey and the other Christmas dishes, and we are looking forward to spending a peaceful holiday season at home -- enjoying some time off from work, watching Christmas movies, unwinding after so much hard work this year. I have also been busy sending out my Christmas wishes to friends, both online and on Christmas cards by mail.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Yours truly,
Victoria West

Sunday, December 23, 2018

[Guest Story] What Is Email List Cleaning and How Does It Work?

In today's story I would like to introduce you to Emma from MyEmma.com, an email marketing platform that teaches you how to build solid and convincing email marketing campaigns, and which gives you all the tools you need to send out email campaigns that really connect with your subscribers.

If you are a business owner, one of the ways to promote your business is to send out email campaigns. I myself receive dozens of marketing emails from businesses from all areas -- my favorite fashion websites and online magazines that I am a subscriber to, my gym, beauty boxes, marketing emails from fashion designers, my Public Relations contacts, my son's school and the district school board, but also unsubscribed to newsletters and emails from various online stores which I usually delete right away.

Today's story on my blog will be a guest post by MyEmma.com in which Emma teaches us about email list cleaning. I find myself at the receiving end of marketing emails as I receive all those emails on a daily basis; but the story that I am sharing with you today is an email marketing guide for those who own businesses and who use email as a strategy to promote their business, regardless the area of their activity.

So, without further ado, if you own a business and if you send out marketing emails to your customers in order to promote your business, then the following blog post will provide you with useful tips and advice and will help you improve your email marketing practices.

What Is Email List Cleaning and How Does It Work? 

Is it time to give your email list a good scrubbing?

If you’ve got a bunch of people receiving your emails but not engaging, then chances are it could be in need of a refresh.

In this article, you’ll find out why it’s so important to keep your list sparkling clean and exactly how to sanitize that list for best results.

Let's get to it!

How do you know if your list needs to be scrubbed? 

The first sign that your list is scrub-worthy will show up in your metrics, specifically open and click rates.

If you can see a decline in these over your last few email campaigns, then you might have a build-up of unsubscribers and disengaged individuals.

Now, check out your spam complaint and unsubscribe rate. Do you see an increase there? Bingo. You found it!

And, unfortunately, if your subscribers aren’t opening or clicking, then they also aren’t being converted into customers.

Even worse, if they’re tired of getting your emails and flagging you as spam, then they can be impacting your deliverability to the people on your list who do want to hear from you.

How does email list cleaning work to change your lagging metrics? Read on to discover the benefits of regular list cleaning.

Why clean your email list? 

When you don't take care of something the way you should, it usually becomes unhealthy. Your email list is no different.

A build-up of unengaged subscribers in your list means you’re wasting valuable time, marketing energy, and -- here’s the big one -- revenue marketing to people who just aren’t interested.

And, since email list churn (or subscribers who bounce, report you as spam, or never even open your emails) can eat through up to 30% of your list each year, it’s important to stay on top of things.

This means doing a once-over email list cleaning a few times each year. Like many tasks that involve housekeeping, this might seem like a pain, but it’s really worth the effort in the long-run.

Let’s look at what good email list cleaning can accomplish for your marketing strategy:

1. Better click and open rates 

Click and open rates are percentages calculated from the total number of emails sent. Here are some examples of target click and open rates by industry.

While this list gives you something to shoot for, you also want to keep a close eye on your metrics to see trends and fluctuations caused by changes in your strategy and other industry and marketing trends.

Removing the non-openers and non-clickers by cleaning your list increases the number of people who are participating versus the number you’re sending.

And even though these are the same people that were clicking and opening before, your clean list has just done one very important thing -- removed the people who are reporting you as spam.

Google, Yahoo, and other email providers keep track of spam complaints and if you’ve gotten too many, they’ll start sending your stuff straight to the spam folder -- even for the people who want to get your emails!

This is a major problem for email marketers, and deliverability has been declining due to this very problem.

Reducing spam complaints helps your emails make it to the inboxes that want them and improves your sender reputation with email providers.

2. Reduced bounce numbers 

Bounced emails are just as bad for your reputation -- and your email’s deliverability -- as spam complaints. A bounced email happens because a receiver’s inbox is full, there’s an error in their address, or sometimes it's just a technical error. Either way, you want to keep your percentage of these down to keep your deliverability up.

3. Cost reduction 

Depending on how you’re sending emails, there are hard costs associated with keeping unengaged subscribers on your list.

Most email services charge according to how many emails you’re sending or how many subscribers you have. If you’re sending a number of emails to people who don’t want them, you’re wasting marketing dollars.

Reducing your list to only those people who are engaged can help improve your overall marketing return-on-investment (ROI).

4. Increased revenue 

Having a clean list means your email marketing campaign materials are going out to people who are engaged. This allows you to more fully understand if your marketing strategy is working, and how to tweak it if it isn’t.

In turn, a more accurately targeted campaign will convert more subscribers into customers, increasing your revenue and your ROI.

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of email list cleaning tactics.

How does email list cleaning work? 

Okay, you’ve determined your list is a bit dusty and you’re ready to shine it up. What do you need to do to get the best results?

1. Get rid of the no-action subscribers. 

If someone is on your list but never opens your emails, remove them from the list. They’re not getting your messages anyway, so why let them skew your metrics and potentially increase your emailing costs?

2. Keep an eye on syntax errors. 

Someone with fat thumbs typed in their email address as “@mgail” instead of “@gmail” and now you’ve got an inactive email. Or, you might have addresses with extra spaces and unsupported characters. Check for obvious syntax errors where you can. Some email cleaning services offer this option and will do it via software.

3. Determine low-activity subscribers. 

If you’re sending emails weekly and some of your subscribers are opening them once a month, you may still want to email that person -- just not as often. Email lists take time to build, and you don’t want to lose a subscriber who may still be interested. However, you want to be sure you don’t get spam complaints, either, so you’ll want to limit your contact. Once you determine your low-activity subscribers, you can move them to a separate list that gets targeted communications less often.

4. Target re-engagement 

Low-activity subscribers might still want to engage. Send them an email letting them know you want to reconnect and asking them to click a confirmation button if they’re interested.

While this Teespring example is focused on website engagement, it would be easy to parlay this into an email list reconnection email.

If you send a re-engagement email and your subscribers don’t respond, only email them with a critical product or event news in the future. If they do respond, remind them to whitelist your email address to keep your emails out of their spam folder, which may have been the reason they were disengaged in the first place.

5. Determine why subscribers left.

To keep your marketing on track, you’ll want to know why people are leaving your list. Did you:

  • Email too often? 
  • Not email enough? 
  • Not provide quality content? 
  • Not provide content targeted to them? 
  • Not provide value? 

Your list could have fallen prey to any of these shortcomings, or your subscribers may just be suffering from inbox overload and decided to shut everyone down. Either way, knowing why people are opting out is critical for the health of your list in the future. To ensure you know why people are leaving, make sure there’s an opt-out query attached to your “unsubscribe” feature on your emails.

This one is basic, but it gives you the general idea. Allowing subscribers to let you know their reasons for unsubscribing will only help you fine-tune your content and communications for better ROI.

Wrap up 

Now you know that keeping your email list sparkling is a great way to increase your ROI, get a better grip on your performance metrics, save money, and make sure your email marketing strategy is on target.

In addition, a properly-maintained list will cut down on spam complaints and bounces to keep your brand’s reputation as clean and shiny as your list.

Be diligent in maintaining your email list properly, conducting maintenance several times per year -- or whenever you notice those opens and clicks dropping off.

By keeping your list full of engaged subscribers who are interested in what you’re sending, you’ll build a strong list of passionate, loyal customers. You know, the kind that gives email marketing the amazing reputation for ROI that it so richly deserves.

About the Author
Lane Harbin
Lane Harbin is a senior content marketing manager at Emma. When she’s not geeking out over email marketing, she enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.

Original article

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ultimele cumparaturi din acest an – Shopping Lately

Iata ca suntem din nou in luna decembrie -- luna sfarsitului de an, luna bilanturilor, luna cadourilor, luna sarbatorilor. Si luna cumparaturilor. 😊 In povestea de astazi vreau sa va spun despre cele mai recente cumparaturi pe care le-am facut in ultimele luni, si in acelasi timp ultimele pe acest an, caci nu voi mai scrie un alt articol despre cumparaturi pana la inceputul lui 2019. Pe de alta parte, daca ma uit in arhiva blogului, ultimul articol despre shopping pe care l-am scris aici pe blog a fost in iulie, asa ca astazi va voi spune despre cumparaturile pe care le-am facut in ultimele 5 luni, din iulie incoace (sau cel putin mare parte din ele, daca nu toate).

Voi incepe cu obiectele vestimentare.
Rochie Calvin Klein -- am luat-o de la The Bay acum cateva saptamani. M-am bucurat si de o reducere de 50% pentru aceasta rochie. 😊 O voi purta in acest sezon de sarbatori.
Geaca BCBG
Haina de toamna Winners
Fulare de blana artificiala
Manusi simple de iarna, 3 seturi a cate doua perechi, 6 perechi in total. Cumpar manusi din acestea in fiecare iarna, pentru mine si Alex. Aceste manusi avand o masura unica, ii vin si lui Alex fara probleme. Motivul pentru care iau atat de multe manusi din acestea in fiecare an (am luat si anul trecut) este ca Alex le pierde pe la scoala, si o singura pereche nu l-ar tine o iarna intreaga. De altfel am mai luat manusi in acest model de curand, inca cel putin doua perechi (una rosie si una albastra), dar n-am apucat sa le fac poze ca sa le includ in acest articol, Alex deja incepuse sa le poarte. Iar fundalul alb pentru aceasta poza este o paturica "throw" de canapea pe care de asemenea am cumparat-o de curand de la un magazin din Whitby, ca sa o folosesc pentru a face poze.
Ciorapi de Halloween, diferite modele. In acest an de Halloween am purtat doua din aceste perechi de ciorapi -- cei din dreapta (alb-negru, modele diferite pe ambele picioare, in romburi si in dungi verticale) i-am purtat la job pe 31 octombrie cand ne-am costumat de Halloween la birou, am purtat un costum inspirat de stilul Madonnei. Iar ciorapii din mijloc (galben-negru) i-am purtat la petrecerea de Halloween la care am fost invitati in seara de 31 octombrie. Pe cei din stanga (romburi in alb-negru) nu i-am purtat, inca sunt ambalati, eventual o sa-i port la urmatoarea petrecere de Halloween la care voi merge anul viitor.
Halat de baie terry robe. Vechiul meu halat de baie terry robe Joe Fresh s-a uzat si cautam unul nou care sa-mi placa, m-am uitat luni de zile prin magazine fara sa-mi placa nimic, si in sfarsit l-am gasit pe acesta la The Bay, era exact ce voiam. Halat terry robe de bumbac suta la suta, plush, imi place culoarea aceasta turcoaz foarte mult, imi place ca are gluga, si de asemenea imi place ca e scurt pana la genunchi si nu lung pana la glezne ca cel precedent pe care l-am avut inainte, deci e mai usor. Si pentru ca e mai degraba lenjerie intima si nu haina de purtat pe strada, il arat intr-un glimpse si nu in intregime.
Un alt halat de baie, alb de data aceasta, model asemanator cu cel turcoaz, mai putin gluga
Pantaloni de pijamale Walmart. Ceea ce mi-a placut la acesti pantaloni cand m-am hotarat sa mi-i iau este faptul ca sunt confectionati dintr-un material foarte moale si foarte confortabil pentru dormit. Si pentru ca sunt din categoria lenjerie intima si nu o haina outfit, ii arat intr-un glimpse si nu in intregime.
Doua camasi de noapte in forma de tricouri lungi de la Walmart cu mesaje dragute. Cand le-am vazut pe umeras cu mesajele astea atat de dragalase, m-au atras din prima si le-am luat pe acestea doua, aveau mai multe modele cu alte mesaje, mai multe culori. Si din nou, avand in vedere ca sunt lenjerie intima si nu haine outfit, le arat doar cu mesajele acestea dragalase si nu in intregime.
Bocanci de siguranta safety boots, certificati pentru site-uri de constructii. Jobul meu include inspectii pe teren, si atunci cand merg pe teren, in functie de ce fel de teren este, trebuie sa port bocanci de siguranta. Mi-au fost rambursati de companie. Pana acum i-am purtat o singura data, si de obicei ii tin in portbagajul masinii pentru situatii neplanificate. Nu sunt foarte glamorosi HA-HA, asa ca nu sunt printre pantofii mei preferati, ii port doar in interes de serviciu si numai daca am absoluta nevoie de ei. De obicei ii asortez cu vesta mea reflectorizanta LOL, pe care de asemenea o tin tot timpul in portbagajul masinii.
Doua genti tote, le-am luat de la Dollarama, una mare si una mica (desi vad acum in poze ca par de aceeasi marime, pozele nu sunt facute la aceeasi scara). Biroul meu de acasa se afla la nivelul mezanin al casei, unde lucrez, imi tin toate materialele birotice, biblioteca, stationery etc. Am luat aceste doua genti tote ca sa ma deplasez prin casa de colo-colo cu materialele mele de birotica, din living jos in birou si din birou sus inapoi in living. Pe cea mare (albastra) s-ar putea s-o folosesc si ca geanta de plaja la vara, cand merg cu Alex la piscina vara sau cand mergem in vacanta.

Trec la urmatoarea categorie de shopping -- produse cosmetice si de frumusete.
Blush LA Colors, blush ELF, scrub pentru fata cu caise, servetele umede demachiante, servetele umede pentru maini si pentru uz general. Scrubul cu caise fiind mai mare, 170 g., il folosesc si pentru corp, pentru ca mi-ar lua o vesnicie sa-l consum daca l-as folosi doar penrtu fata. 😊
Bombe de dus Dr. Teals cu levantica si uleiuri esentiale, sapun aromaterapeutic Yardley London cu levantica, gel de dus Dove travel size pentru piele sensibila, creion dentar pentru inalbire, un set de 3 benzi cu carbon pentru nas si pentru curatarea porilor, saculet pentru ochelari.

Sa va spun cateva cuvinte despre unele din aceste produse. Bombe de dus Dr. Teals -- levantica are proprietati extraordinare de calmare a pielii, si de multe ori prefer produse de baie cu aroma de levantica, precum aceste bombe de dus Dr. Teals (dar si sapunul Yardley London). Stiti bombele de baie? Sigur ca stiti. Pui o bomba din aia in cada cand faci baie pentru efect efervescent. Imi place sa folosesc bombe de baie, problema este ca nu am timp sa le folosesc foarte des, pentru ca nu am timp sa fac baie in cada foarte des (adica sa stau jumatate de ora in apa fara sa ma gandesc la nimic altceva), de cele mai multe ori fac dus ca e mai rapid. Asa ca aceste bombe de dus sunt ideale pentru cei ca mine care nu au timp, pun o bomba de asta de dus in cada, dau drumul la dus, si baia se umple cu aroma calmanta de levantica. O cutie ca aceasta contine 5 bombe de dus.

Saculetul pentru ochelari are rol de etui de ochelari si este confectionat din material textil. Il folosesc atunci cand merg in oras cu o poseta mai mica, si etuiul de ochelari e prea mare ca sa-mi incapa in poseta, asa ca acest saculet textil imi e foate la indemana in astfel de situatii, ca sa-mi protejeze ochelarii (fie cei de vedere, fie cei de soare) in poseta cand sunt la o petrecere sau la un eveniment monden.
Bombe de baie (un set de 4 bombe, doua cu aroma de vanilie si doua cu aroma de capsuni), gel de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbon, un set de 2 sapunuri Dove beauty bars cu unt de shea, bilute parfumate pentru incaltaminte, servetele umede pentru maini si pentru uz general.

Sa va spun cateva cuvinte despre unele din aceste produse. Gelul de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbon -- este repeat purchase, l-am luat de mai multe ori in trecut, a devenit un produs favorit de-al meu. Il folosesc in prezent si este grozav, imi place foarte mult, ma spal cu el pe fata dimineata si seara. Are un efect de curatare profunda, si de asemenea are un efect racoritor grozav. Pun produs in palma, il inspumez in palma pana cand produsul negru la culoare (pe baza de carbon) se transforma intr-o spuma alba, dupa care ma spal cu spuma alba pe fata, da o senzatie de racoare tenului.

Bilutele parfumate pentru incaltaminte -- un produs nou pentru mine, novelty. Le-am descoperit recent la o sedinta de shopping, mi-au atras atentia si le-am luat. Deocamdata am luat doar un set, sa vad cum sunt; le-am incercat si imi plac, o sa mai iau din acestea pe viitor.
Geluri de dus, diferite arome -- lamaie si capsuni, capsuni, nuca de cocos, dovlecel si scortisoara, dovlecel si caramel. Este prima oara cand cumpar geluri de dus din aceste game si aceste arome (valabil si pentru produsele din urmatoarele doua poze), sunt produse noi pentru mine. Anul acesta am incercat foarte multe produse noi pentru ingrijirea corpului si parului (geluri de dus, spume de baie, sampoane, balsamuri de par, masti de par etc.), din dorinta de a incerca arome si game noi, si din dorinta de a mai lua o pauza de la eternele Dove si Garnier si L'Oréal si Pantene si TREsemmé din comert (desi am mai luat si din acestea din massmarket) -- am fost incantata sa incerc produse noi pentru mine. Din aceste 5 geluri de dus, cel care imi place cel mai mult este primul din poza, cel cu aroma de lamaie si capsuni. De asemenea, ma incanta ambalajul sau in dungi alb cu roz, care imi aduce aminte de Victoria's Secret si de pungile de shopping Victoria's Secret, brandul meu preferat de lenjerie intima, cand merg a cumparaturi sa-mi iau lenjerie noua.
Alte geluri de dus -- trei geluri cu aroma de floare de cires, si doua geluri cu aroma de levantica
Produse pentru ingrijirea parului cu ulei de argan -- 5 sampoane si 5 balsamuri de par. Anul acesta (in vara) am mai cumparat balsamuri de par din acestea cu ulei de argan si mi-au placut, asa ca data urmatoare cand am mai avut ocazia sa-mi iau produse pentru ingrijirea parului, mi-am luat si sampoane din aceeasi colectie. Stiti deja ca produsele pentru par cu ulei de argan sunt preferatele mele.

Si cu aceste geluri de dus si spume de baie, precum si produsele pentru ingrijirea parului, m-am asigurat pentru urmatoarele 5-6 luni LOL. 😊 Pana la vara viitoare nu mai trebuie sa cumpar produse din aceasta categorie, am stocul plin! 😊
Alte produse de frumusete -- gel de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbune si masca de par cu ulei de argan, din aceeasi gama ca sampoanele si balsamurile din poza de mai sus. Ambele aceste produse sunt foarte faine si imi plac mult. Dupa cum vedeti, gelul de spalat pentru fata reapare in acest articol care cuprinde 5 luni de shopping, caci l-am cumparat de mai multe ori in decursul ultimelor 5 luni, si asa am apucat sa fac poze cumparaturilor, pe masura ce am fost la shopping din iulie incoace.
Un spray aromaterapeutic pentru lenjerie de pat de la Winners cu levantica si violete, il folosesc atat pentru improspatarea lenjeriei de pat cat si a hainelor, de exemplu sacourile. Un set de luminite pe care l-am luat ca sa-l folosesc la poze. Si un trinket tray pe care il tin la mine in dormitor pe dulapul de langa pat, cu bijuterii cand le scot seara si alte mici lucruri pe care le folosesc peste zi.
Masca de par cu nuca de cocos, doua deodorante solide Lady Speed Stick, mini-deo solid Dove cu castravete, un set de 4 sapunuri Dove beauty bars cu ulei de argan din Maroc. Cele doua deodorante, Lady Speed Stick si Dove cu castravete, sunt produse de frumusete frecvente in baia mea. Sapunurile solide Dove de asemenea sunt printre preferatele mele, le am tot timpul in baie, imi place sa cumpar diferite arome, si de data aceasta am cumparat sapunuri Dove cu o aroma noua pentru mine, uleiul de argan marocan, sper sa-mi placa (sigur imi va placea -- apreciez foarte mult uleiul de argan in produsele cosmetice si de frumusete).

Si acum sa trec la ultima categorie de cumparaturi din povestea de shopping de azi -- birotica si stationery.
Doua carti. Prima se numeste Go Ahead and Like It, scrisa de Jacqueline Suskin. Este o carte inspirationala, despre lucrurile mici in viata care ne plac si care ne fac viata mai frumoasa. Nu este o carte groundbreaking, dar mi-a facut placere sa o citesc. M-a inspirat si pe mine sa reflectez asupra lucrurilor din viata mea care imi plac si care ma fac fericita.

Cea de-a doua carte este un roman de fictiune, literatura chic -- Miss Understanding de Stephanie Lessing. Acest roman al lui Stephanie Lessing face parte dintr-o dilogie, primul fiind She's Got Issues pe care l-am citit acum cativa ani, o lectura care mi-a facut placere atunci. Am descoperit-o pe scritoarea Stephanie Appel Lessing in 2010, cand m-am conectat cu ea pe Facebook. Inca nu mi-am facut timp sa citesc aceasta carte, dar sper sa ajung la ea sa o citesc in curand.
Diferite carnete si jurnale. Stiti deja de pasiunea mea pentru stationery. I am stationery addicted LOL. Preferatul meu din aceasta colectie este cel din piele (al 8-lea), pe care l-am gasit intr-un anticariat. I-am recunoscut stilul cand l-am vazut pe raft, este un jurnal de piele de la Indigo, inca mai avea pretul original de $36 pe coperta din spate, eu am dat pe el $3.99 la acel anticariat, a fost o adevarata gaselnita. 😊
Caiete in stil composition books de la Walmart, 11 in total. Le-am luat cand era sezonul back to school, chiar inainte sa inceapa noul an scolar in septembrie. M-au atras copertele lor frumoase, si am luat toate stilurile din aceasta colectie pe care le-am gasit pe raft, mai putin caietele cu unicorn pe coperta ca nu-mi plac unicoarnele. 😊 Cele turcoaz din randul de sus imi plac cel mai mult.
Diferite obiecte de birotica si stationery -- cutii de organizare pentru biroul meu de acasa, corectoare fluide, pixuri
Alte diverse obiecte de birotica -- binders, materiale pentru scris
Cutii de organizare pentru biroul meu de acasa, diferite stiluri si marimi
Multumesc ca ati citit articolul si sper ca v-a facut placere.

Sa aveti in continuare un weekend frumos!

Photo credit: Victoria West