Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My first tattoo

Passionflower side/back tattoo by Ash Timlin

About half a year ago, during a full day meeting at work about corporate culture, we were asked a lot of personal questions about ourselves. In order to understand what was maybe holding us back from success, we needed to find out what held us back in our personal lives as well. (nb: Perhaps strange in a traditional workplace but not so much for a fashion/tech start-up.) This session was emotionally difficult but at the same time it was cathartic and there were a lot of revelations.

At the start of the day, we began with a question that was tough to answer, "What do you want to achieve in your life but haven't yet?" What was on my list?
- pay off my student debt
- get a dog
- get a tattoo

As inane as that list sounds-- those were my honest expectations of my life (I'm baring my soul here ok?) And then the question that followed was, "And what's your excuse?... Money or time are not allowed to be your answers." So I had no excuses. With my 30th birthday just months away, it seemed like the perfect timeline to just do it. Shit, I was finally going to be decisive about at least one of the above goals.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

denim on denim

Syl and Sam - canadian tuxedo - denim on denim outfit
Today I was out helping some friends with a creative project-- modeling products for the first time in a while. More on the project later, but we were asked to just wear outfits that would work with some luxury products. It's been so long since I've really documented my style that I'm sure that it's completely transformed (as my hair does every year or so).

Since living in a small space in Toronto, I've really cut down my wardrobe and aspired for a more minimalist approach. When I moved from a large townhouse into a 600 sq. ft. condo, I actually threw out about 75% of my closet. There was so much extra bulk sitting around that I was drowning in it. I've had my time of experimenting with styles and I finally feel really comfortable in my more pared down closet, and as an adult who doesn't want to take things too seriously yet. So here's my take on the "Canadian tuxedo" on a "warm" November day (6C guys! Not bad!)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tutorial - Latte Sprinkles

I've developed a latte addiction very recently and I average 2 homemade lattes a day. It's just so easy and satisfying! I have a particular obsession with tea lattes because there's just so many variations and options! I just love that fluffy cloud of frothy milk that sits on the top of my drink but I've felt like it's been lacking a bit of...decor. So today I'm going to show you how to make your own adorable latte sprinkles! Why do you need to DIY latte sprinkles? Simple. You cannot just throw full sized sprinkles on your lattes because it will fall right through your froth!

Here is what we're going to make; Toffee & Dark Chocolate sprinkles

My inspiration? I visited a DAVIDsTEA store and noticed these adorably packaged sprinkles and instantly wanted to make my own mix. They come in 75g bottles and cost $15.00 for 2 or $8.50 for one. They offer Chocolate Sugar Sprinkles as well as Golden Sugar Sprinkles (it grinds up gold flakes!). How do they work? Well, there's full-sized sprinkles in a grinder and it's as simple as that!

Here's what you will need:

-Small Grinder (must be refillable)
-Zip Lock Bag
-Dark Chocolate Chips
-Toffee Bits
-Gravy Boat
-Masking Tape
-Pencil Crayon (or any writing utensil)
-Adhesive Label

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tutorial - How to Dye a Leather Bag

How to dye a leather bag with leather dye. Easy DIY tutorial!

A white purse is a great accent accessory until it picks up stains from regular wear. I quickly learned this with my Alexander Wang SS13 Trifold bag in Glow-in-the-dark leather. It was such a novelty purchase that I thought would make sense but when it began picking up the deep indigo and black dyes from my clothes, I needed to do something. I decided to go all the way to the other end of the spectrum and dye the bag black, but as a DIYer, I wanted to try it myself. It was a huge risk, but turned out really well!

How to Dye a Leather Bag using a leather dye kit

I figured since I was finally going to get back into blogging that I would try to record our first DIY video. It was something I was always nervous about delving into because it's completely out of my comfort zone... but I figured I would put myself out there and give it a try. I'm endlessly thankful for Sam's patience in helping me film this and even though it's not perfect, I think it's a decent start. Depending on how this is received, we might make video blogs a bit more regular... we'll see.

Watch the video below to follow along with how I dyed leather from white to black!

What you'll need:
- Something to cover your surface
- Fiebings Penetrating Leather Dye Kit
- Scotch Brite Scouring Pad
- Tarrago SelfShine Color Dye Kit
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Cotton Swabs

- Prepare the bag by disassembling straps and unfastening hardware.. Remove anything loose, unbuttons snaps and unzip the zippers so that you can reach every part that you would like to dye.
- Use Tarrago Preparer and the scouring pad to remove coatings, polishes and dirt. Scrub in a circular motion and don't miss scrubbing any part that will be dyed
- Use Fiebings Penetrating Dye and the included Dauber to paint the entire surface while still damp with preparer. Let the dye dry. It will dry a bit matte and streaky. Paint an optional second coat if any of the old leather color is showing through.
- Use Tarrago SelfShine Dye for painting on the finishing coat for a nicer shine. Brush onto all seams and cracks first. Then paint the dye onto the sponge to apply a thin coat onto the leather. Apply with the sponge in a circular motion. Let it dry for 5 hours.
- Use alcohol and cotton swabs to remove any dye from hardware
- You're all done!

Would you try this DIY?


Kit and Ace Toronto - Grand Opening

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Kit and Ace grand opening here in Toronto. My boss had an invite and took me along (thanks Jo!) to check out the event. The Vancouver based brand of luxury basics has been quickly cropping up across Canada and from what I'd heard about the company, I was sure the store would fit right in the West Queen West neighbourhood. 

Check out the photos below and if you're on the market for technical cashmere basics or maybe just some maple syrup, if you stop by the store let us know what you think!

 Kit and Ace Toronto West Queen West Grand Opening

 Kit and Ace Toronto West Queen West Grand Opening

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tutorial - Tea Advent Calendar

It's been a long time since I been around, it's been a long time but I'm back in town! haha, I'll stop now. Anyway, It's been forever since I've blogged but I've decided that I'd make my first comeback post a good one. I hope it lives up to my words...but I'm pretty excited about this project.

Most of my friends and family know that I'm a tea addict. I think there's also something that happens when Autumn rolls around, my obsession gets stronger. It must be that I feel the fall chill in the air and crave a warm drink in between my palms.

Maybe you understand how I feel? Do you start talking about tea and mention things that the average person cannot relate to? For me, my own sister doesn't get me...so I decided to make an awesome little handmade gift of tea for her to share my obsession. Then maybe by Christmas, she'll be hooked? One can hope so.

Today I'll be guiding you through the process of hand making a tea advent calendar

It's a cup of tea for 25 days counting down to Christmas!

Let's begin with discussing my inspiration:

24 days of tea from DAVIDsTEA: their yearly Advent Calendar that retails for $34.50.
I would say it's their most popular collection and usually sells out within a day of being released (both online and in-store). I was physically holding a box on the day it was released but I knew that my collection of teas was already too big. I've also tried the majority of the teas in the set already. So I talked myself out of it. Later that day, they were practically sold out everywhere. You can find yourself a set for about $70 - $100 on sites like eBay or Kijiji (a Canadian site like Craigslist)!

So why spend up to $100 on a box of 232 grams of tea when you can customize your own? I'm sure you or your giftee would much rather have a calendar that is filled with hand-picked flavours of tea. Plus, not only can you personalize the set to taste, you can customize it around allergies and dietary restrictions.

I think that's enough talking, how about we get started?

What you need:
-25 wooden Clothes Pins (plastic is fine too)
-Printed Napkins (or Wrapping Paper)
-1 sheet of Card Stock/thicker paper
-White String (25 pieces x 6 inches)
-Twine (approximately 40 inches)
-25 miniature Adhesive Labels
-25 miniature Zip Lock Bags
-Black Permanent Marker
-25 different types of Tea
-Gift Box or Bag
-Scrap Paper
-Chisel-Tipped Permanent Maker or Paint (Colour of your Choice)
-(Tag-Shaped) Paper Puncher
-Colourful Pens

Alexander Wang x H&M - Bustier & Boots Review

My fave piece from the Alexander Wang x H&M collection was definitely the elastic bustier. It was my one and only must-have item from my wish list. In fact, I had convinced myself that even after waiting in line for 8 hours, if I had only picked up that top, I would be happy.

My picks from the collection were all revolving around wearability. I wanted items that fit well with my existing wardrobe and I didn't want to make any impulse buys. That said, I went back to H&M the following day and "accidentally" found a pair of the heeled zip up booties in my size. Oops... I just couldn't resist.

Here they are in action:

Alexander Wang x H&M elastic bustier and boots

Alexander Wang x H&M elastic bustier and boots

Alexander Wang x H&M elastic bustier and boots

Alexander Wang x H&M elastic bustier and boots

Alexander Wang x H&M elastic bustier and boots
wearing: alexander wang x h&m elastic bustier, alexander wang x h&m boots, tna plaid shirt, talula mullaly high waist leggings, ub leather motojacket (similar here), alexander wang trifold bag

The elastic bustier wears like a sports bra. It's made from heavy elastic and it fits really small. Initially I had grabbed an XS and basically was stuck in it for about 5 minutes in he fitting room. If you're still considering buying this piece from somewhere it's probably smart to size up.

The booties are made from real leather, which is something I love about H&M's designer collections: they don't go absolutely cheap on the quality to keep prices low. They're a great height heel for me to wear everyday, so I'm thinking these were totally worth grabbing.

Which pieces did you pick up from the Alexander Wang x H&M collection?
Check back soon for Sam's picks too!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What I learned while lining up for an H&M designer collaboration

Even though H&M has been creating designer collaborations for 10 years now, I have never put forth the effort to actually shop them. The hype is always insane and from a distance, I always recall seeing reports of people camping in the street then proceeding to trample each other to grab at their most coveted pieces. Yeah, no thanks... But this collection was the exception. As soon as I had heard the announcement from Coachella that the next one would be Alexander Wang, I had to figure out how to prepare myself.

My friend Jeannie has been to nearly every previous collection release and so I looked to her for advice. I quickly read her post on what to expect and I'm so glad she prepared me for what was to come. I think I had a successful haul so I wanted to share my experience. Read on to see what I learned from my experience lining up to shop the collection:

Book time off
Book the day off of work as soon as you know the release date. You will be exhausted from pulling an all-nighter and then the rush of adrenaline from the urgent shopping.

What to bring
November in Toronto is cold. Make sure to dress in warm layers, lots of knits and winter accessories. All of the Toronto locations require you to wait outdoors and overnight temperature dips can make the wait feel endless.

- a friend: people in line are great about holding your spot if you need to go find a washroom at a nearby gas station, but it helps pass the time to have someone there to talk to and remind you why the hell you subjected yourself to this unnecessary feat. I was going to go alone until I found out the day before that our friend Grana of LeGrana was going as well. Thank god for that.
- a folding chair: make yourself comfortable with something to sit on. It seems embarrassing but I saw some dudes who brought mini ikea poang chairs and I was so jealous.
- a warm blanket: it saved my life.
- a good thermos: so you'll have a hot drink to sip at all night.
- snacks: it's an overnight outdoor slumber party! You might as well snack
- entertainment: cards, books, iPads. You'll need them.
- a charger or external battery: your phone will die. Back it up with an external charger.
- a car: if at all possible, bring a friend with a car. You can take shifts in the car and it gives you a place to store all of your chairs and blankets before you go in to shop.

When to line up

As I learned, the first ones in line had arrived at 8am which was a full 24 hours ahead of the release time. The advantage of being amongst the first 10 in line this time around was an exclusive free gift. The gift was a great backpack chair but... Probably not worth 24 hours of time. The photo above was taken at around 6pm-- about 20 people were already in line.
I went home after work to have dinner, pack my bag and prepare myself to arrive at the store for midnight. At midnight, which was 8 hours before the release time, I was 94th in line. This will obviously be different based on location and how many other people decide to show up early. If I were to do it again, I'd still aim to go for midnight. 👌

The wait
The location where I lined up was Yorkdale Mall in the North York part of Toronto. This H&M is located inside the mall but you're not allowed to line up within the mall overnight. The wait is entirely outdoors until 5am when the mall reopens and the entire line is ushered indoors for the final 3 hours of the wait. A lot of people showed up at this time to wait so that they didn't have to be outdoors. Totally makes sense.

The wristbands

Coloured wristbands are handed out to people and they are numbered and have times on them. People are divided into groups of 30 and each group has a designated 10 minute slot to shop. At #94 I was at the front of the 4th group to shop. By the time we were shopping, we heard that the majority of the menswear was gone and I also heard that the shelves were pretty empty by 10.

The 10 minutes of shopping

You're let into the "ring" in order of your wristband number and are constantly instructed not to push or run. 10 minutes doesn't seem like it's a very long time but if you've had months to see the collection online and then a full night to reevaluate your wish list, you're bound to be familiar with every product and price. The staff are there to help you with sizes and to keep things in order and they also continue to tell you how much time you have left. I grabbed everything on my list, Sam's list and then some and finished in 8 minutes with hangers laced on all my fingers and my hands filled with random objects.

Once you have your loot, you're welcome to go to the fitting rooms and take your time trying it all on. This is highly advised because if things don't fit, the staff will switch a size for you... Provided that there are sizes left in the "ring" which you are not allowed to re enter. If you decide to leave anything in the fitting room, it's instantly off limits to everyone and will be put back into the ring.


Personally, I tried to restrain myself and stick with buying only the items from a very short wish list that I had mulled over for months. I grabbed everything my friends had wanted too and overall I was really happy with how our position in line allowed us to get our pick of everything in the sizes we needed. Go crazy if you want because there's a 7 day return policy.

Check back soon to see how we styled our picks from the collection!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Peter Pilotto for Target

Some of you may have spent yesterday morning in search for the Peter Pilotto line at Target. Well, that was our morning. I was out of town and visited a remote location around noon and was able to find tonsss of stock. I ended up visiting 4 Targets throughout the day to get some more preferable sizing. We ended up with 21 pieces! I would say that it was an incredibly successful day. We had nabbed a couple of things from the Philip Lim collection back in September but nothing to this extent.

Some of the pieces we grabbed:
Red Iris Print Jacquard Dress, Purple Floral Print Dress, Green Floral Print Belted Dress, Red Iris Print Romper, Black/White Print Bikini Crop Top, Black/White Print Skirt, Black/White Print Bikini Top, Black/White Print Bikini Bottom, Black/White Print Rash Guard, Red Floral Red Print/Lace Blouse, Red Floral Check/Print Skirt, Black/White Print Beach Tote

We also grabbed (not pictured) the Black/White Print Slip-On Shoe, Light Blue Floral/Check Print Pencil Skirt, Green Netting Print Beach Towel, Black/White Print Sunglasses

I'm so excited to wear all our new pieces! Were you able to grab any pieces at your local target?

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