Saturday, October 09, 2010

Your Naked Face

By:Sarah B Awuah
As the winter steadily approaches harsh weathers force us to bundle up into our winter gear with cute hats and mitts and fashionable winter jackets. But it’s time to be bundle up with moisturizer and lots of it! As the seasons change skin can change too. Winter weather leaves the skin dry and dull no matter what skin type you are. Luckily you came across this article, where we will discuss the four different skin types and tips on how to fight away dull, boring skin.

Normal skin

Normal skin has an even tone that is soft and smooth. This type of skin is non-greasy nor dry, there are no visible pores or blemishes. Skin care for normal skin during winter requires daily cleaning with a mild cleanser twice a day along with moisturizing. I recommend Vitamin E Cream Cleanser from the Body Shop, the cleanser contains vitamin E of course, to soften, and keep skin smooth. Wheat germ oil that nourishes and conditions the skin and Community Trade soy oil and Community Trade Shea butter to refine, soften and prevent the skin from dryness. Moisturize with the Vitamin E Moisture Day Cream and Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream also found at the Body Shop. These moisturizers contain lanolin and sorbitol both ingredients help to retain and protect the skin’s moisture.

Dry Skin

Dry skin has a parched looked caused by inability to retain moisture. The skin looks dry and dull especially around the eyes and cheeks. This particular skin type is prone to flake, chap and feel tight. It is important to use a cleanser that contains glycerin or petrolatum because these ingredients have moisture locking abilities without leaving skin oily. Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing line is excellent for individuals suffering dry skin. The Ultra Calming Foam Cleanser is a light foam cleanser specializing in soothing and softening the appearance of dry sensitive skin without ripping skin’s natural moisture. The Daily Moisturizing Lotion is also great for dry skin this formula contains natural ingredients including oatmeal and moisture-rich emollients to sooth and smooth dry skin.

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin then your skin tends to have a greasy feel, the skin is shiny and thick. Oily skin is prone to blackheads, blemishes, coarse pores and pimples. Although the skin is already greasy it is important to keep the skin clean and moisturized to keep pimples, blackheads and blemishes far at bay. Avoid skin care products leaving your skin feeling tight and dehydrated instead choose a shine-free formula. Use cleanser with no artificial additives such as Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser, also from the Body Shop. This unique cleanser includes lemon tea tree and Community Trade tea tree oil from Kenya containing anti-bacterial traits to prevent blemishes from forming. Pair this formulated cleanser with the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion and say good-bye to blemishes.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin tends to be easily irritated. The skin may diffuse redness and or drying. Sensitive skin may be the hardest skin type to tame because with this skin type you must find a product made for their particular skin which differs from genetics because the skin is so easily irritated. I must say Aloe Gentle Foaming Facial Wash only at the Body Shop. This gentle and soothing cleanser works wonders for those with sensitive skin leaving the skin feeling hydrated, smooth and soft. Pair this facial cleanser with the Aloe Soothing Day Cream for morning and Aloe Soothing Night Cream for bedtime and say go away irritation!

After reading this informative article, tackle the harsh winter weather with the right products for your skin type, because even your naked face needs to bundle up.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sunset Strip

We love that summer's pale palette has lasted into December's Winter Wonderland - even if your sexy tan didn't. Face it, you've lost your golden glow and your nude lipstick just doesn't pop like it used to. Not to fear! Here are some quick and easy ways to keep up that gorgeous tan without breaking the bank.

Summer has come and gone, and by the looks of it, so has your tan. Now there's nothing wrong with channelling your inner English Rose, but honestly, you just don't look as good in your cream blazer anymore. Now if you can't afford two weeks in Jamaica to bronze back up, we've got just the thing you need.

Fake It, Don't Bake It
Some of us are more fortunate than others, and by fortunate I mean, not naturally a pasty shade of white. So for those of you who have managed to hold on to the slightest bit of colour these past few months, you have a few options. I recommend keeping your colour up by gradually applying special bronzing lotions or foams. Neutrogena and Jergens have some great tanning products that have focus on your natural skin colour as well as how dark you would like to get. These creams are relatively inexpensive and can be found at your neighbourhood drugstore. If you follow the instructions carefully you can achieve a streak free tan without any effort at all.

GTL, Baby
Hate tan lines? If you find yourself in the need of a real tan real quick, you may be more willing to try tanning beds. Most people I've spoke to have gone tanning before, but if you're a tanning virgin like me, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, don't overdo it. Tanning can quickly become addictive so remember that you want to keep it looking natural. So if you don't want to end up looking like Snooki on a bad day, go once a week to begin with. Unlike lotions or foams, with tanning bed you will never need to worry about streaks or even tan lines if you're bold enough to bare it all. Although it is more pricey than the other options, it's something to consider if you have some extra cash and require a full body tan. Just keep in mind when searching for your salon that cleanliness is key, but don't be swindled into the idea that it's ok to pay an arm and a leg. Be patient and search around, you're sure to find a diamond in the ruff.

The Bronze and The Beautiful
If you're not so keen on the idea of tanning beds, forgo the "fake bake" and head to your nearest beauty store instead. An investment in a good bronzer can make you look like you've spent time in the sun when you definitely haven't. The great thing about bronzers is that makeup companies have improved them in recent years making them easier to use and more natural looking. Selecting the right colour and shade can make all the difference. With so many available shades, a variety of textures and a multitude of brands, any woman can find her perfect shade. However, exercise caution when choosing your bronzer. Going just a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone will look natural and glowing. Seriously, you may think you look nice and dark in front of your washroom mirror, but once you leave your house your more likely to look like an orange popsicle, not a bronze beauty. If you're willing to shell out a little more cash then try MAC's Bronzing Power. However, an amazing drug store alternative would be Rimmel London's line of bronzing powders. Not stretching over fifteen dollars, Rimmel has a number of shades that are so huge, they're sure to last you to next summer. No matter which option you choose to go with, you're sure to spend this winter standing out - not blending in with the blizzard.

Be a Man.

Perhaps it has been the ongoing success of of Mad Men or maybe the sequel to Wall Street that has designers channeling menswear for women. Regardless of how it all began, menswear for women seems to be here to stay. It’s time to reach to the top shelves of your mother or father’s closets and blow the dust off of those long blazers and matching trousers you once teased them for possessing. Thanks to labels such as Chloe, Marc Jacobs and Hermès, menswear for women is back and more wearable than ever.


Think Diane Keaton in Annie Hall meets Greta Garbo in Queen Christina, the look is masculine with feminine details. A colour palette of soft nudes mixed with camels, grays and navys - menswear is minimal and easy to wear. The fit of the pant is relaxed yet tailored. I suggest a cropped pant that hits at the ankle. And try experimenting with pleats and pocket placement. The next must-have is the perfect oxford shirt and this season, button them up to the top. Add a touch of femininity by placing a broach or a bow on the top button. The sweater is key to the menswear look. Whether it be in a vest form, the classic crew-neck or a turtleneck (yes, I said it), use the sweater to play with texture and depth - think chunky-knits, cashmere and fur details. Lastly, to tie it all in a stunning piece of outerwear is a necessity . If you buy one thing this season, I urge you to go with a luxurious coat. Capes, wool trenches, and long tailored coats are in high demand this season. Look to Hermès (designed by the acclaimed Jean Paul Gaultier) for inspiration and look for inciting details such as leather trim or oversized hoods.

A Women's Touch

It is important when shopping for menswear to look for interesting ways to add hints of femininity. Accessories help. Designer Hannah MacGibbon for Chloe adds a chic, scaled-down weekend bag to complement her look. Marc Jacobs, inspired by the classic briefcase, creates a smaller, less androgynous bag that is practical and chic. As far as shoes go, keep it simple. Designer Phoebe Philo for Celine shows chunky black pumps paired with trouser socks. Play with gold (I suggest a chunky wrist-watch), leather bags and hats. This being said, remember to keep minimalism in mind; less is always more.

Shop The Rack Not The Runway

Being fashionable would be easy if you could buy exactly what you see on the runway. Unless your name is Anna Della Russo, this is not the case. But luckily retailers such as Zara, Gap, and Club Monaco create the menswear look for a fraction of the price. Zara is great for outerwear and thick knits this season. Numerous capes, trenches and sweaters are available in this seasons hot colours. For pants, I suggest The Gap, where head designer Patrick Robinson recently launched a black trouser collection that has fashion editors and shoppers alike buzzing. It includes 7 fits, my personal favorite (an ode to menswear) being the boy-fit. Finally, for the classics, including the perfect oxford, I suggest flocking to Club Monaco. An expert in menswear for women, Club Monaco seems to be taking a page from Mrs. MacGibbon’s book this season -- and I’m loving it.

From the runway in Paris to your dad’s dresser drawers, menswear is the style of the season. Remember to keep it feminine and minimal for optimal results and always add your own personal touch. As Mae West once said “A good man is hard to find”, I say go for a man’s outfit instead.

"Mad Men” Metamorphosis

“Mad Men” Metamorphosis

A how-to lifestyle guide for stripping away the layers of our morally self-righteous, vegan way of life, in favor of Tom Collins’ and the casual encounters of the swingin’ 60’s

Exercise Ingenuity
Let’s abandon the oppressive, sweat-smelling wasteland of fitness we call the gym. In the 1960’s, working out was so easy! All you had to do was stand, sit or lie down and let the machine do the rest. Workout fads of the 1960’s included hot pants sauna suits and the ever-popular belt massager that jiggles stubborn fat into oblivion. Another fat-blasting machine was the twist board, which allows you to swivel back and forth imitating the dance craze “the twist” while minimizing your waistline. Magazine ads from this era show perfectly coiffed housewives, melting away the pounds while wearing heels and pearls. These antiquated weight-loss strategies sound more like first-rate party games than the hard-core boot camp-style workout classes that are popular today and they don’t include a drill sergeant.

Curves Ahead
Until Twiggy hit the scene in the late 1960’s, women’s curves were not only acknowledged, they were celebrated. That’s right: it was fashionable to have breasts. This concept may be hard to grasp for the current generation of young adults who grew up as “heroin chic” was dominating fashion runways and magazines of the 90’s (followed closely by the Britney Spears pop revolution of bare teenaged midriffs), however, appearing both emaciated and pre-pubescent has not always been the rule of beauty. Both the clothing and undergarments of the 1960’s (including the Bullet Bra!) were made, not to hide a woman’s physique but to show it off and accentuate it.

Cocktails at noon…
Forget Health Canada’s recommended alcohol intake. In the 1960’s, cocktail hour was more like cocktail day! Mixed drinks of hard, dark alcohol clinking against ice and glass were simply the 1960’s prelude to impending creative genius. In the AMC hit show “Madmen”, Madison Avenue advertising executives at Sterling Cooper Draper Price do their best brainstorming with a glass or three of whisky down the hatch. Children of the organic food generation, take heed – they don’t call it a social lubricant for nothing! You may be missing out on your very best creative ideas and lucrative opportunities to improve both coworker and client relationships due to your concerns of cirrhosis and stroke! Sidle up to a dimly lit bar for lunch, order yourself an Old Fashioned and let the ideas flow like whisky.

…and women for dessert!
It seems the 1960’s were also a time when affairs (especially those that included your secretary) occurred in lieu of the contemporary “after work jog”. There might be something truly brilliant about this approach considering that stress is able to cause serous health problems including heart disease and Canadians reported a 30% increase in stress levels in 2009 from the previous year, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Rather than slog through the dreary Toronto weather in order to improve your mood, you could be participating in a much more pleasurable means of keeping fit! What better way to end a day of drinking, smoking and challenging each other’s ego’s, than to indulge in some harmless affairs of the flesh where marital rules need not apply?

The Nude Issue

Eco-friendly/ organic powders, John Rocha’s skin exposing line, and “taking it off”- the best nude resorts to travel to, are the sizzling hot topics to get you out of that frosty, frozen winter slump.

A "new" makeup discovery that's been around for 30 years is taking the cosmetics, fashion and film industries by storm. Mineral makeup by “Herbs of Grace” is the latest addition to an emerging beauty culture dedicated to better living. This eco-friendly, and “face-friendly,” makeup is all organic. Herbs of Grace has no cheap fillers like talc, which is known for its health risks. The powder is cruelty free, oil-free, helps irritation and redness, and they never use synthetic fragrances, dyes or preservatives. It can be used as a concealer, foundation, powder, and sunscreen all in one. It doesn’t enhance wrinkles like traditional powders would normally do.

If you have fine lines or crow's-feet, traditional makeup can cake in those places, usually creating an illusion of deeper, more noticeable lines. Minerals create real health and a glow through essential vitamins, antioxidants and ingredients that actually hydrate the skin and conceal wrinkles. Not to mention the powder is a bargain, selling for $18.50, so what are you waiting for? Go ahead and jump on the organic beauty bandwagon.

Feel like channelling your inner ballerina? John Rocha- Spring / Summer 2011 collection was one of New York Fashion’s Week most desirable shows. Inspired by the peaceful landscapes and tranquility of his annual fishing trips, his pieces showed bone corsetry, cloud-like pouf skirts together, mostly portraying black and parchment-toned silk tulle. Skin exposure was definitely one of the themes Rocha decided to take on in his collection, with using sheer material that was skin exposing, and ultra see through mesh. The leggings were over exposed by revealing the waistband and thighs, and also not being hidden under tunics or mini dresses. His underwear concept echoed in boned bodices, and strapless rompers, draped with silk chiffon, or visible under chiffon, fishtail gowns. The clothes were accessorised with lace-up, wrap-around boots and sandals, cocoon-shape backpacks, and gigantic tulle hats.

Naturism definition states that it involves the practice of complete nudity in a communal setting. It promotes wholesomeness and stability of the human body, mind, and spirit, especially through contact o the body with the natural elements. Nudist groups are taking over the world one clothing piece at a time, and right now vacationing resorts are noticing and taking action.

Thinking about what to do on your reading week in this freezing cold winter weather? Clothing optional and nudist resorts are here to save the day. For some travelers, taking off for the Caribbean means an opportunity to "take it all off," There's just something about the warmth and free spirit of the Caribbean, not to mention the hot sun that lets you do some "au naturel" sunbathing. For many, that's as far as it goes, but the Caribbean also has a number of resorts that allow guests to go in the buff all day long, from the breakfast buffet to afternoon pool volleyball to evening encounters in the hot tub. The Hedonism resorts are known for their toga parties. Nude weddings, and even hanging out at the swim-up nude bar are just several activities to consider. The Hedonism resorts also sell day and night passes to non-guests. Second up is the Couples tower Isle in Jamaica. Formerly known as the Couples San Souci, this all-inclusive resort was recently renamed for the private island that made it famous. A private ferry takes couples out to Tower Island, which is a fully nude hideaway that provides some welcome space between nudists and the tourist who otherwise might come to sneak-a-peak. However, you should note that Tower Island is not "clothing-optional" -- if you come out here, you must have all clothing off, no need to be shy!

Trans-Seasonal Dressing

Trans-Seasonal Dressing

How to effortlessly evolve your wardrobe between seasons!

What to Wear?

We Toronto girls have it easy: hot and humid summers demand breezy-light summer dresses, whilst in chilling winters, we know to rely on wool tights and cozy cashmere. Without much in-between weather, our wardrobe demands, trustworthy and steadfast, are never difficult – right? So, why is it, as soon our outdoor thermometers hit moderate temperatures, we’re at a loss as to what to wear? Fashion law (and hopefully, our better judgment) dictates no open-toe shoes through snow season, and please, save your Canada Goose down jacket for when you really need it (salt-stained coats look most inappropriate when daffodils and lilacs are blooming). But what about that murky, unknown territory we enter between each season? Fear not, we can finally conquer our wardrobe conundrums.

Trendy Transition

Transitional dressing has never been easier, with layering, prints, and mixing textures all major trends we’ve been seeing on the Spring 2011 runways. Indeed, trans-season dressing is a great opportunity to be edgy, experiment, and mix trends. Want to throw a menswear tweed jacket over a feminine, floral dress? Now’s the time to try it! Combining chunky knits with delicate lace and silks, or short hemlines with textured tights are all winning looks. Not only can one achieve a modern mix, more can be made of your closet. During these credit crunch times, a little amalgamation of winter-spring clothing can be something to give you a little more bounce in your step, not to mention less of a dent in your chequing account.

Layer On

Transitional chic is best executed through searching through both your winter and summer closets and doing some creative layering. Resort collections from Rag & Bone showed us how to pair fall’s harem trousers with a tee shirt, vest, scarf and boots. Adding thin layers, such as modal or lightweight cashmere cardigans and scarves, to your cotton basics is a fashion-forward way to maximize your trans-seasonal wardrobe.

Colour Palettes

For the print or colour-tentative, this is a wonderful opportunity to work more interest into your outfit by adding a bright cardigan or a Missoni-inspired print scarf. Swapping black accessories in favour of lighter-coloured neutrals (tortoiseshell sunglasses and nude handbags) can lighten your end-of-season aesthetic, as well.

European Influences

When looking for wardrobe inspiration, a great place to start is observing what other women across the globe are sporting. Though navigating through murky weather territory may not be easy for us, European girls, with their non-extreme climate (and, admittedly, innate fashion sense) are fantastic examples of how to do transitional dressing well. Scandinavian fashionistas love to mix lightweight scarves with heavier military-inspired parkas; Parisienne women realize that pairing heavier tights with peep-toe shoes is an inter-season must; and every London lass worth her TopShop wardrobe knows that a trench coat is a staple piece for inter- seasons (see Rachel Roy, Acquascutum, and Burberry).

Style Stalking

When seeking fashionable flair from across the pond, no globetrotting need be necessary. Take a peek at the following style blogs:

* Copenhagen Street Style ( is a great source for what the high-cheekboned set are wearing in Denmark

* London’s The Style Scout ( will have you wishing for Old Blighty’s weather year-round (well, almost), showing how both men and women stay Brit-cool in vintage and savvy street-wear

* We forget that not every Australian city is Bondi-Beach-hot year round: Melbourne’s stylish set are notorious for their weather-appropriate layering and rock ‘n roll aesthetic. Check out Lady Melbourne ( for pitch-perfect Down Under style.

The fashionable need not fret! Done right, transitional dressing can bring a fresh look into your wardrobe, as well as be fun, look chic, and easy on your wallet.

Confessions of a Scent Connoisseur

“Confessions of a Scent Connoisseur”
Tips to choosing the right scent!

Strip away all clothing and garment and what do you get? – A scent. Whether it is the natural scent of the human body or the smell of vanilla and musk in colognes or perfumes – everyone has their own signature scent. Most people find it common to put on that special signature scent before heading out the door and some wear their scent for special occasions.
Perfume dates back to a thousand years old. The word “perfume” comes from Latin, “per fume,” which mean “through smoke.” The earliest known perfume came from the burning of incense and herbs that were used in religious services. So here’s the question, how would you wear your scent? The difference between colognes and perfumes is that colognes are made of a blend of extracts, alcohol, and water. Perfumes are more concentrated than colognes. However, both are made with the same ingredients.
I started my collection with a classic – CK One. From that day on, my collection grew to roughly 22 colognes (I’ve stopped since storing colognes for a long time will lose their scent). Most of my friends have called me, “The Scent Connoisseur” (An equivalent of a wine connoisseur).
Colognes and perfumes should be as significant of an investment just as much as a Prada bag or a pair of Christian Loboutin shoes. It is a great investment since if you look good with clothes and accessories; shouldn’t you smell good as well? While visiting stores and trying out samples, most people often get confused about what their scent is. However, I have a few guidelines that, if followed, can help you choose your own signature scent.
Whenever you’re at the mall trying out different scents, consider testing three colognes at a time and spraying them in different parts of your body. Fragrance experts have suggested that trying out three is enough for you to experience the scent. Having more than three can be overpowering and your nose won’t be able to distinguish the different notes and scents. Most perfume stores and department stores always have a jar of coffee beans. The scent of coffee beans will clear your scent glands making them like new so you can get a better sense on what notes are in the cologne or perfume. Make sure that the scent is bearable for you to wear all day since most scents last a long time (depending on the concentration of their ingredients). No scent alike smells the same when worn by two different people. What most prefer may not suit you. A word of the wise is to not follow the branded scents. It is best to go for citrus scents during warm seasons and bold scents during cold seasons. If you are allergic to cologne and perfumes, you may want to try ordering organic perfume. Websites such as Saffron Rouge offer scents that are chemical free and they don’t contain synthetic ingredients and petroleum-derived alcohols. Once you have found the right scent, try to switch it up every few months since wearing the same scent for a year does not always work.
Remember that Perfumes (Eau de Parfum) are more concentrated and three sprays usual do the trick to cover you throughout the day. Colognes (Eau de Toilette) are less concentrated and no more than four sprays are suggested. The only thing that is worse than wearing an awful scent is to smelling like you just came from a polish bath. Remember that perfumes and colognes are as important as any fashion accessory.

Uncovered: Expensive Taste on a Student Budget

It's no news that Toronto is an expensive city but there's no sense in spending all of your OSAP on staying stylish. It's simple to shop savvy with these four rules...

Buy it New

First and foremost, be aware of sale cycles. Stores like Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M and Anthropologie have really high turnover rates. They bring in new stock biweekly, weekly, and even daily. To make room for these new items, “old” merchandise is marked down. Keep an eye on that shirt you love and you're almost guaranteed to find it on sale in a week or two.

Industry heavy hitters like The Bay and Holt Renfrew have great end of season sales on designer goods. These sales usually see the best markdowns. Stock for the next season needs to come in and so stores will keep lowering prices until everything goes.

Don’t forget mid-season sales. Check flyers and store windows for sporadic deals to avoid buying at full price.

Buy it Used

Cliché or not, thrift stores can be your best friend. If you have no desire to sort through all the clothing flotsam and jetsam, big secondhand stores like Value Village and Goodwill, can be great for finding shoes, bags and accessories.

My favourite Value Village in Toronto is on Bloor at Lansdowne. It's huge and is always filled with goodies. Additionally, if you head east on Bloor from there, you'll come across a great Salvation Army store – where I scored a great navy Michael Kors blazer for $7 not too long ago – and a slew of privately owned vintage stores. Take a peek at my top ten favourite secondhand stores in Toronto.


Buy it Cheap

Let me repeat myself, be aware. It’s easy to get great deals on your favourite merchandise if you know where to look. Find out when your favourite stores are having offsite sales (annual American apparel warehouse sale, anyone?).

Check the websites for and/or contact your favourite designers. Sample sales and trunk shows happen shortly after buyers have made purchases for the following season. These are also great places to get sweet deals on high end merch.

Speaking of sweet, if you're lazy like I am, websites like and will email Toronto specific deals right to your inbox! They have awesome newsletters notifying you of sales, offering coupons for assorted products, services, and – the best part – free stuff!

Buy it Smart

Last but not least, be smart about your purchases. Avoid buying things you'll never wear – they are a waste of money and take up precious space in your closet.

Try things on, window shop, make mental notes and sleep on it. Impulse purchases will be the death if your wallet. My favourite trick is to take a photo of the item you're thinking of buying and compare it to things already in your wardrobe. Make sure you have coordinating pieces, appropriate accessories, and that you DON'T already own something similar. After all this if you're still into it and you feel it's worth it to take the trip back to the store, make your purchase.

Another tip is to make a note of each store's return policy. Try things on at home in your own mirrors, under your own light. Leave tags on until you actually wear the item. If you haven't worn it within a week of your purchase, you probably won't wear it often enough to justify your spending so take it back! Even if a store only offers credit, at least you'll have the opportunity to buy something you love instead of adding a dust collector to your collection.

Out with the Old, In with the Nude

Out with the Old, In with the Nude

Remember when it was all about style before comfort? We can put that in the past. This season is all about style and comfort. Here are a few helpful hints on how to not only look good, but most importantly feel great!

Good Jeans

Love denim? Well, look no further! Nudie Jeans have exactly what your looking for, a great design and lot’s of attitude. Nudie Jeans offer a proper fit guide to ensure you get the proper jeans for your shape!

What’s so great about these jeans you may ask? Nudie Jeans offer a wide range of denim from Most Popular to Thin Finn for all shapes and sizes.

The Term Nudie comes from the feel of the denim over time. This brand is referred as a lifestyle denim and become a part of you, as if you are wearing nothing at all.

Dry Selvage and Selvage Lab are the choices among washes. Dry Selvage is a special process made with the finest denim from Italy, Japan and Turkey with blends of hemp and cashmere to give that Nudie feel.

Salvage Lab is vintage inspired. It is made with the same materials but then washed by a team of denim professionals to give that old distressed look.

This denim is perfect for everyday wear or dressing up and is great for both men and women. If your looking for a denim that will last and give you that Nudie feel, shop Toronto stores such as Due West, Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew or visit their website

Men Bare it All

Bruce Turner – Spokesperson, Model, Advisor and of Host, Style by Jury recently launched a new underwear line for men, Naked. Its was first pitched the on the hit television show Dragon’s Den and was sadly rejected. With hard work and patience a year later the line finally launched and is now carried in popular high end stores in Toronto such as Holt Renfrew, Top Drawers, Boys Co. and Gotstyle.

The briefs are made from Italian microfiber and are seamless which gives ultimate comfort thus giving the naked feel.

The company behind the briefs are big supporters of charities such as Vancouver Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society, supporting the Burn Fund and Pacific Development Pathways which supports people with developmental disability.

Men can look great and make a difference!

Macadamia Nut!

If you want a product to keep you smooth, moisturized, and smelling great try Barefoot Venus Extra Rich Body Cream. It’s made in BC Canada, is enriched with Macadamia Nut Oil and has various scents to choose from such as Ginger Snap which smells absolutely divine.

Wait! Don’t stop there, Barefoot Venus has many other products to choose from such as such as bubble bath, baby oil, foot scrubs, lip balms and much more to make you feel good from head to toe!

What makes Barefoot Venus stand out from the rest is it’s packaging and labels as they are fun and flirty which makes this a great gift idea.

Family Secrets

Tried, tested and true – looking at beauty industry’s cult favourites

The beauty industry is competitive – new and innovative products emerge everyday with larger and more far-fetched promises. While we can be overwhelmed with options these days, it’s nice to know that there are some products that have stood the test of time. From toners to mascaras, we look the products that have remained popular throughout the decades.

The Witch Knows Best

No, we are not about to cast a spell for beautifully even skin, but witch hazel will leave you just as spellbound. The plant extract has long been known for its healing properties – treating everything from bruises to hemroids. The properties in witch hazel that make it an excellent healing agent, also make it an excellent toner, as it shrinks blood vessels and pores to its normal size when used regularly. Witch hazel is also an affordable alternative to expensive toners as it can be found for under $5.00.

Ice Cold Cream

One of the most notable beauty products, cold cream has existed for nearly two-thousand years and has been a necessary part of a woman’s beauty regimen. Cold cream can be used as a cleanser, deep-cleaning face mask, moisturizer, and eyelash conditioner. Known for its deep moisturizing properties, the cream leaves skin baby soft, not dry or tight. The main ingredient (mineral oil) dissolves the oil on your face, instead of stripping your face of its natural oils. There are various cold creams available but the most popular are Pond’s as well as Boot’s.

8 Hour Miracle

It’s no exaggeration to say that Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream is a miracle in a bottle – created in 1930, the cream got its name because of a loyal client who used the cream to treat her son’s skinned knee and eight hours later, it was healed. The cream helps protect, soothe and moisturize skin, has anti-inflammatory benefits, and comforts minor weather burns, scrapes and abrasions. To use, simply smooth directly on with fingertips whenever and wherever needed. Avoid contact with eyes.

Strong Hold

For a long-lasting hold, turn to L’Oreal Elnett hairspray. In 1961 the hairspray was introduced and delivered a long-lasting hold from a super-fine mist that disappeared once brushed through. The product was been banned in North American in 1987 due to due to its use of fluorocarbons as propellants and was reintroduced to the North American market in 2009 and is now available at Shopper’s Drug Mart. This hairspray is known to be the secret of many a runway stylist and is easily a cult favourite.

The Eyes Have It

If there is one brand you can rely on for quality mascara at an affordable price, it’d be Maybelline and no other mascara in North America compares to Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara, the best selling mascara in North America; one is sold every 1.5 seconds. The formula has stood the test of time and has not changed since it was introduced back in 1971. The formula is flake-free, suitable for everyday use but can be layered for a thickening effect.

Secret Garden

A multi-purpose balm, Smith's Rosebud Salve has been in demand since 1895 and is a popular secret among Hollywood stars and makeup artists. The balm can be used to aid in the relief of dry/chapped skin, blemishes, and diaper rash. Rosebud Salve is an excellent lip moisturizer and provides a natural looking gloss. A glossy, non-sticky, non-waxy, texture makes this balm stand out. Ultimately the salve is known for its excellent moisturizing properties, much like the 8 hour cream, and has a strong cult following like the rest of the products featured.

Illuminate Your Body!

Rejuvenate your body – a glimpse at yoga, spa days, and healthy eating.

Feeling drab in whatever you wear? Perhaps it’s not what you’re wearing that’s got you feeling like though you’ve lost your sparkle. Come along for the ride as Oh George! takes you on a trip through Toronto to hook you up with the hottest spots and trends in body rejuvenation.

Stretch It Out

Come out of hibernation and get that body ready for the summer months ahead with the help of Bikram Yoga. As a leader and proclaimed originator of Hot Yoga, Bikram challenges you to a complete workout for men and women. “Challenge yourself to a Bikram class and be amazed how quickly you improve your health, your flexibility and a general feeling of well-being.” Not only does the practice of yoga promise to detoxify your body and trim your waistline, after just a few classes you’re sure to find yourself set ablaze in your hot shorts and strutting in your jeggings! For more information on the benefits of yoga please visit

Exude Radiance

Feeling blah in whatever you wear? Does even the most sequined-out super cute mini still have you feeling dull? Perhaps a day at the spa is all you need to really shine. A Chakra Sea Salt Glow is just one of the many services offered at the Chakra Spa located just steps away from Eglinton West Station. The Chakra Spa prides itself as being an organic environment that provides local Torontonians with such services as organic facials, chakra balancing massages, microdermabrasion facial treatments, mud/scrubs and more. Voted one the top 5 spas in Toronto, visit for more information on how to make your body glow!

Eat Right, Feel Bright

There’s nothing like a healthy well-balanced diet to help your body feel its best. The Big Carrot Natural Food Market is just one of the many local establishments dedicated to offering its customers the best quality in wholesome and organic foods. They offer “complete one-stop shopping for natural food customers, with high quality products, friendly and informed service, and competitive prices.” Don’t be fooled though, The Big Carrot is more than just your average natural food store, catering to the organic lifestyle it turns food shopping into an experience. Alongside its natural food selections, there is an organic juice bar, a wholistic dispensary, and nutritionist corner. The Big Carrot also provides its customers with the opportunity to take cooking classes in house. Don’t hesitate to visit to learn more about how to invigorate your diet.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lady and the Revamped

A modern take on the ladylike silhouettes of the early 60’s, swing their way back into spring.

A major trend seen in the spring 2011 shows was the re-emergence of the feminine shapes and styles of the late 50’s and early 60’s. This revival of retro fashion is somewhat in thanks to the acclaimed television series Mad Men, a show based in the early 60’s in a very fashionable New York ad agency. The series’ fashion itself has been an inspiration for many in the fashion industry this upcoming season, with designers creating new looks inspired by old classics. These inspired pieces can be can be brought into any present day wardrobe and modernized. Here are the ‘bare essentials’ needed to follow this spring’s look and send you back 50 odd years…

Modern Day Housewife

When referring to the early 60’s attire in terms of housewives, it does not refer to the mod era of the later 60’s. Instead, it speaks of the ladylike attire of the early 50’s, which presented silhouettes showcasing the female figure with a cinched waist and an hour glass shape. Many of the lines from fall 2010 and spring 2011 shows such as, Louis Vuitton and Prada further referenced this returning fashion trend.

One of these trends in particular includes, full/ circle skirt and dresses, which have a longer hemline and are cinched at the waist. For colour look to the Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 collection, which will carry to spring bold colours, pastels, and floral and retro prints.

To pull this look off, styling is key in making the outfit seem as effortless as possible. Since these skirts can be such a bold statement, it is essential to keep the upper half of an outfit more subdued and minimal. It is best to pair with a corseted tank top (i.e. seen with Louis Vuitton) or any other fitted top will suffice. It can also be paired with contrasting fabrics such as leather or fur for an edgy update to this classic look.

Raid Grandma’s Closet

Now simply look in your grandma’s closet for these next staple pieces for your 60’s inspired look. The first trend, namely called the ‘granny skirt’ back in this era, was an actual common look for younger women back in the 60’s. This style was either gathered or pleated, with a ruffled hem and a longer skirt. It may not seem to relate to today’s styles, however it is easily modernized.

One way these skirts have been modernized is in how they have been enriched with colourful patterns and bright plaids. Also, one can try this same silhouette but instead with a shorter hemline, for instance just above or below the knee. A final way they have modernized the ‘granny skirt’ is in the hemline, which has become sleeker with the elimination of the ruffled hem. Again, it is best to pair this skirt with a fitted top or a light blouse, less is more.

The second trend most likely found in your grandma’s closet is the A-line shape coat, a staple of this era. This specific example is a more light-weight styled spring coat with bright pops of colour as seen in the Michael Kors Spring 2011 show. There is not much shape to these coats and are therefore best paired with bold accessories and fitted bottoms. In other words, the coat is the statement piece of the outfit; however at times sparkling accessories can be added to give it a sense of glamour.

Some like it Hotter

Accessories in the early 60’s, as in today, can spice up outfits and give someone a sense of charm and individuality to their everyday looks. Therefore, in following the theme of the 60’s look, simply accessorize with a few traditional pieces that still work with modern outfits of today. Some accessories include cat-eye glasses, ladylike kitten heels, long gloves, classic head scarves, leather clutches in vibrant colours and waist cinching belts. You now have all the steps on a path to a more retro you!

What's Your Retrospective?

When we think fashion, we think latest trends. But what happens when the trends always re-appear? Strip back to basics with vintage finds! Put on your frugal fashionista hat and take a day trip around Toronto as the city's top vintage shops awaits to dress you.

Courage My Love (14 Kensington Avenue)

Kensington Market boasts Toronto's most quirky vintage finds. Along this street, Courage My Love's budget friendly merchandise is the most versitile. You're greeted with an array of cow boy boots along the front steps and then bump into their latest reconstructed pieces of the season - currently crochet wrap cardigans. With a colour coordinated rack of cashmere sweaters, an abundance of retro dresses from the 70's and 80's, an endless supply of loose beads and an eight feet glass counter of jewelry, you're bound to find something eye catching that'll give you a bang for your buck.

Badland's Vintage Clothing (104 Ossington Avenue)

This tiny two-floor store along this quiet Ossington street leaves nothing to the imagination. Everything from pattern knitted sweaters to pencil skirts, mod jackets to sophisticated fricks, you will find a one of a kind piece at a steal with budget friendly prices. Speaking of price tag, you'll have the last laugh as each tag has a handwritten message along the lines of "What an acid trip! (acid wash that is)" for an acid wash denim skirt or "I'm mod for you" a mod style suede jacket. Whatever you find, it will surely be the talk of the talk.

I Miss You (63 Ossington Avenue)

I Miss You is Ossington Avenue's most treasured gem. For the designer savvy fashionistas, this store is for you. With the look of a boutique, it doesn't feel like a vintage shop. This store carries designer pieces from Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Moschino and the late Alexander McQueen. Their small collection of shoes includes Fendi, Chanel and Prada and not to mention handbags! But what truly set's this store apart are the bits of knowledge you gain while browsing through the racks. Every tag is carefully written stating the year, designer and fabric used for each garment. With a higher price tag indeed, I Miss You's designer selection might just give you a run for your money.

69 Vintage (1100 Queen St. West)

Toronto's staple vintage shop is 69 Vintage, hands down. Offering everything from shorts, trousers, dresses, undergarments, hats and fur coats, you won't miss a thing rummaging through the racks of clothing - take in a whole back rack of fur coats. From black lace-velvet gowns to European fur coats to Western cow boys boots, this store touches base with whatever style you are going for. A reasonable price won't hurt your pocket book as well.

Preloved (881 Queen St. West)

This boutque gives you a whole new spin on vintage clothing. Every piece is "consciously created from reclaimed fabric" as stated on the price tag. That in mind, not only are you wearing a uniquely tailored garment, you're saving a piece of garment from turning up in a landfill. Taking a step further with this philosophy, Preloved now has a children's line made with left over vintage threads of their fall 2010 collection. With clothing on the pricier end of the spectrum, you will definitely get quality and do your part saving perfectly fine fabric.

So take a step back in time and into some of Toronto's best vintage stores the next time you're out and about. You never know what you can find.

Business Plan Uncovered

The bare bones of a business plan, how to improve your chance of success

So you have decided that you want to start your business. We have all heard how difficult it is to start any business. The high failure rate of small businesses can leave you feeling disheartened.

What can you do to improve your chances of survival? A good place to start is with a business plan.

A well thought out business plan will allow you to clarify your vision for your company, will be an important communication tool, give you the chance to obtain financing and provide you with the basis for sound decision making, thus improving your chances of success.

A business plan is not a static document; it is dynamic in that it must change to reflect changes in the environment you operate in.

Elements of a business plan

1. Executive Summary
This is the most important part of your plan and this you will write last. Once you have written the rest of your plan, you will summarize each section here with its main points.

2. Company Overview
This is a description of your company and why you think it will be successful. Include a mission statement, whom are you targeting and how can your target market benefit from the products and services you are offering.

3. Industry and Competitive Environment
You need to do some research on your industry, your competitors, the geographic area and your target market. Statistics Canada’s website is a great place to start.

Knowing your competitive environment is important. Who and what your competition is doing will help you to identify any unsatisfied needs.

Understanding your target market, the industry you will operate in and where you will locate and why, is crucial.

4. Product and/or Services
Outline the products and services that you will offer your target customers. What is special about your idea, what are the features and benefits? You want your customers to know why they should buy from you, what are you offering that will make them choose you versus a competitor?

5. Marketing Strategies
Now you need to look at your positioning strategy. How are you going to allocate your resources for the various components of your marketing mix; product, price, promotion and place?

A marketing strategy can be expensive for businesses, but here are a few things that you can do to minimize costs: Networking, word-of-month, newsletters and donating your product/services to charitable organizations.

6. Management & Staffing
You want to outline your background and experiences, show how they will help you run a successful business. Do you need to hire staff or use consulting expertise? A professional such as an accountant may be necessary to prepare your financial statements.

7. Legal Considerations
What kind of business do you want to set up, a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation? There are advantages and disadvantages of each with its own risks and rewards.

Other legal issues you may want to consider are employment agreements and non-disclosure agreements.

8. Financing and Financial Statements
Financing can be difficult to obtain. Your best option may be to seek out family and friends that want to invest in your idea.

After you have researched your market and established clear goals and objectives, you can then decide how to allocate your money. This is where your financial statements come in. Two important statements are your income statement and your cash flow statement. The income statement will tell you how much profit you will earn and your cash flow statement will tell you when you will receive cash from your sales.

Starting your own business can be a very rewarding experience, but know that you will meet many challenges along the way. Although having passion for what you love is a good place to start, success can only be achieved from a well thought out business plan.

Debbie Meraram