Apr 29, 2010

Trainer George - Not Your Average Trainer

Images property of G2 Kinetics

For many years I was under the impression that personal training is a universal scam that prospers on people's insecurities. I was dreading buff and tanned superhumans that tell people to "eat less and exercise more" for $80/hour. That's why, when I've heard about Trainer George, I was curious to find out more about his out-of-the-box approach to personal training.

I've met George Gianniotis in a downtown coffee shop on a cold and rainy afternoon. Despite the weather, he was sporting a light windbreaker and a welcoming smile. I was surprised to see that George has an average build and is nowhere close to the superhumans from the first paragraph.

George has founded G2 Kinetics after spending a few years in the mass-fitness industry. He has a degree from UofT and more then a decade of experience helping people to feel and look better. He works with all kinds of clients, but the majority of them are young females who, as per George, "look good, but want to go even further and look perfect". At that point of our conversation my skepticism was rapidly giving place to curiosity, and then to envy. I wanted to strive for perfection too!

George brings fitness to his client's homes. He comes to their gyms or apartments with a handful of simple devices that are more effective then a whole Goodlife with all its classes and equipment. He puts his clients first and listens to their needs and wants, their goals and expectations. Then he develops a personalized fitness plan that takes into account everything from the frequency of the sessions to their intensity to their length. George is very dedicated to the success of his clients. He will even go to Yoga or Pilates class with them for motivation and support, or just for company.

Even though he works for himself, George is not a pushy salesperson type. He offers a free consultation to everyone who is thinking about getting a trainer. He listens carefully and lays out the options available to his clients.

To find out more about Trainer George and G2 Kinetics, visit his web site here.

Stay fit!


Apr 27, 2010

Hot Docs film fest, Apr 29 - May 9

Image from hotdocs.ca

If CONTACT photography festival is not enough for your creative stimulation, info here, there is also a Hot Docs Film Festival happening at the same time, Apr 29 till May 9.
It's North America's largest documentary festival presenting over 170 films from more than 40 countries and welcoming hundreds of international filmmakers and industry delegates to Toronto.

Runs Apr 29-May 9. For film schedule and info go to


Apr 26, 2010

Contact Photography Festival, May 1-31

Image: Clunie Reid, Detail, Take No Photographs, Leave Only Ripples, 2009 (detail), Courtesy of MOT International, Copyright Clunie Reid

CONTACT is an annual month long festival of photography with over 1000 local, national and international artists at more than 200 venues across the GTA in May.
more info at scotiabankcontactphoto.com

Opening April 30, 7:00

Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.952 Queen St W


Arthur Hidden Photography

Photographs by Arthur Hidden

Arthur Hidden is from Chisinau, Moldova - the city where I was born and grew up.


Apr 24, 2010

Consider These

Jeffrey Campbell, USD $124

Diesel, USD $85

Diesel, USD $161

Diesel, USD $150

Sam Edelman, USD $150
As always, I need shoes. I am considering these, all at ssense.com

Apr 22, 2010

Where to Eat, Shop, and Walk This Weekend and Beyond

Image from http://3.bp.blogspot.com

It's warm (well, relatively) and sunny in Toronto, so I ma planning to spend the rest of April wondering the streets and checking out events. Here is a short list of what's happening around the city.

1. There are two clearance sales happening soon. One is Reia Studio sale (think good-quality PVC bags for $25 and tons of designer wear up to 70% off) at 555 Richmond street W., suite 706, April 27-30.
Another one is Miss Sixty and Energie sale on April 28 and 29. I am planning to attend this one and score some deeply discounted jeans and hopefully a nice leather bag. The sale is at the Dufferin Liberty Center, 219 Dufferin street, unit 4B.

2. Here you can find the list of all major event happening this weekend courtesy of the Toronto Life Magazine. I am looking forward to the Cake show and Vintage Costume Jewellery show and sale.

3. Check out one of the nicest streets in West Toronto-the Roncesvalles with this guide by (yes, you've guessed!) Toronto Life.

Lace up your Converse and lets go!


Apr 20, 2010

York/Sheridan Design Grad Show - 2 days left

The annual Graduate Show is conceived, financed and produced by the graduating class.
Apr 18-21, 2010, The Fermenting Cellar(Distillery District)55 Mill Street, Building #8. More info here


Apr 18, 2010

More of The Sartorialist in Moscow

Images from The Sartorialist
Sorry, I just couldn't resist....More pictures from Moscow by The Sartorialist.

Apr 16, 2010

Apr 15, 2010

Lush Mag Cover by Arkan Zakharov

A beautiful cover for Lush magazine by a talented photographer and my good friend Arkan Zakharov. Check out his website arkanphoto.com and his blog.


An Artist to Check Out - Sam Winston

Through his explorations of language Sam Winston creates sculpture, drawings and books that question our understanding of words, both as a carriers of messages and as information itself.
Work and bio at samwinston.com


Apr 14, 2010

Drake Spring Market Sale, Apr 17,18

Upcoming weekend at the Drake pick up freebie second-hand goodies, browse the offerings from local designers and pick through some of the hotel’s used furniture, which is on sale for “lawn sale prices.”
April 17 and 18. 10–4. 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042, thedrakehotel.ca.

The Sartorialist in Moscow

Images by The Sartorialist

I know that many of you read The Sartorialist, but for those who don't here is what impressed me... His Moscow shots from a few weeks ago. Love them all!



Note To All...

Get 15% off your entire purchase at Sephora until April 19th. Leave your e-mail address in comments and we will send you the coupon. Offer valid for "beauty insiders" only.

Let's get made up!


I Got...

Both by Diesel


Apr 12, 2010

Free Coffee or Iced Coffee at Starbucks on April 15

On Thursday, April 15, customers who bring in a reusable travel mug into participating stores will receive a complimentary cup of brewed or iced coffee. This effort is just one of the ways Starbucks is collaborating with customers to reduce environmental impact.

Visit their site for more details.


Apr 8, 2010

For the Love of Food and Wine

A couple of years ago I've suddenly realized that things I've enjoyed before don't excite me as much as they used to. I still like an occasional clubbing night or an all-hands house party, but I am much more into dinners, wine-and-cheese parties, and other quite social outings (or "innings"- I enjoy hosting too!). Whether it's a sign of finally growing up, or becoming a terrible bore - that I don't know. What I know is that my social experiences became much more diverse and interesting allowing me to explore things I've never even considered.

Last Fall I've attended my first-ever cooking class hosted by the LCBO. I enjoyed it very much finding the $50 price tag more then reasonable. The three-course dinner with wine pairing was light, delicious, and prepared right in front of our eyes. I wish the class was a bit more hands-on, but such classes are usually much more expensive (Calphalon Culinary Centre has some good ones in case you are interested).

The LCBO offers a variety of wine tastings and courses and cooking classes this summer. They are primarily held in the largest locations - the Kingsway, Summerhill, and the Bayview village. Visit their site for the complete list of upcoming events.

Oh, and when you learn to cook something exiting, don't forget to invite me and Capa for dinner.


Apr 7, 2010

Blo Me Away

Photo by Bruno Crescia Photography

Every woman wants all days to be "good hair days". Wavy or straight, short or long - we hate spending hours in front of the mirror armed with a round brush, a hairdryer, and bottles and tabs of styling products. Every morning we wish for a miracle of a perfect up-do. Ditto for nails, make-up, and eyebrows.

I've discovered Blo Blow Dry Bar in the Bloor West Village hidden away between a restaurant and a grocery store. Well, "hidden away" may be a bit of an overstatement, since the storefront is bright eye-popping pink. After some e-mail exchanges with Blo's corporate PR and Bloor West bar owner, I got tons of background info and an invitation to come and try out the service myself.

I won't go in too many details on Blo's concept and philosophy. Let me just say that the mother-and-daughter team behind Blo created the bars to satisfy a need they felt was common for many North American women. The idea was to provide quick and affordable service, flexible hours, and a selection of styles suitable for any occasion. The styles (there are 7 in total) range from "sexy razor-straight “Executive Sweet” to the rocker-chic inspired “Sex, Hugs and Rock & Roll”. I was told that an average visit is 30 minutes long, and costs $33 taxes included. Blo also offers a la cart up-dos ($55), as well as hair extensions ($250), and a variety of hair and body products. The majority of the products are Blo-branded, but Moroccan Oil and few other brands are also available.

I went to get my hair done on Tuesday before the Lundstrom show (here is the review). By then, it was my third visit to the bar (but the first time I was going to actually do my hair), and I was again blinded by the hot pink décor. The space was amazingly clean, uncluttered, and sharp, but the pink… I felt like I was visiting Barbie or a very girlie 13-year old. Never the less, I found the environment pleasant, especially after I met the sweet girl who was going to do wonders to my hair.

My "hair fairy" offered me a bottle of Vitamin Water (passion fruit flavor, probably chosen for its color), and let me look through the style folder. I had my heart settled on Sex, Hugs and Rock & Roll that promised to be "more rocker-chic than rocker-chick. This is about as hot as you can get without looking like you spent all day working on your lid. Tousled, agitated, deliciously disheveled. Cue smoke machines". I always wanted to have curly hair (Capa, do you hear me? You have the best hair!), and I could already see myself rocking a glamorous mane at the fashion show.

In the next 15 minutes I had my hair washed and semi-dried in a dirty blond mess. It was then sectioned and pinned upwards, and the stylist began round brush-drying and curling my locks. Note to all who has long(ish) hair - prepare for some pain for the sake of beauty. In the next 45 minutes my hair was pulled and fine-tooth combed to create great bouncy locks that looked like they were going to last (they did last, but I will tell you about it a little later). I tipped the stylist $10 (the service was complimentary for me this time, but usually it would have been $33+10=$43. Affordable? Hmmmm… ) and left Blo feeling like a girl from Pantene ads.

Blo Blow Dry Bars are essential for women on the go. That is, if they make enough money and can tolerate massive amounts of pink. Blo's promise for a perfect hairstyle is 100% true and the results are consistent throughout the company (the stylists receive special training even before they are given a job offer). I also loved the fact that you can walk in or make an appointment for as early as 7a.m. or as late as 8p.m. I wish, however, for a wider array of services… Imagine a place where you could get your nails, make-up, and hair done simultaneously and within an hour or so! Imagine going from office to party looking like you've spend the entire day getting ready for it! Imagine people could fly…. Sorry, I got carried away.

I really wish every one of you went and tried out the service for yourself. Just be prepared to sacrifice time and LOTS of hair when you try to comb you curls out -mine took an hour and a half.

Have a good hair day!


Apr 6, 2010

Robin Kay and the closing of Toronto LG Fashion Week FW10

Image by Capa, copyrighted. Reference blog, if used.

Robin Kay! I'm not really in a fashion circle, but somehow I feel that there are a lot of mixed opinions about tehaviours. Befhis character. Some say she has moved Toronto Fashion Week to a new level, others criticize her deeds and awkward bore the Bustle show, Robin Kay, the president of Fashion Design Council of Canada, gave a closing speech. It didn't make much sense to me. Not surprisingly, not just to me. With their cocky sense of humor, that I love, Toronto Life wrote:

"before the show began, Robin Kay stood behind a velvet rope on the runway and gave an incoherent speech, in which she announced that she had become the publisher of Flare and Elle and the host of Fashion Television. Then she sat down. April Fool?"

It was easy for me to get distracted from her speech, as I was more concerned about her breaking a very high golden heal, dress malfunction that is about to occur or the chair that suddenly breaks before she sits down. I have never heard her speak before, so this time I wondered if she's started celebrating early with a cocktail or two or that's the way she actually is every day. What? Mean and sarcastic? Maybe, she's a lovely person after all!


Bustle FW 10 in pictures

Images are copyrighted and not to be used without the reference to the blog.

Here is a visual to my earlier wordy post. Bustle fashion show review is here.


Bustle FW 10 - last show of the LG Fashion Week

The only fashion show I had an opportunity to go to was Bustle, the last show of LG Fashion Week. Two lawyers, turned designers, Project Runway judges (rather just Shawn Hewson) tend to invite local celebrities to be a part of a show. During their Spring collection Stacey McKenzie, Canadian raised, world known model, was serving caesars to the audience. The audience loved the theatrics of it, laughed and applauded, however forgot to look at the collection itself.
At the end of the show, Jeanne Beker, designer Evan Biddell, Stacey McKenzie and hairstylist Jie Matar (not sure why him) were doing a "model" walk. This time it gave us the opportunity to observe the models, rather than celebrities, for better or for worst.
The first thing that caught my attention, was the consistency of the collection. It was easy to pick out the common elements, such as colours and textures through out. Here is a short list of trends that formed in my mind as I was watching. Purple, green, grey, black, velvet, stripes, pleated shirts, turtle necks and military jackets. The overall feel was dressed up casual or dressed down formal, i.e. dress pants with converse. One of the things that stood out, in my opinion, was an interesting colour combination of dull purple with a dirty green. If you're still not convinced, I heard the quality of the clothing is amazing. My friend has a few of their suits, and after few alterations they look as good as Hugo Boss...at least from some distance :)


Apr 5, 2010

Jeanne Beker

She was named the Canadian Fashion Icon. What do you think?

LG Fashion Week 2010 - Second Instalment: Comrags

Images from the Comrags homepage

Last Thursday I went for another dose of high fashion and people watching. I had a ticket to Comrags show, and planned on staying for the Dixon and Barbie by Dixon. Comrags was the focal point though, as I always liked their wearable, down-to-earth styles. It's something I could see myself wearing to the office by day, and out by night.

In all honesty, I am not my usual cheerful self this evening, so I walk into the Allstreem centre ready to criticize and comment bitterly on everything and everyone. From the very beginning, I am surprised to see way more people than on Tuesday. Apparently it is "cool" to make an appearance during the last few days of the Fashion week - the first days are for rookies. I walk straight to the bar, get my first glass of wine, and start looking for before-the-show entertainment. To my surprise, I am not that exited about the whole set-up, at least not as much as I was on Tuesday. I walk by the same "comfort" islands of gold furniture, same make-up and hair stations, same Barbie booth, and end up at the Designer Department Store at the far end of the hall. Here I take my sweet time browsing racks of hot new fashions and realize that there are not that many items that I'd like to have or even to try on. Boring colors and shapes dominate the collections, and most of the fabrics are synthetic blends. I carefully examine the jewelry counter, and finally find some pieces that are truly unique. Just when I am ready to get my wallet and shell out $129 on wooden earrings by a designer I've never heard of, we get called to the runway hall for the Comrags show. The earrings are quickly forgotten and I maneuver the crowd and make my way to the hall entrance.

My seat is not that good, but I prepare to enjoy the show in any case. The hall is full with media, stylish and stick-thin industry folks, and "regular" people (don't get me started on their outfits - Aldo shoes, cheap stone-encrusted clutches, Urban Behavior dresses primarily in purple and hot pink, and flat-ironed locks). I try to ignore a flock of teenage girls beside me, and concentrate on the show.

As expected, Comrags show is modest and somewhat conservative in comparison to other designers. Very wearable, soft, and appropriate for all occasions - these terms describe the core of the collection well. I like the simplicity and can easily picture an everyday woman walking on that same podium and wearing the same outfits. I am in love with burned orange oversized knits and some of the plaid suits. They are nicely cut and cinched at the waist with playful color-blocked belts. At the same time, I had a hard time understanding mid-length shapeless skirts worn with flat boots, neutral fishnets (this is Fall/Winter, right?), and satin ribbons tied on models' calves. I am also not amazed by some of the dresses. In my mind boiled wool looks good in tailored styles, and not in potato sacks. It's an even split between pieces that I'd love to get and pieces that I'd happily donate to the Goodwill.

After the show I get outside for some fresh air wishing I still smoked (I think fashion industry has a 90% smoking rate). I come back, gulp another glass of Chardonnay, and prepare to stand in line for Dixon and Barbie by Dixon. 30 minutes later I am told that I don't have proper tickets and "can wait and see it there will be some sits left". At that point I am ready to take off my hills and walk around barefooted, so I just hail a cab and text Ilona asking her out for drinks in the local pub.

P.S. A little clarification on the pictures… The images embedded in the post are from Comrags Fall/Winter 2009, but they are very (and I mean VERY) much alike with F/W 2010. I couldn't take any worthy pics during the actual show, but here is the link to the BlogTO's review of the Comrags collection. I find that their pictures are always good and I will be giving links to their posts 'till Fira&Capa get good cameras or may be even a designated photographer.