By: Marie Lynn Birks

Let’s face it this city loves food! Any one who has ever had a “gourmet mac n’ cheese” or a jacked up version of a meatloaf now considers them self a “foodie” and refuses to eat the food we grew up on unless it has been fried in duck confit fat or has been marinated in this week’s most popular craft beer. Torontonians are spoiled with the huge number of original and daring restaurants we get to chose from for our Saturday night out. Most of us will sit around with our limited knowledge of cooking and food and debate about which new hot spot has the better menu, or better selection or who’s more original.

Well our uneducated debate can come to a close! Last month local chef’s Joe Friday and Devan Rajkumar started the new food event “Toronto’s Underground Chef Cartel”. Capitalizing off the hugely popular food network the event consists of two local chef’s who will square off against each other to compete for the most original and well prepared dishes show casing a specific ingredient they are given just seconds before the battle. The food is judged by a cut throat panel of chefs, food bloggers, restaurant owners and the general audience.

Admission is very reasonable at $25 a ticket, which allows you into the show a drink ticket and some appetizers. The entire night is filmed and features a local DJ for additional entertainment. Check out the latest battle!

So what do you think foodies? Are we ready to take our passion for food to a place that no longer includes actually eating the food? Do you want to watch your favourite local chef’s battle it out in an gritty no holds bar competition for bragging rights?

I know I do!

 

We can finally sense the end of winter. It’s time to put away your winter hats and get ready for spring hair! We absolutely love this braided look from the “Freckled Fox.” This relaxed bohemian look is a perfect match for this seasons 70s trend.

Supplies:
– two hair-ties or elastics
– hairspray – optional
– dry shampoo – optional
Steps 1-3: (1) Start by separating your hair in half with a straight part down the middle, and if you need extra grip and texture work in some dry shampoo with your fingers. (2) Pick a side to start, separate your hair into three sections, and begin your braid (3) by first pulling your front-most section to the back. This will keep it from pulling towards the front more than you want it too.
Steps 4-6: Make sure as you begin your braiding that you don’t start around your ear level, but rather closer to your shoulder. this difference makes the difference between adult lady braids and 12 year old braids.haha Once you’ve braided your desired length, tie it off, (4) and tug the edges of the braid to loosen, as well as around your scalp. Repeat on the other side, only this time (5) I like to work in a few random braids here and there for some asymmetry. Tie the second one off, (6) loosen the hair around your scalp a bit, and you’re all finished!
Steps 7-9: (7) After tugging out from my scalp (8) I added a few feathers to each braid (for that extra bohemian touch) by tucking the pointy end upwards into the end of the braid, and (9) wrapped the ends with some leather cording to finish it all off. and you’re all done!

Gray Malin is known for his stunning aerial photographs of everything from beaches to penguins to mountain ranges, taken all over the globe. To capture his iconic images, Malin flies in door-less helicopters and leans out of the side and shoots away. “It’s an exhilarating experience dangling from the side of the shaking helicopter while the wind is whipping you in the face, and having seconds to manually adjust the light to capture a perfect timeless moment,” he says. “During my aerial photo shoots I started snapping pictures of my Sperrys dangling from the side of the helicopter and it inspired me to reach out and see if we could collaborate to bring my images onto the shoes. We are both brands who celebrate a mutual love for the sea and stand for classic style and adventure.”

Malin and Sperry teamed up to create the perfect capsule shoe collection for spring. The exclusive line pairs four classic Sperry styles with three of Malin’s photographs, which were all recently taken in Portugal, Sicily and South Africa. Now available at Sperry.com and select Sperry retail stores, the line retails from $75 to $88. “The theme of the collection is artistic beach imagery translated onto iconic style, allowing you to bring the essence of escape into your everyday wardrobe and lifestyle,” explains Malin. “Working with Sperry on the design was a great experience. They did an amazing job working to translate the prints beautifully onto the shoes.” We can’t wait to get our hands on a pair of these classic shoes!

It’s finally happened! The mercury has broken the freezing line and a faint hope of spring is in the air. Im already dreaming of flip flops and summer sandals. A quick glance down demonstrates how much I have neglected my poor feet this winter. They are dry, cracked and in need of some serious TLC.

I’ve just stumbled across BabyFoot and cant wait to try it out as soon as amazon can get it to me.  What is it?  Baby Foot is an innovative foot care product that will make your feet as smooth and soft as a baby’s foot. The unique formula of 17 types of natural extracts allow your feet to exfoliate naturally leaving them highly moisturized. This effective and gentle process removes the unwanted dead skin cells that have built up layer after layer. In addition, Baby Foot can improve other foot issues like: Foot Odor, Athletes Foot and Blood Circulation. So say goodbye to rough, dry, cracked soles, by using a product that really works!

How does it work? 

How to use it:
-Each box contains one time use only gel packs.
-Remove toenail polish, and wash feet thoroughly to remove lotions and oils.
-Place foot in pack, secure with tape and place socks over gel packs.
-After an hour, rinse the gel solution off of your feet.
-After your treatment, your feet will feel highly moisturized.
-Starting around 3 to 5 days after your treatment, your dead skin will begin to peel away from your feet.

Do not use this product:
– If you are a diabetic.
– If you are pregnant or nursing.
– If you are allergic to any ingredients in this product.
– If you have open sores on your feet, or other foot damage.
– If you are using any other foot products.

 

downloadH&M announced that it will be developing a full beauty line to launch in the fall of 2015. H&M Beauty will include specially designed makeup, body care and hair care products. Even though H&M does currently sell a selection of branded cosmetics, most of which are slung at checkout as impulse buys, the news of a complete product overhaul indicates that H&M is finally taking a serious stab at the beauty market.

We can’t wait to see what they have in store.

uniqlo

Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo will open its first two Canadian stores in Toronto next year. This week the popular international retailer beloved by regular folk and fashion plates alike finally confirmed the company will open two flagship-level stores in Toronto: a 28,000 square-foot location at the Eaton Centre downtown, and a 24,000 square-foot location at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The stores will open in the fall of 2016.

The casual clothing retailer offers moderately priced apparel and accessories for men, women, children and babies including button-down shirts and blouses, sweaters, T-shirts, sweats, jeans, loungewear, hats, bags and belts. The company also offers unique and proprietary collections such as its Ultra Light Down outerwear and functional HEATTECH and AIRism apparel.

We can’t wait!

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It’s no secret that wellness seekers love to travel. Destination spas, yoga retreats and luxury wellness resorts invite their guests to unwind, meditate and disconnect from urban stresses, and their popularity is growing.

But times are changing, and so have the needs of people looking for more adventure and authenticity. We want to combine our passions with favourite destinations, while staying active and perhaps leaving in better shape than when we arrived.  It’s not enough to just be pampered at a retreat — we’re demanding more culturally-relevant activities and natural fitness experiences.

If you’re looking for more than the standard resort experience, there are some unique options to be found in the active travel marketplace. When planning your wellness vacation, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Do your research. Make sure the trip you are booking offers activities at an intensity level that’s appropriate. Professional operators will be able to help you decide if a trip is right for you.

  • Look for opportunities where you can learn. Going to a hotel gym at a resort won’t teach you much, but a chance to train outdoors with a qualified coach will give you lots of ideas to take home.

  • Explore new passions. Like to cook or learn new languages? Some fitness vacations combine special interests with daily exercise to keep you healthy and fulfilled.

  • Ease into you new environment, especially in hot weather. It can take a few days to become accustomed to physical activity in conditions you’re not used to. Workouts done in the morning are best.

  • Take time to get acquainted with the local culture and its people. While it’s easy to just stay on a resort or spa, you won’t get the feel of a special destination without some cultural context.

If the idea of staying active while getting off the beaten path sounds like it might be a good fit for you, here’s an upcoming opportunity in Greece:

Travels By Nature (travelsbynature.com) is a 10-day natural fitness and cultural adventure in rural Greece. The program includes morning workouts, mountain treks and daily mobility training — authentically situated off the tourist treadmill in the mountain villages of mainland Greece. A look at traditional diet factors, cooking healthy Greek food, and even the chance to learn a few Greek dances will also be included.  Travels by Nature is a unique combination of fitness and folklore, inclusive of traditional accommodations, guides, meals and all domestic transportation.

The next trip is from July 18-28, 2015 and is currently booking. For more information, visit www.travelsbynature.com

Tights are a necessity during colder months. Unfortunately, most tights don’t really offer much warmth. And the ones that do are often thick, bulky knit ones–which can be cute, but that’s not always the look I’m going for. Enter Uniqlo’s basic Heat Tech tights, which look like your average pair of opaque black tights, but are somehow incredible warm. They are the perfect pair to get you through winter. bThey are soft and stretchy but not to stretchy that they lose shape. Featured in perfect colors for winter layering. At $12.5 a pair they are very affordable.

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Tired of the same old Jack-o-latern that your carve up each year? We have rounded up some great alternatives to your traditional carved pumpkin. Beware – some of these styles are not for the newbie DIY-er.

Pumpkins With Scary Etchings (via Martha Stewart):

To render the glowing silhouettes, two techniques were used: The bright candelabrum and goblet are cut through the pumpkins’ walls, while the textured quill and skull are pared gently from the outer shells. Pumpkins of different hues, including white ‘Lumina,’ a green-gray ‘Jarrahdale,’ and burnt-orange cheese pumpkins, add tonal variety.

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Gold Thumbtack Covered Pumpkins (Via Madigan Made)

If you have some spare thumbtacks lying around and enjoy repetitive tasks then this pumpkin DIY is for you!

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Glittery Pumpkin (Via BHG):

Glam up a pumpkin with silver sequins, rhinestones, and a metallic silver spider.

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