Goodbye Movember

Mustaches are the new black. They've been growing rampantly every which way you look this month and all for a good cause.

In the month of Movember, formerly known as November, men grow mustaches to help raise money and awareness for men's health. This charity is worldwide and groups of men even create teams within their regions to see who can raise the most money for growing a full-fledged stash.

I've never been a big fan of facial hair, until now. It's becoming extremely trendy for young and old men to grow mustaches and beards at the moment. I think it gives them a really distinguished and mature look, yet shows they're a bit rough around the edges. The hairy trend has also been making its way to memorabilia as people sport the mark of Movember on T-shirts, coffee mugs, necklaces and even permanent tattoos. Who knew facial hair could be so influential?

I'm not ready to accept this as the last day of mustache mania though. So I hold onto hope that most Movember participants will keep their facial hair for the trend sake of it. Farewell Movember, hello Decembeard anyone?



Escape into the oasis that is the weekend. After all, weekends were invented to snuggle in a cozy bed, have romantic dinners on floating docks, build forts and catch up on reading and blogging in the most dreamy of places. Enjoy these pictures that I could easily see myself escape into.

Sweet dreams

Tea for one in a magical chateau somewhere...no big deal

Some place in the middle of nowhere

Who needs a cafe, when I can blog in this fort

I want to know what's written on that note!

Happy weekend blog readers! I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing American Thanksgiving!!


Film Festival continued

I realize I'm a bit behind on this post, however I still had to include my grand adventures during the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Here are some of the events I attended during TIFF and some of the wonderful people I was lucky enough to bump into.


My first TIFF event got me hooked. Held at South of Temperance in the midst of the hustle and bustle of downtown, this red carpet event was packed with industry names on a strict guest list. With an open bar and chefs serving gourmet snacks, miniature hot dogs and a trolley full of gelato, it was pretty easy to have a fun-filled night .

The majority of party goers were from California, but everyone seemed to have the same love for Toronto as I do. I met Charles Heaphy and his colleagues from City National Bank who were scoping out TIFF films to finance. They were very friendly and I was happy to spend more time with them at Nikki Beach and the CAA party just days later. I left the event with friends to pursue an after hours lounge called Fubar. One of the wonderful things about TIFF is almost all restaurants and lounges are open and serving until 4 am. We made sure to grab gift bags on our way out which included chocolate, cookies, various gift cards, designer makeup kits, Stella Artois glass sets and much more.

From left - Nikki, Charles Heaphy (Senior Vice President, Entertainment Division, City National Bank) & colleagues.

The amazing gelato trolley


The next day I ventured to the Focus Features event held at Brassaii. I enjoyed the party with two very close girlfriends, Nikki and Paula, and a great network of people from Apple including Michael Huntsman. A very special thank you goes out to my friend, Michael, for providing us with fake names to get into the event that night. Everyone sipped on vodka water bar limes made with pomegranate vodka. They tasted exactly like a liquid form of sour tart candy which was a little dangerous as the beverage went down too smooth. The chef also convinced me to try decadent brownies displayed on a tray of sweets and ice cream. After he explained they were made with one of the finest chocolates of the world, I knew I had to try it for myself. He didn't exactly have to twist my arm on that one.

Everyone had a blast playing around and joking on the red carpet. Inside guests filled out comment cards with personal funny stories. They could then describe the story in detail and on camera in the spirit of the film It's Kind of a Funny Story starring Zach Galifianakis .

Left - Nikki, Paula and I arriving at the Focus Features party
Right - Nikki and Paula holding up their "It's Kind of a Funny Story" comment card

Left - Michael Huntsman (the face of Apple) and I
Right - Joking around on the red carpet. These girls are hilarious and I always have the best time with them.


Later that night our group hit Nikki Beach. Despite being a major city, Toronto doesn't officially have a Nikki Beach. For those of you reading and new to this club concept, Nikki Beach is the ultimate beach club where dining, fashion, music and entertainment combine to create the ultimate party. This club is internationally known and enjoyed in major cities including Miami Beach, Saint-Tropez, Saint Barths, Marbella, Cabo San Lucas, Marrakech, Koh Samui, and New York City. It has even been deemed “The Sexiest Place on Earth” by the London Observer. Having experienced Nikki Beach in St. Tropez and Miami, I was anxious to see what my city had to offer when Toronto annually transforms C Lounge into Nikki Beach for TIFF. The venue had indoor and outdoor cabanas and a beautiful pool lined with palm trees.

Once inside I was introduced to Oscar-winning producer, Nicolas Chartier. When I found out he was originally from Paris, we had a long chat in French about life and his film, The Hurt Locker. I was quick to notice his down-to-earth demeanor and was fascinated once he explained his story. He told me his life had drastically changed after The Hurt Locker reached stardom. Once a janitor in Paris who lived a very modest life, he took an extremely large risk and mortgaged his house on the film. His talents and risk were luckily rewarded when his film was a success. He now lives a completely different lifestyle in LA with much more income than the average janitor would earn. The Hurt Locker was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won six including Best Picture and Best Director, but it was Chartier's modest and grounded persona that I was most impressed with.

I asked if we could get a picture together, but he gracefully declined as the producer has had his share of negative press including being banned from the Oscars for breaking Academy rules. The great conversation still continued, but I've had to include a picture of Chartier accepting his BAFTA award, as apposed to one of us at Nikki Beach.

The Hurt Locker producers (from left) - Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Greg Shapiro & Nicolas Chartier


Sunday night was devoted to the CAA party which was held in Yorkville under a large white tent. It had the best dance floor of TIFF parties I had seen all weekend, but the highlight of the party was definitely the larger-than-life chess set outside. My friends Nikki and Gary Garfinkel, Senior Vice President of Content and Acquisitions for Showtime Networks, put their chess skills to the test. Despite Gary talking a big game, it was Nikki who took home the champion title. I hope Gary brushes up on his chess skills before TIFF 2011.

I was also introduced to Terry Dougas, a very talented producer in Greece, who just so happened to be born in Vancouver. He's produced such films as The Invention of Lying, The Box and Swing Vote to name a few. Dougas, who is currently working on many projects in LA, had a great energy about him. He's so lovely to chat with because he has one of the best sense of humours I've encountered. I wish him all the best in his upcoming endeavors.

Left - Nikki and Gary playing an intense game of chess
Right - Terry Dougas and I


The following weekend, while most of my new friends had left town, I continued with the TIFF celebrations. A loft warming party at my new place was the starter to a wonderful night. My girlfriends and I ended up at Thompson Hotel which has become one of my favourite spots in the city. The hotel features a beautiful main lounge, underground club and rooftop bar. Lindsay and I just so happened to bump into George Hickenlopper, director of Casino Jack. I was shocked and saddened to hear about his recent passing at the end of October. Although we only met for a brief moment, he seemed like such a genuine and interesting individual. He bought Lindsay and I a beverage on the rooftop and told us about his close friendship with Sienna Miller after filming his movie Factory Girl. I know he will be remembered as an outstanding film director and man.

Close friends - Sienna Miller and George Hickenlopper

Rooftop view of Thompson Hotel in Toronto

Lindsay and I on the gorgeous rooftop overlooking Toronto

As a rookie on the TIFF scene, I rate my overall experience as an A ++. I hope to stay in touch with all the amazing people I met and hopefully see them again before next years TIFF approaches.


My Blog

I went to check my e-mail this morning and this is what happened...

So I posted this...

Align CenterPeople often ask where I get all my random information to blog about. It's simple actually. I love to meet new people and talk to strangers. There are so many interesting people out there with the most interesting things to say. Listen to others, appreciate their stories and embrace the unique things that make them who they are. I also choose to surround myself with wonderful friends who are inspirational and motivating. By eliminating all the negative people from my life's Rolodex, there leaves only room for those who help me grow.

I also walk everywhere. I have a car, but hardly use it now that I live in the city. If you walk around your neighbourhood and become more perceptive of your surroundings, the realization that the world really is a beautiful place will quickly become apparent. For instance, ever notice the art and messages in graffiti or in window displays just by walking down an ordinary street? I always do.

I love window shopping and appreciate the creativity that goes into making the window display of a boutique, a shop or even a bakery. When I find a really fabulous one, I stop and marvel at it. My friend, Jane, and I were walking home from her yoga studio one day and she noticed my curiosity with the occasional artistic window. She took note and swore to start noticing the things around her that day. She lives on Ossington Avenue which is full of artistic expression, designers and trendy spots although she realized her busy schedule hindered her from paying attention to the simple things (such as window displays) on her route home. I can only hope she's taking the time to indulge in all the pretty windows out west right now :)

Perhaps we should all look around, be curious and have a conversation with a beautiful stranger once in awhile. It's really quite harmless and could possibly start an epidemic of gypsy blogs everywhere! What a wonderful world that would be.


Inner Gypsy in Kate Moss

Well well well look what I stumbled upon. Looks like I'm not the only one with a slight fascination for gypsies. One of the most famous supermodels, Kate Moss, was picture perfect in last year's editorial in V Magazine. She teamed up with photographer, Iain McKell, and stylist, Karen Langely, to create the ultimate gypsy photo shoot.

I adore everything about this shoot, and I'm even more impressed with word that Moss snubbed a nearby hotel and decided to camp out for two nights with real gypsies in Cornwall, England. Where do I sign up to get paid for a gig like this?

I believe there is a gypsy flame within everyone. Whether it comes out in a free-spirited lifestyle or even if it's harboured deep down inside, it's still there. Moss had no problem showing her hippie chic spirit during this shoot - playing with rings of fire, sitting by campfire and posing in front of a decorated caravan all the while wearing beautiful designer clothes by Isabel Marant, Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, Kenzo, John Galliano, Stefanel and Dsquared.


Play BY Play

softmallow:  little comic of love  A play by play for Chantelle: 1. The girl likes the guy but he’s all like, whatever 2. Then the guy notices her but then she’s like what? no. 3. Then he likes her and she’s like no I don’t like you 4. Then he tries to pick her up but she’s like ugh! 5.  He keeps trying (he’s being so French there) which she thinks is just getting annoying 6. So then he’s like forget her and she’s like wait, what? But I like you now 7.  Then they end up in love.
1. Girl likes boy but he’s all like whatever.

2. Boy suddenly notices girl, but she’s like what? No.

3. Then boy likes girl and she’s like no I don’t like you now.

4. Boy tries to pick girl up but she’s like ugh what a weirdo!

5. Boy keeps trying (with a smug french demeanor) which she thinks is just getting real annoying. Girl is so not impressed.

6. Boy is like forget her and girl is like wait, what? Why aren't you paying attention to me anymore? Girl likes boy again.

7. Then boy and girl fall in love. Yup that's how it works sometimes.


Local Natives

Sometimes there's a song that cannot escape my repeat button. After a friend played Airplanes for me one night, I was instantly intrigued by the lyrics, melody and calming voices that all I could do was listen to it over and over again. It wasn't long before I was hooked on the up and coming modern worldly folk band, Local Natives. Recently I scored some free tickets to their sold out concert at the Mod Club in Toronto. My repeat button was no longer needed as I had the pleasure of seeing this talented young band perform right before my eyes.

The five piece group from LA delivered just the show Torontonians were anticipating. Although there was word of a broken down tour bus that day and a small mishap at the start of the show when keyboardist Kelcey Ayer announced "Hello Vancouver!", the band still rocked the stage with explosive energy for a rather laid back style of tunes off their debut album, Gorilla Manor. The use of multi instruments including the dual tribal drums were a nice touch. With their catchy melodies and harmonized voices, they left the crowd wanting so much more. Returning to the stage to perform Sun Hands as the encore, fans joined in and sang along to the chorus.

Meeting the band afterward was a treat. They were pretty ecstatic and surprised with how much of a following they continue to get in Toronto. Bassist, Andy Hamm, said he noticed Nikki and I dancing near the front row and I was glad our fierce dance moves didn't go unnoticed that night. We chatted with the rest of the band mates, but then it was time to get to the bottom of who actually created the song I've had on repeat for the last little while.

I was so curious as to who conjured up the lyrics to Airplanes and what the song was actually written about. One of the beautiful things about music is songs are left for individual interpretation. Isn't it interesting that when an artist writes a song for a specific purpose, someone else can use those exact words to relate to their own personal experiences? The band directed me towards Kelcey who told me he wrote the song about the death of his grandfather. To deal with the fact he never got a chance to know his grandfather, he put those emotions into the making of that heartfelt song.

Nikki, Andy, me & Matt

Nikki, Kelcey (the man who wrote Airplanes) and I

As the band moves onto Montreal, Nikki and I instructed them to try a poutine. They had no idea what we were talking about so we explained it was a delicious snack of french fries topped with gravy and fresh cheese curds which was famous in Montreal. Everyone venturing to the city should try one and they promised to give it a go. Overall these Cali boys not only put on a fabulous concert, but they are genuine and easy going people to talk to. They aren't local Canadian natives, but they'll do just fine in my books.

Some of my other favourite songs by this band include...

Who Knows, Who Cares
Cubism Dream
Sun Hands
World News

Here's the song I've been blabbering about!