Summer in the City- Possibility Camp

This time of the year everyone is looking for fun and entertaining things for the kids to do during the summer break. I would like to tell you a little bit about Possibility Camp.

Possibility Camp

 

The mission of Possibility Camp is to bring out the potential of girls to make positive impacts on the world around them. This program empowers girls ages 8-13 to become leaders, social entrepreneurs, and change-makers. 

Through fun and experiential learning, Possibility Camp will help instill a strong foundation of skills and values to help girls to develop empathy, identify societal challenges, generate creative ideas, design prototypes, and build self-confidence in a group setting.

The Program is based STEAM thinking (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).   and among other activities, participants will  get an insider’s view at the Telus innovation centre and learn about cyber and internet safety through the internationally renowned Telus WISE program.

This Summer’s Possibility Camp will be taking place  runs Mon, 17 Jul 2017, – Fri, 21 Jul 2017, 9:00AM- 4:00 PM at Ryerson DMZ Zone Learning

I would like to offer my readers 20% off the camp with the code: Friendatstrollingthecity

Girls need to be empowered now more then ever to take pride in themselves and to see themselves with strength and self confidence!

GIRL POWER!

 

 

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I tried microbladding.

Getting out of the house looking decent in the morning can be challenging when you have a gaggle of kids hanging off your leg, even with a helpful spouse like I have. Spending too much time getting ready while the kids are tearing up the joint downstairs while my husband does his level best to wrangle is super stressful for me.

A few months ago, my friend Kat got her brows micro bladed  and I was CAPTIVATED. Her new and improved brows framed her face, were the perfect shape and semi- permanent! No pencils or powder required!

One night Kat and I were out for drinks with another friend Tina and Kat told us about a friend of a friend who was training to microblade and was looking for models to use.  Tina literally texted her the next day and I followed suit. I also convinced my sister-in-law to do it too!

We were both super nervous about the pain and permanence of the procedure ahead of time. As I do, I spent a lot of time researching microbladding and I started to get excited about the prospect!

My SIL and I arrives at Sonia Marques home studio on a fall afternoon totally unsure about the entire process. SIL went first (I was chicken). Sonia consulted with her about the shape that she wanted and mapped her brows with grease pencil (looked nuts) and then applied the numbing gel. After about 20 minutes, Sonia began applying the dye via a teeny tiny blade. Yes- basically a super sharp scalpel. The first couple of cuts hurt quite a bit but not as much as I was anticipating ( I guess after two pregnancies and two c-sections, my pain threshold has increased). Sonia re-applied the numbing gel several times over the course of the work, so it hurt less and less.

When we left her studio, SIL and I were laughing at our bonkers dark brows! You are not allowed to wash your face for 24 hours so there is a lot of dye still on there and then as the brows scab and oxidize, they get SUPER dark. Here is a picture of me the day after.

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I felt super self-conscious about how dark they were but look at that SHAPE!! So boss!

By day five I was really feeling my brows, although they were still quite dark.

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I have to say that while getting my brows microbladded was a totally vanity based decision, I am so glad that I did it. I feel put together with even the smallest amount of makeup on and I think they give my face angles that it didn’t have before (I am a total moon pie face girl).

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I have not regretted my decision to micro blade once in the last three months. I even looked forward to my one month touch up because I wanted them even MORE defined in some places.

If you are interested in microbladding and have waited on pulling the trigger DO IT!

If you are in the Toronto area, contact Sonia Marques! She will hook you up.

 

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PonchiesForKids Giveaway!

I was recently invited to a preview of the Etsy Marketplace in Toronto and I got to see so many amazing products and meet the creative forces behind them.

One of these super cool individuals was Tiffany, the creator of PonchiesForKids. Ponchies are the most adorable micro fleece ponchos for babies and kids. All locally and hand made, Ponchies are the perfect topper for the cooler weather and her adorable styles will impress even the pickiest toddler.unnamed-1

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I asked Tiffany to answer five questions to tell us more about her and her brand!

1.) What was your inspiration to start Ponchies?
My inspiration to start Ponchies began after I designed and made some women’s wool/cashmere ponchos that I was selling under my custom clothing brand called U:her Fashions. But it was when my friends and family started to grow their families that I thought a poncho would be a practical, fun and long lasting garment for babies and kids too. I brought these new baby ponchos to baby showers, everyone loved them and wanted to place their order! So, that is when I decided to create my new children’s brand called PonchiesForKids.
2.) What were you doing before? Is this a full time gig now?
As mentioned above, before Ponchies I had started my own custom clothing brand called U:her Fashions in 2010. Designing everything from women’s party dresses, to bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns to swimwear and professional work attire for both women & men. Prior to starting my own business, I had studied Fashion Design and began working in the fashion industry starting out as a gymastic/skating costume designer for international athletes. I then became a sock designer and then a production manager of a high end designer belt company. Ponchies and my custom clothing line U:her Fashions are finally becoming closer to being my full-time gigs.
3.) What is your favourite thing about being an entrepreneur and building your brand?
My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is all of the limitless creativity I can project! I can create/design/make anything I want and when something starts out as a sketch and then becomes a piece of clothing, it is more than exciting to see it come to life. Especially when you see your client wearing your creation and smiling bright.
Creativity also flows within the many hats worn as an entrepreneur and ideas are endless (well that is what it seems to feel like for me). Being an entrepreneur is also an incredibly challenging path for self and for business, but reaps so many rewards.
4.) What was your favourite item of clothing when you were a child?
Honestly, I was such a tomboy as a child (I hated wearing dresses) but I LOVED wearing anything super colourful and pattern (it was the 80’s and the 90’s lol). I remember loving this multicoloured tie dye one piece bathing suit with cut outs at the sides and the front. It was my favorite and I was a summer beach kid (I still am). I also loved these bright orange denim shorts (oh geez, please don’t ask me why haha).
5.) You have the most adorable super hero ponchos. Who is your favourite superhero?
Thank you! Well actually, I never really had a favourite superhero but I can’t help but love Yoda and Superwoman. I would also consider The Minions my modern superheros. I love them! I need to make a Minion Ponchie!

 

PonchiesForKids has generously offered a poncho for one lucky reader (Canada only). Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
** All photo by @sharlapikephotography

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Local Store Spotlight- Ardith

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Nothing makes me happier than to see new and exciting stores open up in my own neighbourhood, especially stores that sell clothing!!!

Ardith is the newest boutique,an active lifestyle store, to open up along the amazing (if I do say so myself) Roncesvalles strip, which is the heart and soul of our area.

Owner Miranda Bryden names the store after her 91 year old grandmother (her picture is proudly displayed in the store) and the store is the retailer of such brands as Lucas Hugh, Travis Taddeo, Michi, Hoi Bo (a personal fave of mine!) and Coco’s Frosting Shack necklaces. The store is stunningly curated and the cute and comfortable outfits are perfect for a mum on the go like me… or any other women who wants to look chic even when she is running around like a mad women going about her daily life. I cannot wait to head in there and pick up some amazing pieces to flatter my post pregnancy body (hopefully).

Check out Ardith on social media (Instagram/Facebook)

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Floral Forever

After the WORST February ever in Toronto, March has arrived and spring finally seems like a possibility. Floral clothing and accessories are everywhere this season and they cannot be more welcome! They bring to mind sweet warm breezes and blooms finally pushing themselves out of the ground. Sorry to be sort of cheesy, but seriously…. spring seems even more amazing after the winter that we have had!
What are your thoughts on these blatantly floral pieces?
Floral Forever!
 
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Clicking for Cake with shopbake.com

Shopbake.comThere are two things lots of Toronto women like- sweets and online shopping. In the past, these two faves have never intersected but as of today, the dreams of many come true!

September 17th marks the launch of shopbake.com, an online bakery delivery service made up of fifty of the city’s favourite bakeries with more to be added!!! It’s like Etsy for sweeties!!!

Sellers create an account to promote their delicious products and buyers can create their own personalized accounts with all of their favorites! This amazing service will revolutionize party planning and make gift giving this holiday season a breeze. Not only can you pick from a huge selection of cakes, cookies, macarons, bread and more, Shopbake also caters to dietary restrictions by having nut free, kosher, gluten-free and vegan options.

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I was lucky enough to receive a bag of goodies from Shopbake ahead of their official launch today! I snacked on a selection of treats from a variety of vendors and they were all AMAZING!

Head on over to Shopbake now and get grazing!!!

 

Thanks to Charming Media for introducing me to a new obsession!

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Jennifer Fukushima Fall/Winter 2014 Collection

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It is always so much fun when I am introduced to a Canadian designer so I was excited to learn about Jennifer Fukushima

Jennifer studied at Ryerson University in Toronto before working for such interesting and well-known local labels as Preloved, Peach Berserk and Fashion Crimes as well as her own previous label Paper People Clothing.

Her new eponymous line is a stylish and ecologically conscious cut and sew knitwear collection that is perfect for autumn! The knits are soft, beautiful and made in Canada! As with most lines that don’t outsource their production, Jennifer’s pieces are not inexpensive but I was able to see the breakdown of the cost and it is very reasonable and without a large profit margin. As a fan of sustainable transparency, I adore the detail she provides on her site and in her publicity materials about her business practices. I hope more companies, both big and small, endeavour to do the same in the near future.

Her piece will be available for purchase through her site as of August 1st and pieces will be sold at Fresh Collective in Toronto from the middle of August. Jennifer can also be found at various shows around Toronto this fall- get a complete list here.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces from her new collection.

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Clockwise from top left:

Cordifolia Print Cardigan

Apiomorpha Tunic

Velutina Pullover

Persimilus Infinity Scarf

Sylvatica Gauntlets

Check her out of Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

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Demystifying the role of the Architect in home renovation!

As you know we are in the thick of a home renovation at the moment and it is going really smoothly. You hear horror stories about projects going wrong and I think the reason we are having such a great experience is because we hired an expert! Barbora Vokac Taylor, our architect, designer and friend kindly agreed to answer some questions about what being an architect entails and when and why it is important to involve one.

When you started University you were considering Medicine? What made you decide to switch tracks so drastically and become an architect?

I just kept searching for ways to be creative in what I was doing. I was studying to ultimately go into Biomedical Engineering for prosthetics design and it hit me:  what I wanted to do was design. 

I really enjoyed first year in the Science programme because it was a mix of all of the core sciences and maths but when I had to choose just one as my major, I got stuck. The more I tried to answer that question, the closer I got to realizing that what I really wanted was to work creatively but with purpose and function. That’s how I came around to architecture. My father is an architect, so I had an idea of what the profession entailed. I love what I do. 

 

What exactly does an architect do?

Great question! 

In an abstract sense: What our firm strives to do is to work as our client’s advisor throughout the design and construction process. I recently had a client meeting and our client said “What we want is to work collaboratively to achieve a vision … but we don’t know what our vision is – so we need you to help us with that too.” I thought that was perfect. It’s exactly what we do and it’s what we excel in. We help our clients define a vision based on their needs and desires. We then problem solve to help realize that vision to it’s full potential.  

Formally, Architects are trained professionals who are qualified to design and provide advice – both aesthetic and technical – on built forms. We help define the overall priorities and vision for the space and describe it graphically. We prepare the necessary construction drawings, source key materials, assist in applying for the necessary permits, provide general review during the construction process and work with the general contractor to manage unexpected issues, delays and choices along the way.

 

 When is an architect required?

It depends on the project type and size. I would recommend reaching out to an architect to discuss your specific project and have them advise you. Most architects will meet with you for a free consultation. You may even be able to determine this over the phone. 

In terms of small residential renovations/additions – I advise my clients to get professional help for budgets in excess of $25 000. It’s a big investment – it’s worth it to have someone knowledgeable to advise you. 

 

How much education is required to become an accredited architect and designer, as you are?

To become a licensed architect in Ontario you need to have successfully completed specific educational requirements, several years of supervised experience, and extensive examinations. 

I completed a BSc(Arch) and a Masters in Architecture in five and a half years. I interned for seven years prior to earning my licence and I wrote the ARE (Architect Registration Examination), which, in total, was about thirty five hours long – but not in one sitting! 

 

What type of architecture work do you specialize in?

Most of our projects, in terns of volume,  is single family residential – renovations and new build. We also have extensive experience in hospitality, interiors, multi-unit residential, small scale institutional and large scale institutional. We really work on a wide range of occupancies. We’ve completed or, are currently in the process of completing: a yoga studio, an office interior, a new build single-family home and a couple of residential renovations. We enjoy working on projects where our clients are the end users the most.

 

What do you look for in vendors that you work with on projects, such as contractors?

Referrals go a long way, particularly from peers that share the same standard of quality that we do. We strongly recommend working with contractors that have successful experience in the style that we work in with good references and we prefer to work with ones that we have successful experience with in the past. Construction is highly collaborative and you really want a team that wants to work together, is  experienced, professional, fair and has the motivation to do great work. 

 

One of the most common renovations that people want to do are kitchens, bathrooms and extensions? What tips do you have for people to help them get a handle on the scope of the work they want to do?

Start gathering data. 

1. Start love/loathe files : clip Magazine and newspaper stories and now it’s so easy with Pinterest and Houzz. Just get on there and start hunting around for spaces that appeal to you. If you like someone’s style, start following them – those posts can then lead you to more options and so on. 

2. Be critical about your space – What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? What works? What doesn’t? Quite honestly, sometimes we consult with clients and we just move some furniture around, get rid of stuff they don’t use and we’re halfway there. 

3. Be open to suggestions but have a single vision. Just because your sister has good taste and she likes something, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best option for you. Design isn’t about making stuff look cool – it’s about planning space so that it enhances your life. Although … if you wanted your sister to come over and cook more often, you could take her pointers on her preferences in the kitchen 🙂

4. Research. Ask around – who has done renovations in a style that you like? How long did it take? What was the approximate cost/square foot? What was their experience? What lessons could they pass on to you?

 

In any project, unexpected issues come up, such as time delays, extra work requirements. How do you prepare your clients for the unexpected?

You have to plan for the unexpected. We try to prepare our clients for tough decisions that need to be made quickly and advise them to put aside approximately 10% of their construction budget as a contingency fund. We are there to advise our clients, to weigh the pros and cons and help them make informed decisions. Renovations tend to have more surprises, but you always have a choice. For example, on your project, we opened something up and found something we didn’t expect. We had the opportunity to improve it – and it was your choice to do so or not.  Your contingency fund meant that you had some funds available to do this. Or alternatively, you realize that you wish to add something to the project that at first, you didn’t think was important. There’s some money set aside for those late-in-the-process realizations/opportunities. 

 

What are your favourite design stores?

I adore the Conran Shop in London. I think Terence Conran is the bomb. He makes great design feel easy. There is also a very inspiring lifestyle/concept store in Paris called ‘Merci‘ that I quite enjoy visiting. 

In Toronto (and I am strictly speaking in stock – I can’t say that I vouch for service here) but there are loads of great stores now with great, accessible design. 

I like to mix high and low – so I’m not above suggesting IKEA. I think that Quasi Modo and Klaus by Nienkamper have very nice collections as does KioskDesign within Reach is also great for classics. On the more affordable side, I’ve also found some great pieces at EQ3, Crate&Barrel and West Elm recently. In terms of high-end showrooms, B&B Italia, ItalInteriors and PlanB are wonderful options. 

 

What inspires you on a daily basis in your life and work?

I would say people. I like to people watch. That sounded creepy – but it wasn’t meant to! I like to observe how people use and interact with spaces – both designed and everyday. I read a lot – both periodicals and on the web. 

I also make a very strong effort to seek out and study successful spaces, both in the city and abroad. I try to travel at least once a year on a ‘Design Pilgrimage’ – I make it a point to research projects and visit them. I was in Montreal for a week in May and came back totally refreshed and inspired. My husband often travels for work – so my and son and I get a few opportunities as stowaways and go exploring that way. 

 

What makes a project successful?

In a line: clear expectations and good communication. And right them down! (Ok. that was three things in two lines.)

Having clear agreements so that everyone knows their roles in the process is key. My husband has a saying “Good fences make good neighbours” and I have found that to be the case.  

Ask questions and participate. No one expects you to be the expert and we know that you may have probably not done this before – but if you’re not sure, ask. 

 

What makes a great project?

A great client.

 

What make s great client?

A great client has a vision – not necessarily an idea of what the project will look like – but as in a goal and/or aspirations that help define the project. They are honest and timely in their communication. They also respect the the skills and expertise of their team, they are flexible, open-minded and have high expectations for success in the final outcome. 

 

Barbora Vokac Taylor Architect Logo

 

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Parkdale Store Spotlight- Cambie Design

Cambie Design is a one year old design service/textile shop in the Parkdale area and I had NO idea it was there. I have only developed a real interest in home decor and design with the current renovation that we are doing. A decor savvy friend had seen designer/owner Camille Byrne’s beautiful blankets all over her Instagram feed and took me to the store recently.

I was amazed by this tiny, bright and well curated shop filled with blankets, candles, vases and more.

Stacks of blankets filled an entire wall and it was frankly overwhelming. All the blankets are made in Peru of 100% pure alpaca and the colours and patterns were lovely. The blankets were $100 each and my friend bought two for her living room. I decided to wait until I finalize my colour scheme but I will certainly be picking up a couple in the next few months!

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Cambie Design      1535A Queen Street West  (416) 516 7132

Website/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

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