Toronto

MASTERCLASS ft. Dauphine Magazine + Ribitt

The start-up stories:  Krys Lunardo (Dauphine Magazine) and Sana Virji (Ribitt.io)

The start-up stories:  Krys Lunardo (Dauphine Magazine) and Sana Virji (Ribitt.io)

Two years ago we launched our signature event series, MASTERCLASS by curatedlife.ca. Its purpose is to provide millennial women entrepreneurs with the skills/resources to build a prosperous business and an empowered life. We learn. We hear. We create.

The first MASTERCLASS of 2018 was an extended event; complete with a #BossBabesNightIn. During this MASTERCLASS, we learned about design thinking and how entrepreneurs can use this methodology to create innovative solutions or products. We discussed the design process and examples of well-designed brand experiences. We also discussed the importance of making products or services human-centered and ways to empathize with your product/service users. 

Krys Lunardo (Dauphine Magazine)

Krys Lunardo (Dauphine Magazine)

Next we heard from two amazing entrepreneurs – Krys Lunardo and Sana Virji. As the founding editor of Dauphine, Krys Lunardo sought to create a brand that would bring luxury to life. Before launching Dauphine, Krys completed degrees in architectural studies and fine art history. As a young professional who was a young woman of colour, Krys didn’t feel welcomed into the field of architecture. While on a trip to Paris with her husband, Krys was immensely inspired to make a bold career move – she was going to launch her own business. Krys’ desire was to create an impeccable print publication that intertwined Haute Couture with lifestyle. Breaking into Toronto’s publication industry with no connections, Krys carried Dauphine from concept to newsstand as an independent publisher (all while pregnant with her first child). “I had the first print of Dauphine brought to me right after I delivered my first child, so I had my baby in one arm and this baby (the magazine) in the next,” she said.  Krys provided us with inspiring insight on building a strong business brand and balancing entrepreneurship with motherhood. “It’s all about scheduling and breaking up your work…you have to find balance and spend quality time with your children because you’re an entrepreneur 24/7,” she said. Learn more about Dauphine and follow Krys on Instagram @kryslunardo

Sana Virji (Ribitt.io)

Sana Virji (Ribitt.io)

Our second start-up story was that of Sana, co-founder of Ribitt – an app that rewards you for supporting local businesses. Sana and her co-founder, Ribat Chowdhury launched Ribitt while studying at Trent University. There Sana was challenged with launching a profitable business with only $5 and 5 days. Originally Ribitt was a coupon book that offered students discounts at local businesses in the area. After the success of the project, Sana was determined to transform the student-run project into a full-time start-up. “When we started as a student project, it was easier to get support…We had a huge learning curve when we became a business. The expectations were higher and we had to deliver,” Sana said. This meant transiting Ribitt from a physical product to a smartphone app. But the problem was none of the co-founders knew how to write code. To overcome this challenge, Sana and her team designed mock-ups of the app and went to local businesses with a promise to develop the app if they signed on for a year subscription. After raising enough capital, Sana and her team hired a developer to build a functioning app. Ribitt is now rapidly growing platform that allows you to experience the best local shops in every neighbourhood. Learn more about Ribitt and follow Sana on Instagram @sanavirji  

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During the second portion of the event, we learned how to turn our dreams into goals using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym (an ode to our very first MASTERCLASS). We went from creating mood boards to listing our goals on whiteboards based on “Your Guide to a Boss Babes Night In” (page 22 of issue 4). The session was made complete with refreshments courtesy of Panago Pizza and Toronto Popcorn Company. Panago Pizza provided us with a variety of unique pizza options. My personal favourite was the Veggie Mediterranean complete with fresh passata tomato sauce, fire-roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, red peppers, baby spinach leaves, red onions, feta and mozzarella – yum!  You can order Panago Pizza by dialing 310-001 or online here.

From Toronto Popcorn Company, we enjoyed their delicious salted caramel popcorn- the perfect sweet treat to top off the night. This flavour combines classic caramel with a pinch of palatable saltiness that is hard to resist. Fun Fact: Toronto Popcorn Company was founded locally by a husband-and-wife duo in Kensington Market. Shop or learn more here.

Attendees of the MASTERCLASS were also provided with a special anniversary gift bag from L’Occitane. The gift bag contained deluxe samples of L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom body duo and hand cream. The collection combines the delicate scent of cherry blossoms with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and rosemary leaf extract. Luxurious bonus: it is made in France. You can shop the collection online or find a local boutique here.

A special thanks also to BumbleBizz for providing us with notebooks and pens.

Want to join us at the next MASTERCLASS? Be sure to follow us on Instagram and turn your notifications on to be the first to know when registration is open.

See you soon!

Cupcakes + Conversations: Celebrating One Year of CuratedLife

Our amazing panelists & MC. [left to right] Hayla Amini, Jade Janelle, Emily Antflick, Alyssa Bertram & Mary Young.

Our amazing panelists & MC. [left to right] Hayla Amini, Jade Janelle, Emily Antflick, Alyssa Bertram & Mary Young.

Last year when I launched my Curated Life project, I chose to fulfill the one of my biggest but least-likely-to-come-true dreams. It was intimidating because I had no industry connections and not a lot of experience since most of my career was spent in a completely different sector. I was afraid of failing. But, every time I thought I should just quit and go back to my quiet, comfortable life there was always an encouraging word from a Curated Life follower or a sign that pushed me to keep going. Now that we’ve reached this one year milestone together, I can truly say the struggle was all worth it.

We're all set to begin...

We're all set to begin...

On Friday, there was so much to celebrate. Within a year, we have built a community of millennial women entrepreneurs who support each other and connected them to community resources through 6 events (3 of which were at capacity). We built connections with Canadian and women-owned businesses through in-kind sponsorships of our gift bags that were distributed at each event. We also launched a print/digital magazine as a platform to further share the inspirational stories of these entrepreneurs. This November marks the launch of our second issue which features the story of Aurora James (founder of Brother Veilles), profiles of women who are using creativity to innovate and our Boss Babe gift guide by Veri Chic with Chy. (Side note: mail delivery/pick up for pre-orders will be arranged soon. The issue will be available for sale on December 2nd).

We were also celebrating the accomplishments of our amazing panelists. Mary Young, who was our first master class speaker and a contributor to our first issue, celebrated her first major collaborations with Apple Canada and the Peace Collective (And she’s so humble, I still remember how she helped us haul tables up a set of stairs at the first class). Hayla Amini, one of our very first gift bag sponsors, celebrated a successfully transitioning Flashionistas from a retail business to a provider of event activations and collaboration with TOPSHOP for the Bobbyball. Emily Antflick, our July master class speaker, celebrated the launch of Shecosystem’s new space and receiving a Start Up Canada grant. And Alyssa Bertram, our September master class speaker, celebrated two successful brand events and transitioning easy. from a part-time to a full-time business.

With over 90 guests in attendance, this was our biggest event yet! Our panel discussion was led by Miranda McKie, President of Young Women in Business-Toronto chapter. Miranda is a Master Data Governance Professional by day, but also believes in the importance of breaking down barriers for women and helping them succeed in their careers through her work with YWiB. The panelist discussed what ignited the spark to start their own businesses and what keeps them motivated. We also discussed if there is or isn’t a formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. As well as challenges specific to being a young woman entrepreneur and how they overcame these challenges.

Blogger, Jade Janelle provided her voice as our MC for the rest of the evening. In addition to the panel, we had a brief presentation from a new project called askconnie.co, which will be showcasing the best local businesses in Toronto over the next few months. And heard the start-up story of Shiva Burnett, co-founder of Avazera. As one of our first gift bag sponsors last November, Avazera has always been supportive of our mission to empower young women. This year, Avazera was not only a vendor at our event, but also a patron of the second issue of Curated Life magazine (along with Dr. Liza Egbogah of the[fix] chiropractic+massage). And a special thanks goes out to Chyauna, verichicwithchy.com, who sponsored our DJ for the night, SoWaveyy Sound (@sowaveyy).

A Sneak Peek of our panelist's gift bags. Which featured all the items below, plus extra, full-sized goodies from SweetSpotLabs.ca (A Canadian & Women-owned company)

A Sneak Peek of our panelist's gift bags. Which featured all the items below, plus extra, full-sized goodies from SweetSpotLabs.ca (A Canadian & Women-owned company)

I would also like to thank all our in-kind sponsors who contributed these amazing items for our curated gift bags:

Barreworks Class Pass, $21 CDN, barreworks.ca

Founded in 2012, Barreworks was the first Toronto studio to specialize in ballet barre-based fitness classes. Their technique was developed by a team of local dance and fitness professionals, all dedicated to the creation of a safe, effective, and fun exercise system. With two locations, and classes 7-days a week, they're ready to welcome you to class! You can read more about Barreworks in the winter issue of the magazine.

Lipidol Overnight Face Oil, $8.97CDN, Walmart and walmart.ca

A great addition to your nightly beauty regime, this nourishing oil works while you sleep. It’s designed to supplement the skin’s natural oily layer, increase moisture retention and enhance overnight rejuvenation. Lightly fragranced with essential oils of Ylang-Ylang and Black Pepper, Lipidol’s overnight face oil is non-comedogenic and suitable for sensitive skin.

Joe Fresh Plum Powder Eyeshadow, $6.00CDN, Shoppers Drug Mart

Makeup doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep it simple and still enhance your natural beauty. The Joe Fresh Beauty line is filled with products to help you master the 5-minute face without breaking the bank. Now at Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh offers a great selection of on-trend beauty products, like this pretty plum eyeshadow.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Trio (the same fragrances retail as a roller ball set for $59.00CDN, sephora.com)

Adding a bit more luxury our gift bags is this Marc Jacobs fragrance trio. This family of floral fragrances is fresh and feminine. The trio includes Marc Jacob’s signature scent Daisy as well as two other interpretations- Daisy Eau so Fresh and Daisy Dream.  Guests received a 1.2ml sample coffret with all three fragrances.

Pur Gum Bubble Gum, $1.69CDN, shopcan.thepurcompany.com

Pur Gum is all the goodness gum should be – vegan, nut/soy-free, gluten-free, and aspartame-free. Pur Gum is naturally sweetened with xylitol, a sweetener with a low glycemic index. What makes Pur even sweeter? The company is Canadian-owned. Guests also received an offer of $10 to use on the online shop (coupon).

Sweet Spot Labs Wipettes, $11.99, sweetspotslabs.ca

SweetSpot Labs is on a mission to refresh every woman’s shower routine and daily cleansing rituals. SweetSpot Labs recently launched a new collection of natural washes and wipes that are pH balanced for your sweet spot and good for your entire body. SweetSpot Labs products are made by women, for women and use natural ingredients to gently clean, hydrate and soften skin. Guests received a sample of the wipettes with a coupon. Our panelists received an assortment of full-sized products.

Tealeaves Jet Lag Therapy Kit, $3.80CDN, tealeaves.com

Tealeaves is a Vancouver-based, luxury tea company. Each guest will receive the carry on essential, Jet Lag Therapy kit which contains two masterblend teas – Energy and Relax. Energy is an invigorating blend of mint, citrus, yerba maté and ginkgo biloba to help keep you focused. And Relax is a floral, caffeine-free blend to help you ease into a peaceful sleep.

Because I am familiar with the social determinants of health, I truly believe that a woman is best empowered when she is economically empowered. That is why there is a strong emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship throughout each Curated Life project. So there was no better way to celebrate our one-year market then with a pop-up market. We were so pleased to have this diverse group of vendors and are looking forward to hosting more pop-ups in the future. Please be sure to check these vendors out and support them by making a purchase if you can.

 

Shiva & Svetlana – Avazera (www.avazera.com )

Julie – Pinkfolio – (www.pinkfolio.me)

Rachel – Q U I N S C O (www.quinsco.com )

Monique – London Ivy Natural & Organic (www.londonivyproducts.com)

Christina – Curls & Confidence Healthy Hair Subscription Box (www.curlsandconfidence.ca)

Lisa – Upnorth Naturals(www.upnorthnaturals.com )

Mya – Beauty Counter (beautycounter.com/en-ca/myabreukelaar)

Thu – VO2 CO (www.vo2co.com)

Brittany – Fjord Life (www.fjordlife.ca)

Tianna – Pink Princess Cosmetics (www.pinkprincesscosmetics.ca)

Yuliya – Yuliya C Jewellery (www.yuliyachronajewellery.com )

Mo – The Covet Lifestyle (www.facebook.com/thecovetlifestyle/)

 

I’m looking forward to giving you a look into our winter issue shortly. But for now, enjoy our cover reveal below.

 

curated life magazine aw16 winter issue cover featuring Aurora James Toronto

Thank you again for all the support. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @curatedlifeca / #mycuratedlife to stay up-to-date on our events and publication projects.

MASTERCLASS ft. Shecosystem & Futurpreneur Canada

Emily Rose Antflick, founder of shecosystem,ca sharing her start-up story

Emily Rose Antflick, founder of shecosystem,ca sharing her start-up story

Happy Civic long weekend everyone! First of all, can I send a huge thank you to everyone who attended this Friday’s MASTERCLASS. I know you could have been either at the cottage or getting ready for other festivities in the city. I am so grateful that you decided to start your weekend with us.

When I was preparing for this week’s event, I came across a program from the first event I ever coordinated.  It was 12 years ago and I was only in high school, but it was the first time I truly saw myself as an entrepreneur. Since then my academic pursuits took me in a different direction, but I always found entrepreneurship to be my creative outlet on the side. Like other women entrepreneurs, my business began when I felt unsatisfied (and a bit frustrated) about not finding the opportunities I wanted within the structured environment of a traditional workplace. So, I felt like I had to go out and create the opportunity for myself. In some ways, being an entrepreneur has turned me into a D.I.Y. wonder woman but it has also taught me the value of mentorship and a supportive network. Mentors, in business or in your personal life, can help you along your journey by offering advice and wisdom they’ve gained on their own journey. Mentorship can be formal or informal. Your mentor can act as a coach when you need to be challenged or a cheerleader when you need a boost. Your mentor can be more experienced or even a peer.

This is why I wanted to create an anthology of stories and resources by and for millennial women entrepreneurs through Curated Life magazine.  I wish to grow Curated Life into a platform that will allow us to learn from each other’s journey. In doing so, I knew I that it would be important for us to connect face-to-face.  And so, I launched the MASTERCLASS event series in January. At each MASTERCLASS, you will be connected to community resources that will help you start or grow a prosperous business.

Introductions lead by Linda Morena, mentor-in-residence and Daniel Graham, Business Development Manager of Futurpreneur Canada

Introductions lead by Linda Morena, mentor-in-residence and Daniel Graham, Business Development Manager of Futurpreneur Canada

This month’s event focused on understanding the value of mentorship. To begin, we were joined by Linda Morana and Daniel Graham of Futurpreneur Canada. Futurpreneur Canada is the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Their internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors. During the event, Linda and Daniel explained the benefits of mentorship. We learned that good mentorship can build your confidence, add to your business acumen and provide you with an extended network. We also heard of the success story of Kailey Gilchrist, founder of NONA Vegan Foods Ltd. You can find out more about Futurpreneur Canada’s mentorship program and other amazing resources at www.futurpreneur.ca

Emily starting her talk with a quick mindfulness exercise.

Emily starting her talk with a quick mindfulness exercise.

Our featured start-up story of the month was Emily Rose Antflick, the founder of Shecosystem: a co-working and wellness environment where women thrive. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, emotional authenticity, and work-life integration. She is a versatile educator and program designer with rich perspectives on learning and community building. Emily also hosts weekly co-working meet ups with integrative wellness sessions. Emily began by leading the group through a breathing exercise and sharing a spoken word poem. When describing her business journey, Emily referred to it as a “seed in a dark place”, saying, “This is how most stories begin. So I let myself be in that dark place for a while and took the time to water myself with creativity and the things I liked to do.” And oh, how that seed has grown! In less than one year in business, Emily just announced that she has received the keys to her own space and is looking forward to establishing Shecosystem’s very own co-working space this fall. Until then, you can catch Shecosystem’s co-working sessions.  Her next sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd and Tuesday, August 9th at the Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar. To learn more about how you can join in visit www.shecosystem.ca

 

Our refreshments and gift bag swag. Details below. 

Our refreshments and gift bag swag. Details below. 

This event would not be all that it was without the generous support of our in-kind sponsors. I’m extremely appreciative of the gifts they’ve allowed me to pass on to you. I would like to send a special thank you to Panago Pizza for including our event in their #randomactsofpizza campaign. Panago Pizza provided delicious food that accommodated different dietary restrictions/lifestyles (including vegan ‘za). Guests were also provided with a voucher for a free Chocolate Chunk Pretzel Cookie with Caramel Dip (sweet!). Find your local Panago or order online.

When curating the gift bags, I try to find items from brands that reflect the message of Curated Life, so every item has a unique tie. I’m pleased the share this month’s gift bag reveal:

1.       Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad (provided by Sephora Canada)

 Like a true girl boss, Kat Von D has used her business acumen to take her on a journey from tattoo artist to global beauty phenomenon.  The Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad can be used to transform your eyes through the art of colour contouring. Each quad contains a base colour and additional eye shadows to define, contour and highlight the eye. The palette is available in four colours: sage, rust, plum and smoke. The quad is exclusively available at Sephora for $34CDN. 

2.       Papabubble Toronto Handmade Candies

Established in Barcelona, Papabubble is all about artistic and innovative sweets that are handmade with love. New to Toronto, this artisan delight is made right before your eyes in their downtown boutique. The candies are made using just 5 simple ingredients and can feature custom made designs for your business or special event. You can check out the Toronto boutique at www.papabubbleto.com or visit in-person at 3360 Yonge Street (at Melrose Ave).

3.       The Body Shop Vitamin E AquaBoost Essence Lotion (full-sized)

I love The Body Shop for so many reasons (read that post here). For one thing The Body Shop was established by OG Girl Boss, Anita Roddick, in 1976. Her vision was to use her business as a force of good – there wasn’t a name for it back then, but that business model is called “social enterprise”. This year the brand renewed this commitment by announcing their mission to “Enrich, Not Exploit,” making it one of the most recognizable and innovative conscious beauty brands. MASTERCLASS attendees received The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Aqua Boost Essence Lotion, which designed to quench thirsty skin for up to 48 hours.  The formula is light weight so it absorbs easily into skin and it is made with naturally-sourced hydrauronic acid. You can layer this lotion under a cream to prepare your skin for the day. The lotion is available at The Body Shop for $20CDN or online here.

4.       Holt Renfrew H Project  x  Boxed Water

In the spring/summer issue of Curated Life magazine, we discuss the importance of shopping consciously. This is because the products you consume can have a great impact on people and planet. This is why we were so pleased to learn that Holt Renfrew’s H Project has partnered with Boxed Water to replace the plastic water bottles distributed in-store. Boxed Water has a lower carbon footprint and is 100% BPA-free.  And if you’re in the area, be sure to check out Holt Renfrew’s newest location at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The 130,000 square foot store has amazing live installations this weekend which include fashion illustrations by Monica Smiley and cold-pressed juices from Village Juicery. Holt Renfrew Square One will also offer Bespoke services that include a Leather Artisan, Nail Bar and Beauty Lab. View store address and hours here.

5.       Easy Period (info card)

Recently launched, Easy Period is a subscription service that delivers organic feminine hygiene products directly to your door (bonus: each box comes with a fair-trade chocolate bar). The company’s founder came up with the idea after wishing her tampons would magically appear at her door and never run out (don’t we all have that wish? Urgh, #lifeofagirl). But, it was after researching the nasty chemicals often found in mainstream brands, that she decided to step in by establish a company that provides healthier options to mainstream tampons and destigmatize periods; empowering women locally and abroad. Easy Period donates 5% of profits to ZanaAfrica Foundation, a non-profit that delivers pads and health education to girls in Kenya. Learn more at www.easyperiod.ca and be sure to look out for a feature about the company in the next issue of Curated Life magazine.

6.       Access Community Capital Fund (info card)

Access Community Capital Fund is a Canadian registered-charity that provides micro-loans up to $5000 for individuals looking to elevate their standard of living through entrepreneurship. Access Community Capital Fund has also partnered with Ignite Capital to offer an opportunity to compete for $20,000 of business funding. The competition closes on September 2, see www.ignitecapital.ca for application details. Access Community Capital Fund can be found online at www.accessccf.com.

An awesome way to end an awesome night!

An awesome way to end an awesome night!

If you missed this event, don’t worry. MASTERCLASS events are now bi-monthly.  Save the date forFriday, September 23rd ,2016.  The topic and speakers are to be announced shortly. If you’re a company interested in learning how you can sponsor an event or advertise in the magazine, feel free to email hello@curatedlife.ca. 

Until then, please enjoy a few more photos below. You can also follow @curatedlifeca and #mycuratedlife on Twitter and Instagram. 

The Body Shop’s 40th Anniversary Media Event (Toronto)

(C) 2016 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2016 JuleChu Lifestyle

Tonight, I attended one of my first industry events since moving back to Toronto. It was a nice way to reintroduce myself to “the scene” while celebrating a milestone with an iconic brand. The Body Shop’s products are something I always remember having in my home (I stock up every time the passionfruit body wash back in season). I even remember my mom telling me stories about her experiences with the Body Shop when she was a teen living in Toronto.

This year the Body Shop is marking their 40th anniversary. In Toronto, this was marked with a media event held at Artscape Wychwood Barns. For those who don’t know, the Body Shop was founded by an OG Girl Boss, Anita Roddick, in 1976. Her vision was to use her business as a force of good – there wasn’t a name for it back then, but that business model is called “social enterprise”. So, it was an honour to end International Women’s Day with the Body Shop.

In addition to celebrating 40 years in business, the Body Shop also had a special announcement to make. The Body Shop is already a pioneer as a sustainable beauty brand. It is one of the first modern beauty brands to use its products to campaign for environmental, health or social causes. With general manager, Marc-Alexandre Risch and Global Director of Campaigns and Corporate Responsibility, Chris Davis, the Body Shop announced its pledge to become the most ethical company in the world. The company plans to reach this goal by utilizing an “enrich, not exploit” strategy that will focus on people, products and the planet. The strategy aims to meet 14 individual goals by the year 2020.

After the special announcements we were introduced to upcoming innovative products that will be released this year. Available in-store now are the limited-edition CHANGE Hemp Hand Protector and British Rose collection.  The packaging for the CHANGE  Hemp Hand Protector was designed by EINE, one of the world’s most reowned street artists. For every one purchased $3 CDN will be donated to protect and enrich the planet, the oceans or people and animals. And the British Rose collection, which is one of my favourite scents, is made of handpicked roses from a farm in Great Britain. From the collection, I think I will be using the Instant Glow Body Essence the most. It’s a light-weight moisturizer that feels like a serum. This launch is perfect because I’ve been experimenting with facial serums by Chanel and Codage; so to have something I can try on the rest of my skin is exciting (beauty nerd, I know). The third product I find most exciting is the Ethiopian Honey Mask that will be released in July. Ethiopian honey has been revered as a healing and even sacred food for centuries. I would love to see what benefits it can have for the skin.

Below are a few photos from the night for you to enjoy. I’d also like to send out a special thank you to the Body Shop for the invitation and the amazing gift bag. I can’t wait to try out these items and share my favourites with you in a future post.

 


Motown The Musical - Toronto

Motown

The appreciation of good music has always been a part of my life. One of the first things I remember my dad teaching me is reverence for the vinyl record and how to gently place the tone arm down. “Hold it like your holding the hand of a lady,” he would say. Saturdays mornings were for pancakes and cleaning the house while my brother pretended to be the young Michael Jackson and I, with the mop as my microphone, was Diana Ross.  For my family, Motown music is filled with all the memories of the good days -the laughter, the dancing and the singing. Each song brought my parents nostalgia of their own youth; it was almost as if the stories of their lives were connected to each note.  

When I heard that Motown, the Broadway musical, was making a tour stop in Toronto I knew I had to buy my tickets. I thought that the musical would have the same story line as Dream Girls. But, instead it takes from Berry Gordy’s memoir, “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown”. The musical is a first-hand account of Motown through the eyes from its founder.

It was so hard to just sit still and watch. My mom and I had to sing, dance and clap in our seats. The musical had all our favourite songs; “Ain’t no mountain high enough”, “Baby Love”, “Stop in the name of love” and the list goes on.

The choreography and costumes were exact to the iconic performances. And I can’t image the casting being any better. Leon Outlaw, Jr. did an amazing job playing the roles of the young Berry, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.  And Allison Semmes WAS Diana Ross- hair flips, shoulders action, dainty wrists and all. When performing “Reach out and touch,” she got right into the audience and had everyone holding hands and singing along, just as Diana Ross would.

But the parts of the show that stuck with me the most were the scenes when Berry Gordy (played by Josh Tower)and Marvin Gaye (played by Jarran Muse) were debating the release of “What’s Going On” and later Marvin Gaye singing “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)”. That was the moment I realized that this was not just a Broadway show. It was a history lesson. Motown’s music was part of a greater struggle for peace and equality. It broke barriers. The matinee crowd laughed awkwardly when lines like “trigger happy cops” were said. But, being at the show on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March reminded me of the historical context in which those songs were written. And how, in many ways, we still face those issues today.  

Motown the Musical is playing at Mirvish Princess of Wales Theatre until November 1st. Tickets start at $49.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 

 


How to get luxury beauty samples in Canada (without buying a subscription box)

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I love being able to try new beauty products, but I hate having an excess of products that I never use. I’m a paperbag princess. I’ve learnt that my money is better in the bank than on my vanity (shout outs to Gail Vaz-Oxlade). Instead of wasting money on products I would barely use, I look to samples a way to try luxury beauty brands before committing.  For example, I went through two 5 ml samples of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum before buying the full-sized product. That way I’m more certain that the product is worth the price and that there isn’t a drugstore brand equivalent. By doing so, I’ve actually saved. For example, I’ve been using the same bottle of a luxury-brand facial cleanser for 6 months (expiries at 12 months) and still have plenty left. In the past, I would have spent more money replenishing a drugstore-brand every month. You can have nice things; you just have to be smart about it.

I always have a stash of samples to pass on to friends or to carry a little bit of luxury with me when I’m travelling. But finding luxury beauty samples in Canada can be a challenge. And I find that the subscription beauty boxes we have access to do not have the selection of samples that I would want to try.  So here are my tips for finding the luxury beauty samples you actually want.

  1. Join Sephora Beauty Insider 

    Most of my deluxe-sized samples are from Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. In my humble opinion, it is the best beauty loyalty program on the planet. I’ve obtained samples from brands like Glam Glow, Origins, Fresh, Becca and Bobbi Brown. Plus, a handful of miniature perfumes just by redeeming points. Deluxe product samples are usually 100 points and perfume miniatures are usually 250 points . On top of redeeming points you earn from purchases, you also receive a free birthday gift (this year it’s two NARS mini lip pencils) and you also have access to exclusive offers online and at in-store events. The online offers usually require a minimum purchase amount, so I save items on my wish list and checkout only if the offers are worth it. And all orders come with 3 free samples. Sephora is particularly generous with samples at product launch events. At an Atelier Cologne event, for example, I received a full 85 ml bottle of their Magnolia Sud fragrance along with a monogrammed leather case with my purchase.

     

  2. Follow Your Favourite Brands on Social Media and Join Their Mailing Lists

    Now that more brands are embracing social media as part of their promotional plans, you can find links to product sample giveaways directly from the brand (but you have to move quickly). L’Occitane Canada is a good example. In the spring, they offered a duo of mini hand creams to Twitter followers who filled out a short online form and tweeted the hashtag #loveloccitane. After doing so, followers could pick up their deluxe samples in-store and receive an offer of % off an item from the line if they decided to make a purchase. I’ve also been able to get free samples from brands like Chanel and Eve Lom simply by being on their mailing list. Retailers like Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Shopper’s Drug Mart also send out emails about samples when they are preparing for a new product launch. Being on a brand’s mailing list also gives you access to promo codes for exclusive gifts with purchase. Brands like Bobbi Brown and NARS are very generous, sometimes giving miniature eyeshadow palettes or 3-piece miniature sets.

     

  3. Visit Brand Websites Often

    Shopping through the beauty brand’s online store can get you access to exclusive samples or gift sets that include “free” miniatures that you can’t find in-stores. Some brands also have travel-sized products available for purchase as an introduction to their products. The Japanese beauty brand, Tatcha offers both. With my first Tatcha purchase, for example, I was given a generous 25 ml sample of their Pure Camellia Cleansing oil for free. Tatcha also sells travel-size options of signature products like the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder ($15US) and Indigo hand cream ($8US). Other luxury beauty brands who offer samples or travel-sizes for sale online are Codage Paris and Atelier Cologne . And according to Instagram May Lindstrom’s eco-beauty brand will also offer travel sizes in the near future.

     

  4.  Attend Beauty Events

    From what I’ve seen Hudson’s Bay Queen Street flagship puts on the best beauty events in Toronto. In addition to the mocktails and hor d’oeuvre, there are generous gifts with purchases and sometimes even 10% discounts. With this in mind, I usually wait for an event or the holidays to make bigger beauty purchases like perfumes so I can get the most for my money. It also helps to get to know your beauty counter staff well so they can keep you informed of up-coming events. According to my source at the beauty counter, Hudson’s Bay Queen Street’s next beauty event will be held September 17th, 2015. It will be a “Giving Back” event meaning, those who make a donation to the charity of the night will receive 10% off purchases. I haven’t seen any emails or signage to confirm this yet. So it’s best to follow Hudson’s Bay on Twitter for the details directly.

  5. Just Ask.

    At Sephora, you can usually have the staff make you a sample of any product that you want to try before buying. And at L’Occitane, you can usually get a few samples at the cashier with your purchases. Holt Renfrew does offer samples without you having to make a purchase but samples aren’t always available. Right now, Holt Renfrew does not give refunds on beauty purchase so it’s best to ask for a sample to take home before buying anything there just in case. Each season, Holt Renfrew also offers a beauty bag filled with luxury beauty samples for about $45. In addition to the samples you receive a voucher for $10 off your next beauty purchase.   I’ve purchased two so far and the best samples in those bags were from Hermes (miniature Terre d’Hermes cologne and shower gel set), Erno Laszlo (Timeless Serum) and Chantecaille (Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask).

If you'll like to stay updated on sample offers, feel free to follow me on  Twitter or look out for more "A Little Bit in Love" posts here on the blog.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 
J

 

 

 

Summer Love: My Favourite Finds of Summer 2015

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The CNE is open, temperatures are dropping and back-to-school sales are everywhere. To me, the last days of summer are for reminiscing about the sunny days and setting goals for the rest of year.  I also take some time to re-evaluate my beauty regimen and sort through my make-up (because 7 month old mascara is gross).  Here are my favourite finds of the summer, a few of which can carry into the fall and beyond.   

I. Porter Magazine

I’ve been eying Porter magazine at the newsstands at my local Wholefoods for a while, but I never thought to pick up a copy. I assumed that it would be crammed with ads and not enough reading material because it’s published by an online store (mag snob, I know). Thankfully this summer’s issue, the one with the history-making Joan Smalls cover, proved me wrong. My favourite article is an exerpt from Christina McDowell’s book, “After Perfect: A Daughters Memoir” and is titled, “Can losing everything be a blessing?” It describes the loss of her privileged life and her rise to a new beginning. The best quotes from the article are “Loss changes you. It stares you down in the face of disaster and it is paralyzing, taunting you with the question of whether or not you’re strong enough to handle it” and “Today, I have found depth of character and limitless gratitude”.  The fall issue of Porter is already on newsstands. You can subscribe to Porter Magazine here or purchase Christina McDowell’s memoir here.

II. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

My best beauty find of the summer was NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. I used it nearly every day this summer. And considering I’m not a huge foundation wearer that is saying a lot. In my line of work, I don’t have a lot of time to get ready in the morning. But with this, I was able to have an everyday makeup look done in about five minutes (along with a neutral eyeshadow, lipstick and brow pencil). Applying the tinted moisturizer was quick and easy. I dabbed pea sized amounts on my cheeks, chin and forehead, then blended the product in with my fingers. The colour and coverage was perfect for my skin (NARS and MAC seem to be the only brands that I can find a match in my tone). But I was more impressed with the condition the moisturizer left my skin in.  I have dry, sensitive skin but this moisturizer left my skin dewy and soft. And I did not experience any break-outs from the product.  I purchased it for $54/tube and it has lasted me about 5 months so far.  The only negative thing I have to say about this product is that it does smudge and transfer unto clothing easily. But this is an easy problem to fix with a bit of setting powder. 

III. Rise Up x Liz Loughrey

I absolutely love this song by Toronto songstress, Liz Loughrey. I came across this song last week and must have played it over 20 times already. It was the musical motivation I needed to finally get this blog up and running on time. It has an empowering message and a roots vibe. If you love it too, you can buy the single on bandcamp.

VI. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or

This shimmering body oil is next on my list of favourites. I decided to pick this up after seeing it in my twitter feed and reading up on a few reviews. I was already interested in trying similar products by either Tom Ford or NARS. So, I thought this would be a good introduction. After some searching, I found the product at Shopper’s Drug Mart for around $40 (50 ml bottle). What I really like about the Nuxe version is that the label reads “95% ingredients of natural origin and preservative free.”  This alone convinced me that I don’t really have the need to try out the other brands anymore. This oil is a blend of borage, camellia, sweet almond, St. John’s Wort, hazelnut and macadamia oils that are nourishing to the skin and smell delicious. The oil is a “dry oil” so I found my skin absorbed it quickly and it did not leave me with any greasy residue. Plus the gold shimmer is subtle. If you’re looking for a body-oil without the shimmer, the original Huile Prodigieuse is also available as an alternative.

V. L’ Occitane Jasmin and Bergamot Body Wash

My first introduction to this body wash was as a gift with purchase. Since then I’ve been through 5 bottles (the rest courtesy of their summer sale in July). It left my skin clean, without stripping it dry or leaving a residue behind. But my favourite thing about this product is the scent. Part of la collection de Grasse the fragrance is light and fresh. It smells like you’re sipping a cup of Earl Grey tea on the patio of La Palette with a basket of freshly-cut jasmine flowers at your feet. Très romantique!

VI. Cuyana Leather Travel Case Set (Monogrammed)

My final favourite is also one I pinned on Pinterest for a while before making my purchase. It is the Cuyana Leather Travel Case set which comes with a small 5 x 8 x 2.5 inch case and a large 7 x 12 x 3.5 inch case. Cuyana adds limited-edition colours each season. So when I saw that a grey set was finally available, I knew it was time to buy. The cases are made of genuine Argentine pebbled leather and feature gold-toned hardware. The smaller case makes a great everyday makeup bag. I haven’t used the larger case yet, but it is large enough to carry my flatiron and a wide-tooth comb.  I had my cases monogrammed because I knew this set would become one of my signature items. The cases are hand-crafted and great quality pieces that I think will last for years.  I also love Cuyana’s philosophy of quality over quantity, “fewer, better things lead to a fuller, better life.” I find this to be true. As much as I love Cuyana, I have to give my Canadian readers this warning: the customs duty on this set was hefty and came as a surprise to me. I found out about the charges when the courier delivered the items. If I remember correctly, the duties came up to about $60CDN. The travel set cost me $95US plus $15US to add monogram to both cases. Shipping was extra as well. I am pleased with my purchase, but will definitely do a bit of math before making another purchase.  If you are interested in a case of your own, you can check out Cuyana here. They design clothing and other leather goods as well.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

An Introduction

Cu·rate
Verb
To select, organize, and look after the items in a collection.
(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I finally stopped procrastinating. This is the blog I promised myself I would start years ago, but always delayed. I thought (still kinda do) that the internet is already overrun with bloggers and self-proclaimed lifestyle curators; who would read my blog? What do I really have to say? I’m still trying to figure some of that out. But I know that my goal is to make hope and her future an online destination for inspiration beyond beauty and fashion. To me, the whole concept of curating your life is more than just about purchasing the latest luxury good (if it’s about that at all). Curating your life is about carefully choosing what you allow to shape your identity, atmosphere, relationships and sense of well-being. It is about realizing your worth and making choices that uphold your worth. These choices aren’t always the easiest to make. I know first-hand that the best choices you can make in life, often involve the greatest sacrifice, the greatest pain and most of all the greatest courage. But in time, the results are worth it and gratitude ensues. So, this is more than just a blog. It is a community of those who are full of hope for their futures and curate their present lives accordingly. Welcome to hope and her future.