THE ENVY: young rock band with mature sound

THE ENVY are a Toronto-based rock band with international sound and appeal. Their first break came in 2011 when they signed with SIMMONS RECORDS (Universal Music Canada). They were actually the first band to sign with the record label. SIMMONS as in Gene Simmons, kinda a big deal, wouldn’t you say? They boys also toured with KISS and you should read the few smashing reviews on iTunes.

Moving past the name dropping, not too long ago, THE ENVY held a release party for their second EP called CONCEPTION at the Mod Club in Toronto. Coming from someone who’s been to her fair-share of live music concerts of all spectrums, THE ENVY has a superiorly mature sound as well as a level of professionalism that goes well beyond what one would expect of a concert paying (only) $10 for cover!

A number of fans got the ‘Fingers Crossed’ logo tattooed. ‘Fingers Crossed’ is a song from DECEPTION EP.

My personal favourite tracks were the slower ones including COLD and UNFAITHFUL that showcase perfectly each individual band members’ talents. The show was a huge hit in my books from the music as well as professionalism perspectives. The boys take their craft very seriously and their raw passion shines through their performance, songs and sound.

As for the CONCEPTION EP, they say:

We are really proud of what came out of it, and we collectively feel like its our most best sounding, most honest work to date.

From the JOURNAL

On a complete side note and a little bit of constructive criticism to  www.SimmonsRecords.com. The web-site could use a touch of professional graphic design and communication strategy help including consistent colour, working pages and brand consulting; with all due respect, of course.

ANNE SPORTUN EXCLUSIVE, part 2: custom jewellery

ANNE SPORTUN‘s design and creative process is unique, stylish and contemporary which is also embodied in her jewelry. In addition to the pieces you can find in the flagship store (742 Queen St. W., Toronto) and online, ANNE and her team also accommodate customers in one of a kind, custom jewelry. And, they have truly perfected the art of custom jewellery creation with utmost success.

Anne Sportun One of a Kind ring

Who wouldn’t adore a ring that combines the memories of your grandmother’s engagement ring, your mom’s elegant flare and your own personal style? However, looking for a trustworthy designer who can hand-hold you through the delicate process of creating something new from something sentimental is a thought not many of us are comfortable with.

Luckily, ANNE SPORTUN and her team have been assisting customers with designing pieces for their new beginnings (engagement, wedding, new job, tax-return, new wedding, divorce) for a long time. From the moment you walk into the flagship boutique, you will be accommodated by caring staff with in-depth understanding of jewelry as well as customers needs. They  are extremely accommodating, understanding and hard working. For example, ANNE SPORTUN’s team worked with a passionate, young professional on designing a ring that incorporated stones from the rings that she already owned. Completely understanding the monetary hardships of  a young professionals, ANNE’s team also credited the young woman for the precious metals in the rings that she no longer wanted (she actually got rid of all the rings from her previous boyfriends!).

Working with Anne Sportun was amazing. Fantastic experience for me the whole process. The ladies were always really helpful and always cheerful. It was a long process due to my end but they were never anything but amazing. I am really happy I had this experience with them and have an incredibly ring I havent taken off since I picked it up at their store. Couldnt have better things to say about a company.

Just one satisfied customer that was more than happy to provide feedback to me when I e-mailed her!

For those looking for the perfect engagement ring, ANNE offers something called a ‘Presentation Ring‘. The lucky guy is assisted in choosing an ANNE SPORTUN design that he believes his future wife would love. He proposes with the ring and, if the lucky girl believes that she would like something different, the couple can return to the store to either choose a different design or a custom order. Read further about the Presentation Ring on ANNE SPORTUN’s blog.

One of my favourite custom ring ideas is the “new beginnings” ring. The idea behind it being that a fashionable woman who passionately decided to move on with a new life after marriage, works with ANNE to design and create a new ring for herself from pieces of the old one! It’s brilliant to be this accommodating and understanding of today’s desires and needs of everyday women.

Ladies and gents, go mad with investing ‘portable wealth’ that will not only increase in value but will bring you joy!

Also, check out the original Anne Sportun post and Anne Sportun Exclusive, part 1.

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Images provided by Anne Sportun’s marketing team. Thank you!

SARAH PHELPS: abstract artist with flare

SARAH PHELPS is not just an artist, she’s an entrepreneur and she ensures that happiness drives her success in whatever she does, and she certainly does a lot! Sarah has been painting most of her life but she also made a number of interesting career choices including becoming a wildlife biologist, a personal trainer and a wellness coach. I believe that Sarah’s biggest achievement (thus far) is her ability to connect with and inspire people. These traits shine through her abstract paintings. Sarah told me a number of stories when people bought her painting on a whim while she was carrying them or just seeing them online.

“I want people to get something out of my paintings, I want people to love them” – Sarah Phelps

On the topic of where Sarah’s inspiration comes from:

It all happens at that moment, typically nothing is pre-planned. … [The] best pieces are created through frustration. Just when you think you’ve lost it, your frustration pulls you out of it, and a masterpiece is born 🙂 – Sarah Phelps

In the end, the best way to experience art is to check it out yourself. Sarah’s paintings are extremely affordable and, in addition, she commissions pieces to your liking. I also hear that she has very happy customers!

http://www.sarahphelps.ca

Sarah Phelps in her studio

MANDULA

I’ve always been the type to go against what’s popular in fashion. Currently, colour blocking is one of my biggest pet peeves. I love colour, don’t get me wrong, but when an orange top is combined with green pants, blue shoes, neon yellow bag and a fuchsia pink belt…. I want to poke my eyes out.

On that note, I am now more attracted to neutrals, shades and earthy tones. I also jump onto clothing that’s grungy and mysterious. Mandula, a Vancouver based label with a flagship store located in the historic Gas Town, is one of my latest favourite finds.I love MANDULA for a lot of different reasons.

Firstly, the all natural fabrics feel absolutely wonderful against your skin; a brand new shirt is already comfortable. Secondly, it is mysterious, independent, unique and creative. Thirdly, it’s timeless.

To become fascinated by Mandula is extremely easy, especially if you have a chance to visit the flagship store. I spent a couple of hours browsing and trying things on. The accessories that are made from reclaimed leather and such, are an absolute treat and a definite attention grabber. The baby clothes are also spectacular. They feel like an extension of mom’s skin: soft, warm and comfortable.

One bright colour makes a bigger statement than a rainbow of colours

Mandula reclaimed leather accessory

I love this shirt, the colours, the V-neck and the cut of the fabric are wonderful

A dress I’d wear everywhere and anywhere

This is the punk rocker in me…stared at this outfit for a while

* Images form Mandula’s web-site

EVE GRAVEL

What does it mean to be obsessed? How much is too much? How and when does one know to stop before buying? I have yet to find out answers to these questions, especially when it comes to dresses and shoes. Presently, dresses are very much my thing. I believe a day-time dress is practical, easy to decide on in the morning with 5 minutes left before your bus leaves and you’re once again late for work, comfortable (as long as you buy the right fit and size), can be dressed up and down to be worn at work and for a night out. I have observed that a woman in a dress projects everything from confidence to flirtation to contentment and serenity. Bottom line, I love dresses and I am on a constant search for more.

Eve Gravel, a Canadian designer with fabulous ready-to-wear collections, stole my imagination when I encountered her dresses at the One of a Kind Show 2012. Better yet, when I checked out the web-site and the full SS & FW 2012 collections, I could not help but to feel that ‘need’ that’s a borderline obsession, towards Eve Gravel dresses. Although there are beautiful trousers, blouses, shorts, vests and skirts, to me, Eve’s dresses are everything a girl would want it a dress for everyday life. Also given my love for black, I loved FW 2012 collection.

SS 2012 collection – the fabric is heaven and the fit is perfection

SS 2012 – hello striking power dress

FW 2012 – the insane detail and use of different fabrics is perfection

All images from Eve Gravel web-site

SCOUT & CATALOGUE

Ladies and gents who are remotely interested in, mostly, Canadian knickknacks, design and fashion attend the One of a Kind (OoaK) show that occurs twice a year. I’ve been going to OoaK in Tdot religiously for the past number of years and now have a group of ‘go to’ booths for jewellery and clothes. None the less, I always make an effort to walk the whole floor and check out what’s new and exciting.

This year, as I skipped this past Christmas OoaK, I was excited to see SCOUT & CATALOGUE. I’ve been reading about the beautifully designed and tie-dyed scarves and  clutches in local fashion magazines, online as well as spotted some creations on Queen St. West… yes, they’re that easily recognizable! Luckily, once I got to the booth, I wasn’t disappointed…. My only disappointment was not buying one of the most stunning, silk scarves with a super unique, silk screening design. The clutches and scarves screamed quality and I have become extremely pro-quality over quantity.

Scout & Catalogue is colour, edge and unique style with a bit of a dark side that makes you mysterious not seem goth.

I seriously fell in love with The Rorschach silk scarf and all the practical clutches. I don’t believe one can have too many unique pieces and if you’re on a hunt for one, check out Scout & Catalogue.

Also, Scout has a BRILLIANT BLOG where you get to experience the insight into the latest and greatest and the inspirations that carry on the design. LOVE IT and I can’t wait to see what’s more to come…. she’s definitely not staying just in Toronto for long.


All images are from Scout & Catalogue web-site and Blog

COLDPLAY @muchmusic

I was lucky enough to go to a free Coldplay concert at 299 Queen St. W. Apart from not having to wait in a huge line, the best part was the concert itself. The Coldplay boys put on one great show! I can’t wait for Mylo Xyloto album!!!

BARGAIN SHOPPING – Toronto

Although I’m no longer in school (sigh) I really enjoy back-to-school clothes shopping. At present, I am obsessed with ‘sales’. It’s also quite appropriate given the economic state of most countries and the fact that no matter how badly the economy is doing, women always shop because it makes us feel better.

For the sake of SPIRITUAL SHOPPING, here are my 3 favourite bargain stores:

Winners: Although Winners is always packed with rows of already discounted clothes, many ladies avoid the sales section! I have found everything from Prada to Valentino to Pucci to a $800 white leather Gucci bag, a big one, from 2009. Yes, designer clothes are from a few seasons ago but a well-made blouse is a well-made blouse is a blouse that will be vintage, eventually (if you take care of it)… and everyone goes nuts for vintage luxury brands.

Denise: Not many women know about this store but I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys lovely dresses, skits, blouses, sweaters, etc., etc. My favourite part about this store is the back-end a.k.a the sale section. Mostly everything in Denise is at least $70 (and worth it) but because they get new styles practically every day, they also discount a lot of new clothes on weekly basis!

Urban Outfitters: for my ‘after work’ outfits, I scavenger Urban Outfitters. I enjoy the general atmosphere in the store the most. I find a lot of the clothing either too hipster or too hippie and a lot of the items are a little overpriced for the quality but the sales never fail. I can always find something quirky and cute for $20 and a fun gift too. For those who shop online, UO also has an online ‘sale’ section!

BAG RAIDERS

Chris Stracey and Jack Glass make up the Sydney DJ duo, Bag Raiders. I didn’t realize that I knew them from numerous remixes with artists such as Kid Sister as well as a McDonald’s commercial! I heard them open for Ellie Goulding in Toronto, bought their self-titled debut album and I can’t stop listening to it!

Bag Raiders were the best opening act I’ve ever heard. They were the life of the party, everyone was dancing and barely anyone knew who they were! I find their album inspirational. It’s been a while since I heard beats I could listen to over and over again, not get bored and/or annoyed. I believe this album is one of the best pop/ electro albums of the year. It draws from a variety of upbeat, moving music genres including funk, soul and electric pop. This is a must have!

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ATELIER L.A.F.

No surprise that I am a HUGE fan of Atelier L.A.F. I’ve been wearing their mini skull studs since April 2011… even to work, everyday!

This extremely talented brother-sister duo from Montreal built an almost too-good-to-be-true jewelry brand. Andrew Floyd, MFA Metals & Jewelry Arts and SUNY New PAltz, is the creator and designer of the jewelry. His designs are true rock-n-roll: detailed, chunky, passionate, bold, intricate and timeless. Andrew himself looks like a classic rocker: long hair, big rings and bracelets, worn jeans and big eyes.  Laura Floyd, the president, is the perfect face for the brand as she is extremely sweet, conversational and has an understated personal style that can be described as a classic, hip Montreal girl.

One suggestion to  Atelier L.A.F I would make is  their web-site desperately needs an update and continuous upkeep. Given how much I adore this brand and would like for them to achieve maximum popularity, the web-site (especially the online shop) needs a facelift as it is the international face of the company. I’ve also seen the quality and uniqueness of Atelier L.A.F jewelry that I wish everyone could see, it’s truly fabulous!

Check Atelier L.A.F on Facebook.

Earrings I cannot live without. “These Memento Mori pieces remind us of our mortality so that we may live our life to the fullest” Atelier L.A.F

* Photos from Facebook Atelier L.A.F page & Personal