Fashion-able: Olympic collaborations

The Olympics are quite the magical force for bringing people and
countries together, and eliciting a certain pride in your nation. The opening
ceremony is among one of the most exciting spectacles and millions of viewers
around the globe tune in to watch…what everyone’s wearing. Yes, the opening
ceremonies have taken on a new role apart from the kick-off to the games: a
fashion show! Designers team up with athletic brands to put their patriotic
stamp of approval on the outfits worn by their nation’s champions.


In an effort to maintain good karma for my fellow canucks, we won’t disclose which country’s garb we think looks like a flight attendant’s get-up,
Ronald MacDonald outfit, a gym class uniform or a break dancing crew…but here are a few highlights.

Excuse us for not
including our friends south of the boarder who are outfitted in Ralph Lauren
but see the Aussies below and you’ll get the gist.
Jamaica:
We’d put ourselves in the 63 per cent of TIME
Magazine readers
who vote “Team Jamaica” as the best Olympic uniforms- look
how bright and fun they are! Cedella
Marley
(daughter of the late great one, himself) designed the green and
yellow gear infused with Jamaican pride and serious style, in addition to the
athletic gear that three-time gold medallist sprinter Usain Bolt will wear across the
finish line.


UK:
Leave to the uber-cool and celeb-fave, Stella McCartney (@StellaMcCartney) to design not
the opening ceremony uniforms, but the sportswear that both the 2012 Olympic
and paraolympic teams will compete in. McCartney, who is also acting as Adidas’
creative director for this year’s Olympics, spent two years designing the line
that more than 900 athletes will sport.  A
challenge for McCartney to put function so far ahead of fashion; we think you
succeeded, Stella! Again.
France:
Ooh la la! Luxury brand HERMES heads back to its riding
roots by designing the jackets for France’s equestrian show jumping and
eventing teams for this year’s Olympic games. Ever-so-stylish France will also
strut their athletics selves in Adidas sophistication for the opening
ceremonies: white pants and a black trench.
Australia:
Team Australia played it safe with their green and white
ensemble in collaboration with Australian clothing company, Sportscraft, complete with a
perfectly preppy gold crest. We love a good crest! The uniforms were designed
by Australian swimmer, 2012 Olympic contender and gold medalist, Libby Trickett
(@libby_trickett) and showcase their pride. After this year’s game, Trickett
will be available for her next joint ‘fashion’ venture….anyone?
Netherlands: 
Adidas teamed up with Team Netherlands to create their white trimmed jackets and Olympic outfits with pops of pantone and cobalt. Kudos to the design team for their modern cuts and punchy styling. Kinda feels a little Joe Fresh-y, no? 



Karl Lagerfeld:
For those who don’t want to pick one country in particular, while not an official uniform, Karl Lagerfeld launched an Olympic-themed collection this week, available at Selfridges. Featuring splattered denim, collars and fitted jackets, his collection has a common theme – gold! We can just picture Choupette rocking a gold collar… 


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City Living: Roger’s Cup

It’s that time of year when everyone’s favourite sport becomes tennis (Olympics notwithstanding). This year, while the ladies battle it out in Montreal, we Torontonians will get the chance to check out recent Wimbledon champ Federer take on Djokovic, Nadal, both Andy’s, and Canada’s favourite, Raonic. From Saturday, August 4 to Sunday, August 12, we suggest you head up to York University, grab a beverage and a hotdog, and cheer on most of the world’s best tennis players.


Why you should go:
It’s summer and while enjoying a cocktail on a patio never gets old, why not switch it up and try something new? The Rogers Cup is perfect for a date, a night out with friends, or a fun activity to do with your parents. First, stop by the food tents for a drink and a burger or hot dog (there’s also a selection of fancier food if you’re so inclined). We suggest you get there a little early if you’re interested in perusing all the great tennis clothes and equipment for sale (usually at a discounted price), or if you just feel like wandering around before planting yourself in your seat for a couple hours. If you’re lucky enough to have good seats, there’s nothing quite like sitting mere feet away from some of the world’s greatest athletes. Even if your seats are up in the nosebleeds, it’s still a great atmosphere and fun to watch live.


Who to look out for:
We’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve seen tennis finals with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but who else should you be looking out for? Serbian Novak Djokovic is currently ranked second in the world, beating Nadal who is ranked third. Brit Andy Murray is ranked fourth,  Spaniard David Ferrer is fifth and French Jo-Wilfred Tsonga is ranked 6th. We will be cheering for Canadian and 25th in the world, Milos Raonic. It’s said that he may even get bumped up to 10th place if he does well at the Rogers Cup. 

For a full list of rankings and bios check out the ATP website.

How to buy tickets: 
You can get your tickets online at Toronto.RogersCup.com, by calling 1-877-283-6647 or by emailing tickets@tenniscanada.com. Seats start at $25 with Mid Week, Weekender and VIP Weekender packages where you can save up to 30%.



And if you can’t make it out, they will be streaming the matches live in Yonge and Dundas Square from August 6th to 8th and then at the National Bank flagship at 121 King St. W (corner of King and York) from August 9th to 10th.

 

City Living: Shakespeare in High Park

We recently had the pleasure of viewing Canadian Stage’s production
of William Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Richard Rose.
This production marks the 30
th anniversary of the much-loved
tradition of outdoor theatre in Toronto’s
High Park. Our verdict? Loved by all!



This is the seventh time Canadian Stage has performed this particular play, and it’s easy to see why. The outdoor setting, in combination with a lovely midsummer night’s evening, adds a magical element to the experience. 

The production features a talented local cast (including the delightful Tamara Podemski, a dear friend of the fourth floor). The actors are charming and funny, dressed in modern attire. Although they stick to the classic script, the play is accessible and easy to follow as the staging gives the classic light-hearted comedy a unique Toronto twist.

Tamara Podemski and Dmitry Chepovetsky
The 90-minute production had us out laughing out loud and vowing to return with friends who didn’t make it to the first outing. The event is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $20. The production runs until September 2Tuesday through Sunday
at 8 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m.

Here are a few of our tips to enhance your experience:
  • Arrive early and pack a picnic basket. The amphitheatre fills up fast, so enjoy your dinner while waiting for the play to start. We brought a baguette, cheeses, greek salad and strawberries. Nom, nom, nom.
  • Wine isn’t *technically* allowed; however, if you bring plastic cups and a tetrapak no one will complain.
  • Bring a blanket to sit on and a pillow for your back.
  • Bug spray! They weren’t bad while we were there, but better to be safe than sorry.
  • Turn off your cell phone, relax and enjoy the hilarity of the play and the opportunity to experience one of Toronto’s best summer traditions.

Media, Darling: Sabrina Maddeaux

Sabrina
Maddeaux is the Managing Editor at
Toronto Standard, where she writes
and edits smart, candid content that sometimes makes people angry. Prior to
that, she was the Style Editor at
Toronto Standard. And before that, she
freelanced for publications such as
Toronto Life, blogTO.com, Sweetspot.ca,
TCHAD Quarterly, Faze Magazine, GlobalNews.ca, and more.

She
attended St. Bonaventure University in New York, where she studied political
science, journalism, and theology, and played NCAA Division I soccer for two
years. She likes things that aren’t boring. And cheese, always cheese.
Photo credit: Becca Lemire

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were
on the horizon?
Actually, I always thought I’d be a lawyer. When I graduated from
university, I got into top law schools like Boston College and Notre Dame — I
even put down a deposit at Boston College and moved there. Two weeks before
classes were supposed to begin, something just didn’t feel right. So I totally
freaked out my parents, got a one-year acceptance deferral, and never looked
back.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’d still like to be the editor of an independent publication. There’s
so much more freedom in what you can write and the opinions you can express — I
can’t see myself giving that up anytime soon.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Live outside whatever your beat is. If you cover fashion by day, be a
political junkie by night. It provides perspective and makes for a more
interesting writer and person.
Also, don’t regurgitate press releases. Think for yourself. Originality
creates value.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
The Atlantic, the New York Times, Jezebel, xoJane, The Paris Review, The
New Yorker
, The New Inquiry, Gawker, and a slew of other small independent
pubs. I watch Breaking Bad, Damages, Veep, Mad Men, Dexter, Golden Girls
reruns, and too much TMZ.
Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
I’ve always had good interviews, maybe because I think of them as
conversations and not interviews. I’m also really picky about who I interview
because I hate transcribing.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I think it was Kelly Cutrone who said, “Be everywhere, meet everyone.”
That was my philosophy for a long time, and still is. This industry is all
about networking and you never know when you’ll meet someone that can change
your career.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Always eat a good breakfast. Cereal doesn’t count.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t complain about mostly positive coverage (unless there’s a factual
error). And don’t complain about honest reviews and feedback — even when
they’re negative. Also, don’t blacklist lightly. Media talk and we tend to have
each other’s backs when it comes down to it.
Finally, read my publication. If you pitch me an actress for our next
(nonexistent) cover, I can’t take you seriously ever again.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I like any PR pro who takes the time to get to know my publication and
me. The agencies and publicists I prefer really get what I do and don’t try to
brainwash me.
I also appreciate PRs who set realistic expectations about their events
and products; it shows they value my time and trust. Don’t lie to me, and I’ll
like you. If I like you, I might just cover that dingy event where one Degrassi
kid shows up (You’ll eventually have one. Everybody does), because I care.
I hate?
Censorship, Internet outages.
I love?
Strong cheeses and John Lithgow.
Reading?
I’m slowly working my way through the Game of Thrones series.
Best place on earth?
St. Bonaventure, NY.
Dinner guest?
I’m a little obsessed with media mogul and feminist icon Jane Pratt
right now. Would love to pick her brain.
Hero?
I think everyone should be his or her own hero.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Is it so five years ago to say Shazam? I’m on a BlackBerry, so my
entire device is so five years ago. I can’t be blamed.
Pool or ocean?
No question: ocean. The smell alone is so relaxing.
Voicemail or email?
Unless someone’s dying… NEVER, EVER voicemail.

Yum, yum: Leslieville Pumps

A few weeks ago, after a meeting on the east side, we decided to make a pit stop at Leslieville Pumps and pick up lunch for the fourth floor. Between them and Paulette’s, Queen and Carlaw has become quite the foodie corner. We’d been hearing a lot of buzz about this gas station cum southern BBQ joint, so decided to check it out for ourselves. 

The Flom brothers with the Pumps’ pump.



Founded by two brothers, Greg and Judson Flom, Leslieville Pumps feels like an establishment you’d stop in at in Tennessee en route to Nashville, instead of in Toronto’s Leslieville. The gas station is open 24 hours, 365 days a year, but the kitchen serves from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. during weekends.

Rustic interior.



A self-described smoke house, the Pumps’ menu has a lot of items that are cooked “low and slow”. Along with breakfast sandwiches, there’s beef brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken thighs. We sampled the brisket and woweeeee, was it delicious. Piled onto a fresh bun, the brisket is topped with crispy onions, barbecue sauce and mustard. To die for!

Eat this brisket with your eyes closed, and you’ll swear you’re in Kansas.



As we can never turn down a pickle, the fried pickles were a definite order item. The batter remained crispy, as did the pickle, all the way back to the office. Finally, the BBQ corn salad was a nice, fresh side dish but was a hard decision with corn fritters on the menu too. 

What’s better than a pickle? One that’s deep fried, of course.



We can’t wait to go back and try out more items on the menu. We heard another customer raving about the curry, which is made by a Sri Lankan staff member and the BLT, made with maple glazed smoked peameal bacon sounds like an absolute must. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be heading over the east end a lot more often now.


Follow them on Twitter: @LPumps

Fashion-able: Natural beauty products

While we do love the occasional shellac, and we can’t
honestly boast that the majority of our day-to-day beauty products are all
natural, we do like to try and use natural beauty products when possible. Whether it’s for sensitive skin, dry and brittle nails or any other sensitivities, we’ve found that switching over to natural products can be a
pretty quick fix. And while the selection doesn’t always compare to
conventional products, your body will thank you.


Skincare

Consonant Skincare
Consonant Skincare, a line of Canadian-made 100% natural, chemical-free skincare products just recently came out with 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen. Because it’s matte, non-greasy and leaves no white residue, it’s perfect for every day use on top of moisturizer, and makes for a great make up primer.


Consonant’s moisturizer is also a great summer product because it’s light, but also effectively moisturizes and hydrates skin that spent just a little too much time in the sun. 



Another great natural brand is Kiss My Face. Their line of cream and spray sunscreens are available in SPF 30 for the body and SPF 50 for the face. Their sunscreens also contain aloe which soothes and moisturizes skin while protecting it. We also love the Sport Lip Balm in SPF 30, because if you’ve ever burned your lips, you will never make the same mistake again.



Hair care

With a collection that includes six shampoos and four conditioners, not only do Aesop products use the finest natural ingredients, they smell amazing as well. Unlike a lot of natural shampoos, Aesop’s products actually cater to different hair types with options like volumizing, colour protection and equalizing shampoo. 




Green Beaver
Another line of delicious smelling shampoos and conditioners is Green Beaver. This line which includes scents such as Cranberry Delight, Fresh Mint, and Lavender Rosemary is perfect for a summer shower in the lake, or just to stay smelling fresh on hot, humid days. And because no natural line of products is complete without a gluten-free option, Green Beaver offers gluten-free shampoo (we are as confused as you are).





Makeup



RMS
We have holistic nutrionist and owner of Joyous Health Joy McCarthy to thank for this great find. Her favourite product (and one we plan on buying) is RMS lip2cheek. Essentially a lipstick and blush in one, this convenient beauty product combines hydration, protection and mineral colour for a casual, simple look. Another great product they have is a cream eye shadow. We recently fell in love with cream eye shadow for it’s foolproof application and lasting power, so bonus that we’ve found a natural option!





Pure Anada
Made in Canada, Pure Anada has a great selection of completely natural makeup products and brushes. From foundation to tinted moisturizer to eyeliner, there is a product to suit every makeup need.






Nail Polish

Zoya  
We were delighted to find out that Zoya nail polish is toxin-free! We have used many of their 300 colours (and four seasonal collections) in the past and will be using them a lot more now. They also have a great 3-in-1 nail polish remover that is gentle on nails and smells like lavender.



Suncoat
Priding themselves on being “the cleanest nail polish on the planet”, Suncoat is water-based and available in over 30 colours. They also sell a completely natural nail polish remover, so while there aren’t as many colour options as most conventional nail polishes, this polish and remover combination is extremely gentle on your nails. 





While we’ve only listed a couple products from each brand, many have entire lines of natural products. So if you try their shampoo and love it, why not see what their moisturizer is like?

Rave: The Dark Knight Rises

Who doesn’t love Batman? Whether you’re an Adam West aficionado, a fan of the classic DC comic books or secretly think Clooney was awesome (but then… who are you?), there seems to be a Batman for everyone. 


We were lucky, lucky, lucky to get a few passes to check out the advance screening last week. Instead of telling you straight up that we loved it, we thought it would be fun to bring back the ‘he said/she said’ style of film review. This time, Matt and Debra share their thoughts about the film. Enjoy! 



On Christian Bale:

She said: Sometimes I have a hard time getting over the whole
viral incident where you were a
complete nut job, but I think all is forgiven, Mr. Bale. You are my favourite
as Batman and I want you to win over the bad guys sooooo badly that I silently
cheered in my seat numerous times. I’d add a little warmth to your home, but
you’re a hot superhero and I like all your toys.

He said: Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan certainly work well together and definitely have figured each other out since making Batman Begins and The Prestige.
I’m not sure whose fault it is for the “bat voice”, but I hope that’s not what people condemn Bale or Nolan or this film (please note, I am referring to this as a film and not a movie. There’s a difference) for once they made that (mistake) in the first film it would be weird for him to drop it.
Bale is great as Wayne and as Batman, but I really feel more people will come away talking about Joseph Gordon-Levitt who really “bat” his role out of the park.


On Anne Hathaway:
She said: Babe. Babe. Babe. Anne Hathaway = Catwoman. Who
knew? You are so incredibly sexy and strong and you look so good doing it in
every, single, frame. The fact that you did your own stunts made me your
biggest fan, even if I really didn’t enjoy you hosting the Oscars. And your red
lipstick was perfect.

He said: When I heard that Anne Hathaway would be playing Selina Kyle (note – she’s never actually called Catwoman) I got really excited. I’ve always been a fan of her as an actor and an admirer of her beauty and both didn’t disappoint. She actually was purrfect. (don’t worry, I’m rolling my eyes at myself).


Special effects:
She said: I was blown away by the opening scene and then I
just kept being blown away again and again. Seeing this film in Imax is a must.

He said: This really did feel like a dramatic film (there’s that word again) with action thrown into it, instead of the other way around. When I read that back it may sound like it might be light on the gadgets and brawling, and it most definitely is not. It’s hard to really get into the SFX without spoiling the film, but let me just say that my mouth was agape for the whole film, especially the opening and closing sequences.


Romance:
She said: I’m told that the romance(s) are from the original
story – not quite sticking to the bible, but if you’re a comic book fan, no
surprises here.
  Nothing super sexy, but
it’s not what I came for.

He said: As with all good dramas, there definitely are some birds trying to hang with the Bat in this flick. But you know what they say about two birds….


Story & Script:
She said: I am not a comic book fan, so I just enjoy the
story for what it is. There were twists and turns and incredible acting. The
cast is crazy good: Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt… And all of those folks are from Inception, as well. Interesting,
n’est pas?
I found the villain, Bain (Tom Hardy), to be
absolutely terrifying and the anarchy that entails in Gotham to be equally
scary. I couldn’t understand Bain all the time, and he sounded a bit like a
muffled Sean Connery to me, but other than that, I couldn’t take my eyes off
him.  The design of that mask is so, so
creepy.
I got lost in the story for three hours (almost – 2
hours and 47 minutes, I believe) and could have watched more. And let me
qualify this by saying that I don’t sit still for three hours very often and I
don’t like having to commit to anything for that long.

He said: Nolan and his bros really handled the gravitas of making such a large film, as well as knowing it will be the last (for this creative team at least). The Burton and Shumacher era movies, were just that…big movies. Their stories were entertaining but they both achieved something comic book-ish. This felt as real as a story could be about a man who saw his parents killed, who was trained in an extreme discipline of martial arts, who decided to don a Kevlar suit shaped like a bat in order to fight for his city. As much as this is a story about Batman, it is also a very human story about trust, fear, friendship and life.

Does it live up to the hype/trailers?
She said: Yes.

He said: The only thing the trailers did for me was excite me that this was coming out, period. I would have to say that it surpassed the feeling any of the trailers hoped to achieve. I will be seeing this again.


Will Batman fans love this?
She said: I think the comic book Batman fans will have some
small issues with the storyline (again, so I’m told), but for those film lovers
who just love a good escape – yes – it is undeniable that you will love this.

He said: Fans of this trilogy will love this. Fans of great action/suspense films will love this. Pure Batman fans are going to have all sorts of issues that I overlooked only because the film is so good otherwise. 
You have to sorta forget what you already know if you know the book(s) and if you don’t know anything you’ll be way better off (though it will be handy to watch with someone who knows something about the other films, at least).

Final thoughts?
She said: My fave in the trilogy, so far. If you like Batman, RUN to
the theatre this weekend.

He said: I was worried about my bladder with the running time being almost 3 hours. But the only reason I came close to peeing my pants at several times throughout the film was because I couldn’t believe I was watching something that attacked me on such an awesome visceral level. 
I will actually get angry at people who tell me they don’t like it.

I am such a nerd.


Go see this film and tell us what you think with the hashtag #batweek: @rockitpromo, @debgee and
@mattyaustin.



All images courtesy of Warner Bros.