Urban art is one of my favorite things and Toronto has some amazing art all around the city. This particular mural has been one of my favorites for a while, I absolutely love the color of this mural. To me, it’s one of Parkdale‘s signature murals and adds so much character to the area. I’m always excited to find new murals all around town and it’s also one of my favorite things to photograph when I travel. Do you have some favorite murals or urban art in your city?
Last night I took part in my first ever Canadian Videogame Awards at the Carlu in Toronto. The event celebrated the best videogames made in Canada in 2013 and 2014. This was my first time being part of an event of such caliber in the video game industry. Mark Meer (as seen rehearing above yesterday afternoon), the voice behind the incredibly popular Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect games hosted the event. Hundreds of game designers, animators, game studios, actors, etc. filled the room as well as members of the general public. The event was also livestreamed on TWITCHand over 110 000 people watched.
I spent the night working on an exclusive behind the scenes doc for the CVAs that will be coming out in just a few days! The three things I learned from being at the CVAs last night: 1) a lot more video games than we think are actually made in Canada 2) Ubisoft wins pretty much every prize 3) people in the gaming industry are a lot friendlier than in a lot of other industries!
Nike has put together a fun series of outdoor events in Toronto for the next couple of Mondays. These events titled #ChooseYourWinter combine running and NTC for a good 1.5 hour workout outdoors. I took part in the initial event on Monday night and was astounded by the amazing group of people that came out and took part in this event. I applaud Nike for the series of events they’ve been hosting as of late in the city. Over the past couple of months, they’ve really developed an wonderful community of sport and fitness enthusiasts and specifically, an amazing community of women. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to a) sign up for a group exercise class and b) look forward to attending these classes every week. Since I took the fall off from traveling, I’ve had the opportunity to attend weekly NTC classes offered by Nike and as a result met some rad new women. The weekly NTC classes have become an integral part of my week. Since the weather is getting colder by the minute, it’s a great complementary exercise to the running that I still do outdoors.
What I particularly like about Nike’s new #ChooseYourWinter campaign is the emphasis on outdoor physical activity even as the weather drops. As a kid, I would spend most of my time outdoors skiing, skating, cross-country skiing, making forts, etc. But as an adult living in a busy city like Toronto, I find I spend WAY less time outdoors than I’d like to. This is why I’ve continued running and also make it a point to walk outdoors as much as I can. These four special #ChooseYourWinter events are a reminder and also proof that you don’t need to stay indoors all winter.
50+men and women gathered on Monday night to run with members of the different Nike Running Clubs to a secret location, which ended up being Fort York for a 30-minute NTC workout with NTC Master Trainer Eva Redpath. We were greeted by lights, DJ FeelGoodSmalls, ice sculptures and a killer atmosphere! Rarely have I had so much fun outdoors, especially while working out. It’s so motivating to workout in a group, there’s really nothing quite like it!
Another great thing about these events is that you’re able to try some brand new Nike workout gear & shoes for the night. I’m obsessed with their new Pegasus 31 flash running shoe. Not only are they glow in the dark but also water repellent. I also tried on one of their amazing jackets that kept me warm in the -10 C weather.
If you’re looking for a fun thing to do on Monday night for the next couple of weeks, come join us at Nike’s The Loft. Just make sure you sign up in advance via Nike’s website hereto be able to participate. See you at 6pm on Monday
Keeping warm with some of my favorite things today! Love my new oversized camel sweater from Zara. It goes perfectly with my SUPER warm checkered camel & burgundy scarf that I got at H&M. H&M has become one of my go-to places to pick up a bunch of scarves, hats and gloves for winter. They’re all great to mix and match and also super affordable. I also added my Zara bag and my leopard pumps to complete this camel outfit!
Dylana Suarez is a stylist, photographer and blogger currently based in New York City. If you’ve been following my 5 Questions With series, you may have noticed that I’ve also had the privilege of featuring her lovely and also incredibly talented sister Natalie Suarez on the blog before. The Suarez sisters are a powerhouse duo. Dylana often works with her younger sister, photographing and styling her for shoots. Dylana’s many talents really fascinate me. She’s always working on the coolest creative projects with some of the most amazing brands and people. Her blog is one of my daily go-to websites. I love her unique style and her passion for food, travel & fashion! Dylana is currently in Vancouver to shoot a city guide for Free People and will then be heading to LA to photograph some more. She dreams of traveling the world and showcasing her adventures on her blog. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Dylana Suarez:
1) Do you remember when your love for fashion started? When did you make the decision to work in the fashion industry?
It started when I was really young, before I even started elementary school! My mom always sketched when I was younger, and I’d color in the patterns of the clothes the characters in her pictures wore. She also made clothes for us sometimes! I always loved what my mom wore, she was so stylish, so I think it just rubbed off on me. Imagery is so important to me, and I just automatically fell in love with pictures and what people wore. But I didn’t decide to work in fashion until way later. Halfway through college, I decided to switch majors (I used to be a biology major) and dabble into the idea of a career in fashion. So I did a few internships to see how I liked it that helped me network and inspired me to start my blog, and it slowly went from there.
2) You are a stylist, photographer and blogger, how do each of these things feed your creativity?
Being a stylist is so much fun for me because it brings me back to my childhood days of playing dress up at home. It’s the reason why I fell in love with fashion in the first place. I love playing with colors, shapes, textures, etc. Standing back and seeing a look you put together that instills a feeling or vibe feels so good to me. Photography is something I am truly very passionate about. I learned how to take photos myself, and slowly got better and better. I think because I grew with it, I feel most connected with it. Nothing makes me feel more happy that a gorgeous photo that inspires myself and others. Blogging is amazing because it has allowed me to do all the things I love: write, style, take photos, meet new people and collaborate. it has opened so many doors for me as a person and as a creative, it really is amazing. It has driven me to explore and challenge myself, and keep creating more and more
3) What are some of your favorite brands or go-to designers when styling?
I really, really love Free People, Topshop, Junim and Spell and the Gypsy. But if it was all up to me, I’d be pulling from Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and Dries van Noten! I never stick to just one brand, I pull from everything and even lots from my own closet just to change things up!
4) You were raised in Southern California but you now call NYC home, how much has the city impacted your career? Is Manhattan in your opinion, still a great place for fashion?
Moving to NYC has probably been the best decision of my 20’s so far! I’ve experience so much here! I love how go-go the life is here, and how many interactions I can have in a day. I meet so many people here and everything is so accessible. The city is so stimulating and really inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams, especially when I am able to work with a bunch of really great supportive people. Manhattan is full of fashion everywhere. So for someone like me, it’s an awesome place to live. All the brands, PR firms and creatives are here. There’s always something going on, and the fashion scene thrives because of it.
5) What are some of your must-haves for fall this year?
I distressed red leather boot, an oversized leather moto jacket, over-the-knee socks, and a beret!
Being on set today made me want to work on styling projects again so badly! Seeing the steamers, changing rooms, backdrops and all the lights made me excited for future styling. Styling oneself is great but styling others is 10x more fun and exciting! I love being challenged and finding the perfect look. Feeling excited at the thought of doing more in the future
Today was probably the last time I got to step outside in Toronto without a jacket and a hat on for a while…
I seem to have a thing for grey this fall… Especially the grey on grey combo! Today I mixed the grey on grey combo with camo green. Really digging more minimalist and simple looks as of late. My current mindset: Less is more! What’s your favorite color this season?
This summer I returned to beautiful San Francisco. Though I travel to Los Angeles several times a year, I’ve only been to San Francisco once before, back in 2006 when I was on tour. I was delighted to be back in a city I didn’t know much about and that has changed so much over the past couple of years.
If you’re flying into San Francisco, the good news is that the airport is pretty awesome! It’s located only a few minutes from downtown (you can access it easily via cab or theBART), it’s new, clean and also offers some of the healthiest food options I’ve ever seen before in an airport. I loved their market and all of their fresh food options.
I spent five full days in San Francisco, which really gave me the opportunity to re-familiarize myself with this lovely city. We spent those days walking for hours non-stop. San Francisco is really a great city to explore by foot. If you’re going to go explore though, make sure you wear comfortable footwear as you will have to climb up and down hills to get to the different areas of town. San Francisco also has many bike paths than span across the downtown area. They have the Bay Area Bike Share system that you can use if you want to tour the city on wheels. I’ll be posting a special San Francisco food blog soon but in the meantime, here are some of the things that stood out while exploring the city.
1) Mission District. Is an incredibly unique neighborhood that is full of life and culture located in east-central San Francisco. What immediately stood out in this area was the huge presence of the Mexican culture. Everywhere you go you will find influences of Mexico in the food, the shops and the environment. Mission reminds me of a small Brooklyn or even Parkdale in Toronto. There are many young adults, artists and entrepreneurs that live in the area. Valencia Street between 24th and 14th street is the main street in the neighborhood where you’ll find a ton of really neat shops, restaurants, bars, schools, etc. Guerrero and Mission Street are also filled with tons of different businesses. Every street around these main arteries is filled with beautiful homes and apartments. The architecture in this neighborhood is stunning, just like anywhere in San Francisco. The Victorian rowhouses are all colorful and each have something special. One of my favorite shops that I found on Valencia was Paxton Gate, a boutique shop that specializes in taxidermy, fossils, plants, science & so much more. The shop is filled with so many interesting books, unique gifts & decorations. There’s also a handful of vintage stores on Valencia that have amazing clothes and accessories.
2) Coffee culture. I could have an entire blog just dedicated to coffee in San Francisco because it’s really a big deal. San Francisco’s coffee shops are renown across the US. You may have already heard of the legendary Philz Coffee located in Mission District, the place where each coffee is brewed individually and blended for each customer. For the past 25 years, Phil has been making his own unique blends of coffee and serving them to their faithful customers. Going into Philz is definitely a different experience. Other than Philz, you’ll also find Ritual Coffee Roasters in Mission, on Valencia Street. It’s smaller but a great spot to grab a croissant and coffee on the go or to stay for a few minutes. The simple and clean decor makes the place very modern and bright. Also, on Valencia you’ll find Fourbarrel Coffee, a spot that reminds me a lot of Intelligentsia Coffee in Los Angeles. It was rated as the #1 coffee spot in San Francisco by San Francisco Weekly. It’s a big open space. You can buy lot’s of coffee accessories and merch from the shop. It definitely feels a little more upscale than Philz and is also a major hipster hangout. If you go closer to the pier, you can grab coffee from Blue Bottle, a coffee shop that originated in Oakland, CA and that now can be found everywhere in the Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles.
3) Street art. Everywhere you look in downtown San Francisco, you’ll find beautiful and colorful street art. Artists of all types and backgrounds leave traces of their talent across the city. I was particularly drawn to the art I saw in Mission District, just because a lot of it was inspired by the Mexican culture. I really think that street art is so special and unique and makes a city so vibrant. It adds character to the building or structure it’s on. I think each city should make space for street artists to leave their marks.
4) Ocean Beach. I couldn’t go to San Francisco without going to Ocean Beach. Though a little far from downtown, the ocean is pretty easily accessible via bus if you take Judah Street. Another way to access the beach is to walk through Golden Gate Park, which is what we decided to do. Golden Gate Park is so incredibly vast and lush. It reminded me of Central Park minus the crowds. Once you get to the beach, you feel like you’re in a completely different place. We stopped at Java Beach Cafe to grab some beach snacks before crossing the road and climbing up the sand dunes. There’s a nice bike path located at the beach that goes on for miles. The beach in San Francisco is so large and quiet. The sand dunes prevent you from seeing the city behind you so you feel like you’re tucked away somewhere quiet and beautiful. Though I didn’t get out in the water, I did see a handful of surfers wearing 3/2 wetsuits riding some waves. A tip: Make sure you grab an extra layer of clothing when going to the beach, it tends to get a really windy. The view though… priceless!
5) Wine country. On the last day we were in San Francisco we were invited to go down to wine country in Sonoma. We visited a few family owned wineries including the Benziger Family Winery located in Glen Ellen. What I particularly enjoyed about this specific winery is that it uses Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods to make their wine. We had a lovely tour of the estate and also had the best cheese & wine tasting I’ve ever had. They had such a tasty selection of cheeses, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Another fun winery on our tour was the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. This is a destination for the entire family, with a full hotel, restaurant, pool & spa. They also have a cool museum with artifacts from all of Coppola’s movies and his daughter’s movies as well. The pool and café are a great place to spend the afternoon.
Before finishing this post, I feel compelled to mention that homelessness still seems to be a very major issue in San Francisco. They are everywhere you go in the city. I’ve seen a lot of homeless people in Los Angeles and other cities on the west coast, but the problem seems even greater in the city of San Francisco. I really felt helpless as a tourist seeing all the people on the streets. I hope the city can continue working on making the lives of these people better!
Taking a much needed day off today! It’s been a while since I took time off during the week and I almost forgot what it’s like to be off when most people are at work.
When I first moved to Toronto, I worked from home quite a bit, so it was nice to have a flexible schedule and be able to take some days off when I had worked a lot during the week. It’s nice to explore the city, visit your favorite stores or your local coffee shop without the weekend madness!
I made sure I started this rare Friday off in the best way possible – at The Drake Hotel. This past year, The Drake Hotel has really become a weekend staple. They have an amazing and inexpensive brunch menu plus they make everything homemade from scratch. They just began serving a new brunch and lunch menu with more seasonal dishes, which all seem incredibly tasty. I had Nona’s Frittata this morning, it was incredibly hearty and delicious!
What made my Friday even 10x better was receiving a lovely package from one of my favorite jewelry designers in LA – COMMUNION by Joy! So stoked on this cute handmade rose gold ear stud! I rarely wear earrings since I’m allergic to anything that isn’t real gold, so this beautiful unique piece will without a doubt become my daily go-to piece!
What do you usually do when you get a day off? What are you up to this weekend?
With the clocks rolled back and the end of Daylight Saving Time, it can only mean one thing – winter is right around the corner! Since I have yet to runaway to California, Mexico, Florida, Portugal or anywhere warmer than Toronto, it looks like I’ll have to endure one more Canadian winter.
As of late, I’ve really tried to make the best of the season I so hate by a) traveling a lot b) practicing a multitude of winter sports and c) having fun with my winter style. Not an easy feat to look stylish but also stay toasty and warm. On the weeks that get really cold, I really couldn’t care less if I look like an Abominable Snowman, as long as I am warm and my extremities aren’t freezing. Luckily, winter doesn’t get too harsh in Toronto and we usually don’t end up having much snow downtown. It’s still feasible to go outside while looking relatively cute. Plus with so many brands now making amazing threads for winter, there’s definitely a way to stay stylish even in subzero weather.
Here are some of the things I’m coveting for my winter wardrobe this year: