“From Paris with Love”! XO

From Paris with Love was a Trunk Show and Brunch Party held by POA Studio this past Sunday, Nov 9th at the Vintage Conservatory in Toronto. The Trunk Show was designed to offer valued clientele the opportunity to see all of the latest collection, all of which just arrived from Paris, before launching it in the store. The affair was intimate and featured limited edition fine scarves, exquisite jewelry, breath-taking hand bags, and absolutely stunning, one-of-a-kind clothing.

dress sweater&scarf

Love is indeed the operative word here, as I couldn’t help but fall in love with many of the beautiful pieces in this latest collection. The scarves and necklaces were the focal pieces of the collection, adorning walls and tables all over the venue and accompanying every article of clothing. Pieces ranged from delicate and understated to bold and gaudy; each one so unique and the perfect complimentary piece to ‘make’ an outfit.

clutch jewlery&scarves jewlery scarves scarves2 scarves3

Clothing included work by Designers and Brands: An’ge Paris, Egerie Paris, Show Girls Paris, Free for Humanity, Biscote, Oui, among others. My absolute favorite item that I fell in love with instantly was a sheer top in a leaf print with mixed media leather and crocheted shoulder and upper-back accents.  The material and pattern were so vibrant and lively and the mixed media elements were tastefully done and made the shirt pop. This elegant top could easily work casually with a pair of jeans or leggings or could be punched up to slightly more formal with a nice dress skirt or dress pants. The majority of the collection shared a similar versatility. From what I can tell, most POA collections cater to taste, quality, and versatility; their collections offer the most unique pieces that undoubtedly become focal elements to any wardrobe. There is certainly something to be said about having an item in your wardrobe that you absolutely love, that people always complement you on, and that almost no one else has.

top

As if the absolutely stunning clothing and accessories weren’t enough, the brunch presented was positively scrumptious. The tantalizing spread consisted of delectable croissants and macarons served from Delysées (http://delysees.com/ ) and a spread of cheeses, crackers, smoked salmon, and shrimp. Along with choices of juice, wine, and absolutely delicious coffee.

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POA Studio really knows how to treat their clientele well. Not only offering preview events like this one, but the studio itself is much more than a retail store. POA Studio is both a spa and luxury fashion boutique. One trip to POA Studio will have you feeling beautiful inside and out, and isn’t that what it’s all about? I would encourage everyone to venture out to this one-of-a-kind boutique for a shopping experience that you can’t get anywhere else. POA Studio is located at 98 Church Street in Toronto. You can also check out their services and collections at http://www.poastudio.com/.

 

Published Nov 2014 in Fusia magazine

Yoga Tree Bay and Dundas Grand Opening

Yoga Tree has opened a new location at Bay and Dundas and I was fortunate enough to attend the Grand Opening launch party this past Thursday.

The event was unlike anything I have ever been to before; the event coordinator did a particularly excellent job of promoting the space as well as offering a little something for everyone.

bench Decore

When I first entered the studio, I was immediately greeted by the happy and friendly staff. I was then invited to test out the balance of my chakras with a quick session on an acupuncture mat and was then directed towards the amazing professionals from Ayurveda Rituals spa (http://ayurvedictouch.com/). They cleansed my aura (which between you and I, really needed to be done) and they identified the imbalance in my dosha through a sensory experiment, and last but certainly not least, I received a wonderful foot massage. This served to get me in touch and in tune with my body in a way that I haven’t for a very long time. Even if you aren’t a believer in chakras, doshas, and auras, the second floor of the studio, set up as a relaxing lounge, was definitely a space where everyone could relax and enjoy. What is more, this lounge is complete with its very own Kombucha bar, the first of its kind in Toronto.

footmassage Ayurveda Botanical Skincare

For any of you who many not know, Kambucha is a cold tea that originated in China around 200 B.C. which has undergone fermentation and is naturally carbonated and full of probiotics (Pekoe Kombucha). Kombucha possesses healing, cleansing, detoxifying, and energizing qualities. We were served this cleansing elixir over ice with gin and mint leaves. It is absolutely delicious and you can feel good drinking it. I ended the tour of this floor feeling relaxed and grounded.

drink kamboucha

The tour continued, however, as I moved upstairs to the third floor where the studio was abuzz with people eating food provided by Freshii, wine by Southbrook (local and organic wine), and were enjoying the lively musical entertainment offered by the event’s DJ as well as the opportunity to get henna applied by artists Joanne Rumstein-Ellis (Hennafication) and Tarquin Singh (Henna Planet). The energy on this floor was a compelling contrast to the sheer relaxation only one floor down; I suddenly felt revitalized and full of energy. It was a truly enjoyable evening.

Freshii Henna

I thought the Grand Opening was very well thought out since I ended up leaving feeling exactly as I do after a good yoga workout: relaxed as well as energized. The space was beautifully decorated and the crowd was an interesting mix of yogis and downtown young professionals.

I was very impressed with this beautiful, spacious studio and I would recommend that everyone go check it out if they can. The studio also includes on onsite wellness center with access to a registered massage therapist and naturopathic practitioner, three separate yoga studios that are custom-made to be soundproof and provide insulation, and hot yoga rooms that have an innovative humidity control. Indeed this is far more than just a yoga studio; go relax, rejuvenate, and grow at Yoga Tree.

 

Published Oct 2014 in Fusia magazine

Decadence is Calling: The 9th Annual Chocolate Ball Gala

Most definitely a night of decadence, the 9th Annual Chocolate Ball Gala was this past Thursday, Oct 16th, and I am still recovering from all of the sugar. Having lived in Toronto for many years now and also being a serious chocolate fan, I was shocked to only discover last year that Toronto has an entire festival dedicated to celebrating everything chocolate, and the signature event of the festival is the Chocolate Ball. I was fortunate enough to attend last year and again this year and it has yet to disappoint. The entire evening is truly spectacular and sensational in every aspect of the word; I’m already anxiously waiting for next year’s Ball!

The Gala’s theme was Tropica Cocoa: A Salute to Movie, Music, and Dance of the Tropics. From décor to entertainment and even the wardrobe of the greeters and volunteers, everything was film and tropics inspired, right down to the beautifully constructed ice sculpture at the gala entrance – this entrance being the Eglinton Grand Theatre, probably the most appropriate venue for such an event, adding to the film motif.

greeter

The evening’s festivities included a silent auction, photo booth, a chocolate casino, caricatures, savory food stations, chocolate stations, dessert stations, as well as live entertainment from a DJ, the BASo Alto Dancers, Junior Ballroom Dancers, and the Polynesian Dreams Hawaiian Dancers. There were also door prizes and raffle draws.

dance dancers

Of course the main event, however, is the chocolate! Sweet meets savory in the succulent chocolate-infused food prepared by Chef Russell (from Penthouse Catering) and Chef Terry Port from (Personal Chef Solutions). Some of the “hit” items included chocolate braised baby back ribs and chocolaty pulled pork tacos infused with Cumin and Cocoa, topped with Queso Fresco and Cilantro. Although these infusions may seem a bit bizarre, they were wonderfully crafted, simply delicious, and cooked to absolute perfection. There was also a Crêpes À Go Go station managed by the wonderful Chef Veronique.

food

Chocolate stations included the beautifully crafted pieces from ChocoStyle, CocoaWorld Chocolatier, Giddy YoYo, Golden Apple Confections, M Thompson Chocolates, Old Time Confections, and Xocai. There was also the unbelievable dessert station Dolcini by Joseph which offered a breathtaking selection of the most delicate, melt-in-your-mouth pastries from master Pastry Chef Joseph Montinaro.

caramel chocolate

All that decadence and none of the guilt! Why? Because this event isn’t just about overindulging on chocolate; proceeds go toward Prostate and Breast Cancer initiatives. Eating chocolate for charity…It doesn’t really get much better than that.

If you are intrigued by the festival and your overwhelming love of chocolate, don’t worry there is still more chocolate festival to enjoy. The festival concludes on November 2nd with the Chocolate Sunday, Toronto Luxury Chocolate Show at Roy Thompson Hall. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.TorontoChocolateShow.com. Go ahead and indulge, you know you want to, and you deserve it!

 

Published Oct 2014 in Fusia magazine

Fandry: Falling in Love and Flailing in Caste

fandry-8

Fandry is, on the surface, a coming-of-age film about love; however, it delves into the perpetual deep social issues regarding caste conflict and inter-caste relations in India.

“For over 1,500 years, anyone born a Hindu was right at the centre of the caste system. If one was born among the lower castes – the Dalits or the Sudra (Untouchables), a life of struggle and torment began. But life is the exact opposite if one is born a Brahmin. Rape, torture, and killings continue to take place in the name of caste. Dalit massacres have been committed since 1947 and still continue” (Shaka)

The Canadian premier of Fandry was this past Tuesday, Nov 11th, as part of the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. This film was powerful, very moving, and worked well to expose a prevalent issue that needs to be addressed. Every once in a while you walk away from a film that makes you think deeply, question everything, and it somehow changes you; Fandry is one of these films. The political and social agenda is beautifully conveyed through the films excellent use of affect. You can feel the frustration of the lead, Jabya (Somnath Awghade), who is madly in love with a girl out of his reach and is harassed mercilessly by the higher-caste village boys. You feel his sadness when his dreams are constantly ripped away from him as he is forced into demeaning work. You feel the shame he feels when he is set apart and embarrassed in front of his peers, and you feel the hope that is always just out of reach in his quest for the black sparrow with the tail like a kite. The effect is as overwhelming at times and the film is constructed in such a way that it is nearly impossible to leave unaffected.

The director very masterfully draws the audience into this world, but it is a world where the audience quite obviously doesn’t belong. The audience is made aware that we are voyeurs; we are observing this family’s pain and struggle, like many of the other villagers, and for most, this is a struggle that we cannot identify with as we are observing from positions of privilege. At the end of the film, the director chooses to very powerfully break down the fourth wall, having Jabya throw a rock at his nemesis, but it essentially ‘smacks the audience in the face’ with its message and the act literally becomes a ‘light’s out’ moment for the audience. It was a particularly jarring way to end the film, which was precisely the point. The ending offers an incredibly symbolic message, at least in my interpretation, that being a passive observer to another human being’s suffering is the same as being a participant in his or her disenfranchisement. Put another way, if you do not actively question and work to change an ongoing issue, then you are allowing that issue to persist and are in fact part of the problem.

Fandry is a film that has started a much needed social dialogue in India and, much to its credit, has incited the creation of Project Fandry, a social group encouraging discussion and advocating for change: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Fandry/711562668909315.

In spite of the sensitive topic, Fandry, released in 2013 in India, has been received very well and with high acclaim. It has won Best Film at the Mumbai International Film Festival, Best Film, Best Film(Audience), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor at the Pune International Film Festival, Best Film of the year 2013 by the International Federation of Film Critics, Best Indian feature film at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Child Artist, Best Script, Best Editor by Mata Sanman, Best Director at the New York Indian Film Festival, and won a National Award for Best Debut (Director) and Best Child Actor. I’m sure it is a shoe-in for the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival Audience Choice award as well.

Source:

Shaka, Jack. “India’s Caste System: A Panacea for Peace or Conflict? An Interview with Dr. Kshemendra Kumar Upadhyay,” Journal or Conflictology, Vol 3, Issue 1, 2012. pp.3-6.

Published Nov 2014 in Fusia magazine