February 5, 2014 – these are a few of my favourite things

February 5, 2014

As fashion week in New York is upon us, I prep to immerse myself in the hectic buzz of interviews, runways and streetstyle. Meanwhile, my mind is frantically racing to ensure I pack everything I need before flying out.

It all begins tomorrow (on my birthday!) and, looking ahead, I made a list of some must-have items for being stylish and trendy – all day, every day, but also during high-stress times like fashion week or TIFF. Here are my current Top 3.

1.  My Moroccanoil set

The first thing on my list is, of course, beauty and hair-related. As many people know, my hair is every hairstylist’s nightmare (I’ve been told that many times). I’m in a lifelong search of making it easier to style and God knows I’ve tried everything known to man in the last 10 years.

Thick, unmanageable and, until recently, incredibly long – I could spend a good 1.5 hours styling it every day. As a result, choosing products that work is very important to me and so when my sister suggested Moroccanoil a few years ago, I was immediately hooked. Recently, I interviewed the brand’s artistic director Antonio Corral Colero and his knowledgeable responses to my questions about the brand only increased my belief in Moroccanoil.

So let’s get down to business. What’s the first thing I believe is necessary for having great hair in winter? Moisture. I’ve been using the Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo and Hydrating Conditioner for the last two months and noticed that my hair is visibly shinier and softer. These products infuse dehydrated hair with antioxidant argan oil and replenishing nutrients, and they also contain Vitamin A and red algae to retain moisture longer. Best thing? They are sulfate, phosphate and paraben-free.

First comes hydration, then comes styling. For someone who recently had almost a foot of hair chopped off, I noticed how finicky my new haircut can be. So I’ve been experimenting with the Moroccanoil Styling Gel for the last few weeks and I really enjoy it. With my new haircut, I need structure and definition, without having to put on a ton of product. And, of course, more argan oil is an added bonus.

Moroccanoil Styling Gel.

Moroccanoil Styling Gel makes it easy to style hair of any type or length.

2.  My Nella Bella bag

As a journalist who is always on-the-go, I’m in a constant search for a bag that can fit in half of my house. I kid you not, these are the things I carry on a daily basis: two to three lipsticks, eye liner, nail polish, foundation, blush, wallet, phone, phone charger, voice recorder, media packs, business cards, mini iPad, hair brush, some hair product and a ton of papers. Needless to say, I need a bag with lots of compartments. I also like bags that stand out and I really enjoy having something colourful in winter.

I first came across Nella Bella in October 2010, when I went to Toronto Fashion Incubator’s renowned Press & Buyers Breakfast. I saw a sea of bags that accurately hung on the clothing rack and the variety of colours was definitely a big draw.

Flashback to 2010.

Flashback to 2010.

Fast forward to 2012, when I met the owner Tarek Al-Azbat at a National Ballet of Canada event. Tarek is a great example of a Canadian entrepreneur who believes in stylish products that also mean quality. He also believes in giving back – last December, his company donated three beautiful items to FAJO Social 2013’s silent auction (all proceeds went to the Canadian Cancer Society).

So when I was asked which of Nella Bella’s bags I would prefer, I chose the Meissa design. The day it arrived felt like I hit jackpot, because it met all the endless demands I had. It’s pretty large (17 in × 5.5 in × 12.5 in), it’s red (FAJO’s colour) and its structured bottom makes it free-standing. The Meissa brings a refined air to the tote family. It also comes with a hands-free removable strap, inside zipper pocket, and the tote is 100 per cent vegan. Not to mention that it is designed in Canada, and I am a strong supporter of Canadian companies.

My Meissa tote. I tend to wear it without the strap, but it's always nice to have a second option.

My Meissa tote. I tend to wear it without the strap, but it’s always nice to have a second option.

I love my Meissa bag and use it quite frequently. In fact, I’ve already packed it for New York Fashion Week.

3.  My Young and Tae booties

There are a lot of boutiques that open on Queen Street West in Toronto, but many of them are not my style. Having said that, I’ve recently added Young and Tae as my go-to place for fabulous shoes.

The brand takes its inspiration from Europe, with design and production in Seoul. The company manufactures 1,500 to 2,000 shoes a day!

This is the first Y&T store in Canada and their first retail store in general. It is run by Jenny and David (who are also married). The company is named after Jenny’s parents who are based in South Korea, and is a combination of their first names. Young and Tae designs range from leather and suede to pony hair. The great thing is that as of this month, clients can mix-and-match the materials and colour of their shoes – so many styles can be made to order. Coming up in spring, you will also get an option of choosing the heel type and height.

A collage of some photos from the store, which is located on Queen Street West.

A collage of some photos from the store, which is located on Queen Street West.

There are about 190 pairs on display at the store on a given day, so I spent a while checking them all out. While chatting with David and Jenny, I also made a new friend – their puppy Billie. He is beyond adorable and followed me everywhere.

As the new brand ambassador of Y&T, I strongly recommend this store. I’m picky with the brands I associate myself with, but I have been wearing their Reva boots for the last few weeks and continue to get compliments on them. What does that mean? I’m taking them with me to NYFW!

My Reva boots, which I'm planning to wear to NYFW.

My Reva boots, which I’m planning to wear to NYFW.

Moroccanoil photos courtesy of the brand. Nella Bella Meissa photo courtesy of the brand. 

For more information:

Moroccanoil – www.moroccanoil.com

Nella Bella – www.nella-bella.com

Young and Tae – www.youngandtae.com


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