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PKG – Distinguished Digital Carry Goods

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Andy and Mike Priestman don’t believe in fashion over function. They think we deserve both and we agree! The brothers are the brains behind the beautiful brand known as, PKG, which caters to the urban commuter.

“We focus on versatility, functionality and timelessness.” With that in mind, they’ve managed to create something that can endure, “the 9-5 grind with your laptop, as well as for a Sunday in the city, a visit to the gym or an overnight trip.” The light-weight, weather resistant fabrics heighten the functionality; perfect for the person always on the move.

“It’s not necessarily about inventing something brand new, but it’s utilizing existing elements in a way that hasn’t been done before to create a product with new meaning and value to the end-user.” The brothers say the experience is very rewarding explaining, “At the end of the day, you’re building something with the people closest to you, so it makes all the small successes along the way, that much more fulfilling.”

Check out their gear and let us know what you think!

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For more info: nice-pkg.com

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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Interview: Humble The Poet

We’ve been watching Kanwer Singh aka “Humble The Poet” for a while now and recently got a chance to talk to the Toronto teacher and MC who is making it his mission to dissect deep motifs and connect with anyone willing to listen.

What is it about writing/poetry that resonates with you so deeply?
It’s not just poetry and writing. It’s just creativity in general. I love the concept of bringing ideas to life. I love the feeling of having a spark in my mind and then watching it come to life. The journey isn’t as enjoyable. If I write a verse on a beat, and it’s a painful process at times, once I release it and see the finished product and see it connect with people, it motivates me to start all over again.

How did Humble the poet come to be? Why Humble?
I was raised in a family of Sikh heritage and it’s a common theme that our egos are a big source of a lot of our misery so staying humble is something we can do to reduce that. Obviously we all got egos at different levels and in different situations; I’m not the exception to that rule. The idea of “poet” came from the evolution of literary art, to not simply be a rapper, to simply be an MC but taking it to another level, acknowledging the Shakespeares, Edgar Allen Poes.

Why do you think people from all over the world, truly connect with your words?
In the past couple of years I shifted the focus from social issues to the human condition. In my research, learning about what’s happening in the world and scratching beneath the surface and realizing the themes that are going on; a lot of it has to do with human nature. We’re all going through the same things, doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You deal with anxiety, regret. We’re haunted by our past; we get nervous about our future. We’ve been through heartbreak. Ideals like that, not only do they touch everybody around the world, they’re timeless as well. Having the ability to articulate that, nice and simply, especially when they’re heavy concepts, I think that’s why people gravitate towards what I do.

Tell us a little bit about your book Unlearn and why you thought it was important to publish.
What happened was I was working full-time as teacher with the Toronto district school board, grade three at the time. And I was doing slam poetry on the side. Slowly, I started writing more and putting stuff up online and when that transition came where this no longer was the side project and took my main attention. When I made that transition and left my job, or took time off the job specifically to focus on this, I realized I didn’t have to pick up a lot of new things, I really had to forget a lot of biases and idealisms that I had ‘cause they were holding me back from progressing. The idea of Unlearn came from there. I just started blogging, blogging on my Facebook page just to connect. And it was the support that was like, ‘you need to start collecting your work, and publish it as a book.’ I crowd sourced the book though indie go-go and raised over $26,000.

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What is your objective; why is it important to you?
My objective is to bring ideas to life and I have grand scale ideas. Like, full length feature films that I want to bring to life. I realize I have to stay on my grind. Working in entertainment and working in the creative space for a number of years now, you understand how it really works so you have to keep your profile up there if you want those doors to open. In the beginning it was just you know, getting the attention of a couple girls (he says with a laugh) and doing something cool but I think now at this point, I realize that that this path in life is the first time I feel like I’m exploring my potential and I wanna realize my potential. Through that, I wanna connect with as many people as possible and make a contribution to society and this planet. It’s important to me because it gives me purpose, gets me outta bed. I think so many people in this life aren’t fortunate enough to have the time to discover their purpose, a purpose that excites them. My parents immigrated to Toronto, me having the freedom to take that risk; I feel that it’s my obligation now.

Most rewarding part about teaching/poetry?
You get to see your words/ideas change shape based on the context of who’s listening to them. You see them connecting. You learn so much about yourself working with kids ‘cause you start to realize how much of what you think is in your second nature, how much you are wired to believe, wired to act is really just socialization. Kids are blank slate; they don’t have the same biases that we do, the same preconceived notions. So when you encounter a child and they don’t have that, it reminds you that at one point, you didn’t have that either. So that puts you in great position to unlearn.

What do you hope people take away from your work?
We turn on the radio coz we want life to feel a little bit better. We read a book ‘cause we want life to feel a little bit better; we consume art for that purpose. When dealing with emotions nowadays people are going towards medication. I’m really hoping at the bare minimum people are hearing what I have to say through the different types of art I create and realize they’re not alone. Once we connect with people, once we realize we’re not alone and the things you’re feeling or going through are normal, you feel a lot less isolated, letting people know they’re not the only ones with anxiety of what may happen tomorrow, letting people know they may not be the only people who regret their past and re-live it over and over and beat themselves up about it. Sometimes you gotta put on that a catchy beat, sometimes you gotta put it on the page, capture it in an image and put that on a sweat shirt. I just want to connect.

Photo by Gurjit Badal

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Previously: Humble The Poet – “F.E.A.T.H.E.R.S”

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Nabulsi All-Natural Soap

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Nabulsi Soap is an all-natural, olive oil based soap made up of just four ingredients: 100% pure olive oil, water, salt and lye. That’s it. No additives, no preservatives, no harsh chemicals and no perfumes; only pure, natural ingredients straight from the earth. Ideal for those with sensitive skin, it is gentle enough to use on babies’ delicate derma. In fact, many people even wash their fruits and vegetables with it. How’s that for all-natural?

Co-owner of Nubi Trading Co., Ariane Laezza, has recently opened the Trinitae flagship store in Toronto that offers unique, all-natural skincare products and Nabulsi is also sold exclusively there.

“The Nabulsi Soap is where Nubi Trading Co. started, it’s something I feel very passionate about. This is part of one of the oldest soap making traditions in the world that traces back about a thousand years,” Ariane expressed.

“It’s from Nablus, which is a ancient Palestinian city. The Nabulsi soap is still made the same way as it always has been; handmade, hand cut, and hand wrapped.”

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Traditionally made by Palestinian women for household use, Nabulsi Soap is made up of 100% virgin olive oil, water, salt and lye. The mixture is then heated with water and olive oil in large copper vats over fermentation pits. The solution of water and the sodium compound becomes increasingly concentrated in a series of 40 cycles repeated over eight days. During that time, an oar-shaped wooden tool known as a dukshab is used to stir the liquid soap continuously. Once the ideal level of concentration is reached, the liquid soap is then spread in wooden frames to set and then cut into its classic cube shape and stamped with the company’s trademark seal; the ostrich. The soap cubes are then stacked into their distinctive cone-shaped structures until they are completely dry.

The final product is ivory in colour and is unscented except for naturally subtle hints of earth and olives. The result is a beautifully balanced, naturally moisturizing product that is ideal for all skin types.

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“It’s a nice neutral product and it’s better as it ages because the soap loses some of its moisture and it’s more concentrated,” Ariane said.

Being that the holiday season has come to an end and the month of love is just days away, the Nabulsi Soap makes for a nice little addition to your Valentine’s Day gift.

“Holt Renfrew picked up Nabulsi for the holidays and listed it on the Toronto Life Gift Guide,” she added.

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Well, there you have it – the one stop soap for all natural purposes: from head to toe, to fruit and veggies and from floor to ceiling. Treat yourself, your home and your loved ones for just $6 a bar. Visit Ariane at Trinitae (254 Niagara Street).

It’s the simple things that matter. Live natural. All natural.

Posted by Christina Cheng

Previously: Trinitae All-Natural Skin Care Opens Flagship Store In Toronto

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Nike’s motto of #ChooseYourWinter has exceeded to an all-time high with the latest announcement of the upcoming Nike Women’s Race Series, which will be the world’s largest race series designed for women. Not only are we ‘choosing our winter,’ we’re now conquering our winter by mentally and physically training our minds, bodies, and souls in preparation mode for the race! Choosing our winter is officially mandatory and clearly not a joke. The race is made to motivate runners of all levels to push their limits by offering a variety of distances — ranging from 5k to half-marathon — on epic courses in 20 cities around the world including first time participant cities such as: Toronto, Mexico City, and Hong Kong.

This makes for exciting news for Toronto as the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto will be a weekend-long celebration tailored for our city. The race marks a new experience for athletes in two ways. It’s a proving ground for women to put themselves to the test and rediscover the joy of running faster, and running farther.

Each run in the series has a format that speaks to the local community, in this case, the race will take place on Toronto Island, which has a variety of terrain and run routes. It’s the perfect location for the 15K distance and to capture the energy and backdrops of the cityscape.

In addition to uniting a global community of female runners, every race offers something different, including exciting new courses; runner services; and access to elite athletes. For instance, professional Olympic runner, Sheila Reid, joined Toronto’s Queen West Run Club and N+TC crew last week for added motivation as she shared details on Nike’s Women’s Race Series and N+TC Tour.

The new Nike Women’s event series challenges women to face and train to new heights and personal bests.

In preparation, Nike encourages bringing together a global fitness community by extending Nike’s vision to motivate, inspire and connect athletes through both physical events and digital connections. With that being said, the Nike+ Running App helps runners track their workouts and stay inspired throughout their training, and the Nike+ Training Club App includes more than 100 full body workouts designed by Nike Master Trainers, many of whom will participate in the N+TC Tour and Race Series.

Nike also announced the introduction of the Nike+ Run Analysis available now at the Nike Store at the Toronto Eaton Centre. The run analysis is the perfect first step in any athletes training journey, as it records each runner’s personal running aesthetic to help gear them toward running better, longer and faster with their suggested sneaker. It essentially sets them up for success as they begin thinking about achieving your personal goals in 2015.

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As a member of Toronto’s Queen West Run Club and N+TC, this will be my first officially 15K race. I’m ready and willing to train at my personal best with the encouragement and motivation from my fellow Nike Running and Nike Women crew as we’re all getting stronger and aiming farther together. Toronto’s Nike Women’s Race is scheduled for June 14, 2015. This is just four days before my 26th birthday and I am determined to accomplish this race at my personal best! I shall consider this a gift to myself.

For a full list of race dates, CLICK HERE and make sure to follow Nike’s Women race series journey on Facebook and on Twitter. You can also find more information on the international Nike Women’s Race series events HERE. As for my fellow Torontonians, you can find motivation and keep up to speed on a timely basis by visiting Nike Toronto’s Twitter page.

Continue to motivate one another by consistently Choosing Your Winter. Let’s stay strong together. See you all on the pavement on June 14. We got this! JUST DO IT.

Posted by Christina Cheng

Follow @1LOVETO #JustDoIt

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Muttonhead presents its second annual holiday collection entitled, High & Dry, which features favorable winter pieces and quality essentials. The latest lookbook collection was shot in Iceland by Eric Greene, and showcases a slew of Muttonhead’s latest Fall/Winter basic additions including: Classic and Two-Toned Crewneck sweaters, Quilted Coaches Jackets, and their most popular textured 6-Panel Wool Camel and 5-Panel Cord hats. Captured in some of the most rustic and scenic locations of Iceland, the collection’s use of neutral and earth tone colourways contrast well with the peaceful backdrop. Inspired by Iceland’s mountains and beautiful wild horses, the latest FW collection incorporates additional high-quality pieces such as: Mountain Socks, Wild Horses Blankets, and Magic Mountain Longsleeve tees. Muttonhead steers its High & Dry collection into a more lifestyle-focused brand.

Shop the collection now and pull outfit inspirations from their latest lookbook.

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Photography by Eric Greene

Posted by Christina Cheng

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OVO x KOTD = Blackout 5

This is history in the making.

Blackout 5 is shaping up to be the biggest rap battle the world has ever seen and will bring forth only the best, to battle for the King of the Dot title! We caught up with Toronto Rapper and King of the Dot Entertainment Founder, Organik, to get his thoughts on the movement and upcoming event.

“I always thought the potential was there. I just wasn’t sure if it would come to fruition.” He says even as a child he gravitated towards hip hop and eventually started rapping. “I really took pride in the freestyle element coming up. It was where I felt like I had the edge over everyone due to being able to think faster and rap cleaner.”

He fell in love with every aspect of the scene, especially the competitive nature of the game. “The fact that I could compete in Toronto and the top battlers in whatever city across the world would be paying attention and vice versa, just pulled me in.”

Blackout 5 spans over 2 days at the QET, will be live-to-tape and be available on PPV…a long stretch from battling outside Eaton Centre! The competitors’ names have been revealed but most of the matches have not; the audience won’t know until the two names hit the stage. Their battles in the past have been co-hosted by names like, Raekwon and Method Man and now, KOTD has partnered up with OVO. “Drake and Hush have always shown us a great deal of respect and have treated us like family… It’s two powerhouses in the city working together to bring nothing but the best.”

OVO & KOTD promise a diverse and intense showcase of skill and will bring not just the best the world has to offer, but also bring back some of the most requested battlers. He reiterates, “It’s not just a preference of music, it’s an entire community. We live in the most multi-cultural city in the world and it’s a beautiful thing…we just some Toronto boys trying to make a difference.”

Date: Feb 7th & 8th 2015
Location: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Boulevard
Doors: 3:30pm

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS or PPV

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

Follow @1LOVETO #Blackout5 #OVOKOTD

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In today’s health conscious society, living a healthy and organic lifestyle has become indispensable to the longevity of life. This is not only applicable to nutrition and health, but also to skincare. Trinitae has recently opened its first ever flagship store in Toronto that offers unique, all-natural skincare products using a combination of organic cleansing salt and soothing mud from the Dead Sea, with extracts and botanicals from locally sourced herbs, fruits, and plants of the Jordan Valley.

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According to Ariane Laezza, co-owner of Nubi Trading Co. she says:

“A lot of the plants such as the Succulents and Aloe Vera are elements that we have in our Trinitae products. It’s high enriching, paraben free, sulfate free, and naturally sourced. That’s something that people are really interested in these days; they want to know what goes into their products.”

The Aloe Vera mud line is one of Trinitae’s most popular as its base product incorporates a simplistic blend of Dead Sea minerals and Aloe Vera. The body lotions, hand creams, and facial masks are said to be this winter season’s go-to items because Aloe Vera is known to typically have healing property as it balances your body’s natural moisture.

Being that the human skin is the largest organ of the body, it’s crucial to understand what your skin absorbs. As for Trinitae, their bath crystals and aroma therapy oils are their most pure items because it is sourced from Dead Sea crystals right from the Dead Sea Mud of Jordan, combined with natural botanicals that offer no artificial scents and colours. All Trinitae’s ingredients come from the fruit, vegetables and herbs of Jordan, which in turn provide a wide range of natural scents: Rosemary, Rubina, Herbal Citrus, Lavender, Vanilla, and Patchouli.

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“Aroma Therapy products are apart of feeling better and taking care of yourself through the power of scent,” Ariane said. Our luxury soaps are also really delicate and beautiful, which are enriched with Dead Sea minerals and have natural scents and colouring such as: Pomegranate, Orange Blossom, and Apricots.”

The Jordanian-based brand is designed to envelop the senses and soothe the soul, carrying a wide range of restorative products including: balancing cleansing milk, herbal balancing toner, moisture replenishing day cream, and enriching body lotion.

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“Even though we’re a skincare line, it’s more about a lifestyle brand so it’s not just the skincare portion we believe in, it’s also eating well, drinking lots of water, having passion in life, and enjoying what you’re doing. Our motto here is: Love Yourself First.”

With Valentine’s Day just weeks away, Ariane predicts her best selling item will be the Aromatherapy Dead Sea Salt Crystals with romantic Rose botanicals.

In addition, their latest face line with Dead Sea minerals and rose extracts has been a top gifting package which includes: Day and night cream, cleaning milk, eye serum, and toner.

“Our age demographic is a wide net and gifting ideas are endless,” she said.

“We can customize your packages as we have five different gift boxes that range from $35 – $200+ and despite only been open in November, we’ve noticed a lot of men and women enjoy the line. It’s a bit more unisex— everybody should be able to take time to pamper themselves!”

Trinitae has you covered from skincare to homecare with their: Aromatherapy line, Original line, Massage Oils, Aloe Vera mud line, Pure Dead Sea muds and salts, Bath crystals with botanicals, Luxury soaps and scrubs, as well as the Room Diffusing oils.

Gift a loved one and pamper yourself. Visit Trinitae’s new Toronto flagship store on Queen St. West and Niagara (254 Niagara Street).

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Posted by Christina Cheng

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Dinner With Mr. D (Gerry Dee)

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Canadian television is a tough gig. In fact television as a whole now-a-days is a really tough gig. The amount of people tuning into weekly sitcoms is on the decline. Blame the internet. Blame technology. Blame over saturation. Fact of the matter is, now, more than ever you have to have something really special to attract and subsequently retain viewers. Mr. D does just that. The show is going into it’s 4th season this year. To put that into context, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, an institution, a heavyweight in the sitcom genre aired for 6 seasons. The show is moving into more established territory which speaks directly to it’s quality. It’s funny, like really funny. I’m not just saying that either. The first episode of season 4, which aired this Tuesday @ 9:30 PM EST on CBC and can be viewed online HERE, opens on Gerry, who plays a high school teacher, systematically planning his upcoming years sick days. His rationale is spectacular. The episode only gets funnier.

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This Tuesday we got a chance to chop it up with the cast at PF Changs, where the hospitality was tremendous and the entire cast was wildly welcoming. Jonathan Torrens, a personal favourite, cast some insight and reminisced on one of CBC’s most important programs, Jonovision, as well as the transition into playing an old guy on Mr. D vs. playing J-Roc on Trailer Park boys. We were also fortunate enough to be seated beside Wes Williams, better known around these parts as Maestro and Lauren Hammersley. Both play vital roles on Mr. D and were instrumental in making a great night possible.

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You can learn more about the show HERE, (which you can stream online FREE).

Thanks to Nick Lee from Best of Toronto for letting us repurpose their photos from the night.

Posted by Jesse Ingalls

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Last night we attended the Monogram Dinner by Design event in Toronto, founded by GE Monogram Appliances and Azure Magazine as a way to celebrate design talents and to raise funds for two incredible organizations: Casey House & The Design Exchange. The concept of the event provides a unique dinner and cocktail experience highlighting well-know interior designers, architects, decorators and influential members of the design community. We participated in the ‘Cocktail by Design’ portion of the evening and saw everything from minimalist design, class & sophistication, to some unique and extremely artsy settings. See some of our favourites below.

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Candice & Allison Events Group

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Watch a beautiful recap video from last year’s event in Vancouver.

For more info: dinnerxdesign.com

Thanks to the good folks at Kronenbourg 1664 for the invite.

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