Spotlight: Tro & Co.

There is nothing better than finding a new brand to be obsessed with and knowing that it’s completely manufactured in your own country. It’s easy to support fast-fashion stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 knowing where their price points lie, but it’s even easier to support local brands and shops knowing that their products come from your homeland. Since moving to Toronto in particular, I’ve begun to realize how many incredible artisans the city is home to, like Dan; the founder of Whisky & Spice. Another individual who is making waves in Toronto is Tro of Tro & Co.

Tro is super talented and at the helm of his own clothing line. Offering various streetwear-esque tees and sweatshirt options made from bamboo, Tro&Co catches your attention with the graphics and keeps it there with affordable price points. I had the opportunity to ask Tro a few questions about the line, being a designer in Toronto, and the future of Tro & Co.

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Grabb and Go

In a world where convenience is key, Grabb is the number one purveyor in getting your food to you as quickly as possible. For Torontonians, this is a game changer when it comes to ordering food. Grabb is a mobile app that allows you to pre-order and pre-pay for your food, so you never have to wait in line. Showing you a list of restaurants in your area, you can look at their menu, pick what you want, pay for it, and pick it up when the timer on your phone tells you to. Partnering with a wide variety of restaurants such as Hero Certified Burgers, Bacon Nation, Fresh Off The Boat, and more, you have plenty of options. I had the opportunity to ask Grabb’s Vice-President of Growth, Keely Turner, a few questions about the app, food, and the future of food-ordering.

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Brand Mavens and the Future of Shopping

Texas A&M University released their research on the future of shopping and it has many valuable points of interest for retailers everywhere. We now live in a world where cash and credit cards are finding their way out the door, social media comments and reviews are pivotal to buying decisions, and shopping malls are being replaced by brand-specific apps. Personally, I’m not on board with using my iPhone as an Interac card but I do admit that I go on social media before making purchases at times for a second opinion and I love apps like Spring for mobile shopping. Digital has been taking over for a long time and this shouldn’t be a surprise yet not all retailers are utilizing it or social media.¬†They should start paying more attention to social media though because these brand mavens make up 53% of U.S. shoppers.

When they buy a product from a store they love, they share it online, and it shows their loyalty to the brand as well as sharing that they are a brand they should consider buying. Not only is their passion for brands pushing sales yet the acquirement of branded currency in the form of gift cards and coupons. For the study, they considered 1,127 online survey respondents. The average maven spends $1000 a year on gift cards and renews $700 worth. That is a lot of money in brand loyalty and the rising demographic shows no signs of slowing down. Texas A&M professor and leader of the study Janakiraman said that these gift cards and coupons will migrate to online form, most easily redeemable through mobile apps increasingly in the future.

Their research also revealed that the mavens are 60% women, tech-savvy, middle income, and rely heavily on user product reviews or social media comments when deciding what to buy.

The study taught me new information and cemented things I already assumed (people care what other people think more than they let on, myself included) but it’s telling of the way our generation is changing. What do you think about digital shopping and social media? Are you a fan of brick and mortar stores or e-commerce? Let me know in the comments below.

cher horowitz{Cher Horowitz was ahead of the times in 1995 movie Clueless}

Style Crush: Amber Heard

It’s been a long time since I’ve been inspired enough by one person in particular to want to pen a Style Crush post. Recently, I’ve seen an influx of images of Amber Heard on Tumblr and tonight I decided to pay more attention. I was a fan of Amber in the past when it came to her acting chops but I never thought about her as someone who was stylish off screen. In the last few years she became more notable on the scene thanks to her relationship, leading to her recent marriage, to fellow actor Johnny Depp. They’re a beautiful couple but even on her own, Amber puts on a show. She’s mastered every look from glamazon to bohemian chic and she must have a chameleon personality to match to have linked up with an old soul like Depp. Here are some of my favourite looks Amber has pulled off lately.

amber heard amber heard 2 amber heard 3 amber heard 4 amber heard 5 amber heard 6 amber heard 7{images via Daily Celebs}

Toronto as a Tourist

The eye has to travel. How can you say you’ve truly lived your life if you haven’t taken in what the world has to offer? There is an endless stream of beauty in this world, you just have to look for it. Knowing this, I took it upon myself the last few weeks to take in some of the most notable sights and sounds in my new home, Toronto. I’ve lived here for three months and they have been the best months of my life but that’s not to say they’ve come without their own set of trials and tribulations. For every bump in the road though, there is always something better after it. Wanting to take advantage of my newfound optimism brought upon by the hustle and bustle of life as a Torontonian, I made a list of a few attractions I wanted to see: the Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, and attending a Jays game.

When news first came out that Toronto would be getting it’s own aquarium, I was ecstatic. I have loved marine animals my entire life and I have always wanted the opportunity to see them up close. I went to the zoo when I was a child, and the Central Park zoo in high school, but they don’t have the same focus as an aquarium. When my best friend Sam came to town last week, she was as eager as I to check out the aquarium. I can’t stress this enough: you have to check this place out. With an adult ticket costing $28, it’s the same price range as the zoo, and it’s HUGE inside so it’s worth every penny. The aquarium is separated by the different habitats but you get to see every animal under the sea: sharks, sea turtles, sting rays, lobsters, octopuses, coral, crabs, and much more. My personal favourite were all of the tunnels that allowed you to get photos while the sharks swam around you.

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The CN Tower was something I’ve had on my bucket list since I was five years old. I remember coming to Toronto then with my parents and brother and seeing it in all of it’s glory but not having the opportunity to get up close and personal. Every time I have been downtown in the city, I get overwhelmed by how beautiful the tower is. It’s a beacon of Canadian history and I love saying that I have the opportunity to look at it whenever I want. My other friends had already seen the view so I was alone on this escapade. Paying $36 felt like a lot, but I knew that this would be a once in a lifetime (unless I come back for the 360 Restaurant!) visit. Going through the tower to walk to the elevator to the Observatory Deck made my stomach churn. I have a terrible fear of heights so not only was I marking this off my bucket list, I was conquering one of my biggest fears on my own. Going up the elevator I felt nauseous but once I stepped outside, I felt like I had entered another world. I have been to both the Empire State Building and the Rockafeller Centre in New York City but this view was a completely different experience. Perhaps it’s because this is a city I am proud to call home, or that I was feeling a natural high (no pun intended), but it was incredible. I took in all of the buildings, the islands, and the lakes taking mental pictures along the way. There is nothing like seeing a place you have wanted to after fifteen years to make your soul feel rejuvenated.

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Last, but not literally or least, was attending a Jays game. I have wanted to see a Blue Jays game since I moved here because it feels like the one experience that solidifies you as a true Torontonian. A beer in one hand, a hot dog in the other, what could be better? Although I skipped the $10.50 tallboy, I shared a hot dog with the amazing person who took me to the game. It came with grilled onions and peppers and although I’ve had better hot dogs, it was the experience that I wanted to pay for. We had great seats because we were behind the plate yet we were high enough that we could see all of the plays going on below us. Although our area was rowdy, I was able to take in the game. I learned the rules fairly quickly and realized that baseball isn’t nearly as boring as people make it out to be. I may have felt differently if I wasn’t sitting live at the game, but at the time it was better than anything I could ask for. The icing on the cake was that the Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 8-2! My first game ever and our team won on our own turf, talk about a great afternoon.

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These are only three of the many experiences I have planned to take in while I live in Toronto. I want to say thank you to Sam and Drew for being a part of this with me and putting up with how excited I got as a tourist. Thank you to everyone who works at Ripley’s, the CN Tower, and the Rogers Centre for making these locations worthwhile places to visit. And thank you everyone for reading this far, I didn’t realize I would have so much to say about my city, but I’m happy I do.

Foodography

As a food blogger, it can be pretty embarrassing when an onlooker scratches their head while they watch you arrange your meal so it’s Instagram worthy. On countless occasions, I’ve spent more time setting up my meal than eating it (note: this is also because I devour my food). I must not be alone in this because Tel Aviv restaurant Catit has partnered with Carmel Winery to create Foodography, a set of plates that make your meal look as appetizing as it tastes.

How does it work? The dinnerware has slots for smartphones on one end with the opportunity to rotate and create backdrops on the opposite end. After seeing the image of the prototype, I’m eager to see how it does in Tel Aviv. I hope Foodography makes it’s way to Canada because I could use another tool to show off my #foodporn in style.

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Who Better to Interview Kanye than Kanye?

If you haven’t heard by now, Kanye West wrote his own profile to go with his cover for Paper Magazine’s April 2015 issue. Remember a few months ago when Kim Kardashian “broke the internet” by covering the same magazine naked with a champagne bottle on her bottom? Kimye have built a new mould for what it means to be a power couple. Getting back to the cover, hearing that Kanye wrote his own story for the issue makes so much sense. It seems that there has never been a universal agreement on what image he’s trying to evoke and no one can put their finger on it. I know that Kanye has been interviewed by countless journalists and reporters, yet he’s one subject who would be hard to write about and make the transcriptions come out well. This is nothing against the man himself or the writers at hand, yet how do you write about a man who is constantly evolving? The inner workings of Kanye’s mind astound me and reading this article made me even more fond of him as an artist and a human being. It’s not common for cover stars to write their own profiles but Kanye isn’t your typical celebrity. His fame covers many fields and I can imagine he will continue to build and burn bridges wherever he goes in an endless cycle that is enticing and revolting all at once. It’s the name of the game but it’s one he’s the master at so take a gander at how it looks from his perspective and let me know what you think.

american_dream_kanye_west_april_cover{image via Paper Magazine}

All My Shit Designer

If you won the lottery, what would you buy? I would immediately go on a shopping spree. As someone who’s obsessed with fashion, having a huge sum of money to spend on clothes would leave me like a kid in a candy store. I have always wanted to go to a shopping mall and buy whatever I wanted without looking at price tags but that day has yet to come. I’m confident that one day I will make enough money to live a life of luxury but for now, I’m rubbing my dimes together. Even though I’ve succumb to jealousy that I can’t afford the same designer things as the majority of the bloggers, celebrities, and socialites that I admire, after reading this article on Four Pins I’m somewhat happy. To make a long story short, Four Pins shared an article from Business of Fashion that was a research piece related to shopping and it’s intriguing.

According to the research, in the past logic and rational reasoning were the main factors behind making the decision to buy something. Did it make sense to spend the money, would you have the essentials covered, can you afford it? These are all valid questions but this new research suggests that the shopper’s mentality is changing. Nowadays, people are buying things without thinking it through completely. I know that I’m guilty of this practice so I wanted to learn more. Instead of doing focus groups, the scientists took brain scans of how people reacted when shown certain images of designer logos and items. If you see the image for even less than a split second, it makes an impression on the pleasure centre in your brain. Think of your favourite brand, then think of a brand you aren’t fond of. If you were shown images from the two brands, the pleasure centre in your brain would more likely have a different reaction on the scan then the latter because it’s more valuable to you.

People who typically shop in the same price range and for the same items get accustomed to a certain lifestyle and a way of shopping. This isn’t a bad thing but when you find value in certain items, it is easier to defend making an impulse purchase even if it’s illogical. In the moment it may be a good idea but it’s always worth thinking the decision through so you don’t have to worry about money. Shopping smart and well will leave you and your wallet happy.

brand logos{image via AMD Law Group}