Her Majesty’s Pleasure Yorkville is Now Open

The Yorkville kid sister to King West’s Her Majesty’s Pleasure opened not with a bang, but with a whimper. The expansive space nestled around the corner, behind, and up 3 flights up stairs from Versace hit the scene without much fanfare. That said, it’s well worth visiting.

I never thought I’d describe a veritable instagram dream-house in such a manner. It’s almost like a more sophisticated HideSeek with the added bonus of an upscale bar and some hair and nail services. It’s certainly my new happy place.

The décor at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in Yorkville is much more vibrant than its King West pretty in pink counterpart. It reminded me of the daring mix of colours combined by Flack Studio (an interior design studio from Australia) for Caravan Seoul.

No dialing for champagne here, it’s a cocktail-lover’s dream. The menu is a great mix of smoothies, kombucha, and items a little more spirit-forward for the “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” crowd. I tried the Purple Plane (a play on the classic Aviation). It was made of gin, Luxardo maraschino, Cointreau, lemon, and blueberry bitters. On a Sunday afternoon after a haircut and a manicure, one was enough for me. I’d love to come back and give a few others a try.

The real star of the show was Shamara, a junior stylist (seriously? My luck!) at Her Majesty’s Pleasure Yorkville. She turned my massive, messy mop into trendy, tamed tresses. I was promised no judgment (I just went from blonde to brunette and my locks aren’t the only thing damaged in my world). No judgment (and a great cut) was what I got.

We shared plenty of giggles trying to chop off as much of the dead weight as possible (my goal for life in general, this season). My polish change (quick shape and polish) was fine, although after a couple of days the polish was nearly all scratched off. Give it a pass unless you’re getting shellac.

I’m trying to grow in my natural colour, so I’ll definitely be back to Shamara. She will tone the red out and keep this fantastic shape up. Her rates are probably the most reasonable in Yorkville right now ($65 for cut and style). She won’t be considered a Junior Stylist for long. I can’t recommend her enough!

The website for Her Majesty’s Pleasure Yorkville only shows the King West location’s menu. Click the individual images above to pick your poison well in advance of your visit.

How to Get to Her Majesty’s Pleasure Yorkville

  • Address: 102 Yorkville Avenue, Unit 5, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B9
  • Phone: +1 416-546-4991
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 8 PM, Sunday 10 AM – 6 PM
  • Book an Appointment at Yorkville: Click Here

 

The Publicist Group – Beauty Inside Out

Publicist Group: Beauty Head to Toe & Inside-Out

The Publicist Group is made up of a small, but mighty, group of motivated, business-savvy, stunning, and strong women.  Led by Melissa “MJ” Jovanoski and Cheryl Willberg, the entire TPG squad is worthy of a mega girl crush/ #WCW/ #goals. The women of TPG would have sat at the “popular table” in high school. This time, however, they actually want you to be the best you can be (and they invite you to every party!) Over the past year I’ve been invited to a number of events and activations all with a common goal: Beauty and Strength Inside & Out.

We are The Publicist Group aka TPG! We are a full-service communications agency that offers everything from traditional PR programs and marketing initiatives to ambassador programs and direct-to-consumer activations at the retail level, utilizing both traditional and digital platforms. Most importantly – we work with brands we love, including fashion, beauty, food, health & wellness, and lifestyle. Check us out @PublicistGroup! #TPG

Be seen and heard in all the right places with The Publicist Group. As a full-service communications agency located in the heart of downtown Toronto,
TPG offers an array of services from PR and marketing to events and influencer programs. Our team executes 360-degree strategies; delivers original, creative and result-driven campaigns; and loves to make noise across  the country with our clients’ initiatives.

We’ve got you covered, literally.

The Publicist Group is a collective of digital strategists, event planners, marketers, creative geniuses, social media gurus, and publicists. We don’t follow trends; we are trendsetters. Staying in tune with current events around the globe, the TPG team identifies shifts in the marketplace and are experts in creating relevant, newsworthy, and impactful programs that leave a lasting impression.

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How do you stay on track when results are slow? . . It's no secret that fitness has played an **active** role in my life, especially over the past 4 years. When I went to Korea, I had way more time to dedicate to my goals by spending time in the gym AND in the kitchen. Over the past 7 months my body has been recalibrating, and even though I spend as much time in the gym (if not more!), am drinking less, and sleeping more, I've gained about 25 lbs back. Does that mean I'm giving up? Absolutely not! I am, however, looking for new ways to keep on track. . . One way I stay focused is by watching/ reading the content of other creators in our social media/ content marketing space locally. Check out my new pal @theventiblonde for healthy ways to refuel after breaking a sweat! This is when we met at @fitfactoryto earlier this year 🥊💪 // #fitness . . . . . . #gym #fit #fitgirls #fitgirl #fitgirlsguide #fitfactory #toronto #416 #progressnotperfection #progress #cardio #boxing #girlswholift #blondeshavemorefun #healthy #healthylifestyle #gymrat #gymtime💪 #goodlife #yyz #torontofitness #resolutions #newyearsameme #피트니스 #휘트니스 #복싱다이어트 #복싱

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Fit Factory

The Publicist Group introduced me to the Fit Factory Fitness when I was right in the middle of tapering off at Big Hit Studios and kicking off a challenge at F45 St. Clair West. Conveniently located on King St. West a few blocks East of Spadina, it’s billed as the #1 Gym in Toronto. Personally, I found their Bootcamp to be overcrowded. With only one trainer providing a very quick overview of an intense workout, I was concerned about my safety as veterans tossed around heavy weights and newbies tried to follow suit. The boxing class, on the other hand, was a stellar workout. The trainers were energetic and the class itself had varying levels of intensity. The water bags were also pretty wild and fun to smack around!

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IT'S #CONTEST TIME! 🔥 This St. Patrick's Day, I will, of course, be seeing green. This time, it won't start with green beer. 🍀🍻 @city_shred is taking it to the turf to honour the strength of women in the #fitness community in #Toronto! Want to win 2 tickets to #workout with me on March 17, 2019 from 9 AM to 1:30 PM? Steps to enter: 1. Like this photo 2 Follow @thatgirlcartier and @city_shred 3. Comment your No. 1 fitness goal for 2019! 4. For additional entries, tag your #gym buddy and/ or your fave place to break a sweat in #YYZ! 💪 *Canadian residents only. Winner chosen at random. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. Tickets are being generously donated by @publicistgroup and City Shred (thank you!) Contest closes at 12 PM EST on Thursday March 14, 2019 and winner announced shortly thereafter! 🏋️‍♀️ One Day. One Community. One EPIC workout. // #Cityshred #giveaway #prize #416 #fit #gymrat #progressnotperfection #progress #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #cardio #health #getstrong #weightlifting #girlswholift #sweat #youcandoit #noexcuses #goals #fitfluential #exercise #active #iamstrong

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City Shred

City Shred is a massive group workout hosted once a quarter by The Publicist Group and sponsored by Genuine Health. The energy is electric and it’s an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in fitness in Toronto, as well as special guests from around the world. I missed the July edition due to the rat situation, but back in March I crushed their Women’s edition. I got to enjoy a day which started with round-table discussion with the coaches who would be leading us through the day.

The key to mastering City Shred is to go at your own pace. I’m not the machine I was 2 years ago, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to compete with fitness professionals who coach several classes a day while I’m at my desk. Find your own space, take yourself beyond your comfort level, and have fun making friends and admiring those showing off their bad-ass muscles. Ps. Can you spot me in the preview of the video above? #SweatyBetty

Sproos Life

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Taking a collagen supplement can help improve your skin, relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, promote heart health, aid in digestion and gut health, and make your hair and nails grow. The benefits of adding collagen to my diet weren’t clear until I stopped taking it daily. Subtle aches and pains after sitting at my desk for a while suddenly returned. Bouncing back after a night out wasn’t quite so easy. My poor bleached and butchered hair started to break again. Sproos Life is a collagen supplement to which I was introduced by TPG at the gorgeous Pray Tell on College St. We mixed cocktails and mocktails which each had a serving of collagen mixed-in.

sproos-02-grass-fed-tub-A-front@2x

Hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised North American cattle, to help restore and rebuild your body’s natural collagen.

  • 10 g of grass-fed bovine collagen per serving
  • Pure collagen – nothing else added
  • Highly soluble
  • 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
  • Free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides
  • Add to your favourite hot or cold beverage, or even to soups or oatmeal

No photo description available.

The 4th Annual T.O. Vegan Social Pop Up

Toronto Vegan Social Pop-Up is happening Thursday September 5th from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM at Love Child Social House!

Reserve your tickets by 9 PM EST on Monday, September 2nd, 2019, to automatically be entered in the draw to WIN AN EPIC $1,000+ VEGAN PRIZE PACK!

Tickets are $35 and available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/toronto-vegan-social-pop-up-presented-by-vegan-social-events-tickets-48658251139

This year, Vegan Social Events will be collecting donations on the Eventbrite page, in support of Save Our Scruff, a registered charitable organization dedicated to rescuing dogs.

Vivier

At the end of February, the team introduced me to Vivier. We learned about how to combat signs of aging using skincare products including retinol and spf. With my upcoming vacation to The Philippines, I wasn’t quite ready to play with tools which would initially irritate my skin (the purge!). So, I waited until the beginning of May to get started with this line. I haven’t yet written a full-scale review because 3 of the 5 products in the kit we were so generously gifted are still trucking along 4 months later!

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Running through the 6 & Looking for love in all the wrong places. Self love is a good place to start though, right? ♡ Last night we took in a guided meditation at @myndfulme right above @caliiloveco on King West in Toronto. They have an amazing deal right now: 30 days for $30 (which I purchased yesterday at their media event and which is available to the public T O D A Y only!) 💗 // #bemindful . . . . . . . . . . . . #mindfulness #yoga #pilates #selflove #heart #Toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blonde #expat #expatwomen #gltlove #calilove #cali #california #yogastudio #meditation #meditate #416 #dametraveler #sheisnotlost #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #girlswhotravel #tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday #style

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Myndful Me

Myndful Me was sadly a bit of a bust for me. We went checked out the space and learned how to make charcoal cookies with adaptogens after being led through a meditation practice. The music and the direction made for a very pensive, but relaxing evening. I purchased their $30 unlimited 1-month special and was told I could use it whenever. I had a couple of upcoming trips, so I didn’t want to use it until the new year. When I tried to apply my purchase I was told it had expired. Correspondence to correct the issue was never responded to. Not so zen, eh?

Toppik Canada & Viviscal Canada

Big thanks to @publicistgroup for bringing me along to the stunning #LoveYourStory event at @stregistoronto! I got to hear from a plethora of women who have learned to love their own stories of struggle and trauma and turn them into an armor of confidence with a lining of understanding.

  • Events with this team always have motivational speakers, the most stunning décor, phenomenal food, and an interactive component so you don’t just see a product/ brand, you become part of it.
  • I woke up the next morning and treated my stressed tresses to @viviscal@viviscalcanada shampoo, conditioner, and desensifying elixir. My hair is already thick, so this leo was rocking a full mane that day! It actually dried faster and was easier to manage when straightening. I typically have a lot of breakage (bottle blonde) , so let’s see if we can put an end to my split ends! 👱‍♀️

Featuring a PR team on my personal blog isn’t exactly the status quo around here. Every time I get an e-mail about an event or activation from TPG I think to myself, “Wow – that’s out of the box”. There’s only so much you can see on my  feed/ in my stories, and because of this I wanted to share something a little more permanent. Over the past year The Publicist Group has proven that  being true to yourself and your vision, rather than accepting business for the sake of having business, goes a long way.

Dating Diaries – Stop Dating Ugly Men

“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife…”

This Jimmy Soul tune blasts through my head every time I swipe right on a guy who isn’t generically attractive, but who looks goofy and like he would be a good time. I hate to admit it, but I figure that a guy who isn’t exactly a stud would make for a more committed partner and potentially even a good father to offspring (should we ever be so lucky with my dusty old eggs).

Why I Gave Ugly Men a Try

What’s that old saying – “You’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”? Well – I’m making my way through the toads, right now. Toronto hasn’t exactly been a mecca for good-looking men, full stop. Let’s not even get started on the qualities I actually desire in a partner. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then, pursuant to my newest hobby of cutting the crazy, I’ve been trying something a little different.

I date hot men. While I’m certainly not a 10 myself, I find it easier to strike up a conversation with an attractive, confident man, than someone has “nice guys finish last” on repeat. I bat outside my league pretty frequently, but what has that ever gotten me? Heartbreak and absolute agony was what I got from Adonis, I was cheated on by ex co-p, and ghosted by the hotness monster. I’m trying to date within my means and based on common values and interests.

Back to the Song. The lyrics go:

"If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind."

Okay so the song itself is dated and offensive, sure. Remember – it was released in 1963 and I’m considering it all from my own personal perspective towards men, capisce? I’m swiping right on these guys I’m certainly not over the moon about. Give these plain boys a chance, right? Sadly, I’m getting the exact same result except now there’s no eye candy.

It’s amazing! Even if we’ve had a good time and I’ve convinced myself that I could grow to love someone’s gummy horse teeth or his Frankenstein five-head. Hot or not, I often get the message back that they had a great time and would love to see me again, but just as friends. It makes me wonder – what part of me is the Frankenstein bit?

Hunky Guys and Ugly Men – they’re all the same inside.

I can whittle myself down attacking every point which could have put me in dim lighting. A comment, perhaps, which made me appear as a know it all. My weight – it always comes down to that, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, I think it’s just that the dude didn’t want to be rejected first. Recently, I had simply thanked the guy for a lovely evening and for picking up the cheque (which he didn’t need to do, but was nice). His immediate response was to send back the “just friends” message. No part of me thought it was a love match and sparks certainly were not flying. I’d have given the poor bloke a second chance to redeem himself, though.

Stop Dating Ugly Men

I can’t imagine a man analyzing his looks and behavior the way I picked apart mine. So, I guess that’s just it. If there’s no immediate, earth-shaking spark, you must hurt them before they can hurt you. Both ugly men and beautiful ones will give you grief if they’re out to give you grief. Stop selling yourself short. If the uggos have the kind of confidence to hit on you, you might as well swing for the fences, too. Better to receive disappointing news from a pretty face, don’t you agree?

*Beauty is subjective. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!

Dating Diaries: Is Your Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Hurting Your Game?

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Sculpture Abstract Art

During the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, if you visited the Olympic Village you were gifted your very old gold medal – er Tinder account. Tinder upped the ante by giving each and every member enjoying the festivities in and around Gangwon province special privileges. It was entirely overwhelming for the women I knew, but for men it was an absolute blessing.

gold laurel wreath

With a Tinder Gold account you can see who likes you (has swiped right), change your location, and hide your age (if that’s your jam?) You get unlimited likes, can rewind the last swipe (no more swiping left on your soulmate!), and you get 5 superlikes a day (LOL cause you need to joke that often, right?) From my straight male friends’ perspectives, they get far fewer matches than the ladies. Jackpot with Tinder Gold. For us gals? Too many matches to sort through (humblebrag, but only kind of!) I found that I was no longer swiping through men in my area, but was limiting myself to those who had swiped right. What a mess of offensive images, profile bios, and anecdotes!

tinder dating app phone swipe right

If you’re finding you’re not getting quality matches, maybe it’s time to analyse your own profile on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or any other of the plethora of window-shopping opportunities you can manage from your smartphone while dropping a deuce.

Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and other dating apps are taking over the way we meet people and begin relationships. Is your profile hurting your game? Typically when I put together an online dating profile, I think about how someone from my company would react if they stumbled upon it. This probably stems from the fact that I used to work for Plenty of Fish, but it’s a good rule of thumb, too. First dates are like job interviews – you’re seeing if there’s a mutual connection. Always be honest, but make sure to put your best foot forward. I went to my instagram followers to see what the most off-putting profile elements were for them. As the saying goes, ladies first:

Ladies’ Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Fails

Ladies’ Photo Fails

  • Photos that are too dark or far away – we want to see what you actually look like – yes, even on Tinder!
  • Group pictures – if your profile is all group picture, we’re assuming you’re the “ugly one”.
  • Overly filtered/ Snapchat – That dang puppy ear/ mouth filter. You’re 35, woman. Get your act together. If you don’t show up on a date with those damn ears, you’re paying for the drinks or craft supplies I’ll need for that to be a reality.
  • Dirty Mirror Selfies – or ones with unmade beds or clothes all over the floor. If you can’t clean up, at least learn how to crop!
  • Only headshots – do yourself a favour and have at least one full-body shot. If you’re not his cup of tea, it’s better not to match at all (in my personal opinion).
  • Old photos – we have the most advanced camera phones out there. Why are you still using your webcam?
  • DUCK FACE – none of us are Paris Hilton and this isn’t 2002.

Ladies’ Profile Fails

  • Trashing the ex – if your Tinder/ dating profile has a laundry list of things your next boyfriend better not replicate from your last relationship, it shows that maybe you’re not quite over that ex of yours, maybe you’re still harboring resentment/ hurt feelings, and maybe you’re not quite ready to move on. Not the best look, right?
  • Listing things you want in a relationship – pretty much any laundry list isn’t going to portray you as the most open-minded person on the planet. Also, throwing yourselves into a relationship scares most men (and women!) Go out on a date before deciding that he’s “the one”!
  • Negativity – most people want someone around whom they can relax and be themselves. If you’re already showing lots of negativity in your profile I think most people would agree it’s a left swipe!

Men’s Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Fails

Men’s Photo Fails

  • Photos that are too dark or far away – we want to see what you actually look like.
  • Group pictures – if your profile is all group picture, we’re assuming you’re the “ugly one”.
  • Only selfies – do you have friends? Is your body not proportionate to your head?
  • Shirtless selfies/ gym mirror selfies – again: do you have friends? Why aren’t they telling you to stop this?
  • Riding an elephant or cuddling a drugged up tiger – it’s 2019. We KNOW BETTER.
  • Drinking straight from the bottle – Even on Tinder, it’s just not classy! Is this something you do so often that you feel you need to advertise this element of your life right away?
  • Fishing – honestly? I like getting out in nature, but there’s just something about someone displaying a live fish like a trophy that’s totally off-putting.
  • Middle finger up or other lewd gestures. Why, guys, why?
  • Picture of your junk – okay, so meeting the love of my life on Tinder is very unlikely, but even if someone is just on the app for a good time, not a long time – women value a little mystique. Women tend to react more emotionally than visually, too. Putting your junk out there isn’t as effective as, say, going out for a few drinks and creating an emotionally stimulating connection. Food for thought.

Men’s Profile Fails

  • No bio – putting no effort into your bio at all tips the scales for me. Even if you’re really cute, I know nothing about you and will most likely swipe left.
  • Just your height – this is almost worse than having no bio at all. Really? You think that’s all it boils down to? I’m interested in way more than your height, just as I hope there are various elements of my personality and my life which will be of interest to you.
  • “Tell you later” – uhhh, no you won’t ’cause I’ve just swiped left.
  • “No fatties” – bugger off. Seriously? You’re no prized pig, yourself. Even when I was in the best shape of my life (for me I was about 20% body fat and damn – I looked and felt great!) I’d swipe left on anyone who wrote this in their bio. That’s so rude and hurtful and unnecessary.
  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott” – We’ve all seen The Office. This isn’t original or funny anymore, it just shows you’ve given no thought to your bio. Special mention to: “Work hard, play hard” and “You win some, you lose some”. Next!
  • Having “Assistant to the Regional Manager” or “Mr. Manager” as your job title. See above.
  • Fake testimonials – “Takes great pictures without his shirt on” – My Mirror, “Get out of our house” – My Mom, “Woof” – My dog.  PLEASE STOP DOING THIS

Have I missed any major dating profile faux pas? Let me know in the comments!

Candidly Cartier: The Power of No

Men are simple. Women are often pretty simple, too. We all want what we can’t have. Anything that is out of reach is challenge; a goal. It bothers most of us when we’re given a simple “no”. Isn’t it amazing how one little two-letter word can hold so much power?

Patterns in relationships are changing. As they evolve, I find that traditional, cisgendered, heterosexual relationships are going the way of the dinosaur. “Love who and how you want to love” is my sentiment, but my ultimate goal is a lot more traditional. As much as I hate being cookie-cutter, I like the option of a conventional relationship. I’ll put it right out there: I want to get married and have a family. I’d like to be able to dance with my father in a nice dress at my wedding (albeit destination with a limited guestlist).

Do you have to take some “settle” when you want to settle down? My mother always told me, “men are like streetcars – another will be along in a few minutes.” Sure, but if you’ve ever taken the TTC during rush hour, you’ll know it’s a balancing act to get on and a fight to the finish. Welcome to dating in Toronto. A signal problem is effecting all lines. Welcome to your thirties.

TTC Crabs

Toronto takes the cake for crappy dating pools. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. Riveting. When you meet one who is good-looking, is employed and ambitious, and takes care of himself, can you imagine the desperation he must be able to smell? Quality men are not like streetcars. They don’t come along frequently, and when they do I’m assuming single women look at them like they’re unicorns. I mean – I certainly do.

These men are used to hearing the word “No”, but they’re not used to women meaning it. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this, but women I know and others I read about or watch on TV often fall into the same old script of saying no then giving in. These dudes are smooth! They often get what they want without even asking. There’s power in pushing him away – channel it.

There is power in “No”. The saying “always leave them wanting more” isn’t unique to dating, but the shoe sure does fit. Silly romantic comedies with particular sets of rules exist for a reason – we’re the rule, not the exception. If you (er – I) want to have a traditional relationship, when I meet a new unicorn, a coy McCoy and negative Nancy I’ll sure as sh*t need to be.

Re-pat Dating Diaries: “LOL – It’s Complicated”

Looking back on my teen through mid-twenties crushes, I thought the juiciest thing in the world was the time at the beginning of a relationship. The heart/ gut-wrenching “does he or doesn’t he like me” feeling was one I looked back on almost fondly. Potential romance was fleeting, but almost as lovely as the romance itself. The excitement, the uncertainty, the torture, and the relief were things I looked back on as feeling like my heart was on fire.

That feeling left me entirely for three years, and for that I’m now so thankful. While I was in Korea, I dated 3 men who, in the beginning, gave me no feelings of uncertainty. I developed feelings not just of confidence, but self-assurance and safety from my partner. It wasn’t precarious – in the beginning I never felt like I was about to fall or my world collapse.

Dating now that I’m back in Toronto is disappointing. I keep meeting these complete and total losers who genuinely make me feel like I should give up and get a cat (or a second job!) Then, it’s like the Universe recognizes my disappointment in humanity; my loneliness.

I’m certainly not the free-spirited, lithe, fun-loving woman I was from 28-31. I’ve gained weight, lost confidence, and have retreated to the lost little girl I was in my teens through mid twenties. A glimmer of hope in romance leaves a world of doubt. Still, the Universe has brought me a forest fire.

I want a partner – someone with whom I can adventure, but also in which I can confide. This man is irreverent, masculine, sexy, and arrogant. He hasn’t quite shown me many of the answers to his brooding mystery, yet. Over the past year I’ve questioned whether I would ever be “cool enough” for a relationship with him. Recently, he has made me feel safe in the most emotionally nourishing intimacy I’ve experienced since I packed the man I still consider to be the love of my life into a taxi to the airport.

You can have sex without intimacy, and I’ve had incredible intimacy without sex. Just having someone hold you and interlock your fingers in theirs is like the emotional Kama Sutra.

Will he or won’t he feel the same way?

Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

F45 Challenge – Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

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As I’ve written here on a number of occasions, I adore the unique community cultivated at F45 St. Clair West. I’ve tried a couple of other F45 locations, and they just were not for me. I love having the space to move around unique to St. Clair West. The trainers there keep in touch 1 on 1 through Whatsapp and on Instagram. They genuinely care about your well-being and your loyalty to the community.

Some people say there’s a bit of a cult element to F45. Overall, I can see it, but there’s a fine line between the optics of that kind of encouragement and dedication demands. Once you’re involved, it’s just a party of people trying to live their best lives in health. I’ve made some greats friends, reconnected with some old ones, and have learned a lot about myself. In particular? I often go way harder than is necessary, and it’s not always a good idea.

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First and foremost, there’s something to be said for over-training: DON’T DO IT. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Before the F45 Challenge began, I had already been eating fairly well and making it to 3 – 4 F45 classes per week. At lunch, I usually hit up Goodlife with a colleague of mine who continuously chirps me for not having yet raced a 5 km. Add in the fact that I have been walking 4 km to work at least 3 times a week and you’ve got a case for chronically elevated cortisol levels.

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When your cortisol levels are too high, there are a variety of complications which can arise. Weight gain is what has effected me the most, but other symptoms include: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, exhaustion – effecting daily hormone cycles and disrupted sleep patterns, memory (ever felt like you were in a mental fog?), and infections due to compromised immune systems.

How to Combat High Cortisol Levels?

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Sleep and Cortisol Levels

This was a tough one for me considering I was living in a basement with totally inconsiderate neighbours and a rich landlord who took the “hands off” approach.  I even moved apartments losing out on over a thousand dollars when I cut my lease short. My F45 Challenge team coach would often reprimand me for not getting 8 hours of sleep. I took that really personally as I was climbing into bed around 8 PM in the hopes that I could get any sleep before getting up to exercise before work. I was killing myself, and that wasn’t enough for him. This was my biggest problem with the F45 Challenge because I was trying so hard and it never seemed to be enough.

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Exercise and Cortisol Levels

Double-edged sword, non? Exercise in moderation can lead to lower cortisol levels. Over-training runs the risk of affecting neurotransmitters such as glutamine, dopamine and 5-HTP. Ever wonder why the road to fit can throw your emotions through a loop? Over-training can lead to feelings of depression and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are also a side-effect of over-training, and I think they may have hit me hard throughout the F45 Challenge. Rest and recovery time need to be penciled into your schedule, just like exercise.

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Sugar and Cortisol Levels

Cutting down on your sugar intake should help balance your cortisol levels. I have such a sweet tooth. If I go a couple of days incorporating limited levels of natural sugars (fruit, for example), I find myself craving “real foods” (you know, the ones you get from shopping around the outside of the grocery store) so much more. I went out for a post-challenge celebration with a gal pal recently and we shared a bunch of tapas including: grilled halloumi (cheese), roasted squash, brussel sprouts, and a beet and goat cheese salad. It felt like I had just binged on fast food, but realistically it was all pretty healthy and within moderation for my day. Once you’re off processed sugar, something as simple as a beet tastes like heaven-on-Earth candy. Dwight Shrute may have been on to something…

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Cortisol Conclusions

Last week I went to the Philippines. I spent my days island-hopping, eating food I would neeeeever eat here in Canada (Filipino food is really greasy!), and enjoying cocktails liberally. I felt so puffy and bloated when I arrived home, but lo and behold – hadn’t gained a pound. It’s Friday today, and since Monday I’ve dropped 5 lbs. This is more than I had lost during the F45 Challenge.

I haven’t been stressed about scheduling a particular number of workouts throughout my week. Pizza has been on the menu not once, but twice. I’ve enjoyed a couple of spin classes and have focused on weights at the gym on my lunch break. If your workouts, or goals of a particular challenge, are consuming your entire life – take a step back. Take a night off and head out with your friends. Skip the morning workout and sleep in. It’s cliché, but actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses and breathe in some fresh air. You might find some unlikely (and positive) results!

The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

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The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

If you’ve been following along with my “Tinder Nightmares” stories on Instagram, this will not be a surprise. In fact, after my series on “The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date“, this one’s a long time coming. A year in the making, if you will. You would think that I wouldn’t have to specify that this isn’t about particular men, but groups in general. I also didn’t think I’d have to write a caveat of “Not All Men“, but damn some of you get really livid when you notice traits about yourselves in my writing. I write about men because I date men. I don’t write lengthy articles about women because I don’t date women. That said…

Women of Toronto are incredible, educated, intelligent, ambitious, successful, beautiful people who take care of themselves and their communities. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. I thought dating while living in another country was tough, but wow is Toronto ever slim pickin’s. Here are just some of the offenders. These are their stories.

Mr. Still in Love with His Ex

Let’s be real – this one should be the most obvious. Not unique to Toronto, there are plenty of men around the world who think the best way to get over one woman is to get under another – or 12. He hasn’t spent time identifying and working on the emotions associated with the end of something meaningful. If enough time and introspection hasn’t been given to mourn the loss, comparisons will be made. I don’t know about you, but the feeling I get when I can’t measure up to someone I don’t even know is torture. Don’t date until you’re ready. Please.

Mr. Still in a Dang Relationship

This lunatic has so much love to give that he’s shopping it all over the city. I can’t even get 1 person to like me long enough to be exclusive. How is this dirtbag carrying on multiple relationships? Sadly, this one is hard to spot. Why do you think women have gotten so good at the social media sweep we’re practically CIA candidates?

Mr. Doesn’t “Believe” in Monogamy

On the flip side of Mr. Ex and Mr. Relationship comes the man who doesn’t believe in monogamy. There’s nothing wrong with being in an ethically non-monogamous relationship even though it’s not what I’m seeking personally. This guy is the flat-earther of the dating scene. He explains ever so tenderly that he just doesn’t believe that homo sapiens should be anything other than hetero erectus. Mr. Monogamy is incredible in bed – and why wouldn’t he be? You keep him as a priority because he does it better than any of these other losers. Unfortunately, you’re making a priority of a dude with a big dong who has you saved on speed dial as “Thursday”. Don’t waste your time (even though it’s really, really tempting).

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 The Visitor

I often match with guys on dating apps who are in town for the weekend and it’s just such a disappointment. You can’t determine whether you want to build something with someone after just one date. Well, you can – but it’s incredibly rare. The logistics of doing long distance dating can get really complicated, and that’s just when he’s honest. Who knows what’s going on in a different city or even country? Co-P cheated even though we only lived 45 minutes from one another, imagine someone on the other side of the world? The Green Card Monster comes to mind, too…

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The Monster who “Won’t Go Downtown”

Feelings are all this guy will eat, but he fully expects you suck that silly, selfish sausage. It’s gunna be a “no” from me, dawg.

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Mr. Lives With His Parents

This one isn’t always the worst case. If he’s lived away from home and knows the basics like how to boil an egg and how to do his own laundry it helps. I know some people who have moved back home so that they can save for a downpayment in this horrendous housing market, and to them I tip my hat. It’s not easy returning to “my house, my rules”. That said, if he’s just comfortable letting mommy cook and clean up after him he has no place in my home, nor my heart.

Mr. Unemployed

Mr. Unemployed could be Mr. Parents’ twin, or the same person altogether. I would never have dated when I lost my job back in 2014 because I knew I was watching every penny and couldn’t afford the luxury. I didn’t want anyone else bankrolling me either. I’m plenty happy to go for a walk and get to know someone, but it can get really frustrating when he either expects you to bankroll him or complains that he can’t participate over and over again. Also, how is it that this guy has no responsibilities, but still manages to cancel plans at the last minute over and over again?

Prince Charming

This one you really, really have to watch out for. He’s trouble you can spot a mile away, but the speed at which your hit makes you completely unable to move out of the way. Prince Charming has a great relationship with his family, a stable job, his own place. He’s probably endearing and attractive. He says all the right things because he’s the perfect manipulator. Prince Charming knows a little bit about a lot of things so he’s able to tackle any of your hobbies and interests, creating a fantasy if just for one night. Prince Charming is like personality photoshop. Don’t fall victim to the imaginary.

Me

My best friends are living with their boyfriends, engaged, or married. I am the last Single Sally. Sometimes it’s really fun going out with these awesome women ready to dive down the rabbit hole. There’s no competition when we’re out and about, because they’re off the market. That said, it can be really rough when I’m sick and taking care of myself. UberEats is the closest thing you someone ensuring I’m on the mend (but there’s no playing doctor with the delivery person). Events like Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, my Birthday, or say – my best friend’s wedding can really get you down. Jordan Quinn, author of Korkscrewed (buy it), calls them the “Alcoholidays” because you’ve gotta knock a few back to get through them solo. A lot of guys who read my blog say it comes across as me being “A Woman Scorned”. I like to make light of these pathetic situations through my writing. I’m not angry; I’m perpetually alone.

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Mr. King West

‘Nuff said.

Candidly Cartier: “Influencer” is Not a Dirty Word

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Influencer Filth

More and more on social media I’m seeing the word “Influencer” tossed around like absolute filth. Whether it’s disdain for those who flaunt their lives like they’ve been sponsored to take their next breath (you know who you are) or annoyance that content isn’t authentic, there’s a real hate on these days for people who make a dolla dolla bill or two from content creation.

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influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

noun
  1. a person or thing that influences another.
    “he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste”
    • MARKETING
      a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
      “influencers can add serious credibility to your brand”

influencer

Influencers – They’re Just Like You!

This idea that the common person is like a celebrity is an interesting shift in the makeup of our society. They haven’t done anything particularly spectacular, or so most people think. From my view, someone of influence finds beauty in the mundane. This is a new(ish) form of art combining the written word (yes, captions can be poetry), photography (okay – hiring photographers for your OOTD is a little much), and graphic design (you know how much editing goes into some of these ‘grams). Most of these people are also crafty AF in the way they live their lives. They’ve carved out a niche where (well, the successful ones) can follow their bliss daily. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building a business, even if your brand is yourself, is hard work. The competition is bloody fierce.

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On Sundays we brunch! @orettatoronto had great atmosphere, fantastic (and quick) service, and super tasty eats! We shared a bottle of prosecco and: • Bombolone Milanese $19 Fried chicken thigh sandwiche, bombolone bun, spicy bacon aioli, slaw. • Uova Burrata e Tartufo $19 Scrambled eggs, asparagus, burrata, black truffle, focaccia. 🍳// #brunch . . . . . . . . . . . #bhgfood #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #droolclub #feedfeed #foodblogger #foodgawker #seoulfood #foodstagram #forkfeed #prosecco #Sundayfunday #huffposttaste #kitchenbowl #kingwest #sweetmagazine #tastespotting #thefeedfeed #thekitchn #torontofood #toronto #브런치  #맛집탐방 #먹방  #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #brunch🍴

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Influencers – They Eat!

I get it – going to a restaurant with friends and having your dining companion make the table wait until the food is cold is incredibly obnoxious. When the food arrives and everyone scrambles to create a table with the greatest aesthetic standing up on a chair with a portable flash in one hand and their phone in the other, it’s obnoxious. This behaviour really takes a toll on the guest experience of every other person in the restaurant. This detracts from the carefully prepared and plated meal they restaurant’s team has put together. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for many, many years and has worked with chefs and bartenders passionate about their craft, I wonder if the food even tastes good or if it’s just pretty. I wonder if these “influencers” can tell the difference between tarragon and turmeric.

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Influencers – They Shop!

This is the thing about “aspiring influencers” that drives me up the wall. Influencers Faking Brand Deals is nothing new. I knew of plenty of people doing this while I was in Korea in an attempt to secure new business. I also knew of desperate women who would be given discarded goods from influencers within the Korean Beauty Space who would put “#gifted” on everything. No, you weren’t gifted sh*t, little girl. Your friend who spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars becoming a skincare expert gave you the crap she no longer wanted, and you gave it a glowing review.

Making Money Blogging

Building  blog and a brand costs money. Most of the people I knew when I started blogging were trying to share the latest and greatest spots in the city giving directions in the process. Heck – I made a whole video about how to get to the Raccoon Cafe in Seoul when I was still living in Busan. I shared restaurant reviews where I spent a pretty penny and felt I got great value. I was never “doing it for the ‘gram”, and the friends I met through the blogging community (at first) weren’t either. We just wanted to share cool things we found in English for people who might not be having the easiest time navigating in Korean. The secret to making money blogging? HARD WORK.

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Passion Projects Put to Work

That’s the thing – most content creators turned influencers built a website and started writing about life hacks, amazing products and fantastic deals they genuine adore and want to share. I began my blog, The Toronto Seoulcialite, while in Korea because I was leaving the marketing world and didn’t want to become irrelevant and undesirable as a potential hire upon my return. Now I work as a writer for a law firm because:

  • I was a teacher – I taught spelling, grammar, syntax, and flow. These are essential skills in my daily tasks at work.
  • I learned about my audience, SEO, link-building, social media marketing, and wordpress. These are desirable skills within my industry.
  • Once I realised that there were companies who wanted to partner with me, I amped up the business of blogging. Creating pitches and proposals for companies with whom I desired to work became necessary. Paying for for products and experiences was normal. Sometimes I could organize a partnership to offset the costs of running my blog. I wasn’t a hack job with my mouth wide open hawking a food product I would never eat, if you know what I mean. Now, I research companies and write marketing materials to show how our team is the best fit for a particular project.

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Influencers – The Hate is Real

The problem with influencers in our 2019 society is that thing have gotten out of control. What used to be an industry of finding cool things, expressing honest emotions (This Crazy Thing Called Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Sometimes sh*t gets real) is now a forcefield of gritting a smile and showing no weakness. The glossy, glamorous lives of aspiring influencers aren’t real. These people in Facebook groups trying to get you to join pyramid schemes so you can “travel the world for free” are conning you. The reason content creators had influence was because they weren’t perfect, they were passionate. The start-up nature of sharing your life’s ups and downs was real; authentic.

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Now, “engagement” is easy to fake. You can pump some money into Facebook to promote or pay off a bot farm to like the image for you. It’s infuriating that PR companies – people who are supposed to be professionals in this field – don’t see through the fake followers and inauthetic content. It’s sad to see companies partner with “influencers” who are guaranteed to bring no reach, engagement, or revenue from the rates they charge. I can totally understand and respect why the every man or woman gets a hate on for the influencer life. The hate is real.

When it comes down to it, there will always be people of influence. When genuine, and not pay for play, an influencer is someone honest who gives a review you can trust. With cost of living at an all-time high, that trust should be sacred. Influencer isn’t a dirty word, we’ve just forgotten the meaning.