Goodbye Josh

You may remember my interview with Josh.  Re-reading it makes me smile every time.

 

Josh’s positivity and outlook on life has touched so many people. And it is truly with a heavy heart that I must let you know of  Josh’s passing.

It’s incredible how much good he was able to spread, making people laugh every step of the way. He has even written a book to help others going through a similar battle. The book is titled The Funny Thing About Cancer, and you can order here.

 

He will be missed by all.

 

 

 

Jeanne Lottie – A Timeless Toronto Gem

Jeanne Lottie – A Timeless Toronto Gem

In the world of fashion passing the test of time is a real feat. When a company celebrates its first year in business and continues on it’s quite impressive. When a company celebrates 5 years it must be doing something right, and 10 is a real achievement. Now fast forward another 20 years, and you get the beautiful, and proudly Canadian, Jeanne Lottie. Jeanne Lottie, which celebrates its 30 year anniversary on April 1st 2015, is a unique brand of handbags with the most diverse customer base, and truly something for everyone.

   Jl purses 2

A  Schulich School of Business grad, Jane had an innate creativity that just couldn’t be tamed. Armed with her creative mind and business savvy, Jane and her sister Charlotte began what is now a true Toronto staple.

The name Jeannie Lottie is derived from the names of the 2 original founders Jane and Charlotte, and coincidentally means true happiness in Chinese. I had the pleasure of speaking with  Jane, and learning more about Jeanne Lottie.

jane-photo-200x300

How did you get started? Why handbags?

At the time, in 1985, there was a void in the market. Everything was so boring! I wanted to create fun handbags – I wanted to create my own unique designs. I love to sketch and experiment with different colours, fabrics, and textures, and our technicians help bring my visions to life.

What was your biggest challenge starting out?

Stores thinking that we were too different. They’d say our purses were wonderful window pieces but not ones to be sold. I guess the window pieces drew the customers in after all!

What makes Jeanne Lottie different today?

We are located in a pink house, where we are girly yet polishes, fun yet stylish, and accessible. You can walk out with 5 bags and still be happy, because you didn’t break the bank!

JL purse 2

 

Do you find yourself governed by current trends?

No, actually I think that sets us apart too. I don’t follow trends too closely but somehow we get it right…maybe I’m psychic?

Where do you draw inspiration?

You, everything around me, everything around us! Inspiration is everywhere.

What strikes you most now that the brand is 30?

We’ve always had customers of all ages – ranging 8-80! But now we’re seeing the next generation of handbag lovers. We’re seeing moms that used to buy handbags when they were little girls, come in with their daughters. It’s so encouraging!

Who is your fashion icon?

Betsey Johnson &  Audrey Hepburn mixed

That description of Jane’s fashion icon captures perfectly the Jeanne Lottie aesthetic!

Nestled in the heart of Yorkville, in a pink house, you can’t miss this not-so-hidden gem.  You can also find Jeanne Lottie in Browns Shoes, Capezio, at the CN Tower, and select Shoppers Drug Marts. Speaking from experience you’re sure to get compliments on your arm candy  everywhere you go!

Jl purses 1

 

xoxo

 

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As seen in POP News Magazine

The Beautiful Heart of MaLu

The Beautiful Heart of MaLu

As seen in POP News Magazine‘s March edition:

It’s not every day the words inspiring, ‎stylish, innovative, and beautiful are used together, but that exactly what comes to mind when I think of Maria Luisa – founder of MaLu.

Maria is a high school teacher with a passion for community and humanity. Having seen first hand some of her students come to school hungry, she knew that it was no way to learn and she just had to do something about it. She started the “Start Me Up” breakfast program in her school. The program began with $500 and many local businesses eager to help, and grew to become the model school for the Toronto District School Board’s nutrition program, and resulting in a $100K grant from Sun Life Financial to help expand it.

Unfortunately the school where this initiative began had to close, which was “detrimental” since there was more work to be done. Not one to wallow, Maria took her passion and energy and devoted it wholeheartedly to MaLu where she continues to make a difference by donating 5% of all sales to local charities. Read more

An Interview With Josh!

An Interview With Josh!

Good Morning Lovelies!

In this week’s giveaway we’re going to do things a little differently – backwards, if you will. I already know who the winner is, in fact I’m going to tell you all about him. I had the privilege of talking to Josh Haddon who’s a hilarious guy, and at the age of only 29 he’s a serial entrepreneur, comedian, comedy club owner, public speaker, writer, and in his own words “fighting cancer like a boss”. In this week’s Giveaway Malu will be making a custom pair of shoes for Josh.

“Life looked at me and said, ‘you can’t possibly be this happy, and be living your dream, doing what you love’ and it gave me cancer.” Josh says. Being a comedian and possessing the gift-of-the-gab he makes light of any situation, and is able to lift spirits anywhere he goes. When it comes to having cancer, Josh says “I thought it would be hypocritical if I didn’t deal with this like I deal with everything else – with humour and with laughter, and help laugh in the face of one of the toughest times” This talent to connect with people made Josh number one on Reddit’s Ask Me anything, beating out celebrities to grab the first spot. Hundreds if not thousands of people approached Josh with personal questions, or curiosities, seeking help advice and answers. This made Josh realized that through his words he can be helping thousands of people – Cancer patients and their families. And so, his book The Funny Thing About Cancer was born. He hopes to be able to finish it and distribute it to 1,000 cancer centers across Canada, and I think we can help.

There was a crowdfunding campaign done already, but the goal is not yet reached, so today I wanted to tell you about Josh & his book. And if his cause so moves you, do consider pitching in!

During my interview with Josh we chatted about traveling, fashion, and dreams. Here’s a look into that conversation:

(ME) Did you always want to be a comedian?

(J) I always wanted to be on stage. I couldn’t sing, and I was a lousy guitar player, so comedy it was! I hated public speaking though… but I always liked a challenge. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? So in grade 8 I gave it a go.

Was your first attempt successful?

It was awful! Awful! But you have to create a habit. The more I did it the more comfortable I became with it. Now I am a public speaker, and I love it. I feel comfortable speaking with anyone.

What motivated you to push past your fears in grade 8?

I think I wanted to impress girls! Also the naysayers, or ‘haters’ as we call them in 2015. Whenever someone says I can’t do something it pushes me to prove them wrong.

Was your career a straight path into Comedy?

I used to run a timeshare company in my early twenties, and I was very financially successful at it. It became the biggest timeshare company in Canada, but it was so stressful. To the point that I ended up having a stroke at the age of 25. The stress wasn’t worth it, and it wasn’t my passion. So I sold the company and went back to comedy. I started writing for blogs here and there, and did some gigs. Eventually I decided to open my own comedy club in Windsor, Ontario .

What are 5 things you want to accomplish this year?

  1. Well not die would be number 1.
  2. I want to finish my book, and be able to distribute it to cancer centers across Canada for free.
  3. I want to be able to raise enough money to help my parents financially.
  4. Get back on the road and do speaking engagements.
  5. And I want to travel to Asia – to Vietnam, Thailand, Fiji, Philippines, and I want to backpack across it.

What was the number one question you were asked on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything?

People wanted to know how I have such a positive attitude. Many also asked me how to connect with their friend, uncle etc. who has cancer – how to approach it, and what to talk about. To which my answer is: Be candid. Just be genuine. Everyone is different but to me candidness is the most important.

This being a fashion blog, I have to ask, where do you stand when it comes to fashion:

I actually think that fashion is important! It’s your sense of identity. As much as I hate to place importance on materialistic things, it’s about the first impression people get of you, and the first thing they notice. New clothes or a new pair of kicks can make you feel really good!

Beards and Man-buns?

Oh you mean lumber-sexuals? Whatever works man! If it makes you feel good, and makes your life easier because you leave your house with your head held high – that’s great. Are we really going to end the interview on lumber-sexuals?

YUP 🙂


 

Thank you to all of you for reading and following the blog along. Talking to Josh puts a smile on your face, and I hope that he’ll be able to touch as many lives with his positivity as possible. Let’s help Josh do that, and bring The Funny Thing About Cancer to 1000 cancer clinics across Canada.

So go ahead and peruse through Josh’s website and social media and see what you learn! Share your thoughts in the comments below, let’s get a conversation going.

One person will be randomly selected from the comments below, and the shoes for Josh will be presented on your behalf!!

xoxo

Subscribe, and follow along Twitter and Facebook 🙂

And be sure to Visit http://designsbymalu.com/

Preloved’s Julia Grieve talks success!

Preloved’s Julia Grieve talks success!

Julia Grieve, the beautiful fashionable and successful woman behind Preloved, was generous enough to sit down with me for a chat where she let me pick her brain. Having started her own business at a very young age, Julia definitely knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship!

“When I started my business I was young and not afraid of anything. Ignorance can truly be bliss! I knew exactly what I wanted and I went after it. I, of course, could not have done it without the support we got from the city, without my family, or without my modelling experience.”

She credits her attention to detail and meticulous eye for fit to her career as an international model.

“Wearing some of the most expensive brands in the world teaches you about how clothing should fit, and feel.”

Read more

Gather Adventures! A Not-So-Hidden Gem

Gather Adventures! A Not-So-Hidden Gem

I have discovered a new gem, and although this store has been around for years now, it was a first for me because I have never been to Bowmanville before. Bowmanville is about 45 min East of the city, and it sure looks like I’ll be coming back!

The store I’m talking about is Gather, and it is the cutest boutique I have been to! All of the items are hand selected by the lovely Karen, and are all unique in their own right.

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

How pretty is she?!

Karen doesn’t buy entire lines necessarily, or even outfits that are meant to be worn together. She uses her personal style, intuition, and love of fabulous things to source individual pieces that will appeal to her customers.

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareWhat I personally loved about this store, aside from the fact that it’s huge and you feel like a kid in a candy store, is the fact that as different and unique as the items are they are not outrageous and you can picture yourself wearing everything. There is an interesting story when it comes to every piece in the store. If you pick Karen’s brain she can tell you where everything was made and how it found its place into her store. The prices are not cheap but are completely affordable, and definitely reflect the excellent quality! Not to mention that the chances of someone else wearing the same outfit are slim!

Karen and I had a blast trying on a bunch of awesome outfits, and of course I couldn’t leave the store empty handed…

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

It was a damask & jacquard kind of day…
Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareGather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareGather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare  This sweater was super comfy and had this great detail in the back:Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

And to add to all of the aforementioned awesomeness, there are quotes displayed all around the store, adding to the feel-good experience:

inspirational quotes in Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareKaren - Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

I had a total blast shopping at Gather. Karen, thank you for spending the afternoon and sharing your wonderful store with me!

Ladies, I highly recommend you check this place out! Fellas, there is an incredibly comfy chair for you at Gather!

xoxo