Category Archives: Jewellery

WALK THE AISLES WITH ME @ THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S SHOW, TORONTO

What a fun weekend I’ve had…yesterday it was The Gem Expo and today – the National Women’s Show in downtown Toronto www.nationalwomenshow.com/toronto-visitor.  I arrived around 10:30am at the Metro Convention Centre (south bldg) to find it was already jam-packed with visitors (see below), all enjoying the food samples, cosmetic freebies, fashion styling advice, home accessories, financial advice…all manner of information for the woman on the go. Join me as I take you on a virtual stroll along the aisles and meet some of the vendors who impressed me this year….20171112_102927The first booth to catch my eye was www.snobstuff.com who displayed these stunning candle covers, some of which were made into electric lamps, too.20171112_103247And although I was surrounded by bling yesterday, I still had time to stop by and admire these sparklies at www.ThePinkTreeCouture.com!20171112_103418 20171112_103443I always have time for fudge! Here’s the lady from www.oldenglishfudge.com  No wonder she’s smiling…it was deelish!20171112_103814 20171112_103819I then met Anne of Anne’s Bespoke Cookie Delights, who bakes the most yummy cookies, all made to order including the “heart-pop” cookie on a stick (pictured below). She’s part of a bakers’ collective here in Toronto and she takes great pride in speedy deliveries for her cookie clients. www.caniwantsomeyummy.ca 20171112_104213 20171112_104203 20171112_104219Next we have Veneise George who was sampling her Yawdi’s spicy marinades and jellies.  www.yawdi.ca 20171112_104453 20171112_104531What a delight to meet designer Kaela Kay whose fashions incorporate many fabrics from her homeland, Ghana. Suck beautiful, vivid colours – perfect for brightening up the Toronto winter blahs! www.kaelakay.com20171112_10490220171112_104906The NYDJ jeans lady told me just how comfortable they are to wear – you can tell from her smile she’s happy!  They’re now available from The Bay, Nordstrom’s and other stores in Canada.20171112_105306 20171112_105312 20171112_105319And now…presenting the Laraglam Collection! Wow…every girl should have a sparkly blinged out bra like this, yes?  Why not pick out your own at www.laraglam.com20171112_105544 20171112_105612Meet the lady herself, Miss Lara (pictured above) who was just as sparkly as her collection and eager to share her designs with me. I’ll let her tell you all about her goodies herself…

20171112_110035Here’s Ashley from www.fashiontruckcanada.com. What a great idea – a movable feast of fab fashionable finds. 20171112_110549(0) 20171112_110733Big shout-out to the women officers from Peel Regional Police who were on-site to promote careers in policing as well as do a little community relations work. Bravo, ladies, and thank you for your service.20171112_110840Look what I found – brand new drinkies for the health-conscious! www.CraftyElk.com takes fresh exotic fruits then blends them with vodka to make these three deelish drinks. Very low in sugar and certified organic. Mike, the fellow in red (below) is a fellow Aussie, so I just had to stop and try some…..OMG, so yummy. Available now at your local LCBO.20171112_111221_001 20171112_111834Then Founder and CEO of Crafty Elk, Greg Gilliland, came by so I grabbed him for a quick interview….

Hic….hic! After imbibing several shots of my new fave drink, I turned the corner to find yet another great boozy booth, this time the folks at Wyborowa Vodka – the best ambassador Poland ever had!  Look for it in your LCBO store or online at www.wybo.com 20171112_112343 20171112_112449The Lavish Bath Company was well represented at the show – just look at these fun “bubble bars”, soaps and their great Christmas gift ideas.  www.LavishBathCompany.com20171112_112927 20171112_112935 20171112_113000Now for something hot’n’spicy – Cool Runnings Foods offered a wide selection of tastings featuring marinades, seasonings, mustards and more. Check out their full line at www.coolrunningsfoods.com and look for them in your grocery store.20171112_113253 20171112_113123 20171112_113113The ladies at the www.TKFursAccessories.com booth were so welcoming … and fun! And owner Tina Koumandaros (pictured below on the left) is generously donating 10% of net sales to support CAMH for mental health research. Bravo, Tina!20171112_113718 20171112_113745(0)According to the TK ladies, fuzzy furry balls (pictured above) are the hottest purse accessory for young fashion-fwd women and they certainly brought a great selection to the show.

Glow Academy – school of professional artistic beauty – was well represented and visitors got to sit down and have a fab make-up make-over!  If you’re interested in learning more about a career in beauty, check out their website www.glow-academy.ca 20171112_113945I’m always interested in learning about anything therapeutic for horses or dogs andI ran into Lisa Vandenberg (below left) a doTERRA Wellness advocate and owner of www.hopeandhealingways.com. She offers essential oils for use on equines, dogs and cats.  Her colleage, Koon Fu Lee (lower picture) also works with dogs, healing thru various therapies and using Kangen Water which helps detoxify your furry friends. Find out more at www.waterandhealth.ca20171112_114416 20171112_114606(0)www.natures-source.com had a huge booth offering all sorts of effective natural alternatives to pharmaceutical potions for healing and supporting health deficiencies. I’m definitely going to check them out for help with my gut (been on Nexium for too many years) as well as my allergies and asthma.20171112_115814 20171112_115906Ship ahoy! Here’s Capt. Matthew Flinders (any good Aussie will know who he was) who was promoting Mariposa Cruises. I was aboard the Capt. Matthew Flinders boat when it was first brought to Toronto’s Harbourfront many years ago, and during the summer months, I frequently play hooky and take a quick mid-week harbour & island cruise on their little boat, the Oriole, just to clear my head and get away from the loud traffic noises at Yonge & Bloor. Always a lot of fun and very affordable.  www.mariposacruises.com20171112_120127 20171112_120215Time for a quick nibble and I was lured into the KFI booth by the fragrant aroma of curry! Yummmmm.  You can purchase their deelish sauces from your grocery store or check out their products at www.kfisauces.com20171112_120413 20171112_120419And speaking of spicy…I found my new food addiction – SHANA Foods naan and samosas! www.shanafoods.com 20171112_120816I even got to dance with the friendly SHANA booth staff, too! Bhangra music anyone?

Now for a little beauty treat for myself…big thank you to Lynn Cartwright, N. American Business Mgr of Gold Collagen, which will soon be available in Canadian pharmacies. www.gold-collagen.com offers all sorts of wonderful face tightening, hydrating and detoxing masks and serums and Lynn and her colleagues gave me some samples which I will definitely be using. 20171112_12134620171112_12135120171112_121412(0)Here’s Lynn (above left) who is a brilliant walking billboard for her product.

And speaking of beauty, these handsome fellas are from Rodan+Fields which offers life-changing skin care in a variety of products (perfect for my aging outer layers…LOL). I met consultants Bill (left) and John Joseph (right) last year at the Nat’l Women’s Show, just before they headed off to Australia to intro the products to that int’l market.20171112_122527Here are some of the Rodan+Fields products – check their website for info at www.holygrailforskin.com20171112_122544 20171112_122549 20171112_122553(0) 20171112_122633I’m all for learning more about wealth mgmn’t and investing, and you couldn’t ask for a friendlier team than the gang at the Edward Jones booth. Like most freelancers, I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to money (just try getting paid on time each month by clients…urgh!) so I’m sure they can offer me some great advice for retaining and growing at least a small investment portfolio – I really need some serious $s for that old folks home in my near future LOL!  www.edwardjones.ca20171112_124239(0)And while we’re on the subject of ageing, I was pleased to see this booth promoting in-home assistance to those suffering with dementia and Alzheimers. It’s a US-concept that has now come to Canada. You gotta check out services they offer to assist and enrich the lives of our elderly loved ones. www.SeniorHelpers.ca20171112_125142_001 20171112_125223So I was finally pooped out…exhausted…after two and a half hours of walking the aisles and ready for home and a cup of my favourite Lapsang Suchong tea. I hope you like this virtual visit to the National Women’s Show here in Toronto – hope to see you there next year.  Here are a few more sights from the last day of the show.20171112_113913 20171112_111109 20171112_113434 20171112_115056 20171112_114238 20171112_121133

20171111_124320

INTO THE HEART OF SPARKLE! TORONTO’S GEM EXPO RUNS NOV.10-12 @ HYATT HOTEL ON KING ST W.

Thanks to an invitation from event Founder SALIM MOORANI, I attended THE GEM EXPO at the Hyatt Hotel on King St West this afternoon and I was in sparkle heaven! All the vendors in the showroom proudly displayed their gemstones, jewellery designs, pearls, amber, even ancient fossils and meteorites as well as large geodes and crystal “forests”.  I recommend you hurry on down tomorrow (Sunday Nov.12) and check out the stunning, glittery treasures yourself. Here’s Salim to tell you all about it himself….

The Gem Expo is a showcase for designers as well as suppliers of precious and semi-precious stones, silver or gold settings for those who create their own designs. I was astounded by the range of stones available and that several of the exhibitors had traveled from half-way around the world. There are 3 such shows each year and the next one is in March so if you miss this one, definitely come out to the next show. Here is just a small sample of what I saw (and added to my Santa wish-list!)… 20171111_120245 20171111_120941_001Look what I found at Crystal Palace (www.crystal-palaces.com) – below. All sorts of yummy amethyst chunks as well as some fossils and bigger geodes. And they were presenting jewellery-making classes behind the booth.20171111_12152420171111_121228I then visited Fossils Plus (below) showcasing cool treasures from millions of years ago, including giant sharks’ teeth!20171111_12071820171111_120727Kelly from Sacred Gemstone proudly showed off her supply of beautifully tumbled stones as well as her ready-to-wear designs (below). I love the vibrant blue of the lapis lazuli, one of my all-time favourite stones that originates in Afghanistan. www.sacredgemstone.com 20171111_121600 20171111_121619 20171111_121631 20171111_121703And now here’s Anna from AmberLink, who designs beautiful rich amber pieces with silver. Just check out that gorgeous necklace she’s wearing…wow! She also offers amber-lovers some vintage pieces that date back to pre-WWII…you can see the different quality and type of amber used back then (3rd pic, below)  www.amberlink.com20171111_12191520171111_12175920171111_121947And here’s some more lapis lazuli for me, plus some pretty in pink stones that make me think of bacon (I don’t know why…LOL)20171111_12272920171111_122824

20171111_122746I was pleasantly surprised to find a Bali-based jeweller showcasing her designs at the show.  Shankari incorporates fine gems, pearls, gold and silver into pieces designed for soul enrichment as well as fashion statement pieces – pendants, earrings, bracelets and cuffs – I was enchanted.  Based in Bali, Indonesia, this is the first time these designs have been showcased in Canada but you can order online here: www.shankari.com20171111_123529 20171111_123538 20171111_124131www.Gempremium.com really knows how to stop a girl in her tracks! I took one look at these stunning South Seas pearls and I was in love. Manager Pascal told me about the sources for each type of pearl (I’ve always been partial to the black Tahitian ones) and quality levels. Just look at these lush baubles (below) and you can even pick your own pearls and have their on-site jeweller set them in one of their gold or silver settings (bottom pic)20171111_12431620171111_12433320171111_124537Gemologist Amanda Hamilton of Earthy Girl Designs had a wonderful array of necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings as well as a great selection of Arizona turquoise, something I really like myself.  She doesn’t have a website but do watch for her at gem shows – she’ll be back for the March Gem Expo.20171111_12473120171111_12485720171111_124908Now here’s something I did not know….Ethiopia has been producing some of the world’s finest opals, rivaling the beauty of Australian opals (I’m an Aussie so I have to stay faithfull). Suzanne and Francois of Opalex from Quebec shared their knowledge of these new African opals, many of which have a rich golden firey colour. I really liked the unique strands of opal beads (bottom pic) – they were “delicious”! They don’t have a website either but watch for Opalex and the next Gem Expo.20171111_125359 20171111_125355 20171111_125240Dara Jane Loomis of Dara Jane Jewellery (Montreal) introduced me to some great statement pieces, including the bright green peridot necklaces (pics 2 & 3). I really liked the one with tiny tiger eye stones (3rd pic) and I’ve added that one to my Santa list (I’ve been a really good girl this year and I deserve it!) Looks like I started a small crush of shoppers with all my oo’ing and aah’ing! You can order your fave piece online at www.darajanejewellery.com20171111_125923 20171111_130007 20171111_130024 20171111_130445Sonatona supplies great gemstones to designers and they certainly brought their A game to Gem Expo! Just look at this selection…wow! You can purchase via their eBay online store: www.stores.ebay.com/sonatona 

20171111_13061320171111_13061720171111_130622Meet Shelley Sullivan of ShelleysStoneworks.etsy.com  who I found busy working on another piece. Shelly is a “wire artist” (not high wire, tho…LOL) – see her delicate pendants below. Definitely a great Christmas present for that friend who loves fab jewellery.20171111_130736(0) 20171111_130743 20171111_130817Now here’s something unexpected…hey all you rock-n-rollers, do I have a cool mascot for your band! Vicki of Inner Circle showcased her awesome skull carvings in various stones. If you can’t make it out to the show, she’s having an open house at her Toronto studio on Dec. 3rd so check out her website for details: www.shopinnercircle.ca20171111_131120 20171111_131102Vicki also presented a number of sparkly amethyst geodes….OMG, I want one of those, too!20171111_131236Straight out of BC, here are the very unique “crystal forests” dug from the earth and presented in their raw form as well as hand-crafted in jewellery pieces.  Check out www.forestcrystals.com for more info20171111_131402 20171111_131445More sights from The GemExpo….20171111_130830 20171111_12250420171111_131642Salim told me about the show’s commitment to supporting local charities and this year, Feed it Forward, offering nutritious meals to the city’s homeless, will benefit from the silent auction which is located at the entrance to the showroom. All sorts of lovely jewellery is on offer (see a small selection below) so please check it out and place a bid. www.feeditforward.ca20171111_133348For more information about this show and upcoming 2018 shows visit www.TheGemExpo.com and I encourage you to drop in say hello to Salim at his brand new store, Hamsa Heaven, located at 1600 Gerrard St East. Tell him Glenda sent you!  You can also purchase your gemstones at his other store, www.BlueSapphireBeads.com20171111_182130

Thank you to all the vendors who welcomed me to their booths!

20170713_133828

MY LATEST VISIT TO PORT HOPE ENDS WITH A TRANSFORMER AND T-REX! HUH?

I took my friend, artist Nancy Bennett, to Port Hope (my “spiritual home”) today where I introduced her to my fave cafe & bakery, bling store, boutiques and flower shop, ending with a quick visit to Primitive Designs on the outskirts of town where giant metal dinosaurs roam and a huge Transformer greets visitors. So come along for a virtual visit with us…… 20170713_112639Driving into Port Hope, we made straight for the Ganaraska River (above) that rushed through the genteel little town where fat lazy Canada Geese waddled and wobbled leaving a rather unsightly trail of poo…oops, watch where you’re walking Nancy.20170713_11241320170713_112406Our first port of call, as always, was Queenie’s Bake Shop where today we enjoyed coffee, tea and sticky buns, courtesy of chef/owner Adam and his charming server (below)20170713_115627 20170713_112915…then once we’d polished off all that, we popped next door to visit the super fabulous Kenneth Bell in his jewellery & accessories store. Kenneth supplies hundreds of boutiques across the country with their bling and baubles. He was already busy entertaining two other lovely ladies, Helene (below L) and Nancee (below R).20170713_113746What a warm welcome….and it just so happened that he was starting a 50-80% off sale so talk about perfect timing! Nancy and I dove right in and found some lovely sparklies…  www.kennethbell.com20170713_120538 20170713_120952Nancy found a great pair of sunglasses for her daughter on the rack of shades (below)…20170713_120958 20170713_121014And I loved these stylish silk embroidered clutch purses (below) from the Far East with tiny tassels and charms.20170713_120947Bidding adieu to Ken, we then headed up Walton St to a relatively new boutique called Turquoise where we found multiple pretty pieces that would look good in our closets!  www.Facebook.com/TurquoiseBoutiques20170713_123030 20170713_122943 20170713_122845Then into Flourish, another new shop…. www.flourishfashions.com20170713_124414….and Nancy’s eye was caught by a beautiful green lightweight top, perfect for wearing over a camisole or tank top. What do you think…should she buy it?20170713_123400Well, she did! A perfect top for an upcoming art expo where she knows she’ll get a tad chilly in her booth. Big thanks for her warm hospitality to owner Julie Pandoff (below) and congrats on such a lovely boutique. I then spied the sock rack…wow, these are too cool!20170713_124126 20170713_124215…and I loved these two tunics (below) that could hide a multitude of my caloric sins…LOL!20170713_124357Past the flower shop, we trekked further up Walton St where I discovered yet another fab new store…20170713_124436 20170713_124446….Dwellissimo, a beautifully presented vintage furniture store that was a treasure trove of mid-century modern. Oh my, I was in heaven!   www.dwellissimo.com20170713_124903_001 20170713_124827 20170713_124922 20170713_125139I really really really want this red horse lamp. Hey, Santa, make note of this one, okay? You never brought me that pony I asked for when I was 6 so now’s the time to make up for that glaring omission.

As we wound down our Port Hope walkabout, Nancy and I popped into the Art Gallery of Northumberland shop on Queen St, and found these beautifully crafted works of art….20170713_131201 20170713_131207 20170713_131215 20170713_131336We enjoyed a quick late lunch at Jim’s Pizza but we were both too hungry to even think about a photo so we just gobbled it all up. But we both recommend Jim’s for a great Italian nosh! www.jimsporthope.ca

In between rain showers, we made it down to the lakefront beach…er, where’s the beach? Due to high water levels, the beach, the kid’s playground and picnic area were all complete submerged. Yikes!

One last drive thru town….20170713_131704….then off to visit Primitive Designs, a very strange, wonderful and fantastic series of barns, tents and outbuildings devoted to exotic imports. Located a little N.E. of town, you cannot miss this place – you’re greeted by a Transformer and a herd of huge metallic dinosaurs – yep, talk about eye-catching.20170713_151850 20170713_151655 20170713_151725Thank goodness this happy little Buddha watched over us as we left the car park…I was gettin’ scared!20170713_151810You gotta go visit in person to truly appreciate the weird, wild, wackiness of this place.  www.primitivedesignscanada.com

So there we are, another trip to Port Hope done and dusted! If you would like to learn more about this friendly small town that offers big entertainment, sports, shopping and dining, you can visit their tourism office for more information and directions:  www.visitporthope.ca  and tell them Glenda sent you!

14650318_10153901365985808_8384337639760308233_n

GLORIA BASS CELEBRATES SUCCESSFUL TORONTO TRUNK SHOW WITH CELEBRITY VISITORS

Last Sunday & Monday, Montreal-based jewellery designer, GLORIA BASS, welcomed celebrity visitors from the Canadian music industry and theatre, capping off her 2-day Christmas trunk show held in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville village. She brought her unique designs made from 18kt gold and the finest precious stones and pearls to a special “pop-up” gallery, just in time for Christmas.20161128_125530

2016 Grammy-nominated Canadian flutist and composer RON KORB (above right) dropped in with his wife, Jade (above centre, with Gloria’s assistant Marie-Josée at left), to check out potential red carpet gems for next Spring’s awards season (Ron may be nominated again in 2017). Having been photographed by the world’s entertainment media when they walked this year’s Grammy red carpet in Los Angeles, Jade & Ron know the importance of wearing just the right accessories to make an impact and Gloria’s stunning, unique designs will definitely make an impression.20161128_130350-1 20161128_131255 20161128_131307 IMG_2395-1-sJade tried on some lovely freshwater pearls (above) and listened as Marie-Josée explained the handcrafting process of one particular white gold necklace featuring black Tahitian pearls, diamonds and rubies…wow!

Jade also loved the 18kt gold & diamond necklace (pictured with Gloria, below), part of a special line designed for Canada’s Remembrance Day programme in the form of poppies.20161128_131448-120161127_105054A little later that same day artist, playwright and actor PHILIP CAIRNS (below) dropped in – Philip  has recently been nominated for a Broadway World Theatre Award and was looking for something with which to make a splash at the upcoming ceremony. Marie-Josée showed Philip a number of pieces but he soon spotted a stunning Prasiolite & ruby pendant in 18kt gold that he thought would make a fabulous accessory to his awards tux…and it seems that Gloria thinks so, too!20161128_16061420161128_163210 20161128_163329Several established clients of Gloria’s dropped into the pop-up store located on Yorkville’s Bellair St, and considering the number of sales, me thinkst Santa is gonna need a bigger sleigh this year!

Gloria would like to thank everyone who dropped into her Toronto trunk show and she looks forward to welcoming new clients via her online gallery. If you would like to see more of her beautiful designs and one-of-a-kind handcrafted works, please visit her website: www.gloriabassdesign.com

In the meantime, here are a few more sparkly gems to whet your appetite including my fave earrings (centre pic) featuring Tourmalines and Diamonds in 18kt gold, and the perfectly matched string of delicate pink “ombre” pearls (bottom).banner1 tourmaline and diamonds 2c30e9fd96eba8f2ea2f72188f9cec1d20161128_130451

20161127_110514

DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS AND PEARLS, OH MY! GLORIA BASS BRINGS HER AWARD-WINNING DESIGNS TO YORKVILLE TRUNK SHOW – TODAY IS LAST DAY!

On Sunday Nov. 27th, Montreal-based award-winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS launched her 2-day Christmas trunk show at 24 Bellair St in Yorkville, Toronto, and oh my, what wonderful bright sparkly treasures she showcased! Like the stunning Labradorite necklace above, each piece is unique and hand-crafted by Gloria and her goldsmiths so if you’re looking for a little luxury for this year’s festive season (or any season!), please drop in todayMonday Nov. 28th, between 10am and 5pm to experience the ultimate in bling!  Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll see……20161127_10451620161127_10493320161127_10583120161127_10493820161127_104649Gloria only uses the finest quality gemstones sourced from around the world and works in 18kt gold; she also works with exquisite pearls from the south seas, Tahiti and freshwater or cultured pearls from Japan.  You can see more of her innovative designs on her website:  www.gloriabassdesign.com  She also works on commission, as well as custom bridal pieces.20161127_11010520161127_11012120161127_11043020161127_104535As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of pearls and Gloria has created a special “ombre”style design (below) with perfectly matched Tahitian and South Seas pearls….what do you think of these beauties?20161127_110227There are many different pieces featuring South Seas, cultured or fresh water pearls set with precious stones in 18kt gold from which to choose…20161127_11571320161127_105029

20161127_105023You simply MUST come in to see these treasures in person.  You will not find Gloria Bass Design jewellery in any department stores so today is your last chance to view work from one of Canada’s leading designers. Again, 24 Bellair St, Yorkville (close to Bay & Bloor) from 10am until 5pm. Cash, credit card or debit.

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

20161127_11040120161127_10580620161127_11001620161127_11014520161127_110254

nationalwomenshow-logo

COME WALK THE AISLES OF TORONTO’S NATIONAL WOMEN’S SHOW WITH ME….

Thanks to KJ Mullins, publisher of the web-based NEWZ4U.ca news portal, I was granted a media pass to explore the National Women’s Show today and wow, what a blast I had!  Arriving just before the doors were open to the public, I was able to get a running start (I soon slowed to a plod as I got weighed down by samples and freebies) on the thousands of “civilian” attendees so sit back, relax, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy this virtual tour.

My first stop was the charming HRH Custom Creations booth where I met Amy and say her beautifully made metal signs and butterflies. www.hrhcustomcreations.com20161104_105702(0)Then next up I was drawn into the Sweets Canada booth where Sam Dhutia and his pretty assistant let me sample some of their flower-infused artisan chocolate. Sam gave me a box of Q’bites with milk chocolate and black licorice and a deelish bar of Dark Chocolate/Cranberry with Lavender petals to bring home and I just had my first bite….OMG – yummm. Check out their range of edible flower & chocolate treats here: www.sweetscanada.com 20161104_110107 20161104_110111 20161104_110116I love the Happy Bees Honey man (below) who was so pleased to sample his yummy treats. I caved in a bought a jar – I’ll probably christen it tomorrow on my breakfast toast. Based in Welland, Ontario, his busy winged workers feast on wildflowers so their products are naturally sweet and oh so good for you.  www.happybeesapiary.ca20161104_111008 20161104_111202Across the aisle, I found products courtesy of African “killer bees”! Yikes….the lip balm was actually quite lovely and they also offered great little stocking stuffers such as beeswax candles and mini honey jars (see below) www.africanbronzehoney.com20161104_111549 20161104_111607I was intrigued by the Enright Cattle Co. booth (below) showcasing their fashionably rugged leather bags, totes and purses. The cattle farm based in Tweed uses the hides from their beef beasties and, as a meat-eater, I was all in favour of this company’s “use every part” philosophy.  www.enrightcattlecompany.com20161104_112235 20161104_112253I then met entrepreneur Eriver Muwanguzi who is introducing African jewellery and fashion designers to Toronto through his company, Tofara  www.tofara.com  He showed me unique handcrafted pieces from various countries and I was blown away by these statement pieces (below).20161104_112628 20161104_112637 20161104_112700I had some fun schmoozing with the “ladies in blue” – officers from the Peel Region Police Recruiting dept. Yes, I was tempted to sign on but I hardly think they’d want this grumpy old broad patrolling their precinct…LOL20161104_112826CwbcafRWgAAAJYRHave you ever visited the Ste. Anne’s Spa and Bakery? Just a short train ride or drive from Toronto, you can experience relaxation in the country with spa treatments, skin products and now a healthy gluten-free bakery. And if these jovial staff (below) are any indication, it’s a very happy place to visit.  www.steannes.com20161104_113713 20161104_11372120161104_113757Nice to see Veronica of www.iloveisola.com jewelry at the show – her handcrafted bracelets and necklaces use semi-precious stones and each has an energy or healing component.20161104_113836(0)Unikati & Co. offers handcrafted toys, bags, jewellery and all sorts of lovely things, all made by people in areas of conflict, war survivors, rural families, hunger project workers…every piece has a story to tell from around the world. www.unikati.ca20161104_114010 20161104_114023 20161104_114125The lovely ladies of Lazizza explained their ultimate shapewear collection (move over, Spanx, these Canuck girls have got you beat!) to me and I may be calling on them soon so I can look fab during all the Christmas celebrations. Check them out yourself: www.lazizzashapewear.com 20161104_115212 20161104_115201 20161104_115408Invocation (below) is a First Nations aromatherapy company offering home fragrance and perfumes made from natural organic or wildcrafted ingredients. The range of fragrances enhance your mood, increase energy or can relax and soothe.  www.invocation.ca 20161104_12224720161104_122241 20161104_122255Here are a few random shots taken around the showroom….20161104_123243 20161104_111832 20161104_113304Here’s something a little different but oh so comfortable, esp. if you’re built like moi! The Breast Rest garment replaces your typical underwire bra (ouch!) and makes hangin’ round the house really comfortable. The cotton lycra Comfort Support System is fully customizable to your body shape and is designed as a solution to the discomforts of the traditional bra. It has pillow-like support and revolutionary design which provides the comfort and support for which you have been yearning.  www.thebreastrest.com20161104_123731 20161104_123734 20161104_123744

As soon as I saw the word “Australia” I knew I had to stop and find out more about the Rodan + Fields Anti-Aging products (below). I spoke with John and Bill (OMG, their faces were as smooth as a baby’s bum) and they kindly gave me a “personal pamper pack” filled with all sorts of potions, lotions, unctions and serums to try at home. The products are beautifully packaged and promise clinically proven skincare and anti-aging results. They are introducing the line to Australia next year so I’m emailing friends and family back home to watch out for it. Check out John and Bill’s website for details: www.holygrailforskin.com20161104_125905 20161104_125911 20161104_125919Now here’s something different – the Divorce Angels is a resource network for those going through the divorce process. Having had several friends go through the trauma of separating their families over the past 20yrs, I know how much they would have appreciated this support. www.thedivorceangels.com  Pictured below left, Marni Sky is co-founder and she also featured a lovely collection of handcrafted empowerment bracelets created by a member of this unique support group.

20161104_131759 20161104_131810As I was leaving, exhausted and hungry (I couldn’t even get near the food sampling booths due to huge crowds), I made one last stop at the Children of Hope Uganda booth. I so wanted the stunning purple and orange handwoven basket pictured below, but I settled for 2 cute pink bead elephant keychains and a pair of handmade bead earrings in the same colour as the basket. www.childrenofhopeuganda.org/shop20161104_132556(0) 20161104_132523 20161104_132534I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the National Women’s Show – and what a wonderful show it is this year. I spent over 3hrs there and still had more stuff to see, hear, watch. The show runs until Sunday night so hopefully you’ll consider a visit yourself over the weekend.  Located in the South bldg of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, here’s the link to information and tickets: http://www.nationalwomenshow.com/en/toronto/visitor/20161104_124047

Amethyst and Tahitian pearls

AWARD-WINNING JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS TO PRESENT CHRISTMAS TRUNK SHOW IN TORONTO

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Montreal-based, award winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS (pictured below R with her assistant Marie-Josee) who was hosting a special 2-day spring trunk show here in Toronto.20160515_133859(0)Her sumptuous big statement necklaces, delicate stacking rings, ballsy bracelets and elegant pieces featuring stunning Tahitian pearls in a rainbow of natural colours captivated my imagination…..I wanted to play dress up: perhaps as a Maharani or a Tsarina, a princess or the queen of the south seas, perhaps? Oh, the feel of the cool gemstones and 18kt gold against my skin transported me to exotic lands as my imagination ran riot!

A glass of chilled champagne and shared laughter soon brought me back down to earth as Gloria told me about her design esthetic, her favourite materials and finest precious gemstones, and how she wanted to personally bring her glorious (no pun intended) jewels back to Toronto’s discerning fashion mavens.20160515_133757 20160515_133746I’m thrilled to announce that we will have another opportunity to experience Gloria’s superb handcrafted designs this November 27 & 28 when she again hosts a special Christmas trunk show in a “pop-up” retail location in the heart of Yorkville.Nov Trunk Show adI asked Gloria if she would kindly share a little of her design philosophy and life story with my readers prior to the big Toronto event so scroll on down to meet Gloria Bass…banner1What first inspired you to take up jewellery design – was your family involved in jewellery or fashion?  No, my family was not in either the fashion or jewellery business but I always enjoyed working with my hands. When I was a teenager, I made my own clothes and did all the handicrafts – knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc. Early in my marriage, my husband and I spent two years in Southern California where I took a course in making jewellery. I went on to take private lessons for a short time and fell in love with it.Photo1What was the very first piece you created and sold?  I can’t remember the first piece I created but I do remember the first sale at a gallery!  Upon returning home to Canada, I set up a workshop in my house. When I had produced enough, I went to see someone at the Canadian Guild of Arts in Montreal and an exhibition was mounted for me. I remember coming in to the gallery the day before the show opened and was told that a gentleman had just purchased one of my bracelets. That was enough to send me flying……and then I found out that it was Peter Bronfman!

What are your favourite materials to work with – gold, platinum? And favourite gemstones?  18 karat yellow gold is my favourite material by a long shot! I love the rich colour and the metal responds the best to hand fabrication.Photo (1)My personal favourite gemstone is red! Rubies and red spinels. But I love all coloured stones – even though some are difficult to work with. Diamonds always add the final touch and lately, I work with a lot of different colour fancy diamonds.Ruby fringe with pearlsYou use a lot of Tahitian pearls in your designs – do you think pearls have been given a bad rap (grannies love their pearls) and do you think young women should embrace them like diamonds and other precious stones?  I most certainly do!!!! There are so many types and colours of pearls today. Pearls just light up a face and look good on everyone. I do so many different pieces with them – some very modern and cool!collection-gloria-titillium_15Do you have any favourite designers (current or historical) whose work you admire?  I think the Cartier and Tiffany pieces from the Art Deco period are sensational. That type of craftsmanship is very rare today. I identify with Suzanne Belperron’s esthetic taste. I also like the work of the German house ‘Hemmerle’ as well as de Grisogono for what they do with colour.

You’re coming into Toronto at the end of November for a special 2-day “trunk show” in Yorkville – what new pieces are you creating especially for this show?I’m making an amazing pair of earrings using over 23 carats of sapphires ranging in colour from almost white to yellow to orange. Also, I have a fabulous ring with a 22 carat opal and a pavé of multi-colour stones, a ring with a labradorite scarab, and a lot of pieces with my signature “coil” work. And always….new additions to my endless stacking rings (pictured below)!!s-rWhat trends (or colours) do you see for jewellery and accessories going into 2017?   I don’t follow trends too closely although I think big pieces that make a statement are always on my radar. I will continue to make pieces that are wearable on a daily basis but just not mainstream.Image-1 Pearls_watermelon tourmaline & green diamondsAny advice for young designers looking to go into the jewellery or gold-smithing business?  It’s a tough world out there and there is more competition than ever now. If one has the passion and drive, one can succeed.

Thank you, Gloria.  I encourage you to visit her website to see the beautiful, innovative designs that have become her signature www.gloriabassdesign.com   In the interim, enjoy some of her outstanding work here….. necklacesIMG_7098Even men can wear pearls…as cufflinks (below)MG_01062or opals, too!MG_00412

Gloria makes sure our men look elegant, too.IMG_7311See how women are wearing Gloria’s designs….
banner05 banner09 banner04 banner07 banner02

GLORIA BASS DESIGN

Toronto Trunk Show

Sunday November 27th & Monday November 28th

10am to 5pm

24 Bellair St, Yorkville

www.gloriabassdesign.com

20160905_145752

MEET FLO BARON, FASHION STYLIST TO HOLLYWOOD STARS AND NOW TORONTO’S WOMEN OF DISTINCTION!

A couple of months ago, I was pushing my cart up the aisles of my favourite supermarket and kept running into the same lady reaching for the same products. We both laughed “we gotta stop meeting like this…” then began trading nutrition recommendations and handy menu suggestions as we hit the fruit & veggie dept. together. She was delightful and had a wicked sparkle in her eyes. I had just met fashion powerhouse and stylist to some of Hollywood’s great old-school stars, FLO BARON.  bf1b00_fc6f7ba492fd4571b29f6d13d52d74d3-mv2Flo and exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet for tea, and within the week I found myself sitting in her super glamourous Yorkville condo surrounded by artworks collected over many years and her elegant black and white furnishings. Very Busby Berkley, very Flo Baron! Flo not only loves styling women in fashions that compliment and enhance their body shapes, she also offers opportunities to purchased some pretty stunning designer lines from the States. She has an adjoining private “salon” and holds court each week with an exclusive group of clients, putting together their outfits, accessorizing and offering wardrobe tips.20160819_134852I asked Flo to share a little of her background and fashion career and she revealed some wonderful stories and anecdotes that I’d like to share with you here…..

Although her family wasn’t involved in the fashion industry, Flo Baron always knew she was destined for a life surrounded by beauty, design and creativity. As a young girl in Chicago, she dreamt of fabulous fashions and always appreciated the feel and look of fine fabrics. Flo won a scholarship to secretarial school where she excelled but fashion always beckoned, perhaps she would become a model. Her idol was Jinx Falkenburg (pictured below), one of the highest-paid cover-girl models in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.Jinx Faulkenburg In the early 50’s, Flo answered a newspaper ad from a modeling school who wanted someone to teach make-up, personal grooming and dress styling to women going into the corporate sector for the first time (yes, these were pre-Mad Men times). She landed the job and taught hundreds of young women how to present themselves in the most fashionable manner for their 9-5 jobs as well as cocktail parties.

Moving to California with her husband in the mid 50’s, Flo’s life took an exciting turn when she landed a job in the dress shop at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel. She helped style Hollywood’s most glamorous stars of the day including dancer and movie star Cyd Charisse, Dorothy Lamour, Elizabeth Taylor and even Zsa Zsa Gabor who would frequently drop in and demand Flo bring her everything on the racks in her size! “Polly Bergen walked in one day wearing a full length mink coat. She put her arm around me, winked and whispered “I did it all by myself!” What a fabulous lady she was.”bh hotelSome years later, after a brief stint as a production secretary on a popular TV show, Flo became intrigued by interior design and decorating. “I love anything with an artistic value, anything that was created by an idea in somebody’s mind.” So along with a friend, she soon launched a home accessories and bathroom design business. Flo loved intricate fixtures and bathroom furnishings so she soon had every garage mechanic in San Fernando Valley working with her to handcraft her metal bathroom, tabletop and furniture designs. After the successful debut of her line at a Los Angeles trade show, she opened her own factory, hiring a workforce of skilled craftspeople to produce her line which was sold in the US,  Canada and internationally. After 40 successful years, Flo sold that business and in 2005, she moved to Toronto to be closer to her daughter.

Over the past ten years she has developed relationships with a number fashion designers from New York, California and Canada. Flo has brought back these lines with her to share with friends and personal styling clients. Due to her background in fashion, décor and design, Flo has developed a loyal following of clients who look to her for guidance with their clothing choices, as well as purchasing unique and affordable fashions that she personally curates for each client’s wardrobe. “I love helping women discover their true inner beauty and elegance by enhancing their appearance with clothing and accessories that are not only timeless but very affordable.”

20160905_144857 20160905_162628When you visit Flo Baron’s style studio, you will enjoy a personalized wardrobe consultation, and get to try on various fashion pieces and accessories to enhance your own personal style.  Whether you need something casual, a business outfit or an elegant ensemble for that swanky soiree, Flo can put together a head-to-toe look that will make you feel like a million dollars…but with a much more affordable price tag. She has also just launched a “young & chic” division catering to the younger fashion followers and coordinated by her assistant Michelle, seen below assisting another client. 20160905_144916One of Flo’s clients is the Canadian actor, playwright and entrepreneur Nonni Griffin seen below getting the full Flo experience!IMG_20161005_162252 IMG_20161005_161907 IMG_20161005_164509If you want to learn more about this wonderful and talented woman of influence, please visit her website: www.flobaroncollection.com

And check out these gorgeous scarves for fall that just arrived in the salon, as well as some great bling to accessorize your own outfits.20161007_130144 20161007_130610 20161007_130622 20161007_130628 20161007_130637

20160807_115949

TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE HOSTS POP-UP ARTISAN MARKET

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon – I took a stroll through the aisles of the pop-up artisan market hosted by the TORONTO URBAN COLLECTIVE at the Toronto Reference Library, just a few blocks from my home. So many lovely decorative, wearable and edible items presented by the craftspeople who actually made them. I was pleased to show my support by dropping a few dollars myself!  Come meet the vendors with me….20160807_125040I was welcomed by these lovely young ladies (above) who set such a nice friendly tone to the event. Then on to the first stop – the lovely ladies of Little Orbs. Below, here’s craftsperson Erin (R) with her proud mum (L) showing off her home decor and accessories (sparkly wine glass fobs were my faves) www.littleorbs.ca 20160807_120124 20160807_120130Lovely to see Cassandra from Chic Made Consciously with her eco-friendly accessories. I first met Cassandra at the Leslieville Flea a couple of years ago; I’m so proud of her and how she’s built her business. www.chicmc.com20160807_120253I was thrilled to find fashion designer Tulsi MacRae (below) whose fabulous tunics are bright and unique. I may ask her to create a customized one for me for TIFF…. www.tulsimacrae.com20160807_120549 20160807_120554Next was Ashley from Ashes & Kings – fine men’s accessories using beautiful wood slices.  They look stunning and each set of cufflinks or tie-clips are little works of art.  www.ashesandkings.com 20160807_120931 20160807_120941Oh no….not macrame!!! After living with macrame owls throughout the 70’s, I never thought I’d have to look at the popular woven string things again but these pretty home decor pieces by Natalie Ranae are delightful and could bring the trend back to a whole new generation. But please, Natalie, no owls! LOL   www.natalieranae.com20160807_121257 20160807_121300I fell in love with the delicate art of Rachel Dyck of Blossom & Sweet Pea Critter Co. I purchased 3 lovely greeting cards. She had a number of colouring books that were so beautifully printed and her watercolour prints of Canadian wildlife were charming and whimsical – perfect as gifts for any occasion. Look for Rachel @ this year’s Christmas One-of-a-Kind-Show www.thecritterco.com 20160807_121600 20160807_121607 20160807_121610I then spied some adorable wee silver spoons with colourful handles – perfect for serving jam or, in my case, eating my boiled eggs. Alkahf Moroccan Imports had all sorts of exotic treasures including beautiful little mirrors. www.alkahf.ca20160807_122237 20160807_122241 20160807_122253Then I found a brand new local company, www.StrayandWander.com that brings in ethically sourced products from around the world. I really liked the purses and clutches crafted from used native clothing (below). Their website should be up and running by the middle of August but you can find them now on Instagram @strayandwander20160807_122520 20160807_122529 20160807_122543Below is www.stationtoronto.com – groovy jewellery and accessories using the TTC subway station signs as design elements. The vendor was so busy, I didn’t get a chance to find my Yonge and Bloor station ring – I wonder if it’s a secret decoder ring for subway travel secrets?? LOL20160807_122713 20160807_122717I spoke earlier about macrame art from the 70’s….well another crafty hobby back then was nail art but nobody does it like Britt Kasco of Thread & Bark (below L). Oh my, these intricate pieces were so gorgeous, Britt really understands the simple beauty in the threads and I thought her douglas firs (lower picture) were stunning. Great souvenir gifts for friends abroad/great art to own yourself. https://her-earth.com/thread-and-bark/20160807_122854 20160807_122901 20160807_122906Now it was time to head over to the “edible art”….yummmmm. First up is Cuetti Cookies & Cakes. Yes, they’re all square, too.  www.cuetti.cc20160807_123316 20160807_123324Then I stopped in for a quick nibble at Holy Cannoli – OMG, they are sinfully delicious!! They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – check out my @FordhamPR Instagram to see the naughty but nice videos  www.holy-cannoli.com20160807_123645I found another old friend…the Toronto-based Peruvian bakery, Sol Cookies (below), who I met at the Toronto Bakers Market a couple of weeks ago. The tiny cookies are delicious and come in the cutest packaging with a red llama on top. www.solcookies.ca20160807_124748 20160807_124752Just before departing, I spent some time chatting with Laura from Gooseberry Prints, a charming lady who creates wonderful photographic prints of the cutest wee beasties who are all up for adoption at various Toronto rescue centres. Please support her efforts by buying a card, a pin or a print: www.gooseberryprints.com  I am so in love with all the hedgehog ones I want them all!20160807_124318 20160807_124330 20160807_124408Thank you to all the vendors for welcoming me to your booths and a big thank you to the great event producers, Toronto Urban Collective. Watch for the next pop-up and come out to support local craftspeople.  www.urbancollectiveto.com

PS: When I got home, I just had to try out my new Moroccan spoon….yay, it works!20160807_135817

20160726_145916

Playing hooky mid-week in Port Hope!

Earlier this week, as Toronto sizzled and steamed, my friend Teresa and I played hooky and journeyed the 50 minutes east to the wonderful lakeside town of Port Hope (my fave small town in Ontario).  Over the past couple of years, Port Hope and I have become good friends – the welcoming shopkeepers and cosy cafes, the historic restored Capitol Theatre, the stunning Municipal Building, the charming little beach and the tumbling Ganaraska River have all worked their magic on my soul.

As per usual, our first port of call was a visit to Kenneth Bell – the king of bling, the sultan of sparkle, my go-to guy for all things fabulous! I managed to get Teresa into a tiara, too, so we now have matching crowns!! Below, Teresa meets Kenneth for the first time…a match made in bling heaven! Follow Kenneth-Bell-Fashion-Accessories on Facebook.20160726_120435 20160726_123212 20160726_120517 20160726_122852 20160726_123339Next door to Kenneth’s shop is the always-awesome Queenie’s Bake Shop where we indulged in some deelish lunch sandwiches. Both Teresa and I were so brave – we resisted the incredible giant strudel and cookies on the front counter (sssh, don’t tell Teresa but I snuck home with a couple of their famous butter tarts). Follow Queenies Bake Shop on Facebook.20160726_113232 20160726_113235A littler further up Walton Street we found Bubbles and Gems, another fab fashion house where Teresa found a cute skirt and I found these amazing cushions…something for everyone at 20% off!  www.bubblesandgems.com20160726_130124 20160726_130130 20160726_130148 20160726_130327 20160726_130314 20160726_130501We walked past Holton Flowers who always have fabulous arrangements in the windows…we went inside to find floral heaven!20160726_13244620160726_132434We dropped in quickly to G. Facey’s, another fave fashion store of mine, where Teresa found a few more additions to her wardrobe, then down to the new Joie de Vivre store (below) where Teresa found some sweetly fragranced body creams. The new store is twice as big as the previous location further up the street, and offers a lovely range of goodies for your face, body and mind.  www.joiedevivrearomatherapy.com20160726_134850 20160726_134855One of the new Walton Street shops we found (new to me, anyway) was the Marche 59 cafe and artisan bakery (below) offering organic breads, vegan and gluten-free tasty treats and all sorts of goodies from local producers. Must give ’em a try next time I’m in town. www.marche59.ca20160726_132750 20160726_132754Time to head over to the beach so we made our way down Walton Street, past these beautiful hibiscus pots, along the riverbank to Teresa’s car parked near the Municipal offices….20160726_135057 20160726_144822…then over to the lake (Lake Ontario). Wow, what a lovely glimpse of the beach (below)20160726_14575520160726_145915We even saw a dad teaching his son how to fish…so cute!20160726_150323Thanks again, Port Hope, for your warm welcome – it always feels like coming home for me. See y’all again real soon.20150613_111719