Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Carrie Oehm is a RogersTV host and producer. On this day, we captured her fancy street style when she was on her way to the Much Music Video Awards.

"I'm in sports broadcasting so my style is anything from really casual to really fancy, and I go from that to that in a day -- so it's always interchangeable."

Follow Carrie on Instagram and Twitter.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Matthew: "My style is timeless and clean. The essence of the Italian style is what truly inspires me. The greys, the blues -- the browns, and then you add a little pop with a floral or pink tie."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Matthew: "The unrelenting chase of success. I'm a financial advisor and I'm building a client-base in the industry. So it's just the perseverance of chasing the dream."

Follow Matthew on Instagram at @More_Money.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


"My mood influences my style. I'm an artist. I like to paint and I'm an interior designer so I'm very creative with my style. I love to play with colour and different fashions."

In addition to being an artist, Liliana is a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapist. Check out her website.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Amanda: "My style is feminine and classic. I like to keep forward with the trends, but not exactly trending.  Coco Chanel's femininity inspires me."

TorontoVerve: "What's the best advice you've ever received and from whom?"

Amanda: "My dad always said, 'Never trust a man with a camera."

TorontoVerve: (laughs) "Seriously?"

Amanda: "No, I'm just joking (laughs)."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Chelsea: "My style is minimal and androgynous. Artist Vashtie inspires me because she likes to mix menswear with women's wear."

TorontoVerve: "What is the best advice you've ever received"

Chelsea: "Just be myself and don't care about what anybody thinks."

Follow Chelsea on Instagram and Tumblr.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Windy: "I love Japanese street style. It's really cute. I'm especially inspired by the beautiful characters drawn in manga."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Windy: "Putting away video games to pursue other interests like learning Japanese."

Check out Windy's blog and follow her on Twitter.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jennifer: "Flower Child"

Jennifer: "My style is very bohemian and flower child-inspired. I always like to add a touch of whimsical to everything I wear. I wish I was born in the 60's or 70's. Everyone was free. The style was cutting edge."

"I'm a gardener so I really love nature. That's why I wear the flower crowns whenever I can. I also love going to a lot of festivals, which really inspires my vintage fashion."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Jennifer: "Becoming a professor at Seneca College. I teach the business of fashion -- digital marketing and business communications. I feel that I've learned a lot about myself from teaching."

TorontoVerve: "So how did you get the nickname Big Deal Dawson?"

Jennifer: "It began in university when a friend started calling me Big Deal Dawson. It was an inside joke from the movie Anchorman and it stuck ever since. I  ended up using it for my Twitter and Instagram, and now I also do consulting for fashion labels under the name."

We previously captured Jennifer's street style last summer.

Follow Jennifer AKA Big Deal Dawson on Instagram and Twitter.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Eli: "My style is handmade. I make the clothes I want to wear. I'm a visual artist so I eventually found myself customizing clothing. I taught myself to sew. I made this bag and hat. I make clothes for friends, but not for anybody else right now."

TorontoVerve: "What's the best advice you've received and whom?"

Eli: "I follow my own advice: just do it yourself. Don't let anything get in your way and be confident doing it."

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Natalie: "My style is casual and chic. Grace Kelly inspires me. She's so classic."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Natalie: "Taking risks with fashion. I would never have shown this much leg before. I was a lot more conservative."

Follow Natalie on Instagram.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Marina & Simon

Marina: "My style is loud but professional."

Simon: "I guess we're all trying to show our unique flair. I like to look back to Steve McQueen's style. I appreciate his trimmed and utility look. I'm going to a gallery opening so this is my gallery outfit."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Simon: "My capacity for patience."

Follow Simon on Instagram.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Aaron: "In one word, my style is 'Sartorial' - I love sport jackets and suits. Tom Ford inspires me. You can see a different character in each one of his campaigns."

TorontoVerve: "What has surprised you the most about yourself this year?"

Aaron: "How long I can stay on a patio. I'm literally spending a whole day there just soaking in the sun."

Follow Aaron on Instagram.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Conversation with MasterChef Canada's Michael Motamedi

Michael Motamedi’s sharp style and signature moustache made him one of MasterChef Canada Season 2's most colourful contestantsUnfortunately, for Motamedi (29), a little pink in his fried chicken abruptly ended his dream of becoming MasterChef.

TorontoVerve recently met with the fashionable entrepreneur to talk about the show, men’s fashion and the wood in his pocket.

TorontoVerve: You’re probably sick and tired of talking about raw fried chicken now, right? 

Michael Motamedi: I have a new look on fried chicken that’s for sure. For some reason, things don’t bother me much anymore. One day it bothers me and the next, I don’t even remember it happened. Everybody always asks me, ‘can you still eat fried chicken?’ I tell them, ‘listen, this happened months ago. I’m over it.’

TV: So what was your impression of Season 2’s finale? 

MM: Actually, I didn’t watch it (laughs). I was lounging in an Infinity pool in Nicaragua. You might have noticed that I wasn’t on the finale. Shortly after I got knocked off, I found out my grandpa passed away. I had to fly to LA right away to be with my family.

TV: What would you have done if you weren’t kicked off when you were? 

MM: I would have left anyways. That’s why I was at peace about leaving the show. My grandfather and I were pretty close. MasterChef is great and all, but….I live my life on respect. I have respect for people, respect for things and respect for life. Sometimes the respect you have for others outweighs your own interests.

TV: What was your least favourite experience on MasterChef Canada

MM: The worst experience was dealing with some of the characters on the show, and they shall remain nameless. As much as they say in their interviews: ‘I’m not like that in real life.” I tell them, ‘No, you’re worse, dude.’ People tell me I was very arrogant on the show. Sorry. I’m not going to deny that’s who I was because that’s who I am.

TV: Are you happy with the way that you were portrayed on the show? 

MM: Yes, I’m fine with it. The point of a TV show is to gain viewership. The show doesn't care about what contestants read at night. No, it's reality-television. They want us to cook, get stressed out and bother each other.

TV: On the show, there was a V on your pie, which you revealed on Twitter was the initial of the love of your life. Can you tell us more about who V is? 

[Before Michael answered, I deduced that the love of his life is Vanessa the young lady who accompanied us on our photoshoot and who was presently sitting at his side as we sipped drinks on the patio.] 

MM: When we got together, it was an immediate sense of instinct where I told myself, ’Listen, buddy. You’re not going anywhere but up from here, ok? She’s the best thing that’s ever walked into your life.' She’s absolutely gorgeous, extremely smart and socially aware. Fortunately for me, she’s very fashion-oriented. Fashion is important. People say it’s superficial, but Tom Ford said, ‘Dressing is a form of good manners,’ and I believe that. So fashion’s not entirely superficial. She’s the whole package.

TV: How do you feel about your celebrity after the show? 

MM: I was very social before MasterChef. People I knew always came up to me. I couldn’t walk down King street without 20 people saying hello. But now, random people off the street are coming up to me. The other day, I was going to a meeting and this really nice lady, who stopped me in the subway, totally walked out of her way to have a five minute conversation with me. It’s cool.

TV: What kind of kid were you growing up? 

MM: I grew up in California. I was an only child. Pretty rambunctious. We weren’t the richest, but we had a comfortable life. The city I grew up in is what everyone calls "The Kardashian City": Calabasas. Nobody knew who the Kardashians were back then. I was very spoiled. My parents said, ‘After you, we’re not having more kids. That’s for sure (laughs).’ I always wanted to be the centre of attention.

TV: In a recent interview you said that you’re “very whitewashed.” How are you whitewashed?  

MM: (Laughs) There are so many things about the Persian culture that I’m attracted to, but also a lot of things that I’m not. California Persians are all like me. They don’t speak Farsi much, they like to hang out in Malibu and surf. The Persians here (Toronto) always speak Farsi to each other and they’re always arguing over the bill. That’s not me. 

TV: So when did you begin to take cooking seriously in your life? 

MM: I always loved cooking, but I would say I took it seriously five years ago. Before that, I was like, ‘Hey, let’s make pasta Alfredo with shrimp.’ It tasted great. My dad would tell me to go to culinary school. But it really jump started three years ago when I met Vanessa. I guess I wanted to show off to her or maybe it was because she doesn't cook much (laughs). Food is fashion. I pride myself on plating food as much as I style myself. In my opinion, fashion is a lifestyle. It's more than clothes. It resides in your whole life. Now my food is looking sexier.

TV: How would you describe your style? 

MM: Casual chic. If I wear a suit, I’m wearing Converse with it. Lately, I’m feeling super modern. I don’t want to wear ties because that’s too traditional. My life is really moving now. I’m into dressing modern because I’m looking forward to the future. 

TV: How would you describe the state of men’s fashion in Toronto? 

MM: It’s so awesome. It’s come so far in the last ten years. Toronto Men’s Fashion Week has a lot to do with it. The Gotstyle's of the world have a lot to do with it. The Harry Rosen’s aren't the big dogs anymore. You can go to a Bespoke tailor right now and spend seven hundred bucks for a tailor fit suit — that’s unheard of. Ten years ago, it was $2500. Young cats working at banks or tech guys making $100,000 a year can have the same wardrobe as a guy making $250,000 a year. Individuality is so cool. You see guys wearing red suits on a casual Monday afternoon. The cats I hang out with are going to the grocery store wearing a 3-piece suit (laughs). That’s cool!

TV: Nowadays, it seems like guys don’t want to experiment much with colour.

MM: That whole Rick Owens movement kinda put a hold on all that. His stuff is unbelievable, but it’s not my style. You know, that Kanye West black shirt-skirt type thing? Black on black on black on black. But men’s fashion is always evolving. I’m always evolving. Two months will go by and I won’t wear anything but a suit. Another two months goes by and I won’t touch a jacket. And then another month will go by and I’ll just wear v-neck t-shirts. It doesn’t matter what sort of evolution you have. Just evolve. There has to be movement in your life because sometimes life can be mundane. You can't easily change your 9 to 5 job, but you can easily change your style.

TV: What style tips can you give men for the summer? 

MM: Keep it simple. You don’t always have to be formal to look good. I’m in a very cohesive state of mind right now. I’m wearing a white-collared shirt with white sneaks and blue pants. This watch ties it together nicely. I don’t like too much colour. I just keep it simple.

TV: Tell us about Baffi Collection

MM: Baffi Collection started out with me and a buddy over drinks — that's how most great ideas start. Long story short, we invented the first wooden pocket squares. The thing I love about it is — again, it’s about evolution. There hasn’t been something in men’s fashion that’s changed in 50 years, but fashion has changed. I can say that we’ve invented something new. People are always scared of new things. Wooden pocket squares are our flagship product. We’re coming out with a lot of different shapes this season. The summer collection is absolutely amazing. We’ve learned a lot from our last collection. We had watermelon designs here, orange here and stripes there. Now we have paisleys, Spanish mosaics and florals. We also do lapel pins, which double as tie clips, and they’re all magnetized. We’re just signing a contract with Cuffwear to do a test piece with cufflinks in cufflink vending machines that are coming out.

TV: You and your partners were on another reality-TV show, Dragon's Den, which hasn’t aired yet. Can you share anything about that?  

MM: We did go on Dragon’s Den for the Baffi Collection. There were a couple of Dragons that we wanted to get — so obviously we programmed our pitch to attract them. I won't say much else. The public will have to wait and see.

TV: So you definitely have a strategy when you go on these reality shows. What was your strategy on MasterChef

MM: My strategy was to have extreme confidence. Never show weakness. Even if I knew there were 10 things wrong with my dish, you better believe I’m still going to say it’s amazing. My second strategy was always do something unique. Every dish I made was completely weird and bizarre. Everything had a story behind it. Vanessa is my muse in my everyday life. She obviously played a role in my cooking. I’m a mama’s boy so my mother was also my inspiration. Inspiration is 50% of motivation.

TV: But you did show a little vulnerability when you were cooking the fried chicken.  

MM: Well, I've never cooked fried chicken. Call me spoiled, I don’t frickin' de-bone chickens every day. I don’t chop them up.

TV: So you had to know how to cook fried chicken in advance? They don’t teach you? 

MM: No, they don’t. And I was competing against Sabrina who probably grew up on a farm somewhere, and Line (pronounced “Lynn”) from Moncton who probably killed chickens with her bare hands every day. I don’t know chickens. I live in Toronto over a Loblaws.

TV: Ok, I have to ask — in your Baffi commercial, who came up with the funny double entendre: “is that wood in his pocket?” 

MM: (Laughs) One of our investors came up with it. She’s hilarious. We all laughed our asses off. Who doesn’t want a little wood in their pocket?

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Follow Michael on Twitter and Instagram!

MasterChef Canada Season 3 casting is open now at

A special thanks to Gotstyle Distillery for opening their doors for our photoshoot!

Check out the Baffi Collection commercial below:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


"The best advice I've ever received is fake it till you make it. I actually heard that from a random old dude in a bar. He told me, 'I don't know what I'm doing. I look like I know what I'm doing, but I really don't.' So that's what I do. It's basically lying, but in a nice way."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Author/journalist Christine Estima

Then in school, we had to take keyboarding class, so we all learned how to type on typewriters. At the time we didn’t appreciate the class because we didn’t think it would be a skill we would ever use. I remember a girl in my class said, “I’m not going to be a secretary when I grow up, why do I even need this?” But now I’m so grateful, being a writer, that we had this class. I can type about 90 wpm and it allows my essays and op-eds to just flow free.

I love the font of typewriters, I like the tactile quality. I love the ding at the end the of page, I love slamming the platen back to home. I love the gorgeous THACK THACK THACK noise the keys make as you type. There is also a violence to typewriters that I quite enjoy. The keys strike the page with such torque, I half-expect blood to drip from the page . . . if only it would.

It’s strange, as an adult, and living in a computerized world, to want ditch the digital and return to analog.

As far as I can remember, I’ve always been telling stories of some kind. I see myself more as a storyteller than a writer. At first the storyteller in me took the form of performance, and I thought acting was going to be my path, but despite my many achievements in that area, there was something about it that left a bad taste in my mouth. Probably the idea that you can be denied a job not because of talent but because of how you look, which I think is pure fuckery. How can you measure talent and ability in appearance?

But also, personally, I struggled to really be vulnerable on stage. In truth, I don’t like being vulnerable in front of a large group of people. But in writing, I don’t mind being as vulnerable as I can. There’s some kind of disconnect for me when it comes to performance, and I feel like I’m revealing too much of myself in person, but I don’t mind revealing myself in my words.

Every once in a while, the performer in me comes out, it’s probably my need to be a ham. I’ve done a lot of Spoken Word and Live-Storytelling at events in London, New York City, and Toronto, in front of huge audiences.

Being vulnerable in my writing always came much easier. I got my first professional publication when I was 18 and I never looked back. Since then, I’ve had everything published from essays, op-eds, editorials, music/film/theatre/book reviews, travel writing, academic essays, and interviews with celebrities, to short stories and I’ve even had a few plays produced professionally as well. I’ve been really lucky to have my fiction published in prestigious literary magazines that only accept around 1% of the submitted work. My main focus has always been fiction, and it always will be. I’ve always loved dreaming up stories and scenarios and exploring them to their fullest.

Writing is very cathartic and I get to explore ideas and themes that I find it difficult to explore in conversation sometimes. I often feel like the people I talk to aren’t actually listening to me. Everyone has ADHD or they’re checking their phones, and it’s hard to find people who truly listen to you. But when it’s writing, people can read it at their leisure in between Instagramming so at least the message gets across. And I have to say, most of the stuff I write has garnered a lot of great feedback. It’s great when something you’ve poured yourself into incites a deep emotional response from someone. Or when something satirical or comedic gets all the laughs in the right spot.

When I’m angry about an injustice, I write. Like when I wrote about a woman who asked me to kill her cat. Or when I wrote about the #FHRITP phenomenon that glorifies rape culture. When I’m sad and going through a lot of pain, I write.

I feel like great art requires great suffering. The best work I’ve ever done has always come out of my pain. So when I’m done wallowing in self pity, I pick myself up, pull myself the fuck together, and write.

So far it’s been a really fruitful journey. I’ve been really lucky with the places I’ve been published: national pop culture magazines, literary journals, academic journals, anthologies, once I was even published in an encyclopedia!

Always having an eye for stories and engaging content is a skill that takes years to cultivate. I’m not like Jack Kerouac who wrote On The Road in 2 weeks. I have to admit to myself that I’m not naturally gifted. I had to work for years to develop my style and tone and voice and form. Those things didn’t just appear in my brain by fairies. Cultivating talent means a lot of failure, and lemme tell you, I’ve had a lot of rejection in my life. I’ve had story after story rejected, and the stack of rejection letters I’ve received could fill a warehouse. But unlike some writers I know, I never let that destroy me. I always knew I was good at what I do, so I just let that stuff roll off my back and I kept going.

For example, recently a short story of mine was accepted into a literary journal. That story made the magazine rounds for TWO years, and was rejected again and again. But I knew it was good, so I just kept submitting it and finally someone saw its worth and bought it. Same thing happened a few years ago when a short story of mine was rejected across the board for two years, then one day I received word that it was shortlisted for the 2011 Writer’s Union of Canada short prose award. That really gave me the confidence boost I needed, and I continued to submit it until finally a great literary magazine bought it.

Perseverance, patience, and ambition are probably a writer’s greatest asset. It’s true that talent is super important as well, because the cream will always rise to the top, but I know a lot of talented writers, better than me, who gave up on writing years ago because they didn’t have any drive or ambition. They don’t particularly care to see their name in print or to pursue this as a career. It is a very precarious career that offers little security, so it’s not for the faint of heart. All that stuff never bothered me really, I’ve always been a bit of a nomadic waif anyway. So for me the talent was always paramount with my ambition. You really need to have both if you’re going to make a name for yourself in an industry that doesn’t owe you any favours.

I always tell writers, you gotta hustle! You gotta pitch all the time, send out queries, write as often as you can, read as often as you can, and follow up! Pitch, follow up, and if they don’t like it, pitch something else. Strive to always come up with ideas and brainstorm them until they are refined and cohesive. I don’t always get it right, I’ve published some things that missed the mark a little and weren’t my best stuff. But you have to fail as often as you succeed, otherwise the payoff isn’t as great.

And the best thing about being a freelance writer is that I am beholden to no one and no place. I can work from anywhere. Which is why I’ve been living on-and-off in Europe since 2007. The only things I need to do my job are a WiFi signal and a cup of coffee. Thanks to the mobile nature of my work, my nomadic nature, and my dual citizenship, I ended up living in nine cities across Europe, including London, Cologne, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris. I just packed up and moved whenever I felt like it, and in every city, I would write and write and write. I probably know all the best cafes in each of these aforementioned cities because I wrote in all of them! And my body of work shows it.

Now that I’m back in Toronto, I’m really pulling all the strings and networking all the contacts that I’ve made here over the years, and hustlin’ like mad to get my writing and ideas out there. I have a lot of stuff in the can, and a lot of forthcoming publications to look forward to. I’m also editing my second novel, and that is taking up a lot of my energy, but I love it and can’t wait for the day it’s published to share it with the world.

Little sneak peak: the novel features a typewriter that is an integral part of the plot. ‘Natch.

- Christine Estima

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Follow Christine Estima on Twitter & InstagramVisit her blog!

Check our previous Blogger Spotlights.

Friday, June 12, 2015


Sarah: "My style is a dirty, boyish-sorta thing -- loose clothing and whatever looks weird."

TorontoVerve: "What's the best advice you've received and from whom?"

Sarah: "I guess from my mom and Mick Jagger. You can't always get what you want."

Follow Sarah on Instagram.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Heather: "My style is a mix of rockabilly-vintage and rock n' roll. I'm deeply inspired by Archie's Veronica Lodge because she's always had amazing clothes, taste and feistiness."

TorontoVerve: "What's the best advice you've received and from whom?"

Heather: "My mother always told me to trust my gut, and that's been working for me."

Follow Heather on Instagram.