NK’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

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The holiday season is a time for self-reflection, a time to think about what we’re grateful for and a time to get together with family and friends. Here are a few of my favourite things that would make great gifts for your loved ones… or to treat yourself with!

Links of London 

Nothing is more thoughtful, I think, than a personalized gift. Links of London’s Sweetie Bracelet is beautiful on its own, but it can also be customized with diamond keepsake charms. Above is an idea of how I would customize my own Sweetie Bracelet, using my initials and my lucky number!

Hounds Vodka

If you know me, you know I live for the colour black, and what’s so cool about Hounds is the vodka is…black!  It’s perfect for that innovative mixologist in your life who loves creating unique and striking cocktails.  And I have to say it also looks great on a bar cart! 

Available at the LCBO and La Saq

SPINCO

Spinning has become an important part of my life and weekly routine. For that 45 minutes on the SPINCO bike I’m able to disconnect from the world and work up an amazing sweat.  Grab a gift card for that special someone and book a class together, or buy yourself a package to get motivated for those New Year’s resolutions.  I’m also a fan of SPINCO’s workout gear, which you can pick out at one of their studios.

Thompson Toronto // Bloor-Yorkville 

A sleepover or staycation at a beautiful hotel is always a good idea and The Thompson Toronto is the place to do it! On top of the amazing service, stunning lobby and rooftop with panoramic views of the city (perfect place for a cocktail), the hotel was voted #1 in Toronto on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards and awarded Trip Advisor’s certificate of excellence.

Once you’re checked in, head up to Bloor-Yorkville for some of Toronto’s best shopping (Holt Renfrew is a must), a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, indulge in float therapy at Rest Nest, have a magical selfie moment in front of the holiday lights on Cumberland Street, and grab a bite at neighbourhood staple Trattoria Nervosa.

South Hill Home

If you’re on the hunt for something one of a kind (and ready to invest) South Hill Home has you covered. From furniture and lighting, to accent pieces and board games (like this KIFU Paris chess set) their designer collections are incredibly curated and like no other.

DAVIDsTEA

When everyone else is bringing bottles of wine as host/hostess presents to holiday parties, why not bring a DAVIDsTEA gift box instead?  It’s a great idea for friends you know aren’t big drinkers.  The boxes include a variety of their delicious flavours and some even come with a portable tea press.

Swarovski

Some of the most iconic Christmas trees in the world shine bright with the help of Swarovski crystals, and this year the brand has three trees on display at Toronto’s Union Station.  Escape the cold and head inside for a festive outing with the fam, and if you’re looking for another thoughtful host/hostess gift, there’s the 2018 Swarovski Ornament.  It’s a beautiful keepsake to help commemorate the past year.

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with Swarovski & Win a $1000 Shopping Spree

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That’s right! The Holiday season is now upon us and we can’t help but embrace it with all of the fun upcoming events to help us get in the festive spirit!

What better way to kick-off the holiday season than with Swarovski at one of Canada’s most iconic heritage buildings? Join us at Union Station for the official unveiling of this year’s Swarovski Holiday Tree on Friday, November 16th starting at 5:00 pm. Liz Trinnear will be hosting an official lighting countdown ceremony, holiday mingle AND a special live performance from TD Music!

BONUS: Snap a pic of the iconic holiday tree and tag @Swarovski @TorontoUnion and #BrillianceForAll #UnionHoliday – the best post will win a $1,000 shopping spree. Download full contest rules and regulations here.

 


 

How To Stand Out In The Era of Hashtags and Clickbait

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We live in a digital age driven by content, clicks, and conversions, and when building a presence online, it’s easy to get caught up in numbers. How many followers do you have? How many likes do your posts get? Is there a formula to going viral? But believe it or not, a strong online community isn’t measured in numbers.

It’s the result of marketing to your target audience in real time; getting their attention and fostering a relationship that will translate beyond that initial like, share, or follow. And with noisy, filtered timelines, how do you stand out on social media in the era of hashtags and clickbait?

 

Storytelling — creating thoughtful messaging that generates a real relationship between a person or brand and their target audience.

 

Recently, I shared a personal story on Instagram about how much I used to love playing the piano and how music has the ability to uplift my mood when I’m feeling down. I shared a hidden talent of mine and asked my community to share something about them that no one knew. The post opened up a great conversation, received a lot of engagement, and love. I was able to tell a story that connected my followers to something that was special to me and honored their stories of something that mattered to them. We created a genuine connection.

Here are my five tips on authentic brand-building through digital media:

1. Pinpoint your message
Don’t just talk—say something. Make sure your social media platforms say something beyond, “follow me,” or “buy my product.” When preparing a post or image, think about how it will resonate, how will it truly engage your target audience? What do you want them to feel when they see the post or go on your social media accounts? Having a clear and authentic message will help you stand out online.

Model and Body Activist, Ashley Graham is a great example. Whether you are a follower of Ashley or not, on some level you’ve heard her message “beauty beyond size.”  Her message of celebrating beauty in all shapes is at the core of her brand and connects to women, who previously felt invisible. Ashley’s authenticity is a visible part of the stories she shares. She stands out on media platforms, to not just her fans, but to people globally. She is leading a conversation that is changing perceptions of beauty.

 

2. Curate an experience
The user-experience should align with your brand values–what you want your life and brand to represent. 

To zero in on those values, I use an exercise called “the five I Ams.” Ask yourself how you want people to feel when they visit your digital platforms, and then craft your online presence around those ideals.

For example, “I am compassionate,” “I am a lover of fashion,” “I am family-oriented,” “I am philanthropic,” “I am ambitious”— everything I share with my social community reflects back on these anchoring characteristics, and as a result, our interactions are authentic based on mutually aligned values.

What are five defining characteristics of your life or your brand?


3. Engage with your audience
In social media, engagement is what really matters. Ask questions that prompt conversations, check in and respond to comments- even to say thank you, show gratitude, participate in trending activities or tags, and establish relationships with social influencers to reach new audiences. Let people know that your business isn’t cold and faceless—it’s socially plugged-in and run by a real person. Remember, you are building a community.

 

“Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.” – Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn

4.  Know your platforms
It is not enough just to post frequently—you have to post thoughtfully. Every social media platform is tailored for a different user. For instance, Instagram is highly visual; you want to post captivating images, playful moments, and videos that demonstrate the values of your brand visually. When posting on Twitter, on the other hand, you want to share more newsworthy items.

5. Put a face to your brand
Facelessness and anonymity doesn’t cut it anymore. We’re talking about an age where everyone knows who Mark Zuckerberg is, whether they use Facebook or not. People like to know who’s behind the companies and causes they support, so it’s crucial to be a walking embodiment of your brand. Whether you are a business owner or not, speak up on the issues you care about, and be a vocal and physical presence in the communities you aim to serve. People want to see and hear from a brand that shares their values. And when you have their attention, you’ll organically cut through the white noise.

It’s not about posting every hour, it’s about posting with a purpose. Let people in—let them see what you stand for, what causes you believe in, and what changes you wish to make in the world. Keep your audience at the heart of all that you do, and I assure you, the numbers will follow organically.

Have any thoughts on what it takes to build a reliable brand on social media? Tweet me @NatashaNKPR to let me know!

Natasha Koifman

#NKCLIENTLOVE: A NIGHT IN LA DOLCE VITA

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It was a night to remember as the Grand Rotunda was transformed into beautiful Italian landscape to welcome guests into this year’s La Dolce Vita event. The second annual fundraising gala was held in support of the Oakville Hospital Foundation and The Trillium Health Partners and raised a record-breaking $90,000! The evening featured a pizza cook-off, shopping for a cause, and of course, some Italian antipasto.

Over 1500 community members, influencers and celebrity guests came to Square One Shopping Centre to experience a large variety of food stations, cocktails, and espresso. The vendors included the cutest gelato bar truck, and guests could indulge in a charcuterie spread as people on stilts paraded around the venue in Venetian masks.

The event featured special culinary host Bobby Flay, who personally judged the pizza making contest between two representatives from the foundation. Flay was pictured trying different vendors and commenting on how to make the perfect pizza to event emcee and Top Chef Canada judge Janet Zuccarini.

The mall was transformed into a beautiful Italian-inspired piazza with fountains, bite-sized decadent Italian pasta, and even Italian treats do try. Guests were transported into a sweet night for a good cause and the evening did not disappoint!

Thank you to everyone who supported La Dolce Vita we can’t wait to see what happens next!

Want to see a preview of the night? Check out this highlight reel here.

#NKClientLove: DAVIDsTEA 10TH ANNIVERSARY

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CELEBRATING 10 YEARS WITH DAVIDsTEA

DAVIDsTEA was founded in 2009 and the company quickly spread across Canada. The many flavours, bright blue and signature tea accessories have become iconic to the tea landscape. The 10th Anniversary dinner was decorated with sophistication and created to display the passion behind each tea. The company was created to bring people together from all over and show how fun and delicious the beverage can be — which the event successfully captured!

The elevator chimed at the Thompson Toronto and as the door opened, the sight of DAVIDsTEA blue welcomed the select media to celebrate the 10 incredible years with the beloved tea retailer.

The table was decorated elegantly with blue and details of gold with floral andDAVIDsTEA accents as the centrepieces. Hosted by chef Eden Grinshpan, the dinner took place at The Thompson Toronto rooftop and overlooked the gorgeous skyline of the city. The weather was sunny and warm allowing media to enjoy dinner and drinks on the patio.

The drink and food menu was curated to be paired with popular DAVIDsTEA flavours. Each course had a tea pairing such as the Apricot Glazed Lamb Rack that was paired with the David’s Tea Organic Nepal Black tea. The finale was a tea-infused dessert, which featured a Forever Nuts glaze over ice cream and sticky toffee pudding.

There were photo opportunities and Customizable DAVIDsTEA Glass Nordic Tea Mugs with the onsite calligrapher Sarah Skrlj for each guest to take home.

What’s your favourite DAVIDsTEA? Tweet us (@NatashaNKPR) and let us know!

NKPR GUIDE: A Star is Born Style Guide

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STARSTRUCK WITH LINKS OF LONDON

A Star is Born had its North American premiere only a few weeks ago during TIFF, with Links of London as the official co-host for their post-screening party! Well, it’s finally hitting theatres, so we decided to share some star-studded jewellery pieces that are inspired by the film. Tweet us to let us know if you’ve watched the film and what your favourite Links piece is!

ITHouse x Producers Ball 2018

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As the annual Toronto Film Festival kicked off on September 6th, so did our annual ITHouse x Producers Ball! The Live Nation Lounge in Liberty Village was brought to life with inspiring activations from Lise Watier, Swarovski, and Hounds Vodka. Guests were encouraged to take part in a Rolling Stone photobooth which gave every individual their chance at being on a “Rolling Stone Magazine Cover.” Each day also featured a curated panel focusing on either the “The Art of the Short”, Music and Film, or Swarovski’s panel on Fashion and Film.

DAY ONE: Thursday, September 6th

The activations were set up to provide each person with the perfect glam and glitz. Guests could stop by the Lise Watier makeup artists who provided touch-ups throughout the day. Lise Watier eyeshadow palettes were studded with guests initials and there was even the chance for an old school polaroid in front of an old-school microphone. Silver and glitter filled the area and individuals were encouraged to get dolled up to be picture ready at any moment.

The Swarovski activation was adorned with jewels on every surface with vintage furniture and chars filling the space to create an old-school photoshoot. Guests gathered to try on the most extravagant pieces to go with their TIFF outfits and get the perfect photo to capture the fun!

Hounds Vodka had a special bartender set up serving the Bloodhound and the Black Tonic cocktails for everyone to enjoy. The black vodka created the perfect infused refreshments for the day. And Natasha got her own chance at bartending as she got behind the bar to mix and measure the delicious concoction for guests to try.

Ben Ayres tried his first Hounds Vodka and was pleasantly surprised by the fusion of flavours and was even happier when he found that Tim Horton’s Anytime Breakfast was being served to munch on as he enjoyed the day!

DAY TWO: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

The second morning was filled with interviews behind-the-scenes with Drew Scott, jumping around to parts of the ITHouse- including a mid-interview game of ping-pong with CP24 Breakfast’s Bill Coulter!

On Friday, Canadian legends The Barenaked Ladies stopped by! The band was seen mingling with friends, and even enjoying FLOW and Nomz organic between visits to get touch ups from Lise Watier!

Karl Wolfe and London Brown also made a pit stop in the afternoon. They both had lively energy that kept everyone laughing as they posed for photos in The Rolling Stone Photobooth and with the Lise Watier stage! And the day wasn’t over until the sweet Jacob Tremblay stopped by. He expressed his love of Tim Horton’s doughnuts and of course took advantage of the life-sized games throughout the afternoon!

DAY THREE: Saturday, September 8th

The last, but perhaps the most exciting day of The 2018 ITHouse x Producers Ball!

The morning began with the amazing Patrick J. Adams! His kindness and passion for photography showed as he switched roles with our Rolling Stone photographer to test out his equipment. He was enthralled by the set-up the photographer had going on and was intrigued to learn more!

It was a busy morning and the charming Dermot Mulroney was spotted on the luxurious leather couches enjoying a Tim Horton’s black coffee. He shared that he looks forward to the Sour Cream Glazed doughnuts at Tim Horton’s when he visits Canada!

The final day centred around Swarovski’s panel on Fashion in Film with fashion gurus, Annette Ryan, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michelle Lyte, and Bronwyn Cosgrave, as our panellists. Moderated by the ELLE Canada Editor- in- Chief, the panel explored the most memorable fashion moments in film history and the power of the right wardrobe. Shohreh Aghdashloo shared her wisdom on the subject when saying that not only does good fashion matter in a movie, but so does music! Both art forms coming together is so powerful in creating impactful and beautiful narratives.

What was your highlight of TIFF this year? Tweet us (@NatashaNKPR and @ProducersBall) and let us know!

See more on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag- #NKPRIT18!

TIFF GUIDE: TORONTO HOTSPOTS

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TIFF TORONTO HOTSPOTS

With TIFF approaching soon, we’ve rounded up the best Toronto hotspots to visit in between movies. Whether you enjoy a good patio cocktail or want to be on the lookout for A-list TIFF stars in town, we’ve got a little something for everyone to do to make your TIFF experience that much better.

The Thompson Hotel | 550 Wellington St W.

Located in King West Village, Thompson Hotel has one of the best and most popular views of the city. It’s known as a celebrity hot spot during TIFF, but also year round, featuring celebrities such as The Weeknd and Selena Gomez who visited the Diner, and popular guests during the TIFF season such as Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson and James Franco. It has also hosted notable premieres and celebrity parties in the past, making it a great place to be during TIFF season to spot your fave celebrity. This year, The Thompson Hotel is even creating film-themed cocktails based on this year’s TIFF lineup- available from September 6th- 16th.

Aside from celeb sightings and film inspired cocktails, The Thompson also offers panoramic views of Toronto from its Rooftop Lounge and seasonal pool. Be sure to dine in comfort in the Thompson Diner open really early and really late, perfect for pre or post movie.

JOEY Restaurant | 1 Dundas St W.

Right in the heart of Downtown Toronto at the Eaton Centre, JOEY has become a favourite restaurant of ours! The decor and atmosphere help to bring the ultimate casual dining experience that is vibrant and relaxed. Wednesday’s are our favourite days with half-priced bottles of wine and globally inspired dishes to pair! JOEY will definitely be a hot spot during TIFF that is right in the middle of all the Toronto action! Be sure to make your Wednesday night reso now.

Bloor-Yorkville

This neighbourhood is easily Toronto’s most celebrated area! Filled with high-end fashion and restaurants to satisfy every craving, Bloor-Yorkville has something for everyone.

Some cool events happening in this area include:

Toronto Fashion Week | 55 Avenue Road
TFW will be happening from September 4th to September 6th, right during TIFF! It will also feature the exclusive book launch, on September 4th, for Jessica Ennis and Caitlin Cronenberg’s latest project, The Endings!

Get your TFW Tickets here

The Artists for Peace and Justice Gala

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the APJ Film Festival Gala taking place at the beautiful and historic Windsor Arms Hotel on September 8th from 6pm to 10pm. Co-hosted by Ben Stiller and Susan Sarandon, the fundraising event is a chance for leading artists, brands and philanthropists to celebrate and empower local communities in Haiti. Although it is sold out this year, the event will be filled with glitz, glamour and TIFF celebrities of course!

InStyle Hollywood Foreign Press Party
This star-studded party will be happening on September 8th in Yorkville. An annual event, it is always a big celebrity hot spot, featuring some of our favourite stars such as Margot Robbie, Jake Gyllenhaal, Elisabeth Moss, George Clooney…the list goes on!

NKPR Festival Countdown 2018

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On Wednesday, August 23rd, we hosted our annual Festival Countdown to officially kick-off Film Festival season and #NKPRIT18, brought to you by Hounds Vodka and Lise Watier.

The night was filled with glamour and sophistication, with Swarovski crystals dazzling from the trees, fun activations that captured moments of the night and a plethora of refreshments and sweets (of course).

Upon entrance, a stunning Lise Watier tree was styled with twinkle lights, hanging crystals (hello, Swarovski!) and white roses as the backdrop for guests’ shared photo booth moments. Designed by the talented Caspar Haydar Design, the entire event was completely stunning and the perfect atmosphere!

As guests mingled, Pusateri’s served delicious hors-d’oeuvres throughout the night along with a full charcuterie spread with Joselito live ham slicing and a fresh mozzarella pulling station. There was something delicious for everyone and even a delicious sweets table that featured an #NKAllBlackEverything cake provided by Cakes by Mickey!

 

The cocktails for the evening were provided by Hounds Vodka, serving up signature and speciality drinks with their charcoal-infused black vodka, including “Ziggy Bardust” and “Hounds On The Rock”. The “To The Moon and Black” cocktail was definitely a crowd favourite, made with fresh lime juice, creme de cassis and simple syrup, and served with blackberries! The bar was also stocked with Ace Hill Beer and various refreshing flavours of Flow Water.

For all that sparkles, guests could visit the Lise Watier makeup playground to get their makeup touched up with the best and newest products. Guests could also take home a personalized Lise Watier makeup compact embossed with Swarovski crystal lettering (Yes, please)!

The surprise musical guest was Toronto star Fefe Dobson, who put on an incredible set of her new songs to celebrate #NKPRIT18. She performed mid-party with her all-girl band with singles like “Get You Off” and “Love” perfectly combining the theme of film and music.

Near the end of the evening, breakfast was served with Tim Hortons, with their Breakfast Anytime items! Who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich at 10 PM? These late-night snacks gave guests one last chance to fuel-up and continue the festivities well into the night!

SHAYNE STEPHENS, SANGITA PATEL, CHRISTI HIMMELHEBER, AND GREGO MINOT

Thank you to everyone who celebrated the start of the film festival season with us!

NKPRIT18: Top 5 Most Empowering Films of TIFF 2018

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TIFF’s Year of Change: The 5 Empowering Films We Can’t Wait to See

In the past couple of years, we have seen an uprising in empowerment, with individuals and communities raising their voices and championing their causes. TIFF’s 2018 line up is embodying this movement and features films with stories that need to be heard. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 empowering films we’re looking forward to the most (that are inspiring and emotional all in one)!

The Hate U Give

The trailer begins by telling the story of young Starr growing up in a majority African American, small but tightly knit neighbourhood, with her long-time friend. It begins to tell how she separated from her roots to continue education at a more prestigious high school. Eventually, an old friendship rekindles and as their relationship blooms, they are put in a situation where they are pulled over by a Caucasian police officer. The Hate U Give is an emotionally charged film that brings forward the heartbreaking reality of many African American youth. We’re excited about this one because it’s a realistic story that stays true to a real-world phenomenon that continues to beg for true change.

Beautiful Boy

Starring the hilarious Steve Carell and the talented Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy tells the moving story of a father-son relationship. This story of change focuses on Carrel’s character who realizes that sometimes being a father is creating a fluid relationship, that is accepting and unconditional. It has a unique twist to tell a common story of losing touch with a loved one, and we’re excited to see how it unfolds!

Widows

Who doesn’t love a lady-power movie?? In this girl boss film, a group of women have become widows after their husbands have died during a criminal heist. With Viola Davis in a leading role, the women come together to pull off the unexpected. The group of widows show ultimate femme fatale to stand up and do something. We are obsessed with this action-packed movie that is a twist on the usual criminal storyline and empowers the typical damsel in distress character. It is one for all the girl bosses to watch!

Green Book

This movie looks phenomenal! Based on a true story, it tells the story of two worlds colliding. A working Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960’s American South. This film tells the story of true friendship during a highly controversial time in America’s history. We love how both music and companionship overcome the racial issues of the time. This movie is one for all audiences and has been beautifully created to evoke all emotions.

What 2018 TIFF film are you most excited to see? Tweet us (@natashankpr) and let us know!