A Pinata Party with the Spirited Meaghan Kennedy of Your Pinata

Best of 2016, Random Musings, Rave!

I just love it when someone who is kind, generous, and good finds success in not only what they do, but who they are. Art and life can sometimes be incongruous, but when the fusion of creating something coalesces with true talent, anything can be possible. Just ask the raven-haired beauty with the crazy nails behind Your Pinata, the tremendously unique entity that can make a likeness of anything into a pinata. And I mean anything.

So, without further adue, here is my exclusive interview with Meaghan Kennedy, pinata savant and radiant beauty. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that. It’s just the truth.

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Meaghan Kennedy, the Genius Behind All That Pinata-ness.

Reading Other People (ROP): I’ve known you a long time, and I know you’ve always been creative. Why pinatas? Why now?

Meaghan Kennedy (MK): We have known each other for ages! So rad! Pinatas started as a joke. I wanted to enter in a talent show and so I made a pinata of a pink poodle… it became an obsession quickly! So fun to smash all my hard work!

ROP: Your free spirit is something that makes you so memorable. How have you harnessed that openness to your art?

MK: That’s lovely, thank you:)

ROP: You’ve met some pretty famous people and gotten some pretty major exposure to Your Pinata. Who would you just love creating a Pinata for?

MK: The list is huge. So many people are inspiring to me. I made one for Trudeau during his election campaign, and I had always wanted to make one for John Waters and that happened last year.. I would love to make one for Mariah Carey, Britney, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are way rad. Anyone from daytime television. SO many crazy characters to smash (who wouldn’t want to hit Victor Newman?)!

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The Artist at Work.

ROP: How would you describe your design aesthetic? Do you do a lot of pre-planning or do you like for the creation phase to be as organic as possible?

MK: I always try to connect with each client and give them a pinata that will really leave an impression. I think the big heads/small bodies are hilarious, they look like the person but not too much that you would get creeped out. I don’t do well with drawing so I tend to reference images and just get creative!

ROP: You’ve modelled, you’ve acted, you’ve DJ’ed..and now with your piñata, you are becoming an artistic tsunami. Do you have a favorite?

MK: Hehe, pinatas for sure! It’s the first time I feel like I am really great at something. Like I am making something special happen.

ROP: How do you decide who you’re going to design a Pinata for?

MK: Almost all my work is commission based, so the client decides what/who I am making. That being said, I make a lot of pinatas on my downtime, and I pick people who inspire me. I had the opportunity to see my idol John Waters last year, so I made him a pinata and showed up with it. He loved it and brought it up on stage with him to thank me. Pinch me!

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Cry Baby Pinata from the John Waters Film

ROP: When you finally make that piñata for Britney Spears, can I come with you to Las Vegas to deliver it to her?

MK: YES!!! I still remember the big poster on your bedroom door at your mum’s place:)

ROP: Is there a time of day that you feel the most creative? What inspires you? Music? People? Feelings?

MK: Having worked retail for 15 years I have a big love for pop music and top 40 for when I need to keep energy up. I love me some Supertramp, Neil Young, Charles Bradley, Smashing Pumpkins.. I could listen to Britney/Mariah all day and be a happy girl! Wide range!

ROP: Have you ever declined a piñata order?

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Heathers!

MK: Yes. Many times. I am not interested in making people you hate. Go smash a bottle against a wall. I declined several Stephen Harper pinatas, Trump, Rob Ford (I made one and it made me feel horrible looking at his ugly face for 3 days while making him.) I would so much rather make your mum or your boss! Life should be fun! Don’t waste your time on bullshit!

ROP: Amen to that, sister. Amen to that.

Read more about Your Pinata at http://www.yourpinata.com, including instructions on how to get your own custom pinata.

Smash on.

 

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Effortlessly Cool: Profiling Men’s Clothing Shop Surmesur

Rave!

With The Gentlemen’s Expo fast approaching, the team here at Reading Other People thought it would be fun to highlight some of the local stylish, innovative purveyors of cool. The Quebec-born Surmesur instantly came to mind. After communicating with their social media team in Quebec, an in-store interview with one of the shop’s co-founders was arranged and Reading Other People was granted an in-depth, personalized visit to one of the coolest stores to grace Toronto streets in a very long time.

One of the many uniquely styled blazers available at Surmesur.

One of the many uniquely styled blazers available at Surmesur.

Falling within the Bespoke style of clothes making (the store name gives it away), Surmesur is so much more than a made to order enterprise. It’s a style experience without all of the typical pretense that usually accompanies visits to a tailor. Replacing the fakery of some of Toronto’s other Bespoke tailors, Surmesur’s practice of providing an open, honest, and comfortable shopping experience makes it one of Toronto’s best kept style secrets, but a secret it shall not remain for much longer.

Greeting us with the charm of a gentlemen and the savvy of a business owner, co-founder Francois Thériault took us throughout the store, from the extremely well-organized and minimalist street level to the labyrinthine, staff-only floors. While the availability of options to make that perfect suit or blazer was a tad overwhelming, Thériault and the other Surmesur  staff ensure that a visit to the store is so highly personalized that feeling distressed is quickly replaced with excitement of  customizing a jacket to one’s own style.

“The Toronto shopper is a bit more conservative than we’ve noticed in our other locations,” Thériault says as we sit upon the sofas in the lounge area used for larger wedding parties and corporate events whilst perusing the availability of suit options and fabrics. “Our Quebec City customer will focus on the details of a suit, and our Montreal shoppers are loud in their style choices. But in Toronto, we usually see a tendency to more solid colors.”

Some of the many available fabrics available.

Some of the many available fabrics available.

And this is what makes Surmesur so incessantly cool and refreshing. Whatever the customer likes, the customer can get, without judgement of any kind. While the highly trained and experience staff, replete with on-site tailors for those pesky last-minute hem jobs, will recommend what type of style or color might work best for you, it’s the customer’s final choice to order what they want. And that’s perfectly fine with Surmesur staff.

Francois at work.

Francois at work.

When asked what can best describe the must-haves for the formal wardrobe of an inexperienced or shy shopper, Thériault, without hesitation, mentions “blues and grays are the best choices to make. They’re timeless colours.” Showing us the myriad of blues and grays available, Theirault pointed out the various styles and shades that can be incorporated into any bespoke pieces, brilliantly demonstrating his vast knowledge of not only materials, but of style.

We were amazed at the prices that Surmesur charges for its services. Astonished, really. The wide selection of some 5000 fabrics allow men to personalize their shirt or suit at truly affordable prices. You can get a customized shirt starting at $55, and suit prices start at $375. And, to satisfy the most discerning customers, the folks at SurMesur carry recognized collections such as Dormeuil, Scabal, Holland & Sherry and Vitale Barberis. With a 4-6 week turnaround on ordered pieces, we at Reading Other People don’t know why any Toronto man would go anywhere else to order their next shirt and tie.

“We don’t really publicize the shop all that much,” Theirault continues as he shows us the multitude of orders pending pick up, a veritable rainbow of colors and patterns. “Word-of-mouth is spreading, and we feel that’s the best way to build our customer base. We want to make our shopper feel comfortable in our stores.” It is this penchant for a highly personalized, simple and fun experience that sets the ethos of Surmesur miles away from its closest competitors.

Glimpses into Tie-heaven.

Glimpses into Tie-heaven.

This ease of communication Theirault allowed our interview to be both organic and efficient. When speaking about how Surmesur was born from brothers Vincent and François Thériault from Québec City, the genuineness of the stores values are on clear display. Theriault’s obvious goal is to make the Surmesur shopper know what’s available, and with that knowledge, accessible by the various, highly cataloged booklets sorted by color,  acknowledges that finding that perfect suit can indeed be an arduous task.

“Surmesur can get you that cool suit for the kid going to his prom, and for the Bay Street banker who needs to go to yet another function”, says Thériault. “And we do it an affordable cost. We also take all of your measurements and keep it on record so upon your next visit, we’re not taking our the measuring tape.” Hallelujah for simplicity.

Coming soon is also an online tool for prospective shoppers to visualize how certain colors and patterns would look as a blazer or tie. Giving us a demo, it’s clear this will change the shoppers experience in many ways. Sometimes you just need to see that a paisley pattern won’t look good as a pair of pants, but great as a blazer’s lining. That’s the beauty of Surmesur – it’s got effortless style that incorporates the shopper as a person, with their own ideas and preferences, as opposed to an object who must be sold the most expensive pieces.

SMTies

Check out Surmesur’s booth @ The Gentlemen’s Expo September 25 to 27th at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto…and say hi to   Thériault who will be there at some point. We bet you will be able to spot his authenticity from across the venue.

Visit Surmesur online at http://www.surmesur.com

A Gentle Person’s Contest – Win Tix To The Upcoming Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto September 25-27, 2015

Live Events

Hello Our Stylish Friends and Loyal Readers!

Reading Other People will be covering all of the glitz, glamour and classroom sessions at the upcoming Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto from September 25th to 27th. The shin dig is going to be held at the Metro Convention Centre and will be full of swag. We are genuinely excited to learn about the newest craft beers and whiskies, get some tips on grooming, and have some q & a time with Spike Lee. Yes – you read that correctly. The genius behind Do The Right Thing will be there.

The attractions lined up for this year’s expo range from the truly sensational to the semi-dangerous, and Reading Other People will be right there to share with you all of the action as it happens.

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The Blazer Search Continues

Random Musings

On my seemingly endless journey towards finding the perfect blazer, I’ve done some crazy amounts of research. I know the theoretical principles on what defines a ‘good fit’ and what trends and styles to avoid. But you know what? That has not made the acquisition of my goal any easier. Sure, I’ve had mediocre blazers, the best being from Zara. I’ve had cord blazers from Urban Outfitters, but I’m sad to say I just don’t fit their demographic anymore. As much as I loved Kurt Cobain and NWA, I don’t need a deconstructed t-shirt emblazoned with the aforementioned faces in order to assert my style sense.

He has a blazer. Why can't I find one?

Be A Pomp Star @ The Gentlemen’s Expo

Live Events

You know what’s coming up in t-minus 33 days? No, not the return of Empire.  No, it’s not TIFF either. It’s the return of the stylish and so not pretentious The Gentlemen’s Expo.

An awesome and ingenious concept, The Gentlemen’s Expo is the encapsulation of the modern, cool dude. But fret not you just as cool modern women, there are many things for you to savour as well throughout the weekend of September 25-27, 2015.

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You’re only lying to yourself if you say you’re not interested in clothes, or music, or some yummy craft beer. It’s the vices of life that are going to be on full display at the Expo, and with your trusty drink tickets in hand, the craft beer will be yours for the tasting.

Check out the promo reel for 2014’s well-received Expo. If it looks like an all out party, that’s because it was, and I cannot wait to be part of it for the 2015 installment. There’s going to be the cream of the crop of vendors and exhibitors, like… AxenHachetLogologo-amsterdam Logo_Surmesur_EN

…to name but a few.

Leading up to the 2015 event, Reading Other People will be sharing highlights of what’s planned, as well as live covering the event starting September 25th. So get your fedoras ready, and iron out your fancy socks, because Reading Other People is going to be taking notes.

Tix are now available so pick ’em up now. And stay tuned for more updates on Expo-related goodness. We’re going to be profiling some of the awesomeness of what’s in store. Did we also mention there’s going to be a HYPNOTIST?!!

We also have a contest that will be posted soon on how to get free tickets to check it out for yourself.

Business Casual Casualities

Random Musings

Being employed in a workplace where a ‘business casual’ wardrobe is mandated, I found the attached article really useful in punching up my work style. The article further confirms my propensity to buy expensive, quality shoes and that right blazer.

Business Casual

http://www.menshealth.com/style/make-a-better-impression-with-business-casual