Discover Shawn Hook!

Discover Shawn Hook!

By Angela McLean

Canadian talent is slaying the music game right now, and Shawn Hook, a B.C.-born singer/songwriter, has caught music lovers’ hearts in a “Million Ways”. His catchy electro-pop tunes have been blowing up the airwaves and charts. In fact, his latest hit, “Sound of Your Heart”, has stayed high on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 for over 4 months and has since been certified gold. His famous fans include Tori Kelly, who had him as an opener on one of her tour stops in Toronto, Victoria Duffield and gossip blogger Perez Hilton. If you’re not a member of #TeamHook now, get hooked.

Vervegirl caught up with Shawn before his performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash to talk about ‘Analog Love’, his musical inspirations and giving back.

Vervegirl: You released your new album ‘Analog Love’ in June. What story does the album tell?

There are multiple stories. Each song in itself is a small story. In general, I think it speaks more to me growing as an artist. I had a lot of fun with this record and I’m a lot more self-assured with the songs.

Analog LoveVG: What’s your favourite song off the album to perform live?

“Bad Girls”! It’s a fun song.

VG: Your latest single, “Sound of Your Heart”, has become an international hit. What inspired that song?

I co-wrote the song with two guys and we just started talking about what’s going on in our lives. That’s usually how a co-write session happens – we start talking about what’s going on in our lives because it’s better to write a song from a real experience. I’m in a long distance relationship and so I was talking about that and the struggles and challenges that come with it and we just went from there and constructed the song.

VG: Before ‘Analog Love’, you released an album called ‘Cosmonaut and the Girl’. How has your sound evolved over time?

I think the songwriting has evolved in the sense that I’m getting a little more picky with what I want to put out there. I want to make sure I’m happy with every lyric and every melody. Otherwise I’m not going to put anything out there. With this record, I really took my time with that. Also, sonically, my label now trusts me more to venture out and bring in different producers that I want to work with.

VG: Where were you the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio and what was going through your head?

I was in the Okanagan in Kelowna, BC when I heard my song “So Close”. It was cool! As a kid, I dreamed of hearing my songs on the radio and to finally hear it was just a moment of affirmation.

VG: Do you have any places in particular that you like to write music where your creative juices really flow?

There are certain times I’ll start writing lyrics on a plane and I find being on a plane and looking out the window, I like that for lyrics. For music, I have a really nice set-up at home where I have my upright piano and candles.

VG: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

I grew up listening to The Beatles, a lot of country music and some classic rock like Prince and Clearwater. Then, in high school I got into John Mayer when he first released ‘Room for Squares’ and Coldplay with ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’. Those two records were really big through high school. In college, I discovered Radiohead. Those were the foundations of my music.

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

VG: When you’re not busy recording and playing music, you like to give back to the community. Can you tell us about your charitable organization, Live to Give?

Live to Give started as Feed the Need. A friend of mine and I got together and we wondered, “What can we do to help?” We wanted to help out and see what we could do. At first, we started doing tours through high schools to raise food for food banks and then we did a concert to raise funds for a school in Guatemala. We don’t have anything on the agenda right now but we’re hoping to do another tour to work in with my tour when we go out to tour the record.

VG: Do you have any advice for budding musicians?

Do it as much as you can, as often as you can, and in all aspects of it, meaning performance, recording, practicing, everything. Just submerse yourself into it. I think the perfect balance is having some talent and skill but also the drive and perseverance because that’s really what separates you.

VG: What’s next for you?

I’ve done some deals internationally for my music in America, France and Australia. I’m hoping to go to these other markets and introduce my music to them and share it with the rest of the world.

Thank you, Shawn! You can get Shawn’s album ‘Analog Love’ in stores and on iTunes now. Follow Shawn on Twitter @Shawn_Hook.

Watch Shawn’s performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash whenever and wherever you want by clicking to YTV’s YouTube channel.

Meet OMI!

Meet OMI!

By Angela McLean

Oh, I think that we’ve found ourselves a new favourite artist! His infectious anthem “Cheerleader” has been stuck in everyone’s heads all summer and now Jamaican recording artist OMI is here to stay.

“Cheerleader”, a song about celebrating the people who are always rooting for you, made its debut in the music world in 2012. It managed to dominate the charts and airwaves in Jamaica, Hawaii and Dubai, but OMI knew the song had more potential. Once German producer Felix Jaehn got his hands on it, a new radio-ready remix was catapulted to worldwide success and has remained in the Top 5 on iTunes since its May release.

CheerleaderVervegirl caught up with OMI – the voice behind the hottest song of the summer – at the YTV Summer Beach Bash to chat cheerleaders, Jason Derulo and why his Canadian fans are so amazing.

Vervegirl: What inspired “Cheerleader”?

The song was pretty much straightforward. It’s a concept I had where I didn’t want to do a song, I wanted to do an interlude to the album, and that’s just part of the interesting story about the development of the song. First and foremost, it wasn’t supposed to be a song.

VG: We have to ask – who is your personal cheerleader?

I would have to say my mom.

VG: We heard that you once judged a cheerleading competition back in Jamaica. What was that like?

That was fun! I was judging their outfits. That was interesting.

VG: A lot of people may not know that you originally released “Cheerleader” in 2012, but worked with Ultra Music to give it a new life and fresh sound. Can you tell us about that process and working with Felix Jaehn?

Felix Jaehn is great. What he did with the song was amazing and I think he’s a very good DJ and a very good producer. Working with Ultra is also great. It’s a great label. I think we’ve accomplished so much together and I just look for longevity and continuing this relationship.

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

VG: “Cheerleader” is being dubbed as the biggest song of the summer. What have been some of your favourite summer songs this year?

Ah man, I have a lot! I have songs that I listen to all through the year. As a musician, I always do that – I listen to other people’s music and I’m inspired by it. Right now, I love Jason Derulo’s song “Want To Want Me”!

VG: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Bob Marley, and John Legend, just to name a few.

VG: You were last in Toronto for the MuchMusic Video Awards in June. How have your Canadian fans been treating you?

Very good! 3x platinum now I hear – that’s very good!

VG: What’s next for you?

The album this fall!

Thank you, OMI! Connect with OMI online by following him on Twitter @omimusiconline and Facebook OMItoday.

Watch OMI’s performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash whenever and wherever you want by clicking to YTV’s YouTube channel.

Meet Sabrina Carpenter!

Meet Sabrina Carpenter!

By Angela McLean

The girl has met the world, but now it’s time for the world to meet the girl. Say hello to Hollywood’s newest double threat, 16-year-old Sabrina Carpenter. We all know and love Sabrina as the sweet yet feisty Maya Hart on Disney’s GIRL MEETS WORLD, but when she’s not in front of the camera she’s behind the mic in the recording studio.

Sabrina’s debut album, ‘Eyes Wide Open’, came out in April and it’s an incredible showcase of what she has to offer, as she proved in person during her performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash earlier this month. Sabrina’s talent is undeniable and her dedicated fans came out in waves to show their support and sing along to their favourite songs. There’s no need to ask Sabrina to choose between singing and acting – she manages to perfectly balance out both of her passions! Watch out for her in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie FURTHER ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, which recently wrapped filming in Vancouver.

Vervegirl hung out with Sabrina backstage at the YTV Summer Beach Bash to talk about first albums, working with Meghan Trainor and what really makes her cry.

Vervegirl: You released your debut album, ‘Eyes Wide Open’, earlier this year. What was it like recording your first full body of music?

It was an amazing learning experience. It was definitely long and there was a lot of learning about myself and growing in between the process. I was learning more about songwriting, music and about who I am as a music artist. I’m very proud of it! It’s definitely a good, in my opinion, first album to put out.

Eyes Wide OpenVG: The music video for your new single, “Eyes Wide Open”, is amazing and has already racked up over 5 million views on YouTube! How much fun was that video to shoot?

It was so much fun! It was technically in a hotel but they use it a lot for parties. There are huge ballrooms and it was really fun because there was one huge, empty ballroom and it was on the other side where we weren’t filming. It was so dark and so you go in and it’s pitch black but the room is ginormous and you feel like you’re going to die. It was really cool! The whole place was fantastic though. I really had a lot of fun just running around a building all day in a long dress.

VG: Two songs on your album – “Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying” and “Darling I’m A Mess” – were co-written by Meghan Trainor! How did you two link up?

I first started the EP process when I was between 13 and 14 and they sent over a few demos and I heard “Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying” and “Darling I’m A Mess” first. I knew I wanted “Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying” to be the single because I fell in love with the lyrics and I knew that it would relate to girls my age and beyond. Then, I found out it was written by a 19-year-old girl named Meghan Trainor and we started emailing. I love her music! I wanted to write with her – hopefully we’ll still be able to write soon because I know we wanted to do that. Then, when it was time to make the full album I wanted to put “Darling I’m A Mess” on there because when I did the EP I was 14 but I knew that by the time the album would come out I would be 16 so I would be a little bit older. I love those songs so much.

VG: How would you describe your sound?

It’s changing. It’s growing every single day. It started off very organic and it’s still always going to have that base of pure music to it. I’ll always focus on the vocals more than anything but I think as I grow I’m getting into a lot of soul. I think with ‘Eyes Wide Open’ you can hear that a little bit more. There’s more of a maturity in there and so just taking from that I’ll be growing but that’s where I see myself right now.

Sabrina Carpenter at the YTV Summer Beach BashVG: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

When I started to learn about music, the first songs I learned were by Etta James, Judy Garland, Patsy Cline and The Beatles and so I grew up loving those artists. Once I learned to find my own music, I was really into Christina Aguilera and Adele. Now, I’m very into Hozier – he’s so good live – and very much into pure talent and pure musicians. Every time I hear Ed Sheeran’s voice, I start to cry.

VG: Most people probably recognize you best as Maya Hart on Disney’s GIRL MEETS WORLD. Tell us about Maya!

Maya is rebellious! That’s the main word to describe her. The thing that’s really cool about Maya is that she’s got a lot of layers to her and she’s a little bit more complex than you’d think. She’s hard to read sometimes because she often puts a wall up. As confident and sassy as she looks, she’s also got a lot of problems like we all do. She’s very human and I think that’s what I love most about her. She’s very realistic.

VG: Is there anything about Maya that reminds you of yourself?

The sarcasm for sure, and the hair, and the face. Pretty much a lot! I think, obviously, I’m not as rebellious as Maya. I think there are things that she does that are quite illegal that I would not do but then again it’s TV. So, I think we share a lot of characteristics but certain choices she makes I wouldn’t necessarily make.

Girl Meets WorldVG: Why do Vervegirl readers HAVE to watch GIRL MEETS WORLD?

You have to watch GIRL MEETS WORLD because it’s literally become something we’re so proud of. This second season is our best season and it’s filled with so many topics that we never thought we’d be able to do on Disney Channel. Every character is growing so you really get to learn more about each character on the show and you see it become an ensemble of pure friendship. It’s been so magnificent.

VG: GIRL MEETS WORLD is relatable on so many levels to its audience. Do your fans ever talk to you about how the show has helped them?

Yes! I think that’s what we’re trying to do for this generation. We want to cater to their problems that they have right now – the more updated and modern problems in this 21st century – and help them get through them.

VG: Your song “Can’t Blame A Girl For Trying” won Best Crush Song at the Radio Disney Music Awards! Who is your celebrity crush?

I love Zac Efron but everybody does. I also love Chris Pine but Zac Efron is main bae.

VG: You have a great sense of fashion! How would you describe your style and what are some of your favourite stores to shop at?

My style is something that’s constantly changing every day. I just find a lot of inspiration from people who I think have amazing style. I constantly find myself in the transition of bohemian, edgy and preppy. I know it’s total opposite but it just depends on the day and how I’m feeling. I’m very much into reading the fashion magazines like Teen Vogue and Vogue. I like keeping up with the trends and reading them but I don’t usually go with the trends. I tend to shop at Urban Outfitters, Free People and Topshop – those are the 3 main ones.

VG: What’s next for you?

Everything! [Laughter] We just finished filming FURTHER ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING a little over a month ago in Vancouver and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m very excited for people to see it.

Thank you, Sabrina! To keep up to date with Sabrina’s future projects and show dates, follow her on Twitter @SabrinaAnnLynn, Facebook SabrinaCarpenter and Instagram @sabrinacarpenter.

Watch Sabrina’s performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash whenever and wherever you want by clicking to YTV’s YouTube channel.

Meet Francesco Yates!

Meet Francesco Yates!

By Angela McLean

Francesco Yates is on a quest to take over the music world, one curl at a time, and by the looks of it he is well on his way. The 19-year-old Canadian chart-topper has already caught the attention of musical greats like Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams and has clearly earned his spot on Vervegirl’s radar! We all know and love his catchy soul-pop singles “Call” and “Better To Be Loved”. Next, Francesco will be releasing a self-titled EP on September 11 – which happens to be his 20th birthday – and opening for Jess Glynne on tour across the United States and Canada.

Vervegirl caught up with Francesco at the YTV Summer Beach Bash in Toronto to talk about Pharrell Williams, #TeamAfro vs. Yaters and how it’s always better to be loved.

Vervegirl: Your single “Better To Be Loved” is a massive radio hit. Where were you the first time you heard it on the radio and what was going through your head?

I was driving home one night and it was on a mix with Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and a DJ did a blend of it. To hear that in such great company was real good for me. I love Bruno Mars!

Francesco Yates - EPVG: You have a self-titled EP coming out later this year. What can you tell us about that?

It’s a good little eclectic mix of styles. I think the goal of the EP is just to give the people something and see what they want to go with. There’s going to be a Pharrell track on there and I’m very anxious to let the world hear what we’ve been doing. There’s been a lot of talk about it.

VG: Do you have any times in particular that you like to write music where your creative juices really flow?

Night time! Anywhere at night time. Lately it’s been in my little basement recording studio.

VG: How would you describe your sound?

Back to the future. It has traces of the old stuff that I like from the 70’s – all the old soul stuff – but I put the production in a modern edge. Hopefully the two have a happy marriage.

VG: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

I would say there’s a lot of inspiration in my production and in my stylings from all the OVO Sound artists, but I’m also a big fan of Prince as well as Queen.

VG: You recently performed at the Parapan Am Opening Ceremonies in Toronto. What was that experience like?

That was great! There was a lot of positive vibes going on there while I was performing and I was glad I could contribute to a good vibe. I performed “Honey, I’m Home”, “Better To Be Loved” and “Call” – they let me perform 3 tunes and it was great!

VG: You’ve worked with a lot of incredible artists, including the legendary Pharrell Williams who gave you his gold seal of approval. Asked about you, he said, “He’s absolutely gonna be just a huge, huge, huge pop star.” Plus, you got to play guitar on his album GIRL. What was it like working with him and how did you two meet?

We initially met through a friend of mine and my A&R at the time. Pharrell was gracious enough to take me on as a student of the funk. He’s the minister of the funk! At our first meeting, we just talked about normal things like DUCK DYNASTY and what kind of breakfast cereal we like. We bonded over things non-musical and for some reason that actually helped.

Pharrell Williams and FrancescoVG: You also recently worked with Robin Schulz on his new track “Sugar” which just went #1 in Germany! How does it feel for your music to be reaching people so far away from home?

I can only hope that the good vibes continue. I never thought I would have a #1 anywhere so this is good news to me!

VG: Earlier this summer, you released a cover of fellow Canadian artist Shawn Mendes’ song “Stitches”. Then, you did a duet cover of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” on stage with him in Regina. Is there any chance you guys will work together on a song?

I hope to when both of our crazy schedules allow it. I would love to write with Shawn; he’s a great kid and we had a great discussion backstage there. We had met at the MuchMusic Video Awards before and really hit it off. I’d love to see what we would do.

VG: What advice do you have for budding musicians?

Hone your craft. Figure out what you want to do. When they ask you what your style is, make sure you know and find out what you’re comfortable with. I’m a believer in the good is just the good. Reach your people through any avenue of social media that you can because that’s the dominant thing for new artists to connect with their supporters.

VG: You’re very active on social media. Have you decided on a name for your fans? We’ve seen some debate on your Twitter feed!

I don’t like to call them fans, but for some reason I could never decide on a name. I came up with #TeamAfro a long time ago but people came up with their own name, Yaters. I’m just glad they’re supporting me and my music either way, whether it be #TeamAfro or #TeamCurly or whatever they want to do. They’re my people at the end of the day.

VG: What’s next for you?

The EP, possibly a couple of dates with Robin Schulz and continuing to try my best to take this crazy world by curly storm.

Thank you, Francesco! Be a part of Francesco’s journey and follow him on Twitter @FrancescoYates and Facebook Francesco Yates.

Watch Francesco’s performance at the YTV Summer Beach Bash whenever and wherever you want by clicking to YTV’s YouTube channel.

YTV Summer Beach Bash Makes A Splash

YTV Summer Beach Bash Makes A Splash

By Angela McLean

It was the hottest family concert event of the summer and Vervegirl was there! The YTV Summer Beach Bash brought out waves of fans to Canada’s Wonderland Splash Works on August 8 for a fun day filled with live performances and exclusive meet and greets with YTV stars. This year, the entertainment roster was bigger and better than ever and featured some of this summer’s leading young talent, including GIRL MEETS WORLD star Sabrina Carpenter and “Cheerleader” singer OMI. How’s that for making waves!

YTV Summer Beach Bash Hosts

In between the stellar on-stage performances, YTV hosts Suki, Victor, Lisa and Carlos kept the energy levels in the crowd high, initiating sing-alongs and inviting a lucky few on stage for giveaways. The guys and gals from GAME ON, THE STANLEY DYNAMIC, MAX AND SHRED and SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED were also on hand at the event site to mingle with their fans and take pictures.

As an added bonus, every Summer Beach Bash ticket came with full admission to Canada’s Wonderland and Splash Works where the water was flowing and the rides were in full swing! Even the stars couldn’t help but get their fix – performer Francesco Yates asked for his fans’ input on which rides to visit and Sabrina Carpenter hit up Leviathan with her band.

Vervegirl caught up with all of this year’s headlining performers – Francesco Yates, Charlie Storwick & Kolton Stewart from SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, Sabrina Carpenter, Shawn Hook, OMI and XO-IQ from MAKE IT POP – before they rocked the stage to talk about getting pumped up, making people happy and being cool for the summer.

Sabrina Carpenter - YTV Summer Beach Bash

VG: How do you get pumped up for a big and exciting performance like the YTV Summer Beach Bash?

Francesco: I go out there and see the people and that is inspiring. It’s also just my own hype. I’m very into the music.

Charlie: I always listen to music and drink a lot of coffee.

Kolton: I get a good sleep the night before then get the beats jamming.

Sabrina: Soundcheck is really fun because we get to do a whole test run before the actual show. That’s usually how I get pumped up – in soundcheck and just getting ready with my band. We usually do a little chant pre-show.

Shawn: I like to do vocal warm-ups 3 hours before I have to sing and then just loosen up and not think about it – just go up there and play.

OMI: I guess just the thrill of knowing that I’m going out there to perform for my fans. I always pray before I do anything.

Megan (XO-IQ): Addy, our choreographer, huddles us together with all our dancers and we talk about being pumped and just doing our best.

Erika (XO-IQ): I think we all really feed off the audience as well so that helps a lot.

Charlie & Kolton - YTV Summer Beach Bash

VG: What can fans expect from your live performance?

Francesco: I like to have a lot of fun up there. It’s a very fun, loose type of vibe.

Charlie: A lot of energy and surprises. A lot of smiles!

Shawn: Lots of energy!

OMI: Just to have fun. That’s what it is for me – having fun and sharing that energy.

Megan (XO-IQ): A lot of our music is very EDM-based so definitely lots of really pumped up dance music with lots of electronic beats.

Dale (XO-IQ): Cool costumes and awesome moves.

Louriza (XO-IQ): We just want people to dance with us!

Francesco Yates - YTV Summer Beach Bash

VG: What’s your favourite part about summer?

Francesco: That everyone’s open and out. In the winter it’s a different vibe and everyone is all closed off. It’s easier to be happy in the summer!

Charlie: The energy and the music. I love the music in the summer.

Kolton: The weather. It’s always great to hang out with friends.

Sabrina: Making smores and having campfires. Also, going on rollercoasters and going to amusement parks – I’ve found myself there a lot this summer.

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

Shawn: I grew up in a small town on a river so I loved swimming. If I can do that at least once or twice a year I’m happy.

OMI: My favourite part of summer is just getting away from whatever it is you do and just having that relaxation and bonding. Families come from abroad, come from different countries, just to hang and get to know each other a little better.

Megan (XO-IQ): The beach!

VG: Now we have a few rapid fire questions so Vervegirl readers can get to know you better! My go-to summer treat is…

Francesco: M&Ms.

Charlie: Watermelon.

Kolton: Pop.

Sabrina: Chocolate.

Shawn: An Oreo Blizzard.

OMI: A Drumstick!

Dale (XO-IQ): Shave ice.

Louriza (XO-IQ): Mango gelato is where I’m at every weekend.

Erika (XO-IQ): Watermelon.

Megan (XO-IQ): I’m really craving for a funnel cake right now. I want to try a Beaver Tail today!

XO-IQ - YTV Summer Beach Bash

VG: My song of the summer is…

Francesco: “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson.

Charlie: “Riptide” by Vance Joy.

Kolton: “Cheerleader” by OMI.

Sabrina: “Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato.

Shawn: “Cheerleader”.

Megan (XO-IQ): “California Gurls” by Katy Perry.

Dale (XO-IQ): Anything by Jack Ü – Diplo and Skrillex.

Louriza (XO-IQ): “Keeping You Up” by K. Stewart. She’s so good!

Erika (XO-IQ): “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd.

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

Photo Credit: Andy Vanderkaay

VG: My dream karaoke partner is…

Francesco: William Hung from AMERICAN IDOL.

Charlie: Whitney Houston.

Kolton: Ed Sheeran.

Sabrina: Adele.

Shawn: Eminem.

OMI: My assistant, Errol. I want to hear him sing with me on stage one day.

Megan (XO-IQ): Michael Jackson! It’s like having a vocal lesson with a legend.

Louriza (XO-IQ): The Spice Girls.

Erika (XO-IQ): Nicki Minaj.

Dale (XO-IQ): Drizzy. T-dot represent!

VG: Something my fans would be surprised to know about me is…

Francesco: I’ve never had a hamburger in my life.

Charlie: I have a bearded dragon named Feisty. He’s 7 and he likes to sit on my shoulder and hang out.

Kolton: I eat lemons like they’re apples.

Sabrina: I hate bananas. Everything about them. I like the way they look actually – I think they’re a very pretty fruit – but I just hate how they taste.

Shawn: I golf!

OMI: I’m trying to come out with a book so I want them to read certain things in the book. If I tell them now, we’re going to be low on sales. So, look forward to the book.

Megan (XO-IQ): I’m obsessed with THE VAMPIRE DIARIES! I just recently started watching it so I’ve been binge watching.

Dale (XO-IQ): I’m absolutely obsessed with DOCTOR WHO.

If you missed the party, or want to re-live all of the action, you’re in luck! The YTV Summer Beach Bash special will be airing on YTV Sunday, August 16 at 8:30PM EST. If you were in the crowd, you just might see yourself on TV! You can also watch the YTV Summer Beach Bash on-demand by going to YTV’s YouTube channel.

Don’t forget to keep it locked to Vervegirl for more of our extensive one-on-one chats with the stars of YTV Summer Beach Bash.

Get ready to sparkle with Starbucks and LaurDIY

Get ready to sparkle with Starbucks and LaurDIY

To celebrate the launch of Teavana Sparkling Tea Juices, Starbucks has teamed up with YouTube maven LaurDIY (Lauren Riihimaki) to #addsparkle.

On August 1 at 1195 Mainland Street in Vancouver and on August 8 at 316 Quen St. W. in Toronto fans have a chance to meet Lauren at the pop-up “Sparkle Shops” at each Starbucks location. At each Sparkle Shop Starbucks fans can meet and take photos with Laur DIY, sample the new Teavana beverages and participate in different sparkle stations, where Starbucks glitter specialists will glitte their hair, nails, beards, reusable tumblers, and more.

So go and get your glitter on!

Before you go, check out LaurDIY’s Perfect Summer Day: DIY Accessories & Summer Ideas! video: http://youtube.com/laurdiy

Good and evil collide in Disney’s Descendants!

Good and evil collide in Disney’s Descendants!

Have you ever wondered what happened to your favourite Disney characters once the movie ends? Well wonder no more!

In Disney’s latest TV flick, Descendants, audiences are introduced to the second generation of Disney heroes and villains, but the lines between good and evil may not be so clear cut.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Descendants is set in the idyllic kingdom of Auradon, where goodness has reigned ever since Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, the Evil Queen and Jafar were banished to the Isle of Lost – along with all other villains, sidekicks and evil stepmothers. Now, 20 years later, Ben, the teenage son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Beauty and the Beast) is poised to take the throne and, as his first official proclamation, he offers the villainous descendants a chance at redemption. Will the seemingly evil teens – Mal, Carlos, Evie and Jay – follow in their nefarious parents’ footsteps and help the villains regain power, or embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom.

Plus, this modern take on your favourite childhood stories features a star-studded cast: Dove Cameron as Mal, Maleficent’s daughter; Cameron Boyce as Carlos, Cruella de Vil’s son; Sofia Carson as Evie, daughter of Evil Queen; Booboo Stewart as Jay, son of Jafar; Mitchell Hope as Ben; Tony-award winning Kristen Chenoweth as Maleficent; Wendy Raquel Robinson as Cruella de Vil; Kathy Najimy as Evil Queen; and Maz Jobrani as Jafar.

Catch the premiere of Descendants Friday July 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel after a brand new episode of Liv and Maddie.

Watch the trailer or learn more at family.ca.

Discover Diary of a Trendaholic!

Discover Diary of a Trendaholic!

When beauty maven Erica Davis isn’t educating her Diary of a Trendaholic audience about the latest runway trends or products on the market, she’s coveting the closets of Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner and T. Swift.

We chatted with Erica, runner up winner of our So…? Fragrance #SoBloggerSearch to learn more.

On how she got her start

I’ve always been interested in the art of makeup. In high school I began watching videos and playing around with colour in an attempt to enhance my skills. Eventually I became good at it. I realized many women share a common interest: we want to look our best and feel beautiful! I decided to use my love of writing to create a website that reviews the hottest beauty products on the market and make it easy for women to get the lowdown on formulas, quality and application. The response has been very encouraging. I love being able to help and inspire.

On the summer trends she loves

After wearing dark shades all winter, I embrace summer with a splash of bright colour! I’m loving vibrant floral prints, long flowing maxi dresses and sexy backless tops. For makeup I like minimal eye shadow, daring winged liner and a bold lipstick – red is always classy.

On the celeb wardrobe she covets

I am impressed by Kendall Jenner’s style. She is young, fresh, high fashion and her outfits are so trendy! I love Taylor Swift’s cute summer dresses and the array of glamorous gowns in Sphia Vergara’s closet. Blake lively, Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez always look gorgeously chic.

On the future of Diary of a Trendaholic

In the future I see myself writing for a magazine, expanding my social network and teaming up with more beauty brands. I would love to collaborate with an established organization to create my own line of makeup or products, meet new people, attend more fabulous events and totally immerse myself in the beauty industry as a trendsetter and sought-after beauty editor. I have big goals but I’m getting there one step at a time.

Follow Erica as she navigates the latest in fashion and beauty at diaryofatrendaholic.blogspot.ca, on Twitter @ericachristinad and on Instagram @diaryofatrendaholic.

Meet Simply Fashion TV!

Meet Simply Fashion TV!

We teamed up with So…? Fragrance to challenge fashionistas of the world to enter our #SoBloggerSearch. We’re happy to announce that Andréa Christine Jones, the beauty behind Simply Fashion TV was chosen as our winner!

We caught up with Andréa to learn about about her, Simply Fashion TV and her top fashion and beauty picks for summer.

VG: You originally hail from Atlanta, Georgia. Have you always loved fashion and beauty?

Growing up my family was very frugal. My mom was by herself and worked very hard to send my siblings and I to a private school in the U.S. We didn’t have a lot to spend on fashion and beauty, but that didn’t stop us! My mom taught my sister and I how to search the discount racks and shop the thrift stores to find the best deals. People always complimented us on how well we dressed. I loved seeing the shock on people’s faces when they found out that the dress they were complimenting was $5 from Walmart.

Photo credit: simplyfashiontv.com

Photo credit: simplyfashiontv.com

VG: Any fashion trends you see popular in Atlanta that still need to make their way here?

I think people in Toronto and Ontario are a bit afraid of colour. I love bold colours, patterns and lots of it! I think that’s just a reflection of my Southern roots though. Honestly, I think Toronto is a bit more fashion forward than Atlanta.

VG: How would you describe your personal style? What are some key pieces in your wardrobe?

My personal style is girly-chic. It’s a bit preppy with lots of colour. I’m not afraid to wear my prescription glasses as my favourite accessory. My key pieces are my maxi dresses, black skinny jeans, chiffon tunic tops and fun scarves.

VG: How did you get your start on Youtube? What influenced you to start your own channel?

In some way or another, I’ve been blogging since I was 14 years old and I’ve been posting content to YouTube since 2009. So when I decided to create Simply Fashion TV near the end of 2011, it was a very natural decision for me.

VG: What are the must-have products in your beauty kit?

I’m a huge fan of full body skin care, so I have to have my moisturizers. I’m literally obsessed with body butters, oils and lotions. I’ll try them all!

VG: What fashion and/or beauty trend are you loving for summer?

I just picked up a printed pant that’s the modern version of Harem style pants. I’m in love. It’s so comfortable and looks very chic and effortless. My favorite beauty product at the moment is Argan Oil. I use it at least once a week on my whole body!

VG: What inspires your videos/posts? Do you find it hard to continue to come up with original, unique content?

I’m mostly inspired by what I do in my own life. I love fashion and beauty so if I see a maxi dress that I love, I blog about how to find maxi dresses that you love. I have the problem of too many ideas at once and not enough time in the day to finish them all! I have a running list in Google Drive that I’ve been adding to over the past few years. If I ever feel stuck I’ll choose from there.

VG: How would you describe your personal style?

Seek out Andréa’s latest finds at simplyfashiontv.com. Or follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@simplyfashiontv).

Keep Skin Shine-Free This Summer

Keep Skin Shine-Free This Summer

By Arveen Mann

The hot heat of summer is here. Unfortunately for some, the warmer weather can lead to shiny and oily skin. As a girl that also suffers from shiny skin in the warmer temperatures here are my tips on to keep your skin looking oil-free.

Tip #1: Don’t use a strong cleanser for oily skin. I would recommend a mild cleanser. Strong cleansers often dry out pores. When pores are over-dry they produce even more oil, making your skin look shiny.

Tip #2: After cleansing use a moisturizer for shiny skin. An oil-free moisturizer is best for shine control. An oil-free moisturizer will mattify and reduce shine on your skin while still keeping your skin hydrated.

Tip #3: Don’t over-wash your face. Try to limit washing your face to only two times a day. By washing your face too often will also lead to increased oil production and shiny skin.

Tip #4: Wash your face using slightly warm water. This will relax your face without putting too much stress on pores.

Tip #5: Blotting sheets are a girl’s best friend! They help remove excess surface oil and are small enough to slip into your back pocket.

I truly hope this article will help you out this summer from one oily girl to another.

#MenchiesMyWay Summer VIP Contest

#MenchiesMyWay Summer VIP Contest

Menchie’s Canada is celebrating the kick-off to summer and the launch of their new flavour, Oreo Cookie! Show your individual creativity with a picture of your favourite Menchie’s frozen yogurt mix and you could win a Menchie’s Summer VIP pass.

To enter:

  1. Make your Menchie’s creation at your closest Menchie’s location.
  2. Take a photo, tell us what’s in your creation and give it a name.
  3. Share your photo and name on one or more of the following websites: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #MenchiesMyWay and #VGsummer.

That’s it!

There are 116 Menchie’s locations across Canada. Find your closest store at menchies.ca/locations.

*Note: we thank you for your interest but only entries from Canadian citizens (excluding Quebec) are valid.

Contest closes: August 9, 2015

Click here for contest rules and regulations.

 

Vervegirl presents… An Afternoon with Anastasia A!

Vervegirl presents… An Afternoon with Anastasia A!

Anastasia A is a determined and energetic pop singer/songwriter who is aiming to inspire the world through her music. Between playing sold out Canadian Music Week shows and working on new music, Anastasia barely has time to breathe! However, if there’s anything she knows how to make time for, it’s her friends and her fans. The Anamaniacs, as Anastasia calls them, have been nothing but loyal and dedicated, helping to promote her EP Something Inside You and being front row at all of her shows. Imagine their excitement when Anastasia invited some of her biggest supporters and online contest winners to a special get-together, An Afternoon with Anastasia A, presented by Vervegirl in Toronto.

In the weeks leading up to the party, fans were eager to snag a ticket. For those lucky enough to get an invite, the afternoon did not disappoint. Anamaniacs got to meet their favourite singer and see her perform a great acoustic set. To top off the afternoon, Anastasia gave the crowd a special exclusive and surprised them with the first-ever performance of her new single, “I Got You”, which just premiered on the Family Channel. Plus, every guest in attendance got to take home a swag bag of Anastasia’s music and make-up products from essence and Dermalogica.

Vervegirl chatted with the star of the party before the doors opened about daytime pyjama parties, Canadian Music Week and some super cool Canadian collaborations she has in the works!

Anastasia A performs at a secret show in Toronto.

Anastasia A performs at a secret show in Toronto.

Vervegirl: The doors are about to open for your exciting private party! What does An Afternoon with Anastasia A look like? What can your guests expect to see and experience?

Anastasia A: I think it is all about having a girl’s afternoon, almost like a pyjama party but in the daytime. We’re going to be painting our nails, eating pizza and Yogurty’s, and meeting and greeting. I’m going to do a 3-song acoustic with my new single “I Got You”, “My Love” and “Something Inside You”. I think it’s all about hanging out and getting to know my listeners, my fans and my friends on a deeper level and just having that time where I can get to know them better. We can hang out and be cute.

VG: This year for Canadian Music Week, you performed an awesome set at Toronto’s Hard Rock Café and hosted this exclusive event. How important do you think it is to have a week dedicated to showcasing and celebrating Canadian talent?

AA: I think it’s the most important thing. With all the hard work that goes into being in this music industry, I think we all totally deserve it and I think it’s a great time for everyone to shine, whether you’re a label, artist, manager or PR. It’s a time when we can all not only network but we can show off our skills and enjoy that time. The Canadian music industry is really growing and a lot of big acts are coming out of Canada so I think it’s important that we celebrate the Canadian artists and showcase what exactly we have here.

VG: Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists?

AA: I really love Classified – he is incredible – and I also like Lights. I’m going to be working with Derik from Virginia to Vegas and Francesco Yates. Hopefully me and Eleven Past One can also get together and possibly do some shows.

VG: How important are your fans, the Anamaniacs, to you and do you have anything you would like to tell them?

AA: They are the only thing that matters. I get the craziest Instagram and Twitter inbox messages and sometimes we stay up and talk until 3 in the morning. Thank you so much for always loving me and being my friends. I feel like a lot of my fans are going through a lot with bullying stuff right now so I love being able to be like, “No! It’s all good! We’re in this together.” Come hang out anytime.

Check out Anastasia A’s EP Something Inside You on iTunes now (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/something-inside-you/id863408021)! Follow Anastasia A on Twitter (https://twitter.com/anastasiaamusic) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AnastasiaAMusic).

Look out for more of our chat with Anastasia A in the Fall 2015 issue of Vervegirl!

-Interview and article by Angela McLean