#travelwithLance, Culture

How to Staycation Like A Pro

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As a young professional working in a very fast-paced city and industry, I thrive on being busy. Perhaps technology can be partly to blame for this, but my short attention span requires constant stimulation that is, for better or worse, remedied via a task list that is often long and winding.

But even for someone that loves to be kept on his toes, I’ll admit that I am often left feeling exhausted and stretched thin. In many regards, the life of a creative is full of peaks and valleys, and for those moments when you’ve reached a deficit in energy and motivation, a recharge is often necessary. I don’t do it as much as I should, but I’ve come to realize that for many of the priorities in my life, scheduling and making concrete plans is the most effective way of making sure my goals are reached. Blocking off your schedule assigns a finite amount of time to a task, which helps to avoid distractions that I would otherwise succumb to with a less structured approach. That includes everything from going to the gym to editing a story for the magazine that I work for, right down to relaxation. And before you say anything, yes, actually marking down time in your schedule to relax is more necessary than you might think. There will always be tasks that need to be completed and errands that need to be run, but having downtime for yourself is just as important. If you’re like me, however, having a vague plan to relax inevitably results in the opposite. Blocking off that time to recoup is a way to re-establish your equilibrium.

Recently, I was put on to the idea of trying out a staycation. To me, the idea of going to a hotel within my own city has never been that appealing, mostly for the reason that I’d rather just stay within the comforts of my own home than go through the fuss of packing and staying somewhere else.

As it turns out, they’re actually great.

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Recently, my friends over at Toronto’s Shangri-La hotel invited me over to experience what a great staycation should be like. Having gone through it, I can understand the appeal. For today’s modern professional, planning a getaway outside of the city can sometimes be more stress than it’s worth. Precious amounts of time are put towards planning, and then furthermore traveling to and from a destination. When you have to accommodate a schedule that only allows you to get away for a few days, every hour counts. Why spend that in transit? Furthermore, the amount of money that you put towards travel expenses could be put to better use via a beautiful dinner or spa treatment within the walls of a great hotel in your home city.

Naturally, the opportunity to stay at one of the city’s most luxurious hotels was one that appealed to me. Should you decide to take a staycation of your own, here are a few things that I’ve learned from my trip to the Shangri-La hotel that you should consider. Continue Reading…


On Repeat: Make It Work by Majid Jordan

Majid JordanIt’s NBA All-Star Weekend here in Toronto, and as usual there is no shortage of places to be and people to see here in the city. The other day, I took in the Majid Jordan show at the SoHo House and have not been able to stop listening to them since! For those of you who have yet to discover them, they are a Canadian duo comprised of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman under Drake’s OVO Sound label with Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib.

Check out “Make It Work” below, and the rest of their work over at the Majid Jordan YouTube channel or SoundCloud account.

Fashion, In Good Company, Portfolio

New Work: Meghan Markle Suits Up

Bay St. Bull Lance Chung Meghan Markle 2From Bay St. Bull. Photography by Janick Laurent.

Meghan Markle is many things. You may know her as a beautiful paralegal on Suits, but outside of the hit TV show, she’s a curious soul that has been busy laying down the foundations of an empire based on living a meaningful, enlightened life. In an era where authenticity is constantly in question, Meghan and her lifestyle brand, The Tig, are keeping things real by focusing on what matters: great people, great experiences and great conversations. Here, the actress and self-proclaimed foodie talks about fashion, how to build a personal brand and the bond between her and her cast mates.
Continue Reading…

Culture, In Good Company, Portfolio

In Good Company: Will Cannabis Become the New Luxury Frontier? A Word with Tokyo Smoke’s Alan Gertner


Lance Chung Bay St. Bull Cannabis Tokyo Smoke Alan GertnerFrom Bay St. Bull Winter 2015/2016 issue. Photography by Jesse Milns.

With the legalization of cannabis in the not too distant future, it’s unsurprising that entrepreneurs have recognized a lucrative business opportunity in a market on the brink of skyrocketing success. It’s uncharted territory, and they are the pioneers. But while many have focused their efforts on legally offering a product that is, more or less, already available on the market, there has been little mention of those who are seeking to offer an elevated experience around the misunderstood plant.

Enter: Alan Gertner.

Gertner sees things a little differently. He aims to bring beauty to cannabis in a time where perception and stigma are swiftly shifting. A quick browse through his LinkedIn page will show a professional pedigree that ranges from stints at financial institutions to being a senior associate of Global Business Strategy at Google. And then there is his most recent and current position at Tokyo Smoke, where the only description under his title of CEO is: “Building a disruptive luxury collective.”

It’s a simple statement, but one that captures the Toronto native’s ambition to weave cannabis into the fabric of our lives as a luxury experience via beautiful design and exceptional quality. The question that begs now is not if, but when cannabis will enter the luxury market. Continue Reading…

Culture, Fashion, Food and Drink, Portfolio

New Work: A Taste for Style featuring Toronto’s Leading Culinary Talents

Bay St. Bull Lance Chung Food Network Cory VitielloFrom Bay St. Bull. Photography by Mauricio Calero.

In case you haven’t noticed, Toronto has become a hotbed of culinary talent, giving people ample reason to leave their kitchens and never worry about ruining a recipe again. Leading the charge are a group of individuals who are forcing diners to pause and give thought to what they are eating — experiencing the marriage of different ingredients, savouring flavours and just enjoying damn good food. Here, three of Toronto’s finest chefs and restaurateurs — and stars of Food Network Canada’s new show, Chef in Your Ear — show off some of the must-have wardrobe essentials you’ll need this season to take you from apèritif to ziti (and whatever else you decide to order in-between).

The Man: Cory Vitiello

The Restaurant: THR & Co

The Food: If Vitiello’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s one of the guys behind Toronto’s famed The Harbord Room*. Just a few doors down from the culinary establishment, THR & Co. offers its own takes on contemporary Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Try their squid ink linguine for a mouthful of flavour you won’t soon forget.

The Fashion: Fall is truly man’s best friend. At least when it comes to the plethora of options he has to work with in his wardrobe. A chalk-stripe suit is an easy way to balance the conservative sensibilities of the corporate office while still adding a little charm and bravado to your boardroom look. Throw in a beautiful knit tie and Chelsea boot for added effect.

Suit, $1,590, and shirt, $225, by Davido Afnani; tie by Tom Ford, $220, available at Davido Afnani; shoes by LodinG, $330. Continue Reading…

Fashion, Portfolio

New Work: Italians Do It Better featuring Toronto’s Simeone Napoli

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From Bay St. Bull Winter 2015/2016 issue. Photos courtesy of Simeone Napoli. 

For the most part, every nation has something that it excels at; a space for which it has carved its name into. And for a handful, some have done such a good job that people around the world will look at them as the best in their respective fields. France, with its beautiful wines and cheeses; Sweden and its astute approach to design; the Scots and their whisky — the list goes on.

And then there’s Italy. Of course, we will always cherish the Italians for their selection of mouth-watering carbs. But take a walk down the streets of Florence or Milan and you’ll immediately notice one thing: they know how to wear the heck out of their clothes.

To the Italians, getting dressed is an experience. It is a way of life and a part of their culture that is as strong as their culinary roots. While many of the things they wear may not seem like anything new or surprising, it is on closer inspection that one can truly admire their approach to style. A blue jacket you spot on a man sipping his morning espresso is not simply just a jacket, but rather one that has been made from the finest mills in the world and tailored to perfection. It goes without saying that a piece of clothing bearing a “Made in Italy” tag holds meaning. It is a symbol of beauty, craftsmanship and, most importantly, quality.

Bay St. Bull Lance Chung Simeone NapoliNew to Toronto’s menswear landscape is Simeone Napoli, a heritage brand that has brought the best of Italy to our doorstep in order to serve the city’s modern men. Based in Napoli, the brand is run by two brothers, Reziero and Carlo, whose vision it is to bring the unperturbed swagger of their home country here to Canada. In Italy, there is a term used to describe the nonchalance of its people: sprezzatura, the act of making something seem effortless, as if no thought has been put into it. It is a philosophy that applies to any artistic form, style included, and is exactly what a brand- and logo-driven society, like that of Canada’s, needs right now.

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A quick visit to their humble Yorkville location will reveal a store that places its priorities on quality over quantity. There is not a large selection to choose from, but that is an intentional move to show that it doesn’t take much to make an impression, just a few solid pieces. Much akin to those favoured by their stylish brethren overseas, the pieces that fill the brothers’ store are updated classics that men can rely on. Earth tones and natural colours are present in all of the brand’s offerings, making for an endless array of combinations where each article of clothing will look flawless when paired with any other.

At the end of the day, a person’s style is unique to themselves. That’s the whole beauty of it. But what people like Reziero and Carlo aim to do is provide the tools necessary in order to highlight and portray individuality in the best possible way — through beautiful quality and proper fit.

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Culture, Fashion

Presenting #InGoodCompanyTO, Episode 1: The Art of Sashiko

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If you want to work in media, being a social animal is part and parcel of the whole package. While others may conduct deals and build a network on the golf course or the boardroom, some of my strongest business relationships have stemmed from discussions done over drinks and at various social functions.

The only problem is that after a while, all these events start to blend together. I’ve worked in this industry for a few years now, and I can tell you that I’ve completely lost count of the different outings and functions that I have been to. I’ve found that most events follow a general template, resulting in the same crowds, set up and experience. And if everyone is doing the same thing, then nothing sticks out. It’s something of particular importance because if you’re a brand that engages with the media, you want to be remembered.

My best friend Sharad (who heads up his own men’s lifestyle website called Freshly Educated Men) and I have often lamented over this very fact. And so, last month we created our own event series that encouraged what we thought was missing in the ones that we had been to. The first of many to come, In Good Company (which is separate from my interview series on this site) was created to encourage a community of male tastemakers, leaders and innovators across various industries to interact with each other, all while learning something new through an interactive experience.

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For our inaugural event, we introduced our guests to the art of sashiko, a traditional Japanese mending technique. Seen on the runways of designers like Junya Watanabe and Dries Van Noten, as well as on style icons like Nick Wooster, the basic ethos behind sashiko is really all about honouring the past and rejecting today’s disposable culture.

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Social responsibility and craftsmanship are things that, personally, have become increasingly important to me. I come across a lot of stuff for my work, and the amount of waste that I see is at times nauseating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty on my end and could certainly do more. But introducing this art form to our guests was something that was more than just a cool workshop, it communicated the value of slowing down and investing time and effort on the things and people that matter.

What is it?

Literally translated as “little stabs”, sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) that is applied to points of wear, or to repair worn areas with patches. You may have heard of the term “boro” as well, which goes hand-in-hand with sashiko, and refers to the Japanese art of mending by using different scraps of fabric.

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A Quick History Lesson

Boro was originally worn by peasants, merchants and artisans who could not afford the lavish kimonos and obis worn by the upper classes in Japan. No less beautiful, their clothes were made from cheaper materials and handed down through generations, constantly being worn and repaired as needed. And that’s where the charm really lies, don’t you think? The fact that entire family histories and generations are woven through the threads of a single garment that is worn, nurtured and mended. It’s a beautiful concept that we could certainly apply to aspects of our modern lives today.


We wanted to play on the idea of December being tuxedo season (given the holiday and new year festivities), so we decided to invite our guests to create their own take on the Canadian tuxedo using sashiko stitching. With the very generous donation and support of PAIGE, a fantastic luxury brand based out of California, we set each of our guys up with a pair of premium jeans and denim shirt to work on.

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Guests included:

Shayne Stephens: Marketing Director, Saks Fifth Avenue Canada

Christopher Turner: Editor-in-Chief, Complex Canada

Marcus Kan: Blogger, Draw.a.dot

Daniel Ocean: Blogger, Mr. Daniel Ocean

Jonathan Cavaliere: Blogger, Mr. Cavaliere

Marc Andrew Smith: Stylist

Nigel Seebaran: Buyer, Over the Rainbow

Chris Aznar: Photographer and blogger, Meridian Made

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Done out of Toronto’s The Shop, instructor Bree Zorel led the session as our guys followed along with the presentation on Samsung’s new Galaxy View tablet. Perhaps tablet is a bit misleading, because these puppies are about 18.4 inches across and more akin to a portable TV with full 1080 HD touchscreen display and stereo speakers. In other words, it was fully immersive experience where everyone could easily follow along.

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Because proper sustenance is key to any great event, we had some help from our friends over at Peroni and the Carbon Bar, who kept us equally full and hydrated throughout the night. For any of you that are unfamiliar with the establishment, the Carbon Bar is essentially Toronto’s ultimate destination for the urban carnivore. Think unpretentious snacks, plates and platters accompanied by impeccable Southern-style hospitality.

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Check out below to see more photos and video from the night! Continue Reading…


How to Dress for Valentine’s Day

How to Dress for Valentine's Day Lance Chung ExpressAs an ongoing ambassador for Single’s Awareness Day, I am definitely not an authority when it comes to doling out relationship advice. However, what I do know is how to make a good impression which, when you boil it down, is a useful skill that can be applied to everything from business interactions to first dates.

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While I bury myself under my duvet with a pint of ice cream and lineup of Netflix shows, some of you will be out courting your partners and celebrating Valentine’s Day. As I mentioned, I’m not going to touch on dating advice, but I’ll part with a few tips on how to get dressed for a memorable date.
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I am a fan of casualwear just like any other guy, but when it comes to occasions, I would advise putting some thought and effort into what you’re wearing when you walk out the door. I recently interviewed Lisa Orr, an etiquette coach based out of Toronto, for the magazine that I work for. Simply put, how you dress yourself is a way of communicating respect to others (and yourself) by investing time, effort and even financial resources. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, you want to be able to show that you put some thought into it.

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Now, in my opinion, a suit and tie is great, but it can sometimes come off as a little stuffy. You don’t want to look like you’re heading into a business meeting, so have a little fun with what you wear. This is a date after all, not an interview. With the help of EXPRESS, I picked up this really great khaki suit at the Toronto Eaton Centre to illustrate what I mean. The colour is fresh, inviting, and also a classic that every man should have in his spring/summer lineup. Ditch the neckwear and go for an air-tie to make things a little more casual. Lastly, the finishing touches: a crisp pair of white sneakers and a fun pair of socks. Lapel pins and flowers are also a great way of topping off your look. Since the outfit is clean and simple, the same should apply to your pin.

Godspeed, gentlemen!


Suit: EXPRESS Skinny Innovator Cotton Sateen Beige Suit

Shirt: EXPRESS Slim 1MX Shirt

Socks: EXPRESS Marled Zigzag Dress Socks

Lapel Flower: Hook and Albert

Shoes: Adidas Stan Smith


Denim Days

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The 90’s are back, baby! Working in the fashion industry, I come across a lot of previews to see what’s coming down the pipeline and while the 90’s and early 2000’s were full of interesting trends, one thing that really sticks out is the popularity of denim. Think: sandblasting, high-contrast whiskers, rhinestones and elaborate back pockets.

Thankfully, today’s resurgence of 90’s style denim is a modern update of the tacky styles we saw back then. Fades and whiskers are done with a nuance that doesn’t scream of obnoxiousness, and fits now come in a wide array to complement the diversity of sizes that are characteristic of men out there.

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EXPRESS recently launched their line of stretch denim at their stores, with styles that really ascribe to a variety of different men and personal preferences. Lately, I’ve noticed in particular, the deconstructed jean coming back into prominence, being styled in some really interesting ways out there. As an #EXPRESSPartner, I stopped by Toronto’s Eaton Centre location to pick up a pair of my own stretch jeans (hello, comfortable!) and decided to get creative. I’m a fan of the raw edge look, so instead of taking them to the tailor, I took matters into my own hands and cut them myself at the hem to achieve that deconstructed effected. Add a hole in the knee and create a few patches with some sandpaper (and elbow grease), and I was all set to go! Too excited to really wear this as the climate gets weather as a Canadian tuxedo ensemble!

Photography: Michael Biro

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