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August 6, 2017 |

Archive for » August 6th, 2017«

The ‘Muji of Marijuana’ Opens Its Doors in Toronto

At an industrial-chic concrete bar, a gleaming La Marzocco machine cranks out perfect espressos. John Chamberlain lithographs hang from textured cork walls, and custom fixtures cast a warm glow over small, sleek tables of Italian Calacatta Cielo marble. Oh, and there’s a $300 bong for sale, along with a $445 cannabis humidor.

Welcome to Tokyo Smoke, the world’s most haute head shop. Opened July 20 on Toronto’s ultra-hip Queen Street West, it’s the new flagship of a retailer as dedicated to great design as a good toke. Think, Muji, but for marijuana.

“It’s about normalization,” Josh Lyon, the brand’s head of marketing, told Condé Nast Traveler at Tokyo Smoke’s opening bash. “You can now have a cannabis lifestyle brand that’s like your favorite fashion brand.”

Alan Gertner, the former Google Asia exec who co-founded Tokyo Smoke with his serial-investor father, agreed. “A tremendous number of people who consume cannabis are not defined by that use. So, Tokyo Smoke is not defined by it either,” says Gertner, a cannabis consumer himself. “Our store stands out because it’s beautiful, not because it’s cannabis-adjacent.”

Tokyo Smoke

For the store’s look and feel, Gertner teamed up with DesignAgency, the Toronto firm behind all of David Chang’s restaurants, Canada’s first St. Regis hotel, and the local edition of Soho House. Almost every fixture and furnishing was custom-made for the store. Black and neutral shades dominate the high-ceilinged, minimalist storefront, mixed with sleek materials like marble, metal, and cork.

“Our goal was an elegant, elevated environment where people can hang out whether they’re into cannabis or not,” says Anwar Mekhayech, a DesignAgency principal. “The space is almost a blank canvas for the merchandise.”

That merch appeals to a sense of style as much as a craving for weed. Fellow Products’ gorgeous pour-over kettles are designed to build a buzz by brewing better coffee. Toronto’s Pilot Coffee provides Tokyo Smoke custom-roasted beans. Levo’s compact, burnished oil infusers—picture top-end espresso makers—also make great kitchen appliances.

Both smell-proof and childproof, butter-soft Italian leather purses from Seattle’s Van der Pop sell as elegant stash conveyors. Lustrous black candles from Toronto artisan Brennan Michael, a store exclusive, convey signature “cannabis experiences” in scents like Go, Relax, and Balance—the last said to smell of “cut grass and spearmint”.

Tokyo Smoke’s Queen West store, surrounded by such brands as Warby Parker and Frank Oak, is the first in North America; it also operates two small coffee bars in Toronto’s West End. Over the next year, DesignAgency will replicate the new flagship in locations including Calgary; Hamilton, Ontario; Toronto’s East End; and Seattle, Washington. More stores are planned—and demand could soar as Canada plans nationwide legalization in July 2018.

Tokyo Smoke

It’s not unlike what happened with coffee, says Gertner, who cites Starbucks as a role model. “They do an incredible job of curating an experience. Starbucks defined modern coffee for North Americans and the world,” says Gertner. “It’s amazing we’re on a street with so many mainstream brands. And it’s a great sign about where cannabis is going in Canada.”

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Create the perfect outdoor ambiance with furniture, accessories and must-have items for your Tahoe home

This summer, why not take the opportunity to create the perfect outdoor living space at your Lake Tahoe home?

Mountain Home Center on Brockway Road in Truckee is equipped with the experts and the items to design every aspect of your patio and yard so you can take full advantage of long summer days with family and friends.

“We provide comforts for every mountain home,” said the store’s owner, Alissa Just.

And she isn’t kidding. From large furniture pieces to small decorative details, Mountain Home Center is designed to outfit any mountain home, inside and out.

Linda and Donnie Snipes traveled to Mountain Home Center from their place in south Reno for the store’s unique items and their quick, affordable services.

“We ordered our porch furniture here,” Snipes said.

“They processed the order and delivered the pieces all the way to Reno and everything was done at a good price.”

To help get your wheels turning, Just has offered her top five tips on the quintessential items every mountain homeowner needs this season.

1. Everyone Loves Bubbles

There’s nothing like relaxing after a long day in a perfectly heated tub. Mountain Home Center offers a large selection of hot tubs, accessories and saunas.

They’ve taken the guesswork out of maintenance as they can help repair tubs purchased from their store.

2. Roast Marshmallows

Summer nights are perfect for s’mores, and you can build your own gooey treats roasted straight over your fire pit, or simply lounge and enjoy the view.

At the home center, shoppers will find fire pits and tables with different stones and decorative colored glass to accentuate your home’s décor.

3. Kick Back

With comfy lounge furniture your family and guests will have the best seat outside the house.

Durable outdoor furniture is low-maintenance, but packs a big punch of personality on the patio.

Whatever your living space dimensions, Mountain Home Center carries Adirondack chairs, bistro sets, chaise lounges, benches, rockers and more — there’s sure to be a piece that will fit perfectly.

4. Cheers!

Acrylic glassware makes functionality beautiful with chic styles in an array of colors, that won’t break.

Enjoy entertaining al fresco with your dream outdoor kitchen utensils and dishes. Mountain Home has just about every gadget you can think of to make cooking and serving outdoors easy, with a beautiful presentation.

5. Join the Club

The Big Green Egg is a summer must-have according to Just.

“There’s almost a cult following with these barbecues and smokers,” she said.

Grill, smoke, roast, and bake dishes all summer long with one of these bad-boys; Big Green Egg is hailed as “the most versatile barbecue and outdoor cooking product on the market, delivering better results — and more flavor — than all other conventional cookers combined.”

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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A Street of Dreams farmhouse with industrial features: Oregon Dream (photos)

Here’s a style mix that’s bound to get your attention: One of the five new custom homes on the NW Natural Street of Dreams tour is a country farmhouse with industrial, city-inspired features. From the outside, you’ll see steeply pitched roofs and a classic covered, wrap-around front porch.

Open the front door to discover urban elements like a towering steel fireplace and an elevated steel walkway that cuts above the double-height great room. Black-framed windows, a contrast to the white house, draw in light and allow mature trees to be seen from inside.

The 4,822-square-foot house, called Oregon Dream 2017, was conceived by Troy Fowler of Fowler Home + Design and Brittainy Tiffany of Tiffany Home Design, and it was built by Stone Bridge Homes NW.

Can’t miss highlights: At the front door, your eyes sweep past the expansive great room, and through glass panel doors that completely open to the outdoor entertainment space. Settle in near the fireplace or fire pit, or hop into the pool or hot tub.

At the edge of the pool area is another pitched structure, a vaulted recreation garage. Roll up the industrial door to see an indoor basketball court. Another wall of the building has a roll-up window that opens, resort-like, to a counter fronted by bar stools. On the other side of the bar is a complete beverage center with a refrigerator, ice maker and sink.

A large seating area, away from the detached recreation garage and close to the house, is easily served by the oversized, family-friendly kitchen. Here, Tiffany selected white cabinets, quartz backsplash and other simple finishes that are repeated throughout the house.

The master suite on the main floor has a taupe color scheme. The master bath is laid out to enter the large shower on one side, then cross into the drying area and finally the walk-in closet.

There’s a back door in the master suite for parents to go to the outdoor entertainment area. Kids and their friends can be funneled through the mud room off the kitchen, where they can drop their pool towels. Porcelain tiles that look like wood were installed to add an urban-meets-rural touch.

Go back to the great room — the hub of the house, says Tiffany — to notice the blue pine-planked ceiling. The space felt too tall, too “cathedral-like,” she says without the wood. Metal light fixtures with exposed Edison era-like bulbs hang from the sky-high ceiling.

Now, take the metal-railed stairs and follow the walkway landing, past white, built-in bookshelves. Specially milled staircase treads and the very visible wood underneath the walkway were made from a naturally downed tree from the Oregon coast.

Wander through an upstairs bonus room, tucked under the down-sloping side of the roof, and notice the skylights and artist-painted glass barn doors to the media room.

Another hangout near the kids’ bedrooms has an console table made with the reclaimed oak also seen in the jagged-edge mantel over the great room’s fireplace and a display shelf in the kitchen.

Tiffany’s design tip: Decide on the rug, large upholstered seating and occasional tables first. Then give yourself time to experience the space. When you’re ready, add attention-getting lighting, artwork and accessories. Expect to try out a variety of what she calls “pretties” to see what’s best.

“What works on pen and paper, doesn’t always translate in real life,” she says.

Tiffany thinks each room should be distinctive, but the accessories should fit a cohesive style so they can be moved around.

The NW Natural Street of Dreams tour of five new luxury homes, organized by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, from Saturday, July 29 through Sunday, Aug. 27 ($20, 503-684-1880,

— Janet Eastman

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Freshmen foodies: Gadgets galore for the dorm-dwelling gourmet

Whenever Earl Horlyk posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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Photos: 5 best yard sale finds


I was picking through a pile of Confederate memorabilia and cast-iron skillets at the 127 Yard Sale this weekend when a thought occurred to me: “None of this stuff is worth buying.”

Sure, I like old things—pipes, trinkets, furniture, sports cards, pop culture ephemera—but I’m not sure why I found myself fighting traffic on Signal Mountain trying to get a “bargain.”

Of course, I understand the appeal. We all want to find that diamond in the rough, that one piece hidden in a box that we can buy for $1 and have appraised in a decade on “Antiques Roadshow” for an estimated value of $100 billion trillion. We’re still looking.

This week, I thought I would share some of my favorite yard sale/garage sale finds throughout the years. I don’t usually shop for value, but I do browse for aesthetics and utilitarian purposes. I’m also a sucker for cheap, stupid items that make me laugh. And I love leather and anything “old.”

I may not have found a single thing at the World’s Longest Yard Sale that I wanted to buy this weekend, but I’ve definitely lucked out a few times.

What have been your favorite yard sale/thrift store finds? Any treasures? Stupid items? Let me know in the comments below.

Click through for my best thrift store/yard sale finds.

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RE Signature Homes

  • RE Signature Homes Photo: Courtesy



RE Signature Homes

RE Signature Homes

Photo: Courtesy

RE Signature Homes builders build beautiful and unique custom homes.

At RE Signature Homes their knowledgeable team will help you build the home of your dreams, as well as offering houses that are ready to move into. Customers have the option of purchasing a custom home where they get to pick all the finishes from decorative accessories to tile to kitchen countertops all to meet your needs and your budget.

RE Signature Homes is now building in DJ Alexander Estates and San Isidro – the Cuesta III. Visit us today at 8218 Casa Verde Rd. Suite A-10. For more information call 956-724-2500 or visit

This sponsored article was originally published in Ask Us 2017, a special supplement of the Laredo Morning Times Advertising Department 

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