Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Making the Bed

…a guy’s playbook to the bedding deptartment.

Every so often someone contacts us with a question that we think is worth noting, if only because we know, as guys, that there are a lot of guys who have the same question but don’t want to risk asking it.

What’s the risk? Just ask!

Anyway, here’s the question:

Hey Man Sphere,

I was out shopping with my mom the other day. I just graduated college and she was helping me pick out stuff for my new “grownup” apartment. Anyway, so she said I needed a grownup bed, and that my pillows and sheets just weren’t going to cut it for a man’s room.

As soon as we hit the bedding section, I felt like I was buried in household stuff I’ve never even heard of before. Shams? Duvets? Duvet covers? 200, 400, 1200 tread counts??? I’ve always had a set of sheets, two pillows in pillow cases, and a blanket…maybe a comforter in the winter. What the hell is with the rest of this stuff? Can you maybe do an article on bedding to help average guys like me who don’t know what a bed skirt is for? Thx

Robert C., Maryland

Yeah Robert, we know exactly how you feel. There’s always that awkward moment when you realize, “Crap…I need four pillows, even though I only sleep on one?!”

As it turns out, the system isn’t all that confusing. Most of the stuff you described is decorative. The idea is similar to your dining room table. You don’t need salad forks and dinner forks, but every cutlery set comes with them (like you need 24 forks in your drawer!). You don’t need cloth napkins that coordinate with your placemats, but there’s a higher standard of class when you use them.

We know that for 99% of your meals you use a paper towel. Don’t sweat it.

Transferring the same logic to the bedroom, imagine this: You’re a new professional, just out of college. You’ve worked hard, got a great job, and you land a few dates with the perfect girl. She suggests you go back to your place for a nightcap, and things get interesting from there. You make it to the bedroom, and there, between the hockey poster, high school trophies, and model cars you made in grade eight, sits your single bed. Oh, it might be neatly made, but somehow the single pancake of a pillow and coordinating X-Men sheets worn so thin you could hang them as mosquito netting just doesn’t describe the serious, committed professional she hoped you’d be.

Hmmm…might be time to up the stakes a little there, Sport.

Even though you’re not likely to use everything on your bed, it has to be styled like an adult bed. That means, yes, decorative pillows and sheets that reflect your new status. But that doesn’t mean it has to be all florals and lace either. It’s a balance: you know you need a practical sleeping space, but at the same time you need to show that you’ve moved to a stage of life where you can furnish your surroundings on purely aesthetic grounds. The idea is to give the impression that you’re a man who values comfort and luxury, and who can make a bed that deserves to be un-made.

Here’s what you need to know:

[read more...]

All the diet rules you need...

In trying out all kinds of diet and exercise plans over the last few years, I’ve come to the very shocking revelation: they’re all based on the same set of general principles.

We get bound up in leptin vs. insulin, cheat days vs. fast days, supplements vs. real food, calories vs. movement, and we lose sight of the real core of the process: eat well, move every day, and try to stay positive.

I’m no Mr. Universe by any stretch, but I’m not obese and have no heart condition (that I know of). I like food, yes, but there’s a limit to how much crap I can and will eat, and I think it’s important for everyone to know their limits in this regard. I haven’t been drunk in almost fifteen years, and it still shocks me how many people think that’s strange. It’s a decision I’ve made. I don’t preach abstinence from alcohol by any means...although by the same token not being drunk makes some parties a bit more annoying, when it’s clear the objective of everyone else is to be as excessive as possible.

Soapbox aside, I also know what damage alcohol does to you, so I elect to avoid it in those quantities. That should be a good enough reason, and at 37 years old I think I can just flat out say, “no, I choose not to drink,” and have that respected at face value.

Anyway, my point is that healthy living is not difficult and it doesn’t require a lot of sacrifice.

“But Steve,” I can hear you whining, “I’m [insert ethnicity here]! You can’t really expect me to live without [insert flower-based and/or gravy- and/or sugar-laden ethnic dish here]!”

Yeah, I do. Because chances are the only reason that food is so endemic to your ethnicity is that at some point your ancestors were impoverished and bulking up on white flour was the only way to stave off hunger. And now that we know that a cup of spaghetti has the same nutrient profile as a can of Coke, maybe it’s time to recognize it for what it is.

Am I saying stop eating spaghetti or perogies? No. I love them too. I’m saying stop serving pasta as a meal on its own, and observe a little common sense.

And yes, you can live without it. You’re human. I’ve gone a year without eating pasta, and so far the only adverse effect has been losing weight. So...your choice.

OK, here are the rules to live by, based on a culmination of pretty well everything there is to read online and off that’s become available in the last 20 years:

1. If it’s white, or was white, or could become white, don’t eat it. The exceptions are cauliflower and eggs. I personally also exclude milk from this list, but still substitute almond milk in my coffee.
2. If you must eat grains, do it in the morning when your cells need (and are primed to use) the fuel.
3. Eat meat and vegetables.
4. If a thing has more than three ingredients on the label that you can’t buy elsewhere in the store, don’t eat it. You won’t be able to break it apart. For example, if you see a sauce that’s made up of twelve ingredients, and one of those ingredients is guar gum, don’t eat it. If there’s no aisle in the store that shelves “guar gum,” why would you eat it?
5. Break a sweat every day. Preferably while lifting something. Preferably something other than yourself. Walking doesn’t count -- you should be doing that anyway.

That’s it. Five rules: Avoid sugar and starch; eat grains in the morning, tapering off by lunch; focus on vegetables and protein; don’t eat overly processed foods; get off your ass. Even if you just start with this, chances are you’ll find you have more energy and might even start to see some pounds dropping off. Don’t worry about calories. Don’t worry about which exercise is best for whatever. Pick up some dumbbells and put down the Ding Dongs. It will work.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Actress Katherine Castro gears up for the LA premiere of her latest film: Pulse of the Indigo

Katherine Castro is gearing up for the special advanced screening of her latest film, Pulse of the Indigo on Friday, July 20, 2012. The official LA premiere is being held on Saturday, July 21, 2012 and will be making its international premiere on August 1, 2012 in the Dominican Republic at the Caribbean Cinemas, Fine Arts Novo-Centro in Santo Domingo.

Pulse of the Indigo explores two crime families at war; with a thrilling twist they soon realize they are not the only ones capable of murder. Playing Isabella, Katherine Castro is a stripper working to get her poetry published. Estranged from her crime-focused father, Isabella hates him for getting her mother killed when she was just a little girl. Tragedy strikes when Isabella’s grandparents are killed by the Russian mafia, bringing her and her father back together.

Upcoming Katherine is playing Lola, the damaged beauty, in ‘Stripped’, a seven episode web series; the episodes will be subsequently edited into a standalone short film. Filming in August and launching this fall; ‘Stripped’ is the story of an armed robbery at a strip club going terribly wrong. The bouncer who is also the jobs inside man has a change of heart, leading him to turn against his fellow thieves in hopes of saving the life of an innocent stripper.

[read more...]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Men We Admire: Alberto Tihan


Not long ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the film Searching for Angels. Apart from being an all-around excellent production (and, of course, starring the always too-awesome-to-be-mortal Veronika London), this film introduced me to some impressive new talent.

Among that new talent was Alberto Tihan, a Toronto-based actor who was totally new to me, but whose performance as the almost-lovable dirtbag pimp Kemo featured well as one of the strongest elements of the production. While it’s nice to get in touch with veterans for their take on success and experience, we at TMS thought it would be great to tap into what drives and motivates a younger talent on his way up the ladder. And, ju

dging from his performance and his responses, that ascent for Alberto will be very quick.

Name: Alberto Tihan

Age: 23

Occupation: Actor

Relationship status: Single

Gadgets: Too many. I hold most of the Apple iProducts. I find them very practical and efficient.

Stats: 5’9’’ weighing 163 lbs, looking to reach 170 in lean muscles by mid summer.

Sports: I enjoy anything that has to do with speed and heights. I need the adrenaline to get me going. I love snowboarding to death, I hope to be professional snowboarder one day. I also like skydiving, rock-climbing, mountain-bike, swimming, tennis.

How did you get started on your current career/lifestyle path?

When I was around 16, I had a terrible audition for Sin City. It was really embarrassing actually. Obviously 

I lost the role to Josh Hartnett, but that bad audition motivated me to learn more, so I took some acting classes at ASM Studios in Montreal, and I got the acting bug shortly after.

Did you have any mentors who helped steer you on this path?

The most supportive person at that young age was my mom, who was across the ocean, in Germany. My father didn’t believe in this acting thing. But in time, friends and family became very supportive, when they noticed how serious I was about it.

[read more...]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Energy Saving Tips for the Home

by Toronto real estate expert Mitch Parker

Here in Canada, we have a pretty extreme climate to say the least. Some days you can watch the temperature plunge below -30 degrees and then there are days like today where it’s almost 40 degrees. With the large temperature fluctuations also comes large energy bills. In the last number of years, costs to heat and cool a home have risen substantially.

Products such as solar panels and green roofs help to dramatically decrease these costs but carry a hefty price tag up front. This means that if you want to make your money back you’ll have to stay in the home for number of years before breaking out of the red and into the black. Saving energy doesn’t have to come at a large expense. By going a little green in a few different ways around the home, we can keep a little more green in our wallets. Here are a few energy saving tips for the home to help get you started:

  • In the summer, keep your blinds closed during the day when you aren’t home. This will keep a lot of the sun’s heat outside your door and keep your place cooler thus making the air conditioner work less. In winter, you can do the opposite and leave the curtains open during the day. The sun will help naturally heat the home.

Tip: Keeping the shades closed in the summer will also prevent the sun from fading your hardwood floors and fabric furniture.

[read more...]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Women We Love: Katherine Castro

Katherine Castro might not be a name you’re familiar with in North America, but you will be soon enough. The sultry Dominican-born actress and producer has been on the TV scene in the Carribbean since she was a teenager, having hosted and starred in a number of nationally-broadcast Spanish language programs in the Dominican Republic. Since hitting LA in 2007 she’s been powerhousing her way up the ranks in indie film on both sides of the camera, working with noted acting coach Aaron Speiser and honing her skills in martial arts, music, dance, and production. With the pending premiere of her latest star feature, Pulse of the Indigo, Katherine is poised to stake out her place in Hollywood.

Name: Katherine Castro

Occupation: Actress/Producer

Education: BA in Social Communications

How did you get started in your current career track?

It all began when I was a child really, when I was the entertainer of my parents’ guests any time they were visiting. When I was five, my parents enrolled me in a dance school where I took ballet, jazz, tap and gymnastics. At the time, we lived in Alexandria, VA, since my dad was working at the Dominican Embassy in Washington D.C.. That’s when I discovered Judy Garland (The Wizard Of Oz) Gene Kelly (Singing in the Rain), Fred Astaire (Easter Parade) andGrease. I saw these films and thought to myself, you can do all this and make a movie? It swept me off my feet. It was love at first sight. I knew that’s what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I also knew at 7 years old that I wanted to move to Los Angeles to be an actress!

We moved back to the Dominican Republic where I continued with my dancing studies and I got involved in media (TV, film, commercials, production, etc.), but the industry at the time was very limited and I really never forgot about my desire to move to LA. So I did exactly that in 2007! I enrolled in the NYFA one-year Acting for Film program, then continued scene study lessons with Aaron Speiser, voice, singing performance, all while working on numerous student and independent films. I also got into producing which led me to executive produce the short Subject 7, which got picked up and is currently being developed into a feature film. Early last year a writer friend of mine had seen the casting notice for Pulse Of The Indigo and encouraged me to submit, and the rest is history.


[read more...]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Your Guide to Matching Colors

by Aaron Marino

Possibly one of our biggest challenges when putting an outfit together is coordinating colors. I’m sure science has a good explanation, but it seems most men lack skill when it comes to harmonizing colors. Hey, I’m a guy…I get it! So, instead of trying to change what makes us men, I’m going to give you some basis rules that will turn a handicap into an asset. Say goodbye to the women’s advice you’ve been relying on, and say hello to the new you – the artist of your wardrobe!

In order to understand how colors work, let’s start with some basic vocabulary words:

Core Color: This is the dominant color in the color scheme of your outfit – blue suit, grey trousers, brown jacket, etc.

Accent Colors: These are the second and, at times, third next prominent colors worn in an outfit. Brown pants (core color) with tan jacket or tie (accent color). Accent colors are categorized and will be either complementary, triad, analogous, or neutral. It will make sense… I promise!

Complementary colors: These are colors found directly opposite of each other on the color wheel or in the color spectrum.

This is the infamous Color Wheel!

There’s a lot to be said about applying the rules of the color wheel to fashion, but in order to keep you from falling asleep, I’ll attempt to simplify it by getting to my first point – opposing colors are complementary. Red and green; yellow and violet; blue and orange; etc. are colors that compliment each other, and usually look good when teamed up together. Keeping this rule in mind makes color combining accurate and easy.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Women We Love: Dani Barker

I bumped into Dani Barker once upon a time through some mutual contacts on Facebook, and thank God I did. Dani is the epitome of how to turn the slings and arrows of outrageous employment fortunes into a success story. Her hit web series, “Starvival,” documents the weird and often hilarious job ads she comes across on the infamous Craigslist while searching for routine acting work. The results…well let’s just say Dani’s own comedic talents coupled with the limitless natural resources of Craigslist pinheads, douchebags, creeps, and just plain morons is enough raw material to make the Alberta tar sands look like a stain on your dad’s driveway. And all of this gold is getting some serious, and much deserved, network attention.

But hey, don’t take my word for it…

Name: Dani Barker

Occupation: Actress/Producer

Education: Two Diplomas for Performing Art at Grant MacEwan University and Capilano University

Stats: Check out my credits and pics within my website at And definitely check out my web series,Starvival, at

Starvival: (n) The first reality-comedy, web show going undercover with hidden cameras and secret identities to expose the most incredulous people with the most bizarre job offerings on Craigslist.

How did you get started on your current career track?

Dani BarkerI trained for 3 years in University in Acting for Film and then Musical Theatre. Prior to that, I was a total theatre geek and got involved in every single high school production as well as community theatre show including Dinner Theatre at the RJ Haney Heritage Village in my home town of Salmon Arm. Yup, Salmon Arm–that is actually the name of it. [no's rightHERE]

After University, I toured for 9 months with Jubilations in A Buddy Holly Birthday Bash as Jessica Cowbell. Cool name right? haha.

After the tour ended, I moved out to Toronto on a whim and decided to pursue film and television. I am proud to say that the majority of my career has been created through my daily Craigslist searches for job posts. And this is how I created Starvival.

What gives you the most satisfaction as an artist?

Creating my own work. I’ve definitely cried out of joy almost any time my Agent calls after booking a role, knowing I beat out a hundred or more other girls always feels great! No, but seriously. But creating a project from scratch, all the way to the execution of it, is far more rewarding for me.

[read more...]

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stupid Coupons...

I love Airmiles.'s become my go-to source for movie tickets (190 Airmiles gets you two adult passes, two drinks and a medium popcorn. SCORE!). But they do this thing that kind of pisses me off.

See, sometimes they send out coupons for use at participating retailers. Since I do a lot of my grocery shopping at Metro, they figure that's where I'll want to get some bonus miles when I bring in coupons.

OK, good call. But every so often they'll send out a special coupon by email to thank me for being so awesome. I like being awesome, because sometimes I get 10 bonus Airmiles.


So the last time they sent me one of these things, I checked it out. There was no barcode on it, but there was a PLU# (which is the thing the cashier punches into the computer). Every PLU is unique, and it's cleared as soon as it's punched in.

So, reason would dictate that only one person can use a coupon. Reason would also dictate that if I can present the PLU clearly on my smart phone, I shouldn't have to spend my money and resources printing out the coupon.

That's what reason dictates.

But when I tried it at Metro, they said "no." Apparently they have to mail the coupons physically back to the head office, which then mails them to Airmiles for reimbursement (or something like that)., rather than do everything digitally, where you punch the code into the computer (which is happening already anyway), and all of the data transfers from point to point, they'd rather the first step be printing on paper (that they don't have to pay for) using a coupon they emailed (so, no postage), which is then mailed from the store to the head office (more postage, and fuel), and then mailed again to Airmiles (more postage, and fuel).

Doesn't make sense to me. But, they're companies, and I guess having all those little bits of paper to look after gives somebody somewhere a chance to feel useful.