Women of the week: ILana Tarutina

Music has always been a big part of ILana Tarutina’s life. She started singing in choirs at the age of 8, then started taking private vocal lessons and piano lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music. With the knowledge gained from this, she started composing and creating tracks.

“By the age of 14 I was writing my own songs and at 16 I got my first set of music production equipment and started dabbling with arranging and beat making,” she says.

Now, she owns ILE Records, a company that offers songwriting, composition, production, recording and mixing.
“I’m proud of myself for building my production studio from scratch,“ she says.

As a female producer, she is an oddity in her field. She is quick to recognize this fact, yet remains hopeful for change.
“Unfortunately in my industry, men still heavily dominate the role of a music producer. I’m sure that will change within time, as there are more and more female producers on the rise.”

Despite this amazing accomplishment, she is still incredibly humble and is quick to recognize that she is not a perfect fit for everyone.
“As far as me producing for other artists goes, it’s all about what the artist is looking for, sometimes I may be a good fit sometimes someone else may be a better fit. I know what I bring to the table, I know my sound and production styles and I am aware that it doesn’t suit everybody.”

Although her producing venture has been a success, she hasn’t given up on her writing, and cites that her goal “is to write great songs, be it for me or other artists.”

And, yes, she is still a singer—and an original one at that.

“I’ve been told that I have a unique sound, perhaps it’s because I use original sounds in my production, perhaps it’s because when I sing I have a Russian accent!”

As a female producer with a unique sound, it is safe to say that ILana Tarutina is one of a kind. She is also a fighter, which is why she made it in her industry.

“Anybody entering the music industry has to be resilient,” she says. “Expect lots of pit falls and disappointments and forget overnight success. To make it in every industry requires lots of determination and hard work, in music industry that is especially true since it’s 1000 times more competitive than other industries. A song can be an overnight hit, but the legwork to make that song can be years.”

Sound advice from someone who has spent her entire life in the field.

WP partying with Psy at the official MuchMusic Video Awards afterparty

Last night saw downtown Toronto again play host to the MuchMusic Video Awards and, for the first time, I had a VIP invite to one of the official after parties.

As the Canadian coordinator for MMVA co-host Psy’s dancers, as well as dancing in the show himself, my friend Ryan Scheel was invited to the official Universal Music Canada after party at Uniun nightclub.  Being Ryan’s BFF, I got to be his date for the event.  (Side note:  Ryan is attractive, single, and you can poke him on Facebook.)

When Ryan told me we’d be going to an MMVA after party the teenage boy inside of me got excited.  I remember watching the MMVA’s as a teen, imagining how amazing and lavish these parties must be; I fantasized about a room packed with celebrities, each of them able to be themselves as cameras were confiscated at the door.  This would be my chance to finally experience this from the inside.

We arrived at Uniun shortly after 12:30am and I took note of the limousines and absurdly long Lincoln Navigators parked around the block.  It seemed to be a good sign.  The bouncer at the front of the building gave us directions on how we would get into the club.  We made our way to a side door — how very VIP — and ventured inside.

At this point, I began to realize our night was not going to be what I had hoped and imagined for.

The massive nightclub was packed with people and in comparison to the blazers, bowties, and dress pants Ryan and I had worn, I spotted several basic Hanes-style white tanktops, a plethora of jeans, and even one sophisticated gentleman in track pants.

All I had wanted was to sit and watch Demi Lovato hammer back some Jager-bombs or see Avril Lavigne argue with husband Chad Kroeger over whose hair looked prettier in the nightclub light but it seemed that my night was going in a very different direction.

Disheartened, we made our way to the bar.  The booze may not have been complimentary but I certainly wasn’t going to leave without having a beer after I had schlepped my dressed-up self at midnight to a nightclub across town.

Sweating and unable to talk over the music, I made my way to the basement level of the club where the atmosphere was more laid back and the volume of people was closer to what I was expecting of a MMVA “VIP” after party.

After about ten minutes, I ran into a friend of mine, Mike Sleath, who is a drummer for various Canadian pop acts including Shawn Desman, Jesse Labelle, and Alyssa Reid.  We chatted about the MMVA’s and the fact that we were both doomed to wearing our jackets until we left the club for fear of revealing the sweaty mess underneath.  It was kind of a celebrity run in, I told myself; at least through association, anyway.

The basement level began to get busier, and I was introduced to many of the dancers from earlier in the evening.  Most of them were finalists on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and the pretty redhead was the winner of season 4, Jordan Clark.

Okay, so they weren’t exactly big name stars, but at least I’d be able to tell people I’d met someone at the party.

A circle began to form and one by one the dancers entered into it, showcasing their incredible, toned bodies and sensual dance moves.  It was like being in a scene from the latest Step Up movie.  Part of me felt the urge to jump inside and show them what I can do — which is pretty much just gyrate off beat like I’m having a seizure – however I smartly decided against it.

Someone grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear, “That’s Psy in the white shirt.”

Sure enough, 6 feet in front of me was the man who had been viewed more than a billion times on YouTube.

I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and readied my camera in hope of something awesome happening.  And then it did.  Psy broke loose of his minder and jumped into the dance-off circle.  I began recording, in spite of his minder’s best efforts to stop anyone from capturing the moment.  By the time he tried blocking my lens, I’d already posted the 7 second clip online.  Thanks Vine.


Shortly after, Psy was hurried out of the club.  It made me sad; the poor guy had just finished working his butt off at the MMVA’s and wanted to blow off a little steam.  Yes, people had their camera phones out but he wasn’t doing anything inappropriate.  He was simply dancing with some of the talented people who had help make his performance such a success.  It was hardly reason enough to cut short his fun.

The dancers seemed even more energized now and the party continued.  I locked eyes with an attractive blond who mouthed “hi” at me and I realized this was Matt Marr of SYTYCD and Glee fame.  I tried several times after that to put myself in his line of sight to see if he’d flirt with me again.  He did not, which makes me think he probably thought I was someone else the first time around.  Quel dommage.

Around 2am I felt it was time to call it a night.  I had a brief text conversation with my friend Dan Sadowski, front man for The Little Black Dress, about joining him at Danny Fernandes’ MMVA after party but the cry of the street meat vendor seemed way more appealing.  Sorry Danny.

In all, it was an extremely fun night and a fantastic experience but it certainly wasn’t the evening I had dreamt about.  The thing I’ve now come to realize is that with the number of parties happening in Toronto after the MMVA’s, the chances of finding a single party filled with wall-to-wall celebrities is non-existent.  But maybe I’m wrong, and I’m happy to allow the teenage boy inside of me believe that in a secret party venue last night, a list of Hollywood starlets got together with Rob Ford and smoked, um, a ham.


You can follow Simon on Twitter at @ScottishGuy for all the latest updates on the sweaty messes under his blazers.

REVIEW: Shakespeare’s Nigga

3.8/5 stars

Shakespeare’s Nigga is a modern, contemporary drama of Shakespeare by Joseph Jomo Pierre. The play features Othello, Aaron from Titus Andronicus, Tyrus who is an older slave, The Bard, and Shakespeare’s daughter, Judith on a Southern Plantain. The creator meets the iconic figures that he wrote and it is The Bard revamped. The play begins with the reader riveted into a dream.
I enjoyed the literary and script references that were used by the playwright. He effectively utilized the canon, plots, and Shakespeare’s famous sonnets in a unique way. He was successful in integrating some of Shakespeare’s stylistic features with ease while creating his own point of view. Similar to Shakespeare, there are monologues, sorcery, marriage and tragedy. He creates an ongoing tension throughout the play between Othello and Aaron. Othello is haunted by his former lover Desdemona.

The play had less detail than many plays I’ve read before with minimal setting and props. I understand that from Jomo Pierre’s perspective, it allows more creativity for the director to envision the play. Plays are ideally meant to be seen on a stage, rather than read for the full dramatic effect.

Although I understood the play and the context, I do believe that readers who have never read Othello or Titus Andronicus, may have some difficulty following the book. Readers will have a greater appreciation if they have read Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets prior to reading the contemporary version. They may not understand Aaron’s aggression or the reference to ‘The Dark Lady’. If they do understand, they may not grasp the references.

I really liked the new non-Shakespearian character, Tyrus, but I felt he was underutilized in the play. He has the most depth and provided advice to the other slaves. I wish he appeared in more scenes, especially in the beginning.

Of course, Jomo Pierre’s attempt is no comparison to The Bard himself, but he make a unique play with Shakespeare’s legacy. He was able to take compelling characters and place them in a new environment. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this play is worth a read. Shakespeare’s Niggaappeared at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace in Toronto this year.

WATCH: Bedroom turned into princess paradise while roommate is away

When Tom, aka Redditor Twoverend, was overseas for two months his housemates set to work changing his normal, drab bachelor bedroom into something a little more pink.

All his buddies set to work transforming every aspect of his bedroom from what a regular guys might enjoy to something more fit for a 7-year-old princess loving girl might enjoy. Their rationale being that since he is English he loves the monarchy, and their duty was to get to work setting up a new fairy princess kingdom for him to arrive home to.

Complete with imitation crown moulding, collages of photoshopped princess photos of Tom, paintings of fairies, and pink lace as far as the eye can see it is safe to say their mission was a success.

Watch the video for Tom’s reaction upon returning from his trip at 1:30 in the morning.

Below are some photos of the transformation.

Check out Tom’s full photo album here.


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

RECIPE: Chickpea tacos!

There’s a good chance your first thought when you hear of chickpea tacos is “Ew, who’d want to eat that?” But trust me on this. They are amazing.

What you need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 package of taco spice
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • Dash of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil (how much is up to you)
  • Hard taco shells (blue corn if possible)
  • taco fixings (lettuce, onion, tomato, salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole)

Take a can of chickpeas, rinse them, then put them in a bowl.  Evenly coat the chickpeas with the taco spice, garlic, lime juice, water and oil. Bake them for 20 minutes. Cook the taco shells for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven, add your fixings.

I actually found these because I said chickpea to someone in an e-mail. Gmail picked up the word (as it scans your e-mails for keywords and directs ads at you based on these) and promoted a recipe link to me. For the record, this recipe is the only reason I am okay with Gmail reading my mail.


Stand by me

Last week was incredibly stressful, I had a lot going on and I felt all kinds of overwhelmed — but when I needed him most there was Boyfriend with a smile, a hug, and a plan.

On Friday night he rented a car, picked me up after work and we went off on an impromptu road trip to Niagara Falls; it rained almost all night but we were undeterred we went for dinner at a Brazilian steak house, went to all the tourist traps and visited the falls in the rain. While we stood beside the falls hiding under the $12 umbrella that we purchased at a gift shop Boyfriend insisted on having a make-out session in the rain because he saw it in a movie once and thought it would be funny.  It was. It was also only slightly, just a little bit, romantic. I fell asleep in the car on the way home and the evening came to a perfect end.

The next day we took off again, this time to Port Dover, for mini-golf, lunch by the beach and walks in the sand. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday especially because we finished the day by racing around in go-karts in the rain, he won three times, I won once – but I won last which basically makes me the winner supreme.

Knowing that I have Boyfriend by my side makes me feel like I can tackle anything the world throws at me because I know that no matter what happens he’ll always be there with a ridiculous joke, a terrible pun, a picture of his cats doing something insane or just a hug and he gives the best hugs. Boyfriend believes in me, really believes that I can do anything I put my mind to and that kind of support is something rare and worth holding on to.

When I was little I used to get angry at my mum because she would always try and make me laugh when I was crying and sometimes all you want to do is cry and stamp your feet and be mad at the world but my mum would never let me do that; Boyfriend is like that, no matter how upset or stressed out I am, he does his very best to make me laugh when all I want to do is be grumpy and stamp my feet. Sometimes the solution is cake sometimes it’s letting me listen to the country music that he hates while we drive 2 hours from home for dinner and a visit to the wax museum.

Boyfriend is my person and when I get good news he’s the first person I want to call and when I get bad news he’s the first person I need to talk to and no matter how stressed out or crazy the world gets I know he’ll be by my side, probably attempting to make me smile when all I want to do is be angry; it’s just hard to be angry when you’re head over heels for your boyfriend.

Book review: The Happy Baker

4.6/5 stars

My first impression of The Happy Baker: A Dater’s Guide to Emotional Baking was that it was a very approachable book for a non-baker. Erin Bolger begins with a memorable disclaimer quote that states, “If any of my recipes are low-fat I’m sorry, it was unintentional.”

She has cute names for her baking recipes and beautiful photographs. Some recipe names include ‘Who Needs a Man on Valentine’s Day Biscotti’ and ‘You Can Kiss My Triple Decker Carrot Cake Goodbye’. The names certainly aren’t boring. Erin has separated her book into four distinct chapters. Throughout The Happy Baker, she has chick lit stories followed by a recipe that relates to the story. There are illustrations of her and her past dates or boyfriends relating to the story. The stories cover speed dating, breakups over text or e-mail, the first kiss, and many more. Erin’s personality shines through.

In order to fairly evaluate The Happy Baker, I had to get into the kitchen and bake. Her recipes are easy and most of the ingredients are found in your home (you may have to buy one or two ingredients). I decided to make ‘Erin’s Go-To Cookie’, ‘Goodbye Men, Hello Dolly Squares’ and ‘My Eggs Are Not Getting Any Younger Crème Brûlée’. Each of the recipes that I made provided me with a large quantity so the time and the effort are well worth it.

The crème brûlée was rich and creamy. The cookies and dolly squares were buttery and greasy, but delicious. They were so popular that when I opened the covered plate laying on the counter, they were all gone. I ended up eating some of the cookies and dolly squares from the freezer and they were just as good cold. Don’t hesitate to put some of Erin’s recipes in the freezer, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

I found that the recipes were simple, easy, decadent and, of course, delicious. The Happy Baker is killer comfort food. Erin was honest and upfront when she said these recipes were unhealthy. As a non-baker myself, I was able to bake recipes that I probably wouldn’t have ever made.

This is not your average cookbook since it is filled with unique stories and recipes. She has even provided a few non-bake recipes.

If you’re ever in Bayfield, Ontario be sure to check out Erin’s new business, The Pink Flamingo Bakery and Boutique.

LISTEN: We love the new Miley and so do you

We are in love with the new Miley Cyrus track We Can’t Stop. WE can’t stop — listening to this tune!

It sounds like Miley is borrowing a bit of Kanye a vibe from the backing synth, and the breakdown in the middle sounds like something taken directly from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. She had some amazing dance tracks on her last album, Can’t Be Tamed, and hopefully the trend continues in her latest effort with the synth-pop.

Wait, does she say she’s ‘trying to get a line in the bathroom’  at 1:53? Uh oh. Oh well, child stars gotta rebel sometime.

In the meantime it looks like we have at least one new song to add to our patio playlist this summer.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter for all the latest in Miley Cyrus obsession @WomensPost.

RELAX: The power of baths

Growing up, my family considered baths to be the best treatment for everything from sore muscles to broken hearts. A quick shower before work or school was common; however, it was far less appealing than evening baths. Following a rough day, a stressful exam or a long, uncomfortable bout of the flu, baths were the go-to cure. This power to heal both body and mind was instilled in me from a young age and has stuck with me into adulthood.

While undeniably relaxing, baths have a beneficial detoxifying effect as well. As you sweat in the warm water, built-up toxins are cleared from your system. Once your body has removed these toxins, it will then soak up and benefit from any minerals added to the water. Furthermore, detox baths have been known to lower blood pressure, help with circulation and ease muscle pain.

Here is a great detox bath recipe to get you started:

  • 2 cups Epsom salts (I prefer lavender scented ones for added relaxation)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground ginger (this opens pores and increases body temperature, causing more toxins to be released)
  • 1 cup of baking soda (the alkaline helps to pull toxins from the body)
  • optional: essential oils of your choice

Since you are losing hydration through sweating, it is important to drink plenty of water both during and after the bath. I like to do this about once a week, especially during the winter months. Typically I stay in the bath for around 40 minutes.

It is important to be cautious when in hot water, especially if you have any medical conditions related to blood pressure or if you are pregnant. Consult a doctor before starting a detox bath ritual.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter for all the latest in bath time and de-stressing: @WomensPost

CRAIGSLIST: How to make sure you never get laid in three short sentences.

As you already know, we here at WP have a certain fondness for missed connections. There is something so romantic about the idea of that fleeting glimpse that could lead to more and the possibility of a relationship blossoming on the off chance of your predestined lover posting an ad for you. It harkens back to the fairy tale Prince Charming searching all across the kingdom for the beauty who left her slipper at the ball. Deep down we all really want to believe in love at first sight.

That being said, this next missed connection is probably the worst example of the form. Fellas, take note, this is How To Never Get Laid 101. Our souls (and probably Eglinton station) need a deep Purell cleanse.

We can tell you with certainty that this is not how you should think about strangers. Buddy, the reason she kept looking away is obviously because you are a slimeball and regular human beings, you know, the ones who want to be treated with a modicum of respect, want nothing to do with you.

Warning, this guy uses some naughty language.

Click to enlarge


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter for all the latest in awful missed connections. @WomensPost