Review: MissFresh Food Subscription Box

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Working a full-time job, balancing a social life, and trying to eat healthy is no easy task – so when the concept of ready-to-cook food subscription boxes started popping up everywhere recently, it definitely peaked my interest! The idea behind a food subscription box is that you can choose a meal from a list of options, and you’ll be sent all the ingredients you need (in the precise proportions) to cook a quick, healthy meal at home.

Montreal based company MissFresh recently reached out to me, offering me the chance to test out their service and some of their recipes. The menu changes each week, and offers a range of different cuisines and dishes to suit your individual tastes. All of the ingredients come in an insulated box (so they don’t spoil while being shipped to you), and are accompanied by a recipe card with the instructions on how to cook each meal.

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A funny (mostly sad) story about my experience – the fridge in my home broke the day after I received my shipment! I was able to cook the first meal without a problem, but unfortunately lost the meat and dairy components of the second and third dishes. I picked up what I could of what was missing from the grocery store, and I think the recipes still turned out quite well. Of course this detracted from the convenience of it all, but I still wanted to see the dishes through and to test the recipes out.

Read my review of each dish below, as well as the MissFresh service as a whole!

Recipe 1: Lemony Rapini and Sausages

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This meal was tasty and easy to make, however I noticed immediately that the instruction cards that come with the ingredients aren’t as in depth as I’d like them to be. I found myself wondering what heat to have the pan at during some stages, and ended up Googling at times to compensate for the recipe. That being said, I’m definitely a novice chef, and I think more experienced cooks would have an easier time. I ended up overcooking the veggies a bit, sacrificing some of the texture of the meal. The dish had quite a tart finish (from the lemon juice), but the sausage meat added a flavourful punch against the slightly bitter rapini.

Recipe 2: Creamy Leek Polenta

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This was the most difficult dish of the three to make. Again, I felt the instructions on the card could have been more clear (especially since I’ve never made polenta before!) and I ended up with a bit of a hard, lumpy mess instead of the creamy texture that it was supposed to be. Oh well, you live and you learn! The dish still had good flavour, and was definitely filling, but unfortunately I struggled on execution.

Recipe 3: Calamari Whole Wheat Pasta

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My favourite of the three recipes, this surprisingly hearty dish hit the perfect balance with wine, garlic, and tender calamari. The instructions were easy to follow, and the portions were generous. The recipe called for raisins, but I ended up leaving them out as they’re not my favourite ingredient to use.

Overall I was pretty happy with my experience, although I did notice some of the ingredients that were sent weren’t the best quality. For example the rapini that arrived had already started to go bad in parts, and I ended up having to toss half. If I had paid full price for the service, I’m not sure it would have been worth it. However I do love the idea of being able to create healthy meals at home, under 30 minutes – especially with a busy schedule. Skipping the line at the grocery store is definitely super convenient!

There are a number of food box subscriptions on the market now that often offer a discount on the first order of the service. If you struggle with meal planning and have difficulty finding the time to cook for yourself, I definitely recommend you look into the different companies out there!

Do you have experience with food subscription boxes? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!

 

Spring Outfit Inspiration

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Spring has finally sprung in Toronto, and one of my favourite things about the warmer weather is the outfits! It’s finally time to break out the colour, pretty blouses, and to ditch the winter coat. Cherry blossom madness recently hit the city, with hoards of people flocking to High Park, Trinity Bellwoods and other popular spots to get a glimpse of the pretty petals. I did venture one weekend to High Park, but was disappointed to find that the blossoms hadn’t fully opened yet. I had heard that Robarts Library near the U of T had some stunning trees of their own, so decided to stop by – it definitely lived up to the hype!

The outfit I styled below is an easy spring look, incorporating two trends I’m currently loving: off the shoulder tops and frayed denim. My favourite thing about this blouse (besides the pretty colour) is the sleeves – they add a feminine boho vibe to the look, perfect for the spring!

Top – Forever 21 / Frayed Denim – Zara / Blush Slip-Ons – Target

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The Best Brunch Spots in Toronto

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If I had to choose my favourite meal, it would hands down be brunch. It’s the perfect time to indulge in something sweet, something savoury, or a little bit of both. It’s also socially acceptable to have an alcoholic beverage before 2pm, which is okay in my books!

There was a period of time where you would find me brunching every weekend – and I mean every weekend. I’ve since cut back, after realizing a weekly eggs benny isn’t the most practical for your wallet (or your waistline)! However I did determine a few of my favourite brunch spots in Toronto after trying many of the popular restaurants in the city.

Here are my favourite spots for brunch in Toronto:

Wish 3 Charles St E

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Wish wins the award for the most instagramable and aesthetically pleasing brunch spot in the city. Make sure to book a reservation (and cross your fingers that you’ll land a spot on the adorable patio), because this place gets slam packed on weekends. The service can be hit or miss, and the crowd can be snooty, but the food is definitely tasty. I recommend the classic eggs benny, angus burger, or avocado toast!

The Good Fork2432 Bloor St W

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This is my pick for the most delicious, all-around menu. While I’m more of a savoury than sweet girl myself, there’s a great selection here and something for everybody. I can personally vouch for the ‘Daisy’ Benny and their take on Huevos Rancheros, but have also heard amazing things about their Red Velvet Pancakes. This is another spot that gets super packed on weekends, but unfortunately they don’t take reservations. I recommend visiting during off-peak hours so you’re not waiting around forever – however they do text you when your table is ready, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit out of the way in the West end, but definitely worth the journey!

The Starving Artist multiple locations

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If eggs benny is your brunch go-to, you’ll love this hip spot with three locations in the city. The ‘B. Benny’ is my spirit animal in benny form – poached eggs and caramalized bacon served on potato waffles. Yes, savoury waffles made from potatoes – my dream vehicle for receiving egg-y, bacon-y, deliciousness. I’ve visited their St Clair location which is a big, bright space with artwork from local artists hung on the walls. The music was a bit too intense the day I visited, but it was still an enjoyable experience. The Starving Artist is cash only, so come prepared!

Smith553 Church St

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Smith is a super cool spot in the Village with upper and lower dining rooms, as well as a patio space. The brunch rush is always hopping, which is a great sign when it comes to food. They serve up generous portions of delicious dishes (the brisket hash is my pick!), and the atmosphere is trendy and inviting. I have yet to be seated on their cute little patio, but will definitely be making it a priority this summer once the weather warms up!

Cafe Neon1024 Queen St W

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The Queen West outfit of this hip eatery (its other location in the Junction) is somewhat unassuming – the first time I walked by, it blended in with the local coffee shops. However upon closer inspection, I realized that the cafe actually had a larger dining room towards the back and I stopped in for brunch. Though the menu is quite small, it definitely hits all the brunch classics – pancakes, omelettes, and the usual fare. I was pleasantly surprised by their version of eggs benny, which included succulent pulled pork. The portions were large and everything was super yummy!

Barque Smokehouse299 Roncesvalles Ave

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Smoked. Duck. Pancakes. This is what first drew me to Barque – and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. If you’re into barbeque, you’ll love this restaurant. They offer a unique take on traditional brunch staples, all featuring their delicious barbeque – pulled pork, ribs, brisket and more. Their smoked duck panacakes come in a heaping portion smothered with a sweet blueberry compote and rich whipped goat cheese. I’m still dreaming about this meal. Barque is another place that gets super busy, but they do take reservations. Book ahead to avoid the wait!

I know what you’re thinking – where’s Mildred’s Temple Kitchen? Where’s Portland Variety? Sadly I haven’t yet made it out to some of the city’s most talked about brunch spots – simply because of the lines! It’s definitely on my bucket list for the next year to try out more places so I can fully assess and nail down my list of top spots. For now, these are my tried and true recommendations for some tasty brunch eats.

Let me know where your favourite place to brunch is in the comments below!

Sudio Sweden Regent Headphones

 

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I’ve never owned a pair of wireless headphones – but recently Sudio Sweden, a Swedish audio brand, reached out to me about reviewing one of their products. After browsing through their site, I immediately fell in love with their “Regent” style in white – a beautiful pair of wireless on-ear headphones featuring stylish gold accents and a sleek design.

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One of the things I love most about these headphones is how cute they are! The Regent features the ability to change out the headphone caps, and I just had to have the white marble style. Besides looking adorable, they also deliver on sound quality, providing crisp and clear audio for easy listening.

The main features of the headphones include:

  • 24+ hours of continuous playtime
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Built-in microphone and 3 button remote
  • Interchangeable caps to match your style

As someone who’s constantly traveling (whether commuting every day to and from work by subway, or flying out to visit friends in other cities), having the ability to listen to music in high quality is super important to me. While the headphones aren’t completely noise cancelling, they definitely do a great job of muffling background noise in comparison to the standard in-ear buds I’m used to. This is perfect for airplanes, noisy subways, and longer periods of time when you just want to get into your music and relax.

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Another great feature is the wireless design – I don’t have to deal with getting tangled up in wires, especially on crowded trains! This will also come in super handy if I eventually decide to upgrade to the iPhone 7. The headphones come with a charging cable, and once fully charged will last 24+ hours. For forgetful people like me, the headphones also come with an audio cable (just in case) that can be plugged into your device in the traditional way. I love the flexibility of this, and that I don’t have to worry if I forget to charge them the night before.

The only downside about the pair I selected is that I have to be careful about makeup/foundation stains on the pristine white ear pads – but it’s totally worth it for how adorable they look! I highly recommend Sudio if you’re looking to try a pair of wireless headphones and are also on the lookout for something stylish. If you’re not into the look of on-ear headphones, Sudio also offers a number of other earphone options.

Use my code “angelaxo” for 15% off your purchase!

 

Denim Day x GUESS

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Today is Denim Day: an international movement that began in LA in 1999 to raise awareness and end sexual violence. The campaign was originally started after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court, where a rape conviction was overturned because the court felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.

Peace Over Violence started the Denim Day campaign to acknowledge and stand up to the sexual violence that happen globally each day – and to support survivors worldwide. In 2014, GUESS made Denim Day its first social cause marketing campaign, spreading the word about this issue to a worldwide audience. The tagline of the Denim Day campaign is powerful: “there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape”.

I’ve partnered with GUESS to contribute to this campaign by making a social statement with my fashion statement. Wearing denim has become a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes attached to sexual violence and its cause. Today I wear denim with a purpose – to stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by sexual violence.

Discussing sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse is often taboo, particularly with mine, and the younger generation. I think it’s important to open up a conversation to help those who may be suffering in silence or may not feel like they can come forward (anyone watching 13 Reasons Why?). I’m happy to be using my voice to shed light on this tough and important issue.

When I shot this outfit, I felt the beautiful blooms on the cherry blossom trees were the perfect fit to represent hope for a future. Spring signifies a fresh start, and also serves as a beautiful metaphor for the recovery and rebirth of those who survive sexual violence with the love and support of others.

See my Denim Day look below:

Denim Jacket – Guess / T-shirt – Wilfred Free, Aritzia / Jeans – J Brand / Shoes – Shellys

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CF Hello Spring!

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Spring is one of my favourite times of the year – after a seemingly never-ending winter, the sunlight and warmer weather are a huge breath of fresh air! I recently teamed up with CF Fairview Mall for a fun little video shoot featuring the stunning “Garden of Light” display they currently have featured at the mall.

The whole experience was pretty surreal for me, having worked a not-so-glamorous retail job at Fairview Mall myself in high school. Having the opportunity to film a video with them was beyond exciting (if not a little nerve wracking) and I had such an amazing time!

Check out the video below:

The Garden of Light

The interactive display features 1,600 LED flowers that light up to music, spreading the spirit of spring! The installation currently features light shows set to an upbeat soundtrack and the soothing sounds of nature. Shoppers can also activate the display with the touch pads featured in the video, or by using the hashtag #CFHelloSpring (this blew my mind!).

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I think what I miss most in the winter is colour – I love the beautiful flowers, green grass and bright shades I can inject into my wardrobe during the springtime! The Garden of Light does an amazing job capturing the colours, sounds and feeling of spring, and I love how it has the power to instantly brighten someone’s day. I saw so many people, families and children having a blast interacting with the installation, which made me smile!

The Outfit

To celebrate the season, I picked out a new outfit to channel my inner springtime goddess. Naturally, I gravitated towards a floral piece – this beautiful cold shoulder fit and flare dress from Dynamite with adorable shoulder cutouts. I paired the dress with a simple gold choker also from Dynamite, little rose gold hoops from Aldo, and a pair of chunky heeled sandals from Call it Spring.

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It felt SO good to release my legs from my winter uniform of sweats and Uggs! I feel like my closet comes alive in the spring, and this outfit made me so excited to start wearing cute dresses and skirts again for the warmer weather!

If you’re a spring lover like myself, definitely make time to head to CF Fairview Mall to check out the Garden of Light for yourself – I promise it’ll get you into the spring spirit and you won’t be disappointed!

Laundry Day

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Since starting my blog and Instagram, I’ve only worked with a professional photographer once, instead enlisting my friends or family members to help snap my photos. This means the creative direction, styling and and vision are completely up to me!

Okay I’ll admit, I’ve never actually had to use a laundromat. But I’ve always loved their charm and the retro aesthetic they embody. I recently was inspired to shoot at one and landed on Queen Street Laundry – a standard wash and dry establishment, that also happens to double as an awesome photoshoot location!

I kept my look simple with a basic white off the shoulder top, plus a pair of jeans and a flannel that I actually thrifted from my local Value Village. I love thrifted denim but find the waists on old school, true blue, 100% cotton jeans to run small. I could barely sit in this pair when I bought them, but found an easy way to stretch them out. After washing them in cold water and letting them air dry for a bit, I put them on while they were still damp (icky, but worth it) and did a few squats to loosen them up. I took them off to finish air drying, and when I tried them on again they were the perfect fit.

We had so much fun with this shoot and I love how the photos turned out, despite my inability to look at the camera! I really do need to perfect a new pose. A huge thanks goes out to my girl Rebecca who helped me capture these ♥

Check out my favourite shots below:

Off The Shoulder Top – Forever 21 / Flannel – Thrifted / Jeans – Thrifted / Shoes – Converse

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If you’re interested in hosting your own shoot at Queen Street Laundry, you can contact the owner Ash at queenstreetlaundry@gmail.com.

Where’s your dream shoot location? Tell me in the comments below!