The Best Brunch Spots in Toronto

Best-Brunch-Toronto

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!

Bluboho Queen Street

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Bluboho‘s newest of three locations is a stunning space on Queen West, with exposed brick, beautiful gold accents and cases upon cases of delicate, handcrafted jewelry. I’ve been a fan of bluboho ever since a friend introduced me to the brand last year – we’ve always loved our jewelry dainty and feminine, and the designs here are simply breathtaking! Everything at the store is created from precious gems and materials, so you can bet whatever you leave with will be extra special. Bluboho offers both original pieces and jewelry from designers around the world who have inspired the owners.

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I met with one half of the ownership team, Cheryl (Maggie is her partner) who invited me to take a look at their location on Queen. The store recently celebrated its first anniversary, and features a workshop at the back for creating custom pieces for their clients. The brand also recently launched its bridal line, for engagements and marriage, but also to celebrate women and their personal milestones.

What I love most about bluboho is that there’s a story or special meaning behind each piece at the store. You’re encouraged to choose jewelry that expresses your individual style, and to find a custom combination that fits your personal story. Almost all of the earrings at bluboho are sold as singles instead of pairs, so that you can mix and match and select which pieces fit best for you personally. The store even works closely with a local piercing artist to get you exactly the look you want!

My Blueboho Pieces

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Cheryl was so generous in letting me pick out some of my favourite bluboho pieces to be gifted. I selected two of their rings (perfect for stacking – yet another way to customize!), the 10k Yellow Gold Namesake Ring and the 14k/10k Yellow Gold Tripod Ring. I love these pieces because they’re delicate and simple, yet still so beautiful!

The Namesake Ring can be stamped with up to five letters, but I’m still deciding whether I’d like to keep it blank as is, or to stamp it with my initials or another special message. The tripod ring is absolutely stunning, with three little diamonds representing the past, present and future. When I heard the meaning behind the ring, I instantly knew it was perfect for me, as a constant reminder of the goals I’m striving for and for what I hope to achieve in the future!

See more of the beautiful interior at bluboho, located at 350 Queen Street West in Toronto below:

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Easy Closet Organization Tips

Closet Organization

It’s no secret, I love clothes – my shopping addiction is something out of a Sophie Kinsella novel. But recently, my wardrobe had grown to such a size that it began to overwhelm my room and my life. I had put off organizing my closet for so long that I ran out of places to store new purchases (which I kept in a laundry basket on my floor), and I would forget that I evened owned some of the items because they’d get swallowed up by the mess! Recently I spent a weekend trying to take control of my closet, and it felt so great when I was finished.

Here are some of the simple closet organization tips that I picked up while tackling my clothing situation:

Purge! Throw out your old clothes

The first step when cleaning out your closet is to get rid of your old clothes. Go through each section and clear out anything you haven’t worn in years, the things you’ve worn to death, and those purchases you thought were awesome at the time, but never ended up wearing.

Tips on what to do with your old clothes:

  • Take them to a consignment store: There’s an awesome chain of stores called Plato’s Closet that purchases younger, on-trend clothing from places like Forever 21, Zara, and Aritzia (perfect for someone like me). You bring them your old clothing, wait while they sort through it, and they’ll pay you cash on the spot for what they’re interested in. I brought four trash bags of clothing to their Scarborough location and received about $140 for the 20% of my clothes that they decided to purchase. This is a great way to make some money back on items you would otherwise be giving away!
  • Give them to friends: This is a perfect example of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – chances are your friends will want some of your old clothing to add to their own wardrobe.
  • Donate! You can often find clothing donation drop offs in the parking lot of your local grocery store or community centre. Do a quick Google search in your area and donate your clothing to someone in need – you can even pick a charity that means something special to you.

Group by category

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Grouping your clothing by category can really help you keep track of things and locate the items you’re looking for quicker. This is super important for me when I’m rushing to get ready in the morning to get out the door to go to work. You won’t have to think twice about where your favourite pair of skinnies are if you have a designated area for all of your denim!

Store off season clothing out of sight

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If you live in city like I do where the seasons change and vary greatly, chances are you won’t be using part of your wardobe during a large chunk of the year. I keep these cute storage bins from IKEA above my wardrobe to store summer items (swimsuits, shorts, etc.) in the winter, and winter items (thick knits, scarves, etc.) in the summer. This keeps your most relevant pieces easy to access and gets rid of some of the extra bulk.

I use a variation of the PAX system from IKEA, which has served my wardrobe well over the past few years. I personally like to be able to see all my clothes so I can take stock of what I have, but adding doors would be another easy way to keep things looking neater.

Sort by colour

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Another easy way to categorize your clothing is to sort your pieces by colour. This is an extra step to help you find what you’re looking for – a Dewey Decimal System for your clothing. For example if I’m looking for a specific pink skirt, I’ll know to go to my skirt section, and then can easily spot where it is based on colour.

Use skinny hangers

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My number one space saving tip? Use skinny hangers! I had been using the cheap wooden hangers from IKEA for the longest time, but realized I could fit three skinny hangers (you can usually find these at any home ware store – Winners, Homesense, Solutions) for each wooden hanger I had. This tripled the capacity of my closet! The velvet kind are my absolute favourite, as they keep spaghetti straps and silky fabrics from slipping off the hanger.

These tips work best for someone trying to tackle a closet that’s gotten out of hand, or has hoarding tendencies like I do. I’ve always lusted after that perfect, minimalist blogger closet (with a few neutral staple pieces hanging gracefully on the rack) – but I know my reality is that I’ll always have drawers and shelves stuffed to the brim. At least I’m learning how to manage it a bit better!