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

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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!

 

Baddies Toronto

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Baddies is a hip little eatery located at 679 Lansdowne Ave in Toronto, serving up breakfast, brunch and lunch items Monday through Sunday. After seeing swoon-worthy snaps of this cafe on Instagram, I had to go check it out for myself!

When I first arrived at Baddies, I was surprised by how small the space actually was. The cafe runs on a “seat yourself” concept, with tables for around eight parties set up. If the restaurant is full when you arrive, you can choose to sit on the “bleachers” located at the back of the cafe until a table frees up, or you can even order your food to eat there. Food is ordered at the main counter where you pay ahead, and a server will bring it out to you when it’s ready.

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The atmosphere is quite casual and noisy (since the space is so small), but beautifully decorated with exposed white brick, marble accents, surf-themed wallpaper, and hints of greenery. I also loved how much natural light came into the cafe!

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I had the smashed avocado (with heirloom beet labneh, seasonal greens, sunflower seed, pickled beet, roasted persimmons on Prairie Boy sourdough) and added a fried egg as well as a side of bacon. For avotoast to really be a “wow” dish, it has to be executed well – and this version was delicious. The meal was filling and full of bold flavours and interesting textures.

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I paired my smashed avo with a matcha latte, which was equally tasty!

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My friend got the brekky roll (with cumbraes dbl smoked bacon, sunny egg, chimmichurri, tomato relish, and blood brothers IPA BBQ sauce), which she also enjoyed!

The menu offered some yummy sounding sweet options as well, but my friend and I both lean towards more savoury dishes. We laughed about how we wished one of us liked sweets so we could get a better picture! Overall I enjoyed my experience at Baddies and would return – just be prepared to wait for a table if you’re visiting on a busy Saturday like I did.

Valentine’s Day Outfit Ideas

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Valentine’s day is one of my favourite occasions to style an outfit for, since it’s so flirty and fun! If there was ever a time to wear crushed velvet and baby pink satin, this is it. Whether you’re planning something casual with your girls, or going for date night with your special someone, I’ve created two easy looks to get you inspired.

The first outfit features an awesome pair of embroidered jeans from Zara that I’ve absolutely been loving. The embroidery trend (especially floral) is a fun way to incorporate a feminine vibe into your outfit, and I like that these jeans are still super easy to wear for every day. This look would be great for a day date or Galentine’s lunch!

For night, I created a simple look with everyone’s new favourite staple – the satin slip dress. I paired it with a black moto jacket, chunky booties and a choker to add a bit of edge to the sweet pink frock.

Look One: Teddy Bear Jacket – Zara / Velvet Top – Zara / Embroidered Jeans – Zara / Sandals – Target

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Look Two: Leather Jacket – Zara / Satin Slip Dress – Urban Planet / Booties – BCBGeneration

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Winterlicious 2017 at Pukka

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I have mixed feelings about Toronto’s annual winter culinary event, Winterlicious. Each year I find myself debating whether or not the three-course prix fixe menus are worth it, or if I’d be better off just ordering off the restaurant’s regular menu. However I always do end up making it out to try a few restaurants. I wouldn’t normally order three different dishes for myself, and Winterlicious is a good way to sample more of the menu than I typically would.

This year’s event took place from January 27th – February 9th, and I did have time to visit a couple of places for their Winterlicious menus. The standout for me was Pukka, a modern Indian gem tucked away on St. Clair West. At $28, their dinner menu fell within the lowest of three price tiers offered through Winterlicious. I had previously visited Pukka with a friend and enjoyed my experience, but had not had a chance to sample any of their entrees.

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To start, I had the Pukka Chaat, a vegetarian dish I would say is similar to a salad, comprised of vegetable strings, rice crisps, pomegranate, green apples, mango, chutneys and yogurt. This was such a bright, fresh and delicious dish – the perfect start to a meal. According to Google, “Chaat” is a term used to describe savoury snacks served at food carts in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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For my main, I had the Lamb Shank Xacuti, with coconut, red chili and fennel seeds. The dish came with basmati rice, but I also ordered some naan on the side. The lamb itself was extremely tender and fell off the bone, and the sauce that accompanied provided wonderful flavour with just the right amount of heat and a hint of ginger. This was an extremely large portion for the price point.

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I chose the Mango Mousse to end the meal, which was velvety, rich and full of sweet mango flavour. By this time I was absolutely stuffed, but could not stop spooning up mouthfuls of this dessert!

The atmosphere at Pukka is intimate, with candles and dim lighting throughout. Our server was super friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. If you’re thinking of trying it out, I’d recommend the restaurant for date night or visiting with a group of friends, as many of the dishes are great for sharing. What I loved most about the food at this place were the bold flavours – every bite was interesting and had me going back for more. I had an awesome Winterlicious experience at Pukka and will definitely return!

 

3 Easy & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is to spend some time in the morning trying out healthy breakfast recipes. It’s easy to gravitate towards unhealthy choices for breakfast, but there are so many easy, healthier options out there that are as delicious as they are good for you.

Here are three easy ideas I love that are easy to make and will give you energy to take on your day:

Smoothie Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • Toppings of choice

Smoothie bowls are great if you’re someone who craves something sweet in the morning. You can often make them by throwing together whatever you have on hand!

To make the version above, simply blend the mixed berries, banana, almond milk, strawberries, and chia seeds together until smooth. You can top your smoothie bowl with whatever you like – I added chopped pistachios, whole chia seeds, strawberry slices, sunflower seeds and oats to mine. Fresh fruit is also an amazing addition!

Banana Oat Pancakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maple syrup & powdered sugar to serve (optional)

These banana oat pancakes are seriously yummy and a healthier take on the classic pancake. I halved this recipe by Simply Delicious, which made enough for a filling breakfast for one.

To make the pancakes, blend the banana, eggs, oats, baking powder and salt until smooth. Let the batter stand for 10-20 mins to thicken, and then fry in a non-stick pan over medium heat until golden brown. I used a 1/4 cup measure to spoon out the perfect amount of batter for each pancake.

Serve your pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup, powdered sugar or fresh fruit!

(Not so Boring) Toast

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Toast is a breakfast staple, and there are so many more ways to have it than just the classic butter or jam. My favourite variations are avocado toast (recipe below) for a savoury option, and almond butter (or peanut butter) and banana slices for something more sweet. Whole wheat and whole grain bread are a healthy choice and also provide great texture.

Ingredients for avocado spread:

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Splash of hot sauce
  • Chili flakes to serve (optional)

Remove the skin and pit from the avocado and mash with a fork until smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and hot sauce and combine. Serve over toast and sprinkle with chili flakes!

What are some of your favourite healthy breakfast options? Leave a comment below!

London Travel Guide

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I visited London, UK back in December to visit my boyfriend who’s currently studying overseas. It was my first time in the bustling city and I had such an amazing time taking in the sights (and eating delicious food!). The holidays are such a beautiful time to visit London – the streets are decked out with glittering lights and you can totally feel the festive spirit in the air.

This trip differed from other European vacations I’ve taken, since I actually knew someone who lives there. I spent less time hitting the tourist sights and more time exploring the city from a local’s perspective, which was a nice change.

That being said, you’ll probably find some of the typical London landmarks missing from this list – that’s because I didn’t have a chance to make my way to see them! Things that are still on my London bucket list (meaning I’ll definitely have to visit again) include: going for a stroll along the Thames, taking in views from the London Eye, and riding a double decker bus!

Here were some of my favourite parts from my trip in December and my recommendations for when you visit:

What to Do

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Visit local markets

London is known for its awesome markets, lined with stalls featuring local vendors, authentic food and fresh flowers. I visited Columbia Road Flower Market which was packed with beautiful blooms, as well as Brick Lane Market, which offered cool vintage finds and tons of affordable and delicious food options nearby. Spitalfields Market was a short walk away, where my boyfriend picked up a new coat!

Explore Covent Garden

Covent Garden is full of places to shop, eat and to spend the day exploring. For the holidays, the indoor hall was decked out with a huge mistletoe installation which was so pretty to look at. I recommend stopping for tea and macarons at LadurΓ©e – the balcony upstairs also gives a great view of the street performers down below!

Hit the shops!

There’s tons of amazing shopping in London, from the busy tourist areas to vintage stores and the independent vendors at the market. Spend a day on Oxford Street (the busiest shopping street in Europe!) and hit up all the major stores. I love & Other Stories for simple pieces and jewellery, and Primark for a bargain that can’t be beat!

Spend a day in Chelsea

This was one of my favourite days I spent in London. Maybe because I’m a diehard fan of Made in Chelsea (anybody else?), but also because it was such a pretty area to explore, without the overwhelming crowds found in the more touristy parts of the city. Harrods is nearby, and here you’ll find the pretty pastel houses that are oh-so-instagrammable!

What to Eat

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Friends of Ours

Friends of Ours is a trendy little spot in Shoreditch serving delicious brunch items with a twist. We tried the Pork Belly Benedict (with candied & coffee cured pork belly!) as well as the Sweetcorn & Beetroot Fritters and they were both amazing.

Wahaca

A cool Mexican spot offering delicious tacos, tostadas, burritos and more, Wahaca is a fun place with cute decor to grab a quick bite. The prices are pretty affordable in comparison to the other restaurants in London, and you’ll definitely leave with a happy belly.

Peggy Porschen Cakes

This is a haven for anyone who loves anything cute, pretty and pink. Peggy Porschen Cakes serves up adorable cookies, cupcakes and desserts on pastel plates that’ll make you swoon. Snap a pic in front of their pastel pink doorway and spend an afternoon chatting over tea.

Sketch

Visit Sketch for an unforgettable experience! This was one of our special occasion meals and it did not disappoint. Sketch is an uber stylish restaurant (a celebrity favourite) featuring four different dining rooms, each with their own theme. We ate in The Gallery – full of everything rose gold and blush velvet and absolutely stunning!

Other Things to Consider

  • Watch. Your. Valuables. I got pick-pocketed while shopping on Oxford Street and lost my phone on my second day in London. Make sure your valuables are safely tucked away (an inside pocket of a jacket is ideal) or carry a purse that’s hard to get into.
  • Find time amidst your food adventures to try some local specialties: fish & chips and a full English breakfast are a must!
  • Pick up an Oyster Card (you can load it up with whatever amount you see fit) and take the London Underground to get around the city. The tube is easy to navigate and the quickest and most affordable way to travel. Walking is also a great option if you’re exploring Central London.

Happy travelling!