October 28, 2014

The List - NYC Spots

On my latest trip to my favourite city, I discovered some new spots and visited old favourites. Below is a round-up of my favourite NYC hits for brunch, cocktails, shopping and caffeine. Enjoy! x

1. Sweet Science - Sometimes bars look scary in the daytime. Sweet Science, in Brooklyn is a cozy day spot for brunch with graffiti art and natural light. Try: the black bean burgers.
2. Jack's Wife Freda - I've read about this trendy SoHo brunch spot, and had been meaning to check it out. The food is South African Israeli Jewish inspired. Try: the Mediterranean breakfast. Note: it's a bit loud on Sundays, and you may have to wait in line. Do some shopping before!
3. Warby Parker - I've been a fan of Warby Parker since their initial launch. Warby provides affordable eye wear and donates a pair of glasses to someone in need with every purchase. My friend Cam is an optometrist at the Upper East Side location and I loved their library-inspired space.
4. Dunwell Donuts - I brought this place up before, but I can't seem to walk by without grabbing a vegan donut. This time I was up on that vanilla and chocolate sprinkles flavour.
5. Stumptown Coffee - Coffee is my jam in every city I visit. When heading to New York, I no longer visit tourist attractions, but instead try to find new cafes. Stumptown has a few locations, and I chose to visit their shop located in The Ace Hotel. Notes: great coffee, cool lighting.
6. Roebling Tea Room - I have a pen pal (more on that later) and we met at The Roebling Tea room in Williamsburg for a catch up and cocktails. The bar/restaurant/tea room is moody and lush, with the most perfect windows. I loved, loved, loved it.
7. The Ace Hotel - I found myself in the lobby of The Ace Hotel (see photo below) and I did what any aspiring writer on vacation does: I found a spot, opened my laptop and typed until I forgot what time it was. I was surrounded by other people doing the same thing, and I felt like I was transported to some hipster college library. I'd definitely consider staying at the hotel in the future.

October 27, 2014

New Weekly Mantra - Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta passed away last week at the age of 82. He was one of my favourite designers, and I wanted to start the week off with a quote from him. Enjoy! x

“I really hate nostalgia. I don’t look at the world today and say, Oh, what a pity there are no Babe Paleys around. That’s not how to live your life. And the only manners I am interested in are the manners of the heart.” - Oscar de la Renta via The Cut
/ image via Pursuitist  

October 22, 2014

Welcome to New York

I go to New York, the way a person recharges at a spa.

Every time I visit, it feels like I never left. I see the same friends. I stay at the same place in Brooklyn. I insert myself into the daily swarms of people heading everywhere, and nowhere. I eat sandwiches, and bagels and stay out too late, and then eat another sandwich, and sip on too many cups of coffee. And just like that, I feel inspired again.

New York isn't a juice cleanse, it's a sugar rush.

On Sunday, Jules and I headed over to Central Park, as I found out that one of my new favourite bands City of the Sun was playing a live show by the Bethesda Fountain. I've been to Central Park before, but because of its size, I realized I had never been to that specific area before.

On the day I returned to Toronto, Taylor Swift released a new song called Welcome to New York. It's all about the wonder of the city, and how it's been "waiting for you." Umm...doesn't T.Swift know the sadness that always arrives the moment my plane lands? While my post-NYC melancholy always lingers for a few days (hello couch, Netflix and new track pants from Uniqlo), I do carry the positive energy from the weekend with me.

Below are some photos from my day in Central Park. Also, if you're looking for some good music to soothe your week, check out City of the Sun, and their instrumental hit, Everything. x

October 15, 2014

The List - Moments

If you've been following me on Instagram, you may think that all I do is go to weddings, baptisms and family functions. You may be right. I've been running around for the past few weeks gearing up for weekends full of milestones.

Below is a round up of my latest moments, the kind that you spend with only the best people in your life. Enjoy!

1. No, I'm not going to prom. This is me before my friend's wedding. I stopped by my parents' house to drop off a bag, and they came running down the stairs with their phones and assaulted me with camera flashes. (All while my ride watched in the driveway)

2. I was recently a bridesmaid for one of my best friend's weddings. I stood by with the friends I've known since grade six, and quietly marked the official end of childhood.
3. In cooking moments, I can admit that I've lapsed on making proper meals. With an evening job, I find myself eating granola bars, or anything that can fit in a Ziploc bag. Last week, I found myself with a night off so I made a simple rice dish, using my mom's homemade tomato sauce. For Thanksgiving, I made a beet and goat cheese terrine. I found the recipe on The Chalkboard Mag, via British sisters Hemsley and Hemsley.

4. Families that selfie together...stay together? Inspired by Ellen's Oscar shot, my family did our own Thanksgiving selfie. My favourite are the two baby expressions at the bottom. They must be thinking, What's wrong with these people? 
5. I love taking photographs, and it seems that I am now the unofficial photographer at family engagements. While I'm an admitted amateur, the best feeling is scrolling through your photos and finding the perfect shot. The photo below is from Baby Kate's baptism. It captures the love of her (ridiculously attractive) parents, and the curiosity of this beautiful baby girl.  

October 9, 2014

Weekly Mantra - Freedom vs. Confidence

Confidence seems to be the easy answer to everything.

Magazine editors, actors, models — they all love to tell us that confidence is what makes a person. My favourite beauty site, Into the Gloss and their founder Emily Weiss wrote the following quote this week, and I loved it.

I like her view on being fearless, even if things aren't where they are supposed to be. Enjoy. x

"Freedom and confidence are two different things, in my book. Confidence is overrated—it can be faked, whereas freedom is fearlessness. Freedom is being more or less okay with wherever you’re at, at any given point in your life or your day or your hour, be it really sucky or really great or somewhere in between (and there are a lot of in-betweens.) The single guiding principle that I try to follow, assuming blindly that the rest will fall into place, is to operate squarely in the present. I think it’s one of the most difficult things for anyone to do." 
- Emily Weiss via  via Into the Gloss

October 2, 2014

Book Club: Gone Girl

I read Gone Girl in six days.

With my best friend's wedding this coming weekend, four different freelance deadlines, and my evening job, I barely had time to make sure my shoes match, and yet..

For the past six days, I couldn't put it down. I'd give myself rewards to get back to it (write 500 words, finish that press release and you can read a chapter). I'd tell myself I'd only read for half an hour before bed, and then I'd be up, wide-eyed till 1 a.m.

I'm not someone to read anything that causes distress. I have a strict no-murder, no horror and no mystery rule when it comes to books and films. I've always been like this. Why pay $12 to sit in a theatre and feel on edge for two hours? Also, living on my own, I'd rather not be terrified while taking a shower.

But Gone Girl was recommended by friends, and the movie trailer with Ben Affleck's creepy smile kept popping up in my feed. I now know why. Author Gillian Flynn nails it. Every twist, every mind game; she grabs you. Also, her description of The Cool Girl is brilliance all on its own.

Quick premise: Gone Girl is about a couple, Amy and Nick, who are having marital troubles when Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary leaving Nick in the spotlight. (That's all I'll say). The film is out tomorrow and I heard that director David Fincher changed the ending, which I'm quite intrigued about because I absolutely hated the ending of this book. And while I have zero free time this weekend, you bet I'll be sitting in a theatre soon, with one hand over my face, half-smiling, half-horrified. Sleep with the lights on.

/image source: Wikipedia /

September 30, 2014

The New Vision: Fall

I'm not a very fussy person. 

While I like my space to be (hygienically) clean, I don't mind a bit of clutter. 

I like things strewn around my apartment; I believe it adds character, my character. I let piles of things grow on my desk like moss in a humid forest, until all of a sudden I have no idea why I've kept so many receipts, magazines, and old gift cards. 

While I can deal with clutter, and the organized chaos, sometimes I hit a moment when I have to organize, and rearrange. A few weeks ago, I found myself tearing everything off of my bulletin board. I sat on my carpet and flung off every scrap of paper until I could see the cork again.

It was approaching a new season, and I needed a new vision.

This time, I positioned everything a bit neater than the way I sloppily tacked things on during spring. I found new photos; I gathered new items that were speaking to me. Black and white is the theme; everything is a bit moodier, and more serious.

During summer, I embraced a different kind of me. I was a loosely based version of myself, like reading a book and recognizing someone, but realizing that the name has changed, and maybe the mannerisms, but you can swear you know who they are talking about. The change wasn't bad, it was different. Probably the most different I've felt in years. All summer, I floated around like a large fish that was brought home from the store and had to make decisions based on the size of its tank.

I'm ready to get back to the ocean.

Below is this week's mantra and focuses on the new season. Enjoy!

"That whole time of year, autumn, I find exhilarating. A passionate season. The others are so bland. In the fall, you see opportunities for change. Real change. Possibilities present themselves. None of the renewal and redemption cliches of spring. No. Something darker and more primal and more important than that.” Alice LaPlante via Goodreads

September 26, 2014

The List: Things I Don't Want to Admit...

Things I don't want to admit... (and other things I've liked this week)

1. Having a cold turns me into a six year old. All I want to do is call my mom and talk in a baby voice, and mummify myself with a blanket on the couch. No inspirational mantra here people.

2. More times than not, spoonfuls of nutella, jam or peanut butter is my version of dessert. Suzy Pinterest avert your eyes!

3. I am STILL reading The Goldfinch.

4. The best run I had this week was to the new Tim McGraw album. Nothing against Tim, but I never thought I'd run to country music.

5. My best friend started working at a new coffee shop called The Tempered Room in Parkdale, Toronto. It's bursting with homemade french pastries, and cute men in plaid shirts. (Okay, that last part was only one time)

6. This New York Times article about Italian socialite Marella Agnelli, wife to the chairman of the Fiat empire intrigued me. I especially enjoyed the line, "It was time I learned the “three-S rule”: “sogni,” “salute” and “soldi” (dreams, health and money). These were the subjects, she explained, one should never discuss in public." On that note, please forget #1 on this list.

7. Lena Dunham's advice videos "Ask Lena" on Nymag, gave me a good laugh.

8. Spending time at my best man since birth's apartment brightened my entire week. His eye for decor is unparalleled. He can put feathers in a box (and he did) and make it look cool.

9. Lately, a "wild night out" is going for dinner and watching my friends fall asleep on my couch at 11 p.m.

10. Here's to the weekend. Stay healthy, and happy. x