I have never been one with much of an interest for sports. I have partaken in some of them, mostly because I was required to do so in high school as part of the curriculum. While I did understand the basics of most of them, I simply didn't understand the need or the passion that some people get out of sports. However, I will admit that there is one sport that managed to capture my interest: tennis.
Although I have been living in Canada since 2009, this season has been a summer of many firsts for me. The last few months saw me camping and eating s’mores near a fireplace, going to my first baseball game and attending Osheaga. For those who might not know, Osheaga is a three day indie music festival hosted in the beautiful city of Montreal. Recently ranked on Forbes as the seventh most lucrative music festival in the world, Osheaga is by far the most important of its kind in Canada.
I was recently reminiscing about my college years. I remember all the wonderful moments spent in school, learning to bake bread and creating chocolate sculptures. The greasy lunches eaten at the nearby diner. I also remembered that money was a bit tight back then and that forced me to eat out less and cook at home more often. Toronto is blessed with a multitude of different grocery stores, however most of the ones populating the downtown core can get expensive. Thankfully, there were a few oases in the city where one can shop at a lower price range so that they can spend their money on the things they really want, and one of them is the topic of today’s blog post: Food Basics.
Physical appearance often plays a big role in our day-to-day life. We pay close attention to the way we dress, to our mannerisms and to the shininess of our shoes. For women, makeup has played a great role in their way of shaping the World’s perception of them and recently, men have also been jumping on the makeup bandwagon. The trick to male makeup is to create a skin that looks natural and even but without appearing lifeless. We do not require extravagant eyelashes and highly pigmented eyeshadows and hence the emphasis would be solely on our skin. I will be starting off this small makeup series with one of the key items to possess: a good concealer.
The month of June this year marked a few things: It announced the beginning of summer, created the very defined line of a farmer’s tan on my skin and it also marked the one year anniversary of my blog. A year ago, I decided to go fully freelance with my career, quit my stable yet boring full time job and set myself to writing about my personal experiences and opinions and sharing them on this platform. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned along this 365 day journey.
When we think of the topic of fast fashion, clothing stores such as Zara and H&M often come to mind. Other than fast food, we seem to only think of clothing when the fast lifestyle subject comes up. However, there are other ways in which our daily lives are affected by the phenomenon. Every time we give in to the purchase of cheaper replicas where no original creativity was required, where products were the result of mass manufacture and without taking in environmental consequences or long term durability, we are giving in to the fast lifestyle. This rushed way of living, when conformity and quick results are pre requisites, surrounds us everywhere, from the mug in which you consume your morning coffee to the sheets you sleep in.
I recall growing up, how much I wanted to be exactly like everyone else. To blend in. To be one with the crowd. I hated my freckles, had body issues especially regarding my weight and I even disliked my name because it set me apart. I dressed in oversized tee-shirts in a shade of brown that was absolutely horrendous on my skin tone and in my own way, I was content whenever I was invisible. My reluctancy to be seen only made me more visible to a small group of bullies which further accentuated my personal issues. I was misunderstood because I was different and I was even mockingly given an award for “most social”. Little did they know that nine years later, I would make social media my full time occupation.
For those of you living south of the Canadian borders, you have most likely started feeling the wondrous effects of spring. With every garden filled with beautiful flowers, the ability to finally shed layers of clothing and feel the sun on your skin, it also means that it’s time to change your skincare routine to adapt to the warmer weather. If you are anything like me, then even your face tends to sweat in the summer. My winter routine of rich moisturizers do not help with this condition either and coupled with an additional layer of sunscreen, my face often creates the illusion that it is melting in the sun by midday. My go-to during the sweltering weather are face gels and i recently tested out three of them that recently launched on the Canadian market.
After an interesting Spring season in Toronto that has earned the city the nickname ToRAINto (at least in my books), I will admit that I am looking forward to the hot days ahead. Summer obviously has a lot of pros: drinking sangrias on patios, laying down in the park with a brand new book, cold brew coffee and most of all ice-cream. However, when you’re a guy, summer also means dumbing down your daily outfits to a max of two clothing pieces. While girls have the option of beautiful floral dresses and cute rompers, the selection for men is a bit lacking especially if you’re used to only wearing solid colours. As such, I have found that season after season, I tend to go back to the same staple look during the hot months: a white t-shirt and shorts.
An event I recently attended was the beginning of a very interesting night for me. Upon arriving at the venue, I was directed to the “Instagram table” where I was sitting quietly until I was very rudely asked to move by a blonde middle aged woman who then proceeded to sit her fellow Instagrammer friends at the table. After this, I decided to take it to my insta-stories to document my particular feeling about this intrusion and it in turn resulted in my inbox being flooded with responses from people who either felt the same way as I did, or that my words were too harsh. Either way, this whole night ignited a few topics that I would love to talk about today on the blog.
Childhood is a fantastic time in someone’s life. You do not have any real responsibilities (including doing your own laundry), taking daily naps is pretty much compulsory and you can eat all the sugar in the world and stay nice and slim. As it is the case with most children, I didn't have a very developed palate. Greens were pushed to the side of the plate, pasta was rapidly devoured and anything with sugar was more than welcome. It’s a completely different story now that I am an adult obviously. I’ve learned about calories, carbohydrates, fats and all the other wonderful things present in our food and that has made me more conscious of the things I put in my body. My love for all things sweet remained unwavered but I learned of healthier alternatives for some of them. Today, I’ll be talking about a great substitute for pop.
Anytime you are at an event, you can usually tell what specific genre of blogging everyone is into based on their conversations. Fitness bloggers often talk about their gym routines or pushing their limits. Beauty bloggers are the first to notice that you’ve bleached your hair a shade lighter. Food bloggers usually crowd nearest to where the canapés are coming out to make sure they get some of the food to use as props in a photo. Those small details are often the best way to know what terrain you are entering while on the blogger battlefield. However the lines have blurred slightly lately as it seems that every blogger, no matter the genre they represent, seems to be preoccupied with the same topic: Instagram.
A few weeks after the end of my previous relationship, I decided that I’ve had enough of moping around and wallowing in something that was long past it’s expiration date. Against the advice of some of my friends, I decided to give in to the modern version of “going to a bar to meet someone”: I downloaded tinder.
As the work week comes to an end, we always look forward to the activities that we will be partaking into during the weekend. Some of them, like doing laundry, aren't necessarily the most recreational or eventful occupations but there are always great ways to spend those two glorious days of rest. Long walks along the waterfront, sunbathing in the park, shopping in cute little boutiques and, my personal favourite, grabbing brunch with beloved friends. Today’s post focusses on the Mediterranean restaurant Ricarda’s.
I woke up one morning, feeling completely numb and unable to move. I remained in bed for a couple of hours, attempting to finally regain control of my limbs and get on with my day-to-day life but it was all in vain. While it has been common for me to be cursed with small occasional depression spells, this was the first time it had ever hit me to such a magnitude. This took place slightly over a week after me and my partner decided to dissolve our two year relationship.
We all have specific food items that we would not be able to resist if we were faced with a plate of it. For some people it’s salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies. For others, it might be a bowl of chips with a side of freshly made guacamole. In my case, I’ve always had a soft spot (a.k.a my belly) for Italian cuisine. Who can resist a beautiful plate of pasta, a burrata salad with roasted beets or a bowl of tiramisu? If you disagree, we are probably not meant to be friends. Obviously the more variations of the same item you eat, the more you start to learn what you like and dislike in the making of the dish. You start becoming a picky eater. You begin to expect to be blown away at each bite of your Margherita pizza and it is with high expectations that I visited Ufficio for brunch a few weeks back.
A few days back, I was walking back to my apartment when I noticed something that caught the corner of my eye: The magnolia trees were starting to bloom. Often one of the first ones to show their buds at the beginning of the season of renewal, magnolias are a far better indicator of the coming of spring than groundhogs are. Spring is a season of regrowth, with trees starting to coat themselves in a bright green duvet of young leaves and all the flowers start to bloom. As it is often the case in the law of the universe, when you get more of something you are meant to balance it out with less of something else. The more flowers start to bloom, the less clothing we seem to wear. With the higher percentage of exposed skin surface to the dangerous UV rays of the sun, it is time to start thinking about sun care.
In theory, the act of roasting coffee seems quite easy enough to accomplish: green coffee beans are poured into a roaster, where they are slowly roasted to the desired degree and they are then dumped from the roasting chamber and air cooled. While one could attempt the whole procedure simply by looking for a specific colouration to the beans, it takes an expert to understand the subtle calibrations in temperature, smell, colour and sound that result in the finished product that they are aiming to achieve. One such master roaster is the owner and namesake of Sam James Coffee Bars in Toronto and the creator of Cut Coffee.
Two boys and a girl meet in New York. The gentlemen are from Waterloo and the lady is from Toronto. They strike a friendship. While this may sound like the beginning plot lines of a new sitcom coming to CBS this fall, this is the premise of the beginnings of the brand KOTN. Mackenzie, Rami and Ben became friends who decided to start up a clothing brand and Rami immediately suggested something close to his roots; Egyptian cotton. When investigating the fabric option, they realized that Egyptian cotton was in danger of extinction due to the issues faced by the producers in the country. Thus KOTN became a brand with an unintentional cause.
Before I shifted professions and became a full time blogger and photographer, I used to be a pastry chef at a popular restaurant in Toronto. There seems to be a certain idealization of the profession and I often get asked whether I miss my old job. The hours were long, the upper management was impossible to please and let’s be honest, working in hospitality isn’t the most lucrative career choice. However, I will admit that I do miss baking sometimes. Thankfully, I usually meet up with a bunch of talented bloggers at least once a month for our Friday Bake Club.
I remember there was a time when I would be awaiting fashion week eagerly, hoping to see a fresh new take on the classics from the designers worldwide. Unfortunately, it seems that season after season, the general level of creativity going into fashion design has diminished greatly and we are now left with a certain fashion ennui. Of course, I am not referring to the J.Crew and Club Monaco of this world but rather to bigger fashion houses that created revolutions of their own.
This past weekend, I attended a large blogger gathering at the beautiful Lavelle, located near Bathurst and King. I had been to the restaurant twice prior: I initially went for the La La Land premiere after-party (where I arrived shortly after Ryan Gosling left. Sad I know) and I had also been to the restaurant the weekend before for a more intimate brunch with five of my friends. Now that I have been to the restaurant three times, what are my thoughts about it?
Espresso. Americano. Cappuccino. Mocha. If you were to ask a stranger about any of those four words, they will usually know that you are referring to a form of coffee beverage. Things start to get a bit hazier when asked about affogato, bicerin or cortado. However, there has been a prominent rise in the popularity of cortado recently, due in big part of Patrick Janelle from @aguynamedpatrick and his famous #dailycortado, which triggered the inspiration for a J.Crew X New Balance shoe collaboration.
When I arrived to Canada in 2009, I landed in the city of Toronto, the fast paced and commerce oriented capital of Ontario. Years later, I can now call this city a home that I cherish and love. I am by all means a Torontonian. However, sometimes I do feel a slight bit of ennui in the city and when this happens, I usually head off to La Belle Province to the beautiful city of Montreal. I recently took a spontaneous trip to the highly European influenced city for the brief duration of two days, spending a full day of simply strolling around the city and stopping by cafés and cute independent stores.
There is no denying the fact that Toronto has slowly, but surely, become a coffee metropolis of its own. Coffee shops in Toronto are often supplied by local roasters such as Sam James’ Cut Coffee, Pilot Coffee and Demello but they also do not shy away from ordering coffee beans from places such as The Barn in Germany. With this array of coffee shops all showcasing fantastic beans, it is often hard to pick out your allegiance. Often it all comes down to location, instagrammability, latte art abilities and service. Today’s post is the new coffee shop and Instagram darling, Safehouse Coffee.
Opened on Regent street in London in 2007, The first COS store was the fashion concept little sister of mega-brand H&M. Since then, the brand has grown into its own, becoming a shopping destination for avid lovers of the Scandinavian minimalist movement. The pieces are often quite reminiscent of luxury brands such as The Row and Celine but offered at a price range that is within reach of most households. Prior to COS’s Canadian landing, I will admit to not being entirely familiar to the brand. However, it was love at first sight when I entered the store located on Bloor Street. Since then, my closet has adapted itself to include numerous pieces from the Swedish brand.
I once had a friend who told me that when it comes to investing in key pieces in your wardrobe, you should always start with a wallet and shoes because those would be the first two things that people will judge you on. However there is one thing that is even more important to invest on: fragrance. While a lot of people downplay the power of fragrances, it is usually the first and last thing that they will notice about you when you are in their presence. No matter if you are carrying a Louis Vuitton wallet and wearing a pair of Ferragamo shoes, if you stink then the illusion is broken.
In a world where oversharing is caring, when does one know where to draw the line on good and bad recommendations? Everyone has become hyper-opiniated and we are constantly bombarded with recommendations for a new book new music, new products and the newest Scandinavian lifestyle ethos.
Sunday morning, we wake up and put on our best attires. we clean up and try to make sure we look as decent as possible and we head out for one of the most important rituals of the week: brunch. An amalgamation of breakfast and lunch, this special meal originated in England in the late 19th century and gained popularity in the 1930s in the Unites States. Acting as a perfect excuse to consume alcohol at eleven in the morning, brunch has traditionally consisted of english muffins, egg benedicts and pancakes drizzled in maple syrups. It will come to no surprise to everyone that brunch is my favourite meal of the week but most brunch places often offer safe and interchangeable menus. Today, I am talking about food from my favourite brunch places in Toronto who offer their own take on the weekend meal.
I recently posted an old photo of a restaurant on my Instagram page. I was running low on photos, and it was a photo I never posted before so I figured why not right? The food looked delicious and the location was relatively pretty, yet I refused to geotag or tag the restaurant in the photograph. Why you may ask? Simply because that photo reminded me of the horrible service that I received at that restaurant that day.