Monday, January 30, 2017

January favourites


And just like that the first month of the new year is nearly over! January came and went in a flash, and while I enjoyed it - I'm ready to celebrate the month of LOVE so bring on February! I compiled a list of some of my favourite products, items and more this past month; things I have truly been loving!

1. La La Land Soundtrack - OMG! The movie was incredible and the soundtrack was also stellar, I cannot get these catchy songs out of my head.
2. Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Face Mist - I've been trying to find new skin care products to test lately and this one is my new obsession. It leaves my skin feeling so fresh and hydrated
3. Saje Diffuser Signature Selection Diffuser Blends - I was gifted a Saje diffuser for Christmas and it is my new all time favourite thing! It makes our house smell so fresh and beautiful and all the different oil blends are so unique and different.
4. Happiness Planner - I picked this up a few weeks ago from Anthropologie and I'm loving how fun and uplifting it is. I'm currently on day 8 of 100 days of happiness :)
5. Beauty Blender Micro - not only are these cute but they also are super awesome for under-eye concealer and spots
6. The Year of Cozy - this book is a great one to have on hand. Lots of recipes, DIYs and tips for living your best life
7. Bento Box - in an effort to eat healthier, I picked up this handy little lunch box to portion out my lunches and snacks and so far, so good! I definitely feel like it's helping to ensure I get all my fruits, veggies and protein.

What have been some of your favourite products or things this past month? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Around town: Wilbur Mexicana


I often find myself giving people huge lists of suggestions for my favourite spots to check out in Toronto when they are visiting, so I figured I'd start a new feature called Around Town! Here I will feature and highlight some of my favourite spots in the city. 

First on my list of recommendations is usually Wilbur Mexicana, my favourite restaurant for tacos in Toronto! Only a few years old and this place is super popular among locals and tourists alike. As you enter, you pickup a menu and simply go up to the counter to order. They give you a number and you take a seat and someone brings over your food in no time! A very laid back and chill atmosphere with communal seating and friendly staff.


The menu offers a variety of options from mexican street corn, to a great selection of tacos.

I often go for the chicken tinga tacos, while Ruben typically chooses a burrito (which by the way are huge!) We almost always share chips, guac and queso fundido - which in my opinion is the best queso I've ever had! I definitely recommend it.


Not only do they have a crazy amount of hot sauces to chose from, but they also have a salsa bar with an abundance of salsa to take and try and your own discretion. A great addition to your burrito or tacos, or dipping your chips into - sample the salsas as you please!


Craving an ice cold margarita or beer of the Mexican variety? They've got that too! The drink selection is also awesome, always making it hard to decide if I want to sip a Jarrito or a Modelo. Either way, all the drinks are cold and refreshing and help the heat of the queso go down a little better.

You'll definitely want to take a trip to this King West establishment. Your tummy and your heart will leave there happy and full and you will crave these tacos until you return again!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekend links 07


Happy Friday you guys!!! Is it just me or have these first few weeks of 2017 literally been flying by? I can't complain because the sooner Friday comes, the better! Anyone else super obsessed with neon signs lately or just me? Every time I stumble upon a neon sign I have to snap a photo! I loved the above one I snapped inside Frank and Oak on Queen Street and couldn't help but hear Kevin Parker sing 'Let it happen' in my head on repeat for the rest of the day! ANYHOW, I managed to bookmark quite a mishmash of links that I've come across this week and l o v e d! As always, I love to share my findings, so please enjoy :) 


My fav photo editing app A Color Story just launched a filter pack in collaboration with Glitter Guide and they are absolutely GORGEOUS! 

SPOON (one of my favourite bands) just announced their new album and debuted a new single! Can't wait till March 17th

This Valentine's Day Heart Balloon Wall has me feeling the need to host a V-Day party

A super insightful Blog Q&A post about drafting content (also, I'm 97% sure I'm the one who asked this question!!!)

These DIY glitter resin pins are totally amazing!!! I want to make some right now

Probably, most definitely making this DIY Instax calendar 

Another awesome launch by the team at Studio DIY - check out their balloon shop!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chicago city guide


One of my Christmas presents this past year was a surprise trip to Chicago to celebrate New Year's and my 25th Birthday! Unbeknownst to me, a very sneaky Ruben arranged the whole plan - from the accommodations to getting me to take time off work. A few days later, we set out on the road travelling to a city we've both always wanted to visit - the Windy City: Chicago! We had 5 days of exploring, adventure and lots of delicious food! I put together a small city guide to highlight some of my favourite spots that we visited.

ACCOMMODATION:

We stayed in River North at the Freehand Chicago - an eclectic hotel/hostel. I consider it a good mix between hostel and hotel because you have people of all demographics and ages staying there and they offer both dorm rooms and private rooms. The shared kitchen in the basement allows you to cook and store your food, which gives off a more hostel vibe, while the awesome cafe and bar on the main floor give off that chic boutique hotel vibe.

PROS: 

-Cafe Integral. A really cool cafe located in the lobby of the hotel, good vibes and good offerings
-Broken Shaker. The bar on the main floor of the hotel. A super chill spot to hangout, enjoy a few drinks and good company. Lots of unique concoctions and delicious cocktails! 
-A big TV! We don't have cable at home (lol thank god for Netflix!) so I enjoyed watching some good ol' American TV after a long day exploring the city
-Super convenient location. We were in such a central area, it made walking around very easy and there was a Shake Shack on the corner, soooo that's all you need to know.

CONS: 
-The parking was expensive! Ruben didn't even think to consider what parking was going to cost when booking a hotel, and having driven there we obviously had no choice but to pay for parking. It cost $39 USD a night to park in a garage just around the corner (no on site parking!) 
-The room was pretty small. Usually I'm not one to complain about the size of a hotel room, but this was really tiny. It was just enough for a bed, a bathroom, and a closet. After a few days it definitely felt crammed especially since we spent more time in it than we had planned (cold weather = nesting)
-Lack of natural light. It's kind of hard to explain, but our room was facing the inside of the building, and though we had a window - it looked out into a courtyard and other adjacent rooms surrounded us. 
-No bathtub. Again, I'm not usually one to complain about hotel rooms and the accommodations, but after a long day of walking all I wanted to do was take a bath and unwind!
Cafe Integral

EXPLORING:
Logan Square
Staying in River North was a great spot because we were so central to everything and right in the downtown core; not far from The Loop and the Magnificent Mile. We arrived late afternoon as the sun was setting, so our first night out was an adventure and nice to see the city at night. It was so beautiful to walk around and see all the buildings lit up and illuminating the river. We were surrounded by tall buildings and intriguing architecture   easily one of our favourite things about the city.

We explored as many neighbourhoods as we could - Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Bucktown, and Wicker Park to name a few. While Chicago is known to have a great transit system, we got around via foot and uber! *I have trust issues when it comes to public transit after getting stuck on the MTA in NY for almost 2 hours once, but thats another story...
I found that all the different neighbourhoods were pretty spread out (or maybe it seemed that way because it was Winter and almost unbearable to walk for long periods of time) hence why we relied heavily on uber.

When we weren't even looking for it, we stumbled upon the Chicago theatre and it's sparkly marquee! We took a few minutes to admire it's beauty and wonder about all the things that have gone on inside that historical venue.

River North
Beercade HQ
A super fun adult arcade/bar where we spent a few hours sipping a plethora of beers and playing free arcade games. Another thing about Chicago I loved was how nice everyone was! Our waiter at Beercade was so awesome and kept surprising us with different beers to try and giving us suggestions on things to see and do in the city. He also put the Leaf game on the TV when I asked, so that made him even more amazing ha ha!

Bucktown
The city is scattered with tons of incredible murals, but we only got to see a handful. I definitely want to visit again once the weather is warmer and really go mural hunting to find all the good ones! A couple with a really cute dog offered to take this photo for us - again, nicest people ever in that city.

Lincoln Park

Logan Square

Silliness at Navy Pier

FOOD:
If I'm being totally honest, the food was probably my favourite part about Chicago! We didn't even dive nearly as deep as I wanted to in the culinary adventures, but the places we did visit were must go-to's on my list. Of course we tried deep dish pizza, and while I don't know where the best is in the city (sorry, I didn't finish my research) the one we had at Lou Malnati's was preeeeetty good. Sadly, I have no photos to share from that experience - we were too busy stuffing our faces! We did make the mistake of trying our first deep dish at Pizzeria Uno, which was not the best and sadly disappointing. It was right next to our hotel and figured it had to be good as it was always busy, but we soon learned it was just another tourist trap!
Now onto some of my other favourites...

Longman & Eagle - OMG! This place was the bomb.com - probably one of the best places I've ever had brunch. We visited twice during our trip because it was that good! The first time around I enjoyed the Fried Chicken and Waffles with Sweet Potato and Pork Belly Hash, while Ruben had the Cinnamon French Toast with cider compressed apples, smoked vanilla panna cotta and apple jam. One word - delicious. The second time around I opted for the Cinnamon French toast while Ruben fancied the PBR breakfast - yep, a can of beer with your bacon, eggs and potatoes! Does it get much better than that? 

Sprinkles Cupcakes - they have been one of my favourite spots to visit for cupcakes ever since first trying them in California a few years back. So when I found out there was a Sprinkles ATM not far from our hotel, I was really excited! Being that we were celebrating my birthday, I figured it was only suitable to grab a half dozen cupcakes to share and nibble on. Make sure you check their menu online first to see which days have the most inciting options as they alter the cupcake selection daily. 

Homeslice Chicago - I had seen this place all over Instagram and online so I knew I had to add it to the list. Another cool spot to check out with lots of photo opportunities. In the back, they have a camper van but it was too cold to go out and see. We each tried a slice of pizza and shared goat cheese bread sticks, which were both tasty. I stuck to trying local beers like Goose Island Green Line, and Ruben opted to try different cocktails like their special Moscow Mule. From the neon signs to the copper penny bathroom floors, this is another must see spot!

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream - We visited two different locations and both were equally as cute as they were yummy! I totally wish I could've snuck a pint or two home, I've been craving it ever since leaving. The flavours are all so unique and different from your basic ice cream parlour, making it even harder to choose. Luckily they offer unlimited samplings so you can try as many as you please before you decide. I didn't get as quite adventurous being that it was my first time, I stuck with the safe players - milkiest chocolate and Ndali estate vanilla bean. They top it off with a waffle wedge and voila! Enjoy your heavenly treat.

Stan's Donuts - from the pink tiled floors to the kitchenaid mixer lined wall, this place is nothing short of perfection! The donuts were so fresh and tasted like cake, all around delicious with so many to choose from. I would've loved to try one of their gelato shakes but it was below 0 degrees out and also 9:00 am! I definitely need to make another trip to Stan's upon my return. 

Cute bathroom c/o of Jeni's Ice cream

I really enjoyed putting together this guide and I hope you get to visit some or all of these places on my list - you won't regret it! I'd love to hear about and see your favourite spots in Chicago, send me a message or leave me a comment to let me know!



Thursday, January 12, 2017

California dreaming


After seeing La La Land the other night, I'm craving a trip to California! Being in the thick of winter here in Canada, I found some images via Pinterest that made me feel all warm and fuzzy, and transported me to a place I want need to visit ASAP. I could definitely use a vacation right about now.. hopefully if things fall into place, I'll be seeing you soon LA!

Monday, January 9, 2017

new year, new goals


HELLO and Happy New Year! I can't believe how fast this past year flew by and just like that, we're a week into 2017 - what a refreshing and amazing feeling! For some, 2016 was the best year ever, while for many it was not the best year ever. I have to say 2016 was a mixed bag of emotions for me; lots of good with a side of bad here and there. But hey! We made it and now we've entered a New Year and a new chapter in the book of life. 

Every year for the past few years, I've created a list of goals for myself rather than focusing on one New Year's resolution. I feel it's important to make a list of things you want to accomplish for the year ahead, that way you have time to work towards the goals - big or small. These goals can go hand in hand, or be completely random but the point is to make a list for yourself that you feel confident in working hard on and hopefully completing (or making progress on) throughout the year! Ruben and I sat down a few nights ago and each discussed our goals, how we plan to achieve them and how we can help each other. Here are a few of my goals from my personal list that I hope to work on and accomplish this year (in no particular order)

1. travel more!
This seems to be a goal every year on my list, and while I didn't travel as much as I would've liked in 2016, this year will be different. I started the year out with a trip to Chicago - so we're on the right foot! As much as I'd love to visit all my favourite European cities again, I think I will make this year's goal a little more achievable by visiting cities in the US that have always been on my list - this will work best with my schedule too, which makes the goal more realistic. Top of the list are Nashville, San Francisco, Austin, and revisit Palm Springs.

2. live a healthier life
 Another goal that pops up on my list every year, because really - who doesn't want to make it a goal to lead a healthier life?! I plan to drink more water, fall into a better sleeping pattern, snack less and be more active. I really want to get back into kick boxing and zumba! We also have a gym at our condo I'm thinking we should start utilizing.. 

3. read more
Ruben also has this goal on his list, so we took a trip this weekend to the public library just down the street from our house and got library cards! I've already picked out my first book and am aiming to read at least one book a month - #BlythesBookOfTheMonth

4. explore my creative boundaries
I took fashion for 3 years in High School and didn't want to lose my skills so Ruben got me a sewing machine for Christmas! I'm really excited to get back on that horse and sew again and make things! I would also love to get into painting - water colour specifically, jewelry making, and come up with some DIY's for the blog - stay tuned!

5. cook more, eat out less
I love to cook, but I'll admit I can be a little lazy to do it after a long day's work. I know that's not a good excuse, so I'm going to try my best to push myself to make dinner right when I get in the door. We got some cook books for Christmas and I'm looking forward to trying out new recipes and adding to our repertoire. 

6. listen to podcasts more frequently
On our way home from Chicago we listened to quite a few podcasts and I really enjoyed it. I think listening to a podcast before bed every so often or on the way to work in the mornings would help to motivate me and make me feel energized. Looking for recommendations so please share in the comments or send me a message on Instagram!

7. work on making our house a home
We are currently renting, but that won't stop us from making this place ours! Our living room and kitchen are all decorated, but next up is our bedroom and den. We plan on making a reading nook in our bedroom, and our den will be our work space. Half the den will be for my sewing machine and craft stuff, while Ruben will have his instruments on the other side. I'm so excited to have the den setup as a place for us to go and release our creative energies.

I have many more, small personal goals I am keeping in mind this year but I wanted to share my top 7 because I think a lot of these will be shared and put to use within my blog. I am very much so looking forward to this year and can't wait to share more of our lives and adventures within the blog and hope you'll stick around for the journey in 2017!

With that being said - I'd love to hear about what you'd like to see more of around here. Let me know in the comments or send me an email!
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