City of Wonder: Roncesvalles

This September will mark my 5th year in the Big Smoke. I hate to evoke cliches, but time sure flies. It’s a weird realization that I’ve been in Toronto longer than I was away at university, also longer than my high school experience.

Instead of lamenting my fading youth (Kidding. Sort of.), I thought I’d start focusing on some of my favourite neighbourhoods around the 416. There’s charm and culture (and especially good food) to be found all over the city. Having lived and worked in different hoods, as well as having friends around town, has given me a great appreciation for seeking out spots all Toronto. There’s a lot more to this great city than the downtown core – go east, west & up my friend!

The current strip of the city that has my heart is Roncesvalles. This west end street is a friendly neighbourhood perfect for eating, shopping & strolling. A brunch haven for sure! Here are a few of my favourite spots (note: there are many more places still on my list to try!):

La Cubana

La Cubana

I had never had Cuban food before going to La Cubana, and boy was I missing out! Always delicious, La Cubana is also always busy. Their brunch is (especially on the patio) is so delicious. I also love dinner here. They serve the best mojitos I have ever had. Keep in mind they are 2oz each when you’re pounding them back though!

 

The Ace

The Ace Roncy

One of the best meals I’ve had in this city was at The Ace. With ever-changing specials and seasonal menus, The Ace serves up creative and sensational dishes & drinks. I’ve yet to stop by for brunch, but you know it’s on my list.


Reunion Island Coffee

Reunion Island Coffee

A new addition to the Roncy strip, this adorable coffee shop has become a quick favourite of mine. In addition to the coffee shop standards, try their hibiscus iced tea or their cold brew & tonic for the hotter months!


Lit Espresso Bar

Lit Espresso Bar

There are so many cute places to get a cup of joe on the Roncy strip. Lit’s another great spot to get your caffeine fix and people watch out the window – or if you’re a pet-deprived person like myself, to keep an eye out for all the insanely cute dogs that call Roncy home!

 

Scout

foe-and-dear

Image via foeanddear.com

I swear Scout will be the death of me (and my wallet). I can’t walk into this adorable shop without purchasing something. From the cutest and cleverest cards, to a brunch map of the city, to gorgeous accessories, there’s always something new to covet at Scout. I’ve recently picked up the above ring, which is made by Foe & Dear.

 

Likely General

Likely General

In addition to being one cool store, Likely General also is a supporter of local craftsmanship and artistic endeavors. I have no shame in saying I love a good psychic and Likely General even hosts readings on Sunday’s by local jeweler/artist Mary Grisey.

 

This is just a taste of what awaits you on Roncy. I have many more spots on my list to check out. Show your ‘hood love! What are your local go-to spots?

 

 

 

“Official” Summer Days (and Nights)

Summer is a weird season. We’ve just officially come into it (hence the title), and it’s really just getting into the hot temperatures, but if you’re like me and are starved for the trappings of summer all year long, it feels like the season is already slipping away.

Next week is JULY. As someone who will hit up a park and patio at the first signs of spring in April (and I did), having May & June behind me makes me want to pump the breaks on summer. Many patio and park hangs, as well as concerts, festivals and the like have already occurred (as well as several ice cream excursions), but I’m far from ready for this season to slip by.

While the summer is supposed to be a slow season, this year is seems to be a peak time for having plans. The great thing about the city that is you can “get away” without getting away. A trip to the island, a day in one of its many parks, festivals celebrating every conceivable neighbourhood – if you’re like me and lacking in vacation time, evenings and weekends offer plenty of opportunities to get in a proper summer experience.

I’ve seriously lacked on the blogging front this year (I blame Instagram. And Netflix), but here’s the greatest hits of summer in TO so far including Bestival (Banks! Florence!), seeing Ed Sheeran for the third time, brunches galore, patios, parks & more:

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Here’s to 2015

New Year New Look New Paige

Wrapping up the Christmas holidays is always a downer. While we ruminate on the “new page” of the new year, it’s hard not to get bummed out by the end of festive cheer and the time off we’ve (hopefully) had, and the return to the daily grind. All this with the added bonus of dreary winter weather. While January is supposed to be a time of change and resolutions, I find it near impossible to maintain any sort of motivation while having the winter blues.

Sometimes change is inevitable and beyond our control, and that can be a catalyst for propelling you somewhere else (hopefully forward). While I’m not naive enough to think simply because the calendar says 2015 that I’ll be suddenly a ball of energy to work on all the elements I felt fell to the wayside at the end of the year, or suddenly be motivated to venture into the adventures I’ve had at the back of my mind, I do think that a return to a regular schedule will make it easier to say no to my own excuses. (Although the return of mid-season shows makes it pretty hard to be productive in the evenings, but that’s another post.)

Although it seems I say it every January, I want this blog to be a focus in 2015. Not carving out time to write about the happenings of living in the city as they happen has gotten me down this year. I enjoyed so many things this year – a ton of concerts, events, TIFF, Just for Laughs, to name a few– and also had a lot of thoughts about I’ve been reading, watching and listening to, but I never seemed to tap it out on my laptop in a timely manner. I’ve documented these things on Instagram and Twitter, but frankly my lack of blogging had me bummed, and that’s no one’s fault but my own. Prioritizing this blog and putting a focus on freelance writing and long-term career goals is a huge focus for 2015.

Getting yourself pretty things to help with organization and planning is a fun way to help set the motivation in motion. I finally picked up one of Avril Loreti’s tea towel calendars for 2015. This pretty thing is up on my wall for the year before it sees any dishes. For keeping on track of my day-to-day tasks (and my above mentioned 2015 goals), I’ve got these adorable Liberty print stationary items and an agenda from Indigo.

Since my blogging had some serious lapses this year, I’ve included some pictures from the goings-on about town from 2015.

 

Here’s to more adventures in 2015!

Sunday Required Reading

It’s been quite a week in the world. It can be a lot to digest but I urge to tap into the important conversations happening on Twitter and online. In the words of poet Elana Bell, “a village is always somewhere burning / and if you do not look because it is not your village / it is still your village.”

On Ferguson:

This Is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown

Jesse Williams On the Depiction of Michael Brown:



On Robin Williams and Depression:

Robin Williams’ Death: A Reminder That Suicide and Depression Are Not Selfish

Why the Funniest People Are Sometimes the Saddest


On Thought Catalog (and it’s rampant transphobia & racism, etc)
:

Go Home Thought Catalog, You’re Drunk


On Women Against Feminism:

Entitlement and Apathy, The Case of Women Against Feminism

In Which I Get Very Excited About Astrology – Leo Horoscope for July 2014

Jupiter in Leo is here y'all

Jupiter in Leo is here y’all

Indulge my whackjobness for this post (and spare me the Miss Cleo jokes).

Today marks the beginning of a very special time for my astrological sign, Leo. As of today, July 16th, Jupiter enters into Leo (staying until August 2015). This sort of astrological goodness only happens every twelve years. What does this mean? Well, according to many an online astrologer, it’s a dynamo year for Leos to make their dreams come true and all that jazz. (Fact – I actually remember reading about it when it was last in my sign in 2002-2003. I ripped out a horoscope from a magazine and pinned it to my cork board for a long time. Don’t particularly remember that necessarily being my favourite year, however. Hoping for better astrologicalness this time.)

Anyways, you’re either eye-rolling at this information or Googling to see when Jupiter next enters your sign, be real.

Confession: I can’t help but eat up every horoscope calling for amazing opportunities, so what’s the harm in using it for a little motivation?

If you’re a Leo like me, have some fun and check out these links:

Susan Miller’s got a big breakdown of what it all means for Leos in her July forecast.

Leah Whitehorse has another analysis as well.

You read those and tell me you’re not excited for all the potential possibilities! ;)

Are you a fellow Leo? Reader of astrology or horoscope denier?

 

Summer Songs: What I’m Listening to Now

Not only is summer a terrific time for concerts, it’s also a prime time for album releases – is there anything more powerful than the “song of the summer”?

I’ve complied some of the artists and albums I’ve had on repeat this summer, behind the cut!

misfits kelly dancing

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TV Feelings: Emmy Nominations 2014

My reaction to my faves being snubbed my the Emmys AGAIN

My reaction to my faves being snubbed by the Emmys AGAIN

One day I will know better then to expect award shows to truly reflect those deserving, rather than making a few right decisions while largely sticking to what they know (ie formulaic, was-good-three-seasons-ago, etc). Continue reading

#MusicMonday: Running If You Call My Name

I’ll keep running if you call my name

Summer in the city = concerts galore. Lots to talk about re: live music I have seen lately + will be seeing coming soon to the blog, including witnessing these incredible ladies live (aka best show of my life so far).

All I Need in This Life of Sin…Is A Beyonce & Jay Z Tour

Everything I've Ever Wanted Out of Life

Everything I’ve Ever Wanted Out of Life

 

It is happening. This is not a dream. July 9th, 2014. After all those years of wishing I could one day see Bey & Jay take the stage together to perform, IT IS FINALLY COMING TRUE!

My goal of seeing the entire Knowles-Carter clan in concert will soon be complete. I saw Solange and Jay Z (alongside JT) perform last July, but I missed out on tickets to Queen B herself. I remember seeing Twitter blow up at the spotting of Beyonce and Jay Z in Yorkville on the day of Jay’s Legends of Summer tour. I was hoping so much that Mrs. Carter would be making an appearance, but of course she had her own concert that night in the States.

This is IT y’all. Every listening of Bonnie & Clyde 03, Crazy in Love and Drunk in Love has been leading to this.

SO. MUCH. EXCITEMENT. Are you heading to the #OnTheRun tour this summer?

Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I’ve crossed the deserts for miles Swam water for time Searching places to find A piece of something to call mine A piece of something to call mine…

Starting is the hardest part. Blog absence always leaves the question of “Where do I begin?” So many times I’ve thought of ideas I’ve wanted to chronicle here, but then the moment passes. I’ve resigned to stop letting the pressure of composing a post interfere with the joy of writing and sharing. It’s time for what I say I love to be a priority. On that note, I am looking forward to spring and summer (if they ever truly arrive). Bright, warm days in Toronto – there is nothing else that rejuvenates and inspires me more. While I’ve yet to have a patio drink this season ( a fact that truly pains me), I have found my new destination for delectable frozen and/or baked treats: Baker Bots Baking. Customize your own ice cream sandwich? Yes, please!

Heaven on Earth - Ice Cream Sammie from Baker Bots Baking

Heaven on Earth – Ice Cream Sammie from Baker Bots Baking

Three-and-a-half years in Toronto and there is still so much of this vast city I have yet to see and experience. Urban living can be isolating, and we can get into a routine of constant work and doing the same old things with our circle of friends. Truth is, there are endless possibilities to discover here and sometimes you’ve just got to break out of the mold and try something new. In addition to warm days and cold drinks, I’m looking forward to a lot of live music in the next few months: Wye Oak, HAIM and seeing lots of good bands at Field Trip (hopefully this makes up for another year of not getting it together to go to Osheaga). Also, being the best daughter and seeing Micheal Buble with my mom on her birthday – okay, no lies – I’m looking forward to it as well! While warmer weather should encourage us to be outside more, there is no denying my tv obsession will not wane in the summer months. Game of Thrones is currently keeping me on the edge of my seat and The Mindy Project continues to be my Absolute Favourite Thing. Two more episodes of Mindy this season, so WATCH (or get on binge watching. Like ASAP). Filing under: Things You May Not Be Watching But Definitely Should Be – Broad City. This Amy Poehler-produced comedy staring Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer is so freaking funny & ridiculously perfect. Go forth and enjoy! What are you looking forward to checking out this summer in the city?