Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tour It Tuesdays • Queen West

This week I'll be bringing you to Queen Street West, my first neighbourhood in Toronto. I was very lucky to reside in the "hippest part of town" at the time which has now turned into an outdoor shopping mall. The walk to Kensington Market and Chinatown and even nightlife was super convenient and everything was always open. It's not for me now since it was so easy to spend on eating out with all the choices but I am glad I got a taste of that. Some of my favourites are still there despite the ultra gentrification of the area and skyrocketing rents. My reason for moving besides that I couldn't afford it anymore? Not being able to get out of the front door because homeless people turned it into their sleeping quarters. Sad.

Where to eat:

Black Bull
298 Queen St W
This place is repeatedly crowned as Toronto's Best Patio and it is. You'd only wanna go here in the summer though, for people watching mostly, since it's quite dingy inside.

Cafe Crepe
246 Queen St W
I've loved this place since it opened because I love crepes. I don't think anybody else sells crepes which is why I think they're doing so well.

240 Queen St W
I thought I was going to spend an arm and a leg when I ate here but such was not the case. This place was actually affordable and good. Lovely ambiance too.

478 Queen St W
One of my top places to eat and hang out. This vegan restaurant pushed me to eat less meat because meatless in the form of their tempeh dish tasted THAT good. I miss this place.

Java House
537 Queen St W
My favourite place on earth. Seriously. I don't mind eating inside or outside. I eat breakfast, lunch or brunch here when I'm in the area. The servers are always friendly and it's super cheap!

626 Queen St W
I ate here with a friend a couple of years ago and loved it. I even bought some strawberry popcorn tea to take home with me because it was so yummy.

334 Queen St W
Another place to eat out on the patio and people watch. A variety of food to choose from and all oh so good.

Shanghai Cowgirl
538 Queen St W
I wanted to have my birthday here one year because it's a place with good food and good people in an awesome place.

What to do:

The Ballroom
145 John St
Just went here with the kids and friends recently and it was so much fun but I'm biased because I love bowling. Super overpriced but it does have awesome food, servers and atmosphere.

The Rex
194 Queen St W
I loved walking in here (most of the time alone) and catching an impromptu jam with beer in hand. One of my favourite places to hang out and listen to free live music.

Where to shop:

Black Market
256 Queen St W
This place is kind of a hit or miss for me sometimes. I guess it depends on what you like. It can be a little overpriced but there's still some gems to be found.

Get Outside
437 Queen St W
My favourite shoe shop ever. They have everything I love at a good price.

323 Queen St W
If you don't find it at the above shop, they may have it here. I love this shop too.

14 Mc Caul St
If you need an awesome costume, you'll find it here. Seriously. If you've never been here, go. It's quite an experience.

Moog Audio
442 Queen St W
I bought my headphones that I love here. My brothers love them too. They still have them.

Peach Beserk
507 Queen St W
This place was across my apartment and I always loved how colourful it is. It you love Betsey Johnson dresses, you'll love this store.

Silver Snail
367 Queen St W
I buy my graphic novels and vinyl toys here. I love this place. It gets nerdy but that's what I love about it.

So Hip It Hurts
323 Queen St W
The guys here are so nice. Buy your Nixon watches here and your skater stuff too.

Tribal Rhythm
248 Queen St W
My favourite vintage shop ever. I've bought countless hats and clothes here. I am in love with this place.

So there you have it, folks. Do you have any favourites that I missed? Also, I may have to move this to Sundays. I thought I would start Tell It Tuesdays to let you in on some mom stories and stuff. Would you like that? Wow, two posts this week and I cleaned the house! Yay! Have a good weekend y'all!

Make It Monday

I fell in love with tissue paper flower pom poms a couple years ago when I saw them on Martha Stewart's site. They have blown up since then appearing in rooms and parties all over the world. I've been making them for every occasion in our house since Christmas 2009. Now you could get them at party stores and even Martha sells a kit that you could get at Wal-Mart. Before that though, there were lovely people selling them on Etsy. I don't think I could ever get sick of them and I still love making my own. Mostly because I want to spend as little as possible. There's a ton of tutorials online but here's how I do mine.

Step one:

Gather your materials (a pair of scissors, some rubber bands and tissue paper).

Step two:

Lay tissue flat then fold into halves until satisfied with size. Cut folds.

Step three:

Separate into layers of 6 or more. Whatever makes you happy. The more layers, the fluffier the flower but it's more work.

Step four:

Make 1/2 inch folds accordion style. Wrap rubber band around middle (not too tight). Cut pointed or rounded edges to make it look pretty or leave as is if that's your style.

Step five:

Peel tissue apart layer by layer until it forms flower. Pull from the part closest to rubber band or it'll rip and you'll curse me.

And that's it, you're all done! Now go hang them with fishing line or ribbon and pretty your place up!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Oh man...

I couldn't get those posts up as promised because, wait for it, I don't have internet. For a very long time now, the only internet connection I've had is tethering through Jun's iphone. When he's not home, I don't have internet. It's very frustrating because I have all these ideas and have so much to say/write and I can't share them :( So I think eventually we will have to get proper internet...


I've decided to change some things around here. I thought that I would do Make It Mondays to show you some crafts and diys from around the web as well as my own projects. Tour It Tuesdays would continue to give some "best of" places from my experience. Wear It Wednesdays to show you what I would wear or did wear. Thrift It Thursdays to show you what you can get for less or no money at all :) So far that's all I've got. Like my own house, this blog will be an ongoing experiment until I find the right pieces that fit and am happy with.

Hope you have a great weekend, folks! It was beautiful in Toronto today. Here's a peek of what we recently brought home to love ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Toronto Tuesdays • Beaches

Sorry I'm a day late, folks. Today I wanted to bring you to the Beaches (or the Beach as it has recently been officially changed to). As the name implies, it's a quaint little neighbourhood by the beach. When I first came to Canada, we used to rollerblade on the boardwalk for hours on end. I never stepped foot on Queen Street East though which I discovered years later and upon seeing it, fell instantly in love. I lived in two apartments, one on top of Whitlock's and the other in a two floor apartment above a nail shop. I walked to work which was either two or five doors down. I loved my job and I loved the people I met there. That location is now closed but I worked at Vespa/Motoretta in the Beach :) Go visit their location in Little Italy! The parks, library and of course the beach was perfect for the kids. The following is a list of my favourites on the strip. It's a short one but still good I hope. I couldn't remember a lot of the businesses I frequented since it's been a while but please go and check it out for yourself. There are always new shops opening up and I'd love to know your favourites. Oh and let me know if that organizing store on the corner is still there. I liked that place and can't remember what it's called.

Where to eat:
Beacher Cafe
2162 Queen St E
Good place for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Just don't get the caesar salad because apparently, it's not that good.

Bow Thai
1970 Queen St E
Love this place for lunch. The pad thai never lets me down.

1917 Queen St E
This just opened when I left but I have been gorging on Dufflet pastries through a family hook up since forever and if you haven't had any yet, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Just kidding ;)

Garden Gate
2379 Queen St E
Also affectionately known as "The Goof". I was so happy when I finally got to eat here. It's a favourite among locals and a food destination for tourists. Chinese food never tasted so good.

Where to shop:
Ends Clothing
1930 Queen St E
I found some deals at this place and not just on clothes.

What to do:
Bikram Yoga Beaches
1911 Queen St E
Dana, the owner, is the best. Seriously. I love Bikram and miss it so much. It's intense but it's for me.