When shopping for Easter gifts, there is nothing better than sweet treats! Giving the gift of chocolate, candy or something freshly baked is so simple at STC.
I always head to Lindt or Godiva when making chocolate purchases because of the quality. At the STC stores they have tons of gifting options including baskets and boxes.
One of my favourite Easter gifts to receive is candy from Squish. They always have such a wide variety and come out with the cutest holiday flavours. I couldn’t resist and picked up a pack of the “hop around” candies just for myself.
Last but not least the baked goodies! I absolutely love Eva’s chimney cones and before they showed up in STC, I used to track down their food truck all across Toronto for them. The flakey dough filled with ice cream is the tastiest treat for Easter and for any day of the year!
Introducing the first ever; Freckles, Food and Fashion, Top 5 Friday! I am sharing my favorite places to go for lattes in Toronto. As you may have seen on my Instagram before, I do not drink dairy anymore and have eliminated it from my diet. Therefore, these Toronto coffee shops and cafes that I am sharing all have dairy-free milk alternatives. I strongly believe that if someone can make an outstanding dairy-free latte; the way they make ones WITH milk, are 100x better. I have found it really difficult to find baristas that do not burn the dairy-free milk. For the perfect latte, I go to these 5 places…
My all-time favorite latte! I have had my fair share of Lamanna’s coffee and it never gets old in my books. I used to work there for a number of years, and still go back regularly for there outstanding lattes. What I like the most about Lamanna’s is; how consistent they are. They continue to create product that is of quality and tastes so damn good every single time. They have managed to master, literally perfect the almond milk latte. I have yet to try one better. Also, don’t forget to try the Nutella croissants… they are my weakness. They do not cheap out with the Nutella, it’s filled and gooey!
THIRTY SIX KNOTS
Who knew that you could find a crazy good latte inside of a furniture shop!? Thirty six knots has the most trendy furniture and incredible coffee. They have a super modern set-up and a small area to sit and enjoy your coffee. Although, I typically take mine to go because I love walking around in that area on a nice day.
I recently started going here for the oat milk lattes and I am hooked! They have such a cute space and love the Summerhill location best. The baristas are super friendly and helpful. If you are looking for a great place to get work done and grab a coffee, Boxcar is your place!
NEO COFFEE BAR
I fell in love with Neo coffee when I began college a few years ago and love the lattes here. This is such a great place to get a small bite, grab a coffee and get to work…if you can find a seat. They also carry Sloane Tea at Neo too, if you prefer tea over coffee. Go for the Heavenly Cream, it is one of my faves.
A true neighborhood gem. I love heading to The Birchcliff for a latte and while I am there, I cannot help but pick up a brownie. I am so happy that a coffee shop opened in the birch cliff community. My family owns a small business in the area and for years there was no place for us to get coffee. We love supporting local businesses, especially ones that have friendly employees!
‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the mall
People are shopping, but no longer for Fall
Winter is coming, Holiday outfits are a must
Get ready for that party, its time to adjust.
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the stores
All of the shoppers are happy, with their holiday scores
The best dressed at the party, it’s easy to be
Everything that you are looking for at Shop STC
For most of us; the holiday season means celebrations. This may mean catching up with great friends and family, work parties and New Year’s Eve, and everything else that comes with the holidays. During these times, we want to feel and look our best no matter where we are celebrating. Some of the seasons latest trends that I found at STC are; faux fur jackets, sequin statements, and wide leg pants.
I’m shopping at;
The STC gift card can be used at a variety of STC stores including all of the above. The gift card also includes services, which is great so that you are able to get your hair or makeup done at the mall as well. One of my favorite things about using my STC gift card is all of the great restaurants I am able to use it at. It’s so easy to Eat, Shop and Play at STC. There are no monthly service fees, no expiry date, and balances can be checked online.
I am loving simple makeup for my holiday’s parties this year. Some of the makeup essentials I use when getting glam for the season are found at STC Sephora. One of my go-to liquid eyeshadows is called Kitten by Stila Cosmetics. I use this shadow on its own and I also use it to blend with other colours. Another product that I wear constantly during the holidays is; Charlotte Tilbury, Matte Revolution Lipstick in Bond Girl.
Shoes: Steve Madden
Shoes: Hudson’s Bay Company
Jeans: M Boutique
Pants: Lulu lemon
____________________________________________Scarborough Town Centre has over 250 stores to shop from, and an STC gift card is the perfect gift to give to anyone on your list!
Lately, the weather has been so beautiful and I have been craving adventure more and more. Now that my vacations have officially come to an end, I have been having major summertime sadness . Sometimes, it is nice to change up routine and visit places that you have never been before. So last weekend, I did just that! I made a day trip to Aberfoyle Market in Guelph, just to have a different scenery on a gorgeous Sunday morning.
I drove the 2018 Ford Escape, which made the ride go by super quick; no sore backs and no getting lost. Ford Motors, has made it possible to adventure cost-effectively and cut your carbon emisisons with the start-stop feature. This is great when you are stopped in traffic because it prevents the car from using unnessary fuel.
A key component when going on a road-trip, is to make sure that you know where you are going. One of my favourite features of the vehicle, is the voice activated navigation system. This was super easy to use and I found it to be a better gps than any I have used before. It’s amazing to have voice activated features because this allows you to remain hands free. With the simple touch of one button, you will be on your way to your destination in no time.
The feature that I found most desirable in the 2018 Ford Escape, was the self park assist. I am really bad parallel parker..I’ve actually never met someone who was good. I have always found it tricky because when another car is waiting behind me. I end up turning my wheels 638291 million times then shifting from drive-reverse like a mad woman.
Autumn in New York City is like living a weekend-long dream. The colors are so vibrant, the weather is crisp and the storefronts are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. There is something about New York and the energy in the city that makes you feel as though you can conquer anything; And by conquering anything, I’m talking food!
NYC is the ultimate foodie’s dream. Endless opportunity for adventurous bites, there is honestly something amazing on every street corner. Everything you can ever imagine is right at your fingertips… or right at the tip of your tongue. If you tend to keep up with my Instagram stories, you know that my primary activity when traveling anywhere is eating! New York City is the type of place that as your eating breakfast; you are already thinking about lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Below are some of the places that I visited which are mostly Asian or Italian influenced;
Drunken Dumpling – You must try the Pork soup dumpling. This is incredible and is unlike anything that I have ever tasted before. The service is really good and the prices are reasonable. The food came steaming hot and fresh, which is never something to complain about.
Momofuku Noodle Bar: I ordered the Chilled Spicy Noodles, which were so flavourful and enough for two people! This was my first time at Momofuku and even though I know that there is one in Toronto; I had to try the original in NYC. The noodles are coated in what I consider; an Asian version of pesto, Sichuan sausage, crunchy cashews. They are not portion shy here, I was as full as I have ever been in a while. Although, I’m not sure if this was just my stomach giving up after a weekend full of eating 100x my body weight.
Milk Bar: The ever Instagram famous Birthday Cakes and Cereal Milk Softserve stole my heart. Recently I had seen Christina Tosi’s episode of Chefstable on Netflix and fell in love with her culinary style, and her “coloring outside of the lines” view on baking and creating. I was convinced, after watching that episode of Chefstable; Cereal Milk Softserve will be the greatest thing that I will ever try. After waiting in the longest line of my life, finally.. the holy grail of soft-serve ice cream was in my hands. My first bite and I was severely disappointed. I forced myself to eat just over half of the serving, because of how long I waited in line and how much I paid for s o f t-s e r v e ice cream. I do not recommend trying this.. not worth the time, hype, calories or money.
Cacio e Pepe: Probably one of the greatest restaurants ever, just based off of the Homemade tonnarelli pasta, tossed in pecorino cheese & whole black peppercorns. This is a dish that I had been dying to try for years and finally, my food dreams came true. A truly simple yet incredible plate of fresh pasta. Who doesn’t wish for pasta served to you in a Parmesan wheel? I highly recommend giving this place a try and suggest that you make resos because of the limited space inside.
Ivan Ramen: This is my second time visiting Ivan Ramen and damn does it ever impress. To start, I ordered the Kabocha Squash Tempura which is glazed in miso maple brown butter and crusted in pecan. Then to follow all of that goodness, polished off a bowl of the Chicken Paitan with enoki mushroom. Ramen has got to be one of my faves, especially as the weather starts to cool up!
Boba Guys: My new found obsession. I literally went to every location in New York City because it was so good! I ordered the Strawberry Matcha Latte with boba every time and I have been missing since. The boba is so fresh and all of the ingredients taste so authentic and not artificial; I’m not kidding, I could actually taste the freshness. They also have the option of dairy-free kinds of milk here like; almond or oat for no additional cost!! If you are from Toronto, you know that this is practically unheard of to get dairy-free options for free99. I would head back to New York for Boba Guys any day.
Some other places to try would be; Eataly Serra Rooftop, Shake Shack, Magnolia Bakery, Little Tongs, Maman Coffee and Cha Cha Matcha.
There are a ton of stunning hotels and places to stay in the city and fortunately enough, a family friend let us stay with her in her amazing home. We stayed in Gramercy, which was gorgeous and felt super central to everywhere that I wanted to go. Gramercy is a quieter area with beautiful apartments on tree-lined streets. There are endless fun and happening restaurants and bars. In this area, there are some really nice hotels too. The Marcel and The Gramercy Park Hotel are both great options if you are looking for something in this area. When looking for a hotel or Air BnB, it is important to keep in mind that you most likely will not be spending too much time in the room; so I wouldn’t go overboard in terms of spending on that. Save your spending money for your food and shopping.
Shopping may or may not be my middle name. New York City is home to some of the best shopping and makes you want to spend money. A word of advice, bring some comfortable shoes because if you did the city like I did, it was all about walking. I found that the best way to find the stores that you didn’t even know that you were looking for. I believe that the city really has something for everyone, in terms of fashion and shopping. I’d be sure to head back to Soho because the stores there are incredible, the scene is so fun and the architecture is literally made me stop and stare. From Stores like Aritzia, Topshop and Zara to Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Stella McCartney you can really find anything you are looking for. Be sure to visit and pop-ups while you are in the city too!
Aside from the obvious fun; Shopping and Eating.. there are a ton of other incredible things to do while visiting the city. Definitely going for a walk in Central Park is a must! I had never been to Central Park before and upon entering the park (which is a huge chunk of the city) I felt like I entered a dream. Have you ever seen the movie Enchanted? I sort of feeling like I was a princess and all of these talking animals were going to come out and be my friend. Maybe it is all of the sodium I had throughout the weekend getting to my head. I swear I’m not crazy. It is such a magical place and it was nice to see greenery in such a busy city.
I can’t wait until my next trip back because I am missing Boba Guys like crazy. I hope this helped and always feel free to ask me any questions about my stay in New York. I love hearing from you guys and enjoy sending over recommendations.
Halloween; the one day out of the year that you can dress however you want, and get away with it. Ever since I was little, my parents never allowed me to wear those Halloween costumes that anyone and everyone goes to buy at your average-joe party store. I’m still not sure if it was the cheap material or high prices that made my parents feel this way but LUCKILY, I have a very crafty mom who can make anything something special. I must admit, I had some of the most amazing costumes as a kid.
As for me, I am not the craftiest in terms of sewing and actually building a costume from scratch. Over the past few years, I have built my costumes with statement pieces I either had in my closet or pieces seen online. Halloween for me is about building and elevating essentials while throwing in 1-2 statement pieces, that can still be worn time and time again. Its all about looking the part and doing a killer job of it. Being able to transform those leather pants into a cat woman suit and a month later, wear them to class with sneakers and simple crewneck. When looking for the perfect Halloween costume, look for main pieces that can be re-worn just styled in a totally different way. I have attached a variety of ideas down below to elevate simple costumes and re-wear them long after the occasion.CLICK HERE to shop Halloween 2018 costumes. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with and hoped that this helped.
Every time I visit Denver, Colorado I feel so healthy and motivated. I try to travel to Denver once a year to visit family and always feel so at peace when I am there. Just spending a weekend here is incredible and so refreshing. I love traveling to hip, modern and fun cities and I find Denver so unique. Only 3-4 hours away from Toronto, the flight is a reasonable distance away for the perfect weekend getaway. I stayed at the AC Denver Downtown by Marriott and had the most incredible experience.
Downtown Denver is a fantastic spot for some of the best rooftop bars, hip healthy restaurants, and Instagram worthy hotels. Consider checking out a local market for a bite to eat, I love Denver’s Central Market for this. The freshly baked pastries and desserts at Izzio Bakery are to die for. Another one of my favorite spots is, Denver’s Union Station; it has the cutest esthetic and little shops! They have a little ice cream shop called Milkbox, a colorful flower boutique, and a delicious coffee shop all under one roof!
When finding a hotel in a city you are not familiar with, it can be a tricky and confusing process. Personally, I ask myself a few questions when searching for the right accommodations for me. Is the hotel Instagram worthy?, Is this a suitable location for a foodie? Is the hotel in a safe and exciting neighbourhood? Well…. I found all of the answers that I was looking for at The AC Denver Downtown by Marriott! This hotel was everything I wanted and more completely exceeded all of my expectations.
I stayed in the King Deluxe Suite and everything was amazing especially the view! The floor to ceiling windows stretched across one side of the room and had the most gorgeous view of the mountains from the comfort of my bed. The room and hotel decor were European and urban-influenced, very modern and chic. If you get hungry, try checking out the in hotel restaurants; Corinne, AC Kitchen and Bar AC. During my stay, I indulged at all of the in house eateries and would highly recommend trying one of the fresh juices at Corinne for breakfast. At the Bar AC, the Strawberry Fields cocktail was unlike any other; I highly recommend ordering it! Everytime I stay at a hotel, I love ordering room service because I find that it adds to the experience and breaks up the difference of your everyday routine. Make your stay a bit more special by requesting decadent macaron and chocolates.
I would highly reccomend visiting Denver this summer! There are endless possiblities in terms of shopping, culinary, nature, relaxation, and athletic adventures. Discover more on my Instagram @MelinaMagnatta_
AC DENVER DOWNTOWN BY MARRIOTT