January is finally over…And the countdown to Valentines Day; is officially on. I believe that Valentines Day is an important time to focus on what is important to you, who and what you love. Personally, I like to celebrate by doing something together and spending money that way. This may be at a restaurant, spa, cafe, hotel or anything else that may capture that special moment. I have been dating my boyfriend Adam; for over 4 years and to me, Valentines Day is just another excuse to go out for dinner and order tons of yummy things. Although, thats not where this post is going. I will actually be focusing on the material gift side of things. I know how challenging it can be for both men and women to pick out the perfect gift and sometimes you may even feel a bit lost. Whether you have been dating for months or years; it can be a procsess for present purchasing.
I have included some fun, romantic and sweet shoppable gift guides down below for both guys and girls. Hope this helped and feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.
Flower shops and florists have bloomed in every neighbourhood in Toronto. Giving Tonic Blooms is the perfect gift this holiday season and every day of the year. They select flowers of highest quality and freshness, so that your arrangement can last as long as it should. I highly recommend getting Tonic Blooms delivered to that special someone in your life.
Okay, ladies and gentleman… just because sandal season is coming to an end it does not mean you need to neglect your feet. Yes, mitten weather is quickly approaching but your hands still deserve to feel healthy and pretty.
I can admit that growing up, I was never good to my nails and took very poor care of them. I rarely got my nails done because at the jobs I had; they would immediately get ruined. Not to mention… I am a nail biter. I am not proud of this and I am getting a lot better because I don’t want ugly 10-year-old boy fingers for the rest of my life. I want to have natural, long, strong, healthy nails that people assume are fake because they are so beautiful.
I highly recommend checking out CURES STUDIO in Liberty Village, Toronto. I tried them for the first time and what an amazing experience. The studio is stunning and so clean, which is most important to me. The facility is toxic free and they only use high-quality products.. even some local ones too! One of my favorites being the scrub by VO BATH & CO.
Not only is there studio beautiful, they really do an amazing job and the girls take great care of you. This is the perfect place to bring your BFF for her birthday or to make it your regular beauty spot.
Saje Wellness just opened their store at Scarborough Town Centre. I first discovered this company about a year ago on social media and had been dying to get myself a diffuser from them. They make essential oils which are 100% natural and are distilled from so many plants. This means flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, and trees. They are distilled and harvested from all around the world depending on where that plant grows naturally. Each of the essential oils offers different healing purposes and depending on the oil, can be applied directly on the skin or diffuser.
What originally interested me in Saje Wellness is that they are based out of Canada. They provide a natural and safe way to heal your body from all sorts of ailments. Most of the time, using chemicals to heal your body will result in future complications. I have honestly used my diffuser to heal a headache, get a better sleep and give me a refreshed feeling when I wake up.
I recommend trying out a diffuser from Saje even if you just want to freshen up a room in your house. My bedroom can get a bit stuffy sometimes or will even smell like whatever was cooked for dinner. As soon as I turn the diffuser on, it transforms my room and makes the air feel clean and smell fresh. I love my diffuser and use it every night, I can’t help it!
This past weekend I was invited to a Winterlicious menu tasting at Hawthorne Food and Drink. The restaurant is located on Richmond Street East with easy parking and is 100% wheelchair accessible. They are open Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch and Tuesday-Friday for dinner. They open Saturday and Sunday for Winterlicious only.
Hawthorne Food & Drink’s sole purpose is to give back to the community and deliver farm to table meals. The restaurant serves delicious dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients. They also provide careers for people in need of skills and employment. I love that the staff were passionate about their jobs and carried a friendly attitude. Hawthorne’s menu changes often and takes inspiration from the farms of Ontario and the neighborhoods of Toronto. The presentation of the food was always creative and artistic which I enjoyed the most. This restaurant was a bit out of my element when it came to certain textures and concepts. The flavors were incredibly bold and pungent at times which I also wasn’t expecting for some dishes.
It was very sweet that the Chefs at Hawthorne wanted us to taste their famous pickled platter but most of the pickling just was not for me. There are not a lot of things that I WON’T eat but unfortunately, blue cheese is one of them and that was a part of this massive spread of pickled foods. The platter also included two different types of boiled eggs. Tumeric and Beet, both which were bold and tangy. This is a great option for someone who appreciates pickled foods!
Wontons+Tartare * (Can be made GF), (Local)
The servers and Chefs were all wonderful and accommodating when it came to choosing a gluten free dish. Instead of the Tartare being served with wontons we substituted with watermelon radish slices. The tartare was served a huge portion size and was big enough to share. The taste was good but this ain’t no beef carpaccio.
Daily Croquette Poutine * (Local)
This was a creative spin on the “poutine” I thought I was ordering. Really crispy, which I loved and the gravy was perfect. Was tasty, although I did not really taste the cheese in the dish.
Jerk Pork * (Can be made GF), (Local)
Pork belly on top of a rice and edamame cake. The flavors in this dish were bold, especially in the jerk sauce. This dish was awesome but I would personally like it better if the pork was jerk seasoned, not just the thick paste globbed on top. It was a bit difficult to evenly disperse the jerk “sauce” evenly. Some bites getting too much jerk and others not getting any at all. Overall this dish was good and glad it was gluten free. Also really enjoyed the presentation and look of the candied decor.
Just by looking at this dish, I was impressed. It was a fair portion size and felt like I was eating clean and healthy. The red and puffed quinoa were light yet filling and the roasted carrots were well done. Topped with coconut-ginger velouté, which kind of tasted like green curry to me…This was AWESOME.
Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Tart * (Local)
I was expecting a bit more from this, probably because I work in a bakery and love egg tarts. The taste was really nice and light but I found that it wasn’t cooked enough. It was a bit rubbery and jello like, which I’m not familiar with or fond of. The crust on top was delicious and I kind of wanted more of it.
This was a nice choice for a Gluten-free dessert, minus the cake crumbles on top. The taste was very healthy and did not really feel like I was eating dessert. Not typically a “sweet” I would crave because I am more of a chocolate dessert kind of girl but, it was well done for what they were trying to achieve.
Thank you Hawthorne Food and Drink for having me it was an awesome experience!
R&D ( Rebel and Demon ) is a restaurant that I had been to before, but this year I really wanted to try their Winterlicious menu. We decided to go for lunch and would I would definitely go again. Owned by Eric Chong, MasterChef winner and Michelin-starred chef and MasterChef judge, Alvin Leung. This time we actually got the chance to sit at the Chefs Table and talk to Eric. I was a huge fan of him while he was competing on MasterChef Canada, so this was really exciting. Made my experience at R&D all the more enjoyable.
Appetizer – Glass Noodle Salad (vegetarian)
Each course was amazing and something unique. The cold noodle salad was so refreshing and full of flavour. I liked the choice of vegtables they used here. Topped with a sweet miso vinaigrette, this appetizer was overall a good pick!
Entree – Seafood Curry
I had never tried seafood curry before but this one will be hard to beat! They load the rich and creamy curry with seafood, I was impressed with the amount of food they give with the lunch for Winterlicious. This dish does not actually come with the coconut rice, it was an additional cost. Although this really did bring the dish all together, I couldnt imagine the curry without it.
Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding (vegetarian) OR Lychee Panna Cotta
The Toffee Pudding was not much of a pudding. I was not expecting the cakeyness consistancey of the “pudding” , but I loved it! Huge size dessert, big enough to share. Steamed Malaysian date cake, maple caramel, vanilla ice cream and pineapple.This was a great choice. I also got to try the Lychee Panna Cotta with Macerated blackberries, housemade granola with ginger. This was light but an amazing dessert, i actually prefered this one over the Toffee Pudding.
The most recent restaurant that I have visited, Hungry Amoo. This is a great spot for snacks and drinks on Ossington, you have to check out! All the dishes that I tried were creative and so flavourful. Hungry Amoo offers dishes from different international cuisines, some of which I had never tried before. Something that I really love about this restaurant is that the menu is seasonal and changes based on which ingredients are most fresh.
All the employees here were very friendly and helpful, especially our server Yasmine. She was passionate about the menu and explained how it worked, so we could get a better understanding of the type of cuisine. Yasmine also recommended a few dishes, which I found really nice. Needless to say, we were definitely taken care of @ Hungry Amoo.
But my favorite thing about eating @ Hungry Amoo, is that we left with belly’s full of wonderful food! And all of it was gluten-free.
Cool bar setup! Delicious cocktails too, most of which I had never heard of before. I tried the pomegranate spritz and I found it had such a unique flavour. This is definitely a great place to go for drinks with friends!
Overall, I had a great experience dining at Hungry Amoo. I would recommend trying it out here because the menu is so diverse and unique. They master all different cuisines, theres a bit of everything.
Thank you to the Hungry Amoo Team and to Yasmine for being such a great help! I will be back to try the Pistachio Soup.
This is a place I had been meaning to go to for a while now and was really excited about taking my Gluten Free boyfriend here. This is because their entire menu is Gluten Free friendly and there is so much to choose from. I was introduced to Impact Kitchen through Instagram and thought this would be a good place to try out with someone that has a Gluten Free diet and see how they like it too.
We went this Saturday around 1:30 for a late lunch and ordered a few things. We each ordered a “Power Bowl” and shared a salad. Surprisingly there was a lot of food, usually I find that healthy food restaurants still leave me hungry. I was honestly full until dinner that evening and felt amazing throughout the day. We ordered two different bowls the Asian Rainbow Slaw and the Zesty Mexican. They were both amazing, although I liked the Slaw better.. Just felt like it was more my kind of meal. The salad we chose was the Beet Citrus Salad, which was so refreshing on such a hot day. I loved the salad and would honestly eat one everyday if Impact was closer to my house. Everything we got was very good and I highly recommend ordering them when you check them out.
I loved the atmosphere of Impact Kitchen, just made me feel really healthy and fresh. Its super clean in there and the servers really make you feel at home. This is a place that a lot of athletes come to eat because the menu is so pure and healthy. They use local farmers for the menus ingredients and don’t use processed foods, which is great!
I can’t wait to go back to impact Kitchen and try out some new things. I really did love it here and is a great place for anyone who is Gluten Free or just wanting something healthy and fresh to eat.
This evening my friend and I went to LOCAL for a bite to eat. I had never been here before and the atmosphere was very cool. It was a pretty big building, cool decor and awesome rooftop patio type thing.
We decided to sit on the patio because it was nice outside and it’s summer, so why not? We ordered the fried calamari to share and it was pretty good, a little to battery for me but overall good. This came with a dip and was under ten dollars which is great! All the items on the menu are affordable and reasonable. I got the ahi tuna sandwich, which tasted really good but was kinda a weird color TBH. Usually when I get ahi tuna.. It’s not grey.. Usually it’s more pinkish. Hopefully I don’t get sick.
But anyways it was good.This had fresh avocado, lettuce, pickled onion and some other fresh toppings. It was pretty large, I could have shared this, brought the other half home.
This is probably a more lively and hot spot for a Friday or Saturday night, but was still a lot of fun for a Tuesday. It doesn’t matter what day of the week you go out if you are with good company. Love when my friends bring me to places I have never been before! I really enjoyed myself and Local in Leaside, is a great place to go this summer.