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.
NOCE on Queen West opened 22 years ago and I just recently went for the first time. I regret not paying this amazing Italian restaurant a visit sooner. They serve the freshest food I have ever experienced. The employees at Noce are outstanding, super friendly and outgoing! They seem to love their jobs and really engage with the guest. The chefs know exactly how to incorporate the flavours of Italy and work with the most beautiful ingredients. Truffle, Bottarga, and Parmigiano Reggiano to name a few. I grew up eating traditional Italian food and I am very particular when it comes to choosing an Italian restaurant. I was very impressed by all aspects of this restaurant. I highly recommend checking out Noce especially, with the holidays quickly approaching.
They recently renovated and the interior is absolutely stunning. I love how rustic and retro meet modern and eclectic. They have several rooms to dine in which is perfect for a date for two to a party of 20+. I think this is the best spot to take your family or friends this holiday season and would recommend it to anyone who knows what good food is. Noce is a great place to go for any occasion and I highly recommend checking out the features on the board. It’s such a lovely restaurant to spend an evening and I can’t wait to go back during the holiday’s.
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 is a healthy, refreshing version of a strawberry daiquiri. So easy to make and will be even better as the weather starts the heat up! I use the Ninja Blender and I have never been disapointed with it.
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (about 3 large strawberries)
Stress can be a huge problem for many of us and sometimes it can seem impossible to manage. It can be difficult to avoid the feeling of being stressed and at times, can be even harder to de-stress yourself. I find that really focusing on that one thing at a time is the best way to eliminate stress. Another thing that I find really helpful, is to develop a healthy habit. (Thank me later for this one). You will learn so many great things about yourself that you didn’t know you were capable of. Whether it’s cooking or baking, taking a fun class, doing something crafty or eating healthier. I recently picked up some knitting needles and started to make a blanket for myself to snuggle up in. Hard to believe I’m 20 when I have the same hobbies as a 70-year-old woman.
Aside from the tips I listed above, I also like to visit a few of these places down below.
This morning a visited Civello for a massage. I felt tense before I arrived and was in desperate need for some “me” time. I always request Arlene when getting spa services done at Civello on Queen because of my previous positive experience. She is very sweet and does an amazing job. I highly recommend booking your appointment with her. After my massage was done, I felt amazing and refreshed. The experience at Civello is one of a kind and really helped me de-stress.
For the first time today, I tried a breakfast bowl from Village Juicery. I have heard a lot of great stuff about their juices and they are pretty popular on social media. They run a small pop-up in Lulu Lemon on Queen West. I love the minimalist look that the company uses on their packaging. I got the Probiotic bowl with Coconut Yogurt, Chia Seeds, Hand Made Sunflower Seed Milk, Seasonal Fruit, Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Hearts, and Vanilla. This made me feel awesome because I began my day with a healthy meal.
Honestly, I haven’t done this in a while but when I was regularly going to classes; I felt amazing. Boxing @ Clancys is such a fun and easy way to make your stress disappear. Hitting the punching bag can be a relief for your stress or anger. The instructor Kristina, was always motivating and fun. I recommend taking one of her classes, she is very helpful and informative.
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!