Tonic Blooms

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.

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Gift Guide – Stylish Boyfriend

I know that getting a gift for your boyfriend can be overwhelming and stressful. Thankfully, my boyfriend never asks/wants anything specific and actually encourages me to just buy what I think will look good on him. I have grown to understand and know how to shop his style over the years; But, It wasn’t always that easy. Most of the time reading a man’s mind is basically impossible, So if you need some ideas; I have selected some of my faves.

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Bench Canada Black Friday

Okay Everyone, Its that time of year again. The holidays. It doesn’t matter what holiday you celebrate, most likely you are broke by the end of all of your shopping. I always like to begin my shopping as soon as the leaves start to fall because I feel less stressed out. A lot of the time, I rely on Black-Friday to score some amazing deals. Although I do love Black Friday prices, sometimes it can be hard to spot the deals and know when your actually saving some serious bucks.

I tend to do my shopping online, mostly because I hate waiting in lines. Recently, I got two jackets from Bench Canada and I am totally obsessed with them both. I know what some are probably thinking…Why is Melina holiday shopping for herself? The truth is; Don’t we all? I got these items at regular price and as bitter as I may be that they are almost 70% off now, they are the greatest jackets ever. Bench Canada has some amazing sales on everything right now and I highly recommend you go check them out…NOW! The prices are all already reduced and then once you add them to your cart, they are even cheaper. The jackets I got are just over $50 now, it is amazing! You will find something for everyone on your holiday list.

My Bench Canada Picks

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CURES STUDIO

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.

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IV Drip Therapy

These past few months I have made a lot of changes in my life and unhealthy habits. I have been eating healthier and working out a lot more and I have been having a lot of fun doing it. Growing up, I never played sports or on a team and missed out on a lot of physical activity. Now that I am dedicating that time to workout pretty hard,  It’s starting to catch up to me. I had been feeling like I was lacking some nutrients and it was holding me back from how hard I really want to push myself in a workout. I have been looking for ways to boost my energy and stamina during a workout and eating healthy wasn’t enough.

I recently came in contact with Whole Life Balance and felt life this was the perfect time for me to check it out. They offer IV Drip Therapy, which sends vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly into the bloodstream and surpasses the digestive system. Drips contain magnesium, calcium, various B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12) and vitamin C. IV vitamin therapy can be used to treat and aid endless conditions and Whole Life offers a variety of Drips depending on what your body needs.

When I arrived, Sandra and Chris (the owners) were so kind and welcoming. Throughout the entire process, they were always around to answer any questions or concerns very honestly and confidently. The ambiance is relaxed and calming but still really professional. I absolutely loved it and already noticed a difference in my overall health.

I really do recommend this process for anyone struggling with their health. Whether it’s IBS, stress, chronic fatigue, hangovers, viral infection or even cancer.

If you are interested IV Drip Therapy definitely email or call Sandra and Chris and book an appointment.It is such an effective way to boost your immune system and just feel your best. Let them know that you heard about them through me and they will be happy to hear. You can also use my code WLBLOVESFRECKLES15 to save some money!


 

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Strawberry, Orange Mint Smoothie

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.

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INGREDIENTS 

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (about 3 large strawberries)
1 small clemintine 
mint leaves, stems discarded (as desired)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 ice cubes

 

DIRECTIONS 

Add liquid ingredients first.
Add frozen ingredient.
Add fresh ingredients.
Blend until smooth.

 

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Stress-free Saturday

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. 

 

 

CIVELLO SALON AND SPA – QUEEN STREET

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 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.

 

VILLAGE JUICERY 

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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.

 

CLANCYS BOXING ACADEMY

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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.

Winterlicious @ Hawthorne

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. 

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Pickled Platter

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!

 

 

Appetisers

Wontons+Tartare * (Can be made GF), (Local)

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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)

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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.

 

 

Entrées

Jerk Pork * (Can be made GF), (Local)

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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.

 

Whole Roasted Carrot Ginataan * (Vegan), (Local), (GF)

dsc_0732Just 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.

 

 

 

Desserts

Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Tart * (Local)

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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.

 

Winter Vegetable Cheesecake* (Vegetarian), (Local)

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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!

Lounge Underwear

My favourite kind of deliveries are definitely underwear. Actually, make that comfortable underwear. Recently I tried out Lounge Underwear products, this is a company I had seen on Instagram and fell in love with. They are made in the UK and are super comfy and fit fairly well. They are made out of 100% Cotton and the quality of the product is very well-made. What I like most about the set is that the bra is elastic all the way around (no bra clasp). The shipping was really quick and the packaging was sleek and simple, which I also love. The idea is similar to Calvin Klein’s underwear sets,  but I think that  Lounge adds a more feminine look.

Thank you Lounge Underwear for the wonderful gift!

Queen Margherita Pizza ( Dundas )

This past weekend, I had an awesome experience at Queen Margarita Pizza. I went for dinner and enjoyed their PRIX FIXE menu option. With this you get to choose one appetizer, one pizza and a dessert, for only $30! This is the perfect pizza spot to bring somebody with a gluten allergy as well. There are many gluten-free options that are actually tasty. Here are a few of the items that I tried from QMP , all of which were amazing.  The restaurant is very spacious and would be great for a holiday party with friends and family.
APPERTIZERS

Grilled Kale
Whipped Ricotta, Fried Chillies, Parmigiano, Pine Nuts

 

Beef Carpaccio
Asparagus, Lemon, Pine Nuts, Parmigiano

PIZZAS

Roberto Scallopini AKA Birdman 

Kale, Parmigiano, Garlic Aioli
Dried Tomato, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Black Pepper

Diavola ( gluten free)

Fior di Latte, Hot Sopressata Black Olives, Hot Peppers

DESSERTS

Thank you Queen Margarita Pizza for hosting such an amazing dinner! We will be sure to come back soon, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.