hair cut for the kids

Today I chopped off all of my hair. Eek!

I have been growing it for a couple of years, but I decided I would bite the bullet and have a change.

Since I had so much hair cut off I didn't want it to go to waste so I'm donating my precious locks to Angel Hair for Kids, a Child's Voice Foundation program that provides wigs and hair loss solutions to financially disadvantaged children in Canada who have lost their hair due to a medical condition or treatment.

I selected this program because it's Canadian and it's the only one of it's kind in Canada.

This is how it works: each child is given a personal appointment to discuss what kind of wig or hair loss solution will meet their needs, then a hair prosthesis is custom made for that child using donated hair. It takes about 10-12 ponytail donations to create one wig for a child.

It breaks my heart to say this, but every year many children in Canada lose their hair due to conditions such as cancer treatments, alopecia and even burns. These wigs and hair loss solutions created by Angel Hair for Kids increases a child’s self esteem and improves their self image, during a difficult and sometimes painful time in their lives. Since the program’s inception (three years ago) Angel Hair for Kids has helped over 150 children, and the demand is steadily increasing.

So, if you're thinking about chopping off your locks consider making a donation and bringing joy to a child's life! All you have to do is put the hair into a bag and mail it to the correct address.

By the way, I am loving my new cut thanks to the wonderful Leesa Berry. If you're wondering it's a "lob" (an a-line, long bob if you want to get technical).

Snip, snip!

weekend whirl wind

I am totally sewed out!

Thank you to everyone who came out to support me this weekend. It was my first time at the Queen West Art Crawl's  Art in the Park and I had a great time. It was so fun to be part of such a creative community!

I didn't have a lot of opportunities to escape my booth and check everyone out, but I did manage to find some like minded sewers over at Quilted City and foxymop quilts. Sadly I missed Melanie LeBlanc, my fave jewellery gal, but I know she sells her stuff at Made You Look. I also loved the booth diagonal to me -  Rare Birds Clothing. Carla won in my books for booth design. It was so creative and her kids clothes are super cute.

While I had many awesome people come through my booth, the highlight was Sarah Polley, her husband and their little baby daughter. She liked my soft baby cubes and contemplated between the yellow/grey cubes and the red/black moose pattern, but in the end continued on her way. Maybe next year...

I've got inventory left folks, so when I have the time I'll be getting my etsy shop back up and running. Stay tuned!



edge walk


The Hubs likes to think he's edgy (his words not mine) so to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and commemorate his birthday he suggested we do the CN Tower EdgeWalk - that's edgy right?! When he made this suggestion I was like ya right and then a couple of days later I got the text...


I'm mildly afraid of heights, so of course I was freaked, but I decided this would be a really fun way to remember our five-year. I was doing it!

Turns out it's amazing and I would totally do it again, seriously!

We arrived at 5:30 for our 6:00 p.m. booking (I highly recommend booking later in the day), signed in and filled out all of the waiver forms. My nerves were at about a level 10 out of 10 at this point. At 6:00 our group, there were 5 of us, was ushered into the prep room. They explain everything, make sure you take off all jewellery or anything that could fall off your body while you're up there (you're not even allowed to have bobby pins) and you take a breathalyzer test. No drinking and edge walking! Then you're suited up in a crazy looking jumpsuit, shoes and finally the harness. The harness is tightened and checked a gazillion times by 3 different people. At this point they told us that 25,000 people have done the EdgeWalk and only 10 have not completed. I was feeling pretty confident at this point.

Our guide then came skipping in, full of energy and totally trained to get us hyped up. We then took the elevator up to the loading area, where we were fastened to the contraption that you follow around the Tower. Your harness is hooked on from the front and the back and the carabeeners are then locked with  zip ties, so you're crazy safe. I had no fear of falling at this point.  I was second last in the line-up and the Hubs was right behind me. The doors opened and I was doing ok. I stepped out onto the grated walking surface and then the panic set in just briefly. I thought to myself "just look straight ahead and you'll be ok". I swear for the first 5 minutes all I could do was look straight ahead. Then I got a bit more comfortable, but there was no way I was letting go of that rope.

The walk around takes about 30 minutes. The view is fantastic! We did several activities like leaning off the tower, toes over Toronto (you lean forward off the edge), they take a bunch of photos and videos of your experience (you get to keep them at the end). Then before I knew it the walk was over and we were heading back inside.

It really was exhilarating and a great way to celebrate our anniversary.

As we walked to dinner the Hubs says "so you up for skydiving next year?".

I just rolled my step at a time Mr. Edgy!





September 05, 2012 — AlannaB
Tags: toronto

tori's bakeshop



I've been wheat free almost a year now and I've never felt better or lighter. The cravings for spongy bread, muffins and cookies are long gone, but it's definitely been difficult to find a substitute when the sweet pangs strike.

Well, last Friday I'm afraid I was introduced to what could inevitably become my weakness - Tori's Bakeshop - a bakery dedicated to the dairy free, gluten free, wheat free and refined sugar free. The catch is, you would never know.

Over the most delicious gluten free, vegan chocolate chip cookie ever and an Americano, Miss Tori and I sat and chatted about owning a business and her tricks to delicious gluten free grub.

When Tori started eating a vegan diet eight years ago, all she wanted to do was recreate her favourites. With very little training as a baker, she experimented a lot and enrolled in a basic baking course, with the goal of one day opening her own bakeshop. Tired of irregular contract work in theatre production, she just went for it and opened up shop in March of this year.

An entrepreneur at heart, I love hearing fearless stories like this. I asked if she had any tips for people considering starting their own businesses and she said a) if you can, find a partner and b) work in the industry first. Working in a bakery gave her the foresight in terms of how much to bake and at what intervals and while she enjoys being solo, it is a lot of work doing the baking (starting at 4:00 am!) as well as  running the business side of things.

So, of course I asked what her secrets are to yummy gluten free baking and while she wouldn't share her secret recipes she reminded me that gluten free batter is always wetter than regular batter, "don't let the thick yogurt-like consistency scare you," she said. Also play around with alternative flour blends! She always has a stash of sorghum flour, brown rice flour, millet flour, arrowroot starch, and white rice flour on hand.

Next time you're in the Queen East area and have a hankering for a wheat free cinnamon bun or a blueberry lemon scone check out this awesome find. Tori also offers custom order cakes - perfect for those first birthday parties - as well as a selection of Tealish teas and espresso-based drinks. Over the next few weeks she'll  be offering gluten free sandwiches and gluten free loaves of bread. Yum!

Best of luck to Tori and thanks for the treats!



support michael o'connor clarke


Quick witted. Smart. Fun. Articulate. These are just a handful of words that describe my colleague Michael O'Connor Clarke. In fact, the last time I saw MOCC (as we affectionately call him) he was larger than life arguing how social media has ruined marketing to a packed room at MESH 2012. It was the highlight of the conference.

I'm talking out about this because just a few weeks after this inspiring performance, MOCC was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a disease that is very aggressive and inoperable (a disease that has taken the lives of too many people near and dear to my heart).  He has been hospitalized for several weeks and is putting up a good fight - tweeting, Facebooking and emailing as we would expect.

I have never met them, but his wife and three children are constantly in my thoughts. Michael is the sole bread winner in their family of five so this sudden illness has hit his family harder than most.  Keeping up with the regular running of a household, when financial circumstances change unexpectedly, is a tough additional burden on a family that is already dealing with the news that their husband and father is facing a difficult prognosis.

If I had the means, I would help take this financial burden away, but sadly I do not. So, I'm turning to all of you lovelies, my "village" of people, and asking if you are able to make a donation (even a small one) I would be so grateful for your support of my friend.

This terrible situation could not be happening to a nicer person.

Thanks! xo




me and the queen west art crawl

I'm so stoked!

I just found out that I've been selected to have my very own booth at the Queen West Art Crawl Outdoor Art Show & Sale!

So, mark September 14-16 on your calendar friends and come out to Trinity Bellwoods Park to check out my stuff.

I've got a lot of sewing to do before then, but I'll have some cool designs and affordable items you can stash away for gift-giving.

This celebration of creativity and community has been going on for 10 years now and it's amazing. Last year I bought this at the show and could have bought so much more. It's a great way to spend a lazy Saturday and Sunday and support our local artists!

I will keep y'all updated as we get closer, but I just wanted to share my news!







cocktail bar

Photo credit

Friday night The Hubs and I checked out Cocktail Bar on Dundas West - the former Hoof Cafe.

OMG the cocktails are good!

I could have sat there all night and tried every single one, but I'm a bit of a light weight and at $12-16 a drink, that would have made for an expensive night.

Anyway, I was in the mood for something refreshing, but with a punch so I opted for the Lady Saffron - saffron infused gin, lemon and simple syrup. The cocktail arrived in a vintage martini cocktail glass and was garnished with a singed piece of saffron, it was also perfectly chilled, just what I needed on a hot night.

The Hubs went for the classic Manhattan (their signature cocktail). I sometimes find Manhattans a bit on the strong side, but this one is perfected and goes down super easy. We were told there is also an "off-menu" Manhattan, it's one dollar more and made with an experimental oak barrel whiskey (intriguing).

We should have stuck with our originals for the second round, but I was like a kid in a candy store. I tried their version of the classic Margarita, made with jalapeno agave (spicy!) and the Hubs went for the Bronx, basically a gin martini with orange juice.

We'll be heading back for sure!

The vibe is chill, the music was classic and I felt like if I closed my eyes I could have imagined it was the 1930s. If you're looking for a first date spot or just a delicious cocktail and low-key vibe this is the ticket.

Bottoms up!

June 10, 2012 — AlannaB

summer fun in the city

Wasn't the long weekend gorgeous!? I really hope this is an indication of the kind of weather we're in for this summer. I am so looking forward to it because it's the first summer in two years that I'm a) not pregnant or b) utterly exhausted. I plan on living it to the fullest and can't wait to show L'il E just how great summer in the city can be.

I've put together a list of the top ten things I want to do with L'il E and/or The Hubs this summer so I thought I would share with y'all. Hope I can provide some hot, hot inspiration.

1. Toronto Zoo. I haven't been to the Zoo since I was about six so we took a family trek out to Scarborough on Saturday and really made a day of it. We checked out every single pavilion (including the featured White Lions), had a picnic lunch and finished the day off in the splash park all for $50.

2. Evergreen Brick Works. This is a great Saturday or Sunday morning outing complete with fresh fruit and veg shopping, beauty walks/bike rides through the ravine and yummy food to graze on. If you're with your mini mes they can play while you sip on coffee in the Chimney Court.

3. Dufferin Grove Park. Every Friday night Friends of Dufferin Grove host a Friday Night Supper between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. There is always soup, a vegetarian or vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert (yum!). A $7 donation is suggested and the money goes towards maintaining the park. Picnics with friends in the park are equally as tasty.

4. Toronto Islands. I've lived in or near Toronto my entire life and aside from a few concerts I've spent very little time on the islands. So this summer I'm taking advantage and we're going to check out Centre Island and all it has to offer including Franklin Children's Garden, wading pool and splash pads for L'il E.

5. Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool. I've never been to this little gem along the Lakeshore Blvd., but I've always wanted to, so The Hubs, L'il E and I are going to jump into our suits and enjoy an afternoon public swim under the sun.

6. Camping. Every year since we got together The Hubs and I have talked about going camping/canoeing. This year we're doing it! You can rent all kinds of gear at MEC so no more excuses for not having the right stuff!

7. Radiohead at Downsview Park! June 16th. Date night is set and I hope the weather cooperates.

8. Ashbridges Bay. A stroll along the boardwalk and sand castles on the beach are an every summer must-do! In my old life you would find me here on week nights playing beach volleyball with all of the other Toronto singletons sipping on brewskies.

9. Art Gallery of Ontario. We just renewed our membership so we'll be checking out the Picasso masterpieces exhibit before it's gone (August 2012).

10. Drive-in at Polson Pier. Summer isn't complete without a double-header at the drive-in off Cherry Street. Pre-pop some popcorn and hide it under your seats. They do a full search for booze so watch out.

What are you favourite summer haunts in the city?

Happy days!


my new sweet linus ride

A couple of weeks ago I got myself all set up with a brand new bike (no fixey here) and a baby seat for our L'il E. I've been riding the same mountain bike since I was 15 so I was in desperate need of a "grown-up" bicycle.

I stopped by Bikes on Wheels (Queen St) one Saturday morning just to check the bikes out and two hours later I happily left with the Linus Mixte 3 in cream, a Bobike maxi City seat for E and a baby bike helmet. Now that's some smooth sales work! Honestly though, the staff at Bikes on Wheels were so informative, let me test ride almost every bike and didn't make me feel pressured to buy. I liked them.

Anyway, back to my new Linus. First, it's amazing - so light weight, an ultra sweet ride and has a steel frame that absorbs TO's bumby roads - and second, it's super stylin'! The Dutchi 3 was also pretty cool, but just a little too upright for me.

L'il E and I went for our first cruise together yesterday, as you can see (above) he wasn't that impressed, but he'll get over it. He liked the bike ride he just really hated wearing that enormous helmet.

Happy cruisin'!


if the shoe fits...

When it comes to shoes I have a weakness and most of the time no price-point is too high. I'd rather have a kick-ass pair of shoes than a new outfit and apparently I'm not alone. The Globe reported this morning that despite the crappy economy footwear sales are up and women are updating their looks with new shoes rather than new duds.

Last week I had a minor shopping accident at C Squared, but after reading that, I'm not feeling so guilty. I'm on trend!

The accident? A pair of grey clog sandals (aren't they cute?) I spotted in the window en route home from work. The next day I couldn't stop thinking about them, so I popped out at lunch to just try them on (mistake number one). They looked amazing, were SO comfortable and of course the sales clerk had to tell me they were his last pair in my size (mad skillz).  I left within 10 minutes with my new favourite shoes and just a little bit of buyers remorse.

To make it all okay I bought a pair of Superman Havaianas for L'il E.

Happy shoe shopping!