honey, i'm home

It's been over two weeks of pure non-digital bliss but, alas I'm back in business and rarin' to go. I missed you guys!

So just to bring y'all up to speed here's what I've been up to. The top 5 things I did on my digital sabbatical:

1. Pre-vacay pedi at The 10 Spot in my fave colour Cajun Shrimp.

2. Hanging around town with my two fave guys - The Hubs and L'il E!

We played tourist in Toronto and went to the Abstract Expressionists New York exhibit at the AGO, Dream in High Park, Drive-In Movie at Polson Pier and out for dinner to Parkette and Enoteca Sociale. Those activities were peppered with lots of coffee walks to Capital Espresso, Ella's Uncle, The Slow Room (best iced latte or americano) and Crafted (yep we LOVE coffee!)

3. Jetting off to Nova Scotia for our annual summer family visit. L'il E was introduced to his Aunts, Uncles and cousins at Nana and Poppy's in Lunenburg, NS. The week was filled with delicious food, lots of laughs, coffees on the deck and sunset walks on the beach. L'il E also had his very first "ducking" in the Atlantic.

4. Chilling in Tatamagouche, NS with my sister and brother-in-law and my nephew and niece. We sipped lots of tea, played a lot of games and had a beautiful day at the beach soaking in the warm water of the Northumberland Strait overlooking Prince Edward Island.

5. Finally bought the Nixon watch I've been eyeing and finished knitting the most cozy blanket.

I could go on but I will digress. Hopefully you're enjoying this summer as much as me.

Happy to be back and blogging!


tick tock

A few months ago I bought this super cute (and cheap) rubber watch at a pop-up shop on Queen Street West. I'm still loving it, but now I've got my sights set on this Nixon beauty. It's called the Rubber Player and I want it! I love LOVE the look of hot pink and grey.

That's all! Should I splurge?


July 07, 2011 — AlannaB

summer in the city

Image source

It's the first day of summer and this day always gets me excited about the impending three months of fun.

We don't have any grandiose plans to speak of (except a trip to NS to visit the fam) but I generally enjoy summer in Toronto. Many Torontonians high-tail it up the 400 (sit in traffic) leaving our little city nice and peaceful for those of us that aren't so lucky. Here's my top 10 list of the summer stuff I like to do right here at home:

  1. Laze away the day under a tree and people watch the hipsters at Trinity Bellwoods Park
  2. Play Ultimate Frisbee Monday nights - we're the Budgie Smugglers and we rock.
  3. Do some local food shopping at the various farmer's markets.
  4. Evening walks along the boardwalk in The Beach and daytime walks along the waterfront and in High Park.
  5. Window shopping with an iced latte along Queen Street West.
  6. Bixi (haven't tried yet, but plan on it).
  7. The Toronto Islands (how can I forget) and live music along the waterfront!
  8. Late night dinners on patios.
  9. Dolce Gelato on College West.
  10. Weekend BBQs and beers in our cute little backyard (our own piece of heaven in the middle of the city).

What are your favourite summer escapes in the city?

Get excited!








not cool

Before I sign off for the weekend I just had to get this off my chest.

We have a beautiful perrenial garden in our front yard (thanks to the former home owners) and for the second year in a row someone has come and chopped flowers from our peony plant. Who does that?

Dear peony stealer, I hope the ants that come along with the flowers infest your home. Got get your own peonies!

Happy weekend!

June 17, 2011 — AlannaB

hip father's day finds

So Father's Day is on Sunday and if you're scrambling to find a gift for your hipster dad or your hip hubs look no further. I have rounded up a few treats they might enjoy.

1. Wood sunglasses or should I say Shwood?

Every funky father needs a pair of WOOD framed sunglasses! Available at The Future of Frances Watson (of course they are!)

2. Freitag Bag

Exclusively available in Toronto at InAbstracto this is the perfect alternative to the lame old diaper bag. If the full size bag is over your budget they also make iPad sleeves, wallets and other vessels.

3. GelaSkins (naked devices are so last season!)

A Toronto based company that makes customized skins for your portable device. Choose from their artwork (100+ artists) or create your own with personal photos. Trust me he'll love it! The Hubs bought me one for Christmas using the image from our wedding invitation (swoon!).

4. Facial Fuel Duo

Kiehl's Facial Fuel moisturizer and face wash is a no-brainer. The moisturizer is non-oily and has SPF and the cleanser is refreshing and invigorating (two words you want to describe your man's face wash!). Available at a Kiehl's near you.

5. Brewskies

Just so you know PBR is no longer a hipster beer (wink) so let me suggest something a little more refined. Cameron's Auburn Ale is local (made in Oakville, ON) and it actually tastes great. However, if you know the right people you might be able to snag some Parkdale swill under the guise of Roncessvalles Red, Lord Dufferin and Parkdale Pale Ale, but be warned in order to become a fan you must prove you're "cool" enough - a common symptom of the try-hards.

Still nothing grabbing you?

Go get yourself some sexy lingerie and call it a day (wink wink).



antique road show

Andrea Ford 2011

Every so often the Hubs and I wander west along Queen Street and snoop around Queen West Antique Centre. We love mid-century modern furniture and they've got lots of cool treasures (desks, couches, tables, chairs) to admire. I'm not sure why we bother; we always leave empty handed. That's when we need our friend Andrea on speed dial to help us out.

Andrea is an interior stylist and the owner of RE:Style Studio (ever heard of it?) she helps clueless antique-ers bring their treasures to life through DIY workshops (re-upholstery anyone?). Her most recent offering is an antiquing trip to the South Simcoe Region this Thursday June 2. She'll be taking 10 urbanites to the country (via passenger van) in search of diamonds in the rough at three market stores (some opened just for the trippers on that day). From 9:00 am to 9:00 pm participants will be shopping, lunching, light dining and taking in a play put on by the Arts Council. To register go here and if you go you'll receive a discount on upcoming re-upholstering classes or studio time at RE:Style Studio (now that's a deal).

Happy shopping!

May 30, 2011 — Alanna Banks


After my first yoga class in 3 months (ouch!) the Hubs, L'il E and I went for a Mother's Day walk along Dundas West and checked out the latest exhibit (Carril Bici) at LE Gallery (Wil curates the most interesting exhibits!). This show looks at the relationship between Cuban people and the bicycle through a combo of photographs and found objects (very cool). The photograph above is my fave!

Carril Bici is on until May 22 so check it out if you get a chance and while you're in the area why not visit Show & Tell Gallery, The Department, Alison Smith Gallery, and Loop.

Happy gallery hopping!

let them eat cake (supersize)

I love DQ (who doesn't?) and since they are a former client of mine (before I went on maternity leave) I just have to share this news with you.

Tomorrow (Tuesday May 10, 2011) DQ will attempt to construct the worlds LARGEST ice cream cake at Yonge Dundas Square (yum!) between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m..Ā  Once the record has been declared by Guinness everyone will get a piece for free (but please make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network)!

There will be 21,000 pounds of ice cream to serve up so bring your Tupperware containers and a big appetite.Ā  How can you refuse a giant piece of DQ cake?!

Will I see you there?

ovaltine latte (what?)

Image source

As you know I love Ovaltine so you can imagine how happy I was when I saw Ovaltine latte on the board at Ella's Uncle on Dundas West. The Hubs and I don't often venture in that direction on the weekends for coffee but now that I'm off with L'il E I need new coffee shops and neighborhoods to go to on the weekends. If you're in the Dundas West area check out Ella's Uncle, it's understated but the coffee is deelish and they have Ovaltine lattes (yeah!).

Today I am trying to replicate it at home with our stove top espresso maker. Wish me luck!

the condos are coming...

As you know the Hubs, L'il E and I live in Queen West in Toronto and over the last five years it has exploded (it's become a desirable place to live). It's exciting to see the busy sidewalks on sunny Saturdays and new restaurants, coffee shops and stores open up, but when developers start crashing in on our party, that's when I get my back up.

When they broke ground for the new condos at the foot of Northcote Ave my heart broke a little, but now that they're almost complete I'm not as upset (they're sorta fitting in). Just last week however, we received a letter about a new 86 unit high rise condo planned for development on Gladstone (kitty corner to the Chopper). Not into it! For an eloquent reason why we should stop this development check out dontblockthesun.com

So why am I bringing this up? BECAUSE 1) we don't need/want this 86 unit high rise in our neighbourhood and 2) I want you to sign this petition to help us STOP the development.

Can you do that for me please? Thanks!