Monday, 31 October 2011

All Hallows' Eve

This is one of the best editorials I've seen in recent months and I felt that its tone suited the occasion.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Sun's Beaming Down

Quick pick-me-ups. Besides the obligatory studying, I managed to fit in some time to do a little bit of thrifting this past weekend. Not all shopping trips are successful so I didn't get my hopes up but I did manage to find a lovely white blouse. And in the comfort of my bed, I settled down with a tub of Haagen Dazs and flipped through a magazine.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ah, Versace

Pictures of the Versace for H&M collection were recently released and the above were my personal favourites. When I heard that Versace would be the next designer collaboration with H&M, I was intrigued. Over the years, Donnatella has designed many dresses that I have admired and even though I knew this collection would be more of a homage to Gianni, I was still looking forward to the results. However, the actual collection was lacking. As evident by my choices, I was not particularly taken with any of the prints although they are rather iconic to the brand. There were around 50 pieces I believe and only a fraction are presented here.

Regardless, the madness and crazy shoppers that are sure to come with the arrival of this collection is rather offputting to me even if I was so inclined to buy any of these pieces. It just calls to mind the scene in Confessions of a Shopaholic when Rebecca Bloomwood goes to the sample sale and fighting ensues. Such shopping events are clearly not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

These Chains Won't Hold Us Back

Bliss Lau's campaign seamlessly combines two of my favourite things together and the product is beautiful. Take a look for yourself.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Dancing The Night Away

Above are a few pictures from the show that I attended earlier in the week. Although So You Think You Can Dance is a competition/reality TV show, the contestants are actually tremendously talented and the weekly performances are generally well-choreographed. This year, I was smitten by pretty much all of the Top 10 finalists and ended up buying tickets to the tour. Seated in the first few rows of the floor section, I was able to see the little nuances in their movements and facial expressions - even the sweat flying off them as they rolled out dance after dance. It was a truly memorable experience and I highly recommend it.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Silver Bullet Straight Through My Heart

It's been a week of cold coffee, late nights and bleary mornings so I am thrilled to be heading into a 3 day weekend. I realize blog updates have been sparse here and I'm planning on improving on that. I truly admire bloggers who can churn out amazing entries on a regular basis and are so committed to what they put out.

Anyways, when it comes to accessories, silver and gold have always vied for my heart (bronze just never had a chance). As a child, I scoffed at the warm toned gold jewelry and shoved them aside for silver, leaving my sister to pick up the pieces. Somehow, as the years have gone by, my own collection has evolved into one with a rather lopsided number of gold pieces. But taking a look at these pieces, I think I'd like to reconsider. The accessories are utterly drool-inducing and I have to say, these editors should have been a little more indecisive. A mere three pictures just barely whets my appetite.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Shifting Gears

I am back at school and I haven't settled back into the groove of things yet. As I move closer to heading into the "real world", every decision I make seems to weigh on me that much more. In some ways, it makes me appreciate the more frivolous choices I have to contend with.

As it is, I have had fall wardrobe planning on my mind. My main goal is to find classic pieces that I can see myself wearing a few years down the road. It has reached that point in my life where I am tired of spending far too much time and money on clothes that don't fit me - literally and figuratively. My blogroll has a number of style blogs on it and I cannot deny that they sometimes fuel an unnecessary desire to buy more. However, this trial and error in shopping has led me to better understand what exactly works and what my tastes are. Perhaps the main reason for the untouched purchases in my closet is that I get caught up in buying for the person I want to be rather than the person I am. I have come to accept that my eclectic tastes and fondness for various styles do not always extend to styling myself.

With my limited student budget, I do not plan to buy all these items or necessarily the specific brands listed. However, these are to guide my purchases so if I do buy anything, it will be something that I feel I need. It is a relatively short list with nothing particularly exciting on it. However, as I hone my style, these are the types of items I see working well with pre-existing items in my closet. As refreshing it would be to create a brand new wardrobe, it really is not financially feasible.

The Surplus Jacket
Outerwear is always a tricky issue as it can really make or break an outfit. Sometimes, it may be the only part of your outfit that anyone even sees. For a while, it was a toss up between a surplus jacket and a trench coat. I have literally hemmed and hawwed over potential trench coat purchases for a few years now. It is difficult to find ones that have a good fit and when I do find one with a satisfactory fit, I am remarkably hesitant. Deep down, I think my heart knows that a trench coat is not the most practical item for me currently. A trench is deemed a wardrobe staple and for me, its allure has always been how prim and proper it makes an outfit. However, I cannot imagine running around in one or throwing it aside haphazardly like I probably would. At the moment, I think a surplus jacket/parka would be most suitable for me and would not look too out of place with my well-worn graphic tees and jeans.
Givenchy, Thes & Thes, Uniqlo

Blouses & Button Ups
Although they are relatively simple, they pair easily with jeans and skirts to create an effortlessly chic outfit. They provide the perfect balance between comfort and looking put together - the secret is all in the fit. (I myself prefer a slightly looser fit.)
Isabel Marant, Balmain, Reed Krakoff

Cozy Thick Knit Sweaters
With the cold weather I get here in Canada, it is probably shocking that I own very few sweaters. However, I have never been particularly interested in them until recently. I suppose that I have finally seen the light. Not only are they practical, but they add another layer of texture to any outfit.
Alexander Wang, Aran Sweater Market, Pringle of Scotland

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Smoke on the Water

Big Smoke Burger (previously known as Craft Burger)

1. Table 77
2. Menu and front counter at Big Smoke Burger
3. Vanilla Milkshake
4. Classic Burger and onion rings
5. Blue Burger

My best friend and I decided to go for a dinner and movie date. We ended up watching The Help and it was wonderful. When I got home, I finished the night off on the perfect note with a bit of strawberry ice cream. :)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Review: Guu SakaBar pt. II

This is the continuation of my post earlier on Guu SakaBar (which can be found HERE).

After the first round of food arrived, we ordered another three dishes:
Maguro Tataki: seared tuna (picture 1)
This was fresh tuna sashimi that came with more ponzu sauce and garlic chips. (My companions agreed that a lot of the same ingredients are used over and over but they work well in each dish so I can't really fault them.) Once again, another well done dish.
Okonomiyaki: deep fried Japanese savoury pancake (pictures 2-3)
The okonomiyaki served here is made with squid. It was not the most memorable or outstanding dish of the night, but I still enjoyed it and it was good for what it was.
Kakimayo: baked oyster with garlic, mayo and cheese (picture 4)
Served atop of shells, this very rich dish came in a set of two (and I highly recommend sharing it). The best part of the kakimayo was definitely the creamy spinach and garlic mayo surrounding the oysters. I love cheese and there was lots of it on top of the oyster but some parts of it were overly salty. In spite of its shortcomings, I enjoyed the kakimayo overall.

At some point in the meal, I commented that I was very impressed because every single dish that was brought to our table tasted amazing. Unfortunately, I spoke much too soon. The final three dishes were a disappointment to me and I suggest avoiding them:
Hotate: buttered scallops (picture 5)
I'm not a big fan of scallops but these ones were overcooked too, which was a let down.
Tontoro: grilled pork cheeks (not pictured)
Coming from a household that eats similar pork dishes on a fairly regular basis, this dish was nothing special for me.
Gomaae: spinach with sesame sauce (not pictured)
The blanched spinach itself was fine albeit a bit boring despite being mashed into a ball. Unfortunately, the accompanying sesame sauce was much too salty.

THE VERDICT: Although it was busy, service wasn't compromised and all our food came within 10 minutes of ordering. In the end, not all the dishes impressed me but there were way more hits than misses. As an izakaya, the dishes are generally small and not the kind of place I would go to get stuffed. However, I still left feeling quite satisfied after sharing 10 dishes between 3 people. Overall, I really enjoyed this restaurant and it's clear from the steady turnover and line-ups of customers, I'm not the only one who feels that way. After all the great things I heard about it, Guu lived up to the hype and I look forward to future visits.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

I Got Lost in the Sounds

There are a lot of great dances that I've fallen in love with over the years but today, I rediscovered this sweet little gem. Enjoy!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Review: Guu SakaBar pt. I

Being a weekday night, we decided to head to Guu SakaBar (559 Bloor St W). It turns out that I've walked past this location multiple times but with the very small sign, I had completely missed it. Although it was a Monday, we still had to wait 30 minutes to be seated but it was well worth it. Upon arrival we were loudly and enthusiastically greeted by the staff before being directed to a table in the tatami floor seating area. The atmosphere is very busy, vibrant and loud which makes it a fun experience but a little bit more difficult to have a good conversation. Regardless, we got the night started with 4 great dishes:
Gyu Carpaccio: lightly seared beef sashimi (not pictured)
The gyu carpaccio arrived as thinly sliced pieces of beef lying in a plate of ponzu sauce with mayo drizzled on top. Although that may not sound the most appetizing, I found the beef to have a great texture and flavour. It was the first dish we got and I wanted another round of immediately after - it was a very promising start to our meal.
Takoyaki: deep fried octopus balls (picture 4)
This was only my second time trying takoyaki but it was much better than my previous experience. These bite sized balls had a crispy exterior with a soft gooey interior that contained the right amount of chewy octopus pieces. Most importantly, the flavour of the takoyaki was not overpowered by or secondary to the sauce/mayo.
Brie Cheese (picture 5-6)
With the Canadian National Exhibition in town, there has been a lot of talk of deep fried foods from deep fried cola to deep fried oreos to deep fried PB&J sandwiches. So when I saw deep fried brie cheese on the menu, I had my doubts about how it would turn out. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The pairing of the savory cheese with the sweet mango and blueberry sauces elevated this from being a gimmicky novelty to something I see myself ordering again in the future. It turned out be a rather delightful albeit gooey snack.
Saba: mackerel (picture 7)
I am not a big fan of mackerel but this was fantastic. It came with lemon, onions, and garlic chips. There were a few garlic chips on the gyu carpaccio but I actually tried some with this dish and loved the flavour and crunch they added. The mackerel was very light (both in terms of flavour and texture) with a definite hint of dill and grilled to perfection.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Rodeo Spring 2011
Jenny Sinkaberg
Photography by Julia Hetta
Styling by Tekla Knaust

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bill Cunningham New York

Although released much earlier, I only recently took the opportunity to watch this documentary on Bill Cunningham who is probably best known as a street fashion photographer for the New York Times. To be honest, I was not familiar with Bill Cunningham at all until he and the documentary on him were briefly mentioned on Fashion Television. Since then, I had it in the back of my mind that I would like to see the documentary as I was immediately struck by his humble nature and clear passion for what he does. As luck would have it, I dropped by one of the smaller theatres in the city and found the film was still playing there. It was an absolute pleasure to have this glimpse into the life of this man who many are acquainted with but no one really knows. The contrast between his own simple life and the extravagant fashions and people he photographs were fascinating. He, himself, was the real star of the film though. His humour, his enthusiasm, his modesty and his strong sense of morals and values captivated me. Like any good film, I found myself laughing and at other times, crying. There is something so deeply admirable about his dedication to his work yet so saddening at the same time because it comes at the expense of other aspects of life. However, he is clearly very happy with his life and is at ease with the choices he has made. In the end, I do recommend this film but it is probably best that one not be too familiar with Bill Cunningham prior to watching - a quick Internet search turns up a good deal of what is covered in this film. With that being said, this film is clearly not meant to be an exposé but it is a touching look into an extraordinary man's life.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sweet Confections

Having read some great reviews, I dropped by The Wedding Cake Shoppe. They have a lovely little storefront with wedding cake designs but the display of cupcakes are what obviously took center stage for me. With all the deliciousness of a full size cake in a convenient no-fuss format, cupcakes are one of my favourite treats. 

I ended up getting a half dozen cupcakes (Cookies and Cream, Red Velvet, Vanilla Bean, Cappucino, Passionfruit, and some unknown flavour) to share with a friend. However, after a rather filling dinner, I only managed to snag a few bites of the highly recommended Red Velvet cupcake. The Wedding Cake Shoppe's version of this classic cupcake turned out to be perfectly light, moist and fluffy, complimented by the tang of the cream cheese frosting. I will definitely be back to try some more of their cupcakes. (Meanwhile, my friend and his family have quite happily reported back to me that the rest of the cupcakes were heavenly.)

Cupcakes weren't the only thing that I left with though. There was something so alluring about the adorable little macarons placed beside the cupcakes. With their smooth rounded shells and pretty pastel colours, they conjure up images of dainty tea parties with fancy china. I picked up two macarons, one in each flavour. They seemed to be the ideal snack to tide me over until I met up with my friend. They were also packaged into a Chinese take-out style box that only added to the cuteness factor. I have never tried a macaron before but having seen macarons on various food blogs, there were a few things that I did look out for like the smoothness of the shells and the ever characteristic feet. These particular macarons had a crisp but very delicate outer shell that cracked upon first bite (and even from the pressure of my fingers holding them in fact!). I'm not sure that the outer shell is supposed to crack the way that these macarons did but that did not prevent me from enjoying them.  The insides were moist and sort of chewy - I suppose it would be best described as gummy. The flavours of the macarons were distinctly strawberry and lemon but I felt they were too sweet for my liking. However, for my first foray into  macarons, I must say they serve as a decent introduction. Although I highly doubt that anything in the city could compare to the highly praised macarons of Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, I'm excited to try some other macarons in the the meantime while I continue to dream of visiting Paris someday.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Surreal Whimsy

I realize I have been MIA but work and summer school have taken over my life once again. I do have some posts on the backburner just waiting to be finished up so updates will be coming soon. Until then, enjoy some selected photos from this fantastic editorial. Be sure to check out more of Rus Anson's work - the same whimsy of this editorial can be found throughout her portfolio. It's all very Tim Walker-esque and I've been swooning over all of it.

Surreal Dreams
Youth Vision (June 2011)
Jeanne Johnston (model)
Rus Anson (photographer)
Danielle Wallis (stylist)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Demi baguette, prosciutto, baby romaine, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, sundried tomato, hummus

These pictures were taken a little while back on an overcast day, spent painting costume jewelry among other things. I actually am not a big fan of nail polish - I don't like the smell of it. However, I do own some clear nail polish and it comes in handy for a variety of little tasks. I just always make sure to have a window wide open when I'm working on it. Besides being used as a varnish on jewelry, a quick dab on the centre of a button works in a pinch to stop unraveling threads. Similarly, it also prevents the runs in pantyhose from getting larger.

Do you have any alternative uses for your nail polish?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Smart Mouth

I heard about Snakes & Lattes a while ago and I have been eager to drop by ever since. How could anyone resist a cafe with boardgames galore and no set time limit to the hours of glorious fun? It sounded perfect to me and I recently had the chance to drop by with a friend.

As it was my first visit, I'll refrain from forming a solid opinion but I did not have the best experience in terms of service. In all fairness, my experience was not necessarily the norm as I saw staff happily helping out other guests and joining in on games. Regardless, this place is extremely popular with the young university crowd even on a weekday evening and there are clearly issues with seating - don't bother with an impromptu visit on the weekend. There is a huge selection of games and that novelty factor though so I do think it's worth a try still.