Bits & Pieces

Happy Friday!

When is the day that it becomes acceptable to start listening to Christmas music? I thought maybe it would be today but this morning when I left my apartment at the asscrack of 6:30 a.m. to go to my chiropractor uptown (ah aging) because I have no time to go at night so she opens at 7 a.m. for me it was downright balmy outside. Spring-like. Not that I’m encouraging snow or icy temperatures, but I think I’ll have to hold off on the festive tunes untilΒ  I can walk to the subway without sweating.

This weekend I’m heading to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is mostly an excuse to gorge on dumplings at a nearby restaurant. Sunday I’m heading to the Whole Life Expo to drop money on an aura reading or some sort of fancy pebble that will fix my karma or steal a soul. Whichever.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend – and Happy Thanksgiving to my readers down south.

Here are some bits and pieces that made my week.

  • Remember when we used to sneeze in our hand and now we all sneeze into our arm but then kids are basically walking around with shirts covered in gross? Well, the sneeve is a thing.
  • I’ve been binge watching an amazing show called Playing House, so the awesome theme song is playing on repeat in my head.
  • Everything you never knew you wanted to know about trap streets. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Doctor Who. I’m totally obsessed with trap streets now!

Bedroom Makeover

Last winter (March 1, to be precise), a pipe burst in my apartment creating a downpour of (thankfully, clean) water that drenched the contents of my much loved walk-in closet and entire bedroom. I was out at the time and didn’t get home until 1 a.m. I was lending a hand at a work-related event so imagine my surprise when I get home after a 16 hour work day to find what appeared to be my walls weeping like a girl who got dumped before the prom.

Luckily, I didn’t lose too much – just a few pieces of not-pricey art that had been resting on the floor of my closet along with my bed which was a soggy mess. A crew came in the next day to tear everything down to the studs and clear out my room. This would’ve involved hacking my bed to pieces with an axe but thanks to being drenched for hours while I was at work it sort of…dissolved. I have rental/tenant insurance that covered me staying in a condo/hotel for 2 months while my bedroom was gutted and rebuilt. The condo was a 10 minute walk from my office in the Toronto’s financial district, which was insanely convenient. I learned to like Starbucks and grew accustomed to overspending on groceries.

Sidenote: If you are a renter, invest in tenant insurance. I’ve had mine since I moved in to my apartment almost 10 years ago, but most people don’t bother as renters. I think this is because people may be under the mistaken impression that if something happens to your unit (water damage, fire, etc.) your landlord has to cover the cost of you living elsewhere during repairs. This is not a thing. Not even if said landlord also lives on the premises. My landlord’s insurance covered the repairs, but because of the level of damage I wasn’t able to live in my apartment while they were happening. Alternate living arrangements/costs are not your landlord’s problem. They are yours. Get tenant insurance. Without it, I would have spent two months moving between my friends places or shelling out for a sublet instead of living in a beautiful, quiet condo building with cable, a dishwasher, a balcony, maid service and the added bonus of being close to work thus eliminating the need to shove myself onto the subway twice a day and spend anywhere from 20-80 minutes screaming in my head about how godawful Toronto’s transit system is. I treated it as a sort of vacation from real life, and enjoyed exploring a neighbourhood that I typically bolt from after leaving work each evening. My insurance ran out about a week before I was able to move back in, so I stayed with my friend and her husband who own a beautiful house not far from my apartment and got re-addicted to Survivor (and the west end). Don’t get me wrong, half-moving (twice) is kind of a pain, especially when you have to initially pack up your life in a quasi-state of panic because your apartment is drowning. But I just kept reminding myself that it could have been worse: it could have been a sewer pipe that burst so my walls could’ve been dripping poop. Gross? Indeed. My insurance rep told me she had a bunch of claims come in on the same night – because two days earlier the temperature rose over 15 degrees overnight and 24 hours later dropped by the same, thus causing pipes across the city to explode – but that most of the other claims involved sewage.

But I digress.

After the rebuild my room was a bit smaller (boo) and I lost about 1/3 of my walk-in closet (bigger boo), but I like to see the glass half full (of vodka) and decided to turn this into an opportunity to redecorate. My apartment has basically been exactly the same since I moved in over 10 years ago. And I’ve yet to hang up any of the shit ton of art I have (which explains why pieces were residing in my closet). Earlier this week I purchased a box spring and metal frame (yeah, I may have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor since moving back in – no judgment!).Β  I’m also thinking it’s time to get a new side table and drawers and overall up my style game. So I took it to the internets for inspiration, and after falling into a deep deep pinterest and Etsy hole that left me both creatively motivated and slightly aroused, I’ve narrowed down some possible looks and pieces that I wanted to share.

First – this clothing rack. I mean…come on. This copper pipe clothing rack from an Etsy shop called ShopTheOther is beyond perfect. I’m obsessed. The whole aesthetic is on point for me. And psssst….get 10% off until December 31, 2015, by using the coupon code ‘TREATYOURSELF’.

Rolling Copper Pipe Clothing Rack / Garment Rack on Wheels - 4' Long from ShopTheOther on Etsy. Photo source:

Rolling Copper Pipe Clothing Rack/Garment Rack on Wheels from ShopTheOther on Etsy. Photo source:

And since my storage space has been reduced (still crying) I’m thinking maybe something like this:

Next step – pick a look, cry about how expensive it all will be, and figure out a way to do it for half the price. Currently drooling over these looks:



The photographs are kind of like a headboard, and I love the bright blue.



Clean, simple, sleek. This kind of minimalism and colour palette is my bread and butter.



All of these. All of the pillows. I suspect I’ll end up with something that looks quite similar to the image on the left.


I love the pop of bright yellow.Source:

I love the pop of colour in this one, and my new floors are very similar in colour.




I bought some new purple sheets a few weeks back, so this look caught my eye.

I’ll post final pictures once the room is done, which may be any time between this weekend and Spring 2019, based on my track record for home decor. Gird your loins.



Vacation Post – New York City (With Photos)

Food. Shopping. Drinks. Repeat.

This was my mantra on my most recent (and fourth) trip to New York City. On the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend my pal MM and I headed to NYC to stay with her sister who moved there for a job about a year ago. On our first two visits to NYC we stayed at the Ramada Plaza New Yorker at 34th and 8th (now called the Wyndham). Nothing fancy. Good location for a first trip to NYC because it’s close to everything touristy and we didn’t get murdered or anything. Our first room was normal-sized but on our second visit we were booked into a room that was roughly the size of a kiddie pool. On our third visit we stayed in Brooklyn at aloft. I loved Brooklyn and would stay there again in the future. It was pretty quick to get into Manhattan. This trip saw us staying in Queens which, as it turns out, is where all the people live. We hopped a bus right at the airport that took us straight to sister’s apartment in Rego Park. It was Sunday evening – around 6:30 – and it felt like we were driving through Times Square, that’s how many people were out shopping and crowding the streets. MM is amazing at navigating the subways and buses of New York. Without her I would’ve probably ended up on Coney Island or something and taken up with a pack of rabid dogs. After dropping our bags, we walked about 30 seconds down the street and grabbed dinner at a pizza place because we have priorities.

After eating all of the pizza in roughly 19 seconds, we hopped on the subway and made our way into Astoria to have moonshine cocktails at The Strand Smokehouse. I loved this place and because it was so beautiful and warm when we were in NYC and Monday was Columbus day there was a festive mood in the air and lots of people out and about (translation: everyone was drinking). The Strand Smokehouse is spacious with long picnic style reclaimed wood tables and the cocktails were delicious (particularly the stormy moon). Good beer list as well. I loved the vibe of Astoria. It reminded me a lot of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver (you can read my BC vacation blog post here) or Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood.

On our way home we had our very own pizza rat moment after I spotted a rat on the opposite platform dragging an ice cream cone. You’ve never seen three people laugh so hard. We were practically doubled over. I’m sure everyone else thought we were nuts. We were very supportive, yelling out “You got this, bro!” to the rat. His resolve was impressive. I tried to get a photo but it turned out too blurry. I blame my phone and not the moonshine cocktails.

A 'stormy moon' moonshine cocktail from The Strand Smokehouse.

A ‘stormy moon’ moonshine cocktail from The Strand Smokehouse.

On Monday we were up and out bright and early and made our way down to Cafe Cluny in the West Village, a place that had been on my ‘must-eat-in-NYC list’ for years. Yes, I have an actual list. Lists are cool. Cafe Cluny did not disappoint. It’s a pretty bistro with good service and I would describe the breakfast sandwich I had as “transcendent.” That’s a high compliment considering that I view myself as a breakfast sandwich expert. Full and caffeinated, shopping was next on our list. We made sure to stop by some of our favourites on Broadway: Bloomingdales, Sabon (their musk body gel polish is my obsession) and Uniqlo (where I pretty much bought all of the underwear based on MM’s recommendation and she was right – Uniqlo has the best underwear!!!). I also made sure to stop into Madewell to buy a new pair of jeans. I had noticed that one of my favourite bloggers always has the best jeans and in one post she broke down some of her favourite outfits and she basically lives in Madewell skinny jeans. I bought this pair and have been living in them ever since.

I mentioned above how beautiful the weather was. The first three days we spent in NYC were unseasonably warm, with temperatures in the low-to-mid 20s and lots of sunshine. It was amazing. Being able to sit outside at night having a drink(s) on a patio made it feel like we had stumbled into bonus summer. After all that shopping we were ready for a cold beer and stopped in at Houston Hall, a massive brewpub on West Houston. Afterwards we went up to the High Line because we were in the neighbourhood and it was also on my list. The combination of gorgeous weather and the Columbus Day holiday drew the crowds to the High Line so we didn’t spend too much time up there but I got some great photos. Right under the entrance to the High Line is hands down one of my favourite places in NYC: The Biergarten at the Standard Hotel. I fell in love with this place on my last visit and it was just as great as I remembered. How it works is you purchase beer tickets at a kiosk and then order your beer at the bar and then you drink the beer. Got it? Good. They also have food like ginormous pretzels. The perfect place to enjoy a drink on a nice day. Everyone was attractive. Bonus: There’s also a photobooth downstairs near the washrooms so you can have photographic proof that your lipstick didn’t hold up and your bangs do a weird thing when you don’t blow-dry your hair.

High Line and Beer Hall

A few photos from atop the High Line and one of my favourite places in New York: the Biergarten at The Standard Hotel.

For dinner I had a made a reservation to celebrate sister’s 30th birthday at The Stanton Social on the Lower East Side. This restaurant is run by the same people who run LAVO, one of my favourite restaurants in Las Vegas (you can read about my last Vegas trip here). The menu is built around sharing plates, and sweet fancy Moses the food was ah-mazing. I loved everything. Between the three of us we shared coconut curry samosas, potato and goat cheese pierogies, french onion soup dumplings, philly cheese steak sliders (SO GOOD), a pizzetta, scallops and a few more dishes that I’m forgetting because at that point I slipped into a delightful coma from which I wish I had never woken. I highly recommend this restaurant for a fancy dinner out.

A short walk later we were at Arlene’s Grocery, a casual (some would say divey) bar that I loved because it reminded me of The Horseshoe and Sweaty Betty’s in Toronto, two bars where, frankly, I spent most of my 20s and did nothing I regret. Sister had to work the next day so MM and I went for a nightcap at The Wren on Bowery Street in the East Village.


Me and the birthday girl at Arlene's Grocery.

Me and the birthday girl at Arlene’s Grocery.

On Tuesday MM had a mission to get breakfast from Brooklyn Bagel which is actually in Astoria (there are other locations around the city as well). I’m not a fan of bagels but MM swore they were amazing. I got a pumpernickel bagel with dill and cucumber cream cheese. The bagel was huge and soft and the cream cheese had actual chunks of cucumber. Absolutely delicious. Afterwards we strolled around Brooklyn for a bit to do some shopping on Bedford and Berry Streets and to soft stalk Hilary Duff who was filming episodes of her show Younger. Alas, despite passing a film set that we were pretty sure was Younger, we didn’t spot Hilary. Boo.

Loved this building in Brooklyn.

Loved this building in Brooklyn.

After Brooklyn we made our way to Union Square so that I could drop some coin at Nordstrom Rack. It’s basically Winners but with better designer labels and well organized. I love that they organize their clothes by designer. Actually, I just love everything about Nordstrom Rack. I left with an amazing blue sweater and new Paige jeans for $50. After shopping we decided that on vacation in NYC it’s always Happy Hour. We went to the Galway Hooker for a pint and then hit up a happy hour nearby at Agave. Six dollar margaritas and two dollar samosas and tacos were calling our name. Neither disappointed. Our next stop was The Upright Brewhouse, known for their great craft beer list. This day officially became the most day drinking I’ve ever done outside of Las Vegas. Which explains why I took this random photo of my “dream house.” Mostly I just wanted to nap because this looked like the kind of house that would have a high threadcount on their sheets.

West Village House

Oh NYC dream house, I will never find you again because day drinking.

By this time the sun was setting and it was time to go to Long Island City for trivia night at the Alewife. Sadly, Team ‘Canadians’ lost but I won at life because I ordered the cheese plate from Murray’s Cheese Shop. Not photographed because I inhaled it like it was my job. After trivia we took a stroll along the waterfront.

Long Island City

Trivia night and the view from Long Island City.

On our last day in NYC we made sure to stop into Brooklyn Bagel again. This time I got the bacon and chive cream cheese and hand to God if it was legal to marry a dairy product I would’ve done it. We then made our way to Macy’s where it was already Christmas and I hated everyone. Admittedly, the holiday display (right now it was just on one floor) was beautiful but Macy’s is so hectic and I can’t be in there for more than 15 minutes without feeling stabby.

It was already Christmas at Macy's. And check out this old wooden escalator!!

It was already Christmas at Macy’s. And check out this old wooden escalator!!

We spent our last few hours in NYC doing what we do best: shopping. We went to the Rego Park Centre and I tried on everything at Century 21 and bought nothing. This never happens. I was probably thinking about the terrible exchange rate and the carry-on suitcase that I needed to fit everything into for the trip home.

And that was it. We bid adieu to NYC and I never stop thinking about that bacon cream cheese. It haunts my dreams.

Bits & Pieces

Happy Friday!

This week I got to meet one of my favourite bloggers, Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess. She read a few chapters from her latest book – Furiously Happy – and I was more than happy to wait in line to meet her and have her sign my copy, which I immediately went home and read late into night. Luckily, I had my work wife with me which helped pass the time while we waited to meet the hilarious and adorable Jenny. I also went to New York last week and will post about that soon.

This weekend I’m attending an Oktoberfest-themed party and a few friends and I will be venturing to Toronto’s east end to collect a few more stamps on our Craft Beer Passports.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend! Here are some bits and pieces that made my week:

  • This guy lived like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week. My favourite bit: “They taste alright but they looked like they’d already done a round through someone’s digestive tract. Not for Instagram.”
  • I heard this song while sitting at a bar in Astoria last week and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. Love it.

Bits & Pieces

Well, it’s officially fall. I refuse to stop wearing sandals and I’m pretty sure I’ve become allergic to pants but it’s definitely fall. Luckily this week saw an easy transition into what is admittedly my favourite season even though I always resist it a first. Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Here are some bits and pieces that made my week:

  • Britney Spears pranks some bodyguards.
  • A book that combines my love of cleaning and organizing with my love of all things Japan? BUYING!
  • And speaking of Ryan Reynolds again, how handsome is he strolling through the Toronto airport on his way to TIFF?! The answer? Very.
  • Khloe and the cookie jars. I love her so hard.







Bits & Pieces

Happy Friday!

I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic week. I took Tuesday off of work and left the city to go to an adventure park with some friends. We played mini golf, went through a maze, perfected (ha) our archery skills and even did some wall climbing (my arms are still yelling at me, and I barely made it 1/3 of the way up). This week also saw the return of the CNE to Toronto. I love the CNE so so much. I spend way too much money and eat way too many tiny tom donuts. I’m already excited to go back next week. Fun fact: Monday through Thursday you can enter the CNE for $6 after 5 pm. I usually go two or three times on this price because I prefer to spend my money on pierogies and also the crowds on the weekends can be a little intense.

Here are some bits and pieces that made my week:

  • Working on improving your health? 5 questions you should ask yourself. And one of them isn’t: what is the number to call to have a breakfast burrito delivered to my face every morning. Shocking!
  • I want ALL of these greeting cards inspired by Friends. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how often I use #7 in every day conversation.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Bits & Pieces

Happy Friday!

On deck for me this weekend is hitting up the Art Gallery of Ontario, eating an almost alarming amount of dumplings and attending a baby shower. How is it already August 7?!?! Summer is going by too fast! Wishing you all an amazing weekend.

Here are some bits and pieces that made my week.

  • House-guest anxiety: it’s a real thing. In my case, it manifests as waking up at the crack of dawn (even if I didn’t hit the sack ’til the wee hours) and being overly perky to my hosts which leaves them annoyed and me exhausted. In my real life I can barely be bothered to put on a bra before 11 a.m. on a weekend and I’m pretty much a monster before coffee any day of the week.
  • Meditation tips for the busy mind. I laughed at the part about making grocery lists. My mind always wanders to grocery lists during meditation, which is particularly funny given that I maybe grocery shop like once a month and almost never cook.
  • Inside my best friend’s – err…Taylor Swift’s – apartment. Sigh. Dreamy. I need to weasel my way into her squad. Perhaps when she tires of being surrounded by models and actresses, and is wanting to add a wise-ass brunette with a penchant for warm purse beers to her crew.
  • Common mistakes travelers make in Japan. This is also my way to not-at-all-subtly work in the fact that I’ve been to Japan. In case I haven’t mentioned it 18,375 times.
  • This article will help you make me jam. Or help you make you jam that I will steal. Whatever.