Friday Explorations

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Taking a much needed day off today! It’s been a while since I took time off during the week and I almost forgot what it’s like to be off when most people are at work.

When I first moved to Toronto, I worked from home quite a bit, so it was nice to have a flexible schedule and be able to take some days off when I had worked a lot during the week. It’s nice to explore the city, visit your favorite stores or your local coffee shop without the weekend madness!

I made sure I started this rare Friday off in the best way possible – at The Drake Hotel. This past year, The Drake Hotel has really become a weekend staple. They have an amazing and inexpensive brunch menu plus they make everything homemade from scratch. They just began serving a new brunch and lunch menu with more seasonal dishes, which all seem incredibly tasty. I had Nona’s Frittata this morning, it was incredibly hearty and delicious!

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What made my Friday even 10x better was receiving a lovely package from one of my favorite jewelry designers in LA – COMMUNION by Joy! So stoked on this cute handmade rose gold ear stud! I rarely wear earrings since I’m allergic to anything that isn’t real gold, so this beautiful unique piece will without a doubt become my daily go-to piece!

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What do you usually do when you get a day off? What are you up to this weekend?

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Photos by @Offner

Public Butter grey beanie

The Kooples Faux Python Embossed Boots (get them here)

Zara structured grey coat (get it here)

Malorie Urbanovitch knee high socks

M for Mendocino spotted romper

COMMUNION by Joy Warrior 14k rose gold ear stud

Aldo Parella bag (get it here)

Summer Weather #DailyOutfit

Happy Monday everyone! What did you all get up to this weekend? It was so beautiful out this weekend in Toronto! I couldn’t resist hitting up one of my favorite places for brunch on Saturday – The Drake Hotel for some delicious post-run grub (look at the beautiful flowers I found on my run this weekend)! This place really does have the best brunch selection. My current fav: the scrabbled burrito! What’s also amazing, are their homemade blueberry scones! The Drake has definitely become one of my favorites for many reasons including their rooftop patio, which is just perfect for the summer and also the fact they play some of the best Canadian music!

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Pretty excited about finally wearing skirts without stockings! I particularly loved this pairing between my stellar new Modern Vice boots and my Zara Batick skirt!

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Photos by @Offner

Modern Vice custom Oxblood Dove Bootie (similar one here)

Zara Batik Mini Skirt

Karl Lagerfeld ’7′ Beveled Bezel Bracelet Watch (get it here)

Biko Rena Ring Necklace (get it here)

Uranium White Stripes tee

Health Kick #DailyOutfit

These days I’m on a really big health and running kick. I blame the warmer weather and also the loads of docs and shows I’ve been checking out lately. And maybe it’s also because I’m inevitably getting older?

I’ve been running 3-4x a week, trying to get all the fresh air that I can get. Though I don’t run very long, I average 5-7K a run, I’ve been improving my times significantly these past couple of weeks, which is always a good feeling. There’s nothing I love more than going for a beautiful run in the evening during the week or in the morning on the weekend on the Lakeshore Trail. I love looking at the boats, the action on the waterfront, the beautiful trees that are in bloom right now and just enjoy the peaceful scenery. I love following that up on the weekend with either a yummy brunch in Parkdale or Queen West or grabbing a tea and snack at a coffee shop or one of my newest discoveries – Bolt Fresh Bar. Their Açai Energy Bowl is to die for and all of their smoothies and juices are absolutely delicious. I think I’m officially obsessed!

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Speaking of the outdoors, I love finally being able to take more outfit photos outdoors and no longer freezing my butt off. So great!

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Photos by @Offner

Urban Outfitters bleu and grey southwestern print skinnies 

Target beige ankle boots 

Karen London Gypsy Ring (get it here)

Zara TRF oversized grey tee 

Biko Neon Blue Colby necklace (get it here)

Forever 21 Bleached demin vest

Miami Vice

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I got a much needed with break from winter last month when I spent a few days in one of my favorite long weekend destinations: Miami. As expected, the sunshine and heat was there to welcome us. Here are a few things worth your time on your next visit:

1 – Standard Miami Beach

We spent our first 24hrs at the Standard Hotel located on one of the islands in Miami Beach. I loved their remote location because it was far removed from the noisy south beach strip yet still close enough to restaurants, entertainment, etc. I absolutely loved everything about my experience at the hotel. The lobby was beautiful (loved the ping pong and foosball table), the room was simple yet super comfy, the gardens were lush, the pool had a superb view as the hotel is located right on the water, the restaurant (especially the brunch!!!) was delicious, the spa was super relaxing, the juice bar was a nice little touch and I loved all the activities they had available for guests (SUP, Yoga, etc.). I recommend booking a spa treatment with them even if you’re just going for the day. You’ll be able to do their steam rooms, saunas, etc. afterwards and will also have access to their pool. It’s also really fun to walk around from one island to the other since you’re already on one of them (Belle Isle to be exact!). It’s so fun to see all the beautiful homes and boats on each island.

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2 – Joe’s Stone Crab

Make sure you check out this South Beach institution, whether you’re a fan of stone crab or not, it’s totally worth the experience. It’s first come first served so either show up right at 5pm or be prepared to wait 2-3hrs, which is what we did but was well worth it. The restaurant is absolutely humungous and so is their food. But everything that they make and serve is made in house or caught fresh. I recommend ordering some stone crab, wearing the bib, also ordering a few side dishes and a homemade dessert to enjoy the full experience.

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3 – Renting a scooter

Everyone rides around in a scooter in Miami. It’s a super cheap way to get around not only South Beach but also Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Beach, etc. There are many places to rent scooters, we rented ours from Beach Scooter Rentals, on Washington ave. just below 14th ave. They have more than one location in South Beach. We got a cool looking Vespa for $80 USD for 24hrs that came with two helmets (no one wears a helmet in Miami!!) and a lock. We even got to take it to our apartment overnight. What’s amazing about having a scooter is that it costs $5 to fill up the tank of gas! Having a scooter allowed us to explore the area a lot more!

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4 – Miami Watersports Paradise

@Offner and I are always looking for fun activities to do when we travel. For a while now, he’s been wanting to go wakeboarding and while we were at Otentic (the best French restaurant in Miami! Check out the dessert platter below – bonjour le Café Gourmand!! You have to go check out their new location!!), the owner told us about a buddy of his that owned a watersport company right at the pier. So we hit him up for a two hour session. What’s great is that you don’t really need to bring anything other than your bathing suit. He gives you a life jacket, the board and teaches you how to do it. He’s really patient and super friendly. Not only did we get to do some amazing wakeboarding (it was my first time and I’m now hooked!!), he also gave us a super cool tour of the islands in his boat. It was really special because it was just the instructor, Offner and I! He also offers wakesurfing classes, tubing, etc. So much fun!!

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5 – The Beach

No matter how many times I go to Miami, the thing I love the most is the beach. The clear warm water, the tropical fish you see when you’re swimming, the long stretches of sand, the boardwalk… it’s perfect! Even in mid-February, the water was in the high seventies. A little chilly to get in, but once you’re in, it’s super refreshing. Swimming in the ocean has always been my favorite thing to do ever since I was a kid. I would spend my entire day in the water playing games, paddling around, swimming laps, etc. I think I’ve always stayed a kid at heart because the ocean still brings me so much joy. If you’re going to Miami, the beach will most likely be where you will want to spend most of your time. You will also definitely want to invest in either buying, brining or renting a parasol if you’re going between April-November. It gets REALLY hot on the beach!

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The more I go to Miami, the more I love it! Yes, there’s the very show off, lound music, crazy side to the city but there’s also a much quieter, local kind of vibe that you get if you explore a bit. Can’t wait to be back!!

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Punch Of Red #DailyOutfit

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent a rare weekend in Toronto and it was a gorgeous one! Nothing quite like going for brunch on the weekend. I discovered a new spot in Little Portugal called Bivy, owned by a lovely French man. I had a great tartiflette quiche and a yummy homemade almond croissant. Cute little spot, tasty food and good prices!

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Like most Torontonians, I went to check out this year’s CNE yesterday. Though it seems like the perfect day-trip for kids, as an adult it’s a pretty pricey outing! $16 per person admission fee, $22 for two rides (I recommend skipping the Euroslide, looks rad from far but you barely make it all the way down) and $5+ for games! The food building is always a trip though. I actually resisted the temptation of getting any deep fried mac n’ cheese balls or deep fried mars bars… After my cleanse last week, I figured it wouldn’t be the best thing 😉 My favorite part of the afternoon – meeting the Alpacas!! They have the best hairdos!! Nevertheless, we had a fun afternoon in the sun, walking around and enjoying the sights! The Ex is on until September 2nd, a bunch of Canadian bands are playing so check out the schedule!

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For today’s outfit, I’m wearing punches of red – red plaid shirt, red belt and my rad red and gold spike boots!

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Zara black and white striped tee (similar one here)

H&M felt-print black cut off shorts (similar ones here)

Zara gold stud plaid shirt (similar one here)

TOPSHOP arrow necklace

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Biko Third Eye bracelet (get it here)

Zara red studded ankle boots 

Sunny New York

This weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New York City in between work trips. I couldn’t have gotten better weather for the weekend! I love going to New York all year round because I really feel that the city has something to offer every season!

I started off my trip by finally meeting the two lovely ladies of Lionette. Noa and Vanessa were real sweethearts. They showed me around their office, gave me a preview of some upcoming projects and also took me to eat some delicious thai food (thanks ladies! yum!). I’ve rarely met such driven young women who are focused and know exactly what they want and how to run a business. It’s no wonder their line has been doing so well all over the world! Their creations have already been on the covers of countless magazines and have been worn by celebrities and popular bloggers around the US. If you haven’t already, make sure you take a few minutes to check out their lovely designs, I guarantee you will fall in love with them!

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As most people who travel to New York, I love trying out new restaurants every time I go. Since I was staying in the West Village this time, I had the opportunity to try out some great little cafés, restaurants and new bars. My favorite place for brunch this weekend was a little Belgian restaurant called Petite Abeille. A random fact about me, my name in Greek means little honey bee, which is English for Petite Abeille 🙂 When I worked as a camp counselor, I had picked “bee/abeille” as my camp name. For several years, a received a lot of bee “swag” from the kids at the camp and also from fellow co-workers. Getting back to the café though, my friend Loulou and I tried their tartines, which is a traditional Belgian brunch item. They were delicious! They basically puréed some veggies, spread it on a toast with butter and served it with a side salad. Yummy!

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I spent a lot of  time this past weekend walking and exploring the West Village and also spent an afternoon in Williamsburg walking around Bedford Street and on the waterfront. There was a great outdoor food market taking place right by the waterfront on Saturday afternoon featuring lot’s of local vendors plus tons of organic and vegetarian food. I’m not quite sure how often the mini market happens, but it’s definitely worth checking out. The waterfront is also looking lovely now that the renovations are almost done.

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Since I was in the neighbourhood, I had to stop by the Verameat store. Though I wasn’t able to catch Vera herself, her lovely store assistant Elizabeth helped me pick out some new Verameat friends including two new rings: mystery hugs & vampire crown. I also bought my boyfriend a two headed t-rex necklace that I will probably also borrow once in a while 😉

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After a great afternoon spent in Williamsburg, it was back to Manhattan to see one of the artists I used to work with while I was working at Indica Records: Kim Churchill. He was playing the legendary Town Hall theater right around Times Square. I’m so proud of how far Kim has come along since I first started working with him over three years ago. His career is in full bloom and I have no doubt that he will become very successful! If ever you’re in the mood for some great folk-pop, like a guy who can shred on acoustic guitar and a one-man band, check him out:

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I spent my last day in New York going for an amazing 8k run on the Hudson River all the way to Battery Park. It was so nice to see all the trees in bloom. Loulou was a great running partner. We also spent time on the rooftop of the building where we were staying, what a view! New York City is definitely one of the prettiest cities out there!

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On my last night, I attended the first taping of a brand new web-based up and coming late night show put on but a bunch of young media professionals. Appropriately called Late Night New York, this 1hr late show taped in front of a small live audience hopes to promote art, activism, music & culture. Their first guests were really interesting! Check them out on Facebook to see when the next taping will be taking place.

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A big thank you to my lifelong friend Loulou, who is always the best host. Growing up we did everything together and even tried to convince people we were sisters. We’ve been friends for 27 years now and I feel truly lucky to have her in my life!

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To see more pictures from my trip, you can check out my instagram feed: http://instagram.com/melsays

Thanks for the memories! Till next time New York!!

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