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)

5 Things to Do in Los Angeles

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1) Handboarding. Instead of surfing, next time you go to LA, try handboarding! One of the biggest handboarding companies and shapers is located right in Venice Beach. The company is called SLYDE Handboards and is run by the raddest couple – Steve Watts & Angela Ferendo. Steve, the founder and CEO of the company is originally from South Africa and has been shaping handboards for years. After traveling the world, he obtained a degree in product design and now is the leader of an amazing community of handboarders across the world. Their shop is located right off the Venice Beach boardwalk. They are always willing to initiate new people to the sport by taking them out in the water nearby.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI had the chance to get in the water twice with them, while I was in LA in August and it was one of the most enjoyable activities I’ve done in a while. It’s thrilling to be able to catch a wave and propel yourself into it, while kicking with your fins and letting yourself glide with the handboard. Hanging out with Steve & Angela, we also met other locals who are involved in the sport. There’s definitely a nice community of friendly handboarders growing in Southern California, Florida and other parts of the world. I am a big fan of their boards, all of their graphics are made with artists from around the world and the boards themselves are designed with the best materials. They also have boards for everyone from beginners to pros. Highly recommend stopping by their shop (you’ll also get to meet their beautiful dog Cowboy!!), getting in the water and trying out handboarding. Guaranteed stoke!

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2) Stay at The LINE Hotel. There are so many hotels always opening up in Los Angeles but I would say that one of the latest and greatest hotels that’s opened up in downtown LA is hands down The LINE Hotel. Located in Koreatown to be exact, The LINE Hotel is a new hotel collaboration between Roy Choi (the Korean American chef that create the famous Kogi food truck in LA), The Houston Brothers, Sean Knibb and Poketo. The hotel itself is located in a mid-century building that has been transformed to offer the coolest modern rooms with the dreamiest views of the Hollywood Hills. In addition to the amazing rooms, they have the nicest rooftop pool and restaurant called Commissary. I’ve talked about Commissary before in one of other blogs here. It’s special because it’s a little garden oasis in the middle of the busy cityscape. Pot and the Pot Lobby Bar is renown for it’s delicious Korean food. The customer service at the hotel is fantastic and the rooms are pretty affordable. I could wake up there every day…

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3) Explore the coast. One of my favorite things to do while in Los Angeles is exploring all the different little cities and neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles. I love driving around the coast, parking the car and exploring all the gems in the area. I’ve found so many amazing shops, restaurants and communities thanks to just wandering around up and down the coast. If driving isn’t your thing, you can also explore a lot of the coast by just renting a bike for the day. The Strand or The Marvin Braude Bike Trail starts at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades and goes as far south as Torrance Beach, south of Redondo Beach. The 26-mile path can be done with a bike, skateboard, rollerblades or whatever your heart desires. It’s a beautiful way to get to know the area better. The view is just so incredible and it’s super freeing to ride a bike instead of being stuck in traffic with a car. Many people take The Strand to commute every day to and from work if they live close to the ocean.

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4) Visit the Sunset Marquis. Whether for a drink, a bite to eat, a day at the spa or even to just enjoy their two pools, the Sunset Marquis is a classic Hollywood hotel that just doesn’t go out of style. There are many things that still make the hotel so special. I personally love all the rock memorabilia and photographs that you can find all around the hotel. The Morrison Hotel Gallery at the entrance of the hotel is also filled with iconic rock photographs. Bar 1200 is a small and private bar that makes you feel right at home. They offer classic drinks and always have the best music playlist. Plus, they also have a super cozy patio at the front that is dimly lit with small candles. Their restaurant Cavatina is a great place for a lunch, a meeting or a mid-day snack. Their menu focuses on local California products and is creative but also affordable. Relaxing by the pool after getting a spa treatment is also quite special. If you’re willing to spend the cash, I’d have you know that the rooms are incredibly lush and comfortable. I haven’t slept that well in a hotel in a while!

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5) Shop at The Kooples & Anine Bing. It’s impossible for me not to mention my two new favorite stores in LA. The Parisian brand The Kooples, finally made it’s big west coast entrance this summer, which a luxurious and enormous marble-floored shop on S Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The shop is split into two sections, they have both their men’s and women’s collection in the store. I had discovered this French rock n’ roll band two years ago while in Paris and have been coveting every collection since. Shopping at The Kooples is a unique experience.

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Those who’ve been following my blog, know how obsessed I am with all-things Anine Bing. The lovely designer recently opened up her first shop in Los Angeles on West 3rd Ave. in Beverly Hills. It so happened that I was in town the day her flagship store opened and got to be one of the first ones to shop her new collection. It’s also always such a pleasure to see Anine, she’s such an inspiring woman. I have so much respect for what she does. What I love about her new shop is that it’s bright, modern and minimalistic. All of the items from her current collection can be found at the shop. I love Anine’s passion for flowers and candles, it adds a little personalized touch to the shop. Everyone at the shop is incredibly nice and helpful. An added bonus, it’s located right next to the FONUTS bakery 😉 If you want a nice personalized shopping experience and are looking for rocker meets bohemian threads, you’ve got to stop by the shop!

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5 Food Discoveries in Los Angeles

Here’s the first of a series of blogs I’ll be posting on my recent trip to Los Angeles. The theme for this blog is FOOD! If you’ve ever traveled to Los Angeles before, you know that there are always new restaurants opening up in every part of the city. One of the things I love most about traveling is trying out new restaurants everywhere I go. I’ve been vegetarian for over 12 years now and contrary to what most people think, I can eat just about everywhere (especially when traveling to California, where there are so many vegetarian-friendly dishes on all the menus!). I’d definitely say I’m an epicurean vegetarian! Here are 5 food discoveries I made while in LA earlier this month:

1) Fōnuts. Yes, there’s no typo here, fōnuts and not donuts. Fōnuts are donuts but better! Here’s why: they’re not fried, they are baked and/or steamed and come in so many incredible flavors, many of which are gluten-free and vegan. I first heard of fōnuts through Instagram and have been obsessively following their feed for the last couple of months, promising myself I’d check them out next time in LA. And that I did… not only once… or even twice, but three times! And boy was I not disappointed. I’d say, I became mildly obsessed with their baked goods while I was there. The thing I love most about them is that they use fresh and natural ingredients in every fōnut and they are made in-house daily. I love the “cake-like” taste & texture and the clever combination of flavors. They’re also not too filling as a result of not being fried and have a very different texture. Hands down my two favorites were the “Blueberry Earl Grey” and “Peanut Butter Chocolate“. A must if you’re in the Hollywood area. They’re located on West 3rd street, just at the corner of S. Crescent Heights Blvd.

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2) Gracias Madre. I had been meaning to go to Gracias Madre last summer and then on my trips since but each time, I ended up somewhere else. Gracias Madre’s is all about serving local, organic and vegan food. Three key words that totally attracted my attention when I had first heard of this amazing restaurant. Added bonus: it’s all Mexican food!! But not any kind of Mexican food, Mexican food done with a modern and clever twist. All of the food we ate at Gracias Madre was so incredibly fresh and flavourful! It was just the right amount of spice and all the dishes were very well balanced. The drinks were also so incredibly tasty. I highly recommend sharing a bunch of plates. My favorite appetizer: “Gorditas“, which are potato cakes accompanied by avocado and cashew cream. My favorite main: “El Plato” a dish with butternut squash, cashew cheese and chorizo mushrooms. My favorite dessert: their incredibly yummy “Fudge Brownie” made with salted mezcal caramel. One of the best parts about eating at Gracias Madre, was being on their incredibly beautiful outdoor terrace. It’s decorated with an outdoor fire place, beautiful lights, lanterns and is in the middle of trees and plants. Super romantic! You can make reservations through OpenTable, just make sure you reserve a little while in advance, the place is always busy.

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3) Sqirl. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a better brunch than the one I ate at Sqirl. Sqirl is a small cafe located in the Los Feliz area of LA. It’s packed with young hipsters, businessmen, actors, etc. who all come for their morning coffee, meetings or to just enjoy the incredible food their serve there. They’ve got a few seats inside but also have a great little alcove on the side of their restaurant with a bunch of chairs and tables. What makes Sqirl awesome is not only that everything is made from scratch in-house, including their jams, their almond milk, their hot sauce, etc., it’s also more than just a little cafe. They have an extensive breakfast/brunch and lunch menu that they make fresh in front of your eyes. Everything I tasted there was absolutely to die for! Things you NEED to try when you go to Sqirl: their vanilla bean lemonade, unreal! Also their open faced brioche with kale, tomatillo puree and fried egg. And finally for “dessert” their brioche with homemade jam and freshly milled almond hazelnut butter, WHA?! Take me back now!!

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4) Fig & Olive. A discovery that Offner made while looking for new restaurants to check out in LA. The restaurant has definitely become a city hotspot over the last little while. Located on Melrose Place in West Hollywood, Fig & Olive is a beautiful and classy restaurant. The decoration is sophisticated and so are the people that eat there (or they at least seem to be!). They’ve got a great selection of wine and an interesting choice of plates for dinner. Though a little bit more on the pricier side, the food is delicious, tasty and worth dishing out the extra cash. The fish “Paella del mar” seems to be a favorite among customers, including Offner himself. The thing that I also loved, was their incredibly well presented desert. Good times!

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5) Commissary. You’ll find this little oasis at The Line Hotel, located in Koreatown. The Line Hotel has only been open since the beginning of 2014 and is already attracting people from all over the world and incredibly hype (I will tell you more about the hotel itself on another upcoming blog!). Commissary is located in a greenhouse and is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their entire menu revolves around fruits and vegetables. Though not exclusively a vegetarian restaurant, there are definitely many veggie-friendly dishes. You can either sit at the bar or at one of their beautifully presented tables. The drink menu is original and savoury and so is the food. Another thing that’s super unique about this place, their menu contains no words, just pictures! A clever idea by the one and only chef Roy Choi (founder of the LA Kogi food truck!)! Yup! He’s the one responsible for the remarkably creative menu & space. Totally worth checking out!

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LA LA Land

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Off to LA LA Land this evening for some much needed relaxation and surf time! New travel post to follow after the trip!! I will be updating the blog a little less frequently while I’m away but I’m excited to announce that I’ll be publishing a very special menswear daily outfit series of blogs starting next Tuesday August 19th! I’ll have three different posts coming on the blog next week, so stay tuned! It was a whole lot of fun to dress up my favorite male model – @offner! Can’t wait to share these with you!

Wishing you all a wonderful next couple of days!

Mel xo

Rainy Tuesday #DailyOutfit

Happy Tuesday lovelies!! Sorry for the long overdue post! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Though it was a bit cold I made the best of it by spending lot’s of time walking around Toronto and eating at some of my favorite restaurants in the city!! I made a new restaurant discovery during the weekend in the Distillery District – a place called El Catrin. It’s by far one of the coolest looking restaurants I’ve seen in a while, and probably one of the most unique restaurant decor in Toronto. It reminds me a lot of places you’ll find in LA. El Catrin, serves authentic Mexican food. Though I wasn’t there for a full meal, I did taste their guacamole and had their mojitos and they were absolutely fantastic! I look forward to a future dinner there to be able to post a full review on the blog.

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I received a lovely package from Springsioux (they’ve just updated their website, and it looks badass! You can check it out here) this weekend from Paris. I couldn’t be more stoked to be adding their “melted ring” to my collection!! I’m proudly wearing it today!

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Club Monaco Sonica Double-Knit Legging

Springsioux “melted wide ring” (get it here)

H&M leopard print top (similar one here)

Lionette Gilmore bracelet (to order please go here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Vanessa Mooney Little Ways Gold Bracelet (get it here)

80%20 Callie leather boots

 

 

Spring Denim #DailyOutfit

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a restful and beautiful weekend! Happy to finally be able to bring out some lighter shades of trousers now that the weather is warmer and that it’s more “appropriate” to do so. I got these rad pale denim skinny moto trousers during my last visit to LA. I’m so obsessed with the Anine Bing jeans I had bought last summer that I had to get new pairs and this one seemed perfect for the spring and summer. I’ve never owned too many pairs of light denim but these were just too cool to pass up. Plus, they look awesome with a lot of bright colors!

A little music inspiration to end your day – HAIM! In case you missed their set at Coachella this weekend, you can watch it in full HD –> here.

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 Photos by @Offner

Anine Bing Skinny Jeans Double Zipper – Light Denim (get them here)

Pamela Love x Nine West brick moto booties 

Urban Outfitters neon print poncho 

Biko Jaci Necklace – Lilac (get it here)

Smells Like Spring #DailyOutfit

Don’t you think? Today started off a little cold but it’s definitely FINALLY starting to look a little like spring… Won’t get my hopes up just yet though!!

Can’t believe World MasterCard Fashion Week is upon us again! I’m thrilled to be attending tons of fashion shows this season! Though my Fashion Week will once again be cut short due to some travel plans, I’m beyond excited to be there for a couple of days. After much thinking and planning, I’ve finally got all of my outfits figured out. Can’t wait to show you all! If you’re going to Fashion Week in Toronto, who’s show are you most looking forward to?

Today’s outfit – patterned right x casual black jersey dress x my Anine Bing boots!

Have a great weekend everyone!! xo

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 Photos by @Offner

Anine Bing boots with silver studs (get them here)

Pamela Love High Tide Pendant (get it here)

H&M patterned tights (get them here)

Forever 21 High-Low Lace-Sleeve Dress w/ Belt (get it here)

Zara TRF Combination Biker Jacket

All About The Hat #DailyOutfit

Today’s outfit is all about the hat – the new Anine Bing hat I brought back from my trip to LA. I’ve been lusting over this hat for the past couple of months, so finally to have finally made it a part of my wardrobe. I never thought I’d be a big hat person but I’m finding it to be the perfect accessory. It goes well with pretty much any outfit – whether you’re going for the more rock n’ roll look, a laid back look or even dressy look. It’s also perfect for when it snows or when you don’t feel like dealing with your hair in the morning. Also, this type of hat can really be worn all-year-round. Though this one is from Anine Bing, you can find similar hats at Topshop, Forever 21, H&M, etc. all for under $150, so you don’t have to break the bank. I think it’s definitely worth the investment!

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 Photos by @Offner

Anine Bing Bohemian black hat

Anine Bing knit sweater

Anine Bing Skinny Jeans Double Zipper Black (get them here)

Pamela Love High Tide Pendant (get it here)

Oia Jules Gloss Bracelet (get it here)

Shashi Lilu bracelet (get it here)

Shashi Sam bracelet (get it here)

Oscars Recap

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Tonight was the biggest night in film – the 2014 Academy Awards! I was really excited to follow the action this year having watched many of the nominated films. My favorites going into the evening were definitely Her, The Wolf Of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club. I’ve really renewed my love for films this year thanks to my other half @offner, who’s a major film buff.

I also love seeing all the stars dress up and look their best on the red carpet. I love seeing all the gowns and tuxes, seeing everyone’s hairstyles, nail art, etc. Happy to see a lot of color on the red carpet tonight including a whole lot of ivory for both men and women. Lot’s of nudes and metallics were also seen on women on the red carpet.

Ellen Degeneres was hosting again this year. I think she always does a decent job but always plays it really safe and I felt like this year, she seemed to be stalling or sometimes didn’t even know what to say when she was trying to improve. That said, I liked her sparkly navy suit.

My favorite moments of the night were without a doubt Jared Leto’s speech that kicked off the evening, was perfect and beautiful. Also, Lupita’s speech was very touching! Pink’s simple yet classy performance for the Wizard of Oz tribute was memorable. Also, that hilarious a-list selfie Ellen took was great!

Here are my 3 favorite dresses of the night:

Kate Hudson – words can’t describe how stunning she looked tonight in Versace. Wow! Absolute perfection!!

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Kristin Chenoweth – in beautiful gold Cavalli. Love the shape and texture of the gown!

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Camilla Alves – looked amazing in that pale pink dress. Looks so lovely with her ski tone.

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Honorable mentions also go to Olivia Wilde who looked amazing in her simple black Valentino dress (she probably woke up looking like that ;)) and also Portia de Rossi who’s ivory lace detailed dress looked amazing on her.

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Also, I wanted to talk about the men who looked incredible tonight. Matthew McConaughey looked dashing in his ivory tux. I’m personally not a big Jared Leto fan (can’t stand his doughy attitude) but not only did he give a stellar performance in Dallas Buyers Club but he also looked amazing tonight. Loved that ivory tux, burgundy bow tie and those flowy locks.

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Also, maybe not the boldest tux choice but Joseph Gordon-Levitt looked hella handsome this evening.

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My least favorite outfits were definitely Pharrell Williams who was wearing shorts on the red carpet, so bizarre!! Plus his wife looked awkward in her tux.

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Also never a fan of Anne Hathaway unfortunately. I never understand her dress choices. It looks like she’s wearing some form of bubble wrap from far away. Not a big fan of her fashion choices or personal style.

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Like during many galas, there were a few wtf moments notably – Pharrell’s ridiculous hat making a comeback, Ellen passing out pizza – I mean funny on paper but ended up being a little weird in practice.

What were your favorite and least favorite moments of the night? Who’s gowns did you like and dislike? Let me know! Xo

American Eagle #DailyOutfit

This weekend I watched an amazing documentary on Netflix (between some House of Cards episodes!!) called “Spinning Plates“, which profiles three different restaurants in the US that are each so unique and different but who all get struck by tragedy. The doc reveals how meaningful food can be and how powerful it can be to bring people together. The documentary film has won several awards already and I can see why. A truly touching story, worth watching!

SPINNING-PLATES

Really excited to be going back to LA tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s already been several months since my last trip. It’s crazy how time flies! My upcoming trip can be summarized by the following words: Friends x Surfing x Food x Tattoos x Fashion. Wearing my American Eagle sweater from Topshop to celebrate today. Getting ready to go!!

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 Nasty Gal Shoe Cult Diverge Combat Boot (get it here)

Biko Zenha Spear Necklace (get it here)

Topshop American Eagle sweater 

Topshop black moto baxter jeans (get them here)

Springsioux Lady Muerte ring (get it here)

Rebel & Fuss chief ring