Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Style At Home – May Roundup

The May issue of Style At Home is bringing in the summer! It makes me feel like we’re this close to summer when I see articles and photos about outdoors spaces. Yay!
Within the first few pages I saw a really fun and easy DIY by Jessica Waks that I want to try out – fabric covered flower pots! So smart. I mean, who doesn’t have some less-than-stellar looking pots and some nice fabric remnants hanging around?? Seems like an easy fix now, doesn’t it!Fabric covered pots
Lindsay Mens Craig (an intern turned designer for Sarah Richardson) decorated her 800-square-foot condo in downtown Toronto by mixing and matching styles, colours, and textures…and it all works together! My favourite spaces are her dining room and bedroom.
The dining room is a nook in the living room (as it goes with most condos in Toronto!), but it’s well-defined. The sparkle on the chair legs and pedestal base as well as the glass table top really make the the space feel airy. I love it.Lindsay Mens Craig dining area
I love all of the contrasting textures in her bedroom! Lindsay Mens Craig bedroom
This kitchen and office space are from the home of Vancouver-ite, Effie Genovese, and was created with the help of Jim Bussey from Formwerks Architectural.
I love the cabinetry  in here. There's a mix and match of solid and mirrored, which is a nice way to bounce light around the room. The mouldings are also great, as is the large island and pendants above it.Parisian Kitchen Island
Parisian Kitchen

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Restaurant Crash: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

I got a new position in a new department at work, so to celebrate my friend Gary took me out for dinner at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. It was the first time there for both of us and we were very impressed!IMG_1477

We ordered these two drinks when we sat down. Mine on the left, Gary’s on the right. I can’t remember what they were called, but mine had ginger in it and Gary’s at chillies! Mildred's Temple Kitchen drinks

Here was our menu. It was a four course meal and I took some photos because the menu looked delicious and the food was very well presented. We substituted the gnocchi poutine for a beet salad because the poutine was made with beef gravy and I don’t eat mammals.IMG_1454Mildred's Temple Kitchen - food collage

As you can see on the menu, the fourth course was dessert. The waitress poured the espresso over top and I dug right in… about halfway through I realized I didn’t get a photo. Oh well…I’m not even sorry lol it was delicious!

The decor inside was really cool. One of my friends described it as a swanky cafĂ© and I think I’d have to agree. It was very contemporary and minimal. Even the bathrooms were cool. Check out the photos!IMG_1457





Have you ever eaten here? Does this restaurant remind you of any others in Toronto?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Electrical Outlet-less

When I first came to see my apartment it was basically an empty box. The owners had just bought the place a month before and told me to come to the viewing with an “open mind”. I was definitely feeling a time crunch and ended up agreeing to live here based on what they said they would do renovation-wise (side note: the agreement was completely verbal, because while I’m trusting, I’m not totally crazy). I came by every week for the next 3 weeks to make sure good progress was being made on the renovations. I signed my lease a few days before moving in (there were just a few slight finishing touches they needed to work on) and got my stuff ready to move on a Saturday. I brought in my first load of boxes and placed them in the living room. I was showing a couple of my friends (who were helping me move – very nice friends!!) around the place when I noticed there were no outlets in the kitchen. Not a single one.  What the….?? I would’ve expected to see 2-3 outlets on the backsplash – 1 to the right of the sink, 1 between the sink and oven, and maybe one between the oven and the fridge.

So I called down the landlords. They’re a married couple – she’s pretty young (my age) and he’s.. I dunno.. late thirties? Anyhow, her brother did all the kitchen and bathroom renovations while her husband did all of the cosmetic stuff (painting, etc). If you just groaned at the very likely sketchy nature of my electrical work – you are. not. alone. I asked them where my kitchen outlets were and they just looked on, as dumbfounded as I was lol. Then she said, “Well can’t you just use one of the outlets in the living room?” Uh…no. Dear readers, how many small kitchen appliances do you have on your counter? Probably a microwave, a toaster and a coffee maker/kettle, right? How about all of those other small appliances? A blender, stand/hand mixer, food processor, waffle maker, slow cooker… the list goes on. While my landlords are very nice, I firmly let them know no outlets in the kitchen was a total deal breaker and if they want to ensure good quality tenants in the future (not people who are okay with plopping their microwave on the floor in the living room), they should fix this issue now.

Within 3 days, an electrician came by to scope out the job of adding outlets. I eavesdropped on his and my landlord’s conversation. According to the electrician, the electrical work definitely was not up to code and is shoddy work at best, as I (and probably you) had suspected. The lesson here is to definitely get a proper electrician!! I creepily took this picture of the unknowing electrician while he was drilling a hole in my wall… muahahah!
Electrician at work

The electrician originally planned to add in 3 outlets, but couldn’t make that happen. I ended up with one outlet (2 plugs) between the sink and oven that is on its own dedicated line and is grounded. It’s definitely an improvement, but I think this is a case where it would’ve been worth the extra cost to do it right  (with a licenced electrician) the first time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend Getaway

Kevin and I left work a bit early on Friday to head to Niagara Falls for the weekend – it’s about 1.5-2hrs southwest of Toronto. We got a Teambuy deal for a hotel for 2 nights for $69 (sah-weeeeet!) and then an R-Deals deal for wine tastings for 2 at 4 different wineries (and a chocolate factory) for $39! Great deals all around.

The first night we took a stroll around the Falls. I’d never seen them at night before. This is the only shot I managed to get that was overpowered by the crazy mist.
Niagara Falls at Night
The next day we did our tours. The four wineries were Joseph’s Estate Wines, Caroline Cellars, Riverview Cellars, and Reif Estate Winery. We also visited Chocolate F/X and a Peanut store. The way the tour was set up was pretty awesome – a mini bus picked us up from our hotel, then drove us to each of the locations, and then dropped us back off at the hotel. Kevin’s not a wine fan (except ice wine because it’s super sweet) so I drank most of his reds and whites and he drank most of my ice wines.
Tour Bus

In terms of decor, I liked Reif Estate Winery the best. It was definitely the most luxe among the group. I’d been looking forward to going there for a few months because I had some red wine at a friend’s house in the winter that came from this winery and they don’t sell it in the LCBO (pretty much the only store where people from Ontario can buy wine) so I wanted to buy a couple bottles. The wine was Gamay Cabernet if anyone’s interested – it’s delicious! Reif also had the best ice wine out of the wineries we visited. I think the Niagara Region produces most of the world’s ice wine. It’s definitely the wine I associate most with that area. The grapes for ice wine are harvested in the winter, creating an incredibly sweet wine – a dessert wine. Reif’s ice wine was the most mellow (I didn’t give that sample to Kevin lol) so I bought a bottle of that too.
Niagara Falls April 2012

In terms of the actual tastings, Caroline Cellars had it going on! They give each person a list of their wines and let you choose 4 from the list. I’ve done wine tastings at several wineries and this was the first place that let me choose my samples. So Kevin and I (mostly me lol) went down the list and chose 2 samples each of reds, whites, Rieslings, and ice wines. 

Here’s the wine I added to my collection:
  1. Caroline Cellars Riesling Late Harvest 2008 – 500mL
  2. Joseph’s Estate Wines Late Harvest Vidal 2008 – 375mL
  3. Riverview Cellars Fontana Dolce 2010 Vintage – 750mL
  4. Reif Estate Winery Gamay Cabernet 2011 – 750mL x 2 bottles
  5. Reif Estate Winery Vidal Ice Wine 2010 – 200mL
I haven’t bought this much sweet wine at one time since my university days when I’d buy 1.5L of strawberry Zinfandel for my Friday nights out… so classy!

The tour bus also stopped at Chocolate F/X. A guide explained to us how the chocolate is made and the shipping processes. Most of the chocolate gets sent to third party retailers who wrap the chocolate in their own brand’s labels. The sample set up here was awesome. It was basically Bulk Barn, but free... And ALL CHOCOLATE!!!
kid in a candy store

It got pretty crazy up in the sample section for a good 5-10 minutes. There were about 20 of us on the tour and there was no lining up whatsoever…everyone just rushed the chocolate. It was hilarious.

That night we went downtown for dinner and stopped by for some photos

On Sunday we did a bit of shopping at an outlet mall near our hotel. I bought a new pair of running shoes, which I have been needing for way too long. My old pair had no more cushioning and a hole in the right shoe!

Have you been to the Falls lately? Maybe for a little cross-border shopping…
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