Current Obsessions

“Current Obsessions” is a post of awesome miscellaneous finds that I put together from time to time when my collection of randomness doesn’t seem to lend itself to a particular theme (and/or when my life is too busy to attempt anything more coherent than a peek into my secret “pending awesomeness” pinterest board).  For your viewing pleasure, here are five things currently on my lust list:

wallpaper

1) I’ve blogged about my love of Gray Malin‘s photography previously, and given my fondness for graphic wallpaper, I was pretty stocked to learn that Malin has teamed up with custom wallpaper company Black Crow Studios.  The wallpaper is far from inexpensive (in fact, you can purchase one of Malin’s prints for about half the price), but if you’ve got a luxe surf shack in need of a statement wall, Malin’s beachscapes will be tough to beat.

contour01

2) Cast in solid brass, these Crest Bottle Openers by contemporary design studio Fort Standard are as beautiful as they are functional.  A perfect host gift, these bottle openers should be proudly displayed on a wall or bar cart and would tuck nicely into a picnic basket for those summer days at the park.  Now if only they made six packs of Veuve…brunch tank3) Not to worry folks, this post isn’t all class.  In fact, this BUY ME BRUNCH tank by Fab is anything but.  This angry gorilla is a perfect representation of me after a night out on the town and it might just be awesome enough to put a smile on the hungover faces of those joining you for pancakes. Continue reading

Renovation & Decorating Inspiration

Moving into a new home offers a creative carte blanche and an opportunity to start from scratch to redefine your living space. With my recent move, words could not be more true. I’m dreaming up my domestic utopia and slowly watching these dreams become realized with the help of my super handy father, contractors, and a myriad of design and decorating websites.

If you’ve been through renovations before, then you understand that every single decision feels like a major, life-changing one!  I’ve been reading up on every minuscule detail of my designs and can now sympathize with the difficulties that come along with things like choosing white paint or how many drawers should go into a built-in closet. I thought I’d share some of these websites that have helped me so much.

Houzz

Houzz has been the perfect starting point for each project I undertake. The website is a depository of thousands of pictures related to anything you can dream up around your home. From entire rooms to kitchen cabinets to door mats, there will be thousands of searchable pictures to provide you with design inspiration. I ended up buying a grey leather couch and have been looking at pictures of different coloured rugs to see which I like best to match. Browse by room, item and style and say goodbye to hours at a time!

Houzz-Interior-Design-ideas-screenshot

You can also create ideabooks (I prefer Pinterest for this) and get contractor information (for which I’ve used HomeStar), so there is plenty of functionality on this home design platform.

Apartment Therapy

Once you get an idea of what you like style-wise, I’d make the jump to Apartment Therapy. Like Houzz, Apartment Therapy is a great website with a ton of pictures, but what stands Apartment Therapy apart is the advice it gives you for each design dilemma you may have. On a budget? There’s a post on cheap DIY projects. Have a small kitchen? Apartment Therapy will  show you how to maximize space. Have a yellow couch you love? Let them show you how to best decorate around your statement piece. You get the idea.

apartmenttherapy

Once you’ve figured out your design aesthetic, I love Apartment Therapy’s look-books (pretty sure I’m Happy Modern and Kelly is Eclectic Collector). Continue reading

Hidden Gem: The Old Spaghetti Factory

Remember when Robyn listed Hooters as one of her favourite downtown patios?  Well I’m about to blow your mind again.  You know the Old Spaghetti Factory?  That enormous, kitchy chain restaurant you went with your parents when you were 10 and attending a big event downtown?  Well it just so happens that that very place is one of our FAVOURITE restaurants in the city.

Image(5)

Where else in downtown Toronto can you get immediately seated on a Friday evening for a three course meal accompanied by free flowing wine in a funky, unpretentious environment for under $30???  Nowhere, that’s where.

We first rediscovered the now lovingly named “OSF” a few years ago when trying to find an inexpensive, casual restaurant to meet a big group of friends in a central location close to the financial district but far away from the Bay street crowd.  Half jokingly, I suggested OSF, and it has since become the go to meeting place for friend reunions, girls nights, and in 2013, our pre New Years Eve party dinner (seriously – check out the mirror room and tell me there’s a better location in the city!).

Upon being seated, we routinely order a litre of their cheapest red (which usually rings in around $20) and inform our server that he can keep the bread and garlic butter coming.  My go to order is the spaghetti with spicy meat sauce with a side of mizithra cheese – for $12.75 this generous serving of spaghetti comes with unlimited bread, a side soup or salad and spumoni ice cream for dessert.

photo(82)

Continue reading

Keep Cool as a Cucumber

This week has been a hot one!! My attempts at keeping cool this week have included frequent trips to the Hipster Pool (open until 11:45 each night this week!), margaritas & cervezas galore, and making the swap from my morning brewed coffee to iced coffee; these are the things that are keeping me happy.

Friday is a comin’ and we all deserve a treat, right? I may be known to swap out a nutrition-dense lunch or dinner in favour of gelato or something of a similar chilly variety. This habit has become frequent enough that I feel confident to say that I’ve found the best cold treats in the city. Time to share!

It’s 4:00 somewhere, so whether it’s lunch or dinner, I recommend sneaking into the acclaimed Momofuku Noodle Bar for a booze-filled (and quite deadly) slushie. There are usually two flavours on rotation, and on a recent visit Kelly and I tried both and agreed that the soju slushie is the way to go. Don’t be shy: order the large.

slushie Continue reading

No air conditioning? No problem!

It’s a scorcher out there today and with temperatures showing no sign of dropping this week, I thought it the perfect time to share some tips on how to beat the heat, even if, like me, you’re one of those unlucky souls suffering through the summer without the sweet reprieve of A/C.

Make a DIY air conditioner. Put a metal bowl of salted ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice.  The salt decreases the temperature of the frozen water and as the ice melts, the surrounding air cools and is spread through the room by the blowing fan.  Make reuse even easier by freezing bottles of salted water at a proportion of 70 % water 10% rock salt and 20% air (to allow for expansion), then refreezing every day/night.

Embrace your inner child.  Even if you’re lucky enough to have your own green space, few of us in Toronto have the luxury of a private pool.  If you do have yard though, chances are you have a hose hook up.  Pick up a sprinkler at the nearest hardware store, suit up, and frolick the day away.  Come snack time, visit one of Toronto’s best ice cream shops or cool down with some homemade popsicles (I’m a big fan of pineapple mint) and an adult beverage.

garden-hose-with-sprinkler

Install stick on black out blinds.  Home Depot sells super cheap “Redi Blinds“, which can be cut with sharp scissors or an exacto knife for a custom fit.  Simply peel and stick on the inner edge of the window and block out those house heating rays.  I’ve covered four windows with one $15 package.  They can be clipped up when you want to let the sun in and taken down at the end of the season (or when you have a more permanent sun solution).  If you cut them properly, they actually look like expensive blinds and do wonders to keep sun soaked rooms cool.

Get minty fresh.  The fluorescent lights and general lack of air flow makes the bathroom one of the hottest rooms in my house.  I’ve relocated the hairdryer and my makeup bag to our air conditioned bedroom for the summer months and have taken to showering in the dark.  The bathroom has one saving grace though – cool water and rosemary mint shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  Nothing cools you down like washing away the heat of the day with some minty suds.  Check out Burt’s Bees or, if you’re on the West Coast, Salt Spring Soap Works for my personal favourites.

PicMonkey Collage

Continue reading