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    Weekend in Toronto


    We had such an amazing time in Toronto this past weekend!

    We got in late on Friday night, and just grabbed an uber.  Our airbnb was amazing and just $71 a night (if you’ve never done airbnb before you can get $30 off your first booking through this referral link}.  The host stayed up to let us in and show us around.

    airbnb torontoIt was my first time away from Wesley overnight.  I’m not going to lie – the first night away I slept just a couple of hours.  I’m a head case for sure, and as soon as I hit my head on the pillow my heart raced and I thought of all the crazy things and what ifs involving both boys.  Not the least of which made sense in the morning.  BUT after I got over that one night, I slept great the following two nights and really enjoyed our time in T dot for my sweet Stephanie‘s incredible wedding!


    I pretty much love anywhere I visit.  I can’t honestly think of one place I haven’t enjoyed.  But Toronto now has a special place in my heart.  It didn’t hurt that the weather was SO nice and nothing I tasted wasn’t OMGoooodness so good.  But here’s what we did (:

    colette toronto

    Saturday morning Steph and Neal graciously hosted a brunch for the out of towners at Colette.  I felt like I had died and gone straight to heaven.  The decor is INSANEly good.  Food was amazing too!  And company even better (:

    From there, Shalyn and Drew (who I love sooo much!!)  JB and I, headed to a Blue Jays game!  JB scored some good tickets on stub hub a few minutes before.  The Rays games here don’t have the same great atmosphere of a Blue Jays game.  We had a blast!!   After JB and I grabbed a beer and an appetizer at Bier Markt, and then walked all around that fun area.


    sotto sotto toronto

    {wearing this dress from rtr unlimited}

    We rested a bit and then met up with Shalyn and Drew again for dinner at Sotto Sotto, which was a delicious authentic Italian restaurant. Gloria Toronto Coffee

    The next morning we walked to Gloria – which had great coffee and yummy breakfast sandwiches.  And was so cute!her majesty's pleasure

    Then Shay and I had our hair done at Her Majesty’s Pleasure    – interesting name choice but words and pictures don’t do this place justice.  Part bar, juice bar, coffee shop, nail salon, blow dry bar, cute shop…  perfectly decorated.  It was so fun!!

    wedding at casa loma

    {wearing this dress from RTR unlimited!}

    Prior to the wedding we stopped off at Playa Cabana for a pre wedding margarita and guac.  The wedding was at Casa Loma and was a total dream!!  

    I hate I didn’t get a better picture of them but Ryan Ray sure did!  They both looked absolutely stunning!!  It was such an honor to be there, witnessing such pure and true love.  For each other and most of all for Christ!   We love them so much!!!


    The morning after the wedding we walked to Roncesvalles village which was near our airbnb.  The coffee shops, cute little bakeries, and shops were all adorable.  So much is in bloom right now – I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face.  We grabbed some coffee and a bite (maple prosciutto strudel!) at Extra Butter.  We packed up later that afternoon, took the UP (which was easy, inexpensive, and clean!) straight to the airport.


    Clearly I loved Toronto!!  It was also so nice for us to just be us again.  I missed my kids so much, but knew they were having a great time with grandparents.  (:





    Let’s take a trip Tuesday – Toronto

    Name: Sonja

    Location: Toronto

    I’m the one on the end holding the “O”

    How long have you lived there? 
    About 15 years
    If you moved from somewhere else, where did you move from? Why? 
    Long story, but I’m gonna make it super brief! ;o)
    I was born in Sarajevo. Left when I was four because of the war, lived in Zagreb for a year with my mom, until my dad also managed to get out.  The three of us lived in Prague for two years, I started school, and then mid-grade two we moved to Toronto where I’ve lived ever since. 
    That was quick! Good enough reason for moving right? haha

    How is the weather?
    It can be great! …aaand it can be brutal.
    This summer was super hot! And pretty darn humid too.
    Winters can be rough, and living close to the water doesn’t help. I’m horrible with cold weather though, so don’t ask me… it’s the one thing I can complain about all the time, any time. hehe
    But really, the weather here just has a bad rep, generally it’s not as bad as we like to make it seem ;o) 
    Oh and I need to add that autumn is beauuutiful!
    Short. But beeeeautiful, definitely my favorite here.  

    Tell us what a typical weekend is like for you there? 
    This really depends on the time of year. And honestly being an architecture student… I don’t really have a life haha. A free weekend would be an extreme luxury.
    But typically  fun weekends go something like this…
    In the Winter:
    Skiing! I admit, we don’t have the mountains they do in Western Canada, heck we barely have hills… we have things I like to call bumps though.
    They’re fun too!  hehe
    There’s also plenty of skating, but I can’t skate. I used to, and now I’m pretty
    much Bambi on Ice.

    During  the warmer seasons:
    Although Toronto sits on a Lake, sadly it’s not exactly one recommended for swimming in, but there are lots  and lots of lakes in the surrounding area so there’s plenty of swimming, and cottages during weekends. Lots of delicious fruits and veggies are grown in Ontario, so “pick-your-own” farms are always  fun.

    But you can have a good time even if you just stay in the city, cause Toronto has a ridiculous number of festivals and events going on during the warmer seasons, so there’s always something to do :o) Plus we have lots of bike trails and parks which ask for picnics to be had in them.  

    Where do you like to eat in your town?
    Mmm so many good places!
    Ok here it goes (but really I could add about 50 more places)

    For Italian : Terronis  . Homemade Pizzas, Pastas, Mozzarella di bufala …mmm!
    For Coffee /Tea :
      “Moon Bean” in Kensington Market, my favorite there is actually the fresh squeezed lemonade, plus they have a great little courtyard patio in the back.
     “Coffee Tree” in Bloor West Village,  I’m biased I used to work there, but it’s a great place! They roast the beans on location and there tons of fair trade and organic coffee coffee choices.
    “Bulldog Cafe” on church. This place doesn’t have a great location, but they make some gooood cappuccinos!
    “Darkhorse” on Spadina (and one on Queen East).  This place has the best decor! and a great concept with huge tables so that lots of people can sit together.
    Musa : This place was such a cute little restaurant with a delicious, varied menu for bruch, lunch, dinner, you name it! Plus they had the coolest facade! But sadly there was a massive fire in the building just a few months ago, and it’s been closed since then. We’ve all got our fingers crossed that it will re-open though. :o)
    For sushi : Kuni Sushi Ya . It’s on a really cute little residential street (Baldwin St) right in the middle of downtown and there’s an all you can eat sushi menu, aaaand the sushi is incredible!
    Jumbo Empanadas : In Kensington Market, cheap delicious amazingness – I love the veggie emapanada. This place has the best salsa I’ve ever tasted…except remember to bring a pack of gum
    Ghandi Roti : delicious indian roti! It’s a tiny little shop though, so it’s not a good sit down option
     For brunch – lolas-commissary :   Now this one IS a good sit down option. Very cute little restaurant with the best egg white frittata you will EVER taste…topped with a sundried tomato pesto. Plus they have all sorts of brunch favorites, and a cheesecake stuffed french toast!
    Vegeterian – Fresh! The best part is that after 4pm (i think?) each day, they  choose one item to sell at half price.
    AND Hibiscus… I think it might be my new favourite place, its a cute little cafe in Kensington market which has a small but amazing menu of delicious soups, salads and crepes. mmm
    …The list goes on and on
    Where do you like to shop? 
    So since I just wrote a novel about food…let’s make this quick!
    Queen West cause you can find most stores that you  find in malls (but be outside) , plus tons of other fun, independent stores. Kensington Market for vintage clothes and major bargains.
    Suggest some must see places for an out of town visitor. 
    Here’s a jot form list (with a few elaborations hehe) :
    The two tourist hot spots:
       CN Tower/ Skydome ( These are a given, and the Skydome is no longer named Skydome the name was changed to “Rogers Centre” a few years ago, but I can’t bare to not call it its true name … and you’ll seem like a such a Torontonian if you call it the Skydome ;o) hehe )
            Niagara (It’s not in Toronto, but very close,  it’s extremely touristy but I guess  ‘a must’ if you’re in the area)
      Distillery District
      Toronto Island
      Check out different neighborhoods – Toronto is known for being a city of   neighborhoods, so it’s worth it to explore a few outside of downtown.
      High Park
    St Lawrence Market
    Casa Loma
    Scarborough bluffs
    The PATH – our underground shopping centre / “path”. It winds all throughout the downtown core, and gets you from place to place while keeping you warm during the winter. But I’m gonna be honest and tell you that I have absolutely no idea how to use it. I’m actually very good with navigation…but I get SO lost in that thing. I once spent a good 20 minutes walking through the PATH to get to school and when I got out I ended up being across the street from where I had started!
    Tell us why you love your town: 
    Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world!!! So you can imagine  how much exposure we get to different cultures through art, food, festivals and just meeting people. I LOVE that about this city!

    Thanks Sonja for giving us such a great guide to Toronto! 



    Bar stool roundup

    A sweet instagram follower recently asked if I do any e-design.  I was so flattered!!  Especially since she has such amazing taste.    I’ve had so much fun sourcing items, one of them being bar stools. Our bar stools are one of my big purchase regrets (thankfully I don’t have too many!).  They came broken 3 separate times,  so that should have probably tipped me off.  They are also no longer available, so maybe they took them off the market?!  They work well in the space but the paint is chipping already, and they just don’t seem 100% sturdy.  Then when I was in Toronto I had maaaajor bar stool regrets when I saw these pretty copper ones at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.  Hello beauties!!  But keeping copper in pristine condition would be tough.  Anyway that same copper one comes in all different colors (my fave being the green and navy).  I just love the look of them! {affiliate links are used in this post}


    Lovely Longboat Key, FL

    Today I’m excited to be taking over the J.McLaughlin instagram account showing you around Longboat Key, Florida.  It’s a quiet little beach town with gorgeous homes, some fun restaurants and incredible beaches.


    {wearing this dress (half off right now!) and this tote – c/o J.McLaughlin}
    Long Boat Key sunset

    The Beaches are pristine – with soft sand and turquoise colored water.  They can sometimes feel like your own private beach, particularly in the summer when many residents are up north.  My favorite spot, complete with a few public parking spaces, is 2825 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

    marvista dockside

    My favorite place to grab a bite to eat or a drink is Mar Vista !  You can sit outside under twinkly lit trees overhead watching the gorgeous Sarasota Bay sailboats.  It’s also a cute spot to grab a drink.

    long boat key club harbor

    The Longboat Key club is a great place to stay if you don’t rent a private condo/house.  There’s a delicious Italian spot to eat there, Portofino.  It has a gorgeous courtyard, vines climbing all of the walls, and it truly feels like a slice of Europe.  Long Boat Key Sunset

    The drive along Gulf of Mexico dr is so peaceful.  It’s my favorite way to get from our house down to Sarasota.

    Beer can islandYou can find this perfect spot (Beer can island) at the northern end of the island.  It’s a nice little walk to get there, but worth it.  You can also boat here!  J.McLaughlin

    JB and I are headed on our first trip since Wesley was born, a long weekend in Toronto for Stephs wedding.  I’m excited but not going to lie, my heart breaks a little, and I worry about all sorts of crazy scenarios as I pack.   Although I will enjoy sleeping in – if I even know how to do that anymore.  ha!  I’m at peace knowing they’ll be at our house, living it up, rotating between grandparents.  Which I am so grateful for.

    I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July weekend!!




    Blossom Lounge || Giveaway

    oh do i have a treat for you today!
    how does a giveaway from one of my favorite stores sound?
    Blossom Lounge, the prettiest boutique out of Toronto is graciously giving one of my readers the 
    Lollia In Love Collection!

    Lollia is basically like heaven inside a candle, bath, lotion… that’s what it smells like.
    plus they are really pretty.  i like pretty things, betting you do too.  
    really the perfect gift for a girlfriend (or yourself!).
    Its value is over $100USD!
    To win:  leave a comment with your email if it isn’t already linked to your account!
    Extra Entries:
    + follow Blossom Lounge on Twitter.
    +become a follower of Blossom Everyday – their blog, which is one of my faves!
    +follow Blossom Lounge on Facebook
    +tweet about this giveaway, be sure to include @blossomlounge, @steph_ster @sgmtucker
    {feel free to use this tweet:  Amazing @blossomlounge Lollia giveaway @steph_ster @sgmtucker}

    +visit Blossom Lounge online and let us know what your favorite item is!
    +pin one of the pictures above, a photo from their website, or from their blog
    Good Luck!