Summer Reading List

 

Looking for ideas? These are the books we are reading this Summer (in no particular order of greatness…)

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#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso

 

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling

 

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Psychos – Babe Walker

 

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Rich Bitch – Nicole Lapin

 


Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

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No Machine? Sew What?!

When we first decided to open our Etsy Shop, we thought we would keep it simple by sticking to what we know: goods made from rope and other reclaimed items found around our homes and cottages. But, as with most famous last words, that was short lived. On our first supply shopping trip – a highly anticipated visit to Designer Fabric Outlet – we may or may not have stumbled upon some of the best fabric we had seen in…possibly ever. It was very quickly agreed that it, when turned into a pillow, would make an epic accessory to any couch or chair in any cottage or chalet. We also agreed that said pillows (obviously) needed to have leather backs.  We also agreed that it had been years since either of us had sewn a darn thing, but that we could figure it out…ideally with supervision.

So, what are two crafty critters going to do with limited skills and no machine of their own? Head to a sewing studio, thats what!

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Sew Be It Studio, just north of Yonge and Eglinton, is a sewing mecca in Toronto. Filled with the obligatory sundries, multiple high tech machines, and a very friendly staff eager to help, it was the perfect place for us to find.

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The studio offers a variety of group or private classes and workshops for all levels, as well as drop in sewing. We decided to take advantage of their generous ‘first drop in free’ offer and strolled in one Monday night (after booking online to ensure our spots, of course). Armed with our leather needles, thread, and a dream we set about our evening of adventure. Instructors were on hand to answer any questions we had, to give us a walk through of how their machines work, and offering (mildly shaky, however much needed) words of encouragement.

sewingAs two entrepreneurs trying to keep costs low, this was the perfect alternative to buying a machine and hoping things went really, really well. Places like Sew Be It allow you to hone your craft before jumping into a big purchase, maximizing your income and limiting expenses. And hey, it could just be the place that helps you see that you’re just not cut out for handiwork. Either way – dodge the bullet!

sewing 4You can check out the finished product Here on Etsy!

 

My Summer Song

Every summer has a song. Usually a very up beat, danceable song that makes everyone’s toes tap and heads bop. It’s one that gets stuck in your head every time and brings back a flood of good memories when it’s played.

The summer before last, my girlfriends and I could not stop singing about “mmmmm motor boatin'” along with Little Big Town to the song “Pontoon” – A song about literally doing nothing on a boat all day in the sun. Without fail, the song reminds me of our trip to Nashville for my best friend’s bachelorette party – definitely a weekend to remember!

 

Last summer I switched it up a bit, but stuck to the standard criteria of toe taps and head bops. Wildfire, by John Mayer, was a surprising and immediately addictive song when I first heard it. John Mayer, at one time in my life, was the most romantic soul a girl could imagine. His lyrics were seamless and he seemed to be speaking directly to you. Then I got a bit older, his music changed, and I learned he was a bit of a womanizer (not so hot, John!) – so I was not as tuned in as I had been. But one Saturday morning, just as I was stirring, Bobby played this song for me to wake up to and I wasn’t able to stop listening for the entire Summer. We listened to the song so often, and created so many memories together, that it has become our first choice for our wedding video. Go figure!

 

This summer, I’ve gone back to Little Big Town. They just GET me. Meaning…they like the sun and drinking in it. I dig that! “Day Drinking” is this Summer’s anthem. It is upbeat, catchy, and has an awesome whistle hook that makes me furious I can’t whistle. They also put on one of the best shows I have ever been to; the only thing better than a Summer song is getting to listen to it live during the Winter!

 

I do not own the rights to these songs.

Queen’s Plate: Cheap and Fancy Fun

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I love an excuse to dress up. And what girl doesn’t love the chance to wear an oversized hat at the same time!? This Sunday, a group of friends and I decided to get fancy and take a limo to the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. It was an absolutely wonderful, and very affordable, way to spend a Sunday.  Tickets were only $31, and after splitting the cost of the limo (to avoid any drinking and driving and/or complications with hailing a taxi in a gigantic crowd) the day worked out to just $65 per person. In addition to a full day at the races, a track level party for all ticket holders was included in the price of each ticket. The party, called “Hats and Horseshoes“, featured two bands (one of which was my wedding band, Emerson Street Rhythm Band, so naturally, it was very exciting for me!), multiple food trucks, several betting kiosks, and as many adult beverage booths as the eye could see. Above the stage there was a screen set up showing each race leading up to the the Queen’s Plate itself, ensuring you did not miss a thing. The party was split partially due to a walking ring through the middle, which was really neat, as you were able to watch each horse go by on its way out to race. The grounds were covered in women wearing the most incredible fascinators and gigantic floppy hats – It was fabulous to see. Although the wind was a bit of a task for all of us; One minute you felt like a princess and the next you are hightailing it across the pavement after your chapeau! Even the gentlemen were turning it up: we saw quite a few men in penguin suits – including top hats – it was spectacular. The whole day was a wonderful mix of young and old, groups of friends, and large families embracing the opportunity to get dressed up and have a lovely time in the sunshine. And that, I am definitely on board with. I think this is an event that we will be attending for many years to come!

 

 

 

Top 5 Mexican Restaurants

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1. Mariachi’s (Yonge & Davisville)
– This family run restaurant was my first love. In the days when all you were old enough to do on a Friday night was go for dinner and a movie with a friend, Mariachi’s was our “daring” escape from The Pickle Barrel at Yonge & Eglinton. Just a short walk from the theatres, it was a welcome change. Always a sucker for their guacamole (still some of the best I’ve had), now that I am older I have discovered that their sangria is some of the best as well. Very affordable – great quality – great experience.

2. Milagro (Mercer St.)
– One of the most authentic experiences I have had, although their sangria leaves a bit to be desired. Service and atmosphere at any Milagro location are tops. Home made guacamole and many different sharing plates are among my personal favourites on this menu.

3. Hacienda (Yonge & Dupont)
– SUCH a cool atmosphere! The neon lights adorning the walls as you walk in are absolutely the first thing you notice. The second, for me at least, was that the menu is entirely in Spanish with no English descriptions – very authentic! I tried their rum punch, a bit of a pricey cocktail, but so delicious. Their bucket-o-beer special was a big hit with our group as well. The food is a Korean spin on Mexican, a fusion of sorts, so everything has a kick to it, which was a delicious surprise. With their many patios as well as indoor seating, I would highly recommend.

4. La Carnita (College & Palmerston)
– The ever changing menu at La Carnita is part of the draw. Each menu, featuring about 11 items, most of which are tacos, changes regularly, keeping restaurant goers on their toes. Sharing options here are a must, as everything has such different flavours each time you are there. The catch – they don’t do reservations for groups under 8 (and don’t even guarantee that they can make those). Tricky business come birthday time.

5. Playa Cabana (Yonge & Dupont)
– Sister restaurant to Hacienda, Playa Cabana is the original latin flavour on this section of the Dupont strip. Although this very quaint restaurant is situated among rows of sleepy duplexes, the patio out front is always packed. The same great service awaits you here!