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Friday, April 30, 2010

What's up!

Okay, here goes...

Tamara Kronis of Tamara Designs has joined forces with Kathryn Dieroff and have opened Studio 1098 at 1098 Yonge St. (just north of the Rosedale subway station) Their regular studio hours are Tuesday thru Thursday 11-6pm. Both Susan and I are big fans of Tamara's and wish her the best of luck with this new venture.

The Bay has a cool promo going on right now. It's called the Handbag Trade-In Event. It is on from May 7-9 and what you do is bring in any clean, used handbag and receive a discount on a regular-priced handbag purchase of $60 or more. The Bay will donate your handbag, along with a $20. gift card to a local womaen's shelter through the Canadian Women's Foundation. Check out the link to get all the details.

Foodshare's Executive Director Debbie Field has won the inaugural Green Toronto Award for Local Food!
The award recognizes "leadership in increasing food security by creating, administering and promoting programs that increase the availability of affordable food for neighbourhoods, communities and residents. Kudos to you, all of you at Foodshare!

A Toronto paramedic Rahul Singh has made Time magazine's 100 most influentical list! How great is that!! Check out the Toronto Star article

There is a new store in Bloor West Village holding their Grand Opening tomorrow L'enveloppe Rouge at 2323 Bloor St. W.

Dupont Artist Open House is being held at Planet Storage, 1655 Dupont St., 2-5pm. Come out and enjoy some light refreshments and support local artists of all mediums. is this great website that rates wines and then  gives their availability at each of the LCBO locations. They also release a newsletter regularly. They are great about giving nods to the local wineries as well as giving sound advice on all the other wines available in Ontario. Their latest newsletter is titled "Lawrason's Take on the May 1st Vintages Release" by David Lawrason,  the following are the comments on one of our local wineries...
PrincClosson Chase 2007 CC Vineyard Chardonnay Unfilterede Edward County, Ontario - My backyard wine region gets an airing at Vintages on May 1 with four selections. Three are made 100% from County fruit, which signals advancement of the County into the mass market. To be viable in the LCBO and Vintages, wineries must be able to offer significant volume.  Until recently most PEC wineries could not offer volume from 100% County fruit, so they were importing Niagara juice and having to label the wines Ontario (under VQA regulation), as in Rosehall Run’s tidy 2006 Chardonnay.   Many of the new, tiny operations that have opened in the past 12 months (15 by my count) are still too small to dream of Vintages or LCBO listings. The wines offered this month provide a true portrait of the County, and I like the Closson Chase 2007 CC Vineyard Chardonnay Unfiltered in particular. The always controversial Deborah Paskus crafts her chardonnays deep within the pores of the barrel, so non-oak fans may have a hard time. But this chardonnay has distinctive character, County elegance and quite incredible depth.  

Sounds like it would make a great wine to fashion a Mother's Day dinner around! Check out their site, the first month is free, if you recommend anyone, you get another month free and I think the fee is really, really reasonable. 

Keeping with the wine chat, Coffin Ridge opens for business for the 2010 season today! Their hours are Thursday thru Saturday 11-6pm and Sunday 11-5pm. They are promising their famous "vintners plate" every day. Check out their website, it sounds irresistible!

Have a great weekend everyone! It looks like Saturday is going to be the day to get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cambridge Towels

I have made a stunning discovery!

Here is how it all started. Last year our towels started to smell bad, even when they were fresh out of the wash. I tried bleach, la la la! Fianlly, I slowly started to throw out all the towels that had this issue and by the time I was done, we needed new towels! Well it's not even a year later and the damn towels are starting to smell funny again!! There is nothing worse then being all clean and freshly showered and then burying your face in a smelly towel. Life's too short to live like that!
So now I'm on a hunt for new towels, locally made towels that is. I had heard about these towels that are manufactured in Ottawa and that were sold at Bettenhaus at 2393 Bloor St. W. can't get much better than that, right? The towels are fairly local, at least they are Canadian made, and I'm going to be supporting a neighbourhood shop! Well off I go!
Ha! Not only was my visit very informative it was a little disillusioning. I had a great chat with the gentleman there, but boy did he open my eyes to the whole industry of bed linens and bath towels. Apparently there is almost no fabric "manufacturing" done in Canada anymore, there's a whole history but I don't want to get political here, or anywhere else for that matter. Anyways, it seems that the fabric is made elsewhere, and then shipped here and only the final touches to make duvet covers, sheets, and towels are done here. If you are trying to support local/Canadian businesses or even just support the "little guy"  and get a quality product there are several great Canadian options. But as far as 100 mile finds is concerned though, there needs to be a "transformation" from an internationally sourced product that is significant, to deem it locally manufactured! That's just us, and our criteria, we had to draw the line somewhere. I could go off on a tangent here, but I'll save that for another day.
Well does this gentleman (I didn't get his name) not say the only local  towel manufacturer he knows of is Cambridge Towels and he has no idea if they are even still around! How exciting it that!

Well, I rush home and get on the computer and do a little research. They ARE still around, but now I have to make sure that they are making a quality product. It's amazing what you can find out if you just search it on the internet!

Here's what I found out makes a good towel:
  • 100% cotton
  • The cotton needs to be Supima from the USA, Egyptian or Brazilian (I'm sure there are others, but these seem to be the top three)
  • There are two kinds of towels, terry cloth which is more absorbent (the more loops the better) or Velour, you must use these towels to blot rather than dry! Some towels are terry on one side and velour on the other!
  • Thickness is very important too! The thicker the better, and you want thick loops too! 
Who knew!? We all know, who knew, they know everything, maybe not as much as we do about towels though, except if they are reading the blog, which I think they might be! ANYWAYS! While I'm searching on the internet about towels I decide to find out why the damn towels are getting smelly. Apparently they aren't drying thoroughly between uses...  One of them had actually thrown that out as a possibility!!! How annoying is that!!!

So now I go to the Cambridge Towel Corporation website and guess what, they've got towels that fit the bill! Hallelujah!
Mantles sold at the Bay and Riviera sold at Sears!
Now I've gotta go and get my new locally manufactured towels, (I wonder if they are available at locally owned store? That would be perfect!) and then I've got to find a locally made towel dryer...
I gotta go!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lainnir Natural Products, Grass Roots, Anarres Natural Health, The Laundry Tarts, Soleado

Alright, now that I've gone through the bedrooms and the playroom and got rid of most of the stuff that we think we aren't going to use anymore and, proudly, sent them off to various charities (okay it's not all gone yet, but it's going to happen soon!) We are ready to start cleaning!!! I can't believe I have gotten myself into this...

Soleado is one of our vendors and they have some great stuff. Everything they offer is sourced domestically and is organic! They've got everything from Tub Scrub to Organic Cotton Dish Clothes. Soleado will be at the Children's Trunk Show on Wednesday May 12th from 9:30am until 4:30pm in the Distillery in the Fermenting Cellar. It's an amazing venue, Susan and I will try and make a day of it!  If you plan to pick up some stuff then, you can put off the Spring cleaning for another few weeks! Works for me!

Laundry Tarts is another company we are proud to say are a vendor of ours. This is an amazing product! How cool do you have to be to make laundry detergent seem cool?! Pretty cool!! Their products are all natural, energy efficient machine safe.They don't have any of the bad stuff in them and are 100% vegan and biodegradable! They have, I want to say flavours, but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to eat it, called "Key Lime Pie Laundry Detergent" and "Vanilla Dulce" Yummy! Their website is under construction right now so give them a shout at  I'm also pretty sure you shouldn't give your Mom laundry detergent for Mother's Day but if you were going to give any, this would be the stuff to give her!

Anarres Natural Health Clinic has a great idea on making cleaning fun! DIY Natural Cleaning Parties! They were developed by Women's Voices for the Earth, working to educate consumers about chemicals in cleaning products. You go home with your very own set of easy-to-make cleaning products, with recipes! Sounds like fun to me!

Grassroots Environmental Products is at 408 Bloor St. West in Toronto. They carry both local (Nature Cleam and Hempola) and globally sourced cleaning options as well as a whole bunch of other environmentally-friendly products. They also have monthly showcases of local artists! How great is that?! They have another  location at 372 Danforth Ave at Chester.

Now last, but certainly not least, I must mention Lainnir natural products. They are natural cleaners manufactured in Toronto! There are shower glass cleaners, tub & tile and cooktop cleaners. They can be found at Home Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond and Peaches & Green the Natural Solution.

Alright people, let's get cleaning! Not yet though, it's time to enjoy the day! It is beautiful out there!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Local Bling! Safe Fish! Fashion Help!

On Monday the Bloor St. Birks store will be unveiling 100 spectacular diamonds mined in Ontario! How cool is that?! Local Bling!
The diamonds will be available from April 26 to May 1st, just in time for Mother's Day! They don't come cheap though, at about $1.7 milllion for 100 cut and polished stones. Click on the link for the whole story!

I came across a cool website. They call themselves "Canada's most comprehensive sustainable seafood program" The idea is that "choosing sustainable seafood is a simple and effective action that you can take every time you eat at a restaurant or buy seafood." They rate the fish "best choice", "some concerns" and "avoid" Each fish is listed, it's market name where it is caught (by country) and how it is caught. There are cool links on the site too! Well worth a look! I'm trying to see if they have rated the only real local fish that we have, as far as I know, and please correct me if I'm wrong (it could happen!, there is a first time for everything!!) which is trout.

Here's another cool website I found. You enter in your measurements (in the privacy of your own home) and then they tell you what you should be wearing! If nothing else it's kinda fun! Who knew I should be wearing V necks!
Have a great day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sprockets, and YOGAMUM, what a weekend!

Although it was a little chilly on Saturday what a great weekend it turned out to be! The girls and I headed off to Sprockets for two movies this weekend. We saw " Garuda in My Heart" at 9:30am Saturday morning. We bumped into some neighbours who were out for an early run. It's so fun to watch someone try and process that you've just said you are on your way to the movies at 8am in the morning!
It was an amazing Indonesian movie. I laughed, I cried... It is such a great experience to see a foreign movie. You really get a sense of the culture as they see it rather than as we perceive it to be. This movie was in Bahasa Indonesian with English subtitles and at Sprockets they have a reader. It is a really interesting way to see a movie, it's almost like having a book read to you. 

On Sunday we saw "From Time to Time" it was fantastic. A British movie set in the first world war. The British do such a good job letting you get to know the essence of a character and the relationships that they have and all that goes with it, while simultaneously telling an amazing tale. This movie was scary, exciting, beautiful and sad all at the same time.  It was based on the book The Chimneys of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston.

On Saturday my younger daughter was at a birthday party and YOGAMUM was there! She is an "approved vendor" on our site, so you can't see her on the site, but we know she's there!  The girls made a whole bunch of cool stuff and had a blast! 

It was funny because the when I went to pick up my daughter, I commented on how great the house smelled. The hostess introduced me to Graydon, YOGAMUM. In the hub bub that the end of a birthday party can be, I didn't get a chance to introduce myself! 

Hi Graydon!

The lip glosses, candle and sprtizer are amazing! It was a loot bag for the whole family, and so much better than a bunch of junk from the dollar store. I would highly recommend a birthday party by YOGA MUM for girls 9 years +!

I'm off to High Park to see if the Cherry Blossoms are still in bloom. I'm hoping to get some good shots of them. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cheery Blossoms in High Park, The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar, The eh List author series

If you have a chance this weekend you've got to head over to High Park. The cherry blossoms trees are in full bloom! It's a beautiful sight. Saturday morning might be your only chance, rain is in the forecast, hopefully the blossoms won't be swept away too fast!

There is a new espresso bar on Annette St. at Quebec! The Good Neighbour. It's been open for a couple of weeks and I finally got a chance to check it out. The space is beautiful! Exposed brick, funky light fixtures, lots of natural light, the bar is framed in tin ceiling tiles, it's a big space, great if you want to spend some time hanging out! Word is, it's a young couple, let's give them our support!

Sprockets film festival is on this weekend, might be a good place to take the kids if the rainy forecast pans out!

I was lucky enough to attend one of the readings from the eh! List author series.  John Bemrose author of the Island Walkers (it was nominated for a Giller) was speaking at Hilltop library. He is a fantastic speaker. He spoke of getting to know Norhern Ontario, where his new book, "The Last Woman" is set. He wove a riveting tale of a canoe trip and all the unbelievable things that happened. He spoke of loving the freedom he has as a writer to create lakes, and family histories. He also read from his book, beautifully... The eh! List is in its third year, showcasing Canadian authors at various toronto library locations through until the end of May.

That's it for me! Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning! Stage One

I'm not what you call a "neat freak"! But I like the whole idea of spring cleaning! Out with the old, in with the new! There's a feeling of starting fresh that appeals to me. I will not put the winter clothes away until the May long weekend though, as far as I am concerned, anyone who does, is just asking for a snowstorm!!
There seems to be several stages to a thorough cleaning. My Mom used to call it DEEEEEP clean! Today we are going to tackle Stage One!

STAGE ONE: organizing
Step one: Pick a room. Don't move on to another room until that first room is completely finished. I know it is tempting but history shows that if you move too quickly, it can get really ugly, really fast!

Step two: You've got to sort. There is usually a "keeper" pile, a "going into storage" pile, a "grown out of" pile, and then a "garbage" pile. The "grown out of" pile will later be subdivided into a "hand me down" pile and "give to charity" pile. Be ruthless! This can apply to clothes, books, games, toiletries, you name it!

Step three: When you are storing seasonal stuff try and pack the things that you are going to use first, last. That's a hard one to conceptualize.

Step four: This is where all my hard work surfing the net is going to pay off! Find a place to donate your new found treasures.

Children's books
This is a charitable organization designed to support children's literacy by providing free books to children in lower income neighbourhoods.
350 Berkeley St.
Tuesday-Thursday 10am-6pm
Saturday 10am-2pm (it's closed on Saturdays in July and August)

Art Supplies  They create opportunities for street involved and homeless people ages 15-29, to engage in the arts in a cross-discipline studio environment or in the community. They are at King and Spadina but you can email them at to see what they need.

Musical Instruments
REGENT PARK school of music It's a great site that gives you all the details on how to donate an instrument to the school.

Bicycles They suggest a $10. donation to cover admin costs and you need to fill out a form on their website. They are located at Queen W. and Euclid. 

Eye Glasses
Hakim Optical will accept eyeglasses at over 100 locations in Canada.

This was one of those exercises where I felt really good about what I was doing and, as usual, overwhelmed by the generosity that surrounds us in our fair city. Here are a bunch of great links that will help you get your stuff where you want it to go! Click on Volunteer & Donate, there is a section for Stuff,  there is an amazing array of organizations listed. Click on Donate and the answers to all your questions are at your finger tips Another fantastic resource if you are looking to pass on some of your gently used items

Once you get everything out of the way, now it's really time to start cleaning!

I think you should now take a break, and enjoy a cool beverage outside on this beautiful day! You deserve it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Susan and I went to Ransack the Universe presents An Indie Craft Fair on Saturday. They had some great vendors there. I have to be honest, we haven't been going after new vendors as aggressively lately. Waiting for the finishing touches to get finished on the website has us kinda bummed... We are ready for the next phase, it's just not quite ready for us!
Well we are turning over a new leaf (so much easier to do in the spring!) and we are going to start unearthing even more great local finds! Look out Toronto and beyond!
We paid a visit to IDO: Independent Designers Outlet.  I've been dying to go there! They  carry local and Canadian designers at 20-80% (I get excited just typing that!!) They are at 1418 Dundas St. West. I know the traffic is bad right now because of the construction but it is totally worth the trip. I got a JUMA dress for $50.!!!

Then we headed back to the hood, I needed to get a birthday card so we hit Wise Daughters Craft Market! I love it there! Not only do they carry Coy Clothes, Avril Loveti to name but a few but they host these amazing workshops. While we were there, there was a group of ladies downstairs making moosehead wall hangings. They were having a blast and the mooseheads were fantastic. They have some amazing workshops coming up, you've got to check them out! The National Post! did a piece on the Junction and guess who they mentioned?! They also gave Handsome & Lace a nod! Now I've got to check out Little Bird Fly, see how aggressive I'm getting!!!

On Friday I was dropping a book off at the library and had a few minutes to kill so I headed over to Periwinkle I picked some soap from Enfleurage Organics, called wake-up! I'm all about the shower in the morning to get my day going! Not only is it a beautiful bar of soap but it's a great way to start the day! Avani Creations had some of their bags there too! They are a Brampton company that makes tote bags, handmade paper and yoga accessories out of everything from old sails, banners, jute and hemp. They take recycling to whole new heights!  Skarce Hand Made Jewelery has some beautiful pieces there too!

It's a gorgeous day out there! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dermaglow is from Woodbridge!

So the plan this morning was to go for a power walk with my friend Dawn. What's that saying about plans are meant to be changed, or is that promises are meant to be broken? Anyways, it's pouring rain, my allergies are driving me nuts and Dawn is a self proclaimed "product w_ _ _ _" it rhymes with moor, so she is always up for a shopping trip!

Plan B,  now we're grabbing a coffee and getting a few chores done! Not so bad!
After a trip to the bank (Dawn's chore) and to Max's Market (my chore) where I picked up some of their yummy chili and some black bean taquitos for dinner. We're gonna spend some time at Shoppers Drug Mart helping stave off the aging process!
At first I thought I was just killing time AND THEN,  Dawn introduced me to June, cosmetician extrordinaire! Well, not only did she used to work with April from Pink Beauty at Holts. She has worked with the ladies from Balmshell on an event at Shoppers Drug Mart AND she let me know that Dermaglow is manufactured in Woodbridge! I love making a local find!
Thanks to my Dermaglow purchase I should be looking younger and firmer in no time!
Happy Puddle Jumping!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some cool stuff going on in the hood!

Happy Easter to all!


Here is some more cool stuff going on in the hood! If you live in Ward Five, Etobicoke-Lakeshore West  area you have to go to The WKRA Blog and find out what is going on with some green space that TDSB is trying to sell. The locals have banded together and have organized a rally for Saturday April 10th. It's a great blog if you are living in that neighbourhood too! They've got some great links on there too!

Do What You Can is a website designed to help you find places to drop-off household hazardous and special wastes and unwanted electronics that can't be put in your Blue Box and should not go in the garbage. You can search for places by municipality, postal code or material. This is a great resource!

Do you read the Globe? I'm not much of a newspaper reader myself. I love the idea of reading the paper but I never get around to it and then I feel guilty about how much paper I'm wasting. On Saturday, my husband who actually reads the paper, Susan does too by the way, came across a really cool article called "Klatsch warfare" by Richard Trapunski. There is a new group in town and they are called the Toronto Coffee Conspiracy, TCC for short! It is a seven shop collective that are described  as a united group of like-minded "third wave" independent cafes hoping to spread and promoted the cafe culture throughout the city." We're going to head out and get our "dis-loyalty" card from Crema today!

Now that I've got the paper in my hot little hands I figure I might as well read it!

Deirdre Kelly went to the One of A Kind show and found this really cool vendor that Susan and I somehow missed. Avril Loreti, she does these really great printed napkins that feature prominent Toronto landmarks. She has some great fortune cookie napkins, mustache napkins that are hilarious, she has these 'smooches hankerchiefs', I could go on and on, you have to check out her blog! I'm gonna do my best to get her onto 100 mile finds. She's our kind of people!

I've still got more to tell you about the One of A Kind Show but you're gonna have to wait! Have a great rainy day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've got food on the brain!

I ordered my Turkey for Sundays big dinner. I ordered it from Rowe Farms in BWV. They have locations all over the city, Roncesvalles, St. Lawrence Market, Leslieville, The Beach and one in Guelph. I can't wait until they get their 100 mile finds store up and running!

They are very cool! Very cool! They carry a wide selection of their own label and then some local produce, and some organic dairy foods. They carry Sabores Latinos too!

 These guys are great,we just met them at the OOAK show. We were able to sample a whole bunch of stuff. I'm going back to Rowe Farms today and I'm going to pick up the fixings for quesadillas! Barbeque some chicken, add some black bean dip, some cheddar cheese sounds like a great dinner on the long weekend! I want to try their frozen stuff too, I'll keep you posted!

Another company we were introduced to was So Hot! A couple of ladies from Toronto have come up with some pretty sexy sauces. I think we tried all their sauces. Cilantro Sutra was my favorite, Climaxxx was really good too! Other sauces are Bareback Berries and Sweet Surrender, are you picking up on any kind of theme?!?!!

The Bean Ladies were there too! Lovely ladies,they are either from the Toronto area, or the London area, or both! I picked up a bag of their 'All Dressed Up' roasted soybeans. Yummy! Perfect for munching on as I work away the day!

We saw Roothams Gourmet Preserves too. They are from Guelph. Friends had given us a jar of their 'Tangy Red Pepper Jelly'! We had that on baguette with brie. Fantastic!

It was great to see Organics and Gold Inc. mustard at the show, we were able to try all the different varieties. I must say I recommend their whole grain mustard and their orange and ginger mustard!  I can't wait until we get through our current stock of mustard (currently I'm in condiment overload, we rent a place for the winter, since ski season is over we now have double condiments in our Toronto home!!) I guess if I'm gonna have a problem this might as well be it!

Himalaya Gourmet Sauces Inc. was at the show too! They offer an amazing selection of Masalas, Chutneys, Pickles and Dips! I've got a jar of their Tikka Masala that I can't wait to try!

I'll let you know about the other vendors we met at the show too! Usually we don't shop a the shows, this year I couldn't help myself!

All the best to everyone over the holiday weekend! Enjoy the beautiful weather!