Spring Fling

It’s Spring! Or at least we are pretending it is.

We’ll be at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre with other fabulous local vendors.  Come by and check us out for some sweet spring deals!

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Guilty Pleasures

This coming weekend join us at the Drake for the annual Guilty Pleasures Designer Sale.

Come for brunch, stay for fashion.

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Guilty Pleasures Sale

Come by for a custom fit!

Come by for a custom fit!

This Saturday we will be at the Drake Hotel taking part in the Guilty Pleasures Designer Sale.

Come join us and indulge in a day of fashion and brunch from 9am-4pm.

The Sale offers 2 floors of fashion, from 20 different local designers including yours truly, fashion shows and a silent auction. We look forward to seeing all you beauties there!

Guilty Pleasures For Web and Posters

Saturdays at the Distillery

We will be frequenting the FTA showroom in the beautiful and historic Distillery District for the next 5 Saturdays (starting this Saturday, June 16th) from 10:30-3:30.

55 Mill St
Arstcape building #76 Rm 202

We think you should come by and visit us, and of course check out the amazing local, eco and ethical fashions on showcase (and for sale) including those by the LB.

Grab a coffee from Balzac’s or some Soma Chocolate and pop in and say hi!

Annex Shopping Guide

This week we’re featuring the Annex. We attempted to start out in Yorkville, but my how it has changed. It’s funny to think it was once the ‘hippy’ area of Toronto…oh how it has fallen, or risen I guess depending on your view point. Regardless, Yorkville is always an interesting place to look around. There, at the back of a cute Italian coffee shop, we watched the end of a disappointing soccer game, where Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup.

Drowning our sorrows by bike, we headed over to the Annex starting just West of Spadina at Grassroots. Grassroots is a little gem of a store and a great place to check out. Not only is it focused on environmentally friendly products-from cleaning supplies, body products, bedding, clothing and more, they are also committed to searching out local Toronto and Canadian products. This bed featured here was made entirely in Ontario!

The manager of this location is incredibly friendly, helpful and well informed. She informed us that not only can you bring in your old bottles of cleaning supplies to refill with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, but they will soon be selling refillable environmentally and people friendly shampoos and conditioners! AND the line is Canadian. This was music to my ears as I have been searching for refillable shampoos and conditioners for awhile now!

After leaving Grassroots, we headed just down the street to a little store called the Outer Layer. Not everything in this store is local or environmentally/people friendly, but there are some pretty fantastic brands here. These water bottles pictured tell the story of how many plastic water bottles are purchased in the US each year, and how they end up filling the landfills. The Outer Layer also showcases a line of organic bath and body products. For those of you looking for jewellery, they have many nice lines. My favourite is the BIDO line which is made in Toronto!

Just south of Bloor we visited Trove, a little clothing and shoe store. There we found a few treasures and splashes of Canadian design amongst the rest. Our favourite-the Yoga brand jeans made in Montreal and fairly reasonably priced at $110.

We finished off our Annex tour in Mirvish village on Markham St just one block west of Bathurst and South of Bloor. Markham street is one of my favourite streets in Toronto. At one point Ed Mirvish had applied to tear down the old Victorian homes to create a parking lot for Honest Eds. When he was refused, at the urging of his wife, Anne, he rented the buildings out cheaply to artists, artisans and book dealers in order to help keep the art scene alive in Toronto. While we suggest you enter Honest Eds just to experience the craziness that it is, you probably won’t find too many ethical products inside. I do, however, recommend you go to the Wine Rack attached to the building which does supply a few Ontario wines, we suggest the STRUT line:)

Markham St is full of cute vintage clothing and furniture stores, galleries, restaurants and local design. Our favourite place, all be it biased as they were in our fashion show, would have to be the Coal Miner’s Daughter. This store features an array of local Toronto and Quebec designers, showcasing both clothing and jewellery. The women who run the store are exceptionally friendly and helpful. The best part is that they design some of the clothing and the jewellery in the store! I couldn’t choose a favourite in this store, but every time we have gone in someone we are with has left with something they love!

Next time you are meandering around the Annex be sure to check out

Clothing and Accessories

Grassroots: 408 Bloor St West http://www.grassrootsstore.com/

Outer Layer: 430 Bloor St West http://www.outerlayer.com/

Trove: 791 Bathurst St http://www.trove.ca/Welcome_to_TROVE.html

Coal Miner’s Daughter: 587 Markham St http://www.coalminersdaughter.ca/

Food:

For organic groceries and a vegan food bar: Noah’s: 322 Bloor St West http://www.noahsnaturalfoods.ca

For delicious Vegan Food: Live Organic Food Bar: 264 Dupont St. http://www.livefoodbar.com/

Perfect Pizza, using local organic whenever possible (they even give you an apple with your bill) Magic Oven: 270 Dupont St. http://www.magicoven.com/

Amazing Coffee and Decadent Snacks (and Wine Nights starting at 5pm Wed-Sat) Ezra’s Pound: 238 Dupont St http://www.ezraspound.com/

A pint of local beer at the end your day: Victory Cafe: 581 Markham St. www.victorycafe.ca Butler’s Pantry: 591 Markham St www.butlerspantry.ca


Dinner Co-op


It amazes me how often preparing my meals stresses me out. And nearly always it’s due to time constraints. Rather than taking the time to find recipes and shop for ingredients I catch myself in idle thought of how I have developed this tiresome relationship to food. I may have been idle, but I have come to some conclusions. I’ve identified some bad habits that are hard to break. As a university student for four years meal preparation was never my priority. I always ate on the go except for the few potluck dinners I’d have with friends where we’d set aside a couple hours to cook together. However the wine, beer, and cocktails usually remained the focus. The demands of school, jobs, and the necessity of a social life overruled the time and effort needed to prepare food. The kind of lifestyle university life creates is its own problem to be tackled.

Another thing contributing to food-prep-stress is the time I think it takes away from doing other things. I feel I already do not spend enough time getting physical exercise, working on my business, exposing myself to cultural and recreational activity, or seeing my friends. Yet I’m confused with my feelings because food remains to be one of the most important sources of energy. I could not enjoy any of the other activities without nourishment. At a time when food quality is declining rapidly and global food markets are monopolized to fabricate scarcity and artificial prices I should never feel “food is taking up too much of my time”. Such sentiments only support impulse buys from commercial sources that reproduce systems of inequality.

A third realization I came to was that I was overwhelmed. I was telling myself that I needed to have three meals planned and prepared for each day. Where there may be a point in my life that provides time for that (I’ll have grey hair!?), it is definitely not feasible now. I have realized the secret for me is to have certain ingredients on hand, the ones I replenish as I run out. This strategy has eliminated the necessity to cook large portions to be stretched over the week. Because the truth is I get sick of the same bean salad or squash soup if I’m eating it all week.

As I am a restless soul it is important that my diet is not limited to the same food all the time. This is where I incorporate YOU into my food strategy. I would like you to help me develop the Dinner Co-Op! The Dinner Co-OP is one of the latest editions to the Button Collective and falls in the category of Lifestyle, along with the Cookie Project and a number of other projects Anne and I are excited to bring to your attention soon.

When I think of a dinner party a number of things come to mind. In good company I feel at my best. I feel connected to a community. I always learn something from the conversations had, and I physically feel my body release stress. I loosen up and indulge a little more in the food and yet always feel better than if I’d limited my self to a “reasonable” portion. It has been explained to me that good mood and laughter improves our digestion! I have hosted a couple dinners now and am addicted to what an affordable gift to my friends and family can reap in terms of the priceless rewards the night returns. Despite the extra cake I ate, I still feel great the next day. And something someone said is still making me laugh or has me in search of a book that was mentioned.

I encourage you to invite one or a few guests to your place for dinner on a day that you arrange and as often as you feel you can comfortably manage. Recruit a co-host to appease your nerves! Have different guests over weekly! Not only will you have simultaneously built in a time to clean house but you will have a legitimate excuse to buy elaborate and local ingredients, and spend several hours preparing them amidst great tunes. If you mention the Dinner Co-Op the idea might catch on and before you know you’ll be going to as many dinner parties this summer as you’re preparing..or more!
If you try this, or are already doing it, share your experiences in the space provided below for comments. Do I detect a potential portal for recipe swaps?