MIMM #4: The Little Things

I got to see a lot of Lottie this past weekend. She truly embodies a personality I strive to achieve; free-spirited. Her curiosity and genuine happiness is not only fun to watch but also to be around. Her smiles are contagious and her hugs are oh so cute. Some of the sounds Lottie is learning how to voice (mostly giggles and shrieks) melt my heart. It’s inspiring to see how small things light up her life. Pictures just don’t do her character justice because she focuses on the camera, which takes, away from her true charm.12337_320806111388507_1107668_n

My life hasn’t been extremely exciting these days, but like Lottie, I am finding value in the marvelous world that surrounds me. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to just sit still because there is always something preoccupying my time. Lately it’s been a last minute coffee or ice cream date so who am I to complain?541725_320841111385007_681069601_n 946307_320841194718332_1623604002_n

On Thursday Lottie, Emma, Caitlin, my Mom and I all went to the new “Toronto Premium Outlet”. It is beyond my knowledge why they decided to call it “Toronto” given that it’s location is in Halton Hills which could not even be considered Toronto’s outskirts. Fortunately it is easily accessible as it is situated directly off a major highway. The name is a bit misleading to tourists but if they do happen to visit the mall they won’t be disappointed. It’s an outdoor concept, which is rare design for Canadian Malls because of winter weather. Based off of “Prime Outlets” in Buffalo New York, the mall features popular stores that carry both the regular clothing line and garments designed specifically for the factory outlet stores. To name a few, Kate Spade, Coach, Nike, Lucky Brand Jeans, Fossil, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Oakley are some of the well known brands. Since we went on the opening day it was busy, but it was truly marvelous when we found a parking spot quickly.533709_320841348051650_1119198784_n539627_320841368051648_2009733506_n

Friday I met up with Chelsea for the opening of Lululemon Athletica in Mapleview Mall. We both enjoyed taking some snapshots in the photobooth. I think I’m too good at making funny faces. : ) We went late enough in the day that there wasn’t a lineup which was marvelous, but unfortunately all of the free cupcakes from Kelly’s Bake Shop had been given away. I ended up buying a shirt but I loved almost all of the apparel they were featuring. I will have to watch out for sales because I still have money left on my gift card.1005473_320841328051652_479868278_n945952_320847491384369_75177439_n

I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen this weekend, helping to prepare meals or baking away the day. The aroma of freshly baked muffins filling the air is pretty marvelous. I baked “Date Newtons” and can hardly wait to share my recently created recipe with you later this week.  It’s marvelous when a recipe works out the first time around. Warm cookies dipped into a glass of cold milk is pretty marvelous as well.IMG_6449 IMG_6448

Marvelous is also when the flavours you throw into a blender compliment each other perfectly. I love using almost-too-ripe fruit in smoothies because they tend to be naturally sweeter. I have been following through with my one smoothie per day challenge.IMG_6384

Since today is a Canadian Civic Holiday, meaning it’s a long weekend, the gym has been empty since many took the opportunity to travel or visit their cottages. It’s truly marvelous to have a lane to yourself as you swim. In addition the long weekend means that my Dad is home for an extra day – what’s not marvelous about that?

Here are some other activities that I found to be pretty marvelous

  • Enjoying the first scoop of soy nut butter out of a fresh jar
  • Getting a parking lot pull through while I practiced driving
  • Arriving at the go-train station (unplanned) just before the train was about to leave
  • Starbucks Treat Receipts
  • Meeting up with Joyce
  • Lottie Hugs
  • Reading by the pool because it was finally sunny and warm
  • Trying a new Frozen Yogurt Flavour while catching up with Heather

1080839_320805528055232_1990466839_nThere are many marvelous activities awaiting me this week. For instance, the Bachelorette! Call me crazy but I am really looking forward to the season finale tonight. I started watching the Bachelorette as a way to get together with friends since they previously were Bachelorette fans. I never thought I’d enjoy reality television shows but I’ve (gasp) become a bit addicted, especially after last week’s cliff hanger. Desiree gets to go on some pretty marvelous dates, it’s no wonder they have so many contestants. I’d go on the show just for the travel perks! Kidding…

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What was marvelous about your weekend and do you have any marvelous plans awaiting you? Thanks again Katie for hosting Marvelous In My Monday! It’s easy to dwell on the fact that the weekend is over but MIMM is a great way to reflect on the fun things present within a workweek.  ♥ Molly

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

WIAW: The W’s of my Week

I’ve always wanted to participate in “What I ate Wednesday” (WIAW) and what better way to summarize my week of eating out (birthday celebrations) than through Jenn’s great link-up. I really enjoy reading WIAW posts because they teach me about great restaurants, new recipes and favourite products of fellow bloggers. I love that Jenn reinforces how WIAW posts aren’t meant to be judged or compared to. Everyone is different in their eating habits, patterns, likes and dislikes and these posts should never leave someone feeling guilty about what they ate or better yet, didn’t eat. Sure my last week of meals might not have been extremely balanced or nutritious, but they were delicious none the less. The reality is our bodies can compensate to handle a temporary change in our diet and I am learning that it’s okay to skip salads and overdo dessert from time to time.WIAWbutton

I figured I’d add to the “W’s” in WIAW through “Who (The People), What (The Food), Where (The Restaurant), When (Last week) and Why (We all need to eat)”.

The Restaurant: Fresh, Toronto

The Food: The Holiday Wrap which was a whole wheat tortilla filled with avocado, marinated tofu cubes, garlic mayo, grated carrot, jicama, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red onion & alfalfa sprouts. It came with a side of marinate kale slaw and we ordered sweet potato fries to share. It was extremely filling and I only managed to eat half since I was saving room for dessert.

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The People: I enjoyed Megan’s company while dining at Fresh. We were staying at her apartment in Toronto since she is a student at UofT which is right down the street from from Fresh, a restaurant we’ve both been dying to try. We followed our meal off with frozen yogurt from Menchies (I got blueberry cheesecake, lemon cake and birthday cake) and later snacked on some fruit and candy while watching Glee.

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The Restaurant: Pumpernickels, Toronto

The Food: There were so many delicious sandwich and wrap combinations to choose from, but I ended up ordering a medium salad instead. They let me choose as many different blends as I wanted so I ended topping a bed of romaine with lentil salad, chickpea salad, black bean corn salad and pickled beets.

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The Company: In March I met Alex at “Unleash the Noise” which was the first ever youth-led Mental Health summit. The experience was life changing and left me with everlasting friendships. Alex goes to school in Kingston so I haven’t been able to see her since, but she was employed for the summer with the same project. I stopped in to say hello and Alex and I used this opportunity to catch up over lunch.26

The Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory, Buffalo, New York

The Food: I started my meal off with a coffee as I hadn’t consumed any caffeine yet that day. Our waiter also brought us some freshly baked pumpernickel bread that really hit the spot. I ordered Ahi Tartare, which was avocado layered raw tuna and ginger, seasoned with soy-ginger sesame sauce. It came with pita crisps for dipping. I also shared the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake with my mom. Emma got the Margherita Fresh Baked Flatbreads, my Mom got the Shrimp Summer Rolls and my Dad got the Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos. My mom and I shared the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake where as Emma and my dad went for a chocolate based variation.

blogpost 3The Company: My family and I traveled to Walden Galleria for some shopping, the day of my birthday. We usually just grab a quick bite to eat so that we can maximize our shopping time, but the Cheesecake Factory didn’t look busy so we chose to have a sit down meal instead. I went in without the intention of having cheesecake but after seeing the pastry case I decided on having a light lunch to save room for dessert.

969774_315887578547027_175737680_nThe Restaurant: The Keg, Oakville

The Food: I hadn’t been to the Keg in ages so I let my friends choose our appetizers since they are more familiar with the menu. We ended up getting Lobster Gratiné which was oven-baked lobster with garlic, herbs and melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, Sante Fe Chicken Dip which was a mixture of smoked chicken, cheeses, chilies, black beans and bell peppers and served with tortilla crisps and Calamari that was lightly fried, with red peppers, jalapenos. I really enjoyed my Bellini as it masked the taste of alcohol and our waitress surprised me with free dessert! She knew about my allergies and brought me Crème brûlée.

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The Company: Caitlin and Elyse, two friends from elementary school, treated me to dinner at the Keg. Despite us being separated in High School and University, we’ve managed to stay extremely close. We opted for appetizers to share rather than one big meal, which allowed us to try more menu items. The food was great but their company was what made the experience so enjoyable. A girl’s night was exactly what I needed.Oh no

So while this isn’t a typical WIAW recap, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the highlight meals and snacks thaT I munched on this past week. What do you prefer, cooking for yourself or dining out? Do you enjoy chain restaurants or local cafes? What was your favourite meal from this past week? ♥ Molly

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

City Life and Shopping Tips

Today I am headed to Toronto. Despite living only about a half an hour way, I don’t make my way into the city that often. When I do go, the temptation of spending all my savings is so powerful as Toronto is home to some of the nicest shopping districts and boutiques in Canada. While I don’t exactly need a new wardrobe, I haven’t bought many summer items this year. My friend from High school, Megan, goes to the University of Toronto and has a Condo downtown. I see her on a daily basis as she is my gym buddy (she’s a great motivator and doesn’t take “I’m tired” as an answer), but the few breaks that we take in between laps at the pool don’t offer us enough time to catch up. We’ve been meaning to have a girls night for awhile now, and we decided that we wanted to escape Oakville for a fun shopping trip. I’ll be catching the train around 10:00 a.m. and then coming home tomorrow in time for my driving lesson at 3:00p.m. This leaves us lots of time to shop, chat, eat, and of course watch chick flicks. I really hope to go to Brandy Melville as I’ve never been, try out a Vegan restaurant called “Fresh” and then check out some of my favourite stores including Urban Outfitters and Forever 21. Since I have another shopping trip planned for later this week, I’m limiting my purchases to essentials only. I make myself sound like a “crazy” spender but in fact, I actually have trouble parting with money. I fall in love with so many clothes but by the time I reach the cash I’ve usually talked myself out of most of my finds. This being said, I do consciously think of a few tips before and during my excursions. I try to …

  • Shop with a list:  Today I hope to find a new sunglasses, a pair of cute sandals or wedges, a fashionable bathing suit, and a pair of shorts. These are all things that I need. Even though I probably have too many dresses, they are never frivolous purchases because they are something I wear frequently. I am going to try my best to refrain from buying one, but I won’t be that upset if I happen to find a cute maxi on sale.
  • Set a budget: I’m pre-setting a budget, because I don’t want to get caught up in the moment and overspend on things that I don’t need or won’t use. I’m going to try and use cash for clothing purchases as I find it helps me stay conscious of my total spendings. Did you know that statistics show that you are willing to pay up to 50% more for an item if you are putting it on your credit or debit card? Of course it’s not safe to carry too many lose coins and bills, so I’ll be using debit (lower limit) for food and travel expenses.
  • Start Early: We picked an early start time so that we don’t get stuck in traffic on our way into the city, the malls are less busy and we aren’t fatigued from a day’s worth of activities. We are also mid-week as opposed to the weekend in hopes of avoiding crowds since many will be working.
  • Set a timeframe: While we have all day to shop around the city, we have many areas to check out such as the Eaton Centre and Queen Street. We don’t want to be mindlessly wandering as we have other things on our to-do list.
  • Look Online: To be honest, I already have an idea of exactly what I want to buy. I’m not getting my hopes up since stores hardly ever have the exact item I am looking for, but it gave me a rough idea about sales, prices and what to watch for.
  • Pack Snacks: Nobody can have fun if they are hungry. Food courts don’t always offer the healthiest eats, and you don’t want to be wasting your time searching for a snack when you could be better using your time to try on clothes. I know that I get emotional if I am starving, and I don’t want to have a meltdown in the change room.
  • Trust my instincts: If you aren’t sure, put something on hold. It’s much easier to go back to a store than it is to make a return, especially if you only receive a “store credit”. Shop with a friend who’s opinion you value because it’s hard to trust a sales person who is more focused on selling than whether or not the outfit truly suits your body.

July Finds 2 July Finds July Finds 31. Brya Skirt 2. Solitude 3. Polka Dot Bikini 4. Antica Maxi Dress 5. Floral Wayfarer Sunglasses 6. Kimchi Blue Molly Jacquard Pinup Short

Happy Tuesday! What are you mindful of when going to a mall? Do you pre-shop online or do you like to be surprised when entering a store? What is your favourite trend right now? ♥ Molly

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek 

Wacky Weather

I had every intent on posting a restaurant review, but after the flash floods in the Greater Toronto Area, I decided I’d do a weather recap instead!

We haven’t had a blackout in Oakville for ten years. Back in 2003, I was shopping in a local mall with my mom and sisters when stores starting closing their doors. We all figured something was the matter, so we got into our car expecting to drive home, only to be halted by heavy traffic. We noticed the streetlights were out and suspected a power outage, but it wasn’t until we reached our house that our suspicions were confirmed. To be honest, what I remember most is our neighbours handing out popsicles and ice cream bars at the park behind my house, in hopes of emptying their freezers before the food went bad, melted or thawed. The blackout was caused by the sudden elevation in temperature, and lasted two days. Our subdivision was brand new at the time, so we were the last to have our power fixed. My mom took us out for breakfast, which made the experience seem more pleasurable than not.

Yesterday, while I was fortunate not to be directly affected by the rainstorm, over 300 000 houses in the greater Toronto area lost their power yet again. Environment Canada reported 106 mm of rain fell at Pearson Airport which almost breaks the record of the Hurricane Hazel record for single day rainfall.

Emma took this photo as they were driving home from Toronto!

Emma took this photo as they were driving home from Toronto!

My mom, dad and Emma weren’t quite as lucky, and found themselves caught in a flood as they drove home from apartment hunting. While they arrived home safely, it was definitely a longer drive then they had intended. Emma and my mom seem to get stuck in the worst of weather. Two yeas ago they were in New York City during Hurricane Irene, and last year they were driving home from London, Ontario only to be hit by a wild turkey. Yes, that’s right, a wild turkey broke the windshielf of our van, leaving my mom and Emma unharmed but shaken.

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The impact of the Wild Turkey!

My hope is that everyone stayed safe and sound in their homes yesterday. Between the devastating water damage in Calgary, and Toronto’s wacky weather, many houses have had to be evacuated. It’s in times like these where the foundation of a house is less important than the foundation of friendships. It is sad to see so many photographs lost, but memories will be mended and homes are already starting to be rebuilt.

I personally enjoy the sound of thunder in my ears, and the sight of lightening in the sky. It’s a beautiful production in the sky. There is something soothing about hearing raindrops dance on windows, while curling up with a cup of tea under a warm blanket.

Chai Cinnamon Tea with Frothed Milk!

Chai Cinnamon Tea with Frothed Milk!

This being said, I will be driving to London, Ontario later today, so I am hoping that the skies stay clear. Being able to stay dry inside is much different than driving in dangerous conditions. How do rainstorms, heavy winds, power outages affect you? Are you afraid of the dark, thunder or lightening? ♥ Molly

“After a storm comes a calm.” – Matthew Henry