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Taking My Look from Day to Night with First Canadian Place

Toronto’s Financial District is famously known for its architecturally stunning office towers, restaurants and as the shoot location for cult fave legal show “Suits” but unbeknownst to many, the city’s best kept retail secret lives underground inside First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower. I discovered this gem a couple years ago while trying to seek refuge from the cold winter temps after a workout at Equinox down in the PATH. What I found that day below the cluster of buildings was almost another world in itself, with stores satisfying all one’s needs.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place #MyFCPEx

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

It is not unusual for me to not have time to go home between work and evening events, so I make an extra effort to dress in an outfit that can easily be transitioned from day to night with just a few simple edits – like the change of a jacket, accessories and lip colour. Located conveniently in the downtown core and close to many of my client’s offices, First Canadian Place has become my one-stop shop for clothing, footwear, accessory and beauty needs when I’m on the go.

The success of a transitional look for me starts with colour. Blacks and neutrals are by far the easiest to dress up and dress down – and seriously nobody ever looks bad in black. Second, you can never go wrong with leather when it’s done right folks. Leather pants and skirts, the latter at an appropriate length of course, has become acceptable for daywear in the office and with just some minor changes to your outfit can be chic and even sexy for the evening. Last but not least, a black turtleneck will always be a standard item in my closet. It works well no matter what proportion you’re wearing on the bottom. They are light enough to be layered under a warmer coat but generally warm enough to be worn under a leather moto jacket. These two looks were pulled together in a pinch from two of my go-to boutiques at First Canadian Place – Hangar 9 and Sisley/Benetton.  If you were born in the 80’s and the 90’s was a time you got to first express yourself with fashion, you will remember Benetton for it’s classic Rugby shirts and colourfully diverse campaign ads. The brand’s older, more refined sibling, Sisley, is the perfect spot for office separates and more. If you have yet to step foot into Hangar 9, then I highly suggest you rank it high on your list of things to do this month and brace yourself friends, you will be overwhelmed by the pieces from Derek Lam, Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Missoni, Iro Paris, Helmut Lang, Carven and more carefully curated by the boutique’s owner Rachel.

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My Rag and Bone leather jeans, turtleneck from Sisley and black shoes works quite well for my day to night look. I paired a long vest as my outerwear for my day look and since I am not a fan of briefcases or standard laptop bags, I opted for this beautiful oversized clutch, that is actually large enough to fit my MacBook and other small personal items. And of course sunnies. I never leave home without a pair (or two) and this Chanel pair has a dramatic mirrored lens that I love.

First Canadian Place

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

FCP

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

Opting for more a more street than chic look for after work cocktails or an event, I replaced the long coat with a buttery soft pink lambskin leather moto jacket from Iro Paris and ditched the oversized clutch for a smaller bag for evening that comes with the cutest fur accessory. And even though the black Chanel’s would have worked well with my night look, I just couldn’t resist these Miu Miu’s and it’s pink velvet case. If you love sunglasses as much as I do, you will find endless pairs you will want to add to your collection from Specs and Contacts, also inside Exchange Tower.

First Canadian Place Exchange Tower

First Canadian Place

First Canadian PlacePhotography by Lindsey Drennan

What I’m Wearing: Leather Jeans (Rag & Bone), Black Coat, Leather Iro Paris Jacket, Handbags courtesy of Hangar 9. Turtleneck courtesy of Sisley, Sunglasses (Chanel and Miu Miu) courtesy of Contacts and Specs all at First Canadian Place

Close to Toronto’s financial district? Make First Canadian Place your first destination for all your shopping needs this holiday season. For shopper’s convenience, First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower will be open Saturday’s starting this Saturday November 19th until Saturday December 17th with FREE parking . Retailers will be open from 11AM – 5PM. Enjoy the holiday shopping without the holiday stress!

The Meghan Markle for Reitmans Collection You Need This Fall

I think a common goal for most women-on-the-go is to build a closet full of wearable pieces that can seamlessly take them from the “desk to dinner”. We actually wear only 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time, so it only makes sense to arm ourselves with classic items that we can shamelessly keep on heavy rotation all season long.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Meghan Markle is legitimately one of the kindest people I know, happens to be a lead characters on one of my favourite TV shows (Suits), and has such amazing personal style, the beauty has teamed up with Reitmans for the second season as a design collaborator on a capsule collection. And the results…quite amazing if I do say so myself! The collection features everything you need for the fall/winter season. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Megan Markle for Reitmans

Megan Markle for ReitmansPhotography by JessBaumung.com for Reitmans

Reflecting Meghan’s personal style, the 5 piece collection consists of cropped pencil pants, white boyfriend-style blouse, a ridiculously gorgeous cashmere blend poncho and what everyone is going to want – a leather pencil skirt that literally hugs every corner of your curves and a super versatile turtleneck bodysuit. And not only are the pieces good quality, the price point is affordable, making the collection attainable for so many.

Based on this look, I am anticipating that the Meghan Markle Fall Collection is legit going to fly off shelves. It will be available both online and in select stores across Canada as of November 3rd, but my friends at Reitmans are graciously giving you exclusive access to pre shop the line. Click here to learn more and to become a registered shopper for early access to the collection. Get updates and style inspiration for Meghan Markle for Reitmans by following the hashtag #MMxReitmans on Instagram and Twitter.

Canada Goose Opens First Flagship Store in Toronto

If you live someplace where you must endure freezing cold temps between the months of December and March, you have probably become very well acquainted with Canada Goose. I’ve collected various styles from the Canadian born Arctic luxury apparel brand over the years that has allowed me to survive some of the coldest winters in history and brisk spring weather without sacrificing style.

Canada Goose opens its doors in the city it calls home (CNW Group/Canada Goose)

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Last night Canada Goose opened the doors to it’s first flagship store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto’s premier retail destination, which is getting a ton of press lately for it’s highly anticipated luxury retail expansion. About 10x’s larger than it may have appeared on my Insta and Snapchat stories, the 4,500 sqft space features Canadian design elements that help to bring the brand’s story to life. Canada Goose Canadian roots are clearly on display in the store with bespoke design elements that connect the space to it’s Canadiana roots; like the ridiculously stunning, oversized single piece marble desk, which was commissioned all the way from B.C. Plus the handmade, down filled upholstered furniture from Montreal based company, Montauk Sofa. And there is no shortage of options to choose from inside – trust me! With well over 100 different styles in 40 colour ways, Toronto’s flagship will house the largest variety of product anywhere in the world.

Canada Goose opens its doors in the city it calls home (CNW Group/Canada Goose)

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

And if you’re going to drop upwards of $1000 on a winter jacket, you deserve a first class shopping experience, right? If you’re in the market for premium outerwear this season, you can expect nothing but first class service from the store’s brand ambassadors; who are also more than happy to hold your purchases while you continue to shop the mall and will give you store carry-out to car or ship-to-home service if requested.

Canada Goose Flagship Opening

Opening Ceremony for Canada GooseWearing Opening Ceremony for Canada Goose exclusive black Chilliwack bomber

Photos by Jess Baumung

And I’m sure you’re all wondering whether or not special collaborations will be available in store. Everyone has been chatting about the brand’s recent work with Opening Ceremony and star Blue Jay player José Bautista and lucky for us Torontonians, both are expected to be available here in addition to exclusive in-store only styles, prints and colours. Get a glimpse at vintage pieces from the Canada Goose six decade archive and purchase both classic collections and new pieces at the flagship, which is open to the public now!

8 Carry-On Essentials for Light Air Travel

For years I’ve always envied people who are able to travel with only carry-on luggage. And to be honest, I was not only envious, but also confused. Very confused. How can women travel for more than one night with a 21″ rolling case? I mean, how does she manage to squeeze in all the unnecessary outfits that she will never wear during her trip? Doesn’t she want to bring her ionic blow dryer? Isn’t it tough to pack multiple shoes, especially with high heels? And what about ALL her beauty and skincare products? *gasp*  During my travels on numerous press trips, I have learned a few tricks that has allowed me to join the club of savvy travellers who are not chained to the bag carrousel at their destination. This learning curve has allowed me to fit all the necessities into just one carry-on bag, although I do also bring along a backpack or large tote along as my handbag to cram in anything else that may not fit in my rolling luggage. So since “sharing is caring” here’s some of carry-on MUST HAVES that makes me feel like I have the basics covered:

  1. Rimowa Limbo Multiwheel 22″: Traveling with carry-on can only be done if you have the right bag. I’ve long been a fan of Rimowa luggage for it’s aesthetic, functionality, durable materials, and superior quality. No matter the size or type of bag, Rimowa always offers tons of storage components it’s internal set, taking away some of the anxiety of traveling with one piece of luggage. The multiwheel feature allows the bag to glide seamless in tandem by your side or pulled from behind.
  2. Dermalogica Skincare: On shorter trips, I have learned to edit down my skincare to just a few products. This is a huge feat seeing as though I use anywhere between 15-20 products a day on my face at home. Traveling can cause stress, skin accumulates dirt and debris and we all know that cabin air during flights wreak havoc on skin so it’s important to travel with some options to keep your skin clean, clear and hydrated. Clear skin all lies in how you cleanse. Before washing my skin, I use cleansing wipes (not pictured above) and Dermalogica’s Precleanse. The latter’s nourishing olive, apricot, and kukui nut oils removes make-up, sunscreens and oil-based debris. Also, I love multi-duty products like Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Thermafoliant. This powerful, self-heating skin polisher has chemical and physical exfoliants to not only refine your skin’s texture but also promotes skin firmness and enhance the penetration of vitamins into the skin. The best part, it’s formulated without artificial fragrances and colours. $55 CDN for Precleanse $77 CDN for Multivitamin Therafoliant
  3. The Esteé Edit “Beam Team”: Ummm this product is absolutely brilliant if you dropping majority of your skincare products like third period French class to be able to travel checked-in luggage free. Beam Team is a double duty daily moisturizing lotion. The tube contains a lightweight illuminating and hydrating lotion and wait for it, if you flip the cap top you will find a flattering for all skin shades, highlighting balm. $42 CDN
  4. Jo Malone “Wild Bluebell” Cologne: Who doesn’t love scents by Jo Malone? The brand has a wide variety of colognes ranging from; citrus, floral, fruity, spicy, and woody that can satisfy just about any scent palette. One of my go-to’s when traveling is Wild Bluebell in the 1 floz (30ml) bottle. The size couldn’t be more perfect for travel, plus the light, fruity scent won’t overbear your in-flight neighbours. $65
  5. Hermés Belt: Why travel with multiple belts when you can have just one chic, reversible option. I love my double sided Hermés belt kid. I’ve had it for years. I have misplaced it three times and literally felt my heart stop beating each time I did. The epsom calfskin leather strap in black (with tan on the reversible side) with gold plated metal buckle, literally goes with everything. I can’t say it’s cheap but hey, it’s essentially two belts for the price of one, so it’s all about perspective right? $1,405 CDN
  6. Apple 11″ MacBook Laptop: Size matters. When I am not traveling I love have access to a desktop monitor or larger laptop screen when I’m traveling, the 11″ MacBook has become my trusty companion for both work and play (I mean, I still have to stay up to date with my fave shows when I am on the road). It’s much thinner, lighter, faster, and sleeker than it’s predecessors and also have improved graphic performance. If that’s not enough, up to 10 hours of battery life.
  7. The Barest Lip Colour by The Esteé Edit: You don’t need to travel with an army of lipsticks and lip pencils, trust me. When I have limited luggage space, I stick to just one lippy that I can easily rock from day to night. Loving this neutral shade by The Esteeé Edit which is available at Sephora.ca. $26 CDN
  8. Shoes – a flat and a heel option: I don’t care whether it’s business or pleasure, I think every woman should travel with both a heel and a flat. I love these neutral shoes from Ann Taylor (left) and Loft (right) which are sadly from their summer collections and no longer available.

Interesting in learning more of my skincare secrets? Stay tuned as I will be sharing my skin story with Dermalogica Canada over the next few weeks. Follow along by using the hashtag #MyFaceMyStory on your favourite social channels.

Nordstrom Presents: Camp Nordstrom in Toronto September 10th

It’s been a long time coming for fashion lovers south of the border but Nordstrom is finally opening it’s doors here in Canada this fall. The luxury retailer has pulled out all the stops making sure the highly anticipated openings of their CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale locations September 16th and October 21st at 10am respectively, are on top of everyone’s minds. To help celebrate the launch of the much welcomed luxury department store, Nordstrom is hosting a slew of events over the next several weeks but the one I am most excited for is Camp Nordstrom fitness event taking place on Saturday September 10th.

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Mackenzie White - Nordstrom Camp TorontoMackenzie White, Model and Yoga Instructor

As a leading fashion speciality retailer offering carefully curated clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty collections, Nordstrom has also entered the fitness apparel game by launching their exclusive modern activewear collection, Zella, in 2007 which features flattering workout separates for women designed to let you to move with ease, a men’s and children’s collection, in addition to swimwear . Camp Nordstrom is a one day only fitness event, hosted by yours truly, where guests will be able to check out the Zella line and participate in one of two complimentary fitness classes led by Model and Yoga Instructor Mackenzie White.

Camp Nordstrom

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Camp Nordstrom TorontoPhotos by JessBaumung.com

What I’m Wearing: “Live In” Leggings and “Pure Energy” Seemless Bralette c/0 Zella by Nordstrom

What can you expect: Taking place outdoors at Toronto’s Sherbourne Common Park on Lower Sherbourne at Queen’s Quay, the Camp Nordstrom event will feature both a morning and afternoon high energy boot camp style class with a yoga cool down, a Greenhouse Juice Pop-UP bar, an interactive photo booth, giveaways and much more.

WHEN:      Saturday September 10th, 2016

                  Registration at 9am & noon

                  Classes commence at 10am & 1pm

WHERE:  Sherbourne Common Park. 61 Dockside Drive. Toronto, ON. M5A 1B6

I will be hosting both sessions and hope to see you there!

Up Close & Personal With Yours Truly in LouLou Magazine

Through SoSasha.com and social media I get a chance to share parts of my life and amazing experiences with my followers, but I have come to realize that although you all love the brand experiences and story telling, you’re also very interested in learning the little things about me…the quirks, idiosyncrasies, guilty pleasures, what motivates me or how I stay motivated and a bit more about my personal life. I sat down with LouLou Magazine not too long ago, for a rapid-fire Q&A session where I got to dish on what’s in my handbag, my favourite workout partners, what makes me “happy”, The Kardashians and much more.
#366DaysOfLooks
In case you missed it, I am currently collaborating with the magazine on their #366DaysOfLooks project. Catch up on all my favourite OOTD’s by heading to LouLouMagazine.com/SashaExeter.

GapFit x AKT Hamptons Summer Retreat

As picky as I can be with my workouts, I’m just as particular about the clothes I wear when doing them. Gap has been making workout wear for several years now and it’s growing success and popularity was the catalyst for @GapFit launching separately on Instagram last week, which will focus solely on promoting the latest from the brand’s activewear collections. To celebrate their coming of age in the social space, the GapFit team hosted a fitness retreat in the Hamptons, the destination every New Yorker dreams of spending their summer at!

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So what was on the itinerary for this epic summer weekend? Sweat, sweat and more sweat. Gap teamed up with Canadian cutie and the creator of AKT in Motion, Anna Kaiser, to put us through a handful of workouts and ended the weekend with a stretching and foam rolling class designed for us to test out the GapFit’s hero pieces from the current collection. Women from all over the world arrived in Montauk last Friday (Editors from some of your fave glossies and digital publications; Vogue, Elle, Refinery 29, and Fashionista.com just to name a few) and stayed at the infamous beachside resort Gurney’s Montauk. If you’ve never been to the Hamptons before, the Gurney’s property is exactly what you would expect a hotel there to look like. Fresh minimal, clean aesthetic but not in a stuffy way. A very relaxed vibe that immediately makes you feel like you’re at home visiting a friend at their beachside compound.

Gurney's Montauk

gurneys montauk

gurneys montauk

Aside from the hotel being dreamy, it was the workout gear that got most of the ladies excited when we each arrived to our rooms. Beautifully coloured prints adorned the bras, tights and shorts and the perfect light weight tanks to layer over our looks during or post workout were all packed into the a black quilted Gap backpack. My faves –  Lightweight Mesh Tank and the Breathe Air Twist Back Tank, which both have GDry moisture wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry even during the most intense workouts. Not to be outdone by the Summer Sports gFast Training Tights and matching bra. I’m actually a “workout in my sports bra” kind of girl and the GapFit bras did not disappoint. It was legit 95 degrees during our Hamptons stay so we greatly appreciated the Coolmax® lining in the bras and four way stretch fabric.

GapFit AKT Summer Retreat

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Capris are not my favourite thing and if you’ve been following me on snapchat you are already well aware of this. I have had many a rants about how I feel about my long legs in capri tights BUT I couldn’t deny the cuteness of the gFast cross training tights that also came with matches bras. Not only do they look good but their functional too! The four way stretch system in the tights allowed to move during our sessions with ease and they each seemed to retain their shape throughout the day without the fabric becoming baggy in the wrong areas (you know the unsightly sagging in the bum, crotch and waist areas). Also, have you ever had the drawstring from your favourite pair of tights come completely out of the waistband in the washing machine? It’s one of my pet peeves to be honest. The gFast capris include an adjustable enclosed drawcord to prevent this from ever happening and a flat lock system to also stop everyone’s worst nightmare – chaffing.

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GapFit2016-Montauk_6368Photography by Max Breslow Photography for GapFit

Special thanks to Gap Canada and GapFit for an unforgettable experience in Montauk. I left the Hamptons with sore muscles, a belly full of amazing seafood, new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. All these GapFit looks are currently available in store and can also be found online at GapCanada.ca.

SSFit: Spotify Summer Sixteen Training Playlist

You’ve heard me say time and time again that the right outfit can motivate you to workout, but a dope playlist is never to be underestimated. If you’re in the gym solo, it can be difficult AF to stay focused, give 100% and push yourself until the end of your planned workout. I hear so many times from people that they head to the gym with plans of doing an hour long workout and end up bailing 30 minutes later. No judgements here…I get it. It’s probably how I feel when I go to the nail or hair salon. I immediately start thinking of all the things I “could” be doing instead of being there for much longer than I really want to be.

SSFit Summer Sixteen Training Playlist

If it’s not possible to have a workout buddy or accountability partner in the gym, I would say you better get some good tunes to keep your butt committed to your planned workouts. There’s a few tracks I have had on heavy rotation lately and based on all your requests on Twitter, I have compiled them into a 45 minute Spotify playlist titled, “SSFit: Summer Sixteen Training Playlist” (there’s a sneak peek above) for you that will seamlessly take you through your warm-up, workout, cool-down and even a slow tempo’d track for you to stretch to.

And your playlist is only as good as the headphones you use to listen to it, amirite? I’ve gone back to wireless headphones and currently addicted to my new Beats by Dre Solo 2 Wireless On-Ear Headphones in rose gold. The intelligent design buffers outside noise with earcup padding and has a wide range of sound to allow listeners to enjoy music the way artists intend us to. They pair easily with my iPhone6 and I can move freely up to 9 meters away from my connected device. I really hate interrupting workouts with calls, but if I need to jump on one quickly with my agent, I can do so with the hands free mic. If you’re familiar with wireless headphones you’re probably wondering about the battery life right? The Solo 2 headphones were made for people on the go and can stay unplugged all day thanks to the 12 hour rechargeable battery. Available for sale now on Apple.ca for $329.95.

Photo by Jess Baumung.com for LouLou Magazine

Want details on my training look? Head to louloumagazine.com/sashaexeter for the details and the rest of my #366DaysOfLooks.

Bench #LoveMyHood East Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

#LoveMyHood

The city of Toronto has gained so much notoriety over the last few years with the help of our sports teams, crazy former Mayor, Drake and Vogue Magazine naming Queen West as one of the most stylish neighbourhoods in the world. It seems as if the west end and central downtown gets all the love but with my recent relocation to the Riverdale area, I’ve grown quite fond of the east end’s neighbourhood feel and charm. You don’t have to venture far for a good organic butcher, well appointed coffee house, healthy restaurants and cool boutiques are starting to now pop up giving the area a breath of fresh air. As part of Bench’s #LoveMyHood campaign, I’m giving you a sneak peek into some of spots I’ve quickly fallen in love with wearing the easy to rock basics I wear religiously from the Canadian retailer.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

What I’m WearingOrnamentation Handbag (c/o of Bench), Verdugo Ramone Deconstructed Denim (c/o Paige Denim), Lautner Leather Moto (The Arrivals NYC), Felt Hat (vintage), Apocalypse White Tee (c/o Bench), Planetary Running Hat (c/0 Bench), Baddah N Leggings (c/o Bench), Shenanigan B Jacket (c/o Bench), Nike Air Max 1 Mid Waterproof Boots (c/o Nike)

ODIN CAFE + BAR – 514 King Street East Toronto, ON

LoveMyHood

With intricate designed lattes, Matcha becoming mainstream and flat whites gaining popularity, cool coffee shops have been opening all over the city. Some even understanding our society’s obsession of sharing highly curated images on social media of our daily “cup-of-joe”, have built aesthetically pleasing cafes where just about every square foot of space is instagrammable. This describes Odin to a T. Also known as Odin Hus or Odin Cafe + Bar, this Nordic inspired cafe on King East is a hybrid bar serving java and snacks by day, cocktails and craft beer at night plus brunch on weekends. Opened by owner’s Patrick Tu and Tom Juneck. who also own Thor Espresso Bar in addition to new locations opening in Toronto’s financial district, Japan and Switzerland next year, Odin has quickly become one of my go-to places to eat, drink, and work. Caffeine aside, Odin is so aesthetically pleasing with their geometric Konstantin Gric stools and light blue Eames chairs doubling as art, angular details behind the bar and the space’s piece de resistance – a large black and white mural by local Toronto artist Tara Niewiadomski.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHoodPictured above; Ginger lemon green tea, classic latte and green matcha tea latte

KaSpace – KEVIN ALLWOOD ATELIER 185 Carlaw Toronto, ON M4M 2S1

Kevin Allwood Space

For weeks I jogged by KaSpace when it was a blank canvas wondering what was going to open there and it wasn’t until a cold Sunday evening run in December when I noticed something had finally opened in the space. To call KaSpace a clothing boutique simply wouldn’t do it any justice. Partners Ashley King Allwod and Kevin Allwood, who originally hail from Montreal, opened this gallery-esque concept store in Leslieville as an extension of KA Magazine, which the pair publishes annually and to sell pieces from Kevin’s namesake fashion line (which is all organic and ethically sourced in Italy and Canada) and all-natural personal care items; think essential oil-infused moisturizers and bath salts. And if this isn’t enough, KA Cafe will be coming in the very near future. What attracted me to the KaSpace originally was it’s clean, minimal design of the space which was mimicked by both the clothing and art hung in gallery style on the walls. My favourites are the cluster of photographs by the entrance by Ted Witek just to the right of black chic, gold faced mannequins wearing Allwood’s exclusive evening wear collection. Head towards the back of the room and you will become seduced by a video of a ballerina projected on the wall, shot by the multi-faceted and talented Mr. Allwood, who is also a photographer and art director, as part of his multimedia art exhibit.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

What I’m Wearing: Discerning Sweatpant (c/o Bench), Scinittilescent Crew Neck LS Tee (c/o Bench), Ornamentation Handbag (c/o Bench), Custom Nike iD Huaraches (c/o Nike)

Apart from Allwood’s evening wear collection which I adore, his ready-to-wear collection is what closely resembles my personal style. There seems to be less and less of  division in the pieces that I wear to work, play and workout. I love tights and sweatpants that are less run of the mill and more athleisure that can take me from the yoga studio straight to lunch and basic tees that can be thrown over sports bras post workout with jeans or as a dress with sneakers. I have literally lived in my pair of Discerning Sweats from Bench since I got them and have worn them with everything. This is what I love so much about Bench. Easy to wear classic pieces that can seamlessly take me from morning to night. Plus cozy hoodies and sweaters perfect for layering under my Bench jacket, that is both warm and surprisingly figure flattering for winter outerwear.

IMPACT KITCHEN – 573 King Street East Toronto, ON M5A 4L3

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

What I’m WearingApocalypse Grey SS Tee and the Demureness Bobble Beanie both courtesy of Bench.

If you love clean, healthy foods sans gluten but rich in flavour, then stop what you’re doing immediately and head to Impact Kitchen. Also located on King East in Corktown, a stone’s throw away from Odin, this 5,000 sqft lofty restaurant cafe resembles much more of a new wave cafeteria. Opened in 2015 by Josh Broun and Frank Toskane, the latter founded cult makeup brand M.A.C. Cosmetics and sold it in 1998, hired former personal chef Stephanie Tucci to create a menu full of nutrient rich foods that are not only minimally processed but also works with Paleo and vegan diets. Salads and bowls is Impact’s focus during the day in addition to their plethora of guilt free snacks and deserts but the evening is when you can find delicious Paleo chilli, bison meatballs and flanked steak. My personal faves over the past few weeks have been the Paleo waffles (only available on the weekends until 12:30) and the infamous Maverick bowl (pictured above) piled with root veggie mash, avocados, nuts, salsa fresca and your choice of protein if you want to add it. The coffee bar doesn’t disappoint either – offering almond and cash milk, both made in-house, plus their own line of delicious cold pressed juices.

BOXCAR SOCIAL (RIVERDALE) – 4 Boulton Ave Toronto, ON 

LoveMyHood

Good charcuterie, check. Extensive whiskey list, check. Diverse wine list by the glass, check. Tasty craft beer to please even the pickiest of palettes, check. Welcome to Boxcar Social. With two locations now in Toronto, one in Summerhill and the other in Riverdale, people from all over the city have been venturing to Toronto’s east side for Boxcar’s carefully curated list of new world wines, scotches, bourbons and rotating list of coffee from the best roasters in the world. Located on Boulton Ave just north of the Queen East strip with minimal external signage means before you had to be in the know to find the place but with the slew of Instagram posts by locals, I am certain this spot will be continuously busy come summer time when their licensed patio re-opens. I am familiar with “flights” in the juicing world, where you can order sample sizes of a variety of juices if you don’t want to decide on just one, however Boxcar Social is the very first place I witnessed coffee and whiskey flights but I guess there’s a first time for everything. Patrons can order three different coffees side by side or two different espressos paired with two half ounces bourbons. A concept people seem to throughly enjoy. Besides having a great coffee and drink list, this over 100 year old building with 18 ft ceilings is a visually dope and inviting space where an afternoon of writing and emails can easily turn into an evening of one too many drinks with a friend.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

#LoveMyHood East Toronto Neighbourhood Guide Sneak Peek

LoveMyHood

I feel so grateful to live in a city rich and diverse in culture and with so many neighbourhood pockets, each so different and unique. I’ve lived in many areas of Toronto and in other cities all over the world, but recently I’ve been calling Leslieville home with my love. The area really has that “neighbourhood” feel and we enjoy the fact that our fave spots are within walking distance. With my busy lifestyle, I really appreciate anything that makes my life easier. Some days get so hectic with what seems like a million meetings, events and other commitments. This means I generally turn to easy basics that can be mixed and matched and see me through the entire day. This is one of the reasons I love Bench so much. Simple, oversized tees, classic sweatshirts and hoodies, outerwear plus cozy sweats that I love to wear with my custom Nike Huaraches.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

Bench3_edit

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHoodPhotography by Danielle Reynolds (@daniirey)

Since my move, I have been asked about some of the places I frequent in my new hood, so I am going to be teaming up with Bench Canada for their #LoveMyHood campaign next week to show you guys just how cool the east side is with all the details on my fave spots and staple pieces from Bench. Stay tuned!

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