NXNE 2014 favourites

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Since NXNE ended on Sunday, I've seen a lot of posts about what people liked / didn't like / thought could be better / the end of the short-lived radius clause. I was lucky to win some wristbands from My Apollo (thank you!) and wanted to post some of my own highlights from the last week.

NXNE ashley gibson

Donovan Woods
Corbin introduced me to Donovan Woods early in our relationship and I instantly adored Donovan's smooth voice and brilliant storytelling (and Corbin's good taste in music). I saw a tweet from Donovan during the festival saying that he was playing at the Dakota and I was stoked! The Dakota is one of my favourite small venues in the city and I was pleased to be able to see Donovan live finally.

I nabbed a seat right next to the stage and got to enjoy sweet tunes and Donovan's endearing and engaging stage banter including requests to ensure he drank enough water and a story about a song he wrote for a guy who had found out that his ex had gotten engaged through Facebook to try and win the gal back. He played a mix of old and new (mostly sad songs, to his own admission) and I really enjoyed the simplicity of his set: just him, his guitar and harmonica. He didn't play one of my favourites, The Coldest State, so I'll leave the video below because it's charming.

Autre Ne Veut

Autre Ne Veut was actually the artist I was most looking forward to seeing when I got my wristband. I've been a fan of Arthur Ashin's smooth vocals for about a year and have sadly missed his previous visits to Toronto. I had a much-needed giggle before the show after a terrible bicycle ride to the venue (more on that in another post) when the man himself tweeted back at me, making no promises for the show making it up to me for my terrible ride. Thankfully, he delivered! 
I really enjoyed his energy, onstage persona, killer backup singer and vocals. While I worry for the sake of his voice (there was a lotta yelling happening) I was enthralled by his set. Autre Ne Veut was followed by 'secret act' of the night Sleigh Bells and I left after a couple of songs because apparently 'noise pop' is more noise than anything else and I just wasn't into it (and apparently I wasn't alone)


I read an article about tUnE-yArDs and Merrill Garbus at the beginning of the festival and after getting a recommendation from a friend I decided to check out her set at Massey Hall. I'm so glad that I did because their set ended up being my very favourite thing I saw! Having Massey Hall as a venue is really awesome and provided a wonderful platform for Merrill and her band's energy. She recorded loops live, sang, clapped and drummed with another percussionist, guitarist and two back up singers/dancers alongside her. My new aspiration in life is to be a backup singer for Merrill. I'm not even joking. The whole crowd was standing by the second song, and she commented on everyone's polite Canadian nature when she was recording her loops for each track. It was an incredible performance that I'm so glad I got to witness and very cool to have discovered a stellar new-to-me artist. 

What were you faves from NXNE?

Meet Cecily, my new Bobbin Metropole

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is Cecily. 

Pale Rose Bobbin Metropole

Cecily, this is everyone. 

It's been awhile that I've wanted a new bicycle. My first adult city bike was given to me by a friend. It was a Schwinn cruiser and we definitely had some fun over the course of a couple of summers. I didn't ride her regularly because she was pretty heavy and not ideally suited for city riding. Thus, she's been locked up and collecting dust, rust and other debris for awhile now... 

I've been eyeing various brands of cruiser / commuter style bikes for awhile. I wanted a sort of hybrid cruiser / commuter with a looped frame, with at least 3 speeds, likely in a fun colour. There are a few brands that bike shops in Toronto carry that met these specifications, and Corbin and I had also been checking out (and snapping photos) of bikes all over the city. Months ago, I had pinned a Bobbin that I was completely in love with and had in my brain as the 'perfect' bicycle. I compared every bike to this one and when I was finally ready to take the plunge and make my purchase I did a little research to see how much it would cost for me to order my dream bicycle from across the pond. 

Yes, my sweet sweet Cecily came from England. I found a sale on some Bobbins at wiggle.com and after a little investigation discovered it would only cost be a bit more to order her from England (rather than get a similar bicycle from another brand at a shop in Toronto, including shipping and customs). So I pressed purchase, waited and then she arrived just five days later. In many pieces. 

Thankfully my sweet boyfriend is handy and thoughtful and wonderful, and after waiting for her to be delivered for an entire afternoon, he put Cecily together. 

Bobbin Metropole - pale rose pink

Over the last few weeks I've been acclimatizing myself to city riding once again and it's been an absolute blast. The Bobbin Metropoles are super lightweight, easy to ride and outfitted with 6 speeds. Corbin is a big help as he's quite the bicycle commuter, and it's great to ride with someone confident, assertive and mega helpful. I opted out of buying a Metropass this month and 11 days into the month, Cecily and I are doing just fine. I made a stop at Bikes on Wheels last week and they outfitted Cecily with a shiny new basket and now we're ready for a summer of bike rides and fun! 

Bobbin Metropole #BikeTO

Many more stories and photos of our adventures to come.

What is your dream bike? Any tips for bike commuting around a big city?

Thanks to Corbin for the photos and Cecily construction 

Warby Parker launches Karlie Kloss collection

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cute sunglasses and being super helpful? Into it!

Warby Parker (a sweet maker of vintage inspired glasses and sunglasses with a contemporary twist) is launching a new collaboration today with model Karlie Kloss. The three new frames, Julia, Marple and Clara are mega versatile, feminine and all sorts of fun!

glasses, sunglasses, Karlie Kloss

All three frames would be really flattering for most face shapes and would look great with anything casual or you could dress them up as well. It's a tough call, but I think my favourite is the Marple in Gold with the Violet Clover lenses - I love vintage aesthetic and shape of the of the frames with the wire accents.

Warby Parker x Karlie Kloss

The collaboration also continues the company's commitment to giving back, with a donation being made to Edible Schoolyard NYC, an organization which provides low-income schools with kitchens and gardens and programs to teach students about developing healthier habits. And just like their existing collections, for every pair sold Warby Parker will distribute a pair to someone in need through their non-profit partners. To date, they've donated half a million pairs of glasses in 36 countries to people who need them, which I think is awesome!

The Warby Parker x Karlie Kloss frames are available beginning today at $170 ($145 in the US). While located in NYC, they offer flat rate shipping to Canada for $10 which includes shipping, handling customs and tariffs.The remainder of their frames begin at $120 and they pride themselves on quality construction and giving back.

And if glasses or sunglasses aren't really your thing, they've also got a monocle.
No. Really.

Dinner Inspiration - (mostly) Raw & (all) Delicious

Friday, June 6, 2014

Last week I spent a couple hours in the kitchen making some magic happen. The effort was well worth the result:

gluten free, vegan, raw
raw, gluten free

Raw zucchini pasta with lentil and quinoa meatballs with a kale caesar salad. For the salad I made a dressing of olive oil, tahini, lemon, nutritional yeast and a couple garlic cloves, which I tossed with some baby kale and homemade croutons from Dreena Burton's, Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, made with gluten free bread. 

Dessert looked spectacular, and was surprisingly very easy! I was inspired by this raw vegan chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and used her recipe for the crust and the mini peanut butter cups. I used Lori and Michelle's chocolate cream cake recipe for the filling and then melted peanut butter and a bit of agave to drizzle on top. I made the cake in a 6 inch springform pan and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving, and it was absolutely divine. 

All gluten free. All vegan. Mostly raw. All delicious. 

Love List - June

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm so pleased that summer is here! In an effort to get some regular posts happening on the bloggy, I'm beginning a monthly series of my current loves including any places, sounds, treats and things that are making me happy. Here's June:

My new bicycle
I finally took the plunge and ordered a new bicycle!!

My previous bike was a beach cruiser that was too heavy and clunky for daily commuting and fun rides anywhere but the boardwalk. I opted for a Bobbin, and she arrived from England(!!) a couple of weeks ago. There will be a whole post dedicated to her in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! She is absolutely gorgeous. 

Royal Wood
Corbin and I went to see Royal Wood (with Peter Katz) a few weeks ago at the Winter Garden Theatre as I had bought him tickets for Christmas. It was well worth the wait! It was an incredible night and so awesome to see such talented musicians play stellar music. I'm loving Royal's new album, The Burning Bright

Pretty manis and pedis
Summer means open-toed shoes which means a sweet excuse for a pedicure. I got to pay a visit to the new location of The Ten Spot in the Annex last week and am enjoying my sweet gel mani and pedi. Purple and sparkles go with everything, right? 

OPI Don't be a Budapest, The 10 Spot
Gelish gel manicure, The Ten Spot
OPI 'Don't be a Budapest' on my toes and Gelish 'Oocha Coocha Bing Bang Bam Alakazy Alakazam' on my fingers 

The Kind Exchange
The Kind Exchange recently opened a location on the Danforth and it's already becoming one of my very favourite places to shop. You can bring any unwanted clothes, accessories and shoes and the store's buyers will decide which of your pieces they would like to take and offer cash or a store credit in return. The store's inventory is then made up of other people's items at really great prices, with a portion of the proceeds going to local charities. My favourite finds have included brand new Dr. Marten's with floral insides and ribbon laces (for $45!!) and an adorable poodle dress that one of my co-workers spotted on The Kind Exchange's instagram  

Dr. Marten's classic

The Kind Exchange, Poodle dress

New items are constantly being added, and the Danforth location's small size makes it easy and fun to shop. There are locations all over Toronto now with all different merchandise, which is awesome! 

The return of the summer of popsicles

I see many more popsicles in our future and I couldn't be happier. 

Trips to Target with Lindsay
Linz and I have started a new tradition where we take visits to Target to a) pick up anything we need and b) kick the blues if we're having a bad day. Our adventures have been hilarious so far... more to come. 

What's making you happy in June so far?
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