a perfume workshop!

Last week I was lucky enough to take The Art of Perfuming workshop with Julie of Province Apothecary. I had missed out on this workshop in the past so was thrilled to finally be able to take it! I adore perfumes but haven’t ever tried to make my own, specifically because I was too intimidated by the vast world of scent. With Julie’s instruction and advice, though, it felt easy and came naturally.

I’ve been a fan of Province’s Parfum Botanique line, particularly No. 7 and No. 14, and still wish I hadn’t missed out on the perfume she created especially for Easy Tiger a while ago. That one was a blend of rose, jasmine, vetiver, bergamont, and cedar wood, and without realizing it, I ended up making one that was similar (more on my blend later).

In the workshop we learned about top, middle, and bottom notes, and how to blend to make accords. We sniffed and sniffed essential oils and narrowed down our choices. Julie said that if something really spoke to us, it probably meant that our body needed it (Julie has a background in aromatherapy). It was very relaxing!

It was fascinating to see how different everyone’s finished blends were! Some were floral, some were more citrus-based. No two were alike.

In the end we got to take home a 10ml bottle of our own custom blend. I really love patchouli and mine ended up being pretty heavy on the patchouli, although made a little more subtle as its also blended with rose otto, bergamot, vetiver, and black pepper. A very earthy blend. I have been carrying it in my purse and I love to pull it out and give it a sniff. I jokingly said mine was called 1997 because in that year I went through a phase in which I wore patchouli oil. It takes me right back, although it detours a little through a few other lovely scents along the way.

Thanks, Julie! If you're interested in taking a workshop with Province Apothecary, watch this page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram.


classpass pt 2

I last wrote about ClassPass back in March, and I wanted to share a little more about my experience and to write a little about some of the amazing studios we have access to here in Toronto, since I have now taken over seventy classes. I try to test out a new spot once in a while (and always get the first-visit jitters!), but often find myself going back to my favourites. When I was in New York recently I wanted to take advantage of ClassPass Flex (that is, your ClassPass account entitles you to work out in any ClassPass studio in any city), but I was so overwhelmed by the sheer number of studios (I ended up going for a run along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which of course was wonderful as well)! I thought maybe these posts with my faves could be helpful for anyone starting out in Toronto.

I had a few lazy weeks recently, and for a while I was running outside more thanks to a fun run club, but being a ClassPass member has helped keep me active in a way I have never been before. It’s gotten to the point where I feel off if I don’t do some form of exercise every day (even if that means squeezing in fifteen minutes of at-home yoga and some foam rolling). That’s not to say that I’m in the best physical shape of my life, because I’m not (yet!), but I am so happy to have renewed my love of exercise. I used to feel anxious and guilty when other people talked about exercising, but it’s become an essential part of my life. I never thought I would grow to love squats and lunges, but here we are!

This was definitely one of my favourite discoveries via ClassPass. The studio is located in the east end and it is one of the most beautiful, light-filled spaces I’ve visited, and the workouts are challenging and, dare I say lovely? I particularly love the Allegro Ballet Bootcamp or the Allegro + Sculpt classes. The Allegro is a workout designed by owner and dancer Jenn Nichols that incorporates ballet movements to get the heart racing. It is a little challenging for the uncoordinated among us (in front of a mirror, no less), but I have found it addictive, and pick up more steps every time. I particularly like the Allegro + Sculpt because it incorporates hand weights in addition to the cardio movements and core exercises, making it a well-rounded workout. I haven’t been in a few weeks and I am itching to get back. Image via Fashion and Beauty Inc.

This is another workout that I find so pleasing that I’m almost surprised when the burn kicks in! This workout incorporates barre, pilates, and yoga (hence the “3”) and packs a good punch despite being low impact. Lots of modifications are given, making the classes accessible to any fitness level. The instructors are so friendly; the instructor who signed me in for my first class remembered my name every other time I came in, which I don’t think has ever happened before, especially as I am not one to chat and make myself known after a class. Image via Beauty Editor.

Surfset is a workout performed on a a type of surfboard that is balanced on three stability balls (to mimic ocean waves) for a very shaky 45 minutes. About ten minutes into my first Surfset workout, after being told to jump onto the board, squat, and jump back down, I laughed out loud and said “I can’t do this” seeing as I could barely walk up onto the board and hold myself steadily. But I did it, and I went back and saw improvements within three classes. Some classes are yoga-inspired, and some involve weights and circuit training. You have to approach it with a good sense of humour, because unless you have abs of steel already, you will feel like you’re going to fall off. And you probably will fall off, but the floor is padded so it’s all good. Embrace the wobble. Image via BlogTO.

I was familiar with this space because I attended classes there when it was a different studio, so I was happy to revisit this airy space on Bloor Street. Union offers a wide variety of yoga classes, some of them heated. I’ve enjoyed flow classes there, as well as flow + meditation. I took a 7am flow class there a few times with a teacher named Megan and she sang during savasana. It was utterly blissful. Image via BlogTO.

A few others:

HARMONY FITNESS: This facility is in a warehouse-like space by Wilson subway station. It’s got a bit of a harder feel than, say, a barre studio, but the workouts are amazing. I highly recommend the Treadsanity class, which combines running on a treadmill with high intensity training intervals. They also have a rowing class that is similar, which would be so amazing for the arms (I hope to try it soon!).

STUDIO LAGREE: A cult favourite, and the studio on King is usually fully booked way in advance.  Another very intense workout, one that left me sore for three days after the first time I tried it. This one is performed on a machine similar to a Pilates Reformer or a Gravity training system, is low impact, and gets the heart racing. You go hard and non-stop for 50 minutes.

KULA YOGA: Kula offers a very wide variety of yoga classes, and I particularly LOVE their Reiki Restorative. It’s delicious.

SPYNGA: I’ve only tried the spin classes here, but they offer yoga as well. I usually find spinning kind of boring, but have found the teachers here to be really encouraging and motivating, and they tend to play good music, whieh makes all the difference in a spin class.

If you have any recommendations for me or questions, please let me know! I love to talk about this!


new york in june

Recently Geoff and I took a very quick jaunt over to New York City for a pre-wedding fĂȘte for some beloved friends who live there (dinner at Zizi Limona and drinks/partying at Night of Joy). The weather was glorious, the hangs were fantastic, and we took a few rolls’ of film worth of pictures. This is a mix of photos taken by both Geoff and I, using both our Olympus Stylus Epic and our Canon A-1. Enjoy!

Unfortunately for us we had booked a 7am flight home since Geoff was teaching a class in the afternoon, so we were operating on maybe two hours of sleep after the party on the way to the airport. Thanks to Blacklane for the wonderfully luxurious drive home! We dove straight into bed with Netflix as it poured rain outside and tried not to think about how much we missed our friends. Sigh.

We stayed with friends at their apartment in Brooklyn Heights and all the roses were out. Rambling roses + brownstones are such a dreamy combo.

We popped into this shop, The Primary Essentials, and wanted to buy pretty much one of everything. So many great ceramics, and a cute shop dog too.

A sweet community garden in the neighbourhood, and on the right and below, a Picasso sculpture we visited on the NYU campus. Geoff had read about it online and we decided to visit. It’s such a gem; more info here.

There happened to be a Hare Krishna festival on in Washington Square Park (which, sorry, I will forever associate with Gilmore Girls because I love Jess).

A quick stop in to visit Kiosk, one of Geoff’s all-time favourite shops (which is moving online only).

Our friend Trevor works at the Met (nbd) so we went to meet him there on a Friday evening. The light in European Sculpture Court is stunning.

Here is the happy couple, who are now married! (Annie was my maid of honour for our wedding)

Pretty good rooftop, I’d say.

My first jaunt through Central Park!

We also took a quick jaunt through the Floral District.

Trevor and Mike at the Judd Foundation (we didn’t go upstairs as we hadn’t made reservations in advance. Still a great place to visit!).


Geoff and some pieces by Dan Flavin.

Picture Room, an art shop that, again, Geoff heard about online, was one of the few shops that we visited and it was so good. The McNally Jackson Store next door (same ownership, and same ownership as McNally Jackson Books) was also wonderful to visit. Lots of great stationery and home items.

Some bright Sol LeWitt back home at YYZ.