Dating During a Pandemic: Virtual Dating or Bust

If Love is Blind was any indication of what was to come, virtual dating is the new normal. We’re going into week 6 of social distancing and isolation. Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives in some way, shape, or form. I think we’ve all put on a few pounds, questioned whether some hypothetical socializing method out in the world is okay (newsflash: sadly, it’s not), and romantic relationships may never be the same again.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The first week of the Great Canadian Quarantine, my Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder were busier than ever. These Toronto skeezbags were using the coronavirus as the ultimate wing-man. I’ve never had so many offers to “Netflix and Quarantine” in all my life. As we learned more about the virus and its severity, it became really easy to just unmatch those who wanted to bring beer, wine, and germs over to my place.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

Week two I experienced a change in the behaviour of men on these apps. Conversations were longer. Men were opening up, being vulnerable about their emotional fragility during this uncertain time, and sharing their hobbies and interests on a deeper level. Chats like these can seem amazing and fulfilling, but don’t get caught up in the excitement. Both sides have time to come up with a response, and Prince Charming may only be able to sweep you off your feet due to preparation time and good old Google.

Chrissy Teigen's Cry Face

This past week I finally gave virtual dating a try. I had 1 phone and two video chat dates. The phone date was uncomfortable. The guy was definitely already wasted, talked about giving up on his freelance work in favour of CERB, and told me I was going to marry him.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

My second virtual date was through an instagram video chat. At first, things were flowing pretty well. While he did seem to look like his pictures, right away I felt as though I wasn’t attracted to him. We have actually worked in the same industry. I worked for a company (years ago) that developed the first iteration of the platform about which he was complaining. You have to give someone the benefit of the doubt with technology which can lag, but it didn’t take too long to realize that he was just talking over me and wasn’t willing to let me get a word in edgewise.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

I would ask him questions – a pretty normal practice to engage in conversation. He would answer, but would not reciprocate with a question for me. Eventually we just sat there nodding while I waited for him to bring something to the table. Lags in conversation can be really unbearable in person, but when virtual dating it’s really tempting to just X out of the chat.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The last virtual dating experience actually went really well. I poured a glass of wine and immediately spilled it everywhere. He laughed, but was cool about it. Conversation flowed really well. None of it was the standard small talk. We talked about our families, our passions, and what we would do on our first “real” date once extreme social distancing ends. He was rugged and masculine. His mannerisms and body language were chill and relaxed. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m into it. It might not be magic in person, but at least I know that he’s not going to cut me off each time I go to speak on “in-person” date #1.

Love Is Blind

Ultimately, the virtual date is going to be awkward and tense at first. The new normal requires a change in perspective. You can either adapt or get reaaaal comfortable with isolation. Online dating can be a colossal waste of time, but I’ve had a couple of nice relationships thanks to their help. If you’re getting butterflies, kick things up a notch. Love is not blind, as we’ve discovered. The pods can only last so long. Save yourself some time and energy. Virtual or bust.

Love Is Blind

Have you tried virtual dating throughout the pandemic?

Let us know what app and method of virtual dating you’ve given a shot (and how it went!) in the comments below.

Valentine’s Day in Toronto: A Date With Dasha

Valentine’s Day in Toronto

I spent last Valentine’s Day getting filthy. An early morning sweat session was just what the doctor ordered, and I went for it first thing in the morning. It lasted about 45 minutes, and it was a mad dash to get ready and get to work.

I spent last Valentine’s Day working out. What did you think I meant? 

Last Valentine’s Day was actually quite sweet. I got up and headed to F45 where my Valentine’s at St. Clair West got my endorphins going. I did, in fact, rush to work, and was greeted by one of my favourite security guards handing out roses. Nice work, Brookfield. I spent lunchtime with my on and off beau of a year and a half. We’re still talking, but I’ve since set some boundaries since we ultimately just want different things. He’s one of the guys on the The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto  and his name actually rhymes with Dasha.

A couple of weeks ago I got a canned e-mail from the team at Dasha advertising their Valentine’s special. No longer being part of a couple (and a little burned by the naming convention reminder) I cracked wise on instagram asking if they’d like to have me hunched over a bar stool singing Céline Dion. Turns out – they were into it. With that in mind…

Join us on February 14th for a Date with Dasha!

An upscale karaoke party for singles, friends, lovers or whomever else your heart desires!

TICKETS: $25 (Click here to get yours!)

WHATS IN IT FOR YOU:

  • A welcome shooter (to set the mood – I’m calling it a “Love Shot” for EXO fans)
  • Appetizers (canapé-style food in Dasha’s private dinning room)
  • Access to 5 unique karaoke rooms ALL NIGHT LONG!

We will have a cash bar in the Private Dining Room (featured above) stocked and loaded for your night out.

Our bartenders will be serving up the best of the best – whether it be a customized cocktail from Dasha or a classic shot of tequila to get your pipes ready; you pick your poison.

This is a 19+ event and tickets are non-refundable.

Dating Diaries: How to Attract What You’re Least Expecting

The concept of manifesting your goals has been rattling around in my head for quite some time. There’s great power in positive thinking, and harnessing that power and honing it has been a big focus for me, especially toward the end of this year. It’s amazing what happens when you focus on something very particular and send out a very specific request to the universe. The answer certainly surprised me!

Lately I haven’t been focused so much on dating, but more on fitness, rest, healthy cooking, and just generally making it to the next day. After a tumultuous first year back in Canada, my aim is to focus on the positive, release the negative, and practice gratefulness.

It seems that the best things come to those who clearly envision their goals and make solid plans. This year, I wrote down that I wanted to see Angkor Wat. On my birthday, YYZ Deals came out with a massive list of destinations from Toronto on China Eastern. One such destination was Siem Reap. The goal I envisioned (and wrote down) turned into a reality in less than three months. I decided that was enough to get me on the path of the vision board making my dreams into goals, my goals into plans, and my plans into reality.

I often write about dating, so how do you make your vision into a reality when it comes to love? I mean, as much as it’s been on the back-burner, I’d be very happy to have a partner. They say you find love when you least expect it. How does that work with the law of attraction?

The Secret: “Under the Law of Attraction, the complete order of the Universe is determined, including everything that comes into your life and everything that you experience. It does so through the magnetic power of your thoughts. Through the Law of Attraction like attracts like. What you think about, you bring about.”

If thoughts become things, then how could you find “the love of your life” when you least expect it? Knowing that there isn’t a unique thought left on the planet, I dove headfirst into black hole of Google. Turns out the answer was on the very first page:

The Law of Attraction: “Focus on your intention, hand it to the eternal energy of the universe to contemplate entirely. You will have stopped the experience of wanting; therefore, you will have automatically placed yourself in a better position to receive. Just like those aha moments when ideas and solutions have entered your mind unexpectedly, you suddenly received what you wanted. 

If you are desperate to have something, you are in a state of need. Thus, you remain needy instead of becoming successful. The universe receives your needy energy, and politely sends you more needy energy since it is programmed to deliver your primary focus.

Your life might still be enhanced greatly when you receive gifts from the universe, and in this sense, you require what you obtain. However, you are not urgently crying out for a result when it occurs. Recognize that you also need to throw the energy of ‘want’ that you have created to the wind. When you have done so, good things will blow into your life.”

I had sent out a request to the universe to find, in essence, a unicorn. I wanted to meet someone who wasn’t from Toronto since the pickings have been so slim. I wanted to meet someone who has goals and ambitions; has his own thing going on. Someone who could make me laugh. A man who believes in monogamy. Physically I don’t really have a preference, but I like someone who is active and ready to try new things.

…and then he appeared.

I had a fantastic date with a man I seem to have dreamed up. It may not stand the test of time, but as far as the concept of asking the universe for what you want? I’m sold. Ask the universe for your wildest dreams with very specific details, then let all that focused, yet impatient, energy fly away; released to the universe – no longer something on which you need to fixate. The universe unfolds as it should.

Believe your own B*llsh*t

As I settled into shivasana in my after-work hot yoga class last week, I began thinking about some basic b* generalizations. In the pursuit of happiness, I’ve come to wonder whether the best things in life are basic. If so, maybe I should be.

Hear me out…

Without getting too far into gender identity, I’d like to discuss some stereotypical female-presenting gender roles and why it’s OKAY to to subscribe yourself to even the worst ones. Society on the whole has a set of ideas expectations about how men and women should behave in certain situations; everyday life being one example.

Criticism is all too easy. The moment I step out my front door I’m open to judgment, disapproval, and self-deprecation due to various instances of the aforementioned over the years.

If we’re to reclaim the word “bitch”, let’s reclaim the other pervasive female stereotypes. Sometimes I’m angry and sometimes I’m a cheerleader. I can be emotional, feminine, masculine, tough, and weak. I am an Ice Queen and perhaps that’s one reason why I’m single (and lonely sometimes, but thanking my lucky stars others). I can appear fearless while shaking in my boots. I can be polite and accommodating and aggressive or bold. Sometimes I’m the token female at the table, and I take my position in the boys club to heart. I am strong.

I’m not just one stereotype – I’m a person. My thoughts, feelings, and emotions can change at the drop of a hat based on my circumstances. If I don’t like what’s being said, then surely I can change the conversation. So, why not change the little voices inside my head and heart telling me “you can’t”? Even it’s it’s total bullshit you’re telling yourself right now, in time you can make it all a reality.

I sure as hell can be a basic bitch. Alternately, I can also be a shoulder to cry on, a person who loves to celebrate the success of others, and an expert on topics at work and at play. I’m passionate, generous, and adventurous. On paper I might be pretty basic (my Tinder profile is not exactly an oeuvre), but IRL I’m absolutely unapologetically me. As we rock up to 2020, find out who you are and don’t apologize – that’s one female stereotype I’m striking-through next year.

Expat Dating Diaries: Travel Romance

The Travel Romance is just one part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. I have been avoiding writing this section for the better part of 3 years because the first one really and truly shook me to my core. While I’ve moved on, I still haven’t quite recovered. I’ve realized, however, that there’s a difference between a Travel Romance and Travel Love.  Travel Love has potential. It makes you want to work for, nay, fight for something intangible. It sweeps you off your feet and keeps you dangling – waiting for the other shoe (er – you, in this case) to be dropped.

This one shouldn’t be avoided altogether, but you must know upon entry that your risk of heartbreak is about 90%.  Meeting in vacation mode gives you the opportunity to live without the stress of work and other responsibilities at home.  You are at your peak around one another.  You’re consumed by the bliss of being in a new place with exciting adventures at every turn.  Give in to the Travel Love, just don’t give away your heart completely.  It will fly away to the other side of the planet to taunt you with ransom letters every time your time-zones allow you to connect.

Travel Romance, on the other hand, is fleeting. It’s a fling on the road never designed to be permanent. It has a mutually communicated date of expiration. Feelings might evolve, but you have perspective. It’s a paragraph; not a chapter.

I genuinely don’t understand the mating rituals of singles in Toronto. On vacation, with just a lingering gaze and a tentative wave, you’ve got the opening to conversation which could lead to a night of passion or following your newfound bliss across the country. Here in Canada, even at a designated “meet market”, all you’ll find are raggedy men glued to their phones or yelling about real estate.

My first Travel Romance after starting The Toronto Seoulcialite was in Shanghai back in 2015. It was my first truly solo trip, and I was shaking in my boots waiting for take-off. When I approached the hostel (with a printed out map and walking instructions – no SIM card), I was tired and nervous and wasn’t sure if I should venture out or wait until daylight broke. As I walked to the lobby a voice called out; “We’ve been waiting for you!”

It turns out he was from California, was staying at my hostel, had spent the last 5 years learning Mandarin, and had had a series of seizures in Beijing. He wasn’t sure if his health was up to finishing his months-long trip and hadn’t made any plans for Shanghai. I, on the other hand, had planned my trip down to the minute. We met up the next day and ventured around the city. It was nice to have a flirty new friend with whom to wander. People assumed we were married, and we didn’t correct them.

All things considered, he wasn’t a bad insta-husband for 2015!

The charade was all too pleasant. We walked all over for two days and the extent of our physical relationship was a bit of hand-holding and a tender kiss on my forehead. It was better than traveling solo. Better still than traveling with certain women. An intense flicker of chemistry with a well-established expiration. I was hooked.

After my little taste of Travel Romance I dove well into the deep-end with Adonis. After him, I thought I’d never fully let my heart go again. Then, I met an American (ex-Co-P) who confirmed it. I’ve never been as happy with anyone as I was when we were wandering through the dusty back roads of Phuket with a snaggle-tooth pup in tow. Since ex-Co-P, there’s been the Gentle Brummie in Seoul, the Tazzie with Trust Issues in Bali, Mr. Non-Monogamy in Toronto (who I met when home felt like a real trip), and the Dutchman in Hoi An. He cooked for me and I reworked his resume. We’re still talking, but that’s just for fun. That’s the key to a successful Travel Romance: make it all about fun in the moment.

The Publicist Group – Beauty Inside Out

Publicist Group: Beauty Head to Toe & Inside-Out

The Publicist Group is made up of a small, but mighty, group of motivated, business-savvy, stunning, and strong women.  Led by Melissa “MJ” Jovanoski and Cheryl Willberg, the entire TPG squad is worthy of a mega girl crush/ #WCW/ #goals. The women of TPG would have sat at the “popular table” in high school. This time, however, they actually want you to be the best you can be (and they invite you to every party!) Over the past year I’ve been invited to a number of events and activations all with a common goal: Beauty and Strength Inside & Out.

We are The Publicist Group aka TPG! We are a full-service communications agency that offers everything from traditional PR programs and marketing initiatives to ambassador programs and direct-to-consumer activations at the retail level, utilizing both traditional and digital platforms. Most importantly – we work with brands we love, including fashion, beauty, food, health & wellness, and lifestyle. Check us out @PublicistGroup! #TPG

Be seen and heard in all the right places with The Publicist Group. As a full-service communications agency located in the heart of downtown Toronto,
TPG offers an array of services from PR and marketing to events and influencer programs. Our team executes 360-degree strategies; delivers original, creative and result-driven campaigns; and loves to make noise across  the country with our clients’ initiatives.

We’ve got you covered, literally.

The Publicist Group is a collective of digital strategists, event planners, marketers, creative geniuses, social media gurus, and publicists. We don’t follow trends; we are trendsetters. Staying in tune with current events around the globe, the TPG team identifies shifts in the marketplace and are experts in creating relevant, newsworthy, and impactful programs that leave a lasting impression.

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How do you stay on track when results are slow? . . It's no secret that fitness has played an **active** role in my life, especially over the past 4 years. When I went to Korea, I had way more time to dedicate to my goals by spending time in the gym AND in the kitchen. Over the past 7 months my body has been recalibrating, and even though I spend as much time in the gym (if not more!), am drinking less, and sleeping more, I've gained about 25 lbs back. Does that mean I'm giving up? Absolutely not! I am, however, looking for new ways to keep on track. . . One way I stay focused is by watching/ reading the content of other creators in our social media/ content marketing space locally. Check out my new pal @theventiblonde for healthy ways to refuel after breaking a sweat! This is when we met at @fitfactoryto earlier this year 🥊💪 // #fitness . . . . . . #gym #fit #fitgirls #fitgirl #fitgirlsguide #fitfactory #toronto #416 #progressnotperfection #progress #cardio #boxing #girlswholift #blondeshavemorefun #healthy #healthylifestyle #gymrat #gymtime💪 #goodlife #yyz #torontofitness #resolutions #newyearsameme #피트니스 #휘트니스 #복싱다이어트 #복싱

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Fit Factory

The Publicist Group introduced me to the Fit Factory Fitness when I was right in the middle of tapering off at Big Hit Studios and kicking off a challenge at F45 St. Clair West. Conveniently located on King St. West a few blocks East of Spadina, it’s billed as the #1 Gym in Toronto. Personally, I found their Bootcamp to be overcrowded. With only one trainer providing a very quick overview of an intense workout, I was concerned about my safety as veterans tossed around heavy weights and newbies tried to follow suit. The boxing class, on the other hand, was a stellar workout. The trainers were energetic and the class itself had varying levels of intensity. The water bags were also pretty wild and fun to smack around!

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IT'S #CONTEST TIME! 🔥 This St. Patrick's Day, I will, of course, be seeing green. This time, it won't start with green beer. 🍀🍻 @city_shred is taking it to the turf to honour the strength of women in the #fitness community in #Toronto! Want to win 2 tickets to #workout with me on March 17, 2019 from 9 AM to 1:30 PM? Steps to enter: 1. Like this photo 2 Follow @thatgirlcartier and @city_shred 3. Comment your No. 1 fitness goal for 2019! 4. For additional entries, tag your #gym buddy and/ or your fave place to break a sweat in #YYZ! 💪 *Canadian residents only. Winner chosen at random. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. Tickets are being generously donated by @publicistgroup and City Shred (thank you!) Contest closes at 12 PM EST on Thursday March 14, 2019 and winner announced shortly thereafter! 🏋️‍♀️ One Day. One Community. One EPIC workout. // #Cityshred #giveaway #prize #416 #fit #gymrat #progressnotperfection #progress #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #cardio #health #getstrong #weightlifting #girlswholift #sweat #youcandoit #noexcuses #goals #fitfluential #exercise #active #iamstrong

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City Shred

City Shred is a massive group workout hosted once a quarter by The Publicist Group and sponsored by Genuine Health. The energy is electric and it’s an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in fitness in Toronto, as well as special guests from around the world. I missed the July edition due to the rat situation, but back in March I crushed their Women’s edition. I got to enjoy a day which started with round-table discussion with the coaches who would be leading us through the day.

The key to mastering City Shred is to go at your own pace. I’m not the machine I was 2 years ago, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to compete with fitness professionals who coach several classes a day while I’m at my desk. Find your own space, take yourself beyond your comfort level, and have fun making friends and admiring those showing off their bad-ass muscles. Ps. Can you spot me in the preview of the video above? #SweatyBetty

Sproos Life

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Taking a collagen supplement can help improve your skin, relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, promote heart health, aid in digestion and gut health, and make your hair and nails grow. The benefits of adding collagen to my diet weren’t clear until I stopped taking it daily. Subtle aches and pains after sitting at my desk for a while suddenly returned. Bouncing back after a night out wasn’t quite so easy. My poor bleached and butchered hair started to break again. Sproos Life is a collagen supplement to which I was introduced by TPG at the gorgeous Pray Tell on College St. We mixed cocktails and mocktails which each had a serving of collagen mixed-in.

sproos-02-grass-fed-tub-A-front@2x

Hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised North American cattle, to help restore and rebuild your body’s natural collagen.

  • 10 g of grass-fed bovine collagen per serving
  • Pure collagen – nothing else added
  • Highly soluble
  • 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
  • Free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides
  • Add to your favourite hot or cold beverage, or even to soups or oatmeal

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The 4th Annual T.O. Vegan Social Pop Up

Toronto Vegan Social Pop-Up is happening Thursday September 5th from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM at Love Child Social House!

Reserve your tickets by 9 PM EST on Monday, September 2nd, 2019, to automatically be entered in the draw to WIN AN EPIC $1,000+ VEGAN PRIZE PACK!

Tickets are $35 and available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/toronto-vegan-social-pop-up-presented-by-vegan-social-events-tickets-48658251139

This year, Vegan Social Events will be collecting donations on the Eventbrite page, in support of Save Our Scruff, a registered charitable organization dedicated to rescuing dogs.

Vivier

At the end of February, the team introduced me to Vivier. We learned about how to combat signs of aging using skincare products including retinol and spf. With my upcoming vacation to The Philippines, I wasn’t quite ready to play with tools which would initially irritate my skin (the purge!). So, I waited until the beginning of May to get started with this line. I haven’t yet written a full-scale review because 3 of the 5 products in the kit we were so generously gifted are still trucking along 4 months later!

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Running through the 6 & Looking for love in all the wrong places. Self love is a good place to start though, right? ♡ Last night we took in a guided meditation at @myndfulme right above @caliiloveco on King West in Toronto. They have an amazing deal right now: 30 days for $30 (which I purchased yesterday at their media event and which is available to the public T O D A Y only!) 💗 // #bemindful . . . . . . . . . . . . #mindfulness #yoga #pilates #selflove #heart #Toronto #yyz #yyzblogger #blonde #expat #expatwomen #gltlove #calilove #cali #california #yogastudio #meditation #meditate #416 #dametraveler #sheisnotlost #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #girlswhotravel #tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday #style

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Myndful Me

Myndful Me was sadly a bit of a bust for me. We went checked out the space and learned how to make charcoal cookies with adaptogens after being led through a meditation practice. The music and the direction made for a very pensive, but relaxing evening. I purchased their $30 unlimited 1-month special and was told I could use it whenever. I had a couple of upcoming trips, so I didn’t want to use it until the new year. When I tried to apply my purchase I was told it had expired. Correspondence to correct the issue was never responded to. Not so zen, eh?

Toppik Canada & Viviscal Canada

Big thanks to @publicistgroup for bringing me along to the stunning #LoveYourStory event at @stregistoronto! I got to hear from a plethora of women who have learned to love their own stories of struggle and trauma and turn them into an armor of confidence with a lining of understanding.

  • Events with this team always have motivational speakers, the most stunning décor, phenomenal food, and an interactive component so you don’t just see a product/ brand, you become part of it.
  • I woke up the next morning and treated my stressed tresses to @viviscal@viviscalcanada shampoo, conditioner, and desensifying elixir. My hair is already thick, so this leo was rocking a full mane that day! It actually dried faster and was easier to manage when straightening. I typically have a lot of breakage (bottle blonde) , so let’s see if we can put an end to my split ends! 👱‍♀️

Featuring a PR team on my personal blog isn’t exactly the status quo around here. Every time I get an e-mail about an event or activation from TPG I think to myself, “Wow – that’s out of the box”. There’s only so much you can see on my  feed/ in my stories, and because of this I wanted to share something a little more permanent. Over the past year The Publicist Group has proven that  being true to yourself and your vision, rather than accepting business for the sake of having business, goes a long way.

Fears, Tears & Transition Years – 10 Ways to Destress & Feel Youthful

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Jenna Rink (13 Going on Thirty) gave me unrealistic expectations about what “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” might mean. I am all of those things, for the most part, but when I envisioned life in my early thirties I remembered the movie with rose-coloured goggles and neglected the negatives. Millennials on the whole are reflected in these lenses. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t grow up and inherit a closet full of designer dresses which we wear to parties choreographed by legends of the past. We’re struggling to meet many of the milestones and youthful hopes and dreams we expected to achieve by a particular time in our lives.

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For me, the biggest of these milestones is home ownership. I genuinely thought that since I was managing a department at a pretty well-known online media company before finishing my Bachelors degree, I could take success for granted. For others, climbing the corporate ladder hasn’t been as linear a path as anticipated. Some of my friends thought reproduction would be more straightforward. Others, like myself, find dating to be pretty pathetic. I’ve set it aside for the moment.

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These are what I like to call “transition years”. We’re no longer halfway there/ livin’ on a prayer partying and living large on $20/ night. We’re not curling up and falling asleep on the couch to 60 minutes, either. My world through these transition years has been stressing me out. On top of it all, I’m approaching another rotation around the sun. At a time when I should be celebrating, I’m just kind of over it. I’d rather be celebrating exciting moments of accomplishment rather than reminding myself that time marches on. Maybe I’ll celebrate my career anniversary with a housewarming party (yes friends, we’re rat-free!)

Brave the Brow Bar

I had been tweezing for some time and thought I was doing a decent enough job of cleaning up. Wowza – how could I have been so wrong? After a few hackjobs in the past, I went to WAXON in Riverside. Latifah not only kept my shape natural, she gave my brows a bit of a trim which made all the difference. Your brows surround the windows to your soul. Make sure they’re a pretty frame!

BONUS: I bought this Citrus Twist Loofah Scrub (Blood Orange & White Grapefruit) and it’s making my morning! “This loofah scrub duals as a loofah and luxurious soap in one! Exfoliate and cleanse daily with your favourite delicious scent while saving time in your daily body wash routine. Perfect for everyday use to help keep those pesky ingrown hairs away! Oh, and did we mention… it smells DELICIOUS!”

Available scents:

  • CITRUS TWIST – Blood Orange & White Grapefruit
  • LEMONRAZZ – Raspberry Lemonade
  • POMTINI – Pomegranate Mango

I love that it’s smooth on one side and exfoliating on the other. The scent is out of this world, too. Will let you know how long it takes for the full loofah to emerge!

Bet on a Blowout

I got to enjoy a blow-out in Leaside earlier this year at their Grand Opening, which was to dye die for. I’m kind of obsessed with the community Farah (owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar Leaside) has created. The small shop leaves lots of room for inclusive conversation and lots of laughs!

Farah’s words of wisdom? “It’s important to be coifed, kissable and connected – never leave home without a comb, gloss and phone! Oh, and keep your head, heels and standard high. When it comes to hair, Farah’s mantra is Big Hair For Life.”

BONUS: They do makeup applications (their GLO brand makes insanely beautiful lip glosses). They also stock some of my fave hair care brands like UNITE Hair  7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler and the Color Wow Dream Coat (to de-frizz and tame your tresses!)

 

Get a Manicure

Her Majesty’s Pleasure is one of the pricier places you can go for a manicure in Toronto. The ambiance, décor, and cheerful chatter (due to some fantastic cocktails, no doubt) are a can’t-miss for those who want to feel whimsical and girly.

BONUS: Look at these *perfect for the ‘gram* “Call for Champagne” rotary phones? We did, in fact, call for some bubbly – a bottle is virtually the same price as 2 cocktails.

Invest in Skincare

This one I can’t stress enough. A new, easy to follow skincare routine is such a blessing and a great way to rejuvenate. I’ve been alternating Miracle 10 Skincare with other great quality brands for 7 years. Their starter collection is perfect for someone like me who has aging skin, but who isn’t quite a prune. The sticker price may shock you ($328), but when you think about the ease of use and how long the products last (months, truth be told) it’s worth it.

“This combination is designed to visibly improve damage caused by sun exposure, extreme weather, pollutants, smoking, dehydration and age-related conditions such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dull skin surface and uneven pigmentation. Highly effective ingredients including exfoliants, antioxidants, decongesting botanicals, along with skin brightening agents provide correction and healing.”

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Looking at you😍 #glowgetter 📸 @revealwinnipeg

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BONUS: They have seasonal events with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a speaker series, and plenty of deals. I’m talking buy $150 worth of product and get $250 – $500 worth of products free. Last time I bought their Platinum cleanser and got a facial, a giftcard for cosmetic services, a make-up application (for a later date), and a full-size toner as gifts with purchase. Sign up for their e-mail list – it’s a total no-brainer!

Fancy a Facial

Getting your glam on all in one place is easy. After the winter beauty event at Miracle 10 Skincare, I booked a facial at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. Both are located on Scollard Street in Yorkville, so you can feel completely chic (and Gangnam Style) for your treatment. The easiest way to glow up quickly is through dermaplaning. This treatment is often added to a facial. It removes the fine hairs which are known for trapping dirt, oil and dead skin cells in your pores. This is the main cause of acne. Dermaplaning leaves your skin brighter giving you that “baby smooth” and glowing look and feel!

Investigate Botox

I did that thing everyone warns you against. Finding my nurse injector, Fresh Cosmetic Clinic, through Groupon was a massive gamble, and thank goodness it turned out well! In Korea, the only people who did my botox or lip injections were board certified plastic surgeons. Here, they tend to be done by nurse injectors, which for some reason made me really nervous.

Botox/ fillers were not at all taboo in Seoul. In Toronto, it’s becoming more popular to discuss openly, and I hope people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences soon. We go to the dentist to keep out teeth clean and cavity free. The gym’s the spot to keep heart healthy and in good shape. Why shouldn’t we invest in our faces which change with diminished collagen production and elasticity?

High Quality H20

Stop, drop, and drink! I try to ensure that I’m getting about 4 L of water throughout my day. It gives me something on which to focus and gets me out of my chair and away from my desk when I fill up my water bottle. I don’t need to lecture you on the benefits of drinking water, do I?

Go See Some Stand-Up

I love to sit back and listen. I also love a good belly laugh. Seeing a set at your local comedy bar and watering hole accomplishes both! If you go on an amateur night you’ve got the added bonus of seeing someone else worth through their issues. The last time I caught a show one of the comics was a later in life laugh who was going deaf. Hearing about some of his life experiences being more than hard of hearing had me in stitches. The man’s timing was impeccable!

Run Through a Sprinkler

…or do something equally as juvenile, refreshing, and deliciously youthful. We’ve literally coined a term to show how poorly we’re doing as grown-ups (“Adulting for Dummies”, amirite?), so why not flip back to the joys of earlier days?

What do you do to relax, look your best, and feel youthful?

Let us know in the comments!

Summertime Gladness – Tasteful Twists on a Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule Variations Just in Time for the Long Weekend

The August long weekend is always a little upsetting special for me since it’s in and around my birthday. The city is quiet as most lucky people head off to a cottage. This is why I used to celebrate my half-birthday in February as a child.

Now that I’m back in Canada and my parents live outside of town, I tend to either soak up the stillness of Toronto, or head out to visit them in Port Hope. We celebrated Canada’s birthday in the backyard with a gorgeous backdrop of peonies and a kit sent from Wheatley Vodka and Siren Communications. In this magical delivery (dropped strategically on my desk while I was working on 5 projects) were all the fixin’s for a Moscow Mule! Here’s how to make the cocktail in the traditional way:

Wheatley Vodka Moscow Mule

Recipe:

  1. Pour vodka in a copper mug with ice
  2. Top with ginger beer and lime
  3. Stir and enjoy!

Keto Moscow Mule Recipe

This recipe is a modification of I Breathe, I’m Hungry‘s Keto Moscow Mule Recipe. Approximate nutritional info per 7 oz serving:

  • 134 Calories
  • 0g Fat
  • 1.5g Net Carbs
  • 0g Protein
Ginger Syrup:
* You can make your own or just buy Diet Ginger Beer on Amazon
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced, peeled ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute (such as Stevia)
      1. Combine the ginger, water and sweetener in a small saucepan
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes
      3. Cool for 1 hour, then strain and store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

Recipe:

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above)
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale
  • Fresh mint leaves to muddle/ garnish at your leisure
  1. For a stronger mint flavor, muddle (smash) the mint leaves around in the bottom of the copper mug
  2. Add ice and vodka
  3. Top with ginger syrup, ginger ale, and lime
  4. Stir and Enjoy!

Cherry Moscow Mule

  • 4 Fresh Cherries (pitted)
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. In the bottom of your copper mug, muddle four pitted cherries with the juice of half a lime
  2. Add vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge and a fresh cherry
  4. Serve and Enjoy!

Garden Party Mule

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Cucumber (diced)
  • Edible Flowers
  1. In the bottom of your copper mug, muddle cucumber and mint with the juice of half a lime
  2. Add vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  3. Garnish with an edible flower or fresh rosemary for visual appeal and scent
  4. Serve and Enjoy!

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Mexican Mule

Jalapeño Vodka

  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 cup vodka

Combine the sliced jalapeño and the vodka in a jar and shake.  Let it sit for 24 hours. The longer it sits the stronger it will get.  If you want just a hint of jalapeño, let sit for just an hour.

Mexican Mules

  • 2 oz Jalapeño Vodka (strained)
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. Add jalapeño vodka, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  2. Garnish with a jalapeño wheel and lime wedge
  3. Serve and Enjoy!

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Bourbon Mule

The mastermind behind this Wheatley Vodka is Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley, of Buffalo Trace Distillery, which is based out of Frankfort, Kentucky.  Adding a Bourbon Mule was a bit of a no-brainer!

Rosemary Bourbon

Add a few sprigs of rosemary to a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon and let sit for a week or two. Remove the rosemary, strain, and enjoy!

Bourbon Mule

  • 2 oz Rosemary Bourbon (strained)
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Diet Ginger Ale + 0.5 oz Ginger Syrup (recipe above) OR 4 oz Ginger Beer
  1. Add rosemary bourbon, lime juice, and ice then top with ginger beer or Keto alternative
  2. Garnish with a fresh cherry and a sprig of rosemary for visual appeal and fragrance
  3. Serve and Enjoy!
Image for Wheatley Vodka from LCBO

About Wheatley Vodka 

$36.95 at the LCBO

Craft Distilled by Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley and his dedicated team at the Distillery, Wheatley Vodka is made in small batches using Harlen’s one of a kind micro-still and a unique recipe of wheat and other grains.

Distilled a total of 10 times, triple filtered, and bottled at 82 proof, this artisanal vodka has a clean, crisp, and fresh taste.  Harlen has always wanted to make a premium vodka, and knows from experience that  wheat offers a delicate and balanced flavor profile.

The wheat recipe is cooked, fermented, and distilled seven times on the micro-still before being married with a recipe made from other grains and distilled an additional three times.  As Harlen describes it, “This is how vodka is supposed to taste.”

Tasting Notes: Crafted in small batches, it has notes of citrus, wheat and traces of vanilla. Medium-bodied and clean, pure, and crisp on the nose, it has a long finish.

Wheatley Icon

Candidly Cartier – My Rodent Problem is like My Ex

Let’s be real – living in Toronto has not exactly been a cakewalk. My last apartment was actually affordable. It was also far from the modern amenities I enjoy downtown as a single Sally in the city. In this creaky old house divided into apartments, my upstairs neighbours (and their new, massive puppy) stomped around, bounced a ball, argued constantly, and played “How I Met Your Mother” on repeat. “Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaaaa ba ba ba baaaaaa ba ba ba da da dum ba da da da daaaaaaaa” haunts my nightmares to this day. I had no heat from November through January, and in February decided enough was enough and I had to vacate.

Nearly everywhere humans dwell, rats can be found living, too. I’m not just talking about the backstabbing betches spewing lies and exhausting themselves spewing vitriol. I’m talking about actual rodents. They’re all over the place, and unless what I saw was the biggest MoFo-king mouse, they’re in my new apartment, too.

We often equate rats with being dirty and diseased, yet we also describe humanity as a rat race. Are we all just dirty, diseased beings trying to bypass one another, grab that brass cheese (er – ring), and make it out alive? Maybe it’s just that we’re both warm blooded, we’re all mammals, and we give birth to living young. here are the ways in which both my exes and these rats are unwanted guests.

I never know when he’ll come to visit

While rodents are nocturnal animals, I’ve noticed that certain bait I’ve put out at before leaving for work has disappeared by the time I get home. My little furry friend is much like my big furry friend. Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” works on his own terms and comes to visit when he pleases. No part of me thought my new place would invite either. Both are unexpected and unwanted pests.

He lives in a hole in the wall

It’s amazing how shady some of my exes’ living arrangements have been. From Ex-CoP on the army base with no kitchen, all-burnt sienna errythang, and a broken couch (yes, I’m aware), to the aforementioned non-monogamous douche-canoe who lives in the dingiest corner in the basement of a nice Leslieville house he actually owns, it’s no wonder my exes want to spend the majority of their time at mine. It’s tantamount to Ratty ratterson climbing through pipes . I’m just as afraid of finding vermin in the toilets as I am my ex!

He doesn’t pay rent

My mouse/ rat/ whatever contributes nothing to my home, and the ex I adored sure didn’t either. Adonis lived with me rent-free and I’m pretty sure it damn near killed him to play a role where his masculinity was threatened. I do, however, miss having someone to do my laundry, tidy up my flat, and make me dinner. There’s only I one I could do without snuggling up to at night, however.

He wakes me up in the middle of the night

Speaking of nightly activities, while my pajamas parties have hit a staunch halt, my rat pal is up at all hours. My ex snored loudly, and would head for a midnight snack, a trip to the loo, or for a bit of a frisk at unexpected hours. Mr. Rat, however, is up looking for one thing only – food. I can no longer keep paper or plastic out in the open, and any garbage is taken out immediately. Also, just the thought of him potentially scampering about my space keeps me up at night.

He’s very active

Great for the ex, bad for the rat. Looks like marriage has sure softened up ole Co-P, but when we were together we were very active and worked out a lot. Not sure if I can hack a 4 AM workout these days, though. Mr. Rat and I will not be fitness pals.

He eats my food, but I still have to feed him

You can’t keep food in unsealed containers if there’s a boy or a rodent about. They. Will. Eat. It. And. Expect. More. At least with the rodent I’ve put out peanut butter and eco-friendly rat bait which seems to be an enjoyable snack for my guest.

I clean up after him

They leave their shit everywhere.

I don’t know how many others he’s seeing

As evidenced by my relationships with Adonis, Co-P, and Mr. Non-Monogamous I am not great at knowing when the apple of my eye is getting too friendly with others. As they say with rats: where there’s one, there are many.

 

I have no idea what diseases he’s carrying

Rats and humans often suffer from the same diseases, and I’m worried as to what’s being brought into my home. At least with an unfaithful man you can get tested and (hopefully) treated. What rodents bring into your home can be deadly. We have similar organs, basic physiology, similar hormones, we both have nervous systems that work in the same way, and similar body plans. While research on rats has been done to propel human disease control, vaccines, and cures, I’m not sure I want testing going the other way around.

Ultimately, I kind of want him dead

Okay, I’m mostly only talking about the rat in this case, but I often feel I would have been better off not knowing a couple of my exes. Adonis burrowed a hole in my heart I don’t think can ever quite be patched up. Ex-Co-P was a strain on my resources and the source of constant drama. The guys I’ve dated in Toronto have been a blur of pathetic POS. If I could wipe them all out from my memory, I absolutely would.

Party Planning Perfection: The Not Quite Ultimate Bachelorette in Toronto

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Planning a Bachelorette party is no easy task. In Toronto, there are so many options it’s a challenge to whittle it down to what the bride will actually love. There’s paddleboarding, but that’s weather dependent. Escape rooms, unless the bride has anxiety. Pole dancing, unless someone in the bridal party used to be a stripper. Axe-throwing, but that’s far out by the docks. A bachelorette party is supposed to be fun for the bride and her closest friends. Here’s how the best laid (and expensive!) plans completely unraveled.

In advance of the big night, I had Bride/ Bridesmaid t-shirts made up and I scoured the internet for the best decor and games which wouldn’t be too lewd. Eventually, I traveled to Oshawa to pick up all the goodies at Party City since the local ones didn’t have the balloons I wanted. Not wanting the bride to have to lift a finger, I sent an UBER to pick her up and transport her to a secret location for blow-outs. Bride has hella long, thick, wavy hair, whereas mine is much shorter and more manageable.

I booked 2 long hair/ extensions blow outs thinking it would be plenty of time. It was absolutely not. Our blow-outs at Body Love Inc. made us want to curl up and dye – er, die. I looked decent when I rocked up, but definitely needed to have my hair washed and styled. The area for hair-styling is quite cramped with 1 washing station and 4 chair stations. We each opted for curly locks with a pulled-out fishtail braid. As you can see above, it was clearly not what we were expecting! Disappointment #1 on a day full of high hopes.

Louix Louis St. Regis Hotel Toronto Free-flow, Bottomless Brunch

No disappointments here! The St. Regis Hotel Toronto was absolutely magnificent. Even though we were late due to the horrendous hair incident, the staff made us feel cool, calm, and collected as we were escorted to our booth. The decor at Louix Louis is nothing short of regal, and we felt like royalty with our sparkling wine topped up by prosecco fairies (or ninjas – the service was exquisite, but the details covered without spectacle). We were also given the choice of orange or peach juice which were left at our table to be poured at our discretion.

Our appetizers were just perfect! Bride and I had Crispy Pork Belly snow pea & mint, pancetta, parmesan, red wine jus. Across the table, there was a lime Kale Caesar sourdough, lime yogurt dressing, smoked bacon, parmesan (there was no kale in this salad, though. Kind of weird, right?). My neighbour tried the beef Tartar pickled mushroom, grain mustard, spicy tomato jam, whole grain crostini. Everyone was thrilled with their choices and we were excited for the main courses.

Our entrees appeared on the smaller side, but were served up with incredibly rich ingredients. The Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls came with grainy mustard, lemon aioli, crispy lettuce, and saffron pickled fennel. My Steak & Egg Florentine was New York steak, poached egg, garlic spinach, lemon hollandaise, and toasted pumpkin. The Fried Chicken & Waffle was huge with pepper jack cheese, maple syrup, chicory leaves. I’d definitely go back for the Croque Madame made with black forest ham, Quebec gruyère, creamy cheese sauce, and a poached egg.

Four of us tried, and failed, to demolish The King’s Cake, a thirteen-layer chocolate cake made of 64% Guayaquil ganache, and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce!

The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto – A Sweet Suite!

When we got to The Westin Harbour Castle, we checked in and went up to the 34th floor penthouses to decorate. It was my understanding that we’d have 1 bedroom with a living room, but we ended up getting 2 bedrooms with two living rooms. Amazing since we had 4 bathrooms, but for us all to socialize we had to squish all the guests into one room. Disappointment? Certainly not, but definitely a little bit of an unexpected surprise.

We got to work decorating the suite and adding goodies so graciously sent by Miracle 10 (have you heard about their new cosmetics collection? We had the perfect nude for all skintypes), Repiel sheetmasks c/o Brill Communications, and skincare goodies from my friends at CosRX.

In each of the 4 rooms there was a massive flatscreen TV (bring your Netflix credentials for viewing pleasure), and in 2 of the 4 bathrooms there were showers. We had plenty of water and tons of coffee, thankfully, as I was already feeling pretty exhausted from a full morning!

Sheer pleasure? The set-up the Westin Harbour Castle provided for dinner. We had had a few more ladies join us for champagne and chill time before going out and popped on the Raptors game as the dishes rolled in. The hot wings were perfectly meaty, the thin crust pizza had a fantastic sauce and plenty of cheese on a doughy crust, and the nachos were actually loaded high. Again – 8 women couldn’t finish this spread!

I may be dancing and looking like I was having a good time, but El Convento Rico was a big ole bust. I had arranged for a table and some photos of the bride and her fiance to be displayed on a loop with other bachelorette parties that night. After our party got settled, it was demanded that we buy a bottle. Yeesh – no a la carte here, we bought a crappy bottle of tequila for the better part of $200. No images were displayed to the best of my knowledge at all.

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Being that this is the typical spot for parties like these in Toronto, you’d expect more than a few bathrooms in a dank corner. Waiting for 45 minutes well away from the party in a dirty, stinky place was not my idea of a good idea, and after I has returned some of the drinks and gone outside for some air it was time for bed. Yayyy what a great night, eh?

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Ultimately, some of the best laid plans go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong. Your hair might fall flat. Heck – your friendship might be hair today, gone tomorrow! The hotel might not be exactly the room you bargained for. The guests might get unruly and destructive. When it comes down to it, all you can do is give it your heart, soul, time, and wallet, and hope your hard work is appreciated. If/ when it isn’t, give me a call and we’ll commiserate!

Contact Louix Louis at the St. Regis Hotel Toronto

Contact The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto

* This article has elements which were included in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of products and/or services.  ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.