A Toronto Transformation

Little Luxuries

Little Luxuries – A Moonlight for Violet Giveaway

Moonlight for Violet earrings

What’s more luxurious than picking up a new pair of pretty earrings to adorn your pretty ears?

Why, I’ll tell you dear readers, it’s adorning your pretty ears with a free pair of gorgeous studs from Moonlight for Violet.

I recently came across these awesome little gems at Risque on Bloor West and was so enamoured with them that I couldn’t choose between these three pairs. I had to take them all home with me!

I got in touch with Shannon Keheler, the talented, Toronto-based creator of Moonlight for Violet to let her know how much I  love her stuff and she generously agreed to give away two pairs to two lucky Metamorphocity readers.

How cute are these ivory/silver glittery hexagons, or these mint triangles?

For a chance to win, visit Moonlight for Violet on etsy and let me know which pair you’d like to win in the comments below.

For an additional chance to win, follow Metamorphocity on twitter and tweet “Hey @metamorphocity, I’d love to win a gorgeous pair of @MoonlightViolet studs!  http://wp.me/p3hxtl-D0 #giveaway” (you can of course still tweet and gain an entry if you’re already a twitter pal)

I’ll announce the winners at the end of next week.

Good luck!

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to winners Becky Berry and Emily Finta!

Little Luxuries – Portuguese Custard Tarts

Portuguese Custard Tarts

Whenever my parents visit me in Toronto, my dad will inevitably disappear at some point in the day, only to resurface with two things: a copy of his favourite boat magazine and a box of Portuguese Custard Tarts.

The rest of us smile tolerantly at the boat magazine and descend like locusts upon the tarts.

They’re the perfect combination of crunchy, flaky pastry and sweet, creamy custard. I love when the tops are a little browned and caramelized. While I’m not usually a coffee drinker, I will say, a tart and a cup of coffee. My favourites come from the Venezia Bakery on Ossington.

They’re my go-to whenever I’m asked to bring dessert and don’t have time to whip something up myself, and they always receive rave reviews.

And, just a hint, if you’re ever visiting my parents, a box of custard tarts will guarantee you a warm welcome.

Do you guys have a go-to host/hostess gift that never fails to put a smile on your hosts’ faces?

 

Little Luxuries – Splish Splash

all dressed up in a bathtub on new year's eve. The one thing my apartment in the country was missing was a bathtub. So when I moved to Toronto, I was thrilled to find an apartment in the city with a fully equipped bathroom.

It’s not that I’m at all adverse to showering, but sometimes (like when I have horrible cramps, or the city is caught in the icy grip of a polar vortex, for example), nothing beats sinking into a bubble bath.

Oddly, while I love a nice hot bath now and then, I categorically detest hot tubs. Something about the combo of heat, chemicals and the inability to fit myself into the contoured seats properly without my mouth and nose being underwater just makes me feel ill (and angry).

But a soak in my own tub where I control the temperature, and maybe toss a bath bomb or magnesium salts in there (a couple of my friends swear by tossing in some green tea bags) for good measure is just the ticket to soothe my overworked bod and warm up my frozen bones.

With the weather we’re having lately, if I could find a way to make my laptop waterproof, I’d never get out!

Are you guys bath or shower people? Surely some of you must share my hot tub aversion. Let me know in the comments!

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Little Luxuries – Tea at Dessert Trends Bistro

tea at DT Bistro Toronto

Sitting in the sun-drenched dining room at Dessert Trends Bistro sharing tea with a friend is definitely a little luxury.

I love whiling away an afternoon chatting and laughing and dreaming over earl grey. Throw in a few stuffed animals and it’s like my childhood make-believe tea parties come to life.

Then they bring out one of their seriously gorgeous house-made desserts and it’s pure bliss.

gorgeous dessert at Dessert Trends Bistro

Do you guys have a favourite spot to stop for a cuppa?

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Little Luxuries – The Perfect Winter Coat

Soia and Kyo down coat. Now I just laugh at the weather.

Now I just laugh at the weather.

Having a winter coat that is thoroughly warm and weatherproof is an absolute necessity if you plan to step outside of your house during a Canadian winter.

Finding one that keeps you cozy and dry AND is also beautifully designed is a little luxury.

Montreal company Soia & Kyo manages to perfectly combine function and fashion to make my dream outerwear for snowy days. They are on the pricey side for me but luckily the styles are classic enough that you can wear them for years.

I love that their women’s coats are actually designed for women’s bodies. Even the warmest, down-filled ones like mine manage to avoid falling into the Michelin Man trap. AND the pockets on mine are fleecy and instantly warm up my cold little paws.

The best feature on this one though, has to be the huge hood. I used to get staggeringly irate at my old winter coat because the hood wasn’t at all functional. Any gust of wind would blow it off my head, leaving my poor ears to freeze and give me a horrible headache.

Not so, this bad boy. The huge hood snaps up over the collar (which handily zips up to cover your nose) and then it can be tightened around your face so that only your pretty peepers are left exposed!

Now if only I could find a stylish pair of goggles…

The perfect winter coat from Soia & Kyo

Have you guys ever stumbled across your perfect winter coat? Let me know in the comments!

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Little Luxuries – Fancy Fruit

Pomegranate seeds in a wine glass

For someone who tries to eat lots of locally grown fruits and veggies, Canada in the dead of winter can be a smidge of a barren landscape.

That said, it does give me an excuse to treat myself to the little luxury of giving up the quest for fruit that hasn’t used environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels to travel a gazillion miles around the world and into my local grocery store, at least for a little while.

For me, that means I give up Ontario grown berries, peaches and apples in favour of mangoes and pomegranates and bananas like they’re going out of style (Wait, maybe they are. Mangoes are still hip, right guys? Right?)

When I was little I used to be really envious of kids who got packs of “fruit snacks” and “gushers” (remember gushers?) with their lunches while my snack was inevitably an apple, and I remember pretending that pomegranate seeds were gushers. I always loved the rich ruby colour of the little gem-like seeds and the sweet/tart burst of flavour on my tongue when we ate them at my aunt’s house at Christmas time.

It turned out though, I did not love the time it took to wrest the damn seeds out of their skins.

My life was forever changed a month or two ago when my mom sent me a link to this video showing you a brilliant way to free pomegranate seeds without spending one thousand hours picking them out one by one.

If you haven’t seen it already, and you want to eat a pomegranate even once in your life, you must watch it. Seriously. Game changer.

Do you guys eat seasonally? What are your favourite fruit preparation life hacks? Let me know in the comments!

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Little Luxuries – Pommies Dry Cider

Pommies

Whenever I get my hands on Pommies Dry Cider, I hoard it like a cider-obsessed dragon. Because while the refreshing hard cider is locally-made (with Ontario apples no less!) it’s not always easy to find.

I love that it’s not overly sweet. It’s a perfect complement to my beloved blue cheeses for winter hibernation snacking. And while I’m not a gluten-free kind of woman, it’s a perfect gift for my celiac-afflicted friends on beer-drinking occasions.

And of course, it’s just plain tasty.

So when I do come across it in the odd LCBO (or once at the Royal Winter Fair!), it definitely feels like a little luxury to me.

 Do you guys have a favourite local brew? Let me know in the comments! 

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Little Luxuries – Lush Solid Shampoo

Solid shampoos from Lush

A couple of months ago I looked around my bathroom and it occurred to me that the amount of plastic packaging, between body washes, liquid soaps, and shampoo and conditioner bottles I had clogging up the place was absolutely ridiculous.

However, since my commitment to the environment does not always trump my vanity, or just my plain old desire to be clean and stench-free as often as possible, I had to find a better alternative than giving up on bathing all together.

I haven’t yet sorted it all out yet, BUT, I have returned to using an old, environmentally-friendly, and just all-around fantastic little luxury favourite of mine: Lush solid shampoos.

These cute little cakes are seriously amazing. They lather up like crazy in your hands (the way you would lather a bar of soap) and leave your hair squeaky clean and soft.

I’m obsessed with the “Godiva” shampoo, partly because it makes my sometimes coarse hair soft, but mostly because it smells absolutely incredible. Though be warned, if you do use it, the conditioner bits in that particular bar don’t melt at the same rate as the rest of the shampoo, so you might be left with a little pile of delightfully scented, but otherwise useless solid conditioner morsels when you’ve used the rest up.

Have you guys ever used solid shampoo? Do you have any other tips for cutting down on toiletry packaging? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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Little Luxuries – Public Siestas

striped picnic blanket and striped skirt

It’s a cruel irony that just when the winter has kicked my instinct to hibernate into high gear, is the time I’m furthest from the time of year when I can indulge in one of my favourite pass-times: napping in the sun.

I don’t know exactly when it started, but I found myself unable to resist the temptation to follow scarfing down my lunch, picnic style in the little parkette near my office, by yeilding to the soft grass and the warm sun and catching some Zs.

I’d be reading a book or listening to a podcast, and bam, unconscious.

At first I resisted, because A, I didn’t want to be late for my triumphant return to the office, and B, you know, sleeping in public is potentially hazardous and/or embarrassing.

Eventually though, I gave in, setting a daily lunchtime nap alarm on my phone and just surrendering to the urge entirely.

And can I tell you? The days when I got a solid 20 minutes of blissful sunshine snoozing, I swear I was more productive and cheerful for the rest of the afternoon.

Though I did once wake up to find myself in the middle of a group of tourists, who were openly gaping at me and giggling.

So, pros and cons.

Ten points to the first person to find and destroy the photo of me snoring and drooling that obviously exists somewhere on this here internet.

Do you guys ever nod off in public? I wouldn’t recommend doing it just anywhere, but there really is nothing like a nap in the fresh air and sunshine!

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Little Luxuries – Sleepmate White Noise Machine

Sleepmate white noise machine

One of the most double-edged blessings in my life has got to be my hearing.

I can often hear things others can’t. It comes in handy for avoiding sneak tickle-attacks and eavesdropping.

BUT, it also means that the littlest, most far away noises are enough to keep me awake at night.

A dripping faucet down the hall on the other side of multiple doors will do it, the rustling of a plastic bag in the hall, or god forbid, the ticking of a clock

Once, when I was in high school, my parents bought a lovely new clock for the bathroom. They found it buried in the bathtub under 40 towels the next morning. (I couldn’t get the batteries out).

So you can imagine the difficulty I had living in a tiny dorm room the summer I interned at a magazine.

If it wasn’t the cornucopia of loud, night owl neighbours I was surrounded by, it was the mice that used the vents as a rodent superhighway keeping me angrily tossing and turning.

I was a sleepless wreck UNTIL my brilliant mom did some research and found me a Sleepmate white noise machine. At first I found the tiny machine’s whooshing roar (and the fact that I could no longer hear every little nighttime sound) unnerving, but after a few nights and playing with the machine’s settings, I was sleeping through the night like a happily sedated baby.

Now I’m so used to it that my response to hitting its on switch is practically Pavlovian and it takes no time for me to drift off amidst its comforting lull of white noise.

My only complaint is that it’s not small enough to cart around with me on sleepovers.

Do you guys indulge in any little luxuries for a better night’s sleep? What are your sleep tips and tricks?

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