Thursday, 26 July 2012

Caroline vs. The Manhattan Project

In one week I will be in New York!  This summer is passing so quickly, but I'm so glad I was able to figure out my life enough to allow for a long weekend south of the border.  I haven't had the chance to think too much about details, but this video by photographer Cameron Michael is getting me so psyched to just be there.

xx, C.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Caroline vs. "Glamour on a Tight Budget"

I've been following TorontoVerve for a while now, and really enjoy seeing how Torontonians are outfitted, and their philosophies for dressing themselves.  A recent post of a woman named Tara reminded me that you don't need a bottomless bank account to look good, as long as you have the attitude.  I just loved the way she described her style: "From rural Ontario to rural India, the bangles always matched the shoes and the saris matched the bindis.  Mama didn't raise no fashion fool!"  Girl, keep doing what you're doing.

What's your style philosophy?

xx, C.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Caroline vs. Free Dior Manicure

Last Friday I got the raddest manicure ever, courtesy of Dior at Holt Renfrew's Bloor location.  Dior is promoting their new polish colours, and they also have this awesome machine that prints a pattern onto one nail.  As soon as I heard it was free, I called them and made an appointment - I'd been griping all week about how badly I needed my nails done, but limited funds precluded me from doing so.

The manicure itself was very basic - none of the usual pre-polish treatment, just some filing to even up the shape of the nails.  For colour I decided on a hot pink (Lucky, #659), and decided to have the print put on my right ring finger.  You need to decide early which nail you want the print to be on, because it needs to be treated differently, so the ink will show up.  As soon as my nails were painted, I was sent over to the machine to choose my pattern - the leopard one looked best, and apparently I was the first one to choose it.  The machine needed a sales person to operate while I put my hand into the hole and tried to hold still.  About a minute later I had nine hot pink fingers, and one leopard one!  The ink needed a special top coat to seal it, and then I was ready to go.

Overall I loved the colours, the machine was a really cool way to incorporate nail art, and the fact that this was a completely free manicure was amazing.  However, I found that the polish bubbled a bit over the course of the afternoon.  I am notoriously bad at keeping manicured good for long, and true to form as soon as I got home I smeared my right thumb nail; I quickly tried to smush the polish back into place and put a coat of OPI topcoat on, but the two brands were not compatible, and that finger is noticeably bumpier than the others.  Definitely not great, since if I were to shell out $25 for a bottle of Dior polish, I would hope that it would work with the base and top coats I already have at home.

The bottom line, however, is that this is a free service, and Dior/Holt Renfrew are awesome for doing this.  If you want a piece of the manicure pie call Dior (416-922-2333 ext. 21533) to set up your appointment.  They're on again this weekend: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and only at the Bloor location.

xx, C.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Caroline vs. Ideal Day Off

I am one of the unfortunate few (or many, in this economy), who failed to lock down a summer job before the summer actually started.  It's now almost mid-July and I've still had no luck, but an application I filled out today immediately made me think, "I should blog about this."  The question was, "How would you spend an ideal day off with no financial limits?"  I must admit, for the first split second I thought, "Go to Holt's and buy everything!"  But then I realized that I live in one of the biggest, most amazing cities this fine country has to offer, and it would be a waste of a day if I just spent it shopping.  So here is my answer (lengthened with pictures and details):

L'espresso Bar Mercurio

I would start off meeting friends for a coffee from my local coffee shop, in this case L'espresso Bar Mercurio.  I discovered this on-campus gem a couple years ago, and it has since become a favourite.  Coffees are a bit pricey for everyday consumption but are so, so good.  Meals are also stellar, with a great drink menu, and some of the best gluten-free treats I've found so far in this town.  Sometimes Mama even comes in to supervise and to hawk her delicious cookies.

St. Andrew St. and Kensington Ave., by Sam Javanrouh

After a jolt of caffeine we would bike down to Kensington Market to pick up supplies for a picnic: My Market Bakery for some bread and pastries, Global Cheese to find the best cheeses at the best price, International Fruit Market for fresh fruits and veggies, and Essence of Life for some organic goodies.  Making our way through the Market towards and between the various food shops we'd stop in at some vintage shops, specifically Bungalow, Courage My Love and Pretty Freedom.

Skyline from the ferry, September 2011

Once our bike baskets were laden with food and vintage wares we would bike down Spadina to Queen's Quay and continue along the waterfront to the ferry terminal, where we would load our bikes onto the ferry and cross the lake over to Centre Island.  Once there we would explore on bikes, before stopping at the beach to enjoy our picnic lunch.

Beach activities for Trin Frosh Week, September 2011

The rest of the afternoon would be spent on the beach, playing volleyball or frisbee, or just running in the sand and splashing in the water.  I've only been to the Islands a handful of times, even though I am constantly talking about the perfect summer days I want to spend there.

You couldn't ask for a better view. (credit)

As the evening rolls around we would gather our things and head to the ferry to cross back to the city, and head immediately to the CN Tower, Toronto's most famous landmark.  We would ride the elevators all the way up and marvel at the view, (including the one down through the glass floor, no matter how scared we might be...) before sitting down to a long meal in the 360 Restaurant, watching the sun set.  I've never had the chance to eat at 360, but friends have told me it is a must.  After dinner we would lazily ride our bikes homeward, and once I got home I would curl up in bed with a book, a cup of tea, and the boyfriend.

Pictures of cameras, so meta.  From my instagram.

I would have documented the day on film - an equal split between my Holga 150 CFN and my Fujifilm Instax Mini - and dropped off the 150 film at a photo lab on the way home.

Even though this scenario probably won't ever completely exist, I love knowing that I can do bits and pieces of it whenever I want.  Toronto really is magical in the summer.

What would you do on your ideal day off?  I'd love to know :)

xx, C.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Caroline vs. Gazpacho

Let's call this, Easy Summer Dinners (Part I).

It's been blisteringly hot in Toronto lately, and the very last thing anyone wants to be doing turning on an oven or a stove for too long.  I recently perused my Food&Drink board on Pinterest and found a New York Times feature on cold soups, and decided on a tomato gazpacho to share with a friend of mine visiting from out of town.

For vegetables this particular recipe only calls for tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic, but I added bell peppers and celery, as well as some parsley to give it a little more punch.  I forgot about adding the bread, but I didn't miss it.  Once everything was blended (but still chunky!) I poured it out, topped with olive oil and parsley, and dug in.  Since there were two of us and we hadn't eaten much all day, I popped a frozen pizza into the toaster oven for a few minutes to give our meal a little more substance.

The finished product

What I love about gazpacho is that it takes so little time to prepare, it's great for using vegetables that are going a little soft, and it's really refreshing on days that see temperatures in the high twenties, or (gasp!) well into the thirties.  It's perfect for entertaining, especially on short notice, and is best enjoyed outdoors with a glass of wine.

What do you like to make in the summer?

xx, C.

Caroline vs. Spider-Man vs. Batman

Ah, Toronto.  Where Batman and Spiderman can have at it in the subway and the streets, and people just stand by, amused.

To see more of Toronto Batman, visit The Sean Ward Show.

xx, C.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Caroline vs. Bicycle

After being without my bicycle for some months, I finally got it back from the shop, and have been whizzing about the city for the past four days.  My beautiful coffee coloured 1974 Raleigh Sports was in an accident last Thanksgiving weekend, and has pretty much been out of commission since.  The back tire had to be patched from skidding on the road, and the fork was bent, making it really awkward to turn right, and the brakes were screeching because the wheels had been bent a little out of shape.  My baby sat on my balcony all winter, and in the spring I took it down to Bikes on Wheels in Kensington Market to see what they could do.  Last week I got the call saying it was ready, and I was so happy!  I got a new light and a basket, so now not only will I not be breaking laws after dark, but I can also run errands and go to class without worrying about carrying things.

The guys down at Bikes on Wheels were really helpful, not only did they fix my bike up beautifully, but they explained everything to me since I have no idea how a bike works, let alone how to fix one.  They have two locations, one at Augusta and College, and another at Queen West and Euclid (the Queen location is much smaller, but the staff just as good looking).

Biking in Toronto can sometimes be treacherous because of a lack of bike lanes (thanks for nothing, Mayor Ford) and the awful road conditions (potholes galore!  Thank heavens for shocks), but having my bike back now means I can go farther than I could with walking; the adventures are endless!  I also get a decent workout since the city is pretty much one giant hill.  I'm hoping I can get across to the Islands one day and do some leisurely biking over there, camera and friends in tow.

Do you love biking too?

xx, C.

Photo source: London Cyclist