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    Checking out Eataly Toronto

    italy is eataly italian food marketplace in toronto on bloor street across from holt renfrew

    Hello! My friend Stella and I went to a new place in Toronto called Eataly. It's like a permanent food festival where Italy and Italian cuisine are the focus. There are various counters in a food-court style, a full service restaurant, a gourmet marketplace and learning stations, all together in one large space.

    Having opened in November on Bloor Street near Bay (so, easily accessible by subway), this is Canada's only location so far, although there are plans for one in Montreal, as well. There are also a number of Eatalys in several major cities around the world, and, of course, in Italy where it all began back in 2007. (If you'd like to know more about the premise, history and locations, there's a Wikipedia page about them here.)

    We were there on a Sunday at lunchtime, which, in hindsight, might not have been the best time to visit a new place that people are excited about. It was crowded, especially in the food-court area and there was a lineup for the restaurant. However, the hustle and bustle was invigorating, people were cheerful and the staff were organized and quick.

    Here's a little look around ...

    Our Christmas Decor, Dinner with Friends and a Fun Bonus – 2019

    vintage christmas decor cabinet with figurines

    Hello! Yesterday (in this post), I wrote about the vintage Christmas decorating pieces I'd found at the vintage stores. Today I'm here to show you how those things looked, in action, amoungst the things we already had.

    There are also some shots taken during a little get together, when my friends Julie and Leslie came over for dinner. We were originally planning to get a little crochet lesson in (I'm teaching them both how), but alas, the chatting, food and bubbly wine got in the way and we never ended up getting the yarn out!

    Thrift Store Finds : Christmas Version 2019

    thrift store finds in toronto vintage christmas loulou downtown blog

    Hello! Happy New Year. Here's hoping 2020 is a good year for you.

    I had some great lucky Vintage Christmas thrift store finds, which I thought I'd show you before everything gets put away.

    It was fun sprinkling these new-to-me items amoungst our existing vintage Christmas things. I took some photos of how our home looked over the holidays, making sure to include a glimpse of every one of these items, which I'll be posting tomorrow. So, if you fancy a little "treasure hunt / spot the new items" fun, come on back to see these items in action!

    Prompted by my sister who drives (I don't), in November we went on a thrifting excursion, going a little further from home than usual, for an afternoon of shopping in Etobicoke (a suburb west of Toronto). We found an area that has a huge Value Village, a Salvation Army, a Talize and a Mission Thrift Store (which was closed on Mondays and it was a Monday when we went). Being used to repeat visits to the same Value Village (at Lansdowne and Bloor) all the time, I felt like I was in thrifting heaven. I definitely had to pace myself, because we encountered so many great things in those stores, and at such reasonable prices. It was amazing and we're both looking forward to going back to Etobicoke for thrifting soon!

    So, some of these finds occurred in those stores, and the rest all came from my "tried and true" Value Village in Toronto.

    Let's begin with the ceramic figurines ...

    A Thrifted Gift Exchange

    in the living room

    Hello, hello!

    My "sisters who are friends" (or is it "friends who are sisters"?) and I had our first “Thrifted Gift Exchange” this Christmas.

    There was my sister Camille and my good friend from high school, who was once also married to my brother for about 15 years, Colleen. It's safe to say that the three of us know one another well, so, while a gift exchange involving only secondhand finds might not work in every situation, we felt we were familiar with each other's tastes well enough to give it a go.

    When I told another friend we were doing this, she said that she would not find that fun and that she felt choosing thrift store items as gifts would be a hard thing to do. So, again, this might not work for everyone, however, we knew going into this that all of us love vintage things and have always been comfortable with used items.

    We set a price limit of $10 per gift, each buying for two people. We all ended up going slightly over that, but not by much. There was remarkably great gift getting potential for a tenner at the thrift store!

    I got my things for them at the Value Village at Lansdowne and Bloor. My time allotment for shopping only allowed for one visit to the store, so, as I passed through those sliding doors, I had my fingers crossed that I'd get lucky and find the perfect items.

    I began by putting everything I saw that might work into my cart. But, as I shopped, I realized that the job of finding secondhand things for these ladies was quite easy. I ended up with more options than I needed and retraced my steps, putting things back on the shelves.

    Here's what I found ...

    Celebrating a Decade of Friendship with Meghan!

    celebrating ten years of friendship friendiversary l and m

    Hi there. Welcome and thank you for dropping by.

    While late autumn and early winter fills most everyone's schedule with fun celebrations, I consider myself extra lucky to add three personal special dates to my calendar during this time. Those are anniversaries of meeting three people who've become very important in my life : One is my dear husband Nick -- I met him on a blind date in November 1998, and married him in November 1999. (We went to Halifax for our anniversary, written about here, here and here.)

    The other two are celebrations of cherished friendships. Having a relatively small family, most who live a fair distance away, "I'm a friendship kind of person", (to quote Chelsea Handler in this video where she's showing Architectural Digest around her stunning home.)

    And so, I enjoy commemorating Friendiversaries. Here is the story about the second such occasion I had the pleasure of celebrating in recent weeks, my decade long relationship with Meghan! (The first was with Julie, written about here.)

    Meghan and I met at a place we both worked back in 2009, and although neither of us is still there, we continued what began as a work friendship, beyond the work space.

    She is a cool, caring and very courageous person, who I always enjoy spending time with. Regular readers will have seen that our times together very frequently involve seeing some kind of art, with our recent friendiversary celebration being no exception.

    We began with dinner in Kensington Market. I snapped a few shots on the way to the restaurant ...