3 things to do when in Oshawa #daytrip

Once upon a time (Sunday to be exact) in a condo unit in heart of downtown Toronto.

AJ while staring at the table- “We should do that again…”

SD – “Yes, let’s do it. But where …..”

AJ – “How about we look outside the city?”

And kids, that is how an impromptu day trip to Oshawa was born. While retelling our house guests the story behind our table centrepiece – a 1940s Miner’s Lamp purchased from a flea market in the south of France, we realized we wanted to recreate the experience. Craving bringing home collectibles and antiques without breaking the bank, we were faced with the challenge of where to go? A Torontonian knows to work in the city, live in the city but not go antique shopping in the city (cause $$$$).

With a bounty of small towns a few hours’ drive from Toronto, we did our research and set our sails for the town of Oshawa in hopes for a good find and a day trip. An hour and a half drive from downtown Toronto, Oshawa’s quite streets are laden with the Canadian small town charm. Having thoroughly enjoyed this escape from the city, here is our list of 3 things to do when in Oshawa:

1. Drink local lattes

After braving the winter wind, and having our ears almost fall off due to the cold (p.s- bloggers don’t need a hat), we stumbled upon this local gem. The perfect little local café for a mid-day caffeine fix – Isabella’s chocolate café. The barista was extremely nice, and whipped up some nice hot brews to calm our freezing nerves and spoiled us with their namesake chocolate treats.

Isabella’s Chocolate Café

 

2. Buy collectables
Next stop, the reason for our trip: Courtice Flea Market. Divided into five large barn-like structures this flea market has it all. From fine china to the chest of drawers of your dreams to a section purely devoted to junk with VHS tapes and dirt. If you are looking to add quirky home décor pieces to your urban living, ditch the look-alikes at H&M Home or Zara Home and get something authentic that has a story to tell. Love the rustic restoration hardware look, well then grab some pieces for your DIY. We found many items that tugged at our heart string and eventually gave away and brought home some lovely fine china tea cups to feed our high tea addiction.

Courtice Flea Market.

But the moment that took our breath away was the moment we saw a painting with the plaque indicating the artist’s name as A. N. Wyeth. Wyeth… Wyeth…. SD thought, Andrew Wyeth? That very moment our collective hearts stopped. Could this be happening, have we stumbled upon a forgotten original Andrew Wyeth painting? We asked to see the painting up close. With stumbling hands, mind swirling with life changing thoughts, we investigated its back.

Image result for Andrew wyeth view from mt

Mt. Kearsarge by Andrew Wyeth

To our disappointment mingled with some strange relief, we found it to be a reproduction and that the original is safely hosted at The Indianapolis Museum of Art. Phew what an afternoon!
3. Satisfy the munchies & Do some good


All this excitement can leave one famished. So we made our way back to the city centre, and thanks to our sheer luck (Or sheer insistence on finding something local) we stepped into Justice Burger. Portraits of famous con-artists adorn the walls at Justice Burger and the chefs know how to whip up one mean meal. This right here is one of the best burgers we have ever had and we don’t make this claim lightly.

Justice Burger

And before you say goodbye, pay it forward by buying a burger for someone in need that goes on this wall.

This pay it forward wall has fed over 500 burgers to people in need thanks to the generosity of Justice Burger’s patrons.

And with satisfied tummies and hearts, we left Oshawa with fine memories of a cold winter Sunday well spent.

Love

AJ & SD

 

 

With Love from Toronto

Toronto Life

“Do you like it here in Toronto?” asked SD
“Yes, I think I enjoy the vibrancy of this big city”. said AJ
“..but do you feel like you belong here?”

We moved to Toronto just six short years ago. And since then have been on a journey – the journey of becoming locals to this city we now call our home.

How long does one have to live in a city before its touristic novelty starts to wear off? The food and fashion choices start to make sense. One learns to walk past the big flashing signs, and trust the nondescript hole-in-the-wall standing-room-only joints. One stops googling ‘Top 10 places to eat’, and instead picks a neighborhood and walks its streets till a new favorite is added to the list. Long camel coats, round plastic frames, and all kinds of buns (man-buns, half-buns) become your weekend wardrobe. All of the above has slowly been happening to us.

We didn’t grow up in the Beaches or knew Parkdale before it was gentrified, but we have waited in enough long lines to tell you a thing of two about brunching in the East end and tacos scene of Queen West.

This is our transformation into the ‘Torontonian’ and we want to take you on this journey with us. On this blog, we plan on sharing our explorations of the greater Toronto area, sprinkled with a dose of fashion. We want to tell you about life in Toronto, and not just the Trip Advisor kind.

We live in the big city now and there is lots to ‘write home about’.

Love
AJ & SD

6 Things to know about brunch in Toronto

If there is an absolute truth about me, it is that I hate waiting in line-ups but I like breakfast food. What do you go get when you put these two things together? A Toronto Brunch.

Amongst other challenges like finding the right spot, during the brunch witching hours you may find up to a two-hour wait at popular joints of Toronto. Yes, you need a pit-stop just to make it through the wait before you get to the actual brunch appointment, which depending on how good your research was, may or may not be just average.

So if you have ever wondered what is the deal with the Toronto brunch scene, here are 6 things you need to know!

  1. Make a reservation in advance – I know what you are thinking, this is so basic. Yes it is indeed, so there is no excuse to overlook it. Do it well in advance when you can. Like today for the upcoming weekend. Bummer is that not all places take reservations, but at least look up the place ahead of time so that you know how big or small the place is, the hours of operation and other important things like if the place is closed on Sundays.
  2. Avoid Brunch Witching Hour – Unfortunately, Toronto is plagued with the ‘do not take reservations’ epidemic. So, what gives? Go late. Avoid the 11 am to 1 pm rush. Walk in at or after 1 pm.
  3. Don’t google brunch – Ironic eh! If you want to know about the best brunch in Toronto, go to Instagram instead. Look up #torontobrunch, #torontoeats, or just check out these insta-bloggers @tacosandxanax, @songbirdechoes , @littleblackpearls , @dineandfash and @recipe4joy that are doing the leg work for you. Find food you that makes your mouth water, that makes you want to get out of bed, food that is worth the hustle.
  4. Dress Comfortable & advise your friends too- In case you do get hungry and do end up waiting at one of the exclusive 20 seater downtown joints, wear comfortable shoes. You may have to wait outside in cold weather so bring a jacket and when you do get a spot, it maybe just a bar-stool so leave your LV at home.
  5. Make new friends – I have one word for you – communal tables. So leave your friends at home and make new ones! Don’t be shy as you transverse these limited seating joints of downtown. Ask your neighbor ‘what’s that’ and hear them tell you about what’s on their plate, trade stories, share laughs and food photos.
  6. Underground Brunch Club –  Brunch at home. Not your own home, gawd no! Hear me out as I am about to tell you a secret. An invite only, home cooked, ever-changing brunch menu that is hosted by lovers of brunch, and home-chefs that are wizards in the kitchen. To get your exclusive invite and know the deets, leave a comment on this post. 😉

Love

SD & AJ

You obligatory brunch pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate last minute gift guide for the mall-phobic

So it’s the last few days before Christmas and you still have not done it. All your friends and family are done posting pictures of their well endowed Christmas trees, and yours looks … well sparse. Yet, you’d rather do anything but go to the mall. The long queues, the masses, the idea of driving through the snow only to find all the best stuff gone, is traumatic to you. Well in that case you are reading the damn right blog post. Here is the ultimate last minute gift guide that doesn’t require a visit to the mall or any physical retail location for that matter, all you need is the internet (and a printer if you really want to impress).  Without further adieu here are some of our favorite last-minute gifts ideas that don’t need you to leave your couch!

1. Kiva Gift Loan

OK, this one makes the top of the list because it’s much more than just a gift. As described on their website, “Kiva gives you the chance to make a loan to people in more than 80 countries so they can start businesses, go to school and improve life for their families.”  Buying a Kiva Card online gives the recipient of your gift an opportunity to support a borrower of their choice and there are lots to choose from on Kiva.org. It’s not a donation, it’s a loan, seed capital that enables dreams! It will be repaid to your giftee (is that a word?) or they can choose to re-lend it. You can either email the gift or print it, making it the ideal gift for the non-materialistic and or philanthropist in your life.

2. Magazines, the paper kind

We all do it, around the clock, first thing when we wake up and the last thing before we go to sleep. Flipping through endless feeds, scrolling down bottomless pages, consuming digital media by the (giga)byte loads. This gift is to help your giftee detox. Go back to the feeling of holding something in their hands, flipping through pages, (and smell the ink..ahem yeah!) while keeping up with the world.  There are a ton to choose from, but here is a short list of classics and our favorites.

 

3. Netflix (Chill not included)
You may be thinking this has limited applicability cause who doesn’t have this already? Well, a lot of people that’s who cause, they are all ‘borrowing’ it. Well, it’s time to give that sibling their own so that they can finally stop stealing yours.

Pro-Tip : Online gift cards are available in the US (not Canada) only at this time but fear not fellow Canadians, you can buy iTunes gift cards to cover Netflix for those who have Apple TV or iOS device.

 

4. Chef’s Plate Meal Kit

Because dinner gift cards are over-rated! This email or print at home gift card allows your giftee to receive a Chef’s plate box with all the farm fresh ingredients for an original recipe that your giftee can craft in their own kitchen for a cooking experience with Chef worthy results. This home delivery service is the best gift for the busy foodie on your list. With the ability to schedule deliveries, you are giving the gift of connecting over a delicious meal without your giftee having to leave the comfort of their warm home this winter!

Pro-tip : Chef’s plate is a subscription service (you can get two free plates when you sign up) , which you can skip, pause or cancel at any time. So let your giftee know.

 

5. Name Martian Craters 

Yes, you read that right. We saved the best for the last! NASA needs your help and the science nerd in your life needs loving!  Uwingu is a small, for-profit company founded by astronomers, planetary scientists, space educators, and former NASA personnel. And Uwingu is creating the first crowdsourced map of Mars. There are approximately 500,000 still unnamed craters on Mars and large chunks of districts and provinces that you can choose to name after your giftee.  Here, you can see the map, select a crater, and if it is available you can name it. And just like that, your giftee is part of human astronomy history with a digital certificate to prove it (or if you really want to be fancy you can select the print and frame option).  Extra : through this purchase, you will also be funding space exploration, space research, and space education through “The Uwingu Fund,” which provides grants for space exploration, space research, and space education.

Hope you enjoyed this curated gift guide. Wishing you and your family happy holidays!

xoxo

AJ & SD

 

Hell0 W0rld!

 

“hey why don’t you guys blog” said songbirdechoes

“…yeah why don’t you” chimed in outsidetherunway

and then we looked at each other and asked ourselves why don’t we? Circa Nov 2016, Las Vegas. After an amazing 48 hours in Las vegas, fueled with a good time with long time friends and walking the corridors of Crystal and Via Bellagio over and over again, woodburningstove was born.

We enjoy fashion and trendspotting, we have opinions (Lots of) and we want to share our discoveries to help you stay in the know. We call Toronto home and this is our personal blog where will be talking about fashion, cool spots in and around Toronto, and basically shit we find cool.

XoXo

AJ & SD

PS: You can follow us on Instagram to know what’s cooking @woodburningstove !