Life, Law, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Friday No. 5

There's a quote I've seen pop up lately on various blogs and instagram accounts that I follow - 'the days are long, but the years (or weeks!) are short'. I know it's typically used to describe parenting, but honestly, I feel that it applies to perfectly to this season of my life. Each day I'm amazed at how much I need to accomplish, how long it can take until it's time for bed, or the fact that it's only Wednesday - but each Friday morning I'm shocked that the week is already over. With only 7 weeks left in Toronto the countdown is on, and I'm trying my best to stay present and enjoy my final days in the city. 

Photo from The Everygirl
This week was definitely a 'get stuff done' week. I landed back in Toronto Sunday night after spending a short few days in Phoenix, and spent the week playing catchup (and trying to avoid the snow). It didn't make for an overly exciting few days, but with spin class and celebrations (for my birthday and valentine's day!) on the calendar this weekend, clearing my plate of various obligations was definitely worth it. 

So with that, here are a few small things that were highlights of my week! 

  1. Sorelle - I've sung the praises of this sweet shop before (check it out here and here), and once again a visit to Sorelle was a highpoint of my week. On Wednesday a friend and I popped by the pink infused cafe to reconnect over americanos and Nanaimo bars. Taking an hour to recaffeinate and debrief each other on our lives proved to be a much needed recharge, and I left with an extra spring in my step. 
  2. PopPhysique - Today marks the last day of '30 Days of PopPhysique' and I have mixed feelings about it. While I'm excited to jump back onto ClassPass and mix up my exercise routine, over the past 30 days Pop has become an integral part of my life and I'm going to miss it. I intend to write a fuller post on my experiences with the studio but, overall, I think the most important lesson I've learned is the importance of working out every day both for my sanity (hello endorphins!) and physical health. I feel better when I've worked out, and while it's easy to shrug off an exercise class in favour of school work (or netflix), making a little time in your schedule for fitness is something you never regret. 
  3. Celebrations - I mentioned it earlier in this post but tonight some friends and I are taking the time to celebrate my birthday! We're planning on having a nice dinner at a local restaurant, before returning to my apartment for celebratory drinks and birthday cake (inspiration here). A bit low-key, but with all the celebrations going on lately (bachelorette! bridal showers!) having a quiet night with friends seemed like the perfect way to ring in 25. 
  4. CHURCH - and finally, we at last found and committed to a church for our ceremony! I'll be writing about the whole experience later on, but finding a church proved to be one of the more stressful elements of wedding planning and I'm so so grateful to have it behind us! 
Have a lovely weekend!

Valentine's Day Gift Guide - What Conner is Getting For Valentine's

How is it that we are only a week away from Valentine's Day? I know that the holiday seems to sneak up each year, but it seems to be especially true this time around! 

I'm spending this Valentine's Day in the air as I travel from Toronto to visit Conner in Phoenix, Arizona. I'll be getting into Arizona pretty late - but I'm hoping we are still able to have a small celebration! Here is a look at what Conner will be receiving this year for Valentine's! 

  1. Kansas City Map - For Christmas this year my roommate (and maid of honour!) Jen gifted me two art prints that display the streets of Toronto and Phoenix. I love the idea of displaying the cities that have meant so much to me when Conner and I relocate to NYC, but I wanted to make sure that his own history was included. This year for Valentine's I had a custom map of Conner's beloved Kansas City made by The Neighbourhood Unit, to display in our future home. 
  2. Boxers + Socks - It's obvious but I love the idea of giving a pair of heart themed boxers each Valentine's Day. I love this set from J Crew! 
  3. A Sweet Valentine - I have to admit, I got this card for Conner for Christmas but I thought I'd include it here. I love the message it sends, and I'm hoping to use it as art moving forward. 
  4. A Sweet Valentine - Conner is not a sweets guy. He turns away from candy, is able to resist cake and can walk away from any dessert table without breaking a sweat. With that being said - he will always make an exception for doughnuts (fun fact - we're having them at the wedding). Tim's always makes a point of producing adorable heart shaped doughnuts, and I'm hoping to grab one at the airport to bring with me south of the boarder. 
What about you? How are you celebrating Valentine's Day? 

Friday No. 4

This week was short and sweet. I jetted down to Arizona on Wednesday to tour churches for our upcoming wedding (I'm HOPING we have one picked out by the time this goes live!!), which meant Monday and Tuesday we're absolutely jam packed as I tried to clear my plate of all work and school assignments before taking off. This weekend I'm looking forward to some much needed one on one time with family and my fiancé. 

Here are four things that made my week: 
  1. ARIZONA - this is an easy one. It feels like it has been forever since I last set foot in AZ and arriving this week really gave me a much needed energy boost. Getting back to  the people I love was 100% hands down the highlight of this week - plus, getting to leave Toronto mid-blizzard was a perk. 
  2. Cali Love - tucked away in Yorkville, CaliLove serve's up island inspired smoothie and grain bowls to Canadian's looking to escape Toronto's less than sunny winter (at least temporarily). While menu items might be a bit pricy, they definitely make for a nice 'treat'. I recommend their spinach based smoothie bowl, which I grabbed with one of my bridesmaids this week before she caught a flight back to Calgary. 
  3. The Bachelor - I said it before and I'll say it again, despite how ridiculous it is, I love The Bachelor. Reality TV has always been my guilty pleasure, and while I like to think it's because I enjoy it from an anthropological perspective, I honestly just love the mindlessness of it. This season is finally picking up, and my roommate and I are loving it. 
  4. Nike Run Club - this week I finally got my running schedule back on track (pun intended). I've used the Nike Run Club app before, and this week I reset the app to start training for a half-marathon in the spring. I haven't registered for one yet, but running 2 half marathon's before our wedding is one of my annual goals and it's time to get serious about training. 

February Goals

It's crazy to think that January is already coming to an end! It seems like I've only just gotten back to Toronto and already another month is over, and we're into February. I've always loved February. I may be biased (it's my birthday month! my last name is Valentine!) but I've always thought there was something magical about February. 

With that being said, February is always a bit of a whirlwind. It's a 'blink and you miss it month' that's always jam-packed with activities and I know it will blow by. I'm torn - I can't wait until the future (graduation! wedding! the end of long distance!) but a part of me knows that I'll miss my friends, and the life I've built for myself in the city. Because of that, the goals I have for February (and the months moving forward) have an emphasis on enjoying my final moments with the people I love, before I say goodbye. 

With that, here are my goals for February!

All photos courtesy of The Everygirl

February Goals

  1. Celebrate my birthday and Valentine's Day! 
  2. Have a girl's getaway to Colorado for some skiing and quality time 
  3. Finish all law school readings assigned for the month, by the end of the month (....see below....) 
  4. Register for a half marathon this spring and restart training. 

And of course, here's a look back on how I did this January. 

January Goals

  1. Have an amazing Bachelorette at the end of the month to celebrate both my marriage and my friendships! BIG check here! 
  2. Finish all law school readings assigned for the month, by the end of the month (this has proven to be a challenge in the past, but keeping on top of assignments will help me keep on track, and allow me to engage with friends)....whoops
  3. Try out PopPhysique and consider signing up for their "unlimited classes for $75" special (going at least 3x a week) LOVED this! I'll be writing a full post on this later on!  

Prince Edward Country - A Bachelorette Vacation

In case you missed it, over the weekend my lovely bridesmaids and close friends took me to Prince Edward Country to celebrate my upcoming wedding. We had the best weekend wine tasting, exploring and just catching up - and I was constantly reminded how lucky I am. 

I'm so excited to get married - I can't wait until I can officially call Conner my husband. However while so much of wedding planning is spent focused on the actual day - all the other events bring together the important people in your life to celebrate, reconnect, and make new memories. To my amazing maid of honour - thank you for planning a perfect getaway. To my bridesmaids - you ladies have always been there for me, I would not be the person I am without you. And to my friends - thank you for taking time to celebrate with me! I love you all. 

So with that - here's a quick travel guide to Prince Edward County based on our own adventures this past weekend. 

Photo from The June Motel
Where to Stay 
In recent years, the county has really exploded. With many city dwellers turning to the area's vineyards and lake as a quick escape, there are tons of great accommodations available at a variety of price points. 
  1. If you are getting away with your girlfriends, The June Motel is without a doubt the place to be. Formerly a rundown motel, The June's current owners gutted the place and turned it into a chic wine and wellness focused spot. The only downside? The June is exclusively open during peak tourist season (Spring-Early Fall). 
  2. Act fast and you might be lucky enough to snag one of the 11 rooms at The Drake Devonshire, located in the heart of downtown Wellington. The latest offshoot of the popular Toronto based 'Drake' food and hospitality empire, the hotel is a designers dream. If you aren't able to get a room at the hotel (it books up FAST) consider making a stop at the space to attend their popular brunch, or participate in their weekly painting and wine night. 
  3. And finally, charming hotels aren't the only accommodations available in PEC. As the tourist industry has taken over, more and more locals are trying their hands at running AirBnBs. There are tons of amazing homes available for rent at prices that work for every traveller. Some of my favourite options include this charming townhouse, this 1800's carriage house, and this adorable tiny home
Photo of The Drake Devonshire from allonsy
Where to Eat 
The county might be known for wine but that doesn't mean it doesn't have plenty of food options to offer! Based on personal experience, I have to give a shoutout to the following restaurants: 
  1. If you're looking for an authentic Canadian brewhouse atmosphere, the Midtown Brewing Co is the place to go. Sparsely decorated, the industrial feel of the main dining area is warmed up by woodburning fires - and the menu (while small) is quality comfort food. 
  2. Norman Hardie is one of the more popular vineyards in PEC, and while most come for the wine - many come for the pizza. The vineyard has an outdoor pizza oven that runs from early-May though the late-Fall, and many visitors claim the pizza is the best in the area. 
  3. Not to keep singing The Drake Devonshire's praises, but their restaurant is fairly hard to beat. Consider making a reservation for their brunch - the avocado toast features jalapeño peppers which is a pretty fantastic take on the trend. 

What to Do 
  1. Wine Tours - lets cut to the chase, the real reason visitors travel to PEC is for the wine. Check out the previously mentioned Norman Hardie - they are known (for good reason) for the pino noir and at $5 for 3 samples, you're able to try a variety of wines. If you're looking for something less traditional, Hinterland is the place to go. Slightly pricier (in their defence, proceeds are donated to charity), Hinterland has a great atmosphere, and is known for their sparkling wines. Try the vineyards cider's and sparkling wine (our group ended up purchase a lot of bottles to go). 
  2. Spark Box Studio - if you're looking to expand your PEC experience beyond the local vineyards, consider reaching out to Chrissy and Kyle at Spark Box Studio! The couple offers a variety of workshops based out of their Picton area artists residence, and you can try your hand at everything from copper plate etching to photoshop. Our group silkscreened canvas totes with logo designed by one of my talented bridesmaids, which made for a pretty incredible momento from the weekend.