Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thank You from The Hip + Urban Girl's Guide!

2017 is definitely going to be a year full of changes! We were recently discussing whether we would redesign our site or branch out into different projects.

We decided that after six fun and exciting years, this would be the best time to put a bookend on our chapter as The Hip + Urban Girl's Guide. But we will still be keeping our social media channels!

We want to thank all the amazing readers, guest bloggers, sponsors, brands and PR companies that supported us through all the years. We couldn't have done this without you! 

Lisa will continue blogging about food, travel + lifestyle over on This Beautiful Day. "After a big move to LA and then to Portland, Oregon - I wanted to expand my content beyond my own city and reach women all across Canada and the US. From there, This Beautiful Day was born! I look forward to bringing you more recipes, travel guides and lifestyle ideas."  Follow her adventures on Twitter @helloLisaNg, Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay + Facebook.

Wendy has launched CityRefinery. "I've grown so much over the years and I'm a Mom now so inevitably my content has evolved and my brand has changed. This year is going to be full of surprises to share! My new site is filled with stories of the things I love, inspiration + organized chaos. Less censored. More lattes + grit. More refined." Follow @wendykammarcy on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s the end of an era and the beginning of another epic one!

Xo Lisa + Wendy

Monday, December 5, 2016

Urban Eats: Luckee Restaurant

By Wendy Kam Marcy


I’m really excited to share that Luckee, Susur Lee’s Asian tapas restaurant is now open weekdays from 12 to 2pm (except Mondays).

This is a great addition for King West’s power lunch crowd. I know for myself I’m always looking for a place to take clients that will impress on all levels from service to food to atmosphere.

It's also going to be my new lunch date spot with hubby when we can snag those precious few hours in the afternoon while our little one is in Montessori School.


We were recently invited to indulge in Luckee's new lunch menu. Here’s what we had and highly recommend…

Alert: food porn coming up!

Cheung Fun

These soft rice rolls wrapped around a crispy Chinese donut are called Cheung Fun. They are filled  with either shrimp, chicken, lobster or mixed vegetables. Sprinkle shallots and scallions on top, drizzle on the soy sauce and you’ve got a mouthful bursting with delicious flavours and texture.

Taro Cakes

The Teahouse Turnip Cake is an authentic dim sum dish made with sweet potato, green onion and shallots. Susur takes this classic and puts an extra fancy twists to it by adding taro rosti.


Indecisive? Order the Luckee Dim Sum Basket and sample 4 of the chef’s signature steamed dumplings.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Furniture For Your Condo

By Wendy Kam Marcy

I posted this list in 2010 when I bought my first condo... now I'm on condo number three (and married with a rambunctious toddler)!

Here's my list of 20 places (beyond Ikea!) that I found during my own quest to seek out stylish furniture that is of good quality, design and reasonably priced. Happy Shopping!

KROFT+CO: designs and makes beautiful handcrafted furniture right here in Toronto. Condo dwellers and small home owners will especially appreciation their collection of bedroom, dining and living room furniture with clean lines and modern finishes. They also meticulously customize pieces. Get 10% off here. $$$

Design Republic: my fave store because how can you not love a place where their mantra is “Furniture for the People”? Whether you are searching for the edgiest modern sofa, design classics or industrial and vintage pieces, you can find it here at their Queen West showroom. Great service and custom solutions available as well. I bought most of my living room furniture here and they made me a cool custom wooden bench! $$$

Urban Mode: a hidden gem and another one of my favourite shops. This place is not very big but it is owned by a couple of very friendly knowledgeable ladies. They do have some condo furniture on display as well as lots of cool decor pieces and the popular Chilewich mats in all sizes and colours. $$

Casper Mattress comes in six sizes starting at $725. Each bed is designed with just the right bounce and sink for outrageously comfortable sleep. They have an excellent trial policy - test it out for 100 days and if you are not having sweet dreams, return it for free. Here's a promo code to snag $65 off your mattress plus free shipping. $$

This post was updated on February 2017 and has moved to a new home! Continue reading on CityRefinery.com...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Caramelized Apple, Pumpkin + Bacon Linguine

A sponsored post.

I don’t know what it is about the cold weather, but it definitely has me craving pasta. If you’re planning a dinner party or even a date night in, elevate your pasta dish with the perfect cocktail pairing for your guests.

Now I know most people think wine and pasta, but I wanted to try something a little bit different and feature a few seasonal fall ingredients. I chose to pair this Caramelized Apple, Pumpkin and Bacon Linguine recipe from Barilla Pasta with an Apple Bourbon Ginger Cocktail. 

I just find that these fall flavours go so well together and the sweet of the apple contrasts the salt of the bacon. The chewy linguine and the soft pumpkin add all sorts of great texture to the dish. 

The secret to great tasting Barilla Pasta is cooking your pasta to al dente – which means it’s perfectly chewy, but just a little bit firm – but not hard on the inside where you can still see white uncooked parts. This is the best way to enjoy pasta! 

To achieve perfect al dente pasta, follow the directions on the package and constantly check your pasta with the chew test the closer you get to the final minutes of cooking time. Make sure to you use a high quality pasta like Barilla to get the most out of your dish! Here’s how you can re-create this recipe at home:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Holiday Planning Do's and Don'ts

By Wendy Kam Marcy

It’s holiday party planning season, and we can’t wait to break open the bubbly! Whether you are on the social committee and in charge of organizing your company's shindig or you are just gathering a few of your besties together to spread the holiday cheer, read on... Michelle Garber + Tamara Niyazov, co-owners of Fab Fete, shares their tips on how to throw an unforgettable party.  

Do: Give your party a theme.

A fun theme could be the reason some guests attend, or it might overwhelm your most loyal friends. Choose the right decor, food, maybe even giveaways! Commit to your theme, but don’t expect guests to arrive in an 1800’s Coca-Cola Steampunk polar bear costume, or bring a secret Santa gift with too many rules and expectations.

Do: Book entertainment.

Big or small, a little show never hurt anyone. A singer, dancer or cool acrobat would be what everyone is talking about the next day! Live entertainment a little out of budget? Why not DIY your own holiday themed Cards Against Humanity or paint Jenga blocks to match your theme? Or break out the kid’s bubble machine and add food colouring to the bubble mix! 

Do: Account for every type of guest.

Inclusiveness is important, especially during the most wonderful time of year! Make sure to accommodate every one of your guests by offering mocktails and vegetarian/vegan dishes. Nothing will send people home faster than being hungry or thirsty! Mocktails are especially important for including soon to be moms and designated drivers.

Do: Make sure there is enough to drink.

When the bar runs dry, people run home. Be sure to overstock your bar, but not to open all the bottles. Unopened bottles can be returned to the LCBO with a receipt, saving you money! Hire a bartender - they will manage your bar stock and keep you updated on what is popular. Full service caterers and staffing agencies will also take responsibility for hiring a bartender and will offer bar packages based on your party needs. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

2016 One of a Kind Holiday Show Giveaway

By Wendy Kam Marcy

OOAKS has been a holiday tradition for me for the past few years. I love meeting the artisans, hearing the inspirational stories behind their handmade goods and of course, getting my Christmas shopping done early!

OOAKS is happening November 24 to December 4. It's the largest consumer craft show in North America and we have tickets to giveaway!

Plan a Girls Day Out or book yourself into a free DIY workshops on decorating cookies, creating mandala holiday cards and more.

Tell us what you love about the holidays in the comments below. Don't forget to include your email/Twitter so we can contact the winners. Good Luck!

This contest closes Wed, November 16, 2016 at 11pm EST.

For more information, visit www.oneofakindshow.com and join the conversation with hashtag #OOAKX16.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lunch Date With My Aroma Kid + Contest

By Wendy Kam Marcy

I first discovered Aroma in 2009 during a trip to Tel Aviv and instantly fell in love with their coffee. So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was when they opened one right beside my condo! This was especially timely as I was pregnant. Always hungry and looking for convenient but nutritious food. So right from the get-go, my son was already enjoying yummy Aroma meals in my tummy!

This post has a new home! Visit CityRefinery.com to continue reading...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo Ticket Giveaway

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Save the date because the BIGGEST Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is happening November 17-20 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Sip and savour your way through international gourmet cuisine, exotic delicacies and of course, the best alcoholic bevies!

This year's highlights include:

  • Taste and learn about the world's best wines at the Tutored Tastings Program.
  • Chef Stage features cooking demos by celebrity guests and talented locals.
  • #TrendCentral Stage presents tastings of cutting-edge wines, beers and spirits.
  • The Spiritology Pavilion showcases the latest from Toronto’s cocktail scene.
  • Sip fine wines alongside industry experts at The Grand Tasting Bar.

We are giving away tickets!

Tell us what your favourite wine, beer or cocktail is and 2 lucky winners will score a pair of tickets to the show! (My fave is Lindeman Framboise/Raspberry Beer.) Giveaway ends Friday, November 4 at 11pm EST.

You can also buy tickets here and use promo code GOURMET16 to save $5.00.

Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Winter Survival Tips

By: Lisa Ng

A sponsored post.

Winter will be upon us soon and the neverending snow days and bitter cold can be hard on the soul. Make sure you’re not just loafing around the couch this winter with our 5 Winter Survival Tips:

1) Take a Class

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors this winter, you might as well be learning a new skill or hobby. Sign-up for that cooking class, sports league or workshop you’ve been eyeing and perfect it before spring. Look online for upcoming classes near you and sign-up with a friend or before they fill-up!

2) Book a Dinner Date

If you’re like me, you have a long list of restaurants you’ve been meaning to try out. Make a point of setting up a dinner date with your friends, family or significant other and give yourself a night out to look forward to. It’s a great way to get out of the house and catch-up with the people you love.

Tight on cash? Make it a potluck and give yourself a chance to try out a new dish.

3) Get Active Outside

At some point, you’re going to have to embrace winter and the best way to do it is to get outside and play in the snow! I finally learned to ski as an adult and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I find that as long as I’m properly bundled up, being active outside is pretty refreshing and a great workout.

Not sure about skiing? Try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, toboganning or learn to finally ice skate. Come out of hibernation and make the most of winter.

4) Go Somewhere Hot

I know this is a no-brainer, but a winter vacay to a sunny destination helps break-up the monotony of winter. My best advice is to book NOW to ensure you get the best availability and prices. You’ll be thanking me in February, plus it gives you a restful break to look forward to after the holidays.

5) Stay Hydrated

The cold winter air coupled with dry indoor heating systems can be way harsh on your skin. I find that my skin gets super dry, flaky and even itchy if I don’t keep it properly hydrated. Skincare oils are a great way to battle this problem – they work without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

I start with Lipidol’s Cleansing Face Oil to help remove my make-up at the end of the day. I then apply Lipdol’s Overnight Face Oil to help lock in moisture – I really do wake-up with softer, smoother skin.

Lipidol also has a Cleansing Body Oil that you can use instead of soap or body wash. The After Shower Oil finishes the job to help your skin retain moisture.

Lipidol does not leave you feeling greasy and there’s no messy residue. Your skin will naturally absorb the oil and leave it feeling nourished. The oils are non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types. 

Lipidol is a steal at $8.97 a bottle and is from the makers of Bio-Oil. You can find Lipidol at Walmart or online at Walmart.ca

What are your tips for surviving winter?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

7 Beach Getaway Ideas

Hanging in Hawaii
By: Lisa Ng

We all know winter is coming soon.

Which is why I'm already jumping on the winter beach vacation bandwagon! It's never too early to start planning and booking early can save you a bit of cash. Especially if you're booking your flight separately. Dreams of tropical beaches, white sand and rolling blue waves have been entering my head already, so I bring to you my top beach getaway ideas:

At Tabacon Spa in Costa Rica
1) Costa Rica How does zip lining over waterfalls, soaking at a volcanic hot springs spa, while surfing and doing yoga everyday sound to you? If you're looking for adventure and a beach vacation, Costa Rica is the place. Book into a resort on the west coast like the Westin on Playa Conchal or the very posh Four Seasons Hotel in Papagayo. Give Tabacon Spa a google, it's located at the base of the active Arenal Volcano. Here are a few blog posts I've written on past trips to Costa Rica. You can even rent a massive villa with a few friends!

2) Key West, Florida - Walking into the waters of Key West is like walking into a warm sunny bath. It's perfect mix of small American beach town, with easygoing nightlife and restaurants. It's also the place to take a break from your car. Park it for the week, rent a bike and explore the city on two wheels. It's a very easy place to navigate and the cars usually stay under a 40 km/h speed limit. Did I mention all the delicious seafood and pink Florida shrimp? Nom! More blog posts on planning a visit to Key West here! Oh PS - don't miss the drag shows :)