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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

5 Places For Christmas Dinner in Toronto 2016

By: Lisa Ng

Trying to avoid cooking a big feast on Christmas day? Would you prefer going out with family and leaving the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning to someone else? Here are 5 places for Christmas Dinner in Toronto for 2016:

1) Cafe Boulud

The fancy Cafe Boulud inside The Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto will be serving up a three-course prix-fixe menu for $105. Make sure to book early as spots will fill up quick. The main course includes an option of turkey, cod, lobster, venison or risotto.

2) Bosk Restaurant

Bosk Restaurant inside The Shangri-La Hotel will be offering a Christmas Brunch Buffet for $75. Be ready to feast on gingerbread French toast, steak & eggs and seasonal desserts in this sleek downtown space.

3) Momofuku Daisho

Okay so not technically on Christmas Day, Momofuku Daisho will be hosting a Christmas Eve dinner for a $75 prix-fixe. The menu features smoked pork ham, chicken buns and apple cobbler for dessert.

4) Tundra Restaurant

Located inside the Hilton Toronto, Tundra will offer a Christmas Eve + Day Menu for $79 per person. The dinner will feature an amuse to start, appetizer, sorbet, main course and dessert to finish.

5) The King Edward Hotel

If you're into variety, The King Eddie is doing up a Christmas Day Buffet for $115 per person with turkey and all the trimmings. There will also be an array of seafood in their gorgeous and historic ballroom.

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

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. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

WIN a $50 Shoppers Drug Mart Gift Card!

By: Lisa Ng

A sponsored post.

I'm one of those crazy people that likes to get ALL of their holiday shopping done by the start of December. I did this little experiment a few years ago and it worked out so well, that I've stuck to it ever since!

So here's the deal, shopping early means you get the best deals, best selection and you don't have to fight the holiday crowds in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. You can take December off from shopping, enjoy wrapping your gifts, sip on hot chocolate and just truly enjoy the holiday season.

Shoppers Drug Mart is a super-efficient place to get your gift giving done. I like to show up, grab a big cart and start filling it with beauty gift boxes, stocking stuffers, gift wrap, holiday cards and even a few pampering and nourishing skin products for myself! 

The Life Brand collection seriously rocks. It's been my go-to for everything from band-aids, tissues and even vitamins. Beyond all that, they also carry a fun selection of charcoal cleansers, face masks and other skincare items.

One of my favourites are these Life Brand Facial Masks ($1.99 or 3 for $5.00). They are perfect for treating yourself to a a mini at-home-spa treatment during the holiday season and affordable enough to grab a few as stocking stuffers!

I can definitely picture lying around next to the fire, watching holiday movies while wearing a sheet mask and finally RELAXING. Life Brand offers cream masks, mud masks and sheet masks with a variety of different formulas and ingredients to target your specific skincare needs. Whether you want to brighten, nourish, hydrate or refine your pores - there's a Life Brand mask for that.

Traveling for the holidays? Slip a few into your carry-on bag, they barely take up any room and they are totally cheaper than a spa treatment. Life Brand is available only at Shoppers Drug Mart and you can find their collection of masks in the beauty department.

Want to try a few products from Shoppers Drug Mart's Life Brand for yourself?

I'm giving TWO lucky winners a chance to win 1 of 2 $50 Shoppers Drug Mart gift cards! To enter, tell me your favourite Life Brand in the comments below, along with your email address so we can contact you if you win.

Contest closes on Monday November 21st at 11:59 PM and is open to Canadian residents over the age of 18, with the exception of Quebec. Prize must be accepted as awarded, no purchase necessary. You have 72 hours to claim your prize after being contacted via email, or we will have to choose another winner.

Good luck!

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.

Friday, November 4, 2016

5 Holidays Events to Check Out!

By: Lisa Ng

1) The Toronto Christmas Market

This is one of my all-time get in the holiday spirit Christmas market. I love going at night and seeing all the lights twinkle at this market in The Distillery District. There are lots of warm beverages and refreshments for sale to keep you warm. If it gets too chilly, pop into a gallery to see some local art or into a restaurant for a glass of wine.

It's worth a second visit during the day if you can swing it! The vibe is more family-like with lots of fun photo ops. Don't forget to pop into all the local shops and visit the booths for a little Christmas shopping. 

Nov 18 - Dec 22

2) The Santa Claus Parade

If you're celebrating with little ones, Toronto's annual Santa Claus parade is a must! Make sure to get there early to save a seat and plan on taking transit to avoid traffic and parking chaos. It's a fun day out in the city and I usually like to follow it up with a trip to the Eaton Centre to see the holiday decorations and windows.

Nov 20

3) Calvacade of Lights

Watch the big Christmas tree in Nathan Phillips Square light up along with live music, ice skating and fireworks! This year there will be a DJ skate, lantern workshop, sing-a-long and more!

Nov 26

4) One of a Kind Show

This is one of my most favourite craft shows in Toronto and it's one of the biggest! I've found all sorts of incredible things here from soaps, candles, edible gifts and even my buckwheat pillow. Not to be missed!

Nov 24 - Dec 4

5) Skating at Harbourfront Centre

The Natrel Rink located right next to the Harbourfront Centre is a great little spot to go skating. There are rentals, hot chocolate, clean washrooms and DJ skate nights as well. Use of the rink is free

Nov 15

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay 

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...