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Out And About: What to do in T.O. this weekend

Fall is finally here in Toronto, which inevitably means we're back to our usual routines, have finally let go of summer, and better yet, the plethora of weekend activities that there are in the city get even better. We're talking art exhibits, outdoor activities, and new culinary adventures, which buzz with people as us locals no longer escape to Muskoka on weekends, and our Friday nights revolve around the city yet again. 

This weekend, the girls at V.O.C. recommend that you partake in a little bit of everything the city has to offer. Here are a some options to consider for the different types of Torontonians spending their weekends here at home --  from hiking the Bruce Trail to perusing Toronto’s famous Nuit Blanche. 

The Outdoors(wo)man: The greatest part about Fall in Ontario has to be the gorgeous scenery - making October one of the best months to get outside, especially before we get too cold to leave the house. The leaves have started to change colour, and that crazy summer humidity is finally gone. One of our top picks for hiking this weekend is the Bruce Trail, located on the Niagara escarpment. This path is definitely worth a visit for anybody seeking to escape from the city!

 
(Image retrieved from Gym on Locke blog)

The Foodie: If you’ve yet to try one of the three La Carnita locations across the city, we highly recommend you get there like, now. The restaurant just opened up their newest instalment, located on Queen St. E. The menu features Mexican street food and some of the best margaritas in the city - ole!  (Check out their menu).

 


(Images retrieved from The Scene In T.O., and BlogTO)

The Art Enthusiast: Every year, the streets of Toronto transform into an incredible contemporary art experience, Nuit Blanche, which is free for the public to enjoy. This is a great way to enjoy local, national and international artists with your friends. Not to mention this year is the festival’s 10th anniversary, so it will undoubtedly be impressive in its scale and originality. Be sure to check it out all night on Saturday, October 3rd. 


(Image retrieved from The Huffington Post)


(Image retrieved from Love This City TV)

The Vintage Lover: If vintage is your thing, the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show is a definite can’t-miss this weekend. Located in Exhibition Place, the market features incredible designer goods, jewellery, retro fashion and more. We’re sure there will be some serious gems to be found throughout this event.


(Image retrieved from A Girl, A Style blog)


Denim Edit: Our Favourite Styles For Fall

If your shopping habits are anything like ours, you are always looking for a reason to add more denim to your wardrobe. We have certainly concluded, as have you I’m sure, that fall is the BEST time of year to do so! 

We want to give you a sneak peek into what we are expecting from the upcoming season. Dani has highlighted her favourite trends and styles that are scheduled to arrive within the next week or so! 

The Distressed Skinny
Need we say more? The distressed look is everywhere, and doesn’t seem like it will be losing momentum any time soon. Two notable styles are the Legging Ankle in 11-Years Swapmeet, and the Farrah High Rise in Paradox Destroyed... both by AG Jeans! We maayyy need both… 
See how some of our favourite bloggers and street-style advocates styled their Distressed Denim below:
 
Aimee Song wearing The Legging Ankle in 11-Year Swapmeet by AG Jeans
Images via Song of Style & AG Jeans on Instagram.

 
 Christine Andrew wearing The Legging Ankle in 11-Year Swapmeet by AG Jeans
Images via Hello Fashion.


Olivia Palermo wearing The Legging Ankle in 11-Year Swapmeet by AG Jeans at NYFW.

Some Misc. Shots to Inspire Your Wardrobe Planning: 
 
Images via Hello Fashion, Pinerest, and Tumblr.

Shades of Grey
Don’t worry, we aren’t talking risqué! Seriously though.. A style that we have totally warmed up to this season is the grey skinny Jean! We have an offering en-route from both Fidelity Denim and AG Jeans, and we can’t wait for them to arrive.
Check out the following images to see why we are adding the grey skinny to our fall must-have list:
 
 

The Boyfriend (or “Girlfriend” jean, according to Fidelity!)
The boyfriend jean has been a serious player in the fashion game for some time now, and has proven it’s another denim trend that is here to stay. Given it’s time in the fashion market, you have to assume that the fits have been absolutely perfected by now... and we couldn't agree more!
Fidelity refers to it’s signature boyfriend jean as the “girlfriend” jean because of it’s ultra-flattering fit -- Think tight exactly where you want it to be tight (accentuating your assets!) and slouchy only where you want it to look slouchy! 
We have shared a few shots to inspire your fall outfit planning — aaand go!
 
 
Images via PatinessDaily Mail, and Clochet.

Happy Fall Shopping!! 

xo V.O.C

Trend Edit: Our Favourite Trends For Fall 2015

Though it may not FEEL like Fall here in Toronto, that doesn't mean we're not in full Fall fashion mode. It’s every fashion lovers’ favourite season – ahhh the layering! To increase our excitement even more, and of course to help you navigate through all of this year's fall trends, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites here on the blog. Check them out below! 

Winter White:

How pretty is winter white? Bloggers and fashion fiends alike have been spotted wearing it head to toe this fashion season. We love how Anna Ewers styled her chunky winter white turtleneck (also a major must-have) at NYFW.  Check out our similar version by Free People here.

 


Anna Ewers at NYFW

 

All Black Everything:

Who wouldn’t love to sport all black everything? We’re obsessed. We’re those girls who wear black dresses to a July wedding, so you can image how excited we were to see this #trending. Check out how chic Kate Davidson Hudson looks wearing all black head to toe. Need some new black wardrobe pieces to support this trend while it's here? Check out these Bella Luxx joggers. They're great with a leather bomber and some strappy heels. We would even pair them with this cozy Free People turtleneck


Kate Davidson Hudson at NYFW

 

Winter Florals:
Deep, dark florals have been popping up on the scene this season. How pretty! Especially on a gloomy day. We love how Linda Fargo took the trend to the extreme at London Fashion Week. For a toned down look we suggest this pretty floral dress by Free People.



Linda Fargo at London Fashion Week

 

Fur and Shearling:
Fur, shearling and faux-fur are everywhere this season - be it a stole, a coat, a vest, or even a pair of shoes! If NYFW was any indication, it's clear that fashionistas are literally draping their bodies in it - and looking amazing for it!  Check out how pretty Valentina Zelyaeva looks while keeping warm in her fur vest, which she styled to perfection with thigh-high booties and a chic wool coat. Get the look with this version by Velvet.



Valentina Zelyaeva at NYFW


Profile: Q&A With Our Model Alexis

Hi Everyone!

Happy last official day of summer!

With everything that has been going on over here at V.O.C., I don’t think Summer could have flown by any faster! But as sad as we are to see it go, we are so excited for all of the things that Fall has in store for us — including amazing new arrivals and some new brands, exciting ventures with our improved website, and the introduction of our lookbook! 

With that said, we thought that for this blog we would highlight one of the amazing people we have been fortunate enough to work with on our website and lookbook: our model Alexis! We figured it’s only fair to give you the scoop on the face of our website, who rocks it on each photoshoot set and who we think highlights our clothes in the best way. 

Here’s a look at the Q&A we did with Alexis, to give you guys a sneak peek on a few of the many awesome things to know about her! ...Plus, we're sharing a few behind-the-scenes shots from our latest shoot as well!

 

Q: Where is your hometown?

A: Okanagan, British Columbia 

Q: What do you love about Toronto?

A: I’d have to say that it’s probably the diversity I see around the city.

Q: What is your go to restaurant?

A: LOCAL, a great restaurant in Liberty Village with an amazing patio. (Also located steps from V.O.C.!)

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I love to play basketball! But other than that I spend a lot of time walking around the city with my girlfriends. None of us own cars, so we use that as an excuse to explore the city by foot.

Q: What is the one beauty product you can’t leave the house without?

A: Chapstick, definitely! And I don’t usually wear a full face of make up everyday! So when I get my makeup done at a shoot, I love going out and showing it off.  I also try to pick up some makeup tips and tricks at shoots so that I can apply them before I go out at night.

Q: What are your favourite pieces from this shoot?

A: I love all of them, really! But I really like the cozy Free People sweaters, and the body-con Velvet dress - it’s so elegant! 

Q: How would you describe your off-duty style?

A: I normally keep it casual and wear athletic wear when i’m not working.

Q: What is something interesting that you did this summer?

A: I visited the South of France for a photoshoot. While I was there I travelled to Saint-Tropez, Nice and Monaco. The photoshoot only lasted an hour, so I had the rest of my five days out there to explore.

 

*Special thanks to our photographers, Robin Gartner and Kate Watkinson, for getting such great shots of Alexis for our website! We couldn't be happier!


Travel: Emily's West Coast Adventure

I recently took a trip to the West Coast. If it weren’t for this whole V.O.C endeavour (and yes mom, my family) I quite possibly would have stayed forever. Jeff and I started in San Francisco and made our way up to Seattle with stops in Napa and Portland along the way. Trains, planes, automobiles and ferries – we literally did it all and took in every last second of it.

Ahhhh the sunsets, the ocean, the wine, the food… we could not have had more fun or indulged so much. Take a look at some of our highlights and recommendations.

San Francisco:

Bar Bocce in Sausalito:
Beer, wine, bocce and a beach – what else do you need? Take the ferry over to Sausalito (or bike across the Golden Gate!) and enjoy a glass of vino and maybe some pizza. Get your bocce game on or enjoy the peaceful beach.


The Castro:
This infamous Frisco neighbourhood is a must-see. Check out the Castro theatre and hit up some coffee shops and restaurants. This gay village is as vibrant as they get – even their dog boutiques are catered to the neighbourhood.


Fisherman’s Wharf:
A trip to San Fran isn’t complete without a stop at Fisherman’s Warf. This bustling marina is full of great restaurants, buskers, markets and out of this world takeaway fish joints. Grab some crab and take in the sights!

Napa/Sonoma:

Hog Island Oyster Farm:
If you follow HWY 1 up the coast you find yourself at Hog Island Oyster farm and you MUST stop. It’s worth the scenic drive to wine country just to check this place out. Fresh oysters shucked in front of you right out of the ocean. Picture picnic tables, local cheese, California wines and fresh oysters. I could die happy!


Beringer Winery:
Confession: I’m obsessed with buttery California chardonnays. The Beringer Private Reserve is one of my favourites, so of course we had to stop and tour the estate. The grounds were stunning and of course the wine was delicious. Other wineries we enjoyed and highly recommend visiting: Frog’s Leap, La Crema, Merryvale and Cakebread Cellars.


Hotel Yountville:
Outside of Napa there is a delightfully sweet town called Yountville where we were lucky enough to stay (think Bottega, French Laundry and Redd). After days of drinking and eating we decided to enjoy the spa and pool at our lovely hotel. Relaxing and recharging isn’t usually in our program, but a day of pampering is always a treat!


Portland:

The Ace Hotel:
What better way to experience the hipster capital of America than a stay at the Ace Hotel? The lobby was full of bearded men with guitars and tattooed babes on iMacs. Nestled in the heart of Pearl District, shopping, drinking and delicious food were literally at our fingertips.


Salt and Straw:
Anyone who knows me knows I am fully and completely addicted to ice cream. The Bang Bang of Portland, Salt and Straw did not disappoint. Apple pie ice cream? Why not!


Le Pigeon
Quite possibly the beast meal I’ve ever eaten – ok at least top 5. I took Jeff to Le Pigeon for his birthday. Baked rabbit pie with mustard ice cream (yes, mustard ICE CREAM), foie gras on toast and peeking duck breast. Literally my three favourite foods in one meal. It’s worth the trip to Portland JUST to visit this resto. Oh, and say hi to the Jake Gyllenhaal look-alike sous chef.   SCORE!

Seattle:

Bainbridge Island:
We finished the trip in Seattle for our friends’ wedding that was held on Bainbridge Island.   A 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Seattle, this island is a pretty magical place. Think beachy Muskoka with a view of Seattle on one side and mountains on the other. Heaven!


TIFF: Where To Go This Festival

Toronto is buzzing with celebs and TIFF fever. It’s THE cultural event of the year and it’s literally in our back yard. Whether you’re an avid filmgoer or not, it’s the perfect excuse to get dressed up and take in some of Toronto’s finest spots (and hopefully spot Liam or Jake or Johnny). Check out Emily’s top places to spot celebs and enjoy our awesome city:

Shangri-la Hotel:
Hands down the nicest hotel in the city and conveniently located near TIFF headquarters – I suspect a number of stars will post up at the Shangri-la. Try dining at Momofouko’s Daisho and working your magic in the lobby bar (have you been? It’s gorgeous). Even if you don’t see an A-lister, you’ll have the most magical evening.

The Four Seasons:
The new FS is quite spectacular and situated in Yorkville, it’s most certain you’ll spot some Hollywood types. Stop by D-Bar for a handsome martini and cruise on over to Buca Yorkville.  

The Thompson:
Even if they aren’t staying at the hotel, I imagine celebs will attend various parties and events at this King West institute. Try grabbing breakfast at Colette - it’s a must on everyone’s radar.

Soho House:
Known to throw fabulous parties, this member’s only club will be buzzing all festival. Start BFF-ing any friends now with memberships – it’s guaranteed to be a party. 

Bar Fancy:
For some late-night action, check out Bar Fancy on Queen West. Already quite a scene – this spot will be rammed with only the coolest of Toronto’s centers.  

Loveless:
After you’ve fancied yourself out, head west on Dundas to Loveless (Unlovable’s newest spot). I imagine only the coolest celebs will be seen here late night sipping bourbon on the patio.


TIFF: What To Wear

It’s that time of year again! The Toronto International Film Festival (aka TIFF) has arrived. Every September, our city comes to life for one of the world’s biggest film festivals with each Toronto neighbourhood becoming it's own mecca for art, film, culture and of course, celebrities.

With so many events happening around the city for TIFF, we want to make sure you have an outfit for every occasion whether it be a red carpet premiere or Sunday brunch in the heart of the city. We've broken down outfits for 3 typical TIFF occasions. 

Parties

If you’re lucky enough to score tickets to one of the many VIP events or parties happening around the city, you want to make sure you’re looking and feeling your best (we hear Liam Hemsworth is making an appearance this year…OMG!). For this occasion, we think that a classic LBD (little black dress) goes a long way. 

We love Velvet's open back Yesenia dress, paired with a strappy heeled-sandal, a black clutch, and a red lip. You really can't go wrong with this classic look. And if you're feeling bad-ass or "classic" isn't your thing, throw on a black leather moto jacket over your LBD. 

 

Film Screenings

There are so many great films to see during TIFF. Legend, Hitchcock, and Martian are among some of the most talked about films this year! And although you will be in a theatre, everyone will be bringing their fashion A-game, plus the chance at a celeb sighting is higher during TIFF. Thus, we know you will be wanting to look your best. To do just that yet maintain that cool (without trying too hard) outfit vibe, we love a good pair of dark dressy denim paired with a blouse, blazer, and a great pair of heels. And if you're planning on party hopping after the film screening, don't forget a chic pair of flats to throw in your purse. Bonus tip: a great manicure, and blow-out for your locks doesn't hurt either ;)...you never know who you'll run into! 

 

Brunching (i.e. Celeb Hunting)

For those of us not going to any of the events, but perhaps want to have our chance at a celeb sighting, brunch in Yorkville or anywhere near or at the Ritz Carlton hotel are easy spots to get your eyes on some of Hollywoods hottest actors. For this occasion, again, you want to be put together, without looking too fussy...think Blake Lively, Rachel Bilson, or model off-duty style. We love a great pair of white sneakers or booties (hint: our new Frye Valerie boots in stores) paired with jeans, a simple t-shirt, and of course a great purse and matching sunnies -- after all, you don't want to appear to be ogling, (err, stalking!) the celebs. 


Back To School Fashion: What to buy this fall

As Labour Day weekend is fast approaching, we inevitably bid farewell to summer and for many of us, begin our annual back to school prep. Although returning to a busy and academic-filled schedule can be a drag, treating yourself to some back-to-school essentials most certainly is not.

In order to make sure your fashion game is on point this year, we have curated a list of our most loved back to school pieces for this season. With pieces like these, we have no doubt you’ll be eager to show them off in class and around campus!

A chic backpack

A unique and fashion-forward accessory from one of our most beloved brands, Mackage, the Tanner Backpack is the perfect addition to your back-to-school wardrobe. Versatile enough to dual up as a carry-all bag on weekends, there is pretty much nothing you won't love about this bag. Check out a similar style below accessorized during Barcelona Fashion Week!

Flat ankle booties

These booties are the perfect pair of transitional shoes to wear around campus or for a night out. The beauty of Frye boots is that they are the perfect balance of comfort and effortless style. See below for one of our favourite ways to style them! *Available in stores - coming soon to shopvoc.com! 

Ripped skinny jeans

September is the perfect time of year to treat yourself to a new pair of denim. This year, we are loving the distressed look. The ripped style is casual enough that you can pair them with your favourite plaid shirt for class, yet can easily be transitioned into a more dressed up look when paired with a blouse for heading to your local campus bar. See the two looks below for inspiration!

A cozy pajama set

Back to school obviously means that some late-night study sessions are bound to ensue. This comfy set makes that notion (dare we say?) almost appealing. An ultra soft waffle-knit PJ set is exactly what you need for chilling in your dorm, or for a movie-night get together with friends. *Available in stores only.

Chunky sweaters

The girls at V.O.C can all agree that their go-to piece for class is a cozy, chunky knit. Right now we are all about the Free People Easy Cable Knit, in-stores at both the Oakville and Liberty Village locations. Pair with your favourite skinnies or leggings, some booties and a plaid scarf.


Staff BBQ: Recipes From Our Summer Soirée

This week was extra special for the V.O.C. team, as we all got together on Wednesday night for a backyard BBQ / end of summer soirée! Emily, the lovely owner of V.O.C., hosted the BBQ at her stunning new house in Toronto! 

For most of the night we all got to relax; hanging out on the outdoor patio, munching on all the yummy food and catching up on everything we have going on - which we rarely have the chance to do! Sadly, we also had our last chance to say goodbye to our amazing Oakville manager, Marie, who is heading to Paris for school in September. We are going to miss her SO much! 

For this post, we wanted to let you in on a few dishes that were on our menu at the BBQ: Bean Salad and Mexican Style Corn on the Cob. 

We hope you enjoy!

 

Image from the foodnetwork.com

                                                           

Mexican Style Corn on the Cob

  • 4 ears of corn

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cups of sour cream

  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (optional)

  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 lime

  • Red chilli powder

  • Serves 4

    1. Remove husks of the corn and set corn on your BBQ to grill. Cook until lightly brown or grilled as desired.
    2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, and cilantro together. 
    3. Once your corn is off the grill, spread the mayonnaise, sour cream and cilantro mix onto it, and use your lime to squeeze lime juice on top.
    4. When the corn is plated, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chill powder. 

    *This recipe idea came from foodnetwork.com

     

    Bean Salad

  • 2 cups of black beans
  • 2 cups of kidney beans
  • 2 cups of cannellini beans
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 cup of corn kernels
  • 1 red onion (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Half a tablespoon of salt
  • Half a tablespoon of pepper
  • Serves 6-10

    1. In a large bowl, combine all beans, pepper, corn, and onion.

    2. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic together in a small bowl.

    3. Mix dressing and beans well. Cover the salad in saran wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or two.

    4. Serve cold right out of the fridge.

    *This recipe is a modification of the Mexican Bean Salad recipe on allrecipes.com.

  •  

    Las Vegas: Highlights From Our Trip

    Ok, I think we’ve finally recovered from a jaunt in Vegas for our annual MAGIC tradeshow/buying trip. It is literally everything you can imagine a fashion tradeshow in Vegas to be… and then some.

    Our main focus at tradeshows is to scout new lines and source different collections. As you know, we’re constantly seeking out new brands and the latest trend focused, wearable pieces. It’s so interesting for us to browse each brand’s booth as we gather a feel for what each brand is doing for the season and also compare different brands on a larger scale. We also love being exposed to new lines and collections that aren’t available to us in Toronto.

    Here are two new lines we’ve picked up – watch out for them in store next season:

    Joah Brown
    Amazing basics that are possibly the softest thing you have ever touched.  

    Private Party:
    Hilariously ironic tees and sweats.





    With long days spent buying (I know, tough life) – we like to treat ourselves to yummy dinners and maybe even a few drinks. This year we tried some new restos, and of course revisted our fave, Nobu.  

    Asian meets Mexican at China Poblano. A strange mix, but it works SO well. Try the tasting menu – but come hungry!


    Celeb chef Giada De Laurentiis has opened a self-titled restaurant in the Cromwell hotel. Delicious Italian – and the room is spectacular. Ask for a table with a view of the Bellagio fountains!


    Nobu – the most amazing sushi you will ever have. Period. They MUST bring one to Toronto.


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