Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake Truffles

The first time I heard about the Momofuku birthday cake was when I went to pick one up for a friend's birthday last year. While doing so, I noticed that there were packages of three truffle versions of the cake. The truffles are perfect if you want to indulge in the delectable dessert without having a whole slice of cake - brilliant!

I love the idea of recreating recipes from popular restaurants and cafes, so during my fall baking this year I decided to make an attempt at the birthday cake truffles. They were such a hit that I just had to make them again this holiday season. Perfect for any party or celebration, I promise that these truffles will be a crowd pleaser.

The recipe below was borrowed from the Momofuku website with a few of my own modifications. On most of the sites I found the recipe on, a couple important steps were left out. I've added them so that you don't have to scroll through endless comments on blogs to solve the kinks in the original recipe. Since I was serving these to a few people with dairy allergies, I also made the birthday cake dairy free. The only part of my recipe that includes dairy is the white chocolate, so I just skipped the coating step for the dairy free truffles. For additional help, leave me a comment down below!

Finding Love in a Big City

No matter where you live, you'll always be faced with a unique set of obstacles when it comes to finding love. If you're from a small town, the complaint is that there aren't enough people to choose from. When it comes to living in a big city, the problem is the exact opposite. In a city like Toronto, there are so many places to meet people that the hunt to find 'the one' becomes less fun and more frustrating than it should be. Apps, such as Tinder and Bumble, provide us with endless dating options. Between social media and a city that is full of young singles looking to mingle, finding a respectable partner should be an easy task, right? The problem with having all these people to choose from is that nobody knows where to start and how to narrow them down. Could there be such thing as too many options? My answer is yes.

I was fortunate to find my boyfriend on a normal girls night out, just outside of the club we went to. Unfortunately, this is less common than it should be. In theory it makes sense to go out to a club and explore dating options. In reality, you are putting yourself into a dark, loud, crowded room full of drunk people. A few months ago I read Aziz Ansari's book, Modern Romance, and he pointed out something that should really be an obvious factor when it comes to meeting people at clubs. He was looking for someone to date, but the kind of person he wanted to date was not someone who was still out at 3 am partying. The point is, if you have an idea of the kind of person you want to date, you need to put yourself into settings where you might find them. I would barely call myself an expert when it comes to finding love, but I would consider myself someone who is comfortable dating and meeting people in a big city. I came to Toronto around six years ago, and since then have made a huge group of friends, gone on several successful dates, and have found an amazing boyfriend. Suffice to say, I know what to look for when it comes to finding a good person, and more importantly where to look.

Stocking Stuffers Under $100

When it comes to Christmas shopping, finding an affordable yet interesting gift can be a challenge. Most people have more than a few people to shop for and don't want to go spending hundreds of dollars per person. Though they may not all be able to fit into a stocking, these gifts are all under $100. I own many of the items on this list, and can guarantee that they are not only practical, but fun presents any girly girl will love.

1. Kate Spade Accessories

Kate Spade never ceases to amaze me when it comes to producing the most adorable accessories. Her pieces are unique, practical and consistently affordable. Last year I purchased the 'Glitter Bug Stacy' wallet, and I have received endless compliments on it. It is sparkly and festive - perfect for any holiday party. It comes in a larger size, a mini wallet, and a wristlet. 
$98.00 for Large/$78.00 for Small

Find it at:

Another Kate Spade item I think is incredible is the self-charging phone case. I own a few portable chargers and I find it a bit awkward to bring them out to charge my phone in a club or social gathering. The built-in charger is more discrete, and will do the same job as any portable charger. The one listed below just makes the list at $100. Before you make the purchase though I will give you a tip: I was at Winners just the other day and saw a few for half the price.

$100.00

Find it at:

My Christmas Wish List

Holiday season or not, I always enjoy making wish lists. I don't expect to get everything I include on mine, but the act of compiling the list is always fun. Sometimes I end up working throughout the year to buy the most coveted item for myself, other times I get things for my birthday in January. My lists usually end up being a tad excessive, but I've always been a dreamer. As long as you also make an effort to provide for those less fortunate and show thanks to your loved ones, I don't see anything wrong with hoping a few of your own wishes get granted as well. Here's what I have on my list this holiday season:

1. Saint Laurent Classic Monogram Bag

For a while I've needed a new shoulder bag. Something that will match any outfit, will work for going out at night, and also during the day is harder to find than people may think. I want something classic and timeless, but also chic and stylish. For a while I wanted to go the Chanel route, but after seeing everyone around town with black Chanel flap bags I started to change my mind. When I started to consider the YSL monogram bag, I couldn't get it out of my head. It's less common than Chanel (which also means less people carrying knockoffs) and still high fashion. They don't carry the one I've pictured below in any stores around Toronto, which will make it a little bit more unique to carry around the city. To buy it, you can order it online, or get the smaller version from Holt Renfrew. It comes in various colours, and with silver and gold hardware options. The one I've posted is the one on my list.

Find it at:

5 Reasons to Re-watch The OC

Last week I figured out how to download the CW Stream app from Canada, which has every episode of The OC available to stream for free (normally you can only access it from the states). Re-watching shows I haven't seen for a while is always entertaining. I pick up on things I may have missed or forgotten about, as well as rediscover the things I originally loved about the show during my first go around. With the air growing cooler and the winds getting stronger, now is the time to bundle up at home and start a marathon of an old favourite. So far in my own marathon, here are a couple reasons I picked out as to why re-watching the show has turned out to be an excellent decision.

1. The Music

The OC was a leader when it came to the discovery of new, indie bands through TV shows. I even wrote an essay on this topic for one of my music courses while I was in university. The music moments in The OC were epic to say the least. Any avid watcher of the show can picture the exact scenes that occurred if I name significant songs, such as "Paint the Silence" by South or "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. They helped popularize bands that previously held little mainstream recognition at the time. Come on - would anyone actually know who Death Cab for Cutie was if it weren't for Seth Cohen's alternative taste in music? 


Young Love

While browsing Facebook today I came across a Danish-Dutch photographer named Karen Rosetzsky. Upon seeing a few photographs from her first book, Young Love, I was instantly intrigued. For a while my boyfriend and I have thought about doing a photoshoot together. Rosetzsky's style captures exactly the kind of energy my boyfriend and I, as well as many couple out there, would like to see in a romantic photograph. 


Nutella Banana Muffins

A couple weeks ago there was a new addition to my neighbourhood. I turned onto my street after work, and there in the Sobey's on Fort York was a Nutella Cafe. This is probably one of the best and worst additions to happen to the area. The best thing? I now have close access to Nutella crepes almost anytime. The bad thing? I now have close access to Nitella crepes almost anytime. I already bake with Nutella every so often, so my stomach probably doesn't need even more of it. Having said that, I tried a crepe for breakfast today and it was delicious! In honour of the new Nutella Cafe I decided to share one of my favourite Nutella recipes. I shared these Nutella banana muffins with my work and everyone went crazy over them. The ones I left at home barely lasted for 48 hours in my fridge before they were all consumed. They are easy to make and a great recipe to share with friends.

My Favourite Places to Read in Toronto

Recently I've been on a scavenger hunt to find the best reading spots around Toronto. Every so often I do enjoy getting cozy at home, but sometimes the distractions around my place win over my attention. When I'm forced to step outside my apartment to find a new location to help myself focus on the reading or work I'm trying to get done, I become quite picky. If the place is busy, I want to feel comfortable. If I'm not spending a lot of money, I don't like to feel pressured to leave after I've finished my coffee or tea, especially when I have hours of work to do. I'm still convinced that there are hidden gems around the city that I have yet to discover. The following are my current favourite go-to places when I need a spot to read or work.

1. Fika Cafe
28 Kensington Ave.

My latest discovery is a small nook over on Kensington. Originally I ventured over to check out their book covered wall that I had come across online. I ended up feeling very comfortable in the back corner of the cafe and wished I had more time than I did that afternoon to stay and read. In addition to their unique coffee flavours (I tried a delicious coffee cake latte!), they also have a full menu which means you don't need to venture elsewhere to eat. From now on this is my go to spot whenever I find myself around the Market.


2. Dineen Coffee Co. 
140 Yonge St.

When I walk into Dineen I feel as though I've walked into a cafe in New York or Paris. The high ceilings and bright lighting make me feel chic and sophisticated as I settle down to read to the twenties' themed soundtrack. I wouldn't call myself anything close to a coffee connoisseur, but their vanilla latte is one of the best I've ever had. Unfortunately the seating area isn't huge, so it can be challenging at times to find a seat. The cushioned benches are far more comfortable than sitting at any communal table though, and to me they are worth the wait.

Image source: tseparfait.wordpress.com

3. Richtree Market
Toronto Eaton Centre, Lower Level

Though located in the hectic Eaton Center, I like coming to Richtree because there are so many booths and seating options available. So long as you don't mind a little bit of noise, this is actually a great place to camp out all day and work. I never feel pressured to leave once I've finished eating, or as though someone else is vying for my space. In terms of food, the options they have are almost bottomless. Chinese, pizza, sushi, vegan meals, sandwiches, baked goods - they even have a bar if you're ever so inclined to have a glass of wine while you work.

Image source: blogto.com

4. The JCR at Trinity College
8 Hoskin Ave., Main Building

During my time at U of T I discovered endless study rooms. I found the JCR the most comfortable, perhaps because I belonged to Trinity, but mostly because of its relaxed atmosphere. It's never too loud, but it's rarely so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. The big, old couches and armchairs put you right at home - you could even take a power nap if you need a break. If you're looking for somewhere with a more lively environment, The Buttery is just around the corner. For an even quieter space, all you have to do is walk upstairs to one of the classrooms on the second floor. Even if you're not a student, University campuses are an excellent place to turn for a productive work environment. You don't need to buy anything, and most people won't be able to tell that you don't actually go there.

5. Dark Horse
215 Spadina Ave., 125 John St., 630 Queen St. East

A few years ago, a friend brought me to Dark Horse and I instantly felt hip amongst the young crowd. If you can't stand the hipster scene, then this may not be the right pick for you. If you want something more social and young, you'll definitely fit right in. Fans of the show 'Suits' will be excited to know that Harvey Spector made a visit to the Chinatown location on Spadina during the show's fourth season. In addition the Chinatown location, the company has two other cafes: Queen East and John Street.

Image source: torontoist.com

6. Pacific Junction Hotel
234 King St. East

When I was attending school at George Brown, one of my journalism teachers made it a weekly ritual to meet at Pacific Junction after class on Wednesday nights. Though I never personally went there to read or study, I always thought that the many private booths and tables would be great for reading or getting some writing done. The menus are brought in folders covered with neon duck tape, and the food is reasonably priced. If you get bored or need a study break at any time they have pool tables, ping pong, air hockey, and a decent selection of board games to keep you entertained.

Image source: torontofunplaces.blogspot.com

Honourable Mentions

Although I felt it too mainstream to include in my list, I wanted to mention my two favourite Starbucks locations. I have to admit, I go to Starbucks frequently - mostly due to convenience. Out of all the locations I've been to, the following two are my favourite:

Starbucks on Bedford
1 Bedford Rd.

I like this Starbucks largely due to its location. In between Yorkville and U of T, the crowd is a mix of students and mature workers. There is a long banquette as well as multiple big, soft chairs. Many friends I spoke to agree that it feels very cozy being in this Starbucks, especially during the holiday season.

Starbucks on Queen and Peter
316 Queen St. West

This Starbucks beside Lush Cosmetics makes my list solely due to the outlets located all along the long banquette at the cafe's entrance. I hate when I've settled into a perfect spot, only to realize that there is no outlet within arm's reach to charge my laptop or phone. My phone battery grows low very quickly over the course of the day, so I almost have to be near an outlet if I'm going to be somewhere for a long time. I like knowing that being able to charge my laptop or phone is never an issue here. The location is small, but this one perk makes it stand out amongst a sea of franchises around the city.

There are so many places to read and get work done around the city. Where are some of your favourites? Comment below with your answers!

With love,

Love, Don't Be Shy

Having a signature scent (or a few of them in my case) is a must for any beauty obsessed girl. A few years ago I went into Holt Renfrew to replenish my collection and the saleswoman introduced me to a line that I had never heard of called Kilian. Created by Kilian Hennessy, grandson of the co-founder of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Mo√ęt Hennessy), this luxury brand is worth the steep price for such a rare combination of scents. The saleswoman showed me a variety of scents from the Kilian collection, and I fell in love with one called Love, Don't Be Shy. For someone who has always been drawn towards sweeter scents, the hint of marshmallow this fragrance exudes was what sold me. It is described as "the consuming passion of orange blossom sprinkled with powdered sugar."

Caramel Apple Cookies

I love these little treats because they taste like a combination of a cake and a cookie. Even after being stored in the fridge overnight they still taste soft and chewy. Not only are they easy to make, they are a unique recipe that is perfect for fall. I adapted them so that they were almost vegan. The only ingredient that was not vegan was the egg I used, which can be replaced with a flax or chia egg for the same delicious outcome.

MAC Fix+ Spray

Some artists may refer to it as glorified water, but I believe the MAC Fix + spray is an essential product in a makeup kit. The light aerosol mist provides multiple uses throughout any makeup application. Fix + is essentially an alcohol-free toner that works with any skin type from dry to normal to slightly oily. It does not contain any film-forming agents like other setting sprays do, which means it is less likely to irritate the skin. Here are a few ways I incorporate this product into my makeup routine:

The Perfect Red Lip

Applying red lipstick is something friends of mine often ask me to help them with when we are getting ready together. Not only is it a challenge to apply it without making a mess, but it also has a tendency to smudge and fade throughout the night. Red lipstick will usually have to be reapplied if eating is involved in your evening, but this guide I've created will maximize the longevity of your red lip over the course of a night.

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