This Is Paradise

As I create this post, my neighbours are playing "Sugar" by Maroon 5 and it feels so great to be happy with where I am at with blogging. Besides that random note, I am excited to share with you two new restaurants we, (Cecile, Olivia and I) visited in Toronto. 

We visited and explored Queen Street West, also the second coolest neighbourhood in the world voted by Vogue. I thought I knew Queen St. W. and didn't think it was anything special because I was bored of it. I was/am definitely wrong. 

OCADart3.jpg

Our first stop before we went to grab a bite to eat was OCAD University. If you don't know OCAD is an arts and design university and they had their 100th exhibition showcasing students' work from the year. It was incredible and it made me think of creativity. How do students come up with such creative pieces? What are they inspired by? 

OCADart2.jpg
OCADart1.jpg

Hunger crept upon us and Cecile found out about a new spot to eat on Queen St. W. called "Queen Street Warehouse." Apparently every meal on the menu is 4.95 and this made me skeptical and hesitant but i'm always up for new restaurants to try out!

So we went, and besides the fact that our food took a while to come (probably because we ordered so much), everything was way better than I expected.

I ordered a kale and chicken wrap that came with a side of fries. So much yum!

A quinoa salad with avocado and apple slices!

And you can never go wrong with a juicy burger....

BurgersTO.jpg

I can't wait to go back and try a bowl of their pasta and drinks.

If you're in the area, I highly recommend checking out Queen Street Warehouse and while you're there, stop by this famous graffiti wall in Toronto, also my favourite wall in Toronto.

ThisIsParadise.jpg

I have this thing with macarons. Maybe it's a stereotypical blogger thing but I really enjoy a good macaron. My friend Olivia recommended we go to a macaron store called Butter Avenue, right on Queen St. W. 

Let me mention, I've had quite the variety of macarons from different locations and cities and these macarons were by far the best I've ever had. No exaggeration, 100% truth. I do wish they had more variety in flavours like cotton candy but the actual macarons themselves taste remarkable.

Macarons.jpg
ButterAvenue.jpg

My favourite flavour - sea salt caramel. The centre is filled with the real stuff; gooey and thick caramel.

I'm not a strawberry falvoured type of person but I went with the white chocolate strawberry macaron as well. It's now probably my second favourite after sea salt caramel beating out chocolate *shocker*

This day was good fun with yummy foods in Toronto. I wore a loose top from RW&Co. to cover up my food belly.

SpringStyle.jpg

You might recognize this Rebecca Minkoff cross body bag from other posts or even my Instagram profile. It's my current favourite bag that I can't get enough of. You can dress it up or down and it fits just the right amount of stuff that prevents you from carrying too much: A wallet, sunglasses with it's case and your phone along with some beauty bits. 

Which bag is your fave at the moment?


Thank you to my friend Olivia for taking my outfit photos!

Posted on May 22, 2015 and filed under Dine, Toronto.

A Week All About Canadian Music

oldnavyshirt.jpg

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Canadian Music Week 2015! If you 're not aware, Canadian Music Week is a week (10 nights) featuring Canadian artists and bands in around 60 different venues around Toronto. This year, also their 33rd year, it took place from May 1 to 10 and having a media pass allowed me access to almost every show!

oldnavy.jpg
drakeonefifty.jpg

The show I chose to go to was at the Drake 150, a restaurant in Toronto. The three artists that played were Tom West, Demi Louise, and Tom Butler. I wasn't that familiar with any of them but after hearing them live, I searched up more of their music. Totally a fan!

cmw2015.jpg

All the artists sounded so incredibly great live and the vibe of the outdoor acoustic sessions was perfect. Great music, awesome people and amazing weather. One thing I enjoyed was the way it was set up. It was so casual and it didn't feel like you, as an audience, were separated from the artist. Everyone was enjoying each other's company and having a great time. 

cmw15.jpg

Another bonus was that they had an outdoor bar by the area they were playing at and you could also purchase tacos! 

musicweek.jpg

Before my friends Cecile and Anisha and I went to listen to the acoustic session part of CMW, we had a bite at the Drake 150. I've actually been wanting to go to this restaurant for a while now because I hear they have great foods and a nice vibe inside and we ordered meatballs, fries and Cecile had a burger. 

The Drake 150 is one of those restaurants with a vibe for young adults, maybe 20-30. It's the perfect spot for someone to go grab a drink after work or for a group of friends going out celebrating a birthday. Also, they have a patio. What more?

IMG_5970.JPG
boxcarsocial.jpg

Side note: On this day we also went to a cafe I've been dying to go to for a while now called Boxcar Social in Toronto. To sum it up, it's hands down one of my new favourite cafes in Toronto. It's located what looks like a house turned into a coffee shop with the nicest wooden patio. I had a mocha latte which was spot on as well as a nutella cookie. I tried making nutella cookies once but it never turned out as perfect as the one at Boxcar. 

I posted an Instagram photo of everything birds-eye view if you want to check that out (shameless self-promo).

coffeeculture.jpg
janinemaral.jpg

I found this white and yellow striped tunic from Old Navy for only $13 the day before and I wanted to create a look that was around this shirt. Because we would be walking a lot that day, I wore my favourite Nike Free Run sneakers and my most worn stretchy jeans along with my cross-body bag and sunnies.

My classic aviator sunglasses is a new accessory I never leave the house with. You know when you put sunglasses on and it tints or darkens everything in sight? These don't do that at all! In fact, when I wear them, I don't even realize I have them on because everything looks so natural. They also block out the sun remarkably well and look good with nearly any outfit. 

collar.jpg
torontoblogger.jpg

Janine Maral.

Posted on May 12, 2015 .

The Military Green Jacket

ArmyGreen.jpg

When I started blogging, I was shy to stand in front of the camera, and so I never really posted fashion photos, or photos with my face in them. I think it was mostly a confidence thing. Even if I did, I would edit the crap out of the photo because I was insecure of my flaws. As I grew up, I learned to accept and embrace those flaws because those flaws make you for you. It makes you unique.

armyjacket.jpg

This was a simple shoot I had to go alongside my new blog layout with my cousin Cecile (photo credits to Cecile). These are a few images I decided to share on my blog. Read through for outfit details.

armyjacket.jpg
janinemaral.jpg
forever21.jpg

I'm really enjoying army green lately and I found this jacket which I think I purchased a year or two ago and haven't worn in ages. Now, I wear it almost everyday. The embroidery gives it some girly-ness and it's just the perfect jacket for this in-between Spring weather.

famous.jpg
janinemaral2.jpg
springfashion.jpg

Before I conclude this post, I wanted to give a big THANK YOU for all the support and positivity I have received from the relaunch of janinemaral.com. I'm so grateful to have support from so many amazing individuals. Thank you for reading my blog, a passion I put so much effort into. Thank you.

The Look:

Janine Maral.

Posted on May 3, 2015 and filed under Fashion.

Beauty Obsessed

BeautyObsessed.jpg

 I used to be a huge lover of beauty products and makeup. Walking into a beauty store used to be brutal because I'd want to buy everything and the best thing about it was I'd buy products and never use them (I'm a sucker for cute packaging). After a while, that makeup-obsessed phase died down a bit (although I still do love a good beauty product here and there) and I've cut down my makeup collection to the minimum. I realized I didn't need four eyeshadow palettes that nearly have the same range of colours. So cutting the collection down was tough, but necessary.

These are my most beloved and most used items in my collection.

BeautyObsessed1.jpg

For the face, I often just go with a concealor and as expensive the Nars concealor is, it's so worth it. If there is one concealor in your makeup collection, this has got to be it!

If I'm doing a shoot or need something with a little more coverage, I'll go with my favourite foundation ever, the Chanel Perfection Velvet Lumiere Smooth foundation. As someone who dislikes heavy foundation, this is perfect because it gives me the build-able coverage I want but is also light and easy to blend in. I use my beauty blender to blend it all in and it gives an airbrushed and flawless look. 

If I know that I'll be outside for the day, I'll put on sunscreen underneath my foundation, even if the foundation has SPF. It's always a good idea to protect your face from the sun (something I forget to do frequently).

With eyes, my go-to look on an everyday basis is using the Too Faced Shadow Insurance in champagne on my lid to give a nice shimmer then my all time favourite mascara, Benefit's They're Real. If I'm feeling like I need something a little more, after I put the Mac Soft & Gentle highlighter on my cheeks, I will pop a bit of that on my lid and in my inner corner. This gives the nicest glow. (Why hassle with eyeshadow, right?)

TIP: Using a face highlighter can brighten up your eyes but we can't forget about a crease colour! Warm up your face with some bronzer, (my favourite is the Body Shop's Honey bronzer), then pop some in your crease!

BeautyObsessed3.jpg

Finally with lips, I love this new Kat Von D lipstick in Lolita my good friend Lori gifted me for my birthday. It's the most gorgeous colour and is so smooth on the lips. Normally, I don't wear lipstick but on the special occasion I will. And also check out that packaging! Kat Von D, well done.

Trick: Prep you lips before you apply lipstick with a lip scrub! You can go for a store bought one like the ones from Lush or just D.I.Y. one yourself! There are so many variations to make one, with ingredients you probably already have around your house. My favourite is mixing lemon, raw sugar, and coconut oil together then scrubbing your lips. Gives a nice zest before you apply your favourite lipstick! Store it in a small balm jar and it's good to go. (Remember to continuously make fresh batches though!) For more lip scrub DIY ideas, check out this awesome post with a list of 23 homemade lip scrub ideas by Brit and Co.

As much as we all love makeup and beauty related items, remember that inner beauty shines brighter than external beauty - cheesy but true.

Products Mentioned:

  • Nars Creamy Radiant Concealor
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation
  • MAC Soft and Gentle Highlighter
  • The Body Shop Honey Bronzer
  • Beauty Blender
  • Benefit's They're Real Mascara
  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Champagne
  • Kat Von D Lolita Lipstick

Got any beauty product recommendations? Be sure to leave a comment of them as well as your favourite makeup items in the comment section!

 

Janine Maral.

Posted on April 29, 2015 and filed under Beauty.

Blog Makeover

Things have changed around here and I am so excited about it!

I was itching change on my blog but I didn't exactly know what I wanted. Many of my friends and bloggers I read were either using the Squarespace platform or switching to it. After playing around with a trial account on Squarespace, I realized this was the change my blog needed. Let me show you around!

newblog.jpg

The first thing you'll notice is my new main logo! After playing around with many fonts, colours and styles, I've narrowed it down to the one on my blog now. 

Having a navigation bar that is fixed at the top of my website is something I love and think is important to any blog. With some CSS coding, I created a fixed nav. bar. Here you will find categories to narrow down my posts through what you want to read, my about page, the blog page, contact page and portfolio linking work I've written and events I've covered.

One thing I really like about Squarespace is how you can include or remove your sidebar on any page of your choice (limited to certain layouts however). With blogger, this wasn't possible unless you knew coding well (just a guess). I feel like this minor detail in a blog layout can transform a website.

Since we're on the topic of  layouts, I love how easy it is to customize your website and layout with Squarespace. I'm quite picky with layouts and everything I could ever want in my blog is controlled by me, even as a beginner to coding. With blogger, this was difficult to do, especially if you didn't want to spend tons of money on a custom made template.  Writing posts and creating pages has never been easier with the help of Squarespace's blocks.

NewBlog2.jpg

My sidebar is filled with a mini profile of myself, my social links, my instagram feed and my archive. The footer includes my instagram feed and a link to my site policy.

Also, if you're wondering about the switch from Google blogger to Squarespace, let me tell you, it was way easier than I expected. My cousin Anet mapped my URL to Squarespace, also all my 300+ posts easily imported to Squarespace with the platform's import feature. I expected the transfer to be way more complicated but it all went to smoothly.

Once I figured out the direction my blog was going in, I made this thing called a blog moodboard? It's not the best but it basically sums up the mood of my blog in one board. You'll be able to see what my main logo is, my monogram, the theme i'm going for on my blog, as well as the fonts I use. So, there's that.

jmmoodboard.jpg

At the bottom of this post, hit the "like" button if you are enjoying my new blog layout. You can also leave a comment or send me an email with any feedback or if find any glitches.

I'm super happy and excited for this new chapter with janinemaral.com and I hope you are too!

Janine Maral.

Posted on April 27, 2015 and filed under Lifestyle.

Chocolate and Eggs

Easter: A time to celebrate and appreciate Christ and also a time to devour in chocolate! And that's exactly what my weekend was all about.

Being that Easter is a religious holiday, I began to wonder why we participate in traditions like dying eggs or doing egg hunts. Here's what I found out:

Easter eggs symbolize new life, celebrate the coming of Spring and are actually linked to the pagan traditions. On the other hand, Christianity views Easter eggs as a representation of Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection.

Decorating and dying eggs for Easter is a tradition that apparently goes back all the way to the 13th century. One reason why some do this is to mark the end of the Lenten season, as eggs were formerly forbidden during that period. In turn, people then eat the died eggs once the Lenten season is over as celebration.

One thing my mom and many others in my family will make for Easter is sweet bread called choereg. Typically, you would hand make the dough, let it sit for a few hours then braid it together. Put some egg yolk over top with sesame seeds and pop it in the oven! If you would like a detailed post on this, I would be more than happy to deliver! Just send me a tweet @JanineMaral letting me know.

This is the end result of my eggs. Each year, I try to get more and more creative, but often I will fail. This year, I tried to use this special foil to give the egg a different kind of look. Another thing I tried was to tie around elastic bands on the egg then putting it in the dye (refer to blue egg in image above). My favourite would have to be the marble eggs. It's simple, but sometimes it may not turn out exactly like some images online.

All you need to do is dye our egg fully in one colour first, let it dry, then mix oil, water and another dye colour in a shallow bowl and dip your egg in there. After it dries completely, you should get something that looks like a marble pattern!

Easter is also known for it's pastel colours since it is the start of spring. For this holiday, this is what I wore: A l

ight blue blouse - 

H&M scarf - 

RW&Co two toned blazer - 

Ralph Lauren knee high boots - Lululemon leggings. 

How did you spend your Easter or long weekend?

Jaine Maral

Posted on April 6, 2015 and filed under Lifestyle.

Toronto Fashion Week 2015

One of my dreams came true last week. I went to Toronto Fashion Week, also known as World Mastercard Fashion Week. Before I get into the good stuff, let me give you some background info on why this has been a dream of mine.

Photo Credit: Augustine Ng

When I started a blog roughly two years ago is when I actually started investing time and effort into gaining knowledge of the fashion industry. At that time, I also found out about this thing called "Fashion week" (which I never knew about before) held in cities worldwide including Toronto. Every time there would be a fashion week, I would spend hours scrolling through photos from the runway and getting inspired by street style photos. It's what I live for. At one point, I would even watch live shows online during class.

At the time, I wanted to go so badly so I figured I would volunteer. Unfortunately the minimum age to volunteer at TFW was 18 so I waited until the year after. After I turned 18, I noticed they changed the volunteer age limit to 19. This bummed me out big time.

I recently turned 19, which also happens to be the minimum age to attend a show and also happened to land during Toronto Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015. It could not have worked out any better. Here is my day 1 of Fashion Week.

My first of two looks was more of a safe route outfit. I wasn't sure if I wanted something professional or casual so I went for an in-between. I was also filled with nervousness and excitement that I just wanted something I new I would be comfortable in. 

Michael Kors Selma Large Bag

RW&Co Blazer

 (

similar)

American Eagle Denim Shirt (

similar)

American Eagle Black Jeggings

Aldo Pumps (

similar)

The first show I went to was Kania, a luxury sweatshirt designer and brand. What I loved about this show was that it started and ended off with a dancer doing mostly ballet. It was something so unexpected and unique to add to a show. 

When I first arrived, I felt really out of place. Everyone looked good, knew people and knew how to act. Also, I felt an odd vibe when I was in the tent. It felt like I didn't belong, and that everyone was kind of 'snobby' and doing their own thing. Let me tell you, I had expectations from what I see online from fashion weeks and the first time I went that afternoon did not fill my expectations. It wasn't the show, it was the just environment.

Things changed later that night.

At around 9:00p.m. was the Rudsak show. This was a big runway show that was going to be a full house and everyone who is anyone was going to be there, so I heard. After having dinner with one of my good friends Olivia, I went back to the tent at David Pecaut Square about a half hour before the Rudsak show. This time, I felt a completely different vibe; a good vibe; an inspiring vibe; a motivation type of vibe. That was exactly how I imagined it to be like.

I walked around squeezing by all the fashionistas trying to find the line for the show while also exploring the reception area of the tent. Next thing I knew, I was walking by big-time bloggers I loved, models, and people who looked like they played a big role in the fashion industry. It was remarkable and I loved every second of it. 

At one point, I overheard a fashion student talking to her friends about how she gave her business card to a fashion designer. This was the perfect networking opportunity. 

One thing I regret not going to that night were the after parties. I really wish I went but I was just way too exhausted after a long day of shooting and fashion shows (first world problems at it's finest).

Also, this Rudsak show was probably my favourite from the week. I ended up sitting beside a very lovely lady named Carla. Her nephew walked in the show and this was going to be her first time seeing him walk the runway (P.S. he did a great job.)

Here is part two of my fashion week experience.

For my birthday and before my third show of fashion week, I had brunch at the Drake Hotel with my mom. I can't even put it in words of how good this brunch was. It definitely looks as good as it tastes. 

As a little dessert after brunch I got a banana pie. This was magnificent. It was unlike any other pie I ate and if you are a lover of bananas, you will love this.

What I wore? I particularly loved this outfit I put together. It was simple, more comfortable and more my style which I'd like to describe as preppy and professional with some edge.

Faux Leather Biker Jacket (

similar)

Leather Booties (

similar)

Ann Taylor Shirt (

similar

)

American Eagle Hi-Rise Jeans

Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC

Today's shows included Tatsuaki and Jaan Choxi. Tatsuaki's show was based around the theme of aliens and what he had to present was really different and interesting. The photo below is an image I took from his show.

As I begin to create or 'find' my style, I realize that I enjoy wearing men's pieces weaved in with preppy and girly looks. I also enjoy men's fashion a lot too which is why I loved the Jaan Choxi show. He is a menswear designer and created looks and pieces I would have never even thought of until that point.  

One thing I want to talk about are street style photographers. I live for street style and photographers taking photos of street style. Like I mentioned before, during fashion week seasons, I will scroll through hundreds of street style looks from fashion weeks. I'm not going to lie, when I saw the street style photographers outside the tent, I was filled with excitement. It's not because I wanted to be photographed, but because I was witnessing the behind the scenes of the street style photography I see online. I found it so fascinating. 

That being said, that basically wraps up my week. It was a wonderful experience and I am so grateful that I got to attend a Fashion Week. 

Janine Maral

Posted on April 3, 2015 and filed under Fashion, Toronto.