Travel……BUG

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After Christmas and New Years celebrations the weather always seems to take a turn for the worst and we end up in a deep freeze.  Not only is it too cold to walk the dog, but the sun sets before dinner and life begins to feel like it’s on repeat. Working in the shop becomes dangerous for our bank accounts.  The only customers braving the wind chill are stopping by while they wait to pick up their passports, or popping in to see if we have any shorts in yet so they can finish packing for the beach.  This is the time of year where we daydream about a tropical escape- well any escape, we would take Europe too!  A vacation in the dead of winter seems to speed us along into summer.  Even a week of running on the beach, or fresh cut grass makes the daily grind in winter seem more bearable.

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A holiday is a time to explore and grow as a human, and it’s the time where you can wear a dress that stood out a bit too much in your small town, or try a new look with your hair and make up. We love helping people shop for their dream vacations.

Laila had people crowding around her in Paris while her friend Alan captured her beautiful lace dress in front of the Eiffel tower.

 

Ashley tried on a few different looks for her trip.

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One of our longtime staff members, Kelsey, took this lovely lace dress on her Euro adventure. She made this dress uniquely her own though when she added personal touches- she laced up the deep-v neck so that this piece was day-time/cafe ready!img_6711 A maxi dress is always a great piece to have when you’re travelling- they are versatile enough to be worn on a day excursion, but also easy enough to dress up for a night on the town. We love this Venechia maxi wrap dress for its comfort and super fun pattern- this mama-to-be is wearing it in New Zealand!

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Joshua Tree Wanderlust

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There is something about the desert that calls to me. I long for it whenever I am not there, and that happens to be very often. I love the landscape, the purples and pinks of the horizon. I can breathe there, openly.

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The desert makes me dance. Where do you want to go? Are you an ocean or a desert kinda gal?

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Come away with me..

clothes by Tonic//Farminista

photos by Tammy Zdunich of Meraki and Light

and Karly Woolsey of Karly Woolsey Photography

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We love this teal lace maxi dress– especially with such a lovely backdrop!

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There`s nothing like the luxury of wearing a stunning dress while exploring a stunning city, such as Paris.

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Although if travel is not in your near future, it`s a good thing Saskatoon is considered the Paris of the Prairies!

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We even get to indulge in French desserts, such as the decadent macaron, thanks to the Little Bird Patisserie in Riversdale- the perfect place to spend an afternoon drinking tea and eating sweets while feeling fancy in your favourite dress.

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One of the great things about this lace dress is that it comes in a multitude of colours– all of which are available in store at Tonic, or online at Farminista!

 

Thanks to Insomniak Media for the photos

Paris Is A glow At Christmas

One of our most favourite customers moved away to Paris, France! Luckily enough for us, she continues to keep in touch, and we get to see what it’s really like to live in one of the most amazing places in the world (other than the prairies, of course). Christina gave us an inside scoop about what our favourite holiday is like in one of our favourite cities, and we wanted to share it with you!

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It’s Christmas time in the city lights, and Paris is a glow. The tree lined boulevards are dripping with twinkling lights, over sized ornaments, and towering Christmas trees. Holiday markets have appeared on every corner, with regional delicacies and handmade goods, turning the usually chic city into rustic winter wonderland. Every inch of this city is dressed for the season.

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Christmas in Paris is unlike anything you can imagine. The whole city hums with Christmas spirit, and it is impossible not to get swept up in the magic that is Paris at Christmas. There are the famous Galeries Laffayette and Printemps window displays, with moving parts and carefully crafted center pieces, that draw crowds from the moment they open, until well after they close. And you can’t forget the exceptional Champs Elysees, all lit up from the Arc de Triomphe down to the edge of the Christmas Market at place de la Concorde. Almost every store offers Christmas cheer, from Louis Vuitton hot chocolate in takeaway cups with their iconic logo, to the ateliers of Montmartre with their homemade decorations. One of my favourite pastime is wandering through the Christmas market stalls that offer handmade goods, while sipping on hot spiced wine (a genius Eastern France Christmas drink that I seriously cannot get enough of!).

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Yet, despite the illuminating beauty of the city, the absolute best part of Paris at Christmas has to be the food! in fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best thing about France at Christmas (although I may be a bit biased, seeing as eating is easily one of my favorite things!). The French are known for their creamy sauces and rich foods, and Christmas is no exception. The markets stalls are brimming with tartiflette (a dish of potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons, and onions that derives from the French Alps), saucisson, foie gras, nougat, and raclette (literally plates of melted cheese dished straight from a large wheel that’s roasting over a slow heat! Does it get much better?!). And, to balance out the cream, you can also find the French traditional holiday oysters and smoked salmon.

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Joyeux Noel!

With love, from Paris.

 

The Last Frontier

This past July I had the amazing opportunity of going on an Alaskan cruise with my family! Upon arriving in Anchorage we got settled into our rooms the Hotel Captain Cook, leaving us the rest of the day to explore the the city. While in Anchorage we took a trolley tour of the city that gave us a glimpse of the city and it’s infamous Earthquake Park!

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{Our first glimpse of Alaska was flying over the mountains!}

To make our way from Anchorage to Seward, AK, (where we would board our ship) we took a 4 hour train ride across the state. While on the train we took in the most beautiful scenery, speeding past mountains and through various tunnesl(so many photo opportunities!); it really was a day to remember!

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{The train ride was absolutely beautiful!}

Having never been on a cruise ship before, I was taken aback by how massive the MS Noordam was. Once we found our rooms and got settled for the week the exploring began! Be it soaking in the hot tub on the Lido deck at sunset or eating one too many pieces of pizza at the all-you-can eat buffet (who’s counting?), there was always something to do!

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{Boarding the MS Noordam in Seward, AK!}

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{Our first evening on the ship, leaving the coast behind us heading out to sea!}

On the days that we were docked we had the opportunity to step off the boat for a few hours and either explore the city or to venture off into the last frontier (with a guide of course!) through one of the many excursions offered through Holland America! My favourite day was by far our stop in Haines; after leaving the ship we met up with our guide and a short time later were making our way down the Chilikat Inlet with about 30 other passengers. On top of the beauty that was the Chilikat Inlet, we even got a chance to see 3 Orca whales surface by our boat! After about minutes on the boat we pulled up to shore where we were met by three tour guides who would show us the area for the rest of the afternoon. After a quick snack we all geared up (life jackets and rubber boots are a must!) we made our way through the forest to the canoes which brought us about a 1 mile walk from the base of the Davidson Glacier. The closer the closer we got to the glacier the colder the air got– glacier ice freezes at -2 degrees Celsius and is also a different density than normal ice giving it the blue colour! By supper time we were back in Haines re-boarding the cruise ship, and boy was I ready for supper!

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{This photo was taken roughly 1 kilometer from the base of the Davidson Glacier, it was quite the hike but definitely worth it!}

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{Being able to touch the glacier was a really awesome experience (and a very cold one!)}

Okay so maybe I was wrong, I have two favourite days (can one really be expected to choose?)! The other day that I loved was actually one of the days that we spent out at sea. The captain took our ship through Glacier Bay National Park which is actually a UNESCO heritage sight. The water was almost a turquoise colour and we had the most perfect weather, with a good lens or pair of binoculars you could see bears walking on the shore with there cubs and even the odd seal floating by on pieces of glacier ice!

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{The turquoise water was beautiful!}

We didn’t end up going on excursions every day we were docked, we chose to explore the city of Juneau on our own for the day which ended up being a lot of fun! I had the opportunity to try crab cakes, find myself some souvenirs and explore the historic district which made for a pretty awesome day. Juneau is a unique city, built in 1880 when the dream of striking rich during the gold rush attracted many a hopeful. There is no way to drive into Juneau, it is situated at the base of a number of mountains and is split in half by the Gastineau Channel! It is home to one of the Mount Roberts Tramway, one of the tallest vertical tramways in the world, taking visitors up a staggering 1800 feet and offering amazing views of the city below!

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{Hanging out at the waterfront in Juneau!}

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{Almost at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau!}

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{The top of the Mount Roberts Tramway!}

All in all, Alaska was a dream! But like any experienced traveler knows, efficient packing is an important part of the planning process– but who says efficient can’t also be cute!? Here are some of my picks for your Alaskan adventure!

XO Emma

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This dress is the perfect choice for gala night!

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This scarf would be perfect for a day spent at sea– drape it over your shoulders to get double the wear as a shawl!

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A warm jacket is a must for an Alaskan cruise! You may find that the weather is warm the whole trip, but if that isn’t the case you will be thankful you brought a jacket (yes, even in July)! The weather out at sea can change quickly, and the temperature drops significantly in the evening! The fleece lining on this coat is actually a vest making this choice not only fashionable and warm, but a smart choice for anyone with limited space in their suitcase!

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This romper is not only a fashionable option but it also works well for layering, which should always be kept in mind when packing for longer vacations! Throw on a turtleneck underneath for a cooler day or evening spent on the ship to transition with the weather and/or time of day! 

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A good pair of leggings are a must when visiting Alaska! Throw on a black t-shirt, some sneakers and a light grey cardigan for a day exploring the city, or pair it with a shirt-dress and heels for dinner and a movie in the ship’s movie theater! 

 

 

 

Birthday Cake From My Tiny Paris Kitchen

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Hello, I’m Christina. I’m a Canadian baking in Paris.

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There is nothing so perfectly nostalgic as a four layered, buttercream frosted, sprinkle crusted birthday cake. The smell of it baking practically brings the past back to life! Getting that perfect recipe, where the taste effortlessly matches your fondest memories can be a daunting quest. Fear not! For we have found the perfect three-layer birthday cake that will be the star of any party.

This cake is so easy and is the perfect consistency for cutting those tricky layers. Frosted with traditional smooth buttercream icing that melts in your mouth, there is no turning back once you dig in. It has everything you could want: creamy frosting, rich layers, and sprinkles (because who doesn’t love sprinkle right?) So what are we waiting for, let’s get started!

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Since this is birthday cake, throw out all notions of making it any kind of healthy. Birthday cake is supposed to be filled with butter, sugar, and all that unhealthy goodness that make it oh so delectable! To get rolling you will need:

3 Cups of Flour

1 ½ Tsp Baking Powder

¾ Tsp Salt ¾ Cup Butter

1 ½ Cups Sugar

4 Large Eggs

3 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 ¼ Cup Whole Milk

I know, I know 4 EGGS! 1 ½ CUP SUGAR! Am I insane?! Trust me, this cake is well worth the added waist line!

To get started, mix your flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. I know this may seem pointless, but it works out for the best. Having your flour ready to go when it comes to mixing it into the recipe makes the recipe go smoother and avoids any measure issues later on. And it gives you that pro baker feeling, and who doesn’t like feeling like a pro in the kitchen?

Preheat your oven to 350 and place a small cup (I use an espresso cup) of water in the bottom of the oven. This will help keep the cake moist and prevent over drying while baking. Plus, it creates a nice golden crisp outer layer that is perfect for frosting!

In a large bowl cream your butter and sugar. Take your :me and be sure that everything really comes together. Once creamed add the eggs one at a time, beating them in on low speed. Add in the vanilla and beat for 1 minute on low.

Next get your milk and flour mixture ready. Alternating between the flour and the milk add a ¼ of a cup at a :me to the mixture until all the ingredients are combined. Set aside for five minutes.

Take your baking tin (a 24 cm round works perfectly to create three- four layers depending on desired layer size) and lightly grease it. Once greased flour the bottom and edges (drop about a tablespoon of flour into the tin and tilt it in a circular motion until all the edges are covered with a light layer of flour). This prevents sticking and helps keep a nice crust on the cake.

Now spoon half of the batter into the cake, smoothing out the top and gently tapping the tin on the counter to ensure nice even baking.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, remove, inhale the nostalgia, cool and repeat with remaining batter.

Once cool slice each cake into layers. Begin to assemble cake. Start by adding a 1/4 inch thick layer of frosting on the top of each layer. Starting from the middle of each layer to about a half an inch from the edge in a circular mo:on. This will prevent spilling or oozing filling, making it easier to get a nice smooth outer frosting.

Assemble the layers and set it in the freezer for five minutes to avoid any slipping, sliding , or general difficulties when frosting!

 

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I am a sucker for frosting. As a kid my sister and I used to sneak into the fridge to steal a spoonful of my mothers leftover frosting whenever possible! The perfect frosting can add the ultimate finishing touch to any number of delectable desserts!

This traditional buttercream is transformed with a touch of homemade whipped cream, to create that perfect smooth buttery taste with a soft and light finish.

Ingredients:

6 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup cup of butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1 tsp sugar

In medium sized bowl whip butter on medium until creamy. Reduce speed to low and begin adding 1 cup of sugar at a time. Add vanilla. When all is combined set aside. It will be stiff (too stiff for piping)*

In a small bowl combine whipping cream and sugar and whip on medium speed until cream doubles and peaks are formed.

Take your fresh whipped cream and fold into buttercream 1/2 cup at a time until you reach desired consistency.

To frost the cake start with the sides and work your way around. Layer a crumb coat and smooth out the edges. Once done ad the remaining frosting to the the sides as an outer coat and the top, creating a thicker layer of icing and providing the perfect pillow for sprinkles. Add sprinkles as desired and, Voila! A perfect rich, creamy, and delectable traditional birthday cake that is sure to steal the show!