Tag Archives: Valentines Day

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LIFESTYLE: How to Make Valentine’s Day Delicious

There’s nothing saintly about a Valentine’s Day well spent. Celebrating love is all about indulgence. So is eating, and so am I. As your guide to all things delicious, there’s nothing I love more than rounding up excuses for you to go enjoy something tasty. Toronto is overflowing with ways to treat your special someone, even if that someone is yourself! Here’s a taste of what should be on your plate for Valentine’s Day 2015.

1. Tiffin Boxes from SOMA Chocolatemaker

For the chocolate conneiseur in your life, SOMA’s got one of the coolest spins on the typical box of chocolates that I’ve ever seen. Based on an interesting meal service originally from Mumbai, Soma Chocolatemaker will pack a Tiffin Box with four tiers of sweet surprises for the apple of your eye this February 14th. Highlights of the box include ginger snap hearts, pomegranate prosecco truffles and white chocolate bark made from 5 types of berries and poprocks. Say it with me – chocolate bark with poprocks. 

Tiffin Box, $75, SOMA Chocolatemakers

2. Truffle Tasting Menu at Skin + Bones

SKINandBonesScenario: you sit down to a meal with one dish that has all your favourite ingredients, and another dish made with a bunch of things you’ve never heard of… topped with truffle.  I’ve had this good problem pop up a few times, and when confronted with how best to spoil myself, truffle just always makes sense. The team at Skin + Bones has taken it upon themselves to solve this problem for you and your valentine this year, but only up until Feb. 13. Though they do have a Valentine’s Day menu too, if you wanna be my lover, take me here before the big day. Because in addition to quail egg in the starter soup, there’s truffle. On top of ricotta gnudi, there’s truffle. In the white chocolate pot de creme, truffle poached pears. No one has ever been disappointed with an all truffle everything meal.

Truffle Prix Fixe Menu, $55 pp, Skin + Bones, 980 Queen St. E

3. Juice Cleanses

According to legend, there are some who only eat healthy things. If your beau is one of them you do still have options! Pick some sweets with natural sugars like the nutrient-packed juices from The Good Press or Juice Matters. With names like Jalle Berry (raspberry and Jalapeño) and hues like Ruby Tuesday (beet, carrot, apple, ginger, lemon), the lucky recipient will get the hint that your cold pressed offering comes from a warmer place. After all, love isn’t all truffles and poprocks.

Ruby Tuesday – The Good Press // Jalle Berry – Juice Matters, see websites for details.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

– Nicole Edwards

Photos courtesy of Soma Chocolatemaker, Skin + Bones, The Good Press, Juice Matters

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LIFESTYLE: In the Doghouse at #PawsParty 2014

Paws for the Cause is the brainchild of a team of Toronto food and drink lovers with a special affinity for furry, four-legged friends. Founded in 2009, the fundraiser has pulled in a whopping $100,000 for the benefit of veterinary clinics, and the OSPCA. The funds have also helped bring more talent into the veterinary field with The Chloe Award, a scholarship for outstanding students in the veterinary field. Last night we watched The Hoxton transform into a pet-friendly bachelor auction with some of the Toronto food scene’s more notable, and most hunky, eligible bachelors.

DJ Brains4Breakfast spun a great mix of classic love songs and modern crowd pleasers (I may or may not have had a moment with myself belting out “Let it Burn”). Ladies in red circled the room with cocktails dreamed up by The Harbord Room’s co-owner and infamous bar tender David Mitton. My Bloody Valentine was delicious: 1.5 oz vodka, 1 oz. fresh blood orange sour (yes!), 3oz of Vitamin Water in Blueberry Pomegranate flavour. Boozy, tart and clean. Plus, I give extra points for the preemptive hangover remedy in that splash of Vitamin Water. Good thinking, Mitton. While sipping and nibbling (there was a gourmet version of a Big Mac that tickled me), we also had the chance to flirt from afar. A wall of Valentine’s Day bags (think of what we passed candy to one another in in elementary school) corresponding to each guest made it possible to leave love letters for those who weren’t up for auction. I was also lucky enough to have Laura from Xtreme Lashes adorn me with with her prettiest vajazzle glitter …on my hand.

The bachelor auction came with a dinner for the buyer and the gent at a restaurant sure to be booked solid on Valentine’s Day. Seats at places like Table 17 and Campagnolo went for upwards of $400. Paws for the Cause painted the town red in a big way in the annual event’s forth year. Who says doing your part can’t be fun?

– Nicole Edwards

Photos Courtesy of Robin Waley


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LIFESTYLE: Top 3 Valentine Dinner Picks

Love is in the air! Whether you’re planning to have a chocolate and roses Valentine’s Day, or a jovial anti-Valentine ladies night, one thing is for certain – a fantastic meal is in order. With reservations going fast and the days counting down, we thought we’d save you a bit of work and put together a guide to what’s sure to be the tastiest this February 14th.

1) Campagnolo

Campagnolo is the spot for those of us looking for the full out romance vibe. Decorated by the extremely talented Alexandra Hutchinson (HGTV’s very own!), the restaurant is warm, low lit and wields a comfortable elegance with rustic decor. Chef Craig Harding creates dishes that pay homage to his Italian roots, but still keep pace with the trendy Dundas St. West restaurant strip. The cocktails are impressive – tasty with great presentation. Plus, the menu is full of those magic words to make your date swoon: truffle, Chanterelles, and something called Buddha’s Hand Citrus (You don’t know what that is, but you’re still kind of drooling aren’t you?).

2) Jules Bistro

Jules Bistro is our go-to for a more lighthearted Valentine outing. The whole place has as much of a laissez-faire attitude as a well run restaurant can get away with, and we like it that way. Jules would satisfy a girls’ night out or a date. It might even satisfy you and the newspaper (though we sincerely hope your situation doesn’t get that dire). Any of the three main dishes on the prix fixe menu will leave you pleased ($25). We’d suggest starting with the French onion soup – full of gooey cheese and crunchy croutons. For your main, the classic steak frites is ever popular. If steak isn’t your thing, there’s also a salmon dish and a crazy delicious stuffed chicken breast. Top it all off with chocolate mousse or crème brûlée. Cheese and cream, fries and more cheese. The French really know what they’re doing.

3) Chantecler

It would be wrong if I didn’t begin what I’m about to say about Chantecler by acknowledging my complete and utter bias in the restaurant’s favour. If what follows strikes you as gushy it’s because I would fully elect this menu my Valentine over a human any day. Yes friends, I’m that into them. For that reason, I recommend heading to this Parkdale gem to everyone who’s nixed partnering up this Valentine’s Day. Chef Johnny Poon creates magic in his semi-open kitchen that simply isn’t available anywhere else in the city. Sidle up to the bar solo and watch the magic happen! Lettuce wraps are the crux of the menu, served for you to assemble with different types of slow roasted meats and an assortment of Asian inspired sides. The adorable staff is ever attentive and the street outside is prime for Toronto people-watching. Dining alone doesn’t have to be a tragedy.

Whether you’re deep in love, having cocktails with friends or flying solo, treat yourself to a bite of something special and share it with us! Send us a tweet , or #StyleEmpire with your top restaurant picks. Also, don’t forget that there’s also still time to snag a gift for your sweetie, on us!

– Nicole Edwards

Photos courtesy of Toronto Life and Alanna Cavanagh

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FASHION: Sweet and Spicy Outfits Ideas for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – 12 days and counting to be exact – and this year, the big day lands on a Friday. Whether you’re planning a low key evening with the girls or going on a hot date, these two looks are sure to inspire your heart and style.

From left to right: Collar Pearl Necklace, $278, Kate Spade. Acrylic Ladder Stitch Sweater, $60, Topshop at The Bay. Leather Cut-Out Ankle Boot, $155, Jeffrey Campbell at Urban Outfitters. Nu Prima Clutch, $89, Nella Bella. Cotton and Elastane Printed Trousers, $50, Zara. Jersey Panelled Dress, $138, French Connection. Crystal Necklace, $280, Swarovski. Leather Clutch with Shoulder Strap, $69, Danier. Crystal Hematite Ring, $190, Swarovski. Leather Ankle-Strap Pump, $100, Aldo.

If you prefer something low-key you can opt for our “sweet” look, pairing printed trousers with a great knit and adding a few statement accessories – we instantly fell in love with the pearl collar necklace and metallic clutch. For those who want something sexier, we found the perfect LBD (little black dress) complete with sheer panel detailing for our “spicy” look. Instead of wearing this with bright red accessories, we decided to keep it relatively understated with oxblood accessories and the perfect amount of bling!

After a grey and frigid January, why not heat up February and add some oomph to your outfit. Tell us, what are your plans and what are you wearing come February 14th? Tweet and Instagram us (#Style Empire), we’d love to hear from you! (And if you haven’t entered our Valentine’s themed giveaways yet, you definitely should!)

Sending love, cupid and lots of cinnamon hearts your way!

– Chenessa Lam

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FASHION: Valentine's Day Outfit Inspiration (+ Swarovski GIVEAWAY)

Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. As a single lady, I should hate Valentine’s Day with all of the hearts, chocolate and couples in love, but I don’t – I’m a sucker for both cinnamon and conversation hearts. For me, it’s another reason to get dressed up and go somewhere.

This Valentine’s Day (single or not), I have put together the perfect outfit for my romantic date and it’s all about the details. A little black dress is timeless, so I opted for one that’s short and sweet and flares at the waist. I’ve paired it with a military inspired blazer, oxford wedges and the perfect amount of shine with a selection of layered necklaces.

The blazer gives the outfit shape and dimension, while the oxford wedges are a more comfortable alternative to a heel. My favourite part of the outfit are the necklaces. The three tiers draw attention upwards to the face and the combination of hard (shark tooth) and soft (Swarovski hearts) complement each other perfectly.

This Valentine’s Day, we have partnered up with Swarovski to give away the Amorous Pendant (the shortest necklace of the three). This delicate pendant is a brand new piece from Swarovski‘s Valentine’s Day 2014 collection and we want you to have it!

To enter, just fill out the widget below and make sure to tweet us @stylempire and let us know! Whether or not you’re single this Valentine’s Day, you can still go out and have some fun, not to mention, win some Swarovski sparkle.

Contest ends on February 4th at midnight.
Winners will be chosen on February 10th.


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