Bench #LOVEMYHOOD Toronto City Guide

Toronto landmarks

My boyfriend always likes to point out that people from Toronto think this city is the centre of the Universe. I don’t say this often but he’s absolutely right. I may not have a colourful life trajectory in terms of places I’ve lived because I’m born, raised in and have never left Toronto – but I’m so so proud of my city. Of course, that makes me the perfect person to partner up with Bench to bring you my very own neighbourhood guide to the city, whilst wearing all my new favourite pieces from their Spring 16 collection. I love my hood, by golly, I love my HOOD! 

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I decided that my city guide would be restricted to where I actually live and work (and play) – the University and Adelaide area. This area is quite interesting as it used to be Toronto’s Entertainment District, and albeit some vestiges of that past life still exist (pace, Rock’n’Horse Saloon on a Saturday night), our beloved club district is undergoing a major facelift. 

There are dozens of condo buildings, hotels and retailers going up all around my neighbourhood – we even JUST got a Loblaws City Market on Peter St. (I really didn’t want to tell you guys that in case it gets too crowded but I must pay it forward when it comes to shopping for groceries in this area). I love all the restaurants and little secret “photo shoot worthy” spots that my boyfriend and I have painstakingly scouted out over the past two years of living here. 

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What’s my typical day look like at University and Adelaide? Allow me to give you a play-by-play of a day in the life of Jetset Justine clad in my Bench hoodie, loving on my hood. 

8am: I’m still in bed, mostly. My boyfriend sleeps in so sometimes I allow myself to do the same but typically I’m awake, in bed, checking my IG, emails, tweets, etc. This could go on anywhere between 7am-9am. 

9am: Finally out of bed. I clean my house a bit and make coffee. I like to put a load of laundry in and make sure the kitchen it clean and if I’m making lunch, I’ll prep whatever I can ahead of time in the morning. 

10am: Drink my first cup of coffee and head to the computer to do some work and take advantage of the quiet as my dog and my boyfriend are still in bed. Maybe I’ll eat some yoghurt or a hard-boiled egg with hot sauce. 

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FIGO, 295 Adelaide St. W

12:00pm: By now the rest of the household is awake and I’m busy making lunch. My boyfriend and I plan the rest of our day as we set the table. I like to take advantage of the fact that we work from home to have a proper sit down meal at lunchtime. It’s this new thing I’ve been trying since I came home from Italy – a bigger lunch and smaller dinner. I think I’m losing weight around my tummy because of it. We always have espresso after lunch. Then one of us walks Sofia while the other does the dishes. Sometimes we go to FIGO up the street for lunch instead, if we have a meeting. You can take a mean foodie flat-lay at this place. 

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2:00pm: Shower, get ready. I’ve picked out this amazing gold bomber from the Jess Glynne x Bench capsule collection (which I originally saw on one of my fave bloggers, @mikutas). I’ve paired it with these super comfy track pants also from Bench and the cutest oversized graphic t-shirt

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3:00pm: We’re out the door and head to a location to shoot. (NB: This is our summer schedule as everything in the winter gets pushed ahead because we are indeed, chasing daylight). We like to shoot on the rooftop of a parking garage on Adelaide and Simcoe Street (south side, 6th floor). The views from here make it feel like you’re in DTLA and no one is ever there. Ok, maybe the security guards will be more vigilant after reading this blog post so apologies in advance if you get arrested for shooting there. Go home to change into a pair of shorts or leggings and a sweater. I live in loungewear and absolutely love these cute neon shorts from Bench

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4:00pm: More coffee, obviously. When I’m not making coffee at home, my boyfriend and I love to head to Milano Espresso Bar on Adelaide street for an afternoon pick-me-up. Owners, Christian and Jerry, make you feel so at home. It’s like walking into a Cheers bar where everybody knows your name. I love going to a place that gives you a sense of belonging. If you do head there for a coffee, try their Stovetop coffee – it’s LIFE-CHANGING. I typically drink a macchiato (a shot of espresso with a dollop of milk on top). 

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Milano Espresso Bar, 266 Adelaide St. W

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5:00pm: I’m off to the grocery store, my trusty Loblaws City Market, to pick up something for dinner and maybe a nice bouquet of flowers for the table. Yes, I’m a closeted housewife. It’s the little things in life. I usually get some freshly sliced prosciutto with a crisp baguette and maybe some arugula. Drizzle a little EVOO on it. I love to have cheese at dinner, too, and a nice glass of wine. I bring the food home and change my outfit for part 2 of my day. This time I put on this gorgeous, leggy, asymmetrical skirt from Bench with a short-sleeve hoodie. Layering is key for me when it comes to my style because I’m usually really cold – even when it’s hot out! 

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6:00pm: More shooting around Osgoode Hall. There’s the most beautiful facades in the courtyard, and right now, the trees are in bloom. I love shooting around here because it makes for a great, faux Milan. If we have time, maybe my boyfriend and I take a walk to Nathan Phillips Square to catch the sunset or pop into CFTO Eaton Centre to meet up with friends or run some errands. Sometimes I skip this second shoot and do a yoga class instead at the Shangri-La Toronto Health Club or BeHot Yoga Studio on the East end. 

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7:00pm: Head back home to get dinner ready. We eat a candlelit dinner – not because we’re pretentious bozos, it’s because we still haven’t bought a chandelier. It’s an economical (and environmentally friendly) choice. Ok? Usually we have friends over for dinner. We love to entertain. 

8:00pm: We take Sofia out for another walk around the block. 

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9:00pm: If our friends didn’t join us for dinner, we’ll usually catch up with them at Soho House after dinner for a nightcap. Soho House is a member’s only club for creatives and I shamelessly spend most of my time there. It’s also three feet away from our apartment. I love to have herbal tea before bed but sometimes I’ll swap that out for a glass of champagne instead. Depends if I plan on sleeping in the next day or not. 

11:00pm: Head home, relax on the couch, edit photos, post on IG, answer emails, update Pinterest, catch up on my shows – basically multi-task like a boss until I start to doze off. Honestly, I wish my bedtime ritual was take a bath, go for steam, meditate and read a novel in bed but I maybe get to do that once a month. Realistically, my boyfriend practically has to carry me to bed and I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow. Sofia snuggles in between us. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom (I would prefer one but my boyfriend is vehemently against it). We turn on our Saje nebulizer; the scent is so relaxing, it puts me right to sleep. I used to wake up a few times during the night and be a super light sleeper but I find myself being less stressed out these days and more content with life. I can sleep better when I know my boyfriend and my dog are beside me. Our apartment is so quiet and airy. Our bedroom is a little oasis where nothing bad can happen. I love that we’ve been able to keep a small sanctuary in our crazy lives. The best part? We have a perfect view of the CN Tower from our bed. I fall asleep to the city sounds and the city lights. I feel totally at home, and I am. 

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This blog post was sponsored by Bench however the opinions (and the routine) are my own. 

Photography by Daniel Kim of Walking Canucks

6 Comments

  1. Jocellyn
    June 2, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    Thanks for a peek into your day to day. I always wonder what popular, hard-working bloggers do :)

    -Jocellyn

    ps: I’m so envious you can do the leggings under shorts look and look chic. Which is 100% of the opposite for me….
    pss: Not sure how much you can share, but it’d be cool to get a “behind” the scenes of what a business meeting is like. You are always partnering with a wide range of cool brands that are outside the norm, and it’d be interesting to see how that all goes down in terms of planning and negotiating (plus I want to live vicariously through you, since my meetings are listening to car dealers talk about whether they should do APR offers or bonus cash…)

    • Justine Iaboni
      June 4, 2016 / 5:54 pm

      LOL you make me laugh. Always. love hearing from you!

      Speak and you shall receive! I’m actually working on a piece about that behind the scenes of the business of blogging right now. Stay tuned.
      Where do you work? Cars are cool man!

      xo J

      • Jocellyn
        June 9, 2016 / 6:16 pm

        Cars are cool. Car dealers are another story :p I work at a company called Dealer.com. They started out doing websites for car dealers 17 years ago, but it has changed to be advertising, SEO, SEM, content writing, social media, etc., etc. We’re kind of a “big deal” in the automotive marketing world, but, between us, the job is really stressful and often times not terribly rewarding, ergo the vicarious living.

        Jocellyn

        • Justine Iaboni
          June 10, 2016 / 7:20 am

          Dealer.com – sounds like a place to get your weekly fix! K, you can’t do anything online without daily SEO, SEM, content writing, social media. It’s the backend of blogging, too. Welcome to my world. I just don’t show you the hours I spend formatting all my images, labelling them with keywords etc., etc., cuz really — who the heck wants to see that! lol.

          Maybe try to find a way to balance between your job and doing something every once in a while that makes you happy! But you can also continue to live vicariously through me. I’ll try to glam it up for the both of us whenever I can.

          xoxo J

  2. July 6, 2016 / 10:18 am

    My office is at John/Adelaide… so basically everything you mentioned was perfect for me too haha. I’ve been eyeing Milano across the street, I’ll have to go grab an Americano there this afternoon!

    • Justine Iaboni
      July 6, 2016 / 11:47 am

      Yesss!!! This area rocks. Tell the boys at Milano that I sent you and they will hook you up ;) Also, we should just meet for coffee there one day, too! xoxo

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