Hey guys! Today’s post is a little different than what I normally do. Since quitting my job I’ve been working more often in coffee shops around town. So I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on some coffee shops around Oakville! Today I am sharing my thoughts on the five coffee shops that can be found in downtown Oakville.
I want to share my criteria for what I think makes a good coffee shop. This might be a bit ironic, but I’m not a huge coffee fan – I know I’m going to coffee shops and don’t drink coffee! But I like to get out of the house sometimes and I enjoy the ambiance in a nice coffee shop. So instead of rating their coffee, I’ll be rating their chai lattes, my drink of choice! The three big things I look for in a good coffee shop are good food and drinks, reliable wifi and a nice atmosphere. Let’s get into it!
Lots of seating options
Bland chai latte
Let’s start with the two chain coffee shops downtown. There has been a Second Cup downtown Oakville for as long as I can remember. Since it’s a chain the prices are quite affordable. On the flip side, the atmosphere is trying to be cute and cozy but also has a big dose of corporate feeling to it. That being said, there are lots of seating options. The wifi was free and no password was needed. The wifi was fast and reliable. My chai latte was alright. It was pretty nice but also on the bland side. It’s affordable but not my favourite option available.
Aroma Espresso Bar
Lots of seating
Free chocolate with a drink!
Need to use Facebook account to connect to wifi
The second chain downtown is Aroma Espresso Bar. I’ve been quite a few times before so I knew what the place is like. The lower level is pretty sparse but the upstairs has many tables. I love sitting by the window and getting the overhead view of the street. While the chai is alright (very cinnamon heavy) all the drinks come with a piece of chocolate which I love! The wifi is free but you have to connect through a Facebook account which was annoying. I think this cafe is better for socializing than working.
Tribeca Coffee Co
The best latte (and donuts!)
Busy and limited seating
Hour wifi limit
Near the top of my list of favourites is Tribeca Coffee Co. It has probably my favourite chai latte of all the coffee shops in this post. It’s the perfect sweetness level, very creamy and the perfect spice blend. They also sell fresh-made donuts in store so the whole shop smells lovely. While there is a good mix of seating (high top, table, chairs) it’s always pretty busy and it can be hard to find a good table. The biggest con is the wifi. The wifi network isn’t open. Once you purchase something you get a voucher for an hour. Now I haven’t tried asking for another voucher so I don’t know how strict the one-hour policy is. I generally like to work for two hours at a time so it’s a little annoying to be limited. I will usually do work that doesn’t require wifi, such as editing videos, during the second hour I’m there.
Pilot Coffee Roasters
Lots of seating
Free wasn’t very reliable
The atmosphere felt a little old
One of the newer coffee shops downtown is Pilot Coffee Roasters. I know they have a few other locations so I was excited to try this shop but I have to say I was a little disappointed. They were the only coffee shop on the list that didn’t offer coffee mugs. I don’t mind paper cups but it’s nice if you’re sitting down to have a mug. The latte itself wasn’t bad but very cardamon heavy. The shop has a very industrial feeling which some people enjoy but isn’t my favourite. There was free wifi but it wasn’t very good. It was super slow and disconnected a few times on me. Overall I think this is a great place to great grab a coffee to-go but not to sit down.
Figaro Coffee House
Outlets and great wifi
Lots of seating
More modern than cozy
The final coffee shop in downtown Oakville is Figaro Coffee House. The latte was quite nice. While the spice blend was a little more subtle the mug was huge. They had lots of seating options, with two levels of space. I was able to get a cozy corner banquet. And they had lots of outlets, not something every coffee shop offered. There was some lovely jazz music playing – I normally listen to my own music but this time just listened to the music playing in the shop. They had free wifi available as well. I don’t have any major complaints. The only thing is that’s more ‘modern’ than ‘cozy’. But overall a great option.
And those are the coffee shops I checked out in downtown Oakville! Let me know if you’ve been to any of these coffee shops before and what you thought about them! And please let me know if I should be a part two – I’ve been going to more coffee shops and I’d be happy to share my thoughts about them with you guys.
Hey guys! I know it’s taken me a while (aka over a month) but I’m here to share with you my Vancouver and Whistler trip details! I’m going to break down all the places I stayed, visited and ate and let you know if it was worth it or not. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out my Vancouver & Whistler vlog! Now let’s get into it.
On the first day of my trip, I flew in. I didn’t want to take a full day off work, so instead, I took a 7 PM flight. I just left work a few hours early and then flew from Toronto to Vancouver. I think this is also a great option because I arrived at 9 PM Vancouver time. If you’re a night owl this means you can still go out. If you’re like me and struggle with time zone changes, this is perfect because I got in at a great time to just have a quiet night in but be ready for the next day.
Just wanted to note here that I stayed with my friend so I don’t have any Vancouver accommodation recommendations.
I got very lucky weather-wise while I was in Vancouver and only had two days of rain. Unfortunately one of those two days was the first one. Since I was struggling with the time change and it was the beginning of my trip, my friend and I decided to have a lazy morning.
Our first stop idea was to go to Science World. Learn from my mistake and book in advance. We arrived thinking we could get tickets the day of to find out they were sold out.
Since we were downtown, I suggested we checked out the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens since it wasn’t far from Science World. I had read decent reviews online, with everyone saying just go to the free section. Well, we show up and turns out the free section was closed due to COVID-19. We decided to pay the $16 admission and were disappointed. The gardens aren’t very large and the information given during the tour wasn’t very accurate. If the free section opens up again I recommend checking that out, but otherwise, I would skip the Chinese Gardens.
For dinner, we went to Phnom Penh and it was fantastic. They serve Cambodian and Vietnamese food, and everything looked so delicious. Just a tip: we went at 4:00 PM on a Saturday and had to wait over half an hour for a table. So be mindful that the restaurant is busy and I can only assume during peak time there would be a long wait. But it’s worth it!
After dinner, we did a little window shopping and stopped by this store called The Nooks. It’s a space for small businesses to sell their goods. They have a bunch of locations in Ontario and BC, we stopped by the Gastown location. I got an Aries zodiac necklace from the brand Sol & Luna and I’m in love with it. I think it’s great to shop and support small businesses when travelling!
On Sunday, we decided to take a stroll over to Granville Island Public Market. We first stopped at A La Mode to get some lunch. I had a croissant sandwich and my friend had one of their pies. We spent some time walking around all the cute little shops. It was a beautiful day so there were some buskers out as well. Before we left we grabbed some coffee at Blue Parrot and some fresh pain au chocolate at A Bread Affair.
We then took a False Creek Ferry across to Aquatic Centre Dock. We were then able to walk over to Sunset Beach, English Bay and then Stanely Park. At the time that I went parts of the Seawall were closed, but we were able to cut through the middle of the park. If you want an easy stroll I would recommend sticking to the Seawall, as the middle of the park does get a little hillier. I also recommend going up to Prospect Point and going under the Lions Gate Bridge. Both offer beautiful views.
I was there on Family Day, which meant that my friend had the Monday off! To start the day we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This was easily one of my favourite things I did while I was there. The main attraction is the suspension bridge but they have all these walking paths along with treehouses that you can walk around. If you don’t like heights you might not enjoy the park, but I loved it! During big holidays (such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day) they will have light installations you can visit at night. I would recommend going during the day to see all the nature. Another tip is that there is a free shuttle that will take you from downtown to the park!
One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to go to high tea so I knew I wanted to go to one in Vancouver. We went to Adonia Tea House and it was divine. We picked Adonia because it offered a mini afternoon tea, which allowed us to sample the quality of the place. But the food was so good that I would recommend getting the full afternoon tea. Their tea selection was amazing. It happened to be sunny when we went, but this would be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon since we were there for around two hours.
We finished off the day by walking down to Kitsilano Beach at sunset, which was gorgeous. The views of the ocean and city at sunset are breathtaking.
On Tuesday my friend worked so I had a lazy day. After she was done, we headed over to the Vancouver Art Gallery. On Tuesdays admission is by donation, so we didn’t have to pay full price! I’m glad we didn’t pay full price because one of the floors was closed and the other had a huge line, so we only saw two out of the four installations. If you’re looking for a rainy day activity I would recommend stopping by.
For dinner, we were joined by my friend’s housemates at Trattoria Kitsilano. On Tuesdays, they do $16 plates of pasta and omg their pasta was amazing. We all sampled everyone’s food and there wasn’t one bad dish. If you’re looking for good Italian food in Vancouver I would recommend it.
My friend was working again so I had another lazy morning. I did stop by a little coffee shop called Their There. I had their chai tea latte and it was delicious. The coffee shop has a gift shop section and just has some great vibes – a very Instagrammable place (if that’s important to you).
In the evening we took a bus up to Whistler. We used two different bus companies because we couldn’t get the times we wanted at one company. We used Epic Rides and Skylynx and I would say that both bus companies were comparable.
We had decided to book an Airbnb for our stay. We were silly and didn’t realize we had booked a studio but it served the purpose for us as a place to sleep. It was on the more affordable side, especially considering it had a hot tub and pool. But it was located in Creekside, so we had to get a taxi (no Uber in Whistler) every time we wanted to go to the Whistler Village.
Honestly, I would consider getting a hotel next time I go to Whistler. It would be easier to just get an included breakfast instead of trying to cook our own. Plus we had to pay for locker storage which usually comes free with hotels. And I think we probably would have paid the same amount for a hotel compared to our Airbnb, so just something to consider if you’re looking to stay in Whistler.
For dinner that night we went to Beacon Pub & Eatery in Whistler. We had issues getting seated at a few places so we settled for Beacon and it was alright. They have a great patio so it would be great for apres ski but not the best dinner menu.
Thursday was our full day at Whistler. I had decided to rent my skis instead of flying with them. There are a ton of different options to rent skis but I went with Whistler Blackcomb’s ski rentals. They have many locations and I was able to pick mine up right at the Creekside location. The customer service was great as well. My boots were too small on the first day so I went back and I was to exchange them for a new pair with no problem. They might not be the cheapest but the convenience and customer service are worth the higher price tag.
On the first day, we skied Blackcomb which I preferred over Whistler. Just based on my skiing ability and the conditions at the time, I found Blackcomb to be better. But if you’re going for more than one day I recommend skiing on both hills.
In the evening we went to Mongolie Grill. This place was delicious. It’s a build-your-own stirfry restaurant where you select your proteins, vegetables and sauce and they cook it in front of you. Pro-tip: rice comes for free, so skip the noodles since they weigh more and will increase your bill. We did have to wait a while for a table but it was worth it!
Friday was our second day of skiing. We did Whistler, which I mentioned above I didn’t like as much. We checked out of our Airbnb and took the bus back.
For dinner, we got takeout sushi from Sushi Flamingo. It’s in a weird location but the sushi is incredible. It’s some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever had. It’s also super affordable. I’m unsure if sushi is just more expensive in Ontario or this place is cheap but either way, I was very impressed. A great casual sushi place.
For my final full day, my friend and I decided to get our second ear lobe piercings! I won’t be tagging the place because I felt it was very overpriced and therefore wouldn’t recommend the studio. But it was something I had been wanting to get for a while so I’m glad I got it done. Side note, I’m planning on doing a piercing and tattoo Q+A soon since I also got a new tattoo recently, so stay tuned for that.
Since it was raining we decided to do an early dinner and went to Jinya Ramen Bar. Man, it was some of the best ramen I’ve ever had. We went there at 4 PM and the place was packed. My friend had the Tonkotsu Black Ramen. There was a special when I was there so I was able to get a Chicken Karaage Ramen. My friend had been to quite a few ramen places in Vancouver and she said this was her favourite.
I spent my final day travelling. My flight was at noon so I had some time in the morning to finish packing and get breakfast before heading to the airport. I landed around 7 PM in Toronto. I probably could have gotten a later flight but I wanted some time to decompress and see my family before having to go back to work the next week. Honestly, I kind of wish I had taken one more day off or at least a half-day because the jet lag was awful the next day. Something I will consider next time I travel.
And that was my trip to Vancouver and Whistler! If you have any questions about my trip please let me know in the comments. I’m planning to go back in the summer, so if you have more recommendations let me know in the comments!
Hey guys! So one of my goals of 2019 was to try and blog twice a week. The plan is for Friday to still be beauty/makeup/skincare posts, while Tuesday is going to be a whatever-I-want day. Sometimes it might still be beauty related, other days it might be book reviews or other content. There will be a post every Friday, but Tuesdays might not happen every week just as I figure things out.
Today’s post is something a little different. I have seen so many Youtubers do sponsored posts with HelloFresh, and I was really interested in trying it out. But being a broke university student, I was resistant. But when Allana Davison (an amazing Canadian Youtuber who you should totally check out) had a 50% off coupon code I knew it was finally time to check it out.
Just want to preface this whole review by saying that while I am a broke university student, I do consider myself a foodie. My housemates all agree that I am definitely the best cook in the house. I put an effort into planning my meals for the week, making sure to eat healthy, well-balanced meals with a ton of variety. So I was excited to try HelloFresh, so satisfy my food curiosity. (Also please excuse my ugly kitchen, I like in a student house okay).
What is HelloFresh?
For those of you who do not know, HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service. They offer a variety of meals, from regular to veggie to family friendly. They offer 3-4 meals for 2 or 4 people.
Now the first issue I had with HelloFresh is that they currently do not have a one person option. This meant that I would have leftovers with every meal. Now I personally do sometimes make meals for multiple people, like when I am making pasta, because it’s easier. But other meals, like a burger for example, are just nicer if it was for one meal.
I decided to do three meals for two people, which would give me six meals in total.
For a broke student, pricing really makes the difference. The coupon code made the cost $39 CAD. This made it so each recipe would be about $13, or each serving $6.50. Now that isn’t bad for getting a nice, restaurant quality meal but I could definitely make cook cheaper than this. Overall $40 on HelloFresh isn’t bad, but it’s when it’s full price when it becomes ridiculously expensive.
The full price is $79 CAD. This breaks down to $26.33 for one recipe, and $13 per recipe. Now those prices are probably what you would pay if you are going out to restaurants or ordering in food. But $80 is probably what I spend a week for my full grocery bill. HelloFresh only provided me with six meals, so I still needed another dinner plus my food for breakfast and lunch. With HelloFresh, you are definitely paying extra to have everything thought out and shipped to your house.
The meals are delivered straight to your house in a nice refrigerated box. I decided to have mine come on Sunday, but you can pick any day of the week you want. Each recipe was in one bag, with the meat separate. Having the meals come in one bag is nice and convenient, but if your like me and share the fridge with a room/housemate it’s a little much. It definitely took up a ton of unnecessary room in the fridge. All of the packaging that was used to shipped the box was recyclable, but there was a decent amount of plastic within the meals.
Dinner One – Pan-Fried Gnocchi
The first dinner was a pan-fried gnocchi with roasted squash and ricotta. This meal was super easy to make. All the squash was pre-cut, so the only thing I had to chop was the garlic – which I find hilarious because I normally use pre-minced garlic. This meal only took me two more minutes than the time given by HelloFresh, and that was only because my burner wasn’t working properly at first.
This dish reminded me of something I would eat in a restaurant. It was not a flavour combination I would normally cook on the regular, so it was nice to try something new. But having it the second day it was not as good. The gnocchi became gummy and the flavours were just too much. Could have used just one serving.
Dinner Two – Retro Burger
This burger is not your ordinary burger – it’s a fancy burger. It had came with caramelized onions and roasted sweet potato fries. I decided to try the burger because I was curious how hard/easy it would be to turn this in two separate meals. I made half the fries and made the beef patties, but I only cooked one patty and saved the other one for another night. I finished making the burger two minutes shorter than the suggested time.
This burger was similar to the pasta in the sense that it was really nice the first time but a little too much the second time. It was super easy for me to make the fries and the burger a different night.
Dinner Three – Creamy Tarragon Chicken
This chicken came with roasted red potatoes and brussels sprouts on the side. This meal was definitely my least favourite. I already had roasted vegetables the past two meals, so I was tired of it by this meal. As well, my sauce didn’t thicken up and it honestly didn’t have that much flavour. I didn’t even put the sauce on the chicken the second time it ate it. It took me only a minute longer than the suggested time.
Renewing the Subscription
I personally thought that you had to go online to renew your weekly subscription, but it is actually an auto-renew subscription service. So you can imagine my surprise when the following Sunday a HelloFresh box showed up to my house. And of course it was full price. I was just given three random meals. I immediately deactivated my account so it would not ship again.
I understand why people like using HelloFresh but it is not for me. It is super easy because it just comes straight to your house. You can go online and choose what you want to receive, or you can just be surprised. The ingredients in the box are perfectly portioned, so there is no waste. All the meals were great the first time, so if I was cooking for two people this would be great.
I will not be getting HelloFresh for a few reasons. First, there is no single person options and I didn’t like the meals enough to want to eat leftovers. Second it’s hella expensive. I am currently trying to save money, and the convenience for me isn’t worth it. I actually enjoy planning out my meals and going grocery shopping, so the convenience is not meant for me.
But just because I don’t want to use HelloFresh again doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a good idea. If you are someone who currently is spending tons of money going out or ordering in, this is cheaper than that. I think this is also useful for someone who is learning to cook because the recipes were all easy to make. They are also all very quick to make as well, they were all estimated to take between 30-35 minutes and their estimates were pretty accurate. Honestly, I think it is important it evaluate your lifestyle and then decide whether or not HelloFresh is worth it.
And that is my HelloFresh review! I hope you guys liked it, I know this is a little different. Let me know if there is anything you would like to me try or do food wise – I love cooking!