Handpoke experience - JanessaMann.com

My First Hand-Poke Tattoo with @Miniminiminatures

Handpoke Experience - JanessaMann.Com

This past weekend I went to Toronto, and managed to find time to get a beautiful handpoke/stick-and-poke tattoo of two mint sprigs. My friend Ang had gotten a bunch of pieces from Odette(@miniminiminiatures), and I knew I wanted something fun.

Nic had a blast hanging out with Lupe, Odette’s boston terrier!

It was really fun collaborating with Odette on how exactly I wanted the poke to look. She had sent me some sketches, and then we worked together to chose the exact angles and the tufts etc. What is the significance of the mint? I love mint.

Handpoke Tattoo Experience - JanessaMann.com
Two sprigs of mint

Cleanliness:

Some people wondered how clean a handpoke tattoo can be, but Odette’s studio is super professional, clean, and comfortable. She had a table (like a massage table) set up in her studio, proper gloves, proper needles, cleaning supplies, etc. All the things that you should ALWAYS look for when you’re getting a tattoo. It’s creating an open wound, and putting foreign matter into your body. No glove, no love.

Pain:

The only real difference between the poke on my bicep and the machine-made tattoos on my feet is the level of pain. On my feet, my tattoos felt like a power drill into my bone. On the arm, it was like a long allergy test (minus the itching). It took about an hour with going over it a couple times. Handpokes, since the needle is smaller, takes longer even though the art is usually smaller.

Handpoke experience - JanessaMann.com

Aftercare:

I used an oil cleanser to be super gentle, dried it with paper towel, and moisturized it with shea butter. It seems to be healing well, and there’s no redness.

Cost:

Cost always depends on the studio, the artist, size, time, etc. One small foot tattoo (about 3 inches long, narrow writing) cost me $120. This tattoo which was about the same size, but way more talent is involved, was cheaper. Studios often charge by hour, but an individual may be able to adjust their budget for you.

I’m super pumped about my newest tattoo (and the fourth one is coming in January, it’ll be a big rib piece!) and can’t wait for it to heal.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

August Favourites

Is it better late than never? Not so sure when it comes to favourites posts. Oh well, I need a break from doing my readings. As you probably know, Nic and I moved back to Ottawa August 31st, and spent the past week setting up our new home. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our new place once it’s properly decorated. We’ve still got lots of things on the ground, but the most important things are done. August was a really awesome month-I didn’t work much (which was problematic for our bank accounts) but that also meant we got to visit our parents in Ottawa, go to the cottage, go camping, and go on a canoe trip to Killarney Provincial Park.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Killarney Canoe Trip – Heading to lunch on Norway Lake

No one is surprised that Killarney was one of my favourites. I had such a fun time, and can’t wait to go on another canoe trip, maybe Temagami next!

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Drake Hotel

Toronto is famous for brunch, and I’m sad to say the only time we went for brunch was our last weekend there, but the Drake Hotel was worth the wait.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Yoga Mat Spray turns to… facial setting spray?

One of my friends who is a makeup artist and only uses cruelty-free and vegan products, suggested using water and essential oils for a makeup setting spray. I turned to my yoga mat spray, and it was definitely refreshing this month on days where it was 30 degrees out.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Super cool Nalgene

I haven’t had a Nalgene water bottle in years, so I was pretty excited to get this one. It has a mountain lion on it!

Maddy, Alina, and I lived together in my fourth year. Maddy is getting married next week, so the three of us went out for dessert at Cacao70 to celebrate. If you have one in your scity, you HAVE to go. AMAZING.

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

Brunch at Drake Hotel’s Rooftop Patio

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

Somehow I went the whole year of living in Toronto with only going out for brunch once. That’s a big no-no for Torontonians. Our last Sunday in Toronto, we went out to the Drake Hotel on Queen St West for brunch with our friend Wilson.

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

Their patio was perfect. I love their style-super mid-century modern and lots of super cool art pieces. I’d only been there for a friend’s birthday in winter, where we were mostly clubbing in the basement.

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

I had their smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, greens, and capers. Nic had their Drake breakfast (eggs, sausage, potatoes etc.) and Wilson had the special, which was bread pudding with plums.

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

Yup, delicious.

Drake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.ComDrake Hotel Brunch - JanessaMann.Com

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com

My Favourite Toronto Restaurants

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com
Byblos

For our one year living in Toronto, we agreed that although we did not have much money (grad students and people who work at front desks of gyms aren’t rolling in it) we wanted to explore Toronto well. Sometimes that meant exploring it with our stomachs. We found some really great restaurants all over the city, and you should definitely try some of them!

For our first wedding anniversary we went to Byblos, which is a Mediterranean restaurant. Their drinks are amazing, their food is amazing, and we had a wonderful time.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com
Booyah

There are many ice cream and gelato places around our neighbourhood of St. Clair West, but Booyah is the one we’ve loved the most. You can have these amazing dessert tacos, or ice cream sandwiches, all customizable.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com
Sea Witch Fish & Chips

The Sea Witch is another of our favourites in St. Clair West. We’ve taken several people there, and everyone always loves the awesome service (the owners remember you!), the spicy pickled onions, awesome fries, and best of all, the sandwich. For two people, you only need one order of fries since the sandwiches are so big and awesome. The first time we went, Nic only got the fish, not the sandwich, and he was definitely jealous.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com

Glory Hole Doughnuts

Nic and I love doughnuts. Glory Hole (don’t think about it!) is sort of difficult for us to get to in Parkdale, but it’s awesome. Nic had a malted doughnut, and mine was strawberry rhubarb. So fresh, the inside is delicious, perfect.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com
Box Car Social

The coffeeshop we’ve returned to the most is Box Car SocialBox Car Social. They’re one of those coffee shops that turns into a bar, so you can get flights of different alcohol etc. We love the service, the latte art, and their chai tea lattes are up to my standards. The location on Yonge Street near St. Clair is super cool with lots of different rooms upstairs to hang out or work in, and a patio on the first floor.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com
Pho Hung

Our favourite Asian cuisine has been at Pho Hung- a Vietnamese place in Chinatown. Their Vermicelli is delicious.

Favourite Toronto Restaurants - JanessaMann.Com

El Rincon – Margarita Monday and Taco Tuesday

El Rincon - JanessaMann.Com

The other day when we were walking through our neighbourhood, we spotted a sign at El Rincon saying they had a back patio. Nic and I love to eat “al fresco,” so I checked them out. Turns out they have $5 margaritas on Mondays, and $2 tacos on Tuesdays. We quickly decided to go there for a couple dates, and really enjoyed it.

Yes, there were supposed to be lots more photos, but I did a newb photography mistake of thinking I had uploaded all the pictures from that day (I had the earlier ones, why wouldn’t I have the evening ones? gah!) and deleted them. I even had adorable outfit pictures with a neighbourhood cat who really wanted to sniff my feet.

El Rincon - JanessaMann.Com

The margaritas were deeeelish, and so were the tacos. You ordered four of a kind (which is too bad, I miss Taco Farm in Waterloo where you can get as many of whatever you want), so we split the veggie and chicken ones. Both had great flavours, and I found out I like Modelo beers (their coronas weren’t cold, and I thought I was agreeing to warmer Coronas, not a different beer. Oops, coulda saved $4+ tip and tax).

El Rincon - JanessaMann.Com

Both times we’ve been at the restaurant we’ve enjoyed ourselves. It’s so chill in the back with the latin music, and everyone is loving the food and alcohol. If you’re looking for a cheap night with a date or friends, definitely check them out!

Shakespeare in High Park - JanessaMann.Com

Shakespeare in High Park – All’s Well That Ends Well

Shakespeare in High Park - JanessaMann.Com

Every summer Canadian Stage puts on a tragedy and a comedy at their amphitheater in High Park. Admission is pay-what-you-can, and you settle in to the stone and grass seats with your picnic blanket, some extra padding (your butt gets a little sore!), and lots of delicious food. We went last summer to see “A Comedy of Errors,” so I was excited to go again this year. Last night we watched “All’s Well that Ends Well,” and later on in the summer we’ll head back to watch “Hamlet.”

DSC_7349_20160710_190159

Always gotta have a delicious spread of bread, cheese, olives, wine, fruits and veggies.

“All’s Well That Ends Well” was a good time. There were a couple moments where the audience was definitely uncomfortable (which I’m sure they meant on purpose, to disrupt the norm), but lots of hilarious parts, too. Like the King of France had his own theme song, and drunk Bertram trying to woo Diana.

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

Canada D’Eh

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

For Canada Day, my brother Ryan came to visit us. His boss had given him some free tickets to the Blue Jays’ game, so we had lots of fun. The game went to 19 innings with a score of 2-1 for the Cleveland Indians. We left after 12 innings because we were hungry.

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

Nic barbecued some sausages, and we had a great dinner.

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

One of our friends from undergrad invited us to his place near the waterfront to watch the fireworks. This crazy stormy sky made me worried, but it all worked out.

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

Super classy elevator selfie

Canada D'Eh - JanessaMann.ComCanada D'Eh - JanessaMann.Com

The fireworks at the Toronto Harbourfront centre were probably the best I’ve ever seen. They had some really awesome colours, and the finale shook our chests it was so loud.