Field of Flowers

It looks like summer in Toronto is here to stay, and you won’t hear me complaining! More warm weather only means more adventures and new places to explore under the sun. I recently went to Andrew’s Scenic Acres with Darlene and found this gem of a location. A literal field of flowers – the kind I can only dream of! And on top of that, have a small shop that sells baked goods, ice cream, jams, fresh fruits, and of course, flowers! They definitely know the way to my heart. We followed the delicious smell in the shop and bought strawberries, butter tarts, and lemonade. We set up a picnic right by the sunflowers and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon indulging in the sun. When have you taken the time to enjoy your surroundings and soak up the moment? This is the perfect place to do just that.

Wearing Zara top and pearl beaded jeans, Two Baked Buns straw hat, and Nicole Vienna watch.

Andrew’s Scenic Acres
9365 10th Sideroad,
Halton Hills, ON,
L9T 2X9

Gare De L’Est Brasserie | Toronto

Parisian fare? Oui, s’il vous plaît!

 

I love everything Parisian, especially when combined with one of my favourite things — food!  I stumbled across this restaurant a few months ago when they were in the early stages of building and renovating their space at the corner of Dundas and Carlaw. My friend lives in the building across, and I’m always keeping my eyes open for new restaurants because I love trying new things! So when I explored their Instagram page you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered that a modern French restaurant would be opening in one of my favourite neighbourhoods…I had to message my foodie partner Cynthia right away to clear her schedule because we were going on a new food-venture! The place had opened for a few months now, and we were finally able to have dinner at Gare De L’Est Brasserie in Leslieville.

 

Photo by: Cynthia N.

Baguette and butter, more for me!

Photo by: Cynthia N.

So here’s the spread that we ordered: foie gras au torchon, moules frites, and champignons bourguignon. It’s safe to say that we were full BUT the golden rule of any foodie is to always save room for dessert; in this case, a scrumptious peach tart (featuring the sweetest peaches of the season).

Everything was delicious! The Champignons Bourguignon is their version of boeuf bourguignon – this dish did not disappoint. The Moules Frites, which I tend to order all the time in French restaurants (because it’s one of my favourite dishes) left me wanting more! My only wish is that I had left more soup as a dip for my bread haha. Overall, this restaurant’s delicious food, excellent service, and the exquisite atmosphere are reminiscent of classic Parisian dining with a touch of modern fare that definitely has me hooked! Until next time…or as the French say, à la prochaine!

 

Gare de l’Est Brasserie
1190 Dundas St. East
Modern French Food

 

Wearing Zara top, Gap jeans, Steve Madden loafers.

End of summer | CNE

The CNE (Canadian National Exhibition), or as us Torontonians like to call it, the “EX”, is an ode to another summer passed as it runs every year during the last two weeks of August and into the labour day long weekend. What better way to comfort the summertime sadness than with food, fun, and games? The trouble is, it’s quite easy to let all your money slip away trying to win the games without even noticing. You’re probably better off spending your money on the outrageously delicious food that the EX has to offer, like the yummy funnel cake I shared with my friend Jenn during my first trip to the fair — deep-fried batter topped with ice cream and sweet strawberries — my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Luckily, I had a chance to go a second time with Darlene and Soheila, and we spent the day in the sun playing the carnival games.

photo by: Darlene A.

Before heading to CNE, I got my Gap super high rise 360 stretch jeans embroidered by Lot, Stock & Barrel who was in town doing custom chain stitch embroidery at Gap Bloor. It took me a bit of time to think of what I wanted to put on my jeans since I knew I’d be wearing them often. I went ahead with “good vibes only” which was similar to what my friend Joan got. I also got my initials on the front belt part of the jeans for when I like to tuck my shirts in. I chose a yellow thread because I find it stands out and works really well against the denim blue.

photo by: Darlene A.
photo by: Soheila

As the CNE marks the end of the summer sun and fun, I’m already looking forward to the good times that await in the seasons ahead!

Açai Smoothie Bowl for Breakfast!

This recipe was inspired by the açai bowl I had when I went to Hawaii. I had my first açai bowl from Haleiwa Bowls in North Shore, Hawaii. It’s not the exact recipe, but this was inspired and remind me of the one I had. There are different types of açai that you can get to make the smoothies: frozen, juice pulp or powder form (freeze-dried which I use). Açai is rich in both vitamins (A, E, & C) and minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium). I think it’s pretty easy to make and if you want to bring it on the go, just pack the dry ingredients in a separate jar and combine when you’re ready to eat – just like a parfait! Enjoy!

Be creative and have fun with the toppings! I’ve also tried this with sweet mango instead of berries – and the taste altogether is heavenly like I’m on a tropical island (also because I love mangoes) haha.

Açai Smoothie Bowl
Açai smoothie that can be enjoyed for breakfast or snack!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Frozen bananas cut into smaller pieces
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 2 Tbsp freeze-dried açai powder
  4. 1 Tbsp honey
Toppings
  1. Granola
  2. Blueberries
  3. Strawberries
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Put bananas, acai powder, almond milk, and honey in a high-speed blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour in a cup and enjoy (if you want to drink it as a smoothie) or bowl (if you want to have it for breakfast)
  4. Put your favourite toppings if you choose to have it for breakfast or snack
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I added whole grain gluten-free crispy rice, strawberries, blueberries, and coconut flakes on mine.
MAYREESE http://www.mayreese.com/

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Water Lilies

Musée de L'Orangerie | Claude Monet "Water Lilies"
Such serene and tranquil paintings by Monet

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet. I’ve also been travelling to a couple of places since early this year – that means more content in the coming months! Nevertheless, I’m trying to blog today. Yesterday, I returned from my trip to Paris and every time I come back from that wonderful city I feel inspired (hence, the blogging haha). Paris is one of my favourite cities to visit, even though I’ve been there a couple of times already. It’s a beautiful city with delicious pastries and desserts. Oh, and I can’t forget about the baguettes! For some reason, I can never stop eating it! It’s so good! As much as I try to eat healthily, I love carbs.

 

While in Paris, I visited a few museums. Something I haven’t done in the past visits. The photo above was taken at Musée de l’Orangerie, in front of one of the “Water Lilies” (or Les Nymphéas in French) oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet. It’s one of my favourite artworks by Monet. Actually, “Water Lilies” is a series of about 250 oil paintings depicting Monet’s flower garden in Giverny. Musée de l’Orangerie is a permanent home to eight murals of “Water Lilies” by Monet. I recommend a visit to this museum if you go to Paris!

 

Lunch with The New Girl | Oretta Toronto

Photo by: Darlene A.

the new girl darlene anderson, oretta toronto, king west, restaurants, food, decor

“Sbozzo” pizza – fior di latte, mascarpone, mortadella, pistachio, preserved orange
“Chitarrina” – tomato sauce, stracciatella, basil oil

One of the best pasta’s I’ve had in Toronto – al dente – reminds me of the pasta I had in the Amalfi Coast. 

Photo by: Darlene A.

With new encounters, you never know what’s going to happen. I decided recently to start a personal blog to share some of my “archived” photos that have not seen the light of day and to share my travels (currently in Tulum for a couple of days – follow @withmayreese on IG), some of my favourite food and things to do – basically, I can blog about anything I want! Whereas, my photography website is a little more curated to showcase my work. With this new journey, I’m fairly new and don’t really have an idea aside from blogging photos like I do for my photography work. It’s a different game if you ask me – from what I know so far. I found a fitting quote by Edward Weston:

If to live is to express the emotions of life, then to create art is to express the life of emotions.

Last December, I met up with The New Girl, Darlene, to pick her brain a little about blogging. I was so glad that she wanted to meet with me – it was a little easier because we have a mutual friend, Cynthia, who connected us. We met for lunch at Oretta, a newly opened restaurant in the King West area (now the newest brunch spot for bloggers hehe), late December the week of their opening. It’s a beautiful space! They have a private event space upstairs that fit about 60-80 guests – perfect for bridal showers, small weddings, and special occasions (this is my wedding photography instincts talking). It was so nice to hear Darlene’s story and perspective as the new girl who just moved to Toronto and started a blog just over a year ago. We enjoyed a great lunch, laughed a lot, chatted away – needless to say, we got along really well. There’s just something about other people that connects you to them instantly – such as personality, life stories, interests, and aspirations – and I’m glad we have a lot of similar interests and sense of humour that we became friends right away. 

 

How to back up your personal photos | Unlimited storage

Google Photos | Back up your photos to the cloud with unlimited storage

I posted about Google Photos on my photography Instagram about two years ago, but I thought I’d post it as a blog post to share. I highly recommend this app: Google Photos. Nowadays, mobile storage has a considerable size since everything is transitioning to mobile technology. Two years ago, I wanted to find a way to keep/backup all my photos and still be able to easily access them. I was searching for a storage solution that would hold thousands of my iPhone and personal photos. During the time I posted about it on Instagram, I was able to backup 14,579 photos and videos – that I’ve accumulated over time – in one night! I’ve probably shared this app to all my friends. This made switching phones so much easier – I don’t have to worry about having to back up all my photos to switch to a new – not gonna lie, I’ve dropped my phone several times and have gone through three phones in one year (thank goodness for Apple Care)…
 
Google Photos has a mobile app for both iOS and Android as well as a desktop app that allows you to backup your photos while still be able to access them quickly on your mobile device or computer anytime anywhere (as long as you’re connected to the internet). The best part is that it’s free! It also has some great features such as searching for photos via face, location, date, colour, and object. In order to get the unlimited storage option, under the backup & sync settings, select “high quality” (see photo below). If you choose “original” it will use up your Google Drive space. Another feature is that you can “free up space” on your phone easily – the photos uploaded to your Google Photos will be deleted from your mobile device to make room for more photos! I would advise that you backup while you’re on wifi so it doesn’t use up your cellular data. You can make sure by unchecking the “use cellular data to backup” in the settings (see photo below). Hope this helps!
 
*Note: For my client work, my backup system consist of hard drives, paid cloud storage and services. 

 

Venice Beach, California

Just hanging out
Hotel Erwin rooftop
tall trees!

Last summer, I visited Venice Beach for the first time with my assistant after photographing one of my couples’ engagement session in San Diego. We drove from San Diego to Venice Beach, which took about 3 hours with a little bit of traffic.
 
We stayed at Hotel Erwin. The hotel is close to the beach and has a beautiful view of the water, boardwalk, and beach. We walked around to explore the area and see what’s happening. There’s a small skate park where you can watch skaters, muscle beach gym, vendor stalls that sell souvenirs and t-shirts, basketball court, and the vast beach that stretch as far as my eyes can see.
 
For food, we drove out to Koreatown in Los Angeles to have KBBQ! We went to Kang Hodong Baekjong since we’ve tried it and liked it when we went to NYC. We had to wait about half an hour to get seats since there was a line by the time we got there – you know it’s good when it’s busy. So we wandered around the block while we wait for our turn to be seated and to also work up an appetite!
 
We really loved the atmosphere and lifestyle at Venice Beach – the warm weather also helped ;).
 

Simple Chia Seed Parfait

Simple Almond Chia Seed Parfait Recipe

This is probably the simplest thing to make. I prepare this a day before since it needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours. I love having this for breakfast and as a snack. Whenever I have to photograph a wedding, this is what I pack as a snack – days can be long with little to no break. Not only is it filling, it is also healthy and yummy! I hope you enjoy this. You can play around with the toppings and see what combinations work best for you!
 
food photography, healthy food, pretty food, food styling, almond chia seed parfait

Plate, cup, bowl, spoon, glass, napkin from CB2

Simple Almond Chia Seed Parfait
Yields 4
A simple almond chia seed parfait perfect for breakfast or to snack on.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  2. 4 Tbsp chia seed
  3. 1 Tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a mason jar, combine ingredients. Mix well until combined. I usually close the mason jar and shake until all the ingredients are combined.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I give it another shake within 30 minutes because some chia seeds tend to get stuck at the bottom. For best results, refrigerate overnight.
  3. Top 1/4 of the mixture with your favourite granola, fruits, and nuts. I like to add Love Crunch granola, fresh blueberries or strawberries.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I use Silk Almond Vanilla milk, Love Crunch Granola, Pranna whole white chia seed
MAYREESE http://www.mayreese.com/

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New Year, New Project!

Happy new year!

Fresh year to start (new things don’t have to start in the new year, it can start at any time) a new project – I would like to call it that for now. I have been debating this for so long, probably over a year, to start a personal blog. I have tried to incorporate a personal blog over at my wedding photography website, ARTIESE, and I felt that it wouldn’t fit the brand I was curating for my wedding photography work. I wanted to blog about personal experiences, things I like, my travels, and random thoughts in a candid way. And so, I created MAYREESE – my personal journal. Here’s to 2017!

Live for the moments that can’t be put into words

NH Collection Grand Convento di Amalfi | Amalfi Coast, Italy
Photo by Ariane L.

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