Friday Favourites | MaJor Treat, Bahamas, East Room, Alex Brott & Beauty Babe Lounge

This is a big ol' Friday Favourites and just making it under the deadline before the Friday thing ain't true aka it's almost Saturday (where did this day go?!)

In this post of "Friday Favourites", I am going to tell you about a new amazing coffee shop in Queen west, then go into my love for the band Bahamas. Then, there will be a highlight on the east end venue called "The East Room", followed by that, I'll tell you a little bit about real estate and the most inspiring #bosswoman in the realty world, then I'll finish it off with a beauty secret I can't live without; my lashes & the galthat does the best lashes in all of Toronto!!

All the things are pretty wonderful to know about, but in the case you aren't into every section, find the spot you are interested and dive in. There is something in here for everyone.

Next week, I'm doing a Friday Favourites dedicated to all things weddings so if you happen to be someone going to a wedding or having a wedding, be sure to come back!


But first, coffee: Major Treat Coffee

Major Treat is the newest addition to the Queen Street West strip. You’ll find it nestled inside the new Town Barber Shop. It’s the red front trim that stands boldly among the rest of the shops and just in case you are colour blind, it’s a few doors down from The Drake.

If you’ve read my last FF then you’ll know my love for my baristas and so it will make since that I’ve followed Steve, who used to work at Crafted, to his new coffee shop home, Major Treat (although one would say he followed me considering its about a hop skip & jump from my door to this new shop).

Why I love it: Steve, Chris (one of the owners plus partner/husband to my favourite Bridal Shop owner Danielle Gulic from Lover's Land), Becky, the sign, the decor, the proximity to my home, Lucy can go in too and they have treats for her. Plus, more importantly the coffee is great and Steve knows my usual, always.

My usual: Americano. Obviously, have we met?! In the big cup and I’ll always ask for the skim he hides in the fridge.

In case I've peaked your curiousity, here is a bit more about Major Treat from the main barista man Steve.

Where did major treat come from:  Chris thought of the idea years ago. One of his fave bands is Minor Threat... Thought it would be funny to have a cafe called Major Treat

How did you become the face of Major Treat: I'm the main guy cause I was Chris' fave barrista and he thought if you are gonna open a cafe just hire your favorite barista. 

What's your fav caffeinated beverage: Drip coffee, many cups of it, then espressos

Describe major treats looks, design: The design of the logo is a play on Minor Threat logo. The cafe was built to be super functional in a small space and to fit the style of Town Barber who we share the space with.

Who do you work with: I work with my friends Becky, Aaron, Bee, Bobby, and Campbell and sometimes my pal Katie fills in on Sunday mornings if I'm in a pinch.

Who owns it: Chris Hammell and Martin Farkas own it together. They are the best.

What do you offer or what should people know: Really good coffee. All the coffees. Oh, and we are cash only ;)

FUN FACT: It also serves as a cool background for some bad a** wedding photos, especially when you have the coolest couples who know the owners and love grabbing a coffee there whenever a hair cut is on the books. Here's some frames from last weeks wedding with Michelle & Rich; they are one of the most rad couples I've had the pleasure of working with!

On Music: Bahamas

My love for Bahamas isn't a secret. Anthony is all too aware of how I am a total fan girl when I see them in concerts & festivals.  But he even joined me side stage at Way Home two years ago/ We were so into it someone actually snapped a photo of us & posted it on instagram with the tag “side stage love for Bahamas”.

Ultimate experience: I see a lot of shows and meet a lot of musicians. The music world is deeply woven into my life (pre Anthony too, as this was part of the reason we just kept bumping into one another). There are three bands that I just couldn't manage to see live and if I ever met, I’d probably be too awkward to speak.

A few years back, my friend Vanessa texted me to ask what those bands were, knowing me all too well. “Bahamas, Tegan & Sarah, and the Lumineers”, I replied. She slyly changed the subject and then a few hours later, she asked if I could be ready to jump in a cab with her, no questions asked. “Sure” and so I did. We ended up in a building downtown and it wasn't until we were checking in and the woman at the front let me know what we were attending. CBC was having a live taping for Bahamas's new album. It was the first time he was going to be playing this album in front of a live audience, and an intimate audience of about 30 people. I tried to keep my cool while totally way too excited on the inside and ended up doing the thing I do when I watch Anthony play; which is basically trying to look calm & collected on the outside while trying to contain the way too much excitement on the inside and then end up glaring. If you want to see, spot me here, but really, just ignore me and listen to how amazing these guys are.

Intimate shows: The taping was the ultimate experience, but then for my birthday Anthony brought me to Massey Hall to see him again. Clever man, he knew that I knew it was sold out and we missed the chance to get seats, so he waited until my birthday, two days before the show, to give me the tickets and absolutely make my year. Good thing because the next year he was gone for my birthday and this year we aren't totally sure. Long story short, I'm kind of into birthday and you should REALLY see Bahamas live!

Fav song: Lost in the Light. I cant explain it. Just turn it up really loud and feel how good it is.

On spaces: East Room

Way back in January I decided that my studio and I had reached the end of our sweet adventure together.  I had worked out of my home my whole career, spending so much on it’s appearance ensuring it was perfect for clients and inviting them in with baked goods, good smelling candles and soft sweet tunes. Then Anthony moved in, and work really needed to have a separate home from my work. My studio was what I needed at that time. I think everything happens for a reason because once I decided that having a big ol’ space all to my self wasn't for me, everything aligned.

I decided to bring work back home, but I needed to keep our home only for us (and friends & family of course). SO - i was in need of a place to meet clients if a more official spot was needed. East Room was popping up all over my Facebook feed, my instagram feed and then finally I went there, met the crew and fell in love.

Being a member there is pretty lovely, not only is the space inspiring, but the people are also inspiring & fill that void of loneliness I had working alone in my own place.  PLUS: it also happens to be one of the hot new spots that the coolest of cool people are getting hitched at!

In a nutshell, what is The East Room: East Room is a membership-based co-working club connecting work, leisure and culture.

Let’s talk about this beautiful space: All our furniture and design is done in-house by sister company 507 Antiques, Design & Build.

What you should know about the members: Our membership base consists of 25 – 45 year old professionals. Our international scale of members is youthful, tech savvy, business oriented, and culturally aware. Our members work in many different areas of the modern creative world from art direction, branding, photography, film, graphic design, to marketing, fashion, public relations, travel, blogging, tech and more.

What’s on the books for ER:  The East Room is always growing and changing. We've just completed building third floor premium membership space and are continuing to build out additional space in the second floor. This will be followed by an all new event venue and club-working space in the basement.

Events, with a highlight on weddings:  East Room offers an East Room branded wedding which includes everything from curated florals, to valet, to furniture, catering, bar service, photographers, videos, DJs and more.

If you are looking for an alternative wedding venue, want to have a space that is mega cool with little work needed to make it beautiful cause it’s already so freaking cool, please get married here and hire me to document it. 

On people who inspire me: Alex Brott from Sage Realty

When I first heard about Alex, she was described as the gal who wears band shirts & ripped jeans, who has a gigantic dog and can stage/sell the sh*t out of a home. I first met her when I found out she had been pushing for me to get the second floor of the mystery building on Ossington crunched between Repasado Tequila Bar and Town Motto. Soon I met her, and realized we had a whole bunch of people in common including her dad, who at the time she entered my life, had been the conductor for the orchestra that played along with my husbands band when they performed at the Junos.

Alex soon became my rock. And, my inspiration to the ultimate girl boss and most kind hearted human I know.

Then, Alex became my real estate agent who magically got us the first place we put in an offer on (which apparently I’m not suppose to tell anyone lol) and took over my studio space (as well as bought most of my studio furniture which made our move easier than easy). And, even though I'm not one floor above her, I still have the pleasure of seeing her for super yummy lunches, always on Ossington.

Here is a little more about this fabulous woman!

How did you get into this:  The truth is, my life would be entirely different today, had I picked ‘heads’ in a coin toss (’Tales’ was to be a teacher). I was working in the music industry in strategic partnerships. Great perks: concert tickets, access to all the music, never wearing a suit to work unless, (obviously) it was denim or velvet or leather, late nights in historic venues with interesting, talented, creative, inspiring people. I even brought my dog to the office (Jake, RIP buddy). It was a blast. Quite simply, one day, I woke up and wanted more. I wanted to be fulfilled in some way that had more meaning to me. I really was the happiest when I was helping other people solve problems. My mom and I would talk about it on the phone all the time. Teaching and real different, but oddly, many similarities in the ‘fulfilling’ department. So one day we just flipped a coin. The next day I left my job. And holy shit. 10 years later. Here we are. 

Whats your owning story: I’m in real estate. So I own my business, but not the company whose name under which I operate (which in my case, is SAGE - which is an amazing banner to fly under). I have the best business partner/lifeline/pep-talk giver/cheerleader Heather Hadden, and together we own The Brott Hadden Group real estate business. Every day we want more. We want to build the business and take over the world with beautifully presented, well marketed properties. We want nice, great people, with great taste to buy these homes and live happily ever after. We are constantly strategizing and figuring out ways to make our business stronger and better.

Why staging: BECAUSE IT REALLY WORKS. Sorry for yelling. I’m passionate about this. Especially in a city like Toronto where so many people are design savvy and actually care about interior styling in their own home. They watch HGTV every chance they get so they can brag to everyone they know that they are basically a ‘designer’. People really really care. And when they walk into a home they’re looking at, they need to be struck in their hearts, with a lightening bolt of desire for a dream life without clutter, with the artwork they would totally get, if they could afford it, or had the time to shop for it, the kitchen is totally clean without anything on the counters - so you remember you have counter space, maybe there is a chair to read in that isn’t covered in clothing, the tchotchkes are the perfect heights, the books are arranged by colour and/or size, the vibe of house that people can relax in because its just so….easy to look at. We all know that no house looks like this in real life. That you kick off your shoes and throw your keys on any surface. On your way to the fridge, you may trip over a phone charger and with some luck, the cushions on your sofa haven’t melted into the floor. WE JUST WANT TO LIVE IN THE DREAM! Can we just have the dream for five minutes!!? Here’s what happens next, people fall in love (with this dream) and your house sells for heaps of money and everybody is happy. The end. It’s the best. Everybody wins. I believe you get 30% more money when you stage. So there’s that too.

What’s your approach: Be authentic. Give people your everything. If you’re working with sellers, make the house look the best its ever looked (see above RE: staging), market the property like your life depends on it. Make the best quality product to give to buyers so that they leave there subconsciously feeling the house is quality. Leave no question unanswered. Nothing is unsolvable. If you’re working with buyers, give them all the information you can get your hands on, find experts for any concerns and always make sure they can get in the door as soon as possible. Most importantly, always always manage expectations. 

Dream clients: People who know what they want. People who are kind and communicative. People who love to laugh. People who appreciate good coffee. Whether you’re buying or selling, there is a ton of stress, money, time and emotion involved so there's got to be a good connection between the agent and the Client. 

Dream place: It has one level, 20’ ceilings with factory leaded windows, heated floors, a fireplace, a pool I don’t have to maintain, huge wild gardens all around it, nondescript and overgrown from outside and magical on the inside. Also, there's a retractable roof and valet parking. Considered moat with dragon. OK still considering. 

What should people know when buying home: Numero Uno: Get your financing ducks lined up right away because the moment you start looking for places, you will find stuff you love. Get out there and see places with your own eyeballs. You’ll never know unless you’re standing inside the door and your thunderstruck. Be prepared to move lightening fast on a property you love. Don’t settle. Houses are like trains, there will be another if this one isn’t hitting you in the heart. Never underestimate good neighbours. Home Ownership is not like renting. Things will not be perfect and you will have to deal with those things. But everything is solvable. And everything will be OK. First timers? Stop romanticizing your ‘first home’. This is likely your 5 year pit stop. Get something you know you’ll be able to sell in a few years. If you have a kid, get something with parking. Get the flood insurance. 

Myths? Truths?:  Myths: Real Estate agents have crystal balls. Truths: Real Estate agents do not have crystal balls. 

Real Estate is not for the faint of heart. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week situation. You are constantly bailing on people you love and praying that they understand it's because you love your job and if you don’t do that thing, right at that moment, your people may lose the house they love and the world will actually come to an end.  There are real, real estate emergencies which can include but not limited to: floods, cats getting out and running away, frozen lock boxes, frozen pipes, walking in on people in compromising positions, car/house/everything keys going down hvac vent, vibrators left in the middle of the bedroom floor during open house, kids hot boxing the house they don't want their parents to sell...sometimes it's a real gong show at this end. 

Why do you love what you do?  It's very cool to be part of this massive decision with people. It's a big deal and a lot of excitement. I friggin' love it. I love my Clients. The moonbeam in me believes that fate lines us up because we match somehow. That slam dunk feeling when your people get the deal, or you get a great offer, or you work with great Clients you love, or great Agents you love, and it all comes together. When everything went sideways and somehow…you manage to pull it together and save the day. And because sometimes you fail. But you fail forward. And you remember your error the next time and you pat yourself on the back for not making the same mistake twice. It fulfills me more than I could have ever imagined. Really feel like I definitely won that coin toss. 

On Beauty:  Lash Extensions at Beauty Babe Lounge

When lashes entered my life: About 6 years ago in Costa Rica, my all too fabulous fashionista friend Olga and I went on a yoga detox retreat. It’s not really my thing (only because, well, I really like to chew food) and the last night of the retreat myself and two other girls broke into the kitchen so we could eat something that wasn't room temperature, wasn't picked directly from the earth and was something I could actually chew instead of just sip. I found a piece of bread, toasted it, slapped on some butter and it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten, ever.

Anyways, back to the trip; the other thing that happened was that she would tease me each morning as I ventured down to the yoga tent in my lulus, hair tied back and tons of mascara. Mascara right before I did some hot sweaty yoga. OH YES. You would NEVER find me without it. I have blonde itty bitty tiny eyelashes that basically make it look like I’ve never slept a day in my life. She had permanent lashes at the time and tried to convince me of the beauty of them. I am not really all that high maintenance, so I wasn't sure I was into the monthly refills. But then, the more I thought about, I realized that I was low maintenance/high maintenance; like the kind where you do a bunch of things to yourself like once a month and then be totally lazy all other days because this magical thing once a month allows for this.

My adventure with lashes: First, there was a gal who was WAY too far away, but so good. Eventually, we ran our course and I wanted to find someone who was closer and it wouldn't involve a sometimes 4-6 hrs adventure, half a tank of gas with a 407 bill to boot. Then there was a shop down the street from me, like walking distance, like SO CLOSE, but within two days chunks of eyelashes were gone and so was the money I had invested in them. Then, I went further down Queen to a place where I spent more time with my eyes closed wondering where the heck was the girl who was just doing my lashes was; as every 20 minutes she’d vanish for 10 minuets. Then, I found Wendy. Wendy & I met at a shop where she was doing lashes and I was hooked. When she opened her own shop, I couldn't be prouder of her.

The woman behind the lashes:  I think it’s important to know the person who you are pretty much seeing more than most of your friends. I have been seeing Wendy every 3-4 weeks for almost 3 years now. I try not to fall asleep during the appointment (it’s hard after a long week while laying there, eyes closed, all comfy with good music on!) and when I succeed it's pretty nice because we cover it all and she’s become a friend, and someone I really admire.

Here is a little interview with Wendy about her business and some FYI about lashes! She's the actual best. If you've ever wondered about lashes, she's the girl to go to! You'll be addicted asap!

How did you get into lashes:  I first heard about eyelash extensions in 2004 from a hairdresser right before I went on my trip to LA. Immediately I knew I had to try it, hoping to look glamorous for my trip. During the procedure my eyes were tearing, the fumes from the glue was burning my nose, and because I didn't know any better I assumed that's how it was supposed to be.  Once I was done it felt so heavy, I couldn't keep my eyes open, I could see chunks of glue clumping my lashes together.  It didn't feel good, but to actually have some lashes was amazing!! Years passed and I kept giving them another try and then another try at different locations. Every location did them differently, but they all felt the same...they all felt wrong. Frustrated, I decided to seek out schools that offered the course, the only reputable training at the time was Xtreme Lashes.  As a makeup artist I wanted to add lash extensions to my services, and give proper applications so that everyone else didn't have to experience what I had experienced before. After my first course, I took another advanced course with Xtreme right away.  I loved it so much I decided to make a career out of it, I stopped doing makeup and focused on solely on lashes.

How did BBL come together, what's it story: I always knew I wanted to have my own business, perhaps it's in my genes, my mom had a few businesses before. However, it was always at the back of my mind, I didn't have any real intention of starting it when I did. What really prompted me is when I was pregnant and on maternity leave, I thought about how I could be more available to my daughter. I knew working for someone else, I couldn't take off when she needed me, and that's when I decided I needed to branch out on my own.

Initially I wanted a name that was short and chic, also something that could expand into more services and not be limited to eyelash extensions.  While reading a beauty blog, they mentioned "beauty babes" a lot and I thought that's it!!  I could play around with the words, have different makeup and lash styles on the menu, it will be so fun.  And besides who doesn't want to look like a major Babe!?!?

I wanted a relaxed, warm and comfortable place for my clients to visit, surrounded my the calming colours of white and turquoise. Looking back now I think my favourite travel places have manifested itself into my work space :)

Who inspires you: I've always loved JLo, from her flawless no makeup makeup looks, to her glowing tanned skin, her super sexy style and of course her lashes are always on point.

The eye lash question: Mink or silk: I have clients coming in requesting only faux mink or only silk lashes. Well, here's the big secret...are you ready? They're the same thing! They're both made of polyester and depending on the manufacturer, they could call it faux mink or silk.”

After Care: Most new clients are under the impression that if you leave them alone and not wash them they will last longer.  Good lash artists will educate their clients on the proper after care of their lashes. Lash extensions need to be kept clean and washed daily with an oil-free cleanser. Keeping the lash line clean will prevent blepharitis "lash dandruff" which could cause damage to your natural lashes as they fall out prematurely. So please wash your lashes otherwise we won't have any natural lashes to apply the extension on.

Fun Facts: 

- They don't damage your natural lashes if done properly.

- You can still wear non-waterproof makeup, as long as it's not oil based, but you probably won't need to wear any makeup at all.

- Natural lashes grow and shed so you need to get refills to keep them looking pretty.

- On average, people will lose between 1 and 5 lashes every day. This is because at any given point in time, you have lashes in every stage of growth—from baby lashes just appearing, to mature lashes ready to shed. A single lash normally takes months to complete its growth cycle, but in fall and winter that cycle can shift, and lashes may shed more frequently (fact from Sugarlash pro).