Your Fall Survival Kit

Rise above basic bitchdom this fall with these handpicked necessities

Laura Slack’s skull truffles aren’t not your grandma’s Halloween candy. These little beauties are filled with creamy dulce de leche and infused with sweet black garlic (trust me, the weirdness is wonderful). It’s a true indulgence — ’tis the season, right? — and you can also savour the fact that they’re locally made (Laura’s a Toronto-based chocolate artist). Find them at Laura’s shop, Maisonette, in the Distillery.

Instagram: @maisonettegifts
Instagram: @maisonettegifts

Balzac’s take on the PSL: I’m just going to come right out and say it, this version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte trumps Starbucks’. This one, called the “Harvest,” is healthier and tastier because it’s made with real pumpkin puree and whatever. I mean, it’s just as expensive, but at least it’s a better investment.

Instagram: @coffeeandjam_ldn


T.O. ‘hood hats: Maybe it’s a bit corny. But that won’t be on your mind once you’re trudging through the brisk breeze with one of these knitted numbers by Tuck Shop Trading Co. warming you up. Plus, they’re an adorably cosy way to rock your neighbourhood pride (those pom-poms!!!). Find them at Blackbird Vintage Finds in the Distillery.

Instagram: @blackbirdvintagefinds
Instagram: @blackbirdvintagefinds


Jax Coco’s adorable mini coconut oil: Coconut oil is all the rage right now, but it’s one of those trends that should really stay forever. It’s like the universe has given us a single magic elixir with which to solve all our lives’ problems, whether they be skin issues or cooking-related calamities. Jax Coco‘s tiny little coconut oil is perfect for tossing in your purse or school bag so you can have this trusty must-have on you at all times.

Instagram: @jaxcocoglobal
Instagram: @jaxcocoglobal

Comfort foods at Levetto: Bye, summer salads. Hi, warm, cosy noodles and pizzas. Levetto, with its five locations (and a sixth one opening in December) is where you’ll want to ease your cravings for classic Italian comfort foods this fall, which in my opinion is the best way to warm up.

Instagram: @levettoresto

Over-the-knee riding boots from Ever New: Aussie brand Ever New just landed in Toronto, opening its North American flagship store in the Eaton Centre. Its popularity is a testament to how obsessed we Canucks are with Australian fashion (we love more than just the accent, people!). This over-the-knee boot (the “Ryder Knee High” in taupe) is a fall staple every year, but this chic, heeled take on the classic look is just… *sexual groan*

Photo Courtesy of Ever New Canada
Photo Courtesy of Ever New Canada

Little cork planters from D’Andrea Design:

These aren’t even really exclusively a fall thing, but STILL. LOOK AT THEM. Love them. The cork planters are handmade by local arts and crafts wonderwoman Julia D’Andrea (who’s only 23, by the way), and they’re such a lovely way to liven up the apartment during the cooler months — since you’ll be spending a lot more time in there instead of the park/patio/beach these days.

Instagram: @dandreadesign
Instagram: @dandreadesign

Novella Team Reveals What They’re Excited About For Fall

After last year’s bitter cold winter, it feels like we blinked and it’s now time for us to start to prepare for fall. As the temperature drops, we can look forward to not only the new colours on the trees, but also to the changes in fashion and events happening throughout the city. Our team at Novella compiled a list of things we are looking forward to this autumn.


Marina Koslock, Arts & Culture Editor : The thing I am most excited for this fall is the Joseph Mallord William Turner exhibition at the AGO, opening October 31st. This is a massive deal for the Arts community, as Toronto is the only Canadian city that will host J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free, on loan from Tate Britain. The collection of over 50 large paintings highlights Turner’s final works, in a sensational series with emphasis on atmosphere, while playing with bold colours, light, and texturing. If you are going to see one exhibition this season, please let it be this one.



Sade Lewis, Fashion & Beauty Writer : Nude colours are great for anytime of the year, but I feel as if they are best suited for the fall season. Whether you are going some place fancy, or cruising around town, Velvet Teddy by MAC is a stunning nude lipstick with a hint of pink is my fall must-have. It is a warm, delicate colour to dress your lips up with, and the pink undertone adds a beautiful quality.


Matthew Wong, Contributing Fashion Editor : A pair of boots for fall/winter is essential, no matter if you’re a style conscious or not. If you are looking for a pair of boots that’s trending in menswear, look no further than the Chelsea boot. Made famous in the 1960’s, the boots were a staple in mod culture in London, and were worn by Rock and Roll elite such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. These days you don’t have to be a Rock&Roll lead singer to pull off the pair of boots. The boots blend in effortlessly whether you dress them up for work, or dress them down on the weekend. These Chelsea Boots from Italian shoemakers Common Projects, are on the expensive side, but they’re worth every penny as their crafted with premium leather, and made in Italy with a personalized gold stamped serial number at the heel. 


Celia Fernandez, Fashion Editor : I learned about Jennifer Torosian’s designs a couple of months ago, and I must say that I was impressed how a couple of up-and-coming designers could create such high quality pieces. Their entire FW2015 collection won’t disappoint anybody, as it is all about versatile yet chic looks that project their sport lux signature. For this fall season, I felt a special connection with the Cardi Coat, which is made in Canada out of blended mohair knit from Italy. It was not only the brick orange colour that captivated me, but also its versatility, as it can be worn early in the season on cooler days, or layered in the winter as it starts to get colder.


Drew Brown, Fashion and content Director : It’s always a struggle trying to find the right winter coat that will make you look fashionable and keep you warm at the same time. Having to attend a lot of events, I don’t want to be forced to wear some bulky coat for warmth. This Olive waxed cotton with detachable Shearling collar and signature button front closure by Krane is the perfect solution. My Krane coat kept me extremely warm and stylish during the bitter cold last winter, so I can assure you that purchasing a Krane coat is wise decision.


The weather has been very tricky lately, and  it doesn’t know if it prefers to be warm or chilly. It is leaving us feeling confused and always guessing Mother Natures next move. Even though this week’s weather forecast was a complete 180, you can never be too prepared for the fall weather. This season is loved by so many people. They get excited to shop for cozy sweaters, lighting the heavenly scent of autumn candles, and for the Starbucks lover, sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. But with the chilliness slowly creeping in, we tend to neglect one important factor—our skin. A colder season equals to dryer, frailer skin. If you want to continue having that beautiful summer time glow, take a look at these products.

Photo Credit: Giant Tiger
Photo Credit: Giant Tiger

Beautiful skin starts from the moment you step into the shower. You need to make sure you are using a proper, hydrating body wash, to help retain the moisture in your skin. Giant Tiger has recently introduced their in-house beauty line, Ditto. These products are fantastic especially if you are on a budget. The Ditto Deep Moisturizing Body Wash, is combined with natural oils and cleansing properties to combat dry skin. It will leave you feeling hydrated and moisturized.

Where To Buy: Giant Tiger -$4.27

Photo Credit: Giant Tiger
Photo Credit: Giant Tiger

It is always mandatory to use a good moisturizer once you are out of the shower. Even though the body wash is extra hydrating, you need a product that will lock and seal in that moisture for the rest of your day. It will prevent your skin from getting dry and flaky. The Ditto Dry Skin Body Lotion, will leave your skin feeling soft and replenished. The subtle scent is also very gentle and will not cause any irritation to yourself, or anyone around you.

Where To Buy: Giant Tiger -$4.97

Photo Credit: Sephora
Photo Credit: Sephora

When it comes to our skin, it is always great to exfoliate. Exfoliating rids away dead skin cells that have been sitting on the surface of our face and body. To kill of these cells and give your skin a smoother surface, try the Peter Thomas Ross, Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. This three-in-one mask is a skin resurfacer that exfoliates with the pumpkin enzymes, peels with alpha hydroxy, and polishes the skin with aluminum oxide. Using this facial treatment will be like having your own personal dermatologist right at home.

Where To Buy: Sephora -$58.00

Photo Credit: Indeed Laboratories
Photo Credit: Indeed Laboratories

This last product is strictly for the face, and would make great use, once you are finished with your exfoliating mask. Facial masks can sometimes leave the skin feeling dry, and it is always best to plop on a moisturizer right after. On September 1st, the Indeed Laboratories launched their Fillume Volumising Serum and Moisturiser. When using the serum, it will give the skin a firmer more youthful look. Its goal is to also target facial volume loss, to leave the skin looking plumper. The moisturizer is used to increase hydration in the skin, and also helps erase shadows, giving the skin a more radiant glow. When used together, you will notice a gradual improvement in the look, tone,and texture of your skin.

Where To Buy: Shoppers Drug Mart -Serum $29.99 Moisturizer $24.99

Novellahoods: A tour of the Upper Beaches

After over three years of living in Toronto, I feel like I’m pretty savvy when it comes to getting around the heart of the city. But being a west-ender, I’ve never really had many opportunities to cross over to the far-eastern side of Toronto. This whole time, the DVP has seemed to me like the Great Wall of China. What the hell is on the other side? I imagined tumbleweeds. Or maybe factories, or subdivisions for as far as they eye could see. It was all very mysterious.

But last night I finally got the chance to explore the Great Unknown that lies beyond the Don Valley: the neighbourbood of the Upper Beaches. ~TRUMPET SOUNDS~

Streetcar Developments hosted the tour — they’re the guys who build snazzy living spaces all over the city, condominiums that promote a tight-knit community amongst residents and within their neighbourhoods. It’s a really nice company who does really nice work, and their most recent project, The Southwood, is going to continue that track record right in the heart of the Upper Beaches.


Our tour began at the sales office for The Southwood, where some bubbly was poured and we were introduced to the concept for the condominium, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2017. Chatting with one of the Streetcar reps, I found out that they’re building on the Upper Beaches turf because the neighbourhood is gaining a lot of momentum — especially amongst the city’s young professionals.

RoFo? Is that u?

After downing my champagne and deciding to start saving up for one of The Southwood’s south-facing one-bedrooms (SO. PRETTY.), our tour led us out of the sales office and we headed east down Kingston Road, the main street where all the magic happens.


Yellow House was our next stop, a charming little gallery-slash-framing studio owned and operated by an OCAD grad. Within seconds of talking to her I realized there’s a huge artistic presence in this pocket of the city, and gazing at the walls of her gallery I took in some pretty incredible work. I made a mental note to take my next artistic excursion out this way.

Up next was The Art of Cheese. This place really gave me a feel of how tight-knit the Upper Beaches community is. The owner, Bill Miller (a.k.a. “The Grand Fromage”) is a retiree who opened this tiny shop as his passion project, and he could talk for literally hours about the magic of cheese. After feeding us some beautiful San De Oro cheese and local red wine (I nearly died of happiness in this moment) he divulged all the secrets of his craft. Like, the mind-blowing fact that cheese is supposed to be eaten at room temperature — if it’s too cold, you’re only tasting 40% of its flavour. (WHAAAAT.)

The Grand Fromage in his element

After being charmed by Bill and his cheese (and his fromage-shaped foam hat), we headed to our next stop: Collected Joy. This beautiful odds-and-ends boutique is owned by Sharon Smyl, a former marketing director who worked with Minto Group and Starbucks. She lives right around the corner from the shop, and most of the brands she carries are local.


I adored Collected Joy. Sharon kept describing things as “exquisite” and I was just in awe of her style. Maybe I’ll get her to design my new condo at The Southwood. One day…

Second-last stop was at The Stone Pizza, where my fellow media people and I had an impromptu pizza photo shoot. The pies were, as Sharon would say, exquisite. Who would have thought to put apple slices on a pizza? And who would have thought it would taste SO GOOD?


Finally, we found ourselves at The Beech Tree restaurant and bar. This cosy, beautifully decorated spot is like the “Cheers” of the Upper Beach. The owner, like a lot of the shop owners in the area, used to work at a desk crunching numbers all day and abandoned that job to pursue his passion. The Beech Tree blew me away — literally everything is made in-house. Not one ingredient enters the store in a bottle or package. The mayonnaise, the syrups, everything is handcrafted from scratch in their little kitchen. Swoon. Oh, and the gnocchi can attest to the quality. I was almost reduced to tears while eating this. In a very good way.

(I couldn’t get a good photo of the gnocchi because it was dim and my photography skills are not on point)

On the walk to our ride home, we were pleasantly surprised by one final Upper Beaches experience. Farmacia Juice Bar‘s tiny cooler-on-wheels rolled up to the sidewalk and served up some scrumptious house-made juices, smoothies and freezies. As if I hadn’t fallen in love with the neighbourhood already, the owner told us that a few weeks prior, when their cart was stolen, the community banded together to find it and bring it back. It’s like the whole Upper Beaches ‘hood is #squadgoals.

So, my dear west-of-the-DVP-ers, here is my advice to you: if you’re getting bored of downtown and want to make a little escape from the city without going too far, go to the Upper Beaches. It’s not as swanky-snotty as the — er, Lower Beaches? — but it’s equally as beautiful and full of boutiques that will steal your heart. I’d live here. And maybe one day I will. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a charming small town that’s hidden in a huge city?


Summertime is about looking and feeling great. Women are usually busy working on their summer bodies two seasons before, making sure they look banging once the sun comes out. But of course you can’t revamp and sculpt something without maintaining it on a daily basis. If you want to continue looking amazing for the entire season, here are a few beauty essentials that will have your skin and hair feeling like a breath of fresh air.

Diorskin Nude Foundation

Photo Credit: Sephora
Photo Credit: Sephora

A light foundation is the way to go this season, especially with this blazing heat. Instead of layering on a thick, heavy foundation, try a lighter method. The Diorskin Nude Foundation is a nice lightweight base. It has excellent coverage, with s soft formula and faint scent. For the protection of your skin, it has also been instilled with SPF 15, because those heavy sunrays can be gruesome.

Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Photo Credit: Walmart Canada
Photo Credit: Walmart Canada

Another absolute must this summer is the Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. These light, airy blue sheets are exactly what anyone needs to sweep off any sweat or oil that have settled on the face. It instantly diminishes any trace of oiliness, and a plus for the ladies: it does not wipe off any trace of makeup.

Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Sunscreen

Photo Credit: Neutrogena
Photo Credit: Neutrogena

Sunscreen is crucial. Dermatologists say that sunscreen should be worn all year round to protect our skin from damage that can occur from UV rays. A top recommended sunscreen is the Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Sunscreen. It is very lightweight cream, unlike most sunscreens on the market, and it doesn’t leave any white, greasy residue. This particular sunscreen was also recommended by the Skin and Cancer Foundation of Australia and comes as high as SPF 70.

Lemon Drop EOS Balm

Photo Credit: Walmart Canada
Photo Credit: Walmart Canada

An often neglected part of a person’s face are the lips. With celebrities nowadays setting the trend of fuller, plumper lips, the first step to getting on their level is keeping yours nicely moisturized. Believe it or not, but our lips need to be protected with SPF as well. It prevents them from drying out and becoming cracked or flaky. To avoid suffering from chapped lips, try the Lemon Drop EOS Balm with SPF 15, for long lasting hydration and a delicious flavour.

Mr. Shu Uemura Four Step System

Photo Credit: Mr. Shu Uemura
Photo Credit: Mr. Shu Uemura

Whether you have long, flowing locks, a short pixie cut, or cute kinky coils, you’ll want to keep your hair nicely hydrated this summer. The best way to achieve healthy, glowing hair is with the Mr. Shu Uemura four-step system. It comes with an Essence Absolue Oil that nourishes and protects hair from dryness, frizz and UV damage. The Cleansing Oil Shampoo, which is paraben- and silicone-free, is beneficial for all hair types. The formula is also lightweight and respects the balance of the scalp. The third product of the system is the Shape Paste. This particular paste texturizes and defines styles, giving you a long-lasting hold for the day. And last, but certainly not least: the Ample Angora. This foam moisturizer is similar to using a hairspray. With its enriched buds of Japanese cedar, it will give your hair body, volume and won’t leave any white residue on the hair, since it instantly melts within contact of your beautiful tresses.