March 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
On Wednesday, I flew to Toronto to visit my family and friends!
My first stop was my parents’ cottage on Burnt River in Fenelon Falls.
It’s always nice to start my visit here, with just my parents. We eat and talk and go about our usual business and I pretend I live there for a few days.
It was pretty cold and snowed every day, but Mom and I still went out for ice cream. Kawartha Lakes is known for its dairy, you know.
On Friday, everyone met at my sister’s house in Oshawa, including Nick who flew in that morning, my grandparents, and my brother & his wife. Ben and Jillian were excited to show off their new pet guinea pigs…
…and Ben was in love with his new bamboo plant (for some reason).
Ben, who once had a speech delay, has become unbelievably chatty and keeps his poor sister awake all night. She actually left everyone to have a nap by herself in the middle of the afternoon.
He could pass for my child, no?
Nick and I spent the night at the Martin’s. Have I mentioned that the kids love Uncle Nick?
They really do.
That afternoon, to make the final stop in my Canadian tour, we took the train into Toronto. I was so happy to spend that evening with 8 of my favourite Torontonians! We had a quintuple date at The Emerson. Great call for a place to have dinner, Julia! We sat at a giant table in the front of the restaurant like it was made just for us and ate some delicious food.
I love these guys so much; it’s always such a tease to see them for just one night. I love that they’re always there when I’m in town though, even though I’d like to just steal them all to live in New York with me. Another cottage weekend this summer, ladies? Gowns!!!
March 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
After spending time in two different Swedish hotels in December, this new partnership with Marriott and Ikea caught my eye. The minimalist design with all the small perks you need – like wifi, cocktails, and light breakfasts – looks perfect. Although the new reasonably priced hotels are only going to be built in Western Europe as of yet, here’s hoping for another trip overseas to possibly check one out in person someday!
See more at PSFK
January 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
To top off the busiest travel month I’ve ever had, Nick and I flew to Paris on an overnight flight on the eve of December 28th. We had heard that it was a great place to celebrate New Years Eve and thought “why not?”.
We decided to splurge on a nicer, more comfortable hotel since we wouldn’t be spending quite so much time outside. We settled on the wonderful Hotel Relais Saint Germain, located in the 6th arrondissement of Saint Germain. There was a view of a tree with books hanging from its branches from our room (above) and even free wifi!
Like Stockholm, we crashed as soon as we got to our hotel (red eye flights are awful) and woke up later that afternoon to get some dinner and walk around a little.
We were both obsessed with Shakespeare & Company and decided to see Notre Dame again since it looked so pretty at night.
The next morning, we got up in time to enjoy our hotel’s free breakfast. This is no Best Western continental breakfast. We were given a basket of very fresh croissants and baguettes, fresh juice, a cup of orange slices, amazing cheese, and ham sliced right off of a pig’s leg on display at the bar. And of course, amazing coffee. After this deliciousness, we walked along the Seine to Musee D’Orsay.
This museum is made from an old train station and is so beautiful. Unfortunately, a gazillion other visitors to the city had the same plan as us, so we didn’t spend too much time inside. It was very cool to see some Van Goghs, Monets, and Renoirs in person though!
It’s hard to tell, but this room was absolutely PACKED. You’re not supposed to take photos here, which I just don’t think is right, so I did anyways. Someone was poking me on the shoulder to scold me as I walked away. But look, that guy’s doing it too!
Walking down along the left bank, we found more visual treats, like some Arago Line markers. AKA Rose Line, if you’re a Dan Brown fan or a conspiracy theorist.
I guess I was supposed to stop in here, but didn’t!
The view of the Louvre from across the river.
I see you, Nick!
One place I wanted to make sure we went was Les Deux Magots, a cafe that used to be an old literary and arts hang out. Hemingway, Wilde, Camus, Picasso, Sartre. Think: Midnight In Paris.
Nick The Coffee Hater even drank a cappuccino here!
This visit, we spent most of our time in Saint Germain and didn’t even get on the subway. It’s such a great neighbourhood with so many shops, cafes, restaurants, etc, we didn’t even have to. On another note, look how generously they fill your glass of wine in Paris!
Of course, we also had to go back to curiosity and taxidermy shop, Deyrolle!
And see the Louvre at night.
Such a beautiful place.
The following day included a visit to Saint Sulpice church and much more cheese, bread, wine, and coffee.
That night, we had New Years Eve dinner reservations at Pinxo, so we got dolled up to celebrate right.
Our prixe fixe meal was 5 delicious courses, including my favourite, dessert with macaroons!
After dinner, we walked to the river so we could watch the Eiffel Tower’s light show for the countdown to midnight.
Once, it was 2013, we walked back to Saint Germain over the Pont de l’Archevêché bridge to add our love lock. This was by far the most romantic New Years Eve I’ve ever had!
We spent New Years Day, our last day in Paris, with more walking and eating. A walk through Jardin Du Luxembourg was absolutely beautiful on this warm, sunny day.
We spent our last night in Paris at the movies! We’d been meaning to see Argo for months and it was playing around the corner from our hotel. Who would have thought we’d finally see this American movie in English with French subtitles?
Thanks for a lovely time, Paris! Such a magical city that we hope to return to someday for more coffee, bread, wine, and cheese!
January 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
2012 was “The Year Of Yes” for Nick and I. We wanted to make it the best possible, doing what we wanted when we wanted, within reason, of course. This attitude led to some pretty great moments and incredible experiences. I also fell even more in love with yoga, specifically Ashtanga, and turbocharged my practice into a 4-5 times a week affair which led me into new poses I never expected to be able to do. There were sad moments this year too, especially in February, but overall, 2012 was the best one I’ve had in years.
- On Friday the 13th, Nick & I went to see/experience the incredible Sleep No More.
- That same morning, I danced my heart out before 10am at Creative Mornings with Girl Walk All Day.
- Filed for an LLC and made my business official. No more freelancing for me!
- The beginning of the month, my family faced a tragedy. Jenn’s nearly full-term baby suddenly passed away a week before her due date. We’ll always remember Everett, even though we didn’t get to meet him.
- Nick and I met my parents in Jamaica for a sunny vacation.
- I flew to Canada for a week-long visit, where I stayed with Jenn and her family. This included lots of playing with their new puppy, Biscuit.
- I tried an incredibly challenging Soulcycle class – right after Jake Gyllenhaal worked out in the same room.
- Mad Men season 5 premiered and I fell in love with the show all over again.
- Flew to London for a long weekend. We got to see Nick’s client Frank Turner headline his first arena show and Abbey Road!
- I helped set a record at the World’s Largest Rainbow Parade RecordSetter Event.
- Finally bought a bike worth more than $100. What a difference!
- Spent a weekend in Ohio for Alex and Erin’s lovely barn wedding.
- Started a subscription to Lancaster Farm Fresh weekly vegetable share and farm fresh eggs. Best decision of 2012!
- Had a quick trip to Toronto to see Frank Turner and Baroness, along with some friends and family.
- Saw an amazing Radiohead show in Newark.
- My sister Jenn came for a weekend visit!
- The first Long Island beach visit of the year with Kate.
- Gave a sweaty-faced testimonial in a video for my favourite yoga studio.
- Went to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island solo, but met up with many ex- & current TAG friends and my good Torontonian bud, Travis Bradley!
- Took a weekend road trip to Baltimore with Kate and Bryan. Survived the worst thunderstorm driving conditions on the way there so that we could see fish in their aquarium, go to a baseball game, and eat at a Brazilian steak house.
- Celebrated our second wedding anniversary with Nick by getting massages. So goooood.
- Rewrote my NYC + Brooklyn City Guide, complete with different categories, to appease all the NYC visitors!
- Went to Massachusetts to visit Nick’s best friend Mike, but we also went WHALE WATCHING! I saw humpback whales for the first time and it was one of the coolest moments of my life.
- Finally upgraded from a Blackberry to an iPhone.
- Collected a ton of paperwork and “proof of relationship” to renew my green card and have the conditional status of my permanent residency removed. Filed it myself and felt very accomplished.
- Flew to Toronto for a 10-day visit that started with a Bachelorette Party Cottage Weekend for Julia! Was so incredibly happy to spend 4 days in a cottage with some of my best friends that I only get to see a few times a year.
- Julia and Jay got married! I was so happy to be able to celebrate with them and stand up for Julia as a bridesmaid. I was also pretty happy to partake in the best dance party in years at their reception.
- Finally succeeded in doing headstand in the middle of the room! I have still never fallen (knock on wood).
- Celebrated a great 31st birthday.
- Helped Nick celebrate his birthday and had our first joint birthday dinner ever with some of our best friends.
- Went to Chicago to see Smashing Pumpkins in their hometown!
- New York got hit by Hurricane Sandy. We hunkered down, but were very very lucky to not have any damage.
- My parents came to visit us for the first time since we got married!
- Went to a special Creative Mornings talk by George Lois at the Met.
- Kate and Bryan got married at city hall!!! They were engaged for over 3 years before finally tying the knot at Manhattan’s city hall and now they are pregnant!
- Saw Neil Young & Crazy Horse with Patti Smith at Brooklyn’s new venue, Barclay’s Center.
- Nick and I flew to Sweden for a long weekend to see his band Ghost. We were so happy about this opportunity, even though it was a whirlwind trip!
- After a few months of practicing, I was finally successful in doing a real Ashtanga back bend!
- Celebrated Christmas with my family in Oshawa and Fenelon Falls.
- Flew home from Canada on Boxing Day then flew to Paris less than 2 days later! Celebrated New Year’s Eve by adding a love lock to Pont de l’Archevêché. Romantic!
If you finished this post, I applaud you! How was your 2012?
December 31, 2012 § 2 Comments
After staying in and watching When Harry Met Sally for the past four New Years Eves, Nick and I went out with a bang this year. First of all, we’re in Paris. Second, we had a delicious, rich 5-course meal at Pinxo tonight where dessert was the best part.
Third, after walking over the bridge from the Left Bank to the Louvre last night, I was reminded of all of the love locks on the one foot bridge. After doing a bit of research, we found out that by placing a padlock on the bridge, it is a sign of a couple’s everlasting love. (We also found out that the Parisians hate it, but what else is new.) We decided this morning that this would be our New Year’s celebration rather than going to the Eiffel Tower, which was sure to be packed with people.
After watching the countdown with the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine, we walked over to the Pont de l’Archevêché and put a brass lock on the bridge with a billion others.
A very romantic start to 2013! Happy New Year, everyone! xoxo
December 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Canada to see my family. Nick and I flew up very early, a 7:45 am flight, on Saturday and headed to my parents’ place in Fenelon Falls.
We spent the first two days of our Christmas visit in the woods, on the river, which was lovely and quiet. It was great to catch up with my parents, just the four of us. On Sunday, I scanned about 300 photos from my old photo albums that are still being stored in their garage (stay tuned for a post from that later!) and that night, we went out for a really nice dinner at Pane Vino in Lindsay.
On Monday, we all drove down to Oshawa for the Christmas celebrations with the rest of my family at the Martin’s house.
I hadn’t seen Ryan and Suzanne since May!
And it was so good to see my cute little niece and nephew.
We all hung out, eating and drinking and talking until it was time to eat. Lucky for Jenn, my Mom still makes the turkey even when dinner isn’t at her house.
For the past couple years, my family has celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, which means eating our big turkey dinner and exchanging presents that night.
Ben and Jillian got their first Alfie toy this year and they fell in love with him.
When it was time for bed, Ben was so sad that Alfie had to go back to the North Pole that he kept getting choked up, telling us it “pulled on his heartstrings” that he had to leave until next Christmas.
He’s pretty much the sweetest little boy there ever was.
On Christmas morning, the kids actually slept in until almost 8:00!
Ben was thrilled to get a Polar Express train and Jillian was so happy just to get her “baby seal named Pearl” from Santa.
That day, we relaxed, visited, and ate even more.
I love my family!
I hope you all had a great Christmas too!
October 22, 2012 § 3 Comments
If you know me at all, you know that Smashing Pumpkins have been my favourite band since I first saw them live in 1996; my first concert ever. Since then, I have seen them in many incarnations: Billy, James & D’arcy; Billy, James, Jimmy & Melissa; Billy solo; Jimmy’s jazz band; Zwan; Billy reading poetry in a church; and Billy with a band full of hired musicians who called themselves Smashing Pumpkins. This however, was the first time I was able to see them in Chicago, their music-rich hometown that I’ve always had a soft spot for.
Nick’s band Anberlin was opening for them this leg of the tour, so we flew out on Friday afternoon for the show that night. Arriving on a windy and rainy day (miraculously) without any problems, we checked into our hotel and did a bit of work and ate some dinner before heading over to the Allstate Arena.
Now, I’m a 31 year old former-music industry professional and have been around many rockstars in my time, including Billy Corgan, but I still get a little silly from time to time. If you’re also a fan, you’ll appreciate that my flight number was 3-33 and that there were porcelain pumpkins sitting on the counter at our hotel’s check in desk. IT WAS MEANT TO BE, YOU GUYS.
When we arrived, Anberlin’s lovely tour manager Andy had these waiting for us.
Then I found out there would be a VIP pre-concert mini show in the room right across from Anberlin’s dressing room. YES! I was so happy they left the door open for the first song, so I could watch Billy’s entrance. Even after the door was closed, I listened to all of the short set, including a rendition of Plume from Pisces Iscariot. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one live before!
Anberlin were great! I don’t think I’ve seen them in years and years. Nicest guys ever. They were the only opener since SP played for almost 3 hours.
Their stage show included an enormous orb, used as a film screen but as a complete sphere.
They played Oceania in its entirety.
Then they rolled out the hits including XYU, Cherub Rock, Mayonnaise, Stand Inside Your Love, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Tonight Tonight, a cover of Space Oddity, and more.
The performance of Tonight Tonight was almost out shined by the projection of the video on the sphere. It was so cool to watch all warped!
Friday night was one of those amazing moments in life where I had to sit back and remind myself just how great what I was experiencing was. One of those times where you feel like you must have done something right to be in the situation you’re in now. In short, thank you Nick and Anberlin for crossing another “must do” off my list of life goals – watching Smashing Pumpkins live in their hometown.
(P.S. Click on the photos to see them larger on Flickr – they look much better that way!)
September 5, 2012 § 3 Comments
This Labour Day weekend, some of my best friends and I celebrated the remaining single days of our good friend Julia with a cottage bachelorette weekend! I flew to Toronto on Friday and met up with Sarah and Karen to drive up there together.
Unfortunately, we managed to lock our car keys in the trunk and the trunk release button inside the car was broken. Luckily, this very nice Thrifty man came to help us and wait with us for an hour until they could send someone to save us. I don’t think he was too upset about hanging out with some pre-bachelorette party girls for that long.
We missed all the traffic and got to the cottage just in time for tacos and to see Julia open her obligatory embarrassing bachelorette gift from her cousin.
Slutty lingerie? Check. Gaudy “Bachelorette” wine glass? Check!
The weather was lovely all weekend. Not too hot, not too cold. We managed to get in a good amount of sunshine time on the dock and in the yard. Is Sarah naked here? Only we will ever really know.
We also got in a lot of cardio, thanks to the 800 stairs down the hill to the water!
What a pretty bride-to-be!
Canadian reading and Karen’s gimp. (Remember gimp bracelets, girls?)
There was kitchen dancing.
And Jana’s famous Magic Juice.
And best of all, lots of lady friend times in the sun.
Together, we helped Julia choose the music for her ceremony. By the way, it’s going to be AWESOME.
Dock pilates, for some reason.
The last night there, we had the best dance party in ages, all of us outfitted in vintage gowns by Sarah Curtis. Those photos won’t make the internet, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. Karen was very excited about the pile of silky gowns!
All in all, a fantastic bachelorette cottage party weekend and the perfect send off for Julia into married life. Love you, ladies!