I love travelling and try to get away as often as I can. Life in the city can add up, we have rent, insurance, parking and countless other bills to take care of, so we really need to budget when we go away.
When I say ‘budget’, I don’t mean we choose a lesser quality trip, I like to think of myself as a smart shopper and subscribe to such newsletters as Travel Zoo, Scott’s Cheap Flights, Next Departure and YYZ deals (thanks, guys, you’re all life savers!) to score a great trip at the right price.
Earlier this year, my husband called me from work after receiving the Travel Zoo weekly newsletter, he saw a deal too good to pass up. Thailand. It’s been on his bucket list forever. It was an 8 day trip, with flights to Bangkok, from there flights to Chiang Mai and Phuket were also included. 4 star hotels in each destination and transportation from each airport, all for $1400. It seemed too good to be true. I put my travel detective hat on and googled some reviews of the tour company, UTO travel based out of Richmond Hill. They were mixed, some raving and some ranting.
Bright lights, big production shows and chiming slot machines, I get it, I get it! The appeal of Las Vegas has never been so obvious, but for a frequent visitor like myself, I found it slowly starting to become predictable. I wanted a little more. I wanted to see the real Vegas, eat with some locals, get into the desert, and take a drive away from all the twinkling signs… Here are a few things I’ve found that are fun and interesting and will help you get off the strip!
By this point, you know I like to enjoy a local brew or two whenever I’m visiting somewhere new. So many craft beer enthusiasts told me that I NEEDED to try Heady Topper from the Alchemist. I was excited about it! I was happy to have been able to have a delicious Heady Topper on a patio with dinner one night, but the actual brewery itself was closed on Sunday and Monday when we were in the area, what a bummer. It’ll have to be a stop for next time. (For those who don’t know, Heady Topper is a double India Pale Ale brewed in Stowe, it’s a whopping 8% but still goes down smooth with hints of citrus. It was voted the 4th best beer in the world this year by Beer Advocate, that’s a pretty big deal).
My husband is a huge foodie. He watches documentaries on food factories, popular authentic stops and events. When we booked our Vermont trip one of the first things he asked me is if we could stop by the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. I thought it would be a little hokey, I didn’t know what to expect, but of course I said we could check it out.
One of the absolute highlights of Vermont for me was Dog Mountain in Saint Johnsbury. At first, since it was a bit out of our way and would have added 3 plus hours onto our trip back home, we didn’t think we could pay it a visit, but Katie had the sneaky plan of us following her car (she had the GPS, after all) and surprising me.
Dave Lackie is at it again, beauty expert and author of Beauty Departure magazine hosted a Bvlgari fragrance launch overlooking the city of Toronto this week. His loyal Twitter followers flooded into a beautifully set up event space on top of the Hudson’s Bay building in the Arcadian Court. The sun was setting over city hall and cast a warm glow over the stunning perfume bottles on display, Goldea The Roman Night- Absolute for her and Man- Wood Essence for him. They were begging to be photographed.
I’m starting to feel summer slip away, I grab my cardigan in the morning while walking my dog, replace skirts for pants and get a little bummed out watching the temperature slowly dip on the weekly weather reports. I had to make the most of out a sunny Sunday this past weekend to enjoy a bit more of the great outdoors.We’ve had our share of SUPing to the Toronto Islands and bird sanctuary, boating around Cherry Beach with friends and trying to convince our dog to get into the lake at the dog park but have yet to venture to the Humber River. That’s where Toronto Adventures comes into play. (www.torontoadventures.ca). Based right at the river bank near the Old Mill (and within walking distance of the subway station, hey hey!) you can find them renting out canoes, SUP boards and kayaks for guided or solo adventures.
‘Keep going straight!’ Mike yelled out, a couple feet behind me ‘ Follow that paddler!’ he pointed into the distance at a very relaxed and confident paddler, aiming for the cove of the bird sanctuary. I paddled harder against the waves, trying to steer the nose of my board towards the beckoning island.
Mike, the owner and brains behind East of Six SUP had only just finished introducing us to our boards and movements we could use to get up onto our feet moments earlier on land at Cherry Beach. Cut to 15 minutes and half way across the lake to the island later, a group of us were headed into calmer waters and a place to ‘park’ our boards while we enjoyed some light snacks and waited for the sun to set over the city.
I’m a firm believer that everyone has seen Grease at least once, or at least know one of the catchy songs from the 1978 classic. I mean, how many times have you heard a group belt out Summer Nights at a karaoke bar or have the popular Grease melody fill the dance floor at a wedding?
It’s one of those movies that stand the test of time! I was thrilled to become a Grease ambassador for the musical making its way into Toronto. I was booked to see it on one of the early opening nights and soon found out a few other friends of mine snagged seats too! (Great minds think alike!) We booked a table a restaurant nearby to catch up before the show.
I talked about how I used to watch this movie until the film strip on the VHS tape almost blurred. I would have dance parties with my friends in the basement. I longed to be a Pink Lady and loved how Rizzo didn’t take crap from anybody (but had a secret soft side!).
The thing I love about this musical is not only the perfect setting because how gorgeous is the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre!? (if you want to have some extra fun, be sure to come by early and enjoy the mini fairground set up by the merch table and bar area! What a great touch!) but just how much fun the audience had. I could see couples,mother and daughter dates and girl squads singing along in their seats.
In the middle of an alleyway between Queen and Richmond, you’ll find a brightly graffited door adorned with full wine glasses and a keypad that almost makes you feel like you need to know a password to be let in. It’s the entrance of what’s lovingly called the ‘Wine Cave’ owned by the iYellow Wine Club.
My friend Magda and I ascended down the stairs to see a loft like space with wine barrels for tables, lit up signs welcoming you to the Wine Cave and a make shift buffet table in a beautifully decorated corner, with a selection of meat, bread and cheese tempting you to have a bite. We were almost immediately handed a glass of Prosecco. (“You can’t say Prosec-NO to Prosecco!” one of the servers joked)
It’s just another #WineWednesday in the cave, and it was quickly filling up with students eager to start their Wine 101 class. It was their first class of the summer semester, every Wednesday and Thursday wine school programs take place down in the cave.
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.