Tuesday, July 27, 2010
It was a gorgeously sunny day here in Toronto, so Gabriel and I decided to take full advantage of the weather and visit Toronto Island. If you’re ever visiting Toronto in the summer, Toronto Island is the city’s best kept secret. It feels like you are in a completely different place, when in reality, you are only a 15 minute ferry ride away. Here’s how our day went:
We walked to check out the beach…
… and marveled at all the people who were actually swimming in the lake…eek!
We contemplated renting bicycles…but quickly decided against it after seeing these tandem bikes…
We strolled down the boardwalk…
… and took in the views across the lake.
We found some cool graffiti…
…and Gabriel picked some flowers (weeds?) for me.
On our walk through the woods, we came across some interesting flowers…
… and stumbled upon a haunted lighthouse (the 2nd oldest lighthouse in Canada!)
We found some spiky purple flowers on our walk to see the clothing optional beach…
… and discovered a campfire site complete with man-made rock chairs.
At the end of the day, we waited in a long line of exhausted families and tourists waiting to return to the city…
… and watched as the Black-eyed Susans swayed in the breeze.
Monday, July 26, 2010
This weekend was filled with family, great meals, and more adventures around Toronto. On Saturday my Mom and I went to the Princess of Wales Theatre to see Legally Blonde the Musical, which is playing in Toronto until August 8th. It was perfectly pink, preppy, and perky, just like the movie! We also visited Oliver & Bonacini's new Cafe Grill on Yonge and Front Street for brunch, which just opened a few days ago. Their patio is open and spacious, filled with lounge beds and modern furniture. Our afternoon finished off with a walk around the Toronto Harborfront to watch all of the hoards of families boating over to Toronto Island, the street performers, and the sail boats floating along the lake.
Also, the giveaway winner from the CSN Stores giveaway is fabulous Margarita from Ramblings of a Fab Brunette! Congratulations!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
With over 200 stores, CSN is such a great place for purchasing anything from a great pair of heels to a new bedroom vanity. I particularly love all of their Le Creuset goodies that are on sale right now!
CSN stores has generously donated a $60 gift certificate, which the winner can use to purchase items on any of their websites!
CSN sites like allmodern.com, cookware.com, and csnsofas.com offer an enormous selection of goods that you can use this gift certificate towards!
This is a one-time-use gift certificate, and does not cover the shipping on the purchased goods. This giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. readers only (sorry to all my international friends!), and it should be noted that some extra fees may apply on some products for shipping up here to Canada.
How to Enter:
For one entry: Become a follower of Life Abroad and leave a comment on this post letting me know you've done so. If you're already a follower, simply let me know in your comment on this post!
For Additional Entries:
1) Create a post on your own blog which links back to this giveaway post on Life Abroad! Then leave an additional comment here, with the link to your blog post.
2) Tweet about this giveaway, then leave a comment here letting me know, and provide me with a link back to your Twitter.
3) Link to Life Abroad on the front page of your blog in your sidebar, perhaps in your "daily reads" section. Then post a comment here letting me know where I can find this link to Life Abroad!
That's the potential to enter 4 times for this $60 gift certificate!
Here are some things that I am currently lusting over from CSN Stores…
… these Fergie pumps
…or maybe a new light carry-on for my next trip!
What would you buy if you won the $60 gift certificate???
The giveaway is open until 5:00pm on Sunday July 25, 2010. I'll announce the winner next week, so be sure to check back and see if you've won!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
From July 9th to July 25th, many of Toronto's best restaurants are participating in Summerlicious. Usually between $25-$45 per dinner, the participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus that highlight their culinary talents.
Since my parents were in town helping us paint and renovate, we thanked them by taking them to Jump on Wellington Street West. As a part of the Oliver & Bonacini dynasty, Jump caters to Toronto's bustling financiers who are looking for a savory dinner after a hard day at the office.
Between the four of us, we tried almost everything on the Summerlicious menu. The Sparkling Ginger Lemonade was a hit, as were the Miami Short Ribs and Buffalo Mozzarella Ravioli. For dessert, the Dulce de Leche cheesecake and Coconut Rum Baba were delish. The evening was highlighted by superior service offering complimentary coffees, extra desserts, and fun "Jump fries" served with tomato mayo.
Since I'm usually wary of prix fixe menus, as some tend to be mere samplings, I was pleasantly surprised by Jump's beautiful Summerlicious offerings. All tied together with a Caribbean theme, any of the appetizers, mains, and desserts could be mixed to create a perfect culinary experience.
If you're in Toronto soon, jump on over to Jump for a terrific meal that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodie in your group.
Monday, July 5, 2010
During our 10-day stay in Miami Beach, we had the pleasure of staying at the Canyon Ranch Spa. Used as both a hotel and permanent residence facility, Canyon Ranch offers supreme service to its guests. Throughout our time there, we were consistently impressed with the attention to customer service and guest experience. A trip to the secluded beach includes private lounge beds and chairs, ice-cold water service, and large fluffy towels. The infinity pool offers the same “set-up” service, where any one of the abundant staff members will prepare your seating area with all the necessities. Poolside and beachside food and drink can be ordered, and is all carefully prepared with small portion-sizes, calorie information, and dietary restrictions in mind.
The grounds of Canyon Ranch are dotted with modern seating areas, where small geckos flit through the perfectly manicured gardens. While the main pool was the most frequently used, Canyon Ranch also offers a second pool, spa, and cabana area for guests, which was completely empty the entire time during our trip. We often felt like we had the entire resort to ourselves, which was quite relaxing. The rooftop pool and lounge area is currently closed for construction, but looks as though it will be quite beautiful when completed.
As guests of residents of Canyon Ranch, we were able to enjoy the spa services for free. The Aquavana spa includes elements like a rainforest shower, bubbling foot massage, Finnish sauna, igloo, and aromatherapy room. After being set up with a locker, slippers, and robe, a spa agent will give you a complete tour of the facility. On my first trip to the Aquavana spa, I tried out each amenity, and found that I enjoyed the ice-cold igloo the most. After stepping into a bright white freezing cold chamber, you can choose puffs of mint-, menthol-, or eucalyptus-infused mist to shower you. After visiting the saunas, jacuzzi, and warm lavender aromatherapy room, the brisk coolness of the igloo was a welcome surprise. The spa also offers private shower rooms stocked with every toiletry and amenity you need for your post-Aquavana pampering. In addition to the spa, Canyon Ranch has a gorgeous gym overlooking the ocean and a rock-climbing wall! Daily lectures and activities centered on health and wellness are also offered.
Canyon Ranch is located in the midst of the Little Buenos Aires district of Miami Beach. So while the hotel’s restaurant may include small portions with steep prices, a 2 minute walk down the street opens up to a plethora of South American cuisine at affordable rates. We regularly enjoyed Argentinian steaks, Uruguayan sandwiches, and Brazilian cuisine. Yum!
From the sea-shell laden beach to the attentive concierge, Canyon Ranch made our trip to Miami perfectly enjoyable and so so so relaxing. Definitely much different than the crazy G20 protests, broken-in windows, and 1,000+ police arrests that happened outside our doorstep in Toronto! It feels great to be back in the city though, and we are refreshed and recharged to continue renovating our apartment here.