Wednesday, 30 December 2015

So long 2015, thanks for the talk

At the end of every year I like to reflect on the what's happened in the last 12 months and look forward to what the future might hold.  I think 2015 was the year in which I experienced the most personal growth.  In an effort to become a little wiser, here are the top 5 life lessons I'll be taking with me into 2016. They sound so simple, but of course I had to learn them for myself... the hard way. 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Take a hike up Table Mountain

Being a coastal city, the weather can change very quickly in Cape Town, which is why when Table Mountain is clear, you've just got to go for it.  So shrug off that hangover and rub the sleep deprivation from your eyes,  you're going hiking! 

Monday, 14 December 2015

Cheetah Outreach

Ever make a spontaneous decision and end up petting a cheetah? I hadn't either until one glorious day in Cape Town.  In the morning I met some new friends at the breakfast table and joined on their hike up Table Mountain.  At the top we were enjoying a well-deserved snack and some one asked if anyone wanted to go see the cheetahs.  Of course, we all said yes.   Now, how to get to Sommerset West? We serendipitously found a van taxi waiting on the mountain willing to make the hour long drive, wait for us and bring us back into town.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

6 hours in Istanbul

I booked my flight to Cape Town on reward points, which was super awesome for my budget, but meant I had a long layover in Istanbul.  Layovers are less than awesome except when you get to leave the airport and explore a new place! I had never been to Turkey and was really excited to take in some on the sights, enjoy a nice meal and relax in the hammam.  

Monday, 16 November 2015

12 Trees at the Gardiner Museum

If I were to ask you to picture a Christmas tree I'm pretty sure I could guess what you're thinking.  It's some sort of pine tree covered in twinkling lights and ornaments.  You might even imagine a few wrapped boxes sitting under the tree.  Now what if I told you to scrap that image and that a Christmas tree could be anything you wanted? Well, that's how Dee Dee Eustace approached the artists for this year's 12 Trees exhibit at the Gardiner Museum and the results are spectacular! 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Mariza Concert in Toronto

My family is of Portuguese background and although most of what we do and listen to is "Canadian", fado music has always been part of my life.  As a kid, I did not understand it.  Maybe it's because I had never truly had to struggle for anything or had my heart broken.  As an adult with a few life experiences behind me, I've grown a new appreciation for the emotion that can be communicated through fado music regardless if you can understand the words. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Taking a dip with the great whites

I should probably start this off by letting you all know that I have never seen Jaws and therefore do not share that same crippling fear of sharks.  I did however see all the footage of Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark twice this year just before I left.  So, I probably should've been a little scared to get in shark infested waters, right? 

Instead, I was one of the first to volunteer to hop in. (Mom, please stop crying.  I'm fine)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Botanical Gardens - Lumiere

I'm not going to lie, I'm not the kind of girl who is enchanted by beautiful gardens and colourful flowers, but sometimes when you travel with a buddy you've got to compromise a little and check out the stuff that makes them happy.  And that's how I ended up at the Jardin Lumiere on opening weekend. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Tam Tam Drum Circle Montreal

I love a  good ol' fashioned drum circle. There's something about strangers coming together to create something in a public space that excites me, and if dancing is involved, it's pretty much my token to happiness. Combine that with a spontaneous weekend trip to Montreal, the energy of Frosh week and 40 degree weather and you've got yourself one crazy party. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Montreal makes great cocktails

I am a huge fan of cocktails.  I like them served the old fashioned way and I like tasting the new and inventive mixes of today.  I like it when they taste like summer and I like it when they taste like I should be sitting in a leather club chair smoking a cigar.  And this is starting to sound a lot like Dr. Seuss. Must be the cocktails talking 'cause Montreal has a lot of 'em and we were on a taste-testing mission. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Majestique Montreal

I did not find this place in my last minute Montreal research, I found it the old fashioned way, by walking by.  We were having one of those days when you don't know what you've been hankering for and this place happened to be the perfect place. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Shakespeare in High Park

It's tradition! Every year we pack a delicious picnic, sit in the park and watch as some of the most well-known works by Shakespeare are performed under the stars.  The production is put together by the good folks at CanStage who choose two plays every year.  This year we had the choice between Julius Caesar and A Comedy of Errors. We opted to join the masses in Julius Caesar.

Monday, 20 July 2015

How to fall in love with PanAm in 10 days

For the last six months leading up to PanAm, I only heard how it was not going to work from the media.  Nay-sayers complained of inevitable grid-lock, poor attendance and half-completed venues.  Well, the games officially started 10 days ago, and guess what?  It's actually been really great.  

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Check Yo'self

Every time I announce that I'm going on a trip by myself, I think I give my parents something of a panic attack.  They suddenly become hyper-concerned with my safety and my surroundings.  And yes, when you travel to an unfamiliar place you should definitely be cautious.  I believe that most people are good: they want love, respect and joy, but there are some serious wrong-doers out there, so you've got to keep your senses keen. 

Where is all this blabbering headed? Well, it's the set-up for the story of Monday night in the city. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


For ten days in June, the city is transformed into a canvas, a stage and a street party all rolled into one.  It's called Luminato. Artists from around the world were brought to our fair city to enlighten, inspire and entertain us.  There were many ticketed concerts and theatrical experiences available, but there were also many free community events.  

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sick Kids All-Star Gala

Like many Torontonians, I can think of more than one story where Sick Kids helped someone I love.  So when an opportunity presented itself to help them whilst looking my best and sipping a cocktail, I signed right up for the All-Star Gala. The Gala featured live entertainment, a silent auction and a few local sports' celebrities.  It lured young professionals with an open bar and a chance to get up close with some Maple Leafs.  I suppose the hope is that one day when these young professionals are big-wigs, they'll have a few extra donation dollars to send Sick Kids' way.  

Monday, 22 June 2015

Junction Solstice

Solstice, when the sun just keeps on shining! 

Remember December when you left for work in the morning and it was dark out and then you left work to come home and it was dark again and you felt like a mole person? Well, that seemed like a distant memory this weekend as we celebrated the longest day of the year and it was glorious.

Monday, 15 June 2015


For the most part, I take advice from Pumba and Timon and "leave the past behind" me, but every now and again I get to thinking about what happened to so-and-so?  And with that in mind we hosted our own mini high school reunion.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Mac n' Cheese Festival in Liberty Village

When I was a kid, I thought my mac n' cheese was fancy if it had broccoli or hot dogs in it.  Now I look for ingredients like lobster or truffles.  My, my how times have changed.  The one thing that hasn't changed: I love cheese and ooey gooey mac n' cheese goodness. So in the spirit in indulging in a 3-day calorie intake in one meal, I walked down to Liberty Village for their mac n' cheese festival.  Not only is this a celebration of one of my favourite comfort foods, it's a time for Toronto chefs to show off their stuff and compete for a $5,000 cash prize for "People's Choice", among other prestigious awards.  

Monday, 8 June 2015

Field Trip Music Festival

This story begins like many stories from generations past.  I met a guy in a bar.  We got to chatting and before I knew it, I had an All Access wristband for the Field Trip Music Festival and the possibility of re-connecting with this kind stranger backstage.  It all seemed a little odd, and wonderfully mysterious, so I put on the wristband and headed to the festival.  

Monday, 1 June 2015

Couture? Yes please!

As you may have already guessed, I love fashion.  I love the way that getting dressed can make me feel differently about myself.  I can be a tomboy or a glamazon on any day just as long as I dress the part.  So, when my sis asked me to be her maid of honour she sweetened the deal by telling me that I could wear whatever I wanted.  I was excited, but at 6'1" my off-the-rack fashion choices are often limited.  I convinced myself that I had no choice; I was just going to have to have something made just for me.  

Monday, 25 May 2015

Doors Open Toronto

Now in it's 16th year, Doors Open Toronto gives us access to buildings we wouldn't otherwise be able to visit.  I've participated a few times over the years.  One of which was probably one of my worst first dates ever.  I still shake my head thinking about it. Luckily, it hasn't scarred me from attending Doors Open.  This year I picked a few stops along College Street. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Making a Mask for a Swank Masquerade

I confess; sometimes I just want to go to the store and buy something. I find myself thinking of all the time it would save me.  But then the horrifying idea that someone will show up wearing the same thing occurs to me and I inevitably resolve to create something of my own.  And of course since I was going to make something of my own, I was going to make something that most people hadn't seen before: a half mask fascinator. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Painted Tiles - Azulejos

My sister is getting married. 
My sister has lots of great crafty ideas for her wedding. 
My sister has little patience for creative endeavors. 
My sister has an arty big sister and a very talented best friend.  So we painted tiles, a lot of tiles. 

My sister wanted to draw on our cultural heritage for the decor of her wedding. Portugal is known for having beautiful blue and white painted tiles called azulejos.   

Monday, 4 May 2015

Aberfoyle Antique Market

Last weekend marked the beginning of my treasure hunting season with the opening of the Aberfoyle Antique Market.  The market takes place every Sunday from the end of April through to the end of October, so you'll have LOTS of opportunities to find that "thing" you've been looking for. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Masquerade is French and so was this event

In the fall of last year I was introduced to AperoChic: After work socializing with a French touch.  I was a little intimidated because my French isn't that great and even though their group page welcomes non French speakers, I didn't totally believe it.  Luckily, my apprehensions were all in my head as usual and I enjoyed a wonderful evening.  I hadn't been to another event since then until they unveiled their plan to host a masquerade.  Being a big fan of Halloween and therefore almost any occasion to wear a costume and a huge supporter of open bars, I took haste and purchased my ticket.  

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

love art

The Love Art fair was in Toronto from April 16-19 at the Direct Energy Centre at the CNE.  The fair is a relaxed way to see, purchase and learn about collecting art.  It's aim is to remove the pretension from art buying and attract an audience that may have been too intimidated to walk into a gallery otherwise.  

Monday, 20 April 2015

Cavalia's Odysseo

The last time I was in the big white tent, Drew Barrymore was cool so it was high-time I went back.  Cirque du Soleil has been so influential over the past decade and a half that it has changed the way we view "circus" and the way that we think about acrobatics today.  With multiple shows in Las Vegas and many years on tour it was important for acrobatics shows not to get stale.  And although Cavalia and Cirque du Soleil are not affiliated, it's easy to see the influence the Cirque has had.  But I mean, Cavalia added horses, so take that.  

Monday, 13 April 2015

Yoga Conference and Show

There was a time when in my head yoga was synonymous with two things: 1. India and 2. hippies with flowery pants and dreadlocks.  As it turns out, yoga is a lot more universal than I had originally given it credit for.  I even rather enjoy it.  However, I'm not what one would consider a "yogi" like my soon-to-be yoga instructor friend.  So when she asked me to accompany her to the yoga conference and show, I was a little intimidated. Like, do I have to wear spandex? 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Crafts for those special bachelorette touches

So, you have a great idea for a party.  You've picked the venue and finalized your guestlist.  GREAT! But now you have to come up with all those little things that are going to take your event to the next level.  For a bachelorette party, getting those things together usually involves some sort of penis paraphernalia and lots of pink.  But not this time folks, oh no, we're breaking the mold.   

Monday, 30 March 2015

Planning a kick-ass bachelorette party

When you're the "party girl" and you're in charge of planning the party people are expecting big things from you, but when you're planning the party for someone else, it's important not to forget that this shindig ain't about you.  So if you like paint ball, but she likes ballet, you're going to have to suck it up.  Lucky for me, my little sis and I aren't that diametrically opposed, so planning something that she would enjoy came rather naturally. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

How to Survive an Event Solo in 3 Steps

I wasn't supposed to be at this thing solo.  I was supposed to roll in with my colleagues - a dymanic trio,  Then they got stuck in a meeting and I had to go alone. EEP! Flash back to the fifth grade when everyone was in on the joke except for me.  But I mustered up some courage, got in a cab and headed off to the party. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Spring Wreath

The cold, grey and dull winter is really starting to give me a case of the "winter blues", so when a coworker approached me with a bag of craft flowers I was pretty excited to remind myself that spring is coming and we will have sunshine, warmth and colour in our lives again soon. And when that happens, I'm going to be ready with a beautiful wreath on my front door. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Adding lights to a flip top vanity

For Christmas this year I got just what I wanted.  A new cordless drill for all of my DIY projects and a flip top vanity for my boudoir.  I had been doing all of my primping sitting on the floor so this really felt like a monumental step into adulthood.  I excitedly rushed home, assembled it, re-upholstered the seat to match my room and then sat down for my close up.  Trouble was, the level of brightness in my room is perpetually set to romantic and I couldn't see what I was doing.  The liquid eye liner disaster that ensued proved that this just would not do. I needed a solution.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Basquiat at the AGO

I knew this was going to be HUGE when First Thursday tickets sold out in less than an hour.  Sadly, I was not one of the lucky ones and had to wait an extra three days to check out the exhibit.  Jean-Michel Basquiat was an artist in New York in the 1980's whose work explored many different taboo themes for the time.  He died at the age of 27, but still managed to create a large body of work that is raw, expressive and beautiful.  The AGO currently has 85 of these pieces on display in their exhibit: "Now's The Time".  

Monday, 2 February 2015

A night out with Tapestry Opera

When was the last time you were at the opera?  If I were to ask this of my friends most of them would look at me with a blank stare because they had never even considered going to the opera.  And I would have to understand that because aside from that whole awesome red dress, diamond necklace, private jet thing in Pretty Woman, the opera doesn't really come up too often.  

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Artlive Ball

I don't even have words to describe how excited I was to attend this year's #Artlive Ball.  I've always been energized by the freedom and enthusiasm expressed through vogueing and so when I realized that I had missed last year's Ball I promised myself that I would not make that same error twice.  I was off to the catwalk.  

Monday, 19 January 2015

Gilda's Club Fashion Fundraiser

A co-worker of mine invited me to a clothing sale.  Being a collector of a fabulous wardrobe, an appreciator of a great deal and a wanna-be philanthropist, I couldn't resist. This event promised to excite three important facets of who I am.  

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Food Diaries: Langos in Hungary

After a long hard day at the outdoor spa, you'll find that you've worked up quite the appetite.  So you'll be happy to know that the Hungarians have created a bready, cheesy and garlicy treat called Langos, which happens to be just the thing you need.  

Monday, 5 January 2015

Happy 2015!!!

Well, here we are.  We've survived 2014.  It was a big news year with lots of things happening across the globe and I had a pretty big year in my own little world too.  Thanks to everyone who has been reading Stuff and Places and a HUGE thank you to all of you who have helped me create moments to write about.  I've had a lot of fun and learned a great deal.