- Plaza de Bolivar. Translated to English it would something like “Bolivar Square”. It’s Bogota’s grand central square where you can admire historical landmarks, with beautiful architecturally imposing buildings such as Palacio de Justicia, and enjoy free cultural activities and music concerts. Crowning the plaza you will find the National Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic church building located on the eastern side of Plaza de Bolivar.
- Chorro de Quevedo. It is most likely to be the first Spanish settling of the city where its founder, Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, had 12 houses built along with a small chapel. This area is both residential and commercial, with plenty of colonial houses as well as restaurants and bars.
- Hotel de la Opera,
- Graffiti walking tours, we were surprised with the new amount of art along the sidewalks. It was just so pretty and colorful. small alleys and sidewalks had drawings and messages on.
Road tripping in Ottawa with some of my favourite boys. I missed my older children but as those of you who are parents know, when they are old enough, they make their own plans. That’s why we’re making the most out of our time with our youngest, while we can.
I had been to Ottawa before but this time it was a completely impromptu trip.
Here are some of the stops we made and the activities we enjoyed in this beautiful city
First Stop: Tulip Festival at Commissioners Park
During May, this park becomes a parade of the most gorgeous colours. Tulips of many colours. Yellow, orange, red, fuchsia… you name it. All this beauty surrounds Dow’s Lake which makes of this place a great spot for photography while both locals and visitors stroll along as they answer spring’s call.
Second Stop: Canadian Museum of History
We started our visit at the Canadian Children’s Museum. It was a pleasant surprise as we all loved every corner of it. Essentially, children are embarked into a world trip as they visit different regions and stamp their passports along the way. My son had a lot of fun hopping on the Pakistani bus with looked amazing with all its décor. We had a lot of fun as we browsed the many recreations of streets in India, Thailand, Mexico, and Egypt. Children also have the chance to play around with toys and games from all the countries on display. This is definitely one of those one of a kind experiences that encourage children to explore the world and grow their interest for other cultures.
We spent our next two hours touring the rest of the main exhibits, starting by the Great Hall and its magnificent totem poles. This is an open area with great architecture. A space that really caught our attention and also served as an introduction to the following exhibitions.
Right after the Great Hall we spent some quality time browsing the First People and Canadian History Halls. Basically, it’s a walk through of our country’s history from the very beginning up until the modern age. It was fascinating to discover many unknow facts about the history of our country and the great people that have been behind it.
Third Stop: Downtown Ottawa is an area full of landmarks, all within walking distance. Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, the Peace Tower and the National War Memorial are just a few of them.
Gothic-style architecture is predominant in most buildings. This time, we toured some of the buildings at night and some others during the day, which gave me a very different perspectiveof the city.
Where to eat
Benny’s Bistro: Best brunch in town! The long wait was way worth it as everything we ordered was delicious, and we loved the freshness of the ingredients. One of the best kept secrets in the Byward Market.
Evo Greek: Great spot for dinner in Little Italy, near Commissioners Park. Their seafood is top notch and serving sizes are generous. Best of all, their staff was very welcoming, and the atmosphere truly special.
The French Baker: This place has been voted as Ottawa’s best croissants by The New York Times. Their desserts are also out of this world! I like how they offer healthy options as they use whole ingredients, with no added fat or sugar and very low in salt. Conveniently located in the Byward Market, in the same building as Benny’s Bistro.
Well, that’s all for today.
Hope you like it!
Perhaps I’m not a regular mom. Actually, I consider myself a COOL mom and today I want to share some gift ideas that could inspire you for this Mother’s Day.
Before I go through my list, I want to say that my favorite Mother’s Day moments have been when my children wake me up with a homemade breakfast, flowers, and a handmade card. That’s truly irreplaceable. They make me feel so special with their love gestures and handcrafted cards.
As my children have grown so has the guide changed. That said, the list below is grouped into five categories. From these (and my own life experiences) I hope you can get some inspiration!
1. Spa Time
Those who know me would tell you that I love everything about spas, including massages, facial and body treatments. Personally, I believe this is the “me time” that every mom absolutely needs and deserves. From those I know, the ones below are my favorite spas. And believe me, I wouldn’t recommend a place that I didn’t enjoy. So go ahead and pamper your mom!
- The Clinica. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit this calm and beautiful place for a facial spa. A week later I came back for another treatment. From my own experience, I can say the skin specialists are amazing, they are very specific about the details involved in the treatment and how these ultimately benefit your skin. The Clinica is a peaceful and pleasant place, is absolutely amazing, strongly recommended. Each treatment is formulated with innovative ingredients and effective compounds. I checked their website and there’s a promotion for Mother’s Day – “Buy one facial, get the second one free” – you can read my previous post about my experience in The Clinica.
- Rosewater Spa. A place of serenity dedicated to offering massages, facial spas, manicure, pedicure, and sauna. It’s listed as one of Canada’s Top 25 Spas. This is where my hubby and I go for our massage therapy. Their therapists are true pros who make sure you walk out of their place feeling renewed. They would also give us some tips on exercises we can do at home to improve our back health.
- Pure + Simple. My last experience with a facial spa took place here and was pretty good. The staff was pleasant. The place is very clean and beautiful. Pure + Simple has various locations in Toronto and Mississauga.
2. Flower, plants & handmade cards
- Fleur de Reine. Nothing more appealing than long-lasting flowers for mom. Their ‘Eternal Bloom’ Roses last up to a year.
- Teleflora. Canada-wide flower delivery, all bouquets are professionally arranged by a florist and hand-delivered to your door.
- Bloomex. Online store offering fresh-cut flowers & gourmet gift baskets. If you’re looking for high-quality at affordable prices this might be the place to go. Plus, if you’re in Toronto, they offer same-day delivery.
While I haven’t had any experience buying from these stores, I spent some time doing some research and these are definitely the most popular for Mother’s Day. If you’re looking for more options, I would suggest you find a seasonal plant or fresh-cut bunch of flowers from your nearest florist or supermarket (e.g. Sobeys, Fortinos, Longos, etc.).
From my personal gallery, here are some of my favorite moments when I’ve gotten handmade cards and flowerpots.
3. Brunch or Dinner
- The Keg Steakhouse. Can’t go wrong with this one. Great food, awesome atmosphere, and outstanding service. Their menu offers plenty of options for everyone thus making it a great option for Mother’s Day lunch or dinner.
- Cibo Wine Bar. A truly authentic Italian wine bar and a perfect spot for Mother’s Day Brunch. They have locations in midtown Toronto and Yorkville. Just make sure you book a table before it’s too late and treat your mom to her favourite meal.
- Baro Restaurant. Located in the King West area, this restaurant offers traditional Latin cuisine, yet completely reimagined. Nice atmosphere too. They will be offering mothers a complimentary glass of prosecco to celebrate their day of honor. For more details check out their website – barotoronto.com
4. Some special gifts such as makeup sets
A must-have for any mom. Clinique, L’Oreal, and Nude by Nature, these are some of the makeup brands I’ve been wearing during my life. This season they are offering special sets for Mother’s Day, either online or in-store. Recently, I took advantage of some cool deals myself. For example, for purchases over $55 Clinique is offering a free tote bag. There are also limited-edition products from L’Oreal and Nude by Nature in light of Mother’s Day, many of them including giveaways through their Instagram accounts.
I love accessories and these days hair clips are a trend, I’ve seen both young and older moms wearing those. Also, consider a tote bag – they never go out of style – a pair of sunglasses – always needed- or a special necklace or charms – what a cute gift. All these will come in handy as we honor our moms in their special day!
Recently, I was the happy winner of what is known as a Miracle Cocktail treatment. Offered by The Clinica – a chic spa in north Toronto – a Miracle Cocktail is essentially a facial skin rejuvenation treatment. I won this thanks to a giveaway promoted by @liatyomanchic, a Toronto lifestyle blogger who I’m lucky to follow. That being said, I’m thrilled to tell you a little bit about my experience. My skin specialist was Tracy. She was great and very specific about the details involved in the treatment and how these ultimately benefit your skin.
- Personalized Formula Cocktail (skin care treatment) right for your skin needs. Tracy says that every drop is formulated according to your desired results and goals while relieving skin conditions such as redness, pigmentation, laxity, dryness, aging, and acne.
- Facial cleansing and exfoliation applying a pineapple and papaya product – smells delicious – which contains a little acid that helps boost the exfoliation process and prepare the skin for a micro needling treatment.
- Skin Channelling. A technique involving the use of a stamp with a bunch of tiny needles that open superficial but tiny holes thus allowing the serum to penetrate deeper into your epidermis. Basically, the purpose behind Skin Channeling is to enable the custom blend formula to be deeply absorbed by the dermis.
What to Expect
The treatment triggers the release of natural growth factors while activating the growth of new and healthy skin tissue. Tighter, firmer pores and hydrated glowing are noticeable within the first 24 hours. Results can last up for a couple of months depending on your own skincare routine.
Our experience took place in a resort called Viva Wyndham Maya in Playa del Carmen. After all, we were aiming to take a break from the busier Cancun and explore the Mayan ruins. Thus, we decided to spend a couple of days in the resort to kick back, eat and sleep.
As you may know, resorts offer plenty of activities to choose from, depending on your own preferences and mood. Here’s some of the things you can do during the day and in the evening:
Under the sun
- Enjoying food in general, either breakfast, lunch or dinner when time is on your side, is a great pleasure. Even more so if you’re enjoying a nice conversation with your partner, family members or friends.
At home, I usually have to wake up early to make my own food. Therefore, there’s nothing more relaxing for me than having a long sleep and then wake up realizing that there’s a buffet-style restaurant waiting for you with the most delicious food and with so many options. There is something that we really appreciated in that place which is the freshness of food and the variety of dishes from all over the world.
The facilities are a plus as they offer endless possibilities, including exploring the resort, enjoying water activities, or simply having fun by the pool or beach. Personally, I would spend my leisure time reading, tanning and having a drink. Sometimes napping would suffice, while getting a tan. My partner and I would enjoy the beach in many ways, either playing volleyball, windsurfing, bodyboarding, or just walking along the shoreline after lunch or before going to bed.
Exploring nearby places is always a great idea wherever you go. Riviera Maya offers plenty of options, including Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Xcaret just to name a few. Consider booking a guided tour if that’s your preference. Also, browsing local shops are part of what it means exploring new cultures or traditions.
Under the moon
Be ready for the night changing your mood. Get dressed for success, feel fabulous and look forward to having an amazing experience every night. Here’s three things to do:
- Enjoying the taste of each particular cuisine and letting yourself be immersed in each restaurant’s concept is a great experience. At Viva Wyndham Maya, booking dinner at specialty restaurants is required, preferably a couple of days in advance. Also, bear in mind there are some limitations in terms the number of restaurants you can dine. We enjoyed the following:
* Portofino: Mediterranean-style a-la-carte restaurant. An inviting and relaxed contemporary ambience decorated with nautical elements. A perfect atmosphere to enjoy intimate moments and sample exquisite cuisine. Here’s where we had our 10th anniversary dinner celebration.
* Xul-Ha: Mexican specialties. Its ambiance evokes the culture of the Mayan tribes and the menu options are quite exotic. We spent a beautiful couple of evenings there.
* Bamboo: Asian a-la-carte dining with an exotic atmosphere. This was our choice on our first night at the resort.
- The options are endless; theme parties, clubs, bars, pubs, you name it. As with all-inclusive resorts, night shows are also offered to guests. Also, a good thing about Viva Wyndham Maya is that you can walk over to nearby Wyndham Azteca and enjoy its facilities.
When it comes to nightlife in Playa del Carmen, you can’t miss world-famous Coco Bongo. This was quite an experience for us, a show and a party, all in one place. Basically, we’re talking about Vegas– style entertainment in a Latin style fiesta ambiance. We spent four hours having the most incredible fun, which is the duration of the show, all in our feet. You have to experience it yourself firsthand!
- Walking under moon. As a couple, walking is one our favourites to do when we’re together and what a better spot for a stroll than beautiful Riviera Maya at night. Sometimes strolls would be preceded by some drinks (cocktails, wine) and snacks at the pool bar, which by the way, are unlimited.
During this trip, we had the opportunity to meet a couple from Argentina who made our evening very pleasant. They shared with us a bottle of the most exquisite red wine which they brought from home as well as “alfajores”, a classic Argentinian treat. We spoke for hours about everything, including politics, culture, dreams, etc. It felt like we were old friends although we actually met in the beach that same day. By the way, we’re still in touch through social media. I hope to meet with them again here in Canada or maybe Argentina. (Hey Caro, if you ever read this blog let me know by leaving a comment!).
Well, that’s all… Leave your comments and tell me what topics would you like to read!
With Love 💕
In the last minute we decided to rent a car and head directly to Cancun. A simple decision as it’s just an hour drive from Playacar. Initially, the plan was to go there with a guided tour offered by our resort but after considering some options we decided to go on our own.
Near our resort we found a branch of Enterprise. The night before our excursion we rented a car for 24 hours and then early on Wednesday we hit the road after having a delicious and varied breakfast in the resort.
We headed directly to Cancun an made our first stop at Delfines Beach as we were looking forward to taking a picture with the Cancun sign. This spot is famous for its beautiful views of the city and beaches. We were not surprised to see a long line of people – mostly tourists – waiting to take a picture with the sign. Since the wait was getting long, a couple who was ahead of us had the smart idea of offering those on the front to help them take their pics in order to speed up things. The line actually started moving and soon we were taking to long-awaited pic!
The beach has a lot of local stores selling all types of fruit including green mangos. It’s common to see groups of friends or families taking pics with the blue ocean on the background. This is clearly a spot favourited by locals. Plus, washrooms are available everywhere you go! My husband and I went for a stroll and really enjoyed this place despite the intense heat.
Later we drove to Plaza La Isla, a nice mall that opened recently. It’s a large place with many stores, many of them international brands.
Before we drove back to Playacar, we did a quick tour of the hotel strip. Usually this is something offered by almost all hotel chains. Essentially, you buy a daily pass that would give you access the hotel and let you enjoy its public areas. We were lucky as the day we did the tour there was no fee (typically it costs about $30 per person to visit each hotel, food and drinks not included). Some of the best hotels we toured included Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott. Each hotel employed a different concept; the first one elegant and glamorous, the latter one more charming, modern and fresh. This is my own personal opinion, or at least how I felt about them. Not an expert on the matter to be honest.
Her staff was hosting a function that evening and I was able to go around this beautiful room filled with classic European-style furniture. The hostess and I had been speaking English for about five minutes when we found out both of us spoke Spanish. How funny is that!
Visiting the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa was a charming experience. I was welcomed by a huge and beautiful floral basket placed in the middle of the lobby. Further down in the lounge area, I had a great time chilling out while listening to a great singer and her piano. This spacious lobby features multiple seating options perfect for meeting and catching up with friends. Also, the lounge bar offered breathtaking views of the ocean surrounded by white sand and rows of palm trees.
One of the aspects I liked the most about this hotel were the many restaurant and spa options it offers, along with a little shopping mall selling all types of Maya crafts, clothing and jewelry. Check out the link below for more photos.
After a busy but happy day, we drove back to Playacar, arriving just in time for dinner at the resort.
By the way .. This is my first blog…Happy New Year!
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24 horas en Cancun.
En el último minuto decidimos rentar en carro para dirigirnos directamente a Cancún. Fue fácil tomar la decisión ya que es a una hora manejando desde Playacar. Inicialmente, el plan era tomar un tour guiados de los que ofrecen en el hotel, después de revisar algunas opciones decidimos ir por nuestra propia cuenta.
Cerca a nuestro resort encontramos una sucursal de Enterprise. La noche anterior a nuestra excursión rentamos un carro por 24 horas, entonces bien temprano tomamos la ruta después de saborear un delicioso y variado desayuno en el resort, (No se logran imaginar la delicia de comida y sobre todo la variedad, es absolutamente increíble). Nos dirigimos hacia esta ciudad e hicimos nuestra primera parada en la Playa de los Delfines, estábamos buscando el letreo de la palabra Cancún. Este lugar es bastante turístico y famoso por su bella vista de la ciudad y su playa. La verdad no nos sorprendimos con la fila tan larga de personas, en su mayoría turistas, esperando para tomar su turno para tomarse una foto con la señal como recuerdos. Ya que la fila estaba bastante demorada una pareja que estaba delante de nosotros tuvieron una brillante idea se pudieron al frente de la señal ye empezaron a tomar fotos a todos para que la fila se moviera más rápido, y así fue la fila se movió super rápido, yo penaba menos mal esta pareja estaban atrás de nosotros, porque apenas ellos se tomaron la suya se fueron y volvió el caos.
Esta playa tiene bastantes tienditas con todo tipo de frutas incluido el mango verde en tiras con miel y sal, (en Canada no se ve), es muy común ver grupo de amigos o familias tomando fotos con el mar azul como fondo, así que nosotros nos apuntamos e hicimos la nuestra foto también. Claramente nos dimos cuenta de que es un lugar favorito para la gente local, ósea la que vive allí en su rato libre se dirigen a descansa en esa playa. Un buen punto es que tienen baños públicos bastante limpios en todo lado. Estuvimos caminando con mi esposo alrededor de la playa a lo largo del camino y pasamos un tiempo bastante agradable a pesar del fuerte calor.
Mas tarde manejamos hacia la Plaza la Isla, es un centro comercial bastante chévere, grande bonito y recién abierto con muchas tiendas, muchas de estas tiendas son marcas internacionales, que le dan un poco de estatus al centro comercial. Almorzamos en un lugar que se llama la Parilla típico restaurante mexicano, que ofrece su tradicional cocina al estilo yucateca. ¡Como se podía esperar la comida picante pero deliciosa y con una a super gigante limonada fresca y recién hecha, que delicia! Mientras almorzábamos una persona del restaurante se acercó un nos ofreció tomarnos una foto la cual encantados aceptamos, como algunos sabe a mí me encanta las fotos (hacer memorias) en un par de minutos luego se acercó con la foto en un marco que costaba $ 15 dólares y decidimos tomarla sin el marco que costo $ 10, aquello del peso en la maleta. un lindo recuerdo. El lugar bastante bien decorado al mejor estilo mexicano, vivo lleno de colores, flores, banderines y estandartes, unas meseras vestidas con sus hermosos trajes tradicionales. El servicio excelente como es usual en esta zona de restaurantes.
Pasamos la siguiente hora recorriendo el centro comercial y haciendo algunas compras. Mi esposo consiguió un par de gafas y yo, la verdad entre a una promoción de la tienda de Tous y compre un par de aretes, por alguna razón aquí en Canada no están estas tiendas así que no podía perder la oportunidad. ¿Alguien me explica porque no hay?
Enseguida de nuestra experiencia en el mall, exploramos Punta Cancún, una de las áreas más llenas de la ciudad. Esta área está llena de muchos lugares de entretenimiento, comida y bebidas. Una de ellas es Hard Rock Café, donde hicimos una parada para refrescarnos y de paso me pedí un delicioso helado con brownie son mis favoritos y mi esposo pidió una malteada de chocolate. Justo atrás de nosotros está ubicado un Coco Bongo, una de las más populares experiencias de entretenimiento conocida en esta parte de México, famoso por sus presentaciones y las super megas fiestas… más adelante escribiré un blog sobre este espectacular lugar y la experiencia vivida allí.
Antes de dirigirnos hacia Playacar, hicimos un rápido recorrido en la línea de hotelera. Usualmente esto lo ofrecen todas o casi todas las cadenas de hoteles, Esencialmente, se compra un boleto por día que te da acceso al hotel y con la posibilidad de disfrutar de las zonas públicas del hotel. Estuvimos muy de buenas, justo ese día no había tarifa, (normalmente cuestan un promedio de $30 dólares por persona para visitar cada hotel, comida y bebida no están incluidas). Algunos de los hoteles que conocimos son el Ritz Carlton y el JW Marriott. Cada hotel tiene un concepto diferente; El primero es elegante y glamuroso, el otro más encantador, moderno y fresco. Esto es mi opinión cada uno, con sus gustos, (je, je) eso fue lo que yo vi y al menos lo que sentí, no soy una experta en decoración de hoteles para ser honesta.
En el Hotel Ritz Carlton, una entrada decorada con unas flores caribeñas dándote la bienvenida en un elegante lobby. El área de bienvenida para los invitados o huéspedes es super elegante en estilo clásico con fina decoración. Mientras estaba en el área del lobby fui invitada a pasar a una de las glamurosas salas la Fantino. Estaban realizando un evento esa tarde i tuve el chance de entrar y poder apreciar toda la decoración en detalle para cada mesa, floreros, vajillas amoblado por un clásico estilo europeo. La anfitriona y yo estuvimos hablando por unos cinco minutos en inglés, hasta cuando nos dimos cuenta obviamente que ambas podíamos hablar español. ¡Que chistoso fue esto!
Visitando el otro hotel el JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa también fue una encantadora experiencia, la bienvenida es con un hermoso arreglo floral en medio del vestíbulo. Mas adelante en el área de estar, tuve un tiempo para charlar, tomar algo y escuchar una melodía al son del cantante tocando el piano. Este espacio tiene múltiples opciones para sentarse bastantes cómodas; perfectas para reunirse y pasar un rato agradable con los amigos. También desde el bar se puede apreciar una increíble vista que te quita el aliento, es estar en medio del azul del mar, con sus playas blancas, rodeada de unas palmeras largas y hermosas que brilla sus hojas verdes. ¡¡Me enamore!!
One of the aspects I liked the most about this hotel were the many restaurant and spa options it offers, along with a little shopping mall selling all types of Maya crafts, clothing and jewelry. Uno de los aspectos que más me gusto fue la opción de varios restaurantes y el hermoso spa que ofrecen junto con un centro comercial interno que ofrece todo el tipo de artesanía Maya, ropa y joyas. Chequea este enlace para apreciar más fotos.
Después de un día bastante agitado, regresamos a nuestro resort en Playa del Carmen, justo a tiempo para la cena.
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We’re back home after enjoying a memorable Christmas in NYC as a family. I would like to share on this post a few of the things we did because, at the end, it was worth it. I would like to tell you about some of the new dining spots we discovered as well as a handful of nice spots for a good stroll.
We absolutely loved exploring NYC during this Christmas season. Being in such a gorgeous city, there are a ton of things to do and see, so here are the 10 must-go places (more to come in January) …
- Radio City Music Hall.
We got tickets for the Christmas Spectacular featuring the world-famous Rockettes. Usually, a good pair tickets would range between $350-450 each, but thanks to the TKTS booth in Times Square we were able to get same-day tickets for a fraction of said price. The show was nothing short of magical with the Rockettes bringing their best performance to the stage.
Please see the Giants Christmas ornaments ( balls) are located in front of the Radio City at the America Av. ( 6th Avenue).
- Lotte New York Palace.
Right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan you will find one of the most famous Christmas trees at the New York Palace Hotel. This stunning tree is located on the main entrance on Madison Avenue, one of the best in town. Also, worth checking out its lobby and the incredible decorations.
- Window shopping on the Fifth Avenue. We strolled around this famous strip on a Saturday before Christmas, which means the place was crowded with people doing their own shopping, and traffic as hectic as ever. It was quite difficult to find a spot to park, which by the way, is enforced in Manhattan on Saturdays.
All the windows across the many shops looked amazing, especially the Cartier store on 52nd Street, one of my favorites. With its giant bow it is a true icon during Christmas. Another great store you don’t want to miss is Bergdorf Goodman and the amazing facade at Saks Fifth Avenue and their Christmas light show running every 15 minutes.
- Rolf’s German Restaurant.
Get ready to squeeze in because this place is small and crowded. I don’t think you can find a spot in town with more Christmas decorations than this. There’s two ways to get in, either as bar walk in or with a reservation, which needs to be made at least two months in advance.
We did the walk in and were able to take some interesting pictures.
- Rockefeller Center.Manhattan’s epicenter of Christmas along with its magnificent tree, skating rink and rows of angels with banners guarding the entrance. Quite a spot. We went there for Christmas eve.
- Dyker Heights.
Get ready to make the trip to Brooklyn and witness six blocks of homes turned into amazing Christmas castles. Very special place. Traffic and parking can be an issue so be patient.
- Christmas caroling at Washington Square Park.
This is a tradition that started 94 years ago. Essentially, New Yorker’s gather around the arch and sing carols together as they are lead by a small chorus. Children, seniors, and people from all walks of life caroling and worshiping our Saviour. It was a memorable time.
- Ice skating.
Two of the most popular options include Wollman Rink in Central Park or Bryant Park. While Central Park is the most popular option.
We like Bryant Park as it includes an outdoor food pavilion and Christmas markets. Plus, admission is free.
- Grand Terminal Central.
Not to be missed. Check out their Holiday Fair and free train exhibition at the Transit Museum.
- 230 Fifth Rooftoop Bar. Heated and transparent igloos surround this chic venue located on the 20th level of this building on Fifth Avenue. The place offers amazing views of the NY skyline than can be enjoyed while sipping your favourite cocktail or drink. Great spot for brunch too.
Well, this is all for now. By the way, Happy New Year everyone. I wish you an amazing new year. May all your dreams, goals come true.
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Starting a new life in Canada and all that it entails created a little bit of stress in me. Adapting to different customs, knowing the culture and especially starting a new life as a family is just a few of the things that contributed to it. It was then when I noticed my hair was falling out beyond what’s considered normal. Also, my nails would easily break and my skin was dull. Hence, I started looking for a new Biotin-based alternative to correct these problems.
One day, I had a conversation with a colleague from work after I noticed a bottle on her desk. It was thanks to this conversation that I found the new love in my life (so to speak)!
This product has become part of my morning routine, honestly. These delicious gummies are now part of my everyday life. I keep two bottles, one at home and another at work.
Every morning I start my day with a hot cup of tea and then I open up a pink top bottle that contains these delicious gummies. It’s not only the great strawberry taste that I love but knowing that these vitamins are helping keep my hair, nails, and skin healthy.
I am convinced this is the single element that helped to prevent my hair from falling out anymore. I am not good when it comes to taking medications and clearly, this product is far from being one. That’s why I feel so comfortable eating these gummies twice a day. Sometimes I would have one after lunch, more like a dessert to treat myself. It’s definitely something I could easily accommodate to my lifestyle. To be honest, it was not until a few days later that I realized these gummies also contain vitamin C, E, and antioxidants. Also, regularly consuming them helps protect your bones and teeth. Plus, they help to metabolize your carbs… it’s like all in one!
It’s not only the great flavour that caught me. It’s also all the positive things this product does for my body. Now I feel my hair looks healthier, my nails stronger and my skin glowing.
Here are some benefits I found through my own usage of Nature’s Bounty:
- Reduced hair loss
- Shiny and healthy hair
- Stronger nails
- Healthy, radiant and smoother skin
How do you take care of yourself?
It’s Christmas time … Probably you are thinking of a perfect holiday gift for her… sister, daughter, BFF, wife, girlfriend, wife… I encourage you to try it out.
You won’t regret it!
Note: All opinions are 100% mine. This is not sponsored or part of any paid advertising campaign. I simply want to share my personal experience with a product that is working for me. You can find the whole info here https://www.naturesbounty.ca/our-products/womens-health/hair-skin-and-nails-gummies/en
Also, you can connect with the brand on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/p/BqiWCRwg9lr/
Fall season is almost coming to an end, and for those of us who didn’t grow up in a country with four distinct seasons as Canada, watching the changing colours of leaves is something exciting. They first turn into bright yellow and then ochre. Others turn into scarlet and then fade away by becoming dark brown. These are new experiences for your eyes. Perhaps, for some this might be a routine process, the fact that nature slowly dies in order to prepare for the coming of winter. For those of us who enjoy the finest details of creation, we are still in awe.
Fall is that time of the year where fruit picking is the thing to do. Farms across the country see thousands of visitors pass through their gates as families enjoy harvests such as peaches, raspberries, apples and pumpkins. Pumpkins in particular are a fall classic. They come in many sizes and shapes and people would use them to decorate their homes – along with gerberas, haystacks, ochre and orange leaves – in an effort to celebrate its harvest season.
Pumpkins are also a family favourite as they’re used to carve Jack O’ Lanterns, a Halloween classic. Possibilities are endless if you want to get creative, and we usually enjoy carving my son’s favourite cartoon characters. Also, pumpkins are often used to make pumpkin pies, although we prefer to have an apple pie for dessert!
Fruit picking is not only a family activity but also one that can be enjoyed by couples. For instance, my oldest son enjoyed doing some apple picking with his friends this fall. They had a great time, took amazing pictures and enjoyed a delicious slice of apple pie with a cup of coffee to reward themselves for the arduous work.
Many of these fruit farms offer fun activities for small children as well, including corn mazes, haystacks, sandboxes, pony and tractor rides. Adults can also enjoy taking photographs, visiting the food market, and yes, going hot air ballooning!
One of my favourite activities during the fall is “leaf peeping”, also known as “foliage touring”. Essentially, people would hike some trails during the few weeks when leaves are falling. It’s a beautiful thing to see all those leaves fully covering the ground, creating a tapestry of beautiful colours. It’s amazing how many of these leaves would still look shiny, even when they’ve already fallen into the ground. Perhaps our lives should mimic those leaves, shining until the very last moment.
Now I’m wondering… what are your favourite activities during this lovely season?
After a 4 1/2-hour drive from Toronto, we arrived in Pittsburgh. Our first stop was Randyland which is an art project located in the north side of the city. Randyland is essentially a folk-art museum based on up cycling, which is the creative reuse of waste materials or unwanted products into new materials. Randy Gilson has dedicated over 23 years to this project and has benefited from the support of his community as well as some local charities.
I was impressed when I found out Randy has never taken vacation in the last 30 years, as he wanted to focus in building his project.
To my amazement, my youngest had a blast at the Cathedral of Learning which is a true gem located at the University of Pittsburgh campus.
This gothic-style building awes visitors with its four amazing common rooms, majestic arches, as well as hand-carved stone work including poems and flowers.
Notably, this building features over a dozen classrooms each of them dedicated to a different country. I really enjoyed seeing my son running through the halls and stopping at each classroom door to read the corresponding name: “The English Room”, “The Korean Room”, etc. The decoration and architecture of each room would be inspired in the cultures that had an influence on Pittsburgh’s growth. When we entered the French room, my little one pretended he was a professor giving a lecture and was able to say a few words in French! Being inside of this true great gothic building I felt I was transported to the early twentieth century.
The Cathedral of Learning is the second-tallest educational building in the world after the University of Moscow’s main building.
On Saturday evening we strolled around the heart of Pittsburgh’s downtown as we were craving for an ice cream. We were lucky to find Millie’s, a place serving the most delicious stuff. I treated myself with a lemon coconut sorbet while my travel mates went with their chocolate shakes. Also, we had the chance to explore “Market Square”, a vivid spot in the heart of downtown. Adding to the fun, we came across a cool festival with live music, food and shop tents. In that same area, we were able to discover the PPG Place Plaza, a perfect spot to take break. With a fountain with over 140 water jets plus plenty of chairs, this lovely area is surrounded by the PPG buildings, which feature little glass towers on top making them look like 21st century castles.
Around 7:30 pm we headed to the Duquesne Incline which is an inclined plan railroad that climbs up Mt. Washington and where people enjoy the most stunning views of the city. My youngest was really excited to hop in the incline car as it was his first time riding this type of vehicle.
When we reached the top, we explored the station which featured a small museum with interesting exhibits and photographs of the city. Then we walked to the observation deck where we enjoyed most beautiful views of the city. The steel bridges along with the many boats sailing on each of the tree rivers looked impressive and were greatly complemented by the lights coming from the downtown building and nearby venues, including the PNC ballpark. Luckily, as we were getting ready to take the car back down we were told about a fireworks show taking place that night and so in the last minute we decided to stay a bit longer. This turned out to be a great decision as the show was stunning and added a bit more fun to our Pittsburgh experience.
Sunday morning, we decided to explore Point State Park – such beautiful view of the city! This lovely spot is entrenched between three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela) and is crowned by a majestic fountain that refreshed visitors in what was a hot day. A huge green field is also a key element of this park and usually hosts cultural events and summer festivals.
After spending our morning at Point State Park, we headed to PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Our seats on the upper deck behind home plate offered amazing views of the Pittsburgh skyline as well as the surrounding rivers with many boats sailing around. It was really a fun experience, especially because it was the first baseball game my mother in law was attending. Truth is baseball is not a popular sport in her hometown (Bogota) as it is in other cities in Colombia such as Barranquilla, hometown of a few celebrities, including Shakira, Sofia Vergara, and Edgar Renteria aka “The Barranquilla baby”.
Our last minutes in Pittsburgh were spent exploring the former factory of the H. J. Heinz Company, home of the world-famous Heinz ketchup. Interestingly, the factory buildings – which encompass at least four blocks – have been transformed into residential spaces, now called Heinz Lofts. Strolling around this historic site was a nice way to put a finishing touch to our visit to the steel city.
“The Forest City”
Back in the highway we were now bound to Cleveland. After a two-hour drive we were already entering the city outskirts, but before venturing further into the city we made a quick stop at Brandywine falls, which make part of the Cuyahoga National Park.
Less than an hour later we were driving around downtown looking for place to grab a bite. We ended up at 4th street East, a small alley famous for its world-class dining options. http://www.east4thstreet.com/shop-dine-experience
Our choice for that evening was Lola Restaurant, which turned out to be fabulous. As I prepared to write this post, I found out Lola is home to Iron Chef’s Michael Symon’. Good to know! I think that explains the details on each table, the fancy decorations and of course the amazing food.
Right after Lola, we went to Playhouse Square, the second-largest theater complex in the US (after Lincoln Center) and home of the world’ largest outdoor chandelier. This magnificent piece was created in the 1920s.
Playhouse Square was set to be demolished 40 years ago and now it’s witnessing a renaissance that includes theatres and residences. Definitely worth a visit!
I love those glittering lights.
On the last day of our road trip we decided to further explore Cleveland landmarks, including downtown’s Pubic Square where we visited the neighboring Tower City Center, Renaissance Hotel, and Old Stone church.
At the heart of Cleveland’s Public Square lies the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, a marvelous piece of work commemorating the American Civil War. One thing that wrapped our attention was the small museum located inside the monument and its surrounding walls listing the names of the thousands of people who fought the war. I have to confess I was surprised with my little son’s knowledge of history my as he quickly identified Abraham Lincoln in one of the monuments.
Soon it was lunch time for which my husband took us to the West Side Market, home of the Parisian-style Crepes de Luxe. Truly recommended!
For dessert we walked a couple of blocks from the market to Mitchell’s Ice Cream (mitchellshomemade.com), a true oasis in the middle of a hot summer day. Not only we enjoyed our treats but also the views of their factory where you can see the elaboration process. Mitchell’s is located in a former theatre, then nightclub from the early 1900s, and has been home to this famous ice cream shop for over 65 years.
While It was about time to drive back to Toronto, we stretched our time in Cleveland for a quick visit to the Rock and Roll hall of Fame building where we took some cool pics of its front sign – LONG LIVE ROCK.
It was then time to say our goodbyes to Cleveland, with a “full belly and a happy heart” as Colombians would say. After all, your perspective changes when all your basic needs are met, especially when body and mind have been nourished.
It’s around 6:55am on Tuesday and a white van picks us up at the resort lobby. Inside the vehicle we find four more people with whom we have something in common, we all speak Spanish. Surprisingly, there’s also a blonde German girl doing the tour along with her partner, a guy who looked like he was Hispanic.
And so, a three-hour ride began. Our destination? Chichen Itza, the world-famous Mayan city and ruins located west of Riviera Maya in the Yucatan peninsula. During the ride, our guide, Victor, made an effort to keep us awake by talking about the many aspects of Maya culture. In the process some people managed to take a nap, including me! Finally, we arrived to Chichen, right on time and way before the morning rush. Later that morning we found out this was the smart thing to do, as the place would be packed on our way out.
I will leave all the historic details to the multiple great books and reviews that have been written about this fascinating site. On a personal level, I can say I was impacted by the skill and precision displayed in each building we visited. It was simply staggering to see how smart this people were and the kind of technology they were able to develop.
By looking at El Castillo – a temple pyramid dedicated to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent – you can witness the incredible kind of people the Maya were, as they were able to build such as majestic limestone structure without having the wheel. Also, consider the fact El Castillo is a physical representation of the Mayan calendar, which is nearly as accurate as ours. While listening to Victor, our guide, I also learned the Maya were highly resourceful and skilled when using their rustic tools. I can’t imagine the amazing things this people would be able to build with today’s technology!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t climb the stairs since access is restricted for safety reasons and conservation purposes. That said, I took lots of pictures and walked around it in order appreciate its majesty from different angles.
Another structure that called my attention was the ball court, the largest found in Mesoamerica. Interestingly,players weren’t allowed to use their hands to play, just their shoulders and legs. Matches would be played for hours, and some would last a couple of days until one of the two teams managed to kick the ball through one of the two rims placed on the side walls bordering the court. Sadly enough, members of the losing team would be beheaded as an offering to their gods!
Other structures and monuments the Maya built at Chichen Itza were dedicated to their many gods,including fertility and war. Essentially, there are more than a dozen structures in the city, which would take the savviest archeology fan a couple of days to visit. In our case, we opted for the express tour, and thus spent about two hours visiting the main buildings.
My favorite place after Chichen Itza was our trip to a cenote, one of the thousands of natural wells scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula. These formations were the result of underground rivers breaking through the limestone surface. To access the bottom of a cenote, you will need to walk down the steps that go deep down the rock. There, you will find a large cavern with high ceilings and dripping water, which makes the steps a bit slippery. Once you reach the bottom and jump into the water, you might notice it’s a bit chilly, which feels great after having spent hours walking around the ruins and enduring the heat.
While I didn’t dive into the water – I didn’t have my bathing suit with me – my husband did. In the meantime, I had some fun recording videos and took some pics. It’s really amazing how the sunlight penetrates the cenote from the top and reaches the water at the bottom. How beautiful is God’s creation!
After leaving the cenote, we went for a much-needed lunch at a local restaurant. While enjoying the exquisite Yucatan cuisine, we had the chance to see a Jarana dance performance which turns out to be a mixture of Mayan and Spanish elements is. Dancers would perform in beautiful costumes while carrying trays with beer bottles on their heads.
Our last stop that day was in a small town called Valladolid. Just like any typical Mexican town, it featured a big square (plaza) surrounded by colourful buildings, including the lovely “Ochre” yellow colour. We also went to a few shops selling Mexican silver, souvenirs and of course, tequila.
Shop, dine and enjoy over six blocks of free family-friendly event in the big celebration of retail shops in downtown Oakville aka Midnight Madness. Delicious food, many restaurants and stores opening their doors to welcome thousands of people on a summer night, with live music.
Around 6:30 pm we walked into a nice place to reconnect & relax. The “Yellow Door Studio” store is a beautiful – luxury decorated nail studio and lounge bar located in the heart of old Oakville. I love the concept and decoration.
During the event we took some pictures at the selfie wall and got the Polaroid pic, drank some lemonade, wine in their original stand while people inside the bar were enjoining the night and pampering themselves, is a place not just for women is even for men.
After that I went to one of the main stores in the street, Mendocino. It was packed and busy because of the Midnight Madness festival. It was crazy trying to get a jumpsuit, almost everything was on sale so the long line to pay took some time.
Strolling around we saw a couples dancing on the streets, musical performances, many activities for children and adults to catch the attention of people while promoting their businesses.
There is another store in the same street, Anthropologie which is very original, its boho–chic style is really pretty. I love to walk in to see the new trends and collections. the details in its decoration captivate my attention.
Festivalgoers enjoy in the company of family and friends while they stroll around and their children play in the many entertainment spots located across Lakeshore Road.
My husband and my youngest always love to eat the most famous hot dog in town. This year we discovered ice cream sandwich waffles, which were huge. Well, 10:30 pm it’s time to go home.
My summer outfit :
Dress : Suzy Shzer
Slide Sandals : Ralph Lauren ( I got them at the Hudson bay – 50% off)
Handbag : Kate Spade
Last June my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. For this second honeymoon our chosen destination was Mexico, to be more exact Playa Del Carmen in beautiful Riviera Maya. It was probably the first time in over ten years we were able to spend a week as a couple without our children. This was a very enjoyable time for us as we renewed our votes and reinforced our initial commitment to build our marriage in a way that makes us both happy. Now, back to the topic, Playa del Carmen or PDC, as many people know it is a paradisiac tropical destination with amazing beaches where you can experience the purest white sand you’ll ever find. It’s a place with lots of resorts around, and a really nice place to spend memorable days. I have to confess I was really missing my children during our first day there as we would see little kids playing in the pool and young people having fun around but I also know we needed to spend time together as a couple. It was fantastic to wake up every day beside my husband and not having to think about our daily routine, worrying about work, rushing the kids in the morning, etc
The one thing that I really recommended is to pay close attention to the weather forecast. As much as we want to assume PDC is a great destination in the Caribbean where sunny days and blue skies are guaranteed, our vacations plans almost got ruined, all because of a tropical storm passing through the area. Fortunately for us, the storm dwindled at some point before our arrival but there were thousands of tourists the week before who saw their vacations ruined. According to the staff at our resort, people had to stay indoors, sometimes in their rooms and couldn’t even enjoy the pool! That said, you should definitely check the weather forecast before booking your vacation, otherwise, your plans can dramatically change.
That being said, here’s a brief summary of my seven days in PDC…( today just about first day)
On your first day, go for a stroll to La Quinta Avenida. Essentially, this is a pedestrian-oriented street, about 2 miles long with lots of shops, restaurants (both great and no so great) and other entertainment options available, including world-famous Coco Bongo.
Our resort was located in Playacar, which put us within walking distance from La Quinta, about 15 minutes. We would enter la Quinta through a mall located on the southern tip. On the other side of the mall you would find a few streets leading to PDC’s main square – aka la plaza – where you will find the town’s main church. From there, you can enjoy amazing views of the beach at “Parque de los Fundadores” where you can also see a few street shows taking place under the Portal Maya sculptures in front of the beach. You will cross the plaza where lots of people would be eating, enjoying a drink in a lounge, walking, or simply shopping.
Walking through La Quinta you will find many cute places surrounded with green plants of all sorts as well as flowers of the most incredible colours, including red, orange and ochre, my favorite colour. Just by looking at those yellow-painted walls you instantly know you’re in Mexico. Combined with this mixture of colours you will see painting artists doing their thing in the middle of the street, dozens of souvenir shops, and dozens of restaurants displaying the most gracious signs, including the classic “Gracias por visitar” – thank you for visiting. On a separate note, I want to emphasize how great the locals are when it comes to serving. Whether you’re in a restaurant, a bar, any store or even in the resort these people are very committed to pleasing their clientele and that’s something you can see and feel. Also, it’s nice to see and hear traditional Mexican bands singing in the street for everybody’s listening pleasure. At night, these would be lit up with warm lights while others would be hosting boutique hotels such as “Hotel Lunata”, a fancy one.
I would say PDC is a place full of sensations. Whether it’s on a plate, a glass or a tortilla, there’s always something new to experience.
Delicious tortillas with guac and pico de gallo won’t disappoint and great cocktails will surely escort them. By the way, one of my favourite places for drinks is Almirante Pech. Small shops selling native hats and totes are to be found on every corner, and hidden between big-brand stores you will spot local-style restaurants with thatched roofs, palm trees, water fountains and flowers.
Also, colourful overhead banners decorate many sections of this buzzing street, a typical Mexican fixture.
Near “Mi Pueblo” restaurant, you will find the Frida Kahlo Museum, a hard-to-miss spot as it’s located in a highly visible corner. Unfortunately, the place was closed the day I went there but I managed to take a picture of the amazing portrait of Frida in the big wall outside the museum. In short, La Quinta is the kind of spot that mixes both Mexican and international sights, sounds and tastes while wielding the power to gather all types of people. People looking for a spot to see and be seen, to eat, drink and shop while enjoy the amazing Caribbean weather and warm winds.
Frida Kahlo Museum
Let your light shine!
Hi there, I’m Andrea De La Torre. That’s how people recognize me. However, my nickname is “Pocahontas”. Let me tell you something more about me. A few years ago I started posting on social media as a way to explore new things, new tools in the digital world and also have fun. I’ve been doing this through my personal accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I started doing this simply to be part of what then was a new way of getting connected with others. But as a marketer/businesswoman, I’m always looking for new trends and yes, challenges. That’s why in 2015 I went back to school. I went U of T to get a certificate in Digital Marketing and had the opportunity to study these new tools and channels at the professional level while doing some networking in the process. I really enjoyed it. Actually, I would definitely come back to the academic world sometime again in the future!
The thing is, a very specific idea has been floating in my head for the past few weeks. While building my Instagram follower base I decided it would be exciting to start my own personal lifestyle blog, and that’s what I’m doing! At first, I thought I’d start blogging about my last trip but then I decided I would share with you a little bit about me first so you could know me better. Yay!
That being said, in the upcoming blog entries, you can expect to be immersed in my life experiences, travels, restaurant trips, and shopping sprees. More than registering my own memories this would be a good opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I am very excited to start this new adventure – my own personal lifestyle blog.
See you around!
With love, Andrea