Thursday, August 20, 2015

Travel Series: Wine Tasting In Bordeaux

  I have always been a huge fan of wine. Growing up I admired cultures that indulged in drinking wine with their meals, and would often ask my parents if I could have a small glass during our Sunday dinner. "It's good for the heart I would tell them!"

  As I got older my appreciation for wine continued, and the desire to one day visit a vineyard became an item on my bucket list. Thankfully the perfect opportunity to visit a vineyard arrived when I went to Bordeaux, France- wine country.

  The vineyard I visited in Bordeaux was called Chateau Du Taillan. The chateau was absolutely stunning outside. A house surrounded by greenery and trees. It was so picturesque- almost like a scene from a movie.

  Once I entered the chateau, myself and the others on the tour were given a historical background of the chateau. It was so interesting to learn about the vineyard and I was surprised to find out how long it truly takes to make a bottle of wine. I also really enjoyed that we were allowed to go into the wine cellars and see the aging wine. It was fasinating seeing barrel upon barrel and realizing that they were all filled up with wine that would one day be packaged and sold. I wonder what a barrel would go for?

  After the tour was finished, we had the opportunity to taste the wine produced from the vineyard. It was très bien. I ended up buying two bottles. One red and one white. I wanted to have a bit of France with me when I get back to Toronto. 

  I suppose for my first visit to a vineyard, I would say I had a great time. It was such a great experience learning about the process of making wine, exploring the old cellars, and ofcourse tasting the wine. Let's just say by the end of the tasting "I felt oh so classy." If you ever get a chance to go for a wine tasting or to visit a vineyard (in any country), I would highly recommend it.

  Thank you for reading my post! I hope you are enjoying my travel series. Stay turned for more!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Travel Series- Shopping In Paris

  Shopping in Paris is great. It's kind of like a haven for fashionistas. In fact, one of the things I was looking forward to seeing in Paris was the fashion. Not just the fashion in the stores, but the fashionable people in the streets. I mean imagine walking down the streets of one of the most fashionable cities and being surrounded by so many stylish people. It's like a never-ending fashion show. Don't mind if I stare.   

The Shopping

  The first time I went to Paris, I visited a spectacular department store called Galleries Lafayette. It was so beautiful in all of its architectual glory. I mean stain glass windows, ornate crown molding with gold detail, and orchestra balconies that overlooked the rest of the mall. It was amazing, luxurious and beautiful. I know I may sound superficial, but it was just breathtaking. It was nothing like anything I had ever seen before, when it comes to department stores; especially living in Toronto.

  As I explored the different levels of this building I came across the designer floor for children! I have never seen so much designer clothing catered to children in my life. There was baby Dior, Gucci, Burberry, and Little Marc Jacobs just to name a few. 

  While the department stores were fascinating to explore, the streets of Paris were no exception. Champs-Elysées (one of the most famous streets in Paris) is a popular shopping destination for tourists that want to experience high fashion. In fact, the famous avenue holds many luxury and flagship stores that are quite impressive to see in person, due to their large size. For instance, the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store has a gated entrance and a massive line-up of eager customers trying to get inside. 

This was the line up to get into the Abercrombie & Fitch store! 

I cannot believe the size of this Louis Vuitton building.  Can you imagine setting up that window display?


  Although shopping in Paris can be pricey, designer brands are often a little less expensive than purchasing them in North America. For instance, I purchased my Longchamp bags in Paris as they were much more affordable than purchasing them in Toronto. As well, the Value Added Tax (VAT) also helps tourist to save money when shopping. 

   How the VAT refund works: When Non-EU residents shop, they can get a refund on the Value Added Tax (VAT) when they spend more than $175 dollars in one store. Once you get back to the airport make sure to have the receipt and item (they made me show both) and  you will be refunded a certain percentage depending on the item you purchase. 

  I personally find that the VAT refund was great, since I am always open to any deals or refunds I can get. Note: When I was refunded money, they gave me a choice of getting back US dollars or Euros. Not Canadian dollars. I decided to go with the US dollars since I was planning on traveling to the States in the near future. 

 Overall, shopping in Paris is such a fun experience. I personally did not do too much shopping, probably more window shopping, but the opportunity to see the iconic flagship stores, department stores and street fashion was fantastic. I would do it all again in a second!    

Thank you for reading my Travel Series in Paris! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post. Hint** If you like wine you are going to like the my next post for the series.

If you have been to Paris, did you enjoy the shopping?

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Travel Series: Getting Lost In Paris

  I got lost in Paris once. It all started with a bike tour I decided to join. Thinking back now, it's strange that I decided to ride a bike in Paris considering that I am too afraid to ride a bike in Toronto. In fact, the thought of riding a bike in Toronto sends chills up my spine. But I suppose when one is traveling, courage and a sense of adventure begin to emerge...and so a bike tour I will go!

  The bike tour started out a bit rough at first. Rule Number One: Never ever wear a pair of new jeans that you put on for the first time before attempting to ride a bike. They were so tight! I could barely sit down on the bike. Had I known earlier in the day that I would be taking a bike tour, I would have worn something more comfortable. So, I had to deal with my new tight pants. 

  Once I started riding on the bike, things were pretty good. I was biking with a pretty big crowd so I didn't feel too nervous. I noticed the group seemed to enjoy riding fast, so I tried to stay in the middle of the pack and take in as many beautiful sites at the same time. Periodically we would make pits stops at historical landmarks or buildings. While we stopped to take in the scene the tour guide would give us some background of the location and then we would get back on our bikes to head to the next location.

  By the time I managed to get back on the bike, I noticed that most of the group had already rode off. Honestly, they were riding so fast, it was is if they were in the Tour Du France. Although I tried to catch up with them, I was unable to meet them as the traffic lights changed to red. I decided it was best to stop and wait for the light to change so I could catch up with them. 

Luckily, I was with four other girls so I was not all by myself. When the traffic lights changed to green, we began to ride to catch up with the rest of the group. As we rode down the street, we noticed a cross-section. Both streets looked empty! One of the girls suggested we make a turn. We listened. I guess it was the wrong street since our bike tour was no where to be found. That is when it dawned on me that I was lost in Paris! 

  Initially I was a bit upset. I couldn't believe that the group rode off without all of us. If I was by myself I probably would have panicked, but thankfully I was with four other girls. As I continued to think about our situation, I began to feel a small thrill take over me. We could explore Paris as we find our way back to the group. Perhaps it didn't have to be such a nightmare. 

  Obviously everyone was in shock and was reacting differently to the situation. One girl kept swearing. She was really upset. I turned to the other girl beside me who didn't seem too bothered and said she was looking forward to an adventure. I quietly agreed. The two other girls seemed primarily focused on finding their way back. 

  As we rode lost in Paris for a few minutes, one of the girls tried to get a hold of one of her friends who was on the same bike tour with us. I suppose she didn't realize her friends were separated from the group until later. Eventually she picked up her phone and was able to communicate with us and the tour guide to help us find our way back.  

  After riding around Paris for a few more minutes, we found our group! Although, I didn't mind riding around for a bit, I was happy to see them all. 

  I know this story, may be a bit nerve wrecking, but honestly it was one of my most memorable and exciting memories in Paris. I rode a bike in a foreign country. I was terrified and I conquered a fear. It was such a great experience to ride on the streets with other cyclists and view all of the sites. And although I got lost for a few minutes, it was somewhat of a small adventure for me. I learned so much on the tour overall. My tour guide was great, despite the situation. Honestly, I had such a great time riding around in Paris, that I tried to rent a bike in the next city that I visited. 

  Thank you for reading! I hope you are enjoying my travel series. Stay turned for another post on my Travel Series.

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Have you ever been on a bike tour before? 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Travel Series: Paris

  I love to travel. Honestly, it might be an addiction. I never thought I would have it this bad, but I am such a dedicated connoisseur of world travel, that I have worked two jobs, entered a pageant and lived off frozen meals just to travel the world. The pageant part I will discuss later, but it involves traveling- you get where I am going with this... 

  Anyways, due to my love for traveling, I decided that it is about time that I write a travel series, since it's so natural for me and is such a big part of my life. Just thinking about it now gets me giddy with joy, as I reminisce about all the good times. Good times with good people. But before I continue, I need to mention that I haven't traveled around the whole world (I wish), and there are still so many countries on my list that I want to visit. However, I have done quite a bit of travel in my life that I feel is worth documenting for my travel series. In fact, here is the list of the following countries and cities I have traveled to: France (Paris, Bordeaux, Carcassonne), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Rome), Andora, England (London), Grenada, Grand Turk, Peurto Rico (San Juan), St. Maarten, St. Lucia, New York and Florida. 

  I traveled to these countries over the past four years and I had such a great time. I think it is so important to learn about different cultures and people that live in the world. Traveling not only makes one much more cultured, but also allows you to see the beauty in other parts of the world. It is such a great experience, and I am happy I took a chance to jet-set.


  To start off my travel series, I think I will begin with one of my favorite cities: Paris- the city of love. Paris is probably one of the few cities I visited and considered moving to, but realized the immense difficulty I would have there, considering that I cannot speak French. HA! The little French I have been learning in the Canadian school system since grade 1 did not prove to be helpful at all. In fact, I would be lucky if I could say a few random words at best. "Oui."  

  Nonetheless, I did not have to worry much, as I was still able to communicate with the Parisians as they were pretty fluent in English. As much as I wanted to speak French and show my lack of -er skill I decided it was best to speak in English. I have to admit, I feared all the rumours I heard about the French being annoyed with tourists, but in my two visits to France I have had a great experience with the people. They were really nice and thankfully pretty well versed with the English language.  

My approach when asking them a question: " Excusez moi, Parlez-vous anglais?" 
Which translates to: "Excuse me, do you speak English?"

  I found this one sentence, which I memorized and lived on for my entire stay to help me out so much. After I would ask them if they could speak English, I was able to figure out if they could assist me. Most times I was fortunate to find out that they were able to communicate in English. Thank goodness.  

  My suggestion is that if you are traveling to a foreign country, try to figure out a way to communicate with people. It will make things much easier for you when getting around and make you feel much more reassured. 

The food

  Prior to going to Paris, I always heard great things about the food. My stay in Paris was no exception. The food was amazing. I remember the first day my friend and myself arrived, we decided to grab something to eat. We had no idea where to go, but we decided to look around. After walking for about 15 minutes we found a small little restaurant and decided to go in. We ordered two pizzas. Honestly, it was amazing! It was so good, I felt like ordering a second pizza for myself. Keep in mind these are individual sized pizzas. I was shocked. I didn't realize I could find such great pizza in France. 

  But, it didn't just stop at the pizza. The french fries were also amazing. Honestly, the French make great french fries. This whole time I thought I knew what fries tasted like. Ha, not until I had some frites and steak did I find out the truth. 

  And it just kept getting better. I recall one day, after walking around for hours in the city with my friend we decided to stop for a nice meal. We found a cute restaurant with a patio. The name of the restaurant: Bar Du Central. I ordered the lunch special. 

  Impeccable. One world. Impeccable. I honestly think this was probably my favorite dish while I was in Paris. It was delicious and truly made me feel like I was having a Parisian experience. Every bite was savoury and enjoyable. If I go back to Paris, I definitely need to visit this restaurant again. 

It's obvious that I was impressed with the food in Paris. It is just so delicious and flavorful. Although I loved the food, there is so much more to this lovely city. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post which continues with more on my experiences and adventures in Paris.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave a comment below and Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Have you ever been to Paris? If so, how was your experience?


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Target Outfit Of The Day

It's summer and what's more fun than wearing florals in the summer?

   For today's outfit of the day,  I decided to wear a budget friendly outfit from Target or Tar-Jay as I like to call it. The dress is actually from Target's affordable designer collection, which is designed by  fashion duo Peter Pilotto exclusively for Target. I love that Target has affordable designer collections, as it allows individuals to have more accessibility to clothing designed by high-end designers; especially if on a budget. 

  I feel really lucky that I was able to pick up this beautiful dress considering that so many girls were trying to get their hands on these exclusive Target pieces. I love the mix of the colours and the transition to a darker tone with florals at the bottom of the dress. It is such a unique piece and  is nothing like anything I have in my closet. I am so happy I snapped this one up! Below are more images of this lovely dress for you to view. 

Even in front of a brick wall, this dress just pops. 

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Photos by: @Cruzein_

     Have you ever shopped at Target and found some amazing deals?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bloggers Networking Event Recap

   Some of you may be aware from my previous posts that I am one of the co-founders of an organization called conNEXTion. The main objective of the organization is to unite bloggers and other creative talent in one space and help them to connect, network and gain mentorship. 

  Although conNEXTion is fairly new, we just hosted our second event this week and it turned out to be a success. We had a variety of people with different creative skills and backgrounds attend, as we open up our event to photographers, designers, social media experts, vendors and other creative individuals. As a result, the event not only brings in bloggers, but a plethora of creative and likeminded people that are looking to connect. 

  Below are some pictures of the individuals (bloggers, videographers, journalists, photographers, vendors etc.) that attended the our event. 

The very fashionable blogger Melina Morry (The Lady Like Leopard) and myself pose for a picture

Great to see everyone having a good time.

  Overall, the ConNEXTion Bloggers Networking Event was a success and we look forward to hosting our next event which will include workshop/panels with experts. Stay tuned!

  Find out more about conNEXTion events by following us on Facebook or Instagram.

 Have you ever been to a Bloggers Networking Event? 

All photos taken by: Geoff Robichaud