Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Summer Travels: Gradac, Croatia

Like most people I know, I love to travel. If I had the money and time I would travel the world, twice. Recently, the bf and I have been discussing our summer plans which has got me reminiscing about our 2011 summer travels. I hate the idea of travelling, taking lots of pictures and then coming home and basically forgetting about all the fun I've had. This often happens to me because like most of us I return home and jump right back into work mode. So for these reasons I have decided to dedicate a few posts to my 2011 summer travels ... 

The bf's parents own a beach house on the Croatian coast and go there every summer. I had never been and was super excited to finally go to Europe and spend time at the beach house, which I had heard so much about. We landed in Split and took a bus to Gradac ... 

Gradac is a small town on the Croatian Coast. If you squint at the picture below you will see that it is located about half-way between Split and Dubrovnik which have become popular tourist destinations, especially amongst young people. 

Here's the view from the house which is located near the top of a hill ... 

Gradac is a family vacation destination so there are lots of children running around and playing in the water. The scenery is beautiful and I especially love the mountains. 

Life at the beach house is awesome! It basically involves going to the beach, sitting under the fig tree reading, eating yummy food and sharing some drinks on the patio in the evenings.

The daily walk through the town to the beach ...

A typical lunch ... 

Although the beach is rocky and crowded, there's no complaining about the warm, crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent at the beach house. It was super relaxing and fun. If I could, I would return this year and spend some time in Italy before heading to Croatia. Oh ... I will just keep dreaming :)

Another plus is Gradac's central location to Split and Dubrovnik which are just a bus ride away ... 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

DIY: Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub

When I was in Miami we went to the spa. The girls and I had a massage and pampered ourselves for a whole day, relaxing by the pool, eating good food and shopping. I truly believe that self-care is important and I try to take care of myself as much as possible, whether this means exercising, getting a massage and/or doing the occasional bath and face mask at home. A couple of my friends did body scrubs at the spa and someone gave me the wonderful idea of making my own body scrub. We all know how much I love DIY projects, so of course I jumped at the idea :) 

I adapted this recipe for a vanilla sugar body scrub. Here's what I did:

1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Turbinado (raw) sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

Although the recipe calls for raw and white sugar, I decided to mix in some brown sugar to make it a little more gentle (with the intention of also using it on my face). Raw sugar is very coarse, so I you choose to substitute the brown sugar for more raw sugar the scrub may be too rough on your face. You can also play around with how much vanilla and honey you choose to add. Keep in mind that there will be a slight olive oil smell since this is a natural scrub. 

I am excited to use my first homemade scrub. Even more exciting and fun will be giving the second one to a friend :) 

How do you pamper yourself?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Miami Bachelorette Trip

It's not a girls trip unless you come prepared with a 
bunch of gossip mags ;)

Us Toronto girls were very excited to head south to get some sun..

Our bachelorette

Trying to keep things healthy. This may or may not have been
one of the few meals I ate that didn't include fries

The beautiful views from our hotel...

I enjoyed some Cuban food and was very excited at the option of
fried plantain. I grew up eating friend plantain and it's one of my
favourite foods. 

We did lots and lots of shopping on this trip...
Even renting our car was not an ordinary event. It was quite fun and we
met a guy named Toronto. For real, he proved it with his ID which we ended up
driving away with and not returning til a few days later ...oh well ;)

We also squeezed in a tour of the Everglades.

Me holding a baby alligator. So cute!

Getting ready for a night out. Let's just put it out there
that I haven't come home a 5am for a really long time!

Working on our tan at Miami Beach

All relaxed and glowing after a day at the The Standard Spa

This was such a wonderful trip. I highly recommend Miami. It has the perfect combination of great food, shopping, beach and partying. I didn't know most of the girls I went to Miami with and we came from all over (Toronto, Trinidad and also Orlando, FL). We all got along so well, staying up all night talking and shared a tonn of laughs. Thanks ladies :) 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Long Weekender

This weekend I am off to Miami for a friend's bachelorette party! The girls and I have been planning and talking about this trip for months and although we are only in Miami for three full days we are all very excited. I have never been to Miami before and am looking forward to spending time relaxing on the beach, indulging in Cuban food and of course spending time with the girls :) I can't wait to tell you all about my trip when I get back. 

Here's to a lovely weekend enjoying friends and basking in the sun!

Happy Long Weekend!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sunday Exploration at Casa Loma

This past Sunday my mom and I went to Casa Loma. We both enjoy exploring our city and a little bit of history so what better way to spend Mothers Day? We hopped on the public transit and headed to the castle in the afternoon. I have driven by Casa Loma on numerous occasions and recall making a mental note to eventually pop in for a tour. Well, I finally got around to this and I don't regret it. I toured the castle audio tour and all. Below a glimpse of what I saw:   
You're probably all wondering what a castle is doing in Toronto. Well, I had wondered the same thing for many years. Casa Loma was built by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a prominent Toronto industrialist, military man and financier. He had a life-long dream of creating a medieval castle on a hill overlooking Toronto. Here he is pictured below ... 
I really enjoyed the tour because I find it fascinating to see how some people used to live. What I quickly learned from the tour is that although Sir Pellatt and and his wife lived a luxurious life they were both extremely generous people who gave back to the city of Toronto and its people. 
Medieval chandeliers in the Great Hall
I love all the details in this ceiling. It's so beautiful! 
Check out this lovely headboard. So dreamy!
My favourite room was by far Lady Pellat's room. It was all done in Wedgewood, which I love. Even the vase on the dresser is Wedgewood! I often come across various Wedgewood pieces at the St. Lawrence Antique Market. Maybe next time I will finally cave in and make a purchase. Click here to read about my most recent find at the antique market. 
Umm gorgeous!
Another thing I quite enjoy about touring historical homes is that I get to see antique furniture. I find a lot of the styles have come back in one way or another. Perfect example is the tufted chair pictured below. It reminds me of the tufted ottomans I keep seeing in my decor mags. 
Not so sure I love the skirt on this bathroom vanity.
In Sir Pellatt's medicine cabinet ... 
Remember I said that the Pellatts gave back to their community? Well, Lady Pellatt was the first Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada. Since I used to be a Girl Guide selling the cookies door to door and all, I think this is awesome. Yah for Girl Guides!
Unfortunately, the Pellatts lived in Casa Loma for less than ten years. Sir Pellatt lost his fortune and was forced to abandon the castle. The castle was once used as a hotel and had many other uses before it was opened to the public for tours. I'm so happy I finally checked this place out. I'm all for exploring your own city and knowing it' history. Spadina Museum is next on my list :) 

Monday, 14 May 2012

This Week ...

Wow, I can't believe another week has come a gone! Although I had a pretty stressful week at work, I also ate some yummy things, spent a lot of time outdoors, did some DIY projects and was able to see my family and friends :) Below is a glimpse of my week:

I enjoyed this yummy banana chocolate croissant from Nadege 

The bf and I had brunch at a friend's place. Saturday was
the first hot day in a long time and it was such a treat
to eat outdoors.

We rode our bikes to the brunch and also spent
 time relaxing outside on the UofT campus.

We had an impromtu pizza party at our place. The pizza was amazing! 
We ordered from Pizza Rustica and it was so delicious.
I highly recommend this place. We will be ordering from there again.

Oh ya ... my herbs have started to grow!!!

Mother's day at Casa Loma. Post coming tomorrow. 

Me and my mom! You are AWESOME :)

Spotted this antique Monoploy game at the antique market. Love that game!

Here's to another week. I am starting this week with the intention of being more mindful of what goes in my body (I have somehow let my good eating habits slip ... shhhhh!)

Happy Monday!