Foodie: Easter-Inspired High Tea at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto

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Last weekend, I took my mom to the Shangri-La Toronto to try the hotel’s latest Easter-inspired High Tea menu. Having already experienced the regular High Tea at Shangri-La last June, I had high expectations for the revamped menu. As we arrived at the Lobby Lounge, live piano music playing softly in the background, we settled into the comfy couch overlooking a fireplace, and took our time selecting our teas. Once our tea selections were made, we impatiently waited for the delicious tower to arrive. The menu promised a selection of the usual mouthwatering staples like Atlantic lobster brioche roll, honey baked ham with caramelized onion on sourdough bread, Pacific smoked salmon on dark rye, and warm English scones, with Easter-inspired additions of spiced hot cross buns, tropical Easter egg (coconut cream, mango curd and crispy meringue), and the religieuse profiterole (baked choux pastry with white chocolate orange blossom cream and lemon glaze). It all sounded and looked amazing.

I let my mom judge each plate, her enthusiasm growing with each bite. It was her first time experiencing the Shangri-La High Tea, and she was loving every minute of it. With our scones, we were served caramelized white chocolate jam, strawberry preserves and Cornish clotted cream, and I have to tell you that caramelized white chocolate jam was divine. I am not even embarrassed to share that we totally polished off the entire ramekin…with a spoon. Delicious!

By the time we got to the last plate – the prettiest of them all, we were almost hesitant to cut into the exquisite-looking desserts…almost! Of the four desserts, my favourite was the tropical Easter egg, which looked like a fried egg, but was instead a combination of delicate coconut cream, tangy mango curd, and crispy meringue. It was so good! Obviously the milk chocolate and raspberry verrine, Simnel fruit cake, and the religieuse profiterole were delicious as well. With the last dessert finished, we settled back into our comfy couch, chatting, sipping our White Rose tea, and enjoying the rest of our perfect afternoon at Shangri-La.

If you would like to try some of the limited-time offerings served at the Easter-inspired High Tea, it will be available until April 6 and is priced at CAD$42 per person or CAD$25 per child, served daily from 2-5 p.m. in the Lobby Lounge. And if that’s not enough, with the purchase of a chocolate Easter Egg ( the “Golden Egg” or “Toy Egg”) or the Easter-inspired High Tea, guests will receive a complimentary petite milk chocolate egg with the chance of receiving one of five winning ”red tickets” placed among the petite milk chocolate eggs. One winning petite chocolate egg will be revealed every other day throughout the Easter promotion period from 28 March to 6 April, 2015. “Red tickets” will signify that the person who received the petite egg has won the prize. The prize includes a tour of the pastry kitchen at Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto with pastry chef Kate Seigel for one person (the prize winner) and complimentary High Tea for a year in the Lobby Lounge of Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto for the winner and a guest (two people) once a month for twelve months (May 2015 – April 2016). Free High Tea for a year?! May the odds be ever in your favour!

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What I Wore: Something Borrowed, Something CHANEL

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When CHANEL offered to dress me for their Fall 2015 runway show, I couldn’t believe my luck. Feeling like Cinderella for the day, I picked out this stunning tweed and lace blazer, paired with a patent red cross-body bag, matching pearl cuffs, and of course, my recent fave CHANEL ankle booties. There were lots more options at our fitting, but sadly, as someone who’s no longer a size 2, fitting into samples presented a bit of a challenge. Where is the fairy godmother to shrink one a size or three, when you really need her?!

But no matter, I still loved the outfit I ended up choosing, and happily wore it to the show, to visit Coco Chanel’s apartment, at Cafe Marly, and back at the rue Cambon boutique, giddily running around Paris in CHANEL. I paired the blazer with my fave top from the Canadian brand Pink Tartan, because even during Paris Fashion Week, it felt right to #WearCanada.

At the end of the three-day Discover CHANEL program, I had to hand over the borrowed things, feeling a little sad to say good-bye to the beautiful pieces I had a chance to wear. Regardless, I was still so happy that I got to have a bit of a celeb experience…on a much smaller scale, of course, but still…borrowed clothes or not, the memories are forever.

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I Wore: Jacket, Bag, Shoes, Cuffs, Earrings – CHANEL; Top – Pink Tartan; Pants – Zara; Sunglasses – Dior

Discover CHANEL: Breakfast at CHANEL, Brasserie Gabrielle, and Back to THE Apartment

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*If you are catching up, you can read the first Discover CHANEL installment here

Every season, despite dozens of fashion presentations happening from New York to Tokyo, CHANEL runway show remains one of the most highly-anticipated collections and shows to see. Not only to check out the next masterful/curious/intriguing collection, but also to admire the setting that Karl Lagerfeld and his team dream up season after season (icebergs, demonstrations, supermarkets, oh my!). What I’m trying to say is…CHANEL shows are never ever boring, which is why I was so excited to finally be able to attend one in person.

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Arriving at the Grand Palais early in my “something borrowed” CHANEL outfit, I saw street style photographers milling about, stylish (and not-so-stylish) peacocks walking back and forth, hoping to catch photogs’ eyes, security vans patrolling the perimeter, people handing out promotional breakfast packs to the hungry attendees (Macarons for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do!). Sensory overload, even before I set foot inside the grand venue.

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As part of the Discover CHANEL program, my fellow bloggers and I got to go inside at the same time as the photographers, and before anyone else, so that we could check out the interior as it was intended. Welcoming us into the Brasserie Gabrielle, were impeccably-dressed “waiters”, and as I stepped into Coco Chanel-inspired French brasserie set at the Grand Palais, my jaw practically dropped to the floor – it was overwhelming. Attention to detail was immaculate – Parisian bar stands stocked with all of the usual breakfast accouterments from boiled eggs to Viennoiserie, fully-functioning coffee machines, where I totally ordered a cuppa since I didn’t have time for one before the show, reserved tables for the VIPs (of course, the first thing I did was find Anna Wintour’s table), mosaic-tiled floors…it was all perfect!

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I resisted going to my assigned seat, hanging out around the bar area to people-watch, as one would at an actual brasserie. I spotted Grace Coddington’s red mane, Patrick Demarchelier settling into his booth, Giovanna Battaglia talking to friends excitedly, Carine Roitfeld posing for photographers, Hamish Bowles snapping photos of the bar with his cell phone, I even saw Karl Lagerfeld surrounded by a sea of black suits before the show.

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I also snuck a photo of Anna Wintour mid-interview, hiding behind her signature shades; I felt like a naughty child or a stalker, but if Anna minded, her face didn’t show it. Before I knew it, the ushers were gently, yet firmly asking us to take our seats, and so I did, ready for the main event.

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I found my seat just in time, as models began walking through the revolving doors, entering the brasserie, but after doing the obligatory runway walk around the room, some models would settle in at the bar to grab some OJ, while others would pile into the comfy booths for a chat or a selfie session. It felt fresh and unexpected to see models laugh together, order food, and basically show off the collection in action. As the show came to an end, models did not leave their various perches, but stayed behind for a sort of an installation presentation, where attendees could grab photos of the models up-close, as well as sit down next to them for a minute of make-believe – breakfast with supermodels at Brasserie Gabrielle, anyone?

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As for the collection itself, this was one of my favourite CHANEL collections in a while. Dubbed the “French Collection”, it had all the staples that are expected from CHANEL – emblematic tweed, exquisite little black dresses, to-die-for bags, spectacular coats, but in line with the setting, there were also cheeky plate minaudieres, fork and spoon bags, pencil skirts in a fabric reminiscent of those brasserie mosaic floors, bomber jackets adorned with bows, skirts that looked like they were made out of folded white napkins (surprisingly cool!). While some pieces were very tongue-in-cheek, others were simply chic. Even the kookiest of pieces were still wearable and covetable, and very much in line with the spirit of CHANEL.

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Being able to see many of those pieces up close after the show was a pleasant (and a very welcome) surprise. While Karl jumped behind the bar to serve orange juice and answer questions, many of the attendees (myself included) jumped at the chance to snap close-ups of the stunning collection, admiring both the models and the clothes in front of us. Most of the photos in this post were snapped by me, so you can probably see just how close we got to the models and to the sublime clothes.

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After the show, our chic crew piled into a van to be whisked away to Coco Chanel’s rue Cambon apartment. Having visited the apartment in the past, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be able to go there for the second time! You can read my post about the first visit here. Once again, I could almost feel Coco Chanel’s spirit in the lavish surroundings. The place felt more familiar the second time around, but the visit was just as special as the first time. This time, I took some videos of the apartment, which I’ll be sharing in the original post soon.

Giddy from our visit, the bloggers and I headed back to rue Cambon to do some shopping after lunch, excited for next day’s visit to the CHANEL handbag factory! (to be continued)

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More photos after the jump!
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Discover CHANEL: 51 avenue Montaigne

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It’s hard to describe the feeling of a dream coming true, but I will do my best. As I was getting ready for my long-awaited trip to Morocco, I received the most amazing news – not only was I invited to attend the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2015/16 show, but I was also among the 5 bloggers selected to participate in the Discover CHANEL program that was to be held over three days in Paris. I think after the initial shock wore off, doubt set in, and I spent the next couple of weeks in a state of disbelief, sure that somehow I was dreaming this entire scenario up, and that I would soon wake up to realize that it was all the result of my fevered imagination. Spoiler alert…it was not a dream, but it was certainly a dream come true.

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On Day 1 of Discover CHANEL, I arrived at 51 avenue Montaigne, ready for the tour of the beautiful boutique and a private fitting (!!!!!!!). At the boutique, I met Alvin and Columbine, bloggers from Singapore and Sweden, and got to hang out with fellow Canadians – the Beckerman sisters Cailli and Sam. We were a rowdy bunch, and after checking out the impressive avenue Montaigne boutique (opened in 2012, inspired by Coco Chanel’s apartment, and designed by Peter Marino), we rushed into the VIP room to rummage through racks and tables of clothing, accessories, and jewelry prepared for us by the amazing CHANEL team.

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Not being a sample size girl, I still managed to find several things that fit me, and in the end, selected a timeless chevron-print tweed blazer, red patent leather crossbody bag, and two pearl cuffs to wear to the next day’s show, as well as a cashmere cardigan and a tweed chainlink necklace to wear on the last day of the tour. With a shopping bag full of CHANEL goodies, I went back to our Airbnb and just stared at it all for a bit…trying to soak up the feeling of having so many CHANEL pieces at my disposal. Not going to lie…it felt pretty amazing. Almost as amazing as knowing that next day, CHANEL’s Fall 2015 show awaited… (to be continued)

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Shopping: Packing for a Sunny Resort Getaway

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If you’re sick of winter, raise your hand. I am now sitting in front of my laptop with both my arms high up in the air like I just don’t care. But in actuality, I do care…a lot! I care about spring, which is about a month away, and I care about those blistery mornings when I drag myself to the subway station, resigned to my fate of bulky coats and salt-stained boots, and I care about a little dream getaway that le bf and I will be going on soon, but not soon enough. If you’re lucky enough to get away from winter this month or next, even if for a week or two, I put together some of my current resortwear faves – cute swimsuits, lovely cover-ups, cool shades, and even a piñata bag! Add a piece or two to your luggage, and start counting down the days (like I’m doing) until you’re away from this neverending winter.

And if you’re not going to find yourself poolside or near a beach until summer, it’s never too early to start shopping for those beach essentials. All the best selection is available now, so snag your fave pieces and be ready for summer when it eventually arrives. It always makes me feel better to shop for those seasonal items early…as if summer may arrive sooner if I buy a new bikini. Perhaps not, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Happy Shopping!

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What I Wore: Miami Ice

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I don’t know about you, but I am officially sick and tired of winter. This past weekend (Valentine’s Day and Family Day long weekend) was so frigid (felt like -40!!!), that going outside felt like an act of bravery. Le bf and I did manage to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, and I did make it to the gym one morning, but the rest of my long weekend was spent on the couch, wrapped in a fluffy blanket, drinking hot tea, and watching movies. Hybernation is the only way to survive, y’all. Which is why we haven’t shot any new outfit posts lately…and also why I am trotting out my last What I Wore post from our long-ago trip to Miami.

I didn’t post it originally because we didn’t take a lot of photos that day, but beggars can’t be choosers, so here it is now…a couple of months later…all sunshine and pretty colours. Makes me want to get away again! Luckily, our next trip is coming soon, but not soon enough!

So tell me, how are you surviving winter? Wherever you are…

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What I Wore: South Beach

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It feels like -27 outside, and I am questioning all of my life choices that brought me here, to Toronto where the air hurts my face on a daily basis. So if you need me, I’ll be here, daydreaming about Miami, and the South Beach, and sunshine, and warm sand, and anything but snow and extreme cold alerts. Stay warm out there, Toronto.

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Style Blog Travels: 5 Things To Do in Miami

A couple of months ago, le bf and I packed our bags and took off on a week-long Miami vacay. We were set to arrive on the last day of Art Basel, and had very little idea as to what we would actually do in Miami once we land. I had no time for research, and so we set off with no preconceived notions about the city, with that Will Smith song stuck in my head. Now that we got to experience a bit of what Miami has to offer, I thought I’d share my newfound wisdom…aka the top 5 things we loved about Miami, and you may too. Feel free to let us know which places are on your must-do list!

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Wynwood Walls
I’ll be honest, I learned about Wynwood Walls from Instagram, and all of those photogenic outfit pics of various bloggers, posing in front of the coolest graffiti I’ve ever seen. So, being a fashion blogger, I knew I had to make the trip to see (and pose in front of) those beautiful walls. And so we went, we saw, we posed, we photographed, and we loved it. Honestly, whether you’re a blogger or not, you’ll love Wynwood Walls. It’s a grungy area to be sure, but it’s inspiring all the same. Once you’re done admiring the pretty walls and doors, you can take a short cab ride over to Miami’s Design District, where you can do some high-end shopping, before grabbing a table on Mandolin’s lovely sun-soaked patio. Their kefte and saganaki are delicious, while the unsweetened iced-tea is super refreshing.

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Versace Mansion aka The Villa by Barton G.
As a fashion lover, I knew I had to check out the infamous Versace Mansion while in Miami. There’s obviously a sad backstory to the mansion and those infamous front steps, but it’s basically a historic sight and a must-visit while in Miami. We made a dinner reservation, and arrived without high expectations. Mostly, we just wanted to check out the mansion itself, so the dinner part was just an aside. But when our meals arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we loved the food. There are mixed reviews online, but everything we ordered was delicious. And as a bonus, we got to sit facing the beautiful courtyard, with that magnificent pool and infamous tiled floor as our view. We also had an unexpected dinner companion running around our feet – a Versace cat. We were told that on the day Gianni was shot, a cat arrived at the steps of the mansion, and since Gianni believed in reincarnation, the cat was allowed to stay, with its offsprings now enjoying the privilege of being Versace Mansion inhabitants.

Tip: If you plan on grabbing dinner at the Villa, make sure to leave your flip flops at the hotel. Smart attire is required.

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What I Wore: Bal Harbour Shops

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It’s been nearly a month since our Miami trip, and I can’t tell you how much I miss dressing like this. A lace shift, a pair of sandals, and some shades. No pesky tights, no bulky coats, no hats, no gloves…Le sigh.

These photos were taken at Bal Harbour Shops – a beautiful outdoor shopping centre, where le bf and I spent a day shopping and eating our faces off. More about Bal Harbour Shops to come in my Miami recap post, but in the meantime, here’s a little taste of summer in the middle of Canadian winter – all blue skies and greenery. Is it spring yet?

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Rewind 2014: A Year in Photos

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It’s official…2014 is out, 2015 is in! But before we move on to all things new and exciting, I wanted to do a little revisiting, in part to look back on the wonderful year that 2014 was, and in part to have this post for posterity, and in case I ever need a reminder of some awesome things I did last year. If you hate those “me, me, me” posts, then this one may not be for you. Sorry (not really).

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2014 started out pretty well for me, unlike 2013 (credit card fraud galore!), I kicked off the year with a brand new video segment I created in partnership with Yorkdale and Max Kopanygin, called Styled By Nelia. Since January, we shot 9 segments, with 9 amazing retailers, and plan to shoot lots more in 2015. Since I truly hate to be on video, this was a huge challenge for me, but I got more and more comfortable with every episode we shot…and hope to get a little better with each video going forward.

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In February, I had the pleasure of participating in a photoshoot for eLUXE’s Spring 2014 lookbook, featuring Canadian bloggers. And as I will find out later, this will not be the last collab with eLUXE that I would shoot in 2014.


At the beginning of 2014, I also go to test out the Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line, with beautiful results. Freckles, be gone!
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