What I Wore: Eye See Paris, Eye See France

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As you can see I am stretching my vacay posts out…mostly because I want to relive those fun moments over and over again, and that’s what these blog posts help me do. So, I hope you don’t mind too terribly.

This dress is one of my absolute faves. It was love at first sight, and after a quick alteration (it used to have a mock turtleneck), it was perfect - eye-catching and fun. I wore it in Paris to celebrate my friend Al’s birthday (Gemini sistahs), and after yet another visit to the Eye-ffel Tower, we spent the rest of the day in a leisurely state of bliss – enjoying a delicious lunch with a perfect view at Frame, grabbing a dessert at Laduree, hiding from the rain at CHANEL on Rue Montaigne, enjoying the scenery at Les Invalides, after hours of wandering around the city. It’s so easy to just do nothing in Paris. Every street oozes with charm, and every streetside cafe beckons you to seat down and take in everything and everyone around you. The city makes you both speed up and slow down, and I couldn’t love it more.

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What I Wore: Disneyland Paris

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Last year was the first time I’ve ever gone to a Disney park, and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. Both le bf and I had such an amazing time that we were itching to go back. So when the opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris presented itself, we couldn’t be more excited.

To kick off my birthday celebrations, we stayed at Disneyland Paris’ Sequoia Lodge for 3 nights while visiting Paris, and it was lovely. Surrounded by lush greenery, the lodge was tucked away in a quiet spot a brisk walk away from Disney Village and both parks. Staying this close really allowed us to take advantage of our time at Disneyland, and visit as many attractions as we could, while still being able to visit Paris every day (city center is only a 40 minute train ride away).

On our first day, armed with VIP Fast Passes (free if you stay at a Disney hotel), we made a dash for the Tower of Terror, before jumping on the Rock’n’Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, Space Mountain: Mission 2, Big Thunder Mountain, and Indiana Jones™ and the Temple of Peril. After getting our thrills, we ran around the Alice in Wonderland labyrinth (so fun!), explored Agrabah, and just wandered around Main Street, USA, devouring ice-cream and feeling like kids again.

At night, we watched Disney Dreams! show, complete with fireworks, water fountains, fire, lasers, lights, and some of my fave Disney characters and songs, alongside hundreds of other visitors from all over the world. It was magical.

I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend a few days in Paris – we had a wonderful stay at Disneyland Paris, and I am now determined to visit every single Disney property in the world. I still haven’t been to the ones in Orlando, Tokyo, Hawaii, Hong Kong…2 down, 4 more to go!

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What I Wore: This is 30

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First of all, I apologize for the million photos in this post. Most of them feature my love affair with the Eiffel Tower from various angles and I just couldn’t narrow them down. Sorry (not sorry). With that said, this is what I wore on my first day of being thirty.

While in my early twenties, thirty-somethings seemed practically ancient to my silly young self, but I am happy to report that I don’t feel different, even though I am no longer the youngest person in the room. I also didn’t suffer too much anxiety over the big 3-0…after all, I consider myself extremely lucky to have a wonderful husband, supportive family, great friends, and of course, this little blog. Growing up, I used to make those “before 30″ lists, which included “swim with the dolphins” (done!), “skydive” (nope), “graduate” (yup), “get MBA” (not yet), “open an RRSP account” (check!), “visit the Amalfi Coast” (3 times), among many other cool/cliche/silly/important/unimportant tasks. And while I definitely haven’t checked off every item off those lists, I don’t feel like I let myself down because I didn’t complete them by the time I left my twenties. That just means I’ll have fun accomplishing them in my thirties.

Having said all that, entering a new decade wasn’t a daunting prospect for me. Back home, each new decade is welcomed with lots of fanfare and celebration, and so in that tradition, I also made quite a big deal about my birthday this year (according to le bf) and decided to jet off to Paris and the South of France to celebrate. And while I’ll have more travel posts coming, this is what I wore on my actual birthday.

That day, le bf and I wandered aimlessly around Paris (mostly around the Eiffel Tower, as you can see), enjoying the views, stopping in at random cafes for a drink, savouring a delightful lunch at Laduree, and a delicious dinner at Shangri-La Paris, wrapping up our night with an impressive Disney Dreams! show at Disneyland Paris. It was a sticky hot day, we walked so much, our feet were buzzing, my hair and makeup were a huge mess by the time dinner time rolled around, but we didn’t care – nothing could spoil this imperfectly perfect day. That night, I went to bed with a huge grin on my face…yes, I may be getting older, but the adventures along the way make it totally worth a wrinkle or ten. Bring it on, thirties!

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Lupita Nyong’o Covers American VOGUE

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Finally an American VOGUE cover I can get excited about! After the disaster that was Kimye cover, I was so pleased to see the gorgeous Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of the July 2014 issue. And while the styling of the cover itself is pretty blah, her beauty radiates and improves it tenfold. Luckily, the rest of the photos are much better. Set in Marrakech, this shoot really inspired me to look into packing my bags and jetting off to Morocco for a week – to explore the bazaars, chill at the hammam, and just lounge around looking drop-dead-gorgeous and Lupita-like. I mean…that photo of her on the couch…she looks incredible!

So there you have it…first VOGUE puts a reality TV famewhore on the cover, and then follows up with an uber-talented loveliest and smartest actress around…Colour me confused. But since an American VOGUE cover is till a huge deal (sorry, Victoria Beckham), this is yet another win for Lupita, who’s already had a pretty kick-ass year so far. You go, girl!

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Travel: Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto Staycation

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The month of May was more than a little crazy. Apart from helping organize the Blogger Bazaar event, last month I also finished a quarter-end at work, filmed not one, but two Styled By Nelia videos, hosted an ALDO A-List party, participated in an Aveda photoshoot and photo exhibit, all the while preparing for yet another month-end. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun doing these things, but doing them on top of my 9-5 job made me feel more than a little stressed. Knowing that yet another month-end was staring me square in the face, I knew that a staycation was in order. So last Sunday, le bf and I packed our bags, and took the 15-minute Car2Go ride to Toronto’s Shangri-La hotel, where we had a room booked for one night of fun and relaxation.

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ROOM

Shangri-La is one of the most prestigious hotel brands in the world. Synonymous with paradise, Shangri-La is all about providing sophisticated luxury, transporting you to a place of deepest calm and relaxation. The moment we walked into our suite, we were wowed by the size and design of our room. With a spacious living room, two stunning bathrooms, welcoming bedroom, plush robes, marble and velvet finishes, two closets, and a Nespresso machine, our suite felt more like a sleek condo in the city than a hotel room. There were labelled buttons everywhere, to make turning on the lights, as well as opening and closing the sheers and drapes a breeze, a built-in TV in the master bathroom vanity, and an in-room iPad for our room-service ordering ease. In one word – impressive!

After checking out our room, we dropped off our things, and took the elevator down to the lobby for the first stop on our staycation itinerary! Shangri-La’s afternoon high tea!

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HIGH TEA

Having heard great things about high tea at Shangri-La, our expectations were pretty high. When we arrived, our VAWK-clad hostess handed us a tea menu and asked us to choose our favourites from the 68 varieties on hand at the hotel. After taking our time to peruse the tea library (68 teas is no joke!),  we settled on Sunrise Serenade flowering tea. While we waited for our tea service, we had a chance to fully take in our surroundings. While the high tea service is held in Shangri-La’s Lobby Lounge, nothing about it felt “lobby-like”. We were seated on a comfortable sofa overlooking a large fireplace, and while the lounge was full of people, our high-tea experience felt very intimate.

When the tower arrived, I didn’t hear a single thing our hostess told us about it (I asked her to repeat it for me later), because I was ready to dig in and everything looked amazing. We started at the bottom, and tucked into lobster and chive rolls, cucumber apple and cream cheese, roasted chicken with grain mustard, and egg and watercress sandwiches with crispy Serrano ham on top. De-li-cious! Next up, we spread some creamy Devonshire cream and jam on warm, flaky chamomile scones, and they were gone in a flash. I am not usually a fan of scones, but these were divine. We moved on to the much-anticipated dessert plate, which consisted of a chocolate ganache cake with raspberry compote, passion fruit ball, berries and citrus pastry, and a pineapple verrine. Once again, everything was delectable, bursting with flavours. Even half of each rich pastry was enough to satisfy me and my sweet tooth. Once the tower was polished off, we sat back, sipping our fragrant tea, more intense with each cup, looking at the fireplace, and enjoying the soft piano music playing in the background.

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SPA

After our delightful high tea experience, we went back to our room, put on our bathing suits, and headed to the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris. Having visited the spa a few times before, I already knew what to expect – pure relaxation. We chose Hammam and Gommage for couples – 15 minutes in a high-intensity steam room to detox, followed by a full-body scrub. Hammam and Gommage is a great intimate treatment to share with a loved one, and I am really glad I finally brought le bf to experience it with me. The 15 minutes inside the steam room are very peaceful, and let you be alone together, breathing in and out, letting your pores open up, and rid your body of toxins. While the scrub treatment just feels incredibly nice, and can be as intense as you’d like.

Post-gommage, we marveled at our smooth, baby-soft skin, and relaxed some more in the little outdoor oasis on the patio of the spa, refreshed with some grapes, sweet Moroccan mint tea, and baklava. We probably could’ve stayed there all day, but we chose to pay a visit to the hotel pool instead. Private cabanas equipped with personal TVs, and stunning views of Toronto all around, made for a cool and refreshing post-spa visit – simply blissful.

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What I Wore: The Happiest Place on Earth

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After 5 magical days in California, our Disney Vacay was over and it was time to say good-bye. On our final night, we had one last superb gastronomic experience, this time at the swanky Carthay Circle Restaurant, where we devoured Fire Cracker Duck Wings and delicious Fried Biscuits, and shared our favourite Disney moments. It had been such a wonderful experience travelling with some of Toronto’s loveliest people, that le bf and I truly did not want to leave.

After dinner, we had 40 minutes before the famous World of Color show, so we decided to do one final run on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. While in line to get on the ride, I may or may not have made a joke about getting stuck on the ride, and what do you know?! WE GOT STUCK! Well, not actually stuck, but stopped for safety reasons before we could even go up. But no matter, after about 20 minutes, we were ushered into another lift, and we still had a blast, and made sure to pose at the top for a very memorable pic…and we even got strangers to pose along with us! Without a doubt, the Tower of Terror was my favourite ride in the park…some people in our group even rode it FIVE times!

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After our terrifying (not really) experience, we literally ran back as fast as we could (heels and all) to watch the World of Color, and to be honest with you, there was no better way to end our trip than with that beautiful show. There were animated characters illuminated on fountain streams, songs that we all knew and loved, and even FIRE! It felt like the Bellagio show on steroids, mixed with our favourite Disney films, and it was spectacular. Definitely a must-see!

Still in awe from the show, we went on a few more rides, before walking back to our hotel and calling it a night. Our last day in Disneyland, just like the rest of the trip was nothing short of amazing…from our gorgeous hotel suite, to the unexpectedly gourmet food, to having breakfast with Chip and Dale, to running around like sugar-high kids from one amazing ride to the next – it was all so much fun, that le bf and I promised each other that we’ll have to come back again…and again to The Happiest Place on Earth.

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What I Wore: Disney California Adventure Park

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On the last day of our Disney Vacay, our blogger troop headed out to Disney California Adventure Park for an afternoon of rides and excitement. If Disneyland Park was all about nostalgia, reconnecting with my inner kid, and looking for the elusive Mickey Mouse, California Adventure Park was all about the adrenaline! Of course, there were more than a few child-friendly rides and attractions, but since we were all adults, California Screamin’ was first on our hit list.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have gone on that one right after breakfast, but it was still so worth it! With super high speeds, several high drops, and a loop, my heart was in my shoes for the majority of the ride, and I loved it! Once again, we took advantage of the Single Rider line and had to wait exactly ZERO minutes when we got to the front. Of course, that meant that each one of us had to ride with strangers, but who cares? It’s not like you’ll be chitchatting while screaming your lungs out.

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Once we were done Screamin’, we headed to Cars Land, where we floated on Luigi’s Flying Tires, spun at Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, and best of all, raced and won at Radiator Springs Racers. Cars Land is a really impressive part of California Adventure Park. If you’ve seen the movie Cars, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported right into the animated film, Ornament Valley and all. For these rides, we picked up Fast Passes, and again spent very little time waiting in lines. Highly recommended!

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That day, we also walked through A Bug’s Land, where bathrooms were built inside a giant Kleenex box, enjoyed Goofy’s Sky School ride, got soaked on the Grizzly River Run, and went on Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (one of my childhood’s favourite animated films). And then there was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror…which I’m going to get to in the next post.

Have you ever been to Disney California Adventure? Share in the comments.

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What I Wore: The O.C.

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The photo above pretty much sums up my feelings about The O.C. – the place, not the TV show. On our 4th day in California, we once again packed into a bus – this time a Lux one (with hardwood floors and electrical outlets!), and headed out to experience Orange County!

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Our first stop - Fashion Island. If I ever had to be stuck at an island, I would want it to be Fashion Island. With stores like Jonathan AdlerKitsonBloomingdale’sNordstrom, and so many more, we really had to hustle in order to shop our favourites in one hour, but we managed. I helped le bf pick up a couple of new pairs of jeans, while I got some cute knick-knacks from Kitson. And we still snuck in some time to take a million photos by the tiny Eiffel Tower replica – how’s that for efficient shopping?

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After our whirlwind shopping expedition, we headed to Dana Wharf for some R&R on a luxury catamaran, where we sampled delicious wines from The Organic Cellar. It was a perfect, (slightly) boozy afternoon in the beautiful Dana Point Harbor, complete with sea lion sightings and wind-blown hair. I felt like Beyonce.

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After the wine cruise, we headed to Doheny Beach to end our night with a bonfire cookout, but not before stopping by to admire the Elephant Parade at Dana Point. Dozens of painted baby-sized elephant statues were on display to create public awareness and support for the cause of elephant conservation.

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What I Wore: La-La-Land

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After the first two fun-filled days of hanging out in Disneyland, we boarded a bus to LA to do some shopping at The Grove, The Original Farmer’s Market, and participate in a Starline tour of Hollywood. Our day began with a quick fashion presentation at The Grove’s Stylehaus, where the boutique’s stylists/personal shoppers showed us their favourite fall trends. After the presentation, we did some shopping, exploring the awesome stores at The Grove, while indulging in Sprinkles cupcakes. I got to hang out with my old friend Aida from Skinny Bikini at The Original Farmer’s Market, and after some delicious fish tacos, we were ready to see some celeb homes!

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After lunch, we piled into two open-top Starline busses and set out to explore Beverly Hills and Hollywood, stopping to take in the magnificent views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, the hotel where Pretty Woman was filmed, and driving by celeb homes – from Halle Berry’s to Ellen Degeneres’ to Ringo Starr’s. We didn’t see any celebs in their natural habitat, but the fun stories told by our tour guide more than made up for it.

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This was the second time le bf and I made it out to LA, and just like the first time around, we loved this sunny city. The only complaint…I wish we could’ve stayed longer. Next time, Santa Monica and Venice Beach will definitely be on our itinerary…and maybe an Hermès sale in Beverly Hills? Fingers crossed!

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What I Wore: Where To Eat at Disneyland

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The second thing I was pleasantly surprised to discover at Disneyland was all of the delicious food they have at the parks, and Disney hotels. Thinking that there would mainly be kiddo-friendly fare, I went in with low expectations, only to be blown away by all the amazing restaurants instead.

One of the first places we got to experience was the Grand Californian’s Napa Rose. A grown-ups-friendly restaurant, Napa Rose is a slice of seafood heaven in Anaheim. The freshest seafood I’ve eaten in a while, prepared in creative and absolutely scrumptious ways, this was one restaurant I would absolutely love to return to! Le bf and I got to try the scallops (yum!), mushroom bisque soup (best ever!!!), the lobster tempura tiger salad (only tried a litte bit, because SOMEONE gobbled it up before I could even say LOBSTER, but I loved the spicy kick), and other various appetizers. We were all very impressed with both the level of service, and the food. Totally unexpected, and so good. Highly, highly recommended!

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Apart from Napa Rose, we’ve also eaten at another Grand Californian restaurant - Storytellers Cafe, where we had brunch with Disney characters like Chip & Dale, Miko, and more. Super cheesy, super awesome! They served an impressive selection of breakfast foods (buffet-style), complete with Mickey-shaped waffles, and made-to-order omelettes. After this breakfast, you won’t need lunch…that’s a promise!

Two more places that we loved on this trip were the Blue Bayou inside Disneyland Park, with drool-worthy short ribs and jambalaya, and Carthay Circle inside Disney California Adventure Park, with a decadent old-Hollywood glamour feel, and fantastic food to match. At Carthay, we feasted on pork dumplings, yummy ceviche, more scallops, duck wings, short rib ravioli, and risotto. So. Damn. Good.

So if you thought that Disneyland is all churros and french fries, think again. The place is chock-full of fantastic restaurants and cafes, for both kids and adults alike! Who knew?!

As for the outfit…I wore this dress to dinner at Napa Rose, and to watch the nightly fireworks at Disneyland after. We were amazed by the beautiful fireworks synchronized to our favourite Disney songs. It’s a total MUST SEE! Just make sure to get there early to grab a good seat – the place gets jam packed! But it’s so worth it!

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