American Express

Friday, July 3, 2015

Taste of Toronto 2015 x American Express Canada

By: Lisa Ng

A sponsored hip + urban girl post.

Taste of Toronto is BACK at Fort York this summer with a four-day food festival that runs from Thursday July 2 – Sunday July 5th, 2015. Do you have your tickets yet? 

Toronto’s hottest restaurants and chefs will be showcasing their signature dishes with sample plates that will range from $1-10. You will have the opportunity to buy ‘crowns’ which are re-loadable and equal to $1 CDN when you arrive for your tastings. Gluten-free and vegetarian options will also be available. So which dishes are we most excited about? 

Here are our choice picks for Taste of Toronto:

1) Barque – I love this BBQ joint and Barque will be serving up a Crispy BBQ Pork Taco with jicama slaw, tomatillo salsa, lime cream, cilantro leaves that I’m sure will not disappoint.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hotel Le Germain - Maple Leaf Square, Toronto

By: Lisa Ng

If you're looking for a boutique hotel that's close to the Financial District or walking distance to the ACC or Skydome, Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square is a great choice for its close proximity to many downtown landmarks. I seriously fell in love with this boutique-feeling hotel during my visit.

I thought the basketball art in my room (above) was a clever nod to our proximity to the Air Canada Centre, a local sports venue where the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs play.

The Room – I love a hotel that embraces FREE WiFi and it was relatively painless to log on. My guest room featured Frette linens, a rainfall spa shower, bathrobes, mini-bar and a great little workstation overlooking Maple Leaf Square. 
The design is modern with painted cement walls, warm wood accents and a well-designed closet area with lots of room for a suitcase to sit open and two closets. They definitely designed this place with the business traveler in mind.
The Location – The hotel is part of two larger condo buildings (but you’ll never bump into residents) overlooking Maple Leaf Square. It’s also walking distance to Union Station for the subway and a lot of major Toronto attractions and shopping. The only thing to keep in mind is the noise when a game or concert is letting out and people are honking below. The hotel does provide earplugs as it is situated right in the downtown core.
If you’re flying in late and are looking for an inexpensive and easy dinner – head to the Longo’s salad bar around the corner for water, snacks and healthy affordable food options.
I would definitely recommend this hotel for business travel – it’s quite close to the financial district, Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the subway. It’s stylish, modern and chic compared to some of the cookie-cutter hotels nearby.

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Taste of the Danforth 2015

By: Lisa Ng

Taste of the Danforth is one of my favourite Toronto street festivals and will be taking over the Danforth from August 7 - 9, 2015. Bring lots of change and small bills, as you purchase taste samplers of delicious Greek food up and down this brilliant street festival.

My secret? Go early! Which means hitting up the food fest on the Friday night after work with a few friends and avoiding the big weekend crowds. I also like taking the subway to the very end of the festival around Pape subway station and walking backwards towards Broadview. Transit and by bike is the best way to get to the fest! Parking lots are small and street parking will be extremely limited.

Taste of the Danforth is Canada’s largest street Festival with approximately 1.6 million attendees annually! It's going to be crowded! So if you can't make it on the Friday night, go very early in the day on either Saturday or Sunday.

To learn more visit:

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sunday Brunch @ Patria Toronto

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Believe it or not but a hidden gem does exist on the bustling King West strip. Patria is tucked away between Weslodge and the busy intersection of King and Spadina. Walk too fast and you may miss the decorative gated entrance.

Patria serves up classic Spanish cuisine from tapas to paella, wine and cocktails in a stylish, airy setting. Sunday Brunch is my favourite time to dine here. Especially in the summer when you can nibble on house marinated olives and sip "Carajillo" on their courtyard patio. A playful boozy Spanish coffee with hints of cherry and cream.

The items on the menu all have fancy Spanish names and rightfully so, because the dishes are authentically prepared with ingredients imported from Spain and are beautifully presented.

Take the Bombas Con Salsa Brava for instance. A crunchy ball of chorizo made to look exceptionally pretty with aioli and spicy piquillo sauce. Have one and you may end up eating three as I did.

If you want to stick more to the breakfast classics, the Tortilla De Patatas which is basically a Spanish potato omelet + romesco is a solid choice. Also comes in a carnivore version that includes serrano ham.

My absolute favourite though is the Tosta De Huevo De Codorniz Con Morcilla. A mouthful to say as well as a mouth of yumminess that includes quail eggs, piquillo, morcilla sausage and hollandaise.

Every great meal should end with a cup of coffee and chocolate so finish off with the Churros Con Dulce De Leche.

Read more food reviews from Patria here.

Patria Toronto
478 King Street West
Tel: (416) 367-0505

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Beauty Favourites!

By: Lisa Ng

Summer is finally here! I thought I would give a nod to a few of my favourite beauty products to help me get through the sun and heat:

Smooth Operator – I am a BIG fan of the Amazonian Clay line from Tarte Cosmetics. Smooth Operator is from the Amazonian Clay collection and comes in a tinted pressed finishing powder in a compact. 

I have an oily T-zone due to my combination skin and my face starts to shine in under an hour, especially in the hot summer sun. The clay is great for absorbing oil and provides pretty decent coverage as well. It does not look cakey or powdery – just a nice, light and natural finish.

Yes To – One of my all-time favourite things to travel with is this mini-pack of 10 Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial wipes. The wipes feel amazing on my skin after a long day in the sun. The formula itself is great at removing even waterproof make-up and the sheet is big enough to capture everything off my face. The compact size is perfect for my purse!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Win Tickets To Taste of Toronto

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Calling all Foodies: Get ready to treat your taste buds at the world’s greatest restaurant festival!

Taste of Toronto is returning to Fort York on Thursday, July 2 to Sunday, July 5.

This will be their second year and they will be dishing out a host of food and flavour experiences. Enjoy over 50 dishes from Toronto’s hottest restaurants, interactive classes by star chefs, food demonstrations, wine & beer tastings and live entertainment.

Gawk at food porn and read all about last year's event here.

Who's in the Star Line-Up at Taste of Toronto?

Los Colibris and El Caballito, True North Salmon, Montecito, Carver, R&D, The Drake, Oliver & Bonacini, Kinton Ramen, Bannock, McEwan Group, Morimoto Toronto, Rasa, America, Barque, Richmond Station, The Harbord Room, Splendido, Guu Toronto, Bosk, Little Sister and CHEESEWERKS + more!

Check out the 2015 Menu Card to plan your day.

Don't miss this culinary festival. Reserve tickets here or enter our contest to win a pair of tickets by telling us what you are looking forward to the most at Taste of Toronto.

Remember to include your email and/or Twitter. This contest closes Sunday, June 28 at 11pm EST. Good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2015

#britahydrate x Digital Dreams Giveaway

By Wendy Kam Marcy

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream and Digital Dreams!

The largest EDM festival in Canada is happening next weekend. I am especially excited this year because I’ll be attending the event as a #britahydrate Ambassador so make sure you follow along on our Twitter + Instagram for the latest festival updates and to get a glimpse on what’s happening backstage.

Quench your thirst inside the #britahydrate Dome - NEW this year!

Festival goers will have a fun oasis where they can take shade from the heat and hydrate with Brita while taking in some exclusive performances by Giddy, Amtrak, Peking Duk and more. Just show your Brita Bottle for priority entry.

On the go bottles will be sold at the #britahydrate dome and at Customer Service but really, if you are parched the last thing you want to do is wait in line! Grab a bottle in advance at these retailers. Then keep it for your next camping trip, or in the office/gym and always have a little something to remember that time at Digital Dreams when you ____________.

Who wants to party with us?!

At HUG we are all about sharing fun and unique experiences so we are giving away 3 pairs of general admission tickets to 3 lucky winners.

1) Comment below and tell us how you plan on staying hydrated all summer. (Don't forget to include your name and email!)
2) Tweet "I want to party at #BudlightDigitalDreams with #britahydrate and @hipurbangirl!"

To qualify for this giveaway, BOTH steps have to be completed by Wednesday, June 24 at 10pm EST. Wendy will select and notify the winners in the afternoon and wristbands will be mailed out same day. Good luck!

Whether you’re in the dome, lounging in the sun, or dancing in the crowd, remember to keep hydrated!

Stay cool and follow Brita Canada on Facebook and Twitter.

Last Call for Bids! My Charity Auction ENDS Tonight!

By: Lisa Ng

My Online Charity Auction ENDS tonight! 

If you haven’t had a chance to peek around yet and place a couple bids – please do check it out and help Paul and I reach our goal of raising $5000 to fund a water well for 500+ villagers in a developing country.

The auction officially ends on Monday June 22nd @ 8 PM EST

Don’t see something you like? Please consider making a donation – even $20 helps! You can donate directly to our water well fund here, made possible by

Just some quick facts for you:

  • The lack of clean water & sanitation causes 80% of all sickness and disease in the developing world
  • creates an accountable water council from the villagers and trains them on how-to repair the well if it were to break down
  • In 2008, there were 1.1 billion people living without water, now there are only 748 million – so we are slowly making an impact

Thank you to EVERYONE who has donated, bid or shared this auction with friends and family. Every little bit helps! We hope to have this well funded by the end of this year and from that point on, Generosity will scout out a village for us and the well will be approved and constructed within a year from funding.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Camp Tech Blogging Workshops

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Before we break for the summer I'll be teaching 2 more Camp Tech classes...

HUG was founded 5 years ago and I've been working in the online marketing space for almost a decade - building blogs and web content for both startups and large corporations. I've learned a lot during this time including what to do and specifically what not to do!

The Content Marketing Workshop is perfect if you’re blogging on behalf of a business or corporation.

Date: Tuesday, June 23 | 1-4pm

Topics include: content development and topics that drive traffic, and setting up an editorial schedule that is actually manageable. Understand how to recruit and work with the best guest bloggers and top influencers, how to host contests and giveaways, and measuring your success.

My Business of Blogging Workshop is for hobby bloggers who want to take it to the next level and monetize their websites.

Date: Wednesday, July 15 | 6-9pm

Topics include: generating and curating content that drives traffic fast, social media, affiliate marketing, pitching advertisers, preparing a media kit AND the million dollar question... how do I get more than just free products, and actually make money from my blog?

Both workshops take place at the Centre for Social Innovation and will be 3 hours of practical instruction, interactive with a small class size and fun!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Woman to Woman Lunch in the Garden

By: Alison Silveira

The Toronto Botanical Garden celebrated its 5th annual Woman to Woman Lunch in the Garden party and the event was quite a fancy affair. The TBG provided a lush and gorgeous setting for the fundraising soiree. The elegant and dynamic Tre Armstrong hosted the event and encouraged female bonding and sisterhood. 
Women looked lovely in their fanciest frocks, fashionable fascinators and larger than life hats. 
Some ladies even made their own creations and competed in the Hat and Fascinator Competition. Partygoers bid on luxurious items, like overnight getaways and fashion accessories at the silent auction. 
I mingled with other women and enjoyed refreshing summer cocktails. 
I feasted on delectable hors d'oeuvres and delicate desserts at the Heathbridge Dessert Lounge. My favourite bites included the floating dessert spoons and pineapple cake.

Sunny weather made for an enjoyable afternoon at the TBG. I plan on exploring more of the TBG, which spans nearly four acres and offers garden tours, nature day camps and has an extensive horticultural library. This summer, visit the TBG and be inspired by the beauty of nature and its peaceful surroundings.

To learn more about the Toronto Botanical Garden, please visit