Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My First Car: The Toyota Corolla

By: Lisa Ng

A sponsored post.

Thinking about getting a new car?

I grew up driving a Toyota Corolla and learned how to drive on one. My family loved the car so much – we got TWO! After we retired the first one, we went on and bought a third! My sister and I loved driving it and my parents always felt safe with us in it. The car is incredibly easy to handle and compact enough that I could fit into a lot of the smaller parking spaces that bigger cars couldn’t.

I’ve gone on some fun adventures in our Toyota Corolla. Paul and I took it whitewater rafting with all of our camping gear and took road trips all over Ontario. The trunk is super roomy for all of our luggage, groceries and other random stuff. I also got great mileage driving the car back and forth from Toronto to Waterloo while Paul and I were long-distance during University. I love how reliable the Corolla is and the fact that it didn’t cost me a whole pile of money to fill-up.

So I was super impressed when I recently saw the 2016 Toyota Corolla!  

It’s a fantastic car for the city that’s also fun to drive. The Corolla is perfect for running errands, grocery shopping or for spontaneous weekend road-trips. The pick-up is great when you hit the gas pedal and the updated design looks even better than before. If you’re looking for an affordable and fun first car – this car checks all of the boxes!

We love the Toyota Corolla and a lot of people feel the same way - which is why it’s North America’s #1 selling compact car. It’s come a long way from the very first version we bought and has been updated with lots of cool new safety and technology features that come standard with the car.

Some of my favourite new things include the USB and Bluetooth connectivity and the audio controls on the steering wheel that are included on every vehicle. Power windows and door locks all come standard, along with heated side mirrors and active and passive safety systems. You definitely get a lot more in the standard package compared to some other cars.

The Toyota Corolla is built in Canada and has an incredible price-point starting at $15,995 CAD for the six-speed CE model or $18,815 CAD for the automatic CE version. The brand is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Toyota Corolla next year and it’s the world’s all-time best-selling vehicle. 

I believe it because my family bought THREE!

To schedule a test-drive or to check out the all-new 2016 Toyota Corolla for yourself, visit: www.Toyota.ca/Corolla 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thompson Rooftop Summer BBQ + Cocktails

By Wendy Kam Marcy

If you agree that summer is all about friends, cocktails and amazing patios especially when it's complimented by panoramic city and lake views... then you have to check out the Rooftop Lounge at the iconic Thompson Toronto in King West.

Pair up your summer bites with feature drinks like their Improper Punch, Mont Blanc Orange Crush or share the fun with a pitcher of Mojitos or Sangria poolside. Cheers!

Executive Chef Kevin Sinclair has curated an all new menu with BBQ favourites like Jerk Chicken or Tofu Tacos with mango salsa, A.B.C. Kobe Beef Sliders (avocado, bacon and cheddar) - because what’s a BBQ without sliders, and refreshing Grilled Watermelon Salad with apple balsamic vinaigrette!

The Caprese Salad with savoury vine-ripened tomatoes and the very on-trend Grilled Octopus Salad is also fast becoming our favourite. Bon App├ętit!

See our other post featuring the top 6 patios in Toronto.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

6 Summer Patios in Toronto

By: Lisa Ng

1) The Thompson Hotel

On a hot summer night, the best place to cool off is on the Thompson Hotel rooftop with stunning views of Toronto's skyline. Lots of lounge chairs and a rooftop pool. Get in via their summer event schedule. It's the perfect place for a nightcap.

2) The Drake Sky Yard

If you're on the west end, The Drake Sky Yard is still one of my favourite places because they also have a great food and drink menu. Stop in on the weekend for brunch and soak up some rays.

3) The Oasis

This rooftop patio above Wayne Gretzky's has a tropical vibe, full sun and an easy location to meet friends getting off work in the Financial District. My pick here would be a super cold frozen drink and a good catch-up session with friends.

4) Against The Grain

Prefer a waterfront view? Against the Grain overlooks Lake Ontario and is located in the ground floor of the Corus Entertainment building. It's easy to bike over on the waterfront trail and relax with a drink on their spacious patio.

5) Bellwoods Brewery

It's a small little patio, so get there early and you'll be rewarded with some delicious microbrews. They have a small bar snacks menu, but Pizzeria Libretto is just across the street!

6) Bar Reyna

Hanging in Yorkville? Bar Reyna just recently opened up with a pretty backyard patio, delicious Mediterranean bites and crafted cocktails. You can read more about it in this post here.

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 21, 2016

Cool + Cheap Things To Do This Summer

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Live on the Patio // June 17 - September 2

Roy Thomson Hall is one of my favourite patios to hangout at! Featuring live music from around the world, food from Barque and lots of refreshing drinks.

The Backyard Summer Soiree // June 24

The secret is out! The Addisons are opening The Backyard and you're invited to the party that is sure to have the neighbours buzzing. There will be gourmet BBQ, specialty slushies and the Grey Goose bar will be flowing all night long.

Summer 2016 Opening Party // June 24

Free party to celebrate the launch of the season at The Power Plant! Cash bar available all evening.

Redpath Waterfront Festival + Artisan Market // July 1-3

Spend Canada Day weekend soaking up the sun, checking out the tall ships and nibbling on international cuisine while shopping local vendors.

Seinfeld Popup Bar // July 15

Follow the FB page for announcements on a pop-up bar and restaurant parody that recreates Monk's Diner from 'Seinfeld'. There will be an opening party to get everyone into the Festivus spirit!

Sail in Cinema // August 18-20

Sugar Beach will transform into Toronto’s largest outdoor theatre. Free movies will be shown under the open skies on a two-sided screen set atop a barge. If you’ve got your sea legs, you can come to the movies by boat and drop anchor. If you’re a landlubber, bring a chair, a cushion or a picnic blanket.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Photo Diary: Seaside, Oregon

By: Lisa Ng

Paul and I have been settling into our life in Portland, Oregon - however our rescue pup BINGO really, really, really misses the beach. Our socal dog had it so good in Marina del Rey - we were only a five-minute walk to the beach and he had a TON of furry friends to play with.

What's a pup to do?

We've been making the 90-minute drive once or twice a month to the Oregon Coast. It's super close and rarely any traffic if you leave early enough. Dogs are allowed on the beach and BINGO has just loved running on the sand and finding new friends to play with.

We took a trip to Seaside, Oregon last week and this cute little beach town has my heart. There were lots of dog-friendly restaurants, hotels and activities that we include BINGO in, while we had a nice little getaway from the city.

Maggie's on the Prom (above) is a great place to grab lunch right on the waterfront with a patio facing the beach. They have lots of seafood dishes, salads and clam chowder.

The Carousel inside the mall
We stayed at the ultra-hip and newly renovated Ashore Hotel which was a 5-minute walk to the beach and dog friendly for BINGO. We loved the outdoor fire pit, the cool wine bar on-site, the indoor pool, sauna and the retro fireplace in our room.
I definitely recommend a trip to the cute little beach town of Seaside next time you're visiting Portland! It's also a great place to stop if you're planning a drive up and down the west coast. 

To learn more visit: Seaside, Oregon online.

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 14, 2016

Urban Eats @ Blowfish Restaurant

By Wendy Kam Marcy

I am thrilled to have Blowfish back in the King West neighbourhood. They reopened this month after an electrical fire. I have celebrated many special milestones here including birthdays and anniversaries. The wow factor of this restaurant also makes it an easy choice when I'm wining + dining out of town guests or important clients.

Not only do they serve some of the city's freshest sushi and tastiest hot/cold plates with a Pan-Asian and Brazilian twist but I love their high energy vibe.

BarFish is adjacent to the main dining room. Obviously there is an incredible selection of sake but if you are a cocktail-girl like moi, this is your place to be after work. Order the refreshing cucumber dream or caribou crossing (vodka, jalepeno black pepper & grapefruit juice)! Their cocktail menu is deliciously innovative and they offer $10 specials and half price apps on Thursdays 5-7pm.

Go for the classic ebi shooter. It's my fave! Tiger prawn, mango, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tempura bits, spicy kewpie, tobiko wrapped with soy paper.

The ceviche was refreshing and not at all fishy. Made with white fish, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, aji amarillo and Japanese style tiger milk.

A trio of flavours so beautifully presented, it was almost too pretty to eat!

Salmon tartare with crispy shiso, masago, ikura, negi, seasame seeds // Sweet corn tempura & matcha lime sour cream // Brussel spouts roasted with pancetta and toasted with shichimi togarashi

Always save room for dessert especially when it's lavender haskap alfajores & pandan chai chocolate tart!

Blowfish Restaurant is located at 668 King Street West. Reserve your seating at (416) 860-0606 and drool over their food porn on Instagram @blowfishrestaurant.

Friday, June 10, 2016

SKECHERS Interactive Media Event

By Shari Archinoff

Confession: I’ve never really been much of a shoe person. I usually have one or two pairs that I wear all the time until I wear them out. So when I look for shoes, I want ones that are comfortable, durable and cute. Fortunately SKECHERS is able to provide on all fronts!

When I was invited to their media event for a VIP experience, of course I jumped at the chance to have an exclusive look at the spring/summer collection and get a sneak peek at the fall line too. Those of us who attended were treated to a continental breakfast with options like fresh fruits, bagels and cream cheese, and lovely pastries.

I was lucky enough to snag an almond croissant - my favourite! We were also given a bottle of fresh juice from local company Village Juicery. I chose their ‘Be Active’ flavor -- made with pear, beet, apple, ginger and lemon. It was sweet and refreshing with just a bit of a kick from the ginger. I could definitely see this replacing my morning coffee!

In keeping with SKECHERS approach to a healthy lifestyle, we were also treated to smoothies provided by Progressive and protein bars from Genuine Health. The venue was set up with multiple displays of shoes, allowing us to get a good look at what’s available. With so many great looking shoes, it’s no wonder that SKECHERS works with so many celebrities like pop superstars Demi Lovato and Megan Trainor, and even legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr!

We also had a chance to chat with SKECHERS Canada Ambassadors, Jill Bunny & Michael DeCorte. They both shared their inspiring stories of how they got involved with the fitness industry and SKECHERS.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

CHIN Picnic 50th Anniversary!

By: Lisa Ng

I definitely know it's summer when the CHIN Picnic rolls around! It's a Toronto tradition and the picnic is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! Not only that, the picnic will once again coincide with The Taste of Little Italy Festival happening all along College Street in Downtown Toronto.

The street festival will run from June 17th to 19th with vendors performers and delicious food from the local businesses along College. The CHIN Picnic will run for two days June 18th and 19th, 2016. Best part? Admission is free!

To learn more visithttp://www.chinradio.com

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 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Etsy Favourites

By: Lisa Ng

Summer is almost here!

One of my favourite sites to shop Etsy for cute little handmade gifts and unique stuff for the home. With the warm weather finally here, I've put together a round-up of my 5 summer Etsy favourites for the season. Here's what I'm loving right now:

1) BBQ Sauce

Give your chicken and ribs a boost with an artisanal small-batch BBQ sauce. This one from Maple View Sugar Works is spicy and sweet, taking your cookout to the next level. Handmade with maple syrup from Vermont.

2) Beach Towels

I'm obsessed with Turkish Towels right and these beauties are perfect for picnics or a trip to the beach. They are super soft and are nice light for those hot, humid days. They also make for incredibly housewarming gifts or birthday presents.

3) Pineapple Candle

Stuck at home? Make the beach come to you with this Ceramic Pineapple Soy Candle. The container is super cute and reusable. The scent features a hint of coconut, pineapple and Jamaican rum.

4) Sunscreen

Looking for a natural sunscreen option? There are lots of sunscreen products on Etsy including this natural and organic option from Soul to Sol. Made with vitamins, essential oils, aloe vera, shea butter and zinc.

5) Water Bottle 

Stay hydrated with this pretty water bottle that you can have monogrammed. The plastic is BPA-free and also makes a great gift!

What are you look forward to the most this summer?

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 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hello From NYC!

By: Lisa Ng

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! I'll be hanging in NYC for the next couple days - soaking up the sun, running around the city and spending time with family.

What are your favourite places in New York?

My first stop was the new extended High Line Park which now runs all the way to 34th and 12th Street. It's a great way to see the city from this elevated park that winds its way all the way down to the Meatpacking District.

A few of my faves along the way include grabbing lunch at Chelsea Market, having a beer at The Standard Biergarten, Artists & Fleas inside Chelsea Market and a wander around the Meatpacking District at the very end.

My very first stop for dinner of course was 2nd Avenue Deli - home to one of the best pastrami sandwiches (piled high) in the city and a matzo ball soup on the side. There's nothing like this for comfort food after a long haul flight!

I'll getting up to a few more adventures and I have a great home base at the Courtyard Marriott in Chelsea. It's a fairly new, super modern hotel with a fantastic location in the heart of Manhattan.

You can follow along on my adventures on Snapchat @helloLisa Ng and on Twitter @helloLisaNg + Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay

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