American Express

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Getaway Ideas!

By: Lisa Ng

Looking for a fun weekend getaway?  

Check out some of our past posts of places to go this Fall to watch the leaves turn during a hike through the trees. Summer is over and I am packing up my flip-flops, jumpers and sun dresses. Save your bathing suit and detox at a spa, while breathing in the crisp air. So round up your honey or your girlfriends! It's time for a Fall road trip out of the city:

Prince Edward County, Picton ON - Book yourself into a local B&B and head to a local winery, cider house or cheese factory in Foodie heaven. Dinner at Merrill Inn is a must!  Read about our visit here.

Toronto Antique & Vintage Market

By: Lisa Ng

In my quest for all things shabby chic lately, I've been trolling a few local flea markets to decorate my new place on the cheap. Toronto will be hosting an antique and vintage market next weekend on the CNE grounds inside The Queen Elizabeth Building.

It's always good to come to a flea market with pieces in mind, but definitely be open to anything else you see or can somehow paint or re-purpose. One of my favourite flea market DIY projects was taking an old picture frame, adding chicken coop wire and creating this fun piece of art.

Admission is $10 and attendees under 18 are free. Re-entry into the market is also free.

Learn more at:

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Win This! Ste. Anne's Spa Getaway

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Flying off to a tropical resort or making the 3+ hours trek to cottage country isn't always an option. So next time you need a breather, Ste. Anne's Spa located in Grafton, is only a 90 mins drive from downtown Toronto. Far enough to escape the concrete jungle but still close enough for a relaxing getaway that won't break the bank.

Ste. Anne's Spa is an adults only all-inclusive day and overnight spa resort. My recent stay over the Labour Day long weekend was romantic and relaxing enough to compete with any luxurious holiday getaway.

Upon arrival, we checked into the Main Inn which was tastefully furnished with both antiques that serve as reminders of the past and refreshing modern touches. If you ever wanted to stay in "a castle" here's your chance! The original wing features 8 rooms decked out with hard wood and exposed brick for that old-world feel. If contemporary is more your style, book one of the newer wing's 6 rooms.

Since I was vacationing with my family and we needed the extra space and privacy, we stayed in one of 6 unique cottages that was a hop, skip and a jump away from the Main Inn.

The Doll's House, our home for the night reminded me of something out of The Hobbit. There was two spacious bedrooms, 2 bathrooms fully stocked with toiletries from their Ste. Anne's Skin Nourishment line, a kitchenette and two cozy sitting areas. It was homely, charming and absolutely adorable!

It's Tartan Time: 5 Plaid Picks For Fall

The Fall 2014 runways would've made the cast of Clueless swoon with plaid prints of every colour and size making their way down the catwalk. In full disclosure, my Catholic high school years coupled with memories of too much 90s grunge made me avoid plaids like the plague in the past but this season's silhouettes and variety are beckoning me to give tartan another try.

Here are 5 plaid pieces I'd welcome into my wardrobe: 

1. Checked Shirt, Zara $59.90. Pair with a midi pencil skirt or under a black blazer.

2. Neville Multi-colour MacBook case, MODA:KO $100. FYI dressing up your tech accessories are a simple way to experiment with trends.

3. Plaid Scarf, Joe Fresh $24. The pop of goldenrod brightens up the dreary days.

4. Ralph Lauren Plaid Wood Duffel Coat, The Bay $645. A classic preppy take on the trend but the cream background feels fresh.

5. Navy Mixed Plaid Body Con Dress, River Island $64 (USD). Throw a cape or drapey sweater over top if form fitting isn't work appropriate and take this from desk to dinner. 

-- Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, Shopping Enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Amex Unstaged: Tim McGraw in New York City

By: Lisa Ng

A sponsored hip + urban girl post.

Yee haw! Ok country fans, have we got a treat for you.

Our friends at American Express Canada are presenting another installment of the very popular Amex UNSTAGED series. This will be collaboration #15! The live stream will feature country superstar, Tim McGraw performing a concert in New York City, directed by Bennett Miller. 

We know everyone can’t make it down to New York City for the show, so American Express is providing everyone with front row access in the comfort of your very home. You’ll even be able to choose your own camera angle and enjoy a customized viewing experience of Tim McGraw’s concert. I like switching back and forth from the director’s stream to different vantage points around the venue. No standing on tippy-toes for you! It’s also a chance to hear songs from Tim McGraw’s newest album, ‘Sundown Heaven Town’. Mark your calendars for Tuesday September 16th at 9 PM EST and log on to to catch the feed live from Hammerstein Ballroom.

Want an encore? If a minimum number of fans tweet using the #AmexUNSTAGED hashtag, they will unlock an encore performance. You’ll even have a chance to vote for the encore song. You can also access exclusive content via before September 16th. Enjoy a series of videos featuring Tim McGraw and hear his stories and inspiration behind the music.

Looking for more exclusive Access?

Tune In! – Don’t forget to catch Tim McGraw on Tuesday September 16th at and tweet along with me @hipurbangirl using the hashtag #AmexUnstaged and @AmexCanada. I’ll be watching along with you! Following the live performance, you can watch a looped rebroadcast on and the full concert will be available on-demand for 48 hours starting September 17th at 11 PM EST.

See you Tuesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Theatre Review: Wicked - Toronto

Laurel Harris
The highly successful Broadway musical, Wicked has made its return to Toronto at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. The smash hit musical is the winner of three Tony awards, as well as a Grammy award. I have had the pleasure of seeing Wicked three times, and it keeps getting better.
Set in the mythical land of Oz, Wicked tells the back story of Elphaba and her ascent to infamy as the Wicked Witch of the West. It is an exploration of how people can easily be misjudged, misunderstood, and how events can be misconstrued and distorted in the struggle for power.
Laurel Harris and Kara Lindsay
The emotionally stirring score by Stephen Schwartz is captivating and deeply moving. Melodically rich songs allow for Laurel Harris (Elphaba) and Kara Lindsay (Glinda) to showcase their vocal prowess and range. Lindsay is quite the ham, as the spoiled and selfish student, Glinda who loathes her roommate, Elphaba. The pair soon learn to like each other and begin an unlikely friendship. Harris is a gifted actress who plays the physically demanding role of the spirited female protagonist, Elphaba, with strength and heart. At the climax of the show, where Elphaba discovers she can fly and soars high on the stage, Harris sings 'Defying Gravity' and her rendition gave me goose bumps. Kathy Fitzgerald portrays the professor, Madam Morrible, in a devilishly sly manner and Gene Weygandt is beguilingly likable as The Wonderful Wizad of Oz.
Wayne Cilento's choreography is a pleasure to watch with actors clad in Susan Hilferty's peculiar, otherworldly costumes. Wicked pays homage to the beloved classic, The Wizard of Oz in a clever and comical fashion. Dorothy makes an appearance, as does the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and even the yellow brick road. 
Laurel Harris and Kara Lindsay
I came away with a more nuanced understanding of Elphaba. There are so many more layers to her than the archetypal, villainous character that she is made out to be in The Wizard of Oz. Wicked has cast its spell on Toronto yet again, and I am enchanted by it. Hilarious, yet heartbreaking and touching, Wicked is a classic that will entertain audiences for generations to come.
--Alison Silveira
Starring Laurel Harris, Kara Lindsay, Matt Shingledecker, Kathy Fitzgerald, and Gene Waygandt
Directed by Joe Mantello
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Wicked plays at the Ed Mirvish Theatre until November 2, 2014.
Photos by Joan Marcus

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ontario Fall Festival Guide

By: Lisa Ng

When I think of fall, I think of all the delicious food like pumpkin pie, homemad soups and fresh produce. Looking for a fall weekend getaway from Toronto that includes a little taste testing? Here are a few fun festivals happening in Ontario:

Photo Credit: Food Network
Saturday October 4, 2014 
Holland Marsh Soup Festival18997 Dufferin St

Admission - Adult (18+) - $15 (7 Samples)
Student/Senior (60+) - $10 (7 Samples)
    *Students must show valid student ID
Child/Youth - $5 (5 Samples)
Family (2 Adults and 2 Children) - $35 (24 Samples)

Holland Marsh is Canada’s soup (and salad) bowl. Sample delicious soups from over 30 chefs, created with produce and meats grown LOCALLY in the Holland Marsh. 

Saturday, September 27 - Sunday, October 5, 2014 
Pumpkin Pie TrailYork Region 

Join the second annual Pumpkin Pie Trail: a celebration of all things pumpkin.
Participating venues located throughout York Region will feature a wide variety of family-friendly demonstrations, activities and events to showcase the versatility pumpkins as a delectable and healthy ingredient that can be enjoyed in many ways. Featured event is the pumpkin pie competition. Local chefs will compete for the best pumpkin pie, voted by the public! 

Sept 21 – November 30, 2014
Wine and Beer Trail

York region home to 4 vine to bottle wineries and 2 specialty breweries. Enjoy this tour in a day or make it a few day trips visiting the county during the picturesque fall season. As an added bonus visit all 6 and submit your ballet for a prize! 

Participating locations include:

Applewood Farm Winery (Fruit Wine), Stouffville/Whitchurch
Gallucci Winery, Stouffville/Whitchurch
Holland Marsh Wineries, Newmarket
King Brewery, King
Black Creek Pioneer Village Historic Craft Brewery, Vaughan
Willow Springs Winery, Stouffville/Whitchurch

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women.

Foxy Originals Sample Sale!

By: Lisa Ng

Foxy Originals Sweet 16 Sample Sale is THIS Weekend! Foxy was founded in 1998 by Jen Ger and Suzie Chemel when they started making jewelry on campus at the University of Western Ontario. 

To celebrate 16 years in business Foxy Originals will be holding a sample sale at Avenue and Bloor THIS Friday and Saturday to show our appreciation to our customers. All of the pieces are made in Canada and will 60-80% off!

Friday Sept 12th  11;30 am -7:30 pm
Saturday Sept 13th 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
162 Bloor St – Church at the Corner of Avenue and Bloor

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Urban Eats @ The Garden Restaurant, Four Seasons NYC

By Wendy Kam Marcy

In New York, the fine dining options are endless! With almost 8000 restaurants, where does one go for power lunches or to celebrate life's milestones? For me, I like to base my decision on two things: a diverse and creative menu (a good chef is one that is not afraid to be adventurous and pair unique foods!) and I appreciate a classy atmosphere minus the pretentious service. So it's a no brainer that The Garden Restaurant was easily my top choice for our wedding anniversary toast.

Located in Manhattan's Midtown East, The Garden Restaurant overlooks the Grand Lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel. Patrons are invited to sip cocktails (try the classic Mint Julep!) and dine under a canopy of enormous African acacia trees in a forest-like setting.

While most lunch menus offer the typical salad starters and the usual suspects of meat/chicken/fish entrees, I was highly impressed with the array of choices offered at The Garden. They are very vegetarian/vegan-friendly and seafood lovers will adore the vast selection from crab salad to ahi tuna burgers.

TIFF Insider: Nikki Beach at The Spoke Club

The 39th Toronto International Film Festival is coming to a close and there are still a few choice soirees to attend but none sparkle quite as bright as the infamous Nikki Beach Toronto hosted inside our city's only private club for creative professionals, The Spoke Club. Whether you're enjoying brunch, dinner or bottle service, this exclusive venue hosted is known amongst TIFF insiders as one of the best places to see and be seen. Internationally, Nikki Beach is the ultimate beach club experience. A vision created by entrepreneur, Jack Pernod, that typically uses some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world as the backdrop for art, fashion, cuisine, film and music. In Toronto, the scene beckons celebs like Penelope Cruz, Owen Wilson and Bradley Cooper and of course, tons of TIFF goers hoping to rub elbows with celebs.

The sun has set on Nikki Beach 2014, but if you manage to snag an invite next year here's what you need to know.

What to drink: The Zacapa Mai Tai featuring Zacapa Ron 23 | Grand Marnier | Orgeat | Lime

What to eat: Ocean Wise Nicoise Salad featuring Ultra-Rare Loin | Olive Oil Poached Toro | Heirloom Tomatoes | Peruvian Potatoes | Garden Bean | Black Olive Salad Deviled Egg | White Anchovy Antiboise 

What to wear: All white if you're attending opening night otherwise think South Beach Sophisticate. Bring on the colour and be perfectly on trend!

A word to the wise: Reservations and invites to Nikki Beach events can be hard to come by but The Spoke Club members are able to make reservations weeks before the public and enjoy priority entry. One of the many fabulous benefits of joining The Spoke Club

To take a look inside this year's festivities check out these snaps: