Ste Annes Spa

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Runway to Work & Play with Rachel Sin

Toronto Fashion Week came and went without my usual visit to the tents but there's only one show I regret missing. A regular on the Ottawa Fashion Week runway, Toronto-based Rachel Sin showed not one, but two collections of her timeless, feminine classics with flare at David Pecaut Square.

I've always admired Rachel Sin pieces because of their simple elegance and versatility along with their attainable price points so it seemed quite natural to me that her two-part runway show was dubbed as #RSWork and #RSPlay. In reality, the work collection is this season's structured dresses and separates in jewel tones and neutrals while the play section featured flirty silhouettes in pastels and prints for spring 2015 that I'd still parade in the office in warmer months.

After taking in the show front row couch online, here's what I'm loving:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gluten-Free Garage

By: Lisa Ng

Gluten Free Garage - a farmers’ market with a gluten-free twist will be returning for the fourth time to Toronto's Artscape Wychwood Barns on Sunday November 9th, 2014 from 10 AM - 4 PM

Over 60 handpicked vendors will be showcasing the city’s best in local gluten-free eats and lifestyle, along with guest speakers and a beer and cider tasting. Gluten-free food, drinks and personal care products will be available for sampling and purchase at the event.

“It’s the one day when people with celiac and gluten intolerance can eat to their hearts’ content without fear of cross-contamination. And the food is so tasty that even the non-gluten-free will be happy to indulge,” says founder RonniLyn Pustil (celiac mom).

Speakers will include Kathy Smart - author of “Gluten-Free Belly Be Gone”—how to navigate the gluten-free aisles to make better food choices for your health and waistline, Bunner’s Bake Shop co-owner Ashley Wittig and holistic culinary nutritionist Marni Wasserman.

Admission: $10 for adults, free for kids 12 years and under

Tickets available at the door or online at

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

The Taste of Iceland

By: Lisa Ng

The 4th annual Taste of Iceland makes its grand return to Toronto from Thursday November 13th to Sunday November 16th. Get a taste of Icelandic cuisine at Luma restaurant, above the TIFF lightbox for a multi-course menu.

Luma will welcome acclaimed Icelandic chef Viktor Örn Andrésson (Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon). Recently named 2014’s Nordic Chef of the Year, Andrésson has collaborated with Anthony Walsh, corporate executive chef of Oliver & Bonacini and Michael Wilson, Luma’s own chef de cuisine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Urban Eats @ Barsa Taberna

By Natalia Dziubaniwsky

When I first set foot in a new restaurant I’m full of anticipation, excited to try something new and different. Wanting a taste a bit of everything, I inevitably struggle with deciding what to choose off the menu. This is why I love sharing small plates. Tapas are the perfect cure for the indecisive foodie!

Located in a restored heritage building in the St. Lawrence Market area, Barsa Taberna serves up modern tapas and larger share plates which have elements of Spanish cuisine combined with worldly flavours.

The fare is largely inspired by the travels of the team at Barsa Taberna. As said by Executive Chef Michael G. Smith, “our vision with Barsa Taberna was to incorporate global small plates and Tapas into our menu, while staying true to our roots in Barcelona and Spain”.

With the original brickwork in place, stepping into Barsa Taberna is like walking into a softly lit grotto. In keeping with their desire to bring “a piece of Barcelona” to the restaurant, Barsa Taberna is furnished with Salvador Dali and Antonio Gaudi inspired pieces, mosaic floors and a colourful mosaic made up of 1,400 half-cut wine bottles which spans a whole wall.

During their official launch party, I had the opportunity to sample several of the items on their food and drink menu. Here’s a look at some of their offerings:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Get The Look: Cozy Bohemian Style

A sponsored hip + urban girl post.
By: Lisa Ng
I’m in need of a fall wardrobe refresh.
I was flipping through the sweaters in my closet the other day and I have stuff in there that’s over TEN years old! It was finally time for me to part with the old stuff that either didn’t fit properly, had holes in it or the colour/fit/style just wasn’t flattering on me. Once I gave my closet a proper wardrobe edit, I was able to take stock of the things that needed replacing or updating.
I am definitely embracing a cozy bohemian style for fall and picked out a few key favourites from Suzy Shier and H&M to get the look.
A playful boho top like this one from Suzy Shier (above) is a great jumping off point. I like to pair it up with skinny jeans and my moccasins. Layer it on with a cozy sweater for those chilly autumn nights.
For a bit of texture and warmth, I would go with this long waffle stitch cocoon duster sweater also available from Suzy Shier. Perfect with a pair of leggings and boots.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

WIN THIS TRIP! 10 Day Health Summit in the Dominican Republic

By Wendy Kam Marcy

As someone who obviously loves to eat... as evident in the many food reviews I've written on this site and the food porn on my Instagram, I'm learning that not everything labelled as "healthy", "natural" or even "vegetarian" is necessarily good for me.

So while I admit it's still a constant struggle to give up bacon, I've committed to Meatless Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays for the last 2 years and have stopped splurging on new shoes so I could buy organic as much as possible.

I'm not about to get all hippy or save-the-animals here but after doing my own research and talking to older generation family members and my friends' parents, who are battling serious chronic health issues, I recognize that diet plays a tremendous role in preventing and treating progressive diseases. I'm in my mid-30's and plan to stay around for a looooong time!!

With that said, I wanted to share this CONTEST for a "trip that will literally change your life"... AND it also happens to be at a beautiful resort in the Dominican Republic!

My husband's ad agency is working with Dr. Shane Williams and the amazing doctors of Forks Over Knives to help promote this inaugural Plant-Based Health Summit. (If you haven't watched FoK, it's voted as one of the most influential documentaries of our time so grab it on Netflix!)

This contest closes on Friday, October 24 at midnight EST.

The winner receives flight, resort accommodations for 10 days, food/drink prepared by top plant-based chefs and admission to the Summit (valued at $3300). Click here for full details.

Good luck, eat well and please help us spread the word!

Want to learn more about the Trip? See here....

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Food Diary - Nashville, Tennessee

By: Lisa Ng

Yee-haw! I am back after an amazing week in Nashville, Tennessee.

If you're looking for a destination where you can eat southern food and sip on microbrews and artisan whiskey until you fall down singing a country song - then Nashville might be the city for you. Air Canada flies direct from Toronto and it's only a two-hour flight to this food-loving city.

I had a great time sampling the fried chicken + biscuits at Loveless Cafe

The Luxury Chocolate Show - Toronto

By: Lisa Ng 

I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday than standing around and eating a chocolate all day.

Well your wish - and mine are about to come true! The 4th Annual Luxury Chocolate Show will be taking over the rotunda of Roy Thompson Hall on Sunday November 2nd from 11 AM to 7 PM.

It is the only show of its kind in Canada and you can expect a diverse array of fine chocolates and chocolate-inspired products. Various vendors will be displaying, sampling and selling their fine chocolate products - just in time Christmas.

Highlight features of the show include: The Chocolate Makers Demonstration Stage, Chocolate Marketplace, The FREE Chocolate Making Classes, Chocolate Eating Contests and Games, Free Draws, Sculptures, Wine and Chocolate Pairing, Beer + Chocolate, Chocolate Book Store, Chocolate Casino .... and more!

Tickets are available online for $25.

To learn more

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

WIN a Trip to NYC with American Express Canada!

By: Lisa Ng
A sponsored hip + urban girl post.
Looking for a weekend getaway?
I am definitely in an end of summer slump but looking forward to planning a few travel adventures in the fall before the busy holiday season starts. One of my all-time favourite destinations is New York City!
It’s a great place to experience the excitement of a show, do a little shopping and grab dinner at some of the most amazing restaurants in the world. I also try to catchup with friends, scour the flea markets and shop for food souvenirs while I’m there.
But dreaming of a getaway to NYC can become a reality if you’re an Amex Cardmember!  From October 17th to November 14th, 2014, every time you shop at participating retailers with your Amex Card, you’ll be automatically entered to win a trip to NYC! Just register your Card and let the fall shopping begin.
I haven’t done my fall shopping yet but I already know how I’m going to earn my entries! I have my eye on a few things from Holt Renfrew, The Bay and Browns Shoes to round out my wardrobe:
A few easy weekend pieces 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Checking In: Renaissance Aruba Ocean Suites

When hubby and I decided it was finally time to take a family vacation with our 5 year old daughter, I was little concerned about his insistence that we go in September. Sure, we had a pretty non-existent summer and it would be nice to celebrate our 8th anniversary in a tropical destination but booking Caribbean destinations late summer / early fall can be a little tricky if you're looking to avoid hurricanes or the rainy season in general, unless you head way south to the charming island of Aruba. Situated just below the hurricane belt and approximately 25 kilometers north of Venezuela, Aruba has a consistently dry climate that's lined with spectacular white sand beaches and shallow turquoise waters. Aruba's capital, Oranjestad, is home to Queen Beatrix International Airport and a wide selection of hotels, all-inclusive resorts and rental properties. After much research we happily settled on the family-friendly, Renaissance Aruba Ocean Suites (Ren Aruba) and loved our stay. 

The Location: A short 10 minute taxi ride from the airport that cost $21 USD, Ren Aruba is located right downtown Oranjestad in an entertainment complex that includes a wide variety of restaurants, 2 casinos, a move theatre, a marketplace and a luxury shopping mall. Exploring the island is easy via bus and the terminal is about a 7 minute walk from the hotel.