Apr
19

A few weeks ago I celebrated my birthday. I never use to make a big deal out of my birthday but lately I’ve really been embracing it. I mean “why not”, right?

In previous years, I’ve travelled (click here to read more)  or threw a big party (click here to read more). This  year, I took the day off (which I’ve never done before but know lots of people who practice this tradition) and started to celebrate my birthday a week in advance!!

Here’s the details:

a) I went to a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa  to have a much needed facial. For me, this is a real treat and a real reminder to take care of my skin more often.

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has 26 locations throughout the GTA and offers facials, massages, waxing and other services, 7 days a week. They also offer a membership program that is free with no fees to join or cancel. #loveit.

After the facial, my skin was glowing.

I seriously need to become a member. Just like I need to allocate funds for “coffee” I need to allocate funds for “self care and wellness” too.

b) I also went to the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County. It took me 3 years to visit this hotel but I finally did it. It was everything I had been reading about and more. Every inch of this hotel is out of a design magazine…the tiles, the wall paper, the water pitcher in your room, the signage etc. It’s uber unique and I can see why this hotel is so popular (book well ahead – i.e. months ahead).

Just adored every inch of this property.

True Story: I was at the Drake Devonshire in the summer of 1996 when it was a bed and breakfast.

As for my eating adventures in PEC: (Prince Edward County)

-Lunch: Can’t Escape the Crepe. (206 Main St. Picton, ON)

-Coffee: The Vic Cafe (222 Main St, Picton ON)

-Dinner: The Drake Devonshire

-Lunch #2: The County Yum Club (13633 Loyalist Parkway, PEC)

Many thanks to my Instagram friend @judyhsilverberg for the recommendations. They were all perfect suggestions.

It was a great birthday! No complaints about anything…except perhaps the weather which has been really crappy in April over the last few years!!

Curious to know if you have any birthday traditions. Do share.

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary treatment from Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, however all my opinions are my own.

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Apr
15

Seeing as it’s suppose to be Spring but its crazy miserable outside, I decided it would be a good time to reflect about our trip to Costa Rica that we took in January.

Nothing beats looking at photos of the beach and blue skies while its freezing rain outside and -1C  with strong winds, on April 15th, right?

 

While planning our trip to Costa Rica we decided to do it all …Beach, Cloud Forest and Rain Forest! This meant that we needed time and a car. So we took 12 days to visit Nosara (beach town), Cloud Forest (Monteverde) and the Rain Forest (La Fortuna).

We were a little nervous to drive throughout Costa Rica but google maps and an all wheel drive, ensured we took the right roads plus we allowed plenty of time to get to our destination in the daylight!

Here’s some highlights of our trip:

  1. Nosara:  This is a hip, small beach town that is super chill which is well known for its surfing. Theres no huge developments, franchises, etc. Its the perfect place to relax and was the ideal location to start our vacation to get us into “vacation mode”.

We stayed at a friends house while visiting Nosara but had the chance to visit two properties that you should check out in the event that you are planning a future trip to Nosara: Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort  or Tierra Magnifica. 

2. Cloud Forest – (Monteverde): We stayed at Hotel Bel Mar which allowed us to see amazing views. Sadly it rained a lot and was grateful that we were prepared with the right shoes and ponchos. Notice the colour of the sky in the photo below.

3. Rain Forest: (La Fortuna) We stayed at the beautiful Tabacon Resort and Spa for 6 nights and were spoiled rotten with their thermal waters, buffet breakfasts and our massive room. This part of our vacation was definitely a highlight.

We took advantage of the thermal waters twice a day!

The water was tht perfect temperature which meant you didn’t want to do anything but hang out in the thermal waters, however we took advantage of going to the spa on TWO occasions. I had my first four hand massage and it was heaven.

We found a restaurant (Don Rufino) in La Fortuna (thanks to Trip Advisor) that I believe we went to 3 nights in a row. Usually I want to be adventurous and discover other restaurants but the food was that good that we just kept going back.

As for activities in Costa Rica:  There’s no shortage of zip line adventures, coffee tours, night walks, farm tours, suspension bridges, hummingbird parks, boat tours, surfing lessons, yoga, and more!! There’s a reason why this country has become a popular destination.

However, I was on vacation-mode and the only thing I wanted to do was see a sloth (accomplished), see some pretty birds, see a monkey or two and visit a suspension bridge (accomplished). However you could be super busy if you wanted to!!

As for shopping: I bought some chocolate and coffee back to Toronto and naturally I wish I bought more! Why oh why did I only buy one bar?

Costa Rica is a wonderful country to visit as its really unique in many ways. Will remember this vacation for a long long time!!

PS Many thanks to my facebook friends for all the recommendations.

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Mar
27

More Travel Promotions!


Disclosure: I’ve been provided with complimentary accommodation in exchange for this blog post however all opinions are my own.

Here’s a little list of where I’ve been lately:

  1. In August I took a wonderful road trip to Montreal and to the Laurentian Mountains.  It was a week full of food and relaxation.

  1. At the end of August I went to London, England for two days to attend a fabulous family wedding but I also managed to do squeeze in some sightseeing.

  1. From London, I travelled to Israel to hang out on the beach, eat as much shakshuka as I could and visit family and friends.

  1. In January I went to Costa Rica for 12 days of adventure as we visited Nosara, Monteverde and La Fortuna.

  1. In February I went to Athens/Crete for 10 days to hang out with my daughter.

As you can see, I LOVE to travel.

Seeing as I love travel so much, I subscribe to a lot of  “emails” from a variety of different brands, airlines, etc so I can stay on top of every promotion. This enables me to save some $$ and everyone likes to save money right?

So, here’s some news: IHG just announced its 3 “Nights Escape” promotion where you can save 10%-25% on your accommodation at more than 150 participating hotels in Canada. Please note the sales ends at 8 p.m. EST on Friday, April 13, 2018, and for a minimum of three-day stays through to June 15, 2018.

I just love these “3 Nights Escape” promotion as I’m a big believer that sometimes you just need a few days to totally feel “relaxed and removed” from your everyday routine.

Participating hotels include guest favorites like the InterContinental® Montreal or the newly renovated Crowne Plaza® Fredericton-Lord Beaverbrook. You can take extra time at the Candlewood Suites® Calgary Airport North, or stay right on the water at the beautiful Holiday Inn Express® Windsor Waterfront. Want to see the sights? Take advantage of all Canada’s cities have to offer by staying at either the Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown or the Holiday Inn® Hotel & Suites Vancouver Downtown.

You can book your 3 Nights Escape here.

Other cool facts:  IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,300 hotels and nearly 800,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with nearly 1,700 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, our global loyalty programme, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.

Happy Travels.

For more information:

wwww.twitter.com/ihg

www.facebook.com/ihg

www.youtube.com/ihgplc.

 

 

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Mar
24

I’ve been spending some time lurking on Pinterest trying to find unique ideas for this years Passover menu.

Of course, I spent some time trying to figure out what my centre pieces are going to look like too. Here’s what I’m thinking. Which one do you prefer?

Idea #1…so simple, yet so pretty

Idea #2….Love this idea

Idea #3…I actually have a chalkboard runner to use as the “seder plate” and love the idea of using empty egg shells as a vase! How cute?

As for the menu, here’s what I’m planning on serving. Warning: this is not a traditional Passover menu at all but I’m ok with that and I hope my guests are to.

-Sweet Potato Rounds with a Beet Puree and topped with a Walnut (totally made this up. Its not from Pinterest (for a change). I made them a few weeks ago and it’s a winner.

 

Matza Brei Cupcakes stuffed with ??????.  Cant decide – it might be stuffed with mashed potatoes or a mushroom medley. I’m  hoping that this idea works. If I get a chance this week I might test it out!

-Yottam Ottelenghi’s Aubergine & Herb Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing

Salmon with an Apricot Basil Salsa

-Yottam Ottolenghi’s Butternut Squash w/Gingered Tomatoes and Lime

-Yottam Ottolenghi’s Tomatoes with Sumac Onion and Pinenuts

Dessert: Matza Smores and Fresh Fruit

I know. I know – the menu is heavy on Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipes but I couldn’t help it. His veggie recipes sound amazing.

I’m excited to head to my storage unit and dig out my grandmother’s china that I always use for the seder. There’s something about using her china that makes this holiday extra special for me.

So excited to share this holiday with family and friends. We are also hosting a couple that we’ve never met as part of an initiative with City Shul that no one is alone on the holidays.

Happy Cooking and Happy Passover and Happy Easter too!!

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Feb
25

The last few months have involved quite a bit of travelling but I’m not complaining. I really do love to travel. One could say its a priority for me. For example, my second hand car that I purchased in 2012 has really had its day but I rather travel than buy a another car. See what I mean?

Just last week I returned from Athens and Crete. My schedule looked like this: eat, sleep and shop!! Again, I’m not complaining. It was exactly what we needed.

I made my reservations to stay in Hotel Lozenge with Booking.Com. I’ve been a fan of this website since I was introduced to it in 2015 at a Travel Massive event. Its’ so user friendly that its been my go-to website for several years now.

I selected this hotel for a few reasons, but mostly because of this great rating.

The hotel was also located in a really nice area (kind of like Yorkville) of Athens and close to everything. We couldn’t have been happier with the location. Another great reason why to stay at Hotel Lozenge!

We loved our room which had a beautiful bathroom and an enormous balcony. Not to mention a fridge in the room, which always comes in handy.

Our hotel room included a generous breakfast buffet every morning. Even though there was a wide range of options, I couldn’t stop eating the Greek Yogurt with honey!!

Hotel Lozenge also has a roof top lounge that enables you to see the Acropolis. This photo says it all. Not a bad place to hang out after dinner!!
One last feature of this hotel that I loved was the fact that they had this USB port in our room for travellers (like myself) who didnt have the right adapter!!

I love using Booking.Com so much that I would like to share this unique link for $40 CAN off your next booking when you use Booking.Com.  Sweet eh?

https://www.booking.com/s/vweiss20

Happy Traveling!!

Disclosure: I partnered with Booking.Com for this blog post however all opinions are my own. 

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Dec
18

This past weekend, we hosted a Chanuka Brunch for some family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I love hosting a brunch.

Chanukah Brunch!!

As always, I found myself on Pinterest looking for unique recipes and of course this website came to my rescue.  PS. Feel free to click on this link so you can see my Pinterest Page…..https://www.pinterest.ca/momwhoruns/

The recipe I found, appealed to me for several reasons:

-I had a bunch of skewers already in the drawer (big surprise)

-I simply needed to buy a baguette, 2 bananas and some strawberries (easy enough)

-I adored the presentation.

Here’s the full recipe  (Originally posted on www.weelicious.com.)

French Toast on a Stick

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup milk (any kind of milk will work but I used whole milk to make it extra delicious)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I omitted this)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups of a baguette cut up into cubes (tip: use scissors)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 16 strawberries, stems removed
  • 2 bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch coins
  • 8 wooden skewers

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, (honey) and cinnamon.

2. Dip the bread cubes in the milk mixture to coat each side.

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the bread for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

French Toast Bites

4. Skewer the french toast cubes, sliced strawberries and sliced bananas and serve with maple syrup for dipping.

FINAL RESULT:

French Toast Bites on a Skewer

What a hit!

Easy to eat, delicious, and simple to make. Scored.

However I will admit that it was a bit tricky to serve them as I didn’t want them to get cold. I solved this issue by serving them as an appetizer as soon as my guests arrived. #problemsolved.

Promise to blog about a few other dishes that I made. Promise.

 

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Dec
12

Lately I’ve been going to yoga every Monday night at The Rock Store.  However I received an invitation to attend a Chocolate Cocktail event at Cafe CanCan (89 Harbord St) and it was no brainer to skip yoga that night.

Each cocktail featured Green & Black’s premium chocolate and I loved each one. It would actually be difficult for me to pick a favourite!!

These  unique chocolate cocktails are being served at both Cafe CanCan and PianoPiano (89 Harbord St) for a limited time only!! ( from Dec 5-21, 2017).

However if you would like to make one of these cocktails at home, here’s the recipe for the “Highland Holiday” courtesy of Chef Victor Barry for Green & Black’s.

Ingredients (serves 15 cocktails)

200 g (2 bars) Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate

1 Tbsp. (15mL) heavy or whipping cream (35%)

1/4 oz. (7.5mL) Scotch whisky (peated)
1-1/2 oz. (45mL) Scotch whisky (unpeated)

1/4 oz. (7.5mL) Galliano 1/2 oz. (15mL) simple syrup

1 Egg
3 dashes bitters
1 whole nutmeg, for garnish

1 orange zest, for garnish

Directions

Melt chocolate in a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Whisk in cream and chill. Once cooled, gently whisk soft peaks are formed.

Pour the peated Scotch whisky into a snifter glass. Swirl glass quickly so whisky splashes around the inside of the glass. Tip the glass so whisky reaches the rim then slowly turn to thoroughly coat the inside of the glass. Discard excess rinse.

In cocktail shaker, combine the unpeated Scotch whisky, Galliano, syrup, cream, egg and bitters and shake with ice. Strain into Scotch whisky-rinsed glass.

Spoon whipped cream over liquid. Using a fine grater or nutmeg rasp, garnish with nutmeg.

Using a citrus zester, remove a strip of orange peel, taking care to remove just the coloured peel and not the bitter white membrane. Express oils from the peel by holding it with both hands over the whipped cream and twist. Place peel on top of whipped cream for extra garnish.

Now if you don’t want to go out for chocolate cocktails or serving cocktails at home., please consider giving Green & Black’s as a gift during the holiday season.
These bars make an excellent sweet stocking stuffer, or tie an assortment together with a ribbon for a unique hostess gift. Bars are available in the following flavours:

White, Dark, White Chocolate, Burnt Toffee, Dark Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate
Milk, Ginger Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, 85% Dark Chocolate, Butterscotch Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut and Currant Dark Chocolate, Almond Milk Chocolate, Sea Salt Milk Chocolate

CHEERS!!
For more information:

Website: Green & Black’s https://www.greenandblacks.co.uk

Website; Cafe CanCan https://www.cafecancan.com

Website: PianoPiano http://www.pianopianotherestaurant.com

 

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Dec
10

I’ve got a confession to make. See this track? See this pool? Sadly whenever I need to count laps I’m simply UNABLE to keep track. Each time I get out there I really do try and each time I fail. 

However, EPSON has solved my problems.  They’ve  introduced a line of watches (5 models to be exact) that help me out with this problem … and more! There’s 2 GPS Running Watches and 3 Multisport watches that were launched in early November and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak.

Specifically the watch that I want to blog about today is the EPSON ProSense 307. Here’s why this watch is so amazing:

-Accurate GPS and Heart Rate

Multisport functions: 1. swim (pool or open water) 2. run (outdoor or indoor), 3. bike (outdoor or indoor).

-EasyView Display (no glare) and comfy silicon wrist band.

-Easy to use 5 button design and dedicated back button.

Up to 24 hour GPS Battery life (very cool feature) AND Activity Tracking (5 to 7 days) AND Watch Mode (30 Days). 

This brilliant watch also features, VO2 Max Recovery Time and Training Effect Estimates, Music Control, Interval Training, Workout Alerts, Alarm Clock and Waypoint Navigation.

Plus there’s an app for automatic data upload that goes directly to all your personal devices.

Seriously, this watch has it all!!

If you don’t think you need all these features, there are different watches at a variety of price points.  Please consider looking at the entire range of EPSON watches which range in price from around $129 to $539. The difference in price reflects the difference in features and battery range however all of them are waterproof and have the same highly accurate components.

I was all to happy to give this watch to my boyfriend on the day of his first 5 km race. He wore it with pride and he enjoyed checking out all the functions. Not to mention his time for the race was a personal best. I’d like to think it had something to do with the watch!!

For further information:

Website: www.epson.ca

Twitter/Instagram:

Disclosure: I was provided with a EPSON 307, however all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Dec
06

Pom’P It Up!!


A few weeks ago I was invited to a pretty cool media event that included both healthy food and a wonderful workout. What a great combo!!

We got POM’ped up with POM Wonderful at a unique venue called Pursuit OCR Gym (444 Dufferin St).

The obstacle course at this gym was something I’ve never seen before and everyone was pumped to check it out.

See what I mean?

We started off with a warm up before challenging ourselves with this workout!

Then we were invited to cool down and enjoy a healthy POM Wonderful smoothie. Here’s the recipe so you can make one at home too!

Pomegranate Tropical Smoothie (serves 2)

3/4 cup of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks

1 whole orange peeled

1/3 cup of coconut milk

1 tablespoon of flaxseed

POM POM Fresh Arils for garnish.

Directions: In a blender combine all ingredients until smooth.

Now for some fun facts about POM Wonderful!

  •  Only premium POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice from concentrate has the juice of four whole pomegranates in every 473mL bottle.
  •   There are no preservatives, fillers or sugar added. The naturally occurring sugar in the fruit provides a source of energy (31 g per 236 ml).
  •   Pomegranates are nutritious fruit which can be part of a healthy diet, offering fiber and Vitamin C.
  •   POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice from concentrate has 700mg of polyphenols per 236 ml serving. Polyphenols are phytonutrients found in plants.
  •   Drinking 2 36mL of juice provides a good source of potassium
  •   POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice from concentrate is 100% juice, and that means half a cup is a serving of fruit towards the 7-10 servings a day recommended for adults. (Canada’s Food Guide1).

With nearly 9,000 acres of orchards in Central California, POM Wonderful is the largest grower and producer of fresh pomegranates and pomegranate juice in the United States.

POM Wonderful grows and handpicks and juices its own pomegranates. By managing the entire production process from tree to table, we guarantee that our fresh pomegranates, fresh arils and 100% pomegranate juice come from only one source – 100% California-grown POM® Wonderful pomegranates.

About POM Wonderful….

For more information:

Website: http://pomwonderful.ca

Instagram/Twitter: @pomwonderful

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pomwonderful/

 

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Dec
04

I’ve made a traditional chocolate pudding before (see link here) but lately I’ve been noticing a lot of non traditional recipes. For example, puddings that are vegan and involve an avocado!!

Please keep reading…LOL .

The best part of this recipe is that it involves FOUR ingredients and requires no cooking. Seriously it could not get easier.  The first time I made it, I didn’t measure anything (typical Vicky move) but the second time around I took the time to measure the ingredients so I could blog about it (hooray).

So here’s what you need:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (original recipe by momwhoruns however very much inspired by recipes seen on Pinterest).

1 Avocado

1/3 cup of coconut milk

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 of a banana

Directions

  1. Please all ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. (serves 3).  Thats all you need to do!!

I must admit that I was excited to try this recipe so I could bring out my new Braun MultiQuick 9 Hand Blender. The beauty of this appliance is that it can do everything – blend, chop, whip, and more.

I simply clicked on the attachment that I needed and before I knew it my chocolate pudding was lovely and smooth.

See what I mean? Just 4 ingredients went into the bowl and then the blender attachment did all the work in no time at all.

My avocado chocolate pudding was smooth, creamy and HEALTHY too. #score

For more information about Braun products, please click here. (note: there’s a 20 percent discount and free shipping)

Disclosure: I was provided a Braun MultiQuick 9 Hand Blender, however all opinions are my own

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