Chevy Cruze Diesel Adventure Recap

Last week I had the privilege of test driving a brand new Chevy Cruze Diesel from Chevrolet. I was extremely excited to be partaking in my first ever test drive and to be able to take this beautiful car home for the week!

Since I first got my drivers license 12 years ago, I’ve had the chance to rent a handful of cars for work and vacation. In addition, I also owned a car for over three years. It goes without saying that I’ve driven my share of vehicles over the years and none of them had been a Chevrolet.

It was therefore with much enthusiasm that I picked up my Chevy Cruze last Monday. My goal for the week: take the Chevy Cruze on as many adventures as possible to really see what the car was made of!

First off, I was thrilled to see I was getting a beautiful red car (red is my favorite!) for what would be one of the coldest week’s I’ve ever spent in Toronto since I moved here four years ago. Immediately when I sat down in the car, I was excited to see all of the car’s gadgets. The first thing that really caught my attention was the MyLink radio that came with a voice activated system, which could also work with Bluetooth or with the touch screen display. I was happy to see a USB port, auxiliary audio inputs (we’re in 2014 and some cars still don’t have them!!) as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Since I always forget to bring my audio cable with me, I was happy to have some extra radio stations to choose from with the Satellite Radio feature.

photo 1 (43)

photo 2 (39)

IMG_4075

Other things that immediately made me happy were the comfortable heated seats, that could easily be adjusted, Cruise Control, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which made it so easy to park all week!!) as well the spaciousness of the car. For a compact vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised by how big the trunk was and how much legroom was available for those sitting in the back seats.

IMG_4069

IMG_4071

So I took the Chevy Cruze on its first adventure, which consisted in first going to work and then spending the night running errands at Target and Ikea in Mississauga, two stores I rarely get to since I currently don’t own a car.

photo 1 (46)

photo 5 (10)The thing that I most liked after my first day of driving was the Side Blind Zone Alert, a super neat feature on my side mirrors that alerted me any time there was a vehicle in my blind spot. I know that even if I’m a super prudent driver, there’s been several close calls where I’ve almost gotten into an accident because I didn’t see a car when I was changing lanes. I think having this safety feature on your car will greatly reduce your risk of having that kind of accident.

IMG_4081Tuesday the adventure began with a drive to work (driving to work reduced my commute time by 45mins!) and after work I took the Cruze to my favorite place to shop for healthy food in the city – Whole Foods Market. Driving around with the Cruze reminded me of just how lucky people are to not have to carry big grocery bags around with them on the streetcar or outside. Shopping with a car is so hassle-free. I then followed that up with a nice dinner at the current Toronto hotspot – Playa Cabana Hacienda. I had heard a lot about it but had yet to visit because it is pretty far north in the city. They have an amazing churros poutine dessert, it’s to die for! I capped off the night with a little visit at my friends’ album release party.

photo 1 (45)

photo 3 (30)

photo 4 (14)

photo 3 (28)

photo 2 (41)On Wednesday I took the car again to meet one of my girlfriends at my favorite vegan restaurant in the city – Hogtown Vegan. Look at that Southern Combo below, it was SO Yummy! The day was really cold so I made full use of the heated seats and features like the defogger. I think it’s so important when driving in the winter time to have a good defogging system in your car as well as good wipers because of all the dirt and slush that gets thrown onto your windshield while driving.

photo (63)I was really excited about my Thursday adventure because it was an activity I’d been meaning to do for quite some time but had never been able to get there. I decided to take Offner, my partner in crime, to Skyzone, the indoor trampoline park located in Mississauga. It was great to take the car on the highway again to see just how great the traction, acceleration and suspension was. The car proved to be solid on all fronts! We had such a blast at Skyzone- not only did we get to jump around on all sorts of trampolines but we also got to do flips, play basketball and dodgeball. I totally recommend checking it out!

photo 3 (29)

Friday after work, Offner and I headed to Polson Pier to watch the sun set. Polson Pier is my favorite view of Toronto! It was a cold but beautiful day so we also took that opportunity to take a few lovely pics of the car.

IMG_3998

IMG_3992 IMG_4001

IMG_4016I couldn’t believe that after 5 consecutive days of driving to and from work and around Toronto and Mississauga, I was still left with more than half a tank of gas!

All week I had done a bunch of city driving so I was excited to take the car to the country side and on the highway for a longer period of time. So Saturday, Offner and I headed up North to spend the day antiquing. What made the trip even better was that it was snowing during the entire day, which made it the perfect occasion to see how well the car handled the snow. On the 4+ hrs of driving we did, never did we feel unsafe. The car reacted well when I needed to break rapidly, steering was easy and the car was also heavy and sturdy enough to not slip very much while driving over snow. We were both very impressed! The Cruise Control was super easy to use and always a relief to have when driving several hours. Though we didn’t find what we were looking for, we did bring back some cute little vintage teacups!

IMG_4114

IMG_4120

IMG_4125

IMG_4135

IMG_4150

IMG_4141

IMG_4160

IMG_4164

IMG_4177Sunday we took the car on a last spin around the city. We made full use of the radio system, listening to new tunes loudly in the car. As a music fan, I can say that the makers of this car definitely did a good job with the sound system. Every type of music we listened to sounded great.

Before returning the car on Monday morning, I filled up the tank with diesel. I had never driven a diesel car (except a tour van!) before but my dad has always owned and vouched for diesel cars. A lot of cars in Europe still run on diesel but it seems a lot rarer here in North America. I was astonished at how great the Chevy Cruze was on gas. An average of 4.2L per 100km (67 mpg) on the highway & 7.5 L per 100km in the city? Amazing! What I also learned about the car after doing a bit of reading is that the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel or as they call the Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has the best highway fuel efficiency of any gasoline or diesel powered car in Canada. In addition, the car also meets the very strict new clean diesel standards plus the noise and vibrations that were once associated with older diesel cars are no longer there.

All in all, my 3 favorite things about the Chevy Cruze Diesel were:

-Side Blind Zone Alert

-Gas mileage

– MyLink system

All in all, I truly had a wonderful week with my Chevy Cruze! I was sad to say goodbye to the car but the Chevrolet staff were super kind and even offered me a lift to work after dropping off the car at the dealership.

If you’re on the lookout for a new car, I highly recommend checking out the 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel. The car is safe, has every feature one could possibly want/need, is cool and will give you more bang for your buck!

*Photos by @Offner

 

 

Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Test Drive Week

I’m incredibly excited to have been asked to test drive the brand new Chevrolet Cruze Diesel for the week. I have been in many Chevrolet vehicles since I was a kid so I’m excited to get to spend a week with one of their latest and greatest models, to get to know all about it! I’ve heard lot’s of great things about car: comfort, gas mileage, state of the art gadgets, etc.

I picked up my red hot car this morning and have a full week of activities planned for my #ChevyCruze: snowboarding, antiquing road trip, etc! You can follow my adventure on my twitter: @melsays. I will also have a full blog recap of my week with my car next week!

Welcome to the family pretty little thing! What should we name her?

chevy

 

Happy New Year!!

What an amazing year 2013 has been!! So grateful for all of this past year’s adventures, travels and opportunities! I’m grateful for my health and all the wonderful people that surround me.

I’m also grateful for all of you who took time out of your day to read my blog. When I started my online journal, I never thought it’d become such an important part of my life. Thank you to all of you who’ve made the journey so far, so enjoyable!

I wish you a very happy 2014 filled with health, love, travels and all of life’s little pleasures!! Here’s to a wonderful new year!!!

Love,
Mel xo

20131230-100809.jpg

Holiday Adventure

Today is the day I leave for my month long adventure with @offner! So grateful to be traveling with him again! Excited to be visiting three different countries during this upcoming trip. We’ll be spending the first two and a half weeks in France, followed by a few days back in Canada then off to the US for some snowboarding!

I will be taking a little blogging break during my trip but will post as many updates as a can while on the road. I will also have a full recap with some of my favorite hot spots when I get back, so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to your holidays!!

xo

IMG_1038

SoCal Adventure Pt 1

Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I came back from another wonderful trip to California! It was our second trip there in just three months and what a perfect time we had again!

We flew in and out of Vegas again this time, because the tickets were a lot cheaper. Even if you decide to stay the night in Vegas when you arrive, you can find hotels for so cheap there that it’s totally worth it. We took a direct flight with Westjet and got a $20 room at the classy Hooters Casino. I wouldn’t recommend going there unless you’re just there for a few hours. It was perfect for what we needed but it was definitely not luxurious at all… Think Circus Circus… 😉

We rented a car at Fox Rentals, they always have super cheap rates and good cars. This time we got a brand new Fiat 500, which was perfect for us since we would be doing a lot of mileage. Great on gas, perfect for two people and SUPER easy to park in a place like downtown LA.

On the drive out of Vegas, we stopped at the legendary diner Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner, which is right off the highway in Calico (there’s also a great ghost town – an old mining village, in Calico that you can visit). They have a big dinosaur park outside and great Hollywood memorabilia all over their walls. I had one of their famous homemade peanut butter pies, it was ginormous!

photo 1

We started our trip with a week-long stay in the Carlsbad/Encinitas area. It’s an area I’ve been going to for a while, I just love the peace, tranquility and community vibe of these little villages. We spent a whole lot of time in the water surfing! Who would have thought that we could fit two boards on this little Fiat?! It was so great to finally be in the water with Offner, hanging out on the sand, doing a DIY beach BBQ, etc. The water was a lot colder than usual this time of year, people were still surfing in their 3/2 wetsuits. I ended up going to the Ripcurl outlet in San Clemente to get myself one, the only one I was missing in my wetsuit collection. If ever you’re looking for a wetsuit and you’re down in SoCal, it’s the best and cheapest spot!

photo 1

 

photo 3

 

photo 5

 

photo 4

We rented an amazing studio apartment in Carlsbad a street away from the ocean at a place called Ocean Palms. It’s was the perfect location, everything was walking distance. We were a street from the ocean, they had BBQs, a fitness room, an outdoor pool, fire pits and a really nice overall atmosphere. The studio also had a kitchenette. We spent several nights after a long day of surfing just BBQing and making delicious snacks, sitting by the fire or our little patio.

photo 1

photo 2

Encinitas has really been growing a lot these past few years. There are lot’s of great restaurants opening up in the area. My three favorite spots this time were:

Solace & The Moonlight Lounge

A great place for organic, local American cuisine. I had a delicious watermelon and feta salad, it was so refreshing. We went with some of our friends who also had an amazing meal. Everything was super tasty and fresh. I also had this ridiculous peanut butter cake for dessert… woah! Make sure you call to reserve in advance, the place is usually packed!

photo 2

Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria

I had been to this place before but had to return. They serve the best homemade wood fired pizzas. My favorite is the EVOO pizza with ricotta cheese, lemon and onions. We also had the truffle salt and parmesan popcorn as an appetizer, outstanding! If you make it down there, make sure you call in advance, there’s usually a 1h wait in the evening.

Solterra Winery & Kitchen

This place is brand new, it opened just a few months ago. The wine comes from the San Diego and Mexico area. They had some great local wines to recommend, great Spanish style tapas and a tasty cheese platter. I also loved their wine cave and the fire pit on the outdoor patio. It was a perfect post-surfing place to relax!

photo 4

 

photo 5

Also, another go-to place in the area that we absolutely love and went to a bunch of times for breakfast or lunch is Swami’s Café. They have three locations: one in Encinitas, one in Carlsbad, right beside where we were staying and another one in Oceanside. The menu is enormous, they offer many delicious options for vegetarians, they also have vegan and gluten free selections as well. They also make tons of yummy juices and smoothies. For the price you pay, you can’t go wrong!

photo 4

We discovered a great little spot on the drive down from Carlsbad to Encinitas called Pannikin Coffee & Tea. It’s a beautiful old train station that they transformed into a super hip breakfast, brunch and lunch spot. I had always passed in front of the place but never actually took the time to stop. It’s always filled with people. There’s a beautiful patio out front, a cute little tea and gift shop and the food is yummy! We ordered a bunch of cookies, pastries and dessert, it was to die for!

photo 3

In between Carlsbad and Encinitas, there’s another little coastal town called Leucadia. They have a rad donut shop and also a great local surf shop held by a super nice guy JP, called Surfy Surfy. I love the shop because they often hold concerts, art events and are really all about the community. They sell lot’s of really great surfing apparel and also make custom boards. They’re also associated with a cute little café next door called Coffee Coffee. If you pass by Leucadia, please go say hi to JP!

Before leaving the area and heading up north to LA for the second part of our trip, we stopped by the biggest all-female surfing event in the world called the Supergirl Pro. Last year, local surfer Sage Erickson had won the competition. I had the pleasure of also watching the young French surfer Pauline Ado in the water. This year, we showed up early on day 1 to catch a few surfers from France, Japan, California and Hawaii compete. This is an ASAP 6-star event, 15 of the top 16-ranked pros were at the competition this year. Not only is there great surfing to watch but there’s also a great “Festival Village” they call where local female-oriented activities and companies come out and organize dance, prizes, contests, etc. for event goers. This year it was Hawaii surfer Malia Manuel, which we saw surf the first day, who took home the $40 000 purse at the Oceanside Pier.

photo 5

photo 1 (10)

All in all, it was a dreamy start to this long SoCal trip! The Encinitas area, still remains one of my favorite spots in the world. I truly feel at home there! Stay tuned for pt. 2 of our trip coming on the blog soon!

Cleanse Day 4

Yesterday was Day 4 of my cleanse and my 2nd day of juicing. I woke up feeling really hungry, my muscles aching and my head hurting but it totally makes sense when you’re just feeding your body with liquids I guess. I spent the whole day in training at work and I realized that I really wasn’t focused, I also had a hard time really concentrating. I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning 100% or as it should. That said, I continued with the juicing but started really doubting if this cleanse was really going to cut it for me.

So as I did the previous day, I started my day with another Detox juice, followed by the Vanilla Cashew Glow juice and then a Clean juice. I also drank a lot of water and even a hot tea. As the day went on, I was talking a lot to my boyfriend, who’s also doing the cleanse with me right now about how he was feeling, what kind of effects he was having, etc. Unlike me, he wasn’t feeling very hungry but he’s not someone who usually gets hungry. He eats because he loves to eat but he does get low blood sugar or irritated when he doesn’t eat or eat as much. Contrary to what he had initially expected, he was also starting to feel like his brain wasn’t functionning fully, he wasn’t feeling on top of his game and had a bad headache that he couldn’t shake off.

photo 2 (11)

Throughout the cleanse and even before embarquing on it, I’ve read a lot about cleansing. I had read mostly positive things on individual blogs, bloggers that I follow, girls I had spoken to and some ok and not so positive things on newspaper websites, more health/nutrition/scientific sites. I know that everyone does it for different reasons. Like I’ve mentioned before, my main reasons were 1) just plain curiosity because so many people seem to be cleansing these days and 2) a personal challenge. In 4 days, I didn’t really lose any weight, I maybe lost 2 lbs but the reason why I think I didn’t lose any weight is because I didn’t have much to lose in the first place (if any at all!) and also because I have a pretty healthy lifestyle overall. I don’t really drink coffee, other than red wine here and there I don’t drink very much and try my best to eat fresh, homemade and organic fruits and vegetables as well good food in general.

My boyfriend who’s from France explained to me yesterday that cleansing is definitely not as popular there and hasn’t really taken like many other recent food trends such as the Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free craze we’ve been seeing in the last few years. People tend to think that people from France eat only pastries, bread and cheese and wine, a lot of them do, that’s a fact but they also eat a lot of fresh produce, meats and cheese from local farmers that they get from their city’s farmers market every week. A lot of my family lives in France and none of them are obese and all live to 80+ years and so does my boyfriend’s family. It’s apparent that cleansing is more of a American/Canadia phenomenon.

After work, we headed to the movie theatre to watch Elysium and on the way there and back we read more than a handful of articles (here’s an example: http://archives-lepost.huffingtonpost.fr/article/2010/11/05/2293630_la-detox-ou-l-intox.html) on cleansing, juicing, the effects on your body, etc. After 4 full days of cleansing, without any cheating at all and after much discussion, my boyfriend and I decided to stop our cleansing adventure. We both felt that we had reached our goal – that the process had made us think a lot about nutrition, what we put in our bodies, what kind of lifestyle we live, etc.  That said, we both didn’t stop and immediately pigged out on a ton of food, instead, we celebrated with a nice homemade salad, guacamole and organice brown rice cracker.

photo 1 (10)

We still have a bunch of juices left over because we initially had planned to do 3 days of juicing instead of 2 and also because I only ended up drinking 4 bottles a day instead of 6. So what we’ve decided to do is keep drinking those bottles as a healthy snack in between meals for the next couple of days. We’re easing back into food with raw meals and I think overall we’ll just be even more careful than we used to be with the food we eat. That said, it’s a lot harder to find a good farmers market close by or buy only organic/local/sustainable produce without dishing out a fortune here in Toronto as compared to California. We’ve made a pact to be more conscious of the food we eat and make even better choices but to also keep enjoying food in general! We’re both big foodies and both take pleasure in treating ourselves to good meals!

For those wondering, even though we did the more DIY cleanse, it was still pretty pricey. We bought over 100$ of raw food groceries at Whole Foods plus over $50 of fruits and vegetables for our 2 days of raw food cleanse plus we each paid over $200 for our juices. At $9.99 a juice bottle x 6 bottles a day, you’re looking at over $60 + a day of juices. That said, we wanted to do the full experience and wanted to do it the right way so we went all out and made sure we had everything we needed.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Though I’m not sure I would do an actual “cleanse” again, I would definitely consider drinking these types of juices more regularly as snacks or if ever I’m on the go. I also think it’s a good exercise for people to go a week or so without alcohol or coffee, it can never hurt. It’s always a good thing to also re-evaluate your eating habits, your lifestyle, etc. As someone who travels a lot and as a vegetarian, it’s often hard to find healthy food options on the road, but this experience has taught me that maybe I should just bring some lunches if I can, or get some raw bars or juices and keep those with me while I travel. I have keep eating lot’s of fruit and veggies, eat organic and local if available and keep being active. Also, take pleasure in eating good food & most importantly ENJOY LIFE!!

PS. I know that everyone who’s cleansed before has had a different experience. I was not paid or did not receive any discounts for writing this blog during my juicing experience. It’s an adventure my boyfriend and I decided to take together independently. Everyone has different views on detoxing, juicing, raw food, etc. These were simply my own taken from my own personal experience! 🙂

California Highlights

Just before leaving for Montreal on assignment for work, I spent almost two weeks in California for a little r and r. Here are some of the highlights of my trip:

1- Venice

It was my first time officially staying in Venice on this past trip. @Offneraurelien had stayed there before and definitely is very fond of this beach town. Though I’d hung out in Venice and had meetings there, I had never really explored the town more: the infamous boardwalk, the enormous guys work out at Muscle Beach or those dressed up asking for money to pose for pictures, etc. What I liked about Venice is the fact that not too far from that madness, you have all the beautiful canals and homes in quiet streets. I envy those who live in that area. How about a nice kayak ride after breakfast or a coffee on your porch overlooking the canals and being just two blocks from the ocean?! Sounds dreamy! What I also fell in love with in Venice is Abbot Kinney street. The street totally screams MEL! I love all the quaint coffee shops, the abundant choice of restaurants (you must go to Gjelina – the Caramel & seasalt pot de crème is RIDIC! & 3 Square Café + Bakery) the cool clothing and vintage shops and its overall vibe!

photo 1

photo 3

 

photo 5

photo 1

photo 2

photo 4

2- Deus ex machina

Located in Venice, this coffee shop/bike shop is a cool laid-back spot for a croissant and coffee in the morning. If you like the old motorcycle culture, surfing and coffee, then Deus is the place for you! I loved how friendly the staff was there. They don’t offer a very extensive menu but the stuff they do offer is yummy. Plus, they’ve got a cool shop design. Deus is always putting on some rad events in the Venice area, so make sure you check them out!

photo 2 (8)

 

photo 4 (3)

3- The CheeseStore of Silverlake

Those who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese! I don’t think I could live without it. We stopped by the Silverlake cheese shop for a little “goûter” one afternoon. Their selection was fantastic! They had so much variety, cheeses that are hard to find even in Toronto, fresh baked goods and a wonderful selection on wines. Plus, their prices were really affordable! I loved sitting down on their bench out front in the sun and enjoying my goûter!

photo 5 (1)

 

photo 5

4- Reel Inn

@Offneraurelien had been telling me about this place for quite some time now. He claims that Reel Inn was the coolest little taco restaurant in all of LA. Located on the PCH right at the beginning of Malibu, Reel Inn looks like some crappy wood shed. You would have no idea that they serve a huge variety of fresh fish they caught that day as well as some good old tacos. You could see it in Aurelien’s face just how stoked he was to be at his favorite “taco fish” spot. I loved their terrasse and super cosy atmosphere.

photo 1 (8)

 

photo 3 (5)

5- Dr. Woo

While on vacation, I had the chance of getting tattooed by the ultra talented Dr. Woo, who works at Shamrock Social Club in Hollywood. I’ve been following his instagram feed for the last couple of months and am a big fan of his work. He’s tattooed some bloggers I follow, celebrities, musicians and regular folk like myself. I’d been thinking of getting the word “Wanderlust” tattooed on me for quite some time now and thought he was the perfect guy to do it! Love the script that he did. For those who don’t know what wanderlust means, it’s “A strong desire to travel”. Seemed fitting!

photo 4

 

photo 3

 

There were tons of other fantastic things on this trip – daily Urth Caffé stops, Café Gratitude, bike rides, my entire birthday extravaganza, Micheal Jackson slot machines in Vegas, Universal Studios, surfing, Encinitas, etc. Can’t wait for the second part of our adventure in July!!

photo 2