5 Questions With: ASP World Tour Pro Surfer Pauline Ado

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Photo by: RipCurl

Last summer, while I was in California, I had the chance to check out for the second year in a row, an all-girl surfing competition called the Supergirl Pro that was being held in Oceanside. Over the years I’ve been following the professional circuit of surfers as much as I can but as of late, I’ve been paying particular attention to not only the women surfers but also the up and comers. Last year, one of the names I kept hearing, was French surfer Pauline Ado. Pauline is currently ranked 13th in the ASP World Tour. Over the past year, she’s really grown into her own and has really been rivalling all of the ladies at the top of her field. What I like so much about her, is that she always seems so laid back but also incredibly focused. This past year, she’s only ben home for a few weeks, recently traveling to Mexico and up next on her itinerary will be the US as well as Europe and Hawaii to finish the year. She’s beyond talented and I’m therefore incredibly thrilled to have seen her surf and now to have her featured on the blog. Here’s are my 5 Questions With Pauline Ado:

1) When did your passion for surfing start? Do you remember the first time you surfed?

I was 8 years old the first time I started surfing. Before that I would spend all summer at the beach playing in the water, catching waves with my bodyboard and trying to stand up on it with a group of friends. The first time I really surfed though is not a clear memory. I just remember standing up and having a lot of fun. I loved it straight away !

2) What is it about surfing you love so much?

First of course, I loved the feeling on a wave. The speed, the adrenaline… I also loved being in the water. When I am surfing I forget about the rest, I like that feeling of being in the moment, focusing on the sensations. You never get twice the same wave in surfing, there’s no routine and it’s always exciting !

3) You are now a part of the ASP World Tour. You are currently ranked 13th in the Women’s World Championship Tour. How much has the sport evolved for women over the past couple of years? Do you find the women are finally starting to get the attention and respect they deserve?

I think a few years ago only a few surfers would stand out and get the attention. Right now there are so many good surfers on tour with different styles and strengths. You never know who is going to shine in a comp and the top surfers are never safe. It makes it interesting.

 4) How important are finding the right sponsors and team to support you? Is France and La Côte Basque supportive of their surfers?

I have been very lucky in this area getting sponsors at an early age. Right now I am still riding for RipCurl who have been supporting me since I was 10…  and my family have always had my back. Surfing is an individual sport but you can’t go anywhere alone. Being surrounded by people you trust and believe in you is the key. Having the right support gives you so many opportunities… We have good support in the South West of France, surfing is part of the culture in this area but it’s not one of the biggest sports in France… but we are slowly getting the attention.

5) Through surfing and competing you’ve been able to travel the world, what are some of the most memorable moments thus far in your career?

I have been to many countries and I feel so lucky. I have seen beautiful places, beaches and cultures. Surprisingly one my favorite place I went to was Iceland. Nature is so beautiful and powerful there. It was mind-blowing !

Geraldine

Last Friday, Offner and I tried a fantastic new restaurant in Parkdale called Geraldine. We had walked by the place a few times during the last couple of months and it always seemed to be closed but we had loved the black and white floor tile that gave the place a very French bistro look.

Reservations for Geraldine were easy to make through their website. We got a beautiful table at the back of the restaurant close to their upright piano. The piano was beautifully lit with candles, which illuminated all the artwork at the back of the restaurant. I loved the way all the round tables were placed right by the wall, every couple sat almost next to each other instead of facing each other. It was very intimate and romantic. All of the tables were decorated with simple white cloths and adorned with lovely vintage silverware and antique dinnerware. All the plates were floral, some even had gold trim, which gave the restaurant a very classy look. The marble bar was extremely classy. I also loved their vintage fresh seafood display at the back of the bar. photo 1 (37)

All of the restaurant’s staff were dressed in prohibition era garments. The men all wore suspenders, high-waisted pants, short and slicked back hair. The men looked like they were straight out of an episode of Boardwalk Empire. It went perfectly with the big band, jazzy music they were playing and the overall look of the place.

Geraldine had a lovely drink menu called “Libations” all made by the restaurant’s Mr. Mooney. All of the drinks we had were interesting and unique and seemed to have quite a lot of thought put into them.

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The entire menu looked super tasty! Lot’s of French-inspired dishes. They also had a separate menu to order fresh seafood. Offner ordered the seared duck breast and I went for the lentil salad with mushroom and tapenade plus the cheese board. The portions were small but everything was cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned. Though a little pricey, it was well worth it! We capped off our dinner with a little digestif and tea for myself!

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All in all, it was a beautiful and romantic experience. I definitely consider Geraldine one of my new favorite restaurants in Parkdale. We’ll definitely be back! Geraldine is also having a special until the end of the month, they are serving wine bottles at half the price on Tuesdays. So make a stop on Tuesday night January 28th to enjoy some great wine for cheap!

 

ICI Bistro

A few weeks ago, Offner and I finally got a table at ICI Bistro. We had wanted to go check out the place but it was always booked every time we had tried to make a reservation. So if after reading this blog, you’re dying to try it out, make sure you plan your visit in advance!

The Bistro is located on Harbord St.  just at the corner of Manning St.. There aren’t that many restaurants in the area but I think that when a restaurant is good, it doesn’t really matter where it’s located, people will go to it. And ICI Bistro was sure worth the trek!

The first thing that appealed to me about this place was their slogan: “Food, Wines & Happy People Is What We Are Most Passionate About At ICI“. Sounds perfect!

We received a warm welcome when we arrived at the restaurant. The host took our coats, made sure we had everything we needed. Because there aren’t too many tables in the place (there are like 6 or 7) we opted to sit at the small bar, which gave us a really nice view of the room. The decor was simple but really nice. The restaurant felt extremely cozy. I loved their slightly elevated open kitchen concept.

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We started off with a nice bottle of wine from their extensive wine list. We opted for a French wine since we were in a French inspired bistro. We noticed that a lot of the staff were also either from France or from Quebec and as a result spoke both French and English. As we were picking out our meals, the waiter brought us a really yummy appetizer on the house, a sort of fine rice and cheese ball.

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We started off our meal with a plate of cheese. It was $18 for a selection of 3. We opted for double that just so that we could get as many different cheeses as possible. The cheese portion was great for the price and the cheese were all different and extremely tasty. The chef even came over to personally bring us a plate of fruit, nuts and jams to accompany the cheese we had ordered.

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While we were waiting for our mains, the server came over and offered us some homemade gnocchi on the house in order to tie us over before the mains arrived. I must say I was REALLY impressed by the quality of the service. Little things like that go a long way in my opinion. Plus the gnocchi melted in my mouth!

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By the time our mains arrived, I was almost full! Though they don’t have a big vegetarian selection (1 out of 11 dinner choices), I was told that the chef could always prepare something special for me if ever I didn’t like what they had on the menu. I opted for their homemade patties with cheese, fresh salad, pesto and homemade sauce and my boyfriend the duck magret. His said his was pure bliss! Mine was also very delicate and flavored perfectly. The chef even came by again during our meal to make sure everything was ok and asked us if we had liked everything. A very nice gesture!

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All in all, our experience at ICI Bistro was delightful. There aren’t too many restaurants in the city that have served us that well and that are so in tune with what their clients want. The staff at ICI made sure that we were fully satisfied with our meal.

Looking forward to returning very soon!

 

Welcome to Miami!

Two weekends ago I was able to spend a few days in Miami. My last visit to Miami dates back to last November but I had only spent 48hrs in this tropical wonderland. Growing up in Quebec, Florida was always a very popular destination for my family in the winter. I think my first ever trip as a baby was to Orlando when I was just a few months old. I’ve done the Orlando/Disney trip a handful of times, stayed in West Palm Beach with my grand-ma, went to Fort Lauderdale a few times but hadn’t spent too much time in Miami before.

So I was really happy to have more quality time there to discover some of the city’s hotspots.

Summer isn’t necessarily the best time of year to head to Miami, that’s when it tends to rain a lot just because it gets so humid and hot. We got lucky with the weather, it only rained one morning out of four and a half days. It was 42+ celsius and sunny the whole time.

We spent most of our time at the beach, the water was SO warm! It is also really clear and the ocean floor is soft and sandy, so you can see all sorts of tropical fish swimming around you. It’s beautiful! Though a little pricey – $50 a day for two chairs and a parasol but you can come and go as you please the entire day, we made sure to protect ourselves from the hot sand and intense sun. There’s really nothing quite like swimming in the ocean. It’s oh so relaxing!!

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I was able to do a little bit of shopping while I was there. My two favorite spots are: Collins Ave. (where you’ll find everything from Zara to LF, to Armani, etc.) and also the pedestrian outdoor shopping area on Lincoln Road.

I’m a huge fan of Art Deco so seeing all the different art deco hotels, buildings, clubs, museums, etc. are so amusing to me. We took the time to visit one of their Art Deco themed museum – the Wolfsonian FIU, located on Washington Ave. They had interesting collections on women and sports, Zeppelins, Art Deco, Architecture, etc. It’s only $7 per person and will take 1-2 hours of your time.

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3 favorite places to eat:

The Dutch – is located in the W Hotel in South Beach. They offered a brilliant fall fixed price menu with one appetizer, one main and a dessert. Everything everyone had there was absolutely to die for! The wine selection was also top notch! The vibe of the place was cozy yet stylish, the staff was knowledgeable and super helpful. I loved my dinner there and can’t wait to go back!

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Otentic – I officially found the best cheese platter in Miami. This small restaurant located on Washington Ave. makes typical French dishes. I loved drinking a Monaco (beer & grenadine drink), their charcuterie boards and salads are also killer. They make a mean chocolate mousse! I love their attention to detail, offering customers a free glass of white wine and tapenade as soon as you walk in. The owner Aurélien (yup, same name as Offner!) is super young and friendly. A must!

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The Forge – Loved eating at this over the top Art Deco inspired restaurant. The atmosphere was young, hip and fun! The styling of the place was unreal. They had a special on Veuve Clicquot champagne the night we went so if you ordered a glass of champagne at the bar, they would serve you unlimited appetizers. Unreal! The food was also heavenly. They had very tasty bread baskets and a fabulous selection of wine. I had the soup and grilled cheese, Offner had the burger and his parents, the biggest steak I’ve ever seen! Their little dessert tray was also yummy. It’s a festive place with loud music so if you’re looking for a quieter spot, this may not be the place for you!

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Now for something completely different, the 11th Street Diner located on Washington and 11th Street is also a superb place to grab some quick breakfast or lunch. It’s the original building that was constructed in 1948 in New Jersey that they moved to Miami in the 1990s.

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A bar to check out:

The Broken Shaker – is located in the hip Freehand Miami hostel. Offner always loves checking out up and coming bars in every city we visit. He had heard of this place because of their original handcrafted drinks made from ingredients, herbs & spices directly taken from the place’s garden. We tasted their savory sweet and spicy homemade punch. They also had a tremendous outdoor garden/patio with a pool, lot’s of fun seating areas, little lights, trees, ping pong tables, etc.

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(photo credit: The LA Times)

Finally, if you’re looking for a cool morning or afternoon excursion, I highly recommend taking a trip to the everglades at the Everglades Safari Park. I’m not one to do too many touristy things on vacation but this was really well organized, informative and fun. For $40, they take you from South Beach (the location of your choice) on a 40min bus ride to the everglade national park. You then go on a 45min airboat tour where they teach you about the different species of snakes, alligators, wildlife, etc. in the national park. That is followed by an informative alligator demonstration (no one wrestles with alligators!) and time to walk around their sanctuary where you can see all sorts of alligators, crocodiles, lizards, etc. They then take you back to your hotel in South Beach. Honestly, well worth the money and super amusing!

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Our time in Miami went by SO fast! With it only being a 3hr flight from Toronto, it’s the perfect long weekend destination! Can’t wait to go back soon!

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Glas Winebar

Last week, my boyfriend and I decided to do a raw food and juice cleanse (read a recap here) after our California adventure. The whole time I was cleansing, all I kept thinking about was cheese. I have a mild severe adoration for cheese and not just any type of cheese – the stronger and the stinkier, the better 🙂

During my cleanse, I asked the twitterverse to recommend the best cheese platter in Toronto. Though I’ve tried many cheese boards in the city, they’re usually always overpriced, aren’t that tasty or original and satisfying. The Terroni cheese platter is probably the best for quality vs. price and you know that you’ll be getting more than just an ounce of cheese. Plus, their accoutrements are always fantastic. However, Toronto cheese platters always fall short of what you can find in Quebec and obviously France. I still can’t get over the fact that you can get four full cheeses in France for 8 Euros and here, they charge $24 for 4oz of cheese! Absurd!

Blame my French blood, but if I’m going to dish out $24 for a cheese board it better be damn good or I’d be better off just making my own (which we do quite often…)

The top recommendation on twitter was Glas Winebar in Leslieville. A quaint little restaurant on Queen East. So I figured I’d give it a shot!

It was really easy to make a reservation for the restaurant, I was able to reserve just by tweeting at them. Though it may not look like much from the outside, the atmosphere in the restaurant is warm, welcoming and cozy. Right when we got there, the chef Danny Pantano came up and introduced himself and thanked us for coming. He explained the current menu, cheese platter, etc. He was very friendly and seemed like a really smart and business-savvy owner. He explained that he opened the restaurant last year after having spent several years cooking in Europe, he wanted to finally have his own place and bring Italian and French cuisine to the city.

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The meal started with a free amuse-bouche: some roasted and seasoned nuts and olives. We both ordered a glass of local Ontario wine.

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The meal continued with a citrus marinated kale salad with wine soaked raisins and parmesan shavings for myself. My boyfriend ordered a beef tartar. Danny carefully selects the products and items on his menu, making sure they’re either all local, sustainable and organic. He also changes his menu very frequently.

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The long awaited cheese board then arrived with a selection of 5 local cheeses. To be honest, the cheeses all had an interesting and original taste, some were smoked, others were garnished with different toppings. For the price, 5 great cheeses for $20, you can’t really go wrong in this city! They were also accompanied by some delicious compote and jam. Yummy!!

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Danny offered us a sweet homemade sorbet with blueberrys on the bottom. It was the perfect way to end the meal!

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We spent more time talking with Danny at the end of our meal, he went around the tables of his restaurant making sure that everyone had enjoyed their meals.

Though it may not be France and strong original cheeses aren’t as readily available in Toronto, I can definitely say that Glas Winebar offered an excellent selection for a great price!

We will definitely be making it back to the east end for another platter someday soon! Thanks Danny and you all for the good recommendation 🙂

Punch Of Red #DailyOutfit

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent a rare weekend in Toronto and it was a gorgeous one! Nothing quite like going for brunch on the weekend. I discovered a new spot in Little Portugal called Bivy, owned by a lovely French man. I had a great tartiflette quiche and a yummy homemade almond croissant. Cute little spot, tasty food and good prices!

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Like most Torontonians, I went to check out this year’s CNE yesterday. Though it seems like the perfect day-trip for kids, as an adult it’s a pretty pricey outing! $16 per person admission fee, $22 for two rides (I recommend skipping the Euroslide, looks rad from far but you barely make it all the way down) and $5+ for games! The food building is always a trip though. I actually resisted the temptation of getting any deep fried mac n’ cheese balls or deep fried mars bars… After my cleanse last week, I figured it wouldn’t be the best thing 😉 My favorite part of the afternoon – meeting the Alpacas!! They have the best hairdos!! Nevertheless, we had a fun afternoon in the sun, walking around and enjoying the sights! The Ex is on until September 2nd, a bunch of Canadian bands are playing so check out the schedule!

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For today’s outfit, I’m wearing punches of red – red plaid shirt, red belt and my rad red and gold spike boots!

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Zara black and white striped tee (similar one here)

H&M felt-print black cut off shorts (similar ones here)

Zara gold stud plaid shirt (similar one here)

TOPSHOP arrow necklace

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Biko Third Eye bracelet (get it here)

Zara red studded ankle boots 

This Is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like! #DailyOutfit

It’s with little sleep but much excitment that I start what will probably be the longest work day of my life… or at least of the last little while. After months of planning, the day has finally arrived! Tonight is the first ever Canadian Music Week BRBR showcase “Le French Tickler“. Starting at 8pm at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, some of our favorite Canadian artists will be showcasing tracks from their latest releases. On the bill, we’ve got Eight and a Half (ex-The Stills & Broken Social Scene), Peter Peter, Karim Ouellet, Pandaléon, Loud x Lary x Ajust and Claude Munson & The Storm Outside. I couldn’t be more excited to know that the showcase is almost all sold-out! There will be a few tickets at the door and some passes/wristbands will be accepted. More info about the evening here:

The entire show will be livestreamed on our facebook page, so if ever you can’t make it out to the show, you can watch it live starting at 8pm EST here.  We’ll also be taping a special BRBR show with the artists during the afternoon that will be airing on April 1st.

My anthem for today couldn’t be more fitting and is a great pump up track by Porcelain Black!

Last night, I had a blast at Day 3 of World MasterCard Fashion Week. I went to see two shows: Mackage and Joe Fresh.

I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the entire Mackage collection. The first look, as seen below floored me. I loved the mixed leather and fur biker jacket, the burgundy leather skirt and leather leggings paired with their amazing new line of handbags and rad platform heels. I loved the red wool plaid skirts and shorts, all of the leather jackets, the fur, the long trench coats with leather trim, the schoolgirl backpacks and the little leather biker gloves. To me, Mackage’s fall/winter 2013 collection was the perfect mix between class and rock n’ roll! I can absolutely see myself wearing every single piece of the collection, it’s totally my style. I couldn’t be more excited to have seen such an inspiring runway show. Definitely my favorite this year! Now, I need to start saving up, if I want to add the new collection to my wardrobe.

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*Photo taken by the Mackage team, backstage just before the show.

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photo 2*picture taken from FAJO Magazine’s instagram

The second collection I saw was Joe Fresh‘s Fall/Winter 2013. The room was absolutely packed for the show, which started off with some lovely French indie/electro music. That definitely got my attention! Though I don’t own many Joe Fresh pieces, I’ve always respected the line for creating quality affordable and stylish pieces that can be paired up with just about anything. They’re perfect for basically any occasion. Last night’s collection, was all about black and white, shimery fabrics, biker jackets, studs and headscarves?! Yup, a handful of models were wearing headscarves over their short black bob wig. I can’t say I was a big fan of the headscarves but… My favorite items of the collection were the black and white biker jackets, the black faux fur jacket and all of the black skirts. I also loved hearing French music throughout the show. Also, not sure if it’s just me, but Joe Mimran‘s final wave at the end seemed so heartfelt. He really seems like a sweetheart! Overall, I definitely see myself adding a few of those pieces to my wardrobe.

photo (52)Channeling my inner Mackage as I wait for the Joe Fresh show to start…

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*Photo taken from @Hautecanada’s instagram feed.

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So for today’s special CMW show taping, I was inspired by the new Mackage collection and put an outfit together that mixes: leather, platform heels, a biker jacket, black.

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Zara diagonal zip studded green blazer

H&M graphic masquerade ball tee

Forever 21 combination faux leather skirt

Lace-Up Platform Boots (similar ones here)

Stella & Dot gold renegade cluster bracelet (get it here)

TOPSHOP arrow necklace

Lionette the JOPLIN bracelet (check the site for more info)

Kitson LA leather and gold bracelet 

VERAMEAT gold brass initial ring