Nutcracker High Tea at Shangri-La Toronto

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If you’re looking for something unique to do during the holidays, make sure you head over to the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto for a special high tea service inspired by the classic Nutcracker ballet.

Taking place in the Shangri-La’s luxurious lobby lounge, the Nutcracker high tea is an enchanting way to spend a couple of hours with either a loved one, family, a business partner or friends.

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You will be seated either fireside or close to the grand piano and be able to relax and enjoy some lovely holiday classics interpreted live right before your eyes. The atmosphere is welcoming and also very homey.

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The Shangri-La offers a selection of 75 teas to choose from for their high tea ceremony, the biggest collection of any hotel in the city.

There are three different versions of the menu available; their regular menu, a vegetarian menu and also a special menu for children.

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Featured in this special Nutcracker themed menu, you will find their delicious selection of finger sandwiches, special festival marzipan stollen as well as their scrumptious warm candied ginger and traditional scones that are accompanied by house made jam, clotted cream and honey from their own “B-wall” that they cultivate in the hotel.

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The selection of pastries they offer are inspired by the dances in Act II of the Nutcracker ballet. You will be offered four pastries: the Spanish Dance (a dark chocolate cinnamon crèmeux), the Arabian Dance (coffee cardamon crème diplomat), the Chinese Dance (Imperial Dragon well tea cream) and the Russian Dance (Russian style gingerbread). The ingredients they use for these pastries are directly influenced by the dance’s country of origin.

The Shangri-La’s beautifully dressed staff will make sure you feel at home and take care of everything you need during the service. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying longer than expected to enjoy the magical ambiance.

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The Nutcracker high tea is being offered at the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto from 2-5pm daily until January 3rd 2016. To make a reservation or for more info, go here.

Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure

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If you’re looking for the ultimate foot relaxation treatment, then you must stop by the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto.

Since I’ve been running so much these past couple of months, I was in dyers need of some major foot care and this ended up being the most luxurious experience!

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The Miraj Hammam Spa is located on the 5th floor of the Shangri-La and is a beautiful haven featuring architectural and cultural elements inspired by Paris, Marrakesh and Istanbul. As soon as you walk into the spa, you’re immediately taken into a world of tranquility and relaxation.

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The staff at the spa were all incredibly kind. When I arrived, I was immediately escorted into their manicure and pedicure room, given a class of water and was set up in one of their comfortable booths. The decor is warm, I particularly liked all the plush pillows and the fact that each booth had charging areas for your phone.

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Not long after I sat down, I was brought a glass of water as well as a tray of Middle Eastern snacks. I was brought some fresh homemade baklava, grapes and a mint and chai tea. The snacks were delicious!!

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The Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure is an 80 minute long treatment that incorporates some of Caudalie‘s signature products that originate from the Bordeaux region in France. The Vinothérapie includes the application of actual grapes on your legs (a great natural moisturizer and exfoliant for the skin!), a Merlot Friction Scrub, an Elixir spray to enhance luminosity of the skin as well as Moisturizing Mask. Your feet will be cleansed, soaked and groomed with the utmost care. This was hands down the longest and most splendid foot treatment I’ve ever received. My runners’ feet were transformed and are now ready for summer. I’m making a mental note to return after my 15k race on June 14th!

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Following the nail polish application and the finishing touches of the pedicure, I was brought to their Alhambra Relaxation Lounge for a few minutes, while I waited for the polish to dry. The dimly lit lounge is a Moroccan oasis, filled with plush beds, complimentary tea and snacks. You can also opt to go out on their adjacent outdoor patio. It’s majestic place to continue your relaxation if you’re staying for an afternoon or for the full day.

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I had a very pleasant first experience at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie. It feels so good to get pampered once in a while. In addition to their signature Vinothérapie Spa Pedicure and Manicure, the spa also offers a variety of Hammams, Massages, Facials, Body Care and other delightful treatments. Find out more about the spa here.

Getting Through Winter

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Well, we’re definitely in the thick of winter right now. Temperatures are well below freezing point, it’s snowing pretty much all across the north east and unfortunately spring is still a ways away.

Those who know me how much I don’t like the cold and winter. I used to not mind it as a kid because it meant going skiing every weekend with my family, getting snow days, going sliding with friends, making forts, etc. As an adult, living in a big city, I find winter to be more of an annoyance than anything. That said, this winter I decided to make an attitude adjustment (or at least try my best!). Since I’m all about positivity this year and since it seems like I’m unfortunately not moving to a warm far away place just yet, I still have at least one more winter to deal with so why not make the best of it! I know a lot of us suffer from a mild or sever form of “winter blues” or aren’t too excited about this season, I figured I’d share with you some of the things that are making my winter a little more bearable this year and are helping me get through the next couple of months:

1) Travel – Even if it’s just for a weekend, traveling and getting away from the cold is definitely a morale booster for me. Getting some much needed Vitamin D during these grey winter months can have a serious positive impact on how you feel and how you deal with winter. It’s also something to look forward to. Some of my favorite destinations that are still relatively cheap and close enough to travel to for a weekend are: Miami, Las Vegas, California, Arizona, Memphis, etc. If you can’t take any time off, I recommend looking to travel during Family Day and/or Easter. Though it may be more expensive to travel during those weekends, if you book enough in advance, you can definitely find some deals. Also, if you’re desperate to get away and want to make it the cheapest trip possible, try booking red-eye flights, or early morning flights that way you don’t even have to tell your boss you were away or ask for any time off, you’ll be at the office at the same time as everyone but with an extra glow! You can check out my travel section on the blog here to get more travel ideas!

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2) Treat yourself – Whether you like massages, manicures, trying out new restaurants, going for brunch on the weekend, playing board games, visiting a museum, cooking, being crafty, making dyi beauty products, etc. it’s the perfect time of year to treat yourself and do things for you. I find that I have a lot more free time in the winter and so I take that opportunity to take care of myself. Sometimes, it’s the littlest thing that will be a moral booster. I definitely feel like when I treat myself or just take care of myself, I automatically feel better. Some of my favorite things to do in the city this winter: Having dinner at Electric Mud BBQ, grabbing the goûter at The Tempered Room – the best French bakery/patisserie in the city hands down, eating brunch at The Drake, enjoying the pools and get a massage at Body Blitz Spa, going for tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, grabbing a snack from Bolt Fresh Bar, etc.

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3) Try a new outdoor activity – Yea being outdoors when it’s -20C might suck, but if you’re doing something fun with friends or even by yourself, you might not think it sucks as much. Plus, I realized after all these years, my mother was right – Dress warm and you’ll be fine! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I’m planning on being outdoors for a while, style or any kind of fashion sense gets thrown out the widow. I’d prefer wearing my big dorky boots and huge jacket than freeze my butt off! As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts here, this year I’ve given winter running a try. To my surprise, it’s a whole lot easier than I thought it would be. Layers are super important and make sure your extremities are covered, but once you’re out the door, you’ll be sweating in no time. Also, if you’re lacking the motivation to run by yourself, there are tons of great clubs out there. Just in Toronto, you can run on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings with the Nike Queen West Run Club, on Thursday evenings with the Academy Of Lions run crew and also on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the Parkdale Roadrunners. These are just some of the many clubs in Toronto and there are run clubs in just about every city! And with all of these clubs, no matter your level and speed, no one gets left behind!

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Another thing I recently started doing is snowboarding. I grew up skiing but in Ontario, the “hills” are so small that skiing is quite boring if you’re an avid skiier. Luckily, Offner offered to teach me how to snowboard three years ago and these small “hills” have been the perfect place to learn and progress. I’ve also noticed that a lot of ski stations offer discounted day rates online, which makes riding a little more affordable! Walking is also a great way to spend time outdoors. The streets are almost empty in Toronto in the winter, so it’s actually really nice to explore the city when there’s no one around. Offner and I often walk at night from work or walk around on weekends. Plus, there’s nothing more awesome than going into stores to warm up or stopping by your favorite coffee shop to grab a treat mid-walk.

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4) Catch up on all the movies & television series you’ve missed – Two years ago, I made the decision to get an Apple Tv and I must say it’s been a lifesaver during the winter. I love making myself a warm cup of tea (currently obsessed with the rose bud tea that I got in California), lighting my new Dyptique candle and watching a movie wrapped under a blanket on my couch. In the summer, I’m usually so busy traveling and being outdoors that I rarely get to sit down and watch “television”. So I write down all the new series and movies that interest me and catch up on them in the winter. Currently, I follow about 7 series and try to watch at least 1-2 new movies a week, so it gives me something exciting to watch every night if I want to. Some of my favorite movies lately: Virunga, Copenhagen, Boyhood, Chef, Interstellar, Fed Up, etc.

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5) Read a book – I’ve said it in one of my previous blogs, I’m making a real effort this year to read a lot more. I’ve also noticed that I tend to read more during the winter, I think the reason being because it’s a nice form of escapism. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not escaping winter but it’s nice to get carried away in a story once in a while. It’s the perfect way to also disconnect from your busy day at work and relax.

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So those are the top 5 things that are currently keeping me sane this winter. What about you?

Flashbacks #DailyOutfit

It’s Friday! Friday, oh Friday! So excited about today! This morning I booked my next trip to NYC. Couldn’t be more excited to be going back at the end of April. Can’t wait to go see the lovely ladies of VERAMEAT and Lionette.

Last night, I did my first ever fun styling excercise for my friend Dainty Girl‘s #ShangriLagerfeld contest. The exercise was to style an outfit to go with the new line of Karl Lagerfeld watches. Here’s what I came up with:

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The outfit features a red combination quilted jacket from Zara, a black lace top from Zara, leather fringe shorts from Missguided, black and red fabric wedge ankle boots from Zara, Lady Bug lipstick from MAC and my favorite Springioux X Quentin Veron bag.  I’m absolutely obsessed with this outfit! It’s my perfect spring 2013 rock n’ roll bombshell outfit. I actually want to make this outfit happen IRL.  I also hope I can win that rad Lagerfeld watch 🙂

For today’s outfit, I’m wearing two of my favorite new jewels from Flashbacks, a small boutique in Encinitas, California.  I styled those with my comfiest black shiffon dress and my suede boots (can’t wait to wear heels/sandals!!).

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Forever 21 black shiffon shirt dress (similar one here)

Flashbacks medieval silver and gold spike cuff

Flashbacks gold spike tribal necklace

Steve Madden brown suede boots