Since it’s winter and we’re all dreaming of sunshine, I’ve decided to get a little more organized with my travel stories. Starting this week and each following Tuesday, I’ll be writing about my adventures past, present, and future. As part of my quest to keep more memories, it’s great to relive those moments and what better time than RIGHT NOW. Guys, it’s -5 in Toronto right now and I’m wearing a big fur hat as I work.
This week, we adventure to Cuba! I visited Havana back in 2010 w/ a friend. We stayed at Hotel Nacional, a famous spot where gangsters, famous people, and socialites used to hang out. The hotel opened in 1930 and Notable guests include Ernest Hemingway, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Backstreet Boys, Naomi Campbell and tbh there’s so many!
I absolutely love being in a country that speaks another language. Best way to learn I reckon! I danced to the sounds of Buena Vista Social Club, ate delicious fresh fish, and took in heaps of history about Cuba. Each day I watched different coloured taxis roll up with old white walled tires. It was like going back in time, I loved it. My dad builds hot rods so I’ve been around old cars like this my whole life.
My friends at Air Transat made this video a couple weeks ago and gave away all-inclusive trips to passengers. Did any of you guys see the Cuban Cab? Would you have taken a ride? I can’t imagine the being handed a trip so random like this! I could love to go back to Cuba. Especially today!
Was great to be on the comittee with this group of young ladies. Thanks to the lovely Gail McInnes for including me and for making this event a HUGE success. My dress was vintage black suede peplum from Timeless Apparel and jewellery was graciously provided by Swarovski Canada.
— Gail McInnes (@gailmcinnes) May 10, 2012
“Over 700 of Canada’s fashion elite flocked to the Royal Ontario Museum this past Thursday to take part in a milestone event for the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI). Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the TFI hosted guests at a champagne reception, VIP dinner, Barbie(R)-inspired celebrity fashion show, the annual TFI New Labels(R) fashion show competition and an after-party in the ROM’s Crystal. Thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) was awarded during the evening which was emceed by award-winning performer Jully Black and over $100,000 in net proceeds was raised for TFI. TFI25 also featured performances by award-winning student dance group the Wexford Gleeks and recording artist Anastasia A and an installation of 25 looks from the past 25 years curated by FLARE Magazine’s award-winning Fashion Director Elizabeth Cabral.” Read full release on Reuters.
Thanks Spiro for this lovely shot of me & Nancy from Peacock Parade. She’s wearing Greta Constantine. My dress in vintage black suede from Timeless Apparel and jewels are from Swarovski. I love this collar, it was a hit. Sadly, I have to return them to the head office today.
I absolutely loved the jackets by Jameson Kane in the TFI New Labels show. Winner was Sid Niegum which wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Patrick L’Arrivee had some awesome avant garde style with nylon & hats. Loved it. Very gaga-esque. Runway Photos: Owen McLeod, The Style Lense. I was socializing & trying to ignore the hurt caused by my 6′ shoes.
In other fashion news, last week I was Trump Toronto for the premiere of the first short film from Greta Constantine called ‘From Sketch to Runway‘. It’s now online. watch it.
I’ve mentioned 3F a couple times over the last month. The brand is new in Canada and I’m on the Board of Directors. Fancy, huh? I felt like ‘Young & The Restless’ joining the board! The 3F flagship store is at Dundas Square & the company was launched to compliment and integrate the family business KTC (Kazareen Textile Company).
KTC is a leading supplier of apparel and textiles for some huge brands in North-America and Europe. Notable clients are Marks Work Wearhouse (see my posts on Mark’s here!), A&F, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy, and Calvin Klein. They have some agressive growth targets to open 33 stores in the next three years so you can see why I wanted to be part of the action!
The other day they had pop princess Aleesia in the store for a meet & greet with fans. 103.5 was on site broadcasting live too.
Next weekend at Metro Toronto Convention Centre all the girls from America’s Next Top Model will be in town and 3F is one of the Social Media Lounge sponsors. I’ll be backstage hanging out and probably feeling like a midget around all the models. Ha!
In other fashion news, Toronto Fashion Incubator celebrates it’s 25th Anniversary on May 3, next week. I’m on the Social Committee and I’d love to see you there. Get event and tickets info here. It’s almost sold out!
Now I am faced with the DAUNTING task of finding something to wear. Have some ideas? Your bff/sister/friend/mum is a fashion designer? LMK. I need to look fabulous!
We’re really lucky in Canada to have all the luxuries we want, when we want them. We’re also really lucky to have such warm positive attitudes.
They’re not really as nice in Cuba as I originally thought. It’s like they look at us and see only money…and they want it. I learned they make something crazy like $20-50 Cuban pesos a month. So, I can see why…
They do this thing where they say “hi” and compliment you, then they ask if you need help finding something or to buy something and then ask for money.
We met a real asshole on the last day. He started chatting to us about how beautiful Cuba was and that he loves Canada but it’s to cold for him. He spoke pretty good English and was wearing a gold watch. He was persistent and kept with the handshakes which I didn’t like.
We tried to get away but then came the pitch “No money, don‘t want money but can you buy me some milk for my baby”. I didn’t see a baby anywhere. He said it was to take to the hospital for the baby. Ok, fine, its just milk, gonna be like a couple pesos.
We waited with him in this line at a small merchant shop in Old Havana. He asked me to order milk and the lady gave me a bag with about 4 litres and told me it was $20.
WTF. How the hell can it be $20? I was pissed. I told him that wasn’t cool and refused to pay for it. He tricked us.
We ended up returning 2 bags and paying the lady $10 for 2 litres of milk to get him off our back. We walked away cursing the dick as he walked behind us for a minute before disappearing. I’m sure he went back and returned the milk for cash.
It made me look at the people differently. They’re not nice, they’re poor and hungry and live in shit conditions. They’ve really got begging from tourists down to an sneaky science.
It may be cold in Canada but we’ve got warmer people and attitudes.
I’m having a blast. Staying at a five star called Hotel Nacional de Cuba Not internetting very much cause it’s so freaking slow and painful. Figure I’m better to save myself the trouble and drink pina colada’s in the sun. Best pina’s here EVER!
Old Havana is so neat. I took about 8,000 photos walking around. Saw a cool show last night with musica & dancing.
That’s all for now…back outside to the sunshine! Have a great day, I am 🙂
As winter starts to creep up on us I find myself looking back through old blog posts of my travels. I’m keen to book a trip for Sean and I for a little R&R under the sun early 2016. I’m thinking Dominican Republic, Cuba, or Costa Rica. I’m dying to feel sand on my skin and salt water in my hair! ☀️
Over the last few years I’ve been to Thailand, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and LA during the winter. I absolutely LOVE to travel but if you don’t manage your money right, it can be expensive. Up until a few years ago I didn’t even have a credit card because I was still paying off my student debt from school. Having a card with travel rewards was really important to me. I want to get something back through my purchases!
I would rather take a great trip in the winter to boost my inspiration and pay it off my credit card, than not go at all and let the winter blues get me down.
I’ve partnered with a Capital One Canada one to tell you about their new and improved line of Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCards. There are two to pick from that both offer great travel rewards and benefitsdepending on what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick summary and my fav features of each.
With this card you can book the hotel, airline or rental car of your choice, then redeem your reward miles to cover these travel expense and even pay for the taxes using your reward miles. There are no blackout dates or hidden fees. You also get 2 reward miles for every $1 on all purchases and can earn a $400 bonus in travel rewards when you get a new card.
Once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, you earn a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles, that’s $400 in travel! There’s no limit to the mines you can earn either so start shopping! A couple other great Travel benefits include Travel Emergency Medical and Trip Cancellation insurance. I’ve stressed it before, never leave home without travel insurance!
With the Aspire Travel Platinum MasterCard, you get travel rewards on every purchase and there’s no limit to how the amount of miles you can earn. There’s a one-time bonus of 10,000 miles – equal to $100 in travel – once you spend $500 within the first 3 months. There’s also Platinum MasterCard benefits, including Travel Accident insurance, and Baggage Delay coverage.
This photo was from a day sailing trip to Tortuga Island while surfing in Costa Rica. I would love to go back there! It was one of my fav trips and went there all by myself. I flew into San Jose and took an all day bus, ferry, then another bus to my destination, meeting all kinds of people along the way. I love that feeling of adventure you only get from exploring a new destination.
I’m dying to get on a plane and explore something new! I’ll be sure to document my travels, wherever they may be.
* post sponsored by Capital One but the story and wanderlust is all mine!
Last week I went to the Rogers Cup with April. It’d been a while since we had a good girl hang and the night was perfect. Huge thanks to Bacardi Canada for treating us like social royalty; they sent a car service and took good care food & drinks for the night. Great way to get back into city life after my cottage getaway!
Bacardi was serving (?) perfect summer cocktails inside the Bacardi Canada Raquet Club. Their goal was to capture the court side cocktail vibe with Bacardi classics: The Bacardí Mojito, Bacardí Cuba Libre, and Bacardí Limónade.
April and I made the most of every moment by checking out all the booths and entering all contests or promotions happening. We laughed our heads off the whole time. Fingers crossed we win that Jamaica trip!
Try making these selected summer favs from Bacardi Canada at home. They’re refreshing, and perfect for patios, poolside, or parties. I quite enjoy the lemonade and the Mojito is a close second.
Method: Gently press together the limes & sugar. Bruise the mint leaves by clapping them between your palms, rub them on the rim of the glass and drop them in. Next, half fill the glass with crushed ice, add the BACARDÍ Superior rum & stir. Top up with crushed ice, a splash of soda and a sprig of mint.
Method: To build this legendary cocktail, fill a highball glass with ice. Then squeeze 2 lime wedges over the ice and drop them into the glass. Pour in the BACARDÍ Gold rum, followed by chilled cola, and give it all a gentle stir.
Method: Fill highball glass with ice. Pour in the BACARDÍ LIMON, followed by freshly squeezed Lemonade, and give it all a gentle stir.
Love these vintage outfits. Notice their perfectly placed tennis bracelets. I took tennis lessons in junior high. Mostly did it for the tennis skirt and to hang out at the racquet club.
This morning Hann and I went to a beach volleyball match at Pan Am Park. I’ve never been to a Pan Am (or Olympic) event so it was pretty neat to take the stands and get in on the action.
The park is massive and takes up the whole Exibition Place parking lot. I imagine it gets pretty happening later in the day. The activations inside were just getting set up when we walked in.
Argentina took on Cuba and the girls were awesome. The last time I played volleyball was probably in grade 6 and I’ve not played since. Was really impressive to see them pound the ball and dive right into the sand. They’re super fit!
You ready for vacation? This week we’re looking at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Yes, I like Pina Coladas.
Currently browsing packages and flights to Punta Cana because I need to ditch this cold and soak up some sunshine! It feels like -30 in Toronto today! My sister went to Dominican a couple years ago and since I’ve been to a bunch of the surrounding islands (Cuba, Puerto Rico), so it’s on my destination list.
One of the things I love about the Caribbean is the beautiful blue water. I adore being near the ocean and salt water on my skin. It’s also a great opportunity to practice my Spanish. Since I’ll be travelling alone, I don’t really have to speak to anyone if I don’t want to! One of the best things about going on a solo trip is plenty of time to do whatever you want and/or keep to yourself in silence. You might be thinking ‘but you are so outgoing!’, truth is, I really cherish my alone time and everyone needs to recharge their batteries. I’m one of those ‘outgoing introverts’ if you can believe it. Travelling alone is an excellent way to explore a new city or country. If you’ve never done it I HIGHLY recommend it.
Does this not look wonderful?
I’m looking to stay at a quiet resort without kids. I’d rather be amongst seniors than people on family vacation! Aside from vitamin D and relaxation, this trip is to put finishing touches on my book before it comes out in March.
My ideal spot is an all-inclusive resort on the coast with white sand beaches where you can catch a few waves. Last time I went surfing was 2013 in Costa Rica so I’m dying to get back on a board. I dreamt about surfing last night.
Have you been to Dominican Republic? Have any reocos? I’d love to know. Ready to book ASAP!
Sending sunshine through the airwaves right to where ever you are!