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the long-haul/ prague to new zealand

11 Apr

four flights and far too many hours in transit, we’ve arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand! my brother is getting married on Sunday, but before we get to all that, a few people have asked me how i get through these long-haul flights. here’s how i roll…

the outfit/ i’m all about the overalls and have been wearing my Aritzia jumpsuit on every flight since i purchased them last summer. i’ve also got these sneakers by Ash that are so comfy i can sleep with them on…a bonus because i drink a lot of water and have to go to the washroom a lot. i also pop extra undies and socks into a lingerie bag and in my carry-on.

the face + body/ Sephora has a great travel range for face and body, including a roll-on eye depuffer, spray deodorant, cleansing wipes, as well as containers if you want to make your at-home supply flight-safe. i apply Kiehls avocado eye cream a few times during every journey, which helps me look and feel not so dehydrated.

the food/ pre-ordering a veg/lactose-free/gluten-free whenever possible is key. i always feel better if i stick to a vegetarian diet while up in the air. and because i’m always ravenous on planes, i pack Lara or Life Bars for extra snacks and buy bananas (health benefits here) en route. of course everything that is not packaged must be consumed before arriving in NZ as the country’s biosecurity is extremely strict.

the drink/ i know it’s so tempting because it’s free, but resist alcohol at all costs! “changes in air pressure, fatigue from flying, and especially dehydration all cause alcohol to be more potent than usual,” says Eric Rimm, ScD, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. he goes on to say that more than one drink will more than likely lead to a hangover. i would add that, after so many hours up in the air, avoiding alcohol upon arrival would be wise – give your body at least 12 hours to regulate itself. didn’t help that i had a hen party the night i got to Queenstown. #screwed

the sleep/ as far as i am concerned, it’s pay to play when it comes to catching some zzzs. when a first class tickets costs upwards of $12,000, i can’t afford one of those luxury sleeper seats. in any case, i did dose up on tryptophan and magnesium which helped me relax at least.

the superfoods and supplements/ as a new fan of liquid vitamins, i’m really into Genesis PURE‘s Daily Build to-go packs. GP also offers to-go servings of goji juice, Mila (chia), and a balancing blend of herbs and superfruits called GoYin.

other on-board essentials/ liquid silver for disinfecting everything; alkaline water concentrate; my Superlative Conspiracy headphones.

in-flight entertainment/ if i’m traveling light and don’t have a good book, it’s no worries as Air New Zealand has the best selection of music, movies and tv shows. a new rule is to keep it PG because i find it harder to sleep after watching violent scenes. was slightly disturbed after seeing The Counselor on the LA to Auckland leg. nonsense film that’s a total waste of good actors, by the way.

how do you handle extra long flights? i’d love to know so post a comment here.

tfw/ piloti + hilary macmillan

24 Mar

presse agent Monique Lahey

despite the freezing temperatures, fashion trailblazers and followers came out of hibernation to attend Toronto Fashion Week fall/winter 2014.

early last week i dropped in to check out Piloti’s private trunk show being held at The Shore Club. launched in 1999, this performance footwear and apparel brand quickly became a celebrity racing fan favourite. Patrick Dempsey, David Letterman and Jay Leno have all been caught on camera …with their Pilotis on, of course. in fact, a Patrick Dempsey look-alike was hired to model this latest collection. hello McDreamy. i’d buy those shoes with you in them. although Piloti is a newly acquired Canadian-owned company, with a California-based designer brought on board to reinvent the brand, it has a decidedly European look and feel. the very word means drivers in Italian. at the media preview, i overheard an incredibly stylish woman stating that she would wear the men’s shoe herself. and with good reason, as it comes in a variety of eye-popping colours with a sleek design that could easily be paired with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a fitted tee. according to the Piloti website, there are plans to design a women’s line in the future. in the meantime, it’s recommended that female fans go down a size and a half in the men’s shoe. my new personal favourite? the ‘Campione’ is a high-cut dress shoe with brogue design available in black or brown leather and suede. not only will this line make any man look and feel Euro chic, this is an ideal shoe for travel. comfortable, stylish, yet still manly enough for the guy’s guy. to compliment his fashionable footwear, the ‘Monza Weekender’ is a sophisticated and roomy black leather travel bag that can be taken on weekend road trips, or used as a carry-on for getaways.

at the end of the week, Hilary MacMillan‘s highly anticipated second appearance at World MasterCard Fashion Week saw a strong showing of tailored looks, tweed, and tartan plaids. giving traditional Scottish attire a modern twist by drawing inspiration from her roots, MacMillan opened the collection with a pheasant print blazer and miniskirt. following that, a winter white wool suit was a definite standout among rich reds, blues and blacks. MacMillan’s use of metallics, fur, and leather added luxury, while details taken from traditional hunting wear added an edge. one of my favourite looks: tartan shorts. paired with a matching button down collared shirt and i see a holiday party hit on the horizon! black leather pants and fur accessories are other highlights.
the Canadian designed, sourced and manufactured label can be purchased online or at Elle Hardware, 695 Queen Street West in Toronto.

Hilary MacMillan images courtesy of George Pimentel

book it/ the 2014 lolë white tour

18 Mar

i love what Lolë stands for. as a lifestyle brand that truly gets what it means to live well, i’m thrilled to see their annual wellness event -the Lolë White Tour- get bigger and inspire more people to live out loud everyday. after closing out 2013 at the Grand Palais in Paris, the 2014 edition promises to be just as remarkable. yogis of all levels are invited to practice for peace in the most prestigious museums of the world… stops include Barcelona, Montreal, New York, Toronto and Edmonton.

tickets for the White Tour are now available and you can sign up at lolewomen.com.

28 hours in berlin

12 Mar

Tuesday/March 4

rise and shine at 4:30am to catch my 6:30 train (even with 2 hours i’m lucky the station is so close to our house – i just made it!)… try to sleep, but that does not work out so i get in a good two hours of Italian language study… arrive in Berlin at 11:15… 10 Euros to taxi to EastSeven Hostel (on the border of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg)… room not ready so i decided to walk around the Mitte district (very cool independent shops, highly recommend)… feel like an uber hip local lunching at DUDU (and perhaps i could have pulled it off, if not for the map and food photography – am aware this is annoying)… after Wakame Salad with beetroot/sesame dressing and their special Tunacado maki, i pay up and head towards Alexanderplatz… the square was rather disappointing, so my wandering continued up Prenzlauer Allee and over to Schonhauser Allee, popping in and out of shops like Type Hype, Unico, blumenfisch and The Barn (a must for caffeine connoisseurs)… picked up a fresh mint tea at Impala Cafe, and then back to the hostel to work a bit… got ready for the GoEuro/Travel Massive event (facsinating presentation from Tanja and Denis Katzer on their 8 months in Mongolia – some people have balls that’s all i can say)… hunger strikes so i skip off and end up eating the best falafel ever at Luxa (a simple spot at the corner of Schonhauser Allee and Torstrabe).

Wednesday/March 5

up at 8am to check out and skip to St. Oberholz (a super-sized, super chill cafe in Mitte)… after work catch-up, it’s time for a self-guided tour… heading west on Torstrabe, i made a left turn that took me to Grobe Hamburger and the Jewish cemetery. no tombstones because it has been there since 1672, so the weather took it’s toll before the Gestapo did. an estimated 10,000 Berlin Jews are buried in the area that is now an eerily beautiful public green and monument …the wandering continues into Hackescher Market (already looking ready for the springtime tourist slam) and up Rosa-Luxemburg (more great shopping to be had here)… a slight detour into the lively Lumas Gallery  (loved the rich photography and contemporary art on display)… met up with Christian, Notable.ca’s editor-in-chief, for a green curry at Monsieur Vuong… swung by to meet his girl Kayla (style maven behind notyourstandard.com) and they drop me off at Do You Read Me (stocking magazines you’ve never hear of, but should know)… less than an hour until train station taxi time and i get lost (of course) walking the wrong way on Schwedter Straße; winding up in a sort of pedestrian village (noting interesting cafes, shops and restaurants along Oderberger and Kastanienallee)… time in Berlin is up, but i am already scheming to get back to this insanely cool city.

if you are heading to Europe anytime soon check out GoEuro.com. this travel portal compares and combines air, rail, bus and car rental options. thanks to them, i easily booked my round-trip train ticket to Berlin at a discounted rate. GoEuro lets travellers search to and from any location, including towns or villages, showing you the best possible transport options and combinations based on price, total travel time and convenience. essentially eliminating the need to visit multiple websites to plan a trip. 

#flashback friday / guatemala

7 Mar

i can tell you Antigua, Guatemala is absolutely one of my happy places. after you watch Pharrell’s video tribute to the city, check out my post on Notable.ca.

 

prague: the love/hate list (issue 6 – 12)

26 Feb

continued …

no dryer// this one should have made the first list. what is common in Europe, is now my reality and it’s driving me nuts. having a washer, but no dryer is not efficient to me. every load is sprinkled around the apartment to dry, and our towels are about to crack in half. Mario – are you reading this?!

the Metro// we thought about getting bikes, but with the hills leading up to our place and the tight-squeeze elevator, why bother?  to me, Prague has become a “walking city”. for longer distances, the trams and subway are so efficient. love. (ps. the TTC could take a few lessons from whomever is running things over here)

attraversiamo// where there are no lights and a pedestrian crossing, those on foot have to give way to the automobiles. but sometimes the autos give way (y’know, if i’m wearing heels and red lipstick). having had a couple of close ones, this is a hate.

tap vs. bottled water// when i asked if the tap water was OK to drink, the response was “it’s fine, but just don’t abuse it”. whatever that means. i’ve never bought so much bottled water. thankfully, the Czechs seem quite serious about their recycling…although i can’t figure out these bins that take “everything”.

time difference// generally liking being +6 hours ahead of the North American east coast. since i am working with clients on that side, i find i can ease into my day and be slightly ahead of the game. not so great when the 3pm EST conference call is booked.

one love tattoo// yup, i done did it. it’s my second tattoo actually and i got lucky during a (very random and not very well researched) search for artists. these guys are total pros. no skeezy attitude, and the girl who scared me for life was very sweet. i may go back…sorry mom.

cake, cake, cake// there’s always got to be a food component here and Bakeshop has won my heart. cozied up with their “baby” carrot cake for my birthday last Sunday. so fresh and yum. and yes, those meringues in the picture are actually the size of your head. salad bar rocks too.

read issues 1-5

prague: new avenues

20 Feb

living here in Prague 3 is working for me. really like the area and it’s worth a skip through if you ever visit the city. one avenue in particular has become a favourite – Vinohradska. this is the main east-west avenue of the Vinohrady district, and runs from Wenceslas Square to Žižkov and Strašnice. the ‘vino’ is because the area was once covered in vineyards dating from the 14th century (thank you Wikipedia). the stretch i like best is between Italská and Slavikova. the buildings are particularly well-preserved and house modern design shops, salons, as well as a few restaurants i’d like to check out. after Slavikova, and the park with the massive clock tower, there’s sort of a messy bit until you reach the Flora shopping centre. a few steps past the entrance lies a massive cemetery that’s overgrown and crumbling in a beautiful sort of way. the place will make a nice photo gallery once Spring really hits here. which could be quite soon!

 Vinohradska Avenue

flowers in Flora

up next: Panska Street

 

manners and minding yourself on tour

14 Feb

my latest post on HuffPo Travel covered off a few cultural insights on China and Japan that i hope y’all will find handy if you are headed that way. while writing the piece, i came across this great visual guide on the expected etiquette in various countries around the world. take a look at these 42 tips …

 

 

prague: looking up

11 Feb

it wasn’t the cheeriest Sunday weather-wise, but we decided to head out on a big walk. well, we also wanted to work up an appetite before a big ol’ Mexican lunch.

our apartment in Prague 3 is about 20 minutes on foot from Wenceslas Square. and while that central area can overwhelm with big logos and bright lights, the fascinating thing is that one can look up and instantly be taken back in time. the architecture says it all. Mario has learned that “the flat, boring structures are Communist”, but i am more interested in what came before…and what influenced the air of flamboyance represented by the colourful buildings throughout the city core.

the photos represent our route through the square and down Narodni Avenue, then over Most Legií (Legions Bridge) to Cantina on the Mala Strana. after devouring tasty fajitas, we skipped across the street to the Nikon Gallery, and then it was back over the Vlatava via the Charles Bridge (circa 15th century). Mario wanted to stop at The Globe to check out the library of English books – a rare find in these parts! afterwards, we decided we were up for sharing a slice of dark chocolate at Cake Cafe (fast becoming a weekend ritual) to fuel the rest of our journey home, which took us through Old Town before hopping on a tram. note that Cafe Savoy is also on this route, if you’re fancy.

at the end of the day i am even more keen on taking one of those guided historic tours around Prague. something to save for a warm, sunny day.

my travel library: eat drink nap soho house

6 Feb

breaking! founder of global creative brand Soho House, Nick Jones, has announced the launch of Eat Drink Nap - a gorgeous 300+ page hardcover coffee table book. it’s basically an insider’s guide on how to create the Soho House experience in our own homes – from making cocktails or the perfect roast chicken, to curating an art collection, to throwing a memorable party, to making a truly comfortable bed. all the stuff a girl could use when setting up shop in a new city.

as the first book from the Soho House brand, Eat Drink Nap features ridiculously beautiful photography from leading food and interiors photographers Mark Seelen and Jean Cazals.

available to buy online now at EatDrinkNap.com.

founded in London in 1995, Soho House is a private members’ club for those in the film, media and creative industries. the Group has gradually expanded to include Houses across Europe and North America, as well as restaurants, cinemas, spas and hotels. clubs include the original Soho House, Babington House in Somerset, Electric House, High Road House, Shoreditch House, Little House Mayfair, Soho House Berlin, Soho House Toronto, Soho House New York, Soho House West Hollywood and Soho Beach House Miami. note: Babington, High Road, Shoreditch, Berlin, New York and Miami also host hotel rooms.