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Traveling to Italy: The Essential Guide
May 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm 0

It's Spring, and the travel bug is spreading like crazy! This year Italy is a very hot vacation destination. With loads of airlines having big sales, hotels offering deals, and a huge desire to get away the time is now to plan your summer vacation. Check out these posts with great tips on what to see, where to go, and what it's like. Florence Tuscany Rome Amalfi Coast Siena 7 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Italy Shopping In Italy
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Life
A Great Date Night At Lucien Restaurant
February 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm 0
Last night my fiancé and I went out for our first real date in a long time. Our winter vacation, my condo sale, moving in, and planning a wedding have all added up to us having almost no time. Remember when I wrote about when there's even too much change for me? Scratch that. Life has thrown us sooooo many balls to toss at the same time and we just have to learn to juggle! After weeks and weeks of non stop action it was starting to take a bit of a toll. So we took a step back, set up a date night and finally we had a proper date...and it was wonderful! We went to Lucien Restaurant in Toronto. Thankfully for us (not for the restaurant) it was an Olympic hockey game yesterday, so the restaurant was empty. It was us and one other table.

lucien_restaurant
We could hear the music, talk quietly, and really enjoy a great date night in peace. The restaurant doesn't have that many tables, so it feels like a nice intimate dining experience. The decor is gorgeous, the lighting is dimmed, and the music and nice and calm...all the elements are set for you to have a nice, relaxing time with unbelievable food and wine!

lucien_seating area
For dinner I had a heirloom beet and carrot salad appetizer and roasted chicken main dish. The salad was great but the roasted chicken was outstanding. Almost every time I go out with my fiancé I taste his dinner and always secretly wish I'd chosen his dish. But not last night! I was thrilled with my choice and I think it was better choice than my honey's beef bourguignon. His was good, but I think the chicken had so much more depth of flavours and the dark meat was presented like a warm terrine which was wonderful. Of course we had some wine too....a gorgeous Amarone that was one of the best wines we've had in a long time! It was so nice to sit down, spend some quality time, laugh together and forget about all the craziness for a few hours. Of course, it really helped that we agreed not to talk about work at all, so we could focus on the sweet things in life instead of thinking about mounting to do lists!
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Travel
Travel Diaries – Road Trip: Savannah
January 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm 0
For years I have wanted to go to Savannah. It all started when I was an ESL teacher in Korea. On one of our many nights of drinking wine together my friend Lise and I shared stories on our favourite cities to visit. Lise mentioned that her favourite city by far was Savannah - with all the gardens on every block, beautiful historical architecture and Southern charm.



Gorgeous buildings on every corner in Savannah

Gorgeous buildings on every corner in Savannah

When my fiance and I showed up in Savannah we weren't sure where to go or what to expect. We parked by the river and walked around the tourist area. It was pretty busy and lots of tourists were walking around, going in the boutiques, and tasting the local seafood. The cobble stone streets and old buildings created a wonderful ambience, but one of the coolest things were the sidewalks, which was concrete with oyster shells and other shells mixed in. It was super original - I've never seen anything like it before!

Savannah river sidewalks have a seashells mixed in!

Savannah river sidewalks have a seashells mixed in!

Once we had a coffee in the outdoor market we headed up to higher ground and walked around the old town. It was gorgeous! There were big, beautiful, historical homes with wonderful landscaping, and at almost every block there was a small city park. With the slow, Southern pace, beautiful homes and lovely little parks Savannah was the most walking friendly city I've been in.

Parks on every block make Savannah a great city to walk in

Parks on every block make Savannah a great city to walk in

We didn't have a plan in particular for the day, we just wanted to explore and visit the city - given the small city and walkable environment it was easy to do! So we strolled, visited the parks, read all the plaques and learned about the monuments in each park, and strolled some more. When it was time for a break we happened upon a gorgeous building - the Forsyth Mansion. We sat back, had a glass of wine and admired the phenomenal restoration of the historical building. It was stunning and fuelled so many ideas about how I would decorate my fantasy house.

The gorgeous Forsyth Mansion is worth a visit

The gorgeous Forsyth Mansion is worth a visit



One of the dining rooms at the Foryth Mansion

One of the dining rooms at the Foryth Mansion

When the sun set we strolled back to the car, admired the final scenes and headed back on the road to our next stop. Savannah was a beautiful city to visit, and if I'd had more time I would have loved to stay in the Forsythe Mansion, eat at the great restaurants and live like a Southerner for a few days. Up Next: Key West, Florida
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Travel
Need a Vacation But Don’t Have the Time or Money?
November 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm 0
A mini staycation may be the perfect fix for you! It doesn’t take a ton of planning and can be really inexpensive too. Step One: Set aside a day or two and make it into a mini staycation. It could be right now, or if you’re slammed with work/life within the next little while. Step Two: Think of all the great things in your city that you just never get to see. Remember that art gallery that re-opened that you have never been to? That amazing Swiss restaurant that you have been dying to try? Make a list of what you want to do, and then figure out what you can reasonably do within two days...but make sure you save some time for relaxing so you’re not burned out from your mini staycation. Step Three: Make any reservations that need to be made, and contact your friends if you’d like to include them in your plans. Step Four: Based on what you want to do, and who you want to do it with, build a basic schedule for your mini staycation. Step Five: Enjoy! Here’s an example of a staycation plans and budget for a 2 day mini vacation in Toronto. For me I love to tour around and get exercise, so those are central to my plans. Friday night: - Nap after work - Meet up with friends and try out the cheese fondue place on Elm Street for a late dinner ($60 per person) Saturday: - Sleep in - Grab a coffee and go to specialty book store with big fluffy coaches and classical music playing. Select a few books that will set my imagination on fire! ($30) - Go for a light lunch on Front Street ($20) - Drop by St. Lawrence Market – pick up some flowers and wine ($40) - Take a long walk along the Toronto Harbourfront – get some exercise and sit on the beach chairs watching the waves pass by while letting my mind wander - Return home, have a hot bath and get all sassied up for tonight. - Date night! Go to the new French "communal style" restaurant I’ve been dying to try out ($120 for 2) Sunday: - Sleep in - Go for a swim and steam - Head up to the Art Gallery of Ontario for lunch ($25) - Tour around the gallery and get art inspired! ($20) - Go to High Park for a walk and duck watching - Head home, order sushi in, read new books and relax! ($20) For a total of $335 I've lived like a queen for a weekend, seen the scenes, and had a lovely mini staycation.
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