Tag Archives: Travel

The Beach is Calling

You need a vacation.

You need to turn on your Out of Office, turn off your computer, put down your cell phone, pick up your luggage, book a ticket and go. But where are you going you ask? Here: The Cayman Islands.

In a couple hours you’ll be trading in your view of the Gardiner Expressway in traffic for  7 miles of white sandy beaches, sparkling water and a Mudslide. No need to worry about where you’re going to stay, what you should eat and what you should do because it’s all been figured for you in this handy travel guide on Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide. 

Now don’t just sit there, the Stingrays are waiting for you!

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Happy Holidays from the Sunshine State


I’ve traded in the Monday to Friday routine for sun, sand and reading by the pool until the New
Year. Vitamin D straight from the source, no need for a watch and family dinners with the grandparents. Hope your holidays have been enjoyable no matter what you celebrate. Oh, and I’m writing this from my new iPad.

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The Travel Diaries: Exploring Barcelona and Paris

As I write this I am the holder of an expired passport and more than two months away until I can take anymore vacation time. My travel options are looking bleak for the near future but luckily the memories from my European adventure this past summer are fresh enough to get me through the weeks ahead.

In July I finally took my long awaited university graduation trip to Europe and headed to Barcelona and Paris with a friend. It was my first time in Barcelona and my second in Paris, but definitely not my last in either place.

Coming across unique settings for a photo op is one of my favourite parts of traveling.

Read about my day trip to Versailles here and my recommendations for what to see and eat and where to stay in Barcelona here on hipurbangirls.com.

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This Summer I…

Summer is over and the memories begin. Here are some things that made it a great season.

Went to great social media events with my official plus one, @stephullman

Enjoyed High Tea

Became a Bridesmaid

Took my first Trip to Barcelona

Returned to my favourite city in the world (Paris)

Did a lot of baking (these are pistachio biscotti)

Experimented with Nail Art

Ate many wonderful meals (this is the octopus salad from Fabbrica)

Made new blogger friends

Ate as much ice cream as possible

Enjoyed lazy cottage weekends

How was your summer?

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The Newsfeed Still Runs While I’m Away

I’m back to the keyboard after the end of my amazing European getaway.

I’m a little groggy and still longing for the cobblestone streets of Paris and Barcelona, but happy to get back to writing. While I was away a few of the items I had be working on went up, so if you missed them like I did here they are again:








Away We Go on Styleninetofive.com for all your travel essentials

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide Book Review on Hipurbangirl.com for some satorial summer reading

I’m also excited to have written my very first food-related reviews of  The Collective Restaurant and Bar in NYC and Bigabaldi’s Restaurant for Hip Urban Girl. Looking forward to many more tasty writing experiences soon.

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Look at You Miss Jet-Setter

Today I read an article in the Globe and Mail about being uncomfortable with our happiness. You know that feeling you sometimes get when you buy yourself some extra special for a job well done or when you book yourself a trip to a place you’ve been dreaming of forever?

You’re pumped to be finally getting that DSLR you’ve been waiting for, or on that plane to Europe you’ve saved up for months to be on but then there’s this little nagging tick somewhere in your gut, almost making you wish you would have changed your mind.

Did I really need to spend a few hundred dollars on that gadget that will be outdated in mere months, and shouldn’t I have just spent my vacation time at home in the backyard? Who am I to be living this good life? What have I done to qualify for these privileges, you might hear yourself asking.

I recently felt this way about two big spending decisions. They were actually the first two major purchases I’ve made completely on my own (with the help of my Visa) since I’ve started by full-time job as a staff writer. I booked a 12-day trip to Spain and France with a girlfriend, and then a few weeks later I bought myself the Nikon DSLR I’ve been drooling over since January.

Maybe it is because I’m not used to having this much disposable income (you might remember I’ve spent the better half of the last year or so as an unpaid intern), or maybe it’s because I was feeling it was a bit too soon into my steady paying job to be blowing this kind of cash but the happiness anxiety, as Sarah Hampson put it, was there for the better part of a week each time I signed on the dotted line for these things.

Reading this article today brought those initial feelings back. On Friday I’ll be getting on that airplane with the expensive gadget in hand. As I get ready to go and finish up the week at work there’s no doubt those comments of “you’re so lucky!” “I wish I could go!” and “I’m so jealous!” will be repeated from friends, co-workers and family members.

Instead of having those thoughts of my unworthiness fill my head as I pack my suitcase, I’ve decided I am going to start my own happiness revolution too and “celebrate the meaningful and happy parts” of my trip and the rest of this summer and hopefully infect others with the same thoughts. Life is too short to be depriving ourselves of our dreams.

I hope you’ll do the same. Stay tuned for all the happy updates when I return later this month.

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Hip & Urban Blogging

You’ve probably seen me mention the Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide a million times on this blog for their awesome Toronto events. Well it’s about to get a whole lot more frequent, as I’ve just signed on as their newest blog contributor.

Be sure to check back here, and of course on the blog, for what you should be eating, shopping and seeing on your next vacation, as well as Toronto happenings and some of my beauty obsessions. Recent blog posts include:

The Best Vintage Shops in NYC

What We’re Reading this Summer

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Exhibit Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef and Arpels

Leave your credit card and home ladies, because these fabulous jewels are not for sale. Running until July 4, 2011, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City is hosting Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels. The exhibit features more than 350 magnificent works, including jewels, time pieces, accessories, fashion pieces and objets d’art boasting impeccable stones and unparalleled gem-setting techniques that have made Van Cleef & Arpels a leader in the luxury jewel market since its inception in 1896.

Pieces worn by the actress and Princess are on display

Highlights include priceless pieces worn by some of the century’s most glamorous figures; Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duchess of Windsor and Marlene Deitrich. The exhibit also explores the historical significance of the French jewellery house’s contributions to 20th century jewellery design, featuring transformation pieces which can be worn several different ways, as well as exotic pieces commissioned for clients in India, Egypt and China. What’s more is that jewellery admirers can even share their favourite gems with their friends through email, Facebook and Twitter on the complimentary iPads while visiting the museum. Total bliss!

Can’t make it stateside to see these gorgeous gems in person? The Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels book features over 250 pages of the jewellers most celebrated and innovated pieces for you to pore over to get the full effect of the reach of Van Cleef & Arpels rich history of design and style. Either way keep your sunglasses handy because this bling is mighty shiny.

Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
2 East 91st Street New York, NY 10128

Through July 4 2011. cooperhewitt.org

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The Dali Museum: A Surreal Experience

Dali photo by Philippe Halsman

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” ~Salvador Dali

My trip to Florida earlier this month just so happened to coincide with the opening of the new Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg. I visited the old museum last year when I was in town to complete my internship, but I just couldn’t resist to be part of the first wave of people to experience the new museum.

The $36 Million museum took four years to be completed and officially opened January 11th (1/11/2011). It is the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain, with 96 oil paintings on display, and over 2,000 other pieces of his work.

The view of the museum

The building itself is something to stop and stare at as you make your way down the Baywalk downtown. Its walls are made of 18-inch-thick concrete to withstand even a category 5 hurricane (something rather crucial for a Florida museum). The 75 foot-high triangular glass dome called “The Glass Enigma” is a spectacular sight to see, made up of 1,062 panels. As you walk up the large spiral staircase to the galleries, you can peer out the glass dome for a beautiful view of Tampa Bay. Inside includes a library, theatre, gift shop, meeting rooms and the Cafe Gala named after Dali’s wife. The grounds around the museum have even been outfitted with huge rocks that were brought in all the way from Cadaques, Spain where Dali grew up.

Looking down at the spiral staircase

If any art lovers out there ever find themselves visiting the Tampa Bay area, I would highly recommend stopping into the museum.

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2010 Photo Diary

Uploading the last of my 2010 pictures onto iPhoto today, I couldn’t help but browse through all my albums from the last year. The groups of photos sparked so many good times, so many happy memories, and new experiences that made it a year to remember. So I decided it would be fun to put together a little photo diary of my year in review. Here is to a wonderful year and to the start of another great one.

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