Things to do in Toronto this Summer

I’m back! It’s been a while since my last travel blog post and I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to. Summer is finally here in Canada and what better time to start planning some vacations or staycations! For those of us in Ontario we have an added incentive of the Ontario Staycation tax credit. I although I’m based in Ottawa I always try to get at least one trip to Toronto in each Summer. It’s definitely Ontario’s largest and most popular city with so many sights to see and things to do, there’s something for everyone.

I visited Toronto a few weeks ago and had such a fabulous time thanks to Destination Toronto and their ideas on just about everything you could possibly need to know about planning a trip to Toronto.

Travel + Accommodation

As I live in Ottawa I could have chosen to fly, drive or take the train to Toronto but I really wanted to maximize my time in the city so Sashien and I chose to fly. We flew Porter Airlines directly  to Billy Bishop Airport which is conveniently located in the heart of the city. Transportation out of the airport is quick and easy and you can either take the ferry, a taxi or Uber. We chose to Uber and used it to get around to most places during our weekend stay.

In terms of accommodation options Toronto has endless possibilities based on your needs and price point. On this occasion we were hosted by the Ritz-Carlton and we thoroughly enjoyed everything the hotel had to offer. This place is definitely worth the splurge! From the personalized guest key cards to the friendly and accommodating staff the Ritz-Carlton exudes five star service. We also had the chance to check out their onsite spa My Blend by Clarins. This spa was exquisite and offers so many high end services exclusive to Clarins, we both had the rebalancing massage and left feeling relaxed and ready to take on the weekend!

Sights + Attractions

Toronto has so much to see and do it’s impossible to see everything in one weekend but we did visit some really unique and interesting places on our trip. Of course there’s the traditional CN tower visit and the trip to Ripley’s Aquarium, which are great family friendly activities but as we had both seen them in the past we wanted to check out something different. One of our first stops was Little Canada which is an exhibit featuring animated miniatures of various cities and vistas around Canada. The exhibit is a work in progress as they build different parts of Canada. We enjoyed visit miniature versions of Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. This is a great family friendly exhibit!

If you know me in person then you’re quite aware of my shoe addiction, so this shoe-a-holic definitely couldn’t pass up a chance to visit the Bata Shoe Museum. This museum covers the history of shoes and features notable footwear from various centuries. At the moment there’s a brand new exhibit called Future Now which explores over fifty futuristic footwear designs from the auto-lacing Nike MAG to the virtual RTFKT x Staple Meta-Pigeon.  My favourite item at the museum were the Christian Louboutin shoes for Barbie, how cute!!

If you’re looking for something more on the relaxing side then you must check out Hoame Meditation Studio. They offer a number of different meditation classes and experiences. We took a breath work meditation class at Hoame, I must admit I struggled with this one as I’m quite the chatterbox and we had to stay quiet. But if  zen is your thing then you should definitely check it out.

Theatre + Shows

We arrived in Toronto on June 10th just in time for the National Ballet of Canada‘s opening night of Swan Lake. I’ve always enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s pieces so I was thrilled to get to see Swan Lake. The ballet runs until June 26th at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. If ballet is not your thing you can also check out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is playing throughout the Summer and into the Fall. If you’re in to musical theatre there’s also many other shows scheduled for the Summer a full list can be found here. I would highly recommend Singin’ in the Rain which plays this Fall. In addition to these there’s also concerts and other shows to check out.

Restaurants + Nightlife

We checked out a lot of great restaurants during our trip and Toronto definitely has so many choices to offer. On day 1 we had lunch at Oretta located on King St. West. I loved the decor and ambiance in this traditional yet modern Italian restaurant. They also have another location in midtown. This is a lovely spot for a casual drink and some gelato.

As we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton we got to check out some of the restaurants at the hotel, my favourite was Epoch which features indoor and outdoor dining spaces. This newly renovated restaurant features signature drinks a brand new menu and a patio with a great view of the CN Tower. I really enjoyed grabbing a cocktail outside, I would recommend the Lychee Queen cocktail. We also had breakfast at Toca which is located inside the hotel, Toca stands for Toronto Canada and the main attraction in this restaurant is their Cheese cave. It’s definitely a unique feature and a must see if you’re at the hotel.

Yorkville is one of my favourite areas of Toronto featuring high-end shops and unique restaurants. We stopped in for lunch at Bar Reyna which was totally worth the hype! We loved the mediterranean spin on traditional brunch dishes. I also really liked the ambiance and the decor on their patio. For drinks I’d recommend 7 am in Ibiza it’s a great take on an espresso martini!

One of the highlights of our trip was our dinner and evening at Lula bar. This was such a fun experience. Lula Bar is a latin resto-bar that features live bands and salsa dancing on the weekends. We enjoyed a three course meal, there is a set menu to choose from; followed by a salsa class and live music. I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re spending a weekend in Toronto.

On our last morning in Toronto we had breakfeast at OEB Breakfast Co. This restaurant is a great family friendly place that offers gourmet style meals at an affordable price. If you do go be sure to check out the Canadian Lobster and Shrimp Crepe. It’s such a fancy first meal!

Of course there are so many dining and entertainment options in Toronto and you can learn more about them on the Destination Toronto website.

Other fun stuff

One thing I didn’t cover yet was shopping! Toronto has so many malls it can be overwhelming but my favourite is definitely Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Not only does it offer an assortment of stores and designer boutiques it also houses my favourite Macaron shoppe Ladurée. I’ve visited in the past and wrote about my high tea experience there, you can read all about it here.

If you’re looking for the city that has something for everyone then Toronto is definitely for you! We had such a wonderful time on our weekend stay, a huge thank you to Destination Toronto for helping us plan our trip. We’re already planning another trip back this Summer. Don’t forget to check out Destination Toronto to help you plan the ultimate Toronto vacation and see Toronto now!



Why I wax with Parissa

Can you believe Summer is finally here?! It’s time to break out the sundresses, shorts, rompers and bathing suits. This means it’s also time to have those legs, underarms and bikini lines ready for all that fun in the sun! It’s been a while since my last skincare blog post so I’m excited to share one of my summer ready secrets, Parissa wax. Waxing is a great way to get rid of unwanted body hair and can be done safely in the privacy of your own home.

The Parissa Story

Parissa is a brand I’ve always been familiar with when it comes to at-home waxing but what I didn’t know about this brand is that it’s Canadian and female owned. Founded by Azar Moayeri, a chemical engineer by profession the Parissa story is a true immigrant success story. Azar was a pioneer in a male dominated field and the first female chemical engineer to graduate from the University of New Edinburgh. She later moved back to her native Iran where she worked as a Project Manager. She moved to Canada in 1981 with her husband and children, that’s when she noticed a need for clean, safe and naturally based hair removal products. At the time all hair removal products were chemically based creams or bleaches and of course she saw this as an opportunity to create something remarkable for women!

Azar created Canada’s first all-natural hair removal products right from her kitchen and to this day Parissa remains a family affair. One of the things I love about Parissa is that the ingredients are 100% natural and ethically sourced. They’re also safe for my sensitive skin.

I’ve had bad experiences with skincare products in the past which has resulted in hyperpigmentation and breakouts, with Parissa I don’t have to worry about this.

I recently tried three products from Parissa and I’ve been loving the results I’ve seen.

Bow Waxing Pen

The first product I tried was the Brow Waxing Pen This product is great for keeping your brows on fleek all year round. It’ll also save you a bi-weekly or monthly trip to the salon. Having threaded my brows in the past I wanted to change up how I was styling my brows and this was a great alternative. I love the precision you get with this product and the fact that it’s vegan and fragrance free. It allows you to target specific areas of your eyebrow and is great for short and coarse hair as well. If you’re looking for a broader range of coverage for your brows or are new to at-home waxing then you can also try the Brow Wax Strips.

Face and Body Sugar Wax

For more gentle areas and the sensitive skin on my face I tried Parissa’s Face and Body Sugar Wax. This formula is the gentlest hair removal product and doesn’t irritate my skin. I also like the fact that it washes off and is easy to use. If you’re short on time this product is great since you can just warm it up in the microwave and you’re good to go. It’s safe for hair removal on your upper lip, underarms, legs and bikini line.

Roll-on Organic Sugar Wax

The third product I tried was the roll-on organic sugar wax. I found this products worked well for my legs and I really liked the convenience of the roll-on applicator, which comes in both wide and narrow sizes. This sugar wax is also microwaveable and washes off, a great time saver. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin on my legs but for those of you who do you’ll be happy to know that this wax is vegan and fragrance free. This product can also be used on your upper lip, underarms and bikini line.

Why wax at home?

One of the biggest reasons I chose to wax at home is convenience. I don’t have to worry about booking my appointments in advance or adjusting my schedule accordingly. Most salons also charge you a fee for missed or in some cases cancelled appointments, so you don’t have to think about this with at-home waxing.  There’s also the added privacy and safety of doing this yourself in your own home, especially for more discreet or sensitive areas.

And finally at-home waxing is a lot more economical than waxing at a salon. With the cost of just about everything increasing lately I’m more than happy to save some money with waxing at home. If you’ve never tried waxing at home you can find some tips and tricks here, including all the details about the international day of waxing.

Have you tried Parissa wax products before? Which one is your favourite?