Week in Photos #3

Another week another batch of pictures…I need to find a better collage app for my tablet…
Clockwise from top left…
Since I hate going to the post office and paying for shipping, I hoard my souvenirs like a squirrel and send them out in batches to my friend!  I think the oldest thing in there was a magnet from 2010??  I kept using up the spam I bought for my friend so I had to keep getting replacement cans!
I’ve grown quite fond of the new bubble tea place that opened in the neighborhood…nothing fancy for me – just plain milk tea with tapioca!
Went out for the boy’s mom’s birthday this past weekend…we ordered the sorbet assortment and it came out presented in a bowl of crushed glowing ice!
A little indecisive?  Buffalo, Ranch and Chipotle BBQ sauces from Mcd’s!
This week’s nail color – quickly becoming one of my favorites!
I burnt my waffle…AGAIN! I found this brand of Belgian Leige waffles at Costco…They’re pretty damn awesome if I must say! (even when burnt!)
We had our first snow storm of the season this weekend.  It was wet, slushy, yucky snow.  Not the nice fluffy stuff.   And FYI…Uggs are NOT waterproof!  :(

 

 

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Toronto Part 2

Day 3

Since we were in Toronto we figured we should do the touristy thing so we woke up early and headed to the CN tower.  Breakfast was a quickie – just some bao’s from a random chinese bakery the day before.  Luckily our hotel was within walking distance to the tower.  We got the full package, minus the movie option.
The boy is terrified of heights so he made sure he was securely tucked into the middle of the elevator on our way up!  The CN Tower wasn’t too impressive…or particularly exciting in my opinion…But it was one of those things that we had to do since we were there.

The views from the top of Lake Ontario was pretty nice.  They told us that on clear days you can almost see straight across!  I’m sure this would have been gorgeous at night as well, but one admission was more than enough for me 😉
Shortly after we got back from the trip, I saw that the CN Tower was  unveiling a new attraction…one that allows you to take a walk on the OUTSIDE of the pod!  I’m going to have to pass on that one!

Once we were done with the CN Tower, we decided to head over to Eaton Center.   What’s in Eaton Center you ask?  Why La Senza of course!  :)
I discovered La Senza last year  when we went to Montreal.  <insert tangent> I managed to pack FIVE sports bras and ZERO regular ones for the trip…smart, huh?  So after I realized my mistake, I quickly went online to check out where the nearest Victoria’s Secret was.  Apparently there aren’t any in Montreal!  Mild panic attack aside, the boy suggested that I just wait it out since we were going to go exploring the next day  and I might find a store when we walk around.  As luck has it, we passed by La Senza.  I didn’t know what kind of store it was at first, nor did I know the prices, etc.  All I knew was that I saw bras and undies in the window so I was going in!  Its been a love affair ever since! <end tangent>
I was ecstatic when I found that there was a location for La Senza near our hotel!  So I made sure to schedule some time in for it on this trip!  To my pleasant surprise, turns out they were having a sale when we were there!  Score! :)

 

After my little shopping excursion, we worked up quite an appetite so we headed over to St. Lawrence Market to grab some lunch.  I would best describe it as a hybrid between Fulton Fish Market and Chelsea Market in nyc.  As we walked by the stalls, I wished we had a kitchen so we could actually

Passing by one of the main subway hubs in downtown Toronto:

We were determined to relax on this vacation so after an afternoon nap, it was time to decide where to go for dinner.  (People weren’t kidding when they said that all you do in Tornto is EAT!)  When looking up places to go, I came across a place called Go For Tea.  It looked trendy but not too fancy, and their reviews were pretty decent so off we went!  One of the deciding factors here was one of their drinks.  It was called Very Mango Mango Slush.  A giant cup of mango slushie….and instead of tapioca, there was star shaped mango jelly!  I HAD to witness it for myself!  (I don’t like mango so I made the boy try it!)

Our time in Toronto lapsed over the last week of Lent…I am pretty good about remembering not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Usually I’ll just slip up once or twice in the beginning.  So I’m not sure what happened this time around!  I don’t really eat read meat.  And I NEVER order it off the menu.  But for some reason the beef peppersteak sounded really appealing to me that night…so I ordered it.  GO FIGURE.

Expenses:
CN Tower $65.62
Lunch $22
La Senza $111
Souvenirs $79
Snacks from St Lawrence Market $18
Penny Press $2
Dinner $55

 

Day 4

Saturday was our last real day in town so we decided to take it easy.  And by easy I mean completely oversleeping!  No thanks to the black out shades that the Westin has in their rooms…When we finally woke up (around 1pm!) and opened the shades we found that it was miserable out.  Snow, sleet, rain!  By the time we finally got ready it was early afternoon…and we were pretty overdue for lunch!  Since it was so late, we headed over to Queen’s Quay and grabbed lunch there.

 

Partially since the weather was miserable and partially because we were all still a bit tired, an executive decision was made that we’d just hang out at the hotel for the rest of day until dinner time.  Before we knew it, a few hours had passed by and it was once again time to decide where to have dinner.  Going on the recommendation of a friend who had been in Toronto the month prior visiting family, we looked up a Japanese restaurant called Matsuda  It was an all you can eat style place, however they had sushi as well as several cooked items on the menu.  All of the servings were given in hors d’oeuvre portions so you didn’t have to worry about trying the fried rice and not having enough room for a handroll…The rice was literally three spoonfuls and the handrolls were about the same size as a regular piece of nigiri sushi!  The only problem was that because we had such a late start to the day, we ended up heading to dinner quite late too.  When we got to the restaurant we found out they would be closing in less than an hour so we had to hurry and place our orders.

 

 

Expenses:
Lunch $25
Ice Cream $5
Dinner $60

 

Day 5

Our flight wasn’t until 9pm that night so I requested a late checkout from the front desk to which they obliged.  The plan was to just hang out in the hotel and grab lunch from the gyro place next door and relax a bit more.  Crossing the border and driving back to the airport was pretty uneventful.  When we rented the car we pre-purchased a full tank of gas so we wouldn’t have to go searching for a gas station when we returned the car.  I think it was one of the wiser decisions we made on the trip!  Granted gas was a premium and they charged us $80 for it…it was snowing pretty hard on the drive back so going off track to find gas would have been a pain!  Since we had more than 1/4 tank left towards the end stretch of the drive andddd since it was snowing we turned on the AWD to use up some of the gas.  Oh, and for uh..our safety 😉

Since we were in Buffalo, one of the places we wanted to go to was Anchor Bar.  We totally cheated and just went to their airport location instead of the real deal.  I can’t really remember what we ordered but we tried a few things and shared.  The meal ended with bleu cheese sauce, my Chanel bag, a very mortified waitress, and some items on our bill being comped.  Not taking the next day off from work was a pretty big mistake.  By the time I got home, unpacked, and got ready for bed it was way past my normal Sunday night bedtime!

I’m glad we got to check off Toronto from our list of places to go.  It just sucks that the weather at Niagara Falls was so bad!

www.misstsien.com/banana/TorontoPart2

 

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Toronto Part 1

Last year when we went to Aruba our flight got delayed 3+ hours.  The next morning the boy awoke to JetBlue credits in his inbox!  It was a nice surprise and very unexpected…but the catch was we had to use it by May 2011.  Not wanting to plan a ‘real’ vacation again so soon, we decided to keep the costs down and go somewhere close.   We ended up choosing Toronto since it was on our list of places to go “someday”.

JetBlue doesn’t fly into Toronto, so we flew into Buffalo and then rented a car to drive across the border.  This way we could stop at Niagara Falls on the way as well.  A few emails and IM’s later, E was also on board to go on our mini vacation with us!

Day 1

After about 3 hours of sleep, we boarded a 6:30am flight to Buffalo without incident.  I think the boy and I dozed off before we even started to taxi! The flight was just over an hour and by the time they were done serving drinks, they were telling us to put our seats in the upright position for landing!

At Avis we ended up upgrading to a cute little G25x…I didn’t even know they made a G25!  After asking around, it was determined that we’d skip the American side of the falls and head straight to the Canadian side.  Our first stop was Queen Victoria Park.  We got a little lost going there…and I’m pretty sure we never made it.  I don’t think the address I took down was the right one…we did get out of the car at an empty parking lot though and wandered around a little bit.

The weather couldn’t have been worse that day.  (for the entire trip actually!)  It was so foggy, cold and misty out!  There were small foot bridges and little paths and brooks along the way but we didn’t want to wander in too far in fear of not being able to find our way back to the car!

Our second stop at the falls was Journey Behind the Falls.  The lower deck was still closed for the winter season because it was still icy, so our admission was discounted.  After an elevator ride down, we headed through a long and cold tunnel to one of the viewing platforms below.  From the instant you step into the tunnel you can hear the thunderous roar of the water flowing down.  It really was an amazing sight to see.  The viewing platforms are located behind the falls…hence the name…and you see the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing over you.  You DO get a little wet from the mist that splashes in, especially when a gust of wind rushes by!

We had traveled ALL this way…we WERE going to see the falls even if the weather was tormenting us.  We went out to one of the viewing platforms and were greeted with rain, wind and more rain!  The fog was so thick we weren’t able to see across the falls.  We were just able to see the edge of the falls where thousands of chunks of ice were racing by us and going over the falls.  Eerily mesmerizing yet beautiful at the same time.

Video of the ice flowing here:  

 

Since we had an early/long morning so far, we decided just to have lunch at one of the tourist traps at the falls.  Nothing spectacular…it just filled our tummies and gave us some energy for the long drive ahead of us! At lunch I was able to score my ninja two swords!

The drive to the hotel was about an hour and fifteen minutes away.  We got stuck in a little bit of rush hour traffic but nothing unbearable.

As always, we are partial to the Westin so using the points and cash option, we got a great deal on the room!  The room was a typical Westin..nothing mind blowing, yet not lacking in any areas either.  Since it was pretty late in the afternoon when we got to the hotel, we checked in and relaxed a little bit before heading out to dinner.

There is a market across the street from the hotel where we went to buy some snacks and drinks for the room.  Our room had a small fridge that we kept the drinks in.  We didn’t want to wander far for dinner so we just checked out the small Greek place that was next to the hotel.  This wasn’t really a sit down type of place so we got our orders to go and headed back to the room to watch Tangled while we chowed down!  We weren’t expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised by the meal!  The tzatziki sauce was probably the best I’ve had and they had something called “Greek fries” which were fries sprinkled with herbs and feta cheese which was awesome!

Since we were pooped from the day’s travel we called it an early night and headed to bed after dinner.

Expenses:
Breakfast at JFK $15
Tolls to Canada/Toronto $4.25
Parking at the falls $14
Penny Press $2
Lunch $100 (for the three of us)
Journey Behind the Falls $23
Drinks/Snacks for the room $22
Dinner $30

Day 2

One of the main reasons why  I wanted to go to Toronto was for Pacific Mall (and LaSenza but more on that later).  I was on the hunt for some bb creams and I didn’t want to make a purchase without trying it first.  Pacific Mall was filled with aisle after aisle of….ready for it?…THE SAME STORES.  How many bubble tea shops, cell phone accessory stores, makeup stores can you fit into one space?!  We strolled through all of the shops and and did some comparison shopping…most of the places had the same pricing.  I finally decided on a Misha bb cream in No. 23 and a sample pack of 4 Skin79 brand ones.

So far so good…I’m loving them…although I wish they came in darker shades.  Its nothing a little color correction with powder can’t fix.

On the top floor of the mall there is a small food court…with a Beard Papa! We grabbed a little snack and then we were off to find lunch.

We didn’t have to look far for lunch!  Walking back to the car we noticed a few restaurants to the side of the mall and decided to try out a Vietnamese place called Peach Garden.

Their ordering system is a little strange…instead of ordering with a waiter, you are given a little slip of paper and you just mark off the number and quantity that you want.

The food was decent.  Nothing overly impressive and I don’t think I’d make a point of returning here if I were to be in Toronto again.

After spending some time back at the hotel before we knew it, it was time for dinner.  Chinatown was near by so we headed over to check it out.  Not that many interesting restaurants over there nor was there much to look at. We ended up having dinner at a place called Mother’s Dumplings.

This place was more tourist trap than good food.  The dumplings were open on both ends so none of the juice stays inside.  Instead it leeches out and creates that weird, crispy, lace looking mess on the bottom.  The boiled dumplings were gummy and also a bit bland.  The bowl of noodles was flavorless.  E got a stir fried noodle dish and the boy got curry chicken over rice.  Neither were photogenic so they do not win a place on this blog!

 

Expenses:
BB Cream (Misha) $28
BB Cream (Skin79) $20
Bubble Tea at Pacific Mall  $4
Beard Papa at Pacific Mall $6
Lunch $26
Baos from bakery $5
Shower Gel $4.50
Trolley (from Chinatown to hotel) $6
Dinner $31

Full album of pictures from days 1 & 2 can be viewed here:
http://www.misstsien.com/Banana/TorontoPart1/

 

 

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