July 2012 archive

Paris: Marché aux Puces St-Ouen

The Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt is quite possibly one of the most chaotic, random, awesome places that you can go in Paris.

The name translates literally to, Market of Fleas, and is thought to be the oldest flea market in the world. It’s also largest flea market in the world, totaling nearly 11 million visitors annually! Get off at the Metro stop, “Porte de Clignancourt” (the longest subway ride ever.) and walk a bit. You’ll start out seeing typical flea market wares. Cheap clothing, shoes, a little bling. Vendors trying to sell you knock off Chanel purses and watches. Keep going.  Mixed in, you will find some great places to buy souvenirs to take home with you. I picked up some Art Nouveau magnets, compact mirrors and coasters for a nominal fee. I also bought berets, scarves and a I <3 Paris shirt.

But I digress. Keep walking and you will eventually get to rue des Rosiers. Here you will start to find antiques, furniture, art prints, vintage clothing, letterpress type, old mirrors…everything. It’s a huge, exhausting, exhilarating jumble of everything.


Yes, everything. Go early and take your time. There are about 2500 stalls! The Market opens on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9am to about 6pm. Happy exploring!

Fortune-ate exhibition

Nuit Blanche is pretty much one of my favourite events that Toronto has. I’ve been working/volunteering at it since it’s inception.

This year I am lucky enough to have an installation at the Gladstone Hotel. It’s an interactive installation that needs lots of participation from people like you!!

Here’s a little blurb about the exhibition.

Everything that can happen in this world has already happened to someone else, and will probably happen to you. This installation makes fun of our need to look toward the future and wonder what’s coming next. For most of us, it isn’t that hard to guess. Most of us will find a job, get married, buy a house and have babies.

But what if it wasn’t that idealistic? What if you created the atomic bomb, died an untimely death because a vending machine fell on you, or became a dictator? From the ridiculous to the mundane, all of these predictions have happened to someone else, and could happen to you.

Installation

Participants will be ushered through a hallway at the Gladstone Hotel, that has hundreds of fortune cookies hanging from the ceiling. At 3am, the installation turns interactive. Participants will have the chance to tear down a fortune, break it open and see what’s in store.

Please participate! I need lots and lots of fortune submissions! Click here to find out more, and to submit! Thank you so much.

Summerlicious at Bier Markt

The Bier Markt Summerlicious lunch was my favourite of the four that I went to this year! It’s such a fun environment and the food was delicious.

I tried this apple beer but I didn’t like it! I should’ve stuck to a beer cocktail.

Someone at my table ordered this yummy garlic hummus tomato flatbread. Yum.

First up was the generously portioned Wvrst board. The Hungarian smoked farmer’s sausages were juicy and flavourful.

The warm, freshly baked pretzel was a nice touch, but was a tad too salty.

This Croque Monsieur was SO good. It was also huge! It contained black Forest ham, Gruyère & Emmental cheeses, béchamel, and toasted Bistro bread.

The béchamel sauce was creamy and the bread was perfectly toasted. I actually only ate half of this, to save room for dessert!

My dessert was the Belgian chocolate cake with ganache, cocoa genoise, dark chocolate mousse. It was good, but maybe could have been more rich. All reports said that the strawberry creme brulee was fantastic.

This $20 Summerlicious lunch was my favourite! The portion sizes were great, service friendly and good quality food. Cheers!

Summerlicious at The Host Fine Indian Food

This was my first time going to an Indian restaurant for Summerlicious. I love naan and samosas, so I was pretty excited. Sadly, the experience left me not so happy.

We went for the $25 dinner menu. The restaurant is pretty with lots of natural light. We were given some light and cripsy papadum with a mango chutney.

I started with the vegetable samosas for my appetizer, and my friend had the Host salad with mango, papaya, guava & pineapple. The samosas were quite good, if not a little small. The potato and veggies were well mixed, and I enjoyed the light crust.

For my main, I chose the Murgh Mirch Tikka, boneless pieces of chicken marinated in green chili paste. My friend had the Murgh Makhin Butter chicken: Tender pieces of chicken tikka cooked in creamy tomato sauce. There were 13 different dishes to choose from for the main, which I appreciated. We had garlic naan with our meal, and we were also served rice and daal.

Here is the butter chicken dish:

Here is mine:

I got three pieces of chicken! For my dinner! I don’t understand how they thought they could get away with serving such a small portion.  I understand that it’s Summerlicious, but really? I feel that that is way too small. Yes, it was chicken breast, and yes it did taste good. But to serve such a small portion…I felt a bit ripped off. My friend had a good portion of butter chicken (and it was good!) so I didn’t really get why it was so small. It put a damper on my meal because I had been starving. I forgot to take a picture of the garlic naan, which was my favourite part of the meal. What do you think? Am I right that it’s a small portion, or was I just being greedy?

After that, we were brought our pistachio kulfi. It was kind of underwhelming and a bit plastic-y. Glancing at the regular menu and seeing the high prices, I don’t think I’ll be returning here for such a mediocre and unsatisfying meal.

Daytripping at Georgian Bay Islands National Park

On a Sunday morning, my boy and I packed a picnic lunch and drove 2 hours from Toronto to the Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The park features hiking trails through hardwood forest and granite hills and clear waters and sandy beaches for swimming.  The island where the park is located is the largest island and is named Beausoleil.  Be sure to admire the beauty of the Canadian Shield.

This park is…you guessed it, on an island! Just getting there is an adventure! We booked a spot on the Daytripper, the boat that takes you to and from the island. The Daytripper makes 3 trips to the island daily and costs $15 per person. Choose from 11am, 12pm or 1pm. The boat will drop you off for 4 hours on the island, and then pick you up from the same spot. The boat ride was a lot of fun! It’s a tiny zippy boat, and it was enjoyable to speed through the waters and take in the pretty cottages.

You can choose to be dropped off at the near the visitors center, or at the more secluded and rocky part of the island. Once you get to there, take your time to relax and explore. You can swim in the clear water, visit the visitor center, go on a guided walk or rent bikes!

We decided to rent mountain bikes and take them out onto a trail. A bike rental costs $10 per hour or $25 for the day. We explored the “easy” Huron trail. We are both beginner bikers, so it was hard for us! The earth was very sandy and we kept sinking into the sand. Once we made it out of that part, it was a fun, but hot, ride. The bikes were brand new and amazing. The shocks were perfect and the brakes were really responsive. The bike just zipped over ginormous rocks and sticks that littered the trail.

After that we were pretty knackered, so we went to visit the Visitor’s Center. We said hello to Pineapple the snake (the best name) and ate our picnic lunch. We also walked some of the trails. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the mainland. Georgian Bay Islands National park offers camping on the island and you can also canoe or kayak in, instead of taking the Daytripper. The park is beautiful and it’s the perfect place to spend a Sunday in the summer or fall. For more information, please visit the park website.

Note: July 21, 2012 is Free Park Day! All National Parks will have free admission, and some will have special activities!

Get Nailed!


Nail polish is one of my favourite things right now. Nothing screams summer like brightly polished nails!
A great new line of polishes has launched in Toronto. Get Nailed is a saucy new line of colours from the lady behind The Ten Spot, Kristen Wood. I tried out some of their products!

Get Nailed lacquer come in a host of yummy, fashionable shades. I particularly liked “Yep, that’s impressive,” (Tiffany Blue) and “Got an Extra Toothbrush?” As you can see, they probably have the most hilarious names that you’ll ever see adorning the bottom of a polish.
With names like, “Your place…or my car?”, “You want me to what!?” and the slightly disturbing, “Shh, you’ll wake my dad!”, these names are one of a kind and just a little bit dirty. You can submit your own polish names, and it might be chosen! Get Nailed isn’t just about naughty names and funky colours. They are proudly big four free. The polishes do not contain Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) OR camphor, which is great.

The nail polish went on smooth and dried fast. One of the things I liked most about this polish is that it came off easily with nail polish remover. I hate it when it’s hard to remove. The Get Nailed line includes a quick dry top coat and a base coat.


My favourite part of the Get Nailed line are the Microbeads! I’ve been dying to try these. The microbeads come in a variety of colours. My favourite is the black! You can buy a single pot of the beads for $6.00, or you can get a set for $20. The set includes super easy to follow instructions, a polish with matching microbeads, an orange wood stick and a mini nail file. I tried out “Love me a Silver Fox,” and it was so much fun to use.

After painting my nail, I tipped a small amount of beads onto the polish. I carefully pressed them into my nail with the orange wood stick and sealed the beads by running a clear coat of polish over the edge of my nail. The effect was funky and fun! The beads didn’t last that long for me, but I am particularly hard on my nails. I can’t wait to try to black! I love that these microbeads are more affordable than Caviar, and from Toronto!

If you are looking to try some new polishes with awesome shades, please give Get Nailed a try!

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