Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Birthday Weekend That Was...Sunday & Monday Edition

On the Sunday of my trip, I allowed myself to sleep in a bit, since I was so sleep deprived from my long day the day before. When I finally got up and got ready, I headed out to Etobicoke and went to IKEA. I had a shopping list full of things I had held out on buying for my new apartment because I knew I could get them for so much cheaper at IKEA. I took the subway out to Kipling, waited for the IKEA shuttle, and finally reached my destination.

I spent a few hours at IKEA, so that actually took up most of my Sunday, what with the travel to and from and the strolling the aisles. It was dinner time by the time I got back to the hotel and dropped off all my purchases. I met my aunt for dinner at Red Lobster, another favourite food joint, and we chatted and caught up on all our news.

That's something I did an awful lot of on this trip: talk. And I said pretty much all the same stuff (as all my news was the same) but it was all to different people. So even though I grew a little tired of repeating myself over and over, I was happy every time to hear about the other person's news. I know I've said it before, but it's always so nice to catch up and learn what's changed in a friend's life, or how they've grown in some way.

I knew a trip to Toronto couldn't happen without stopping by CTV and seeing my pals there. I miss the people and the place so much, so I really wanted to pop in and see it again, so I did that on Monday. As was the usual on this trip, it was so great to see so many friends and catch up again. I miss my Dance Family all the time! How could I not, when I really had the dream job there, working with such amazing people?

I made a few other stops at favourite cupcake shops, familiar subway stations and walked down my favourite streets. When it was finally time to head back to the hotel and pack for my flight, I didn't have any unfinished business. I'd seen and done all the things I'd wanted to do on this short trip, met up with the people I really wanted to, bought the things I'd been longing for. I only had three days in the city but I packed so many things into those three days, it was like a small recap of my life in Toronto. A taste of all of my favourite things about this place I used to call home.

This whirlwind trip was exactly the birthday present I'd been searching for to give myself. A chance to be in one of my favourite places, surrounded by my favourite things. And when it's your Champagne birthday, you really do have to make it special. After all, it only happens once in a lifetime. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Birthday Weekend That Was...Saturday Edition

...When I arrived in Toronto, I couldn't wait to get off the plane and get back in the city. I really had missed it, more than I'd realized. After dropping my luggage off at the hotel, I walked down to one of my favourite places of all: the St. Lawrence Market. I've talked about the Market a few times in the past, and how much I love it, so it really shouldn't come as a surprise that it was literally,( after checking into my hotel) my first stop on my trip.

The market has long been one of the spots I always visit when I'm in Toronto, because as much as I love St. John's, there's nothing of the St. Lawrence Market's equivalent in my hometown. This is the place I think I miss the most. Coming here every Saturday morning, stocking up on my fresh, local fruits and veggies, buying some perogies and pasta, picking up a bouquet of fresh flowers....I loved it.

One place I love in the Market is a little vendor outside on the southwest side. A local artist, originally from England, sells her watercolours from her stall almost every Saturday. I came across her a couple of years ago and bought some handmade greeting cards and a mini painting from her, and fell in love with her art. Before I moved back to Newfoundland in October, I went to the Market one last time and went to her stall. I bought one of her paintings and it hangs in my office today. So, when I decided to come to Toronto for the weekend, I knew I had to seek her out and buy some more artwork. 

I managed to find her email address a few days before and asked her if she’d be there that Saturday, and she said she hoped to be. I hoped and hoped, and sure enough, as soon as I arrived at the Market, I sought her out and found her in her usual spot. We chatted for a while and then she let me peruse her artwork until I decided on a couple that I thought would hang nicely in my new living room.

Pleased with my purchases, I said goodbye to the lovely artist and continued my shopping. Of course, I had to stop and pick up some perogies from my favourite Ukrainian place, and get some delicious fresh pasta and sauce from the pasta place upstairs. Both were just as delicious as I remembered. I really love how they actually make the pasta right in front of you, and you can try scrumptious samples anytime. I'm one of those people that goes and gets a sample...and then goes back 15 minutes later for another one. I can't help myself! 

After I finished my Market shopping, I headed to lunch with my old roommates. We’d stayed in touch after we all went our separate ways when our lease ended last summer, and as soon as I booked my trip, I contacted them to meet up. It was great seeing the girls and catching up on all their news. Jobs and wedding plans and exotic vacations filled the stories we told. It’s always so nice to catch up with friends after long absences.

Another one of my favourite things to do in Toronto, and anywhere, really, is get my nails done. It's one of my vices. I can't help it. I know some people might think it's silly, but there's something about getting a manicure that can make a girl feel like a million bucks. And what better place to go then a salon where everybody knows your name? (It's like the Cheers of nail salons.) Shortly after I booked my trip, I emailed my friend and nail tech at the salon and set up an appointment. It was great to see her again and to catch up on her news, and of course, get a fresh new coat of polish on my nails. There's just nothin' like it!

Later that night, I had dinner with some of my Indigo TweetUp ladies. We went to our usual spot, CANTEEN, where I had a delicious meal, a great time catching up with some pals, and some covert celebrity spying. (One of the guys from The Vampire Diaries was there that night, but I don't watch the show so I didn't really know who he was. Ha!) It was so fun to see the ladies again, it was like no time had passed at all.

To end off the night, I walked back to the hotel, stopping at Marble Slab on the way for a yummy ice cream, and then it was off to bed. I'd been awake for almost 24 hours and I desperately needed some sleep to be ready to tackle all the things I had planned for the next day!

Sunday and Monday are yet to come! Check back soon!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Birthday Weekend That Was...

As I said in a previous entry, on March 27, I celebrated my 27th birthday, also known as my Champagne birthday. Now, here's something you may not have known about me: I like to make a big deal out of things. Whether it's birthdays or Christmas or Valentine's Day, whatever, I'm all over it. (Remember the Royal Wedding this time last year? Yeah. I was up at 3am and hosted a Royal Wedding breakfast for family and friends, complete with fascinator. All while wearing my PJs. It's how I roll.)

So for something that only happens once in my lifetime, I really had to make a big deal about it. I hummed and haa'd, and decided a party wouldn't be enough. I usually have a party, but this year had to be different. I needed to really mark the occasion somehow.

I had been missing Toronto a lot lately, and kept reminiscing about all the places and things that I used to visit and do there, and then, at the beginning of March, it hit me: Why not go to Toronto for a weekend? I kept looking at my schedule, looking at all the work I had to do, and checking the prices of flights, and I just didn't think I'd be able to do it. I was pretty bummed. So I went back to moping about the lack of celebration surrounding my big day.

About two weeks before my birthday, I received an email from Air Canada, advertising a 50% sale on flights throughout Eastern Canada. I checked, and sure enough, there was a cheap, cheap flight from St. John's to Toronto's downtown airport. I thought it through and finally decided there really was no way I could ignore this opportunity. I could go to Toronto for a long weekend and come back to Newfoundland the day before my birthday. So, I checked with the boss and then I was off!

For the time leading up to the trip, I was pretty much giddy all day long. I planned my three days there down to the hour, figured out where I'd visit and who I'd see and what I'd buy. When 5am on Saturday, March 24th came, I was on my way...

Check back in a couple of days to read all about my weekend, starting with the fun-filled Saturday!