Marketplace: Design Within Reach

A colleague and I recently had a conversation about the fabulousness of Design Within Reach (aka DWR). The collection of products at DWR is an amazing place for furniture enthusiasts as it carries designs by faves such as Harry Bertoia, Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, Achille Castiglioni, and Frank Gehry. The designs are top-notch (and the prices reflect this).

My recent DWR-focused conversation sparked a much-too-long session of online browsing (and dreaming and wishing) which has now led to this blog post.

Here are a few of my current faves at DWR (prices are in USD).

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Platner coffee table, $1567

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Saarinen tulip arm chair, $1840

tripod-lamptripod floor lamp, $395

Jehs-Laub-loungeJehs and Laub lounge chair, $3100

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Sonno Versa mattress, $2595
(I don’t know anything about this, but mattresses are on my mind a lot these days. I like this one because “sonno” in Italian means “sleep”)

And for outdoor living, here’s what caught my attention:

PD_18859_whiteWalter Lamb chaise, $1650

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Luau portable lamp, $199

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Frank Gehry left twist cube, $299

Thanks to SL for inspiring this post!

Food: Langdon Hall’s Terroir Noir

Yes, yes, I’m back with more news from Langdon Hall. I could easily start a regular Langdon Hall series on White Cabana. The place is amazing, and I’ve recently been calling it My Langdon Hall. Yes, I am totally biased and also completely smitten by the place.

Anyhoo – a few months ago, the team at Langdon Hall invited me to interview Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson. An interview, I asked? About what? Chocolate! Tough gig, I know.

You see, Langdon Hall decided that they should have their own signature chocolate (as if the place wasn’t special enough), and they wanted some help to get their story out.

You may have seen this post on Instagram recently if you follow me or @LangdonHall or @LangdonHallChef:

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via @LangdonHallChef

You see those words right there? Yeah, I wrote them (with some edits from LH)! So cool! Since that paragraph only provides a glimpse into LH’s chocolate, I was given permission to share the full story here on my blog. Read on if you’d like to learn more about how this chocolate came to be.

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Making of Langdon Hall’s Signature Chocolate: The Beginning
Jordana Garbati

Being whisked away to France on a highly unique chocolate mission seems like an incredible experience to add to one’s bucket list. For Langdon Hall’s Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and pasty chef Rachel Nicholson, this experience turned from dream to reality in February.

Jason and Rachel were invited to Cacao Barry’s prestigious Or Noir in Paris to develop a signature chocolate recipe for Langdon Hall. Only a few Canadian chefs, and only about 200 chefs around the world, have developed a signature chocolate recipe! Armed with a few goals in mind and a clear idea of the flavours the chefs wanted to include in Langdon Hall’s future house chocolate, the duo zipped off to Paris for a three-day chocolate adventure.

At Or Noir, Jason and Rachel were confronted with cacao beans from around the world and wasted no time working with Or Noir’s highly-qualified team to begin the process of developing Langdon Hall’s distinct chocolate.

Chef Jason wanted to ensure that Langdon Hall’s philosophy was well represented in its chocolate. He wanted the chocolate to instill ideas of the land, smokiness (we all know about Langdon Hall’s divine fireplaces), warmth, and tradition. Chef Rachel was on the same page and wanted to ensure that the final chocolate recipe would not only work beautifully on its own, but also become that more memorable when transformed into a chocolate ganache or pain au chocolat.

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 Chefs Jason and Rachel and the French team at Or Noir

The chefs went through Or Noir’s chocolate recipe development process whereby they explained their desired taste profile, explored cacao pastes from around the world, blended flavours, and tasted multiple production samples.

After a few gruelling days in the Parisian chocolate laboratory (as much as crafting a chocolate recipe can be gruelling), the chefs settled on the perfect recipes for dark and milk chocolate that are set to impress.

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Langdon Hall chocolate samples – some of the first pieces Langdon Hall’s dark and milk chocolates – ready for a taste test

The dark chocolate has an ideal amount of bitterness. It’s great paired simply with an after-dinner espresso, and it is sure to increase the quality of Langdon’s popular chocolate-filled pastries and desserts. The flavour lingers on the tongue and is of beautiful texture and consistency. The milk chocolate is as creamy and shiny as you would want it to be, and it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Both chocolate recipes are as distinguished as Langdon Hall, they embody luxurious hospitality as much as a chocolate could, and they are yet one more piece that will raise guests’ experiences to another notable level. Jason-Rachel-Langdon-Hall-TerroirNoir

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson with the first chocolate production at Langdon Hall

For chefs Jason and Rachel, the signature chocolate brings prestige and innovation. The creation of the Langdon Hall chocolate brings outside-the-box thinking and creativity. This addition to the existing repertoire of phenomenal recipes will entice new and returning guests to visit Langdon Hall to experience its inimitable chocolate.

After the recipe was created in February, the chocolate went into production in France. Since the arrival of the first shipment of chocolate, the chefs have been busy in their kitchen creating new decadent recipes.

On April 25th, Executive Chef Jason Bangerter will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario to launch Langdon Hall’s chocolate and its top-secret name at the Terroir Symposium, which is an event that brings together top chefs, sommeliers, and artists with the goal to promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity in the field of hospitality. Industry leaders will no doubt be enthralled by the story of how Langdon Hall’s chocolate came to be and I challenge them to stop at just one bite.

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I should say that Chef Jason did make sure I had my fair share of chocolate during the interview (Thanks, Jason.) I preferred the dark, but the milk was so darn smooth. I know, such a tough gig. Hanging out at Langdon Hall eating chocolate – life. is. good.

p.s. In recent news, did you see that Drake went to Langdon, too? Cool.

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via @ChampagnePapi, photo by @CaitCronenberg

 

Beauty: A Salt Cave Experience at the Windsor Arms Hotel

Last week, when I shared how my friend and I spent 28 hours in Toronto, I mentioned that we started the day off at the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa.

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The kind folks at the Windsor Arms scheduled us in for a salt cave experience. Salt. Cave. Say what? Yeah. I had no idea what that meant, so I read up on it on the spa site and decided that it could be an interesting way to spend some time.

The salt cave is also known as a halotherapy treatment (halos means salt in Greek). The microclimate of the salt caves provides natural benefits. Through relaxation in the darkened room and inhaling the salt and negative ions in the air, the experience results in a feeling of rejuvenation. Apparently, regular salt cave treatments can improve respiratory ailments, allergies, blood circulation, and it can also reduce stress.

So after dawning our swimsuits and robes, we entered the salt cave. It was a small dark room covered in salt – salt floor, salt walls, salt everywhere! The four reclining lounge chairs had blankets on them waiting to be used. The room was much colder than I had expected, so the blankets were definitely a necessity.

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My friend and I chatted for the first 10 minutes or so, but we soon realized that what we really wanted to do was to take deep breaths and maybe even a short snooze. It was definitely relaxing!

After 45 minutes, the spa director came to let us know that our session was up. I hadn’t noticed the passing of time, but I was getting cold at this point, so the 45 minute time period turned out to be perfect.

I don’t know much about the spa way of life, to tell you the truth, but what I do know is that I left the salt cave session feeling refreshed and very very calm. It was a win for me – especially after a busy work week! Would I do this again? Heck ya!

Beyond the salt cave, the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa offers many services in a lovely white spa space.

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Many thanks to Christine K. and the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

The Friday Five: Fish Scales Design Trend

I think we’re going to see more fish scales in our design future. Here are five cases to demonstrate my thoughts:

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Tessa Neustadt

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The Musket Room in NYC, via Apartment Therapy

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Homepolish

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Fiona Lynch via Apartment Therapy

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Archipelago fish serving bowl, Anthropologie

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hotel to Home: Palazzo Dama, Italy

Today, we’re entering the 5-star luxury hotel called the Palazzo Dama in Rome, Italy. I know, I know, it’s tough to be surrounded by such luxury. Let’s try our best, shall we?

The Palazzo Dama is a stunning property…

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Gorgeous, right? It’s stunning on the inside, too. Just look at these rooms!

Since I’ve featured so many bedrooms and living spaces since I began this Hotel to Home series, I thought it might be nice to feature a new space. As such, I’ve decided that we should head into one of Palazzo Dama’s marble-filled bathrooms.

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Here’s my how-to-do-it-home recreation:

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mirror, sink, towels, tiles, faucet, shower head, small mirror, sconce, toiletries

Fashion: Needham Lane’s Sleepwear Part II

Last month, I introduced you to Needham Lane’s sleepwear collection. I’ve been wearing my pj sets ever since they arrived, and they’re doing very well. The fabric is soft, the fit is good, and my sets have survived multiple turns through the washer and dryer. Yes, dryer, too.

I packed them up for my recent trip to Toronto, and my friend Shannon was kind enough to take some photos (she found her inner Nigel Barker-noted fashion photographer). While I know models prepare for photoshoots with the help of a hair, makeup, and styling team, I prepared by waking up, brushing my teeth, and brushing my hair. I opted for a low-fuss, au naturel approach (did I have a choice?).

I actually slept in the Maxwell long sleeve pajama, and I wear this one regularly because I like the long sleeves and pants. I like the black and white checkered pattern, too.

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wearing the Maxwell long sleeve pajama

In addition to the checked long sleeve set, Needham Lane sent over the Madison fuchsia short sleeve capri pajama. It’s hard to resist a crisp white set, and I like the punch of fuchsia. The pants have a fuchsia drawstring, but I’d recommend that Needham Lane look into adding fuchsia piping on the pant cuff too.

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I set up the chess board, but it was just for show (#honestblogger).White-Cabana-Needham-Lane-9

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I couldn’t resist jumping in my PJs (let’s just call this my morning exercise routine)
wearing Madison fuchsia short sleeve capri pajama

I also brought along the Pippa aqua kimono robe. The robe is white, but it has aqua piping around the edges and cuffs. If you’re not into white, I’d encourage you to look into all the other colourful robes at Needham Lane. This would make such a nice gift for Mother’s Day or a friend’s birthday. The Pippa might just become my new go-to travel robe. It’s easy to throw into luggage, and it adds an additional layer of comfort when you’re away from home. I basically danced around in it for the photos…

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wearing Pippa aqua kimono robe

I should let you know that although Needham Lane has a large selection of colourful sleepwear (not everything is black and white). And the last chance section has some incredible deals at the moment (e.g., this cornflower blue pajama is only $20). Shipping to USA is $5 and to Canada is $20. Finally, if you sign up to Needham Lane via email, you’ll get a 20% off coupon code. Bonus!

Many thanks to Needham Lane for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. Thanks to Shannon Y. for snapping these photos. Location: Omni King Edward hotel, Toronto.

Travel: The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto

Now that you’ve seen how my friend and I spent 28 hours in Toronto, I’d like to share some more detailed news about our reunion trip, and I’ll start with our hotel.

I booked us in for a night at The Omni King Edward Hotel (aka the King Eddy) at the south end of the city. Although I had never been to the King Eddy, I knew of its reputation of one of the top hotels in Toronto, so I was easily convinced that we should try it out. I’m happy to say that the hotel and its services did not disappoint (That’s the short version of the review. If you’d like to know more, read on!).

We checked into the King Eddy a little later than anticipated because we were having so much fun on our casual shopping at Bloor/Yorkville. Both my friend and I were excited to check in and plop on our beds for a bit of a rest before dinner.

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The King Eddy impresses right from the entrance. Valet parking is available as is a park-your-own-car public parking lot about a block away. Once inside, the grand lobby awaits your attention. The architectural details in the lobby – moldings, railings, ceilings – are full of history. The hotel recently completed a $40 million renovation (forty!), and the lobby is a reflection of that. The furniture is modern and elegant, and the design theme of the hotel (chess, crowns, grandeur) is set right at the front door.

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I’m honestly always a tad cautious when I check into fancy hotels. I’m usually curious to know if the place is pretentious or welcoming. Luckily, the check-in staff at the King Eddy was very friendly (Hi D!) and was able to engage in an informal conversation while maintaining his professionalism and sense of hospitality. I am a very particular customer, so I pay attention to just about every detail of an experience (so tough, I am!).

We took the elevator up to our room, and when we opened the door, we were in awe. The room was large. The suite – yes, it was a suite – had a bedroom with two queen beds, dresser, TV, and closet (with robes and slippers, I must add); a living area with a couch, coffee table, arm chair, desk area, and dining/chess table, console and TV (why have one when you can have two?); and a bathroom with gorgeous marble and plush towels. The three large closets in the suite were more than we needed, but we used them (just because we could!). We also put our luggage racks to use, and I set up the chess board just in case we wanted to play.

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Shortly after we arrived, D (from check-in) called to make sure we were happy with our suite. Happy? Of course! When I jokingly asked what the heck we were supposed to do with all the space, D said that the living area is a great place for thinking! Oh, amusing! It was then that I had regretted not booking us in for a 2-night stay! (In the end, we used the living area for magazine reading…and some thinking, too!)

Shortly after we threw on our King Eddy slippers, a server knocked on our door and ushered in plates of treats. What a delightful surprise! Shannon and I had the perfect afternoon snack (scones, tea, and Niagara’s Greaves jam) by the window. Details, people, I love these thoughtful details!

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The beds in our suite were as comfy as you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, and there were plenty of pillows for added comfort. The black-our curtains darkened the room and added to our restful sleep.

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The bathroom, oh, yes, the bathroom. The shower was my favourite part because it was large, had amazing pressure, and a couple of shower heads…you know, because one might not be enough. There wasn’t a tub in our room, but maybe some rooms have one.

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I also wandered around this historic hotel to see what it had to offer outside of our gorgeous suite. I can definitely see why the King Eddy is a hot-spot for parties, weddings, and every sort of event. The venue has beautiful spaces that can be reconfigured to suit various events. The art and architecture serve as beautiful backdrops for photos, and the recurring design themes of chess, elegance, and royalty are consistent throughout the property.

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Check out the rooms and rates at The Omni King Edward Hotel if you’re planning a visit to Toronto and would like to be surrounded by luxury!

Thanks to The Omni King Edward Hotel for sponsoring our stay. All opinions and photographs are mine.

Two for Tuesday: Ruffles

What’s prettier or more feminine than ruffles? Okay, maybe hearts and bows, but ruffles are still at the top of the femininity list, right? They’re great for your wardrobe and your home as you can see by today’s two-for-Tuesday.

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Lanvin ruffle top, $2750, via Far Fetch hmprod

Linen cushion cover, $17.99, H&M

Travel: 28 Hours in Toronto

What do you do when your friend (in Ottawa) texts you (in Waterloo) on a Monday, and asks what you’re doing on the weekend? First, you ask her if we’re going to Nashville (that’s a story for another day). When she laughs at you, you ask her what she has in mind, and she asks you if you’d be interested in a Toronto meet-up, you obviously say yes!

Heck ya!

Considering the couple of crazy weeks my friend Shannon and I have had recently, a girls reunion weekend in the city is just what we knew we needed to make us both feel more energized!

After we confirmed that we were both available for a weekend away, I quickly got to work, contacted a few people, and started planning some girly fun for us. Today, I’m sharing our itinerary, and in the days ahead, I’ll share some specific reviews of what we did/where we stayed/what we ate.

Please join me as I take you through a 28-hour stay in Toronto.

Saturday

9am – I left Waterloo quite early in the morning, as I find Toronto traffic and parking to be unpredictable. It only takes an hour (in theory) to get to the city, but I often give myself two hours to get to the heart of downtown. I put my TomTom to use, of course, as I like knowing about the alternate route options if I run into traffic.

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11am – As my friend Shannon and I were coming from opposite directions, we opted to meet at our first stop of the day – the Windsor Arms Spa. Yes! What a perfect spot to meet. Since I arrived a bit early, I was able to nibble on some cookies and drink a tea before our spa experience – the Salt Cave.

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11:30am – Shannon and I met with our spa hostess. She led us around the spa space and told us about the halotherapy treatment in the Salt Cave. We changed into our bathing suits, threw on our plush robes, and headed in the Salt Cave for 45 minutes of relaxation.

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We left the Cave feeling refreshed and calm.

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1:30pm (ish) – After showering and primping at the Windsor Arms Spa, we headed to La Société for lunch. I’ve read a bit about this restaurant, but I had never been. Since we dubbed this weekend a #weekendofluxury, we figured that La Société fit our itinerary. It is where celebrities go after all (we didn’t see any).

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We opted to share the eggs benedict (with a side of salmon) and the pain perdu (French toast) with Nutella. This way, we got to try a bit of everything. This is what happens when you travel with your BFFs, you get to share the goodness! We had a very friendly server at La Société who was quite attentive and helpful with recommendations.

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time unknown – after lunch, we wandered in and out of stores around Bloor/Yorkville. The area is a gem for people watching, and to see what’s what in fashion, design, and luxury. While I have just about everything I need in Waterloo, when I’m in Toronto, I always like to see what’s going on at Club Monaco and Anthropologie, so we made it a priority to check out these stores…along with the prettiest of pretty, Kate Spade (so pretty!).

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5pm (ish) – After a couple of hours of shopping, walking, taking ridiculous photos, and being so happy because of the amazing spring weather, we hopped back in the car, and headed to our hotel (TomTom was put to work again, naturally).

It was great to spend the morning/afternoon in the Bloor/Yorkville area, but I was looking forward to seeing another part of the city while we were in town. Although I grew up in the ‘burbs of the city, I haven’t spent extended periods of time downtown in a long while, and there’s just so much to see and do and discover!

We drove south to King/Church to The Omni King Edward Hotel (affectionately called the King Eddy), and after we parked (I must say that parking in the two areas was completely easy on this trip! Bonus!), we checked in. We were greeted by a friendly staff member (Hi D!), and we had a good chat about why/how I blog only about white things (it does amuse a lot of people, I must say).

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At this point in our day, Shannon and I were were so eager to just lie on the beds for a while since we had done so much walking in the afternoon. Our reactions when we saw our room were priceless. We basically danced around the spacious suite, then flopped ourselves down on the beds (more on The Omni King Edward Hotel later this week).

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time unknown – We were pleasantly surprised by a visit from an Omni King Edward staff member who arrived with scones and biscuits in tow (I wish this could happen every day!). It was just the type of snack we needed! We pulled our seats up to the table by the window and had a little bite to eat.

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9pm (ish) – Earlier in the day, we had made a dinner reservation at one of our favourite restaurants – Terroni. It serves up delicious Italian fare, and since I could basically live on pizza and pasta for the rest of my life (hello carbs!), I was happy that Terroni had an open table for two for us. The Terroni Adelaide location was a three minute walk from our hotel, so it could not have been more convenient! It was the perfect spot for a lazy girls’ weekend! We walked over and spent the next couple of hours feasting.

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11pm – After dinner, we strolled back to The Omni King Edward Hotel, threw on our pjs (and hotel robes!), and watched some TV while we talked and laughed about all that we had experienced in the day.

midnight (ish) – We must have fallen asleep to the sounds of HGTV on the television at some point around midnight. Yes, yes, we’re very wild.

Sunday

7am – I really try to sleep in (especially on weekends), but I can’t! It’s ridiculously annoying. After a great sleep in a comfy bed with lots of comfy pillows, I woke up a tad annoyed at the fact that it was only 7am. I grabbed a few magazines and enjoyed reading them in the living space in our suite.

10am (ish) – After a lazy morning of chatter, an amusing photo shoot (to come later this week), magazine reading, and getting ready, we walked south toward St. Lawrence Market for breakfast. Again, I hadn’t realized how close the King Eddy is to so many great spots in the city. The St. Lawrence market area must have been only a six minute walk from the hotel, and Toronto’s flat iron building provides a perfect photo op. Easy! We chose to have breakfast at Hank’s because I had been there once before, and I had liked it (thanks for the intro to Hank’s, Sarah M.!) We enjoyed a classic breakfast, then set off on another adventure.

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noon (ish) – We had decided that our #weekendofluxury #WhiteCabanaTorontoReunion should include manicures, so we walked north to Queen West area (a pleasant 20 minute or so walk) as we were hoping to get into Civello salon. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get last-minute appointments, but the staff member recommended a nail salon a couple blocks away, so we went there.

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2pm (ish) – With our bright shiny nails, we walked back to the car (which I had left in the parking lot by the King Eddy) in the sunshine, and laughed some more as we thought about all the adventures we have been on together in the last 10+ years.

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3pm (ish) – At this point, our fun weekend reunion came to an end. After dropping Shannon off at Union Station, I drove back to Waterloo. We returned to our homes (and to reality) after a fun and fulfilling reunion weekend!

That’s how my friend Shannon and I spent our 28 hours in Toronto last weekend. I have a few more updates to share about this trip, so stay tuned for more posts this week!

Many thanks to the Windsor Arms Spa and The Omni King Edward Hotel for helping me plan this trip.