Saturday, 16 December 2017

Winter beauty

We had our first significant snow fall this past week, and an extreme cold alert at mid-week. When the sun came out, I went for a walk and was mindful of the beauty of the season. I loved...

The sights of:
  • Green pine trees with fresh snow on the branches, on a clear blue sky, sunny day.
  • The lake with a thin layer of ice, and the cold mist floating in the air.
The sounds of:
  • Birds chirping while they're enjoying the sunshine like me.
  • Snow crunching as I walked on a quiet morning.
The feelings of:
  • Warmth from dressing in layers and walking briskly.
  • Relaxation after I arrived home.
Will you be outside enjoying nature today?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Holiday Fair in the Square

After attending the Swedish Christmas Fair about two weeks ago, I visited the Holiday Fair in the Square on Friday evening. Now in its 2nd year, Holiday Fair is held from December 1st to 23rd at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of Toronto. I'm happy to share some of my pictures with you.

1. Lots of festive holiday lights lit up the City’s Christmas tree in the north-east corner, the arches above the skating rink, and the Toronto sign in the centre of the square. I had fun browsing about fifty vendor booths filled with unique gifts and special treats.

2. There were food trucks offering from light snacks, to hearty foods like poutine, to more gourmet meals:

3. Jackson-Triggs Polar Point outdoor bar served mulled wine and other alcoholic beverages:

4. Two fireside seating areas with red Muskoka chairs were available for a break and warm-up:

5. The brightly lit classic carousel brought back happy memories:

6. Visitors can bring their own skates or rent them on site and join in on the skating fun:

Holiday Fair runs until 10 p.m. so plenty of time to shop, skate, eat, drink, play, and enjoy the season.

P.S. Santa will be stopping by Holiday Fair on weekends for photos. Guests can take their own photos with the Jolly Old Elf and are invited to make a small donation to Epilepsy Toronto. All for a good cause!

What makes you loving life this week? Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

November in a sentence a day

Greetings! I chose my picture of a red maple tree as the header picture for this post as it looked like a beautiful, vibrant, and giant bouquet that mother nature handed to me during one of my morning walks. This alone made me love life.

November, for me, is usually a quieter month sandwiched between our Thanksgiving in October and the Christmas holidays in December. This year it became a memorable month thanks to a fantastic trip to Central Europe with my sister. I plan to write more detailed posts on my visits to Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague because they are really four great cities.

Today I'm sharing my November in a sentence a day, and linking up with several fabulous bloggers. Please be sure to visit the linked up blogs and find out what they've been up to as well.

For those who are new to my blog, I've been capturing my months in a sentence a day since April 2017. You can search using the key words "sentence a day" to see them all. When I re-read my previous monthly reviews, my posts and pictures reflect how much fun I've been having throughout this year. I'm thankful for what I have.

November in a sentence a day:

1. Welcomed November with an hour in the gym, and completed house chores that made me feel good by the time I went to bed.

2. Yoga and blogging at home kept me dry and warm while it rained outside.

3. Felt happy this Friday after one hour in the gym, fun coffee time with a friend, and an amazing one-hour recital by Jordan Klapman (piano) and John McMurchy (reeds).

J. Klapman and J. McMurchy

4. It's a feel-good Saturday when I got in some fitness (45-minute swim in the morning), some family activities (stocking up our fridge with fresh groceries, finishing laundry), and remembering my dear friend at the Day of the Dead festival which I wrote about here.

5. Relaxed at home with my family after my morning 5K run, and adjusted our clocks as our daylight saving ended today.

6. Monday is great after one hour in the gym and a lunch date with two of my girlfriends to share our "what's good".

7. Buying Hungarian forint and Czech koruna means I'm getting close to my departure date.

Hungarian forint (HUF)
Czech koruna (CZK)

8. One hour in the gym and coffee time with another friend made a wonderful Wednesday.

9. Stayed warm with indoor yoga and felt excited to pack for my trip while we got a winter blast of cold temperatures outside.

10. Felt happy this Friday with one hour in the gym, and an uplifting piano recital by Agnes Wan who expertly played music composed by Domenico Scarlatti, Joseph Haydn, Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann and Sergei Prokofiev.

Agnes Wan

11. Enjoyed every minute of my morning swim as I knew the pool will be closed for maintenance for two weeks and I'll be flying with my sister to Budapest tonight (i.e. sitting upright in small space for several hours)!

12. Arrived safely in Budapest, settled in our hotel room, took a nap, and kicked off our new adventure in Central Europe with champagne and a delicious three-course Hungarian dinner.

13. Had a great breakfast to start our day, visited the beautiful landmarks in Budapest in the morning, lunched and shopped at the Great Market in the afternoon, and soaked in the thermal baths at Gellert in the evening before savouring Hungarian wine, goulash soup, and an entree.

Hungarian Parliament

14. A wonderful day with breakfast in Budapest, a comfortable coach ride to Vienna, a walking break, a guided visit to Schonbrunn Summer Palace, and a delicious Viennese dinner with wine.

Schonbrunn Summer Palace in Vienna

15. A perfect sunny day exploring the historic sites in Bratislava and Vienna, tasting local snacks, taking a break at a traditional coffee house, and savouring another delicious Viennese dinner with wine.
Bratislava Castle, Slovakia

16. An amazing day with breakfast in Vienna, arriving in beautiful Prague to explore the Old Town on foot, using the tram, enjoying dinner, and sleeping well in our comfortable beds in the hotel.

Prague Castle Hill, Czechia

17. Explored the historic sites in Prague, loved so many discoveries throughout the day, and wrapped up our tour with a farewell Czech dinner, live music, and wine.

18. Left Prague for our flights back to Toronto, watched 3 or 4 in-flight movies, and arrived home safely tonight with treats for my family.

19. Happy Sunday with my usual 5K run, post-trip unpacking, laundry, and catching up.

20. Worked out in the gym for an hour in the morning and admired unique, hand made items at a local art exhibition in the afternoon.

21. Reached two simple goals today: Yoga and making dinner that was devoured in minutes.

22. Enjoyed Wednesday with one hour in the gym, seeing the first snow flurries of the season during my walk, and a Mexican lunch with a friend (her treat!).

23. Reached three simple goals of the day: Yoga, making soup from our vegetable odds and ends, and sending in my second guest post.

24. Felt fantastic after spending one hour at the gym, and attending an amazing piano and violin recital by Mai Tategami (violin) and Jean-Luc Therrien (piano), so young yet so accomplished musicians.

M. Tategami and J-L. Therrien

25. Ran 5K this morning as the pool is still closed, did grocery shopping, and got a nice haircut before my hairdresser goes on vacation.

26. It's a great Sunday when I got in some fitness (one hour in the gym in the morning), some family activities (finishing laundry, preparing dinner), and some fun at the Swedish Christmas Fair which I wrote about here.

Handicraft at Swedish Christmas Fair

27. Made it a relaxing day with walking, yoga, and leisure reading.

28. Gym time was quite fun with my fitness friend.

29. Rinse and repeat day #27 because I loved it.

30. Wrapped up November with gratitude and looking forward to December.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

5 huge benefits of living car-free

What are the Top 5 huge benefits that I’ve gained from living car-free for the past twenty five years?

You’ll find my answer in my second guest post appearing on Donna Connolly’s fabulous blog Retirement Reflections as part of her Sunday Guest Post Series. Please hop on over, check it out, and leave a comment.

While you’re visiting her site, treat yourself to Donna’s articles about her trek on the Camino Trail. It looks like we both enjoy walking.

I hope to see you there!