video: pack smart

I just boarded Seabourn’s incredible new ship Sojourn. I’m traveling for two full weeks and need a variety of clothing options – casual summer clothes, warm clothes for cold days, dresses for dinner, high heels, flip flops and even gym clothes and running shoes – travelling on a Seabourn ship means you’ll be indulging in the most delicious gourmet food at every turn, so hitting the treadmill is essential! In this video, I’ll show you how I was able to pack everything I needed and still travel with carry-on only.

copenhagen at a glance

I only had 24 hours in Copenhagen. Here’s a series of photos of some of the things I did and saw:

We spent some time walking along the crowded streets of the Stroget, Copenhagen’s main shopping drag. This outdoor, pedestrian-only area is jam packed with tourists and locals alike. The streets are lined with shops and fast-food joints but there are many offices located in the upper levels as well. The shopping gradually transitions to a high-end affair; one end of the street is dedicated to designer boutiques like Chanel, Prada and Gucci. (Stroget means ‘the sweep’ and is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe.)

We stopped for lunch at The Royal Cafe along the Stroget. It’s so quaint and quirky, picturesque and pretty. The cafe prominently and proudly features products and designs from famous Danish designers and companies like Royal Copenhagen, Georg Jensen, Fritz Hansen, Bang & Olufsen, Kvadrat, Carlsberg, Holmegaard and others. Inside, the design is eclectic featuring baroque elements that mix together with both modern and historic touches to create a truly unique space. It feels like something straight out of a fairy tale.

We enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at The Royal Cafe. “Smushi” is a modern twist on traditional Danish fare. The mini open-faced sandwiches mimic sushi but at The Royal Cafe, are made with Danish breads and topped with an assortment of ingredients like eggs, fish, beef and fresh vegetables.

Right next door to The Royal Cafe is the Royal Copenhagen store. The porcelain manufacturer was founded in 1775 and is best known for its original and traditional designs. But today, Royal Copenhagen offers a wide array of tableware products in more modern designs. I love these mugs with colourful ribbed rubber sleeves (above) and bought one in pink. The mug was 199 Danish Kroner, about $35 CAD.

Continuing along the Stroget, we stopped at stalls with all kinds of things from scented handmade soaps, woven bags and freshly baked goodies. The aromas linger in the streets and are almost impossible to resist.

Nyhavn is a tourist haven, for sure, but there’s no denying how pretty this area of Copenhagen is. The 17th century canal and waterway is lined with brightly coloured buildings that are now restaurants, cafes and townhouses. The harbour is filled with old wooden boats and tourists can take canal tours here. Apparently Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn. Strolling along the canal on a warm summer day was so nice. We stopped for soft ice cream and sat along the waterfront, listening to street musicians play the haunting, beautiful music from Schindler’s List.

You can’t go to Copenhagen and not visit the famed amusement park Tivoli. The gardens are beautiful and vibrant flora is everywhere. But the rides and shops held little appeal for me. Perhaps if you have children it would be more fun. But nonetheless, it was a pleasant walk. I loved this street (pictured below) that made me think of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter books.

radisson blu royal hotel in copenhagen

We landed in Copenhagen at about 7am. From there, we took the train to the Copenhagen Central Station and our hotel was a five-minute walk from there. We checked into the five-star Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is one of the city’s premiere design hotels (they call it the world’s first designer hotel), designed by the famed architect Arne Jacbosen. It’s a Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) hotel; they built it in the ’60s after deciding it only made sense that the airline offer premium accommodations to travelers, particularly those who had just completed a transatlantic flight from North America to Europe.

Today, the hotel looks much the same as it did back then, making it a historic look at iconic 60s design. Everywhere throughout the hotel you’ll find the ‘Egg’ chairs and ‘Swan’ chairs, made famous the world over by Fritz Hansen and Arne Jacobsen.

The hotel has a real retro feel; design aficionados are sure to love it. Its a throwback to an era gone by and is rich with history and an emerging sense of creative genius that came to shape the future of design. Take a closer look at the hotel’s design below:

For more information:
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel
Hammerichsgade 1 – DK-1611
Copenhagen, Denmark
Phone: +45 33 426000

flying sas from newark to copenhagen

Business class on Scandinavian Airlines

It’s so exciting to get on a plane to embark on a journey to a new destination. But even more exciting than that is boarding a foreign airline. That really gets me jazzed. This time, I was flying Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from Newark (EWR) to Copenhagen (CPH). The seven-hour flight was a breeze in SAS’s sweet business class – Champagne (mais bien sur!), hot towels, flat beds and personal TVs, not to mention the gourmet meal. I opted for the beef and gnocchi and the lemon squares for dessert were delish. The flight attendants were awesome – friendly and attentive and the seven-hour flight flew by. In no time, we were landing in the beautiful city of Copenhagen. I slept reasonably well in my lie-flat bed but was still pretty tired when we landed. I preferred to sleep rather than being woken up an hour and a half prior to landing for breakfast. So instead, I opted for the Grab ‘n’ Go service, which meant that I could sleep through the breakfast service and have something packed up for me to take as I was disembarking. A mug of hot tea, a can of cranberry juice and a sandwich were all neatly packed in a paper bag and ready to go. Love it!

Since I didn’t fly in economy, I can’t comment on the service but the economy class section looked bright, stylish and comfortable for the transatlantic flight.

Economy class on Scandinavian Airlines (image courtesy of

flying porter from toronto to newark

I’m back on the road again and I was pretty pumped to get things started by flying Porter for the first time this morning. Porter launched its convenient service from downtown Toronto back in 2006 and in all this time, I haven’t had the opportunity to fly with them. What have I been waiting for??

Porter Airlines is Canada’s third-largest carrier and currently serves Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), and Boston (Logan), and also has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

If you live in downtown Toronto or even in the city’s east end, getting to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is easy and much faster than wending your way to the west end and coping with the passenger volume at Pearson. My arrival at the island airport was so pleasant. It was calm and quiet. Check-in took all of five minutes and the best part was yet to come. There’s a large, bright, spacious lounge available to all passengers that’s got free snacks and drinks and about 15 shiny new Mac computers available for use. Awesome! I loved being able to check my email and Facebook accounts without having to haul out my laptop from my carefully packed bag. The lounge was clean, stylish and a real indication of what was to come.

Passengers don’t go through customs in Canada – that happens on the other side, in Newark. It’s another reason to love flying Porter. Although there’s no way to predict what the line at customs will be like in Newark, at least you don’t need to get to the airport two hours in advance when you’re departing. At most, the Porter website asks that you arrive 60 minutes in advance of your flight although sometimes they recommend just 30 minutes depending on where you’re flying from and where you’re going. When I arrived in Newark there was no line at customs. Literally no line. I breezed right through in no time.

Image courtesy of

Inside the planes, the grey-ish beige leather seats and navy accents and the stylishly dressed flight attendants set the tone for your experience. Porter is about style and convenience. The flight to Newark was just under an hour and couldn’t have been easier from start to finish. I look forward to incorporating Porter into my future travel plans. For more information and to book tickets, visit

So, now I’m Newark, waiting for my connecting flight. Stay tuned to find out where I’m off to!

loving longchamp for fall 2010

We may be sweltering under the hot summer sun right now but designers everywhere have long since revealed their fabulous fall collections. My boyfriend recently gave me a Longchamp bag – a lilac tote that’s perfect for weekend getaways and conveniently folds up to a pocket-sized pouch, making it perfectly portable. Enamoured with my Longchamp, I decided to check out what’s on deck for Fall 2010. Here are some of my faves:

Visit to view the entire Fall 2010 collection, to find retailers and to shop online.

summertime in erie, pennsylvania

An impromptu road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania made for a wonderful weekend getaway this past weekend. Just a three-hour drive from Toronto, Erie is picturesque along the lake and puts on quite a show when the sun goes down if you’ve got the right view. Here are some highlights:

Hitting the open road!

A little rest after the drive.

Hot dogs, curly fries and milkshakes – the perfect summer fare.

The show’s about to start.

Enjoying the view.

Sunset in Erie: Worth the wait.

what’s wrong with canadian passports?

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel so much in the past three years that I actually filled up my passport. Granted, there were a handful of full pages taken up by visas for China, India and Brazil but still … a full passport is a wonderful thing! Not wanting to be caught with an invalid passport, I started looking into adding more pages, as I know you can do with American passports. Turns out that you can no longer add pages to Canadian passports. Once it’s full, you have to apply for a brand new one … at the not-so-low cost of $87. Canadian passports are only valid for five years (compared to US passports, which are valid for 10), which means that we’re spending a lot more money to keep our passports up-to-date. It feels like a cash grab to me. Or are there good reasons I’m not aware of? What gives? Any idea?

trendy beach totes

I have no travel plans at the moment and when that happens, I resort to daydreaming about where I’d like to go, what I’d like to be doing and what I’d take with me. Right now, I could sure use a beach. It’s hot, hot, hot where I live right now so I’m not in need of heat to escape cool temperatures. But I sure could use the rest and relaxation that goes hand in hand with a beach vacation. So I found myself checking out beach totes for my imaginary getaway. Here’s what I narrowed my selection down to.

1 Tory Beach Tote
Available at:
Price: $325

2 Chambray Tote
Available at:
Price: $34.50

3 Large Madaket Tote
Available at:
Price: $68

4 Diane von Furstenberg Rhea Woven Jelly Tote
Available at:
Price: $425

travel essential: dual voltage flat iron

How have I not known about dual voltage flat irons before? On three previous trips to Europe, I have blown my flat iron and/or hair dryer. The voltage just doesn’t convert. A guy in Radio Shack explained that adapters work for electronic devices (like your computer) but not electric devices, like my beloved flat iron. I’ve got bangs that need to be straightened and not having my flat iron bums me out. Listen, I know there are bigger problems than this. But, in ideal circumstances, I’d have my flat iron with me when I travel. Strolling through Winners a few days before my trip to Switzerland, I saw a display of flat irons (for $29.99). I checked them out and learned that they were dual voltage, meaning they would automatically convert for use in North America and Europe. Of course I picked one up, eager to put it to the test. It worked without a problem in Switzerland. It heats up to a temperature north of 400F and it’s so slim and sleek, it was nice and easy to pack. The one I purchased was made by a company called Ceramika Pro but after looking online, I couldn’t find a website or any additional information on them. Strange. But there are lots more dual voltage flat irons out there for you to choose from. I highly recommend picking one up before your next trip to Europe!