Cultural Getaway To Stratford

An annual visit to Stratford is booked on the agendas of thousands of local and international culture connoisseurs. They come, attracted to its most renowned event, the Stratford Festival with the added value of the Stratford Forum. In 1953, founder Tom Patterson fulfilled his dream of transforming his hometown into a Shakespearean theatre Mecca. Fast forward to today. The town now generates $133 million in economic activity each year. Continue reading “Cultural Getaway To Stratford”

Weekend Staycation at St. Regis Hotel

A weekend at the cottage holds no appeal for me. I prefer a weekend in the city. A stay-cation at the luxurious St. Regis Hotel is my idea of a getaway.

The dramatic black and white marble entrance of St. Regis takes us far away from the chrome-to-chrome traffic of Bay St. An afternoon of quiet comfort enjoying a book with a cup of Sloane Tea passes quickly. And the welcome gift of a chocolate replica of the hotel as well as other sweets is appreciated. Continue reading “Weekend Staycation at St. Regis Hotel”

Beautiful Skin Breakthrough

The best revenge is looking great!

We don’t like lines at the airport, the bank or at the grocery store. But the lines I like least are the ones that have suddenly appeared on my face! Well, it’s a fact of life.

And then I began using products from Vivier

I have never recommended a personal product before this, but I do so now. I have been using the serums and night cream now for two whole months. These are the results: the skin on my cheeks is baby smooth; the part of my face between my nose and lip seems more plump; there are no fine lines on my forehead; no dryness and fine lines on my neck at all; and there are no fine lines under my eyes. Am I getting more sleep than usual? I doubt it. But there are no bags and dark circles under my eyes.

I read the fact sheet more carefully to find out exactly what was in these vials. According to the Montreal manufacturer, Vivier Pharma, Vivier Skin is formulated with high quality pharmaceutical ingredients that are meant to be stronger than typical drugstore bands. So, the company distributes many of their items through select spas and dermatology offices, rather than department stores.

  • TMR Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum
  • Radiance Serum
  • Nightly Age Defying Moisturizer
  • Sheer. Broad spectrum SPF 45 Lotion with transparent zinc oxide.

And I have been drinking Sproos

Enhanced collagen beverage crystals called Sproos Up Your Skin & Hair in citrus green tea flavour, as well as Sproos MCT Collagen Creamer with hydrologized collagen peptides for my coffee. Sproos is a Canadian owned company, and their products are formulated with hydrolyzed collagen peptides sourced from North American grass fed bovine and wild-caught North Atlantic fish.

All of this has certainly benefited my complexion. I get compliments daily, and that hasn’t happened for a while.

Don’t take my word for it. As a travel writer, I pass through Customs and Immigration at airports often. I always have a laugh since I am usually eyed with suspicion and questioned about the age listed on my Passport.

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My Life as a Tomato

Tomatoes love the sun. It’s in our genes. We once grew wild in Peru and Ecuador, in blazing colours varieties and flavours. The Spanish conquistadors came in the 16th century and were knocked out by our gorgeous colour, appealing shape and unique fragrance. They uprooted us, took us to their ships, and we began an adventure that made us world-class cuisine stars. We bombed in Spain. So they took us to Morocco and billed us as pomi di mori or Moorish apples. We opened in Naples as pomodori, Golden apples. In France, we brought the house down as pommes d’amour, love apples, and were given aphrodisiac status. They pooh-poohed us in the British Isles. Our family cousins, Belladonna, deadly nightshade, are well known poisons. Only our leaves are toxic. Still they admitted we were gorgeous and used us to decorate arbours. By the 19th century, we were superstars, the core of Mediterranean cuisine. Continue reading “My Life as a Tomato”

Chasing Happiness in Antigua

I arrive on a Sunday and head over to Shirley Heights Lookout on English Harbour to watch the sunset. The sounds of a steel-drum band are mesmerizing and suddenly I’m swaying to the music. The crowd on this plateau is in the hundreds, and there’s a sense of camaraderie and fun. Everyone knows that this is the best barbecue on the island. The aroma is intoxicating. I pass my plate to the grill man, and he piles on ribs, chicken and fish until I say stop, then with Rum Punch in hand, I squeeze onto a bench at one of the picnic tables and gaze out at sea and sky. “You’re a long way from home, Sara Waxman,” I say to myself, and I know that my vacation has begun. Continue reading “Chasing Happiness in Antigua”

Staying on Track With Your Fitness Plans

Okay. You’ve joined the gym and created a program for yourself. You’ve packed the workout essentials you need for the gym. You imagine a new, tight, sleek body for the summer season and a barely there wardrobe. You begin with great zeal and go to the gym regularly, do your workout and follow a healthy food plan. You see some results, and then, you slack off. It seems that it is never the right time: too early, too late, too busy, too tired, and then, you just stop thinking about going. Motivation has vanished. You pay your monthly fee and try to forget. Why? Why? Why? Continue reading “Staying on Track With Your Fitness Plans”

Dining With Chef Ken Yau

Dining with Chef Ken means flavour bombs in every bite.

On any Monday night, when most restaurants are closed, a dozen or so intrepid young foodies, friends, lovers or strangers file in to Chef Ken Yau’s pop up dinner party. They are prepared to be surprised, educated and delighted with the food and wine pairings (or BYOB) as well as the company. With excellent credentials, a sense of humour and winning ways, Ken entertains, cooks and serves a multi course dining experience of small bites. His raison d’etre: cooking and sharing food with friends at a private supper club in the East end.

Each dish is a flavour bomb: perila leaf, pear, shiso leaf, salted plum, chili enhances the two tartars, beef and tuna, and fish skin roasted in green tea. A crisp puffy chicken skin acts as a ladle for beet, rhubarb and buckwheat honey. He fills a glass domed plate with fragrant smoke that flavours Swedish lumpfish caviar to pile on duck confit, crumbed with prawn chips and deep fried in duck fat. Ambrosial caramelized onion soup poured over a tiny bag of fresh parsley comes with perfect toasts with onion, brown butter and Madiera.

An amusing surprise is a small plate of paper strips scented with Yuzu essential oil. Breathe deeply and let the perfume fill your palate, then slide a fresh oyster into you mouth. Wow.
Between courses, Ken recalls Monday evenings past when strangers became friends and made plans to meet again. Or one couple who realized, while sharing a luscious plate of seafood, that they had much in common and began dating.

And there is more: cauliflower pureed with vanilla; butter poached scallops and king mushrooms, followed by a serving of prawns, calamari and jelly poached salmon. Ginger, garlic and burned soy add some magic to simple bok choy. We are expecting the unexpected for dessert, and we get it: panna cotta and a fish-shaped pastry filled with duck egg. In the spirit of fun, we’re offered a plate with a dry chicken wishbone and a small and a larger coconut sweet. Turn to your table mate, break the wishbone, and the winner gets the larger piece. But, in fact, we have all been winners this evening.

There go my Monday nights. Book direct:

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Reveling in Ravello

We begin to understand Italy’s five minute rule. By the time we reach Ravello, we’ve been in Italy fourteen days, and something has become abundantly clear. Everything is five minutes and nothing is five minutes. There is a chasm between our driver’s interpretation of imagined time and real-time, but no matter, there is no need to rush. Continue reading “Reveling in Ravello”

Spicy Jamaican Lemonade

We Called Her Sexy Lexy

An exotic creature who came to our Manitoba town from Paris one summer. She knew everything there was to know about beauty. She always took lemons to the beach. We, of course, copied everything she did and by mid-July we all had wonderful golden sun streaks in our winter brown hair. We didn’t know then that lemon oil contains furanocoumarin compounds that act as photo-sensitizing agents, which increased sensitivity to ultraviolet light. We only knew that it bleached our hair in a most natural looking way. Sexy Lexy even understood aromatherapy before it had to name. The handkerchief in the pocket of her pedal pushers was always scented from rubbing it over of fresh lemon, extracting the aromatic zest from the tiny oil globes in the rind. She’d touch her hanky to her nose. “It clears my head and makes me feel good,” she’d say. “It helps me make up my mind.” Continue reading “Spicy Jamaican Lemonade”

Ask Sara: To Commit Or Not To Commit?

Tormented? Perplexed? Issues have you tossing and turning? The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. Or wait! Ask Sara…

I’ve been dating this guy for the past two years, and things are really great. However, I’ve had this feeling that over the holiday, or very soon, he is going to ask me to marry him. I really like him, but I’m not ready to marry anyone, even him. If I say no, I’m certain that will be the end of our relationship, which I don’t want to have happen. Is there a way I can softly let him know that I’m not ready for that kind of a commitment before he gets down on bended knee and there’s no turning back?
Slow and Steady

Dear Slow and Steady,
It’s hard to believe that two people who profess to be in love are so far apart in their aspirations. Start, during casual conversations or more intimate moments, to begin sharing your hopes and dreams for the future. Tell him there are things you need to do, experiences you want to have, before you’re interested in getting married or having children. Perhaps it’s a trip to Kathmandu or a summer studying art history in Florence. Make it clear however that one of your dreams includes having him as your boyfriend. A man who really loves you will never ask you to give up your dreams for him. On the other hand you shouldn’t expect him to postpone his dreams of marriage, home and family, indefinitely.
Would you like to ask Sara a question? Send your query to and watch for “Ask Sara” every Sunday.

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