Spend The Holidays With Me In West Palm Beach, USA!

Me, at Delray Beach

Hey everyone!

So, as many of you know, this holiday season I headed down to Florida with my family. Since I had all my holiday posts planned, written and queued up for the duration of my getaway, I saved all my travel posts for after the holiday season. So, without further ado, here are my Florida travel posts as promised! Today, I’ll be sharing with you guys the first portion of my trip, Christmas in West Palm Beach, USA. Stay tuned next Sunday for part two — Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney!

To start off my trip, I headed back to Toronto for a bit, where I rested up and did my gift swap with my family. While it was a little non-traditional, it saved us from having to waste luggage space bringing everything to Florida — which would have been a huge pain for my family, since they’d just be bringing it all back home anyway. Going home was great — it’s always nice to spend some part of Christmas at home — plus I got to see my cat Dmitry.

My baby!

Shortly thereafter, we got on a plane and headed off to West Palm Beach. Florida can be very hit of miss this time of year when it comes to the weather — so we prepared for everything. Thankfully we did, since the weather was pretty all over the place during our stay — but we didn’t have to let it ruin our vacation.

Our Accommodations

Florida, USA

Surprisingly, in all my travels, I’ve never stayed in an Air BNB before (that I can recall). However, this trip wasn’t just a regular family getaway — my whole extended family was meeting up for this vacation. We rented a home in town that fit all of us, which was interesting as a first time Air BNB stay.

It was a pretty decent place overall, but it definitely had some flaws. The place was a large, rather empty home put up for rent on Air BNB while it was on the market to be sold — so it wasn’t actually anyone’s current home. It was large enough for my whole family, but it felt empty still — it kind of lacked a lot of furniture, as well as a certain charm. Maybe that’s just my opinion since I had to share a tiny single-bunk bed room with my sister and they didn’t have anywhere near enough hand or shower towels — but overall, it wasn’t terrible. I’d rank it a solid 7/10, and I’d definitely consider trying out Air BNB again.

I may or may not have totally forgotten to take photos of our place…… so here’s a screen shot of my insta story! Apologies for the poor quality 😦

Things To Do

During our stay, we were located in the Delray area — which is a cute little beachside town. While we were mostly there to spend time with family and enjoy the holidays (rather than explore), there definitely was a few activities I’d recommend if you ever go to visit the area.

Hit The Beach
Delray Beach

Delray Beach is a small, beautiful and pretty secluded beach, especially for Florida. If you’re going to visit the area and are looking for a beach day, I’d totally recommend it. It’s a lot quieter than other nearby beaches I’ve been to — making it far more relaxing and more fun to explore or spend the day at. If you’re there for the day, I’d definitely recommend walking down the coast for a bit or just sitting and soaking up some rays (weather permitting, of course).

Explore the Town
Atlantic Avenue

Beachside towns are always the best to explore. If you’re in the area, the absolute best place to look around is Atlantic Avenue. The entire street is completely made up of cute restaurants, beach clothing stores and local art shops — there’s hardly a chain store on the entire strip, meaning you get a little break from the same-old same-old and really get to look around at something new. I’d totally recommend going for an afternoon just to wander — no need to worry about time, directions or anything, this area is best experienced plan-free.

Places To Eat

This entire area is full of every kind of restaurant, fast food or take out joint imaginable — so no matter what you want, you’ll be totally covered. It certainly was a little tricky being a group of 14 looking for places to eat — it did tend to limit our options, but we still had a couple really great meals.

Papa’s Raw Bar
Soft Shell Crab at Papa’s Raw Bar

While this is a fish and seafood restaurant, I can attest there really is something here for everyone you’re travelling with. The menu features multiple categories, including sushi, burgers, salads, tacos and hibachi, so everyone can find something on the menu to satisfy their cravings. Plus, I gotta say, the fried rice was pretty much to die for. Check out their website here!

Doc’s All American Burger Shack
Root beer Float at Doc’s

This cute little roadside take-out joint was pretty much the epitome of classic American take out food. They had burgers, fries, shakes and floats — and absolutely all of it was delicious. We stopped in for a quick snack but honestly, all of us were super impressed with what we ordered. Sometimes, simplicity and classics really are best.

While this trip may not have been all about adventure and exploring, it is what makes the West Palm area perfect for a family vacation. Not only is it simple and easy, there’s absolutely guaranteed to be something for everyone. Whether it’s activities or food, this little town has it all — Florida is really one of those places that has everything you could ever need. If you really are feeling up to a little adventure, there’s countless types of day trips all in the nearby area as well. If you want, there’s Miami, the Everglades, Disney World, plus so many other beaches and, of course, a whole ocean to boat around.

Florida, USA

Stay tuned next week to hear all about my weekend trip to Disney World — I’ve been plenty of times, so I’d consider myself a bit of an expert for anyone looking to plan a trip there themselves. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, New Years and holidays — if you went on a winter getaway yourself, I’d love to hear all about it! Drop a comment below and let me know where you went and how it was!

Xo,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Toronto!

Toronto, Canada

Hey everyone!

As some of you may already know, I spent this weekend travelling back to Toronto to spend with my family. While it was only a short trip, we still managed to pack a lot into the two and a half days I spent there. When I arrived, it seemed winter was already in full swing — not only was the weather super dry and chilly, there was already snow on the ground (which isn’t very common for Toronto Novembers). However, I still managed to make the best of the situation, with a lot of food-based restaurants and activities I have to share — for those of you looking for somewhere to plan your next weekend getaway, living in Toronto and looking for new suggestions — or just those of you curious about how my weekend went!

Meet Dmitry!

My baby, Dmitry

First of all, and most importantly — I wanted to introduce you all to my cat, Dmitry! He’s a one-year old Siberian Forest Cat, and he’s my little baby. Admittedly, I do spend a lot (if not most) of my trips home hanging out with Dmitry rather than exploring the city. (Can you blame me though? Look at that face!).

As a little introduction, Dmitry is very sweet and loving, but also a little high strung — very fond of our family and quite weary of strangers. He loves treats, whipped cream, and surprisingly enough — anything “cheese” flavoured (but not cheese itself). He’s an indoor cat, but he loves to sit on the window sill and watch squirrels. And — most importantly — he loves belly rubs.

But without further ado — lets get into the rest of the weekend!

Dinner At Montecito

Lobster Spaghetti at Montecito

This restaurant was absolutely fantastic. From start to finish — the atmosphere, the drinks, the food — just overall, it was a great experience. I had some lobster pasta that was literally just a delight — and the cocktails (while strong) were both inventive and delicious. If you need a downtown restaurant in Toronto to try out — be sure to add this place to the list.

Girl From the North Country

Set of Girl From The North Country

My mom and I spent Friday night going to see the production Girl From The North Country. It’s been an awfully long while since I’ve been to the theatre, but I used to go all the time. The storyline and production of this play was heartbreakingly beautiful — however, the best part by far was the music numbers and simply INCREDIBLE vocal talent of all the actors. The play is based on the music of Bob Dylan, so all the music was already incredible — but the singing was just next level. If you’re in Toronto and have the chance to see this production, give it a shot — I know theatre may not be your first thought on how to spend a Friday night out, but give it a shot (you won’t regret it, I promise).

Dim Sum at The Rol-San

The Rol-San, Chinatown, Toronto

Okay, if you’re ever in Toronto, the Rol-San is a must-eat. Famous for its All-Day Dim Sum and strange but efficient plastic tablecloths, you’ll seldom see the Rol-San without a line — but trust me, it’s worth the wait. This place has some of, if not THE, best Dim Sum in the entire city. If you go, be sure to get the Deep Fried Shrimp Wontons and the Shiu Mai — SO good.

Brunch At The House On Parliament

Brunch at The House

Okay, I won’t lie, I’m writing all this up for you on the plane home — and this meal is really all I can think about. All the food was absolutely next level — I’d never been here before, but I already can’t wait to go back on my next trip home. The deep-fried cheese curds were like little bites of heaven, and the soup and breakfast poutine I ordered was the most elaborate and incredible meals I’ve ever had. Seriously — you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, poached eggs, melted cheese, double smoked bacon and Hollandaise sauce, but I swear it tastes even better than you’re imagining. Absolutely 10/10, if you need a brunch place to check out in Toronto this is it. Added bonus: the Caesars were pretty fantastic too.

Shopping on Bloor Street

My Lil Sephora Haul

Last but not least, we snuck in a little last-minute shopping before heading to the airport. Shopping on Bloor Street is just a wonderful, uber-classy experience, even if you’re just hitting Sephora like always (we get it, I’m predictable). However, I did treat myself to my first ever Pat Mcgrath Labs eyeshadow palette — which I am SO excited to test out and report back with ALL the results.

And that’s it for my little weekend getaway! Now it’s back to real life for me, unfortunately. I hope you guys enjoyed reading, and if you’re from Toronto or travelling there soon — hopefully you’ve found some good recommendations from this post! If any of you guys are ever heading to Toronto for a visit, feel free to message me for any kinds of suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help.

In the mean time, I hope you’re all having a great week and you’re Novembers have been off to a great start. I have some VERY exciting holiday-themed posts coming up in the next couple weeks for you guys, so stay tuned for that! And in the meantime, have a fantastic week!

Xo,

Meredith

Bonus Pics!!!

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

Things To Do (Part Two!): Bangkok Edition!

Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

Hey y’all!

So, sadly, my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, making this the last entry in my South East Asia travel series. I hope you guys have all enjoyed reading the series as I’ve enjoyed writing it! I really hope that I’ve inspired some of you to go on adventures of your own, or hopefully take recommendations from my travels if you ever visit South East Asia in the future.

So, to end off our trip we returned to Bangkok for the last two days before our flight home. This time was a lot more eventful than the first time, since we’ve now adjusted to the time zone, weather and food, giving us waaaay more time to actually explore. That being said, we only had two days and were looking more to relax than explore for the remainder of our stay, so this entry is going to focus more on that since we didn’t see too much in terms of historical, cultural and religious attractions in Bangkok. (But hey, I guess that just gives us another reason to go back!)

So, without further ado, here’s my final travel journal (for now), an overview of my favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Go To Khao San Road!
Khao San Road, Bangkok

In terms of places to go out in Bangkok, Khao San Road is certainly one of the most popular. As a pedestrian only street, the road is full of people going out, having buckets, and blasting music! This place was an absolute blast and honestly none of my favourite nights out this whole trip. If you’re looking for a night out of the town, this place is a must-see.

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar!
Barracuda Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

Rooftop bars are officially my favourite thing. Especially in big cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, when you get an overlook of the whole city from above. Not only were the drink at this bar — named Barracuda — next level, but the views honestly just made the whole experience a 10/10. Rooftop bars are ALWAYS a good idea, but if you’re ever travelling to a big city, they’re just that much better.

Go Shopping!
Purchases From Bangkok

Okay, seriously, the shopping in Bangkok was insane. The mall we hit up had to be the biggest mall I’d ever witnessed in my whole life, and it’s far from being the only mall in Bangkok. Everywhere you look there’s opportunities to shop and get so many things that I, at least, probably would be hard pressed to find in Vancouver. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of people travelling to Bangkok JUST for the shopping, so if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, be sure not to miss out!

Get A Massage!
Massage Studio, Bangkok

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know that everywhere you look there’s spas and massage spots. Even if you’ve never been, it’s fairly common knowledge that Thai massages are on a level of their own. Not only that, but no matter what your price range is, you’ll be able to find a place. For only 250 Baht (about $10.50 Canadian) I seriously had the best massage of my life. I’ve never had a Thai massage before, and it was so different from what I usually think of a massage as. There’s no oil (which was actually really nice for not feeling gross after), you’re fully clothed, and it’s certainly way more about stretching and pressure points than relaxing. I’ll admit it was a little borderline painful at moments, but MAN did I ever feel good after. I have chronic knots in my back due to back problems and stress, and I’ve seriously never had my back feeling that good in ages. It was amazing.

Go To Our Fave Restaurant, Ross Kitchen!
Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

For our last dinner abroad (sigh), Nylah and I decided to go to Ross Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The interesting catch — we didn’t really know what was in a lot of the food we were eating. Usually this would really bother me; I can be an adventurous eater but I’d like to know what it is that I’m eating. Honestly though, the food was so good we didn’t care. We didn’t even know the ingredients of our drinks, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in Bangkok and looking for a fancier night out, consider Ross Kitchen for sure. My dinner — Curried Kobe Beef Cheeks — was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. Seriously, I’m already dreaming of going back.

And, sadly, that wraps up my South East Asia travel series. This trip was some of the most exciting, crazy, and important weeks of my life and through all the ups and downs, it really was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m honestly not sure how to wrap up 5 weeks of this experience in a neat and tidy way — it’s far too overwhelming and impossible of a test to easily summarize the experiences I’ve had. All I can say is I know this trip will not be my last — now that I’ve really gotten a chance to go out and see the world on my own terms, I’ve just become that much more motivated to do it again. So the best I can say is stay tuned for the next trip, and let me know if you have any suggestions or were inspired by any of my posts! Honestly, nothing would make me happier than knowing I’ve inspired others to go out and see the world themselves, it really can be the most life-changing experience.

So, that’s all for now! Keep an eye out as I’ll be doing a summary of all my favourite places we visited for those looking for travel recommendations. But for now, it’s back to Vancouver life!

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re reading this now, just know I appreciate you 🙂

Love,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Hoi An!

Friends Made In Hoi An!

Hey y’all!

Okay, so this entry is going to be a little different from the others. I honestly wasn’t all too sure how to go about writing this one, as this stop on our trip was VERY different from the others. While many of our other stops have either been predominantly focused on culture, food, exploring and hiking, this one was much more about socializing and making friends.

During our stay in Hoi An (which was really only about three days), we stayed in the Vietnam Backpackers hostel. It was almost like an all-inclusive style hostel, complete with bracelets to load money on, a pool, and a restaurant/bar. There was honestly little need to ever leave, which made it the perfect place to make friends. In our short time here, Nylah and I met and befriended people from England, Italy, France, Australia and even a whole bunch of people from Canada.

The hostel threw daily events meant to facilitate meeting other travellers, such as barbecues, beach parties and full-moon style glow parties. The Vietnam Backpacker hostel chain is known as being a bit more “party-focused” than most hostels, which certainly has its upsides and downsides. I’ve heard from other people on our trip some of the other locations can be a whole lot — they’re often pretty loud and busy, and can get a bit overwhelming with trying to balance sightseeing with the hostel culture in other cities. However, others said they were super fun and exactly what they were looking for.

I can certainly vouch for a lot of other hostels not really creating much of a social environment — many of the other places we’ve stayed at guests have stuck to themselves and we hadn’t met many other travellers. However, Hoi An is the perfect location to stay in a hostel with this kind of environment. It’s pretty small, so it’s easy to see the town as well as get to meet other young travellers from all over the world!

Plus, if you’re thinking of visiting Hoi An, there’s still plenty to do and see. Here’s a couple of the best places I saw during my stay!

Check Out The Local Restaurants!

Hoi An Serene Garden Restaurant

The town of Hoi An has plenty to offer in terms of food. Depending on where you stay, it might be a trek, but we’ve recently been introduced to Grab, the Uber of South East Asia, which made getting around super easy. In particular, our two personal favourites were Burger Craft and The Serene Garden. At Burger Craft, we all got the O Canada burgers as a joke about half our group being Canadian, but thank god we did because they were beyond fantastic. All of us collectively agreed it beat out any burger joint we had been to in our lives. This includes the Burgers Priest (if you’re from Toronto), Five Guys and even In-N-Out. Seriously.

The other restaurant, The Serene Garden, was a little more upscale but absolutely worth every penny. The lemongrass BBQ beef I had was to die for, and the cocktails were amazing. 10/10, all 6 of us who ate there said it was spectacular.

Head Into The Old Town!

Hoi An Old Town

The town of Hoi An is a mix between a smaller town vibe, like Ninh Binh, but also the hectic nature of Hanoi. It’s a perfect mix of culture and getting outside of the cities. I’d certainly recommend going at night since it was both so beautiful as well as a much more manageable temperature out, however. While you’re in town, there’s many outstanding shops to check out, as well as the rivers and lanterns, which were beautiful. Pro Tip: if you go at night you can even take a boat along the river to see the lanterns!

Hit Up The Beach (Or Kahunas!)

View From Kahunas Bar

Hoi An was the first real beachside stop we’ve had on our trip, but it was well worth the wait. The beach was so beautiful and vast, and the water was perfect for swimming in. (I wish I had photos for you guys but I got a little caught up in swimming while I was there and didn’t even consider it). Furthermore, if you want to stop in for drinks, our hostel had a pool and bar on the beach called Kahuna’s, which was a great place to go for chill vibes and drinks beachside.

That’s all for Hoi An! Next week we head off to Ho Chi Minh city (formerly known as Saigon). It’s our last stop it Vietnam before we head to Cambodia, so stay tuned!

Lots of love,

Meredith