Saturday, 21 February 2009

La Belle Ville, c'est fini

The last of the updates on Montreal... finally, nearly a week after the trip!

So, on Monday morning, thanks to my brother-in-law's complaining about the loud, annoying people, the hotel decided to appease him a little. Thus, we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, on them. I had the most delicious blueberry waffles ever (was dying for a croissant, but didn't think that would be enough to tide me over, since we had a long journey ahead of us).

Before we left, we went to St Laurent, to see all the cute stores that we had passed by the night before, but were closed. Ell and I went into a whole bunch of different shops. Saw some very cute things, but didn't buy anything. My sis and bro-in-law took the time to buy a couple of outfits for my niece, as well as croissants for all of us! Good thinking on their part. (I ate my croissant on the drive home. Seriously. Best croissant EVER)

Lomo Montreal >We also went up to the top of Mount Royal. Google's directions sucked, so we got a little lost (not really lost... but not up the mountain either) ... eventually I followed the signs, and got us there. The view was amazing, but it's too bad it wasn't a sunnier day. I forgot that I had white balanced my camera in a red room the night before, so the first few shots I got were... well. Blue. I uploaded one of them, thought it looked kind of cool. But I'm glad I remembered to white balance back to normal again, because a bunch of blue shots would have been annoying. Here's a few shots from the top of the mountain:

I see the Ceeb.       70's kt

70's ellSquirrel, meet lollypop

From there, we began the 6-hour drive home. Ell and I passed the time with a few rounds of "F*** Marry Kill" - and she gave me an awful round, where I had to choose between Danny Michel, Jack Johnson and Jim Cuddy.  How could she?!!?    We also sang some of our favourite tunes at the top of our lungs - Sheryl Crow, anybody?  Perfect for a road trip.

Except when you're driving so slow you're practically crawling.  V was leading the way, and he was going so slow that I was ranting about it every two seconds to poor Ell.  At one point, I got so annoyed that I turned to her and said, "okay, enough of this, we're never going to get home going 90!" and I passed him. Haha.  I ended up dropping Ell off and being back home before 10pm though, which was the goal.  So it was all good.

Fabulous long weekend.  I definitely want to do stuff like that more often.  :)

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Thursday, 19 February 2009

La Belle Ville, partie deux

Breakfast On Sunday morning, we woke up a lot earlier than I wanted to. Our friend Nick came to pick us up, and the entire gang went out for breakfast in Laval. I'd say Ell and I look remarkably good, considering the previous nights' activities! Nick is hiding behind me, and continuously hid from my camera throughout the day.
During breakfast, we formulated our plan for the rest of the day, trying to fit in as many things that we wanted to do as we could.

After breakfast, we all headed out to Old Montreal, for a little bit of European charm. Ell and I very much enjoyed a fantastic, high-end book store called Librissime. It was absolutely beautiful. (Totally made me think of my friend Rae, I think he'd really like it).  It was full of first editions, limited editions, and several other books in the $50,000 range.  Absolutely lovely.
Miss-Chievous Post

Flags Lomo boats
Of comparable beauty was the Papeterie Casse-Noisette. No doubt, even in another language, leave it to me to find a paper store. I ended up buying an agenda, with a faux leather cover in robin's egg blue. It's all in French, and it's a July - August, so it's already half over... but it was $5, and so pretty, I couldn't resist. I also bought a little notebook made by the company "Claire Fontaine" ... Hawksley Workman lovers will know exactly why I bought that book! (Amy, Danielle - I'm looking at you, kids!)

Afterwards, we parted ways. Nick dropped Ell and I off on Ste-Catherine Street, for a shopping adventure. Oddly enough, it was pretty much all the same shops that we have in Toronto, especially on Yonge St.. I was hoping for some local stores, but nope. I ended up buying a jacket, bra and book about Cinderella at Urban Outfitters. Go figure. We met up with Alex, at the Centre Eaton (The Toronto similarities are killing me!)... dropped off our bags at the hotel, and went out again.

The best Poutine ever. We went to the Cafe Republique for coffee (and discovered that Celine Dion was in town that night... I guess we looked like we were on our way to the concert) ... and then we went to La Belle Province, so that I could indulge in some poutine (I was very upset about having to eat by myself, so Ell shared with me). I ordered all in French (or at least I tried!), and the guy told me that "c'est fait avec amour!" (he made it for me with love) ... very sweet. It was definitely the best poutine I've ever had. Quebecers definitely do it right (let's hope so, since they invented it...). We then got Alex something to eat at one of her favourite places.

After we were all nourished, we made our way over to St-Laurent, to a very cool place called the GoGo Lounge.  It was this super cool mod club - a throwback to the late 1960s, and we actually got to sit in hands!  (see the pictures, it'll make sense).  The drink menu was presented to us on a record - there were at least 25 or so delicious sounding martini's.  I settled on a Mr. Freeze (which perfectly matched my sweater).  Alex had an Orange Crush, which also matched her top.  Very amusing.  The music in there was an awesome retro mix that I constantly felt like singing along with.

Mr. Freeze Cheers!

Closer Gorgeous Girl with Martini

Okay, that's it for now... More pics at my flickr... and the last of the updates hopefully to follow tomorrow.

I am very behind in my blog reading, and I promise to get to all of your blogs from the last week and a half by the end of this weekend :) Love you guys!
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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Valentines, La Belle Ville & lovely long weekends - part 1

I haven't updated in a while. I actually did have something to write about last week when I said nothing was going on, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise.
On Thursday night, Ell and I got together at her place to craft and bake, in preparation for our Friday night Valentine's date. Cupcakes and paper crafts... what could be better?!

All the while, I was still trying to decide if I wanted to go to Montreal for the weekend. I was pretty sure I did, but I wasn't sure that I felt up to making a 6-hour drive on my own, and none of my friends really said that they wanted to come. By Friday morning, I decided that YES, I would go, regardless of who came with me. My sister and brother-in-law decided that they were going to come too, with my niece. After a particularly annoying end-of-day at work, first, I got a call from my bro-in-law, saying that he had booked us a hotel in Laval, which I promptly freaked out about - I wanted to go to Montreal. Not a suburb, that is nearly identical to where I live right now! So I told him to cancel it.

Then I met up with Ell, and we delivered Valentine's Day fun to Pete at his office. I'm pretty sure it was the best part of his day. Okay, I'm absolutely sure it was. I am confident in our baking and crafting abilities. Then the three of us went out for Thai food, to a place that I hadn't been to before in Chinatown. It was rather good, but it's no Thai Princess.

I spent a great part of the dinner, and the car ride afterwards, convincing Ell that she should come to Montreal with me.

And she said yes!

The weekend was definitely shaping up. We went back to her place so she could pack, and I could book a new hotel on Hotwire. However, at that point, I couldn't get a hold of my sister and bro-in-law, so we decided to book it back at my place.
Got back to my house, and still couldn't get in touch with them. Called other family members, and they hadn't heard from them either. Now I was kind of freaking out, because they are pretty much glued to their phones. Left them very angry voicemails telling them to call me immediately when they heard this message.

Finally, at some point after midnight, they called me back, and I booked the hotel for arrival later that day. LOL. Talk about random and spontaneous!

Elliot and I drove in my car following my sister, brother-in-law and niece in their car (and an adjoining room - we ran into many problems last time we shared a room on vacation). We left at around noon. Ell and I had a totally top notch road trip - good tunes, good food, and girl talk. It didn't even feel like a 6 hour drive.

Dave & Ell at Les 3 Brasseurs My friend David was actually in the hotel parking lot to meet us as we got in. I hadn't seen him in a while, and my back was turned, as I was looking in my car for something. So I heard him say, "Excuse me, did you need help with anything?" and assumed it was one of the valet attendants, and then turned around and saw him. It was quite funny. Checked in, got ready, and then Dave, Ell and I went for dinner at Les 3 Brasseurs. (Sis and others went elsewhere, to somewhere a little more family friendly). Our dinner was great - I had an LA Wrap (love those avocados, even though I'm pretty sure I might be allergic to them) ... Ell had some delicious poutine (one of my goals - to eat poutine in Montreal!)

hotel room, girls It took us a while to decide what to do that night. After compiling a bunch of suggestions, we eventually parted ways with David, and made our way back to the hotel to weigh the options. We met up with my friend, Alex, who I knew from online but had never met before. She was absolutely fabulous, and everything I expected her to be - totally wish she lived closer!

Ell, Jake and the randoms We went for a VERY cold walk, over to McKibbin's Irish Pub. The music was fabulous. A cover band played two sets - they started out with a cover of Free Fallin', that was so well done, we didn't even realize it was a band until midway through the song. (In looking at the band schedule page, I guess the band's name was FM - This is all I can find on them.) We met up with Ell's friend, Jake, who informed us that we walked further to get to this pub, than to any of the places she had suggested to her earlier. Oops. A couple of random guys tried to pick us up, when they saw three girls sitting with one guy. They were amusing, for a moment. Until one of the guys called me a "Filthy Eye-Tye" ... yeah, not really impressing me much there, buddy.

Did you know bars in Montreal close at 3am?!

We didn't stay quite that late, but by the time we got back to the hotel, it was almost 3. I barely slept that night, even though I was exhausted from being up so late the night before, then driving, then going out... there were annoying people yelling in the hallway, and then I could hear my annoying brother-in-law yelling at the annoying people yelling. LOL. He ended up calling down to complain, and I managed to get a few hours of sleep in.

More photos at my flickr, and the rest of the weekend to follow!
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Monday, 2 February 2009

Portrait of a Feline

Just a quickie today, because I have a lot of work, but I want to share some pics.
Yesterday, I met up with my friend Sarah, and she treated me to a fabulous belated-birthday crepe (mmm... nutella, strawberries and ice cream... - Thanks Again, Sarah!), and then we hung out at her apartment for a while.

This is where I met Desi. Desi is the most perfect cat model ever. I think I freaked him out when I pulled out my camera, but he ended up getting comfortable with my lens in his face, and actually stayed still while I snapped some shots. I was even able to do some longer exposures without him moving!

B&W so serious

Who are you and why are you taking pictures of me? adorable

He even posed for a perfect LOL-Cat picture:

LOL Cat Desi

I've never been a huge animal person... but for some reason, I always seem to like other peoples' pets. Desi is awesome. As is Sarah :)
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