Last month, Scott had a business trip to Toronto, Canada. We both thought it would be fun to fly in a couple of days early to check out Niagara Falls.
For the first night, we checked into the Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls. This is on the Canadian side of the falls. Our friends from New York were up for a day-trip to Niagara Falls, so we were lucky enough to meet up with them for eats and drinks.
With such a spectacular view from our room, after our friends left, we purchased a bottle of wine and sat in our room for the nightly entertainment. After the sunset, the light show behind the falls were so spectacular. The roaring sound of the falls were breathtaking. We heard there would be fireworks and sure enough, they aimed to please, lighting up the sky, behind the falls.
The next day we traveled to Toronto and checked into The Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville. This posh hotel was all that, and a bag of chips. We were entertained by the nightly pillow menu and turn-down service offered. The bathroom was equipped with a smart mirror, which was so convenient to brush your teeth while watching The Today’s Show. Centrally located to many fun walking spots, I had adventures for days walking these streets in Yorkville.
I had 3 must-do day trips to explore in the area. My first adventure was to see Chinatown. It was overstimulating, visually. Loads of colors and scents that kept me entertained.
Next up, was to see Kensington Market. I had lunch and a gluten-free baby cinnamon bun while there. This was a short walk from Chinatown and was filled with locals relaxing in the park and in the many coffee houses.
Next on my list was The Distillery District. Add this area to your must do when visiting Toronto. The cobblestone paths are filled with local artists' work and fun eateries. They were installing lights while I was there, in time for the holidays, so the locals are in for a beautiful treat.
Hands down, I had a great adventure in Toronto and giving the chance to see it again, I’d go in a heartbeat – providing there isn’t any snow.
With the holiday season upon us, a lot of us have our holiday shopping lists made and have carefully chosen the perfect wrapping paper to go with the matching holiday ribbon touches. Our homes are decked out with beautiful sparkling lights, elegant holiday décor and delicious recipes ready to impress the family. We have purchased colorful light-up bulb necklaces and cute Santa hats to wear at the holiday parades. Our pets will even sport holiday outfits with cute snowmen bow-ties, ribbons, sweaters, and bells. Our cars will be decked out with reindeer horns and red Rudolph noses. We will sing to holiday music as we drive to the Publix to stock up on the holiday food necessities. And, of course, we plan to watch all the traditional holiday shows on TV. Who doesn’t love the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?
Even amidst shopping for the family, I always seem to find a little something to treat myself. Am I the only one that adds a new purse or shirt to the cart thinking – Merry Christmas to me? Or for us December birthday babies, happy birthday to me.
To most of us, this is the standard holiday preparation, but for others, this is a luxurious ideal dream or an imaginary scene in a Norman Rockwell painting. There is a world where there aren’t matching family holiday pajamas. A life where children are removed from families due to abuse and neglect. A life where children aren’t fed due to an addiction that comes first. A life where children are no longer wanted or loved. Or a life where a single mom is doing her best to make ends meet, and rent must come first.
Here’s where you can help. On December 10th we are partnering with My Safe Harbor to host a toy drive. at our Holiday Sip and Shop event being held at 26 Degrees Brewing, Co. We are asking everyone that are able, to donate a new, unwrapped toy for a girl or boy from birth to age 12. Our friends, Marsha Sitko and Karen Rogowski will be at the event to accept the donations. My Safe Harbor will coordinate with SOS Children’s Village, a group home for children who have been abandoned and abused, to host a holiday party for the kids and those that have families. Gifts will be wrapped with each kids’ name and be handed out at the parties.
The children are our future. We need to invest in them today to make an impact on their lives. Twenty years from now we may learn because of some small act of kindness, their lives were changed. Marsha shared a beautiful story of a successful official that grew up in an orphanage. Because of his experiences, he’s now a big advocate for supporting those who need help.
We hope you'll attend our Holiday Sip, Shop and Support event. You don't have to be a housewife, it's just a catchy name. It's free to attend, but you must RSVP by registering your ticket.
What to expect:
~ The first 50 ladies to sign in get a Swag Bag full of goodies!
~ Giveaways from local businesses
~ Networking, socializing and cocktails
~ Featured Photographer is TBD
~ Support local businesses while finishing your holiday shopping in one night
~ Toy Drive
~ Food Truck
~ $5 wine, $4 select beers and $6 ciders
Generosity and paying it forward helps this big world go around. Be a part of the movement. Take time to make a difference in a little girl or boy’s world this holiday season. Together, let’s make this a holiday they will remember.
Orlando isn’t just a family destination. It’s a great place to host a huge company event! Last weekend, Scott and I attended Ultimate Software’s PDIS Team Trip, with over 4,000 employees and their families.
The PDIS Team Trip Planners thought of everything, inviting the entire family, including the four-legged family members!
We started off the trip, on Friday morning, attaching a green Ulti magnet to our vehicle and downloading the Eversnap app. The instructions were to take pictures of your fellow UltiPeeps when you see them on the road. It was so fun looking for the Ulti magnet on all the cars that passed us on our drive to Orlando. Yes, we were passed by many, as we love trips in our Prius and getting 48 miles to the gallon. Great on the environment AND a fun road trip game for us.
We checked into the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and were impressed with the beautifully decorated atrium. There were several sitting areas that lured you to sit and relax. The Christmas trees were decked out, with one reaching the ceiling and the other boasting tropical orchid decorations.
Our next stop was the welcome reception. We were spoiled by a string backpack of swag perfect for a day at the park! Even better – we received two Universal Studios Express Passes for Saturday. Nicely done, Ultimate Software!
-cott and I toured the property, including the huge resort pool. Hours of fun could be had using the slide or relaxing in the cabanas. We found the water taxis and the walking trail that would lead us to the Universal Studios park, for the next day. Our decision was made quickly - we’d be taking the water taxi. Because, who doesn’t love a water taxi?
The party started at 7 and we didn’t want to miss a minute. So, we grabbed some great hot wings at Amatista Cookhouse, a fun Caribbean restaurant in the hotel, and then went straight to our room to get ready. Resort casual was the dress code, so we opted for khakis and a navy-blue button-down shirt for Scott and a simple navy-blue dress with sandals for me. Yes, we love to match. We are that couple.
Nothing makes me happier than walking into a party and not knowing a soul. The place was packed with thousands of people. There were loads of fun things to do from playing video games to corn-hole. Acoustic music from the live band in the large hall kept everyone swaying to the music. There was a professional photographer taking pictures on the green carpet (Ultimate Software’s color is green – get it?). In the ballroom there was a party photo-booth. As I love pictures, we hit up both the professional photos and the party photo-booth.
There was a buffet galore in the ballroom! Ultimate Software catered to everyone’s requirements. Dinner and appetizers ranged from salads, desserts, pasta and of course there was a kid station filled with tater tots and macaroni and cheese. Brilliant. Bonus – there was an open bar.
Scott’s colleagues flew in from everywhere. We went from table to table meeting people from Toronto, Washington, Atlanta, California, Paris and more. And then the DJ started kicking the up tunes. We ran into some Atlanta colleagues we had met at Scott’s on-boarding session in Weston, and danced with them until it was time to shut the party down. Then we headed upstairs to prepare for our park adventures the next day.
A ton of our new friends had plans of being at the park when it opened at 8 A.M. Scott and I had other plans – sleeping in and ordering room service. When we found out gluten-free toast was an option, I was more than thrilled. We also ordered oatmeal with all the toppings, eggs, bacon, hash browns and juice. It’s such a luxurious treat to have breakfast brought to your room. We enjoyed our breakfast while watching HGTV. Another lavish treat for us, since we don’t subscribe to the channel at home.
Full of energy, we made our way to the water taxi. We met another colleague at the taxi stop and had a ton of fun hanging out together at Universal Studios Park. As you can imagine, Scott was the most excited about making our way to the adjoining park, Universal’s Island of Adventure to see the Hogwarts display. Returning recently from London, we had a fantastic time sending pictures of the imaginary city of London to our friend, Stephanie. Stephanie lives in London and the images were so realistic.
Ready for lunch, we stopped at Lombard’s Seafood Grille on the made-up San Francisco bay. You’d think we would have ordered seafood, right? We opted for a grilled chicken sandwich because – as you probably guessed – they had gluten-free buns! Being gluten-free for the past 8 years makes having a sandwich a treat when eating out. The food was delicious, and the service was spot-on.
We roamed the park and got the biggest kick out of the characters from Dr. Seuss. Look how realistic the town people look. The cost to provide such fun set designs, characters and charm must be huge – but it's all out of the park fantastic!
And then it happened. The one thing that hits local Floridians hard. The temperatures dropped suddenly to 55 degrees. We ran to Margaritaville to warm our bellies with toasty chips and salsa. After some liquid courage, we decided we could leave the park before it officially closed to escape the frigid air. So, we did just that and made a run for the water taxi. By the time we reached the resort the temperatures dropped to 53 degrees. Rude.
After changing into some warmer clothes, we wandered into the Strong Water Tavern restaurant and bar. The Texas Longhorns game would be starting soon. So, even though we hadn’t planned on it, we bellied up to the bar and put on our best game faces. Lucky us, everyone had the same idea to beat the cold and we had the best seats in the house. Loads of Ulti parents with kids playing in the living area of the lobby kept the kids entertained while taking turns getting adult beverages at the bar and checking the scores. It was a good time had by all, but our Longhorns lost. Defeated, we ordered one of the specials, grouper, street corn and seasoned vegetables. We licked our wounds and called it a night.
Given a chance to do it again, we would love to lounge and play at the resort style pool at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The weather wasn’t conducive to being in a bathing suit. Next time.
Oceanic at Pompano Pier offers more than picturesque dining on the beach. They have refreshing cocktails and a menu that will keep people coming back for more. The beachy décor and furnishings are spot on and give you the feeling that you are at a celebrity hot spot, with everyone dressed to the nine.
Cocktails were delivered to the table quickly. The first thing that caught our attention was the eco-friendly, biodegradable straws. The straws were made of straw/hay and didn’t break down like our eco-friendly paper straws. What a brilliant idea of using straw as straws.
Being gluten-free for the past 9 years, we were overjoyed that our server was knowledgeable about the menu and available options. That alone makes eating out a treat. For starters we had a shared plate of horseradish maple brussels sprouts. They were a hit at our table of six and we cleaned the plate.
After placing our orders, we sat back and took in the beautiful view of the ocean and pier. The salty air and cool ocean breeze made sitting outside both relaxing and comfortable.
Scott and I shared a plate of the gluten-free crab cake duo. The menu description reads - jumbo lump crab, creole mustard aioli, baby arugula, roasted corn, green garbanzos, sunflower sprouts with cider agave vinaigrette. Our palates were satisfied, and we agreed it was one of the best gluten-free crab cakes we’ve had.
Our friends had the tuna tataki, cashew crunch chicken salad, grilled cauliflower steak and sea salt brined roasted chicken. They all enjoyed their meals, but let’s face it – they also had great company. Hahaha.
After dining, we explored to check out the rest of the restaurant. The flow of the beautiful décor continued upstairs to the event room and bar. This is a perfect spot for a wedding reception or other large event.
Oceanic at Pompano Pier is a beautiful addition to Pompano Beach, and I look forward to returning soon. Speaking of returning, keep your eyes peeled for details for our Girls Night Out event that will be held here on March 3, 2020. You won’t want to miss it.
Hi there! I am Angel and live a happy life in Pompano Beach with my wonderful husband, Scott, and our two dogs, Brady and Buddy.
I love to travel, the color blue, Netflix binges, Tito’s and gluten-free chocolate raspberry cake. I also have a serious obsession with pictures!
In addition to Housewives in the City, I am a real estate and portrait photographer. I basically make people and things look pretty.
Meeting new friends, making a difference for non-profits and helping businesses grow are my passions. And that is what we get to do at our monthly girls’ nights out!
I can’t wait to meet you. All women are welcome, and we are going to have a ton of fun!