Tea, ghosts and Casa Loma

I recently spent one week of my autumn holiday in my beloved city of Toronto.  This is my favorite time of year and the day I arrived to the island airport was nothing less than a perfect quintessential fall day.  There are many things to love about this great city.  I had the opportunity to revisit both old and new.  My favorite being the plethora of small and delicious coffee and tea shops.  My old hood, the Annex, is host to many cozy and warm spots to take the edge off of a cool autumn morning.  Ezra’s Pound which serves lattes up by the bowl is an all time favorite.  My timing was impeccable early one morning as I popped in for a chai tea latte just as hot yummy croissants were being pulled from the oven.

The neighborhood where Ezra’s Pound resides is also nearby to Casa Loma.  Toronto’s very unique “castle” in the city.  Casa Loma was built by a famous Toronto business man named Sir Henry Pellatt.  The home is now owned and operated by the Kiwanis club and open for tours.  The prettiest room on the tour is the “Conservatory” which was a green house of sorts for many exotic plants and flowers.  This was also Lady Pellatt’s favorite room where many afternoon teas were once held.

David’s Tea is another favorite.  Although, David’s has moved to the States and growing at a rapid pace, it had it’s beginnings in Canada.  David’s mirrors the changing season’s the way the fashion industry does.  It introduces blends that are new but still retains customer favorites.  During the fall season I cannot get enough of David’s pumpkin chai tea.  I can be anywhere in the world but when I open a tin the fragrance automatically takes me back to my kitchen in Toronto.  My very good friend Mike surprised me with three tins of pumpkin chai tea upon my arrival.  Hurrah!

The evening concluded with a ghost tour of the University of Toronto.  The university campus is a wonderful place to walk and explore.   The tour we did was with “Muddy York Walking Tours.”  The tour guide (as well as founder of the company) was exceptional.  We started at the old steps of the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and continued through the historic campus.  He shared with us many stories of ghosts and ghouls as well as history of Toronto and the campus.  It was an exhilarating walk and by the end it appeared the entire city was haunted.  The Hart House on campus has a wonderful restaurant called “Gallery Grill.”  They have a nice variety of loose leaf tea that can be enjoyed in the lounge near the fireplace.

Toronto's Castle in the City!

Toronto’s Castle in the City!

Ezra'sPoundChai

Ezra’s Pound- Latte bowl

hauntedUniv

“Haunted” building on the ghost tour

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Toronto Skyline at Dusk

 

Downton Abbey and French Tea

A friend was recently in Paris and brought me back a tea blend from one of the oldest tea houses in Paris, Mariage Freres.  I visited the tea room on my first trip to Paris back in 1999.  It was so exciting to be in such a gorgeous city with three of my closest friends and nothing brings back memories more so than the taste and scent of a good cup of tea🙂

Today I’ve enjoyed the delicious tea with a thick slice of buttered bread (from La Brea Bakery) and homemade cranberry jam.  Tonight as I settle in to watch the season premiere of Downton Abbey, which always requires a pot of tea, I’ll reminisce of my first visit to Paris and a time well spent with good friends and a cup of tea.

 

tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing your mind with yoga- and a smelly mat

I’ve recently relocated back to Los Angeles for work.  I arrived over the weekend and for some reason the jet lag really hit me, I was also extremely achy from the flight and stress of the move.  I hadn’t been to a yoga class or even attempted yoga on my own in over a week.  I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things so Monday morning set my alarm for 5:15am and made it to my first early morning class back at Yoga Blend.

My usual yoga mat is a bit on the thick side so I brought my thinner traveling mat.  This mat I bought just before I attended my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and used it the entire time I was there.  The mat has seen a lot of action so it is fairly dirty and very thin.  There were a couple of times in the past where I nearly donated it or threw it in a Goodwill pile.  However, it always brought me good memories and a connection to a very happy time in my life.  So it stuck around:)  On this particular Monday I used it for my practice.

I unrolled the mat a bit embarrassed by its appearance, hoping in vain that the lights in class would soon go off.  As I settled down into my mat and began my pre-class relaxation stretches the mat no longer offended me.  In fact it felt very warm and inviting.  Once we began practice, upon my first Chaturanga as I lowered down and deepened my breath I had this overwhelming sensation of being back in Costa Rica.  The mat literally smells exactly like my memory of the trip.  I was so overjoyed I wanted to sniff the mat some more!  Each pose and each time I was close to the mat I inhaled deeply and the memories of my trip and the happiness of that moment came rushing back.

After class I decided to stop by this apartment I kept seeing online.  It is a  small apartment community in Burbank near the Equestrian center.  I’m not a huge fan of amenity driven, homogenized complexes but after driving past twice I decided to pop in for a look.  I was only going to look.  However, when I saw it and I spoke with the leasing agent, I knew this is exactly where I needed to be.  I will be moving into my new home on Wednesday and I’m getting more and more excited.  In fact, they even have a small yoga studio on the premises.  The manager mentioned they would love to have a resident teach a class once a week.  It definitely has peaked my interest.

I truly do not think I would have had the clarity had I not dragged myself out of bed yesterday morning to attend my first class in LA.  I also feel that the strong smell of the mat and the happiness it invoked really brought me to a level of understanding what I was searching for.

Enjoying a cup of tea

 

 

 

 

 

while watching the sunrise in Costa Rica:)