Daily Archives: November 17, 2013

NYC Shop Spotlight: The Great Frog

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Have you heard of The Great Frog?  I only recently had heard of their shop after Deadmau5 gave Kat Von D a ring for their engagement which ended up being short-lived but who cares really?  It’s all about the jewellery at the end of the day.

The Great Frog made its name catering to a niche clientele of rockers, bikers and those on the edge of the mainstream. Established in 1972, the company was a refreshing change from the 60′s revolution prevailing in London. The city was ready for a new era and original rock and roll jewellery was born.

The family-run business has a celebrated heritage of individually hand-carved pieces made on site at the original basement on Ganton Street, Soho – the very place the company began in the 70′s.

The Great Frog has designed bespoke pieces for many international names from the fashion and music industries, including rock legends Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Slash and Aerosmith. Other wearers of the brand and a part of its heritage, include Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, Alice Dellal, Lady Gaga and Oasis.

As well as the original store in Soho, The Great Frog has also expanded to include stores in New York and Los Angeles, with a concession in Japan on the cards for 2013. Staying true to the businesses roots, every piece of jewellery is still individually handmade in their London basement.

I again by mistake walked by their shop on my way to the Tenement Museum in NYC one day and decided to pop in.  I’m glad I did.  Their jewellery was definitely worthy of being swooned over.  I loved the décor of the shop – not to dark and Goth.  But still very welcoming as skulls, roses, crucifixes stared back at you from the display cases.

I was keen to pick up a Rose Band retailing at $130 but let’s face it; I just wanted a souvenir from The Great Frog.  A $130 souvenir was not being practical so I left it.  But that said after trying on the piece along with others; they had a lot of depth, were beautifully constructed and there will be the right piece for you without looking like you are a ‘wannabe rocker’.

If I ever see a Mexican Day of the Dead Skull in a female motif from The Great Frog – I will be all over it.  But for now, I’ll hold onto my cash and keep perusing.


CityPASS New York: Circle Line Cruises and the Staten Island Ferry

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I was planning on grabbing the CityPASS:  Circle Line Cruises to check out the Statue of Liberty because that’s what you do when you have not been to NYC in ages.  But the queue for the cruise was long and I had a full day ahead of me.

If you do have time, please check out the regularly scheduled Semi-Circle Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise, or Liberty Cruise, all of which offer magnificent views of the N.Y.C. skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Or experience The Beast Speedboat Ride, a thrilling 30-minute ride on a custom-built 70-foot racing powerboat (available May-Sept.).

Since I was on tight schedule I decided to jump on the (Free) Staten Island Ferry and buzz over to Staten Island pop back onto the Ferry and come back to NYC whilst checking out the Statue of Liberty from afar.  It suited me fine.  It was freezing the day I went over so it was nice to take the shots I wanted and then go back inside as we sailed along.

Ham’s had made mention of Carly Simon’s ‘Working Girl’ theme “Let The River Run” before I jetted out.  I giggled as I sailed along with the song in my head.  As a teen this song was a bit of an eye roll and let’s face it, it still is.  But it was neat to revisit the words of this song written pre 9/11.  There is a lot of history on those wooden seated ferries.  I wondered what stories those seats held and how many other people looked onto the water as we said good bye to Staten Island and hello to a new day in NYC.

It was cool to slow down and inhale that moment.


NYC Store Spotlight: MALIN+GOETZ

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Being a keen MALIN+GOETZ fan I was looking forward to checking out there shop while in NYC.  But to find it was a whole other issue.

Ok, I have a chronic problem of getting lost, getting onto wrong trains going in opposite directions.  Yeah – it’s bad.  So let’s say I wasn’t all to surprised I couldn’t find the MALIN+GOETZ shop in Chelsea.  Then by some strange act of God – I found the shop and walked into the space to be greeted by the dreamy and lovely Paul and Freddy.

They dazzled me with some lush and serene MALIN+GOETZ products.  Honestly, I was not ready for the pleasant customer love and attention.  So unlike a lot of other NYC posh skincare establishments.

I didn’t have a proper travel kit with me.  I was hoping to get one together before I left Toronto – but things happen and I managed to bundle together some bits and pieces that could fit into a small pouch in a carry on.

Paul and Freddy saved the day with the MALIN+GOETZ 1 oz essential kit.

1oz Essential Kit contains our best selling cleanser and moisturizer for face, body and hair–Grapefruit Face Cleanser, Vitamin E Face Moisturizer, Bergamot Body Cleanser, Vitamin b5 Body Moisturizer, Peppermint Shampoo and Cilantro Conditioner. The 1oz products can be found in salons, gyms, spas and amenities for hotels such as the Hudson Hotel in New York, the Mondrian in LA, and the St Martin’s Lane in London. It fits perfectly into a hand-made small gift box upon request.  It also fit nicely into my travel lifestyle thank you very much.

I loved the (MALIN+GOETZ) Chelsea shop as well.  It was bright, airy and showed off the (MALIN+GOETZ) wares perfectly. They were easy to grab, smell and experience.  The presentation was simple and yet very sleek, sexy and sophisticated.  A definite must visit when you are in NYC.

Both Paul and Freddy provided impeccable service.  They were funny, interested and gave a lot of space to my shopping experience.  I felt bedraggled from my travel day and didn’t really feel on my ‘cute A game’ but being in the (MALIN+GOETZ) Chelsea shop not only reset my day but also made me feel darn good leaving the shop with a travel kit for my 8 days in NYC in hand.

(MALIN+GOETZ) Chelsea (2.0 mi)

177 Seventh Ave

b/w 20th + 21st Sts

New York New York 10011

M-F 11-8, Sat. 12-8, Sun 12-6

Tel: +1 212 727 3777


Magnolia Bakery NYC: Banana Pudding

Walking around Ham’s neighbourhood of Greenwich Village my first night in NYC I went looking for Magnolia Bakery which I knew was on 401 Bleecker Street and W. 11th Street.

When I finally did find the small shop after asking a few people who didn’t know what I was talking about (?). I was happy to pop in and check out their wares.

Indeed there were cupcakes and indeed they are famous for them but I gravitated towards something different.  The Banana Pudding.  Oh yes, if you are a fan of Banana desserts this baby is for you.

Layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas and creamy vanilla pudding.  For a 12 oz tub at $5, I was game.

Gosh, it was amazing.  So yummy, fresh and decadent.  I would eat half the tub in one sitting and store the other half of the tub for the following day in Ham’s fridge.  I repeated this effort twice whilst in NYC.

Next time you are at Magnolia Bakery, maybe skip the cupcakes and go for the real winner – the Banana Pudding.





If you are planning a trip to NYC, grabbing a CityPASS for NYC is a must.  I haven’t been to NYC in more than a decade so I needed a full body experience.  CityPASS New York gave me a perfect selection for all of my needs that I could take in at my leisure.  For $106 (adult) reduced from a combined price of $185 (if I bought each of the following tickets individually) – I saved $80 USD!

Here is what you get with your CityPASS New York:

Empire State Building Observatory

General Admission (86th Floor Observatory) and audio tour. Plus bonus same-night general admission – enjoy a same-day second visit between 10pm – closing.

American Museum of Natural History

General admission to the attraction rated #1 in NYC by Zagat Survey’s US Family Travel Guide. Includes admission to Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a Hayden Planetarium Space Show.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Skip-the-line admission, plus entry into all Special Exhibitions and $1 off of Audio Tour. Also, same-day admission to The Cloisters museum and gardens, which is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art)

General admission to MoMA’s world-renowned collections that include famous works by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet plus entry into all special exhibitions and an audio tour. Also, MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center admission if visited within 30 days of MoMA.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock Observation Deck general admission offers stunning 360-degree views from indoor and outdoor decks of the top 3 floors of this legendary art-deco skyscraper.

Guggenheim Museum

General admission to Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of modern architecture that houses a world renowned collection of art from the 20th and 21st century and an audio tour.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

One Statue Cruises ferry ride with stops at Liberty Island (Statue location) and Ellis Island. Enjoy leisure time and an audio tour on each island, plus Ellis Island Immigration Museum admission.

Circle Line Cruises

One regularly scheduled Semi-Circle Cruise, Harbor Lights Cruise, or Liberty Cruise, all of which offer magnificent views of the N.Y.C. skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Or experience The Beast Speedboat Ride, a thrilling 30-minute ride on a custom-built 70-foot racing powerboat (available May-Sept.)

Reviews to follow of my time at these attractions!  Thank you CityPASS!


Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport

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I did not hesitate an inch when I booked my flight from Toronto to NYC on Air Canada.  After a month of work stress, I really needed to be away.  I always leave 3 weeks in November for me to go and ‘get lost’ – it’s my time.

I appreciated that I was able to catch one of the first flights out of Toronto to NYC.  So I grabbed the early TTC airport shuttle from Kipling Station and headed straight for Toronto Pearson International Airport on the 5:11 a.m. bus.  Yes, I did say that time.

After breezing through security having already checked in online the night before; I headed straight to the Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge.  Have you heard of it?

Well it’s the dreamy magical place where when you are half awake like me can have a slap up breakie and tea before you leave town for 8 days.

You can also receive:

Complimentary light snacks and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, including local beer on tap, cappuccino and espresso

Wide selection of newspapers and magazines

Sony High Definition televisions paired with Bell TV HD programming

Complimentary Bell Datavalet High Speed Internet and Wireless to select Air Canada customers

Hewlett Packard business centres featuring color laser printing and PC workstations

Conference rooms in select locations

Cell-Free Quiet Zones in select locations

Courteous, helpful staff to assist you with all your travel needs

That particular morning I enjoyed some eggs, a lil yogurt, a tea, some grapefruit juice, some cereal and a magazine or two.  Come on,  I’m on holiday let a girl live a little!

I also enjoyed Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge and its comfort, mindfulness and serenity from the manic-ness down below in the gate areas.

Would I check out Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge again?  In a heartbeat.  For a single girl heading out of town needing a quick reminder – ‘hey you worked hard all year, now it’s time to enjoy’ – Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge gave me a fantastic starting point.  Merci!


New York Stories: Fall 2013

I have always had a dream of going to NYC in the Fall right before Christmas to take in the leaves, sights, smells and people of this lovely city.

I got my wish this year.  When my amazing mate, Hams (thank you Hams!), invited me to stay at her flat in Greenwich Village.  I jumped at the chance and made sure to inject my 40th birthday celebration into my time way.

These are my stories.