A friend of mine suggested I get to know the lovely Natalie DiScala as we had a few things in common including our love for travel, blogging and life in Los Angeles. Natalie’s blog Oh! Travelissima is a source of inspiration from the city guides and the stylish things that Natalie curates.
I recently had a chance to chat with Natalie about how she got started as a writer and her best life + travel advice. Meet Natalie everyone!
How did you decide on a career as a writer and editor?
Somehow, there was never any other option for me. I just knew from a very young age that I wanted to write. I think it was because I was an avid reader. Words, books, reading and writing – they’ve always been an enormous part of my life; as far back as I can remember.
In addition to your role as Senior Web Editor at Style At Home, you also run a wonderful travel blog – Oh! Travelissima. What compelled you to start your blog?
Starting my blog was a natural extension for me. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel more than I ever dreamed possible so creating an online space where I could share stories, photos and advice from my travels made a lot of sense. My blog is truly a labour of love and I absolutely love occupying my own small corner of the digital sphere where I can create and share content.
You are a power pinner and recently gave a talk at TBEX on Pinterest. What are your top tips for those looking to harness the power of Pinterest for their own blogs?
Pinterest is such a powerful platform and it’s one that I love using. There are two main ways that I use Pinterest. The first is to curate photos of all the things that inspire me. The second is to share content that I’m creating. To maximize your presence on Pinterest, I recommend pinning beautiful photography (original photos as much as possible), pinning frequently and using keyword descriptors in your caption to make sure that your pins are discoverable to users who are searching for something specific.
During a trip to Calgary, Alberta – I had the chance to stay for the second time at this cute boutique hotel right in the downtown core. Hotel Arts is a comfortable and modern hotel within walking distance of all the amazing sights, shopping and restaurant if you are planning a visit to Calgary.
My suite (above) was so spacious and equipped with a wet bar that I regret not throwing a huge party while I was there 😉 It would be pretty perfect for a bachelorette party actually.
Photo provided by Hotel Arts
My room at Hotel Arts overlooked the courtyard and year-round heated pool. With 185 suites and very reasonable nightly rates, I would definitely recommend this hotel to friends and family looking for an affordable and stylish option in Calgary. Continue reading →
Cinco de Mayo is coming up next Tuesday and we will not be caught at home eating a frozen burrito in our pajamas again – no siree. So what’s the plan? Here’s an easy do-it-yourself, walkable taco crawl in Downtown Santa Monica. Just eat, drink and repeat.
Stop #1 – Start your taco eating engine at Border Grill for The Yucatan Pork Taco featuring pork that is slow-roasted in a banana leaf before it’s served on a handmade corn tortilla with pineapple jicama salsa. The meat just melts in your mouth with the perfect amount of tenderness. We paired it up with the Route 43 cocktail with spicy jalapeño-infused tequila, passion fruit, lime and agave syrup.
Out of all the different tortillas I tried during this crawl, Border Grill was simply my favourite. This restaurant is where I will forever bring out-of-town friends for a sampling of LA tacos + great margaritas. The food never disappoints, I love the casual atmosphere and they will also be running a slew of specials for Cinco de Mayo with gourmet $5 tacos + tequila flights.
Stop #2 – We headed directly across the street to Mercado to sample their Gringa Taco with spit-roasted pastor, oaxaca, onions, cilantro, chile de arbol salsa, avocado salsa served up on a flour tortilla. I loved all the toppings and the duo of salsas going on here in this hearty serving of a taco. I had to start pacing myself here – we had many more tacos to eat!
We paired this up with a Spicy Cucumber Margarita made with silver tequila and house jalapeño purée. This cocktail is no joke. It is SPICY. However, the cucumber is nice and cooling – just get ready for the heat!
Stop #3 – We walked around the corner to Third Street Promenade to Loteria Grill for a taco tasting of their best of the best. I started with a Classic Margarita because it had already been five minutes since my last margarita and we were clearly on a roll here. The drink was light, refreshing with the perfect balance of lime, salt and tequila without knocking me to the floor – which I appreciate.
I was most excited to try The Papa Con Rajas – a potato taco with roasted poblano peppers topped with salsa verde, onion, cilantro and queso fresco. If you love mashed potatoes and you love tacos – this is your dream right here. My second favourite was the Huachinango Estilo Ensenada – a beer battered fish taco made with red snapper and then topped with shredded cabbage, chipotle-avocado aioli and fresh pico. Make sure to also try their Carne Deshebrada – made with braised beef that is then shredded and their Carnitas en Salsa Morita with a spicy chile morita sauce for a kick. Continue reading →
Spring is around the corner and one of my favourite things to do when it gets warm is a road trip out of Toronto for an easy weekend getaway. Prince Edward County (PEC) is roughly two hours east Toronto and full of great food and activities that could keep you occupied for a week easily.
Paul’s grandparents built a cottage on the Bay of Quinte near Demorestville and we’ve been going to Picton and the surrounding areas for almost 10 years. Prince Edward County is now booming with wineries, breweries and a cider house. Here are some of our favourites whenever we visit:
Main Street, Picton is quaint and full of charm. You will not want to miss all the cute little stores like Kelly’s Shop (above) which carries an array of cool kitsch, clothing and jewellery. You can find summer clothing, roxy bikinis and skate clothes at Beach Bum in the County.
The Giant Tiger discount store is a small town staple and a great place to stop for cheap clothes and anything you may have forgotten like your jiffy pop, sunscreen or a bathing suit. I find all sorts of random stuff in here.
Make sure you stop at the historic Regent Theatreto see if any of the movies playing catches your eye. It’s a great place to head to if it starts to rain on your getaway to Prince Edward County.Continue reading →
Summer is on its way and I have started dreaming of spending my days outdoors, on patios and indulging in glorious eats at summer food festivals.
Mark your calendars, because this summer from July 2-5, Taste of Toronto Food Festival is coming back for its second year for 2015! This outdoor festival brings together some of Toronto’s top restaurants, stellar artisans and premium brands; a real paradise for food lovers! Festival goers will have the opportunity to try small plates from participating restaurants, sample and shop from the vendors in the market.
I had the opportunity to go on a taste safari with the organizers of Taste of Toronto, which took a group of bloggers to six of the participating restaurants for a look at what’s to come!
During our expedition we sampled many creative and diverse plates. Here is a preview of what to expect at the festival this year:
Our tasting journey started off with a Taste of Toronto veteran, THR&Co. Upon entering the bright and welcoming space, we were met with a refreshingly tart Oliver Sacks cocktail comprised of Gin, Cocchi Americano, Lemon and Thyme. Our first tasting plate was a light Albacore Tuna Kinilaw, a fresh and delectable Filipino dish with coconut lime vinaigrette, sweet and hot pepper and cilantro paired with thin and crispy Cassava chips. This textured and bright plate has many of the flavours I love and it makes me extra happy because it reminds me of summer.
Next we popped into Splendido, where Executive chef and owner Victor Barry dazzled my senses with a mind-blowing popcorn canapé, an Apple Spritz cocktail and a delicate salmon sashimi dish. The popcorn bar has officially been set by Splendido. In case you’ve ever wondered, popcorn flavoured with bacon fat and smoked scallops is amazing. This canapé starts off every meal at Splendido. Chef Barry already had me at the canapé, but I was won over by his delicious salmon sashimi plate with Korean fried Daikon and Tamari emulsion. This was my favourite offering of the evening. Continue reading →