Niagara Wine Country

Did you know that some of the bests wines in the world come from southern Ontario? No? Well, let me introduce you to the Niagara-on-the-Lake, the birth place of Ontario's modern wine industry and one of the most beautiful places in southern Ontario.

Back in 2009-2010, I was lucky enough to call this place home, as I completed grad school at the local college. I instantly fell in love with the area, and not just for the wine.  It is a region that is proud of their local products, including their wine, meats, cheeses and a variety of produce like cherries and peaches, and the residents work very hard to balance conservation and preservation of local habitats with the surrounding development.  Not to mention, it is situated on the spectacular Niagara Escarpment, one of the world's unique natural wonders. 

While our AK friends were still in town after the wedding, we decided to show them around the area we had been boasting about for the past 3 years.   So, we did it properly and took a guided tour of three of the area's wineries.  

Niagara College's Teaching Winery
The Teaching Winery is Canada’s only commercial teaching winery and was officially opened by Prince Charles in November 2009, when I was there for school. The best part about going to a school that had a winery? The students would hand out free samples in the hall.  There was definitely no complaining from this girl.  



FYI: Did you know that roses are often planted at the end of a row of grape vines to acts as an early warning sign for infestation by disease and insects?


Small Talk Vineyards

Konzelmann Estate Winery
This winery was situated on a former peach orchard on the shore of Lake Ontario. They made a fantastic peach wine!





Before we all went on separate ways (sigh), we decided to explore the cute, and historic, town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  I didn't think I could love this place any more.
Breakfast at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.
Caught red-handed with some goodies from a local bakery.
Just one of the many celebrities that has their own winery in Niagara.
And obviously on the way back to Toronto, we couldn't pass by the mansion that is Peller Estates Winery and not stop and check it out. 



Safe to say, I'm a bit of a wino.  To me, Niagara-on-the-Lake and all of the local delights it has to offer will never get old. It's quite the palate pleaser, outdoor haven and a must-visit for anyone passing through the area.


Have you ever been to Niagara? What's your favorite wine?





Linking up with Because Shanna Said So for Random Wednesday.




weekend recap // i ♥ t.o.

We're counting down the number of weekends we have left this summer before hockey scoops us up and plops us in a new part of the world.  Safe to say, we're trying to take advantage.

This weekend the travels left us in Toronto, where we celebrated my bigger little sister's 22nd birthday. I love this city (and obviously my little sister). Another solid weekend in the books.

Thursday:
1//  Beaches Jazz Festival.
2//  FINALLY these have come to Canada. #marlarita


Friday + Saturday:

1//  Jays game for my sister's bday (that she didn't end up making because she had a photo shoot). #whereskendiddle
2//  Couple of SILs. #whereskendiddle
3//  One love T.O.
4//  Best hangover food: eggs benny/poutine combo.


Sunday Funday:

1// Cheers to beer at the Toronto Festival of Beers.
2// Beef jerky makes me happy.


1// Foodies - poutine and lobster rolls.
2// Found my limearitas.


1// Sibs.
2// My bigger little sister. #beforeshewasfamous


1// Beer snobs.
2// ♥


Happy 1 month anniversary to my hubby.  I know it's not much to celebrate, but it's hard to believe that amazing day was a month ago!  This summer is flying!


How was your weekend?





Linking up with Sami's Shenanigans for Weekend Shenanigans.


Gypsy Soul

Having stability on our side the past three years was a very nice feeling.  But, when we left Alaska, sadly we didn't pack stability into the truck with the rest of our belongings.  While I know everything will work out in the long run, the unknown of where we will end up this upcoming hockey season is beginning to wear on me.  I've chewed off all of my nails, and when that happens, it only means on thing... I'm stressed.

I had lunch with my best this afternoon.  We were talking about what married life feels like and what the plan is for Steve and I this hockey season so that she can come visit.  I said we're still working out the details for which part of the world our travels will take us to, and that being in this position meant it was hard to plan anything for the rest of the summer and upcoming year.  We talked about [me] being unemployed and how we're both living at home with our parents, and while that is by no means a bad thing, it isn't exactly where we saw ourselves in our late 20s.  She could tell I was stressed.  Then she showed me this...

   [via]

"You're a gypsy! You have a gypsy soul!", she said excitedly.  While that wasn't exactly the word I would use to describe myself in my current "situation", I kind of liked it.  Her attitude inspired me. Ok, so maybe I am a gypsy, inclined to a "nomadic, unconventional way of life", always in need of  change and adventure.  I do love a good adventure, so let's go with gypsy. 


"Is being a gypsy in my late 20s such a bad thing?", I thought. Of course not!  While unpredictable, unstable and unknown, I love this gypsy way of life we've chosen to live.  So, why am I stressed?  Not everyone is as lucky as we are.  People would kill to be in the position we're in - to get paid to do something you love and travel to places those can only dream about. I know one day, sadly, we will have to give it up (but we'll cross that bridge when we get there).  So, until that happens, I need to shut up, stop chewing my nails and enjoy every second of this adventurous ride, unknown or not.



Excited for this new adventure and chapter as mr and mrs!






Linking up with Because Shanna Said So for Random Wednesday.





What's in a Name?

Well, it happened.  I got that creative spark and over a couple of glasses of chardonnay on a hot summer's day, this little blog of mine got a much needed facelift. And since we said "goodbye for now" to Alaska in May (tear) and have temporarily moved back to Ontario for the summer, I figured it was time for a new name as well. 

Whether we are moving from one country to another, or from one house to another (since we don't yet have one to call our own, sigh), we are always moving to and fro, always landing us back at home base in the Toronto-ish area (hence the T.O.).  So I thought the name was only fitting, don't you agree? 

Don't worry, the blog address will stay the same, because let's face it, Alaska will always have a piece of my heart (and it would probably create mass confusion if I changed it).

Aside from my ramblings on here, if I haven't bored you half to death, you can also follow the adventure on,



So please, grab a glass (or bottle) of wine, kick back, relax and enjoy following our adventures to and fro!


Snapshots From Our Honeymoon

I've been without a working/dialing/calling cellphone since the moment we stepped back on Canadian soil.  Yes, it may be a little inconvenient at certain times, like when you're out running errands and need to know if you have mayo in the fridge at home, and took a little getting used to, but for the most part, it's been quite enjoyable. Crazy how reliant we become on those little things.

My "being off the grid" is just part of the reason things have been a little slow around here.  The other part?  We were too busy getting married and celebrating.  And I think that's a pretty legit excuse. I promise, things will begin to pick up again.  Ya never know, I may even get a little creative spark to switch things up around here.  Being back in Canada and all, it may be time to change the name (tear).

**********

Anyways, here are some snapshots from our honeymoon to Montego Bay, Jamaica (words not included, because all this heat and humidity is getting to me and I'm too lazy for that right now). 



Stay cool my friends.


In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye, it was over.

The nine months between the moment I said, "YES!" and the moment we said, "I do", crept by at a snail's pace. Definitely not a bad thing, considering we knew planning from a distance would have its challenges.  And challenges it did. We leaned on, and put our trust in, family members more than ever.  We stressed about how on earth we could fit my extra rubbermaid container of wedding DIY stuff in the truck for our long road trip home. And, we cursed when things didn't go our way.  But, we knew that in the end, everything would work out.  And it did.

The Ultimate Road Trip put us back at home just over three weeks from the big day.  It was crunch time.  Everything started coming together.  Amid some very last minute stressors, changes and bad weather the days before, the vision we had from the beginning was becoming a reality.  

The day was more than perfect. Good weather, good food, good drinks, good friends and my amazing husband by my side. 

A HUGE thanks for our friends and family for making it what it was. We couldn't have done it without all your love and support (and patience when we were about the jump off the deep end during planning).

Here's a sneak peek of our more than perfect day...




Now we're off, to enjoy a week in Jamaica.  Bring on the heat, beaches and tropical drinks!






(Photos 1-4 by Jenny Liz Rome Photography, photos 5-8 by Karly Turner and photos 9-10 by Bryan and Bonnielee Miller)