For Thrive Global: Mane Mindset

Here is a spotlight on THRIVE, I did on the philanthropic work of celebrity hairstylist, Martino Cartier and FOLLEA founder, Daniel Alain Hafid. They recently had their hair drive at The Gregory Hotel with Caravan Stylist Studio.

 

ELENA:)

Collection of 3 BELLA articles

I’ve been slacking on sharing my pieces on my site. Here are 3 BELLA pieces that I contributed this fall.

Full STEAM ahead – A roundup of STEAM toys and one to look out for in the future.

How to win those Winter Woes – Skincare during the winter months can be challenging. Here is some products that can help.

Forever Fashion – Two OOTD looks, one for work and one for play. Entirely created with sustainable fashion pieces.

ELENA:)

 

Open Operations

I attended Glimpse 2019 (A HydraFacial and FastCompany event) in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and I wrote this piece on a few of the speakers that shared their wisdom with the crowd. I love when I can tie in my business knowledge into real life scenarios. This is Open Operations for Thrive.

ELENA:)

Skin Supplements roundup for RESIDENT

So I decided one day that I would try out facial oils. I ended up going down a rabbit hole and realizing that there are so many options out there it only made sense to do a round up. Here it is for RESIDENT.

ELENA:)

AZN Labs Afterglow Ampoule

I don’t consider myself a beauty blogger by any stretch, but I do appreciate the look of a healthy glow. With so many products available, it’s hard to know what works for your skin type without trying a few.  I have pretty sensitive skin, which is usually quite dry due to eczema – so I layer on the moisturizer like no other, especially when travelling. 

Because of my dry skin, I recently got on board with serums and oils (yes, a little late) and when I was approached to try out AZN Labs first product, the Afterglow Ampoule, I was excited to see the result (especially after I opened this beautiful package!)

Such pretty packaging!

AZN Labs uses a formula that combines the best of Japanese and Korean beauty ingredients/techniques. This includes Astaxanthin, created in rainwater microalgae. It’s 6,000 times the potency of vitamin C. I did a quick Google search about Astaxanthin and found it is the pigment that gives Salmon its pink colour.

For the past week, I’ve been using the serum twice a day (anytime I’m putting on moisturizer) avoiding my eye area, but including my neck. I feel it definitely gives me an instant glow and brightens my skin. It is thin in viscosity, so I might be using too much during each application, but my skin absorbs it without residue. In terms of the other claims, of repairing lines and wrinkles – I think its too early to tell but looking forward to seeing what my skin looks like after a month of use.  

AZN Labs Afterglow Ampoule is available online on Monday Feb 11, 2019. 

ELENA:)

The W Downtown NYC for BELLA NYC Mag

In December, I had the pleasure of staying at the W Downtown. Its been a while since I stayed right outside the WTC. A lot has changed in the area and the Oculus is so beautiful not to check out. Starting at the end of last year, the W Downtown will showcase a local artist each quarter in the lobby. A signature cocktail will be sold at the bar inspired on the artists collection . Fun stuff. Here is my piece for BELLA NYC Magazine.

ELENA:)

Unplugg this Holiday with Club U

Do you ever wish you had a concierge for all your beauty appointments? When I travel, I usually need my nails done, my eyebrows tweezed and certain areas waxed. What if there was a service that could help you make those appointments working with your schedule and your specific needs or preferences?

Say hello to Unplugg’s Club U. Fill out your SmartFit Profile and you receive up to 4 options of spas available for your desired service catering to your location and timing preference. Once you book, all you have to do is show up and the service is then billed to your credit card on file. 

I was recently in NY and needed a specific neutral shade on my nails for a commercial I was shooting the following day. While I was too busy to get it done ahead of time, I easily found a place close to my first meeting location within walking distance. I booked with Club U and voila, all I had to do was show up at the allotted time and complete my service. I was off to my next meeting in no time. 

I liked how there were a few options suggested in my preferred area based on the vibe of the spa (relaxing or no frills) and expertise of the nail techs (nail art or basic). All very important. With the holidays in full swing you can even pick up a gift certificate for a friend to enjoy during this busy time. The best part is that once you are a Club U member you can start to collect points for upgrades, free touch ups and my favourite – rewards! 

ELENA:)

Laying low at The Laylow, Honolulu Hawaii



You know what I love. When you can walk into a hotel lobby after traveling for hours on end wearing a full black ensemble (not appropriate for the weather) and not feel like you’re totally a fish out of water. This was my reality a month ago at the Laylow in Honolulu. 

Riding up the escalator, I was immediately transported to a hotel lounge with a cool island vibe.  The lobby of the Laylow is complete with palms, and wicker egg chairs hanging from the ceiling. There is an assortment of Hula Dancer figurines that serve as decor adding some slight whimsy.

At one end, the secluded pool can be found and at the other, the restaurant/lounge called the Hideout is open early for breakfast until late serving cocktails served by two fire pits.  The live music was a nice touch showcasing Honolulu’s most talented. Big kudos for the Stumptown coffee bar – although born in Portland – I’ve only had it in NY. 


Nothing overly contrived, The Laylow has a beautiful aesthetic.  Vintage Surfer memorabilia and authentic ukuleles can be found in each guest room to heighten the mood. The custom designed monstera leaf wallpaper is a perfect backdrop to an Instagram photo or to set the scene as you decompress for the night.   

ELENA:)

Honolulu City Guide for BELLA NYC Mag

After visiting Honolulu twice this year, it only made sense that I would curate a city guide with all my must do’s. Here is the guide for BELLA NYC.

ELENA:)

 

I went Keto with Intermittent Fasting for 21 days and this is what I learned for Global Thrive

I decided sometime after Hawaii in August that I needed to curb my diet. So I went Keto in conjunction with Intermittent Fasting. Here is my article on Thrive Global.

ELENA:)

 

See Paradise with Paradise Helicopters!

 

The last time I was in a helicopter, I was 10 year old. It was a family trip to the Grand Canyon and like most of our road trips, it was packed with adventurous activities. I remember floating in the middle of the Canyon like birds. It was definitely a unique way to see the rocks.

Because it had been so long, I wanted to revisit the idea of a helicopter tour. This time – it would take place overlooking the popular tropical island of O’ahu.

Although there are many helicopter companies out there, we went with Paradise Helicopters. They operate from all of the islands with 25 different tours offered. There is even a doors-off option and don’t worry – they take safety seriously as they have been operating for over 20 years. I felt like I was in capable hands and was not nervous about our pilots’ navigation skills, after all – he once was a (Presidential) Marine One pilot.

In addition, Paradise Helicopters have become the first helicopter tour company in Hawai’i to be awarded a Sustainable Tourism Certification from the Hawai’i Ecotourism Association while also launching a carbon offset program to support reforestation of trees in the state.

On the plane to Honolulu, I watched a recent Jurassic Park movie that made me excited to see part of the set from the sky. I could just image all the actors running through the Ka‘a‘awa Valley dodging various fallen trees and charging dinosaurs. One afternoon we climbed the Diamond Head Crater, which was fun, but seeing it from the air is majestic and you can appreciate the size.

In fact, seeing the whole island from a bird’s eye point of view was breathtaking. You definitely do not get to see some of the island just by driving.  The surfers look like little ants and the North Shore surf break shine like cellophane in the sun. I had no idea about the tiny islands that are easily accessible by boat or the large Sandbar that you can visit in low tide.

There is so much to see, but don’t worry about what side you are sitting on (the pilot will loop back to make sure both sides see it). Just make sure you have a full battery in you camera or phone to capture everything that Hawai’i has to offer.

Here is a Discount Code you can use when booking with Paradise Helicopters: *IRESNUMBERI* Give them a call at 866 876 7422 with my last name and reservation number to receive a special offer.

ELENA:)

My quotations for two pieces on The INSIDER

I was quoted in 2 pieces for The Insider. The first piece is entitled, 10 Signs your long distance relationship isn’t working. The second piece is entitled, 13 signs you’re emotionally ready for a relationship.

 

ELENA:)

The Most Popular Halloween Candy

Influenster, the worlds largest product discovery and review platform, with over 28 million reviews from their over 4.6 million members dug out the top 15 ranked halloween candy over the last twelve months. 
The best rated? Starburst all pink fruit chews. See below for the complete list:
  1. Starburst All Pink Fruit Chews 4.86 (911 reviews)
  2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup 4.79 (3,656)
  3. Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers 4.78 (1,051)
  4. Dove Chocolate Promises 4.76 (1,566 reviews)
  5. Sour Patch Watermelon 4.74 (2,014 reviews)
  6. Big Sour Patch Candy 4.72 (1,144 reviews)
  7. Haribo Gold Bears Gummi Candy 4.71 (1,356 reviews)
  8. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Candy Bar 4.70 (1,884 reviews)
  9. Hersheys’ Kiss 4.69 (1,524 reviews)
  10. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar 4.62 (2,153 reviews)
  11. Skittles 4.62 (1,605 reviews)
  12. Skittles Wild Berry 4.62 1,150 reviews)
  13. Swedish Fish 4.59 (1,982 reviews)
  14. CVS Sour Neon Crawlers 4.58 (1,816 reviews)
  15. Skittles Sour Candy 4.56 (1,150 reviews)

ELENA:)

National Pumpkin Day is Oct 26 2018

Yup. Its a thing. And yes, even though I can’t quite indulge in a great PSL right now (I’m on day 11 of Keto) I wanted to share with you this data from Influenster. Influenster, the worlds largest product discovery and review platform, with over 28 million reviews from over 4.6 million members dug out the top ranked Pumpkin Spice Products from it’s massive database of authentic opinions. I like that not all the things on the list are food related and its interesting to see that my Starbucks PSL only hits at number 10.

  1. Cheerios Pumpkin Spice Cereal1,257 revs / 4.2 rating
  2. Nabisco Oreo Pumpkin Spice Creme Sandwich Cookies 1,007 revs / 4.0 rating
  3. eos Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Bean Lip Balm Set 407 revs / 4.5 rating
  4. Burt’s Bees Pumpkin Spice Moisturizing Lip Balm 390 revs / 4.3 rating
  5. Kashi® Crunchy Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice Flax 388 revs / 4.45 rating
  6. Coffee-mate® Liquid Pumpkin Spice 379 revs / 4.6 rating
  7. Kahlua Pumpkin Spice 320 revs / 4.2 rating
  8. Nestlé® Toll House® Pumpkin Spice Morsels 302 revs / 4.4 rating
  9. Chobani® Blended® Pumpkin Spice Low-Fat Greek Yogurt 282 revs / 4.3 rating
  10. STARBUCKS® Pumpkin Spice Latte VIA® Instant 280 revs / 4.2 rating
  11. Quaker® Cereal Pumpkin Spice 238 revs / 4.11 rating
  12. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Chilled Espresso 226 revs / 4.2 rating
  13. Baileys Irish Cream Pumpkin Spice Liqueur 225 revs / 4.5 rating
  14. Native Deodorant Pumpkin Spice Latte 213 revs / 4.4 rating
  15. Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, Pumpkin Spice, Ground 206 revs 4.5 rating
  16. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Caffe Latte K-Cups 174 revs / 4.3 rating
  17. Sugarpill Pumpkin Spice Eyeshadow 168 revs / 4.7 rating
  18. Blue Diamond® Pumpkin Spice Almonds 166 revs / 4.5 rating
  19. Hershey’s Kisses Pumpkin Spice Flavored Candies 147 revs / 4.0 rating
  20. Starbucks® Frappuccino® Pumpkin Spice Chilled Coffee Drink 142 revs / 4.1 rating
  21. Yoplait® Whips!® Pumpkin Spice Low-fat Yogurt 129 revs / 4.2 rating
  22. Kellogg’s® Nutri Grain® Pumpkin Spice Soft Baked Fruit Bar 127 revs / 4.45 rating
  23. Bailey’s Coffee Creamer Pumpkin Spice 119 revs / 4.61 rating
  24. Special K® Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Pastry Crisps 113 revs / 4.3 rating
  25. Pepperidge Farm® Milano® Pumpkin Spice Cookies 95 revs / 4.2 rating
*The Influenster rank is a proprietary algorithm which accounts for both a 5-star rating and total number of reviews – happy to share more on this!

ELENA:)

Quarterly Travel Update: Chicago, Punta Cana and Honolulu

I can’t believe its October. Really? Where did the time go? I feel like I just wrote a quarterly travel post (yes late!) not too long ago.  But here I am – writing away.

Just so you know I didn’t go anywhere the month of July and for most of September. My abstract for a national conference was accepted as well as poster presentation but I differed. My wonderful colleague took the reins, and in a quasi warm July in Orlando she presented for the both of us (and did a fab job too!).

That leaves August – a month where one week I was in Chicago, the next I was in the Dominican Republic and the last week, I went to Hawaii (Honolulu).  Phew. Even typing that out makes me sort of tired, either that or my head cold is getting to me.

Chicago (Aug 4-7)

If you haven’t been, it’s like the cousin of New York. Great food, fun people and interesting things to see. I had the opportunity to interview Joel Gamoran, the national Sur la Table chef and host of Scraps. You’ll have to stay posted for my article that will come out soon (long over due – but I’m using this long weekend to finally get it in order). We had breakfast and talked about lots of food related things like, what does whale sperm taste like and why scraps and not bees. I had a lot of fun and my only regret is that we didn’t take a photo or a cute boomerang video to capture our time together. Next time! Note: He also has a new cooking book called, Cooking Scrappy

I managed to re check out the Art Institute while in town and eat the best burger of my life at Au Cheval. It was a great idea to start the day with it and slowly work it off with my friend Kayte Malik (founder of Dresscode – see the article I wrote about the company here). Nothing really beats the egg, thick cut bacon with a double hamburger patty. So great.

I stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association, which was an old school gentleman’s club turned into hotel a few years back. Beautiful restoration job with a roof top bar called Cindy’s and cool speakeasy called the Cherry Circle room (very Madmen). I loved that Shake Shack was connected to the hotel too (although I didn’t have a burger from there or crinkle fries which are my go-to’s).

 

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Aug 15-18)

I went for an interesting press trip, which turned sideways. All I can really say is that the resort was descent and the spa was beautiful (Chic Punta Cana by Royalton) . I’m glad my group was small and we all got along well.

 

Honolulu, Hawaii (Aug 31-Sept 5)

I was pleasantly surprised with Honolulu. I think its because it’s a touch on the more expensive side, it keeps the those looking for ultra cheap vacations away. It was the perfect mix of city and beach.

And the food is great – I totally forgot the huge Japanese influence there is in the city. Some great recommendations included the Koko Head café and the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian (with my favorite Royal Hawaiian Hupia cake).

I will say that going to Honolulu in the summer time was really hot. 35 degrees and doing the Diamond Head hike was less than ideal but having the pineapple smoothie at the bottom was a wonderful refreshing end.

Dole Plantation was ok – again the heat took its toll and while the maze would have been fun, I think we lasted maybe 15 minutes before we decided it was best to head back.  And I didn’t really love Dole Whip. It kind of tasted artificial to me – it needed to have more cream and less powdered confections.

Ko’Hana Rum Distillery was a quick drive outside the city and a great break from the heat. It was interesting to learn about the Agricole technique of using sugar cane juice versus molasses to make the rum. It’s a boutique distillery, they are slowly exporting off the island. I grabbed a bottle that had honey and cocoa mixed with the rum.

On my last day I ended up finding this really great café called Heavenly across from the hotel that we stayed at (the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach) with locally sourced food. So yummy.

If you are interested in a City Guide on Honolulu, you will be in luck as I am curating one soon. Until next quarter.

 

ELENA:)

 

 

 

Fall Fashion Edit

So I’m a little bummed that I put together this cool fashion OOTD, OOTN, beauty look for a magazine that was going to be in print but got cut instead. I only found out the first week of Sept so it definitely did not help with pitching to another outlet. In the spirit of NYFW, I wanted to post it here as I really liked the curated outfits. I sourced up-in-coming/small businesses with great price points. My friend Nicky Styles illustrated the pieces in true Project Runway form as well.

__________________________

As the temperature dips and Starbucks reintroduces its traditional pumpkin spice latte, try and resist the temptation to put away the colourful clothing and go into a mild hibernation. Fall is a time for change and the shades of the season are decadent: gold, auburns, burgundy, and navy.  Textures like faux fur, cashmere and jacquard bring depth to any outfit. By day, glow with gold and at night, shine with sequins and rhinestones.

 

OOTD:

For the Outfit of the Day, a decadent oxblood Rallier dress in a timeless silhouette is paired with an APPARIS faux fur coat in a classic cut. The AWAY weekend bag has a built-in laptop sleeve and hidden umbrella that is perfect for the commute to work. The matching dr. Liza heels have a 0.75-inch shock-absorbing EVA platform for walking those lengthy city blocks with ease. A matching CINER set of clip-ons and a ring takes the guesswork out of accessorizing.

APPARIS Chestnut Sophie Coat (@apparis_)

Dr. Liza pump in Navy Blue(@drlizashoes)

CINER Golden Rose Earring and Golden Rose Ring (@cinerny)

Rallier Oxblood Patricia Dress (@ralliernyc)

AWAY The Everywhere Bag in Navy Blue Nylon (@away)

OOTN:

For the Outfit of the Night, think understated glamour. While the Michelle Waugh long cashmere coat paired with the French Sole NY jacquard smoking slippers may give you bedtime vibes, the eye-catching MESTIZA NY cream sequin jumpsuit will make you shimmer in the moonlight. Play off the cream with the majestic pewter chandelier earrings and the conversation starter miniaudiere from CINER.

Michelle Waugh Chloe Coat in Blue (@michellewaughny)

MESTIZA New York Chrissy Sequin Jumpsuit (@mestiza_ny)

CINER Crowned Chandelier Earring and Ivory Chandelier Miniaudiere (@cinerny)

French Sole NY Celeste in Red Jacquard (@french_sole)

Fall Face:

Stay gold with this seasons makeup. Shades ranging from antique (Sheree Cosmetics eye shadow) to gilded honey (Laura Geller DewDreamer illuminating drops for checks and face). A strong lip takes center stage with this all-day wearable velvet liquid lip Bordeaux color from STELLAR*.  Lastly, tame the brows with the Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty Take a Bow pencil allowing you to color, shape and add density and definition to your brows with a transfer-resistant formula.

Sherree Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Drama (@sherreecosmetics)

Laura Geller DewDreamer Illuminating Drops in Gilded Honey (@lauragellerbeauty)

STELLAR Opus Liquid Lip in Mythic Moon 06 in Bordeaux (@stellarbeautyofficial)

Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty Take a Bow Defining Brow Pencil (@brinkleybeauty)

ELENA:)

Quarterly Travel Update: Cancun, DC and NYC

I know – because I am not writing after every trip I’m starting to slack off and honestly couldn’t remember if I went anywhere in the last quarter. That’s how bad my memory is. But thanks to my IG photos I remembered – Cancun and the more recent trips to DC and NY.

Cancun (May 9 – 12)

For my second organized press trip ever, I headed off to Cancun, Mexico. A fun, easy jaunt to Cancun makes for an easy getaway for those who need a trip away but don’t want the hassle of actually planning anything. Like zero. Except for maybe the dates and what to pack on the trip.

I never do all-inclusive resorts for the simple fact that feeling stuck in one place makes me feel claustrophobic. Yet, I based that feeling on a short prior trip that was an all-inclusive. So I needed to set the record straight.

I arrived dressed all in black in the sweltering heat and was whisked away in a shuttle to the Panama Jack Resort. I was thankfully welcomed with a refreshing drink and a tote full of goodies helpful for the short week ahead. Once I freshened up it was time to meet the crew over some tequila tasting and then a scrumptious surf and turf dinner on the beach. What a great way to start the trip.

The next day, after a quick tour of the hotel and all the amenities we were off to visit a stingless bee farm. I knew there was a bee scarcity issue in the world, but what I didn’t realize was that most bees live in the Southern Hemisphere. At this bee farm they work with the Mayan farmers to spread the hives throughout the area, this helps to sustain the bees while creating work for the locals.

The next day we visited Chichen Itza, a huge Mayan temple. I had no idea that it was one of the wonders of the world (clearly I needed to Google that after visiting). It’s too bad it can no longer be climbed but it was definitely a sight to see. After walking around Chichen Itza, we went to the Ikkil Cenote/Ts’onote (a fresh water filled sink hole). Then it was back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. After a semi-scandalous last night (no details will be mentioned here – you’ll have to ask me in person) we all had a good laugh the next day over brunch. Read the coverage I did of Panama Jack for RESIDENT Magazine here.

 

Washington DC (June 3-6)

I managed to book Good Morning Washington in DC for my book and since I had never gone (well since I was 7), I thought this would be the perfect time to write a city guide on DC for RESIDENT as well. Watch how the show went (in my opinion – it wasn’t my best interview) but c’est la vie. DC has so many great food spots; Le Diplomate, Iron Gate, Espita Mezcaleria were three of my faves as well as this hidden cocktail bar below a donut shop called Nocturne.  I really enjoyed the Portrait Gallery and walking around the National Mall as well.

 

 

NYC (Jun 6-9)

NYC was a whirlwind as per usual. Between stacking up the meetings and heading to my usual PaintBox appointment and finally checking out old hot spots like Hotel Chantelle (that isn’t actually a hotel) and Jimmy at the James Hotel. No matter how many times of been to NY, I still manage to visit new places and It seemed to be a time of great change: friends were leaving NYC, getting married, having babies, buying apartments. So much change.

 

ELENA:)

 

Who Runs the World? Girls.

I was working on this piece for a bit and got around to finishing it finally before my “No writing in July” deadline came around. Here is my second piece for Thrive Global, Who Runs the World? Girls. This was actually rejected by Huffington Post Canada as being too promotional – but thankfully picked up by Thrive.

 

ELENA:)

Live on Good Morning Washington

I was honoured to be a part of the morning show Good Morning Washington on Tuesday June 5 in DC. Becki Newton and Michael Urie from Ugly Betty were also guests on the show. Because it was my first time as an adult to DC, I conjured up a city guide which will be out soon.

ELENA:)

London City Guide: RESIDENT Magazine

Here is the London City Guide that went live on RESIDENT Magazine’s Digital platform.

Check out page 98-99.

ELENA:)

 

The TODAY SHOW Extra (Australia)

This happened last week. And while I could not make my way into the studio in Sydney, I did my first live feed interview at a local news station. Let’s just say, the segment wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was going to be. It definitely made me laugh. Slight awkwardness, many umms. But you know what – I did it 🙂

Check it out here.

PS: I posted it to YouTube so you don’t have to download it to play.

ELENA:)

 

 

 

Quarterly Travel Update: Athens, NYC and London x 2

For the last quarter of 2017, I stayed in Vancouver, which is very unusual for me. So it’s no surprise that I’ve already visited Athens, London x 2 and NY since the start of the year.

I usually post a separate entry for each city – but not this time (probably because I feel like I’m running out of time to write before my next adventure). I’ve decided to do quarterly travel reports this 2018.

Athens

Athens came as a surprise as my friend was going to be there working and visiting her friend and I thought I would tag along. Check out the Athens City Guide I curated for BELLA LA here. I was very much into Greek mythology when I was in elementary and I’m a huge fan of the food so I was sold.

Since it was incredibly last minute I purchased a bunch of one ways. Just getting to Athens was painful (Vancouver to Calgary to Toronto to London to Athens!) but once I was there I settled in at the CocoMat Athens hotel just fine.

Nestled in a great location of Kolonaki, the CocoMat Athens has a concept bespoke mattress (CocoMat) store below an ultra modern boutique hotel. It was everything I always ask for in a hotel: clean, design savvy, great water pressure with excellent drainage (you may laugh – but have you seen my hair?) yummy drinks in the mini bar and a bed to top all hotel beds I have ever slept on. I live for breakfast, and CocoMat’s spread was incredible. Although the coffeemaker was slightly intimidating the fresh yogurt was fantastic (Greek yogurt is just yogurt in Greece 😉 ).

Athens has a great mix of the quintessential European charm (small boutiques, lovely cafes with al fresco dining). Behind the Akropoli Metro station was the hidden gem, Froots Juice Bar. A warm ‘Almond Lover’ (almond milk, cacao powder, cinnamon and brown sugar) was the perfect way to recharge.

Beyond the sporadic cafes and cobble stone streets, there is a mix of Athens street art areas (Exarcheia and Neapoli) with the occasional riot police spotted after hours. Walking along the Acropolis and the Agora, the same place where Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle was a great honour. Besides checking out the obvious ruins, I also went to the Museum of Cycladic Art which antiquities were housed in a beautiful mansion. I fell in love with the cafe and Vancouver Emily Carr artist (who was of Greek descent) had a piece of modern art that really caught my eye. The National Archaeological Museum had the largest collection of Roman ruins outside of Italy, but my favourite was the Acropolis museum by far.

We had the pleasure of making a traditional Greek meal with Melina Selalma. A former TV cooking show host, she was so delightful and informative. We learned a lot about the origin of ingredients and a few recipes we could replicate at home. Whenever I’m away, I always like to do some sort of cooking class because of the fresh ingredients that you can find based in the area you are in. Visiting Athens only made me love olives and yogurt more.

New York

Initially I went for NYFW to check out some shows. It ended up being a few impromptu meetings, a fashion show (Mac Duggal), a catch up birthday brunch with my East Coast friends and my biggest media appearance to date – an NBC NEWS BETTER segment on Valentine’s Day about The Love List.

I stayed at a great new hotel called the LIFE Hotel. It was the original building where LIFE Magazine was published. It is my new fave and it’s in such a great NoMad location, easy enough to get around and The Henry restaurant (the hotel restaurant) is so great. The pizza, the drinks, the breakfast – its all so great.

As per usual, I got my nails done at Paint Box (Rihanna was there a day prior) and shopped at Drew Barrymore’s new shop called Dear Drew that is across the street.

 

The NBC NEWS BETTER segment was a Facebook Live video taped at 30 Rockefeller Center. It was an amazing experience. During one of my first visits to NY, I went to the NBC studios to take a tour. I remember walking through all the halls and such and wondered if I would ever return. Almost ten years from that moment, I was filming a segment in the same building. Check it out here.

After the taping, I lined up for a Magnolia cupcake and then took a taxi to the airport to head home.

London

After Athens, I went to London for a weekend in January and then I was back in early March.

During the weekend, I stayed in Notting Hill at the Laslett. It’s a cute boutique hotel in a renovated mansion. I went to Harrods for the first time ages. I forgot how huge and how insanely busy it is. I picked up my new notebook from Smythson with the saying “Make it Happen” stamped on it.

The next day, I quickly visited The Shard and had yummy lunch at the Shangri-La and realized that I somehow wanted to visit the building again. The trip to see the view from the bathroom was spectacular – although it was cloudy. I thought about visiting the Natural History Museum, but the queue was so long that I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum for the Balenciaga exhibit instead. I’m a fan of Balenciaga so it worked perfectly. After, I went to the Ginstitute at the Distillery on Portobello Road and made my own concoction of gin. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to sample my bottle.

In early March, I had the opportunity to visit London again. I attended two workshops at The Shard with Warwick Business School for the first two days of the trip. I was getting accustomed to taking the tube as I was staying at the Hoxton Shoreditch. East London is a very different area from Notting Hill for sure.

A good majority of my meetings were cancelled so I went to visit the beautiful Sky Garden to check out the view and made a stop at Hearst UK.

On the weekend, I visited DryBy get some cool nail art done before heading to the Tate Modern. The last time I was there, I was 23 (?) so I definitely needed a refresher. Finished the evening with drinks at the Corinthia and then dinner at the Lido Restaurant at the Curtain. Its’ always great to visit a city and have the ability to walk around rather being always driven.

The next day was a full on shopping day starting with lunch at Mortimer House (with a quick stop at the British Museum) and arrived back at the hotel unable to feel my feet (ha!) and then it was back to the hotel to pack and get ready to go home. Although I couldn’t wait to head back home, for the first time in my life – I miscalculated my travel time and ended up having to be rerouted to Calgary instead of Toronto.  It actually worked in my favour as it got me home earlier.

Until next quarter….

ELENA:)

Athens City Guide for BELLA LA

Here is my City Guide for BELLA LA on Athens.

I’ll be posting my photos from all of my adventures this first quarter soon.

 

ELENA:)

 

Winning Wine Pairings for Takeout

Ever wonder what wine goes with what takeout? Have you heard of the Vivino app? Its the world’s #1 app for wine with reviews and a store.

This piece ran for both RESIDENT, with an extended version (with wine suggestions) on BELLA LA

ELENA:)

 

NBC BETTER Segment for The Love List

Here is the piece I filmed yesterday at NBC NEWS BETTER. In addition to the live taping there was a great accompanying article that lives on the site as well. Check it out here.

A big thank you to Style Verify who shared this piece on Apple News: Why every female should have a Love List. 

 

ELENA:)

Travel Lessons for GirlTalkHQ

I wrote for GirlTalkHQ several years ago when I was writing my book, entitled “It’s not you… it’s me. Why Mr. Potential is not Mr. Right.”  Its a pleasure to publish lessons of a different kind for the site. Here is the link.

ELENA:)