Niagara Falls – Part Two Playing Tourist For The Day

So…after the fantastic dinner and drinks at Weinkeller – it was off to the casino. Where, to my surprise – there was a band covering all Bon Jovi songs! Now, if you know me personally, you know I am a DIE HARD Bon Jovi fan. Seriously. I have been to 6 (or is it 7 now? I’m losing count…) concerts and will go every opportunity I get. They’re just fantastic.

I mean, that voice, that hair, those guitar solos…c’mon! #Aces

Anyways…this cover band playing in the bar area of Fallsview led to JennJenn having a couple more adult beverages. Which then led to JennJenn having a wee bit of a hangover headache the following morning. #oops (Yes, I spoke in the third person – just deal with it and carry one.)
First up on the itinerary for the day was Nightmares Fear Factory. If you’re on social media – I’m sure you’ve seen they’re hilarious pictures and updates showing the scardeycats going through the Nightmares Fear Factory. Leading up to the trip I was all like, “Oh – no problem. I GOT THIS!” Then, as the trip slowly approached I was more like, “Umm, what have I done? Why have I agreed to this?” Then, the day of, I was like, “Umm – no. I do NOT want to do this. NOPE!”
Walking into Nightmares Fear Factory, I was already hungover not feeling very well with a massive headache and literally petrified for what was going to happen behind the closed door int he utter darkness that is Nightmares Fear Factory. After some coxing from people around me – I caved and agreed to go through. It’s literally pitch black with people screaming at you, grabbing you, lights flashing…you have NO idea what is going to happen next. You go in only with the people you came to Nightmares Fear Factory with. So for my journey – it was just the two of us. We had to follow a red dot light…and I remember saying over and over “Please – just don’t touch me. I can not handle being touched!” LOL The meanies didn’t listen and I chickened out only a couple minutes in to Nightmares Fear Factory. You can “chicken out” by yelling out “Nightmares!” and they’re supposed to stop and lead you out. Well, they decided to get one final scare in as they were walking me out by jumping out and grabbing me along the way! Meanies!
I definitely want to go back, not with a hangover headache and try again. I highly advise NOT going alone and going with someone who won’t try to scare you even more along the way because Nightmares Fear Factory is scary enough as is!
After my heart calmed down and I wasn’t shaking out of fear, it was off to Louis Tussard’s Waxworks. I knew I’d have a good time here because as soon as I walked in I saw a replica of the DeLorean from Back To The Future! Of course, I jumped at the chance to get in. Obvs.
Filled with true-to-life wax figures sculpted by artists from around the world, it made for perfect photo ops with some “celebrities”. LOL Daniel Craig,Tom Hanks and I hung out on the bench and chit chatted….
I even sat down with Oprah to chat about the new book I’m working on…

I even walked across a tight rope! Mind you, it was only a couple inches off of the ground – but nonetheless, I kept my balance! The solid rubber sole of my TOMS helped for sure as I am pretty off balance normally. LOL
Va-va-va-voom Catwoman! Meow!
Just when I thought the scary parts were behind me for the day, we turned a corner in Louis Tussard’s Waxworks and were in a dark room with some scary figures.No, not the Homer Simpson pictured above, LOL. I’m not THAT much of a scaredy cat!

Black lights and neon writing on the wall make JennJenn get scared!

After Louis Tussard’s Waxworks, we crossed the street and headed to Ripley’s Moving Theater. As I mentioned – I have been to Niagara Falls countless times and never have I hit up any of these tourist attractions! After waiting a couple minutes, we were given a pair of fancy schmancy glasses (only to use, not to keep LOL) and ushered to our seats. After getting buckled in and ensuring nothing would fly off our bodies – the show started. The seats moved and rattled with every twist and turn on the big screen. Albiet – the videos were more aimed for kids – but being the scardeycat I was that day, I was totally ok with that! We “sat” through two videos. The first was “Rats Race Xtreme” and followed along as cartoon rats raced through a house. Not going to lie – I burst out laughing at the silliness a couple times. LOL  The second one was titled, “Winter Wipeout” and followed along as cartoon snowman were sledding through mountains.

Spoiler: When they hit a big pile of snow, something literally came from the ceiling and felt like it was snowing int he theater! No one was expecting that! I head a couple, “What the…” followed by giggling.

After Ripley’s Moving Theater we headed to the Ripley’s Odditorium which is filled with weird, fun, odd and fantastically interesting things. Want to see some shrunken heads? Go here. Want to see the jaw of a shark? Go here. Interested in reading what the fattest man in history ate daily…well, you’re in luck – Ripley’s Odditorium has all of that info waiting for you! LOL
Punishment for JennJenn *sad face*
Throughout Ripley’s Odditorium, there were multiple psychic and crystal ball readers. You insert a quarter or a dollar and it would read and tell you your fortune. Much to the annoyance of those around me – I stopped at every single one. LOL
After Ripley’s Odditorium, it was off to the last stop on the Niagara Falls Tourist Day itinerary – The Skywheel. Now this attraction I have visited, many times! I always make it a point to ride the Skywheel when I visit Niagara Falls. You’re enclosed in climate-controlled gondolas, so this is a perfect year-round attraction. You get as high as 175 feet providing spectacular views of both sets of Falls and beyond! The Skywheel is actually Canada’s largest observation wheel and the views are amazing, day or night.
I had such a great time in Niagara Falls, as usual. I can’t wait to go back…but I think I will wait for some warmer weather!

Disclosure: These attractions were provided to me as part of a prize package.

Niagara Falls – Part One with Dinner at Weinkeller

Seven thought she was coming along as I was packing...

Last month I had the opportunity to head down to Niagara Falls, Ontario for two nights. I absolutely love Niagara Falls. I’ve been going there since I was a kid and I always have a great time. It’s not too far from Toronto – so it makes for the perfect weekend escape for GTA’ers. There is so much to do there – for people of all ages! I have so many great memories from Niagara Falls!
As an adult, whenever I have gone I have done pretty much the same thing…dance the night away at nightclubs like Rumours or Dragon Fly, then head to the casino then back to the hotel followed by a hungover breakfast at Denny’s or iHOP in the morning. LOL So when I was brought out for this trip – I was excited because I was able to play tourist and visit new (to me), different attractions.

Jenn-2BiPhone-2BDecember-2B23-2B2014-2B0071

We didn’t get to Niagara Falls until pretty late on the Friday night, so we kept it casual and stayed in watching movies and drinking wine in bed. Nothing wrong with that, right? LOL By doing so, I was able to wake up bright and early Saturday morning and head out for a solo run. At the time, Niagara Falls had a a bit of snow, and with the mist coming off of the falls – it was quite slippery. My Nike LunarGlide 6‘s kept me on my feet and helped me push my way through the final leg of my run – which ended up being all uphill because I’m an idiot and didn’t plan a route beforehand.
But, anyways – at least I got it done and got out there to clock in some klms!
The man, the legend – in-house chef Robert Forster.
After my run we spent the day shopping, so needless to say – we worked up quite the appetite! This worked out perfectly because we had a reservation at Weinkeller. The reservations were set for a 5-course meal, set off of a prix fixe menu. I’ll be the first to admit – I can be a wee bit of a picky eater so I was nervous excited to see what options there would be for me. But I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t a single thing I tried that I didn’t absolutely love. Seriously!
Weinkeller is Niagara Falls’ only craft winery (hello!) inside a restaurant. Their fresh farm to table food and in-house wine created an experience that was seriously – AHHmazing. I couldn’t stop raving about the entire meal on Twitter and Instagram while we were eating…and since then, I’ve told anyone who will listen how amazing it was and how I cannot wait to go back.
In-house chef Robert Forster has a passion for what he does and it shows in each and every dish that comes out of his kitchen. He started his career out as a dishwasher and worked his way up to kitchen manager only to realize he knew nothing of actually cooking and preparing a dish – so he headed to the kitchen as an apprentice and has found his passion in cooking! Robert says, “One of the greatest feelings I get now is when I don’t even have to ask a table how their meal was, they look at me a say “that was the best thing I have ever eaten, from start to finish.”” (I said this to him as well after my meal. Hand to God!)
We started with Chicken Parcels, which are individual chicken pot pies dotted with an intense tart aioli and were scrumptious. Yes, I said scrumptious. Herbed mussels topped with parmesan truffle fries were also ordered…I didn’t try the mussels, though was told they were delicious.   Side note: the fries were heavenly! We also ordered an Ontario Peach and Blueberry salad.
Next up was the entree. The big kahuna. The main course. The big cheese…you get the idea. I was torn between ordering a Supreme of Chicken, grilled with woodland mushroom vermoth sauce and the Pork Loin Chop pan roasted with maple mustard. I chose the latter because I have chicken SO often (#wingme) – I thought it would be nice to try something different. And…boy o’ boy – I was not disappointed! The pork loin chop was basically a pork steak. It was massive. Served on the bone with in-house cured mustard seeds…this is THE best pork chop I have ever had in my life. Literally. I’m sitting here and my mouth is salivating thinking of this pork chop. It was so good that I could only share one tiny bite…I wanted the whole thing to myself! LOL
Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly eat another bite…it was time for dessert. And when you are offered a 5-spice Apple Crumble…you just simply do not say no!
The great thing about the 5-course prix fixe menu is that you can substitute a course for a glass of wine! In total, I had 3 courses and 2 glasses of wine! #Winning #Wino
After having some amazing wine with dinner, we decided to stick around for a couple cocktails because we were loving the ambiance so much! Owner and operator, Chris Dobson,  was so passionate about the drink menu!

As you can see…my selfies got a little blurry after the deliciousness that was consumed…

Chris was seriously a blast. He had me laughing obnoxiously throughout the meal every time he came by the table. You could just tell he loved what he did and he loved seeing his guests enjoying their meal. In his own words:

Originally from Vancouver, B.C., I moved to Niagara Falls in 2008 to be near my wife’s family when our second son was born. ‘Happy wife…happy life!’

I have been in hospitality for over 20 years now. I have worked mostly in casual, fresh food restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and urban eateries, and am fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest industry leaders on Canada’s west coast. I was a managing partner at Earls Restaurants (Penticton, B.C., 1990-1995), and give credit to the mentors who shaped who I am today, Alan Merriman and Patrick Munson. I was the general manager at the Roxy Vancouver (Vance Campbell and Brian Peers, Granville Entertainment) from 1998-2002. I know how to fulfill the guest’s needs through indulgence, gratitude and attention to detail. There is nothing better than to see someone discover a new taste or sensation that they didn’t expect. That look… when the eyes close and the guest almost appears to move in slow motion as they truly enjoy that first bite. There is nothing like it!

After our meal I even got behind the bar with these crazy guys for a couple minutes. Don’t worry – I have my SmartServe! Brought back a lot of memories from being a server and bartender!

Maybe I will should get a part time job again? Hmmm…

After dinner it was time to take a stroll down Clifton HillClifton Hill is the main street where most of the tourist attractions are and during the summer is literally filled with tourists. Seeing as this trip was in the dead cold winter…it was a little less busy. The Skywheel is gorgeous at night, all lit up – but I knew we’d be checking it out tomorrow during out “Tourist Day”, so snapping this pic was enough for me that evening!
The Winter Festival of Lights was going on that weekend, so we made our way down to the Falls to check them out. The Winter Festival of Lights is actually on until January 12, 2015 – so you still have time to head down and check them out!
After walking around and checking out the Winter Festival of Lights we decided it was time for a little more (indoor) fun…so we headed to the Fallsview Casino! This could only mean trouble…

I’ll fill you in on all of that in the next post though!

Disclosure: Dinner was provided to me as part of a prize package, however as per usual my views are entirely my own and I really did devour my dinner!

How To Pack For A Weekend Getaway

So, as you may have guessed – I am a big fan of weekend getaways. Considering I have gone on at least five in the past seven months, and have two more lined up for this month…I suppose you could say I like them! LOL I love getting out and discovering hidden gems that are close to home.

How To Pack For A Weekend Getaway
Whenever I go away with someone, it never fails – I’m always asked, “What are you packing? What should I pack?” I think it’s because I have gone on so many weekend getaways and I have gotten the essential packing down to a tee!
When I go away for a weekend, I usually bring the same basics, making minor changes depending on location and occasion. I used to struggle between the two extremes of packing too much (a gal needs options!) and packing too little. But, rest assured, you can make it through a 3-day weekend without having to pack your entire closet – I promise! Of course, you will want to bring enough clothing to get your through all scenarios on your itinerary.
How To Pack For A Weekend Getaway

Be Organized

I am not a fan of clutter. I don’t like seeing piles of stuff everywhere, struggling to find something because it wasn’t put back where it belongs…ugh. Nope, none of that. I’m also not a fan of lose cords everywhere. So to stay organized, I like to put all the cords, batteries and whatnot, for each device in a separate Ziploc baggie. This also helps when you are checking out of the hotel so you can ensure you have everything by filling each Ziploc bag back up. I also like to have all of my travel documents and confirmation numbers handy in one place.

 

Plan Ahead

Plan out your outfits ahead of time for each day. Make a list and check it twice! Have you made reservations for a nice dinner? Be sure to pack accordingly. Packing statement jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets can instantly glam up your look without taking up too much luggage space. Going to be out walking all day? Wear your comfortable shoes while driving to your travel destination so you don’t have to pack them. Save space, and headaches, by packing things that can be worn more than once. For example, jeans can be worn throughout the day exploring, and dressed up for a casual night out.
How To Pack For A Weekend Getaway
Photo Credit: http://thewellorganizedwoman.com/

 

Size Doesn’t Matter

Hotels will provide you with shampoo, conditioner, soap and the bare essentials – but I always pack my own. I’m sure to pack a small Ziploc bag with my travel sized essentials such as hairspray (needed for bangs daily), dry shampoo (see previous bracketed message), shampoo and conditioner as well as facial cleanser and lotion. Packing everything in a zippered bag keeps everything together, and the travel sizes take up little to no space. I also like to pack extra bags in case something leaks.

No Excuses

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should stop with your fitness regime. Pack your runners and a workout outfit and be sure to get those early morning workouts in! I always ensure this is the first thing I pack, so as my bag fills up, I can’t make the excuse to not pack them! LOL

Function and Comfort

As I mentioned, packing clothing options that can be worn more than once is a real space saver. Pack things that are comfortable, especially when going on a road trip. Nothing makes me crankier than being stuck in the car in some uncomfortable jeans for 4 hours. LOL So I always dress, and pack – accordingly. If the plan is to be out walking all day, I always make sure to pack comfortable shoes (or boots in these cold months that are now upon us) and outfit. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Is it going to rain? Pack a small umbrella. Is it going to be cold? Make sure you have your scarf! You get the idea…

Staying Fit and Active While Travelling

Whether you’re travelling for the holidays to see family, taking a weekend road trip, or even heading somewhere hot with sand and sunshine – finding a way to stay active and fit while on vacation can be difficult. It’s very easy to find excuses to not workout, even when you’re not on vacation. Life can be busy and hectic – and making the choice to incorporate health and fitness into your life is a choice you must make – no one else is going to make it for you!

It is even easier to make excuses while travelling. Make excuses to eat more, indulge even more, and exercise even less. Having the mentality of, “I’m on vacation, b**ch!” just doesn’t cut it the older you get because the older you get, the slower your metabolism. The slower your metabolism, the harder it is to burn off those extra pounds you put on while sipping those fruity drinks on the beach and eating all the rich food wherever it is you are visiting.

Side note: If you are going somewhere hot with sand and sunshine and fruity drinks, can you bring me along with you? I’m fantastic fun on vacation, LOL Please and thank you!?

Anyways…travelling should be no reason to not stick with your routine and not hamper all of the progress you’ve made. It is a matter of committing and not making any more excuses. Period.

Here are some easy simple tips for staying fit and active while travelling.

 

Staying Fit and Active While Travelling

Mind The Menu

Eating out while travelling is a given. It’s going to happen. But, you can make healthy choices while eating out. Review the menus and look for healthy alternatives. Grilled as opposed to fried, avoid the fries (easier said than done, I know – trust me!) and opt for veggies, etc. And, yes, we’ve all fallen victim to it. The all-you-can-eat buffet is ever so tempting. It’s so easy, especially when travelling with family or a group of people as there are multiple options to satisfy every ones taste buds. However, try to limit your portions and stay within a reasonable calorie count for the meal/day. Instead of indulging for all three of your meals, maybe only indulge once? It’s all about finding a healthy balance.

Make Water Your New Best Friend

Travelling can be exhausting. #AmIRight? Whether you are flying overseas, or just going on a road trip – it can be draining. One way to keep your energy up is to stay hydrated. Drink so much water you feel like you’re going to explode. Ok, well – that may be a bit much, but you get the idea. Keep a bottle of water on you at all times – especially when you are walking around town (see three points below). Staying hydrated, combined with your early morning workouts – is a sure fire way to give yourself a much needed energy boost!

Pack Accordingly

When packing, ensure you pack your fitness gear. Make sure your runners are packed, along with your workout clothes. If the hotel you are going to be staying at doesn’t have a gym, or if you are going to stay with family without an accessible gym close by – pack a DVD. Throw it on in your room first thing in the morning and work up a sweat! Don’t have an exercise DVD? No problem – download a fitness app and use that. A personal favourite of mine is the Nike Training Club app. It is basically your on-the-go personal trainer with over 100 full body workouts. If the hotel you are staying at has a pool, swimming laps is a great exercise too, so pack that speedo! LOL You can also pack a workout, as in pack some resistance bands and a jump rope and do multiple reps of each. And they take up less room than a hair dryer in your luggage!

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Face it – when you’re on vacation, the days can seem to just fly right by. You’re busy exploring and before you know it – it’s bed time. So – wake up early. Wake up nice and early and make your workout the very first thing you do that day. Before breakfast, before reading the newspaper – before anything else – workout. As I mentioned, early morning workouts are a great energy booster too! Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding time later in the day to schedule your workout in. You can get your workout done first thing in the morning and then have a full day of activities and exploring.

Staying Fit and Active While Travelling

Walk As Much As You Can

I can’t emphasize this enough! Walking is not only a great way to stay active while travelling, but it is also a great way to explore wherever you are visiting! I’m a huge fan of walking, always have been. Blame my childhood because my mother and grandmother both love walking, so when I was a kid – we walked EVERYWHERE. Well, not literally everywhere – but you know what I mean. To the day my 78 year old grandmother walks pretty much everywhere she has to go…and enjoys it! So pack your comfy shoes and start exploring wherever you’re visiting. You may even find some “off-the-map” hidden gems!

What are some of the tips and tricks you use for staying fit and active while travelling?

My Wanderlust Wishlist – Volume Four – Canada

As I am sitting here, planning out my upcoming trips for the rest of the year and into 2015 – I realized that there are still so many places in Canada that I have yet to visit! I haven’t made it out to the East Coast yet, nor even the Nation’s Capital! For shame, I say! For shame! So – I have put together another Wanderlust Wishlist, Canadian edition!
If you have visited any of these places – please share your experiences in the comments! Any suggestions on what to see and do while I’m there (for whenever I finally get there)?

Halifax

Halifax Nova Scotia
Halifax

Halifax is one of those places you just have to visit….or so I have heard! From the infamous “Halifax Donairs” to the beautiful waterfront – Halifax is a sight to be seen. Everything on the East Coast is a bit simpler and slowed down, and from what I hear – the people are incredibly friendly! Did you know Halifax is one of Canada’s fastest growing wine regions? So…I mean, that alone is reason enough I should visit – right? Right.

Calgary

Calgary Alberta
Calgary
When I drove from Vancouver to Toronto – I was lucky enough to stop in Calgary for a night. That one night was not enough! I got there in the late evening, so I was able to walk around a bit, but because I had such an early morning the next day – I didn’t get to explore the city like I want to! Calgary is known for the Stampede – but there is so much more there! An ever-expanding restaurant scene and festivals galore – Calgary is a place I must visit!

Ottawa

Ottawa Ontario
Ottawa

The nation’s capital obviously makes the list. Ottawa is one of those places that would be beautiful to visit anytime of year. So far, my visit to Perth is the closest I have come to Ottawa. I’ll be heading back to the Ottawa Valley next month, actually – and am planning to get up to Ottawa in the new year. I’d love to skate on the Rideau Canal, visit Parliament Hill, ByWard Market, and the beautiful heritage of Somerset Village!

Quebec City

Quebec City Quebec
Quebec City

Bonjour, belle ville! Quebec City is breathtaking. Judging from the pictures, and from what everyone has told me – Quebec City is like a little piece of Europe, right here in Canada. With beautiful cobblestone streets (yay for flats, am I right?) – did you know Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico? Winter activities are abundant in Quebec City and the surrounding areas with many ski and snowboard resorts close by.

 

Pampering at Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama

Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama

After the AMAZING night we had at the Boyz 2 Men concert, we woke up bright and early (ugh!) for a little pampering at the spa at Casino Rama Resort, Balance in Life Spa. We rolled out of ridiculously comfortable beds and had a breakfast of champions – individual pink sparkling wine bottles with fun straws – obvs. After “breakfast” we made our way downstairs to the spa.

Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Balance in Life Spa is a hidden oasis at Casino Rama! You seriously wouldn’t think of it being there – but it is, and it is gorgeous! Not only do they cater to the Casino Rama Resort guests, but a lot of people from Orillia and even Barrie head to the spa for services. With a full range of spa treatments available – Balance in Life Spa is a great escape for some “me-time” and definitely adds another level to your weekend getaway at Casino Rama Resort. I mean, there is only so many penny slots a gal can play, right? LOL
We had scheduled our appointments prior to our trip because Balance in Life Spa is actually quite busy! Though they do offer last minute appointments, I would highly suggest booking ahead of time to ensure you receive the treatments you want. You could arrange for a massage, facial, mani-pedi or even eyelash extension application!

Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Casino Rama Resort also offer some great amenities like an indoor pool with a large outdoor garden patio (weather permitting – obviously). There is also a sauna, hot tub and steam room area as well as an adult-only fitness centre. Having these additional amenities adds to your stay at Casino Rama Resort. These additional amenities really helped sell me on heading up to Orillia, because neither my sister nor I are big gamblers, so having the additional options for things to do while staying at the resort was an added bonus!
That being said – we were only there for 24 hours and did not get the opportunity to actually use these additional amenities. LOL We were too busy learning to play craps and meeting Boyz 2 Men! LOL
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
We did, however – as I mentioned – make our way to the spa for a little pampering. I opted for a much needed manicure and pedicure combo. I would have included a before picture of my nail – but they were so terrible I was afraid that if I took a picture of them I may break my phones camera. #TrueStory
I met with my esthician, Chyvonne and she brought me over to another room. There I picked out my colours and sat down to an amazing manicure. I’m talking full arm massage – the works. I was in heaven. It was the perfect way to spend my morning, possibly nursing a bit of a hangover…LOL
Then…well, then the magic happened. We went to a different room for my pedicure and I was seated in one of the most amazing massage chairs I have ever been in. This chair massaged my neck, my shoulders, my back, my butt, my legs – everything. If I thought I was in heaven before, boy was I wrong! This was heaven! Sipping my green tea (I felt it would have been inappropriate to ask for wine at 10:30am…) I was SO relaxed.
My manicure and pedicure came out lovely as well! I chose OPI Black Onyx for my fingers and OPI Red Hot Rio for my toes. No – you will not see a picture of my toes…I do not like my feet! LOL Just believe me when I say the pedicure came out gorge, ok?

 

Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
Before
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
After
My sister opted for something a little different. She got eyelash extensions! This procedure took over an hour but my sister absolutely loved the outcome! Each and every single eyelash was applied individually by a trained professional. Not only did the extensions add length – they also added volume. She went with the “Full Glam” look and said it was totally worth it. The extension stay on for 6-8 weeks with minor upkeep. Perfect for someone who wants to add that little extra oompf, you know what I mean?
You can see the extreme difference in the before and after pictures above! Don’t they look fab?
Balance in Life Spa at Casino Rama
The great thing about Balance in Life Spa is that, like I said – it makes for the perfect escape for a little “me-time”, or even a couples pampering session! You can bring your friends and have a day at the spa as well. This really adds to the whole experience at Casino Rama Resort and would be an added bonus to arranging a trip up to Orillia, for sure!

Be sure to check out the Casino Rama Resort website for some group packages that can include dinners, spa services and more!

You can learn more about Balance in Life Spa HERE

Disclaimer: Our spa services were complimentary, however – as per usual my views are entirely my own and that massage chair really did work out all the knots in my back!

Boyz 2 Men Concert at Casino Rama Resort

Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
It’s not often that my sister and I get to go out just the two of us, so we decided to make the most of it and get all dolled up for the nights festivities at Casino Rama Resort. We didn’t really plan our outfits together beforehand, but when we unpacked we realized that we both brought pretty much the exact same black dress. LOL We were probably the most dressed up people walking through Casino Rama that night! It didn’t matter though – we were having so much fun! And as my sister said….
“We brought a little Vegas to Orillia! #Fancy”
Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
Growing up, my sister and I were both fans of Boyz 2 Men. Yes, they originally came out a little before our time – but they were still staples of the R&B scene when we were kids. In fact, a few weeks ago while visiting my mother and grandmother, my sister and I came across the old Boyz 2 Men cassette tape we had! So when I was invited to the Boyz 2 Men concert at Casino Rama Resort – I knew there was only one person I had to bring with me!
Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
If you have never been to Casino Rama Resort for a concert – you’re missing out. You purchase your reserved seats, but, if you’re lucky – they also have sections right in front of the stage that you can stand in. We were ushered up to the very front and were practically on stage for the whole concert! I mean, you know you’re close when the performers sweat drips on you. LOL #Gross
When you are that close to the stage, and you’re making eye contact with the performers as they perform – it feels as if they’re putting on the show – just for you. LOL A girl can dream, can’t she?

Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
Above you will see the set list from the concert that was given to me, as well as a rose that was given to me by Nathan as they sang “I’ll Make Love”.

*swoon*

Seriously – I lost my voice that night because I sang along to every single, gosh darn song. LOL And by sing, I of course mean scream at the top of my lungs and fan out like a little school girl.
But I digress…
Boyz 2 Men have been around for over 25 years. While not all members are still with the group – Nathan, Shawn and Wanya are and let me tell you – they put their all into this concert! You could see the chemistry between the three of them and the passion they have for their music and their fans. The group even performed the rock classic “American Woman” which showcased their talent in the non-traditional form they are known for (ballads and acapellas). They also performed the hit Lonestar song, “Amazed“, (an all-time favourite of mine) and told the crowd that that song was originally intended for them – but they passed on it!
Casino Rama Resort Event Concert Venue
After the concert, my sister and I wandered around the casino for a little while. We made some new friends who were playing Craps. Neither of us had ever played before – so we were just watching. We must have brought some good luck, because the couple beside us started winning! The couple was explaining how the game works and then they handed us some chips to play! Who does that?! Anyways – we bet, and won, then bet again and lost it all. Womp womp. That’s when we decided to head up to the room for a bit…
And as we were walking I saw someone that looked familiar. Yup – it was him – Nathan from Boyz 2 Men. How could I forget? He literally just held my hand and sang On Bended Knee to me. LOL So we stopped and chatted with him before he had to go catch his bus because they were heading back on their tour that night. He was incredibly sweet and friendly!
Casino Rama offers a variety of world-class concerts and events all year long. Casino Rama has been home to Boyz 2 Men, Lonestar, Whoppi Goldberg, Tony Bennett, Robin Thicke, Reba McEntire and so many more artists!
I don’t usually fan-out over celebrities…at all. However, I couldn’t stop myself with Boyz 2 Men! LOL I can’t wait to go back up to Casino Rama to catch another concert…or maybe a comedy show? Whoppi IS coming to town on January 10th…

You can learn more about the entertainment venue at Casino Rama HERE

Disclaimer: Our concert tickets were complimentary, however – as per usual my views are entirely my own and I really did lose my voice from watching the amazing show!

Dinner at St. Germain’s at Casino Rama Resort

St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort
With 10 restaurants to choose from at Casino Rama Resort, my sister and I weren’t sure where to have dinner before the Boyz 2 Men concert. After reviewing the website and menus for each, we finally decided on St. Germain’s, a beautiful steak house.
St. Germain’s is more than just a steak house though – it’s “an unforgettable dining experience”. Serving AAA Alberta beef for their Rib-eye, Tenderloin, Striploin and Porterhouse cuts, fresh seafood including salmon, sea bass and Atlantic lobster from the tank, and so much more – there is something for everyone at St. Germain’s.
St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort
St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort
When we arrived for our dinner reservation we were brought to our table. From our table we could see the fresh lobster tank as well as part of the kitchen prep area. When we sat down, our lovely server showed us the iPad from which we could place our drink order. I love when I go to a restaurant that is forward-thinking using technology like this! We scrolled through the many pages of drink options – deciding upon a bottle of white. We got to chatting and drinking and laughing, as we reviewed the menu again for our entree choices. Having already reviewed the menu, we both knew what we wanted – but a second look-over never hurt nobody, right?
St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort

St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort

Neither my sister, nor I, ordered steak. At a steak house – can you believe it? LOL I opted for the Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, substituting the original sides for smashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. I find, the thing with lamb is that it has to be cooked perfectly. I’ve had lamb quite a few times where it wasn’t cooked properly and that ruins the dish. But the Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb from St. Germain’s was amazing. I raved about it as I tweeted and posted pics on Instagram that night – but seriously, this may have been the best lamb I have ever had. And I live near the Danforth and Greek-Town…so think about that! I ordered mine medium-well, as I do not like it bloody or anything like that – and they brought it out with a warm pink center. Perfect. Seasoned perfectly and served on the bone – the lamb practically melted in my mouth.

I’m drooling as I type.

St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort
St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort
My sister decided to order the Atlantic Lobster Tails with Herb Roasted Red Potatoe, Asparagus, Carrots and Drawn Butter. Now, I have to be honest here. I had only tried lobster once or twice prior to heading up to Casino Rama Resort and having dinner at St. Germain’s. My sister however – is a lobster aficionado! LOL She even makes a great lobster at home herself. So I knew when she ordered it – she would be able to provide an honest opinion. And…well, she loved it! I even tried a couple bites and found it to be delicious as well. Not chewy, cooked properly and as you can tell by the above pictures – the lobster tails were HUGE! St. Germain’s has a lobster tank in the restaurant that they take the lobsters from on order, so you know it’s fresh.

St. Germain’s Steakhouse at Casino Rama Resort

We were going to order the Warm Cinnamon Melt dessert however we were STUFFED after our amazing entrees. So, we decide to finish our wine and come back after the concert. However – that didn’t work out because we got a little distracted making new friends oh, and meeting some members of Boyz 2 Men. More about that in the next post though! LOL
Dinner at St. Germain’s was absolutely wonderful and I’m still drooling thinking of that lamb! I’m already trying to plan another trip up to Casino Rama Resort just so that I can go back to St. Germain’s because dinner really was that good!
Maybe I’ll try a steak next time…

You can review the menu for St. Germain’s HERE

You can learn more about St. Germain’s HERE

Disclaimer: Dinner was complimentary, however – as per usual my views are entirely my own and that really was the best lamb I have ever had. *drools*

Casino Rama Resort – A Hidden Oasis in Orillia

Casino Rama Resort
The older we get, it seems – the harder it is to find the time to spend with loved ones. Growing up, my sister and I were extremely close, and we still are to this day, however – it’s getting harder and harder to spend quality time together. With our busy schedules, kids (her – not me, obvs), taking care of our homes etc – it’s not easy to find the time to get away. So, when you’re invited out for a whirlwind 24 hours including a luxurious deluxe suite, concert, dinner and relaxation at a spa – you go! Don’t just go, run! LOL And that’s exactly what I did when I was invited out to Casino Rama Resort, and I dragged my sister along for a mini girls weekend away!
In case you haven’t noticed – I’m a HUGE fan of taking roads trips and discovering new places that can make for great weekend escapes. Casino Rama Resort is located less than 2 hours north of Toronto in Orillia, ON. We opted to take one of the many bus tours that go up to Casino Rama as opposed to driving. The bus ride was where our mini vacay started and let me just say – we had a little too much fun on there! Cracking jokes with each other, and everyone else on the bus helped pass the time, especially when we got stuck behind an accident that made what would have been a 2 hour ride a 4 hour ride!
Casino Rama Resort
Not too shabby of a view, right?
When we walked into Casino Rama Resort and up to the hotel check-in – it honestly felt as though we were not in Orillia. The large foyer with a waterfall and luscious greenery made it feel more tropical, or even a Las Vegas feel! As I mentioned, Casino Rama Resort is located in Orillia, ON surrounded by beautiful farmland which makes for a gorgeous view. See above if you think I’m fibbing!
Casino Rama Resort

Casino Rama Resort
When we got to our deluxe suite, I noticed Casino Rama Resort had left us a lovely surprise! A gift basket filled with delicious goodies! Casino Rama Resort also included a couple wine bottle openers in the gift basket…they sure knew their visitors well because we brought a few bottles up! Obvs. We dug right into the Swedish Berries and nibbled on those as we drank sparkling wine and got ready for the night!

Saving those snacks came in handy later that night when we curled up to watch a movie after our eventful night (stay tuner for the follow-up posts because it was pretty epic!). Even though my sister fell asleep a few minutes into the movie…LOL…I stayed awake and watched the entire thing! We I watched That Awkward Moment and I’m surprised my giggles didn’t wake my sister up because that is one funny movie!

Side note – hello Zac Efron!

Casino Rama Resort
Casino Rama Resort
 Casino Rama Resort
Before we started our night, we obviously had to get ready. The washroom in the suite was stunning with all marble floors and countertops! Seriously, it’s as if they knew two ladies would be there and need ample space to prepare for the epic night ahead! A gorgeous enclosed shower with a separate soaker tub made it a spa-like oasis. The vanity was massive going us plenty of room for all of our makeup, hair care products, perfume, etc. Of course, the multiple (large) mirrors not only in the washroom, but throughout the deluxe suite made for many perfect #selfie stations. I think the #selfie gene runs in the family…sorry sis, but you took more than me! LOL
Casino Rama Resort
With two double, pillow top beds it wasn’t hard to get one of the best nights sleeps I’ve had in a LONG while. That is…when we finally got back to the room! LOL And actually, I really only got a couple hours sleep but because the bed was so comfortable it felt like oh-so-much more! The deluxe suites are furnished with either double beds or a king size bed, extra seating, a 42″ TV and most have a gas fireplace! I turned ours on as soon as we got back to the room and curled up beside it to watch the movie.
Casino Rama Resort
After getting ready and enjoying some wine, we made our way downstairs for dinner and the concert. We were so comfortable in the room it was difficult to leave though! LOL I’m sure glad we did…stay tuned for follow-up posts about the amazing lamb and lobster dinners we had, the Boyz 2 Men concert, the adventures after the concert and the pampering we received at the spa the next day!

I’m seriously already trying to plan another trip up to Casino Rama Resort because I enjoyed it so much!

You can learn more about the hotel at Casino Rama Resort HERE

Disclaimer: My stay at Casino Rama Resort was complimentary, but as per usual my views are entirely my own and that bed really was ridiculously comfortable!