Thursday, September 15, 2022

Vancouver Travel Guide: How to Spend 4 Days in BC

Vancouver is one of Canada’s most picturesque cities - known for its art galleries, restaurants, shops, parks and recreational activities. It is surrounded by sprawling mountains, beautiful lakes and bustling harbours. The locals are friendly, the food is great and there is a hip urban vibe that radiates through each unique neighbourhood – I absolutely love it!

If you are planning a trip to BC and only have a few days to do some sightseeing, this guide highlights some of the best attractions and day trips.

 Transportation / Car Rental

The flight from Toronto to Vancouver is approximately 5 hours and renting a car is one of the best ways to explore. There are many opportunities for memorable road trips and parking is quite reasonable.

We visited Vancouver at the end of September and rental car companies at the airport (including Thrifty, Budget and Dollar) were charging over $1,000 CAD for 4 days which is higher than normal. (Rates vary by season and availability). 

Travel Tip: If you don’t want to purchase car insurance every time you travel, you can obtain coverage for rentals through your personal car insurance provider.

**Important Travel Information: If you plan to rent a vehicle to drive from Vancouver to Whistler from October 1st to Mach 31st along the Sea to Sky Highway, you are legally required to have winter/snow tires. Cars with these tires cost extra and are subject to availability. You must ask for them at the time of booking and SUVs with winter tires are extremely limited.

 

Day One: 

Vancouver to Victoria Island – BC Ferry and Rates

Since our flight arrived early, we decided to spend the first two days in Victoria.

From the car rental company, we drove to the BC Ferry (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay). The ferries carry passengers and vehicles to the island – you can drive your car right onto the boat.

It costs extra to transport a car but I highly recommend it. The drive from the ferry terminal to downtown Victoria is quite lengthy and having a car makes it easier to tour the island.

 Fares:

$17.60 per adult

$59.50 – undersized vehicle + 50 cents fuel rebate

We paid $200.50 round trip - 2 adults + 1 car.

For current prices please refer to the BC Ferry website and schedule.

If you do not book a specific departure time online and you miss the ferry, you may have to wait 30-60 mins for the next one. It takes 90 mins to reach the island but the journey is picturesque. Head to the upper deck and enjoy the ride (you might want to bring snacks).

 Where to Stay on Vancouver Island

Downtown Victoria is the best place to book a hotel on the island because it is centrally located on the harbour.

We stayed at Huntingdon Manor – a gorgeous Victorian hotel known for its glamorous high tea service and tranquil garden. I booked on Expedia for $254.00 CAD per night with breakfast included. Rates may be higher during peak season.

 Things to See and do in Downtown Victoria

 *The Parliament Building

 *Inner Harbour and Victoria Pier – there are many popular fish fry restaurants in this area.

 *Boat Tours

 *Whale Watching Tours – these expeditions start at about $100 per person and take at least half a day so plan ahead.

 *Sea Plane Tours

 *Craigdarroach Castle – Victorian-era Scottish baronial mansion.

Tickets - Adults: $20.60, Kids: $10

 *Royal British Columbia Museum – natural and human history museum founded in 1986. 

Tickets –$5, kids under five are free

 Travel Tip: Superbaba restaurant in downtown Victoria makes fresh, tasty wraps, healthy bowls, soups and salads.

*Fairmont Empress Hotel - a great place for afternoon tea.

 Day Two

On the second day, we woke up early (way before checkout) and spent the morning road-tripping around the island.

 Places to Visit:

 *China Town (makes sure to check out the narrow side alleys)

 Places to Stop on the Victoria Waterfront:

 *Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place for dinner or lunch, especially if you like fresh seafood. The colourful buildings make a vibrant backdrop for photography.

 *Ogden Point Breakwater

 *Finlayson Point

*Snap a photo at the Mile Zero Marker Sign on Douglas Street. This is the start of the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 8,000 km / 4,970 miles. It was formerly the longest uninterrupted highway in the world.

 *Butchart Gardens

If you only visit one attraction in Victoria, I highly recommend Butchart Gardens. It is located in a lush forest and features several exhibits with various themes and styles. The abundance of vibrant flowers, plants and foliage gives the illusion of floating through a magical wonderland. It is simply exquisite!

-Tickets: $36 per person, parking included.

*Sidney Waterfront

Sidney is a cute little beach town with restaurants, shops and water sports. It is a great place to kill time before heading back to the ferry terminal. If you want to grab lunch, check out Maria’s Souvlaki. They make excellent wraps and you can try authentic Greek sodas.

Day Three

After taking the ferry back to Vancouver and relaxing at our hotel, we were ready for our next adventure.

We planned a road trip from Vancouver to Whistler along the famous Sea to Sky Highway – one of the most picturesque roads in Canada. It isn’t as scenic as the Icefields Parkway in Banff, but it is definitely worth checking out.

Before getting onto the Sea to Sky Highway, you will come across one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions – The Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you have an aversion to heights, consider skipping this attraction, otherwise give yourself a couple hours to explore the park.

The bridge is suspended between two cliffs so it sways and bounces in the wind (be prepared if you are prone to motion sickness).

Entrance fee for Capilano Bridge:

Adults: $54.95

Youth: $29.95

Child: $18.95

Senior: $49.95

Parking: $6

 Best Places to Stop Along the Sea to Sky Highway

*Porteau Cove – excellent place to picnic, take photos and use the restroom.

*Brandy Wine Falls

*Alice Lake

*Shannon Falls – Short easy hike from the parking lot.

*Travel Tip: You can hike from Shannon Falls to the Sea to Sky Gondola instead of driving to the lot up the road. The dense, mossy forest makes for a beautiful hike and it is a great way to get your steps in (we did over 12,000 that day).

Sea to Sky Gondola

For one of the most amazing views, take the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish BC. The ride to the summit is exhilarating – a vertical climb up steep rocky mountains. If you don’t like heights, this probably isn’t for you. It was a bit terrifying but totally worth it!

- Gondola ticket price: $56 per person.

Once you reach the summit, there is a cliffside cafe with an incredible view, another suspension bridge (free to cross), several scenic hiking paths and lookout points. Follow the map provided with your ticket to make the most of your time. You’ll probably need 1-2 hours.

Whistler

Whistler Village is a charming little town where the athletes stayed during the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and has a variety of shops, restaurants, ski resorts and luxury chalets. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is about 1 hour and 38 mins but expect traffic delays.

We visited in autumn so the village was awash with fall colours.

*Lost Lake (near Whistler Village) – parking is limited.

Day Four

We did quite a bit of driving on this trip, so our last day was dedicated to touring the city on foot.

Places to Visit in Vancouver

*Granville Island Public Market was our first stop of the day. Parking is only $1 per hour but space is limited so try to arrive before lunch.

The market is a great place to get fresh produce and treat yourself to a cup of decadent ice cream at Soft Peaks. The marina is located in the heart of the city with a wonderful view of the skyline. Grab some tasty food and find a seat outside to enjoy the scenery. Most days there are live musical performances.

After lunch, take a leisurely stroll around the boardwalk, do some shopping or embark on a sightseeing cruise.

In the food court I tried a yummy pizza slice and shared a big taco bowl with my husband.

Another great place to enjoy the skyline is Longsdale Quay. There are bars and restaurants right on the water, an indoor food market and a patio/boardwalk where you can see the entire city.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions. It is a wonderful place to spend the day and picnic.

The park is expansive so below I've listed a few of the best ways to explore:

*Rent a bike and cycle around the Seawall on the perimeter of the park.

*Walk around the seawall and enjoy the beaches.

*If you don’t have the energy to walk or bike, get a free park map from the information booth or use Google Maps on your phone to pinpoint scenic spots around the Seawall and throughout the park you can drive to. On Goggle Maps places of interest are marked with a camera icon.

 Places to Stop in Stanley Park

*Prospect Point Lookout is one of my favourite attractions. There is a stunning view of Lionsgate Bridge (Vancouver’s version of the Golden Gate Bridge).

 *Siwash Rock

*Tea House & Ferguson Point

*Brock Point Lighthouse

*Totem Poles

Gastown

Gastown is known for its whistling Steam Clock, indie art galleries, Victorian architecture, trendy restaurants, bars and lounges. Parking in the impark lot near Steamworks Brewing Co. is $12 per hour.

If you want to shop till you drop, Robson Street is the place to do so! There are hundreds of stores and restaurants to choose form.

The Richmond Street Market opens at 7 pm – 12 am Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer months. Because of its growing popularity we decided stop by. Parking is available but the lot fills up quickly and there is usually a long line of people waiting to get in. Make sure to arrive early.

- Entry fee is $5 per person which includes parking.

Once inside, you will find a few rows of food vendors selling Chinese/Asian street food and cheap flea market goods. Many of the dishes are deep fried and there is a lot of seafood (which I’m not a fan of). The quality and variety of food was not impressive so I left shortly after arrival.

La Casa Gelato is a fun family owned ice cream shop located on the outskirts of town. They offer 238 different flavours of gelato and many are quite unique!

Some of the unusual flavours include: nori, garlic, smoked salmon, wasabi, durian, roasted red pepper and feta, purple yam, maple bacon and corn cheddar.

You can also get normal flavours like cherry, mint chocolate, Fererro, almond, pumpkin, apple and blueberry.

We had an amazing time in Vancouver. The city is surrounded by nature and most of the locals are friendly and polite. I look forward to visiting again soon.

You can follow my food and travel adventures on Instagram - @DiaryofaTrendaholic 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Mary Kay Collagen and Antioxidant Daily Supplements - For Healthy Skin and Hair

Aging is a natural, beautiful process but environmental and lifestyle factors play a key role in the changes our bodies go through. 

Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the body, providing strength and structure for connective tissue. It is essential to the healthy functioning of skin, blood vessels, muscle, tendon, ligaments, bone and the digestive system.
Unfortunately, collagen production peaks in our early 20’s and declines as we age. Gradual and constant collagen loss eventually weakens elastin and may lead to wrinkles, loss of firmness, sagging, dryness and even weak joints. Some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements can repair and regenerate connective tissue which has incredible anti-aging effects on the skin. 

Mary Kay’s new Marine Collagen ($60) is gluten-free and has no artificial flavors. The powder is easy to incorporate into your daily routine by mixing it in smoothies, juice or other beverages. I like using a blender so the texture is smooth but it tastes pretty good and the scent reminds me of sweet berries with a hint of vanilla. The “marine” part of the formula is hidden quite well although I can detect a faint trace of it.
Each serving contains 3 g of collagen and the benefits include decreased visibility of wrinkles, lines and crows feet, facial toning, firmness, resiliency and radiance. It is recommended that you take the supplement daily or every other day for at least 5 months to see visible results. 

Mary Kay’s Antioxidant Capsules ($40) are formulated to protect the skin from free radicals and daily stressors. The gluten-free, vegetarian pills contain botanical antioxidants, resveratrol, grape seed extract, zinc and vitamins A, C and E.
When combined with your daily skincare routine, these supplements help maintain the health and vitality of your skin and body. You’ll look and feel great! For orders and information, visit marykay.ca

 **Consult a physician before taking any vitamins or supplements.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Christmas is next week and I’m excited to celebrate. We have all survived another year of the pandemic and deserve to have a happy holiday season with the people we love, delicious food and great gifts. 

If you still have some shopping to do, you’ve come to the right place! This year’s guide features luxurious pampering products and delicious treats your friends, family, spouse and co-workers will love!
Let’s kick things off with intoxicating fragrance. For the ladies on your list one of the hottest scents of the season is Very Good Girl Eau de Parfum by Carolina Herrera ($130.00 / 50 ml).
This seductive perfume is infused with fruity florals, red currant, lychee, rose, lily, vanilla, bourbon and vetiver. The aroma is soft, sophisticated, iconic, feminine and irresistible – great for daytime and evenings out. 

Very Good Girl comes in a sexy red stiletto bottle and is available at Shoppers Drug Mart

The men on your list will love Aqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani ($95 / 50 ml). This classic cologne has notes of citrus, marine, bergamot and cedar wood for a refreshing, earthy, masculine scent that is perfect for any occasion. (Available at Shoppers Drug Mart).
Whether you are hosting a holiday party or invited to one, a beautiful charcuterie is something everyone will enjoy. 

My favorite charcuterie in Toronto is Star Fusion Eats. Their gourmet grazing box is beautifully designed and makes a thoughtful hostess gift. 

The company uses premium meat, fresh herbs, ripe fruit, real flowers and an assortment of high quality cheese, jam, honey and desserts. They even bake their own bread! Vegetarian, vegan, keto and halal options are available and you can customize your order.

This gorgeous box retails for $75 at starfusioneats.com.
Pampering self-care products are always appreciated, especially during the winter when cold weather wreaks havoc on your skin and people spend more time indoors. 

7th Heaven has fabulous gift sets featuring their bestselling vegan, cruelty-free masks enriched with natural botanical extracts. 

The Beauty Box of Treats ($24.21) comes with a keepsake box, 1 cleansing cloth and 8 face masks – Dead Sea Peel, Pink Guava, Green Tea, Dead Sea Mud, Strawberry Cream, Pink Cactus, Cucumber and Black Clay Charcoal. (Available at amamzon.ca)
This year I’m giving my bestie the 7th Heaven Superfood Set ($16.95) which comes with a linen toiletry bag, plush body sponge and four of my favorite masks – Avocado Clay, Matcha & Chai Clay, Blueberry Mud and Canabis Sativa. The essential oils and fruit extracts cleanse, purify, soften and replenish blemished skin. (Available at shophali.com).
For stocking stuffers, Shoppers Drug Mart’s Life Brand offers budget-friendly options like this Revitalizing Sheet Mask for just $3. 

The Face It Makeup Remover Cloth ($12.50) is eco-conscious and reusable. Simply add cleanser, mix with water and lather up to eliminate dirt, oil and impurities. (Available at shophali.com).
I love receiving sweet treats during the holidays and What’s Poppin Elle makes some of the BEST gourmet popcorn in Canada! 

What makes this popcorn unique (and highly addictive) is the taste, texture and quality. The big fluffy kernels are perfectly coated and the mouth-watering caramel is fresh and crunchy so it never sticks in your teeth. The sweetness is well balanced and the flavors are delicious!
The Holiday Box retails for $27 and includes: Vegan Coconut Salted Caramel, Nutella Caramel and OG Salted Caramel mixed with pretzels and crunchy Cheetos. If you place an order make sure to try the OG Salted Caramel Pretzels. They are one of the best snacks you’ll ever eat!

Visit the website at whatspoppinbyelle.com (pick-up in Oakville Ontario).
I couldn’t write a gift guide without featuring one of my favorite skincare products by Estee Lauder. Advanced Night Repair Serum is a bestseller worldwide. The formula works wonders on wrinkles but I use it to moisturize, renew and boost radiance.
Enriched with 8-hour antioxidant power and a 72 hour hydration complex derived from hyaluronic acid, it strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier while firming, plumping and reducing the appearance of pores. After a few weeks skin appears smooth, supple and clear. 

The 3-piece Youth Generating Gift Set ($128) includes a full-size serum (30 ml) and two deluxe travel size serums (15 ml ea) so you can keep one and gift the others to friends. Estee Lauder is available at esteelauder.ca, Sephora and department stores nationwide. 

It Cosmetics is another one of my go-to brands and I think everyone on your list (men and women) will benefit from using the Bye Bye Lines Concentrated Derma Serum this winter. The lush vitamin-rich formula contains 1.5% hyaluronic acid and powerful peptides to smooth fine lines, plump and deeply hydrate all skin types (even the most sensitive). It was developed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons and retails for just $35. (Available at Shoppers and itcosmetics.ca).
For those looking for a raunchy gift or couples who want to spice things up, Lelo makes high-end adult toys that enhance intimacy, relieve stress and increase the libido. 

Their newest innovation is the Enigma ($269.10) – a luxurious sonic massager designed to simultaneously stimulate her inner and outer erogenous zones for mind-blowing pleasure.
The internal flexible arm provides ultra powerful vibrations while external waves create rhythmic flutters in all the right places. 

I like that Leo’s products are high-tech, ergonomic and not designed to look phallic. They also come in a range of beautiful colors. 

This device has 8 different settings and is made with soft waterproof silicone for easy cleaning. It comes with a 1 year warranty, USB charging cord, satin storage pouch and detailed instructions. The company also offers discrete shipping. This is one gift that keeps on giving. She’ll love it! Visit lelo.com for more details. 

Another way to relax and unwind after a long day is by taking a warm shower. The next few products will definitely make your spa day more enjoyable. 

The Alo Fruits and Passions Shower Gel ($19.99) is great for gift baskets or secret Santa. The bottle is huge (950 ml) and the formula is biodegradable. It contains vitamins to keep skin healthy and the scent is clean and refreshing. (Available at avon.ca)

The Avon Senses Shower Gels ($9 ea) make great stocking stuffers and I always buy a few extra for myself. The hooked bottles are easy to hang in the shower which is also ideal for travel.
For those who prefer long comforting baths, the cute Bubble-t Rainbow Macaron Bath Fizzers ($10.99) are designed to replenish moisture. These colorful little pastries smell like lime, orange, strawberries, raspberries, jasmine and creamy vanilla. Your friends will love them! (Available at shophali.com).
The ladies in my family receive a Quo Pull Cracker in their stockings every year! The six pack retails for just $15 and each one contains a sheer mini gloss that keeps lips soft and hydrated. (Available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart).
Continuing with stocking stuffers, the Invisibobble traceless hair bands are available in festive packaging. I wear these all the time because they look cute on my wrist and don’t yank, break, dent or damage my hair. If they ever stretch out simply apply some heat from your blowdryer until they shrink back to their original shape. Unlike traditional hair bands and scrunchies, they don’t trap sweat, moisture, bacteria or odor. 

The candy cane set ($15) comes with 10 pink and white clear rings while the Crayola set for kids includes 10 minis. Invisibobble is available at Pharmaprix, London Drugs, Shoppers, walmart.ca, shophali.com and well.ca.
If you’re looking for the perfect couples gift, Ginza Stefany has released his and hers fragrances inspired by eternal love and forbidden passion. 

In My Arms ($58) is the feminine scent which features notes of black currant, gardenia and sparkling peach. It is light, fresh and sweet – great for women of all ages. 

Wish You Were Here ($58) contains sweet hawthorne berry, juicy pear and sensuous patchouli. It smells clean, alluring and masculine. You can find these at avon.ca
The makeup junkies on your list will love the Quo All The Glitz Brush Set ($25). It comes with a gold canister and six sparkly travel-size synthetic cruelty-free brushes for the eyes and face. (available at Shoppers).
It was difficult to narrow down my top hair care products of the year but I decided to go with a brand I used all summer – Sebastian Twisted. 

The Curl Magnifier is my absolute favorite for maintaining shape and bounce while managing frizz but the entire line caters to the health of waves and spirals. 

The styling spray holds hair in place without crunch or residue while the conditioner and mask treatment softens, moisturizes, strengthens and detangles. These products will leave your curls shiny and smooth. You can find them at amazon.ca, Chatters and Trade Secrets.
Give the gift of a trendy holiday manicure with Bio Sculpture’s nourishing “ten-free” polish. The lacquers are formulated with a seaweed calcium base, UV filter, multivitamins and plant-based hardening agents derived from aloe, lemon and ginseng. They are also vegan, cruelty-free and do not contain harmful chemicals. 

The two shades seen here are 212 Jewelled Opulence and 278 Casablanca. This set retail for $29.98 at biosculpturenails.com
Happy Holidays!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...