Friday, April 17, 2015

18 REASONS YOU NEED TO TRAVEL TO HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA NOW





After a quick jaunt to San Francisco, we drove into Healdsburg, a mere 2 hour drive away and stopped for a quick Greek lunch at Taverna Sofia including tzatziki, baba ghanoush and hummus and a lamb gyro salad with greek olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, feta cheese and cucumbers.



A look at downtown Healdsburg on a quiet morning walk - the best way to enjoy the city.



City Style and Living Magazine (CSL) hiked the 5-mile Half-a-Canoe Loop trail around Lake Sonoma. The blue lake and rolling hills reminded us of being in the alps.



On a busy lunch day at Costeaux bakery CSL enjoyed a quick bite. You must try the bread here, it is crisp, chewy and delicious!



Chickens (who lay blue eggs no less) at Alexander Valley Vineyards amongst the vines.



We had the privilege of talking with Katie Wetzel Murphy of Alexander Valley Vineyards, sampling
wine straight from the cask to distinguish between American and French oak.



CSL stayed at the beautiful European style Relais and Chateaux Hotel Les Mars. Our grand king room with mahogony armoire and furnishings, marble shower and fireplace was tres Parisienne!



Prosciutto, arugula and parmesan served at Baci cafe and wine bar owned by husband and wife, Lisbeth Holmefjord and Shari Sarabi. CSL enjoyed delicious fresh and vibrant Italian style cuisine - the highlight was a fall off the bone lamb shank with sauteed wild mushrooms served on creamy polenta.



A happy worker at Dragonfly floral.The organic flower farm in Dry Creek Valley is breathtakingly beautiful with 1500 roses, and a variety of plants used in floral arrangements.



We had to be pulled away from the sumptuous array of fresh roses at Dragonfly Floral (can you believe the colour of these beauties?), just in time to join our very own floral arranging class.



A view from above at J Vineyards.



A standout cheese plate (domestic and international) at J Vineyards. CSL sipped a selection of Pinot Noir and Sparkling wine in the bubble room.



At Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, the giant redwood and sequoia are majestic. Though the park was busy with visitors there is still a serene peace and quiet in the park.



A view from below, looking high above at the Redwoods.



Fresh oysters being shucked at the bar at Willi's Seafood and Raw bar. CSL enjoyed an array of delicious seafood including flash fried calamari with orange chili gremolata, crudo platter (tuna tartare, halibut ceviche and charred rare ahi) as well as dungeness crab cakes with meyer lemon tartar sauce and bacon wrapped scallops with tamarind bbq.



A mouth watering lobster roll at Willi's Seafood and Raw bar in downtown Healdsburg.



Sisters Victoria (winemaker) and Sydney of Wilson Winery and Soda Rock Winery.



The view from Soda Rock Winery, and bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. We enjoyed a picnic lunch (how a propos) and chatted with Victoria.



CSL enjoyed a farewell dinner at Simi Winery. Chef Kolin Vazzoler, prepared an interactive, fresh mozzarella cheese making class before preparing a multi-course dinner that was stellar- beginning with an asparagus salad with lemon, kumquat, radish and egg served with SIMI's 2014 Sauvignon Blanc followed by stuffed pappardelle, ricotta, fava and peach shoots served with the 2012 Russian River Valley reserve chardonnay and ending with an opera cake with honey ice cream served with a sweet 2013 SIMI Russian River special select late harvest chardonnay. Chef Vazzoler showed a deft touch, and refined technique to create a truly memorable and outstanding sendoff.

City Style and Living Magazine (CSL) is just back from laid back and cool Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California.

Sipping a glass or two of wine, watching the gentle breeze whisper over the green vines with rolling hills in the background was how we spent several days. But don't think Healdsburg is just for wine lovers, there is plenty of shopping, hiking, biking and restaurants to fill your days here with plenty to see, do and enjoy.

Healdsburg's quaint downtown is easily accessible by walking and the main square is a relaxing place to people watch.

Look out for more on Healdsburg California in an upcoming issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

***A friendly reminder, all photography on City Style and Living Magazine, Facebook Page, Twitter, website and Blog are copyright 2014 K&S Media. Please do not use elsewhere without the written consent of City Style and Living Magazine. Thank you kindly!

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT K&S MEDIA 2015

You may visit the New Spring 2015 issue of City Style and Living magazine (also available in print) at the following address (follow the three simple steps to access the full magazine, online) :

1) go to http://www.citystyleandliving.com 
2) click on the 'front cover' image, on the left hand side of your screen
3) to flip through the e-magazine, click on the bottom right hand corner
of the magazine, just as you would our print magazine!
Follow us on twitter @CityStyleMag
Follow us on Instagram @CityStyleMag

Thursday, April 2, 2015

HOW TO SAVE FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION AND GET THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME



/K&S Media.
Some of the best travel memories come from experiences.  CSL recently went to a pastry making class in Austria.  We had heard all about the Linzer torte growing up but had never tasted or made an authentic torte.  There are countless recipes out there but master baker Fritz Rath the fifth generation baker and owner of K.u.k-Hofbäckerei guided us through a simple class.  Not only did we end up with a delicious torte but we learned about the culture, culinary tradition and regional specialties of Upper Austria.  It was the sort of travel experience you just can’t find in a guidebook.  

 We’re not alone in craving this sort of travel (dreaming of a yoga retreat in India or a wine tasting class in Italy?).  According to a recent TD survey a number of Canadians are interested in embarking on an experiential trip that pursues new adventures or personal interests but they think these types of vacations will cost more.  In fact, more than half (62 per cent) of Canadians are likely to consider going on an experiential vacation if they could find ways to save on cost.  

So how can you do this? TD Canada Trust has some tips on how to help make experiential vacations affordable such as using travel loyalty rewards and creating a vacation savings account.
“A lot of people think experiential vacations cost more than ordinary vacations, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Christine Hunter, Vice President, TD Credit Cards. “It all depends on where you want to go and what you want to do, but you can always find ways to help you save that could make your trip more affordable.” Here are four easy tips to follow that can help you save for an experiential vacation:


1. Know how much to save: Calculate the full cost of the trip, including all associated costs, such as transportation, accommodation, transfers, tips, activities, meals and travel insurance.

2. Create a vacation savings account: Have full sight of your expenses - through a monthly credit card statement for example - to identify where day-to-day savings can be made. Then put those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account, which can grow into a nice holiday fund. For example, saving $25 a week can generate $1,300 in a year to spend on your vacation. It helps to start saving as early as possible.

3. Look for free or inexpensive activities: Research prices online and see if savings can be made by booking activities before reaching your vacation destination.

4. Use your loyalty travel rewards to help save on travel costs: Use a travel rewards card to pay for all of your everyday purchases, and then redeem the loyalty travel rewards earned on those purchases to help reduce the overall cost of the trip. Remember, to benefit fully from using any credit card, pay the balance on time and in full.

***A friendly reminder, all photography on City Style and Living Magazine, Facebook Page, Twitter, website and Blog are copyright 2014 K&S Media. Please do not use elsewhere without the written consent of City Style and Living Magazine. Thank you kindly!

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT K&S MEDIA 2015

You may visit the New Spring 2015 issue of City Style and Living magazine (also available in print) at the following address (follow the three simple steps to access the full magazine, online) :

1) go to http://www.citystyleandliving.com 
2) click on the 'front cover' image, on the left hand side of your screen
3) to flip through the e-magazine, click on the bottom right hand corner
of the magazine, just as you would our print magazine!
Follow us on twitter @CityStyleMag
Follow us on Instagram @CityStyleMag

Monday, March 16, 2015

35 JAW-DROPPING PHOTOS FROM VILLA DEL PALMAR BEACH RESORT AND SPA AND THE ISLANDS OF LORETO, MEXICO


A beautiful hand cleansing ceremony to welcome guests to Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto to allow your mind to be free of stress.

 

A view of the turtle shell like pool from CSL's suite at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa

 

Another view of the entrance to Villa Del Palmar.  The hotel is set within Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortez on the Baja California Peninsula.


All of the staff are friendly, including Luis (pictured here at restaurant Casa Mia at Villa del Palmar),
serving up a mango margarita.


Baja cuisine is all about the fish taco!  Here, CSL enjoyed a selection of seafood tacos served with guacamole, cabbage slaw and pico de gallo (and of course an amazingly refreshing cucumber margarita with a hint of chile).

 
Every night features themed entertainment at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, CSL's fave?  Mexican night featuring traditional dances from different regions of Mexico


A view of the Presidential suite at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Island of Loreto.
Courtesy Dr. Rookmin Maharaj.
  There are plenty of activities and things to do at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, including ocean kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. We took these kayaks including some glass bottomed ones to a nearby island.

Loreto is known for the delicious chocolate clams, prized for the clean and sweet flavour.  Here, a few feet from Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto fresh chocolate clams are served ceviche style.


Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Island of Loreto offers an array of excursions and cruises.  CSL enjoyed several during our stay including a cruise to Coronado Island. There is plenty of birding, and we even caught a glimpse of blue footed boobies (rare birds traditionally seen only on the Galapagos Islands). See if you can spot them in this photo.

Courtesy Dr. Rookmin Maharaj.
Coronado  Island  is home to some great snorkel spots, white sand beaches and a sea lion colony.


When we arrived at Coronado Island, there was barely a soul in site, and the crystal clear water was breathtaking.

A look at restaurant Casa Mia at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto (one of many dining options at the resort).


There are three restaurants at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, including Danzante, a steakhouse and seafood restaurant with a Mexican flare serving dishes like this poached shrimp appetizer with jalapeno and cucumber salad.


Sabila Spa at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto is a beautiful and spacious spa offering tons of treatments.  CSL enjoyed a teaser massage and spent a few mornings catching up on excercise at the jaw dropping gym.

A look at the flora and fauna, all around the resort.


Want to feel like you are immersed in the outdoors?  The glamping tent is a cute option for outdoor enthusiasts who also want a bit of luxury.


Gualberto serves up margaritas, and strawberry daquiris outside of Danzante restaurant.


Established in 1697, the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchóthis was the earliest successful mission in Baja California.


The malecon in Loreto is a nice place for a leisurely stroll and to enjoy the ocean view.


A look at one of the shops in downtown Loreto displaying colourful goods.


A  gentleman sits outside of his shop, selling ceramics on a quiet afternoon in downtown Loreto.


We are enthralled by all of the bright colours downtown.


 Relaxing by the pool at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto.

Courtesy Dr. Rookmin Maharaj.
The boardwalk to the beach at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto.


A look at sister property, Hotel Santa Fe at The Islands of Loreto located in downtown Loreto.  This is a great place for families (and deep sea fishing enthusiasts) with easy walking access to shops and restaurants.


A look at the city of Loreto from the penthouse suite at Hotel Santa Fe at The Islands of Loreto

Courtesy Dr. Rookmin Maharaj.
The spectacular sunset at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, with views of the desert and cactus.


A gentleman holding a xylophone walks near the Mission in Loreto.


A look at the iconic hedged trees in downtown Loreto.


A vendor sells candies and other treats in downtown Loreto.


A perfectly framed landscape from our balcony at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto.


A vision in the desert, Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto.  (A view from the soon to be completed golf course).


  On the sunset wine and cheese cruise, we were fortunate to see a handful of humpback whales (sightings of grey whales and blues whales are also common in the area during the season and we caught a glimpse of these on another boat excursion), including this beauty.


City Style and Living Magazine (CSL) just back from the islands of Loreto in Mexico.  With weekly flights from West Jet (not to mention a short 3.5 hour flight), escaping the winter is easy.

Located in Baja California, Loreto is a jewel.  Quiet, laid back but with tons of activities, this is authentic Mexico at its best. In fact, Jacques Cousteau referred to Loreto as “The Aquarium of the World"- and with the diversity of sea life (including Blue whales, dolphins, starfish, tropical fish, sea lions and birds), this is a nature lovers paradise.
CSL stayed at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, a beautiful 'million star' resort (referring to the ample stargazing opportunities here).  Want to catch up on those long lost zzz's?  Sit on your balcony or in one of the hammocks overlooking the beach and let the island breeze pass over you.  Want to learn to paddleboard? The calm waters will make you stay out for hours.  Want to dine of fresh seafood, and Mexican favourites?   Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto has an array of restaurants that will please the pickiest eater.  And the people?   Friendly, helpful and courteous, CSL has made more than a few new friends.

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa is set to open a golf course, another hotel and additional villas
in the coming years.

We say, hop on a plane and discover this tranquil retreat.  Look out for more on this in the Summer 2015 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

***A friendly reminder, all photography on City Style and Living Magazine, Facebook Page, Twitter, website and Blog are copyright 2014 K&S Media. Please do not use elsewhere without the written consent of City Style and Living Magazine. Thank you kindly!

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT K&S MEDIA 2015

You may visit the New Spring 2015 issue of City Style and Living magazine (also available in print) at the following address (follow the three simple steps to access the full magazine, online) :

1) go to http://www.citystyleandliving.com 
2) click on the 'front cover' image, on the left hand side of your screen
3) to flip through the e-magazine, click on the bottom right hand corner
of the magazine, just as you would our print magazine!
Follow us on twitter @CityStyleMag
Follow us on Instagram @CityStyleMag

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