Do GoToobs deserve a spot in your toiletry bag?
Cute travel gear? Yep, I find it just about irresistible - and I have an entire dresser drawer filled with my impulse purchases over the years. I'd rather a new suitcase than new shoes and I'd always pick shopping for packing cubes over clothing! That dresser drawer tells the tale of a hundred trips and a million ideas. Yet only half a dozen or so products make my list of essential gear.
Things that seemed like a great idea in the airport never live up to their claims and the hyped up products in the travel supply catalog are rarely worth their weight and suitcase space. And I find that the more I travel, the pickier I get. I've been traveling with GoToob refillable toiletry containers now for nearly a year and I'm still finalizing my opinion on them. Are they essential gear or just pretty impostors? Here's what I've discovered after a few thousand miles.
"This market feels like home"
The owners of Booch Organic Kombucha don't look like your typical farmers' market vendors. They haven't been tending a farm for decades, nor were they up at dawn to pick bushels of tomatoes. But, like their fellow vendors at the London (Ontario) Covent Garden Farmers' Market, Shannon and Shawn are highly passionate about their product.
In their case, that product is kombucha. Kombucha, for those who don't know (and that included me until recently), is a lightly effervescent, fermented tea beverage that uses bacteria and yeast in the fermenting process. And at Booch, organic produce is employed to create incredible flavor combinations.
Their homemade kombucha is just one of the many diverse products that are part of the market's "grow it, raise it, make it, bake it" philosophy. And while Shannon and Shawn have only been in business for a few months, they're the embodiment of all that's fantastic about this market: they are committed, ambitious, welcoming, and hold themselves to a high standard.
While kombucha was admittedly one of the more unusual items we found at the Covent Garden Farmers' Market, we were still eager taste testers - just as we had been at so many other booths! Here are some more of the people and products that inspired us.
From live Maine lobster to the ultimate indulgence - a lobster roll crawl - coastal Maine is an incredible foodie destination.
Who says you can't eat like a prince and pay like a pauper - even in Maine, where lobster is king? The locals' favourite, the traditional New England lobster roll, is royally delicious - and immensely affordable. Live Maine lobster market prices are fair but lobster rolls are even more economical. For less than $20 (and sometimes as low as $10) you can enjoy a generous sandwich and tasty sides, all for a fraction of the cost of a boiled lobster dinner.
But while everyone in Maine loves lobster rolls, there's little consensus on what makes a great one. Everyone has a strong opinion about the bread, the sauce, and the flavors. I had to learn more for myself and so I set out on the inaugural "Lobster Roll Crawl" organized by the Cliff House Resort, one of my favourite places to stay in Maine.
Indulge your inner foodie at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.
Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co is one of those places where you walk in and everything in your head just screams "YES"! This small dairy, producing artisan cheese from local milk in Prince Edward County, Ontario, is the embodiment of everything I love in a culinary destination - and its accreditation (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) makes visiting even sweeter.
My tour (and tasting!) at Fifth Town was a highlight of the Blogcation Retreat I helped organize in Prince Edward County. But before I even sampled any of their signature cheese, I was distracted by many other tasty offerings. The shelves at Fifth Town are lined with the usual jams and jellies, as well as more scintilating offerings like lemon pesto (that one came home with me) and truffle honey. There's also fine imported pasta from Italy along with jars of ruby red sauces (a few of those came home with me too!). As far as gourmet groceries go, the space is small but the selection is mighty. But all of this is just the prequel, as nothing can compare to their cheese!
You save money and meet locals - but is couchsurfing right for everyone? Guest author and world traveler Claudia weighs in.
Internationally acclaimed as a must for travelers on a tight budget and as great way to get an insider's perspective of the country visited, I decided to give couchsurfing a try for the first time when I left for my big trip across Latin America.
I heard some great stories, and was ready to find out what it was all about. I was ready for some bad experiences too, and those were not missed. Indeed, I have had my share of good and bad experiences, where the bad was so bad that I have even wondered if couchsurfing was for me at all!
The best of Canadian artists are on stage at Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards
“I’m very attracted to exploring…what makes us tick in our deepest hearts. To me, art - the creating of it - in whatever form, is something you aspire to. It’s something that you keep wanting to achieve.” – Diana Leblanc
Traveling and art go hand-in-hand. If you want to learn more about a culture and its people, what better way than to immerse yourself in the arts? Through various mediums – dance, music, film, theatre – we learn the stories of a people; their history, values, conflicts and dreams.
My husband and I are avid patrons of Canadian film, music and television – our bucket list of artists we want to see has grown in recent years. In our travels throughout Canada we have always sought out the local music scene, and my favourite thing to do in larger cities is score tickets to musical theatre!
Here's what's making June a happy month for me.
The Blogcation Retreat was a smash success!
Photography, food, friendship - this pretty much sums up the awesomeness that was the first Blogcation Retreat. Leading such a group of fantastic bloggers was a hugely rewarding experience and we couldn't have asked for a better location than the Towers Manor house in Prince Edward County. It was so inspiring to work with the local entrepreneurs of the region and I think we truly accomplished our goals of rejuvenating our minds, bodies,and blogs!
Prince Edward Island is the "gentle island" - but it's anything but sleepy! Read about our top recommendations for travel to Prince Edward Island.
One of the first trips I ever took was as a little girl on a family vacation to Prince Edward Island - and I've loved the island ever since. It's compact enough that you can explore it thoroughly in a short amount of time yet large enough that it can keep you intrigued and entertained for a long time.
I take every opportunity I can to go back to visit and I think it's the perfect place to spend a week - or even just a spare afternoon. And best of all? It's incredibly affordable. You'll find fantastic value throughout the island, especially when you do some of my favourite things.
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