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Coffee Shop Le Falco in Montreal & Ways to make most of your day trips


hello Darlings, 

Just passing by to share some pictures of a date we had while in Montreal this summer along with some tips on how to make most of a date day, either with your significant other or with your friends. Meet Le Falco, both an industrial and cozy coffee shop that makes your coffee drinking experience unique and so delicious. 




If you have never visited Montreal, I hope you plan to very soon because it has a wide array of choices for food, amazing coffee shops, and entertainment. The plan was to go on a coffee shop tour, right after my husband left to go back home (I was staying a few extra days), but luckily his flight was cancelled and he got to stay 3 more days so we were able to enjoy the city together for longer. 





When planing a date day in a city we are traveling to, here are some of the elements we consider that can help you get the most out of it: 

Plan a tentative schedule and itinerary 
It is good to plan a flexible schedule. You don't want to make it rigid and stressful but more like a guideline that will help you stay on track in case you run out of ideas. For example, plan to go to the places that close earlier first with your meals based on your eating preferences and leave for later the things that have a more flexible schedule. It is also good to plan your transportation (check the weather ahead of time) in addition to how you will procure cash in the correct currency, and finally an average of how much you want to spend  There's nothing more annoying than losing part of your day meant for fun on planning how to actually get to the fun. 

Note: Allow room for spontaneity, after all, you are doing this to have fun and to make memories. 





Carry only what is necessary 
In my bag I usually carry (for summer or fall outings) a small bottle of water, a snack, my iphone, my DSL camera, a lip balm, small tube of sunblock that doubles as a hand cream, cash, a pair of flip-flops or cute flats and something to layer like a lightweight kimono. I also wear comfortable shoes but if they ever get uncomfortable for some reason I use my change of shoes. 

Note: I usually share my load with my companion. I usually let them carry the camera and an umbrella. Is that bad? I love having those things but hate carrying them!

Be present and enjoy it
Use your phone for limited times or periods and don't focus so much on capturing memories to post on social media that you forget to live out the memories. My husband and I, along with other friends have truly made wonderful memories by exploring new places together. It brings us closer because we are making memories that we can share forever. 

Some things will not turn out the way you planned but at the end of the day choose what is truly important. 






Check reviews
When visiting a new city or a new restaurant we often check online reviews. Before my visit to a new city I usually put it out there that I will be in a certain city in case people have suggestions. We also check our TripAdvisor App for some reviews and even suggestions. When I went back home I started following a hashtag on Instagram that actually led me to discover many beautiful coffee shops that had opened since I left. The hashtag is #montrealcafecrawl. 






We loved visiting this cafe whose owner is also the designer of this beautiful space. You can clearly see that they're an artist. I ordered the brew of the day which is available in a full cup or half a cup. They also have a light lunch menu that I did not get to try and a small dedicated area to sell coffee related equipment and some art. I bought these prints there. 

Where do you plan to go next? Do you have any suggestions on plan it more efficiently and make it even more enjoyable? Do tell in the comment section below!!! Also, next week we have a special guest post by author and blogger Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen. Can't wait!!!



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The Fault In Our Stars | My Thoughts & Favorite Quotes



Hello darlings!

If you haven't read it, you've probably heard about it. The movie based on the book "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green is coming out in the United States on Friday. I must say there's been some debate about who should have played Augustus but needless to say that there's some excitement around it. I purposely waited to share this post until now because I wanted it to coincide with the release of the movie.

If you haven't read the book, I will try not to spill the beans (at least not in their totality) but I must say it is a sad book, that has been beautifully written. As my husband (who is an english and literature teacher) says it is a piece worthy of a fellow English teacher. The book is full of really great quotes, to the point that I had to withhold myself from tweeting all through it.  

Basically it's the story of 3 teenagers that meet through their terminal illness support group. Two of  which fall in love and we get a glimpse into a specific time of their adolescence or like they would say their "little infinity".  

I found that through the characters many fundamental questions that many people struggle with were exposed. I felt like in this book grief, pain, disappointment, sickness is dealt with and spoken about in a raw and direct way. All the stuff that you can possibly feel uncomfortable about when it comes to terminal illness is addressed and even cleverly joked about without taking away the seriousness of the situation. So here are some of my favorite quotes, and please sure to share yours in the comment section and tell me why you like it so much. 

Romantic
  • As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and than all at once
  • You gave me a forever within the number of days, and I'm grateful

Cruel Truth
  • That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.
  • The World is not a wish-granting factory
  • What a slut time is. She screws everybody.

Pain
  • You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.
  • Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you. 

Deep 
  • The marks humans leave are too often scars.
  • You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.
  • Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin. 

Debatable
  • Without pain, how could we know joy? This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate. 
I love this quote because of how cleverly written it is. However I think the issue is not pain vs joy but rather me experiencing pain so that I can grow and be able to handle the fact that joy is not always lusciously packed, instead it is hidden in the banality of small pleasures of our daily lives. So small in fact that most people miss it and may go a whole life pursuing happiness as if it was a destination, rather than finding it in their journey. Pain has indeed revealed my true character and as a consequence peeled off some layers of shallowness, stretched, helping me mature so that I can then appreciate the accumulation of small pleasures that might've been there all along but that I took for granted. Tears of pain have cleaned my eyes time and time again, revealing what I could not see before that experience. So when life gives me broccoli, I dip it in chocolate! 

I also thought it was interesting how the author compare the life of a person that has faith or believes in the after life like Augustus and the one who doesn't like Hazel. Discussing this with someone made us realize that this mirrors how people deal with grief and illness all the time. Some people, like me, it has been my faith that has literally saved my life getting through pain. But also, I have met people that the burden of pain almost serves as a confirmation that they should not believe. I feel like, underneath the surface, this is a recurrent theme throughout the book. 

Last but not least, I really liked how this book made me rethink the whole notion of time and how precious it is. I really enjoyed reading the passages about the infinity that there really is in small portions of time. I loved how the author developed the story in a way that they enjoyed their short time as much as they could even with all their limitations. As I read I was faced with the fragility of life itself and how our families and friends are gold and we must enjoy them as much as we can because one day they will no longer be. None of us actually. 

Which passage made you think or cry? Maybe when you read it you saw something different. I could write so much more but why don't we talk about it in the comment section.  


Movie Sound Track




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A reason to remember this year's Oscars

Hello Darlings!

Do you realize March is already here? So many great things are coming up this month and are already hapening: the Oscars, International women's day, new pen pals, weddings, taking a class, exciting posts, etc. 

I have to confess, I normally never watch any kind of award show except the Oscars because I am not going to lie, I enjoy watching movies very much. This is something my husband and I really enjoy doing, too much maybe (oups!). 

I also rarely write about this stuff but hey, I was actually looking forward to this year's Academy awards commonly known as the Oscars. I was in California 2 weekends ago and I got to see all of the ongoing preparations. Traffic was already pretty crazy so I can only imagine how it was this past weekend?!

So I put together a post about why I loved this year's academy awards and it can be described with one name: Lupita Nyong'o. 

You may be thinking, what's the big deal about her? 

The truth is, I wasn't even sure why I was drawn to her as an actress and why I kept following her awards and speeches so closely. I never told anyone, but every time she won, I felt like I won. 

Just like one would behold a rare but beautiful human being, I like that she is new on the scene, yet succesful. I love that her gorgeousness gives hope to all women that are often told by the media that we lack the light color eyes and "fair" skin (no matter what your shade is) and makes it completely irrelevant! I am proud of her short natural hair and her simple elegant look. I like that with her inspiring speeches she has invited us all to be part of her success. I really like that we get to see a different, stereotype- defying face in Hollywood. 

I like Lupita's success and presence on TV because it reminds me that even I (with lighter skin but still part of a minority) exist and that my stories matter and should be told. 

During her

speech

at the Black Beauty Essence Magazine Award show, Lupita said that "We must get to the business of being beautiful inside, that which has no shade." (Or size I may add) 

I loved that and it directly resonates with what this blog stands for. Beauty and confidence in who we are cannot be faked or played (like one would in a movie) it can only come from the pleasure of knowing that even before birth,we were God's special idea and we still are the center of His love. 

In preparation for international women's day (Saturday, March 8) I have prepared a series of posts that are meant to celebrate the blessing, beauty, and power of being a woman, especially one that is truly free and confident in that she is loved beyond measure. Due to this exceptional week, I will also post during the weekend, stay tuned! 

Thanks! 

Val

Get some Oscars bonus facts:

It may just be a Canadian thing but who is Oscar?  100 cool facts about the oscars, some are historical. Very interesting. 

Did you know that nominees get an 85,00$ gift bag, have you ever wondered what's inside

Every dress worn by the best actress winner. To all my fashionista friends. Except this year's. 

The sad gender gap in screen time.

* Image via Google imaged & changed after the awards. 

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