Shannon Passero – style and heart

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Over the Christmas break, my mom encouraged my wife and I to check out a store owned by a woman who is as inspiring as her store is beautiful. Not only does Shannon Passero feature original clothing lines by the designer herself, but she includes beautiful imported goods, luxury local edibles, and art gallery space for local talent; what really struck me, on top of the beautifully curated collection, is that Ms. Passero regularly offers grants in support of female designers. Giving back to the community and helping to mentor up and coming female artisans/artists/designers sets a precedent for a successful businesses; supporting local and growing local talent is something I can get behind.

Take a look at the beautiful wares and confections on offer.  Located in Thorold, Ontario, The Post Office is quite literally in an old post office building and blends the vibe of anthropology with the one of a kind art and craft show.

We are so excited to decorate our tree next year with the beautiful hand-painted globes from Thailand, and embroidered, beaded elephants and hearts in an array of festive colors. We will definitely be back in the New year, in search of sweet gifts.

Is there a store in your area that you can’t resist, or a business owner is contributing to your community? Let me know in the comments!

Thanksgiving is for Family … and tongue in cheek pop culture references.¬†

Foodie, Indulge

I love holidays with my family, especially ones involving great food and wine. 

Fortunately for us lucky Canucks, our holiday this Thanksgiving was spent in Niagara on the lake. At Trius winery, we took a tour of the Vineyard on their special “Walking Red” tour, which paired four different, delicious red wines, including a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and their outstanding blend, called the Trius Red – with four mouthwatering amuse Bouches. 

The barrel is labelled to indicate whether it is French or American oak, and what year the barrel was first put into use. After five years they are rotated out and replaced. Below is a picture of the tasting room, on our barrel room tour; in the champagne seller the walls are 17 feet deep and stacked with thousands of bottles of sparkling wine (which can’t be called champagne due to region propriety, though it is made in the champagne style).  

They even have their own winery kittens scampering about the premises   The icing on the proverbial cake was getting to take my soon-to-be sister-in-law wedding dress shopping! If you celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, I hope it was spent in the warmth and love of family and friends! 


To my American friends, I have to ask, was that a debate as painful to watch for you as it was for us? 

Back to Lisbon РAlcantara and Timeout, Day 11 in Portugal 

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From the Algarves to Lisbon, we have put some miles on this rental car. At our new apartment in Rua da Costa we are cozy, nestled into a new neighbourhood. 

We went to a must- try food and drink hub: Timeout Market   


Met up with an old pal from Toronto and checked out cafe Tati, and an installation at Giv Lowe. 

Gin tasting back at the market and croquettes. 

Then off to Tosca for caipirinhas and good tunes. Later we met up with Jess’ friend, Nuno, who is a guide by day showed us the hidden gems of Lisbon – places we would never have found on our own. From late night food to the history of fado, written on the walls of alleyways, we strolled into the wee hours. So grateful to be here in such good company! Thanks to Jess and Nuno for an amazing inside look at Lisboa!

Surf’s up at Bordeira Beach- day 10 in Portugal

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We took a day of surf school with Ja Shaka Surfshop; our instructor Miguel took us out to the beautiful Bordeira beach where the waves were choppy and undertow was mighty. It was the workout of my life (serious exhaustion now) after a 9-3 day of surfing, sandwich eating and catching some unexpected sights on the way home. 

Portugal, Porto and Aveiro – day 6

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We slept in because it was Saturday. Then had a great big breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the other side of the Douro River to pick up some basics at the shopping centre. 

Mishaps galore. From parking stubs getting mixed up, to blood-red burgers .. But gourmet burgers with bacon, cheese … And an egg for good measure. We asked to get it cooked to more of a ‘medium’ and really enjoyed it once it stopped mooing. There is also the fact that I’ve written this entry three times, had it deleted, and …Wordpress for mobile is a disaster. 


At the sky scraper of a shopping mall, we had a clever flirt, in the makeup department, ask us if we “have vertigo?” The pickup line doesn’t work as well when the subjects are struggling to make the linguistic connection between their height and his doe-eyed lash-batting. Sweet though. 

Hours into the day, it was clear we needed a drink; we were en route to our first real destination: Taylor’s to taste Port. 

As my wife, @buttonsmcleod, put it: The highlight of today was – while at a port winery, Taylor’s, sitting in their beautiful garden sampling three ports, we watched …as one of the workers chased a rooster around, trying to get it to stop attacking the peacocks. She yelled “chicken, CHICKEN..!” as she ran.

Taylor’s opens its doors for those looking to sample generous tastings of those various port styles, while enjoying incredible views and the estate. Buttons has been the absolute best, a dreamy (though sassy) travel companion. She kept me from losing my mind while a number of mishaps occurred this morning; bless the woman who can keep me in line,…and smiling. 

From Taylor’s Port, to the whimsical town of Aveiro. Aveiro is full of glazed tile and pays homage at every turn to its fishing village vibe and canals; it is the Venice of Portugal, just a short drive from the city of Porto. Aveiro had unexpected treasures and though we went on a hunch, it was so picturesque and idyllic that we are happy we didn’t miss it. 

Fortunately for us, dinner was also exactly right. A great end to our time in Porto. We just happened to find Mizu – sushi and anti-sushi. 

When you travel, sometimes it’s hit or miss when it comes to restaurants. You leave it to fate (or recommendations from friends, scanning tripadvisor.com/strolling   the neighbourhood to see what looks popular). Tonight was a total hit; a slam dunk if you are using mixed metaphors. Inconspicuous from the street, Mizu sushi restaurant was just what we needed. My wife is very picky about her sushi and Toronto (home) has great Japanese food, so we were thrilled to experience the combination of Portugal’s fresh seafood with a sushi treatment in the expert hands of Mizu’s Sushiman, Anibal. 

The staff was attentive and charming, the portions weren’t large, but they were delicious. Presentation was creative, but tasteful. We had such a great evening, with table wine and whisky that could please the spoiled (but not snooty) palates of two people who have been hitting up wineries on the regular for almost a decade. 

The entire night was lovely and getting to chat with Anibal made it clear how much he loves his art; if you have the chance to taste it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

 Though it is tucked away somewhat, finding it was quite a treat! Thanks for a perfect end to our stay in Porto and Maia. 

Mizu on Facebook

Day 5 in Portugal РDouro Valley and the Port by Moonlight 

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Our journey to the Douro valley started out simply enough. Until we came to a dead stop on a vertiginous cliff side road, just wide enough for two cars to scrape past each other, because there was road work going on. 

After a terrifying six point turn, when the road crew told us there was no way around and our GPS provided no alternate routes, … This is us following two of the men who hopped into their car and led us to where we needed to be. That’s just how it is here… Human kindness. 

We arrived for a tour and four course lunch at Quinta Nova winery and the rest of the day was beautiful and breathtaking. 


We spent the whole day in Douro Valley and then night time was all about Porto and the waterfront. And pizza. And the most flavourful caprese salad. 


Best travel tip so far: pack enough shoes that you can change it up and give your feet a break from wearing one pair too long. 

See you tomorrow!