Are you ready to explore Jamaica with us?
Pack your bags and take off on a cute family vacation of four to a destination you need to add to your bucket list, because I seriously recommend you guys going to Jamaica, asap.

As soon as the cold weather kicked in, we escaped with Air Transat to a one week, all inclusive to Ocho Rios, a charming spot with spectacular natural surroundings, lush greens and white-sand beaches. After reading and reading endless tips about Jamaica, eating all the patties and drinking all the red stripes, I experienced the 10 best things you need to do on your next adventure (hopefully soon) to this lovely country.

ya man!



This year has been one for the books. 
Between a full-time freelance life, a 2-year-old baby girl who's discovering the art of saying "non" to everything, a new school era for Nico and a husband with business trips and a demanding job, I knew it was time for a little family staycation in the city, escaping from our normal day-to-day. 
Sometimes you just need to erase, rewind and be ready for the new season. 

During this weekend in our city, our mission was to discover and experience the best spots Montreal has to offer right now, in partnership with a company we have admired, followed and used for a long time, Airbnb.

If you love this city as much as we do, you'll have a blast exploring, enjoying a good coffee, the sights, its colors, and the happy corners I keep visiting over and over with my little ones. 
We included our top 5 activities you need to experience, in your next staycation.





Finding the perfect home with a perfect location, decor and exceptional host can be a full-time job, right? leave all that work to Airbnb, who recently launched the brand new Airbnb Plus, curating a new selection of quality homes, with hosts that are not only great, they are just amazing, going over and beyond to host a perfect stay. These homes are simply verified for quality, and this was our number one priority, especially staying with kids. Our loft was located in a historic building with a very unique charm: an open concept with a pool table, two beds, a laptop-friendly workspace, a bright and spacious kitchen and the loveliest hosts, Matt, Aaron and Kaileigh that made our staycation a perfect one.



You might be wondering, what's the big difference between a regular Airbnb and a Plus one? Here are just a few:

  • They need to be comfy: and they mean it, every detail is considered and everything has to be high-quality. Comfy beds, linens, shades, bath products, fluffy pillows, and a ton more.
  • Well-equipped is the number one priority: including cooking essentials, utensils, iron, hairdryer, fast wifi, smart TVs. 
  • The design is first: and this is what I loved about it. All Airbnb Plus hosts have a perfect style, making their homes a beautiful stay.
  • Hosts are there for you: from personalized welcome messages, a reliable check-in with a lockbox where we got our keys easily, and a sweet team of hosts that even made a list of their favorite places in the city for us. 
This service is now available in destinations around the world, including Montreal (yay!) and Toronto, with more to come. Read all about it here.








The key to a perfect staycation? ALL the good food! 
If you need plenty of ideas about what to visit and where are the best spots in the city, we created this curated list of la creme de la creme you need to try, at least once in four of our most visited neighborhoods. 

O L D  M O N T R E A L

Olive & Gourmando: one of our top places in Old Montreal for breakfast, lunch or snacks. Try the lemonade. 

Venice: California meets healthy heaven with the cutest decor and best poke bowls. Hello, Tofu poke lover.

Ssense Cafe: The new kid on the block in the upper floor of the SSENSE store. This place will be your ultra-stylish pit stop to get a coffee. 

Le Cartet: A classic in Old Montreal, a contemporary bistro with a creative brunch menu. We love visiting with our little cuties, they are so special with kids!

Melisse: The hip, chic spot of the area, serving a lovely healthy menu, coffee all day, and creative cocktails. Try the bourbon lemonade.

Tommy Cafe: with two locations, a historical architecture and decor, both Tommy's will be a must-visit for coffee, brunch all day, or a quick snack.

Un Po di Piu: The latest trendy spot from Olive & Gourmando, brings a delightful piece of Italy to our city, and your next apéro will be as chic as you can imagine here.

G R I F F I N T O W N

Meatball House: a place where you'll eat JUST meatballs? sign me up! You need to try the goat cheese crusted and yes, you're welcome.

Bird Bar: Montreal's best-fried chicken, and proudly using local and organic ingredients with an industrial, trendy ambiance you'll love.

Grinder: Our special spot to celebrate big life achievements. Hello, dreamy meat menu and dreamy tartare menu!

Le Vin Papillon: owned by one of the most well-known restaurants in the city, Joe Beef. Le Vin Papillon is the perfect spot to grab a wine and a quick bite.

The Burgundy Lion: Just try their British brunch. and the beers. and their Canadian bacon. okay, just go here.


S T  H E N R I

Sumac: Middle Eastern heaven serving the best Falafels in the city, fresh salads and healthy homemade hummus.

Arthurs: Always here at least once a month, one of Montreal's best Nosh bar. My go to: gravlax, latkes and the caesar. 

Tejano BBQ: Hands down the best burritos in town.

Elena: The pizza, meatballs, salads are out of this world. Extra points for the lovely logo and colorful decor.

September Cafe: My hood coffee spot, serving a brand new snack menu all day long. God bless their avocado toast. 

Adamo Pizza: The only NYC style pizza in St-Henri, we love to stop and get some slices to go, especially the ricotta one.

Torteria Lupita: There's nothing a good torta can't fix, right? Lupita is our favorite Mexican place in St-Henri. Ask Sandra for two flautas with a Michelada.


M I L E   E N D

Dinette Triple Crown: If you're lucky and can visit this place during summer time, take their to-go basket and have a picnic at the park across the street.

Lawrence: This refined British spot is in our top for brunch during the weekends, so please do me a favor and go one day.

Larrys: Best cappuccinos (now that I'm into oat milk, they have the best one), and small bites that I love when I need to do a quick pit stop.

Magpie Pizza: Artisanal pizza in the heart of Mile End and the essential place to visit for a good wine and a classic wood-fired pizza menu.

Guillaume Bakery: THE place. Everything Guillaume does is fresh, extra delish and incredibly good. Try all their brioches, we can diet right after, promise.

St-Viateur Bagels: The most iconic bagels, 24-hour store in the city. Get some cream cheese and wood-oven baked bagel bag to go and be happy!

Drogheria Fine: This quaint family-owned gnocchi little restaurant serves take-out boxes filled with fresh pasta for only $5. Nonna knows best!


Our stunning and spacious kitchen
Montreal is great in every single season, and if you want to enjoy a wide selection of free, outdoor activities during your next staycation, this is your guide and you are in luck today. Here's what we love to do with our kids or just you and your bff:

Mont-Royal park: A quiet walk along the biggest city park is a must for us. We usually explore one of the belvederes, enjoy the view and the trails.

Rue St-Paul: You can rent or bring your own bike and tour the oldest cobblestone street of the city, home to a ton of restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries.

La grande roue de Montreal: The new tallest observation wheel in the city, and a must-see outdoor destination you need to visit.

Marche Jean-Talon & Marche Atwater: These two markets have been making Montreal and our family happy the past years. We come here to get fresh produce, eat delish food and get pretty flowers.

Old Port of Montreal: A must-outdoor visit any season, the Old Port is home to many iconic and historical sites in the city, including the Notre Dame Basilica and Bonsecours Market. If you feel adventurous, take a bateau-mouche and enjoy cruising the St-Laurence river with a drink or two.

Chinatown: I love our little Chinatown. It's such a perfect pastime, walk the cute alleyways, spend a few hours eating and shopping the little gems you only find in here.


Indoor time can be fun and it doesn't mean you need to stay home to enjoy the city at its best. Here are a few ideas in case it's raining, windy, snowing or you are just in the mood to chill somewhere cozy in your next staycation.

Bota Bota: It's my place when I want to unplug, relax and do something a little out of the ordinary. This spa is an actual boat, yes, a boat docked in the St-Laurence river. Get a massage and do the water circuit.

Espace Pepin: A curated shop with an effortless, chic collection of lifestyle products in the heart of Old Montreal. It's a one-stop shop for your home, bath, and your life.

Petit dep: a lovely mix of a convenience store or "depanneur" with a coffee shop serving food, local delicacies, and excellent coffee.

Montreal Science Center: Need a family activity asap? Our favorite, the Montreal Science Center is a must for everything interactive, educational and fun with the kids. From creativity labs, Imax theatre, and a big playroom, perfect for kids any age.

Do a Museum visit: We recently visited the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum of History and Archaeology's Pirates or Privateers and the memory collector exhibition,  our kids loved both! This archeo-adventure is the perfect  interactive exhibition you need to see.



There's always something special about the home that you stay in, the host that makes an exceptional job when you feel like home, and the memories you create when we curate our trips, including a staycation in your own city. I adored discovering this year how Airbnb expanded its product offering including experiences, empowering people all over the world offering activities, courses of things they love to all Airbnb users. It's the new hub of shared hobbies, skills and expertise that will inspire us to live our day-to-day vacations inspired by local cultures.

From meeting interesting people, connecting with a brand new community of travelers, sharing a common passion or making friends with a chef, an artist or a DJ, you'll have a blast as much as we did in our first experience in Montreal.

Our experience with the kids was a Ravioli workshop, hosted by Alexandra (70% of Airbnb hosts in Canada are women, yay! girl power!). She's an ultra-sweet chef that worked in 1-star, 2-star and 3-star Michelin kitchens in Chicago, New York, and London. We learned how to make the pasta dough, the filling, and how to cook homemade ravioli. Alex was a fantastic host and had the patience to teach both Nico and Oli how to do their own ravioli, even if we were a bit messy at the end.


Did you know one in 10 hosts in Canada are part of the creative industry and that Airbnb allows them to share their passions and interests, and even have their passions act as a source of primary income? Honestly, we are SO proud to support this movement.

Our menu that night? Sweetpea ravioli, tomato, and ricotta salad and of course we forgot the wine because parenting happened. If you are a pasta lover, this is workshop you need to do, as soon as possible. We ended up our night making plans when to do our next recipe together, hugging Oli all night long and eating all the pasta we could. One of the best activities we've done so far as a family.

My sweet big boy, pasta maker and eater!
He was so excited as soon as he understood we were making real pasta, my sweet big boy!!!
So happy to see these pictures and always remember how fun this night was for all of us. 
Endless thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this staycation in the city and experience.
All comments, opinions expressed in this post are entirely mine. 






December is here, AHHHHHH! and so are the holidays, everything red, green, the entertaining, gift wrapping and in my case, new cute recipes to celebrate Santa, at home with my family and friends.

I've been thinking for the longest time how to blog more food and recipes but in a different and HeyMaca style, Soooo (drumroll), I'm starting a new series everything tiny, tiny cute food!

I'm a big fan of entertaining at home and when I have friends over, I tend to prepare everything bite-size so they can taste a ton of different options, and honestly, who doesn't love a good tapas session?

Back to cocktail-land, how ADORABLE are these raspberry rosemary merry-tinis?
Scroll down for the step-by-step and some good ol' mama jokes,

Merry everything sweet friends!

I cry with this prettiness!


Raspberry Rosemary Merry-tinis

- Fresh raspberry juice
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- A bit of your favourite sparkling water

- Candy cane and peppermint crumbles for the rim

How to?

- Mix the fresh juice, lemon, sparkling water with ice and pour them on your ornament
- Turn your glasses upside down and rim it (we used maple) with the candy cane and peppermint crumbles
- Fill them with ice and remove them when you are ready to serve your merry-tini.

Note

I added a bit of vodka (guiltyyy! but totally deserved), these cute merry-tinis are served on a Christmas ornament (just too adorable). The idea? to surprise your guests when you pour the drink on regular cocktail glasses. 

You can try these merry-tinis using different fruits, can't wait to try mango, lemon, pear and apple versions.
Seriously though, how cute!
Happy Holidays and happy tiny food overload!



Last month, I took a whirlwind girly getaway with my sweet girlfriend Roxanne to one of the places I had in my bucket list for a while now, Charleston South Carolina.

This magic beach town and the top city of the US for the 6th year in a row, has a very unique south charm with stunning and well-preserved pastel houses, the quaint little streets, a vibrant cultural scene (Hello endless yummy food) and a design-oriented city (my magic words) making a trip to remember and to repeat soon.

In this colourful travel guide, I'll show you how to explore (and gain a few pounds) in 72 hours, like a pro.

Warning: This post might convince you to book a trip to Charleston, indulge on Hush Puppies and scroll through a zillion girly pictures I couldn't resist to include.
My sincere apologies in advance.
Colour blocking memo?
Check!


I am SO excited today. My color journey never looked so fun.
You know me, colors cheer me up, and when I found the perfect peach palette I've been looking for a while, I had to plan my very first (PRO) DIY project for the blog. It's been a while since I wanted to start a dedicated section to all do-it-yo'self, and now with the official studio move, you'll see a ton more over here.
Did I say I was excited and over the moon? YAY!

The ombre rainbow dresser trend has been here for a while, and I still find it so lovely when the hues are perfect. I confess I did all the colour selection planning to surprise my husband, and I've been dreaming of adding bold accents to our rooms, an instant eye-catcher!

Here's the step-by-step how we did it, would you try this?
I cannot wait to see your creations!

The Hues

This makeover was quite easy from start, we bought our IKEA dresser in white and I only needed to pick 3 tones to do the Ombre finish. I picked matte tones, partnering with PARA paints, we selected their 100% Acrylic Interior Latex, all washable, gloss-free and incredibly unscented (I still can't believe the last part).

Selecting the final colours was as hard as picking one single item when I shop at JCrew, (*gasp*), but well, based on my imaginary room mood board, the peach/coral selection was THE one.

Darker hue: Prairie Sunset
Medium hue: Posh Peach
Lighter hue: Dainty Peach


I remember when I was a kid, me and my sister used to watch TV shows about "the future" oh hello! The Jetsons! where smart homes were the norm, including a ton of smart devices, and don't we ALL agree Rosie the robotic maid was the best, right?

I can't believe that only a few years after, I'm kinda living this era.
The era of connectivity and the era of simplifying our day-to-day is here to stay (and only grow a bit more).

I'm sure you remember that a few days ago, we visited Thermador's headquarters in Montreal, attending the biggest launch in the brand's history, with two newly redesigned collections and Home Connect™ a system that will bring a new way of interacting with our appliances and our kitchen experience.
Controlling your fridge using your phone? Pairing your smart lights with your appliances? Turning on and of your oven?

Friends, the future is here.
And it will be a fun ride!


Let's start with: tell me everything about Thermador 

This brand (let's say the Ferrari of appliances) has been around for over 100 years, with an extensive product line that includes built-in coffee machines, cooktops, dishwashers, ovens and ranges. On top of that, the appliances have an impeccably sleek design and customizable options, at the moment of kitchen planning. What I loved about them is the team behind the brand, elevating the experience of buying an appliance to a whole next level through their connected experience on Home Connect™, offering clients access to remote diagnostics and immediate product assistance, say bye to those days of endless waiting time at home.

Did I mention top-notch quality?
 


So, let's talk about Home Connect 

Thermador developed an exclusive app available on Android, Iphone and tablets that allows you to remotely monitor and control all your appliances. This feature will let you personalize and control how you use your fridge, oven, dishwasher on a daily basis, and things like, preheating your oven away from home, creating a fresh cup of coffee, knowing when your dish cycle ends, this app will be your number one helper at home.

On top of controlling your devices, the app included content, a bunch of recipes with step-by-step instructions (even seasonal ones) and always surprising us with new culinary inspirations, making our kitchen days the best ones! 

Home Connect also allows us to connect to the Internet of Things including the Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest and a few more. 
Are you convinced yet? 


New Product Features, This is the kitchen era we all need.

Dishwasher
Thermador included some fun features to their new line, including the easy start function that will let your Home Connect app control your cycle. Also, the remote start, diagnostics, control program settings and the most impressive one, the auto-replenishment of detergent, reordering your favourite detergent with Amazon, and delivered to your door.

Wall oven
You can remote start and preheat your oven from your work or from the grocery store, receive notifications when the timer has completed its time, remotely set temperatures according to the recipe instructions in the app (WHAT!) and report diagnostics if you need help.

Cooktop
With this new line, we can communicate cooktop and hood, synchronize turning on and off, including lights and ventilation.

Refrigeration
Set up your wine to a perfect temperature from anywhere, control your fridge settings, and if you left the door open, you bet you'll get a notification.

See what I mean with impeccable design?
We all need this!
My face after the tour, pretty much convincing my husband why we need everything Thermador at home.
RIGHT?

We had the yummiest dinner while we saw all the features I explained in action. 

Endless thanks to Thermador for sponsoring this post and for the lovely soiree.
All opinions, pictures, and experience are entirely mine. 
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