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THE TRUMP AMERICA | Yes, there are still reasons to visit the USA

A few days ago President Trump (I don’t even like calling him that but whatever) was sworn into office, and I’m sure the last thing you’re thinking about is your American travel plans. Trump has already started planning changes to the country with his administration but the main theme certainly seems to be Nationalism. So, what does this mean for people heading over to visit the country of stars and stripes in 2017?

THE TRUMP AMERICA | Yes, there are still reasons to visit the USA

THE TRUMP AMERICA | Yes, there are still reasons to visit the USA - The Lady-like Leopard

Getting In Could Be Fun

With regards to immigration and visitation, nothing has changed yet but it might worth keeping an eye on the Official ESTA website. It’s quite possible that Trump will start making it incredibly difficult to travel from some countries into America. Particularly, if you were paying attention to any of his promises while he was on the campaign trail.

There was even talk of banning all Muslims from entering the country. Disgusting. This idea seems to have been quietly abandoned but now that Trump’s in power it could easily turn up again. Chances are any changes to travel are only going to affect immigration. So as long as you are staying for less than 90 days you should be fine. (Key words: should be.)

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Tensions Are Running High

When visiting America this year, remember only around 23 percent of the country’s population voted for the sitting president. So, you will definitely be entering a divided population. It’s best to stay clear of politics completely and instead enjoy the sights, the sounds and the beautiful scenery of the grand ol’ USA.

It’s impossible to predict what America is going to be like in just a few months from now. But it’s almost a guarantee there’s going to be a large part of the country’s population that isn’t happy about it. After all, let’s not forget that the protests against the president attracted a larger showing than the actual inauguration.

Broadway, New York - The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry

Hamilton’s On Tour

There is some bright news, though – the fact that depending where you go in America, you might spot a showing of Hamilton! The massively popular and constantly sold out musical is now on tour. You can see it in Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC and many more states through the year.

It’s well worth checking out, if you can get a ticket. Despite the increase in shows it’s still incredibly difficult to get a seat. The shows often sell out in minutes and privately sold tickets can cost thousands. But that just means if you do get a seat, you won’t be disappointed.

Disney World, Florida - The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry

Avatar Land Is Finally Opening

After years of wait, Avatar Land will also be opening in Disney World Florida so it’s the perfect time to finally take the kids. Traveling there you’ll see floating mountains, cyberborg plant life that responds to touch and of course the Na’vi. You’ll also get the chance to ride a banshee and it’s certainly not the only reason to visit Florida this year. There’s also Universal Studios new water park built around an artificial volcano that gushes out litres of water!

So, there are still plenty of reasons to visit the USA this year. It’s certainly not all doom and gloom, even though it can definitely feel that way right now. For an anti-Trump must-see that I can’t wait to visit, check out Shia LaBeouf’s latest performance.

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This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.

READY FOR THAILAND | Unique things you should do to have a fab time

When you are thinking of somewhere to go for your next holiday, Thailand is definitely a place that should spring to mind. After all, the country is full of amazing things which will make for an amazing holiday, whatever your age.

The cities are fantastic to visit if you’re looking to do some sightseeing and shopping and if you want some more adventurous activities, there are lots of options too. There are many unique things you can do in Thailand to ensure you have a fab time! Here’s what.

READY FOR THAILAND | Unique things you should do to have a fab time

READY FOR THAILAND | Unique things you should do to have a fab time the lady-like leopard

Experience the crazy nightlife in Bangkok

One thing you should do while in Thailand is experience the crazy nightlife in the capital city of Bangkok. The nightlife is well-known around the world to be one of the craziest. And it can also make for a memorable night out if you’re willing to brave the crowds.

Some of the best bars are located on the rooftops which give you amazing views out across the city. You can soak in the views while enjoying a cocktail or two. And if you are willing to brave it, you could check out the red light district. It has a wider entertainment scene, so you aren’t just going to get the well-renowned strip clubs.

Just make sure you go with another person and stick together while in Bangkok. And only go inside clubs that are busy as you know they are popular and are going to be safer than quiet bars!

Volunteer at a school

For something a bit different, you might want to do some teaching while you are in Bangkok. After all, you will come away feeling like you have done a good deed if you volunteer at a school for a couple of weeks. While you are teaching them some English, you will pick up some of the Thai language too!

It can help you to become more cultured by spending time in their communities. Teaching isn’t the only thing you can do if you want to volunteer in Thailand. There are lots of other opportunities which will ensure your holiday is a fantastic trip you will never forget.

Go to a gourmet food market

If you have a taste for delicious food, you should opt to go to a gourmet food market while you’re in amazing Thailand. After all, you will get to try all the incredible delicacies they have to offer – you might even find a new favourite food while you’re in the country. One place you could consider going is the Commons Market in Bangkok. With a large market, you can try lots of different foods and find something that tickles your taste buds!

But before you get ready for Thailand, learn some of the basics of the language. After all, it might help you to get directions from the locals and you’ll find the locals will treat you with more respect if you attempt to speak their language first.

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This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.

PERFECT HOLIDAYS | How to plan the dream getaway

If you only get a couple of days or weeks off work in a year, then what better way to spend those precious days off work than flying off to a different country to melt away your stress and troubles? Enter: The Perfect Holidays.

A holiday doesn’t need to be expensive and it’s usually worth the effort and money investment. However, that doesn’t mean you can just book a flight and hotel then expect to see results. It takes hard work!

Not only can doing some research save you money, but it’s also a good way to fill your schedule with fun and interesting things to do. Don’t arrive at a country with no plans on where to go—that would be a huge waste of time! (Not to mention, a total disaster.)

To make sure you get the most out of your holidays, here are some essential points to consider when planning a trip abroad.

PERFECT HOLIDAYS | How to plan the dream getaway

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How do you want to travel?

This is important because it will define how relaxing (or bearable) the journey is and also the amount of money you have to spend. For example, Jet Charters are great if you and a group of people want to fly in private and in style. You can hire a private jet for you and your group, and you won’t need to deal with long check-in lines, transfers or sharing the plane with others. However, if you’re only planning a short trip to somewhere in your country or nearby, then perhaps driving or taking a train is a more affordable option.

Research where you want to visit

Don’t research tourist attractions alone. You can also focus on places to eat that the locals enjoy, delicacies that are found in remote locations or traditional festivals and celebrations that will occur during your stay. In fact, it might even be worth planning your holiday around a tradition. For example, if you plan to visit China, then visit at some point during Chinese New Year if you want to experience wonderful celebrations and embrace Chinese culture.

Make a list of all the places you want to visit and check how feasible it is to visit all of them in a single trip. Even if you miss some places, you can always visit next time! Some great places to look are food blogs, travel guides and YouTube videos.

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Brush up on local knowledge

A phrasebook can come in handy when visiting a country where you don’t know the language. Because a lot of street signs and information might not be in a language you know, it’s a good idea to brush up on things like public transport and taxi phrases. Do some research and check if there are local travel cards that allow you to top up money and pay for transport with a simple card scan. This makes it easy to get around the city or country you’re in and you won’t need to fumble about with cash.

You might also want to research about local cultural differences. You don’t want to make a hand gesture or say something offensive by accident, and you don’t want to offend the locals by doing something questionable to their culture.

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This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.

THE END OF 2016 | A year of highlights for The Lady-like Leopard

Is it just me or do years fly by even quicker the older you get? I mean, I’m only 25 years young but it feels like I was spraying champagne all over the streets of Newtown, Sydney ringing in the new year just yesterday. But alas, the end of 2016 is here.

A lot of people are saying that they’re welcoming the end of 2016 with open arms – that the year totally sucked. I prefer to focus on the bright side of things. I’m excited to ring in a brand new year but I’m also enjoying looking back on what I’d say wasn’t a total loss.

Sure, there were lots of events that I wish didn’t happen this year (like sort of getting fired from a job) but as with anything, you can always find a silver lining.

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry. Photo by Morgan Cross Photography

JANUARY

The start of the year was spent soaking up the sun in Sydney, Australia. It was my first time back to my home away from home in almost 2 years so I spent a few months there catching up with my university friends, my family and making some new connections along the way. I also bought my 2nd Zimmermann dress!

HIGHLIGHT: Discovering new restaurants with my sister like Uncle Ming’s and Miss Peaches. I’d definitely recommend both.

FEBRUARY

I was back in Toronto by February. It was one of the coldest winters I’ve ever experienced. I thought by going to Sydney from November to January that I was skipping the worst of winter – I was very, very wrong. The grass was starting to look a hell of a lot greener in Australia.

HIGHLIGHT: Going to Montreal with my friend Stephan and discovering that it can be colder than humanly imaginable. Also, wolfing down authentic Montreal poutine.

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry. Photo by Morgan Cross Photography

MARCH

Even though we didn’t know it at the time, this was the final month of Toronto Fashion Week. I wasn’t able to make it to all the shows but I made time for a few of my favourites: Hilary MacMillan, David Dixon and Mikhael Kale. I also started my position as Associate Editor at Vane Airport Magazine! It’s been my dream since I was a kid to work at a magazine. (Next stop: Vogue.)

HIGHLIGHT: Interviewing David Dixon backstage at Toronto Fashion Week about his Gene Collection and why it was such an important project for him.

APRIL

Lot’s of exciting things were happening in April. Besides meeting Coco Rocha at Greta Constantine’s collection unveiling party at Casa Loma, I got to travel to London and Paris. There was so much going on in Toronto too – the tattoo exhibit at the ROM, a collab I did with Lips by Danilea (best locally made lipsticks btw) and my opportunity to help film/assist a music video at KaSpace.

HIGHLIGHT: Sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Paris sipping a glass of white wine and thinking about how I had wanted to be in that city my whole life.

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry. Photo by Morgan Cross Photography

MAY

This was a crazy exciting month! I went to New York City with my friend and editor Cristina (of Vane Airportand got to style Mya in head-to-toe Atelier Guarin for her Toronto concerts. This was my third time to NYC but that city never gets old to me. My dad told me when I was 6 years old I told my family I was moving there and that was that. I’ve also been obsessed with Mya since I was a kid and styling her was a surreal experience.

HIGHLIGHT: Hanging out with Mya backstage and chatting with her while she did her own hair and make-up. She gave me a great piece of advice that you can read here.

JUNE

June is my birthday month so whatever happens, it’s always fabulous. This year I got to go home to Victoria and spend my 25th birthday with my oldest friends and family. My friends threw me a house party and then we went out dancing! It was definitely a fun way to ring in twenty-five. I also went to Annapolis, Maryland for a birthday party the weekend before my birthday.

HIGHLIGHT: Spending the night at Magnolia Hotelpoolside partying in Annapolis and ringing in my 25th birthday with a shoot by Morgan Cross Photography.

JULY

Summer in Toronto is short and sweet so you’ve got to make the most of it while it lasts. It was a pretty lazy month lounging at the beach and having drinks on multiple patios (something I discovered is all the rage in Toronto). I styled backstage at Mississauga Fashion Week for my friend Paola and her line of ethical jewellery, Shilango. I also started copywriting for Harry Rosen this month and I love my job.

HIGHLIGHT: Meeting someone exceptional. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry. Photo by Morgan Cross Photography

AUGUST

The majority of August was spent lounging by lakeside pools – but when that wasn’t happening I was hitting up TOM* Fashion Week and seeing my favourite singer JoJo live at Molson Amphitheatre. Other than that, it was a pretty chill month.

HIGHLIGHT: Obviously seeing JoJo was the best part of the month. I’d only been waiting 10 years for her to come back.

SEPTEMBER

Toronto International Film Festival happens in September and you can be sure that that’s where I was for the most exciting part of the month. My friends and I hit up many parties, had too many glasses of champagne (no, wait, there is no such thing as too much champagne) and shrieked with delight at our fabulous gift bags – oh, and maybe at some James Franco, Michael Fassbender and Stacy McKenzie mingling.

HIGHLIGHT: Getting to wear my two favourite Zimmermann dresses. They make me feel the sexiest, ever.

OCTOBER

I met up with my bestie from Australia in New York this month! We had been planning since university to go to New York together one day and we finally made it happen almost 4 years later. We were constantly talking about being in New York and I remember one girl telling us to shut up “because it’s never going to happen” – well, look at us now.

HIGHLIGHT: Pulling up in a taxi to Zach’s Airbnb and leaping out to give him the biggest hug of all time – and then everything else that followed in the next couple days.

THE END OF 2016 | A recap of a year in the life of The Lady-like Leopard by Melina Morry. Photo by Morgan Cross Photography

NOVEMBER

This month I quit one of my jobs. I rarely like mentioning it (because of the job, not because I quit) but I will just to show you guys that life goes on. It can be a terrifying thing to quit something that’s not adding to your happiness but ultimately, your life will be so much richer if you do. I also did a DIY project on my vintage Chanel slingbacks and was featured on CBC’s The Goods talk show for a fashion jeopardy segment.

HIGHLIGHT: Not letting people’s opinions affect me and taking charge of my own life. Also, being on tv was incredible.

DECEMBER

I got to come back home and spend Christmas with my family in Victoria this month! I was so depressed thinking about spending Christmas alone in Toronto and when I came across a deal of a lifetime on flights, I had to jump at the chance. I booked my flight 4 days before leaving! I was also interviewed by Perspectyve Magazine, which was pretty cool.

HIGHLIGHT: Surprising my best friend Jaimie by jumping out of a closet at her. I love surprising people and this surprise went exceptionally smooth.

All in all, whether I just choose to only see the silver linings or not, this year was a pretty good one for me – and my blog. I’d like to thank everyone who’s been a supporter and follower of The Lady-like Leopard and who has encouraged me to work towards my dreams every single day. Remember, stay humble with a hint of Kanye.

Love you guys! Hope you ring in 2017 with champagne, glitter, confetti, friends, finger food and a romantic kiss as the clock strikes 12. I’ll have all except one.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

black velvet dress | NORDSTROM
lace choker | DIY BY THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD
earrings | ASSORTED

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All photos by Morgan Cross Photography at Magnolia Hotel & Spa

TRAVEL RECAP | The top places I travelled to in 2016

This year I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 5 countries, catch 12 flights, take a 2+ hour Uber ride (see the Philadelphia heading) and make endless memories. In my 2016 travel recap, I’m taking one final trip: a gander down memory lane.

Honestly, that whole paragraph was so cheesy but it’s true. I’ve had so many opportunities this year to see incredible cities and fulfill a fraction of my travel goals. I’m super excited to see where I’ll go in 2017. Los Angeles, Barcelona and Tokyo are on the top of my list – and another trip down under is guaranteed too.

I’ve had moments this year where I’ve booked a flight only days before departing. Now my suitcases are within easy reach, I keep a cosmetics bag packed with ready-to-go essentials and I’m working on making an income from my laptop so I can jet off whenever I please.

You know I’m never one to turn down a chance to go somewhere. Let’s travel recap.

TRAVEL RECAP | The top places I travelled to in 2016

Sydney, Australia

I started the year off in one of my favourite places on earth: Sydney, Australia. I used to live there and have been there 5 times so far. Lucky me, I know – but to be fair I have an Australian passport so it’s a piece of cake (no visas, woohoo!). Plus half of my family lives there so there’s always an excuse to visit.

To ring in 2016, my friend Katerina and I went to a wild house party in Newtown. It was like something in the movies. She had told me we were going to a “chill house with a couple close friends” and so I wore a cute Kookai dress with a long black trench coat and peep-toe platform mules. Turns out, not the best outfit for stumbling over grassy sidewalks and empty beer cans.

We did get to pop a bottle of champagne with a crowd of people in the middle of the street though, which was incredibly fun (and convenient since the champagne exploded and that would’ve been a mess to clean up inside). My friend Cassandra came to meet up with us just in time for the champagne popping too! It was definitely a memorable way to ring in 2016.

Montreal, Quebec

The next trip was Valentines Day weekend in Montreal with my friend Stephan (of the award winning blog Why I Love Toronto). This was my first visit to Montreal and I had one hell of a time getting there. We happened to go on the coldest weekend of the year – not to mention of my entire life – and with the snow and icy roads, the normally 5 hour bus ride took me a long and drawn out 9 hours. Thankfully I had snacks.

The temperatures didn’t heat up at all when we finally arrived and at one point I actually had icicles hanging from my eyelashes. The silver lining was that we ended up spending lots of time discovering delicious restaurants, cafes and bars to stay warm in.

La Distillerie was a really cute pub we discovered with insanely delicious cocktails. My favourite was the Puissant – pear, jalapeno, ginger ale and alcohol, of course. The bar had a really cozy, friendly feel and they even served gold fish crackers in mason jars as bar snacks! So cute.

London, England

I got the opportunity to go to London through my position as Associate Editor at VANE Airport. Did I jump at the opportunity to go? Yes! I am a quarter British after all.

In reality, I had never given much thought to visiting London. For some reason I was under the impression that I wouldn’t like it at all. My mind was completely changed after only the short taxi ride to my hotel. Staring out the window in awe, I knew this was going to be a good trip.

I spent my days touring around the city (yes, I even did the Big Bus Tour and retained an incredible amount of fun facts about England – ask me anything) and my afternoons were spent working from my laptop in the hotel tea room ordering endless lattes and freshly made scones.

Turns out, I had a few friends in London and ended up going for beers in London pubs more often than I anticipated. But I still had to spend a couple nights alone dining on authentic London Fish N Chips and mushy peas – which in my opinion shouldn’t even exist at all.

Paris, France

While I was in London, I couldn’t resist a mini trip to Paris – the latest city of my dreams. I happened to have a free day and got up early to take the train to Paris. It took less than 2 hours to get there and I only had 6 hours to spend in the city but it was well worth it.

I pretty much had the most Parisian experience ever. I saw the Eiffel Tower, took a selfie with the Arc de Triomphe, checked out the view from Montmartre, savoured macarons, browsed vintage markets and chilled out at a sidewalk cafe sipping wine and munching on a cheese, bread and meat platter.

On the train back to London I read (well, struggled to read is more accurate) a French fashion magazine, ate my Parisian desserts and dreamed about the day I’ll get to go back. While sipping a plastic glass of champagne. Yes, the train had champagne.

New York, New York (x2)

One of the reasons I chose to move to Toronto from Sydney was the close proximity to New York City. This year I was lucky enough to be able to go to NYC twice! Once with my editor and friend Cristina and once to meet up with my best friend Zach who I went to school with in Australia.

The first trip was supposed to be more about work than play but obviously we had an excellent balance of both. I did yoga with a view of the Empire State Building, ate exquisite Japanese cuisine at Sushi Roxx, got beyond intoxicated at Bar Vandal and scored a pair of vintage YSL caged heels for $45 at Beacon’s Closet.

My second trip was more spur of the moment but there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet Zach for his first time in my favourite city! We tried to do things both of us (obviously) hadn’t done before like walk the High Line, cross the Brooklyn Bridge and go to a random psychic after too many margaritas at Caliente Cab.

I also thought it was a good idea to wear my brand new Kendall + Kylie ankle boots to walk around the entire island of Manhattan. Turns out, even my love for fashion couldn’t make me suffer any longer. I had to run into the nearest Modells and buy some Nike slides. So embarrassing. At least they semi went with my outfit.

Philadelphia, Delaware, Maryland

This was the day I crossed 3 states in one drive. I sort of felt like Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember when she’s in 2 states at one time. Sort of.

We had to take a 2-hour Uber ride from Philadelphia to Annapolis, Maryland for a birthday party. I’m serious. We flew to Philadelphia and crossed 3 states to get to a birthday party. We love to celebrate, okay? A lot.

Our Uber driver was the most hilarious person. The shock on his face when we said we needed to get to Maryland was priceless (however, the bill was not). He also told me that I must have the worst taste ever if I thought Philadelphia Airport was as amazing as I was making it out to be. I almost choked on my Chipotle burrito laughing many times that ride.

Annapolis, Maryland

When I first heard we were going to Annapolis, I thought someone had made a typo and we were surely going to Minneapolis or Indianapolis or somewhere that I’d heard of before. Cris and I had no idea what to expect after our 2-hour drive from Philly to Annapolis. We were pleasantly surprised when we drove up to our weekend home.

We stayed on a compound right on Chesapeake Bay surrounded by beautiful views and eccentric people. We started off the weekend with margaritas on the balcony then took a boat to Pusser’s Landing for more drinks and crab cakes. The night ended with us on a private yacht popping bottles of champagne and blasting Justin Timberlake. (We were strictly forbidden from using social media on the yacht.)

The party was a whole ‘nother adventure in itself. We were celebrating a 50th and a 30th birthday combined for two pretty awesome guys (both of whom – as well as everyone else – I just met that weekend). We had caterers scattered about, a bar by the pool and DJ Panda spinning sick beats all night long. I can’t wait to go back to Annapolis!

Victoria, British Columbia (x2)

I’m always excited to go back to Victoria and see my family and friends who I’ve tragically decided to live on the other side of the country from. I am an island girl after all and you know what they say – you can take the girl outta the island but you can’t take the island outta the girl.

This year I had the chance to go to Victoria twice at two very important times: my 25th birthday and Christmas. I swear if I was a millionaire I would even fly home just for a long weekend, but until then I have to settle for once every 6 months.

Both times I’ve partnered up with the Magnolia Hotel & Spa in downtown Victoria. Once for a stay and once for a holiday-themed photo shoot. I’ve also spent time enjoying my favourite spots like Little Jumbo, Pagliacci and Shiki Sushi. (Wow, just typing that sentence made me realize that my life literally revolves around food. Omg.)

Anyways, that’s it for the travel recap! Where will I go next year? You’ll find out when I do.

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MAGNOLIA’S FESTIVE TRAIL | How to spend your xmas season in Victoria

I’m back on the west coast in Victoria, BC for Christmas this year! I’m so excited to be spending my xmas season in this city – I love it. One of my first stops was the Magnolia Hotel & Spa (where I had a stay last June). In my room was their Magnolia’s Festive Trail guide of what to do this December in Victoria. Of course, I had to check it out.

First, I enjoyed a Bailey’s hot chocolate compliments of the hotel – a signature staple for their holiday stays. It was beautifully presented with a packet of delicious hot cocoa powder, a mini bottle of Bailey’s and came with an individual packet of mini marshmallows. Oh, and served in a glass mug. How charming is that?

Get to know the city of Victoria better and dive head first into the Christmas spirit with Magnolia’s Festive Trail.

MAGNOLIA’S FESTIVE TRAIL | How to spend your xmas season in Victoria

MAGNOLIA'S FESTIVE TRAIL | How to spend your xmas season in Victoria | melina morry the lady-like leopard

Magnolia’s Festive Trail: 25th Annual Festival of Trees

“Discover a forest of festive trees – watch for Magnolia Hotel’s tree and vote for your favourite!” These trees are actually amazing! There are so many to look at too so make sure you grab a hot cocoa (Bailey’s optional) to sip while you take in the sights.

Where: The Bay Centre, 1117 Government St. and Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St.
When: Until January 5th 2017

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Magnolia’s Festive Trail: Christmas at Royal BC Museum

“Explore the Old Town gallery with its festive holiday decor.” I went to the Royal BC Museum last time I was in Victoria, so unfortunately I didn’t go this time but if you go, let me know how it is! I’m sure it looks super cute with all the holiday decor.

Where: 675 Belleville St.
When: Until December 31st 2016

Magnolia's Festive Trail melina morry the lady-like leopard

Magnolia’s Festive Trail: Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase

“Wander through amazing all-gingerbread works of art and watch for Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar’s creation!” Warning: Do not go to this exhibit on an empty stomach! The gingerbread houses look good enough to eat, but unfortunately you’re not allowed to touch. End of story.

Where: Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St.
When: Until January 2nd 2017

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Magnolia’s Festive Trail: Free Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

“Weekend horse-drawn rides circulate downtown with stops!” I always feel like I’m in a movie when I go on a horse-drawn carriage. It doesn’t help that I’m obsessed with horses and wish I could take one home with me! It’s always been my dream to own a horse, but a short & sweet winter ride will have to do (for now).

Where: 50 Bastian Square, 3 Centennial Square, Willie’s Bakery and Capital Iron

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Magnolia’s Festive Trail: Christmas in Old Victoria Walking Tours

“Discover how Christmas was observed in early Victoria with a leisurely 90-minute historical walking tour through Old Town with Discover the Past.” This is a fantastic way to really get to know the history of Victoria! It’s a beautiful city that is best seen by walking through it. If you only have time for a couple of activities from this list, make sure this one is on it.

Where: 26 Bastian Square
When: Until December 31st 2016, 2pm-3:30pm, $15/person

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Other Festive Activities

  • Take in the sights and sounds of the holidays with a stroll around the inner harbour
  • The Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens
  • Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle
  • A holiday cocktail in the lounge by the fireplace at Catalano

For more about Christmas in Victoria, visit the Magnolia Hotel’s website here.

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All photos by Morgan Cross Photography at Magnolia Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

SWEDISH VACATION | When in Sweden, do as the Swedes do

Sweden is widely hailed as being one of the most attractive places to visit in Europe, despite the worrying growth of censorship in the country. And it has a lot to offer tourists interested in exploring its culture as heritage, as well as experiencing the Swedish lifestyle for themselves.

Here is just a sample of the stuff you can get up to on your next trip.

SWEDISH VACATION | Do as the Swedes do

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Canal Cruises

If you fancy a bit of a Venetian experience, even though you’re a long way from the mild waters of Venice, you can still do so in Sweden. Visitors can take a cruise on the MS Ceres, a boat that travels along the Gota Canal. The canal was constructed way back in the 19th century to connect Gothenburg with the Baltic Sea. As a result, it runs for more than 382 miles, meaning that it takes around two days to travel down. You can pick up a tour in either Stockholm or Gothenburg.

Wildlife

Being near to the Arctic circle, Sweden is home to all sorts of unusual and interesting wildlife you don’t ordinarily get to see. One of the best spots is the Harjedalen Valley right in the centre of the country. It’s home to Sweden’s only herd of wild musk oxen, which can be seen grazing along the valley floor when the weather is warm enough. Travel further north to lapland, and you’ll find more creatures, like elk, buzzards, and even an arctic lynx if you’re lucky enough.

Relaxation

Scandinavian countries are famous for their relaxing pastimes. Swedish massage isn’t called “Swedish” in Sweden, it’s just called “classic.” It’s a massage technique that focuses on getting blood circulating around the body again by following the veins back to the heart. Massage parlours can be found in every single major Swedish town, including tourist hotspots like Malmo.

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Lakeland

Sweden has more than 97,500 lakes, many of which were carved out at the end of the last ice age by retreating glaciers. The best and most beautiful lakes can be found in the Swedish Lakeland area, a region that stretches out west of Gothenburg city and encompasses large chunks of the Baltic coast as well as Uppsala. All through the region are old castles and small villages to explore.

Cycling

Stockholm, being a socialist city, isn’t particularly friendly to motor vehicles. Bicycles on the other hand are everywhere, and they’re one of the best ways to see the town. There are multiple places to hire bikes allowing you to explore the Gamla Stan – the Old Town – with ease, as well as the city’s magnificent Stadshuset or city hall.

Beaches

It might surprise you to find out that somewhere as cold as Sweden has beaches, but it does. The best place to find them is on the country’s west coast, near to Norway. Here there are dozens of little inlets and coves all waiting to be explored by intrepid travellers. Swimming and sunbathing are fun (except perhaps in the winter), but there are also opportunities to do activities like waterskiing and windsurfing. Find a centre and hire out the equipment and start having fun.

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This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard. All photos from sweden.se.

FULL VS. TRAVEL SIZE | Your guide to travel friendly beauty products

If you’re anything like me, traveling can have a way of forcing you into packing just the bare-bone beauty essentials needed for your trip. But what to choose? Your regular size beauty weapons or the mini versions of your must-have products?

The Lady-like Leopard, Toronto blogger, beauty tips

Let’s talk logistics

Take hair products for example – a 1 oz mini bottle of shampoo isn’t going to last you two weeks in Paris, now is it? What’s a girl to do? A mini toothpaste, however, can go the distance.

When you’re checking luggage, it’s easy – just throw everything in and call it a day. But when you’re confined to a carry-on, things can get tricky. Even though we think we are familiar with TSA Guidelines we still get in trouble at security – Ever had all your favourite products thrown into the garbage right in front of you? (Is there anything more tragic than trying to make your 4:30am flight and having your YSL perfume chucked out before your very eyes?)

There is the option, at many airports, to store your products for, a fee, until you get back from vacationing in Bermuda, but if you don’t want to part with your essentials, here’s what you need to know.

Opt for sprays vs. liquids

I’d much rather have liquid than dry shampoo, but when you’ve only got a carry-on, what can you do? There are benefits to skipping the suds anyways, like creating volume and reducing the heat you use on your hair (hello, no more blow dryers). Yes, the dry version does the trick but if you’re really in need of a liquid shampoo the world famous, Philip Kingsley makes great travel size Jet Sets that contain a fantastic shampoo, conditioner and Philip’s award winning hair mask, Elasticizer, that are substantial enough to get you through at least 10 days.

Pack travel size makeup

Even though most makeup is travel friendly there are some brands that create everything in perfectly travel-size packages. There’s a brand that I know, love, and use called Stowaway, based in New York City, that makes all of their beauty products in exactly the right sizes. You’ll never have to worry about your foundation being over the limit again! Another plus to having your beauty products in smaller packages is that you’re able to actually finish a tube of lipstick before it expires. How often does that happen?

Bring a reusable water bottle

This isn’t something that comes to mind straight away when thinking of essential beauty products but water is an incredibly important part of your beauty routine – especially in flight. Water helps you stay hydrated and in return, makes you look and feel more beautiful – win, win! But don’t bring your own water because there are plenty of hydration stations around the airport to fill up on-the-fly.

Stash away a couple products for the plane

Beautifying yourself shouldn’t start when you land. It actually begins during the flight. With all that recycled air and drying temperatures, it’s essential to begin taking care of your skin while your seatbelt is still fastened. Apply a light face mask halfway through your flight. Heaven Skincare Silver Bee Venom Mask is my go to. You can apply it directly over your moisturizer and leave it on, it seeps right in with a dose of hydration. Don’t worry about getting strange glances from fellow passengers when applying your mask; they’re just envious of your well-packed travel kit. It is also essential to keep your lips moisturized. I’m partial to B. Kamins Lip Balm SPF 20. It can be applied right over lipstick or gloss and contains UV protection in case you are sitting in a window seat. You can actually get burned through the windows of an airplane.

Remember that less is more

All you super light packets out there, this beauty product is for you. Introducing the one and only water spritz you’ll need to pack in your carry-on: Vine Minus Ion Care Water. This high-tech water, from Japan, does it all – seriously. It can be used for a quick refreshing spritz while in flight and on the go, but it’s also a hair volumizer & skin moisturizer, a makeup remover and setter and can substitute for toothpaste in a jam. So while this product is only one small bottle, it can take the place of so many others.

If you’re really missing your full-sized beauty routine and need to work in an extra beauty boost, check out the many airport beauty services you can find in most airports.

Enjoy flying in style!

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This post originally appeared on Travel Beauty.

WINTER VACATION | The best places to visit this winter

We all lean towards taking winter vacation in a hot, sunny, tropical location but let’s put our bikinis away for a second and take a look at some real winter vacations. Yes, I mean snow, skiing, toques, furry coats and hot chocolate all day long. Because, well, why not?

Here are a few of my top picks for where to take your winter vacation this year.

WINTER VACATION | The best places to visit this winter

WINTER VACATION | The best places to visit this winter - the lady-like leopard

Winter Vacation: Sweden

Sweden is a Scandinavian must for winter fun with over 200 different resorts. Travellers can go on a reindeer safari and sleep in hotels and igloos made out of ice. Sweden is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis because of the ‘blue hole’ in the Abisko National Park. Along with reindeer or moose safaris, travellers can drive their own dog sleds, snowshoe through the Kungsleden, and dive into the culture-rich Sapmi of the Sami people. Enjoy unique tastes, go snowmobiling, and watch for the king of the forest (elk) all during your next winter vacation to Sweden.

Winter Vacation: Westfjords, Norway

With near-perfect conditions for skiing, Norway is a great stop for a winter vacation. But adventure isn’t all that Norway has to offer. With its Christmas Market in Oslo, the Gingerbread Town in Bergen, the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, and the Polar Jazz music festival in Svalbard – Norway is one of the top destinations for fun and enchanting winter activities. Don’t forget to squeeze yourself into a sleigh for a little reindeer sledding with someone you love!

WINTER VACATION | The best places to visit this winter - the lady-like leopard

Winter Vacation: Banff, Canada

Granted, everyone knows how awesome Canada is for its winter activities, but probably the best place to go overall is Banff National Park. It has a delightful Winter Festival, so this stunning region in Canada is one of the best places for families and individuals to visit. The beautiful Ice Magic Festival exhibits some of the most astounding ice carving there is. In February, ski and snowboard pros compete in The Big Bear competition that is sure to impress. If you want to get there quick and easy, visit Canada ETA will grant your wishes.

Winter Vacation: Iceland

With spas and geothermal pools, northern lights sightings, majestic national parks and whale watching, Iceland is a lesser-known winter secret for explorers all over. Ice climbing and glacier hiking are very popular during the snowy months. The stunning Northwest corner of Iceland, known as the Westfjords, is a wonderfully unspoiled wilderness and a great area for exploration.

WINTER VACATION | The best places to visit this winter - the lady-like leopard

Winter Vacation: Switzerland

Named the “playground for the rich and famous”, Switzerland is a great place to stop at for the holiday season. With its picture-perfect cities like Bern and St. Moritz and access to the Alps, Switzerland offers one of the best places to spend your holidays abroad. Switzerland is the perfect fairytale vacation for families and individuals too.

Winter Vacation: Lake Tahoe, California

This place is famous for its beautiful scenery during the summer, but what you might not know about Lake Tahoe is that it is also an enchanting winter stay. With incredible skiing, Tahoe offers a ton of winter activities from snowshoeing, skating, sledding, and even great shopping. The resorts in the area also have some wonderful annual events, including the Magical Memories holiday celebration at the Squaw Creek Resort. Families can take part in the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, have Breakfast with Santa, and walk along the Gingerbread Village.

Melina Morry, fashion blogger at The Lady-like Leopard.

This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.

DESTINATION WEDDING | What to wear if you’re tying the knot abroad

Have you ever dreamed of having a destination wedding? Maybe somewhere on the beach in Mexico or under a palm tree in the Bahamas? Well, you’re not alone. Many people are now choosing to fly off into the sunset to tie the knot, but figuring out what you need to bring with you can be the tricky part.

Destination weddings are bigger than ever – and when you book one you’ll usually be assigned a rep to help you with all the details so that everything is taken care of without a hitch.

However, one thing they likely won’t provide too much help with is what to wear on your big day. To be honest, you probably wouldn’t want them to anyways. Deciding what to wear is a pretty personal thing so it’s best to do it on your own and get exactly what you want.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be as simple as just picking anything though! Depending on where you’re going to get married, you’ll definitely want to be dressed appropriately.

For example, princess dresses may not be entirely comfortable on a tropical Indian Ocean beach and a bikini is probably not what you’ll feel most suits the occasion while exchanging vows in Lapland. But then again, to each their own. 

What to prepare (and wear) for your destination wedding

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There are many places online that are completely dedicated to destination weddings, such as websites, stores, and even blogs that will provide you with tips on what to wear, the expected weather conditions when you plan to get married, and style tips for inspiration.

But it’s not just the weather you have to consider when you’re getting married abroad. You’ll also have to take into consideration things like your own style and your partner’s style. You may opt for a more casual look with white sneakers, but if your partner prefers a more formal look, then someone will have to compromise.

Also, whether or not you’re having a themed destination wedding and if your chosen outfits really fit into this theme.

In addition, depending on where you’re getting married, you may also want to look up different things relating to culture and customs in that country. For example, you may choose to have a traditional Polynesian ceremony, and therefore, want to make sure you understand all it entails and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

Another issue could be that in certain countries, you may be required to have certain parts of your body, such as shoulders or legs covered, so in this case, you’d have to look into the different options for covering up so as not to offend or end up in trouble.

When booking your destination wedding, your assigned rep or wedding coordinator will usually go over any issues like this, but it never hurts to be more prepared for any eventuality just in case.

If you’re planning to have other people attending your wedding, such as bridesmaids and groomsmen, etc. then you’ll also want to think about what they’ll be wearing. Then you can make sure it all fits in with what you’re wearing and the overall theme of the wedding.

Another thing you should consider is that your clothing may be quite bulky and heavy, so make sure your luggage allowance doesn’t get affected when trying to transport them. Some airlines will allow you to carry items, such as wedding dresses with you in the cabin to avoid any potential problems – such as lost luggage.

You may also want to look at taking out additional or special travel insurance for your wedding for cases like this. The company who you book your destination wedding with may also be able to advise you further on this, but it makes sense to ensure that you’re covered for any problems.

Melina Morry, fashion blogger at The Lady-like Leopard.

This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard.