I’m Back (Sort of) – What I’ve Been up to

I committed to being back by the end of July and I’m squeaking in just on the last day! ๐Ÿ˜› First, I want to thank you all for the Birthday wishes! ๐Ÿ˜€ I had a great birthday! My SO and I baked a cake… a Betty Crocker boxed cake in the Cherry Chip flavour. It’s a nostalgic flavour for me as I remember having it at birthday parties when I was little! I don’t have great photos of the masterpiece but here’s what a slice looked like:

It turned out really well for our first ever baking attempt! ๐Ÿ˜€ (It’s not fancy like the ones I see online but it’s the taste that counts, right?) Aside from my birthday, during my time away from blogging, I’ve been doing some fun stuff…

While last year we visited Japan and did a Mediterranean cruise, this year we decided to focus on Canadian destinations, especially places within our province. ย Here are a few places we’ve visited recently:

Stratford

This city is known for its Shakespeare festivals and live theatre – it’s about 2 hours west of Toronto. We went so we could visit a small down for Canada Day instead of hanging out in the city. What was so neat was that everyone was all decked out in red and white for Canada’s 150th birthday. We returned home later that evening and hardly anyone had on red and white in downtown Toronto. ย This was my attire:

Kingston

Kingston City Hall

For my birthday, my SO and I spent a long weekend up at Kingston, one of Canada’s oldest cities (it was Canada’s first Capital city). ย It’s about a 3 hour drive east of Toronto, about midway between Toronto and Montreal. ย We stayed at a Victorian style B&B:



And visited the top touristy attractions in town, the first being the Kingston Penitentiary:

This was a running maximum security prison up until 2013, housing some of Canada’s most infamous criminals. ย It was the first prison in Canada and one of the longest running prisons in the world before it closed.

She was the warden for a few years toward the end.
The unique architecture inside the Work Building.
The Dome, where the guards have a 360 view of each cell.

The next morning we visited Fort Henry, which was built by the British during the War of 1812 to fend off potential attack from America (the US border is very close and visible from the Fort).

The fort was never attacked and now serves as a heritage site and museum.

We spotted 2 goats but it was never explained what they were doing there. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ย I think they’re mascots?


Lastly, we went on a river cruise to visit the Thousand Islands on the Saint Lawrence River, which is famous for its many little islands with multi-million dollar houses built on them!



The weekend was wonderful – another notable thing about Kingston is their culinary scene – we had some of the best meals ever (shout-out to Grecos, Amadeus Cafe and Dianne’s Fish Shack). ย There are many surrounding areas around Kingston that we’d like to visit including Wolfe Island and Prince Edward County.

Queen + Adam Lambert concert


My sister got me tickets to the Queen concert for my birthday! At first I didn’t know what to expect because of Adam Lambert as the lead but the concert turned out to be awesome! ๐Ÿ˜€

It was also Brian May’s birthday that night so we sang Happy Birthday to him!

I posted quite a few videos of the concert on IG Stories the day after the concert. Thank you to my sister for this incredible birthday present! โค

Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a quaint little town and very popular as a retirement community.

And just this past weekend, I spent a day touring Niagara region with my sister. She had won tickets for a guided day trip. I’ve been to Niagara Falls many times (it’s only about an hour and a half south of Toronto – I’ve had a co-worker that commuted daily from Niagara Falls to Toronto) but it never gets boring. ย I know for many people, Niagara Falls is the quintessential “Canadian” thing to do. ๐Ÿ˜› ย First, we stopped in for some ice wine tasting:

Ice wine is very sweet and considered a dessert wine.
Niagara Falls is actually made up of 3 separate waterfalls, 2 of them are on the American side, shown here (American Falls on the left and small little sliver of a waterfall on the right is the Bridal Veil Falls).
And further to the right side is the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side – it is the prettiest of the 3 in my biased opinion! ๐Ÿ˜›
We went into the heart of the falls on the Hornblower boat – it takes passengers up close into the Horseshoe Falls where the mist from the waterfall drenches everyone (that’s why we are given plastic ponchos).
Ground view of the Horseshoe Falls with a rainbow formed in the mist.
I went on my first ever helicopter ride!
It was scary on the helicopter at first – it felt so jarring to ascend so quickly into the sky. But once we were up there, the ride was smooth and comfortable.


View of Niagara Falls from the sky! ย See how awesome the Horseshoe Falls is?

Double rainbow!!

It was such an amazing day with my sister! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย My SO and I plan to go back to Niagara-On-the-Lake next weekend to visit Fort George there and spend more time in the town.


Lastly, the biggest news is that I got a new job! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s in a different division within the same organization but I’m changing offices and with a new team. I don’t officially transfer for a few more weeks – but I’ll be busy finishing off my current projects and transitioning my work (and packing up my stuff – I can’t believe how much crap I’ve amassed). ย So for the month of August, I’ll be on a reduced blogging schedule – I plan to blog about once a week. I have the following posts planned:
โ€ข June & July Trash Stash
โ€ข Birthday haul and presents
โ€ข June & July No-Low-Buy Accountability
โ€ข Mid-year Favourites

Stay tuned! ๐Ÿ˜€ How was your July? What have you been up to? ๐Ÿ˜€

93 thoughts on “I’m Back (Sort of) – What I’ve Been up to

  1. Aaw wow what a month! It looks like a month of birthday celebrations๐Ÿ˜Š The Niagara helicopter ride looks amazing! So beautiful. Canada full stop looks gorgeous. The Queen concert looked so fun! I loved your IG updates on it๐Ÿ˜Š The bday cake you made looks really nice too. And congrats on your new job! โ˜บ๐Ÿ’• xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cake looks awesome! Love the tiny sprinkles in it! Ans those pictures… they are all breathtaking! You are so lucky to have the opportunity to visit all those places and the photo pf the waterfalls from above is …. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve really enjoyed exploring closer to home. We love traveling aboard but sometimes it’s nice to focus on places surrounding us. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, that cake was delicious as it was pretty!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My GOSH! You’ve been traveling and enjoying life to the maX!!! WOW! LOve love all your photos. I’v been to kingston with my husband and I loved it! I wonder if my girls would like it too? It looks beautiful! Your lovely cake looks delicious! ๐Ÿ˜€ So happy you are enjoying your summer love. Have a beautiful August!!!! Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Clifton Street in Niagara Falls is the BEST. So tacky but a must-see for Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, arcades and Ripley’s Believe it or not! ๐Ÿ˜› I think it would be fun trip for you and your bf!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have a Madame Tussaud’s in Orlando. Still need to visit sometime. The Orlando Eye and SeaLife aquarium
        are part of the same complex. I’ve been to the Ripley’s in Gatlinburg, TN & Myrtle Beach, SC. They’re weird but fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun fun fun! Glad you had a great birthday โ€” and OMG you got to see QUEEN!!! Am very jelly.

    Never had that flavor of Betty Crocker before. Looks so good! I sometimes make cookies out of Betty Crocker cake mixes…Cherry Chip looks like it’d make a really awesome one.

    Vacationing in local areas looks fantastic. We really should do more of it!

    I’ve always wanted a ride in a helicopter!

    Welcome back ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I still can’t believe I got to see QUEEN! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      It seems not a lot of people know about the Cherry Chip cake flavour but as a kid, it was THE one. Better than chocolate! I think it was also because it was pink. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Never really thought about riding in helicopters but now I think I’d like to do one to see Toronto. My sister has done that tour and she loved it.

      Like

  5. Welcome back, girl! I’ve missed your posts!

    I don’t believe I’ve seen the Cherry Chip flavor cake mix before, but it looks YUM. Gonna go search for it next time we’re grocery shopping!

    What a wonderful idea to explore locally this year. Your weekend trips have looked so awesome on IG, especially Niagara!

    Congrats on your new position! Are you excited?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *Waves* Hellooooo! โค
      Yes, you need to try the Cherry Chip cake! And get the butter cream icing too. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I'm excited for the new position BUT it's been crazy trying to finish up my stuff and also handing things off / training people. I hope things will wind down in a couple of weeks and I can relax a bit before I start the new gig which has more responsibility. *gulp!*

      Liked by 1 person

  6. July is also my birthday month! Happy belated birthday. And I love the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara. I visited Toronto in 2012 and took a Greyhound bus trip to Niagara Falls to see them. Didn’t disappoint!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you post about your birthday on your blog? I have to catch up.
      Oh that’s so neat that you’ve visited Niagara Falls – specifically the Horseshoe Falls! I really the little getaway – I’ve done the boat tour twice now and visited the Falls probably half a dozen times. There’s always something to do there.

      Like

    1. I never really thought about flying on a helicopter but I’m glad I did it! I was worried it would be really loud inside but it wasn’t – we didn’t even need those earmuff things.
      Enjoy your trip to Estonia!!! I’m envious of you – I’m itching to get away somewhere far away.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So much fun! We took the boat ride at night to witness the fireworks too. I want to go back to Niagara again and spend more time exploring. It was raining the entire time we were there (booh). The view from the helicopter ride is breathtaking! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

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  8. First off welcome back!

    Congrats on the new job!

    I love Niagara Falls! I’d honestly be too scared to ever take a helicopter ride but your photos show that it can totally be worth it. I’ve been wanting to go to their for a weekend with my SO for the longest time but the weather has been so iffy that we always seem to put it off. I’ll have to plan a trip in the Fall.

    Kingston is real fun too, I haven’t been there for 6 years but I do remember my parents taking me there every other year because they love that town so much (and the thousand Island cruise).

    Amazing photos as always Stashy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I was scared at first of the helicopter but I it wasn’t so bad once we were up there.
      The weather hasn’t been great on the weekends – I think last weekend was probably the best we’ve had all summer!
      We’re planning on going back to the Kingston area – probably to Prince Edward County… not sure why we haven’t explored much around there when it’s so close by!

      Like

  9. What a busy month you’ve had! Kingston looks nice and the B&B looks so kitsch and cute. As you know we’re planning on coming next year and think we’ll do an overnight stay at Niagra after we’ve been to Toronto and before we head up to Collingwood. Originally we’d just thought of doing a day trip but I think it might be shame to just cut that part of the trip short and move fast!
    Congrats on the new job too! I’m sort of in the same position and transitioning roles at the moment! Luckily we’re a small company and team so my crap can all stay where it is haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, definitely go to Niagara Falls on your visit here. Honestly, Toronto itself isn’t that touristy – there’s maybe a few places near the waterfront that I think is worthwhile to visit but the rest is kind of standard fare.
      Good luck to you on transitioning to your new role! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  10. You’re back! Looked like you had an awesome time! (I was following some of your Instagram Stories, haha) The Niagara Falls looks incredible and so amazing that you’ll be back again next weekend to visit more! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congratulations on the new job! Take it easy with the blogging schedule. Am sure you’ll be doing more than alright. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was nice going back to Niagara On The Lake this weekend on a much more relaxed schedule (the tour was very by the clock since we had so much to cover).

      Yes, I have to keep telling myself to pace myself but I have such a backlog… at the very least I need to get rid of all my empties since they’re cluttering my place! ๐Ÿ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Aww it looks so fun this July! I want to travel too. I want to ride a helicopter too. Looks so cool and interesting.
    Congrats for the new job. This is the time to find out what we brought to work. XD
    By the way, nice cake! I want to have some now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s shocking how much stuff I’ve collected in just 3 year of working there! ๐Ÿ˜› I like having all the comforts right at my fingertips and that includes 8 lipbalms and 12 pairs of shoes! ๐Ÿ˜†

      There’s still the whole month of August to travel – you should do short weekend trips or just day trips! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      1. Lol different shoes for different months. I don’t keep stuff in my workplace since they never clean office ๐Ÿ˜› but I understand and saw how much stuff we can have to help us feel more comfortable at work. I keep asking my coworker where she got her usb charged cup warmer. XD

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  12. Welcome back!

    Congrats on the new job. I’m sure you’ll love your new team and everything will be awesome. And I’m also sure that you’ll amass new crap in no time! ๐Ÿ˜€

    And what a wonderful holiday you’ve had!

    Horseshoe Falls = beauuuutiful!

    The Kingston Penitentiary = very interesting! I need to check if there are any former prisons that offer tours in or around London.

    Those concert tickets were an amazing gift. I got tickets to the Queen musical (“We Will Rock You”) a couple of years ago. I didn’t know what to expect, but once they started singing the songs, I loved it!

    I’ve never been on a helicopter – just thinking of the quick ascension makes me a little nauseous! But you were brave and you were rewarded with stunning views. Again, Horseshoe Falls = โ™ฅ

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts – especially the birthday haul and presents post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’m looking forward to going over to the new team – there’s just so many things to close off my current work!
      It seems a bit morbid to visit a jail but it’s really interesting to see a glimpse into how they work. I’ve also visited Alcatraz and Kilmainham Gaol (in Dublin, which was used in the movie “In the Name of the Father”).
      I’ve seen that musical โ€œWe Will Rock Youโ€ too! It was great. Yes, very singable!
      One of these days I’ll do a helicopter tour around Toronto! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sounds like an exciting few weeks and more excitement to come! Congrats on your new job! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    The helicopter ride sounds awesome! Adam Lambert is known for a great voice, I bet the concert was a treat. I want to try that cake but I don’t really like cherry flavours ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was really nice to get away and be offline a bit more. ๐Ÿ™‚
      That cake isn’t that heavily flavoured with cherry (I don’t love fake cherry taste either) – it’s more of a vanilla flavour, really. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That penitentiary tour in Kingston sounds so cool! Prisons always really interest me for some odd reason….perhaps in a past life I was a criminal. Haha! Also GOATS! YES!! The obvious choice for a prison mascot!

    Helicopter tours freak me the heck out plus I get motion sickness really easily…but what a beautiful way to see the Falls! There’s so many amazing places in Canada we haven’t been, definitely need to add Niagara to my list.

    Congrats on the new job! Sounds like you’ve been having an awesome Summer so far – enjoy the rest of it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like visiting prisons too. Iโ€™ve visited Alcatraz and Kilmainham Gaol (in Dublin, which was used in the movie โ€œIn the Name of the Fatherโ€). I’m not sure why I find them fascinating…
      Yes, when I saw that goat, I thought of you! ๐Ÿ˜†
      Thank you – I can’t believe there’s only one more month left and the weather has been just hohum on the weekends.

      Like

  15. Congrats one the new position! It seems like you had a lot of fun in July ๐Ÿ˜€ And your cake looks delicious. I’ve never tried cherry chip but now I’m going to look for it! That was so sweet of your SO to make it for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great pics!! I’m glad you enjoyed your Birthday and congrats on your new position!! I can’t believe you got in the helicopter….girl I don’t know if I would have the guts. Lol. The pictures are amazing and there is nothing biased about it…..the horseshoe is by far the prettiest of the falls. Canada is on my bucket list, it would be cool to be there for Canada Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I just went with it on the helicopter, if I overthink something, I tend to lose my nerve. It was really exciting and it lasts only 15 minutes so it wasn’t overwhelming.
      Yes, when you come to Toronto / Canada – definitely add the Falls to your list! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We’re about 4 hours drive while hubby and I both hates driving.. hehe.. I want to go to Toronto though.. saw many cool spots featured on the Filipino Show that I watched. The entire cast were there last fews weeks to shoot for the show and I want to go visit even more. ๐Ÿค—

    Liked by 1 person

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