Greece – Part 1: Athens

I think I’ve read and watched way too many movies on Greek Mythology that Athens has been on my list forever I could remember.  My excitement to see the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and have Greek food (yumm, give me all the tzatziki, feta and olives!) was unreal.  The moment we started planning our Europe trip, I obviously ensured that we hit this spot, just like Greek food hits the spot.

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We spent 2.5 days in Athens and that was sufficient.  You can easily take Line 3 of the subway (as it’s called the “Metro” in Greece) from the airport to city.  The subway runs every 30 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to Syntagma Square.  You can also take a bus or a taxi (subway is cheapest).

I recommend staying at a hotel near Syntagma Square.  This way you will be walking distance from majority of the attractions.  Yay!! Let’s go explore one of the world’s oldest cities and the capital of Greece!!

Day 1: We landed mid-afternoon and walked around the area near our hotel.

Syntagma Square:

This is the historic main square for all political protests and demonstrations.  Buy yourself a Koulouri (Greek Sesame Bread Rings) and walk around the square.  You can also see the Parliament Building here, as well as, changing of the guards.  Changing of the guards happens every hour.  On Sunday, the ceremony is quite an elaborate affair.

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Day 2: Full first day in Athens, let's go back in time!!

Acropolis and Parthenon:

If you’re going in June, July or August, be prepared for extreme hot weather (best times are between March and May or September and November).  This is the reason I put visiting the Acropolis and Parthenon first thing in the morning.  We went during mid-afternoon, and it was BOILING HOT!! So, I switched the itinerary a little for your convenience.  The earlier you go, the smaller the crowds.

As you walk up to the Acropolis, imagine yourself going back in time.  Acropolis – the high city, built to honor Goddess Athena, took roughly 50 years to build.  As you stand on the Acropolis, try to find the Temple of Zeus & Panathenaic stadium in the distance.  You’ll spend around 2 -3 hours visiting this ancient site and then head back down.

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Tip: Carry enough water for this entire visit.  Once you start the climb to the Acropolis, there are no vendors to provide you with any beverages or food.  Also, wear lots of sunscreen, a hat and comfortable shoes.  It’s a sunny and rocky walk up. 

Odeon of Herodus Atticus:

This is an open air theater that show cases live classical theater performances.  You may be able to catch a performance here.  This is located on the Acropolis.

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Tip: There are several options for tickets of the Acropolis, check online for your perfect option. We bought our tickets at the booth.  More information here. 

Acropolis Museum:

Visit this museum to get more knowledge about the history of Athens, the Parthenon, the surrounding temples and much more.

On your way back from the Acropolis and to The Temple of Zeus, you will notice restaurants that you can stop at for lunch (try all the different varieties of olives and have lots of feta cheese!!).

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The Temple of Zeus:

You can get a view of the Acropolis in the background from this temple.  Also, notice the impressive size of the columns.

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Plaka:

Go back to the hotel, freshen up, and come back out to Plaka.  This is one of the oldest neighborhoods lined with beautiful houses, pedestrian streets, restaurants, cafes and stores.

Day 2: Olympic Stadium, National Garden, Highest Peak in Athens!!

The Ancient Agora:

Start your tour of by visiting the Museum of the Ancient Agora, and wander around until you reach the Temple of Hephaistos.  You will notice that this temple is very well preserved compared to others.

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National Garden & Zappeion:

Walk through the 15.5 acres of National Gardens of Athens to get to the Panathenaic Stadium.

Panathenaic Stadium:

The first modern Olympic Games were hosted here in 1896.  You can go for a tour inside the stadium, although it doesn’t have a roof and you can see it all from outside.  The thought of building these amazing monuments in 1800’s is so impressive.  Imagine the hard work of the labor force to carry the stones, and working in such hot conditions.  Unimaginable! During our visit, the stadium was closed for maintenance, however, I would love to go for a tour on my next visit!!

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Mount Lycabettus:

From this mountain, you will get a 360 degrees view of all of Athens.  It’s spectacular!! You will notice the mountains surrounding the city of Athens for protection.  Mount Lycabettus sitting 300 meters above sea level with an elevation of 277 meters.  If you’re up for a hike, hike up to the top!! Otherwise, you can take the cable car (we took the cable car!).  There is a cafe at the top where we enjoyed delicious milkshakes with a view.  I highly recommend going to this viewing area. If you arrive just before sunset, you can see the Acropolis glowing in lights. It’s a gorgeous site!!

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Tip: From Syntagma Square, you can take the St. Syntagmatos Metro line to Evangelismos station.  Then walk 15-20 minutes to the Lycabettus Cable Car.  Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the cable car entrance from your hotel.

You can go back to the hotel to rest for a bit, or freshen up.  Then come back out for dinner in Psyri Square/Monastiraki. You will find a lot of restaurants and shops in this area.  If you’re tired from walking, take the Metro to Monastiraki station.

Tip:  We enjoyed Gyros & Chicken Souvlaki from a number of local restaurants. They were super delicious!!

Food to try:

  • Gyros
  • Souvlaki
  • Moussaka
  • Greek Salad
  • Tzatziki
  • Baklava
  • Halva

Other items:

  • Exchange money at a bank
  • Metro is easily accessible & tickets can be purchased at metro stations
  • Validate your tickets in/out of the Metro
  • Wear lots of sunscreen
  • Bring a hat, sunglasses and comfortable shoes
  • Pick up a map of Athens
  • Electricity adapters required – 230 V, 50 Hz. Power sockets are Type C and Type F

PS: We walked everywhere in the city and only took the Metro from and to the airport. 

Now that you’ve learned all about the history of Athens, seen a 360 degrees view, the glowing Acropolis, ate delicious flavors of Greece; it’s time to go see gorgeous blue domes, white houses on cliffs, and sandy beaches!! Let’s go to Santorini!!

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment!!

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Trip to the Falls!

Niagara Falls – connecting Ontario, Canada and New York, USA is made up for 3 waterfalls.

– Horseshoe Falls

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– American Falls & Bridal Veil Falls

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Niagara Falls was created approximately 1000 years ago with glacier activity.  Niagara falls produces the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth.  Every time I visit Niagara Falls, I feel a bit nostalgic.  Every time someone visited us from anywhere, we would take them to the falls, have a picnic, walk around, watch the fireworks, and have the most wonderful time.

A few of my favorite things to enjoy in Niagara Falls are:

– Walk around by the falls

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– Walk on Clifton Hill

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– Ride the Ferris Wheel

– Lunch at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant (finger licking burgers)

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– Dinner at Antica Pizzeria & Ristorante

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– Stay at Embassy Suites, Hilton, Marriott or any hotel that provides a falls-view room

(it makes a difference!)

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Other fun activities:

– Journey Behind The Falls

– Hornblower Niagara Cruises

– Zipline to the falls

– Whirlpool Adventure Course

– Primal Swing

– Bungy Jump

– Skylon Tower

– Plan a day trip to Niagara-on-the-lake

So much to do! Such little time!!

Have you tried any of the above activities? Which is your favorite?

Have fun this summer!!

~ Jap

PS: Click on the picture to shop my outfit

Summer Salad

BBQ Season is here!! This means lots of burgers, roasted veggies and summer salads! Here is one of my favorites!!

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Spinach

Pear

Almonds

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Easy peasy!! Enjoy your BBQ’s!!

I also added a link to BBQ heat plates that you may need to replace.  I’ve had to replace these on my BBQ.

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Lessons I Learned!

Last month I had the opportunity to attend The Kit Connect Conference at the historical venue The Great Hall!! This place is so stunning; I still cannot get over it’s beauty!!

As soon as I walked through the grand wooden doors onto the red carpet with lights sparkling through the crystal chandeliers creating an energetic environment, I knew I was in for a sweet treat. I’m not only talking about the delicious flavors of sparkling water, coffee, tea, donuts, & muffins, but also the jam-packed agenda with secret tips from the amazing panelists:

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Kimberley Newport-Mimran (Pink Tartan), Shiseido Team, Joanna Griffths (Knix), Dani Roche (Kastor & Pollux), Christine Faulaber (Faulhaber Communications), Lesley Hampton (Lesley Hampton The Label & Robust by Lesley Hampton), Emily Ramshaw (Bumble (Bizz)), Roger Gingerich (Fashion Group International – Toronto), Gillian Singerman (Creative Circle).

The panel was facilitated by the wonderful The Kit Team including Laura deCarufel (Editor-in-Chief), Katherine Lalancette (Beauty Director), Giorgina Bigioni (Publisher), and Caitlin Kenny (Digital Director).

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Me, being my enthusiastic self, ran to get my seat in the second row (first row was reserved for panelists!).  I was ready to learn, connect, and take in as much as I can so I can share it all with YOU.

“Sharing Knowledge” was one of the key messages delivered at the conference, so here I am sharing the lessons I learned with you:

How to achieve your dreams?

Never Giving up

Resilience is key

Hard-work

Understand WHAT you want to ACHIEVE

Learn as much as you can

Make a to-do list

Be passionate

Get started

How to achieve balance in life?

Try to make everything work, instead of aiming for a perfect balance.  We are ambitious, we want to be leaders, we want to be successful, but at the same time, we want to be with our family, cook a great meal, attend children’s school events, and spend time with family and friends.  That’s a lot packed into our lives, so aim to make everything work, don’t aim to achieve every single item on your list.  Prioritize your tasks, and work out a balanced life!! A life that makes you happy!

How to get hired?

LinkedIn time-line must match your resume time-line

Positive attitude

Well rounded personality

Appropriate social media accounts

Be unique and proud of yourself

YOU ARE A BRAND!!

What are some key tips for a good resume?

Clear/Concise

Highlight key points & strenghts

Simple fonts, appropriate spacing, no spelling, and accurate content

Show progression on resume

1 page for every 10 years (1-2 pages maximum)

Include concrete numbers, company names, and deliverables

Save the resume file with your NAME

How to shine in an interview?

Do your research

Know about the company

Know the tasks required for your position

Go above and beyond

Offer your unique skills

Believe in yourself

What are some key interview questions?

What do you think the role entails?

What does the Company mean to you?

What is your day-to-day responsibility?

What would you do differently in your current role?

What are your long-term goals?

Where does this new role take you?

How to prepare for an interview?

Practice answering questions with a family member or a friend

Be confident

How to negotiate your salary?

Do your homework

Know the salary grid for the position

Explain the reason for your desired salary

Provide salary guides for the position

Practice negotiations with a friend

Add a clause in contract to review salary at the 6 month mark

How do you start building a business?

Build one piece at a time

Turn negatives into a positive

Every set-back is an opportunity

Learn from your mistakes

Learn from others mistakes

Work for something bigger than you

How do you fund a business?

Grants & subsidies

Create a budget

Reduce your overhead costs

Get creative

How do you build your network?

Volunteer with the organization

Do an internship

Join Facebook groups

Attend events and network with others

Go for a quick coffee

Be kind: a little kindness goes a long way!!

The panelists answered every question before I even had the chance to ask them!! The Kit team pretty much READ our minds, was extremely PREPARED, and delivered BENEFICIAL messages.

After the panel, we had the OPPORTUNITY to connect with the panelists and The Kit team.  It was a venue filled with passionate and energetic women trying to make their dreams a REALITY!! I’m so GRATEFUL for the opportunity to attend this conference, and to LEARN from & MEET so many INSPIRATIONAL women!!

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail!! I would love you hear from you!!

~ Happy Learning ~

Jap!!

 

Dream Closets

Every time I visit one of my favorite stores, I always wonder if I could display my clothes, jewelry, shoes and bags in a similar fashion.  Of course I can, why not? I ordered myself a few items from Amazon, and organized my closet!! Love organizing, I found so many pieces that I had forgotten!! Now that I have my closet organized, I can actually wear everything I like, and give away anything I do not!! I’m sharing some of my closet organization tips with you:

#1: Sort by category: I sort my clothes by tops, skirts, dresses, jeans, cardigans, blazers, & other.

#2: Sort by Color & shades: I start with black, grey, white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, brown, etc.

#3: Invest in Good Hangers: I use a uniform set of felt hangers so my clothes do not slip off and fall on the floor. The same hangers also give a very clean look to the closet.

                                               

#4: Fold chunky sweaters: I fold sweaters by size, largest at the bottom, to stack them on shelves for easy access.  (PS: you can spray paint the shelves any color!!)

                                        

#5: Categorize shoes: I use stack-able shoe boxes to save space and protect my shoes from dust.  Marilyn Monroe once said “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” So go on, protect your shoes, wear them, and take over the world!!

                            

#6: Organize Purses/Bags: I keep my designer bags in original packaging, or stuff them with bubble wrap, or dust bags to maintain their shape.

                                         

#7: Display Jewelry: I organize my jewelry in separate compartments for easy access and keep the jewels sparkling!!  It’s so easy to tangle your necklaces, mix up your earrings, and forget about those pieces at the bottom of the box.  These compartment boxes keep them all separately displayed.

               

How about a sunglasses organizer?

#8: Highlight Favorites: I showcase some of my favorite pieces on my dresser, or closet shelves for inspiration.  Some of these pieces are presents from special people in my life, and seeing them on display makes me happy!!

    

I hope these tips were helpful!!  How do you organize your closet?

Share your secrets and tips in the comments below!!

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A Very Good Morning!

A bunch of us were hanging out and the question about “What’s the first thing you do once you’re awake?” came up!!  A lot of people responded with “Check my phone!” or “Check my Instagram!! Obvi, what else would you do?!”

I don’t! Shocked?! Yup, that’s exactly how everyone else reacted! If I were to check my phone the first thing in the morning, I would be on my phone for a very long time, and probably not get out bed for the rest of the day! And there is no time to sleep-in when you’re trying to accomplish a million tasks in a day!! Here a few ways I learned to have an energized morning and a productive day:

Gratitude – set the tone for the day first thing in the morning with a little gratitude list in your head of all the wonderful things in your life!

Water – drink water (cold or warm with lemon) early in the morning to hydrate your body and skin for a fresher glow!

Workout – release those endorphins into your body early in the morning to trigger a positive attitude for the rest of the day!

Breakfast – eat a good breakfast filled with all the goodness to fuel your body for an energized day!

Prepare – decide on your breakfast, pick your outfit, pack your lunch, make a to-do list the night before to save decision making early in the morning! This will save you time in the morning, you won’t be running around looking for stuff or changing in and out of outfits, or trying to remember all the items to pack for lunch!! It’ll be an easy breezy smooth morning!!

Bed Sheets – sleep on comfortable bed sheets!! This makes all the difference in getting your beauty sleep.  I purchased the Bamboo Rayon bed sheets a few months ago, and absolutely LOVE them (not kidding at all!).  This is  honestly the softest and comfiest bed sheet set I’ve EVER owned.  Click the link below for more information!

How do you start your morning? Share your secrets in the comments below!!

Have a wonderful day!!

 

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Self Care

Self care is a very important part of your life.  You probably already know that but here I am still talking about different ways of Self Care: exercising, eating healthy, meditating, and relaxing.  I discovered this new mat and pillow set on Amazon the other day to add to my relaxation process.

How do I use it?

1. Neck Pain Relief: We sit while driving, working, watching TV, using our phones, and all the other time.  To relieve neck pain, I lay on this mat for 10 minutes.  The acupressure from the mat & pillow releases endorphins that block pain and relaxes neck muscles.

2.  Back Pain Relief: Slouching in chairs, lounging on couches, and sitting in traffic for a long period of time can harm our natural posture.  This could result in back pain and stiffness. To relieve back pain, lay on this mat for 10-15 minutes to massage pressure points that help release tight muscles and reduce stiffness.

3. Increase Circulation: Individuals invest thousands of dollars and hours in obtaining acupuncture treatments.  This mat allows you to incorporate regular acupressure & massage to your daily routine.

Please read instructions in the package prior to using.

 

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