Get up and Go on Victoria Day Weekend!

The first long weekend of the sunny season is upon us – and you know what that means – time to make plans to get out and have some fun!

Maybe you’re visiting Halifax from out of town, or perhaps you’re a local who’s just not sure what’s going on over the Victoria Day weekend. Aside from spending some quality time with family and friends, there are many different kinds of activities happening in Halifax. Here are four different experiences open to you over the weekend…


The Halifax Concert Band will perform at the Grandstand in the gorgeous Halifax Public Gardens on Monday May 20th, starting at 2pm. This is a free and wonderful way to get outdoors, listen to live music, and experience the flowers and foliage that our public gardens have to offer.

Food & Drink

The Patio Weekend kick-off event in the lively Argyle Entertainment District is on all weekend. Grab a seat Friday night and experience the official patio lighting on Argyle Street at 9pm. Enjoy live entertainment at almost all venues, along with beer and food specials on patios all weekend long!


The 7th Annual Maritime Tattoo Festival is happening over the long weekend at the Halifax Forum. Even if you’re not ‘inked’ this event offers pure entertainment: reality television celebrities, drag shows, live music and a “freakshow” sideshow!


Last but not least there is, of course, the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon! Head downtown to cheer on participants and take in the energetic vibe – there’s even still time to volunteer. It’s a great environment to kick start some self-motivation and positive energy!

Be sure to check out Seasons by Atlantica’s amazing three-course offering as part of the 26 Myles Menus  - ending May 19th.

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Pin your way through Mother’s Day!

Oh, that Pinterest. It just has so many ideas for so many different occasions. Not feeling particularly inspired to think up an original Mother’s Day idea? On a budget? Wondering what’s new and trendy? Just visit Pinterest. Here are some ideas, categorized by the types of moms, that I’ve found…


Is mom the traditional type? Keep things classic with old favourites like beautiful flower arrangements, potted plants, gourmet chocolates (there are many local companies in Nova Scotia to choose from) or jewelry.

Click photo for source

Click photo for source

Retail Junky

Maybe your mom’s a shopaholic – and she’d prefer a stylish fashion find on the special day. In that case, look for perfect Mother’s Day gifts like spring purses, scarves or sun/gardening hats. Be sure to visit one of Halifax’s many independent clothing shops for items just like these – and to find something unique, just like her.

Click image for source

Click image for source



Most moms out there just want a gift that comes from the heart. If your mom would rather you put a little time and effort into her gift, instead of just spending money, consider a fun DIY project. Check out Pinterest daily for even more of these great ideas!

Click photo for source



If mom’s a foodie, you’ve got two options: make her an incredible Mother’s Day meal, or take her out for a decadent Sunday brunch. If you’re looking to do the latter – you should seriously check out the Mother’s Day offering at Seasons by Atlantica.

If you’re going to do the former – go all the way – and whip up something impressive (there are a ton of recipe ideas on Pinterest).

Click image for source


Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Benefits of Fresh Air

Now that it’s finally starting to feel spring-like in Halifax, I’m super excited to get outdoors, like everyone else. Lucky for us Halifax has many beautiful greenspaces, like the Common or Point Pleasant Park. Plus, we’re on the ocean!

What is it exactly about being in the open air that makes us feel so great? Well, as it turns out, a whole lot. The physical and mental benefits to getting fresh air are vast and important. Here are just a few that I found in my research…

More Energy

Inhaling fresh air generally allows you to breathe more effectively (deeper and longer), because it cleans your lungs. This means more oxygen gets to your brain, which, among other amazing things, gives you more energy.

Improve Your Brain Power

The other great thing about getting more oxygen to the brain is that it will work better. This means better thought clarity, better concentration and essentially… more brain power!

Less Stress

We all learned in elementary school how trees and plants take carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, which humans need to breathe. Turns out there is also a self-protective chemical that they give off as well, called phytoncides. This chemical is at the centre of some stress-reduction studies that have shown people who spend time walking in the forest versus in the city have both lower blood pressure, and lower amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.

Helps Digestion

One of the best things you can do after a big meal is take a walk around the block! The fresh air is a digestive aid and suggested to many people who are trying to lose weight.

Now get out there and enjoy it while you can!

Resources for this article:

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DIY Herb Garden for Spring

Here at Atlantica Hotel Halifax we’re just finishing up our plot application for the Common Roots Urban Farm, or as you might know it, the urban garden just across the way on the corner of Robie Street.

We’re super excited for executive chef Luis Clavel to hear back as to how many plots and which plants he’ll be able to use for food in our dining room and at banquets! Talk about the 50 mile diet…

Because we’ll definitely be planting some herb action on our plot, I started thinking about my own backyard herb garden. Every year we fill several planters with soil and herbs. Our back deck gets the late afternoon sun, for several hours, and the plants seem to love it. They supply the flavour for our summer cooking all the way into October.

Using my favourite DIY research tool, Pinterest, and my own experience, here are some great tips for planting your own adorable herb garden this spring.


1. Get Creative and Make it Work for Your Space



2. If You’re not a Pro – Label Them!

from Etsy

3. Don’t Have a Yard? Don’t let that Stop You!

From Pinterest


4. Reuse Old Materials


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Spring Fever: 2013 Wedding Trends


Happy Spring! Rain or shine, snow or sun (especially snow), the first day of spring is upon us.

Being one of the most popular wedding venues in Halifax, around here, spring means one thing… that another wedding season is about to kick off!

One of my favourite topics to blog about is upcoming wedding trends. Around this time of the year, each year, I round up the most fabulous upcoming colours, dress styles, food, drink, invitations, flowers and decor I can find. My go-to trending tool? Pinterest, of course.

Here are some of the gorgeous upcoming spring and summer 2013 wedding trends…


My favourite trendy wedding colour this season is mint - it looks great paired with lots of other complementary colours, and has a real classy vibe. Other hot colours include grey, and creamy neutral tones like latte.


English garden flowers, specifically peonies, are the biggest trend in wedding flowers for 2013. Colourful, beautifully full-figured, and classy, it’s no wonder brides are demanding peonies for everything from centrepieces to bouquets.


There are a few invitation styles making the rounds, but I think the most fun is the neon trend. Neon was a big colour on the runway last year and its made its way into the wedding world. Another favourite is gleaming foil print invitations.


Coloured dresses are back in 2013 (like Jessica Beil’s when she married JT) including blush, pink, red and even blue. Other trends include fanciful backs, sleeves, and vintage style!


While I’m glad to hear that plated dinners are making a comeback (they never really went away for us), I love the trend of spotlighting your culinary heritage for the wedding meal. What a fun way to get your guests interested in the food!


Artisan cocktails, often using champagne, are hot this year. Another more non-formal trend is beer! Who doesn’t love a cold one at a wedding reception?


Again there are some incredibly cute decor trends popping up for the upcoming season. Covered centrepieces (like using birdcages for example) are big, as well as using mason jars for various DIY decor concepts.

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ECMA Action in Halifax

Why should you support East Coast Music Week, starting in Halifax today? Because we’ve got a ton of local musical talent to brag about – and we want everyone to know!

Also, because the event supports tourism and the economy in Halifax in the middle of winter. And because it’s just a good time!

So what exactly is going on over ECMW, you may be wondering? A lot. And most of it is very affordable, and accessible for anyone who wants to see some awesome live music.

One of my favourite East Coast musicians, David Myles, via

My Tips for ECMW

First, you may want to get organized. If you’re a music enthusiast and smart phone user, and you’re looking to optimize your time over the week (which will fly by) you may want to check out the ECMW app.

Can only make it to a couple shows? Carefully study the schedule of events here; and prioritize your valuable rockin’ out time during ECMW!

Study up on the artists so you don’t miss out on any of your favourites and you know who is in town.

Try to win tickets to shows. There’s a ton of giveaways going on via several different channels (social media, radio, etc). Here’s one local music blog giving away tickets to a show this weekend.

Get the kids out and make it a family occassion. Look through the schedule to find some free or kid-friendly venues, and expose the little ones to some great, local music! There’s even a children’s music showcase happening where the best children’s recording of the year will be awarded.

Stay downtown. Make a night or weekend out of it by booking a hotel room. Rooms are in demand in downtown Halifax – so don’t wait to call us and book!

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Seven Days of March Break

Planning on spending this March Break in Halifax? You definitely want to stay with us at Atlantica Hotel Halifax. Not only are we next door neighbours with the Emera Skating Oval, we’re the perfect central location for a ton of fun ideas. Enough to fill an entire week!

Friday Night, March 8th

Kick off March Break with a good old-fashioned hockey game! The Mooseheads battle it out with their rivals the Moncton Wildcats at the Metro Centre.

No kids? Maybe check out the second night of East Coast Music Week. The Rising Stars show at Casino Nova Scotia is sure to be a great one.

Day One: Saturday March 9th

Kids crazy about animals and nature? Head to the Museum of Natural History for the newest exhibit, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, Living Under Fire: Life in the Desert. Check out the number of other great, permanent exhibits while you’re there!

Day Two: Sunday March 10th

Have an active, family fun skating day on the Emera Skating Oval! When you get back to the hotel (Atlantica, of course – we are just across the street), have a swim in the pool and a relaxing night watching movies in the room.

Day Three: Monday March 11th

It’s hockey week in Halifax! The Mooseheads are at home again, taking on Acadie-Bathurst. Take a walk around downtown Halifax, exploring the shops and restaurants, then head to the game!

Day Four: Tuesday March 12th

Dress like pirates and head to Pirates on the Seven Seas exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Parents are encouraged to wear their finest pirate gear, too!

Day Five: Wednesday March 13th

Walk just down the street from us and paint some pottery at Clay Cafe! A great souvenir to take home and remember a great March Break in Halifax.

Looking for something more active? Get a Family Day Pass to the Canada Games Centre – it’s only $20, and gives you access to ALL areas of the centre. Including the giant yellow water slide. Child minding services are available for up to 1.5 hours if Mom and Dad want to get a grown-up work out in.

Day Six: Thursday March 14th

Time for more learning… you don’t want to miss the End of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins exhibit at the Discovery Centre. The permanent exhibits are great too, including the always favourite bubble room!

Day Seven: Friday March 15th

Sign up the kids for a half or full-day art class at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia! While they’re there, Mom and Dad can have a grown-up day. Spa, anyone? Perhaps lunch at a fancy restaurant?

On Friday night, end the week like you started it – being the ultimate hockey fan! The Mooseheads are in Halifax looking to defeat Saint John.

Day Eight: Saturday March 16th

Relax! Pack up the family… head back home, and get things organized for school, work and regular life to start again.

See you next year!

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Foodie Romance


What’s more romantic than a decadent, indulgent Valentine’s Day meal with your sweetheart? Add in some bubbly or well-paired wine selections, and you’ve got a night to remember with that special someone.

For this blog post, I simply wanted to share the fantastic, culinary creation that Chef Clavel has put together for this Valentine’s Day… it sounds truly amazing…


Beet - Beet and mascarpone fried beetbit, almond beet ice cream, beet and apple, and pickling of beet

Queso fresco - Homemade cheese, poached tomato, olive oil powder, bagel crisps, olive, pine nuts tomato and basil

Squid - Curried fried, jalapeno puree, red pepper jam, and fennel orange salad

Wine Selection: 

Roy’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc or 

Hardy’s Nottage Hill Pinot Noir

~Chef Inspired Cleanser~


Pork Belly - Korean bbq, white bean and miso puree, sprout and shiitake salad, wonton, and edamames

Fish stew - Monkfish, prawn, lobster broth, lobster rice, basil air, roasted cauliflower and paneer 

Meat and potatoes - strip loin of beef, caramelize onion dip, root vegetables, triple cooked hash, roasted garlic, and arugula

Wine Selection:

Penfolds Private Release Chardonnay or

Chakana Malbec 


Lemon meringue - Crepes and lemon, raspberry tubing, caramel cider gelato, meringue, marshmallow sauce

Ice cream sampler - Hibiscus raspberry, oatmeal ice cream sandwich, lychee frozen yogurt, complementary garnishes

COCOA - Chocolate genoise, 2 chocolate mousse, raspberry and cocoa nib compote, caramel, hibiscus raspberry ice cream, white chocolate glaze

$150 per couple

Taxes and gratuities not included

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Another January…

…another detox plan! But are these so-called miracle detoxes really as good as people say they are? I’ve done a bit of internet research, and here are some detox tips that I’ve come up with…

Be Realistic – don’t set yourself up to fail with an extreme diet or complete lifestyle change from the get-go. Make small changes and encourage yourself with goals that are achievable. Also, make an effort to ensure that just because you’re detoxing or participating in a winter cleanse doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. There’s a great article here, about doing just that, and not alienating yourself from your friends.

Eat Super Foods & Antioxidants – Be sure to find ways to include foods with super strengths into your diet over the winter to get more bang for your buck. A few good examples are: clementines, kale, carrots, Brussels sprouts, grapefruits and parsnips. Luckily quite a few of those can be found at the local farmers’ market throughout the colder months! Quick tip: warm up with a daily green tea for a boost in antioxidants.

Exercise – A healthier diet and super foods are a great start, but to really take it to the next level, find a regular workout or activity that fits in your lifestyle (outdoor skating is a great one). Good workouts help to clean your internal organs and push toxins out of the body.

Treat Yourself – Know that a detox or a cleanse doesn’t mean giving up on indulgences forever. Find healthy ways to work them back into your diet – the key is moderation!

Remember to always talk to your doctor or naturopath for advice on cleanses, detoxes or diet changes!

Happy New Year!

Looking for more healthy lifestyle tips? Check out Atlantica Hotels at the Optimyz Live Health Expo, a Health, Fitness & Lifestyle Show at Exhibition Park January 19-20!



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Stay organized (and stress-free) this holiday season…

Click photo for source

As you may already know, every Monday on our Facebook page, I post your weekly zen moment. Mondays can be stressful, and it’s important to take time to breathe and de-stress! A couple weeks ago, I posted some tips for having a stress-free holiday season. Turns out there are multiple sources on the web offering advice on how to stay on-track, organized and zen (as possible) over the holidays.

Here , I’ve put together the top ten tips I’ve found (sources can be found at the bottom of the page):

10. Plan Ahead. This is a no-brainer, the more in advance you make your plans, the easier it will be for you to get organized and manage your time more effectively.

9. Less is more. You don’t need to go over the top; keep this in mind with hosting, cooking and gift-buying. Go for quality, thoughtfulness and authenticity over quantity.

8. Be careful. Store your ornaments carefully (egg cartons are great for the small, delicate ones) as well as decorations. This makes every year a bit less stressful – no surprises when you open your storage bins and find your favourites broken.

7. Write it down. Make yourself a to-do list and set firm deadlines that you need to meet to get everything done. This gives yourself a timeline to follow and helps so much with time management.

6. Be kind (to yourself and others). Be realistic with your goals and expectations; don’t set yourself up to fail, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

5. Take inventory (of your Christmas things). Count your supplies and make an organized gift wrapping station; this way you’ll know if you have enough to get through. Also – make an inventory of your decor and ornaments so you can keep track from year-to-year.

4. Ask for help and involve others. Get the kids to help! It’s okay if you can’t do it all on your own. Get help with housework (if you can afford it) – it’s only once a year!

3. Pack it up in bins. Label and index everything. One neat tip from Martha Stewart is to store holiday lights around a piece of cardboard to avoid tangling! Good quality bins with clear labelling are a great investment!

2. Leave the cooking to someone else (unless you really enjoy it), take-home turkey dinners (ahem – like we offer at Seasons by Atlantica), or pot lucks, are fantastic and stress-reducing. Share hosting with other family members (if possible), and don’t forget to cook in advance and freeze some things for when people pop over. Also – cookie exchanges are also a great way to have a variety of sweets to offer with less work!

1. Celebrate when you’re done. The most important! Work hard, and play hard my friends.

Good luck with your holiday planning!



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