Thursday, May 9, 2013

The First Shop Of Coffee Prince

So about a week ago my bestest friend from Japan came to visit me in Canada after 3 long years of being apart and chatting over skype and facebook, with and empty suitcase and a full wallet.

She is currently living in Ireland and she told me that the fashions there go from one end of the spectrum to the other with no inbetween.  Either you are dressing like a nun or a streetwalker who belongs on droullard.  So I told her that she should come here because she knows how I dress and the fashions here are a lot more diverse than over there.  So one night, while searching online, she found a cheap flight and booked.  She was coming in April.  I was so excited that I could finally see my best friend again.  There is something to be said for modern technology, but it just doesn't beat having a person in the same room as you.

Since her main goal was shopping, I had it all planned out.  She was flying into Toronto, so we would obviously make a stop at the Eaton Centre.  Our friend Robbi lives in Peterborough and I asked her if she wanted to come to Toronto and meet us there, and she was all over that idea.  She also came with a few ideas of her own but that can wait a bit.


We met Cesca in the airport 2 HOURS after her plane was set to land because there was a weather delay due to the rainstorms we had been having that week.  But it was worth it when we saw her come out of the arrival bay.  It already felt like we had never been apart.  We were going to meet Robbi later at the hotel, so we got into the car and made our harrowing journey into the heart of Downtown Toronto.  A very scary place for someone who hates city driving.  I almost got hit 3 times in the same intersection, but don't worry mom!  All your airbags are still intact!  Once we got there and parked in the underground garage we went to check-in where I was greeted with a not so nice surprise.

We booked the Delta Chelsea on and I have never had a problem with them.  But with the Delta Chelsea I do.  I booked for 3 (count them THREE!) adults and when we went to check in, they said they had given us a room with ONE queen bed.  That's not enough to sleep 3 adults comfortably.  When the front deskman asked if we would like to upgrade to a room with 2 beds, well I thought that was the logical choice.  Until he said it would be a $35 fee.  That I would have to pay for.  But since it was technically their mistake, he would knock off $10.  WHOOPEE......I was not happy, but I wasn't about to let Cesca's first night in Canada be all snuggled up with me and Yuta in one bed.  So I paid (and wrote a scathing review when I got home) and we went up to our room.  Tiny is one word to describe it.  Mediocre is another.  But I honestly don't believe that staying in that hotel was worth even the discounted price I paid on Hotwire.  But enough of that rant, let's get back on track.

Knowing Toronto has a diverse population, I began researching ramen joints and came across one that was right downtown called Kenzo's Ramen.  Halle-freaking-lujah!  I have not had real ramen since being back in Japan and I was oh so excited to try this place.  So Robbi met us at the hotel and played tour guide on the way to the ramen joint.  It was actually quite simple to get to as it was just down Dundas street not far from our hotel. We sat down and since all of us had lived and met while in Japan, we all knew what we wanted and ordered very quickly.  Cesca and I ordered Sho-yu ramen and Yuta had miso.

We all took one bite and then didn't stop except to drink and have a quick chat.  Oishii desu!  So delicious!  I strongly recommend going there if you are in the area as it was superb!


When we finished eating, Robbi took us around the area of our hotel showing us an underground Market in the College Park (?) area.  while in there, I have never seen one person get so excited as Cesca did when she stumbled upon some of her favourite items she knew from living in the states as a child.  Lucky Charms, Goldfish crackers, and many more, but she settled on the first 2.  

Once settled back in our hotel room, Robbi stayed for a bit and we all caught up on each others lives and talked about nonsense in general.  It felt so good to be back with old friends!  We ate oreos and goldfish crackers and feasted like kings.  But alas it grew late and Robbi had to go home to her boyfriend.  We told Robbi as she was leaving our plans for the next day was the eaton centre and then home and she had a suggestion of going to kensington market as well.  Since nobody but her knew what that was, we decided to give it a try and we would call her in the morning.

We woke up on Sunday wide eyed and bushy tailed and after a shower, we were ready to begin Cesca's shopping spree.  We got Tim Hortons breakfast panini's as our morning fuel and I think I created a Tim Horton's monster!  Once we were done chowing down, we made our way over to the eaton centre just on the other block from our hotel!  It pays to pay for the hotel right downtown.  We started in H&M and Cesca's bought about 4-5 shirts and a dress.  I know what you're thinking if you know my friend.  A DRESS?!?!  But I did it!  I made her buy more than one!  And I hope she wears them more than once....But I have a feeling she will ;) We didn't look around too much because we were anxious to meet Robbi but we did do some damage in H&M and also Aerie where Cesca FINALLY got measured properly and bought some fabulous new bras that a super comfy and also stylish.

Our lunch at Mr Green Jeans

Once we were done in the Eaton Centre, Robbi joined us to become our downtown Toronto tour guide and take us to the neighbourhood her boyfriend lives in called Kensington Market.  It's so funny how it is so close to downtown Toronto, but that's not the feeling you get from being there!  It's located on the other side of Chinatown on Dundas.

The street in Kensington Market we did our shopping on

This is the street where Robbi took us.  It was the coolest neighbourhood I've ever seen!  All the shops were in the first floor of the houses you see in the photo above.  Robbi took us to a couple of shops where her friends worked and once again our bank accounts took a hit.  Cesca and I each bought a dress at the first shop we checked out.  Mine a deep burgundy and hers a bright purple.  We went into a couple of shops where we didn't seem to find anything that fit, and also explored Robbi's friend's shop called The Fairies Pajamas.  We didn't end up buying anything, but I strongly recommend checking out that shop because of all the interesting items they carry.  Around the corner we went into this one dress shop where I ended up buying 2 new dresses, one blue and black mod inspired and the other a reversible dress. We finished in the street quickly after that because it was Sunday and everything was closing up before 6PM.
This shop is for you Angel!  It's got some loli/cosplay goodness!

So as Robbi was bid goodbye, tears were shed, and we made our way back to downtown Toronto to head back home.  We stopped for a quick bite just over halfway home before reaching my charming little home in the quaint town of Emeryville.

Yuta's meal of champions: Wendy's burger, Tim Horton's Iced capp, and New York Fries french fries

After a night of rest and dropping Yuta off at work because he got called in, me and Cesca went out for a whole other day of shopping in my local mall, Devonshire.  This was an excellent idea because of all the great stuff we bought, but at the same time a bad idea because of all the stuff we bought!  While here in Devonshire, the stores we shopped at were Maurices (a size 0-24 store that I am in LOVE with), Old Navy, Payless, Bath and Body Works, Ricki's and some more that I can't even remember now!  OH TARGET!  We bought things from target too!  And Ardene's!  After wiping out our daily allowance for that day, we hit the hay at my house.  

Cesca's big splurge: a $200 amethyst necklace for everyday fabulousness!

On Tuesday, once again after dropping Yuta off at work, we just had a nice relaxing day.  Shopping so much for a non-shopper like Cesca is an exhausting feat.  Taking it easy seemed like just the right medicine.  We took the dogs for a walk, watched TV, ate our faces off....It was perfect!

Wednesday, once again after Yuta went to work, but this time joined by Renee, we made our way across the border into Michigan.  Our destination: Birch Run Outlets.  It's about an hour and half over the border, straight shot on the I-75N.  I was actually disappointed with the outlets but maybe that's because I didn't really have any money left by this point....maybe $200 dollars but that included travel fees back to Toronto!  So I didn't go crazy.  We went into Yankee Candle where I bought a big apple scented candle and a small lemon one!  It was then Cesca told me that we used to sell Yankee Candle's stuff in the shop!  I never bought one for fear I would burn the staff house down, but I also never noticed that they were Yankee Candle.  I also, while in Japan, didn't know what Yankee Candle was!  We went into Sketchers and the Nike outlet and I had a super hard time deciding between a new pair of mint running shoes.  But I didn't get either because I ran out of money by the time I made my decision.  We hit the Bath and Body Works outlet where they have all my favourite Apple scented things!  Body wash, body cream, and body lotion!  Plus some Plumeria scented lotions and a White Tea and Ginger body wash.  I'm going to smell so yummy all summer!

From there, we went to a couple of other places including Dress Barn but didn't find all that much (although if I had unlimited funds, I would have DESTROYED Dress Barn!  So much cute stuff!).  The Old Navy outlet was a different story!  I ended up getting a coral cardigan, a new pair of skinny jeans, and some new tank tops.  Plus I found a big Hello Kitty metal lunch box that Renee graciously bought me for my birthday coming up in June.  And Cesca bought me a fab water bottle with a filter built right in!  AND she was kind enough to buy a replacement filter as well!  I have the bestest friends!

When we were done in Old Navy, we were shopped out.  We made our way home but not before stopping for dinner at OLIVE GARDEN!  Yum!  I ordered fettuccine alfredo and we all split a risotto ball order.  We were all stuffed by the time we finished!  So full and broke, we made our way home.

Thursday was another relax day.  Now broke and exhausted, we crashed here for the day and just had fun!  I thought I would introduce her into the Korean drama world, and decided that Coffee Prince was perfect.  It's a KDrama where a girl who looks like a boy to get work in South Korea, meets a guy who is super rich and handsome, and mistakes her for a boy and asks her to be his gay lover so that he doesn't have to go on any more parent-set-up blind dates.  Well long story short, chaos ensues, lots of romance and confusion.  But it's super adorable and one of my go to dramas for when I'm feeling blue.  This day we had to just relax together meant that we could pretend we were back in Japan, just goofing around.  But it also meant we had to start packing.  And with only 1 suitcase, it became a little tricky.  We packed as hard as we could but we still ran out of room and weight limit.  So what could we do?  She was only allowed ONE piece of checked luggage...That's right.  We went and bought a super awesome carry-on with wheels from the Air Canada brand to fit all her lovely North American snacks Cesca wanted to bring home.  Bright orange.  
All packed up and ready to go home! :(
Here are some photos of the almost brand new wardrobe Cesca bought!

Her everyday clothes: pants, shirts, sweaters, jackets, accessories, etc

Her 6 stunning dresses!

6 new pairs of shoes? YES PLEASE!

Friday meant heading back to Toronto to go to the airport.  Destination: Departures.  A heavy feeling hung in the air between us the whole way.  Even though we sang at the top of our lungs (horribly out of tune).  Not even the Pussycat Dolls could lift the sadness in the air.  We were super early for the check-in and waited nearly an hour for Cathay Pacific to switch to British Airways.  But after all her bags were checked, the shops in the airport thoroughly browsed, and our stomachs full, the clock looked at us and laughed.  It was time for her to go through security.  It was time to say see you later (goodbyes are so final).  We hugged.  She cried.  I told her she was amazing and to embrace her fabulousness.  I was so sad to see her go.  Even though 3 years had gone by, it felt as if nothing had changed.  And I hope it stays that way forever.  

Though we might not get to see each other every day, I know that we will always have each others back and be there for each other.  You don't meet a lot of people and have the friendship that Cesca and I have.  I can honestly say I have maybe 5 other friends I would put into this category.  And I can say I am blessed to have  her and my other friends in my life.  So here's to friendship's that last a lifetime, the people you'll never forget, and the memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.

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