If there is one that living in Montreal taught me – expect the unexpected. 

In other words – don’t be surprised by unusual events, especially when in my company. I have a tendency for attracting novelty, drawing in the unwilling (or unknowingly willing), and saying yes to things that most would only entertain the idea of. I routinely put myself in situations that most would only dream to do, if they had just the courage, or the self confidence. 

That, beautiful, is exactly the point of my blog Champagne And The City.

I want you to see how attitude dictates circumstance and how openness drives experience. There will be highs and lows; both are necessary and good. Think of the highs as a celebration of your decisions, thoughts, words, and actions. Think of the lows as redirection, a learning lesson, or an occurrence simply meant to propel you forward without looking back. That is how I choose to interpret them in both my writing and daily life.

The stories I share in Champagne And The City are raw, unadorned, and unapologetic. I want you to reflect on your life as you read about mine. I want you to think on the decisions that you would have made in my position and where they would have led you. But, most importantly, I want you to feel inspired to live your Champagne life. 

So, as it was Montreal that inspired me to embrace being a writer, I think that is an appropriate place to begin.

Well behaved women rarely make history.  
L.T. Ulrich


Thursday. I looked up through my mascara darkened lashes at the beautiful blonde bartender who was currently concentrating on pouring two glasses of red wine. I had just taken a seat at the bar of a boutique hotel located in the heart of Montreal and the lounge was empty aside from myself and two men conversing in a secluded booth to my right. The atmosphere was one of luxury, with crystal chandeliers, monochrome accents, and soft lights casting a sultry glow across the room. It was the ideal location for a first rendezvous. 

I placed my charcoal metallic clutch onto the beautiful white granite bar and adjusted my dress with a perfectly manicured hand. Crossing one sky-high black patent stiletto over the heel of the other, I took a moment to appreciate the way the delicate black satin of my dress clung to my curves, accentuating my waist and plunging deep at the neckline. A black lace overlay provided structure and modesty, with a sheer high neck that hinted at the curves beneath. 

My shoulder length, dark chocolate brown hair was straight, voluminous, and side-parted with bangs flowing over my face to create a perfect wave that fell to a highlighted cheekbone. My large, almond-shaped eyes were framed with thick lashes and accentuated only by eyeliner, no eyeshadow, that traced the natural flow of top lashes and extended to a thin point beyond the corner of my eyes. It had taken years of practice to gain that level of cat-eye perfection. My cheeks had a light brushing of blush and my full lips were shaded in with a nude liner and topped with a pale pink gloss, a striking yet somehow subtle contrast against my dark olive skin. A light spritz of Georgia Armani Sí, my signature scent, had been the finishing touch.

Having delivered the wine to the table of two, the bartender now placed a white cocktail napkin lightly down in front of me and asked if she could get me a drink. 

I smiled, “A glass of Champagne, please.”

She hesitated, her body shifting slightly as though she felt awkward, but her eyes didn’t leave my face, 

“You are beautiful.” 

Her statement sounded so genuine that I couldn’t help but smile and look down in self-conscious pleasure. She continued before I could respond, 

“I… I’m sorry, I am not hitting on you…” 

Her embarrassment was evident as she realized she was speaking her mind and potentially being inappropriate with a guest. It was a luxury hotel, after all, propriety is to be expected. Her eyes became frantic as she searched for a way to repair her blunder. I decided to save her by laughing delightedly and telling her that I appreciated the compliment.

“Actually, that was the perfect way to set my mind at ease. So, thank you. I am meeting someone for the first time right now.” 

Sighing with relief, she shook her head and took extra liberty in stating, 

“Well, he will definitely not be disappointed.” 

She placed a glass of Champagne down in front of me. It was in this moment that I realized I hadn’t even considered the chance that my date might be disappointed when he saw me. I guess it was a valid concern for most women on a Tinder date, which in my mind the equivalent of a blind date, yet the idea hadn’t even crossed my mind. I pressed the fluted glass to my pink glossed lips, contemplating how I would respond should that situation occur, when a male in a perfectly tailored suit appeared in the entranceway to my left. 

He scanned the lounge and caught my gaze. His confident demeanour was apparent from across the room and he was direct in his approach towards the bar; towards me. This gorgeous male stopped intimately close and held out his hand, palm facing upwards. He had a small smile on his face and he held my stare. I delicately placed my perfectly manicured hand in his and he lifted it to his lips, lightly brushing a kiss against my olive skin. Charming.

“Selena,” his voice caressed my name, “Trey. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” 


An interesting concept – a date being disappointed when he sees you. 

How would you have felt in the moment where the bartender brought this up? 

Would those pre-date butterflies come back full force? Would your palms start to sweat and heart begin to race? Would you whip out your cellphone and text all of your girlfriends looking for emotional support (or, perhaps, just hoping to look busy since you did arrive alone and early at that)? Maybe you would go into full-panic mode and leave the bar before your date even shows?

Or maybe you sit back and confidently take another sip of Champagne, waiting for your date to arrive. This is the option I chose. 

I often find myself in situations where I haven’t fully thought through the potential outcomes. The hedonist in me tends to override any other rational thought, especially when it comes to dating. 

Which is probably why I am addicted to the first date. Blind dates, Tinder dates, random dates, or friend of a friend dates – it doesn’t matter – I always find the experience exhilarating. There are no butterflies, no thoughts of rejection, no fear of awkwardness. I am confident in my ability to hold a conversation and, honestly, what is the worst that can happen? 

That is almost always my response when someone asks me how I could possibly enjoy a first date. Really – what is the worst case scenario? They don’t like you? Reality check:

‘You won’t be everyones glass of champagne, and you don’t have to be.’ 

I would encourage you to evaluate the expectations you entered into the date with. Were you looking for someone to tick off your checklist? To be your baby-daddy? Or, perhaps, your sugar-daddy? Do you already have your wedding dress picked out, diamond on hold, location reserved and are now waiting on the last item necessary – the groom?

This is inherently where the issue starts. Why not just enjoy the date for what it is: a chance to meet someone new, perhaps learn new things, or even – against all odds – just have a good time with someone who could be a friend? If you have this attitude, you’ll find everything else is just a bonus. It also relieves the pressure on both of you, which more often than not results in you both having a much better time together.

And honestly… while he might not be ‘the one’… maybe one of his friends is? There is no shame in using men as lily pads, jumping from one to the next, as long as you do not give him the idea he is anything but. 

So – did Trey become a lily pad? You’ll find out soon enough beautiful, stay tuned. 

Marisa xo

Illustration credit: Megan Hess; @meganhess_official
Quote: Cara Alwill Leyba; @thechampagnediet
Quote: L.T. Ulrich

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