Meet Felix, our Christmas Tree. I grew up always having a real tree, and I am so thankful for that. That fresh tree smell just filled up the entire house, and just made everything feel that much more festive. Since Andy and I moved to Vancouver, we’ve spent the majority of Christmases just the two of us (expensive flights at Christmas, mixed with working in retail have plagued us to such a life) and I’ve always insisted we have a real tree, just to have a piece of home with us ont eh other side of the country. Somehow, I started to naming our tree every year. Let’s be honest, this isn’t shocking news. In the past we’ve had Dougie, Spriggy and this year we have Felix. I can’t even take responsibility for Felix’s name this year, my sister offered the suggestion of said name, and it just fit.
I should also mention, that this Christmas was a very special one. My Mum and sisters were here on the west coast to celebrate the holidays. It was extra special because it was the first time my Mum has come to visit us since moving to Vancouver, and we were really excited to show her a peek into our everyday lives. I have to admit, I didn’t take very many photos during their visit, I was so into just being with them that pulling out my camera became a bit of an after thought. I suppose that’s the way it should be.
One last thing of note, this sweater coat is the softest, most comfortable thing ever. Anyways, I know I’m a little after the fact, but I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and were surrounded by those you love. I know I certainly was.
As someone who has recently deemed herself a traveler, I would usually think that the more exotic the place being traveled to the better, the longer the flight the more wanderlust, but, this I have learned, is not necessarily true. There is so much to see and do right here in my own backyard. I’ve lived in Vancouver for about 6 years now, and can confidently say I know my way around this city. However, there’s still so much I haven’t seen or done. Restaurants and food aside, this city has some of the best places to eat ever, and is constantly evolving, but in the great outdoors the options are endless!
We’ve started in the last year or so to have more friends and family come out to visit us, and we just love to host. So, this means we get to show off all our favourite places, and squeeze in a few new things from time to time. Recently we had a couple of my favourite people come and visit, and the theme to their stay was as much outdoor time as possible. We hiked in Lighthouse Park, we did a day trip to Whistler, with a stop at Shannon Falls and walked the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. These photos are just a few of the beautiful sights we saw, while playing tourist.
Just look at those colours, that sunset (in the first photo) was on Canada Day and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture it, it blew my mind. This was a very special trip. It was the first time the four of us had been all together in about two years. At first we were trying to plan a holiday where we all met up somewhere tropical, or somewhere kind of in the middle of us all, but then we remembered, Goderich in the summertime is absolutely blissful. Of course, it helped us save a little extra money because we stayed at my Mom’s heritage home, but the adventuring was the same, as if we were somewhere new.
Now I should say that a lot of my Mom’s family lives in the surrounding area, and growing up we rented a family cottage for many years in that same area, so we are familiar with what’s around. However, that being said, the last time I was there, aside from my own mother’s house, and aunts and uncles houses, was quite some time ago. So getting to know the area as an adult (who now loves to travel), I was experiencing so much in a new perspective.
Huron County is pretty much the exact thought when I hear ‘small town Ontario’. There’s these little towns all closely knit, off of Lake Huron, and they each have something special about them. Goderich, in particular, is where my Mom now lives, and has the cutest village square. It has some renowned restaurants, beautiful bed and breakfasts, and even an art community. The following is a view into our itinerary while staying in Goderich.
To do: During this trip we kept a pretty relaxed pace, but we did manage to squeeze in a few great sights. The obvious of this area are the beaches, Lake Huron is one of my favourite lakes to swim in. And the beach in Kincardine is the best. This is where my family cottaged growing up, there are so many great memories there. We even visited the cottage we stayed at, but didn’t get too close, the people were home (creepers!). The village square in Goderich hosts tons of great events, we got to watch the Canada Day parade, where everyone waves at each other, young and old, went to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and the flea market on Sunday morning. And I can’t forget the old family tradition of going out on Saturday night to Kincardine to watch the Pipe Band Parade. You get to, obviously, enjoy the scottish past time pf pipebag music, but then after the band has gone by, you get to join in the parade! trust me, it’s fun. (honourable mention to my extended family, for throwing a summer family picnic while we were there, it was so great to see everyone!)
Eat: Well, my first and foremost suggestion of where and what to eat has no comparison. The cream puffs at Culbert’s Bakery. They are photographed a few photos down, and not to say anything else at the bakery isn’t good, the cookies and croissants and cinnamon bins, and the cakes all get honourable mention, but the cream puffs…… oh man. One of our best dinners was at Thyme on 21, the restaurant is inside a heritage home with beautiful architectural details and the friendliest staff. But, seriously, those cream puffs.
Shop: My favourite shop in Goderich is the Goderich Makers Market. They celebrate all things local and all things creative. I saw some really cool pieces made from old bike parks (as seen on my instagram). If you’re local, or even going for a daytrip, it’s worth the adventure! The only other spot that we shopped was Giant Tiger. I know, I know, but I can’t resist it! It’s become a family thing, that we have to go to one whenever we’re in that area. We used to go to the Giant Tiger in Stratford along the way to visit family because it’s the biggest and best one, and we’d always find something fun, whether it be toys for the beach, or a new sweatshirt.
I’ll take all the stripes please! This wonderfully basic basic is a wardrobe staple that we all have and we all love. It can be worn in many different ways and that is what makes it so timeless and so seasonless. Whether it’s a tank top, tee shirt, dress or pair of pants, whether it’s a stand alone piece, a layering piece or an everyday piece, you can’t go wrong with it.
I have many a stripe in my closet. My favourite piece resembles the long sleeved tee in the first image, with mine being blue and white stripes. I wear it all year round, with cut off denim shorts, or jeans, or tucked into a skirt. Sometimes I even layer it with my fur vest, just cause.
I’ve linked back to each photos original home, click ‘image via’ to view more beautiful outfits and styles from some talented and inspiring bloggers. Come hang out with me on Pinterest if you want to be visually overwhelmed, ha!
I know, I haven’t been here in a while…. August 2nd, to be exact. But, summer happened, life happened, work happened, and it was all wonderful. Now that fall is here, there are more days kept inside, staying cozy from the rain, so I will be be picking up where I left off. I still have stories to share from summer, and will mix in some current stories too. I hope you enjoy!
These photos are from a day spent in Victoria. A friend and I headed over for another friend’s baby shower, and the ferry ride was just beautiful, the wind, the water, the views, it was a great day. I totally got caught up in the off the shoulder trend that swept the world this summer, resulting in numerous dresses and tops. I know the trend will live on through next summer, so I’ll keep those pieces aside over the winter months, and dream of warmer weather.
We had a couple of great day trips while staying in LA at the end of May. And had some wonderful weather for those days too, not too hot, and some great natural light for photos. I had a few spots that I wanted us to hit up, and we managed to squeeze them all in, mixed in with a few unknown plans in there that totally worked out. I already told you where we staying in Part 1 of this travel diary, so I’ve highlighted a few to do’s instead.
To do: A few of the places we went included the Griffith Observatory, which was actually an unexpected highlight. I’ve got more shots to share from there, post to come. LACMA, I loved the contemporary wing, love me some Andy Warhol, and A managed to squeeze in some middle eastern historical art. We had pre-booked a TMZ tour as well, it was really fun, but no celebrity sightings. It did give a great overview of the city and hot spots to come back to though. We went for a stroll through the Venice Canals. It was so quiet, and cozy in there with some amazing homes. A good mix of modern homes and kitschy homes made up for some serious life goals.
Eat: Since we did a lot of our eating in Santa Monica, I only have one other favourtie to tell you about. Gjelina, located on Abbot Kinney Blvd, in Venice. A and I shared a salad and pizza, and it was just so good. The vibes in this restaurant were super chill, with a gorgeous setting and beautiful back patio. Greenery everywhere, just so good.
Shop: We wandered The Grove and had lunch there, soo many people and soo many shops. The Melrose Trading Post was awesome. The market takes up the whole campus yard at the Fairfax High School and is filled with vintage treasures, beautiful pieces from some very talented artisans and yummy snacks. I bought a delicious smelling candle from The Wicked Boheme called London Calling. Biggest regret, not buying a pair of vintage Levi’s shorts, or pants. Next time. My other favourite shopping area, and well just cool place to hang out, was Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. The entire street is lined with super cool shops filled with even cooler finds, and a lot of them have these backyard outdoor areas. Almost like a little oasis behind each store. I could have chilled out there all day.
It feels like such a long time ago, but our LA trip was the best introduction to summer. We spent an extended long weekend there at the end of May, 5 days of sunshine, bike rides, and ocean views. We took sooo many of photos on this trip, so that means I have tons to show you. So much so, that I’ve broken it down into two posts.
This was our second time in LA, so we had a little bit of insight as to where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. We stayed in Santa Monica at the Bayside Hotel, right near the beach. It was cute and cozy and a great spot to come and go from. We were walking distance from everything in Santa Monica, the pier, Main Street, and even to Venice Beach. I think my favourite thing to do was people watch. Whether at a restaurant, walking the boardwalk or shopping, there was always something interesting to see.
We made the decision of not renting a car in order to save a little bit of money, which in LA is crazy… just do it, rent the car, it’s worth it. I will say though, we did manage fairly well without. It helped that one of the train lines had just opened an extension that came to Santa Monica instead of just ending in Culver City. So we were able to take that train into downtown LA, then switch trains to whatever direction we wanted to go in. It meant a lot of sorting out train schedules and tentatively missing one (which definitely happened), but ended up being a good way to view different areas of the city while the train was above ground. Most often the length of train ride was very similar to the length of driving time to each destination we planned to go to, I checked 😉
Here’s the breakdown of our itinerary of our first couple of days in LA, with focus on Santa Monica.
Stay: This was our second time in LA, so we had a little bit of insight as to where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see and decided we wanted a beachy feeling to start and end our day, so Santa Monica was a great choice. We stayed at the Bayside Hotel, footsteps to the beach. It was cute and cozy and a great spot to come and go from. We were walking distance from everything in Santa Monica, the pier, Main Street, and the train station.
Eat: Santa Monica’s Main Street is filled with cool shops, coffee houses and restaurants. We could’ve eaten at every place and had a good meal. Some of my faves for coffee/breakfast were Dogtown Coffee (went twice!), Urth Caffe (chai lattes!!), and M Street Kitchen. I loved AREAL so much so that we went twice, once for a late lunch, and once for a nice dinner. Had pizza both times, they have a wood burning oven and the patio is the best, with strings of lights and greenery. We also went to a couple of bars since A wanted to watch the NBA finals games, so we tried Rick’s Tavern one night, and Brick & Mortar another.
Shop: Of course there’s cool shops on Main street in Santa Monica, Muji (a Japanese department store, I bought the softest cotton scarf and a classic trench coat there), Planet Blue, and The Closet Trading Co. But there’s also the 3rd St Promenade. It’s an outdoor shopping mall with all the regular shops we know. Including Cotton On, one that A and I had gone to our first time in LA and definitely visited again. Think kinda cheap and cheerful, similar to H&M.
During our recent trip to L.A. (travel diary to come!), I took note (read: stared at strangers) of what the locals were wearing and how such outfits were styled. Three major findings concluded that a. I must own some Nikes, b. vintage Levi’s are where it’s at, and c. dressy/casual tanks are a staple. So, ultimately when we shopped around I started to look for said items. I picked up this little pink tank at Cotton On. A quick and easy shop that A and I had actually shopped in our first time in L.A. a few years ago. It’s light and breezy, and the peplum makes it feel a little bit flirty. It’ll be in full rotation this summer.
Summer is upon us, literally….and figuratively. Here in Vancouver there has been on again, off again heat waves and with these high temperatures I’ve been reminiscing about my childhood summers in Ontario. Eating freezies in the basement to cool off, taking a shady place under the big maple tree in the front yard, and if we were really lucky, going for a swim in our neighbour’s pool while pretending to be the little mermaid. All of these memories reminded me that I have never lived with air conditioning. My house growing up was probably the only one in the city that didn’t have it*, and here in Vancouver, we don’t have it either. Fans are my friend. Did you ever sit in front of that giant square floor fan and talk into it just to giggle at how funny your voice sounded? That was pretty much my favourite summer pastime. Add in more freezies and I’m your girl.
I have an upcoming trip back home to ol’ Ontario-i-o (I know a chosen few will know how to pronounce that), and I’m super excited to have a few days with my Mum and sisters. We haven’t all been together in what feels like waaaaaaaaaay to long, so the shenanigans will be at an all time high. Until vacation time comes, I’ll keep pushing through the heat waves here in preparation for summertime in Ontario.
Also, I love blue walls, and hope you do too. And blue freezies, and blue walls that are the colour of blue freezies.
*my parents totally got air conditioning after my sisters and I moved out… even at that, not until after I moved back in and moved out again.