Wednesday, April 18, 2018

San Francisco photo diary

It's been about 2 weeks since our trip to California and it feels like just yesterday! I had been meaning to post this photo diary a while back, but kept putting it off as the post-vacation depression was very real and I didn't want to come to terms that it was over, and that we were back at home and work :( 

San Francisco was the top of my travel list for this year so I'm very happy we got to visit and it was my first time too! The city was filled with so much colour and happiness. We really lucked out with the weather too because every single day was very sunny and warm. We did lots of walking and exploring, but not nearly enough to cover all our bases in 3 days! I definitely want to make a point in revisiting again soon, but for now I wanted to share a little photo diary of our trip. 
Our first full day in SF was Saturday. We stayed at an airport hotel when arrived late in Friday night, and after waking up Saturday morning feeling rested, refreshed and excited, we took an Uber to our Air Bnb in the Sunset District. Our Air Bnb was awesome; a great location with nice amenities and our host was nothing short of amazing. I enjoyed staying in the Sunset District because it was a little removed from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core, but not far either. A quick and cheap Uber ride always took us where we wanted to go. The Sunset was also beautiful to walk around and take in all the neat, colourful homes. We had a rental car, but opted not to drive because we noticed that 1. drivers in SF are super aggressive! and 2. we weren't really accustomed to driving on so many steep hills! Uber's were everywhere so it was extremely accessible and usually pretty cheap too. Also, we heard that parking is crazy expensive, so another reason to leave it at home and not worry about it.

We didn't really have a strict itinerary planned, but our first order of business was usually FOOD! On Saturday for lunch we hit up Media Noche - a very cute little Cuban restaurant with great decor and delicious food. Afterwards we walked around the area; popping in and out of shops. Overall, Saturday was a pretty low key day as we were still tired from a busy travel day the night before and a little jet-lagged with the 3 hour time difference. After lots of walking around, we went back to our Air bnb for a bit to relax before heading out...but we both ended up falling asleep very early! 
Sunday morning we woke up decently early, feeling very rested and ready to take on a new day. Our first stop was Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for a little morning breakfast/snack. We got there at a great time as they were almost sold-out of their famous Cruffins (croissant muffins!). They were really tasty and definitely lived up to the hype. After that, we walked around and down to Union Square. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to be out and about. 

We did some shopping (and by we, I mean me) before heading to the Presidio Picnic at Presidio Park! This was one of the main things on Ruben's list and I'm so glad we did because it was one of my favourite moments from the trip. It was an afternoon picnic at a park with an amazing view of the city, filled with food trucks and vendors, music and drinks. We luckily grabbed a seat (bring a towel or blanket if you plan to go!) and settled down for a few hours. We ate lots of great food (fried chicken, garlic fries and tacos to name a few) and tried some local beers and mixed drinks. The sun was shining but it was a little chilly and windy down by the water so dress appropriately. It was such a nice, relaxing time to people watch and really take in SF. After that we decided to walk to the Golden Gate Bridge and get our first real glimpse of it and she's a beauty! We sat and admired the view for a bit, taking lots of photos and soaking it all in. From there we decided to make our way back to the Air Bnb to unwind after all the food-eating and walking we had done that day. Later in the evening we mustered up the strength to get out of the house and have some dinner at A16, an Italian restaurant. The pizza was very good and so was the atmosphere. 
Our third, and final day - probably my favourite and most busy day too! We had a lot jam packed into our last full day in SF and we were lucky enough to again, have gorgeous weather to do it all and more! We started our morning with a walk around our hood, the Sunset District. Taking photos of all the colourful homes, day dreaming about what it would be like to live there and just enjoying it. Shortly after, we took a trip to Cafe Reveille for an extremely yummy brunch! This cafe was beautiful, dreamy and very "instagramworthy." We wanted to take full advantage of the weather so enjoyed our food outside and it was lovely. After our bellies were full, we hopped in an Uber and headed off to Chinatown!  
I really enjoyed walking through Chinatown; it was busy (not in a bad way), colourful, and everyone seemed to be so happy. I wish we had spent more time walking in and out of stores, but we were tight on time so we just passed through before heading the the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory down an alleyway for some fresh Fortune Cookies! Ruben and I both wrote each other's fortunes and the man making the cookies hid them inside. A cute little way to remember that special moment and enjoy fresh fortune cookies.

From Chinatown we walked to Coit Tower to get some amazing views of the city. Although we didn't go up the tower (the wait was too long and we were tight for time), it was cool to still experience the views it had to offer. Once finished, we took an Uber to another very famous/touristy spot - Lombard Street! You can't visit SF and not see Lombard Street in all it's craziness first hand. It was filled with people and tourists alike but was fun to see and embrace. 
Luckily for me, one of my favourite beauty brands (Glossier) was having a pop up in SF while we were visiting! Of course it was as beautiful as you'd expect - lots of florals, pinks and Glossier products everywhere. It was neat because it's a little cafe they transferred into the pop up, so you could order food and drinks before or after shopping. Unfortunately we were 5 minutes too late to try the famous fried chicken, so instead we opted for beers on the patio. 
After our Glossier adventure, we walked down to get a bite to eat at Gracias Madre. We sipped on sangria and devoured vegan nachos (which to my surprise, were amazing!) We walked the food off afterwards before hopping in an Uber and making our way to Haight-Ashbury. What I really liked about SF was how different and diverse each neighbourhood was. The Haight is known to hold onto it's "hippie" roots and you can definitely see that  (and smell it) while walking around. Since I had my field day at Glossier, it was only fair Ruben could get his fix at Amoeba. We had visited the one in LA before so it was neat to check out this location too. It's crazy to see a record store on such a large scale, not something we're used to. Ruben was wide-eyed the entire time and was like a kid in a candy store! It was hard to get him out of there, but eventually we did (and a couple hundred dollars later!). We continued to walk around the neighbourhood as the sun was slowly setting before making our journey home. 
The sunsets were always so beautiful and we had a great view from our rooftop Air Bnb (I see why they call in the Sunset District!)

The whole time we were there Ruben kept saying how he wanted to go down to the beach, so finally on Tuesday morning before leaving SF, we drove down to see the sunrise around 7:00 a.m. It was a very serene and beautiful moment to have these views of the water, the Golden Gate Bridge and the hazed sunrise. I would definitely say we left a bit of our heart in San Francisco and hope we can revisit again in the coming years. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


It's been some time since I've been around these parts of the interweb, but I'm here today to talk about something very important and to raise awareness. In Canada, today is known as #BellLetsTalk day. A day dedicated to creating conversation and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. Back in 2010, Bell began this campaign not only to raise money, but more so to raise awareness about how many people suffer from various forms of mental illnesses. One if five Canadians will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime and a big hurdle for anyone suffering from it, is overcoming the stigma attached to it. I know for years I was embarrassed and ashamed of the constant feelings from anxiety and depression that I had to deal with and didn't want to talk about it because I was scared of what people would think. This initiative gives a much needed voice to those who didn't or don't quite know how to speak up about it and helps to break down that stigma.

I struggle with anxiety and depression. Something I'm not always vocal about or open to discussing. Growing up, I lived and suffered in silence because I didn't know how to talk about it, and the stigma that was attached to mental illness was so negative and made me feel terrible about myself. However, #BellLetsTalk made it easier for me to come forward about what I go through, and talk to people about it. It opened my eyes to the fact that I'm not alone in what I go through, and I no longer needed to suffer in silence. Every year around this time I'm reminded why it's so important to talk about this kind of thing, and it serves as a constant reminder throughout the year that it's OK to talk about mental health. Although it can be heavy for others around you to deal with, it's nothing compared to what you personally have to deal with and talking about it makes it that much easier. I wanted to open up and talk more about what I go through, because like I said, I know I'm not alone and the time is now to create change and break down the stigma. 

I'm not perfect. No one is. I have my good days, and I have my really shitty, terrible, bad days. There are times when my anxiety is so crippling I find it difficult to leave the house and do normal, day to day tasks like getting in the car to go to work or leaving my front door to go downstairs for the mail. There are days when I'm laughing and creating positive memories with family and friends, and days where I find myself bursting into tears for no known reasons except that I'm feeling overwhelmed, emotional and beyond anything else: anxious. There are days that are so bright and I'm optimistic about what the future holds, and then there days that are so dark I'm unsure if I can carry on. Although sometimes my anxiety and depression can get the best of me, I feel as though it's important to talk about it with those around me, so I don't have to feel so alone and can make a change to better myself. 

Talking about mental illness is the first step towards lasting change. You can never be sure of what someone is dealing with in their lives, unless you ask them. Whatever battle you may be fighting, know that it's okay to talk about it. Talk to someone who you trust, someone you love, someone who's willing to lend an ear and listen to you. If you're looking for help, they will help you find it and together we can end the stigma. If you're feeling alone and not sure who to talk to, there are multiple services available that can and will help you, such as Kids Help PhoneCMHA and more ways to find help linked here. Reach out to a friend or loved one and ask them how they are doing, be there for them and show that you care and that they matter. 

The sun will shine brighter when we care for each other and end the stigma. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

She is Frank and Oak *GIVEAWAY CLOSED*

When one of Ruben's favourite stores, Frank and Oak, began selling women's clothes I was ecstatic! For years my brothers and Ruben had been shopping at this cool store with basic yet fashionable items that were from a Canadian based company. Their focus and goal is simple: to provide affordable fashion and personalized service.

Once they began selling women's clothes, I knew I had found one of my new favourite places to shop. The quality of the clothes is just as amazing as the customer service you receive when shopping with them. Whether online or in store, they are dedicated to catering to your needs and helping to find a unique style plan that works for you. Recently they opened a Women's boutique in Toronto and I can't wait to check it out (can't say the same for my wallet!) I want you to love Frank and Oak just as much as I do, and that's why they are giving away $200 credit to you and 2 friends! See end of post below for details.
Most days you can find me lounging in one of their soft boy tee, and when I say I lived in their crepe de chine shorts this Summer, I'm NOT kidding! Now that the weather is cooling down, I'm stoked for all the cozy articles of clothing they have for Fall/Winter. This rose embroidered fleece crewneck has easily become my favourite and most worn piece so far this season. I've had my eye on a few other colours of their crewnecks, but they're almost always sold out! 
Now for the giveaway! Do you and 2 friends want $200 each to spend at Frank and Oak? It's SO easy! 

All you have to do is:
1. Follow @FrankAndOakWomen on Instagram
2. Tag 2 of your female friends on this Instagram post
3. These 2 friends need to follow @FrankAndOakWomen on Instagram

Winners will be randomly selected and contacted on Wednesday November 1st - good luck!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

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The Autumn weather is finally upon us! Although the first day of Fall was a few weeks ago, we've been experiencing seasonal highs and what feels like a long, drawn out Summer. I can't complain because I love warm weather, but I have to admit I do long for colder days where I can bundle up and be cozy. After re-reading The Curated Closet, I was inspired to clean out and re-organize my closet to make and plan for a Fall capsule wardrobe. I'm trying to incorporate pieces into my wardrobe that can be worn in a variety of different ways, and keeping my colour scheme more neutral with pops of colour in my accessories. Here are some of my staple pieces that I've added to my Fall capsule wardrobe, and how I plan to make it work this season while keeping in mind the "less is more" mantra!

1. Embroidered Dress - I recently picked this one up from Zara and I absolutely love it! Not only is it extremely comfortable, but I think it's going to be very versatile for Fall. I plan on pairing it with tights and ankle boots, or bare legs and Swedish Hasbeens if the weather is warm enough. I don't know what it is about embroidered dresses but I love them for Fall and have a few in my wardrobe that I will keep in rotation this season.

2. Gold Tag Necklace - I'm really feeling Gold jewellery for the Fall and had been on the hunt for a nice gold necklace. I love this one because it's elegant, simple and a good accessory for any look. A bonus with this one is that you can adjust the length to wear it longer or shorter. I think it would look great layered with some other simple gold necklaces.

3. Comfortable Sneakers - It's no doubt one of the biggest trends right now is sneakers! Vans and Adidas are among the few you see everyone wearing. They are super comfy and very versatile. I plan on pairing mine with jeans and layers for a simple and cozy daily look.

4. Statement Earrings - One of my favourite trends this year and I'm not quite over it.  I love statement earrings because it's a simple accessory that will complete any outfit and make it stand out. These earrings are my absolute favourites, I always get compliments on them and they are light weight, which always has me going back to them. Again, loving the gold jewellery, these + my gold hoops will be on rotation for sure. 

5. Pop of Colour Purse -  This purse is my absolute favourite! I get so many compliments on it for the colour, shape and size. Bringing in a pink pop of colour to the Fall is a nice way to make my neutral outfits stand out more. I was hesitant at first buying the pink one because I wasn't sure what it would look good with, but I can tell you it looks amazing with almost anything and I probably wear it with 80% of my outfits!

6. Faux Gucci loafers - Everyone has been rocking the Gucci loafers this Spring and Summer and I adore them. Recently on a trip to Target I stumbled upon these $23 knock offs and I was SOLD! They are comfy and cute, and I hope to get a little bit of wear out of them this Fall before we reach below freezing temps. I like how they look with cropped jeans and a simple blouse.

7. Grey Soft Coat - I've had my eye on a grey coat like this for a while. I think it's a great layering piece for Fall and would look nice with a big scarf and cozy knit underneath. I always love to add embellishments to my coats too and recently picked up some brooches from the antique market that would suit this coat. 

8. Knit Sweaters - A staple in any Fall wardrobe. You can never have too many cozy knit sweaters and this season I plan on rocking all the chunky knits I can get my hands on. Like I said, I'm trying to keep it neutral with colours like grey, black and cream, however I do own a few colourful ones that will be nice to brighten up a grey day. Oversized knits are among my favourite because they are comfy and look wonderful with jeans or layered over skirts and dresses.

9. Mom Jeans - I just purchased my first pair of "mom jeans" and let me tell you, the hype is real! They are so comfortable and fit really nice. I love these American Eagle ones because they are perfect length for me and hit my waist where I want them to. I also love this blue wash because it goes with just about any colour. I don't usually wear lots of denim, but am going to make an effort this season to do so.

10. Beanie - I'm a huge fan of hats and beanies because they serve many different purposes. They come in handy when you're cold, when your hair is a little dirty or messy, or just when you need to add a pop of colour to your outfit. Aritzia has so many beautiful colours to choose from, I want them all!

11. Ankle Boots - Last year I lived in my Sam Edelmen booties to the point of wearing them out.  I found a cheaper alternative this year from Joe Fresh and I really love these ones. They are really comfortable and a nice height too. They are my go to shoes in the Fall because they look fab with a dress and tights or jeans and a tee.

12. Sunglasses - A good pair of sunnies will finish off any look. I love these white marble ones because they're different and I think they would brighten up any cold, dull Fall day. I can also see them being cute on the ski hill in the Winter (thinking ahead) Gotta protect your eyes all year, not just the Summer! 

13. Blanket Scarf - You can never have too many scarves, especially in Canada where it gets cold really fast. I plan on pairing scarves with cozy sweaters to add more warmth and comfort to a look. Again, a very versatile item because you can layer it over a sweater and jacket, or drape it over a dress like a shawl to keep warm. 

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