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Filtering by Category: travel

That LA feeling

Lara

Pfew, finally time to write a new blogpost. After we got back from our trip to California, I had so many new ideas, but then I got the flu and after that just life (read: work) happened. You know the drill... But here it is, a new post about one of the outfits I wore in LA and some of my thoughts about the city. 

About the look, I really love Disney, always have, so when I saw this t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on it at Uniqlo, I knew I needed that one. It's actually from the men's section, because I really wanted the t-shirt to be a bit looser and more oversized and also this way the sleeves are looser and longer. Most of the times with women's tees they tend to be tighter and shorter and after a few washes it won't fit as comfy anymore. I love that it's just a white shirt with a breast pocket with a mini Mickey Mouse on it. It just makes me smile.

For this look I decided to style it with my vintage black leather skirt, a grey leather belt my converse (since they're so comfy for walking) and of course my beloved Half-Moon bag. And what about those earrings?! I was so happy to see & Other Stories in LA, I really did miss that store (no, we don't have one in Ottawa), so of course I had get a new pair of earrings. This skirt is just perfect to create many different looks with and I just love how it makes this whole look a bit more edgy, especially when styled with black converse. I found this waist belt that you have to knot in my closet, catching dust (oopsiee) and decided to style it in some different ways. I have to admit I was kind of smirking when I tried it on this outfit. I think it just looks effortless cool... And yeah sometimes you just have to admit it that you're pleased with your look/outfit. The Half-Moon bag is just my go to bag and I love it even more now than the day I bought it, that's a good sign right?! With trying to be al minimal and shit :P

So yeah, I was kind of pleased with my outfit for a stroll through LA. Yes, I said it... A. Stroll. Uhhh, yeah I know, BIG mistake. You don't walk in LA. But stubborn as we were, we just thought we would try it. It didn't work out great though, so after a long day of frustrating walks (LA isn't the most pretty city to walk around) we got an Uber back home. So some of my thoughts on LA... it isn't walkable, traffic is terrible and you need a LOT of time to get some decent exploring done. So my first impression actually is that I wasn't that impressed. Sorry for all the LA-lovers out there. Don't get me wrong, I do think that the city has a lot to offer and has a lot of amazing restaurants, coffee spots, boutiques and some cool spots, but I just think you'll need more time. If I was able to spend at least a month or so in the city, I think I would see the appeal of the city. 

Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts or experience about visiting LA and let me know what you think of the outfit! 

With love,
Lara

Wearing
Vintage leather skirt from We-ar vintage & design
Mickey Mouse t-shirt from Uniqlo

Grey belt from Designers Remix (old collection, find something similar here)
Chuck Taylor All Star from Converse
Earrings from & Other Stories
Half-Moon bag from A.P.C.

 

City-hopping: Toronto diary

Lara

Maybe a bit overdue, since I visited Toronto at the beginning of last month, but I still wanted to share my thoughts about this city and show you how I spent my days!

I will dive right in: I LOVE Toronto! I remember texting Gordon a couple of times saying that I really would love to move there :P  Don't get me wrong, Ottawa is a nice city and I think it's a great place to start when moving to Canada. The people are so friendly and it's actually a pretty nice city to live in (winters are way too long though, but in summertime everything is different), but it's pretty small and what I miss most in this city are cool concept-stores, little boutiques, hip coffee places where you can just sit down, do some work, chill and hang out with friends, and a real city-vibe. So when my friend asked me to come along on her work-trip to Toronto, I jumped at the opportunity to have a girls-weekend and do some exploring of the city. 

We went from Wednesday until Sunday, my friend went by plane and I went by train. It's pretty easy and comfortable to travel from Ottawa to Toronto by train. Also, because there's pretty decent WIFI, I could put in a full 4-hours of work (one-way takes 4,5 hours). Since my friend had to work, I could go out exploring on Thursday and Friday by my own. When I arrived I immediately felt the vibe of a big city and felt creative ideas flowing in. 

My first stop was Quantum Coffee, also because it was located right around the corner of both the office of my friend and our Airbnb. I think it's an incredible space, it's pretty big and not cramped with tables or anything. I just loved the design of this place, in the front they had some window seats where you could work, on the left is where the magic happens (where they make the coffee) and on the right you have the counter where you have to order and can pick some delicious pastries. In the back, you have to get up a few steps, there is this whole other room with comfortable sofa's and chairs with tables, where you can read a book or catch up with friends (it's a no-laptop zone). I sat in the front while working for a bit and enjoying a good cup of coffee and a pastry, of course ;)
In the evening, after settling into our Airbnb which was pretty awesome since it was located on the 35th floor from which you had an amazing view and could oversee the city and have a glimpse of lake Ontario, we went for some sushi at JaBistro. It's an awesome place, nothing you would expect from the outside and the sushi was amazing! The interior is pretty minimal, but so cosy with brick walls, a lot of wood-tones and natural materials. We chose a selection of the blowtorched sushi, just delicious! 

 Quantum Coffee

Quantum Coffee

 Quantum Coffee

Quantum Coffee

On Thursday I decided to take in some art and went to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). I was lucky and was able to join a guided tour that was about to start. The guide took us to all the different parts of the museum and showed us some of the highlights while explaining a bit more about the artist intentions and/or meaning behind a piece of art. So interesting, this way it's not only your take of some of the art. I really loved the contemporary art section and the indigenous pieces. The gallery itself is pretty great, with parts where the lighting falls in perfectly. After the gallery I walked more down town and made a coffee stop at Dineen Coffee. It was soo busy, but what a great place, that floor alone is definitely worth a visit! Then I did a bit of shopping and walked back to the Airbnb. It was already time for dinner. I met up with some friends and we had dinner at a Thai restaurant, called Pai. Delicious and authentic food! And no, the evening wasn't over yet, we had to get an after-dinner drink. Our friend took us to this awesome, a bit underground, cocktail place... BarChef! Apparently they're famous for their molecular cocktails, they looked great, but were really pricey. So cheap-ass as I am, I just opted for a regular and better priced one. That one was delicious too though. But we couldn't leave before we also had some sort of mojito, but all put in one tiny ball with a bit of foam. It really was an explosive of flavours and you really have to try it if you're there. Such a cool experience. 

 Art Gallery of Ontario

Art Gallery of Ontario

 Art Gallery of Ontario - one of my favourite pieces

Art Gallery of Ontario - one of my favourite pieces

 Art Gallery of Ontario - one of my favourite pieces

Art Gallery of Ontario - one of my favourite pieces

The Friday I spent going from coffee place to coffee place. I started at RSquared Cafe which is a pretty good place to get some work done. They have enough tables and power outlets and nobody will bother you for some more drinks or something. I decided to get a pink latte, I'm a girl after all :P, and a plain croissant. After this I walked a bit, but it was actually too cold to walk a lot, so I popped into Nadège Patisserie and treated myself to some macarons and a tea. The macarons were delicious!! Really worth a visit if you're in the neighbourhood. Also, the sandwiches looked delicious too, I just think you can't go wrong with anything there. The interior of the shop was just my style. Very minimal, white and big windows, what's not to love right?! After I warmed up a bit I walked back to the Airbnb with a stop at Her Majesty's Pleasure. It's actually a café and beauty bar in one, which I didn't know before I walked in. It just looked so beautiful, it has floor to ceiling windows and black and white interior with lots of marble. Even though it was very cold that day, the sun wasn't shy so once settled inside you got warmed up by the sun. I could've stayed there all afternoon, but it was already time for dinner. That evening my friend and I went to Gusto 101 for some nice Italian food. It's  a cool space, more like a container building, very industrial and pretty dark with an open kitchen and a separate bar section. 

 RSquared Cafe

RSquared Cafe

 Nadège Patisserie

Nadège Patisserie

 Her Majesty's Pleasure

Her Majesty's Pleasure

On Saturday we met up with a friend for breakfast/brunch at Swan by Rose and Sons. It's a diner with booths to sit in. Pretty cool, since we don't have anything like this in The Netherlands. I had some avocado toast with egg, so delicious. One thing I really love about Canada is their brunch traditions. After this we got a coffee to go at Sam James Coffee Bar and did some shopping and walking. We went into this really lovely concept-store, with lots of plants, coffee-stuff, books, blankets, journals and more, it's called the Old Faithful Shop. The interior of the shop was also awesome. Of course I had to buy something here! For that evening we've made a reservation at Oretta, a new (Italian) restaurant in town and already famous for their Instagrammable interior. It's quiet something let me tell you, but since it was pretty dark and I was to lazy to carry my camera, I wasn't able to take some good photos (I know... sorry guys, next time I promise). The food and cocktails were delicious! Definitely worth a visit!

 Sam James Coffee Bar

Sam James Coffee Bar

 Sam James Coffee Bar

Sam James Coffee Bar

 Old Faithful Shop

Old Faithful Shop

On Sunday it was already time to leave and it kind of hurt a bit to leave this awesome city behind and return to Ottawa. It's just that Toronto has a lot of awesome little boutiques and some concept stores like I know from in The Netherlands / Europe. It was just so good to walk around in normal shoes (since there wasn't any snow) and be able to have a coffee at another awesome coffee place. The city is just so vibrant and big, but also not too big, it's pretty good to navigate (yes coming from me, queen of navigation disaster). Even though I've never visited New York City, hopefully I will this year, Toronto had this NYC-vibe (or at least how I imagine it to be from watching movies :P). So if you're planning a trip to Canada, you should definitely visit Toronto! 

I know I'll definitely visit Toronto again, hopefully very soon, so if you have any tips on where to go next time, please let me know!

With love,
Lara

 

 

 

SAABOON yourself

Lara

As I mentioned in my previous blogpost, I made the decision to start doing and stop whining. One of the things I decided for myself is to go out of the house more often and do some exploring. To be honest, wintertime may not be the best time to go outside and explore Ottawa, since it’s freezing cold at the moment. But still, I forced myself to go out and I ended up at SAABOON. 

A couple of weeks ago a friend mentioned that she came across a new soapstore in town and said I needed to go and visit, as she thought I would really love the store. So I had to go check it out and boy, was she right. This store is really pretty with lovely and sustainable products (mostly soaps). I started talking to the owner Joulian, who is really nice, I bought some soaps and we ended up collaborating.  

Joulian started making the soaps 4 years ago, because of his work (making showcase videos), and decided he wanted to make something himself. The soaps he makes are all-natural, vegan, gluten-free and most importantly, he doesn’t use artificial scents or colouring. Also, he is 100% against animal testing. 
At first he gave the soaps he made to family and friends, but after a while word spread and family of friends wanted to actually buy some soaps. Joulian didn’t want the money, but they insisted and left him some money. After this he realised he could actually turn this into his company. So besides still having his other job (making promotional showcase videos), he decided to give the soap-thing a go. Soon after this, some stores and supermarkets in Canada approached him for wanting to buy and sell his soap. 

After almost 4 years Joulian felt it was time to open up his own SAABOON store. He knew right away that the focus had to be on his products (he doesn’t only make soap anymore, he also makes some other skincare products like a lip balm, body balm, deodorant), so he wanted to keep it very minimalistic and clean. A big renovation had to be done (because it was a stuffy old video-rental place before), in which he also did a lot himself (for example the big concrete sink). When you walk up to the store you see this dark grey front, but once inside everything is light and white. The counter is sort of integrated in one of the sidewalls with a concrete top and the concrete sink with the brass taps and pipes are a true eye-catcher. The floor is also concrete and one sidewall consists of square compartments in which he presents his products. Furthermore, the lights are glass, almost teardrop-shape, bulbs. This all makes the pretty small room look kind of big and spatial. A store after my heart! 

And now, pretty important, the products itself. I can be short about them. I love them. The first time I went into the store I bought the charcoal soap and the french clay soap. I’ve only used the charcoal one, but after washing your hands with it, they feel soo soft. Even though I’m only using it to wash my hands, you can use the soap to wash your whole body. 
The last time I went in I also got the body balm, the lip balm and some other soaps. The body balm isn’t greasy and soaks in almost immediately. The same goes for the lip balm. Your lips don't stay shiny, but they’re so soft. You actually don’t need to re-use the lip balm constantly. Only 2 or 3 times a day is enough. I can honestly say that I’m really happy with my new skincare-products from SAABOON. Besides the good quality of the products, they also look really beautiful.

So if you’re in Ottawa, you really should check out the beautiful, minimalistic and clean store from Joulian (information below). You can even try the soaps and wash your hands at the awesome sink. Also, I think the products from SAABOON make great Christmas gifts, so if you still don’t know what to buy, this is my tip for you ;)

If you did visit, please let me know what you thought of it! 

SAABOON
595 Gladstone Avenue
Ottawa Canada

Opening hours:
Mon-Tue: Closed
Wed-Sun: 1pm - 6pm