Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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How many of you have been watching the new Netflix series GIRLBOSS?

I hinted a bit way back, but long before the show aired this Spring I actually got to step into “Sophia’s World” with Netflix. Remember when I went to LA last August with all sorts of other girl bosses from around the globe? We were secretly exploring the sets, ogling the wardrobe department, and chatting up Sophia Amoruso herself – I just had to keep everything under wraps until the show was out!

So, after almost a year of zipped lips, I’m publishing this post – complete with a list of the best vintage spots in LA from the Girlboss styling team, and a video clip from a one-on-one I did with Sophia at the backlot! This trip was so many special things to me: my first ever “blogger trip”, the first time I got to explore Hollywood behind the scenes, my first time interviewing someone I admire on camera (eek)… the list goes on and on. So much more goes into bringing a story to life than I had ever imagined – the team was essentially creating an entire world, and it’s been a trip to say the least to see the spaces we explored back then and the props we held on the big (or small depending on your Netflix setup) screen. We hung out in Sophia’s TV show apartment and saw how each look she wears on the show came together, from idea to sketch to shopping and final fitting/styling. We talked at great lengths about how the head of the wardrobe department came to find Sophia’s signature metallic leather jacket.

keep scrolling for the vintage guide, video, and more…

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At the time I was facing a lot of big, tough questions about my life, my business and where I wanted it to go, and the time spent amongst so many strong, independent women was so crucial to the moves I’d make in the months to come. It’s what prompted me to run away to LA for the winter, to grow my business and take on new challenges… plus the conversation that I had with Sophia (conveniently recorded below) pushed me to re-examine and eventually flush out some of the relationships in my life that were taking more than they were giving. I don’t want to be dramatic, but looking back that week was nothing short of life-changing.


The Best Vintage Spots in LA, as dictated by the GIRLBOSS team and Sophia //

A current affair
Scout
Rose bowl
Wasteland
Slow
Jet rag
Squaresville
Urchin
The bearded Beacle
Dorothy’s closet

Scroll one more time for my interview with Sophia!

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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I’ve been to New York a number of times, but Johanna had somehow never made the short trek, so when we decided to go down together I knew it had to be an extra special visit. Instead of staying in a ritzy hotel we booked a room in a loft listed on AirBnb, and though we’re both somewhat terrified of strangers we decided it was worth the risk of being awkward all week for the amazing location and epic views.

Of course, it wasn’t awkward at all – it was perfect. We drank wine pretty consistently, woke up to sun streaming through the loft’s massive warehouse windows, and walked less than a block to stroll over the (surprisingly pink) Williamsburg bridge. We fell in love with little shops and restaurants all over Brooklyn, my favourite part of the city (and a part I didn’t get a chance to visit on my last trip). Every time we went for a walk to get coffee or a snack we ended up swooning all the way there and all the way back. It was a never ending parade of cute pastel everywhere we turned!

On top of all my usual favourite stops, like Cha Cha Matcha and Pietro Nolita, I wanted this trip to be more than average, so I reached out to some of my favourite NYC-based brands and makers to arrange a couple of “meetings”. To our delight, everyone we reached out to wrote right back, and though we were only in town for less than a week, we somehow ended up seeing so much more than we’d bargained for. Below we’ve listed some of our favourite “special stops” from the trip:

Scroll to the bottom for even more NYC shops, restaurants and more that caught our eye this time around!

Bing Bang //

If you like pearls, crystals, gold, rose gold… ok, pretty much any sparkly things, you’ll love Bing Bang. We’ve been big fans for ages, admiring their collaborations with Me & You and Ban.do from afar, and we figured why not stop in for a real life hello?

The studio space was so FUN – in an unassuming building in Chinatown it was loaded with glittering treasures, plants, and pink details. We tried on just about everything, inherited a few new pieces for our personal collections and about 100 feminist buttons to cover all of our jackets.

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Chillhouse //

I met Cyndi, the founder of Chillhouse NYC way back in August on the GIRLBOSS trip with Netflix, back when the whole concept was just an idea she was developing. It has been truly amazing to watch Chillhouse come to life over social media, and I was super dedicated to seeing it IRL while I was in town.

Cyndi did us one better – Jo and I each got a set of amazing signature nail art from their look book, sipped pastel purple taro lattes, and I even slipped in for an “Express Focus” massage.

The whole morning was really, truly ~chill~, and everything from the epic drink list to the metallic pastel marble wallpaper left me feeling inspired and recharged.

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Samantha Pleet //

If you ask Jo or I who our favourite designer is, we’ll almost always answer “Samantha Pleet” (often in unison). A few years back when I met Samantha at a Victoire event she mentioned I should visit her studio if I was ever back in NYC, and I made a silent vow to try and make it happen. Turns out she was just as serious as I was about the whole thing… a couple emails later and we were in Samantha’s house meeting her sweet baby Valentine, trying out her Mom’s homemade Kugel and playing dress up in all of the amazing clothing!

Strawberry prints embroidered with tiny green seeds, magnetic lemon accents on dress sleeves and ruffled denim shorts were just a handful of highlights from the “appointment” and don’t even get me started on the decor situation. Basically Samantha Pleet lives in a dreamworld, and we were so lucky to get to be a part of it, if only for a short while.

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SHOP

Glossier showroom
Malt & Mold
Outdoor Voices
Dusica Dusica
American Two Shot
Swords-Smith
TicTail
The Frankie Shop

EAT

Pokito
Seamore’s
The Lucky Bee (for brunch!)
Jars by Dani
Tacombi
Black Flamingo
Sweethaus
Butler Coffee
Doughnut Plant
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Roberta’s Pizza

PAMPER

Pucker
Dream Dry
Chillhouse

Dear DiaryDress UpI'll Follow You Anywhere

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I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m really all about travel right now, but that doesn’t mean “travel” has to be a luxury vacation on the other side of the continent.

One of my favourite places to go since moving to Toronto is actually a bit of a shock to some people – Hamilton. Despite its bad reputation amongst Toronto residents, I adore Hamilton. I love the quiet streets, the community feel, and the beautiful spaces that can only be created in a place with something we Torontonians lack – space.

I have a full-on city guide in the works for this special place, but since it’s a little too cold to wander around outside taking photos right now I’m going to hold off and just talk about the specifics of my Saturday visit a few weeks ago.

Though it’s only a short trip, Hamilton feels worlds away from Toronto when I need a break. Breakfast at Saint James Espresso, waterfall hikes with my good friend (and Hamilton resident) Rachelle, and the best vegan chocolate macaroons EVER at Green Bar are all staples, and then of course there’s Berkeley North.

I’ve heard about this new West Coast-inspired eatery from Hamilton and Toronto friends alike, so I was determined to visit during my one day stay. Honestly, it’s not often that I do a full restaurant review post, but this was one of the best dining experiences of my life. The space is cozy, the staff is next level friendly, and the food was honestly off the charts. They have seemingly endless vegan and vegetarian options, and even offer a foamy vegan sour on the cocktail menu!

By the time dessert came around we were totally stuffed, but we still couldn’t say no to the decadent vegan cheesecake. It was the perfect place for meat eaters and vegans alike to meet, and by the time we left we felt like family. If you have no other reason to take a day trip to Hamilton, this spot is reason enough – oh, and there’s a great wall for photos right across the street too!

Scroll down to shop my look

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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New York City is like a tattoo – one time in the chair, and you’re left only wanting more. There is way to much to do for just one sitting – it’s truly impossible even if you run all day, every day, from start to finish.

I used to pop down all the time – after all, NYC is so close to Toronto, and once I had tasted a nibble passing through on an overnight road trip at age 20, I wanted nothing more than to devour the entire apple. After a lifetime as a West Coast girl with no New York minutes under my belt, I started packing trips in whenever I could, each time leaving with a list of places I still hadn’t found the time to see.

It’s been a few years since my last NYC visit and I can’t really tell you why – I suppose my last relationship really halted my usual travel spontaneity, and though my ex and I had plans to hop a plane a few times, we just… never got there. For some reason coming back from California, New York was the first word on my lips: I suddenly just really, really needed to go. A couple friends happened to be down there already, so though I had just returned from LA and had yet to move my apartment from the old spot to the new, I booked a ticket. If not now, then when, right? I had put it off long enough already.

This trip to New York was unlike any of my previous adventures. For one, I stayed in Manhattan instead of Brooklyn, and though I loved the bustle I think Williamsburg is definitely a bit more my pace. I also somehow didn’t step foot on a train over all three days! Travelling above ground helped me fill out my internal map of the spaces I passed through, but it was strange to be in that particular city without taking any transit.

Because this trip was so different for me, the whole city seemed more foreign than ever before. It was so quick, and over far too soon! In short, there’s still a lot that was missed on my list, and a whole bunch of new spots piled up as I wandered new neighbourhoods, but not to worry… Johanna and I already have another trip booked for the beginning of April!

Scroll down to see my NYC #pastelhunting picks!

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Where to Eat + Drink //

Sel rose
Cafe Henrie
Pietro Nolita
Cha cha Matcha
Le Bain (better in SUMMER)
By Chloe
Sweets by chloe
While we were young
Lucky bee
Catch
Dirt Candy
Jack’s Wife Freda

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Where to stay //

Dream hotels
Standard hotel
Ace hotel

Where to Shop //

Mansur Gavriel Pop Up
Acne Studios
Chloe Soho
Miu Miu Soho
Matter
Apiece Apart
Catbird

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Where to Primp //

Paintbox nails
Lush spa
Drybar

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Still on my hit list //

Bisou
Pucker
Tacombi
Seamores
Snow Days
De Maria
Baker and Co.
Dudley’s
Orchard Grocery
Dovetail
Modern Love
Pizza Beach

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Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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As expected, almost every conversation I have right now is shaped by the same question: “How was LA? It looked AMAZING!” Every time I wish I had some sort of Eat Pray Love-esque story to share, an all consuming tale of triumph and growth and figuring out exactly where I’m supposed to be. But amongst the many tough things I’ve learned as of late, life is not like the movies (or romanticized novels loaded with privilege for that matter).

Anyone who follows me knows how tightly I cling to the fairytales I grew up with, from the aged stories of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara to Snow White singing “Someday my Prince Will Come”, but I’m starting to doubt I’ve been on the right track. Somewhere, something has gone awry. I worked so hard to build my life into the dream I’d always imagined – I climbed so quickly to such great heights and when I reached the top I guess I looked around and realized how alone I was up there.

This past three months I truly lived my life to the fullest. I did so much in such a short time, more than many people do over a decade, from learning how to shuck oysters on an oyster farm, to crashing into a patch of rocks on a rented surfboard (oops). I rode horses on the beach, went snowboarding through a forest of fresh powder, walked for hours on end through mysterious neighbourhoods and forced myself to be brave and make new friends whenever the opportunity arose. I learned how to eat dinner alone at a restaurant with only a book to keep me company. I fully quit smoking, switched to a 100% plant-based diet without looking back, and mastered new ways to deal with my anxiety and depression without the help of medication.

I also learned that no matter where you are or who you surround yourself with, your issues don’t just stay behind when you hop a plane. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and one that I’ve failed to accept so many times, but something about being on the other side of the continent and still facing a lot of the same problems made me question where the root of the issue was actually growing. It’s no surprise I found the root close to home – it was always within me.

Not to say there’s anything wrong with me, just the way I go about my existence. I’ve always believed in the good, that doing the right thing pays off and loving those around you will only build more love in this confusing and messy world. What I failed to notice was the shortcoming of basic human nature: for the most part if someone is given too much too soon, they’ll question how far they can run with it. I’ve done a terrible job of protecting myself, of valuing myself and of keeping in touch with reality – even if it isn’t as sparkly as I’d like to imagine, there’s value to having one foot on the ground, even if you’re a dreamer.

In conclusion, my trip was absolutely amazing, beautiful, extraordinary, and more than I ever could’ve hoped. It was also painful, raw, riddled with tears and struggle – more than I ever could’ve planned for. I think I left on this trip thinking it would just be a fun adventure, an escape from the cold of winter and the cold in my heart, but the most valuable thing about my time away turned out to be learning to actually work on myself, by myself, without any of the crutches, comforts, or support systems at home. Instead of staying so busy with events and friends that I buried my heartache and shortcomings, I spent days making lists of how I can improve myself and build off of the mistakes I’ve made. I sent letters of forgiveness to break down old anger. I made some big, hard, life changing decisions based not on my fairytale mentality, but on real tangible happiness and mistakes.

I’m going to cut this off here, because if I don’t I may NEVER stop, and no one loads this page for a full on novel. More coming, a LOT more, but for now this is the best trip summary I’ve got. If you’re somehow still hungry for more, there’s a fun roundup of some of my favourite LA learnings below, and of course a list of new favourite spots to see:

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A few takeaways before I go on and on for DAYS //

Care About Self Care // I’m really bad at taking care of myself. I forget to eat, to sleep, and some days I actually have to remind myself to breathe. California was a slightly different pace, where slowing down is celebrated and long lunches are best served on the patio with fresh squeezed local juices. I was constantly training myself to STOP WORKING and enjoy the scenery, to take a walk in the sunshine or take the afternoon off to visit a museum. In and around Valentine’s Day I went the whole nine yards, with a massage at The Now Massage, and honestly this place deserves an entire post of its own. The team is AMAZING, the massage so life changing, and the space is pure bliss. Don’t think, just go – you won’t regret it (and warning, you’ll likely come home with one of their gorgeous signature candles.)

More isn’t More // a major point of stress for me while travelling was everything I had lingering back home. For those of you who don’t know, I’m downsizing to a shiny new condo in response to our ceiling at #thepastelpalace COLLAPSING while I was away, and living out of a suitcase really made me realize how little I actually need in my space to live a happy life. Now that I’m home I’m shedding like crazy for Spring, leaving the extra weight behind and only bringing forward the bits and pieces in my life that truly bring me joy.

Scent Therapy // Scents can be totally transportive, so when I get lost in my mind or overwhelmed by the bitter winter cold I spray Le Labo Santal 33. Well known just about everywhere, I found Santal was particularly beloved in Venice Beach, in fact it was basically inescapable, so the two almost immediately became intertwined in my mind. A whiff of this stuff and I’m instantly back with my toes in the sand, sipping wine and watching surfers. Some might call it wearing perfume, but I prefer “scent therapy”.

Take a Moment to Meditate // All over California, especially in and around LA, folks kept reminding me to just ~chill~ and it wasn’t till I arrived back in Toronto that I started to listen. Sometimes the best things can’t be forced, and taking time to slow down and just be in a moment has had a really positive impact on daily existence. I’ve been using Headspace since I got back, and I’m loving their little lessons (“Not everything is about achieving! Just be present!”) plus simple guided meditation sessions that made it easy even for someone who never sits still (aka me).

Appreciate What you Have // I found myself complaining about Toronto a whole lot while I was away, and finally someone pointed out “you know, I’ve never met someone who has something negative to say about that city.” It struck me that maybe my issue wasn’t with Toronto itself, but with the version of it that I found myself living in. I started to restructure my thoughts, analyzing the negativity and taking into consideration what I might be able to change. By the time I got home I was shocked to find I wasn’t riddled with anxiety and sadness shivering in the cold – I was stupidly excited to get my life going here! So far it’s been nothing but good, even if I’ve had to shelve my summer dresses for the time being.

Van Leeuwen ice cream
Flowerboy Project
The Social Type
Twig and Twine
Moonlight Rollerway
by chloe
Donut friend
Flounce Vintage
Sokerbit
Kettle Black
The Springs LA
The Broad Museum
Galcos Old World Grocery
Block Party
Ysabel
The Row
Honeycut
SQIRL
Fonuts

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