Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like a brag, but I have to be honest: life is really, stupidly good. It’s not just the sun, and the beach, and the comically fresh avocados… it’s the ability to go for a run every day without piling on layers, to order something vegan at any restaurant you desire, to make friends who take you to LACMA and rock climbing gyms and comedy shows because that’s how people hang out here. It’s a feeling of freedom that escaped me for too long.

Yes, I’m romanticizing, but in all fairness this place has been total bliss for me. I went vegan the day I touched down, have finally fully said goodbye to the disgusting world of cigarettes, and feel more in shape than I have in months. Sunshine and fresh veggies are the best medicine money can buy in my books, and coming down to California to escape some of that Toronto winter doom and gloom back home was just what the doctor ordered.

As I write this I find myself in San Francisco for a few weeks, a brand new place that I’ve never really explored! So until I get my bearings and can formulate a list of SF faves, here are my favourite NEW findings from L.A. this past month:

IMG_1706

IMG_1857

IMG_2010

IMG_1720

Otherwild // If you were ever looking for housewares with boobs all over them, look no further. Seriously though, this Los Feliz shop is filled with perfect feminist finds and queer goodies. I wanted to buy the entire inventory (rainbow stairway included).

Shojin // Not only is Shojin a totally vegan sushi restaurant tucked away in a mall in Little Tokyo, but it also happens to be the best service I’ve ever experienced. If you want to feel like a princess and try the most creative fish-free Japanese dishes around, this is the place for you.

Shop Belljar // Stocked with RAOP favourites like HKM and Samantha Pleet, this lovely little store of amazing pastel finds is right next to Otherwild, so prepare to leave the block with a seriously dented wallet.

Go Get Em Tiger // A popular brunch and coffee spot in both Larchmont and Los Feliz), this cafe is perfect for a light meal, a tasty beverage, and lazy outdoor lounging (unless you go on the weekend, then you’ll be fighting for a seat all morning).

Eric Buterbaugh Perfumes // If you’re walking down Beverly Blvd. and come across a Nirvana-like garden with an undeniably delicate and distinct floral scent, you’ve found Eric Buterbaugh’s space. Part gallery, part perfumery, this gorgeous building is full of unexpected sensory delights, and if you think floral scents are outdated and boring, get ready to think again.

Tenoversix // An endless array of local art, dreamy housewares and wardrobe essentials await within this pastel heaven.

IMG_1758

IMG_2072

IMG_2325

IMG_1807

FullSizeRender

Juice Served Here // Simple and to the point, this LA juicery has some crazy good combos. We recommend “Tropic Thunder”, “The Pixie”, and/or “Pearl Punch”… if you have to choose.

Bar Bandini // Cozy and crowded, this tiny dive bar in Echo Park makes for the perfect place to get close to someone new. Try the 101 Cider House “Cactus Red” if you’re not sure what fancy craft beverage to order – it’s hot pink and delicious!

Super Smash Buns Food Truck // The best late night food delivery of ALL time. We ordered the Vegan Quesedilla, Masala Fries, and Rose Lavender Lemonade and basically had a collective meltdown over the goodness.

Cliffs of ID // Rock climbing is rapidly getting big everywhere, but it’s REALLY big in LA. All the cool kids are doing it, and on top of being a fun way to make friends it’s also a SUPER hard workout!

Erin McKenna’s Bakery // I’ve been a massive fan of Erin’s Vegan, gluten free goods since first discovery her original bakery in NYC a few years back, and seeing her shop in Larchmont was like bumping into a deeply missed and oh so sweet friend. This is also the only place I know of that makes vegan black-and-white cookies, which just so happen to by my all time favourite!

IMG_1540

Still on my list to see…
Sweet Fin Poke
By CHLOE
SQRL
Little Pine
Block Party
Sage
Clifton’s
Donut Friend

I'll Follow You Anywhere

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- 2016 is our year of TRAVEL! Unfortunately we’re already over halfway through the year and we haven’t been that many new places, but a girl can dream right? I’m a big proponent of dreaming, whether it’s daydreaming or snoozing off for a long night of imagination exercise. Visualization can get you places right? So maybe if I spend enough time gazing at other people’s amazing adventures all over the world I’ll end up someplace special sooner rather than later too…

The problem with “travel visualization” is the list of places you want to see can very quickly become crazy overwhelming. Greece! Mexico City! Singapore! My pastel list goes on and on, and I thought it might be helpful to try gathering a few images from some of my top contenders as a sort of mood board for where I want to be at some point over the next few months.

Bahamas, Caribbean //

If visiting a pastel beach paradise wasn’t enough, the Bahamas has also been deemed ‘the official home of swimming with pigs’! On the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay you can wade through crystal clear blue waters with some of the cutest creatures around!

Bahamas

Burano, Italy //

This small island located in the same lagoon as Venice looks like the single happiest place in the world. The island still follows specific colour rules dating back to the ‘golden ages’ when the island was first established. If you wish to paint your house you send a letter to the government and they send a reply outlining which colours you can paint your lot, like a rainbow lottery!

Burano

Hong Kong, China //

We instantly fell in love with Designlovefest’s Hong Kong photo diary and knew it had to be added to our Pastel World Tour. We can’t wait to wander around snapping pics of the towering sun faded buildings, neon lights and market-lined streets of Soho.

HongKong

San Franciso, U.S.A. //

I’ve been all over California but haven’t done anywhere near enough pastel hunting in San Francisco.Steep rolling hills lined with colourful row houses and some of the best food on the coast! Mr.Holmes bakery would obviously be an essential stop.

Sanfran

Tokyo, Japan //

The idea of travelling to Tokyo seems a bit intimidating because there is so much to see and do, again with the help of Designlovefest’s travel guide we’ve narrowed down our must-see spots. Including but not limited to: Cat cafes in DAIKANYAMA, the bright neon lights of Shinjuku, and of course all the sights of Harajuku (have you seen this rainbow cotton candy magic?). When we get tired of walking around there’s always a swan boat ride in Inokashira park!

Tokyo

Havana, Cuba //

The architecture of Cuba definitely what initially drew us to add it to the list- an eclectic mix of bright colourful buildings, this colonial city seems to have a sort of romanticism about it, complete with vintage american cars and even a ‘car-free’ zone in Old Havana.

Our idea of a perfect day? Food in El Barrio Chino (Havana’s China Town), Mojitos on Espacio’s back patio, and a sunset drive along the sea on The MalecΓ³n!

Havana

I'll Follow You Anywhere

It’s hard to even know where to start with this post, because honestly the whole LA experience was so magical I have a hard time believing any of it was real. Sorry in advance if this reads like a fairytale, but that’s just how it really was!

When Netflix asked me to join the roster of bloggers they’d chosen from all over the world for a #Girlboss adventure in LA there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation. A week later I was on a plane to the land of palm trees and surfing, totally unable to fathom what lay ahead. I checked into the Line Hotel (an amazing building with the best pool, a gorgeous greenhouse-like eatery, and a flawless juice selection at the coffee bar!) and from that moment on everything was a blur of magical girl power madness.

I laughed hysterically as a live studio audience member on the Chelsea show. I stood at the end of a gigantic wooden backlot rainbow. I did a one on one interview with original #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso. I sat at a table that ordered one of everything on the menu, and then ordered MORE. And that list, that doesn’t even begin to cover it. By the end of the three days of Netflix adventures I walked away with 15 new friends located all over the face of the planet, a really cool Nasty Gal satin bomber jacket, and so much inspiration that my heart hurt.

It. was. Incredible.

I decided to stick around my favourite city for a few extra days, so mid-week I switched from the hotel to my friend Dana’s house and went exploring on my own. I’ve been to LA over 22 times before (what can I say, I always have and always will adore that place), but this time something was different. I felt so at home, and I covered so much ground so quickly just out of pure excitement. From Venice Beach to Silverlake, I went just about everywhere, and though a lot of the places I went to were clearly marked on a map of favourites from my past visits, I came across a whole bunch of unexpected wonderful things too.

I don’t even know how to conclude this. I ate the best vegan food of my life EVERY day, I had drinks with PETA employees and bonded over their Sea World protest stories, I helped rescue a kitten with an Uber driver and I spent a morning by the sea reading my favourite book of all time without a trace of loneliness. I felt truly alive, and so crazy inspired that I literally haven’t stopped moving since my plane landed in Toronto last week.

I love you Los Angeles, I really do. Until next time…

Scroll down for my favourite finds, and my list of perfect photo stops!

DSC_9262

IMG_5567

IMG_5767

IMG_6246

IMG_5641

DSC_9227

DSC_9252

DSC_9337

IMG_5574

IMG_5596

IMG_5665

IMG_5801

IMG_6326

IMG_6413

IMG_6510

IMG_6446

DSC_9320

DSC_9266

IMG_5616

Photo Spot Scavenger Hunt //

Some of LA’s most popular photo spots have become really overpopulated since my last visit, so I kept my eye out for less conventional spots over the course of my trip and made a list to share! If you hunt down one of these locations make sure you tag #RAOPphotospot so I can congratulate you!

Wiltern
Department of water and power Β (i don’t know which location, but it was many shades of pink!)
Trashy lingerie
Building behind flywheel
100 market street
Westminster garage
HD supplies

New Favourites //

Olive & June
Nasty gal
Reformation
Flannel
L.angels
Alfred Tea
Moon Juice Melrose Place
Cafe Gratitude
Butcher’s Daughter Venice
Rawberri

Places I Still Didn’t Get To //

Milk jar cookies
Blu dot
Cotton hi
Big D’s Burgers

Keep your eyes peeled for my follow up post about the #GIRLBOSS show coming soon to Netflix, plus my interview with Sophia and a list of her favourite LA Vintage shops!

I'll Follow You Anywhere

Growing up I spent most of my winters at my grandparent’s house in Palm Springs, and though I don’t remember a lot, the few memories that I do have are bathed in sunshine and smiles. Learning to drive my grandpa’s golf cart, long dips in the pool, and trips to the flea market in search of treasures with my grandma: they’re moments I hope to never forget.

I hadn’t been back to Palm Springs since my childhood family vacations, but the #RAOPinCali trip seemed like the perfect time to revisit the past. It was more simple to book our trip in and out of LAX when we were organizing everything on Expedia.ca, so we opted to drive from the Madonna Inn down to Palm Springs for our last 24 hours instead of flying. We booked a pink and purple room at the oh-so-colourful Saguaro Hotel, and planned to do what Palm Springs is best for: lounge by the pool all day long.

But of course I’m far too energetic for that sort of thing, and though we spent most of our time within the rainbow walls of The Saguaro, we took free rental bikes for a morning adventure to explore the hotel’s surroundings.

We didn’t have a ton of time to pastel hunt, but the few sights we did see were worth the workout. First we headed to The Parker, a beautiful hotel property designed by Jonathan Adler a few blocks away. We treated ourselves to the most beautiful breakfast at Norma’s (one of the hotel’s restaurants-make sure you try the lemonade!) before exploring the lush maze-like grounds. After breakfast we went on a semi-epic search for “That Pink Door”, only to find it was just around the corner from our hotel all along. Hot, sweaty, and bicycled-out, we retired to the colourful pool deck at The Saguaro for the rest of the afternoon before hopping back in the car to hop a plane home.

I’ve used the word “perfect” in this series of vacation posts FAR too much, but that’s because everything about it really was so magical, and our relaxing time in Palm Springs was the best ending we could’ve hoped for. I can’t wait to see where our next colourful adventures take us… a pastel world tour perhaps?!

DSC_0080

DSC_0019

DSC_0042

DSC_0091

DSC_0116

DSC_0052

DSC_0036-2

DSC_0063

DSC_0074

DSC_0094

DSC_0103

DSC_0056

DSC_0050

DSC_0112

DSC_0027

Get yourself a rainbow room at The Saguaro with Expedia.ca here!

Fun pool accessories by Ban.do

I'll Follow You Anywhere

Inspired by the always glamorous Jenny of Margot and Me, Jo and I decided to get dolled up and treat ourselves to poolside breakfast at the very famous (and very pink) Beverly Hills Hotel.

A short drive from where we were staying, The Beverly Hills Hotel felt like taking a trip back in time. Filled with elegant flashes of gold, lush banana plants, and the prettiest pool cabanas you ever did see, we instantly felt like 1950s’ movie stars, and attempted to act as such (in our own hilariously awkward way).

If you get a chance to visit this legendary gem, make sure you check out the adorable coffee bar (it’s actually like a time capsule), explore the pool deck, and snap up a sugar pack or two (they’re pink and perfect.)

DSC_0294

DSC_0325

DSC_0289

DSC_0308

DSC_0231_edit_2

DSC_0241

DSC_0300

DSC_0261

DSC_0195

DSC_0250

DSC_0334

DSC_0293

Want to live like a movie star in LA? Book a room at The Beverly Hills Hotel through Expedia.ca!