I'll Follow You Anywhere

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I created this blog post as a paid ambassador for Pepto Bismol. All opinions and advice are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted.

Travel isn’t always easy as a vegetarian or vegan, and next to New Orleans, I expected Jamaica to be my most challenging destination yet. It’s literally a country that’s famous for its Jerk chicken, for oxtail and beef patties, for having some of the best fast food fried chicken in the world (no joke). I pictured myself living on watermelon slices and bread from the hotel’s daily buffet and that’s about it. But that’s fine right? Vacation diets are a thing?

As it did in almost every other way, Jamaica exceeded my expectations by a long shot when it came to food. Everywhere we went there were vegetarian options at the very least, and a lot of stops had vegan alternatives too! Yes, the staples are generally still meat-based, and vegetarianism isn’t always received with total welcome, but over my five days touring the country I found folks to be much more accommodating than expected.

Though meat is major, the many followers of the Rastafarian religion believes in following the Ital diet, which means a massive percentage of the population not only condemns meat, but many avoid dairy and other by-products too! Here’s how I ate my way through the week:

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1 // Look for local treasures.

There are a ton of amazing veggie staples growing fresh in Jamaica, like avocado, mango and coconuts to name a few, but there are also so many native fruits and veggies that I had never heard of! Look for Calilloo, callabash, okra, star apple, otaheite apple, bread fruit and more.

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2 // Don’t forget to pack Pepto Bismol!

It’s pretty common to experience unexpected upset stomachs while travelling in a new place with new food, and should you happen to end up feeling a bit off from eating spice or over-indulgencing, you’ll want to be prepared! At the first sign of an upset stomach, I fix it fast with Pepto. There’s nothing worse than spending a day on a sunny vacation locked inside in bed! The Pepto chewables are my favourite for trips because you can take them in your purse anywhere in case of emergency, and since they’re not a liquid they’re totally safe for carry on. After all, spicy new food shouldn’t spoil your fun!

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3 // Eat like a Rastafarian

Many Rastas follow a strict “Ital” diet, which means eating only plant based and meatless. A lot of the popular Jamaican restaurants off-resort will offer veggie options as a result, like the soy patties at Juici, which taste a LOT like their famous beef patties without the meat! Also keep your eye out for steamed vegetables, Jamaican curry dishes and corn on the cob.

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4 // Load up at salad bars

When you find veggies, eat veggies! There are days where you’ll be stuffing yourself with fresh produce, but there are also days where the only thing on offer is the fried Festival Bread. If there is a salad bar at your resort, go crazy! Get those greens in while you can so your body feels full and balanced.

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A few of my favourite places to eat and drink //

Scotchie’s – A local favourite for jerk bbq, order one of everything!!!
Juici Patties – With 2 veggie patty options this spot is a winner.
Rick’s Cafe – Get a veggie burger at the grill and watch the sunset.
Zimbali Farms – So many amazing vegan options, and cooking classes!

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Disclaimer: Pepto Bismol provides five-symptom relief of heartburn, indigestion, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea. To ensure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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So I’ve already spent enough time talking about the traumatic things that happened while I was in Miami, but believe it or not there was a lot of good stuff too, and I think it’s about time we focus on all of that instead.
Miami is potentially the most pastel city I’ve ever been to, top 3 at the very least. The art deco architecture mixed with ice cream shades were totally drool-worthy every time I went out for a walk, and though the somewhat materialistic culture around South Beach wasn’t my really my vibe, the colourful eye candy around every corner outweighed the general population. The layout of this city is so interesting, with so much ocean around that the whole urban centre felt like one big beach party.

As predictable as it is, I loved Wynwood the very most (The colours! The snacks! The shopping!) but I found little pockets of magic in every neighbourhood I visited! Scroll down for my fill list of must-see spots, AND my photos from the Museum of Ice Cream Miami too!

RAOP Places in Miami //

The Salty Donut
Dreamer Coffee and Juice Bar
Mandolin Bistro
Mrs Mandolin
OTL
Basement Miami
Museum of Ice cream (closes May 13th!)
Lolo’s Surf Cantina
1-800 Lucky
Rainbow Lifeguard towers (all along the beaches of South Beach!)
Vous Church

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MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM:

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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There are without question many drawbacks to living so far from my hometown, but as I get older I start to discover more and more advantages too. Time with family is that much more special, I covet the mountains and ocean more than ever and every time I go home to visit I find the city transformed with new developments I couldn’t have dreamed of!

When I originally left Vancouver fresh out of high school I was bored by the slower pace, but now I soak up every moment of quiet I can while back in town. That said, you might even find Vancouver has got a leg up on Toronto in some departments, with spots like Virtuous Pie vegan pizza, the stupidly beautiful Botanist restaurant and SO many craft breweries! Check out my full list of favourites new and old here:

New Finds //

Nectar Juice
Botanist
Anh & Chi
Hey Kokomo
33 Acres
Besties (and Sunday! Cider)
The Bird and The Beet
Brassneck
The Good Spirit
The Alibi Room
Small Victory
Nightingale
Ask for Luigi
Four Winds Brewing
Andina
Kissa Tanto
Virtuous Pie
Rainbow Alley

Oldies But Goodies //

Moderne Burger
Me n Ed’s Pizza
La Casa Gelato
Butter Baked Goods
Medina Cafe
The Cross
49th Parallel

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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It’s hard to know where to start when writing up my guide for Cuba. To start, there was so much pastel everywhere that I can hardly call my time there “pastel hunting” – the entire island is a rainbow of milky shades!

I did a horrible job of researching before our trip (in my defence, it was fairly last-minute), so unlike my usual travel habits, I landed in Cuba almost entirely unprepared. In retrospect I definitely should’ve packed some allergy medication and bug spray, brushed up on my Spanish skills etc. but there was something exciting about not having it all figured it out.

Though our trip was short and not properly scheduled, we managed to do so much between the resort and Havana!

We stayed in Memories Jibocoa Resort an hour outside Havana, and split our time between the two. At the resort we indulged in massages at the on-site spa, sipped endless pina coladas by the beach, swam in the pool under moonlight and frequented the 24-hour deli for late-night grilled cheese sandwiches. On Fridays there is a Cuban party on the beach complete with fresh cut coconuts, cocktails served in pineapple and a killer live band, so make sure you check that out if you’re around! A catamaran tour complete with snorkelling at the reef is also not to be missed – who knew flying fish actually fly?! If you feel like getting a bit wild, you also have to visit the piano bar, where singing along is a must (don’t worry, if you order the “fire drink” you won’t be shy for long!)

When it comes to our time in Havana, I’m just going to list all of the things we loved most below. The city was so alive, it was almost overwhelming, but with the help of our amazing driver we were able to cover a lot of ground in a super short time.

In Havana //

Eat at Paladar Los Mercaderes
Drink at La Guarida
Dance with Daiquiris at El Floridita
Explore at Fabrica De Arte
Stock up on snacks at the fruit stands
Walk along the Malecón seawall
Hire a colourful vintage taxi for a tour
Shop for cigars at Morro Castle

Keep scrolling for our travel tips and so many photos!

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A few general travel tips:

*Take out Canadian cash and exchange it into the convertible peso (for tourists) at the hotel when you arrive. There is no way to get this currency outside of Cuba, and when you’re heading back you can have any leftover cash changed back to Canadian at the airport.

*Learn as much Spanish as you can, even if it’s just the basics.

*If you’re vegan, bring along a lot of protein bars and other filling, nutrient dense snacks. We love Luna Bar in Lemon Zest . Being pescetarian is super easy, and vegetarian isn’t bad either, but if you’re vegan you’ll likely be living off of just fruit and bread the entire trip. Also if you’re vegetarian watch out for meat products in unexpected dishes, like rice and beans!

*Plan to disconnect as much as possible. Wifi is few and far between, and buying internet time can get pricey – but who wants to be on their phone anyway in such a beautiful place? A portable charger is always a must in our packing routine.

*If you can, plan to bring along some extra clothing and household goods, like toothbrushes, condoms, tampons/pads and baby products. These items are expensive and hard to come by in Cuba, and in my personal experience leaving them with locals can be a great way to say thank you.

*Bring insect repellent , sun screen , basic first aid items, and do NOT forget any prescription meds! Again, very hard to come by.

Additional resources: Margo & Me has a super helpful guide on her site for American travellers!

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An extra special thank you to Siren Communications and Memories Resorts, plus everyone else who made this amazing vacation happen!

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