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

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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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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An eccentric melting pot of French, Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures, New Orleans is unlike any place in the world. It modestly boasts a one-of-a-kind blend of architecture, food and language, and definitely has a way of making an impression.

The French Quarter mostly caters to tourists, but this doesn’t mean that you should avoid it. Bourbon Street is literally always a party, and great for people watching and some casual car-free debauchery. At night you can take in a ghost tour, and with the city’s dark past, it’s a must whether you believe in spooky behaviour or not. When it comes to hearing authentic jazz (the genre was born here) it’s actually unavoidable. Talented street performers of all ages are known to casually bust out a full brass ensemble, and you’ll have no choice but to stop in your tracks and take it all in. Other notable areas outside the Quarter (and you really should explore outside the Quarter) are Frenchmen Street, Bywater and the Garden District, all accessible by foot or adorable wooden streetcars.

A city famous for it’s libations, there are a TONNE of cocktail options in The Big Easy. Also, don’t forget that New Orleans is a magical place where you can openly carry drinks wherever you go. You can even pop into a bar and ask for a beverage in a “go cup” and be on your way. As for the food, expect simple southern dishes and lots of seafood. Famous for gumbo, jambalaya and beignets (delicious little powdered doughnuts), the diverse historical roots of the city are heavily reflected in the cuisine.

The people of New Orleans celebrate funerals with a brass band parade, and I think that’s the perfect representation of the spirit of the Crescent City. No matter what you choose to do here, whether you want to stay in the Quarter and party, or venture out to Tremé and see the road less travelled, you will be absolutely surrounded by the one thing that New Orleans serves up like no other – Southern hospitality.

Scroll down to see the full list!

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Sips //

Cane & Table
Latitude 29
Bacchanal Wine (Pick a bottle of wine and some fresh cheese, and head out to the backyard party)
The Spotted Cat
Tiki Tolteca
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (The oldest operating bar in the US)
Apple Barrel
Compère Lapin
Three Muses

Snacks //

Atchafalaya (Truly incredible garden-fresh Bloody Marys)
Elizabeth’s
Killer Poboys
Stanley
El Libre
The Old Coffee Pot
Café Du Monde

Stay //

International House Hotel
The Old No. 77

For the next visit //

Green Goddess
Pizza Delicious
Kermit’s Tremé Mother in Law Lounge
The Country Club
Mimi’s In the Marigny
Algiers
Tremé

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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When I first booked a trip to California with no concept of when I’d be back, I really didn’t have much of a plan. I had someone to stay with of course, and there were loose talks of visits with friends and family, but the truth is when I boarded that plane I had no idea where my travels would lead me.

In the end, no plans could’ve covered everything that I managed to see. I didn’t just go to California, I went all over California, from horse riding on the beach in Sonoma to driving through the Red Woods of Big Sur. I went to an 80s’ dance party that’s hidden inside a vending machine, I met some of my Instagram idols for a casual brunch, and I saw more parts of the state than most people who actually live there full time.

I was feeling pretty satisfied with my adventures by the time the last leg of my time in the sunshine rolled around, but then Kelsie came to visit and introduced me to the magic of Hotwire.com. Full disclosure: I am AWFUL at bargain hunting, but even I got into this site. You can basically play hotel roulette! We downloaded their app on a sleepy night in LA and before we knew it we’d scored a room at The Ace in DTLA for a night! It was the ultimate staycation, and after a night of dancing at a local disco bar (please go to Honeycut next time you’re in town!) we decided to try our hand at finding a few more hot rates.

We ended up booking a crazy spontaneous trip to San Diego, a city neither of us knew ANYTHING about, and in the morning we were off in our Hotwire car rental to find out what we’d been missing. It turns out the answer was a lot – so much in fact that one night was nowhere near enough. San Diego is lush, right on the water and filled with adorable local gems and swoon-worthy spaces. I wish we’d had more time to see everything on our list, but there’s always time to book another last-minute vacation with Hotwire, right?

Special thanks to @ellistracy for all the amazing local tips! Best Instagram tour guide ever!

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Where we went:

Pigment // Kelly from Studio DIY told me this is the best store in the world, so I went in with ridiculously high expectations, and I was still totally blown away. Just go, save up a lot of spending money, and go!
Communal Coffee // This is a coffee shop that sells floral drinks, floral toasts, and actual flowers! It’s incredibly well decorated, the staff is lovely, and the back patio may be actual nirvana.
Native Poppy // Nestled within communal coffee, this place knows their blooms! They also sell a curated collection of stationary etc.
La Puerta // A great spot for cheap margaritas and delicious guac in the heart of downtown. Make sure you time your visit around their numerous “happy hour” times.
Taco Surf // cheap, simple, and delicious. We highly recommend taking your food to the beach for a picnic, regardless of the weather.
Balboa Park // Perfect for a sunny stroll, this park has incredible flowering trees, an epic cactus garden, and SO many gorgeous museums.
Cafe Gratitude // One of my favourite vegan spots in California, this was actually the most gorgeous location I’ve visited yet, and the food was divine as always.
Seal Beach // We saw tiny baby seal pups lazing on the beach! This is reason enough to make this spot a stop in our books.

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For Next Time:
Fairweather
Pendry
Kindred
Ironside
The Madison
Bracero Cocina
Fleet Science Centre
San Diego Natural History Museum
Holy Matcha (not quite open yet!)

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Special thanks to Hotwire for making all of our spontaneous vacay dreams come true!

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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I’ve been all over California thanks to a West Coast upbringing and parents who love to chase the sunshine as much as I do, but there are a few cities I have yet to revisit as an adult and really experience. As the years ticked by, San Francisco remained one of those unexplored sections of the state, so when my friend Tegan invited me to come stay with her in the heat of The Mission I couldn’t say no.

What started as a short visit to one small city quickly snowballed into a total exploration of Northern California, from Tahoe to the Sonoma Coast, but for now I’m just going to focus on SF itself, because seriously, it’s AWESOME all on its own!

With the help of Tegan, some newfound local friends, and a lot of blog research, I managed to hit an almost outrageous number of amazing spots in the Bay Area, and like most trips I still left with a list of places to visit the next time around.

From vegan sushi and flaming tiki drinks to abandoned bath house ruins and sprawling beaches, here’s what made my must-see list in the city of pastel houses, hills, and expensive toast (seriously, they love fancy toast!)

Scroll down to see the full list!

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Sips //

Trouble Coffee
Tonga Room
Sightglass Coffee
Pagan Idol Tiki Bar
Samovar Tea

Sweets //

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
Bi-Rite
Dandelion Chocolate

Snacks //

Shizen Vegan Sushi
St Francis Fountain
Leo’s Oysters
Souley Vegan
Tartine
Flour + Water

Shops //

Voyager
Le Point
Cove
Little Paper Planes
Heath Ceramics
Case for Making

Adventures //

Sutro Baths
Walt Disney Family Museum
The famous Painted Ladies
Mission Cliffs Climbing Gym
Love Story Yoga
Urban Putt Mini Golf Bar
Fisherman’s wharf
Ferry building
Burnell heights Hill
Land’s end park
Ocean beach

On the list for next time //
Garden Creamery (vegan ice cream shop that opened right when I left!)
Academy of Sciences
Conservatory of Flowers
Alamo Theatre
Mt. Tam Hiking
Baker Beach