5 Things to do in Page, AZ

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Page, Arizona is a small town located near Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. It’s near the Utah border and is a 2 hour drive north of Flagstaff. This small town of less than 10 000 population has a lot to offer in terms of activities and nature. It’s the perfect spot to include on a road trip across the Southern US, a perfect destination to spend 24 to 48hrs.

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1) Tour Antelope Canyon – This slot canyon is located just a few miles east of Page. It’s located on Navajo land and is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my entire life. To visit Antelope Canyon, you absolutely must take a Navajo guided tour that will cost you $40 per person. You can also opt to do a photography-specific tour, that is a little pricier but that operates at the best moments during the day to photograph the canyon. Don’t be surprised if you’re surrounded by a ton of people during your visit. The only downside of this place is its popularity. My trick to get photos without anyone in it, either go ahead or behind the group. It’ll be your best shot to snap pics along the way. The guides are funny and point out all the best spots and particularities in the canyon.

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2) Hike to Horseshoe Bend – If you’re dreaming of visiting another spot like the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is the dream location! Located just a 10 minute drive from downtown Page, this horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River is breathtaking. It’s a short hike 2km hike from the parking lot along the highway to get to and from Horseshoe Bend. The shape and the structure of these rock walls are what make it so stunning. A friendly note, make sure you don’t go to close to the edge of the cliff, there is absolutely nothing protecting you from the 1000 foot drop. It made my knees shake when I got close to the edge. The greatest part of it all, the access to Horseshoe Bend is free but don’t forget to bring some water with you for the hike!

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3) Swim in Lake Powell – While in Page, you may want to spend time cooling off on Lake Powell, a reservoir located on the Colorado River. The National Park borders both Arizona and Utah and is a top destination for camping, fishing and boathouses. I spent a few hours relaxing on their beach that is accessible via the campground. It costs $20 per car to access the Glen Canyon National Park however, the pass is valid for up to 7 days. The views around the park are truly spectacular!

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4) Eat at Big John’s Texas Barbeque – If you’re looking for an authentic southern experience, you must make time for a meal at Big John’s. If you’re a fan of BBQ, meat, southern food, music and good atmosphere, this is the spot. All of their meats are smoked and roasted on a big outdoor rotisserie. The restaurant is located on the lot of an old gas station, making the setting even more unique. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be treated to a live band who will play classic rock and country jams.

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5) Drive through Navajo Nation – Page is surrounded by Navajo land. It was founded in 1957 in an exchange with Navajo Nation during the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. The rest of the area that surrounds Page all belongs to the Navajo people. The land surrounding the city is absolutely beautiful and so precious. If you have the time, I highly recommend exploring the nearby villages to and from Page.

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5 Things to Do in Los Angeles

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1) Handboarding. Instead of surfing, next time you go to LA, try handboarding! One of the biggest handboarding companies and shapers is located right in Venice Beach. The company is called SLYDE Handboards and is run by the raddest couple – Steve Watts & Angela Ferendo. Steve, the founder and CEO of the company is originally from South Africa and has been shaping handboards for years. After traveling the world, he obtained a degree in product design and now is the leader of an amazing community of handboarders across the world. Their shop is located right off the Venice Beach boardwalk. They are always willing to initiate new people to the sport by taking them out in the water nearby.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI had the chance to get in the water twice with them, while I was in LA in August and it was one of the most enjoyable activities I’ve done in a while. It’s thrilling to be able to catch a wave and propel yourself into it, while kicking with your fins and letting yourself glide with the handboard. Hanging out with Steve & Angela, we also met other locals who are involved in the sport. There’s definitely a nice community of friendly handboarders growing in Southern California, Florida and other parts of the world. I am a big fan of their boards, all of their graphics are made with artists from around the world and the boards themselves are designed with the best materials. They also have boards for everyone from beginners to pros. Highly recommend stopping by their shop (you’ll also get to meet their beautiful dog Cowboy!!), getting in the water and trying out handboarding. Guaranteed stoke!

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2) Stay at The LINE Hotel. There are so many hotels always opening up in Los Angeles but I would say that one of the latest and greatest hotels that’s opened up in downtown LA is hands down The LINE Hotel. Located in Koreatown to be exact, The LINE Hotel is a new hotel collaboration between Roy Choi (the Korean American chef that create the famous Kogi food truck in LA), The Houston Brothers, Sean Knibb and Poketo. The hotel itself is located in a mid-century building that has been transformed to offer the coolest modern rooms with the dreamiest views of the Hollywood Hills. In addition to the amazing rooms, they have the nicest rooftop pool and restaurant called Commissary. I’ve talked about Commissary before in one of other blogs here. It’s special because it’s a little garden oasis in the middle of the busy cityscape. Pot and the Pot Lobby Bar is renown for it’s delicious Korean food. The customer service at the hotel is fantastic and the rooms are pretty affordable. I could wake up there every day…

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3) Explore the coast. One of my favorite things to do while in Los Angeles is exploring all the different little cities and neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles. I love driving around the coast, parking the car and exploring all the gems in the area. I’ve found so many amazing shops, restaurants and communities thanks to just wandering around up and down the coast. If driving isn’t your thing, you can also explore a lot of the coast by just renting a bike for the day. The Strand or The Marvin Braude Bike Trail starts at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades and goes as far south as Torrance Beach, south of Redondo Beach. The 26-mile path can be done with a bike, skateboard, rollerblades or whatever your heart desires. It’s a beautiful way to get to know the area better. The view is just so incredible and it’s super freeing to ride a bike instead of being stuck in traffic with a car. Many people take The Strand to commute every day to and from work if they live close to the ocean.

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4) Visit the Sunset Marquis. Whether for a drink, a bite to eat, a day at the spa or even to just enjoy their two pools, the Sunset Marquis is a classic Hollywood hotel that just doesn’t go out of style. There are many things that still make the hotel so special. I personally love all the rock memorabilia and photographs that you can find all around the hotel. The Morrison Hotel Gallery at the entrance of the hotel is also filled with iconic rock photographs. Bar 1200 is a small and private bar that makes you feel right at home. They offer classic drinks and always have the best music playlist. Plus, they also have a super cozy patio at the front that is dimly lit with small candles. Their restaurant Cavatina is a great place for a lunch, a meeting or a mid-day snack. Their menu focuses on local California products and is creative but also affordable. Relaxing by the pool after getting a spa treatment is also quite special. If you’re willing to spend the cash, I’d have you know that the rooms are incredibly lush and comfortable. I haven’t slept that well in a hotel in a while!

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5) Shop at The Kooples & Anine Bing. It’s impossible for me not to mention my two new favorite stores in LA. The Parisian brand The Kooples, finally made it’s big west coast entrance this summer, which a luxurious and enormous marble-floored shop on S Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The shop is split into two sections, they have both their men’s and women’s collection in the store. I had discovered this French rock n’ roll band two years ago while in Paris and have been coveting every collection since. Shopping at The Kooples is a unique experience.

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Those who’ve been following my blog, know how obsessed I am with all-things Anine Bing. The lovely designer recently opened up her first shop in Los Angeles on West 3rd Ave. in Beverly Hills. It so happened that I was in town the day her flagship store opened and got to be one of the first ones to shop her new collection. It’s also always such a pleasure to see Anine, she’s such an inspiring woman. I have so much respect for what she does. What I love about her new shop is that it’s bright, modern and minimalistic. All of the items from her current collection can be found at the shop. I love Anine’s passion for flowers and candles, it adds a little personalized touch to the shop. Everyone at the shop is incredibly nice and helpful. An added bonus, it’s located right next to the FONUTS bakery 😉 If you want a nice personalized shopping experience and are looking for rocker meets bohemian threads, you’ve got to stop by the shop!

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A New Vegas Experience

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Ah Las Vegas! One of the craziest places I’ve been to on earth, where pretty much anything goes. To some, this place fulfills all of their fantasies and to others, this place inspires nothing at all. Having been to Las Vegas now close to a dozen times, either for short stays, shows or as a way to get to California, I definitely felt like I had seen it all. I don’t really gamble (unless you call playing $5 in the Michael Jackson slot machine gambling…) and I don’t go out clubbing, so Vegas doesn’t really appeal to me unlike a lot of people. Or at least I thought it didn’t… Until I went to Vegas last month and got a completely different view and experience. The reason being, I did things in Vegas I never thought I would do. Vegas is really what you want it to be. If you’re on the lookout for a new Vegas experience here are a few recommendations:

1) Vegas Watersports. Located in the beautiful National Recreation Area of Lake Mead, just 30 minutes away from the Vegas strip, Vegas Watersports is a small company held by some rad locals that offer people the chance to wakeboard, wakesurf, waterski, etc. in the most gorgeous setting. We had the raddest guide, who is a full-time Las Vegas firefighter but also an avid wakeboarder. He was super welcoming, friendly and incredibly fun to spend time with. We spent two hours on the boat with him. He had prepared some cold water bottles, a great music selection and also had the best tips to improve our boarding chops. He also got us to try wakesurfing, which I can say is now one of my newest addictions! Not only was Lake Mead super quiet and peaceful, it was beautiful beyond belief and the water was incredibly warm. We finished our excursion with a super relaxing and refreshing swim in the lake before heading back to the marina. Our excursion was probably two of the best hours of my life! If watersports isn’t for you, the national park is also a great place for camping, picnics and trekking.

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2) Michael Jackson One.  Ever since I was a kid, my dad has taken me to pretty much every different Cirque du Soleil. I had seen “O” a couple of years ago in Vegas and was floored, but nothing had really prepared me for the experience of Michael Jackson One. It’s Cirque du Soleil at its finest. It’s the neatest combination of theatre, music, dance and acrobatics all wrapped into one breathtaking performance. Though tickets are somewhat pricey (over $100 US per person), it’s well worth the cash. The show brings you directly into Michael Jackson‘s universe with all of his greatest hits as a soundtrack. The show made me laugh, gave me chills and even made me shed a tear. It’s 90minutes of non-stop action and performances that will pull on your heartstrings. A truly magical experience!!

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3) Sensi. One of the top destinations on my travel bucket list is Hawaii. While we were staying at the Bellagio we decided to try out Royden Ellamar‘s Hawaiian inspired restaurant called Sensi for dinner one night. The idea behind the restaurant is to find sustainable and local raised products to make some culinary innovative creations inspired by the island life. Their menu is varied, they have a lot of fresh fish, seafood and meats as well as several vegan and vegetarian options. The thing that really stood out to me was originality and flavors. The “Vegan Tofu Scallops” I ordered was probably the tastiest vegan dish I’ve had in a while. They also had a great wine selection and the overall atmosphere was incredibly relaxing.

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4) Mix At Delano. If you’re looking for the dreamiest view of the Vegas strip, look no further than the Mix at Delano. This incredibly beautiful restaurant and lounge is located at the very top of the recently built Delano casino. You can choose to be seated indoors or outdoors on their beautiful outdoor patio. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Their lounge and restaurant both have a very modern and edgy vibe. The Mix is the perfect place for a date or a tasty drink with friends.

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5) Pro Gun Club. The following activity definitely won’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for a unique Nevada experience that is more on the wild side, this might be for you. I’m not at all a gun advocate, on the contrary guns scare the living crap out of me. That said, in Vegas the gun culture is so present it’s impossible to go to Vegas without seeing signs for shooting ranges or gun shops. I had heard of this interesting place tucked away in a remote location in the middle of the Nevada desert, just 30 minutes from the strip. Though I would have never gone on my own, I know that it was something Offner had been wanting to try once in his lifetime, as a way to educate himself more than anything else. After having done it once, I can honestly say I would never do it again but I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn about safety and the power of these actual things. The time I spent there was very overwhelming so I would say that it is not for the faint of heart. That said, the people who worked there were all very gracious and kind.

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What do you like doing when you’re in Vegas? Send me your recommendations!

LA LA Land

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Off to LA LA Land this evening for some much needed relaxation and surf time! New travel post to follow after the trip!! I will be updating the blog a little less frequently while I’m away but I’m excited to announce that I’ll be publishing a very special menswear daily outfit series of blogs starting next Tuesday August 19th! I’ll have three different posts coming on the blog next week, so stay tuned! It was a whole lot of fun to dress up my favorite male model – @offner! Can’t wait to share these with you!

Wishing you all a wonderful next couple of days!

Mel xo

Santorini

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A lot of us have travel bucket lists, I certainly do and the following blog is dedicated to a destination that’s been in my top 5 travel destinations wish list for years. I was recently able to make that travel wish come true, when @offner (my faithful travel companion!) took me to Santorini for my big 3-0! NBD.

Santorini is as dreamy as it looks, sounds and as you’ve ever imagined it to be! The whole time I was there, I kept pinching myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming or looking at some fake backdrop. It’s really that breathtaking.

If you’re planning a trip to this enchanted place, may I recommend going between April and October? The rest of the year is considered the “off season” like many other destinations and a lot of the local hotels, shops and attractions are closed.

Also, if you’re flying in, consider flying with flyNiki, a division of Air Berlin that offers daily roundtrips to and from Santorini. They’re a super laid back decently priced Austrian airline. Their flight attendants all look like models and are dressed in jeans and a pink blouse and offer a variety of sandwiches and tasty drinks on your quick flight from pretty much anywhere in Europe.

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Speaking of flying to Santorini, you’ll want to spend time on the rooftop patio at the Santorini airport. You get to pass security check and then they let you have some drinks and homemade food outdoors on a patio that overlooks the airport runway. You get to see up close the planes land and takeoff. Pretty special!

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That said, here are my top 5 things to do when traveling to Santorini:

1) Rent a car. The best thing to do while you’re in Santorini is to rent a car and explore the entire island. Santorini is small enough that within a couple of hours, you’ll have been able to see the entire thing. Renting a car is > renting a scooter or 4×4 because it allows you to go everywhere and a lot quicker. Also, renting a car for the day is ridiculously cheap. A renter’s tip: the rental companies will try to charge you more for renting a Smart car (the most expensive car they rent!), a more powerful car, a convertible… but honestly all you really need is a basic standard car. A standard car is preferable because it’ll help you go up and down all the winding roads on the island. Also, take pics of the car you rent – any scratches, problems, etc. The car rental companies are really anal on car damage. You wouldn’t want to be charged for something you didn’t do yourself.

If you rent a car, go to Fira, Oia, Kamari and all the other beautiful and unique little villages on the island. Make sure you check out the Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach, all beautiful and so different. The island also contains more than 250 churches, which are all uniquely decorated. Go up to the ruins that overlook the entire island! The lighthouse on the southern and most western tip of the island gives you a beautiful view of all Santorini.

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By having a car, you’ll also be able to do all of this discovery at your convenience and spend as much time as you want in every place you go.

2) Eat the fresh local food. Seems obvious but Santorini has so much delicious local food. Most of the island is covered by wineries (who would have thought!) and their wine is pretty delicious and super cheap, like 3 Euros for a more than decent bottle. Most restaurants will offer you fresh fish of the day, that they will cook on an outdoor grill with locally grown fresh vegetables. If you drive around to the island, you’ll see that local residents have stands or small shops off the side of the road, where they sell you homemade products – jams, sauces, wine, as well as anything they’ve grown on their property. The spanakopitas and freshly made baked goods are HUGE and stuffed with flavour. Oh yea, and how could I forget the feta!! It’s everywhere and oh so yummy! We brought back some fresh olive oil and spices, which we’ve been using on salads since our trip. Nothing compares to fresh Greek olive oil!

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A restaurant you absolutely need to check out: La Maison for unique and modern Greek cuisine with a French twist!

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An insider’s tip when eating at a restaurant in Santorini: make sure you check the menu before sitting down because a lot of items tend to not be priced, don’t feel pressured to try everything they throw at you and don’t be surprised to pay for water and bread & butter, even if they make you feel it’s on them… You will have to pay for it!

3) Get a boutique hotel in Imerovigli. Though all of Santorini is absolutely magical, there are some areas where you’ll be less bothered by the 3000+ people coming off cruise ships every day to explore Santorini on their cruise day trip. Yes, that’s the one thing you can’t avoid in Santorini: Cruise ships!! And big ones too! Some days, you’ll wake up to 2 or 3 ships anchored down close to Fira. The advantage of being in Imerovigli is that a) you still get the dreamy view of the island b) you’re far enough that lot’s of these cruise ship passengers don’t walk all the way up to your hotel c) you’re far enough from the road so no you won’t hear any car traffic and noise.

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A lot of these boutique type hotels have infinity pools, though tiny, they’re quite refreshing on a hot day on the island. All of these hotels are beautifully decorated, most of them also have private patios and serve yummy breakfast that you can eat while overlooking the island. Though Oia is also a popular spot, too many buses and organized tours bring people to that area all day long, and you would always be bombarded by others looking through your windows, taking pictures and getting in your business.

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4) Go Surfing. Little did I know that you can go surfing in Santorini. I found a local surf spot totally by chance while exploring the island with our car (again, the advantage of renting a car!). We had seen a surf shop in Fira and had laughed thinking no one would be surfing in the area because the water is so calm but low and behold, they can get some pretty great swell in the Aegean Sea! What was amazing about this surf spot, was that it wasn’t crowded. It’s a black sand beach, with 10 or so locals catching waves and hanging out. You’ll find people surfing around Vourvoulos and Pori, not too far away from the island’s airport.

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5) Catch a sunset! Duh! The best place to catch a sunset on the island would have to be in Oia hands down. Some people reserve their seats on restaurant patios as early as lunch time, and stick around all afternoon to make sure they don’t miss out on the sunset. If you don’t want to sit on a patio all afternoon, you can always try calling a restaurant if you want to make sure you get a table. Another option, is to go down to the water in Oia. Lot’s of people drive to the tip just to catch the sunset each night.

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If you can’t make it to Oia, another option is to take a boat cruise. A lot of locals offer private or semi-cruises afternoon and sunset trips that include visiting the different beaches, swimming in the hot springs right beside the volcano and going to catch the sunset in Oia followed by a homemade dinner on the boat.

If that’s also not your jam, and you want to take it easy, I recommend any patio from Fira to Imerovigli or even using your hotel’s patio to enjoy the sunset. You might not get the same view as Oia but regardless, it’ll be one of the most magical moments of your life!

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Victoria Day #DailyOutfit

Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend! Stayed in Toronto this weekend to start preparing my big trip to Europe and the US, which is coming up in less than two weeks. Beyond stoked!

Since I was home, I did lot’s of running, relaxing and ate lot’s of delicious food this weekend. How was your weekend?

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Have you checked out The Gladstone recently? They have a brand new food menu and I must say that not only is it decently priced, all the options are pretty healthy and super fresh. I was pleasantly surprised! It’s worth the visit if you’re in the West Queen West area.

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I finished my much needed spring cleaning today and brought back out these super comfy Oxford shoes from Topshop. Absolutely love these.

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Photos by @Offner

Topshop white Oxford shoes

H&M distressed boyfriend jeans

Forever 21 aztec cuff

Target v-neck red sweater (similar one here)

Beads, Crystals & More diy necklace

Miami Vice

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I got a much needed with break from winter last month when I spent a few days in one of my favorite long weekend destinations: Miami. As expected, the sunshine and heat was there to welcome us. Here are a few things worth your time on your next visit:

1 – Standard Miami Beach

We spent our first 24hrs at the Standard Hotel located on one of the islands in Miami Beach. I loved their remote location because it was far removed from the noisy south beach strip yet still close enough to restaurants, entertainment, etc. I absolutely loved everything about my experience at the hotel. The lobby was beautiful (loved the ping pong and foosball table), the room was simple yet super comfy, the gardens were lush, the pool had a superb view as the hotel is located right on the water, the restaurant (especially the brunch!!!) was delicious, the spa was super relaxing, the juice bar was a nice little touch and I loved all the activities they had available for guests (SUP, Yoga, etc.). I recommend booking a spa treatment with them even if you’re just going for the day. You’ll be able to do their steam rooms, saunas, etc. afterwards and will also have access to their pool. It’s also really fun to walk around from one island to the other since you’re already on one of them (Belle Isle to be exact!). It’s so fun to see all the beautiful homes and boats on each island.

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2 – Joe’s Stone Crab

Make sure you check out this South Beach institution, whether you’re a fan of stone crab or not, it’s totally worth the experience. It’s first come first served so either show up right at 5pm or be prepared to wait 2-3hrs, which is what we did but was well worth it. The restaurant is absolutely humungous and so is their food. But everything that they make and serve is made in house or caught fresh. I recommend ordering some stone crab, wearing the bib, also ordering a few side dishes and a homemade dessert to enjoy the full experience.

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3 – Renting a scooter

Everyone rides around in a scooter in Miami. It’s a super cheap way to get around not only South Beach but also Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Beach, etc. There are many places to rent scooters, we rented ours from Beach Scooter Rentals, on Washington ave. just below 14th ave. They have more than one location in South Beach. We got a cool looking Vespa for $80 USD for 24hrs that came with two helmets (no one wears a helmet in Miami!!) and a lock. We even got to take it to our apartment overnight. What’s amazing about having a scooter is that it costs $5 to fill up the tank of gas! Having a scooter allowed us to explore the area a lot more!

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4 – Miami Watersports Paradise

@Offner and I are always looking for fun activities to do when we travel. For a while now, he’s been wanting to go wakeboarding and while we were at Otentic (the best French restaurant in Miami! Check out the dessert platter below – bonjour le Café Gourmand!! You have to go check out their new location!!), the owner told us about a buddy of his that owned a watersport company right at the pier. So we hit him up for a two hour session. What’s great is that you don’t really need to bring anything other than your bathing suit. He gives you a life jacket, the board and teaches you how to do it. He’s really patient and super friendly. Not only did we get to do some amazing wakeboarding (it was my first time and I’m now hooked!!), he also gave us a super cool tour of the islands in his boat. It was really special because it was just the instructor, Offner and I! He also offers wakesurfing classes, tubing, etc. So much fun!!

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5 – The Beach

No matter how many times I go to Miami, the thing I love the most is the beach. The clear warm water, the tropical fish you see when you’re swimming, the long stretches of sand, the boardwalk… it’s perfect! Even in mid-February, the water was in the high seventies. A little chilly to get in, but once you’re in, it’s super refreshing. Swimming in the ocean has always been my favorite thing to do ever since I was a kid. I would spend my entire day in the water playing games, paddling around, swimming laps, etc. I think I’ve always stayed a kid at heart because the ocean still brings me so much joy. If you’re going to Miami, the beach will most likely be where you will want to spend most of your time. You will also definitely want to invest in either buying, brining or renting a parasol if you’re going between April-November. It gets REALLY hot on the beach!

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The more I go to Miami, the more I love it! Yes, there’s the very show off, lound music, crazy side to the city but there’s also a much quieter, local kind of vibe that you get if you explore a bit. Can’t wait to be back!!

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France, je t’aime! pt 2

When traveling to France, the two things most people have in mind are: shopping and eating! Here were some of my favorite places to shop and stuff my face in Paris, Lyon, Les 2 Alpes and Bretagne from my recent trip to France!

Cool shops

Obviously France is like the shopping mecca of the world, so these are some of my recent favs:

Springsioux, Paris – the raddest up and coming rock n’ roll Parisian brand. They’ve got badass jewelry, tees and accessories and also carry some incredibly unique pieces from young designers from across Europe. They have a dreamy shop in Le Marais and hold events at least once a week, which usually either includes champagne or Caesars! WHERE: 4e arrondissement.

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The Kooples, Paris – you may have heard of this shop before. @Offner first introduced me to the brand last year. They have such beautiful pieces. I love the entire concept behind the store… Now if only I had more money!! WHERE: There are shops located pretty much in every arrondissements in Paris and shops also in Lyon.

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Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris – a classic if you’re in Paris. Basically, it’s like an enormous Holt Renfrew that carries the most high end brands and that is always beautifully decorated all year round! WHERE: 9e arrondissement

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American Retro, Paris – a super rad shop that carries edgy fashion pieces that are usually very colorful. They’re trendy with a twist. WHERE: There are a few different shops in Paris.

Auchan, Lyon – you won’t really find any clothes there but it’s my favorite spot to buy groceries!! They have such a HUGE selection of fresh products, cheese, vegetarian options, cookies, etc. Each time I go to the store, I want to buy everything! Think of a Costco with lot’s more fresh products and selection and a lot cheaper!! @Offner even found a friend there!! WHERE: everywhere in France!

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Where to eat

Let’s be honest, France has probably the most amazing food EVERYWHERE, so here are just some of places I liked on this past trip:

Tata Burger, Paris – they’ve got the biggest burger made to look like a penis! Yup! The food and atmosphere is pretty wild and super fun! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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LA Favorite, Paris – very trendy and beautiful looking bistro in the 4e arrondissement. They had the best vin chaud! Yummy salads and desserts! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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Casa San Pablo, Paris – a Spanish tapas restaurant that’s incredibly cheap and super yummy! Loved the traditional decor. WHERE: located in the 4e arrondissement, right by the Place Sainte-Catherine.

L’épicerie, Lyon – My favorite spot for lunch or for the “goûter”, they’ve got the best tartines and homemade desserts. Yum, I can almost still taste it in my mouth! WHERE: Bellecour, on the presqu’île.

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Pique-Nique en ville, Lyon – A super small and quaint restaurant that serves a great “formule midi”, otherwise known as an appetizer, main and dessert at a fixed price, which is very common throughout France. Absolutely loved their pasta and wine selection. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Abel, Lyon – one of the oldest bistros in the city that was founded in 1928. The place is also called a “bouchon Lyonnais”, which is a place where they serve traditional Lyonnais food, including the Quenelle, etc. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Le Cellier, Les 2 Alpes – For the best “montagnard” food, ie. the food of the mountains, the specialty in that area. They serve an amazing tartiflette, raclette, gratin de crozets, fondue, grilled meats, etc! I love their traditional ski chalet type decorations!

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Crêperie, Bretagne – While you’re in the region, you’ll want to order a freshly made sweet crêpe or even a savoury crêpe otherwise known as a “galette de sarrasin” usually filled with veggies, cheese and or meat, accompanied by a “bolée de cidre“. You’ll also want to order a “Flan Breton” or “Far Breton” to get an authentic dessert. They are so delicious and buttery! WHERE: There are crêperies located in every small town in Bretagne and are all equally tasty.

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Paul – a chain of patisseries that serve all sorts of yummy goodness! They’re now even located at rest areas on the highway and in train stations, they’re like the tim hortons of France but without all the chemicals and crap in their food. They serve salads, sandwiches, quiche, desserts, yummy drinks, etc. WHERE: Anywhere in France

Any patisserie or boulangerie in the area you will be staying will serve you amazing fresh bread, pastries and cakes. The perfect and cheapest place to have breakfast in the morning!

Also, I highly recommend getting cheese from the weekly market or some of the amazing local shops that always feature cheese made from the region. You can get great quality cheese for very cheap and encourage local producers.

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If you like macarons (for some reason, I just can’t get into them!), you’ll want to stop by Pierre Hermé, the best macarons in Paris! WHERE: Several locations across the city.

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*NOTE*: If you’re a vegetarian like me, I hope you like cheese, bread, pastries and salad because as I’m sure you know, a lot of the French cuisine revolves around meat. So you’ll need to find substitutes to meat for your meals. Even when you ask for a vegetarian salad or sandwich, from experience, they have the reflex of offering you fish or seafood. That said, you can survive! I’ve never eaten so much and so well in my life as I have in France!

Well there you have it! Hope this travel post was insightful! Let me know if you have any food or shopping recommendations for my next trip to France!

Writing this blog makes me miss France even more!! Can’t wait to return!

Stowe

Last month I had the opportunity to return to one of my favorite little towns in the north eastern United States: Stowe, Vermont.

As a kid, I loved going to Stowe because it was where the Von Trapps (oh yes, from the classic movie The Sound Of Music) had ended up when they immigrated to the United States. Also, it was magical because we used to stay at the Sun & Ski Motor Inn (now renamed the Sun & Ski Suites) and they had a beautiful reading room with a fireplace, a bunch of teddy bears and board games that my sister and I would always spend our nights playing. We’d go probably go to Stowe once a season because it was just two hours away from where I grew up!

What’s amazing about this quaint little area is that it’s beautiful all year round. Being in Stowe is all about being outdoors, enjoying nature, the mountains, the lake and relaxing. I was therefore really excited to be back for another visit.

Stowe is easy to get to! From Toronto, you can take a 1hr direct flight with Porter Airlines to Burlington. Once you get to Burlington, you can either drive 30mins or get a shuttle from one of the resorts to pick you up. If you’re coming from Montreal, it’s also only a 2h30 drive.

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Here are some of my favorite things about Stowe:

Mount Mansfield: The highest mountain in Vermont (4,393 ft or 1,339 m) located at 10 minutes by car from the Stowe Village. It’s not only a beautiful mountain by amazing ski resort. It’s decked out with the latest lift and ticketing technology, has several rad snowparks, great skiing conditions and an amazing view from the top!

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Black Cap Coffee: Located in the Stowe Village, this coffee shop is relatively new in town and it seems to be where everyone now comes to get their coffees. What I loved about this place is not only did it serve great drinks (they have super creative versions of of hot apple cider, Snickers Bar lattes, etc.) but they’re also a place where people can make crafts and by crafts I mean jewellery and pottery. They also serve some in-house snacks and sell a few local products at the front. Everyone there is also super friendly and laid back!

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Depot Street Malt Shop: A Stowe classic. It’s been around ever since I can remember. Though my mom never really let us eat junk food at home, she was definitely  fan of this 50s Elvis-inspired diner. I would always have their sandwiches with pickles and chips or some of their amazing sundaes or milkshakes. They play lot’s of Elvis music and the decor is super cute and authentic.

Recreational Path: It’s an internationally renown 5.5 mile paved greenway where people walk, jog, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, etc. all year. It runs along little rivers and has spots where you can even go for a swim. It’s the perfect spot to pinic, relax, bounce rocks, take photos and even take naps. Everyone on the path always says hello and always seems to be in a good mood. I’ve taken the path countless times and always find it so beautiful!

Free shuttle service! That’s right, there’s a few shuttle that goes around the Stowe village, to all the hotels, bed & breakfasts, to the main streets and also all the way to the mountain

Cold Hollow Cider Mill: A classic as you’re driving into Stowe from Waterbury. It’s where you’ll find a ton of local products: jams, mustards, spices, hot sauces, all the maple syrup products and of course apple products. What’s amazing about this shop is that you can taste everything they’re selling and you can also see at the back where they make their fresh apple cider. They also have the best apple cider donuts! They are to die for!

TopNotch Resort: They just spent the past couple of months completely renovating this beautiful hotel and resort. They’ve got amazing tennis courts, beautiful outdoor pools, jacuzzis, new fire pits and brand new state of the art and relaxing spa, two new restaurants, new condo units, etc. I had never stayed at the resort before but was really surprised with not only all the great facilities but also their proximity to the mountain, the good food and overall relaxing atmosphere. If you’re to book a night there, you must use their spa facilities, they’re fantastic!

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Other good lodging options are:

Golden Eagle Resort if you’re looking for something a little less fancy or the Sun & Ski Suites

Stowe Mountain Lodge is the most beautiful mountain resort I’ve seen in a while. The lobby is so beautifully decorated. They’ve got an amazing outdoor pool and spa open all-year-round, are right by the mountain and have great restaurants! I really hope to be able to stay there at some point longer than just a few hours!

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Von Trapp Family Lodge for the super duper traditional Stowe experience. They’ve got great wine tasting activities, sports and the Von Trapps still make all the baked goods apparently!

Other things you can do while in Stowe: visit the Ben & Jerry‘s ice cream factory, rent rollerblades from AJ’s ski & sports (I used to do that every summer as a kid!), go swimming at The Water Hole, check out a show or film at the new Spruce Peak Performing Arts Centre, go canoeing at the reservoir lake, etc.

Also, if you’re driving to and from Stowe, it’s always a good idea to stop in Burlington on your way there or back home. It’s a beautiful typical New England town located right on the Lake Champlain. As a kid we’d take a ferry over to New York from Burlington. It’s got great restaurants and bars, a lovely waterfront bike path and some cool museums.

So happy to have gone back to Stowe! Can’t wait for my next visit!

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YOW Bound #DailyOutfit

Off to Ottawa for the next couple of days for work. Excited to eat at my favorite restaurant in the city: Murray Street while I’m in town!! Here was today’s travel outfit.

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Springsioux Shaman pendant (get it here)

Springsioux Shaman ring (get it here)

Springsioux Lady Muerte ring (get it here)

Zara scoop neck white tee 

Karl Lagerfeld ’7′ Beveled Bezel Bracelet Watch (get it here)

H&M tie-dye black and white maxi skirt

Skylark Acid Wash buttoned up shirt (similar one here)

Zara laced ankle boots with block heel (get them here)