Cabo Vacation Guide

Oooops, looks like I’m about 2 months late on this one! I could get into excuses like the holiday season being busy, getting caught up with our new house, etc., but I won’t. The point is, I’m finally getting around to a Cabo post now! Let me just preface this with saying I loveeee Cabo. It’s the exact type of getaway we needed in November, when Toronto temperatures really start dipping and all the life is sucked out of people and plants alike. We wanted somewhere we could fly to directly, that would have reliably good weather, and that had lots of nice hotel and food/drink options. Cabo ticks all of those boxes, and this past trip there made me feel like it was really giving Tulum a run for its money in terms of chic boho-luxury accommodations and restaurants, among other things. There are tons of trendy new eateries and boutique hotels, the beaches are stunning (although not usually swimmable), and it’s a Mexican destination that you feel pretty safe traveling to. I literally live to eat so was happy to make that the focal point of our trip. I did a fair amount of research and we had awesome lunch or dinner reservations most days, so you can imagine how tragic it was when I came down with a horrible sinus cold on day 3 of the trip that rendered my tastebuds entirely USELESS. All I can say is, learn from me and be a complete germaphobe on airplanes. There was a sick toddler behind me and I wish I had brought a case of Purell, endless packets of Emergen-C, and a surgical mask. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20 so I was stuck being sick and we figured it would be useless to keep a lot of our reservations since I couldn’t taste a thing and it would be money down the drain. I will include all of the places we didn’t make it to as well though, because my research rarely fails me and I’m sure all of the restaurants are amazing! See below for my Cabo recs:

STAY:
-For the first half of the trip we stayed at the Westin Los Cabos. It’s closer to San Jose Del Cabo and is on a hugeeee piece of property. They also have an amazing beach that is for guest use only (surrounded by rocks so can’t be accessed by other parts of the beach). There are many pools and tons of lounge areas so you never have to worry about not getting a beach chair! For our room, we had a decent sized suite with a kitchen and living room. The food and drinks here were pretty good (the poolside nachos were unbelievable) and fairly reasonably priced as well. One thing I really liked about the Westin was that they had an on-site convenience store with a Starbucks counter in it. I still don’t know whether its safe to drink tap water at hotels in Cabo (despite many Google queries), so we were able to stock up on huge bottles of water and snacks. They sold wine and liquor too, so we bought all of our alcohol and mix here and snuck it into the Swell bottles we brought hehe. One more thing—we were there one of the few times a year they release baby turtles into the ocean! They did it at sunset and it was just the most precious and wonderful experience that had me tearing up.
-The last half of the trip was spent at the Cape, part of the Thompson hotel group. The Cape is closer to Cabo San Lucas. From the moment we arrived, everything was PERFECT (aside from my illness :|). Seriously, nothing compares to this place. They have a stretch of beach that is open to the public but just attracts local surfers as its next to a wave breaking point (or whatever they call it in surfer slang). There are two pools (amazing for people-watching and sipping drinks all day), an awesome rooftop bar, and a few great restaurants. Everything about this place is seriously flawless. The most basic room you can book is an ocean view with a private balcony. All of the rooms have funky decor, a standalone bathtub, and come with a complimentary bottle of tequila and treats once you check in. It definitely isn’t cheap, but it’s one of my favourite places I’ve stayed at and I already want to go back for my birthday next year. A couple of other tips: if we do go back, we will most definitely be stopping at a convenience store on the way in and buying like 20 huge water bottles. Bottled water is just not something I want to pay inflated Thompson-hotel prices for, and trust me it is expensive here. Most days we would go to the gym first thing in the morning and fill up huge water bottles from the water dispenser they had there, but I feel like this is probably a frowned upon practice. On another note, their breakfast is just unreal. They have a French toast dish called Cape Toast and I would legitimately go back just to eat it again. ALSO, a heads up that all of their breakfast items are part of their room service menu and are the exact same price as they are in the restaurant. We discovered this on our second last day and ordered one of everything to our room and ate it on our balcony overlooking the ocean. Finally, to conclude our magical stay, there was a wedding on the cliff beside the the hotel on our last night, and they let off some real impressive fireworks which were a nice treat on our final evening.

EAT:
-Flora Farms - a family-run adorably stylish farm with tons of little upscale shops, pretty landscaping, a market, and restaurant!
-Acre Baja - new eco-resort where the accommodations are in treehouses. Went here for dinner and it was one of the coolest places I have EVER been. You drive down a dirt road for a few km, get dropped off at the front which is basically a pathway leading into the jungle, and follow the pathway through to this open-air bohemian-chic haven where there’s a bar and restaurant. The music is amazing, the drinks are fabulous, and the food was delicious. FYI, Acre and Flora Farms are right next to each other and both quite inland from the coast.
-Romeo Y Julieta - the best spot for amazing Italian food in Cabo
-Toro Latin Kitchen - a restaurant by well-known Mexican chef Richard Sandoval. Toro offers “Pan Latin cuisine”, which takes unique flavour inspiration from all of Latin America. The restaurant itself is a super stylish spot with lots of cozy seating, a huge water feature, and lots of lanterns and wood accents.
-The Office - an iconic Cabo spot right on the beach for authentic Mexican food
-Edith’s - run by same people as the Office, another great spot for an authentic Mexican experience under a canopy of trees and hanging lanterns.
-El Farallon - if you wanna ball out, this high-end restaurant is built into the cliffside at the Pedregal resort. The BEST place in Cabo to watch the sun set.
-Sunset Mona Lisa - ok maybe there are two BEST places to watch the sun set in Cabo haha. And the third is the rooftop at the Thompson (Sunset Mona Lisa is next to the Cape)

MISC:
-This was my second time in Cabo, and had already done the boat cruise to Lover’s Beach and the arch. It’s definitely worth doing though, so if it’s your first time, try to make arrangements for it!
-There are two “towns” that make up Cabo as a destination. San Jose Del Cabo is more of the “old town”, it’s closer to the airport, and a lot of the newer hotels are popping up in this area. Cabo San Lucas is the main “touristy” town that is beside the arch/Lover’s Beach. CSL is more walkable and has tons of restaurant and hotel options.
-Taxis are exorbitantly expensive. I’m talking 40USD for a 20min drive. There isn’t really any way around it unless you rent a car, so just make sure to include taxi fare in your trip budget.
-On that note, everywhere takes USD and most places actually list prices in USD as opposed to pesos. There is really no need to bring pesos with you here.

OUTFIT DETAILS:
-Sans Souci lace off the shoulder top (similar), Prem frill shorts (similar), Forever 21 sunglasses, Zara leather slides (similar — well the Zara ones were knocked off from these to begin with haha)
-Zaful white bikini top (similar), Zara snakeskin denim skirt (similar), Forever 21 sunglasses and hat (similar)
-Olivaceous polka dot set via Sundream Resort Wear (similar), Ever New espadrilles (similar), Gucci wallet on chain
-ASTR the Label frill sleeve midi dress via Sundream Resort Wear, Forever 21 sunglasses and hat (similar — and again the F21 version was knocked off from this)
-Forever 21 tortoiseshell button dress with belt
-Zaful olive tie-front one piece (similar), H&M hat (similar), Forever 21 necklace
-Ciao Sea printed one-shoulder bikini
-LoveShackFancy tiered frill dress via Shopbop (sold out in parchment but still available in white)

Luxury Resale Made Easy With MCouture

Can we talk about how challenging it is to re-sell luxury/high end items? This has aggravated me for years. Apps to arrange meet-ups typically end in either the buyer or seller flaking out, stores that operate on consignment or buy items for cash on the spot are a huge hassle (and often a rip-off), and as easy as it is to donate like I do with my fast-fashion pieces, I feel like I should be able to make a bit of money back on higher end, gently used items.

As a fashion blogger, I have a pretty extensive closet, but I hate holding onto items I no longer wear and find it hugely satisfying to clean out my closet on a seasonal basis. I’ll organize the items I’m getting rid of into “throw away”, “donate”, and “sell” piles, however my “sell” items ALWAYS end up going into my storage locker because I just don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling them through consignment or a meet-up app. Needless to say, it’s hugely frustrating. I was recently introduced to MCouture, and I absolutely believe it is the luxury re-sell option we need in Canada.

First and most importantly, everything listed on MCouture is validated by their in-house teams and guaranteed authentic. Designer items listed are thoroughly checked for proper serial numbers and correct embossing/hardware/quality standards. So as a buyer, you can rest assured the LV logo clutch you’re eyeing is 100% authentic. They’re constantly listing new items, so I’m going to be checking the website every few days to make sure I don’t miss out on anything! There are tons of amazing designer pieces and the very best ones get scooped up quickly. You guys know how much I love a good vintage find. Extra bonus: you can track an item to see if the seller lowers the price!

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Now let’s talk about selling on the platform, because it couldn’t be easier and provides complete visibility on the commission you’ll make off of your items. First, you list your item, the price, and provide pictures, then the MCouture team does their due diligence to verify for authenticity and quality. Your item will be listed for sale and visible on their website within 48hrs, and you’ll receive an email to confirm when it’s posted. Once your item sells, MCouture will email you a pre-paid Canada Post shipping label and all you need to do is pack your item up and ship it! Once the buyer receives the item, you get paid via PayPal, so everything is super secure and simple. See below for commission chart:

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I now have no excuses for having a storage locker full of Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, etc. It’s awesome that Canadians now have such a great and hassle-free option for designer resale. Time for me to get to work and start listing, and to reward myself, maybe that LV clutch above…?!

Paris Travel Guide

Last stop, PAREE! The final leg of my Euro tour was the city of lurv. Last time I was here I was 16 and on an EF school tour, lol. This time was much more focused on taking in all of what Paris had to offer instead of doing a warp-speed tour of every tourist spot in the city. Our 4 days spent in the city this time were amazing, and I picked up some great recommendations along the way!

STAYING:
We stayed in Montparnasse, which was a great central location. We walked a ton but were also close to so many Metro lines so getting around was pretty easy.

RESTAURANTS/CAFES/BARS:
-Café De Flore – Literally everyone on Instagram takes a pic in front of this iconic café. We had hot chocolate here, it truly is the best in Paris and not too sweet!
-Les Deux Magots – Another iconic Parisian café, right next to Café De Flore! They have amazing croissants and cappuccinos, naturally.
-Les Philosophes – the cutest streetside restaurant in Le Marais. We chugged lots of rose here, their French onion soup and quiche were incredible. We came back twice, which is saying a lot!
-L’As Du Fallafel – Elliot told me I had to eat a falafel here because they were the best in the world, so I did (literally right after above lunch at Les Philosophes), and they truly were.
-Le Perchoir – if you want to have a real local experience, you need to go to this rooftop bar. The area definitely looks a bit seedy, but as soon as you get to the rooftop you’ll see it’s well worth it (despite having to climb a steel spiral staircase 7 flights up in an old warehouse). The rooftop views are amazing, it’s packed with chic Parisians, and has such a cool bohemian vibe.
-Pink Mamma – again, surely you’ve seen this place all over Instagram. It’s an Italian restaurant near the red light district/Montmartre in a pink tiled building. No reservations so get there early to put your name on the list and go have some wine somewhere nearby. The interior is goals, filled with chandeliers and greenery, huge windows, marble tables, wrought iron, and an amazing colour scheme. Pizzas and truffle pasta were incredible. The basement bar is super cool and moody as well!

ATTRACTIONS:
-Eiffel Tower – fucking duh. We didn’t climb it, but we did go to approx every viewpoint as well as had a classic baguette & cheese picnic underneath.
-Flower markets – everywhere. So pretty.
-Jardin du Luxembourg – a parliament building, the grounds & gardens are so stunning
-Le Marais – adorable and very “Parisian”-feeling neighbourhood filled with pretty sidewalk cafes and shops
-Montmartre – my favourite neighbourhood. The quaintest area, filled with the cutest houses, shops, and restaurants. Close to Sacre-Coeur Basilica and the Moulin Rouge. On a high hill overlooking the city, so the views are amazing. Hard to explain the vibe but this neighbourhood felt the most “electric” and magical to me. Quick anecdote, on the evening we came to Montmartre we were wandering around, taking it all in, having a lovely time, so on and so forth. Olga is in this black silky maxi dress and gets stopped on the street by a woman asking if she’s looking for the Dior party. We then proceed to look beside us and see a café called “Chez Christian”, so we figure out that Dior had created a restaurant for the evening before their cruise show the following day. OBVIOUSLY we knew there would be tons of fashion industry people invited to the party, so we sat on the patio directly across from Chez Christian with a bottle of wine and waited. I mean every French Vogue editor, Dior creative, big fashion blogger, and industry insider was there. It was soooo fun to see. See above for photo with Aimee Song lololol. Right place at the right time, amiright? Oh, and La Maison Rose (iconic pink restaurant with green writing and vines covering the sides) is also in Montmartre so a photo opp there is definitely necessary.
-Versailles – I’m just obsessed with Versailles and Marie Antoinette. It is absolutely incredible to see the chateau and gardens in person. It’s definitely worth the train trip from Paris (about 40 min each way)
-Tuileries & the Louvre – Tuilieries is very pretty to walk through but very touristy. If you want to do the Louvre, would suggest you buy tickets ahead of time cause the wait is insane. I saw good ol’ postage stamp size Mona when I was 16, so didn’t feel the need to go again.

MISC:
-Eat escargot. Like just get over the fact that it’s snails. They’re covered in garlic butter and herbs and SOOOOO GOOD.
-Love lock bridge was getting too heavy from people putting locks on it for decades. They had to remove them all but there is a new love lock bridge now! It’s on one of the bridges that connects to the Tuileries.
-Be very aware of heavily touristed areas for pickpocketing/theft. When we were near the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame I had a freakin death grip on my purse and head was ON A SWIVEL! Not today, thieves.

We definitely didn’t get to all the spots on our list, so here are some other places I wish we had time to check out!
-Grand Amour Hotel - hotel with cool bar/decor/vibe etc
-Aux Vieux Paris D’Arcole – café with wisteria in the front
-Café Gustave - well-known Parisian cafe
-Ralph's - Ralph Lauren Café
-L’Avenue - bougie lunch spot
-Café Marly - overlooks Louvre
-Buvette - brunch
-Season - brunch
-Depot Legal - brunch
-La Mangerie - cute lunch/dinner spot
-Chez Janou - another iconic Parisian cafe
-Les Chouettes - little fancier lunch/dinner spot
-Poulette - another little fancier spot for lunch/dinner
-Le Fitzgerald – drinks/bar
-Little Red Door – drinks/bar
-Merci – shop
-L'appartement Sezane – shop
-Fleux Concept Store

St Tropez Travel Guide

 

Here’s the post I think everyone has been waiting for lollll. After visiting with my sister in London, I flew to the Nice airport to meet up with Carling and Olga so that we could make our way St Tropez together (word to the wise, it is not the easiest place to get to!). For all of the trips I have been on, I have never before received so many DMs requesting a travel post or recommendations for St Tropez. So by popular demand, here it is!

First things first: about 4 years ago, I actually visited St Tropez on a day trip. You can read my underwhelmed impression of it here. This, my friends, is why everything deserves a second chance! I absolutely adored St Tropez this time around. The primary difference was the fact that we actually stayed in the famed French Riviera town for a few nights, so we really got to experience all it had to offer. When I was there back in 2014, we didn’t really have much of a plan aside from wandering around, so unfortunately we ended up in some more touristy spots. We also didn’t have enough time to visit any of the beaches or beach clubs, which is half the reason why St Tropez is as renowned as it is. Finally, the vibe of this small town changes so much from day to evening… during the daytime, the streets are filled with cruise-ship passengers and other visitors coming through on day trips. By early evening, the golden hour sets in and the day-trippers and cruise-ship passengers leave. It is sooo beautiful and calm, and the streets are so quiet and perfect to walk around in.

GETTING THERE: As I mentioned above, St Tropez is as exclusive and special as it is partly due to how difficult it is to get there. You have very few options if you don’t have your own private yacht that will take you straight into the port. During high season (June-August, check schedules in advance!), there are ferries that operate along the coastline from more major towns along the French Riviera, such as Nice. We ended up going in mid-May, so ferries were not running yet. Our only option, aside from renting a car, was to roll up in style on the bus. Affordable and actually super convenient! We all flew into Nice and caught the bus straight from the airport. We did have to transfer once in St Maxime, but the bus schedules all run in conjunction with each other so transferring was easy and well timed. In total I think it cost us around 20 Euro each and took about 2.5 hours. When we left, we flew out of Toulon Hyères airport, a much smaller airport that I believe only services France (we were flying to Paris). Again, we took the bus after weighing our options (rental car or Uber would have cost us over 100 Euro, one way on the bus was 3 Euro LOL). This bus ride took 1.5 hours.

STAYING: To fully experience St Tropez, I highly recommend staying in the town or surrounding area instead of doing it as a day trip. There are plenty of luxury options for accommodations of course, but if you’re on a bit more of a budget like we were, there are some cute little Airbnbs to choose from that are cheaper. We ended up staying at Hotel Playa, a small and very affordable hotel in the town. With it not yet being “high season”, we paid around 90 Euro/night per room. The hotel was ridiculously well located and central, and the staff were also very kind and helpful.

BEACHES/BEACH CLUBS: All of the beach clubs in St Tropez are located on Pampelonne Beach. It’s about a 15 minute cab ride from St Tropez town and costs about 30 Euro each way. As I mentioned before, the beach clubs are one of the main draws of visiting St Tropez. Unfortunately it rained on the day we headed to the beach, but we decided to go anyway. It ended up working in our favour as we could check out all of the clubs until we finally settled on one. Once we did, there were only a dozen or so other people there so we were able to set up camp for the day wherever we wanted... we ended up in this huge cabana booth for free (on a busy sunny day a sunbed alone will probably run you around 70 Euro) and the sun ended up coming out! Everything worked to our advantage... ~*the magic of St Tropez*~
-Nikki Beach – where we decided to spend our afternoon. This place is a dream. It’s not actually situated on the main beach, but has a huge pool and tons of lounging areas, hammocks, booths, seats around the pool, etc. It’s surrounded by palm trees and greenery, with bohemian touches throughout. It’s just heavenly.
-Le Club 55 – most famous beach club in St Tropez. This is where everyone goes, and it’s obvious why! It’s an oasis right on the beach, with a funky beach-chic restaurant set a bit further back from the beach. Chairs and resos need be booked far in advance during high season.
-L’Orangerie, Maison Bianca, and Bagatelle were some of the other beach clubs we passed by that also looked stylish and lively
-Plage Des Graniers – if you don’t want to venture all the way to Pampelonne Beach, this is a little tucked away sliver of beach about a 15 minute walk from the centre of St Tropez town. It has soft golden sand and a super cute bohemian beach bar where we drank Aperol spritzes and watched the sun set. It had more of a “locals-only” feel, but maybe that was just due to the time of year we went.

RESTAURANTS/BARS:
-L’Olive – hands down best local spot in St Tropez. Sooo affordable, with some of the best food I have had. In our 3 days in St Tropez, we came here twice for dinner because it was THAT good and the prices were so reasonable. Every single dish was amazing. Try the truffle mushroom ravioli, lasagna, caprese salad, and seafood pasta.  
-Le Petit Plage – all along the port are many touristy cafes and restaurants. We avoided this area for the most part, but when a few locals recommended Le Petit Plage to us for dinner, we gave it a try. The vibe in here is so fun, with hanging wicker basket lights, white wood furniture, bougainvillea, sandy floors, candles, and colourful cushions and wall hangings. It was absolutely packed so we waited at the bar with wine until our table was available. Amazing food. We had fries, meatballs, mussels, and a burger…. The burger is honestly an EXPERIENCE. It comes under a glass dome with smoke. Once the whole presentation production is over, it’s also the best effing burger you’ll ever eat.
-Dior Des Lices – go for the pics/photo opps, because this café is absolutely stunning and so over the top. Of course it is extremely pricy as well. Reservations are required, which we didn’t know about. We ended up getting lucky and snagging a little spot on some couches to drink our cappuccinos. Unfortunately the staff were a bit unpleasant.
-L’Opera – spent a blurry evening dancing and ordering multiple bottles of rose at this super lively and fun club on the waterfront. Got ourselves a bottle of Whispering Angel, think any of us were sober enough to enjoy it? OF COURSE NOT!
-Since everything is pricier in St Tropez, we opted to save on some meals when we could, and hit up the grocery store to grab cheeses, baguettes, croissants, veggies, and dips to take on seaside picnics for a few breakfasts/lunches.

SHOPPING: The shopping is amazing in St Tropez, and every major designer and many beloved French brands all have stunning boutiques in the town.
-Chanel – really more of a mansion… a huge house with a back garden, pool, and pool house (which has more Chanel product in it). Pictures aren’t allowed, but we tried to sneak a few anyway.
-Hermes – can’t miss it… regal-looking boutique right near the main port area.
-Dior – again, more of a mansion than a store, and the Dior-des-Lices café is out front and super bougie.
-Celine & Celine wall – the Celine store is right beside a popular high-end hotel called White 1921. The Celine wall with the couch is actually in White 1921’s front courtyard. I think the courtyard is only reserved for hotel guests, but sometimes there wasn’t a guard at the gates so we just strolled on in and took our pics haha
-Zimmerman – just opened this summer in St Tropez
-Maje, Sandro, Ba&sh, Zadig & Voltaire, Princesse Tam Tam, Laduree… all French brands with amazing shops in St Tropez worth checking out
-tons and tons of other high end and beautifully curated boutiques, you could easily spend your life savings in one afternoon here

London Mini Travel Guide

No place like London… my 4th time visiting and I love it more and more each time, if that’s possible. The charm, the history, the birthplace of so much amazing music and fashion, the importance of high tea, the gardens, the neighbourhoods (each and every one of them for their own specific reasons), pub culture, wisteria hysteria, the royal family, the tube, the flower markets, the poshness, the grittiness. It strikes the perfect balance of everything I love! Only stayed for a few days, but felt the most at home in the city than I ever had before. It was also the first time I had visited in the spring, and was shockingly treated to some glorious weather! I stayed with my sister, who lives in South London in the cutest neighbourhood facing a huge park. She was working for part of the time I was there, so I did a lot of exploring and wandering on my own which was pretty wonderful. Going at my own pace, taking whichever street I felt like, stopping for snacks and coffee wherever I pleased. Below are some recommendations for a short stay in London!
-if you go in the spring or summer, make sure to spend time in any of the parks. Bring a little picnic, some wine, a blanket, a book, and take a few hours to relax! London has some of the prettiest parks with huge ponds, flower gardens, and old trees. I read and people-watched for a few hours one afternoon while my phone was off, and it was heavenly.
-explore the posh neighbourhoods if only to admire all of the houses. My favourites were of course Kensington/Chelsea, Notting Hill, Paddington, and Clapham
-while London is home to some seriously amazing restaurants, don’t neglect a pub dinner one night! Fish & chips all the way
-go for brunch or high tea at the Ivy Chelsea Garden! The most charming, Instagram-worthy meal and setting you can find. The garden patio is a sight to see (and be seen, I suppose). When reserving, make sure to request to sit outside if that’s where you want to be seated.
-had some other amazing brunches at Bill’s, Gail’s, Clerkenwell Grind, and Granger & Co. Also, while in Notting Hill, pop in to Farm Girl (probably the most Insta-famous café in London) for a rose latte on their pink paint-chipped table

A few other good spots I didn’t have a chance to get to this time around, but are on my list…: 
-Gigi’s – drinks
-Farmacy – brunch
-The Palomar – dinner
-Saint Aymes – lunch/brunch/coffee
-Megan’s – brunch
-by CHLOE.UK – the famous vegan spot from NYC has made its way across the pond
-Pop Brixton – day drinks
-Bourne & Hollingsworth – lunch/brunch
-Coppa Club – dinner in the winter in those cozy domes overlooking the city!

Portugal Travel Guide - Albufeira & Lisbon

I started my 3-week Euro-tour in Portugal with my family. I had never been before but had only heard amazing things about the Algarve Coast, Lisbon, and Porto (which I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to experience this time, but more reason to go back right?!). The trip started in Albufeira which is part of the Algarve coast, nestled between larger more heavily tourist-filled Faro and Lagos. We stayed at Pine Cliffs, which was absolutely stunning. It’s located on a sprawling property overlooking the sea, and as the name implies, is on a cliff with many pine trees LOL. There was little reason to leave the resort as they had plenty of pools, walking paths, and a steep wooden staircase leading to the most heavenly beach I’ve been to in ages… crumbling cliffs that turned into a huge stretch of golden sandy beach. They also have an UNREAL clifftop bar that is perfect for watching the sunset. See below for some other tips on the area!:

-Restaurant Sao Gabriel - about a 30 minute drive from Pine Cliffs, this Michelin starred restaurant had amazing and innovative dishes with gorgeous plating - some traditional Portuguese, some more modern. 
-Tatsumi Japanese - Portugal of course has extremely fresh fish, so naturally their sushi WOULD be good, but who knew that I would have some of the best sushi of my life here?! This little hole-in-the-wall sushi spot was unbelievable (even though we had to walk for 30 mins on a dirt road to get to it)
-I wish we would have taken a car to do a trip to Lagos… the beaches there look so stunning.
-PROTECT YOUR SKIN. On the first day there, I forgot how much stronger the sun is in Europe than it is at home in Toronto. I laid on the beach for a few hours and it was nice and breezy - totally tricking me into thinking that I wouldn’t burn. Well, of course I did, and it was BAD. I had red hot lobster skin for a few days, and was peeling throughout the entire rest of my trip. NOT THE CHIC EFFORTLESS EURO LOOK I WAS GOING FOR! Learn from me and don’t let this happen to you. 

Lisbon was next, and it far exceeded my expectations. It was such a cool, vibrant city with so much to offer. History, charm, style, culture, amazing food, and great weather. What more could you ask for? We stayed at an Airbnb that was no doubt A NIGHTMARE to get to since we had a rental car. It was located beside Castelo de Sao Jorge, which is a historic walled-in part of the city high up on a hill where no cars are allowed. This meant we had to park at the base and wheel our luggage up narrow cobblestone streets in the middle of the afternoon. HORRIBLE. When we finally arrived, it made the trek more than worth it though. Photos cannot do this place justice! See HERE. The views were incredible, the apartment was traditional but with tons of modern touches, and the location ended up being great once we got our luggage up there. Here are some things we did that I highly recommend!:

-Castelo de Sao Jorge - a historic stone walled Moorish castle dating back to 48BC. Arrive early to avoid massive line-ups! Luckily this was easy for us since we were staying so close.  
-Sintra/Pena Palace - an actual MAGICAL palace up on a hill, about an hour or so drive from Lisbon. The grounds are stunning and make you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest/fairytale, while the palace itself is ornate and beautiful, done in brilliant bright colours. In Sintra, there is also a lot to see, and the lookout point Azenhas do Mar awards you with a beautiful view.
-Espumantaria Do Petisco - Modern little spot with an amazing view, great cocktails, and covered in marble. Also, food was out of this world good. We had garlic shrimp, octopus, goat cheese toasts with cherries and raisins, among other amazing dishes. 
-Alma - another Michelin starred restaurant that had incredible food and wine. Also, I think part of their hiring criteria is that you need to be ridiculously attractive, so there’s that. Super innovative flavours, we got the smaller tasting menu and almost every single course (of like, 12) was fantastic. 
-Make sure you have gelato, vino verde, custard tarts, and lots of seafood!
 
As we were only there for a few days, we unfortunately didn’t have time to get to every single restaurant I had researched. So I can’t personally confirm or deny whether these are good spots, but my research shows that they’re worth checking out! 
-Grapes & Bites (tapas)
-A Cevicheria (ceviche)
-The Mill (brunch/lunch)
-Tascardoso (small local spot)
-Pasteis de Belem (for best Portuguese tarts, expect huge lines)
-Tasca da Esquina (tapas)
-Gelateria Nannarella (gelato)
-Gin Lovers Principe Real (gin bar)
-Restaurante Pap'Açorda (dinner spot) 
-Bairro do Avillez  (dinner spot)

OBRIGADA PORTUGAL! I will definitely be back!

Ultimate Guide to Thrift Shopping for Clothing

Thrift shopping has been a serious passion of mine for as long as I can remember. As much as I love luxury goods and fast fashion, nothing gets me quite as amped up as spending hours shopping at Value Village rummaging for treasure. The prospect of coming across one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that I’ll have forever ignites some kind of carnal female "gatherer" shit within me. 

Since I was younger, I would go with my mom who operates the same way as I do once within the walls of a thrift store: shopping cart at the entrance, start from one end of the store until you make your way all the way through. NO SECTION GOES OVERLOOKED! This is NOT an activity I would ever partake in if under a time restriction. You’ve gotta go in knowing you could be in there for several hours. Pretty sure I have spent up to 6 hours in a Value Village. Is that wack?? Whatever, I’m proud of it. Through my many, MANY years of thrifting, I have picked up a ton of tips that I hope might help less-experienced and potentially apprehensive thrifters. This post is long overdue! Here we go:

-Like I said above, prepare to spend a few hours in the store. If you’re not in the mood to HUNT, don’t even bother. You really have to put in the time looking for the goods. 
-There are “good” and “bad” Value Village (and any other thrift store, but I'm a V.V. girl) locations. In my experience, the farther into the suburbs you go, the better. Suburban Value Villages are goldmines and not at all picked over. The one by my parents place in Ajax is my JAM. If you’re in Toronto, the only location I have ever had luck at is the one on the Danforth. My Nonna used to live just around the corner from it so I have been going to this location since I was like?? 2 years old??? It still has a special place in my heart and I always find the best things there. Sorry to say, but the Bloor & Lansdowne location is awful. 
-If you find something you love but it’s stained, ripped, or needs to be altered to properly fit you, just pass it up. It’s not worth it and chances are you’ll never get it altered (unless you have a tailor who you frequently go to).
-I don’t like to thrift items from stores that I normally shop at. Thrift stores these days have tons of items from Zara, Forever 21, Aritzia, etc. These are not things I typically like to go for. When I’m thrifting, I’m THERE TO THRIFT! Aka unique and/or vintage items only. If I do find something relatively current that I loooove and it’s in great condition, I’ll of course still pick it up, but this is rare. When I find an amazing item, I know I've really hit the jackpot when I look at the tag and it looks super dated with font from like the 70s.
-This one is imperative: go by yourself or with someone else who’s thrifting vibe will align with yours. For me, that means someone who wants to disappear into the Value Village vortex with me. My mom is the perfect companion, as are a few of my friends. 
-Certain categories have much higher success rates than others. Blouses, sweaters, trousers, purses, blazers, leather/furs, and vintage tees are all good bets. Shoes can be tough because they take a beating so most are not in great condition. Vintage denim (like Levi’s etc) is such a hot item right now and that makes it really challenging to find because it’s what everyone is looking for. 
-What clothing size are you?? Not anymore! Size means next to nothing when thrifting because of how many different decades the clothes come from. I’ve purchased trousers in size L that are probably from the 70s and they fit like a modern day size S. Also, things like blouses, blazers, and sweaters can still look great if oversized. So don't make the mistake of only looking in your usual size section!
-In that vein, make sure you take a thorough look through the men's and even kid's sections. Two of my fav finds ever (a double breasted mini houndstooth blazer and a vintage Clash tee) came from the boy's section. Menswear can have great sweaters and graphic tees. And don’t forget the seemingly random “fringe” categories for women’s like sleepwear (my #1 find EVER EVER EVER is a black and tan printed kimono-jumpsuit hybrid that came from the sleepwear section, they had categorized it as a “robe”), suits (they categorize most two piece sets as “suits”, including matching tops and bottoms), and gross as it may seem and not recommended for beginners, lingerie (silk and satin slip dresses are in abundance there).
-When it comes to styling thrifted & vintage pieces, it’s important to modernize the look and be creative. Remove the massive 80s shoulder pads from blazers and dresses. Pair a vintage blouse with leather skinny pants and white sneakers. Knot a shapeless shirt at the front and wear it with high waisted pants. Roll up/cuff sleeves that are too big and boxy. Artfully wrap and tie up big vintage scarves to make them into tops/skirts/hair wraps, etc. If you can’t think of how a thrifted piece would fit into your existing wardrobe and style, pass it up. It will just end up sitting unworn in your closet forever. 
-Once you've made your purchases and arrived back home, keep everything in plastic bags until you are ready to wash or dry clean it. Obviously we all know that second-hand items are usually not freshly laundered, so don't mix your thrifted purchases into your closet just yet. It freaks a lot of people out not knowing where the items came from and I totally get that! The first thing I do when I get home is sort my purchases into "wash myself" or "take to dry clean" bags. With items I am washing myself, I make sure to use a mesh bag and wash on the hot/cold cycle to get the items really clean and sanitized. When taking more high maintenance items like silks or blazers to the dry cleaners, unfortunately you'll have to be prepared to likely spend more on the dry cleaning than you did on the item itself.  

PHEW ok I think that's all for now! Honestly if I could leave you all with one final and very important tip it would have to be: don’t get discouraged if you don’t find much the first time you go. Give it a month and try again, or try a different location! It takes a while to find your thrifting groove and to start to have an eye for unique/quality/timeless/whatever-it-is-you're-searching-for pieces. The saying practice makes perfect is definitely true when it comes to thrift shopping! Good luck and please leave any of your own tried-and-true tips below!

Meeting my Match with TōN Cosmetics

What's your skin tone? Warm, cool? Fair, medium, dark? I shamefully had no clue about mine, and have gone through life buying lipsticks entirely randomly without giving my skin tone much thought. Outrageous, I know. Luckily, two Canadian sisters have stepped in to help us all find our perfect matches. TōN Cosmetics was launched a few months ago with the intent to help simplify finding shades that work for your skin tone. Their website guides you through a short quiz where you answer fun questions about your complexion and colouring. At the end, they show you your perfect red and nude lipstick matches. As it turns out, I am a Medium Warm skin tone and the nude and red lipsticks I received really do suit me perfectly. The lipsticks are made in Canada, are super high-quality, and are 100% cruelty-free. Right now you can find your perfect nude and red shades on toncosmetics.com, and later this year they are introducing pink lipsticks too. Can't wait to see what's next for this brand!

Clover & Sloane

So happy to be a part of today’s launch of Clover & Sloane - a brand new brand offering the sweetest dresses and jumpsuits. All of their pieces are so ideal for dressing up or down! I paired the Soho black jumpsuit with sneakers and a leather moto for daytime (above), and dressed the same jumpsuit up the day before with tan block-heeled booties and an oversized peacoat to go to the art gallery. The Carroll dress features my fav print of the season, cherries!!! I wore it out for a coffee date with a cozy cardigan, tights, and sock booties, though I really need it to be summer ASAP so I can wear it bare-legged with a straw hat… Clover & Sloane’s pieces feature sweet feminine details like ruffles, bows, and girly prints, done super tastefully in the most wearable styles and silhouettes. Shop now at cloverandsloane.com

Cranes in the Sky

Just returned from South Beach and I just have to express my love for it! It is the place to go to be EXTRA, but for a quick and easy getaway somewhere hot, beachy, stylish, and fun, there isn't a better place to go. The bar and restaurant scene is amazing... Some of my fav spots include the Broken Shaker (the bar at the Freehand hotel), Ola (amazing Latin food), Casa Tua (incredible Italian in a gorgeous courtyard patio setting), River Oyster Bar (in Brickell, so good), Habitat (for brunch or lunch, such an adorable patio), Mandolin Aegean Bistro (Greek, featured in Vogue), and Dreamer (most adorable brunch). The pool at the W Hotel is my fav but the Shore Club also has a great vibe. Our stays down there never feel long enough and there are so many other things I would love to do that I haven't had the chance to yet! Itching to go back and see the Museum of Ice Cream, explore the design district, and drive down to the keys. 

I'm wearing my favourite outfit ever from MISSPAP... A crane print culotte and kimono set paired with fluffy block heels and a cute little backpack that perfectly fits my DSLR camera. Easy, stylish, fun, and just a little over the top... just like Miami ;)