Tag Archives: travel

#WCW

I feel compelled to write a #wcw post as I just got back from visiting my favorite Mick, Crystal, in Philly. Though advised not to travel while Mercury was retrograde, I had booked my flight over a month ago and was not going to change it, and thus was lucky enough to be engulfed by snowstorm Jonas. I was actually looking forward to it – I always enjoyed the snow in Detroit, and seeing as how we rarely get it in the South, it was a fun experience! That said, trekking through 2 feet of snow for approximately 6 miles each day was definitely challenging. Crystal gets a special s/o for putting up with my ass for insisting we travel 45 minutes to get Polish food across town, getting naked in the snow, and hoofing it through the city to sled down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

After getting off of work at VStreet (where Crystal saved me a cruise ship sundae, which I’m now craving constantly), we were both starving, so she took us to David’s Mai Lah Wah, where we promptly ordered everything off of the menu and destroyed the restaurant with duck sauce.

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right before she squirted duck sauce all over herself

I arrived on Thursday night, and had almost all of Friday to explore before the snow started. By Saturday morning, her roommate had to shovel out a path to leave the house and we began the search for warm beverages and brunch. The storm was intense – we might as well have been in the Eastern Bloc, the way everything looked.

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the virgin mary of south philly

After hemming and hawing as to whether or not we should go to the museum, we decided that we had to go, because why not? How many times does one get to sled down the famed “Rocky” steps? Since we weren’t able to get into NYC, we had to do SOMETHING. The expedition over there was a little daunting, but we were prepared with sledding materials and beer – all the necessities. Not only was the local ABC affiliate shooting footage, but The Weather Channel was at the museum as well! We could hear yelling and laughing several blocks away, as tons of people of all ages had come out to sled. Many thanks to the 90’s ravers who opened our bottles for us!

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the path to a Dateline episode

Once we got home, and because we have no boundaries and no shame, we stripped down and ran around naked in the snow with the cats for a few minutes. A space heater and down comforters have never felt better! After all of those shenanigans and multiple mile slogs in the slush, we pretty much collapsed for the night.

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assholes

Sunday night was a Very Important Night as it was the premier of the new season of “The X-Files.” I mean, I was legit crying over my pierogis earlier in the day in anticipation. I ordered us some Santucci’s while the wife set up the cable box, but of course, Comcast was fucked up due to the storm. It was nearly a disaster, but I luckily found a live stream on the internet and the crisis was averted, spaghetti enjoyed.

There will be a food post upcoming, as I still managed to eat some crazy good food despite Snowmageddon. The only thing I didn’t get to eat was a 31 cent pretzel (so sad, Ainsley!) BUT I will be back there in no time, and devouring one as big as my face.

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Thanks for letting me crash, Flanagan. Next time, I’m stealing Loaf.

*Kawaii BB*

As every little girl in the early 80s, I was IN LOVE with Sanrio & Hello Kitty. My dream job was to wear the Hello Kitty costume at Sanrio Surprises in the mall (lofty goals, I know), and I distinctly remember being distraught over the loss of my “sea foam green” (the seven year old artist!) Little Twin Stars pencil. They were my favorite, alongside My Melody and Spottie Dottie, with Tuxedo Sam rounding out the group. Did anyone else watch Furry Tale Theatre on Saturday mornings? Wasn’t it the best?! I may or may not have bought the newer versions on DVD in the 2000s… 🙂

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my sweet mama surprised me with a stuffed Totoro last Valentine’s Day

Fast forward a few years to the English release of My Neighbor Totoro & life would be forever changed. I was fortunate enough to have a friend whose uncle designed stickers in Korea, and he would send us tons of Japanese and Korean stickers, with lots of Miyazaki ones included. Practically wearing out my VHS, all I dreamed of was living in a giant Camphor tree and eating bento boxes with that fluffy giant! I settled for collecting Bonsai trees and gobbling up noodles, though, and to this day, think of Totoro every time I pick up an acorn or see a soot sprite. A couple of years ago, Cine in Athens had a Miyazaki fest, and I finally got to see my beloved film on the big screen (although it was the newer, Disney dub which I do not love quite as much). It was hard not to cry, being able to experience a childhood favorite the way it’s supposed to be seen. One of my best friends, Karen, is also a huge Japanese/anime fan, and I recently lent her a copy of the film so she and her kids could watch it.  It’s been so rewarding to hear how much her little sprites love it as much as we do!

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special birthday presents!

Karen gifted me some Totoro items from Japan for my birthday two years ago, and we shared some snacks from Okinawa just recently. Making the food from all of our favorite Miyazaki films and a day full of Studio Ghibli screenings is next on the list!

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treats from Okinawa

Another one of my besties, Savanna, and I joke about “finding our people.” Thus, she is also a lover of all things Kawaii! When we went to see one of our most treasured bands, Eisley, back in October, we made sure to dress up in our “Lolita” best – braids, bun-buns, swan socks, gold shoes, ruffles, & pink! In our excitement, we neglected to get full photos of ourselves, but we did get a little one with Christie Dupree, so that’s what counts, right?! Savanna and I hit up our favorite local Asian markets last weekend to stock up on snacks and other necessities for making pho, rice bowls, and the like. My mom and I have always loved the strawberry & chocolate wafer sticks, but I picked up some ube flavored ones this time – and boy, are they are delicious!!! I did get some more strawberry ones, but the tin is not as cute as the one they’ve been in in the past. First world problems!

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strawberry wafer sticks and lychee candy from last year. also, these Sucre shop utensils!

Yesterday, I received one of the best things ever – my first Kawaii Box! This adorable company sends you 10-12 Japanese and Korean items each month from their shop, Blippo, ranging from brands such as SanrioPockyAlpacassoPony Brown, and, of course, Totoro! I was squealing with delight as I opened each item – the package arrived in perfect time, too, as I am getting ready to hop a plane to Philly and NYC to see my loves, Crystal & Zach, and now I will have a new coin purse, notebook, & stickers to take with me! At under $20/month plus free shipping, you just can’t beat receiving a pink and purple wrapped box in the mail each month full of the cutest treasures. Alongside these boxes, the company also has Japan Candy Box, a similar box full of sweets and treats – also under $20/month! Splendid gifts for the Kawaii lover in your life….or for spoiling yo’ self! Thanks so much, Kawaii Box!

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Kawaii Box + blush pink Kanken + Rosehound pins

It’s safe to say I am ready to visit PurolandHarmony Land, the Ghibli Museum, wander the luscious Biei lavender fields, hunt for Morizo & Kiccoro, and look for my very own Camphor tree. I also wouldn’t mind taking home a capybara! Rosie even has some friends in Japan – George & Mimi Shugasuki, to whom we would love to say hello!

幸せな一日、友人

Jjimjil

I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful! It was a VERY busy month in the lands of television and the arts – numerous gallery openings, luncheons, parties, & parades – I was definitely ready for a much needed break!

I ended up taking the afternoon off of work the Monday following Christmas in order to go to Jeju, the Korean bathhouse, and to get my hair done by my friend & stylist extraordinaire, Rami, of Ludlow Blunt in NYC.

Jeju was, for lack of a better word, amazing. While savoring a bowl of deliciously spicy ramen, I texted my boyfriend that we were just going to have to have a long-distance relationship; I was never leaving the spa.

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spicy ramen & kimchi!

Upon entering the bathhouse, one goes into the segregated locker rooms and undresses, either staying nude to go to the wet area or putting on the traditional Korean spa clothes in order to sit in the communal saunas. Attached to the locker rooms are the steam & cedar saunas, the massage, body shampoo, and hip bath areas, and the cold, medium, and hot tubs. I considered being brave and stepped into the cold bath first – quickly regretted that and went off to find much warmer temperatures. Few things are as liberating as being completely naked with a bunch of other strangers. Having posed nude for painting classes, I was already accustomed to it, but this was much more enjoyable (sorry, Tom!). Within the wet area, the steam jade sauna was by far my favorite part. A little hard to breathe at first, but once the steam started relaxing my ever-stiff and aching joints (hello, neuropathic pain & Gaucher disease), I was able to really inhale the aromatics and sweat it out. After realizing I was probably going to faint if I didn’t eat something, I threw on the regulations shirt and shorts and headed off for the common area.

As mentioned above, the ramen was straight up epic, and the side of kimchi didn’t hurt, either! And not only that, it was dirt cheap -$6! One of the best parts about the common area and restaurant was that the floor is heated. I am always, always freezing, so this was literally a warm welcome. After satiating my appetite, it was off to check out each sauna. The jade, charcoal, and baked clay saunas were slightly smaller and not quite as hot, though they each came with their own benefits – helping to increase metabolism & circulation, relieve arthritis pain, eliminate toxins and build up resistance to disease, and flush out impurities & release dead skin cells.

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charcoal sauna

I then moved on to the larger, more intense kiln saunas: Rock & Salt, Gold & Silver, & Jewels. The Rock and Salt room, full of pure crystal rock salt, is  utilized to relieve stress and tension, the Gold and Silver room is supposed to help with nerve stability, and the Jewel room emits calmness and healing powers. I definitely felt some release in the Rock & Salt room, and the Jewel room helped me cleanse both my mind and body.  They were all so relaxing that it was hard to decide in which one to spend the most time!

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Rock & Salt room

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sweating out the toxins in the Gold & Silver room

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a bathing suit in order to take advantage of the heated, saltwater Jade swimming pool, but that didn’t stop me from dipping in a toe. I’ll be hitting it up next time, for sure! I also peeked into the Ice room -had to try it all, you know? That was definitely NOT for me. After a brief appearance there, I ducked back into the Jewel room to warm up again!

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how beautiful is that pool?!

Being on a deadline to meet Rami, I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked there, though those few hours were definitely magical. Next visit, I plan to stay overnight (it’s $25 for 24 hours -WHAT!), nap in the sleeping rooms, add on some extras, and really just let go. One of my best friends is flying into Atlanta next week and will be visiting Jeju while there – I am Jade green with envy!

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stone starburst

 

Detoxing and purifying at Jeju helped wash out the last bits of 2015 (I even washed out my hair color by having Rami dye it blonde!) and prepare me mentally, emotionally, and physically for 2016. So far, it’s been looking pretty damn good (even with Mercury Retrograde!) Happy New Year, friends! xo!

Bostonland

So many Boston Terriers! While visiting Nicole in Olympia, I got to meet her two Boston babies, Lucille Marie and Kumba, Rosie’s BFF and boyfriend, respectively. LM is kind of a celebrity, having been on the cover of magazines and the winner of many photo contests, so it was a pretty big deal! She’s a feisty little fireball, and bosses her much bigger son, Kumba, around all day!

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Sweet Kumba!

Kums wears the most adorable bow ties-both pups are always in their Sunday best, and that day was no exception. Lucille even got a package of new dresses while I was there!

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Lucille & her mama, Nicole

Nicole and I made sure to dress appropriately, as well: Boston-themed clothing so everyone would know we were crazy dog owners when we went exploring!Surprisingly, only one person asked about our clothes – she inquired as to whether or not something was going on with our dogs that day. We replied that there is ALWAYS something going with them! On our way into the city, we stopped at her neighbor’s house and found ourselves a Wee. Willie, aka “Wee,” is another Boston who lives down the street from her and who often spends time at her house. He is soooo cute – I’m going to go back and steal him!

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WEE!

During our trip to the Farmer’s Market, we stumbled upon a craftsman who forms displays out of metal. Not only was there a Boston, but a Basset Hound one, too! I would have gladly bought both, had I had enough room in my carry-on to take home.

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Needed this for my garden!

When we got back to the house, we were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of yet ANOTHER Boston. Moose, another of Lucille’s children, had come to visit! Moose decided he was going to hide in the laundry room, as he was a little nervous. The only pup missing that day was Lulu, Lucille’s daughter, who was at home with her family. Four snuggly Bostons in one day, though! It was almost too much to handle!

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Moose, a little Nervous Nellie

Naturally, we had to exchange Boston presents. Nicole gifted Rosie a super cute dress and shirt, and some socks for me! Boston Terrier owners will buy ANYTHING with a BT print on it. ANYTHING. And we will stop at nothing to get it all!

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presents for my well-loved rescue pup

When Nicole came down into Portland that following Monday, we got to stop in the best dog shop, Lexi Dog, and got our babies a few items. If you are looking for the perfect outfit for your pup, they really have the best collection. I picked up a little t-shirt that I felt adequately described Rosie’s sentiments toward me on leaving her for several days.

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bad-ass Rosie

Now that the holiday season has arrived, we’re starting to collect little trinkets for our Boston friends. More importantly, we will be giving back to the shelter pups (and kitties!) who won’t get to enjoy the luxuries of presents, special treats, and warm houses. One cause that is near and dear to our hearts is that of our Instagram friend, Booger Dawg. They’ve fallen on hard times and desperately need our help while stuck in the frosty Colorado snow. Please donate or send any items you can! Their GoFundMe account can be found here. It’s imperative to remember that this could happen to any of us at any time, and we should always help when we have the resources to do so. Rosie and I hope you will join us!

What’s a geoduck?

The drive from Portland to Olympia can be a dangerous one, if you go it alone. That’s simply because the views are incredible. I don’t know how I managed to not hit someone or drive off the road while trying to take pictures and drive at the same time! (sorry, mom).

I got up early to drive to Nicole’s house (should I say, Lucille‘s house???), somehow managing to bypass any jet-lag out of eagerness to see my friend and her Bostons. After lots of puppy snuggles, we hopped in the car to explore and grab lunch. On the way into the city, I noticed this cute little  retro-themed burger shack, replete with dinosaurs and large wooden cut outs of cartoon characters, and thought to myself, “ooh, I hope we go there.” Nicole knows me pretty well because the next thing I knew, we were turning into the parking lot! Holy Hell. I don’t know how Olympia residents don’t eat at Eastside Big Tom’s on a daily basis. I was in veg heaven with veggie burger, hot dog, and chik*n sandwich options, plus fries, tots, and best of all, GOOP. The Goop was pretty much the main reason we went there-it’s a secret sauce they put on their burgers and you can order it on the side for your fries or tots, which I highly recommend. I was skeptical at first, being a big ketchup girl, but now I’m always trying to recreate the Goop in my kitchen across the country. It really is a THING out there! I devoured a veggie burger, fries with Goop, and a marshmallow milkshake before we headed to the farmer’s market.

Eastside Big Tom's!

Eastside Big Tom’s!

The Olympia Farmers Market, known as “The Jewel of Olympia,” really is a gem. I wish I could have bought all of the fruits and veggies they had-especially the Eastern European sauerkraut from Olykraut. (Please bring it to the South!) I did go home with the ‘Pineapple Express’ headband from Pieces to Peaces for my penpal, Adrienne, and a longing to shop there every week. The Farmers Market is in downtown Olympia, within walking distance to Budd Inlet.

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Budd Inlet

I debated buying all of these seed packets to grow in my garden, displayed so beautifully in vintage crates! It was hard not to scoop up all of the fresh lavender that many of the nursery vendors were selling…

sowing the seeds of love

sowing the seeds of love

Every now and then, I have to have an oyster or two. If you’ve ever read M.F.K. Fisher’s Consider the Oyster, then you’ll understand! How gorgeous are these?!

fresh oysters

fresh oysters

After the market, we made our way into the downtown shopping district. While Olympia may be a “college town,” it’s definitely got a big-city feel. The delicately curated shops have something for everyone, my favorite being Compass Rose. From Dram Apothecary bitters to vegan bags by Matt and Nat, stationary by the ever fabulous Cavallini & Co., and the best candles ever by Produce, I had to hold myself back from emptying my wallet there. I did, however, pick up a few 45s from Rainy Day Records. Sweet Nicole waited patiently while I sat on the floor, digging through boxes as quickly as possible! I got a couple of James Brown singles, and a copy of “Shake a Tail Feather” by The Five Du-Tones, among others. I fell in love with Psychic Sister, a vintage shop that also had tarot readings! I love getting vintage pieces from around the world, and found the most beautiful butterfly dress from the 70s that I was able to wear to a wedding recently. If you aren’t following these shops on Instagram or Facebook, you should be!

After a little shopping, Nicole drove me over to Evergreen State College, where we walked around the woods and took a little tour of the campus. It was there that I learned what a geoduck is! The mascot of Evergreen, the geoduck is a species of very large, edible saltwater clams in the family Hiatellidae. That said, I suggest you google an image of one, if you aren’t already familiar with it. Evergreen’s motto is Omnia Extares, or “Let it all hang out.” Google the geoduck. Trust me.

lush forest at Evergreen

lush forest at Evergreen

We drove around a little more, with Nicole taking us to the highest point of the city, showing me the best panorama of Olympia. By the time we got back to her house, we were greeted by yet another Boston having arrived! With 3 in her house and another up the street, it was nearly too much for me to handle! It was really hard to leave, even with the fact that there were more adventures awaiting me in Portland. Even better-Nicole drove down on Monday so we could do some pet shopping before I left! Putting us in a dog boutique is just asking for trouble…

Solo cross-country trip, day one, was better than I could have ever imagined. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such amazing friends!

The Dream is Alive…

My solo trip to the Pacific Northwest was, for lack of a better word, amazing. Even the flights there were great-I had a brief layover in Austin where I waved to my friends, Adrienne and Elaina, from the airport, and a longer layover in Denver, where I got to have dinner with my “sister,” Lizzie and manhandle her Basset Hound, Buckley. Denver was pretty awesome, if only for the fact that it has a sushi restaurant called “Sushi Totoro.”

I got in pretty late in the evening to Portland, but my lovely airbnb hosts stayed up to greet me and made sure I got settled in nicely. Sarah and Colin have the sweetest mid-century modern home full of air plants, souvenirs from their trips around the world, and two cuddly kitties. I was ready to move in permanently!  Prior to my arrival, I got to chat with them via airbnb and text, and by the time I arrived, I felt like I was visiting with old friends. From photography and ceramics to records and a love for Danish Modern, I couldn’t have found hosts to be more in sync with.

Schoolhouse Electric bedding!

Schoolhouse Electric bedding!

Tiny mid-century perfection

Tiny mid-century perfection

Their house is in a lovely neighborhood, where I enjoyed morning walks taking in all of the lush plant life and fresh air. It’s always educating to see how different assortments of plants thrive in areas of the world other than your own. Portland, known as “The City of Roses,” naturally has a ton of gorgeous rose varietals, but also an abundance of  dahlias, sunflowers, and succulents. It was also nice to see how many vegetable gardens everyone had-people were growing pumpkins on the sidewalks!

succulent dreams!

succulent dreams

The weather. was. incredible. Everyone kept mentioning how unnaturally humid it was, but it felt pretty damn amazing after dealing with 100 degrees and 100% humidity on a daily basis back home! It was also a pleasant change to be able to sleep with the windows open and not nearly die from an allergy attack the following morning! I’ve been in love with the PNW ever since I visited Seattle when I was 15, and this trip just deepened my feelings for it.

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It was hard to leave a house as cozy as this each day, but there was adventuring to be done! I actually began my first day not in Portland, but by driving to Olympia, Washington, to visit one of my best friends, Nicole, and her pups, Lucille of The Pawsh Puppy and Kumba, who just so happen to be Rosie’s BFF and boyfriend, respectively.

I’ll be sharing my favorite places in Olympia next, but also devoting a special post to all the Bostons I got to see while there! I always make sure to include Rosie in each trip, and this one was no exception. From Facetiming to toys and clothes, she got to partake in my experience, as well.

Coming up: Bostons & burgers!

Church Shoes

It’s been a whirlwind of a year since my last post in March, with an abundance of change. As the dust has finally (finally!) settled, I can now get back to posting about our adventures!

Rosie and I have had to endure a great amount of sadness but received so much support through these challenging months. I look forward to sharing with you my trip to the Pacific Northwest, with stops in Portland and Olympia –  including a stay at the most perfect Airbnb, and replete with Boston Terriers! I even got to meet Lucille Marie of The Pawsh Puppy!

The Autumn air is beginning to reach that perfect cooler temperature, and I’m taking advantage of it with lots of walks, foraging for the perfect pieces of moss and mushrooms, creating soul-warming soups (butternut squash and parsnip!), and roller skating in my vintage skates for a little extra exercise, followed by soothing and meditative yoga sessions.

There are lots of surprises in store in the coming months, as well – I can’t wait to share them all with you! Until then, be on the lookout for some new vegan recipes, a tour of Portland & Olympia, and lots of beautiful wares and clothing from my favorite makers and shakers!

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(Vintage saddle shoes by Bass)

Oh, Canada!

I’m so excited to finally be able to share more of our trip to Michigan & Canada with you! One of the ways I prepped for this trip was by collecting, if you will, shops and places to visit via the Instagram accounts of the makers and shakers of those who reside in those cities. One such creative is Megan Campagnolo, the designer behind Rosehound Apparel. Her sweatshirts, totes, & dresses make my heart race, and her Twin Peaks-inspired collection pretty much did me in this season. Through her account, I was hipped to Toronto store Victoire, one of the shops that carries her wares. Victoire also stocks such lines as Yo Sick and Falconwright, two other labels of which I can’t get enough. It was difficult to not go into straight fan-girl mode, as we walked into Victoire, but I tried to play it cool. The Birds of North America and Samantha Pleet dresses had me salivating, any of which would be perfect paired with the ‘Mild at Heart’ tote by Rosehound. Sit me down with a copy of Worn in one of those frocks and I’d be content for days!

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How great is that storefront?

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                “Black as midnight on a moonless night”

I was there with a mission, however, and that was to take home one of Megan’s new ice cream sandwich pins. I was eternally bummed that they were sold out, (but happy for her!), so I just got a Yo Sick pizza pin to add to my collection and the Rosehound Twin Peaks matches that are unavailable for mail order. Take that, customs! HOWEVER! Megan and I had been in touch via that lovely little social media outlet, Instagram, and had been trying to make plans to meet at her studio for coffee at some point. Matt and I ended up stopping by the next day where I was able to see that pink haired lady in person and purchase my coveted ice cream sandwich pin. Her studio is in Chinatown, and is pretty amazing. The snowstorm that was happening around us only added to the magic! Now, if I could only learn to be less awkward, I’d be set…

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                               Big snow in little China

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            Mastering the art of being socially awkward

One of my friends gifted me a super cute animé pouch from Korea when I got back home, and I decided to use that as a new home for my pin collection. Here, you can see my Rosehound pins and matches, the Yo Sick pizza pin, and an assortment of other goodies!

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Getting back to the topic at hand, Victoire was everything I imagined it would be. Toronto is amazing, especially when it’s 12 degrees and your hair is full of big, fat snowflakes. I keep trying to convince Matt that we need to move there asap!
Next up: my search for vegetarian poutine & visiting the dreamy Bicyclette!

Fetch!

Each time I travel, I make sure to pick up a little something to bring back for Rosie. Our holiday trip to Detroit & Toronto was no exception! Having worked in a dog treat bakery for 7 years, I love to find similar shops in every city I visit. I found Cass Corridog on one of my previous Michigan trips, and since it’s by one of my favorite shops, Nora, I always make a stop there to pick out a little treat. This trip, I got a couple “truffles,” for Rosie’s friends, Lucille & Kumba, too. They are Boston Terriers who live in Washington state, and have become good friends of ours, thanks to the power of Instagram!

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We also have some dog friends in Toronto, who shared with us the names of some cute dog boutiques in the city. One in particular, Arrow, is a “party” dog- equal parts Pug, Frenchie, & Boston- and one of the cutest girls ever! Her mom recommended we stop in at Timmie, a sweet little shop on Queen St. West. It was closed the first day I went by, but I made a special trip the next day so I could get a peek inside. It had started snowing pretty hard that afternoon, but all the pups on the street would be well prepared for the winter weather thanks to the bountiful supply of sweaters, jackets, and dog boots in the shop. They had adorable hoodies with logos on them for all of the different areas of the city that I absolutely loved! Those definitely made me wish we lived up north! We live in a warmer climate, though, so there was no need for me to stock up on winter gear for Ro. Instead, I picked out a little stuffed penguin for her and a pin for me, to add to my ever-growing pin collection. Toronto is so dog-friendly, and I wished I could have had her there with me! Next time, perhaps?

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Happy girl, mid bark, with her cookies, penguin, and a blanket I swiped from Delta. (Those are free, right? Ha!)

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

I hope everyone’s holiday break was as wonderful as ours! After a quiet holiday with my parents, I flew out to Michigan to spend the remaining part of the year with Matt and his family. Rosie and I were separated for a long ten days, and while I missed my little meatball, I had a blast in Detroit and Toronto. I’ll be playing catch up this weekend and telling you all about the places we visited, where we ate, and, off course, where we shopped!

The beginning of the season starts, for me, when I break out my favorite holiday albums. I usually have this gem on repeat at home and in my car! KC, forever!

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This year, I opted for a jewel colored theme for wrapping presents. As with stationary and other paper ephemera, I collect unique wrapping paper for various occasions throughout the year. This one is a two sided kind I picked up at IKEA several years ago.

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With some rainbow colored popcorn from a new gourmet popcorn shop in town, these gifts added an unexpected pop of color under the tree! I picked up my dad an original cast recording of Porgy and Bess on a 78, and ordered my mom a Lentil ornament and sticker. My favorite part of the gift giving is filling everyone’s stockings with their favorite candies and little trinkets. Dark chocolate oranges, petit fours, marzipan, and a fresh orange each, these stockings hold traditions that nothing can replace. I usually try to get some chocolate coal for my dad’s stocking, but I couldn’t find any during my last minute venture out into the crazed retail world. Next year, pops!

My parents put sweet little surprises in my stocking as well! I have so many little collections, lovely smelling soaps being one of them. The French Macaron and Rose & Green Tea bar soaps my mother found are not only pretty in perfect pink, but smell sooo heavenly! The best surprise was the Leo Zodiac candle I’ve been dreaming about for months. I plan on finally lighting it on the 23rd this month, my half birthday, and making some special wishes!

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Rosie will be with me everywhere I go with this Boston Terrier keychain- how cute is she? Rosie herself picked up several presents this Christmas, too, from family to friends all the way in Washington state. She’ll be sharing her holiday fun over the weekend!

While we enjoyed some delicious treats, I still owe my mom a Yule log! My favorite flavor in the past has been to make a white chocolate one with fresh raspberry filling and marzipan mushrooms, but she has requested a dark chocolate one. I can’t wait to show you the finished product! They are so fun to make!

So, did all of your holiday wishes come true? What was your favorite item to give or receive?