Stellenbosch, South Africa

{Our gorgeous hotel, Oude Werfe}

Though our original plan was to fly into Cape Town to spend New Years eve, we could not for the life of us find accommodations. So a word of warning: if you’re ever travelling to Cape Town over a holiday, book a solid two months in advance! We ended up being forced to switch gears and heading half an hour east to Stellenbosch, where some of the worlds best wines are produced. And, honestly? It was a blessing in disguise. 

After having travelled for 40+ hours, we knew we would be exhausted and decided to splurge on a few nights in a beautiful hotel, wining and dining our way to relaxation. This was, of course, one of our better life decisions to date.  

Due to a jam-packed schedule (I’m a go. do. see type when travelling – I may have driven my brother mental), we unfortunately only had one full day in Stellenbosch. Now that I know how exquisite it is, I would have happily spent an entire week there alone. Seeing as our time was unfortunately limited, we hired a guide* to give us a wine tour and really make the most of our day. What began with a wine and chocolate tasting at Lanzerac, finished with a wine and cheese pairing, many hours later, at Spier. Needless to say, we collectively agreed that we need to go back.

Oude-Werf{my happy place}

{the most incredible gardens}

{our first wine & chocolate tasting (at 10 am, no less)}

{the rooftop view from Lanzerac}

{the art and architecture at Delaire Graffe was unreal}

{can you even handle this view?}

{the gallery wall at Spier was perfection}

{better than I could have ever imagined}

{wine and cheese}

*Our guide was named David and he was unbelievable. We LOVED him and highly, highly recommend him if you’re ever in the area. 

Images Original to Lark & Linen. 
To see more travel photos, click here!

CATEGORIES | travel, vacation, wanderings

Scenes from Thunder Bay


Thunder Bay is one of those spots that simply feels like home. It’s not the prettiest of towns, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s where my grandfather immigrated from the Ukraine in the late 1920′s, where he met my grandmother, almost seventy years ago, and where much of my family still resides. And what the city lacks, the country makes up for in vast quantity.  Plus? It has persians. And finnish pancakes. So I’m not going to complain.

I’ve been visiting practically every summer for as long as I can remember. When we were much younger, we’d all pile into our van (six of us, plus a dog) and make the seventeen hour drive (each way) to spend two weeks at the cottage (an hour outside of town) with our grandparents. Sometimes we’d drive straight through the night, and others we’d stop halfway. Those years we made that pit stop we’d stay at a sub-par hotel in Sault St. Marie simply because it had “the worlds biggest water slide” (one that’s probably actually significantly smaller than I’m picturing at this time).

Now that said grandparents are 89 and 91 respectively, they’re no longer able to join us at the cottage (or camp, as we like to refer to it). Though we made a number of trips into town to visit, their country-side absence made this particular trip a little more than bittersweet.

I’m not one who usually embraces change. I tend to confront it slowly and carefully, always with a slight skepticism. And while this past week was incredibly relaxing, beautiful and fun in its own right, it was different. With it being just my mom, brother and step-sister this go around it was unusually calm and I think it’s safe to say that we all felt that void that lingered during those more silent moments. That being said, the quiet, the lake and just the right amount of breeze acted as the perfect recipe for finishing 4 books (thankyouverymuch!), imbibing in cocktail hour almost daily, and totally kicking my brothers’ butt at many, many a board games (I expect a comment from him below in due time!)

Thunder-Bay-4Thunder-Bay-5tb2 Thunder-Bay-6 Thunder-Bay-7

all images original to lark & linen

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CATEGORIES | life, travel, vacation, wanderings

Ravello, The Amalfi Coast part V

ravello_1Our last day brought us to the picturesque town of Ravello. We had originally planned to head to Capri on this particular day, but our trip was cancelled due to the wind and impending rain (insert soft sobs here)*. We grabbed the city bus from Maiori and made our way up to this teeny little town. Though I was slightly disappointed by the fact that we weren’t going to make it to Capri, Ravello had it’s own unique charm. It definitely held its own and then some.

Located directly above the Amalfi Coast, the mountainous views and expansive vistas of the rest of the coast were a refreshing change from the other seaside towns we had visited throughout the week .  I swear you could see the entire coast from up there, and it was absolutely glorious.

Much like the majority of our trip, we spent our day dining, shopping, and wandering about. At one point in the afternoon, the skies opened up and it began to pour down on us. We took cover in a nearby shoe store where I happened to pick up a pair of beautiful orange sandals (convenient, right? I have to add, the shoes in Ravello were quite incredible!) We then invested in a $10 umbrella (Justin’s only souvenir! He has more willpower than I do, I must say) and didn’t let the weather get us down.

Once we were done touring, we decided to hike back down to Minori** (and then make our way back to Maiori). There’s a really beautiful trail just to the left of Villa Cimbrone and I believe you can make your way to Amalfi this way as well (though you might want to triple check). You simply follow the signs that eventually lead you to your destination. The whole hike took around 45 minutes, and the views are absolutely breathtaking (and I really dislike that word, so you know I mean business). It rained off and on during the entire walk, but we had our trusty umbrella and hiking in the rain was really quite romantic. All in all, a wonderful end to an incredible trip.

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*having missed Capri just means that we need to go back. Right? RIGHT!
**the hike wasn’t terribly difficult at all, but it’s almost entirely stairs (going down!) and they’re quite rocky/uneven. It gave my ankles a really strange workout – like I had never exercised certain muscles within them or something. By the time we got to the bottom they were all shakey and weird. No big deal, just a quick little warning!

Special note: though pricey (around $300), I’ve been told by a number of friends that this Ravello cooking class is incredible. We weren’t originally planning on heading to Ravello, and if we hadn’t blown our whole budget at this point in the trip, we would have budgeted for it for sure. Damn us and our responsible mindsets.

See: Part I Part II | Part III | Part IV Part V

all images original to lark & linen

ps. A big thanks to Tieks who sent me a pair of their ballerina pink flats. They literally got me through my entire trip. I HIGHLY recommend them. Super comfy, and they fold up teeny tiny (so perfect for travelling).

CATEGORIES | travel, vacation, wanderings, wanderlust

Positano, The Amalfi Coast part IV

positano_1Ah, Positano… How can I find the words to describe this magical place? We were only here for a day, but I could have happily spent the entire week. Though quite touristy, the beautiful sites make up for the crowds.

At this point in the week, we were pretty exhausted from it all so we really didn’t accomplish anything major. We walked through the windy streets, we sat on the beach, and we made sure to enjoy a drink and a snack at a beachside restaurant. We also managed to find quite a few souvenirs at random little shops (if you do make your way there, check out Nadir. It’s where I picked up these bowls and it was definitely one of the best shops we found on the coast!)

Before making our way back to Maiori at the end of the day, we decided to stop at the Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse. A single drink was essentially more than any other entree we purchased the duration of the trip, so we only stayed for one, but the million dollar views are absolutely unbeatable. I highly recommend this teeny tiny detour as you make your way back up to the bus stop.

positano_2 positano_3 positano_4 positano_5 positano_6 positano_7 positano_8 positano_10positano_9 positano_11 positano_12See: Part I Part II | Part III | Part V

all images original to lark & linen

CATEGORIES | photography, travel, vacation, wanderings

Pompeii, The Amalfi Coast Part III


Next up is the incredibly interesting city of Pompeii. Situated just outside of Naples, it’s a bit of a trek from Amalfi but the journey is well worth it. Pompeii is a city that has intrigued me since my highschool best friends visited almost 10 years ago, and I’m glad I finally got to check it off of my ever growing bucket list.

It is possible to get to Pompeii from the Amalfi Coast via public transit, but logistically it’s a bit of a nightmare. I think we worked out that we’d have to take 2 trains and 2 buses and hope that they all arrived on schedule so we didn’t miss a beat. That being said, though I’m usually anti-tour (I hate being on someone else’s schedule. Maybe I’m a control freak. Maybe.) we did one for this leg of the trip and I think it was a wise choice. If you don’t do a full day tour, I definitely recommend hiring a guide simply to help you tour the ruins. Our guide was incredible – a serious wealth of knowledge. Per her job description, she taught us things we NEVER would have known on our own*, many things we would have completely missed**, which made the experience that much more enriching.

Having been completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the year 79 AD, and only recently discovered (and by “recently” I mean around 250 years ago), the entire Roman city had been almost perfectly preserved under layers upon layers of volcanic ash and pumice. Mosaic flooring perfectly intact, human bodies remain in the exact position they were in at the time of their death, entire buildings still standing… It’s pretty unbelievable to say the least. It gave us a very accurate insight into how people lived so long ago.

That afternoon, we headed out to climb Mout Vesuvius (the very volcano that destroyed Pompeii almost 2000 years ago). It’s still active, and is known as the most deadly volcano in all of Europe. It’s a quick but intense climb (around 30 minutes up a steep incline), but the views are well worth it. Plus? There’s a shop that serves beer and wine at the top (knowing this helped propel us during those last few minutes, I’m not going to lie). Drinking beer & wine on top of a volcano is kind of thrilling, if you ask me.

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*As we walked through what was once the brothel, our guide pointed out faint fresco’s painted above the doorway leading into each room. We were told that each fresco was a representation of a different sexual position. Because many of the prostitutes at the time were slaves and, as a result, didn’t speak the native language, the fresco’s were used so that the men could point and communicate which, um, positions they preferred.

** There were penises carved into the ground throughout the town that would guide you to the location of the brothel. This way, men didn’t need to feel embarrassed while asking for directions. They literally simply had to follow the “signs”. Who knew!

See: Part I Part II | Part IV Part V

all images original to lark & linen


CATEGORIES | photography, travel, vacation, wanderings

Amalfi, The Amalfi Coast Part II

The next leg of our trip brought us to the gorgeous town of Amalfi. As an aside, we actually took the city bus (the Sita!) from Maiori all throughout the Amalfi Coast. It costs a euro or two each way (depending on how far you’re going) and it honestly couldn’t have been simpler. The drive was slightly petrifying (note: two buses passing each other at virtually full speed with merely inches to spare and a 2′ high retaining wall separating you from a ginormous, rocky death? It’ll take a few minutes off your life for sure), however it’s unavoidable no matter which way you navigate the roads. Distract yourself with the glorious vistas an you’ll be good to go!

Though significantly more touristy than Maiori & Minori, Amalfi was everything I could have imagined and more. Incredibly picturesque with all the charm one would expect. We spent the entire day getting lost through back alleys, soaking up the ceiling fresco’s at the Cathedral and eating our weight in gelato (seriously though). Throughout our back alley travels, we stumbled upon the most adorable little restaurant. With no real plans, we decided to stay for a drink and a bite to eat. Unfortunately I couldn’t for the life of me tell you where we ended up (bad blogger!) but we both agree that our afternoon on the teeny patio was our favourite moment of the entire trip. We must have sat there for four hours drinking entirely too much mid-day wine with essentially the whole restaurant all to ourselves. Pure magic, really.

amalfi_2 amalfi_3amalfi_4amalfi_5amalfi_6amalfi_7amalfi_8amalfi_9amalfi_10amalfi_11amalfi_12amalfi_13amalfi_14See: Part I Part III | Part IV Part V

all images original to lark & linen


CATEGORIES | travel, vacation, wanderings

Maiori & Minori, The Amalfi Coast Part I

To be honest, at this point our trip feels like a momentary blip in time. It was beyond anything I could have anticipated, but it almost feels as if it never happened. Daily life has resumed in full force and our trip to Italy has since become a wonderful, yet distant, memory. So it feels especially nice to take the time to write everything out. To preserve it all, if you will.

We stayed in a tiny seaside town named Maiori, situated just a few kilometres east of Amalfi. To be fair, I wasn’t originally blown away by this little place. Having been basically destroyed during a flood in the 50′s and, as a result, since rebuilt, it was lacking that charm I had anticipated the weeks leading up to our trip. Over time, however, it grew on me in huge strides. It was calm, situated off the beaten path and had one of the most glorious, expansive, beaches out of all the places we visited throughout the week. It felt quaint and local and the more we explored the more we fell in love. Our hotel, though inexpensive (hello budget!) and nothing over-the top special, was clean, the staff were friendly and our oversized balcony had views of the glorious emerald coloured seas. We could hear the waves crashing as we drifted to sleep each evening.

Though we had one terrible food experience (my biggest pet peeve!!) on our very first evening (I found a chunk of a can in my pizza. A can!), we quickly learnt the ins and outs of where to frequent for true, local, italian eats. If you do find yourself in Maiori, I highly recommend Dedalo. The staff were crazy friendly, handmade pasta was abundant and the food was incredibly tasty. That being said, we collectively agreed that the best thing we ate the entire trip was also the simplest. It was something we stumbled upon during a moment of desperation while waiting for our bus. We rushed into a local butcher shop and asked him if he could whip us up some form of sandwich to take on the road. He quickly prepared a panini made up of fresh bread, layers of prosciutto sliced thinly before our eyes, and a generous, full-sized ball of buffalo mozerella. It was indescribable and it took all of our energy not to fight over the last bite.  We, of course, ingested a few more before weeks end.

Minori, a sweet tiny town situated just a 12 minute walk west of our hotel, became another spot in which we frequented regularly. Similar to Maiori, felt slightly more modern for the most part, yet had its own charm and personality. After visiting many of the more touristy spots, it was nice to head back to our little neck of the woods and socialize with the locals in these tiny, sleepy towns.

maiori_2maiori_3 maiori_4 maiori_5 maiori_6 maiori_7 maiori_8 maiori_9 maiori_10 maiori_11 maiori_12 maiori_13 maiori_14 maiori_15 maiori_16 maiori_17See: Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
all images original to lark & linen

CATEGORIES | travel, vacation, wanderings

Wanderings: The Amalfi Coast

amalfi-coast-hillside-view_28001_600x450In exactly one weeks time Justin and I will be hopping on a plane to the Amalfi Coast! Excited doesn’t even BEGIN to cover it. We found a crazy, insane, wicked good deal (obsessively checking travel sites sometimes pays off) and jumped at the opportunity.  We’ll be staying in the small town of Maiori, just 10 minutes east of Amalfi. From what I understand, there isn’t a ton happening on in Maiori but it will act as a jumping off point for day trips (Capri, Positano, Sorrento, Pompeii…) Everything happened relatively quickly and we’ve yet to do any legitimate research, so I’m here to ask for advice!  One of my biggest pet peeves is spending money on sub-par food so restaurant recommendations are especially in order.  Please do send anything and everything this way! 

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CATEGORIES | travel, wanderings, wanderlust

Wanderings: Florida

florida - 01Though I’ve been back for just under a week now, I inadvertently took an additional few days off from this ol’ blog here. Is it alright for me to blame the Florida sun? I just couldn’t get my act together last week no matter how hard I tried. But I’m back! And I’ve missed you guys! So in case you were wondering what has kept me away, here’s a little preview in photography format.

Despite the fact that I was working the majority of the time I was gone (once-more, working from “home” proves its worth!), I still managed to squeeze in a bit of fun in the sun (this might be evident from this collection of photos). If I’m being completely honest, this mini getaway could not have come at a better time. Between long hours at “the office”, attempting 3-4 hours of studying each evening, and trying to manage some semblance of a social life (ha!), I had long been burning the candle at both ends (I legitimately thought I might lose it a handful of times there.) But they say that the cure to all ailments is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea, and such statement has never felt more true. So if you’re ever feeling more than overwhelmed, may I suggest the beach? It really does do great things for one’s soul.

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CATEGORIES | life, vacation, wanderings

galway & the cliffs of moher, ireland

We couldn’t leave Ireland without experiencing some of the countryside it has to offer. One day, just before heading home, both Jess and Ian had to head into work which left Justin and I alone to explore. Having wanted to experience The Cliffs of Moher for longer than I can remember, we opted to take a day trip out that way. The drive up was absolutely outstanding; exactly what you’d imagine when envisioning the Irish countryside. At one point we passed a herd of wild miniature horses running through a field and I began to question whether or not the entire journey was even real.

The morning was bright and sunny but in true Ireland form the skies opened up and poured down on us just as we arrived cliff side (of course it waited for us to get far enough away from any form of shelter before hitting torrential downpour status). Though we were soaked through and through, there was very little that could get our spirits down at that point. One of the natural wonders of the world, the cliffs are simply one of those things you have to see to understand. Their grandeur and beauty is difficult to explain in words.

We took a different route home, driving alongside the Galway bay and stopping briefly to take in The Burren Landscape. With a few hours before we needed to head back to Dublin, we made a brief stop in Galway. A small bohemian town, it’s here you’ll find residents littered with talent. Artists, musicians, singers and the like, three hours was not enough to take it all in. I definitely want to make a point to spend more time here in the future.
All in all, an exceptional two weeks.

CATEGORIES | photography, vacation, wanderings

dublin, Ireland

| pretty architecture |

| a sneaky shot of the Trinity College Library. (spotted all over Pinterest) |

| Trinity College campus |

| the river Liffey after a storm |

| views from The Gravity Bar |

| colourful doors are a bit of a thing in Dublin |

| best friends since the 7th grade |

If you ask me, it doesn’t get much better than visiting friends abroad. Especially if said friends have been a part of your life for the better part of fourteen years (holy!). Having “locals” give you a personal tour ultimately means you get to see the very best of the city without a ton of prep-work.

Having almost an entire week with virtually no plans was a nice departure from the go-go-go of the Scottish leg of our trip. We were able to take in the city at a leisurely pace, stopping often for tea and pints of Guinness.

While we naturally took part in some of the must-do activities (the Guinness brewery & high-tea at the Shelbourne obviously being on that list), we also had the opportunity to experience the lesser-known tidbits that Dublin has to offer. Things like incredible restaurants (hello 777 & The Pig’s Ear for starters), vintage shopping and adorable local pubs tucked in back alleys. Jess and Ian graciously put us up in their apartment for the week which not only helped us stay on budget, but brought back memories of childhood sleepover and proved to be a ton of fun. I’ll let them know if any of you need future personal tour guides, knowing them they’d be happy to oblige ;)

CATEGORIES | vacation, wanderings

Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

As mentioned, the primary reason behind this particular trip was so that Justin and I could visit our friends who currently reside in Dublin. We had a fabulous time and  Jess and Ian proved to be fantastic hosts.

Though we spent the majority of the week in Dublin, enjoying the company of our friends, we did manage to head out for two day-trips throughout the week. The first  consisted of a quick ride on the Dart to the cute little town of Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun-Leery – don’t ask me how. Crazy Gaelic language!) Both Jess and Ian are (fabulous) chefs and I won’t lie, our primary reasoning behind this mini-trip was to take in the food market that takes over the park every Sunday. We gorged on fantastic food, walked the old Victorian pier, and treated ourselves to ten minute chair massages for $5 in a nearby tent (best idea all week, let me tell you). It was the perfect start to our Irish adventure.

CATEGORIES | photography, vacation, wanderings

oban, scotland

After we left Stirling, we made our way west to our last stop: Oban. To be honest, this is the portion of the trip I had been looking forward to the most while in the planning process and it did not disappoint. The route takes you through the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park as well as the Argyll Forest which are both incredibly stunning. Three hours of bright green rolling hills, lochs, highland cows (my new favourite animal) and sheep in every other direction. Basically exactly what you’d imagine Scotland to resemble.

We arrived in Oban on Thursday evening, pleasantly surprised at where we were terminating the Scottish portion of our vacation. As a little fisherman’s town right on the coast, it’s here you’ll find some of the best fish and chips in the country. We ended up staying at Heatherfield House,  a sweet little bed and breakfast that I could not recommend more. Gary and Sues home was so well-appointed that they could have given Martha Stewart a run for her money. Our room was impeccable, beautifully decorated in soft shades of grey and yellow, with views of the ocean to boot. Our bathtub had a row of rubber ducks to greet us, their soaps and shampoos had come from a local organic supplier and we found chocolate bars tucked into our robes upon arrival. Not to mention the grounds lined with chickens, providing us farm fresh eggs for breakfast each morning. I’m telling you, a dream.

Though we stayed for two nights, we only had one full day to explore the small town. We decided to take the ferry over to the Isle of Mull to check out the Donegan castle and take in the area by boat. In addition to our mini day trip, not being a scotch drinker myself, I did accompany Justin on the Oban Scotch distillery tour, which ended up being a lot of fun. Naturally, we topped off the day enjoying (the freshest) fish and chips in a little pine cottage overlooking the harbour. Yes, Scotland was good to us.


As a total aside, I realize that these travel posts aren’t usually my standard material. Are you guys getting sick of reading about these journeys yet? I was going to come back next week and share a few posts on Ireland but I wanted to make sure it’s something you guys are interested in! I absolutely adore sharing these things as it’s a nice recount for my own personal memories, but I understand that lots of you come here for the interior design portion of my program. A show of hands and I’ll gladly continue!

CATEGORIES | photography, vacation, wanderings

stirling, scotland

Admittedly, both Justin and I were just a little disappointed when we arrived in Stirling. Though there’s no denying the city had its own particular charm, we both felt it paled in comparison to Edinburgh and St. Andrews. We may have been quick to judge considering we were barely there for twenty-four hours, however we both agreed it lacked the familiar vibe that emanated through the previous two cities. We felt Stirling Castle was too pristine, too restored and re-touched, and each and every pub and restaurant was filled to the brim with tourists. While travelling, we like to make a point of trying to find a local watering hole just off the beaten path. It’s possible that we were simply missing the mark that day, but we just couldn’t seem to track anything suitable down!

That being said we, of course, still managed to enjoy our limited time in Stirling. Our hotel was located just steps away from the castle, with views of rolling hills for miles when we awoke in the morning. Built in 1787, it was originally intended as an all-boys school which has since been converted into rooms to rest ones weary head. If you did want to experience this city for yourself, I would definitely recommend this spot as a place to crash.

CATEGORIES | photography, vacation, wanderings

scenes from my holidays: Barcelona, Spain.

{cupcake shoppe}{sagrada familia}{justin & I}{Gaudi’s Casa Battló}{Cava (& tapas)}{meandering the streets}{the most beautiful architecture}{views from Park Güell}{Park Güell}{sunsets}{small cafes}{bliss}

When all of our original New Years plans began to disintegrate, Justin and I found ourselves searching for a plan B. Originally, we contemplated heading south for a few days to ring in the New Year, just us two, but when we found this amazing deal to Barcelona (it was actually less expensive than 3 days in a sup-par  hotel in Cuba) we knew we had to take it. Booking our trip just two days before leaving (and the day before Christmas), admittedly, gave my type-A personality some serious anxiety but in the end I’m so happy that we did.
We spent 5 nights in what can easily be declared one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever laid eyes on. We hopped from Gaudi building to Gaudi building (seeing the Sagrada Familia in person was so surreal, and I was able to cross something off of my wishing well!), drank cava and ate tapas late into the night, enjoyed our fair share of inexpensive beer and sangria and meandered the streets at will. We rung in the New Year in an old tavern, complete with walls that had been built in the 11th century, eating grapes with locals as the clock struck twelve*. I can already feel that 2012 is going to be a good one.

*the Spanish tradition is to ring in the New Year with food and family. At midnight, you are to eat 12 grapes, one at a time, before the clock stops ringing. Every grape you fail to eat is equivalent to a month of bad luck in the upcoming year.

CATEGORIES | life, vacation, wanderings

scenes from my weekend {nyc edition}.

{the view atop the Soho House}{red velvet cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery}{shopping in Brooklyn}{the east village}{camembert & honey at Betto}{strolling through Central Park}{Monet’s Water Lillies at the Met}

We managed to jam pack a lot of activities into our 48 hour whirlwind trip to New York. There’s no denying the buzz that hums through the city and I’m convinced that it’s what kept us on our feet for hours on end.

We stayed at my cousins apartment in the East Village. Having someone to show us around proved to be far more time effective than times past when we’ve navigated the city ourselves. Not having planned anything in particular before leaving, we were left with ample time to meander the city at will. We brunched at the Soho House*, perused the High Line, frequented sample sales (hello $198 sequined top for $35) and acted the tourist at Magnolia Bakery. Between Italian tapas in Brooklyn, Sundays strolling through Central Park and hours in the presence of Monets and Van Goghs at the Met I’m left inspired and deeply moved by a city so unbelievably fantastic. It really is unlike no other.

*for the Sex and the City fans, you may recall the episode in which Samantha tries to sneak in to the Soho House after waiting far too long for her own membership. I will not lie, I felt fancy brunching at such a place.

CATEGORIES | life, scenes from my weekend, wanderings

scenes from my week.

There’s something special about returning to a place where time seems to have stood still; a place that I’ve been frequenting for the last 25 years of my life, and can count on the fact that the juice glasses will remain the same, as do the pots, the pans and the stove that is surely from the 50′s and has helped feed its fair share. Visiting my cottage in Thunder Bay is one of those spots that holds ridiculously happy childhood memories and I hold it very close to my heart. It’s a place the epitomizes a Canadian summer: the fridge is always full of beer, when you walk through the bush, you must have a bear whistle tied around your wrist, just in case, the lake is refreshingly cold and the sunsets would make your heart skip a beat.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent the large majority of my week lounging on the dock, catching up on books that I’ve been meaning to get through but could never finish due to a lack of spare time. While I was originally fretting about the idea of being in the middle of nowhere with no connection to the outside world for an entire week, something I haven’t done since I was quite young, it ended up being just the ticket. Having literally nothing that needed to be done but watch the waves roll in, or the sun set over the lake was a welcome change from my mind reeling with a million different thoughts, ideas and things that need to be done. After adjusting to the thought of being able to read for four uninterrupted hours, I settled in just fine. While I wasn’t curled up on the front porch with a book, I passed the time listening to my 89 year old grandpa tell stories from the 1930′s, playing scrabble on the front port and eating my weight in home-cooked meals. One evening in particular was spent sitting on the boathouse for over an hour just watching an electrical storm off in the distance. It was easily one of the most amazing (and eerie) sights I’ve experienced.

I must admit though, I am happy to be back amidst the hustle and the bustle of my busy city life, only now with a clearer frame of mind. But if I can offer any advice (and this is something I’m sure I’ll have to refer back to in the near future) it’s that it’s okay to sit and watch the rain fall for a solid half an hour. In fact, it’s encouraged. It does more good than you know.

CATEGORIES | life, scenes from my weekend, vacation, wanderings

wanderings: morocco.

Ever since returning from India (check out the details on that trip here), I’ve been hit with the travel bug. Hard. It’s taking all of my might to not pack up and leave to some exotic place once more. At this moment in time, it’s unfortunately not a possibility for me. However, it just so happens that my cousin is away in Morocco. The girl keeps sending me these incredible pictures that leave my jaw agape and I just needed to share the beauty of such a wonderful place with you. If I can’t travel myself at this moment, I can at least attempt to live vicariously through her.

ps: how awesome is her hair? Sometimes I send her creepy messages telling her I just want to touch it. Sometimes. AND now that you think I’m sufficiently weird, I am off!

CATEGORIES | photography, Uncategorized, wanderings

india part II: jaisalmer.

{colourful details lining the streets of jaisalmer}{deserted streets – save for a lone cow, naturally}{an efficient way to carry ones parcel (the beginning of some impressive balancing acts we witnessed)}{views of the city from the jaisalmer fort}{rows of turbans just dying to be photographed}{my camel, daniel (I couldn’t have come up with a more suitable name)}

{trekking through the thar desert}

The second leg of our trip took us south to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. We stayed in a $10 a night hostel that was easily nicer than most hotels I’ve visited in Canada. I shared a room with my aunt and we lucked out by being placed in a room with thick stone walls, hot pink silk curtains and bright cotton bed spreads.

After touring the Jaisalmer fort and palace (at 850 years old, it’s the oldest fort in the world that still has inhabitants living within its walls), scoping our many a pashmina and spending an evening sitting atop our hostel roof with the owner, eating and drinking some of his personal specialties under the stars, I didn’t think the trip could get much better.

Our second day in Jaisalmer brought about a camel trek that we had previously arranged. We were driven into the centre of the Thar desert to meet our trek leaders and our respective camels. Mine was named Daniel and he was quite handsome, if you can’t tell.

After a three hour camel ride further into the desert, we stopped to set up camp on top of the dunes. While we watched the sun set over the sand, our trek leaders began to cook our meal over a small fire, and proceeded to bring us cups of hot, homemade chai while we relaxed (and maybe played in the sand… a little).

Next, we feasted on an incredible meal of dal, rice and homemade chapatis (did I mention all of this was done over the fire?!), we hung out telling stories before retreating to cots that had been set up for us under the wide open sky. We drifted off to sleep after watching countless shooting stars, and it was easily one of the best nights of my entire life.

(See Part IPart III & Part IV)

CATEGORIES | holidays, vacation, wanderings

wanderings: India.

found herehere & here

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard me rambling on about a trip I’ve recently booked.

You guys, I’m gong to India! INDIA! I flip-flop between utter delight and extreme excitement (like the want-to-jump-up-and-down-and-scream-EEEE kind), to nerves and anxiety and back again. Can we talk about how the flight is 18 hours long?! That’s a heckuva long time to be suspended in the air. But nonetheless, I’m going to India! I can’t even wrap my mind around this. I can’t get over how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to take such an adventure in my lifetime. I’m so grateful.

My cousin and his girlfriend have been in Delhi since December and have invited me to be their guest. We’ll begin in Delhi and make our way to Agra for a day before heading to Rajasthan for even more adventure. I leave on May 1st and will return on the 15th with a buttload of pictures and stories to share with all of you. Taj Mahal, here I come!

CATEGORIES | life, wanderings