CASUAL ON CANADA DAY

Happy Canada Day! Hope you had an awesome long weekend. I did! We usually don't go all out and celebrate Canada Day in my family because it's also my mom's birthday, but wearing red and white is good enough - right??

I've been into wearing white tees so far this summer - I know, Melissa in white?! - but it's true! I don't know what it is, but I've been reaching for graphic white tees way too much already and summer just started. I loved how these wide leg jeans looked on the model online, but they're shorter on me than they're supposed to be (i think) and they hit my calves justtttt where I hate it haha. As you may remember, I have fat fat legs, and certain cuts of pants and boots really make me self-conscious. But, yolo. Add platform red sandals to pull in a red theme - that's what real bloggers do, right?

Tee from Winners | Jeans from Topshop | Sandals from Forever 21

Tbh, this jeans didn't stay on all day because it was just SO hot and we were outside bbqing and just hanging out playing with sparklers and watching fireworks. My fave food lately is sweet potato - throwing it in the coals of a fire, bbqing it, baking it, anything. V easy and v delicious for the vegans out there.

This is was a short and sweet post mostly about what I wore for Canada Day, but I thought I'd share it anyway since one of my summer goals is to post on my blog once a week. I may or may not be behind already, heh.

Hope you had a fun Canada Day!

x Melissa


OUR ANNIVERSARY IN KITCHENER

For our anniversary, we wanted to have a mini getaway just the two of us, so we packed up and headed to Kitchener. I know what you're thinking: ....why Kitchener? Well, tbh, because it wasn't too far, and we found a cool hotel to stay in. That's ittttt!

So, we stayed at the Walper Hotel in Downtown Kitchener. It's a boutique hotel (whatever that means) and it's actually really nice on the inside! They have lovely large windows in most of their common areas which light up the rooms and makes it v. photograph ready. 

The suites are all stocked with your very own kettle and pour over coffee maker. They deliver complimentary coffee, coffee filters and tea right to your suite. It's pretty easy to make pour over coffee, but I was a littlllee clueless without a scale.

There's not tooooo much to do Downtown Kitchener, but we made the best of it haha. There are a lottt of restaurants, a cool vintage store called White Tiger Vintage Boutique, We visited The Museum, which is right across from The Walper, and it was pretty fun. It's more geared towards kids, but we still had fun. The highlight for us was prob the green screen lol.

We're both currently vegan, so we kept our eyes peeled for good vegan places. We found the Yeti, which is not fully vegan, but they have vegan options, and Cafe Pyrus which is completely vegan. The lavender peppermint lemonade at the Yeti was nummy! 

I. Love. Cafes. So much. I always look for ones that look cool on the inside and that has good coffee (duh) (although I don't drink coffee anymore because I'm scared for my heart after all my health issues this year - anyway.) One of the cafes we just came across while walking around was Show + Tell Coffee. It's a pretty small place, but definitely has it's own aesthetic. Jerome got an iced golden latte, and I got an iced matcha latte. They have a dairy-free option which is an almond and coconut milk mix and is super good.

The standout cafe for us was Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters. The interior was really cool and vibey. The Walper gets their coffee from this cafe, so it must be good! I got yet another matcha latte and it was sooo good. One of the best ones I've had in a while.

A little unrelated, I've been using the app Huji Cam a bit (a lot) for photos to remember the dates of when I took the picture, and I love it! It can sometimes make skin tones pretty orange, so just desat it in another app. The app has effects that you can put on random for light leaks and such, so it makes it fun wondering how it'll turn out.

Not a very crazy post or anything, just wanted to share where we stayed (cause we'd recommend staying there - it's also a beautiful place to have a wedding) and a bit of what we got up to in Kitchener (mainly which cafes we liked because we always look for cool cafes.)

I know, I know, it's kinda random to have a night out in Kitchener, but I was actually born there!

 

Lemme know what other cities or areas are worth a night away!

x Melissa


FOOD & RAPTORS IN DETROIT

I didn't think I'd make a blog post on this short trip because I didn't take any pictures with my camera. I snapped some quick pictures on my phone for personal memories, but I started this blog as a place to keep my memories, so I decided to make a post anyway!

Jerome's brother, our sister-in-law, Jerome and I visited Detroit back in early April to watch the Toronto Raptors play the Detroit Pistons. Detroit is about 3.5ish hours from Toronto, and it's a pretty chill drive. We didn't do anything too exciting other than eat a heck of a lot, shop, walk around the city, and watch the game. I didn't take too many pictures, but I'll still share if you care, ha.

Yummy places in Detroit:

*you can click the italicized names of the restaurant to check out their website

Pizza Papalis in Greektown.
Deep. Dish. Pizza. It takes about 45 minutes for the pizza, but guys, it's so worth the wait. I'm lactose intolerant (so badly that I think I could be allergic) but some things are worth the pain. This was one. 

The Hudson Cafe.
I didn't take pictures here because I don't usuallyyy take pictures of food, but this is a really good breakfast/brunch place. Oh, and they have red velvet pancakes.

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters.
This is a coffee shop that I picked. The second we walked in Jerome was like yup, you would pick this place. They're all about coffee, desserts and live music.

Bon Bon Bon.
If you love chocolate, this is the place for you. They have a lot of flavours to choose from, even vegan options, and they come wrapped in really cool packaging. I liked the matcha one the best.

Downtown Detroit has a lot of beautiful architecture and we kept having to stop to look up at buildings and take pictures. 

The Raptors game was a lot of fun, and that's coming from me. We sat behind the Raptor's bench, and we were so close that I could use portrait mode on the back of their heads haha. We had a poster and made it onto TV a couple times. I even got a double thumbs up from Demar Derozan when I was trying to get his attention with the poster. 

Detroit will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my grandma's hometown. It was really nice to be able to make fun memories with my new family.

What are some other States that we should visit?
Leave a comment with your suggestions!

x Melissa


MINI UPDATE

Wow, I haven't written a new blog post in AGES.....

I thought I'd do a bit of a life update considering I haven't posted since January!


As some people may know, I had some trouble with my health at the start of the year. Around Christmas, I started to feel foggy and light headed, I had heart palpitations and incredibly painful neck pains. On January 9, I had a doctors appointment and told her about what I've been feeling and she told me I have a heart murmur but she thought nothing of it and sent me home. That same night I ended up in the ER because I felt like I was about to pass out many times and my heart rate would escalate. The doctor at the ER told me that he can't diagnose it in the ER, but he said that it was "probably a panic attack" and sent me home. I automatically knew it wasn't because I've had panic attacks before and this was completely different. 

Cut to January 12, and I was back in a different ER. I was starting to pass out again, and my heart rate went from a resting rate to 160 bpm in a split second. The doctor didn't believe me when I said that happened, but he let me stay in the ER hooked up to a monitor just in case we caught it. Thankfully, just before the doctor was about to release me, it happened again. Twice. I was completely fine then all of a sudden I would feel myself passing out and my heart rate would jump to around 160. I was then admitted into the cardiology department as well as referred to see a neurologist. 

Long story short, I had x-rays, ultrasounds, ECGs, heart rate monitors, echocardiograms, MRIs, I was tested for the flu and thyroid problems, I had so many blood tests and nothing was found. Which is so amazing, but also kind of frustrating because I still to this day have no idea what was wrong with me. For all of January I was dizzy, lightheaded, weak, tired, in pain from my neck.... I couldn't even walk around because I was so dizzy and couldn't hold myself up. I was just not myself and I remember looking in the mirror wondering if I was still in there. 

It's almost the end of May now, and I still have the odd neck pain here and there and I still have the odd heart palpitation episode. But thank God that I'm feeling almost 100%. I've been trying to take care of myself more, even though I was overall healthy before and while all of this was happening. I've been staying away from caffeine, too much sugar, alcohol, and I've been easing out of having dairy. And I'm back to being vegetarian - even though it's only recently. Who knows, maybe I'll be vegan for my next update!

Even though I've been feeling so much better, I've definitely let this whole ordeal affect my life a lot. My life was on hold for a month and a half and I feel like I'm only just starting to get it back on track now. This was definitely a learning experience, and my first health issue, but I surprised myself in how strong and brave I felt. I did have a little cry the night before I got the results of my brain scan, but I had a cuddle with my husband and felt ready and courageous on the day of. I told myself not to freak out and not to worry until there was something to actually worry about. I'm so thankful that everything turned out to be okay. 

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Remember to try and not worry about the future too much. You never know what will happen - just take things as they come. It's something I've really been working on throughout the years, and it actually helped me so much while going through this.

Thanks for reading this mini life update. Enjoy these beautiful spring days!
 


x Melissa


2017 FAVOURITES

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R!
I thought I'd make my first post of 2018 about my faves of 2017. They range from fashion to skincare to TV shows to full on randomness. I'm so late in posting this, but I've been having some health issues and haven't been able to do much this whole month.

Anyway, let's jump right in!

 

FASHION:

I'll start with what I believe to be my most worn shoes of the year. My espadrilles. I wore them from late spring to early fall. (They're from Winners and were like $30!) They have juuuust the right amount of platform to them to add a little somethin' to an outfit. 

Next up is my mini duffle bag purse from Urban Outfitters. Mini purses were v popular in 2017, and there was never really any that caught my eye until I saw this one. I've been using it everyday (even to this day) since I got it.

 

SKINCARE:

Skincare is something that I've always struggled with because I am seriously allergic to everything; I use only Lush products on my face. Two products from Lush that really worked for me in 2017 are: Don't Look At Me, which is a bright blue face mask (that smells like Fruit Loops), and Grease Lightning, which I use for spot treatment. I've tried so many brands in different price ranges and the only place that doesn't make me get hives or rashes is Lush.. and I love them for it.

 

MISC:

I'm pretty sure that my favourite music-wise for 2017 was John Mayer's A Search for Everything album. I listened to it srsly nonstop. Jerome even got me tickets to see him for my birthday! My favourite song from the album is probablyyyyy.... Moving On and Getting Over.

I've been trying to figure out what my favourite show of the year was.. (other than Game of Thrones cause that obv wins every year for the rest of time). I think right now it's a toss up between Westworld and Attack on Titan: Part 2. It's between those two because I can still remember my reactions to things that happen haha. (I have a very expressive face)


LOCAL:

I think our favourite restaurant of the year goes to Fresh. It's a vegetarian place and we've ordered from them an unreasonable amount. Some of our fave things to get are the squash tacos, the urban detox cold pressed juice, the quinoa onion rings, and maybe a cookie or two. 

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Staying at the Buffalo Farm was great because it was nice to be able to disconnect and be out in the peace and quite for once. When you live in the city, it's key to be take time to step away even for a night or two to clear your head.

For my dad's birthday, his request was to go curling together. We've never tried it before, but it was actually so fun. We all fell at least once, and it was srsly so much harder than it looks. My team won (yaaas) and lemme tell ya, my abs were sore the next day! My only suggestion if you ever try curling is to not wear skinny jeans; you can't bend how you need to bend or get as low as you need to go.

 

LIFE:

Being able to go visit 6 different countries. In 2017, we went to the US, the Philippines, Indonesia, Iceland, the UK, and Spain. We've been very blessed to be able to travel these past couple years. 

One of the best things of the year was our decision to become vegetarians. We've both felt just overall better. We became vegetarian on May 1st after getting back from our trip to the Philippines.
*edit* Unfortunately I am no longer vegetarian due to some health issues I've been dealing with so far this year. I"m super bummed that I didn't reach the one year mark, but hey, sometimes you gotta choose health. I'm now pescatarian. 

So, those were just some random favourites of mine for 2017 - what were some of yours?

I really hope 2017 was a really great year for you, and that 2018 will be even better!

x Melissa


THE BUFFALO FARM

In October, Jerome and I had the opportunity to drive up to Northern Ontario to take photos of The Buffalo Farm for Escape Toronto. We were there from the 11th to the 13th. We always jump at the opportunity to travel whether it's overseas or here in Ontario; but, we were especially keen on this trip because it happened to be around our anniversary. We got married on a Friday the 13th, so we count those as a special day to us, but October the 6th is our dating anniversary and it was our 10th year celebrating (fricking long I know)!

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We stayed in a yurt, which is round covered tent, for the two nights we were there. The property has 2 yurts and a teepee, and we were some of the first people to be able to stay in their newer larger yurt. There's no electricity or running water, but it is so cozy and has a wood oven that you almost forget about electricity and water (emphasis on the almost because we needed to charge camera batteries so thank goodness for our Jeep that has a socket).

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In the evenings we would light every candle we could find, and open the door for the fire oven to warm up the place because it can get very chilly. We cooked pasta in the dark and brought a bottle of wine to enjoy by the fire - everything was by candle light; v cute for our anniversary, haha.

We woke up to everything covered in frost on our first morning. It was freezing cold, but man, it was beautiful. There's a river a few feet away from the yurt and all the foliage around it was dusted white. You can canoe along the river, but we didn't have the chance to because other guests got dibs before us.

The sunlight that comes in from the little window on the side of the yurt is insane. It casts the best shadows on everything it touches. We both took hundred of photos and kept saying, "okay, we took enough, we gotta stop".

The farm has buffalo, horses and cows. If you're a bit of a light sleeper the cows mooing in the wee hours of the morning will probably wake you up, but that's because they graze right beside the yurt.

The area around the yurt is so peaceful and quiet (other than the cows). It's a great place to just get away for a night or two and take a break from the big city. The yurt can sleep up to 8, but it's just one big room so be sure to bring people you like, ha!

Lemme know if there are any other hidden gems in Ontario that you know about!
 

x Melissa

COZY COATS FOR FALL

I know I'm not alone with thinking autumn is the best season; the cooler weather, the changing leaves, layering clothes, wearing beanies everyday - just to name a few faves cause there's just so much to love. And now that it's officially autumn, it's time to bust out my fall jackets!

I recently bought a couple new jackets because my brisk weather coat collection was seriously lacking! (I have one leather jacket that I wear 24/7 and have had for all the years that now has a hole in it that I can't be bother to get patched).

Is it weird to start off with my honourable mention? Yes? Well I'm gonna do it anyway. And it goes to my MEC jacket. It's waterproof, windproof, and great for fall. It ain't so "fashionable" and doesn’t match any AW trends, but sometimes you just need to choose warmth, non?

I decided that I needed to update my leather jacket situation - although tbh I'll never throw my Danier one away - so I purchased one from Zara. My first ever Zara purchase. Turns out, I love it. I searched long and hard for a leather jacket that a) was more on the matte side, b) the hardware (buttons and zippers) weren't so glaringly silver or gold, and c) had flexible material.

Denim jackets are popular now-a-days so I thought I'd try to hop on trend and grab one. Turns out I'm really picky when it comes to denim jackets. I wanted one that wasn't stiff, had some wear to it, and just fit right while still being slouchy. I bought this one from Boohoo because it's longer, has lining and is black. (Don’t mind how hideous it looks with my v long cardi).

Teddybear style jackets are super "in" right now. I got this Brandy Melville furry coat as a gift, and it's a bit of a bomber style teddybear jacket and it's cosy for a different take on the trend. 

OKOKOK, the best for last. My favourite jacket of all time. One of my most expensive purchases that I just seriously couldn't say no to. This was my first - and only - purchase from Nordstrom. A black teddy bear coat ........and that's all she wrote.

photos by: my husband Jerome

 

What are your favourite coats to wear for fall? Lemme know!

x Melissa
p.s I know my poses are super weird and awkward.. I'm weird and awkward so... Couldn't be helped!


A SPANISH SUMMER

From late July to early August, Jerome and I were in Spain hiding from the heat and eating all the patatas bravas. We took a cab up to Montserrat Monastery and lemme tell you, it's so beautiful; the mountainous views and the monastery itself, just wow. There's a bit of a hike to get up to a cross called 'The Cross of San Miguel' but it has an amazing view of the mountains and the little city around the monastery. 

The mountains were so pretty that we probable could have stayed and taken photos all day long. There were mountains and valleys as far as the eye could see.

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The monastery was massive. Beautiful stained glass windows, intricate details everywhere, pews filled with people, hundreds of candles. The monastery has signs that said not to take photos, but everyone in there were took photos so.... I only took a couple. I was too nervous to take photos while walking through, so I didn't take any past the main sanctuary.

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We stayed in Barcelona only for a couple of nights, and for part of our trip we stayed in a city called Girona which is in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region. We were lucky enough to stay at Jerome's cousin's in-laws' house for the week. It was a beautiful old Spanish house with so much character.

We took an afternoon to walk around the city, and saw the Girona Cathedral where we had some serious Game Of Thrones vibes and Jerome kept shaming everyone who talked by. (It wasn't filmed there, but it had tons of stairs down the front that brought out the Septa Unella in Jerome).

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We ended up walking the Passeig de la Muralla which is a long wall-type thing that goes around a bit of the city. We were able to catch a beautiful sunset that we were all just gawking at and taking tons of photos and video of.

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We flew to Ibiza for our last couple of nights in Spain. I was kind of dreading going to Ibiza because it's a huge party city and there are always parties and party people everywhere. To my surprise, there were a lot of families with small children everywhere. On our last day in Ibiza, we went on a boat tour that took us around to different beaches and places to swim. We also had a great view of the sunset.

Spain is such a beautiful place to visit. People that like to visit hot places would definitely enjoy themselves. There's so much character, nice beaches, great food (tapas all day everyday). If you haven't thought about visiting Spain, it's time to get to planning your trip!

 

x Melissa


FAVOURITE FALL FOOTWEAR

Fall = nippy weather = cold toes = no sandals = wear all the boots.

Ahh, it's that time of year once again where I try to get my fat legs into boots. I have a few basic pairs that I reach for all the time, but recently bought a couple to add to my wardrobe. So I thought I'd share my favourite boots that I wear for fall!

Let's start off with chelsea boots; you really can't go wrong with a pair of classic chelsea boots. Everyone and their mother has a pair, so you'll just fit right in! Bummer though that I got these a size too small - I still wear them but just with really thin socks and for short periods of time, ha. This pair is from Little Burgundy; I got them as a Christmas gift a couple years ago.

I thought I'd try to add this Zara pair of more "dressy" boots to my collection, although to most people these probably aren't dressy at all (I rarely "dress up" nice because.. well... I don't like it). The stud detail and the shape of the toe caught my eye for this pair so I thought I'd try it out. The cut is a little higher than I realized, so to be honest, it makes my legs feel even fatter than I already feel like they are. 

My eyes went right to these boots the second I scrolled to them on the Zara site. They are something different for me again because my style is seriously non-existent. I thought: suck it up man and try something new! So I did! And I actually really like them. I usually hate patent everything, but the zip and ring detail was too intriguing.

Lastly, another pair of boots you really can't go wrong with is a pair of Doc Martens. The only problem with these is that breaking them in is a b..unch of trouble. I stupidly wore these around Tokyo walking around for 10+ hours everyday to break them in and had all the blisters; but, I just kept wearing them and after all the tears they finally got worn in. I know a lot of people tie these up all the way, but I just can't be bothered. I hate lacing up shoes so for these I just made it so the laces were just loose enough that I could slip in and out of the boot with ease.

photos by: my husband Jerome

What are your go-to boots for autumn?

 

x Melissa

p.s I rarely try new things fashion-wise but am slowly trying to step out of my comfort zone!


FEELING THANKFUL

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays and it’s right around the corner!

I thought I’d share a few things that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. I snapped some photos of things around my house (mostly plants it seems like) because I really am thankful for every little blessing in my life.

• I'm thankful that God has blessed me with so many things to be thankful for
• I’m thankful for my husband and that he has a career that he loves
• I’m thankful that my husband is able to support our little family while I try to find direction in my own life
• I’m thankful for my parents and their unconditional love
• I’m thankful for the relationship I’ve built with my younger sister because even though we live in different cities we still talk every day
• I’m thankful for my older sister and the encouragement she’s given me my entire life
• I’m thankful for my puppy because he can instantly make people happy cause he's so weird
• I’m thankful for my brothers and sister in law because I suck at making friends and they’re the closest things I have
• I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head
• I’m thankful that I live in Canada
• I’m thankful for being able to explore the world
• I’m thankful that I found the courage to start my blog
• I’m thankful that I was able to learn photography
• I'm thankful for the people that take the time to read my posts

But let's not forget spending time with loved ones, baking pies, eating mashed potatoes with gravy, the smell of pumpkin candles, chai tea, cooler weather, orange leaves, boot season, cosy nights.... (just to name a few more).

There's always so much to be thankful for even when life gets tough and when the world seems so bleak. In the darkest of times, let's try to remember to be thankful for the goodness in the world and let's make sure to spread the love.

This will be my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, so wish me luck!

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

 

x Melissa


DARING IN DENIM

I know what you're thinking: 'This chick thinks wearing blue jeans is daring? PFFT, laaaame!'

Let me tell you something about myself: I HATE HATE HATE buying pants. Jeans, jeggings, leggings, shorts, you name it, I hate it. For my entire life, I've struggled with finding bottoms that fit my figure. I would sob in every change room wishing for something - anything - to fit. Everything that fit my waist didn't (and still doesn't) fit my bum and legs and vice-versa. Now let me be honest with you: after getting married, I gained 10 lbs. It all kind of happened in 2016 when most of the weight came. It hit my arms, waist and thighs. My New Years resolution for 2017 was to lose that 10 lbs. And I actually did it!

Cut to: Summer 2017. I was determined to try to buy new jeans. I was on the hunt for black jeans because for years now it's what I've been used to wearing (I love black, it's my favourite colour). I saw that Abercrombie & Fitch was having a sale on jeans so I went in thinking I was just gonna walk right back out because nothing would fit. I tried on a pair of black jeggings and surprise, surprise they didn't fit. I was about to walk out and when I came across a pair of 'Girlfriend Jeans'. I was kind of taken aback by how much I liked them because they were light coloured denim (I don't ever like light coloured anything really). I tried them on for poops and giggles ready to be sad about how it won't fit when to my surprise, they fit. Like, perfectly(ish).

I was able to buy 2 different light coloured jeans that day - and they both fit me pretty well. It takes some courage for me to wear them because they're so out of my comfort zone, but I'm slowly but surely getting more comfortable wearing them.

 

I know so many people won't really care about this post, but this seriously such a big deal for me that it makes me kinda emotional. I've always thought, 'I really couldn't give a crap about what other people think about my body shape. It's how I'm made and you know what.. it makes me, well... me'. I just wish there were more brands that understand that not every gal is skinny. Being skinny isn't a goal in my life, but being able to be comfortable in my skin is.

 

x Melissa


THE PHILIPPINES pt. ii

On the second half of our trip to the Philippines we flew over to Coron which is an island in the province of Palawan. We saw beautiful sunsets, went snorkeling, saw sunken ships, kayaked, got eaten by mosquitoes, and got sun-burnt. I didn't take very many photos while there because we did a lot of swimming, and to be honest, I was pretty worn out from the rest of the trip.

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If you're up for a bit of a trek, Mt. Tapyas has 742 steps that lead to a hollywood-style ‘CORON’ sign that's on a hill just below a cross. We sweat buckets getting to the top, but there was such a beautiful view of the ocean. And there were hills on hills on hills! We stayed for sunset, which was so nice because we didn't have to go down a bunch of steps in the heat of the day. The steps aren't very lit at night, so be sure to bring a flashlight!

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We spent a day on a boat tour that took us to different beaches and areas to snorkel. We brought a Sony Action Cam with us on this trip, and lemme just say how much of a bummer it turned out to be. It worked fine above water, but once we put it under water, it was just not capable of focusing on .... anything really. It was such a let down. Blurry fish, blurry sunken ship, blurry everything. Ugh... The worst.

The three last photos were taken with the Sony Action Cam: see how blurry it is underwater? UGH.
Hope you like this short and sweet post!

 

x Melissa


BALI, INDONESIA

Not many people know that in-between our 2 weeks in the Philippines we flew over to Bali, Indonesia and spent a week exploring the city and relaxing at the pool. We stayed at the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. We had our own private pool, an amazing view of rice fields, huge windows, and delicious free breakfasts every morning. 

Our first evening there we walked around Sanur Beach. It's nice if you like the whole being surrounded by hundreds of people thing. The beach was nuts and so was the little city area. There are SO many tourists in Sanur... and well.. Bali...

We decided to take a private guided tour around Bali and Ubud. We saw a ton of things and it was really fun (and hot). The first stop was to see a waterfall (duh) but I can't remember what the heck it was called. It was a cool waterfall but it was definitely a tourist trap - I mean spot.

Have you heard about poop coffee before? It's made from coffee beans that an animal called a luwak eats and poops out. It doesn't taste like poo, don't worry. The luwak eats the whole pod and it gets washed a buncha times and they pick the beans out and then they do whatever else they do to make coffee. As you can tell, I didn't really pay attention to the process, but I did take a couple pictures!

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We stopped by a temple - called Goa Gajah, I think - and at temples in Bali you have to wear a sarong wrap and you can't enter if you're menstruating or pregnant. It was fun feeling a bit Balinese wearing a sarong, but man it was flipping hot! It reached 39°C that day! The temple had statues that were hundreds of years old although some of them were destroyed by weather throughout the years. The stone carving are so intricate and pretty insane.

The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is a very well-known tourist spot. There were lots of people, tons of mosquitos, and like 400 monkeys. I love animals, but these monkeys are actually a bit scary. You can buy bananas to feed them and they'll full out climb you to get it.. and our guide said not to look the monkeys in the eyes because they'll become aggressive and attack you. There were stone sculptures of monkeys, dragons, and beautifully detailed stone bridges.

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We spent a lot of our time in Bali relaxing in our villa and swimming in the pools. One of my favourite things about Bali was the food. We got fresh local fruits everyday like dragonfruit and mangosteen, we tried babi guling and nasi gureng (ugh gimme), and every morning I ordered miso soup that I've been dying to have again.. One thing that totally threw me off though were the green oranges. I feel like I always say this, but little known fact about me: for as long as I can remember I mix up the colours green and orange... I have no idea why, but I've always confused them! So of course I had to take a picture of the fruit nightmare.

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Every night we would have the mosquito nets drawn with a citronella candle burning as we watched the sky turn to a beautiful pink.

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Sorry that this post was pretty long.. Once I get writing these things all the memories hit me and I can't wait to read these posts back one day in the future and feel like it was only yesterday that got to experience all of this.

 

x Melissa


THE PHILIPPINES pt. i

Let me be honest here, I was not so stoked on going to the Philippines for two whole weeks in April. I didn't want to go, but I figured it would be nice to make new memories with my husband and to experience the Philippines together. (It was my first time going, but Jerome has gone a few times). The flight was about 18 or so hours, and it started off fine - we each got a row to ourselves in business class - until a lady from economy class literally threw her bag onto my legs and took over my row. I was super annoyed and got maybe an hour of sleep, but it was alright because Jerome was sweet enough to wipe his boogers on her while she slept.

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When people tell you that the Philippines is hot and humid, they're not joking around. It was crazy hot and I don't think it was even summer yet. Lemme tell you about Manila traffic: it's the freaking worst. I got car sick 9/10 times we drove anywhere because it's just stop and go traffic for hours and hours. Our drive from the airport to where we were staying took 4 hours when it should have taken like 1. No joke.  AND drivers there don't follow the lanes so it's just seriously so bonkers.

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We stayed at Jerome's family's house here and there, and it's super cute and reminded me of my late grandparents' apartment with so many knick-knacks and memories. I loved how colourful it was from the outside. I wasn't too keen on being woken up early in the mornings with men yelling, "TAHO!" but I'll admit, taho is pretty good. I think I did a good job of trying a lot of Filipino foods I haven't even heard of before.

During the first couple days of the trip, we took a drive to Baler in Aurora Provence. The drive wasn't too bad at first, but I did get more carsick towards the end. Our first stop in Baler was to Mother Falls, a waterfall. It was a fun hike to get to the waterfall because we had to trek through rivers - I wore the wrong shoes and kept slipping so I had to borrow slippers from Jerome's mom's friend; a little awkward but a total life saver. There was so much spray coming from the waterfall that I didn't get many photos of it because I didn't want to ruin my camera or my new phone.

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We then drove to Ermita Hill and climbed a ton of stairs to get to the cross at the top. History says that a tsunami hit Baler and this became a place for people to retreat to should there be another tsunami or storm. It wasn't entirely worth the climb for me.. but Jerome brought his drone and he got all the good shots and footage haha.

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A lot of people wouldn't know this about me: I love swimming, but I'm terrified of drowning. That being said, I rarely say no to swimming especially at a beach because I love the ocean. Getting all sandy, the salt water burning my eyes, catching hermit crabs, looking for shells, being tossed by waves - all of it! We went to a beach owned by a senator in Baler. The water was a bit chilly at first, but it was so hot out so it was refreshing. There were just enough waves closer to the shore and pretty calm waters just past the peak of the waves. It's always relaxing floating on my back with my hands behind my head with the water drifting me away a bit.

There were so many stray dogs at the beach. They were so cute just relaxing in the shade.

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We went to Balete Tree which is a 600 year old tree. It was the biggest tree I've ever seen. We were able to climb inside and shimmy through the branches. It was pretty cool on the inside, but there were so many spider webs that I was in and out pretty quick.

On our way back to Manila, I got so so car sick. We stopped by Chow King for dinner and I couldn't eat because I was so nauseated - I couldn't even take the smell of the restaurant so I had to sit outside and had a bit of a cry haha. The next day we just wanted to relax so we got massages. I've never gotten a massage before and it was definitely not the best start; it was soo painful. We also did cupping which was very scary. The lady didn't do much on me because every single time she lit the cotton, put the cup, and released it, I jumped. It just made my back really ticklish I guess! It also didn't hurt, it more just felt like something really heavy crushing my ribs haha.

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Most of the photos in this post were taken on my iPhone because I screwed up the settings in my new camera.. Oops.....

Part ii coming soon!

 

x Melissa


INCREDIBLE ICELAND

I've been avoiding writing this blog post for sometime now. Why? Because Iceland was and still is my ultimate travel destination; my dream place to travel. I've wanted to hold these memories in for as long as possible - squeeze them into my memory. When Jerome surprised me with the trip for my birthday, I had no idea how to react.

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We rented a car and drove the entire 'Ring Road' which is the highway that does around all of Iceland. It was an insane amount of driving, and my husband was the lone driver, but it was worth it. He let me go to - most - of the places on my list, and I had a freaking long list of places I wanted to see. We saw over 30 waterfalls, and we ain't complaining!

Everywhere you look there's something beautiful. We had to pull over so many times because either I wanted to photograph something or Jerome wanted to take video of another thing. Our daily drives to our planned destinations were always hours more than we planned because of all the stops we made along the way.

On this trip I shot with my husband's Sony A7S, and looking back now, I wish I brought a higher megapixel camera with higher resolution. My photos aren't the greatest quality which really bums me out, but hey, that just means we have to go back!

Something I really wanted to do was get up close to Icelandic horses. On the first day we saw horses but we couldn't get close to them because they were on a farm and I didn't want to trespass. Little did we know that on our second day there we would be swarmed by horses on a road while driving. It's one of my fondest memories of our trip because I'm terrified of horses and it was just so hilarious. 

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We set out to see the Sólheimasandur plane crash and it was such a long walk. I was so annoyed at how long the walk was because we spent everyday walking miles and miles and I guess I was just worn out. We made it to the plane just in time for magic hour, so appropriately, it was magical.

We went to see glaciers at a glacier lagoon, but it was so foggy that we thought for sure we wouldn't be able to see anything exciting. But it was absolutely beautiful. I've never seen glaciers or icebergs before, and I was just so amazed. They were so blue even through the thick fog.

It was very windy, pretty cold, and exhausting, but after our first day there we couldn't wait to book our next trip there. I already have a new list of places that I'm super pumped to see.

This post is just an overview of our trip I guess. I'm not sure if I'll do a more in-depth post, but we'll see. Iceland was my favourite trip I've ever been on. I'm so blessed to have a husband who's able to take me to my dream destinations.

 

x Melissa


WHISTLER IN SUMMER

While in B.C, we spent two days in Whistler. When we first got there, I honestly thought it wouldn't be fun because it wasn't winter, there was hardly any snow, and I've always wanted to go snowboarding there. Boy, was I wrong! I loved it soo much.

We rode the peak-to-peak gondolas, and for someone who's kinda afraid of heights, I really enjoyed it. There was so much to photograph; we even saw a baby black bear. Everywhere you look there are vast amounts of trees and mountains.

There's not too much I can say about visiting Whistler because we all just enjoyed the scenery and the cool refreshing breeze of being in the mountains.

We met a guy who said he went to Whistler on vacation and moved there a couple months after and that he hasn't looked back since. I completely understand why he made the move. It is so beautiful and everyone seems so adventurous and free-spirited. The air is so crisp and fresh; I'd consider moving too.

If you're considering going to Whistler in the future, do it. Do it now.

 

x Melissa


FIRST TIME VISITING B.C

This summer was my first time visiting British Columbia. It was so beautiful there. Mountains, lakes and oceans, forests; there was so much to see. We went to see a cute little lighthouse with such an amazing view. It was a bit of a trek that included climbing boulders, but everyone did it! We met a crazy old man who is friends with some of my aunts, and he said that we wasted our time because it was "just a lighthouse", but I loved the view and the hike to get there. None of us got along with that man, but hey, now we have stories to tell people about how annoying and insane he was!

Whenever we wanted to drive somewhere, we drove over Lions Gate Bridge. There was always awful traffic getting out of the city because there were no other routes, but the bridge is really nice, and there's also a look-out right beside it. We also got a view of the whole bridge from Stanley Park.

Finding hiking trails just outside of the city was so nice, as well as stumbling across waterfalls and little rivers. I feel like I've said this in every blog post so far, but you guessed it! I slipped while standing on some rocks and got wet yet again! It's just really no surprise if I slip or trip or fall because I'm seriously uncoordinated.

While on our way to Whistler, we passed by the Cleveland Dam and decided to take a look. We had no idea what to expect because none of us heard of it before, and we were all glad we made the stop. 

B.C is such a beautiful province. I would definitely love to go back and hit up Banff and more of the eastern parts. I won't sign out of this post until I tell you about this pizza we had though. It was sooo good! It's from a shop in Steveston - where they film for that TV show Once Upon a Time. Little known fact: I'm allergic to shrimp, but I popped a benadryl and had the best pizza I have ever had.

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x Melissa


BRUCE PENINSULA CAMPING

My Labour Day long weekend was spent camping in the Bruce Peninsula in Northern Ontario, right by Georgian Bay. We spent the days hiking, cooking, swimming, playing games, sitting by the camp fire, and enjoying each others company. I didn't end up taking many photos because my phone died and there was no electricity, I was really enjoying just being out in nature soaking in quality time with my favourite people, and cards got accidentally erased (hate that). So this may not be the most exciting post, but hey, gimme a break.

We hiked through the woods to get to Indian Head Cove and the Grotto. They were cool, but there were just so many people, it made it kind of unappealing. A couple of us climbed through a rock tunnel to get to the cave, but I didn't take many photos on account of being afraid of falling and wrecking my camera. And me being me, I beamed my head on the side of a rock and currently have a lovely bump and bruise.

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We saw toads, snakes, chipmunks, and even wild turkeys. Our dog, Producer wasn't too keen on the turkey. It was so much fun to bring him on our trip. He did everything we did. He hiked, climbed rocks, swam. He was a great swimmer, it was ridiculously cute! It makes me want to get another dog so badly hehe.

Our campsite was a 1 minute walk to a lake, and we watched the sunset and stargazed every night. Our first evening there, I slipped and fell in the lake. I was completely soaked, but thankfully, I handed Jerome my phone literally 2 minutes before I fell because I had a funny feeling that something like that would happen to me.

The sunsets were so pretty. The warmth the sun cast onto the water was so pretty. I can't wait to plan our next camping trip. I really want to go camping in the fall because the cooler weather is my absolute favourite. Sitting around the campfire with beanies and cozy sweaters sounds so good to me. Ugh, I cannot wait for fall!

 

x Melissa