Carousel Antiques

DSC_4212Even after several decades of marriage, my parents still learn new things about eachother. One thing they sort-of recently came to realize is that they both have a great deal of interest in antiques. Antiquing has become a regular thing for them, and it’s lovely to see them really share something together. I am the only one of their children that shows even a mild interest in this hobby of theirs, (maybe more than mild, almost everything I wear on my body is old, and my home is decorated like a grandmother’s) so while I was in Ottawa they brought me to an adorable antique shop located in the village of Franktown, in a historic building from 1832. Carousel Antiques was an endless cavern of exploration for me. To be honest, I don’t normally buy much when I go to antique shops. I get overwhelmed at how much i could buy, and instead buy almost nothing (unless its the best ever) and just take pictures of these delightfully cluttered spaces. It’s near impossible to get a bad picture when you photograph spaces like this. Carousel was filled with gorgeous wooden furniture in almost perfect condition, vintage clothing (!!!), kitchen and housewares that date from the 30s-50s, collectibles and more. My absolute favourite room was the one holding all the kitchenwares. They have mono-chromatically colour coordinated each corner of the room, which was so aesthetically pleasing to me (if you are looking for a specific colour of something, this makes it very easy). The red and yellow corners were the most prominent – we’re talking Christmas explosion and bursting sunshine madness. Unfortunately I did not find any pastel pink dishes that I so desperately wanted to find. Had they had a pink corner of the room, well I’d probably still be there, living in it. I did however come away with an amazing 1950’s beaded cardigan in pristine condition (im scared to wear it) and an adorable yellow floral apron to make myself look cute while baking.

If you ever find yourself in Ottawa (or Carleton Place or Smith Falls), it’s worth the drive. And the owners are super friendly and know their stuff!

9619 Hwy 15
Franktown (between Carleton Place and Smith Falls)
613-284-2695

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Shop Toronto / Victoire Boutique

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While I love my vintage (obviously), I am constantly on the lookout for shops that carry some beloved designers, or can introduce me to ones I have never heard of. If I’m going to buy new I want to support smaller businesses and independent designers. So the last time I visited Ottawa (my hometown/city) during Christmas, a friend told me about a cool boutique called Victoire. Owners Regine and Katie opened Victoire’s doors in June 2006 and now have two Ottawa locations.  Cut to February of this year, Victoire opens a Toronto location and it sort of felt like fate, or something like it. I knew I would have to pop by the shop sometime and meet the gals who run the show around these parts. Amber and Kristina, the boss ladies at Victoire Toronto, were kind enough to let me come by on a somewhat dreary Saturday, snap some pictures of their sweet little shop and ask them a few questions about themselves and running a shop.

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Tell us a little about yourself, and how you came to run the happenings at Victoire’s Toronto location.

Amber – I started working for Victoire back in 2007 after running into Katie and Regine outside of the Elgin Street Diner in the early hours of the morning. I ended up transferring to U of T and moving to Toronto, but I couldn’t be happier to be back working with some super inspiring women doing our part to promote Canadian design.

Kristina – I’m Kristina. I recently moved to Toronto to help open up this new location. Before this, I worked at both Ottawa locations and had been at that for a few years. Victoire has been a great place for me because Regine and Katie (the owners) pretty much let you take as much initiative as you are comfortable with.

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How would you describe Victoire’s aesthetic?

I think Victoire has dual aesthetics that are more split personalities than separate entities. One is sweet and the other is a little cheekier, both totally wearable and pretty reasonably priced.

Describe your personal aesthetic, and do you feel you bring a bit of that to Victoire?

A – My personal aesthetic tends to vary with the day and the practicalities of whatever I’m doing. I am, however, eternally in love with that 60s girl group, big hair, baby doll dress look. Lately I’ve been thinking that my look could be called like 70s mom. I just want to wear a turtleneck, super high waisted jeans, and some wood heeled sandals. I sure do bring it to Victoire.

K – My personal aesthetic lies somewhere between the practicality of Laura Dern’s clothes in Jurassic Park (denim, khaki, tshirts, PS how adorable is Laura Dern?) and wanting to dress like one of the brothers from the Jesus and Mary Chain (in the 80s). I feel that I need to be a little disheveled to feel like myself, so I like my ripped t-shirts and I wear a lot of black. However, I feel that as someone working in a boutique, I need to make some effort to be well-presented so I guess I have to pick my battles/t-shirts carefully. As a result of working at Victoire, I have definitely come to own and appreciate dresses more. I definitely bring my aesthetic to the shop and enjoy mixing it up with classic feminine silhouettes and some of the edgier/fun pieces.

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What designers do you carry in the shop and do you guys help with the selection process?

Designers we carry in the shop include Valerie Dumaine, Eve Gravel, Betina Lou, Birds of North America, Dace, Dagg&Stacey, Minnow Bathers, Charziie, Rosehound Apparel, Leilanni, Samantha Pleet, In God We Trust, and more! Katie and Regine do the majority of the buying, but Kristina and I are starting to get more involved in it and are really looking forward to taking on that role.

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Favourite item currently in the shop?

A – My fave item in the shop is the Ursa Minor Youki dress ($198) and the stunning Eleven Thirty Sari leather tote bag ($320).

K – The Samantha Pleet Scout dress ($260) – sold out online. I recently bought the Mountain print version of this dress and it’s just the best.

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Best thing about running a shop.

A – The best thing about running a shop is for sure just meeting new people and interacting with them, helping them find an outfit and contributing in some way to making them feel well dressed! Second best is doing merchandising in the store to make everything look beautiful and exciting.

K – Meeting new people! It keeps me energized. I enjoy being a part of the “boutique experience” for customers. It’s more intimate, less aggressive, and generally a much more positive experience than managing a retail location in the mall or something (in my experience). Also, I probably get to meet more dogs now than ever before… Victoire has an open-door policy for canines.

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Favourite designer.

A – My favourite designers are probably Samantha Pleet and Dace.

K- This changes all the time for me, but right now: Valerie Dumaine, Dace, Samantha Pleet, The Lost City, Eleven thirty, Birds of North America. I also love Dusen Dusen and Ovate.

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Advice for anyone aspiring to open their own shop.

K – Don’t let anyone discourage you! There are so many negative Nancies and know-it-alls out there who want to bring you down and tell you all the ways you can’t do something. You CAN do it. Having said that, it’s easy to get overwhelmed running a small business (obviously it’s a lot of work and times can be tough) so it’s important to recharge and get support when you need it. Also, look for ways you can share knowledge with other businesses and create a sense of community around what you do. Like, look to involve yourself with other complimentary businesses by hosting events together, cross-promoting, supporting other people’s initiatives, and all that good stuff. And when you need a hand, reach out. Call me! We’ll hug and we’ll work through it. There should be a Women in Business Support Group where we all hang out and dish it out.

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Your personal favourite shops in Toronto.

Our fave shops in Toronto are Philistine, Soop Soop, the Likely General, Easy Tiger Goods, Crywolf, The Chief Salvage, Silver Falls Vintage and Tusk, Chosen Vintage, Robber (RIP), Future of Frances Watson

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Where can we find you on a Sunday when you’re not running things at the shop?

A – On a Sunday (when I’m not at work) I’ll be out riding my bike around Parkdale, drinking coffees in the sun, reading my book, maybe doing the crossword, chatting people up, and probably trying to organize dinner with all my friends.

K – Usually wandering my neighbourhood alleyways with my handy Sharpie, listening to music on headphones, and stopping into June Records to spend money I don’t have on records. Or out on a bike ride with one of my gal pals.

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Other than Victoire, is there anything else you guys do? Creatively, academically etc.

A – I’m part way through a post-grad in landscape design and I’m pretty always down for odd jobs. Sometimes I babysit, sometimes I do gardening, sometimes I grocery shop for seniors, etc.

K – Matthew McConaughey stole my idea to start a company called JKL (Just Keep Livin) to finance my various projects. I don’t get paid to read books, listen to records or to just keep livin’, but it’s what I enjoy doing outside of work. I’m pretty inspired by comedians and musicians, so I try to check out new comedy and music online and around the city. I wish I had more cool stuff to say here…

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If you live in Ottawa or Toronto be sure to check out the shop(s)!

Toronto
129 A Ossington Ave.

Ottawa
Byward Market
246 Dalhousie St.

Ottawa
Wellington Village
1282 Unit B. Wellington St.

Visit Larkspur at Odd Finds General Store

DSC_2713Larkspur is now officially at Odd Finds General Store. I am so excited to be a part of this collective and to have Larkspur available in the flesh. It’s the sort of progress I envisioned for my shop when I first started it, so it’s quite a nice feeling. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I often need to remind myself to be proud of the things I’ve accomplished, instead of always thinking about what’s next and never allowing myself to be present and happy with exactly this moment. I think a lot of people struggle with this very issue. Sometimes it feels like life is a constant race from one check point to the next, and there is never a moment to be present and acknowledge that things are okay the way they are, here and now. So anyways, I’m working on that. Things are good right now, and who really cares what tomorrow brings. But, if tomorrow brings anything, it should be you, stopping by the shop (tee hee). It’s worth it, in my opinion – a ton of awesome consignors to clothe your bod, and a great selection of teas to tickle your tastebuds.

Odd Finds General Store
1178 Bloor St. W (main intersection Bloor & Dufferin)
Toronto
647-773-2009

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Larkspur / Odd Finds General Store

1396534429.251221.IMG_0707-3I’ve got some pretty exciting news to share with you today! Starting May, you will be able to find Larkspur at Odd Finds General Store and Tea Shop here in Toronto. I will continue to sell online for my far away customers who are unable to shop in the flesh, but this will be very exciting for the local customers who like trying things on and don’t want to pay shipping. It’s a win win situation. I plan on making a more thorough post on the shop, as it is amazing, and shop owners Stacey and Danielle are some pretty neat gals who deserve a post dedicated to the great things they do. All this being said, the online shop has been fairly quiet since a lot has been happening for Larkspur in non-virtual life. But this weekend I’m shooting my April lookbook with a babely babe and plan to have some new things listed online by the end of next week, so keep an eye out!

Odd-Finds1-624x395*photo via Toronto Life

The Little Shop

DSC_0965 Last weekend I surprised my best friend Kristen by showing up in Montreal for her birthday. Besides me getting extremely and disgustingly sick on the final days visiting that glorious city, it was such a fun time (as always, Mtlers are the best people). Mtl has alot of genuinely interesting stores and neighbourhoods, if you’re willing to really dig and wander. It’s hard for me to say, but as far as I can tell from the many visits I have done in that city, the vintage stores are some of the best. Better than Toronto, in my opinion. And there is one particular shop I speak of, a strange shop – strange because it is only known through word of mouth – The Little Shop.

I have many friends who reside, or can call Montreal their home city, so I had heard about this shop from several of them. But alas, every time I visited Montreal, the shop was either closed, or we were staying far enough away that the trek to it would have been ridiculous without a car. It is only open 4 days a week for only 3hrs on those days. It is owned by a wonderfully eccentric woman, in her home. Yes, a house! We’re talking vintage and antiques EVERYWHERE, 3 floors filled to the brim, washrooms, kitchen, no place is untouched by the glorious dust of decades past. We spent a good hour digging through old objects and clothes, and were given tea to sip on and cookies to munch on. It’s the sort of vibe I would like to have if and when I own my own store.

If you ever find yourself in Montreal, I highly recommend checking this place out.

1002 Ogilvy
Park Ex
Wed, Thurs, Sat 2-5pm
Sun 12-3pm
514-992-3364
twitter: The_Little_Shop
instagram: @thelittleshopmtl

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