Home is where the heart is

Processed with VSCOcam with a3 presetIf you follow me on instagram, than you already know I was in Ottawa for the weekend. Since I couldn’t make it home to be with my family for Christmas this year, my father and I secretly planned to have me fly to Ottawa after the new year to surprise my mom…and did we ever! The surprise was better than I could have ever hoped for – she started to cry, and then I started to cry – it was really just a beautiful moment. I have always known how much my mother loves me, I’ve been very lucky in that respect, but it’s moments like those where you really understand how much a child means to a parent. I’ve got two really amazing parents, that’s for sure.

The outfit I’m wearing in these photos is kind of my new favourite. When packing my bag for Ottawa I wanted to bring as little as possible, especially since I was only going to be there from Friday evening to Sunday evening. I’m normally an over packer because I am terrible at planning outfits in advance, but this time was different. I had just received this adorable school girl-esque skirt from Miss Patina, so I knew that would come along, and when I did my outfit recap last week on the blog I was reminded of my blue and white pinstripe dress I had hanging in my closet that hadn’t been worn since the summer. I thought they would go so absolutely perfect together and the dress could double as it’s own outfit on another day…done! Two pieces of clothing, two outfits. I like when things come together simply like that.

How was your weekend? Do you have any cool surprise stories that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? I’d love to hear about them.
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Skirt: Miss Patina
Tights: Walmart
Boots: Samantha Pleet x Wolverine

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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Belle Vie / 15

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2. Cleo and Maya! I grew up with three dogs, but Sophie passed away over a year ago. Just these two are left. They have grown so attached to each other over the years. It’s so cute!
3. My parents always have such a lovely garden.
4. My brother Nick, and his son/my nephew Jason. Jason has autism (and wears those headphones a lot because too much noise upsets him) and it’s definitely not an easy thing for any parent, young or old, to have to deal with, but we love him to death. He couldn’t possibly have a better father or grandparents here to do whatever they can for him.
5. My two brothers, Nicholas and Zachary. I don’t see them often, but I love them dearly.
6-7. My beautiful, wonderful mother. This lady is an actual angel and I don’t know what I’d do without her. I can talk to her about anything and I’m so grateful for that. When I’m upset or overwhelmed she is the first person I call.
8. My dad! If you ever wondered where I get my strangeness from, it’s him. My dad is the most generous human I have ever met. His kids and grand kid are his whole life and he goes above and beyond for us. We didn’t really get along when I was a teenager, but our relationship has turned in such a beautiful direction.
9. My cousins Matthew and Ashley and their other halves. It had definitely been over a year since I had seen them (maybe more!?), and it was so nice to see how well all my cousins are doing.
10. My amazing grandparents cutting their cake for their 60th anniversary. I surely hope I can stand someone for that amount of time (haha)
11. My grampy! We kept joking that he looks very bohemian with his long hair.
12. My dad and I taking Cleo and Maya for a walk.
13. More flowers!
14. Cleo is the best! Growing up she was my dog, and it was really tough on her when I moved away from home back when I was 19.
15. Every time I visit Ottawa it is an absolute must that I see Upjeet. I have known him since I was 12, and we dated in high school for a couple years (teehee), and then became best friends (well I guess we have always been best friends). I don’t see him very often, but he is so important to me, and lucky for me he is moving to Toronto, so I’m pretty excited about that.

Dear Ottawa

DSC_4237I just got back last night from a very short but so so sweet visit to Ottawa. It was my grandparents 60th anniversary (crazy right!?), so I knew I had to be there to celebrate with them and the whole family. There were faces I hadn’t seen in years, so it was really nice to see how well everyone is doing, and how grown all my cousins are. Unfortunately Ryan was on call for work, so he couldn’t make it down, but I’ll drag him along next time to experience the country’s capital. I was pleasantly surprised to find my best friend Kristen and her other half Sergio were also in town to see Book of Mormon so I crashed their date after the show and we went to eat fancy tacos (no surprise there) at El Camino and sip some beers and bourbon sours. Our friend Jon joined us later in the evening, and honestly the night was so good. It was an evening full of nonsense talk (which is pretty much my favourite) and laughing till our cheeks hurt and our bellies burned. It’s tough sometimes, not being able to see Kristen whenever I want. What we have is really special to me and I miss her so much, but it’s nice to know that even if we don’t see eachother for months, we can always pick up right where we left off like no time has passed at all.

These photos are from some antique and vintage browsing I did with my parents on Saturday afternoon. I have a post planned for this place because it was super cute and full of treasures.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

*photos by my mom

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DSC_4228 Blouse: thrifted vintage
Skirt: thrifted Club Monaco via Common Sort
Bow tie: handmade
Shoes: Seychelles
Tote: Parkdale Flea

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.