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Pacific Coast Roadtrip

I think it's on every one who comes to California's bucket list; the ultimate road trip on the infamous highway 1. Since I've moved to Los Angeles, I've just been dying to do the trip and we FINALLY did it a few weeks back! We started in San Francisco and while we didn't go past Los Angeles all the way to San Diego, I've rounded up a list of our stops that should definitely be added to your must-do list.

San Francisco

Our visit to San Francisco was short this time but I have a more detailed list of San Fran must-sees HERE. Some obvious musts are the Golden Gate Bridge (best view is Fort Point), Fisherman's Wharf, a trolley tour of the city, Muir Woods, and beautiful Lombard street. Also key tip: DRESS WARM and I mean toque and parka! All my friends always think California is sunny and warm, but San Fran is a whole different ballgame. The fronts off the ocean will seriously chill you to the bones even mid August.

Charming Italian Eats: Nob Hill Cafe

There's no shortage of incredible restaurants in San Fran, but if you're looking for a cute and intimate city experience for amazing Italian, definitely check out Nob Hill Cafe.

*source: the culture trip

Seriously some of the best pasta I've ever had! But it is intimate, and I mean a tiny place, so expect to wait if it's a weekend. Highly recommend: the spicy penne betola.

Cool Experience: Bourbon & Branch

Our friend Caro found the coolest speak easy for us to visit, secret password and all! Unfortunately they have some rules, no photos being at the top of their list. And yes while I did order off the prohibition menu as I don't drink much these days, they have some OG decor from when it was a functioning speak easy and a huge variety of creative mixed drinks and huge whiskey list. We also spoke to the hostess who gave us a tour of the speak easy's downstairs rooms, secret entrances and exits.

Santa Cruz

En route from San Fran to Carmel, we stopped for lunch in sleepy surf town Santa Cruz. Like the Huntington Beach of northern California, you'll fit right in with a surf hoodie and UGG boots. There's a ton of cute brunch spots closer to the water that embrace the Norcal surf culture.


Next stop: beautiful Monterey! We went to the wharf by Monterey Bay and it's like a smaller, less touristy version of San Francisco's fisherman's wharf. There's so much marine life here, we must have seen two dozen sea lions, fish, and other marine life just hanging out in the bay. If you have extra time, Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of my favourites!

Don't Miss: Point Lobos State Reserve

There's so many national parks and beaches in the area to choose from and we just happened to choose Point Lobos. I'm so happy we did; every trail we hiked had views that took my breath away over and over. It was a little overcast and foggy for our trip but I think that just added to the mystical magic of the scenery.


Carmel has to be one of my favourite towns I've been to in California (my mom's too). It seriously looks like it's straight out of a storybook; cobblestone streets, super authentic and unchanged art galleries and one of a kind shops, little nooks and gardens.. everything is just so charming. They even have a rule in place that no chain restaurants are allowed (except for one Starbucks in the city center) to keep everything super old-school and true to form.

Stay: Carmel Highlands

No matter where you go in Carmel, it's probably going to be expensive. Hotel prices were way out of the question when looking last minute but god bless Air B&B! We stayed in Carmel Highlands which is about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown up in the foresty hills overlooking the mountains and ocean. It was perfect. There is no ambient lighting so the stars at night are the most beautiful thing you'll ever imagine.

 Air B&B views

Perfect peaceful Carmel night

Big Sur

After day dreaming about Big Sur, all the books and poems and Pinterest photos about it, I finally got there! And we went the perfect day because the next day we drove by, it was shrouded in smoke and fog from the forest fires so you couldn't see a thing.

Must: Bixby Bridge

The iconic Bixby bridge drives right over the pacific ocean along the cliff's edge and the view is just breathtaking. Photo op required!

Must: McWay Falls

Most likely the photo you're thinking of when you think Big Sur is the view of McWay Falls. And it looks just like it, plus there's insane views all around! You can also hike to get a better view, but the view from the scenic point off the highway was perfect for us.

San Simeon

San Simeon is known for the infamous Hearst Castle. However, it is super super touristy and we learned once we got there you actually have to buy a tour just to see the castle alone, which was a bit of a bummer so we didn't make the trip this time. However, we did stop by the elephant seal reserve which was definitely worth the pit stop in San Simeon!

Fun pit stop: Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Reserve

Santa Barbara

Probably one of my favourite SoCal towns, Santa Barbara is adorable in every way, and has that summer year-round weather that you want. "Downtown" is full of cobblestone streets, cute alleys with little cafes and shops, and the beach and boardwalk is super "California" lined with palm trees and beautiful sunset views.

Must Eat: Finch & Fork

*from Finch & Fork website

Seriously some of the best wine and definitely one of the best meals I've had out here! Located right downtown, if you're looking for a great date spot with a super romantic vibe and great selection of whiskey (says Joey) and local California wine, don't miss it.

Pitstop: The Old Mission

If you love architecture, definitely make a stop at the Old Mission in SB. Once an old Spanish mission sitting on 13 acres overlooking the ocean, you should definitely walk the grounds including historical artwork, mausoleum, and lush gardens.

 Rose gardens at the Old Mission

And back to the insanity of Los Angeles we went! There sums up the highlights of our road trip down the coast. Have you done the trip yet? Let me know your highlights!

California, Here We Come

If you don't know by now based on my many Instagrammed photos and tweets, I spent the past week in California and headed to Coachella in the desert over the weekend. It was my first time ever to southern California and let me tell you this: everything I thought of when I used to imagine California, the dreamy skylines, sunsets, mint weather, and gorgeous coastlines, are true. All of it. I felt like I was living in a hazy dream world.

My dad always tells me the novelty of living somewhere like that will soon wear off, but everyone I met who lives there says it's the complete opposite. Every new day in California has a little bit of magic to it. Maybe it's time to plan a move... 

By no means will this post do the trip justice, especially seeing as I have over 1000 photos to sort through to try to paint you guys a picture. However I was lucky enough to travel with my fantastic beauty blogger friend Mash of Mash-Elle Blog and we got some killer style shots you'll see in upcoming posts.

Our first day in Los Angeles, our friend brought us to an amazing little cafe called Aroma Coffee & Tea Co in Studio City. The cafe used to be a charming home and was converted into a full service cafe, but still has the quaint romantic atmosphere (plus amazing food). Be sure to visit if you're in the area!

Day two, Michelle and I drove out to Laguna Beach. The coast is absolutely breathtaking with houses high on the hilltops overlooking the ocean. We even saw two whales breaching off shore!

Exploring Laguna's shores

Mash and I at Santa Monica Pier!

"This is so Marissa Cooper." Santa Monica beach.

GoPro-ing while on the roller coaster on Santa Monica Pier

The drive out to Palm Springs

Palm Springs took my breath away. The contrast of desert against the mountains was insanely beautiful.

En route to Coachella!

The iconic ferris wheel

We drove out to the Palm Desert which overlooks the city

Last day at Coachella

The Coachella astronut actually floated around the grounds and moved his arms

Pit stop at Rodeo Drive

We'll miss this place!

Stay tuned for some more style posts snapped around L.A. and in the desert! Hope you all had an incredible week!



The Toronto Brunch Hunt

First and foremost, happy Monday to you all!

I've set out on a new endeavour: to find Toronto's best brunch spots. Never having been much of a breakfast eater, brunch is a whole other story. Give me some lunch-food options and I'm all for it! So far on this mission, I've found three café's I absolutely love and can't wait to get back.

1) The Drake Hotel Café

When I think hipster café, I imagine the Drake café. A small but cozy spot, the café has small side-by-side tables, their chandeliers are made from recycled bicycle frames, and I swear everyone is wearing beanies and wide-rimmed glasses. But besides the point, the brunch is just unreal.

Two words. Actually, 4 words. Blueberry scones, chicken & waffles. Let's start with the scones. They're served warm with a side of butter, fresh berries, berry jam, and clotted cream. I can't tell you how good these are, make sure you don't miss these!

Also not to be missed is their take on Southern fried chicken & waffles. Okay YUM. I know what you're probably thinking, chicken & waffles is a weird combo no? But the waffles aren't your typical sweet-batter breakfast waffles. Made with herbs, it tastes more similar to a crispy garlic bread. Also served with maple syrup, crème fraîche + Niagara cherry jam. The chicken is about as perfect as fried chicken gets. Officially hungry!

Another cozy spot by the lake, the Music Garden Café is a cute place for a quick meal or take-out coffee and pastries, but they also have really great sandwiches, panini's and soups. My absolute favourite? Their pear, brie, and prosciutto panini.

This sandwich very highly ranked on being one of the best panini's I've ever had. Usually comes wide a side salad or potato salad, as well as a sweet and slightly spicy side of sauce for your meal. So good.

Last but certainly not least is a restaurant I just discovered yesterday. The Good Fork is my favourite brunch place of the three so far. I had their "Gordy Benny", which is their creation of eggs benedict with pulled pork. Just unreal, everything was amazing from their home fries to the pulled pork sweetness. 

My sister and I shared a side of their red velvet pancakes which come with maple syrup and a cream cheese frosting. Dessert for breakfast? Yes please! My sister had their mac n' cheese with smoked chicken, I obviously had to try it. They topped it with baked cheese that was slightly crispy. I was amazed how good gourmet mac n' cheese can actually taste!

Anyways these three are my top brunch places in Toronto to check out so far. I will continue on my hunt and keep you posted!