Wednesday, 22 February 2017

OOTD - Creature of Habit

What can I say, I'm a creature of habit. Although it makes me the 'anti-blogger,' my clothing philosophy has always been to gravitate towards looks that I love and stick with them until I grow tired and move onto something else. Lately it's been mini dresses and over-the-knee boots - I just can't quit it! Not only do the boots offer a winter alternative to tights, but the flowy dresses allow ample room for eating - definitely a necessity in my books. Maybe one day I'll venture out and start incorporating some variety in my outfits - but in the meantime, I'll just stick to my dresses and boots.

Dress - BB Dakota, Boots - c/o Le Chateau 

These Le Chateau over-the-knee boots are honestly perfection. I love how they have ties on the back so they stay up well, and the heel is such a comfortable height. I cannot stop wearing them! These boots will be the perfect transition from winter to spring.

What do you guys think? Do you have an outfit or look that you gravitate to? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Friday, 17 February 2017

My Winter Escape At Blue Mountain

There really isn't anything better than a good girls trip -so when Gabriella, Rebecca, and myself all hopped into an SUV and took the quick drive from Toronto to Blue Mountain Resort, I knew that it was going to be an amazing weekend.

First, I couldn't believe how close Blue Mountain is to Toronto. On the day that we left, it was one of the city's most brutal snow storms so the drive was very slow - and we still managed to get there in under two hours! Between the girl-talk and the laughs, the time flew by and before we knew it we were driving into a winter wonderland and ready to start our first adventure.

We started our adventure at the Scenic Caves for the Apple Pie Trails Full Moon fest, a night-time snowshoe trail with stops to enjoy food and beverages from local restaurants in Collingwood. The girls and I were all starving by this point so with our rented snowshoes and snow pants we set out on the trail!  I knew that we were in for a great evening at our first stop; the food was absolutely incredible, the wine and cider was flowing and it was such a treat to be able to talk to the vendors at each booth, all of which owned or worked in the restaurants, wineries and breweries. Snow shooing between stops was definitely a challenge for these city girls, but the beautiful scenery and delicious eats made it all worth it. This was the first year for the Apple Pie Trail Full Moon Fest, it was a a great success! I know that we will all be back next year!

After our snowshoe adventure we checked into our accommodations for the night, the Grand Georgian Hotel which is the most adorable winter-lodge type hotel with modern comforts. The girls and I squealed as we saw the size of the hotel room (seriously as big as my condo in Toronto), huge bed, and the in-room fireplace - so cute!  We enjoyed some hotel-room shenanigans before venturing out for the night in Blue Mountain Village where the nightlife is no joke.  We managed to stay out long enough to experience the energy that is Blue Mountain at night, and then passed out in anticipation of what else was to come.

We began our second day with a visit to the Iwa Spa to enjoy a Gan Ban Restorative Yoga class. The yoga was done in a hot-rock sauna, on an actual hot-rock floor - incredible! The class was exactly what we needed after snowshoeing the night before, and it was an amazing way to start the day. I honestly could gush for hours about this yoga class, I enjoyed it so much. I need to visit Blue Mountain again soon, and spend an entire day at the Iwa Spa.

By this point, the girls and I were starving. We had lunch at Copper Blues Bar & Grill and it was so tasty. Exactly what the doctor ordered.  I'm so glad that we decided on Copper Blues for lunch, but it was a hard choice - there are so many places to eat in Blue Mountain!  I loved seeing people ski and snowboard right up to the restaurants and go in for something to eat.

Obviously you can't go to Blue Mountain and not touch on the winter sports. From skiing and snowboarding, to skating in a winter wonderland, there really isn't a loss of things to do!

I so enjoyed our trip to Blue Mountain, and cannot wait until I have the opportunity to go back. With such a short drive from the city, I definitely plan to make this amazing resort a part of my yearly winter itinerary and can't wait to visit again in the summer.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever been to Blue Mountain? Have you ever visited a resort in the winter time?  Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Review: Cake Beauty

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty

I've said it before, loud and proud; I don't wash my hair very often. While I like to say that it's because of hair-health reasons that I leave so much time between washes, it's pure laziness - plus, when you manage to get the perfect curls, you want them to stay as long as possible! That being said, I'm very self conscious about my hair looking like it hasn't been washed so I rely on dry shampoo and hair products that keep my hair looking fresh between washes. Enter Cake Beauty; I've know Cake Beauty for some time as they've been a staple in the Canadian cosmetics market and are famous for their yummy-smelling products - not to mention the fact that everything is natural and vegan. It's only recently that I've discovered their line of natural dry-styling products and my love-affair has been kicked into high gear. I love how Cake has a range of products that address all aspects of maintaining your hairstyle between washes - it doesn't just end at dry-shampoo! Check out my favrouite products from the line and what has really been helping me stay fresh.

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty

The 'Do Gooder

This is my favourite dry-shampoo. Hands down. I love how the Do Gooder is a light burst of freshness to my hair, and I can wear it everyday - no heavy buildup that makes you feel like you need to wash your hair. The scent is really light and fresh and I honestly feel like I've just washed my hair after I've applied it. Other then the lack of buildup in your roots, the other standout feature of the 'Do Gooder is that it doesn't leave a white cast on your hair - like, not at all! Needless to say, the Cake Beauty 'Do Gooder is a staple in my routine now, and I hope to never be without it!

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty

The All-Powerful

Just as the name suggests, The All-Powerful is a no-nonsense, super transformer for your hair for days when you wake up and your hair makes you wonder if you ran a marathon in your sleep. This product is available in three different colours - light, medium and dark so you have a personalized dry-shampoo for your hair tone. Between the colours and the velvety texture, this power-house product is a lifesaver for those days when you think 'maybe I really should wash my hair today -- nah!'

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty Canada

The Wave-Maker

I usually don't have a problem with my curls and style lasting throughout the week,  but for days when my waves have mysteriously disappeared I turn to The Wave-Maker to add some texture to my hair. This product is made with sugar (as opposed to salt like other texturizing sprays) so it won't dry out your hair at all. Of course, as with all of the Cake products, this smells absolutely incredible so I find myself using it on my hair to give a boost of scent during the day.

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty

The Locks Smith

The downside to leaving so much time between washes is that my hair gets really dry at the ends, with lots of fly-aways and static. The Locks Smith is genius - a conditioning spray that takes care of the length of your hair without weighing it down.  Love!

natural vegan dry shampoo cake beauty

There you have it!  I'm so happy to have found these products from Cake Beauty. Not only are they incredible products, but it makes me so happy to stand behind everything they are known for: natural, vegan and made in Canada.  What product are you most excited to try? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

This post was created in partnership with Cake Beauty. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Monday, 13 February 2017

OOTD - Weekend Casual

Mornings and afternoons spent in a café are some of my favourites, and I love the casual dress code that goes along with them. I'm not typically a 'jeans and t-shirt girl' - in fact, I publicly state my hatred for pants on the regular - but I'm an absolute sucker for boyfriend jeans and a blouse. This pretty pink silk blouse is from laut, an online shop that's based out of Toronto and curates the most gorgeous pieces. I love how it just lays perfectly, and it looks just as beautiful dressed up as it does down. The boyfriend jeans are from laut as well, called the Blue Blonde Freebirds; they're so comfortable and actually fit on my petite frame which is a huge plus! I may not be a total 'pants' convert, but spending time in a café in this outfit may be enough to make me my change my mind.

Blouse - c/o laut, Jeans - c/o laut, Shoes - c/o Stuart Weitzman
Bag - Chloé

What do you guys think? Are you into jeans and a simple silk blouse? What do you wear to a coffee shop? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Photos by Bettina Bogar

Friday, 10 February 2017

What To Do in Montreal in the Winter

hotel william gray review

Montréal in the winter time is not your typical travel destination, but after visiting this past January I definitely think it should be. There's nothing quite like exploring a beautiful city like Montréal with a gentle blanket of snowfall in the background.  Sabrina and I packed our bags, hopped in a car and drove from Toronto to Montréal to experience one of Canada's most iconic cities in the winter.  The weather was chilly, but the company was warm and I fell in love with the vibrancy and culture of Montréal. Here's what we got up to during our weekend stay.

hotel william gray review

Where We Stayed: Hotel William Gray

Nestled in the heart of Old Montréal, Hotel William Gray is a modern gem in an otherwise very historic area. Immediately as we drove in for our stay, we were greatly warmly at the door and were whisked away to our room where we could rest after a long drive. This hotel truly is stunning; I love the mix of modern and classic in not only the lobby, but also the rooms. Sabrina and I would have our morning espressos from the in-room espresso machines, and saunter downstairs to the in-hotel café for a pastry. I really appreciated how nice and tranquil Hotel William Gray is during the day with people sipping coffee and reading quietly in the lobby, while the energy shifts at night and the lobby becomes a hotspot to meet friends for cocktails.  Overall the hotel is amazing, the staff are incredibly friendly and unpretentious and the location can't be beat. I'm already planning my next trip to Montéal in the summer, and I'll definitely be staying at Hotel William Gray.

hotel william gray review
The lobby is absolutely incredible! I think we spent half of our trip photographing it!
hotel william gray review
The in-suite espresso was SUCH a lifesaver! We used it to wake up in the morning, and in the afternoons for a mid-day wake up.

Montreal city guide winter

Where to Eat

Since the weather is absolutely frigid in Montréal during the winter we spent the majority of our time indoors eating and café-hopping. The food scene in Montréal is absolutely electric, and there are definitely options for all tastes, price ranges in palettes.  Contrary to what the guidebooks tell you, the best food in Montreal isn't necessarily in the touristy areas (i.e. Old Montreal and downtown.) We found some of our favourite - and not to mention cutest - spots outside of the core areas. Definitely check out Mile-End, Westmount and St-Henri area for a more authentic, trendy vibe. Some stand out spots for me:

  • Le Melbourne Café: This Australian café does a pop-up brunch a couple times a month and we were lucky to experience it during our stay!  The brunch was absolutely incredible, and they serve some of the most interesting lattes I've ever heard up - beetroot and cereal milk to name a couple.
  • Tommy: Likely the most instagrammed café in Montreal, Tommy is not to be missed when visiting the Old Port. We enjoyed a coffee and cronut when we first arrived, and had a quick Sunday brunch before leaving.
  • Café Myriade: On the bottom level of a Club Monaco, Café Myriade is almost like a secret gem tucked away in the city.  Although the light is not great for photos, the spot is very cute and I had one of the best croissants of my life there!
  • LOV: If you're looking for a show-stopper restaurant, definitely visit LOV in Old Montreal. The space is absolutely incredible, and their veggie-friendly menu served up some of the tastiest dishes of our trip - think Kale Mac & Cheese and Kimchi fries, washed down with one of the freshest virgin Pina Coladas. Yum!
  • Satay Brothers: One of the liveliest neighbourhood joints I've ever been to, Satay Brothers is not to be missed for delicious, sharable Asian food and incredible energy. 
  • St-Viateur Bagels: An absolute must before you leave Montréal is to enjoy one of their iconic bagels. St-Viateur is known as the best in the city, and there are several locations.  You're able to eat in-restaurant, or pick up a dozen (or two in my case) of these fresh bagels for the road.

a weekend in montreal in winter what to do
Pink beetroot and matcha lattes at Le Melbourne Café

montreal city guide
A light Brunch at Tommy in Old Montreal

what to do in montreal weekend

Where To Shop

Although we didn't do too much shopping during our trip to Montréal, there certainly wasn't a shortage of big-brands, or smaller boutiques. Here are a few standouts for me:

  • Downtown is where to find all of your brand-name and corporate stores.  You could walk up and down St. Catherine street and find pretty much whatever you're looking for, from H&M to Holt Renfrew.
  • SSense in Old Montreal is a gorgeous storefront for one of Canada's largest luxury websites. Definitely a must-visit for the label obsessed.
  •  Mile-End is hands down my favourite area to shop in Montréal. This neighbourhood is where you will find your cute, light-filled boutiques.  Two stores that I definitely have on my radar for my next trip are VdeV and Vestibule.  So beautiful!

How To Get Around

Although the metro system in Montreal is very good, we found that we opted for Uber most times.  The service is particularly inexpensive in the city and we were always able to get a car.

montreal city guide winter

All in all, despite the cold I would totally recommend visiting Montréal in the winter. I'm already counting down the days to my next trip.

What do you guys think? Have you visited Montréal? What do you like to do in the city? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Monday, 6 February 2017

OOTD - I Found My Pink Coat

Late last year, I was on the hunt for the perfect pink coat that I could wear during the winter time. While I found a few that came close, I could never declare "this is the perfect pink coat!" Fast forward to me frantically getting all of my Christmas shopping done on Christmas Eve; I stumbled into Reiss, spotted the most amazing pink coat and the rest is history. I love the robe style of this coat;  it's different than anything that I have in my closet. Couple the cut with the colour and I'm smitten - in fact 9 out of 10 days, I'm wearing this coat.

Coat - Reiss, Dress - c/o laut, Boots - c/o Le Chateau

What do you guys think? Have you ever had an item in your head and searched until you found it? Let me know!


All photos by Bettina Bogar

Friday, 3 February 2017

OOTD - My Advice To New Bloggers

advice to new bloggers

Lately I've been getting lots of messages and emails from people wanting to start a blog, or bloggers who are just starting out and want to know if I have any tips. While I'm definitely no expert, when I think back to the first year that I started La Petite Noob there were definitely things that I did that I'm thankful for, and regret. I truly believe that your first few months of blogging are so liberating, and that being a new blogger is one of the most fun times in your blogging journey. Here are my tips and advice to new bloggers.

advice to new bloggers
Dress - c/o laut, Shoes - c/o Le Chateau

laut appoline dress canada handmade bali
Look at that back detail! This dress is absolutely stunning and handmade in Bali!

advice to new bloggers

Don't Be Afraid to Experiment With Content

So you have a blog, and you're anxious to get started.  Unless you have one particular topic that you don't want to waver from for your blog, use this time to explore creating a variety of content to see which one you and your audience enjoy most.  When I first started, I covered everything under the sun from drink recipes, outfit posts, travel guides and more personal posts. While I mainly focus on personal style now, it was through all of my experimentation that I figured out what I actually enjoyed writing about and how I could connect with my readers. I found that having only few people reading my blog gave me a creative freedom to create whatever I wanted, and it was through that process that I truly found my voice as a blogger.

tips for new bloggers

Audience First, Sponsorship Second

I think it goes without saying, but when you're first starting out focus on growing your audience and readers before even thinking about sponsorships or receiving product. As you progress through your journey, you'll realize that your most valuable asset as a blogger is your relationship with your readers and their trust so focus on building that. You also may not receive product or sponsorships for your blog for some time (I didn't for almost 2 years) so focusing on your readers will bring you the joy that you need to remain consistent and avoid burnout.

starting a blog

Be Consistent With The Amount That You Post

It's difficult when it seems like you're writing only for yourself, but it's so important to have a consistent schedule when you first start out blogging. Sticking to a schedule and promising yourself that you will post at least once a week will help to make blogging become a fixture in your routine, and will help to attract readers. I know myself that I love stumbling upon a new blog, and am so much more likely to follow if I see that they post consistently. Couple this piece of advice with experimenting with your content, and you'll be pumping out the blog posts in no time!

laut canada

Just Start

It sounds simple, but my biggest piece of advice to new bloggers is to just start.  Sign up for a blogging platform, download a template to get yourself a layout and just start. I remember that I wanted to start a blog for years before I actually did and the biggest barrier that held me back was myself. I wanted to make sure that I had the right camera, the right look, the right space to blog in - I was so focused on the little details that they ultimately held me back. It wasn't until I just started, and began to create content that everything began to fall into place. My original blog design looks nothing like it does today, and that's okay - you'll evolve and change as a blogger to find your true voice and style; but you can't do any of that without starting.

advice to new bloggers

What do you guys think? Do you have a blog, or are just starting? What have been your biggest challenges? Maybe you've been blogging for years and have some tips of your own. Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Photos by the lovely and talented Bettina Bogar
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