Saturday, 6 October 2018

OOTD - What I've Been Wearing Lately

With the changing of seasons, along with a chill in the air and and overload of pumpkin everything, comes one of the most confusing times for fashion. I don't know about you guys, but I always struggle with what to wear when Summer turns into Fall. There's always warm days mixed with cold, and you haven't quite developed your Fall style yet - at least for me, anyways. It's during these transitional times between seasons that I choose a few key pieces to mix-and-match, help transition my wardrobe and basically just learn on until my temporary identity crisis blows over. Here's a few outfits that I've been wearing lately, and details on where to find the pieces for yourself.

Leopard Skirt - H&M, White Sweater - Zara, Loafers - Gucci
Beret - Amazon

Dress - c/o 3rd Floor Studio

Pants - Old Navy, Bra Top - c/o Soul Cycle

Leopard Skirt - H&M, Sweater - c/o Dynamite

Sweater - c/o Dynamite, Beret - H&M

I hope you guys like these outfit round-ups! I prefer them to a traditional OOTD blog post. I would love to know what you've been gravitation towards for fall? I actually just did a bit of shopping and am SO excited to start incorporating more pieces into my wardrobe.

Happy Fall!

xo Joëlle

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

You're Damned If You Do: My Rhinoplasty Story

What if I told you that I had cosmetic surgery? Would you judge me? Would you think that I suffer from low self esteem? Low self worth?

Maybe not. But the problem is that while this may not be the the thoughts that you admit to, as some point each of us at one time or another has passed judgement on someone else for undergoing a cosmetic procedure. Myself included; I mean, who among us hasn't passes judgement on a celebrity for some sort of cosmetic enhancement? On that same token, how many of us have made comments about someone's appearance, exclusive of cosmetic enhancements? Be honest. I'm definitely not above it.

And the thing is, I've actually had cosmetic surgery. Rhinoplasty, to be exact (aka a nose job.) I myself know all too well the crippling thoughts of self-consciousness, the shame, the space that occupies your mind when you're truly unhappy with a part of your body. I also know how making a change to your body can give you a renewed perspective on life - not even physically, but mentally. Hours agonizing over your body, a lifetime hiding - all gone. It's a beautiful thing. And yet, I still have a tendency to judge.

Let me back up and explain briefly my history with my nose, my surgery itself and how my life changed moving on from it. All my life I had been extremely self conscious of my nose. My nose seemed to dominate my thoughts and lead me to adapt my life to fade into background; anything to prevent attention to my face. I was never teased, it was never an issue for anyone else - and yet, my nose was such a point of insecurity for me that it seemed to consume my entire life.

Flash forward to 2009: after moving to the GTA to study Funeral Services at Humber College I finally mustered up the courage to speak with a plastic surgeon who came highly recommended by my uncle (a medical doctor himself.) After an incredible consultation, I promptly booked my Rhinoplasty. Come winter 2010, I would find myself in a fancy clinic in Yorkville, dressed for surgery, eagerly awaiting the show to get on the road. I was asked multiples time if I was nervous; by my parents, by the nurses and by the doctor himself. No, I would answer each question confidently. I'm ready.

The surgery was a success. It would be weeks before my bandages would come off and I could see my new nose but I could already see a change in myself. I felt lighter, more relaxed. Already the space in which insecurity and doubt that occupied my mind for decades was starting to clear, and was filling with a more positive use of thought.

Eventually the bandages came off, my scars healed, the swelling went down and I was left with nose that looked very much like the one that had caused me so much grief, but different enough that I didn't have to think about it anymore. It made all the difference. I felt like a different person; the same me, only lighter. And while I didn't get the people in my life noticing a huge change physically, they did notice a change with my spirit. One friend remarked that she noticed that I was now able to make eye contact. That says more about the results than I could ever explain. For me, cosmetic surgery was one of the best decisions that I've ever made for myself.

Flash forward to present day. With my rhinoplasty a distant memory I've embarked in a career that essentially revolves around putting myself out there online, with my writing, photos and more recently video. While I have never experienced any taunting due to my nose, I have definitely had more than my fair share of insults thrown my way about my teeth. "You need braces," the comments read, "fix your teeth and it will fix your lisp." Youtube comments from trolls are the worst. The thing is, these comments don't bother me since I'm in the (seemingly minority) mindset that my crooked bottom teeth add to the aesthetic that is "me." I like my shifted teeth, I don't mind the lisp that comes along with them. At present date, I have no plans on fixing my teeth - but isn't it funny that we can't seem to escape judgement, no matter what the avenue?

My point in all of this is that we could all do with a little less judgement. I also wanted to offer a different perspective on cosmetic surgery, and how it's not all based off of vanity. I wanted to do my part on reducing the stigma on elective procedures, even if just in a small way. Ultimately, I just wanted to be more honest with you. One of the most empowering things that we can do is take control and ownership of ourselves, whether it be making a change or embracing our imperfections - exclusive of judgement.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Join in on the conversation. And, as always, thank you for taking the time.

xo Joëlle

Disclaimer - While I'm extremely candid about my relationship with cosmetic enhancements offline, I was always reluctant to share on La Petite Noob because I would hate to think that anyone would take away that they should be participating in plastic surgery. Absolutely not. Cosmetic surgery is still surgery and comes along with the same risks. It is also incredibly painful and the full results do not reveal themselves for months - it took one an a half years for me to see the full results of my rhinoplasty. I grappled with my decisions for over ten years. This is not something to be taken lightly, nor something that you need to do.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Palm Springs Photo Diary

I'm going to be honest with you; I like to travel with an itinerary. As much as I love the romance behind the idea of visiting a new place and letting the flow of the day dictate your schedule, that's just not me. Give me lists, give me restaurant reservations, give me structure. I come to a new location prepared, researching every last facet to make sure that's we're not missing anything.

That all flew out the window, or should I say burst into flames, when we drove into Palm Springs from LA and were confronted with our first experience with 45+ degree (Celsius) heat. My lawd. The desert heat is no joke, and visiting Palm Springs at the tail-end of summer meant that my ambitious itinerary was revised to only include one task: stay in the pool.

Thankfully we absolutely struck gold with our hotel for the stay. La Serena Villas was relatively new when we had booked in back in January, and with only a few reviews it seemed like we were taking  chance on it. In the end, I could not have been any happier with the location, grounds or service of La Serena Villas. I could go into great detail, but honestly the photos of this property speak for themselves so please enjoy. Ultimately our stay was incredible and both Brian and I agreed that this would be our go-to hotel for any future visits to Palm Springs.

So other than late morning breakfast in bed, days spent lounging by the pool and early dinners at the hotel there isn't much to report. The few times we did leave our property it was mostly for snack-runs or cheap tacos, with only a few hotel visits and sights along the way.

As much as I would have loved to have written an in-depth city guide to Palm Springs, sometimes you have to just roll with the punches and honestly looking back now, I'm glad that the extreme heat forced us to take a slower pace. The universe gives you exactly what you need without having to ask, and a few days by the pool was exactly what the doctor ordered. Besides - there's always next time. Palm Springs, I'll hopefully be seeing you sooner rather than later.

What do you guys think? Do you love itineraries when you travel as much as I do? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Monday, 17 September 2018

Los Angeles - Summer 2018 Travel Diary

Oh Los Angeles - otherwise known as my happy place. I left a bit of my heart in California the first time that Brian and I ever visited years ago, and I try to go back as often as I can to visit it. You guys know that I've already visited LA earlier this year with Sabrina, but when Brian suggested another visit for the summer I couldn't say no. Call me boring, call me a creature of habit, I don't care - I just love Los Angeles.

This trip was a bit different. Traveling with a husband versus a bestie definitely yields a very different itinerary - at least for me. While my last post about LA covered the most Instagrammable spots in the city, this post will serve mostly as a travel diary; how we got around, where we ate, and where I forced Brian to take my photo in front of. Fun times. Enjoy!

How We Got Around

Since Brian is a very confident driver and, more importantly in LA, an expert parallel parker, we opted to rent a car for our trip. Los Angeles is a city where you absolutely need access to wheels, whether it be Uber or renting a car, and I can say that renting a car in LA is so much better. It's so nice to be able to just jump into your car and take off to all of the different places on your list without having to worry about calling an Uber, or surge pricing. As for parking, most of the time we were able to find a parking spot on the street (including overnight to avoid hotel valet charges.) Honestly, I think that I would be okay to drive in LA, even with the traffic - I'm used to crazy Toronto drivers, and LA is much more chill. If you have the option, I would definitely rent a car.

What We Did

Seeing as this was not our first time to visit Los Angeles together, and my second visit this year, we definitely took things at a slower pace. We spent lots of time on Melrose, grabbing cocktails in West Hollywood and brunching at hotels that were way out of our realm of possibility for overnight stays. Here are a few activities that were new-to-us this trip that we really enjoyed in LA:

  • Even though both Brian and I are the opposite of "outdoors-y," we both really enjoyed the hike at Runyon Canyon. Right in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon Canyon is a perfect way to take in the views of the city, while getting some exercise in as well as some A+ people watching. Bring your cutest workout gear and a pair of good running shoes - you're going to need them. This hike is no joke!
  • New to the city, electric scooters litter the streets and sidewalks and are a really fun and inexpensive way to get around. We downloaded the Bird app and could then walk up to any scooter that we found on the street, use the app to unlock it and start riding! Admittedly, this was more of a favourite for Brian - myself I do not have a need for speed, and those electric scooters are fast. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before they come to Toronto.
  • I know it's cliché, and we've definitely done it before, but I absolutely love renting bikes to ride along the boardwalk in Venice Beach. This time we skipped the bike rental shops that line the board walk and opted for the city bikes available on the main road. It's a huge cost savings and really easy to-do. We will definitely be using the city bike system when we visit LA from now on.

Where We Ate

Here's a little glimpse into the eating habits of Brian and I while we're on vacation: we love the odd fancy brunch, grabbing cocktails here and there, but most of the time we opt for good, cheap food. Wether it be fast food, or a hole in the wall  - if it's good and, more importantly, cheap then I'm happy. For this reason, we definitely visited our fair share of In-N-Outs and El Pollo Locos during the trip. Coupled with morning açai bowls to-go (we split one between the two of us) and street fruit, we don't typically spend a ton on food - for the most part. That being said, we did have some memorable meals:

  • Probably our most baller meal of the whole trip was our anniversary dinner at the famous Mr. Chow on Rodeo Drive. This restaurant definitely comes along with some polarizing opinions on whether it's worth it or not, but me personally I loved the whole experience. The food was pretty tasty, but the atmosphere, service and people watching was incredible. I look forward to visiting Mr. Chow again, the next time that we're in LA.
  • I had mentioned before that Brian and I have a soft spot for fancy hotel brunches, and Los Angeles has some of our favourites. We enjoyed eggs and Moscow Mules on the patio of Chateau Marmont and it was incredible - super chill vibes. We also visited my pink paradise, The Beverly Hills Hotel's Cabana Café and had a champagne-soaked indulgent brunch. It was incredible.
  • A nice compromise between cheap eats and baller brunches is our favourite spot on Melrose for plant-based Mexican food - Gracias Madre. We usually would grab a late lunch at this popular spot and it would fill us up until the next day. So, so good.
  • My favourite treat to pick up when we visit Los Angeles is California Donuts. It's an unassuming donut stand in Koreatown that's curiously open 24 hours. The donuts are adorable, great for photos and delicious. I already can't wait to go back!

Top: Forever 21, Bottom: Forever 21

Shorts: Zara, Top: Aritzia

Dress: Forever 21

Top: Forever 21. Bottom: Forever 21, Necklaces - ONecklace

California has definitely stolen my heart, and I already can't wait to get back to LA. Stay tuned for the second half of our trip, to Palm Springs and San Diego.

Have you been to LA? Where are you favourite places to visit? Let me know!

xo Joëlle


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

48 Hours In Prince Edward County

Just a few weeks after my first trip to Prince Edward County, I couldn't seem to shake the desire to visit this beautiful part of Ontario again, so I had to go back. That's how myself, Sabrina, Didier and Isabelle found ourselves is beautiful Prince Edward County for two nights to relax, explore and enjoy a slower pace for two nights.

A slower pace we found, and it was just what the doctor ordered. While my last trip to PEC focused on what to do in the area if you're looking for activities, this trip was all about relaxation, time spent with friends and enjoying the serenity of the county. Here's how we spent 48 hours in Prince Edward County.

Where We Stayed: The Meadow House 

Upon first sight of The Meadow House, I knew that we had made an incredible choice on where to stay in Prince Edward County. Surrounded by golden fields and sunshine, The Meadow House is not your typical Airbnb. We were all stunned when we first opened the door and saw how absolutely beautiful the decor is - I'm talking what you would see in a design magazine! Even with the impeccable design, the vibe is still very chill and cozy with lots of nostalgic touches. The entire space has been curated beautifully with functionality in mind and the every last detail has been considered; even the records available to play were perfection with The Beatles, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and The Lumineers. The outdoor patio is an absolute dream, one that I couldn't possibly put into words. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

The Meadow House has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and can sleep up to six people. It's located in Hillier, so you'll need a car to get around and explore everything that Prince Edward County has to offer. We got out and explored for a full day, and no destination was ever further then 25 minutes away. The light-filled kitchen is fully stocked with all of the essentials, so it makes for a perfect place to cook big family style dinners. Wifi is included and we took full advantage of watching scary movies on Netflix at night after a game of Monopoly that decorates the main table.

I could honestly write a novel singing the praises of The Meadow House. If you're looking for a relaxing getaway in Prince Edward County with beautiful design and modern amenities then this is your place.

What We Did

While we certainly spent lots of our time relaxing at The Meadow House, we did venture into town to explore on our second day. As I covered in my last post, Prince Edward County has so much to offer and we discovered new spots to put on our 'must-do' list when visiting. Here's a few standouts from the trip:

If you guys know me by now, you know that I'm an absolute sucker for a spa. Day spa, night spa, any spa - I'm here for it. So you can imagine my delight when we visited Bloomfield Beauty Co. A beautiful day spa with an array of different services to be enjoyed, Bloomfield Beauty Co. should definitely be considered as part of your relaxation and self-care agenda when visiting Prince Edward County. Sabrina and I were lucky enough to enjoy a pedicure and it was heavenly - I love a pedicure that includes a thorough foot and leg massage. Our resident skincare expert Didier had fun browsing their products and even picked something out for himself to take home - and that's saying something, because that guy is picky about his products! Isabelle enjoyed a matcha latte from their in-house espresso bar and it was just all-around a good time. We even came back the next day for Americanos - seriously their coffee is so good. Bloomfield Beauty Co. is definitely worth the visit.  

Another must-try on the list is Slickers Ice Cream, right across the way from Bloomfield Beauty Co. (they also have a location in Picton too.) This ice cream is made fresh and is freaking delicious! So good. I continue to have dreams about their toasted marshmallow flavour. Omg. SO good. 

Although we ate most of our meals at The Meadow House, we enjoyed a breakfast out at The Drake Devonshire. I loved being able to enjoy breakfast on The Drake Devonshire's beautiful patio that overlooks the lake, and explore the quirky decor of the hotel. I hope I'm able to make it to this hotspot for a weekend brunch - the menu looks amazing!

All in all, it was another incredible trip to Prince Edward County. If you haven't already visited this beautiful destination in Ontario then I highly recommend you do so. There's so much to see and do and I look forward to hopefully being able to visit again in the Fall.

What do you guys think? Have you ever been to Prince Edward County? What's your favourite place to escape to in Ontario? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Back To School Denim With Saks OFF 5TH

This year has seen one of the biggest revolutions on my personal style. The one biggest change that I've seen so far? I've become a lover of denim. That's right; what was once a closet that housed a single pair of never-worn jeans is now steadily building a healthy denim collection. Since I'm virtually starting from zero, I've noticed a few holes in my denim collection and one was filled from a recent trip to Saks OFF 5TH; I finally own a denim skirt.

You guys may have noticed that denim skirts have been huge since this past spring, and continue to go strong well into the Fall fashion forecast. I've been wanting to add one to my collection for awhile now, but wanted to wait until I found the perfect fit and for the right price. Let's face it, I'm no spring chicken so gone are the days where I can wear a booty-grazing hemline. I'm also learning that good-quality denim can come with a hefty price tag; I really wanted to find a good deal.

Thankfully Saks OFF 5TH has come to my rescue yet again, and is delivering huge savings on denim, just in time for back-to-school! Even though I'm not going back to school, I'm still all too happy to take advantage of the savings. I tried on so many pairs of jeans from amazing brands, and couldn't believe the prices. This denim skirt, for example, is 7 For All Mankind and I scored it for a fraction of the regular cost!

With the money that I saved, I was able to put together an entire outfit from Saks OFF 5TH. This oversized t-shirt looks great tied in the front, and I'm always more then happy to add to my scarf collection - this pink scarf completes the outfit when used as a headband. I just love going into a store and coming out with an entire outfit!

Skirt - 7 For All Mankind c/o Saks OFF 5TH, Shirt - c/o Saks OFF 5TH
Scarf - Ralph Lauren c/o Saks OFF 5TH

What do you guys think? Are you all about the denim lately like I am? What's your favourite style of denim going into Fall 2018? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

This post was created in partnership with Saks OFF 5TH. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
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