Category: city guides

let’s go thrifting!

thrifting w/ Lotus Events 1thrifting w/ Lotus Events 2Thrifting to me is like getting a massage for others. It’s my go-to when I need to de-stress and take time away from the computer. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt with a thrift store, but will never turn down a nice stroll through an antique market. This can often mean trouble and over the past years, I have had to distinguish my feelings for wanting an item for its cuteness versus having an actual use for said item. It’s a fine line between thrifting and becoming a vintage hoarder. There’s nothing wrong with walking out of a shop empty handed!

thrifting w/ Lotus Events 3thrifting w/ Lotus Events 4What’s the difference?

Antique markets are often sectioned into curated stalls which a potential seller may rent and decorate however they wish with their finds. Items are often priced higher as products have been picked through, carefully selected, well displayed, and you sometimes may find the “insert popular item i.e. aluminum christmas trees” over and over. This is normally the place that I would go to find treasured pieces for my home and booth displays.

Thrift stores are often categorized into clothing, homewares, electronics, etc. It is up to you to roll up your sleeves and dig through to find your own gems especially if you find yourself at “the bins”. It may be a bit more time consuming, but often the place to pick up the best deals as items haven’t been picked through by a seller and marked up for resale. The key with thrift stores is to be a regular and the best scores are from the folks that live / work close to a thrift shop and are able to pop in on a regular basis. We have a map of our favourite shops, know when the sales take place, and try to visit on a monthly basis, if not more frequently!

thrifting w/ Lotus Events 5

Here are my top thrift stops in the Lower Mainland:
MCC  :: This is my favourite place and have often walked out with boxes of new-to-me goods to a car load full.
Bibles for Missions :: Always worth a stop. Found some cute stuff that didn’t quite fit our home at the time, but would definitely be a find for the right person.
Salvation Army  :: As with all thrift stores, this place is hit and miss and you have to keep an eye on prices as they sometimes run high.
Churches / Estate Sales / Schools / Senior Centres :: Various location

Antique markets :: Most of my favourite antique markets are located in the US. Visit my Portland City Guide (scroll to the bottom for additional posts) for my usual spots.

Do you have a favourite thrifting place and / or tip? Share it below!

Bottom picture from Brick & Mortar Living. Stay tuned for a shop tour!

city (eating) guide :: oahu, hi

Oahu1oahu2oahu3oahu4oahu5oahu6My very first plane trip was back in 1984 when we went on a family trip to Hawaii with my aunt, uncle, mother, and grandmother. I have to admit, I can’t remember much as I was only a few years old except for the fact that I refused to swim in the ocean and my grandma bought me a coconut purse!

Robert and I started coming to Hawaii in 2010 and fell in love. Our holidays here are pretty low-key and most of our time is divided between lounging, swimming, and eating shave ice. Seriously, this could be a new food group – YUM! We always start our trip in Oahu and normally island hop between the Big Island and Maui with the latter being my favourite (more on that later). Here’s some favourite places to eat in Oahu, HI that you won’t want to miss out:

Ted’s Bakery || Serving everything from breakfast to desserts, it is a popular spot for local surfers. Make a stop here for the Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie which you can purchase by the slice in the ‘help yourself’ section of the refrigerator.

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck || The garlic shrimp scampi was my favourite compared to the lemon butter and you can smell the garlic as soon as you get out of the car. Shrimp was clean and flavourful and if you head to the location in the North Shore, you may even spot a black and white cat waiting hanging out underneath the truck.

matsumoto shave icematsumoto shave ice catsMatsumoto Shave Ice || I can’t believe we waited this long to try shave ice! I heart this place so much that we almost made the drive from Waikiki (1 hour) to Haleiwa each day for shave ice. For $2.50 (small size – cheapest that we found) you can pick up to 3 flavours. An additional $0.50 will get you condensed cream, azuki beans, and ice cream each. My favourites included the rainbow (lemon, strawberry, pineapple) and cherry / lycee with condensed milk on top. Take a peek for feral cats that the owners feed behind the shop (see the two above).

Kua’aina || A fast food restaurant serving sandwiches and 1/3lb burgers (medium rare and huge). The original location in Haleiwa is normally pretty busy, so you can also check out their new place at Ward Center. Skip the french fries unless you like them shoestring style.

marukame udonMarukame Udon || Another new-to-me favourite thanks to Alexis from Wave the Stick. With 400+ locations in Japan, Marukame Udon is a cafeteria style restaurant serving hot / cold udon noodles for $3.75-$5.75. Once you order your noodles, you can help yourself to add-ons such as tempura, inari, and musibi ($1.25-$1.75 each). This place is delicious and can get pretty crowded in the evenings (30minute queue), but it moves pretty quickly.


Happy travels and don’t forget the elastic trousers!

city (eating) guide :: maui, hi

maui1maui2IMG_3700IMG_3681IMG_3732lahainabanyan tree parkIMG_3675We stayed at a rental condo on Kaanapali Beach in Maui, HI about an hour drive from the airport. I love Maui so much that I made staying here for one month each year a new goal. Rental condo’s have the covenience of a full kitchen and an en-suite washer and dryer. The facilities also often include shared BBQ facilities, multiple swimming pools, and great access to the beach. Although, we normally shop at the local Safeway and cook our own meals, we found plenty of tasty eats to keep us full thanks to Pinecone Camp and Lisa!

komoda bakerykomoda stick donutmakawaoKomoda Bakery || Located in Makawao, the story is that Komoda is run by a Japanese family with a background in French baking that has been here for the past 96 years. We arrived early after reading the reviews about the possibility of them selling out of baked goods if you arrived late and taste tested the stick donut, cream puff, the dinner rolls, and a guava malasada. Although, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the shop itself is incredible with, what looks like, original store display racks and fixtures.

IMG_3756808 Deli || Across from Kam 2 beach in Kihei, we checked out early to make sure that we could pick up sandwiches for our trip back to Oahu. Voted Maui’s Best Sandwich, their porkie was absolutely fantastic with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

Geste’s Shrimp Truck || Oh, Geste! So, the website says that they open at 10:30am. We drove around in circles finally spotting the food truck area by Kahului harbour only to be disappointed that the shrimp truck was no where to be found. We must have been walking back to the car when they finally pulled up around 11:15am, so we parked again and ordered a plate of the Hawaiian Scampi and Lemon Pepper for lunch ($12 w/ rice + crab salad).

Local Boys + Ulu Lanis || The shave ice in Maui is fluffier and less packed than at Matsumoto. The cherry was a bit intense at both of these locations, but overall, it was a good shave ice fix until we got back to Haleiwa. Favourite flavours: Guava, Lycee, and make sure to get the Mango at Ulu Lanis (with condensed milk of course!). It’s like licking a fresh mango.

Lahaina Prime Rib & Fish Co.I know that Lahaina is super touristy, but sometimes that is what makes it fun. Rob and I were looking for some lunch and decided to stop here for some local grilled mahi mahi and coconut shrimp. I had low expectations after trying a nearby restaurant on a past trip, but was pleasantly surprised.


Have some favourites? Share them below!

city guide pt 2 :: LA

We used Airbnb in LA and found the perfect one bedroom in Silverlake with a breath taking view of the Hollywood Hills. Trust me, I did not want to leave this place! My favourite part about living in California? The fruit trees! My dream would be to have a lemon tree in my backyard… bliss! Here’s my final round up. If you missed part one, you can find it here.

Handsome Coffee Roasters :: 582 Mateo Street :: We parked in the Arts District and walked past a gangster film shoot before arriving at the coffee shop. I love this place. Coffee was fantastic, pastries are from Proof Bakery, and the staff was super nice.

Urbanic :: 1644 Abbot Kinney Boulevard :: A pretty paper boutique filled with stationery, greeting cards, and a nice selection of Le Pens (my favourite!). I’ve been following them via instagram for quite awhile, so it was great to see all of their store displays in person.

Broome Street General :: 2912 Rowena Avenue :: One part general store and one part cafe, this was a great little place tucked into a quiet neighbourhood in Silverlake. They have a large seating area outside and a curated selection of goods inside including handmade bow ties from Forage and cards from Rifle Paper Co. For a small space, they have a great mix of products for sale and beautiful displays.

Torrance Antiques Fair :: A fairly large market with friendly stall holders and some great friends for low prices. I picked up a mint condition 5 piece set of Pyrex bowls for $30 and if I had room, I would have brought home more Pyrex, a chair, and a suitcase set. Definitely a new favourite!

On the Lot :: Follow them via twitter to see when and where they will be opened. This is where we had dinner on our last night in LA and it was just perfect! They have a rotating team of approx. 6 food trucks that meet on a weekly basis. We tried Lomo Arigato for Japanese Peruvian fare and the Mandoline Grill for viet subs!

Have your own favourites? Share them below!

city guide pt 1 :: LA

My work has brought me to LA a few times in the past where we stationed ourselves more or less in the Universal area and Burbank neighbourhoods. Although, we only had a {very} short 4 days here, we came with a completely different mindset on this trip – sun + palm tress, independent shops, and coffee culture. Los Angeles, I love you!

To help you plan your next trip, here are some of the places that we visited:

Poketo :: 820 E. 3rd Street :: Pronounced poh-keh-toe, they are probably best known for their vinyl artist wallets and their recent collaboration with Target. I’ll be posting more about them soon!

La Otra Taqueria Escuela :: 7615 Beverly Blvd :: I came here for their ceiling made of wooden shoe forms and I left talking about their pork belly tacos for weeks. They were so good that we went back the next day for more. Seriously. This is a stop you don’t want to miss.

Liz’s Antique Hardware :: 453 South La Brea Avenue :: If you love vintage and reproduction hardware for your home (skeleton keys, cabinet, furniture, lighting), this is the mothership. Worth a visit whether or not you plan to purchase any of these items.

Grove + Farmers Market :: 189 The Grove Drive :: This place brings me back to my earlier visits to LA when Jess and I would come here to spot celebrities. Ha! Lots of shopping and restaurants… heard great things about the Umami Burger, but didn’t have a chance to check it out.

Reform School :: 3902 Sunset Blvd :: I first heard about Tootie and Billie from Handmade Nation and added it to my list of places to visit. Fantastic shop filled with handmade goods, stationery, clothing, and other small gift items. I’ll be posting more about them soon!

Intelligentsia Coffee: 3922 West Sunset Blvd :: Just down the street from Reform School, its one of those places that if you love coffee, you have to at least visit once. The staff were all wearing hats and looked like they could break into spoken word, but besides that, the space and iced coffee was great!

Melrose Trading Post :: 7850 Melrose Avenue :: 1 of the 3 antique markets that I hit up during our visit. Tons of vintage clothing and some housewares and furniture. Worth the $2 admission, but definitely a hit and miss depending on which stalls are open when you visit. Found one seller that divides their time between LA and Detroit with a gorgeous selection of ice cream scoops (circular, triangular, and square!) and chocolate moulds.

Guisados :: 2100 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave :: Found this place via instagram and decided to try it out. Definitely off the beaten path, but just spot the line up at the door and you know you have arrived. We ordered the sample platter each and a melon juice to share. Not exactly sure what was on the platter, but everything was tasty except for the one that burned my lips off. :|

Stay tuned for part 2!