FLIGHTS | Long Layover in Lisbon?

Okay, internet. I’m just over a month away from Euro18* and I need your help. Yes, you! Tell me your travel secrets. I have two and a half days to spend in Lisbon, eating all the things and getting all the culture. Where do I start?

Oh man, I can hear you already.

Q: Olivia! You can’t see a city like Lisbon in 2.5 days!

A: Have you met me? Brussels: 24 hours. Vienna: 36 hours. Iceland (a whole country!): 58 hours.

So, we’ve determined that I can in fact get a taste of a city in two and a half days. What I’m counting on you for are recommendations to make sure that I see the real Lisbon, and not the touristy version that’s been adapted for visitors.

Please, leave a comment on any or all of the below questions:

  • Where would you go for good local food? If there isn’t an English menu, consider me intrigued.
  • What’s your favourite activity in the city?
  • What’s a “can’t miss” sight that I need to check out?

My loyal readers (shout out to my three family members), I am back with a vengeance this spring, and can’t wait to let you know all about my travels.

*Refers to my incredible two-week European adventure coming up, not some music festival. But, I get it. We’re heading into Coachella weekend so I can’t fault you for going there.


FOOD | Poutine for Every Occassion

Don’t worry, I’m not speaking a foreign language in the title of this post. Chances are, unless you’ve travelled to Canada, or can call a Canadian one of your close friends, you have no idea what poutine is. Oh, readers. How my heart aches for you. Actually, my heart aches because I ate too much artery-clogging poutine on my last trip to Montreal, but that’s another issue.

Living abroad, whenever someone asked me about Canadian cuisine I would always have to explain that being such a multicultural country, Canada has very few Canada-unique dishes. One of our claims to fame, is poutine. Poutine is fries, topped with cheese curds (the squeakier the better, in my books), covered in hot gravy. Try explaining this to an Italian. I should have created a separate blog just to record the looks of horror they gave me. To this day, I’m still not sure what gravy is in Italian, but I liked to refer to it as meat juice, or meat sauce. Drooling yet?

While in Montreal a few months ago, during a food tour, we stumbled across a little restaurant in the heart of the Mile End neighbourhood with a queue that would rival the cronut queue in NYC. Wait, are kids still lining up for that?

So, after seeing said line up, we took to Google to find out more about this restaurant. Fabergé had great reviews, and there were rumours of a breakfast poutine. The next morning we got up early and sauntered over, excited to beat the brunch rush. Let’s set the scene. Two clueless Torontonians round the corner only to discover the WORLD’S LONGEST LINE. Truth. You can read about it in the Guinness Book of World Records. Take two: same Torontonians set alarms to arrive at the same restaurant 22 hours later. Conclusion? We got a table for two where I tasted the below breakfast poutine firsthand, and washed it down with a mimosa or three.


Address: 25 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2L9

Phone: + 1 514 903 6649

FASHION | The Future As I See It

Technology has a way of evolving beyond what we can imagine. Think back to the first cellphone – costly, bulky, and couldn’t hold a charge. These days, we expect a cellphone to act as a phone, camera, music player, and personal computer, all at an affordable cost. Is it really so crazy to imagine that 3D printing could become so mass market, that instead of buying a pre-made article of clothing, we will buy the design online and print it?

Fast fashion is meant to take current popular styles, and make them available immediately to the consumer. What better way to do this than print the fashion in a 3D form the minute it starts to gain popularity. In-home printing may be my long term vision, but it can’t happen overnight. Instead, the market will gradually adapt, as both consumers and retailers become more familiar with this new technology and its benefits.

Initially, consumers will be able to print in-store. Whether the size you’re looking for isn’t carried in-store, or the style is sold out, consumers will be able to request the item of their choice to be printed on demand. Fast fashion stores, known for having a plethora of the same size of the same style, will now only carry limited sizes in each style knowing that instead of taking home the item from the sales floor, consumers will simply receive a freshly printed item instead. Large store rooms will be converted in to printing centres to accommodate these requests on-site.

Within five years, consumers will have 3D printers at home and they will be able to download designs from a store’s website. They will be able to customize options such as fit, pattern, size, style, and material. In-home printers are already affordable, but the average consumer lacks the technical skills to design 3D sketches in a computer program. Consumers will not begin by downloading the design for their wedding dress. To start, 3D printing will be used to print replacements to things such as lost buttons, and then other items such as accessories. As it becomes more mass-market people will see the logic in using it to print clothing as well.

Shapeways already helps the public buy, sell, and create 3D printed products, and Iris Van Herpen, a Dutch designer, presented her first 3D print in 2010. As a designer, she understands the need to embrace technology and incorporate it, rather than shy away from it as something unknown.

Do you think I’m crazy? Are you shaking your head? Think of the consumer appeal. The main driver behind this change will be the consumer’s desire to be different. We know that fashion trends are cyclical, but consumer trends are as well. Prior to the 1850’s, consumers instructed tailors on what to make for them. Recently, it has been designers dictating trends. However, as Millennials grow into a major consumer role, so will the consumer trend of individuality and bespoke pieces.

Retailers will benefit due to reducing the costs of manufacturing, shipping and logistics, unsold merchandise, and real estate for larger retail spaces. The environment will benefit because the materials used will be recyclable. Instead of throwing out old clothes, you can use the materials to make new ones.

The future of 3D printing is both exciting and unnerving. Technology can change quickly. While today it seems a far reach to claim that we will be printing our wardrobe in 5 years, history has shown us that it is entirely possible.

The technology is there, and now as consumers and industry insiders, we need to explore the opportunities that it can provide. In 5 years, we could be watching styles come down a runway, and then buying the 3D designs online the next day from a fast fashion retailer.

What are you thoughts? Have I convinced you this is possible? I would love to hear your opinions below!

FASHION | Accessorize Yourself in Berlin

One of the coolest shops I have ever seen while shopping was an independent jeweller in Berlin. My friend had heard of them and finding the store was on our must-do list while we were there.

What made it such a must-do? They make blown glass pendants with dried dandelions inside. Super. Cool.

It was a bit difficult to find, which I’m sure was only due to our lack of familiarity with Berlin, and zero knowledge of German, but we found the store and thus began the hour long process of deciding which piece of jewellery to purchase.

I opted for a wrap watch with a compass charm, and a globe charm, very fitting of my vagabonda lifestyle. My friend opted for a necklace with a dandelion charm (the main reason we were in search of this store in the first place).

Sadly, in our haste to pack up our lives in the wee hours of the morning in Berlin and not wake our bunkmates, my friend left her necklace somewhere in our hostel room. Not to fear, Villa Sorgenfrei also sells online so she could (and did) replace her necklace. My watch was a big part of my life until one day, after constantly carrying my bag around on my elbow and likely catching my watch on it every time, I realized that the compass charm had fallen off. The watch lost its charm (no pun intended!) for me so I’ve stopped wearing it. I wanted to replace it with a visit in person, but that’s likely another couple of years away!

I strongly recommend that you go, and also have a peek in their studio next door to watch the magic happen!

If you don’t have a trip planned at the moment, then go check out their Instagram in the meantime for some eye candy. This is one of those boring non-photo posts, because I simply didn’t take a picture of my beloved watch.

FLIGHTS | Naxos = Wine and George (Part 2)

I know I left you hanging on my last post with promises about our wine cost negotiations. Well, after refreshing your browsers hour after hour, the moment has arrived. Today you will learn why a smile, and a promise of drinking a lot of wine, can be financially beneficial.

Canadian girls: Oh, look! Retsina is only 3.50 euro per half litre. But a half litre isn’t very much. I wonder if we order a litre if they’ll give it to us for 6 euro.

Server: What can I get you?

Canadian girls: We will have a lot of food (I can’t remember specifics, sorry.) And we will have two half litres of retsina, but we will only pay 3 euro for each half litre. Ok?

Server: … … … … Ok.

Canadian girls: Great! We will have three litres total of retsina.

We came across the restaurant after a day of sailing with George*. George’s wife lured us in one afternoon with the promise of a great day of sailing on a small boat and seeing the Greek islands. She was adorable, and after some negotiations to make sure we paid a student rate, we agreed. When we showed up that morning we realized that George’s lovely wife would not be joining us. George was hilarious, and if you aren’t offended easily then I would probably recommend spending a day sailing with him. He will likely insult you, unless you are a female in which case he will 100% insult you, at least five times. He can’t insult you just once, because females never listen so you won’t even hear the first few insults.

Anyway, back to how we came across this restaurant. After our day of sailing, George recommended that we go to a restaurant just off the water and tell them that George sent us to get a free appetizer. Interesting fact of the day: the words “it’s that white building there – tell them George sent you” can apply to every situation in Greece. There are no non-white buildings, and no one not named George. I’m 87% sure I could travel the entire country telling people that George sent me and get some kind of nod of recognition at each place.

*Sailing George is not Hotel George. I told you there were a lot of them!

Sailing wasn’t all bad. We did get some great pictures, and you can’t photograph an insult so I’ve almost forgotten how offended I should be by George. Some more retsina will help, I’m sure.

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FLIGHTS | Naxos = Wine (Part 1)

This post is dedicated to my all-time favourite island. That’s saying a lot, seeing as I come from one of the most beautiful islands in the world (Vancouver Island). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Naxos, Greece.

A couple of summers ago, as our two years of living in Europe were coming to an end, a friend and I made a travel to-do list. Greece was on top, but we weren’t much more specific in terms of where we wanted to go. In our research of the islands, we came across the island of Naxos. What’s so special about Naxos? Dionysus, the Greek god of WINE, came from Naxos. That’s enough reason right there to plan a visit.

After flying in to Athens, we set off on a large ferry the next day. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a lovely man name George (the first of many) who took us to our accommodations. He gave us the quick low down on the island, and we dropped off our bags and went off in search of beaches. The below three came out on top:

Agios Georgios: semi-organized, right in town, great waves, and overall a great beach.

Plaka beach: we had to take a bus to get here, but man am I glad we did. We got off the bus, climbed over the sand dune, and were greeted with a long stretch of white sand and blue water. And a naked old man. Warning: this beach is clothing optional! We settled in to the first chairs we came across, and a couple of hours later a young Greek boy came around asking for payment for the day. I can’t recall how much it was, but it was definitely a bargain. Go. To. This. Beach.

Villa Marandi beach: one day we set off in search of a new beach on foot. We continued south west beyond Agios Georgios, past Laguna which is popular for kite surfing, and eventually we had to get back on to the main road. After a short walk on the main road, we wandered down a side street that led towards an almost abandoned beach, with a handful of chairs. We made ourselves at home on the empty chairs and suffered through yet another amazing beach day. Bonus, on our walk back to town (hot and exhausted from beaching), we hitchhiked and were actually picked up but a lovely older Canadian couple!!


Much more to come on Naxos this week, including our sailing adventure with George (who else), and that time we negotiated the price of our retsina based on how much we committed to drinking.

FOOD | Let’s Manger!

Apologies if the title of this post is a little unclear, but I like to throw in the occasional French word to sound très chic. Did it work?

There are going to be many posts about Paris, because j’adore Paris, but because this restaurant received great reviews from everyone I sent there, I begin with La Cave Gourmande. This was one of my favourite meals in Paris. We were wandering our way up through Montmartre one evening, and starting to scope our restaurants, when we happened upon this cozy little restaurant. After chatting up the owner, he swore to us that he served the best bœuf bourguignon in Paris. Well, always a believer, we promised to return on our trek back down. We started with the foie gras, which as long as you don’t focus too much on where it comes from, is absolutely decadent. Followed by the hyped-up bœuf bourguignon, at which point I nearly fell to my knees to beg the owner to either hire me, marry me, or feed me for life. None of these happened.

I’ve sent multiple people back to this restaurant since I went in Spring 2014, and all have written to me afterwards to tell me how delicious it was. World, you are welcome. Now go forth and manger!20140504_221326

Address: 96 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France

Phone: +33 (0)140400330

FASHION | Where It All Began…

Fashion is the reason that I packed up my life in Vancouver, and moved to Italy in 2012. Was it a crazy decision? Somewhat. Do I regret it? Never.

When I look back at my childhood, I realize how important fashion was to me. I can clearly remember certain outfits that I was obsessed with, and some entertaining stories that go with them. Both outfits are pictured below, but please hold your judgement thankyouverymuch.

Outfit 1: The Pyjamas. In Grade 1, I received a new outfit at Christmas, and as any logical child would do, I couldn’t wait to wear it to school. Not only was it a whole outfit, but there was a stuffed bear that fit in the front pocket of the shirt! An outfit with a stuffed animal. I was going to win the Best Dressed award. Well, word on the street is that I returned home from school that day, very upset that I had worn what was clearly a pyjama set to school!

Outfit 2: The Petticoat. Clearly, clothing fascinated me at a young age, and I thought my new skirt was the cat’s pyjamas. No, I do not have an obsession with pyjamas. Whether I wanted my new ballerina-esque outfit to be documented with a photo, or whether I was made to take a photo to send to the kind soul that gifted me with this beautiful skirt, it’s clear from the look on my face that I was tickled pink at my new outfit option. Little did I know, I was supposed to wear a dress on top of it. Good news: I don’t recall being allowed to wear this one in public.

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FOOD | Lo Spritz.

I can see all of you rolling your eyes when you realize that my first FOOD post is about Lo Spritz, aka The Aperol Spritz, aka a cocktail. I can’t explain why, but saying Lo Spritz seems so much more respectful towards this drink. You can refer to this cocktail as a simple Spritz, but in North America you run the risk of someone bringing you a wine spritzer. No joke. Best to always request an Aperol Spritz when ordering on this side of the Atlantic.

What makes this cocktail so special? It’s one of those anytime drinks. Perfectly acceptable for the hours when the sun is shining, and nothing is quite as refreshing (in my opinion) as a Spritz. Best served in a large wine glass, with lots of ice and a slice of orange. If you’re ever unsure of your Spritz preparation or presentation, give me a call and I’ll be there in under two minutes to be the judge.IMG_20140412_184728


  • 3 parts prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • 1 part soda water

FLIGHTS | Churches, and Bones, and Milan, OH MY!

To no one’s surprise, many of my first posts will be about Milan. But, I want to break stereotypes today and talk about something other than the Duomo, or the Last Supper. Have you ever been to an ossuary? If you haven’t, then read on for a bone-chilling (you’ll get it later) description of a church in Milan. If you have, then please keep your comments to yourself until the end so you don’t ruin it for the others.

There is a church in the centre of Milan, San Bernardino alle Ossa, that comes complete with an ossuary. Let me save you the trouble of searching this word. An ossuary is defined as the room into which the bones of dead people are placed. Wait, why do we need to specify “dead people” here?

Back to the bone room ossuary. I’m honestly surprised that this place isn’t a bigger tourist attraction. Yes, I know it’s kind of morbid. But, it’s also pretty fascinating and different! It’s also very cool during the hot Milanese summer. I guess a Spritz would also cool you down, if bone rooms aren’t your thing.

I’ve included some of my very professional looking pictures below, because if I keep talking about a room full of bones, you’re going to start picturing me in an Indiana Jones movie or something. Spoiler alert: I kind of was.

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Address: via Verziere, 2, Milano, Italy

Disclaimer: This post about human bones, is not to be confused with my upcoming post about animal skulls in Marrakesh!