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you’ll find me where the wild things are

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Apparently when I get a little too much time on my hands, my go to is to look up cheap flights and pack my bags. The beginning of July was no exception, and I found myself on a flight to Costa Rica within a week of buying my tickets (most spontaneous trip I’ve ever planned, but when the round trip is a reasonable price, I couldn’t say no).

It was perfect timing as well, I planned to meet up with a fellow travel friend from Australia, Monika who had been spending the last few months making her way up from South America. We’d meet up in San Jose, arriving within a few hours of each other, and go from there.

Having no plan worked in our favour, and we met another traveler in our hostel with room in his car. Perfect, we’d come along for the ride, and ended up in La Fortuna at one of my favourite hostels (one night turned into four). Surrounded by rainforest, volcanos, and hot springs, La Fortuna was a nature wonderland, and having access to a car made things quite a bit easier. Finding ourselves in Costa Rica during the rainy season kept things interesting, but something about tropical rain just adds to the experience.

We stayed at Arenal Backpackers Resort, whose views of the Arenal volcano, swimming pool, and option to be in a tent, the perfect place to stay.

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With our nifty rental car, we were able to explore the surrounding areas, heading up a trail to where there were remnants of the 1968 eruption and walking through the rainforest and getting close to local animals. Sadly, no sightings of sloths, but I’ll add that to the list for next time.

Hot springs are also quite common in the area, and luckily amongst all the fancy spas, is a few free options. You’ll most likely spot it along the main road, look for the groups of people and bright yellow barriers across from Tabacon. Bring a few beers and try to head back before it gets too dark.

Lastly, the La Fortuna waterfall was pretty incredible, expect some tourists, but we found it worth the entrance fee and of course, don’t forget to go for a dip. Our favourite little local tip was to check our Pizza John’s, it was a little out of the way, but the owners were friendly and the pizza was top notch, but their specialty is ice cream with unique favours everyday.

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With my trip being only a short week, I wanted to head to the coast for at least for a few days, and we chose the easiest destination of Tamarindo. Nicknamed Tama-gringo, you can see why. While quite touristy, it was nice to just chill on the beach with sangria in hand for a few days. We stayed at Pura Vida Mini Hostel, a quick walk to the beach and surrounding restaurants.

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Tamarindo was where I really felt the differences of Costa Rica in comparison to other Central American countries. While a lot safer and relatively easy to get around (from most major hot spots, you can grab a seat on an organized bus) it’s quite family friendly, and you can get by with minimal Spanish, but that also means prices are a little more expensive and places can seem a bit “too popular”. Thankfully, with eco-tourism being a huge part of Costa Rica, there are still plenty of places that are untouched and waiting to be explored. With more time, I would have loved to check out some less crowded coastal towns, do Monteverde, and head to the Caribbean side. Until next time… you’ll find me where the wild things are.

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Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

Back at it again with the beats.

1. All My Friends (99 Souls Remix) – Snakehips
2. Middle – DJ Snake
3. Back To You – Kolidescopes
4. All Time Low – Jon Bellion
5. Young – Vallis Alps
6. Something About You – Hayden James
7. Love Yourself (Brynny X Teddy Cream Bootleg) – Justin Bieber
8. The Trouble With Us – Marcus Marr & Chet Faker
9. Embracing Me – Safia
10. Hoops – The Rubens
11. Breathe Life – Jack Garratt
12. Indian Summer – Jai Wolf
13. Can’t Have – Steven A. Clark
14. Let It Go (Bearson Remix) – James Bay
15. Catch & Release (Deepend Remix) – Matt Simons
16. Lose It (Jerry Folk Remix) – Oh Wonder
17. Hello – Stephen
18. Goodbye – Who Is Fanc

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Nadia Stefyn

This girl has got it going on, bringing her Australian quirks to the west coast of Canada and writing web content for women all around the world. Seriously, if you’re a small business owner and need a little help creating content to make your clients go WOW, Nadia is your gal.

www.nadiastefyn.com

Amster-damnnn

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I absolutely ADORED this city, everything about it was just my vibe. The people were so friendly (and the majority of their English was incredible), all of the shops and restaurants were a designer’s dream, everything was priced reasonably, and not to mention being surrounded by those stunning canals was a nice touch!

I was able to meet my friend Nivi “halfway” as she’s currently living in Dubai. This trip also proved to me how small the world truly is, as I also met a couple of girls in my hostel not only from Vancouver, but who happen to live four blocks away. Had to go across the world to meet my neighbours!

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STAY

We stayed at two hostels that were from the same company and I would HIGHLY recommend them. COCOMAMA was a little on the smaller side (but close to an adorable breakfast place called TOON), so try to get a spot at ECOMAMA first. Let’s just say this hostel had a hip cafe in the front, bikes hanging from the ceiling, a swing at reception, and a fort. That’s right, a fort! Hands down, my favourite European hostel I’ve stayed at.

 PLAY

VONDELPARK is what all the cool kids will be doing, so make sure to make an afternoon of it. Bring some snacks and wine and you’re set.

Rent a CANAL BIKE (paddle boat) for 1-1.5 hours and explore this city’s canals. Forewarning, while Amsterdam is known for being very chill, “open hours” is a very vague term and we had to walk to a few different  locations to find an open one. You can also purchase some wine as well (and hopefully keep that steering straight!)

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DE 9 STRAATJES (or THE NINE STREETS) is a shopper’s dream. Made up of, you guessed it, nine streets, here you can catch a glimpse of clothing stores and gift shops that give Amsterdam its unique style. Everything was relatively priced here as well.

The one thing I wish I had more time for in Amsterdam was visiting all of the museums, as I wasn’t able to check out the RIJKSMUSEUM or the VAN GOGH MUSEUM (I guess I have a reason to go back!). However, right around that area is where you’ll find the iconic I AM STERAM sign.

For museums, I designated a morning to do the ANNE FRANK HOUSE which is a must do. Prepare yourself for lines up to two hours, and we ended up going before it opened and had to wait quite a while. Of course, it’s worth it, and when you’re done, head across the street to the CHEESE MUSEUM. Nearby as well is THE PANCAKE BAKERY were you can try a dutch pancake. Prepare yourself, the size of these are insane!

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Amsterdam is also home to the HEINEKEN EXPERIENCE, which was really interactive and also included a few beers with the ticket price. Sold.

And a great way to end a trip is to have a few more drinks under a windmill-turned-brewery, BROUWRJ ‘T LJ. Doesn’t get more Dutch than that.

Amster-dammnn you’re fine!

Check out the map below for all the spots I hit up.

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Chillin Like a Villain

a little bit of groovin’, but a whole lotta chill. let’s get ready to do this summer thing. check out these tunes on 8tracks.

1. Overload – Life of Dillon
2. Barcelona – George Ezra
3. Real – Years & Years
4. What is Love (Lost Frequencies) – Jaymes Young
5. Collide (Felix Jaehn) – Howie Day
6. Girls – Slow Magic
7. Cigarettes & Loneliness – Chet Faker
8. Flashed Junk Mind (Filous Remix) – Milky Chance
9. Hear Your Heart (Tontario Edit) – James Bay
10. Open Season – Josef Salvat
11. Pools – Glass Animals
12. Say My Name (RAC Mix) – Odesza
13. Suga Suga (Jerry Folk) – Baby Bash
14. It Breaks Your Heart (Marv Remix) – Noah




ChillinLikeaVillian

studios | spaces | people | products

Collaborating with other creatives is always inspiring, and the experience with Sonja at Coates & Co. was no exception. From living in India, to her background in textiles, Sonja was the perfect person to create a space that allowed creatives to come together and share ideas. #girlboss right here, and I loved creating a brand for her that was fresh and simple, but also incorporated funky patterns. Northern British Columbia officially has it going on, and I can’t wait to see what projects and new ideas Coates & Co. will think of. Check out their facebook page and instagram to see what this one part art project, one part social experiment is up to. #wesharethisspace

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Things that I’m all about lately… large lawn games. 

With the summer vibes right around the corner, giant jenga and dominos are the perfect way to get your game on.

Bespoke Decor Rentals (check out what design I did for them) has all the goods to take your BBQ to the next level. They were perfect for my twenty fifth birthday (big kid at heart) alongside my custom pinata (thanks Ashton!). Let’s just say she was a little top heavy and I’m not referring to her head size. Obviously we couldn’t smash that beaut!

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Feel the Love

The 2015   l o v e    season is just about to start and I can’t wait to show off some of the designs I’ve gotten to work on the past few weeks. There’s quite a range of styles, but for now, here’s a look back on some of my favourites from previous years.

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JESSICA & LIAM
photo cred: Meg Courtney Photography

 

kira

KIRA & BRENDON
photo cred: Tara Peach Photography

 

nicole

NICOLE & ROYCE
photo cred: Rhys Albrecht Photography
featured on: Style Me Pretty

 

joanne

JOANNE & PAT
photo cred: Royce Sihlis Photography
featured on: Style Me Pretty

 

christinejohn

CHRISTINE & JON
photo cred: Royce Sihlis Photography
featured on: Hey Wedding Lady