DVLB: Death Valley’s Little Brother

Located near Uptown Waterloo, DVLB is a little, quaint cafe that serves a variety of caffeinated drinks including coffees, lattes, and even whiskey! (although I can’t say how good that is because I haven’t tried it… yet.)

The outside of the cafe is quite subtle. It’s nothing flashy at all; just a sign with the letters DVLB above the storefront. If you didn’t look closely while going down King Street, you would probably miss it. At least I did until my friend pointed it out to me.

There is a wooden theme going on throughout the decor of the place which makes it look rustic and comforting. The tables, the stools, even the bar where the drinks are made incorporated the use of a wooden texture. Black and white photographs adorn the walls to add a modest touch of art work without being too flashy.

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I sat at a huge table near the entrance of a cafe which looked like it was pulled from old pieces of a door. The large table brought in a communal aspect so others could sit around it as well. I didn’t mind; I love being around people. In fact, I felt even more motivated to work because of the energy I was getting from other people. My favourite spot in particular is at the corner of the table with the entrance to my left and the rest of the cafe to my left.

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There’s a wall in particular right at the entrance of a beautiful rabbit with what looks like feathery antlers rising above its head. I’m not quite sure what the significance of the rabbit was, but it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. I loved the way that these antlers growing out of the rabbit flowed above and bordered the wall to create an effortless drapery effect that allows the eyes to travel. It’s pretty calming to look at, and inspired this Instagram photo:

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Headband – Ardene
Kimono – Forever 21
Black crop top – American Apparel
Shorts – Garage

My friend recommended me to try one of their summer drinks during my first visit here. This is called an affogato, which is basically a coffee-based beverage. It contains a scoop of vanilla ice cream with two shots of espresso. It was delicious. For someone like me who gets affected by caffeine easily, this drink definitely makes me alert and a bit jittery. I’m actually having one right now as I type this blog post and let me tell you, I have never typed faster than I am now. I highly recommend this drink while its still available for the summer!

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This has become one of my favourite spots in this city. You don’t come across these types of environments very often and I intend to cherish the times I spend in here while I’m in Waterloo. I found that during the lunch hours, it gets quite loud and busy with the amount of customers coming in and out. But once it hits around 3pm, it quiets down a ton and the environment is absolutely lovely. I can’t stand complete silence while working and I love being around people, so this cafe is perfect for me. Don’t be afraid to talk to people here too, everyone is super friendly!

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DVLB, I have fallen in love with you.

Email Etiquette

In a world where technology and the Internet dominates a majority of people’s lives, email has become the number one go-to form of communication. It’s fast, it’s instant, it’s… frustrating

Why you may ask? Because we are so accustomed to this fast-paced society and we expect everything to happen instantaneously, waiting for a reply to an important email can feel like an eternity. Literally, forever.

Advances in technology have allowed us to connect our email to our phones. I don’t know anyone without their email message notifications connected to their phones… So what excuse is there not to reply within a reasonable time frame?

I cannot stress how anxious I feel right now waiting for people to reply to my emails. I have sent emails to event organizers, professors in my school, TA’s… Just a lot of important people which require immediate responses.

Now, I’ve heard that the “email etiquette way” is to give that person at least 24 hours to respond. I could wait 2, and maybe 3 days. And I understand that on weekends, people normally don’t check their work emails. But is there really an excuse not to respond urgently? Or at least give some sort of indication that if they are not able to respond to me with the right answer that I could be redirected to someone else?

Communication requires two people. TWO PEOPLE BACK AND FORTH.

This may just be the anger coming out of me, but I’m speaking for all of us who rely on instant communication and response: get your email game together.

A letter to myself, 3 years later.

I found a letter that I wrote to myself before I started university and it almost brought me to tears. I want to share with you what was going through my head when I was reading it again, 3 years later.

My letter was full of excitement about starting university and the new independence that I will be gaining from living away from my home. I wrote about all the things that I was looking forward to and all the things I was fearing. The last line I wrote in that letter was, “I hope that you’re happy with where you are now.”

Looking back at what was going on in my life 3 years ago when I wrote that, I would have never imagined the outcome of my life right now. Of course, many things have changed since I wrote that letter: I’ve grown as a person (but definitely not height, I’m still standing at 5’), I have loved and I have learned, and in a way, I feel like I’ve become a lot stronger.

Over these past 3 years, I have learned a valuable lesson.

Any decision that you make in your life is going to affect you in some way and moulds you into the person that you are. You can’t control your future, but you can control events that lead to the future. Why would you make yourself miserable by always being down on yourself when you can choose to live events that can make you happy?

Am I happy with where I am now? Of course. I may not always show it, but I am ultimately living a thankful life. You can’t take life for granted, it’s a precious thing. There may be times when events in your life will get you down, but you just have to be strong and pick yourself up.

Happiness is a choice.

TRAVEL DIARY: Mont-Tremblant

A short and sweet vlog of my much needed getaway from the city for a few days at Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada!

Because it was summer and it was so HOT, there was no snowboarding or skiing, but there were other activities that were equally as enjoyable. I went kayaking, hiking, and even climbed a rock wall.

I talk about one activity in particular called Luge. It is basically a mountain raceway where you ride along a track from the top to the bottom of the mountain. It had many steep turns and winding roads. I was going way too fast and lost control at a left turn, so I flipped off my board and over the edge of the barrier. I ended up scraping my arm and leg, but it was so worth it.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetSitting on the highest point of Mont-Tremblant.

IMG_2499Entrance to where we were staying at.

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On the mountain overlooking the village.

Overall, I had a really nice experience at Mont-Tremblant and it’s extremely beautiful in the summer time. I loved the vibe and excitement of the village at night, especially the dancing. Everyone was nice and friendly, and it’s a really great atmosphere to escape to, especially if you’re trying to escape reality for a bit. Did I mention that I got to meet one of the judges of Dragon’s Den?! My dad pointed him out and he was completely starstruck! During my last night, I had drinks at one of the bars there and my waiter was extremely funny. I would LOVE to come back and experience what Mont-Tremblant has to offer in the winter!

 

RE: A New Chapter – Connor Franta

If you’ve become deeply immersed in the world of YouTube as much as I have, “Our 2nd Life” (specifically Connor Franta) would be a name you would recognize. With over 2 million subscribers, Connor Franta has built up a fan base along with friends on O2L and has become well-respected and friendly among the other YouTubers.

Recently, Connor released his 100th video on O2L titled “A New Chapter”. The premise of the video was about him leaving the O2L channel because he felt that his content hasn’t been up to his expectations and it was unfair to put out half-assed videos because of his personal problems. He’s right. He sits down to make a 5 minute video every Monday, but that’s only 5 minutes out of 10,000+ minutes in a week so we don’t see what’s going out behind the camera. We don’t understand what’s going on outside the YouTube realm of these people’s lives. This goes for basically every single YouTuber out there. Yes, even those who do daily vlogging like the Shaytards.

What I wanted to talk about was something he said that his me particularly hard, which was that doing something you love should never become a chore. He states that he was not the same happy boy he once was when he first started making videos on YouTube, and it could be seen through the videos he has been putting out recently. It’s heartbreaking when you realize that something you once cared passionately about has become something that has become forced upon you. It’s never what anyone thinks about when they start developing a love for a hobby.

I can relate to this. I like to think of myself as a pretty happy, outgoing person, just like Connor. Growing up, I have always loved to play musical instruments. Ever since I picked up a recorder when I was 6, I was unstoppable. I taught myself how to play and begged my mom to sign videos out from the library and books that would help me improve. I went on to learn to play the piano, and ultimately audition and was accepted into a music major program for my high school years on the clarinet. I was self-taught for most of my life, meaning that I never really went to private lessons (besides piano, but then I stopped at the beginning of high school). I absolutely loved the idea of creating music with the people around me and performing in front of audiences from singing in choirs, to performing with concert bands and orchestra. I won quite a few awards and was chosen as section leader numerous times. As high school progressed and the music program became more vigorous, I found myself losing the passion I once had for music. Towards the end, I dreaded to go to rehearsal sometimes in fear of being criticized over and over again by some of my music teachers. On some bad days after rehearsal, I would sit in my room and cry because I couldn’t handle the pressure of balancing rehearsals, school, and my personal life at the same time. Something I once loved and looked forward to in my life has become something I feared. It was never what I wanted, and when I realized this, I lost a bit of sense in myself. I started to become really bitter and tried really hard to get that passion back. In the end, I decided that music was making me more depressed than it was making me happy, so I left that lifestyle behind after I finished high school.

From time to time, I get flashbacks of when music was the shining beacon of my life. Looking back and remembering the good times, I really do miss it. I miss the thrill of performing and being able to create an art with the people around me. I remember how happy, nervous, and excited I was performing in concerts, shows, and especially in Disney World (2009, highlight of my life). But I no longer want to go back to that lifestyle. Maybe one day, I’ll go back. But for now, I have found other things that make me happier.

Connor, I want to say that I respect your decision to leave O2L. When something you once loved to do starts becoming something you’re forced to do, it sucks. It’s not how you ever wanted it to play out. We never want what we find joy in doing to ever been something that overwhelms us. There’s a fine line between work and pleasure, and you just happened to be overcome by the both of them. It’s okay, it’s alright. You need time to yourself to re-spark the passion you once had. Your fans don’t EVER want to see you unhappy. If you find something else that’s going to make you happy, we’re going to support it. Love you!♥

#OOTD: Fourth of July!

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Vest – Forever 21
Crop top – H&M
Skort – Ardene
Shoes – H&M
Sunglasses – Ardene
Watch – American Eagle


I guess you can say that I’m technically American because my mom is American. I absolutely love dressing up for occasions and special days, so I took this opportunity to bring out some of my American “sass”.

I got this vest from Forever 21 last year when I was shopping for a denim vest. It was a really nice fit, and it just happened to have an “American flag” pattern on it. (Side story: the guy who was helping me out at the cash register told me I was cute and gave me the employee discount so that was a plus! Thank you!) July 4th is the perfect opportunity to wear it in Canada without looking too out-of-place.

My outfit was revolved around the vest, so I kept it simple underneath with a textured crop top from H&M and a simple black skort from Ardene. Since the outfit was really relaxed and I wanted to tone down the fanciness of the skort, I slipped into my tattered white high-tops from H&M to give it a more all-American sporty feel.

For accessories, I went with a gold theme so I put on my gold-rimmed sunnies from Ardene and my big gold watch from American Eagle. You can’t go wrong with some simple accessories.

Instagram Dump: June 2014

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It’s Fridaaay! #simple #OOTD

I have just come out from an interview for my upcoming co-op term and decided to go shopping to “celebrate” because I felt that I did really well (which I did because I got the offer, but didn’t take it). This was taken in a dressing room in Topshop and I figured, why not take advantage of the amazing lighting for an OOTD (outfit of the day)? This was the outfit I wore to my interview (and a deep-purple blazer which you can’t see in this photo). Dress, flats, and bag are from H&M. Belt is from Urban Behaviour.

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Thank you @thesteppie for sending me these phone cases! The pandas are super adorable! #cute #iphone

The story behind winning these adorable phone cases was one that I was not expecting. I’ve been a huge fan of Steppie’s designs since 2010 when I first ordered an ‘I Am A Ninja’ crewneck sweater and LOVED it. I follow her on Instagram and when she announced the contest to win a phone case for you and your friend, I immediately tagged my best friend @ellemikom and thought nothing else of the contest. After all, she has thousands of followers which probably meant hundreds of entries. To my surprise a few days later, I received a notification through Instagram that we were selected as the winners! I was ecstatic and contacted her and my best friend right away. A week later, these adorable cases arrived in the mail and to this day, it is still my phone case. If you like adorable designs of pandas, giraffes, and other cute animals on high-quality products, I highly recommend checking out Steppie’s site and designs. They are so cute and make great presents. Thank you so much again, Steppie!

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Becoming one with nature #summerforever

I was in a park with a wiiiiide open field and took the opportunity to pose in the sun. Nothing special, but I did get really tan that day. I think I should probably address this here to those of you who know me personally This was taken at my then boyfriend’s birthday. We are no longer together because distance got too difficult to manage. I’ll spare you the details, but that’s the gist of it. I don’t regret our relationship; I actually learned a lot more about myself. I’ll probably make another post sometime later when I’m ready to confront my feelings, but that’s that.

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It’s been a long time coming! Congratulations arts grads 2014! #UwaterlooGrad #UWOW12leaders #artsgetsalittlebitrowdy

Choosing to become an orientation leader in 2012 was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life, and these people are just the few that I’ve gotten to know over time. Congratulations Ron, Harry, and Jeff! You guys will go far. 🙂 I won’t forget all the times you guys called me “short”, all those times you’ve “bullied” me, but it’s okay because I love y’all anyways.

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#HappyFathersDay!

Simple as that. It was father’s day and I wanted a picture with him. This was taken on my California 2013 trip in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge during sunset = perfection.

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I didn’t know what you were, but you scared the crap out of me. #summerlightsfestival

The summer lights festival was going on in Kitchener, Ontario so my roommate and I decided to go and check it out. There were many things going on such as dancing, food trucks, and sculpting, but it would have been better if it wasn’t divided into two areas. While walking along the street, this “koi fish” came up to me and attempted to pat me on the head, but instead it slapped me because its arm was so big. You could imagine that it scared me really bad.. But I had to take a picture with it.

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So uh, how’s the view up there? #shortpeopleproblems #tbt

I came across this photo when cleaning out my iPhoto on my Macbook and decided to post it up as a Throwback Thursday. Everyone already pokes fun at how short I am, so why not join them with my own short joke? This was taken in San Francisco, California at the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m assuming he was the founder.. I think..

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Start of a long weekend. #OOTD

I don’t get many chances to get dressed up for dinner parties, so when I do, I need to get an outfit photo. I was getting ready for Nikhil’s dinner at West 50. My outfit is inspired by neutral tones (what else is new..) but I wanted it to center around my high-low skirt. Since I was back in sauga for the weekend and away from my room in ‘loo, I forgot to pack a nice top, so I had to grab one from my room back in my hometown. I also forgot to pack heels when so my mom let me borrow her snakeskin-print low heels which I absolutely LOVE (and might steal from her closet in the future..) My top is from Old Navy. Skirt is from Forever 21. Belt is from some old dress. Shoes are from my mom.

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You were beautiful in every way. #monttremblant #village

This was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in my life. To watch my full adventure in Mont Tremblant, click here.