Road Trip Series Week 5: Montreal to New York

In each city, at each stop, I have been constantly thinking about my style and how it fits into the  surrounding environment. How can I change my style a bit to blend into each new city? I'm not sure if this is me trying to adapt and understand different communities, or if this is me caring too much about what other people think. Do I not want to stick out so that I can be left alone and go about my business? Or am I scared of coming off as foolish, uncool or a blatant tourist? I had a conversation with a friend recently and we agreed that, even though it's easy to do so, it's pointless to worry about what others think because NO ONE is thinking about it as much as you are. The truth is most people are thinking and worrying about themselves and it's a waste of our time and energy to be concerned with other's thoughts. So I try to remind myself every day that whatever I feel like, wearing, doing or being is exactly what it should be. "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the time I got to Montreal I was pretty exhausted. My mom joined me and we took it easy, leisurely strolling around the city. I really enjoyed this European-like city and would love to come back some time to explore even more.


La Buvette chez Simone – My mom and I randomly picked this place on Yelp and it turned out to be the coolest spot! Great service, drinks and fun atmosphere.

Café Chat L'Heureux – We should of done a little more research before we came to this cat cafe because we could of had a better experience. Cats sleep A LOT and we forgot that. We had nice food and coffee, pet a few cats but could have seen even more if we had come at a different time. There's always next time!

Mauve  Awesome tattoo shop! I was a walk-in so I was a little nervous to be so spontaneous but I now have my favorite tattoo yet. James was so sweet and is very talented.

Lola Rosa Café – Really good Mexican restaurant with lots of vegan and vegetarian options! We waited in line for a while but it was worth it.

Week 5 Playlist:

  1. Friends by Band of Skulls
  2. Where Is My Mind by Pixies
  3. Blessings by Chance the Rapper (or other song?)
  4. Spiderwebs by No Doubt
  5. Postcards from Italy by Beirut
  6. Big Jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone
  7. Until We Get There by Lucius
  8. A World Alone by Lorde
  9. Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club
  10. Let the Good Times Roll by The Cars
  11. London Calling by The Clash
  12. That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings

I've officially reached the end of my road trip and am enjoying some time in Manhattan with lovely people I rarely get to see! Soon I'll be making my way to the UK and can't wait for you to follow me on that adventure as well. As part of my last post I wanted to mention the things that kept me company during this past month. Here are the things I read and listened to across America:


  1. NPR Politics Podcast
  2. Code Switch
  3. This American Life
  4. On the Media
  5. Dinner Party Download
  6. Another Round
  7. Two Dope Queens
  8. The Moth
  9. Sound Opinions
  10. Stuff You Missed In History Class
  11. Hard Pass
  12. Planet Money


  1. There Goes Gravity by Lisa Robinson – Lisa Robinson has been a rock journalist for most of her adult life and has many fascinating stories to tell. This book can get to be a lot at times with the constant name dropping but is worth it for the behind the scenes details of musicians since the 1960's.
  2. A Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein (audiobook) – I highly recoomend this fairly unbiased biography of Hillary Clinton's personal and political life. I feel like I have helpful knowledge to be a more active and productive citizen because of listening to it.
  3. The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices – A book that was published in 1997 but still has relevant advice and information about sustainability. This is a frightening fact because we could have been doing so many of these things for far longer than we have been. However, I'm glad that I read it now because it is still a big help.
  4. The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart (in progress) – Like the title suggests this is a book that highlights the growing trend of political and cultural sorting that is happening in America. I'm fascinated and frightened all at once.

Road Trip Series Week 4: Ohio to Toronto

It's so common in our culture for straight guys to complain about "stuck up" girls. Girls that put a lot of effort into how they look and know they look good. Selfies have helped this stereotype to grow even further. The Kardashians are the epitome of this stereotype, especially in this modern age, and are criticized constantly for it. So many straight men reject this from women. Instead many are drawn to the meek, the girl who is beautiful but doesn't know it. This is an example that many will roll their eyes at, but the song "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction literally says, "You don't know you're beautiful, That's what makes you beautiful." This perpetuates the notion that women are supposed to only feel beautiful when a man recognizes it. I recently read a piece by an incredibly talented fellow CalArts student about catcalling and the her struggles with dealing with it. These interactions are not wanted, so we don't want to smile. This ends up feeling extremely passive, even submissive. Jamilla Reddy (the author) reflects on how this adds to the acceptance of rape culture and I would have to agree. The other day I was walking around Toronto by myself, headphones in, bitch face on and trying not to move my hips to much so I could attempt to attract the least attention as possible. But then I thought- fuck that! I feel good, I like my outfit, I love myself and I'm listening to some great music. I tuned the world out and walked just the way I wanted to, head held high, knowing that I looked good and no one needed to tell me for me to feel any sort of way about it. This isn't always easy and; ask Jamilla points out, not always possible but it was a moment of clarity. I'm not vouching for narcissism, but let's stop telling females to keep their pride quiet. Let them take selfies! Let us know we look good and not have so little self confidence that that scares you. We woke up like this and we know it looks good, so love it or leave. 


I didn't really take any photos or notes when I was in Ohio because I was visiting family outside of Cleaveland. I got the chance to rest, relax and goof around with my amazing cousins. The picture above is of my ONE of cousin's dogs "Morty" taking a comfy nap on the couch– I feel like it is a good representation of my visit there.


Food & Liquor — Super great service- the staff was really friendly and helpful. Their food consists of small plates that seem to be Japanese food inspired. I got celebrate my friend Brittany's birthday on their outdoor patio with her other friends!

Fresh On Spadina — This is an all vegan place and I spent a total of 30 minutes, here but was happy to get yummy smoothie because I haven't gotten the chance to in a while! They were playing Body Party on a Sunday afternoon which amused me greatly. 

Grasshopper — A nice vegan restaurant "focusing on taste". Super yummy!

Bang Bang Ice Cream — Another wait for ice cream but it was definitely not an hour this time. This place has unique ice cream presentation - in a waffle cone, cookie sandwich (there are at least 4 different types of cookies), puff pastry, or cinnibun. So many delicious options!

Kumpfert & Kim — An all vegan/vegetarian restaurant with great design. I went here twice for great vegan meals; however, I felt very un-welcomed by the staff– customer service is key!

VSP — This is an awesome vintage and consignment shop. All the pieces are designer so it can get a little pricey, but I had a really fun time just looking through all of the beautiful items.

Fashionably Yours — Another consignment shop with better pricing but more geared towards the "working woman". I tried some stuff on but don't feel I need a pair of trousers or button-up shirt at this moment in my life. 

Gusto 101 — This is a cool Italian food restaurant but oddly I got a beer and salad. Sometimes it's just what I'm in the mood for. Great atmosphere.

The Tampered Press — A quiet coffee shop where I got to hide from the heat for a bit. They had good coffee and vegan pastry options!

Week 4 Playlist:

  1. They by Jem
  2. Gosh by Jamie xx
  3. Minnie by Sleigh Bells
  4. Genevieve by Jai Paul
  5. Bourgeois by Phoenix
  6. Can We Work it Out by Arcade Fire
  7. Renaissance Girls by Oh Land
  8. Not Giving In by Rudimental
  9. Good Life by Kanye West
  10. Hey Ma by Cam'Ron
  11. Juicy by The Notorious B.I.G.
  12. Baby Boy by Beyoncé

Road Trip Series Week 3: Denver to Chicago

I've been thinking about the fact that it is a privilege to be concerned about the environment. Many people have so many immediate problems to deal with that they don't have the time to be focused on it. I am a well-off, educated, white woman and therefore have had the time and resources to learn about environmental damage. However, I can't help but feel a little resentment for the people who scoff at this "trend". If people are truly doing it for the right reasons it's a less selfish act than it's made out to be. I think the problem with sustainability is how it's marketed. Even a movement calling for less consumption has been turned into something to consume. It has been marketed to the "elite" as a cute way to feel less guilty about global warming. But there's so much more than that. I'd like to use my privilege to learn of the realities of global warming and help do something about it. I would love to be able to reach people who don't have the privilege to think about these issues- to talk about changes people can make that are reasonable and actually benefit them. Less consumption should be beneficial and within in reach to everyone, not just a few. It is important that sustainability is accessible to everyone because the reality is that a lifestyle with more thoughtful purchases is actually more cost effective. Although it has been easier for those with money to figure this out –because more thoughtful purchases means spending more money now and seeing the benefits later– not everyone has that luxury. I recently read an article which criticized sustainability and was at first sort of offended. I soon realized, however, that it had a point: we have turned something with good intentions into a commodity, something you have to buy into. It has stripped away individualism and variation. But fighting to protect the earth and engage in sustainability doesn't have to look a certain way, and that's what I think I want to push for in the future. How do we change our habits but still remain ourselves? How do we come together to combat this issue while honoring each other's differences? The best thing about this country, I think, is the diversity of it's people. On America's good days we are a bunch of different cultures and interests living together in harmony, and on its worst days we are groups of enemies who have nothing in common. I hope to find a middle ground. I understand that I am privileged to be able to think about all this and I hope to use that privilege in the most productive way possible.


I unfortunately hit a rough patch emotionally in Denver so I don't think I was able to explore as much as I would have liked. However, I did get to see a lot of lovely friends while I was there. Thanks to Tyler, Zack, James and especially Megan for the welcome and good times! 

City O' City — This is a great spot in the heart of Denver with a lot of options whether your Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegetarian or love all food. Met Megan here and had a really yummy vegetable pasta. They play great music and have awesome decor. The women's bathroom is filled with empowering graffiti which is cool. (I keep wondering who all these people are who are chilling at restaurants/coffee shops mid day- I guess no one works on location any more.) The only annoying thing was they wouldn't accept my ID because it's vertical. Apparently not an uncommon thing in Denver. Of course I did not NEED a mimosa at 2pm but it was embarrassing and disappointing nonetheless haha!

RoosterCat Coffee — A coffee and smoothies- super yummy and chill nice service

Little Man Ice Cream — I straight up waited in a line, alone at 10pm on a Wednesday for this ice cream but I really don't regret it. I put my headphones in and listened to a goofy podcast and then enjoyed a delicious cone of vegan rocky road ice cream as it got ALL over my face. No shame.

Root Down — This restaurant has great food and an awesome commitment to sustainability! From how they get their produce to how they power their building they are extremely eco conscious.

Denver Art Museum — The museum has a really cool collection of art. It doesn't seem daunting but there's still so much to see! There was an interactive exhibit that I enjoyed titled "Audacious" where visitors were invited to share how the art made them feel with color-coded blocks.

Hops Pie — A super yummy restaurant which has gluten free options and vegan cheese. Another bartender was helpful in my journey to becoming a beer connoisseur! 


I had no expectations for Lincoln, Nebraska and only spent one night but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hub Cafe — This place is farm to table! They work with Branch Oak Farm to use as much local, organic and in season produce and meat as possible.


I've fallen unexpectedly and deeply in love with this city. I was only there for a few days but I felt like it had a lot of things to offer– a city with space as well. I hope to go back soon and enjoy more roaming, coffee shops and good food!

Cookies & Carnitas — Obviously not a strictly vegan restaurant but I had a great salad and they kindly gave me my food to-go in my own container!

Tweet — I really enjoyed this place that was like a seemingly old school diner but had a lot of different food options! The only annoying part is that their cash only and I was without a debit card or enough cash. I went on a wild goose chase trying to figure out how to pay for my meal but finally found a helpful shop that was willing to give me cash back.

Cafe Mustache — A low key coffee shop playing good music and serving drinks in fun mugs.

La Scarola — I got to meet up with my friends Alex and Ross at this Italian restaurant. I ate too much but it was hard to resist! This place is legit– family owned and featuring pictures of the owner and "celebrities" on the walls.

The Chicago Diner — An all vegetarian/vegan restaurant with a ton of great options.

The Wormhole — Another nice coffee shop where I sat, read and hid from the heat.

Mystic Books — An awesome book store selling almost entirely used books. I, of course, bought another book I've been wanting to read even though I'm in the middle of two already.

Improv Olympic — I was really excited to see some comedy outside of the UCB family and was not disappointed! I saw a Tuesday night Harold show where I ate some fries and laughed way too loud.

The Broken Shaker — A cool bar with even cooler drinks.

Three Dots Dash — This bar is a goofy "Tiki" themed place with ridiculous drinks and costumed waiters. I legitimately thought we were going in the wrong direction when we started walking down an alley way but it was hopping for a Monday night!

Kokoroko — A really cool 90's vintage dreamland! I wanted to die and go to heaven but unfortunately couldn't find anything that I thought made sense in my wardrobe.

Store B — This store has a great collection of vintage items from gloves to leather jackets and all in between.

Week 3 Playlist

  1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
  2. Got to Get You Into My Life by Earth, Wind & Fire
  3. When I think of You by Janet Jackson
  4. Ms. Jackson by Outkast
  5. Jump Around by House of Pain
  6. Our House by Madness
  7. Roam by The B-52's
  8. Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics
  9. We Can't Move to This by Ellie Goulding
  10. Psychic City (Classixx Remix) by YACHT
  11. Creep In a T-Shirt by Portugal. The Man
  12. Bitch by Meredith Brooks