Happier as an Ex-Fashion Blogger

ex fashion blogger

As you may have noticed, I have not been an active fashion blogger for a few months now. My heart was not into it anymore, and I thought I should stop if it no longer inspired me. Over the years, just like everyone else, my passions and goals have evolved. I have to respect the fact that I am continuously growing as a person and I can’t stick to a recipe that no longer works. Personally, as I grew up, taking photos of my outfits and writing posts about fashion felt more and more like a chore rather than a hobby. I felt that I didn’t add anything of value to this world and it was a little depressing.

Since I have stopped blogging about fashion, I have spent a lot less time on social media or online shopping for the newest trends. This means that I have had a lot more time to explore other passions. I’m slowly getting back into reading as well as getting into artsy-oriented activities. For instance, I have bought a coloring book on Amazon and it is so much fun and relaxing – you have to get one, it’s a must! By exploring new hobbies and focusing on real life instead of spending countless hours on the internet, it’s almost as if I have rediscovered the real world I’ve been missing out on. Now, I take the time to actually enjoy the moments instead of focusing on taking good photos.

I admit it can be extremely difficult to put my phone down and not obsessively look at what’s going on on Facebook or Instagram. However, I also find that the less I do it, the easier it is to stop. If I force myself to shift my attention to other things, it turns out to be very beneficial. In the end, when I do things like reading, running, drawing or writing, I feel a lot more fulfilled and happy. It’s much better than looking at pictures of fashion bloggers and models on Instagram and then feel bad because I don’t have the perfect tan…

Overall, it really is a fantastic feeling to focus on the real world around me. One of the reasons I am writing this post is to reach out to other current bloggers who may feel the same way, or other people who spend countless hours on social media. Recently, I came across an article in which the writer wrote about a model who quit Instagram and all other social medias after realizing it was taking over her life. The model wrote something like “I can guarantee that the people who will accomplish something great are not on here right now”. Although that is not necessarily true in my opinion, I do agree that if we focus too much on looking at what other people are doing, we lose track of what we want and what really makes us happy. So yes, let’s put our phones down and focus on what’s around us.

The older I get, the more I want to add something of value to this world and the more I want to enjoy what life has to offer. I want to be there for the people close to me, I want to take art classes, eat good food in good restaurants, drink good wine, travel, smile and laugh a lot, accomplish myself intellectually, etc. So taking pictures of what I wore during the day seems very unimportant at this stage. But I guess that’s just me getting old… 😉

In the end, I have realized that I am a lot happier enjoying the world around me instead of focusing on the number of likes my outfit will get on Instagram. I have to admit that it was hard to let go of something I have put so much effort into, but I think it’s worth it if it buys me happiness.

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Thanksgiving Weekend

with the familia

I love that Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. It’s always during the most beautiful period of autumn. The leaves are at their most colorful and it’s usually the perfect weather to walk outside – and this is exactly what I convinced my family to do. As usual, I went to Quebec City to spend some time with them and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather so I gave them no other option than to come walk around the old town with me! And they were quite happy I did. 🙂

We ended up walking by the Parc Jeanne d’Arc where there was tons of Halloween decorations, as well as the Château Frontenac and the Parliament. We also visited a brand new library dedicated to Quebec literature. It is inside a church that has been fully renovated. It really looked beautiful with the high ceilings and the large windows. Funny enough, during this walk my brother and I were both wearing plaid so we looked like twins!

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On top of everything, there was a special event going on – a “literary road” that happened at night to inaugurate the new library. So after dinner I went back with my parents to check it out. We were surprised with a concert by Karim Ouellet. I didn’t know who he was but I loved his performance so when I got back home I listened to his songs on Spotify. My favorite is Marie-Jo – make sure to check it out. I am now a fan!

The literary road event was pretty cool. There were different stations where actors were reading out books and poems. There was also an artist drawing out comic books that were projected on the wall of the renovated museum. The poems were probably my favorite part – poets were writing live in front of the audience and actors were reading them out loud. It was super cool! I was so mesmerized that I didn’t take much photos… That’s when I know I really had a great time!

karim ouelletnight quebec

On Monday, the weather couldn’t have been better. The sky had completely cleared up from the day before and the weather was surprisingly warm for an October day. I decided to head back to Montreal to enjoy a day out in Mont-Royal with Xavier. The view is always beautiful up there but it was quite special this time around with all the colors!

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One of my resolutions on my twenty-third birthday was to enjoy life more by going out and doing more activities. Nowadays it’s so easy to just stay home and watch Netflix, but then life goes by and you end up not fully enjoying it. So now each weekend I try to plan different things. I really feel like I’ve fully enjoyed what this Thanksgiving weekend had to offer. I feel especially grateful for all those beautiful moments and the people I get to spend them with. Now I’m ready to take on other beautiful weekends like this one!

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Istanbul

Istanbul views

Istanbul is without a doubt the biggest culture shock I had while travelling. I had a few expectations about the city, but I was completely surprised by how different it turned out to be. First off, I knew the city was big, but not this big. It seems like there are four downtown areas and the city spreads indefinitely in all directions. In fact, did you know it is the largest European city and the fifth largest in the world? What makes it so interesting is the contrast of old and new architecture. On our way from the airport, we went through modern neighbourhoods with newly built residential towers, but when we arrived to Beyoglu we were surrounded by Ottoman architecture.

Socially speaking, some neighbourhoods were also more conservative than others. We stayed in a more historic area of the city, which was definitely more conservative. Men were sitting on the streets drinking tea and enjoying the day while barely any women could be seen. In those neighbourhoods, it really seemed like gender roles were strictly defined! However, in other areas it seemed more progressive.

Something I will for sure remember is how friendly and helpful Turkish people are. Whenever we needed directions, even if they didn’t speak much English, they would do their best to help us. Turkish people are certainly proud of Istanbul and their country, and they really seem to appreciate it when foreigners come to visit 🙂 As foreigners, it’s great to feel welcomed!

On our first day in Istanbul, we walked to the Galata Tower where we got the see beautiful sights of the city. That’s where I realized just how big it was and I felt slightly overwhelmed by it. I truly felt far away from home! I also could see Asia for the first time on the other side of the Bosphorus.

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One of my favourite days of the trip was when we visited mosques. Since I had to wear pants and a scarf, I wanted to visit all of them in a day so that I wouldn’t have to wear warm clothes two days in a row. It was about 30 degrees all week and we walked a lot so let’s just say I took a cold shower when we got back to our Airbnb!

My favorite mosque (by far) was Pasha Cami, which is the first one featured below with the blue mosaic. A funny anecdote about this visit is that after walking 10 minutes around the monument, we still couldn’t figure out where was the entrance so we asked a couple of guys at a street corner restaurant. They pointed us to a really fishy and dark stairway going inside a thick brick wall. We couldn’t believe that was it, but we went nonetheless thinking we were about to get mugged! To our surprise, that was actually the entrance to get to the mosque. Since it isn’t as known as all the other ones, there were only a few other tourists so that that made the experience a lot more authentic.

I have to say that from an architectural point of view, I thought mosques were a lot prettier and more inviting than the churches I’m used to see in America. They are so colourful with the beautiful mosaics and all of them have hanging lamps which makes the atmosphere very cozy. However, I still don’t like the fact that women cannot access the main praying area of the mosque.

When we visited the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is the second one below, we got there half an hour before the prayer so we stayed to hear it and it was such a special experience! The prayer actually happens six times a day and it is a reminder of how religion still plays a big role in that city. However, Istanbul is still a modern city because of its proximity to Europe. It truly is a blend of European and Islamic cultures.

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Food is without a doubt one of the best things about Istanbul. There are tons of cafes and restaurants at every corner of the city. When I got there I really wanted to try all the traditional turkish food but sadly I’m pretty sure I ate a pide that was cooked in newspaper so I probably ate a lot of ink and I was stuck with a stomach bug for the rest of the trip. Because of that, I went back to more conservative food choices like pasta, salads and omelettes. I really wanted to try more variety but I didn’t want to feel sick for the entire week! However, even if I did go back to Americanized food choices, everything was still super delicious and it had its own Turkish twist to it!

Halfway through our week in Istanbul, we discovered the Café Lumière which was steps away from our Airbnb. It had this super cute backyard area and the food was amazing. We went back four times!

Another restaurant we really enjoyed was Van Kahvalti Evi for its brunch. We went there during our first few mornings in the city and we really enjoyed their scrambled eggs with sausage and tomatoes. It was served with this delicious bread that I’ll have to find in Montreal…

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I got to spend my birthday in Istanbul, which was pretty special even though I did miss my family since I usually have dinner with them. Nonetheless, I made the best of that day in Istanbul! I was very excited to visit the Topkapi Palace, which was the residence of Sultans for about 400 years, so that’s what we decided to do to celebrate my twenty-third birthday.

One of the best parts of the visit was the armory, where we were able to see jewelled swords and daggers, as well as other fighting equipment such as mail armor. I couldn’t help but let my imagination run free and think of which equipment I would have chosen to fight with! I also really enjoyed the visit of the Harem, especially for its architecture.

At night, we went out to Taksim for a dinner at Midpoint, a beautiful restaurant that has a terrace with a view over Istanbul. Taksim was full of people! I’ve never seen such a busy street, not even in Times Square in NYC. It was very impressive. At the restaurant, I had an amazing rhum mojito, which turned out to be the best drink of the entire trip! However, alcool is very expensive in Turkey. That mojito cost about $15CAD, so even though I wanted to get another one, my budget did not allow it. If you’re ever in Istanbul, I definitely recommend Midpoint for its views over the city as well as the food. With that being said, don’t expect the service to be extremely fast – Istanbul runs a lot slower that what we’re used to in America.

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I really wanted to do a day trip outside of Istanbul, so we headed to the Prince’s Islands the day after my brithday. We took a ferry to get there and the views were so beautiful. I was afraid to get sea sick, but since there weren’t any waves everything went smoothly! When we got there, we rented some bikes and rode around the Buyukada island for a couple of hours. I don’t have much photos of the day since we were biking for the entire time, but it was fun to get out of the city and experience another part of Turkey.

 

The visit to the Dolmabahce Palace was my favourite activity of our week in Istanbul. The palace is probably the most beautiful one I have ever seen thanks to its proximity to the Bosphorus. It is seriously a magical place and I am so glad we took our time to visit.

Sadly we couldn’t take any pictures inside since it is forbidden, but I couldn’t recommend the visit enough! The last room we visited was the Ceremonial Hall and it is so beautiful that the Turkish government still holds event in that room to this day. It contains the world’s largest crystal chandelier and it is absolutely breath-taking.

There is also a painting museum as part of the property that is worth visiting. I was mesmerized by a lot of oil paintings that represent landscapes and scenes of Istanbul.

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On our last night, we went back to Midpoint to enjoy the view of Istanbul one last time. The dinner was delicious and we were right on time to enjoy the sunset. I think by that time we missed North American food so were went for good old nachos and pasta! (Yes, I do know pasta are technically Italian).

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On our last day, before leaving for the airport, we went to the Grand Bazaar. There were so many beautiful things that I wanted to bring back but sadly my luggages were full and to be honest, after three weeks in Europe my pockets were pretty much empty! If I ever go back, I’ll make sure to buy a Turkish lamp. They were so beautiful. In fact, Turkish and Ottoman designs and architecture really conquered my heart and I’ll make sure to have a few accents in my home later on.

Istanbul turned out to be a surprising city in so many ways. I loved it for so many reasons, but also didn’t like a few aspects. I will miss the food, the sights, the diversity and the architecture, but I will not miss the conservative policies that are led by religion. I am a feminist and an atheist and I had some discomfort with certain situations. However, I will remember the good aspects and I strongly suggest you go at least once to experience this culture!

Istanbul Grand Bazaar Istanbul Grand Bazaar 2

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