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turning 3 in the 613

Three years ago I hit "publish" on my slice of the internet. Where does the time go? Thanks to this passion project I've gotten to know so many of you, and I've been lucky to meet quite a few of you IRL too. This little blog is a heap of work but it's blast every single day and I'm so grateful for it.

Naturally, I'm celebrating in stretch pants with doughnuts and Lola.

Photo by Hello Lovely Studio

I feel fortunate that I've been able to collaborate with so many truly wonderful businesses and brands, whether they're local, Canadian, or international. Every time someone new reaches out, I'm incredibly humbled they want to work with me, because me it means they recognize that working with real people is worthwhile, versus say, putting an ad in a magazine.

I can't say I've ever learned much from magazine ads, so I make it my mission to dive deeper. I want you to feel like you know exactly how to use a product, what to expect from a workout, the best meal to try at a local restaurant, or the story behind a local business you've been curious about for years.

Photo by Hello Lovely Studio

So to celebrate my third birthday, I'm gonna shine a light on three of my favourite businesses in the 613: some old faves and some new (to me). For those of you on Instagram, I've teamed up with these three to bring you a luxe + local prize worth nearly $1000, go enter!

Let's get started.

valamode luxury consignment

Valamode Luxury Consignment was founded by local boss babe Dia Shams, and began as a dream while she was working a desk job. Dia held her very first pop-up shop almost exactly three years ago, and demand has been so high that she held countless more pop-ups, launched a web store, and this spring she opened a permanent Valamode showroom at 1367 Wellington West in Wellington Village. She's still growing by leaps and bounds, and is renovating right now to grow her shop!

Valamode sells authentic designer bags, shoes, accessories, watches, and jewellery, and all items are guaranteed to be authentic by a professional third-party authenticator. Since Holt Renfrew left Ottawa years ago and Nordstrom's designer offerings are slim, this is absolutely your Ottawa destination for all things luxe. Think Christian Louboutin heels, Louis Vuitton bags, and Burberry scarves. And since you're buying pieces that were previously owned, you're reducing waste and giving a beautiful piece a second lease on life.

This summer I bought a vintage Gucci watch that's 25 years old. Dia said owner hardly used it and even kept the original box, so now I get to enjoy a classic piece that'll never go out of style.

holtz spa

You'll find Holtz Spa in the Byward Market, and it's total escape from the bustle of downtown. This locally-owned spa has been in business for over 30 years, and this summer I finally checked it out for the first time. When I walked through those doors, everything else melted away. If you follow me on Instagram Stories you can attest that after my treatments I pretty much floated out... and got carded! YES!!

Holtz Spa recently moved from its longtime home at Rideau and Sussex to 135 Rideau just a few blocks east. It nearly doubled in size to a whopping 10,000 square feet, becoming Ottawa's largest spa with a massive menu of services. My favourites so far? The Vichy Shower + body scrub treatment (exfoliation and total relaxation), Babor Hydro RX facial (hydration and anti-aging), and Fusion massage (blend of Thai, Swedish, and Lomilomi).

Holtz Spa also has a beautiful retail boutique with all their favourite brands: Babor, Dr. Hauschka, Jane Iredale, OPI, Thymes, Pevonia, Intraceuticals, and many more. There's a lot to choose from, so their team can give recommendations to help you find the right fit. If you've been wanting to carve out a little time for yourself, you've simply got to check out Holtz.

the dailey method ottawa

The Dailey Method is a cheery barre, cycle, and yoga studio in the heart of Glebe. And I adore them. You'll probably never find a prettier place to sweat or a nicer bunch of teachers and students to sweat with.

They're obsessed with alignment to ensure you're getting the most from your workout and doing it safely, which means they're an especially good choice if you've had injuries in the past. I have crummy knees because I lack cartilage, and I'm happy to report I never have knee pain after Dailey Method workouts because they're all low-impact.

The Dailey Method's classes are perfect cross-training too: I balance out my weight lifting with barre to build my core, and cycle to build my cardio. Neither are my strengths but I've been amazed by the progress I've made, especially in cycle.

Wanna try TDM? Grab a 2-week unlimited pass for $49, that's less than the cost of two drop-in classes!

luxe + local giveaway

To thank you for following along for the past three years, I'm hosting a luxe + local giveaway on Instagram!

The prize is worth nearly $1000 and here's what's up for grabs:

- Gucci watch from Valamode Luxury Consignment (same style as mine!)

- $100 gift certificate from Holtz Spa in the Byward Market

- 1-month membership at The Dailey Method Ottawa Barre + Cycle Studio and water bottle

- MUGLER Alien eau de parfum from me (one of my faves!)

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