creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN & CASSANDRA D’AMBROSIO in collaboration with
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES

 With only a single vacation day left in my calendar and the desire to get away from home,
a trip to Old Montréal made the most sense.

It began with mobile messages being exchange with one of my long-time, best friends, Cassandra, regarding Rupi Kaur’s [#1 New York Time’s bestselling author of milk and honey] tour performance being sold out in Toronto. We netted out with a plan to mission to Montréal to go see Rupi recite her poetry at Le National.

That mission ended up being our very first trip together— cute, right?

Below is a summary of Day 1 and my Old Montréal hotspots.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2017
.
AT 5:45AM
.
Woke up and got myself out of the home
to catch the 6:40AM VIArail train from
Toronto Union Station to Montreal.
.
MOOD: craving for a coffee and grilled cheese.
AT 12:00PM
.
Two coffees and bagels later, Cassandra and I have arrived at Gare Centrale aka Montréal Central Station.
.
At this time, it’s too early to check-in to our hotel rooms at HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES. We drop off our luggage at the hotel with the lovely and most informative staff. I find that it’s super helpful to ask your concierge of the hotel for suggestions for places to go, eat and worth-wild seeing. They’re filled with amazing recommendations and will go as far as to curate a list and label a handy map for you.

AT 1:30PM
.
TOMMY
200 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, Quebec H2Y 1T3
.
Our first #mtlcoffeecrawl stop— ordered my latte, grilled cheese sandwich, quiche, and croissant. Cannot tell you how obsessed I was with the ornate mouldings on the ceiling of the cafe.

AT 4:34PM
.
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES
55 St Jacques St, Montréal, QC H2Y 1K9
.
Finally checked into our hotel.
We are greeted with a gifts, a personal note and divine classical music being played from the alarm clock system in our room.
AT 4:54PM
.
At this point in time, Cassandra and I were on the verge of tears… of joy over the fancy bathroom shower.

Funny how a beautiful hotel room with a high-tech, oversize shower can make someone feel so deeply? That’s what I call a stellar interior. With the exception of the mini fridge. Two-thirds through our trip, we called front desk for help because we struggled to uncover the location of our mini fridge.. turns out to be what we had thought was our safe to store valuables.


The hotel’s 169 richly appointed rooms feature elegant, lavish interiors with century old brick walls.

AT 6:25PM
.
En route to Le National to see Rupi Kaur.
AT 6:50PM
.
Arrived at location and got pizza from next door. Got inside the theatre. Got her new book, the sun and her flowers. Watched Rupi from 7 till 9. Was in tears at the end, thanks to her last poem that she recited called ‘Broken English‘.
AT 9:15PM
.
FLYJIN
417 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montréal, QC H2Y 2M4
.
Dinner time. Ordered the wakame salad, pork dumplings, chicken dumplings
and too many cocktails.

If you like good Asian fusion-food and a swanky, underground atmosphere (and you’re also a low-key deep house music fan like myself), this is the place to be. This is celebrity chef, Antonio Park’s Japanese restaurant & bar that sits in the heart of Old Montréal. This restaurant goes from hip dining venue into a trendy after-hours club with featured DJs spinning music you never thought you’d enjoy. (Yes, Cassandra— this statement implies you.) If you ever find yourself in these parts of the city, I recommend at least going in for a cocktail or two and test drive the Stairway to Buddha. As if I wasn’t already amused by Cassandra’s presence, the making of this cocktail alone is pure, great entertainment. FYI, we both returned to this place two evenings in a row.

This summarizes day 1 in Montréal.

 

long blazer ZARA (SIMILAR) high-waisted trousers ZARA (SIMILAR) shoes JIMMY CHOO earrings BOUTIQUE MINIMALISTE

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH, 2017
.
BRASSERIE 701
.
701 Côte de la Place d’Armes, Montréal, QC H2Y 2X6
.
Brunch, featuring: two classic benedictines, lemon-flavoured butter croissants, fresh fruit and a side of jaw-dropping beautiful interior.
MILE-END
.
For vintage and thrift shopping, this the area to visit. Discover new olds at stores like: Local 23, Empire, Bohême Friperie,  and Annex Vintage. View map here.
Tip: You can use the Metro to get from Place-d’Armes station to Laurier station to get to Mile-End.


 

LE ROBIN SQUARE
.
520 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2Y 2Y9
.
Featuring: foie gras mi-cuit, beet salad, butternut squash soup (not shown),
mac & cheese.


 

 


vegan leather jacket APRIL77 top ARITZIA skirt LOCAL23 earring BOUTIQUE MINIMALIST

 

It was a hectic yet bittersweet morning for Cassandra and I as left to take the train back home the next morning. We had only spent 48 hours in this beautiful city. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. I already miss the architecture, the lemon-buttered croissants and well-dressed men. But I feel more thankful than ever to have made it back home without a fractured ankle (it was only sprained). We really valued the food scene, range of vintage shops and sophisticated nightlife there. But most importantly the quality time we got to spend together over the 48 hours of being there because as we get back to our lives, it becomes busier and much harder to make that kind of time again.

Where are your favourite places in Old Montreal? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow along on Instagram to keep up with my adventures. xx

 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO special thank you to
Tobi, Geox Boutique MinimalistGlossier
“that is the thing about selfish people. they gamble entire beings. entire souls to please their own. one second they are holding you like the world in their lap and the next they have belittled you to a mere picture. a moment. something of the past. one second. they swallow you up and whisper they want to spend the rest of their life with you. but the moment they sense fear. they are already halfway out the door. without having the nerve to let you go with grace. as if the human heart means that little to them.
and after all this. after all of the taking. the nerve. isn’t it sad and funny how people have more guts these days to undress you with their fingers than they do pick up the phone and call. apologize. for the loss. and this is how you lose her.
– selfish”
― Rupi Kaur

Stemmed from this very quote above is a feeling that is so relatable to so many, but brought up little in discussion. Is it because it makes us feel vulnerable and irresponsible for our actions when explaining to others? Or is because we believe that 90% people just simply don’t care? I question why concealing these kinds of emotions away from the public is being done while half the people feel uncertainty and depression from this.This way of feeling has reached me more frequently than I least expect it. It has made me question my standards, myself and my choices.

I would doubt myself after what I would say, wear or put out. I was judgemental and extremely critical of my own portrayal in public and online. What I delivered online became the foundation of how most new people got to know me before meeting me— Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and online dating profiles as well.

However, what we often do is forget to recognize that others may not be as considerate, kind and self-assured as you really are. The shortage of communication and all the assumptions from the other side are derived from cowardliness and the scarcity of consciousness. Typically, people are selfish because they, themselves, lack understanding of what they really want and have their priorities arranged in a list that simply doesn’t align with yours.

DETAILS:


Dress c/o Tobi
ANNYA black Chelsea Boots c/o Geox
Leighton earrings c/o Boutique Mininalist
Leather black backpack c/o Hieleven 
Balm dotcom c/o Glossier

 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SHEIN and NICOLE VIENNA

Pinch of Chic Shein Ruffle Sleeves

Let’s understand what’S HAPPENED

This entry is my second article published in 2017— another little milestone reached! In between all this crazy hustling and bustling, there’s no better way to give yourself some positivity but to take a breather from reality and just start typing away your feelings…or ‘feels’ if you will.

Man, has this year gone by rocket fast… It feels like only a few months ago did I decide to start a blog in my little bedroom I was renting out in a student house during my final year of post secondary. My full-time work schedule has shaded so much of my vision and attention that I had completely forgotten that my blog had turned 3 years old! January 7th marks the day this site launch. I told myself 3 years ago that I only had 3 years to hit that ‘blogging peak.’ You know, that pinnacle of success— that tier where one gets all the endless invitation to Paris Fashion addressed with ‘Madame’, get offered cool collaborations with Louis Vuitton and be gifted Chloe Drew bags of every neutral shade. I told myself that if I didn’t reach that peak within 3 years that I was going to fail the rest of the way because that new wave of bloggers will simply come and surpass me and my reach. There was no real over arching purpose for Pinch of Chic, other than to share my favourite outfits, foods, rants as well as inspirational pins from my Pinterest boards. In my previous post, I had mentioned that I migrated from Squarespace to WordPress and during the midst importing all the photos, I came across all my earlier blog posts when I had just started back in 2014. It was super nostalgic and pretty heart-warming to see where I’ve begun. J.Crew obsessed and Sophia Webster-loving… Wow, talk about trekking down memory lane.

Now, seeing my spurts of effort in the form of blog posts created alongside such talented photographers makes me feel kind of touched. All my great efforts to keep this blog alive, even with the sporadic posting times still did me good.

Looking at today, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m an established ‘influencer.’ I don’t have the numbers and I definitely don’t have the kind of time like the full-time, dedicated ‘established’ influencers do. I would much rather call myself a content creator if anything. With that being said— I don’t really know how far this blog will go but 3 years has certainly passed and I’m still sitting here writing in this text field… All in all, it’s just real nice to know that I got this far with this platform— with opportunities to create and collaborate with great people anytime. Pinch of Chic not only has just been a blog but a portfolio book for me, as well as a platform for people to be inspired and feel as if they were engaging in conversation with me. It’s funny to acknowledge that this blog has opened so many doors for me— making great friends, pushing my creative thinking, practicing my entrepreneurial and negotiating skills, working with cool brands and independent designers, encouraging me to constantly go out and uncover the hidden gems, network and hunt for the most awesome brunch places all around my city. To showcase my hood through my taste and brand voice.

I’d say I’m doing pretty alright, even if I haven’t received my Chloe bag yet.

You can find me me doing a victory dance to surviving 2016 in exaggerated ruffles (only $15! See details below) with my good friend, latte.

 


Caught up with Vincent over some beautiful, and I mean really beautiful brunch at Baddies. Test drove the granola yoghurt + chia pudding.

OUTFIT DETAILS— Top SHEIN Suede pants BANANA REPUBLIC Watch NICOLE VIENNA Elenah heels NINE WEST

 

 

 

 

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creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with LIVSSTIL

Happy 2017! It’s another new year and what does that mean?

The whole ‘NEW YEAR, NEW ME’ kind of stuff. Which equals new changes! Good changes? We’ll see.
Here’s to hoping it all works out well of course. With that being said— it was time curate a brief hit list to post on my little o’ blog.

Time is indeed too precious to remain comfortable and not to take some risks. So I made some goals…

Number one— For this particular blog, I wanted to explore and further develop my articles more creativity and editorially.
For that, I had to migrated from different blogging platforms… THOUGHTS???

Number two—  Realized that life is getting way too short for me to stick to basics all the time. Here I am, wearing sparkles from head to toe in broad daylight, out and about eating brunch at La Société on a regular Saturday morning. No, I was not performing a cover of Michael Jackson for Snapchat or Youtube. I decided for myself– I can enjoy a meal in public in a getup like this. Why not. Why shave off your years of youth without making at least a day or two outrageously fun for you and glorious for others to see.

Number three—I told myself to travel at least twice a year. I traveled to Europe for the first time just late last year! Yippee!

Number four— I [just] started working out. Confession, I don’t gym… at all. Only on a few of those blue moon days a year do I suddenly get that spurt of motivation that only lasts for about maybe 2-3 hours. But unfortunately for me… my metabolism HAS slowed down for me in the last year. I saw the shift in my weight, I whined about it for a bit before committing to change my lifestyle with regards to including time to do real fitness and choosing what I eat more mindfully. Next, I need a blender. Fancy shakes and acai bowls, here I come!

Number five— Start posting about interior. And get more furniture. I’ve lived in my home for just over a year now. (My home anniversary was December 14, 2015–YAY! Does such an anniversary exist? Who really knows.) Next thing is to print and frame my work, get a sweet rug and a couple of end tables.

Shop my entire look at LIVSSTIL

Brunch: croque madame, pain au chocolat, buttermilk pankcakes, mille feuille at La Société

rogue bag c/o COACH
oversized jacket in metallic RELIGION
cargo trousers in metallic RELIGION
the progress hat FALLENBROKENSTREET

in this photo
mille feuille La Société

And…..what are all your lovely goals for 2017?
Let me know in the comments below!
+ Happy new year, folks!


American Apparel lightweight Dylan trench in Paperback
Ecru lab Shakepearean Luv silky button-down cami
Zara white wide leg trousers
Yves Saint Laurant Nude Wrap Ankle Block Heels
Sunglasses (Similar here and here)


Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that I have a brunch addiction. It’s pretty evident and real. And no, I’m not ashamed. Truth is, it’s an actual expense I put aside for…for each and every weekend, if possible. It’s the joyful time I look forward to each weekend while vigorously going over geo-locations and foodie blogger Instagram’s  for enticing food photos.

Had the great pleasure of kicking off my brunch adventures at Bar Reyna on Cumberland St. with Darlene of The New Girl. The space was nothing short when it came to interior and exterior decor and the food itself. Impeccable Greek fries with shaved feta, delicious oysters and tasty shakshuka. (If you’re looking for a good Shakshuka— I recommend the one served at the ONE Hazleton restaurant.) Oh, and a nice glass of mimosa of course. In a extremely odd way— it’s almost therapeutic for me when I’m sitting down and eating brunch…after a long period of shooting the untouched food. Maybe it’s just good food in general moves people like that..  Or maybe I developed this love for food through being raised by a chef as a father and stay-home mom that cooks phenonmenal Vietnamese food. Don’t be jealous! x

All in all— I love brunch. I have a shirt that says it. And no— an all day breakfast wouldn’t count!  

Photography by: Darlene Anderson