Summer 2018

This summer has been the most eventful summer of my life, by far. Lots of big changes, but good changes, and lots and lots of fun.

Let’s see, what did I do this summer..


  • Went to Toronto for a friend’s wedding, and on the way, we got our marriage license in Prescott (it costs $60 less in Prescott than in Ottawa! Worth it if you’re already passing by)
  • Jethro and I bought a house! We are now proud homeowners (and owners of mortgage debt, ha)



  • Had engagement photos taken, and went to about a million and one wedding-related appointments (alterations, decor, lashes, venue, hair and makeup trial..)
  • My girls hosted the most lovely bridal shower, and I was thoroughly amused by how competitive my mom’s friends are..
  • Got into a major car accident (ugh, still don’t like talking about it, but it happened, and we’re still alive, by the grace of God!)

Jethro+Steph-80.jpgPhoto by Jessi Lauren Photo


  • Went to Prince Edward County for the long weekend (bachelorette weekend!)
  • Jethro and I got married!!
  • We also went on a minimoon roadtrip through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (sooo muccchhh lobster!!)

Photo by Jessi Lauren Photo


  • Attended a wedding in Ottawa, and another in Toronto
  • We bought a car! (and if you ever want to talk about hybrids, Jethro’s your man)


September (so far)

  • Went to Tremblant for the long weekend
  • Another wedding in Toronto later this month (this is the summer of 6 weddings for us!!)

Wow. What a summer.

I’m thinking some of these deserve a full blog post. I’m really not the most consistent blogger though, so we shall see…

Until next time,

The Flying Banzini

I haven’t eaten out at too many interesting local places lately, so I haven’t had much to share. I think I am less adventurous in the winter. When there’s snow on the ground, I’d rather be in bed (or order takeout. Maybe that’s a good topic for another post, where I’ve been ordering takeout from).

But back to the whole reason you’re reading this post.. The Flying Banzini. Jethro and I went to The Flying Banzini after finding a groupon for some % off (I have no idea because I didn’t pay hahahah). And he realized that we had to use it before it expired, so we went on the Monday of a long weekend (Family Day). Bad idea.

There were no mini cheesecakes left!! There’s one. One in this photo. Can you see it? They are known for their cheesecakes, so we’ll just have to come back to try them.


That definitely made my experience not as a great as I had hoped.. but it wasn’t all bad. The food was actually quite tasty, and the restaurant had a really local, cozy feeling to it.

I got… some kind of panini or another (sorry, real blogging fail here). But they ran out of italian sausage (again, long weekend, bad idea), so I got pork belly instead (so delicious, so unhealthy). The soup was ehn. It was a curry soup, but it tasted very strongly of ginger. After about 3 scoops, I was done with it, and traded Jethro for his fries, haha. He’s da best.


Not my favourite place, but a nice place, nonetheless. I will have to go back to try the cheesecakes, though.

The Flying Banzini | 1242 Wellington Street West

Bonus picture: Jethro didn’t know where to look, so he just kept reading his menu. P.S. There’s a purple pikachu on the wall!

Alex Janvier at the National Art Gallery

The National Art Gallery in Ottawa has always been one of my favourite places in the city. It’s beautiful on the outside, and it contains so much beauty within its walls, too.

One of my favourite details is the high ceilings, all the windows (and natural light that comes with windows), and the grey cement/blue sky colour combo. Seems silly, but it makes me so happy.

A couple weeks ago, I went to the National Art Gallery with my work colleagus for a staff retreat. It was a nice opportunity to get out of the office, and to hang out. Oh, and we did work related things too, but that’s not interesting to write about, haha. So instead I just want to share my experience going through the Alex Janvier exhibit at the gallery.

But before we go into the exhibit, fun fact: I learned last visit that this long corridor is meant to imitate the aisle in a cathedral, paying homage to the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica just across the street.


And in we go! That’s one of Janvier’s pieces marking the entrance to the exhibit.


The first thing you’ll notice is that Janvier doesn’t have a very traditional Indigenous artwork style. I thought that was really interesting. He painted some (a lot, actually) of his pieces on a circular canvas (and sometimes this canvas was paper, or cloth, or something else entirely). So the gallery had a fun time trying to figure out how to display his pieces.

I like to hang around at the back, and observe both the art, and the way that people interact with art. It’s interesting how some people peer right up to it, and others take in the whole picture.

This series of paintings was one of my favourites, because it told a story (from right to left) of nature, man, and technology. I don’t want to just give you a running commentary of what’s going on, but it’s really cool to see the twirls of colour and the interactions between the different parties (and the angst associated with lots of hardships, especially in Indigenous history).


Janvier grew up in the residential school system. He survived it, but does not have great things to say about it. And this really came out in his artwork. I honestly have a really hard time interpreting art most of the time, so I really appreciated his in-your-face storytelling in his work. It was at the same time artistic and really obvious.

Like in this image, you see the union jack, the fleur de lis, the cross, the man in western clothing, etc. They all signify his influences in the residential school system. And what was particularly interesting about this painting is the apple in the middle. An apple is a typical symbol for school, and for learning. But for many Indigenous peoples, it’s also the idea that they are being made to be red on the outside, but white on the inside. So it can be a quite derogatory symbol.


I stopped taking pictures at this point. But there was one room that was especially dark and moving. It showed pieces that were heavy and emotional, relating to Janvier’s experience with the residential schools. Nowhere near as fun and colourful as his other paintings, but was a strong reflection of Canada’s dark history.

As a Christian, I can’t help but want to apologize. I want to share my faith with others, but not in this way. As a health promoter, I want to continue to work with Indigenous peoples to support healthy living, and understanding the collective experience of residential school survivors is one step in understanding why health outcomes are much poorer for all Indigenous populations in Canada.

Maybe you’re like me, and never really think about art. Maybe you think it’s all fine and dandy and for rich people. Or white people. Or people who are not you. But every piece of art tells a story.

If you’re in Ottawa between now and April, you should check out the exhibit. Admission to the gallery is also free on Thursday evenings.

National Gallery of Canada | 380 Sussex Drive

Rideau Centre’s New Expansion

The Rideau Centre has always been “Ottawa’s mall”, with it being right in the heart of downtown and all. But it was starting to get a little dated, and in much need of a refresh. I stopped going, because it wasn’t particularly special. But in the past couple of years, there have been a LOT of changes, including the new Nordstrom, stores like Kate Spade and Ted Baker, and now H&M, Simons, and Anthropologie!


All of the pictures from this post are from Simons, because it is definitely the biggest addition to the mall. I definitely got lost.

This cafe inside of Simons has the most spectacular view of Ottawa. And we were safe from the rain on that particular day, too. It’s tucked into the corner with the home goods section, and all of the natural light is seriously to die for. I’ll probably go back to buy a latte just to take a picture of it. Sounds like me, right?


Anyway, I’m not sure why I’m blogging about the mall, because I am not a fashion blogger, but the new expansion was really pretty. I liked it, so I took pictures of it.

I’ve been writing about a lot of things I’ve seen and food I’ve eaten around Ottawa. Is this interesting? Should I write more about thoughts about life? I have been writing about the notion of home, too. I appreciate any and all feedback :)

CF Rideau Centre | 50 Rideau Street, Ottawa



Wow, I can’t believe that August is already over.. does that mean summer is over, too? August is probably my favourite month. And it might have a little something to do with friends, food, ice cream, and a birthday.

I did a lot of touristy things in August because we had some friends visiting.

I also watched some killer fireworks. Like, so good. Maybe not the best I’ve ever seen (Disney is up there), but this fireworks festival kills it every year.

I celebrated my 24th birthday with food, naturally.


I showed off some new Simply Steph Ko cards at the Ottawa Makers Market. I’m now preparing for the Etsy show, which will be the biggest show I’ve done. Eep! Wish me luck.

And I ate a lot of ice cream. I think I might have a problem. Just kidding, there’s no such thing as too much ice cream (says the public health kid.. shh). Everything in moderation, right?


I also said goodbye to my work friends, who finished their summer work terms. Au revoir, lunch buddies!

And now I’m off to enjoy September!



P.S. Some posts from August: