Tag: Inked Caffeine

Serotonin Boost

Serotonin Boost

            The serotonin trip to LA/LV ended up being more serotonin than my little black heart could handle. We had an early morning flight to LA and my wonderful father dropped us off at Pearson for 6a.m. Bag check was simple, but we got pulled aside for a random security check. Originally, I was inwardly shitting myself, but the chick we had was super cool, and we all had some pretty good laughs. In the end, it helped us pass all the security line-ups, so it was a win. (We left on Boxing Day, so you could imagine how busy parts of the airport were)            Boarding was simple, flight was uncomfortable simple, and all the other boring airport stuff was also simple. We took a shuttle to Enterprise where Brian already had a car rented, and I was already all smiles. It felt very nostalgic being back.

            We’re being brought out to the parking garage (it’s blue skies and sun outside) and I’m looking around at all the different car options, and beside me was a black Porsche GT3. So, I joked to the guy “what about the Porsche?” then instantly felt like a douche and quickly backed it up with “sorry, you probably get that a lot.”. He found it amusing and said, “people normally ask for the Lamborghini Urus.”, and points to it parked behind me (it was bright yellow). I love me a good Ghini, but I’m more of a Huracan gal.

            So, we’re ouing and awing at the Lambo, and Brian asks, “do you have any Challengers?”, and if my obsessive Instagram story posts weren’t a big enough indication, I’m IN LOVE with Dodge Challengers. Specifically, the Hellcat (a 1969 is also fine). I kinda tripped at the question because WHAT IF THERE ARE CHALLENGERS?! AND WHAT IF I SEE THEM BUT CAN’T HAVE THEM?!

I should also mention our current car rented out was a Mitsubishi Mirage…and nothing against the Mitsubishi family, but…

            So sure enough, dude points to a black one, a red wine one, and a white one. Like GOD DAMN that’s a sexy car. I’m in my own little car heaven, and dude says it’s onLY $20 EXTRA A DAY. ON OUR MITSUBISHI MIRAGE PRICE?! (I think the red baby was a Hellcat, the black baby was a NOTHING RT and whitey was a Hemi. Hemi is my #2 crush.) SO BRIAN IS READING OVER THE NEW RENTAL FORMS, AND I’M FIVE FEET BACK, HYPERVENTILATING! We fucking got it, and I wouldn’t shut up to the guy how much it meant to me, and how it was my favourite car, and what this meant for the trip, and good god I was probably so annoying. We tipped him, I thanked him 800x more, and off we went (Brian driving. No WAY was I going to be the first driver. Sounds backwards—you’d think I’d be hyped to drive…I’ll circle back to this).            First stop was Ocean Inn & Suites in Huntington Beach. Only one night, but we were a 30 second walk to the beach. When it comes to swimming, I’m not the biggest fan. I love a good pool, but oceans/lakes/rivers/ponds/whatever, no bueno. BUT! Beach walks and sitting and watching the waves, and the sound of waves…I love all that shit. It’s probably what I miss the most whenever I come home, because a walk along Wasaga just isn’t the same as the pacific coast.            We watched the sunset on the beach, watched the sunrise the following morning, then packed up, checked out, and made our way to the pier (10mins drive). We were here on the road trip two years ago, and already knew what to expect. I knew this beach was good for shell hunting, and we walked up and down the beach on the shoreline for an hour. Slight breeze, blue sky with the odd cloud, and SUN! The sun disappears in Canada every November, and doesn’t come back until March, so the warmth of the sun felt nice. Getting a headache from squinting in sunlight is a good headache (I forgot my sunglasses at home).            Late afternoon, we got some showers, but by that time, we were driving to our home for the week, Dream Hollywood. It’s a 20mins walk to Dallas’ apartment, a 15mins walk to Jimmy’s apartment, and like…a 1min walk to Hollywood Blvd., and if you don’t know what any of that means, you’re doing something wrong. Once again, Brian successfully accidentally got us a place in the area I know best.
+10pts for Brian.

            This place is new. She was not here in April 2019. Absolutely beautiful inside. All the décor was animated NTFs, and I felt like I was in the future, haha! Our room was beautiful, although the view was nothing special.            We later made our way down to Santa Monica, mainly just to walk on the pier and look at all the lights (the pier is a good vibe), but because of the ass weather we had, everything was closed. The lights were left on, but there was almost nobody around. The stairs leading to the beach were also closed except for one set down by the boardwalk, and we never figured out why. I just assumed it was Covid related.

            We walked down closer to the shore, and something Brian has always been great for is taking candid pictures of me. Or another Instagram favourite, the “fake candid”. The “I’m Going To Do Something And You Take A Picture And I’ll Pretend To Not Know”. So, he tells me to look at the rides on the pier so he can get a silhouette shot of me, and I’m like yes, this picture will be sick and walk ahead of him. There’s a pause, and I’m so euphoric about being back, my cheeks ache from smiling. Brain says “okay”, and I turn around expecting him to be showing me the picture he just took, but HE’S ON ONE KNEE, HOLDING OUT A RING!!??!? I think I mentally blacked out because it took me a second to realize what I was looking at. Then it hit me, my hands covered my mouth, and I took a minimum ten steps backwards (he also got this all on video). He had to tell me to “come back” in the most oh my god, you’re ridiculous tone ever, hahaha! I walked up. Saw the BLACK DIAMOND RING and walked away again so I could start crying.

            Unfortunately, the ring didn’t fit my chubby lil finger, but DAMN, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m obsessed. Shout out to Sarah, Brian’s sister, who not only helped design the ring, but made it! (@kirk.bydesigns on Insta). We continued to walk the beach and empty pier, then went to Bubba Gump for dinner. Here, I proceeded to text EVERYONE! I should also mention that this was December 27th, which was also our 11-year anniversary. Like, what a way to start a vacation!            The following day, we woke up early to drive 45mins to Malibu. We wanted to go back in ’19 but couldn’t make it fit with our schedule. So, we made sure to go this time; for no other reason than it’s beautiful there and we wanted to experience it. We walked the beach for a bit (no shells here), and some of the beach-front homes were unreal!             We grabbed something quick to eat, then drove an hour back south to Manhattan Beach (we went while we were staying in Huntington, but that’s when the rain started, so we left (plus, we have a Challenger. Driving is no burden.)). Very wide beach. Also beautiful, and yes, shells! Here, we grabbed pizza for a late lunch, then went back inland to go to the observatory for sunset.            This particular experience was slightly overwhelming. The weather was perfect, the sky was perfect, and what started as a potential crowded sunset view at the observatory turned into a hike and a solo location on a hilltop with no one around us. We stayed until dark and got so many amazing pictures. This was another euphoric feeling for me. The last time we had this view was two years ago at the Hollywood sign. It was hot, and the smog over DTLA was so intense, you could barely make out a building. This time was cool and clear. Plus, the sunsets are always better in the winter. I was sitting and taking it all in, and Brian got a butt-load of pictures of me. Truly candid because I was so distracted by the view.            Later that night, we got more rain, but we decided to go see the new Spider-Man movie in Imax at TCL Theatre. Last time we were in Hollywood, we saw Avengers: Endgame at TCL, so we seem to have created a tradition.            The following day was supposed to be museum day, but the rain was still with us and EVERYONE decided it was museum day. So, we fucked off to Beverly Hill for have lunch. We had dinner reservations later downtown, so we basically took it easy until it was time to start getting ready.

            I took approximately 3 hours to get ready. Brian took 20mins. We went to this place called The Capital Grille and I 10/10 recommend. Our waitress was the absolute best, and the food was delicious. Brian got a steak and I got French onion soup. As well, he got a mojito and I got a cosmopolitan. We were asked if we were celebrating anything special, and I EXCITEDLY told her that we were recently engaged. With that, we got free champagne, and a free mini cake for dessert (with a plate that read ‘congratulations’ in chocolate).            Afterwards, we went to Little Damage and got black ice cream (flavour: strawberry), then went to LACMA to take pics with the lampposts.           The next morning, we got to Santa Monica pier for 8a.m. so we could enjoy it with less people. We walked down to Venice and back but took our time. More of a stroll, really. This was our 2nd last day in Cali, and we were driving to Vegas with stops along the way tomorrow, so this day was pretty chill. We got back to the car parked at the pier around noon, and it was packed. This is why getting up earlier to start your day is always better…            We went to the observatory, mainly out of obligation. Last time, it was closed for construction, and although we were just in front of it for that sunset hike, we hadn’t actually been to the physical building yet. So, we suffered the line-up of cars getting to the parking lot up top just to realize that the observatory itself was closed because it was New Years Eve. Fuck my life hahaha. But it’s still fine because the views up there are beautiful. We’ll just have to go back again.            We originally planned to hike to the H sign for new years fireworks but didn’t know those hikes closed at sunset. So, Plan B was the observatory hike we did the other night, but that was also closed at sunset. So, PLAN C was Pacific Pier in Santa Monica, but they only had a countdown planned and no fireworks because of Covid??? Which doesn’t make any sense, cause like…you were literally a full house earlier, but WHATEVER. We were perfectly content in our nice-ass hotel room. Plus, we were in Los Angeles, California, and Covid was (is) still a thing, and I felt safe in my hotel vs. the top floor club across the street that was an overflowing can of sardines. (Ew, it’d be so hot and sweaty in there, and just the thought of that + Covid = gross)

            Our last day, we packed up and checked out, and made our way to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s about a 2.5h drive, getting us there around noon. This was when I drove the Challenger for the first time. Somewhat open road, no traffic, and single lanes. It’s beautiful. It’s comfy. It’s FAST! My obsession has only amplified since…

            Joshua Tree is the bigger, less red version of Red Rock Canyon in Vegas in my opinion, although I personally think Red Rock is more fun. We spent the day climbing and exploring, then set up base to get a timelapse/pictures of the sunset. Once the sun was down, we still had 3h to get to Vegas, and our maps took us the bum-fuck nowhere route. I was on edge because it was SO DARK and like NO CARS, but Brian gave it no thought. The stars were incredible though. Light pollution? We don’t know her in the middle of the desert at 7p.m.

            We drove through the Mojave desert, which is where the Kelso Dunes are, which was kind of neat because last time we were here, we climbed the sand dunes and watched the sunset. I felt better once I realized we were in familiar territory, because I dead-ass thought our map was leading us to our death.

            Vegas was another 5 days, so I’ll have to leave that for another post. I feel like this one has already gone on long enough (my bad), but I hope you enjoyed!



          I recently got cute little knuckle tattoos. Laura has been a friend, and an artist I frequently get work from for a few years now. (@lolotattos on Insta) The new knuckle tatts are on my right hand and were spicy, but over with quickly. I’ve also always wanted lil dots under my cuticles, so I got two stacked. (The dots hurt more than the symbols.)

          A few months prior, I got another tattoo done by Laura. It’s her own design of a realistic rose and geometric shapes. It’s by far my favourite. She also put “Inked Caffeine” on both thumbs—I’m realizing right now how many tattoos I’ve gotten in the last few months that have changed my appearance, and I’m laughing. Your hands can change your appearance quite a bit, and I know some people would consider them “risky” tattoos, but I’m in love with them and wouldn’t change a thing (maybe adding more). Along with the galaxy succulent on my left, I love staring down at my hands while I write, or type, or whatever.

           I have a list (mental & physical) of ideas for more, but tattoos are expensive, and I am not rich. Although the other day, I realized that since 2011, I’ve gotten a tattoo(s) every single year except for 2017 (reckless year of spending).

2011: – first ink baby is a little blue star on my right ankle/side of foot. Not my favourite but hurt like a bitch and I have no good cover-up ideas. (Pain: 5/10)
2012: – number two is “Disney” on my ribs on the left side. I’m a 90’s baby and grew up with the classics. This one also hurt like a bitch, and the artist didn’t fully colour in the letters, so I went for a touch-up a month later. I know it’s not huge by any means, but damn I hate the ribs! (Pain: 7/10)
2013: – third is Green Day on my left inner bicep. I can’t say they’re my #1 anymore, but there was a time where I would die for Green Day. On August 18th in 2010, I got pulled up on stage at the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto (now Budweiser Stage) for their song Are We The Waiting. Life changing moment. Did I mention Mr. Billie Joe Armstrong himself smooched me on the lips? (Pain: 1/10)2014: – probably my biggest regret, but my smallest tattoo. On the outside of my right wrist is an outline of a bunny. My lop Thumper passed away that May, and this was very spontaneous. Brian was getting his shoulder piece done, and I was that dick in the background like “hey, can you just throw this on me real quick?”. Gonna cover it later with a better bunny. (Pain: 1/10)

– got a Silver fern behind my left year in NZ when Brian and I backpacked for three months. This particular location makes your brain vibrate. (Pain: 4/10)
2016: – “petite soeur” above my right elbow. My sister has matching “grande soeur” on her left. (Pain: 3/10)– left ribs/underboob are the lyrics “love just a little bit more” from the Hollywood Undead song Sing. (Pain: 7/10)– the top of my left foot has the outline of an elephant and “elephants can’t jump” text. This was the first tattoo Laura did for me. Brian and I were downtown Toronto and went for dinner, and I was like “this is my idea and I want it.”. Originally I was thinking I’d get it somewhere on my arm, but last minute, I decided on my foot. Adrenaline Tattoo on Queen St. W takes walk ins, and Laura was the artist available at the time, and boom! Reference to my favourite USS song Damini, but strictly the live version. IYKYK (Pain: 5/10)

– left shoulder/back is a rainbow watercolour monarch butterfly. (also Laura) (Pain: 4/10)
2018: – my right thigh has a mallard duck feather and guinea fowl feather. I’ve had pet ducks my whole life, and although the guinea fowl were only a few years, they were extremely memorable. This is also Laura, and in the first session (we did two), we added colour to the Damini elephant.
(Pain: 6/10 & 7/10)
2019: – on my left forearm are three trees, representing the different terrains Brian and I camped in on our road trip out west. Done at HIGH VOLTAGE in LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA! (this emphasis is mainly for myself)
This was my birthday present to myself. (Overpriced in my opinion, but worth the experience and bragging rights)
(Pain: 5/10)

– back of my right arm (above the sister), I have a ‘tired but caffeinated’ watercolour fish. Brian has a similar one on his left arm, with different colours, but his fish is distinguished with a top hat and monocle. Both are done by Michelle (@michromatic on Insta)
(Pain: 7/10)

2020(the year from Hell part I): – I got my galaxy succulent on my left hand. Michelle’s own design (@michromatic again). For Covid safety, we both wore masks the whole time, and it’s that little addition of discomfort to make a painful tattoo just that much shittier. Two sessions (one for outline and shading, and one for colour) and very ouch 🙂
(Pain: 8/10)
2021(the year from Hell part II): – I got the realistic rose, Inked Caffeine, and the knuckles and dots from Laura.
The rose and IC were in August.
(Pain: 4/10 & 5/10)
Then the knuckles and dots were just this past December.
(Pain: 8/10)

2022(please behave): – ya’girl has tons of ideas, but ya’girl needs money.

Do you have any tattoos? If so, of what, and where??

Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

Alexa, play the opening theme song from The OC

54 days.
54 more days until I’m drowning in serotonin.
Brian and I both have a horrible case of Travel Bug and have since we first met. After only 5 months of dating, we planned a trip to Disney World for a week (and didn’t get cancellation insurance, which was a big deal for people at the time because wHaT iF wE bRoKe Up BefoRe We WeNt).

From 10h bus rides to New York City to celebrate New Years
18h road trips to Florida for a single concert
3 months backpacking/camping in New Zealand
to just recently doing a 6 week road trip to California and back…sometimes our trips are planned, sometimes not so much.

In the fall of 2019, we spontaneously decided to drive to Vermont, strictly for the autumn views. We didn’t book a hotel, we just packed clothes and our giant-ass sleeping bag. We spent the weekend and drove around taking pretty pictures, and Brian flew his drone, AND THE CITY OF BURLINGTON IS BEAUTIFUL. 10/10 RECOMMEND!
We’ve traveled a ton for concerts and have become comfortably good at driving for long periods of time. The longest stretch we’ve done so far was to Colorado.
We left my place around 4am and drove 8h to Chicago. Parked and saw what Millennium Park had to offer, got deep dish pizza (obviously), then got back in the car and continued another 16h to Garden of the Gods in Colorado. I believe on the way to Chicago he drove the first four and I did the remaining. Then to Colorado, we did the same, but 8h each. We were incredibly lucky with our weather (it was the end of March), although I hate driving at night when it’s raining, and I strictly remember driving through road construction for like…a solid hour. At night. In the rain. But the speed limit remained highway limit, so everyone was going hella fast and I was so alert about everything and so on edge. Wasn’t a fan. But in case my mom reads this, let’s not freak her out.

I prefer road trips 1000% over flying. I don’t mind flying—I actually enjoy it (airports, not so much), but driving is the way to go in my opinion. Obviously if it’s an option. The trip we have planned in 54 days is driveable, but not realistic. So flying it is. Which is fine. But since Covid is still kickin’, I am a bit anxious. Once we arrive at our destination, I’ll be fine, but I know the airport and airplane are going to have me extremely on edge.

People who know me are probably so sick of hearing about “The Road Trip”, but honestly it was such an incredible adventure. We had just purchased our new Mazda a few months prior because even though it was in the works anyways, we knew we wanted a reliable ride for the 15 something thousand kilometers we had ahead of us, and she did not disappoint. Very comfortable to sleep in too, which was a bonus.

Please find yourself listening to Drinking In LA by Bran Van 3000. The trip started as a week in Los Angeles for my birthday in April because there is a line in that song that says “what the hell am I doing drinking in LA at twenty-six?” and I said to Brian that I wanted to be in LA for my 26th birthday. We started planning and the one week turned to two, because we realized all the things we wanted to do. We branched further and further out from the city, to the national parks, then decided we’d go back to Vegas because it was “right there”. Fast forward to booking 42 days of a road trip, hitting 16 states, and almost hitting 16,000 kms. I scratched off a few bucket list items and experienced things I’d never dreamt of.

Hollywood fucked me up. For some reason, it had always been a fantasy that I’d ever go there. It never made even a mental bucket list because I literally thought I would never go. So when we passed the Welcome To Hollywood sign, I was driving, at a red light, hyperventilating. It’s so silly thinking back to it. I was frustrated that I couldn’t take it all in, because I had to pay attention to the evening traffic. Brian had booked us an Air BnB at this beautiful new apartment on Highland Avenue, which excited me but also terrified me because I had already written Jimmy living in his apartment on Highland. And Brian didn’t do this on purpose. It was just a fluke.
(Please read my book Inked Caffeine: Melrose and Vine if you have no clue what the fuck I’m talking about 😊)
Even the room was a trip because it was two furniture arrangements away from how I pictured and described Jimmy’s apartment. All too weird.
So, we were in LA for a week and the whole time I was scanning and bookmarking and taking in as much as I could because I didn’t know if I’d ever be back, and this was the time to make my story that much more authentic. My Holy Binder™ came for the trip as well and I was constantly making notes and adding and adjusting. We went to certain locations that were in my story, mainly for my sake (fun fact: Dallas’ Starbucks is a gas station and No Regrets is a mechanics. the Mazda needed an oil change and that’s where we went) and like I said previously, I could navigate us around pretty easily without any maps. How sad because I can’t even do that with Toronto…

My birthday was weird because on one hand I wanted to try and “recreate” Jimmy’s birthday with the Taco Bell and the beach and dressing nice and whatever, but I also wanted the day to just play out however it wanted. That being said, it was the only gloomy day of our whole week in LA. I sat in wet paint because I’m stupid and there was no drinking (y’know…the whole drinking in LA at 26…). Which I don’t actually care about. Brian and I aren’t huge drinkers anyways, but it still would’ve made a killer Instagram caption hahahaha!
The wet paint thing upset me way more than it probably should have, but whatever. Brian did a great job at cheering me up and I basically forgot all about it. (Please note that the West Coaster is the smallest little roller coaster I’ve ever been on, but I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my entire life.)

We packed up to carry on the rest of the trip the following day and stopped at Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone, and a spontaneous stop at Badlands National Park in South Dakota

I remember being extremely sad when we got home because it meant that life had to unfortunately go back to reality, but it also meant that I could start editing IC with all my new ideas and notes. To my surprise, there wasn’t really much to change, but a bit to add. Things like…Jimmy, Dallas and Nils going for a walk to the Hollywood Sign, I changed Jimmy’s apartment to be more like The Highland because that’s just fun, so I added the rooftop pool and gym, and SCOOTERS! Scooters were very important for me to add, mainly because they were everywhere in California, and they’re so stupidly fun. Once we rode them once, we wanted to ride them everywhere. I’m still sour Toronto never got them…

Do you have a favourite place to travel? Or somewhere you’ve never been but are dying to see?

California Dreamin’

California Dreamin’

When I first started writing Inked Caffeine, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it would take place in LA. I’ve just always had this odd obsession. I fantasize about going to Disneyland (Disneyworld will have to do), I’ve always wanted to go to Pacific Pier in Santa Monica, and I’ve always wanted to go to Hollywood. Not even for the ‘glitz and glamour’, because I honestly just don’t care (but I do think it’s cute that North America has its own little Rich Club: Members Only). The national parks that the state has to offer are breathtaking. The weather, the beaches, the art, the architecture…
I could go on.

Once I got the idea, the first thing I did was open Google Maps, go to Hollywood, and plan out where I wanted everything to initially take place. Melrose, Vine, and Highland caught my attention, having no idea how iconic they all were to the city. The research carried on from there and I made it that geographically, everything was realistically distanced (there are obviously some places I made up (and some loopholes I created because it’s my story and I can do what I want), but for the most part, everything is a real location with real distances (walking/driving) apart from one another).

I’ve studied Hollywood so many times in Google Maps (street view included), pictures, movies and video games (predominantly GTA5), that when Brian and I went in the spring of 2019, I could navigate us around without the use of a map. Sad? Perhaps. Beneficial to my story? Absolutely! Plus, it was fun.

The series Inked Caffeine is ­very heavily influenced by Hollywood Undead and Green Day (if you know, you know) and I grew up watching The OC and The Hills in the early 2000’s (I know I’m not alone in that), which I’m sure only fed my growing fascination with the state.
That being said, I didn’t want to write ‘the stereotypical Hollywood vibe’. I didn’t want to get into the rich and famous side of things, or gangs and drugs. I wanted to try and write my own version of ‘an average joe’ living in Hollywood, California. Which honestly, I think I did a pretty good job of doing.

I did my best to write accurately. It was a challenge, what with being Canadian and uhm…not living in LA. And even once I thought I had it all perfect…after our trip, I came home and added sooooo muuuucchhh mooooreeee. So many edits.

I hope an Angeleno will read my book and tell me I did a good job!

If you wrote your own story, would you stick to the more realistic side of things, or would you create your own world with your own rules?