Tag Archives: SevenDollarPants

Things I Miss About Shanghai

I haven’t been away from Shanghai for that long but it feels as though I didn’t live there for a year. Kind of like when you return from a trip and the next day it feels like a dream. As I reflect on the fastest year of my life, these are the things I’ll miss the most.

Cheap Taxis
I would take a taxi to work for no joke $2.85. I lived in the French Concession and worked in The Bund area, all the way across town, usually sitting in traffic, and it never failed – it was only a few dollars. Talk about great value!

The Fabric Market
Since I was little, I always wanted my clothes made. I would imagine bringing a picture of a designer coat to someone who would measure me and make it happen for a fraction of the cost. My dream came true at the South Bund Fabric Market. I benefited from living in Shanghai and having access to it year round, because it’s actually hit or miss. Sometimes they make it bang on, and other times your item has to be re-worked. Sometimes you can barter a good price and other times they won’t budge. It takes practice. I got practice and great clothes.

Real Chinese Food
We all know that the Chinese takeout we get in Canada is NOT real Chinese food. I don’t get it! Why don’t they stay true to their food? It was a learning curve discovering the different types of Chinese food. The variety is huge and I will miss the dumplings the most – more specifically xiaolongbao. The most delicious little soup filled dumplings. I’m on a mission to find good ones in Toronto, although I’ve been told I have to go to Markham for the good stuff.

Door-to-Door Delivery
You can get anything delivered to your door in Shanghai – groceries were a big one for me…and McDonald’s blizzards! They would actually deliver one blizzard. The sites were user friendly, affordable, and offered free delivery. I will miss it dearly because grocery shopping is one of my least favourite chores.

mcdonalds delivery

Seniors in the Park
I loved seeing old people dancing in the park and doing all sorts of activities like singing, playing checkers, tai chi, basketball, walking their dressed up dogs, eating, everything happens in the park. It was a spectacle every morning and evening, and especially on weekends.


You’ll see KTV signs everywhere in Asia and that means karaoke! It’s not like the karaoke we’re used to in the Western world where you sing in front of the whole bar. No. Not this. KTV takes place in a building with hundreds of private rooms. You need to make a reservation and when you show up, it’s like checking into the front desk at a hotel. They bring you to your room where you can sing your heart out until 7 am. They serve drinks and food and there’s a disco ball. So much fun!



Filed under Things I Love, Travel

Back in Canada

I left wild China and I’m back in glorious Canada. As an open minded, curious, and travel savvy person, living in Shanghai was nothing short of adventurous with ups and downs. It opened my eyes to a world I really didn’t know much about. I learned so much about different cultures, expat life, the working world in China, the digital world, the shopping world, and a lot more that I could tell you about over tea one day.

China is a hard place to adapt to, but my experiences will stay with me forever. I gained true life and work experience and I learned to tap into patience in times of chaos. The best part was that I got to see a lot of Asia including Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines. I look back on my pictures and I still can’t believe I saw all of that.

It’s difficult to describe everyday life to friends and family. I’ve shared some stories, but nothing could truly capture the daily things I saw, unless I had a video camera glued to my forehead. I should have tried that.

Seeing a family of three zip by on a motorbike is a daily sight I’ll definitely miss. Not to mention indulging in the local food stalls. Chinese food will never be the same.

Even though you were crazy Shanghai, I’ll always hold a special place for you in my heart.

IMG_9365Quite possibly the hottest day of my life. There are no words.IMG_9554The side car tour of Shanghai is an interesting and really fun way to see the city

Ladies in the park doing their thing
The historical staircase at my work
Old roof tops that give Shanghai its charm
Exploring one of the many areas being torn down for new development
An amazing participatory art project I organized for work
Roof top view
Last night celebrating before taking off to tour Asia

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Filed under Travel

Vintage Flowers

I was in a rush to leave the city one Friday and out of the corner of my eye I noticed Starling – a new vintage store on College St. (west of Dufferin).  In a matter of minutes I found this floral dress for $20.  There’s nothing I love more than a well kept vintage shop, and this place is definitely that.  They sell really cute dresses and a lot of other eye catching items at fair prices.
I’m also wearing my grandma’s necklaces, vintage earrings & bag, lace-up boots by Bass, and my most exciting accessory – my new bike by Beater Bikes.  It’s the most comfortable ride, and I’ve been all over town with it.  I call it the green machine.  JD

Photography by Tania Alvarez


Filed under Style

Shoes of Summer – ShoeMint

Do you love shoes?  Of course you do!  Do you covet Rachel Bilson’s style? yep, I do too.  If you haven’t heard of ShoeMint, you’ll want to know.  It’s a unique online shoe shopping experience that’s a collaboration with the ever so fashionable Rachel Bilson, celeb stylist Nicole Chavez, and shoe legend Steve Madden.

To become a member, go to ShoeMint.com and take the style quiz so they can get to know your unique style. From there, each month a new collection is released and members receive new styles in their online showrooms. You choose the style you love for $79.98 (free shipping) and if you don’t find a pair you like, skip the month.

I was stoked to receive these awesome sandals and I’ve been wearing them almost every weekend.  I love that they have a tiny wedge rise because full flats are painful on my tootsers.  I think it’s because I have a crazy high arch.  I’m so excited to see next month’s collection from ShoeMint.  There’s nothing more satisfying than a new pair of shoes.


Filed under Style

The Burger’s Priest + The Beaches

I live in the West end so it’s rare that I venture out to the far land of The Beaches, but I decided to bike over to The Burger’s Priest.  Finally.  I’ve seen one too many Facebook statuses about this amazing burger.  A big line-up greeted me out the door of a tiny burger joint, and inside a crew of boys cooked up burger after burger.  I liked the blaring rock music, and the priest details like crosses and a confessional booth partition between customer and meat.  Perhaps we’re supposed to feel guilty for such an indulgence?  I think not.  The burger did not disappoint but I have to admit I thought it was going to be bigger!  I was pretty hungry after the long bike ride and the burger was actually quite tiny.  But I confess: I ordered the basic cheese burger.  You have to order the priest or double burger for a big ordeal.
There aren’t tables inside The Burger’s Priest so I took my little burg and fries down to the Beach.  I normally really like ‘the beaches’ but this particular day was insanely busy.  It was filled with non-locals, and endless carts selling cotton candy and peanuts.  It felt more like the CNE and that ain’t cool.  I’ll only go back when it’s dead.  Looking back on my pictures, I’m craving hard.  Why are burgers so good?! JD

I liked these kites.

Speaking of double burgers, this is one of my favourite scenes from Good Will Hunting. ‘Chuck I had a double burger. I know what you ordered, I was there!’

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Filed under Places To Go

Advanced Style – The Book

I expressed my love for the blog Advanced Style on my Facebook page a while back, and the just-released book of the same name is now available for $25 at Amazon.ca.  Advanced Style (by Ari Seth Cohen) is a collection of photographs and stories of the most stylish women around – aged 50 to 100!  These women embrace aging and define their look by their attitude and demeanor.  A common theme is that they no longer dress for anyone but themselves and simply for the joy of it.  Sounds familiar!  It’s so inspiring to see and read.  Here’s a peak at a few pages….


Filed under Things I Love

Purple Aura

As you might have guessed, my favourite colour is purple.  My logo is purple, my iPhone case is purple, and a friend read my aura recently and told me it was purple!  I was stoked to get these purple jeans c/o Level 99.  They’re sleek, tight, but comfortable too.  My floral top is from my aunt’s closet, purse is vintage, and shoes are from Top Shop.  JD


Filed under Style