Kam Travels

Ottawa Travel Guide – Free Things to Do In Ottawa and Vegan Food – Weekend in Ottawa

05.07.17

We went to Ottawa a few weeks back and I was pleasantly surprised by how cool it was. It’s Canada’s capital city and there and my first impression of it was that it was beautiful! There are so many old and cool buildings, lots of vegan food, and although there aren’t any mountains, the city is surrounded by a canal connecting the Ottawa River & Lake Ontario, making it look very beautiful. I’ll share what we did, vegan food we ate and tips and tricks I learned to save some money on a perfect weekend trip! Get ready to learn about some free things to do in Ottawa!

Okay, first let’s start with things to do/places to visit. One thing I noticed about Ottawa is that it is very quiet. There aren’t very many people on the streets and overall, to me it had a peaceful feel. To get around, we used our car, because we had driven from Brampton (4 hour car ride). We didn’t ever pay for parking either. We used parkopedia.ca and most of the car lots had free parking on weekends and evenings after 6 pm. The things I’ll mention below were mostly in downtown Ottawa, so I recommend finding a parking spot near Parliament Hill and walking around to the rest of the places.

Free Things to Do:

  1. Parliament Building: You can visit the Parliament building free of charge, but you must get tickets first! You can get free same day tour tickets from across Parliament Hill, but make sure you get there early, because they do sell out. This was one thing we didn’t know, so therefore didn’t get a chance to get a tour. With this ticket you can also visit the Memorial Chamber and Peace Tower, from which you can get a beautiful view of the city as well. If you come there late like us, you can still walk around Parliament Hill and take pictures because it truly is quite beautiful.https://flic.kr/p/UgvJJj
  2. The Library of Parliament: This again was another place I really wanted to visit because from the pictures it looks amazing. It’s huge and apparently there was a fire a while ago and the library had survived. Again, I don’t know the details of this because unfortunately we couldn’t take a tour because we came to late and the tickets had sold out. But I don’t want you guys to miss out, so please make sure to get tickets for the Parliament building and the library early!
  3. Walk around Ottawa River: Ottawa River surrounds Parliament Hill and as you walk around, you will get amazing views of the river and can even walk right around it. I’m not exactly sure where the Rideau Canal starts and finishes, but because it connects Ottawa River and Lake Ontario, I’m sure it is somewhere around there. Also, apparently Rideau Canal freezes over completely in the winter, so people actually ice skate over it! Which is another free thing to do in the winter. I must come back in the winter and try this out! This walk was definitely one of my favorite free things to do in Ottawa.
  4. Notre Dame Cathedral: If you parked near Parliament Hill, getting to Notre Dame Cathedral is probably a 10 minute walk. But as you walk towards the Cathedral, there is a lot to see and take in. You will see the Fairmont Hotel, other Parliament buildings, National War Memorial and the walk will be along the river. It is really quite beautiful and we saw a lot of tourists in this area. Anyways, once you reach the Cathedral, you will be impressed! It’s huge! And the inside is even more impressive. Again, this is also free to visit and take pictures!https://flic.kr/p/Uk5MFr
  5. Giant Spider – Maman (sculpture): I really wanted to go here and Gursheel thinks I’m weird from wanting to visit the randomest things. I honestly thought this giant spider sculpture was super cool and was impressed with how “giant” the actual giant spider was. The other great thing, it was literally right across the street from the Cathedral! So even if you don’t like spiders (like me), you may enjoy appreciating this sculpture and take a bunch of cool pictures (with the Cathedral in the background).https://flic.kr/p/U66mWf
  6. Byward MarketNext, walk toward Byward Market, which is around a 5 minute walk from the Cathedral. Byward market has a bunch of cool shops, restaurants, as well as lots of cool vegan food options! I’ll talk about the food we ate in Byward Market in the vegan food section below.
  7. Gatineau Park in Quebec: Now, to get to Gatineau Park, you definitely can’t walk, so head back to your car and drive across the Ottawa River and into Quebec. I think it was a 10 minute drive from Parliament Hill to Gatineau Park, which is National Conservation Park. We were recommended by friends to go to Pink Lake, a lake located in Gatineau Park and is the parks most famous lake because it is meromictic lake, which means it has layers of water that do not intermix. But again, due to our amazing luck, the lake was closed! It opens in the beginnning of May, so we definitely need to come back and visit this!
  8. Diefenbunker: Finally, the last place I am going to recommend visiting is the Diefenbunker. This is a bit of a drive away so put on your GPS and head on over. We had gone to the Ottawa Gurdwara that morning and we went to the Diefenbunker on our way home so I still had my suit on. When I searched for cool things to do in Ottawa, the Diefenbunker kept popping up. It is a Cold War Museum that is famous for its four-story underground bunker built in the 1960s. When you enter the museum, you need to open this door that looks quite creepy and the entrance to the actual museum is through this tunnel (see photo below). I thought it was quite creepy and we decided to just take a couple of pictures an pass on paying the fee to enter the museum. Still a cool spot in my opinion. You can pay the fee and tour the museum if you like, but for a post on free things to do in Ottawa, I would suggest otherwise. Hahaha!https://flic.kr/p/Uj5Thu

Now on to food!

Vegan Food to Eat:

  1. Pure Kitchen: Is a vegetarian food and juice bar with a lot of delicious food. I regret not trying the cauliflower wings because everyone that came to the restaurant seemed to order it. Oh, well, there is always a next time! Highly recommend!
  2. The Gifted Type: Okay, so this isn’t a food recommendation, but I thought I’d mention this really cool store, because it is right by Pure Kitchen. It is a gift shop with really cool things!! I picked up a card holder by a Toronto based brand called Pixie Mood that is cruelty free and vegan. It looks a lot like Mat and Nat but with a nice color palette. Definitely check it out!
  3. Ahora: This was a really cool Mexican place that a friend of Gursheel’s from work recommended and it did not dissapoint! Gursheel rated the burrito he ordered a high 6/10! I know, you must all be thinking a 6? But yes, that is the highest Gursheel has rated a burrito! The burritos we make are a 3/10 apparently! Yikes!
  4. ThimbleCakesOMG this little bakery in Ottawa is ALL eggless and 90% VEGAN!!! They have a huge assortment of cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and they even make wedding cakes. I kind of wish they had a location in Brampton/Toronto because I would go all the time! Anyways, we bought a dozen cupcakes, one of each flavor, so everyone at home can eat them. But guess who ate them all? Me and Gursheel. WHOOPS!! But they were DELICIOUS!https://flic.kr/p/UmJN4e
  5. Mantovani: So Gursheel has never had gelato before! Can you believe that? Well, it’s not too surprising since a lot of gelato does have egg in it. However, at Mantovani, we didn’t just find eggless gelato, but VEGAN gelato. Yes, vegan. And, it was so creamy and delicious! I got a hazelnut flavor and Gursheel got pistachio. At Mantovani they have some gelato that does have egg it it, but the vegan flavors are labeled clearly!https://flic.kr/p/UgvxQA
  6. The Cupcake Lounge: Finally, this was another bakery in Byward Market that had some vegan cupcakes that were really good!!

And that was it! I hope you enjoyed this post about free things to do in Ottawa and found the vegan food recommendations helpful! Let me know in the comments below if you are planning on going to Ottawa soon!

Oh, and I’ve been getting a lot of comments about the photography on the blog. And I just wanted to give a huge thanks to Gursheel who does all the amazing photography for me!! And because I have been getting questions as to what camera and lenses he uses, I will link them here:

Camera: Sony SLTA99V Alpha SLT-A99V

Lenses: Sigma Art 35mm and Minolta AF 85mm

Oh, and we stayed with some of Gursheel’s friends in Ottawa, but airbnb is a great way to save money and find some cool places to stay. Use my referral link to get $50 off your booking! www.airbnb.ca/c/kjawanda

Kamfy Living

DIY Bath Bombs are so Easy to Make You’ll Never Buy one Again – DIY Bath Bombs Without Citric Acid

04.29.17

If you love LUSH bath bombs, but don’t love the price, here’s a recipe for DIY bath bombs that’s easy and very affordable and doesn’t use citric acid, which I found pretty hard to find.

Growing up, I remember taking bubble baths all the time. Sitting in the tub in warm water with lots of bubbles was so much fun! But when I started watching YouTube videos with people talking about the Lush Bath Bombs I was so amazed! That was the reason I actually discovered Lush and fell in love with all their cruelty free and vegan products. However, I could never justify buying myself a bath bomb.

The ones at Lush range from $3-$8 if not more! Bath bombs were something you pampered yourself with or got as gifts for friends and family. This year for my birthday I was gifted a total of SEVEN bath bombs and I was very grateful! I’ve been using them slowly so I can make them last for a while. I was originally putting the entire bath bomb in the water and watching it dissolve into these vibrant colors for a while, but my sister told me people actually break the bath bomb into pieces to extend its use and that was been a valuable tip.

 In today’s post, I will be talking about how to make your own diy bath bombs, because I’m sure by now you all know how much I like to make things myself! I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and read a lot of blog posts and this recipe that I will be sharing today, I found to be the easiest, quickest and very affordable!

So, one property of bath bombs, particularly the ones you get from Lush, is that they fizz once they come in contact with water and that is the challenge of making homemade DIY bath bombs. Citric acid is commonly used in DIY bath bombs recipes because there is a chemical reaction that occurs once baking soda and citric acid are mixed in which carbon dioxide is produced. This is what you see when you drop a bath bomb into water. The fizz and foam you see is a lot of bubbles of the carbon dioxide gas.

However, I found citric acid hard to find in stores. I’m sure you can purchase it online (amazon has it), but for the sake of keeping this post easy and affordable, we will be using common household ingredients. So, instead of citric acid, we will be using Lemon juice! The chemical reaction won’t be as strong as using citric acid, but it will do the job! You just want to make sure that you don’t add a whole bunch of lemon juice to your salts mixture. We will be using a mister in which you can add the lemon juice and use that to mist the salts slowly, so that the majority of the chemical reaction occurs once you drop the bath bomb into the water, not before!

 As I have mentioned in the DIY Bath Salts blog post, Epsom salts, salt and baking powder have amazing benefits to your body, so once again we will be adding these into this recipe. Check out that blog post to learn more about their amazing properties!

diy bath bombs without citric acid

diy bath bombs without citric acid

diy bath bombs without citric acid

diy bath bombs without citric acid

diy bath bombs without citric acid

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Baking Soda

1 cup Epsom Salts

1/2 cup Salt

Lemon juice – squeezed and placed in a mister

2-3 drops of Essential oil

Food coloring of choice

Bath bomb holds (I got these ones from Amazon)

DIRECTIONS

Mix together baking soda, Epsom salts and salt in a bowl.

Squeeze half a lemon and put the juice in a mister.

Mist the salts using the lemon juice until the salts pack together.

Now add in the essential oils and food coloring and mix.

Pack the bath bomb mix into a bath bomb mold and place in the fridge overnight.

Carefully, take apart the mold and marvel at the masterpiece of a bath bomb you just created.

Kamfy Living

March Lifestyle Favorites and Lululemon Run Course light speed Sock Review

04.02.17

March is over and I’m back again with my favorites from this month, a bunch being birthday gifts that I received in the end of February, the first being Lululemon socks!

FITNESS

  • Lululemon Run Course light speed sock: I LOVE these socks!! I bought a pair using a gift card I got for my birthday and they’re amazing and I thought I’d do a mini review of them as well. I have used them for Boot Camp classes, Zumba classes, running as well as walking large distances. They are designed so beautifully for all of these purposes. First of all, they have a tab at the back that prevents them from slipping down your feet which I think is brilliant. I have a couple of socks that start sliding down as I wear them throughout the day, but this tab makes it impossible for the socks to slip. Next, they are tighter is the arch area and this gives additional arch support, which is useful when running as it makes your feet feel very comfortable. And finally, they are made of this mesh material that prevents your feet from sweating when you wear the socks all day or train in them. And to top it off, I love the color combination of this pair as well as the design and they are just so beautiful as much as they are functional! Highly recommend. And they were $18 Cdn, which in Lululemon pricing, isn’t actually that much!
  • Zumba: I can’t believe I’m including Zumba in my favorites but I started taking classes after work at U of T and I am seriously enjoying it! For those who don’t know Zumba is a type of cardio-dance workout that is Latin inspired. The instructor dances along to the choreography and everyone in the class follows along as best they can. I am probably the most awkward and un-choreographed person in the class but I love that in this type of cardio you move your entire body. I also have been wearing the Lululemon socks to class and have experienced no slippage. One day my tailbone had been hurting super bad, I took the Zumba class that day and right after the pain had subsided considerably and the next day it was gone. I honestly think it was this class! I also recently listened to a podcast about the man who started Zumba and the story behind how it started is pretty impressive.

PODCAST

How I Built This logo

  • NPR How I Built This: Well now that I already mentioned the podcast, it makes sense to list it as my favorite. How I Built This is a podcast by NPR where they interview people who started companies and how they went about building their company. This was where I heard the Zumba episode as well. It’s really interesting how a lot of the successful companies you probably heard about, like Kate Spade, Zumba, etc. were actually people like you and I, that had a vision, put in the effort, went through hard times and finally saw their vision come to life. I find it super inspiring and have been learning a lot!

FOOD

monthly favorites

  • Whole Foods Organic Chocolate Truffles: OMG These are AMAZING!!! These I received as a birthday gift from my sister and they are seriously the best thing ever! I think they are vegan as well, because I looked at the ingredients and I didn’t see anything with dairy and they say vegetarian on the box as well, so obviously don’t contain any animal product. But they are so creamy and they literally melt in your mouth. I actually went to the Whole Foods near us, but they didn’t have it, so I’m going to have to hunt these down or ask my sister to mail me some more from Vancouver!

TV SHOW

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  • The Night Manager: We recently got Amazon Prime and with that you can watch shows on Amazon. Gursheel discovered this show The Night Manager and we have been loving it. It stars the doctor from House and the detective from Broadchurch, and the main character is new to me. But the acting, script and production is really good! I think this is a miniseries and has 6 episodes so far, but I heard it got renewed for another season!

BOOK

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  • Mistborn Wax and Wayne Series: Once again I have a Brandon Sanderson book favorite for you. If it’s not clear, I love this author! I almost finished a trilogy this month, around 100 pages left! The books in this series start with The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and then the Bands of Mourning. There is a fourth book in this series as well but it will be coming out in 2018! Wax is a lawman and Wayne is his sidekick and their relationship is so great! The book has action (of course), humor and a side of romance. My favorite book combination.

SKIN CARE

  • Whipped Coconut Oil: I have been loving putting coconut oil on my hair and skin and so has Gursheel! It’s been very dry here in Toronto, although the weather has been getting better. I made whipped coconut oil DIY this month and I think we are already halfway through the jar. It smells amazing, moisturizes the skin and is anti-bacterial!

PLANT

monthly favorites

  • Giant Cactus: Gursheel got me a giant cactus for my birthday and we named him Pablo. This is our fourth plant and we love him. He is super tall and has this unique shape. Pablo is easy to maintain, just water him once a month and give him sunshine. We placed him by our bedroom window and he is looking healthy!

CRAFTING/DIY-ING

Metallic fabric scissors from amazon

  • Copper Fabric Scissors: This month I have been altering Gursheel’s dress pants to make them tighter and shorter. We didn’t have a good pair of fabric scissors at home so I found this amazing pair on Amazon! They were super affordable ($10 Cdn and free shipping), beautiful and cut so easily. The perfect pair of fabric scissors. The best I’ve owned actually. I’m going to be doing a lot more sewing the next few months and this is going to make the sewing process that much easier.