00:29 Natasmack 0 Comments

When I left Vancouver, I decided that I was going to be a gross backpacker who didn't shave her legs or armpits. I was so ready to give up my possessions and live simply. It sounded so appealing. I struggled being a grunge babe. It was either "omg, this dress is so wrinkly" or " I wore these shorts 3 days in a row now...". I've come to terms with it and I've accepted it. I am a diva who shaves her legs and armpits.

Since I've been in Chiang Mai (ps. I'm in Chiang Mai) I've had a huge hankering to do some shopping. I've been asking locals where the best place to thrift and find the hidden gems that make people ask "Where did you get that?".

On one of my afternoon wanders I came across a micro boutique called Norma. Norma is located in the heart of Chiang Mai near the Som Pet Market. The store has been open for only two months but while I was browsing there were many curious shoppers doing their shopping thang. 

I asked the owner, Nara, what inspired her to open up her shop. She told me that she had been living in Bangkok working in upper management in a hostel business. It was always a dream of hers to open up the store. When the rhythm of Bangkok started to wear on her she decided that she needed to move North and make some life changes. She found Chiang Mai to be the perfect place to recover from Bangkok life. Her new location was easy to adjust to. The charm of Chiang Mai made her feel loved. I can agree with that, it feels like home.

Norma is a team effort. It's not only a cute boutique but a tasty sandwich bar. Nara's best friend Mameaw owns the other half of the business. Norma Sandwich Bar is located only a few shops away from the store front. After hearing Nara's story, I had to know about her best pal. 

Mameaw left Bangkok for the same reasons, the city was stressful on her and her job wasn't feeding her. She was working for a successful coffee shop called Casa Lapin. She found that managing the shop was starting to fall into a boring routine and wanted to shake it up. Mameaw's family was supportive of her, she shares a passion of cooking with her father. It only seemed natural to share their gift. She spent some time in the UK, studying sandwich restaurants and perfectly creating what she wanted out of her own business.  After hard work, patience and some negotiations she is doing exactly what she wants with her life. 

I was getting hangry (when am I not hangry?). I decided to sit and have some lunch. I had a mug of the rosella juice, and the mixed salad. Delicious, refreshing and light for a hella hot day in Chiang Mai.

I deeply recommend that you check out these places when you're next in Chiang Mai. Nara and Mameaw are kind and inspiring young women, I know you'll enjoy hearing about their passions and seeing and tasting their amazing gifts.

Follow them on Instagram! @normachiangmai