cherry blossoms at high park

rain or shine, mel and i are always up for an adventure! over the weekend we mentioned maybe going to see the cherry blossoms on monday, i had the morning of and mel had the day off! again, our plans usually begin with coffee and we go from there = caffeine fuelled adventures! first stop reunion island!

either of us had made time to see the cherry blossoms yet, and the flowers are in peak bloom. peak bloom starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. once open, flowers last from 4-10 days, depending on the weather. on the high park nature centre website, you can view what stage the cherry blossoms are in. today, approximately 90-100% of the blossoms are open.

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i’m glad the rain didn’t stop us! we were able to park close enough and walk to a spot where a bunch of the trees were to wander around!

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if you haven’t already, i would take the time to see the trees while there in full bloom, if not you may be waiting another year to see them!

hamilton day trip

today mel, vicky and i went on a spontaneous trip out to hamilton for the day! we left the city just before 11 am. our first stop of the trip… coffee! we grabbed hot drinks at a cafe called detour, located in dundas!

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if you happen to be in dundas, in search of a good coffee or brunch spot, i highly recommend checking out detour cafe! …our next stop, salty espresso for brunch!

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when we were deciding where to go for coffee and brunch i mentioned both spots, so we decided to grab coffee + treats at one and have brunch at the other (then mel and vicky had the chance of trying both)!

we then made our way to tew falls! there was rain in the forecast, but we figured as long as we get our hike in before 3 pm we’d be okay. it was a bit windy but we made sure to dress appropriately (mel with her 4 layers: shirt, sweater, puffer, and jean jacket!).

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our plan was to get to dundas peak… we managed to see 2 waterfalls instead! at least the rain held off so we stayed dry on our adventure!

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right after we got in the car the rain started, good planning on our part! i would love to do this hike again in the summer (and potentially make it to the peak, haha!).

it was so nice to take the morning before work to get out of the city and go on a little adventure!

cookie recipe

to start, i’m not the most passionate baker. i love to cook! i find when i bake, i’ll eat one of whatever i make, when it’s fresh, then end up never getting through the rest (not that they taste bad, i just have it in my head that nothing compares to freshly bake treats right out of the oven!). i’m a huge snacker and find i gravitate towards veggies and hummus or chips and guac… but when it comes to sweet treats cookies and ice cream are my go-to!

i recently had a surplus of bananas, i remember erica making cookies using bananas awhile back! i figured, rather than throwing them out, i’d try to bake some cookies! i looked up quite a few recipes for inspiration and looked for similarities between them all! i bake very much like how i cook… take an idea, look up a few recipes, find similarities, and make it my own!

most banana cookie recipes called for bananas and oats… simple enough! for every banana, add 1 cup oats!

i like my cookies to have a bit of texture and be sweet yet salty! i made simple batch adding a few ingredients: almond butter, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, giddy yo-yo raw organic raspberry chocolate chunks, cinnamon, and sea salt!

the cookies i made have a muffin-like texture with a soft centre and crunchy-like outside! i figured i share my recipe with you, i find there a great on-to-go morning snack and easy to grab and bring to work, to have throughout the day (they’re also a fan favourite amongst my family)!

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ingredients:

2 large bananas

2 cups oats

2 tbsp almond butter

1 handful goji berries

1 handful pumpkin seeds

4 squares chopped giddy yo-yo raw organic raspberry chocolate chunks

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

instructions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees

peel and mush bananas into a mixing bowl with a fork

add oats to mushed banana

add all other (or desired) ingredients

use a spoon to created blobs of dough on a cookie sheet, and press the dough to create a round cookie (leave about 1 cm thickness)

once oven is heated set cookies in the oven and time for 15 minutes!

time to celebrate

z and i have some big and exciting things going on and to celebrate we went to planta on queen!

z wrote her last official exam of her undergrad degree at u of t on friday. she is also starting a new job this week, can you guess for what company?… aritzia!! i couldn’t be more excited for her, to have her be a part of a company that i have felt so blessed to be a part of! i know she’s really going to grow so much personally and professionally!

as for me, i recently got promoted to floor manager (fm) at wilfred! i’m so thankful to have a team so invested in my development. my journey with wilfred, aritzia has been full of wins and opps (opportunities), it has made me believe in myself and really see myself as a manager! i can’t wait to see where i go from here… once i get the hang and excel in my current role (haha), it does take time but i’m on my way to something big - i can feel it!

i love that z and i make sure we take the time to celebrate these big moments in our lives, it’s really special to have those relationships! the day i was promoted and signed my contract for my new role i met erica, colin and smith for dinner! it’s important to take the time to pause and look back at how far you’ve come and celebrate where you’re going!

now to talk about our planta on queen celebration/experience…

planta on queen is the 2nd outpost of planta, located in yorkville. with lantern-like lighting fixtures, dragon motifs, custom wallpaper (designed by candice kaye) and fake japanese maples add to the restaurant asian-inspired feel and menu offerings.

the menu is comprised of smaller, refined shareables, as per planta’s usual style. z and i decided to get 3 dishes to share!

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we ordered the dan dan noodle dish: hakka noodles, gai lan, pickles, coconut milk, and kamut. everyt dish we tried was delicious and full of flavour, but this dish was our favourite! the dan dan noodles had a slight kick to it and the coconut milk made it nice and creamy! it was well-portioned for 2!

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we ordered the pineapple fried rice: curry cashew, goji berries, thai basil. the mint, pineapple and goji berries made this dish refreshing and the cashews added a nice crunch!

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our third dish was the spicy tuna roll: ahi watermelon, tempura, spicy aïoli, pickled watermelon. to quote z, “you don’t even miss the fish in these rolls.” coming from a girl who loves her spicy sushi… you know these rolls are good! the watermelon made this dish taste light and refreshing!

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we both left planta on queen with happy hearts and happy stomachs - satisfied in the best way!

okay

today lany released their new single “okay”! this is their first collaboration with julia michaels! the track is co-written by paul and julia over a span of just 2 days, relating to their respective recent breakups. if you haven’t had the chance, give the song a listen asap!

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*i really hope they play this song at their up-coming concert in toronto the night i’m there… may 21st!

easter sunday + bluestone lane

happy easter sunday!

this morning i met z at church for 2nd service. today being easter, we had our “multi-media true crime event,” a true story! this production was set 3 days after jesus’s crucifixion, to summarize: the body of notorious religious figure jesus of nazareth mysteriously disappeared. a perplexing question quickly spread across jerusalem and the world: where did it go? the production was a great balance of action and video clips of jesus’s followers, and witnesses being questioned. i enjoyed watching and being a part of the production, i thought it was such a creative way to tell the story of jesus’s resurrection!

at the beginning of the week, i sent z an article written about bluestone lane (aussie-style, ny cafe/coffee shop) opening their 1st toronto location! they offer enjoy aussie premium coffee, wellness drinks, signature bl cold-pressed juices and organic teas. for food, they have healthy and delicious food, including their signature avo toast, as well as other toasts, seasonal bowls, open-faced sandwiches and some baked goods.

we decided to go after church! we were happy they’re opened today, so we could check it out!

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z ordered their banana toast: fresh banana sliced on toasted multigrain bread w/ almond butter, cinnamon & honey. i ordered the (surprise, surprise!) avo toast: classic avocado smash seasoned w/ fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper, chili flakes & olive oil on toasted multigrain bread! i was interested in ordering one of their bowls but they didn’t have one with real vegan options or substitutions!

the toast was really yummy, i wouldn’t say it was mind blowing but i really enjoyed the balance of flavour (with the chili flakes and lemon)!

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it was nice to take the afternoon to catch up with z! bluestone had a very bright and open space, great place to hang and spend the afternoon! we found a cozy bench spot close the window! z and i agree this will be a great place to grab a drink and hang during the summer, once it gets warmer!

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z and i both brought our cameras, i’ve been trying to carry mine around with me more - i forgot how much i love to take pictures - stay tuned for more pictures and posts coming your way!

anyways, happy easter! i hope the easter bunny was good to you all xo!

village juice saves

since village juicery has opened a location in square one’s shop food district, i’ve been visiting the mall more than usual! with my weeks being a bit busier with work, training and working to still maintain a social life - i’ve had a bit less time to meal prep and clean up!

luckily village juice has this amazing lunch time special, all salads and sandwiches are 1/2 price, monday - friday from 11 am - 2 pm (with no limit to how many you can purchase)! instead of paying $9 + tax for a meal it’s $4.50 + tax! i’ve been stopping in about twice a week, during their lunch special time, to pick up a variety of their pre-prepped meals (they all have expiry dates on them, i make sure to get ones that aren’t close to their date so they last longer)! i found it’s been saving me some money and so much time (i spend a lot of time at the grocery store, cooking, and washing dishes by hand each week)!

i’m a numbers person, so let’s crunch the numbers:

i usually will spend, on average, between $75-$125 on groceries and eating out per week! my breakfasts are taken care of with my revive smoothies so all i’m really purchasing for those is almond milk, i usually go through a bottle of greenhouse juice almond milk a week (months worth of breakfast: $100 + ($9 x 4) = $136.00, about $4.50/day). i’ve been picking up 2 meals per day from village juice during their lunch special, with acception to when i have plans to go out (months worth of lunches and dinners: $4.50 x (30 x 2) = $270 x 0.90 (10% mall employee discount) = $243 x 1.13 (tax) = $274.59). in total this month i’ve spent $410.59 on food, which averages out to $102.65/week, and $13.69/day!

it’s been a blessing that this deal has been going on, if i crunch time and money the amount of time this has saved me has made me feel much more at ease with work picking up! this has taught me that it’s okay and i shouldn’t feel guilty purchasing quality, healthy meals to save myself time in busy seasons - sometimes i just can’t do it all and to give myself grace during times like this! i love these smoothies and village salads and sandwiches, it’s also given me inspiration for what i can create in my kitchen next!

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happy 2 years sweet hart

today sweet hart kitchen celebrates their 2nd year in business. the kitchen specializes in plant-based, gluten-free, raw, baked and unbaked goods. they’re located in kensington market, near dundas and bathurst (next to toronto western hospital).

my first visit to sweet hart kitchen was in the summer with zaina. they have a really nice patio once the weather warms up, which i really enjoyed and they bake one of my favourite cookies: the everythang cookie!

after church, zaina and i walked to meet erica and smith to stop in to celebrate their anniversary, and to pick up some yummy treats! For their anniversary they were offering free cake and $1 coffee/tea all day! when zaina and i walked into the kitchen it was packed - they had a lot of people in to celebrate!

we each grabbed a free little donut/cake and got a pizza bun (they’re to die for! would highly recommend if you’re there and craving something savoury!), as an added bonus the buns were fresh out of the oven!

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gabby met up with us in time to also snag a fresh pizza bun! we all enjoyed our treats, including smith - who also really enjoyed the balloons!

it was really nice to go after church to spend time with the girls and smith, grab a bite to eat, hang, and support a local business that makes some of the yummiest vegan treats around!

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a lil r+r

a few weeks ago i went mini facial event where i was exposed to the world of facials! there received a (teaser) microdermabrasion treatment! let’s just say i realized how much love and care the skin on my face had been missing out on all of these years! tbh, i do have a pretty good skincare routine! every morning i wash my face using my farmacy green clean cleanser, jade roll my face with my province apothecary jade roller & rejuvenating + hydrating face serum, and to finish off i apply pai echium & argan gentle eye cream & yttp adaptogen deep moisture cream! (these are products i’m currently using on my face however i tend to change up my products regularly)! my night routine could use some more love, i wash my face using my same farmacy cleaner and i apply my cream, if i’m in the mood i’ll do a face mask before bed (i use the summer friday jet lag mask at least 2x a week!)

this week i had a few more days of than usual as i finish up my time as a style advisor at wilfred before i start as a full-time floor manager on monday! i had been talking to alessia about how i have found there been times where i didn’t know what to do with myself during this off time, and she said looking back you wish you took the time to relax instead of stressing about finding things to do during that time so i took my friday as a complete r+r day, a day for ME to relax, to do the things i enjoy, and get pampered!

i started my day off with a total body conditioning class at my studio near home, purenergy! from there i headed to fuzz wax bar on bloor to get my waxing done (i’ve always gotten my hair waxed, since the time i grew my first underarm hair, and i’ve been going to fuzz for over 4 years)! then i worked my way down to blitz facial bar on roncy! i gave myself enough time to take advantage of being near one of my fave juice/lunch spots village juicery, so i grabbed myself lunch there before my facial appointment (they also have a current 50% salads + sandwiches mon-fri from 1-2 pm, that i couldn’t say no too)!

with this being my first time having a true facial, the one i decided to get is called “the works”! …i mean after 24 years of not having any treatments done i figured go big or go home… am i right!? the works takes their classic blitz + glow (deep cleanse, skin analysis, tone, argan oil serum, facial massage, mask, hydration, spf & lip balm), adds microdermabrasion, steam, more in depth extractions, and a facial lymphatic massage! truly the full blitz experience! they typically recommend this as a first time or a great seasonal or deep cleanse treatment.

the reason i decided to go to blitz was after reading an article on blogto about top spas to visit in toronto for a facial and talking to zaina (she had been before and had a good experience). i knew i wanted a microdermabrasion treatment and a facial mix, so when i say blitz offered the works facial it was exactly what i was looking for!

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the space was nice, open and bright. i found the staff to be warm and welcoming! i booked my appointment online through my mindbody app, so when i first arrived i signed a waiver and was introduced to my aesthetician. i was seated in my chair and she first asked about my skin history before she explained the steps of the facial to me, after she asked if i had any questions or concerns (i also had the option of a scalp or hand and arm massage while my clay mask was drying - i chose scalp!).

the works facial lasted 60 mins and truthfully i felt like that was enough time! i definitely enjoyed my r+r time and tried to let go of all of the tension i was holding in my face (squinting because i never wear my glasses when reading/looking at a screen, and i clench my jaw when i’m anxious/stressed). it felt like my aesthetician had magic hands, especially when she was massaging my face!

i enjoyed the microdermabrasion treatment and the extractions the most - i think the image of her taking all of the dirt and dead skin off was the most satisfying!

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for the $130 + tax & tip i would say this fresh face “i just had my 1st facial” glow was worth every nickel (because we don’t have pennies here in canada anymore!)

after my facial i went beck to village juicery for my fave hot matcha latte before heading back home! i was dreaming of it and craving after my facial so i figured why not!

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tax season!

i used to find doing my taxes scary and overwhelming… honestly anything to do with the government or the law i find to be daunting and overwhelming! by used to i mean until last year!

up until last year i would send all my information (t4, tuition cost, rent amount, etc.) to my aunt and she would file my taxes for me, it was as easy as that! i never understood how the information she gathered from me computed a return or charge, or how taxes were caculated in general (i know if i purchase something i’m usually paying some form of tax on top of the price, like hst which is 13% here in ontario)… truthfully i was just happy knowing i was going to recieve a check from the government with my tax return!

last year i decided to do my taxes myself because i wanted to understand the information that needed to be input! i used a online tool called simpletax!

it’s a pay-what-you-want tool, if you’re someone who’s doing your taxes for the first time or are looking for an easy and effective way to file your taxes i highly recommend using simpletax! the system is easy to use, has a step-by-step process guide, smart search option, refund optomizer (cha-ching), and is connected to the cra (it has an auto-fill option to pull your information directly from the cra - i found this so comforting). it's easy, accurate, and makes doing your taxes seem a lot less daunting - for me at least… i mean not only am i filing my own taxes this year but i am also filling my parents taxes as well!

to comfort you, i know using an online tool can seem risky, and the words “risky” and “government” together just seem like an mistake in the making… with simpletax they guarantee their calculations are 100% accurate and if you pay a penalty or interest because of their error they’ll reimburse you! and simpletax is certified by the cra and revenu québec, they go through thousands of tests every year to ensure accuracy.

before using simpletax i suggest to create an online account with the cra to allow simpletax to access your information and make use of the auto-fill option! when on the cra login site, under option 2 select register (it takes less than 5 minutes to sign up online and about 5-10 days to recieve your authentication code in the mail to gain full access to your information!).

if you read this an decide to give simpletax a try, please let me know! this is my second time and i really happy with the service they offer - and i actually enjoy using it so i get my mother, father, and my taxes done ahead of time!

products i’m digging this spring

for those who don’t know me very well and those who do… i love to use easy, all-natural, clean, vegan products as much as possible (not all of the products a completely all of the above… like i said, it try as much as i can)! if you’re looking for some clean product inspo or just a peak into some of the products i’m loving and use, then this post is for you!

hair care

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olaplex 3, 4 + 5

i recently got a blowout for an event i went to an event in march, c3 toronto’s vision builder’s gala. this was the first time i treated myself to a blowout. i had been feeling like i’ve been stuck in the biggest rut with my hair and desired a healthy styled look that I knew I wouldn’t have the products to do it at home!

have you ever felt like your hair is getting shorter and shorter because of breakage? that it’s so dry and frizzy no product has been able to trim it? i went to elevate beauty lofts here in etobicoke and they used all olaplax products to wash and style my hair, it had been about a year since my hair had looked so healthy! they used olaplex 3, 4, 5 & 6 on me. I purchased olaplex 3, 4 & 5 at sephora, each bottle i $38 (so, not the cheapest… but i found it to be worth it, a little truly goes a long way!). these products help to seek out broken bonds in the hair that are caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage, leaving your hair feeling healthy! 

no 3. is the hair protector, an at-home treatment that reduces breakage and visibly strengthens hair, improving its look and feel.

no 4. is the bond shampoo, it repairs and bonds while gently cleansing all types of hair.

no 5. is the bond conditioner, restores, repairs, and hydrates without adding excess weight. eliminates damaged frizz for strong, healthy, shiny hair.

skin care

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summer fridays jet leg mask

tbh when it comes to face masks i love them but i’m lazy! this is my favourite go-to mask to apply just before bed!

if your skin is anything like mine it’s in need of hydration (especially after our canadian winters!), and this hydrating mask is just what you need! it soothes thirsty, stressed-out skin by steeping cells in a nourishing mix of vitamins, ceramides, and antioxidants. i find each time i use this mask my skin looks instantly renewed! bonus, this mask is free from phthalates, surfactants, petrolatums, BHT, BHA, or silicones!

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kopari coconut deo

so, disclaimer - i’m 24 and went 23 years without wearing deodorant… consistently (i tested it out in high school for a short period of time - half of that time i was lazy and forgot to apply it, then i realized no one was telling me i smelled so i figured why bother using it if i didn’t truly need to). recently i’ve noticed a shift in my hormones (could just be stress and anxiety related tbh) causing me to sweat more than usual and i’ve felt more self-conscious of the fact that i may smell because i’m sweating more… i was talking to erica about it and she recommended the natural deodorant she uses!

this deodorant has been my saviour! it’s made with 100% active ingredients, including pure coconut oil and water. it’s free from aluminum, baking soda, parabens, silicone, phthalates and it glides on clear - what’s not to love!? i find i only need to apply this deodorant once in the morning and i’m good for the whole day (gym included)! it doesn’t leave that sticky feel and it smell like fresh coconut milk (which i love… you may not!).

makeup

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milk makeup highlighter stick (lit - champagne pearl)

i don’t wear much make up at all, the make up products i use on my face daily is this highlighter, a contour palette, eyebrow gel/pencil, and mascara! i love the natural radiant glow this cream highlighter stick gives my skin (especially after my tan and freckles fade in the winter)!

this highlighter is a vegan formula is infused with coconut oil, mango butter, and avocado oil! not only is it luminous, it’s hydrating! it’s so easy to apply too!

healthy eating

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revive organics smoothies delivery

typically when it comes to smoothies i have very high expectations (i make a smoothie almost everyday and i like them fairly thick and packed with nutrients - so, i find it difficult to spend money on a smoothie that i can make or make better at home)! good thing i have friends with similar taste… another product recommended to me by erica! recently i’ve been running tighter for time in the morning, and have been valuing my sleep a bit more! erica, being a mom, is always moving and also values good quality smoothies! so when she texted me raving about these smoothies i had to try them - having a 50% off code and referral definitely helped me buy into it! i’m not typically one to buy into a delivery or food service but this was worth it for me!

revive organics delivers healthy, organic, preservative-free smoothies in the most convenient format possible: frozen, ready to blend, and right to your doorstep (i mean… i signed up!)! they have weekly and monthly package options, and you’re free to pause/cancel anytime before your upcoming pay period (with no extra charge, you manage this through your account)! i signed up to receive 24 smoothies each month, giving me a smoothie almost everyday! the larger the package the more bang for your buck - but keep in mind you need freezer space (i’m lucky to have 2 freezers)! they have 12 different smoothie flavor options and 3 oat bowl options! i’ve tried one of each, other than the grass is greener - i love green smoothies but this one just didn’t appeal to me! erica’s fave is the rise & chai, and my faves are the berry blu, rise & chai, and hint of mint!

if you’re interested here’s my referral code for 3 free smoothies: ref-5668


i hope you enjoy reading about some of the products i’m digging! i’ll probably write another post like this soon (maybe seasonally), so if you have any suggestions for products i should try, please lmk!

new do!

i have been going to vern for about 2 years now, big thanks to erica for introducing me to this wonderful hair g.o.d. (she works out of g.o.d. salon diva, get it!?)… i put full trust in her when it comes to my hair! when i go see vern i give her free reign over my mane.

when it comes to recommendations, erica typically knows the best places for anything and everything! (i have yet to be disappointed - she’s got great taste at typically a reasonable price!)

i was in need of a spring refresh and vern was just the gal for the job! she knew what i wanted without me saying anything more!

she used a new technique where she teased my hair as she applied colour (she called them dimensional teasy lights)! she also used a new gloss product, which she applied at the end similar to how she would add a shadow root. - only this uses only my natural hair colour and is very hydrating!

after sitting in the chair for about 45 mins and a wonderful head massage + wash, i had my hair blown and styled! when vern revealed my hair to me i was in awe! i couldn’t be happier - or feel more refreshed!

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brodflour

recently i’ve felt like i’ve been lacking adventure, especially when it comes to going out to eat… i tend to go to the same places week to week, so, when it came to gabby and i making plans, instead of the “you decide, i’m up for anything!” line i tend to use i decided to decide! gabby and i went to brodflour today to grab some coffee + brekky and hang!

brodflour opened up a few months ago in liberty village! i first noticed them on instagram. they serve fresh bread, an assortment of freshly baked goodies, toasts, coffee + hot drinks, and greenhouse juice!


a little bit about the company… brodflour focuses on baking everything fresh and making sure each of their products is packed with nutrients. they only source premium heritage canadian grain. they work closely with a few canadian farmers to source and cultivate the highest-quality crops in the country. they really stand by their grains, each certified organic plant is tested to make sure it meets carefully-set standards for quality, protein content, and moisture. once the grain is harvested it’s gently milled in their own certified organic stone mill. this means they mill and bake using fresh flour, keeping the nutrients and flavours intact. this reduces processing, which preserves the vitamins and minerals, so they don’t have to add anything extra to compensate for what’s missing… .talk about good quality food!

they offer a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options - luckily it didn’t take very long for gabby and i to decide what to order!

we both wanted to try the avo toast (what else is new!?) and the almond butter and saskatoon berry jam toast! both were supposed to come on rye but we wanted to try the sourdough too, so we ordered the ab + j toast on a thick slice of that! we both ordered a coffee too!

we each got a slice of the avo toast and half the ab + j toast!

i was truly impressed with how fresh everything tasted (they also use monogram coffee - one of my faves!) !

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i can’t wait to go back and will definitely be picking up a loaf of bread to bring home!

c3 toronto vision builders gala: love built this

last night our community came together at evergreen brick works to celebrate our church, how far we’ve come in spreading the word of god to our city (and beyond), and talk about our vision for the future, this year and all the years to come!

love built this, all of this - everything around us! we love, we are built, and we build! we are built through god's unconditional love. therefore, we build through that same unconditional love toward others.
1 corinthians 13:4-8 love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
love never fails.

our church has done some amazing things over the past few years i’ve been a part of it: hundreds of salvations and baptisms, we bought a house and donated it to matthew house, we’ve run hundreds of seasonal connect groups, started an internship (i had been a part of), and so much more!

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not only has love built our church, our city… for me love built friendship. i’m so grateful for erica, i’ll never forget the sunday she met me at the steps of c3 toronto to attend my first church service since graduating from university a few years ago! i’ve loved being a part of our church’s growth since! last night was all about celebrating and supporting the vision for our church this year, and the years to come!

this coming fall we will be launching a new north campus, around younge and shepherd, and we are hoping to raise enough money to pay for and renovate a perminant residence! i’m excited to watch how god moves through our church, our city, and our people this year!



2019

new year... same goofy girls still taking mirror selfies...

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i’m so lucky to ring in the new year with the gals who helped make this year an incredible one. incredible as it was, was also messy and painful. it was full of many wonderful lessons and immense growth! i’m so thankful and proud of how this year has shaped me and those around me... i can’t wait to see what this year brings!

looking back it’s easy for me too look at the “negatives”… empty promises made, managing to maintain a terrible work/life balance, losing my job, getting my first speeding ticket, watching money disappear from my bank account… i could go on… this is when i tend to spiral into feeling worthless, undeserving, inadequate, unlovable… which is completely ridiculous! i felt god speak to me when i was reflecting and listening to what he is calling my into for 2019. he reminded me of all that i have accomplished this year and i felt tears of joy begin to form, it’s rare for me to feel proud of myself! sure, i did face some crazy events… most of which i never expected to face at 23 (i constantly need to remind myself, i’m only 23!), but there we very incredible moments i want to share

  1. meeting c + e’s baby boy, smith, and getting to hold him when he was not even a day old

  2. spending many spontaneous days off going on adventures with zaina

  3. going to toronto island for the 1st (and several other) time(s)

  4. becoming the owner of my very own, brand new, 2019 volkswagen jetta

  5. going on a mission trip to uganda

  6. spending a weekend in ny with kris, sam & zoé, sharing a wellness weekend (needed)

  7. housesitting and looking after robbie while c + e + smithy guy spent the holidays in florida with their family (i dream of having a place of my own and owning a dog… goals for the future)

i’m not usually one for new years resolutions (i’m too much of a perfectionist so if i don’t keep at something i usually quit… not the best way to start the year haha). i prefer to create a list of things i hope to see, do, and accomplish in the year to come! this year i plan to keep it pretty simple and i couldn’t feel more motivated to work towards financial freedom, grow in relationship with jesus without feeling the pressure to be and act a certain way, work to improve physical fitness and diet! 2019… i’m ready!

#c3tointerns: our mission trip to uganda, east africa

october 3rd, myself along with my fellow C3 Toronto interns set out on our 2 week mission trip to uganda, east africa. with this being my first mission trip i wasn’t sure what to expect. taking the time to look back on the 2 weeks, i can’t help but realize how grateful i am for my church, my fellow interns and lead pastors, each person i met and had the opportunity to interact with, and to come home feeling filled and inspired.

if it wasn’t for c3 toronto developing the internship program and offering to fund a church planting conference in east africa i wouldn’t have been blessed with this incredible opportunity to travel to east africa!

a bit of background information… towards the end of the summer we launched our internship program. this opportunity was announced at our leadership retreat back in june, and i had felt called to apply, and to through the program to develop my leadership and creative gift (design skills) working under chrissy burrows (for those of you who don’t know chrissy, she’s a creative powerhouse!). we have a total of 15 interns (including myself) all working in different areas of the church, every wednesday, under different leaders. the mission trip to east africa was a part of the internship and only available to the interns. the goal of the trip was for us to go and help our c3 church planters, spread the word of god, visit with and supply families in the villages of uganda with hope while delivering care packages. we spent most of our time in kitigum and kampala.

together, the interns and myself, spend a full day together at the church office and we see each other at church on sundays… if we weren’t already close we definitely became a family during this trip. we spent MANY hours on a small bus together (named rosa), saw each other at through every phase of the trip: our most vulnerable, tired, hungry, hairy, smelly… you name it we probably saw it in one another! we learned a lot about each other too: who’s deathly scared of insects (aimee), who has a newfound love of animals (summer), who can rap like eminem (cam), and i’m proud to say we got to watch each other grow, in our gifts and god’s calling, as well as our capacity! i wouldn’t trade this experience for anything (i feel like a proud sister saying this)!

nothing made my heart smile more than touching the lives of those we had the opportunity to interact with! seeing their eyes light up during our visits or conversations. i felt like everyone was a sponge and want to interact with and look at you as long as they could! during the church planter’s xpress conference we shared how we are actively working to spread the word and love of god in our city and the opportunities for church planters in east africa, like connect groups that create community and build supportive and lasting relationship (some of my closest relationships i have not were formed through connect groups)! it was incredible being able to meet with the young leaders in our church community there, we were able to not only instill hope in these individuals but we left with hope and ideas to bring to our church community here in toronto! it was awesome to realize how c3 truly is a global family, and the feeling you get interacting with our family around the world is something i’m excited for us to continue to do and reach out around the world. this was our first mission trip at c3 toronto and i see many mission trips to come in the future!

while the conference took place a portion of the time we were there it was a blessing being able to touch the lives of those in the community. we met one girl in particular, kevin. kevin is a 22 year old with nodding syndrome. those with nodding disease experience a complete and permanent stunting of growth along with the growth of the brain, leading to mental handicap. kevin lives out in a remote village with her family. she used to visit ps david livingston’s church. ps david planted the first c3 church in east africa and was our guide during our missionary work in the villages. kevin, being unable to walk the usual 40 minutes she would to church on a sunday, is unable to leave her home (a small hut, with very little for her and her family to survive). it is overwhelming for ps david to visit her and she this disease get stronger, a few of the girls and i circled around kevin and ps david, we were asking ps david more questions but he got teary and it became difficult for him to speak, that’s when denise (worship intern) began to sing “i believe in miracles” to kevin, and immediately you were able to feel the presence of god over our circle and kevin, we all began to sing and you could tell kevin couldn’t have felt more at peace, we could only imagine how much she missed going to church and the least we could do was worship and bring the presence of god to her!

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one struggle i had weighing over my heart for a portion of the trip was the feeling that i wasn’t doing ENOUGH. i was fighting the thought of we can walk one more kilometer, visit one more family, sing one more song… i was glad to be able to have such an incredible group around me to remind me of what lowis had said, every drop in the bucket counts. that every interaction we had made a difference and planted a seed of hope and welcomes the presence of god into this wonderful area of the world!

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i love to have come home feeling so inspired and encouraged to be a laser beam to god through connecting with people and as a creative. i believe in my church and our mission to lead people to follow jesus as lord, and make disciples to advance his kingdom through the local church and i feel that this mission fulfilled that! and i couldn’t be more excited to reconnect with that fire within myself to invest in my future and know that i have a part to play!

if you’re reading this and feel encouraged to go on a mission trip, i would say GO! make sure to do your research but find and organization and trip that speaks to you and go, i promise it will be incredible… life changing!

my baptism #allin

july 15, 2018 marks the day i was baptized at c3 toronto! the day zaina was baptized & the day smith was dedicated! it was such a special day! 

leading up to my baptism, knowing zaina and i were going to be baptized together (on the same day) and how READY she felt to declare her love for jesus... i kept trying to talk myself out of it, not because i didn't feel ready but because i didn't feel worthy. there are too many times in my life where i look to others for approval & support in the decisions i make... i looked to far into past sin & hurt and tried to use them as reasons why i would not be worthy of being baptized. 

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before i meet heather, erica + colin + smith & family, to sit in on 3rd service, ps gerry met with all of those being baptized & said one thing that stuck with me and gave me so much ease in my desicion, he said "anything you have telling to you're not worthy of this decision, leave it outside of the tank." those words were all i needed. i know god is walking with me and loves me and my decision to declare my love for him is special and i'm so excited to continue to walk with him! 

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*note to self... jean shorts are very uncomfortable when wet! 

the day felt so special! i'm excited to walk with god in this season and every season to come! 

cops treats // opening tuesday

a good friend of mine, alex (owner of baddies), is opening a drip coffee and mini donut shop called cops treats! cops will officially be opening tuesday june 5th!

alex had friends and family in to visit last night for some drinks and to taste his cinnamon sugar/glazed donuts to celebrate! 

from the pink brick, golden entrance to the pink benches, gold accents on the inside the shop to the delicious donuts alex has so much to be proud of! he did an amazing job with the space and you can tell he put a lot of love into every element - including the delicious mini donuts!!

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mmmmmmmmmm drip coffee

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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mini donuts

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stop in this tuesday (and every other day!) for drip coffee and mini donuts... "because too many options are a prison!" 

ny

day 1

this morning I was up and at the airport for 5 am to board our plane for our 7 am flight to ny! 

after making my way through the airport i got to the gate of our plane to wait for the girls. when it was time to board and the girls were still making their way through all of the checkpoints, i told them to ask people to move in front of them in line (i had seen others doing the same when i was in line)! i asked the women at the gate if they can hold the plane and she said the best she could do is leave the doors open 10 mins before take off! as i sat on the plane i had a "what do i do if they don't get on the plane!?" moment... as i turned around to take my seat on the plane, i was so relieved to see their heads popping and making their way to our seats! i sat between kris and zoe, sam sat 1 row in front, diagonal from the 3 of us. the flight was on time, sat for our hour and 45 min flight, sped through the airport and took a cab to our hotel, the leon hotel!  

our check in wasn't until later in the afternoon so we quickly changed and freshened up before leaving our bags at the hotel as we hit the streets! 

our first stop was brunch, we made our way to the butchers daughter! we honestly couldn't have picked a better location to stay because we only about a 10-15 min walk from most of the brunch spots we were hoping to visit! 

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we walked in at the perfect time because they had enough room for 4 at their large table! ...and just after we walked in about 2 groups came in and the place was packed! i ordered the acai bowl, it was delicious, totally hit the spot! 

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kris and i popped into their take-away shop next-door to grab a few of their illustrated postcards. i found them very inspiring last visit! 

after brunch we made our way to chillhouse, we got their early but wanted to sit and enjoy some fancy adaptogen drinks, get some wifi to plan a little walk around before sitting and getting our nails done.

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we got to chillhouse about an hour and a half early. each of us ordered a drink, both sam and zoe ordered the give me life, kris ordered spin my wheels, and i ordered make me glow: ube, ginger, goji, rehmannia, acai & mesquite! we had a sip of each of our drink and i would say i enjoyed mine the most out of the 3, i found it a bit sweeter than the others, which was what i was craving! regardless, they were all delicious! 

we realized sezane, a shop kris wanted to visit was close so we made our way over. where we stumbled upon free maman coffee & cookies (i will never say no to free coffee)! they even had a photobooth set up in the shop so we had some fun taking pictures and looking around before we walked back for our 1 pm appointments! 

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taken by kris

they sat us right away! it was an interesting, chill experience to say the least! the girls were all done before my shellac even came off, I wouldn't say I would go back based on their service but the vibes are fun, the drinks are tasty (and healthy) and my company made the visit worth it! also... on the plus side, they gave me a discount and another drink for free - so i ordered the clean me out to try! i still would say make me glow was my fave after trying almost all of the drinks on the menu! 

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after our appointment it was time to walk to dinner at the little beet table! this was a spot i found on instagram and added to our list (also shout out to kris for being so on top of making reservations). the food at the restaurant was great - dips were awesome (we didn't want them to end)! I got the cauliflower steak and it was worth every american penny (because they still exist here!).

after dinner we walked to the museum library where zoe showed us around. it's great having her as a bit of a guide because i wouldn't know about any of these places if it wasn't for her knowledge! 

we cabbed back to the hotel from the library. i think all of us managed to dose off more than once during the trip back to our hotel where we hung out and we're tucked in by 10 pm!! 

 

day 2

we woke up around 8 am! the 2 alarms we set for the morning didn't go off so good think kris naturally woke up and got us moving to leave for our barre class at physic 57, by 8:15 to make it for 9 am! let's just say we power walked or way from our hotel the the studio! when we got to where the studio should be we didn't see the studio! i caught a lady walking into the building in front of us where the studio is on google map, so I asked her if she knew where the studio was because she looked like she was going to a class, funny enough she happened to be attending the same class! it was inside of the building, there was no visible signage on the outside in our defence! the class was interesting, i would say it was a traditional barre class... let's just say we dropped it low (sam definitely dropped it the lowest)!!! 

after the class we got ready in the bathroom before making our way to de maria for brunch! it was handy having a big space for us all to fit at the sink to get ready! 

walking to de maria was easy enough (it's located right next to where we went yesterday, the butchers daughter)! when we got there the place was as pretty as it looks on instagram (another one of my finds)! It was difficult to decide what exactly to order! the food was so so good! i ordered the chia pudding, and tried some of Kris's coconut home-made tahini yogurt! we feel so in love with their mugs and dishes that we asked and the server came back with a paper and "make a day" written on it! i would love to own one of their mugs! It would definitely be a useful souvenir to bring home!

after brunch we walked to happy bones for a delicious coffee. this was one of the coffee shops alex & missy (friends of mine) visited this coffee shop on there most recent trip to ny, and if anyone's knows good coffee they do so i was really looking forward to trying it! Their coffee definitely met my standards!! i enjoyed my coffee and we took pictures before we headed back to the hotel to drop our bags off and hit the town for a twack (sam & kris word: no objective in mind, but just want to have a look to see what you can see, coffee encouraged)! 

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we ended up walking from our hotel, through the chelsea market before, making it to the highline and walking it from beginning to end! 

in the market the girls got beer, i got matcha, and sam and kris picked up hot sauce from heatonist

the highline was such a nice late afternoon walk! i can see it being such a great place to go and hang in the summer time, similar to the lake back home! the lighting wasn't the greatest for taking photos but we all walked and rotated partners the entire way! we even sat out on one of the long benches and enjoyed the warmth of the sun for a bit! 

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once we reached the end of the highline we taxied to jajaja but the hostess told us it was a 3 hour wait with a smile on her face and let me tell you... she was being serious! instead of waiting the 3 hours we walked to lalito (bless kris and her back-up resos)! we were laughing at how much enjoyment the hostess probably had telling us how long the wait was!

when we got to lalito we were about 45 mins late for our reso but the server was nice enough (she said she had a feeling we'd show) to hold our table for us! to start, we ordered their chips and chickpea guac, they were amazing! i couldn't believe they didn't use any avocado to make it (it was made with chickpeas, pickled onions, fried shallots, moringa, roasted garlic.)!! sam and zoe ordered the lovers drink they thought i would come in 2 glasses but it turns out the drink it truly for 2 lovers to share - 2 straws and all - not what they were expecting but they went with it like the troopers they are! i ordered and had the best vegan caesar salad i've ever tasted! the girls ordered a few dishes to share! they found the mussels they had tasted off (east coast gals would know!!) so we sent them back and the server surprised us by giving us 2 free deserts (one being the vegan key lime cheesecake that was on special an the other a chocolate mousse)! 

after dinner we walked back to our hotel! we turned on the tv and watched a bit of toy story, it happened to be playing on one of the channels, before falling asleep!  

 

day 3

we had another 8 am wake-up to cab to brooklyn, well williamsburg, for our barre class at the bar method. the studio was gorgeous - brick walls, modern furniture, and the change room had all the amenities could need. or imagine! the class we took was a lot of fun, definitely more of a traditional barre class compared to yesterdays! 

after the class we headed to by chloe for our brunch! i got the smoothie bowl with the snow white base and it was really good, the girls all ordered the loaded oats. i asked for a generous scoop of almond butter and the gal gave me me extra on the side to pour in - god bless her! 

after we finished eating we headed straight across the street to the sweatshop for coffee! the last time i was in ny (oct 2017) this coffee shop was at the top of my hit list and was the best coffee i had during that trip so i was excited to take the girls there this time, and they really enjoyed it! we sat and enjoyed our coffees and took pictures under the "don't look for love look for coffee" mural before heading to c3 for their 12:30 pm service!

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taken by kris

kris had planned to attend service with me while sam & zoe planned to explore the city a bit. kris was fighting a headache so she decided it was best for her to sit somewhere to rest while i attended the service on my own, which i was totally okay with! although i'm an extrovert and c3 is such a welcoming space & community i definitely had a moment where i wanted to turn away but i knew i would feel incomplete not going, i was really looking forward to it leading up to & during the trip - as usual even though i am attending c3 in another city i still received the message i needed to hear! the pastor began the preach with matthew 6:21! the preach was focused on knowing your worth... something i definitely struggle with. the main message focused on luke 9:23-25, people tend to lose what they try so hard to keep, this illustrates the more you give the more you'll receive! know that no one places more value on you than jesus! your worth was decided before you were created and before your performance, your worth is not reminisced of your failure... if you take a $10 and crumple it, throw it on the ground and stomp on it, when you pick it up and un crumple it it's still worth $10 - this was a powerful illustration and truly hit home for me and tied everything together! 

taken by  kris

taken by kris

i met up with the girls once i left the service, we had perfect timing because right as i left i spotted the girls walking down the street towards the church!

we had a leisurely afternoon wandering into vintage shops, jewelry shops, cat bird, cool home/general shops, we tried to visit the make a day handmade shop to buy the mugs we were served coffee in at de maria but it was closed, visited scosha (1 of the designers we carry at work), butler coffee shop, and a few other places that caught our eye! sam picked up a few jewelry pieces, 1 stacking ring from a shop we visited and she got a bracelet from scosha that she fell in love with!

we walked all through brooklyn to walk accross the brooklyn bridge! it was something i had wanted to do on my last visit, but bike the bridge (maybe next visit, in the summer - warmer weather!)! first we stopped to take pictures down a street where you were able to get a good view of the manhattan bridge, the lighting wasn't the best but we got a few nice shots of each of us thanks to kris! i love that the sky was so blue during our walk and that the sun was still shining bright, we really couldn't have asked for better weather for the middle of march! i was happy we walked across the entire bridge (check! off the bucket list)!

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taken by kris

taken by  kris

taken by kris

we stopped back at the hotel before heading to the fat radish for dinner (another alex & missy reco)! it was such a sweet little spot, candle lit on the inside and we sat around a round wooden table! our server was phenominal! they served us a plate of radishes right as we sat down! there was the sweetest man who was constantly walking around filling up our waters (later we found out by the hostess he has been there for 8 years - he's just the cutest, dedicated man - he had the most gentle smile)! i ordered the special fat radish plate - it was to die for!!! kris & sam ordered the artichoke lasagna, and zoe ordered the fish dish! we all loved our meals and agree we would recommend this restaurant to anyone! when we were leaving we asked the server if he knew where the girls could pick up a few drinks to bring back to the hotel for the night, unfortunately he was from brooklyn so the hostess came over and we chatted with her for a bit first about where to find a deli and various other things - she was a lot of fun to talk to - we were joking about hanging with her after... we were 75% joking! on our way back i spotted a deli so we stopped in to check! same got a local brew and the gals were wondering if they sold singles (we assumed yes, but sam asked), the guy told sam he would even tell her single smokes if she wanted! so after joking with him he gave same the full experience by putting her beer in a brown paper bag for her to carry back to the hotel! 

when we got back to the hotel it was just after 9:30 pm, big daddy was on tv so we watched that until we fell asleep! we cancelled our workout class for the next day, the girls were a bit sore and it would give us more time to sleep and take our time the following day, since it was going to be our last day and we knew we had to head to the airport around 3:30/4 pm! 

day 4

although we didn't set an alarm we all woke up and were out of bed by 8:30 pm! we each got ready and packed our bags to check out and hit the city!

we headed to the egg shop for brunch - kris really wanted to check it out after seeing hannah (@HBfit), colin's best friend brendan's wife, posting a youtube video about the spot, and the girls love their eggs! i must say, i don't eat eggs but i had the warrior one dish and subbed the egg for avo and it was tasty - i didn't expect it to be a cold dish but it was a pleasant surprise!  

after brunch we walked around to cha cha matcha! i had to get my cha cha on before heading back to toronto! 

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we made another stop into the athletic clothing store kris had hoped to purchase a new outfit from and she was able to find 1 that she loved to bring back (they don't have any shops or ship to canada!)! next stop was sel rrose (candice designed the wallpaper in the coffee shop & i really wanted to see it in person)! funny enough, right as we walked in to the shop, the owner kristin was about to head out! i introduced myself and mentioned i know candice - she was so sweet and let me take pictures of the space (talk about good timing)! 

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right after i got my coffee and snapped a few pictures we hopped on the subway and headed to the new york library! zoe had mentioned it and we all wanted to wander around! we attempted to walk to central park but as we got there it was time to head back on the subway to grab some food, grab our bags from the hotel, and hop in a taxi to head to the airport! we stopped at black seed bagels for a bite, a place zoe found - i had the buffalo veggie and it was good, the gals didn't really enjoy their bagles but at least we checked out the spot! 

the taxi ride to the airport was a wild one! but we managed to get through the airport in time to relax for about 40 minutes before it was time to board our flight.... which happened to be delayed but by the time we left the flight back was quick and we managed to land the same time we had expected to! i was lucky to get a ride home from the airport to settle in and head back to work tomorrow - back to the old routine! 

i truly had a great weekend with the girls! we had a good variety of plans throughout the weekend and covered everything we had hoped to! i would say my highlights were spending time with the girls, walking the brooklyn bridge & highline, happy bones & sweatshop for coffee, & not being on a schedule! ny... i miss you already! 

*already, mentally planning my next trip....*

#internationalwomensday

to all fearless, inspirational, empowering, kick-ass, groundbreaking women in my life: happy international women’s day xo

i think it's important to take these days of celebration to reflect... seeing how much i have grown with the women i am blessed to have in my life, i truly understand why quality relationships is important! having women in your life to relate to, to push you (in the best way possible), to hold you accountable, to encourage you, to celebrate you, to be an ear, to tell you what you may not want to hear but need to, to laugh with, dream with, go to brunch or grab a coffee with, to dig deep & grow with... i love all my ladies & today i celebrate every single one of you xo

in celebration, i participated in spinco's internation women's ride with zaina, kris & sam (4:30 pm at their downtown location)! for those of you who don't know, michelle august is the founder of spinco, which she started in 2014 when she was only 22 - talk about a kick-ass woman! the ride was in support of ywca. ywca toronto is dedicated to helping women escape and recover from violence, move out of poverty and access housing that is safe and affordable!

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