'tis the season

the christmas holidays are my favourite time of the year! everything is just so magical... the streets & houses are decorated with colourful lights, trees are cut/set up & decorated in homes, twinkling lights are strung in trees & above alleyways, the christmas market is running... I can go on forever!

with it being the season of giving, indulging, & spending quality time with friends & family, i want to share a few of my highlights + favourite things from my 2017 holiday season thus far...

wandering around the Toronto Christmas Market, in the distillery, walking around + checking out each of the shops & booths, sipping on Arvo's delicious hot drinks (love the hot lemonade) & vegan cookies: 

IMG_4522.JPG

grabbing brunch + coffee with friends at Baddies:

IMG_4663.jpg

attending C3's team christmas party (kid's team is the best team!!):

IMG_4621.jpg

staring new christmas traditions... like spending christmas eve at Erica & Colin's having tea + cookies & making my parents a christmas morning brunch (Baddies inspired):

IMG_4698.jpg

waking up to presents from santa on christmas morning (yes... i'm 22 years old!):

IMG_4689.jpg

giving... although i love gift giving, i can't say i don't like receiving! i truly got spoiled by my friends & family this year! from my parents buying me blender i've dreamt of owning: the Vitamix A3500, to Erica & Colin surprising me with Moon Juice Brain dust (sold in the US) which i've been dying to test out in my morning smoothie bowls & everything in between! 

IMG_4704.jpg

can't forget to mention watching the first snowfall, baking vegan goodies, skating at Nathan Phillips Square, watching Santa Clause 1, 2 & 3, Elf & The Grinch! I know everyone has different traditions this time of year, I hope whatever your favourite things & traditions are that you enjoyed taking part in them or created new traditions this year - most important is to be surround by loving friends + family! 

merry christmas to all! I wish you all the merriest holidays, filled with peace, love, joy & lots of time spent with family & friends! 

new job love

I've recently been blessed with the opportunity to work at bluboho for Maggie & Cheryl. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting these beauties... you're really missing out! 

I got to the point where wasn't feeling stimulated or driven at kit + ace... I was pushed to sell not to grow! I knew I needed a change but I was comfortable (and we all know comfortable = easy)! I'm proud of myself for applying for the job back in October (shout out to heather for insisting: "you HAVE TO apply")!

I find I'm constantly asked "what do you want to do?"... "what's your end goal, career-wise?"... the best way I can summarize, or even begin to describe, what I want to do is be a designer! I want to create things (or something) for people! I have always loved art & design. One of my ways of expressing my thoughts & feelings to people is through various creative outlets: making cards, embroidering clothes, making friendship bracelets, knitting scarves, paintings, illustrating & printing, sowing garments or pillows... I can go on forever! So, I don't exactly know what I want to make or how I want to share or sell it, but that's what I want to do. 

*this does tie into my current job, I promise* 

I had been in bluboho a few times since the queen st location opened back in the summer of 2016! Usually when I would visit Carly, the shop manager, was working. I always loved to see her there, she was such a great person to talk too - she also had an incredible memory. Last winter I visited the shop to purchase a ring for myself: the opal aura. I was so thankful with the service I had received from Carly. When I picked up my ring (on my birthday) after it had been resized she snuck a lovely gift (stacking ring) in my bag! I was shocked and so thankful. I illustrated and mailed her a thank you card (me finding a way creatively express my thanks). To this day the card is on display in the shops back room. 

I have only been at bluboho for a few weeks but they have already put so much trust in me and have really pushed me creatively. I haven't had the chance to create something that has gone through to the final phase... production! I'm so happy to say that I am the creator of bluboho's 2017 holiday postcard.

Maggie & Cheryl proposed the idea to me, gave me some inspiration & told me what they wanted to include in the illustration! Other than those few loose requirements I had complete design freedom! I had so much fun hand sketching each of the illustrations before bringing them to life digitally in illustrator. below is the final design of the postcard, front & back!

holidaycardfront.png
holidaycardback.png

greenhouse juice food fête

I have enjoyed drinking Greenhouse juices for a long time now! I love their deep roots, the stranger, rosé, & the ginger & yyz shots. I also own their cookbook, I make the chia seed pudding weekly!

Thursday, November 2nd from 8-10 pm (Queen St Lululemon), I had the pleasure of attending the Greenhouse Juice Food Fête, which was the official launch of their capsule collection of plant-based food items. It had always been Anthony, Emma & Hana's intention to offer small collection of edibles alongside their juices. The menu includes everything from breakfast pots to salads, paninis, and hangry bites! Many of the items were inspired by The Greenhouse Cookbook and are made in Toronto by Foodbenders

Every item they plan to offer on their menu was available to try... and when I tell you I tried everything, I mean I tried everything! Their menu will include breakfast pots: almond butter chis pudding & maple cinnamon overnight oats, salads, wraps & paninis: qinuoa pilaf "chicoutimi", very veggie slaw, green hummus + sweet potato collard wrap, bbq jackfruit panino, mushroom kale + white bean panino & nutty chocolate breakfast panino & hangry bites: lemon blueberry & chocolate

I must say, out of everything I ate, my favourite item is the bbq jackfruit panino. It was the item I was most excited to try and I was not disappointed, it was so flavourful (& good for you!)! It tastes smokey yet tangy, is protein rich, & is a good source of iron & vitamins c & k!

I really enjoyed myself at the event, I got to connect with some great people, like Kris Gill, Samantha DelanyNicole Breanne, Lauren Park, & Alyssa Ages! ...we even had a bit of a dance party!

If you're interested in taking a look at the new menu and more information head here.

photo.jpg

Alyssa & I, photo taken by Kris Gill

return of riverdale

Riverdale returns to Netflix! To celebrate the premiere of season 2 various diners across Canada were transformed into Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe! The first episode of this season was released Thursday, October 12th and the pop-up event ran from the 12th-13th. The diners in Toronto that took part were Fran's Restaurant on College and The Lakeview Restaurant on Dundas West! 

My cousin Ashley, who also watches the show, and I decided to pop into Fran's to check it out! I'm sure you could imagine the length of the line to get into Pop's (Fran's), but my cousin and I were able to grab a milkshake and take a picture without waiting very long!

DSC04470.jpg

For waiting in line you received a free Betty (old fashioned vanilla) or Veronica (double chocolate) inspired milkshake, served in a Pop's plastic cup. I got Veronica's signature milkshake and Ashley got Betty's. For being free I was very impressed with how tasty they were! Although I love Veronica, my outfit was very Betty-inspired (because of my blonde hair). Ashley threw on Archies jacket to snap a picture with me. I thought it was great they set up a booth inside the diner for people to use props from the show (like Archie Andrews's letterman's jacket) to take pictures.

I was glad we went to the event... to be completely honest, I watched the season's premiere before heading to the event and it was more twisted and entertaining than I expected (no spoilers, I promise)! I really enjoyed watching the first season, so I'm looking forward to watching how the second unfolds! 

thankful

This Thanksgiving I feel I have so much to be thankful for!

Although this year my path was not as straight forward as I hoped it would have been, each and every time I felt I was veering off of my path I was pulled back in the direction I was meant to go. I experienced many challenges and opportunities that I would not trade for anything because they brought me to where I am today!

I am so thankful to have reconnected with my faith and to be a member at C3 Toronto (many thanks to Erica for bringing me back in May and for all her support in my journey), I have a wonderful, supportive group of friends who I love and care for very much, I have incredible parents who are always there for me, my family - especially my aunt Joanne (second mom) and cousin Ashley (sister), and to name a few other things I am thankful for this year: coffee & brunch (thank you to Baddies for serving me countless long blacks and for filling my weekly brunch cravings), graduating from university & moving back home to Toronto, working in Yorkville at Kit + Ace with such an incredible group of people, becoming a member at Equinox (best gym in the city), C+E's Sunday bbqs, rollerblading with Linas along the lake, C3 connect groups, reiki sessions with Angela, travel - having the opportunity to visit Ireland and see Elanna, Paddy & my grandparents & my upcoming trip to NY with Heather, applying for & landing my new job (which I will start next Monday) at bluboho, mother nature for keeping the weather a beautiful as it has been (I'm still wearing flip flops, no jacket, & driving around with my windows rolled down!)... I could go on and on but I want to share a few pictures (because I'm a visual person & love taking pictures) of a handful of special people who I am giving thanks for this year! 

22219837_10208356631507080_4244863147727853387_o.jpg

I'm so thankful to have Erica in my life. From working at Sherway together years ago (not in the same stores: Wilfred & Lululemon, but visiting each other so often we were able to build a friendship) to... taking Paulina's pilates classes, introducing me to C3, getting our nails done, exploring various places to eat in the city & ordering different things on the menu to share, drinking countless iced coconut matcha's, having Sunday bbqs, letting me shop your closet, & for being such an incredible support, you always encourage me to be my best self! I'm so happy to be a part of your life and to have been able to celebrate the soon to be new addition to the Weidelich family, wishing you & your baby boy health & happiness this year! 

DSC04376.jpg

I'm so thankful for Heather (& Rambo of course!)! It still blows my mind that we only met this year because I feel like I've know you so much longer! We have more in common than anyone could guess (except I love exersize & vegetables and you don't - the running joke of our friendship)! You're always there to support & push me to my potential! I love how we keep each other balanced in various aspects of our lives! I'm so happy to be as close to you as I've become & special thanks for inviting me over to join in on your family's Thanksgiving dinner! Love always! 

IMG_2535.jpg

I'm thankful for this lovely lady, Tiana! She has such a kind heart & the biggest, most beautiful smile! I'm so happy I sat behind you in our high school math class & that you also chose to go to UW to study Global Business & Digital Arts! My life wouldn't be the same without you in it! I love our coffee dates & our facetime dates (now that you're currently on exchange in Hong Kong!)! Love always! 

IMG_3570.jpg

I'm thankful for Rida! From really bonding while on exchange in Australia, to our numerous coffee & brunch dates, sleepovers, facetime calls & everything in between! You have been an incredible support this year & I wouldn't be the person I am today without out! I'm so happy you're living in Toronto so we can have off-screen dates! Love always! 

2017 was a year of growth, love & learning... and it's not over yet! I can't wait to see what the next few months & this coming year will bring! 

xo

glossier toronto pop-up

Glossier is in Toronto from September 8-14th!

Location: 1056 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 3B9

Hours: Friday to Thursday 12–8pm

Glossier is a NYC beauty brand inspired by girls. They believe “beauty” should be fun, easy, imperfect, and personal. It all started with a beauty blog back in 2010 called Into the Gloss. Now, in addition to the blog, they produce essential, easy-to-use skincare and minimal makeup products. 

I've been wanting to visit their showroom in New York for awhile now. I know they recently started shipping their products to Canada but I don't usually like to purchase skincare products without trying them first. The Glossier Toronto Pop-up was my opportunity to try before I buy... without flying to NY (I still plan to visit when I travel to NY in October)! 

I visited the pop-up on their opening day with my gfs, Erica and Katie! We didn't have to wait in line for very long to enter the shop! The outside of the building was well branded and on the inside there were tables well supplied with Glossier products. 

DSC04399.jpg

The girls and I enjoyed testing all of their products. I actually tried the Birthday Cake Balm Dotcom before. Erica owns it and I've wanted it since she had me try hers a couple weeks ago, so I knew I was going to purchase that before I entered the building. I also purchased the Lip Gloss, I loved that it gave my lips a nice subtle glossy look without making them feel sticky (the wind also blew my hair onto my lips and my hair didn't stick to it - I'd call that a winning gloss). I tried most of the products out and some of my favourites are: Priming Moisturizer Rich face cream, Generation G lip tint in Crush, and Boy Brow in brown. 

Erica purchased the Lip Gloss and Boy Brow, and Katie purchased the Wowder and the Wowder Brush

If you're like me and have been interested in Glossier and have wanted to test their products I would highly recommend head to the pop-up before it closes on the 14th! 

kit + ace: muskoka

Working as an Educator at Kit + Ace I've been blessed with many opportunities, one being the ability to work at our Muskoka pop-up shop, located in Port Carling (Kit + Ace Port Carling - 7 James Bartleman Way #2, Port Carling, P0B 1J0). 

The shop sits right on the water above Grand Electric (well-known Toronto taco-house). It has a great deck, which is equipped with a ping pong table, beer and popsicle fridge, and a pair of Muskoka chairs - of course!

The company rents a cottage for the summer to host Leads and Educators who work the pop-up shop! When my Shop Director, Darryl, asked who would like the opportunity to work in Muskoka I couldn't say no! I grew up with a cottage on the lake and love any reason to visit... I mean who could say no to working up in Muskoka if it means you're right on the water, have free accommodations, and get to work with great people - slumber parties every night.

I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to work not only one, but two weekends up there. I first worked in June, the second weekend the shop was open, and I was up there this past weekend, the second last weekend the shop will be open. 

The shop is opened 11 am - 7 pm everyday except Tuesdays. Annie (Lead from our Oakville shop) has been working there the whole summer. This past weekend I joined Annie Friday morning and worked Friday thru Sunday. The Muskoka shop is much more relaxed, which is a nice change of pace for me, especially since I work at our Bloor location. My days were filled with creating brand awareness and educating guest on our clothing of course, but I also was able to spend a lot of time on our deck. I was so happy with how gorgeous and sunny the weather was. I really lucked out because it hasn't been the best summer weather-wise - cool and wet... I honestly can't remember the last time I actually sat outside and soaked up some rays. I managed to bike to and from work on Saturday, which I really enjoyed... I can't remember the last time I rode a bike either. The bike ride was only about 20 minutes one way and the hills were manageable, so not bad at all! My parents stopped in Saturday to take me out for lunch at Grand Electric, which was a nice treat (I love their chips and dip, and their colliflower tacos are incredible). I also got to spend some time with Judy from l'eau and the staff from Grand Electric and Frankies Surf Shop (thank you Darren for making my coffee every morning)!

DSC04385.jpg

Sad to say the shop will be closed after Labor Day! After spending some time in the Muskoka's this summer I hope to be up there much more next summer, whether it be for work or relaxing at a cottage - who knows! 

northern ireland

Aug 7

My flight to Dublin, Ireland was delayed over an hour. I honestly didn’t realize it was delayed until I woke up, seated on the floor on the airport leaned up against the windows, from my nap at 11:55 pm, the time my plane should have been boarded and about to take off. By the time I was seated on the plane I was tired and just wanted to be in the air. The doors to the aircraft were closed and there was no one seated next to me so I was looking forward to taking up the entire row to sleep (but I wasn’t going to be that lucky). The flight attendant came over to me and asked me to move to a seat next to a woman the other side on the plane. Being tired and impatient, I politely asked why she wanted me to move and there was a family of 3 she wanted to seat together, and she offered me an Option Plus package that gave me a pillow, blanket, headphones, dinner and beer or wine… I couldn’t say no to that (even though I would have moved so the family was able to sit together)!

 

Aug 8

I slept the whole flight and landed in Dublin in time to grab my bag, change, and catch the Aircoach from Dublin to Belfast. My plane landed just before 1 pm and by the time I grabbed my bag and got on the bus it was 2:10 pm. I slept most of the bus ride and arrived at the Eurpoa Buscentre in Belfast at 4pm. I walked from the buscentre to Established, which is a cute little coffee shop I found while scrolling through my Instagram when I was looking for things to do and places to visit while I was going to be in Ireland. The coffee shop was quite cute, very industrial looking. I had to walk down cobblestone alley ways to find it. I got to the coffee shop around 4:20 pm. When I told Elanna I was hoping to stop at the coffee shop before catching the train to Ballymoney (where her and Paddy live) she mentioned her husband Paddy works in Belfast and he offered to pick me up at Established. Right as I got my Americano and took a few pictures I noticed Paddy walking up the street towards the café.

I waved and introduced myself to Paddy. He was very warm and welcoming from the start! Elanna was right when she said I couldn’t miss him because he is a very tall guy! I offered him anything from Established but he said that he was okay! He helped me carry my things to where he parked his car and we were off to Ballymoney. The drive was breathtaking. It was a gorgeous sunny, clear day and I got a great view of farms and rolling hills. I really enjoyed talking to Paddy during the drive. We took about 45 minutes to an hour to drive the entire distance, but it gave me the chance to get to learn a lot about Paddy and he told me a bit about some of the different places and a bit of the history of the country.

When we arrived at their home I was welcomed by Elanna and their cavapoo Sandy! It was so nice to meet Elanna, after hearing a lot about her from Erica, she was just as sweet and kind as I imagined her to be. I feel so blessed to have been connected to such a warm and welcoming couple. From the moment I emailed Elanna I feel like her and Paddy really made an effort to make my stay an unforgettable one! They really welcomed me with open arms!

Minutes after settling into the gorgeous guest bedroom they set up for me, Elanna had dinner ready for the both of us (Paddy was meet up with a friend for dinner who was moving to the UK). Elanna made 2 delicious salads for dinner: a pesto pasta and a fruit and nut with balsamic dressing. They were both incredible! Elanna and I sat and ate on the couch in their sitting room, which was really cozy, and it had nice big windows which were letting in all the sunlight. Before Paddy left to meet up for dinner with his friend, him and Elanna planned a fun-filled evening for us. While Elanna was a part of a webinar from 7:30 – 8:30 pm, Paddy and I would drive along to coast and hike down to some castle ruins before meeting Elanna in Portstewart for ice cream at Morellis.

Elanna and I spent most of the evening talking before Paddy returned from his dinner. She is such a fun and interesting person to talk to, and so easy to get along with. After only just really getting to know her in person I feel like I’ve know her for ages! I’m happy to have finally had the chance to meet her in person after hearing such sweet things about her from Erica (when I told Erica I was travelling to Ireland she encouraged me to connect with Elanna, they have been close gf’s for over 11 years)!

Paddy came home around 7pm and we headed out shortly after so Elanna could be a part of her webinar.

Paddy, drove Sandy and I along the coast. I’m so happy that the weather was as great as it was because I could see the gorgeous, lush scenery and how beautiful and blue the ocean is. Paddy, Sandy and I hiked down to visit the castle ruins, it was interesting to see how the castle and portion of land that it’s on is still standing, because majority of the rock around it has been worn away from the tides. We walked to the very point of the rocks before walking back. Hiking down to the castle was much easier than the hike up, it was nothing for Paddy with his long legs but those stairs were quite deep and long!

We continued our drive along the coast to meet Elanna in Portstewart for ice cream at Morellis: Ireland's famous and multi-award winning Italian Ice Cream. When we arrive in Portstewart I had to stop and take a picture of the incredible sunset!  

Paddy and Elanna split a dime bar crunch (something like skore, at least that's what Elanna compared it to) milkshake and I got a scoop of sea salty caramel in a waffle cone (when don’t I order a flavour that isn’t some form of salted caramel)!

We sat in Morellis and chatted for a bit while before heading back. I drove back with Elanna this time.

When we arrived at their home we changed into our pyjamas and watched an episode of the Office together before heading to bed just after 11 pm.

Elanna was sweet and encouraged me to sleep in, she mentioned some of the ideas she had for us the following day (brunch, coffee shops, beaches, walks, dinner by the ocean!), which was everything I hoped to see/do and more!

 

Aug 9

Elanna was right when she told me not to worry about getting up at a certain time, because I woke up at 10 am (which I almost never do)! Although, I did wake up at around 7 am but fell right back asleep, which I’m glad I did because I felt well rested – no jetlag!

By the time I finished getting ready, Elanna and I headed out of the house to go for brunch around 11 am. We brought Sandy along with us!

Elanna had the day all planned! We had brunch at Bothy – a cute little café that Paddy pointed out to me on our drive last night. It looked like a sweet-looking, cozy wooden cabin on a hill facing ocean.

Right as we walked in the door I could see and smell the incredible food! We quickly looked at the menu before looking at the specials: an avo toast and a bagel option. Elanna and I both ordered the avo toast special! I got my usual, an Americano, and she ordered an orange and carrot juice!

I love when a place uses freshly baked bread. The toast was topped with avocado (of course), mine had halloumi and Elanna’s had bacon, arugula, 2 poached eggs, and house-made salsa, jam, and a cream sauce which really added a nice sweet and creamy flavour. She was going to pay but I insisted, it was my treat! We took our time chatting and finishing up our food.

When we first walked in Elanna spotted a treat behind the glass, and she couldn’t stop thinking about it! Earlier she mentioned that Ireland is a big baking country and said I couldn’t leave without trying a scone! So, after our brunch we each enjoyed a treat! Elanna got her _______ and I got the blueberry and white chocolate scone! You could tell that they were baked fresh that morning! And she wasn’t kidding when she said it was a baking country because the scone I had was amazing!

After brunch Elanna drove to White Park Bay and we walked with Sandy down to and along the beach. As we were driving along the road she stopped the car so I could take a picture of the beach from atop the hill (I’m glad she values capturing a good view as much as I do).

The carpark was full so we parked on the side of the road, close by, and walked down to the beach. It only took a few minutes to get down! It was a gorgeous day to visit the beach, that’s for sure! We spent about an hour or so down there. We walked from one end of the beach to the other. I really enjoyed myself! We leisurely made our way back to the car!

Elanna drove us to Lost and Found! We parked the car and walked around the city of Coleraine to the café. It was neat walking through all the different alleys and cobblestone paths (we don’t have those back in Toronto)! Lost and Found is owned by friends of Elanna and Paddy! It’s a cute independent café designed around the desire to celebrate the craft of simple, delicious coffee and food in an inspiring and welcome place, with a very cozy atmosphere and industrial-like decor.

I couldn’t help but admire the mosaic tiles on the floor, the art hanging, and the furniture in the space!

I went to order my usual, but the cashier recommended I try the pour over feature of the day so I decided to go with his suggestion, and Elanna ordered herself a lemon and mint drink. I followed Elanna upstairs and we sat in a pair of comfy, outdoor-looking chairs right beside a window facing what looked to be where each of the alleyways meet in the middle. We sat there chatting and admiring the gorgeous day until the upstairs area was closed. In my opinion there’s no other way I would have wanted to spend the afternoon.

We walked around the city a bit and browsed through some stores like Laura Ashley. I also took some pictures for Elanna to post on her Instagram of a cognac leather jacket she is promoting for the new Esmara by Heidi Klum Collection, Heidi and the City, exclusively in IE & NI Lidl stores from September 18th. I felt like a professional photographer haha (I wish… sometimes)! 

We had a bit of time to relax at home before Paddy arrived home from work. Elanna and I sat in the sitting room and shared some flower cookies a brand (Luxy Hair) she promotes had sent her, they arrived this morning.

Elanna is a beauty enthusiast and runs a great YouTube channel: ellepearls, where she uploads videos on mostly beauty tips, tricks, and favourite products. I choose to be very minimal when it comes to my makeup routine. I will usually only shape and fill in my eyebrows and apply mascara. I have more of a religious skincare routine. I’ve always admired the looks that Elanna does on her channel, so when she was talking about her job a bit I mentioned I would love if she could do my makeup (mostly because of how talented and knowledgeable she is and I really have no clue what or how I should properly and appropriately apply makeup to my face). She was thrilled to show me how she would do my makeup, I just let her do her thing.

Once Paddy arrived home from work Elanna and I headed up to her studio and she did makeup. She asked me if I had any absolute no’s when it came to makeup and I just mentioned I don’t like to cover my freckles because I feel it makes me look very pale and sick, she agreed and said she wouldn’t have covered them regardless. She had drawers of makeup products and somehow located the perfect shade for my skin tone on her first try. She told me how and where to apply each product. A few tips she gave me are to apply skin to skin (give a more natural finish, rather than using a brush or sponge), use cream products (they work best for my combination/dehydrated skin), stick to products with a lighter coverage (not to cover my freckles), blush always adds a soft, warm touch, and I look best in mauves (they complement my skin tone and eye colour best). She really is talented and it only took her about 10 minutes to apply everything! I was shocked when she told me all the products she used on my face were for me to keep! She insisted! The products she used were: NARS Hydrating Glow Tint in medium, Benefit Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer in shade no.2 light/medium, Lancome Blush Subtil Crème in je m'appelle rose, Thrive Triple Threat Colour Stick in dionne, OFRA blush/bronzer in millennium gold, COLOURPOP Super Shock Shadow in Brady and Sequin, and a cream light medium bronzer and cream champagne glow highlighter without any branding on their container. I only was hoping she would show me how to apply makeup but she wasn’t going to let me leave the chair without doing my hair too. She used a fanning then pinch and pull technique with Ouai products (texturizing spray and rose hair & body oil). She gave my hair a nice beachy look (I wish I knew about this technique sooner, I’m ordering the products she used on my hair on Sephora so when I get home they’ll be there waiting for me).

Once we were all ready we headed to Amici for dinner. Sandy tagged along for the ride because we planned to take her for a walk after. Amici is an Italian Restaurant that uses local ingredients in Portstewart. The restaurant sits right on the water edge beside the Old Golf Course. Paddy also pointed this restaurant out on our drive last night to meet up with Elanna (he mentioned it was one of her favourite restaurants). When we first got in it was about a 15 minute wait for a table so we sat and enjoyed talking to each other. I was thrilled when they came and took us to our table it was one facing the ocean. The view of the ocean was incredible.

I ordered the fungi and it was incredible – made fresh and so delicious. Elanna ordered the spaghetti alfredo dish but she asked for it to be made with penne pasta and chicken, and Paddy ordered the Amici burger. I wish it wasn’t our last meal together because I really enjoyed spending time with them.

Once we finished our dinner we got Sandy from the car and we walked around Portstewart. We walked along the shore and back to the same spot we came to yesterday.

On our way back to the car we grabbed ice cream again, only this time from Roughans. I got caramel square in a waffle cone (surprise surprise!) and Elanna got bubble gum in a cone. Paddy got his ice cream from Morellis again, only this time he got Belgian chocolate in a cone. It’s hard to compare the two shops, I think Morellis had a stronger flavour but Roughans had a nice creamy, gelato-like, texture, which I really enjoyed.

We walked back to the car with our ice creams. Once we got to the car Paddy drove us to the Dark Hedges to take pictures before sunset. The Dark Hedges are an eerily romantic, atmospheric, tunnel-like avenue of intertwined beech trees, planted in the 18th-century. Paddy and Elanna knew the later you go in the day the less tourists there would be. They were right, after about 15-20 mins of us being there everyone cleared out and we could take some great pictures and really take in the view of the magnificent trees, without people and vehicles in the background.

I took a few pictures of Elanna and Paddy, and Elanna took a few great pictures of me. Sandy even got in on all the photo-taking!

By the time we got back to their home it was fairly late. We watched an episode of the Office before heading off to bed. I said goodbye to Paddy because I knew he’d have already left for work by the time I would be getting out of bed, but Elanna planned to drive me to the train station in the morning so I said goodnight to her. I was very tired so I set my alarm to wake up at 7:30 am to give myself a bit of time to pack my things and head out by 8 am.

I’m so grateful for Elanna and Paddy. They are both so sweet, kind, and very generous. They truly welcomed me with open arms and made sure I felt right at home my entire stay.  

jonboy tattoo x concept 2.0

One of my girlfriends, Heather, and I have followed JonBoy and his work for a long time, we're huge fans. JonBoy (Jonathan Velena) is a New York City tattoo artist. Some of his most famous work has been the the white dot finger and "meow" lip tattoo he completed for Kendal Jenner and the miniature pair of angel wings that he tattooed for Bella Hadid. Heather really admires the simple, delicate flowers he has done in the past and I really love his whimsical script tattoos and his fine line work. 

July 26th, JonBoy posted on his Instagram that he will be making his first trip to Canada to tattoo in Yorkdale mall: July 27 and 28, starting at 4 pm both days. Big thanks to Yorkdale because this was a free event (YES FREE!). 

It was a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE event. Those who attend were able to choose from a custom Yorkdale/CONCEPT flashcard of tattoos, designed by Jon Boy, specifically for this event. 

I called Yorkdale the day I found out about the event to ask them what time they were going to allow people to begin lining up. The woman who I spoke to told me they'd open the doors at 6 am... yes 6 am, when the event was to begin at 4 pm. So Heather and I (like the crazy girls we are) decided to be at the mall for 6 am. 

I slept over at Heather's place the night before the event. We set our alarms for 5:30 am and left her place by 5:45 am. We had enough time to stop in at Starbucks on the way to Yorkdale the morning of the event. We arrived at the mall at 6 am and were the 5th and 6th people in the line that had started to form. We were so happy we got there as early as we did. We also came prepared with a blanket, bracelet string, and books to keep us entertained for the 10 hours we had ahead of us! We took turns going to the washroom and grabbing food to ensure we didn't lose our spot in the line. 

The first few hours seemed to fly by, but the last 2 hours (from 2-4 pm) seemed like time was standing still. It didn't help that JonBoy showed up at 2 pm, and when he came we felt very ready for him to begin tattooing (so that didn't make the time go by any faster).

Erica and Colin stopped by to say hi to JonBoy (he had done both of their "C" and "E" tattoos), to see me get my tattoo done, and to head to our leadership retreat after in Niagara. They arrived at the mall around the same time JonBoy did. They stopped to chat with Heather and I for a bit before walking around the mall to kill some time, but they asked that I text them before I get my tattoo done so they could be there. They were going to grab dinner too, it was so sweet of them to offer to pick me up some food as well so we were able to head straight to the retreat once my tattoo was completed.

Before JonBoy began to tattoo anyone he went to apologize to those in line who he knew would not be able to get a tattoo done by him, which was A LOT of people (over 3/4 of the line). He did begin to tattoo shortly after 4 pm (well closer to 4:30 pm). I was a bit disappointed with him because before he began to tattoo those waiting in line (SINCE 6 AM) he tattooed 2 people (I'm not sure exactly who they were but I believe one was a blogger: Nathalie Martin, and the other girl... I have no idea). Once he began to tattoo those in line I felt relieved because then I knew Heather and I were guaranteed to get tattooed! We were offered multiple times by those who work at Yorkdale (and I assumed organized the event) to leave and return the next day so that a few girls who wouldn't get tattooed today could... they even offered us gift cards to the mall but Heather and I didn't wait all day for a gift card and the possibility of getting a tattoo done the following day (especially since either of us would be able to go back on the Friday).

Today was a test of patience, right before JonBoy was about to tattoo Heather and I (after tattooing for about an hour and a half) he decided to take a break to grab something to eat. I was a bit anxious because I figured with Heather and I being 5th and 6th in line we'd finish and be out of the mall by about 6:30 pm, at the latest. I felt like I was keeping Erica and Colin from making it to the retreat on time (it started at 8 pm) so I asked that they head out without me but they wanted to stay back with me and they said they'd rather be a bit late with me then have me miss the first night of the retreat all together. Colin offered to go grab my overnight bag from Heather's vehicle to save some time, since it was parked way on the other side of the mall. Before JonBoy left on his break they had us sign our waiver.

I had originally told Heather to her tattoo done first, since this was her first tattoo, but because JonBoy didn't get back from his break for about 40+ minutes (it was 6:20 pm at this point) and Erica, Colin, and I we're cutting it tight for time she told me to go before her (she offered first but eventually had to just tell me to)!  

Once Heather and I were called into the actual tattooing area it felt like a dream come true... and a relief (we had both been up since 5:30 am and waited in line for about 13 hours at this point). It was around 6:40 pm by the time JonBoy began to place the stencil and start to tattoo me!

He was a great guy to talk to and I appreciate the time he took to place the stencil of my tattoo on the inside of my wrist. He also has a very delicate hand with his wireless tattoo gun. It was actually pretty funny, when he was about to tattoo me each time the needle of the gun got close to my skin the connection from the gun to wireless device would cut out... it was like a tease (and another true test of patience). The gun continued to cut out periodically as he was tattooing me but he still took his time and completed my "love always" tattoo with the same level of quality and care he puts into every tattoo he does.  

Although I did have to choose the tattoo from the concept card, this tattoo has a lot of meaning to me. My grandfather passed away from cancer a few years ago and I have always wanted to get a tattoo in his memory. I find it impossible to put into words how much my grandpa truly means to me, we were incredibly close and so much alike. I've know for a long time that I wanted to get my next tattoo done by JonBoy because I love his script and when I saw "love always" on the concept card that is how my grandpa always signed off on each and every card he has given to me (which I have kept). So although this tattoo may have been a spur of the moment one, I believe it was meant to be and this was the tattoo I was meant to have in his honour! I'm so pleased with how it turned out and I can't stop admiring it. 

I felt guilty leaving Heather to head to the retreat, but she told me to go. I really wanted to stay back and support her. She chose to get "go for it" from the concept card.I had her update me on how everything went and she sent me a picture of her completed tattoo - she was very happy with hers as well. 

All together JonBoy only completed about 11 or 12 tattoos that day out of the over 100 people who had lined up. Aside from all the waiting and multiple tests of patience, the day was a dream come true and Heather and I got our JonBoy tattoo's without having to make an appointment and fly to New York! (And Erica, Colin, and I made it to our retreat with minutes to spare!)

Here are the posts that JonBoy made to his instagram of both our tattoos: Heather's and mine

baddies

Baddies is my favourite brunch spot and mini Aussie escape in the city, located at Bloor and Lansdowne, not even a block from Lansdowne subway station.

I was a boring cereal for breakfast kind of girl most of my life. I thought of breakfast as more of a chore than a meal to take pleasure in consuming. I never understood the rage behind brunch either. It wasn’t until I went on my exchange in Australia that I truly began to appreciate breakfast and brunch. The coffee and brunch scene in Australia is incredible, something they take very seriously! The food they served was always so fresh, wholesome, and beautifully prepared (the dishes were almost to pretty to eat) and they source some of the best coffee beans in the world and prepare them with care! The only place in the city that I have found to compare to the food I consumed while on exchange is Baddies, and to no surprise Alex White, the owner, is from Sydney, Australia.

While I was living in Melbourne, Bondi was one of my favourite spots to travel to. With the Sydney inspired wallpaper, custom designed by Candice Kaye, Baddies makes me feel like I’m back in Australia. The space has large windows facing Lansdowne making it an open and inviting spot to eat, drink, and relax. I love that they don’t offer wifi and encourage people to talk to enjoy the company of those around them.

Along with it’s unique wallpaper, Baddies has been a hot spot for people posting picture’s in front of the “You Beauty” wall inside the space.

DSC03765.jpg

I have yet to try everything on the menu but with the amount of times I visit I’m sure it won’t be too long before I do. Like I mentioned, my favourite, go-to dish is the avo toast, but if you’re craving something sweet I definitely recommend the hot cake! Also, the bircher muesli is very filling and delicious! As for drinks, I almost always order a long black but the sticky chai and iced matcha are both very delicious, and the juices are all amazing as well!

IMG_2134.jpg
DSC03767.jpg

I love that there’s something for people of all tastes, whether you’re vegan or want bacon! And Alex is constantly changing up the ingredients and toppings depending on the season!

I recently went to Baddies with a girlfriend of mine, Erica, the day of their summer menu soft-launch. We both ordered a different dish so we had the opportunity to try a bit of both. Erica ordered the smashed avo with a sticky chai and I ordered the hot cake with a long black.

For the summer the smashed avo is topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes, arugula, sliced jicama, and is beautifully plated alongside a smear of  a yellow zucchini, goat cheese & honey spread. The bread Alex uses for his avo toast is the sourdough from Prairie Boy Bread, where they use only organic flour and grains, sea salt, water and a natural sourdough culture (nothing beats a place that uses fresh bread, in my opinion). Also this summer the hot cake is a buttermilk pancake that’s topped with seasonal fruit curd, a lemon sauce, chocolate lavender bark and garnishes.

If you have the chance or are in the area I definitely recommend stopping in and trying anything on the menu, you won't regret it!

convocation

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 marks the day I graduate from the University of Wateroo with a Bachelors of Global Business and Digital Arts (yes, BGBDA… not just a BA). I must say the amount of hard work, determination, tears, and money that went into my BGBDA was worth it. When I walked across stage toward the chancellor to receive my sash, he asked me how my past 4 years at UW had been, I told him “it’s been a wild 4 years.” He then asked me if I’d do it again, without really thinking about it I immediately said “Yeah! Yeah, I would”… the more I thought about my answer the more I thought about the stress I placed on myself on top of the stress I felt came from school, the amount of time I cried because I thought I failed an exam, the amount of times I swore at my laptop while writing an essay, the anxiety I experienced… then I wanted to say hell no! But if I think back to all of the friends I made, the great people I’ve had the pleasure to see everyday, the places I travelled to, the places I’ve worked, and what I learned not only about Global Business and Digital arts but also about myself… going to UW gave me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had and for that I’m so grateful for receiving my acceptance letter April 22, 2013!

In the car on the drive to Waterloo to attend my convocation, my mom asked me what my highlight would be out of the past 4 years. I told her I have 2. My first highlight would be my 1st year of university. No words can be used to explain the excitement I felt moving to Waterloo, away from home for the first time. I was paired with Tina as my roommate and we quickly became best friends. I made friends with the N1 floor (Village 1 North 1) residence and Tina and I would always attend their floor events. Anthony, my boyfriend at the time, would visit every second weekend and I would always look forward to spending time with him and showing him around Waterloo. Everything was so new and exciting. I had a new found freedom and the chance to explore and learn more about myself. My second highlight would be going on exchange to Australia. When I first found out about the Global Business and Digital Arts program I researched and looked at all of the opportunities that were available to me through the program. When I read about the possibility of going on exchange and the places I would be able to travel too Australia stood out to me. To make this long story short, before I was even accepted into the GBDA program I knew I wanted to go on exchange to Australia (this is where being very goal-oriented… and determined… came in handy because I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything stop me from gaining this experience, and I’m so happy I was able to make it happen)! Funny enough, both of my highlights involve a new experience; a new chance to discover, explore, learn and grow!

I remember the day my parents dropped me off at my residence, REV 1 West A. I don’t remember feeling scared, I’ve always loved school. I do remember 4th year and my convocation feeling so far away. Looking back now, the 4 years have flown by.

At the start of my 4th year I was picturing the day of my convocation and walking across the stage, and trying to predict how I would feel! Of course I was picturing the outfit I would wear too. I imagined myself wearing either a white dress or jumpsuit and black strappy heels (with a chunky heel… I knew I needed a good heel to support all the standing I’d be doing)! The week leading up to my convocation I felt a bit hopeless, because I had yet to find an outfit to wear! One of my days off from work I decided to head downtown to shop for my outfit and if I found something it was meant to be. I ended up walking by THE pair of shoes I had been imagining in my head all along (I imagined a pair of shoes for my prom and never found them… so I was shock to find the pair I dreamed up this time)! The beauties were Alexander Wang’s: the Abby Sandal with rose gold accents. They were black and strappy, but the straps were thick enough that I felt supported. They had a thick heel too! And as a bonus, they were comfortable and they have the rose gold accents! The price was a bit steep… but the pair I tried on was fresh out of the box and fit like a Cinderella slipper… this was me trying to justify purchasing them! I placed them on hold and do what I always do… I called my mom. Although I do this (almost) every time I make a big purchase, my mom is never more helpful than any other time I’ve called her to try to help me justify any purchase I’ve made. When I called after sending her pictures she said her usual line, “it’s your money Shannon, it’s your decision to make.” Not very helpful! You know when you call someone to get a second opinion or just want someone to agree with you, my mom is not that person but for some reason I still call her every time! Anyways, the master sale scavenger in me found the same pair of shoes on sale at The Bay (they had one pair left in my size, but you could tell they were tried on multiple times). I walked back to Nordstrom, because I know they price match, and I got the brand new, only-have-been-tried-on-by-me pair, for a steal! I was impressed with myself and happy to have found THE shoe! I mean, the shoes are the most important piece of the outfit because the gown would cover everything else!

The following day (after I purchased my shoes) I went out for brunch with a girlfriend of mine, Erica. She has a great sense of style and I knew if I asked for her opinion on what I should wear she would know! She suggested a jumpsuit that she owns and loves from Wilfred: the Écoulement Jumpsuit! Funny enough when I went to Wilfred to try it on that same day Erica and I had brunch, Marwa (another girlfriend of mine) was working and I asked her what she thought I should wear, funny enough she suggested the same piece! I tried it on and fell in love. It was exactly how I expected I’d feel and predicted I’d look on my special day! I was set on wearing white because to me it is the colour of a new beginning, which represents a fresh start and that’s what the day felt like that day would be. I walked across the stage in the next stage of my life!

The day before my convocation I went to Tips to get my nails done! I made sure to book my appointment a few weeks ahead to be sure Melissa (@manimelissa) would be doing my nails. I’ve been going to see Melissa for over a year. I love her work, she is so kind and talented. Every time I see her I tell her to do her thing and I’m never disappointed! She really took the time to make my nails look incredible!

The morning of my convocation my parents took me to Baddies for brunch, before picking up my bouquet and heading to Waterloo. Baddies is one of my favourite brunch spots in the city. Alex, the owner, is from Sydney and has created (in my opinion) the best Aussie inspired escape in the city! It’s located just outside of Landsdowne station. The coffee culture in Australia is incredible and Baddies serve the best long black (what I would always order while I was in Australia) in the city and their brunch options are like no other (the avo toast is my favourite). Everything there is so fresh and the staff is incredible, I never leave disappointed. I was so happy that Genevieve was working (I met her at Erica’s birthday dinner). She’s so sweet and we enjoyed chatting with her for a bit while we ordered and ate! I had always wanted to try the hot cake (“a vanilla bean pancake with london fog leche, milo butter, a stupid amount of garnishes to make sure you take a picture”) but I always gravitate to the avo toast… Genevieve and my mom convinced me to go for it because it was a special occasion (…it took very little convincing)! I absolutely loved it, it was sweet, but not too sweet, and had the right amount of garnish… and it looked so pretty (almost too pretty to eat)!

After brunch we stopped at Crown Flora to pick up my bouquet. I was so happy with the arrangement that was put together for me!

After brunch and picking up the flowers we headed to Waterloo. Leading up to the ceremony there was a lot of walking, talking, and standing going on. I had to pick up my gown and name card. I spoke to and caught up with those in my program who I ran into. I took a few pictures with some friends. Finally, I had to assemble into a line based on the number that was on my name card and I stood for half an hour while I waited with everyone in PAC (physical Activities Complex) for the ceremony to begin at 2:30 pm.

The Valedictorian speech during the ceremony was given by a girlfriend of mine, who is a part of my program, Ashna. She spoke very well about her time at UW, made a few light jokes, and shared the three important lessons she took away from university. Above all, I would say the most important lesson I learned in university is quality over quantity in all aspects of life. It’s better to plan for 2 hours of productive, undistracted studying than 6 hours of unproductive, distracted, frustrating, forced studying. It’s better to surround yourself with positive, loving relationships, those relationships that challenge you in the best way and support you through all of your ups and downs rather than draining relationships that take work to maintain. It’s better to make time for things that you enjoy doing rather than force yourself to waste time doing things that you don’t. This is a lesson I’m glad I learned and I plan to focus on investing my time in all that is quality because it makes me feel full, rather than the emptiness that quantity brings.

Leading up to walking across the stage to receive my certificate, Jay pointed out that I would be the first one to receive a Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts (BGBDA) in our year… no pressure!

I felt honoured… but I also felt a mass amount of pressure to be as graceful as possible when I was called to walk on stage (and manage to stay on my two feet)! I told Jay if I fall the blame would be on him, however my walk went as smooth as I had hoped it would be. I was graceful and had the biggest smile! Once I walked off the stage and received my diploma my dad was able to take a candid shot of me right after. I think I’d best describe this face as the “did that just happen” face!

My parents were waiting at the end of the stage and my mom handed me the gorgeous bouquet they got me and took some more pictures!

My grandparents also attended the ceremony, so sweet of them. After the ceremony I took some more pictures with friends and family. It was great to see Lauren’s parents again, who flew in from Vancouver. The last time I had seen them was when Lauren and I flew back from our exchange in Australia and I stayed with her family for a few days!

After all of the picture taking I said my goodbyes and my parents and I headed home for a small cupcake and champagne celebration with friends and family. My aunt Joanne brought my favourite carrot cake cupcakes that she makes. I ordered cupcakes from the same lady who made Erica’s wedding and birthday cakes. Her name’s Belle (@loveinbloomcakes) and she’s such a sweet woman. I’m honestly not a cake lover, I much prefer ice cream or my aunt’s carrot cake, but when I tried the cake she made for Erica I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. She’s so talented too, she hand paint her cakes and has so many delicious flavour pairings. I ordered 2 dozen mini cupcakes from her. The cupcakes were an almond marzipan cake with 3 different icing flavours: vanilla bean, toasted coconut, and strawberry champagne. The toasted coconut was definitely my favourite and a crowd pleaser!

My Aunt Joanne, Ashley, Annelise, Tiana, Erica, Linas, and Kevin all came over to congratulate me and celebrate! The day couldn’t have started and ended any better than it had. I’m so lucky to have such loving, supportive people in my life.

I am happy to take away what I have from university as I begin a new chapter of my life!

bluboho

After having an amazing experience visiting Carly at Bluboho, I sent the shop a handmade card as a thank you (I've always love scrapbooking and hand-making cards). On the card I illustrated their Queen St. storefront using only a Sharpie Pen.

I was happy (and shocked) to see my art featured on their intagram shortly after they received the card.

why i finally started to blog

I’ve thought about starting a blog for years… but I kept letting the fear of not being an “original” blogger get in the way of creating one.

I read a book recently called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, written by Elizabeth Gilbert (who is also the author of Eat Pray Love). The book is about living a creative life “that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” I believe experiencing fear is important, but one shouldn’t let fear paralyze them, it should motivate them. Mind you there are many things I’ve been wanting to try (start a blog, draw and paint again, ride a horse, play a guitar – to name a few), but too often I find myself not starting or trying any of these things because I fear I won’t be original or stand out. I love a point Elizabeth brought up in the book about being original vs being authentic. Being original means to be the originator (the source of cause) of something, where being authentic means to do something without masking your true self. At times, everything can seem like a popularity contest… who is the best lifestyle blogger, who wore it better, who’s photo gets the most likes on instagram… when it comes to expressing myself, the older I get I find the less I care what people think. The things I am doing, trying, or am passionate about may not be original and I might not be the originator of these things, like starting a blog, but I am doing it my way and that makes it authentic because no one’s blog will ever be exactly like my own. So…

Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy exploring my life, passions, explorations, and everything in between!