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August 14, 2018

Our Engagement Party- How to Throw a Large Scale Event

Pastels & Pastries Engagement Party, Wedding Prep, How to Throw A Large Scale Event, Gabpacifio

Throwing a party for 100 people is never an easy task. But when you decide to have the party at your own house, you know you're in for it. Or are you?
How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

After Brandon and I got engaged our parents were adamant about throwing us an engagement party. But so quickly after that Christmas rolled around, and we all thought why not just wait until the summer until we can throw a backyard bash unlike no other. And that we sure did!

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

The day was probably one of the best days of my life. At first, I was so unsure about the whole party, but it truly meant soooo much to us that so many of our friends and family members came out to celebrate. I kept thinking... if this day is this sweet, I can only imagine what our actual wedding day will be like. Ah, I am still over the moon, overjoyed, overwhelmed, just on cloud nine.

But how did we make the day come together? Well, I do plan events for a living SO I had a few tricks up my sleeve. We wanted to make it personal and special, but really knew for an event this size we could not do it on our own. My mom and mother-in-law were machines. Guys, I can't even tell you how much blood, sweat, and tears went into this day. They worked endlessly to make sure every detail was executed flawlessly. The food, the pastries, the music, the decor... ah, let's get into it!

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit, Pastels & Pastries, Gabpacifico wedding


THE FOOD
Food is a party essential.
For an event this size, we needed catering. It wasn't a question. But we wanted the catering to reflect us, and not just your average deli sandwiches. We wanted a touch of G, and a touch of B brought into every detail. I went to my favourite girls from The Fix + Co. to pull together an appetizer menu that would WOW and that was so me! They hit it out of the park. We had raw Thai wrap, vegan stuffed peppers, falafels, some amazing homemade dips like guacamole, beet hummus, and arugula pesto. They also put together some teriyaki tofu skewers, watermelon-feta skewers and Capresee bites. For the main spread (which was a buffet), we had some of B's favourites-- lasagna, veal parmigiana, roasted veggies and chicken souvlaki. Everything was SO delicious. I was eating it for days. Keep in mind, it's better to order per person for such large events when you are ordering catered food. They are the pros and they know just how much to ensure you'll have enough.

Pro tip: Use fanicer platters or chaffing dishes to set the mood. Also, write up your menu using Canva and print it out on cardstock. I sprary painted some old frames gold and had the menus sitting on the table so guest knew what everything was. This also helps for those with dietary restrictions!

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

How to throw an engagement party at home, Gabpacifico wedding, Toronto Catering, Nadege, the Fix

THE DESSERT

I love making desserts, and so does my mom. But I didn't want her to be slaving away in the kitchen when there was so much other stuff to do. However, I knew the desserts had to wow since they are so important to us. We enlisted the help of one of the best patisseries in Toronto-- Nadege. You guys all know Nadege. They basically were first on the French patisserie scene here in the city, and have been around for almost 10 years, so I knew we had to have them. Chef Nadege Nourian was born in Lyon and comes from a long line of pastry chefs in France. Brandon and I are enamored with the French lifestyle so having a French-themed sweet table was not even a second question. Our sweet table was fitted with a macaron tower, petit choux, mini Marie Antoinettes and other delectable goodies from Nadege, including their famous and insanely delicious marshmallows. Since they do catering for large scale events they know how to properly ship their goods and this made it SO easy to have everything delivered day the of. All we had to do was set it up and voila. The guests were blown away at how fresh and utterly delicious it all was!


How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit
How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit, pastels & pastries, GabPacifico wedding, engagement


How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit, Pastels & pastries, gabPacifico,  nadege patisserie, french pastry

Pastels & Pastries, GabPacifico Wedding Blogger Engagement Party Prep How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

WOW FACTOR
Every party needs an element that will wow your guests. For us, it was having Sugargirlee create an epic balloon installation. This piece acted as a photo op, and it just elevated the whole event. It made it next level because let's get real, how many people do you know that can create insanely massive balloon walls?! Laureign and her team are SO insanely sweet. We got on the phone weeks before the party hashing out the details. She had an idea of the space and ran with the idea to create something beautiful for us. If you want to elevate your party decor, balloons are where it's at! They are so fun and so impactful! They also blew up some massive confetti balloons to place inside near the sweet table. They really tired together the inside space with the outside space. And guys... I still have the balloons! Talk about helium quality!
How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

THE OUTFIT
It's your party you need to wear something that makes you feel amazing. Doesn't matter if you are re-working something in your closet, or buying a new piece. For me, I wanted my arms covered and wanted to be chic and fancy, but with a bit of sass! I walked into Honey and found my outfit within minutes. Guys, I can't tell you how many times I have walked into Honey and left within 15 minutes because I found the perfect piece. I was so obsessed with my outfit, never wanted to take it off, even when it chilled right down at night! The lacey, bell sleeves, the skirt that flared out but hugged in the right places... Ah! And those earrings that I cannot stop thinking about. So perfect (to me anyway!). If you're looking for an outfit to turn heads, check them out, NOW!

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

THE AMBIANCE / DETAILS 
I love a good vibe. And I knew our vibe had to hit the mark. To really hone in on the summer in France theme we had to get some key details down-- flowers, greenery, music and a his and her cocktail. If you are looking for flowers that really encapsulate a French garden vibe, Emily from Threads & Blooms is your girl. I love how personalized she made every arrangement. I literally told her my budget and what colours I was going for, and also what flowers I did not like, and she went to town. The day before she hit up her local flower suppliers in Niagara so all the blooms were local, in season and so fresh. She also gave me a bucket of extra flowers so I could lay them around wherever I felt necessary, i.e.: the bar, by the speakers, on the walls, sweet table, etc. This was so sweet because it allowed me to tie other areas of the space into the theme.

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

For the little details, we accented with gold frames. We strung our engagement photos in empty frames and literally glue-gunned them to the brick. We gave out French lavender as favors and wrapped them in rustic bags. We had herbs and lavender as decorations and also garnishes for our drinks. I created dinner and drink menus using Canva and framed them in gold. We rented tables, chairs, and a bar for the pure ease. 

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit, pastels & pastries, gabpacifico engagement


Pro tip: Hiring a bartender and another staff is essential for parties of this size. You need someone to be cleaning, helping to set-up dinner while the night is going on. You do not want to be doing this, nor do you want your family members to! If I could I would have hired another bartender to keep the line down. Another great way to ensure the bar line up is small is to have wine and beer as self-serve and reserve the bartender for mixing cocktails.

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

PHOTOGRAPHER
I cannot stress this enough. A photographer is essential. Guys... I didn't even have my phone on me the whole night. I thought I would take SO many photos but I did not take one! Thank goodness friends and family did, but in all honesty, the photos are not of the same caliber or quality. Krenare Ali was SO kind to come out for a few hours and take some photographs of my set up and guests and I could not be more thankful. I just wish I had her stay longer. Photographers will catch the memories you won't, and will freeze the frames you'll want to remember forever. And keep in mind, hiring a professional is always better than asking a family member to run around alongside you with your camera. They know angles, they know good lighting, they just know.

How to Throw a Large Event, Engagement Party Ideas, Summer Engagement Party, Nadege, Sugargirlee, The Fix + Co, Toronto vegan caterer, Honey white engagement outfit

We all have that one day from the summer that is most memorable, most special and that you'll never forget. For me, I think it will be this. I still beam when I think about it! Did you have an engagement party? Would you try planning a large scale event like this? Talk to me, guy! XO

Thank you to Nadege Patisserie, Sugargirlee & Co, The Fix + Co, Threads & Blooms, Honey, and  Krenare for helping us bring this whole day together! .

Photos by Krenare Ali.


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August 07, 2018

How to Deal With Setbacks

Pastels & Pastries, how to deal with setbacks, overcoming pain, couch ridden, self worth, self help blogger

As I sit here writing this, I am couch ridden. Long story short I had an accident at our new house. Regardless of how it happened, I am here now with a boatload of stitches in my left foot and just dealing with it. When it first happened my only thoughts were "you are a fricken idiot", and "how could you let this happen".  After the hospital I went home and felt just miserable, I felt so sorry for myself and just could not let the feelings pass. After a night of feeling like this, I woke up and decided I needed to change my outlook. I needed to change my perspective on the whole issue. I knew I would not wake up 100% and I needed to be okay with that.

For a person that cannot sit still, needs to be doing something and likes to be independent, this was hard to come to terms with. I mean, I can't even walk to the washroom... B is having to literally carry me over there. But instead of focusing on what I cannot do, I need to focus on what I can do. I may not be able to walk but I can think. And I can think myself out of this one. 

If you are struggling with setbacks, mentally or physically I know how challenging and debilitating it can seem. We don't have control over the things we once did and it makes us feel horrible. In hopes to stay sain, I'm making a list of the ways I can deal and cope with this setback. Because it is just a setback, it is not permanent and it will pass. 

1. Let it go
Once you've had your episode of disbelief (because this is definitely going to happen), or anger, let it go. Don't get me wrong it is important to allow yourself time to grieve, but you cannot fixate on the grief. It doesn't really matter how it came about, or what happened, it did and now it's time to face it as truth. Do not focus on the problem, the issue or the negative aspect of the occurrence because that will only keep you in the realm of the problem. Focus on the solution. You can only feel so sorry for yourself before it's time to turn around and say "I will not let this define me", "I will surpass this". 

I had my night of misery, aka me crying on the couch, feeling ashamed and just sad. When I woke up the next morning I knew I still would not be able to put pressure on my foot or walk just yet, but that didn't stop me from changing my outlook. I slid out of bed to the floor, grabbed a pillow, sat on it and  literally pushed my way across the floor to the bathtub. I then got in, washed off the icky hospital juju, and slathered some lavender shampoo in my hair. Just the mere thought of me doing something by myself, for myself, was liberating. Once I let go of the problem (not being able to walk) and fixated on the solution I welcomed positivity into my mind and came up with a brilliant way (if I do say so myself) to get across the room. 

2. Be grateful
I could sit here and write down all the things that did happen, but what about all the things that did not happen. Guys, the accident could have been a lot worse! But I listed off in my head what I was grateful for. 
*I was not alone. I could not even imagine if Brandon was not there to act so quickly and get me to the hospital when the bone was literally popping out of the top of my food, and the blood was pouring out of me.  I am so grateful for him and everything he did following.
*Again, it could have been so much worse. I could be in a cast... or worse.
*It's the long weekend and I really don't have anything crucial that needs to get done. Sure, I had plans for the weekend that I had to cancel, but there's always next weekend (aka my birthday weekend, and there's another-- it could have happened on my birthday weekend!).
*My mom's support-- making dinner, bringing me ice cream, taking my laundry... she is god send! 

Point is, I could go on forever with all the things that I can do and have at my fingertips. Again, focus on the positivity and positivity will come. What also helped me was writing this down in my journal. 

3. Allow yourself to rest
I want to always be doing. It's true, I have a hard time slowing down.  But taking the time to rest is essential for recovery. I can't even tell you the last time I sat down to watch TV, but here I am on episode 4 of Good Girls... I'm giving myself the permission to do nothing and it (sort of) feels nice! I am realizing you can't rush recovery. You're life, routine and everything else that comes along with it will be there when you heal. If it's not, it's not worth it. It's so important to listen to your body as it tells you what it really needs, not your mind. You do not want to rush and give yourself a false sense of healing when it can cause more damage to begin in. 

How am I resting?
I am doing it all. Magazines, manicures, books, podcasts, journalling, writing, blogging, drinking fancy tea, drinking fancy water, you name it. Also, I'm wearing lipstick, enjoying a cup of coffee and sitting in a summer dress because these are things that give me pleasure. Give in to the things that give you pleasure. It's okay. 

Now I will likely be on the couch for a bit longer, so I'd love to hear how you cope with setbacks, hurdles, or speed humps. And remember you just need to be yourself, you don't need to prove anything to yourself. Focus on the solution, not the problem and positivity will come.  


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August 03, 2018

Wedding Dress Shopping 101

White Toronto, Pastels & Pastries, gabpacifico wedding, how to shop for a wedding dress, wedding dress shopping, bride 2019, wedding 2018

I've been on the dress hunt for just over a month now. I was so intimidated to start because I really didn't know where to begin. I was too busy worrying about how daunting it seemed and psyched myself out of the whole thing! What a silly tactic! I mean I browsed through magazines, but it wasn't until I actually got into the stores that I started realizing which designers stood out to me and which styles I was drawn to. A dress can look so different in a picture, and especially on a hanger! If I could tell you how many times I thought "no way", but tried on a dress to realize how beautiful it has, we'd be here all day!

Shopping for your wedding dress should be fun, special and give you butterflies. While I still have not found the perfect dress, I have a put together a few of my tips to make your dress search go as seamless as possible.
White Toronto, Pastels & Pastries, gabpacifico wedding, how to shop for a wedding dress, wedding dress shopping


First of all, here is THE LOW DOWN on dress shopping:
You enter the boutique (usually they ask you to remove your shoes). You chat with your consultant on your style, preference, thoughts, ideas, budget, etc. They take you around the store introducing you to designers and collections. You then pick 4-6 gowns and head to changing area to try them on. You usually have an area to yourself.  One by one the consultant will assist you to try on the dresses. Don't be shy here, ladies. They've seen it all. Some of them you can tell before you are even zipped up that it's a no. But, there are others that make your heart flutter and you just don't want to take off. By the end of the try-on, you narrow it down to a few of your favorites. Eliminating the majority of them makes it so much easier, but you still leave undecided. Or do you?...

Sash & Bustle, Wedding Dress shopping, Toronto Bridal Boutique, How to shop for a wedding dress


Here are my tips for wedding dress shopping:

Take your time
Dress shopping is not something you want to rush. It's very important to know that it can actually take around 9 months to get the dress made and sent back to you. And then there are alterations! Do not leave it until the last minute. Even if you just pop into different stores to browse,  you may discover what you like about some and what you dislike about others. Take the time to try on all styles. You only get one chance to do it, so go all out! Trying them all on will never make you wonder "what if...".

Book your appointments strategically
If you want to enjoy your experience and not feel pressured or intimidated by other brides, book your appointments from Tuesday-Friday. Most bridal boutiques are not open on Sundays or Mondays, and Saturday is sure to be the busiest day of the week! I took off time from work to make my appointments. I had the boutiques all to myself, the consultants gave me their undivided attention and I had free reign at all the dresses to try! Again, be strategic and book a few appointments on each day in and around the same area so you can maximize your time out of the office. Also, do you know what makes you bloat, gasey, etc? Avoid eating these foods right before your appointments, because you will not feel the best, and you want to feel your best!

Choose your entourage wisely
Think a max two (or three) people. Each time I went with my mom as the appointments were during the day, but I also had my best friend on speed dial and screenshotted her pictures, real time! I really didn't want to bring many people with me as it's more special and intimate this way. And too many opinions are just no good. I overheard one too many heated conversations while shopping and am so glad I avoided that!

Trust your consultant, they are professionals
If your consultant brings you something to try on and you are appalled, just give it a go. Every time I thought I would hate something it ended up being not that bad! They know what they're doing and how all the dresses look on. It's so hard to judge from off a hanger! Don't be afraid to really try them on. And remember, sizing does not matter. Many gowns run small. Allow the consultant to order appropriate size for your measurements, not what you may think is your size.

Once you find it, move on
Here is a tip one of my consultants told me and it is SO key. She told me that once I find my dress, unfollow every bridal store I've followed on Instagram, stop looking at dress magazines, and move on to the next area of planning. You do not need to get sucked into "dress FOMO". You do not need to keep looking because guess what... there will always be a new collection of dresses coming out. There is no way to avoid it! Just remember the feeling you had when you put on your dress and that's it.

Okay, guys, my search continues next week. Wish me luck!


White Toronto, Wedding Dress shopping, Toronto Bridal Boutique, How to shop for a wedding dress, Pastels & Pastries, GabPacifico Wedding

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July 27, 2018

Luxury Skincare Picks for Summer 2018



Eve Lom Cleanser, Rodial Dragons Blood Lip Plump, Pai Rosehip Oil, Nuxe Huile


I am a skincare-a-holic. It's no secret. I am just obsessed with finding the latest products that do more for your skin than cover up a scar or hid a pimple. I am all about addressing the root causes! And I think you guys like that, too! You want to know what I find to be working really well, and since I love to share, I think we have a great relationship going on, don't you?!

So today we are talking luxury skincare finds. I recently discovered a few brands that I am obsessed with for multiple reasons. For starters, the ingredients-- they are all strongly botanically based, and the results-- they all have proven to work so well for me! If you're looking for anything from a new cleanser, a facial mist, a body oil to save your skin from drying out, or even a way to plump up your lips, I got it covered:

EVE LOM
I had been wanting to try Eve Lom for so long, primarily because I heard such great things about their simplistic approach to skincare. Their focus? Truly radiant, flawless, and cleansed skin, in the most gentle way. The Original Balm Cleanser is a cult classic so I knew I had to start there. Want glowing, radiant skin? Want the most luxurious feeling cleanse you'll ever have? Look no further. This balm feels extremely silky on your face, it exfoliates and cleans, and it comes with a muslin cloth that works miracles for removing makeup (yes, eye make up, too). The smell is so heavenly and it's also packed with plant oils and other great ingredients (cocoa butter, eucalyptus,  chamomile, clove) to work its magic on the skin and target every need. I actually look forward to cleansing my face every night. Using this cleanser has made my nightly routine that much more enjoyable! No joke! I have seen gotten hooked on Eve Lom's other products, such as the Rescue Mask and Face Mist.

NUXE
Oils are truly a magnificent addition to your skincare regime. Ever since I started using them, I have not been able to stop. The Huile Prodigieuse by Nuxe is a dry oil that hydrates your body and hair and leaves the most gorgeous sheen to your skin. It's the summer, and adding a bit of shimmer to my legs is top priority, especially for someone who doesn't sit out in the sun. It's packed with plant ingredients with over 98% of ingredients derived botanically. It's French, it's fabulous and did I mention you'll smell like a French woman? Seriously who doesn't want to smell like a French woman?

PAI
Yes, more oils! The Rosehip BioRegenate Oil by Pai is another luxury skincare essential. It's no wonder this is one of their best sellers. First of all, did you know Pai means goodness? Not only are their products good, but they are good for you! Want firm skin? Glowy, dewy skin? What about riding yourself of lines, wrinkles, patchy skin and scars? Rose-hip oil is known for its regenerative properties so you can watch it heal your skin, and protect against future stressors. I love slathering it on before bed or mixing it into my day cream for a dewy look. It actually creates a bronze effect on your skin! No sun necessary.

RODIAL
Ever since I first discovered Rodial Beauty on The Beauty and the Vlog Podcast I knew I had to try out the line. I was so inspired by founder Maria's story of entrepreneurship and early career days. For my first products, I knew I wanted to try the Dragon's Blood range. I tried out the Essence Mist and the Lip Masks. Could they actually plump my lips? I was intrigued. I was so excited that I tested them out the evening I got them! Looking back I should have waited until I was going out to use the masks! But they actually work! They are packed with hyaluronic acid to provide intense hydration and stay moisturized. I woke up and my lips were still plump. Both products are total luxuries, but totally worth it!

Do you have any skincare finds that make your skin feel oh-so luxe? Are any of these speaking to you? Let me know! And like always if you have a specific skin care need, feel free to ask me for suggestions. I love to help!

Brands are also available at Murale by Shopper's Drug Mart. Check out your nearest location for stock! 

S H O P  T H E  P O S T:


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July 23, 2018

Niagara-on-the-Lake Roadtrip

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

Isn't there just something so picturesque and charming about small towns in Ontario? Sometimes you don't need to go very far to take a mini escape and experience new food, culture, and landscape. That is exactly what I did last weekend. I hopped into a Ford Fusion and set out on the open road with Eleni, my blogger bestie. We escaped the city for one night to discover and explore Niagara-on-the-Lake. We had so much fun cruising around making our way from the city to the countryside. It's so fun going places with like-minded people. I mean who else can you yell "PINK DOOR" at and immediately they jump for joy and start running behind you? Must be a girl thing!

niagara on the lake girls trip, burlington, kellys bake shop, lettuce love cafe, ford fusion

Our Ford Fusion was the perfect vehicle to take us exploring! First of all, it was burgundy velvet (aka purple)! How chic. Second of all, it was packed with all the amenities-- A/C (thank goodness because I swear it was the hottest day of the summer), extra cargo room (because us bloggers like to pack), an easy to use Navigation system, lane-keeping system and more!

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

We started our journey in Burlington, Ontario, which is a gorgeous town situated on the water. Coming from the city you will pass Burlington on your way to NOTL. We hopped off the highway and hit up Sunshine Doughnuts Co. Everything from the giant doughnut in the sky, the outdoor wall mural, and the gorgeously styled interior made this spot a must-visit. We picked up some donuts and then made our way to discover more of Burlington, Ontario.

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

Because what does one do after they pick up doughnuts? They need lunch, of course! We walked around Burlington and opted for a healthy lunch at Lettuce Love Cafe. I always make a point to eat here; it's one of my favourite spots for bites, bowls, and salads. Yummie! We may have been extremely full but one does not go to Burlington without making a stop at Kelly's Bake Shoppe. We walked our way over to Kelly's to pick up my favourite gluten-free, vegan, healthier goodies! It was Eleni's first time at Kelly's so I knew she was in for a treat. Eleni picked up the red velvet cupcakes, while I may have got four cookies to go! Haha! I swear I didn't eat them all right away...
niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

Make sure to hit up Anise Apothecary to stock up on green beauty products and Centro Garden for some home decor goodies while in Burlington. And if you have time, check out Amanda Steene Cosmetics to make your own lipstick shade.

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation
niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

A couple of iced coffees, a crazy rain shower and a few stops for photos along the way, we arrived at our destination-- The Queen's Landing Hotel in NOTL. Pulling up into this hotel was breathtaking! The manicured lawns, the columns, it was all so stunning!

NOTL, Gorgeous hotel niagara, vineyard hopping, ford fusion, ford roadtrip

We checked into our room, relaxed for a few seconds and hit the town to discover more of NOTL. So much charm! It really is a real live Star's Hallow. We popped in and out of shops, walked along the water, passed by some vineyards and made our way to Balzac's Coffee to, yet again, caffeinate before dinner. If you're in NOTL be sure to explore some of the shops! There are so many vintage finds, one of a kind goodies and delicious eats. After wandering into the shops we made our way back to our hotel for dinner. They had the loveliest patio so we relaxed and had a quiet night after such an eventful day!

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycationThe next morning we woke up early and went for a lovely walk to grab coffee and plan our day. Niagra is known for all the fruit trees so we made our way to a fruit stand where we tried the sweetest Sugar Baby plums! We also took home some delicious cherries. The owners were so lovely-- we chatted, they let us try their goodies then we headed back into the Ford Fusion to our last stop, Neob Lavender.

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation



We may have missed the Niagara Lavender Festival by one week, but it's still lavender season and we knew we had to get to the fields nice and early! The smell is intoxicating. I love lavender! It's so amazing for multiple purposes-- headache relief, body aches, relaxation, to induce sleep. I could go on! We stopped in the shop which was conveniently located beside an antique market. We pursued all the goods then finally made our way to the fields. It's a stunning view... the rows and rows of lavender plants!
niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation
niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

By mid-afternoon, we were ready for our drive back to the city. It was the perfect girly summer escape! Next time I would definitely check out one of the fabulous spas or vineyards that Niagara is known for. So much to do, so little time! All I know is I'll definitely be back!

what to do in niagara on the lake, girls trip niagara, lavender field niagara

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation]

Thank you to Ford Canada for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

niagara on the lake, lavender field, queen's landing hotel, ford fusion, blogger staycation

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June 27, 2018

How to Work on Your Pre-Wedding Beauty Routine


As of right now, there are 412 days until our wedding, but who's counting, right?! I have to say; the planning is making me so giddy with excitement. At first, I was so nonchalant about it all. Now, I'm so eager to plan every little detail out! Still trying to remain calm, though. The first step was doing our engagement photos, which you can read more about that here and here, and now it's planning the engagement party. I really was not interested in having one, but the parents were pretty set on celebrating. I get it, it's a huge milestone so now I am going with it. And having fun in the process! Maybe a little too much fun!

Pre Wedding Beauty Routine, Crest White Whitestrips with Light, How to work on your wedding beauty routine, Pastels & pastries wedding, engagement, blogger wedding routine
Pre Wedding Beauty Routine, Crest White Whitestrips with Light, How to work on your wedding beauty routine, Pastels & pastries wedding, engagement, blogger wedding routine
One thing I am SO happy I started doing before our engagement photos was working on my beauty routine. Because of all these wedding-related activities coming up, I want to be prepared and feeling my best! I amped up everything I could think of because some things do take time to work on! I started incorporating 10x more face oil to my face (didn't think that was possible-haha), started using an all-natural eyebrow serum to get thicker, fuller brows, focused on drinking so much more lemon water to really detox the skin and look hydrated and started using Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light. As an avid coffee and tea drinker, I needed some help in the teeth whitening department. But really I didn't have the time or cash to dish out at the dentist. 

So what's so great about Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light?

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*Convenient-- all I do is apply the strips an hour before bed and let them work their magic. Then I use the light for a few minutes and voila. Done! I am a huge multitasker with the strips. I do them when I'm working, cooking, cleaning, anytime I'm home. I love how convenient the application is. 

*Lasting-- the results last up to 36 months! Start now, do the 10 treatments, and then focus on all the other little details, like my non-existent wedding dress. I should really get on that... 

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*Harmless-- one thing I was SO skeptical about, was having overly sensitive teeth. I was so excited that these did not irritate my teeth or gums at all! And there was no bad taste to the strips. This is key! 

*Results-- people actually notice. Later stains and yellow teeth! I've gotten so many compliments on my pearlies, and I can totally see the difference in pictures. Even Brandon is so excited to use them after he gets his braces off! 
So even if you're not planning your wedding, summer is a great time to amp up your beauty routine. Make some changes to feel your best now. Do you have any other tips for me to start doing now? Let me know! In the meantime, get yourself the whitest and brightest smile of your life! 

*This post was sponsored by Crest, however, I would in no way share my experience with you if it was not positive! 

Pre Wedding Beauty Routine, Crest White Whitestrips with Light, How to work on your wedding beauty routine, Pastels & pastries wedding, engagement, blogger wedding routine


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June 25, 2018

Beach Travel Essentials-- Snacks and Skincare

pastels & pastries, what to pack for a beach vacation, beauty, skincare, coconut, travel, packing, make up, best snacks to pack on the plane, travel skincare hacks, rawcology, st.tropez, best self tanner, it cosmetics CC Cream

I can't remember the last time I took a beach vacation. Okay... yes I can. It was to Mexico with my best friend and it was fabulous. But it was like 3 years ago and I am long overdue! I am headed to The Bahamas with a group of 10 ladies for one of my bestie's bachelorette. Things are about to get real. I'm kinda scared. LOL, kidding. We are staying at an all-inclusive resort but there are a few things I will not be forgetting to pack. Snacks and skincare are two essentials I pretty much do not leave the house without, let alone the country! But my faves as of late? Let's dive into it...

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SNACKS

Rawcology Coconut Chips and Superfood Granola
I hate being let down with poor food choices. Even though there are sure to be loads of great options on the resort I can't risk being without some superfoods. Rawcology is a company I truly love! The founder, Tara, created the line of plant-based, nutrient and vitamin dense snacks to promote a healthy lifestyle and re-invent the standard of packaged foods. I add the sweet and savory coconut chips to everything-- eggs, avocado, salads, desserts, yogurt, and the granola... well let's just say I can barely keep it in the house. Perfect plane snack or beach snacking! Healthy fats will keep you full and satiated! (P.S. the Matcha Latte Coconut Chips are SO amazing, and unlike anything I've ever tasted!! You need them, now) 


Almond Butter Packs
I don't go a day without almond butter. It's kind of an addiction, kind of the best thing ever. I always travel with mini Justin's almond or Artisana pecan butter packs. They store so well, too. I keep them in my room and in my beach bag for a quick snack on the go. Eat them with apples, bananas, crackers, yogurt... or a spoon!


Magnesium
This is not a snack, you're right. But it goes in with the food category... kinda! I don't know what it is but I can barely sleep in hotel rooms. It is a HUGE issue for me. The first night I will wake up after two hours of sleep and be up for the whole night. It doesn't matter how comfortable the bed is, or where I am. It never fails. Magnesium is amazing to relax and calm the body and also helps to combat stress and body pain. A lot of people (over 50%) have a magnesium deficiency so I take Calm Magnesium nightly before bed to help me sleep. All I do is mix just over a tablespoon in with some warm water and drink. No way am I leaving home without it!

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SKINCARE

SPF
You already saw my detailed list of SPF (read it here to see which ones specifically I will be taking with me). What was missing from that list? A great lip balm and scrub. Mary Kay makes a great duo that I have been loving lately. It's sure to keep my lips nice and hydrated at the beach, and scrub away the dead skin cells!

CC Cream
Sometimes I like to look polished and done up on the beach! It's not a crime! My go-to CC Cream for years has been by the "Your Skin But Better CC Cream" by it Cosmetics. It looks so flawless on since it's full coverage, it's long lasting and it has an SPF of 50! It's also packed with vitamins A, B, C, E so you are basically diffusing wrinkles and lines all while being protected from the sun's rays. I always take this CC on vacation with me, because it's a one-stop shop, and it lasts from day to night! 

WHAT ELSE?

A good read is essential for travel. I've been alternating between a few, but it will be nice to have a day to indulge in a good one! Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is a psychological thriller that I just dove into! So far I'm hooked. Must finish before it hit the TV screen in July!

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Nails that last are key too. Especially when you are in and out of the sand, beach and flipflops. The essie Gel Couture line is the one line I always count on since I don't do shellac! No chipping!

Don't even get me started on this Bronzing Facial Mist by St. Tropez. I am obsessed! It's the perfect instant tan. I love that you can spray it on top of your makeup, and it smells so fresh. It's a refresher and bronzer all in one. And NO marks on your clothes. You bet I'll be faking the tan all summer long!

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And you can't forget a mini bag to store all the essentials in. I love having a smaller bag in my beach bag to keep sand out and house all my little items like chapstick, headphones, etc. This pink crossbody by Poppy & Peonies is definitely coming with me! It will be great to take out and use a clutch for the evening. Double duty, people!

What are some of your travel essentials? Am I the only crazy that brings food with them away on vacation? 

*bag & towel by Poppy & Peonies

S H O P T H E P O S T

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