July 29, 2015

Of Brunch and Bloggers


If there’s one thing I love about blogging it’s having the opportunity to connect with likeminded individuals and share in our love for things like brunches, peonies and Mexican food (how cliche, right?). However, there are times when it can seem lonely, intimidating and just downright scary. On a recent brunch with some lovely Toronto bloggers we discussed how going to events alone, introducing yourself to a group of people, and really just putting yourself out there can be daunting.  Then we came to the realization that if we never went to those events and introduced ourselves to one another, we would have never met. This obvious fact really stuck with me after the coffee cups were cleared and the leftover avocado toast turned brown. Stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to the most positive experience -- like sharing blogging tips and experiences with a fabulous group of ladies, or making a new lifelong friend. Today I want to challenge you to surprise yourself and do something that you wouldn’t normally do. To reach out to someone new, smile at a stranger, and go for your goals. 

{photo taken at Wish Toronto}

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July 28, 2015

Frozen Treats



Did you catch my overload of pineapple/flamingo/tropical posts on Instagram and Snapchat this past weekend? In case you missed the updates, my closest friends and I got together for a little summer time fun. We drank from pineapple sippy cups, pushed each other in the pool swam, and went ATV cruising in the forest. We couldn't have asked for a more quintessential summer day; the sun was shining, the music was turned up, and the BBQ was cooking. Perfection! I went back and forth debating if I wanted to re-create this ice cream sandwich bar, or these candy kabobs,  but ultimately went for frozen treats  (which turned out to be a perfect way to beat the heat).



SMOOTHIE POPS

I hadn't made popsicles in years, so when I came across the molds at Dollerama I was thrilled. I opted for my favourite green smoothie in pop version, which was not only delicious but provided a much needed health boost. I've totally been eating the leftovers for breakfast all week and it's perfectly acceptable! You can find the recipe here but it is essentially frozen bananas, kale and almond milk (additions include almond butter, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla extract). For the purple and white pops I layered vanilla yogurt and frozen blueberries (blended with almond milk and a touch of vanilla extract).

FROZEN BANANA BITES

Banana and almond butter is probably one of my favourite snacks, but with the heat I prefer to snack on colder fruit. These banana bites have becomes my newest obsession. You can find many variations on Pinterest but the idea is pretty simple to figure out.  Slice your banana and spoon a 1/2 teaspoon of almond butter (or peanut butter) on top of half the banana slices. Then put a plain banana slice on top of one covered in almond butter. Stick a toothpick through the bites and put into the freezer until frozen. Melt dark chocolate (I mixed a spoonful of coconut oil into the melting chocolate which will create a "shell" like coating), dip the frozen banana bites, and sprinkle them with coconut flakes. Don't let them thaw too much, you want the ice cream like texture! Serve immediately, or store in freezer until ready to consume. I am already dreaming up more nutty and delicious toppings to sprinkle on!

I'd love to know-- what are your favourite summer treats? Would you try a green smoothie pop, or is the idea too weird? I swear there is no "greenness" to be tasted!

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July 23, 2015

Baby Blue Dress


If there's one clothing brand I could seriously live in for the rest of my life, it would have to be Wilfred Free. The carefree, versatile styles, soft fabrics and the neutral colour pallet is something I just can't get enough of.  Their collection of jersey dresses are made with the softest fabric, have the perfect amount of stretch, and just hang beautifully. I already own a few different styles, but could not resist this baby blue, A-line number when it popped up in the Aritzia sale. That store is seriously dangerous right now! The damage I could do… I love the high neckline as it gives this dress the capability to go from day to night, in an effortless kind of way. Paired with minimal accessories, this dress has been on constant rotation for hot, humid days in the city. Oh, and please ignore the lovely new accessory on my foot, aka the huge, white bandage. After a nasty incident I am still waiting for the stitches to fall out, but am on the mend! … don't ask

{Wilfred Free dress, vintage clutch, H&M ring, Ivanka Trump sandals, Miu Miu sunglasses}





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July 21, 2015

Charleston Travel Guide


{Rainbow Row}
Charleston is one of those towns that will stick with you long after you've left; the incredibly friendly people, the delectable Southern cooking, and the gorgeous, historical architecture pouring out from every street you walk down. Also, one of the most predominant symbols of the city is a pineapple! They are everywhere- gates, homes, gardens, walls, and in the stores! Hello, a blogger's dream! When Brandon's family decided to go to Myrtle Beach for a little getaway I knew adding on a few days in one of the oldest towns in all of the United States, Charleston, would be the perfect addition to our trip. It turned out to be one of my highlights, because, well who doesn't love a little romantic getaway? 

With no real itinerary in mind, which is a shocker for me, we spent our days wondering the Historical District and French Quarter, gazing at all the beautiful, pastel homes, eating some of the most delicious Southern cuisine, and just enjoying the blazing South Carolinian heat. While I went trigger happy with my camera, stopping at every pastel pink and blue home to take a snap, B found a new love in the form of shrimp and grits. We only were in Charleston for two days but it seemed like just the perfect amount of time to enjoy much of this town's little pleasures, then head back in our rental car to meet the rest of the family in Myrtle Beach. Here are a few of my favourite snaps and some travel tips:


DO

Rainbow Row: What I was most excited for. The "row" is a selection of 13 colourful houses on East Bay Street. Most were built in the 1800's and were restored in the 1930's. Each home is unique, lovely and a photographer's dream. I was in pastel home heaven. 

The Battery: You will find some more insanely gorgeous houses along this promenade which was once used as a defensive seawall, and some pretty waterfront views. Stop for a few minutes and enjoy the much needed shade the park has to offer!

French Quarter: It's general borders are Market Street to the north, Broad Street to the south, Meeting Street to the west, and Cooper River to the east.  Home to more beautiful streets with stunning historical houses, like "The Pink House" and churches. Be sure to hit up Chalmers Street.

Plantation: We never had the chance to actually stop into a Plantation, but we did drive by. This is something I would have loved to do. On the drive from Myrtle Beach you will pass plenty, such as Boone Hall and Hopsewee. 
{sips at The Belmont}
{handsome fellow blending in}
EAT

Breakfast/Light Lunches: Park Cafe was our favourite breakfast spot. The menu consisted of avocado toast, almond milk lattes, and homemade granola… heaven! It's a tad out of the main city centre, but was worth the short drive from our hotel. They also serve lunch. With the heavy dinners and humid heat, we opted for light and green lunches. I fell in love with the customizable salad bar and fresh juices at Verde. Whisk is another great spot to get your smoothie, juice and/or ice coffee fix. They also serve up some pretty serious salads and yogurt parfaits. The d├ęcor is pretty sweet too (love the “whisk” ceiling fan”).  Hit up Black Bean Co. for more energy bowls, wraps and salads!

Sips: The Belmont is a cocktail lovers' heaven. Their menu is extensive, the vibe is ridiculously cool (black and white movies are projected on the wall), and the bartenders are relaxed and friendly. Start your evening here!

Delicious Dinners: The cuisine in Charleston is world renowned, so I was sure to do some research about where to eat before arriving. Reservations are a necessity! Some of the fabulous spots we dined at were Husk and Poogan's Porch (ironically side by side!). Husk prides itself on offering completely Southern ingredients and some of the freshest at that. It was here we indulged in our first dish of shrimp and grits! Poogan's Porch, which is inside a beautiful Victorian house, is one of Charleston's oldest and well-known restaurants. If you're feeling slightly more adventurous than I was, try the fried alligator! We had planned to check out another well known restaurant, FIG, however it wasn't open for a late lunch on our last afternoon.

Sweet Treats: Stop by Freddo for some true Argentinian gelato! You will need a scoop or two to beat the heat. Glazed Gourmet also serves up some pretty sweet doughnuts if you find yourself in the upper King Street area.

{candle library at Candlefish // pineapple accessories at The Market
{Villa Margherita found in The Battery}
{Charleston Market}
SHOP

King Street: Charleston is home to some of the most amazing boutiques. All you need to do is head down King Street and let your eyes do all the work. Upper King is home to the design shops and more trendy restaurants, mid King Street is the fashion section, and lower King Street hosts the gorgeous antique shops. I loved how King Street and Market Street are the two main arteries into the downtown core, and are parallel to one another. Hamden Clothing (every designer) and Candlefish (amazing homemade candles, great for souvenirs!) are among the notables in the fashion section. You'll also find your classics such as Cynthia Rowley, Kate Spade and Madewell along with other Southern/local delights. 

Historic Charleston City Market: When we first came across the market we were shocked at how large it was inside! So many fun, authentic and local vendors. You could spend hours in here! Play count the pineapples!
{The Mills House}
STAY

We were lucky enough to pay for our hotel with points, however, next trip to Charleston I would stay at The Mills House. This historic (and pink) hotel is stunning outside and in (yes, we ventured inside and around the courtyard). I can only imagine how the rooms are decorated! The hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Charleston and so close to everything! There are also many boutique hotels in the downtown area which would be just as lovely. 

{gorgeous pink blooms can be found everywhere}
{breakfast at Park Cafe}

{morning coffees at Park Cafe}
{dream home}
{shrimp & grits from Husk // more pretty buildings}

{spot the pineapples!)

{
{cooling off at Whisk}


Have you ever been to Charleston? Any plans to venture on South? I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into #GBtravels and have marked your travel wish list with another stunning, historical destination! 

Planning a trip? Check out my Travel Planning Guide


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July 20, 2015

Farmers' Market Casual

If the cheesy smile doesn't help you grasp the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables make me ridiculously happy, then I don't know what will. Weekend trips to the Farmers' Market are one of those summertime staple activities for me. I love the abundance of freshness, supporting and chatting with local producers and buying what is literally grown right down the road! The past few weekends I have been checking out different markets to see what goodies different towns are promoting. This weekend it was fresh herbs and veggies from the King City Market. I love how the small towns bind together and local businesses, bakeries and shops all come out to promote their goodies. The markets offer so much more these days; we're talking nuts, bread, meats and cheese, gourmet coffee, and if you're lucky there may be a food truck or two near by! I am sure you have your go-to market, but if you're looking to explore another small town Farmers' Market check out this list here

{Joe Fresh dress (similar), Tommy Hilfiger chambray (similar), Kate Spade bag (similar) and sunglasses, Converse sneakers}
When heading to the market my outfit is typically some mix of comfy and casual. Yesterday was a beautiful, hot, summer day, so that meant a stripe dress, chambray top around the waist in lieu of a belt, and a pair of sneakers. Can't forget to bring along a re-usable bag for the goodies! 

Do you have a market you frequent every week, or do you enjoy checking out what other towns have going on? What are some of your summertime staple activities? 







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July 16, 2015

Kelly's Bake Shoppe- Treating You Well


I have only recently discovered the magically delicious world of Kelly's Bake Shoppe and it's safe to say that I have since become obsessed with the baked goods that are crafted within this quaint and charmingly girly bake shop. Located in Burlington, Ontario, Kelly's Bake Shoppe has without question mastered the world of healthy baking.

It's really not easy to find quality bakeries that cater to so many important dietary restrictions, and truthfully, there is no other bakery I've found to compare their goodies too.  Since I've had to personally deal with a few of these dietary issues, it became a quest for me to find baked goods that would not leave me suffering nasty side affects. It's here, at Kelly's Bake Shoppe, that you can completely indulge in healthier baked goods that are gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, vegan, and -ready for the best part- they taste incredible.
















Mother-daughter team Kelly and Erinn started selling their out-of-this-world treats at their Burlington restaurant, Kindfood (now called Lettuce Love Cafe). Once the craze began and the awards came knocking, the duo opened up Kelly's Bake Shoppe, a destination strictly for their healthy and wholesome treats. You'll find all your favourites at Kelly's -- think cupcakes, cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins, lattes, and even soft serve!-- except all are overflowing with only organic and fair-trade ingredients, and are free from artificial ingredients.

Kelly's Bake Shoppe sweetly gave me the opportunity to try out some of their wonderful creations. I called over my bestie, we brewed some ice coffee and spent the afternoon swooning over these treats. Keep reading to find out our thoughts.


Upon entering Kelly's you become completely wide-eyed. Rows and rows of mouth-watering cupcakes, stacks and stacks of chewy, buttery (but not really) cookies, and even a large freezer filled with goodies to take home. It's just so pretty in there, I didn't want to leave! We arrived just as they opened, and already the customers were lined up. The ladies behind the counter are just as sweet as the goodies, chatting and helping customers make their selection, but really you can't go wrong! Be sure to check out the weekly rotation of cupcake flavours. Some examples are Sunbutter and Jelly, Lemon Coconut and Cookie Dough. They also features cupcakes of the month and for July it's a Pina Colada cupcake, and a Root Beer Float cupcake.






I leave with their award winning caramel cupcake-- the Dulce de Leche, and a classic Black and White (chocolate ganache and vanilla frosting). The homemade caramel sauce literally oozes out of the Dulce de Leche. The cake is moist and the frosting is light and airy. How do they do it?!



Next we go for the Mile High Brownie. I have been following Kelly's Bake Shoppe on Instagram for quite some time, and this decadent layered creation has been teasing me ever since! Another award winner, and it's easy to see why. It tastes better than any flour-filled, made-with-eggs brownie I've found at any other bakery. Ooey and gooey-- just how I like 'em, and layered with more of that delicious frosting, and another brownie. Complete brownie heaven.



Next we move on to the cookies. I had been eyeing the Snickerdoodle since leaving the shoppe and I'm sure you can see why-- it's practically the size of my head. We break it in two and it's so soft. I love cinnamon so this is pure bliss for me. And it tastes so buttery! After that we dive into the Chocolate Chip cookie. It doesn't look like your typical choco chip cookie, but don't let that fool you; soft and chewy on the inside, crunchy around the edges, and it tastes….unreal. How can it possibly taste better than cookies made with eggs, flour and all those artificial flavours?! Cookies are my weakness and these two babies left me speechless.


The World Peace cookie is a combination of all my favourite things -- seeds, berries, oats and chocolate chips. And the Skinny Cookie, which is sweetened with roasted bananas, well, I could eat that everyday for breakfast.

Even if you don't have any dietary restrictions and are just looking to treat yourself in a kind, healthy and utterly delicious way, I encourage you to try out Kelly's Bake Shoppe. Not one bite will leave you feeling guilty or sluggish.

So, you don't live near Burlington and you don't see yourself headed that way any time soon (it's a beautiful city, I recommend you do)? Talk about accommodating-- Kelly delivers all around the GTA, and as far north as Newmarket for only $15, when you spend $50. Get ordering!

Thank you to Kelly and Erinn and all the lovely ladies at Kelly's Bake Shoppe! Can't wait to visit again!


Kelly's Bake Shoppe is located at 401 Brant Street in Burlington, Ontario.

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July 13, 2015

Peach Floral Romper


As soon as we confirmed that Charleston was in our travel plans, I knew this romper would be the first piece I packed. I purchased it last summer for my birthday and it's still one of my favourite and most cherished pieces. I mean… it's floral, totally feminine, but also a touch sultry in a laid back kind-of-way. Although it has longer sleeves, the flare on the sleeves and on the shorts allowed me to catch the cool breeze among the intense and humid southern heat. I love how the floral print has just the right amount of colour, and it's bold without being too overpowering. We walked for hours on end discovering the hidden gems in historic Charleston, all while finding the prettiest houses-- I really couldn't decide which one was my favourite! I was like a child in a candy store finding all the homes that complemented my outfit. Thank goodness for Brandon's patience with the camera! Even though we've been home for a week now I'm still dreaming of the perfectly preserved historical houses, painted in pastel hues, accented with colourful shutters and that sit upon beautiful flower-lined streets.  

I can't be the only one that coordinates outfits to fit the vibe of my destination… Tell me you match your outfit to truly reflect where you're headed, too!

{Necessary Clothing romper (similar) (similar) (similar), Ivanka Trump sandals, vintage clutch, Kate Spade sunglasses, DIY bracelets}




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July 09, 2015

White Lace Romper


If there is one thing you must prepare yourself for the summer in Charleston, it's the humidity. My philosophy while outfit planning for our stay was the easier and breezier, the better. I found this romper at a beloved Toronto boutique, "The Store on Queen", and I knew it would be the perfect piece for a night out in Charleston. I love rompers for their easy and simplicity. This one, with its high collar, open sides and fringe detailing, sold me right away. I love that I can throw it on over a bathing suit for the beach, or dress it up with a belt and a clutch for the evening (just bring on the sick on bra!). Pairing this piece with sandals was a no-brainer, as we walked endlessly from the upper King Street area down to the quaint and charming streets of historic Charleston. Stay tuned for more on on this lovely city, including where we dined and shopped!

{white lace romper similar, similar, vintage clutch, Ivanka Trump sandals}

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