Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Whenever something magical and pastel starts circulating around the internet, we take it as a personal mission to test the trend. Scrolling through Pinterest a few weeks back I came across a post headline that read “Unicorn Noodles Are the Biggest New Food Trend”.

It was my solemn duty to investigate this new claim.

Apparently there’s a totally natural way to dye glass noodles pink, AND you can make them change colour! Various blogs all over the internet claim by cooking the noodles in purple cabbage they’re turn a vibrant shade of turquoise, and when citrus like lime is added to the mix the noodles change to shades of purple and pink. It seemed almost too good to be true, so we got to work testing this theory on our next staff lunch break.

Turns out, the rumours were TRUE! We made the prettiest rainbow fresh rolls with no added food colouring, just natural enchanted veggie magic! Scroll down to find out how we did it.

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What you’ll need //

1 package vermicelli or glass noodles
1 package Rice paper
Half a head of purple cabbage (roughly chopped)
Blue Majik Capsules

Avocado
Mango
Cucumber
Purple carrot
Green onion
Lime

Sweet Chilli Thai sauce for dipping

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Instructions //

Begin by making the magic blue noodles, in a pot over high heat boil a handful of purple cabbage with 2-3 cups of water. Stir and boil for 5-10 minutes, the longer you boil the cabbage the darker blue the water and final result. Take the pot off the heat and strain out the boiled cabbage with a spoon. Add the noodles, stirring occasionally to ensure all the noodles are covered with liquid. Cover and wait 2-3 minutes. If you want to add a little extra colour to your noodles, we used a capsule of Blue Majik opened and stirred it into the strained noodles!

You’ll find that adding an acid, like lime will start to change the blue to pink!

Set the noodles aside, and cut up veggies. Grate, or slice thin vertical pieces of each item and line them up ready for assembly. Fill a large bowl with hot water, not boiling. Slowly place one sheet of rice paper in the bowl at a time until it softens. Carefully shake excess water off and drape over a plate. Place a small handful of noodles and veggies along the middle of the plate and fold both the bottom and top inward. Now roll it up from the sides, the rice paper is very sticky so it will help to shape the roll.

Once you’re done rolling, cut each one in half and serve with a dip! Add a little extra lime juice if you’d like.

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Oh so Pretty

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As much as we hate to admit it, the Summer is coming to an end and although we generally side with warmer, sunny weather, we can’t help but feel excited about some of the 2017 Fall trends. We’ll be sharing a report featuring all of our favourites in the coming weeks, but for now we’re going to focus in on one: metallics!

All things shiny are taking over with the seasonal shift, both in fashion and beauty, and you won’t hear any complaints from us here at RAOP. We are already eating up Dries Van Noten’s oversized oil slick jackets, Chanel’s glittery boots paired with glittery tights and of course Nina Richi’s full length metallic flamingo pink outfits.

Luckily this elegant and expensive looking trend doesn’t have to break the bank this fall. We put together an affordable metallic look with the help of Walmart’s fully loaded beauty section. Everything we used is on-trend, fairly-priced, good quality and most importantly, cruelty-free too! Here’s what we used to channel our favourite FW17 trend:

Hard Candy Metal Eyes Chrome Eye Shadow Kit ($8.98)

ELF Highlighting Dewy Drops ($5.97)

ELF Blending Sponge ($5.97)

Ardell Faux Mink Lashes ($9.97)

Hard Candy Clump Free Volumizing Mascara in Electric Blue ($6.98)

Hard Candy Baked Illuminating Duo ($8.98)

From eyes to cheeks and everything in between – Walmart has what you need at great prices to stay on top of the metallic trend this season!

Shop these fall beauty must-haves and more from Walmart in store and online here!

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Dress Up

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It’s hard to believe my trip to Cuba was less than a month ago – With all of the devastation in that area of the world right now it feels like a universe away. My heart is with the pastel island I fell so in love with a few weeks ago, and everyone else being affected by seemingly endless natural disasters this season. Please join me in sending good vibes and donations if you’re able (there’s a helpful list of where to donate here.)

Though we had a minor tropical storm during our stay at Memories Resort Jibocoa, we were lucky to spend most of the time baking in the hot sun and humidity with no rain or wind in sight. It’s been awhile and I’ve already shared a lot about my trip here and here, but I wanted to publish this one last photo set featuring my dreamy white dress from Privacy Please. Shot amongst palms and pink resort buildings with kelly green doors, I paired this piece with mules, with a cute converitble bag by Poppies and Peonies + the cutest glittery tropical nail art from Her Majesty’s Pleasure – it was the perfect vacation look for the perfect vacation.

Scroll down to shop the post

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Dress Up

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So much changes every year in Toronto that it can be hard to form lasting traditions: restaurants close, parks turn into condos and vice-versa. The one thing we Torontonians can count on however, is The Ex.

The CNE, aka The Ex, has become a mainstay in our summer schedule every year. The perfect way to spend the day and by far the cutest date spot in town after the sun goes down, this classic carnival is a massive patch of magic that takes over part of downtown year in and year out. It’s become a bit of an annual tradition for Team RAOP to get dressed up in cute colourful outfits and spend a day shooting, spinning and snacking at The Ex, and despite my busy schedule with Cuba and birthday adventures, this year was no exception.

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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It’s hard to know where to start when writing up my guide for Cuba. To start, there was so much pastel everywhere that I can hardly call my time there “pastel hunting” – the entire island is a rainbow of milky shades!

I did a horrible job of researching before our trip (in my defence, it was fairly last-minute), so unlike my usual travel habits, I landed in Cuba almost entirely unprepared. In retrospect I definitely should’ve packed some allergy medication and bug spray, brushed up on my Spanish skills etc. but there was something exciting about not having it all figured it out.

Though our trip was short and not properly scheduled, we managed to do so much between the resort and Havana!

We stayed in Memories Jibocoa Resort an hour outside Havana, and split our time between the two. At the resort we indulged in massages at the on-site spa, sipped endless pina coladas by the beach, swam in the pool under moonlight and frequented the 24-hour deli for late-night grilled cheese sandwiches. On Fridays there is a Cuban party on the beach complete with fresh cut coconuts, cocktails served in pineapple and a killer live band, so make sure you check that out if you’re around! A catamaran tour complete with snorkelling at the reef is also not to be missed – who knew flying fish actually fly?! If you feel like getting a bit wild, you also have to visit the piano bar, where singing along is a must (don’t worry, if you order the “fire drink” you won’t be shy for long!)

When it comes to our time in Havana, I’m just going to list all of the things we loved most below. The city was so alive, it was almost overwhelming, but with the help of our amazing driver we were able to cover a lot of ground in a super short time.

In Havana //

Eat at Paladar Los Mercaderes
Drink at La Guarida
Dance with Daiquiris at El Floridita
Explore at Fabrica De Arte
Stock up on snacks at the fruit stands
Walk along the Malecón seawall
Hire a colourful vintage taxi for a tour
Shop for cigars at Morro Castle

Keep scrolling for our travel tips and so many photos!

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A few general travel tips:

*Take out Canadian cash and exchange it into the convertible peso (for tourists) at the hotel when you arrive. There is no way to get this currency outside of Cuba, and when you’re heading back you can have any leftover cash changed back to Canadian at the airport.

*Learn as much Spanish as you can, even if it’s just the basics.

*If you’re vegan, bring along a lot of protein bars and other filling, nutrient dense snacks. We love Luna Bar in Lemon Zest . Being pescetarian is super easy, and vegetarian isn’t bad either, but if you’re vegan you’ll likely be living off of just fruit and bread the entire trip. Also if you’re vegetarian watch out for meat products in unexpected dishes, like rice and beans!

*Plan to disconnect as much as possible. Wifi is few and far between, and buying internet time can get pricey – but who wants to be on their phone anyway in such a beautiful place? A portable charger is always a must in our packing routine.

*If you can, plan to bring along some extra clothing and household goods, like toothbrushes, condoms, tampons/pads and baby products. These items are expensive and hard to come by in Cuba, and in my personal experience leaving them with locals can be a great way to say thank you.

*Bring insect repellent , sun screen , basic first aid items, and do NOT forget any prescription meds! Again, very hard to come by.

Additional resources: Margo & Me has a super helpful guide on her site for American travellers!

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An extra special thank you to Siren Communications and Memories Resorts, plus everyone else who made this amazing vacation happen!