Dear Diary

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Hello everyone, and happy 2018! I know it’s been a minute – I’ve been playing some serious catch up since arriving back in Toronto last week, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing before I take off to Mexico on Monday (I know, I know, poor me).

I’ve got a big New Year post coming Monday about all of the things I’m doing to make 2018 my best year yet, but in the meantime I wanted to start the year on a really CUTE foot (erm, paw?) That’s right, the new year is going to the dogs!

For those of you who somehow aren’t familiar with the best part of my life, meet my girl gang Honey and Pumpkin! Honey is an older girl with the best sleepy personality ever (you can follow her here) and Pumpkin is her crazy snuggly younger “sister”. Both were rescues from different organizations (I’ll list some of my suggested local rescues below!) and I am so darn lucky to have them!

RAOP Approved Rescues (Be sure to ask about fostering too!)
A Dog’s Dream (Honey’s rescuer!)
Moosonee Puppy Rescue (Pumpkin’s Rescuer!)
Save Our Scruff

Over the years our fur family has become close with the amazing team at local brand HOUND. This Toronto-based company makes the PRETTIEST dog accessories ever, and they’ve been outfitting Honey and Pumpkin since the very beginning. We did a little shoot the three of us back in August 2016, so when the HOUND team invited us to their new studio where they do private pup fittings by appointment only, we couldn’t resist!

All of the HOUND accessories are handmade here in Toronto, and it was such a special experience to meet the folks behind this incredible dog brand and watch them work! Honey upgraded her look #fromheadtohound with a new gold leash and collar, plus the PRETTIEST rose quartz charm! Pumpkin’s set is still in production, but “she” preferred crisp white with a marble charm and we can’t wait to see how her look turns out when it’s all finished!

From rags to riches, these two rescue gals couldn’t be more spoiled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Special thanks to HOUND for outfitting the pups for 2018!

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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I put writing this post off for as long as I possibly could, likely because on some subconscious level 2017 seemed too difficult to sum up… but as I sit poolside in Palm Springs with a group of amazing, strong women, sipping lemonade made with lemons I *just* picked from the tree, I find myself flooded with the need to put it all down.

Better late than never right?

Though it had small, short-lived pockets of truly amazing, the past year overall certainly wasn’t my best. 365 days is a lot to sum up in a blog post, especially with most humans’ attention span being so short when it comes to digesting online content, but having been a writer my whole life, putting everything out there on “paper” feels like the best bookend to start a new chapter with newfound clarity. Last year I pushed myself to share the intimate details of an abusive relationship I was in, and it was amazing to see the support and connection it created – hopefully we can go into 2018 feeling just as connected!

So what made my 2017? I always read these wretchedly vague posts from bloggers this time of year that promise to be personal but shed little light on actual details. So I say bring on the TMI!

My 2017 was:

Over 3 months spent exploring California
6+ attempts to quit smoking (I think I’ve finally done it though!)
3 trips to New York
2 adventures in places I’ve never been before (NOLA + Havana)
Tried casual sex twice (spoiler alert: I AM TERRIBLE AT IT)
1 weekend spent in a tiny home on a vinyard
2 mended friendships
6 times deleting all of my online dating profiles (and just as many re-building them)
1 book pitch to a publisher
11 hair colour changes
1 new nephew (honorary nephew, but still!)
All the career success
5 heartbreaks.

But what about my #2017bestnine? I didn’t post it this year because honestly, it wasn’t correct! My biggest post of the year by a landslide was actually about my most recent breakup (for those of you who operate more visually, there was a rainbow and legs dressed up for a wedding involved). Though I still absolutely stand behind everything I said in that post about my frustration with men, dating, and lack of commitment, I realized that using one boy as the visual for that sentiment simply wasn’t fair – that relationship was wonderful up until the end, maybe one of my best ever, and though that boyfriend was the catalyst for the post, he certainly didn’t define the problem. I want to continue voicing my concerns about modern dating and trying to build a family on your own, but perhaps with a less “attack” direction on just one person (is this how Carrie Bradshaw felt sharing her dating stories?) In case you were wondering where that one went, now you know.

Keep reading if you want more

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If I’ve learned any one lesson this year, it’s that women can do whatever the hell they want. We are challenging society like never before, demanding that what we’ve come to accept as normal (aka #metoo) be acknowledged as what it really is: a total nightmare. With the momentum we’ve found coming together in 2017, I can’t wait to see what change is around the corner in 2018. No rain, no flowers, right?

2017 had a LOT of rain for me, so I’m making 2018 all about the bright, beautiful flowers. Personally I find the more I make my goals happen professionally, the more my personal goals seem to flee in the opposite direction (why is it that balance is always so difficult for women?) This year, everything personal takes precedent – what feeds my soul? What do I love? It means less parties, less material, and much more truth. I did a little survey on my page and all of you seemed to want more personal/dating stuff, so that starts here – get ready to get REALLY personal with me this year, likely in a lot of ways you didn’t see coming. I am preparing to take control of my life on the personal front in a BIG, terrifying way (guesses welcome) and I can’t wait to share the challenges and triumphs with you guys – I promise it will be unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever done before, and I hope you guys will be on board with the ups and downs.

Someone recently said to me “2018 is going to be your best year yet, because life is what you make it”, so let’s live up to that prediction – let’s make 2018 our wildest, best, most love-filled year YET!

Happy NYE everyone. See you on the other side.

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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After a super busy year of takeout and re-heating leftovers, I’ve only just started to get back into cooking and baking for myself at home again this month.

Making food, especially this time of year, is one of those magical activities that has a way of bringing people together. Whether it’s you and a partner squabbling over a recipe book, your mom teaching you how to make her famous shortbread, or table full of friends eagerly awaiting your creations, food has a way of creating family in all sorts of shapes and forms.

The meaning of “family” shifted for me this year – as friends started growing their families by getting married or having children of their own, my chosen family grew bigger and stronger than ever before. Sophie and Bobby from Kitten and the Bear are some of my very favourite people, and getting to be an honorary aunt to their little boy Forrest was seriously one of the highlights of my 2017. I’m always impressed by their baking and jam-making prowess, so when Soph offered to come over to bake these Chocolate Cherry Jam Cruffins before I headed home to Vancouver for the holidays I couldn’t resist the time spent together (or the CRUFFINS!)

Scroll down for the full recipe by Kitten and the Bear!

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What you’ll need //

1 jar of Kitten and the Bear jam (we used Dark Cherry, Plum & Cocoa and Winter Cranberry)
1 box of Tenderflake classic puff pastry or rolled puff pastry sheets
2 tbsp soft butter
2 tbsp icing sugar (for dusting)
1 tbsp flour

Recipe //

1. Thaw pastry according to the directions on the package (either in the fridge overnight, or 2 hours at room temperature.)
2. Preheat your oven to 375 F
3. If you are using classic Tenderflake pastry, roll each brick out on a floured surface to about 12”x12” (give or take…it doesn’t have to be exact). If you are using the rolled sheets, use as-is!
4. Brush soft butter evenly across the pastry, then apply the jam in a thin, even layer.
5. Slice the sheet down the center to create two long rectangles, then roll each rectangle up into a cigar shape.
6. Cut each cigar in half lengthwise using a floured knife to expose the layers of pastry and jam.
7. With the cut side facing outwards, twist each piece into a loose rosette shape and place into a non-stick muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown, checking midway and rotating the tray if necessary.
9. Run a small knife around each cruffin to dislodge the pastry from the tin. It’s much easier to do this when the jam is still hot.
10. Allow to cool slightly, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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KATB + RAOP wish you and yours all the best this holiday season – may your days be buttery and bright!

Dear Diary

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Unlike the men’s category, I have so many beautiful, caring, wonderful women in my life, all around me at all times, and they deserve the world this Christmas. I adore shopping for my gal pals, always picking out items year-round and doing my best to save the surprise for December 25th. Of all the special things about the holidays, celebrating the strong community of women who support me on the daily is my favourite part.

That said, those who know me know I’m one of those people who’s nearly impossible to shop for. I’m in an anti-stuff state of mind and I already have anything and everything I could ever wish for, BUT there are a few choice items for “the girl who has everything” that anyone would love to receive, even me.

Let me know your favourite gifts to give this year in the comments below if I’ve missed anything!

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1. Charlotte Tilbury Blush / 2. Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick Eyeliner / 3. Cardea Auset Sea Bath Soak / 4. Wanderlust + Co Constellation Necklace / 5. Cardea Auset Rosa Facial Mist / 6. Little Black Book, A Toolkit for Working Women – Otegha Uwagba / 7. Gaston Luga Backpack / 8. OLAPLEX Hair Perfector / 9. Boosh lipsticks / 10. Overose Iridescent Candle / 11. Bluboho Revival Ring / 12. Sonix Sunglasses / 13. ORIBE Hair Care / 14. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre Luxe Colour-Lasting Lip Gloss Lacquer / 15. Kate Spade Sawn Wallet / 16. Mai Lin Friendship Bracelets

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Dear Diary

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There may not be a single special boy (or partner for that matter) in my life this holiday season, but I still can’t help but love shopping for all things handsome man. I am powerless not to spoil the imaginary man of my dreams, and if you have a real live one by your side I encourage you to spoil on my behalf.

Whether this gift is to help you with a father, son, boyfriend or just friend, I like to think we’ve included a great selection of items that would impress just about anyone you’re shopping for, especially a deserving prince! Though after the year we have had it’s entirely possible A LOT of men will be receiving coal…

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1. Baxter of California White Wood #3 Candle / 2. Le Labo Hinoki Shower Gel & Body Lotion / 3. Woodlot Cinder Soap Bar / 4. Cinnamon Projects Insense / 5. Baxter of California Comb / 6. Sugarfina Pale Ale Pints / 7. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur / 8. Baxter of California Hard Cream Pomade / 9. Gaston Luga Backpack / 10. Grimm Artisan Ales / 11. Richer Poorer socks / 12. Aesop Hand Balm

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