Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like a brag, but I have to be honest: life is really, stupidly good. It’s not just the sun, and the beach, and the comically fresh avocados… it’s the ability to go for a run every day without piling on layers, to order something vegan at any restaurant you desire, to make friends who take you to LACMA and rock climbing gyms and comedy shows because that’s how people hang out here. It’s a feeling of freedom that escaped me for too long.

Yes, I’m romanticizing, but in all fairness this place has been total bliss for me. I went vegan the day I touched down, have finally fully said goodbye to the disgusting world of cigarettes, and feel more in shape than I have in months. Sunshine and fresh veggies are the best medicine money can buy in my books, and coming down to California to escape some of that Toronto winter doom and gloom back home was just what the doctor ordered.

As I write this I find myself in San Francisco for a few weeks, a brand new place that I’ve never really explored! So until I get my bearings and can formulate a list of SF faves, here are my favourite NEW findings from L.A. this past month:

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Otherwild // If you were ever looking for housewares with boobs all over them, look no further. Seriously though, this Los Feliz shop is filled with perfect feminist finds and queer goodies. I wanted to buy the entire inventory (rainbow stairway included).

Shojin // Not only is Shojin a totally vegan sushi restaurant tucked away in a mall in Little Tokyo, but it also happens to be the best service I’ve ever experienced. If you want to feel like a princess and try the most creative fish-free Japanese dishes around, this is the place for you.

Shop Belljar // Stocked with RAOP favourites like HKM and Samantha Pleet, this lovely little store of amazing pastel finds is right next to Otherwild, so prepare to leave the block with a seriously dented wallet.

Go Get Em Tiger // A popular brunch and coffee spot in both Larchmont and Los Feliz), this cafe is perfect for a light meal, a tasty beverage, and lazy outdoor lounging (unless you go on the weekend, then you’ll be fighting for a seat all morning).

Eric Buterbaugh Perfumes // If you’re walking down Beverly Blvd. and come across a Nirvana-like garden with an undeniably delicate and distinct floral scent, you’ve found Eric Buterbaugh’s space. Part gallery, part perfumery, this gorgeous building is full of unexpected sensory delights, and if you think floral scents are outdated and boring, get ready to think again.

Tenoversix // An endless array of local art, dreamy housewares and wardrobe essentials await within this pastel heaven.

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Juice Served Here // Simple and to the point, this LA juicery has some crazy good combos. We recommend “Tropic Thunder”, “The Pixie”, and/or “Pearl Punch”… if you have to choose.

Bar Bandini // Cozy and crowded, this tiny dive bar in Echo Park makes for the perfect place to get close to someone new. Try the 101 Cider House “Cactus Red” if you’re not sure what fancy craft beverage to order – it’s hot pink and delicious!

Super Smash Buns Food Truck // The best late night food delivery of ALL time. We ordered the Vegan Quesedilla, Masala Fries, and Rose Lavender Lemonade and basically had a collective meltdown over the goodness.

Cliffs of ID // Rock climbing is rapidly getting big everywhere, but it’s REALLY big in LA. All the cool kids are doing it, and on top of being a fun way to make friends it’s also a SUPER hard workout!

Erin McKenna’s Bakery // I’ve been a massive fan of Erin’s Vegan, gluten free goods since first discovery her original bakery in NYC a few years back, and seeing her shop in Larchmont was like bumping into a deeply missed and oh so sweet friend. This is also the only place I know of that makes vegan black-and-white cookies, which just so happen to by my all time favourite!

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Still on my list to see…
Sweet Fin Poke
By CHLOE
SQRL
Little Pine
Block Party
Sage
Clifton’s
Donut Friend

Oh so Pretty

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It’s a brand new year, and instead of focusing on getting glowing skin or exfoliating away 2016, we’re making a resolution to have more fun with beauty. Why just stick to the basics every day? Bright colourful makeup can be one of the best ways to put some life into your look, especially if the rest of your outfit is buried beneath winter layers.

We love Annabelle’s affordable vegan and cruelty-free products, so you can expect to see a monthly look with them this year! First up, we decided to channel one of our favourite gemstones into a dreamy lavender eye makeup tutorial. The stone of sweet dreams and wisdom, add some extra sparkle to your eyes with the glittery magic of the amethyst!

Scroll down for tutorial details

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What we used //

CC Perfecting Base

Annabelle Single Eyeshadows in: Cloud, Violet, and Aura.

Stay Sharp Black Metal Metallic Eye Liner

Lash Launcher Supernova Mascara

Start by applying a thin even layer of primer all over the face and eyelids, this will keep your quartz-coloured powders from going anywhere.

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Apply the darkest shade, Violet, to the outer corners of the eyes and into the crease of the lid. Use Cloud in the middle of the lid and blend well with Violet. Use Aura as the lightest shade to highlight the upper lid and inner corners of the eye.

Use a smaller brush to draw a thin line of Cloud along the outer bottom edge of the eye.

Now use the Self-sharpening eyeliner to draw on a cat eye, the primer will keep the shadow in place while you slide the pencil over. For a more bold look try the Metallic Amethyst pencil.

Finish it off with the Lash-launcher Supernova Mascara and you’re ready to go!

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Special thanks to Jeanine Brito for modelling!

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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We took a bit of a break over, well, the holiday break, in part because we needed it, but also because we had a lot to figure out re: me taking off to La La land! With half the team (aka me) keeping toasty down here and the rest of us freezing their tails off back in Toronto, content has become a bit challenging.

Nothing wrong with a little challenge though, right?

The way I see it, our distance only means we can inspire each other in new, unexpected ways. One of my favourite things about the city of angels is the incredible food – so much fresh produce and so many amazing vegan options! Inspired by the dreamy menus I’ve seen here, and a potential upcoming trip to Hawaii (fingers crossed) I thought up this tropical veggie burger with the team, and they made it happen back home in the studio!

Taking a cue from some of the burgers I saw served to tables on trips to Hawaii as a kid, we topped our veggie patties with grilled pineapple rings, avocado and sweet bbq sauce. For a pop of pink, simply add a handful of pink pickled onions or turnips!

Scroll down for the recipe

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Ingredients //

Veggie burger patties (we used St.Yves because they’re vegan!)
Burger buns
Lettuce
BBQ sauce
Pineapple slices
Avocado
Pink pickled turnips or onions
Umbrellas for decoration (optional)

Steps //

We started by grilling our toppings! Lightly oil your grill and allow it to heat up fully. For the pineapple, make sure you press as much water as you can out of it first with paper towels. Then place on the grill and wait for those dark brown grill marks to appear, flip and grill the other side as well.

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To grill the avocado, lighting oil your grill again, cut the avocado in half length-wise and carefully peel away the skin from each half. Place the halves flat side down on the heated grill until you see the desired grill marks.

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Now grill your veggie burger patties and assemble! Start with the BBQ sauce, burger patty, lettuce, turnips, pineapple and finally avocado. Top your burger off with a fun umbrella and fries and you’re ready to eat like the islanders do!

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Plates from the Cheeky Home + Brit & Co collaboration!

Oh so Pretty

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Almost everyone I’ve spoken to agrees 2016 was a garbage year, and I’m honestly so excited to kick off a fresh new set of 365 days. True, it’s been the New Year for a few days now, but since I decided to get a head start on my life makeover (which you can read about here) I decided to take a little break before getting into the superficial stuff. Like hair.

A new year almost always means a new look for me, so I started with my hair. As I mentioned, I’m taking a break from bleaching, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep having fun with my locks! I headed back to Jaymi at Good Day Hairshop for a whole wack of highlights and dreamy golden colour to prep for my adventures in LA. Outfit-wise I scooped up the COOLEST Sunday Somewhere sunglasses from the new Her Majesty’s Pleasure Boutique, the perfect forest green jumbo tote from The Stowe and some incredible new essentials from Revolve (yes, a sparkly blush dress with stars was an essential!)

I’ve also been big into building up my tattoo collection over the past month, thanks to the help of the oh so talented Alex Royce Tattoo. This guy seriously makes stick n’ pokes so painless you could take a nap, and I can’t stop going back! In the span of two weeks I got an orca whale (my all-time favourite animal), a gem, and a pearl in an oyster. I couldn’t love them more.

And finally, speaking of love and tattoos, have you noticed my brows lately?! I had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Nicole of BrowsxBianca, and after two appointments she had microbladed me to my best brow dreams. I’m not going to lie – it HURT, like a lot, but not having to draw in my brows every day has been well worth two hours of discomfort, and I couldn’t be happier with the improvement.

Interested in trying microblading but always thought it was too expensive? Nicole and I have a little surprise for you guys! Simply mention you heard about her from me and you’ll get 25% OFF from now until February 15th! How’s that for a great kick off to 2017 and say goodbye to 2016?

Scroll down to shop the post!

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Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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When I made the decision to book a one-way ticket to LA with no sense of when I’d stop adventuring and come back, it was so spontaneous and unexpected I didn’t really think all of the details through. When a friend asked me about a going away party a few days after I made the announcement, I was totally blindsided – I needed to say farewell to all of my dearest friends!

With less than a week left I scrambled to put something together, and luckily Planta came to my rescue. A new upscale vegan restaurant in Yorkville, this place is literally to DIE for, and I knew it would be the perfect location to feast with friends. Their incredible team booked us our own massive table tucked away at the back for Sunday brunch, and no lie, it ended up being one of the best meals of my entire life.

Cauliflower tater tots, banana pancakes, nachos, crab cake benedict… the list of wondrous creations sent from the kitchen went on and on. Every single thing, from the tea to the blood orange mimosas was absolutely divine, and by the end of the meal we were confident our server was the nicest man alive. We ate like queens, chatted incessantly, and in the end shed a few tears over goodbye hugs and Christmas gifts.

It was the kind of sendoff that almost convinces you to stay, and ensures you’ll be back.

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A special thanks to Planta for hosting my special day!