Dear Diary

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I’ve cared less about “stuff” this Christmas than ever before, but there’s one category I can’t seem to get enough of – kid’s stuff! I feel blessed to be at the age where ALL my friends are having adorable babies, and I can’t help but be the “aunt” that constantly spoils them.

Though I don’t have any little ones of my own (yet!) I wanted to share some of my very favourite finds this holiday season, whether your favourite babe is a tiny dancer or forest adventurer! I hope you have as much fun shopping the post as I did “shopping” to make it!

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AmazonGGBoys-Kids numbers

1. WITHMOONS Winter Earflap Beanie / 2. White Leather Tooth Fairy Case / 3. Yellow Crown Knit Headband / 4. CamCam Copenhagen Dusty Blue Horse Bib / 5. Otherware Teether Rings/ 6. Counting Sheep Jumpsuit / 7. Wooden Toy Camera from Early Bird and Worm / 8. Personal Recordable Plush Talking Bunny / 9. Baby Opticals in Tortoise Shell Ages 0-2 / 10. Grimm’s Pastel Rainbow Blocks / 11. Donsje Lamb Booties / 12. Baby Non-skid Socks for 0-36 Months / 13. Baby Banana Training Toothbrush / 14. Mini Mioche – Slub Gramp Cardi / 15. Mini Mioche – The Slim Pant / 16. Dusty Blue Horse Blanket

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AmazonGGGirlSwan-Kidsnumbers

1. Stella McCartney Baby Girl’s Swan Print Onesie / 2. Peacock Music Mobile / 3. Swan Cuddle Cloth / 4. Stella McCartney Girl’s Glittered Swan Ankle Boots / 5. Stella McCartney Kids Swan Bag / 6. Saje – Aroma Fairy / 7. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova / 8. Baby Leather Bow Moccasins / 9. Swan Rattle / 10. Saje – Aromaglow diffuser / 11. Classic Swan Bib / 12. Girls Swan Lace Romper

+ pictured outside of graphic: Mini Mioche Grey Onesie, Fredrick’s and Mae Chalk Set, My Name is Not Darren Arm Pillow

Dress UpI'll Follow You Anywhere

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So I already published the BIGGEST NOLA GUIDE EVER, but believe it or not, there are still a few more posts to come. One of the restaurants in my guide was so special that I figured it was owed an entire post of its own.

Pastel people, meet Brennan’s, one of the pinkest and prettiest places I’ve ever been! I noticed the cotton-candy pink exterior on our first walk through the French Quarter on day one, and without even glancing at the menu I knew we had to go in – it was love at first sight!

A few days later we returned for brunch and explored the space itself, a wonderful collection of whimsical rooms filled with my favourite shades of green, pink and peach. There were hand-painted oyster dishes on the walls, glass lined with drawings of tropical birds, gorgeous tiled tables and a courtyard complete with pink flowers and a turtle fountain! It seemed never ending as I explored room to room, and even the bath room was what dreams are made of.

In my star spangled romper and pink sunnies I couldn’t have felt more at home, and if you love pink, you’ll fit right in too!

Scroll down to shop the post

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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It’s hard to truly understand New Orleans without having seen, heard, tasted and felt it yourself – it’s a truly sensory experience unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. When our team member Kelsie went for Valentine’s Day last year (mini guide here) I’ll admit I was intrigued, but NOLA didn’t actually end up on my radar until my friend Tellie asked me to go down with her this past November. I had a rule for 2017 that I’d say yes to any adventure that came my way, so I bought the ticket and started making lists of things I wanted to see in the 7 days I was there.

Suffices to say I had no idea I’d end up with a list THIS big! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever done a city guide this gigantic all at once (hence the delay in getting it published for you guys), but there was just SO MUCH GOOD! I mean for starters, the entire city is almost completely painted in pastel shades – it’s a #pastelhunting dream if I ever saw one! I’m surprised I didn’t lose my voice from all of the excited squealing I did walking around New Orleans. The first day we explored the Bywater neighbourhood, our favourite part of the city, I couldn’t go two steps without snapping another photo of the sweet colourful houses.

Even as someone who loves to write, I have a hard time summing up New Orleans on paper. The city is so ALIVE, with so much FLAVOUR in every sense of the word. Live jazz pours into the streets from every bar, and incredible musicians play loudly on the sidewalks outside too, creating a symphony of sound. The food is rich and hearty, and the cocktails are unparalleled. Best of all, the people are so darn friendly! Every Uber we took or beer we ordered at a bar came with an offer of advice, local spots to see and a friendly smile (if not a hug). Though it was never top of my list, I can’t wait to get back to this beautiful colourful city!

A few travel tips:

-If you’re vegetarian, plan ahead. This is NOT a lot of veg food and even less vegan so you’ll have to strategize your eating plans. I tried to include restaurants with options for everyone on my list but always check the menu first!

-Always pack a bathing suit. The weather can be super unpredictable, but when it’s hot you’ll want to take advantage of your hotel pool, or go visit The Country Club.

-I know it seems obvious, but be careful if you go out drinking! NOLA is home of the yummy fruity drinks that are secretly super strong. Beware of the “Hand Grenades” and “Hurricanes” specifically if you don’t want to miss a day of travel because you’re sick in bed (erm, not speaking from experience?)

-Though New Orleans is awesome for anyone, I especially recommend it for couples and lovers. Everywhere you go feels like the best date ever (like when I got roped into Swing Dancing classes at a dive bar) and the romance opportunities are endless. Move over Paris!

-If you’re international take out a bit of cash, as there are still a few places that don’t take credit cards (like the famous Café du Monde!)

Scroll down for the full guide!

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Maker:L,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E:Y

Food //

Bar Tonique
Bratz ya’ll
Pizza Delicious
Brennan’s
Bacchanal Wine Bar
NOLA Brewery
Mcclure’s BBQ
The Grill French Quarter

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Josephine Estelle
Cafe Beignet
Imperial Woodpecker Sno Balls
District Donuts
Sucre
Commander’s Palace
Carousel Bar
Drip Coffee
The Mellow Mushroom
Oak
Elizabeth’s
The Country Club

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French Truck Coffee
Sylvain
Congregation Coffee
Old Point Bar
Stein’s Deli
Poke Loa
Napoleon House
Magasin Cafe
Lilette

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Maker:L,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E:Y

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Shops //

DNO
The Elizabeth Chronicles
West London BQT
Lionheart Prints
Freda
Folio and Flores
Peaches Records
Hemline
Lucy Rose
Tattoo a Go Go
Porter Lyons
Angelique Clothing

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Hotels //

International House Hotel
Hotel Mazarin

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Places //

Botanical Gardens
Lafayette Cemetery
Street Car
Longue Vue
City Park

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NOLA shopping guide:

Pink Carry-On Luggage
White Cowboy Boots
Cafe Dumonde Beignet Mix 28 oz
Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chickory, 15 Ounce
June Christy – Gone For The Day/Fair And Warm
Crystal Louisiana’s Pure Hot Sauce

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Nanaimo bars are one of my all-time favourite treats – when i lived in BC growing up they were just about everywhere we went, and I could never get enough. After moving to Toronto I realized they were much harder to come by out of province. Did you know Nanaimo Bars are named for their birthplace, a small city on Vancouver Island in BC? I grew up at bike races (yes, I was super sporty!) in and around that area, so it’s no wonder these sweet triple-layer treats make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Traditional Nanaimo bars are certainly not healthy or even close to vegan, but as per usual Amanda of Blueberry Moon came through and made our vegan dessert dreams come true! Instead of custard for the centre filling she created a pink peppermint coconut-based cream, and oats, dates and almonds were used alongside coconut to boost health points in the base layer.

Scroll down for the recipe

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What you’ll need //

Crust:
1 cup almonds
1/2 c packed dates
1/2 c oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil

Cream center:
1 cup coconut butter
3/4 chilled full fat coconut milk
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp beet juice (may need to adjust slightly based on colour preference)

Topping:
1.5 cups melted chocolate chips

Optional: Crushed candy cane, sprinkles

Recipe //

Prepare your base layer by adding all crust ingredients listed into your food processor.
Once it reaches a crust like consistency, press firmly into a greased square pan. You could also cut out some parchment paper tabs to line the bottom for easy removal.

Next, begin to prepare the middle layer by adding all ingredients into your high speed blender. We used our Vitamix. Once this layer is thick, creamy and smooth, pour it over the crust and spread as evenly as possible. You may want to carefully slam the tray (it not glass) a couple times against your counter to remove air bubble and really pack down.

Move to freezer to set faster.

Once the middle layer feels firm enough you can begin to melt your chocolate.

To do this, boil a couple inches of water in a pot and use a heat safe bowl to place on top of the pot (making sure its big enough to not fall through!) Add your chocolate chips into the bowl and keep stiring with a spatula until the chocolate has melted.

Pour over the middle layer and add your crushed candy canes.

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Shopping links!

Pink Food Processor

Beetroot Powder (Natural Food Colour)

4pc Gold Cutlery Set

Lorann Oils Natural Peppermint

Pink Christmas Tree

Dress Up

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I may be the queen of all things pastel, but even I can recognize the importance of a perfect little black dress (aka LBD!)

This piece by Lovers + Friends, one of my favourite brands and makers of the best dresses, is fit for just about any occasion. From day to night and casual to classy, the flouncy cut and adorable back details will have you turning heads from all angles this holiday season. That said it wouldn’t be a holiday look without a bit of sparkle, and that’s where the shoes come in. Studded with delicate crystals, these suede sandals by Raye elevate any look. Most days I pair them with socks and cropped denim, but for December only a dress will do!

Finished with my classic blush pink trench and a delicate pink scarf, this outfit might just be one of my favourites of the season!

Scroll down to shop the post!

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