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Moving into an older home always poses a couple challenges, and when I found #HeaveninHighPark I had a feeling a lot of work was needed in key areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Initially I wanted to rip everything out in all 3 rooms but that quickly became a project that went way beyond what I could handle budget-wise and time-wise. Renovations are a huge undertaking, and in my limited experience they always end up way more complicated than you plan for. The last thing I wanted to do was get in too deep right off the bat, so I compromised – rip out the kitchen to start from scratch, and do what I could with the two bathrooms without any demolition.

Turns out there is a lot you can do to update an older space without ripping things apart. I was worried the wood-handled melamine cabinets were a lost cause, and though I lucked out on mostly white tiling in all three rooms, the sink situation definitely left something to be desired.

KITCHEN //

When it came to the kitchen, I really went for it. With the help of my landlord and a trusty handyman, I swapped the backsplash for white subway tiles, the countertop for a faux marble slab (quartz based) and the old melamine cabinets for clean white wood with gold hardware. The real show stopper? This epic Delta Smart Kitchen Faucet! Everything really came together the moment this champagne beauty was installed, and showing guests my “faucet magic tricks” when they come over never gets old. You can turn the sink on and off by touching anywhere on the faucet’s body!

Check out the before and after here! Who doesn’t love a good makeover story?

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BATHROOMS //

In both bathrooms I chose to work with the existing cabinets and sinks. We painted the cabinetry pink (see full details below if you’re wondering how!) and drilled holes to add fun knobs to the doors. Details like bright towels and a patterned shower curtain added some life to each space, but the biggest transformation really came down to the hardware. I replaced the faucets with champagne bronze single handle bathroom models to match the kitchen, and then swapped out the towel racks and towel hooks to match.

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IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS //

If you want to spruce up your old melamine cabinets it’s not as difficult as you think. First, give them a rough sand to create a bit of traction. Next, do a base coat of Zinsser Bulls eye 1-2-3 primer, and when you’re selecting paint make sure it’s alkyd enamel based (they can mix it any colour!) I was super happy with how ours turned out, especially with the addition of some fancy knobs at the end.

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Dear Diary

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And just like that, 102 web pages later, it’s been 5 years of RAOP here on the blog. I have poured myself into these pages, whether I’m just musing about a cute outfit combination or spilling tears over a recent heartbreak.

It’s not often I take the time to look back on what I’ve published over the years, but this past long weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane, back to page 102 where I published my very first introduction post. It’s funny how much has changed since July 3, 2013: I lived with a partner I fully intended to marry in a house just around the corner from where I live now, I’d just finished school, and I had no idea how to edit a photo (see the hazy nature of my photography for the first chunk of posts!) Even with all the changes, so much of what I set out to make RAOP into has remained true.

The last sentence of my intro post reads, “May I ask, do you like glitter? Ballet slipper pink? Baking cakes from scratch? fresh cut flowers? If you answered yes to any of the above, stick around: I think we might just be friends already.” I want to take this moment to thank all of you, whether you just stopped in for the first time today or you’ve been here from the start, thank you. Without your support, my magical pastel world would stop turning, and I can’t wait to show you what the next 5 years will bring.

Below I’ve listed some favourite posts from over the past five years! Let me know your RAOP favourites in the comments below.

Vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

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Rainbow Magic Outfits for World Pride

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Pastel Pool Party

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Fiesta Burrito Bowls (still one of my favourite lunches to this day)

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One of many Disneyland posts

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DIY Bejewelled Tights

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Las Vegas City Guide

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Cut From The Same Cloth

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Disco Ice Cream Social

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Gingerbread Cookie Cocktails

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Pastel Christmas Par-tea

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The Madonna Inn

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City Guide to Nice, France

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Apricot Jam Recipe with Kitten and the Bear

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Hound Collection and Honey (this one makes me tear up now)

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Pink Moon Party

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#EatYourPastels Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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I created this blog post as a paid ambassador for Pepto Bismol. All opinions and advice are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and have used prior to being contacted.

It’s no secret we love all things pink here at RAOP headquarters, but how far do we take it? Is there such thing as TOO MUCH pink? This post is next level on the pink scale, even for us, thanks to PEPTO…

We’re officially on a colour diet, and we’ve cut out everything but PINK FOOD!

When Jo suggested around Valentine’s day that we should do an all pink dinner party, my first response was “how would that even work?” As per usual, her crafty prowess far exceeded my own and over the next couple months we searched for recipe inspiration and sourced as much pink tableware as we possibly could. We spray painted a thrifted vase to be the perfect shade of peach and enlisted the help of a talented local florist to make a pink ombre arrangement as the centrepiece. We wanted to dye our tablecloth with avocado pits (the results are so pretty) but we didn’t have enough time to compile the massive number of pits necessary, so Jo took over with classic fabric dye and bleach, giving the finished product a light marbling effect. Baby pink tableware from put the finishing touches on the entire set up and suddenly we were ready to get cooking.

“Pink food?” you may be thinking, like I once did, “what does that even mean?” In this case it means a decadent, gorgeous four course meal inspired by our very favourite colour (and by no coincidence, the colour of Pepto Bismol). The main ingredient to make almost anything pink is beet juice, and not much is needed to “dye” a whole lot of eats. We started with a pink veggie platter complete with beet hummus, then a spiralized citrus salad with rose dressing. Our main was a true masterpiece – pink gnocci with pink tinted vegan alfredo sauce! We finished the menu off with a dreamy pink coconut cream pie by our talented baker friend Plum Lucky Pie!

Needless to say, it was quite the feast, and the four of us were extremely full when we set down our forks. My hostess tip – don’t forget to pass the Pepto! There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable after over-indulging at a fun night with friends, and covering your bases just in case never hurts. Whether you’re worried about acid from all those veggies, or heartburn from hearty pasta dishes, Pepto will always be the dinner party wing man that you want by your side.

You can find all 3 recipes here!

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Florals by Wild North Flowers
Photos by Johanna Martin

Disclaimer: Pepto Bismol provides five-symptom relief of heartburn, indigestion, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea. To ensure this product is right for you, always read and follow the label.

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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If you loved our All Pink Dinner Party decor I’m pretty sure you’re going to love our 3 course pink menu even more! With such epic contributions from so many amazing makers, like a pink ombre floral arrangement by Wild North and a pink coconut cream pie for dessert by Plum Lucky Pie Pi, we really wanted to step it up in the cooking department.

Other than the tiny fork swirl lines on each gnocci (which Italian Nona videos on youtube make look soooo easy) I think we totally killed it with this menu. Can’t wait to see you guys’ colourful creations!

Scroll down for Pink Spiralized Salad, Beet Gnocci and Pink Alfredo Sauce!

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PINK SPIRALIZED SALAD //

Candy cane beets
Watermelon radishes
Pink lady apple
Pear
Red beet
Rainbow carrots
Grapefruit

for the dressing:
1/4 cup Rose wine
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of himalayan pink salt
1-2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

Use a spiralizer for all fruits and veggies except carrot and grapefruit. Peel the outer skin from the carrots and discard, using the vegetable peeler create long ribbons and add to the salad, toss well. Supreme the grapefruit, and cut segments from half the fruit, garnish the salad with them. Squeeze the other half into a bowl removing all seeds and pulp. Mix in with the rest of the dressing ingredients and serve immediately.

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BEET GNOCCHI //

1 cup beets, peeled and boiled
1 cup white potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 egg (or egg replacer)
2 cups of flour + extra for dusting
a pinch of kosher salt

Peel and boil both the beets and potatoes separately, potatoes should take 20-30 mins depending on size while beets will take approx. 50 mins.

Drain and place in separate bowls. Poke the boiled beets with a fork and allow extra juice to drain into the bottom of the bowl, save this juice for the alfredo sauce*. Allow to cool to lukewarm temperature. In a large bowl add the flour, making a small well in the middle. With an electric mixer, mash in the beets and then the potatoes. Add egg and salt and pulse until the dough is smooth and free from lumps. Use the extra flour to dust your surface and hand, knead the dough 5-10 times. Remove a small handful of dough and roll it out into a long cylinder, using a floured knife cut 1/2 inch lengths, pinching the middles with your fingers as you go. Lay each gnocchi out on a lightly floured surface until ready to boil.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. It’s important to not overcrowd the pot with gnocchi, so add about 10 at a time. When fully cook the gnocchi will rise to the top of the water, use a slotted spoon to remove. Serve immediately with the following Pink Vegan Alfredo.

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PINK VEGAN ALFREDO SAUCE //

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons beet juice*
Fresh basil for garnish

After the cashews have soaked overnight in cold water, drain and rinse well. Add all ingredients except beet juice to a high power blender and blend until completely smooth.
Using the excess beet juice from boiling the beets for gnocchi, slowly add to the blender and mix until you’ve reached your desired pink hue.

Heat on the stovetop on low heat before serving.

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Dinnerware / Ikea
Flowers / Wild North
Kitchen faucets / Delta Canada
Kitchen / Home Depot Canada
Pink coconut cream pie / Plum Lucky Pie Pi

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Confession: I LOVE Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This is not a sponsored post people, I just may be a child inside. I can eat CTC any time of day, with or without milk and if I see a food item that’s cinnamon toast flavour, like a donut or milkshake, you better bet I’m all over it.

When I visited Miami’s famous bakery The Salty Donut and saw a Cinnamon Toast Latte on their menu I was desperate to give it a try, and my GOODNESS it was so delicious! I came home determined to make my own caffeine free and milk-free version, so Jo and I got to experimenting with infusing almond milk and trying different tea options in place of espresso.

The end result of our labour of love was this magical pink cinnamon-loaded concoction. It’s caffeine free and dairy free, but sadly NOT vegan because the cereal itself contains vitamin D3. If you’re strict vegan you can try the Cascadian Farms or Sally’s versions instead!

What you’ll need //

1 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch
2-3 cups milk of your choice
3 tablespoons Toasty Almond herbal tea
2 teaspoons sugar
Ice

For the rim //
thick liquid honey
crushed cereal

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Recipe //

Spread the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal over a cookie sheet evenly and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 mins or until you start to smell it toasting. Remove from oven and combine with cold milk in a bowl – mix well, place in the fridge and allow to ‘steep’ for an hour or more.

Now, prepare your tea concentrate. Steep 3 tablespoons Toasty Almond tea in 4-6oz boiling water for 5-6 mins, stir in 2 teaspoons sugar while hot and set aside to cool down.

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Once the mylk reaches your desired level of cereal flavour, strain out the Cinnamon Toast Crunch from the mylk, pressing it into the strainer.

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Place a couple tablespoons of liquid honey in a small saucer, crush cereal and add to another saucer. Rim each glass, first in honey then cereal.

Fill each glass halfway with ice, pour in your cinnamon toast crunch milk until the glass is 3/4 full. Using a 1oz shot glass, add 2 shots of tea concentrate, stir well and watch the magic happen!

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