Dear Diary

After a strange and exhausting year, most of us are ready to throw in the towel and kick our feet up – but staying home to recharge doesn’t have to mean missing out on the most wonderful time of the year. Instead of getting swept up in the holiday hustle and bustle, I’m focusing on two things: Get cozy, and gift cozy.

Since moving to BC back in March, I’ve learned a lot about getting back to my West Coaster roots, and a big part of that has been rediscovering my love for lululemon! Growing up when the brand first launched, everyone I knew grew up in lululemon leggings because they were comfortable, well made, and designed right here in Vancouver! Turns out while I was away in Toronto growing up, lululemon was growing too, and their stores are now stocked with everything from soft knitwear and luxe sweatpants to velvet tank tops and cute makeup bags (and of course, they still make the best leggings in the business). I have basically lived in lululemon since moving back, so when I started making my Christmas list for the ones I love in BC and beyond, it only made sense to start at my favourite store!

With free shipping and returns on every order, extended gift return options, curbside pickup, and free video chat shopping assistants available to answer any questions you might have about fits and fabrics, lululemon has made it easier than ever to stay home, stay safe, and still get your shopping done. Need to stock up on stuffing stuffers? Shop small gifts here! Can’t spend too much? There are plenty of options under $100 here! Need some inspiration? Just scroll down!

If there’s one thing I love to do, it’s curating gifts for the people I love – I’m not ashamed to admit I’m the person who keeps a gift idea list for all their friends and family year-round! Instead of doing a gendered guide or splitting my picks into personality types, I’ve put together my tried and true favourite items, plus some top picks for my loved ones here in Vancouver (essentially, my Christmas list meets theirs!)

1 // Pink Mittens

2 // Alpine AirKnit Finger Gloves

3 // Alpine Air Beanie

4 // All Yours Fleece Crew

5 // All Yours Tee

6 // Everywhere Belt Bag

7 // Warm Down Jogger

8 // City Sweat Pullover Hoodie

9 // Smooth Seamless Hipster Panties

10 // Flow Y Bra

11 // Align Legging

Other items featured in photos //

Love Crew T-Shirt (shown in “Briar Rose”)

Daily Stride No Show Sock Set

Cates Cropped Tee

At Ease Crew

Perfectly Oversized Crew (shown in “trench”)

5 Year Basic Tee

Baller Hat (shown in “pink pastel”)

This sponsored post was created in partnership with lululemon, but all opinions are my own. #ad

Dear Diary

As someone who prides herself on setting up and shooting a home reveal in record time, I’ll be the first to admit this one was a very slow burner. In the past I’ve rushed to set up a home and take photos before its been really lived in, usually with the help of a professional photographer who can capture the dreamy details in every room, even the ones with tricky lighting. This time around an abrupt move to the other side of the country where I have no photographer pals made me feel hesitant to reveal at all – did I want to share my home when it couldn’t be “perfect”?

The thing is, living alone with a toddler and two pets in a small space isn’t always picture perfect, tidy and styled. This condo is no #HeavenInHighPark, but it’s what works for us right now. No stairs, less square footage and a modern open-concept layout means I can easily keep tabs on Summer, and though it was a battle between my head and heart when apartment shopping, the practicality of something clean and safe beat out my love of older homes that need lots of work (this time around).

With space so much more limited than our last home in Toronto, there was much less in the way of big renovations and much more in the way of meticulous organization in every bit of space. Originally I was planning to wait to shoot and share my reveal until every closet and drawer was a work of organizational art, but I’m not convinced that will ever happen, so here we are!

There were a lot of challenges when it came to setting up this space – because it doesn’t have much room to grow, I knew it would likely be fairly temporary, so I didn’t want to pour myself into big projects or upgrades like I’ve done in the past. I also gained a lot of fresh perspective about “stuff” from living in Vancouver during lockdown with none of my creature comforts. Yes, it was incredibly difficult, but it was also a great lesson on what really matters to us vs. what was just clutter in our closets in Toronto. I made a lot of small practical changes, like swapping out my beloved pink fabric sectional for a faux leather couch that’s much more child-mess friendly, and re-purposing our little CB2 outdoor bistro set as a mini kitchen table instead of spending a bunch on fancy bar stools or an official dining table (let’s be real, we eat sitting on the couch 99% of the time anyway!)

With all of the uncertainty this past year has brought, I’ve learned a lot about finding the beauty in imperfection, and this tour is no different. I don’t know if this space will ever truly feel “done” to me because I don’t plan to stay long-term, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth celebrating the beautiful bits. I was so concerned I couldn’t make a condo feel cozy and colourful, but I’m proud of the way the space came together and how quickly it felt “lived in”. Though you may not be able to see all of the pet hair and cheerio crumbs in these edited shots, I can absolutely assure you this apartment is, more often than not, a bright, beautiful, imperfect mess.

Watch the full video tour on my feed here! Scroll down for still images room by room, and shopping links at the very bottom.

LIVING ROOM //

Chandelier from Make Moves Vintage

Abstract Painting by Veronica Baxter (find her work here)

The BEST Couch by AllModern here

Ikea LACK Shelving here

Rug is old Lulu and Georgia x Claire Zinnecker (similar here or here)

Floor Cushion from Mashi Moosh (similar here)

Coffee Table from Article here

Credenza from CB2 (actually a dresser!) – similar here or here

Planter by Hudson and Oak here

Cactus Silk Throw Pillows from Mashi Moosh (similar here)

Play Structures by Wiwiurka

SUMMER’S ROOM //

Ledge Book shelves by IKEA

River Doll by Wildflower Liberty League

Crib by Babyletto (on sale here!)

Rocker by Nursery Works here

Pouf by Mashi Moosh here

Swing shelf by Winter and Vine here

Change Pad by Bumbo here

Knit Dolls by Cuddle and Kind (similar here)

Mobile by Gisele Blaker Designs (similar here)

MY BEDROOM //

Custom Neon Sign by FUSE Neon

Portal Painting by Rebecca Chaperon (find her work here)

Headboard by Make Moves Vintage here

Linen sheets and bed things by Casper (similar here)

Rug by Mashi Moosh (similar here)

Planter by Hudson and Oak here

Mirror from Alma Home Vintage (similar here or here)

Bedside table by CB2 (similar here)

Ikea LACK Shelving here

Dried florals by Bespoke Blossoms here

Pink Candle by LOHN (sold out RAOP collaboration)

Light fixture from IKEA here

MY BATHROOM //

Compagnie de Provence Marseille Soap here

Perfume tray by CB2 (similar here)

Towels by IKEA (similar here)

Ledge shelf by IKEA

Shower mat by HomeSense (similar here)

Conch Shell (similar here)

Artifact skin and hair products

Pink Light Botanicals products

POWDER ROOM //

Hand Soap by The Bare Home

Towels by Drye (similar here)

Sunset Candle by PF Candle Co. here

Whale Potty by Coco Village (similar here)

KITCHEN //

Mountain Painting by Johanna Martin (find her work here)

High chair by Stokke (similar here)

Bistro Set by CB2 (chairs here and table here)

Pink Mixer by Kitchenaid here

Pink toaster (similar here)

Kettle by Le Crueset here

Nespresso Machine here

Glassware (similar here and here)

Ceramics by Studio Arhoj and YYY Ceramics

Marble pet bowls here

Tea Towel by Ten & Co. here

PATIO //

IKEA Loveseat here

IKEA indoor/outdoor Rug here

IKEA metal Coffee Table here

IKEA Pink Plant Stand here

IKEA Storage Cupboard here

IKEA Rattan Chair (not for outdoors unless covered completely!) here

Shell Pillows by Miss Garden Glory here

Plant pots (similar options here and here)

HALL CLOSET //

IKEA Peg board here

Palm Tree Scratch Post here

Wall decals by Urbanwalls

CREDITS //

I tried to break down the major items in each room or provide links to similar items for one of a kind / older pieces! If I have missed anything leave me a comment here or send me a DM on Instagram.

#ShopRAOPDear Diary

I’m a big dreamer, and one of my most constant life dreams has been to create a custom scent of some sort. As someone with no experience in the olfactory world outside of being an admirer, it seemed a bit far fetched to make a full career pivot, but I always hope the right scent collaboration would come along, and shout out to the universe, it did!

I’ve been a huge fan of Toronto-based LOHN candles for years now. A women owned and operated company, the ladies behind LOHN hand pour their coconut wax candles right around the corner from my old High Park apartment! Every product they create is swoon worthy, from the packaging design and scent notes to the custom risograph printing on their labels. I couldn’t have imagined a better pair to create a candle of my own with, and when they approached me it was seriously a dream come true!

We were originally in talks about this project last Spring, but I was so overwhelmed with newborn life that we decided it was best to push it, and so here we are, launching our limited run of perfect pink candles just in time for Mother’s Day 2020!

Tasked with creating a candle that captured the warmth and love of motherhood, I came up with “Penny“, named for my mom’s maiden name Pennykid. With top notes of black tea and bergamot, middle notes of honey and chamomile, and bottom notes of garden rose, this candle is sweet, delicate, floral and yet so complex. When I sniff it, I can almost feel sunshine on my face and taste a hot cup of Earl Grey tea on my tongue. Growing up, my mom, sister and I would all gather around my great grandmother’s table and share stories, while “Nanny Pennykid” popped spoonfuls of honey into our mouths and topped up our china teacups with Twinings Earl Grey. This candle is dedicated to those sweet afternoons.

The women behind LOHN translated my somewhat vague scent memory so perfectly, and my good friend / fellow mama Paige of Studio Bicyclette took over interpreting my design vision. The final result is a blush pink candle that delights all of the senses, complete with custom printed glass votive that can be used for fresh blooms, makeup brushes or odds and ends long after your Penny candle has burned through.

We’ve only poured 100 of these incredibly special candles, and they’re already selling quickly, so get your order in here! $2 of every candle sold will go to help families at Nellie’s Shelter, and LOHN is even offering contact-free drop offs within Toronto to ensure you get your Mother’s Day gifts on time!

Special thanks to Paige for the photos, and Bille Flower Co. for supplying the photoshoot blooms!

Dear Diary

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – planning for your own untimely demise is not a fun, easy, or approachable task. When you’re young and healthy (/healthyish), it’s easy to push writing a will and investing in life insurance to the bottom of your to-do list, or even out of mind entirely. I know I never gave it a second thought. 

It wasn’t until I had Summer early last year that I realized I hadn’t put any thought into where she, my pets, and my belongings would end up if something happened to me. How would my assets be divided? How could I ensure Summer would be well taken care of well into adulthood. It’s a heartbreaking thought process to have to walk yourself though, but I’ve witnessed firsthand friends and family fighting over the estate’s of loved ones when they are no longer living, and I wouldn’t wish that pain and drama on my worst enemy, never mind my child.

Initially I asked my parents about how to make a will, but they immediately lost me between lawyers, executors, and fireproof file storage. The whole process seemed daunting and outdated, so I figured I’d just write a note with my wishes, sign it, and stash it somewhere safe, just in case. 

Life insurance was just as complex, and looked very expensive at a glance. For someone with a young child and no second parent in the picture, like me, the amount of money I’d need from a life insurance policy to keep Summer comfortable for the next 20 years was formidable. Was it really worth it to add yet another expense to my monthly bill total? 

And then COVID-19 happened.

The current pandemic has put so much into perspective for me, including how unprepared I am if something unexpected were to happen to me. It’s so crucial to have a plan in place, especially as a parent, if only for peace of mind, but when it finally sunk in that I needed to take action, I had no idea where to start! 

That’s where Willful and PolicyAdvisor come in. Both of these platforms are geared specifically toward making afterlife planning as quick, affordable, and painless as possible. If you like doing internet quizzes to pass the time, it’s almost as easy as that. Both operate online, and both are social-distancing compliant – Willful requires two witness signatures on all printed documents, which can be difficult if you’re in self isolation. Fortunately, Willful put together a list of helpful tips here to navigate how to make your new will official. PolicyAdvisor offers digital signatures and several life insurance options that can be arranged entirely over the phone, with the policy delivered by email to you.

I had some concerns I hadn’t acted quickly enough with life insurance, and that a death related to COVID-19 may not be covered, but Policy Advisor had already addressed all of my questions in a handy post here. Basically unless you’ve already been diagnosed with COVID-19, you’re totally covered by life insurance, even a new policy, in the event you do become fatally ill. 

I know this is a departure from my typical optimistic content, but it was such a massive weight off of my shoulders to get my estate in order for the future, so I could get back to appreciating the now. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s important to have something in place to help your loved ones navigate life without you, from your wishes about a funeral and remains, to leaving money to take care of your pets. It’s a weird process, but both Willful and Policy Advisor make it as simple as possible, and when all of the documents are signed, I promise you’ll feel a lot better, pandemic or no pandemic. 

Here’s a snapshot of what happens when you login to Willful:

One of my favourite things about this platform is how easy it is to make edits to your will as things change in your life (for example, the founder joked about how important it is to edit after a divorce or breakup, otherwise your ex could end up with everything!) Just remember – only a printed and signed will is valid, so make sure any new versions are printed, signed, and stored in a safe place as soon as possible!

Fun Fact: They also made a handy little card game (available here) to help you discuss your wishes and ask those tough questions with friends and family. I highly suggest playing a round over a glass of wine next time you’re all together (or via Facetime right now!)

And the same for PolicyAdvisor:


Any kind of insurance can be intimidating to set up (and set up properly), but PolicyAdvisor.com uses an online quote calculator system that couldn’t be simpler! I was surprised how little information was needed to get an initial quote, and how easy it was to setup a call with an actual person to make sure the plan I chose was right for me. The option to sign digitally was also a huge perk (how many of us have in-home printers there days?!)

In the end I went with higher coverage because Summer is so young, but chose a 10 year term to save money now, and allow me to make changes as she grows and my needs shift.

Ready to get your estate in order? Use code “PASTEL15” for $15 off any Willful plan (no expiry!), and then visit PolicyAdvisor.com to try out their hassle-free insurance calculator.

This post was a paid partnership with Willful and Policy Advisor, but all opinions are my own, based on personal experience with each platform. 

Dear Diary

Here at RAOP, we love all things colourful and cute, but we also care about the environment/world/greater good. Just a couple of weeks ago we passed “Earth Overshoot Day”, which means that humanity has used up more resources than the earth can regenerate this year (you can read more about it here). Basically we’re using up resources beyond our year until the end of 2019, creating a debt in the eco-system!

As citizens of this world I think it’s our duty to try and make up for that debt in any way that we possibly can, and hey, it doesn’t hurt if the little daily solutions to over-consumption are also cute, right?

Here are a few of our (eco-friendly) favourite things! //

Abeego Beeswax Food Wraps // I was intimidated at first by bee’s wrap products, especially when it comes to keeping them clean, but honestly they work SO well and a quick wipe-down after use seems to totally do the trick!

Ten & Co Sponge Cloths // Say goodbye to paper towel for good with these adorable printed sponge cloths! Designed in Toronto and printed in Sweden, this woman-owned local company even ships in zero waste envelopes!

Hannahpad Washable Organic Cotton Cloth Pads // I’ll be honest: I’m not a regular pad user. For the most part I was already fairly sustainable in this department because I’ve used a menstrual cup in the daytime for the past couple years. That said, I still used panty liners at times for extra confidence, plus night pads for heavy nights, and I used up SO many pads in my postpartum period (I bled for 8 solid weeks). I seriously wish that I had know about these amazing eco-friendly pads sooner – they’re compact, cute, so well designed, and last about 2-5 years, after which you can compost them. I really look forward to giving my body a break by using them nightly when I return to my usual post-baby cycle. The extra long design is also going to be my new favourite postpartum gift for pregnant friends!

Saalt Menstrual Cup // in the past I used a Diva cup but I’m totally making the switch to Saalt when I need a new one! They also donate 2% of their revenue to improve period care around the globe.

Cotton Mesh shopping bags + produce bags // I’m always shocked to see how many people are still using plastic at the grocery store! These bag options are lightweight and the shopping bags both look adorable with any outfit and hold so much! I take these bags with me everywhere.

Metal straws // I was a BIG straw user before the plastic straw bans came into play, and I’m really happy I made the switch to metal sooner rather than later – I save so many straws! If you want to feel fancy (like me) they’re also available in gold!

Blueland Cleaning Tabs // Sadly this company doesn’t ship to Canada (yet!) but you best believe when they do I will be the first customer in line. You order a starter pack with your forever bottles and from there you simply refill with the cleaning solution tablets and water from the sink! Such an innovative, well designed solution for a typically wasteful product category.

Stasher Silicone Storage Bags // These are the best little bags for stashing snacks (I keep one in the diaper bag with cashews for days when I forget to feed myself properly). You can also use them to COOK veggies, right in the bag!

We love Wild Minimalist package free shop, especially this Zero Waste Mama Kit!