Dear Diary

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When I moved out of my last apartment I shed a LOT of stuff. I sold or gave away almost all of my furniture, donated massive bags of clothing and recycled seemingly endless paperwork and age-old birthday cards. The problem is when I moved into my new minimal condo, I had gone a bit too minimal… as in, I had nothing left.

It was a liberating and somewhat stressful feeling to essentially start from scratch: on one hand it was a big weight off to shed so many of the things I’ve been carrying from home to home for years. On the other, there was a lot of pressure to invest in items that will last, that I will love long term and take proper care of. I shopped around for months before finally settling on the perfect setup from CB2.

This store is already famous for their creative use of colour, marble, and all things golden, but what I liked best about shopping at CB2 was how perfectly suited their pieces are for small spaces and urban living. When I first moved into this condo (my first condo at that) I was really unsure how to make it homey without overcrowding the space, but CB2 made it easy to outfit with sleek modern details and reasonable sizes.

For a long time I didn’t feel at home in my space, but now that I have all of the pieces of the puzzle I absolutely adore every corner of my space, from the kitchen to the bathroom and back! Ready for the tour?

Scroll down to shop and for giveaway details!

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My Furniture Picks //

Marble and Brass Coffee Table
Green Velvet Couch
Brass Framed Chairs
White Gloss Dresser
White Gloss Nightstand

Accessories //

Marble Incense Holder
Unicorn Bottle Stopper
Brass Table Lamp
Pink Throw Pillows

Giveaway //

I LOVE my new CB2 furniture so much that I want to spread the love! That’s why I’m giving away a $1000 CB2 gift card to one lucky winner this weekend! Check today’s Instagram post for entry details.

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Dear Diary

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We always have a ton of fun here at RAOP, but last week was definitely one for the books: we had a Panago pizza party at Sugar Beach, did a trampoline workout with Bounce, and perhaps most importantly, got to tour a top-secret chocolate factory!

The Nestlé factory here in Toronto’s West End has been up and running making all of our favourite chocolate treats for over 100 years, but the public is never allowed inside their top-secret doors. Jo and I felt like we had found our very own golden tickets when we received our invite for a super exclusive media tour of the production lines (Jo has always dreamed of getting inside a chocolate factory).

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We basically had to “scrub in” like surgeons to get in the coveted doors, dressed in boots, hard hats, safety goggles and hilarious white suits (we sort of looked like all-white Oompa Loompas?) Once inside we toured three floors – Smarties, Kit Kat, and Coffee Crisp! We learned how smarties are tumbled in layers of coating to form their crispy shell before the colours are added, and you can’t even imagine the mocha scent at the Coffee Crisp production line.

Despite all the fun chocolate goodness, the really interesting part of the tour was learning all about Nestle’s #unwrapsomegood campaign and their Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire. Not only is Nestlé committed to making all of their products right here in Canada with no artificial flavours or colours and 0 waste, they also use 100% sustainable cocoa from Africa. 40% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from Côte d’Ivoire, and Nestlé does as much as they can to make the industry stronger, shipping cocoa seedlings to farmers, teaching updated sustainable practices, helping women create their own businesses, and building schools.

There’s nothing better than learning that a company is doing more good than you think, both inside and out.

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This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear Diary

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It’s impossible not to feel it with each passing year – the pressure. Yes, things move slower than they did in my parents and grandparent’s generation, with more focus on career and less on family life, especially here in the city, but the nagging anxiety is always still there.

I don’t often open about my dating life here, because in all honesty I feel so far behind my peers that it can be difficult to continue sharing heartbreak and Tinder date horror stories as the clock ticks on. For the most part, the blogging world is a place for ultra-cute couples, for engagements, weddings and baby showers. I feel proud to be a young, strong, single business owner (yes, I’m single again), but the tick tock sound gets louder and louder, threatening to overcome the roars of success and growth in my mind. As much as single life is glorified in the media, pop songs and beyond, I’m the first to admit being single is HARD, especially as I pass over the threshold from mid-twenties to the dreaded “late” spectrum.

A little mini tour of me, pre and post Instagram

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SKII Skicare just released a short film dealing with this very subject, and to say it hit home is an understatement. Originally intended for the Pan-Asian market, where pressure on women is perhaps even more predominant, it’s a global message that reaches all of us. The idea that women are undesirable after a certain age, or “expire” is a fear I’ve seen echoed in my friends, my sister, my mother and so far beyond. Between our biological clock and the battle against wrinkles and grey hair, it’s easy to get lost in expectations and forget to enjoy our reality.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really said this here before, but here goes: I love my life, but more than anything I want a partner, a wedding and above all, a family of my own. Each social post showcasing yet another happy couple with a sparkling ring or an adorable baby bump stings in its own little way, and for the first time EVER I’m hoping my birthday this Summer will slip by unnoticed, instead of my usual week-long celebration. I’m hitting the age that my mom already had both my sister and I, owned a home and was married to her soul mate. It’s easy to slip into the dark hole of thinking I’m running out of time, that my most beautiful sparkling days are behind me – but that’s no way to live.

As the short strives to communicate, we as women don’t expire – we get to decide our futures, and our value is based on so much more than being wanted by someone else. I recently saw a tarot reader who told me I need to stop trying to be so strong, to stop fighting, and just be here in this moment instead of throwing everything I have at building a future. I’m not a big believer in mystical prophecies, but ever since that night I’ve been trying to slow down, to enjoy everything I’ve built instead of trying to force what I want. After all, you can’t control everyone, but you can change your own destiny.

Header image by Jen Peters for DesignLoveFest

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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How many of you have been watching the new Netflix series GIRLBOSS?

I hinted a bit way back, but long before the show aired this Spring I actually got to step into “Sophia’s World” with Netflix. Remember when I went to LA last August with all sorts of other girl bosses from around the globe? We were secretly exploring the sets, ogling the wardrobe department, and chatting up Sophia Amoruso herself – I just had to keep everything under wraps until the show was out!

So, after almost a year of zipped lips, I’m publishing this post – complete with a list of the best vintage spots in LA from the Girlboss styling team, and a video clip from a one-on-one I did with Sophia at the backlot! This trip was so many special things to me: my first ever “blogger trip”, the first time I got to explore Hollywood behind the scenes, my first time interviewing someone I admire on camera (eek)… the list goes on and on. So much more goes into bringing a story to life than I had ever imagined – the team was essentially creating an entire world, and it’s been a trip to say the least to see the spaces we explored back then and the props we held on the big (or small depending on your Netflix setup) screen. We hung out in Sophia’s TV show apartment and saw how each look she wears on the show came together, from idea to sketch to shopping and final fitting/styling. We talked at great lengths about how the head of the wardrobe department came to find Sophia’s signature metallic leather jacket.

keep scrolling for the vintage guide, video, and more…

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At the time I was facing a lot of big, tough questions about my life, my business and where I wanted it to go, and the time spent amongst so many strong, independent women was so crucial to the moves I’d make in the months to come. It’s what prompted me to run away to LA for the winter, to grow my business and take on new challenges… plus the conversation that I had with Sophia (conveniently recorded below) pushed me to re-examine and eventually flush out some of the relationships in my life that were taking more than they were giving. I don’t want to be dramatic, but looking back that week was nothing short of life-changing.


The Best Vintage Spots in LA, as dictated by the GIRLBOSS team and Sophia //

A current affair
Scout
Rose bowl
Wasteland
Slow
Jet rag
Squaresville
Urchin
The bearded Beacle
Dorothy’s closet

Scroll one more time for my interview with Sophia!

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Dear Diary

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A few weeks ago I opened up about a project that’s super close to my heart with BluBoho, and today I’m sharing the big reveal, plus a little bit more of the full story.

As previously mentioned, I brought some of my “forgotten gems” to the women at BluBoho to be reimagined, giving new life to old pieces with negative connotations. Jewelry is such a precious marker of special memories, and often those memories can turn from positive to painful as life moves forward and changes course. I’m not the kind of person to forget those I have connected with, even if things turn cold and dark, and I feel the same way about jewelry – it’s important to salvage what’s good from that time and turn it into something positive and sparkly to carry forward.

The earrings were a simple fix – a momento from a past relationship, the diamonds had turned black and were crafted with a poor setting which made them impossible to clean properly. We swapped out the setting for a simple rose gold backing that’s easy to clean, and they’re back to being sparklier than they ever were in their original white gold casing. I proudly wear them everyday, and can’t wait to start layering on more piercings and glimmering ear additions from the shop.

The ring was a different story. Like I said in my first post, I wanted to redesign my grandmother’s engagement ring into something more wearable, something clean from the pain of losing her, something that truly mirrored the amazing, golden woman she was.

I worked closely with the team at BluBoho and together we decided to replace the chunky gold solitaire-style setting of the original ring with a more flat rose gold design, crowned with a halo of tiny pink sapphires. A big bit of her, and a little bit of me, I dreamed it up as a new family heirloom that holds no connection to a man or marriage, instead signifying the strength and unity of the women in our family.

In all honesty, as I get older and those around me settle down with massive sparklers on their ring finger, I can’t help but feel a little bit left out… but all along I had my answer. Whether an engagement is in my future or not, near or far, I can absolutely wear a big beautiful diamond ring that stands for something altogether different and in some ways, more special. I hope one day I can pass the story of my sassy, stylish grandmother and her love of all things gold and sparkly down to my daughter, along with this ring, and the idea that you don’t need a life partner to sport a really big, really pretty ring.

The women at BluBoho have been a constant source of inspiration and support for me, and it was such a magical experience to go on this journey with them. I am so deeply thankful to the entire team for all the love they put into my new pieces. If you need custom work done, especially for a special occasion, I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Some of our current favourites from the shop:

Rings //

10k Rose Gold Vista Ring
The Gemini Ring II
10k Yellow Gold Opal Aura Ring
10k Yellow Gold Diamond Aura Ring

bracelets //

10/14k Yellow Gold Hold Me Tight Bracelet with Diamonds
14k Original Coco Rose Gold and Nylon Bracelet

Earrings //

10k Rose Gold Vista Earring (Single)
10k/14k Rose Gold Diamond Tripod Earring (Single)

Necklaces //

10k Yellow Gold Choker
14k Yellow Gold and White Diamond Flirty Necklace

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