Dear Diary

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I complain about winter lasting too long every year, but even I can’t deny the magic of that feeling when the temperature first drops. The thing is, Summer and sunshine is by far my favourite, but they do tend to go hand-in-hand with a certain level of guilt about staying indoors. Though cabin fever will eventually strike, for now it feels good to have a reason to cuddle up and get cozy instead of sucking up every second outside.

Tea Time //

Warm drinks are without a doubt one of my favourite things about cooler weather, and since coffee seems to stoke my anxiety if I drink too much, I tend to stick to tea. Last Fall we had the pleasure of collaborating with Sloane Fine Tea Merchants on a custom blend exclusively for Shop RAOP. With soft floral notes of lavender, rose, and the fruit-loop flavour of bergamot, it’s a truly dreamy black tea that we suggest you serve with milk and honey! Shop it here. We also highly recommend the dreamy SMEG Electric Kettle – Pastel Pink to elevate your tea time!

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Cozy Clothing //

Working from home gives us the unique opportunity to wear pyjamas all day long if we want to, and though I find getting dressed up generally leads to more productivity, sometimes you have those days where you just have to stay cozy! This Mae Short Sleeve PJ Set is just what the doctor ordered – affordable, easy to wash, and the softest fabric ever! I’m also completely obsessed with heated slippers (yes, that’s a thing) and when I saw Narwhal Heated Slippers I simply couldn’t resist.

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Self Care //

Tis’ the season for upping your self-care game, and Saturday Skin has landed in Canada just in time. Created by the scientists at CHAUM, an iconic wellness centre with a network of 15 hospitals and 27 research labs in Seoul, Korea, this brand is much more than pretty packaging. Keep your skin soft and prevent damage all winter long with their advanced formulas! We’re currently loving the Smoothing Lotion and mask.

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Home Sweet Home //

If you’re going to hibernate, you need to make sure your den (erm, apartment) is ready for the shift. Blankets, books, and fun activities are all absolutely key to making it through the cold times. I like to think of Fall as the season of letting go, and though I haven’t been in school for years I always start a new day planner in September. No one does planners better than Ban.do, and their newest Ban.do 2017-18 Monthly Agenda makes scheduling and goal setting SO FUN.

A good blanket of some sort is also key, like this Handmade Giant Chunky Merino Wool Knit Throw – how great does the knit look in my CB2 living room setup?

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Baby Light my Fire //

There’s no such thing as too many candles. Ever. Last winter we burned through an average of 1 candle a week, and though I have much better central heating I’m assuming this year’s count won’t be too far off, so it’s best to stock up! Amazon is filled with ALL of the options, including Tocca Candles and this gorgeous Paddywax Tobacco and Vanilla Candle

I also find myself super drawn to the smokey warmth of incense this year. I first found Cinnamon Projects wandering Silverlake while living in
California this past winter, and their scents totally swooned me. If you want to smell a range you can order the series here, best paired with their stupidly beautiful new mineral + brass burners (rose quartz is obviously our fave!)

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Shop our favourites on Amazon!

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1. Mae Short Sleeve PJ Set
2. Paddywax Tobacco and Vanilla Candle
3.Clear Quartz Cluster
4.Handmade Giant Chunky Merino Wool Knit Throw
5. Narwhal Heated Slippers
6. Ban.do 2017-18 Monthly Agenda
7. Pink Matte Zippo

Dear Diary

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Working for yourself is awesome – you can wear what you like (which often means PJ’s), make your own hours, and take leisurely lunch breaks in the park. That said, being your own boss also comes with downfalls: it can be super lonely, if something goes wrong it’s all on you, and perhaps most importantly, it’s really hard to separate work and real life.

Our team works out of my tiny condo, and with the state of the Toronto housing market a bigger office space has always seemed super out of reach for us. We make it work, but with so many distractions around we often lose a lot of productivity, or simply get cabin fever from being cooped up (especially when it gets cold outside).

Luckily, Toronto just got an epic new shared workspace for women just like us: it’s called Make Lemonade.

Only a few blocks from my apartment, and above one of our favourite restaurants in the city (s/o to Kiin!), Make Lemonade is an office-space dream. Filled with natural light and adorable details, membership includes printing and unlimited tea and coffee (yes, that’s right, as much caffeine as you like!) With morning yoga and lots of fun members-only workshops on the way, think of Make Lemonade as a new kind of office, supercharged with creative energy and magic-making.

We’re kicking off our membership October 1st, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates about our experience! We can’t wait to dream, plan and create within a community of so many talented girl-bosses!

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AmazonLemonade-1

Ban.do Sweet Talk Pen Set
Bando, I Am Very Busy Agenda
Ban.do Back Me Up-Mobile Charger
Watercolour Sticky Notes
Rainbow Keyboard Cover
Ban.do Peekaboo Folio + Sticker Set
Ban.do Sticker Book

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