Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like a brag, but I have to be honest: life is really, stupidly good. It’s not just the sun, and the beach, and the comically fresh avocados… it’s the ability to go for a run every day without piling on layers, to order something vegan at any restaurant you desire, to make friends who take you to LACMA and rock climbing gyms and comedy shows because that’s how people hang out here. It’s a feeling of freedom that escaped me for too long.

Yes, I’m romanticizing, but in all fairness this place has been total bliss for me. I went vegan the day I touched down, have finally fully said goodbye to the disgusting world of cigarettes, and feel more in shape than I have in months. Sunshine and fresh veggies are the best medicine money can buy in my books, and coming down to California to escape some of that Toronto winter doom and gloom back home was just what the doctor ordered.

As I write this I find myself in San Francisco for a few weeks, a brand new place that I’ve never really explored! So until I get my bearings and can formulate a list of SF faves, here are my favourite NEW findings from L.A. this past month:

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Otherwild // If you were ever looking for housewares with boobs all over them, look no further. Seriously though, this Los Feliz shop is filled with perfect feminist finds and queer goodies. I wanted to buy the entire inventory (rainbow stairway included).

Shojin // Not only is Shojin a totally vegan sushi restaurant tucked away in a mall in Little Tokyo, but it also happens to be the best service I’ve ever experienced. If you want to feel like a princess and try the most creative fish-free Japanese dishes around, this is the place for you.

Shop Belljar // Stocked with RAOP favourites like HKM and Samantha Pleet, this lovely little store of amazing pastel finds is right next to Otherwild, so prepare to leave the block with a seriously dented wallet.

Go Get Em Tiger // A popular brunch and coffee spot in both Larchmont and Los Feliz), this cafe is perfect for a light meal, a tasty beverage, and lazy outdoor lounging (unless you go on the weekend, then you’ll be fighting for a seat all morning).

Eric Buterbaugh Perfumes // If you’re walking down Beverly Blvd. and come across a Nirvana-like garden with an undeniably delicate and distinct floral scent, you’ve found Eric Buterbaugh’s space. Part gallery, part perfumery, this gorgeous building is full of unexpected sensory delights, and if you think floral scents are outdated and boring, get ready to think again.

Tenoversix // An endless array of local art, dreamy housewares and wardrobe essentials await within this pastel heaven.

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Juice Served Here // Simple and to the point, this LA juicery has some crazy good combos. We recommend “Tropic Thunder”, “The Pixie”, and/or “Pearl Punch”… if you have to choose.

Bar Bandini // Cozy and crowded, this tiny dive bar in Echo Park makes for the perfect place to get close to someone new. Try the 101 Cider House “Cactus Red” if you’re not sure what fancy craft beverage to order – it’s hot pink and delicious!

Super Smash Buns Food Truck // The best late night food delivery of ALL time. We ordered the Vegan Quesedilla, Masala Fries, and Rose Lavender Lemonade and basically had a collective meltdown over the goodness.

Cliffs of ID // Rock climbing is rapidly getting big everywhere, but it’s REALLY big in LA. All the cool kids are doing it, and on top of being a fun way to make friends it’s also a SUPER hard workout!

Erin McKenna’s Bakery // I’ve been a massive fan of Erin’s Vegan, gluten free goods since first discovery her original bakery in NYC a few years back, and seeing her shop in Larchmont was like bumping into a deeply missed and oh so sweet friend. This is also the only place I know of that makes vegan black-and-white cookies, which just so happen to by my all time favourite!

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Still on my list to see…
Sweet Fin Poke
By CHLOE
SQRL
Little Pine
Block Party
Sage
Clifton’s
Donut Friend

Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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When I made the decision to book a one-way ticket to LA with no sense of when I’d stop adventuring and come back, it was so spontaneous and unexpected I didn’t really think all of the details through. When a friend asked me about a going away party a few days after I made the announcement, I was totally blindsided – I needed to say farewell to all of my dearest friends!

With less than a week left I scrambled to put something together, and luckily Planta came to my rescue. A new upscale vegan restaurant in Yorkville, this place is literally to DIE for, and I knew it would be the perfect location to feast with friends. Their incredible team booked us our own massive table tucked away at the back for Sunday brunch, and no lie, it ended up being one of the best meals of my entire life.

Cauliflower tater tots, banana pancakes, nachos, crab cake benedict… the list of wondrous creations sent from the kitchen went on and on. Every single thing, from the tea to the blood orange mimosas was absolutely divine, and by the end of the meal we were confident our server was the nicest man alive. We ate like queens, chatted incessantly, and in the end shed a few tears over goodbye hugs and Christmas gifts.

It was the kind of sendoff that almost convinces you to stay, and ensures you’ll be back.

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A special thanks to Planta for hosting my special day!

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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The last time Johanna and I visited Montreal, we really felt like we’d seen it all. Practically running from cafe to cafe, we discovered so much more than we had ever planned to, and our guide list when we returned home proved to be pretty expansive.

But believe it or not, there’s more.

My week in Montreal with my best friend from Vancouver was a truly magical experience. It helped me get back on my feet and make some scary life changes (more on that in the coming weeks), but it was also just a really fun time! We stayed in the gorgeous William Grey Hotel, and literally ate our way across the city. By the time the trip had ended I was shocked to find I had a whole new list of additions to my original pastel city guide.

Here are some of our favourite picks, plus a few we spotted but didn’t get the chance to enjoy:

Rooney // All thing minimalist and luxe.

Away Spa // Best pedicures of our lives! There are heated beds… it’s incredible.

Mlle Catherine // Located across from our hotel, this tiny pink gem was the perfect place to grab a coffee and girl talk.

Le Petit Dep // A gorgeous little general store in the heart of Old Montreal, perfect for all the gift shopping you could ever desire.

Cafe Olympico // Hands down the world’s best hot cocoa. THE BEST. There’s also some great “eye candy” if you know what I mean.

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Ristorante Beatrice // We didn’t make it to this one, but it looks like total paradise in the warmer summer months.

Bird Bar // Vegan popcorn chicken! Need I say more?

Beige // All things cozy, homey and shiny.

September Surf // A little slice of California surf shop in Griffintown

Annex Vintage // The holy grail of patches, pins, and general flair!

Deux Lions Jewellery // A great little nook of clothing and accessories.

Vertuose // An Epic plant shop that gave me the amazing idea to stick pom poms on cacti!

Vertu Bar Sante // Healthy, delicious, and pastel – this is our kind of juice bar.

Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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When Mary Kay first approached us about driving their pink Cadillac around for a day, we couldn’t decide where to head first. Should we go apple picking in a neighbouring town? Spend an evening at the drive in movies with buckets of popcorn? Visit one of our favourite local sweet spots to load up on treats?

And then it struck us like a bolt of sugary lightning: let’s spend a day visiting ALL of our favourite Toronto sweet spots!

If you’re ever stuck for sugar in the big smoke, or visiting from out of town in search of new desserts, you now need look no further than the #RAOPtreattour. True, we weren’t able to cover everything (the pink Cadillac was super speedy, but you know, speed limits…), however we did capture all of our absolute top pastel picks. We even made up a little map of all the places our Mary Kay Caddy took us so you can retrace our route yourselves!

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Okay, let’s backpedal for a second. Why a pink Cadillac in the first place?! Well, in case you hadn’t heard, Mary Kay has a long tradition of providing their top achieving Independent Sales Directors with a pink ride to peddle their lipsticks, blush, mascara and more out of. Legend has is Mary Kay herself walked into Cadillac and asked them to match her custom car to a lip and eye palette in her purse, and when she realized how eye catching it was to be out and about in a rose-tinted ride, she decided to add it to her Career Car fleet! Cute right?

We didn’t sell any Mary Kay during our #randomactsofcaddy day, but we DID fall in love with a whole bunch of lipgloss, listen to nonstop Ariana Grande and ingest a mountain of sugary goodness! It was a pretty crazy experience to see how people around us reacted, and honestly we had a hard time giving our dream ride back when the day was done – we’re still getting Instagram comments and messages from people who spotted us on our sweet adventure!

Scroll down for the #RAOPtreattour map, and more details about our picks!

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Kitten and the Bear //

We can’t express our love for this place enough – there’s honestly nowhere sweeter in the whole city. Sit in for an exquisite tea service, or take a scone milk latte and loaded scone sammie to-go!

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Peace Treats Co. //

New to the Toronto sweets scene, Peace Treats Co. is taking the city’s frozen dessert scene by storm with their “more is more” style milkshakes. Every single flavour is a work of art, but we highly recommend the “Amusement Park” if you’re craving some ultimate pink cotton candy magic for your Instagram feed.

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Glory Hole Donuts //

Do-nut even get us started on how great these donuts are! Glory Hole is home to the famous “toast and butter” flavour (just trust us and try it), plus they offer ice cream donut creations, incredible seasonal flavours like cherry pie, and a few daily vegan options if that’s what you fancy.

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Bake Shoppe TO //

If you ask a Torontonian to direct you to the city’s most popular bakery, they’d probably send you in the direction of Bake Shoppe. With a menu of epic goodies including ruffles chip marshmallow squares, homemade pop tarts, and the best chocolate brownies you’ve ever tasted, this place is an absolute must-taste on the treat tour.

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Petit Nuage //

There are plenty of big fancy macaron shops in Toronto, but Petit Nuage makes the best of the bunch out of her tiny shipping container storefront. You haven’t lived if you haven’t tried the cloud-like “Nimbus” macaron (it’s filled with soft marshmallow and it’s truly divine.)

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Through Being Cool //

If you’re on the hunt for vegan baked goods that taste like they came hot out of your grandmother’s oven, this is the stop for you. We’re especially addicted to their sprinkle donuts, the massive slices of cake, and the gooey cookies!

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Who did we miss? Share your favourite Toronto treat spots in the comments!

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

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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I haven’t had as much of a chance to explore Ontario as I want to, so when Sophie offered to give me an adventure as my birthday gift, I suggested we get out of town. The KATB crew has totally fallen for Prince Edward County over the past few months (check out their guide here), so it was the obvious choice when deciding on a final destination. Sophie booked us a tiny cabin at Lake on the Mountain just steps from the water, and we roped in Jaymi from Good Day hair as well – mostly because she’s an awesome mutual friend, but also a tiny bit because of her cottage hair styling skills (love you Jaymi!)

Early Sunday morning we settled in for a long drive on the open road and after about three hours of horrible car sickness (thanks to those beautiful winding country roads) we had arrived in Ontario’s tiny island heaven. Separated into a handful of smaller towns and communities, like Bloomfield and Picton, PEC is full of amazing restaurants, wineries, and adorable shops, and we couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide than Sophie to show us the best of the best.

The possibilities for #RAOPplaces were seemingly endless, but I’ve rounded up some of my absolute must-see picks for you next time you visit!

Scroll down for my pastel PEC travel guide!

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Slickers //

The best homemade country-style ice cream in all the land. Try the chocolate orange and the campfire!

County Cider Company //

Serving up amazing pizza and just about every flavour of cider you can imagine, this is the perfect place to load up on local sips to take home to your friends (or hoard for yourself.)

Vicki’s Veggies //

You know those farm stands in the olden days where you write down what you take and leave cash in a jar? Well, this tiny family-run farm is just that!

Coriander Girl PEC //

A Toronto favourite, Allison now lives in PEC and has opened up the prettiest little county coriander girl florist you ever did see.

Miller House at Lake on the Mountain //

This restaurant was part of the complex we stayed in, and I’m surprised we ever left. It was essentially a cheese board-only eatery that overlooked the ferry crossing, and if the sun sets weren’t worth a visit, the food definitely was!

Norman Hardie Winery //

Open air dining, an adorable shop filled with local goods, amazing wine and an oyster shucking bar? What else could you ever want?!

The Courage //

The decor at this spot is a perfect mix of minty old and new, and the brunch is on point! Don’t forget to snap a photo of their perfect neon sign between bites.