Party Time

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When talks of planning my baby shower started to surface I knew two things – I didn’t want to be too involved, and I didn’t want anything too typical.

I’m a total control freak with a set vision for just about everything in my life, so letting go of the reigns on this one was NOT easy for me. I knew I wanted to have my baby shower early-ish in case I ended up feeling too huge to move near the end, and when my parents and sister all simultaneously decided to come visit from the West Coast at the end of October I knew that was the perfect time. Though it was a challenge not to obsess over every other tiny detail after setting the date, I decided to put a little faith in my amazing friends and family. I created an email listing some of my best ideas and contacts, hit send, and then let the chips fall where they may. My partner in crime Johanna and little sister Sierra headed up the planning committee, and though Sierra and I may have disagreed on the importance of games and gift opening at first, in the end these two did NOT disappoint. My “village” came together in the most beautiful way, offering up everything from handmade treats (what’s a baby shower without scones from my pals at Kitten and The Bear?) to their amazing design skills for the invites. I couldn’t believe the way so many talented people from Toronto and beyond came together to make this day so special for baby and me.

But why not just have the typical baby shower?

Let’s be honest – baby showers are long overdue for a bit of a revamp. Sitting around a room with a bunch of strangers making small talk and and letting people guess how big my belly is was just never my cup of tea, and I have a feeling a random survey would reveal not many people actually enjoy those types of events. In case you haven’t noticed from following this blog, I don’t take to normal very well – I tend to do everything out of order and on my own terms, I always have. This whole pregnancy has been such a big adventure, and I wanted a shower that mirrored that, not another quiet afternoon filled with awkward diaper games and soggy tea sandwiches. If I’m having a party, it better be a party to remember, and this one was definitely one for the books.

The party itself was at SoSo Food Club, a super cute new Chinese fusion restaurant in Toronto’s west end that just happens to have an all mint and pink colour scheme (my kind of interpretation of the whole pink and blue thing!) There was an epic snack table created and plated by my talented sister herself, topped off with scones and jam from KATB, candy from The Candy Bar, and tea from Tealish. Fun fact, this family-run tea shop is where Johanna and I originally met, and it’s still one of my very favourite places to sip in the city. If you haven’t tried their Toasty Almond blend, it’s totally pregnancy safe, caffeine free, and steeps hot pink (see if you can spot it in these photos – it was definitely the crowd favourite!) Then there was the cake, an ombre masterpiece custom created by Millie Desserts. These cakes have hundreds of thin crepe layers with the softest cream in between, and the result is basically a fluffy vanilla cloud dessert that melts in your mouth.

With gorgeous blooms from our friends at Wild North Flowers, who always knock it out of the park with their arrangements, and balloons from Balloon Bar, the space couldn’t have come together more perfectly. And the cookies! How could we forget the magical little pink and blue teacup cookies?! Johanna gave Little Rose Cookie co. full creative reign and she absolutely killed it, plus I am a bit of a sugar cookie connoisseur and these ones tasted as good as they looked which is HARD to come by, believe me.

A dreamy event might be #allinthedetails, but this one was so much more than that. I like to stay positive so I don’t talk about it much, but the reality of having a baby on my own with my family living so far away is daunting at times, and though I know down in my bones this was the right choice for me, my pregnancy hasn’t been without its fair share of anxiety about the future. Seeing all of these amazing people show up for me and baby with bells on, armed with hugs, gifts and warm wishes was exactly what I needed to remember that my little family is anything but alone in this journey. The whole afternoon was so filled with happy it flew by almost too fast, and I wish there was a way to bottle it up into a magic potion that I could take a sip of whenever I start to have doubts.

In the car on the way home my parents were recounting tales from the day and they said one thing that really stuck with me: “Your friends sure have a lot of faith in you Lyss, they all really seem to wholeheartedly believe you can do this and have your back. No one has any doubts. It’s kind of amazing.” Amongst all the gifts I unwrapped that day, hearing these words was the most precious.

Credits //

BonBons from The Candy Bar
Florals by Wild North
Ombre layered crepe cake by Millie Desserts
Custom magic sugar cookies by Little Rose Cookie co.
Tea from Tealish
Scones and Jam from Kitten and The Bear
Balloons from Balloon Bar
Soso Food Club
Risograph invitations designed by Jennifer Iliett

Take a peek at MyRegistry here!

The biggest thank you so Johanna, Sierra and my mom Judi for making my fun, colourful baby shower dreams come true. You guys made the most unexpected dream team and this day was better than I ever could have conjured!

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Party Time

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The first long weekend of Summer is HERE, and though we won’t be escaping to a cottage like so many of our Canadian counterparts, we’re definitely ready to celebrate right here in the city. We decided to throw a lakeside beach staycation at one of our favourite Toronto landmarks, the Sugar Beach! Dotted with white Muskoka chairs and pink umbrellas, there’s no better place downtown to spread out a towel and soak up the sun with friends. Especially when you have VEGAN PIZZA and a BIRTHDAY to celebrate.

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In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, our pals at Panago created a limited edition Canada 150 box, illustrated by Chairman Ting, and you get to colour it in! Better yet, they also launched a new Vegan Canadian Pizza – with hot banana peppers, sautéed mushrooms, extra vegan pepperoni and dairy-free Diaya cheeze, it’s definitely a pizza that deserves a party.

With our soda pop and pizzas all packed up alongside pool floaties and sparkly flamingo sunglasses, we hit the beach! Has there ever been a better way to celebrate Canada’s Birthday?

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A special thanks to Jeanine and Amy for celebrating with us.

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

Party Time

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As the years go by there’s something truly magical about watching the people I love change and grow, building families, businesses, homes and beyond. I feel so lucky to be a part of all the things they create, to share in their joy and celebrate their victories (preferably with cake). Getting older and watching things change can be difficult; so often the relationships you build in your early twenties degrade and disappear over time, but I’ve started to accept that this shedding is less about loss and more about really growing with the people who matter most. In my case, that means Sophie, Bobby and their little one on the way.

I first met this wonderful pair at their west-end jam shop, Kitten and the Bear, and from the moment I walked in I knew we needed to be friends. From that day on we’ve been staging jam photo shoots, tracking down secret foodie delights, and taking the occasional road trip. When Soph told me she was pregnant last Fall I knew I wanted to do something super special to celebrate, and so the quest to throw the perfect baby shower began.

My team joined forces with one of Sophie’s close friends to get the ball rolling and searching for a dreamy venue was first up on the list. We immediately turned to the awesome team at The Drake, and they agreed to host us at their gorgeous new space, The Drake Commissary. With a massive kitchen that includes a GELATO MACHINE, a small marketplace section, and the coolest decor around, we knew our party had found the perfect home. We started working with Chef Jonas and the Drake team to dream up the menu, complete with colour changing cocktails and a naked style cake topped with peonies. We got the oh-so-talented Scarlet O’Neill on board to shoot the surprise, and enlisted the help of Amira from Coriander Girl for fresh flowers and greenery. Topped off with party favours from Sloane Fine Tea Merchants and Kitten and the Bear themselves, the stage was officially set to shower this growing family with love, gifts, and croissants!

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It was really hard to resist buying EVERYTHING for these two and their baby on the way, believe me, but I did my best to stick to the essentials: tiny shoes that make me and Johanna squeal aloud, a bear hat and mitten set to combat the Toronto cold, and a pacifier for teething that Sophie and Bobby can fill with fruit for the new addition to their “Jamily”! Links to shop below…

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Here are some of our favourite picks from Amazon:

Fruit-filled pacifier for teething
Baby bear paw mittens
Baby bear fleece hat
White baby converse
Fruity Party Picks
Baby bear onesie

An extra special thanks to:
Florals – Coriander Girl
Photography – Scarlet O’Neill
Favours – Sloane Tea and Kitten and the Bear
Food, Drinks and Venue – The Drake Commissary

Team RAOP’s dresses by Samantha Pleet (Alyssa) and Guess (blue on Johanna, yellow on Seonaid)

Party Time

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Is anyone else shocked by how fast this month has flown by? It feels like I’ve been all over the place, from PEC to Muskoka and Bancroft and back again, and there’s SO much to share with you guys I don’t even know where to start! There’s a lot of really great content coming up between now and July 1st, in fact, there will be a new post up almost every single day between now and then, so get ready for a lot of FUN!

Now that I’m back in Toronto for a hot second I’m finally able to start sharing some of the awesome things we’ve been working on around here. First up, I FINALLY decided on furniture for my apartment (months after moving in) and I’m THRILLED with how our new headquarters looks now that it’s come together. We’ll be sharing a full tour with our friends at CB2 later this Summer, but you’ll get a sneak peek in this post.

So what exactly IS this post? We’ve got two main things to share with you here, one being an introduction to Eivey. I’ve always been obsessed with organizing and cleaning out my closet (my best friend and I had little “closet cleanout” parties throughout our very type-A childhood), and thought I donate most of my extras there are a few special pieces that I have a hard time piling into a bag and waving goodbye to. That’s where Eivey comes in – a new Canadian website that makes listing and selling your high-end items super simple and, dare I say, fun? You can list items to your “closet” (here is mine if you feel like shopping!) and other users can follow you to get notified when you add something new. Best of all, Eivey sends you a mailing package directly so all you have to do is pop your pre-loved item into the mail.

The amazing ladies behind Eivey approached us to host a little wine and cheese closet cleaning party with some of our friends, and my childhood nostalgia alone prompted an automatic yes! Everyone brought a couple items and we all shot photos and posted together over epic cheese plates and rosé punch. Rosé punch you say? Which brings me to the recipe portion of this post!

We pretty much live off of Zevia sparkling water here at HQ, and we figured this mini party was the perfect time to dream up a new Summery recipe! We used their deliciously refreshing Mandarin Orange flavour with a trio of our favourite melon, fresh mandarin orange slices and a splash of our all time favourite rosé, SUMMER WATER (get it here at a special price!)

Scroll down for the full recipe and more party pics!

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What you’ll need //

Zevia’s Sparkling Mandarin Water
Honeydew Melon
Watermelon
Cantelope
Mandarin oranges (clementines work too)
Summer Water Rosé

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Instructions //

Use a melon baller on all three melons to create a bowl’s worth of mixed colours. Peel your oranges and add the slices to your bowl. Put the bowl of fruit in the freezer for 10-15 mins. Stir melon and orange slices in a Yari mixing glass with ice, muddling a bit while you stir.

Add Zevia’s Sparkling Mandarin Water and let sit in the Yari in a cool place for half an hour, letting the fruit “steep” for more melon flavour.

Fill a glass with ice (we used this copper pineapple sharing cocktail glass) and pour the Zevia and fruit combination over into the glass (or glasses)

Top it off with a splash (or two) of rosé and garnish with slices of melon!

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

Party Time

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Today is a special day – It’s the first full moon of Spring tonight, and though many might glaze over this momentous occasion, we decided to throw the new season’s moon a full-fledged party. Luckily April’s Full Moon this year isn’t just any old moon: it’s called a “Pink Moon”, and although the moon itself isn’t actually pink, it’s named after pink flowers called wild ground phlox, which bloom this time of year. Pretty cute, right?

We’ve been really feeling the love when it comes to the special women in our lives this season, and we wanted to celebrate all of the amazing ladies that give us power, strength, and support. Spring is a time to celebrate birth and rebirth, motherhood and coming back together after a winter in isolation… Feminism! We had all of these things in mind when planning the Pink Moon Party – in fact our guest list only felt complete when we had some of our new momma and soon-to-be-mom friends RSVP’d. What better way to welcome a fresh new season than to gather with your favourite women and set some positive intentions for the new moon phase?

With Bloom School as the backdrop, we were surrounded by fresh Spring blooms lovingly arranged around the room. Becky taught us a simple but super cute moon wall swag workshop (DIY coming to the blog later this month), and at the end of the afternoon we all contributed our crystals to a mandala amongst a sea of flower petals.

The Wedding Cake Shoppe provided magical sweet creations like pearl dusted watercolour moon cookies, handcrafted marbled chocolate crystals and the cake to end all cakes. A true masterpiece of confectionary, this tiered crystal geode cake was the star of the party. Topped off with a special cucumber rose punch (again, recipe coming soon!) and candles, our treat table was complete.

Made all the more cozy thanks to Homesense, and a little bit more magical thanks to Sugargirlee Co‘s balloons, we had the ultimate stage for an enchanting afternoon celebrating girl power and the ladies we love most. We even got a special guest appearance from Luca (the only boy invited).

Captured by the mega-talented Photos // Brittany Deck , we hope this shoot casts a spell of empowerment, sisterhood, and LOVE on your new moon tonight – don’t forget to put out your crystals for a cleanse!

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Photos // Brittany Deck
Florals // Blush and Bloom
Cake and treats // The Wedding Cake Shoppe
Props // Homesense
Balloons // Sugargirlee Co
Drink accessories // Cocktail Emporium Aspen Punch Bowl Set
Watercolour backdrop // Johanna Martin
A special thanks to our models; Anabella, Martha, Jaymi, Sophie, Meghan, Aleia, Rachelle & Amanda.