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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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)