I'll Follow You Anywhere

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Before I got pregnant I had plans to leave Toronto as soon as the weather turned cold. It’s become a bit of an accidental yearly tradition for me after moving to the wintery side of Canada, and in my mind 2018 would be no exception. I started the year in sunny Palm Springs, and in the case my attempts to get pregnant didn’t work out (everyone reminded me again and again it can take a lot of time) I hoped to finish out the year on an epic adventure to Japan, topping it off with Christmas in Hawaii.

When I saw those two lines appear on a test back in June it didn’t immediately click that for the first time in a long time I’d be firmly grounded in Toronto this winter. As Summer slipped by and the sweaters hit shop shelves it finally dawned on me with what I can only describe as a feeling of total panic. I’m not great with the cold, and even though I have the best reason ever to get cozy at home this year, the idea of not being able to leave the snow and ice behind had me shook.

I started to reason there had to be somewhere hot I could go in my second trimester, the best time for a babymoon before things get really rough, but it turns out there are still a ton of Zika travel warnings in Mexico and the Caribbean, making pregnant vacations at any stage more complicated than I had expected. Yes, the threat has significantly dropped and the chances of coming home with Zika at this point are fairly low, but I decided for me personally the cons still outweighed the pros. Again and again my heart kept calling for Hawaii, but it just seemed too far away and too expensive. I had sort of given up on the idea of escaping to the sun one last time before baby when my dear friend Bianca surprised me with a trip for the two of us! It was the sweetest gesture EVER, and before I knew it I was boarding a plane to one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Originally from the West Coast, I had been to Hawaii a couple times as a kid on family vacations, but this was my first time visiting the Islands as an adult with my own agenda. I landed in the humidity armed with a long list of pastel places I had to see, with inspiration from my pals at Ban.do and suggestions from my local friend @GirlandHerPearl. We chose to stay downtown Waikiki to get the bustle of the city and all the fun that includes, but rented a cheap car to explore faraway beaches and tasty food destinations most days.

Overall this 5 day vacation was everything I could have hoped for and more for a last hurrah. I absolutely do not believe life ends after baby, but it was really precious to have a final trip to myself, with endless time to bask in the sun and wander through shops full of breakable objects without worry. It gave me time to thank my body for all the heavy lifting its done lately, and fuel up for the final three months of pregnancy in Toronto’s deep winter. And now? Now we wait for the biggest adventure yet!

Scroll down for my list of must-see pastel places!

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Where to Stay //

There are so many amazing hotel options in Waikiki that it can be hard to pick just one, but we couldn’t help but fall for The Laylow . Newly renovated and steps from the beach, this pastel paradise was dreamy down to every last detail. The restaurant, the gift shop… even the wallpaper in the elevators was on point. I’m not sure I’ve ever blended in at a hotel quite so well!

How to Get Around //

A car is pretty much necessary in Hawaii unless you want to stay right in downtown Waikiki (or whatever city you’ve chosen a hotel in!) We rented something super basic for super cheap and it was a great decision, though you may want to consider a larger vehicle with 4 wheel drive if you’re venturing off the beaten path (we may have gotten a bit stuck in some sand on a beach at one point!)

What to See //

Leonard’s Bakery // Hawaii’s first Malasadas, which are basically delicious Portuguese donuts served hot! I recommend getting one of each kind (the Li Hing was incredible)
Rainbow Drive In // A classic Hawaiian fare takeaway counter with amazing cheap eats.
Bailey’s Aloha Shirts // All the vintage Hawaiian shirts you could ever ask for! Careful with your shopping though, some of the oldest shirts go up to $3000.
Hula Pie at Duke’s // A tourist favourite, I remembered this place from visiting as a kid and I have to admit the Hula Pie was JUST as good. I recommend bringing a friend or two to share this monster dessert… or if you’re pregnant and anything like me go ahead, get a whole piece to yourself!
The Royal Hawaiian What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t mention Hawaii’s pink palace? If you’re able to get a table for brunch be sure to try the pink guava pancakes!
Shimazu Shave Ice // There is shave ice available almost everywhere but this place makes them as big as your head and has SO many delicious flavours. By far the best selection we saw.
The Surfjack Hotel // Famous for their awesome “Wish You Were Here” postcard pool, this hotel wasn’t my favourite for food but their coffee/gift shop was adorable!
Yanagi Sushi // A local favourite, this might just be the best sushi outside of Japan (and it feels like you’re in Japan too!) Reservations highly recommended.
SALT at Our Kaka’ako // We only stumbled across this spot because I was determined to go to ARVO for their famous avocado toast, but basically it’s a brand new shopping centre of sorts in Hawaii’s most “indie” neighbourhood filled with all sorts of wonderful curated shops and restaurants. These were our favourites but more businesses were in the process of opening too!
Paiko Plant Shop
ARVO
Lonohana Estate Chocolate
Butterfly Ice Cream
Here. Store
*If you’re not on a babymoon I also highly recommend walking around all the awesome breweries in this neighbourhood – there are so many and they’re all SO cute!

Spots we wanted to see but didn’t quite make it to //
Dole plantation, Ice HNL, Hawaiian Sweet Potato Factory (they have a rainbow sandwich!), Awa and Olena Jewelry, At Dawn Shop, Bevy Cocktail Bar, Taco’ako

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I'll Follow You Anywhere

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I’ll admit, in the past when I heard the word “baby moon” I couldn’t help but cringe – it seemed like an indulgence reserved only for super privileged pregnant couples, and I never really saw it being a priority for me personally. Don’t people have better things to do when planning to bring a new human into this world?!

The thing is, now that I’m here with three months to left in my pregnancy and a constantly growing belly that has me just a bit off-balance at all times, I get what all the fuss is about. Being pregnant is such an incredible feeling, but it can also feel like your losing your whole body (and existence) to a tiny human living under your skin. I have really struggled with my newfound limitations body-wise, and travelling in the second trimester before I got too big to even sit in a car comfortably for half an hour (I’m getting there) ended up being really important to me. If you’re craving some time out of town, why not take a trip while you’re still feeling up to it?

I also think it’s really necessary to celebrate. To celebrate your incredible body, the massive shift in life seasons, to honour your past and let yourself have one last vacation that’s free of child-related worries before the future arrives. I went from chuckling to myself about the concept of baby moons to insisting it was something I needed to do almost as soon as I got pregnant. Yes, travel with babies and kids is totally possible and can be an amazing experience, but it’s still not the same as taking a trip on your own or with a loved one.

In the end, I planned two pre-baby escapes for good measure – a long haul adventure to Hawaii with my bff Bianca (post on that coming soon!) and a smaller, local trip to PEC right here in Ontario with my little sister. What these two trips taught me: It doesn’t matter how far you go, just that you allow yourself to go at all. I actually enjoyed being closer to home for a shorter trip more with how pregnant I’ve been feeling lately, and I can’t stress enough how important it was to me to give myself a special window of time like this to celebrate, close off the past, and look forward to the future. Whether you’re hopping a plane to an exotic island or just planning a staycation at home in your own city, give yourself (and perhaps someone you love dearly) this special moment to pause and reflect. After all, moments like these will never exist in quite the same way again after you officially become a mom.

Why PEC //

Prince Edward County is a wine lover’s paradise, but this will be me second trip there without drinking and in my books it’s just as good either way!

The county can be overcrowded in the Summer months, so I actually prefer to go up in the autumn – the leaves are breathtakingly beautiful on the drive between towns, harvest season yields all sorts of delicious local goodies, and sweater weather has never felt quite so cozy. It’s also a short distance from Toronto, so it’s not too big a commitment travel-wise if you’re based in Ontario.

Where to Stay //

I’ve stayed in multiple spots all over the county but this trip we went with The Drake Devonshire, a small boutique hotel complete with a lakefront view and amazing restaurant (I recommend the brunch!) When we checked in there were hot cookies waiting beside the bed and we were told how to dial pints of ice cream up to our room if needed, so yeah, basically a pregnant person’s dream come true!

How to Get There //

A short 2.5 hour drive from the city, travel by car is really the best way to get to the county, and once you arrive up there I find driving from town to town on the beautiful country roads is one of my favourite parts of the landscape. We were lucky enough to borrow a Porsche Panamera hybrid for our trip, and it was SUCH a fun (and eco friendly) way to see the sights.

A few of my favourite pastel places //

Bloomfield Beauty Co. // Where do I even start with this incredible spot? Located in Bloomfield as the name suggests, this spa escape is seriously heaven on earth. Owned by two talented sisters, you can get everything from massages to pedicures, all served with a side of tea (or bubbly if you prefer!) We spent an entire afternoon there and still didn’t want to leave!
BluBoho // My favourite Toronto jewelry shop now has an outpost in PEC and it’s gorgeous.
Hinterland Winery // The best bubbly in the province! I grabbed a bottle to pop after baby Garrison joins us in the new year.
County Collective // This spot is SO cute, just make sure you check their Instagram before heading over as they’re often closed off-season.
Fete beach // Located in the same Bloomfield building as County Collective and BluBoho, this gorgeous shop is another must-see on the tour of pretty pastel places!
County Yum Club // On top of seasonal goodies this roadside restaurant serves vegan corn dogs. Need I say more?
Grange Winery // This place makes incredible wine and cider with the prettiest designs, but they also serve local craft soda so you have something to sip while your non-pregnant companions get tipsy wine tasting.
Slickers Ice Cream // You have to try the burnt marshmallow here, and don’t worry, the Picton location stays open all year round!
Coriander Girl // Another Toronto export, this space is shared with county apothecary brand Sunday’s Company, and their shop together is absolutely gorgeous, filled with plants, dry brushes, skincare and more. I highly recommend taking a locally-sourced bouquet home with you on your last day!
The Vic // Did someone say golden milk latte? This coffee shop in downtown Picton has amazing baked goods and lots of caffeine-free hot bevvie options if that’s your thing (they have real caffeinated tea and coffee too, don’t panic!)
Kinsip Spirits // Fun fact – you can get a shot of whisky infused maple syrup instead of spirits and it’s absolutely delicious + totally booze free!

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Special thanks to The Drake Devonshire, Porsche Canada and Bloomfield Beauty Co. for making this trip so magical