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Brianne Burnell is one of my oldest, closest friends, and when she quit her job to peruse her passion for illustration exactly 1 year ago, I was so excited for her. In the time between then and now she’s created countless beautiful amazing pieces of art, taken over Toronto shops with her handmade greeting cards, submitted work to big name magazines, and even illustrated an adorable children’s book. To say she’s talented and driven is a massive understatement, and I fall more in love with her work with every new wip screenshot she sends me.

Awhile back Brianne and I decided to collaborate on a few prints for my Society 6 store, and she does the “album art” for my seasonal 8 tracks playlists (Autumn coming soon!) but I really wanted to take on another joint project, so I asked her if we could start a series of desktop backgrounds. The first round is dedicated to the end of my favourite season, Summer.

To download the high-res versions of these images and dress up your phone/computer/etc. simply click the image and then save the image or drag and drop to your device! 

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All artwork by Brianne Burnell

Dear Diary

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It’s RAOP’s 1 year birthday today!

I honestly can’t believe time has gone by so fast and so much has happened. I figure now is as good a time as any to share the story of Random Acts of Pastel with all of you right?

Last April I was miserably working at a part time job that took way too much out of me without giving anything back. I was sad and tired all the time, but I wasn’t really sure what else to do with myself. A few months away from graduating journalism school, I already knew I didn’t want a career in news reporting or mainstream media, but I was scared and unsure to try for anything else. Basically I was stuck, scared, and unhappy.

One day I got called into a meeting at work and was treated so cruelly by one of my bosses that there was really only one thing I could do: I quit. As soon as I had left and was out of her sight, I burst into tears. I had thought about taking that leap for so long, but I never thought I’d do it without somewhere soft and safe to land.

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A few months went by where I burned through my savings and spent my days lazily sulking around wondering what to do with myself. I had left my toxic workplace, but I was still stuck in a rut of self-pity and depression. I knew I wanted to find a way to get my ideas out there and get my light back, but every option seemed daunting and overwhelming, so I just continued to waste time.

One night, my incredibly inspiring and supportive partner and I were plotting to spend a night doing street art around the city (I know, such rebels huh?) and I suggested we paint things pastel to put a little more cheer and colour into the world. We could call our little movement “Random Acts of Pastel” I thought, and then suddenly everything clicked.

Though the street art portion of my plan never really happened (yet), I still like to think RAOP follows the original mandate I came up with: to add a little more colour and cheer into the world! These days, I wake up every morning with a bounce in my step, excited to dream and create and share with all of you, and I truly feel like I’m living a charmed life. Over the span of a year, I’ve gone from sitting in a rut wishing my time away to cherishing every moment up on cloud nine, and I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Since I already have my gift, I figure you deserve something special too, so to celebrate this wonderful occasion, I’m running a big birthday giveaway! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

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1. Three handmade greeting cards // Brianne Burnell
2. A confetti OR sprinkle mug // RAOP Society 6
3. A custom pet portrait // Justine Wong
4. A magical crystal necklace // Oasis Bloom
5. A Sailor Moon Tote bag // Rosehound Apparel

Rules:

*Must follow all of the listed makers on Instagram (see my account for @ links)

*Must re-gram this photo on Instagram using the #RAOPBDAYGIVEAWAY hashtag. You can do this one time each day for the duration of the contest to enter more times! (again, see my account to re-gram the correct image)

*Must comment on this post about which prize you’re most excited about!

*Tweet or pin this post and image for additional entries, and make sure to use the #RAOPBDAYGIVEAWAY hashtag so I can find your entries (and/or link to your posts in the comment section here)

This contest will run for one week, until next Friday July 11th at 6pm. One lucky winner will score all of the above prizes (aka birthday presents), and I’ll announce them in the comment section here Friday night.

U.S.A. and Canadian entries only please!

CONGRATULATIONS @Carleygeorged!!! You’re the winner!

Flower crown in the first photo by Wit and Bloom, and mini vegan strawberry lemonade cake recipe coming soon!

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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To be totally honest, things haven’t been feeling so glittery the past couple days. The weather has been fluctuating from warm to cold to colder, and it’s hard to even force myself out of the house when I’m just waiting for Spring to set in. I’ve also been re-examining a lot of issues in my life, and though at this point I’m working hard to mend them, it has still been hard to admit not everything is perfect and make some changes.

In times like these, when the days seem a little less fun than they usually do here in my little pastel castle, I like to think of the things that make me happy: my friends, my pets, my wonderful partner, the promise of a big garden this year, confetti explosions, vegan ice cream and home made vegan chocolate chip cookies.

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I’m not really sure how I ended up with the easiest vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe of all time. Handwritten in a kitchen notebook, I have a feeling this delicious and simple creation was handed down to me by a friend, but I can’t really be sure. Regardless, it has become one of the key recipes I’ve come to rely on when I need a quick and comforting treat. The added decadence of ice cream makes these tasty little sandwiches the perfect cure for the blues, or the perfect treat for an upcoming Spring celebration. I hope they bring some warmth to your home and your heart too!

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup vegan sugar
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
1 cup whipped Earth Balance
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
1 tub of vegan ice cream (I used Luna and Larry’s Mint Galactica)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees Celsius

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2. Beat sugars, vanilla, Earth Balance, and applesauce together

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3. Slowly add in flour, then baking soda and salt

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4. Stir in the chocolate chips (as many as you prefer)

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5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies have just browned.

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6. Once the cookies have fully cooled, press a tablespoon of ice cream between two cookies until all of the cookies are used up.

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7. Put your newly created ice cream sandwiches in the freezer to solidify. Serve in half an hour, or whenever you please!

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Photography by Brianne Burnell

Dress Up

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of shooting a mini-editorial of sorts with Toujours x Fidele, a new Toronto pop up shop that’s opening to the public tonight!

Focused on fostering a magical community in Toronto, Toujours x Fidele is eco friendly, and sells the work of local designers like Kendra Pegg. The limited run clothing they’ve created is crafted from dead stock or repurposed materials, and most of the decor is from the Toronto Salvage yard. Everything in the shop fits into one lovely concept, “Suburban Dream”, which basically means there’s a lot of washed out pastels and magical details.

My favourite part of this dreamy pop up though is the attic room.

Inspired by Wes Anderson movies and teenage girls, this unique peachy space is a total escape from reality. Pieces of Toujour x Fidele’s clothing are hidden amongst the little scene, and every detail is pretty much perfect. I hung out in this magical little spot for an afternoon, decked out in Toujours x Fidele pieces, and for a moment really felt like a suburban teenager trapped in my eclectic bedroom.

Check out Toujour x Fidele’s opening night party tonight at 8pm. The space is located at 2 Lakeview Avenue (near Dundas and Ossington), and rumour has it there will be special cocktails created by your favourite pastel princess!

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All clothing from Toujours x Fidele

Photography by Brianne Burnell

Dress Up

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The other day, something remarkable happened: the temperature rose above zero degrees! For the first time in a long time, the weather was actually tolerable. It even rained a bit, so obviously I had to throw on a trench and get outside!

On top of a plain old outfit post, this is also my new hair debut! Do you like it? I re-visited Amanda at Blyss salon, the same incredible colourist who did my pink ombre a few months ago, and she made my hair into pure mermaid magic! I am totally obsessed to the point where I still can’t believe it’s actually my hair!

The colour technique is called Mother of Pearl, and you can read more about it on the Davines website!

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Sunglasses by Karen Walker, Scarf by Good Night, Day, Bag by Hedj, Trench from Aritzia, Sweater by Acne, Rings from Catbird (shell from Verameat), Purple jeans from Topshop, Socks from Magic Pony, Ankle Boots by Rachel Comey

Photos by Brianne Burnell