Party Time

For the first time ever, Toronto decided to make their pride celebration last not only a week, but the entire month of June. That’s right: more rainbows, more sparkle, and a full month filled with love and support for one another.

We’re always looking for new ways to bring more colour to our lives, so the updated schedule gave us that much more reason to make pride-related magic. To welcome the final week of festivities (which includes most of the parties and the famous parade), we decided to throw our own little Pride kickoff party with all of our friends in a borrowed yard. We called it the #RAOPrainnbowparty!

A lot of different factors went into making this particular styled event a success. First off, we needed colour- lots of it! To brighten up the space we decided to build a balloon wall. Consider yourself warned- balloon wall building is not a relaxing weekend activity. The end result (shown in these photos) took two days of planning, about 15 packs of balloons (10x what we has estimated), and 7 volunteers blowing up balloons nonstop for hours in the sun to create!

After the amount of work we put into the balloon wall, we wanted to make sure that our drink selection matched the theme. We had a chance to try out Raspberry Starfruit Iced Tea and Frozen Strawberry Pineapple Pouches (YUM!) from Palm Bay. We also had a super cute cooler, pastel Turkish blankets, a record player for tunes, cookie dough ice cream, “Palm Bae” sweatshirts by Shop Nopal, and so many different kinds of sprinkles!!!
Palm Bay was an amazing complement to our pre-pride party. It was a total success, and the ultimate way to kick off the fun coming this week!

Hope to see you at Pride this year!

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Photos by Josh Mitchinson and Johanna Martin
Styling and Direction by Alyssa Garrison
Assistance from Mikayla Kuehn
Cotton Candy via Fancy Pufs
Party Plates and extra decor via Confetti and Bows
XOXO Balloons via Northstar Balloons

Jewels via Cherry Pick
Hottiewood

A special thanks to all our magical rainbow models (aka our friends) too!

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

Oh so Pretty

It’s the most wonderful time of the month! No, not that “time of the month”- I’m talking about hair appointment time! It’s always a bit of a challenge to decide what I want to try next with how many different colours my hair has been over the past five years, but this time I’ve known what shade I want for weeks.

I call it milky pink peach pastel sunset (Yes, that’s totally a thing), or “flamingo hair” for short.

I’ve never really accomplished a truly perfect peach on my own at home, so when my pals at Good Day Hair Shop in Kensington Market invited me in for a date with their dreamy colourist Jaymi I jumped at the chance to do something different. If you haven’t seen Jaymi’s colour work yet, check it out immediately: @kaleidoscopejaymi. This lady is seriously a pastel hair goddess, and I couldn’t wait to meet her irl.

True to her online awesomeness, Jaymi was a bubbly babe with the prettiest rosy coral locks. We immediately got to work with the usual bleaching and toning, and then the fun started. Jaymi described my idea as “putting a flamingo in a blender”, and though it sounds rather violent she definitely got my vision. She covered my whole head with a peach toner, then “ribboned” a touch of hot pink through the bottom while my head was in the sink. She even made me a take home hair mask tinted with peach so I can keep my colour fresh- what a peach!

The end result is, well… see for yourself! I basically transformed from a sad grey pigeon to a vacation-ready flamingo, and I can’t wait to flaunt my new feathers!

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Ready to take the pastel hair plunge? I highly recommend Jaymi at Good Day Hair Shop!

Dear Diary

A few weeks ago we got an email from our girl Maram at Lush HQ asking if we’d be into a tour of the Lush factory here in Toronto, and though we weren’t sure what was in store we eagerly replied “yes!”

This past Tuesday we woke up early, hopped in a cab half awake, and headed to Etobicoke. Walking into the factory was like walking into a massive cloud of scent perfection- think Lush store level x 1000! We quickly started the tour, exploring everything from the bath bomb mixing room, to the labelling section and soap department. We tried our hand at pressing bath bombs, mixing fresh masks, and even covered ourselves with special lustres in the glitter room!

Last but not least we entered the bubble room, a giant open space packed with people hand shaping and prepping the bubble bars and bubbleroons that we all know and love. We got a quick tutorial on making up the mixture, then practiced shaping our own bars with all the other employees (who seemed mildly entertained by our lack of skill).

We left the factory smelling like Lush, with bags full of somewhat-deformed product that we had attempted to make ourselves. The best part about the whole experience was learning more about Lush as a company- whole avocados get hand cut into their products, funds are given to local sustainable farmers so they can meet the company’s demands whenever possible, and everyone putting the products together seemed genuinely passionate about what they were doing. Paired with their very public devotion to the fight against animal testing, Lush’s values have really made me a die-hard fan of their amazing natural products.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take a very colourful bath…

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Dear Diary

Though I don’t consider myself a digitally-inclined person in any respect, it’s pretty much impossible for me not to spend a big chunk of every day on Instagram.

I guess I have a slightly different relationship with Instagram than most people because it’s such a massive component of my career. Though you may already know my Instagram account, you probably aren’t aware that Johanna and I also run RAOP Creative on the side, a mini-agency that helps other businesses with their social media presence through content creation. Basically, we’re on the internet all day everyday either as our own brand, or as another brand entirely, which makes us hyper aware of all sorts of trends and themes going on out there.

There’s so much talent to fall in love with on instagram, but we can’t help but play favourites sometimes! This week we’ve rounded up some of the most colourful, fun, addictive feeds in all the land… or at least in our books!

SugarandCloth

// Sugar and Cloth

Ashley Rose is truly a genius when it comes to DIY projects and pretty event styling. This lovely lady creates the most beautiful pieces of furniture, perfect painted macarons, and recently had the most amazing colour wall for photos painted in Houston! Plus her kitchen is seriously what dreams are made of.

Fluffegram

// FluffegramΒ 

Do you have a sweet tooth? Fluffegram is basically a fairy floss wizard who lives in Australia making just about everything out of cotton candy- cake, burgers, milkshakes, spaghetti and pretty much anything else you can dream up!

AwwSam

// Aww.Sam

Sam originally caught our eye when she started making donuts that look like flamingos, swans, rainbows and sparkly heart emojis. These days we can’t get enough of her colourful outfits and amazing studio space- perhaps a visit to NYC for a photoshoot collaboration is in order?

AlfredTea

// Alfred Tea

If you know anything about Team RAOP, you know how much we love tea. We were heartbroken when we realized our Cali trip dates narrowly missed the opening of Alfred Tea, a new blush pink tea shop on Melrose, but it will definitely be on our must see list when we head back to the West Coast.

JennaRaeCakes

// Jenna Rae Cakes

I don’t really believe in “too pretty to eat”- that is, until I found Jenna Rae Cakes. I haven’t yet had the chance to visit this Canadian bakery myself, but I know when I finally trek to Winnipeg I’ll likely be spending my entire savings account on cotton candy cakes and fuzzy peach macarons. Every single treat they create is out of this world pastel amazing.

All images via. Instagram

Dear DiaryDress Up

As most of you probably already know, I’ve been going through a super rough time with a lot of big changes lately, but what a lot of you probably don’t know is how much I’ve struggled to get through it. Breakups are never easy, and when you suddenly have to consider moving and selling a car, plus starting a new full time job, and taking care of three fluffy creatures on your own, the aftermath can become so overwhelming it’s scary. Though my Instagram feed might not really let it be known, I’ve had mornings that were almost too much to bear, afternoons where I just wanted to cry in bed watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and nights where I’ve felt more alone than I ever thought possible.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon that I truly credit for keeping me sane over the past couple of months: my Nike workouts.

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When I first started attending NTC classes at The Academy of Lions, I was downright terrified. Everyone looked so fit and strong, and they were all decked out in crazy cool Nike gear. Standing in my stained white t-shirt with rainbow hair, I really let my social anxiety get the best of me, and for weeks I avoided speaking to anyone. But then something shifted: as I started to master the workouts, I also started to feel stronger and braver, like I really belonged to a team and we were all in this crazy life roller coaster together. I fought to overcome my shyness and insecurity, slowly making friends with the other women at the workouts, and it wasn’t long before I joined the Queen West running club too.

Long story short, I became totally hooked, and at this point I workout with Nike three times a week. At running club a massive group of neon athletes take to the streets, crowding sidewalks and pushing through the city together. Thursdays I join all sorts of inspiring women for Nike Training Club class with master trainerEva Redpath, who is easily the most fit, inspiring, and sometimes sort of insane (in the best possible way) lady I’ve ever met. And now, starting next week, I’ll be out one more night each week for the new “Choose Your Winter” program, a special set of classes built to get people out and sweating despite the cold. Each week we’ll be taken to a surprise destination for a special fun workout, and I can’t wait to see what the awesome team at Nike has in store for us!

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I honestly can’t even express how much of a difference these workouts have made to my routine, and to my mental health. No matter how exhausted, down, or overwhelmed I feel when I arrive at running club or NTC each week, I always leave with a massive smile, sore legs, and the energy to take on whatever the day has in store for me. Though life really did its best to break me down this Fall, I’ve never felt stronger, and with my new fitness goal to run a Spring marathon, I can only see things going up from here!

Want to join in and get your sweat on? You can sign up for free NTC classes here, or come out for running club Wednesday nights at 6:15 leaving from 548 Richmond St. W (there are all sorts of Nike running groups all over the city too if you’re not located in the west end)

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Magical mural by Maya Hayuk

*Note: Some or all of the items featured in this post were given to me as a gift from the maker, but I only write about products or services that I genuinely adore, I promise!*