Dear DiaryDress UpI'll Follow You Anywhere

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I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m really all about travel right now, but that doesn’t mean “travel” has to be a luxury vacation on the other side of the continent.

One of my favourite places to go since moving to Toronto is actually a bit of a shock to some people – Hamilton. Despite its bad reputation amongst Toronto residents, I adore Hamilton. I love the quiet streets, the community feel, and the beautiful spaces that can only be created in a place with something we Torontonians lack – space.

I have a full-on city guide in the works for this special place, but since it’s a little too cold to wander around outside taking photos right now I’m going to hold off and just talk about the specifics of my Saturday visit a few weeks ago.

Though it’s only a short trip, Hamilton feels worlds away from Toronto when I need a break. Breakfast at Saint James Espresso, waterfall hikes with my good friend (and Hamilton resident) Rachelle, and the best vegan chocolate macaroons EVER at Green Bar are all staples, and then of course there’s Berkeley North.

I’ve heard about this new West Coast-inspired eatery from Hamilton and Toronto friends alike, so I was determined to visit during my one day stay. Honestly, it’s not often that I do a full restaurant review post, but this was one of the best dining experiences of my life. The space is cozy, the staff is next level friendly, and the food was honestly off the charts. They have seemingly endless vegan and vegetarian options, and even offer a foamy vegan sour on the cocktail menu!

By the time dessert came around we were totally stuffed, but we still couldn’t say no to the decadent vegan cheesecake. It was the perfect place for meat eaters and vegans alike to meet, and by the time we left we felt like family. If you have no other reason to take a day trip to Hamilton, this spot is reason enough – oh, and there’s a great wall for photos right across the street too!

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Dress Up

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One of the best parts of focusing on blogging has been the incredible connections I’ve made with artisans and makers right here in Toronto, and everywhere else! Though technology can feel a bit vast and sterile sometimes, lately I’ve been feeling the opposite: there are so many lovely online communities and charming folks out there! In fact, it was through Instagram that I met the lovely Tara-Lynn Morrison of Good Night, Day.

When I first got a message from Tara-Lynn, I was excited but also a little bit nervous. I’d seen her gorgeous knitwear all over the city, and I was super intimidated by her! Once we started chatting of course, it quickly became clear that we were both a little awkward and unsure, and a wonderful friendship began to form very quickly. Tara-Lynn knit me some of my favourite new pieces over the holidays, and when I returned from my trip home to Vancouver we continued to chat and share photos and articles back and forth.

A few weeks ago, Tara-Lynn and I decided to take our online friendship to the real world. She invited me over to her cozy apartment in Hamilton for a knitting lesson, and I couldn’t rsvp “yes!” fast enough!

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I arrived at Tara-Lynn’s on a particularly blustery Thursday with a bag full of vegan chocolate chip cookies and some yarn. We spent the day curling our hair, drinking vegan chocolate cherry shakes, and knitting, which in my books is pretty much the perfect way to pass the time! Tara-Lynn had picked up a vegan chickpea mini pot pie for lunch (so delicious), and spoiled me with the cutest little hat I’ve ever seen (it’s like a toque with pompoms built in!) I even got to meet Tara’s delightful daughter Enid, who is probably the coolest human alive (she has green mermaid hair and she’s only 11!)

All in all, it was the perfect day, and by the time I left I had a whole bunch of new knitting knowledge, a gorgeous finished cowl, lots of warm fuzzies, and a new, real-life friend. Maybe living in the internet age isn’t to scary after all.

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In the mood for some handmade knits? I thought you might be! Tara-Lynn has graciously extended a special 15% off code for all you lovely readers! Simply type in SPRINGISCOMING when you checkout.