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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Oh so Pretty

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Almost everyone I’ve spoken to agrees 2016 was a garbage year, and I’m honestly so excited to kick off a fresh new set of 365 days. True, it’s been the New Year for a few days now, but since I decided to get a head start on my life makeover (which you can read about here) I decided to take a little break before getting into the superficial stuff. Like hair.

A new year almost always means a new look for me, so I started with my hair. As I mentioned, I’m taking a break from bleaching, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep having fun with my locks! I headed back to Jaymi at Good Day Hairshop for a whole wack of highlights and dreamy golden colour to prep for my adventures in LA. Outfit-wise I scooped up the COOLEST Sunday Somewhere sunglasses from the new Her Majesty’s Pleasure Boutique, the perfect forest green jumbo tote from The Stowe and some incredible new essentials from Revolve (yes, a sparkly blush dress with stars was an essential!)

I’ve also been big into building up my tattoo collection over the past month, thanks to the help of the oh so talented Alex Royce Tattoo. This guy seriously makes stick n’ pokes so painless you could take a nap, and I can’t stop going back! In the span of two weeks I got an orca whale (my all-time favourite animal), a gem, and a pearl in an oyster. I couldn’t love them more.

And finally, speaking of love and tattoos, have you noticed my brows lately?! I had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Nicole of BrowsxBianca, and after two appointments she had microbladed me to my best brow dreams. I’m not going to lie – it HURT, like a lot, but not having to draw in my brows every day has been well worth two hours of discomfort, and I couldn’t be happier with the improvement.

Interested in trying microblading but always thought it was too expensive? Nicole and I have a little surprise for you guys! Simply mention you heard about her from me and you’ll get 25% OFF from now until February 15th! How’s that for a great kick off to 2017 and say goodbye to 2016?

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Dress Up

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There’s no better time to layer up and make your way through the cold to a cozy local cafe. Whether you’re meeting a friend or settling in on your own with a good book, coffee shop campouts are crucial when it comes to winter survival, which is why I’m sharing some of my favourite Toronto spots in the December issue of The Kit! You can find my list online here.

If you’re looking for an extra dose of cozy, I’m sharing all of the extras from my cafe shoot at Kitten and the Bear (plus how to shop the post) below!

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Dress Up

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I’m not really sure how it happened, but all the sudden I’m really into green. Forest, mint, olive, you name it – each one has burrowed its way into my pastel-loving heart, causing a whole lot of confusion in my wardrobe over the past couple the months.

The good news? Green goes GREAT with pretty much all pastels!

Inspired by Blair Waldorf, this look is perfectly prep, and bonus, almost everything I’m wearing is made in Canada by local designers! Betina Lou sent me the jumper and top combo, which I topped off that a velvet necktie we made right here in the studio (DIY here). Topped off with tan suede heels and the most perfect rich forest green wool coat by Sosken, another beloved Canadian brand, I love the way everything in this outfit works together so effortlessly.

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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I love dressing up, but there’s always something to be said for simple, clean, comfortable outfits, especially this time of year. I was thrilled to hear about Frank + Oak’s new womenswear line, and as expected it ended up being the perfect collection of easy breezy basics.

Since picking my outfit was so straightforward we decided to mix things up with our photo technique. We had the pleasure of attending Huawei’s amazing space-themed Nova Plus launch party this past week, and between meeting Chris Hadfield and sipping smoking cocktails it was truly a night to remember. One of our biggest take aways was learning about the amazing photo quality this phone has, and since we had one to test out for the week, we decided to try using the phone against our usual DSLR for these outfit snaps.

Amazing both indoors and out, the Huawei camera really proved to be a pleasant surprise, especially since no one on our team has any familiarity with Android phones. Affordable, fast, and loaded with great filters and editing tools, this little number is a great option for budding Instagrammers, though it took a lot of getting used to for us Apple users!

Can you spot the difference in the photo set?

Okay, back to the outfit:

I’m not usually one for the Canadian tuxedo, but this season I can’t get enough of this dreamy double denim look. Complete with a muted blush sweatshirt and simple clog boots, this look is so simple it’s almost lazy, but thanks to great design and fabric quality it still looks put together.

Frank + Oak, the women of the world rejoice!

Guess what? Frank + Oak has given me a special 20% off promo code just for you guys! Simply enter “pastel15” at checkout! 

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Shop my look: Mom Jeansshirt and sweatshirt, all Frank + Oak

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