Dear Diary

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Working for yourself is awesome – you can wear what you like (which often means PJ’s), make your own hours, and take leisurely lunch breaks in the park. That said, being your own boss also comes with downfalls: it can be super lonely, if something goes wrong it’s all on you, and perhaps most importantly, it’s really hard to separate work and real life.

Our team works out of my tiny condo, and with the state of the Toronto housing market a bigger office space has always seemed super out of reach for us. We make it work, but with so many distractions around we often lose a lot of productivity, or simply get cabin fever from being cooped up (especially when it gets cold outside).

Luckily, Toronto just got an epic new shared workspace for women just like us: it’s called Make Lemonade.

Only a few blocks from my apartment, and above one of our favourite restaurants in the city (s/o to Kiin!), Make Lemonade is an office-space dream. Filled with natural light and adorable details, membership includes printing and unlimited tea and coffee (yes, that’s right, as much caffeine as you like!) With morning yoga and lots of fun members-only workshops on the way, think of Make Lemonade as a new kind of office, supercharged with creative energy and magic-making.

We’re kicking off our membership October 1st, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates about our experience! We can’t wait to dream, plan and create within a community of so many talented girl-bosses!

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AmazonLemonade-1

Ban.do Sweet Talk Pen Set
Bando, I Am Very Busy Agenda
Ban.do Back Me Up-Mobile Charger
Watercolour Sticky Notes
Rainbow Keyboard Cover
Ban.do Peekaboo Folio + Sticker Set
Ban.do Sticker Book

Dear Diary

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I think we can all agree Toronto needs more pink places. Johanna and I have exhausted the few the city has to offer, and we’re always begging anyone we can get to listen to paint at least a portion of their home/business/office to help our cause.

We’re long time fans of Sweet Jesus and their incredible turquoise colour scheme (a much-needed addition to the doom and gloom of downtown Toronto.) We had been planning to visit their newest location at Yonge and Eglington for months, but somehow the dates kept slipping away, and before we knew it I was in California and the amazing Sweet Jesus soft serve was an entire continent away.

keep reading…

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By the time I got back I had a pretty serious craving for a vegan cone of any sort from the city’s favourite soft serve magicians, and it turns out waiting a couple months had only sweetened the deal – in the same massive building at Yonge and Eglington there was now a La Carnita (our favourite tacos in TO) and Good Fortune, a new PINK cocktail bar.

We’re generally pretty strictly downtown west-side girls, but this perfect trifecta is absolutely worth the trek. Our first course consisted of Sweet Jesus ice cream (I went for a vegan bounty-bar inspired cone and seriously lost my mind!), and for the second course we headed down the steps to the plant-filled pink oasis that is Good Fortune. Though there’s certainly competition, this is my new favourite cocktail bar in the city. There’s a peachy cocktail with a diamond-shaped ice cube that turns the drink pink! There’s a cotton candy cocktail! There are SLUSHIES! In case liquids aren’t your thing, there are also some pretty tasty snacks, AND you can order anything you like from the La Carnita menu upstairs. Yeah, it’s like a pink heaven just north of downtown, and apparently things can even get a little dancy up there on the weekends (in case you’re wondering where to find us…)

Final note: We loved Good Fortune so much that we decided to start a hashtag in an attempt to celebrate all of Toronto’s pink places, and maybe even inspire business owners to create more! Jump onboard and tag your photos too? #PinkPlacesTO!

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Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like a brag, but I have to be honest: life is really, stupidly good. It’s not just the sun, and the beach, and the comically fresh avocados… it’s the ability to go for a run every day without piling on layers, to order something vegan at any restaurant you desire, to make friends who take you to LACMA and rock climbing gyms and comedy shows because that’s how people hang out here. It’s a feeling of freedom that escaped me for too long.

Yes, I’m romanticizing, but in all fairness this place has been total bliss for me. I went vegan the day I touched down, have finally fully said goodbye to the disgusting world of cigarettes, and feel more in shape than I have in months. Sunshine and fresh veggies are the best medicine money can buy in my books, and coming down to California to escape some of that Toronto winter doom and gloom back home was just what the doctor ordered.

As I write this I find myself in San Francisco for a few weeks, a brand new place that I’ve never really explored! So until I get my bearings and can formulate a list of SF faves, here are my favourite NEW findings from L.A. this past month:

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Otherwild // If you were ever looking for housewares with boobs all over them, look no further. Seriously though, this Los Feliz shop is filled with perfect feminist finds and queer goodies. I wanted to buy the entire inventory (rainbow stairway included).

Shojin // Not only is Shojin a totally vegan sushi restaurant tucked away in a mall in Little Tokyo, but it also happens to be the best service I’ve ever experienced. If you want to feel like a princess and try the most creative fish-free Japanese dishes around, this is the place for you.

Shop Belljar // Stocked with RAOP favourites like HKM and Samantha Pleet, this lovely little store of amazing pastel finds is right next to Otherwild, so prepare to leave the block with a seriously dented wallet.

Go Get Em Tiger // A popular brunch and coffee spot in both Larchmont and Los Feliz), this cafe is perfect for a light meal, a tasty beverage, and lazy outdoor lounging (unless you go on the weekend, then you’ll be fighting for a seat all morning).

Eric Buterbaugh Perfumes // If you’re walking down Beverly Blvd. and come across a Nirvana-like garden with an undeniably delicate and distinct floral scent, you’ve found Eric Buterbaugh’s space. Part gallery, part perfumery, this gorgeous building is full of unexpected sensory delights, and if you think floral scents are outdated and boring, get ready to think again.

Tenoversix // An endless array of local art, dreamy housewares and wardrobe essentials await within this pastel heaven.

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Juice Served Here // Simple and to the point, this LA juicery has some crazy good combos. We recommend “Tropic Thunder”, “The Pixie”, and/or “Pearl Punch”… if you have to choose.

Bar Bandini // Cozy and crowded, this tiny dive bar in Echo Park makes for the perfect place to get close to someone new. Try the 101 Cider House “Cactus Red” if you’re not sure what fancy craft beverage to order – it’s hot pink and delicious!

Super Smash Buns Food Truck // The best late night food delivery of ALL time. We ordered the Vegan Quesedilla, Masala Fries, and Rose Lavender Lemonade and basically had a collective meltdown over the goodness.

Cliffs of ID // Rock climbing is rapidly getting big everywhere, but it’s REALLY big in LA. All the cool kids are doing it, and on top of being a fun way to make friends it’s also a SUPER hard workout!

Erin McKenna’s Bakery // I’ve been a massive fan of Erin’s Vegan, gluten free goods since first discovery her original bakery in NYC a few years back, and seeing her shop in Larchmont was like bumping into a deeply missed and oh so sweet friend. This is also the only place I know of that makes vegan black-and-white cookies, which just so happen to by my all time favourite!

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Still on my list to see…
Sweet Fin Poke
By CHLOE
SQRL
Little Pine
Block Party
Sage
Clifton’s
Donut Friend

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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It’s hard to even know where to start with this post, because honestly the whole LA experience was so magical I have a hard time believing any of it was real. Sorry in advance if this reads like a fairytale, but that’s just how it really was!

When Netflix asked me to join the roster of bloggers they’d chosen from all over the world for a #Girlboss adventure in LA there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation. A week later I was on a plane to the land of palm trees and surfing, totally unable to fathom what lay ahead. I checked into the Line Hotel (an amazing building with the best pool, a gorgeous greenhouse-like eatery, and a flawless juice selection at the coffee bar!) and from that moment on everything was a blur of magical girl power madness.

I laughed hysterically as a live studio audience member on the Chelsea show. I stood at the end of a gigantic wooden backlot rainbow. I did a one on one interview with original #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso. I sat at a table that ordered one of everything on the menu, and then ordered MORE. And that list, that doesn’t even begin to cover it. By the end of the three days of Netflix adventures I walked away with 15 new friends located all over the face of the planet, a really cool Nasty Gal satin bomber jacket, and so much inspiration that my heart hurt.

It. was. Incredible.

I decided to stick around my favourite city for a few extra days, so mid-week I switched from the hotel to my friend Dana’s house and went exploring on my own. I’ve been to LA over 22 times before (what can I say, I always have and always will adore that place), but this time something was different. I felt so at home, and I covered so much ground so quickly just out of pure excitement. From Venice Beach to Silverlake, I went just about everywhere, and though a lot of the places I went to were clearly marked on a map of favourites from my past visits, I came across a whole bunch of unexpected wonderful things too.

I don’t even know how to conclude this. I ate the best vegan food of my life EVERY day, I had drinks with PETA employees and bonded over their Sea World protest stories, I helped rescue a kitten with an Uber driver and I spent a morning by the sea reading my favourite book of all time without a trace of loneliness. I felt truly alive, and so crazy inspired that I literally haven’t stopped moving since my plane landed in Toronto last week.

I love you Los Angeles, I really do. Until next time…

Scroll down for my favourite finds, and my list of perfect photo stops!

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Photo Spot Scavenger Hunt //

Some of LA’s most popular photo spots have become really overpopulated since my last visit, so I kept my eye out for less conventional spots over the course of my trip and made a list to share! If you hunt down one of these locations make sure you tag #RAOPphotospot so I can congratulate you!

Wiltern
Department of water and power  (i don’t know which location, but it was many shades of pink!)
Trashy lingerie
Building behind flywheel
100 market street
Westminster garage
HD supplies

New Favourites //

Olive & June
Nasty gal
Reformation
Flannel
L.angels
Alfred Tea
Moon Juice Melrose Place
Cafe Gratitude
Butcher’s Daughter Venice
Rawberri

Places I Still Didn’t Get To //

Milk jar cookies
Blu dot
Cotton hi
Big D’s Burgers

Keep your eyes peeled for my follow up post about the #GIRLBOSS show coming soon to Netflix, plus my interview with Sophia and a list of her favourite LA Vintage shops!

I'll Follow You Anywhere

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The first time I visited Montreal I fell head over heels for the city. I immediately decided I needed to learn French and move up there at any cost, and for awhile I really worked on the dream… but then things really took off for me here in Toronto. Before I knew it, I hadn’t even visited Montreal for over three years, and I’d lost track of what I even liked about it in the first place.

When Sonnet Insurance invited Team RAOP to be their guests at Osheaga just a week before the big festival we were skeptical, but we decided to make it work. Johanna and I hadn’t seen each other for weeks thanks to a family trip on her end and Wayhome on mine, so we figured why not meet somewhere new instead of back at home? She flew in from Halifax and I flew in from Toronto, and there we were ready to explore Montreal together.

And oh, did we ever explore!

If I was head over heels for Montreal before, I was flat on my back on the floor this time around. So many beautifully designed restaurants! The most tasty coffee ever! Cute pastel houses galore! We honestly compiled a city guide twice the size of our LA trip guide after only three short days (most of which were spent at a music festival!)

Scroll down for our picks (sorted by neighbourhood) and please let us know what we missed in the comments for next time!

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Mile End

Citizen Vintage // vintage store
General 54 // vintage + locally made boutique
Unicorn Boutique // women’s apparel + jewellery
Boucle & Papier // cards + gifts
Empire Boutique // unisex vintage + locally made goods and apparel
Lowell // leather goods + unisex locally made clothing
St-Viateur Bagel // bagels
La Diperie // soft serve ice cream
Boutique Vestibule // decorative accessories and clothing
Ferlucci Café Boutique // A sweet Italian coffee shop

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Plateau Mont-Royal

Suwu // plant filled bar + hip-hop brunch
Pompette // sliders + cocktails
GAB // coffee shop
Noble Cafe // vintage + locally made goods and apparel
V de V // housewares + pretty things
Hof Kelsten // bakery + deli
Soupe Soup // soup + sandwich shop

Other Neighbourhoods

Le Café Pista // soup + sandwich shop (Beaubien)
Agrikol // Haitian food (The Village)
Sophie Sucrée // vegan pastry shop (The Village)
Le Mal Nécessaire // tiki bar (Saint-Laurent)
Café Saint-Henri // cafe (Saint-Henri)
September Surf Cafe // coffee shop with surf retail store + DIY surfboard workshop (Little Burgundy)
Hoogan et Beaufort // stylish restaurant (Rosemont)
Tommy Cafe // cafe (Old Montreal / Notre Dame)
Venice // California style health food + clean eating restaurant (Old Montreal)