Dear DiaryI'll Follow You Anywhere

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When Mary Kay first approached us about driving their pink Cadillac around for a day, we couldn’t decide where to head first. Should we go apple picking in a neighbouring town? Spend an evening at the drive in movies with buckets of popcorn? Visit one of our favourite local sweet spots to load up on treats?

And then it struck us like a bolt of sugary lightning: let’s spend a day visiting ALL of our favourite Toronto sweet spots!

If you’re ever stuck for sugar in the big smoke, or visiting from out of town in search of new desserts, you now need look no further than the #RAOPtreattour. True, we weren’t able to cover everything (the pink Cadillac was super speedy, but you know, speed limits…), however we did capture all of our absolute top pastel picks. We even made up a little map of all the places our Mary Kay Caddy took us so you can retrace our route yourselves!

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Okay, let’s backpedal for a second. Why a pink Cadillac in the first place?! Well, in case you hadn’t heard, Mary Kay has a long tradition of providing their top achieving Independent Sales Directors with a pink ride to peddle their lipsticks, blush, mascara and more out of. Legend has is Mary Kay herself walked into Cadillac and asked them to match her custom car to a lip and eye palette in her purse, and when she realized how eye catching it was to be out and about in a rose-tinted ride, she decided to add it to her Career Car fleet! Cute right?

We didn’t sell any Mary Kay during our #randomactsofcaddy day, but we DID fall in love with a whole bunch of lipgloss, listen to nonstop Ariana Grande and ingest a mountain of sugary goodness! It was a pretty crazy experience to see how people around us reacted, and honestly we had a hard time giving our dream ride back when the day was done – we’re still getting Instagram comments and messages from people who spotted us on our sweet adventure!

Scroll down for the #RAOPtreattour map, and more details about our picks!

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Kitten and the Bear //

We can’t express our love for this place enough – there’s honestly nowhere sweeter in the whole city. Sit in for an exquisite tea service, or take a scone milk latte and loaded scone sammie to-go!

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Peace Treats Co. //

New to the Toronto sweets scene, Peace Treats Co. is taking the city’s frozen dessert scene by storm with their “more is more” style milkshakes. Every single flavour is a work of art, but we highly recommend the “Amusement Park” if you’re craving some ultimate pink cotton candy magic for your Instagram feed.

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Glory Hole Donuts //

Do-nut even get us started on how great these donuts are! Glory Hole is home to the famous “toast and butter” flavour (just trust us and try it), plus they offer ice cream donut creations, incredible seasonal flavours like cherry pie, and a few daily vegan options if that’s what you fancy.

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Bake Shoppe TO //

If you ask a Torontonian to direct you to the city’s most popular bakery, they’d probably send you in the direction of Bake Shoppe. With a menu of epic goodies including ruffles chip marshmallow squares, homemade pop tarts, and the best chocolate brownies you’ve ever tasted, this place is an absolute must-taste on the treat tour.

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Petit Nuage //

There are plenty of big fancy macaron shops in Toronto, but Petit Nuage makes the best of the bunch out of her tiny shipping container storefront. You haven’t lived if you haven’t tried the cloud-like “Nimbus” macaron (it’s filled with soft marshmallow and it’s truly divine.)

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Through Being Cool //

If you’re on the hunt for vegan baked goods that taste like they came hot out of your grandmother’s oven, this is the stop for you. We’re especially addicted to their sprinkle donuts, the massive slices of cake, and the gooey cookies!

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Who did we miss? Share your favourite Toronto treat spots in the comments!

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

Dear Diary

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Ever since I first saw The Little Mermaid, I’ve craved the ability to live underwater. There’s something so magical about the idea of being able to swim with a fin, to lie on the ocean’s floor and look up at the sky from below.

I never really thought my childhood dreams could come true until I stumbled across Toronto’s newest craze, mermaid school.

AquaMermaid is an amazing concept that allows adults and children alike to experience what it might feel like to swim through life with a fin. The class starts on land at a pool in Toronto’s East End, and after students have perfected all of the correct strokes and kicks, they slip into a full-leg fin! From the moment I first heard about the experience I knew I had to try it, so Johanna and I packed up our swimsuits and headed to the pool.

For starters, mermaid school is THE single most adorable thing on the face of the planet. As if the kid’s excitement as they pick out their fins isn’t enough, the adults are almost equally excited, and there’s nothing more lovely than hearing a 40 year old woman say “Isn’t this amazing? I finally get to live my childhood fantasy!” People big and small gathered on the pool deck from all walks of life, and as we did a warm up stretch we each got to pick out a “mermaid name” (mine was Opal!)

When we eventually got into the water, I was pretty impatient to get going, but it quickly became clear that being a mermaid isn’t quite as simple and carefree as I had imagined it would be in my 5 year old imagination. Once your legs are in the fin, you have to work really hard to stay afloat, so I mostly swam around underwater (aka the incorrect way to swim with a fin apparently!) By the end of the hour long class I had almost gotten the hang of it, but I think I’ll need to spend a little more time without legs if I want to really master my mermaid skills.

Overall it was a totally magical experience that had Johanna and I practically screaming aloud with glee, and I can’t wait to get back into a fin again!

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Photos by Johanna Martin

*Note: The services featured in this post were given to me as a gift for review, but I only write about products and experiences that I genuinely adore, I promise!*

Dear DiaryDress Up

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For a long time Paige and I took a big break from working on projects together. I went through a life changing break up that came with endless ups and downs, and she had to close down her magical little shop. It was a tough time for us both, and as we took space to deal with our own separate issues, we started to drift apart.

A few weeks ago, we decided that two is always better than one, and just like that we started planning and dreaming together once again. Already we’ve made some mega-cute content to share, and I can’t explain how inspiring it feels to be back in Studio B making magic happen again after all this time. We’re not quite ready to release anything yet, but all I can say is get excited!

All of this collaborative teamwork has really had me thinking back to last summer, and the summer before that. Random Acts of Pastel just turned two last weekend, and when I look back it’s really incredible to see how far things have come in such a short time. To quote Katy Perry “I’ve been on fast rocket ship holding on for dear life!”

To get back to my point, all of this reflection has really got me thinking of how I got here, and one of the biggest game changers for me was getting the chance to blog for Bicyclette. Paige asked me to come up with a fun guest blogging series, and together we decided on “Take Me Out”, a bi-weekly column that married fashion and all of my favourite places in the city. Essentially, I picked a place, styled an outfit inspired by it from Paige’s shop, and created a photo story with a little write up. The process helped me connect with small business owners all over the city, hone my photography and editing style, and introduced me to a totally new audience. In short, it was a dream come true, and today’s post is a collection of some of my favourite moments from the column.

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You can see the entire Take Me Out series on the Bicyclette blog here!

Dear Diary

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There’s just over a week left until Paige and I’s second Get Social Workshop, and we couldn’t be more excited to open the doors of Studio B and share our Saturday morning learning and chatting with delightful new friends.

As we work on our presentation and start to finalize everything from florals and decor to snacks and drinks, we thought we’d give you a little peek at what everyone has been wondering about above all else- the gift bags of course!

Putting together gift bags is one of the best parts of planning workshops, and we love receiving all of the fun products in the mail and stuffing each tote like we would goodie bags for a birthday party the night before the big day. This time around we have more amazing sponsors than ever, and we’re so thrilled to be sharing some of our personal favourite things with the workshop attendees! Here’s a bit about what you might find on your chair when you arrive:

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A dreamy gift bag starts with, well, a great bag, so we’ve got a handful of Ban.do’s adorable new pink candy striped totes ready for stuffing! They’re the perfect accessory to carry home all of your treats from the workshop after we’re finished (and trust us, there will be a lot of treats!)

Inside you’ll find a ton of adorable goodies like a Thimblepress confetti push pop for spontaneous celebrations, This is Ground’s metallic “chord tacos” to help you keep organized on the go, a coupon for Good Day Hair Shop (and stickers!), cold pressed juice from The Village Juicery to keep you energized, and so much more. The idea is you’ll go home with everything you need to utilize your new skills and create some fun new content.

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Rumour has it we’ve still left a few surprises for the day of… think magical treats from favourite spots like Bake Shoppe, Kitten and the Bear, and handmade accessories by Lady Hayes.

Do you have your ticket yet? We’re selling out quick, so get on it!

Dear Diary

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This post ended up being a bit late (Spring seems to finally be on its way! Hooray!) but I really felt the need to share a bit about my winter experience, even if it doesn’t actually help anybody until next December.

I’m a West Coast girl at heart, and the only word I can use to describe how cold winters make me feel is miserable. When I first moved to Toronto I was enchanted by the cold- I loved to cuddle, and the snow was oh so pretty. Over the years though I’ve become well, jaded, no longer able to see past my icy feet, lack of energy, and heavy heart.

This winter I found myself falling into the same old sad patterns, pressing snooze on my alarm more and more each morning, dodging plans with people I care about, and constantly apologizing to Honey for the short walks around the block that I had started to chose instead of our usual dog park visits. In short, I was wasting away, but after a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to get out and do something about it. I got back on track with workouts, healthy eating and dog walks, and started to actively seek out adventures and little life improvements that would make me feel better.

Though I won’t go as far as to say I was fully cured, the following are my favourite ways to beat the winter blues.

If I’ve missed anything please comment and fill me in- we could all use a little boost from one another while we wait for Spring to hit!

Visit a Botanical Garden //

I’ve seen a ton of photos on Instagram this winter taken at Allan Gardens, and when I finally got around to visiting them myself I very quickly realized why. Walking through the doors of a botanical garden bursting with life and light is just the thing to help melt a frozen heart. If you can’t afford an actual vacation I highly recommend packing a book and some yummy snacks and spending the day in there thawing out.

Find a new favorite local spot //

Being able to escape your apartment and be out and about with new scenery and human contact can make all the difference when you’re having a down day. My favourite local find this winter has been Home Baking Co., a sweet bakeshop with incredible cookies and pies, and a heartwarming atmosphere that feels like, well, home!

Have a beach day //

The Toronto waterfront is always packed in the summertime, but few people get out and experience just how magical it can be during the colder months. Sugar Beach is always a treat with its pink umbrellas reflecting in the snow, but the real winner this year was the Winter Stations installation at Kew Beach in the east end. My favourite piece was the magical rainbow pinecone (of course.)

Turn your home into a warm sanctuary //

Add as many plants to your home decor as possible, stock up on fancy tea, assemble an army of high-quality candles, and invest in a really good fuzzy blanket. There are so many ways to make your home feel warm, safe, and energizing, but those are a few of my picks.

Get lost in the PATH //

Toronto has an expansive network of underground tunnels, and there are some really great finds down there if you’re willing to get a little bit lost in the labyrinth. I suggest looking up a few places beforehand without glancing at the location, listing them out, and spending a day with a friend down there trying to find them!

Trek to Pmall //

Nothing lifts the spirits quite like an afternoon spent at Pmall slurping noodles, sipping on bubble tea, and stocking up on fun novelty phone cases and obscure beauty products. If you don’t have access to a car you can still get there by bus, but I highly suggest hitching a ride if at all possible (it’s a long, long bus ride, especially in the snow)

… and if all of that doesn’t quite thaw your icy, frozen heart, splurge on a last-minute getaway someplace hot (My Las Vegas adventures are coming soon!)

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