Dear DiaryDress Up

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As if by magic, I’m somehow already over halfway to meeting this baby! I remember when I first got my positive test result and mapped out the trimesters, 20 weeks seemed like a lifetime away, and every moment was spent just wishing my belly would grow enough to show. I remember standing in the mirror trying to puff myself up and constantly worrying I somehow wasn’t actually pregnant.

Yet here I am, heading into week 22 (!) and In a lot of ways it still doesn’t feel any more real – even after that 20 week anatomy scan showing each tiny arm, and even as my belly grows far too big to fit into any of my old outfits. I expected to feel so sick and in a constant state of discomfort during my pregnancy, just like in the movies, but I’ve been so incredibly lucky this past 5 months with how healthy, energetic and happy I’ve felt that I seriously have consistently worried I’m not actually pregnant almost the whole time. I guess pregnancy anxiety in my case is very very real, even if the more typical symptoms haven’t been! Oh and the boobs, I definitely have the boobs as evidence.

SO what happens now? Waiting on that first “for sure” kick has seriously been agony for me. It finally happened late last week (I think? How do you know for sure!?) and I’m still impatient for a more serious kick so I can REALLY FOR SURE know this is all really happening. What can I say, this motherhood thing has been so surreal! I’m genuinely starting to worry I won’t fully believe there’s an actual baby in there until I’m actually in labour/giving birth. Some of my mom friends have even said years down the line, looking at their toddlers, they still don’t believe it!

And of course this process hasn’t been entirely without any lows. Some of my friends who started out supportive when all this was just an idea have since faded or even disappeared completely. I fell down the stairs early on and probably cried harder about the fact that no one was there to pick me up than I did about the actual fall. I’ve had 3 UTI’S (I get them chronically) and this last one has gone on for a month, totally resistant to the few antibiotics I can take. Some nights I fall asleep happily cuddling my pregnancy pillow, and some nights I fall asleep worried sick about my finances and wishing I had a partner to rant to. I may have had an “easy” pregnancy so far, but nothing worth doing is ever just easy, and of course there are times when I’m scared and worried and just want a hug. So I’ve made the choice to stay as positive as I possibly can and focus on all the good in my story, because at the end of the day this is everything I’ve ever wanted, and though nothing is ever perfect, this magical time is pretty darn close in my books!

Some fun new features that have come out since my initial announcement:

My interview with the Unapparenthood podcast here
This interview on the FASHION magazine site here

And now over to you guys! Here are my answers to all the things you wanted to know.

Q+A //

Did you consider other paths to parenthood when making your decision? Such as adopting or fostering? If you did… did you find any barriers in those processes being single? // It was definitely something I thought about, but yes, there are a lot of things about my lifestyle that would make that route pretty difficult. It’s absolutely a lot harder to qualify as a young, single woman who rents her apartment and has two dogs and a cat, with a fairly nondescript job title/business to boot. In all honesty I also really deeply have always wanted to be pregnant myself if it was a possibility, though adopting in the future when I have a partner and the process isn’t so daunting is absolutely still on the table.

I’m dying for nursery sneak peeks! // They’re coming! All setup is on hold until the ceiling mural I have commissioned Johanna for is finished. Once that’s complete and the light fixture goes up, everything else will start to take shape.

Are you finding out the gender? + Have you found out gender yet? // This is by far my most asked question I get, pretty much on the daily, and it’s a bit of a point of contention for me if I’m being real. I have always felt there was way too much focus on gender for expecting parents, and knew I personally wouldn’t want to find out long before I started trying. It’s not just about being excited for the surprise, which I totally absolutely am, but also my understanding of how fluid gender can be and how detrimental gendered parental expectations can be in turn. Let me explain:

I have dated all over the gender spectrum, and I’ve seen so many wonderful people that I care about deeply suffer from the impacts of not turning out the way their parents anticipated based on determination of sex at birth. I understand knowing what you’re having can make the whole baby thing feel more real in so many ways, and a big part of me craves that, but I think in a lot of cases it also kickstarts how you think your child will be and how society starts to perceive your child will be, before they even take their first outside breath, all based on a body part. I dated someone for years whose mother was absolutely heartbroken her child hadn’t turned out to be the straight, feminine woman she had expected to raise, so wrapped up in the fact that her kid wasn’t settling down with a nice man in a white wedding dress that she couldn’t celebrate all the incredible things this person was doing in the world. I remember hearing this story – whenever she did laundry she’d throw out her child’s American Apparel unisex underwear and replace them with frilly bikini cuts. I also had a trans* partner whose parents felt such a massive sense of loss when their child came out to them, constantly struggling with the idea of losing their daughter instead of grasping how truly remarkable, happy, and brave their son was.

These relationships were painful to watch as an outsider, and I swore I’d never make my kid feel like they had to dress, look or behave a certain way to be worthy of my love and support, especially when it comes to gender expectations. Of course I will find out the gender of my baby when they’re born, and I will be using gendered pronouns like he/she until my child is old enough to tell me to do otherwise, but I don’t want to get overly attached to my kid being a certain way because of something that in the end isn’t necessarily solidified or all that important. At the end of the day, I just want a baby to love, and I hope more than anything they’re happy and healthy.

As for decor and wardrobe choices well… let’s just say my love of pink does not subscribe to “boy or girl” norms! #allpinkeverything

What has surprised you the most about pregnancy? // Probably how surreal the whole thing has felt. As I mentioned I haven’t really been that sick, sore, or exhausted, which means some days I wake up and before I reach down and feel my belly I have a wave of fear it was all just a dream. I also like being pregnant so much that it’s almost like I can’t image the baby really arriving, like I might just stay pregnant forever? I think I expected to be one of those talking to my belly women but I’m still not fully grasping there’s someone in there to listen.

Are you dating while pregnant? I worry that after I conceive I’ll be alone forever! // Absolutely! I have a whole article on this coming out on the FLARE site very soon so I won’t go into too much detail… but don’t be afraid! NO ONE stays alone forever, and people with kids get together and join their families all the time. Yes, being pregnant and having a baby cuts out a lot of potential partners who aren’t ready for that yet, but if this is something you want, you didn’t want someone who isn’t ready anyway! I think of it as a really great auto-filtration system for my dating life.

Will you be getting a nanny? (no judgement!) // I’m not totally sure yet, but it’s likely I’ll need some help when it comes to running my own business and being a mom. Of course we all hope to have that sleepy newborn who can sit lazily in a bouncy chair for hours while mom gets work done, but I’m going with the “expect the worst and hope for the best” strategy. My family will be staying with me to help for as long as possible and when they head back to Vancouver I’ll have to evaluate what kind of childcare setup I need, if any! Certainly not against the idea, especially if it’s someone who comes to help out while I’m home working so I’m still around for all the milestones.

How long was the process before getting pregnant? // It was pretty quick for me, definitely quicker than I originally expected! I had this totally unfounded fear that I might be infertile because I’d never had any sort of a pregnancy scare, plus my family doesn’t have the best track record with female health issues (hello endometriosis). In the end I tried for three months at home without any clinical intervention or tracking, just over the counter ovulation strips and cycle tracking, and it worked. I guess it was about 10 months from the time I first decided to stop taking birth control until I actually got that plus sign on a test.

How do you maintain a positive body image while pregnant? // This one is tough to answer because in my case it feels really natural to celebrate this new body. It may not be what I’m used to, but I like to think of it as a super body, like my old one but with way more crazy impressive powers. I mean, on top of my daily life this bod is now growing a whole new human! I think staying as active as possible, having fun with how I dress (it’s not everyday you get to layer over a big old bump and huge boobs) and eating healthy have all kept my confidence up, because I haven’t completely lost my old self in this new skin. Doing the things that always made you feel like a confident babe are just as, if not more, important with a baby on board!

I want to know more about your decision to do this alone, I’ve been considering it for a long time // I’m not sure what more there is to say! It didn’t really even feel like a choice to me – I knew for so long this is what I really wanted out of life, and I ran out of reasons not to go for it! Having a baby is always scary, but for me the idea of waiting for the right person and potentially missing my chance was way scarier than going for it on my own.

I was wondering how you selected a donor and what was important to you? // I struggled super long and hard with this one because it’s a huge responsibility, and I genuinely date all sorts of people (I can legitimately fall in love with anyone), which means gravitating toward my “type” wasn’t an option. In the end I tried to choose someone a lot like me, so hopefully I will have as much in common with my kid as possible. Yes I could have gone for an academic or sports star, but without that second person around to identify with and nurture those traits I was worried I would fall short, so I went the more creative route to be safe. Who knows what I’ll actually get, but it was my attempt to be responsible!

What are you most nervous about as you become a mom? // Probably the concern of developing really bad PPD. I’ve struggled with mental health issues my whole life and the idea of feeling detached or down when I meet this baby sort of terrifies me. My mom also had a particularly bad case, which ups my risk of having it too. Luckily I live in a city with a ton of really great resources and lots of help for new moms so even if it does come up, I’m confident I’ll be able to get it under control!

What song puts you in a good mood no matter what? // Not pregnancy related haha, but I can always count on Kokomo by The Beach Boys!

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Outfit credits:
Shein Overalls (search ID 393457, get EXTRA 15% off with code “randomac15”
Mother’s are Magic t-shirt – Bee and Mae
Earrings – Shop Machete
Checkered high tops – Vans
The Motherhood Club pin – Bee and Mae
Don’t Make me Blush pin – Shop Ban.do
Empowered Women Empower Women Button – Paper Heart Calligraphy

Dress Up

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It’s that awkward time where it’s nearly impossible to know what to wear. One day you don a jacket and end up carrying it around feeling annoyed, the next you freeze your butt off in a dress because the sunshine was deceiving from your bedroom window that morning.

Don’t get me wrong – the time of transitional weather is something to savour, but one has to dress appropriately for the occasion. My current go-to combo is sundress + trench coat, ideally with a cup of hot tea in hand and a pair of tights in my purse just in case it’s cooler than expected out.

This blush Club Monaco trench coat has been a staple in my wardrobe since I scooped it up last Fall (pssst, it’s currently on sale!) It’s a slightly heavier weight than most “Spring” jackets, and the cut easily allows a light cardigan underneath if you need an extra layer of warmth. Paired with my favourite dress of the moment, a killer floral number from Dynamite, little white sneakers and the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag I splurged on last time I visited the big apple, it was the perfect look to “bridge the gap” while exploring NYC!

P.S. No, my hair didn’t magically grow crazy long overnight – I got a whole new mane from Locks and Mane! More on that coming soon.

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Random

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Crossing the Charming Princes off of our shopping lists is always the biggest Holiday challenge, but also the most fun to take on. Whether it’s a special someone, a dad or a brother, finding the perfect gift for those on your list with a more masculine aesthetic usually takes an extra bit of elf power.

This year we teamed up to pick up some really great stocking stuffers, gift sets and bigger presents too – in all honesty we ended up wanting to keep most of the gifts for ourselves!

Check out our Charming Prince picks and shopping guide below!

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GIN KIT

Perfect for the budding alchemist, with this kit you can transform a simple bottle of vodka into an outstanding bottle of delicious homemade gin in just 36 hours.

TOOTHPICKS

In all-natural flavours like Bourbon and Ginger Honey, these toothpicks are the perfect stocking stuffer. Daneson also plants 100 trees for each one they cut, so they’re really the gift that keeps giving!

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VANS

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics. Vans Sk8 Hi’s are a good go-to for anyone on your list!

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RICHER POORER

Who doesn’t need new socks and undies? Get ultra-comfy ultra-cool basics from Richer Poorer, and maybe even grab something for yourself while you’re at it!

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SAJE

Diffusers are perfect for purifying the air and look good in any space. Oh and did we mention there’s now a diffuser you can take on the road? Bye-bye pine air fresheners!

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DAVINES

All of the ingredients to give your guy soft, silky, frizz-free locks! Who says he can’t have nicer hair than you?

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SPICEBOMB

Still going strong as our absolute favourite scent for gents, Spice Bomb is a go-to gift!

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HERBIVORE BEARD STUFF

Truly natural and cruelty free, these special tonics and elixirs smell just like a forest and will keep your guy’s face super soft.

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UNIQLO / STAR REGISTRY

Christmas is so much easier now that Uniqlo is open just around the corner! Much, much further away is our very own star that we got to name after our Pastel Prince.

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YOUR PAL AL CACTI & SUCCULENTS

Concrete, succulents and just the right amount of gold from one of our very favourite Toronto artists, Your Pal Al.

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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One of the best things about summer here in Toronto is the cycling culture. Though we’re not the best for bike lanes and we have a horrible reputation for bike theft, the love for cycling is alive and well in our city, and both Jo and I love getting around on two wheels.

A particularly rough winter left Jo’s bike from last summer unusable, and my frame was stripped down late one night to a point where it wasn’t worth it to rebuild, so when this summer rolled around we had, well, no way to roll around.

After a bit of window shopping we decided to put our cycling needs into the trustworthy, grease-covered hands at Curbside Cycle. Known by many as “the friendliest bike shop in Toronto”, this large shop in the Annex is filled with pastel accessory goodness and dreamy bikes galore. With the help of Curbside’s lovely staff we both walked in on two legs and rolled out on two wheels.

After much deliberation we picked twinning team bikes in shades of mint, though Johanna stuck to a more classic style (The Crosby) and I insisted on a speedy fixie (The Victor). Of course hints of pink and gold were non-debatable, so we spiced up our rides with shiny bells, a perfect pastel pink basket, and the cutest pink lights ever. I even sprung for a rose gold cup holder for my handlebars, because well, there is no such thing as too much rose gold!

What do all of those ingredients make when paired with #TeamRAOP and some really cute sneakers? A pastel girl gang on two wheels, ready to roll through the city and fill it with summer fun! Make sure you ding your bell if you see us coast by?

Scroll to the bottom for an RAOP exclusive discount code at Curbside!

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Ready to upgrade your bike gang’s game? Get 15% off on all Pure City and Pure Fix bikes, all Basil products including baskets, bells & bags, all Abus locks and all Bookman on the Curbside site with code “RAOP15”


All clothing via Ban.do, shoes via VANS, all bike accessories via Curbside Cycles

Dress Up

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In a completely random twist of fate a few weeks back I somehow found myself at the Vans sample sale here in Toronto, and upon learning that all of the shoes just happened to be my size, I knew I’d been brought there for a reason.

Even though I’m usually not super into animal prints, I found myself inexplicably drawn to a pair of leopard print Vans, and after comparing them with a few other much more typically RAOP pairs, I decided to take them home.

As strange as it sounds, these loud slip ons have managed to breathe new life into my wardrobe, providing a much needed pop of texture and fun to otherwise ordinary outfits. Though they seemed like a strange purchase at the time, I’m so glad I “adopted” them into my pastel life. I guess you never know when or how you’re going to surprise yourself!

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Coat and Sweater from Aritzia, Backpack by Golden Ponies, Jeans from Wildfox Couture, Sunglasses by Ray Ban, Shoes by Vans