Dress UpI'll Follow You Anywhere

This project has been a LONG time coming! I’ve been pastel hunting for “good walls” for so many years now, and though I always wanted to do a guide like this for Toronto but the colourful walls there were few and far between, and every time I’d get a substantial list together half the walls would be painted over with a darker colour or covered in graffiti tags (insert old lady eye roll.

When I moved to Vancouver this past spring I was amazed by the seemingly endless colour wall options all over the city (and beyond!) Despite having grown up here, and visiting annually for the past twelve years, I had never really noticed just how many #randomactsofpastel can be found in alleyways, down the side of warehouses, and decorating storefronts. It’s one of those fun things that you notice once, and then forever notice everywhere you go (you just wait!)

Before long I had a google doc going with intersections, addresses and company names pointing to rainbow stripes, mint green murals and faded pink facades. It quickly became clear this list was too good not to share, so armed with my camera and a very patient, sweet, wonderful boyfriend (thanks Jonnie), I set out to document as many of the colourful walls that I’ve spotted over the past few months as possible. Some of the photos in this list have already made it to the Instagram grid, either recently or through snaps I took on my past visits to Vancouver, but there’s also a lot of totally new shots (with outfits inspired by each different location, of course!)

The final result? A prismatic pastel rainbow tour of the city as seen through my favourite photo walls!

Pink //

Casa Gelato (1033 Venables St) – East Van

This is THE pink wall in Vancouver. There’s a ton of space, different angles / options depending on where the sun is at in the sky and what kind of exposure you’re looking for, and best of all, it’s part of a very fun ice cream shop that I HIGHLY recommend working into your shoot plans! I took my pregnancy announcement photos here (and continue to shoot here with Summy) so it holds an extra special place in my heart, and obviously, gets top place on the list!

Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant (1132 E Hastings St) – East Van

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter than Casa Gelato, Pink Pearl is just a few blocks away and I hear the Dim Sum is delicious!

Pink Palace (2222 Bellevue Ave) – West Van

An architectural wonder on the West Van waterfront, this building was based off of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, and reminds me of wedding cake every time I drive past.

Honorable Mention //

Opus Hotel “It’s Love Baby Wall” (322 Davie St) – Yaletown

This tiny slice of pink wall is perfect, for, well, a baby! I heard a rumour this one is already gone but I haven’t been by in person to confirm yet.

Lorna Jane (295 Terminal Ave) – East Van

A bright magenta pink building with lots of wall space, but I haven’t shot anything there yet as it’s a bit bright for my feed!

Orange //

Vancouver Taxi (790 Clark Drive) – East Van

Patchy orange with lots of greenery, and different shades from painting over graffiti (which I always sort of love) but not a ton of space to shoot larger scenes.

No. 5 Orange (205 Main St) – East Van

A darker burnt orange wall with a good amount of space to shoot! Perfect for autumn outfit photos with your pumpkin spice latte. And in case you google it – yes, yes this building houses a strip club.

Honorable Mention //

Hey Kokomo (2028 Vine St.) – Kits

This storefront is the perfect shade of peach but it’s mostly window (not much space for a full body shot!) Fingers crossed someday the paint the alleyway down the side the same colour.

Yellow //

Granville Island Kid’s Market + Bridges Restaurant

Note: Granville Island has a wealth of colourful walls in general! Personally I’ve spotted blues, greens, a small pink, but the possibilities are endless when wandering around that sweet tourist spot. Make sure you go on a weekday if you want to beat the market crowds!

Andina Brewing (1507 Powell St) – East Van

A darker shade of yellow panelling, this brewery doesn’t have a ton of open space to shoot but it works well for “top half only” shots (or full body if you don’t mind the non-yellow bit at the bottom). I’ve also heard they serve great Ceviche!

Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale (290 West 3rd Ave) – Near main Street

We happened across this perfect pastel yellow warehouse while shooting at Juke Print (you can see one from the other!) and it’s the ideal photo wall if yellow is what you’re looking for.

A-Tech Auto Service (328 Clark Drive) – East Van

Right in the same neighbourhood as the Andina dark yellow, Relaxus dark purple, and __ dark blue, I love the texture of this softer buttery shade of yellow. There’s also a very good RED just down the street at Callister Brewing (red is the anti-pastel, so it doesn’t get an official spot on the list.)

Green //

North Shore Taxi (264 Pemberton Ave) – North Van

If you’re looking for the perfect key-lime backdrop, look no further than this taxi HQ (right across from the pink and purple garages mentioned above!)

Warehouse at the Corner of Pacific and Hornby – Central Vancouver

This seemingly abandoned warehouse building near the Burrard Street Bridge is a great shade of green on all sides, and because it’s not currently in use there are few cars in the way.

Angel Building (68 East 1st Ave) – Main Street

Painted cement in the ideal shade of toothpaste green tucked on a very unexpected street just off main. This spot is super close to the light blue listed below!

Honorable Mention //

Queen’s Park (4600 Cambie) – Upper Main Street

Rumour has it there are cute mint spots in this park but I have yet to see them myself! Can anyone confirm?

Century Car Wash (33 E 2nd Ave) – Main Street

I’ve been eyeing this adorable tiled mint wall for awhile and will add a photo here when I’ve shot something there!

Meetrice Noode (4488 Main Street) – Main Street

A neon green wall on the side of a restaurant

Helen’s Grill (4102 Main Street) – Main Street

Patchy Kelly green down the side near the bus stop!

Blue //

Despatch Centre (1481 Franklin St.) – East Van

This massive building is darker blue at the bottom, and lighter blue at the top, which means there are so many options for shooting there (and all the space to do so!)

Main + Industrial (228 Industrial Ave) – Main Street

For a lighter, aqua blue, look no further than the big blue building at the bottom of Main Street. There are also darker blue accents that can be worked into photos (see cute example from my pal Tina’s account here)

Purple //

Capilano Custom Interiors (1311 Pemberton Ave) – North Van

Maybe one of my favourite unexpected photo spots ever! I came across this pastel set of garages on a run shortly after I moved to the North Shore and stopped in my tracks! Bonus – it’s almost directly across from Douce Diner, one of my favourite breakfast restaurants in the city.

Palette Coffee Roasters (323 Semlin Drive location) – East Van

Good coffee, and a great purple wall! Lots of different spots to shoot with varying shades of purple and interesting textures. I highly recommend following the building around the corner for my favourite section!

RELAXUS (1590 Powell Street) – East Van

A brighter, deeper purple option with tons of space to shoot and different wall textures down the sides.

Murals //

Jukebox Print – Near Main Street

A fun rainbow striped wall with lots of space and different colour variations depending on where you stand. There’s even a little rainbow staircase!

City Centre Motor Hotel (2111 Main St) – Main street

This hotel/motel looks somewhat unremarkable from the front, but walk down the side of the building and you’ll find one of the most magical pastel works of art in the city.

Arbutus greenway (1606 W 5th Ave) – Kits / South Granville

The greenway is an amazing pathway to explore by bike or on foot, and it crosses through a handful of epic photo spots. There’s a honeybee mural nearby, but this abstract wall of shapes where the path meets Fir St. is my pick.

Dachi mountain mural (2297 E Hastings St) – East Van

One of my favourite restaurants in the city, and one of my favourite murals too! Go for the photos, stay for the wine and oysters.

Fun Alley (106 W 1st St) – Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver

Doesn’t get much better than a colourful alleyway complete with continued painted pattern on the ground!

Elyse Dodge “Traverse” mural (812 East Cordova Street) – Strathcona

I am a big fan of Elyse’s work, and this massive mural is a total showstopper. She and I have teamed up for a framed print giveaway, coming soon to the feed!

Alley-Oop – Downtown Vancouver

Yellow, pink, purple AND orange? Oh my! This colourful alleyway has a basketball court vibe but lots of plainer bits for photos too (pink example from my feed here)

Honorable Mention //

Pink and blue “It’s Love Baby” mural @ Davie and Thurlow (beside Denny’s)

Hootsuite primary colour shapes mural (111 E 5th Ave)

A few general courtesy reminders:

-If the wall belongs to a business, try to support that business! Eat at the restaurant, buy a product they sell, or use their services at a later date.

-Try not to park illegally or get in anyone’s way! I am always conscious not to disrupt business if I’m using someone’s building for photos without paying.

-If you come across a location on this list (or otherwise) that has since become private property, please ask permission before entering!

What colourful walls did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Dress Up

Holy wow, it’s been a minute!

In all honesty I didn’t even intend to put together this post – the stress of existing in the world these past few months has taken a massive toll on my creativity and I’ve seriously struggled to write anything more than an Instagram post.

But it turns out fresh pink hair is a really great motivator – a breath of fresh “hair” in these troubling times!

One of the big challenges for me when facing our unexpected move to Vancouver was losing all of the amazing connections I’d made over my 12 years in Toronto. Not just my beloved friends and my work contacts, but my cool dentist, the neighbourhood coffee shop, our family doctor, and my hair dream team! It took a long time to find “my people” in such a big city, and the idea of starting from scratch was pretty disheartening.

I hadn’t put much thought into my hair between the stress of moving and everything else happening in our lives, but a few weeks ago I drove by GlosSalon in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood and instantly knew I had to make an appointment. My incredible friends at Blyss salon in Toronto left some big shoes to fill (love you Amanda and Alyson), but I had a good feeling about GlosSalon – it was love at first sight after all.

A few weeks later I found myself in Elise’s chair discussing what I might want – I had walked in wanting to be as blonde as possible without a bleach out, but as soon as we started chatting I changed my tune. Why go more blonde and not add some pastel?

The great thing about pastel colours is no matter how bright they start out, they fade super quick, especially this time of year when sunshine and swimming is abundant. In my experience, a pink or purple will always fade to a beautiful shade of blonde, so there’s not much to lose (but be careful with shades of blue, yellow and green!) We decided to use Davines pink conditioner, a natural tinting product that leaves hair super silky, lasts surprisingly long, can be modified (by adding conditioner) to lighten the shade of pink, and can be bought to take home for touch ups. I love this product so much that I even did a DIY with the old version (the formulation now is similar and the tutorial stands true) years ago. You can read the step-by-step here!

Elise did an incredible allover highlight job to make my blonde base dreams come true – I was so impressed by her patience and attention to detail when it came to putting in (what felt like) the hundreds of foils. The salon itself was truly magical – like being on vacation for the afternoon (without the current travel risks!) I soaked up every second in GlosSalon’s beautiful space, and even did a bit of shopping while my highlights processed. Apparently pre-covid they also served glasses of rosé alongside services, and you best believe I’m already excited for that add on to return!

If your hair is already pre-lightened and you want to try adding a pinch of pink at home, I highly recommend the Davines Pink Conditioner that we used. If you’re local, you can buy it directly from GlosSalon, or online !

Special thanks to GlosSalon for the amazing service!

Dress UpOh so Pretty

Tis’ the season for holiday parties, rocking around the Christmas tree, and great hair! There’s nothing I love quite like getting all dressed up at Christmas time – let’s be real, it’s the only bit of the year where adults cover themselves in sparkles and sequins and it’s considered totally normal. Stories are stocked up with all the glitter, and let’s just say I always feel like it’s my time to shine.

I usually struggle with dry brittle hair in the winter, but this year I have the blessing of pregnancy hormones on my side, making my hair much more full and luscious than usual. For the first time in a long time I’m taking my hair health seriously, sleeping with a silk head wrap (LOVE Silke London) and being wary of using too much heat. I’ve also been letting my natural colour grow in, which means with less bleach I’ve needed to get used to washing my hair way more, so choosing a good shampoo and conditioner combo has never been higher on my priority list! This holiday season that means the new OGX x Nicole Guerriero Limited-Edition Holiday Collection.

I am scent-obsessed, so this super cute Disco-themed festive collection is absolutely speaking my language. Created in collaboration with beauty influencer Nicole Guerriero, the three shampoo and conditioner pairing scents are Ice Berry Queen with sugared cranberries, jasmine and amber, Midnight Kisses with warm vanilla, orange blossom and sugar cane, and my personal favourite, Mistletoe Wishes. With notes of red holly berries, light fresh evergreens, and a touch of sparkling grenadine, your hair really can’t get more Christmassy than this!








Available for $10.99 each at most major retailers and drugstores like Shoppers Drug Mart, this collection is only here until Christmas, so make sure you get them on your list to Santa!

Lash Extensions via N15 salon

Dear DiaryDress Up

Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!










Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?

Dear DiaryDress Up

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!







Outfit credits:
(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

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