Dear Diary

After seemingly endless celebrations and special treats (with more still to come- hello One Direction!), the big day is finally here. Today is my 25th birthday, and to be honest it feels altogether different than I ever imagined it would.

Last year I remember reading Kelly from Studio DIY’s post about turning 25, her “goal age”, and feeling like there was no way I’d be able to accomplish everything I wanted the way she had in only a year’s time. Last August I was totally broke, in denial about being in a relationship that was very obviously coming to an end, and really lost as a person in general. I knew that I had dreams of starting a family, of owning a home, of building a career that I could actually live off of, but I had no idea how those things would ever materialize on the path I found myself heading down.

For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t really visualize what my future would hold, and it absolutely terrified me.

The past year, it turns out, has been my most challenging, exciting, and intense year ever, and though it came with a lot of very high highs, I’m pretty excited to be turning the page onto a very promising new chapter. It feels like the past 12 months have been on fast forward, with so many massive changes: I ended a very long-term relationship, started living alone after relying on my partner for support and company for 3 years, and got to the point where I was so depressed and penniless that I started to make plans to move back to Vancouver. I was eating terribly, barely making it to workouts, and things I had always loved, like snowstorms and Christmas started to lose their lustre. I tried to get back into dating, and after 6 years I opened myself up to the possibility that I might have interest in cisgender men, but the whole idea seemed really scary and out of reach. I went on a few dates, signed up for Tinder, and even asked my friends to set me up, but every disappointment left me feeling more lonely and unwanted than ever. Essentially, I let my self-worth, my confidence, and the amazing life I’d built slip away. I almost completely gave up.

But then something shifted, and it all turned around.

As a last ditch attempt to save everything I had built here in Toronto, I started freelancing anywhere I could, signed up to work with an agency to help me get blog-related jobs and partnerships, and pitched myself to a tea company as their new social media manager (a position that didn’t exist until I came along.) Once I had successfully done one partnership on my blog, more and more inquiries started to show up in my inbox, and after only two months I graduated from my job running one social media account for the the tea company to my current job at Deck Agency where I get to run accounts for some of the most followed bars and restaurants in the city. As I became a little bit more comfortable with my life in Toronto again and started to pay off the massive debt I had created trying to stay afloat, I fixed up my apartment, started going out on more dates, and forced myself out into social situations to make friends.

Somewhere around January things started to pick up speed at a rate that I never could’ve imagined, and since then I feel like I’ve been running nonstop on a hamster wheel trying to keep up. I’m an energetic person at my core, but I just have so many ideas and plans and dreams, and being the most impatient person I know, slowing down has yet to really seem like a valid option… that said, I really wouldn’t have it any other way! I have the most incredible girl gang of friends behind me, my first RAOP “employee” (who also happens to be one of my very best friends) helping me keep this colourful world turning, and most importantly, I get to do what I truly love every single day. I get to live in a magical, sparkly, pastel world where dreams come true, love can last forever, and anything is possible. Sure, there’s still a lot on my to-do list, but those plans and dreams keep me going full speed ahead, and if this much can happen in 1 year, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 3/4 of my life.

Thank you all so much again for your love and support- I couldn’t do any of this without you, and I’m so excited to kick off another colourful year!

Dear Diary

I have to admit, I’m terrible when it comes to finances. I’m very big on instant gratification, which means collecting pretty things has always won out over building up a savings account or putting away my credit card. I consistently overspend on everything from weekly groceries to photo shoot props, and there have been a few times when I honestly got in super over my head with debt.

As fun as mindless spending can be every once and awhile, it definitely adds up over time, and when this new year started I decided enough was enough: it’s time to be a responsible adult, at least when it comes to my bank account! The first step I took was changing my Visa over to an Avion card so that when I do have to spend I also gain travel points- a decision that helped make my recent trip to Mexico a whole lot more affordable. I also set up a tax-free savings account that I vowed never to touch (not even for a pair of glittery Miu Miu shoes!), and started to make bigger payments on my visa debt every paycheque.

But even with those steps in place, I found I was still struggling with debt. The interest rates on my account were pretty out of control from building up over the years, and no matter how much money I put toward the balance it always seemed to catch right back up with me. Overwhelmed and frustrated with my lack of progress, I turned to Mogo.

Mogo is a new Canadian financial services company that aims to help people like me “Uncredit Card” their lives. First, I signed up for one of their “liquid loans”, an instant loan system with interest rates significantly lower than my actual credit card, and a really manageable payment plan to pay it back. I used Mogo liquid to pay off my Visa in full so that I could put a stop to their sneaky monthly interest charges once and for all, and now every paycheque I make payments on my Mogo loan instead, which meansI pay significantly less interest and I will be debt free sooner! Better yet, if I have the loan balance after 12 months, Mogo will lower the interest rate even further as a reward for good payment history (for example, 9.99 could drop to 6.9). Pretty cool right? Mogo also helped me set up my Visa to pre-pay bills and improve my credit score, but I’ll save that bit for my follow up post when the loan is all paid for.

But wait- there’s more!

I also signed up for a Mogo pre-paid Visa card to use as a Visa replacement during the month. Basically this card acts just like a Visa, but without the fees and high interest. You pre-load it with your allocated spending money, and it even comes in crazy cute prints (I went for macarons- duh!). I’ll report back in a few weeks on this feature!

Last but not least, I started making contributions to my savings pot every paycheque. Now that I have a stable full-time job, putting money aside suddenly feels more important than ever, and it’s nice to watch the money I’m investing in my future slowly grow.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for my update post when the debt has been totally paid!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please send me an email at

Dear Diary

Okay, so before you click “close window” and write me off forever, hear me out on this one. I’m coming up on my 25th birthday, and for the last year I’ve been in a really strange, unnatural mode of thinking. Essentially, sometime around my birthday last year, I decided to stop caring so much. I decided that I would only look out for myself, that focusing on my career made more sense than focusing on relationships, and that I would do what I wanted when I wanted because I was a strong independent woman.

What I didn’t realize is when you don’t care anymore, nothing really matters all that much.

When August first came around this year, I had a massive wake up call. Why on earth was I actively trying not to care about the things that mean the world to me? I’d lost sight of my morals, my hopes and dreams, and my outlook on love and human connection. I was jaded, tired, and somehow along the way I’d managed to become the sort of cold and detached person that I always swore I’d never ever be. I decided that this month, I was going to get back to my natural state- to caring.

For me, part of “caring” has always meant looking out for the welfare of animals, and doing my best to help out. Growing up I volunteered at the Humane Society, and in more recent years I have fostered dogs for the local rescue where I found my pup Honey. A lesser known fact perhaps is that I’ve been a vegetarian almost my entire life! My parents aren’t big on eating “animals that have families”, so my sister and I grew up never tasting a burger, steak, bacon, or ribs. I ate chicken, turkey, and fish like my parents until my teens, and from that point on I’ve been totally meat-free. In my mind, it just doesn’t make sense that something should have to feel pain, fear, and die for the satisfaction of a meal in my belly, and though I often miss the taste and tradition that comes along with meat, for me the guilt just isn’t worth it.

As much as I’m a really great vegetarian, veganism is a whole other ballgame. A few years ago I took on the challenge of eating animal-product free, and I managed to last almost a whole year before a pint of Ben and Jerry’s half-baked got the best of me. Fast forward a few years, and I’m just as into B&J as ever, plus I’ve developed a pretty serious passion for artisanal cheeses (hello smoked cheddar!), which makes veganism feel more impossible than ever. That said, as much as I’m a huge supporter of small, local, ethical eggs and dairy, there are some facts I have a hard time ignoring as an animal lover, and as I head into a new year, I want to know that I’m doing the most I can to minimize suffering in the world every single day. For example, even on small farms dairy cows are kept pregnant over and over again to continue producing breast milk (just like we would have to be). Their calfs are often taken from them before they even get a chance to feed them a single time, because that milk is to be sold to humans of course, and once separated the babies are locked into confined spaces for a very short time until they can be slaughtered for veal. Until I find a dairy farm that doesn’t subscribe to these practices (I would LOVE suggestions!), I can’t help but feel pretty conflicted when I bite into a slice of brie.

So, I’ve taken the plunge. Starting August 1st I’ve been eating vegan, and though I am certainly not promising to never go back, I’m really loving the effect this decision has had on me and the way I eat already. Instead of dialling up takeout or dousing noodles with butter, cheese and truffle salt every night, I’m actually taking the time to plan meals and get back to cooking again, a passion I’ve totally lost touch with over the past few years. I’m also revisiting some of my favourite vegan baking recipes from my plant-based days, and though I’m a lot more hungry (which I didn’t know was possible to be honest), I’m much happier with what I am choosing to ingest.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favourite vegan tips, tricks, recipes and restaurants, and you can follow along with the hashtag #RAOPgoesVegan. I’d also love to hear some of your suggestions too!

Dear Diary

So this month I’m kicking off something a little bit different, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. In the interest of keeping it simple, here’s where I’m at:

For the past year I’ve really lost track of myself, and I’ve recently decided I need to make some big changes, just in time for my 25th birthday later this month. From diet and finances to mental health and relationships, I’m going to be getting into anything and everything on here, and there isn’t much I’m going to leave off of the table. Though I may appear to be mostly visually driven, I’m actually a writer at heart, and though I love spilling out little blurbs about outfits and cute cafes (don’t worry- those aren’t going anywhere) I really miss getting into the real life stuff. So from now until September first I’ll be sharing new plans and dreams, plus special memories, fears, and maybe even a few confessions. It may not be quite as sparkly as what you’re used to, but I’m hoping in the end it will mean a little bit more.

Introducing… My August challenges.