Party TimeSips, Sweets & Snacks

Alyssa: We firmly believe that all Canadians deserve a sunny vacation when the cold weather rolls around, but it’s not always an option for everyone between finances, busy jobs, and well, life in general really. I was lucky enough to escape most of the winter chill this year, but the rest of #TeamRAOP back home had to get a little more creative. Queue Couch Island, our go to strategy for winter survival:

Jo: It’s a rough time here in Canada – we’re right in the middle of the coldest time, Christmas is long gone behind us and ‘the most depressing day of the year’ just breezed by. The obvious answer is to get away; Mexico, The Bahamas, Costa Rica, LA (in Alyssa’s case) but we know it’s not always that simple, so we’ve created an oasis inside our own home, and you can too!

This ultimate stay-cation themed lounge fest always helps us fight off those winter blues, and it’s inspired by one of my favourite places to visit: couch island (a close second to bed island). Inexpensive, close to home, safe, warm and filled with friends and loved ones, there’s really no better place to be when the temperature drops. Our version includes Malibu Rum Frozen Pina Coladas served in pineapples, tropical snacks, colourful decor and of course RAOP’s go-to in the ultimate guide to staying at home: a selection of our current favourite music and reads via Playster. Through the glow of the pink flamingo neon light and the sounds of our favourite tunes we can hardly tell we’re not actually in a beach cabana…

You can find our custom RAOP playlists here:
RAOP’s Sunshine Station
RAOP’s Couch Island Book Club

Looking to make your own perfect Malibu Rum Frozen Pina Colada? Scroll down for the recipe!















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Malibu Rum Frozen Pina Coladas

What you’ll need //

2 oz malibu original
3 oz pineapple juice
1.5 oz coconut cream
1/4 oz lime juice
1 dash simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
coconut flakes
fresh pineapple

We used a core-er to hollow out pineapples as cups. Simply blend on high until smooth and garnish with coconut flakes, fresh pineapple and a cute straw. Now grab some snacks BFF’s and strand yourself on your very own Couch Island!



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A special thanks to Society 6, Sunnylife & ShopRAOP for providing our comfy-tropical decorations.
And thanks to our models Meghan Yuri Young and TeamRAOP members Kelsie & Olivia

Dress Up

Though the weather hasn’t been the best and I find myself busier with work than ever, this summer has been pretty wonderful so far. I’ve had the chance to work on a ton of fun creative projects, celebrated my blog’s first birthday, and coordinated an incredible party shoot with Bicyclette. Perhaps the biggest event so far though was Sarah’s visit.

Sarah and I have been best friends since we were eight years old, and though our closeness has come and gone, I don’t think any time has been quite as rough as this past year. Last summer Sarah decided to go to grad school in Vancouver, where we’re both from, and at the end of August she left her life here behind, including me. It was so hard to see her go, and even harder to have such an incredible year of success and excitement without really being able to share it with her. We kept in touch nonstop, sending one another cards and packages, but it just wasn’t the same. I felt like part of myself was missing.

Sarah’s visit these past two weeks was so bittersweet that it’s hard to even sum it up. We did all sorts of amazing things she wanted to do, and went a handful of places that I had promised to show her. It certainly wasn’t perfect, and if I’m being totally honest things did feel a little bit different at times, but when push comes to shove we had an amazing two weeks filled with beauty and adventure.

One of my favourite days with Sarah was when we headed to Toronto Island to shoot photos with Brianne for a Take me Out post. We spent the morning frolicking around the island taking pictures, and in the afternoon we lazed around on the beach until we were so hungry that we had to leave. It was a beautiful day filled with hundreds of tiny beautiful moments; here are some of my favourites!







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Photos by Brianne Burnell

Dress Up


One of the best parts of focusing on blogging has been the incredible connections I’ve made with artisans and makers right here in Toronto, and everywhere else! Though technology can feel a bit vast and sterile sometimes, lately I’ve been feeling the opposite: there are so many lovely online communities and charming folks out there! In fact, it was through Instagram that I met the lovely Tara-Lynn Morrison of Good Night, Day.

When I first got a message from Tara-Lynn, I was excited but also a little bit nervous. I’d seen her gorgeous knitwear all over the city, and I was super intimidated by her! Once we started chatting of course, it quickly became clear that we were both a little awkward and unsure, and a wonderful friendship began to form very quickly. Tara-Lynn knit me some of my favourite new pieces over the holidays, and when I returned from my trip home to Vancouver we continued to chat and share photos and articles back and forth.

A few weeks ago, Tara-Lynn and I decided to take our online friendship to the real world. She invited me over to her cozy apartment in Hamilton for a knitting lesson, and I couldn’t rsvp “yes!” fast enough!





I arrived at Tara-Lynn’s on a particularly blustery Thursday with a bag full of vegan chocolate chip cookies and some yarn. We spent the day curling our hair, drinking vegan chocolate cherry shakes, and knitting, which in my books is pretty much the perfect way to pass the time! Tara-Lynn had picked up a vegan chickpea mini pot pie for lunch (so delicious), and spoiled me with the cutest little hat I’ve ever seen (it’s like a toque with pompoms built in!) I even got to meet Tara’s delightful daughter Enid, who is probably the coolest human alive (she has green mermaid hair and she’s only 11!)

All in all, it was the perfect day, and by the time I left I had a whole bunch of new knitting knowledge, a gorgeous finished cowl, lots of warm fuzzies, and a new, real-life friend. Maybe living in the internet age isn’t to scary after all.






In the mood for some handmade knits? I thought you might be! Tara-Lynn has graciously extended a special 15% off code for all you lovely readers! Simply type in SPRINGISCOMING when you checkout.