Dear Diary

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!)





Sips, Sweets & Snacks

I’m always on the search for great vegan places to eat, and Tori’s Bakeshop is a true gem. Tucked away in the beaches, one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, Tori’s has vegan and gluten free treats, delicious sandwiches (like smoky coconut bacon BLT), and a bright, cozy atmosphere. Though it’s a bit of a trek to get there from my west end apartment, I try to make my way there are often as I possibly can to load up on treats!

On top of being all vegan with lots of gluten free choices, Tori’s is organic, fresh, and handmade, and there are always tasty new seasonal things to try. I brought my parents while they were in Toronto on vacation and my meat-eating dad loved it so much he begged to go back twice in one week! On my last visit I had a delicious blueberry tea latte with home made blueberry syrup and black tea from a local tea company, paired with a massive, gooey cinnamon bun! I can’t wait to see what easter treats this wonderful spot has in store soon!








Photography by Brianne Burnell