11 April 2020

My favourite recipes for “lockdown” baking

It’s no surprise, since going into lockdown everyone’s been at home baking. I know this because flour, yeast and most other baking supplies are sold out pretty much everywhere. I’ve been baking to the point where I’m starting to get concerned about fitting back into my pre-lockdown clothes, but that’s okay ... let’s just focus on keeping busy, staying healthy and staying sane!

I’ve also been spending way too much time in the kitchen, that I’m starting to think of budget ways I can update my kitchen and have spent way too much time on Pinterest. I’m sharing some of my fav kitchen designs from Pinterest below. You can see all of my kitchen renovation inspiration pins on Pinterest here!

Here’s what I’ve been baking lately:

Bless This Mess Sourdough Bread
I’ve wanted to start a sourdough for so long, but time was never on my side. Being home every day I was able to start and feed a sourdough to the point where I have already gotten two amazing loaves of bread from it. Unfortunately now I am out of all-purpose flour, so until the next time I can find some, our carb overload will need to be on hold. But, I absolutely love the way Bless This Mess explains how to make your own starter at home (read that here), and her video for simple sourdough was so helpful for someone who has literally never baked bread before. Check it out here!

Nourish with Jass Refined Sugar-free Cookies
I love her recipes because they are always really healthy but really delicious. I used this recipe but swapped the chocolate chips with mini eggs for Easter Sunday, and yum — they were delicious!

Blissful Basil Vegan Almond Butter Squares
This is my new favourite recipe for a healthy snack. They’re rich in flavour but packed with fibre and are refined sugar-free. I’ve made this recipe twice already and will probably have to make more this week - they’re definitely a favourite around here.

Live Simply Almond Flour Banana Bread
There’s a big joke about everyone baking banana bread during lockdown, well this banana bread is a regular staple in our house. Tyler loves to enjoy it with his morning coffee, and I love it because it’s a great way to get rid of the half-rotten bananas that I never seem to get through during the week. This recipe is completely gluten-free, refined sugar-free and very moist. So moist I recommend storing it in the fridge! I also recommend adding walnuts or chocolate chips to make it even better.

Against All Grain Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Unfortunately for this one you’ll need a cookbook, but honestly it’s worth it. Danielle Walker’s Meals Made Simple cookbook is one of my favourites, and this recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes can be found inside. I make this cupcake recipe often (rotating between banana bread and this!) since carrot cake it my favourite, and this is a healthy substitution. If you want to make it, you can shop the cookbook here, and the recipe can be found on page 286. Tip: Skip the icing for a muffin-like recipe, and for special occasions add the icing to sweeten it up!


18 February 2020

The cutest shops in Fort Langley (according to me!)

I love Fort Langley. I was in Fort Langley last spring, while visiting my brother and sister-in-law, and thought it was just the sweetest little town filled with so many cute shops. I was just looking through my photos from last year, since we are planning to visit again this May, and thought I’d share some of my favourite shops in the Fort Langley area.

As someone who lives in the suburbs of Toronto, I love finding little gems outside of the downtown core. Vancouver is no different, I LOVE downtown Vancouver, and have found so many amazing places in the core, but the suburbs of Vancouver are just as amazing. Fort Langley was one of my favourite towns outside of Vancouver, and I can’t wait to share some of my favourite little shops in the area.

The sweetest house with the sweetest shop, and the yummiest restaurant on-site. Despite loving the brunch I enjoyed here with my sisters and Mom, I also had a blast looking through their their shop. They carry the cutest selection of home goods, mixed with adorable pastel-coloured clothing. I love following the shop on Instagram, as they often get new items and you can shop online if you don’t live nearby!

In the midst of transitioning to a waste-free lifestyle, I stumbled upon Chuckling Duckling Farm and fell immediately in love. I was amazed to see some of my favourite home cleaning brands (like Sapadilla), but in refillable formats. While bulk stores are definitely on the rise in Toronto, it was in Vancouver where I first discovered these — which makes sense since the West Coast has always been ahead of us as far as “eco” options go! Chuckling Duckling also offers cute soap-making classes, a great idea for a bachelorette party, and other workshops! Check out their site for more on the workshops they offer.

If you love home decor as much as me, you’ll love Livingroom in Fort Langley. It was here that I discovered my love of Fort Candle Co. candles, soy-based candles made in the area! They also have some really sweet eclectic home design pieces that can transform your home. But one of my favourite finds were these little clay herb tags!

Maven is another little shop with plenty to offer — from locally made leather bags, to planters, knick knacks and paper goods, it’s stocked with tons of local goodies. If there was on thing I learned in Vancouver, it’s that so many awesome entrepreneurs live here, and local shops are extremely supportive stocking mostly local goodies.

Little Donkey is a beer and burrito joint in downtown Fort Langley. They have a great list of beers to try and delicious burritos! It was here that I learned that burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish — Mind. Blown.

Not technically in Fort Langley, but in Langley proper is this awesome home store The Passionate Home. I fell in love with the aesthetic of the store and everything it offered — some jewelry, some beauty products and of course amazing home goods including very cute welcome mats! I couldn’t leave this off the list since it’s only a 5-10 min drive from Fort Langley. I fell in love with this candle votive (image below) which would be great for burning my mini Fort Candle Co. candles in!


Another shop in Langley City, The Local Space is exactly what it says it is. A shop dedicated to selling local goodies from local entrepreneurs. One of my favourite brands, k’pure is sold here. A clean, natural skincare brand from the West Coast. This shop also stocks Brunette the Label, Native shoes (the cutest waterproof shoes!) and State of Grace goodies.

In a few months we are heading back to Vancouver for another visit, and there are some new places in Langley I am looking forward to checking out, including:


03 February 2020

My beach bag essentials

We are going to St. Lucia! And I am so excited.

Two years ago, on my 30th birthday, we were in Jamaica sipping on mojitos (or mimosas ... who knows) when we met Jenny and Derek. Actually I lied, I met Jenny during a pit stop on the way to the resort -- we were both in line for the washroom, and the boys were likely already drinking Red Stripe. Anyways, fast forward and after that vacation we stayed friends! Our birthdays are one day apart, which explains a lot. I've always gravitated towards other Sagittarius' and some of my best friends have birthdays close to mine! All this to say, we are heading to St. Lucia WITH Jenny and Derek ... and the countdown on my phone isn't even a small inclination into how excited I am for this trip. We normally go away early January, but with my new job we had to wait a bit longer for a winter getaway. BUT BRING IT ON!

I spent the afternoon at Yorkdale getting some vacation clothes, which I might share in an upcoming post -- or in my Instagram stories (so follow me here!). But realistically, most of what I wear on vacation will be a repeat from our honeymoon... I'm trying not to buy unnecessary stuff anymore since fashion can be so unsustainable. Instead, I'm focusing on shopping for timeless, good quality items I can get a lot of wear out of.

One item I did splurge on today was a new beach bag. I've been using my beige Longchamp Le Pliage tote as a beach bag for years (and I mean YEARS!) but now it's serving as my gym bag so I thought it would be a great time to update my beach tote. The Tory Burch Ella Mini tote has been on my mind for a while. My grandma -- yup! you heard right -- has the black patent mini and I just love it. It's the perfect size for my petite build, and BONUS! it was on sale today. Unfortunately it's not online anymore, but you can shop a similar one here.

So, what will I be carrying in my tote during our trip to St. Lucia? Read on for my beach bag essentials.

1. Not really IN my beach bag per say, but my L*Space Lee Lee bikini will be the first thing I pack for this trip. I bought it for our honeymoon, and it was the best bathing suit splurge I have ever made. It's reversible, comfortable and amazing quality. I got it at Sandpipers in Yorkville, which is a great bathing suit shop with tons of amazing brands. I was hoping to find a Vitamin A swimsuit I loved there, since their fabric is Ecolux (made of recycled Nylon) but unfortunately none of them fit me, so I got this awesome L*Space bikini instead and I'm very happy with it.

2. Coola sunscreen has been a favourite of mine for YEARS. Like even before "clean" skincare was on anyone's radar, Coola and I were buds. For a long time it was really hard to find, but it's now available at Sephora, and my nail salon The Ten Spot sells it too which makes me very happy. The Cucumber Matte lotion for face is my favourite because it calms my skin and protects it from UV rays while reducing shine. This is a great product to use as a primer under makeup as well! (Note: If Coola is out of your budget, try this Attitude SPF30 Face Stick!)

3. For midday touchups, I love the Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder, because it's high in SPF, clean in ingredients, and great for reducing shine. It's pretty hard to find in Canada, but I usually order from Revolve and it comes pretty quickly. Whenever I'm in the states I buy a few at Anthropologie or Sephora -- I'm notorious for stocking up on beauty products in the U.S.

4. As a body sunscreen, Tyler and I both use the Beautycounter Countersun mineral sunscreen. It's formulated with non-nano Zinc and California poppy to deliver sun protection, and hydration. I love this sunscreen. It was really hard to find a good clean sunscreen that didn't have oxybenzoate in it, and wasn't overly greasy. Anyone who has tried other clean sunscreens on the market knows that GREASE is a common complaint, but this one is amazing and has a subtle lemon scent to it.

5. A cute beach hat is a must! They block the sun and protect you from heat stroke. The one in the photo above is not my exact hat, but it's close enough. I actually got my actual "Beach Please" hat in the dollar zone at Target for $5 USD last year. I love it and can't wait to wear it on the beach in St. Lucia.

6. I haven't bought a new pair of sunglasses in years. I probably should, but I haven't found any that I love lately -- except this cute pair at Tory Burch that I tried on today, but had to talk myself out of. I have about four functional pairs from when I worked retail way back in the day, and to be honest since nothing is wrong with them I find it hard to buy new ones. I absolutely LOVE my Ray-Ban aviators. I have a gold mirrored lense pair, and an all-black pair. I will bring BOTH on our trip!

7. Zinc oxide is the only all-natural, broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen on the market. Hurraw uses non-nano Zinc in this lip balm to provide sun protection for your lips, which means only clean ingredients can be absorbed into your body. I love this lip balm, it feels like silk and really prevents my lips from burning. You can buy Hurraw lip balm on well.ca.

8. I would be lying if I didn't list SNACKS on my beach bag must-have list. Anyone who knows me, knows I always have food stashed in my car, desk and purse. I have a fear of going hungry ... that or I just love food. I'm packing enough Usana Wholebio bars for my week in St. Lucia, since I've conditioned myself to eat one a day now. I love these bars, they're stacked with gut-friendly nutrients and tons of fibre - wink! wink! I order them through a friend of mine, her website is here. (Note: Other products I love by Usana are: Nutrimeal Free meal replacement powder, and the Digestive Enzymes)

9. I can't get enough sun protection for my face! Beautycounter Dew Skin is a tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 and sheer coverage, perfect for a day at the beach. It's one of my best sellers, and for good reason. It's perfect for a beach vacation, or to wear under more full-coverage makeup that maybe lacks sun protection.

10. Another item that isn't exactly IN my beach bag, but is a beach day necessity is the Beautycounter After Sun Cooling Gel, to soothe your sun-drenched skin and boost hydration. It smells exactly like you'd imagine a beach vacation to smell like, so it's also the perfect vacation sidekick.

11. I love a good book I can read while getting some sun! Although, as a former English-major I am not sure I can call Stassi Schroeder a good writer. Regardless, I'm almost positive Next Level Basic will be entertaining, as I did hear a sneak peek on a recent episode of Vanderpump Rules, and it sounds like the PERFECT beach read.

12. The PERFECT beach tote, I am obsessed with my NEW Tory Burch Ella Mini tote.

13. Another recent purchase are these Tkees Gemma slides. I bought some Tkees for our honeymoon and had them personalized with my new initials, but they came in and they were too small. So, I sold them (ya, someone bought them even with my initials on them ...) and ordered a new style in a bigger size! Can't wait for these bad boys to get here, I'm really hoping they fit nicely because I just love the Gemma style and think these will look great with so many of my warm weather outfits!

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09 January 2020

Our Honeymoon, Part One: Barcelona and the South of France

I normally write my travel posts on the way home, but my iPad died right before our honeymoon and I JUST replaced it so I apologize that this has taken so long to get up.

We had the most amazing honeymoon, and I honestly could cry every time I think about it because I didn’t want it to end. It was nearly three weeks of absolute heaven. From the south of France, to Barcelona and Mallorca, we really just loved it all and can’t wait to get back to Europe soon!

While we were away I received so many messages from people asking me for our itinerary. And while I am sure no one will do the EXACT same trip as us, I thought I'd share our itinerary and some photos of our favourite spots we stopped at along the way! (Note: I am writing a separate post on Mallorca — so stay tuned!)

Here is a breakdown of our itinerary:

Day 1 - Barcelona
Day 2-4 - Nice (with  day trips to Monaco, Eze, Villefranche-sur-mer)
Day 5-7 - Cannes, Saint Tropez
Day 8-10 - Lauris, Provence
Day 11 - Marseille, Calenques
Day 12-14 - Cap Rocat, Palma
Day 15-18 - Port de Soller (with day trips to Soller, Deia, Valdemossa)
Day 19 - Barcelona


We flew into Barcelona because we had free flights from WestJet (thank you!) and wanted a direct flight as close to France / Mallorca as we could get. I am so happy we chose Barcelona to start and end our trip, because the city is absolutely stunning. For our first stop in Barcelona, we stayed at Hotel Regina which is at the north end of La Rambla. It was an amazing location for checking out La Rambla, Placa Reial and the port. The port was my least favourite part of Barcelona; I am not really a fan of ANYWHERE massive cruise ships stop. I find those areas are always overpriced and too busy.

On the way back home we stayed at Icon BCN, closer to the Sagrada Famiglia, because we had purchased tickets ahead of time (highly recommend doing this because they often sell out the day-of and then you won’t be able to see inside this masterpiece). It was about a 20-minute walk to the church and WELL worth it. The walk was stunning because all of Barcelona is just so beautiful. We also loved the hotel, so we highly recommend staying here if you’re going to be in Barcelona for a few nights. The hotel offers free bike and scooter rentals. If you stay there make sure you check out the back patio and pool! Also take a few rides in their very VINTAGE elevator.


After a night in Barcelona we flew to Nice via EasyJet. While in the South of France we had a rental car so we could sight-see. Others I spoke to prior to our trip used the trains. We saw a lot of train stations, so I'd definitely suggest checking out the train map before booking a rental car if you aren't comfortable driving in busy cities and through crazy, winding mountains. Lucky Tyler is a confident driver so we chose the rental car option.

In Nice, we stayed at an AirBNB in Grimaldi, which is easily my favourite part of Nice. The streets are lined with cafe after cafe and I just felt so at home there. Every morning we woke up and chose a new cafe to have a French breakfast at. A French breakfast is literally a coffee, baguette and croissant (see below). It was heaven. Our days were spent exploring nearby towns, but at night we found ourselves back in Grimaldi hopping from restaurant to restaurant trying a new bottle of rose and enjoying Italian food. Yep - there are lots of Italians in Nice since it is so close to Italy, so most of the dinner menus are Italian! No complaints there.
Le Plongeoir is a very cool over water restaurant in Nice serving Mediterranean cuisine. In the summer there are two diving boards open for jumping into the Mediterranean ocean. It was a cool experience and we were lucky enough to get reservations there on a very beautiful and sunny day!
The beach clubs in Nice are amazing. My personal favourite was Ruhl Plage, where we watched the sunset with a glass of rose every night. The beaches in Nice are all rocky, so don't forget to pack water shoes (I love Native). These will also come in handy in the Calenques and Mallorca!

I recommend staying at Hotel Negresco, but if it’s out if your budget at least go check this hotel out. Every floor is different, and the walls are essentially a museum. Also the main floor washrooms are a dream (see snapshot from the women’s washroom below). Check out my Instagram stories for a tour of both the men's and women's main floor washrooms. The bar on the main floor is everything Tyler dreams of in a Man Cave (photo below), and with your drinks come some divine fleur d'orange infused marshmallows which you must try - shame on all the people who left theirs untouched! You don't know what you were missing! Sorry not a lot of photos from here as it’s a very dark place.

Old Nice

Old Nice was cute. It was a bit more touristy than I imagined it was going to be. It was literally just a long street of open-air restaurants with hosts out front trying to get you to come in and eat. I wasn't a huge fan. I'd recommend Grimaldi over Old Nice to anyone who asks.

Montecarlo, Monaco and Eze

A great day trip we did from Nice was to Montecarlo, Monaco and Eze. You can easily see both places in one day. We started out driving to Montecarlo to check out the famous Casino. It was underwhelming, so instead we walked through a few stores and then descended on the port to check out some ridiculous yachts. After getting lost trying to find our way back up to street level, we decided to head to Eze for lunch since Montecarlo was so busy.

Eze is a tiny village, nestled at the top of a hill between Nice and Monaco. It's rich in history, but to be honest I was more interested in the food and views. At the very top of the village, you'll find Le Jardin Exotique de Eze, an exotic botanical garden that costs 6 Euros to get in but gets you PRICELESS views. Also Chateau Eza is a great spot to grab a drink and enjoy some appetizers. After hiking all the way to the top of the village, you'll be hungry!

Also in Eze is the Fragonard Perfume Factory. We stopped in to do a little shopping (I got my Mom some lavender-scented goodies) and to check out the perfume-making process. I saw many of these stores around France, but none in Spain ... I wish they were sold in Canada!

Another amazing day trip from Nice is to Villefranche-sur-mer. Easily accessible by train (we know because we parked at the train station), this cute and colourful beach town was probably one of our favourite stops along the Cote d'Azur. I loved the beach here. It was made up of tiny tiny pebbles that rolled off your toes when they dried. It was also the first place we realized how densely salted the Mediterranean is, and where I also learned to not shave and then swim in the ocean - ouch.

Saint Paul de Vence

Between Nice and Cannes, we decided to check out the Medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence. It was a fun and windy road to get there, but so worth the drive. The pebbled streets reminded me of a scene out of Romeo and Juliet, and I just felt so much love for this untouched little village. It resembles a fort, with large exterior walls that protected it. And the coolest part is, you can walk along these walls and see the entire village. Tyler was amazed there were no railings -- something that would never fly in Canada!


On Day 5 we made it to Cannes in time for dinner. Upon first impression, I did not like Cannes. It seemed too modern and hip for me. But after taking a few recommendations from our AirBNB owner, we found what Cannes is truly all about. In this case Old Cannes was an absolute dream -- and not overly touristy like Old Nice. I adored this little Michelin star restaurant.
Just east of Cannes beach is Bijou Plage, a much less busy and very gorgeous beach where we spent a lot of time.

We also spent time in some of Cannes very famous beach clubs, especially during sunset.

I was surprised by Day 5 that I hadn't seen macarons in the many cafes and boulangeries we had been to. Finally in Cannes I stumbled upon the Laduree store and got my sugar fix. This was the only macaron I ate the entire trip. Shocking!

Saint Tropez

If you're going to Saint Tropez hoping to find a white sandy beach lined with fashionable beach clubs, keep driving. No actually. The beach of Ramatuelle, where many of the popular beach clubs lie, is often mistaken as Saint Tropez. Saint Tropez is actually a very small, very busy port where many massive yachts park. It is rich with amazing restaurants, but if you want the true beach club experience, drive to Ramatuelle and stop at Nikki Beach Saint Tropez! My favourite part of Saint Tropez? The Dior cafe!


We're leaving the coast for a bit here. We spent a weekend at a vineyard in Lauris called Domaine de Fontanille. When we arrived it was blissfully sunny, but by the next morning it felt like we were in the English countryside. It was rainy and gloomy, but that didn't stop us from grabbing umbrellas and heading out to the vineyard with a bottle of the house rose. We tasted some grapes that were missed during harvest and they were deliciously sweet. Then we went wine tasting with the very Australian sommelier, who taught us tons about biodynamic wine making. I realized I much prefer wine that is made in metal barrels than that from oak barrels. Mind. Blown.

On site, the hotel has two places to eat; A casual bistro and a gourmet, Michelin-star restaurant. We chose the bistro for all of our meals, including breakfast which is not included but is well-worth the price of 23 Euros per person including champagne!

We had so much fun chilling out for a few days here, and drank PLENTY of rose. I wish we had brought a bottle home!

Our room at Domaine de Fontenille was absolutely stunning. We stayed in the Executive Room which has a private terrace. When you first walk into the room there is a long hallway which brings you to the bedroom, stunning glass doors which open to the patio, and the most grand bathroom I have ever seen. The bathroom had a freestanding tub, walk-in shower, towel warmer, separate toilet room and a double sink. Bathroom goals for sure!

Nearby towns, Lauris and Cadenet are very cute, and worth checking out. But keep in mind European shop hours are funny. They open early, close for most of the day, and then open LATE for dinner. We found ourselves always looking for a place to eat during siesta time. Silly Canadians!


Marseille was the only real disappointment of our trip... if I can even call it that. The hotel I booked on Expedia was in a great location, but the room was very small and it felt like we were on a cruise ship. The old port of Marseille itself is a very touristy area, and a cruise ship HOT SPOT, so I wasn’t overly impressed with it. However, just south of Marseille is a very sweet beach town called Bonneviene which we really liked, and of course a short drive from Marseille brings you into the Calenques mountains which are STUNNING. I highly recommend checking them out and doing a few hikes to various calenques, because the water is crystal clear, cool, and stunning! Below photos are of Calenques Blanches, and the port in Marseille.

Next stop: Mallorca. But you’ll have to wait to hear more about Mallorca ... so stay tuned for my next travel blog!

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