Valentine’s Outfits + Date Ideas

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s day with your girlfriends, or thinking of things to do with your SO next week, I’ve got you covered! Below I’ve curated a few of my favorite outfits along with ideas I’m mulling over for this upcoming holiday ❤ ❤ ❤

At Home

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This will probably be the most likely setting for our Valentine’s Day celebration (if you like low-key homebody activities 😉 ). Also, I am obsessed with this adorable little lounge set from AKG. First of all, it is locally made/designed, and the fabric is comfortable and so breathable! I’m not much of a lace lingerie girl, so for this occasion I wanted to find something modest, comfortable, and still feminine (and I can continue wearing this for the months to come!). Take a peek below for some date ideas, as well as links to what I’m wearing.

Home Date:

1.  Valentine’s Picnic Basket from Scanway (available February 10 – 19, 2017)

Who doesn’t love to have a romantic indoor picnic in their warm and cozy living room? You can choose between a number of options, plus they really got me when I read tenderloin, truffle, chocolate, and florentines. Pair it with your favorite bottle of wine, and you’ll be good to go. Yum.

2. Spa Night

Pamper yourselves by grabbing your favorite bath products, scented candles etc. and prepare to have a relaxing night in. See some of my favorite products below:

Blackberry Bath Bomb – Lush

Soft Coeur Massage Bar – Lush

Fresh Fig Honey Bath – Laura Mercier

Cocoa Butter Body Butter – The Body Shop

Tantra Massage Oil – Saje 

3. Weekend Getaway at Atlantica Oak Island

Bring your pjs for the weekend and prepare for an ultimately relaxing getaway. Have breakfast in bed, take cooking lessons, go wine tasting, and do yoga together.

What I’m Wearing: 

Chloe Bralette – AKG

Kate Brief  – AKG

*find them in-store at Makenew on 2468 Agricola St.

Casual

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Okay, this blouse totally caught my eye when I first saw it – it carries the embroidery trend feel but uses velvet flowers instead! I paired it with a denim bottom to dress it down, but added a fun sandal heel (don’t you LOVE the faux fur?! I couldn’t help myself when I saw these babies online 😉 ). Obviously if you are doing an outdoor activity, I would recommend changing up the footwear to match the weather, but these were too fun to not share! Take a peek below for some date ideas, as well as links to what I’m wearing.

Casual Date:

1. Valentine’s Food Crawl

What is more fun than reminiscing with your sweetheart while chowing down on a Valentine’s themed food crawl? There are at least 20 stops, and under $10 at each location ❤

2. The Coast’s Valentine’s Doughball

A one hour dessert & wine tasting session from 11 local vendors – need I say more?

3. Curling Tournament of Broken Hearts – Good Robot

If you’re looking for something more active with a quirky theme, grab your friends (or another couple) and get your curl on!

What I’m Wearing: 

Devore Plunge Swing Top – TOPSHOP

Helena Straight Leg Jean – GRLFRND

Vamp Faux Fur Sandal – Zara (find similar ones here and here)

Dressy

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Here I wanted to share my take on “dressier” outfits without wearing a dress or skirt (while we’re still braving the cold winter, I’d much rather stick to pants 🙂 ). I love the play on feminine details with the wider sleeves, peek of skin, and softer tones, plus these are two outfits you can also bring into the Spring season! Take a peek below for some date ideas, as well as links to what I’m wearing.

Dressy Date:

1. Decadence – Savour Food & Wine Festival

Start your Valentine’s weekend off indulging at the Decadence event as part of the Savour Food & Wine Festival. I mean you really can’t go wrong when there’s cheese, chocolate, AND wine pairings involved.

2. Feeling the Love Dinner & Dance

A Valentine’s soiree for couples, singles, and friends – think funk, jazz, and cocktails!

What I’m Wearing: 

Edie Flute Sleeve Top – TOPSHOP

Domme Pant – Club Monaco

Ivette Sandal – Jimmy Choo

Brax Jimpsuit – Wilfred

Mod Tapestry Pouch – Wilfred

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Stocking Stuffers & Holiday Gift Ideas $100 & Under

If you’re stuck on what to get your loved ones for the upcoming holiday, here are some affordable gifts you can get without breaking the bank (and don’t worry, I didn’t forget the men)!

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Home Decorator (or Self-Proclaimed Interior Designer)

  1. Laduree Sucre Sweet Recipe Book – $95 (estimate). One of my favorite places to eat macarons in Paris – who wouldn’t want such a beautiful coffee-table/recipe book? You can find it on Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, or straight from Laduree (for those residing in Europe).
  2. Mix & Match Custom Coasters from The Coastal on Etsy – $40. Gorgeous hand painted coasters to match your bff’s decor.
  3. Super Soft Plaid Throw from Chapters/Indigo – $49.50. Perfect to cuddle with for the cold winter months!
  4. Nut Tray With 3 Dishes from Chapters/Indigo – $60. Everyone needs something to nibble on during the dinner party!
  5. Home Candle from Joe Malone London – $75 (200 g). Smells like the holidays already! Find it in Holt Renfrew locations across Canada.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Social Butterfly or Party Gal!

  1. Cinta Crystal Cluster Earrings from Ted Baker – $55. To compliment her fabulous outfit at the NYE party!
  2. Le Vernis Nail Colour from Chanel – $32.75 (each). Every girl needs that finishing touch of color to her nails. Find it at Nordstrom online.
  3. To The Moon Idiom Bangle from Kate Spade – $58. A new and gorgeous addition to that decked out arm party.
  4. Naked2 Basics from Urban Decay – $34. An essential palette she can bring with her to build on that smokey eye.
  5. Cocktail Kit Rum Punch Gift Set from Chapters/Indigo – $49.50.  To get the party started of course!

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Jet-Setter Always On-The-Go

  1. Carina Felt Fedora from Ted Baker – $100. The perfect accessory she can take with her on that 12 hr flight.
  2. 2015 A5 Weekly Leather Diary from Kikki.K – $39.95 (estimate). A stylish and chic planner to help her organize all her work meetings, events, and flights.
  3. Therm-O Terra Travel Mug from Aquaovo – $26.95. Keeps her drinks hot or cold without getting sweaty or hot to the touch.
  4. Printed Travel Wallet from J.Crew – $56. The all-in-one wallet with pockets for her tickets, passport, ID, cash, and boarding pass!
  5.  Via Dolce Iris Cosmetic Case from Kate Spade – $98. An flirty cosmetic pouch that can double as a pencil case.

Holiday Gift Ideas For That Guy In Your Life

  1. Wood Universal Power Bank Backup Battery from Triple C Designs – $60. A sleek and stylish way for him to recharge his devices when he’s on-the-go. Find it at Urban Outfitters.
  2. NayJay Multi Check Scarf from Ted Baker – $95. A classic design to keep him warm on the cold winter days.
  3. Shearling Slippers from J. Crew – $68.50. You’ll never see him without these on, in and around the house ever again.
  4. 21st Birthday Kit from Peter Thomas Roth – $38. He doesn’t have to be turning 21 to use this five-piece collection of products for healthier skin. Find it at Sephora locations across Canada or US, and on Peter Thomas Roth (US Only). *sold out online at sephora.ca; try your local Sephora location*
  5.  Oval Amplifier from Triple C Designs – $18. Perfect and convenient way to get the party started. Find it at J. Crew.

Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand

This past Christmas I went on a short (but amazing) family trip to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Because it was a cruise for half the time, we only got to spend a couple days in Malaysia and Thailand, and most of our time was spent in Singapore. I never thought I would ever want to live anywhere outside of North America, but after this trip I would definitely move to Singapore in a heartbeat!

Singapore has become one of my favorite destinations that I’ve visited so far (besides Venice and Santorini). It has the hustle and bustle of a big city, but everything is relatively close by. It is also the cleanest and safest city I’ve ever been to which is a huge bonus for me! My sister and I spent a lot of time roaming the streets and shops, looking for good deals and yummy eats. The food was delicious and street food was so much cheaper, compared to home. Our first day during the trip, we rang in the new year at the Siloso Beach Party which had similar resemblances to raves or house festivals. It was one of my favorite NYE events so far, and it left a great first impression on us! We spent the rest of the time eating and shopping our way through Singapore. I loved the variety of food from fine dining to the street vendors, and the shopping was great!

Places to visit in Singapore:

– Marina Bay Waterfront

Marina Bay Sands Hotel (although we didn’t get to visit this gorgeous hotel, it was highly recommended from our friends)

– Bugis Street Market (yummy street food, market, and shops)

Sentosa Island (amusement park, beaches, and also the location of our NYE event)

– Hawker Centers in Singapore (very cheap and tasty local foods in an open air complex; usually open late or 24 hrs)

– Haji Lane (vintage boutique shopping with some really unique shops)

– Orchard Road (high end stores and international stores)

As for Malaysia and Thailand, we stopped over these places on our cruise so I don’t have very detailed experiences to share. However, the short time spent in both places definitely made me want to revisit Asia again for a longer period of time. In Malaysia we went to both Kuala Lumpur and Penang. One of the highlights of Kuala Lumpur was hiking up the steps of the beautiful Batu Caves, roaming with monkeys. The interior and exterior structure of the caves were breathtaking. We also got to roam the city and enjoy more food from the street vendors. Penang, Malaysia, had a completely different feel than Kuala Lumpur. It resembled a small local beautiful island with gorgeous views and resorts. The beautiful resorts set up along the coast made you feel like you were in paradise with the waves lapping against the white sand beaches. I particularly enjoyed this stop because this place had pockets of historical sites and modern luxury as well. Lastly, we spent the least time in Phuket, Thailand. Over there, my sister and I went cave kayaking and visited the beaches for the day. The cave kayaking was exciting and had breathtaking views. We kayaked through dark caves roaming with bats and monkeys to get to the outdoor lagoons surrounded by greenery and cliffs. Overall, this vacation gave me a small but good taste of South East Asia, and now I’m itching to go again for another extended trip!

Breakfast Made With L-O-V-E

I try to lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, and it always inspires me to try “healthier” or “different recipes with a twist” on my all favorite foods. With Valentines Day coming up, I thought I would show you my take on a healthy whole-wheat breakfast surprise for your loved one (or even to enjoy yourself!).

Whole-Wheat Heart Shaped Soy Pancakes

*Makes 2 Servings*

Ingredients:

– 1 cup whole-wheat flour

– 1 1/2 tablespoons white or brown sugar

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– dash of cinnamon

– 1 cup soy milk

– 1 egg, lightly beaten

– 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

– 1 teaspoon honey

– strawberries and blackberries sliced

– sugar free syrup

– unsalted butter

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together (soy milk, egg, oil, honey) and pour the soy mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and whisk together until smooth.
  3. Grease pan or skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter and cook until bubbly. Flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 minute until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

* I cut the heart shapes with a knife (without a heart-shaped cutter) but if you want to make it easier, you can purchase heart-shaped cutters at places like Michaels or other baking/craft stores.*

Let me know if you made any additions or changes to the recipe that you think makes it better!

Until next time,

xoxo

Summer Prep

This was one of my favorite outfits to wear on my recent trip to Singapore. I absolutely love the Australian based seller HelloParry which is where I’ve been getting all my recent textured skirts or skorts! You can find a lot of similar clothing sites like Esther, the Birdcage Boutique, Sabo Skirt, all based out of Australia (I wish I could just move there sometimes!).

The weather was amazing during our 5 day stay, and it was so nice just to get away from the cold Canadian winter for a while! I had also just purchased my Michael Kors pumps I had seen a couple months ago in Toronto, but never got around to getting it. Luckily during my 2 day visit home, I stopped by the MK in Yorkdale and they had one pair left in my size! If that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what is 🙂

What I’m Wearing:

Talula Waverly Blouse with Lace Side Detailing – Aritzia

Space White Mesh Skirt – Hello Parry (see link above)

Haven Suede Pump – Michael Kors

Envelope Cluth – BCBGMaxAzria

Gold Bar Necklace – Matoto on Etsy (one of the jewelry shops I frequent)

Macaron Pastime

Macarons are one of my favourite desserts of all time and coincidentally also one of J’s favourites as well. We took on the challenge of baking our first ever set of macarons and had pretty good results (given it was our fist time). Since there were so many different variations on how to make these, we thought we would take lessons from French pastry chef Geoffroy Chevallier at Le French Fix Patisserie in Halifax, NS. If Laduree and Pierre Herme were my favorite macarons of all time, why not learn from a French native! The first flavour we tried was vanilla with a pink exterior, and I’m hoping to continue perfecting my pastry skills to include flavours like black currant, matcha, sesame, etc.

If you’re interested in the specific recipe/instructions we used feel free to email me! Also, check out Le French Fix Patisserie’s website here. They have the cutest decor with the most scrumptious pastries (including a toffee chocolate mousse cake, my favourite)!

Look out for another valentines post coming soon ❤

xo

Santorini, Greece

Santorini is one of my favorite places on earth (that I’ve traveled to so far!). I love it because it’s adaptable for whatever type of vacation you’re looking for (whether it’s adventure, relaxation, etc.) The first time I came here (2 years ago) with my best friend from uni, I immediately fell in love with the place. It was like the perfect getaway for a couple of days, and you couldn’t help but feel like you were in some sort of paradise.

This summer I brought Matt here and we stayed at the Aroma Suites with a view of the cliffside and the ocean. I would definitely recommend shelling out a little more cash for a hotel along the cliff; it’s worth every penny! Every morning we woke up to a gorgeous view and a delicious Greek breakfast to fuel us for a long day of activities. One of the great things Matt and I have in common is our love for seeking adrenaline and adventure. We rented out an ATV as our mode of transportation to explore the island and cliffs instead of taking a car or bus. It was great fun and gave me such a rush riding so close along the edge of the cliff!

In the mornings we would have breakfast and walk into the bustling town square for a bit of local shopping (and to buy some pastries for the beach). Then we would take our ATV to the different beaches of Santorini, like the black sand and red sand beaches. We would spend most of our early afternoon there soaking in the rays with a cold drink in hand. Then we would either go on a hike up the cliffs or ride the donkeys down to the seaport. I would also recommend riding the donkeys (it is kind of scary because they slip sometimes and the stairs going down the cliff can seem steep, but it’s very fun). Then on one of the late afternoons/early evenings we took a boat tour to the volcanic islands and hot springs ending off with a sunset tour. In the evenings, Matt and I would explore the bustling nightlife in Fira. One of the evenings we rode out to the other end of the island to eat at a local family-owned restaurant that fished for their product during the day and served it in the evenings. We enjoyed some locally grilled whole-fish while watching the sunset dip into the ocean.

Overall I think Santorini was one of our favorite places on this mini Europe trip, because we weren’t on a tight schedule. We made up our itinerary as we went along and it was such a nice change of pace (plus the environment itself helped a lot too!). Previous to this I had been to Paros, Crete, and Athens. What is your favorite place to visit in Greece? I would love to know for my next Greek adventure!

Till next time, xo!

Wedding in Ireland

I was delighted to attend Rebecca (my boyfriend’s sister) and Eamonn’s wedding this past summer on our mini Euro-trip. The ceremony and reception were as beautiful as I expected and more! The ceremony took place at the church in Trinity College (in the heart of the city) while our reception was along the countryside at Tankardstown House Hotel (http://www.tankardstown.ie). As you can see from the pictures above, it was a gorgeous affair with all the perfect details – with a lot of similarities I would want in my own wedding in the future 🙂 We spent the weekend at this lovely hotel with a feel that was similar to a high class inn or a spa inn getaway. I got to enjoy the view of the beautiful countryside while being pampered with delicious food and the occasional high tea (my favorite!). All in all I had an amazing time and it definitely tops one of my most memorable weekends!

Some of my highlights (besides the marriage of course!): the FOOD (dinner, 3 am pub grub, high tea, friends and family barbecue the day after), the live band, my hotel room (so pretty!), the dancing!

If you want to check out the photographer and her other works, you can find the link here:  http://www.anniemcelwain.com/book/i/

<<DETAILS>>

Color Scheme: Neutral Greys with Pastel Pops

Florals: Powerscourt Gardens

Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang

Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith

First Dance: I Do – Colbie Caillat

Entertainment: Celtic Rhythm Dancers & the Bentley Boys

Ceremony Location: Trinity College

Reception Location: Tankardstown House Hotel

Photographer: Annie Mcelwain (California)

Wedding Planner: Hiphip – Jemma Cassidy

Until next time, xo.