In the last two years my blog has become such an extension of who I am, and I have learnt and grown so much as a result. On a daily basis I flood my brain with ideas on fresh blog posts, how to elevate my content and I am constantly trying to push myself to do more. I do however think it is important to look back at how far I have come in just another short year. I have experienced so much growth in the last 365 days and so today I thought it would be fun to share with you 10 of my favourite blog posts (in no particular order expect for #1) and why I love them so much.
This post is my absolute favourite for a few hilarious reasons. Jamie is usually my outfit photographer 80% of the time so I rarely get to share posts that involve him. Besides this post, this New Years Eve photo shoot is the only couple blog post we have ever done together. We shot this look on New Years Eve while the sun was setting on what had to have been the COLDEST day I have ever experienced while taking photos. Not only was it freezing, but it was windy, we were by water and I was in a thin, short sleeve dress. Can I just tell you I have NEVER been so cold in my entire life. This post took almost an hour to shoot because we all had to run back and forth multiple times from the outdoors into the heated car to warm up. We almost missed the sun setting because of the time constraint. When we were done and I arrived home I had to sit on the couch in my dress with slippers, a robe and a blanket wrapped around me until we had to leave for our dinner date. The funniest part about this shoot is that you would never know what we went through because these pictures turned out to be some of my faves.
Sometimes posts just come together so perfectly that you surprise even yourself. That was the case with this DIY grapefruit scrub. I have been finding myself studying photos on websites such as Pinterest so much more lately to teach myself how other posts are styled and what I am personally drawn to when I see a photograph. With this scrub post I really felt that I honed in on my creative and photography skills and set up a beautiful vignette for these pictures. This scrub also turned out fantastic, and my sisters and I enjoyed every last drop of it.
I obviously had to add this post about one of the best days of mine and Jamies life so far…the day we adopted out sweet Milo. There really isn’t anything like owning a dog (except for maybe having a child?). Milo has brought so much more love into our life and we have been so blessed since the day that we adopted him. Milo just celebrated his first birthday this past Valentines Day and it has been so fun to watch him turn into a little doggie adult.
I may have just added this post into this round-up because I am currently craving a stack of these fluffy sweet and tart pancakes, but who cares they are just sooooo good! This post is another instance where I can really see the growth in my photography and food plating skills. Every time I see this photo I want to make these amazing pancakes. This post also reminds me of the couple of days that my sisters, Jamie and I spent in Ottawa and enjoyed these delicious fluffy circles of heaven.
After the new year I started a new segment on my blog that I have deemed “Exploring Toronto”. I am currently working on a better title but the main concept is that I have been heading to local shops around Toronto and picking the brains of the people behind them about what they do best. So far I have learned all about juice with Village Juicery, interviewed the owner of Gilding The Lily, Annie Jagger and was taught how to get the most out of my mani with The Ten Spot. Of course it was great being treated to the best manicure I have ever received, but I also loved working on this post because of the attention to detail and knowledge that Ashley my esthetician put into it as well.
Aerie is a brand that I have loved since high school and rarely stray from when purchasing my undergarments. So when they reached out to me back in February to do a post on their bralettes my jaw nearly hit the floor. I styled up this Valentines Day inspired shoot with my sister and we had sooo much fun with it. I was also told by Aerie that I would have a chance to be featured on their upcoming e-mail blast if they liked my photos so I really wanted to do a good job. In the end, not only was I chosen for the e-mail blast but my photo was the the opening shot. Aerie has been one of my favourite brands to work with so far, and I can’t wait to do another collaboration with them (hint hint).
Recently receiving the news that we may have to leave our home has really got me bummed out so I have been looking back on the small amount of posts that I have done on it. I love giving you all a little sneak peek into where we live and this post really showed a few of the changes that I have made to our living space since moving in. There were still so many things that I wanted to change up in here (this gallery wall did get checked off the list) but we will have to wait and see!
One of the biggest moments for me this year was being asked to do a segment on the Marilyn Denis show. I had always dreamt of being on the show one day and never ever would have thought that it would have happened so soon. Did I mention to you guys that I turned it down at first? I am a crazy crazy girl. For the DIY dreamscape challenge I had to make an entire DIY bedroom that included bedding. This tassel bedding that I made seemed to be a hit with the audience and I ended up winning the challenge!
I became inspired to create this cocktail after watching a similar one made at a burger brawl that Jamie and I attended. I can’t say no to a good cocktail especially one that looks this pretty. If I do say so myself I perfected this strawberry-rhubarb fizz and it will definitely be a summer staple in our home.
One of the things that is really amazing about blogging is all of the other crazy talented bloggers that I have met. One blogger in particular Melissa who writes the blog The Sweet Escape came up with a blogger magazine called Merry this past holiday season. When she asked me to be a part of this all-blogger written magazine I was more than excited to partake! My sister Raelene shot these beautiful photos This particular outfit was my absolute favourite. I am also so excited to announce that I will be doing the fashion segment again for the Merry Mag summer edition, so look out for that!
The evening before my Marilyn Denis show segment I made myself an appointment for a manicure and brow wax at The Ten Spot in Leslieville, because I refused to appear on national television full of paint stained DIY hands and brows that hadn’t been shaped since I don’t know when…whoops. Although I was half asleep while getting my nails done because of the intense weekend I had had, creating an entire DIY bedroom, I fell completely in love with the service I received and knew that I would definitely be coming back asap. Funny enough Jamie suggested to me that because I started this new “Toronto Tips” segment on my blog (past posts here & here) that I should incorporate The Ten Spot into my march post. I totally agreed with him and pitched the concept to the lovely owner, Katherine of having an Esthetician take me through the steps of how to achieve the perfect manicure at home. I received some amazing tips on my tips from Ashley who gives one hell of an manicure, and now feel confident that I can recreate a salon-worthy mani at home. Although I am quite positive that going to get a relaxing manicure is always the best option.
1. Ashley started off my manicure using a sugar scrub that both exfoliated and cleansed my hands which removed any dead skin cells and left my hands feeling super soft. The scrub that she used was The Ten Spot Get Nailed brand in Fresh N’ Fleurty.
2. For the shape of my nails I went short and squared off, mostly because I have a nail-biting problem which I hate to admit, but also because I like the look of shorter nails. Ashley simply filed my nails, evening them out and shaping them until she achieved my desired nail shape. While filing my nails Ashley gently buffed the top of my nail removing the small white lines that appear on nails from previous polish applications. Nail polish also does not adhere well to shiny nails, so buffing and evening out the surface of the nail will allow for a clean, adherent polish application.
3. After each nail was shaped and buffed she soaked each one of my finger tips in warm soapy water to soften my cuticles. Although this doesn’t serve any particular purpose, The Ten Spot Leslieville adds a few marbles into the bottom of the soapy bowls which I found served as almost a calming device.
4. After my cuticles were nice and soft Ashley used a cuticle pusher to do exactly that. She pushed back the cuticles and removed the layer of dead skin underneath the cuticle called the eponychium, the actual cuticle is not removed.
5. Ashley got rid of the rest of the dead skin around my nails with a cuticle nipper making my nails look perfect for the polish. She also went around my nails one last time with a file just to make sure there was no left over dead or dry skin.
6. To give my nails a boost of hydration, Ashley rubbed a small amount of cuticle oil into each one of my nails.
7. A step that I’d never thought of when doing my nails at home is making sure to clean underneath my nails even if there isn’t any visible dirt. There will always be a bit of residue from the filing and oil left underneath the nail beds so Ashley used a tool that looked almost like a metal tooth pick to remove any built up reside.
8. Any oil that is left on your nails can allow the polish to lift, so before applying my base coat Ashley used gauze with some acetone on it to clean each of my nails. Ashley also let me know that using gauze over cotton works better because cotton balls break down easier and can leave cotton pieces behind.
9. For the base coat and top coat The Ten Spot uses their own brand of Get Nailed polishes. What I liked most about this base coat was that it has a built-in ridge filler that fills in any small cracks or scratches that are on in your nails.
10. The colour I chose for my manicure was Essie’s Suite Retreat, I felt like it was the perfect blueish-purple shade for spring and reminded me of Easter. Ashley did two coats of this polish and told me that when painting nails a tip is to push down both sides of the skin with your opposite hand to expose the entire nail and paint as close to the end of each side as you can. Ashley also suggests applying the polish as close to the cuticle as possible without actually touching the cuticle which will make the polish last longer.
11. After the polish was complete, Ashley’s magic hands dipped a thin brush in a small amount of acetone and swiped along the bottom of my nail where the cuticle met the paint and made the lines of my manicure absolutely perfect.
12. For the final step Ashley used the Get Nailed top coat, making sure that the entire nail was covered by the polish. When going from the bottom of the nail to the top Ashley stopped at the top of the nail and did a very fast swiped from side to side motion at the very tip to seal the nail.
*Although this manicure was complimentary, I have not been compensated for this post. Alll opinions on the manicure and product are my own. The Ten Spot Leslieville is amazing and so are all of the lovely ladies who work there!