Bombshell Blues

While biking down to school one day, David and I stumbled upon a beautiful mural and just had, to stop and take some pictures. Yes, we are those basic people you see taking pictures everywhere, and yes, we love it!

But seriously, how cool is this mural???

Late September and early October are those times of the year when it’s cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon, and you know what that means? It’s shorts and sweaters season (clearly one of my favourites)!! Pairing your fave summer shorts with chunky sweaters and jackets, is an easy way to transition your summer staples in to fall, which is great for those of us who aren’t quite ready to let go of summer!

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Shirt: Ralph Lauren (similar) // Shorts: American Eagle (similar// Jacket: Vintage (similar)  Sunglasses: Forever21 // Shoes: Converse All Stars

I jumped on the bomber jacket band wagon in September when I bought this vintage beauty at a Value Village (one of the best places on Earth even though it’s gotten slightly overpriced). This jacket goes with literally everything and is so warm and comfy.

I wear it a lot, and I’m not even mad.

If you’d like to get on the bomber band wagon, there are so many cute options, and if you buy a plain one, you can customize it to your own liking all by yourself (think patches, pins and lots of embroidery!)

I went for a little pattern play in this outfit because it’s pretty simple otherwise. Adding the mix of stripes and plaid makes the whole look that much more playful and interesting!

Well I hope you’re all having a lovely day!

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Blue on Blue & Some Yellow Too

Hey there!! Today’s #OOTD is one of my closet favourites! It’s one of those great versatile dresses that will take you from class to dinner with your friends, and is just the right amount of ridiculous – which is what I tend to look for in my wardrobe.

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Dress: Zara // Shoes: J.Crew (similar) // Sunglasses: Forever21 (similar)

I picked this awesome dress up in Portugal over the summer and fell in love because it’s weird – in a good way. Not only is my favourite colour blue, but my sorority colours are light and dark blue, which means that this dress and I are destined to be together! It’s so incredibly comfortable (which is very important) and looks just as good with sneakers as it does with girly flats, which is something I can totally get behind!

Because the dress itself is pretty bold, I paired it with some yellow floral flats for a pop of pattern (yellow and blue is one of my favourite colour combos) and finished the look off with a casual “man bun” – which has become my go to hair style recently because I’m lazy and it usually looks pretty good!

Hope you’ve been having a great day!

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P.S. Thanks again to my best friend David, for the lovely photos, you’re the best!

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A Life Update

Well hey there stranger! It’s been awhile since my last post over here on Pin & Daisy, but settling in to my school rhythm took a bit longer than expected and I figured that deserved priority! Because I’ve been away so long and haven’t really had a chance to take pictures for a legitimate post, today I’m just going to do a mini life update and a bit of a reflection on my first month back at school!

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We’re well in to October now and you know what that means. . .midterms! I’ve had four of them this week (ridiculous I know), and while it’s been pretty crazy, it’s also helped me reflect on how much I’ve changed as a person/student, since last year. I’ve found it so much easier to organize my studying/homework, and have created a set method to study for exams and tests (which has been a total lifesaver).

Other than crazy amounts of midterms, school has been awesome! I love all my classes, my profs are wonderful, and I’ve made so many new/awesome connections, so I’d call this semester a win so far! While I’m still not totally in the swing of things (still on vacation in my mind), everything is falling in to place as the days go by. Campus is also gorgeous in the fall, and I can’t wait until all the trees start turning beautiful shades of orange and red! Autumn is my favourite season, and I love being able to drink apple cider, eat fall treats and wear sweaters, scarves and jackets. It’s a pretty magical time.

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P.S. These lace up flats from Aldo are literally the comfiest things ever and go with EVERYTHING! Find a similar pair HERE.

This semester, I’m trying to make an effort to get more involved on campus. In first year I was totally preoccupied with figuring school and myself out, and kind of ignored extracurriculars. This fall I’ve joined a mental health awareness group (something I feel really strongly about) and am going to more events and activities put on by my college. Getting involved is hard (considering how many choices there are, and how big the school is), so I’m hoping it’ll get a bit easier as this year goes on!

On a more random note, I’ve also finally decided to bind a book of my own poetry! This idea is still in the beginning phases, but I’ll keep you more updated on that as it progresses.

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This adorable picture is from Bid Day back in September!

Back in September I also joined a sorority! Bet you didn’t know they had them in Canada! Surprisingly, many Canadian universities do have Greek life! The whole recruitment process is kind of crazy: picture a three day long interview with, seven different organizations, and you kind of get the picture. Even though it was pretty intimidating, the end result was so awesome, and I learned a lot about my self throughout the process. I ended up in an organization called Kappa Kappa Gamma, and honestly could not be happier. All my new sisters are such cool, caring, intelligent women, and I feel very lucky to be a part of our chapter.

I know what you’re thinking: “A sorority? Seriously? Those are for rich white girls we just want to party and feel better than everyone.” Sure, it makes sense. Our society has so many misconceptions about Greek life in general. Sorority women are portrayed as dumb and snotty in movies and on tv, so of course that must be how it is in real life…right?

Wrong.

There is so much more to sorority women, and greek life in general, and I’m going to take a stab at fighting some popular stereotypes:

(1) Stereotype: Sorority girls think academics are very low priority. Truth: Academics are our number one priority! In most cases, the all sorority average is higher than the campus average because we encourage each other to excel and push ourselves to higher academic standards. It’s also easier to study when you always have a friend to go to the library with you (no matter what you’re studying)!

(2) Stereotype: All you do is party and drink! Truth: Not everything is about partying/drinking. In fact, we aren’t even allowed alcohol on our property or in the house! All sororities strive to uphold philanthropy, academic excellence and sisterhood above all else. While many girls do drink at other events, nobody will force you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, and most of our time spent together is filled with crafting, eating and just hanging out.

(3) Stereotype: You’re all a bunch of stuck up rich girls. Truth: We actually all come from totally different backgrounds, and try to give back to the community in many ways, and as often as we can, whether it be by holding charity events, volunteering at soup kitchens, or organizing book drives.

(4) Stereotype: You pay for all your friends. Truth: That’s ridiculous! You aren’t paying for friends, you’re just paying for the cool stuff you get to participate in, and the events and activities you plan and attend with your sisters! Like any other organization or sports team, there are fees to keep us running and doing all the wonderful things we do!

(5) Stereotype: You get hazed as a new member. Truth: Not true! All sororities are strictly against hazing! As a new member you’re integrated in to your chapter in meaningful and fun ways, not by being forced to do something you’re uncomfortable with. Your chapter wants you to feel loved and supported, not scared and attacked! Hazing allegations are taken very seriously, and chapters can be shut down because of it!

(6) Stereotype: Everyone is the same in a sorority: blonde, rich, dumb and snotty. Truth: Each chapter is home to a group of diverse, authentic, and lovely ladies! My Kappa sisters are all so cool and different from each other, and that’s what makes them all awesome! Everyone has different skills/strengths/passions, to bring to our chapter so we can all push and support each other to excel in all aspects.

There are probably a lot of other rumours I could address, but I figured those were the most pressing! It’s easy to get caught up in the things you hear in the news or watch in movies, but if your school has greek life and you aren’t sure about joining, I highly recommend it, you just might find your new home away from home!

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Well, I guess that’s all for now, but I will for sure be more regular with posting (I promise) because I’ve missed my blog this month!! Hope you’re all enjoying a lovely day (the weather here is phenomenal).

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The First One

So, I know I technically call Pin & Daisy a fashion and lifestyle blog, but as you can probably tell, it’s been a bit more life instead of fashion. I have a few reasons for this, but mainly, because summer sent me for a whirl! This week has been all about transitioning back in to real life, and as such, I finally made some time and shot a little outfit post for y’all – my first one ever in fact!

On the way to a haircut (which I was way early for), my Blogapher (Blog Photographer – get it hahaha?) and I found the cutest little market and accompanying wall, in Parkdale. The market (very sadly) was still closed, but we took full advantage of the wall, which was a perfect backdrop for today’s low key outfit!

Speaking of Blogaphers (he created his own title I swear), I’d like to introduce you to the lovely guy behind the camera for Pin & Daisy! My best friend David (who is in school for Opera singing – rad I know) takes great shots and is part of the family over here! You should totally go follow him on Instagram, for pics of his (epic) red hair and awesome self!

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Here is David in all his red-headed glory early yesterday!

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Blouse – Old Navy (similar) // Shorts – H&M (similar) // White Converse // Purse – Dooney & Bourke (similar) // Sunnies – Forever21

Today was humid and generally disgusting in Toronto, so I dressed more for comfort and ease than anything else, but I’m loving the vintage/minimalist vibe either way. I got this blouse after a biology exam in April (random I know). It was honestly a little bit of an impulse buy, but I love how vintagey the cut is without being frumpy or old looking (also it’s in my favourite colours – navy and white – so how can you go wrong).

My Dooney & Bourke purse goes with me pretty much everywhere, and is a great purse if you’re looking for something small and easy to wear.

Seriously though, how cute is this wall?? I can’t get over it! Will likely be returning to this spot to take photos a few more times (and to actually look inside the market when it’s open).

Hope you’re all surviving this crazy hot weather!

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Back to the Grind I Guess

LANDSCAPES | PORTRAITS | BLACK & WHITE | PANORAMA

Well, I guess it’s finally happening, a new school year is upon us and while I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, it is a little bitter sweet. Summer vacation is now officially over for most, and the call of Professors and textbooks is all too familiar.

I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous for my second year of university! Things were pretty crazy in my first year and while it was totally awesome in the end, I don’t know what to expect going in to this year. Either way, I’m looking forward to more boundary stepping and comfort zone pushing this year, let’s make it a great one! However you feel about this next chapter in your life (if you’re nervous like me, don’t worry about it too much), I hope you face it with a smile, because you’ve totally got this!

It’s so odd, I remember moving in to my dorm last September. It was crazy, my first year! I could hardly believe it! I was so shy that I stayed in my room all day until my roommate finally moved in later that night, we’d met a few weeks earlier and she was the only person I knew in my residence. I’d never been away from my parents more than a week (wasn’t a camp kind of kid) and had no idea what to expect from living in a dorm. It was a crazy year, filled with ups, downs, and a couple of 360 loops, but I’m here now, a year later, and I’ve become an entirely different person.

I sat down a couple days ago to write this post and didn’t exactly know what I wanted to say. I’ve written a lot over the last month about advice, and what you can do to be successful academically in university, but no amount of articles or tips will prepare you for the crazy so many of you are about to embark on. Even if you’re not going in to first year, and instead are stepping in to high school or middle school for the first time, the feeling is much the same. Everything is different, and there are so many unknown unknown’s that it’s overwhelming.

I guess if there’s anything I really want to tell you, it’s good luck, and I know this is going to be an incredible year for you! I hope you are faced with neat challenges and that you step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a tiny bit. I hope you make new best friends, go on adventures and make awesome memories with them, and I hope you make time to take care of your mind and body, that you get enough sleep every night, drink enough water every day and exercise even though it sucks some times!

This year, I hope you take a great big step towards becoming the person you want to be. Join a random club, talk to the girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, and study hard. It probably won’t be all fun and games, but even when it gets tough, I’m sure you’ll be able to soldier through.

If you’re looking for more detailed advice, here are some posts I’ve written about school:

Good luck to all you guys in this new school year! You’re all going to kill it!

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Little Wonders Wednesday

Hey there!! I hope you’re enjoying the last day of August (what??) and are getting ready to head back to reality tomorrow (or in a few weeks for some).

Today’s post is my second segment of “Little Wonders Wednesday” and I’m excited to share some more awesome little things that bring me joy!

As I said in the first Little Wonders post, I think it’s so important to, in the midst of our busy lives, slow down every once in a while and think about all the things that we have been given, and everything we’ve worked hard for. Sometimes the smallest moments are the most important ones, and it’s easy to forget about them when you’re running around like a chicken without a head!

Little Wonder

Finishing a Notebook – As someone who hoards pretty notebooks and never really uses them, I always feel so much pride when I do finally finish one. Whether you use them as an agenda, journal or recipe book, there is no better feeling than filling up all the pages and being able to look back and read over what you’ve written.

Discovering Really Good Music on Youtube – Sometimes you have to dig really deep to find the good stuff on youtube, but every so often, you hit the jackpot and find your new favourite song or artist.

Finding What You Were Looking for. . .on Sale – There have been so many times where I’m on the hunt for an item of clothing or a book and finally give up waiting for it to go on sale. When I end up going to the store prepared to pay full price, it turns out that the sale is on, and I get exactly what I was looking for, but with a smaller price tag.

Butterflies Flying Around You – I always feel like a fairy princess when a butterfly or two keep circling me. It’s such a gentle feeling, and reminds me of my childhood, playing princess and making fairy gardens.

Bright Blue Cloudless Skies – There are few things better than looking up at a brilliantly blue sky without a single cloud in it. It seems to stretch on forever and makes you realize how vast and huge this lovely world of our is!

The Smell of Lilacs – We have a few lilac trees in our backyard and when they’re in bloom in the spring, nothing beats their gentle fragrance. Whether it’s walking in with my bike, or heading to the garage, I love getting a whiff of that gorgeous scent!

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Those are my Little Things for this month, and again, I hope you enjoyed this post and took a moment or two to think about the little things in life that give you pleasure!

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Back-To-School Wishlist

The official countdown has started, and school is less than a month away!

To say I’m excited for my second year of university is probably an understatement. After a hectic first year, I feel a lot better coming in to second, and am really looking forward to walking around my stunning campus and studying in my favourite library again (Knox College’s Caven Library — check it out on google if you’ve never heard of it), and joining some new clubs and campus communities! There are a lot of things that need to be done before school starts in September though, one of them, being a closet restock.

Before I left for our vacation, I did a huge clean out of my closet. It’s pretty tough for me to throw out or donate a lot of things (I get attached and sentimental) but I have to say, I was pretty ruthless this time around. Following the steps in this post from a few weeks ago, I made a list of a few things my wardrobe was missing and since then, have been on the lookout for those pieces in time for school! Here are a few of them!

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Shop the set HERE
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Shop the set HERE

Adidas superstar sneakers

Fine I’ll admit it, I’ve finally fallen into the Adidas band wagon. It’s taken long enough but I just can’t help myself! Superstar’s seem to be everywhere in the fashion world recently and are a great (and comfy) option for running errands, going to class or hanging out with friends. While they’re still a casual shoe, their classic shape and colours allow them to be easily mixed and matched and worn with everything from joggers, to your favourite boy friend jeans, or a t-shirt dress!

This past year my personal style has definitely evolved from a colourful, preppy inspired, to something more classic and subdued. These Adidas sneakers will be a great addition to my wardrobe and I won’t lie, sometimes I fall asleep dreaming up ways to wear them.

Typically they cost $99 and I haven’t quite figured out whether or not to buy them here in Portugal (where they’re more than $5 cheaper) or wait until I’m back in Canada to splurge…honestly I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until then.

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Shop the set HERE
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Shop the set HERE

Black & White Silk Cami’s

Much to my mother’s annoyance, I am obsessed with simple white and black blouses. If it’s flowy, in either of those colours, and made of lovely light fabric, I will most certainly be adding it to my closet. The thing with camisoles (and any basic blouse really), is that they’re the perfect layering piece. As my style has evolved, I’ve come in possession of more blazers and jackets, and my old wardrobe had few blouses that were light and simple enough to layer underneath them. These beauties are perfect for wearing under blazers with slacks, or half-tucked in to jean skirts.

These silk cami’s from Joe Fresh are beautiful quality and really simple. For real though, they’re the kind of blouse you can dress up or down just by changing what you wear over top of them, and best of all, they’re currently on sale! I’ll definitely be dropping in to pick up one in each colour once I’m back in the city.

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Shop the set HERE

Black Skinny Jeans

I have two pairs of these already, but they’re old enough that “black” isn’t really the right word to describe them….more like a dark, faded charcoal or something along those lines. Either way, black jeans (in whatever style is your favourite) are an essential part of any wardrobe. They’re slimming, go with literally everything, and are perfect for the winter months when we (ok me) tend to drop light colours and just go for black and grey.

My favourite Black skinnies are from H&M, and they’re snug, high waisted (to hold everything in place), and feel more like leggings than jeans, which is basically the dream. I’ll probably wait until this pair is totally out of commission before going out to search for a new pair because if I’m being honest, pants shopping is the worst sort of shopping.

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Shop the set HERE

Camel Overcoat

The camel overcoat is the winter equivalent of the forever classic trench coat. It goes with everything, keeps you warm and stylish, and adds tons of class to even your most casual looks. Last fall I bought a beautiful red over coat, and wore it basically every day. It was my favourite coat and even now I’m excited to get in to autumn so I can wear it again. However, while red is an awesome colour for a coat, it doesn’t exactly go with everything. A camel coloured overcoat goes with substantially more and is somehow, a bit more casual (if that makes sense).

My hunt for the perfect trench coat was a long and annoying one (I finally found one on sale this summer though), and I already know that my hunt for the perfect camel overcoat will be just as tiring. Knowing my luck, I’ll find one next May. My first stop for this hunt will be Value Village and all the awesome second hand stores in Toronto. Hopefully, something beautiful (and reasonably priced) will pop up. If not, the hunt will continue!

New Hunters

Nothing exciting here, just practicality. We didn’t have a lot of snow last winter, so I wore my hunters (with huge thick socks) every single day. As a result, the heel is practically non-existent, and the sole is a few months away from being full of holes.

Currently I have a pair that are the colour of worn denim, and if I end up getting a new pair, would probably opt for matte black, or something ridiculous like baby blue or yellow (I’m and all or nothing type of gal).

Lunch Bag

Because I’m commuting to school this year (yay for living at home!) I’m going to need to bring lots of snacks and food to fuel myself through long days (10am – 9pm a couple days a week). I love lunch bags, but I haven’t had one since high school and am determined to find one that’s fun, but a bit more adult-like and easy to carry around. I’ve found a couple interesting ones on Etsy, but have yet to find one I actually love. Until then a canvas book bag filled with goodies will have to do!

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Fall is one of my favourite seasons and I can’t wait to get back to Canada for it. I know I haven’t done a lot of outfit posts (make that zero) but once I’m back in Toronto, my best friend David will be taking my photos so I can actually start showcasing my favourite pieces and showing you how I end up styling all the stuff I keep talking about on this blog!

Hope you guys are having a fabulous day and are enjoying the weather!!

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P.S. I’ve been playing the song “Bailar” by Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo nonstop. It’s such, a fun song and I honestly can’t get enough of it!

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University Fashion: A Guide

Transitioning your

Last summer I did a lot of research on university. I read countless articles on dorm life, searched every corner of the internet for information about college fashion, and scrolled through Pinterest for hours, pinning outfit inspiration for the year. Clothes had always been important to me, and I wanted to know what the fashion expectations would be like in university as apposed to high school. While I found some really helpful articles, many of them catered to universities with a different atmosphere than my own, and as I went through my first year, I realized that much of what I had read, did not apply at my school.

Because I go to school in a big city, student’s are rarely seen walking around in their pjs or workout shorts and oversized t-shirts (unless their coming back from the gym). Some schools value comfort above all else, but I love the fact that being in an urban centre pushes people to dress up everyday of class (yes, even for exams)! Girls wear makeup, and carefully put together outfits everyday, and guys do the same. While it might seem exhausting to some, I appreciate being surrounded by people who look good and prioritize their appearance, even during stressful times of the year.

So, I’ve decided to start a little series on University Fashion from a big city school point of view, and my first topic is about making that jump from a high school wardrobe to a university one.

As a kid growing up, there was no better time for me than back-to-school. Sure it sounds odd, but it was the end of summer, new adventures were on the horizon, and my parents would take me shopping just for school supplies and clothing for the new year. While some of the excitement has washed away, back-to-school remains one of my favourite times of the year, and buying new things to prepare for it is something I (and probably most people) still do.

In high school, my style was quite different from what it is now. I was a fan of bright colours and belted dresses. Big colourful necklaces and bright patterns. As my first year progressed, my style changed drastically. Classes were busy, and when I wasn’t in a lecture, I found myself in the library or a lab. I still wanted to look put together, but no longer had the time (or energy) to create the more elaborate outfits I’d worn in high school. Moreover, I found I no longer identified with that type of clothing at all. So, without even realizing it, my personal style became more minimalistic and based on the principles of a capsule wardrobe.

For those of you who have never heard about a capsule wardrobe, I suggest you google it and read up, because it’s total gold! Essentially, the premise is to pair down your closet to a set number of items, all of which can be worn and styled together. While I am not yet ruthless enough to take my wardrobe down to the numbers suggested in some capsule wardrobes (ranging between 15-35 pieces of clothing), I’ve adopted some of the same principles and it has really affected the way I dress and see fashion.

Bellow, you’ll read about how I suggest transitioning your wardrobe from a high school student, to a sort-of-adult student, and I hope you take away and apply some of the techniques I use in your own closet!

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Clean Out Your Closet — The first step in transitioning your wardrobe from high school to university, is cleaning out your closet. This step might take a while, but if you dedicate an afternoon to the task and turn on some good music, I promise it’s really fun!

First off, take everything out of your closet, and I mean everything! Lay them out on your bed, in the living room or on the floor and take a minute to think about each piece. Separate them in to three piles: keep, donate, sell. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it doesn’t fit well, has holes you can’t fix, is the wrong colour, or is one of those impulse buys you made and never wore, out it goes! It’s really hard to be ruthless with your closet, but the more times you go through it (I typically do this four times a year, or more if I feel I need to) the easier it becomes to separate things you adore and wear over and over again, from those you don’t. Don’t be afraid to keep a few pieces you only wear for certain occasions. Wardrobes are made up of basics, but you also need some statement pieces to fill it out.

As you go through your closet take note (like physically write down) what styles you love, what colours you tend to buy and what shapes fit you best. This list will help you in the next phase of your closet makeover!

Know What Works — I’ve mentioned this in the step above, but we are all different shapes and sizes, so it’s incredibly important to know what suits you! A black body con dress might look awesome on one person and not so great on another. That doesn’t mean you’re what isn’t working, it just means you need to find your shape.

Knowing what works on your body is especially important when it comes to pants and dresses. If you have a pair of skinny jeans because they’re trendy but never wear them because they just don’t fit right, why keep them around? Invest in pieces and shapes that make you feel your best and are things you find yourself consistently reaching for. While it’s totally fine to experiment with different looks, it’s nice to have a basic you can fall back on.

Choose a Colour Pallet — A lot of you might find this step a little bit odd, but allow me to explain. It’s common knowledge that certain colours work on certain people while others don’t, and if you want to build a wardrobe where you can mix-and-match everything in your closet, it’s helpful if you stick with a general colour scheme. This will help you get the most out of your wardrobe, since everything can be worn together, so you’ll have a pretty large selection of possible outfits.

First, choose a few basic colours which you find yourself gravitating to again and again (mine are blue, black, white, and beige) and then choose a few colours for those statement pieces (mine change with the season, but tend to be pinks, red and canary yellow). Your colour pallet is not the end all be all of course. If you find certain things that deviate from your basics but are still styles are shapes that flatter you, don’t be afraid to add them to your closet. As I said before, while your wardrobe should mainly be filled with basics, you need statement pieces to round it out and tailor it to your personality!

Plan — Now that you know your shapes, styles and colours, you can go shopping and use these criteria to help you buy items that you’ll love to wear. Don’t go crazy with shopping right away though. Try out your new, smaller closet for a few weeks to see what works and what doesn’t. At the end of this trial period you might want to get rid of some other pieces, and you can make a more thoughtful list of the things you’d like to add or replace before heading out to do any major spending.

This is the point in your closet makeover where you can start planning your spending. You can choose items you’d like to splurge on (like a new purse or winter coat) or others that aren’t as necessary. This might seem like overkill, but as someone who is known to make a ton of impulse purchases, planning what I want to buy has been really helpful for me, and is a great way to make sure you’re staying in your budget.

Another plus is that you’re essentially making a wish list, so the next time your parent’s ask you what you want for Christmas or your birthday, you’ll actually have something concrete to give them!

Invest In Basics (but don’t go crazy) — We are but lowly university students, so this next step has to be taken with a grain of salt. Basics are so important. A fantastic pair of jeans, white blouses, and little black dresses are items that can be styled millions of ways and mixed and matched with most things in your closet.

So many posts I’ve read about wardrobe basics emphasize splurging on these items and making sure that they’re the best quality you can afford, but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t exactly think that’s realistic for students. University is expensive enough with crazy tuition and living costs. You don’t need to add expensive basics to your list. Once you’re settled in a paying job post-grad, it makes more sense to start investing in pieces from higher end brands, but until them, buying your basics from places like Forever 21, The Gap (my go to store for jeans) or Old Navy is more than ok.

If you’re using a spending plan like I mentioned above, splurging might be more feasible, but curating a wardrobe full of these higher end basics will take longer. It all has to do with your priorities and what you’re comfortable with at this point in your life!

My go to basics include: dark wash skinny jeans, light wash boyfriend jeans, white blouses, black blouses, a little black dress, a little white dress, motorcycle jacket, jean jacket, striped long sleeve top, trench coat, white button down, and a white t-shirt. Though my closet is significantly larger than this (I have a slight clothing obsession) these are the pieces I often build an outfit off of (and they’re all endlessly versatile)!

Be True to You — This is probably one of the more important points of this post, and at the same time, it might be one of the most difficult to implement. Trends come and go, but your personal sense of style is forever! It can be daunting, especially in a time in your life where you are constantly meeting new people and doing new things, to fully embrace the style that you feel the best in. There’s so much pressure from the media to look and dress a certain way and when our personal style doesn’t exactly line up with what we see in the magazines, it can be hard to stay confident and rock what you like.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my life, it’s that it really doesn’t matter what people think, and this is especially true when it comes to what you wear on a day to day basis! If you like a certain trend, rock it! But don’t feel you have to just because every celebrity is seen wearing the same thing. Be uniquely yourself (which is so much harder than it sounds) and I assure you, you’ll be rewarded!

Accessories Make All The Difference — Shoes, purses, jewelry, scarves, hats, and sunglasses. These are the things that can ultimately make (or break) an outfit. You can wear a simple jeans and t-shirt look and then style it four or five different ways just by switching up which accessories you use!

Call me a stereotype, but I can’t help myself, I LOVE shoes…and purses, and jewelry, and scarves, and hats, and sunglasses…but especially, shoes. There is so much potential in a good pair of shoes. They can dress up an outfit, or make it more casual. A spunky pair can add personality to the simplest of dresses, or take the edge off of something a little more risqué. Shoes, in short, are a fashionista’s secret weapon!

There are of course the basic shoes you should have in your closet, like sneakers, flats and pumps (I think I might have to make a post on this at some point), but I love shoes, because they provide a perfect opportunity to add a little je ne sais quoi to a look. They provide a perfect chance to be adventurous! So, while there are the obvious basics, I like to go for shoes that are a little different, shoes that are brightly coloured, or have fringes etc. These often serve as the statement piece in my outfit, and are so fun to play around with.

All this to say, that accessories (especially shoes for me) are your chance to play around. Don’t stick to just the basics here, go for things that you love, things that are quirky and a little different. This is what will mark your personality on an outfit and give you a chance to be creative and playful in your closet. Patterns are great for shoes, so are metallics and bright colours. They serve to add dimension to the basics we talked about above. Anyone can wear jeans and a t-shirt, but making jeans and a t-shirt interesting and fashionable, is all in the way you accessorize, and no-one accessorizes quite like you do!

Learn The Joy of Thrifting — Ah, thrifting, my favourite pass time. As a kid, my mother and I frequented Good Will and Value Village, on the hunt for unique pieces and good deals. We always found something, and to this day, thrift shopping is my favourite way to shop. It’s good for the environment, is usually better for your wallet, and the whole hunt for something spectacular is way too much fun!

Thrifting is sometimes seen as taboo in our consumer culture. Buying second hand clothes and accessories is often looked down on, people tend to want brand new items. I however, strongly believe that thrifting is the way to go. You often find really unique pieces (vintage sweaters or dresses) and your creative side gets a work out! As a student, thrifting is especially important because of our general lack of funds, and honestly, hunting through a second hand store is a great way to work off school anxiety.

Make Room For Business Wear — While it’s likely you won’t be working an office job until after post-grad, it’s important to start making room in your closet for versatile business wear pieces. You don’t have to go crazy here (a fancier white blouse, black pencil skirt and blazer will do just fine) but as job interviews and internships do come up, you’ll have to be able to dress the part!

Make sure that these pieces are easily integrated in to the rest of your wardrobe so that they aren’t just hanging in a corner of your closet waiting for Google to call you in for an interview. A blazer should pair just as easily with a t-shirt and jeans as it does with your blouse and slacks, and your pencil skirt should be able to do double time as a work place staple and dinner date statement!

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Essentially, when all this advice is taken together, your wardrobe should become smaller, but more versatile. You’ll be able to make more outfits out of less pieces, and because these pieces are all ones you love, you’ll look great no matter what. As a student, life gets crazy hectic, and sometimes picking out an outfit for the day is daunting because we don’t have the energy or time to thoughtfully put something together. If your wardrobe is only full of pieces you love, that work together, choosing a killer outfit takes no time at all, and you’ll feel comfortable in the styles and shapes you love.

Personally, my style has evolved to be more minimalistic and simple. I focus on adding personality through interesting shapes and accessories and tend to wear the same three or four colours every day. Someone else’s capsule-esque wardrobe might be entirely different, focusing on bright colours and patterns. Either way, if you love what you’re wearing, that’s all that matters!

So this post was incredibly long and detailed, almost like an essay about closets, but I enjoyed writing it so I hope you enjoyed reading it (and hopefully you learned something or got some ideas about how to work with your wardrobe).

It is so incredibly hot today in Portugal, but I hope you’re all enjoying your summer, and are having a lovely day!

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Toronto’s Best Cupcake

TORONTO'S

A few months ago, amidst finals stress and sleep deprived study sessions, my friend Alex and I decided we wanted to find Toronto’s best cupcake. We’d just been sorrily disappointed after eating some cupcakes from the Eaton Centre (they may look good, but the Urban Eatery cupcakes are a trap), and felt morally obligated to find a tasty treat worth eating.

Thus, the cupcake challenge was born!

We googled “best cupcakes in Toronto”, compiled a list of four bakeries (Bunners, Prairie Girl, Dlish, and Bobette & Belle), which seemed to appear on every blog post we pulled up, and made up a rating scale to judge each treat!

Our scale consisted of: Prettiness, moisture, frosting to cake ratio (if there is the right amount of frosting for the cake), balanced sweetness (between the frosting and cake), texture (for both frosting and cake), size, flavour overall, and value. Each item on the list was rated out of five, and then we tallied up all the points!

To help make our rating easier, we standardized the type of cupcake we would buy from each location, settling on a classic, chocolate cake with vanilla icing.

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Bunners

Firstly, excuse my (very) poor photography skills here. I didn’t realize that every single picture we took was blurry until after we ate the whole thing up!

Our first stop was Bunner’s on Dundas (there’s another location in Kensington Market)! This bake shop prides itself on gluten free and vegan products and is highly spoken of. Bunner’s didn’t offer a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing, so we just got chocolate on chocolate.

Review — Firstly, we noticed that the store itself was not exactly welcoming. There was nowhere to sit (it was quite small) and though it was early in the morning, somehow it was quite dark inside. Their selection of cupcake flavours was quite small, and we were a little disappointed to see so few combinations. Atmosphere aside, the Bunner’s cupcake ($4.20) was very large and the icing was nicely piped. The cupcake itself was pretty moist, but the texture was off, it was very grainy and clumpy and the cake was very heavy. The icing also had a strange texture and didn’t sit well on the tongue. There was just the right amount of icing (which proved to be hard to find at the other cupcake locations) and while the icing was sweeter than we would’ve liked, it was balanced out well by the cake.

Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the texture and general flavour of the cupcake.

Prettiness — 2.5/5

Moisture — 3/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 5/5

Balanced Sweetness — 3/5

Texture — 2/5

Size — 5/5

Flavour Overall — 1/5

Value — 1.5/5

Total: 23/40

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Dlish

Dlish, a cute little bakery on Queen, was ranked Toronto’s Best Cupcake in 2014 and runner up this year! We ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing, but they boast a big selection of flavours.

Review — What really killed it for this cupcake (in our opinion) was the icing. The cake itself was pretty standard in texture, moisture and flavour, but the icing was way too sweet. Vanilla is usually a sugary flavour when it comes to icing, but this one was a bit over kill, and to make matters worse, it was grainy and didn’t taste all that authentic. The sprinkles on top were a great touch and they added a lot to the texture.

Overall, this was a pretty average cupcake, nothing all that special. We would’ve been happier had the icing been less sweet, but if you’re in the are, definitely check them out.

Prettiness — 2.5/5

Moisture — 3/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 3/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2/5

Texture — 4/5

Size — 2.5/5

Flavour Overall — 2.5/5

Value — 2.5/5

Total: 22/40

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Prairie Girl Bakery

Also excuse this poor photo. Lighting in the PATH is not ideal!

This gem is hidden under the heart of the financial district, in the PATH. It’s a little out of the way, but they have so many options it’s totally worth it! Again, we got a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing.

Review — Let me start by raving about the cake from this place. It was airy, light, moist, everything you could want in a cake. Alex and I were barely able to speak we were so pleased. Sadly, the icing was the downfall of this cupcake as well. Not only was it too sweet and too thick, but it was barely vanilla at all! In fact we got a really strong cream cheese flavour (which is usually fine, but not when you’re expecting vanilla). Honestly, the unexpectedness of it threw us for a bit of a loop.

Prettiness — 3/5

Moisture — 5/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 2/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2.5/5

Texture — 5/5

Size — 5/5

Flavour Overall — 3/5

Value — 3.5/5

Total: 29/40

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Bobbette & Belle

This Leslieville gem is honestly one of the most adorable little bakeries I’ve ever been to! Alex and I were happily surprised by an inviting and stylish sitting area, and we’ve already made plans to go back just because it was so cute! The music was also on point if that’s your kind of thing! Once again, we got a standard chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing.

Lighting was also incredible at this location (as you can tell in this not terrible photo)!

Review — We had big hopes for this little cupcake. It was pretty (prime piping and sprinkle work), and it was from a really pretty place. Sadly, it was only average, and the frosting again, was it’s downfall. The icing was way too sweet, and I know I said that about the others, but somehow, this was the worst of them all. Had the cake been less sweet, it would’ve balanced out the icing, but alas, this was not the case.

Prettiness — 4/5

Moisture — 4/5

Frosting to Cake Ratio — 5/5

Balanced Sweetness — 2/5

Texture — 4/5

Size — 3.5/5

Flavour Overall — 2.5/5

Value — 2.5/5

Total: 27.5/40

A Note From Alex:

Someone once said “a cupcake can make even the worst day a little bit brighter”. Ok, that someone was me, but honestly a good cupcake – or any dessert for that matter – can help ease some of life’s problems. That’s why Lauren and I knew we had to go on a mission to find Toronto’s Best Cupcake!

Obviously, this can be kind of tough, especially since judging foods can be a pretty subjective sport. Some people like a cupcake with really sweet frosting, others only want a little bit of frosting; the list of preferences could really go on forever…That’s why we tried to stick with a set of criteria that we could use to rate them in an unbiased way (as you can tell we have this whole cupcake judging thing down to a science, we could get PhD’s at this point tbh).

As Lauren said, we went to four different bakeries and ate four cupcakes. One cupcake looked pretty but didn’t taste all that great, another was just average, the third had super amazing cake, and the fourth was sold from the cutest shop which definitely made up for the lacklustre cupcake. Oddly enough, at each bakery we found that the frosting was their downfall – I would label myself as a lover of all frostings so that was pretty disappointing to me.

All in all though, I got to tour around Toronto with some amazing company eating cupcakes all day so regardless of the outcome I had a super fun time!

Official Verdict: Toronto’s Best Cupcake? Yet to be found.

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While we were happy to have spent the day eating cupcakes and exploring our amazing city, Alex and I were a little bit disappointed after these treats failed to live up to our expectations. Of course none of them were terrible, but they all followed a similar downfall. Decent cake, and incredibly over sweet icing. As we walked home from Leslieville, something dawned on us! Why couldn’t we, try to make our own perfect cupcake? So, in the next instalment of The Cupcake Challenge, we’ll be taking you through our recipe for creating the best (or our best) cupcake!

I hope you enjoyed this segment, and if you’d like to see something similar but for other foods (like pizza, hamburgers or ice cream) don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments!

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10 Things I Learnt In First Year

PRACTICE

 

Last fall I embarked on a crazy, scary, exciting new adventure…University! In September I showed up at my beautiful residence, unpacked and organized my dorm, said adios to my high school days and hello to the new ones ahead. It was a crazy year overall. I made friends, lost friends, studied really hard, pushed myself, and have come out the other side a completely different person! The whole year was a rollercoaster and though it was difficult and scary, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

While it was an exciting time, it proved a big change (obviously) and I faced a lot of challenges in my academics and social life. I struggled to make the grades I thought I should, missed my parents, and didn’t make nearly as many friends as I had imagined. Though it certainly was crazy, I learned so much about myself and the type of life I want to build for myself, so I am grateful it went the way it did.

While I learnt a lot of things, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the major lessons I learnt, so here are the ten most important things!

Trust The Universe

Sometimes things get out of hand and you feel like you have no control over your own life! Things and people start running away from you, or it feels like you’re drowning in school work. First year is a time of great change, and we all face a ton of challenges in those eight months. So many things are thrown at us and we’re expected to react properly with only a moments notice. While things can often feel overwhelming, I learnt that everything happens for a reason. Sure that boy you sort of dated, hurt you, and yes, there were some mean girls and petty drama. Maybe you really bombed a test, had a crazy house mate, or one of a hundred other negatives, but all of these things are opportunities for learning!

I’m a very spiritual and superstitious person (not in the typical religious sense mind you), and while I’ve always believed things happen for a reason, I’ve never been more sure of it until now. The universe has it’s own plan for your life. It twists and turns, drops and jumps, but ultimately, it’s going to take you to exactly where you want to go. As soon as I accepted and believed this from the very bottom of my heart, it became a great comfort to me and was one of the things that got me through the hardest parts of the year.

Some Things Are Temporary

It’s the truth. You likely won’t stay friends with the people you meet at frosh, you don’t have to be BFF’s with your roommate, and it’ll take some time for the new people in your life to stabilize and settle. You might start the year with one group of friends, and end it with a totally different bunch — that’s ok! In fact that’s how it’s supposed to go! Learning what you like in social relationships is a hug part of growing up. In first year (and university in general) you are thrown in with entirely new groups of people, many of whom you won’t gel with. It’s going to take some time to find those you really click with, and sometimes, even when you really want someone to stay, it’s best that they don’t.

The universe has a path for you to follow, and some people just don’t fit in with it. That doesn’t mean you won’t find your place at all, it just might take a little bit longer than it did in High School.

You’re Your Own Hero

This is self explanatory really, but I think it’s been one of the most important things I’ve learnt thus far. Life will get hectic and intense, that’s just the way it is, and you can’t expect someone to always be there to lean on. People are dealing with their own stuff too. This doesn’t mean your best friends won’t help you out when you need it, it just means that you have to be there for yourself every step of the way.

You always have the power to pick yourself off the floor and on to better things. Once we recognize this “superpower” in ourselves, the world doesn’t seem so scary and taking risks doesn’t seem as difficult.

It’s All About Priorities

This is something my dad has always said, and it’s proven true again and again! As much as personality defines ones self, priorities are often the major motivator for any action a person takes and everyones priorities are different.

Keeping this in mind is helpful when you’re in a difficult group work scenario, or if the people you’ve recently become friends with turn out to be the kind of people you don’t want to hang around. Everyone has different things that drive them. If your priorities are really different from someone else’s and you clash because of it, it’s ok to not stay close with that person. It’s ok to pull away from things that are bringing you down, and it’s ok to put yourself first. Recognizing this, though it can be hard to put in to practice, is so helpful in the long run. You (and those other people) deserve to find friendships you can thrive in, and there’s no shame in realizing someone might be the wrong addition to your group.

Not Everyone Has The Same Heart As You

This point builds on the previous one. While everyone has different priorities, everyone also has a different heart. The way you handle hurt, or stress, or anger, are all very different from the way others handle with them. The sooner you accept that everyone is going to react or behave differently in stressful situations, the sooner you’ll be able to stop expecting certain behaviours from them.

People don’t react the way you do or say the things you say in bad situations, and while it’s easy to say “I would’ve done this…” or “I would’ve said that…”, it’s even easier to accept people as they come and recognize that while they may not have done what you would’ve liked, they are doing the best that they can. This takes the stress off everyone, and leads to more open relationships built on trust and acceptance.

Listen To Your Mom

As annoying as it is sometimes, your mom really does know more than you. She always has, and it’s important to listen to her. When she tells you not to date anyone, it’s not because she doesn’t want you to be happy, it’s because she knows it’s not a good time and doesn’t want you to get hurt, and when she tells you everything will be ok, it almost always is.

Keep in touch with her, tell her what’s going on and she will always be there for you. That’s what mom’s do, they fix, and heal, and love when it feels like everything else is going south.

Your Mental Health Matters

This. Is. So. Important. University is crazy. Things are hectic, you’re stressed beyond belief, and people can be rude and hurtful. While ultimately you’re there for academics, never ever, prioritize school work over your mental (or physical) health.

If you are too anxious to focus, take a break. If you can’t open a text book because you’re too sad, seek professional guidance. If you need to drop courses to be at a comfortable spot, do it. Do not ever make academics and school work  worth more than your health and sanity. The only way you can perform optimally, is if you are healthy, happy, and stable in all areas of your life.

Your health matters, so listen to your body, and take breaks or talk to a professional when necessary.

Be Gentle With Yourself 

This point builds on the one above. When you didn’t do as well on a paper as you thought you would, bombed a test, or didn’t read a chapter. Be gentle with yourself.

University is such an adjustment, and you are doing your absolute best. Be gentle with your self talk, encourage yourself, and make sure you praise the hard work you’re doing. Acclimatizing to the social and academic aspects of college life is hard, it’s stressful and there’s no right way to go about it. There is a right way for you though, so don’t compare your experience with that of anyone else’s. You are doing what you need to do for you, and that’s exactly how it should be!

One Day You’ll Meet “The One”

You’re going to meet so many boys (or girls)! You’re going to meet one you click with right away and they might break your heart. You’ll meet some you admire from a distance, and others still that you just don’t click with. There will be tons, and while it seems like an endless game or a string of heart breaks, don’t worry about it, eventually the right person will come along.

Statistically people in our age group aren’t in long lasting relationships. They’re not finding the one yet, and while it might seem like everyone around you is falling in love and getting married, it just isn’t true. You’re not weird or abnormal. Your soul mate is just doing their own thing right now and you should be too.

Quality > Quantity

This lesson applies to everything. Friends, studying, eating, working out, literally everything! The long and the short of it, is that life is special! We’re blessed with so little time on this amazing planet and our job is to build something out of what we’re given, which you can’t do when negativity is tearing you down every step of the way.

Always remember, quality, is far more important than quantity!

Just because you have a million “friends”, doesn’t really mean they all care about you the way they should. If you spend eight hours “studying” for a test, but really just scroll through Instagram, that test likely won’t go well. And if you workout an hour everyday, but barely move a muscle, you won’t reach your goals the way you wished you could.

With social media being such a prominent form of communication, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t cool or popular enough. People are constantly posting pictures of their gazillion new friends and the cool things they do at school, so naturally we  compare our lives to theirs. Really, we should be focused on building our own network filled with people who love and support us. While you might not have a million friends like everyone else seems to, it is far more important to have a few quality buddies.

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Man, this post took so long to write! I’ve honestly been working on it for about a month and finally finished it while waiting for my flight at the airport. Finally! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, because I really enjoyed the process of writing this post. It got me thinking about all the little ways I’ve grown as a person, and helped me appreciate a difficult year.

What are some things you’e learnt this year?

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