Wedding, Set, Go

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We are now mid-wedding season, and I found myself attracted to a classic shapes this season, that is totally new for me. For the last few years, it was all about gowns when it came to wedding-dressing (two examples of stunning gowns I’ve worn to some fabulous weddings: 1, 2). I loved how glamorous I felt in a floor sweeping gown while twirling on a dance floor. But this season, and it may be the humid temperatures, I’ve found myself tempted by shorter silhouette for formal engagements.

Typically I wouldn’t wear a short dress to a formal event, as it never really felt as elegant as I wanted to, until I laid eyes on this silk embroidered shift dress from Stella McCartney. It was love and first sight. From the colour to the floral details, not to mention the pockets, it truly was like nothing else I have in my wardrobe and knew I had to have it.

I paired this beauty with my favourite vintage choker and the matching earrings I picked up at The One of a Kind Craft Show a few seasons ago, and was absolutely in love with this ensemble.

Dress: Stella McCartney, Necklace: Vintage, Earrings: OOAK, Shoes: Nine West (old)

Smarter Shopping

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I never thought I’d say this, but I’m exhausted from shopping. Over the last 5 years since my blogging career started, and truthfully long before that, I’ve accumulated and discarded so much clothing that I can’t even begin to understand my purchasing decisions that I’ve been making. I’ve always tried to rationalize this bad habit, by distributing my old clothing to my friends and family, who were always happy to accept my barely worn pieces.

But recently something has changed for me. I’ve found myself no longer drawn to the world of fast fashion, but to higher end pieces, that at the rate I shop would bankrupt me quickly. So I’ve slowed down my shopping, and instead of getting the fast fashion version of a piece, I’ve saved a bit longer and really thought about the purchase before investing in the designer’s collection. I’m not saying that I won’t shop at accessible stores, but my frequency of shopping will be limited to allow for smarter decisions to be made.

How have your shopping habits changed recently? Let me know if you’ve also seen a switch to shop smarter and invest in higher quality pieces.

Halter: Diane Von Furstenberg, Pants: Fabiana Filippi, Shoes: Pierre Hardy, Frames: C/O Main & Central (by Clearly.ca)

Summer vibes, at last

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Now that we are in mid-June I can finally feel those summer vibes that I’ve been craving all year. There is something to be said about what changes when the city heats up, from the sudden urge for gelato to the increased traffic basically going anywhere, Toronto becomes alive in the summertime. I personally, can’t help but feel the heat and want to get out and explore our beautiful city, from Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market to exploring what’s changed on Queen Street. Summer in the city is without question my favourite.

My go-to look for exploring in the city are flowy dresses that can take me from day tonight – because you never know where you’ll end up. When I found this stunning dress (now on sale) I knew it would be the ideal item to that I could hit Sugar Beach in, walk to some shopping, then out for dinner. As soon as I put it on (back in early spring when it was still snowing) I got all the summer vibes and it was true love.

Dress: Ganni, Frames: Michelle Lane, Earrings: by the fab Emily Valentine, Sandals: Dune London (old)
Photography by 2Boo Studio

Time for Change

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Seasons change and time passes. It’s super important to take the time to reflect on what’s working in your life and what needs work. Spring and summer are a perfect time for this type of reflection, as inspiration is all around.

I find it necessary to put away time each day, it can be as little as 15 minutes, to really analyze what makes you happy. Is it spending more time outside, with friends, or taking care of yourself? For me it’s all of the above and I’m happy to be back in the mindset of self-care, and taking the time to focus on what’s really important.

By the way, you can save 15% off the new Classic Petite by Daniel Wellington by using the code “BARBARAANN15”

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Pants: Theory, Shirt: Paul & Joe Sister, Shoes: Zara (old), Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington Glasses: Clearly.ca

Everybody Knows

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It’s spring time in Toronto and everybody knows that the one place to go at the end of April-to-early May is High Park to try to snap some beautiful shots of the Cherry Blossoms. Trevor and I explore High Park as often as possible, as the trails are simply beautiful and even when the main attraction (the Cherry Blossoms) aren’t in full bloom there is so much magic to discover there.

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With the cooler weather this year, I’ve found myself living in denim. I can’t seem to get myself into the season’s dresses and skirts, so jeans has been my go-to staple these last few weeks.

When dressing up this essential, I’ve found myself always looking for statement coats to really add that something special to my rather basic outfit. This collared-floral coat by Diane Von Furstenberg (which I have the matching dress for) is the perfect nod to the cherry blossom season and the right weight for these confusion spring days.

Coat: Diane Von Furstenberg, Denim: Marc Jacobs, Tank: Helmut Lang, Boots: Timberland, Hat: Lack of Color, Frames: Clearly.ca
Photography by 2Boo Studio

Statement Spring

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One of my favourite accessories to invest in are earrings. Timeless, elegant, and statement pieces that can stand alone to add detail and glam to any outfit. I often tag @tnegin in jewellery posts on Instagram to inspire him for my next anniversary/birthday/just cause present. My theories regarding gifting include to know your audience – so never be afraid to give people hints.

Earlier this year, Trevor and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary of being together, which is really surreal and definitely has been feeling all sorts of old. To celebrate this special moment, I was spoiled after pointing out earrings by Michelle Ross while shopping at the One of a Kind show. I loved the distressed aesthetic of antique hammered gold mixed with the fresh water pearls.

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Being my birthstone, pearls have always meant so much to me, and I have been collecting special pieces over the years. These reminded me of a pair of earrings that my mother used to wear of cluster drop-down pearls.This spring, statement earrings are all the rage and there are so many different versions, from natural stones like these, to colourful fringe to (my next purchase) gold hoops.

Dress: Ganni, Earrings: Francie by Michelle Ross Shoes: old (similar, similar, similar), Frames: Joseph Marc from Clearly.ca

OOAK Spring 2017 Picks

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Ever since I was a teenager, each spring I attended The One of a Kind Show. Growing up with parents and grandparents who appreciated and took part in the arts, I always felt very connected to artisans and respecting their crafts. I believe in the understanding that something is more valuable and means more because of the story behind it, because of this, now as an adult, I try to continue to shop local and support artists.

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This year was a truly special show for me, as I was asked to contribute and style a mannequin in the Fashion District. I was beyond honoured to be considered as an influencer among this group of insanely talented artist, and immediately felt overwhelmed picking pieces from their beautiful collections. I ended up falling in love with a very “Barbara” outfit, filled with beautiful colours and bold shapes. I chose cropped pants by Melow Par Melissa Bolduc, a printed shirt by Melissa Nepton and a beautiful shirt/dress by Lennard Taylor as a duster jacket.

After setting up the show, I returned on the weekend with my family to do some shopping! Here is what we purchased:

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Trevor and I just celebrated 10 years of being together, and he decided to spoil me with these beautiful earrings by Michelle Ross, a Toronto jewellery designer that specializes in semi-precious stones and metals juxtaposed with glass, ceramics and vintage findings.

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My favourite indulgence would have to be the Lobster Mousse, which was sadly emptied by the time I wrote this post. Trevor and I are obsessed with The Little Shop of Lobsters and I swear next time I’m picking up the jumbo jar!

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Those who know me, know I can’t handle the heat – so these are all for Trevor, who couldn’t pick from all the spicy options that Peppermaster Original All Purpose Hot Sauces had.

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We both fell hard for the stunning designs and flavours from Mellifera Bees, who produces hand-crafted honey infusions of that are amazing. We picked up the Vanilla honey and 2 jars of the Thai Chili infused honey that will pair well with chicken wings or on top of salads.

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I also had to pick up one of the one-of-a-kind, hand painted dresses from, my new friend Lennard Taylor. He was painting his pieces live at the show, and I couldn’t believe how talented he is.

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Shirt and Harness: Lennard Taylor, Shoes: Zara, Eyewear: Clearly.ca
Photography by 2Boo Studio

Our Kitchen Reveal

They say “good things come to those who wait.” If that’s true, then I’m deserving of all of the good things.

A few years ago, my husband and I, as newlyweds, purchased our first home together. It was a pre-construction, and move in was set for summer 2015. Due to, literally every unforeseen circumstances, we have just moved into our new home this past February, that has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. (Which has also been the reason for my recent disappearance.)

Due to the delays, there were a few things we’ve realized that we had the time to do, like save, plan and invest. Staying in our tiny apartment for those extra years, was definitely a strain to our lifestyle, but as time went on, both of us were able to continue to save money, as we tried to live with our new budget.

We spent a lot of time figuring out how we were going to use the space; today, a year from now, and five years from now. We bought a stacked town house, aka too many stairs – but it’s turning out to be a great workout. Our main floor is an open concept living space that hosts our living, dining, cooking and entertaining. This is my favourite space, probably because it’s the most complete, but also because I’ve been shopping for most of these pieces over the last few years, and at last I can see them.

Today I’m revealing kitchen to you, and over the next few months, stayed tuned as I complete each room and share with you our journey as we make this space our home.

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Trevor, and I are entertainers. We love to host, so creating a kitchen and dining area that made sense for group gatherings was really important to both of us. We started with keeping things open – which meant loosing our upper cabinets and allowing our beautiful collection of dinnerware and serving pieces to shine. We found sturdy and beautiful floating shelves from Silicate + Studio, a design studio and lab in Idaho, and fell in love with the perfect imperfections of their wood pieces.

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Next came to adding the show stopping piece. I was fortunate enough to have partnered with Delta Faucet Canada to upgrade my kitchen space. This Champagne Bronze beauty is not just about her looks, she’s also brilliant. With Touch2O Technology, a simple touch anywhere on the curved spout will turn the water on and off, and will automatically shut-off after four minutes to conserve water. I love the colour and how well it works with the mixed metals, whites and woods, blues and citrus theme I have.

 We still have a bit of work to to do in this space, like adding the rest of our door handles, figuring out storage solutions for our cabinets and adding flush under-mount lighting to the shelves. But overall I couldn’t be happier with this space, it’s exactly what I’ve pictured and had hoped for.
Photography by 2Boo Studio
Faucet: Delta Faucet Canada, Shelves: Silicate + Studio, Dinnerware: Villeroy and Boch, Cookware: Le Creuset, Cake stands, cheese boards, accessories: Hudson’s Bay & Home Outfitters, Cat ring tray: Kate Ubbi,
Barbara is wearing: Top and skirt: Who What Wear Collection, Glasses: Clearly.ca
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Thank you to Delta Faucet Canada for sponsoring this post, all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts and working together, please email amy@shineinfluencers.com

New Year, New Glasses

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In grade 3 everything changed. I had gone to the eye doctor and received the news that I needed glasses.

This was the 90s and I picked out a pair of tortoise-shell, round-metal frames that I wore for the next few years. By grade 6 I was wearing contacts daily. While in school, at camp, basically anytime I left the house. I’d sleep in my contacts. Wear the same pair for months. And with this disrespect to my health as a youth, my eyes have suffered.

Last year, I made the decision to give my eyes the year off contacts and the proper care that they deserved. I got my eyes examined, and invested in new BlueReflect lenses that helped with the eye strain from starring at screens all day and night. Soon after, I noticed a difference in how my eyes felt and began embracing how frames can add so much style to an outfit. I started falling in love with this new accessory, and as I began growing my collection I feel in love with switching them up with each outfit. From bright colours to interesting shapes, glasses have become my go-to statement piece.

My vision for 2017, is to live a life in balance.

After the year-long break, I’ve stocked up with new contact lenses, with the goal to not only take proper care when wearing them (and never to sleep in them again), but to wear them in balance with my glasses. These are my newest frames to my collection, I love how similar they are to my first pair and how the retro-metal frame is back (did you noticed the throwback wraparound arms). Clearly and I have teamed up to offer my friends 40% off lens upgrades until February 15th, so you can start your year looking cute and feeling good. Just use the promo code BARBARA during the purchase. If you haven’t gotten your eyes checked in a while, I would recommend adding a visit to the Clearly store to your annual list of doctors and check-ups, with 3 locations – 2 in Vancouver and 1 on Queen St. in Toronto – it’s easy to book an exam and start your year seeing clearly. And make sure to tag your photos #SeeClearly for a chance to be featured on their social media channels weekly. 

Dress: Madewell, Jacket: Banana Republic, Boots: Zara, Frames: Joseph Marc Experiment-48 c/o Clearly.ca, Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington, Earrings: Hortense from Catbird
Photography by 2Boo Studio

Winter Walks

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In the summer, things seem easier for me. The weather is great and there doesn’t seem to be excuses not to do things.

But when the temperatures drop, excuses are everywhere. From the unbearable temperatures, to the slightest feeling of a cold coming, simple things like walks and social engagements seem to take the back burner for staying in and becoming somewhat of a couch potato.

This year, however, I’m fighting against the urges to stay-in and forcing myself to enjoy the weather and more importantly the season. With the focus of wellness and armed with my super warm parka, I will continue to explore this city that I love no matter the temperatures, as fresh air does the body, mind and soul good.

Parka: Woolrich (old), Sweater: Adidas, Turtleneck: Picadilly, Jeans: Gap, Boots: Free People, Hat: Lack of Color
Photography by 2Boo Studio

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