No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

If you follow me on Instagram or are a frequent reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I took a bit of a break from posting over the last week or two. Sometimes we all need to give ourselves a break from social media, and I especially needed a little breather as I readjusted my routine to a new job this month. I'll be talking more about this change in another post, but for now I will say that the change I made was partially driven by my desire to immerse myself in a healthier lifestyle.

Over the last few weeks I have been so proud of how healthy, balanced and active I have been without going overboard or making any extreme changes. As someone who experimented with various diets throughout my early twenties, I've learned that the best way to stay fit or shed a few pounds is to simply eat clean and in moderation. For myself, I know I will never be able to give up sweets or carbs completely, so instead of running from these things, I choose to incorporate them into my diet in the healthiest ways that I can.

When I discovered this Peanut Butter Banana Pie on Julianne Hough's blog, I knew that I had to give it a shot. This no-bake pie is gluten free, vegan and free of refined sugar. If there's one thing I love, it's a guilt-free indulgence, and this pie is exactly that. Because of how easy it is to make, and how delicious it is, it is quickly becoming one of my favourite go-to dessert recipes. I've already made it twice this month!

It is packed with nuts, bananas, and only has two tablespoons of sweetener (I used agave) in the entire pie! The chocolate chips on top give it that extra juice, but if you want to make it even healthier you can omit them and it will still taste delicious.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Book Review and Exclusive Q & A with Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you checked out my Winter Reading List, you would have discovered my obsession with Taylor Jenkins Reid and her novels, Maybe in Another Life and One True Loves. From the second I opened them up, I immediately fell in love with the compelling story lines and charismatic characters in her books. Once I reached the end, all I wanted was one thing: MORE. Her novels are girly and fun, without being cheesy. There is depth and meaning within them all, which makes it so easy to get attached to the worlds Reid creates. When I heard about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the story of a classic Hollywood star who decides to give a tell-all about her scandalous life, I knew before I even opened it up that I was in for a real treat.

Set in present day, in the later years of her life, Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo has finally decided give a much anticipated tell-all biography about her rise to the top, and of course, her seven husbands. When she chooses an unknown journalist, Monique Grant, even Monique herself is surprised by the unusual choice. How would Evelyn Hugo even know who Monique is? As Evelyn reveals the real behind-the-scenes details of her rise to fame, it becomes evident to Monique that Evelyn's choice was more than just a coincidence.

With a theme that focuses on female empowerment and chasing your dreams, this novel will be sure to leave you inspired and motivated. It's the perfect summer read to take to the beach or to read in a book club, and I personally found it impossible to put down. For fans of Old Hollywood, La La Land, and the world of show business, this is book is a must.

One of the lines that stood out to me the most, was when Evelyn said "Nobody deserves anything. It's simply a matter of who's willing to go and take it for themselves." I was so inspired by these words, and in true Evelyn fashion, I decided to apply them to my own life by reaching out to ask Taylor Jenkins Reid for an exclusive interview. To my pleasant surprise, she agreed, which completely validated this advice. Read on to hear all about the inspiration and details behind The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Bringing Britain Back


Whenever I return from a holiday, it's usually evident that I have been living life according to the phrase "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Whenever I visit Vancouver, you can usually find me decked out in Lululemon and athletic gear. When I came back from Switzerland last summer, I couldn't stop talking about the amazing cheese fondue we devoured on our last night. My return from London was no exception to this rule, and I especially found myself absorbing and adapting to all of the London trends and street style.

I picked up this top and shorts at Topshop while abroad, and even though we do have Topshop here in Canada, the stock we have in our stores does not even come close to what the flagship Topshop over on Oxford Street has to offer. We didn't even make it to every corner of the three story store during the two visits we made, and I could have easily spent a whole day there if I had the time. Seriously - the store has a full on cafe as well as different food stands dispersed throughout the floors! From the main floor, which is full of little pop-up shops, accessories and gifts, to the virtual reality water slide that you can ride for free, Topshop is more than just a store - it's an entire experience.

London Travel Guide

Ever since I started watching Made in Chelsea five years ago, I instantly became obsessed with the luxurious British culture that was portrayed on the show. I really didn't think that making a trip to London was in the cards anytime soon, but when Sean said we could go anywhere to celebrate our two year anniversary, that dream of mine soon became a reality. Originally we had planned on going to New York or Montreal, but when we figured out that London really was an option, we decided to book a spontaneous trip overseas less than a month before our departure.

From 'Made in Chelsea' travel guides, to recommendations by bloggers, to some googling and Pinteresting of my own, I really feel as though we maximized our week long vacation as best as we could. Before we left, I made a list of all the places that I thought would be fun to visit, and even I was impressed with how much we were able to cross off of the list.

5 Ways to Shop on a Budget

Ever since I started blogging, I noticed that the amount of money I was spending on clothes was gradually growing bigger by the month. Since I unfortunately don't have infinite funds to spend on shopping sprees, I really have to make wise choices and maximize my purchases when it comes to crafting my wardrobe. Lately, what has really worked for me has been to do large hauls from less expensive stores, like H&M and Forever 21, and to pair them with one or two designer accessories. Before I went to London, I decided to do my first Forever 21 haul in order to save the majority of my spending money for the trip. I ended up finding five outfits and a pair of shoes for less than $250! This was an impressive moment for me, as I used to try on piles of clothes there and never come out with anything I was happy with. 

Shopping at big stores like Forever 21 used to be so exhausting to me. As a result of the anxiety that came with a place like that, it was really not on my shopping radar until recently. This brings me to my first tip for shopping on a budget, which is:

1. Be Prepared

What I did this time that I hadn't done in the past was to browse online and on their Instagram page before I even stepped foot in the store. This way, I knew exactly which items I was looking for without having to wander aimlessly. It's nice to have options, but when there are simply too many, you need to have a plan. I definitely would have overlooked this dress had I not saved a screenshot of it on my phone for two reasons: 1. It looked much better in the picture than it did hanging on the rack, and 2. It was squished onto a rack of dresses in a tiny corner of a huge store.

Adult-ish

The last few years have been huge for me when it comes to developing my emotional and psychological maturity. As someone whose interests lay closest to those of a thirteen year old girl, it can sometimes be confusing to know which qualities to let go of and which ones I should hold on to. Though I definitely don't think there's anything wrong with my Disney Princess obsession, or being the only person over 11 on the playground with my cousins, I think it's important to find balance between acting like a kid, while also having a good grasp on adult responsibilities and behaviour.

With that being said, what do you call yourself when you feel like you're getting a hang of the whole 'adulting' thing, but still have a closet full of stuffed toys? What do you call yourself when you're not a teenager anymore, but you're still not sure what it means to be in your mid-twenties? When I saw this t-shirt, I knew exactly how to describe this current stage of life: adult-ish.

Expect the Unexpected

Over the last few years, I've become more and more infatuated with the idea that good things happen when you least expect them to. Though it may sound cliché, when I think about this concept in terms of my own life occurrences, it is simply far too true to deny. I love the idea of living life without expectations, and it's something I'm continuously training myself to do on a regular basis.

When Sean and I worked on the second half of this photoshoot (click here if you missed the first half) with Elvira Glawatzki and Jess Jiang, we had our own hopes and expectations to deal with. We had planned on shooting at three different locations, but only ended up being able to shoot at one of the places we had planned.

Spread the Joiy

I was so excited when I received an invite to attend the Joiy luncheon at Wish Restaurant last week. Before then, I had never heard of Joiy wine, but I was instantly blown away by the beautiful, robin's egg blue packaging the second I looked them up. The event could not have been held in a better setting. Wish has always reminded me of a rustic, British cottage, with an atmosphere that is casual, yet cute. The venue, which was already a favourite of mine, truly showcased the fun-loving, bohemian feel of the Joiy brand.

Picture Perfect

In an age ruled by Facebook and Instagram, it has become so easy - and almost natural - to compare ourselves to others on a regular basis. At times, when I find myself caught in this mindset, there's a quote that pops into my head:

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." 
-Steve Furtick

Most often, though something may appear to be picture perfect, it has rarely surfaced without a struggle. We all want to share the best parts of our lives, but are so hesitant when it comes to revealing our flaws. I know for myself, I never want to come across as negative, unattractive or unsuccessful, and for those reasons, there are aspects of my life I simply choose not to share on social media. It's OK to keep certain things to ourselves, but just because we don't share them, doesn't mean they don't occur.

The Power of Change

This week a powerful message I heard really stuck with me: if you don't create change, you will always stay in the same place. Like many valuable pieces of advice, it sounds so simple, but has a huge effect if you take the time to apply it to your life. Whenever we are faced with something we don't like, or a difficult situation, all we wish is that things were different. But how many of us spend as much time trying to fix these situations as we do dwelling on them? I myself am guilty of getting trapped into the latter from time to time, but I like to think that over the last few years I've gotten a lot better at letting things go, and solving my problems in a practical way.

Have you ever heard Albert Einstein's definition of insanity? He literally says "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." I fully agree with this, and I try to keep this quote in mind when I find myself in a funk. You can apply this to any aspect of your life. Think about that girl who always goes for the same type of guy, and is surprised every time he cheats on her. Think about people who always say they want to lose weight, but never actually work out or eat healthy. Think about that person you know who complain about his job, but never actually looks for anything else. I've got news for you: if you don't do things differently, nothing is going to change.

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably noticed yesterday's post where I talked about my latest source of inspiration - blogger and Youtuber Mimi Bouchard. I was following Mimi because she just joined one of my favourite TV shows, Made in Chelsea. She's originally from Toronto, and the first Canadian to join this British series. While looking at her Instagram story last week, I noticed she had posted a video on why people judge, and how to deal with online bullying. At the time, I wasn't even aware she had a Youtube channel, so I was instantly intrigued. After watching some of her videos on changing your mind, keeping your health on track, and training tips, I felt this wave of motivation take over my body - something I had recently been lacking.

As a blogger (and just a human being in general), I go through ups and downs of motivation boosts. Over the last couple of weeks, I started to get into a slump where I wasn't as motivated as I wanted myself to be. But I wasn't unhappy. In fact, that was the problem - I was just a little too comfortable with everything in my life as it was. You know when you hear something and you realize that it's exactly what you needed to hear at that exact moment? That's what happened to me when I watched Mimi's videos. Best of all, it was so unexpected. I definitely didn't think I would come across something so deep from someone I discovered through what I would call the British version of The Hills (on that note, if you loved The Hills and haven't watched Made in Chelsea you definitely have to check it out.)

One of my favourite motivational Mimi videos.

Sweet Hart Kitchen

As a blogger and Instagrammer, one of the biggest challenges I face is trying to maintain a clean and healthy diet, while also wanting to experience the many desserts Toronto has to offer. In a city like Toronto, we are blessed to have so many options to satisfy our cravings. Having said that, I've always thought that this city is lacking when it comes to finding healthy, yet aesthetically pleasing treats. With places like Greenhouse Juice and Planta becoming increasingly popular (seriously - have you seen the wait for brunch at Planta?) it's evident that this is a market popular enough to thrive in Toronto.

When I heard about Sweet Hart Kitchen on social media, my first thought was "my how those donuts look good!" After taking a closer look, I realized that they were not just a beautiful dessert, but a healthy one too. The donuts at Sweet Hart are plant-based, gluten free, and raw. Talk about a guilt-free dessert! After visiting this adorable little bakery and sampling some of their treats, I can say that they taste as good as they look.

Rain to Shine


My favourite time of year is when it's not too hot for pants and a jacket, but not too cold to show off the outfit you have on underneath. I hate sweaty, muggy summers, but I also don't like freezing cold winters. By process of elimination, it's safe to say that spring and fall are definitely my favourite seasons when it comes to both fashion and comfort.

This coat was a spring gift to myself, and I am so happy I splurged on the classic Burberry trench. When I bought it, I was confident that it would not only last forever, but would also never go out of style. To me, when it comes to making big purchases, a good investment is something that you can wear multiple seasons for years to come. The cost per wear of this coat makes the purchase even more reasonable when you think about how much use you will get out of such a timeless, durable piece.

Happy-Go-Lucky

"You're always so happy!"
"You're never in a bad mood!"
"I don't think I've ever seen you without a smile on your face."

Time after time I have heard people from all the corners of my world express this to me. I have a natural happy-go-lucky personality, and over the years I have learned that this is something to be grateful for. Being so stress-free and positive, I even find it hard to relate to people who are consistently in bad moods or who are easily stressed. I like to think of myself as a pretty humble person, but if there's one thing I'll brag about, it's my attitude.

I remember it being brought to my attention and really sinking in for the first time when I was in high school. When I went away to boarding school in grade 10 (something I promise I'll elaborate on in a future post) I remember my house mom constantly expressing how she couldn't believe how immune I was to stress. Ever since then, I became aware of my behaviour and began to realize how lucky I was. It's hard to step back and assess why we are the way we are, but if I had to take a guess at it, I would say this: I find it a lot easier to lead a happy, stress-free life than I do to be angry and negative.

My philosophy in life is simple. If something doesn't make me happy, I eliminate it. Now, this is obviously easier said than done, but it's also not as hard as people make it out to be. Minimizing stress in your life can be done in a multitude of ways, and I've decided to share a few of mine with you. I was going through old albums the other day, and found some old pictures that brought a smile to my face. Since this post is all about how I've always been happy and positive, I thought that this would be the perfect post to share a few of them. So with the help of some of my embarrassing childhood photos, here are a few tips I like to apply to my own life when it comes to being stress-free and positive.

Lemon Blueberry Pop Tarts

In my household growing up, you would never find Fruit Loops, Pop-Tarts, Dunkaroos, or any popular junk food snacks. My mom was (and still is) a health nut. In retrospect, this was a great thing, but as a child I constantly yearned for those sweet treats that the other kids had in their lunches.  When I was finally old enough to buy my own snacks in high school and college, I went crazy with the convenient store hauls. It wasn't until I learned to bake that I realized all the chemicals those processed junk foods contain.

Pretty Pink Places

In case it wasn't blatantly obvious, pink is without a doubt my favourite colour. All my life I've been a total girly girl, and anything pink is welcome into that that theme. On my blog and social media accounts, I've tried to keep that same pink theme going, but some days it requires a lot more effort than you would think to maintain. Having said that, I love the added challenge of having to hunt down pink places and things around the city. Even my boyfriend, Sean, can agree that I've come up with some pretty neat date spots based on my desire to maintain my social media aesthetic.

This weekend, we only had half a day to ourselves, so we narrowed down our adventuring to two spots. Given our love of food, we chose one spot for lunch, and another for dessert. I don't think I could ever be with someone who didn't love eating as much as I do. In a city like Toronto there is always something new to try, which is essential for any foodie.

Authentic Lebanese Hummus

Growing up, I still remember going over to my grandparent's house every week for home cooked meals. My mom's side of the family is Lebanese, so dishes such as tabouleh, fatayer, and baba ghanoush made regular appearances on our dinner plates. As a child, I don't think I understood just how much time and effort went into preparing these large meals made up of so many dishes. Nowadays, I have a newfound appreciation for my elders, as some days I struggle just to put together a smoothie for breakfast!

For those of you who don't know me personally, let me explain my incredibly huge Lebanese family. We are all spread out between BC and Quebec, but every two years my family holds a reunion where almost 200 of us gather to catch up. Ever since I was little, I always looked forward to these reunions. No matter how busy we all are, there is a huge group of us that almost always shows up, and that's something that I think is so special.


Castle on the Hill

I was blasting Ed Sheehan's song 'Castle on the Hill' last weekend, when I got caught up in a whimsical idea. Wouldn't it be nice to dress up and do a romantic photoshoot around an old castle? I started wishing to myself that I lived in Europe, when it hit me that we actually have our very own little castle here in Toronto: Casa Loma.



While thinking of what outfit I would want to feature for this shoot, I thought back to this jumpsuit I had been wanting to feature. When I was trying it on, somebody had told me that I looked like a kindergarten teacher, but I decided to trust my gut and buy it anyways. When I started thinking of princess looks I could channel, it came to me. Who would wear such an outfit that made them look like a kindergarten teacher? Why, the book-loving, intelligent Belle, of course.

Chez Lavelle

On my first visit to Lavelle, it was a brand new rooftop bar and restaurant that had opened up down the street from my place. My boyfriend and I went for dinner and we were extremely impressed from start to finish. My only complaint had been that one half of the venue was a sophisticated crowd dining in the restaurant, and the other half was getting drunk by the pool. 

This weekend when my mom and I went for brunch, the atmosphere was completely different than when I had visited in the summer, and my previous complaints were no longer an issue. Throughout the winter, only the restaurant half of the venue is kept open, eliminating any guests who are only there to party. I'm a sucker for any rooftop restaurant, and if it has decor as beautiful as Lavelle, chances are you'll continue to find me there on a regular basis.


A Sunny Afternoon

There is something special to be said about spontaneous, unexpected fun. I hate planning a whole day or night and then having my expectations become a total let down. When a great day comes about without any planning, it's one of the best feelings in the world. This is exactly what happened when my boyfriend, Sean, and I ended up having the same afternoon off at the last minute.

I was on my way to the Eaton Centre when I got a call from Sean saying that he didn't have to go in to work. I immediately rushed back home so we could have a little day date. Because we both work two jobs and have such crazy schedules, we don't often get the same days off, so we really have to make the most of the ones we have together.

Perriwinkle and Pastels

When I first bought these Gucci heels, I always paired them with all black or white outfits. Unique pastel colours have always caught my attention, but it can be a challenge to pair them with shades other than black or white. Given the crazy amount of colours in my closet, you would think finding something to go with them would be a piece of cake, but everything I had tried to pair them with ended up clashing. These heels are so comfortable, but because I don't want to wear them with the same dresses over and over, I haven't gotten as much use out of them as I would like. Enter the perfect shade of pink to match.

The Easiest PB Banana Smoothie

My favourite smoothie chain is definitely Jugo Juice. I've tried a huge chunk of their menu, and every drink I have from them leaves a sweet taste in my mouth. One of my favourite Jugo Juice drinks is the PB Protein smoothie. It's 440 calories for a delicious combination of chocolate whey protein powder, banana, peanut butter and unsweetened chocolate almond milk. If only you could make it at home...

Back to Basics



As much as I love fun prints and bright colours, I would say that my personal style is very simple. I'm not someone who wears overwhelming amounts of jewellery or accessories - coordinating that many things is just too much for my brain to handle! With my transition to a casual office setting over the winter, I've been trying to keep my looks crisp and clean. Though plain black and white doesn't necessarily scream excitement, I think it's important to be able to put together a nice outfit using only those shades. 

100 Faces

When I was approached by Alicia Chen to participate in her 100 Faces project, I was so flattered by her request and immediately impressed with her work. Alicia is an extremely talented local artist who specializes in illustrations. The purpose of her project is to discover the diversity in Toronto, especially groups staying within their bubbles. She is building a portfolio for this project that will be comprised of illustrations of 100 faces, with stories of the subject to go along with each one.

Light Café

As soon as I stumbled across Light Cafe's Cotton Candy Coffee on Instagram, I knew what I would be doing with my next free afternoon. For the longest time I had wanted to try cotton candy coffee, but didn't know of anywhere that served it in Downtown Toronto. I looked them up, and discovered that the restaurant is one of the hidden gems over on Baldwin Street, along with places like Kekou Gelato and Arctic Bites. That strip is full of little restaurants where you'll find students from the surrounding schools eating and taking food pics every day.

Going to Church

Two weekends ago, I was introduced to the term 'going to church,' which I discovered was another way to say 'Sunday Fun Day'. For anyone hearing this term for the first time, as I was that night, it simply means that you are going to party or drink on a Sunday.

Am I the only one who had never heard of that saying before? I thought it was so funny and clever.

Brunch at Planta

As someone who was raised vegetarian, I can appreciate a good plant-based meal. Growing up in a small town, never mind the idea of a vegan restaurant - I was lucky to find something to eat off of a chain restaurant menu. When I first moved to Toronto, it was as though I was dropped into a vegetarian's paradise. There were so many vegetarian options, that I even ate vegan for around a year. Though I no longer follow a vegan/vegetarian diet, because I ate that way for so long, a large amount of what I consume is free of animal products.

Angelic Dresses

White. Lace. Dresses. These are a few of my favourite things. Imagine how excited I was when I discovered a dress that incorporated all three at Free People. I'm one of the girliest girls I know, and when I find a cute, flirty dress, my wallet simply can't resist the temptation. I knew when I made the purchase that I would be able to wear this dress year round, and to me that is a sign of a good find.

My Winter Reading List

One of the greatest romances in my life has been my love of books. There is nothing quite like the feeling of completely immersing yourself in a novel and taking a leap into an imaginary world. Growing up, I was that kid that kept my night light on past bedtime because I was just dying to find out how my current read was going to end.

Nowadays, my love affair with reading hasn't strayed far from my childhood all nighters. Once I find a book that I love, there is no use in trying to make me put it down. This winter I lost an exceptional amount of sleep because so many good books kept coming my way.

Love Is In the Air

When asked about Valentine's Day, many people I know would call it cheesy and commercialized. Some would even go so far as to say that people in a relationship don't need a holiday to celebrate their love. I can't say that I completely disagree with those comments, but I'm such a romantic that my heart won't let me ignore this holiday.

How I Landed a Job I Love


Up until this past year, I was afraid I was never going to find a job I enjoyed that was beneficial to my future, while also paying the bills. My academic background in journalism and make-up artistry was no longer something I wanted to pursue professionally. I didn't want to intern at a magazine, and I had already worked at MAC for long enough to know that a career as a make-up artist was not for me.

At the time, I was working as a bartender in an environment where I was really unhappy. I was never motivated to get up in the morning, and the second I woke up I contemplated not showing up altogether. Ultimately, I always powered through and went to work with a forced smile and positive attitude, but on the inside I wanted to scream.

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