My Little Pony T-shirt

My Little Pony T-Shirt

My Little Pony T-shirt

Yes, I am an adult. I pay my bills, have a full-time job and am trying to further my education. Yet still, when I see a sparkly My Little Pony shirt I am compelled to buy it. Especially if it is pink, black and has sparkles on it; one of my favourite combinations!

This shirt is from a local Toronto designer, so supporting a store that reminds me of how Queen Street West was in my youth (less big box stores and more independent designers) makes me feel good. Shopping is supposed to make you feel good, right?

My Little Pony T-shirt - Hayley Elsasser

Silver Bullet Earrings

This is probably one of my most casual looks ever. The shirt is boyfriend style and is unisex and looser than I usually wear, I must admit I’d like it better if the sleeves were shorter, but I still love it. I never realized how comfortable a t-shirt could be! Heck, maybe I’ll change my style – retire all the pencil skirts and blazers!

I paired it with grey jeans to bring out the silver sparkle of the pony, and studded rocker boots with a slight heel. I added pink extensions to the hair (they are hard to see in the picture) to add some more colour to pick up the pink outline of the pony. The only jewelry I’m wearing are silver bullet earrings I made. They are created from bullets I actually shot!

This was definitely a fun outfit that brought out the kid in me.

My Little Pony T-shirt - Hayley Elsasser

Shirt: Hayley Elsaesser
Jeans: Guess
Boots: Sam Edelman
Bullet earrings: made by me

Afternoon Tea Outfit, White Coat

Shangri-La Toronto Afternoon Tea Outfit

Shangri-La Toronto Afternoon Tea

Flower Fishnets

Finally I get to have a reunion with my former work wifey! We’ve been trying to do a proper tea for ages. Afternoon tea is about my favourite thing to do and I’m slowly visiting every possible place around the city. Now, I can cross the Shangri-La off my list.


This place isn’t a traditional tea room, meaning the decor is Asian fusion themed, not British. It is held in the hotel lobby, which sounds like a bad idea. But the lobby isn’t drab, it has windows to the ceiling all over it. The nicest part was a live pianist played the grand piano as you ate your scones. Since this place is modern and near the financial district, I thought I’d go for more of a corporate, classy look. A fascinator or feather hat would have been too odd here. Next teatime I’ll be sure to wear a crazy hat.

Afternoon Tea Shangri-La Toronto

My outfit was simple and monochromatic. A skin tight black dress that went just above the knee and was sleeveless. A little black dress is always a good idea and I feel amazing in this one. I paired it with a white jacket with big bell sleeves, it reminds me of what a politician or President’s wife would wear. The jacket is a statement piece and dresses the whole look up. To add interest to the outfit i wore fishnets with a line of flowers up the leg. I’ve been into being comfortable lately and it was Sunday afternoon so I opted for boots not heels.

The tea was pricey, but the service was exceptional and the teapots were pretty. Everything was in theme from the server’s dresses, receipt envelope to the teapots! I love some thoughtful coordination.

Flower Fishnets

Dress: Mendocino M
Jacket: Zara
Shoes: Sam Edelman

Floral Dress long sleeves

Long Sleeved Floral Dress – Zara

Call for Champagne

Just when I think it is spring it starts to snow again! I wore this dress for one of my sister day activities when it was finally nice out (although the pleasant weather was temporary). I bought this dress from Zara during Boxing Day sales and it was around $17! With tax – can you believe that?! I love that it is a pastel floral print and it reminds me of spring. Maybe if I dress in floral flowers will bloom. The long sleeves made it more comfortable for me since it is quite form fitting so it is sexy without having too much skin.

Every few weeks my sister and I try to schedule a fun activity for us to do. We bought a Groupon for a glass of prosecco and blow dry and style at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. I’ve always wanted to try this place because it looks really pretty and pink- it has been all over Instagram. However, I don’t really do my nails and I thought this was the salon’s main purpose. So when I saw the deal I thought it would be a fun day. Now that I have extensions I can have mermaid beach waves so this was the perfect activity. We were able to sip prosecco while being pampered. I would definitely come back here just for a drink without the service as well. The staff was great and we got some fun pictures. I was channeling Lady Gaga from the Telephone video all through these photos. I must admit I wore the pink and gray floral to match the decor.

Call for champagne

Look at my sister looking at me adoringly 🙂

Me channeling Lady Gaga in the Telephone Video

Sisters

We started our day off with great hair and headed out for brunch. We ate at the Colette, but it was way too busy to take any pictures at. Sadly, there will be no pictures from that pretty space.

I paired the dress with a white jacket which has great bell sleeves on it. This makes the dress more professional especially since it is pretty tight and may be too risque in the office. With the jacket I could also wear it to work. The boots have a small heel and are easy to walk in which was perfect because we were exploring downtown.

Her Majesty's Pleasure sister date

Floral Dress for work

Floral dress: Zara
White coat: Zara
Boots: Sam Edelman

DIY Doily Banner Tutorial

DIY Doily Banner (VIDEO tutorial)

This dainty doily banner is so easy and CHEAP to make! It costs under $2 to create and the effort is minimal. It is the perfect decor for an afternoon tea and all the supplies can be found at the dollar store.

I made this banner for a mutual friend’s Kentucky Derby themed bridal shower. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend because I was on vacation; but it looked lovely from the pictures. The girls were asked to dress in floral with hats or fascinators in their hair – I love a good theme! It is hard to plan events with limited money; but it is possible to throw a stellar party when you use your creative DIY brain.

See below for instructions on how to create your own banner.

Supplies

DIY Doily Banner Supplies

  • Doilies (3 sizes)
  • Ribbon (colour choice is yours)
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. First decide on your pattern – the combination can be whatever you like. For my banner I went with the pattern: small, medium, big, medium, small. I liked this because there was a focal point in the middle
  2. Fold your doilies in half
  3. Glue the folded doilies over the ribbon in the pattern you chose. Drop some glue in the crease of the doily and press down
  4. Continue gluing the doilies until you reach your desired length
  5. Leave enough excess ribbon on both ends so that you can hang/tie the banner
  6. Hang and admire your banner

DIY Doily Banner

Have a wonderful party!

Floral Suit at AGO First Thursdays

Navy Floral Pant Suit

Art Gallery Outfit

If you know me you know I love a good power suit and floral. Often suits can be bland; but this suit definitely isn’t boring. Sometimes it is hard to bring floral print into cold weather; but this dark pattern totally works for the winter. If you remember I also have  a spring Floral Suit look which is similar to this suit but brighter. The difference between the two looks is also the fabric, this winter suit has thicker fabric than the more airy spring version. The darker colours of this pattern make it more formal and winter appropriate although it is still funky and has loads going on.

I wore this outfit to First Thursdays at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I went straight from office to night without changing a thing……wait stop, I lied, that isn’t completely true, I did put false eyelashes on for the night. Having an outfit that would work for both venues that I felt awesome in made life so much easier.

This was my first time visiting the AGO First Thursdays party; they open the gallery up for drinking and dancing. I was there early and had much of the gallery to myself which was lovely. Most people went straight to the bar, but I had time to kill while waiting for my friend so I enjoyed the solitude to really absorb the gallery. Many of the rooms you can’t bring alcohol into, for obvious reasons, but there is still enough room to enjoy the art and party. There was one exhibit by Yayoi Kusama open to the public, sadly since tickets are sold out this may be the only exhibit of hers I see 😦

Navy Floral Suit H&M

Navy Floral Pant Suit for the winter

This whole suit was from H&M, it also had a shirt in the same pattern but I couldn’t find my size. I wish I also had the shirt I would love to rock full floral! The pants are form fitting and cropped a bit so just a touch of ankle is showing. This makes the suit younger and more casual. The jacket is double breasted and quite loose so it is comfortable even though it is still suiting. I wore a cream blouse to make the look less dark and it brings out some of the lighter colours in the floral pattern. I wish I would have had the will to have worn black stilettos, they would have looked even more boss. But knowing I’d be on my feet for 12+ hours I went for comfort and wore studded ankle boots with a modest heel.

Gallery Outfit - Floral Pant Suit

Suit: H&M
Blouse: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Sam Edelman

 

Beauty and the Beast Inspired Outfit

Beauty and the Beast Inspired Outfit

Red Lace Shirt

How to Wear a Long Formal Skirt

I was lucky I had this skirt waiting when I got a last minute ticket to Malanka, Ukrainian New Years. Unfortunately, my friend’s date needed to cancel attending the party, but luckily I could step in. I’m really glad to have any excuse to dress up.

Malanka Date

I loved this skirt because it reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. I was subtly channeling the Disney princess as I twirled around while attempting to dance the polka. The red I wore happened to match the venue decor. The party was at the Liberty Grand, which is an ideal place for weddings or high school proms, both of which I’ve attended there. The building was beautiful and decorated red and gold for a Moulin Rouge theme. It’s so interesting to see how decor can change a place. When I attended my friend’s wedding there last year everything was white and delicate, now the inside looked risque and decadent. Nonetheless, the place looked magical and my friend and I were dressed up like princesses.

Red Rose Skirt

Red Lace Top

I got this skirt on sale at Zumel and Company, a boutique on Queen West, and had no idea where I would ever wear it. It seemed like a ridiculous purchase; where am I really going to wear a pouffy ankle-length skirt? But it was big, fabulous and on sale so I HAD to have it. I had a vision of wearing it with a lacy red shirt because of the rose on the front. A few days before the Malanka celebration I searched and found this top on sale at Zara. I think this outfit looks fancy and marvelous, but in reality was such a steal. Accessories excluded the whole ensemble cost less than $50! I wore glittery J. Crew earrings and held a silver clutch from Danier Leather (it was actually a present for being a bridesmaid). I paired them with red sateen shoes to give a peck-a-boo pop of red against the black.

Malanka Date

We went outside around midnight to take pictures – a very smart thing to do in January without a jacket. Thus I caught a cold and I blame my need to take Instagram photos!

Shirt: Zara
Skirt: Zumel & Company
Shoes: Charlotte Olympia
Clutch: Danier Leather (sadly now closed)

 

 

Valentine's Day Outfit

White and Black Heart Skirt – Valentine’s Day Outfit

White and Black Heart Skirt

This skirt was my perfect Valentine’s Day piece! It is airy and demure while it screams LOVE at you. This year I was excited to celebrate the holiday with all my loves; the days of hating this holiday are gone! However, the skirt has black hearts on it so if I change my mind I think I could adapt the skirt for an anti-Valentine’s look as well.  🙂

I generally don’t deck myself out in one brand exclusively when I dress, but this entire outfit (accessories excluded) is from J.Crew. I love J.Crew, but I only ever purchase from them when they have sales. Their sales are usually worth it when you can get an additional 50% off the sale price – I was glad I could score this matching outfit for a deal. I am very into pouffy statement skirts and I thought this one was so pretty and dainty. The shirt’s ruffle is a similar material to the skirt so it matches perfectly.

JCrew Black Heart Skirt

Ruffle off the shoulder top

I wore this outfit for both of my Valentine’s outings. On the 14th I went out with my girlfriends (my partner was working). The following weekend my boyfriend and I celebrated by having a romantic dinner at the Old Mill. I adore looking at the antique or antique-like furniture there; it’s so pretty.

Also you may notice I got a new look…I got extensions! I feel so glamorous in them!

Old Mill Toronto

Shirt and Skirt: J. Crew
Heels: Steve Madden

What Valentine's Day Sweets to Buy Your Nut-Allergic Sweetie

What Valentine’s Day Sweets to Buy Your Nut-Allergic Sweetie (VIDEO)

Valentines Day is around the corner. The day of love – or most appropriately the day of chocolate. I have hated this day for so long – not just during my single more bitter days but waaaaay back to childhood. The reason isn’t because of loneliness or lack of love it is because:

I CAN’T EAT THE CHOCOLATE!

Do you know how sad that is?! As a six-year-old or even now? This is one of the realities I’ve accepted by living with a nut/peanut allergy. It is hard to enjoy chocolate-filled holidays. Generally, not eating dessert is an accepted fact for me. But over the years I’ve grown and softened to this holiday and have actually learned to enjoy it – although it is still hard to find chocolate to eat.

I’d be happy to get anything as a present for Valentine’s but the cliche present of chocolate is a challenge to receive with an allergy – especially fancy gourmet chocolate. Most boxes of chocolate are full of nuts and if they are not they say “may contain nuts” which is essentially the same thing. So what sweet can you buy your nut/peanut allergic partner?

Here are my suggestions to have a sweet and safe Valentine’s Day with your nut allergy. And remember you can buy yourself chocolate- this is a day for fun and all kinds of love, self-spoiling included!

 1. Buy Cupcakes Instead

Sorelle and Company Nut-free cupcakes

If you can’t get chocolate that is safe, get cupcakes or other baked goods. Toronto has some quality nut-free bakeries that carry cakes, cookies, brownies- anything a normal bakery would carry. Some of my favourites are: Sorelle and Company (which is super Instagram-worthy, but pricey) Cakes by Roberts did my unicorn birthday cake which I absolutely adored! I haven’t been to Yonge and Eglinton in ages but I remember The Cupcake Shoppe being amazing. So, if classic chocolate fails I’m sure there is a nut-free bakery in your city.

2. School-Safe Chocolate

School Safe Kid Friendly Valentine's Chocolate

Kid or school-safe chocolates can often be found at grocery stores, drug stores or even dollar stores. However, the shapes won’t be very fancy or romantic – think Darth Vader, princesses and cartoon characters. But you’ll likely be able to find the classic heart-shape as well. Scan the aisles for a peanut-free/nut-free label. On the downside the chocolates are generally cheap and drug store quality at best – but they will work as a gesture.

3. Laura Secord has a nut-free line!

Laura Secord Nut-Free Chocolate

Laura Secord does have a line of gourmet chocolate bars and fancy boxes of nut free chocolate. They are definitely of a higher quality and more romantic than the school-safe chocolate. But, it is hard to find a store and most of the specialty nut-free products are only in store. My boyfriend has come home with fear in his eyes more than once at not being able to find a box of chocolates for me.

4. Shop Local

For me Laura Secord is local, as a Canadian company I grew up with it. Although I didn’t grow up eating their chocolate, I believe the nut-free line is a newer development. Another option is to shop local, maybe your local independent chocolatier can make you a special order? It can’t hurt to ask.

5. Make it yourself!

If all else fails (or even if it doesn’t) you could always bake yourself and you’ll know it will be safe! You could make your sweetie dessert or a batch of nut-free cookies. They will be one of a kind and from the heart and that is always king!

Please share your nut-free recommendations with me! I’m always looking for new ways to satisfy my sweet-tooth!

Laura Secord Cameo Chocolare
Maxi Skirt Resort Outfit

What I Wore on my Punta Cana Vacation (Majestic Mirage Resort)

In October I went on a romantic vacation to the Domenican Republic, Punta Cana, with my love. We were there for five days and we were so worried to go. Our trip occurred right after Hurricane Maria and a bunch of other storms hit. We made many phone calls and all assured us it was fine to travel, but still I didn’t trust it! Luckily I was stressed for nothing and the trip was beyond my expectations.

We stayed at the Majestic Mirage, Punta Cana, in the adults-only section. The place was a paradise. We even had our own private butler, Reynaldo, who would get more pink champagne upon request! The food was high quality – way better than the Cuban and Mexican all-inclusives I’d stayed at before. The resort was also empty – it was a ghost town likely due to fear from the weather. I felt for the staff, they seemed anxious to have something to do. However, the emptiness made the experience more enjoyable for me – no issue finding a spot on the beach, no lines – the privacy was great!

During the trip there were many outfits to be had – I’m so glad I was able to wear some long neglected pieces that aren’t all that practical to wear in Toronto.

Maxi Skirt – Look 1

Punta Cana Majestic Mirage

Fruity Drinks

This was my lady of luxury lounging outfit. The skirt was actually a hand-me-down and it is so comfortable and perfect for this kind of trip. The top is quite skimpy and wouldn’t do well in an active situation, it is from TSOQ (a Toronto store). It has some interesting lace lines at the front and the back is bare. A fancy dangling glittery belly ring gave the outfit some sparkle. I paired the skirt with gladiator sandals from Sam Edalman and a black sunhat from H & M. I wore these cheap, big, curvy glasses that remind me of a movie star trying to shield their face.

Maxi Skirt – Look 2

Black Sun hat outfit

Punta Cana

Saona Island

This outfit was for an excursion where we went to a park, river cruise, and snorkeling to see tropical fish and a private island. For this look I paired it with a more covered, simple black spaghetti strap as the day was more active. It is also a better choice for being in public if you don’t know how modest people are. I wore cheap Old Navy flip flops as they are better for the beach. The sunglasses are Ray-Ban and are prescription so I could actually see the sights. The same floppy hat was worn for both looks.

I was so excited for this excursion, the island pictures looked idyllic and I have never snorkeled in a tropical place – I desperately wanted to see colourful fish. However, I did not realize I was prone to seasickness.  I was so seasick on the catamaran I thought I was going to die – I won’t get into all the gritty details. But, by the time I got to shore I felt like I was escaping hell. Thus I sadly could not enjoy the snorkeling. I think ‘T’ thought I was going to drown and I apparently missed seeing a ‘Finding Nemo’ Fish – so heartbreaking. I didn’t post the after seasickness pictures as you can definitely see the joy fade from my face.

Orange Tie-Dye Maxi Dress

Orange Tie-Dye Maxi Dress

I bought this dress on sale at BCBG Maxazria years ago and I had never worn it. It’s such a waste to have things with the pricetag on them – at least it allows you to shop your closet. I loved the dress and it was a great deal; but I just never had anywhere to wear it. Finally, I had a place with the right climate to rock this dress! I paired the dress with silver flat sandals, a string of pearls I made and super glittery earrings.

Punta Cana Safari Outfit

Punta Cana Safari Outfit

This was my favourite outfit of the trip, likely just because of the colourful backgrounds I found. I take any excuse to wear heart-shaped glasses. See the full outfit post here.

Blue Floral Suit

Zara Blue Floral Suit

Heart Towel Swans

I absolutely adore this suit – see a full post about it I did in the spring – Zara Floral Suit. It is very light, loose and comfortable. It was my plane travelling outfit to and from the resort. Usually I wear leggings when flying, but this ride wasn’t very long and I wanted to jump right into exploring without needing to change. Generally I feel so frumpy on planes, but this outfit was an alternate that solved my problem.

Black and White Pant Romper

Majestic Mirage, Punta Cana

This one-piece pant romper has pockets! Doesn’t that just make everything better?! It is loose and very light – perfect for dinner and a pina colada. The romper was on sale from Guess a few years ago.

Follow me too Punta Cana

I want to go back! And I couldn’t resist this cheesy photo!

Punta Cana Safari Outfit, Rainbow Wall

Punta Cana Safari Outfit

Punta Cana Safari Outfit

Now that it is freezing and there are spontaneous snowstorms, I am recalling my trip to the Domenican Republic I took a couple months ago fondly. It was so beautiful and it was definitely my best all-inclusive trip to date. I am looking at videos of the beach and missing the sun!

Whenever I do an all-inclusive going on excursions is a definite must. Staying in the hotel and laying on a beach for days is boring – I need to learn and do something. During our stay in the Dominican Republic we went on the Outback Safari Adventure Tour from Punta Cana. It’s an odd title since you aren’t really seeing animals (except a few that looked sad at a zoo) but visiting coffee and coconut farms and seeing how the locals make a living. But it was a great excursion and I felt like I had a better understanding of the country from it by seeing multiple places off the resort.

From the brochure I knew we were going to see some colourful houses and walls so I was excited and inspired. I admit it, I partly chose the excursion based on the rainbow wall!  I often have difficulty finding a casual outfit – I just don’t do casual because I’m so used to dressing up for the office. But given we were visiting farms and going swimming; casual was needed.

The outfit was a dress from Lulus that I wore as a shirt. It is pretty skimpy but I love the lace at the front, it feels like you’re not wearing anything at all. It was incredibly HOT out so being half-naked was a good thing. I paired it with basic jean shorts and gladiator sandals. Of course I also needed a sun hat and shades for my porcelain exterior. I added a red ribbon to the hat to match the heart-shaped glasses and red lipstick. Sadly I lost the glasses to the ocean and need to get a new pair.

Coacoa beans

Coffee Factory Punta Cana

First we drove around in a windowless bus and the guide taught us about the country and it’s independence. I had to duck for cover a few times as branches flew into the side window. I would not recommend this tour for children given this hazard! One of the most fun parts of the tour was visiting an organic coffee and cacao farm. They showed us how they made everything by hand and gave samples. The hot chocolate was amazing, I have dreams about it! It had the secret ingredients of brown sugar and cinnamon. I have tried and failed to recreate this recipe accurately at home. They also showed us their home and it was so colourful and happy. It screamed photo shoot (of course I asked permission). After visiting this scenery I had a huge urge to paint my walls technicolour. They also had a parrot who constantly said “Hola”

Later we visited a zoo, witnessed hand rolled cigars and alcohol tasting. After lunch we visited a coconut farm and off to the beach to boogie board. The ocean was so freeing! I had the best time trying to catch a wave all by myself as ‘T’ took pictures of me whipping out.  Besides losing my glasses the tour was a great learning experience and a way to get a taste of local culture.

Dress: Lulu’s
Shorts: Jacob
Hat: H & M (I added my own red ribbon)
Studded purse: Jacob
Gladiator Sandals: Sam Edalman