TORONTO TRAVELOGUE


We don't do it for the fame. We don't do it for the fortune. We do it for the friendships! Remember last Monday, when I posted about Excitement and Fear and this was what I was feeling as were many of my The Blended Blog cohorts in regards to your upcoming trip to Toronto. Well, let me tell you, any nervous butterflies we were all feeling melted away the minute we saw each other's beautiful and sweet faces! I truly believe there is a reason that this group has come together. While, we are all bloggers, we are so much more than that. We have been blessed with the gift of friendship, comradery, commonalities and are definitely a group that loves to have fun, eat good food, shop, walk, laugh and share the joys of life! And in case you don't have time this Monday, I will warn you this post is long because I'm overflowing with my love for these ladies and I want to share it while I am hopefully sleeping in, lol.


Sitting on the rooftop Saturday evening, our wonderful leader that glues us all together, Deena from Shoes to Shiraz mentioned something that really hit home. In this world of blogging, you often hear about blogging conferences and big speakers talking about SEO's, social media, algorithms, how to grow your blog, how to be more engaging etc. etc. yet how many groups of bloggers do you know that get together just to enjoy each other's company and build the friendships that began on a computer screen? I think it is so selfless to not just be concerned about how you're engaging in performing on your own blogs, but to want to support and lift each other up for each other's blogs and our wonderful cohesive blog called The Blended Blog.


I know many of you readers are familiar with the wonderful ladies of The Blended Blog and their personal blogs as well, but I just want to reiterate today how wonderful they truly are and how important it is, if you want to enrich your life, to go read their blogs, their wonderful words, feelings from their heart, stylish savviness and zest for life. 
Before I talk about Toronto shenanigans, let me tell you a little bit about each of these wonderful ladies. I love each and everyone of them and I'll discus their awesomeness in order of their arrival into Toronto. And let me start off first by saying, I knew these ladies were going to be wonderful, but they absolutely exceeded my expectations and how truly amazing they are!

Lisa from Daily Style Finds. Lisa and I had the privilege of coming in together on Wednesday as she was meeting a friend there for dinner and we were happy to get in a little extra shopping in. I swear, Lisa is the younger sister I never had. We had so much in common even down to having the same make and model of vehicle, both being only children, both having moms and husbands that are very similar and absolutely loving fashion! She was the best roomie and being as were so close living in sister states, I know I might get a chance to see this girly again before the next group meet up. If you want the ultimate sweet style, on trend pieces, and affordable fashion finds, you do not want to miss her blog all the wonderful stuff she finds for us all. Plus, let me tell ya, nobody can wear a crop sweater and high waisted jeans jeans better than this beautiful lady! She has the cutest figure!

Shaunacey from Simply Shaunacey. Oh sweet Shaunacey, where do I begin? Shaunacey was exactly in real life as I had always pictured. So down to earth, so freaking funny and just as sweet as they come. I owe so much to her because she is the reason that I was able to become part of this magnificent group. She is raising the most precious and intelligent children and I can't wait wait to see pics of baby three. This busy mama is taking a little blogging break, but I am here to tell you that you might as well just run over her blog now and read all her past posts because this girl has a writing voice that will knock your socks off! She is the real deal! And, she frickin' does pregnancy like a rockstar! We gave her a little baby shower at the restaurant on Friday night. Cutest.Belly.Ever!




Nicole from Nick and Nicole + 4. I was so excited to meet Nicole! She is the most amazing photographer, and when she showed me some of the shots she has done, let me tell ya, if you're ever in her neck of the woods, Miller Ellis is the best photography duo there is! Nicole is the proud mama of four beautiful girls who love fashion like their mama does. She just beams when she talks about them and she is so sincere, sweet, funny and this girl has some serious cute style, and finds the cutest dresses! Plus, her make up is impeccable and can I just have her brows now! Get over to her Blog and find out the amazing journey she has been on! She will inspire you and you will love her as much as I do


Whitney from Whitney ala Mode is such a doll! I love talking to Whitney as she is such a Midwest girl smitten with the mitten where she lives just as much as we love Michigan. She is from a town that we go to quite often in the summer and I'm hoping to meet up with her and dine alfresco overlooking Lake Michigan. This girl is so smart and so poised and just as precious as they come! Get over to her Blog and who knows you may learn a little French along the way. Her students are lucky to have her as a teacher.

Sarah from Foxy's Domestic Side is just pretty as a picture and so full of life! Sarah just bubbles over with enthusiasm for life and I adore her grace and sweetness! Plus, it helps that her daddy is a big Notre Dame fan. You do not want to miss Sarah's Blog, her style and amazing make up finds and hair tutorials will have you saying, "oh my goodness she is so cute!" I swear I can see her smile all the way from California and I can't wait to see it in person again, miss her already and her amazing talents including taking the BEST selfies and sharing onion rings, poutine and club sandwiches with me!!

Alison from Puppies and Pretties is our regal one, for a gal who does not like hugs, you just want to squeeze her all day long! She has mild manner about her that just makes you feel so at ease. And can I tell you, this girl can wear a maxi dress and rock it like a beauty queen on vacation! And how can you not love such a trendy palm print on pink! This girl will find you the best books and adorable style so get over to her Blog.

Katie dear sweet Katie from The Mishaps and Mayhem of Solitary Life, the librarian from Long Island that lights up any room! I swear this girl is constantly smiling and her enthusiasm for life is contagious! Her Blog name is so adorable as is her take on life. Check her out and know this girl can drink a mill street beer that is almost as big as she is. 

Deena from Shoes to Shiraz. All I can say is WOW! This lady has got it together in spades. I did not know how eloquent she was and her voice is so calming. Yet, She commands the room and you want to hang on her every word. She is a loyal and lifting friend and I didn't want to stop hugging her. Her Blog is so real and a reflection of what she is feeling and where she wants to go and you don't want to miss it! Her wit is fabulous and I found myself watching her watching us all and wondering what is she thinking? I bet she's thinking that the blessings bestowed from blogging have enriched Life in a way unimaginable. 

Sandwiched between REAL LIFE BFF's for over 3 decades!!

Christy from RSquared is my spunk sister! What a little gem! We love the same books and shopping galore. The bff of Deena is so funny and has the cutest head, true story about her head. I love to hear abut her 2 boys as it takes me back to my boys younger days and she can see what she has in store for the future in raising busy boys. Be sure to head over to her Blog, Christy is like a sweet treat, even better than a magic bar!!

Lana from My New Happy and I were the oldest of the group. We hold a special bond in the sense that we started our blogs as an outlet in anticipation of our boys flying the nest off to college. We have loads in common and Lana just makes you feel HAPPY when you are around her. A safe and comforting peace. She is a friend anyone would want to have. Her Blog is so uplifting and it will motivate anyone to love life the way Lana does!!


Toronto treated us well and my how much I love Canada and their hospitality. We stayed at a wonderful hotel called the Grand Hotel in two bedroom suites that were lovely and quite accommodating. Our itinerary could not have been perfect, as everyone trickled on Thursday night with all got some cocktails and each one of us got the most wonderful burger offered on the menu. The next morning it was up bright and early to board our bus headed to Niagara Falls with stops in a quaint little town where we indulged in warm drinks and sweet treats like magic bars, cookies and bran muffins.



Then, we stopped at a winery for many of us tried ice wine for the first time.
Then it was onto Niagara that included a trip on the boat getting personal with the Falls where we got to Sport the most fashionable red ponchos.


That evening we had the most wonderful share a tapas nine course meal at a Mexican restaurant called El Catrin, it was amazing margaritas, fabulous food and fellowship. 




The next day we went on a walking tour of Toronto and were literally gone from our hotel about 12 hours, 22,000+ steps later, having a ball, soaking in the sites of the city, finding our spirit animal houses, taking a trek down graffiti alley, many of us indulging in poutine for the first time at the most precious little diner and ending of course with shopping and dinner at a place called The Pickle Barrel. 

A little chitchat up on the roof where the hot tubs are and a giant screen TV screen showing 80's videos and then just like that our weekend was about come to a close and I was already getting emotional just thinking about it.

A few of us had a fairly early flight/departure so we met in the lobby and got one last group photo in our pink The Blended Blog Squad tank tops.

Never in my wildest dreams what I began blogging would I have known that was going to gain so many wonderful friends that I know are going to be friends for a lifetime! 

REMEMBER THIS:
Blogging, may come and go, it may prosper and grow, but through it all, we will remain a cohesive group that supports one another, lifts up one another, and spreads just a little more joy to each other's lives. Never have I loved a entire group of ladies so much. 


#tbblogtoronto2017
So many photos, I'll share more snippets in the next few weeks.
Hoping the 3 Lovelies this we missed, Carrie, Leslie, and Shelia will be able to join us in 2018. Here's to next year! Destination.....TBD and Cheers to going from blogging to REAL.LIFE.FRIENDS!!!!


BARCELONA & FASHION FILES LINK-UP


So I wasn't planning on posting an outfit today with our LINK-UP but since I am so geared up for summer, I will share my favorite cami: The BARCELONA CAMI from EXPRESS.
I own them in 5 colors and the best part: they are reversible to other colors giving you even more options.





Go Get some Barcelona Cami's HERE
but first..., LINK-UP!!




EXCITEMENT & FEAR

Do you remember that abandoned excitement you had on Christmas Eve in anticipation for Christmas morning? Do you remember the giddy elation you felt night before you were going to marry the man of your dreams? Or how about the fear of the first day of school or a new day on the job? Often it can be both, a mix of fear and excitement. I know Mr. Nine and I are feeling this way about building our forever dream home.

Your heart races, you feel butterflies flapping wildly in your gut, your breathing intensifies, you feel a sense of heightened sensitivity as your eyes widen and you limbs quiver with anticipation.Fear or excitement? It’s both. The only difference between fear and excitement is the way you think about it.



In a couple days, I am going to meet 10 blogging world ladies in Toronto that I have the ultimate respect for, they have become a tribe of sorts; supportive, sweet, non-judgmental, hilarious and giving. I'm excited and I'm scared. I've never done this, never talked with sweet peeps for a year or two via print only and then see them and converse with them in the flesh! Crazy. Exciting. Scary. WONDERFUL!!! 
I hope you don't mind but I plan on taking a little blog break this week. 
Don't worry, the Fashion Files Link-up will still be going on come Wednesday.
  I just want to enjoy some side splitting laughter and fellowship with my Blended Blog sistas!!
Re-cap next Monday!!

What makes you feel Excitement and Fear all at once? I'd love to know.

Linking up with Biana // Totally Terrific Tuesday // Inspire Me Monday // Inspire Me Tuesday // Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party // Share It // Creative Monday's // Creative Muster Party // Wow Us Wednesdays // Wonderful Wednesday's Blog Hop // Feathered Nest Friday // Tuesday Talk with Ashley & Erika // 
xoxo


FRIDAY FAVORITES...MOTHER'S DAY EDITION

Yay, the sunshine and warmer temps are in our midst!! We have a packed weekend and I want to wish all you moms, daughters, grandmas, sisters, aunts and fur moms a magnificent Mother's Day so full of love in your heart and all around you!! And I know too is not always an easy day in remembering those we've lost so sending lots of love out to the angels you love too.

1. My Beautiful Mama!!
Aren't I lucky to have a mama with such good genes? Ah, but not only that but with such a giving heart, loving grace, fun personality and sweet style!! Yep, I say it all the time but MOM Jackpot!!
We obviously like to "Toast!"

2. My Best Friend's (SONS) Wedding
My best friend's son is getting married tomorrow!!! He's great young man. And they are an amazing couple. I have lots of great memories of this kid but my favorite is how he calls me his "Agent Aunt Andrea!" You see this guy was a High School stud quarterback and went on to play Division 1 football. I was always very supportive of his endeavors and at all his games. 
Very proud as if he were my own!
How cute were their engagement announcement with their doggie, Leo!!!

 This is the dress I am wearing to the wedding. Mr. Nine got it for me in Vegas at White House, Black Market. I plan on dancing the night away with my honey!!
The Dress sold out quickly but there is a sillier print strapless jumpsuit that is darling HERE

3. Week's Attire
INC top from Macy's, White House, Black Market choker


Ross Dress, Lucky booties, TJ Maxx vest, Charming Charlie necklace

Grace Elements sweater from Macy's, Kohl's necklace, Michael Kors flats

4. Stripes and Chucks
You will never believe it but this dress with pockets was $9.97 at Wal-Mart, is so soft, can be worn up or off the shoulder and I also got it in a navy/green stripe. 
I will live in these this summer! 
Wearing my earrings from Kellyann and necklace from Nadine

More Inspo



5. Misc. FUN
Today at 11 am, Mr. Nine and I are picking out our kitchen and vanities for the build. This is part of the similar look we are going for but with some modern touches. Thoughts? 


Got a new travel bag just in time for Toronto. I have wanted this bag from Sole Society for awhile now and let's just say I am in MAJOR LOVE!! It's leopard print inside and thank goodness, has an outside pocket for my travel docs and passport!! 
BUY BAG HERE

No, despite what is displayed on the screen in the exam room, I am not getting Botox!! However, bright and early this morning is my annual skin check. While I have never spoken on the blog about it, 2 1/2 years ago, I was diagnosed with 2 skin cancers. I will dedicate a whole post to it at some point. While that in itself is not a favorite, catching it early, receiving treatment and getting an annual check is a favorite and your friendly PSA for the day!! My crooked smile in trying to take a selfie before the nurse came in does kind of look like a botox smile, LOL!!

and I was so excited when Tif from Bright on a Budget emailed me last night to say I am featured on their H54F today (High 5 for Friday) Go Link-Up with those sweet gals!!

HAPPY WEEKEND SWEET BABES!!
Linking up with  Amanda // Friday Favorites  // Oh Hey, Friday  // High 5 For Friday // 5 on Friday // Fashion Friday

xoxo

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