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HELLO 2017

The end of a year always makes me look back and reflect on the last 365 days. 2016 was a great year! Shawn and I explored new cities and started new ventures. I always love the traveling that we get to do and this year was no different! Between Paris and Hawaii, I’d say it was a pretty great year.

I’m almost ready to turn the page on 2016 and see what the next chapter holds. It’s both exciting and a tiny bit daunting, but 2017 is going to be a BIG one! I have some exciting things up my sleeve and I can’t wait to share with all of you.

How are you celebrating the new year? Whether you’re hitting the streets to ring it in or staying cozy at home with loved ones, it’s always fun to dress up for New Year’s Eve – I just love the energy and buzz (and the bubbly) that comes with it!

I’ve pulled together some of my favourite pieces for NYE. If you’re planning to dress up in glitter, or staying home to bang pots and pans, take a peek below. Maybe you’ll find something you love!

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DRESSED TO IMPRESS

I’m raising my glass of bubbly and wishing you guys all the very best in 2017!

Love,

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MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS, OLD AND NEW!

I think we can all agree that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It never gets old and every year it feels just as special. I believe it has to do with the happy memories from our childhoods – back when we all believed in magic! What a time to be alive!

Growing up, our family always had the house decorated to the point where we could blow the fuses. If we had all the lights on I couldn’t blow dry my hair or I would blow a fuse! We would change the panels on the light switches, swap our soap dispensers and towels and place festive magnets on the fridge. Our paper towels would be Christmas-y and so would the dog bowls. You name it, we changed it and really got into the spirit. My sister and I would write letters to Santa, we had advent calendars and ate chocolate every day. I would always read books under the Christmas tree and we had the tackiest (but also loveliest) decorations. Ones that were battery powered and sang songs. We would all decorate as a family and bring out games. My sister and I would watch Pee Wee Herman’s Christmas – our favourite holiday movie.

One special tradition was hanging our stockings. We had the most special, kind, loving and sweet grandmas of all time (on both sides). One grandma was an artist and she created ornaments for us when we were born (I still have all of my first ornaments as seen in the picture below). My other grandma knitted our stockings and all of her grandchildren had one. Before she passed away, she knitted as many as she could for her great grand kids, too. I’ve had it with me every year, and last year with life being so crazy and moving to Nashville, Shawn took it upon himself to get my mom to mail it to him, and he filled it for me and surprised me on Christmas morning. It even had an orange at the bottom, just like mom and dad always used to do. I cried my eyes out that he knew how special a stocking was to me and got it for our first Christmas morning together.

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On Christmas Eve, my sister and I would get to open one present each (mom would always make sure it was new matching pjs). We would leave Rudolph some carrots and for Santa…beer and cookies. Yes, beer. Screw the milk! Mom and dad always said it was Rudolph driving, so it was okay for Santa to have one beer. My dad would read to us the night before Christmas and I would get to sleep in my sister’s room (I’m not going to lie, I was scared of Santa). On Christmas morning, we would sit at the top of the stairs while mom and dad made hot chocolate and made sure Santa had set everything up properly.

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I hope my family knows how special they made Christmas every year – including my aunts, uncles and cousins. I’m very lucky for the family I have. I can see my sister passing down traditions to her kids and I love seeing how much joy it brings the family. I can’t wait to do the same.

Shawn and I have started our own traditions, too! Last year was our first Christmas together and we had the best time. We bought Superman and Batman onesies (obviously Snapchatted about it), Shawn took me to the Grinch live musical at the Grand Ole Opry on the 23rd. I love musicals more than anything and you could even drink wine in the theatre! On Christmas Eve, we brought out our mattress and made a living room bed, cooked appies, drank wine, watched movies and played cards and old school Super Nintendo. We woke up on Christmas morning and made Bailey’s and coffee, a big breakfast and opened presents (and stockings). It was so fun having it be just the two of us and we got so excited to one day have a family with our new traditions, and ones passed along. I cooked us a turkey dinner at night and we just had such a nice Christmas together. I’m listening to Christmas songs as I write this and I can’t stop smiling. Smiling is my favorite.

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What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? What are some new ones that you’ll pass on to your kids?

I will leave you with a Christmas joke.

What do you call an elf who sings?

A wrapper.

Love,

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THEY CALL ME FOUR EYES

I’m one of the lucky ones with 20/20 vision, but I’ve always had this thing for glasses. I rock them to change my outfits, not my eyesight! Some people have this infatuation with sky-high heels, but mines always been about frames – I’m nerdy like that. EyeBuyDirect.com sells theirs for such a reasonable price, and slowly my collection has been getting out of hand! The best part is – even if you don’t need a prescription, you can order lenses with digital screen protection and shield your eyes from blue-violet light emitted by digital screens.

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I’m drawn to glasses that are refined, fashionable and feminine. But I’m also not afraid to have a little fun and try something with a print or a bolder colour. I’m big on sunglasses and you’ll spot me wearing them when I sneak into a Starbucks or get off an 8-hour flight. Instant glam.

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Glasses are my go-to and I’m a fan. I’ve teamed up with EyeBuyDirect.com and curated my very own capsule collection that I’m excited to share with you! If you’re feeling festive, pick up a few and slip them into your friends’ holiday stockings, too. They’re made to order so hurry and place your order today, so that you get it by Christmas! Shipping usually takes 7-14 days, but I can promise you, it is definitely worth the wait.

Love,

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IT’S MY SASS, IT’S #NOTMYPERIOD

Recently, I teamed up with U by Kotex for the #itsnotmyperiod campaign, that challenges the stigma that women behave and act a certain way because of their periods, not because of who they really are. U by Kotex is an avid supporter of women’s progress and have always been on our side, battling against the stereotypes that come with that “time of the month”. That’s something that strikes a chord with me. I’ve realized that unintentionally, we all contribute to period stigma – and women are as guilty as men.

I had a conversation with my family about my partnership, and my stepmom told me that in the 1950s, female hygiene products were actually put into brown paper bags before being placed on shelves in shopping aisles. Okay, we’ve come a LONG way since this, but period stigma still exists when it comes to using periods to explain a woman’s behaviour and emotions, whether she’s on her period or not. That’s not okay. Periods don’t define women, women do. It’s such a normal and natural part of being a woman and it’s time we start treating it that way.

When I was on The Bachelorette there were so many moments that could’ve been misinterpreted as me being either too bossy or dramatic. What can I say, I knew what I wanted – and I guess that dubbed me as one of the show’s most controversial Bachelorette’s to date. I’ll take it.

I was there to meet my future husband and there was no time for nonsense. I was honest and called it how it was. That didn’t sit well with some people. Honestly, things got a little crazy and emotions ran high. The most difficult part for me were the rose ceremonies. I wore my heart on my sleeve and did my best to be as honest and forthright as possible. I thought I was doing the right thing by not sugar coating my feelings, but my words were misconstrued and some people couldn’t take it. Eyes rolled and others actually said things like “oh, geez she must be pms-ing.” Are you kidding me?

A women’s emotions and opinions should never be brushed off as her experiencing “that time of the month”. The things I felt on that show were raw and I own everything I said and did. That was me. That was not “code red”.

Look around. Women have made such incredible strides forward – but there’s still a long way to go. Before we tackle the larger issues, let’s take a step back and think about how we speak about the simple, everyday things. I want to know if you’ve heard this happen or experienced it personally before. Share with me online using #itsnotmyperiod so together, we can change the conversation!

Because seriously, it’s my sass, #itsnotmyperiod.

Love,

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MY CMA AWARDS BLOOPER REEL

Just a low key night in Nashville with Beyoncé and Dolly Parton.

I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of such an extravagant and memorable night. Since I was little, I’ve absolutely loved country music so this was a real treat for me! I mean legends of country were strolling through and um…did I already mention Beyoncé?

Last year, Shawn and I walked the red carpet as guests! Our lives were so crazy after coming off the show, and every interview we had asked us, “when’s the date?” It all happened so fast. We found out we were going to the awards only a day or two before, so I grabbed a dress out of my closet (that I previously wore on The Bachelor), called a salon to get my makeup done, and did my own hair. This year…it was different. It was the 50th anniversary for the awards show and that’s a big deal! I teamed up with Sounds Like Nashville and hosted live from the red carpet – things got a little weird! My stylist did a phenomenal job – thanks Lo VonRumpf for helping me make the best dressed list this year! The designer of the gorgeous gown was Hayley Paige. I just loved the sheer lacy black crop top paired with the voluminous organza skirt! Cali Jeffries did my hair and makeup…it lasted all night! I also accessorized with jewelry I had no business wearing – bonheur_jewelry is so stunning. And of course, I need to thank my fiance, Shawn and trainer, Erin Oprea for that “taut tummy”.

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We all know my love for wine, so I sipped on a nice pinot grigio, and started my night off right! Speaking of starting my night off right, I got to meet Macy when I walked in. You know, the little girl who’s always on Ellen and who knows all of the presidents? I’ve always loved her and told Shawn that I want our unborn children to be just like her. She was there to host for Ellen. I hope she knows how lucky she is! Ellen is my freakin’ hero and It was such a pleasure to meet Macy.

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The fun started right away with A Thousand Horses. I LOVE their song Smoke. My one goal was not to ask typical questions and right off the bat I remember asking them “there’s four of you, why “A Thousand Horses?” And they said they get asked that all the time. DANG IT! But every time I turned around I had someone interesting to talk to and interview. Miss America, Jesse James Decker, Jon Pardy, Cam, Michael Ray, Cassidy Pope, Chase Bryant…the list goes on.

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I spiced things up and was that interviewer that played games and made people laugh – I believe I succeeded. Shawn met me after to enjoy the show and legend after legend made for an incredibly historical night – one I won’t forget!! You can watch the video of the behind-the-scenes bloopers and my interviews here!! I felt so in my element and want to do more of this!

Here’s your backstage pass into my night at the CMA’s!

Love,

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PS. How hot was my date?

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FALL TRES-TRENDS

I can’t believe it. Pumpkin spiced latte and sweater season is right around the corner. Feels like just yesterday that Shawn and I road tripped from Nashville to beautiful BC for the summer, entertained by Snapchat and my sweet summer jams (Dierks Bentley, anyone?). While those dog days of summer are winding down, I am looking forward to the fall. I have a thing for fall fashion (and hair styles). Goodbye summer swept hair.

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There’s something about a new season that inspires change – a fresh perspective and a hot, new look. I’ve pulled together some of my fav go-to hairstyles that I’ll be rocking in the fall. The TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume line (where you condition first, shampoo second) give me the softness and bounce that every girl wants. Now you know my secret.

Date Night with Shawn: Surfbort Waves

Down in Nashville, the bigger the better (and that also goes for hair). I have a thing for full, voluminous hair that’s still touchable and soft. I’ll pass on that sticky hairspray stuff. I like to use TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume & Softness Hair Maximizer, and then go in with a curling iron. If I need to, I’ll finish it off with some Flexible Finish Hairspray. It gives me a full look, without the crunchy strands. It’s sexy yet still lived-in. I love it.

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Morning Strolls with Doodle: Top Knot

Whenever I dash out for a walk with Doodle, I don’t spend time perfecting my hair – I’m still an easy-going Canadian girl at heart. For those kinds of mornings, I wash my hair with TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-wash Conditioner and then Beauty-Full Volume Shampoo (and yes, I do it in that order). The combo gives me lots of volume without the fuss of hairspray and mousse. Then, I’ll blow dry it and gently brush it out. Finally, I gather it together, tie it in a top knot and head out the door. Easy!

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Brunch with the Ladies: Low Pony  

For brunch with the squad, I like to keep it simple and unfussy. You can’t go wrong with a low pony, parted down the middle. I’ll spray in the TRESemmé Flexible Finish Hairspray to lock my look. I hate seeing my hair fall flat and this stuff keeps it looking cute and casual. I’m all about smooth hair without the stiffness that comes with an ordinary hairspray. This finish spray keeps my hair’s natural movement.

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But for the next little bit, I’ll be rocking those beachy, summer waves. Perfectly imperfect and it works (for now).

Love,

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WEDDING DIET DETOX

Over the last year, I’ve worked really hard to change my lifestyle. Life’s about balance and I’m all for it. To me, being healthy isn’t about intense diets or quick fixes. It’s about the small steps that wind up making a big difference. I’m also naturally petite and for most of my life, I haven’t really thought about what’s good for my health. I’m lucky to have a quick metabolism, but hey, we’re all the same on the inside, right?

Enter Shawn. He’s a big book guy, a big guitar guy, a big hair guy – but, surprise, surprise. He’s also a big multivitamin guy. I wasn’t really into it at first, but now I take a Centrum multivitamin every morning – it helps support my health goals.

I’m really trying to stick to a routine – having a multivitamin each day, eating healthy and getting regular exercise. I guess you could say I have a little more motivation now. Shawn and I haven’t set a wedding date just yet, but we’ve been bouncing around ideas and it’s in our cards for the near future. Recently, a lot of my friends have gotten married and as much as a bride wants to look her best, it’s just as important that she FEELS her best. Sign me up.

On top of taking a multivitamin daily, I’ve been eating very healthy. I try and have four meals a day and they usually consist of egg whites, toast with almond butter, fruit, chicken salad, chicken tacos, protein shakes and lots of veggies. I eat as much raw sushi as I can (and stay away from the sodium packed soy sauce). I also eat a lot of salmon and I try not to eat carbs too late in the evening. Oh, yes. I also have wine a few times a week. Wine and dark chocolate are my guilty pleasures and then at least once a week I will eat a cheat meal – a big bacon cheeseburger, pancakes, waffles or a big bowl of pasta. Remember that thing I said about balance? I live by it.

But what’s a healthy lifestyle without exercise?! It helps that my fiancé and a close girlfriend are trainers. Erin Oprea is a good friend from Nashville and has been helping me maintain a healthy lifestyle (and really kicking my butt!). She also trains Carrie Underwood, Jana Kramer and Kelsie Ballerini. I work out four times a week with either Erin or Shawn – and if I want to shake it up, I do a spin class. I’m also kind of hooked on my FitBit. Usually, I try and reach 10k steps per day #goals.

I know it won’t be long until I’m in a white dress, so I’m taking my lifestyle choices pretty seriously. It’s not just to look good, but it’s to feel amazing when I walk down that aisle.

Love,

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Centrum provided information and support to develop this content. The opinions and advice shared here are my own.

5 CITIES I’D JET SET TO IN A HEARTBEAT

We all know I’m a little jet setter, so I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 places I’d travel to in a heartbeat!

1. Antiparos, Greece

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Photo Credit: Instagram @simcol

Antiparos is one of Greece’s hidden gems. I follow my friend and former bachelorette, Andi, on Snapchat and she recently visited this island. I immediately fell in love. It went straight to the top of my “places to visit” list. Antiparos is secluded, which means that it is peaceful and quiet. Something I love. I’m 31 and engaged now. My Vegas days are over. All I want is to explore romantic, peaceful getaways with my guy! Antiparos has golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, fresh and green landscapes, and is filled with pure, natural beauty. The village has stone paved streets and the homes look stunning. It’s just a beautiful island and I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Greece. I mean, just Google some photos. SOLD.

2. Sydney, Australia

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Photo Credit: Instagram @glamm.y

Shawn and I have talked a lot about heading to Sydney. Not only does it look breathtakingly beautiful but the people seem SO laid back. The lifestyle there just screams beaches and beers. Who wouldn’t want to get down with that? There’s the Harbour, the famous Bondi Beach, Blue Mountains and let’s be honest – pub hopping! Shawn and I LOVE animals and we’ve heard that there’s an incredible zoo there as well. The other night, while playing “heads up”, I learned that I have a terrible Australian accent. I wouldn’t dare try it out on the Aussies.

3. New Orleans, USA

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Okay, I know I’ve said my Vegas days are over…BUT…NEW ORLEANS? Come on. I’ve never been, but I know I would love it. Shawn and I could have fun in a shoebox, but just imagine the kind of Snaps you’d get if we were to travel to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! Everything seems so “in your face” and I’ve heard that the bartenders can make a mean mint julep. The festivals get me fired up just thinking about them. We love live music, so a good jazz band is right up our alley. One of my favorite things to do is to try new food and find the best hole in the wall restaurants. Creole cuisine? Don’t mind if I do!

4. Denver, Colorado

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Photo Credit: Instagram @_kristeniris

I feel like it’s very underrated by people who haven’t been, but I love the sound of it. I grew up in snowy Alberta and moved to BC because I love the mountains. I feel like I’m in a happy place when I think of ski-in-ski-out resorts, snowboarding all day, stopping on the hill for a Bailey’s and coffee and finishing off the night with games and a dip in the hot tub. I Colorado is filled with fun outdoor activities that would take me back to my childhood. There is something comforting about the snow and being curled up with Shawn in a cabin with the fireplace going. Sign me up.

5. Venice, Italy

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Photo Credit: Instagram @hoteliekat

Wine, siestas, pasta, canals, lagoons, romance, shall I go on? Italians seem to know what’s up. I feel like they’d put red wine in their cereal and I’m not above that. I want to travel there, have dinner with older, happily married Italian couples and listen to their stories. I want to sip red wine on a cobblestone street by the water and watch little boats go by. And after that, do as the Italians do, nap, wake up, and find one of those hole in the wall restaurants where they make pasta and sauce from scratch. I would shop all the little kiosks with knock off bags (one thing that I’m not really into are name brands, I will never understand spending money on that stuff). Italians know how to live life. They know what’s important, and it’s not Instagram likes, or how many views your Snap story gets. It’s the stories of love, family and history. They enjoy the moment, they enjoy life and love. THAT’S IT, I’M BOOKING MY TICKET.

All this travel talk and I’ll happily put myself in debt for it. I could go on and on and tell you of the other places I’d want to travel to one day. Vienna, South Africa, the Bahamas, Egypt. The list goes on. Dublin is on there too, but I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks there. I highly recommend visiting.

What is your favorite place to visit and where would you jet off to in a heartbeat?! I wanna know!!

Love,

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KAITLYN BRISTOWE X STILNEST JEWELRY

Music has always been my biggest inspiration. I grew up in the dance studio and was doing pirouettes almost as soon as I could walk. Whenever I’d step on to the dance floor, I’d have this overwhelming feeling of safety. It didn’t matter if it was a ballet class or a hip hop class – I’d still get that feeling. Dance was amazing in that it taught me confidence and creativity. I may get a bit of that from my mama, but dance really took it to a new level!

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Since moving to Nashville with Shawn, I’ve really gotten into singing. I’ve been working with a voice coach and a songwriter and I absolutely love it! Nashville is Music City. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and historic Ryman Auditorium are Downtown and the city is packed with legendary honky-tonks, dive bars and dance halls. When I’m in Nashville, I’m in my element.

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Looking back, it only made sense to create a jewelry line that mirrors my love for music. It’s helped me get through tough times, but it’s also been a source of comfort. Music makes me happy and it’s what I turn to when there’s a moment worth celebrating. This is what this collection is about. It’s personal.

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I’ve teamed up with Stilnest to design something that’s one-of-a-kind. The necklaces, rings, bracelet and headpiece are made from a high quality 925 sterling silver and are also available in gold or rose gold (my fav!).

Shop my collection and wear it to music festivals, after parties and concerts with friends. Enjoy it. I’ll be doing the same.

Love,

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Photo Credit: Sharla Pike Photography