Category Archives: Life & Home

What I’ve Been Wearing – Hello Sunshine Edition

Happy Wednesday friends!  I hope your week is going well.  Here in Toronto it’s been sunny if a bit chillier, but still summery fun is in full swing.  So I thought I’d do a recap of some of my favourite recent outfits 🙂

Girly casual for a fun date night at a comedy club!f7d3922d-4bb2-400b-9ff7-aeec4bfa54a0_zpsxxcmtgef

  • White denim blazer – Yileng from a Metro in Romania
  • Pink denim dress – Venus
  • Snakeskin metallic sandals – Walmart
  • Purse – Winners

Out and about for a Sunday Funday 🙂 e0d8004b-8071-4ed8-a981-70d47572ab5f_zpsso6ppbll

  • Blue dress – Suzy Shier
  • Pink bathing suit – Ardene
  • White sandals – Joneve
  • Sunglasses – American Eagle from Winners
  • Purse – Winners

Light and summery… and feeling like a mermaid.0f2a67b2-b4e9-4c41-b1cb-637bfb904761_zpspdmenwmk

  • Turquoise maxi dress – AliExpress
  • Black corset belt – Ardene
  • White sandals – Joneve
  • Seashell drop earrings – Avon

Movie night date night!  134210b8-770d-4c91-9a07-c065220a9a9d_zps60vle1wq

  • Black tee – Walmart
  • Pink floral skirt – Giant Tiger
  • Snakeskin metallic sandals – Walmart
  • Purse – Winners

What fun items are you bringing out of your closet for summer?  I’m loving getting back into cute skirts and dresses and bright colours!sig_zps80d391d4

 

5 Things That Made My Week

Happy Monday, darlings!  Who’s ready for a beautiful week of sun and fun?  I know I am!  In preparation for that, here are my five highlights for the past week:

  1. My new hair products:  Blonde locks means a more rigorous care regimen, so I’ve picked up some of the good stuff – John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde shampoo and conditioner.  I saw Lauren Conrad using it on a hair tutorial, and I trust her taste in blonde maintenance, so I got the Everlasting Blonde line.  I also got some John Frieda Frizz Ease serum (that’s been a classic since the 90s).  I find that I do need to heat style a bit more now, or else my natural waves end up looking a bit like a glam metal singer, and this serum has smoothed and softened my hair amazingly.
  2. Pedicures:  A little while back, Nick’s mom came to town and we had a fabulous girls day – my first ever, actually!  One of the fun activities was going for a pedicure at Nino D’Arena in Erin Mills Town Centre.  It was my first salon pedi in 10 years, and it was amazing!  I felt so pampered, and my toes left looking super pretty!  It’s been almost 2 full weeks, and my sweet little pink toenails are still looking good as new!  If you’re ever in the area, I’d highly recommend checking them out.
  3. My little Bath & Body Works treats:  Part of the shopping trip was a visit to Bath & Body Works, one of my favourite stores.  I left with a few items, including the cutest little travel hand sanitizer (in Pink Grapefruit Pop scent), as well as an amazing little hand cream for my purse, Vanilla Buttercream.  It smells and looks like frosting, and I love it!
  4. Scoop neck t-shirts:  A basic tee is always good to have on hand, and easy to make work in all occasions.  A basic scoop neck tee that’s nicely fitted is better.  I picked up a couple of these at Wal-mart (yes, really!), and have been loving styling them up and down, plus the pink colour is perfect!
  5. Luke Bryan music:  I’ve always liked country music, but recently I’ve been enjoying it a lot more – something about summertime and generally clean lyrics.  So I’ve been spinning lots of Luke Bryan this week while I’m working, doing chores around the house, and in the car, and it makes me smile.

So fun!  Go ahead, pamper yourself, and turn up some fun tunes this week!

 

Mid-Year Reset

Here we are, smack in the middle of summer.  This is my favourite time of the year by a wide margin, and I am loving the long days, sunshine, and magic that the evenings and midsummer nights bring (just ask Shakespeare).  Today’s post will be short and sweet, and I hope that it helps you as well, since we’re talking about goals and resolutions!  Last week, on Tuesday, I remember glancing at my calendar, and being shocked that half of 2015 is gone by – half!

While I know that time flies when you’re having fun, I must admit that when I looked back at my goals and resolutions for the year, I wasn’t exactly beaming at my progress.  Looking more closely at my goals and resolutions, I noticed a few things that were likely reasons why I wasn’t further along:

  1. Some of my goals were either not realistic, out of my control, or no longer applied.  For example, aiming to have all our pictures hung on our wall and a new paint colour on the walls – except that we have moved into a shorter term rental, where we are expressly asked not to make holes in the walls or change the permanent decorative elements (paint, curtains, etc.).  So while there might be some Command hooks in our future to keep the walls intact, this goal is no longer applicable.
  2. I had too many goals.  I had 21 goals and resolutions, of varying importance and benefit.  While they are all certainly worthwhile goals and possible, I could clearly see a lack of focus.  Happily this is simply fixed by evaluating each one in terms of priorities and the Importance and Urgency scale.
  3. I had no action plan.  This one was the biggest factor.  For example, I had a monthly reading goal.  While I truly love reading, I had no real plan to hit that goal, instead simply picking a book that seemed pertinent, reading it when I can, and then picking another one when I was done.  As a new action plan, I’ve started picking out my books for the month in advance, and seeing how much I need to read daily in order to hit the goal.

So with a fresh goal card, I set to work.  I evaluated which goals were applicable, and which were my top goals to hit.  Then I developed action plans for each of these goals.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the progress made within a week of that reset was far more than any week before it.

Have you looked at your goals for 2015 recently?  How have you been doing, and what tips do you have to share on how to stay on track?

5 Things That Are Making My Week

Happy Wednesday!  I hope your week is going well 🙂  It’s been a good week here for us, as we continue to settle into a rhythm for the summer.  I love when the days are long, and the evenings stretch out with slow, relaxed sunsets.  I’m trying out a new recurring feature here on the blog, and I’ll be calling it 5 Things That Are Making My Week, I hope you enjoy it!  Here we go with this week’s Top 5.

  1. Big pots of coffee:  When we moved, our Keurig started acting a bit fussy, so we went out and got a good old fashioned coffeemaker that makes a pot at a time.  I’ve been loving it!  We put the pot on in the morning, which makes our home smell delicious, and then have lots of coffee ready whenever we’d like.  Right now, I’m really liking Lavazza coffee with just a bit of raw sugar and cream.
  2. Bright pink nail polish: Of course, this is my signature nail look (you might remember that from this post, where I discussed my intentionally reduced manicure options).  This past little while, though, I’ve been really liking how the bright pink looks with my tanned skin – it makes me feel very pretty and the pink makes me smile every time I look at my tips!
  3. My pretty water bottle: Nick and I picked up some cute durable water bottles to use, all in an effort to reduce the amount of disposable bottled water bottles that we go through.  This little cutie with a blue top and a bright geometric pattern holds 1.5 standard bottles, and is adorable!  I’ve even added little flags on the side to help me gauge my water intake as I go about my day.
  4. Lemon tea: Something about tea makes me feel so healthy and serene, especially herbal and green tea.  So I’ve been trying to make tea more of a daily recurrence in my life.  Recently, I’ve been really enjoying the Lemon Thriller tea by President’s Choice, which tastes just like a pure lemon tea, really beautiful.
  5. To Do & Done Lists:  I make daily To Do lists, so that’s nothing new.  However, I’ve started also writing out Done lists next to those, and noting down items that I did throughout the day.  Here I focus on things and activities that I intend to do, but don’t necessarily come up on my To Do list – things like reading, listening to great audios, eating an actual breakfast.  I’ve been really getting into this because I tend to be a bit overzealous with my To Do lists, and this gives me a better perspective on my day, and shows a more complete picture of what I accomplished any given day.

What little things have been making your week better?  And what do you think of this as a new feature?  I’m pretty optimistic, since even just thinking of the items to put on my list puts me in a much more grateful and thankful mindset as I think about my week.

My Beach Bag Essentials

I love summer, it truly is my favourite season.  I adore the warm weather, the flowers, the long hours of sunshine, but one of my most favourite parts of summer is going to the beach.  Whether it’s a tropical paradise (like we visited last month), or even just a day trip to Wasaga Beach, I feel most at home with sand under my feet and a sea breeze running through my hair.

I’ve even adopted one of Lauren Conrad’s tips from a while back and keep a bag always ready for summer fun, so that I’m always set for a spontaneous trip to the beach!  Of course, that begs the question, what to keep in your beach bag?  Well, here below I’ve curated my list of beach bag essentials, pulled mostly from what I actually had on hand in Mexico!  Check it out 🙂

The Essentials (clockwise from the top)

  1. The Bag – it seems fairly obvious, but make sure you pick out a good beach bag.  I like a fun, light, sizeable one that has at least one zipped pocket for more valuable/delicate items, and is beachy but gender neutral.  I want Nick to feel okay carrying it as well as me, so this is where I might skip the neon pink.  I think this one was from Giant Tiger.
  2. Beach Towels – pick out some nice beach towels.  I look for ones that are nice and big, fluffy and thick, and brightly coloured.  These cuties were from The Bay’s Distinctly Home collection.
  3. Sunscreen/Suntan Lotion & After Sun Lotion – nobody likes the lobster look, and the beach breeze can be pretty drying.  We like to keep a few options on hand, from SPF 8 to 50, as well as a soothing aloe lotion for afterwards.
  4. Sunglasses – one of the few actual accessories you’ll wear with a swimsuit, and it’ll help protect your eyes from squinting!  I picked up this pair at a drugstore, and have loved them since.
  5. Sun Hat – a nice wide brim that covers your face helps prevent burns, and looks cute!  I picked up this big floppy one in Mexico!
  6. Swimsuit – in the photo above, I’ve got a cute pink bikini from Ardene that I took to Mexico. For a sweet one-piece, here is the really cute vintagey looking nautical one I found online at Naja – a socially-conscious lingerie company that looks to empower women through their bras, panties and swimsuits – and it’s made from recycled plastic bottles!  Genius!  Also worth noting, if you go and subscribe to their mailing list, you get a 10% discount.  Definitely worth a look.
  7. Cute Coverup or Dress – crucial for if you’re venturing off the beach in search of food, or if you’re attending any fun post-beach day activities.  I got this pretty blue coverup on a trip to Aruba, and I love to wear my breezy white dress from H&M on beach days.
  8. Reading Material – whether a fun novel, or a great book on a topic of interest, a beach read is always a good idea.  Right now I’m loving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and French Women Don’t Get Fat.
  9. Cleansing Cloths & Hand Sanitizer – for when you just need a quick refresh, these are fantastic.  I just picked up some really simple wipes from Rexall, and a small bottle of One Step.
  10. Deodorant & Body Spray – it’s not really cute, but sweat happens, especially in the hot sun, and some of your deodorant likely gets washed away if you go for a dip in the water.  So be ready and have a stick on hand to swipe (like this Dove Visibly Smooth, which minimizes the appearance of hair and has a wild rose scent) and a fun body spray to scent yourself sweetly and subtly.  I’ve been loving Bodycology’s Sweet Love with rose and whipped cream scents, especially since it layers nicely with the perfumes I like as well.
  11. Lip Balm – sun and wind can wreak havoc on your pretty lips, so keep them well protected and hydrated.  I’m loving eos in Strawberry Sorbet!
  12. Camera – of course, usually this is a part of your smartphone.  But sometimes, I like taking along a dedicated camera instead, like this old Canon Elph we have.
  13. Wristlet – or a small clutch, perfect for grabbing just your basics (wallet, phone, keys, makeup) if you’re heading out on the town afterwards, and it keeps those valuable items protected from water and sand.  I really like this Aldo clutch that I got a few seasons back.

And now you’re all set for a day at the beach!  As well as the potential of a fun summer evening afterwards 🙂  What are your go-to items for your beach bag?

Our Trip to Mexico, and the Beautiful Wedding There

Hello sweet friends!  It’s so good to see you again, and to be back here in my little corner of the interwebz.  I ended up taking a little break from posting while we were moving (more to come on that soon), and also we were in Mexico for a week!

It was such a wonderful trip, spending time with great friends in perfect weather, and being able to attend the wedding of two of our dearest friends, Alex and Sarah!  We mainly had a lot of fun in the sun, time by the beach and pool, enjoyed delicious spreads of amazing food, and got some pretty fantastic tans.  We stayed at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya, which was beyond all expectations, and which both Nick and I would definitely recommend.  Below I’ve added a few pictures to give you a little sneak peek of what we were up to.

This was the beautiful beach – doesn’t that just look like it’s beckoning you?

Next, a few shots of the resort itself, which was stunning and palatial.

This was a part of our big group, all ready and excited for the wedding!

And of course… the gorgeous and very romantic wedding, which brought many happy tears to many eyes that afternoon!  Congratulations again, Alex and Sarah!

Nick and I took a quick selfie on the beach while getting ready for group photos…

And here we are with the newlyweds!  

This was a beautiful restaurant that had breakfast, lunch, and steakhouse dinner, and was right on the beach – we loved having lunch here overlooking the water 🙂 

And last but not least, the stunningly beautiful lobby – believe me, this made quite the statement as we walked in!

Oh, just looking at those photos makes me miss it already!  Though it is nice to get back to a routine.  I’ve got more posts coming your way soon, since we’ve been very busy over here in the little pink castle.

Spring Clearing

What runs through your mind when you hear the words spring cleaning?  Perhaps you have a bit of dread or fear as you look around and see piles of clutter with dust on them, and this might even lead to feeling overwhelmed.  Perhaps you feel excitement and happy feelings, looking forward to clearing away that which is no longer useful and having a fresh clean slate.  Perhaps you’ve even thought farther ahead, past the cleaning and purging, to the beautiful new boxes and upgraded items that you hope to bring in afterwards.

I’ve always liked the beautiful therapeutic ritual of spring cleaning, especially the purging of things no longer beneficial, but for a while I struggled with guilt over buying anything new, especially after getting rid of so much stuff.  It was only with a lot of intentional thought about it that I eventually realized that I was not simply cycling through stuff, but rather continually tweaking and optimizing in such a way that I continually created more time, space, and energy to focus on the most important and vital aspects of life.  It took me a long time to realize that what is good one summer may not be best the next summer.  And so, if nature herself renews each year, shedding the loveliest rose in winter, in order to birth forth another more beautiful the next year, so too should I.  This particular round of spring cleaning has been particularly intensive for us (but that’s another post entirely), and we’ve been turning over every item in our little home.  It takes work and time, but the results will be so worth it.

However, this year I want to shift my focus just a little bit, and I encourage you to join me, dear friends.  Beyond the simple spring cleaning to wipe away the grime and dust and grey of winter, let’s also engage in a deep and immersive spring clearing, ridding ourselves not just of possessions that are no longer helpful and clutter, but also of old habits that no longer serve, maybe even old ideas that hold us back.  I’m feeling the need for almost a total cleanse or detox – not really in the usual sense of diet, but taking an inventory and an honest look at what is working and what isn’t, and then acting to release what is not working, and accentuate the positives.  I know that many of us have some minimalist leanings and longings, and it only makes sense that if we desire space and to feel lighter, then we need to let go.  So here are some things in my life that I am looking to release, replace, and increase.

Release & Replace

  • rushing – replace with planning ahead and taking the proper time required
  • stress – replace with gentle morning routine, regular naps, regular relaxing showers & baths, herbal tea, meditation
  • clutter – replace with carefully curated, versatile items and neat organized files
  • processed and artificial foods – replace these with homemade foods that focus on natural and whole ingredients, and to purchase high-quality foods
  • hurried dining style – replace with intentional and more mindful eating, make the meal an event
  • aimless web surfing – replace with purposeful, intentional times

Increase

  • faith – getting more involved with our church
  • sleep – going to bed earlier, having regular naps
  • time spent in thought & intentionality – journaling, dreaming, and just being alone with my thoughts
  • reading – I love reading… self-development, the Bible, fiction – it feeds my mind and my soul
  • exercise – movement that feels good and strengthens my body
  • fresh air – with warm weather come beautiful open skies, sunny beaches, and green parks, and I can’t wait to fully immerse myself in them
  • creating – writing, designing, sewing, cooking, homemaking
  • consistent routines – having a schedule, and morning and evening routines that help me be a better version of me every day

How’s spring cleaning going for you?  Anyone else doing more clearing than cleaning this time around – or even adding new things into your mix?