Tag Archives: family

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.

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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?

 

 

 

Holiday Highlights

Happy New Year, sweet friends!  I hope you all had an amazing holiday, filled with rest, fun, and merriment.  We are back to our regular routines today, and although a part of me wishes vacation could continue forever, I do also enjoy settling back into a routine and more disciplined habits.  I thought I’d give you a peek into how our holidays went, and what we were up to while the blog was quiet.

Of course, we enjoyed lots of family time.  Nick and I spent Christmas Eve with his parents, and then Christmas day we all visited relatives and had a fantastic day and Christmas dinner!  It was really lovely!  We also visited with my parents, and got to catch up and see lots of pictures, so that was wonderful!

We adorned our walls at home with this cute little DIY Christmas card garland to display all the sweet cards we received – I really like that we made little tape snowflakes, so cute!

While I’m not one to talk about shopping or gift “hauls”, I thought I would show you a few of the wonderful gifts we were blessed with.

These adorable throw pillows that bring a smile to my face everyday.

This gorgeous set of linens in a beautiful neutral palette and delicate pattern (seen here with the throws!)

Books!  I love Twilight, so Nick gifting me the set of novels was so sweet, and also some awesome books on faith and thinking that I’m excited to dive into.

A sweet upgraded K-cup carousel for the kitchen.

This sleek stainless steel garbage can – yes, a garbage can, but I’m super excited about it, and it has a foot pedal!

We also had some fun around the city too.  For a fun and active date, we checked out Skyzone and jumped around on trampolines – so fun!  I’m sure this will be something we do again, and it was quite the workout too!

New Year’s Eve we opted for going out, but keeping it low key – we went to The Fox right here in our neighbourhood for a great dinner and midnight celebration, as well as had some delicious bubbly at home.

On a beautiful sunny day, we hopped out to the waterfront for ice skating with an unbeatable view – this was a classic winter date, complete with hot chocolate 🙂

And as an unexpected treat, we found candy cane ice cream while grocery shopping!  This stuff is so tasty, and hard to find, so we definitely picked some up.

It was exactly what we both needed, a beautiful relaxing and sweet way to end the year, and open the chapter of 2015 with a renewed energy.  Slowly we’ll take down the decorations, and fresh greens have taken the place of baked sweets, but I’m going to try and keep the magic of the holidays alive well into the new year – that joy, that hope, that wonder, it never goes out of style.

Welcome back, dear friends, and let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

For the Mamas

Happy Mother’s Day!

I don’t usually post on weekends, so today is my Mother’s Day post.

I am not a mother, but mothers are some of the most important people in our lives.  They nurtured us from the very beginning of our existence, cared for us, loved us with hearts bigger than we can dream.

On Mother’s Day, mothers are given breakfast in bed.  They smile as their small children present them with pictures, crafts, and handpicked wildflowers.  They are taken out to dinner (or Daddy cooks!).  They receive cards and gifts.  Because they have given so much, and one day can never begin to repay that.

Today, for the mamas, I give you the song “Mama”, sung by the breathtaking group Il Divo.  The music video is below, enjoy, be warned it may cause tears because it’s just that sweet.

(Video from Il Divo VEVO on YouTube)

Haven in the Cold

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about hibernating.  I’m sure it’s not that unusual, since most animals are probably doing exactly that this time of year, and back in simpler times even humans would have food and resources stored up so they could stay indoors, rest a bit more, and plan for the coming warmer times.

Right now, though, especially as we face another deep freeze from the arctic here in Toronto, my thoughts are deeper than simply the act of storing up energy and sleeping more – though we could all use some more sleep, I’m sure.  What’s been calling me lately is not just finding an escape from the cold, but rather seeking and resting in a source of warmth, comfort, and peace.

Where do you turn when the cold winds of life start whipping around you?  Where do you go when you feel yourself being overtaken by the cold and anxiety and confusion and blizzards?  What familiar things does your heart begin to seek when each step seems to be into the bitter cold and unrelenting frost?  These are questions with small answers, and big answers.

This is a great time to revive favourite winter traditions or treats.  Sometimes, a hot cup of tea and a good book are all that is needed.  I myself like a warming, flavoured coffee, hot chocolate – or even the occasional mulled wine!  Hearty hot dinners are also perfect this time of year – we’ve had chili, macaroni & cheese, and I’m sure I’ll be making my artichoke chicken dip again pretty soon as well.  In these times of cold, we light candles, snuggle under blankets, and linger in hot baths and showers.  We slip into cozy pajamas once we get home, and curl up close like little kittens.

This is also a reflective time for me, a time of re-centering.  I find myself huddling in even closer to my husband, to our marriage.  We already act like smitten newlyweds, but even with that I feel a sense of renewal.  I feel a deepening connection to family, and bonds that are so strong, they are written in blood and love.  Even more than that, I’m deepening my faith.  I find my mind often reflects on the amazing message of the Bible, the utterly amazing gift extended to us through Jesus, and I am humbled and brought to my knees by it.  I am in awe, and thankful, because I know that there is nothing I could ever do to deserve such goodness and love.  Knowing this, I know that no storm is too much, or too harsh for me.  Nothing can even come close to the great love that surrounds me, and I am so grateful for it.

What do you rest upon in stormy times?  What is your haven in the cold and darkness?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Hello sweet friends!  It’s finally here, those beautiful few days of family, celebration, and of course, remembering the miracle that happened long ago in Bethlehem. He came, He lived, He walked, He taught, and then died so we may live.  It’s amazing every time I think about it, and to think of the deepest love that was at the heart of that miracle moves me to my core.

I’ll be taking a bit of a break from blogging to enjoy and celebrate all the wonder and hope that abounds, and I hope you too have a beautiful Christmas season.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:13, 14, NASB

(Nativity photo from Do Small Things With Love at http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2013/11/33-nativity-crafts-christmas.html)

Moving Day Updates and The Before

Hello and greetings from our new, swanky 1 bedroom apartment!  And check out our gorgeous view – the glorious Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario!

Seriously, I know it’s less than 600 square feet, but it feels palatial.  Especially after living in a semi-packed state for a while.  Tiny bachelor apartment that is tidy and clutter-free, feeling nice and open?  Good.  Packing in increments so no one goes insane?  Good.  Living with the whole apartment in boxes in the middle of everything?  Not good, not good at all…

So, the move went really well, yay! We actually got to move in the kitchen stuff the night before since the apartment was unlocked.  We figured if someone really needed a plate that badly that  they’d steal it overnight, it would be our gift to them.  On Saturday, we went out for a leisurely breakfast (that’s what happens when you have no more cutlery or coffee cups), and then started moving things.  Shortly before noon, Nick’s parents arrived to help us move, and they were such a blessing!  At 1pm, we had our service elevator time slot, which always makes things so much easier.   All in all, everything got moved between noon and 4pm, which is not bad at all.  Also, we never knew you could pack so much into a bachelor suite!  I guess that’s what happens when you have a walk-in closet and under-bed storage.  So, after moving everything, we all went out for a lovely dinner – I know, they’re the best in-laws ever!  After some more light organizing, our bed was made, and the kitchen was pretty much set up, so we were happy campers.  Right now the apartment is a royal mess, but that’s nothing a few good days of organizing can’t take care of.  Here’s a picture of the bachelor place, all empty, bye bye first apartment *sniffle*..

The new gorgeous place, all empty and pristine – check out those mocha walls!

And post-move, the living room:

And from the other side, looking into the kitchen:

Oy.  We also went on a mini-spree at Ikea, to begin our new furnishings.  We got some dressers, a pretty mirror cabinet for the bathroom, and we have a kitchen table for the first time in, well, ever – and it’s pretty!  We decided to begin with the cheapy chairs that can also be patio chairs if need be, and spring for the luxe leather chairs later, because 10 bucks versus 130 bucks is mucho difference.  We’ll also be picking up some Poang chairs and a prettier TV cabinet a bit later on, but of course none of these are super needed right now (especially since we don’t have a TV – oops, better put that on the list too).  But once these are all set up, it’ll likely be time to explore window treatments (damask curtains, fingers crossed!) and lighting.  There’s no overhead lighting in the living area or bedroom, so we’ll be getting creative with floor and table lamps.  The bedroom is fine, since we have our wedding archway.  In the living room, we strung up our Christmas lights for now, which provide a hint of ambient light, and not much else.

Here are some post-tidy pics – ahhhh, much better.  Now for the fun part, time to start shopping around for decor and accessories 🙂

This time was fun, easy, and painless. Plus I got my workout in, haha!  I’ll do a more detailed post a bit later about the decor vision and bringing it to life, but this is today’s update on our journey into a boudoir separate from the living room.

How are you with moving?  Like it, dread it?  Any success and/or horror stories?