Super cute organic baby clothes

Monday, March 30, 2015

I've had babies on the brain lately and no it's not because I'm pregnant! I'm going to be an auntie at the end of May and I'm super excited about showering the new little one with super sweet baby things. My sister loves all things organic and natural so of course I've been keeping my eyes open for the perfect gifts for her. Here are few cute ones that caught my eye today on Etsy.

1 || Organic floral baby leggings from Little Lotus Organics
2 || Organic Tiger Bamboo Fleece Bandana Drool Bib from Maui Bird Co.
3 || Organic Triangle Leggings from Em and Ana
4 || Red giraffe harem pants from Little Lotus Organics
5 || Panda Bear Leggings from Maui Bird Co.
6 || Gray Mushroom Organic Handmade Baby Shoes from Growing Up Wild
7 || Organic Baby Slouchy Hat from Scarlett Baby CA

Links I clicked this week

Friday, March 27, 2015

Photo via MilkHaus Design

This week has been a whirl wind. Mark and I went back home to a funeral on Tuesday for a super special man. He really touched a lot of lives and you know he was great, but you don't really know how great until you start talking to people and hearing the stories that people have to tell about him. Anyway it really made me think about how precious our lives are. It goes by so quickly.

So as a result of that and other things, I wasn't on the computer much but I did manage to sneak a few minutes during a couple nap times. Here's what I clicked on this week:

How to French press coffee.

I won a gift certificate to Etsy (yay!) so I bought this bag. Can't wait to get it!

Introducing: Tich, a modern Indian restaurant in Mimico (I'm super excited for this place to open!)

I read a few of Janet's organization posts this week and I've already started tearing through the house getting rid of things I don't want.

Give Your Girls a Lift: A Quick Workout For Perkier Breasts. (What?? I could really use this ;))

Shannon's back!

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.

I love this DIY Art Gift idea.

My cousin made these chips and I can't stop thinking about them.

That's it! Have a great weekend folks! I'm off for a super yummy italian meal at my new favourite place.

A Sunshine Tea & Baby Shower

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This past weekend my sister Kaitlynn and I threw a baby shower for our sister Stacey in a gorgeous condo party room in mid-town Toronto. She's due at the end of May and we're so excited to meet Baby Sunshine. You may notice that I don't have a ton of photos (we were still getting ready when people arrived!) but you can get an idea of what everything looked like.

We decided to have a tea party type shower after watching the Russian tea party episode on Downton Abbey (please tell me you watch this show!). Kaite and I worked hard making a bunch of cute decorations, but when we got to the party room we decided not to use half of it. As I mentioned, the room was so gorgeous. I could have moved in right then and there! We decided to keep the decor minimal with yellow tulips, food, tea and tea cups of course! 

Kaite has a ton of tea and she thought it would be nice to put them in little glass containers and guests could help themselves. We also made a lot of food like delish vegan brownies from Oh She Glows and chocolate chip cookie bars. We also bought a few cakes from the patisserie at Loblaws (have you seen these new patisseries?) - I love the little yellow one!

In terms of games, we wanted something fun and not cheesy especially because it was a co-ed shower so we opted for baby shower bingo and a 'Who's My Mama' game from Creative Union Design. There was also a pool table in the room which helped keep things fun!

Overall the shower was a great success. Stacey was able to see many friends and family and she received some pretty wonderful and thoughtful gifts. Best of all Stacey and Carlo had big smiles on their faces the whole afternoon which is the best gift of all in my books.

Links I clicked this week - March Break edition

Friday, March 20, 2015

Photo via igivelove
It's March Break in these parts and I've been home with two lovies that have been keeping me busy. More than once this week I've started a few different things only to finish them later because the kidlets needed something or other. The funny thing is that it's still a break for me of sorts: I don't have to rush out the door in the morning to bring Leo to school and rush out to get him after school with sleepy Mila in tow. It's been a pretty great week. I haven't done much on the computer but I have had a chance to sneak a few minutes here and there. Here's what I clicked on this week:

This weekend is my sister Kaite and I are throwing a baby shower for our sister Stacey and I got this sweet You Are My Sunshine print to put in a frame somewhere at the party. She calls her baby Sunshine so it's perfect.

If you live right downtown Toronto or went to school there, you may know a place called The Salad King. Mark and I went there on Sunday for lunch just like the good old days in school.

How to make crackers at home.

My Daughter Is Getting the Mean Girls Treatment in Kindergarten. This breaks my heart and I can already see a bit of it happening with Leo. Why are kids so mean that early?

The Cookery cooking classes. I went on a girl date with my friend Jen and we checked out The Cookery on Roncesvalles in Toronto. We're going to take a class!

Tiny House Fits a Family in 196 Square Feet. Say wha?

I loved this interview with Grace Bonney and Marie Forleo. Super inspiring.

I've been researching 30-day fitness challenges and this looks good!

This was a fantastic collaboration with some great bloggers and Canadian Tire. Great job guys! I really can't wait for spring now!

Ok that's it! Have a fantastic weekend and Happy Spring! Yay!

Easy sewing project: turning sweater sleeves into leg warmers

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I've had this grey sweater sitting in my 'to fix' pile (aka the pile of defected clothes shoved behind the chair in my bedroom) for about two years. I used to love this sweater, but one day I decided to take a omega-3 fish oil pill to-go, promptly forgot about it and then it ended up in the wash turning the bottom of the sweater a beautiful mustard yellow colour.

The sleeves were fine though so I came up with an idea to turn them into leg warmers for Miss Mila. I took a photo of the cut up pieces, but it didn't upload properly for some reason so pretend it's there. Basically I cut off the sleeves at the shoulders and then cut the bottom trim of the sweater to use for the top 'elastic' part of the leg warmers. I cut the trim in two (for the two leg warmers), sewed them together into a circle and then attached them to the leg piece. It literally took me 10 minutes to put it all together.

A super cute way to repurpose a sad 'ol sweater and Miss Mila wore them for more than two minutes so win-win.

Gumption: The Practical Woman's Guide to Living an Adventuresome Life + An interview with the author

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A while back I got an email about a book called Gumption: The The Practical Woman's Guide to Living an Adventuresome Life by Shelagh Meagher and it instantly caught my eye. As I mentioned in my post about Camp Wanakita, I'm trying to do more things outside of my comfort zone. If someone asks me to do something, I'm trying to say yes (within reason). And this year, I want to do things I want to do instead of just thinking or talking about doing them.

If you have something you want to do, or have always wanted to do, and don't know where to start (or you've talked yourself out of it time and again), Gumption is the perfect book for you.

Welcome to the start of a more exciting life

That's how the book begins. Wouldn't you be captivated? The thing about this book is that, as the title mentions, it's a practical guide on how to get stuff done. There are no grand statements with no back-up. No high expectations you must put on yourself to do this thing you've always wanted to do.

Meagher offers a simple, six-step practical program focused on teaching women how they can do the things they’ve always wanted to but haven’t yet dared. Planning is key here. Many times we think about an adventure only to get too overwhelmed about the possibilities or we feel we lack resources to get it done. Meagher walks readers through each step starting with a simple question: What do I want? She wants you to write this stuff down and think about what it's going to take to get off the couch and Get on with it (a saying she refers to quite often in the book).

I loved the book. I love step-by-step guides on how to make things happen. There are real-women stories of adventure successes along with a Gumption Workbook to help readers through the challenges that are keeping them back from succeeding.

As a little treat, I asked Meagher some questions about the book and she was so kind to respond and send a few photos of her own personal adventures. Read more below.

1// In the windowless window of an old ruin of a villa we bought in Italy and spent years renovating before finally giving up on it. The story is told in the blog
2// Ocean kayaking: I had always been terrified about being stuck in the plastic skirt thingy and not being able to escape should it turn over. This was my first time ever. You'll notice the water is flat as a pancake!
3// With my guide during a trip to Mongolia
4// Trying to learn how to milk a yak

What inspired you to write Gumption? What have you learned from writing it?

Gumption started as a conversation with my daughter in an airport. We were talking about what makes some people more adventuresome than others, and whether it was only an inherent trait or if it could be learned. I though it would be very cool if it were a learnable skill. The idea really caught my interest, so I started interviewing women about daring things they'd done and how they managed to do so. Not big-name women, just regular wives and moms and such. It quickly became apparent that there were a lot of common tools and approaches, regardless of the nature of their adventure. So I knew there was something useful I could create.

Personally, I thought when I started that I was a really adventuresome person. But I quickly realized that there were big areas of my life in which I was a total wuss, and the creation of the Gumption program therefore became quite a personal journey. I was my own best lab rat for every exercise in the book! In particular I became much more daring about putting myself out there. Singing lead vocals in a rock band, for example - that was a huge step for me and something I'd been too scared to try before I started writing Gumption.

What do you hope readers gain from reading it?

I have a fervent belief in the benefits of personal expansion - the way accomplishing something outside our comfort zone makes us feel alive and brave and filled with possibilities for our lives. I hope that readers will dare to do something they didn't think they could pull off before. Any little thing will do, because when they do that one thing they'll have the tools and the proof to do more. And that means they'll be living an expanded, enriched life. Yay.

What is the first step women should take toward realizing their dream/adventure?

Allow themselves to want something. Women tend to put everyone else's desires before their own. We think that wanting something just for us is selfish. So they need to get their heads around the idea that their personal expansion is a gift they give not only to themselves, but to everyone around them.

Planning is a big part of your book. Why do you think it’s important for women to plan their adventures?

If you're trying to do something that doesn't take much in the way of logistics, such as taking up belly dancing, for instance, the planning effort is naturally going to be a lot less than for, say, sailing solo across the Atlantic. But regardless of the scope, the planning process - thinking through the possible pitfalls and how you're going to deal with them - helps us get to action with confidence. If your dream is just a vague, unplanned thing, the danger is that you get to the point of departure and freeze, because you haven't a clue what might be coming. Planning avoids that problem.

Why do you think it’s so difficult for women to be adventurous?

Women juggle a lot of diverse obligations and responsibilities, and we live in perpetual fear that they're all going to come tumbling down in a great mess we don't personally keep them up. So we tend to avoid trying anything that might rock the boat. The most oft-stated reason for not doing the thing they dream about (based on research I fielded last year) wasn't fear or lack or money, or lack of capability. It was time. We devote our hours to work, children, spouses, aging parents, friends, etc - but not to ourselves.

I loved your phrase “Get on with it!” Can you tell our readers more about where this phrase came from and why it’s so important?

My mother used to say this all the time, whenever somebody was being a wimp or procrastinating on something scary. "For heaven's sake, why don't they just get on with it?" was her universal response. If we had a family crest, that'd be the motto. My mom came from pioneering stock, so she had a lot of gumption and she instilled it in us (I'm one of four sisters). I guess I'm channeling her when exhorting my readers to get on with it!

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Favourite adventure? Besides the horse jumping adventure you mention in the book, what adventure would you never do again?

Craziest, hmmm that's difficult because I'm actually quite practical about my adventures, as the book title suggests. I guess I wouldn't buy another Italian ruin - a girl can only handle that kind of financial loss once in her life! And I wouldn't skydive, now that I know my body just doesn't bend the way it needs to for good airflow - glad I found that out in an air tube rather than while hurtling through the sky from 2500 feet up.

My favourite adventure was absolutely the trek across the Mongolian steppes. I waited four decades to make that sucker happen and it exceeded my wildest dreams about what it would be like. At one point I was standing at the top of a small mountain there, staring all around at this incredible landscape, and the feeling of having actually made that dream come true, having carried it around since I was 12 years old, was overwhelming.

What is still on your bucket list? What is the next adventure for you?

Here's the surprising thing: I don't have a bucket list. The Mongolian trek was one of the few things I'd wanted to do for ages. Usually, I just get ideas in my head and if they stick around for long enough, I see if I can figure out how to do them. The biggie that's been lingering for a while now involves living in other people's houses for a year...I'd like to house-sit in a variety of countries for 6-10 weeks at a pop, just long enough to get an idea of what life is like in that situation, without having anything planned out except the first one. The next would be whatever came up in the right time frame. It's kind of a colossal experiment in the meaning of 'home'. But there are a lot of logistics to plan for, even without an itinerary, so it'll take some time to pull that one off.

So what do you think? What's something you've always wanted to do and what's holding you back? Start with some Gumption and let the adventure begin.

Links I clicked this week

Friday, March 06, 2015

Photo via My Daily Randomness
Do you feel it? The temperatures getting warmer? Ok maybe not yet, but next week is supposed to be above 0 all week! Yay! Anyway, this week has been one for getting back into the swing of things after being in Florida for nine days. It's slow going folks. I feel lazy! Here are a few links I click while attempting to get back at it.

Have you seen this video? New Macdonald. Love it.

Joanna's Brooklyn apartment is so sweet. I particularly love Toby's room!

Does your cell phone case raise your radiation exposure?

I love Britt's side tables - she made them!

The one thing you have to do before buying any storage container.

Miles' and Antena's laid back coastal home is warm and cozy.

I ordered a sample of this fabric from Tonic Living to see if it works for a little project I have in mind.

In Defense of French Immersion. Leo starts FI next year and I'm a bit apprehensive even though I'm half French Canadian. I just hope it doesn't hinder his English grammar down the road.

OpenText (my former workplace!) created this fantastic video to commemorate International Women's Day. Bravo.

Have a great weekend folks and pray for warmth!


ps: Did you see my interview with Kim Adams this week?

Etsy @ One of a Kind Spring Show & Sale in Toronto

Thursday, March 05, 2015

If there's one thing I look forward to every year it's the One of a Kind Show in Toronto. I've only visited the Christmas show, but I'm always excited when the spring one comes around because it means that spring is around the corner. Yay!

I'm excited to see the new talent that comes to the show every year especially the marketplace of Etsy sellers. This year you can take peek at the various sellers who will be on site. I took a look and made a little list of sellers I'd love to check out this year.

Happy spring shopping!

ps: the photos here are only representation of the items available on each seller's etsy shop and will not necessarily be available at the show. You'll have to go to the show to see what great things they have! ;)

Interview with Kim Adams of Willow Salon

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

dundas ontario

dundas ontario

This Month's interview is with Kim Adams, owner of Willow Salon in Dundas, Ontario. I've known Kim for years through my husband's family and loved her style so much that I used to travel the hour to Dundas just to get my hair done in her salon. (She even came to Italy with us as a guest and to do my hair and make-up for my wedding!) She's celebrating 10 years this year with Willow so I thought it would the perfect time to interview her this month. PS she's celebrating a pretty big birthday this week too (29 right Kim?).

Tell me about Kim Adams.

Introvert posing as an extrovert.
Motivated, but there are days when I can't get off the couch.
Dreamer, loyal, sensitive, empathetic, intuitive.
I've been referred to as intriguing, mysterious, industrious.

What do you love to do, hate to do, wish you could do?

I love making people feel better, being generous, surprising those that I love.
I love wandering around a city with no agenda, staying in hotel rooms where I can escape my 'to do' list for a few hours.
I hate being told what to do, I'm uncomfortable with attention.
I wish I could disconnect. I wish I could cook.

How did you get into the hair styling industry? Was it always your passion?

Hairstyling has been a passion since I was very young, I had no interest in playing house with my Barbies, it was more about dressing them in different outfits and trying different braids and ponytails.  That morphed into cutting, braiding and styling my friends' hair as I grew older. I started talking about wanting to be a hairstylist, but a couple of people responded with: 'You can't do that, there's no money in it' or 'There's no future in that.' My thought was that if you love something, you will be successful at it.

Against my better judgement, I went to Mohawk for Business Administration because I excelled in those courses in high school.  I hated the formality of college and came home every day in tears, I dropped out barely finishing my first semester (always trust your gut).  After a couple of years of traveling and working random jobs, feeling a little lost, I finally said: 'Fuck this - I'm going to hair school.'

How and why did you open your own salon and how did you settle on Dundas, Ontario?

I had been in the industry for about eight or nine years, but was growing unhappy going to work everyday, but loved my trade. After a heart-to-heart with my brother who said: 'When are you just going to open your own salon', I realized I needed to be responsible for my own working environment.  I chose Dundas because I wanted Willow to be a part of a community and close to the client-base that I had built at the salon I was leaving.

dundas ontario

How does your business stand out from the rest?

My team and I pride ourselves on maintaining an environment that is welcoming to all.  We are extremely supportive of each other and a team in the truest sense of the word.  We love what we do and love making our guests' visit the best it can be.

You’re celebrating 10 years with Willow? Do you have plans to expand?

I flirt with the idea of a second location, but there's something to be said for the Steamwhistle slogan: 'Do one thing really, really well.'  That said, I am working with a marketing team to tighten up and refresh the Willow brand and designers to keep the interior current. You have to constantly evaluate, look for areas that can be improved and updated in terms of your trade, business model and aesthetic. I'm not comfortable coasting.

Favourite type of client?

All of them - they make us who we are as stylists.  From the one-year-old getting his first hair cut to the 80-year-old who looks forward to her weekly visit with us.  Every guest and every visit is different.

What are you passionate about outside of your business?

I love music and seeing it live. Listening to playlists on songza and learning of new artists or revisiting '80s classics.  I have two nephews whom I adore and an amazing group of friends and family and spending time with them is a priority.

Favourite drink?

Depends which night of the week it is ;).

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Back to London, but with an unlimited budget.  I have a strong English family background - London is inspiring, full of energy and history.

Thanks Kim! To find out more about Kim and her team at Willow Salon visit the website here.
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