28.11.16

des enfantillages

Yesterday Geoff and I went to the One of a Kind Show and the very first booth we encountered was for Montreal’s Des Enfantillages. I was already familiar with their work because I had ordered their amazing balancing game from Garmentory a while ago, so it was fun to see all their products at once. Des Enfantillages makes cheeky products for kids out of wood, with sleek designs and punchy colours. Everything is handmade by the owners, Geneviève Lugaz and Christian Laforge.

We couldn’t resist picking up a puzzle for Luca even though he won’t be able to use it for a while. It’s nice enough to display in an adult’s room, I think!









22.11.16

repository pt. 14: my new baby essentials

So I have only been at this motherhood thing for slightly over four months, but I’m finally starting to feel a little more confident. A little! There’s a new challenge every day, of course, but so far it’s been as magical and wondrous as I had hoped. It’s so amazing to watch this little person grow and to see his personality start to shine.

I thought I would round up a few of the products that I have found to be helpful: some are just plain pretty, but some have been revelations! Incidentally, nearly all of my money goes to baby things these days. Also, the fact that I spend hours trapped under a baby, unable to do much other than use my phone, means there have been a few too many late night online shopping sessions. And maybe a fair amount of emotional shopping (is that what you would call it?).

Incidentally this post took me just about forever.

Baby carriers: Carrying Luca has been one of the greatest joys of the past few months. I love having him snuggled up against me, and now that it’s gotten colder, we help keep each other warm! When he was a newborn he resisted being carried (at least until we got him outside into the fresh air, which seemed to calm him), but now that he can hold his head up and look around, he seems pretty content in there. We love different styles, from the Ergobaby (a soft structured carrier that has a lot of back support—Geoff loves this one too), to the Solly Baby Wrap (a stretchy wrap made of jersey), to the Wildbird linen or chambray ring sling (I find this one a little challenging to use because I have a so-called seat-popper of a baby!). Now that he is over 15 pounds we’ll probably use the Ergobaby carrier the most (we have the 360 because we have a baby who wants to look at the world rather than snuggle against my chest all the time), or try out a double linen ring sling, although I’m still trying to use the Solly as much as possible! In my experience having a carrier is essential in a city, because sometimes you can’t take a stroller on public transportation (no elevators in the subway, you don’t want to get dirty looks on a crowded bus even though that’s not your problem, or you live in a city like Toronto that weirdly uses streetcars that have stairs and are therefore impossible for strollers, the elderly, anyone with a disability...).

Marpac Dohm white noise machine: Luca kept falling asleep outside the doctor’s office, where one of these would be whirring. He is quite sleep-resistant but this seems to help. It has an actual fan inside; it’s not canned sound (sometimes the repetition of sounds can annoy some people!).

Nursing wear by Loyal Hana: I thought buying maternity clothes was bad enough, but nursing is even more challenging! So many of my button-downs no longer actually button down at the chest, and while at home I’m fine with just pulling up whatever I happen to be wearing, I’m not so easy breezy in public. These tops and dresses have zippers at each side which makes them so convenient and also discreet.

Booker Vest by B & Me: When carrying baby, I’ve been using this fleece vest under my coat and over the carrier or wrap, and it’s kept us nice and toasty. I was worried that I would have to stop wearing him in the cold but so far this has worked so well. It’s also one of the cuter options out there!


Bashful Bunny Grabber by Jellycat: Luca received this super soft rattle as a gift and I like it because it was one of the first toys he was able to grasp and hold and wave around. I didn’t even realize babies couldn’t grasp toys right from birth, ha!

Pom Pom Bin by Petit Pehr: I have a couple of these and they look so pretty in the nursery. I also have one that I keep a few board books and toys in so I can carry them easily from room to room. A little baby entertainment kit.

WaterWipes: I have been having a hard time finding wipes I like. At home we use washcloths with warm water, but when we go out, that isn’t so convenient. These wipes, which only contain water and a drop of grapeseed extract, aren’t perfect (the package is heavy, I’ve seen complaints about mould since they don’t contain preservatives, they’re relatively expensive), and they’re not biodegradable, but so far I haven’t had any issues and they have worked well! (I also like Aleva Bamboo Baby wipes, which are biodegradable.)

Nest by Native Wilds: This is a multi-purpose item that can be used as a car seat cover (especially handy on really sunny days), nursing cover, and shopping cart cover. It’s made of the softest fabric (from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees) and comes in a variety of prints. I keep one in my diaper bag always!

Clothing from Mini Mioche: I love everything from this local designer. No plastic tags that irritate baby’s sensitive skin, unisex, comfortable, and oh so cute!


Art Cards for Baby by Wee Gallery: We have a couple of sets of these high-contrast animal flash cards and Luca LOVES them. We keep him on his changing table and they make really good distractions. In fact he has tried to fish them out of their boxes on his own! I once strapped him in and ran to the kitchen to get something, and when I got back he was holding a full box of the cards. He just really loves looking at them and talking to them (although lately he’s more about shoving them in his mouth).  

Bugaboo Cameleon3: I know it’s a fairly expensive one, but I adore this stroller. It handles so well, it’s beautifully designed, and now that we’ve taken the bassinet off and put on the regular seat, it’s become a nap machine (I didn’t think stroller naps were a thing for us, but it turns out that Luca just didn’t want to lie on his back). I honestly can’t say enough good things about it! When we have him in there with his wool seat liner or high performance footmuff on, I get kind of jealous and wish I could be wheeled around in it. So cozy.

Bandana bibs from Aden & Anais: These are great for soaking up all that baby drool. Yum.

Cloth books: Cloth books, especially ones that crinkle, can amuse Luca for quite a long time, which is so handy when I’m trying to make dinner. It is really the cutest thing. He has a few that he received as gifts from wise parents of older children, including I am a Bunny.

Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water: A really miraculous tip we received was to dip a pacifier in gripe water. I was skeptical, but this move has saved us from meltdowns many times. I don’t know what’s in it (I’ve heard it referred to as baby gingerale) but it calms him down immediately. I have to order this organic brand from the US but it’s our favourite. I carry a bottle of it with me whenever I leave the house, although I don’t seem to need it as much as I did when he was teeny tiny.

Skip Hop Grab & Go Stroller Organizer: I used to see these on strollers all the time and never saw the need, but then once I was out using a stroller regularly I saw how useful it is! It keeps all the tiny essential things handy, like my phone and some small toys.

15.11.16

to do, to done


For the past little while, the state of my car has been driving me crazy, frankly. I cleaned it thoroughly the week before Luca was born, but haven’t been able to get so much as a quick car wash in the past four months. Even though I only use my car a few times a week at most, my hair has been falling out and it was getting all over the mats, not to mention the everyday dirt that was piling up. Every time the sun hit the dashboard, all I could see was the dust on it (and the road ahead, of course!).


A little while ago I was given the chance to test out a new app called Just Got That!, and I jumped at the chance. The app connects you to various services in your area, from house cleaning to hair cuts to oil changes, which you can book directly through the app. I am a heavy app user, using apps for everything from tracking sleep to meditations to ordering food, so this is perfect for me. I would rather book a service over an app than over the phone any day! I was thrilled to see a detailing service on the app, Detailing Knights, especially because it’s a service that comes to you. A mobile car cleaning service: basically angels for those of us who struggle to wash our hair or chop onions for dinner. So I tapped my phone a few times and boom: shortly afterwards my car was so, so clean, from the mats to the inside of the trunk.

I could not be more thrilled with this experience and with my newly spotless dashboard.



If you would like to give JustGotThat! a chance, download the app here on Google Play or here in the iTunes store and use my promo code “fieldguided” for 10 JustGotBucks!

11.11.16

you care too much


Earlier this year, my friend Erin Klassen (you may remember her from her book Portraits) asked if I would be willing to write a piece for a new book project she had started about self-care. I was quite flattered to be asked, and since I haven't done any “real” writing in years and years and years, it sounded like a good challenge. I know that the term “self care” has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but the way Erin presented her feelings on the subject was compelling in that she wanted us to examine what happens after trauma:

As women, I think we often learn about how to care for ourselves when we've been through trauma of some kind — whether emotional or physical, trauma can be big or small. Sometimes things need to get dramatic, or we need to feel our lowest before we truly understand our needs. Women give so much to others naturally. We are communicators, feelers, connectors, networkers, problem-solvers and caregivers. We are champions and counsellors for our friends, family, lovers. Read this amazing article for more about women + emotional labor. We want to have everything, often at the risk of ignoring our capacity to take more on... and then what happens? Burnout. Frustration. Disappointment. Depression. In those moments, if we're self-aware, we do the things we need to in order to recharge so we can get back to fulfilling our role as emotional laborer. That's called self care. From my perspective the interesting part of this topic is in the “trauma” that leads women to discover their needs and personal definition of self-care. That doesn't look like a list of stuff you do to feel better, like take a bath or drink more water, it looks much more complex and varied. It looks messy. This topic should address the vulnerability that leads us to finding inner strength.

She had read the post I had written here years ago about my first miscarriage, and knew a little more about my situation from our conversations, and asked if I would be willing to write about it. It had been something I had been meaning to address in writing, whether for myself or for a wider audience, so this seemed like a good chance. And so I have a piece in here about my year of recurrent miscarriages, what to do when your own therapist tells you you like to feel sorry for yourself, and how I managed to find a sense of safety and peace in the 12+ months of my life that felt frantic and lonely. It was incredibly painful to write; I recall an email to Erin in which I wrote WRITING IS HARD. I also finished writing it in the month or so after Luca was born, when my emotions could not have been more raw and when I burst into sobs at the slightest provocation.

The book, You Care Too Much, is here, and I am so proud to have been a part of it. Erin is a phenomenal editor and she has assembled quite an amazing team of writers and artists: Tallulah Fontaine, Winnie Truong, Brooke Manning, Angela Lewis, Jessika Hepburn, Leah Horlick, Vicky Lam, Jen Spinner, Christina Yan, Adina Tarralik Duffy, Kathryn Bondy, Erin Klassen herself, Sofia Mostaghimi, Nada Alic, Naomi Moyer, and Mo Handahu.

The book, which will be released on November 16, is available for pre-order here, and if you live in Toronto, there will be a launch party at The Steady on November 23. Information here.

13.10.16

bluboho

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Cheryl of the local jewelry shop Bluboho and got a tour of their beautiful Queen Street West shop. bluboho was started by Cheryl and Maggie, two friends with passion for the stories that jewelry can tell. They have their own line of delicately wrought gold jewelry, and they also carry the work of other small studios. I personally love this quiet sort of jewelry, and was happy to hear they have started a bridal line. I thought I would share a few photos of the space and of the jewelry because I think you will also enjoy them.

The shop is on a bustling corner but inside it is so peaceful, and I loved the thoughtful decorative touches throughout, from fresh flowers to those stunning blue chairs. Cheryl and her staff were so kind and welcoming; often when I meet new people I can feel a little nervous but they were wonderful. They’re having an opening party on Saturday and you should go!

Our designers and pieces have stories that ignite a sense of connection and joy. The name is a deeply meaningful piece of who we are and represents the true intention of bluboho. blu represents the sea, the sky, a connection to each other and nature as well as unlimited possibility – encouraging us to continue moving and striving. boho is short for bohemian, and speaks to a free-spirited lifestyle with a lust for life, adventure and adventure.

At the end of my visit, Cheryl gave me the gift of this “mama” ring, and honestly the second I saw it I had tears in my eyes. I still feel a little strange thinking of myself as a mother, so it was validating and touching. I have been wearing it every day since! It would be the perfect gift for your mama!



The storefront is gorgeous! It can be found at the corner of Queen and Spadina. I had Geoff and Luca with me that day (on the right).



This “purr” ring is the most perfect cat lady ring ever.




Since the pieces are so understated and elegant, they are perfect for layering.









28.9.16

the perfect diaper bag(s)


When I was first looking into diaper bags, I got pretty overwhelmed by all the different options and styles. I bought a shoulder bag from a baby store, but I didn’t love it (and thus returned it); since it was a shoulder bag I didn’t think it was the best option for me with my occasional back pain. It also looked so much like a diaper bag to me, and not like something I would use ordinarily. Which is fine, but I thought I would keep looking.

I knew for sure that I wanted a backpack, and while I love my Fjällräven, over time it ended up becoming Geoff’s computer bag. While researching, I would read about how people had multiple diaper bags and it seemed a bit much to me (little did I know!). But now that I have a baby, I see how sensible it is. I personally have two diaper bags that I use, both with very different purposes, but both wonderful: the Bartaile C12, and the OneDuo.


The above bag is the OneDuo. We like to use this bag when we’ll be out for the full day, for example when we went to a wedding with the baby. This bag is made of a coated cotton canvas, making it water resistant, it’s huge, and it has a ton of pockets. It also comes with its own changing mat. It can be worn as a messenger bag, a backpack, a shoulder bag, and it comes with clips to hang it off the stroller. It has pockets for bottles on either side and fits so many things! I call it my Mary Poppins bag. I usually cram it with enough supplies to last a week. Unintentionally!


(Gah, I am SO IN LOVE with our Bugaboo stroller. I will be sad when it’s time to take the bassinet off and switch to the regular seat!)



I also think it happens to be a very good-looking bag!



This bag is the canvas and leather Bartaile C12, and it is the bag I use on an every day basis. This one can also be used as a shoulder bag, but I like to use it as a backpack. It can even be folded in half and carried like a clutch. It’s a bag with a slim profile, but it also holds a surprising amount of things! I can usually cram a changing pad, wet bag, 10 diapers, wipes, a swaddling blanket, a change of outfit for baby, my wallet, keys, sunglasses case, a book, dozens of tiny washcloths... it goes on. There are many pockets inside, and it also has a compartment that would fit a laptop, although let’s face it, I’m not getting much work done these days! But it will also be perfect as a non-baby bag when I go back to work.


This bag is super stylish and it has luxe details. The gold-toned hardware is impeccable, and I love the little details like the blue water-repellant lining and the gold-stamped logo on the side. It even comes in a dust bag for storage, which is a small detail but one that I appreciate.


(Just a quick note that one should be careful hanging a bag off a stroller as it can tip the stroller. I only do it when the bag is not too heavy!)


Here are a few things I like to take with me in my diaper bags: I like to have a Solly Wrap on hand in case I decide to take baby out of the stroller and carry him; NomiLu pacifier clip and soothie; bunny rattle knit by my friend Megan. The clutch on the right is another amazing miniature diaper bag! It’s the Roundabout by Pretty Brave. It’s a folded change pad that also has a pouch for a few diapers and wipes. It’s also so beautiful. I got mine from the shop Billie and Axel in Montreal.


Left to right: the Nest from Native Wilds, which is a car seat cover that I use on really sunny days but also keep with me as a nursing cover; Bottoms Up! baby balm from Ella’s Botanicals, a local all-natural line of skincare products; and this is a pouch that I made with some white canvas that I painted. I lined the inside with some plastic-coated fabric from Ikea.

13.9.16

our little star


I recently sent out Luca’s birth announcement to... almost everyone we have ever met. During pregnancy, it was something I looked forward to creating and sending. When I was making regular visits to a fertility clinic they had birth announcements and photos all over the walls, and while at times they were a little difficult to look at, they were a symbol of hope (which, I suppose, is why they were there in the first place). I love sending and receiving mail, and I’m wild about stationery. I was that kid who had a penpal on nearly every continent and would get so excited when I saw the mail carrier. I still do! Sometimes I imagine my friends who have received stacks of thank you notes from me wondering what they’re going to do with all of them (or I imagine them throwing them in the recycling bin!), but I will keep sending them.


I had thought about designing the announcement myself, but wanted to wait until the baby was here, kind of like how I had to wait until we saw him to give him his name. Of course, once he was here I was short on time and sleep, so I decided to use a service I have recommended to all my friends who have ever asked my advice on wedding invitations: Minted. They have a new line of letterpress birth announcements and since I have always admired letterpress stationery but have never used it myself, I decided to try it out. It was hard to choose but we went with this announcement, designed by Bethan Lumb (I also really loved this design but it didn’t work as well with our text). Stars have become an inadvertent theme in the things I like to pick up or make for Luca, so it felt perfect. I’m so happy with the result! The letterpress is such a nice touch, and I love that they will print the addresses on the front of the envelopes for free (obscured above, of course). The paper quality is wonderful, nice and toothy, and the photo printed nicely as well. (If you would like to make your own announcements or invitations using Minted, follow this link for $25 off your first order of $100 or more!)

(I love those Canada Post hydrangea stamps. I have always associated mid-July with giant puffs of hydrangeas growing wild in gardens, and Luca was born in mid-July, so now I will always associate them with his birthday.)


I did take the photo myself, when he was about two weeks old. Such a tiny guy at the time! It actually makes me want to cry (although of course he is still really little!).


Also, I’ve always been obsessed with baby books, especially highly detailed ones. I never had one and I was always envious of kids who had them. For years I didn’t even know what time I was born at or what I weighed at birth. I was happy to come across this lovely one published by Chronicle Books, Le Petit Baby Book. The illustrations are so charming and it has room for details and for photos galore. Although, um, I have only filled in a few pages so far.


The space here isn’t quite right for this announcement but I shall find a way to make it work nonetheless!

6.9.16

mirra mirra


Anyone who knows me knows I can be a little obsessed with phone cases. I even took a stab at designing them myself. I went through a period where I was switching out my case every few days, depending on my mood, from a silicone bunny to a novelty-sized set of lips to a more austere (in comparison) marble pattern. 

I was pretty excited when I heard about a new phone case from my friends at Shine: Mirra Mirra. This is a beeauutiful phone case in and of itself, but it features a mirror and lights for makeup touchups in the dark. I have definitely been guilty of a tooth check using the front-facing camera!

Mirra Mirra was created by Matthew Goss and Mark Ainsworth of Australia. If you watch the video on their Indiegogo site, you’ll see that this case took a bit of engineering ingenuity to create. So many things to consider! But the result is a slim, lovely, and multi-use case.





While the Mirra Mirra phone case is not yet available for sale through traditional means, you can get one via the Indiegogo campaign. I’m really into the rose gold (of course), although the marble is also a nice option. Choices, choices.

Currently Mirra Mirra is only available for iPhone. Follow the campaign via Facebook!


This photo above is from the launch party that was held recently here in Toronto. I couldn’t attend, but can’t get enough of this mirror display! So pretty.