10.12.18

#EarnLikeaProHoHo: holiday firsts with PC financial

This post is in partnership with PC Financial.

I can hardly believe it’s already December! I am definitely not ready for the holidays but this year we got a major item off our checklist and established a fun new family tradition at the same time. Most years we have a small, pre-lighted white tree that we put up, and we decorate with the glass ornaments I have collected over the years. We modified that a bit last year and focused on ornaments that wouldn’t break, of course. But this year I was really missing the smell of a real tree, and we decided to head out to a Christmas tree farm and pick one out for the first time. We didn’t know what size of tree we would bring home, but I knew my collection, which was enough for my three foot tree, wouldn’t cut it. A PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, which earns you 3X the PC Optimum points, made our new holiday moments easy—considering all the expenses related to the holidays that crop up at this time of year.

In preparation for bringing home a big tree, I knew I had to bulk up the selection of ornaments and decorations we had at home. I headed to the closest Real Canadian Superstore and purchased a selection from the Life at Home line. They had a few different themed collections to choose from which made it so easy to stick to my preferred colour scheme of pink and metallics. I really went all in for sparkle this year! And I don’t have to worry about a curious toddler breaking them as they are all shatterproof. The candy-shaped ornaments are my favourite, but I also really love the woodland-themed ones.



To maximize value, I was sure to use my PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. We love collecting PC Optimum points at my house, and with this card I am able to earn like a pro: three times the points on every dollar I spend at Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills, and more. By the way, if you collect PC Optimum points, make sure you download the app for your personalized offers. I don’t have a ton of money-saving tips but that is definitely one of mine. We do basically all our shopping at No Frills with the occasional trip to Loblaws or Superstore for higher-end items (although our local No Frills is amazing!) so it’s one of my most-often used apps.


I just love these Life at Home train stocking holders! Up until now we’ve never hung our stocking properly, and Luca was equally as excited about them. Trains, mama! Trains!


Look at this shimmer! I picked up a new tree skirt and a new lighted tree topper because the glitter on the one we’ve been using for years has started to flake off, and it also somehow got squished? It was looking pretty sad, so this was the perfect time for an upgrade.

On Saturday we bundled up and headed to Merry Farms in Dundas. The family name really is Merry! It was a bit cold and lineups to get in were long, but Luca always loves a visit to a farm and we had a lovely time picking out a tree (it ended up being a little smaller than we thought we would get, but it's perfect!) and chopping it down.






We decorated it the next day, but Luca had come down with his first ever stomach flu and wasn’t up for participating, although he did love plugging in the lights. This morning he woke up and asked why the star wasn’t lit up! I can’t wait for the tree to keep us feeling warm and cozy all through December.




7.11.18

the joy of warmth


This post is in partnership with Quaker Canada.

As parents, we want our children to be safe at all times, and in a cold place like Canada, this includes being well-fed and prepared for the weather with warm coats. Quaker® has been keeping Canadians warm with hot oatmeal since 1902, but without warm winter gear, children cannot enjoy winter activities outside. As we know, outdoor play is fundamental to growth, both physically and mentally, as well as socially. According to a recent study by Quaker Canada, 21% of Canadian parents have struggled financially themselves to ensure their child is appropriately dressed for winter. This is why Quaker is working with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada to provide new winter coats to children from families in need, so they too can feel the #JoyOfWarmth.

In addition, those of us who are privileged to be able to do more can help extend the reach of Quaker’s #JoyOfWarmth program during the month of November. When you share the hashtag #JoyOfWarmth and tag @QuakerCanada, Quaker on your public Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, Quaker will provide a bowl of oatmeal to a child in need at Boys and Girls Club locations across Canada, to a maximum of 100,000 bowls. What a sweet way to spread warmth.

For more information on how the Quaker brand is working with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada, click here.


4.8.17

mayana geneviere

For National Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to tell you about my favourite nursing bras (and currently my favourite all-around bras!). They’re by a local company, Mayana Genevière, and what makes them special is the patented ALUXTRA™ Clasp-Free Technology that allows for the cups to be pulled down without getting stretched out. No clips, no bulky cups, no wires, and they even fit me (at my last professional measuring I was a size H, cripes). You can slide the decorative indicator to the left or right as a reminder of where you left off. They are made of the softest, finest lace, and you don’t have to be nursing to appreciate them. I haven’t felt glamorous in a long time but these bras certainly go a long way towards making me feel a little fancier under my clothes.

I visited Mayana Genevière’s owner and founder, Nadine Woods, at her studio in the Junction a few months back and it was such a wonderful visit. Luca was a little cranky that day and she was so lovely with him. The seamstresses even took turns carrying him so we could chat!

Mayana Genevière lingerie is available online and at select specialist stockists.

 








4.6.17

a sparkling cherry beach morning

Last weekend my little fam had a photoshoot with one of our favourite local photographers, Arden Wray (you may remember the Boots & Pine project she started five years ago!). I’ve been feeling a bit tender about having my photo taken lately, and I was nervous, but I knew that if the only photos I had with Luca were selfies, I would regret it. Luckily Arden is the sort of photographer that I trust implicitly: she knows how to take a flattering photo, and she won’t even show me photos that she knows I won’t like and that will make my self-esteem take a hit. She’s magical (she even turned these photos around in one day).

We also had the privilege of borrowing the Long Weekend’s VW bus for the shoot, the sweetest little restored pale blue bus in town. We went down to Cherry Beach and it turned out to be the most beautiful morning. I am thrilled with these photos!




I didn’t bother doing much with my messy hair or my makeup to keep it as natural as possible, but I wore my new Mildred Handmade dress for the occasion. I love this dress. Speaking of women that I trust implicitly: I went to Laine’s studio and tried on a few of her samples, and we settled on a few different elements from different pieces which she then made into something just for me. I also ended up with this sand-coloured linen, which was unexpected but which felt right. It’s not visible in these photos because of my hair or because of the baby, but she made it nursing-friendly with a line of buttons at the neck. I haven’t treated myself to any new clothes in a long time, so this felt really good. If I only had linen tunics and dresses in my closet, I would be pretty happy. They are great uniform pieces.





9.5.17

my updated baby essentials (and not-so-essentials)

This post is sponsored by PlaytexBaby, as I explained in my post announcing the #PlaytexMoms partnership!

Back in November, I wrote about my baby essentials, and I am happy to say that most of it still holds true! We still adore our stroller, our carriers, and I have the white noise machine whirring away at this very moment. Now that Luca is nearly 10 months old, though (how!?), we’ve outgrown a few things. We no longer use the Solly Baby wrap or gripe water, for example, and Luca is more interested in board books than cloth books, but we’ve also added a few things. I thought I’d update the list. I’ve also decided to write about a few things that I personally found totally useless, because I am the queen of going overboard and I learned my lesson(s).

Skip Hop DUO Convertible High Chair: We love this high chair! It’s stylish and modern and actually matches our dining room chairs pretty nicely. It’s not too large, and it’s also not too complicated to use. Best of all, it converts into a toddler chair for later use! I love baby items that have a long life span because those are quite rare. I thought high chairs were just for mealtimes but it’s a great place to put the baby while you make your morning coffee, or make dinner. Luca likes to sit in his and play with toys or eat some snacks. This chair is so easy to keep clean.

Baggu Nylon Bags: These are perfect to use as wet bags! A good way to bring home wet or damp things without messing up everything else in your bag. Plus, so cute.

Playtex® Diaper Genie® Elite: A classic for a reason! We had an (expensive, I should say) enamel can when Luca was first born and even though those early exclusively breastfed poops (sorry, can’t talk about diaper disposal without bringing up poop) were almost sweet-smelling, sometimes his nursery had a not-so-sweet smell that lingered. Since we got the Diaper Genie®, we haven’t had to worry about odours. These days Luca is crawling and tries to get into everything, but there is no way for him to get into the Diaper Genie® (believe me, he has tried). I love the gentle pastel colours it comes in! It’s also so easy to use and change. Easily available, it can be purchased at Amazon or Walmart.

Bamboobino baby washcloths: A friend gave these to us as a baby shower gift, and they are the best! So soft. I tell friends who are putting their registry together to basically buy 100 soft tiny washcloths. They come in so handy for a variety of messes.

Loulou Lollipop pacifier clips: I bought a few of these and ended up making some as well, but they are so useful! Luca used a pacifier for only a hot minute but these are good for attaching all manner of small toys to your stroller or car seat.

Ikea Kladdig sleeved bib: Whoa, are mealtimes ever a disaster. A smock-like bib is the best kind of bib. These are inexpensive and easy to clean.

Skip Hop Explore & More Activity Center: Okay, I know people refer to these as the “Circle of Neglect,” but it was great when I needed a minute to prep dinner or use the washroom. This one has a lot of wonderful things going for it: it isn’t too huge, it isn’t ugly, and best of all, it turns into a table (once again, I love baby gear that you can use for a few years)! Luca was pretty self-regulating when it came to this piece of equipment and he didn’t want to be in it for more than a few minutes at a time, so I didn’t have to worry that I was neglecting him. The first time I put him in it he went right for the little trees and was so happy. Now he mostly cruises around the sides.

Special mention: books, books, books! I’ve been posting some of my favourite books on Instagram with the hashtag #fieldguidedreads. I don’t know how interested other people are but it’s fun for me!

As to the things I found we didn’t need:

-Fancy swings. We bought one that cost a small fortune and looks like it’s from the future, and it most definitely did not work miracles for us. He rarely fell asleep in it and once he hit about 4 months, he started trying to sit up in it, which was kind of scary! We got the best results from bouncing him in our arms while sitting on a yoga ball. We also probably could have gotten away with one of the inexpensive swings, if we really wanted one. Every baby is different, of course, but I regretted that purchase, especially since I had to buy the infant insert to go with it (silly since it’s only used for infants!).

-SOOOOOOOO MANY SWADDLES. I don’t know, we just didn’t swaddle him that much? We swaddled him when he was overtired in the first few months, and some babies really need to be swaddled, but I had been lead to believe that we needed so many swaddling blankets and we could have gotten away with owning maybe two swaddling blankets.

-Teething toys! Luca just isn’t much of a chewer. I have purchased so many cute things that he can chew on (a marbled heart, a wooden moon, frozen teethers, teething pads for the carriers, etc.), and he really only chews on his fingers, if anything at all. This one really surprised me, I thought it was mandatory to own a Sophie la Giraffe! Maybe it will change but he’s cutting his top teeth now and still no chewing. So maybe hold off on buying every cute teething toy until you know how much your baby likes to chew.

-Adorable and tiny baby sunglasses! He pretty much laughs at me when I try to put them on him and he pulls them off in an instant. Serves me right!

27.1.17

goodbye, oreo

Since our cat Oreo was such a big part of my blog when I was updating it more regularly, I felt as though I should write something in honour of her. If you follow me on social media you will know that she passed away on Monday. She was really quite ill, although her illness came on quickly. We had a mobile vet come over and it was all very peaceful and respectful, with the (amazing) vet saying a little prayer as she injected the euthanizing agent. Oreo hadn’t been herself in a while, and she was about 14 or 15, so I thought it would be easier to say goodbye. It’s been wretched. She was a part of my life and Geoff’s life for 12 years, and there through so many of the most significant events of my life: moving in with one of my best friends, Annie, into the cutest and shabbiest apartment in the Annex; moving in with Geoff for the first time; getting married; having Luca. In the end she had lost a lot of weight, had a tumor in her mouth, and she was blind. Continued treatment might have bought her some time, but her quality of life would have suffered. Forever the food lover, she still managed to have a good-sized meal before she went.


Annie adopted Oreo from the Toronto Humane Society in 2004. Oreo had been there for almost two months, looked over. I found the document Annie was given that was filled out by her original owners; she was born in 2001 and was surrendered because they were moving. Oreo moved to new  apartments once with Annie and twice with us. We were originally going to look after Oreo as Annie got settled in New York City, but she became our cat.

Before I met Oreo, I thought of myself as a dog person. She was my little shadow, following me from room to room. She was quiet in her affections, but always a comfort to have around in difficult times. When I was hospitalized in 2014, I wanted someone to sneak her in for a visit and morale-boost. I didn’t know how much I would miss her presence. I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye, I still sleep with my knees bent to accommodate her at the foot of the bed, and I still reach out my foot to see if she’s there. I keep expecting to hear one of her sneezes or funny little sounds that we called trumpets. I still say (like a dork) “We’re going home to kittens!” until I remember that there is only one now. When Luca came home for the first time she kept her distance, but occasionally came over to lie next to him. I worried about this, but it was always fine. I wanted him to know her as he got older. I got her paw prints in the mail yesterday, sent by the vet, and while it was the most thoughtful gesture, I definitely sobbed when I saw them. She and Pony were never friends, but Pony has stepped up the leg-rub game.

I am a little rusty in the meditation department but I have tried a golden cord meditation to try to tell her how sorry I am. Goodbye, original dream cat. I love you.

25.1.17

this is my happy: the happy baby carrier

I recently said that while Geoff has his thing that he spends money on (plants), I have mine, and that thing is baby carriers. I never thought I would get... addicted (?) to them, but I kind of am! I have already written about how I find them absolutely essential in the city (or otherwise!), but I also love having different styles on hand to suit my mood, or the situation.

Shortly around the holidays, Happy Baby released their linen soft structured carriers, and it was love at first sight for me. I was able to take advantage of an amazing Black Friday deal to try out the carrier in Charcoal, although I later couldn’t resist the carrier in Flax as well (a classic natural neutral). Linen is one of my absolute favourite fabrics ever, so this was very exciting.


What I love about this carrier is that it is so minimal in appearance but also in design; you can carry an infant in it without an insert, and there is a small hood that is tucked away in a pocket at the front. It’s incredibly lightweight, and because it’s made of linen, it will soften up with time. It is really unlike any other carrier I have tried! It can be used from newborn to 45 pounds. Luca is about 17 pounds at the moment and I carried him around the Royal Botanical Gardens for about an hour with no pain (and I am prone to back pain).

I feel like it is definitely one of the more stylish carriers around (when so many of them can look a little... granola), and it comes in so many amazing colours. I don’t need another but I have been admiring that marigold for ages! They’re also handmade in the USA, which is nice, and they have AMAZING customer service.


The images below are from Happy Baby. Ooh I just love that Charcoal!





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.