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!

31.3.17

sleep in heavenly peace: the dock-a-tot

I have mentioned this on Instagram (over and over, it seems), but the world of baby sleep and baby naps is one that threw me for a loop. I somehow, naively, thought babies slept all day long, with adorable breaks for playing and eating. I suppose some do, but mine sure does not. Sometimes he’ll nap for 30 minutes and wake up laughing and ready to party. I try not to worry about it, since he’s been meeting his milestones and isn’t a particularly cranky baby, but it means I get so little downtime that I am usually feeling pretty rough. I fully expected to be sleep deprived, but I thought I would have time for some tidying and reading. Nope! I also thought he would go from the bassinet next to our bed to the crib, no problem. Nope!


I’ve seen people singing the praises of the Dock-A-Tot, an award-winning baby sleep pod, made of breathable materials. Even though we were co-sleeping, I didn’t get the smaller size, the Deluxe, for Luca when he was born. I hemmed and hawed about it and didn’t make up my mind in time. Now we have the Grand, which is for use from 9 months to the toddler years, and it has been wonderful! It has many uses: it can be used for lounging, playing, and changing (which is great when they get too squirmy for the changing table). I specifically like it for naps, when and if they happen, because I can put it on the floor and he has a safe place to snooze. I can carry it from room to room easily, and I can travel with it. I know that a lot of people like starting off with the Deluxe because the cushioning makes small babies feel secure so that they sleep better (and as Diana says, it can be great for tummy time), but I think even older babies like Luca enjoy the snugness. Sometimes I put it on the bed since we have blackout curtains in our bedroom, and with my eye on the monitor at all times, he gets a nice long snooze. It looks so cozy that I want one.


This cover is the Mrs Mighetto Night Night cover (we also have the Silver Lining cover). It is so sweet!


Of course, it’s always important to read the safety guidelines of any baby product, and especially of baby sleep products. Find that information here. Click here for $10 off your own dock.


17.3.17

learning alongside baby #forbetterbeginnings

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


No spills!

There are so many things that I didn’t know about babies, and things books don’t tell you. It’s been an ongoing learning process. For example, when Luca was ready to start solids, I myself was not ready. It had taken so long to adjust from having all the freedom in the world to having an exclusively breastfed baby who had to go everywhere I went and to be fed whenever he wanted, which was often. He didn’t understand that I was having lunch in a diner or driving on the highway. I had finally gotten used to this (yes, it took six months, but six months go by pretty quickly), and now I had to prepare and feed him fruits and vegetables and cereals, and I had to start thinking about giving him water. I had a vague notion that sippy cups existed, but I thought they were for toddlers. You see, I went into this baby game wholly unprepared. Suddenly I had a baby who was eating solids and grabbing glasses out of our hands and putting them to his mouth. It seemed to happen so fast, but it was time for a sippy cup. It was almost past due!



As I do with almost everything, I read up on sippy cups, and learned that babies need to try out a few different types before finding the ones they like. Luckily, we seem to have struck gold with the Playtex® Sipsters® as he took to them right away. We started with the Stage 1 training cups, but have now moved on to Stage 2, although sometimes we mix it up. Sometimes I leave the handles on, and sometimes he holds the cup in his tiny hands. Sometimes I give him a straw cup, sometimes I give him a spout cup. He’s still learning, and it’s fun to watch.

These cups are highly durable, BPA free, and we have yet to have had any leaks! I threw a couple of full cups into a tote when we went on a trip to the art gallery the other day and the spill-proof spout worked a charm. The cups have rubber inserts to prevent leakage, so they’re great on the go! And while I personally like more muted colours, Luca seems to be really drawn to these bright blues and greens (he is forever lunging at green bottles of carbonated water).


Playtex® Sipsters® are widely available through Amazon, and at Toys R Us and Walmart.

9.3.17

highchair hangouts after party at the drake general store


Every Tuesday throughout March and April, the Drake General Store flagship location (1151 Queen Street West) will be holding an “after party” for their Highchair Hangouts, and next Tuesday, March 14th, I’ll be hosting! This event will be from 1 to 3pm and will involve 30% off kids and baby apparel, plus treats for you and the little ones. There are lots of new arrivals from their in-house brands, which we love (check out the blanket above and the little Mountie-print sweater! So cute), as well as Levis, Sways, Fort Kids, and more.

The Highchair Hangouts event on that day sounds really fun too: baby photoshoots! Maybe I’ll see you there?


Photos by Louisa Nicolaou.

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!





16.1.17

keeping cozy with maxi-cosi

*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Maxi-Cosi Canada. All opinions are my own.


One of the first items we chose for Luca was his infant car seat. We knew how important it was for him to be not only safe, but also comfortable, and we also knew the hospital wouldn’t let us take him home without one! Luckily we made a great choice in the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30. I’ll be giving one away on Instagram soon, so look out for that!




This seat is wonderful: it’s much lighter than many other seats (just over 8 pounds without the base, which stays in the car anyhow!), and after purchasing the proper adapters, it clips right into our Bugaboo Cameleon or many other popular strollers, which is convenient since Luca tends to fall asleep in the car. It also happens to be a seriously adorable seat! When I saw the fabric on this Sparkling Grey model (a Snugglebugz exclusive), which is grey with tiny white polka dots, I was thrilled to see how cute it is. The fabric is also easy to remove and is machine washable. The seat is beautifully designed with a comfortable and ergonomic handle, gets high safety ratings, is easy to install with one-click UAS, and, importantly, fits in our car, which is a not-overly-large Honda Civic LX sedan. It also is one of the snuggliest seats out there: there is extra padding around the head, as well as an insert, which is very comforting to newborns. With some seats you have to add receiving blankets around the head for an appropriate fit, but not with Maxi-Cosi seats.


Bringing Luca home was such an emotional experience, of course. I remember when Geoff left our hospital room to get the car seat: I was so nervous but I couldn’t wait to get Luca home and give him a little tour of our apartment. We had the car seat installed professionally and had a lesson on how to use it a few weeks before, but the idea that we were leaving the security of the hospital with this tiny baby was overwhelming. I’ll never forget how it felt to see Geoff carrying the seat in the elevator, and I still have a photo on my phone of a teeny tiny baby sleeping in it (I felt so lucky that he fell asleep on the drive!). I had had a c-section so I wasn’t able to lift anything heavier than my tiny baby, but to be honest those first six weeks are such a blur. I look back at photos and think, how could I have had such a small baby? I also remember the panic I felt any time we went out with him: will he have a meltdown that will cause us to turn back around? It’s amazing to think of how much more confident I am now, and how he has grown into such a good sport as I drag him all around town in his car seat. I really love this seat! We may not have a luxury car but Luca sure has a luxury ride.



12.1.17

#forbetterbeginnings with playtexbaby

Today I’m happy to announce a new partnership with PlaytexBaby. Over the next few months, I’ll be trying out some Playtex Baby products, including the ever-classic Diaper Genie, and giving you my honest opinion about how they have worked out for me. This partnership means that I am now a “PlaytexMom,” and honestly, as someone who has spent many years yearning to be a mom at all, I’m excited to be a member of this group!


Luca takes a Sipster Stage 1 for a spin; the PlaytexBaby Diaper Genie Elite at home in our nursery

PlaytexBaby is committed to the idea of “For Better Beginnings,” and for me, that means making the best possible choices for Luca. Babies need so little to thrive in the first few months, beyond food and love, but carefully selecting products to help with everyday needs is also important to me. The first time I ever walked into a baby store to start looking at what was available, I was so overwhelmed, I cried. I reacted so badly that my mom didn’t want to go shopping with me again (whoops!). It’s just so much easier when you can rely on a trusted brand’s products, and PlaytexBaby has been around for over 50 years, responding to the ever-changing needs of moms and babies as we learn more about development and growth.

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you soon!