Halloween Safety Tips

Friday, October 30, 2015

It's that time of the year again. We prepare to take our little out trick-or-treating awaiting the sugar-induced craziness that follows.

I've come up with some safety tips for you and your littles (not matter how big or little) and I hope you'll find them helpful! Make sure you check out the bonus mom tips ;)





HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

  • Try and avoid super dark costumes. If your child is wearing all black, put some reflective tape on the front and back so drivers can see them.
  • Dress your children (and yourself) for the weather/conditions. It's going to be a chilly one here so we made sure to get a costume to accommodate some warm cozies underneath.
  • Makeup is better than masks. Masks can obstruct vision.
  • Ensure costumes fit well to avoid tripping etc.
  • Check your child's candy. Get rid of any homemade treats or any candy that's wrappers are partially opened or appear tampered with. Make sure you pull a few of your favs aside while you're doing said check.
  • If you have young children be wary of small candies and gum that might present as a choking hazard.
  • Consider children with food allergies and have a separate bowl with some allergy-friendly treats (some of the most common allergies are dairy, peanuts and wheat). You could even have stickers, playdoh or small toys to give to these children.

If you're child is going out without parents/adults:
  • Confirm they're going with friends and who they're going with. 
  • Make sure their name and contact info is on their person.
  • Tell them not to go inside anyone's home (that they don't know).
  • Set a curfew. 
  • Tell them not to eat anything until they get home (good luck with that).
  • Send them with a flashlight or give them some glowsticks. 
  • Ensure they or one of their friends has a phone and has your number.


Bonus - mom tips:

  • Get the 'good candy' or you run the risk of your house being egged. The upside to this is that you get to eat the leftovers. On that note: buy lots. If you run out, you also run the risk of getting your house egged.  
  •   If your kids are really young, don't let them have too much candy before you expect them to go to sleep. It won't be good. 
  • Ration the candy. Pick a number you're comfortable with and that's how many treats they get a day. Or leave it open: candy serves as a great reward for good behavior.  
  • Make sure you tell your child ahead of time about the 'parent candy tax'. If they're bringing candy in the house, you get a cut. Thems the breaks kids.
  • Hot chocolate and baileys would not be noticeable in a travel mug. Just sayin'. 

Be safe, have fun and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

what to wear: my ultimate Vegas outfit(s)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I wish I was writing this post because I was actually going to Vegas; however, given the new(ish) babe, Vegas is not in the cards at the moment (see what I did there?!).

Despite the fact I'm not packing for Vegas, I was inspired to tell you what I would wear if I were, in fact, headed to Vegas. I should note that I do plan on making a trip to Vegas, sans children, in the not so distant future.

There are TONS of hotels to choose from in Vegas but, if I were actually headed there, I'm pretty confident I'd need to stay at the Bellagio. I'm also fairly confident that Mr. B would second this choice because, well, Ocean's Eleven and all.



The Bellagio just screams Vegas to me It has a ton of restaurants, a beautiful pool, an amazing spa and and 116,000 square foot casino! Plus, they have "O" by Cirque de Soleil as their regular show and you really can't go to Vegas and not see a Cirque show.


So here's what I'm thinking for my day/night in Vegas



Morning - chilling by the pooling and indulging at the spa:

pool/spa wear

Afternoon - late lunch at Michael Mina and some shopping (gotta have shopping in there):

lunch and shopping

Evening: dinner at Yellow Tail Sushi, "O" by Cirque de Soleil, and some drinks at Hyde

night vegas






NOW all that's next is for me to schedule a trip to Vegas! Who's with me?! I could be convinced to ditch Mr. B and make it a girls weekend :)

Have you been to Vegas? Did you have a go-to outfit?



Still time to enter to win a $50 gift card!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Link ups:
The Pleated Poppy
Pumps and Pushups
Pampers and Pearls
Tucker Up
The Mummy Chronicles
Cappuccino and Fashion 
Shopping My Closet

to my littles

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear littles

This time in my life is strange and challenging. Becoming a mom again and remembering how to care for a baby while balancing a busy toddler can be beyond taxing on a person. Never mind that the person attempting to sustain these two beings is running on minimal sleep and not nearly enough coffee.

Having said that, regardless of my current state, there are somethings I need you both to know.

Annabelle: you're busy and loud, outgoing and wild, talkative and bright but all of these things in a great and beautiful way. I know I don't celebrate the wonder of you enough, but I'm trying to and I hope you see that. I know I lose my temper and can be short with you, but you need to know that I revel in the light that truly emanates from your being. There's nothing that warms my heart like watching you dance without a care or the pure joy on your face when you see me after being apart for only a short time. You are miraculous, I hope you know that.

Oliver: you're a fussy baby and it seems like you never sleep. Sometimes it feels like all you do is eat, spit-up and poop but my gosh you're smile melts my heart in an instant.  All the frustrations fade away when you give me that perfect toothless grin. I am so taken with your sweet face and the way you lock eyes with me and smile immediately. I could (and do) spend hours just talking back and forth with you and delighting in how proud you are when you make a new sound. You are miraculous, I hope you know that.

infant and toddler
photo credit: MillerEllis

When I look back on this time in the future, I'm sure I'll vaguely remember the lack of sleep, the stress and the feeling of never getting all of the things completed on my never-ending to-do list. What I will remember are the snuggles, early morning, afternoon, before bed and even middle of the night. I will smile at the thought of each and every one.

I won't remember what a mess our house was but I will remember how sweet it was to see a big sister caress her baby brother's head and gently give him a kiss on the cheek (and sometimes not so gently).

I'll forget feeling grumpy that I didn't get to sit down to eat my supper for the fourth night in a row because I was holding or feeding a baby that only wanted his mom. Instead, I'll fondly remember a little baby boy who loved his momma so much he wanted to be with her as much as possible.

I'll forget having to peel stickers off the floor and constantly picking up toddler toys. Instead I will lovingly remember how my sweet girl liked to play, explore and create.

I hope you'll both forget the times I get frustrated and instead you'll remember the times I can keep myself in check and sit down and just 'be' with you both. I hope you'll always remember how truly and deeply loved you both are, regardless of how many time outs you might get. I also hope you both grow up to be friends, to love each other with even a fraction of the love I have for each of you.

I complain a lot but at the end of the day, I'm so very thankful for you both. You've made my life complete in the most messy and beautiful of ways.

My beautiful babies, I love you so much.

Love always,

your momma

Masquerading with Success Creations and GIVEAWAY

Friday, October 23, 2015

I have always loved masquerade masks. There's something so beautiful and mysterious about them. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to receive some masks to review from Success Creations.

success creations logo

Success Creations is a US company that has operated for over 25 years. They specialize in designing beautiful handmade masquerade masks. 

The hardest part about this review was honestly choosing which masks to test out. I ended up decided on Chantal and Persuasion Black Lace and I adore them both.

chantal masquerade mask

lace masquerade mask


I received the masks incredibly quickly despite them shipping from the US. They are even more beautiful in person and they are made very well. The metal one (on top) is quite sturdy (it withstood some rough handling by my toddler) and the lace one is made of thick material and not flimsy like I thought a masquerade mask might be.

It was so fun trying these on and they could easily be used to add that something special to a Halloween costume. Or, if you're a busy mom like me, it'll be your entire Halloween costume. Seriously, I'm totally planning on throwing on a dress and the lace mask, easy peasy!





If you're in the market for a masquerade mask, you must check out Success Creations. They have some absolutely beautiful pieces for both men and women (they even have couples sets!). You can use them for Halloween, a themed party (so fun), prom and/or homecoming, bachlorette parties... the list is endless! They have an entire section devoted just to Mardi Gras!

AND because |I know you're all wanting to play dress-up you can enter below (US residents ONLY) for your chance to win a $50 credit for Success Creations to purchase your own masks!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free products in order to provide this review; however, all opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

stripe dress 5 ways

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I have a recent and very passionate love of stripes. Previously, I didn't think I could wear stripes without them making me look larger BUT, I was wrong. Strangely enough, I find horizontal stripes can actually be flattering, WHAT?!

5 ways to wear a stripe dress this fall


  1. leggings, booties, long necklace
  2. scarf and boots
  3. flats and long necklace
  4. scarf and booties
  5. jacket, rubber boots and jacket
Seriously, with just these few pieces you can mix and match so so many outifts! So fun, so cute and so versatile!

are you loving stripes this fall???

Similar striped dresses can be found here, here, here, here, and here



Link ups:
The Pleated Poppy
Pumps and Pushups
Pampers and Pearls
Tucker Up
The Mummy Chronicles
Cappuccino and Fashion 
Shopping My Closet

Quick and tasty turkey chili

Monday, October 19, 2015

For some reason I equate fall with chili. It's the perfect comfort food for a crisp fall evening. Pair it with some fresh bread and a salad and you've got an awesome meal (assuming you also add dessert, of course!).

I'm going to share with you my go-to chili recipe. I'll admit, I don't actually follow a recipe so I tried to be intentional about what I was putting in this past time for the purpose of writing it out. You're welcome to use ground beef or chicken instead of turkey. Enjoy!

quick turkey chili



Quick and tasty turkey chili

1 lb lean turkey breast (or ground beef)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 onions
1-2 peppers (1 green and then one red, yellow or orange)
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on your preference)
chili powder (I throw this in to my taste, it's probably 2-3 tablespoons)
hot sauce (optional - if you like it spicy, add your favorite hot sauce in whatever amount you're comfortable with)

  1. Heat frying pan with about 1tablespoon olive oil to medium heat. Once pan is hot add turkey, onion, peppers and garlic. I also add about 1 tablespoon of chili powder and a little bit (1-2 tablespoons) of water. Cook until turkey is fully-cooked.
  2. Add everything else to your slow cooker (or large pot) and then add cook turkey mixture.
  3. Let the slow cooker or stove do the work! I usually make this mid-day and throw it on high in my slow cooker and it's ready for supper (maybe 3 hours). Delicious EVERY time!
Bonus: this freezes and re-heats like a dream. I always make a bunch and freeze enough for two freezer meals. Warning: if you add spice, it amplifies when you freeze and reheat. Add some sour cream or plain yogurt on top to tone down the heat and add to the yummy factor.  

ENJOY!


What food just feels like fall to you?? 

Bonus if you post a link to your favorite fall recipe in the comments!!

Other recipes I love:
The best green beans you'll ever have
Potato, leek and bacon soup
No-bake cherry cheesecake
Low sugar chocolate macaroons

Interview at the Blended Blog

Friday, October 16, 2015

Today I'm over at the Blended Blog with a little interview.

Check it out to learn a little more about me!

Oh and be sure to stay tuned as I will be writing a feature post next Wednesday at the Blended Blog too!

Happy Friday lovelies!

fall go-to outfit #3 - more plaid!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I used a plaid shirt in my last fall go-to outfit BUT I'm using it again. In case you haven't noticed, it's EVERYwhere! Plus, I bought this super cute shirt that I had to work into my go-to rotation :)

Go-to outfit recipe #3 is this:

plaid shirt + your fav skinny jeans + ankle booties + more gold accessories and another fun bag 



fall outfit plaid shirt



Long sleeve shirt, 39 CAD / Frame Denim boyfriend jeans, 320 CAD / Sole Society leather boots, 145 CAD / Crossbody purse, 32 CAD / Kate spade jewelry, 300 CAD / Kate Spade black earrings, 64 CAD


I love the simplicity of this outfit as well as the substitution possibilities. You can use pretty much any color plaid, any color bootie and almost any color bag. That's what make it so awesome!

Here's how I wear it:



And then real-life kicked in and little man started crying so I had to pick him up so this is really what my outfit looked like lol



Related Posts:
fall go-to outfit #1- chambray and tee
fall go-to outfit #2 - plaid 



Link ups:
The Pleated Poppy
Pumps and Pushups
Pampers and Pearls
Tucker Up
The Mummy Chronicles
Cappuccino and Fashion 
Shopping My Closet

Jo Lynne Shane

a big list of self-care activities you can start doing TODAY!

Monday, October 12, 2015




I recently wrote about how important self-care is to me as well as shared 5 types of self-care and challenged you all to make a little time and do a little self-care. Hopefully, this wasn't too hard to do but if you're anything like me, sometimes when I'm exhausted I find it hard to think of ways to indulge in some self-care.

Rest assured I have a comprehensive list of self-care activities that you can start doing TODAY! Anytime you're feeling like a re-charge, feel free to peruse this list and pick an activity.





Self-care activities 

go for a walk
laugh at yourself
enjoy the outdoors
do yoga
watch an inspiring movie
imagine what you'd do if you won the lottery
meditate
watch the sunrise
paint
play cards
light some candles
take your time
have a bubble bath
get a pedicure
fly a kite
bake
take a sick day
read a book
play an instrument
go to the zoo
read a magazine
pet your dog (or cat)
play a sport you love
star-gaze
enjoy a cup of coffee
color (yes, crayons and a coloring book - try it!)
journal
take your dog for a walk
go to the gym
sew
watch the sunset
go for a hike in the forest
cook something
watch a movie
talk on the phone to a friend
go for a drive
get a massage
listen to music
sing
go for a run
blog :)
eat something healthy
decorate a cake
take a nap
dance in the rain
enjoy a spa day
make a craft
delete negative people from your Facebook feed (or at least 'hide' them)
enjoy a glass of wine
sleep-in
do a puzzle
pray
garden
write a letter to someone
do your makeup
talk to a therapist
take a hot shower
dance in the livingroom
bask in sunlight
read old letters
cry
have a lunch date with friends
get dressed up for no reason
read an old journal
go for a swim
write a poem
unplug for an hour (no phone, no tv, no computer)
eat something decadent
snuggle with someone you love
learn a new language
practice deep breathing
watch old family movies
write a list of things your grateful for
have coffee with a friend
try a new recipe
sit infront of the fireplace
go to a comedy club and laugh all night
go to a pet store and play with puppies
play a boardgame with friends
do your hair differently
swing on a swing
have breakfast in bed
buy a new pair of shoes
go to a support group
learn how to dress for your body
go fishing
smile for no reason
have a picnic
clean your car
people watch
go through old pictures
buy yourself flowers
learn to cook something new
have a drink on a patio
sit in a hottub
do a workout video
write
take some pictures of something you find beautiful
write a list of things you love about yourself
try and skip rocks on water
schedule a date night with yourself
eat a piece of chocolate
volunteer




Your Challenge: pick an activity each day this week and do it just for you. It can be an activity on the list or something else that makes you feel good. It doesn't need to take a lot of time, it can be a quick few minutes but make it intentional. 
Why? Because you deserve it and you're worth it.

So can you do it? An activity a day for a week? I think you can! Let me know how it goes.



What are you favorite self-care activities?
Is my list missing anything??


Related posts:
on losing myself
5 types of self-care

thankful

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Today made me think. Do you ever have those days? The conclusion I came to: I am so genuinely thankful.

We're doing okay as far as the material things go, we've got a roof over our heads and both my husband and I have permanent jobs. We have plenty of food in the fridge and cupboards and our children don't ever go without. We all have clothes to wear that are clean and that fit us (well, I use the term 'fit' loosely given that I had a baby two and a half months ago).

Sure, I am thankful for those things but I don't say it.

In fact, I haven't said I am thankful for a lot these days.

I feel like I have spent a lot of time complaining and nagging recently and haven't been intentional about appreciating the people and things around me.

But today, today was a shitty day. I won't get into the details but it was not a good day. I had a fairly tumultuous morning and was running on very little sleep (thank you little man for waking up EVERY two hours EVERY night). I was also parenting both children on my own all day which is challenging at it's best.

Can you see where this is going?

Ya, I thought it would mean meltdown city for this momma too.

Something strange happened. I surprised myself.

My glass half-empty self made a decision. After a chain of really crappy events, I made a call: I want to make this a good day for my kids and that's EXACTLY what I did.

I ventured out to the mall with both children in tow and didn't even have a freak-out when little man had world's worst blowout. Instead, I was thankful for the toys in the nursing room to keep mini-me busy and that I had remembered to back an extra outfit *whew*

I was also thankful for some pretty awesome family members who came to keep me company at the mall and pre-occupy mini-me while I fed little man.

I was thankful for the short naps little man took instead of being frustrated he wasn't sleeping longer. Those short naps meant I got to play horses with mini-me and have a little dance party in the playroom (playroom = our dining room filled to the brim with toys).

Instead of nagging my toddler ALL day, I took a step back and enjoyed her curiosity, her zest for life and how absolutely hilarious she is. Seriously, this kid is a non-stop comedy hour.

Today I'm so thankful for toddler giggles and baby smiles.

Like I said, the day didn't start well, but it was a good day. I smiled and laughed with my children. My house didn't get cleaned but my children felt loved. We watched cartoons instead of doing dishes and we sang songs instead of vacuuming.

Today I find myself thankful, thankful for shitty starts to the day that remind you how lucky you are. Today I am thankful for the dishes that aren't washed, the floors that aren't cleaned and the laundry that isn't folded. I am thankful for those things because they mean my two beautiful children had their mommy's full attention and they felt that. I know they felt that because they both went to bed with smiles on their faces and so will I.

Happy (Canadian) thanksgiving... I hope you're having a good day but even more, I hope that if you're not, you're able to turn it around and find the good in it.


newborn boy and big sister
photograph by MillerEllis

green beans like you've never seen them before

Friday, October 9, 2015

I have the best and the most yummy easy green bean recipe for you today!

You're going to have to trust me when I say that what I am about to share with you is potentially life-changing. Okay, when it comes to eating vegetables not like 'I won the lottery' life-changing.

We are supposed to eat vegetables. The more, the better but sometimes that's challenging and if you're anything like me it's insanely hard to resist things like french fries especially when they are being consumed by EVERYone else around you.

I typically succumb to peer pressure. Until now. 

I am going to share with you the absolute best way to cook green beans. It's easy, fast, delicious and nutritious! If you don't make it, you're crazy. Also, you are welcome.

baked green beans



The best green beans you'll ever have

Ingredients:

green beans 
extra virgin olive oil 
Parmesan cheese
sea salt
garlic powder

Pre-heat your oven to 375. There are no numbers in the recipe because I don't measure (ya, super helpful, I know). I usually cook about 2 handfuls (big ones) of green beans. They shrink down when you bake them and they are delish so you'll eat more than you think. Be generous, trust me.

Throw the beans in a big bowl. Add some EVOO. How much? Enough to coat the beans but not so much that there's tons swimming in the bottom of the bowl. I'm guessing I add about 2 tablespoons (ish). Then add your parmesan. Again, up to you how much to add, I just sprinkle a little all over, don't get crazy or you're losing on the 'healthy' factor. Add some sea salt and garlic powder. Again, I don't measure but maybe a teaspoon of each if you've used 2 handfuls of beans.

Mix it all together with some tongs and throw on a baking sheet.

Pop it in the oven, checking and mixing around regularly for about 25 min or until the beans start getting brown and crispy.

Last, enjoy and remember how much you love me and are thankful I shared this with you! I can pretty much guarantee you'll make them more than once!!! 

Bonus: try mixing in some halved mushrooms!

Happy cooking!

baked green beans with chicken fingers
chicken fingers and green beans anyone? YES, if it's green beans like this!

baked green beans side dish
chicken cordon bleu, roasted peppers and green beans - YUM!


fall go-to outfit #2 - mad for plaid

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In my previous fall go-to outfit post I explained that I like having go-to outfits that I know I can throw on and look and feel good in.

Since the world is loving plaid this fall, I thought I'd share with you my go-to outfit that includes a plaid shirt I bought last fall (but never figured out how to wear without feeling like a lumberjack).

Go-to outfit recipe #2 is this:

plaid shirt + black tank + distressed jeans + leopard flats + gold jewelry and a fun bag = cool, laid back mom  



go to outfit #2



Flannel shirt, 48 CAD / City Chic black top, 19 CAD / American Eagle Outfitters jegging, 67 CAD / H&M leopard shoes, 16 CAD / Rebecca Minkoff fringe purse / Michael Kors stainless steel jewelry, 335 CAD / Marc by Marc Jacobs necklace, 130 CAD / Bling Jewelry black stud earrings, 20 CAD


For me, this outfit is the perfect amount of laid-back style that I love, spruced up a little with some great accessories. You can dress this up or down as much as you like. Again, you'll notice I'm including the leopard flats, a staple in any closet because they can really kick your outfit up a notch. You could also totally rock some converse or toms with this outfit and lose a few accessories to make it even more casual.

Here's how I wore it:





I highly recommend taking look through your closet and coming up with your own 'go-to' outfits that you can throw on in a hurry and still feel put together. 


Related Posts:
fall go-to outfit #1- chambray and graphic tee




Linking up with:

The Pleated Poppy
Pumps and Pushups
Pampers and Pearls
Tucker Up
The Mummy Chronicles
Cappuccino and Fashion 
Shopping My Closet

Jo Lynne Shane

5 types of self-care

Monday, October 5, 2015

We are all busy. We work, have children, have partners to devote time to, houses to clean etc. We all have our stuff to-do. Unfortunately, with lives as busy as they are and the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves, we often neglect the most important people in our lives: ourselves.

I am a big proponent of 'self-care'. As a busy mom, this something I need to make a priority and I need to do so very deliberately. It's important, because to be the best mom I can be, I need to be happy first.

It's that ever-popular oxygen mask analogy: you need to secure your own mask before your children's because if you pass out, your kids are doomed. Basically: take care of yourself first or you're not going to be able to take care of anyone else.



There are many ways people can engage in self-care and it's something that will differ vastly from person to person. It's something that's so individual, but that's what's kind of awesome about it. To get you started thinking about ways you can start engaging in self-care, I'm going to share with you five types of self-care:



5 Types of Self-Care 


Physical 
Physical self-care means getting your body moving!
Physical activity produces good-feelings. I won't get into the science behind it (primarily because I don't know it) but it's common knowledge that physical activity increases endorphins and makes you feel good. Physical self-care can mean going for a walk, a run, doing yoga, riding a bike, playing a sport.


Mental
Mental or intellectual self-care is activities that foster your sense of mastery, critical thinking and/or creativity.
Mental self-care can include things like learning a new skill, reading a book, painting a pictures or playing an instrument.


Spiritual
Spiritual self-care means exploring your place in the universe, your understanding of life and it's meaning. To some, this can mean going to church, to others it can mean meditating or gazing at the stars.


Emotional 
Emotional self-care is the process of acknowledging, accepting and expressing emotions.
Emotional self-care can include activities like writing in a journal, expressing yourself through art and seeing a counselor.


Social
Social self-care is about nurturing your relationships with others. This can include your extended family and your friends. Most of us crave social interaction but don't make enough time for it in our day-to-day lives.
Social self-care is about deliberately connecting with people who are important to us.



My challenge to you: pick a self-care type a day and do something just for you!!!

stay tuned for an upcoming post with a list of self-care activities!



Related posts:
on losing myself
big list of self-care activities


Linking up with:
A Mamas Story
- DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS -