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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Live and Love Life in a Tee


When it comes to personal style I'd sum up what I look for in 2 words: classic and unique. My closet is loaded with pieces that are easy to slip on for days when I don't have time to consider my outfit for too long but want/ need to look pulled together. I keep aside certain pieces that I don't wear when I'm in Mom- mode to save them from the unavoidable stains that come with the territory, but most of my clothes have to be up to the challenge of Mom life. Either way, I like pieces that are versatile- bonus points if they're comfy too- and can be dressed up or down. And what's better for this than the classic t- shirt? 

To give a fun and fresh twist to this wardrobe staple, the ladies behind West + Wind- Jen and Kait (of Prairie Girl in the City and Kait Creative)- have curated a collection with pieces that are perfect for relaxing on weekends or dressing up for a girl's night out. (I have their Signature Plus slouchy tee and have worn it dressed up with a blazer and heels or down with my favourite jeans and a chunky sweater and love how comfortable and versatile it is). I recently got together with Jen and had fun playing dress- up with some of their tees and trying on a few of the jewellery pieces they also offer through their line. What ensued was a hilarious example of what bloggers will do to get a photo- braving wind, rain, and the cold to snap some photos outside- and we couldn't stop laughing at our luck that as soon as we stepped outside the rain and wind picked up. Insert the emoji laughing with tears rolling out of it's eyes and that pretty much sums up this shoot. Despite the elements I think the photos turned out great and loved having the chance to get together with my talented friend. I hope you'll fall in love with their line the way I did, enjoy!





Aside from the awesome designs Jen and Kait have created, I love their mantra behind the line and that they want people to have fun with their pieces: "We decided to create a playful line of t- shirts in soft yummy fabrics that we could live our day to day lives in. We feel our favourite fashion go- to item can be chic in an everyday way... We created a line where we don't tell people how to wear their clothes, but hopefully inspire them to play with their style... We're not ones to be a slave to a trend as we find personal style and people's interpretation of a trend far more interesting". Love it! 





Shown:

Photos: Jen Pistor, Prairie Girl in the City


From Sunday brunch, to sitting around a campfire, to Friday night cocktails, W + W offers up pieces you can live in and have fun wearing. How would you style your W + W tee? To see their complete collection (plus kid's styles!) check out their website and stay connected on social media for the latest sales and events: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter





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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Quinoa Flatbread

 

I love making homemade pizza (this is the recipe I use and love), but sometimes I want a bit of a twist and something a little different is in order. I've tried several attempts of gluten free foccacia bread and flat bread and they've turned out like bricks. So when I came across some ideas for flatbread made with quinoa I was intrigued. So far I've tried a few versions and haven't been disappointed- serve up with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping for a yummy appy or make as a meal. (Next up is to try a sweet version with cinnamon)


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
3 tsbp olive oil
2 eggs
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used goat cheese)
1/4- 1/2 cup flour/ gluten- free flour (in case the mix seems too wet)

Topping suggestions: pesto, onions, olives, roast beets, avocado, goat cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees & line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients; add in flour if the mixture seems too wet (it shouldn't be super runny when you scoop it onto the parchment)
3. Spread the mixture out evenly on the parchment paper using a spoon to smooth out the edges and top.
4. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from oven to sprinkle toppings on and then cook for another 5- 10 minutes until everything is cooked/ melted to your liking.

So far my favourite combos have had contrasts of flavour such as sweet and bitter (cooked beets with goat cheese) or salty and creamy (olives and avocados), and I love dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixed with some herbs de Provence for a yummy Mediterranean twist. I'm looking forward to trying out a lot more combos over the Summer (how great would this be to bring to a potluck?). Hope you like it as much as I do!

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fashionable Four Eyes


Who else needs glasses? I started wearing them in grade 7 and have worn them ever since and tend to alternate between specs and contacts depending on my mood. I've had my current pair for several years and I'm thinking this might be the year to switch things up and treat myself to a new pair and a new look. Glasses are a part of your appearance and a fun way to show off a little of your personality and style, so even though I still think my current pair are ok, my style has changed and I'd love to update my glasses to reflect this. 

There are some pretty awesome frames out there and I'm having fun checking out all the options. One of the companies I've been scoping out is Firmoo and their awesome selection of fashion- forward styles. This online retailer specializes in affordable, high- quality eyewear and offers a mix of both classic and trendy options, and ships right to your door. I've started to narrow down my favourites and this pretty tortoise shell pair is one of my top picks (I was admiring them on my friend, Jen from Prairie Girl in the City, who kindly let me check them out and use them for the photos in this post- thanks Jen!). I'm looking forward to making my decision and treating myself, I just have to choose! And guess what? I've got the chance to giveaway a free pair of glasses to 6 lucky readers! Scroll down for contest details and to enter.



Want to win a pair of glasses from Firmoo? 

Firmoo Contest Details
- One lucky winner will receive a complete pair of prescription glasses with free shipping with 5 others winning a pair without free shipping.
- Must be a first time customer to enter
- Check out this page for the frames you can choose from
- Open to Canadian and US residents only
Prize will be offered in a voucher code to winners, which covers one frame, 1.50 index vision lens, and free shipping (1 winner to receive free shipping). Firmoo will not cover handling fees if applicable.


To see all of the great frames (and sunglasses!) available, visit the Firmoo website


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Monday, March 21, 2016

'That Time of the Month' Essentials {#StayFreeChallengeContest}


This can be a bit of a private topic. Even thought it's something we face every month, even though it's natural, and even though it's a part of being a female, it's still something so many women are uncomfortable discussing. And I understand that, but I can't help feeling sad that this is the case. I'm not saying share all the messy details, but I think if we can be comfortable sharing and laughing about labouring and giving birth, and all the intriguing things that happen to us during pregnancy, we can find a way to be the same about our monthly cycles. Our periods. There, I've said it.

In less than a month, my 2nd turns one and I've been reflecting on many things in the past weeks, including how my body has changed and how my needs have changed since becoming a Mom. When I came home from the hospital with Ari, I knew there would be a recovery period, but in many ways I wasn't prepared for it. I hadn't missed my monthly visitor and I thought it was an ironic reward that after the pain of giving birth there was still quite a bit of discomfort and mess in the following weeks. With Liam, having been there before, I knew to be prepared, but also more patient. I knew that my body would return (almost) back to normal and that the effects of giving birth would settle down. For me, doing things the second time around, I was a lot calmer and accepting. Considering what a woman's body goes through in that 9 months, and through labour and birth, it's amazing things even go back at all. But they do; sometimes not quite back to where they were, not as tight and toned, but they do.

In between having kids, I had the chance to try out some products from Stayfree and have since added them to my monthly routine. As my recovery after Liam progressed and I was able to transition for the hospital- issued, diaper- like pads, I appreciated having these products on hand. I'm not trying to make anyone uncomfortable talking about this, but let's face it, it's a part of the process of bringing a life into this world and we need to open up the conversation about this messy, natural thing that we deal with and what having kids does to our bodies. So whether you're a lady who's just looking for an option that suits her, a Mama- to- be getting ready for her post- partum needs, or a Mom whose needs have changed, I hope this helps you find comfort discussing the topic.

To help you navigate this private subject, I've teamed up with StayFree to give 25 readers the chance to take the StayFree Challenge and try these products out for themselves (just like in the commercials, you'll get the blue liquid and everything else you need, plus some extra product to keep for yourself). In return, I've got a $200 prepaid credit card courtesy of StayFree up for grabs for one lucky lady to say thank you for taking the challenge and sharing about your experience.

If you're interested in taking the StayFree Challenge (click here to see when I did mine), and the chance to win $200 to spend however you like, see below for details and how to apply. Please make sure you are able to participate within the posted deadlines to ensure your entry for the $200 prepaid credit card.

About the StayFree Challenge
The Stayfree Challenge is a quick & easy 'blue liquid' pad test that you can do right at home to see how Stayfree Ultra Thin pads perform against competing products. Simply use the tools provided in the kit to conduct your own blue liquid test at home and share about your results on social media using the hashtag #StayFreeContestChallenge. Send me the link to your social media post for your 1 in 25 chance at winning a $200 prepaid credit card.

Curious about how you'll share about this on social media?
I know this can be a little awkward to discuss, so I'm giving you some ideas to help make it a little easier. Share about what your monthly essentials are (a cup of tea, a warm bath?), your sense of humour about what your body has gone through (before kids this never happened...), or what you're packing in your hospital bag for when your baby arrives (or what are you stocking up on for post- baby?) and mention Stayfree or the Stayfree Challenge. By all means, post photos of the test, the blue liquid, or any other part of the test kit if you like- have fun with it!- just make sure you use the hashtag #StayFreeChallengeContest in your social media post. And in case that isn't enough, see below for some photo ideas for sharing on social media (you're also welcome to use these instead of taking your own if you prefer).

Contest Details:
- Deadline to apply is April 4th, 2016
- Contact me with your information to receive your kit
- Once you receive your kit and take the StayFree Challenge, share about it on social media with the hashtag #StayFreeChallengeContest by April 30, 2016
- Send me the link to your social media post by April 30th to be entered into the contest
- Winner to be randomly selected after the April 30th deadline, and information provided to StayFree so winner can receive their prize




Please make sure you understand the above and are comfortable with sharing on social media, as this is required for entry into the contest for the $200 prepaid credit card. Unfortunately if I do not receive your social media post link by April 30th, 2016, you will not be entered into the draw. 

Disclosure: I received payment for participating in the Stayfree Challenge and for helping promote the Stayfree Challenge Contest, however all opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Edgewell Personal Care.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Many Ways to Use a Swaddle Blanket


When you have a baby, you get loaded up with all sorts of items, many of which end up only being used for a short period of time and then they become clutter or get stored away and forgotten about. But some things can be repurposed after they've served their initial use and worth holding onto. Swaddle blankets are a great example of this, they're multi- purpose from the newborn phase all the way through the kid years. I received some as gifts after each of my kids was born and they've been one of the most- used items for at home and on the go. Even now that we're heading out of the baby phase with Liam they're still getting a lot of use.

Since having kids and starting the blog I've found some great companies whose products I love and the swaddles from Narra Nest are among my favourites. They're made from a lightweight organic cotton that is super soft (I mean really soft- like flannel) and breathable. Liam has a warm body, so the airy, breathable fabric gets a thumbs up in my books. With the warmer months coming, they'll be great to tuck him in without getting too hot, but still keep him cozy and comfortable. I like that they're larger than some of the other swaddles I've used- which I find makes swaddling easier- and means they can come in handy when the smaller options just don't cut it. I think the hardest part is picking which prints you like the most, (I had a hard time choosing!), but love the colours and pattern of this chevron one.

They're also great to use outside, at the park, or take to the beach. My favourite way to use our swaddle blankets is to get the kids into the fresh air and set- up a little play area. If the ground is damp I'll put down our waterproof picnic blanket and lay the swaddle on top to avoid wet bums. The best part is that everything can go in the wash after and since these are made from a durable organic cotton, they can stand up to the abuse a young family puts them through. Just fold them up and tuck into your diaper bag or keep some ready to pack for camping, travel, etc. For Moms with smaller babies, these make great carseat canopies or nursing covers; and let's not forget about being a catch- all for drool, spit- up, and all the other messes our little critters whip up. These are definitely worth packing up in hospital bags for bringing baby home as well. 

If you're making your own baby wish list, have some gifts to buy, or are stocking up for your own family, make sure to check out the amazing swaddles from Narra Nest.
Don't miss their swaddle launch sale happening right now until March 20 and stock up! 






Product Features:
- GOTS certified organic cotton
- extra large sizing
- versatility of uses 

Visit their website and find them on social media for the latest updates and info: Instagram Facebook | Twitter










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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pretty Spring Table DIY


Are you hosting Easter Dinner this year? Entertaining can be a lot of fun, but it can get expensive and be a lot of work- especially when it comes to the dishes and clean up! Today I'm sharing some fun and simple ways to set a Spring table including this pretty DIY table runner made from ribbon and fresh flowers/ greens. Added bonus: I used paper plates and napkins and wooden cutlery for an easy clean up instead of linen, china and silverware: just pop them into recycling and the compost when you clear the table and you're done! Scroll to the end of the post for all the details. 


 



















I love finding inexpensive ways to decorate and finding ways to use items I already have, and setting the table for special occasions is the perfect chance to do this. When it comes to entertaining, I love spending the time with loved ones, I just don't enjoy the time it takes to clean up after having guests. So I opted to set this table with as many recyclable/ compostable items as possible, as well as ones that can be used again- such as the mason jars and pretty candle holders- to cut down on clean up. I used these beautiful paper plates as the jumping- off point (can you believe they're paper?!) and went from there. The silver chargers I already had, and I simply folded up some paper napkins to lay the cutlery on. When guests are finished, the plates can go into recycling and the cutlery and napkins can be composted. All I'll need to do is pop the mason jars in the dishwasher and wipe down the chargers with a cloth. And then there's that table runner... 

I love making pretty centrepieces, but I don't like trying to see over them to talk to people across the table, so this low- lying beauty is perfect. All you need are some pretty fresh flowers and greens, and any other materials you would like to use. I laid down craft paper to serve as placemats (another easy thing to clean up!), then layered satin ribbon on top running the length of the table. I used ivy as the base then added some dusty miller and roses- use whatever you've got in the garden or pick up some fresh cuts at the grocery store. This doesn't have to be expensive to make a statement. If you'd like the roses to last longer, pop them in floral tubes with water. For a fun finishing touch for Easter, give each guest an egg and paint pen (or use a regular/ permanent marker) so they can decorate an egg while they wait for dinner to be served- this is a great way to keep the kids entertained and it's fun for the adults too. I hope this post gives you some ideas for your own Easter table! See the checklist below for what I used.

Table checklist:

Place settings:
- paper plates- Heather and Gem
- wooden cutlery- Grace Miller & Co
- kraft paper (used as placemats, I used a roll I bought from IKEA)
- chargers 
- napkins
- mason jars
- paper straws

Table decoration:
- wooden candleholders- From the Seeds 
- table runner:
--- satin ribbon (I just laid it down on the table, but you can use double- sided tape if you'd like it secured in place)
--- fresh greens- seeded eucalyptus, nagi podocarpus (used in a lot of flower bouquets), ivy, and dusty miller are a few ideas
--- fresh flowers- pick flowers that suit your style and colours that suit the rest of the table


Thanks to 
Heather and Gem,  From the Seeds, and Grace Miller & Co for helping me pull this all together!

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