Six Fun Things

Who else is feeling long weekend vibes already? Are you staying in town or heading somewhere cool? We are planning on staying in the city this weekend (Corey and I have some work to do) but we'll be heading North for a little camping next week. I'll post about it later since I get asked a lot about camping with kids and people often sound so awestruck. Let's just say that Corey and I were much more rugged in the past but now that we have the girls, we're sort of spoiled. We have friends who are doing hardcore camping and canoe trips with their minis but we like to glamp in our little tent trailer with "rustic" buffalo check bedding. It's not exactly authentic, but it is a lot of fun!

Since this is a long weekend, I have six fun things to share instead of just five!

Beach Collections

I noticed on a friend's IG the other day that she was collecting shells at the beach and I had to reach out and tell her that I have always loved combing the beach for shells, sea glass or pretty stones. I found the pretty heart stone below and kept it... I'm waiting for inspiration to hit me so I can decide what to do with it. I would love to try to find enough stones to create something like this gorgeous collection.

What do you do with veggies from your garden?

I'll confess to having garden envy when I see friends posting photos of the bounty their gardens are yielding right now. I didn't get my act together in time this year so I'll have to rely on the farmer's markets but I feel like the veggies you grow yourself seem to taste better. If you have a similar crop of tomatoes, cucumbers and the like and have had your fill of open-face tomato sandwiches (Is that even possible??) consider making a gazpacho. Cup Of Jo mentions the Times recipe, which you can find online, but it's basically a salad smoothie made with tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar and (optional) bread. I made some in my blender today and it's going to be great for snacks over the weekend.

OITNB Series Finale

What are you binge watching on Netflix these days? I was so excited when Queen of the South and Orange is the New Black both came out with seasons this summer that I've been forcing myself to stay awake (just... a .... little... (yawn) ... longer) at night to watch an episode. (OITNB SPOILERS AHEAD) Has anyone else been moved to tears by OITNB this season? The addition of the ICE camp and some great new characters has been incredible but I'm nearing the end and feeling angry. It's unjust and unsettling to see the white, affluent main characters more or less landing on their feet with tragedy befalling so many of the less privileged characters, especially WOC. I suppose it naive of me to be surprised since this is basically what happens in real life and I'm a little ashamed to be having this epiphany over a Netflix show. For those of you who are like me and like to read the last page of a novel first, here's a rundown of what happens to everyone in the finale. 

Photo Editing

I don't pretend to be a pro (or even a skilled or talented) photographer but I love photographing the girls and manage to compose some lovely candid pics of them. People often ask me for tips and I wrote a blog post on it years ago but my style has definitely changed since then. The process is still simple though and I take my best photos when I get down on their level, stay aware of the light and background and keep snapping photos because 1 in 20 may actually be good. Then, I crop (to make it look like our house isn't messy and the dog didn't just pee on the floor) and I edit using Snapseed. Sometimes, to add special effects I also use an app called Lense Distortions. Five minutes of quick editing can make a photo so much more special.

Professional Family Photos on Vacation

One of the best things we did while planning our trip to Banff a few years ago was to hire Crista Lee to take some photos of us in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. It took some work to get ourselves all dolled up in our hotel room and some planning to make sure our outfits were on point but I still love those special photos!

Vitamin Drip Therapy

Have you heard of this? I have now had two friends post about it in the past three days and I am so curious to try it! I had read about it earlier this spring and I had always thought is was just something health care professionals did for themselves after a night of partying. I had no idea it had gone mainstream! I know it sounds kind of "out there" but I get Corey to give me B12 shots in my arm when I'm feeling run down and I get an instant boost from the B12 so this doesn't seem so different or scary to me. I can only imagine this would be even better and they have different cocktails of vitamins depending on what you need or how you want to feel. Doesn't this sound kind of amazing? If you've tried this, we need to talk!

Have a great weekend, everyone! xx


Camping Crowns

I was cuddling in bed with Rudy the other day when she started talking about camping. It makes my heart happy to know that the girls have such a love of camping and the outdoors. A few times a day, Rudy will turn to Maude and tell her that we're going camping soon and then they both giggle with delight!

The other night though, Rudy had a special request: She wanted a camping crown! How cute is that? If only I knew what a camping crown was. Luckily, I guessed correctly that Rudy had no specific vision either so I decided that instead of a crown made of sticks and moss (which is what I'd imagine a camping crown to be) I'd just make her a basic crown in a durable and washable fabric that can take a beating on our camping trips.

This week, I've had a lot of real estate videos, webinars and podcasts to catch up on once the girls are in bed, so I prepped the perfect background activity. I headed to the fabric store and bought tiny quantities (20 cm) of the following: a blue outdoor fabric with some stiffness, a floral pre-washed cotton, a stiff sheet of fabric to give the crown shape and a piece of elastic ribbon for the back. I also added some embroidery floss to embroider the front, but this part isn't necessary.

This isn't a DIY post but more of an idea I wanted to share. There are so many free online templates and you can use any of them. I just traced a crown that the girls already wear onto the stiff fabric and then used that as a template for the blue fabric and the floral fabric.. Instead of sewing the sides of the crown together to create a circle, I connected them with an inch or so of elastic to ensure an adjustable fit.

Unfortunately, the finished product was such a hit that I had to run back out to make one for Maude. I should have known. #MomFail 

Luckily, this was a super quick project and Rudy was thrilled with her camping crown and insists on wearing it all the time! I hope they keep these for years to come and they're sturdy enough to pass down once they're finished with them. 


The Challenge

A few weeks ago, I fell in love with a set of reimagined mid-century night tables. Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic but it was definitely like at first sight. I loved them and I was tired of not having drawers to help contain the mess of kleenex, creams, hair elastics and other important junk that is inevitable when you have kids. On the other hand, they were not something we had budgeted for or needed and we already had adequate night tables. They were lovely but frivolous.

The Challenge: Corey agreed that I could get them if I could sell enough things we weren't using to offset the price. I had 24 hours... not for any real reason but because I like a challenge.

We had so many staging items that were no longer getting use so we started there. I was just short of my 24 hour deadline but by the end of the week, we had sold enough things between Facebook Marketplace and my alternate Instagram Account (dedicated to my love of good vintage finds) to buy the night tables... three times. We had also freed up some prime real estate in our staging warehouse and our house was slightly less cluttered. Yay!

And we are LOVING our new night tables by Jenn Cann Designs. They're actually vintage but they're new to us and Jenn detailed them beautifully with new hardware and cute fabric lining the drawers.

Serious furniture crush, right? Me too!


Long Weekend

Hi Everyone. In Canada, it's a long weekend and we are enjoying lots of family time with a little real estate sprinkled in throughout the weekend. Earlier this year, Corey joined my in real estate and it is awesome getting to work together but there is a danger of not being able to unplug... ever! Living with your business partner can mean that you end up chatting about work A LOT, which means that we need to make an extra effort to focus on our family.

Today, we took the girls (including our pup, Lola) to a local park to ideally see some cherry blossoms without the High Park crowds. They didn't care much for the cherry blossoms but they LOVED the dandelions. When I was little, a babysitter told me that dandelions are yellow because spiders pee in them. For years, I was terrified to touch them. Today, I got to do the opposite and explain how cool dandelions are because they provide food for bees AND people can eat them too! It's so cool to see the world through their eyes.

A friend sent me a gentle nudge the other day to continue blogging and she is absolutely right. I'm working on some cool posts right now and some topics include: staging with vintage items, the kittens we've been taking care of and a fun little contest Corey and I have been having this weekend. Stay tuned and enjoy some fun over the next couple of days!


Building Sibling Bonds

For the past few months, Corey and I have finally been able to step back and enjoy the relationship Rudy and Maude are forming. It's a sweet friendship that's mostly nurturing, occasionally jealous and often silly! Watching Maude copy her sister's antics or watching Rudy help Maude get dressed is now one of my greatest joys as their mother. It's so crazy to watch them forming this bond that (hopefully) will last long past my own lifetime.

Until recently, their play still needed a lot of intervention. Rudy needed reminders to include her sister and they both often needed reminders to share but these days they seem to regulate themselves quite well. Sometimes, when we are out and about, the girls insist on holding hands the entire time. It melts my heart!

Many people ask us what we do to encourage the girls to get along so well. My first instinct is to say "nothing" and assume that it's just luck and their temperaments... and it is those things to a large extent! But when I think carefully, I see that we made some deliberate decisions early on to help curb jealousy and create a bond. Now these things have become habits for all of us but I'll share some of the conscious things we have done. (Not that we're experts, because we're certainly not! I'm equally interested in hearing your tips!)

  • I remember when I was pregnant with Maude. We read so many books to Rudy and we made sure the books focused on the big sister more than the baby. We wanted her to feel really special in her new role.
  • The first time Rudy visited me in hospital after Maude was born, I made sure not to be holding Maude so Rudy could climb into bed with me right away. Then I could gently ask "Shall we take a look at your baby sister?"

  • In those early (newborn) days, "Baby Maude" seemed to find such cute little presents to give her big sister! Bribery works... and I learned this tip from my own mom!
  • When Maude was a newborn (and still pretty boring to a toddler) we sort of gave her a personality by speaking for her to make it easier for Rudy to relate to her. "Baby Maude wants to know if she can listen to a story with you!" "Baby Maude thinks that's funny!" "Baby Maude wants you to sing a song to her!""Baby Maude loves you!"
  • It goes without saying but we always make an effort to give them each individual time with each of us to show them how special they are so there's no need for them to compete for our attention. When either enters the room, they need to see our faces light up.

  • We often speak as if they're a team: "What are you sisters up to now?" "You girls are so silly and funny!" "You girls are such awesome sisters!"
  • We force them to share. If we are giving them a treat or even a snack, we usually give it to one and tell her to go and share it with her sister. This way, they get to practice sharing and they know it's their sister who usually brings them a treat.

  • They each have several photos of the other in their rooms as well as photos of the two of them together. We like to weave a family culture into their daily life.
  • We encourage them to kiss and hug their sister goodnight. Every. Single. Night. It's one of the last things each of them do.

  • Finally, we encourage lots of silly, rough play! I think they bond more easily while running through the house shrieking or while jumping on the bed bashing into each other than they do playing quietly.

So now I'd love to hear from you guys. What do you do to build sibling bonds? Have I missed any really good tips? I'd love to hear what has worked for you! I'm especially interested to hear tips that may help as they get older. I hear the teenage years are tough! haha

Five Fun Things

Hi and happy Friday! This has been such a busy week that most nights, I've found myself working until late at night and totally ignoring the time. My head is spinning but the longer days have me feeling energized and productive.

Today I wanted to share some things with you that have brought a smile to my face lately. One of my favourite blogs, Cup of Jo, runs a regular feature called "Four Fun Things" and I had intended to imitate the idea before realizing I couldn't narrow my list so I settled at five.

Nail Polish

Do you splurge on manicures? What brands of nail polish do you wear?

I have never been great about keeping my nails manicured. I find that my nail polish always ends up chipping so I can never seem to keep my nails nice with a regular manicure. I always wanted to be someone with lovely nails, but I was never willing to invest the time or money for maintenance. I started getting gel or shellac manicures last year and I was thrilled with how long they lasted but they ended up really damaging my nails.

I have finally found a great solution in Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro polish, which is actually just really good quality regular nail polish (I say this because I initially thought I'd need a UV lamp to cure them) that stays on forever without chipping. It also comes off easily so I'm sort of in love! Hint: Many colours are on sale right now at Sephora!

Kid-Friendly Youtube Videos

Let's talk about Youtube for kids! Corey and I have been pretty strict about Rudy not browsing Youtube on her own even before this Momo Challenge hysteria but there are times when we use it as a reward. Right now, Rudy LOVES this channel and I must say that I don't mind much because the videos are (weirdly) catchy and educational. Her favourites (currently) are the videos on the human body, specifically the stomach and the ear. She loves telling us the the cochlea looks like a snail!


Have you seen US yet? Corey and I saw it last weekend and it sort of blew our minds. I feel like I could keep watching it over and over and see new imagery each time. Many people see it as a commentary on the current racial tension in America or perhaps a socioeconomic satire. What do you think? Here's a great article (SPOILER ALERT!) outlining some of the theories.


Guys, we've been enjoying an adorable treat lately and I've been sharing snippets on Instagram and Facebook. My mom has been feeding a stray cat for a long time and we finally managed to catch her just in time for her to give birth to five adorable kittens! Squee!

Our family tends to adopt adult or older pets so seeing kittens up close is such a treat for us. I've been reading up on their development and they are just over a week old now and so incredibly tiny and fluffy! My mom is hoping to eventually have the mama kitty spayed so she can keep her and our friends are stepping forward offering good homes to the kittens. (I want to keep one too but Corey's putting his foot down.)

The girls have been delighted with the videos I've shown them and they are so excited to see "Nana's kittens" so we're hoping to take them this weekend. They won't be allowed to hold them yet but they can at least see them. I'm so excited!

Hidden Pictures

Blake Richardson offers an interesting take on photography. He digitally alters his images to create barely visible creatures hidden within the scenery. There's something almost meditative about studying his pictures and looking for the hidden animals. I'd love to show Rudy because she has such an eye for detail and I'd be so interested to know what she sees first. I suspect her autistic mind would likely find it easier to uncover the hidden details. What do you see in the photo below? It reminds me of my favourite feature in my Highlights magazine as a child? Who remembers Highlights? There's a Hidden Pictures app now!

Have a great weekend!


8 Great Sources for Affordable Art

This week, Corey has been working on organizing our staging inventory and taking photos of our art, accessories and furniture to make it easier for me to plan storyboards for each listing. It's a huge job, but will make our lives much easier once it's done. To give you some idea of the immensity of our project, pictured above is most (not all ) of the art. There's still furniture, rugs, accessories, throw pillows (which are so numerous they form a category of their own!) and more! 

A note about artists: While I'm posting affordable sources here, I'm all for supporting artists and practiced artists deserve to be paid top dollar for their work. While splurging on a few really special pieces is great, I think most of us need some budget-friendly options for the rest of our walls.

Many of you ask me where I get my staging art and I'm here to share some of my favourite affordable sources:

1. HomeSense almost always has some cool options and I've noticed some amazing nursery art canvasses there lately. I get a lot of my wall art that I use for staging from HomeSense. The two drawbacks are that you're unlikely to find something truly unique and that they don't post inventory online so you may have to check different stores to find what you want.

2. Etsy not only has originals and prints in all different media, you can also search for downloadable art that you can have printed and framed or mounted yourself to save on shipping costs! 

3. Society6 is a really cool website where you can shop for art prints but also textiles, phone cases, mugs and many other items printed with art. 

4. Target! It should be no surprise that Target is on my list. I love crossing the border to take a look at their goods but they also ship to Canada!

5. Structube is probably my second largest source of staging items that aren't vintage! 

6. Ebay can often be a great source for vintage paintings. I love giving a new life to vintage art and I've purchased lovely old paintings and drawings from ebay and had them framed.

7. Juniper Print Shop allows you to buy prints (They even have special sizes to fit in Ikea frames!) or digital files! You'll see one of their prints in my future staging photos.

8. Wayfair has everything. It can be a great source but you do have to sort through an impressive, yet overwhelming volume of inventory. The yellow framed print in the photo above is from Wayfair.

Enjoy refreshing your space for spring! For those of you expecting tax refunds, maybe this will give you some inspiration! If you do end up using one of these sources, please send me a photo of what you buy. I love seeing them!

Special thanks to my real estate photographer, Thea Menagh for the staging photos.

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