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Hi guys, it’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. I started off just taking a small break from social media so I could use all that time I was committing to it each morning to workout instead and then six months went by. But I’m back! And putting together this post was a lot of fun, so the lesson learned is that everything in moderation really is key.

Lately I’ve been working on a fall capsule wardrobe and I wanted to share the process with you via my (drumroll please)…very first YouTube video! I am really jumping into the 2000s, I know. But I have been wanting to try my hand at video for a while so it feels good to have “like” finally “um” made one (check out the video to see what I’m talking about).

I have been making a capsule wardrobe for myself (a mini wardrobe within my larger wardrobe), for a couple of seasons now and I always tend to build mine around a pair of shoes. This year it was these white Vince booties that I scored for nearly 75% off the retail price at Winners.

Once the base of my capsule wardrobe was established, I pulled a bunch of items from my existing wardrobe (including some I hadn’t worn in a while), and I also purchased a few key trendy pieces that would coordinate with my white booties and update my closet edit for Fall 2018.

woman trying on outfits in front of a mirror

One of the things I love most about creating a capsule wardrobe is how one item, like the white booties, can revive tired pieces in your closet. I was able to make these nine new outfits and that’s not even close to exhausting the countless combinations that are available to me. Watch my video for the how-tos and a try-on and please give me a “thumbs up” or subscribe if you like what I have to say!

And if you need help creating a capsule wardrobe of your own, head over to my Wardrobe Consulting page and get in touch. Until then, happy capsuling!

 

 

Ahhhh. The exhilaration of a girls’ weekend gone so, so right. I had really needed a break from the monotony of the indoors (courtesy of our never-ending winter), and from the cacophony of life with two kids, so I hosted five girlfriends here in Dundas this weekend while Mike took the kids to his parents’. The girls slept over and what really added a cozy element to the evening was that there was an ice storm raging outside. I still can’t decide if everyone is just plain awesome or a little daft for making their way here despite the treacherous road conditions (probably a little bit of both), but I am so glad they did. And our little house went a long way in making the weekend possible because I had the room for everyone to stay over—in beds—and a kitchen island for all of us to sit around—not necessities but both things helped make the weekend fun and relaxed, which brings me to my next point: both Dundas and this house are growing on me. I have always liked the house—and the town—but when we moved las August I couldn’t see past my sadness at having to leave our beloved city and our friends and our little community within. I still miss Toronto and probably will forever or until we maybe eventually move back—a reverse retirement, maybe? Anyhoo, I am liking it here more and am really liking our little house.

Because I was initially having a hard time with the move, Mike took it upon himself to lighten the mood while we were (still are), adjusting to our life here. When we first moved, I told him how I thought my autocorrect must have been trying to tell me to lighten up because it changed “Dundas” to “Fundas” every time I typed it, and he started hashtagging all of his Instagram pictures of our house, etc. with “#Fundas”. He also found this t-shirt at the local Home Hardware and wrapped it up under the tree for me at Christmas. Hilarious, Mike. But life is getting better in the valley.

P.S. Check my Instastories Highlights for a mini tour of our new house.

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I am writing this on a chilly but sunny March day. Spring is definitely on its way, but I’d be lying if people’s instagram vacation pics aren’t making me a little jealous despite the fact that I just went on one myself! On past beach vacays, I have felt less than great on the beach because my natural (frizzy) curls come out and unless I want to wear mascara (read: unless I want major raccoon eyes), my red eyelashes are invisible. Throw in my stereotypically pale, fair-haired-person skin, and I tend to feel the exact opposite of how I was envisioning myself when I picked up a new swimsuit for our recent trip to Mexico. So I decided that this year I was going to feel great on the beach and prepared accordingly. I will seriously never go away again (beach vacation or not), without doing the following. So without further ado, my tried and true beach vacation beauty hacks:

1. Eyelash Extensions

I don’t wear eyelash extensions regularly, but I like to have them applied a few days before a vacation. Not only do they give me bold lashes without a lick of mascara so that I don’t have to worry about makeup running down my face when I’m splashing around in the water with the kiddos, but it saves me a step in my daily morning routine. I already scale back my makeup quite a bit while on vacation, and having eyelash extensions means I can get away with applying a bb cream, some bronzer and a swipe of lip gloss before heading out the door.

Another obvious bonus to a streak-free face and saving time in the morning is that eyelash extensions give you a little extra oomph in your vacation pics, which is always a plus. I get mine done at Deco De Mode in Yorkville in Toronto.

My lashes still going strong after snorkelling.

2. A Spray Tan

The pale-as-can-be skin I already spoke about can look downright fluorescent when I’m on a beach with people that have even a hint of a tan, including my husband whose Italian blood guarantees him a perfectly bronzed bod virtually the minute we step off the plane [insert eyeroll]. To keep up, but really, just to feel my best, I get a spray tan. I’ve gotten a few prior to past vacations and I always had to stand buck naked in front of the technician, so you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at Fabutan and was escorted to a room with an automatic tanning booth instead. Aside from a little extra on the tops of my hands (which could have been my fault owing to me not positioning them correctly), my tan was even and subtle and much more realistic than the times when I had it manually applied—and I got away with my ego intact, which is darn near impossible when you are baring everything in all its pasty glory to a living, breathing human with a spray nozzle in-hand.

You can see my tan the best in this shot: Viggo and I waiting for our early morning flight to Mexico.

This was taken at the end of our trip when my tan had mostly faded, but it really did give me the confidence to step onto the beach and feel better in my skin!

3. A shellac Mani and Pedi

Am I alone in assuming that if you’re going to get your nails done before vacay, something more long-lasting is the way to go? I used to get shellac on my fingernails but go for regular on my toes pre-beach, the logic being that my toes always outlast my mani by weeks anyway. But then I went to Cuba and ruined my pedicure not more than a day after I got it, by spraying sunscreen on my fee. Many sunscreens remove nail polish. Did you know that? Now we typically stick to natural sunscreens cintaining zinc (especially for the kids), but there are times, like when I know we’re going to be in the water for a while,  that I resort to my good-old-fashioned waterproof spray-on, signalling death for my pedicure UNLESS I was smart and opted for shellac. I don’t always get it because I find it is hard on my nails, but a couple of times a year when I don’t want to go to the trouble of packing nail stuff, I get it, guaranteeing myself a couple of weeks of maintenance-free, bullet-proof, nails!

4. A (Thorough) Bikini Wax

This one’s a no-brainer for me both on vacation and in my daily life. I have gone to Smooth Wax Bar since they opened in Toronto a couple of years ago. I have tried a few places here and there and trust me when I say that their promise of “less ouch” is completely legit. Plus I am always in and out in ten minutes. I have been at another salon (that shall remain nameless), and have had time to watch an entire episode of friends! That’s too long to prolong the torture of a bikini wax if you ask me.

With a wax, I feel more confidant and just generally better about being half-naked on a beach and the same goes for every day.

4. BB Cream

This is another one that’s really more of an everyday-life-hack rather than a vacation hack, but BB Cream will become your new best friend on vacation (if it isn’t already). In one step you can moisturize and even out your skin. I love this one by Garnier.

If you’ve got a vacation comin up, do yourself a favour and try one—or all—of my beauty hacks for yourself!

 

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, although by the time I hit “publish” on this post, I’m sure it will be! I posted a photo of these cookies, that have been an unofficial tradition in my family since I was little, on Instagram earlier today. My Mom used to make these with us so that we could take them to our respective classrooms on Valentine’s Day and I wanted to continue the ritual with Viggo. So we got down to it! The recipe is my grandma’s and it’s the ultimate recipe for rolled sugar cookies. I’ve tried others but I always come back to this!

Anyway, Viggo and Gigi iced our hearts (except for a few that I set aside for myself so that I could test  my Wilton Food Colour Pens) and it made for a fun afternoon. We use the same recipe for all of our rolled cookies, so even if this recipe’s getting to you a bit last minute for V-Day, it’s also good for Christmas, Easter, and even Halloween!

The recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Cookies

2 1/4 C. sifted flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. Baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

1 C. sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. milk

Icing

Confectioner’s sugar

Milk (I use 2%)

Food colouring

I simply ice these with a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk. A word to the wise: add milk bit by bit, stirring in between, until you reach your desired consistency. I make sure it seems just a touch too thick and then it’s actually perfect.

INSTRUCTIONS

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. Roll to 1/4 thickness and cut into desired shapes.

 

 

 

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Well that was a nice, long break. I hadn’t intended to step away from the blog for quite so long, but the holidays happened and then I got an ear infection and then a big job change for Mike also happened, all of which, has kept me completely and utterly absorbed with family stuff—and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. After a couple of months of professional deadlines, it was nice to just take December and the first half of January to focus on Mike and the kids and on putting some finishing touches on the house. I have been posting daily outfits (mostly mirror selfies because it is COLD out), on Instagram though. And even though I don’t love mirror shots from an aesthetic standpoint, I do love the spontaneity and “realness”they afford.

Anyway, on to my post. It has consistently been in the double digit negatives for a couple of weeks here in Toronto and I am fed up with my winter wardrobe already (this kind of winter fatigue doesn’t typically set in until closer to spring!), but one way I’ve been dealing with the monotony of my cold weather uniform is to add an interesting third piece. Now I’m not sure who spoke about the third piece rule first. I think I read about it on Who What Wear and then found the source I linked above from 2013. Regardless, I had unknowingly been living by the rule and now I encourage my wardrobe clients to do the same. Basically, the tenets of the third piece rule are that everyone can throw on a top and bottoms—that is the way most people dress—but those who are noted for their style, always have a third piece read: a cardigan, jacket, vest or an accessory that really pulls their look together. (Trust me here. Scroll through some outfits you have saved to your Pinterest board because you love them and I can guarantee that they all employ the third piece rule).

As I said, I have been mixing in some cold-weather third pieces lately to get myself through my cold-weather (very cold weather), wardrobe slump. The one image looks like fall but it was actually taken December 2! How things have changed in a little over a month!

I bought this oversize faux fur hat at Zara and have been wearing it a lot (with my boots and parka too!), just to look a little bit extra 🙂

 

I wear this and another faux fur scarf like it, a ton in the winter. I talk about my favourite third piece and the best purchase I have ever made (in terms of cost-per-wear) in this profile that was recently in the Hamilton Spectator.

If like me, you are also suffering from the winter wardrobe blues, take note and go buy yourself some fun and functional third pieces!

It’s that time of year again! We are a household of Christmas-lovers and I have almost all of my shopping done. Some people might think that means I’m ahead of the game, but what inevitably happens every year is that I leave the hardest gifts to buy, for last and despite my early start, I’m still one of those people rushing around at the eleventh hour.

That also means I typically haven’t purchased anything for Mike at this point. Gifts for dad are a major head-scratcher around here and it wasn’t until Walmart asked me to collaborate on a holiday gift guide for husbands, that the ideas started flowing. The best part? I didn’t blow my budget and I was able to find some things I know Mike (and other guys!), will be happy to receive come December 25th. Read on for my roundup of Husband Gifts for Less (and if online shopping is your jam, nearly every item is available on Walmart.ca).

 Husband Gifts for Less from Walmart

(Clockwise starting in the middle.)

1. Pyjamas

A great pj set is essential for those holiday vacation days spent lounging around the house. I like this Canadiana two-piece pyjama set  ($30), because it’s festive without being overly so, and Viggo loves it because it also comes in his size so he and daddy can match. (There are also coordinating sets in women, girls, and infant sizes if you want the whole family to have matching pjs).

Husband Gifts for Less from Walmart, Father-son PJs

Father - son PJs from Walmart

2. Wireless headphones

Mike really wants wireless headphone so I picked him up a pair of Sony Wireless Bluetooth Headphones ($120), to make his commute to and from Toronto each day a little easier.

3. A game

We enjoy playing board games together as a family, so I’m putting this Canadiana Toppling Tower ($14), under the tree for (our very competitive) dad.

4. A movie

To keep the fun going, I added Mike’s favourite holiday movie to the mix.  Each year he and the kids make a point of watching Rudolp the Red Nosed Reindeer together (I’m more of a Home Alone girl), so I know he’ll be happy to see this 50th anniversary collector’s edition ($10), in his stocking.

5. Chocolate

Turtles: can the holidays even happen without them?

6. Aftershave

Speaking of classics, Old Spice Classic After Shave ($12), is a time-honoured stocking stuffer for men of all ages. I picked one up for my own dad as well!

7. Shaving accessories

When it comes to grooming, Mike prefers shaving with a safety razor so I was happy to see that Walmart carried some old-school shaving products like this Williams Mug Shaving Soap ($2), (admittedly Mike already has a ton of shaving soap but I couldn’t resist the packaging), and this Wahl Boar Bristle Shaving Brush ($13). Both make great stocking stuffers.

8. Grooming products

I  also wanted to get Mike something that’s not part of his current grooming routine and I settled on this Neutrogena Men face lotion because it contains SPF 20 and it’s a steal at $8. I like the idea because while Mike slathers on sunscreen outside in the summer, he neglects to protect himself the rest of the year, despite being exposed to the sun while driving to the GO station every day or while he’s outside working on the various home improvement projects we have on the go.

Husband Gifts for Less from Walmart

Husband Gifts for Less from Walmart

9. Tools

Speaking of home improvements, since buying a house it seems like there is a never-ending list of things to do, so Mike is often searching for the right screwdriver for whatever job he happens to be working on. This handy Switch-a-Bit Screwdriver ($9), is actually nine screwdrivers in one, saving Mike (and myself) the frustration of him asking me to pass him the Phillip-head and then having to remind me of which one that actually is, for the hundredth time.

10. Bath products

I don’t know about other husbands, but mine enjoys a nice, hot bath to de-stress at the end of the day (it’s sort of a joke in our house because I do not), so I couldn’t resist picking up these cherry blossom-scented bath bombs by bodycology to add to Mike’s stocking.

The grand total of all the gifts in my Husband Gifts for Less guide, is about $250 on-the-nose (including tax)—not bad considering I chose 10 items including the wireless headphones. The icing on the cake though, is that I was able to purchase everything—from PJs to grooming products to electronics, in one place, which makes Walmart invaluable, especially during the busy holiday season!

Husband Gifts for Less from Walmart

The smug faces of some savvy shoppers who have already got their Christmas gifts for their main man wrapped and ready to go thanks to Walmart!

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart Christmas Decor program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

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I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember—for myself, my sisters, my friends—the list goes on. Wardrobe consulting comes as naturally to me as breathing, whether it’s telling my sister to get rid of something or sending “you should buy this” texts to whomever I have spotted something for, I am a born style and shopping consultant. But it wasn’t until a mom-friend I chatted with at school drop-off every day, commented that she loved my capsule wardrobe blog post and “wanted everything in it but wouldn’t know where to begin,” that I started doing it professionally. Long story short, I did and I LOVE it! It is so rewarding to know you’ve helped someone look and feel their best (and to have helped make the world a little more stylish, too 🙂

Find out more about how I can help transform your style here. If you have a shopping or wardrobe quandary not listed in my services, please get in touch. I jump at the chance to talk shop(ping), so don’t be shy!

I am also super excited to announce that I will be giving style tips and tricks to make your wardrobe more fashionable and functional (and answering all of your style-related questions), at the Modern Mama Social happening next Saturday, Dec. 2, at Anthropologie Queen Street, from 5 – 9 pm. There are going to be so many good speakers and products there, I am proud to be a part of it (and who doesn’t need a little Anthropologie in their closet, amirght?) Come and let me help you determine the missing link in your wardrobe or find an outfit for your upcoming office holiday party! Tickets are available here.

Doing a wardrobe audit in a client’s home.

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I have a confession to make: even though I am a Canadian, born and raised in Ontario, I did not get my first puffer coat until last year, having always opted for wool coats instead. It wasn’t until my sister raised her eyebrow at my coat choice during one of those really cold February days we had the year-before-last (February 2015 is the coldest recorded month in Toronto ever!), that I broke down and agreed that maybe I should try a warmer coat—a puffer, to be specific. Well it took me a year to find one that I liked and therefore, to realize that she had been right about the next-level warmth I had been missing out on. Now I can’t get enough of puffy coats.

Lucky for me, my latest puffer is George from Walmart, so the price is right! The luxuriously soft faux fur collar on this George Belted Puffer Jacket had me at hello, and I also love the colour (navy is an absolute must for redheads), as well as the gold hardware. When I saw the price tag, however, I was a bit skeptical about how warm a jacket that only costs $49.97 could be, but I decided to throw caution to the wind (literally), and tested it out on a recent blustery fall day. I’m happy to report that it kept my not-yet-calibrated-for-fall self, toasty and warm.

All that aside, the real pièce de résistance for me is that it’s warm without making me look like the Michelin Man. Needless to say, I appreciate the sleek, A-line silhouette that keeps me looking chic and feeling warm. Win,win! If the jacket I chose isn’t your jam, but like me, you love a good deal, head in store where there are a variety of puffers at different thicknesses for all weather/activities, in an array of colours from neutral blues and greys to punchy fuschia and coral.

Puffer coat Walmart George

Mike also got to get in on the action by choosing a sweater from among George’s selection of pullovers and cardigans for men. He chose this cozy George Shawl Collar Cardigan that I know he’ll get a ton of wear out of as a layering piece this winter.

Something that really surprised both of us while we were shopping was just how much Mike liked the men’s sweaters. Of the two of us, Mike is very particular about fit but he liked the slim cut—and quality feel—of this cardigan, which was a steal at under $25!

Shawl collar cardigan, men, George, Walmart

So don’t let the extremely affordable prices fool you. George at Walmart boasts some good-looking, high-quality winter wear that everyone can get their hands on!

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart Ready in George program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Puffer coat Walmart George

George Belted Puffer Coat c/o Walmart

Puffer coat Walmart George

Puffer coat Walmart George

Puffer coat Walmart George

Puffer coat, cardigan, Lenny kravitz-style scarf, Walmart George

Walmart shawl collar cardigan men

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Yup. Usually in the fall I turn towards checks, tweeds and plaids, but this year, velvet is my jam. I fell in love with this skirt at H&M because if its colour and the fact that it adds some texture to my wardrobe outside of leather. If you like this skirt as much as I do, I noticed it was on sale for half of its original price when I linked it to this post so today is your lucky day!

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Chunky knit + velvet skirt

Sweater and skirt from H&M | Zara boots
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I personally love this time of year—not only because of the crisp weather, the changing leaves, and the return to sweater weather—but the excitement in our household surrounding Halloween is at a fever pitch. Being six years old, Viggo is obviously the instigator (he has been tossing around ideas for what he’ll dress up as this year, since last October 31), but even at two, Gigi is starting to catch on. She hadn’t been that interested until a few weeks ago when she started talking a lot about the various characters she sees on tv and became enamoured with the cute little genies-in-training on the show, Shimmer and Shine.

So you can imagine my delight when I was perusing all the Halloween gear at Walmart a few days after she first mentioned “Shimmer Shine,” and there in front of me was a Shimmer costume in Gigi’s size, complete with the character’s signature pink ponytail. Victory! I snapped it up and continued looking for Viggo.

Viggo had decided he wanted to be something scary this year (is anyone else’s first grader into scaring their siblings/friends/grandparents as much as my kid?). Anyway I have always loved the idea of an old-school, sheet-over-the-head ghost costume and when I suggested it to Viggo, he was on board. We were planning on DIYing one but then I spotted this! I like this ghost costume from Walmart for its simplicity and because there is no blood or gore or anything that isn’t suitable for a kid Viggo’s age (but mostly because I would be saved from having to actually DIY a costume, which is always better in theory, in my experience at least). I picked one out in his size and just to be safe, I added a ninja costume complete with a sword and intricate pieces of faux armour, to the cart at the last minute, acknowledging that I would have to mask my dissapointnen when he chose it over the ghost. But to my surprise, when I got home and showed him both costumes, he picked the ghost right away! Two victories in one day!

The kids have been wearing their costumes around the house steadily and the other day we decided to take them outside for a practice run before the big day complete with coordinating candy buckets and face makeup, glitter, and stick-on jewels to compliment Gigi’s genie costume. I love the kids’ costumes this year and I really love that I was able to get them both, plus accessories and a few decorations for the house for under $100!

Walmart Halloween accessories

Shopping Walmart’s impressive selection of Halloween accessories including everything from a Captain Hook-worthy eye patch and fake blood.

toddler Halloween costume, genie, Shimmer

Gigi patiently waiting while I secure her pink ponytail.

Shimmer genie costume kids Halloween

Kids ghost Halloween costume Walmart

Doesn’t it look like Viggo the ghost is actually hovering?

Kids Halloween costumes genie ghost Walmart

Genie and ghost BFFs.

Kids Halloween costumes Walmart genie ghost

Toddler Shimmer Halloween costume, genie

Toddler genie costume Walmart

Kids Halloween costumes, Walmart

Kids Halloween costumes, genie, ghost

Kids Halloween costumes, Walmart

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart Halloween program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

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