Category: SWOON

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Staycation vibes: Playing ladies of leisure at the Alt Hotel Ottawa

Lily and I enjoyed a complimentary one-night stay the Alt Hotel Ottawa in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

A girlfriend just told me she heard someone say that 80% of the time you spend with your kids happens when they’re under 10. Which totally makes sense, but still shocked me to hear. My kids are already 9 and 11! Time is marching on way too fast. So I’m so glad Lily and I spent some quality time together with a wee staycation at Alt Hotel Ottawa earlier this month. We haven’t travelled much so staying in a hotel still feels like a treat, and the staff made both me and my tween feel right at home. Here’s a few (okay 22) photos from our stay and some notes about the property. 

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Tour my new home-away-from-home: Indigo Innes + A giveaway!

I partnered with Indigo for this sponsored post. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but a good amount of it actually is.” — Adam J. Kurtz

I think I could move into an Indigo tomorrow and be quite happy. Thousands of books to read, dozens of cozy pillows and throws to curl up with, and so many mugs for tea that I’d never have to wash a dish. I could roll out a yoga mat in front of the store’s soaring windows (not that I do yoga but you know, I love all the cute gear), track my steps from one department to another on my Fitbit, and get my eight glasses a day refilling my S’well and bkr water bottles (because naturally they have all those too). So when Indigo invited me to preview their newest location, I packed a bag. I was out to the store last Friday for a tour and back the next morning for the ribbon cutting that kicked off the grand opening. (Me and more than 400 others who lined up to be the first through those beautiful indigo blue doors.) Here’s a look inside the 20,000+ square foot location at 2025 Mer-Bleue Road in Orleans. And trust me when I say it’s even better in person. 

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What’s inside May’s Sweet Reads Box

I received May’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

I’ve been reading a book about anti-gravity — I just can’t put it down! Ha ha ha. Okay so I haven’t been reading about anti-gravity, but I have been enjoying the first bit of this month’s Sweet Reads Box selection and some of the clever tie-ins that came with it. (If you’re new to Sweet Reads Box, it’s a Canadian book subscription box service that comes with a contemporary novel and five or six treats related to the story.) Let me show you what’s inside the May box. I’m curious to hear what you think! 

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Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Craft the Rainbow in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Well our spring buds are taking their sweet time to bloom and I am itching to see some COLOUR. So let’s BRING IT ON! Today I’ve got the first of two new books to share with all kinds of brilliant DIY ideas to invite your favourite hues into your home and your wardrobe. Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built by Brittany Watson Jepsen (remember her Flowers and Cactus colouring books?) explores everything colour-related under the sun, from why certain colours work together and how to use them, to fun facts in colour history and quotes from artists and designers who share their favourites. And the projects! Three for each of the pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white chapters, followed by 16 rainbow crafts for those who love them all. There are party crowns made from drinking straws, tasselled curtain tiebacks made of crepe paper and wooden blocks, paper plants in every colour of the rainbow and shoe clips that turn cupcake liners into works of art. Sounds amazing, right? Just wait ’til you see inside. 

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My faves from Foxy Originals’ new Spring/Summer collection + A giveaway!

Foxy Originals sent me some shiny things to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

As much as I want to pack my winter coat away in the basement and not look at it again for another eight months, this weekend’s fresh snow makes me think we’re still a few weeks out yet. Which isn’t the end of the world but still, I feel like I’m not the only one who could use a pick-me-up to get me through. Luckily my friends at Foxy Originals were happy to help me out. Today I’ve got a look at my favourite pieces from their new (and very sunshiney) Spring/Summer collection, and a giveaway to share with two of you. So fun, right? I feel better already. 

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Big gingerbread boys with KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini • A merry little recipe and review #gingerbreadforthewin

I received the products mentioned in this post for free from TSC. The opinions expressed in my post are my own and not those of Rogers. 

With less than a week to go, polling shows gingerbread has a decisive lead in the festive treats race. (Check out my last post for cute cookie ideas, a giveaway and up-to-the-minute poling results.) Today I’ve put a few new twists on an old family favourite. It’s a gingerbread boys recipe I think you’ll enjoy. (Of course you can make them girls or stars or whatever else you fancy.) My friend Cathy’s mother-in-law used to make them for her sons and grandsons when they were little (actually she still does). Their giant size thrilled the kids and their heft made them easy to handle and not so easy to break, which is essential when shipping them by post. On those years the grandkids couldn’t make it to see Nonna at Christmas time, she would package the gingerbread boys in popcorn to protect them on their journey, along with all the decorating essentials. I know. So sweet, eh? And isn’t it sweet that while I had visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, TSC had visions of me making cookies. To help me meet the demand for gingerbread boys they kindly sent me a KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer to review, and boy-oh-gingerbread-boy, this baby can dough go! 

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A Canadian subscription box for book lovers: September’s Sweet Reads Box + A giveaway!

I remember driving to a party years ago for my hubby’s colleagues and stressing about who I could talk to and what on earth could we have in common. While most of the guests congregated in the kitchen, I spent the first hour or so (or maybe it was a half hour, but it felt like forever) alone in the front room petting the dog. And ‘tho he was pretty good company, I felt pretty lame. Eventually a few people wandered in and stopped talking shop and instead launched into a spirited debate about the merits of different fonts. Reader, I don’t think I’d ever felt so relieved. Finally a conversation I could get in on! I put a tentative toe into the water with a comment or two, and soon found myself in the warm bosom (ha!) of a few kindred spirits. Unfortunately they tired of the topic before me and we couldn’t seem to connect on anything else so it was back to the dog but it was good for a while there — really good! Of course I still overanalyzed everything for the next couple of days (honestly it’s years later and I still worry what they must have thought of me), but I lived to go to other parties and even managed to find a few more kindred spirits. I’m telling you this because I know there’s a lot of you out there who hate small talk and large groups (and maybe even leaving the house, lol) and yet really want to connect. Finding kindred spirits in some of you has been one of the best things that has come from try small things. I feel like I found my people! And since a lot of my people are book people, I know you’re going to love the wonderful surprise that came in the mail for me this week, and could for you too. 

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It’s so YOU! It’s so HER! Foxy Originals jewelry for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Be it resolved that there are more important things than looks (obvs), but be it also resolved that when you take a little time to put yourself together (whether that’s a shower, jeans and a ponytail or heels, nails and a blow-out) it feels pret-ty darn good. Especially if you haven’t done it in some time. (Like since last Mother’s Day. Or maybe not even then.) And the cherry on top — besides someone actually noticing; honestly sometimes I feel like wallpaper around here — a shiny accessory or two that expresses your style. Isn’t it fun to find something that feels so you? Or if you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, something that feels so her? Today I’m sharing some of my favourite, so-me accessories from Toronto’s Foxy Originals and a chance to win one to gift yourself or someone you love. Call it a little Mother’s Day TLC from Foxy Originals and me.