Read More

What’s Inside July’s Sweet Reads Box

I received July’s Sweet Reads Box free of charge to review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

What kind of books do you like for summer? A light romance? A mystery that keeps you guessing? An epic historical drama spanning four generations? Or do you like to read the same kinds of stories year-round? July’s Sweet Reads Box features a bestselling family saga told in more than 500 pages and some treats tied to the story to enjoy while you’re reading. 

Read More

Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way

Read More

Five things

I received some of the products mentioned in this post free of charge and name the sponsors below. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

For a couple of years in my teens I worked at the only Tim Hortons in town. The steady stream of customers kept us counter girls hopping, but the instant we caught a break and stopped to chat our manager would waltz through the swingy saloon doors dividing the back from the front and say, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” (Which naturally we resented.) I remembered that this weekend when I had some time to lean, but instead of avoiding the mess like I usually do, I leaned into it and cleaned my little heart out. Then rewarded myself with a good chunk of my book — I’m finishing Calypso — a few episodes of Queer Eye, and a couple of awesome spin classes at The Dailey Method. (This coming Saturday marks the end of the latest 30-day challenge where you try to do as many classes as you can in 30 days. I wanted to do 26 but will probably only get to 17.) And then we had that incredible rainbow last night! Good things are coming. 

Read More

What’s inside June’s Sweet Reads Box

I received the June Sweet Reads Box free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Summer is the season for adventure and June’s Sweet Reads Box celebrates that with a story revolving around one fateful camping trip and a selection of outdoorsy goodies that us indoor cats can still enjoy without putting a foot outside. 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. I’ve been reviewing them here since they first launched last fall and this month’s box is one of my faves. (And not just because of the cute mug, but that definitely tipped the scale.) 

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons In Pencil And Paper + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

“I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.” — Vincent Van Gogh

When I was in high school I did a three-month student exchange in Quebec and took an art class heavy on illustration. One of our assignments was to draw our reflection in an everyday object, and I remember sitting at my host family’s kitchen table one day after school, totally engrossed in my homework as I tried to sketch my face mirrored in a chrome kettle. Until the smell of smoke broke my concentration. I looked up from my sketchpad and saw the croissant I’d forgotten in the toaster oven engulfed in flames and black smoke curling up the cupboard. (Merde!) A glass of water put the fire out (and shattered the door of the toaster oven), but I’ve never forgiven myself. I was so in the flow that I nearly burned the house down! Which is why I think maybe today’s book should come with a warning. Because it’s easy to lose track of time (and everything else) when you sit down with 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper

Read More

Five things (and a few extra things)

Thomas Allen & Son sent me Unicorn Food in exchange for an honest review; I’m partnering with Indigo and Alt on the events mentioned here; and Penguin Random House Canada sent me This Moment Is Your Life (And So Is This One) for review purposes. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

So let’s pretend I’m not writing this on a Monday, because that just seems like a weird day for a round-up. I wanted to catch you up on a few things, share some exciting events coming up, and make sure you didn’t miss out on two giveaways ending this week. But first, can we talk about this incredible Rainbow Pull-Apart Bread? 

Read More

Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith

Penguin Random House Canada sent me Hello Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Sometimes a book falls into your lap just when you need it and that was exactly the case with the with the one I’m talking about today. With the end of the school year not far off and the kids soon home for the summer, I’ve been stressing about finding things for us to do. Enter Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith. While it’s not a kids’ book per se, it’s filled with all kinds of fun and inexpensive projects my 9- and 11-year-old would love to do with me, and even a few they could do on their own. (And not junky things either — I mean things we could actually use that would add a bit of cheer and crafts we could personalize for a thoughtful gift.) And for anyone looking how to incorporate colour into their home, there’s a colour theory 101, tips on how to create a colour scheme, and how-to’s for colourful conversation pieces for every room. Learn how to set a charming table, how to style a beautiful bookcase, how to stock a bar cart and how to photograph your projects so they’ll shine. And even if you never get around to making anything, there are pretty prints to tear out and frame that’ll add a bright pop of colour to any space. I picked three of my favourite projects in the book to show you here.