How to dress with kids

5.30.2012
Do you ever wake up in the morning and think that there's no point to putting on nice clothes when you're spending the day with your kids. They are messy creatures, after all. I don't know about you guys, but on the days when I don't bother spending any time on what I'm wearing, my mood plummets along with bits of my self esteem.

I know there are ways to dress when you're hanging out with your kids that is fun, functional and stylish. So, I asked one of my favourite people, my super-stylish friend Daniella, to show me how she likes to dress when she's with Frankie, her 2-year old son. Here's what she said and the pieces she wears on any given day.

Since becoming a mother I have a new appreciation for clothes that actually fit - fit in a way that would, well, please my own mother. Without going the way of the "mom jeans", pants just can't be too low or too tight (there is a lot of bending over and kneeling down and sitting cross-legged, and no one needs to see what you have going on under them). Shirts aren't too intricate or precious (kids grab things, spill things, wipe their hands on things...). And flat shoes - an absolute necessity. Even if heels are "comfortable" that won't fly on the playground. 

My mom-styles adheres to these basic principles but I try to have a lot of fun with it. I've never felt more carefree with my fashion choices and this spring/summer season is definitely making it easy. I love all the coloured denim that's out there. I say the brighter the better! I like to match it with either black and white stripes or another bright colour. A bright, patterned scarf is my favourite accessory of the season. The one above is my newest addition. I love striped shirts too. They're a great upgrade from the basic white tee. Toms shoes are so comfortable, especially in gold! I love that for every pair purchased, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. A step in the right direction!

Isn't all the colour fantastic? What about you? Do you have any go-to wardrobe pieces (or accessories) that are a must have when you're with your kids? Personally, I like a big bag that doubles as a diaper bag, easy-to-clean sunglasses (why are they always the best toy?) and stud earrings rather than anything that dangles (see previous comment about toys!).



1. Maxi Dress
2. Scarf
3.Yellow Cardigan
4. Striped shirt
5. Hat
6. Blue denim
7. Toms
8. Brogues
9. Sandals













Southern hospitality

5.28.2012
We got back this weekend from an amazing holiday on Hilton Head Island and I'm excited to share some of the photos we took of all the Southern charm we encountered on our travels. 

There really is no place like South Carolina. For those who have never been I highly recommend a trip. It really is a beautiful place.

Here are a few of my favourite things:




In downtown Charleston, there's a street called Rainbow Row. Maybe it's the designer in me, but I love it!




Fountains! Everywhere!



The rib festival and competition that we stumbled upon on our first day while we were waiting to check in to our condo. It couldn't have been a more perfect kick off.



The colours that are everywhere.


Rocking chairs instead of benches in public spaces.



The craziest trees I've ever seen.



Of course, the beach.



The fact that they get the really good summer produce just a few months ahead of us.



Fried green tomatoes. With bacon. Of course!

  

Fried chicken with collard greens (again with bacon), biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes and cream corn. I thought I would NEVER eat again!



Spanish moss. I gather it's a bit of a pest, but I find it really enchanting (am I a nerd for saying that?). 

Have you guys ever been to South Carolina? It's such a great spot for a holiday. We spend the whole time playing on the beach and riding bikes instead of driving which was so great. Oh, and eating! Bliss!

Vacation time!

5.20.2012
Yesterday we arrived in Hilton Head, South Carolina! for a much anticipated vacation. We're staying in a great rented house with my mom and stepdad and despite really grey skies and the promise of thunderstorms for most of the week (boo), we're soaking up some r&r and having fun splashing in the waves and hanging out by the pool. I've been a terrible blogger lately, but a little redesign is in the works for the week I'm back and then I'm going to be better!!! Until then, have a great rest of the weekend and a fantastic week.

DIY: Ombre side table

5.15.2012

When it comes to bringing trends into the home, I personally think it's a good idea to stick to accessories. That way, when the trend changes, you're not out too much cash when you go to change them. Furniture is obviously way bigger of an investment, so I think classic pieces are best.

When you're re-purposing something you already have though, I say go crazy!


We had this old hamper that belonged to my dad way back when that we've been using to store blankets within easy reach of our basement sofa. What it provided in functionality, it lacked in aesthetics. I was all set to donate it a few weeks ago when I thought that it might be a good candidate for some trendy decor styles.

I do love ombre (see here for a culinary interpretation) and because I wasn't too attached to this piece, if I made a total mess of it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I'd seen variations of this technique online before, and I had some extra spray paint from the lamp I redid a few weeks back, so I thought I'd give it a shot. 

To start off, I sprayed the entire thing in a white primer. Be sure to do all your spray painting in a really well ventilated area because it is pretty stinky (and likely terrible for you). Also, don't do what I did and forget to protect your patio stones. Whoops! Who doesn't love a little blue splatter on their patio, though, right!

Here's a tip: I wanted to cover the bottom of the hamper just so we wouldn't be able to see the brown at all, and because it had little legs, I did that end first. It didn't need as much coverage (just enough to hide the brown), so once the bottom was spayed, I could flip it right-side up for the rest of the project. If I had waited to do the bottom last, I'd have had to wait for the whole thing to dry before I could flip it upside down. Depending on the type of furniture you're doing, you have to give thought to what parts of the furniture you want to end up a particular colour and plan accordingly. You paint with the lightest colours first.

Once the whole thing was primed, I started with the colour. I casually mapped out in advance where I wanted the three colours to be, and starting with white, I went back and forth lightly spraying until the whole top was done. Next I started using my mid-tone blue and very lightly went back and forth. Luckily, the over spray provided the nice gradual effect I wanted, and the ombre just sort of happened.



Mistakes were made on this project! Below is an image of where I sprayed the middle colour too high up onto the white portion. No biggie. I got out the white spray paint and went over it again.

This is a really forgiving project because you can just keep going over it again and again until you get the look you want.

For the bottom colour, I used a darker shade of blue, but I have to say that it wasn't all that different from the mid-tone I chose. I just did a few more coats until I was happy.


I planned to do this when I knew we were going to have a few consecutive days of good weather because I would highly recommend letting it dry outside for a while. It takes a few days to dry completely and to lose the smell.

I'm happy with how this turned out. It was a cheap and easy project that if I grow tired of, I can easily paint over and try something different. Now it's back in the basement storing blankets again.

Have a great weekend

5.11.2012
For those of you celebrating Mother's Day this weekend, I hope you have a fantastic day on Sunday, and a great weekend overall to everyone. We're supposed to have great weather here all weekend, so I'm hoping for a chance to work in the garden, maybe take a walk downtown, and enjoy a cocktail in the back garden.

See you back here next week!



Brick Pics



The brick wall that we exposed last week is finally finished! What a beast of a job! Am I ever glad it's over.

Here are a few pics of the results, as well as some shots of the wall before the demo. I'm so happy we did it, I think it looks so much better!





Photoshop for real life

5.09.2012

This site made me laugh today, and a chuckle was in order after the day I had! We stayed up ridiculously late last night painting our living and dining rooms and Brigs put me to work today with extra running, attempted kamikaze missions from the top of the stairs and a brief episode involving a wet paint tray, a dirty broom and his mouth! Lesson learned...don't stay up late if you have a 14 month old. Let's see how long before I forget that rule!

I hope you're all having a fantastic week so far! You can find all the images in the series here.

Flower arranging in time for Mother's Day

5.07.2012


There is nothing I love more than fresh flowers, and with the fantastic spring weather we've been having, it's all too tempting to bring the colours and scents of fresh flowers home.The timing couldn't be better to be thinking about flower arrangements, really, with Mother's Day coming up this Sunday. Do you get flowers for your mom?

I recently got the latest goop newsletter in my inbox (if you don't read it already, you totally should - it's produced by Gwyneth Paltrow and always has lots of great info about everything from beauty products to recipes) and this issue was all about flower arranging. Now I'm even more inspired to put together an arrangement after seeing what her newsletter had.

Here are a few arrangements that have me swooning and that would be lovely to give or keep! Oh...and you can find a list of flowers and when they're in season here.

P.S. The first image up top is my wedding bouquet, which I wish could have lasted forever. I was so in love with it!



Images: one; two; three; four; five; six; seven; eight; nine; ten

Up against a brick wall

5.03.2012
I've been meaning to post some pics of the crazy weekend we had tearing down a plaster wall in our house to expose the brick underneath, but I'm not quite sure we knew what we were getting into and it's been a busy (and very messy) few days! I haven't had my computer on since last Friday, and for me, that's craziness!

Things were going really well and we were enjoying our family camp-outs in the basement trying to avoid (unsuccessfully) some of the dust while I cleaned up the house, when yesterday I got talking to a neighbour who dropped the words 'asbestos', 'plaster', 'your house' and 'likely' in the same sentence. For those who don't piece together my cryptic messages immediately, he said that when our house was built 100 years ago or so, the builders mixed asbestos in with the plaster and horsehair (which there is a ton of, by the way) to apparently help make it stronger. I was out with the baby in the stroller when this guy told me this. NOT something you tell a mother with a young child! Needless to say I was on my phone within seconds to Cam totally freaking out saying something like this: we've been poisoning the baby (and ourselves) and I've been cleaning all wrong, basically just spreading asbestos around the house, and I'm really sorry for dragging you into this stupid project and I'm the worst wife and mother for shortening everyone's life and what are we going to do? 

Not my finest moment!

We'll never know for sure if there is/was asbestos in the house, but let me tell you, I've been cleaning as though there was/is! I don't think our house has ever been this clean. EVERY surface of EVERY inch of it has been cleaned. It's all I've done since Sunday. It's been a total bummer, but, I'm happy to say that now, I'm typing this in my clean house staring at my new brick wall. As soon as I have a second I'll post the before, during and after photos! What a mess it was!

If any of you are considering a similar project, be warned that it's super labour-intensive and insanely messy, but so, so worth it.
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