Monday, July 28, 2014

The Latest Accessories from Wantable

Summer is going strong and my wardrobe pretty much consists of shorts and t-shirts, with some jeans thrown in on cooler days. Thankfully, my July Wantable box was all about summer accessories, allowing me to beautify my wardrobe basics a bit.

This month my box contained a lovely mix of boho and Old Hollywood glam. A girl doesn't need to stick with just one style, right? One of my favourite pieces is the breezy Kaleigh Scarf, perfect for cool summer nights. It features a feathery print on an earthy, taupe background. Wantable style experts suggest pairing the scarf with a shimmering taupe eyeshadow and a soft plum lipstick.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Science of Rock 'N' Roll at the Ontario Science Centre

Recently we took the kids (and a friend) to see The Science of Rock 'N' Roll, an interactive exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. Making its Canadian debut in Toronto, the exhibition looks at how advances in science and technology have revolutionized music and how we make music, experience it and share it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vegan Medjool Date Milkshake

My mom raves about the Medjool date milkshakes she used to have when visiting Arizona and California. Mom and Dad travelled through the area in their RV for several winters. Prior to their travels, neither one of them had tried a Medjool date milkshake. It was a 2 for 1 coupon Mom found that inspired them to visit the Medjool date farm and order up a couple of milkshakes.

After that, they returned at least once a year to get another one. "Medjool dates are delicious," says my dad. "The milkshakes were super good, not too sweet. Best I've ever tasted." It should be noted that "not too sweet" isn't necessarily reliable coming from Dad. He has the most incredible sweet tooth I have ever witnessed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday, sushi escape edition

Happy Wednesday! I hope you are all enjoying blissfully long summer days filled with friendship, food, family and fun. Summer is short - be sure to take advantage. This past week, I was feeling like I was spending way too much time cooped up in my office meeting writing deadlines.

One day, when these four walls seemed too much to handle any longer, I asked the family to escape with me to a place we all enjoy - the all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. (My sushi obsession is quite clear to anybody who reads this blog regularly.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Products We Love - MiEssence Soothing Organic Skincare

I tend to like a product or not like it. I'm not one of those super particular people who notices subtle nuances between one shade of black mascara and the next. So when I'm reviewing a product I have to dig deeper and think about why I like or don't like something.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been using MiEssence's skin essentials (soothing) skincare products. The adjectives that spring to mind when I think of my MiEssence facial cleansing routine are pleasant, natural, herbal, gentle, nourishing, smooth and soothing. MiEssence has a few options for skincare, including balancing, purifying and rejuvenating products. I went with the soothing line of products because I am prone to rosacea, particularly on my cheeks. MiEssence products are certified organic and made in Australia.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Planning A New York City Trip With DK Eyewitness Travel Guides

I haven't been to New York City since my husband and I went to visit friends before the kids were born. (The eldest is 12, so it's been a while!). This time we are taking the kids with, so it's sure to be a whole new experience. Lots of walking to do in New York. Here's hoping for energetic, cooperative kids!

In order to get the most out of our experience in New York, I got a bunch of Eyewitness Travel guides from DK Canada. With all of the museums, landmarks, family attractions and food available in the city, expert guidance is completely necessary.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Products We Love - ATTITUDE Sustainable Wellbeing

As a mom, it's so important to me to provide my kids with a healthy home environment. That's why I am adding ATTITUDE's sustainable wellbeing products to my family's list of "Products We Love." ATTITUDE's creators believe that baby products should have minimal impact on your little one's health. Research shows that most everyday baby products, such as shampoo, body wash, conditioner and body lotion, contain traces of 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, two known carcinogens.

That concerns me as a parent and as somebody interested in maintaining my own health too. Since we are exposed to many products each and every day, let's make sure they don't contain chemicals linked to cancer! ATTITUDE's products, like the foaming hand soap above, are all vegan-friendly. They don't test ingredients or finished products on our animal friends either. They have products for baby care, bath & body and cleaning your home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday, Something's Gotta Give

The past week has been all about balancing writing deadlines with kids' activities. Although my husband is home for the summer, I try to make it out to swimming lessons and soccer games whenever possible.

The combination of work to be done and a family home for the summer has resulted in simple, quick meals. Something's gotta give, I always say. We had potato gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce one night. Probably a green salad that I forgot to photograph too. We've been having lots of quick green salads.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thrifty Finds - Basket Sale Goodies

This week's thrifty finds aren't actually from a thrift store. But they are thrifty in that they usually go for more money in decor stores. Each year in June, I attend Bacon Basketware's warehouse sale to buy a few (or a lot) of baskets and other decor items.

There are very few shopping carts to be had and long (long!) lines to check out, but I would not miss this sale. I have more baskets than any one woman should have, but I always feel like I can find some use for another one. The basket sale always occurs right around my sister's birthday too, so I tend to pick up a few fun items for her.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Ways to Fire Up Your Relationship, With Sex Tape (The Movie) & A Giveaway

I am addicted to movies. I have seen more movies than I can count. My husband and I even took elective film classes together in university. Nowadays, however, we are more into lighthearted comedy than film noir. With the stresses of everyday life, it’s nice to kick back and have a good laugh.

Bad Teacher is one of our comedy favourites, so we’re looking forward to seeing Sony Pictures' Sex Tape, which once again pairs up the funny duo of Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. Sex Tape has a theme that many of us long-married folks are all too familiar with (well maybe not the sex tape part, but some of the other stuff).

Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventures At Canada's Wonderland

I am not an amusement park enthusiast by any means. I went on a roller coaster only once growing up. I was 15 years old and I visited Canada's Wonderland with a friend. After we rode the coaster I felt nauseous and I had to sit with my head between my legs. And that was that. Never again, I said.

But when I was invited to a blogger event at Canada's Wonderland recently, I of course said yes for the sake of the kids. Each of my kids invited a friend, because a) anything is more fun with friends and b) my daughter won't go on any scary rides, leaving my husband (who has his clear ride limitations) partnering up with the boy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Accessories from Wantable

My monthly accessories subscription from Wantable gives me a steady supply of new accessories to jazz up my wardrobe. Which is good, because I really don't buy a lot of clothes. With new jewelry, scarves and sunglasses, I can at least make my old reliable wardrobe more stylin'.

Or my daughter's wardrobe, as the case may be. My June Wantable box included this pretty, patterned twistable headband. It's not something I think I can carry off at my age, but it looks pretty cute on her. This would be the ideal piece to keep your hair in control while visiting festivals, parties and beaches in the summer heat and humidity.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

As I look back on a week of meals, I see that we haven't experimented with any new recipes (or even used recipes at all for that matter). Part of the week we were visiting my parents. That's where I put together some smores, using graham wafers, roasted vegan marshmallows and chunks of a Go Max Go vegan Snap! chocolate bar. To be honest, I think I'd rather just eat the chocolate.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Latest Kitchen Finds From Linen Chest

While I'm not big on shopping for clothing anymore, I still love shopping for kitchen gadgets and serving dishes for my home. Recently, I told you that Linen Chest was adding a new store in the GTA. In celebration, all of the GTA stores held a grand opening sale. I hit the sale that weekend and found a few special new items for my kitchen.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thrifty Finds - Brown & Speckled

When we visited my parents on Canada Day, we drove into town for lunch and a little stroll. The Salvation Army store was closed for the holiday, but we noticed that people had left a lot of donations by the back door. I admired a large brown vase and a glass serving platter.

The next day, my mom and I headed back into town to do some errands and decided to stop by the Salvation Army to see if the vase had hit the shelves yet. We didn't see it around, so my mom asked one of the employees about it. He said he had come in early that morning and there was no vase outside. He added that people often rifle through the donations at night, taking what they want from the piles. And here I was being all ethical. Anyway, I spotted a few legitimate finds in the store, like this happy flower mug for 50 cents.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our Manicure Party With Suncoat Girl

Our first official day of summer vacation was a busy one. We went strawberry picking in the afternoon and held a homework-burning party in the evening. Plus, my little gal had her friend over for the day and we did some impromptu manicures in the morning.

We tried out four shades of nail polish from Suncoat Girl. This polish is non-toxic and contains no toluene, DBP or added formaldehyde. It has a water-based formula that's environmentally friendly. It's odourless and it peels off so you don't need nasty, smelly polish remover.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Strawberry Picking in Summer

I couldn't think of a better way to spend the kids' first day of summer vacation than picking strawberries at a beautiful rural strawberry farm. We took the kids and a friend to Spring View Farms in Leaskdale, Ontario. They have lovely, chemical-free, pick-your-own strawberries for a very short time in June. While the kids were a bit skeptical about a long car ride (it really wasn't that long!), they were more than excited when they got to the strawberry farm. As was I! I love strawberry picking and the chance to get out in nature for a bit.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Isa Does It (Vegan Cookbook Review)

I have a lot of cookbooks! But the sad truth is that three-quarters of my cookbooks don't get much use. I could tell with one quick look through Isa Does It, however, that the latest cookbook in my collection was going to get lots of wear.

Why? Great photos for starters (from photographer Vanessa Rees). And lots of them. Secondly, I love the tone of Isa's writing - knowledgeable and authoritative and yet funny. While I had of course heard of Isa Chandra Moskowitz before, surprisingly I didn't own any of her cookbooks. But, after several people told me that Isa Does It is one of their favourites, I just had to have it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our Crafting Space & Jane Bull's Crafty Creatures

Doesn't it turn you off of crafting when all the various bits and pieces that you need have scattered to the four corners of the house? It does me. That's why, in an attempt to organize our family craft supplies and inspire us to craft more, I claimed a small bookshelf/storage unit in the basement and dedicated it to crafting and sewing.

Our craft cubby is squeezed in between the air hockey table and a very large doll house (which no longer gets used but can't be parted with). I stored my sewing machine (which just happens to have been my mom's sewing machine all the time I was growing up) on top of the unit, so it's easily accessible on the off chance it may soon get some use.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I'm going to keep this What I Ate Wednesday short and sweet. We have been on the road visiting family these last few days and I haven't been taking a lot of food photos. I hope my Canadian peeps had a great Canada Day yesterday and that my American friends have fitting plans for the 4th of July.

We have been consuming casual meals, as befits the warm weather we've had lately. One night it was tacos with veggies and refried beans (above), served with broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thrifty Finds - Oven Safe Dishes

I have been much more picky about what I purchase at the thrift shops these last few months. I simply don't have room for any more dishes! And yet, yes, I just had to have this fish-shaped serving dish. And why not? It's summer and, after that long, cold winter, I figure I deserve to use fun, festive dishware, right? I can rationalize my purchases with the best of them. Plus this little guy is oven safe. Not that I would subject him to the oven. No way.

Turns out this cute fish dish is a piece of Coche Stoneware, made in Portugal by Eurogres. From what I can tell, this stoneware is no longer in production, but there are a few pieces floating around on eBay.

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