Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pashmina Affair

I have a thing for pashminas - cozy, soft, and always luxurious - it's a versatile piece, and a staple in my closet. I rarely leave home without a pashmina tucked into my purse or thrown into my car for those "just in case" moments. This wardrobe workhorse can be used as a shawl for chilly summer nights, a scarf for winter, a blanket on a cold airplane or even as a sarong!

{all images via Pinterest}

Pashminas come in every colour of the rainbow and is a great way to add a splash of colour to your outfit or brighten your wardrobe. Twist your pashmina lengthwise to get a nice draping effect and wrap it around your neck several times for maximum warmth. Tie the two ends together to create an infinity scarf and loop away! Throw it across your shoulders as a shawl, or snuggle up under it for reading a book or watching a movie. Drape it around your neck and allow the two ends to hang down; secure with a skinny belt and you have a makeshift vest!

Although there are a great many varieties of pashminas - and not all are made equal - it's the authentic ones made of the finest cashmere (not the ones made of acrylic or other synthetic material) that will give you the most versatility and longevity. True pashminas age well and can truly go from summer to winter. Pashminas made of 100% cashmere will offer warmth and softness, while the silk and cashmere blends will lend a bit of a sheen and give the fabric weave more strength.

How do you use your pashmina?


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Love for Aden + Anais

It's truly quite astonishing the sheer amount of new gadgets and baby products that come out on the market constantly. It has only been four years since my first son was a baby, and despite thinking that I would be an old pro this time around, I was navigating baby gear like a newbie. The best of my new discoveries is aden + anais...I just can't gush enough about their amazing baby products and how absolutely obsessed I am!

My first purchase was a set of aden + anais' Classic Muslin Swaddles in "Up Up and Away", and I was already hooked. Not long after, I added to my collection with the ever popular "Jungle Jam" print a.k.a. THE "royal swaddle" (good thing I purchased my set early on in April, before the "Prince George Phenomenon" and Jungle Jam swaddles sold out internationally). These swaddles are made of the softest cotton muslin for breathability and comfort, keeping babies warm without overheating. They were perfect for my summer baby born at the end of May, and the large size of the swaddle (47" x 47") makes it super versatile. Not only are they great swaddles - the generous size kept my little houdini from escaping - I also used my swaddles as a stroller blanket, car seat cover, burp cloth, tummy time mat, sun shade, nursing cover and as a "hood" to keep the baby's head covered while he napped in his baby carrier. Even now that my baby no longer wants to be swaddled, I still carry one or two around with me in the diaper bag because of its many uses. What can I say? It's the swaddle that keeps on giving!

{all the following images are from the aden + anais website}

I own at least a dozen of the aden + anais Snap Bibs which are also made of 100% cotton muslin. They are great for absorbing all the baby teething drool! I love that they are affixed with snap buttons as opposed to velcro which can cause havoc in the laundry, sticking to anything and everything, and destroying all in its path. These bibs are larger than your average bib and give good coverage which will come in handy once my baby starts solids!


When it comes to bedtime, I'm a bit of a worry wort with SIDS, so once my baby grew out of his swaddles, I replaced them with the aden + anais' Cozy Sleeping Bag to avoid any loose blankets in the crib. Made of four layers of muslin, they are just as soft as the swaddles but offers extra warmth and comfort while still being breathable and not overheating the baby.

To further feed my aden + anais addiction, I recently purchased a Dream Blanket as winter is approaching - large, soft and undeniably plush, the dream blanket is the same size as the swaddles but made of four layers of cotton muslin to give it some weight. Although my baby has yet to use this blanket, I am guilty of stealing it and using myself as a throw blanket to snuggle under when watching TV at night!

Finally, I must say that aden + anais washcloths really pack a punch. Forget about the flimsy little baby towels that are thin, threadbare and really quite useless. These washcloths are thick and perfect for giving baby a good scrubbing!

Although aden + anais products can be on the pricier side, it's an affordable luxury that is worth every penny! Their customer service is also exceptional - I had a few minor issues with one package of my swaddles being different sizes, so I sent them an email about the inconsistency and within a week, I had a package of replacement swaddles sent to me. I am a loyal fan and will keep adding to my aden + anais collection!

I'm always interested in hearing about new and creative ways that people use their a+a swaddles, so drop me a line and tell me how you use yours!

~ Amy

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Lipstick and Pearls

With two kids, it's often difficult to maintain a sharp sense of style when your clothes get destroyed daily by baby drool, spit-up, and whatever else your preschooler wipes onto you (usually it's his boogers, followed by hysterical laughing). Between school runs, piano lessons and schlepping around the baby, I often gravitate towards what's comfortable - my uniform of black leggings, ballet flats and a tunic - rather than what is stylish. Having to deal with excess baby weight to lose doesn't help the situation either!

Recently however, I realized that I didn't need to give up a part of myself or who I was (a lover of style and all things beautiful!) just because I have taken on the role of "Mom"...being a mom and having style are not mutually exclusive! I am now constantly reminded of what my grandmother used to tell me: "Looking good = feeling good". So regardless if you are merely sitting at home nursing a cold (or a baby), or if you are just out running errands, it doesn't hurt to put a little effort into your presentation and glam it up just a bit...because in the process, it'll make you feel better about yourself - and in my case, help me get out of what I call my "soccer-mom-frumpiness".

My grandmother was an elegant and sophisticated woman, always well dressed and ladylike...picture-perfect regardless of whether the occasion called for it or not. Perhaps we have lost the aesthetic of her time, but I feel it is time to bring it back into style. Like she always said, "a little bit of lipstick and jewelry goes a long way."

She has been gone for four years now, but not a day goes by that I don't miss her...so in accordance with my new motto of "living life beautifully", I want to honour my grandmother and the beautiful and glamorous woman that she was...you were always right Popo, looking good = feeling good, so today I am putting on some lipstick and pearls (your pearls) to celebrate you! I love you forever and always....

XO, Amy

Friday, 25 October 2013

A Fresh Start...

After a long hiatus and many life changes - including a brand new member to our family - I lost touch with myself and my love for writing. Now, I feel the pull of writing again...so with a new focus and a few little tweaks, here is a fresh start to an *almost* brand new blog!

In the past four years, I feel like Mommyhood and going back to school had sucked all the time out of my life...I never stopped to "smell the roses" and every day was just a battle with kid schedules, mealtimes and bedtimes. I no longer took any time for myself, nor did I have time to appreciate the small pleasures in life. Feeling "frumpy" had become commonplace. But now with schooling and my Opticianry Boards behind me, a chapter has closed, and a new one has opened. I have discovered more time to pause, reflect, and appreciate the priceless moments with my children...to indulge in the simple pleasures...and to take the time to enjoy life more fully.

I hope you will take this new journey with me as I try to find beauty in every day, document the things that make me smile, and "live life beautifully"....

My babies holding hands <3

XO, Amy

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mother's Day Flowers

I know it's a couple days late, but here are some flowers I arranged for Mother's Day. Enjoy!

XO, Amy

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Optical Grand Re-Opening

As some of you may know, my family is in the eye care business. I've been griping for years on how badly the optical needs a facelift and I finally had my opportunity when my parents were away on a two-week vacation. I decided to redo the optical and give them a surprise on their return.

I didn't do any big jobs, but just basic aesthetic improvements such as fresh paint on the wall and display cabinets, rearranging the layout to increase space and improve traffic flow, installing some DIY lighting and adding a few decorative touches. The result was much better than I expected! My only regret was not taking any "before" pictures....I only took one picture "during" to show the contrast between the original pink walls and new neutral paint colour. Here's the final unveiling. I was going for a boutique look...let me know what you think!

Pink walls? They were the first thing to go!

And Ta-Da...this is the final result after some fresh paint and redecorating!

Window Display - I glued every flower to the branches individually! The tulips are suppose to look like they are springing from the ground. Doesn't it look like Spring?

I took these pictures myself...thank God for iPhone apps!

Floral arrangement I made for the Grand Re-opening

Close up of the floral branches in the window...the frames are meant to look like they are a part of the branches!

Another picture of my floral arrangement

Hope you enjoyed these pictures!
XO, Amy