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Updated: 2018-04-17T10:58:45.165-04:00

 



making gift-giving easy with the toy academy

2017-11-21T11:15:18.028-05:00

*This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Toy Academy program. In exchange for this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.Before Luca was born, I bought him a handful of wooden, neutral toys (you know how I love my muted colours!), as well as a few teething items. I tended to steer clear of colourful plastic toys, but I soon learned that this little boy would have strong opinions about what he liked to play with, and how could I deny him a world of colour? And I know it is all too easy to go overboard with toys for our favourite little people, so it’s important to me that the few that I do select be ones that I know he will enjoy.I know I have already started thinking about gift-giving. This holiday season I have partnered with Walmart to tell you about the Toy Academy, a new program to help make it easy and fun for parents and loved ones to find the perfect toy for children, at various price points. Simply click on a category such as “Top Toys 2017” or “Top Toys Under $20,” and you can order online or check stock of your local store. These are toys that have been proven to be beloved by children: in fact, when we visited drop-in play centers, he would make a beeline for this zebra (the Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker), which is in the Toy Academy as a top toy in his age range, as soon as he was mobile. I loved watching him start to toddle while pushing it, and he could spend long periods of time playing with the buttons and levers on the front. It sings little songs, and it also has two volume levels, which I personally love (the lower level is not super loud!).Another one that we picked up from the Toy Academy list was the Playskool Friends Sesame Street Tickle Me Elmo. I remember when this was the hottest toy a few years ago, selling out at rapid speeds, but I had never seen one myself. Luca has had some exposure to Sesame Street, which was one of my favourite television shows when I was a kid, and he LOVES Elmo. I find myself singing the Elmo’s World theme song and it makes him dance. We’ve also picked up a few Elmo books along the way after I showed him the cover of one and he laughed hysterically for about a minute. I was so excited to show him this Elmo toy, but sadly, he seems to be a little wary of it! He doesn’t seem to like the way it shakes. But we turned it off and it’s perfect for a cuddle (or for pretending to take photos, as he is doing above!).Maybe one day they’ll be better friends! [...]



what i've learned: year one of motherhood

2017-09-25T15:06:34.909-04:00

I continue to marvel at the fact that every single member of our species has been born and brought to independence by so arduous a route. -Rachel Cusk, A Life’s Work (I love this book)A friend who is due to have her first baby in October recently asked her friends about personal experiences with labour and those first few months after having a baby. At first I hesitated, thinking, I am no expert. I only have one, and I have only been at this for slightly over a year. As I thought about it, though, I realized that I have learned so much. Mostly I learned that you will never quite understand the things people tell you will happen until you’re in the thick of it yourself. All those things you never quite believed would or could happen to you: they will happen. We took a class and I read all the books, and I was prepared for sleep deprivation, cluster feeding, and how to heal, but so much was trial by fire, I suppose. I spent a whole year asking “How do people manage more than one?” Here are a few key things that I have learned; this is all old news to experienced parents, but everything here took me by surprise. Also, that thing about it being the deepest love you will ever know? That is true.They do sleep! Also, we love our Maxi Cosi Jool convertible seat! It’s a comfortable ride for him and I love how I can throw the cover in the washing machine. (This is the Sparkling Grey model to match the infant seat we had—oh boy, tiny Luca).1. Fear is powerful.Luca was about ten days overdue when we went in for an induction. I didn’t have any expectations for labour and delivery. I thought I would go along with whatever happened, although I was aiming for the so-called “natural” birth everyone holds up as the ultimate experience. I read the books by Ina May Gaskin, I did visualizations, I wrote in journals, I practiced the yogic breathing, and I didn’t get this experience. I was induced using four different methods and after all of it, I was no further ahead than I had been the week before. A few other complications along the way, and I ended up having a c-section. I was 100% okay with it. That said, looking back, I think that my fear of losing the baby was a powerful force in leading me to have this birth. I didn’t regret it in any way, and the c-section was fine and I recovered quickly, but afterwards I did want to burn the Gaskin books, and felt crushed every time I encountered the term “natural birth.” The weeks that followed were an even more fearful time for me. I didn’t feel confident in my new role because I hadn’t known that much about babies, and wasn’t I supposed to be wearing a swimsuit on a beach at 6 weeks postpartum, holding a baby above my head and laughing like everyone (everyone!) on Instagram? Why was the Explore page always showing me tanned blonde beautiful women in Australia nursing three week old babies while wearing bikinis? The postpartum period was deeply dark and terrifying for me, but luckily I had access to some helpful resources (not everyone does, and this is a terrible fact). The fear eventually subsided when I became more confident. But I wish autocorrect didn’t change “basket” (as in Moses basket) to “casket” and “grace” to “grave” (a pretty good way to make a new mother weep).2. Oh, so that’s why people are obsessed with napping schedules and baby sleep.Before I had a baby, I honestly thought babies slept all day. Well, some of them might. Mine did not. Nap time is the only time during the day that a caregiver has to unwind, to clean, check email, to pick things off a to-do list, maybe eat some lunch while sitting down, to take a breath. But when you have a cat-napper as I did/do, you can do your best to try to cram everything into a 30 minute slot (or even 5 minutes sometimes?), but there isn’t much that can be done in that short a time. I tried not to get too wound up, tried to convince myself those things could wait, and just went with the flow, but there were many days where I spent all of his naps sobbing be[...]



mayana geneviere

2017-08-04T12:33:51.992-04:00

For National Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to tell you about my favourite nursing bras (and currently my favourite all-around bras!). They’re by a local company, Mayana Genevière, and what makes them special is the patented ALUXTRA™ Clasp-Free Technology that allows for the cups to be pulled down without getting stretched out. No clips, no bulky cups, no wires, and they even fit me (at my last professional measuring I was a size H, cripes). You can slide the decorative indicator to the left or right as a reminder of where you left off. They are made of the softest, finest lace, and you don’t have to be nursing to appreciate them. I haven’t felt glamorous in a long time but these bras certainly go a long way towards making me feel a little fancier under my clothes.I visited Mayana Genevière’s owner and founder, Nadine Woods, at her studio in the Junction a few months back and it was such a wonderful visit. Luca was a little cranky that day and she was so lovely with him. The seamstresses even took turns carrying him so we could chat!Mayana Genevière lingerie is available online and at select specialist stockists.  [...]



a sparkling cherry beach morning

2017-06-04T10:41:57.958-04:00

Last weekend my little fam had a photoshoot with one of our favourite local photographers, Arden Wray (you may remember the Boots & Pine project she started five years ago!). I’ve been feeling a bit tender about having my photo taken lately, and I was nervous, but I knew that if the only photos I had with Luca were selfies, I would regret it. Luckily Arden is the sort of photographer that I trust implicitly: she knows how to take a flattering photo, and she won’t even show me photos that she knows I won’t like and that will make my self-esteem take a hit. She’s magical (she even turned these photos around in one day).We also had the privilege of borrowing the Long Weekend’s VW bus for the shoot, the sweetest little restored pale blue bus in town. We went down to Cherry Beach and it turned out to be the most beautiful morning. I am thrilled with these photos!I didn’t bother doing much with my messy hair or my makeup to keep it as natural as possible, but I wore my new Mildred Handmade dress for the occasion. I love this dress. Speaking of women that I trust implicitly: I went to Laine’s studio and tried on a few of her samples, and we settled on a few different elements from different pieces which she then made into something just for me. I also ended up with this sand-coloured linen, which was unexpected but which felt right. It’s not visible in these photos because of my hair or because of the baby, but she made it nursing-friendly with a line of buttons at the neck. I haven’t treated myself to any new clothes in a long time, so this felt really good. If I only had linen tunics and dresses in my closet, I would be pretty happy. They are great uniform pieces. [...]



#forbetterbeginnings with playtexbaby

2017-05-09T20:23:54.530-04:00

This post is sponsored by PlaytexBaby, as I explained in my post announcing the #PlaytexMoms partnership!Back in November, I wrote about my baby essentials, and I am happy to say that most of it still holds true! We still adore our stroller, our carriers, and I have the white noise machine whirring away at this very moment. Now that Luca is nearly 10 months old, though (how!?), we’ve outgrown a few things. We no longer use the Solly Baby wrap or gripe water, for example, and Luca is more interested in board books than cloth books, but we’ve also added a few things. I thought I’d update the list. I’ve also decided to write about a few things that I personally found totally useless, because I am the queen of going overboard and I learned my lesson(s).Skip Hop DUO Convertible High Chair: We love this high chair! It’s stylish and modern and actually matches our dining room chairs pretty nicely. It’s not too large, and it’s also not too complicated to use. Best of all, it converts into a toddler chair for later use! I love baby items that have a long life span because those are quite rare. I thought high chairs were just for mealtimes but it’s a great place to put the baby while you make your morning coffee, or make dinner. Luca likes to sit in his and play with toys or eat some snacks. This chair is so easy to keep clean.Baggu Nylon Bags: These are perfect to use as wet bags! A good way to bring home wet or damp things without messing up everything else in your bag. Plus, so cute.Playtex® Diaper Genie® Elite: A classic for a reason! We had an (expensive, I should say) enamel can when Luca was first born and even though those early exclusively breastfed poops (sorry, can’t talk about diaper disposal without bringing up poop) were almost sweet-smelling, sometimes his nursery had a not-so-sweet smell that lingered. Since we got the Diaper Genie®, we haven’t had to worry about odours. These days Luca is crawling and tries to get into everything, but there is no way for him to get into the Diaper Genie® (believe me, he has tried). I love the gentle pastel colours it comes in! It’s also so easy to use and change. Easily available, it can be purchased at Amazon or Walmart.Bamboobino baby washcloths: A friend gave these to us as a baby shower gift, and they are the best! So soft. I tell friends who are putting their registry together to basically buy 100 soft tiny washcloths. They come in so handy for a variety of messes.Loulou Lollipop pacifier clips: I bought a few of these and ended up making some as well, but they are so useful! Luca used a pacifier for only a hot minute but these are good for attaching all manner of small toys to your stroller or car seat.Ikea Kladdig sleeved bib: Whoa, are mealtimes ever a disaster. A smock-like bib is the best kind of bib. These are inexpensive and easy to clean. Skip Hop Explore & More Activity Center: Okay, I know people refer to these as the “Circle of Neglect,” but it was great when I needed a minute to prep dinner or use the washroom. This one has a lot of wonderful things going for it: it isn’t too huge, it isn’t ugly, and best of all, it turns into a table (once again, I love baby gear that you can use for a few years)! Luca was pretty self-regulating when it came to this piece of equipment and he didn’t want to be in it for more than a few minutes at a time, so I didn’t have to worry that I was neglecting him. The first time I put him in it he went right for the little trees and was so happy. Now he mostly cruises around the sides.Special mention: books, books, books! I’ve been posting some of my favourite books on Instagram with the hashtag #fieldguidedreads. I don’t know how interested other people are but it’s fun for me!As to the things I found we didn’t need:-Fancy swings. We bought one that cost a small fortune and looks like it’s from the future, and it most definitely did not work miracles for us. He rarely fell [...]



toy-guided with today's parent

2016-12-14T21:35:13.629-05:00

The world of children’s toys is something that is completely new to me. I don’t usually buy toys as gifts, other than maybe a precious wooden car or teether meant more for the parents, usually! Of course, I’ve seen the updates of classic Fisher Price toys that I remember from my own childhood, but otherwise, my first forays into toy stores looking for toys for Luca have been bewildering. I don’t want to overdo it, and fill our home with dozens of toys that are loud and bright and all primary-coloured, but I do want to choose a few toys that will be good for his development and amusement. We spend a lot of time looking at books, but I like having toys that can help with his motor development as well, for example. But it can be daunting at the start.I was pleased when the Today's Parent 2016 toy guide came along. It breaks down all the best toys of the year into age groups (baby and toddler, preschool, little kid, big kid), after hundreds of toys were tested by actual kids in those groups. It’s as though I get to pick the brains of all the parents I know on what toys worked for their children. So helpful! I got some amazing ideas for Luca as well as a few that I will file away for the future. Check it out here! [...]



gift guiding with chatelaine and today's parent

2016-12-12T09:00:00.183-05:00

It’s no secret that I love Christmas, and the holiday season in general, especially now that I have a tiny one to celebrate with. He might be too little to remember this Christmas in the future, but I’m hoping to start new traditions that he’ll be able to carry with him. One of my favourite memories from my childhood was of driving to various family friends’ houses with my dad on Christmas Eve, distributing presents. Now that I’m an adult I realize they were probably very simple gifts (boxes of chocolate, bottles of wine), and maybe we didn’t visit as many friends as I think we did, but the memory is still pure magic. Just as when I would look out the window hoping to see Santa up in the sky.I know that some of the more commercial aspects of Christmas are not so wonderful, but I honestly love picking out gifts for my loved ones. This year I’ve been having a little trouble with a few family members (bought my brother something he already had last year and I didn’t keep the receipt, so my gift-giving morale went way down). Also, since so much of my time is spent looking after Luca, I don’t have the luxury of spending time shopping. I’ve been consulting gift guides, specifically those by Chatelaine magazine and Today’s Parent. They both feature 100 gifts for under $100, from a variety of Canadian retailers, and also sites such as Etsy. I’ve gotten some great ideas from them!The guides are available online (links above) and in the December issues of the print versions.In keeping with the Christmas feeling, I made a playlist of some of my favourite songs. It’s supposedly to play while trimming a tree or wrapping presents, but, um, I’ve been listening to it non-stop (yes, I actually love “Wonderful Christmastime”). Boney M, multiple versions of “O Holy Night”... what am I forgetting? allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="380" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Auser%3Aanabelapiersol%3Aplaylist%3A5SaPw4vvzgQsSGQPZhFiSw" width="300"> [...]



des enfantillages

2016-11-28T12:27:10.807-05:00

Yesterday Geoff and I went to the One of a Kind Show and the very first booth we encountered was for Montreal’s Des Enfantillages. I was already familiar with their work because I had ordered their amazing balancing game from Garmentory a while ago, so it was fun to see all their products at once. Des Enfantillages makes cheeky products for kids out of wood, with sleek designs and punchy colours. Everything is handmade by the owners, Geneviève Lugaz and Christian Laforge.We couldn’t resist picking up a puzzle for Luca even though he won’t be able to use it for a while. It’s nice enough to display in an adult’s room, I think! [...]



repository pt. 14: my new baby essentials

2016-11-22T09:35:43.607-05:00

So I have only been at this motherhood thing for slightly over four months, but I’m finally starting to feel a little more confident. A little! There’s a new challenge every day, of course, but so far it’s been as magical and wondrous as I had hoped. It’s so amazing to watch this little person grow and to see his personality start to shine.I thought I would round up a few of the products that I have found to be helpful: some are just plain pretty, but some have been revelations! Incidentally, nearly all of my money goes to baby things these days. Also, the fact that I spend hours trapped under a baby, unable to do much other than use my phone, means there have been a few too many late night online shopping sessions. And maybe a fair amount of emotional shopping (is that what you would call it?).Incidentally this post took me just about forever.Baby carriers: Carrying Luca has been one of the greatest joys of the past few months. I love having him snuggled up against me, and now that it’s gotten colder, we help keep each other warm! When he was a newborn he resisted being carried (at least until we got him outside into the fresh air, which seemed to calm him), but now that he can hold his head up and look around, he seems pretty content in there. We love different styles, from the Ergobaby (a soft structured carrier that has a lot of back support—Geoff loves this one too), to the Solly Baby Wrap (a stretchy wrap made of jersey), to the Wildbird linen or chambray ring sling (I find this one a little challenging to use because I have a so-called seat-popper of a baby!). Now that he is over 15 pounds we’ll probably use the Ergobaby carrier the most (we have the 360 because we have a baby who wants to look at the world rather than snuggle against my chest all the time), or try out a double linen ring sling, although I’m still trying to use the Solly as much as possible! In my experience having a carrier is essential in a city, because sometimes you can’t take a stroller on public transportation (no elevators in the subway, you don’t want to get dirty looks on a crowded bus even though that’s not your problem, or you live in a city like Toronto that weirdly uses streetcars that have stairs and are therefore impossible for strollers, the elderly, anyone with a disability...).Marpac Dohm white noise machine: Luca kept falling asleep outside the doctor’s office, where one of these would be whirring. He is quite sleep-resistant but this seems to help. It has an actual fan inside; it’s not canned sound (sometimes the repetition of sounds can annoy some people!).Nursing wear by Loyal Hana: I thought buying maternity clothes was bad enough, but nursing is even more challenging! So many of my button-downs no longer actually button down at the chest, and while at home I’m fine with just pulling up whatever I happen to be wearing, I’m not so easy breezy in public. These tops and dresses have zippers at each side which makes them so convenient and also discreet.Booker Vest by B & Me: When carrying baby, I’ve been using this fleece vest under my coat and over the carrier or wrap, and it’s kept us nice and toasty. I was worried that I would have to stop wearing him in the cold but so far this has worked so well. It’s also one of the cuter options out there!Bashful Bunny Grabber by Jellycat: Luca received this super soft rattle as a gift and I like it because it was one of the first toys he was able to grasp and hold and wave around. I didn’t even realize babies couldn’t grasp toys right from birth, ha!Pom Pom Bin by Petit Pehr: I have a couple of these and they look so pretty in the nursery. I also have one that I keep a few board books and toys in so I can carry them easily from room to room. A little baby entertainment kit.WaterWipes: I have been having a hard time finding w[...]



to do, to done

2016-11-15T10:12:21.478-05:00

For the past little while, the state of my car has been driving me crazy, frankly. I cleaned it thoroughly the week before Luca was born, but haven’t been able to get so much as a quick car wash in the past four months. Even though I only use my car a few times a week at most, my hair has been falling out and it was getting all over the mats, not to mention the everyday dirt that was piling up. Every time the sun hit the dashboard, all I could see was the dust on it (and the road ahead, of course!).A little while ago I was given the chance to test out a new app called Just Got That!, and I jumped at the chance. The app connects you to various services in your area, from house cleaning to hair cuts to oil changes, which you can book directly through the app. I am a heavy app user, using apps for everything from tracking sleep to meditations to ordering food, so this is perfect for me. I would rather book a service over an app than over the phone any day! I was thrilled to see a detailing service on the app, Detailing Knights, especially because it’s a service that comes to you. A mobile car cleaning service: basically angels for those of us who struggle to wash our hair or chop onions for dinner. So I tapped my phone a few times and boom: shortly afterwards my car was so, so clean, from the mats to the inside of the trunk.I could not be more thrilled with this experience and with my newly spotless dashboard.If you would like to give JustGotThat! a chance, download the app here on Google Play or here in the iTunes store and use my promo code “fieldguided” for 10 JustGotBucks! [...]



you care too much

2016-11-11T15:35:00.465-05:00

Earlier this year, my friend Erin Klassen (you may remember her from her book Portraits) asked if I would be willing to write a piece for a new book project she had started about self-care. I was quite flattered to be asked, and since I haven't done any “real” writing in years and years and years, it sounded like a good challenge. I know that the term “self care” has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but the way Erin presented her feelings on the subject was compelling in that she wanted us to examine what happens after trauma:As women, I think we often learn about how to care for ourselves when we've been through trauma of some kind — whether emotional or physical, trauma can be big or small. Sometimes things need to get dramatic, or we need to feel our lowest before we truly understand our needs. Women give so much to others naturally. We are communicators, feelers, connectors, networkers, problem-solvers and caregivers. We are champions and counsellors for our friends, family, lovers. Read this amazing article for more about women + emotional labor. We want to have everything, often at the risk of ignoring our capacity to take more on... and then what happens? Burnout. Frustration. Disappointment. Depression. In those moments, if we're self-aware, we do the things we need to in order to recharge so we can get back to fulfilling our role as emotional laborer. That's called self care. From my perspective the interesting part of this topic is in the “trauma” that leads women to discover their needs and personal definition of self-care. That doesn't look like a list of stuff you do to feel better, like take a bath or drink more water, it looks much more complex and varied. It looks messy. This topic should address the vulnerability that leads us to finding inner strength.She had read the post I had written here years ago about my first miscarriage, and knew a little more about my situation from our conversations, and asked if I would be willing to write about it. It had been something I had been meaning to address in writing, whether for myself or for a wider audience, so this seemed like a good chance. And so I have a piece in here about my year of recurrent miscarriages, what to do when your own therapist tells you you like to feel sorry for yourself, and how I managed to find a sense of safety and peace in the 12+ months of my life that felt frantic and lonely. It was incredibly painful to write; I recall an email to Erin in which I wrote WRITING IS HARD. I also finished writing it in the month or so after Luca was born, when my emotions could not have been more raw and when I burst into sobs at the slightest provocation.The book, You Care Too Much, is here, and I am so proud to have been a part of it. Erin is a phenomenal editor and she has assembled quite an amazing team of writers and artists: Tallulah Fontaine, Winnie Truong, Brooke Manning, Angela Lewis, Jessika Hepburn, Leah Horlick, Vicky Lam, Jen Spinner, Christina Yan, Adina Tarralik Duffy, Kathryn Bondy, Erin Klassen herself, Sofia Mostaghimi, Nada Alic, Naomi Moyer, and Mo Handahu.The book, which will be released on November 16, is available for pre-order here, and if you live in Toronto, there will be a launch party at The Steady on November 23. Information here. [...]



bluboho

2016-10-13T11:26:27.204-04:00

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Cheryl of the local jewelry shop Bluboho and got a tour of their beautiful Queen Street West shop. bluboho was started by Cheryl and Maggie, two friends with passion for the stories that jewelry can tell. They have their own line of delicately wrought gold jewelry, and they also carry the work of other small studios. I personally love this quiet sort of jewelry, and was happy to hear they have started a bridal line. I thought I would share a few photos of the space and of the jewelry because I think you will also enjoy them.The shop is on a bustling corner but inside it is so peaceful, and I loved the thoughtful decorative touches throughout, from fresh flowers to those stunning blue chairs. Cheryl and her staff were so kind and welcoming; often when I meet new people I can feel a little nervous but they were wonderful. They’re having an opening party on Saturday and you should go!Our designers and pieces have stories that ignite a sense of connection and joy. The name is a deeply meaningful piece of who we are and represents the true intention of bluboho. blu represents the sea, the sky, a connection to each other and nature as well as unlimited possibility – encouraging us to continue moving and striving. boho is short for bohemian, and speaks to a free-spirited lifestyle with a lust for life, adventure and adventure. At the end of my visit, Cheryl gave me the gift of this “mama” ring, and honestly the second I saw it I had tears in my eyes. I still feel a little strange thinking of myself as a mother, so it was validating and touching. I have been wearing it every day since! It would be the perfect gift for your mama!The storefront is gorgeous! It can be found at the corner of Queen and Spadina. I had Geoff and Luca with me that day (on the right).This “purr” ring is the most perfect cat lady ring ever.Since the pieces are so understated and elegant, they are perfect for layering. [...]



the perfect diaper bag(s)

2016-09-28T12:31:37.146-04:00

When I was first looking into diaper bags, I got pretty overwhelmed by all the different options and styles. I bought a shoulder bag from a baby store, but I didn’t love it (and thus returned it); since it was a shoulder bag I didn’t think it was the best option for me with my occasional back pain. It also looked so much like a diaper bag to me, and not like something I would use ordinarily. Which is fine, but I thought I would keep looking.I knew for sure that I wanted a backpack, and while I love my Fjällräven, over time it ended up becoming Geoff’s computer bag. While researching, I would read about how people had multiple diaper bags and it seemed a bit much to me (little did I know!). But now that I have a baby, I see how sensible it is. I personally have two diaper bags that I use, both with very different purposes, but both wonderful: the Bartaile C12, and the OneDuo.The above bag is the OneDuo. We like to use this bag when we’ll be out for the full day, for example when we went to a wedding with the baby. This bag is made of a coated cotton canvas, making it water resistant, it’s huge, and it has a ton of pockets. It also comes with its own changing mat. It can be worn as a messenger bag, a backpack, a shoulder bag, and it comes with clips to hang it off the stroller. It has pockets for bottles on either side and fits so many things! I call it my Mary Poppins bag. I usually cram it with enough supplies to last a week. Unintentionally!(Gah, I am SO IN LOVE with our Bugaboo stroller. I will be sad when it’s time to take the bassinet off and switch to the regular seat!)I also think it happens to be a very good-looking bag!This bag is the canvas and leather Bartaile C12, and it is the bag I use on an every day basis. This one can also be used as a shoulder bag, but I like to use it as a backpack. It can even be folded in half and carried like a clutch. It’s a bag with a slim profile, but it also holds a surprising amount of things! I can usually cram a changing pad, wet bag, 10 diapers, wipes, a swaddling blanket, a change of outfit for baby, my wallet, keys, sunglasses case, a book, dozens of tiny washcloths... it goes on. There are many pockets inside, and it also has a compartment that would fit a laptop, although let’s face it, I’m not getting much work done these days! But it will also be perfect as a non-baby bag when I go back to work.This bag is super stylish and it has luxe details. The gold-toned hardware is impeccable, and I love the little details like the blue water-repellant lining and the gold-stamped logo on the side. It even comes in a dust bag for storage, which is a small detail but one that I appreciate.(Just a quick note that one should be careful hanging a bag off a stroller as it can tip the stroller. I only do it when the bag is not too heavy!)Here are a few things I like to take with me in my diaper bags: I like to have a Solly Wrap on hand in case I decide to take baby out of the stroller and carry him; NomiLu pacifier clip and soothie; bunny rattle knit by my friend Megan. The clutch on the right is another amazing miniature diaper bag! It’s the Roundabout by Pretty Brave. It’s a folded change pad that also has a pouch for a few diapers and wipes. It’s also so beautiful. I got mine from the shop Billie and Axel in Montreal.Left to right: the Nest from Native Wilds, which is a car seat cover that I use on really sunny days but also keep with me as a nursing cover; Bottoms Up! baby balm from Ella’s Botanicals, a local all-natural line of skincare products; and this is a pouch that I made with some white canvas that I painted. I lined the inside with some plastic-coated fabric from Ikea. [...]



our little star

2016-09-14T18:37:25.277-04:00

I recently sent out Luca’s birth announcement to... almost everyone we have ever met. During pregnancy, it was something I looked forward to creating and sending. When I was making regular visits to a fertility clinic they had birth announcements and photos all over the walls, and while at times they were a little difficult to look at, they were a symbol of hope (which, I suppose, is why they were there in the first place). I love sending and receiving mail, and I’m wild about stationery. I was that kid who had a penpal on nearly every continent and would get so excited when I saw the mail carrier. I still do! Sometimes I imagine my friends who have received stacks of thank you notes from me wondering what they’re going to do with all of them (or I imagine them throwing them in the recycling bin!), but I will keep sending them.I had thought about designing the announcement myself, but wanted to wait until the baby was here, kind of like how I had to wait until we saw him to give him his name. Of course, once he was here I was short on time and sleep, so I decided to use a service I have recommended to all my friends who have ever asked my advice on wedding invitations: Minted. They have a new line of letterpress birth announcements and since I have always admired letterpress stationery but have never used it myself, I decided to try it out. It was hard to choose but we went with this announcement, designed by Bethan Lumb (I also really loved this design but it didn’t work as well with our text). Stars have become an inadvertent theme in the things I like to pick up or make for Luca, so it felt perfect. I’m so happy with the result! The letterpress is such a nice touch, and I love that they will print the addresses on the front of the envelopes for free (obscured above, of course). The paper quality is wonderful, nice and toothy, and the photo printed nicely as well. (If you would like to make your own announcements or invitations using Minted, follow this link for $25 off your first order of $100 or more!)(I love those Canada Post hydrangea stamps. I have always associated mid-July with giant puffs of hydrangeas growing wild in gardens, and Luca was born in mid-July, so now I will always associate them with his birthday.)I did take the photo myself, when he was about two weeks old. Such a tiny guy at the time! It actually makes me want to cry (although of course he is still really little!).Also, I’ve always been obsessed with baby books, especially highly detailed ones. I never had one and I was always envious of kids who had them. For years I didn’t even know what time I was born at or what I weighed at birth. I was happy to come across this lovely one published by Chronicle Books, Le Petit Baby Book. The illustrations are so charming and it has room for details and for photos galore. Although, um, I have only filled in a few pages so far.The space here isn’t quite right for this announcement but I shall find a way to make it work nonetheless! [...]



mirra mirra

2016-09-06T16:14:20.718-04:00

Anyone who knows me knows I can be a little obsessed with phone cases. I even took a stab at designing them myself. I went through a period where I was switching out my case every few days, depending on my mood, from a silicone bunny to a novelty-sized set of lips to a more austere (in comparison) marble pattern. I was pretty excited when I heard about a new phone case from my friends at Shine: Mirra Mirra. This is a beeauutiful phone case in and of itself, but it features a mirror and lights for makeup touchups in the dark. I have definitely been guilty of a tooth check using the front-facing camera!Mirra Mirra was created by Matthew Goss and Mark Ainsworth of Australia. If you watch the video on their Indiegogo site, you’ll see that this case took a bit of engineering ingenuity to create. So many things to consider! But the result is a slim, lovely, and multi-use case.While the Mirra Mirra phone case is not yet available for sale through traditional means, you can get one via the Indiegogo campaign. I’m really into the rose gold (of course), although the marble is also a nice option. Choices, choices.Currently Mirra Mirra is only available for iPhone. Follow the campaign via Facebook!This photo above is from the launch party that was held recently here in Toronto. I couldn’t attend, but can’t get enough of this mirror display! So pretty. [...]



a nursery for baby luca

2016-08-29T12:53:27.066-04:00

On July 14, we welcomed our little baby Luca into the world. He’s the best guy ever and the past six weeks have flown by as we’ve been getting to know him. He’s currently sleeping in his bassinet next to me and I keep pausing to stare at his tiny body, with his arms up near his head and his legs curled like a frog’s. For weeks now I’ve been meaning to share photos of his nursery!We didn’t have a specific plan for this room, as is usually the case for us when it comes to home decor; we just picked things we liked and hoped it all worked out. There is definitely a lot of white happening but it makes for such a calm, soothing room. It’s my favourite room in the apartment and even though it’s not currently being used (the baby sleeps in our room for now), I love taking him in there for diaper changes or spending a few moments in there organizing his tiny clothing. This room is one of the warmest in the apartment, but should be okay in the fall or winter (and who knows if we’ll still be here next summer). Oreo, that weird cat, loves it. She spends all her time in there no matter how high the temperature gets.I found the round black decals on Etsy and applied them at random on one wall. At first I wasn’t sure if I loved the look, but I really like it now, and besides, they would be so easy to remove if I wanted to. The crib is from Babyletto.I wanted to make my own star and moon mobile, but found this one on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.A number of things in here are from Indigo: the Serenity Star (a thermometer/white noise machine), the bunny bookends, the pom pom storage basket, and a number of the books including the kitten-faced soft book on the shelf. I really love their selection of baby items!These are little spice racks from Ikea! I got the idea from Erin.This dresser was Geoff’s dad’s childhood dresser. He dug it up from the basement and repainted it a glossy white.Hare silkscreened print by Melinda Josie.Indigo pillow by Scout & Catalogue.This is both a mobile and a working kite by Haptic Lab! I can’t wait to take it outside with our boy and fly it with him.And here he is, our little Luca, on a Haptic Lab northern hemisphere quilt I spent many evenings working on. Each French knot (representing the Milky Way) and each stitch was a prayer that he would arrive healthy and happy. [...]



portraits by erin klassen (& a giveaway)

2016-06-14T10:52:21.504-04:00

Tomorrow, June 15, my brilliant friend Erin Klassen will be releasing her first book of short fiction, Portraits, and I am so excited to share it with you! This collection of “micro-fiction” is the result of interviews with 34 different women that Erin interviewed over the course of 10 months, learning about their unresolved feelings about love. This book is so wonderful to me because I am such a sucker for stories about exes. I can’t help it. There’s something so voyeuristic and fascinating about it all, and they can help one get through one’s own lingering feelings.I’m giving away a copy over on Instagram, so be sure to check it out.Love, lust and loss are universal experiences and Portraits reveals the vulnerability, anger, doubt, depression, introspection, desire, sadness, jealousy and regret that women experience while trying to come to terms with or let go of a past lover. Each short story is paired with art produced specifically for the text.Broke up with me for a girl named Talulah.From these conversations with a diverse group of women, Erin began weaving these themes into fictional vignettes about unresolved feelings. Portraits aims to shed light on the process of moving on from complicated relationships, a process which often includes obsessively analyzing our feelings or re-imagining difficult experiences as a way of coping with them. The goal of this collection is to share stories that will resonate with many women who feel big feelings, regardless of ethnicity, sexual identity or social status.The book includes accompanying artwork by Melanie Lambrick, Erin McPhee, Kathryn Bondy, Anna Denise Floor, and Alex Begin.Portraits will be available online and in select shops in Toronto, including Likely General and Souvenir. $25 CAD. If you’re in Toronto, be sure to stop by the launch party tomorrow evening at Milk Glass! [...]



introducing: wild hill botanicals

2016-06-07T15:45:28.146-04:00

Today I am so happy to introduce a natural skincare line that is new to me, and relatively new to the natural beauty market (six months old!), Wild Hill Botanicals. Wild Hill is a husband and wife team, Teague and Sarah, based on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. They grow and harvest all the ingredients for the products themselves, which is such a wonderful labour of love and care. I’ve been testing out the products for a few weeks now, and I am totally in love. As I’ve mentioned over the past few years, I’ve made a tremendous effort to cut back on beauty, cleaning, and skin care products that contain ingredients I don’t feel good about. It took some effort to educate myself and to change my habits, and I am constantly learning, but I haven’t gone back. I am always thrilled to discover a new line that really gets it and that can help me in this journey! And look at that packaging: it is perfect.I was particularly fascinated by the fact that Teague and Sarah are involved in every step of the production, so I decided to post a Q&A with Sarah. I almost wish I had asked more questions because this is so interesting to me! I hope you will also enjoy reading them.My personal favourite of the Wild Hill products so far are the Nootka Rose Cleansing Clay, which is gently exfoliating, and the Rose Geranium Toner. You can read what Sarah has to say about hydrosols below, but I too love them, particularly in summer. We recently went through a bit of a heatwave, which was early for May/June, and carrying the toner in my bag and spritzing my face and neck was so refreshing. It smells incredible and if it has a tightening effect, all the better! Plus Geoff has been really into collecting scented geraniums lately, so it makes me think of him, which is nice.“Begin to realize that beauty is a ritual of self-care, and that skincare is a form of self-love.”What made you decide to start a natural skincare line?I have always had a keen interest in herbalism, and after "retiring" from the world of baking and pastry, I worked in health food stores for several years, which furthered this interest. I was, and remain, fascinated by plant therapy vs pharmaceuticals, and what herbalists call the entourage effect. Plant therapy works differently from pharmaceuticals in that rather than isolating different molecules and compounds, plant medicine in herbalist traditions trusts nature putting all these tiny bits of compounds together, and tries to deliver the plant in the most whole form they can. A few years ago I took a workshop with Portland Apothecary in Washington State, and there the amongst the oil extracts and herb vinegars, I encountered my first botanical distillation. After that my husband Teague and I both knew what we wanted to do on our property, and we began building up the farm and studying natural skincare. I traveled to San Francisco and spent some time with an ethnobotanist who is well known for producing excellent hydrosols and advising natural skincare lines, and from this education the line developed into what it is. Locally I am very grateful to Dr. Ryan Drum for both his writings and personal advice on the use of local seaweeds and herbs for skincare and health.Tell us about your farm. Wild Hill Farm is 5 acres on hilly terrain set on the side of East Sooke Park, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This 3000 acre park borders our farm on two sides, so things really do feel very wild here. We raise a small flock of heritage ducks and chickens for pastured eggs, have a small orchard of mostly apples and pears, and grow rose gera[...]