Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post Christmas Wrap-Up (or Un-Wrap!)

Well, it is December 28th and another Christmas has come and gone. It always amazes me how quickly Christmas can sneak up on you, and then all of a sudden we are at the start of a new year.

This Christmas was such a wonderful time for me, as I was able to finally connect with my family again, after being away for two months. Man, have I ever missed them.

I was reminded this past week just how blessed I am to have the family that I have. I was blown away by their love and generosity and willing hearts this Christmas. I don't know about you, but this year I had nothing on my Christmas list. NOTHING. I couldn't think of a single thing of what I needed/wanted this year, and because of that, I really didn't give anyone any ideas whatsoever. I figured there probably wouldn't be much under the tree for me this year, but I was 100% okay with that. There are others out there that are way more in need than I am.

Needless to say, without even having a list, my family blessed my socks off with their thoughtfulness and love. I now have a (partially) full wardrobe of beautiful maternity clothes that I would have never bought for myself (mainly because I'm cheap and maternity clothes well... aren't). I think Matt was the happiest because he won't be hearing me complain for a while that I have nothing to wear!

I have to share with you though, one of the most special gifts I received this year. It just went to show me that sometimes gifts from the heart make the most unique and special gifts.

There was a bag under the tree marked "To Mommy & Baby, From Grandma." I already had a gift waiting to be opened, so my mom (Grandma) decided to let Matt open it, explaining that I would understand the significance once I saw it. I couldn't imagine what my mom could be giving me already for the baby, but when Matt opened it, tears immediately sprung to my eyes. It was my first ever Christmas stocking. I had actually thought she had found one at a store and picked it up, because it was in such pristine condition. Then I realized it was the original and my mom had kept it in safe keeping for 24 years. She smiled at me and said, "Now you can use this as your baby's first stocking." Just the idea that my mom had kept this for so long, and then decided to hand it down to our baby blew me away. I'm so excited to be able to use this for our "Ninababy" and then have him/her be able to pass it down to their child, 20-some odd years from now.

The picture doesn't really do it justice (makes it look kind of creepy, actually), but I promise you it's the cutest! His little overalls open, so you can stuff them with loads of gifts! And if you really wanted, you could use it as a teddy bear. Hard to believe that next Christmas we'll have a 6 month old baby to spend it with!

I hope that your Christmas was filled with family, fun and food. I know mine was. And that you were reminded about the true meaning of Christmas.

I'd love to hear about what were you blessed with this Christmas season!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Before 25 UPDATE

With the news of our new little “Ninababy” on the way, I figured a few of my 25 before 25 goals were going to have to change slightly. So below I’ve added my new goals, with the originals in brackets beside it. Here’s to new goals, aspirations and stepping out of my comfort zone!

1. Learn how to sew

2. Make a quilt - once I know how to sew :)
3. Get in shape
4. Attend a triathlon to cheer on someone else (Train for (and hopefully complete) a triathlon - Thank you Susan Dunk for inspiring me!) - I realize I could probably still do this, but I know that I won't. Don't want to work with false expectations!
5. Go on a tropical vacation (Visit Australia)
6. Host a successful event (Bungee jump somewhere exotic ie. Australia)
7. Knit a unique baby blanket for our new baby! (Travel to Ireland)
8. Knit & finish a baby blanket - No, no, no ... not for myself. For a friend!
9. Be featured in the media - ie. magazine, newspaper, TV, etc.
10. Make my own pie crust
11. Make damask pillow covers
12. Get a "Big Person's" job ie. a full time PR/Communications job
13. Get rid of my debt
14. Get 1000 followers on Twitter
15. Train Hank to become a nursing home dog - or at least have him in the process of becoming one
16. Travel somewhere cool bLearn how to ride a motorcycle)
17. Spend New Years doing something interesting & fun! (NYC for New Years!)
18. Buy a new car (Surf - while in Australia)
19. Have two+ of my press releases published
20. Learn how to make pesto
21. Create a fabulous, culinary meal with a crazy, fancy name
22. Reupholster our kitchen chairs
23. Finish watching all of the seasons of LOST (Go snowboarding at least five times this winter - and become really good at it)
24. Go on a spontaneous, yet semi-planned, road trip
25. See a Cirque de Soleil performance

What are some of the goals on YOUR bucket list/New Years Resolutions for 2012?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

14 Weeks Down, 26 to go!

Week 14

People always say to enjoy your pregnancy because time goes by so fast, and I'm starting to realize just how fast it does go.

It seriously feels like yesterday that I went running in to the bedroom with a positive pee stick to tell Matt that he was going to be a dad. I feel like it was just the other day that I was only at 4 weeks, just waiting for another two months to go by so that we could share our little secret. Now, I'm at 14 weeks and my tummy has officially popped.

Just last week, it grew two centimeters. Pretty insane if you ask me. But that just means my little muffin is growing and growing, and inside I have a healthy baby developing. Thankfully I am starting to get out of the "I look/feel fat stage" and am starting to actually look pregnant!

I've already experienced so many changes, it's hard to think that there's only more waiting for me just around the corner. But it all comes with the territory! And I know that in the end, all the stretch marks and the wider hips will be worth it when I get to hold our Ninababy for the first time :)

[Nicole, these are for you :)]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

This post comes as a response to my friend Jessica's blog Beauty Products I Can't Live Without from

Jessica is a self-proclaimed beauty product addict/connoisseur. And while I do not claim to be a beauty product professional or connoisseur, or addict by any means whatsoever, I know what I like and I know what works for me.

I'll be honest though, many of the things that I have come to love have come from Jessica's collections and experience with products.  Once they have the "Jess Denomme stamp of approval", I decide to take the plunge for myself!  (Thanks, Jess!!)

So I thought I'd create my own list of beauty products that I simply can't go a day (or two) without using. If I didn't have them, I seriously think I would be lost. Some of them are a bit of a splurge (but so worth it), while others are things you can simply pick up at your local Shoppers, Walmart or Zehrs.

My hope is that something that I have found to love will somehow end up in your collection (or maybe under your Christmas tree!)

Sephora Prestige Brush Set
$125 ($325 value)

Includes 12 full-size Sephora Professional Platinum Quality Brushes:
1. Fan  2. Powder  3. Blush  4.  Foundation  5.  Concealer  6. Eyeshadow
7. Crease  8. Smudge  9. Angled Liner  10. Brow  11. Lip  12. Brow/Lash Comb

Available at Sephora

Smashbox Photofinish Primer to Go

Available at Sephora & Shoppers Drug Mart

Murad Live Clear Acne Starter Kit**
$33 ($56 value)

Includes: Clarifying Cleanser, Clarifying Toner, Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel
Acne Spot Treatment, Skin Perfecting Lotion

Available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, & Murad Canada

M.A.C Eyeshadow in Naked Lunch

Available at M.A.C

Maybelline Falsies Volum' Express Mascara
Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, PharmaPlus, Walmart, etc.

M.A.C Technakohl Liner in GraphBlack

Available at M.A.C

True Blue Spa Super-Softening Hand Lotion
$12 or Buy 2, Get 1 free
Available at Bath & Body Works

Aveeno Intense Relief Therapy Lip Balm

Available wherever lip balm is sold

Sephora Sun Disk**

Available at Sephora

Sephora Makeup Studio Blockbuster**
$49.50 ($440 value)
Available at Sephora
You will never run out of a colour again!

Sephora by OPI
Glimmer Wonderland 18 Piece Mini Nail Colour Set
$48 ($81 value)
Available at Sephora

As I write this, I realize I kind of have a thing for Sephora... and combo packs. Who knew?!
Which ones are your favourite?

** Jessica Denomme Stamp of Approval

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Welcome to the Family!

Well, a few months ago Matt and I welcomed a new member to our family. His name is Hank and at the time he was a 9 week old chocolate lab. Our little baby has grown up and we just celebrated his 8 month birthday last week. Where has the time gone?? Our little baby has grown into a man. If time flies this fast with a puppy, I can only imagine what life will be like as our family begins to expand.

Oh wait. Did I forget to tell you? It looks like time is going to start flying even faster, as Matt and I will be welcoming a new addition to our family this coming June 2012.

Yes. That's right. I'm about to become a mom ... and Matt's going to be a dad ... for real.

Probably one of the craziest feelings ever. Knowing that there's a new, little life growing inside of me right now. It wasn't until yesterday that it became even more real, when Matt and I went for our first ultrasound and had the opportunity to see our baby for the first time.

It doesn't matter how many ultrasounds you see, whether they're your friends, or people in your family. It completely changes when it's your own. Quite emotional, actually. More so than either of us expected.

And hearing the heartbeat for the first time .... unreal.

Anyway, we're so excited to become parents and to finally be able to share it with family and friends. I think if my family had to wait much longer to tell, they may just burst. So here is your permission to tell the world!

Life has been fully of changes lately, with the news of the little one, my placement in Toronto, and a bunch of random other things, but bring it on! I'm ready for a change :)

Oh, and it looks like my 25 before 25 is going to be due for a little change up ... but that's another post all together!

Let the mommy blogs begin!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wanna Stay Warm This Winter?

The thought of snow sends shivers down my spine. For whatever reason, God decided to make me a Canadian, but sometimes I feel like I should've been born in the Caribbean.

All of that is to say, when the snow comes, I freeze. Like, literally. To the point that sometimes my lips turn purple. But when it comes to winter fashion, sometimes I feel like the Canadian market is lacking (although I must say, it is improving greatly!).

Last winter I made a discovery that completely changed my winter thinking. SOREL boots. Now I know what you're thinking: "Those super ugly, clunky boots my mom tried to make me wear when I was 8!?" Trust me, I thought the same thing, but man have the times changed!

In an effort to not have freezing cold, wet feet anymore, I took the plunge and bought myself a pair of SOREL Joan of Arctic winter boots. My feet have been thanking me ever since. Not only were my feet extremely dry, due to their waterproof shell, they were never once cold! Seriously the warmest, and most fashionable boots I have ever had. I honestly got compliments every where I went. I even had people stopping me, asking where I purchased them, so that they could go get a pair for themselves!

I was so excited when I was sent the product line for the new 2011 SOREL Winter Collection, that I just had to write about it, as I am a firm believer in SOREL boots.

I have to say, the thing that gets me most excited about their new Women's Collection are their Cool Canvas Wedge and the Crazy Cable Wedge.

Each one is made of premium leather with a molded rubber outsole, guaranteeing that you'll stay dry all winter long.

If $400 for boots isn't really in your budget this winter, or if you're looking for something that is a little more in the "realistic, every day people budget" (like me), I would say that the Milano Breve is the perfect boot. According to SOREL, it's basically a waterproof jacket for your feet. They come in black, tan, and oxford plaid. And at $160, your feet, and your wallet, will be thanking you.

If you're thinking about a Christmas gift for that special man in your life, why not think about getting him a pair of warm, fashionable winter boots? SOREL's Putnam High boots are seriously beautiful. With a waterproof full-grain leather upper, their feet will stay warm and dry all winter, and you don't have to be embarrassed about being seen with him! (Seeing that men's boots have the tendency to be, well, not all that attractive.) And $220 is a small price to pay.

If you're a fan of Mad Men, you'll love the Mad Boot Lace, inspired by the 1950's.  Made with a water-resistant full-grain leather upper, you'll have the most stylish man of all!

Last but not least, we cannot forget the children! SOREL has come A LONG WAY since I was a child, and here's just a brief overview of some of my favourites:

  • TOFINO Girl -  Perfect for the little girl who wants to be just like her mom, or big sister. - Waterproof seam sealed shell and water-resistant suede leather upper. Don't forget the super fun laces!

  • SNOW COMMANDER Unisex - Guaranteed to keep the littlest of feet cozy and warm. The velcro closure will help recess time come a lot faster, as they won't be struggling to tie up their winter boots, and the waterproof thermal rubber shell will keep they completely dry.

Well there you have it. My picks for this winter's cozy feet season! Check out the full Canadian collection at and let me know what you'll be putting on your Christmas/winter list this season!

Stay Warm!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Salmon with Vegetable Quinoa

For those of you that know me, you'll know that salmon is basically it's own food group in my life. I love salmon. If I could have it every day, I would. Not only is it super yummy, the health benefits are amazing:

  • high in protein
  • half of your daily B12 intake
  • high in niacine
  • high in magnesium
  • excellent source of B6
  • FULL of OMEGA-3s
Why wouldn't you want to eat salmon?

My first rule when it comes to salmon is that is MUST be FRESH. Frozen just doesn't cut it. My second rule is that it must be fresh ATLANTIC salmon. I find that these two rules make the fish that much more succulent and delicious.

Here is my (extremely easy) recipe for delicious salmon, with vegetable quinoa on the side (made for 2 people).


1-2 10 oz salmon filets
Olive Oil
Spicy Pepper Medley Clubhouse Seasoning
Aluminum foil

Preheat the BBQ to approximately 500'F (I like it a bit hotter).

Pull out a sheet of foil large enough to fold in half to cover the salmon.  With the shiny side facing up, put a thin layer of olive along the bottom. Place the salmon on top of the olive oil, skin side down.

Take the seasoning and sprinkle a fine layer across the top (or if you'd like it a little spicy [and salty], sprinkle a bit more).

Fold up the salmon so that it creates its own little envelope and that no steam can escape.

Put it on the grill for 20 minutes and take it out immediately. You'll know it's finished when the salmon is nice and pink and flakes apart easily.

Vegetable Quinoa

One package of PC Organic Quinoa
Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can of peaches and cream corn
1 medium carrot, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped

Follow the directions on the quinoa box for cooking. I substitute chicken or vegetable broth for water to add extra flavour.

Put a tablespoon-ish of EVOO and fry up the onion until it is nice and soft. Add all of the vegetables into the wok (or deep frying pan) and stir them around until they are the tenderness that you like (I like them a little bit crunchier = fresher). (Add a little extra EVOO if you need to!)

Mix the Quinoa and Vegetable Medley together and enjoy!

As always, I love to hear your feedback. Let me how yours turns out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#25 Done! Cirque de Soleil

On October 7th, with the help of some very good friends, I was able to complete #25 on my list: See a Cirque de Soleil Performance. 

This was my first time ever seeing Cirque de Soleil, and although I know many people who have been and heard many stories, nothing prepared me for the show that they put on.

We watched the show TOTEM, which is a "fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind", and man was it ever fascinating! The acrobatics and flexibility of these performers was unreal. Most of the night consisted of the six of us sitting there with our jaws to floor, watching the performances in complete awe.

Unfortunately we weren't able to take any pictures inside of the performance, due to copyright, but here are some pics from the Cirque de Soleil website ( to give you an idea of what we experienced.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Like a Kid at Christmas - # 11 done!

# 11. Make Damask Pillow Covers

 I was seriously just like a kid at Christmas when I finished these pillow covers. Seriously, one of the most exciting moments of my week!

They were so easy to make and came out fabulously! I'll admit, it took me a little while to figure out my ancient sewing machine, but once I got it all done, it was so easy!

I started with two pillow covers from Ikea and purchased the damask fabric from Fabricland in Kitchener. A big thanks goes out to The Crafty Gemini on YouTube for the super easy envelope pillow pattern.

Here's what I started with:

Black & White Damask fabric for two sets of pillows. 

White & Black Damask for the second sets of pillows I plan to make. 
The backing of the two pillows is black suede.

Then Ta-da!! My new designer pillows!

Another one crossed off the list!

Friday, September 23, 2011

500 Days of Marriage

It's hard to believe that 500 days ago today, Matt and I officially tied the knot!

That day was one of the best days of my life, but life has definitely gotten better since then.

I can truly say I love Matt more than I even did before we got married. We've definitely had our ups and downs this past year, but each time we come out stronger.

Here are five things I've learned after 500 days of marriage:

1. I am way more particular about things than I thought I was. Okay, maybe anal is a better word. I have learned that sometimes it doesn't matter what way the edges are folded when making the bed, as long as the covers are on. If they don't fall off when we sleep, then it's really okay.

2. Always make sure to make time for date night. No matter how hectic the day, week or month, always make sure you have one night a week (or month) to get together and connect. Whether that's going out for a nice dinner at Golf's Steakhouse, or spending the weekend together cuddling on the couch and watching a season of Lost, always leave room to connect with each other.

3. Never have a deep conversation after 10 pm. I'll admit, we've broken this rule a few times, and after each one, I remember "Don't have a deep conversation after 10". It usually doesn't end up too well.

4. Who needs a duvet in the winter when you sleep with a furnace? Enough said.

5. Getting a dog really does help you understand your parenting styles and prepares you for kids. I realize that this may not be true for everyone, but for us, it has worked wonders. Thankfully to Hank, we're able to work out some of our kinks on him instead of our first born child!

Happy 500 days of Marriage Anniversary, babe. Here's to 500 x 500 x 500 x 500 x infinity more :)

I love you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#8. Knit & finish a baby blanket

I am so excited about this project!

When I found out a few months ago that my cousin Justin and his wife Katie were pregnant, I knew immediately that I wanted to make them something special. I found the most adorable yarn from the Bernat Pipsqueak line, Sittin' Pretty, and knew it would be absolutely the most cuddliest blanket ever for a baby!

So began the challenge. I had only ever made one baby blanket before, and it had been crocheted. It didn't turn out how I expected it to, so I had high hopes for this one.

One and a half months later, and I'm finished,  just in time for Katie's baby shower, which was only two weekends ago.

Obviously pictures don't do it justice, but here are a few shots of the finished product. It even had a little hood that you can bundle the baby up in. Can't wait to see her!

Cutest mommy-to-be ever!