Thursday, 12 July 2018

What To Wear to a Winery: Rose Romper Style & Traveling Without Children


 

When this trip came together in March and when I saw this sweet little romper on sale I knew instantly that I wanted to wear it to my first winery outing.  Within minutes I had my outfit picked out in my mind for the event, straw bag (which I didn't have at the time), my Guess sandals (for steady feet), straw hat (which I skipped), chunky Vega H & B necklace, and a shawl or denim jacket if there was a breeze, but what I've discovered that this romper actually looks fabulous with my stark white blazer.  All items linked below.  



 

My sister wanted my girls to come out west for a visit and spend some quality time with them.  Be still my heart.  The girls ended flying alone out to BC, while  Logan and I made a mini-vacy out of the drive out to meet them.  We rarely go places without the girls, it just hasn't been our life thus far, so we took the opportunity to do a few adult-ish things.  Our first event was hiking in Lake Louise up to the Tea House.  A moderate hike that we were able to do in 50 minutes, but most people take 1-2 hours depending on fitness levels.  It's worth the climb to be able to the see  Lake Agnes, with snow still glistening in the midst of beautiful, lush greenery.  The climb is busy, a tourist attraction, but yet you feel completely alone and at peace. A fun fact, the staff who work at the Tea House have to do the climb up and down each day and also have to carry the garbage down from the Tea House.  All the food supplies is brought in on a helicopter or brought up by the staff.  



 

In Kelowna we stayed with  my high school friend, Carling, and her darling little family, which is a whole different post.  My one big wish was to visit some of the wineries because  I've never had that opportunity and I really wanted to enjoy and experience it without kids.  We picked two to check out, Quails Gate and Mission Hill.  Our first strop was Quails Gate and it's beautifully manicured estate, full of bright flowers and lush gardens for you to stroll through.  It makes you feel homey and at easy.  You go around the back to walk between the vines to a stunning view overlooking  the river.  We also had lunch in their restaurant, which is rated #1 in Kelowna.  We each ordered steak and paired it up with their Merlot that was recommend (we also bought several bottles).  After lunch we indulged in some wine sampling and walked away with several bottles of Merlot, Gewurztraimer, Pinot Grio, and Rose.  I would highly recommend this winery.




Next we went over to Mission Hill.  I love their wine and I was so excited to go to the winery.  Upon driving up to their grounds, I was super impressive, with their tall clock tower overlooking most of the Okanagan.  The paved path is lined with sculptures and  modern art.  The wooden doors are impressive and catch your eye immediately.  The store is decked out with accessories, pictures of Will and Kate's  royal visit in gold plated frames everywhere, cookbooks, wine, etc.  Impressive but pretentious in my opinion.  You aren't allowed to walk beyond the paved area, which really takes you less then 5 minutes to walk through and then you can do the wine tasting.  We did have a tour booked which was just okay, we went into the cellar but didn't really learn about the wine making business.  Overall I don't think I'd return as I felt there was little to do or see but it is very impressive.   Next time I'd like to check out Cedar Creek and Summerhill wineries.  



 

Our days in the car, driving through the mountains were incredible.  For the first few days we talked off and on but also enjoyed the silence.  We listened to one audio-book and began another one.  We made new memories for us to talk and reminisce about for years to come.    On our way home, we had our sweet girls and experienced lots of fun family things in BC and Alberta, stayed tuned for details!   


Shop This Post:

BB Dakota Romper (similar)

Hillberg & Berk Vega Necklace

Zara Straw Bag

Guess Rhinestone Sandals (similar)


Saturday, 30 June 2018

Continental Drift: Happiness Is....

My family.  The two little humans, my husband, my parents, sister, extended family and my friends.  Those are the things I hold closest to my heart.  They are the people that I want to share this life with.  They are the ones that help pick my pieces up when I just cant muster up the strength to do so.  That being said today I am writing about the things that make ME happy and help me become the best version of myself so that I can give love back to those people.Recently I was talking to a friend and we were talking about the importance of knowing how to make yourself happy and not putting that responsibility on other people.  Here is what I've discovered and rediscovered over the years. 

 

1.  Water, a new discovery.  Over the past five years I've discovered that water makes me  feel calm and at ease.  I love just being near the water, watching it from the shoreline or being on it.  I've discovered that being in the quietness of the morning on my paddleboard is as good for my soul, being pulled behind the boat with music blasting.  This year I learned to swim and have added being in the water to my weekly workout schedule.  It grounds me.  It makes me take a deep breath.

 


 

2.  Reading; rediscovery.  When I was in grade 6 we our whole class came up with an alteration  names for each other as a community building activity.  Mine was Bookworm Bojana.  At the time I was still struggling from the trauma of living through war, leaving my home behind and moving to a new country.  Once I discovered how to read in English, I guess I was probably hading in and behind the books.  I was mostly happy and enjoyed spending time with friends, but I did find solace between pages of books that I spend hours reading.  As an extrovert I think I was searching for a balance and some time on my own.I've notice in my 30's how I crave time on my own, in silence more and more.  This year one of my goals was to read more and I am finding as a result of that goal that both  my husband and I are  reading more.  We often shut the TV off earlier in the evening and go read, or sit on our deck in quietness and just dive into our books.  It feels good to make time for that once again.



 

3.  Fashion, feeling pretty.  There was a time when I just didn't have the time or desire to care for myself as much.  After two maternity leaves I realized how comfortable I had become in my life. I also realized that with the "comfort" came a feeling dumpy and unmotivated.  Getting dressed up to go to work helped me find myself, the fun, creative, feminine, pretty, part of myself.  Once I tapped back into  I realized how happy and good it made me feel to put effort into myself.  So here I am and the birth of Bo's Bodacious Blog. 

 

4.  Traveling, beach vs. city.  Hmmm.  Well, as mentioned I love the beach and beach vacations.  They are easy and the kids love, love, love them.  It's a break from life.  The thing is, I am discovering that I am ready for a change.  I really enjoy vacations on the go like Portland, London, Disneyworld, Paris, etc. Vacations that I get to mix in exploration, nature, history and new discoveries.  I think I am leaning more towards city vacations but I know that my kiddos aren't at an age to enjoy it.  I also knew that when we were deciding to purchase  our cabin, that vacations were going to be cut back significantly.  What do you and your family do to balance out vacations?  Do you do family or couples vacations?  How do you budget for them?


 

5.  Running.  Happiness, energy and peacefulness.  running is how I work out my feelings.  Happy.  Sad.  Frustrated.  Anxious.  Excited.  All of it.  I feel the emotions rising in my chest, I run.  I process life when I run.  I pick myself back up when I run.  I plan my work PD when I run.  I overcome obstacles in my mind when I run.  It's my coping mechanism for life.  It sounds strange but when I can't run, I get anxious within in days and I feel my insides getting out of control, and mixed up.  It's a bit like a drug.  I will say that I can substitute other forms of exercise and feel good as well such as spinning, snowboarding, walking, cross-country skiing, but I like it to be fast. 



 

What are things that make you happy?  What bring joy to your life?  What makes you the best version of yourself?

 

 

Welcome to our Continental Drift linkup! The reason we are  dabbling at a link up was that we wanted to connect and learn from bloggers from all across the world about their passions and lifestyle.  We will host the  Continental Drift link-up the first of every month.  The concept for myself and my fellow hosts (Mutton StyleSydney Shop Girl ) is that we, the hosts, will write a post about our life on our continent/Country/state over the past month (hence the name).  Starting June 1st we will have a prompt that we are writing about.  You are welcome to join us using the prompt  or link-up with  any family friendly topic that you like,  be it DIY, cooking, sewing, crafts, lifestyle, de-cluttering, traveling, moving homes, fashion, style, beauty, make up, etc. Your hosts to this linkup come from UK, Canada and Australia.  Enjoy getting to know each other! 


Now please follow each of your hosts Bojana of Bodaciousblog, Sydney Shop Girl and Mutton Style  on at least one platform (Instagram, Twitter or blog) and comment on their blogs.  It would be great if you could read and comment on the blog above yours in the link up.  You might make a new friend. Please also do add a link back to our blogs on your posts to help the linkup grow.  Thanks for stopping by, we look forward to learning more about everyone!










Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Mommy Diaries: What About Life Insurance?

 

 

 
 

In March of 2017 I was 8 months pregnant with our second child.  I was also applying to keep my job amidst a significant re-org at the location I had worked at as a Professional Engineer for the last 11 years.  While I was successful at securing a position within the new structure of the organization, many individuals were not.  This experience caused me to pause. I realized that many of our family’s benefits were tied up in my employment.  What if I was laid off in my mid-40’s?  Would securing life insurance be as easy as it was when I was 25?  35? What would the premium’s cost us?  I set out to demystify life insurance so that my husband and I could ensure our family’s financial future.

 

 

 

The first time we spoke to someone about life insurance, my head felt like it was about to explode.  How much coverage should we get? What type should we get?  Term Life?  Whole life? Critical Illness – something we had never had before?  I remembered reading “The Wealthy Barber” byDavid Chilton in University for extra credit and it was easy to read and helpful.  I dusted it off and re-read Chapter 5: Wills, Life Insurance and Responsibility. The information, while basic, grounded me.  With that information, we sat down and figured out how much coverage, in a multiple of $100k, we would truly need.  One item in the book that is worth mentioning is that if you DON’T have dependents, David Chilton argues that you don’t need life insurance.  It would be like having car insurance when you don’t own a car.  He also argues that as you get older and your assets to liabilities ratio increases, that you reach a point where you are “self-insured”.  I believe acquiring a life insurance policy is a personal choice, but only those that need it should get it.  I would recommend everyone read this book, especially Chapter 5!

 

Now, the topic of Term Life versus Whole Life.  Term life is a policy that is in place for a period of 10 years, 20 years or 30 years, therefore often referred to as Term10, Term20 or Term30 respectively.  If you die while the term life policy is in place, you will receive a payout; if you don’t need it, then you don’t receive any money once the term ends. 

 

Whole life however is in place for your entire life and has a guaranteed payout at the time of your death whenever that should happen.  I can understand the appeal of this option as the thought of paying into something like a Term Life Insurance and never seeing anything at the end of it may feel like a poor investment.  However, the premiums for Whole Life are orders of magnitude larger than Term Life.  David Chilton suggests that you should buy Term and invest the difference.  If you don’t trust that you will invest the difference, then whole life can be an investment vehicle and in that case, I see the value of going that direction.

 

No discussion on life insurance should omit covering underwriting.  I want to stress that if the company you are considering does not do underwriting at the time of application, then run away, run very far away!  Underwriting is the process by which an insurance company evaluates whether you are “insurable”.  Many company’s do this at the time of application, which to me seems like the only logical time however other company’s do it at the time a claim is entered which could be decades after the individual applied for insurance.  At that time the company does their due diligence on your insurability and at that point in time they can decline you coverage.  I know that I would rather know up front if I am denied rather than thinking I am insured for decades only to find out my investment was useless and my family is not financially secure.

 

As you can see, this is a huge topic and I am already past the word count for this blog!  Before I conclude, I want to touch briefly on getting Critical Illness for your Children.  Sun Life Financial, the institution we chose to go with, offers CI for youth and at age 25, if no claim has been made, they would return 75% of the premiums paid to you.  It also triggers a turnover to your adult child to take over the policy should they choose at the same rates that were secured at the time of inception.  We also chose to apply for Critical Illness insurance for my  husband and I.  The company I work for has Short Term and Long Term Disability coverage but that only ensures Income Continuance.  CI would provide a payout of $25k/$50k/$100k or whatever level of coverage you selected.  This then gives you a significant cash flow to seek out therapies, cover extra expenses incurred due to travel for treatment, or pay for a trip of a lifetime; whatever you decide to do with that money.   

 

I have merely scratched the surface on this topic.  My personal belief is that everyone should have a stand-alone policy that is not tied to your employment if you can afford it.  The world is changing and organizations are getting leaner and re-org’s seem to be more and more prevalent.  While I was safe this time, the next time I may not be.  It relieves me to know that should my employment end with my current company, I am not going to be overwhelmed with exploring this topic when my family needs its financial future secure.

 

 

It is something I hope I never need to use, but I truly gain comfort in knowing that my family’s financial security is sound should the worst happen.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Summer Office Style: Ruffles and Tassels

 

My favorite outfit combo for the office during the spring/summer is a dress and heels.  Easy peasy,  lemon squeezy.  Dresses are a grab and go kind of look that totally tricks others into thinking you spent time and effort to look good.  Think about it, there is no top/bottom matching necessary, you just need shoes and maybe some accessories, and done! 

 

Now, how adorable is this dress?!?  The different shades of purple, hot this season, the ruffles and check out the adorable high neckline.  I simply love everything about this dress.  It was passed down to me from my sister, that's how I do thrift shopping without the $ tag. 

Tee-hee-hee.     

 

I threw on a white blazer for the the office, since it can be chilly with the air conditioning,  but forgot to snap a picture.  I also pulled out these  big, dangly, tassel earrings to add  a little flair to the outfit.   I've had these beauties in my stash for a few years now but they don't get worn nearly as much as they should.  Stell and Dot doesn't carry them anymore but I fournd som great options for cheap down below. 



 

What's your summer office go-to?

 

Shop This Post:

Ruffle Dress (option 1; option 2)

Zara Straw Bag

Earrings (option 1; option 2)

Friday, 8 June 2018

Girl, I Am Not Giving You the Cold Shoulder

 

 

Generally off the shoulder dresses, shirts, rompers, etc. are not my jam because let's be honest when you are 30+ and a C cup, you need/want to wear a bra.  Am I right?!?  I am not a big fan of strapless bras but if you have a kind that you swear by I'd love to hear from you.  That being said, this little dress has been in my closet now for 3 years and I wear it a lot.  I just love how it feels and moves on my body.  It's the perfect dress for extreme heat as it's breathable, light and flowy.  I also love styling it with a belt or letting it flow.  I wore this dress for Mother's Day weekend and it was absolutely the perfect mix of trendy and comfortable.










Since my dress is a few years old,  I decided to gathered up a few options for you to check out that are out for spring/summer 2018. 



Dex Printed Off-the-Shoulder Dress:  You can't get much more trendy than this dress.  Off the shoulder.  Cute Print.  Bell sleeves with little tie-up details.  A ruffle wrap front.  Sigh.  I think I am in love.  $34 CAN

 

Dex Stripe Off-the-Shoulder Dress:  Want to update your stripes?  This just might be the dress for you.  $41 CAN

 

Guess Ombre Off-the-Shoulder Dress:  Who says ombre is only a hair coloring term?  I think this is just the perfect dress for the beach during the day and dinner on the coast in the evening.   Lace detailing.  I love that it has little shoulder tie-ups, giving us the option of wearing a bra, and it's fully lined.   If I was going to pick one of these to splurge on, this would be it.   $108 CAN

 

JustFab Printed Dress:  I have been happy with every purchase form Justfab and the price point can't really be beat.  This is an everyday summer dress.  I love the bright ptint, the tie waist, light fabric and pockets.  I love pockets!  $ 39.93 USD

 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Mommy Diaries: Raising Tween Girls & Laughing About It

 

I always envisioned myself as a mom of babies, toddlers and little people.  It’s what I dreamed of for years before actually becoming a mother.  What I never really saw in my life was being a mom beyond that young age and when that happened, like anything else, I just continued to learn alongside my girls and tread new territory.  Now I have two girls who are considered “tweens”, 8-12 years of age.  How did that happen? !?  I am on both sides of this right now, Anya (8) is in the beginning of this stage and Halie (11 ½) has been in it for a while.  As with any children, my girls are very different in the ways they approach life, friends, activities, school, etc.  The changes that I am talking about are social and emotional and how they have resulted in me having to change and adapt as a mom.  Here are some things that snuck up on me and made me re-assess how things have been up to that point in our lives. 

 

 

1.      Make-up and Deodorant.  Eeek.  Phew.  It literally seemed to happen overnight.  One minute it’s that baby smell and the next you have BO.  I didn’t even know what deodorant was best for this purpose so I quickly searched online to find information and suggestions.  We settled on buying Tom’s at our local drugstore and it works really well.  The girls don’t mind the smell and I feel good knowing that it’s mostly natural.  I will also say that the BO kind of came out of nowhere and it comes and goes, and is not consistent.

 

 

Another thing that happened was we went from kids make-up, you know the Barbie flashy colors, to wanting the cover girl stuff.  At first I wasn’t really sure what my stance was and I kind try to deter Halie from it.  I quickly noticed she was going to  experiment regardless so I decided if this was what she wanted, I was better to help educate then to scold.  We  have talked about why it’s not necessary or overly good to put a bunch of make up on her face  but settled on having a natural look if she was going to wear make-up.  I also took the opportunity to introduce some new products for washing her face daily, including the MakeUp Eraser cloth and Cetaphil gentle cleanser.  Another thing to consider is who pays for the make-up?  We’ve decided that   make-up is an extra and is not our responsibility but she is welcome to use her allowance money on it if she chooses to. 

 

 

 

 

2.     Phones & Technology.  Hmm.  Remember land lines?  Yeah.   We finally decided to ditch ours and within 8 months we realized that Halie was wanting to stay connected with her friends outside of school hours.  So what do you do?  Some kids have tablets, some iPads, some phones.  We were totally unsure of what to do, so we have gone through a mix of things to be honest.  Sometimes she borrows our phone for talking on (this is very rare as that’s not really how they communicate much), uses text or snapchat with friends.  We have been approached for an IG account which at this point we have declined her for.  Thoughts?  Technology use is a big one, so it’s worth having a conversations with your spouse around this.   We have discovered that keeping an open mind and assessing things as they happen works best for us, we rarely say no to things forever, but have said ‘no’ for right now. 

 

 

3.     Birthday Parties!  Good news.  The over the top, large, full of screaming and running children, birthday parties are just about behind you.  When the girls were younger we invited EVERYONE.  The more the merrier concept.  No excluding people, etc.  By the end of grade 2 and beginning of grade 3, you will notice your children begin to form closer ties to smaller amounts of people.  They still play and include others, but they form some stronger relationships based on their own personality and interests.   The good news is that birthday parties become more exclusive and smaller.  The bad news is they want SLEEPIOVERS!

 

4.     Toys.  This is a good sag-way into the types of toys you buy.  I find we are no longer going to Toys R Us regularly and honestly the last time I was on their website/store was Christmas time.  Toys become less and less desirable, though Anya still enjoys getting little toys such as LOLs.  Baby dolls, even Barbie’s, kitchen stuff, dress-up, etc. are for the most part gone.   The one thing that both of my girls still enjoy are stuffies (insert eye-roll) and their American Girl dolls.  Anya (8) still does play with toys but I know her days are numbered (this makes me terribly sad), but Halie pretty much entertains herself with make-up, her friends, writing, reading, playing card/board games, etc.  One thing that I will say that they still completely engage in is playing and creating with loose parts.   They love being creative and building things using blocks, marbles, gems, craft supplies, natural materials.  Just the other day the girls constructed a habitat for caterpillars, they love building forts in the woods by our cabin, or creating Goldberg rubrics.  If you need gift ideas for tweens check out my suggestions here and here

 
 

5.     Grunting as a form of communication & mood swings.  Hahaha.  Laugh people because it’ll keep you sane.  Your sweet child will be just that, SWEET one minute and grunting, stomping, eye-rolling, the next.  “Grrr.”  “I know mom.” “I hate you.”  Those are actually words of love and understand that if you are not receiving these sounds/phrases, then you might be failing as a parent in fact.  Here is the thing.  They are just figuring stuff out and you are too.  Once I was able to come to terms that I wasn’t there BFF and that wasn’t really my role, I was able to focus my attention on what I feel my job is, to help them be the best versions of themselves right now and in the future.  So sometimes it’s my job to say or be unpopular for the moment, but I always explain the WHY of our choices.  Sometimes I don’t do it right in the moment, if it seems heated or my child doesn’t want to hear it, but then I talk to them when things are calmer.

 
 

There are many more things that I can write about but I’d love to hear your stories of parenting.  If you would like to write a blog post on something you’ve experienced, regardless of your child’s age, at some point in the future I’d love to hear from you or write in the comments below.  Thanks for stopping by.