Monday 30 April 2018

Continental Drift: Goals 2018 Update & Link-Up


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) and our favorite thing from the month.


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!


2018 is over  a quarter completed and I wanted to revisit my goals for the year both personally and on the blog.  I find that when I sit down to revisit my goals it paints a clear picture of what I've done and where I need to put more time and energy.  Though I generally stick to whatever goals I originally outlined for myself, I have learned that  it's important to readjust goals accordingly and I don't believe in doing stuff unless I really want to.  Anyway let's take a look at the 5 goals I had set for myself at the beginning of 2018.


1.  Swimming.  I am proud to announce that I completed a 10 week swimming course!!!  I learned to do  the front crawl pretty well, the back crawl okay, and the breath stroke and the whip kick not at all :)  I am now going to the pool once and week to swim laps and am able to do approximately 500m.  At some point, I would love to try out a mini triathlon but don't feel there yet.  My goal it to continue the swimming throughout the summer by trying it out in the lake once a week.  (see readjusting my goal for the summer)



2.  The "Wearing My Closet Challenge" in January was a hit for me, see post here.  I didn't buy anything new and I also lasted through February as well!!!  Recently I purchased a few pieces for spring/summer such as this bright yellow kimono, along with many other pieces that I will be featuring on the blog every Friday and on my IG (below are a few of the outfits that have been posted on IG).  Currently, I am sticking to my budget of $100/month, except for my trip to Portland, but I don't think I really need much else to get me through spring/summer at this point so I am thinking I'll be doing a no shopping May and probably July/August.


3.  Reading.  I am doing pretty well on my goal of reading 12 books for the year.  Blog post coming with my full book review next Wednesday, May 9th!


4.  Cooking.  I loved trying out new recipes from Hello Fresh, full review of the service and recipes found here.  I also have tried some great new recipes from my Yum & Yummer by Greta Podleski that I received for Christmas.  My two favorite recipes have been the Double Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake (super easy and absolute goodness in every bite), and the Sensational Spinach Salad that I've been taking regularly to work for lunch. 




5. Family Time.  We have spent tons of family time together over the first part of the year, hitting the slopes at a local hill, swimming, having cabin time, etc.  One of my specific family time goals was to get back into reading with the girls and  I've definitely made time to read with Anya since the new year.  We are trying to get back into a routine of having her read out loud to us right after supper and us read to her at bedtime.  Halie goes off and reads her own books but for Easter she received the book Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle that her and I are going to start reading together before we go see the movie.

As far as my goals, I will continue to make time to read daily with one of the girls, as I feel we are still struggling with the routine.  I am also happily reading a lot more and find tracking my books very helpful in ensuring that I carve out time to just read instead of watching TV in the evening.

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!


An InLinkz Link-up

Friday 27 April 2018

Hello Brightness: Yellow Kimono & Straw Bag


Spring  has finally arrived!!!  Last week we began the week with a snow storm and four days letter we were into full on spring with a balmy +19C.  All the animals, humans, in hibernation stormed the streets in celebration of the spring that we were all worried would never arrive!!!

Like many others we took advantage of the weather to get outdoors, get our scooters/bikes out and head downtown to walk by our beautiful river.  I of course took advantage of the weather, location and my new found spring energy to get a few outfit shots in.   


I can't think of a better color then the bright yellow to welcome spring!   I had been searching for a yellow kimono for quite some time and stumbled upon this one at Winners of all places.  Honestly, I had given up on finding it locally when to my surprise there it was.   I absolutely fell in love with it and immediately snatched it up.  I've already wore it over a tunic, a white tee, and I think it'll look fantastic with jean shorts during the summer. 


My other favorite spring/summer addition has been this Zara straw bag.  I really wanted the bamboo one form Amazon but getting it shipped to Canada was $$$ so I found this great alternative.  Zara now has a great return policy and I was able to purchase a few items without worrying about whether they would be the right size, since knew I could ship them back free of charge.  The purse is quite large and I am able to fit my wallet, make-up bag and there was still room for more stuff.


I hope that wherever you live you are enjoying the spring weather too.  This weekend I plan on having some patio drinks and getting outdoors with the family as much as possible.  What are your weekend plans?

Shop This Look:

Kimono:  Similar H & M; Similar #2

Straw Bag Zara

Guess Sunglasses (similar)

Friday 20 April 2018

Traveling Light: Spring Packing List for Portland


If you read my post on Wednesday, you know I enjoyed a trip to the city of Portland, Oregon, last week.  I am still flying high from he excitement (yes, I don't get out much).  Over the years I've learned to be much more intentional with my wardrobe including what I pack when going on a trip.  I was tracking the weather in Portland and knew it was similar to Vancouver and Seattle.  I also knew that I could do office casual for our Reading the World conference and that we would likely go out in the evenings. 


I didn't take outfit photographs on this trip so you'll just have to imagine most of them but since the weather is still chilly and it drizzles most of the time I took:


Footwear: booties and flats (I mostly wore the booties because they kept my feet warm & dry)

Shirts: white tee, blouse, tunic (that layers under the kimono/blazer)

Bottoms: leggings & jeans (because they go with everything and don't ever appear dirty)

Layering Pieces: kimono/cardigan of your choice; blazer that is neutral (I choose navy)

Dress:  cute dress that layers under either the blazer/cardigan  (because you'll want to go out & look fab!) 

Outerwear: trench coat (professional and fairly rain resistant)

Another thing I was sure I wanted to  do was take in the city sights and natural beauty by either running or hiking. So I also organized a wardrobe that would allow me to do both of those activities in style and comfort. 


Though I created a minimalist list of items that could fit into a carry-on in theory, with make-up, hair products, accessories and a need for space in the bag so that I can shop, I still took my big suitcase.  Looking forward to sharing a few of the items that I did pick up while in Portland, though I kept it to a minimum. 

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Travel Without Kids!!!! Exploring Portland, Oregon

Travel without kids. Travel on my own. Professional learning trip.   Girls only trip. These are all the things I experienced for the first time in my life.  This past weekend is the first time in over 12 years that I traveled all by myself, without the kids or the husband.  It was so exciting! I  traveled with four other ladies to Portland, Oregon.  We went to see the Opal School and to attend their Reading the World Conference.  One of the ladies, Kelly, and I’ve known each other for years.  Kelly is a SPSD colleague that I look up to and hold up with high regard.  The other ladies, also early childhood educators, I had just met a few times but was excited to get to know them on a professional and personal level.  We all got along super well and I truly feel I’ve developed some new friendships.


Here are some of my favorites from the weekend! 


OpalSchool/Children’s Museum

I am not going to spend a lot of time giving you the details of the conference but I will say that it was truly inspiring for me.  We spent time learning from their educators and exploring their classrooms.  They truly embody and practice the idea of “children as competent learners” in everything that they do.  I have a lot to share with my teachers at SPSD and am looking forward to pursuing some of these ideas as I mentor teachers and also when I return to the classroom in a year and a half.  If you go to Portland with children, the museum is a MUST see, and I think the zoo would be a place to visit as well.


This was the highlight for me.  I went into the forest to a few times on my own to run during lunch while at the conference.  It is breath taking.  To be so close to the city and yet so far into the forest, surrounded by  trees that reach high above, touching their branches up to the skyline.  You know there are roads nearby but get lost in the beauty of the natural world and wonder.  THIS IS A MUST!!!  Kelly and I spent 2. 5 hours hiking the forest and taking various trails that led us to explore the ‘winter garden’, ‘rose garden’ and Washington Park.



Oregon Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial in Washington park was haunting.  Kelly and I were happily taking in the beauty of the day when we suddenly and unexpectedly  came upon it the memorial.  Our mood immediately changed as we took in all the artifacts that were scattered around.  A beautiful bench sprinkled with rose petals caught our eye first and then the baby that was clearly laid to rest there as a symbol of all the young lives lost.  We paused and  noticed that the pathway leading up to the large stone memorial was scattered with discarded  items to represent all that was lost and taken from the Jewish people.  An opened suitcase.  A teddy bear.  A violin, that once produced a beautiful melody now laid broken like the people who once owned it.  A young child’s boot.  The large head stone was filled with words t of the horrors that once were.  It was a time of quietness, respect, of grief, and  of reflection.  We allowed  ourselves to feel and be swept by the horrors of the past.  As we continued our hike, we found ourselves taking time to walk in silent reflection and gratitude. 


Powell’s Book Store

I love books so this was a must see.  Powell’s book store is stocked with books and takes up one whole city block.  Being teachers, we mostly spent time browsing in the kids section for new picture books to inspire little minds.


Tom McCall Waterfront Park & Saturday Market

Kelly and I ran a 5km loop on the first day down by the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  It was a perfect way to stretch our legs after hours on the plane and to see the cities bridges. The path was filled with runners, bikers and walkers which was lovely to see.  On Saturday morning we all headed down towards the Tom McCall Waterfront Park for their Saturday Market.   We weaved in and out of people and  vendors filled with crafts, jewelry, art, food, nick knacks and so on.  Many of us walked away purchasing the softest sweatshirt and shirts of Portland form a local vendor.  I got my girls and I matching ones J


Accommodations, Food and Wine

We stayed in a beautiful Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown, which is also the last independent hotel in the downtown area.  The rooms were modern, with a stunning bathroom, modern kitchenette and beds that you could spend hours laying in, which we opted out of 😊.  They also had a great light breakfast every morning, and a wine and cheese happy hour that we took advantage off before venturing into the city streets. 

For all the foodies out there, the city will not disappoint!

My favorites were:


Imperial Restaurant: Food was unique and a classy evening out.

Petunia’s Pies & Pastries:  The cakes were to die for and the coffee was excellent and GLUTEN-FREE!!! 

Teardrop Lounge:  Fun little lounge with a variety of drinks to choose from.  An excellent place to stop after a nice dinner and before heading back to the hotel.

Voodoo Doughnuts:  I am not a doughnut person but these were AMAZING and a fun experience.  I got a fritter, drizzled with chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Can you say sugar overload?!?  I ate almost ate the whole thing.

I feel rejuvenated both professionally and personally.  I was struggling with the winter blues that seemed to be hanging on and getting away like this for five days was an incredible gift.  Getting off the airplane and seeing my little families smiling faces was the icing on the cake. 


I know that traveling big cities, exploring new territory, is something I want to continue doing.  Though I love all inclusive beach vacations, I feel ready to do some new types of travel here and there, when we can afford it. 

Tell me your favorite travel destinations with and without kids. 

Friday 6 April 2018

5x5 Challenge: Creating and Recreating With Your Clothes

A few weeks ago I decided to join Ruth from My Little Nest on her 5x5 challenge.  Basically you pick out 5 staple pieces from your closet and you use them to recreate 5 days worth of outfits.  You can add flare to the outfits by using accessories, shoes, bags, and jackets (at least I did).  A couple of things I loved about this challenge were:


a) creating multiple outfits out of so few pieces was so much fun and it really makes you think about which pieces are versatile in your closet.


b) I absolutely loved not having a closet full of choices.  I like choice but often become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices and have a difficult time making a choice.  SIDENOTE: I was recently listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking about how we actually increase anxiety in our children, and frustration for ourselves when we give children an infinite amount of choices.  They weren't saying don't give them a choice but narrow it to 2 or 3 options rather then a store full.  I find it difficult to make a choice and not second guess myself when I have a closet full of options.  With only 5 base pieces to work with I was able to quickly choose my outfits for each day and get going without fuss. 


I choose  business casual pieces because I needed them to work for the office environment, though most people did a casual selection of pieces.  I went with a floral dress, basic black pants, a fuzzy white sweater, chambray and floral top.  My black pants can take me a long way, as it's totally acceptable to wear basic black bottoms over and over again.  A good fitted pair of black pants are a MUST for anyone who works outside of the home.  Let's take a look at my creations. 


Day #1 Dress & Sweater

I made it more into a skirt and sweater on this first day.  I've done this trick before with this dress and a different sweater here





Day #2 Chambray, Black Pants, Blazer & Some Pearls

My chambray top is soft and somewhat casual looking for my office space.  I spruced it up by throwing on a navy blazer and you can never go wrong with adding pearls to the mix.  My sweet co-worker loved it so much she recreated it! 



Day #3 Dress & Denim Jacket

For a brief moment it felt like spring and so I thought I could do bare legs and flats!!!!  It was super brief as we got more snow shortly after :( and now everything is melting, brown and disgusting.  Sigh.  But for this one day it was glorious and my hopes were high that spring was here. 



Day #4 Cold-Shoulder Floral & Black Pants

This top makes a statement all on its on.  I always feel polished and springy in it!  It's definitely in  heavy rotation the last few weeks as I am trying to incorporate more 'spring' feel clothes into my wardrobe but am finding resistance from the weather in Saskatchewan.





Day #5 Fuzzy Sweater on Repeat

Added a touch of color to this B & W ensemble with burgundy heels.  My trick for wearing cute shoes in winter is, I wear my boots/rubber boots/sneakers to work and then put on my cute shoes once I actually get there.  :)




That's a wrap.  Loved this challenge and can see myself participating in it again or even just randomly choosing a week to do 5 X 5 by  myself. 


What 5 pieces would you choose?