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Tuesday
Jun132017

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY | Our Fail-Proof Father's Day Gift Guide

via RW&CO.

Originally posted in The CLOSET

My husband was just away for 8 days in Winnipeg. I knew that we would miss him. But I also knew I could handle it. If nothing else, I know how to get sh*% (shtuff) done. As laissez-faire as my friends might think of me, momming and running my own business have taught me how to multi-task like a pro. And I did it all. I got it all done. We got to school on time. After drop-off, I managed to get from Kitchener to Toronto and back again each day in time for pick-up. I didn't miss a single soccer practice. The laundry was folded, the house was clean(ish), they practiced their piano. We even managed to not run out of groceries.  I was exhausted all. the. time. but it all got done. 

But here's the thing: we didn't quite get it all done. Because it's not all about checking off lists and showing up. It's the other stuff my husband does every day that makes his absence felt every time he goes away. It's the jokes and the laughing and the fun. It's the time he takes with our kids to talk about their deep thoughts at bedtime and recount their dreams at breakfast.  It's the way he knows how to let things go and sometimes be late and be toootally okay with it. Oh, and it's also the getting up early because he knows I'm not a morning person and taking out the garbage (we like to keep some things tradish) and the help with literally everything else  around the house that I miss a lot, too. Dads are good like that. 

With Father's Day around the corner, it's time to thank the amazing dads in our lives. From sporty to stylish, from baller to boss, we've got your dad covered this Father's Day...

SEE THE BEST GIFTS FOR DADS HERE...

 

 

Monday
Jun052017

HOW WE ROLL | The Vaughan Mills Shopping Shuttle Returns

 

My shopping compadres: the lovely Momming Inc. ladies, Classy on the Run & The Curious Creature. 

As someone who likes to shop (a LOT), I've developed several coping strategies to make my shopping experiences as joyful as possible. My goals are always the same:

1) Find cute stuff

2) Score amazing deals I can brag about later

3) Buy cute stuff (see #1)

4) Feel happiness/elation/joy

5) Avoid stress to keep the happiness/elation/joy rolling (see #4)

I personally find things like parking, driving and 407 tolls take away significantly from my shopping joy. So, the Vaughan Mills shopping shuttle is my go-to. When VM announced that the shuttle was back for yet another year, I gave a little woot-woot and hopped on the GO from Kitchener to Toronto to celebrate the shuttle's summer launch.

I arrive at Union Station and head to 123 Front Street at 9:15 am to grab my shuttle wristband with fellow shopping enthusiasts Momming Inc., Classy on the Run & The Curious Creature (aka Trouble). We go by blogger aliases because we take shopping that seriously. Seriously. You can register for a shuttle wristband the morning of but they recommend you arrive around 8:30 to secure your spot. The coach usually fills up quickly because it's FREE (seriously) with free WiFi on board - Vaughan Mills is a bit of a trek if you're coming from downtown so the shuttle is a no-brainer. The shuttle holds 55 passengers and runs round-trip rides twice daily from Union Station to Vaughan Mills (full directions & details here).

After spilling half of my latte down the front of my shirt whilst talking a little too enthusiastically about pom-poms (again, seriously), the mom bloggers grabbed me some napkins, patted me down, and then we all hopped on board. The shuttle left promptly at 10 am and arrived at Vaughan Mills by 10:25 (!).  

I had several missions to accomplish by 3 pm so I had to focus. On my list: a few Sephora splurges, anything and everything with pom-poms and/or fringe, summer shoes (always shoes), and possibly a few things for my husband and kids because they're cute. I also had a styling session and video shoot booked with girl boss, Katie Zeppieri so had to be extra efficient. Luckily, Vaughan Mills makes shopping easy. I found my pom-poms at DSW and HR2, scored some adorable kids clothes at J.Crew Factory, did a little damage at Nine West Studio and Capezio and then splurged, as planned, at Sephora. Quick lunch at Aroma Espresso Bar (my fave), very pink styling sesh with Katie for Girl Talk Day, and then back on the shuttle for 3 pm. 

Looking for a quick, easy and fun way to get your summer shopping on? The Vaughan Mills Shopping Shuttle is officially rolling and operates from now until September 30th, returning Nov 24th - Dec 26th (shuttle doesn't operate Dec 25th) just in time for your Holiday shopping.  

See you on board! After all, I've already thought of a few more summer things I just might need ;)

Um, did somebody say FREE? 

Love, exciting and new, all aboard, we're expecting youuuuu....

I didn't get the memo. I made the memo. #matchy

Distractions...

Styling sesh with girl boss Katie Zeppieri...

A few of my fun scores...

Friday
May192017

LONG WEEKEND FEELS | 35 Off-Duty Fashion Wins

via H&M

Originally posted in The CLOSET

There's nothing like a camping trip to relax and unwind. Putting up a tent that may or may not leak (who doesn't love a game of Russian Roulette?), battling mosquitoes All. Night. Long. and peeing in the forest at 2 am is pretty much the same as a weekend at Langdon Hall for me.  Bears. Oh wait. I lied. I'd rather be shopping. 

Whether you're a hardcore camper (props) or prefer to take is easy for reals like me (yay!), the first long weekend in May is a big deal for Canadians. It marks the unofficial start of summer. It kicks off a season of patios and parties and generally just being way more social. It means backyard barbecues and pitchers of sangria and spending time with friends. It could mean cottages for some and glamping for others. And for me, it means the start of a season where we can dress for the weekend like we really mean it. Slides and cute sneakers absolutely scream 'off-duty'.  Easy, breezy dresses and cute jumpsuits let you look casual enough for any random weekend invite but still super chic. And the accessories! I'm all about weekend accessories. Scroll through the slides below for 35 off-duty fashion wins to wear this weekend and the next and the next...

Happy (almost) May 2-4! Hope you do SO much chilling.

READ MORE...

 

Friday
May122017

MOM'S THE WORD | My Dream Mother's Day Brunch with Ann Taylor

1. Bandana Statement Earrings | 2. Pleated Block Print Skirt | 3. Square Fringe Scarf | 4. Foldover Straw Clutch | 5. Honor Suede Heeled Sandal | 6. Halter Midi Dress | 7. Wide Leg Marina Pant | 8. Seersucker Fluted Sleeve Top

I don't want anything for Mother's Day. Honestly, I don't. Oh, except for brunch. I would like brunch please. I know I'm lucky to be a mom and I wouldn't trade my littles for all of the brunches in the world. But still...when I scroll through my Insta feed every weekend and see my kidless friends drinking, laughing, eating their way through gorgeous brunch after brunch, I feel the FOMO. The more I say brunch, the more I want brunch. 

So, just now, it's been settled. Cute husband has booked us into our new local hotspot, The Walper Hotel, for Mother's Day tea. It's not brunch, because literally ALL of the brunch spots are already booked (naturally), but this is close. So now, I'm into outfit planning mode with a little help from Ann Taylor

The new collection is so on-point for spring and it absolutely screams 'Perfect Brunch/Tea Where Nothing Goes Wrong and Your Kids Don't Destroy the Place and You Actually Get to Finish Your Mimosa'. Doesn't it? The citrus hues (that yellow dress!) and the pretty blues will help me enjoy this Mother's Day in epic style with my favourite people in the world. In my dream, nobody is complaining and they are all wearing white with no blobs of strawberry jam in sight. Stop laughing, it's my dream. Check out Ann Taylor's lovely love letter to moms below. The days may be long but the time really is much too short. Happy Mother's Day x

Friday
May052017

FULL STOP | Unwind with the Meditation & Rejuvenation Retreat at the Hazelton Hotel

You know the feeling. That feeling on that first true day of spring where you can finally leave your house with no jacket on. That feeling when you realize how much effort you've been putting into just surviving the winter for the past 6 months, where your shoulders finally drop from your earlobes for the first time in ages as you soak in those first glorious rays of sun. It's that feeling where you realize just how much you missed that feeling and didn't know how badly you needed it back. The Hazelton Hotel has this feeling all figured out. 

I was invited to The Hazelton Hotel to experience their new Meditation & Rejuvenation package earlier this week and (way-too-eagerly-to-be-cool) rsvp'd yes, please. I've been stressed lately (work, kids, the world, life) so unwinding sounds like just the thing I need. The Yabu Pushelberg-designed hotel, if you've never been, is currently sitting comfortably atop the city's luxe list. It's perfectly small (77 rooms) and beautiful and refined and Justin Bieber stays here when he's in town, so there's that. But also, the place itself is just SO. From the dim lighting to the plush carpets, from the way the concierge greets you in an eager-to-please in the most pleasing possible way to that perfect mix of modern and classic design - the Hazelton Hotel has already got it all just right. The "Meditation & Rejuvenation" package, which I'm about to try out in a morning press party, is taking it next level, if that's even possible. I'm led upstairs to a suite full of eager (but not too eager, natch) editors and influencers and otherwise ready-to-zen women. We start slow. 

MEDITATION

Our experience begins with a morning meditation session led by Reiki Master and lululemon Ambassador, Tara Good. I speak with Tara briefly before our session and she is as calm, composed and chill as they come - I am certain she never gets distracted by her smartphone. Lucky guests who come for the Meditation & Rejuvenation Retreat at The Hazelton Hotel score an hour of this zen goddess' expertise in the comfort of their own room, during which time they will learn to breathe fully, disconnect deeply and leave their daily stresses behind.

“Mindfulness studies have increased in recent years,” says Hani Roustom, General Manager of the Hazelton Hotel, “many people seek to find the same inner peace while away as they do while at home. The Hazelton Hotel is proud to partner with leaders in the mindfulness and wellness space, like lululemon ambassador Tara Good, to bring mediation and rejuvenation to our guests allowing them to experience the same inner peace and tranquility during their stay as they strive for in their daily lives.” 

 As someone who has never meditated, I can't tell you exactly what we do in those 10 minutes. What I do know is that we close our eyes, engage in simple breathing exercises, listen to some soothing words about mindfulness, and when I open my eyes again, I feel like she's added an extra 6 months to my life. At least. No, I will go on record to say that Tara Good added a solid year to my life. This is precisely how I will justify bi-annual weekends away at the Hazelton Hotel from now on. There is no arguing with habits that increase lifespan, right? OM-azing. 

Blame the blurry pic on my state of zen. Seriously. 

DINING

An early morning meditation calls for a healthy breakfast to keep the zen flowing. We're treated to a beautiful breakfast by the Hazelton Hotel's ONE Restaurant, brought to life today by chef Darby Piquette. He explains the importance of food designed to taste as good as it looks, featuring bold colours and incredibly robust flavours. Chef Darby and Chef Marc McEwan will change the menu regularly (because no one would ever want to stop their creative juices from flowing), but guests can always expect supremely healthy dishes loaded with freshness and flavour, plus fresh cold-pressed juices made daily at the Village Juicery with recipes provided by ONE. I sampled everything from fresh fruit and muffins to homemade hummus and tuna poke bowls, but it was the smoothie bowl that fully blew my mind. 

The Best. Smoothie. Bowl. I've. Ever. Tasted. 

SPA

No Meditation & Rejuvenation Retreat would ever be complete without a trip to the spa to fully unwind. The Spa at the Hazelton by Valmont feels like a revelation if you've never been - it's cozy and exclusive and chic, and feels like exactly the kind of sanctuary you'd want to visit if you were Beyonce and had paparazzi lurking outside. I currently have no paparazzi waiting for me but if I did, yes, this is exactly where I'd go. We take a tour of the spa, and check out the ultra-pretty and private hotel pool plus the refined treatment rooms. We then head to the 'boudoir' where we test out some of the key products by innovative Swiss brand, Valmont. The Valmont facial is often touted as the gold standard of facials and we learn about the science behind all of the hype, including Valmont's use of primitive collagen in its products. 

“Our facials not only nourish and improve the appearance of skin,” notes Fabienne Sebaoun, Marketing Manager, Valmont Canada, “but also allow guests to unwind and de-stress, which is critical for finding balance, feeling rejuvenated and for their overall well-being.”

I can't help myself - I book myself in for a hydrating facial the very next day where I'm scrubbed and steamed into a state of ultimate zen. As I glide out of The Hazelton Hotel, shoulders noticeably relaxed, deeply breathing in the warm spring air, with a Valmont glow I can't help but check out in the lobby mirror, I can feel the last of my worries slip away...

 

The “Meditation and Rejuvenation” package for two is now available for $950.00 CAD plus applicable taxes per night for an executive suite and includes the following:
·         A meditation practice led by lululemon ambassador Tara Good;
·        Wellness breakfast for two created by celebrity chef Mark McEwan of ONE restaurant;
·         A signature rejuvenating facial at the exclusive Valmont Spa
·         Personal shopping “fit session” at lululemon Cumberland store location

For more information or to make reservations, please call 416-963-6300 or book online by clicking ‘Reservations’ at www.thehazeltonhotel.com.