Holiday Gift Guide: For Your Sister

Gift ideas for your darling sister
who is strong and empowering,
classy yet hilarious,
a home body and a dreamer.
She cares about the environment,
loves to give back
and wants to shop small and local this Christmas.
We can help with that! 

1. For a strong woman, how about helping to create more of them? Empower, inspire, encourage and give opportunity to girls across the globe through Plan Canada.There are several options from sponsoring a child monthly, funding for a baby delivery and paying for education. My personal favourite is called Girl Power for just $100.00.
Read the description below -
Girls have a unique ability to change the world and the lives of those around them. This gift is about unleashing that power in every girl. It’s about offering girls nourishment, education and protection. It’s about creating schools that are safe, and ensuring that girls are not forced into early and unsafe marriages. It’s about engaging boys and men to help achieve gender equality, and opening up economic opportunities to women so they can lead themselves and their families out of poverty. It’s about creating a world where every girl has the chance to harness her unique power to shape her own future and change the world.
This gift will not disappoint.

2.These were all the rage last Christmas. If she doesn't have one already, a selfie-stick will be a great way for the two of you to capture your adventures together. 

3. Print her favourite Instagram photos onto a canvas to hang in her home. A fun way to preserve some of your favourite memories together. 

4.  A few throw pillows for her couch or bed to encourage her! This one, this one and this one are my favourites.

5. Since she's a dreamer and a planner, she needs a solid journal to record those dreams and plans. How about this one from SHPplanners out of Vancouver, BC?

6. Who doesn't love an amazing smelling candle? These are made with soy wax which makes them burn longer, more evenly and they aren't bad for the environment. That's a win-win-win to me. Add the fact that they smell divine and that's an easy sell. Two Tall Trees candles are made my a hard working mama of 2, right in her own kitchen. 

7. Finally, how about one of these toques (or beanie for my American friends) with a removable pom-pom by S H E  I S Clothing? 


Mommy Mondays: Worth Reblogging

This post originally was written for
I had to share it here because it is just so true,
 I think you need to read it too.

girl-923564_640It takes a village to raise a child. But some days it’s just me. In fact most days it’s just me. In the beginning this was tough – hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do – and I have a couple of degrees under my belt for Pete’s sake. Why was it so damn hard being home alone with my child those first few months? There were mornings I would literally sob the moment my husband left for work.
Well, for starters, she screamed. A lot. When I tell people how hard it was they say, “Oh yeah, but that’s normal.” Trivializing my experience. Making me feel like I was a failure because it being hard is just “normal.” Nothing. Even. Worth. Discussing. “Oh yeah, but that’s normal.” As soon as these words would leave their lips, I instantly had the urge to justify my statement by providing further information.
“Normal?” I’d say, “Well she screamed for five hours straight most days and there was one day where it was eight hours. We couldn’t go anywhere after 3pm because we knew what would happen.” Immediately, I’d hate myself for trying to justify anything. Why should I? Anyone remotely understanding would get it. Because you know what? Even though all the mums in my mothers group had comparatively calm babies, they still had it tough.
They were still getting up through the night to feed their babies multiple times. They were still battling exhaustion. They were still adjusting to their brand new life with an extra person and a lot less patience, sleep, and time. No matter what “type” of baby you have, those first few months are HARD. And no-one, NO-ONE should ever brush you off, or make you feel weak when you admit it.
A few months later, I was organizing my daughter’s christening and a guest rang to RSVP. A fellow mother. She asked me how I was doing and I said “It’s a bit busy, but things are going okay.” Understatement of the year.
She practically whooped with delight. It honestly felt like she had set me up just so she could bring me down. Before I’d even had a chance to finish my sentence she said: “Oh darling, wait ‘till you have three – then you’ll know what busy means!” When I rang off, I was fuming. Why? Why must we do this to each other? Why couldn’t she just say “I hear ‘ya sista! I barely have time for the toilet!” Or something like that?
She had no idea what my new life as a parent was like. Perhaps I’d woken up to a screaming baby twelve times the night before and had had two hours sleep. What if I’d had a really tough pregnancy and was battling PPD? What if my baby had developed an allergy and had been in and out of hospital for the past fortnight? In one fell swoop she dismissed me. Her patronizing, and might I add, dangerous response made me feel like what I’d been through did not matter; like I was not worthy of her sympathy because I only had the one child. And really, it would have been so easy for her to be supportive instead.
Shortly after this incident we were at a 2nd birthday party and a friend of a friend had just finished describing a rough night with her baby daughter. When she finished speaking she went silent for a few moments and then said, “I don’t know why I’m complaining, sorry, I know I have it good compared to you.” I told her to complain away – we all have our problems to deal with – and talking about them helps. The thing is, there’s nothing to gain from comparing our problems and rewarding the most stressed out mother with a gold medal. Apart from a figurative gold medal to the highest cortisol carrier. Each and every parent has the right to say “I’m having a rough time.”
Do you know why they say it takes a village to raise a child? Because it’s HARD. And for me and many other women most days there is no village. It’s just mum and bub alllll day lonnnngg.

And dammit, I will not be ashamed to say that some days are a struggle.

Mothers need to talk about how difficult parenting can be. New parents-to-be should not be going into their new life completely blind. I’m not saying we should traumatize every pregnant woman we see, I’m just saying – let’s be a little more real so that new parents don’t get such a shock in those early months. BUT we can only be more real when we’re not being patronized, judged, or made to feel like we’re “complaining over nothing” every time we speak up.
Mothers need to be able to safely say things like, “Shit my house is such a mess a 30 minute clean wouldn’t even scratch the surface, and I just ate a packet of Doritos for breakfast” without someone responding with, “Wow, I have two whole children, still managed to clean my house this morning and make myself Eggs Benedict!” Yep this was a real conversation I read on a mother’s forum (the Eggs Benedict may have been a slight exaggeration).
Mothers need to be given adequate time and space to talk about what they’re experiencing – no matter how big or small.You might receive just one phone call during a really tough time and you have thirty seconds to get something off your chest. The person on the other end of the line should support you, not tear you down.
Mothers need a village, but most days, there might not be a literal village on stand-by to help change nappies, puree broccoli, and say “noooo, don’t put that in your mouth.” But you know what? We can be each other’s village. Whether it be online, over the phone, face-to-face – we can support one another – even if it’s for a few minutes a day. We can only do it if we acknowledge that each other’s parenting journey is different – some may have an “easy” child, others may have a “reflux” baby – it doesn’t matter. We all have it hard some days and we need to respect that. It’s only through this respect a village of mothers supporting one another can be born.
Then, even on the days it’s just me – I’ll know I’m not really alone. I’ll have my darling, sweet girl, yes that’s true. And I’ll have the strength of a thousand mothers to guide and uplift me. Who, through their words, actions, and subtle glances, send me the message:
You are not alone, we are your village.
Headshot option 2_sq

Marina is a sometimes scientist, sometimes jewelry maker, accidental chef, and an always mum. She has slowly emerged from the trauma of the first four months of her baby daughter’s life to…write about the traumatic first four months of her daughter’s life, and the brighter days that followed.


Style Post: Easy and Elegant Twist

If you're anything like me,
you understand how hard it can be 
to find the time for yourself in the morning.
Realistically, I am not going to 
be getting up an hour before everyone
else in my family every day of the week just to do my 
hair and make up.
I love my bed too much.

Some days a messy bun has to cut it.
Other times, I can spare an extra moment to
do something that looks a bit more put together.
This easy style takes just a couple of minutes
and the results are usually pretty good!

The twist at the front gives 
it just a touch of elegance to pass
of an effortless, yet effort-full, look.
Isnt' that what we always strive for?
We want to look like we tried,
but not too hard.
Women are a contradictory,
aren't we?

Here it is, broken down step by step.

Step 1: Start with clean, brushed, unstyled hair.

2. Part your hair slightly two one side. Take two one inch pieces of hair side by side. 

3. Begin to twist the hair together, overlapping one piece with the next. Adding another one inch piece of hair as you go along the side. Secure it with pins just behind the ear. Repeat on the other side.

 4. Hold both pieces in the back and gather them together. With one hand, twist the hair into a bun and secure with elastics.

5. Tuck in any loose pieces with pins.

6. Voila - you're done! Quick and easy!


Holiday Gift Guide: For Your Brother

Gifts for your brother 
that has a great sense of humour
and amazing taste in women. 
(I have 3 of these!)

1. A hot shave from a near-to-him barber. Like a spa-day for men! This shop in Yaletown offers a Deluxe Hot Shave, or step it up and give him the Royal Treatment! 

2. A magnetic dart board, so he doesn't ruin his walls.

3. A hat with a beard, yup.Keep his face cozy and warm without the hassle and upkeep of a beard. 

4. Does he drink whiskey like the guys in my life do? How about a collection of glasses and some ice balls for at home whiskey drinking like a gentleman. 

5. A customized gift box, shipped anywhere! These are my two personal favourites, both local companies; Old Joy Gift Boxes and Barn Curated Gifts

6.If he is feeling rather fancy pants, you could get him these cashmere lined leather smart phone gloves

7. Is your brother goofy and childish? He'd love these emoji pillows to throw around his dorm room or apartment! 


Motherhood Monday: Here I Am

Here I am,
Covered in children,
smothered with love.
Make up smudged under my eyes,
coffee getting cold.

Here I am,
almost two years
on the other side infertility.
Those long days and nights 
that my heart ached 
for a baby I did not yet know.
My body aching to 
carry another life 
inside of it again.

Here I am,
now mothering the baby
I yearned for. 
Somehow I expected it 
to be easier
this time around.

That the intense nausea 
wouldn't bother me.
It did.
That the sleepless nights
wouldn't leave my feeling
as weary and exhausted.
They did. 
That her tiny one-year-old tantrums
wouldn't get under my skin.
They do.

Even though each 
of those moments are
just as tough 
when you prayed
 long and hard
for a baby;
they are filled with this 
intense kind of gratitude. 
There's something different
about the kind of gratitude 
you feel after striving
and working so hard for it. 

When my oldest 
was born
the love was huge, 
the gratitude big.
I took it all for granted. 
We were pregnant the 
first month we tried. 
It was all gain and
very little pain. 

Before we become mothers 
we dream of having a baby.
We imagine the early morning
feeding with an almost 
romantic thought. 
We don't think of sore cracked 
nipples and the desperate 
desire for a few more
 hours of sleep. 
We vision holding our babies
and cooing at each other. 
This does happen,
but we don't see 
the part of ourselves that
just doesn't want to be touched anymore.
The dried milk everywhere, 
the face that hasn't been 
washed since yesterday morning.
And that's okay, 
because we are dreaming. 

I often hear mothers in waiting
say that all of those things 
won't bother them.
As a mother in waiting myself, 
I can tell you that they just may -
and don't best yourself up 
if they do. 

Through it all-
the nausea, sleep deprivation,
spit up everywhere and a baby with colic-
your heart will never 
forget to to give 
thanks for all you went through
and all you do.
For that sweet little babe
you waited so long to hold. 

Mothering is an 
incredible journey.
It sneaks up on us
and grabs hold of us,
shapes us, molds us
and changes us
into a better version
of the person we used to be. 

It never lets us go. 
Whether you waited
 a month, years
 or didn't wait at all.
We are the same.
We are mothers.


Women In Business: Loving Littles Blog

Although I have been following 
Keisha's Instagram for a while now,
it was only recently that I reached out
and contacted her.
Whether it was the honest and lovely writing
in her blog posts
 or her pretty pictures on Instagram,
there was something that attracted me to her in general.
Sometimes a fellow blogger just knows
a good thing when she sees it! 

Keisha began Loving Littles Blog
in June of 2015 when her daughter was born.
She decided to use the time during her daughter's naps to blog. 
She blogs about everything under the moon.
Whether its an awesome product she wants to share,
a style post or mom life in general,
she has a knack for writing about it.

Keisha enjoys the element of meeting 
new people through her blog.
This is also one of the most enjoyable aspects for me as well.
Getting out and connecting with other bloggers,
other moms and local entrepreneurs to chat, be inspired
and even lead into friendships.

Keisha has been with her partner for 13 years
(way to go!)
and together they have two kids.
A son and a daughter ages 7 and 1.
Her family is one of her main sources
of inspiration for her blog.
They even help her with photography
once in a while!

Keisha was kind enough to participate in a little Q&A with me
to help get to know her better.
Here are some of the silly and random questions:

1. Salty or sweet?
Sweet sweet sweet.

2. Are you in the nice list or naughty list?
Of course nice! I'm the mom!

3. Favourite family tradition?
Christmas pjs and Christmas Eve night

4. Guilty pleasure?
Trash tv! A.ka Kardashians

5. Favourite jam right now?
My family has me addicted to country right now. So different for us

6. Your go-to outfit day to day?
Jeans and a basic tee

7. How did you meet your partner? When did you know you were 'meant to be'?
I met Drew in high school while taking a drivers ed course, he turned around in his seat and he's never left me alone since. Meant to be...i guess the first love note. What 18 year guy writes mushy love notes!? mine did!

How sweet! 
Those were some great answers,
and admittedly, I enjoy watching the Kardashians 
in any capacity once in a while too! 
Quality entertainment.

If you don't follow Keisha's blog already,
You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for sharing with us Keisha!


Shop Sweet - A Christmas Market

This December
is hosting their first annual 
Christmas market at the Yellow Honey House
in Surrey, BC. 

There are going to be 
16 different vendors.
All local businesses,
all hard working men
and women coming together 
to sell their goods 
for your buying pleasure.

You will find me 
working at the 
table selling 
all natural soy wax candles.
They come in various sizes,
including a perfect stocking-stuffer size,
in an array of scents that are
absolutely divine!

You can find all the information
you need on the 
Shop Sweet Facebook page here.

So hoping to see you there!
Please stop by and say hello,
I'd love to meet you!

 Shop Aloha Bliss Gift Co. at the market.

Shop Olive + Piper at the market. 

I've had both the Peppermint Marshmallows and the Sad Snowmen sugar cookies
but Buttercream Couture, they are amazing.
You will find them at the market, too!