Celebrating This Life Turns 3!

ontario

This month I am celebrating three whole years of blogging! *cue the champagne and confetti*

Early Mornings With The Dogs

bernese

The early risers in the house are not me, my husband or my kids, it's the dogs! The second the sun is up they are ready to start their day and go for a walk. Normally I try to quiet them so I can catch a few more zzzz's but on the weekend, it's the perfect excuse to go for a Starbucks run! 

Fall Sunglasses

fall sunglasses

I've mentioned many times my commitment to re-wearing and re-using my clothing in all four seasons (well, except for shorts because I just can't rock them in the cold Canadian winters), but I do have a little exception to my own rule. I like switching out my sunglasses based on the season. And now I'd like to share with you my deepest, darkest secret...

IT's Covered Bridge

IT covered bridge

Last week the family and I went to see the remake of Stephen King's IT (which I highly recommend) and we were all totally surprised to see our favourite local landmark on screen, the West Montrose Covered Bridge! (I last posted about it in 2015) Now, I know this thing happens all the time for my American readers but in Canada, it's not something that happens often so it's kind of a big deal.

Pearls and Peplum

fall ootd

I am trying to soak up as many of these don't-need-a-coat days as I possibly can. Not only so I can feel comfortable but the colder it gets that means we are closer to putting our vintage car in storage and I am NOT ready to say goodbye. Luckily, we still have a few more weeks before that happens so you can expect to see me and AMH on the road until then. 

One Item, Two Ways: L.L.Bean Soft Cotton Rugby

summer

I'm so excited to tell you that I am starting a new series here on Celebrating This Life and it's one that is very close to my heart. We all know about cost-per-wear and getting the best value out of an item so that's exactly what I am here to show you, how to style this L.L.Bean Soft Cotton Rugby right now, and in a few weeks when fall officially arrives!

Princess Margaret Lotto Home Designed By Brian Gluckstein

pmlotto

Last week I had the immense pleasure of meeting Mr. Brian Gluckstein and was able to tour the home that he designed for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Home Lottery. For those not familiar, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is a world class cancer research facility and teaching hospital in Toronto, Ontario. Each year donors give generously through product, expertise and time which can be won by purchasing a ticket. This is all in the hopes of raising funds to allow the good doctors of PMCC to continue their work. They see more than 1,000 patients a day and more than 400,000 a year. 

The First Nip of Fall

vest

The Labour Day weekend brought us so many first signs of fall. First, the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte returned to Starbucks, the temperatures fell quickly and the Paris Road Antiques held their annual Labour Day sale!

Fall In Love With Camel

camel

Camel or tan brown is one of my favourite transitional colours. It has this warm feel that makes it perfectly at home in the late summer early fall.

Sunflowers On My Shoulders

stripe dress

Nature gives us many signs to show us that summer is slowly turning into fall and in my area one of those signs is sunflowers at our local farm stands.

How To Wear Blush This Fall

Everywhere you looked this spring it was blush this and blush that. Like many of you, I was drawn in by this dreamy hue and bought a few items in the unofficial colour of Spring17. Now that the temperature is dropping by the minute, what to do with all these blush beauties? Store them until next spring, give them away? No way! I say let's wear some blush this fall!

L.L.Bean Pullover Weather Is Here!

L.L.Bean Soft Cotton Rugby

When we first purchased our vintage car, a 1970 Mercury Montego, we knew that we instantly had all of our summer weekends booked with visiting car shows. With visits to Michigan, New York and in our home province of Ontario, we've been lucky enough to visit some beautiful towns and make new friends. While our travels have been measured in the hours it takes to get there, this weekend's show was measured in the minutes it would take. The Waterloo Region Museum held their annual historic car show and I'll admit it was nice to stay so close to home this weekend (we actually got our grocery shopping done after the show!)

L.L.Bean Soft Cotton Rugby

L.L.Bean

Soft cotton rugby

L.L. Bean outfit

L.L.Bean

L.L.Bean late summer

Celebrating This Life

summer to fall

pullover

late summer outfit

pullover sweater

L.L.Bean



Most car shows have an admission fee, anywhere from a few dollars to $20. The admission to this weekend's show was a donation to our local food bank, something that we support generously throughout the year. We were only too happy to oblige especially when they said we would get free admission to the museum and the Doon Heritage Village! It is a living history village that depicts life in Waterloo Region in 1914. I have to say I feel incredibly lucky to live in this area for so many reasons, but one is that we have two covered bridges! I have friends who have had to drive many hours to see some of the last surviving covered bridges in Vermont! Locally, we have the Kissing Bridge (I photographed it last fall) and a smaller version here at the Doon Heritage Village where I not only photographed my new L.L.Bean pullover (more on that later) but I also decided that another requirement of the country house I buy (oh I have so many requirements for my future dream country house) is a creek so I can build my own covered bridge!

The car show started early in the morning and we were up and ready to go, until we stepped outside our house and felt how cool the air was, L.L. Bean pullover weather is here friends! The weather app was reading like the middle of September, not the middle of August and I'm not even complaining because extreme heat and I just do not mix. Give me a crisp cool morning any day of the week! It just meant a quick outfit change into long pants and my new L.L. Bean pullover! I had been eyeing this pullover ever since the L.L.Bean summer catalogue came out and I was thanking my lucky stars it arrived on Friday. Just in time to keep me warm this weekend!

I had heard through the Internet grapevine that this was the softest cotton sweater you'll ever own, so of course I had to see for myself! Well, the Internet was right! It really is the softest cotton and it's just the right weight for layering. I am a big fan of layering because that way I can control my own temperature. This means that when I buy clothing, I am looking for anything that does not have a lot of bulk to it. The pullover is thin enough to add a long sleeve underneath and a jacket on top and you can still bend your arms! And just because it's thin doesn't mean it doesn't provide warmth, it is exactly the sweater you want this time of year. In the cool morning, it was 10 degrees Celsius or 50 Fahrenheit, I wore a long sleeve underneath and the pullover and I was perfectly comfortable. Later in the afternoon I did some gardening (I cleared out my pots and urns as all my summer flowers were spent) and I wore a pair of shorts and just the pullover with the sleeves rolled up. Again, perfectly comfortable and because the cotton is so soft, there was no need for a layer underneath!

As for the fit, I am wearing a Large and I did so because I plan on wearing a few layers underneath as the days grow colder. If I was looking to have a snug fit, I would have gone with a Medium, it's all about personal preference. I would say the L.L.Bean Soft Cotton Rugby fits true to size (TTS) size up if you like a little room to play with (like me!)

L.L.Bean has some amazing sales going on. Right now, save an extra 20% on clearance items and starting on Thursday, The L.L.Bean Labor Day Event 25% Off When You Spend $50 Stock up on everything you need for fall – outdoor gear, cozy clothing and more. Includes sale items. Promo Code: LABORDAY. Ends 9/5. Plus, enjoy free shipping.

There are so many great items I am looking to add to my L.L.Bean cart, like this flannel lined barn coat, this Hearthside robe for cool fall mornings, and this cute-as-can-be duck print fair isle sweater from the L.L.Bean Signature collection.

Starting To Feel Like Fall

gingham

Can you feel it? The cool night air, the chilly mornings? It's starting to feel like fall! Ok, ok, I know you summer lovers are clinging to the final days of August but I am soooo ready to let these hot days go. 

Orange in Otesaga

Otesaga

Spending the afternoon at The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, NY was an absolute treat! Our road trip adventure took us near Cooperstown and since AMH and I are such BIG baseball fans, we couldn't help but make a detour to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I had something else up my sleeve and it had been brewing ever since I first found out about The Otesaga over 15 years ago.

Walking in Washington Park

summer ootd

After checking into our hotel in Albany, The Morgan State House, a beautiful old brownstone right on the edge of Washington Park, we freshened up and decided to check out Washington Park. The park is 81 acres and was created in 1870 from a design that was drawn up by the same team that designed New York City's Central Park. Needless to say, I had to check this place out! 

Visiting Hyde Park, New York

FDR

The destination for our road trip two weeks ago was Hyde Park, New York. The main draw? The home and Presidential Library of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's a place that we've been talking about visiting for a few years and that talk always got louder when we happen to catch another round of Ken Burns's seven-part documentary, The Roosevelt's.

Boat Spotting

Talbots

Whenever I am in Buffalo (which if you remember this post, is kind of a lot) I try my best to make a trip to Canalside and on last week's road trip, that's exactly where we started our journey! 

Road Trip Comfort

road trip comfort

Last week I was road tripping throughout the Catskills and Hudson Valley. This is my favourite way to travel. Give me an open road and a GPS to tell me how to get to my destination and I am a happy lady. Like many of you, I've been road tripping since before I can remember. It seems to be everyone's first introduction to travel! Over the years I've learned how to stay comfortable while sitting in a car for long periods of time, today I'm spilling all of my secrets!

Statement Earrings to Finish Out Summer

Last week I felt like everywhere I went, statement earrings were the topic of conversation. They were being discussed in boutiques, I spotted many fashionable ladies wearing them and I even listened to a podcast about an entrepreneur who is known for, you guessed it, statement earrings! In honour of this, and my purchase of two new pairs last week, I have rounded up a few statements earrings to help you finish out the summer. We still have a few weeks left of outdoor get togethers, garden parties and weddings. Each of these earrings would elevate a dressy outfit or just add a little dazzle to an everyday look.

statement earrings

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I purchased the very budget friendly black and white stripe and baby pink ball earrings from Target. They entered into a collaboration with Baublebar and came up with Sugarfix, a more wallet friendly version of their main collection. What I love when I compare the Sugarfix earrings to Baublebar is they are much lighter in weight making them easier to wear all day long. I love Baublebar's earrings but I find them a little heavy and would only wear for a special occasion for a few hours. 

That podcast I was mentioning, it was NPR's How I Built This and the episode I started with was Kendra Scott. Such a great interview! Her journey is just so inspiring. Starting with just $500 and a dream, her jewellery company is rumoured to be worth a billion dollars. With a B! The teal, hot pink and sparkly blue earrings are all from her current collection. I am finding myself drawn to all white outfits right now and these earrings would jazz up any monochromatic outfit.

The ornate all gold earrings are something that I find myself gravitating to. I don't currently own any but these two are such a great price, I know it won't be long before I add them to my collection. As fall gets closer I can see wearing them with darker colours. I love gold and rose gold, I just love the warm kick they add to an outfit. 

And speaking of warm, how about those fiesta style earrings? Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday, Corona Saturday...ok that one didn't work but you get what I'm saying. You are sure to be the centre of attention at your next shindig with these eye catching earrings! 

Fall. We all know that #Iwishitwasalwaysfall and while I'm trying to keep my mind on finishing out summer, I can't help but start thinking of fall items to add to my closet. These green and blue earrings are genius because they are colours that will still work for the next month or two and all the way through fall! Actually, they really will work in every season because green and blue are just such classic colours, but I especially love them this time of year. 

So, have I convinced you that you need to add a few statement earrings to your collection to finish out summer? 

Hyde Park View

bow tie maxi dress

The view at Hyde Park. Let's just take a moment to appreciate how spectacular it is. Are you done? Are you imagining how it would look in the fall? Yeah, me too. I literally said that every few minutes during our time at Hyde Park, New York and all along the Hudson. While I do plan on sharing a little travel post to tell you all about our adventures at the home of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, let me tell you about what I wore, because, well, that's what I do here! 

My Summer Lipsticks

lipstick

I've been testing out a few lipsticks this summer and noticed that no matter the outfit or occasion I found myself going back to just three lipsticks. 

Buffalove & A Little About Me

Buffalo

Greetings from Buffalo, New York! Today I wanted to share with you my Buffalove and a little about me. A few other bloggers have been sharing '10 facts about me' and I had this in the back of my mind for a future post. It was while I was in Buffalo (for the second time last week) wearing an all Canadian brand outfit that I thought I might be better off explaining a bit of my background and my love for this All-American city! 

How to Paint Your Bicycle

bike

This is something I have wanted to do for a few years. My bicycle was a gift from my father-in-law. You see, he bought this amazing Peugeot bike and only used it a few times. In fact, the only time it ever got used was when I asked to ride it when we would visit (he lives in the country and my boys and I loved to ride through the streets to visit the cows on the side of the road). Eventually on one trip he finally said that I should just take it home with me, of which I didn't even bother to try and fake "oh no, I couldn't possibly accept", I was jumping for joy! I love that darn bicycle so much there was no way I was going to give him an out! Haha, he's always been very generous and had no problem letting the bike go.

Every Bike Should Feel This Good

Vineyard Vines

I am so excited to FINALLY unveil my newly repainted bicycle! To borrow a line from Vineyard Vines "Every bike should feel this good!"

Hats Off To Summer

summer hat

If I told you that I was a big hat person, you'd believe me right? It's true, I am never far from a hat and let me tell you why I think you should be, too! 

Checkered Sunset

reitmans

If I had to choose a favourite time of day, I would choose sunset. It's like going to a fireworks show, you know you are going to see some amazing colours and it only lasts so long.

How I Rock A Bikini After Two Kids!

We are smack dab in the middle of summer which means you've either already spent a good amount of time at the pool and beach, or you've been leaving it to the later half of summer, like I am. The month of July was a crazy one and we just didn't have a chance to make it to our favourite local beach, Grand Bend.

Lemon Drop With Kendra Bester Design

Lemonade

I've been teasing this on Instagram for the last few days and today I can finally reveal what me and my dear friend Kendra, owner of Kendra Bester Design, have been up to! Kendra recently started printing her amazing watercolour paintings and is currently selling tea towels and bar towels on her website. She just launched her new summer collection and released the cute as can be "Lemon Drop" so we decided to throw a lemon themed party!

Estée Lauder Fall Preview Event

I'm currently on holidays from my full-time job and while I do have a road trip coming up next week (stay tuned for those details soon) AMH and I decided that for the first week of vacation we would stay close to home with the kids and do a few things in Toronto (like last night's Blue Jays game!) Earlier this week I headed into Toronto for the morning to attend the Estée Lauder fall preview event. I was so excited because a. I finally had time to head to an event and b. that it was with Estée Lauder, a brand I have been using since I graduated from drug store skin care and make up in my teens.

Summer Work Wardrobe

pink jeans

What to wear for work is a question we all face every Monday morning. Do I dress up? Dress down? Full on business attire or relaxed business casual? For many of us the company policy dictates a guideline but even within that, there are many ways to interpret it.

Red and White Stripe Summer Dress

stripes for summer

Fashion blogging is sort of a funny thing at times. You photograph an outfit you like, upload your images and try to come up with some witty and insight commentary about what is going on in your world or around how you selected the outfit. 

Summer Beauty Buys

summer beauty

Summer beauty tends to be more relaxed than in the other three seasons. There is a greater focus on caring for your skin and in the world of make-up, little pops of colour are all you need. I truly believe that great skin starts from within. It is always important to drink your eight glasses of water a day but did you know that you will actually need more during hot summer days? I add two more glasses on really hot days and even more if there is a cool beer or other alcoholic drink in the mix.

My skin noticeably changes with the seasons and so far this summer, my skin has been all over the place.

Cleaning Your Converse

Converse


Everyone and their mother is wearing the all white Converse running shoes right now (literally, my mom and I have the same pair!) so it will come as no surprise when I say that Converse is one of America's most iconic footwear companies. I first started wearing Converse during the grunge era. That's right, a black pair of one stars with Nirvana playing in the background. I wore those shoes until they fell apart and then bought another pair!

As I got older, my footwear became decidedly more girlie. Gone were the grunge shoes, replaced by pink sneakers and ballet flats. AMH never strayed. We met as teenagers and through the years I have watched him buy new Chuck Taylors, vintage Chuck Taylors, high top Chuck Taylors, All Star Chuck Taylors...you get the point. I'd like to tell you it was his guidance that brought me back into the fold. I'd like to tell you that because it's better then the real story with is I bought them a few summers ago because they were flooding my Instagram feed and I Had.To.Have.Them!

I have the Chuck Taylor All Star Dainty Low Top, otherwise known as the official shoe of every blogger and Instagram star. They were a relatively cheap buy at only $65 Canadian ($49.95 US). I also bought a package of new ankle socks so they wouldn't show when wearing cropped jeans (my fave look with my Converse) or even with dresses.

There is just one problem with the all-white Converse shoes...they get dirty! I swear, every puddle and falling droplet will find your shoes. I wore mine walking around Camden Market in London, England last summer and a big black blob of I still don't even know what leapt from the cobblestone road and landed on my shoes. I wanted to spit nails. I tried a little spot cleaning at the time but that wasn't cutting it. I continued to wear my shoes for another year, collecting dirt and grime and finally this weekend decided that they needed a good cleaning. I read a few things on the interwebs and Pinterest but I just didn't have the time to devote to all the steps they were advising. It was then that I remembered the success I had using Oxi Clean White Revive (I swear this isn't an ad for them, I just freaking love the product!). I first bought Oxi Clean when I bought a red and white striped dress. After the first wash the red seeped into the white lines. After a good soak in Oxi Clean it looked great!

I made these simple steps up myself on the fly and think the 'after' is pretty darn good! And most importantly, I didn't spend too much time doing it!


Directions


I removed the laces from the shoes and placed them in a small plastic container.

I gave my shoes a good banging to make sure there wasn't any loose dirt on them. I placed them in a large silver bowl with the soles facing up.

I dumped one large scoop of Oxi Clean White Revive into the silver bowl and a 1/4 scoop into the bowl with the laces. I filled both with hot tap water and set them aside.

Converse


After four hours, I removed the laces, rinsed them in my kitchen sink and hung them to dry.

I also removed the shoes from the water filled bowl and threw them into the washing machine with a few colour-safe beach towels. I added a half scoop of the Oxi Clean to the wash and just a touch of regular laundry detergent. I ran the delicate cycle and removed them as soon as the machine finished.

I placed them on the floor in front of a bright window (since it rained all last weekend) and air dried them. That's it! No scrubbing, no lemon and baking soda paste, no toothbrush scrubbers.

So now you tell me, do you think the Converse look clean?

White running shoes

Dirty - No flash on my camera

Converse

Clean - No flash on my camera

Converse

Dirty - Flash

Converse

Clean - Flash
 
I'm pretty happy with the results and even happier that thanks to Oxi Clean, I didn't have to do much! I've worn them since they've been washed and they feel as good as new. The canvas was crispy at first but soften after a few minutes of wearing them. There is still one little stain that didn't come out but I'm fine with that. Since I don't wear them every day I figure I can wear them for a few more summers. I plan on doing this cleaning trick at the beginning of next summer so I can fully enjoy my bright, white and most importantly, clean Converse!

Tunic Time

navy and white

As much as I love dressing up and even planning outfits, my busy life doesn't really allow me much time to do either. I demand a lot out of my wardrobe, it must be colourful and it has to pull double duty. Every time I buy something new, I consider how many different outfits I can make out of the item, thereby coming up with a good cost-per-wear number. These white cropped jeans and navy blue tunic are something I get a lot of use out of.

Carefree Summer

jean shorts

Summer is the time to slow down, act a little more carefree and just enjoy the warm sunshine (especially for us Canadians and Northern States folks who have to suffer through terrible winters just to get these few months of bliss!)