Trick or Treat










TRICK OR TREAT!


Outfit Details// Coat: Michael Michael Kors from Nordstrom Rack Boots: Hunter Boots in Lilac 
Bag: Vineyard Vines MLB tote Shirt: Samantha Grey Cardigan: Gap extra fine merino wool Leggings: Old Navy Necklace: Expressions from The Bay Gold Cuff: Gift
Lipstick: Estee Lauder 61 Pink Parfait Shimmer Nail Polish: L'Oreal 107 Royalty Reinvented

Location Mount View Cemetery, Cambridge Ont.// Photographer The Oldest

Happy Halloween! I can't wait to see everyone's costumes over social media.

The Oldest and I were out practicing his driving (that's right, he has his license and wants to drive everywhere!) and we  decided to stop at the Mount View Cemetery in Cambridge to take a few photos. I found this cemetery a few months ago during the Doors Open Waterloo Region. Many towns and cities across Ontario open historic sites to the public, for some sites it's the first time the public is allowed in! I thought a cemetery made a great place for a Fashion Friday post before Halloween.

The days are shorter and the weather is cooler. We are now in late fall and that means layering for the day is very necessary. I started the day wearing my cardigan and jacket. Later in the day I took off my coat, then took off my cardigan and as soon as the sun started to set they both went back on! We have had a lot of rain over the last few days so I have pretty much been living in my favourite lilac Hunter boots. 

I bought this chambray tunic from a local consignment shop, it still had the original manufacturers price tag on it! I've tried looking up the brand and it appears they are from New York City and it was once sold at Dillard's but there is no website or contact info. It's a shame, the shirt is well made and I love the extra details like the pleating, the build in waist ribbon and the shell buttons.

My Vineyard Vines MLB tote gets a lot of use this time of year. I bought it while on a tour of the Miami Marlins stadium last year and knew right away it would be my fall/Halloween tote bag since it is black and orange. I love that it has so many pockets inside, including a zippered one. It will make a great bag for holding the boys treats when their bag fills up tomorrow night!

One last note, I'd like to "keep it real" and let y'all in on a little secret. My son and I came across a bench and I instantly sat down and instructed him to start snapping photos. You know, regular things like "do it on an angle, that will look artistic" and "I'll look down, that's what the great bloggers do", your basic blogging photo instructions. When we were finished with those photos I tried to stand up. Tried, because I sat in the stickiest sap ever and was glued to the bench! Needless to say I had to sit on napkins on the way home, I didn't want to ruin the seats in my brand new car, and my new leggings that I've only worn twice are currently soaking in something Pinterest told me to do. But whatevs, the leggings are $10 at Old Navy and at least the photo turned out! 

Liberty London Enamel Bracelets

I am in the very, very early stages of planning a trip to the UK and before I even start looking at flights and hotels, I am checking out all the great things I will be able to buy in London! I am Canadian; however, all my family is located in Scotland and growing up as a half British kid I've always loved and adored all the British wear I could get my hands on!

While researching shops to visit I found Liberty London, or more specifically, their colourful enamel bracelets.










Navy Imran Multicolour Thick Cuff £185 My favourite one!

These enamel bracelets are the perfect pop of colour to any neutral outfit or one more splash of colour to an already bright one! The best news of all is they ship internationally! Next working day delivery to the US is £25 and rest of the world delivery, that would be us in Canada, is £20.

I am a big fan of enamel bracelets for their durability. I am right handed and while I should wear my watch and bracelets on my left arm, I just can't. It feels like the most uncomfortable thing in the world to me. So while I am perfectly comfortable wearing everything on my right arm, this means my arm party goes through a lot of wear and tear. I have tried wearing thin chain bracelets but I always break them. I have quite a few enamel bracelets and they are still going strong after many years! I love these Liberty London enamel bracelets not only because of the vibrant colours and interesting patterns, but they appear to be very well made and would stand up to the daily abuse of living with me!


Guest Post - Crystal Reia from Your Health Your Choice

Welcome to another edition of WOW Wednesdays!

For those new to the blog I wanted to take a moment to reintroduce the idea behind this weekly blog post. I met and started working out with Crystal, the owner of the Kitchener fitness studio Your Health-Your Choice two years ago. In a previous blog post, I shared my reasons for starting with a personal trainer. Crystal is a great source of inspiration to me and rather than being selfish and keeping her all to myself, I wanted to share her with the world! The idea and name of WOW Wednesday was all Crystal. WOW stands for Women on Weights and it works so well because Crystal always stresses the importance of weights in her workouts. It's important for women to build strong muscles as we age.

Crystal's expertise doesn't stop at personal training. She is a walking, talking library of nutritional facts. She reads nutrition books constantly and always shares what she learns with her clients and with all of you, dear readers. Today's blog post is about just that. Crystal is sharing some tips and tricks to help us through the diet breaking Halloween treat season.

In addition to the nutritional guidance she gives us, she also has a very popular recurring post, Move of the Month (here is the link to October). Crystal chooses one exercise move she is loving and shares a video as well as detailed instructions to try it ourselves. She even incorporates into her clients routines! If you are looking for a personal trainer or a variety of fitness classes in the Waterloo Region/Guelph area, please do not hesitate to contact Your Health - Your Choice.

Without further ado, here is today's guest post with Crystal Reia - Healthier Halloween Treats




Who doesn’t love Halloween treats???!!! The temptation at this time of year (right after Thanksgiving no less for us Canadians) can be difficult to say the least! Most posts I see right now are for the kids.... So this humorous post is more for all the adults out there who get suckered into eating those delicious sugar-filled Halloween treats because either A) You bought them too early and you have a large stash in your house “for the kids” surrrre...) Your co-workers are trying to get rid of them in their household by bringing them to work for your temptation! Ugh! C) Post Halloween after the kids have brought home a stash that should last them all year, but you keep finding yourself sneaking into their bags and grabbing that one ultimate craving you’ve been hoping to find (Mine might be Reese Peanut Butter cups)... and the kids are asking why their stash is disappearing so fast!?!

Yes I know you fit into one or some of these categories out there! So here are some tips and some of my favorite treats to get you through this Halloween!

1. Do not buy Halloween candy until the last day or day before. Keep it out of your household as long as you can to avoid the temptation of eating it yourself.

2. Try buying candy you dislike! LOL If there is such a thing? You are more likely not to eat it then and will be dumping the bowl into the last child’s Halloween bag to get rid of it.

3. Have healthier treat options in your house when temptation strikes!

4. Dark Chocolate, dark chocolate, dark chocolate! 70% plus is the way to go. When craving sweets, dark chocolate will take the edge off and stop your sugar cravings. (Even just a couple of squares) This has been my secret for the past couple of years at least for night time snacking. Give myself a couple of 85% Lindt dark chocolate squares, and it doesn’t matter what my hubby is snacking on beside me, it works like a charm. Now it took some getting used to, because I used to be a milk chocolate girl. But once you cut the sugar out, you’ll start finding it too sweet. Not to mention dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants and “feel good” chemicals for the brain. More of a “trick” than treat lol it tricks you by suppressing your appetite. Do it! And keep your cupboard stocked.

5. Along with #3 and #4 above: Here are a few of my favorite healthy treats that are easy peasy to make.

There are so many healthy recipes (all of these below can be found online) that will make any old time favorite treat a little healthier!

- Dark Chocolate covered Apples (Like a candy apple, easy to make)

http://www.recipe.com/dark-chocolate-dipped-apples/

- Dark Chocolate Fondue with low glycemic fruit such as Strawberries, Apples, Pear, Raspberries

http://www.anediblemosaic.com/two-ingredient-dark-chocolate-fondue-paleo-2/

- Apple Nachos – cut into slices and sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle dark chocolate and/or organic honey over the top and a few nuts, allow to cool in the fridge so chocolate hardens.

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2014/08/loaded-apple-nachos.html

- Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Cups (made with dark chocolate of course)

http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2013/2/12/dark-chocolate-almond-butter-cups.html

(You could swap out the 1 tbsp of powdered sugar for honey)

- Oats or Quinoa Protein Balls (Like the picture above – you could turn them into little pumpkin balls!) I mix my fav low glycemic chocolate protein powder with oats or quinoa, chia seeds or ground chia, cinnamon or chai masala, organic honey, organic shredded coconut, cacao nibs or dark chocolate, almond butter or pure pumpkin puree is nice. Experiment with your flavours – you can add nuts too.

http://fitfluential.com/2014/11/healthy-bites-30-protein-energy-ball-recipes/

This is a great site. I prefer Vegan forms of protein then whey. (Just my preference)

- Greek Yogurt Parfait – My recipe: Mix1 scoop of my chocolate protein powder into ¾ cup or cup of plain Greek yogurt and stir, pour into a tall cup making layers – yogurt, gluten free oats, cacao nibs, berries (I like frozen raspberries), a little honey, repeat for each layer. Literally tastes like a dessert and will satisfy your sweet tooth with a tonne of protein – fill you up and take the edge off!

If you have any questions on the above treats, please feel free to ask! Happy Halloween everyone and if you are trying for a healthy goal this month, do your best to try and keep those hands out of the Halloween treat bowl! ;-) Talk to you all next week!













Crystal Reia
PTS, PFS, OAS
Your Health-Your Choice

Email: yourhealth-yourchoice@live.ca
www.yourhealth-yourchoice.weebly.com
www.facebook.com/URHealth
www.twitter.com/URHealthURChoic
www.instagram.com/URHEALTHURCHOICE

Office Appropriate Halloween Costumes

There are only a few more days until Halloween and how lucky are we that it is on a Saturday night! The only possible downside to this is the need for two Halloween costumes, one for any parties we attend and one for the office. Office appropriate Halloween costumes are always open for interpretation, what one person deems appropriate, another (and sometimes that person is their superior) will not. 

I work in a very traditional, very conservative office environment. Like most offices our IT department is a little more relaxed and while I do work in an IT area my department deals with very serious subject matter, I talked a little about what I do in this blog post so any costume I or my colleagues chooses to wear has to be very office appropriate. The key with office appropriate Halloween costumes is to understand your business area and anticipate what they will deem appropriate.

Last year I dressed as Carrie Mathison from Homeland. Everyone in the office knew I was obsessed with Homeland and they guessed right away who I was. A superior of mine (my boss's boss) stopped me and thanked me for getting in on the holiday spirit while remaining professional. I also scored brownie points as they loved the show too! 

Me as Carrie Mathison last Halloween

Would this have won any costume contests? Absolutely not. Did my superiors appreciate my professionalism? You better believe it! And it was such an easy costume, I wore a blazer a crossbody bag and I made a fake CIA badge in Microsoft Word. Luckily my office had a lot of the clear employee badges hanging around. 

Other costumes I have done in the past are Kate Middleton (I wore a purple coat buttoned up with a purple fascinator), Catwoman (wore all black with a cat ears headband and a dollar store black eye mask), and during a time on a more adventurous team, I dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

If you work on a more conservative team like I do, I think you will appreciate these office appropriate Halloween costumes from around the web! 


Get your team together and dress as Don Draper and company! It's scary but I have seen blazers like the ones above at every Goodwill I have ever been to. It would be a fairly easy costume to pull off for both men and women. 

via

Minnie or Mickey Mouse is an easy costume to pull off. Start with the ears and add as much red and black to your outfit as you can. 


Queen Bey as the "We can do it!" girl. Everyone has a chambray shirt in their closet and you can buy bandanas at Target, Wal-Mart or dollar stores.


Another great group costume is Office Space and these people nailed it with these costumes!

Other easy to do costumes are any of your favorite tv characters (Liz Lemon anyone?), movie characters or animals. Most dollar stores carry a wide selection of animal ears headbands, just plan your clothing to match. This year I am thinking of going as Laurie Strode, Jamie Lee Curtis's character from the original Halloween. All I need is an old oxford shirt and then slash the arm of it to shreds and bell bottom jeans with a late 70's hair style. Pretty easy and won't have my bosses hanging their heads in shame!

And a few more words of advice:
 - Don't do anything political.You don't want to offend someone who may consider you for a job in the future
- Keep the "sexy" versions of costumes for another time/place
- If you have client facing meetings make sure your costume is easily removed. No fancy makeup or hair-do's. 
- If your office is very, very conservative ask colleagues for advice but I say skip the costume altogether and dress up when you get home

West Montrose Kissing Bridge











Outfit details// White long sleeve shirt Banana Republic// Plaid long sleeve Banana Republic Soft Wash Shirt// Vest Carroll Reed for Sears// Jeans Gap 1969 Legging Jean// Boots Alfani @ Macy's (last worn here)// Earrings Pearls gift from a friend's trip to Indonesia// Bag & Sunglasses Coach// Nail polish Dior 751 Marilyn

Location West Montrose Covered Bridge// Photographer AMH

The snow this past weekend kind of snuck up on us and we had to put the 'Merc (our 1966 Mercury Park Lane) into storage early. We didn't get a chance to do all the things on our fall bucket list but we managed to cross off a few before her winter slumber, like visit the last covered bridge in all of Ontario!

This is only the second time I have visited the bridge, the first time was in the dark and it felt like something straight out of Sleepy Hollow! During the day it is a sight to see, the bridge is gorgeous! Nicknamed "The Kissing Bridge" it was constructed in 1881 and spans 198' over the Grand River. The bridge, designated a heritage site in 1975, is still used daily by local mennonites travelling by horse and buggy. It's a little out of the way and can be difficult to find off Highway 401 however, this Tripadvisor link has great directions.

In the morning it was wonderfully sunny but you could feel the cold front moving in. I just bought this red vest and knew I wanted to get a few wears out of it before the snow started to fly, which it did only a few short hours after our visit. Knowing that the temperature was going to fall later in the day, I layered my vest with a basic long sleeve white tee and my plaid button up from Banana Republic. I love these legging jeans from Gap. They maintain their shape, are comfortable and fit perfectly into my tall riding boots. No bunching at the bottom! It was the perfect time to bring out my old (I keep everything) Coach bag. I bought this bag close to ten years ago and still love it! I thought the horse and coach pattern worked well for this area, we even spotted a horse and buggy as we were leaving the covered bridge!

Planning my Living Room

My Living Room made by me in Photoshop

The time has finally arrived to redecorate my living room. I committed to choosing a wall color a few months ago and found five shades of neutral tan that I thought my family and I could live with. Well, I became so overwhelmed by making a selection, or about making the wrong one, that I scrapped the whole plan and decided to enjoy my summer. Now that fall is here and soon it will be Christmas, I want these walls painted. Like yesterday. So, I pulled out my trusty Benjamin Moore fan deck, picked a few colors and taped them to the wall. I also gave myself a 24 hour deadline to choose. 

I picked one shade, Thousand Islands CC-308, purchased a tester pot and painted random squares around my main floor. I am happy to report it is exactly the color I was looking for! Sometimes you just have to not over think, trust your gut and go for it! (I really should write that on a post it and leave it by my desk!)

I needed a jumping off point (I learned that from watching Sarah Richardson) and I found one while looking through some Google images of Persian rugs. I found the beauty above here and it has the perfect balance of deep red and blue. Years ago I found and purchased my dream couch (see above), I love this couch and it has served us well. My dogs sort of (actually, totally) ruined the leather seat cushions about two years ago so I removed them and made covers out of a very plain brown fabric and now I see that trend popping up everywhere! I still love my couch and I know it has many more years of life left in it, plus it's the most comfortable couch ever, so I won't be replacing it. 

That being said, my boys are a lot bigger now and the four of us cannot comfortably sit on the couch together. That's where these incredible blue velvet chairs from One King's Lane come in. These exact ones are a little out of my price range, especially since I need two, so I will be searching every furniture store until I can find something similar. (cheaper, similar option here, here, and here)

The brown leather and navy blue chairs are dark and will act as anchors for the room since the walls will be so light. I plan on breaking up the darkness in the rug by adding in a light color tufted square coffee table and placing blue & white garden stools beside the chairs. Silver trays and other silver accent pieces will add a little sparkle. 

I adore dark wood and the espresso finish on the fireplace from Canadian Tire and the tall mirrors from IKEA, both currently in my home, are perfect for my living room. There is a lot of natural light in my living room so even with all this dark furniture, the room is quite bright.

So a quick run down

Paint the walls Benjamin Moore Thousand Islands CC-308

Condition leather couch

Buy a Persian (or more likely a faux Persian) rug (This would work or this one)

Find two navy blue velvet club chairs

Purchase tufted square coffee table (Like this or this)

Add blue & white pottery and silver accent pieces

Place flowers everywhere. Who doesn't love flowers!

I'd love to hear what you think. Do you like to decorate with dark colors or light? What is your 'go-to' furniture store?

WOW Wednesday with Crystal Reia - Taking Your Own Time Out




I saw this quote and thought I would elaborate on how taking some time for you (AKA the “TIME OUT”) is so important. Maybe it’s just 30 minutes to relax? Or maybe it’s an hour doing something you love? Or maybe it’s an hour yoga class that helps you get centered and sane after a chaotic busy work day? Or maybe you like to sweat it out with a more intense workout? Whatever the case may be, it’s more important to do than you realize.

We go through many stresses in life. Balancing our families, children, careers and self can be extremely challenging. I know many Moms in particular who sometimes feel guilty taking a time out for themselves, when they have responsibilities at home or to their children... so we tend to skip our workout or whatever it is we had planned. But! If we don’t take care of ourselves (Mind, Body, Spirit) how can we possibly take care of anyone else? This not only applies to families, but in the workplace or our careers too. Taking a little “time out” is NOT a selfish act. It is for the good of you and all those who enter your world on a daily basis.

I think when it comes to families in particular, showing our children that taking good care of ourselves should be an important priority, so that they grow up with respecting themselves, their bodies and their overall health. (Something the young usually take for granted) So that when you might have to leave them for a short period of time, your child understands why you are doing what you are doing. I think it’s something parents should discuss with their families. I have many Moms’ whose children now get excited for Mommy, when she hits her fitness goal or achieves a success! There’s nothing better than the sound of your child’s voice cheering for you and saying “Way to go Mom!” (Dad’s this includes you too!) And because we lead by example, our children see what we do and are apt to grow up with hopefully the same values when it comes to their own well being, their family’s well being and so on for generations to come.

We get very easily wrapped up in doing everything for everyone else, that eventually it starts to wear us down, and sometimes it goes on for so long, that we reach our own breaking point or we just want to give up. Period. (I think most of you all know what I’m talking about here. We’ve all reached that point at some time or another.)

So why do we allow ourselves to get caught up and carried away? We CAN be proactive here. If your goal is to live healthier (that can mean different things to different people; physical or mental health) than talk to your family about it. Your family loves you and will understand that sometimes Mommy or Daddy just needs a “time out”.
And whether or not you are even a parent or not, the same goes for couples!
Your TIME OUT is just as much for them as it is for you. But you do need to do it for YOU. So make your time out, count!

Short and sweet this week! Have a wonderful fit & fab week everyone!


Crystal Reia
PTS, PFS, OAS
Your Health-Your Choice

Email: yourhealth-yourchoice@live.ca

Sea Bags Candy Corn Bucket Bag


Candy Corn Bucket Bag $66.51 CAN (9.5"H x 7"W)

Handcrafted from recycled sails on the working waterfront in Portland, Maine, USA 

How adorable is this Sea Bags candy corn bucket bag?!?! It would make the perfect trick or treat bag for little ones or as a bag to hold treats to "shell out". I love candy corn and tote bags so it was only a matter of time before someone combined the two!

I found this product through a fellow blogger, Nautical by Nature, who always shares the cutest nautical inspired items. Thanks for the introduction! 

Netflix Binge

It's officially cold & flu season and I spent a good portion of my work holidays ill. Luckily, I didn't have any plans so I spent my time with my good friend, Netflix. Grab your hot tea, warm blankets and medicine and prepare to get lost in a Netflix binge.

A few of my favorites


The Mindy Project

I have professed my love of Mindy on my Instagram and Twitter pages before. Her show is sexy and clever, yet goofy and heartwarming. Plus, the Christmas episodes look like Kate Spade decorated them, the scene is total eye candy. Oh and her clothes and her one liners, amazing! 


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

One of the most inappropriate shows I have ever watched and I have watched each episode so many times I can quote it to you. A group of narcissistic friends who grew up together handle lifes adventures by cursing their way through it. I have a feeling you either love or hate the characters. Danny Devito joined in the second season and they are now the longest running live action comedy show on tv. 


Parks & Recreation

Don't you just wish work was this fun! Leslie (Amy Poehler) is a type A workaholic but loves her team and would do anything for them or JJ's waffles. So many great characters within the show, they could have each done a spin off. I'd love to watch a show that centered on just Ron Swanson. 


Ghost Whisperer

Each episode is another story of someone needing assistance from Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) to move to the "other side". I find the first half of each episode very scary and the second half is all very uplifting and lovely. If you're running a fever, you will probably cry a lot at this show. Plus the house Melinda and her husband are renovating is adorable and her clothes are fantastic. I always watch on tv and have my iPad open to Pinterest to pin her outfits. 


SVU

SVU is now in it's 17th season and still going strong! You would think they would run out of cases but they never do and some of the stories "ripped from the headlines" are always interesting to watch. Some episodes are emotionally draining and others leave you with a "justice has been served" feeling of satisfaction. 


Portlandia

One of the strangest, yet funniest, shows I have ever watched. Lot's of sketch comedy, think vignettes that tie into one another, with recurring characters through episodes. Watch from the very first episode and you will be singing "The dream of the 90's is alive in Portland" all day. 


Bates Motel

I just finished the first two seasons of Bates Motel and every episode has you slightly creeped out but also feeling bad for Norman, and sometimes even Norma. Norman Bates, who we all know from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, moves into a motel with his mother following the passing of his father. He's a teenager and we follow him through school and managing typical teenager things. I was surprised to see it set in todays time but it totally works. I really like the brother Dylan, he's a very complex character. 

Believe it or not there are still titles on Netflix that I was not able to watch while I was off. I keep hearing such good things about  the below titles, I am saving them for the next rainy or sick day. They are: Scandal, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Salem, Ally McBeal and Fixer Upper Chip & Joanna.

Fingers crossed that y'all, myself included, do not get hit with another cold this season. At the very least we will have Netflix to keep us entertained!

*There are subtle differences between US & Canadian Netflix, not all titles will apply to your region. 
This post is not sponsored, all opinions are my own. 

Sweater Hot Toddy








Outfit details// Ruffle blouse Joe Fresh// Sweater Banana Republic extra fine merino vneck (few years old)// Jeans Gap 1969 Always Skinny// Loafers Spring// Nail polish Revlon 580 eclectic// Blush Nars Orgasm// Mascara Dior Diorshow// Eyebrow Diorshow Brow Styler 001 Universal Brown// Monogrammed mug Williams Sonoma

Location At home// Photographer The Oldest

I've been a little under the weather for the better part of two weeks with an ear and throat infection so it really felt good to get dressed up and head outdoors (I'd like to thank Netflix and Hulu for keeping me entertained). The sun was shining brightly last night, of course that's before we had a wicked thunder storm, so I decided to take a few photos in my backyard. Of course Colton had to get in on the picture taking, he's such a poser! 

I always say I love dressing in color and this sweater is full of it! It's such a deep hue and depending on the light it moves between blue and purple. It was very blue in the sunlight and looked very purple once we were back in the house. I actually picked this sweater up at a consignment shop for less than $10. The sweater retails for well over $80 so I know I got a good deal! I hand washed it in my new Samsung Top Load Washer (yes the one from the commercial with the sink) and it looks brand new! I paired it with a white blouse to really make the color pop and since I have been on holidays this week (that's right I was sick through my vacation, boooo) I wore my favorite Gap jeans and loafers. 

What truly kept me going this week was my hubby's Hot Toddies. I was so stuffed up and drinking water actually made my throat feel worse! My hubby changed a recipe around to suit my taste and I really think his Hot Toddy is what helped me get through this cold! 


Hot Toddy (makes one drink)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon simple syrup
2 oz. Canadian Whiskey (use Canadian Club if you can)
Boiling water

To a mug add cinnamon, simple syrup. Add boiling water to half full, mix the ingredients. Add whiskey. Top off mug with additional boiling water, you want it close to the top. Stir slowly and enjoy!