Monday, 12 October 2020

Fall Activities with a Toddler (Downloadable List)

 


The weather has officially changed here in Ontario and there's no denying that Fall has arrived. As someone who feels like their best self in the summer, there's always a certain anxiety when the weather starts to cool and the colours on the trees start to change - especially this year! In the age of Covid, living in a partially locked down city and knowing that I'll be spending a lot more time indoors at home with a toddler has made this Fall season particualrly poignant. 


Instead of letting my thoughts get away from me, I've decided to fully embrace the season and dive into some toddler-friendly activities head on and have created a list to keep me focused! 


Wanting to start the autumn season strong, and start tacking my list, Benny and I took to the local pumpkin patch to explore and have some fun. You guys - maybe it's the curmudgeon in me, but I was not expecting to have as much fun as we did! Benny absolutely loved the pumpkin patch, and had a blast toddling around to all of the different sized pumpkins. We went through the corn maze and Benny was laughing hysterically as the wind blew threw the corn stalks and made funny noises. It was overall a 10/10 afternoon, and was a great and inexpensive way to spend some time outdoors while supporting a local farm.

If you're on the fence about wether bringing your toddler to a pumpkin patch is worth the stress of getting out the door, I say give it a try! We all had a blast, and I'll cherish the photos and memories forever.








I'm really excited to start completing tasks on our Fall Activities with a Toddler List and making the best of the changing seasons! 


What are you most excited for with Fall? Any activities that you have planned? Let me know!


xo Joëlle

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Beauty & Skincare Favourites with BeautySense.ca

 


It's not secret that I love beauty and skincare. From a young age, I've been virtually obsessed with makeup. Now that I'm in my thirties that obsession with all things beauty has extended into skincare, hair and body care products. I'm starting to realize that your canvas is just as important as the makeup you apply, and how investing in good products can make a world of a difference. That being said, there is certainly no shortage of selection on the market and the amount of products and retailers available can be overwhelming. For that reason I've rounded up my holy grail, tried and true beauty products that actually achieve results from me, all available from BeautySense.ca

Have you heard of BeautySense.ca? BeautySense is a 100% Canadian owned and operated Montreal-based spa that also offers a wide variety of products online from curated and trusted beauty brands. I was turned on to the online retailer and was blown away by their selection; in fact, I had no trouble locating my favourite hair, makeup and skincare products from their online site! Shipping is incredibly quick and, the best part, because BeautySense.ca is a Canadian beauty boutique there are no duties. I'm so excited to have found a Canadian retailer for my beauty needs.

So what are my holy grail products that I was able to find, you ask? Here are my top picks from BeautySense.ca. Products that I've been using for years that have guaranteed results for me.


Esthederm: Intensive Hyaluronic Cream

Now that I'm 35 years old, I need to be very diligent with ensuring that my skin is properly hydrated and moisturized - otherwise, I notice a big difference. Night creams are so important, and the Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Cream is hands down the best, and most effective night cream that I've ever tried. It provides your skin with hyaluronic acid and immediately moisturizes your skin. For me, I notice the biggest difference in my fine lines: it's almost as if my skin is being plumped from the inside out. If you're in the market for a new night cream, or are preparing for the upcoming dry winter season, then I would highly recommend to add the Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Cream to your cart.



OLAPLEX: No.3 Hair Perfector

Have you tried Olaplex? If you're someone like me who chemically processes their hair and uses lots of heat styling on it, then you're going to want to try this. Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is a revolutionary at-home hair treatment that visibly strengthens hair and reduces breakage. This is a product that is typically used in professional hair salons, especially when chemically lightening hair, and now you can use this hair treatment at home too! The difference this one product makes to my hair is almost too good to describe - it makes my hair look and feel as though I have never dyed it! For real! Olaplex is one of those products where the hype is very much warranted, and I'm so happy that I'm able to purchase it from Beautysense.ca.


RMS Beauty: Champagne Rosé Luminizer

If you're familiar with my Youtube and IGTV videos where I go through my makeup routine, you'll know that I absolutely love the RMS Beauty Luminizers. I call this product 'youth in a jar' and with good reason: it literally gives your skin that glowing from within look to it. The RMS Luminizers are not sticky, glittery or greasy. They apply seamlessly and almost melt into your skin, leaving you with a very natural and etherial glow. I've been a fan since I first started using them almost 3 years ago, and am so happy that I'll now be able to shop them from BeautySense.ca.



Bioderma: Photoderm Autobronzant Moisturizing Tanning Spray

While I am now very aware of the damaging effects of the sun and have turned into someone who goes out of her way to avoid sitting in the sun, I still love a good tan. Having tanned skin makes me feel more confident, so I need to look at sunless options to get a glow. The Bioderma Photoderm Autobronzant Moisturizing Tanning Spray is a great option for those of us looking for a sunless bronze. I really like the spray application of this product, and the fact that you're able to build up a gradual tan. If you're missing the summer season already, the definitely pick this up from Beautysense.ca



With so many options available to us in the world of beauty products, I hope that I can help to narrow down to what has worked for me, and products that I keep restocking again and again. In a time where shopping Canadian is so important, I'm really happy that all of my favourites and then some can be found on Beautysense.ca.

What do you guys think? What are some of your holy grail beauty products? Have you shopped at BeautySense.ca before? Let me know!


xo Joëlle


Thank you Beautysense.ca for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Benny's Boho Nursery Reveal!

gender neutral boho nursery

 The time has finally come for me to share Benny's colourful boho-in-the-city nursery! We've come a long way from his small space condo nursery that was essentially our den and I'm so pleased how everything has evolved. Benny's room now is bright, spacious and full of personality and great energy - much like Benny himself! Although it's not totally done yet, (we're still waiting to rip out those damn carpets to put in hardwood) I'm really happy with the point the nursery is at now.

To be honest, even though we moved from a 750 square foot condo into a house in the city, we haven't bought much furniture. Benny's room is a great example - we actually repurposed all of his old nursery furniture from the condo, as well as added a wooden engineering chair that we preciously had in our condo's living room. Instead of buying new furniture (especially when his current furniture was perfectly fine) we instead opted to update and fill his space with some key accessories. Coupled with a fresh coat of paint (our trusty Benjamin Moore 'Simply White') and the room transformed before our eyes.

Take a look at Benny's nursery and allow me to show you what we used to update and make the room his own - without buying any new furniture.



Boho nursery tour

alpaca themed nursery



toronto home nursery reveal

nursery reveal


alpaca removable wallpaper


Let's talk about this absolutely adorable alpaca wallpaper from Anewall. I've been a huge fan of Anewall since seeing them in the nurseries of some of my favourite design accounts and blogger friends. I mean what's not to love - their wallpaper designs are so beautiful and add just the right amount of personality to any room! When I saw that they did an alpaca print, I knew that it would look perfect in Benny's nursery. It's cute, colourful and very gender neutral.

Although there are 3 different wallpaper options to select from with Anewall, we chose to go with the removable vinyl wallpaper. It's a bit more difficult to install (okay - a lot more difficult although to be fair, we were warned) but it makes me relieved to know that should we want to update the space in a few years time that removing the wallpaper won't be a nightmare. Plus, the removable options makes it perfect if you're renting!

I honestly think that having the alpaca print wallpaper as a focal point in Benny's nursery makes the room. I could not be happier with our decision, and am already scouting out other locations to wallpaper throughout our home.

washable mint green rug Lorena canals

If you've spoken to me since we've moved into our new place, you've probably heard me complain about the carpets. I just really hate the carpets, lol. With at least a few more months before we get our hardwood installed, I knew that I had to find a solution for the carpet in Benny's room. Enter this gorgeous, mint green rug from Lorena Canals, available at West Coast Kids. It's soft, comfy, adds the perfect amount of colour to Benny's nursery and - here's the best part - it's 100% cotton and machine washable. Cue the hallelujahs! I'm so happy with the look and quality of Lorena Canals pieces and am so excited to have this rug add some fun and colour to Benny's boho nursery.

wooden toys in gender neutral nursery

vintage car west coast kids nursery reveal

One of the things that I love the most about Benny's nursery is the size - it's massive (for Toronto standards, and especially after coming from 750 square feet.) Because of how large the room is, there is lots of room for a toy area in the corner. Although most of his toys are in his playroom in the basement, I like having a few things for Benny to play with in his room; it really helps when I'm trying to get stuff done in the nursery. Now I'm not opposed to big, bright and loud toys but I wanted the room to maintain a calm energy so I am very selective about what toys stay in the nursery - they need to be cute but also practical.

With that in mind, you know that this Vilac Toys vintage car from West Coast Kids had me at hello. You guys - it's perfect! Not only is it the most beautiful child's toy that I've ever seen, but it's also incredibly practical too. Benny loves this car! It's the cutest thing to see him zooming around his nursery in this car, all while laughing and giggling away. Vilac Toys has been building toys since 1911, and it shows in the detail and quality. Not only is this vintage car a beautiful piece for Benny's nursery now, but it will also transition nicely into his room decor as he grows. Love all around.

Pehr counting sheep mobile nursery styled



mother and son nursery reveal

It's amazing what little details can do for a space. Even with Benny's nursery, I wanted every element to be a mix of both beautiful design and practicality - not a small feat when looking for baby accessories. That's why I've always loved Pehr. Not only are the pieces simple and beautiful, but the company itself is really something that I can get behind - both Canadian and female run! 

I chose to go with the Pehr Stripes Away Hamper, Stripes Away Crib Sheet and finally was able to hang the Pehr Counting Sheep mobile that Benny received from his baby shower from family. I love them all, and they all add the perfect amount of colour and detail to Benny's nursery.


ikea kids bookshelf nursery

cuddle and kind doll




That's it! Benny's colourful, boho, city nursery is finally complete (for now) and ready to be enjoyed for years to come. Let me know what you think of how it turned out!

xo Joëlle


Items In Photos:









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Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Tips For Taking Photos With A Baby Or Toddler


 


Honestly, where has the time gone? If you don't follow me on Instagram, you will have missed that my little baby Benny is now a one year old and has morphed into a full-fledged toddler overnight. Gone are the days of sleepy baby and sitting him down without much movement. Now this guy is literally anywhere and everywhere: crawling, standing, climbing - basically, just trying his best to keep mama on her toes.

All this to say that taking photos of and with a toddler is no-joke. Wether it's indoors or outdoors, local or on a trip, it doesn't seem to make things easier. Toddlers are just hellbent on being difficult to photograph.

Well, I will not be deterred! I love documenting Benny's life and our adventures via photos and hope to continue for as long as he will allow me. Even though taking photos with a toddler comes with its challenges, I have a few tips and tricks that I keep in my back pocket to make things a little easier. Here's how I get photos with my one year old (mostly) without losing my mind.




1. Bring A Variety Of Snacks 

The concept of snacks is definitely not groundbreaking when dealing with a toddler, but I try to pack as many different varieties as I can. If I know that we're going to be away from he house for an extended period of time, even just going to a park to snap a few photos, I load up on snacks and drinks. My trick is to bring a few different varieties of snacks and even a variety of drinks if I can. With Benny, if he starts to become fussy when we're out and taking photos, it's mostly because he's bored. Having a variety of different snacks and drinks keeps his attention for longer, and also makes sure that he's full, hydrated and happy. A win-win all around. 

Some of my favourite snacks to pack:

  • Arrowroot cookies
  • Puffs (usually the savoury kind for some variety)
  • Whole fruits (bananas travel well)
  • Purée packs 
  • Juice boxes
  • Water bottles with ice

2. Take Breaks

Going back to toddlers becoming fussy because of boredom, I've learned to operate on a much slower timeline with trying to get photos with a busy baby. That means taking 5 fairly often to eat some snacks, sing songs, play with toys and generally just change up the activity for a bit. A break can even be putting the camera down to look at a tractor for half and hour (been there.) I basically operate on a very relaxed timeline and try to give into the fact that there will be many breaks between photos - and that's okay.


3. Consider Videos Instead

Sometimes, try as I may, I cannot get Benny to sit still long enough to take a cute photo. What can I say, the man is on the move. Rather than stress out about getting the perfect photo when it may not be a possibility, I turn to video instead. Honestly, having a video camera in the form of your phone on you at all times is such a blessing with active toddlers! I love capturing clips of Benny and our everyday life and adventures with video. It may not be the picture-perfect memory that I was hoping for, but its such a beautiful and realistic snapshot of what life is like during that moment in time. 


4. Hire A Professional

Honestly, the biggest takeaway here is to hire a professional photographer when you really want some beautiful photos of your toddler. Not only is it so refreshing to have someone with you who is just as invested in getting good photos of your little one as you are, but as a bonus you can get some photos together too! I've honestly have never spent more money on photographers as I have this year with Benny, and I feel like it's all been money well spent. 


That's it! These are all of my tips for getting photos with my busy baby. I know they're nothing groundbreaking, but honestly they've been working for me. Taking photos with a toddler can be a lot of extra work, but the memories you have to look back on are worth it.

What do you guys think? What is your go-to method for getting photos with your busy babies and toddlers? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

All photos by Laura Clarke Photography 

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Monday, 29 June 2020

Day Trips With A Baby


Summer 2020 - woo! Not exactly the summer we were all expecting as we're currently in the middle of a global pandemic, but as a Canadian I will take my summer however it choses to present itself. While we won't be partaking in the usual summer concerts, events and public swims for health reasons, there's one summer traditional that I am excited to (safety) resurrect and that is the summer road trip!

If you guys follow me on Instagram or have been reading my blog for some time, you know that I absolutely love day tripping around Ontario. There's just something about a road trip from the city that just reinvigorates you and makes you appreciate the beauty around you even more. Pandemic aside, I have another change to add to my local summer travels - my 11 month old son Benjamin!

Taking a day trip, even just a quick one, with a baby definitely presents itself with its own unique challenges. You need a lot more stuff, timing is absolutely imperative and there is potential for tears - from both mama and baby, depending on how the drive is going! As we're slowly coming out of months of quarantine and self-isolation, I have to admit that I've lost a bit of my mojo with taking Benny with me. Traveling with a baby can be overwhelming, even if that travel is just a day's road trip.

Thankfully after a few successful car trips with baby Benny under my belt, I feel as though I have a handle on road tripping with a little. Yes there is more stuff that you need to bring and the trip is not as carefree as your childless days, but honestly it's so worth it. Here's my tried-and-true packing list, as well as some tips to make road tripping with a baby as stress free and enjoyable of an experience as it can possibly be!

What To Pack:

  • Snacks. So many snacks. At least 3 times the amount you think that you need.
  • Sunscreen
  • Soother wipes. It can be daunting trying to keep baby's hands and belongings sanitized (we are still in a pandemic,) so having a pack of soother wipes handy can really help.
  • Extra Diapers
  • Wipes - not only for diaper changes, but also to clean baby on-the-go (especially after all those snacks.)
  • Soft toys that are safe for the car trip
  • A picnic blanket (I use this one from Amazon, which is actually a tablecloth.)
  • A hat for baby
  • A bottle of water
  • A change of clothes for both baby and mama
  • Anything of comfort for baby - whether that be a pacifier, lovey, blanket, etc.
  • Bug Spray (this one is deet-free and is safe for babies over 6 months)
  • Travel stroller (we're still loving the Uppababy Minu and it lives in my trunk.)
For me, the source of most of the stress that comes along with day tripping with a baby has to do with gathering all of the stuff and panicking over forgetting something important. To combat any anxiety over the added stuff, I keep a canvas bag filled with all of the above and keep it in an accessible area. That way, it's easy to just pop into either the bottom of your stroller (for anything within walking distance) or the trunk of your car. Just make sure that you're periodically changing the diapers and changes of clothes to match your baby's current size.


Car Ride Tips


  • When taking road trips and day trips with a baby, timing is absolutely everything. It may seem like an obvious statement to make, but timing your car trips to line up with your baby's naps will be such a game changer. I even plan to leave about 15 minutes prior to Benny's scheduled nap time because I know that it takes him some time to get settled in the car. 

  • You know your baby best, so if they have a tendency to get worked up and anxious during car rides then it's likely to happen on a road trip (even if you time naps perfectly.) If you have the option, an extra person to sit in the backseat to entertain your baby can make the difference between an enjoyable drive and a nightmare. Grandparents, partner, big kids - anyone who offers to help, definitely take it.

  • Create a rock-solid playlist that's full of songs that you know your baby enjoys. Benny loves watching Mother Goose Club, so I have all of the songs cued up and ready to go for our car trips. Do I love listening to 'The Wheels On The Bus' multiple times a trip? That would be a hell no from me. But, I will sacrifice my typical classic rock road trip tunes for a happy baby any day.

  • Skip the drive through and fill up with gas beforehand. I've learned this lesson the hard way, but if you're timing your baby's naps with your driving time then the last thing that you want to do is interrupt said nap. Reduce any need to stop, and potentially wake up and upset your baby.

  • Have patience and trust that you're making great memories. It can be so hard to keep your composure when you're in the thick of motherhood and don't have the comforts of home to rely on. For me, my trigger is when Benny is crying in the car and there's no way for me to comfort him. Even in our worst moments, I have to trust that we're making family memories and that I'll forget about any of those hard moments as time goes on. 




These photos were taken at quite possibly the most beautiful lavender farm that I've ever visited! Purple Hill Lavender Farm is a picturesque piece of paradise in Creemore, Ontario (about an hour and a half drive from Toronto.) The farm is family-owned, and you can just feel the amount of care and love that goes into the property. The lavender is currently at peak bloom and will remain this shade of vibrant purple until about mid-July. Make sure to visit their website to book your ticket to visit - and bring the whole family. Honestly, you won't regret it.






Road tripping and day tripping with a baby can feel daunting, but it's so incredibly worth it. We may have a very different summer on our hands for 2020, but getting out and exploring nature and what our province or state has to offer is a great way to make lemonade out of lemons. I'm excited for all of our summer day trips to come. Where should we go next?

xo Joëlle
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