– Tagged "stuff i love" – Fridays Off

kiehl's ultra facial oil-free gel cream


As you know I'm a big fan of Kiehl's products and I was happy to hear that in honour of Earth Day (coming up on Monday April 22) they're doing something special. One hundred per cent of net proceeds of the Limited Edition Label Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream will be donated to Evergreen, a not-for-profit organization that improves the health of our Canadian cities.

This Oil-Free Gel Cream is great for sensitive skin. It's paraben-free, silicone-free, dye-free and fragrance-free. It helps rebalance skin's hydration levels and provides all-day no-shine moisture. If you've got sensitive skin you know that this time of year usually brings on a dry and flaky mess. I've been using this stuff for the past week coupled with my nightly application of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and my skin has never felt smoother (it's almost as smooth as L'il E's).

I say this is the perfect addition to your face care regime as we head into the hot and humid summer months. The gel cream is so smooth and light and it doesn't leave your skin feeling sticky like some of the other gel creams I've tried.

If you're not into earth day celebrations why not treat yourself to a nice little gift instead! It's $56 at your local Kiehl's store and again 100% of net proceeds will be donated to Evergreen. I think it's worth it.

Happy (almost) Earth Day.

the great camp adventure


I have always been a supporter of SickKids Foundation, partly because I do a lot of work with them through my work with DQ, but also because my nieces have received amazing care through a similar foundation in Alberta. So, when I was asked to write a sponsored post for their latest campaign of course I said YES, I'd love to!

On September 28 SickKids Foundation will host a new adventure walk for the whole family called The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure. It's a full day adventure designed to be fun for the little ones and the big kids at heart -  babies in strollers, grams and gramps and everyone in between will be able to participate and feel like a camp kid again.

So here's the deal. Rally your troops and register here (registration fee is $65 and non-refundable) or you can go the old fashioned route and call 416-4-KEEPS. The planned route will be full of fun adventures and if you're up for the challenge your team can walk as far as 20 km (but it's up to you how far you want to go). The littles (ages 3-17) are expected to raise a minimum of $150 and the adults (18+) are expected to raise a minimum or $500.

You can request more information here, keep up to date with the campaign on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter @campforkeeps.

If you're looking for something fun to do with the fam and want to help raise money for The Hospital for Sick Children's most urgent needs this should be on your list.

Will I see you there?




midnight recovery concentrate


My tired, winter stained skin is being put to the test over the next 10 days. Kiehl's Canada has hooked me up with with two bottles of their Midnight Recovery Concentrate and challenged me to change my skin.

I'm up for it!

The elixir is a water-free concentration of Squalane (a botanical lipid that is similar in molecular structure to natural skin lipids), night-blooming Evening Primrose and essential oils including Lavender (my favourite). It also contains Coriander and Rose Hip Seed Oils, which when combined, provides a complete blend of Omegas (Omega 3, 6 and 9). Omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids have a restructuring benefit which keeps the skin hydrated.

I didn't know this but your skin gets busy overnight and especially between midnight and 4:00 a.m. No wonder we look so deprived when we've been up all night! Kiehl's specifically formulated this product to boost the repair and regeneration of skin during this time period.

I would snap a close up o demonstrate the before, but I don't want to scare you, so you'll just have to take my word for it when 10 days are up. I'm pregnant so I have really great skin right now (IMHO). For whatever reason pregnancy agrees with my complexion - no oil, no blemishes, but could use more glow and probably some hydration.

If you want to give it a try go pick up a bottle at Kiehl's ($48.00).

Wish me luck!


two years - a note to my l'il E

L'il E is two


To my sweet L'il E,

Two years ago today you showed up a week early and it's from that day that my life changed forever. You're the coolest little kid and I know you are going to grow up to do great things (and probably some not so great things).

I love being your mom and I still sit and stare at you like I did the day you were born. I don't think that awe will ever disappear. I promise I won't be like that creepy mother in that Robert Munsch book "Love you forever".

I can't believe how much you have grown and accomplished since I wrote this post a year ago. I loved the first year, but the second year has been so amazing seeing you morph from a little baby into a little boy. You learned to walk, you learned to run, you learned to talk and best of all you learned how to make us laugh.

You're a very thoughtful and observant little guy (you were even like that at a week old) and it's as if the wheels in your head are constantly spinning. You're not one to take risks, in fact you are extremely cautious and just like your mom and dad you suss out the situation before you get too comfortable. Unfortunately you inherited my stubbornness (we'll work on that) and dad's hairline (we'll work on growing that out a bit).

I wanted to write this note to you so that we could look back one day and remember all of the funny things you say and do. So here's a list of my faves:

1. Every morning you greet us with a very loud "Hiiiiiyaaaaa". Even though you're in a big boy bed and can get out of it on your own, you insist that one of us comes into your room to give you permission to get out of bed.

2. You love oatmeal (you call it "meal") or Cheerios for breakfast.

3. Our iPad is probably your most prized possession and I often wonder if we should stage an intervention, but the games and videos you play and watch have taught you a lot like letters, numbers, colours, and animals.

4. Your crutch is your soother. You only suck on it at bedtime and nap time but you LOVE it and I can't take that comfort away from you.

5. "Helpy?" is your favourite thing to say. You are always game to help with baking, unloading the dishwasher, sorting laundry, watering plants, chopping stuff for dinner, sweeping, and vacuuming. I know this won't last much longer so I'm taking advantage of it now.

6. You go nuts for chai tea and so we let you drink it diluted with a lot of milk and honey. You especially like to sit on your special cushion and have tea time as a family. It's pretty cute.

7. You love brushing your teeth. Please continue to love this important hygiene activity.

8. The streetcar ride is probably the highlight of your day most days and you love giving the driver the token. There are many crazy characters on our rides to and from school; you love observing them all and they don't seem to confuse you.

9. You're really into saying please, thank you and you're welcome all at once. We're working on the sequence of  who says what when but right now you're happy saying all three.

10. You give the best hugs and kisses. You don't give them out often but when you do I feel so loved.

Happy Birthday to my L'il E. I know you're big but you'll be my L'il forever.




big brother


It's time to start adding to our library of baby books because L'il E is going to be a big brother this July!

I've been dying to spill the beans because the Hubs and I are very excited (stressed out) about all the cute baby giggles (sleepless nights), sweet baby cheeks (explosive diapers) and long baby snuggles (spit up stains) that are coming our way in 5 and a half months. What I'm looking forward to the most though, is sharing this journey with our L'il E and watching as he becomes an amazing big brother (he's such a good boy).

I am an only child so this is huge for me. It's going to be such an experience navigating the world of siblings and rivalry. I also secretly hope it's a girl because my dream always was to have a big brother.

Anyhow if you have any tips to share I'm all ears. They will be two and a half years apart, so I'm sure we're in for a wild ride.

Oh and I'll save my first trimester woes for another blog post. They're right when they say every pregnancy is different (barf!).



video killed the radio star

You might not know this about us but we're huge TV-aholics (sorry if you were hoping for something kinkier). So, to break our habit of watching bad reality TV shows like American Idol, The Voice, SYTYCD, and all the CSIs you could imagine we flipped Rogers the bird and never looked back.

For a while it was great because we were free of the skull-numbing TV schedule that had ruled our lives and all of a sudden we had so much more time. Then we discovered Netflix and all the content you could possibly want online and sadly we're back to our usual ways, but at least now we're watching stuff that's good and it's on our own schedule.

I'm into so many TV shows right now it's obscene. So if you've been wondering where I've been hiding it's likely been in my basement in front of our brand new TV watching the following:

American Horror Story - this show has taken over my life and I've been watching it so much that it's totally messing with my head.

Downton Abbey - I know I'm super late to the game on this one, but I just can't stop.

Homeland - I'm waiting on pins and needles for the rest of season 2 to get started already!

Dexter - I have a love/hate relationship with this show, but Season 7 has captured my attention again.

So I'm sorry my  friends, but I will come back to you soon. Well just as soon as I emerge from the cave.

Tell me, what are you favourites these days?





Quilted pocket advent calendar

The last few weeks have been hectic around here and I apologize for the lack of posts, but there are only so many hours in a day (right?!).

Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope everyone had a great holiday and that you're all rested and well fed. We had a fantastic Christmas, so good that I'm still recovering from all of the excitement.

This was our first Christmas at home with L'il E so I wanted to create new traditions of our own as well as incorporate existing family ones. I believe that traditions organically evolve (they can't really be created) and I'm so glad there are a few that seem to be surfacing (ok and one I created).

One of our  traditions that has evolved over time is homemade pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve. For the last few years that we have stayed in Toronto, the Hubs and I have made our favourite homemade pizza, uncorked a bottle of red and enjoyed a nice relaxing meal before the feasting of Christmas Day. This year we shared that with L'il E and for me it sealed the tradition for good.

Growing up I always had one of those yummy chocolate advent calendars, but always envied the families that had a homemade one with pockets or drawers (no I didn't feel deprived mom, I loved my chocolate advent calendar just as much). With that, I decided to sew up a quilted pocket advent calendar (I used this tutorial) and be one of those families I envied. I finished it just in time for the beginning of advent, but alas I wasn't organized enough to fill the pockets.  Next year I plan on filling the pockets with little notes, chocolates and trinkets as the days lead up to Christmas Eve. A new tradition in the making?

As for the rest of our Christmas celebrations it's mostly what the Hubs and I grew up with and surprisingly they don't differ very much! I imagine that many more traditions will arise as we celebrate more Christmases at home with our growing family.

What are your Christmas traditions? Do you stick to family traditions or make up your own?


gift exchange

I came home to a gift from my secret elf tonight - all the way from Sweden. I was going to wait until Christmas morning to tear it open, but my curiosity got the better of me.

We don't know each other but Kathleen (my secret elf) from Sweden sent me chocolate, wool, knitting needles, a little candle and a beautiful scarf. I feel spoiled. It's so cool that we have connected from so far away!

My draw is a gal from Australia and I'm feeling terrible because I haven't sent my gift yet, but I will be sending it tomorrow. Everything is handmade so she'll be receiving a little bit of crafty-ness from Canada.

Thanks Fat Mum Slim for organizing this awesome exchange through It's been fun and I hope we do it again next year!

Happy gifting!



December 19, 2012 by AlannaB

nadege patisserie - a sweet gift


I've been MIA (a.k.a. sick and tired for the last 2 weeks) but during this time I've been harboring all kinds of amazing gift ideas. So here I am now spitting them out for you.

Next up is my all-time fave - Nadege Patisserie. When I was pregs with L'il E I used to eat a few croissants from this place a week! It was hard to resist the aromas as I walked passed on my way to work in the mornings. Sadly, since I discovered my wheat intolerance there is not much I can eat at Nadege, however that doesn't mean YOU can't indulge!

If you've never visited this little gem on Queen West, you must give it a try. Especially if you're going to be entertaining this holiday season. Their pastries are so beautiful you feel badly eating them. They also carry a wide array of gorgeous and colourful macarons as well as chocolate and confectioneries. Oh and you must try their homemade marshmallows!

They will be launching an online boutique soon, but it's still in the works.

Go check them out. I can smell the croissants now...


dylan kendall - gifts of joy

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How cute are these?!

Dylan Kendall is a ceramicist who makes joyful little home accessories complete with little feet. From kitchen vessels to bathroom accessories Dylan's designs are sure to bring a smile to someones face (I'm smiling right now!).

Wouldn't these make a great gift for someone on your list this season? I especially love the soap dish!

If you shop this week you'll get 10 per cent off orders under $100. Yay extended cyber Monday sales!

Happy shopping.


November 28, 2012 by AlannaB