A Collection of Memoirs & $100 Kobo Giveaway #ReadMore

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January is always a month full of deep resolve. It’s a time where we choose to reflect on our past and resolve to change our future for the better – whether it be to be healthier in our eating habits, or to meditate for a peaceful mind, or to learn a new craft – it’s a time where we all feel like this is possible. It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? To have the confidence to try something different and new, and actually follow through with it?

This year, I’ve made a few resolutions, one of them being to read more. This is also combined with spending more time on myself – something I seem to have forgotten how to do in the past few years. Being an awesome mom, an amazing wife, a great chef, a self-employed entrepreneur, a blogger, a design guru – it takes up so much of my time that there’s often very little left for me. This past year I’ve realized that I’ve lost interest in so many things because of time, and this year, I’m changing that.

I struggle with the saying that I’m “putting myself first”, because as a mom and wife and business owner, I can’t honestly say that. However, I definitely won’t be putting myself last anymore – and with that comes nights out just for fun, a bottle of champagne to celebrate the little things in life, and reading for pleasure.

As busy as I am, reading became a practical habit, where I learned time management skills, how to put a baby to bed, or Adobe Illustrator tutorials. This year I will go back to reading for fun – memoirs a deep favourite of mine, but I’ll also be reading more fiction novels – from easy beach reads to intense and suspenseful stories, I want to read a good book, finish it, and perhaps even discuss it with my peers! (Perhaps I should join a book club?)

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I’m still reading my way through the Top 10 eBooks of 2014, but I’m already creating must-read collections for the upcoming months. One of my favourite things to do on the Kobo app is curate collections of books to read. It’s like putting my books on their own bookshelves according to genre or whim – from travel inspirations to cookbooks!

I created a Collection of Memoirs that I want to share with you – some of these I’ve read, and some are still on my ‘want to read’ list! There are a couple of light-hearted and comedic memoirs, a few stories of falling in love, food, and travel, and a couple of serious tales. I love reading stories from a person’s point of view, I love reading about others’ experiences in different situations and places that they’ve been to.

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I’m always on the look out for new books to add to my ‘Want to Read’ list in the Kobo eBookstore! Did you know you can download the Kobo App for a variety of devices, from your desktop computer to android to iPad? Here’s an exciting chance to win $100 in Kobo eBook credits so you can create your own collection of books to read! What are your favourite books to read?

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Kobo and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Have the Best Dressed Kids on the Block (For Less!) #BDFL2015

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I fully admit that I’m a recovering shopaholic. As a teenager, I worked at the mall and on my days off I would spent my little paycheques on shoes, and clothes, and makeup! As I got older and my paycheques got bigger, my shopping excursions became a thing of legends! Leather bags, designer shoes – I would buy almost anything I desired. Of course, after years of spending excessively, it became time to buckle down and save!

I suppose that’s part of growing up, right? Making budgets and sticking to them? But saving your money and seeing your bank account numbers going up is an awesome feeling – and month after month, we reassess our budget to make sure we’re meeting all of our needs – and with growing kids, that means a ton of clothing and shoe purchases!

That’s why I’m so excited to share the Best Dressed for Less event at the Coquitlam Centre! It starts January 9th – 18th, and is an amazing time to purchase anything you might need! I took advantage of the exciting deals to purchase some adorable kids clothes!

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There’s a ton of chic and fun children’s fashions found at Coquitlam Centre. For under $150, I got three complete outfits for my kids plus more! The Children’s Place has sales up to 75% off, and I scored a couple of rad tees for my kids, plus some essentials, like socks and underwear. H&M also had lots of essentials for sale, like basic tees and undies, and I also scored a pair of dark skinnies for my tween girl for under $10!

Gymboree has awesome sales as well, and I couldn’t resist picking up this on trend plaid button-down for my toddler! A stop at Old Navy was a must, picking up more socks and undershirts, plus these beige skinny jeans for my toddler as well! And what trip at the Coquitlam Centre isn’t complete without heading into Gap Kids? I scored these rocking jeans for my tween for $9.99, and the sweater was 65% off the original price!

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Walking out of the Coquitlam Centre, I felt so lucky to have found so many killer deals that I almost skipped back to my car with the shopping bags swinging in my hands! I promise, I didn’t actually do it, but I wanted to – and you would have, too! My two stylish kids are definitely making the Best Dressed list for LESS!

Check out the Coquitlam Centre’s website to find out more information on the Best Dressed For Less event, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages, and click on #BDFL2015 to find other Vancouver-area bloggers who are also shopping for their homes, their families, and themselves!

Disclosure: The amazing people at the Coquitlam Centre provided me with a shopping experience of the Best Dressed for Less sales event for blogging purposes. All opinions posted are completely honest and true!

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Life Management Binder

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One of my resolutions for this year is to get organized, and for me that means planning out, scheduling, and balancing my work and household life. I’m self-employed and I work from home for three days a week. But I often find my home chores blending into my work days, and my work life falling into my family life – and it becomes a confusing, busy mess.

When my life becomes hectic, and work blends with blogging and with my home life, my anxiety starts creeping in and I become someone that I don’t want to be. I get short with my kids and my husband, my house isn’t the place where I want to relax and cook for my family, and I become unhappy. everyone

Knowing this, I knew I  needed to make a change this year. Getting organized is HUGE for me, because I’m quite a Type-A personality, when things don’t go according to plan, I also get pissed off at the world around me. This year, scheduling and planning, along with the knowledge that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and things don’t always go according to plan, but can be adjusted to work just the same – this will all help me get organized and get a better handle on my work/life/family balance.

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To create your own personalized life management binder, first you have to take a look at where you need the most help, or what stresses you out most in your life. For me, it was easy to pinpoint exactly what bothered me. If I didn’t have dinner planned out, it would be a constant nagging in the back of my mind to figure out what to make. If my house was a mess, I had difficulty focusing on working or blogging. My blogging schedule often became hectic based on what was going on in my life as well. And working at home is supposed to be the priority, always, however when my house was a mess and blogging became busy, it was difficult to focus on working.

See the crazy unbalanced cycle I was living in? I had to change something, or I would lose my sanity. After I pinpointed out the problems, I started searching for Household Management Binders and how to schedule blog posts – Pinterest has a large variety of results for both of these. I finally figured out that I just need an “all-in-one” solution.

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I discovered Eliza Ellis’ Home Organizers, which she aptly titled “It’s a Beautiful Life”. These beautiful and free printable come in four different colours, and there are tons and tons of printable to choose from. She has created daily, weekly, and monthly planners, as well as a variety of lists, back to school planners, crafting planners, recipe and food lists, home lists and finance budgets.

Using her free printables in Orchid, I created my life management binder to suit my needs. My love of To Do Lists knows no bounds, and they are extremely useful for me. I love writing out my list of things to get done for the next day, and the satisfaction of crossing off each finished task makes my heart shine. Silly, isn’t it? I also use her weekly dinner planner, a housework checklist to help remind me of tasks to get done, and a chore list for my kid.

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My blogging schedule is very simple, which is perfect for me. I use a monthly calendar to plot out my blog posts, based on variety of posts and any applicable deadlines. I just started using it so I’m still getting the hang of scheduling my blog posts, but I plan them out in the “Notes” section, where I write out ideas, paragraphs, and lines that will help me organize my blogging. I also printed out the Habits worksheet, as well as a monthly budget to help me keep track of my finances.

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I used a simple binder and dividers that I had on hand, and printed off the sheets at a local printer. I find it’s such a relief to open up my binder and have things planned out for me. Obviously, I’ve had to add planning time to my schedule, which I usually do first thing in the morning as well as before bed. It keeps my mind clear of all the things I have to do but don’t want to forget.

Everything you see was created by Eliza Ellis, and she offers these printable and more on her website. Do you keep a home management binder? If you blog, do you schedule your blog posts? I’m hoping this will help me keep organized for this upcoming year, which will be super busy for me!

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Favourites from 2014

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Hey everybody! I hope you’ve had a great 2014! My year was full of ups and downs, but one of the most amazing things that happened was finishing our house build and moving in!

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// Building Our Dream Home, Pt. 1 // explains all the history behind purchasing our building lot, how we got to the west coast, and how we first started figuring out how to build a house.
// Building Our Dream Home, Pt. 2 // the second stage of our house build – metal beams are in and the ceiling going up – it was an exciting time!

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// Building Our Dream Home, Pt. 3 // the stairs were finally put in – a major accomplishment to be able to go upstairs from the inside of the house!
// Building Our Dream Home, Pt. 4 // much of the exterior was finished at this point – metal cladding, brick, and windows made it feel like a real house!

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// Living in Our Dream Home // I took a few pictures of the kitchen and living area upstairs – we had fully moved in but still had to deal with moving boxes, and living in an unfinished space.

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// The Master Bedroom // showing off our bed and the simplicity of our bedroom. We’ve since added a few things, but I still need to add some furniture and art!
// The Home Office // I was so excited to finally have my own space to work, write, and be creative in!

More Favourites From 2014

+ Is Naptime Officially Over?
+ When You Struggle with Positivity
+ I Have Mommy Guilt because I Stopped Breastfeeding
+ My Yoga Experience at Wanderlust
+ How I Handled My Toddler’s First Broken Bone
+ Our Wedding Anniversary
+ My Toddler Isn’t Talking  Yet – Should I Be Worried?
+ DIY Felt Ball Wreath
+ Things to Look Forward To

I hope you have a wonderful time ringing in the New Year tonight! Here’s to an awesome 2015!

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Bloglovin, and Pinterest.

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In Sickness and In Health at Christmastime

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In a flurry of sparkly torn up wrapping paper, indulgent foods that left a bit too much on our waistlines, and, in my case, a snowy white mountain of balled-up tissues, Christmas has come and gone. I spent my holiday attempting to survive. The flu had hit me hard and I spent most of last week medicating myself and sleeping.

There were moments that I felt a bit more energetic, so I would use it to bake cookies, wrap presents, clean up, make dinner – and then collapse on the couch, shivering in a feverish haze, and falling asleep by 8 pm.

But besides my failing health, we had a wonderful Christmas. The kids were spoiled, as usual, with loads of new Lego, teddy bears, and tons of trains to add to their collection. We had a delicious homemade fondue dinner for Christmas Eve, with smoked sausages, pretzel buns, and those tiny pickles my daughter loves, and for Christmas we went out to have a turkey dinner at a restaurant in Whistler.

Now that I’m feeling better, if not 100% healthy then at least 90% better than last week, I’m slowly getting back into the groove of things. I have some exciting news to share in the next couple of weeks, but for now I’m busying myself with the business of organizing, purging, and getting ready for the New Year. Ta for now!

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