Friday, May 29, 2020

Motherhood: Quarantine Update

Isn't it crazy how quickly things can change?

One day I was planning my return to work full time and Liyana's first day in an infant program - the next day those two things were no longer an option.

As much as I thought those decisions were up to me, in a moment I was no longer in charge. 

It just reminded me-  nothing is ever for certain.

This time at home has been a challenge, especially as a parent of a young child - it's all hands on deck, all the time.

While we have difficult moments, I'm also learning so much more than I could imagine. 

Here's What I've Gained

This time has given me a gift - more time to nurture my little angel with my own hands and heart.

More time for teaching at home, more time for connecting, more time to witness tiny, daily miracles in my own home.

Time to grow love and more time for cuddles. 

This situation has taught me to be present, to stop jumping three steps ahead and to slow down. 

It's taught me the only thing we know for sure, is what is here and now. 

So if you need me, this is where I'll be 📍 living every day moments as a little crew of three.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lifestyle: 8 Canadian Companies Selling Cloth Masks Online

Where to Buy Masks Online in Canada

Times have changed and there is one 'accessory' that has very quickly become a necessity.

in 2020, cloth face masks have become an important part of our daily reality. The CDC  now recommends people wear them when they are visiting places where maintaining social distance is difficult.

Since regulation PPE should be reserved for front line workers and medical professionals, I've spent some time searching for some local retailers from whom I could purchase a few reusable
cloth masks for my family.

For anyone looking for the same thing, I thought I'd compile a list of small and large Canadian companies who are carrying masks in their online shops.

Who is Behind the Masks?

Many of these companies have embraced innovation in order to supply masks to frontline workers, businesses and retail customers. Other suppliers are citizens who decided to sew masks as a side project to raise funds for COVID research or to help supply PPE to those who need it.

Raubia, the woman behind started sewing when Toronto hospitals asked for volunteers to make fabric masks.

"I immediately felt I had to dust off my sewing machine and do my part to help out. It really was a call to action for me and I wanted to help however I could."

Purchases on her site help her to continue making masks so she can donate them to people and communities in need.

Like Raubia (and the other suppliers mentioned here) I want to do my part by supporting local businesses who are making efforts to stop the spread.

More then ever before, it's important to support Canadian brands as much as possible, so we can help these small and large businesses stay strong through this difficult time.

Note: I decided to buy 2-3 masks per person in my household and supported a few of these local companies in the process. Hope you do the same if you're looking for face masks for personal use.

Suited Inc. Cotton face masks with or without filters. Custom designs and children's sizes available.

Entripy - 100% cotton twill. Masks are cut and sewn in Canada. Custom designs and bulk orders.

MaskOver - Donating masks to hospitals and communities in need. Children's sizes available.

Obasan - Organic cotton face masks that enabled their staff of seamstresses to return to work. Ships next day.

Moji Mask Canada - A variety of styles and colours as well as bulk packs. Supporting local seamstresses with employment during COVID-19.

Amelia Rose -  Project Mask fund campaign to continue raising funds to continue producing and donating to frontline workers in need.

Roots - Donating a mask to a frontline worker for every purchase.

Peace Collective - Donating a mask to a frontline worker for every purchase.

Thank you for joining me in support of local businesses.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Lifestyle: 6 Ideas for a Date Night at Home

Date Nights in Quarantine

While in quarantine, date nights look a little different. Maybe they start after the kids are in bed, or maybe they happen during the afternoon. They most definitely take place at or around your home.

There are so many things going on around us and so much depends on our state of mind. Especially if you are now working from home and around each other 24/7, it can be a lot of togetherness but not a lot of quality time.

If you're able to take some time to recharge and enjoy some of your favourite things together as a couple, I believe it can make a difference in how we experience this time.

So what are some things we can do to make date night feel new and exciting, even when we can't go anywhere?

Today, I'm sharing some refreshing ways to spend date night at home (even during quarantine), because now more then ever, it's important to relax and reconnect with your significant other.

Themed Dinners

Choose a theme or a country of origin and plan the menu around it. Add music and table decor to match. One of our favourites is to have a Fiesta night with tacos, margaritas and salsa music. Bonus if you can get your significant other to actually try salsa dancing with you.

Here's a great intro to salsa lesson on Youtube

Games Night

Even if it's just two of you, there are some games you can play at home. Scrabble is a great two person game, as well as Connect Four and Monopoly Deal. But what we have enjoyed playing lately is "Head's Up". This is a charades type game we usually play at parties with friends. At home, it has been so hilarious watching each other act out the silly scenarios. It always makes us laugh out loud.

Try a New Recipe

Try a new recipe that neither one of you have prepared before so that both partners are on the same playing field. Pour some wine, put some music on and enjoy learning something new together. If you're not sure where to begin, get some help with a meal kit!

We recently tried Good Food and like their healthy conscious and time saving options. All the ingredients and a recipe is delivered to your door and you can get right to the fun part - making and eating dinner.

If you'd like to try Good Food, use my code to receive $40 off!

Dinner Al Fresco

Bbqing can be a fun activity now that the weather is nicer. Sitting outside, playing some lawn games (we like ladder ball and corn hole) or setting up an outdoor fire-pit (if your municipality permits) can make this a cozy and fun evening for two. If you only have time for a quick hour together, having a mocktail or cocktail on the porch is a great way to reconnect and relax.

Happy Hour

At the beginning of quarantine, we stayed sane by having a daily cocktail hour where we would enjoy either a mocktail, cocktail or appetizer after our work from home day was over. It signalled the beginning of the evening and gave us something to look forward to. Now that quarantine has become somewhat of a way of life, we save "Happy Hour" for weekends or for date night. We have appetizer type food for dinner and try a new cocktail recipe. It makes us feel like we went out for a meal and definitely changes the pace of daily life.

Order In

Order in using Skip the Dishes or a restaurant's own delivery service and enjoy an evening off of cooking duty. Plate it up in your pretty dishes, put on some music and light some candles. If you are feeling ambitious, dress up as if you are really going out on the town.
You'll be surprised how lovely a restaurant meal can be at home when you set the stage like this. You will really feel like you went out, but with all the comforts of home!

Hope these ideas give you a little inspo to plan your own date night in. During uncertain times, we have to take all the little joys that we can and create some special moments along the way.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Lifestyle: A Mother's Day Gift Guide

Lifestyle: Finding the Perfect Gift for Mom

Mother's Day is coming up and as usual, I say the best gift is time spent together with a shared experience.

I still feel that to be true but I think with everyone in quarantine, this year a little tangible gift would go a long way to make the mamas feel appreciated and to encourage a little self care.
We need it these days more then ever before.

I've rounded up some of my favourite picks for a sweet little mama's day spoiling in case you are looking for some ideas for the lady or ladies in your life.

Support local restaurants by using Skip the Dishes, (a Canadian company) to order mom a special dinner from a far. Simply plug in her home address, to see what local eateries offer delivery near her. Many of the restaurants offer free delivery if you spend $20 or $30 dollars, which makes this a winning gift because you are supporting the hospitality industry, while treating your mom.

Support a local spa by buying a gift card for a future service. At Vaughan-based, Freedom Medispa, you can take advantage of their amazing skincare offers and gift sets by ordering online and arranging curb-side pickup. They also do free local delivery.

My pick is this gift set with a Rose Quartz Face Roller and Purity Marula Oil.

Photo courtesy of Freedom Medi Spa

I love Saje Wellness for beautiful diffusers  that double as a piece of art. Diffusing scents is a method of aromatherapy and has many health benefits while promoting relaxation.
Photo courtesy of

Remember that when you buy essential oils, you want to only buy pure oils and I trust Doterra for that.

Next on my list would be some pretty and put together lounge wear. Since we are all at home, being comfy and cute in sweats is definitely top of mind. I love this Adidas pair from Amazon.

While Social Distancing, a great book seems like it would be appreciated. I love these options below to encourage the mamas to engage in some self care.

Breathe Mama Breathe

Self-Care for Moms

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

To track mom's steps on all the hikes and walks she may be going on, I'd highly recommend a smart-watch like a Fitbit. You can also add a pretty band to go along with it if you like.

Another idea for a great gift would be a classic pair of shades. With the weather changing, she will definitely need these while she relaxes on the porch or balcony. 

And if mama likes making cocktails and other fancy drinks, then my pick for her would be a Sodastream unit so she can make her own fizzy drinks and sodas at home.

If wine is more her style, consider having some delicious wines delivered to her door! Many VQA wineries in Ontario are offering free delivery right now, so support these local businesses and order from them directly!  Some of my favourites are Trius Winery, Vineland Estates, Kew Vineyards,
and Pillitteri Estates. It will likely be awhile before we can enjoy some time at the wineries themselves, but definitely looking forward to ordering some of their delicious wines to enjoy from home.

Hope this little list gives you some ideas on how you can send mom something sweet for Mother's Day.

Personally, I love receiving a thoughtful note and some kind of small treat. The real gift is the love you share with your loved ones so I'm sure whichever way you choose to express that, you'll make her day!

Wishing all the moms a relaxing weekend full of special moments with those you love! xo

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Food: The 5 Spices You Need to Start Cooking Indian Food at Home

Indian Cooking at Home

When I was around 10 years old, I made dinner for my family for the first time. It was an Indian dish! Rajma - a curried kidney bean stew was the first dish I prepared. 

Now with everyone in quarantine, it's an opportunity to step up our game in our kitchens, prepare some dishes we've never tried before and enjoy the simple pleasures of a slower pace.

I hear very often from friends on my Instagram that Indian food is hard to make. 

Indian food is complex in flavour and can incorporate many different ingredients which makes the recipes seem daunting. 

But if ten year old me can handle it, I definitely think you can too! It really comes down to a few key spices and you can get started with experimenting in your kitchen at home.

Once you stock your pantry with the key spices, putting Indian dishes together will become so much simpler. 

So here are my top Five MVPS of Indian cooking at home:

Cumin seeds
Red chili 
Cumin powder
Garam Masala

These five would be perfect to get you started, but if you're already into Indian cooking at home and want to take it up a notch, some other spices you can add to your cabinet are:

Coriander powder
Cardamom pods (green and black)
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves 
Bay Leaves
Tandoori masala

Hope this post helps you get started, please share with a friend if you think it would help them out too.