Sunday, July 26, 2020

Travel: A Day Trip to Friday Harbour

A Day at Friday Harbour Resort


I love exploring Ontario and we make a point to visit some local gems year long. We love visiting the local businesses and exploring new towns.

Even when you only have a day, there's so many stunning places to see so close to home!



This weekend, we decided to explore Innisfil, Ontario. What brought us there was the prospect of a beach day and some whispers of a beautiful subdivision called "Friday Harbour."

We were looking for a fun, family friendly day out and a change of scenery and that's exactly what we found!


What is Friday Harbour?


Friday Harbour is a small harbour that was designed to be a destination. Their motto? "Live everyday like it's Friday." I think they have definitely captured that feeling.

Flanking the harbour are modern condos and waterfront properties. Originally the area was meant for residents only but now they welcome visitors for the day as well.




There is also a great boardwalk with some storefronts, restaurants and patios. You could easily spend the day or hours here if you catch that Friday vibe.

Here's what you can do:


  • Walk the board walk all the way to the beach (the beach itself is for homeowners only but you can access the waterway and shoreline)
  • Grab an iced coffee or ice cream and sit to watch the boats come in
  • Take sailing lessons
  • Enjoy a delicious meal (if you're visiting on a weekend, make reservations ahead of time)
  • Rent bicycles, kayaks, paddleboards or canoes
  • Go for a hike in the nature reserve
Note: At this time, face coverings are required in all establishments and many stores do not accept cash.


We enjoyed a delicious meal and some drinks at Fishbone Kitchen and then also bought some ice cream from a food truck. Each Saturday, different food trucks are on site for the day. While we were there, we noticed a Jamaican food truck, The Food Dudes and a Dole whip truck.



Some other restaurants you could check out on the boardwalk:

Avenue
The Beach Club now open to non-residents)
Food Trucks (only on Saturdays and changes weekly)

We enjoyed strolling the boardwalk (it's stroller friendly and kids would enjoy watching the boats and learning their names). There is also a playground but it is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19.



If you're looking to make a weekend out of it, I'd suggest renting a bnb or hotel room in Innisfil, doing one day at Friday Harbour and one day at a local beach.

We grabbed some take-out and headed to Innisfil Beach Park. Currently the on-site parking is only for residents of Innisfil, so you may have to drive around a little to find a place to park.


It's a great spot right on Lake Simcoe, the beach areas are small but they have implemented "Active Beach" rules right now. This means there is no sitting or standing on the sand, but visitors can use the beach area to access the water.


This means there's always space for social distancing when you are going for a swim. The water was warm when we went and the beach was lively! We felt comfortable as the grass had social distancing circles sprayed on it so everyone was a safe distance apart. There's also a stroller friendly boardwalk here and a splash pad for little ones.


Hope the current situation doesn't prevent you from getting out for some local day trips. If you're feeling comfortable, it's a great way to relax, clear your head and explore. Just don't forget your mask!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

LIfestyle: 3 TV Shows to Broaden Your Perspective

3 Must-Watch Shows 

Sometimes you just want to kick back, relax and watch some TV.

In our family, we don't watch very much, but when we feel like it, there's nothing more annoying then getting to "tv time" and not being able to find something that we agree on. I guess there's too many options!

Some nights, we waste so much time pointlessly scrolling that I thought I'd put together a list of shows that we have enjoyed lately so hopefully you can stream line your selection process.




What's interesting is that all of the shows that we've really liked lately have had a similar theme. They all feature topics related to diversity, whether it be related to culture/ethnicity, socio-economic status, race or even physical ability.


These shows all bring to light issues relevant in society today and gave us lots to think and talk about.

With so much learning and unlearning happening in relation to the concept of 'privilege', these are all shows that will broaden our perspectives.  They allow insight into the human experience from angles that we aren't used to seeing on television. And bonus- they were all very entertaining and addictive once you are a few episodes in.

Below, I share my top three favourites.

RAMY (Hulu)

My favourite on the list is Ramy. Created by and starring comedian Ramy Youssef, the show is a hilarious depiction of the struggles of an American Muslim man trying to navigate religion, love and life as a millennial.

You can't help but fall in love with his flaws and his family - who are all struggling to balance both Egyptian and American sides of their identities.

Personally, I loved seeing Egyptian cultural norms depicted on television. Coming from an Eastern background myself, I could definitely relate to some of the social expectations and challenges of balancing two different cultures as a first generation Canadian.  



I also loved that Ramy cast his real life best friend, Steve Way in the show. Steve has Muscular Dystrophy and is an advocate for disability awareness.

The show brings to light some of the issues both Ramy and Steve face in an entertaining but still educational way. I was so grateful to see marginalized communities get a voice through this show. 

And side note: Ramy won the Golden Globe for best Actor in 2019. 



LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Hulu/Prime)


I saw this show just as news about George Floyd hit. It was a poignant show and the timing was spot on. It served as another form of education for me, as the drama brought to light just some of the inequalities and social injustices that Black people face daily.

Reese Witherspoon (also a producer of the series) and Kerry Washington showcase the concept of privilege so clearly - I'd recommend this show to everyone who has embarked on their own journey of unlearning and relearning with regards to race and inequality. 



NEVER HAVE I EVER (Netflix)


A hilarious and entertaining comedy about a young Indian girl coming of age in the United States.
This one was created by comedian/actor Mindy Kaling and is loosely based on some of her own experiences growing up.

While much of the cultural nuances are exaggerated for comic effect, I still appreciated the fact that Indian culture is being showcased at all on a mainstream television  show.

Growing up this was not the type of show I would have even had access to. It's amazing to have the option to enjoy diverse stories about families and people of colour.




Have you seen any of these shows? Let me know how you like them if you decide to check any of them out.

@angeliesood





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 Maskover.ca 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.





Maskover.ca

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.