Splish Splash: 20 of the Best Pool Floaties for Summer

Confession: this post was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be! There are so many fun pool floaties out there, and it was hard to narrow down choices to include. I’ve rounded up 20 to help make the most of all the hot days spent poolside and at the beach to come from two of my favourite places to shop online: Amazon.ca and Indigo (tip: from May 23- 25 enjoy free shipping when you order online at Indigo). Some of these are more of a splurge than others, but the fun (and photos!) will be worth it. Scroll to the bottom for where to buy info.

Where to Buy

Top to bottom, left to right

Gold Swan | Pink Donut (or here. Also available in brown here)| Pineapple

Watermelon | Rainbow |Popsicle (or get a rainbow version here) | Unicorn

Flamingo | Round Strawberry | Pretzel

PineapplePeacock | Cactus

Lobster Round Rainbow | Round WatermelonLuxe Pink Flamingo 

Cactus Toss GameSwan | Banana

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 23, 2017
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Spring & Summer Style with Chews

Anyone else counting down the days to Summer? This Spring hasn’t been the greatest for weather and it’s got me craving the sun and heat in a major way. The West Coast is a beautiful place to live but we have so much grey and rain that we earn the blue skies and hot weather for the few short months they’re here. 

And with that sun comes all the things for Spring and Summer in our wardrobes: tees, shorts, flip flips, maxi dresses… I’ll take one of everything. ;).  I teamed up with Chews Boutique on a fashion feature in the Fall (see that here) and we’ve got together again to share some style ideas for the Spring and Summer (also perfect to take on vacation!). We paired everything with items you’ve probably already got in your closest to show how easy and versatile her pieces are to wear- perfect if you like pieces that can multitask and go with a variety of items you already own.

All of the pieces Chelsey carries in her online shop combine comfort with style, with everything under $70. Comfort, style, aaaand at a good price? Check, check, check! Like I said, I’ll take one of everything ;). See below for 5 outfits perfect for the warmer weather featuring pieces available from Chews- just add sun!!!

 

Off the Shoulder Tie Top- $48.50

Sunglasses & black jeans- my own

Cargo Jacket– $59.50

Burnout Tank Top– $28.50

White jeans- my own

Blue bodycon dress- $42.50

White Converses runners- my own

 

Bell sleeve top- $42.50

Black jeans & hat- my own

   Blue Ombre Maxi Dress– $58.50

Wedges & hat- my own

 It’s hard to pick a favourite, but it’s safe to say that Chelsey stocks her online shop with some pretty great pieces. Whatever is on your warm weather style wish list, make sure you check out Chews, you definitely won’t come away disappointed. We always have a good time when we get together for shoots and we had a blast with Akane shooting the photos for this post- I hope it gave you some ideas for your Spring and Summer style! 

Want to treat yo’self??? Hop over to Instagram and enter to win a $25 shop credit from Chews! Click here for a direct link to the contest photo. Good luck!!

About Chews 
Chews Boutiqie was established by owner Chelsey Andrews to offer a unique take on wardrobe basics. Offering up a variety of pieces that invokde effortless style with a minimalist and modern feel, Chews aims to offer pieces that will becomes staples in their shopper’s closets at an affordable price point. To view current selection, visit the Chews website.

Follow Chews on social media for the latest releases and special discounts:

Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Photo credit: Akane Kondo Photography

Facebook | Instagram

May 18, 2017
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On the Go Eating: Avocado, Red Onion & Sprouts Wrap

Posted in Recipes by

 

I’m not sure about you, but I find I skip lunch more than any other meal. It’s a busy time of day, and it’s easy to forget about eating when you’ve got a bunch of stuff on the go. Even if you’re hungry it may just be a matter of not having anything ready or sometimes it’s as simple as forgetting to pack something for yourself when you pack up to take the kids somewhere- I’m usually so focused on packing them up that I completely forget that I should pack a lunch for me as well. Haha true story more often than I care to admit.

So cue some meal planning and trying to get organized a little in advance. And if you tend to eat on the go, it helps to have something you can grab out of the fridge in the morning, instead of throwing something together in a rush. Wraps are a favourite of mine when it comes to lunch, especially if I’m out and about around midday. This recipe is loaded with flavour and is a healthy on- the- go lunch option. Pair with some other grab- and- go items like cut up veggies or salad and you’ve got a filling meal that’s convenient and didn’t have you picking up a heavy meal at the drive through. Added note: the sprouts in this recipe are an easy item to grow yourself and I’ll be sharing more about them and the kefir cheese I used in later posts.

Ingredients

Wrap (I opted for an organic spelt one for myself in this recipe, but pick your fave)

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh sprouts*

2 tbsp kefir cheese with garlic & dill* (or use a cream cheese with dill and garlic)

I’ll be sharing more about these in later posts, see more info about them following the recipe

  1. Start by slicing everything up and spreading the cheese in the wrap- tip: to make wrapping easier, place it and all other contents to one side of the middle.

2. Add in the avocado and red onion…

3. … followed by the sprouts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Fold in the sides on the wrap, then roll it up starting with the end with the contents closest to you. As you roll, continue to fold in the sides to keep the wrap tight and prevent the contents from falling out. Slice in half to serve.

5. Enjoy immediately or pack in your lunch. Use a toothpick to help hold it’s shape if desired.

For easy make- ahead lunches, pack half of a wrap with other ready- to- go options such as cut up veggies or salad (see the quinoa version of this pasta salad in this post). Bento boxes or other divided containers are perfect for this. We got ours on Amazon and you can find similar ones herehere, and here. They’re great for prepping meals ahead of time and stack neatly in the fridge.

 

If you want to learn more about kefir and it’s benefits (ie why it’s great to use instead of traditional milk products, such as cream cheese), check out this book by Donna Schwenk as a great reference. You can also purchase everything you need to make your own kefir at home, including the kefir grains online. All you need are some grains, milk (I prefer to use organic), a mason jar with lid, and a metal mesh food strainer. 

For the sprouts in this recipe, I used the organic Sprouting Seeds Blend from West Coast Seeds. These are a fun and simple way to get your kids involved in growing their own food right in their own kitchen (also great if you don’t have a large space for an edible garden but still want to grow your own food- more on that coming soon!) and only take a few days until ready to eat. You can buy a kit like this three tier sprouting kit to grow multiple varieties at once or use a mason jar with a screen for a smaller- scale set up (I’ll be showing you what this looks like in an upcoming post). The best part: all you need is water to grow them! 

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

May 16, 2017
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It All Begins with Food {Cookbook Review}

Food is a universal language we all speak, something that unifies us. It’s something to be enjoyed, and also the fuel we provide our bodies. If you’d followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that our family loves food, albeit with a few bumps in the road- we’re still gluten free, but other restrictions have since been removed from Ari’s diet- and I’ve sought out options as healthy staples in our diets. We enjoy as many home- cooked and healthy, whole- food based meals as we can, but still indulge in comfort food, etc when we get a craving or are short on time (everything in moderation, no?).

Before kids and since, I love a good recipe. There’s something I find soothing and therapeutic about preparing a meal (note: when the kids are cooperating); it’s a simple pleasure I find a lot of joy in. And while I turn to online sources for much of my inspiration when trying out a new meal idea, I still love turning the pages of a cookbook. There’s something about the tactile nature of running my fingers down the pages and marking recipes to try with sticky notes that I love. So when I had the chance to review the new cookbook by Love Child Organics founder Leah Garrad- Cole, I looked forward to the opportunity.


“Welcome to It All Begins With Food, a book dedicated to clean, whole- food recipes for your entire family”.


Leah and I share the same outlook towards food, with a focus on the quality and integrity of ingredients, especially when it comes to feeding our kids. There is a lot to be said about the source of our food today (how was it grown, where did it come from, etc) and while this isn’t always black and white, Leah offers up a valuable resource in her new cookbook for everyone from new parents to passionate home cooks alike. I discovered her line of quality baby food, Love Child Organics, soon after Ari was born and have had the pleasure of being a brand ambassador with the company and watching it grow over the past few years. The introduction of It All Begins With Food was something I was looking forward to, and now am happy to be sharing my thoughts on the book here with readers. This cookbook will grow with your family, and even if your kids are past the baby and toddler years, it is full of information and recipes you will appreciate and enjoy.

This is a beautiful cookbook, filled with photos and tables of information that compliment Leah’s recipes. But it isn’t all eye candy, and second only to the recipes themselves, the information Leah has gathered in this cookbook make it a great reference to have on hand. What does it really mean to be organic? What’s a GMO? What foods should I avoid introducing to my baby? Are just a few of the questions Leah addresses in It All Begins With Food, along with a section I love, make it yourself, make it better, which features suggestions on how to make pantry staples at home to avoid unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, salt and preservatives. 


“There is an overabundance of of information out there, and it can make the task of feeding your family really confusing and overwhelming. We all want our children to eat well, but it’s hard to know where to start, and with our busy lives, it’s really difficult to find the time to make it happen.”


Alongside the recipes, Leah has included information to help guide readers through food topics that we face today, including:

  • organic foods (one of Leah’s favourite topics)
  • The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen- foods grown with the most pesticide residue and least, respectively
  • GMOs- what are they and how to avoid them
  • alternative names for sugar used in ingredients lists
  • clean kitchen/ pantry shopping list + tools and equipment 
  • meal planning tips + planner
  • getting your kids involved in cooking + food prep
  • information, tips, and serving suggestions for introducing first foods to baby

 

While this cookbook is a wealth of information for starting out your little one on solids (see For Baby, below), Leah has covered healthy suggestions for the whole family from start to finish: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, creating your own pantry staples (I’m looking forward to diving into this chapter more in the coming months), and recipes for entertaining. I tend to avoid recipes that contain ingredients that are hard to find or seem too complicated; most of the time I have the kids with me when shopping and cooking, so I’ve subscribed to the adage simpler is better on several levels when it comes to the food we eat.

And that also applies to the nature of the ingredients themselves: Leah uses common, clean/ healthy, simple- to- find- ingredients in her recipes, with prep and cooking time around an hour total for many of the recipes (many less than that). This is a cookbook with crowd- pleasing recipes, but doesn’t forget about the person creating the meal. You don’t have to have kids to appreciate her method, but it’s definitely a cookbook created by a parent with parents in mind: healthy food that doesn’t take hours to prep and cook. Thank you Leah!


“With an unwavering focus on replacing ingredients that have little nutritional value with ones that are nutritionally dense, It All Begins With Food ensures that every bite counts while making the end result is pleasurable and the ingredients are easy to find.”


Chapters in the book:

purees & mashes

finger foods

smoothies: the vitamin vehicle

superhero breakfasts to keep them going (and going!)

easy lunches

family- friendly dinners

healthier snacks & treats

let’s celebrate

make it yourself make it better


 

For Baby

For parents looking for information, tips, and recipes for feeding their baby, this book is a wealth of knowledge and I wish it had been around when Ari was a baby. As a Mom, Leah speaks from her own experiences, as well as from the wealth of information and knowledge she has amassed since starting an organic food company; I love this combination of experience and knowledge and I feel this approach will appeal to many parents beginning the food journey with their children. Here are just a few of the highlights for me that I appreciated Leah including:

  • Canadian & US official infant feeding recommendations
  • suggestions on when to start introducing solids + signs to look for that your baby may be ready
  • what foods to start with
  • food allergies + reactions (also the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance/ food sensitivity)
  • how much food + how often
  • baby food recipes (purees + mashes), tips + combinations

    

Whether you’re passionate about healthy cooking, want to incorporate more whole- foods recipes into your weekly meal plan, or starting out a little one on solids, It All begins With Food  includes ideas for all members of the family, and will be a welcome addition to any cookbook library. 

To learn more about Love Child Organics, visit them online:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

It All Begins With Food available online at Amazon.ca and Indigo

Disclosure: I received this cookbook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This blog post contains affiliate links. 

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May 11, 2017
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Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour {Giveaway}

Who has a Thomas fan at home? My two- especially Ari- love the blue engine and his friends and it’s always one of the top TV requests in our home. I remember watching Thomas as a kid and I love that he’s still around and as popular as ever. Our house has become littered with wooden train sets and countless trains, and Ari has even requested a Thomas themed birthday party this year. She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re taking her to meet Thomas later this month in Squamish and I’ve got the chance for your family to win a 4- pack of tickets so your little Thomas fan can too!

Thomas makes annual appearances at West Coast Railway Heritage Park every year and he’ll be back again from May 20- 22. Not only do you get to meet the blue engine himself, your family can also enjoy a variety of activities.

Activities include

  • 20 minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Photos with Thomas at the station
  • Meet Sir Topham Hatt
  • Bouncy castle
  • Magician and musician performances
  • Play on Thomas train tables
  • Thomas theme mini-golf
  • Sand Castle Building
  • Thomas craft tables
  • Model Railway Display
  • Tattoo station

Scroll to the end of the post for more info, to purchase tickets, and to enter to win a family 4 pack of tickets!

  

Learn more on the WCRHP website and follow on Facebook & Twitter

Need directions? Click here.

Buy tickets here.

Contest Details

Prize: Family 4- pack of tickets to Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour 2017 (more than $165 value!)

Winner will select a date from May 20- 22 and ride time- choose: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm or 4 pm.

Enter below for your chance to win a family pack of tickets! 

(4 tickets) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo & image credit: West Coast Railway Heritage Park

 

May 9, 2017
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Mac’s All Grown Up: From 5 Cent Candies to Simply Great Coffee

Posted in Giveaways by

Adulting. It’s a thing apparently. And whether we feel like it or not once we get to a certain stage in life we’re deemed grown ups and old enough to do all the things that come with the territory. Sure it’s a lot of fun- I can eat too much ice cream, buy whatever shoes I want, and pursue a career I love- but it’s also busy. I don’t know how many times in a day I joke about coffee and wine (couldn’t adult without them!) and I appreciate coffee even more when it’s hot.

And thankfully there’s plenty of options to choose from with a growing selection for busy days when you’re running from one place to the next to the next without a lot of time. When I was a kid Mac’s Convenience Stores were the corner store you went to after school, after practice, or ‘just because’ to stock up on 5 cent candies and they’re stepping up their coffee game to make getting that perfect cup of coffee a little easier and faster- perfect for busy grown ups (but I still love my 5 cent candies! 😉 ). They are now offering gourmet selections with their Simply Great Coffee machines available at locations throughout Western Canada with popular choices such as lattes, mochacinos, and dark roast coffee- perfect if you’re stopping to pick up a snack on the go, popping in with the kids, or just don’t want to drop five bucks for a good cup of coffee.

If you like trying new things and want to give the new Simply Great Coffee a try, I’ve got some coupons for free coffee to giveaway- enter below for 1 of 5 sets of coupons to try the new Simply Great Coffee (all of the barista- style drinks  such as lattes) and Premium coffee (drip coffee available in medium and dark roast). So the next time you’re craving a good cup of coffee, skip the drive through and pop into your local Mac’s to try their new varieties. You save a few bucks and get a good cup of coffee on the go (plus maybe a few candies to reward yourself while you’re at it!). Win- win. Enter below!

   

To see how the Simply Great Coffee barista machines work, see this video for more.

Visit Mac’s Convenience Stores online to find a location near you and find them on social media

Instagram | Facebook Twitter

Disclosure: I was provided with product and compensation for this post. All opinions and content are my own.

Enter below to win free coffee from Mac’s Convenience Stores!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 5, 2017
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From 5 Minutes to 10K- My Fitness Journey to the Sun Run (aka why to stop making excuses and just go for it).

Posted in Fitness, Running by

A common topic on the blog has always been self care, in whatever form it may take. Whether it’s as simple as making a cup of coffee and drinking it while it’s still hot, pouring a glass of wine, getting out with some friends, or finding time for exercise. Whatever it is, if it makes you happy, it’s about finding some time when you can refresh and recharge a little. And let’s face it: exercise comes under self care, but isn’t usually one of the more fun options; it tends to be one we put off, cast aside, make excuses for (‘not enough time’). Sound familiar?

Total confession: that was me about a year ago.  And that’s why I wanted to share about my fitness journey and the lead- up to the Sun Run last month. Because if I can stop making excuses- and believe me I had plenty plus many pity parties to add to the mix- I believe anyone can, you just have to start. Growing up I was a competitive swimmer. I loved it, I felt at home in the water (still do) and I’ve never been in such good shape before or since. As an adult, my fitness regime had been none existent until this past year- especially these last eight and a half months- since I’ve finally stopped making excuses and ‘not having time’. And running became a big part of my weekly efforts. But let me be straight up honest with you: I used to hate running.

The idea of it used to be boring to me; swimming checked all the fitness boxes for me and was a throwback to my competitive days. Every time I got in the pool I just slipped back into my old technique- sort of like getting back on a bike after not riding one for a while- and channeled my inner athlete, the one who quit in high school but never lost her passion. Swimming is something I take pride in; I’m good at it, and I feel like I’m tapping into a part of me from years ago when I get in the water. It feels good and is still one of my favourite forms of exercise- so why add running into the mix when I already felt like I had a a full schedule? Especially when it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed?

Simple: it was something I could fit into my life a little easier than swimming, and if I was disciplined enough, could fit in at the end of a work day while my Mum watched the kids. I didn’t start running with any goals in mind except to not be a complete wheezing mess after jogging for five minutes; my standards were pretty low and I just decided to challenge myself more and more as I felt my strength and endurance improve. Like anything, when it makes you feel good, you want more, and running converted me from a hater to someone who’s made it a welcome inclusion of her weekly routine. So now you can kind of see how we got from ‘I just want to run for 5 minutes without passing out’ to  the 10k Sun Run…

When I was in high school, a year after I quit swimming, I  participated in the Sun Run for the first time. It was one of those ‘why not’ kind of things and I did it just for the hell of it. Fast forward more than a decade and I saw the Sun Run ad online one night as I was finishing up work. And again I thought ‘why not?’. I’ve been running weekly since the end of last Summer and thought this could be a great milestone to see how far I’ve come since huffing and puffing through a 15 minute jog around the block to running 8k+ each week. I messaged my friend Janette, hooked her into my scheme, and with a few clicks we were training for the Sun Run.

It was an interesting change in perspective- suddenly shifting from ‘running for the hell of it’ to running with a goal in mind- but it was a welcome one, one that had me pushing myself and loving the results. Thanks to Janette spreading the word about signing up, we enjoyed some help keeping our bodies well fuelled from Whole Cuisine with their healthy meals delivered right to our doors every week. There were several occasions throughout the weeks leading up to the Sun Run where I grabbed one their meals to eat on the go, grateful that I had something ready to eat that was healthy and that I didn’t have to think ahead about. The time it takes to prep healthy food is another excuse for many of us when it comes to our eating choices and this helped keep me in check on more than one occasion. 

 

On that note- something else that I smile about when I think back over the last year: I went from having virtually no exercise apparel to having a few options to choose from. One more hint that I’ve made progress in the past few months. There are plenty of great local brands to choose from here in the Vancouver area and thanks to The Sweet Life Apparel and Inner Fire, I trained in comfort and style. My ‘Coffee, Cardio, Cake’ tank has been well worn and loved, and has become one of my favourite workout tops. Comfortable and cheeky. Sign me up. 😉 And when it comes to bottoms I have this to say: the leggings from Inner Fire are some of the most comfortable I own with the added bonus of being made by a company that gives back (a portion of the proceeds are donated to The School Fund, an organization that helps youth in developing countries receive education scholarships). These leggings are available in full- length and capris, perfect for a variety of fitness needs. Whether you want to add to your fitness apparel wardrobe or just love their designs, you won’t go wrong with either of these two local companies. 

  

 

Exercise- in whatever form you choose- isn’t about being an all- star athlete, putting hours aside each week, or having it take over your life (it can be those things you like, but that’s up to you and your goals and expectations). It’s about finding the time- making the time– and choosing to put yourself and your health first. Because sometimes we forget to do that and I had the reminder last year that I couldn’t forget about my own health, my own needs. My body sent some strong messages and I listened. I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s always easy to add something to your already busy life, that you’ll always look forward to exercising, or that you don’t have to make choices to fit it in. You do- but before too much time has passed, it will become routine- a part of your day- and you’ll notice the difference it makes and feel better for it. And yes, choosing to do some form of exercise means you’re probably compromising on something else, but it’s a choice you’ll start to appreciate as you notice the difference in how your body and mind feel. Even if it’s only a few minutes throughout the day; every little bit counts.

I know you’re busy- adulting keeps us on our toes whatever our work/ family/ life mix is- and I used to think if I couldn’t put an hour aside at a time that it wouldn’t make a difference. But I’ve learnt that like many things, exercise is as much about quality as it is about quantity. Can’t get to the gym more than once a week? Only have a handful of minutes? Don’t want to feel overwhelmed by setting another goal you may not achieve? No problem. Just make the time you have count. Even now I still know I have a long way to go, but to have this 10k under my belt, I feel like I’m well on my way to making a marked improvement in my health; no deadlines, no pressure, just the overall goal to continue to work on my health and well- being. There- that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? So unachievable? 

I started running because I needed an outlet, a way to get back in touch with myself and improve my quality of life. Mentally and physically, it has made a significant difference. Running is my time to think, to clear my head, and just be. I pop in my earbuds and go. I don’t set off on each run with a specific time in mind, I listen to my body and go from there. Some days I push myself harder than others, and other days I allow a little slack. Either way, I feel better for putting time aside for it. It isn’t about comparing myself to others- while running the Sun Run I had to stop trying to pace myself with people going faster than me and slow down and walk a few times (tough for my competitive streak!)- but it was a personal best for me and I’m still riding off that high. I set a goal to run it within a certain time and hit it. And that’s what the whole point of this post is about: what is a goal you have for yourself? Start with five minutes and go from there, see where it takes you. I dare you. 😉

To read about Janette’s journey to the Sun Run (her first!)- click here

Sun Run Scrapbook

Thank you to Whole Cuisine for keeping me well nourished leading up to the Sun Run!

Finishing stats- now what’s next year’s goal? 😉

Finish line victory photos with this amazing gal (find Janette at Ava to Zoe)

Meeting 2 of the founders of the Sun Run: Canadian Olympians Dr. Doug and Diane Clement

Thank you to everyone who helped me on this journey:

Leggings- My Inner Fire | Instagram | Facebook  

‘Coffee, Cardio, Cake’ tank- The Sweet Life Apparel | Instagram | Facebook 

Water bottle- Free Reign | Instagram | Facebook 

Prepared meals-Whole Cuisine | Instagram | Facebook 

Photo credits

Running photos- Akane Kondo Photography

Screenshot- Janette Shearer, Ava to Zoe

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

May 2, 2017
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Easy DIY Tissue Paper Backdrop Under $20

Posted in DIY, Parties by

 

If you saw the Cinco De Mayo party post that went up earlier this week then you probably noticed the backdrop that was behind the table. The idea was to create something that was reminiscent of a piñata, with layers of tissue paper to add a pop of colour. This backdrop is perfect for so many things and you can create one in any combination of colours/ patterns you like using just a few basic materials and a little bit of patience (and Netflix! 😉 ). 

I love how the ombre version turned out, but how pretty would an all- white one be for a wedding? Or maybe a floor- to- ceiling ombre? Or stripes? Or…? Ok I’ll stop now… The options are endless, and about as easy to make as they come, you just need to give yourself plenty of time. The one I made was 7′ * 7′ and I made it over two nights with Netflix on in the background. It’s not hard to make, just very repetitive and if you can wrangle some help to make the process a little faster I’d definitely recommend it. If you want to add a wow factor behind a party or wedding table- or want a fun photo backdrop idea- but don’t have a big budget, this is the perfect project (this cost me less than$20 in materials!). See below for the instructions.

Materials

– tissue paper

(To help you estimate how many sheets you’ll need: 1 standard size piece of tissue paper will get you 4 strips approx 25″ * 4″ or 6 strips approx 25″ * 2″ if you prefer a smaller fringe)

– scissors

– tape- regular and clear packaging tape

-glue stick

-craft paper

Directions

Directions

  1. Decide on the size of backdrop you want to create. If you have a certain space in mind, measure how much area you want to cover and add half a foot on each side (for a total of one foot for extra coverage). 
  2. Roll out the craft paper and measure the length you need, again adding half a foot in length. Cut the pieces and tape together using the clear parcel tape.
  3. To add durability to hang the backdrop, add a layer of the clear parcel tape along the top of the craft paper so the it doesn’t tear under the weight while hanging.
  4. Fold your tissue in half lengthwise twice, so that the fringe strips will be approx 4- 5″ in height (if you’d prefer smaller, fold in half a third time so the strips will be approx 2- 3″ in height).

5. Cut along all of the folds to separate the tissue strips. 

6. To create the fringe, make cuts that are roughly 1/2″ wide, leaving about half an inch along the top. To make this go faster, fold the strip in half. Cut as much tissue as you think you’ll need in the colours you like, separating them once cut.

 

7. Starting at the bottom of the kraft paper, attach the fringe strips using a glue stick or regular tape (I used tape every 10- 12″ or so). Trim the fringe to length once you get to the opposite edge. Tip: try and keep the strips as straight as possible, but if they go a little wonky, it’s really hard to notice when the backdrop is finished. Add an extra strip to an area to even it out if necessary.

 

8. Add the next layer of fringe approx 1- 2″ above the top of the strip below. Tip: for fuller coverage and better colour saturation only leave about 1″ space or less between layers (see what I mean in the photos above and below). Repeat (and repeat and repeat!) until you’ve covered the entire surface area of the craft paper. (This is the step you’ll probably want some company or Netflix on in the background). 😉

   

9. When it’s finished, use push pins or heavy- duty tape to attach to a wall. Just add some friends and a camera and enjoy!

See more photos from this Cinco De Mayo party here.

Like this idea? Save it for later!

 

 

April 27, 2017
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Cinco De Mayo Party

Who’s ready for a party?? Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner and let’s face it, we’re all in need of something bright and cheerful after the grey months behind us. I got together with my blogger gals Janette (Ava to Zoe) and Heydy (Raising Jay and Abel) to put on a Spring Fiesta with our kids and let’s just say I’m doing a happy dance after seeing it all come together. We all pitched in to bring this party together- yay teamwork!- and you can find the links to the posts Janette and Heydy have up on their blogs, plus source info and links at the end of the post (Janette made to- die- for vegetarian tacos and Heydy whipped up some wicked sangria). 

We went for a twist on the classic Cinco De Mayo theme, taking colour inspo from Mexican blankets and muting them down for a more pastel pallette. We opted for a Tex- Mex menu and a few sweet treats to keep things simple, all around a Mexican theme (how cute are those cactus cookies?!). We added some pops of colour to the table with the flowers and cactus, whipped up a cute ‘Taco ’bout a party’ sign (thank you dollar store!), and added a few fun details like the pineapple and tissue garland at the front of the table for finishing touches. A lot of the items for dressing the table were things we already had, simple DIYS, and some dollar store finds and we wanted to show that you can throw one helluva party without blowing the budget (I’ll be sharing the DIY for the tissue backdrop soon).Whether you throw a Cinco De Mayo party, or like the idea of a Mexican themed fiesta, I hope you get some ideas from these photos! Scroll to the end for links and source info. Ole!

 

     

   

 

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Photo credit: Ava to Zoe, one half of Captured in Squares

Backdrop- OHP (DIY here)

‘OLE’ balloons, party plates, wooden forks, & cactus gummies – Joonie and Joe | Instagram | Facebook 

Glass jug & glasses, napkins, & taco tray- President’s Choice | Instagram | Facebook 

Wood cactus plates- Timber Child | Instagram |Facebook

Colouring pages- Taylin Threads | Instagram | Facebook 

Flowers- Ever Red Fresh Designs

Mac & Cheese, organic blue corn chips- President’s Choice | Instagram | Facebook 

Vegetarian tacos- Ava to Zoe using Veggie Grounds from Big Mountain Foods

Sangria- Raising Jay and Abel 

Cactus cookies- The Cake Mama | Instagram | Facebook 

Nacho flavour popcorn- The Popcorn Bar | Instagram 

Churros- Lola’s Churro Bar | Instagram | Facebook 

 

 

April 25, 2017
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Treating Mom + Giving Back this Mother’s Day

 

There has been a lot about Mother’s Day on the blog this past week or so (don’t miss the Mother’s Day Gift Guide with Ava to Zoe and this Mother’s Day high tea post!). And I’m totally ok with that- any way we can show some love and appreciation to the amazing ladies in this world is ok with me (hi Mum, love you!). Motherhood- parenthood- is one helluva journey and as the saying goes ‘it takes a village’. But what about those single mamas out there doing everything they can for their kids without a partner to help them?

This year The Cake Mama and Ever Red Fresh Designs have teamed up to offer gift ideas that give back. These two ladies have brought their talents together to create Mother’s Day Gift Boxes with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Cause We Care Foundation, a local organization that supports single mothers. Each gift box will contain 6 sugar cookies hand decorated by Izabela (The Cake Mama) and a floral crown or arrangement created by Nicole of Ever Red Fresh Designs. These gift boxes are a lovely idea if you’re looking for something handmade with the added bonus of supporting local businesses and a good cause through your gifting. See below for more info and photos of what you’ll find in these gift boxes!

 

 

 

Details:

Preorders open from April 18- May 6, 2017 

Pick up available in Langley or Vancouver on May 13, 2017

Price: $65- $95 CAD

Please note: cookies will appear as in photo; flower crowns and arrangements will include a selection of Spring colours including white, yellow, pink, and purple. Colour requests not available.

Click here to place your order

To check out more of the work these talented ladies do, check them out online!

The Cake Mama: Website | InstagramFacebook

Ever Red Fresh Designs: Instagram | Facebook

Photo credit: Captured In Squares

April 20, 2017
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