stamp happy {2}

I've been meaning to get back into paper-crafting (cards, notes, etc) but needed somewhat of a "creative push" in that direction. Low and behold, Elise has created a pop up stamp shop to do just that: inspire. She has designed an arsenal of adorably fun stamps to use on photos, cards, marking papers, grocery lists, etc, etc, etc.  I can't wait to receive mine (I ordered stamps 1 + 2).

Visit her pop up shop for more information and additional stamps.

(Images courtesy of Elise Blaha: today is, this, that's what she said).


one must remember...

As of late, I've found myself reciting this quote in my head whenever I encounter a particularly challenging individual, friend or foe. It reminds me that things shouldn't always  be taken personally; in fact, most of the time the emotions, moods, actions, and reactions of my peers have absolutely nothing to do with me.

Breathe. Let it pass. Continue. Everyone is fighting their own battles.

(Poster is courtesy of Moiselle Eve's lovely handmade etsy shop).



Today is my best friend's birthday - his last birthday as my "boyfriend" (which makes me smile).  The year ahead is going to be chaotic and special and significant and beautiful and I couldn't ask for a more well-suited companion to enjoy the ride.  Ben: thank you for being awesome.

Happy Birthday, I love you.

I'm yours and that's it, forever. 
You're mine and that's it, forever.

PS:  I take many photos of his back (see: 2010 + 2011 editions).


50 Memories

This year our mum turned 50. To acknowledge and celebrate this milestone, my brother, sister, and I attempted to brainstorm the perfect gift.  Jewelry, artwork, and other “traditional” gifts ideas were tossed around; however, as soon as I stumbled upon this post and the thoughtful project it contained, we were inspired and knew what we had to do.

We called upon those closest to our mum: her friends - old and new, her family - near and far, her co-workers - past and present, and her children - biological and those acquired over the years through their friendships with the three of us kids.   We asked for memories, photos, and birthday wishes and this group of fabulous individuals delivered, fifty-fold.

Each memory was stuffed into an envelope and collected in a stack that Jenn and I presented to Mum when we were in Portland celebrating her birthday.  Envelope after envelope was opened and she had no idea whose memory she was going to open next.  It was a joyful and emotional trip down memory lane.

Besides watching my mum reflect on 50 amazing trips around the sun, the coolest part of this process was reading the reflections others had on her.  It was such an honour seeing my mum though the eyes of others, many of which knew her before I was even born.

Thank you to each and every one of you who submitted a memory, birthday wish, or photograph.  This set of photos only begins to capture the emotional roller coaster your envelopes took her on. 
It's safe to say her heart is very full.

There was a resounding theme to the letters. Almost every one included at least one of the following words to describe or celebrate mum:  laughing, dancing, singing, giving, generous, and kind. She is all of those things. And much, much more.

Happy 50th mum. 

Big love. Big, big love.

(Our interpretation was based on the "60 Memories" project featured on Nothing But Bon Fires).


the rundown: 2012 (check in #1)

As per usual, I've let the months get away from me. It's half way through April which means we're almost 1/3 of the way through 2012! For this reason, now is as good a time as any for a status update on my 12 goals for 2012. Go!

1. Complete [one] wedding-related DIY project per month between January and August.

{status update} My goal was to start these project and complete them one.at.a.time. So far I've started 3 of the 8 projects I have planned and the napkins pictured above are almost completed. As soon as each project is finished I will post about the ups, (melt)downs, and everything in between. I am confident I'll have everything finished as long as I can model a little focus.

2. Write one sentence a day for 365 days... and then for another 4 years thereafter.

{status update} I'm happy to report that I'm up to date on my daily entries! Although some days I could fill the entire page and other days I could enter a single word ("blah" comes to mind), it's been an interesting exercise in exploring the comings and goings of daily life. I am so looking forward to years 2, 3, 4, and 5 to look back and remember what I did or didn't do each day.

3. Work out [three] times a week and do yoga [once] a week.

{status update} With a form fitting wedding dress to fit into this coming September, let's just say this one is a priority. That being said, I've never been one to crash diet or work out 5+ times a week. I've found a manageable balance and I'm enjoying the results: my clothes look better and my energy is higher, it's a win-win. I'm currently attending 2 boot camp classes a week with my partner-in-crime and fellow September bride, Jennifer, and although I'm on a studio yoga hiatus (my favourite instructor is having a baby next month) I'm stretching regularly on my own. Also, Spring means walking, hiking, and jogging with my favourite 4-legged friend outside: my favourite.

4. Try [one] new recipe a month.

{status update} Hurray! Ben and I have tried a new recipe each month, 3 of the 4 being winners. (I'll share links to them soon, I promise). This goal has been a fun challenge to help us think outside the box when it comes to meal planning. We're still working out the "who cooks, what night" details to make dinner time a more seamless production but until that is mastered, we're having fun, even if we don't eat until 9 pm.

5. Organize my art room.

{status update} Clearly, I should have made this a goal some time ago. Already, this room has seen a new coat of paint, re-organization, and developments in the storage department. It's a prettier, more inviting space, with a few DIY projects in the works to make it a space I frequent on a daily basis. Everyone should have a creative-friendly space to play in.

6. Run a Half Marathon in May.

{status update} Crap. Here is where the triumphs end. I gave this one as valiant an effort as I could and I've come to one conclusion: at this time in my life I don't enjoy competitive running. Sure, one can suggest that running a Half Marathon isn't necessarily a competitive experience; in my opinion, however, it is. I'm a competitive person by nature, mainly with myself. When I set out to do something, I do it. I do it even if I have to go through hell to finish. For this reason, walking away from this goal is particularly difficult. I still feel like I'm letting myself off the hook and it stings; however, I'm also open to the possibility that one day I may be interested in running a half marathon. Until then, I'm going to run like Phoebe through Central Park with the brunette in the photo below.

7. Document our wedding planning adventures on the blog.

{status update} Eeps. This is one I want to get better at. As the projects start completing, look for more wedding posts. PS: isn't my bridal party beautiful? (This photo is missing a very important Angela).

8. Read at least [six] of the books currently in my pile.

{status update} I've been reading up a storm lately. Feel like following along? Check out the C Star Events Book Club tab.

9. Watch one documentary a month.

{status update} The first three documentaries we've watched have been great: Food, Inc, The Whale (read more about this one here), and The Union. We're taking recommendations for April's pick.

10. Eat more cleanly.

{status update} I can safely say, our intentions to eat more cleanly and to purchase quality over quantity have started to pay off. I wouldn't say we're saving any money at the grocery store; however, we have FAR less food waste (and knowing we're consuming higher quality products is enough a reason to be more cautious, in my opinion). This is something I've become quite passionate about so I plan on exploring this topic further in future posts.

11. BE Original. BE Authentic.

{status update} I'm trying to incorporate this into my every-day reflections and interactions with others and it's helped with approaching situations objectively and honestly. I'm learning to say no and I'm learning to give myself realistic guidelines. This comes down to budgets, time frames, and manageable workloads. It's a daily battle for someone who considers herself a "Yes Man" but I'm working to get there.

12. Learn more about photography and how to use my camera.

{status update} I didn't add a by/when indication for this one as I'm not sure when I'll have the time to sit down and learn the mechanics of my trusty camera. I'm enjoying playing and practicing (I recently shot photos of the Healing Hearts event for Lisa McCauley which was great); much more work to come on this one. Stay tuned...

There we have it. A glimpse into life as I know it, live it, and stumble through it. I'm interested in knowing how your New Years Resolutions/ Goals are going? Are you still working towards any? Are there any that you have changed? Removed entirely?


DIY Terrarium

I've been fond of terrariums for some time now; however, I've never worked up the courage to create one myself. Last year I attempted to have a small pot of succulents in my kitchen and I somehow managed to kill every last one (cause of death is believed to be a water overdose). It was tragic.

I was delighted to find the step-by-step guide compiled by Nicole Balch and featured on West Elm's blog Front & Main. Her tips and the details provided make me feel like this is a project I could complete successfully. Visit Nicole's blog Making it Lovely for more DIY projects and ideas.

Wouldn't this make a nice gift?

(Image and DIY courtesy of Making it Lovely).


Happy Weekend.

Why do short weeks always feel like long weeks?

Nonetheless, happy weekending, everyone. What are you up to this beautiful spring weekend? I'm hoping to spend as much time outside as possible: hiking, gardening, dog-parking, and BBQ-ing are on the agenda. Add a Saturday shift at work and formal ball (for real) and that's my weekend.

In the event you need a new song to get through the weekend, check out the first single off the forthcoming Grace Potter & The Nocturnals album: Never Go Back. (The single is available on iTunes now; the album, The Lion the Beast the Beat will be released June 12).

(Video courtesy of Rolling Stone).

A Surprise for Newlyweds

Chiara Alberetti Milott, a contributor at Oh Happy Day, sounds like good people. After all, she is brains behind this fantastic idea. I can't think of a more thoughtful reception for a couple returning from their wedding or honeymoon, can you?

Visit Oh Happy Day for the details and Chiara's etsy shop for supplies and inspiration.

Have you ever assembled a 'public' display for a special someone? What did you do?

(Image courtesy of Oh Happy Day).


Jonas Peterson

My love for Jonas Peterson is no secret. I think his photography is just brilliant, each image a piece art.

His most recent wedding, recently featured on Once Wed, is nothing short of the magic he's known for. Shot in the McLaren Vale wine region of Australia, the wedding has the organic, laid-back glamour Ben and I are hoping to accomplish; it's the perfect inspiration. The last two photos are my favourite.

To see more of the wedding, visit Once Wed or Jonas Peterson's website.

(Images courtesy of Jonas Peterson via Once Wed).


Portland, Oregon

So my sister, my mama, and me went to Portland for the Easter long weekend and had an amazing time. As I read on a fabulous bumper sticker, Portland: more than just beers, beards, bikes, and books. Fortunately, we were able to experience 3 of the 4 B's and then some.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

Powell's Books: simply put, Powell's Books is heaven on earth if you are a book lover. One could spend hours perusing the shelves of classic and contemporary favourites organized by title and offered in various versions, new and used. I picked up a couple of classics that I didn't have in my collection yet; I can't wait to read them. If you go: make sure you give yourself enough time.

Deschutes Brewery: when in Portland, one must do as the Oregonians do. This typically means being awesome and enjoying a plethora of amazing IPA's and other delicious brews. Ben, Bauer, and I spent some time on the Deschutes patio/ sidewalk last summer and had a great time so I made sure we made a stop on this trip, too. If you go: make sure you get a seat at the window or, better yet, the patio to enjoy the sunshine.

Fratelli Ristorante & Bar: As a treat, one of my mum's BFF's from high school picked up the tab for our Saturday dinner. It was the sweetest gesture and we enjoyed a delicious and authentic Italian dinner at Fratelli. If you go: make a reservation. (We were lucky enough to sneak in without one but it was busy all night).

Other highlights: brunch at Kenny & Zuke's (AMAZING), a birthday surprise (more on this later), wedding shoes: purchased, wedding project supplies: purchased, sunshine, and girl time. All in all it was just what the doctor ordered. Let's make sure we do this again, soon.

Love you mum. Love you J. Thanks for a wonderful weekend.


A Happy Birthday Road Trip

My beautiful mum had a {big} birthday back in January and, since she wouldn't let us throw her a party, my sister and I planned a road trip to Portland, Oregon, to celebrate. Better late than never and better spring than winter, if you ask me!

This morning we're hitting the road with an arsenal of great music and a few special surprises.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter long weekend and that you spend your time relaxing and laughing with the people you love.


The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins

So March came and went and - since we're being honest - I have to admit that I spent most of the month with my nose in a book. More specifically, one of these three books. The Hunger Games trilogy was on my list of books to read for quite some time; I regret not starting it earlier. I devoured every page, enjoying Katniss' every thought and marvelling at each piece of creatively incorporated symbolism, irony, and social commentary. Suzanne Collins is fantastic. Without saying anything further, not wanting to give anything away, I would recommend this book to anyone. I plan to re-read the trilogy shortly.

Also, I've seen the movie twice already. It's fantastic and worth the cinema lineups. I promise. (I officially have a crush on Josh Hutcherson and I want to be BFF's with Jennifer Lawrence). That's all.

Have you read the books? Seen the movie? Has the series taken over your life as it has mine? What's next on your to read list?

Looking back... what I read in January & February.

shades of coral

Longer days and extended periods of sunshine mean the introduction of colour back into my wardrobe. I love you, Spring.

Lately, I've been gravitating towards anything and everything coral, quite possibly due to the fact that it's (a) one of our wedding colours or (b) the fact that tangerine tango is Pantone's colour of the year for 2012. Whatever the case, it's nice to see that I'm not the only one loving this warm hue.

A few of my favourite things for Spring: fresh cut peonies, statement watches, eco-friendly nail polishes in bright colours, ballet flats, and bracelets.

What colour(s) have you gravitated to this Spring?

(Images courtesy of Yvonne Wong Photography via Style me Pretty, Kate Spade, Scotch Naturals, J Crew, Ayofemi Jewelry).


Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Although I don't have plans to decorate eggs this Easter, I appreciate the fact that there are so many recipes for natural dyes in circulation. Gone are the days of chemically-mutated tablets; for gorgeous and unique colours, look no further than your pantry!

After reading through quite a few recipes, the following were the most intriguing...

- All-Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens
- Natural Egg Dyeing Techniques by Martha Stewart
- Natural Easter Egg Dyes by Bon Appetit
- Dyeing Easter Eggs the Natural Way by Two Men and a Little Farm

They sound like safe yet beautiful options, especially for little ones. Are you beautifying eggs this Easter?

(Image courtesy of BHG.com).


Jayme Dee, Somebody That I Used to Know (cover of Gotye/Kimbra)

I'm in love with all things Jayme Dee; her voice is one part gritty, two parts sweetness, altogether beautiful. Oh, and she's featured on The Hunger Games soundtrack which means she's my kind of people.

This Gotye/Kimbra number has been on replay in our house for a few weeks so I was excited to hear Jayme's stripped down version. Visit her Youtube stream for some awesome covers and her new original pieces.

Happy Sunday.

(video courtesy of Jayme Dee's Youtube channel).
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