Categories
Life with dogs Lifestyle Travel

Our Trip to Blue Mountain Resort: The Perfect Ontario Winter Getaway

There’s something about a winter trip that I absolutely love! Considering Winter is one of my favourite seasons (I say this as it’s currently snowing in the middle of March here in Ontario while I write this), getting away for a weekend or week vacation is a great way to enjoy what winter has to offer. We have been to Blue Mountain in the Fall for our anniversary and definitely loved being there in the Winter even more!

Even though I’m a fan of winter, I had never been skiing. I had a snowboard when I was young and attempted tobogganing hills… but I honestly don’t think that actually counts. So this year, we decided to jump straight into it. Even if you’re not huge into skiing and snowboarding, there really is something for everyone at Blue Mountain Village (though I’d probably recommend a weekend trip versus an entire week). With all of that being said, here’s a breakdown of our trip!

Day 1

Checked into our dog friendly Airbnb, which was a large chalet just a 3 min drive from the Village. Our chalet had a private hot tub and steam room, which I highly recommend since our muscles were sore after skiing. We headed into the Village for dinner at Northwinds Brewhouse & Kitchen.

There are ski-in and out style condos for rent that are in the village, so if your trip is centred around just skiing and you’re a party of 2-4 people, that could definitely be a good option for you!

Day 2

Took the dogs for a walk around our Chalet and took in the views. The mountains are so beautiful. Unfortunately it rained our entire first day, so we moved our skiing to Day 3 and enjoyed the hot tub, lots of board games and had a really nice day to just relax!

Collingwood was just a short 8 min drive from our Airbnb, so we picked up some groceries the night before and made a big breakfast. We headed into the Village to visit Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a few clothing stores, including the Christmas Store, of course!

Day 3

Our ski day! Since we had never been skiing before, we opted to do the Newbie Ski and Snowboard Program. Which was a self-guided course, where you followed the signs that showed you instructions and tips. The ticket included rentals and a lift ticket (and definitely more cost effective if you’re learning for the first time).

We picked up our ski rentals from the main office and our experience wasn’t quite what we were expecting… Feedback for Blue – newbie skiers don’t know how things are supposed to fit and we really didn’t feel supported or guided through the process. It felt chaotic and ultimately 3 out of the 4 of us had terrible fitting boots that resulted in slight bruising and blisters by the end of our morning. I will say that although that part was unfortunate, it did not take away from our experience skiing! I would definitely do it again as it made a good intro to skiing, but would opt for an instructor and/or to get my rentals outside of the village so that I could choose my equipment and find something that had more inclusive boot sizing.

If you’re going to do the Newbie Ski program, I highly recommend watching YouTube videos or to bring someone with you who knows what they’re doing. We went early to beat the crowd and didn’t have any staff there to help us other than the people operating the lifts. The goal is to do the newbie hill, then the undergrad hill and then to your first green. Though only my husband made it to the green (yay!) and that’s totally okay – there are plenty more winters to continue to learn. 😉

Yellow box is South Newbie Hills and the purple star is where the main Newbie Hill is (and the one that we did).

We learned at the Newbie hills at the heart of the village, but there are apparently even better circuits on the South side of the hill (yellow box) with more space. Keep that in mind when you’re going! If it didn’t rain the day before, we would have gone to the South side for a 2nd trip out.

We headed to Jozo’s Bar for Après Ski and enjoyed a well-deserved pitcher of beer and food! Then grabbed a Starbucks and headed back to the chalet. We decided to order in pizza for dinner from Firehall Pizza (mmm 🍍 on pizza), hit the hot tub and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Day 4

We checked out the Hike N’ Tube, which we thought was going to be much bigger…if you have a younger family, you will love it, but for the price of $26/adult, we decided it was not worth it. Instead we walked around the village, grabbed a coffee and some beavertails and sat by the fire pits.

In hindsight, we wish we would have brought our skates (we ended up not having room in the car), but will definitely visit the Woodview Mountaintop Skating Trail next time we are there. It’s a 1km loop with a stunning view. We were told to ensure it’s a good day, because the drive up the mountain in bad weather could leave you stranded.

We finished off the night at Rusty’s, a BBQ restaurant, but definitely want to try Magnone’s Italian Kitchen and Twist’s Kitchen and Cocktail next time! View the full list of their eateries here.

Day 5

Packed up and headed home!

Overall it was a really nice getaway and definitely crossed off some items from my bucket list. Though, there are still some things on my list I’d like to check out for next time! The Blue Mountain website breaks down activities to explore in each season, which is really helpful.

Some things I’d like to explore next year:

  • Breakfast/Brunch spots
  • South Hill Skiing
  • Mountaintop Skating
  • Snowshoeing and more hiking.
  • Scandinave Spa – book well in advance for this! We’ve been here before and loved our experience. Would be so nice after a couple days of skiing!

Have you ever been to Blue? If you have what’s your favourite activity there? Let me know in the comments below ❄️!

Categories
Growth Inspiration Mindfulness Wellness

30 Self Love Affirmations to Boost Your Confidence

How you speak to yourself matters! While this time of the year is focused a lot on couples or finding love, I think it’s so important to remember that you also need to love yourself. A great way to incorporate self love into your daily routine is through affirmations. 

I was first introduced to affirmations during yoga, but I really started making it a daily practice when I started using the 5 Minute Journal. Writing down things you’re grateful for, coupled with an affirmation for yourself for the day was a challenge at first. But if you keep going, I promise you’ll see just how empowering it can be! 

Need some inspo to get you started? Here are 30 of my favourite self love affirmations to boost your confidence. 

  1. I am worthy of my dreams.
  2. I am enough. 
  3. I am strong, beautiful and kind. 
  4. I am open to new opportunities. 
  5. I am capable of doing hard things. 
  6. I am growing and learning every single day. 
  7. I am confident in my career potential. 
  8. I am full of potential and have so much to offer the world. 
  9. I am poised to attract success and happiness. 
  10. I am exactly where I need to be. 
  11. I trust myself to learn from mistakes I may make. 
  12. I am who I choose to be. 
  13. I am grateful for my life. 
  14. I am enough just the way I am. 
  15. I love and appreciate my body and mind. 
  16. I am aligned with my mind, body and soul. 
  17. I trust myself to take risks and get back up if I fail. 
  18. I am knowledgeable and my ideas are important. 
  19. I speak up and stand up for myself. 
  20. I am proud to show up every day as my true, authentic self. 
  21. I choose to wake up today feeling confident, strong, and empowered. 
  22. My own approval is all I need. 
  23. I love myself exactly as I am. 
  24. I acknowledge all that I’ve accomplished and celebrate my achievements so far. 
  25. I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.  
  26. I respect and take good care of myself. 
  27. I have an abundance of energy. 
  28. I recognize when it’s time to rest and take care of my wellbeing. 
  29. I regularly take time for myself and my hobbies. 
  30. I am joyful and live with passion. 

Take a few that speak to you, or feel free to use these as a starting point to craft your own. Write them down every day, speak to yourself in the mirror while you’re doing your skin care, however you want to say your affirmations are up to you. You are amazing, don’t forget that! And if you do, just come back to this list to remind yourself of the inspiring, loving and incredible human you are and always will be. 

Categories
Growth Inspiration Lifestyle Mindfulness

How to Get Back On Track With Your Goals

It’s a new month, and a new opportunity to get back on track with your goals. Because if you’re anything like me…you may have let a few of those new year resolutions fall to the way-side. And, you know, Ontario was back in lock-down all of January – so there’s that. But, if you’re looking for some motivation to turn things around, here are some helpful ways to jump back on the horse and achieve the things you want in 2022 and beyond. 

1. Give yourself some grace

First things first, give yourself a break. Change isn’t going to happen overnight and creating new habits (and breaking old ones) takes time and consistency. If you restart your goals from a place of guilt, chances are you won’t keep them for long. Take a deep breath, journal about the challenges you had in the last month and give yourself some grace for doing what you needed to do and try again. 

2. Re-establish your “why”

I prefer writing out my goals on paper. There are studies that show the mind to hand connection with good ol’ fashioned pen and paper is more effective when it comes to recalling the notes you wrote. So, grab your favourite notebook and write down why you want to achieve your goals, what your vision for yourself is and how achieving these goals, along with the journey to get there, is important to you. If you find yourself falling off the wagon, refer back to this why. It should be a strong enough statement (or series of statements) to help you visualize why these goals are non-negotiable to you and help you get back to them. 

3. Create an updated vision board

I love a good vision board – whether it’s virtual or physical. Lately I’ve been creating monthly vision boards on Canva and then saving them to my desktop screen. That way, every time I open my computer, I am reminded of my goals and vision for myself. This month I’ve printed out my vision board and posted it in my office so that when I’m feeling uninspired, I can have a quick glance and be reminded of what I’m working towards! 

*All photos are either from Pinterest or Canva.

4. Pick one goal to focus on

Although you may have goals in different areas of your life, you can’t possibly change everything all at once. And if you attempt to, you’ll end up burning yourself out before you even get there. Take a realistic look at your goals and determine which one you want to tackle first. Maybe it’s a low-hanging fruit, a quick-win, or maybe you’re determined to work towards your longer term goal – it’s completely up to you! 

5. Create milestones

Whether you’ve chosen a longer term goal or a quick win, create a manageable work back schedule and key milestones you’d like to hit. Even if you don’t attach a time frame, have smaller steps in between that you need to hit to get you to where you want to go. Then CELEBRATE those small wins! You’ll be much more motivated to continue on your path if you take the time to celebrate your journey! It’s not just about the destination. If you spend your entire time waiting for the end result, you’ll miss all the good stuff, all the growth, all the life you’re living in between point a to point b. 

And if you find yourself back in the same place on March 1st, it’s okay. Restart steps 1-5, get back up and try again! You’ll surprise yourself when you see how far you actually have come in a month, even if it’s super tiny baby steps. Don’t forget to reflect on your previous month, what you’re grateful for, your successes and lessons you’ve learned along the way.

What is the one goal you’re going to tackle this month? Let me know below!

Categories
Career Tips Inspiration Productivity

5 Work From Home Tips When Motivation Just Isn’t Enough

I have quite a bit of experience working from home these last two years and quite honestly – I love working from home and am excited to continue doing so! There are times though (more than I like to admit) that I am just completely distracted or lacking all motivation to have a productive day. So, this year I decided to create some new habits and set-up my workspace in a way that gave me the extra boost of inspiration to work when motivation just wasn’t enough.

1. Clean, clear and under control

If there’s one thing that has helped, it’s creating a space that is clear from all distractions. I removed everything but the necessities on my desk. I even removed pens that didn’t inspire me. I brought my desk down to the basics and it has made a huge difference. When I find I’m getting overwhelmed, my desk is the first place I look for signs that I need to take a step back and clear my head. If it’s a mess, I just automatically feel like everything is cluttered and overwhelming.

2. Use productivity hacks to your advantage

I tried the pomodoro technique (or at least an adaptation of it) and it really helped my productivity. Here’s the coles notes: you select a task and then set a timer for 25 mins. You work solely on that one task for the timer and then take a 5 min break. You then continue this pattern 4 times and at the end of the block (2 hours), you take a longer break. I pick my playlist a head of time and set up everything on my computer that I will need and then start the timer. Though I’ve found success setting the timer for 30 or 60 mins, it just depends on what I’m focused on. This cube timer from amazon has really helped keep me off my phone and in the zone.

3. Create a a weekly to-do list

I found this career tip on TikTok and I’m obsessed. Tracking tasks day by day or project by project was just not working and didn’t give me the full week’s picture. This spreadsheet (watch the video below!) has been a game-changer. Even if you aren’t looking for a raise or promotion (but I mean, who isn’t), it’s perfect to help manage your tasks, workload and prioritize your tasks based on their value-add to the company and stakeholders!

@breakyourbudget

Your best shot at a promotion is PROOF. This is how you can set yourself up for success! The best part is it’s so easy and you can start now!

♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

4. Honour your time

I loved listening to the Before Breakfast podcast during my morning commutes to the office before the pandemic. And I recently discovered that the same host, Laura Vanderkam, also has a podcast called The New Corner Office that talks about all things career and working from home. In the episode Move beyond the urgent she talks about ensuring that you’re dedicating time every day in your schedule to high priority, but not urgent tasks. Projects that you can move the needle on and that will ultimately benefit you, your career and the company. I’ve started scheduling 2 hour blocks in my schedule at least 3 days a week to work on these projects so that I don’t get so wrapped up in responding to daily emails or unplanned tasks that pop up.

5. Get ready every single day

Anyone else’s #WFH wardrobe totally doom and gloom? Yea, mine too. Whether we like it or not, our work from home looks are now 2 years old and it’s time to start putting yourself together! I’ve been curling my hair, putting on some makeup, thoughtfully picking out my outfit and adding my favourite jewellery pieces. I feel 1000 times better when I put the time and effort into myself before I pour from an empty cup for someone else. A morning routine would work well here too, but I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to put one together that I truly love. ✨work in progress!✨.

Take what you need and leave what you don’t! Remember you can always hit trial and error and find what works for you. Everyone’s working style is different and the beauty of working from home means that you can figure it out until you find the style (or mix of styles) that works best.

Leave a comment down below if you have any tips I didn’t mention here!

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle Travel

Our Evening at the Toronto Distillery Winter Village

Another holiday festivity checked off the list! We visited the Toronto Christmas Market, now known as the Distillery Winter Village. An annual family tradition – filled with lots of photo-taking, good food, yummy drinks and the usual chilly weather. Though, definitely not as cold or busy as years passed.

We went on a weekday after 5pm and was able to walk right in (after our proof of vaccination, of course!). But no line, and no hassle. A few years ago I remember waiting around the block just to get in and we had a TICKET! Thankfully this year, parking and entry was a breeze.

Though it was still a little too busy to bounce around from booth to booth with a group of 8, we managed to grab a bite to eat at the Mill Street Brewery and enjoyed some sightseeing, hot chocolate and hot donuts — basically tiny-toms but make it festive. We had cinnamon sugar (of course) and ginger molasses.

The red and gold decorations are my favourite, sometimes they’ve done the blue and silver, but it feels good to see the traditional colours this year. Something about this Christmas feels like it should be traditional. I definitely zero’d in on the red, plaid and gold at home, so I’m right there with the traditional decor. Next year we’ll be switching over to coloured lights! It always reminds me of my childhood. What’s your preference?

Whether you’re visiting the food, getting some Christmas shopping done or just enjoying the scenery and holiday atmosphere, it’s definitely worth the visit!

Overall, everyone was super respectful of space and it was great to have room to take photos in front of the tree. We had so much fun laughing with our family – and also strangers passing by! We had our very first photo-bomb of the season. Truly, the spirit of the holidays and just being back around people and being somewhat “normal” was refreshing.

Are you planning a visit to a Winter Village in your community? Let me know below!

Categories
Holidays Inspiration Lifestyle

25 December Bucket List Ideas to Make the Most of the Holiday Season

As excited as I am every year for the holidays, it can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging when you’re dealing with loss of loved ones. Pangs of excitement and sadness all at the same time. What I try to remember is that they would have wanted me (and you!) to enjoy it and live life to its fullest – to spend and treasure time with family and friends.

All of the decorations and bells and whistles are incomparable to the true meaning of Christmas: to spend time with the ones you love – family, friends, your community, your furry pet. So whether you’re going through a tough time this season or just excited to get the holidays started, here are 25 holiday bucket list ideas (many of which I’ll be checking off my list this season) to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Be Merry To Do List:

1. Visit a local community ice-rink and skate

2. Make your own Hot Chocolate and snuggle up to watch a Christmas movie.

3. Can’t be with friends and family in person? Schedule a virtual Gingerbread House making party!

4. Learn to bake your family’s tried and true recipes so that you can pass it down for generations!

5. Visit an outdoor Christmas Market.

6. Purchase a gift from a small business.

7. Buy an advent calendar – you deserve a festive treat everyday leading up to Christmas!

8. Pour a cup of Peppermint tea, snuggle up with a blanket, journal about what you’re grateful for presently, reflect on the last year and dream of what you want in the future.

9. DIY your Christmas wrapping paper. I LOVE a good potato stamp and some craft paper!

10. Go through your winter clothing and donate jackets and cold weather accessories you no longer wear to a local shelter or clothing drive.

11. Sing Christmas carols with family and friends. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is sing it loud for all to hear!

12. Send Christmas cards, whether you make them yourself or purchase them, it’s the thought that counts! Bonus – print out photos of you and the recipient, it makes them even more special.

13. Make a playlist of your favourite Christmas songs!

14. Put together a small self-care pamper kit and gift it to someone who needs it.

15. Watch your favourite classic holiday movie – Elf takes the cake for me!

16. Bake Gingerbread cookies and decorate them with family.

17. Go on a drive or a walk around your neighbourhood to see those Christmas lights.

18. Take family photos! Whether you set up your iPhone and tripod or get them done professionally.

19. Plan a festive day-trip or let the planning be done for you with Guess Where Trips.

20. Wrap your Christmas gifts while watching your favourite Hallmark Christmas movie (can you choose just one?).

21. Go through old family photos and organize them into photo albums.

22. Learn about your family’s ancestry and heritage with your parents or relatives.

23. Make a homemade gift, whether it’s food or a craft, it’s the thought that counts!

24. Try out a new cozy dinner recipe from scratch and pair it with a festive cocktail.

25. Plan a holiday get-together with family and friends and play some festive games.

What is one thing on your holiday bucket list you can’t wait to do this year? Let me know if the comments below 💌.

Categories
Food & Drink Holidays

At Home Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha…aka Christmas in a Cup

Every November it’s my personal tradition to kick-off the holiday season with a Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha – it honestly brings me so much joy. You can call me peppermint candy cane obsessed, or anything peppermint for that matter.

Now that I’ve been working from home for the last almost 2 years now, and wanting to capture that same special festive drink (oh, and getting a Nespresso for my birthday this year), I researched, enlisted help from my equally Starbucks-obsessed sister, and together we concocted the perfect at home Starbucks dupe.

I’m trying to lower my intake of dairy, so I opted to try this with Oat Milk and it turned out great! Definitely worth the swap if you’re looking for a dairy-alternative.

You can watch the video on my Instagram Reels below or jump to the recipe underneath. ✨

Here’s what you’ll need:

How to make it:

  1. Heat your milk (either with an electric frother, over the stove or (the lazy way) in the microwave, then make it nice and frothy.
  2. Brew your espresso (I used a separate cup).
  3. Add the peppermint syrup and white chocolate syrup to the milk.
  4. Add the espresso to the milk.
  5. Add any fun toppings that you desire!

❤️💚❤️💚

Enjoy!

Categories
Fashion Holidays Style

Cozy Casual Outfit Ideas for the Holiday Season

My favourite time of the year to style clothing is during the fall and winter seasons. Give me all of the layers and all of the cozy knits because I have literally never met a denim and sweater combo I didn’t love! When I worked in retail, it was all about layering, not only for the KPI reasons (that’s retail lingo for more layers = high average transactions and units per transaction lol), but because layering really elevates an outfit.  

So, to bring back my love of clothing and styling to the blog, I wanted to share some casual and classic, go-to winter outfits that I’m loving for this upcoming holiday and winter season! 

Christmas Market Outfits

Cozy Work From Home Outfit

Holiday Shopping Outfits

Winter Walks and Adventures

Winter Date Outfits – Day or Night

Festive Holiday Get-Together

I also want to highlight here that you DO NOT need to purchase a new wardrobe every season because it’s trendy. Purchase items (whether on a budget or not) that are good quality and that you truly love. I can’t tell you how many items I’ve donated the next season because I’m over them. And quite frankly, that’s wasteful and I’m really trying to be more mindful about that! Hot Tip: keep an item in your online cart for 24 hours before you purchase (and don’t look at the “you forgot something in your cart” emails they send you to urge you to buy). If you still can’t stop thinking about it and you know that it’s going to be versatile in your wardrobe, then go ahead and splurge.

Instead of being angry that the cold, snowy winter is coming (spoiler alert, it’s my favourite season), think of all the cute outfits you get to create! What are some of your favourite outfit combinations for the cooler winter months?

Categories
Gift Guides Holidays Lifestyle

Work From Home Gift Ideas for Her

What do you get the woman in your life who buys everything herself? Any of the above items that will make her every day, work from home life a little more cozy and a little less stressed. I definitely love working from home and would personally love any of the gift ideas listed above! I’ve even added a few of them to my list 😉.

Here are some of my top picks from the list:

Stress Release Relaxation Kit

Saje Natural Wellness


What are some of your wish-list items this year? Do you find gift guides like this helpful? Let me know below! Happy Shopping!

Categories
Decor Holidays

Plan For Christmas Decorating With Me

My favourite time of the year (and I’m sure a favourite for so many others) is basically here! Each year I love to change up the theme and colour story, it usually doesn’t stray too far from a classic, traditional Christmas look, but lately I’ve been really gravitating towards more organic, wood, neutrals and pops of red plaid. Before I even bring my Christmas decor out from storage, I always head to Pinterest for inspiration. I’ve created a new board every year for the last 5 years and I use those inspo photos as a guide when planning out the current season. Because I tend to decorate in the same types of colours, I’m able to easily swap out ornaments and decor pieces to match the vibe I’m going for – without breaking the bank before all of the holiday gift giving (or purchasing) even starts.    

Keep reading if you want to see my inspiration for this year and some tips on how to plan out your Christmas decor for this season! Plus an inexpensive haul of items I purchased from Homesense, Marshalls and the Dollar Store! I was shocked at the quality of these pieces! 

Start with finding inspiration

You guessed it – the first step is all about gathering images, songs, magazines (do people still read those?), articles, blog posts, YouTube videos – you name it! For me, I’m drawn to something new each season, or a different take on a design I’ve already done in previous years. I always think about how I want my home to feel during the holidays and what colours, and accessories will help bring that feeling to life.

Take inventory

While my retail days of inventory are over (thank goodness), it’s still a very wise decision to take stock of what you already have and then compare it to your inspiration for this season. Not only will this help to save money, you’ll also be helping to save the planet by reusing your decor. It may be a great time to go through and donate items you know you won’t want to incorporate in your decor even after this year or put them up on Facebook Marketplace to go towards funding some new pieces. 

Do it yourself

Before you head to the store to purchase your new decor pieces, ask yourself if there are any DIY’s you’d love to do. Maybe there’s a couple of items you already own that just need a little love? I love crafting during this time of the year (see my post about DIY gift tags from a few years ago!). It can be a fun activity that you do with your friends and family over some hot chocolate and baked goods – especially since we didn’t have the chance to do this in person last year. 

Fill in the gaps

Now that you know what you have and where you want to take your design, it’s time to fill in the gaps. Be mindful about what new items you want to incorporate into your decor. Are these pieces that you’ll be able to have for years to come? I’ve really tried to become more thoughtful in my spending habits and add items that I absolutely love and will be able to cherish for longer than just one season. Take a look at thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace for yourself! You never know what treasures you’ll find. 

Clean it up and map it out

Now that you have all of your items and your theme ready to go, this is a great time to map out where you want your big ticket items. Aka your tree, any wreaths, garland and large decor items. If you’re decorating multiple rooms, place your larger items in their homes first and then add in the smaller decor. This includes figuring out what items or pieces of furniture you will need to take away or move to different rooms. 

And last but not least, clean! A crucial first step before you decorate. Give your opens shelving a dusting and anywhere you plan on decorating. While you’re moving items around to clean, pull out the decor accessories that won’t work during the holiday season and store them away for after Christmas. 

Check out my Affordable Christmas Decor Haul here: 


I can’t wait to show you how our decor turns out this year! What is your go-to colour scheme for Christmas? Are you team red and green or gold and silver or candy-land or..? The combinations are truly endless. Let me know in the comments below some of your inspiration for this year!