Thursday, 28 June 2012

How to wear the latest trends at any age

Every season, without fail, we are greeted with the arrival of the hottest new styles.  This Summer is no exception.  2012’s top trends - soft pastels, mix and match prints, flashy florals and sport inspired looks. But how can you achieve the balance of looking trendy and not trashy?  Here are some suggestions on how to look stylish and age appropriate in your 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and as well as your 70's.

Now you can pick and choose from trends without looking as if you've tried too hard - if it looks good and feels good, wear it.  A pair of great-fitting jeans will take you from day to night, while cropped trousers (not to be confused with capris!) with ankle boots or heels are a fresher option than full-length trousers.  A statement bag or pair of bold neon heels will add a touch of trend.


It's time to develop a look that's sleek and streamlined.  It's best to keep your overall image simple but to add one or two key pieces. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color and texture - and then take the edge off by mixing bright rich pieces with neutral classics. Try pairing a pencil skirt with a bronze metallic cami.  The trick is to look sexy without looking like you are trying too hard.


The best way to look great is to embrace your natural beauty.  Give your waistline a helping hand with a fitted jacket, a wrap blouse tied at the waist or add a skinny belt to tie your look together.  Luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin and cashmere feel great and are forgiving. Keeping your overall look monochromatic, brings style and sophistication - then introduce a splash of one of your favourite colours or prints of the season.

A balancing act is what you need now. If the top you choose is voluminous, wear it with a pair tailored trousers.  Conversely, if you choose a full floral skirt (flat over the hips to avoid adding bulk) or wide-leg trousers, it's best to keep your top half fitted. Statement jewelry is a perfect expression of your personal style!

You want to look smart and sophisticated.  This means you’re your wardrobe should consist of classics with enough flair that accentuates your personal style. Timeless buys, such as long coat or trench, fitted jackets and fine-knit cashmere twinsets are your wardrobe staples. They'll never date and they always look expensive. A bold scarf tied at the neck or a striking shawl draped over your shoulders will give you a simple yet dramatic look. The key to looking stylish and timeless is making sure every piece you own, fits you well.

Being of a certain age by no means signifies the end of your fashionable days.  The key to dressing appropriately for your age is to figure out your own personal style and let that – not the trends – guide you.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Skeleton Park Music Festival

Every year for the past 5 years, we have been going to the Skeleton Park Music Festival.  A celebration of great music, in a wonderful community, highlighting local artists and artisans. The best part, the park is basically right in our backyard.

When we first moved into our house on Raglan Road in August 2006, we had no idea that we had moved into such an amazing, supportive, creative, community.  We are surrounded by local musicians, artists, and writers. Families that have a strong connection to Kingston, and its downtown elementary school, and history filled McBurney (Skeleton) Park.

It didn't take long before we felt truly apart of this thriving neighbourhood. It's the kind of place where neighbours bring homemade food to your house simply because they wanted to share. The kind of place where neighbours really look out for one another. The kind of place where we are proud to raise our girls.

So every year, when the Skeleton Park festival is on, we feel a closer connection to our little downtown community. A connection to the people who want to see our kids thrive.  Who take pride in exposing our kids to all sorts of different creative outlets.  Who knows, maybe one year Ryan and Andy might take to that stage!  One thing's for sure, we will continue to go to this wonderful festival and kick off the beginning of Summer with music.

History of McBurney Park  (aka Skeleton Park)

The Cemetery Years

McBurney Park is unique among Kingston’s parks. It began life in 1816 as the Garrison Burying Ground, then in 1819 the Common Burying Ground, so named because it was common to the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. In 1825, an Order in Council by the Lieutenant Governor officially established it as the Upper Burial Grounds which included three parts – one each for the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics and the Presbyterians. As the principal cemetery for Kingston, it became overcrowded in a few decades and the four-acre cemetery was closed to further burials in 1864.

Thirty years later, the former cemetery was in terrible shape. Gravestones had been vandalized and the grounds were overgrown with tall grass and scrubby vegetation. Cows and pigs browsed there. Residents demanded that something be done with the eyesore, so the three churches that owned the land turned it over to the city, which, acting on suggestions from the citizenry, proposed to turn it into a park. Among the three churches, only the Roman Catholics stipulated that all remains in their section be exhumed and re-buried in another cemetery. The Anglicans and Presbyterians only stipulated that exhumation and re-burial be undertaken if the families requested it. In 1893 the city hired a local contractor named George Adsit to exhume the bodies, bury the tombstones, plough and level the land and plant trees.  By Alec Ross

However, city planners vastly underestimated the number of bodies buried there. They quickly realized they were literally in over their head. Many grave sites were buried 10 or 20 bodies deep due to typhus and cholera epidemics in the 19th century. Experts now believe there are as many as 10,000 people still buried beneath Skeleton Park. Body parts and headstones still find there way to the surface occasionally, making Skeleton Park both a historical and atmospheric experience. Another great day to visit is on Halloween. There is a costume parade just before dark and a old graveyard is the perfect place to commune with the spirit of Halloween. 
Skeleton Park also has a fantastic homeowners association where you can find out much more of its fascinating history.

Monday, 18 June 2012


Who doesn't love dip?! They’re perfect for parties, great for get-togethers and are fantastic for sharing with friends. The best part, there is so much more to dips than just dipping. You can dollop dip onto burgers, spread hummus on a sammie, or drizzle on your favourite cut of meat.

Whether you are looking to entertain or simply want to whip up a delicious and nutritious dinner, dips are an easy way to go.

Here are 3 of my favourite dips.

Caramelized Onion

5 large onions - sliced
Block of cream cheese
1 grilled zucchini
3 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp yogurt
1 clove of garlic
1tbsp lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large pan, saute onions (with some oil) until they turn a golden brown.
Meanwhile grill one zucchini - broil or bbq.
Mix softened cream cheese with sour cream, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice - refrigerate.
Let zucchini and onions cool then add to the cheese mixture.
Add salt and pepper.

Red Lentil Hummus

2 cups of dried lentils (well rinsed)
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Tamari sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook red lentils in a pot of water until soft.
In a food processor, mix cooked lentils, lemon juice, tahini, oil, garlic, tamari sauce, paprika, cumin.
Blend until smooth.
Add salt and pepper.

Feta and Asparagus

2 dozen asparagus spears lightly oiled and grilled
300g goats cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste

Grill asparagus spears. Let them cool.
In a food processor, mix softened goats cheese with lemon juice and cilantro.
Add the asparagus. Blend well.
Add salt and pepper.

What's your favourite dip?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Why is it...

...that my girls put up a fight when I give them water to drink BUT are more than happy to drink the pool water or rain water that accumulated in a toy cup that was left outside?

...that my girls are reluctant to try new foods BUT they will gladly eat sand, dirt and leaves?

...that my girls have this amazing ability to make colossal messes in a matter of seconds BUT it takes them forever to help tidy away one toy?

...that my girls can play quietly BUT as soon as I get on the phone they start screaming or singing or fighting?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mermaid Birthday Party

Here are some images from Ryan's 4th birthday party.

A perfectly framed mermaid!

Under the Sea Buffet
The green "net" in the back is actually a curtain panel that I picked up at a local thrift store.

Under the Sea
The little "jellyfish" were made by simply draping decorative paper to the bottom of round paper lanterns. They only looked liked jellyfish when the wind was blowing. They were cute none the less!

Take a Dip!

Treasure Trail Mix
A mixture of fish crackers, yogurt covered raisins, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, fish candy, blue jelly beans and rock shaped chocolate.

Seashell Fruit Cups
I used silver food paint to give the ice cream cones a shell like appearance. Then filled them up with fruit.

These crowns were super easy to make. Click HERE for the tutorial.

The unbreakable piƱata!

The birthday girl listening for mermaids

Lovely mermaids
Instead of a goody bag, each one of Ryan's friends left the party with their very own mermaid dress.
Click HERE for more information on how to make a mermaid dress.

The beautiful cake!
After hours of searching online, I came across a cake just like this on Pinterest. I loved that it was simple and beautiful. So I had a local bakery - Celebrate with a Cake - recreate it for me. I think it turned out perfectly! In the top tier, the cake was even blue inside.

Me and my girls

The mermaids enjoying their cake.

Taking a break on the swing

DIY mermaid dresses

 I went to a local thrift store and picked up a bunch of tank tops and children's skirts. 
All I had to do was take in each tank top so that they would fit either of my girls. Then simply sew one of the skirts to the bottom of the tank and voila! You have a mermaid dress. 

 Ryan's dress was actually one of my dresses that I took in and tightened it in various areas. I think it turned out pretty well!

 With left over material, I added the "tail" to the bottom of this top.

 Once they get over their mermaid phase these dresses can also double as flamenco dresses!!

Flower Crowns

There are lots of these tutorials all over the internet. I was originally going to make mine with willow tree branches and real flowers, but since they were going to be a craft project at my daughter's birthday party, I thought it might be nice for the girls to have a crown that would last.

All you need is some gardening wire, ribbon, twist ties and an assortment of plastic flowers.

 You can make the crowns as thick or thin as you want, depending on how much wire you select. Shape it into a circle and twist the ends.  Then simply wrap the wire circle with the ribbon. I used a twist tie to keep the ribbon in place.

You can also do the same with a willow tree branch!

 Then take the twist tie and start adding flowers to the crown. I secured it to the base of the flower then wrapped it around then attached it to the crown.

Keep attaching as many flowers as you want.

 Easy. Fun. Beautiful!

Friday, 8 June 2012

swimsuit season continued

Although it is really important to love your body, it's equally important to know what to look for when shopping for a swimsuit. A proper fitting suit will not only keep you from potential embarrassment when coming out of the water, it will also give you confidence that you are looking your best.

Here are some tips on shopping for the right swimsuit.

1 - Give yourself plenty of time to find a swimsuit-remember Rome wasn't built in a day. Finding the perfect swimsuit takes more then a few minutes; so allot at least an afternoon to try on a number of suits. Be prepared to try on many different styles to come up with the one that will work for your body type.

2 - Swimsuit sizes are not the same as dress sizes!  So do not get discouraged because all of the suits feel too small. As a general rule expect to go up two sizes from your regular dress size. It's not you that's gotten larger, it's the suit that's gotten smaller! If going up a few sizes in some suits doesn't work, just accept the fact that some swimsuit cuts don't work for everyone.

3 - Treat swimsuit shopping like a day at the beach - spray on a little self tanner the night before, treat yourself to a pedicure, and might I suggest a bikini wax as well.  That way when you go to try on swimsuits you are looking and feeling your best and aren't busy focusing on how horrible your skin looks under florescent lighting or the fact that you forgot to shave your legs.

4 - Don't be afraid to try new styles, you might be surprised about how fabulous you look in a suit you never imagined wearing. Often people get stuck in a comfort zone when buying swimsuits and they stick to buying the same suit year after year. So go ahead and have a little fun and try on that metallic bathing suit! You might shine!

5 - Be realistic. There are suits out there for every body type under the sun. The trick is to find the one that fits you properly, that you are comfortable in (yes, it is possible!), that offers enough support and  adequate coverage.

Embrace your body this summer and give yourself a pat on the back for your perseverance. Now get out there and celebrate the sun, the surf, and your own beautiful body!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Swimsuit season....

I have always had a love/hate relationship with swimsuit season.  What I love? I love being around the water. I love the warm breezes, the sounds of the waves, the feeling of sand between my toes. Shedding some clothing to take in, and cool down, in the summer heat.  However, what I hate is vastly different. It has, and I am sure will continue to, revolve around I feel about my body.  I know I am not alone in this. I know, because I see it with my clients, and my friends.  We, women especially, although it is happening to more and more men, are EXTREMELY body conscious.  We expect perfection. We compare. We put pressure and high demands on ourselves. And of course, this trickles into every aspect of our lives - not just getting "bikini ready".

Last summer, when we went to the local beach as a family, I wore the same swimsuit that I wore when I was pregnant with Andy. Last summer, Andy was 16 months old. I felt embarrassed that I was wearing that suit, but just didn't feel I was ready to try on another one or two or three!  Later that night, my husband put his arm around me, gave me loving little squeeze, and told me, ever so sweetly that I was better than that suit. That I didn't need to cover up my body. That I was beautiful.  I always knew I married a smart man!  This propelled me to get out there, brave the stores, and try on some more flattering, body and age appropriate swimsuits.

For the rest of the summer, I happily, confidently, fashionably took to the beach in my bright pink bikini!!  So what changed? Why did I go from supreme coverage, to a bikini?  I knew, deep down that my husband my right. But I let my imperfections stop me. Imperfections, that through my eyes, were terrible and warranted being covered up. The funny thing is, I experience this all the time with my clients. They look at their bodies in such a way, that they can't see ALL the good - only the "bad". My job then, is to break them free of that. To show them that they can wear that pencil skirt. That their legs should be shown off. That of course they can wear a sleeveless top!  These are what I call BREAKTHROUGHS. These breakthroughs are moments of empowerment. Little realizations that - 'hey, my body isn't so bad after all'! I LOVE these moments, and thanks to my husband, I was able to have one those breakthroughs too.

So what changed? I looked at my body in a different way. I no longer looked at it with the memory of my body in my early 20's! I looked at my body - after having my two beautiful girls - as an incredible machine. I looked at all the areas that I love. Areas that I was proud to highlight, and I went from there.
So what if my body wasn't what I deemed "perfect". Honestly, it never will. But it's my body; it's strong, it's unique, it's powerful. I wrote a post called body beautiful that I would suggest you check out and make a list of your own. It's a great exercise to get your mind, not just your body, ready for swimsuit season.  I know that I will be going over it again, as I get myself prepared for my pink bikini!

Last summer - in my pink bikini.