Friday, January 18, 2013

Get Your Pack On!

Happy Friday everyone!

It's been a busy week in our household trying to get our kiddies healthy and rid of the flu, but one of the things I've started to do is pack for our trip to Dominican next week. Do you write down lists of everything you need to do? Or are the lists stored in your head? I'm a write 'em down kind of girl. I definitely got it from my mum. Since I've been little she's always had a few running lists going on post-it-notes stuck to the kitchen counter.

I find writing them down keeps me in check and organized, otherwise I will definitely forget something (especially at 8 months pregnant...the baby has stolen my brain).

Are you planning on going on vacation soon? If you're looking for packing lists, just google them...there are tons online (although I often find they include the most random things). Here are a few tips and tricks that I thought I would share with you that help me when travelling to a hot destination with kiddies.

Most families I know, the mama does the packing. This is no different in our family. I pack us all up and Mr. Fix-it packs the car (it's his responsiblity to figure out how to play Tetris with our luggage).

I find, the more often you pack, the better and more efficient you get at it. We packed the car so many times last summer with trips here and there that I'm sure I could pack us all up and in the car in an hour by the end of the summer. It makes you realize that you really don't need as much stuff as you think!

Get those kiddies amped up for your vacation! Last year when we were heading to the sunny South we had to wake up around 4am to get to the airport. Normally if I woke up our big guy at that time he would be a bear. However, he was so excited to go to the beach that it didn't matter what time it was, he was ready! Hopefully this tactic will work again this time.

Talk to them about what they want to bring on the trip so that you don't pack the wrong thing or forget something that they just assumed you would bring. For example, I was going to pack our big guy's Trunki (see pic) to stash his stuff for the airplane. (On a side note, I love this little case. Its sturdy and they can ride on it through the airport!).

However, he quickly reminded me that he didn't want to bring his Trunki this time, he wanted to bring his Thomas the Train suitcase. He looked at me like I had two heads, like of course I would know that. I know. Glad we had this discussion.

In a dream world, your kids will sleep through the whole plane ride. In reality world, prepare for them to get bored and want to walk the aisles. You might want to pack a few fun things for them to do. Check out my post Oh the Places We'll Go for ideas on what kind of activities to pack for your kids.

If you don't remember anything, just don't forget the lovely or pacifier!! In our house it's called the "binkie" and God help me if I forget them. I'll have a sticky note on the door before we leave..."Did you bring the binkie"???

If you know that you're going to be hitting the beach in December or January, try to pick up summer clothes at the end of the summer prior. You'll get great deals, but most importantly trying to find summer clothes in December and January is tough! I know I've had that challenge this year. The stores are just starting to get their Spring/Summer lines in now, so the selection is limited. If you are going in the next little while, I found that Children's Place and Gap has the biggest selection of kids summer stuff.

The beauty of packing for a hot vacation is that your clothes are light and take up much less space then packing for a ski vacation where you need mucho sweaters and gear. Remember, when your spending a week or two at the beach, you're likely going to be in your bathing suit all day and really just need clothes for dinner and going on any excursions off the resort.

A tip that I found works really well when packing for everyone, including myself, is I pack outfits rather than just a bunch of random pieces. So if we're there for 7 days, I pack 7 different outfits and an extra one just in case. For the kids, I'll probably pack an extra few outfits bc Lord knows our little guy can't get through any meal or snack without having his meal all over him ;)

And don't forget to pack (or remind your guys to pack), a couple pairs of pants. Often, restaurants on resorts require men to wear full pants in the evenings.

Also, do you really need your giant stroller? Likely not. The travel strollers have come a long way since these flimsy babies...

Even when our little guy was only 3 months, we brought down our travel stroller and it worked like a dream, held all our beach gear and didn't take up much space.

Do you need a crib for your room? Don't forget to bring a crib sheet, sometimes they will provide one but sometimes not.

Often times when you arrive at the resort your room isn't ready (especially if you have taken an early flight). If you have a bathing suit for each person in your carry-on or beach bag then it's easy to change into when you arrive at the resort and hit the beach!! Otherwise you'll have to open up your nicely packed suitcase in the lobby of the hotel and look through everything.

If you are going to a resort, you're likely there for a week or longer. Unpack! Make the space your own and you'll feel organized. Sometimes I iron my clothes before I pack them. Once we arrive at the hotel, any wrinkles that have happened en-route usually just flatten out when you hang them up with the humidity.

You might as well just park your suitcases next to the washing machine when you get home. I find that with the humidity in the air down in the resorts, that everything usually needs a good wash.

Those are a few tips and tricks to help you stay organized and sane when heading to a warm destination. Do you have any to share?

We're very excited to feel that hot sun! See you in February!!!

Keep it Beautiful.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Colour of 2013!!

Happy Monday everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend. Our big guy is on day 8 of battling this nasty flu. Ugh, its brutal! We're going on vacation in about a week so I'm just hoping we all get on the plane healthy! Fingers crossed.

However, to raise the sicky spirits...Pantone Color Institute (they create colour standards for the fashion, beauty and home industries) has announced the colour of 2013.

EMERALD is the colour of 2013!

Ooooh-la-la! Indeed, the vibrant shade has been a fashionable favourite for some time, from the sleeved, sequinned Versace number worn by Angelina Jolie to the 2011 Golden Globes to the sleek, silk Mulberry dress donned recently by the Duchess of Cambridge.

I can't think of anywhere in our home that we have the colour emerald. I don't think I'll be splashing my walls with it but I'm open to picking up a few accessories to add. These hits of the green in these rooms are fresh and pretty...

And, I'm sure HomeSense will be stocking their shelves with this jewel colour that allows you to add trend to your home for little moolah. Or, if you love the colour than splash those walls with the vibrant hue!

A laundry room would look great with pops of emerald. FRESH!

Don't forget to add a little vavavoom green to your wardrobe. I'll take one of these any day :)

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cable - Not Just Your Mama's Sweater!

Happy Fabulous Friday everyone!

While cable knits have always been a classic, they seem to have risen in popularity in the last little while. My mum and I have a running joke that whenever she buys a new sweater, it always seems to be a CABLE sweater!

My mum has great style but for years, I dreaded when she whipped out yet another cable! However, recently I've been all over the cable and loving the looks, textures and how home design has embraced it.

No longer are cables just hot for sweater and mitts....

My Great Aunt Mary gave these cable Gap sweaters to the kids for Christmas. Adorable.

Now enter in cable for your home! The texture of the cable knit, the look and the cozy feel can add beauty to any room. If you're looking for a "winter look", adding cable- anything will add the perfect accent.

How cozy does this bed look?

Cable knit throws, me likey.

I was swooning over them so much I'm going to go out this weekend and pick one up for my couch in the living room. Yes!

What about these accessories...

Pouff anyone?

I'm feeling like this is a little over the top, but hey, I'd sit in it!

At first I thought this was toilet paper?! Instead it's a vase.

Whether its a cable sweater or a cable thow pillow. Add any of these to your wardrobe and/or home decor and you'll add texture and beauty. An easy way to keep your home fresh.fabulous.sophisticated this season.

I'm looking forward to curling up under my new cable knit throw on Sunday and may put on a pair of these babies...

Have a great weekend.

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Yummies: Grilled Halloumi with Figs & Blood Oranges

Happy Wednesday!

On New Year's Eve my friend Suzanne cooked us this fantastic dinner. One of her appetizers was this recipe and OMG it was delish! I can't say enough about it. Have you ever tried Halloumi cheese? I hadn't and it is super yum. It's a mixture of goat's cheese and sheeps milk and grills up beautifully while staying soft.

If you're having company over in the next little while and need a little appie...this is so fab. It's from William Sonoma.

- 4 blood oranges
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
- Sea salt and ground pepper
- 6 ripe red or black mission figs, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 lb. halloumi cheese, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

How to:
Using a knife, cut off top and bottom of 1 orange and stand it upright. Following contour of fruit, slice off remaining peel and white pith. Holding orange over a bowl, cut along both sides of each segment to separate it from membrane, allowing it and any juices to fall into bowl. Repeat with remaining oranges. Add mint and toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a stove-top grill pan over medium heat. Put figs, skin side down, on grill pan and cook, turning once, until juices start to run, about 2 minutes per side. Add figs to bowl with oranges.

Drizzle cheese slices with olive oil and place on grill pan. Grill, turning once, until golden, 1-2 minutes per side. Add cheese to bowl with oranges. Toss everything together and serve at once. Serves 4-6.

My mouth is watering it's really good.

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Best of 2012

Happy New Year everyone!!

One week into January already? Time flies when you're on vacation. I hope that you had a lovely time with family and friends. We spent the holidays in Toronto at my parent's house. It was relaxing, we ate too much, played in the snow and the kids were so excited for Christmas. Goodtimes. I went back to the office last Thursday and it was definitely a challenge to get back into the swing of things. I'll admit that last Thursday and Friday I tried to stay small and quiet in the office so that I could slowly transition back to it all.

What's to come in 2013? I'm looking forward to it and have lots of ideas. Oh, and I got a new camera so let's hope my photography gets better ;) I would love to hear from you as to what you would like to see. More DIYs? Renos? Recipes? Crafts? Please let me know. Let's make 2013 great!

Also, on an exciting note, I'll be starting to blog for the Ottawa Mommy Club starting this month. The site is currently under renovation but will be up and running soon! Stay tuned.

I launched Keep it Beautiful last May and thought I would share with you some of my fav posts from each month over the last 7 months. Here's a look back:

DIY - Roman Shade

Bathroom Reno

Drab to Fab - Chair DIY

Desk Makeover (Trash to Treasure)

The Playhouse - DIY

Summer Mantel

Chalkboard DIY

Paint Chit Art

Gallery Wall - How To

Chair Makeover - DIY

Tray Makeover - DIY

Road Trip Planning for your Kids!

Fall Mantel

Kids Birthday Parties

How to Paint Stripes

Building a Shed - Tips and Tricks

To Taste or To Pitch?

Mantel Facelift - DIY

Throw Pillows - DIY

Cute Crayon DIY

Advent Calendar DIY

Urn Decorating

Christmas Decor

Happy New Year to you and your families. Looking forward to 2013!

Keep it Beautiful.

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