Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Survival - Checking Off the List!

Happy first week of December! How are you feeling? Stressed? Ready? Honestly, this year, I'm determined to experience this month with as little stress as possible. Well, that's my goal. Have you seen Bad Moms Christmas movie yet? The original Bad Moms was better but honestly, I laughed out loud a lot watching this one. I saw it in the theatre a couple weeks ago with some girlfriends, wine in our travel mugs and it was great. What mom doesn't stress at the holidays? But really, we put this unrealistic pressure on ourselves. So, this year, I've done a few things differently.
 

The first one, I decorated early. Obviously as a home design blogger, I love to decorate for the holidays. Its my favourite. But I know you know, hauling out the Christmas boxes is an event in itself. Honestly, our house lacks storage space and Mr. Fix-It's workroom is filled with bins FULL of Christmas stuff. It's amazing how much we all store to celebrate such a short season. But, it's worth it...totally worth it. So a couple of weeks ago, mid November we brought up all the boxes, and the decorating began. It's one of those things that seems like a great idea when you start and halfway through, when the garland greenery is all over the floor and the decorations are strewn throughout the house, it seems never ending. However, the carols were on, I had my wine in hand, the kids loved decorating their faux tree in the basement with all their special ornaments and I'm a happy girl because it's one thing checked off the list of "to-dos". Now, its the first week of December and the house is shimmering and glowing with Christmas beauty. Only thing left is the tree, but we can't get it until this week or we'll be left with a naked dead tree by Christmas. Our old house is so dry, the tree would self-combust from the dry air.

I've also ordered a few more decor items online that I'm waiting to arrive to finish it all off. I'll share that post soon :) Here's a look back at the last couple of years herehere and here

So, decor done. Check. Mr. Fix-It, aka "Clark Griswald" worked on the outside last weekend with the kids. He's training them;) A few trips to the big box stores, and oh Lord, our house could be a runway for Santa's sleigh. Thank God he doesn't do the inside decor. But, the kids love it, it was great to get done before the snow hit the ground and it's another thing off the list. Check. We're waiting for one more online order to arrive and I'll share the over-the-top exterior decor in another post to come. Stay tuned.

So, on this "stress free" list, we've checked off a few things. For the bakers, have you done your baking yet? I'm not really a holiday baker but I do love the Christmas smell. 

I always do the "stove top" Christmas smell each year and only requires...easy. Let's keep it easy and simple, shall we?!

Who's travelling this year? We're staying put for Christmas but will travel to the cottage at some point. Honestly, how on earth did anyone travel with kids without Netflix? I know we didn't have it as kids but how long can you keep a kid occupied at the airport or on the road, colouring? For us, we use Netflix to save our sanity when we're driving to Toronto or at the airport. Well, let's be real, our kids watch Netflix all the time but when we're travelling...its a necessity for all involved. Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadian parents say one of their main concerns when travelling is keeping their kids entertained.



The best part is that you don't only need wifi to watch Netflix. You can download your family's fav shows. Netflix at home, becomes Netflix on the go. Amen! It's available for "Netflix originals" and you can click on "available for download" menu on the Netflix app on your phone or tablet and browse all the titles available to take with you whenever and wherever you want.

You don't need to feel like you're stuck in Litchfield from Orange is the New Black while being on a family road trip again. So, if you know you're going to be travelling with the kids this month, download all their fav shows now and it's another thing off your "to-dos". So, go decorate, get your baking done (or just create that delicious smell on the stove), download your shows and you're already ahead of the game.

Good luck guys! And when that stress level feels like it's rising, when in doubt, always have wine on hand.

Keep it Beautiful.
xo Alicia

Disclosure: Christmas is busy and can be over -the-top stressful. I'm sharing a few tips from Netflix because we all love Netflix and we all need survival during  the holidays. I'm part of the Netflix Stream Team and get perks to share ideas with you. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.








Tuesday, November 7, 2017

JUST GOOGLE IT!

Is it me, or have you noticed yourself telling your kids to "just Google it" when they have a question that you don't have the answer to. Long gone are the days that you would wander upstairs to pull out the encyclopedia (not even sure my kids know what that is) to find the answer to your detailed curiosity. In University, if someone on ICQ didn't know the answer, then you knew your answer would be found at the library- but who are we kidding...I didn't spend too much time there ;)

All the Netflix binge watching that we do has left my fam looking for answers to our questions about our favourite Netflix shows. Turns out we're not the only ones. More than ever, viewers are turning to Google to answer their kids questions that have stemmed from their fav shows. "Mummy, how far away is the moon?" This is a question I got from my baby girl while she was watching Justin Time. Ummm....well, let's Google.

I have totally gotten sucked into The Crown (ah-mazing...did you know the new season is out?). Watching it spurs so many questions about the Royal Family that honestly, I didn't care much about before. Enter in Google. The answer to all our detailed Netflix show questions. 

Does this look like your house?
What are your kids asking you when they watch shows? Have you had to Google your way through wowing them with answers?

Keep it Beautiful.
Alicia

Disclosure: I love Netflix. I love sharing all the  latest shows with you that Netflix  releases and I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam.  Everything here are my opinions. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Friday, September 29, 2017

KIDS BIRTHDAY HACKS MADE EASY!





Since I've been a little girl my parents always made birthdays feel special. You're supposed to feel like it's your day - your day to eat whatever you want, your day to feel showered with birthday surprises and make big wishes. I have vivid memories of many of the birthday parties my parents had for me, from decorating t-shirts, to popcorn cake, all the way up to spin the bottle in grade 7 - yikes!


Mr. Fix-It and I try our best to make our kids feel special on their big day. In the last 9 years, we've thrown our share of birthday parties. Of course when our oldest was born we threw a big afternoon garden party with everything matching and a whole lot of stress. I love having a matchy party but over the years I've learned that you don't need everything to match for your kids to love their party. You're kids aren't stressed about their party, why should you be? 

Netflix sent me a really cool idea that they've come up with to share with all of you. They've created 14 Birthday On-Demand Videos to surprise your little one on their birthday. You can choose from your kids' favourite characters to sing them a birthday song. I tried it out on our middle guy for his birthday and he loved it. 


Enter in stress free birthday party idea! 

Kids love tv. Kids love movies. Kids love Netflix. Honestly, they've got it right having kids' fav characters sing them "happy birthday" on their special day. Enter in stress-free for you, happy child and best parent ever!

Let me know if you wish your little one happy birthday from Netflix!

Keep it Beautiful.
Alicia
Disclosure:  I'm a proud member of the Netflix #StreamTeam.  All opinions are my own.






Friday, July 21, 2017

DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE: TRENDS WE NEED TO CONSIDER NOW


I remember when I was shopping for my wedding dress, I kept asking myself, Is this dress timeless? Will it hold up in twenty, thirty or forty years? I thought for sure when I bought my dress, it would stand the test of time – I would look back on the photos and be able to say that my dress would still be in style if I wore it years later.

The reality is that fashion styles come and go and the basics of timeless classics will continue to be modified decade after decade. The same is for design and décor.

Often when we take on large home design projects, we ask ourselves what the impact of the space will be down the road. Will the kitchen you put in today feel dated and old in ten or twenty years? Will someone walk into your house forty years from now and wonder where your head was when you chose your stainless steel appliances?

Here’s my thoughts. Design trends are changing faster than the average person looking to renovate their living room. Design firms are working with the latest technology to advance how we decorate our homes, new furniture styles and materials we use.

A few things we need to consider now for future design:

1.      Clean Lines
Clearly, the lines of decorating are getting cleaner and finer. Does anyone buy overstuffed couches anymore? Does anyone want billowing valances and drapes? Clean living, fresh and bright rooms marry our thoughts on how people want to live. People are looking to minimize the fillers in our food, and the same is with home design. Designing for the future is about creating spaces that allow us to breathe.  Designing a room with “clean lines” is a trend that I believe we need to hold on to and continue to push the envelope as other areas of our lives seek to that clean living also.

2.      Black and White


To me, black and white have stood the test of time. As a decorator and home design blogger, I always encourage my clients and readers to make sure they have something in each room that is black. Black is grounding. It balances a room.  Black and white décor has continued to thrive when home design and decorating surged. Today we see more people painting their walls white than we ever have. Designing for the future needs to carry the black and white trend as our rooms don’t always need splashes of colour. Some of the most peaceful and gorgeous spaces I’ve seen, showcase black and white and allows for the personal touches to shine.

3.      Personal Touches


Speaking of personal touches. The trend of showcasing our family, friends and places we love has always been. We want to personalize our home and create a space where we shine. We can’t lose site of personalizing our spaces in the future. In fact, I think it will continue to grow as our obsession with social media and seeing into eachother’s lives continues. However we showcase our personal touches in the future, we need to ensure the element remains.

4.      Technology


Obviously, technology has changed the way we design homes, rooms and live in our spaces. Even now you can buy a refrigerator that can schedule your day, talk to you, remind you and tell you that you’re out of milk. These advances are amazing. They are where we are going in design. We just need to remember that when designing for the future that we keep in mind the users. How will their lifestyle be affected? Families gathered around the kitchen island sharing a feast or snuggled up on a couch watching a movie. Let’s make sure that when we design spaces and products we create them for people. Not robots. Let’s continue to encourage families gathering, being together and loving the spaces they are in.

 As for whether my wedding dress will stand the test of time? It was gorgeous, it had elements of tradition and “classic” style. However, it also followed a trend that many brides were wearing when I got married 12 years ago.  The reality is that in 40 years, brides will be wearing a different style but elements of that dress will be found in the future of wedding gowns. The same is in design. Stainless steel appliances might not be what we put in our homes in 40 years, but elements of them will still remain.

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader".

Keep it Beautiful.

Alicia


Thursday, July 13, 2017

WHAT'S YOUR MOM SNEAK?

Hey lovelies,


We all do it. #momsneak

Did you know that 58% of moms admit to sneaking in TV "me-time"? I'm shocked it isn't more?!??! Seems too low of a stat for me. Im all about the Netflix Mom Sneak. How else are you going to get in your fav shows? Honestly!

My fav #momsneak is while making dinner. Love it. Or, I've also sat in the car after getting groceries and watch a little on my phone. When you find that show you love, its addictive!

Here's what I'm sneaking right now-
Orange is the New Black (I'm almost done....so good!)
Pretty Little Liars
Chef's Table
Hoarders - I'm addicted. I just am.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your #momsneak is

Keep it Beautiful.

Alicia
Disclosure: I'm a #momsneak addict and love Netflix. Just like you do too!  I'm part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and happy to share the Netflix love with you each month.



Monday, June 26, 2017

BIG GIRL ROOM REVEAL


Hey lovelies. Happy Monday! I've got a room reveal for you today. You'll remember I shared the inspiration boards for our daughter's "big girl room" and the the new "guest room". It was the big swap-a-roo day a little while ago. The kids went up to the cottage for the night and Mr. Fix-It and I worked for 15 hours straight. Killer. Actually, it wasn't really that bad. We had tunes, we had food and we had beer. Now the rooms are complete and I'm excited to share our daughter's room today and I'll follow up with the guest room.


This is what the room looked like before. The guest room was bright and simple and it made me smile every time I walked up the stairs. However, it was time to go pink. 



About 7 years ago, I found this armoire on the curb. It needed a good paint job but it's housed the wrapping paper and my files for Keep It Beautiful Designs. It's quite large and weights a ton, so we just moved it around the room while we painted and then slid it on a towel over to the new guest room later. 








This accent wall had my girly glitter running all through my bod. How cute eh? We decided to add the bright pink to the window wall. One, it meant that we weren't staring at a super pink wall every time we walked up the stairs to the second floor and I just loved that it would be framed with the drapes and window bench.


The DRAPES.  They kill me in cuteness. Typically we need 95" length for the ceilings but these guys worked out fine being the standard length because I needed them to be shorter behind the window bench. I bought them at HomeSense. Our daughter doesn't seem to mind falling asleep without a blackout blind and I love the airy fresh feel of the material. Win!



Next up was putting together the bed. This is the bed that we ordered. It's gorg.


Add all the finishing touches...

And we have a perfectly girly room for our big girl. 

This is my Great Grandmother's mirror. We hung it low so our big girl can see her gorgeous self in that mirror every morning. I love that generations of strong women have looked at themselves in that mirror and I hope they loved what they saw.

This chair was Mr. Fix-It mom's. We've rocked all our babies in it and our daughter had only one condition for her new room - that the rocking chair goes in it. This little corner is a perfect spot for stories and songs before bed. A cute pillow and throw and she got her wish.



I took the same frames and photos from her nursery and just gave the frames a "refresh spray" (pretty sure that's not actually a phrase). I was going to update the photos but when I told her that she said she wanted to keep her baby pics in there.

I took this side table from our bedroom. Poor Mr. Fix-It now has to have his stuff on the floor ;) but really he didn't have much on there before. His phone while it was charging and his watch charger...that's pretty much it. So, it found another home. I really like how the shiny silver works with the gold. Don't be shy to mix your metal finishes. 

The light is from her nursery. It was the first thing I bought when I started decorating her baby girl room. Its from Ikea and ADORABLE. Really, what girly girl wouldn't want a tutu light? 
I've been holding on to these two pieces of art of A LONG TIME. For years, they hung in my parent's house and when they moved, I knew that they would be perfect in a little girl's room if it was ever meant to be. And here they are. They hang right beside her closet and you see them as you come up the stairs onto the second floor. 

I bought this shelf and these brackets from Ikea and of course, sprayed the brackets gold. Instant glam. The shelf holds a few of the breakable treasures she's made, as well as some of the treasures from my room when I was a little girl. I totally forgot to spray the screws, so a quick tip...just spray the end of a q-tip and dab it on the screws. 

Our big girl loves to dress up so this tiny corner was the perfect spot for a couple of hooks and a basket for her accessories. Remember when she broke her leg this winter? I placed her casts on a floating shelf here. I want her to remember how strong, brave and powerful she was during that time. She's little but fierce!

This dresser from Ikea fit perfectly in the space. It's feminine, solid and long enough to hold all her jewels and hair stuff.

So that's that. 

She loves her room. It's bright, it's girly, its fun. It's special. It's her.

'Scuze the blurry photo. She was moving fast when she saw her room for the first time :)


Next reveal to show you is the guest room.

fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Keep it Beautiful.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

ANYTIME IS BINGE TIME!

Remember the TV Guide? It would be tucked in the newspaper and every week my brother and I pulled it out to see if our fav shows were on the same time that week AND if they were new. Can you believe TV Guide is still around? Crazy. 

The only way to see your fav show that week was to make sure you knew what time it was on or to "tape" it. Another act that seems totally ancient and "taping a show" is completely foreign to my kids. I guess PVR is the next "taping" but even then, my kids don't even know what PVR is because we have basic cable and really what is on basic cable that is PVR worth?! 

Netflix has revolutionized how we watch tv. No longer are cartoons only on at 6am or Saturday mornings, they are ready to watch at anytime and anywhere. Honestly, God bless the afternoons where the kids need a break, I need a break and Netflix cartoons SAVE ME! However, there was something exciting about waiting a whole week for the new episode of your favourite show to air. A concept that seems weird to the kids.

Last weekend was the Great Glebe Garage Sale and Ottawa Race Weekend - my fav weekend of the year. Thousands of people embark on the Glebe in Ottawa and sell and shop for treasures. I set up a Keep It Beautiful Shop - PopUp Shop and sold my pillows, makeup cases and prints. 


In the afternoon we got the kids ready to run the 2km race. They were pumped and we were thrilled that they wanted to run the race to feel powerful and strong. 

The next morning, Mr. Fix-It was running the 1/2 marathon. He'd been training all winter (in so much snow!) and was hoping for a PB. However, Sunday turned out to be Ottawa's first scorcher of the season and he knew a few kilometres in that it wasn't going to be his race. At the 10km mark he decided to turn the race into something else and called our older son off the sidelines to run the last half of the race with him. 11km later, a very strong and tired father-son team crossed the finish line. Our 8 year-old had no idea how far 11km was, he didn't have proper running gear on, had only ever run 2km straight (the day before) and he didn't know the course. But, he knew his Daddy wanted him to run with him and they trusted each other. Melt my heart. 

Shortly after the race our older son needed Gatorade, food AND Netflix. He asked me if his legs were supposed to feel tingly. He was so tired! These are exactly the times that you need cartoons at the press of a button. When you need to chill out, rest your bod and watch your fav shows. 

Right now the kids are binging Nicky, Dicky & Dawn - it's like a younger version of Saved By the Bell. 

King Julien is another fan fav of theirs. It's actually pretty hilarious. Some of the jokes go right over the kids heads ;)

Mr. Fix-It and I just started watching the new episodes of House of Cards. Oh man that show is Ah-mazing! So twisted and so addictive. 

Orange is the New Black starts soon and we finished the new episodes of Scandal. Another binge worthy, wine drinking show that is available at your fingertips. Anytime, anywhere. 

God bless you Netflix!

*Disclosure - I'm part of the Netflix StreamTeam and that allows me to share exciting Netflix news and views with you. And, ensure you're all as addicted to Netflix as I am ;) Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

NETFLIX & VALUES


Can Netflix teach your kids values? Bold question really. Kids values are shaped by everything around them. As a mom, my hope is that their core values, what is deep inside them is nurtured from the beginning. At home. With their family. With their friends. However, their values will be tested and questioned as they grow. From who they hang out with to what they watch. The goal really, is to hope that nature and nurture work together to help shape their life skills.

I feel like just sitting down with your kids and watching the shows they love,  helps them feel like you are interested in the shows and that you love them too (even though sometimes I know you are counting down until you get to curl up with a new episode of Scandal). They feel connected to you. Sure, it's not the only way you should connect with your kids but it's an outlet of opportunity. Check out this cool social experience video showing teens and parents coming together over Netflix.

My kiddies are regularly watching Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh these days. There is a great episode about bullying on there. Honestly, that word makes my stomach turn. To think that your kid could experience such pain, makes my anxiety go through the roof. But, obviously talking to your kids about it, what to do and using any outlet to drill it home that bullying is wrong is crucial. Episode 6 of Home has a good lesson.

Have you watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix yet? I haven't and I'm avoiding it. Why? Truthfully, I'm not 100% sure but I know that when I watch it, there are stories in there that are going to wrench my gut, that will leave me tossing at night. I know that it's a show that's getting a lot of attention right now because its real. Teens struggle. The struggle is real. If you have watched it, I would love to hear your thoughts. I'll let you know when I do. I need to package my babies up in a bubble. As much as I want them to be successful and eventually leave the nest...I'm also okay with having them live at home forever. Um, sorta ;)

Here is a quick cheat sheet to use. If you feel like your kiddies need a refresher on something specific or a good lesson. Check these shows out...
Keep it Beautiful.


Disclosure: I'm part of the Netflix Stream Team. All my Netflix addictions are my own and I love sharing them with you. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that support this blog.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

BIG GIRL ROOM & GUEST ROOM PLAN & SWAP

Decorating is fun. You know what’s really fun? Decorating a girl’s room. Even better, decorating it in the spring. Spring is one of my favourite times to work on the house. It feels so good to crack open the windows, organize a closet, open up a can of paint and give er. I can't be the only one that gets the spring DIY feeling because Home Depot, Rona and Lowes are packed on the weekends right now and I would say that the paint line and lumber lines are the longest. I digress ;)
Before our baby girl was born, our older son had his room (which then turned to the guest room, and now the big girl room), the guest room was now the boys room and the nursery was our middle guy’s.


Each time the rooms have been done, I flutter with excitement. When our baby girl arrived, we decided to put the boys in the bigger guest room and make it theirs

While I don’t think our middle guy remembers the process, both boys love their room. I remember that feeling as a kid. Feeling special in your bedroom. Feeling like you owned a piece of the house. It was your space. Fast forward to today, the boys are still happy as clams to be bunking together and they’ve line the walls with Pokémon and Star Wars posters, filled the toy bins with toys and junk – did I say that out loud?!..and made it theirs. 

Their special place. I love the room at the back. It’s an addition to the house and the windows overlook the backyard. The light is gorgeous and it’s the perfect spot for them to read and play. 

One day I’m sure it might be a space for a couple of desks or to house one of their beds when they decide to take down their bunks.
When our baby girl turned four last month, she all of a sudden didn’t feel so baby anymore. Her crib to toddler bed was jammed with stufties, there was little room for this growing girl to sleep and she felt too big for her nursery

She, like her mama is a collector of clothes, jewels and all round randomness. It was time for a bigger space for her. Time to get her organized. Enter in a project for Mr. Fix-It and I. Yes!
The only issue we needed to get around was that we needed to carve out the time to do a swap of the guest room and the nursery all at the same time. So, essentially we needed to do two rooms from top to bottom at once. Yowza. We needed a plan. We needed to buy everything, get organized and be ready to do a marathon swap. Oh and wipe away my tears as the crib came down for the last time. The dresser that had a facelift went out on the curb for someone else to use and love. Pass the tissue.
But on to new milestones. Enter in Big Girl Room and Guest Room swap plan.

Paint Colours - Benjamin Moore Cadillac Pink & Full Blossom (accent wall - all little girls need a fabulously bright pink accent wall). Finding a soft pink can be tough. A quick tip: go with a pink on the paint chit that is the lightest in it's row of colours. I promise you, it will definitely look pink. Otherwise, you may have an entire room looking like Hubba Bubba and not necessarily the look you want if you are looking for something soft.

The Bed - It's gorgeous. Jaime. 

I'm really interested in online mattress companies. Have you ordered your mattress online. I've been doing some research and the Leesa mattress has me intrigued for our master bedroom. 

Dresser, & Shelf - Flipping the shelf on it's side and making a window bench like I did for the boys.

Kitchen - Santa brought this a couple of years ago and I'm looking forward to moving it upstairs into her room. BTW, it's awesome if you are looking for a gift. It gets lots of play action.

The new guest room (old nursery) is the smallest bedroom. It makes a great nursery, a cozy guest room or an office. I new I wanted to paint it two of my fav colours. We have the colours in our living room, dining room and kitchen. The light is beautiful in the room so I knew it would be perfectly grey. The armoire for the old guest room was being moved into the knew room, along with the bed, the linen and all of our framed poetry. Have you heard of Matt Robinson? He's a incredibly talented poet in Halifax, Nova Scotia and his framed poetry will be moving from the old guest room into a gallery wall in this room.
So, you'll have to stay tuned next week for the reveal. Mr. Fix-It and I worked for 15 hours straight while the kids went up to the lake with my folks. We listened to music, cracked a few beers, ordered pizza and worked on the rooms. It's our thing. The look on our daughter's face when she walked into her new room was adorbs. 
Spring has sprung my friends and I would love to hear what your spring decorating, DIYs and organizing plans are. 
Can't wait to show you the rooms.
Keep it Beautiful.
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