Wednesday, May 28, 2014

little miss sunshine

"It looks like our tree just dyed it's hair pink last night!"

Our daughter has the funniest way of looking at things.  Her imagination is so vivid that often we feel like we're cartoon characters living out a fantasy script.  

Every year for a brief week or so, our cherry blossom tree suddenly blooms almost overnight to this vibrantly pink hue. Then the pretty pink petals make a mess are blown in the wind as a sign that warm weather has finally arrived. It's amazing how time was only ten weeks ago when this tree was snow covered during March Break.

Shortly after March Break, we received a wonderful package of non-toxic nail polish from Suncoat to review, and inspired by nature's beauty, our daughter finally wanted to try out the pink nail polish this past weekend.

I think her initial hesitation came from her experience with "makeup" when she had the princess makeover at Disney.  Although she enjoys all the whimsical magic of playing dress up, she really is true to who she is and would rather wear a superhero costume accessorized with sparkles in her hair and cool nail polish, instead of being just a princess.

One of the few cosmetic related products that she is willing to try (and that I will allow at her young age) is nail polish.  Nail polish doesn't "transform" or "makeover" her existing, beautifully natural look and is not a lot different than putting on a bracelet or hair's an accessory that highlights and compliments your beauty. However, finding nail polish that is safe and non toxic was a task in itself.

Knowing what dangerous chemicals are in regular nail polish, not only was my daughter thrilled that there were no strong scents (that have turned her off in the past), but I finally felt comfortable letting her wear it, knowing that Suncoat (Girl) natural nail polish is water-based, odourless, 100% VOC free (chemical solvent free: no toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate plasticizer, acetates, alcohol, acetone) and peels off when ready.  (which is great for remover is needed). Eco-friendly and not tested on animals too!

I always tell her that she is beautiful on the inside, so it's best to not mask that with unnatural makeup, and just let the natural shine of her still come through. After she put on the Suncoat nail polish, she smiled and modelled her pink nails in front of our window overlooking our pink tree.

The sun shined brightly that afternoon, showing the beautiful pink hues of our tree...

...and showing the natural beauty of our little girl.

{DisclaimerThank you to Suncoat Girl for providing the nail polishes for review. Opinions and images are my own. For more information please visit

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


When we first acquired our dining room set, it was a beautiful antique piece bought with the money gifted to us as wedding gifts.  Gorgeous mahogany pieces with beautiful white jacquard satin striped fabric for our dining chairs. Yes, white.  It was simple and classic, and at the time, suited our needs.  But clearly it was bought before children were in our home.

My painting projects went into hibernation during our cold winter months (painting in the garage + subzero temperatures = cracks!), so I was itching to do a small DIY project that can be done inside.  Since I had some left over fabric from a previous project (just enough to recover about 4 chairs), this was a quick afternoon project.

Here's how that afternoon went.  I removed the cushioned seat top by unscrewing it from the bottom of the seat.

Then the fabric was cut (approximately 1-2 inches larger than the cushion).  With the patterned side down, using a staple gun (and upholstery staples), I began stapling the centre of each of the four sides, working my way from the centre towards the corners.

Like wrapping a present, the corners were tucked in.  Then the chair seat was re-attached to the chair.

Here's the before and after:

It was a cost effective, quick way to freshen up the look of our dining room chairs.  Now that the weather is starting to improve, I might be ready to tackle the pile of painting projects waiting in my garage.

Now I can officially say I've started to recover from the long winter break. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

kid at heart

I recently read an article of a parent's account of how it feels to have a grown child begin their first foray to university or college. 

There have been a lot of articles about this actually.  Feelings of nostalgia, heart in the throat, bittersweet heartache as they watch their babies become adults right before their eyes.

Although my children are still quite young, it won't be long before I too, will personally empathize with that same feeling of those parents kissing their kids off to college.  I already can relate to that feeling as I watch my kids go through the final stretch of yet another school year, finishing yet one more grade.

As I think about the summer holidays ahead, it's just another reminder that this childhood story, although fleeting, never really ends.  It just evolves and becomes more sophisticated, more challenging, and equally rewarding as our kids remain child-like at heart while approaching ever so slowly into adulthood.  Yes, they might rather just surf the waves instead of playing in the sand.  Or they'd rather see a movie with their friends instead of just watching a family movie.  Although their tastes may become more adult like, no matter what, they'll always be our little kids in our hearts.

Grown Up Grilled Cheese 
(Blue Cheese & Fig Jam) Sandwich Pockets
(makes approx. 5 sandwiches)

  • 8-10 slices of bread
  • ½ cup of crumbled blue cheese (to taste)
  • ¼ cup of fig jam (to taste)

  • Heat your panini press, waffle maker or sandwich maker (I used the sandwich pocket maker for this)
  • Place a piece of bread on the press or sandwich maker
  • Add the blue cheese and jam.  
  • Place another piece of bread on top, and press with the sandwich maker.
Note:  A panini press or sandwich maker isn't required.  You can grill this like a grill cheese sandwich, on a cast iron skillet.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

mother's day

As a writer of a blog, I've published many stories, recipes, DIY and crafts that have been tested, tried and true in my home.  My own cathartic way to express my creativity.

Creative expression is very important, and as a mother (or any parent or guardian), one of the most rewarding things to see is our children's creativity.  It reflects how much they have progressed, what they've learned, and their view of the world.  It's also a sneak peek at understanding how we've  influenced them...answering which trait, which part of us has been passed on to them.  

For Mother's Day, I thought I'd sit back and show the results of my kid's creative and crafts made by the KIDS.  The recipes, the creative juices that flowed, the results of their creative juices.  It's a window into their world.  Those funny, insane, creative little moments...displayed in the hall of their school...

...or a drawing for a book report...

...or just silly dress up play with the toys...

...or a family craft, done yearly for the holidays...

Now it's my turn to really shine...with pride.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

enjoy being mom

On Mother's Day, the part of the day that I enjoy the most...more than the flowers and handmade cards and the annual tradition of breakfast in bed.

Although that quiet meal time usually lasts a mere few minutes, as I end up finishing my meal with my family, it's in those few minutes alone that I realize that breakfast, although lovingly made by my kids and husband, tastes much better when I can enjoy it with them.

The joy of this day filled with love, hugs and kisses is just a reminder for the reason of this special day.  It's a day to really enjoy being a Mom without excuses, guilt, self doubt or measurement of how we rank (in our minds) as parents.  It's just a guilt free day to spoil our kids back with love, hugs and kisses....being everything that being a Mom should really be all about.

Cheers to all the beautiful mothers in the world, especially my own, who've wrapped their children with pure love.  May you all receive the same love, hugs and kisses...for Mother's Day and everyday.

Sweet Crepes
Makes approx. 24 crepes (or 8 servings)

These are sweet "dessert" type crepes.  Removing the sugar and vanilla will make these more savoury, and can be filled with scrambled eggs, bacon or whatever you prefer for brunch or any meal.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Heat the cast iron skillet.
  • In a glass mixing bowl, melt the butter.
  • Whisk in eggs.
  • Add the vanilla extra, salt and sugar.
  • Add the milk.   Whisk vigorously.
  • Slowly add the flour, ⅓ cup at a time and continue to whisk vigorously until mixture is very watery and there are no lumps.
  • Place a little butter on the skillet and spread with brush.
  • Spoon about 3 tbsp. of batter onto the hot pan.
  • Quickly tilt the pan to spread the batter thinly on the skillet.
  • As soon the edges cook, flip (approx. 2 minutes).
  • Serve with whipped cream, berries or maple syrup.


Friday, May 02, 2014

bringing curly back

When my daughter was just a toddler, I let her hair grow long…it was unspoiled, natural and so beautiful.  So when she had that “first haircut” just before starting school, although it was a cherished "first" memory, we lost a little something that day...her glorious, long spiral curls! (we see hints of it’s return every time we go to a beach...she naturally gets those gorgeous "beach wave curls" ~ lucky girl!).

These are her natural spiral curls (pre-first haircut)

In preparation for a school performance last week, while other girls in her class were brushing their hair straight, my daughter was curling hers around her fingers. She said she wished her hair looked like it did while we were in St. Lucia. (I think she misses the beach!)

When I used to work on film sets, I learned a few hair tricks from celebrity stylists on ways to create curls or volume without damaging the hair with hot curling irons. So I was eager to "bring curly back" for my daughter, without damaging her hair.   I went to my local Beauty Supply Outlet, a one-stop beauty supply store with employees who offer expert advice, for some some guidance and tools of the trade.

I wanted to ensure my daughter’s hair was protected, even if I was going to use very little heat, and conveniently there were lots of top brands to choose from for heat protectants (CHI, Rusk and Biosilk make the best ones in the market, according to top beauty magazines).  Another customer overheard my concern and said she swears by the CHI Silk Infusion and remarked that she found the best prices in the city right in this store, especially during their Red Hot Deals specials (good to know for my next beauty haul!)

BEFORE:  Her current silky hair in it's natural state.

When I got home, my daughter was eager to try out these new rollers, so we started with the Velcro ones (the salon quality ones by Dannyco), since it is recommended for use in dry hair.  I lightly massaged some heat protectant in the palms of my hands, coated my daughter’s hair, and then began our experiment.

Instructions:  1.  Brush the hair and separate into 2 inch wide sections. 2.  Coat the hair with a heat protectant.  (CHI, RUSK or Biosilk make good ones).  3.  From the bottom of the hair, gently roll the Velcro roller to the scalp.  4.  Using a blow dryer, heat the Velcro rollers (I used the cool/warm setting as I was afraid to burn her scalp.  However, you can also use hair spray and the hot temperature to make the curl last longer). The heat allows the hair follicles to expand which helps the curl last longer.  5.  Let the hair cool, then remove the rollers.

Although the Velcro rollers didn’t give her spiral curls, when brushed out, it created a lot of volume (I think I’ve found something that is good for me!).

That evening, after her shower, I put heat protectant in her hair again, and this time we tried the sponge rollers (by Dannyco, they look like those long rods you see in the salons).

Instructions:  1.  Have your hair washed and dried so the hair is slightly damp.  2.  Brush out the hair.  2.  Section 2” of hair and place the sponge rod half way from the head.  3.   Wind the bottom of the hair around the rod.  4.  Roll the rod towards the scalp.  5.  Once you reach the roots, fold the two ends of the together. 6.  Dry the hair (with a diffuser) or sleep with it over night. (hairspray before drying if you’re going out afterwards). 7.  Gently unroll to remove the sponge rollers/rods.  

I think we found our solution.  The sponge rods created beautiful spiral curls without damaging her hair.  When my daughter saw the results, her face lit up.  As I watched her smile and pose in front of the mirror, for a brief moment it seemed like she was transported back to the beach with her “beach wave curls”.

And for a brief moment, I too, was transported back to when she first had those baby curls, and I smiled knowing that she is still that little girl…unspoiled, natural and so beautiful.

This post was brought to you by The Beauty Supply Outlet. The opinions and images expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Beauty Supply Outlet. For more information, sign up for their eNewsletter to hear about the latest Red Hot Deals and new products at .