Sharing a bedroom

Miss E has never been fond of sleeping in her crib on top of that she is a light sleeper. It doesn’t help matters that since we live in a small apartment she currently shares a room with Mr.H and I at night. Trying to sneak into bed at night has become a full on covert ops mission. Don’t be seen or heard as you sneak by to get to the missions objective i.e. our bed.

I was talking to my design guru friend “The Girl Next Door” and she suggested I put a curtain up, to give Miss E her privacy and block her view of us stealthily getting into bed. I don’t know why this hadn’t occurred to me before, but one problem was Miss E’s crib is in a weird corner that a curtain rod just wouldn’t work. After some design brain-storming I came up with a canopy hung from the ceiling, but I still needed to find a reasonably priced one for our room. I searched around and everything was either to expensive or just wasn’t what I was looking for, so being the recovering craft supply hoarder still with a secret stash I decided to give in and craft!!!
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After a few hot glue gun burns and half a bottle of wine, I’m fairly happy with the results.  The best part of this project was the cost… $6.00.  After a quick trip to the dollar store we found a couple adorable daisy bouquets for a $1 each, then of to the sewing store to pick up a embroidery hoop and we were all set.  I re-purposed some old Ikea curtains ( 3 to be exact) two to hang on the largehoop and one which I cut and gathered for the smaller top hoop.  The whole project took about an hour to assemble, it probably took me longer to hang it, then to make it. Finding the right drill bit and ceiling anchors, well let’s just say we’ve got some serious declutter bugging to do around here.

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So far Miss E likes it only when she’s awake.  She love to sit in her crib now and play peek-a-boo rather then sleep, but what can you do.  The cat on the other hand is all about naps in his own private tent.

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Easy casual street style for the busy, but still cool momma

Easy casual street style

Helmut Lang hoodies sweatshirt
295 CAD – helmutlang.com

BCBGMAXAZRIA shirt crop top
290 CAD – bcbg.com

Aéropostale plaid cardigan
38 CAD – aeropostale.com

MANGO zip top
66 CAD – mango.com

Long knit sweater
40 CAD – blackfive.com

Uniqlo blue denim shirt
38 CAD – uniqlo.com

Lipsy jersey tee
23 CAD – lipsy.co.uk

MANGO long sleeve jacket
225 CAD – mango.com

H M khaki coat
56 CAD – hm.com

H m jacket
47 CAD – hm.com

ASOS black distressed skinny jeans
62 CAD – asos.com

Zara destructed jeans
77 CAD – zara.com

NIKE elastic waistband pants
71 CAD – nelly.com

NIKE laced up shoes
155 CAD – bloomingdales.com

Cut out ankle booties
42 CAD – gojane.com

Converse star shoes
38 CAD – topfanshoes.co

Leopard print flat shoes
31 CAD – lucluc.com

Madewell leather sling backpack
320 CAD – madewell.com

Topshop black drawstring backpack
68 CAD – topshop.com

Vegan leather purse
29 CAD – gojane.com

Black leather tote bag
acnestudios.com

Clyda white wrist watch
51 CAD – bluefly.com

Michael Kors pyramid stud earrings
96 CAD – couture.zappos.com

Engraved jewelry
27 CAD – stylemoi.nu

1 Face square bracelet
51 CAD – nordstrom.com

Buckle watch
26 CAD – sparkleandjade.com

Bracelet jewelry
21 CAD – maurices.com

MANGO spike jewelry
13 CAD – mango.com

Ray-Ban acetate glasses
255 CAD – lanecrawford.com

Witchery black and white scarve
59 CAD – witchery.com.au

River Island black wide brim hat
47 CAD – riverisland.com

White beanie hat
31 CAD – daddiesboardshop.com

Arizona hair band headband
13 CAD – jcpenney.com

Sweet potatoe fries and miso turkey burgers

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We’ve really been trying our best to eat a little healthier around here, but every once in a while you just want a big fat juicy burger and fries, am I right! Desperate for some comfort food I came up with this yummy combination the other night. Give it a try and tell me what you think. This recipe makes enough for 4 or in our case 2, we’re a bunch of greedy guts over here.

Thyme and Garlic Sweet potatoe fries

3 large sweet potatoes

3 cloves of garlic minced or pureed (I buy the jarred pureed garlic for recipes like this, if you are using jar garlic 2 good sized spoon fulls should do).

1/4 tsp of salt

Fresh thyme: this ingredient I would say add as little our as much as you would like. I added a small hand full of thyme leaves ( ❤ fresh herbs).

Coconut oil cooking spray (trust me the spray makes your life so much easier)

2 tbsp of flour

1/2 tbsp of coconut palm sugar

Preheat your oven to 425

Clean and peel your sweet potatoes, then chop into chunky strips.
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Toss them into a large mixing bowl and spray them generously with coconut cooking spray, this will help your delicious chippies hold onto the the other ingredients about to be thrown at them. Now add your flour, minced/pureed garlic, thyme, salt, and coconut palm sugar into the bowl and toss till your potatoes are well coated.
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Next spray a baking sheet with coconut spray, yes even if it’s non stick trust me on this (when sweet potatoes bake the natural sugars caramelize making them very sticky and hard to get off of the baking sheet). Spread out your sweet potatoes evenly on the sheet, then bake in your oven for about 20-25 min.
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Please keep in mind everyone’s oven is different. Mine is an absolutely ancient gas oven, this heats up quickly and I over cooks far to often. Check on your fries half way through the cooking time and give them a quick flip to evenly cook them.  When the fries are done the should have a caramel coloring with crispy edges.

Miso Turkey Burgers

1 lb of ground turkey

1 1/2 tbsp of pureed garlic

1 tsp of miso paste

1 large egg

1 1/2 tbsp  of grape seed oil

1 tsp of dry ground mustard

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

1/2 tsp of salt

1 cup of panko crumbs
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Making burgers is relatively easy, add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.. yes even the oil and combine well. Once everything is evenly distributed through out the meat take a small hand full and roll  in a ball, then press flat making a nice even patty. I usually make the burgers the size of palm of my hand, which is about 3 1/2″ in diameter and not to thick as you want them to cook evenly all the way through. Now, because turkey is a lean meat I add just a bit more grape seed oil to the pan, so that the burgers don’t stick.  The burgers don’t take long to cook, ( depending on the thickness about 10-15 min, but check to make sure that your burgers are thoroughly cooked before consuming. If you use a knife or fork press into the top of the burger and make sure the juices run clear or the old fail safe of cut one open to see if it’s cooked and not still pink inside.  Once your burgers are done toss one into your favorite bun, we used a multi-grain thin style bun (we’re trying to be healthy for a change), add in some  cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and what every other condiments you prefer and take a well deserved bite.

Enjoy!

Inner Beauty: Hair Donation

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The last 9 years have been dedicated to growing and caring for my massive amount of hair for one sole reason….hair donation.  Your thinking why?   Well, why not!  It’s only hair after all, but to someone going through chemotherapy or a child suffering hair loss due to an illness it could give them the confidence and comfort they need in difficult times.  Think of it this way, to us it could be just hair, but to someone who is in recovery it’s a chance to regain a part of there lives before becoming sick.

My reason for donating is, because of a boy in my 5th grade class over 20 years ago. Back then we didn’t understand why he was never in class, Leukemia isn’t a term that is usually on a 10 year old’s radar. On the rare day he was in class I remember the girl sitting next to me badgering him about why he was bald,  pushing him for an answer she could use to play with and get a reaction out of him. Her cruelty was halted when he finally had the courage to answer her and say that he was gravely sick, his baldness was the results of his treatments. He then got up and left, after that incident we didn’t see him back in class for a few days. Our teacher addressed his illness in class and explained to us the crushing reality of his Leukemia. I remember being blown away by our own mortality, the thought that someone so young could be dying was intangible to me. He returned the following week wearing a wig that was a little to big for him, even though he had to adjust it every so often because of it’s size, you could tell he felt more at ease in class. It still makes me sad to say that he didn’t win his battle with Leukemia, but nice to think that he had some comfort wearing his new hair and getting to be a regular kid even if just for a short while.  He is  an inspiration as are the all the children and adults out there fighting for their lives.

If your thinking about committing yourself to the process there is a few things you need to know about hair donation and what kind of hair can be uses for wig making.

-Permed, bleached , or color treated hair is not acceptable. Most charities will only accept non processed hair. There are some that may take hair that has been lightly highlighted, but it is preferred to have virgin hair.

-A slight amount of grey hair is accepted.

-Most charities will only except between 8-12 inches  of cut hair for donation. Hair must be clean, dry and gathered in a ponytail or braid.

Those are just a few of the basic stipulations, every hair donation organization is different, I recommend checking with your local charities to get their exact rules for donation.  I’ve chosen Angel Hair For Kids. This foundation supplies children suffering from hair loss with wigs and hair prosthesis  for free.  The cost to manufacturer a wig is between $800-1000, the relay solely on donations of both hair and money to make this happen. Even if you are unable to donate your hair money is always a great way to help.

So, if your up for the challenge go for the chop, trust me it’s not that scary. This is my third time. Your hair could bring someone happiness when they will need it the most. It might just be hair to us, but to someone else it’s a chance at regaining their old life back.  If you done it before or know someone who has received a wig I would love to hear your stories, please share them in the comments section. Who knows maybe you’ll inspire someone.

Oh, and a big thanks go to Hannah and her team at H2Goa Salon for my awesome new style.
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A

All photos taken by the kind, lovely, and talented Ash of Meandering Mac. Check out her blog and live vicariously through her adventurous spirit.

Thrift it Thursday: The $20 challenge (on a Saturday!)

:This post was supposed to be up on Thursday, but unforeseen circumstances of baby  crankiness kept me from doing much of anything else, but being a human comfort blankie for Miss E. I carried her cute little bum around all day and I mean the whole day, but here it is.  Thursday in the future will be dedicated to being Thrifty, so keep an eye for future post or you could always follow us on our adventures.

I know your thinking what is 20 bucks gonna buy..nothing? I’m here to show you otherwise. Why $20, well for one I wanted to prove that you can find some incredible items for cheap and don’t have to resort to paying full retail price  and secondly it’s just fun to challenge myself.

Miss E  and I began our adventures in one my favorite places Value Village. Some of you might not know what Value Village is, but for those who don’t The VV is a  large thrift chain store. They purchase donated goods from local charities and donate money back into the community from any drop off items they receive.
This kind of retailer is an excellent starting point for anyone just getting into thrifting. The variety of merchandise can be mind boggling to most people walking in, but just remember the steps from my first post on thrifting and it’s far less intimidating.  Plus for Miss E  I usually have to make our trips quick and calculated almost like a some kind of heist, your in and out before anyone notices.

On to the goods… but here is a few high lights from our little adventures in thrift shopping.

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I zeroed in on this cream leather French Connection moto jacket for $34.00, My gut said “Buy it”, but it didn’t fallen in to the challenge rules (so, I’m going back on Monday when this little beauty is 50%, I love when their clearance sales come around it’s like Christmas). I’ve got a thing for leather jackets and shopping vintage/secondhand has definitely not helped the situation in my closet.
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How about a cute nautical  Joe Fresh shirt for $7, a great wardrobe staple, but a girl can only have so many striped shirts, right…

What I did end  up purchasing with my 20 bucks.

This lovely  barely used cream colored Ted Benson hobo bag was only $7.99. This bag is Italian leather and after some research the retail brand new for a bag like this is  around $250-300. On Ebay the same bag in different colors is going for about $50. Let’s just say this was a major score for a momma on a budget.
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I’m a  bit of a magpie when it comes to prints and I spotted this cool tribal influenced kimono top from a  mile away. This Marilyn Brooks piece ($5.99) will be great protection from the summer sun in the city, paired with a cute pair of denim cutoffs and we’ve got ourselves a new summer uniform.
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The last item that I purchased is going to become part of a couple of DIY projects in the near future. The print on this curtain panel had me soon as I turned the corner. I knew exactly what must become of it, I swore I’d never do this, but it  can’t be helped it would be a crime not to do it… matching outfits! A summer romper for Miss E and a pair of high waisted shorts for Momma. Sickeningly cute right?
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Well, what do you think? $20 can stretch pretty far. I dare you to give it a try and see what you find. As always any questions or comments feel free to shout it out.

A

Post pregnancy body a realization

Nine months, nine whole months of eating, stretching skin, bloating, taking better care of yourself then you have ever done your whole life, and what follows after D-Day, well let’s just say it isn’t pretty, but your to tired and over joyed to care at this point. When that 3 month mark hits and you get the “ok” to get physical, one of two reactions might happen. Your ready to get your post pregnancy bod back or your not at all motivated, because your to tired, have zero time to yourself, or would rather use that time to ‘oh say take a shower you dirty bum.  I found myself in the second category of ‘this ain’t just gonna happen yet.  Why, well all the above reasons, and I just wasn’t motivated.  Having this new body, with all it’s gloriously jiggly parts, saggy boobs, and non existent waist line was not inspiring me to get into the gym. It made me want to hide in comfy clothes and pop a bag of Doritos. As the weeks rolled by I noticed more pounds finding their way to my belly,  that new pair of  post preg jeans I ‘d bought the month before could barely be zipped up let alone buttoned and I knew it was time to put down the bag. My goal wasn’t to get into swimsuit model shape, it was about being comfortable in my own skin and feeling healthy again. I had spent far to many months having zero energy and in physical pain because of all my achy joints. I also felt a darkness settling into my mind, that if I didn’t do anything about it, it would take me back to a place I swore I’d never visit again. It was time.

Exercising in a gym was not going to happen for me, so I started at home. Tummy time with Miss E became Yoga/Tummy time. We went for long walks everyday, she would take her midday nap and Momma would work off her midnight snacks. No crazy diets or ridiculous restrictions I knew that I’d never stick to, instead I decided to eat like the French. What???? Everything in moderation, portion control is key, savor your food ( no gorging myself or speed eating), and eat real food not junk.  It was simple and not extreme, this would keep me from have binge sessions with a pint of ice cream. Just these minor changes made a difference. Since October I’ve lost about 10lbs, just being mindful of what I ate and walking everywhere I had to go meant I could avoid the both the expense and scheduling conflicts that going to the gym presented.   I also tried to get more sleep, by napping when she did, asking Mr.H to watch her so I could squeeze in a cat nap and going to bed early. Sleep plays a major role in your health, the negative effects of sleep deprivation can lead you to consume more calories, but I will be getting more into this topic next week. Trust me you’ll want to read this one.

I’m still not back to where I was, but I don’t expect to be, pregnancy changes your body forever, but I don’t mind I’ve got the an adorable little girl, because of each jiggly bit. Trust me there is no rush to get into a bikini anytime soon, this winter has made sure of that. But seriously any new momma out there don’t feel ashamed of what’s still hanging around, it takes time. As they say it took nine months to put it on, it’ll take nine months to take it off. There’s no rush, enjoy your time with that cute baby of yours and don’t forget to live your life.

Be well and be kind.

A

Shopping with Miss E

You see them…..try to ignore them, but we are here to shop.  Maybe, wait where are the baby crackers. OK now we’re here to shop.
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I never pictured myself being that woman pushing a stroller over shiny marble floors in poorly lite halls, looking like I don’t have care in the world.  Working on the other side of the counter as a merchandiser for far to many years, I always thought “man what a life, just walk around a mall all day, not a care, no where to rush off to.. deadlines ~~pheff !”  Until I became that woman.  I’m the one other shoppers are giving cut eye when my daughter starts acting up. She’s a baby it’s what they do, they also eat, burp, have bowels, and deliver the best giggles you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing in your life.  To my fellow Momma’s out there, you know what I talking about. Going out anywhere, let alone a shopping mall with all its slow walking gawkers must be a well planned mission. Know what your getting, work around naps/feedings, and how long it’s all going to take.

The plan this morning  was to make a quick trip to the mall for a Walmart run and maybe find a pair of jeans that were not slowly making there way down to my knees like my other post preggo jeans. I thought today could be the day I make it to a changing room. Miss H is napping happily in her stroller, I’ve already made a couple of stops, why not go look for less sad saggy look and feel like a hot momma for once. It’ll only take a few minutes. We barely crossed the threshold of AE and boom…awake, but it’s ok she’s surprisingly calm.  I waited a second prepping my reflexes to respond to any demands, but no screaming for bottles, no whimpering for diapers, no ‘why did you drag me outta the house mom’. Wow, maybe I’ve got a chance.  Never one to pass up an opportunity I took it. Grabbed a heap of jeans tossed them on the stroller and prayed to god I could find an associate to let me in a change room fast.  

Finding staff today seemed to be like searching for a unicorn. I know from working retail that Tuesdays are slow and always understaffed regardless of where it is or even what time of day.  I found one poor guy who had been cornered by a family, I circled waiting for the opportunity to strike, then she starts. Fumbling around for baby crackers and some rattle toys should buy me some time. Thankfully he see’s me and uses or dire parrel to make an escape. (Please to all of you out there show mad reapect to anyone in the service. They work damn hard for their minium wage).

I finally get to a fitting room take off my coat turn around to see this little face
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Toys thrown to the way side, crackers gone and look of boredom creeping in. I felt terrible and selfish. Then it occurred to me, that in reality I don’t take many opportunities to do something for myself. My mommy guilt was getting me again, so what did I do? I tried on every single pair of jeans in that lil’ pile and danced around making ridiculous noises all to keep Miss E entertained and even the woman in the room next to us 😀

This momma still didn’t find a pair of jeans, but at least I got to the fitting room this time.

FW15 Street style looks for less

Every season we see these glamours ladies hitting up Fashion Week across the globe, wearing fabulous looks that we’d have to save our pennies for years to be able to afford. Hmmm groceries for the next few months or rent? Street style looks for less… YES!

FW15 Street style looks for less

 

Oh, just thrift it.

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Always looking to save a buck or two I’m a regular at the thrift stores in my area, especially consignment shops. Who doesn’t love trading in your old stuff for something new.. ish right?  There are others like myself who love the thrill of the hunt thrift shopping fulfills, but there are some who just can’t be bothered.  I always wondered how people could dislike vintage shopping, so I asked around. The general consensus seems to be that they find the whole experience overwhelming and far to tedious searching through every item in order to unearth a gem. Which to me is crazy talk, especially when shopping for vintage/thrifting can real stretch your dollars.  Now for those of you who think they can’t do it listen up, if I can do it with a wiggley impatient seven month old strapped to my chest you can too.  How?  Well let’s go over some easy techniques that should make your thrift shopping experience a little easier.

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All items with the exception of the jeans were bought second hand.

1. Plan ahead, go through your closet and look for any holes in your wardrobe that you need to fill. Missing a LBD or a cool leather jacket, consider that your mission. Once you have an idea of what you want, put blinders up to everything else and zone in on what your looking for first. By doing this  you cut out the visual confusion that thrifting presents.

2. The majority of thrift stores are organized by categories (tops, sweaters, jackets, etc), focus on which half you’ll be dressing and take the store one section at a time. When you break it down rack by rack it’s easier to examine the clothing. Take this opportunity to look for  deficiencies (rips, holes, seams are still intact, fading,stains) and eliminate anything that doesn’t seem repairable.

3. Most places will have an area where they display their premium items. This could be designer pieces, well preserved vintage, or highly desirable trend items.  Always check it out you never know what you might find, for example a while back I scooped up a cute navy Givenchy Sport sweater from the 70’s for a steal.

4. Always talk to the sales staff. They can direct you to exactly what your looking for or even show you things you would never have considered.

5. Some stores have preferred customer lists or  take requests for items. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff if their store has either of these, after you build a customer profile they will contact you if they’ve come across anything you might like. See the shopping has already been done for you, how much easier could that be.

6. I know some people are squeamish about trying things on in thrift stores, I don’t blame you. When you hear about bed bug outbreaks and all kinds of other nasty things floating around, trying stuff on is usually the last thing on your mind. Well I’m hear to tell you most stores only accept cleaned clothing, some even go the distance of having merchandised cleaned before placing it on the floor.  If in doubt wear clothing that you can easily try stuff on over top. Wear a pair of leggings and a fitted tee and if you still feel weird about it bring your hand sanitizer and wetwipes. When you get home throw everything in the washer right away and if you can’t wash it. Keep it tied up in a plastic bag and toss it in the freezer till you can get to the dry cleaners.

Still  not feeling it, well think about this way if you start now, you can beat all the ladies to  the 70’s trend that was featured on the runways of NY fashion Week. Why pay for designer or knock off’s when you can wear the inspirational looks instead.

Look for more weekly post about thrift/vintage shopping and styling right here on The Modern Hepburns.  As always feel free to leave a comment or ask me questions.

Be well and be good,

A