Blogmas | “Bring a Board” Easy Charcuterie idea!

I’ve noticed recently this cute party with friends idea which is a take on the classic potluck! 

Instead of having your friends bring a slow cooked or oven baked meal, have them bring a board. 

Some board ideas include:

  • S’mores 
  • Fries and dips (sweet potatoes, waffle fries, tater tots)
  • Donuts
  • Build your own tacos 
  • French toast, pancakes and waffle + toppings
  • Cheese fondue
  • Movie snacks (think popcorn, concession candy, pretzels)
  • Tea & biscuits

Sharing a beginner charcuterie board that I made for a get together recently.  Super easy to put together and the best part of finding a creatively aesthetic of putting it all together 🎀

Want more? Follow my Blogmas 2022 journey here!

Blogmas | Free & Cheap festive things to do in TO

Toronto is a great city and there are no end to the fun, festive and free things to do around the city during the holiday season!  Be sure to bundle up and be sure to check out the list below on some ideas on how to enjoy the season (on a budget)! 

*NOTE* images are not mine and have been referenced below.

Distillery District

The last time I went to the Winter Village was 2019, and the photographer in me wants to re-create this magic through my lens! This place is full of beautiful sights (every corner is perfect for a selfie) and tastes (thank you coffee and chocolate)! Entrance is free on weeknights before Dec 27th + children under 9 are free of charge!

Image from BlogTO

Holiday Yorkville Village

Yorkville is beautiful any time of year, but having it all lit up makes it amazing. The best photo op would be in the light tunnel! And the christmas tree totally gives Rockefeller Center vibes!

Image from BlogTO

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

This rink is ALWAYS jam packed so keep the little ones close to you and on the edge of the rink. The best part about skating here (other than – it’s FREE as long as you bring your own skates and snacks) is the MUSIC. Whether it’s 90s christmas pop or top 40, you’ll have a great time whipping across :)

Image from Curiocity

Hudson’s Bay & Fairmount Royal York Hotel Windows

Miniature displays and twinkling lights? Sign me up! I’ve yet to check our the Royal York windows but I’ve heard that they are enchanting. Grab your mocha or hot chocolate and enjoy the stroll past these beautiful displays!

Image from Torontoist

Want more? Follow my Blogmas 2022 journey here!

Blogmas | Las Vegas

We recently went to Las Vegas!  This is actually my 5th trip to sincity (and 3rd trip with at least 1 kiddo!)

We tried to do some new things this time.  So sharing some of what we got up to!  All activities are family friendly (aka dooable for the kidos and the grandparents!

Hike in Zion National Park

After our Banff Trip, we knew our kids enjoyed hiking in nature.  So we weren’t going to let a 3hr drive stop us from experience that is Zion National Park.  There is a variety of hikes for all level of hikers but of course we stuck to the easy paved hikes.  I would have loved to spend another day or two there but doing the lower Emrald pools hike was a great taste of Zion. The views are breath taking.  And going in November meant you weren’t dealing with the desert heat.  

Venice Gondola Ride

This quick copy cat ride of the famous gondola experience in Venice is a great activity for any age. This is my 3rd ride, but my youngest one did this for the first time when she was 5 months old!
Although the ride is super quick (under 15 min) there is an opportunity to learn about vegas, hear a beautiful serenade and enjoy some time in a boat on the water (always relaxing)!

Flamingo Habitat

This place is a vibe!  In the middle of the Las Vegas strip is a gorgeous outdoor setting with palm, trees, waterfalls and cute animals!  This completely free activity is like a trip to a mini zoo.  Kids of all ages will love the animals and watching the fishes (which are mesmerizing to watch on the bridge).  

Seven Magic Mountains

7MM is an outdoor art display of stacked colourful boulders. It’s a great place to do an IG transition and they are even safe enough to climb (carefully ofcourse! for the perfect shot)
I did read if you got at 9am, you’ll beat the crowds, but we went mid afternoon to get the most sunshine!

Cereal Killersz

The Cereal Killerz Kitchen is actually a Cereal Bar. They have every cereal ever made + some rare ones that were only available for a short time and then of course some you haven’t head of! The best part was that they have alternative milk options! You can a classic cereal and milk bowl, or a millkshake. I would definite go back here next time!

Want more? Continue reading my Blogmas 2022 adventure here!

Blogmas | Intro & My Why

Happy December 1st! Long time no talk ;)

I’m one of those (analogue) people who looooooooves scrolling through the archives of a blog. I love seeing the beginning of people’s stories. I find it inspiring.

When it comes to my own blog, I NEVER look through the archives. I find it so cringe that I end up making my older blog posts private!

But at least I have them there, I have the stories and the ideas from the beginning. And really it’s all about keeping up with the practice that I admire in others and even myself.

So I’ve decided to start a BLOGMAS!

What is Blogmas?

For the Tiktok kids in the back, “Blogmas” is a series of posts on a blog leading up to Christmas (Dec 25th). It can be done on any online medium (or even offline). But my first memory of it was watching vlogmas done by YouTubers in 2012.

Why am I doing Blogmas?

I’m doing it for both logical and emotional reasons. Logical because I want to be writing, creating and posting more often – discipline is the name of that game! From an emotional perspective because I want have memories 🙂 Also because I’ve officially reopened my Etsy shop, I want to ensure that I’m aligning all of my online presences and themes: Inspiration, Consistency, Happiness & Productivity.
Lastly, the hope is that I’ll learn something from participating in Blogmas that I can either share here on the blog or implement on my Etsy store.

How can YOU participate?

In any way really! It can be something online or unplugged. You can paint for 25 day. Share a new pic IG for 25 days. Create a youtube channel and start Vlogmas. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen for 25 days or learn a new skill for the next 25 days.

It’s all about staying consistent, creating, learning something & having fun!

And of course, be sure to check back over the next 24 days and follow along with my Blogmas!

Book Review: The School of Good Mothers

I can’t recall if it was “tiktok that made me read it” or maybe one of the book influencers I follow on Social – but I recently read the book The School of Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan.

I want to start by saying that I had high expectations for this book.  The book had me hooked at the beginning as we begin to learn about Frida’s (the protagonist mom) very bad day.  Reading this part made me think of the countless times similar ideas pop into a mothers head – but daring to do it…is another question!

The novel continues by illustrating that the state has put into place a “school that will focus on re-programming bad mothers” with the help of robot dolls as the mother’s adopted children no less!  The story is written in away that you are transported to this prison-school where you feel you are sitting in the classroom with the robot dolls.  Majority of the lessons are harsh and challenging.  Mothers are taught to mother in a very mechanical way (read: if this else that).  Consequences are delivered out hourly.  The mothers also learn that there is a school for dads, where in contrast, the dad’s are treated with grace and respect.

The women are graded and medically analyzed to see if they are fit to return to the society as mothers to their children.  Most are not, which drives Frida to take a drastic decision.

This book was interesting right until the end.  I mean I could understand her mindset and her reasons for doing what she did – but I didn’t agree with it. And as always I wanted more science fiction in the story.  Would recommend 6.5/10

Our Experience at Valarie in the X Hotel

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to check out the fantastic roof top patio at the X Hotel.

Valarie is boasted as Toronto’s newest nightlife concept with an innovative Japanese menu, inspired cocktails amidst unparalleled views the six.

What we ate:
Cocktails: Single Malt on the rocks, Espresso and Cosmo Martinis
Food: Truffle Fries, Maitake Mushroom (bowl) & Truffle Teardrop (sushi roll)
Food Menu

The mushroom item was delicious.  Crispy and with a truffle flavour. 

And the martinis were perfect (flavourfull and strong!)

The entire rooftop is lined with a glass balcony – so you get views of the lake, Mississauga, the downtown core and the lake of course.

And of course I only got pictures of the CN Tower.

The views and cocktails really made it for me, although I wish they had more food items.

Over all it was a great experience (we tried to ignore the early 2000s clique vibes between patrons and the restaurant staff).

We got reservations through OpenTable, but I think a walk in is worth a try!