New Job: Mom

November 24, 2014. This is the day that I would have technically returned to work after maternity leave. Except I’m continuing my at- home journey with Theodora, and to be honest with you, there’s no place I’d rather be.

It was an unexpectedly difficult decision because I was in a job that I absolutely loved. For the last eight years, I worked for a business school managing a portfolio of professional development programs. My colleagues were amazing. My boss and people I reported to – even more amazing. And the people I got to meet and interact with on a daily basis were a true gift. I think a person’s years of development can be loosely compartmentalized into childhood, teen years, and adult years, and I spent most of my formative adult years in this place. A place I was very proud to call my day time home. The downtown pod that I happily walked into every day was brimming with intellect, energy, ideas, and style . It was impossible not to be a fashionable group being only steps away from some of the best shopping destinations in the city. When I became pregnant and people would ask me if I planned to return to work, my response was always “of course!”. It wasn’t a question of “if”; rather it was a question of capacity (full time versus part time).

And then Theodora was born, and everything changed, almost instantly. I was amazed at how quickly my heart swelled with a love I never understood until she was in my arms. Just like that, we were beginning this new chapter as a family of three. When we left the hospital and jumped into our roles as parents, I kept thinking back to something my dad had told me many years ago. My parents always believed that I would excel at anything I put my mind to, whether it was education, work or any other life passion. But my dad also said that among my drive to succeed, he always saw me as a person deeply rooted in family. Now maybe it was my stellar performance as the oldest child (this is where you all can laugh), or maybe it was his compiled observations of me growing up, mirroring the values and morals that he and my mom raised me with. Either way, this strong, magnetic pull I was feeling towards our brand new daughter suddenly became so much more clear. This was what I wanted my next job to be: mom.

The thought processes and discussions that ensued between Alex and I were lengthy, and were revisited time, and time, and time again. This was no easy decision that could be made in a day, despite how sure I was so early on. We weighed the financial impacts, as well as the impacts this would have on my career long term. From the many angles we looked at it, and despite a couple of moments of fear, one thing remained clear all along: this was the decision that felt right for our family, and for me.

My job was something that I knew very well; however, my new mom job continues to prove that I still have a lot to learn. Thank goodness for my mom, who is always there to listen to my questions, and always very kind and gracious with her answers, no matter how silly I might sound. As a person who thrives in a busy environment and loves having something to do all of the time, motherhood is a great fit! Yet, that only occupies a portion of my brain that is all things baby, growth, development, and the next foods to introduce. I still crave being able to use the other part that reminds me of a time when the creative, business juices flowed freely! In an attempt to keep that part of my brain chugging along, I have made a bit of a promise to myself. I will do what I can to stay current, whether it’s by taking on similar projects from home, volunteering, or staying in touch with my former colleagues and see how that might work out (actually, that last point is a given, cause I just like my former day time family too much). And maybe some of these won’t work at this time, which is okay too, because this is not intended to be a permanent circumstance (I plan on, and look forward to, going back to work one day!).

There is something very cool and meaningful about one chapter coming to a natural close, with the next one opening. I’m so excited, and I feel so very lucky to be able to do this. Countless times, I have heard how fleeting these little moments are, so to be able to spend this time with Theodora means the world to Alex and I. Not only have our families rooted for us in this decision we have made, but I have been completely overwhelmed (in the best way) by the words of congratulations and support I have received from my former colleagues.

Feeling so lucky, with a very full heart.

xo,
Kassey

Our Weekend in Pictures: Showering a Baby and Celebrating Love

This past weekend was one that I had been looking forward to for quite a while, as I hosted my very first baby shower. We celebrated Baby Amelia, the daughter of very dear friends of ours. You know the kinds of friends where you look forward to the day when their kids get married, so that you can say “I’ve watched you grow up!”? That’s these friends. And needless to say, Thea has a new partner in crime.

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Shower games can be a hoot, but we decided on only one so that guests also had the opportunity to visit and catch up with one another. A few finger foods, cute babies, and great company amounted to the perfect way to spend a rather cold afternoon!

Later that evening, we took a jaunt over to a wedding reception for friends of ours that recently got married. The beautiful couple eloped in San Francisco, and as if these two weren’t stunning enough, the breathtaking California forest where they exchanged vows provided a backdrop like no other. I’ll say no more and just invite you to click here to enjoy some of their photos.

Their celebration took place at the cool downtown eatery, Parlor Italian Kitchen & Bar, and it was everything a fete of love should be. Some romance. Lots of pretty. Great tunes. Just an all around, good, good time. It was such an honor to be part of this joyous night!

Happy Monday, and happy week!

xo,
Kassey

Shower details
Custom hand-lettered frame ~ Justine Ma: Design & Hand Lettering
Cupcakes ~ Those Cakes She Bakes
Baby Shower Bingo cards ~ free printable available here

Stuff I Saw & Loved

1. We live in a winter city, which brings with it all sorts of beauty and fun. But this huge snowball fight in an unknown location is going to make it even more awesome. (metronews.ca)

2. Even princesses have stylists. (vogue.com.au)

3. Five words: Kate Spade New York x GapKids! Sorry, credit card. And Alex. (gapcanada.ca)

4. My mom did (and still does) this for me, and I want to do the same for Theodora, always. Here’s some advice I hope to remember when we enter that part of life when little feelings can get hurt. (joannagoddard.blogspot.ca)

5. A good reminder: the ten commandments of skincare. (theluxelife.com)

6. If you’re hoping to start Christmas shopping, and you want to support local artisans, do check out Make It! The Handmade Revolution. It runs from November 20-23 at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert. Discounted early bird tickets are still available! (makeitproductions.com)

Have a great week!

xo,
Kassey

Our First Halloween

Confession: I have never really liked Halloween. This may come as a shock to those that don’t know me, but will be no surprise to those that do. The excitement of a costume, made or bought, has not been my thing since about grade seven, and even then, I think my get-up was a recycled idea from a couple of years prior (a gypsy).

Fast forward fifteen years, and suddenly I am convinced I need just one more decoration, and one more Halloween-themed snack idea. Gasp! Having a little one really changes these sorts of things! We dressed little Thea as Minnie Mouse this year, because it was just too darned cute, and Minnie happens to be one of her favourite stuffed animals.

I was also excited to host our monthly mom’s meet up that day, so I thought it would be really fun to have a little Halloween party. We had a great morning hanging out, snacking and admiring all of the adorable costumes. A great way to kick off a festive weekend!

It goes without saying – these babies could melt your heart every day, not just Halloween! And these moms I’ve met, and can happily call my friends, warm my heart. They’re the best!

Conclusion: I am now a Halloween liker. Not quite a lover (yet).

I would love to know – what have been some of your most successful Halloween costumes, either for yourself or your little ones? I’m going to start collecting ideas for next year :)

Happy Monday to you, and a very happy week!

xo,
Kassey

#yeg Spotlight: YEG Love Letters

I like to believe there is more good in the world than there is bad. Last week’s shootings in Ottawa, which claimed the life of an innocent and devoted soldier, tested that faith for Canadians.

As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed that day, though, I was reminded of a really heart warming project here in Edmonton – Love Letters to Strangers. The name basically says it all; letters are placed in random and unassuming places throughout the city, containing uplifting messages, and words of love and encouragement. The fairy godmother behind this, Ashley Green, distributes them with no hidden agenda. Just a genuine desire to turn someone’s day around for the better.

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While I have yet to come across one of these letters for myself, I can imagine how good I would feel if I did. And it's these smile-worthy actions that create powerful ripple effects, serving as a reminder that a few words from the heart can really go a long way. Until I find a letter, I will continue to find joy from each Instagram photo I see, snapped just so, so the location remains vague and unknown.

You can learn more about Love Letters to Strangers by visiting the website (there’s even a way to donate to the cause!), or see what Ashley is up to more regularly through Instagram. A larger scale projects exists, as well, if you’d like to reach out to strangers internationally: The World Needs More Love Letters.

Enjoy, and have a great week!

xo,
Kassey

Oscar de la Renta

I feel it’s timely and appropriate to follow up my previous post on weddings with a commemoration for Oscar de la Renta, who passed away on October 20, 2014. What better way to do so than to take another look at the stunning bride, Amal Clooney, who wore his last creation.

Oscar de la Renta

A man who seems as elegant as each and every piece of perfection he handcrafted. Rest in peace, Oscar.

Also – a few words from Anna Wintour on her very special friendship with the highly esteemed designer.

Weddings, weddings everywhere!

While this is not what is typically known as “wedding season”, all things wedding have been on my mind. With my little sister getting married next fall, and another good friend soon after that, I can’t help but pour over the never ending inspiration that exists on blogs, websites and, of course, Pinterest. Hearing about another friend’s exciting engagement news last night (congrats MW!!) just confirmed for me that I don’t only love weddings when someone close to me is about to walk down the aisle; I just love them all the time! Here is where some of my excitement and inspiration comes from:

Kelsy Nielson Photographer

Kelsy Nielson Photography

Nicole Ashley

Nicole Ashley Photography

Sharon Litchfield Photography

Sharon Litchfield Photography

Katch Studios

Katch Studios

There will be sprinkles of wedding beauty on here as we near my sister’s big day, cause, I mean, I can’t just keep this dazzling and fun stuff to myself!

Also – the best of fall bridal 2015 and my favourite wedding website.

Have a great week!

xo,
Kassey