2016 So Far

A couple of weeks into the new year, and I’m just now getting around to this post! I hope the holidays were full of family and good food, and that you’re all feeling recharged, rejuvenated, and ready to take on another great year.

I am still one week away from my due date, so anxious and excited would be the biggest understatements to describe how we’re feeling about the impending arrival of our fourth family member! I, especially, am feeling beyond ready to welcome this little bundle of a girl into our lives, because if I’m being honest – pregnant and toddler wrangling on the daily is plain … hard. I just continue to remind myself that I physically can’t be pregnant forever, and before long, we will all be getting acquainted and getting to know the latest and cutest addition to our family.

With so much excitement (and adjustment, no doubt) awaiting us in 2016, I am looking forward to taking it all in in somewhat of a scaled back way. I will probably be a little quieter on this space for the next couple of months, for no reason other than to just focus on us as a new family of four. Stick with me, though, as I will remain active on Instagram and Twitter. and of course try my best to get back on here with updates and photos when I can. I’m also looking forward to sharing some of the plans I’ve been working on for the work side of my life. But you’ll have to wait until spring/summer for that one 🙂

Here are a few photos from the last little while. Enjoy, and hope you’re having a great week!

 

We celebrated Thea turning two with a Minnie Mouse themed day!

|| Cake by Jacqueline at Cake Affair & topper designed by Justine Ma ||

This cookie decorating station was a hit, and super simple to whip up.

She was really into decorating this year, and surprisingly wasn’t too interested in dismantling any of the tree after the fact – thank goodness!

On Christmas Eve, we decided to head down to the Legislature Grounds, and we’re so glad we did. You can’t really tell from these photos, but it was an exceptionally cold evening. It was a short-lived visit, but the beauty sure made up for it!

Our last Christmas as a family of three! Something tells me that the exact picture of this time next year is going to look a whole lot different!!

xo,

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

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See & Do in #yeg || Holiday Edition

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a good friend asking me for recommendations on what to see and do in the city over the holidays. A friend of hers will be bringing her boyfriend to Edmonton for Christmas, and she wanted my “expert” advice. I laughed when I read that part, because…expert?! Despite being born and raised in Edmonton and area (my friend is a former Edmontonian, too; now Calgarian), I hardly consider myself an expert. More suitable titles I’d be quick to claim could include city lover, fun seeker, or even cheerleader (because I’m always trying to sing our city’s praises to whoever will listen!) But I was up for the challenge and excited to share some of the things that pop into my mind when prompted with a question like this. (love ya, MT! I really enjoyed putting this together!)

Exploring the city, whether by day or night, has changed for us a little bit since becoming parents, but I tried to include spots that would appeal to all kinds of people, children in tow or not. Most of the places below are ones we have experienced and can attest to why they’re on this list, and others are here because they’re on our radar and we hope to tackle them in the near future. I know I’ve probably missed a few as well, but to fill that gap, I like to stay informed through my favourite, go-to sites like Explore Edmonton, Share Edmonton, Where.ca, and Twitter.

So here it goes! I hope you like it, and please do share your favourites with me!

Image: Iconoclast Coffee via Vue Weekly

You can tell something ranks highly with me when I create a category for it all on its own! There’s something I love about incorporating a delicious and warm coffee or hot chocolate on a cold winter day, and even more so when you can make it social and meet with friends for a catch up. My picks below include places that boast an abundance of charm, a really fun atmosphere, and that showcase really cool parts of Edmonton.

Rosso
Leva
Little Brick
Transcend
Credo
Remedy Cafe
Iconoclast
Lockstock
Coffee Bureau
DaCapo
Duchess
Elm Cafe
District Coffee
Burrow
Cafe Bicyclette

Image: Parlor Italian Kitchen & Bar via Explore Edmonton

My late night suggestions will surely differ from those coming from someone who’s evening is not dictated by a toddler (and a soon-to-be newborn in five short weeks!) 🙂 But a lot of the restaurants listed here spill over into late night spots, anyway, so it’s a win-win in my mind – great food plus a great night all around.

Rosso
Leva
The Marc
Tres Carnales
Rostizado
Woodwork
North 53
The Common
Parlor Italian Kitchen & Bar
Corso 32
Three Boars
Cibo Bistro
Bar Bricco
Dovetail Deli
Farrow Sandwich

Image: skating at City Hall via Explore Edmonton

I continue to learn and get excited about really cool, outdoor activities to take in throughout the winter months. Not knowing what these friends of my friend were into, I took a more broad approach in recommending holiday activities. You could call them more winter-friendly as opposed to holiday-specific, but a fresh white blanket of snow and some twinkling lights give me the warm holiday fuzzies any day!

River Valley Adventure Co – snow shoe tours through the river valley
Sleigh shuttle in Old Strathcona – five pick up locations throughout the area
Outdoor skating – various locations
Tobogganing – fun for adults and kids alike
Skiing – Edmonton Ski Club, Rabbit Hill, Snow Valley, Sunridge Ski Area
Cross-country skiing – various locations

Hope your week is off to a great start! xo

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

#yeg Spotlight: Holiday Gift Guide 2015

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and I’m excited once again to share my list of a few local favourites that I will be shopping and gifting for the holidays (you can check out my round up of last year’s locals here, who are producing wonderful things yet again this year!)

I know not everyone gets excited about Christmas music immediately following Halloween, or the decorations popping up faster than you can say “boo!”. But, truth be told, I am totally one of those people that has Christmas movies and mugs on rotation all year round. Regardless of where you stand on the Christmas excitement meter, the task of shopping for the holidays can be daunting; even dreadful at times. But if you’re making a commitment to shop locally, and that’s something you enjoy anyway, then I hope to inspire even the slightest bit of cheer with my collection below.

Clockwise:

Transcend Coffee Subscription
Coffee. Delivered to your house. Need I say more?! This local shop has made gift-giving to the serious coffee lover so much easier. You select the type of subscription you want, length of time you wish to send coffee to the recipient’s home, and Transcend takes care of the rest of the logistics. I have almost signed myself up many times…

The Skinny
For all of those impeccably dressed little ones in your life. This shop carries everything from cute and modern swaddle blankets to outfits that make you want to request the same in adult sizes. All of the shop’s items are curated by the lovely (in every sense of the word) Erinn, and can be shopped either online or from their trendy, underground storefront in Vacancy Hall of the Mercer Warehouse.

Top Knot Style
I recently gifted one of these luxurious and beautiful cowls to my sister for her birthday, and it’s taking everything in me not to order one of everything else for myself and the rest of my family! All hand made, right here in Edmonton!

Pura Botanicals
I have yet to experience the beauty and serenity of Pura’s brand new space located on 124 Street, but what I know from pictures and experiences of friends of mine that have been, I can’t wait to discover more. Eco-friendly, sustainable, and effective skin care is a gift everyone must experience, right?

Berg and Betts
Stylish accessories made from the heart. This local company truly works magic with their hands as they transform scrap leathers into beautiful watches of various styles, and tassle necklaces that are highly coveted by any fashion girl at heart.

I don’t want to end this post without mentioning the holiday markets, because that is where you can get your hands on even more uniquely Edmonton goods:

Make It Edmonton – November 26-29
Cory Christopher Christmas Market – now until December 20
Royal Bison – November 27-29 + December 4-6
Shop the Loft – December 12

It’s fun and exciting to me to find that perfect holiday gift for the special people in our lives, but it’s giving, in general, that excites me the most. In keeping with our family tradition of giving back, this year we have decided to donate to the organizations that will be supporting Syrian refugees coming to Edmonton. An unavoidable issue in the news these days, this is something that lives very close to my heart. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter, granddaughter and niece of immigrants, who faced similar struggles (though the circumstances for coming here were different, in some cases). Or maybe it’s because we have a young family of our own and can’t help but see our own daughter in the faces of the young children and their families on the treacherous journey to a better life. Either way, if my family’s contributions help make even the slightest difference, then it’s something we’re ready to dive right into. Here are the links to some information we found helpful, and where/how to donate:

Direct help in Edmonton: Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Canadian Red Cross

UNHCR Canada – The UN Refugee Agency

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re having a great week! xo

Kassey
//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences\\

#yeg Spotlight: HUNT AMOR

Do you ever think about the days when it was common to visit the tailor or seamstress for a bespoke garment? Or to the well-known shoemaker who could fix anything and everything, and also whip up a pair of custom made shoes? There’s also the jewelry maker, who will sit and listen to the intricate and personal details and create an individualized piece of jewelry that will adorn your body and tell a story for years to come. Blame it on the nostalgia in me, or the fact that, deep inside, I have actually been an 80 year old since I was about five, but I find myself wishing for these things to be commonplace again.

Thanks to Edmonton being awesome and hugely supportive of grassroots and entrepreneurial initiatives, there are a couple of local businesses that are making new again what was once considered old. Slated for a #yeg Spotlight on here in the not-too-distant future, Poppy Barley is taking Canada and the world by storm with their made-to-measure footwear; Todoruk Design is elegantly bringing back couture, bespoke and the atelier; and then there’s HUNT AMOR, a local jewelry designer who is showcasing their talents through four different lines: custom, utility, fashion, and the newly released Kindred collections.

A few HUNT AMOR originals that I have my eye on

Clockwise: Hex Cuff, Kindred Vera, Baby V Drop Earrings

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of attending the most ultimate and cool party which celebrated the release of the new Kindred collection. I will let the photos below do the talking, but everything about the night was perfectly suited to the brand that Amor Carandang and Chris Provins have created: the venue (Tomnuk Design Studio) the music, and the crowd. It’s so evident these two have garnered a lot of well-deserved love and support through their hard, dedicated work and genuine, down-to-earth personalities.

// Party photos are all captured by Jody Bailey \\

I’m keeping an eye on what Amor & Chris release next, because without a doubt, I will love it and I will shop it!

Happy mid-week! xo,

Kassey
// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

Modern Crafting with Made Social Co.

A few weeks ago, a pretty little confetti-laden invitation popped into my Inbox, and it was to the launch of Made Social, a modern take on a crafting night out. I was so excited about this, because behind it all are two friends of mine, Andrea and Christine, who are two supremely talented and creative ladies.

These are not your typical how-to kinds of workshops. Think of it more like a beautifully styled night out where you also get to snack, laugh and craft the night away. Have you ever found yourself wanting to gather a group of girls to go out and do something more than grab coffee? Made Social is the perfect answer! Christine and Andrea work to make each workshop equal parts charming and social with no detail overlooked. And, at the end of it all, you walk away with a specially hand-made piece.

This inaugural evening involved making a yarn wall hanging, which you’ll see in some of the pictures below. Now, I don’t consider myself the craftiest of people, but these were simple to make and the outcome is something I love even more. So much so that I actually have the perfect spot in mind to hang it in the new nursery!

I love connecting, and the best part of an evening like this, for me, is the chance to meet fellow bloggers and reconnect with those I’ve had the opportunity to meet since starting this little blog of my own. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this city is FULL of creative and ambitious individuals who are all working on really cool things. To meet and connect with people like this is always really fun and inspiring. Not to mention the wow-factor of the individuals and locally-owned businesses that played a part in making this night happen – our space for the night (the amazing Project Loft), the always stunning floral decor by Fabloomosity, and so many more (all linked at the end of the post) all contributed to making the night feel really special and exclusive.

I saved the best part for last because no party is really complete without a photo booth. And you guys, this one involved confetti!!! Captured below is more of the fun throughout the night, including a group shot of everyone who participated in the launch.

Top row L to R: me, Diana of 204 Park, Jenna of Plum Home & Design, Erinn of Shop the Skinny, Stephanie of All About Ami, Justine of Justine Ma Design. Bottom row L to R: Kelsy of Twirls & Travels, Holly of In the Fun Lane, Amanda of Natural Mommie, Andrea of Andrea Hanki Photography, Christine of Just Bella Blog, Jenna of Hobbs Photography, and Linda of Linda Hoang

I always know it’s a good night when I set out with intentions of taking a bunch of photos, only to come away with one or two decent-quality pictures on my phone because I was too busy chatting. This night was no exception, and I wanted to send a HUGE thanks to Andrea for documenting the evening through these photos you see here, and providing them to us to share with you 🙂

Made Social will be holding their next modern craft workshop on October 24, and registration opens tonight! Stay tuned on Instagram for more details on how to get in on the fun because, trust me, you don’t want to miss out!

Thanks again, Christine and Andrea, for including me in the launch of your exciting new endeavor! Can’t wait to attend the next one!

Happy crafting, and have a great week…xo!

All photos courtesy of Andrea Hanki
Shout out to the local creative businesses involved (although not all pictured above):

Amanada Nogier, Industrial Designer
Carousel Paper Co.
Confetti Sweets
Contessa Macarons
Fabloomosity
I Love the Moon
Justine Ma Design
Plum Home & Design
Pura Botanicals
Uppercase Press
The Project Loft

Showering the Bride!

Happy Monday and hello! I’ve been a bit absent around here lately, mostly because of a busy few months, plus it’s summer time and we’ve been out and about enjoying this heat. And there has been some intense heat in Edmonton so far!

Amidst our melting in this long stretch of +30 temperatures, we threw my little sister’s bridal shower last week, and we had the prettiest afternoon full of love, laughs and amazing food. We went with a sewing theme, as the soon-to-be Mrs. loves all things needlework and crafting. We included subtle details throughout the decor, like the spools of thread and buttons on the food cards pictured below, similar cake and cupcake decorations, complete with our favors – mini/emergency sewing kits that you can toss in your purse.

This beautiful wristlet was made by the talented girls at Fabloomosity. For all things floral that are every bit stunning as they are unique, you want to get in touch with these ladies. They’re a dream!

There’s something about small and intimate showers that makes for a perfect afternoon. We spent the day catching up, taking some girly pictures, and enjoying each other’s company. Throw some delicious snacks in there, and well, it doesn’t really get much better than that.

And every shower needs a little duvet tester!

The big day is less than two months away, which is crazy to believe! That might just be what I love so much about weddings – that there are a few smaller events and celebrations that take place in advance of the wedding day, making it seem like you’re celebrating the couple for months and months.

Here’s to another couple of months of fun, spoiling and enjoyment. Have a great week!

xo,
Kassey

Talking about: French Immersion

Discussions between spouses once you have kids become injected wth things you never thought you would talk about in your day-to-day. Not that we don’t chat about the things we used to before! It’s just that now, our conversations include things like “did you read the latest anti-vaccination article going viral on Facebook?” or “The Baby Centre email I got today talked about tantrums – what good timing, hey?” In the last few months, we’ve revisited the topic of immersion programs and whether or not that’s a road we want to go down when it comes time to enroll Theodora in school.

Initially, each of us were split on the subject. I was all for it, coming from the perspective that the younger you can expose a child to other languages the better. They are sponges at these young ages, after all. Alex, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant, more so from a practicality point of view – what language would we choose, and would she realistically use it?

I grew up in a bilingual household with Greek being my first language. As a result of this, my fluency today is all thanks to those early years of listening, learning and speaking the language, and my French studies came to me quite easily and enjoyably in my school years. My French now is nowhere near being able to strike up a conversation, but I could probably get by. And this isn’t to say that my current level of Greek couldn’t use any improvement; it definitely could. But it has really cemented for me how important it is to start as early as possible if I want our child to pick up on a second language. Since I’m with Theodora 95% of each day, I’ve been speaking to her in Greek pretty much from day one in hopes of hearing her little voice speak a word or two in the near future.

We have decided to go with it and have chosen French immersion as our program of choice (we’re ahead of the game, I know, but her school days will be here before we know it, I’m sure – sob, sob!). Now, maybe part way through, she’ll hate it and ask to participate in the regular stream, at which point we will of course discuss and proceed accordingly. Not everyone is a languages person, and we would hate to place that kind of pressure on her. On the other hand, maybe that will be her normal and she’ll embrace it like a champ! I am also of the firm belief that the more languages you know or are exposed to, the easier they come.

Time will tell, but I’m curious – have any of you with kids had similar discussions? If you have enrolled your kids in an immersion program, has it been valuable? Have you had to re-learn the language yourself in order to help with assignments?! Clearly we have a bit more homework to do…no pun intended 😉