Father’s Day Giveaway with JORD! #jordwoodwatches #jordwatch #wearJORD #beyou #theseareyourdays #giveaway #worldwide

It started with a gorgeous watch sent for review, followed by a personal purchase for the Captain at Christmas….and now a beautiful partnership that’s officially beginning with a Father’s Day giveaway just for you!

delmar series red sandalwood red carbon jord wood watches these are your days giveaway fathers day year of me

Delmar Series: Red Sandalwood & Red Carbon, $149

Follow THIS LINK for your chance to win a $149 voucher to Jord Wood Watches ~ the perfect gift for Father’s Day! Open Worldwide!

Contest closes June 5th so get those entries in!

Why I Chose Santa Barbara #theseareyourdays #madetoholiday #yearofme #discover

Well if you follow me on Instagram you are probably aware that I was planning a trip to New Orleans. What you may also know is that I didn’t go to New Orleans {yet!} but instead went to Santa Barbara.

Seems an odd switch, I know, but I truly believe it all unfolded the way it should.

New Orleans won my heart quickly and the more instagram accounts I followed, the more I knew I needed to get there. The colours, the culture, the people – the fooooooood! Oh my goodness. I started looking into things to do there and my heart continually exploded with excitement. And then I looked at flights – which ultimately became the deciding factor to tackle this amazing city another time.

I’m sure the timing was a factor, but the flights were all sorts of wacky and it was going to take a day and a half to get there with an overnight in LA {not a big deal}, but it would leave me only a day and a half of NOLA time. And that was just plain cruel.

So I reconsidered, then went back to New Orleans convinced I NEEDED it now, then reconsidered again. I tossed around LA and San Francisco, but when a friend told me that Santa Barbara is nice – relatively quiet and not too busy, beach with mountains – I had to look into it further.

And my google search of images only confirmed what I already knew – Santa Barbara was/is the place for me

**Photo courtesy of The Canary Hotel, which I actually had the pleasure of seeing and falling in love with – it is so gorgeous and full of character!**

And then the fun of planning began…

My Word for the Year #discover #wordfortheyear #theseareyourdays #yearofme

For the past several years I have made a point of choosing a word as my focus for the entire year. One year was Simplify, last year was more of a declaration with Year of Me and this year is

DISCOVER

This is the word that came to me late last year as I reflected on my time focusing on me, things I wanted to accomplish and plan for. It seemed the most fitting follow up and is something at the core of who I am. I want to spend this year discovering people and places and having new experiences and trying new things. Few things excite me more than the opportunity to discover. I’ve made no secret that travelling is one of my favourite things to do – it’s something I need and something I was made for. Even simply the planning stages of a getaway fill me with excitement. There are so many places I want to see and experience and so many people I’ve yet to meet.

I dream of province and state wide getaways, spending the time discovering all the little gems within the cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Raleigh. And of course bigger and longer getaways to farther away places like Fiji, Italy, and Australia. Here’s hoping I live to be over a hundred so I have time to see even a fraction of the places on my list.

edit lake louise lethbridge los cabos santa barbara these are your days made to holiday travel blogger discover year of me                  

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair amount already throughout my life and already this year have spent time in Los Cabos, Lake Louise, and Santa Barbara, plus a one night staycation here in Lethbridge! It’s amazing what can happen when you put it out into the universe. Isn’t that the Secret? Well, I’m a believer and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey to discover!

Travel discover these are your days year of me made to holiday travel blogger santa barbara lake louise los cabos

**Special mention to my super talented cousin, Radelle from Eternal Reflections Photography for her gorgeous capture of the Santa Barbara night sky **

Crazy Hair Day for Boys {with long hair} #crazyhairday #surferhair #theseareyourdays

When long hair and crazy hair day become a match made in {rocker} heaven

jonah crazy hair day preschool boys with long hair surfer hair mohawk rocker these are your days edit

Easily my favourite photo from our preschool days.

*Use Knox gelatin and a whole lot of hairspray!*

Being A *Yes* Mom #parenting #theseareyourdays #justsayyes #beayesmom

Several years ago I read some advice from a seasoned mother where she said that she always tried to be a yes mom. That when her children asked to do or have something, saying yes as often as possible taught them that she trusted them. It’s something that stuck with me and I’ve since encountered numerous moments where I’ve been able to exercise this beautiful piece of wisdom.

I hate arguing with my kids and it’s not that I say yes to avoid an argument per se, but rather I reconsider WHY I’m denying a certain request and if my initial reaction is really the best one. As a result, I’ve been able to witness some truly magical moments of both bonding and imagination. For example:

Cold Winter Day and Jonah is getting antsy being cooped up inside. Playing with his toys, he asks if his toys {pet shops or barbies or cars} can have a swimming pool. My initial reaction is to groan and say no, anticipating the potential for water spilling ALL over. My secondary reaction was to say YES! Of course! Here, let’s lay these big towels down so water doesn’t make the floor slippery. I fill our foot soaking tub/bucket with water and the kids are content and entertained for a LONG time! And we are all happy.

On hot summer days I would fill this same bucket with water and let the kids play in it on the deck. They would sit in it, play in it and then, OF COURSE dump it out a hundred times. The dumping out and having to refill it got annoying for sure, but I really tried to implement this same approach and just keep filling it. If I kept filling it, they kept having fun! It really was worth the mildly annoying inconvenience. lol

puppy bath

Based on the amount of times the kids have played with the large water tub, I’m surprised this is the only photo I could find! Ugh – But I suppose it’s a decent example as well. First reaction: Don’t put your stuffies in there….second reaction: they are just stuffies and can be washed. Fun. And Done.

water play

Or just recently Jonah wanted a small *pool* for his pet shops, which was super easy to accommodate and totally added to his play.

Sometimes if we are in a store and they see a cute and less than $5 toy {pet shop or car…I prefer adding to existing toy sets rather than starting new ones}, it’s super fun to say yes when they ask for one. This one does not happen often at all because if there’s one thing we don’t need it’s more stuff. lol But boy I love little spoily times like this – a toy, stopping for ice cream, getting popcorn at the mall, etc. I love the idea that they get to feel like they had a great idea that was heard. And I LOVE when we get to make memories as a result.

ice cream date

I admit this was the last time we went on a frozen yogurt date because Brooklyn filled this with everything possible and then didn’t eat more than two bites. haha #wasteofmoney

Sometimes they ask to go for a bike ride or a walk at the absolute worst time….and by worst time, I mean when I don’t want to move. haha – but I do my best to remember that sometimes their experience needs to take priority AND everyone benefits from getting fresh air. For me the trick is to almost jump up saying, “Yep! Let’s go!”

Crafting – one of the Captain’s most dreaded times in this house, specifically glitter. But I love watching them make messes while they create….I love letting them play around with supplies even when it means we have glitter and glue and feathers caked around the house for days afterward. Just bought glitter glue and they squeeze one whole tube out at once? Meh – now that one’s gone. Oh well. haha – yes, I try to teach them to use sparingly and to not be wasteful, but there’s a point or an age where I think – just let them create.

glitter frame

Two things: 1. I absolutely love how this turned out, and 2. I’m pretty sure the glitter mess that resulted nearly gave #thecaptain a heart attack. Seriously.

Playdates – not something that actually happens a whole lot for us anymore because of school night activities, but if it can work, you’d better believe I’m going to try to make it happen. And when they were little we had other kids over all the time!

table dancing

Table dancing makes life better! 😉

I love being a YES mom and encouraging and supporting their imagination and ultimately their experiences. It is not always easy but I honestly believe it’s always worth it:

yes mom these are your days making memories 1Playing in the nearby lake – ugh, that’s hard….you’ll get wet. But wait a minute….So what? Go play!!! * Bubbles in the tub = FUN! * Painting your body with cream cheese icing? Well, I didn’t see it happen but I also chose not to make it a huge deal…gross but really didn’t need to be wrong or bad * Decorating cookies their own way. Icing anyone?! haha * Collecting moths – come on moms, grab a jar you never want to use for anything ever again and collect those critters.

yes mom these are your days making memories 3

Obviously the boy has been creating on his face since the start! haha – and even when makeup was nowhere to be found, ketchup {photo 2} did the trick. This kid cracks me up! {Photo 4 was his sister’s handiwork lol}

yes mom these are your days making memories 5

Want to pretend you’re going to the bathroom on the Costco toilets? Initial reaction is that it’s inappropriate {I know I’m not the only one}, but also what a fun and funny photo op! Embraced it and loved the laughs we had * Sometimes you just gotta let them dress themselves! * Not everyone needs to have a pinterest worthy jack-o-lantern. * Skateboarding through the house? If you have the room, why the heck not?!

yes mom these are your days making memories 4

I can’t say all of us moms were immediately thrilled with the situation, but by the time we noticed it we realized it wasn’t going to get worse, so we made the most of it! These boys had a BLAST mud bogging. Their clothes never quite recovered but you know – they are JUST clothes. The memories they made together were absolutely worth the forever stained shirt and shorts, that then became the perfect camping clothes.

year or me these are your days making memories 6

Want to have a bath with your friend? Meh, throw on swimsuits and party it up! * Brooklyn wanted to water the tree. Sometimes I didn’t want to get things out to accommodate her requests but I also had to learn that sometimes it’s just not about me. Plus I love her swimsuit and boots – screamed sports illustrated lol * Jonah is such a ham….another possibly inappropriate moment for many but it was just really stinkin’ funny! * Parking lot party trains? Oh this one was haaaaaaard for me. It was at the end of the day, I was tired and a bit cranky and the kids’ obnoxious level was at a million percent. BUT they were having fun….so I walked and chose to embrace it – and snap the photo of course. But I really had to decide in that moment to let it be a memory instead of trying to correct a totally not wrong at all moment.

yes mom these are your days making memories 2

Playing in the Captain’s shirts was the thing to do for a while. I know he didn’t love it but also just learned to embrace it. They had fun, looked adorable and not once did a shirt get ruined. * Ah yes, body art. hahahaha – don’t stress, it does eventually come off! * Mom, I want to do your hair! – I seriously drove over to my parents’ for dinner like this. Just following orders! * Want 4 pieces of Jell-O? Meh, why the heck not? Yummy snack and I did make it to eat, so dig in! * Inside doll stroller races – haha….Jonah thought this was the best thing ever!

I promise you this – not every adjustment will be immediate or simple, but every memory that results will absolutely fill your heart and make your days more fun. Plus, your time together will be filled with much more ease.

Are you a Yes mom? I’d love to hear your experiences – use the hashtag #beayesmom on Instagram and tag me @theseareyourdays so I can see your moments!

Ruffle Skirt Success…sort of! #thesearethedays #brothercanada #brotherinnovis

I’m still avoiding the quilt project from February – I know, I know…but I really just was not cut out for them. So instead of worrying about it, I scoured through my Pinterest Crafting and Sewing board to find something new for my March project.

This GOOOOORGEOUS Anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt from Elizabeth Ave won – I’m sure you can see why *heart eyes*

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days brother canada brother innovis elizabeth ave

I knew exactly what fabric to use because I’ve had it in my sewing room for over a year – Originally purchased to make a skirt with it but without knowing which one. Sometimes things are just meant to be…and sometimes buying random fabric pays off! {Consider that your permission to do it…you’re welcome lol}

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days brother canada brother innovis

So I set to work. The pattern is based on measurements and basic square/rectangular pieces, which is both nice and more work all at the same time. haha I plan to make some standard pattern pieces so it’s easier in the future because I’m anticipating a closet full of the same skirt. *covers eyes*

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days brother canada brother innovis 2

The back panel of the skirt is two separate pieces. In an effort to prove that miracles still happen, I made sure that the pattern connected on both pieces {holla}.

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days brother canada brother innovis 3

Which humorously left me with a hole in the center of this yard. Obviously it’s best to avoid this scenario, and in the future I will cut the pieces in a different order to do so, but this is how it had to be. Plus, I have 2 more yards of fabric so it’s not a dealbreaker!

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days brother canada brother innovis 4

The ruffle along the back had me a wee bit concerned. I’m such a rookie with my sewing skills and really do prefer high margins of error, but I have to say I’m so happy with how it turned out. Yes, I am sure it could be better and as I make my hundred other versions {ha!} I anticipate becoming a master, but for now….this girl is pretty happy.

zipper

Can we just take a minute and ooh and ahh over this gorgeous zipper? I mean…I can’t even. IIIIII did that ~ Me!!!! I actually think this is the first time I’ve ever put a zipper in – if you haven’t done one either, please know they are NOT SCARY AT ALL!

I would like to change the waist as I didn’t really do it properly and it’s not an awesome fit {hence the *sort of* in the post title}, buuuuuuut my shirt covered it…and I’m still so ridiculously in love with this skirt!

anthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days elizabeth ave sewing fun brother canada brother innovisanthropologie inspired ruffled pencil skirt these are the days elizabeth ave sewing fun brother canada brother innovis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look, it even gave me a nice booty curve *snicker* – I may spend the rest of the night online fabric shopping. Well, online *window* shopping at least. 😉

**Have a sewing project you think I should try?

Email me at theseareyourdays@gmail.com – I’m always looking for new ideas!**

 

 

Kelowna: Night One #hojo #thesearethedays #Kelowna #madetoholiday

If you follow me on Instagram {@theseareyourdays} or facebook {Cute Like Me}, then you know last summer we went away on a fun family getaway. Our first 5 days were spent at the northernmost point of the Shuswap Lake at the most delicious piece of secluded paradise and then we ended our time together in Kelowna. Really, my cousin invited us along to Silver Beach and I totally invited ourselves for the Kelowna portion. Ha! #truestory

We had a fun surprise planned for the kids in Kelowna {fancy/splurgy hotel}, but it was completely booked on the Friday, so we made other arrangements. To keep costs down, I booked us into the cheapest hotel I could find {thank you, Hotwire}. Most hotels in Kelowna are around the $160 mark, which doesn’t exactly qualify as *the cheapest* in my books, so when Hotwire showed an option for $95, we felt like it was the best we would find. After some other digging and comparing with other sites {including actual hotel sites}, that assumption was confirmed. We prepped the kids, saying we were staying in a not fancy hotel at all…but that we were going to visit the cousins the next day at their fancy hotel. Phase One Surprise: Complete!

So look, we weren’t kidding. The Howard Johnson Kelowna is NOT fancy at all. In the words of Jonah, “There wasn’t even an elevator; we had to walk up the stairs to our room!” It looked more like a motel, two story with rooms on the outside as well. The room was basic, clean-ish {some carpet stains, but nothing major}, and a welcome relief after 5 days of camping. BUT, the shower was a strange situation, where it worked with the handle on the left and on the right, one scorching hot and the other freezing cold. And when the handle was in the middle, not a drop. It took some serious fiddling to find a temperature that we could all shower in. And then the toilet decided it didn’t want to flush. #seriously

kelowna howard johnson these are the days cute like me

Finally all showered up and ready to head out for dinner.

All worked out and after showering, enjoying dinner at the Cactus Club Café {delish} and a short shopping trip at ONE Boardshop {awesome!}, we all enjoyed a restful sleep. In the morning, we also enjoyed their complimentary continental breakfast. Honestly, it was quite nice, but I’m always impressed whenever a hotel provides a waffle iron. I’m a bit of an easy sell that way.

Because Kelowna hotels are fairly pricey, $95/night {$130 with taxes and fees} was certainly reasonable, but if I’m being honest, and I always am, it felt more like a $60 hotel. That being said, we would definitely stay there again if we were just passing through or wanting to reduce costs for a night. Like I said, it was not fancy in any way, but sometimes all you want is a clean, safe and inexpensive place to sleep. And waffles. 😉

The Howard Johnson Kelowna hotel offered just that.

People Make Me Happy #fillmycup #thesearethedays #passionforlife

I can’t explain the impact that people have on my life. Specifically meeting them and making new friends – like the butterflies and giddiness of a new love interest – but even just the energy of people coming and going. As I write this I’m sitting in our local Starbucks just people watching. And my cup is full; I may never go home.

Kidding {sort of}.

Recently I spent the weekend in Lake Louise with my cousin – okay so I totally invited myself initially and later she was kind enough to actually invite me. Haha {smart cousin…I totally would have pouted lol} – aaaanyways, I stopped in Banff for gas and was immediately smitten. I am ashamed to admit that I forget how beautiful the mountains are. I mean, I’m a beach and palm trees girl through and through BUT the mountains – these gorgeous mountains – are without a doubt, the next best thing.

mountains lake louise banff these are the days people passion

The energy was exciting…people coming and going, on vacation or living/working there….happy, smiling and laughing. The weather was gorgeous, the view was stunning….and in these moments, Life was GOOD!

The entire weekend continued this way – time with my cousin, laughing with our waiter, chatting with people in the hot tub…I sat for a bit in the lobby {while my cousin was shooting a wedding at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise} reading and just watching people – again, taking in the energy.

radelle and me mountains lake louise banff these are the days people passion made to holiday travel blogger

Because my regular daily life does not allow for a whole lot of in person connection {work, gym, kids, repeat}, I do live the bulk of my relationships online. But that can be even more fulfilling {SOMETIMES} because you can really get to know people – who they are, what they do, what makes them tick, goals and dreams, places they’ve been, experiences they’ve had. Good grief, I’m excited just typing about it.

A lady I used to share an office with was telling me about the mission trips her and her husband have been on, including living in Tonga for 2 years. I could not get enough.

I wanted every detail.

I’m also obsessive {and owning it} about Instagram – I’d say social media in general, but that would be a big fat lie. Instagram is my jam. I love SEEING what people are doing, where they are going and the experiences they are having – the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, especially the ugly. Keep it real, my friends….

The bottom line is I need people. Period.

What are you passionate about. What is one thing in your life that absolutely fills your cup, brings you happiness and makes you tick?

This isn’t the only thing for me, but It’s at the core of every other one for me – cooking, working and travelling to name a few.

Also, I’m still in Starbucks, and still seriously considering how I can stay here 😉

My Heart Belongs in New Orleans #discovernola #thesearethedays #followyournola #yearofme #yeartodiscover

For the past few months I’ve been following some New Orleans companies and people on Instagram. And for these few months I’ve also been angry with my parents for never taking me there as a kid. Seriously.

I’m certain I’d have never left.

new orleans

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller CLINGeverything

This place is for me. New Orleans is my jam. I can just feel it – the colours, the culture, the energy and of course,  the people. I’m already in love and we haven’t even met.

So I’m planning a trip – a ME trip. And as I’m researching it more and more, I’m realizing I might need a good solid month there to even touch the surface of all there is to experience. It would be overwhelming if it wasn’t so freaking exciting!

But seriously, I don’t know how I’m going to decide!

neworleans_jazzfest_header_2016 new orleans follow my nola these are the days cute like me made to holiday

First up is the Jazz Festival and the reason I was hoping to push my trip back a week to hit the tail end, but it’s just not going to be possible. The truth is, I don’t want just one day at the end to enjoy the festival and would rather be able to be there to experience the entire week and the huge variety of musicians – this year’s lineup includes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, local artists and so many more. So instead, I’m planning a week long trip for next year’s festival and this year will just enjoy my originally planned getaway. It hurts just to type that honestly but I have to face the facts that I cannot make it work. Sigh.

I also really want to visit the National WWII Museum though I’m not sure it will happen this time either. It will be such a quick trip and I won’t want to go through the Museum while watching the clock. But it is high on my list and has some excellent reviews.

the new orleans advocate hurricane katrina memorial these are the days follow your nola new orleans cute like me

Photo Credit: The New Orleans Advocate

I can’t go all that way and not pay my respects at the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, so that is on my list for sure. And luckily, so many other great places on my list are all close together in the French Quarter, so I’ll be spending A LOT of my time there.

French-Quarter-New-Orleans golf universe these are the days follow your nola french quarter new orleans

Photo Credit: Golf Universe

But what else? I have only about a hundred things on my list, nevermind the restaurants/cafes/jazz clubs I want to eat at and experience. And of course capturing the beauty of the colourful houses that make my heart swoon.

There will never be enough time. I see this becoming an annual trip honestly. Or I might just move there. #kiddingnotkidding

I dream of NOLA.

{If you’ve been to New Orleans and have any suggestions of things to do/see or places to eat, please shoot me an e-mail at theseareyourdays@gmail.com – I need your help!}

 

 

Receiving Love From Heaven #heartflutters #remember #thesearethedays

My post high school years were FILLED with incredible experiences and opportunities. From time spent as a leader at Kids Cancer Camps {for kids with Cancer and their siblings} to a short stint in Baltimore as an au pair, then living with my friend and his family for the last few months of his life, followed by a solo trip to Puerto Vallarta when I was 21. And many more.

Each of these could be one {or several} blog post of its own – which may just happen. But what I want to share in this post is an incredibly special memory of mine….a time I really felt an incredible connection to heaven {or whatever you believe is beyond this}. One I will never forget. 

At my first Cancer Camp I met some incredible kids, but developed pretty special bonds with Shelby and Nicole, best friends who met during treatments. They really became my little buddies that week, even being called Shelby’s pretend mommy to help ease her sadness at missing her own at night. These girls filled my purpose and fuelled my passion.

Kids Cancer Care of Alberta these are the days making memories touched by an angel

My girls: Nicole {left} and Shelby {right}

After the camp, I made arrangements with their moms to visit them during treatment. And for some reason, the universe aligned and it did not become an empty promise that sounded nice when it was made. I actually went. Repeatedly. And we made incredible memories.

Shelby’s dream was to go to Kindergarten. And she did…she made it through one day – the first day – of school that year and then the pain came with a vengeance. When it became clear that things were not going the way we wanted for Shelby, her mom hired me as a part time nanny. Someone who could help drive her other two kids to appointments or sit with Shelby while she was able to get other things done {I later found out at one point she was up in Shelby’s room going through her things….cue sobs}.

This time was magical. Most days we laid low and played in the house, but there were some really good days where we were able to make it to the park. Her favourite snacks were chocolate milk and a plate of meat, cheese and pickles, and we watched the Spice Girls movie no less than a hundred times. I kid you not. Goodness we had fun singing along to every. single. song.

I still do. 😀

And then she slowly got worse. More lethargic {more Spice Girls}, less of an appetite…and eventually less laughter and conversation. Oh my heart. Then unable to move from the couch, sleeping for longer stretches until she stopped waking altogether, her little body still fighting like hell.

I would sit beside her, talking to her while holding her hand. She didn’t respond because she couldn’t, but I absolutely believed she could hear me. And then one day the magic happened.

The last day I was with her, and just a week before she passed, I sat holding her hand and talking to her. And just like every other time I whispered *I love you*…

But this time three little squeezes grasped my hand in response.

cloud heart these are the days kids cancer care of alberta touched by an angel

In that moment my heart exploded and I’ve never been the same.