5 Favourite Shows & Songs for the Holidays

I like to share this post every year.  So, here we go…again!

There are a few holiday shows, songs and videos that I love to watch over holidays. So, in no particular order here are my top 5 favourites:

  • The Holiday – what is not to love about this romantic comedy with two great leading ladies.

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  • The Year Without a Santa Claus – hello, Snow Miser and Heat Miser?  My kids are now not afraid of Heat Miser and they think it is the funniest song of all time.

 

  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – thank you to the writers of this song for giving our family a theme song for Christmas. To hear it, click   here
  • Elf – Will Farrell is just hilarious

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  • So, this is Christmas by John Lennon – it is just a classic. Enough said.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

 

5 Gifts for Travellers

I was fortunate to take a few trips this past year and recently,  a friend asked what were the best things I used for packing and travelling.  It was such an easy question and considering the time of year, I thought I would share my favourites with you.

Packing cubes:

I found these at Marshalls for $30 and I picked up another set at IKEA for $10.  They keep your shirts separate from your socks and your workout gear doesn’t get mixed up with your everyday t-shirts.

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A Luggage Scale:

A must have!  With many airlines now charging extra if your bag is overweight, it is handy to check how much your luggage weighs before you leave home.  For less than $20 you should pick up this.

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Packing bags:

My sister gave me these before our Europe trip and they made packing pretty efficient.  All the little things were in their own place and easy to find in my carry on and in my suitcase.

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Passport holder:

This case is so handy to keep your passports, itineraries, boarding passes, etc.  It’s great for families and solo travellers.   I paid about $25 for this particular style.

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A reusable shopping bag:

I always take one or two of these with me.  They come in a handy pouch, are easy to pack and ready to be used for anything!  They usually cost less than $5 and can be used for groceries, souvenirs, etc.  Carrying one of these will make you look more like a local and less like a tourist.

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All of these items are pretty affordable to give as gifts or use as stocking stuffers.  Is there anything you take on a trip that should be on my list?  Please let me know in the comments and happy shopping!

linking up with: A Little Bit of EverythingSincerely, PaulaDesign Dining and Diapers,Mom Home GuideNot Dressed As LambGood Random FunClaire JustineI Should be Mopping the Floor

Shoes for Days

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This picture represents the shoes my family took on our recent trip to Europe.   Four people, 3 weeks, 17 pairs of shoes.  That averages out to roughly four pairs each, but in actual fact I ended up with 6 pairs in my suitcase.  This was no beach vacation, so I knew we needed comfortable shoes.  Our plans included walking – lot of walking!!

Here’s the breakdown of who took what:

Daughter:

  • Flip flops
  • Native slip ons
  • Sketcher slip ons
  • Under Armour runners

She only wore the Natives once, so I probably could have left this pair at home.  Same with  the Under Armour runners as she preferred her Sketcher slips ons most days.  I wish I had bought a pair of Birkenstock sandals for her as the selection and price in Germany was way better than here at home.  #missedopportunity

 

 Son:


  • Flip flops
  • Vans black slip ons
  • Under Armour runners

My son wore exactly what he brought exactly when I thought he would.  He didn’t complain about sore feet, so I deem his shoe packing a success.

 

Husband:

 


  • 2 x pairs of Adidas
  • Flips flops
  • Running shoes  (for running/hiking)

Husband rotated through his shoes each day as we did a lot of walking.  He didn’t end up wearing his flip flops at all, but since they didn’t take up much room it was still worth bring them along.  #justincase

(note:  couldn’t find the other Adidas to put in the picture as he was wearing them)

 

Me:


  • flip flops
  • tan coloured sandals
  • Black Nike runners
  • White Superga runners
  • Black espadrilles

I am pretty happy with the shoes I packed and I wore them all.  I wish I had swapped out my white laces on the Nikes to black so that they would have looked more like a fashion runner than a workout runner. That said, with a white tee and black jogger pants they were just fine.

The Superga were a new purchase before we left and I was surprised how comfortable they were.  Of course I bought white and they got dirty, but I was ok with that.   I also bought a pair of black espadrilles before we left and I’m glad I did!  Very comfortable for walking around and went just fine with my jeans, jogger pants and both my dresses. My Mat & Nat sandals were also quite comfortable and easy to wear with all my outfits.

And while in Germany, I purchased these:

The Birkenstocks were purchased because I have a lot of friends who rave about them and since I was in the land of Birkenstocks…I had to have a pair.  They have been on trend for a few years now and while I used to shun them, I’m now happy to have a pair.  If you haven’t tried them, you should.  You might be surprised.

I would use this shoe packing guide again for any other long trips that involve a lot of walking.  What do you think?  Did I forget to include anything?  Let me know in the comments what shoes you take on your trips.

linking up with: Jaymie AshcraftFashion Should Be FunHappiness at Mid-lifeJo-Lynne ShaneNancy’s Fashion StyleNancy’s Fashion StylePocketful of Polka DotsPosh Classy MomPosh Classy MomMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jennna MarieStyle NudgeReasons to Dress,The Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetThe Blended BlogGet Your Pretty OnJersey Girl Texan HeartClassy Yet Trendy

 

$10 at Target

Well, I guess I should clarify this.  I spent 10 euros at Monoprix.   What’s Monoprix you ask?  Well, I had been told that Monoprix was the French version of Target.  It’s a French department store that is all over the country.  It looks like this:

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I recently returned from a trip to Europe and while I was there, I was more than excited to check out this chain.  But I have to say I was a little dismayed by the two stores I went into.  The store I visited in Paris was small, had a food market on the lower level and women’s clothes and accessories on the main floor.  The clothing section had some good deals, but it was a mess and I really didn’t see anything worth trying on.  #disappointed

The second store was much larger, but I had only a few minutes to get what I needed.  And what was that, you ask?

This:

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We had forgotten our nail tools at home, so I needed to get an extra set.  These two items totalled €10.  I’m not sure about you, but it seemed like a lot to me.

So, although I didn’t get to really experience the French Target, I got the feeling it did not have the deals and selection that the real Target has.  Did I mention I’m still sad that Target left Canada?

linking up with: Garay TreasuresA Pocketful of Polka DotsSincerely Paula

What I saw – Fashion in Paris

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Our family recently returned from a vacation in Europe and the last few days were spent in Paris.  I was in Paris about 21 years ago with my sister (who shares this blog) with me.   It was 1995, September and the weather was quite cool.  Here’s what we wore:

 

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You may want to know why we were wearing XXL sweatshirts?  Umm…we have no clue!!  We both laugh and shudder to believe we actually dressed like this in Paris!

Fast forward to this year and I think I have improved my travelling wardrobe.  I’ll do another post about what I packed, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t stand out as an obvious tourist.  But I also didn’t look like a Parisian.  These women have an effortless style about them that is hard to describe, but I’ll try.  Chic, classic, simple, confident, basic, put together.   Just a few words that come to mind.

Before I tell you my favourite Parisian looks, I’ll tell you what I didn’t see:

  • really distressed denim
  • boyfriend jeans
  • off the shoulders tops (only worn by tourists)
  • too many patterns

I’m not saying these items are not being worn in Paris, but I just didn’t see them.

What did I see?

  • tailored pants/jeans – cigarette style in dark denim or black
  • cropped and flared pants – in linen
  • white tops – blouses and tees
  • simple dresses in solid colours
  • scarves
  • classic and simple purse or bag
  • ballet flats (yes, they really do wear them)
  • stylish sunglasses
  • dark blazer or fitted cardigan
  • solid colours or colour blocking

 

During our travels around the city, there were two Parisian women that stood out to me.

The first  wore a white tee, dark jeans, black and tan ballet flats and a dark blazer and carried a simple cross body purse.

The second had on a sleeveless dress, more of a tank style with a full skirt.  It was in a bright coral colour, and accessorized with a necklace and carried a classic tote style purse. The sandals were flat but with that slightly thicker sole that seems to be on trend right now.

Both women looked fantastic and although I couldn’t see myself wearing the bright coral dress, I could see myself recreating the look being with a more subtle colour.  I wasn’t able to take a picture of either of these ladies, but I found a few images on Pinterest that will show you how they looked:

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Shannon from Gamine & Stripes

 

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There are lots and lots of images and ideas on Pinterest (of course) if you need more inspiration.  I thought this this article summed it all up quite nicely.  I’m going to try and add a little more Paris to my wardrobe and since it’s actually quite simple, I should be able to find everything in my closet 🙂

 

linking up with: More Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna MarieElegantly FashionableHigh Latitude StyleGaray TreasuresStyle NudgeTwo Peas in a BlogFine Whatever BlogA Good HueWalking In Memphis in High HeelsThe Mummy ChroniclesPosh Classy MomThe Pleated PoppyThe Blended BlogGet Your Pretty OnSydney Fashion HunterClassy Yet TrendyElegance and MommyhoodThe Fab JourneyHappiness at Mid-life,Curly Crafty MomFashion Should Be Fun,Jo-Lynne ShaneNancy’s Fashion StylePosh Classy MomShelbee on the EdgeMs. Toody Goo Shoes

 

10+ things every vacation property needs

This is a pretty much a repost from last year.

With the May long weekend just behind us, cottages have been opened up and families are starting to make their summer plans.  Over the long weekend, we spent a couple nights at a cottage in a beach town not far from home.

While the cottage was cute and the location was fantastic, there were three main things that could have been improved upon:

  1.  All the beds were creaky and squeaky with saggy mattresses.   The double was actually a super single and there was only room for one.  It squeaked every time I rolled over.  The twin was a cool looking old fashioned metal bed, but it also had metal springs.  They squeaked every time my son rolled over.  The queen pullout sofa was from the early 80s, the mattress was super thin and sagged in the middle (think: Seinfeld episode).
  2. The windows had no coverings.  Or very little.  The front of the cottage faced East and we were treated with the morning sun at 5am.  I didn’t want to be awake at 5am.  We found some thumbtacks and hung up some sheets, but it wasn’t ideal.
  3. Lastly, the bed linens.  They were old, tired and musty.  If storing linens, make sure they are in a dry location and add some cedar balls or chips to keep them fresh and moth free.

Sleep is such an important part of every day life and it can make or break a vacation – especially with little ones.

So, with that said…

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Do you have a vacation home?  Do you rent it out?  Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage.  We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel.  Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!

From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.

Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off.  Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.

Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets.  Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.

Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin.  Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.

Curtains – think about which direction your windows face.  If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.

Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use.  Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower.  Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.

Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive.  It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.

Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have.  The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place.  A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.

First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.

Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying.  Do they need to clean before leaving?  Where is the electrical panel?  Where does the garbage and recycling go?  Dog friendly?   The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.

Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so.  Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.

Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do.  If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.

I watched  Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.

Whether you are an cottage owner or renter  this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience.   Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property  even better.

linking up with: The Pin JunkieDesign Dining and DiapersCurly Crafty Mom

 

 

My 5 favourite things to watch

]This is a re-post from last year.  Just because.

There are a few holiday shows, songs and videos that I love to watch over holidays. So, in no particular order here are my top 5 favourites:

  • The Holiday – what is not to love about this romantic comedy with two great leading ladies.

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  • The Year Without a Santa Claus – hello, Snow Miser and Heat Miser?  My kids are now not afraid of Heat Miser and they think it is the funniest song of all time.
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – thank you to the writers of this song for giving our family a theme song for Christmas. To hear it, click   here
  • Elf – Will Farrell is just hilarious

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  • So, this is Christmas by John Lennon – it is just a classic. Enough said.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

 

Graphic tees for Gifts

I can’t quite get enough of graphic tees.  They look so good on their own, with a cardigan, a blazer or even a blanket scarf.  I found all of these shirts while on my trip to Hawaii last month and I thought most all of these shirts would make great gifts!

Here’s a roundup of what I found:

This would be a fun shirt for your favourite beer drinker.
Cute top from Target.  It was less than $20 and it’s grey!

 

This top with the bowties was at Banana Republic.  I don’t remember the price, but thought it would be fun to wear during the holidays with a statement necklace and some black skinnies.
This tank would be perfect for those days….

 

Lastly, a great souvenir shirt for those who like the outdoors and have a sense of humour.

I’d be happy to receive a graphic tee for Christmas.  Would you?

linking up with: Jo-Lynne ShaneJaymie AshcraftFashion Should Be FunMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna Marie