Five for Friday: Bright Points of the Week

August 29, 2014

Hey, friends! We’re heading into the final long weekend of Summer and I must admit I’m not happy about it. I feel like we just got into our beach-touring groove and then suddenly the days got shorter and the evenings got cooler…noooo! Like all good things, even Summer must end but I won’t give up our beach days without a fight. We’re heading out for a weekend of camping with friends tomorrow (or the next day, weather dependant) and I’m still overly optimistic that the soggy forecast is wrong…the sun will burn off those huge clouds, right? Still no word if school is starting next week as teachers have been on strike since June, (ugh!) which is leaving us in somewhat of a limbo.  Love our teachers but the kiddos have been home long enough. Seriously. But onto brighter things, these beauties caught my eye this week because, I mean, how could they not?!

1. I immediately downloaded this awesome desktop theme from Design Love Fest as soon as I saw it. Can you tell I’m ready to get back to work?

Our Heiday | Design Love FestOur Heiday | Design Love Fest

2. Red Envelope sent me this awesome dipped serving bowl and matching utensils as a housewarming present and it’s been a bright spot on our table all summer! It also comes in an amazing emerald green colour and is on mega sale right now…check it out here:

Birch + Bird | Dipped serving bowl from Red EnvelopeDipped Wooden Serving Bowl | Red Envelope

3. We’ve been in the height of wedding season with our Spruce Vintage Rentals division of the shop so I’m always on the lookout for fresh event inspiration and this floral chandelier is seriously the bomb…love!!

Greer Gattuso Photography | The Not Wedding New Orleans via RuffledGreer Gattuso Photography | The Not Wedding New Orleans via Ruffled

4. I’m beyond thrilled (and entirely envious of her talents, in a good way!) that my partner Jessica just launched an amazing line of illustrated prints in her shiny new shop, Acorn Atelier. I need one of each, no joke!

Acorn Atelier | Jessica MacDonaldAcorn Atelier | Jessica MacDonald

5. I’ll need a good detox after this summer of fun but the good news is that it’s technically summer for a few more weeks and this cocktail looks divine…bottoms up ;)

Grapefruit Sage Mimosa | Shannon KirstenGrapefruit Sage Mimosa | Shannon Kirsten

Do you have big plans for this last Labour Day hurrah? Enjoy, be safe and cheers to the freakin’ weekend…I’ll drink to that ;)

* Disclaimer : I was gifted this beautiful serving bowl set from Red Envelope but all opinions are my own…and always will be :)

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All Hung Up: Cozy Hanging Chairs

August 25, 2014

Oh. My. How’s that for dropping off the radar?! I didn’t mean to take such a huge blogging hiatus (at all!) but we got into a pretty good Summer groove over here and I think I really just needed a good break from the world wide web. I was starting to feel like all of the creative wonderfulness out there was just starting to blend together (you know, like when too many well-dressed people are in a room together and no one truly stands out) and have quite honestly been in quite the creative slump…can anyone relate? I think I’m coming out of it (I’ve finally started hanging art around our house and had a lot of fun styling a recent shoot for the shop) but I’ve definitely pulled back from social media and Pinterest over the past few months to try and clear my head. While I still have a mild Instagram addiction, I’m determined to fill more of my spare time with reading actual books instead of scrolling through endless images and I’d really love to pick up a new skill or two in the year to come. But I do need to find myself a cozy reading corner to coax me into sitting down and I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for a vintage hanging chair. Pretty sure my kiddos would soon take it over but a girl can dream! Here are some beauties that have caught my eye:

Marsel Roothman Photography for The Pretty Blog.Marsel Roothman Photography | The Pretty Blog

A House in the HillsTwo’s Company Hanging Rattan Chair | A House in the Hills

Hammock Chair DIY | A Beautiful MessHammock Chair DIY | A Beautiful Mess

Decor Envy | Houzz via Avenue LifestyleDecor EnvyHouzz via Avenue Lifestyle

DIY Hanging Chair | The Merry ThoughtDIY Hanging Chair | The Merry Thought

Oh Happy Day | Photo by Ashley BatzOh Happy Day | Photo by Ashley Batz

Cozy, right? Can you recommend any good books that you read over the summer? My friend Julia gave me The Orphan Master’s Son and it was really great…dark at times but super interesting.  And is there a skill that you’d like to learn to retrain your tech-addicted brain? I’ve got calligraphy and learning to play guitar on my short-term bucket list for now. Thanks for checking in and I’ll be back to chat again soon :)

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Five for Friday: Impressive Makeovers

July 25, 2014

Hello again! I’m back, just in time for the weekend…perfect timing ;) We had an awesome time away at our friends’ island cabin last weekend but it’s been back to real life/work/kids this week. Coming back from holidays is always a bit of a downer, right? It’s been raining too, which hasn’t helped, but there’s sunshine in the forecast and I’m hoping to sit lakeside/riverside/poolside somewhere (anywhere!) with the kiddos over the next few days. I’d also like to finally unpack the last of our moving boxes because our empty walls are starting to feel a little scary. Not sure what my deal is this time ’round (seriously, it’s been over 2 months since we moved in!) but it’s high time I break out of my decorating slump and get this show on the road! These impressive makeovers did help me feel some motivation this week:

1. Jordan’s dining room makeover makes a solid argument for painting out wood, beautiful though it may be:

Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day | Photo: Paul Ferney
 Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day | Photo by Paul Ferney
 

2. I love everything about this black + white bathroom renovation, especially the floors:

29th Ave Bathroom Makeover | Capree Kimball29th Ave Bathroom Makeover | Capree Kimball via Poppytalk
 

3. This desert patio space is simply made for entertaining:

 
Patio Makeover | A House in the Hills
Patio Makeover | A House in the Hills
 

5. My Instagram feed was full of this incredible space, Lombardi House, last night. It’s a new event venue in Hollywood (naturally)…so amazing!

 
Lombardi HouseLombardi House
 

5. Dana’s mudroom turned dining/laundry/everything room is the perfect combination of form meets function for busy family living:

 
Mudroom Makeover | House Tweaking
Mudroom Makeover | House Tweaking
 

Any projects or home renos in your future? Or are you putting them off like I am? Summer’s a tough one…sometimes it’s just easier to pour another cocktail than it is to hang a picture, just sayin’! Cheers to the weekend :)

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Five for Friday: Great DIY’s, Renos + Cozy Spaces

July 18, 2014

Man, this week went fast…anyone else feel the same? After being out of commission for the past several weeks, I’ve been so happy to be feeling better that I packed a tonne into the last few days, maybe even a bit too much judging by how late the kiddos have been sleeping in! Our weather has just been so awesome that it felt like a shame to miss out on being outdoors for even a moment!  My girls were in gymnastics camp each afternoon too (fun for them but a lot of extra running around for me) and I’m looking forward to unplugging and enjoying some downtime this weekend. We’re heading off to our friends’ cabin on Lasqueti Island and cannot wait! It’s rustic and off the grid but there’s nothing like being by the ocean to recharge, agreed? Before we head for the ferry, here are some links I’ve loved this week:

1. I’ve always been a sucker for anything indigo (my collection of mismatched blue and white china is a little out of hand) and these DIY placemats by Lovely Indeed would look right at home on my dining table:

DIY Indigo Shibori Dyed Placemats | Lovely IndeedDIY Indigo Shibori Dyed Placemats | Lovely Indeed
 

2. Daniel Kanter recently tackled this amazing bathroom reno for actress Ana Gasteyer and the Pineapple Print wallpaper (Anna Bond/Rifle Paper Co. for Hygge & West) totally stole the show:

Bathroom reno by Manhattan Nest | Rifle Paper Co. Pineapple WallpaperBathroom reno by Manhattan Nest | Rifle Paper Co. Pineapple Wallpaper
 

3. How awesome is this DIY Modern Cooler makeover by Almost Makes Perfect? I feel like I should make one of these for every beach-loving friend I know:

DIY Modern Cooler | Almost Makes Perfect
DIY Modern Cooler | Almost Makes Perfect
 

4. We’ve had the same pine sleigh bed since we got married 13 years ago and I am so over it. I don’t want to pay a tonne on a new bed frame and haven’t found any new and exciting DIY headboard ideas but this bed frame project by Apartment Therapy looks simple, quick and super cheap to do…just my style! :

DIY Upholstered Bed Frame | Apartment Therapy
 
DIY Upholstered Bed Frame | Apartment Therapy
 

5. I spotted this adorable home tour over on A Beautiful Mess and after the busy week I’ve had, can totally picture curling up under this amazing quilt:

Cozy bedroom | Home of Elizabeth Morrow for A Beautiful MessHome of Elizabeth Morrow | A Beautiful Mess
 

We’re heading out first thing tomorrow for a few days of swimming in the sea and campfire cookouts so I’ll be back to chat sometime middle of next week. Cheers!

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Fresh Faced: My Skin Care Regime

July 16, 2014

Hey there, hope you’re all beating the heat! We went off the grid this weekend (literally and figuratively!) and spent a fun-and-sun-filled few days jaunting between local lakes and rivers with friends and their families…it was awesome! Felt so great to be out in nature, kids running wild and we are beyond blessed to have so many great families in our lives. Hooray for Summer!

Now, I’m by no means a beauty blogger but I have lived with crazy skin for the majority of my life and thought I’d switch things up here a little by sharing some products that have changed my skin for the better. It’s always great to hear real-life product reviews, don’t you think? I have always had combination skin (you know that ideal mix of oily shine, flaky dry patches and just the right amount of breakouts to keep things interesting) and despite my assumptions that I would grow out of it before I hit my 30′s, sadly that just didn’t happen. The fine lines did, however (I just turned 35 last month ) and there’s nothing lamer than tackling wrinkles while combatting adult acne! But through word-of-mouth from friends, product reviews and even my doctor’s advice I have managed to finally achieve pretty decent skin with the help of some great products, although I did have to expand my search outside of the drugstore aisles. It will never be perfect (and I’m ok with that) but on the off-chance that several of you may have had similar skin struggles, it just wouldn’t be fair not to share so here goes! (Side note: If you were born with naturally glowing, clear, age-defying skin, this post is not for you but I won’t hold it against you ;)

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Drink Water! | Photo by Rikki Snyder | http://rikkisnyder.com/blog/13463932/waterPhoto by Rikki Snyder

Drink up: Obviously, water is our best friend when it comes to health + weight loss and I have been drinking a lot of it over the past couple of months. I drink a big glass first thing in the morning, usually mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (definitely an acquired taste!) or half a lemon squeezed in. This has really helped me keep my weight on track and my skin has been much clearer from the dreaded acne too.  Not sure about the apple cider vinegar? Just do a Google search to read the endless health benefits! I also try to drink one green smoothie per day, exercise regularly and have cut back on processed foods and sugar as much as possible with my busy lifestyle.

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Cleansing Products

So fresh + so clean: I swear by Norwex face cleansing cloths (you have to purchase them through a consultant but I’ve had the same 3 for almost 5 years and honestly haven’t used eye makeup remover since!) and invested in a Clarisonic Mia a year and a half ago…love it! It gently exfoliates (I use the deep pore replacement brush heads) and has really helped with those gross flaky patches. I usually wash my face with cleanser and a Norwex cloth first before going over it with the Clarisonic for the timed amount of time after (I feel like this helps my replacement brushes stay clean from makeup and last longer).

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | MD Formulations

My first “grown up” skin products: My good friend Julia has been my beauty mentor forever and recently recommended an anti-aging skincare line, MD Formulations, that really worked for her. Although we have very different skin, I took a gamble and purchased my own kit anyway and was really happy with how my skin looked after using it for a few weeks…even Brad and several close friends commented on it! There are a number of steps for day and night (which initially felt much more complex than my usual $12 grocery store moisturizer but is no big deal now) but I really like how they target specific skin (especially the eye area) and I couldn’t believe how supple my skin felt…pretty sure it had been dehydrated for years, actually! The daytime antioxidant creme and serum are very lightweight, as is the sunscreen, and I felt like my skin looked more luminous without looking greasy…big thumbs up! On the downside, I did break out for the first week or so (boo…although we were in the midst of moving so stress could very well have played a factor in that) and the nighttime anti-aging serum smells really weird.

 

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Optimera Product ReviewOptimera

My second “grown up” facial creams, Optimera: Shortly after I ordered my first real skincare kit, I was invited to meet one-on-one with Marie Bertrand, Skin Scientist and founder of the Skin Science clinic in Calgary, to learn about the newly launched Optimera line of skincare products. We were hosting an event at the store that day so I couldn’t meet with Marie but agreed to try some samples of the product anyway (hey, why not?!) and I was very surprised to receive two full size bottles in the mail a week later. I waited to try them out (as I’d just started the other line) but it was definitely worth the wait! You can read much more about this plant-based line here but (in a nutshell) these creams are the only products on the market to include the exclusive SAL-14 extract which is a combination of various botanicals produced from cutting-edge plant cell duplication technology. It’s formulated to significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, uneven skin texture, enlarged pores and aging/loose skin. In addition to the signs of aging, Optimera also claims to improve radiance, elasticity, and the smooth appearance of skin…sounds too good to be true, right? I admit I was skeptical (I mean, even my previous drugstore brands claimed to work miracles!) but I honestly loved both of these products. The day cream is light and leaves my skin feeling smooth and moisturized all day, without being greasy, and I really like the thicker feel of the night cream…it actually feels slightly tight when it dries, almost like a mask. My skin tone felt much more even after using these for only a week and I didn’t break out at all, something very rare for me when using new products! They smell great and the Optimera products were developed without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic colors, propylene glycol, mineral oils, or synthetic fragrances. They are also gluten free and cruelty free, noncomedogenic and ideal for all skin types. I will definitely keep using these creams and although they’re pricey, would totally recommend them!

Adult Acne, boo: Now, I don’t have a pretty picture but I do keep a prescription of Clindoxyl on hand for hormonal acne flare-ups (always be prepared) and it’s a game-changer if you’re prone to breakouts. Thankfully I don’t have to use it regularly anymore but it works like a charm for the face, chest and back. Talk to your doctor about this one!

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Makeup Faves

Best Face Forward: I’m not one to go out of the house without makeup but I also like to keep things looking as natural as possible. When battling oily skin, I’ve totally been guilty of caking the powder on too thick (which always backfires) but it’s a habit I’m definitely trying to break. It’s summer so I forgo foundation and use a medium coverage concealer for any dark circles or blemishes, followed by a mineral based correcting powder (I’m currently using this one). My must-have product is Tarte’s Oil Absorbing Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder…honestly, any of you oily/combination skinned girls can thank me later! Just a light dusting soaks up any extra shine, minimized pores and usually lasts me all day. I’ll touch it up if I’m going out but seriously, I used to have to wash my face and redo my makeup if I had evening plans so this was a game changer! A quick sweep of bronzer and maybe a bit of blush (Nars Orgasm is my favourite, duh) and I’m good to go. What about my eyes, you might ask? I actually get eyelash extensions (gasp!) and looove them! They’re totally low maintenance (I go for a fill every 3-4 weeks, depending, and my friend Keely does an amaaaazing job!) and although I might add a sweep of eyeliner or shadow if I’m feeling fancy, I otherwise only use it teeny bit of mascara on my lower lashes. There, the secret’s out ;)

 

Phew, that took a lot longer than I imagined it would but I hope my skincare journey helps at least a few of you on yours! Enjoy your day and don’t forget the sunscreen :)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any product or company for this post. Although I did receive samples of Optimera free of charge, my review is unbiased and is 100% based on my own experience with these products. All other products mentioned were purchased by myself and reviews are based on my personal experiences. Please talk to a doctor regarding any prescriptions or skincare conditions…I am no expert by any means! 

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