As I shared previously, we recently moved our family from a 2000 square foot semi-detached home to a 6000 square foot cabin in the woods (that is walking distance to a Starbucks)! I still cannot believe we have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful space.
We are also very excited to make our space our own. I have so many fun décor projects up my sleeve and I cannot wait to share them with all of you! But before we can get to the pretty, I wanted to make sure the house was safe. Today, I am teaming up with the Electrical Safety Authority, the administrative authority mandated by the Government of Ontario to enhance electrical safety in the province, to highlight some of the things you want to keep in mind when you are making your home your own.
With a family as large as mine (I don’t even want to tell you how much my family of 6 kids spends on groceries every week), I have to make very careful decisions with my budget to make every decorating dollar count. For me, this includes DIY-ing whatever I have the time, the energy, and the skill for- which often includes things like painting, hanging art, and assembling furniture (I painted my laundry room ceiling at 2am while 7 months pregnant to finish it for a photoshoot!)
But there are a few things I will never mess around with from a DIY point of view, and this includes anything electrical. Electrical work is complicated and, in most cases, it is an important part of any renovation plan. But did you know that if you hire an unlicensed electrician and something goes wrong, you’re responsible? And, if an insurance claim can be traced back to work that was performed by an unlicensed electrician, the claim may be denied. If you are hiring someone to do electrical work in Ontario, by law they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
So, one of the first things we did in our new home was to have my Licensed Electrical Contractor in to tidy up the MANY random wires that were very precariously hanging in multiple areas. Our new house, while new to us, is over 50 years old and has plenty of evidence of that fact. In the area I am going to use as an office, we had a bouquet of wires sprouting from the wall with zero knowledge of what was live and what was not. My Licensed Electrical Contractor was able to tidy them up safely.
Good bye messy cables! Come back soon for the after!
Another project I am so excited about is installing an electric fireplace in our master bedroom. The house is surrounded by so much nature, and has incredible natural light. Unfortunately, with the age of the home and the windows, it means drafty rooms are a reality, and the warmth and ambiance an electric fireplace will bring this space is really going to increase our comfort. When planning for your fireplace, either electric or gas, there are specific electrical requirements. Under the advisement of our Licensed Electrical Contractor, we are going to have a dedicated circuit for the fireplace installed. This will help to ensure that the the circuit breaker won’t trip when the heater is operating. Here’s a peek at what I am thinking for the bedroom:
I can’t wait to share this finished space with you so soon! It’s a bit of a departure for me design wise, embracing the whole cabin in the woods aesthetic, but I’m pretty excited about it!
While I love the beauty a new renovation can bring, what’s most important to me especially where my family is concerned, is the safety and integrity of what’s behind all the beauty. With this sentiment in mind, I was excited to see my long time mentor and friend Kimberley Seldon (remember her beautiful magazine Dabble that I was a regular contributor to?) partner with the Electrical Safety Authority for its Power Your Reno program. It’s an online resource that provides homeowners and design enthusiasts with the tools they need to create beautiful -– and safe -– home renovations.
On March 17th, ESA is hosting a panel discussion titled “Behind the Walls” at the National Home Show in Toronto featuring designer Kimberley Seldon, CityLine host Tracey Moore, and electrical safety expert Steve Smith. Kimberley and Steve will share tips to achieve a home reno that is on-trend and powered to perform. To learn more about the panel, click here.
Thanks to the Electrical Safety Authority for partnering with me on this sponsored post.
Self-care has been big time on my mind as we have been recovering from moving houses- and I am soaking it in in all forms! As a mom of a bunch of small kids (and pregnant on top of it) I must say I need to sit down at least ten times a day!
In my pursuit of my own self-care I've been thinking a lot about why self-care is important when you're a mom.
I used to struggle with the concept of self-care so much. I felt so bad leaving my kids with someone else, I felt bad "abandoning" them, I felt selfish for doing small things for me. In the past, I basically let the lack of paying attention to my own needs pile up for so long I would snap and then my husband would send me on an imposed time out ????
But here are my two cents and please feel free to disagree with me:
What I have learned in nine years of motherhood of 6 young children, is that for me to be a good mom, I need to pay attention to what feeds my soul and restores my energy.
It doesn't need to be a weekend away, or a full day at the spa or what have you (although these are obviously nice from time to time if logistics allow it!) but small things, like a coffee alone, or a quick mani/pedi while my parents watch the kids for an hour, or 15 minutes on the treadmill, or even just strapping the kids in the car and getting the most decadent coffee possible, these small, regular things are so important. But the key is that there is regularity- not just stockpiled until we crack. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Struggle?
So in the pursuit of making time for self-care more of a priority, I have compiled my list of my favourite spots to relax in Toronto when I am tired and really need a break. Like I said above, if you can budget a full spa day that's amazing. But if you can't, a 30-minute manicure can be really helpful too- it doesn't have to be all or nothing!!!
On to my favourite spots (and please add to them in the comments below!)
1. RH Courtyard Cafe, Yorkdale Mall
RH's new Toronto location just opened a few months ago at Yorkdale Mall and it is a work of art. Not only is the retail store a restorative place to dream big (with big price tags, lol!), attached to the location is an equally breathtaking cafe. I ate the scrambled eggs and avocado with a delicious Americano, to the sound of indoor fountains and basked in natural light. It's also a super fun place to people watch- it attracts all kinds, from high end interior designers hosting meetings with their clients, to older ladies who lunch, to younger ladies with their babies, to the millennial fashion crowd with all their Nordstrom bags. It's a fun treat for all the senses!
2. Her Majesty's Pleasure
In all honesty, in the rare times I do go to get my nails done it is at my local spot with florescent lighting, 30-minute service, adorned with posters of 1980's nail models. But if I really want a treat, I will venture downtown to Her Majesty's Pleasure, another treat for all the senses (sans florescent lighting) with its beautiful design, delicious cocktails and coffee, and ability to get your nails, hair, makeup, whatever will make a mama feel her best, done in one stop. Pair this with a date night downtown, or girls night on King Street for a fun couple of hours sans the kiddos.
3. Sugar Beach
This fairly recent addition to Toronto's waterfront is cute and quaint. Honestly, I come here for the pink umbrellas. This is a nice spot in the summer to bring your Starbucks, and a book, for a quick restorative break.
4. Indigo at Sherway Gardens
I love me any Indigo location, but I REALLY love the Sherway Gardens location, which opened last year, and was designed as an art-gallery inspired "cultural department store." And it really is so much more than a bookstore. It's another spot to just get lost in inspiration, with an entire section dedicated to gifts for her, from gorgeous scarves, to leather handbags, to the most incredible selection of paper products, to all the monogrammed mugs an Instagram mom can dream up. It's just a delightful place to retreat and recharge your inspiration battery.
So while it isn't exactly spa-like in its environment, a HomeSense location to me is such a fun place to unwind, not think, and hunt for treasures. I recently talked about the "thrill of the find" concept over on my Instagram stories, and it seems like quite a few of you agree with me- that browsing a HomeSense, looking for fun unique things at great prices is actually RELAXING. I LOVE IT. And while it sometimes requires a bit of physical stamina to make it (I don't know about you but the locations I go to almost always have LONG lines), the thrill of the find and the fun of looking for beautiful things (and saving money all at the same time) is a strangely relaxing ritual for me.
What about you? Where do you like to go in Toronto when you need a little mom break? Let me know in the comments below.
All images from retailers websites, or my own!