While department stores and boutiques are showcasing gorgeous spring fashion in florals, pastels and lightweight fabrics, I’m over here contemplating layers, warmth and wool.  While ‘Snowmageddon’ is currently taking place in YYC, literally as I type this, I’m thinking more winter footwear than strappy sandals.  Pre-kids I took a lot of pleasure in purchasing footwear that was both beautiful and on trend, but not always the most practical.  My Valentino Chelsea boots can’t handle the gravel at the park, and my Jimmy Choo embellished combat boots don’t combat the snow.  So this winter I’ve been getting a touch more practical, but no less fashionable (okay, maybe very, very slightly less fashionable).  In light of the astonishing amount of snow we’re receiving I thought I’d go over some of my most recent and long-time tried and true winter boot choices, as well as some choices that I’ve heard first hand to be amazing.

  1. J. Crew Nordic Boots – I’ve been coveting these bad boys for a couple of years, and recently got my mitts (pun intended) on them.  The look is so perfect for Aprés ski, but the shearling and the hiking boot soles get me to and fro the park in one piece.
  2. Woolrich Waterproof Hiking Boot – While I have yet to try out the Woolrich hiking boot, friends and online reviews rave about the quality,  the performance and how lightweight they are.  Not to mention how incredibly fabulous they appear.
  3. Frye Samantha Hiker – While I have not purchased a pair of these Frye winter boots, I have a couple of other pairs of Frye boots that I swear by.  They are completely worth the price point, the quality is unparalleled, and the look is oh so winter-chic.  You can bet that these beauties will be on my list for next season.
  4. Sorel ‘Joan of Arctic’ Waterproof Snow Boot – I’ve had these boots for years now, as well as a couple of other styles of Sorel’s too.  The brand and the quality are tried, tested and true.  I can remember my parents purchasing Sorel’s for us when we were kids in the 80s, I distinctly remember an all white pair as well as a neon pink/blue/yellow pair.  These are the boots I pull out for those wicked storms we receive and I always pack them for the ski hill.  I particularly love this style because of the height of the shaft of the boot.
  5. Kodiak Surrey Waterproof Boot – I’ve heard so many fabulous reviews on Kodiak boots and this pair is water resistant and slip-proof.  There’s Thinsulate to keep those toes nice and toasty, and I love the red laces that give it some added oomph in the style department.
  6. UGG Fraser Genuine Shearling Water Resistant Boot – I’ve had the classic pair of UGG’s in the past, and they were so incredibly warm.  I always found the problem to be the lack of grip on the sole and water stains on the boot itself.  So I have high hopes for this pair of UGGs that offers water resistance and a thicker sole.  I can feel the warmth just by looking at them.
  7. Blundstone Unisex THE WINTER Waterproof Boots – I just got a pair of these blundies this winter and I’m so in love.  The Thinsulate soles keep my feet warm and toasty, they’re seam sealed and waterproofed, and with heavy duty tread on the bottom they allow me to run over ice and through puddles.  Pairing them with some rustic cabin socks overtop your pants give an extra chic look.

Amongst all of the New Years resolutions of eating better, working out, getting fit, and losing the baby weight, it’s also the end of January.  The weather is subarctic with no end in sight, and cravings for comfort food are at all an time high.  I don’t know about any of you but every time I walk past the Cinnabon kiosk in the mall, I immediately start salivating.  So it was on a particularly chilly day that a craving for something sweet hit and I came across this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake.  I can’t even begin to explain how decadently delicious this cheesecake is.  It honestly tastes like a cinnamon bun in cheesecake form, more specifically, a Cinnabon cinnamon bun.  So while my summer body is not on fleek right now, my tastes buds are in seventh heaven.  And that’s what we call balance.

I still cannot believe that our baby girl is two.  TWO!  It’s surreal to accept that time has passed that quickly.  The changes that can happen in a year are completely mind blowing, and absolutely humbling.  I love this age, while it comes with an abundance of challenges, seeing her develop into her own is magical.  She has dozens and dozens of words, she’s sassy and sweet and smart, she can run like the wind, and her enthusiasm for life, puppies and snacks makes my heart burst.  But it’s when she says, “I love you Mommy” that makes time stand still, brings tears to my eyes and makes me wish I could freeze her exactly as she is.

Our Eloise is currently in a puppy phase (ironically just as both of our actual dogs have passed), and the Disney movie Bolt is at the top of her list.  So when I asked her what kind of party she wanted she enthusiastically demanded, a puppy birthday party.  I initially thought about doing a Winter Wonderland theme, playing off the Christmas decor that was already set up in my parent’s home.  When you see all the beautifully decorated and executed toddler parties on other blogger’s sites, it’s hard to relinquish the power and give in to the requests of your toddler.  But, how can you say no to that sweet face?  The most challenging aspect of planning her a party on the actual date is the proximity to Christmas.  Out sweet little bean was born on December 23rd, so amongst the Christmas planning, baking, decorating, and wrapping, adding another event to prep and plan for is a touch overwhelming.

Thankfully we have the best group of family and friends that made it a priority to carve out time in the busy Christmas hustle to come and celebrate with Eloise, brutal snowstorm and all.  I made cookies and cake pops and chocolate bark.  Tried to stay on theme, but also execute everything in a timely manner.  Thank goodness my little sister was also staying at my parent’s place or I never would have gotten it all done.  Despite Eloise claiming my cake pops looked more Mickey Mouse than Bolt I know her day was as perfect as it comes for a two year old.  Having everyone that loves her most in one place at one time filled both our hearts, and made me realize it does take a village, and I’m so grateful for the one I have.

An easy and ridiculously delicious dessert that is a go-to for me is homemade chocolate bark.  You can jazz it up with sprinkles, candies and various colours to compliment the theme you’re going for.  The recipe I use every time is this one by Sweetapolita.

I struggled with wanting to get a picture perfect bakery cake, to be the centre piece of the party.  But when I realized I would be doing it only for myself I let go of the vision of the ‘perfect Pinterest’ party.  Eloise’s absolute favourite dessert in the entire world is ice cream.  Why would I deny her that on her birthday?!

All designer dresses were removed before indulging in the cake.  Obviously.

No birthday party is complete without a little take home for the attendees, and we made ‘doggy bags’ for Eloise’s guests to take away with them.

When the summer months roll in I get an unexplained craving for ice cream.  Every.  Single.  Damn.  Day.  There’s nothing I love more than the homemade variety, and with the farmer’s markets in full swing in and around Calgary, the fresh fruit options are endless.  Blueberries are at their peak right now, and when my man came home with a box big enough to last us the rest of summer I knew I needed to find a recipe to use them. I actually tested two different recipes, one using the Philadelphia method of making ice cream, and one using the French method.  French won out and I went with this recipe that was the right combination of creamy and decadent while spotlighting the fresh blueberry flavour.  Ice cream cones post lunch, snack time and dinner from now until September.

I love everything about books and reading, and it’s a love that I hope to pass along to my children.  I’ve yet to succumb to the Kindle or any other sort of digital book as I love the feel, smell and look of a physical book.  Yet when I went to decorate my daughter’s nursery I couldn’t get past how the brightly coloured books clashed with the calming decor that encompassed the rest of her room.  Now the purpose isn’t to cover all the books, she has a bookshelf within her closet that is stacked full of brightly coloured literature.  But for the few books that were being used in the bookshelves outside the closet I wondered what to do to make them more cohesive with the rest of the space.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen displays in children’s rooms with books of all colours and sizes that look incredible.  For what I was trying to achieve with the look and feel of the nursery the brightly coloured books just seemed out of place.

I thought a lot about what to use to cover the books, and I remembered I had small scraps of beautiful wallpaper leftover from areas in my home that matched the decor of the nursery exactly.  Problem solved.

I covered the books in the same way you would a gift box, using tape so at any point I can easily uncover the books without damage.

The finished product turned out so well, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  If you don’t want to cover your books there are used bookstores like Fair’s Fair Books in Calgary that has vintage or classic bound books that would look fabulous lining the shelves of a children’s room.