Family Room Fabulous | Planning 01

I'd shared a couple of posts back (here) that much of my home needs updating, and more specifically I've started with my family room because we use it most.
I'm getting started this week and thought I'd fill you in on my plans. The staple elements that must stay are the two Ikea sofas, Karlstad, in leather. They wear wonderfully and are easy to wipe down. I'll keep the corner table and probably the ottoman as well. I'd love to do a new coffee table... something with a distressed wood base and a marble top but the comfort of being able to put your feet up wins out. I still love the light fixture but I'm open to moving it to another room and getting something new for this space. The last element is a moroccan shag area rug that's currently in my master bedroom. I think I'll move it into this space too.
Here's what the room used to look like before a shoot I did with Style at Home Mag. (photo courtesy of Tracey Ayton)
Elements I have for the space:
Tips for decorating a family friendly space:
  1. Specify finishes that are easy to clean. Leather, wood and washable fabrics are less likely to show wear. Glass tables mean endless fingerprints. Natural wood finishes hide dents and scratches much better than finished wood. 
  2. Keep the breakables to a minimum. I want my boys to feel comfortable in this space while still being respectful. So I've kept the really fragile items to a more formal living room area. 
  3. Give everyone a space to stash their things. Whether it be a lidded basket or a table with drawers rather than just a shelf. It enables us to keep clutter in it's place.
  4. Keep comfort in mind when selecting furniture. We often select furniture for our relaxed spaces that is anything but. A sofa that suits the way you'll use a space is an important consideration. An upholstered ottoman is inviting to put your feet up. Having a side table provides a space to set down drinks and snacks. Keeping a sturdy tray on the ottoman will provide a second space to set things down as well. 

I'll post more updates as they happen. Thanks as always for joining me. xo


Beauty Secrets Revealed

It's been said that we should always put our best foot forward... but truth be told we all want to put our best face forward as well. We all want to look young and fresh with healthy hydrated skin, but without guidance it's not always easy to achieve that.
I'm lucky to have found XO Treatment room. People are constantly asking me what my secret is... it's regular visits to Annie and the rest of the XO crew. I feel like I've never looked better.

Annie's mantra is to approach skin care with consistency and regular maintenance rather than desperate measures when it's too late. I'd have to agree with her. Since following her suggestions I'm happier than I've ever been with my complexion.

Four things I've implemented to achieve beautiful skin:

1. Skin Care Consult- I went in and saw Annie, XO's lead skin care expert. She helped by tailoring a very edited daily skin care regime. I had been going through multiple steps prior and spending a fortune on products that weren't benefitting me or my skin type. I'm now using the new Kat Rudu line. XO treatment room is the first and only skin care spa in Canada to carry this celeb cult, cruelty free, plant based, vegan skin care line. I love it and I've noticed differences in the texture and evenness of my skin tone. Plus it smells amazing.... like fruit, lazy sundays and unicorns.
2. I've been getting facials once every 4-8 weeks. The girls at XO suggest what to book based on what they feel with benefit me most at the time. I love receiving tailored care based on my needs.
3. I decided to have XO's Titan Up done. It's a non invasive skin tightening treatment that achieves astounding results with literally zero down time. For the treatment a wand is used over the face to conduct deep thermal heating of the dermal layer to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the skin. Maximum results show in 4-6 weeks.
4. My last item I cannot live without is the Marine Collagen supplement. Drastic results with this stuff as it strengthens nails, thickens hair and most importantly stimulates new collagen growth in skin.
Check out XO Treatment Room for yourself (here).
This post was sponsored by XO Treatment Room. All opinions, enthusiasm and gratitude is completely my own. I genuinely have loved every experience at XO.


Around Here | Family Room Update

Have you ever hit a home decor road block? The kind where you just don't bother to decorate at all? My family room and living room were used for a few different shoots last fall and sadly once dismantled were never put back together. I'm tired of looking at bare walls and sofas... but on the bright side, carte blanche is the best launching point.
I'll be updating my family room, sharing inspiration and a reveal over the next little while as I pull together a new look for this space on a budget. (See what it used to look like here) I'm going to try and shop my home and repurpose things but I might need to order a thing or two. I'll be pinning up a storm here. Follow along and give me your two cents.
So my inspiration doesn't veer far from what I always seem to do... white with tone on tone, taupe and grey with some black and metallic accents. It's ok to always love the same things. The space needs to remain family friendly. I'm not one to have a precious space that my boys can't actually use. Here's a peek at the current state of the space.

I will be keeping all of the furniture pieces and am contemplating a new light fixture but the truth is I still love the current one. I will need an area rug so the sofas stop slipping around. I'll make some decisions about these things in the next post and will share what I have on hand. Happy Memorial Day weekend American friends. xo


Peony Season

I think every single girl I know feels a sense of joy when peony season arrives. One of my favourite things to do is to pick up fresh flowers for myself on Friday afternoons. I was delighted to receive a surprise delivery of the most magnificent white peonies from Couture La Fleur this last friday.
I admired them all weekend, moving them around the house to my heart's content and was impressed that on day 4 they still look as fresh. I can't begin to tell how amazing they smell. They've delicately scented the whole main level. I love how all the icky stem stuff is hidden in that pretty hat box too.
Couture La Fleur also has the loveliest selection of roses. I already have my eye on a beautiful bouquet of pink ombre roses once peony season is over. But in the meantime I can't get enough of peonies... maybe I'll order myself some pink ones next!
Check out their selection under the shop tab on their site. Pssst- peonies are listed as 'feature floral'. Thanks Couture La Fleur. I love them. 

Sponsored by Couture La Fleur. Styling and opinions my own. 


Weekend Update

I've been feeling a little like I've been buried under paperwork lately. Getting ready for tax time is no joke, especially when like many of us, my files aren't necessarily the most organized. I've been running on empty and decided that this weekend would be about relaxing, a little indulging and some family/me time. 
Also I'm excited that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I do love how this fun festive little holiday celebrates love and perks up the doldrums of February. 
My first task on this chilly Saturday was groceries. I picked up some lovely pink blooms to brighten my day. I love how if trimmed just right they'll last all week and greet you every time you walk in the room.
Next up a trip to the optician. My little Lolly is an avid reader. He's so proud when he can sound out words all on his own and read through a whole book, but his eyes were often a little red. A trip to the eye doctor revealed he needed reading glasses.  He looks so cute in them I could eat him up.
Our Saturday continued to be busy prepping for a photo shoot with Dote Magazine tomorrow. LL also needed a haircut and this time I didn't feel like doing it. So off we went to the barber. In the hustle and bustle of the day I decided to treat the boys and myself to a pit stop at McDonald’s. No cooking for me tonight and I love that they have quick vegetarian options too.

I was surprised and delighted to find that until Feb 15th, McDonald’s has partnered with HarperCollins to swap out their Happy Meal toy with a limited edition book. There are four books altogether in the collection... and all four have a Valentine's Day theme and a little pull-out card in the back – so cute. Family reading time is really important to us around here so I love that McDonald’s is incorporating that and encouraging a love of reading in their happy meals. Lolly loved them too and was so pleased that Ethan got a Happy Meal and gave him his book. Another fun thing we discovered through these Happy Meal Books is that you can download little corresponding children’s activity sheets on their website (here). Lolly had a lot of fun exploring on their site. Talk about a happy outcome to Saturday. Tomorrow I plan on staying in pajamas all day. Thank goodness for the drive-thru because I've promised LL we can go back and get the second two books. Ha! 

Post sponsored by McDonald's all opinions my own.


The Art of Display | Match and Strike

I remember as a child gazing at the impressive array of matchbooks my grandmother had collected as mementoes on her many travels and displayed on her coffee table. I can vividly recall laying under the glass table and looking up through the bottom of the clear bowl that held the match books to see where they were from. The collection was like a diary documenting my grandparents adventures and seemed to cover the whole globe. I thought of this recently and decided to explore all things match related.
My friend Tommy Smythe has the most impressive collection of antique match strikes and a huge fish bowl of matches much like my grandparents had. I remember seeing it at the first Christmas party I attended in his magnificent home and being warm hearted with memories. I don't know if I ever told him but it certainly was a moment for me.
I too have intended to pick up my own matches in my travels, however, smoking has dwindled and so has the presence of the collector matchbook in restaurants and lobbies. I've noticed though that interesting matches and strikes can be purchased everywhere. I myself always keep my eye out for the elusive white tipped match. Design Darling sells a wide array, including white tipped ones (here
I love the simplicity of this strike/match combo from Domino (here). Perfect to take perch on a kitchen tray with a candle to banish overpowering cooking odours. 
If collecting matches isn't your thing you might instead be taken with this new original watercolour from the aesthete (here)
I love my jonathan adler strike (here)
The last interesting discovery... these matches are gloriously scented. Why you might ask? They delicately scent the space around them, and upon lighting they smell wonderful and subtle. Made by Cire Trudon, who've been in the candle business since 1643, you can trust that they're truly decadent.
I'm doing my best to look for matches now. I'm hopeful that perhaps one day I'll have a display as lovely as my grandmothers. In the meantime I'll thoroughly enjoy the variety that arrive in the mail. 
xo Erica


Tis the Season | A Post About Giving Back

As the holiday season approaches and we find ourselves wrapped in the hustle and bustle of preparing for our loved ones it's particularly heartwarming and fulfilling to give back to a charity that resonates with us. We all have things that touch our hearts, perhaps based on our own experiences. I've always thought that Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful organization. Once upon a time, several years ago I had a child in the ICU at the local Children's Hospital. It was a harrowing time, the stress and fear were unbearable. I never had to contemplate how it might have felt to experience this in an unfamiliar setting or city without the support of family or the comforts of home. This is what Ronald McDonald House provides... a home away from home for those with a sick child. It's the loving hug for a weary Mom or Dad to return to. It's a place that provides support staff to talk to when you're worried and overwhelmed, a sense of normalcy when sitting down to a home cooked meal, and relating to other parents going through similar experiences.
As you probably know, I'm a very loyal Fairmont family member too. I was touched to be invited to their annual Palliser Tree Of Hope night a few weeks back. In the lobby a beautiful tree is decorated with hand made cookie ornaments that can be purchased for $10- all proceeds going back to Ronald McDonald House. I love that the Fairmont Palliser offers support in this way; however, they also offer accommodation to extended family who wish to visit their sick child when the house has no more room and those parents that are displaced due to high occupancy at the house on Christmas Eve.
I was always taught as a child that when you do something kind you remain silent about it or it's no longer kind. My hope in sharing what I was able to arrange is that it might encourage others to donate too.
This year, with the help of the Fairmont Palliser and several other generous donations I was able to give back. I was told that sometimes toys are donated but rarely is there anything for the parents and family members of a sick child. I had the idea that I could donate 23 gift bags, one for each room at Ronald McDonald House, so that everyone staying at the House had a gift on Christmas day. As I reached out to people with my idea I was so happy to find that others liked this idea too and wanted to be included. Each bag was carefully filled by several generous donors, some who wish not to be named. I was delighted to have actually pulled this off and that with the help of the Fairmont Palliser and The Tree of hope this may bring a small bit of joy to those who need it.

More about donating to Ronald McDonald House [here]
Ronald McDonald House also has a wishlist [here]
The Fairmont Palliser offers a stay that donates a portion of proceeds back to RMH [here]

Donations received from:
  1. Fairmont Palliser An assortment of Le Labo products and Teas
  2. Dote Magazine Fall/Winter issue
  3. Holt Renfrew Calgary Luxury size perfume samples 
  4. Five other sources who wish to remain unnamed (bath, body, and personal care products)
I can't wait to hear how the bags are received.

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