2.07.2016

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! 

1.14.2016

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

12.19.2015

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.


12.08.2015

Festive With Fairmont

The holidays are just around the corner and every year, despite wanting to be on top of it all, I seem to scramble last minute. This year, I decided I wasn't going to do that to myself. In an attempt to make tackling my list a positive experience, I did a little research online and discovered the Fairmont Palliser has a special Holiday Stay plus Shopping package. I was even more excited to find out that there was an added incentive of receiving a $75 gift card for every night's stay to be used at the Core Shopping Centre (or Chinook Centre/CrossIron Mills). 

I'm a loyal Fairmont fan. I love that they have LeLabo products in the rooms. The beds are incredibly comfy and the staff truly makes your experience feel like a home-away-from-home. I've stayed at several Fairmont properties across Canada and it just so happens that the Palliser here in Calgary feels a bit like a castle. All of this considered, I booked online without hesitation and told the boys to pack their bags. 
We checked in on Friday and were welcomed to our room with warmed cookies, hot chocolate and a little Moet for the adults. The addition of a little holiday decor made the space feel very homey. 



It was a beautiful crisp sunny day so we decided to walk to the Core and take a look around. I was able to find an amazing gift for my Mom right away. I've been looking for a grey hat forever for myself too.... they just happened to have one at Club Monaco. The boys thoroughly enjoyed browsing books and toys at Indigo and I was able to do some intel on what they might be hoping for and even purchase a few things when they weren't looking. 

We returned and were welcomed in the Fairmont Gold Penthouse Lounge for a complimentary array of canap├ęs, cheeses, breads, and pastries. We posted up in the comfiest armchairs and marveled at the beautiful view of twinkling lights across the city skyline. 
From there, we were ready to turn in and snuggle up in front of a holiday movie back in our room and discuss our plans for the next day. 

Saturday morning started with breakfast in the Penthouse Lounge. It was such a civilized start to the day. I sat, sipping a latte, note paper in hand, and jotted down any items remaining on my list. 
My shopping was a complete success. We were excited to make an afternoon out of visiting the pool facilities and there was even a quick spa visit for me. 

Dinner reservations awaited us in The Rimrock Dining Room that night and we enjoyed every moment. We found ourselves too stuffed to eat another bite and our server kindly offered to send us back to our room with the most darling take away mini cheesecakes in mason jars. At this point, I snuck away to my room to indulge in the most dignified gift-wrapping... sipping hot chocolate, enjoying bites of cheesecake and cookies and laughing along with Christmas Vacation playing in the background. 

This may go down as the best holiday of my life and it's only the first week of December. 
At this point, when my wrapping was complete and the boys were all quietly reading, little Lolly already asleep, Luke and I decided to have a night cap down in The Oak Room Lounge. The best part of this... when you're staying in the hotel, the weather outside might be frightful, but you never have to step foot outside. I was able to bring the prettiest open toe shoes and show off a fresh pedicure from the RnR Wellness spa for our little date. It's the little things. And after all, I had every right to celebrate my shopping list being complete! 
The Oak Room has the worlds best garlic truffle fries, signature cocktail list and the prettiest copper tables. 
Sunday morning was so relaxed. I felt like I hadn't a single worry in the world. We indulged in the most amazing brunch on the main level and before we knew it, it was time to return home. We discussed our favourite moments of the weekend and all agreed there were too many lovely experiences to single out just one. This seriously got me to thinking, how amazing would it be to stay here Christmas Eve or for New Years Eve? I was amazed to find out that most of the special dining events are nearly sold out! This would be the most treasured place to be at that time of year, and perhaps, the weekend we had just might be a tradition for years to come. 
Learn more about the Fairmont Palliser and their shopping package here

11.25.2015

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

If you're anything like me, I spend so much time on prep of the actual meal and setting up that often times table decor is left to the last minute. This year (Canadian Thanksgiving is in Oct) I was able to pull together a lovely table scape. Always a fan of keeping things simple, I ran a row of little white mini pumpkins down the centre of the table. Of course I forgot to get a picture. In the meantime I also saw so many lovely images via instagram. I had to share. Love the simplicity of Tracey Ayton's table below. Simple black napkins and white pumpkins. It doesn't get any better.
This is so very pretty, quick and easy. A tray with some greenery, stemware, a punch or mixed drink with a blackberry garnish and some lemon. Perfect. Your guests will feel appreciated. 
I love this idea as well. A simple sprig of rosemary looped upon itself and tied with some cotton twine to make a mini wreath. Inexpensive and certainly charming. 
I'm already working on ideas for my holiday table decor, but in the meantime it was fun to revisit these beautiful ideas. Hope it may provide some of you with a little inspiration. Wishing all of my American friends the loveliest Thanksgiving. xoxo


11.23.2015

Beauty on a Small Budget | Revisited

A little update with regards to what I've been up to around here. My part of the Beauty on a Small Budget Challenge with CIL Premium Paint has wrapped up, but I was so inspired by the changes around here that I've decided to keep working on small paint projects. I have a fun holiday photo shoot coming up and I realized this was the perfect time and opportunity to add some detail to the living room walls. I added chair rail moulding in oversized panels. I'm so excited with the outcome.
It only took a few hours to install the trim. We drew it out first on the wall (as can be seen in the bottom left) and then started measuring out the trim to mitre it and nail it in place.
Next up I went over the entire wall with a coat of CIL Premium Paint in the scrubbable flat finish in a colour called White  on White. I love how I was able to cut out the step of priming the trim because CIL Premium Paint has a primer right in the formula. 
Stay tuned... I'll be posting finished images of this space very soon. In the meantime, have you entered the CIL Beauty on a Small Budget Contest? There's still time to get your #CILPremiumBeauty entry in to be eligible for the 5k grand prize to The Home Depot. It's easy to enter, with any paint project big or small- check out full details {here

11.21.2015

At Home With | Sotheby's International

I'm honoured to be the latest 'At Home With' influencer on Sotheby's International Realty's Blog. I worked on this story in the summer. It involved a bit of a spruce up in my room... primarily moving things around that I already had. I felt like this time around I really streamlined the look that I wanted to have in my Master Suite. I'm pleased with how it turned out and the story was fun to pull together.
Thanks Sotheby's! 

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