Thursday, October 12, 2017

Barton & Guestier Sancerre

Name: Barton & Guestier Sancerre
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Country: France
Vintage: 2012
Price: $30+

Why did I decide to try this wine? During one of my trips to Paris I was introduced to this wine (well, Sancerre...maybe not this specific one, since Sancerre is an appellation) and fell in love with it. I had never seen it at the liquor store in New Brunswick until about a year ago. Due to the price tag is is definitely a "special occasion" wine for me, so the Mr. and I paired it with our "go to" special occasion dinner and enjoyed it in celebration of our 6th wedding anniversary recently.

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? Bottle. Any wine I label a "go to" deserves the "bottle" classification.

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? Since we enjoyed it while celebrating our anniversary I have to go with my wedding shoes (these shoes are no longer available but here are a few others to choose from in my post called "5 ways to make wedding planning stress free".

How would I describe the wine? This wine is just the right blend of fruitfulness and dryness. In my notebook I wrote "delightful". Thankfully is was worth the price tag and tasted just as I remembered it. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Choose Your Battles

choose your battles

It finally happened. 

Since the time I found out I was having a boy my sister has been saying that she hopes he becomes one of those kids who becomes completely obsessed with a superhero costume. 

This is not quite a super hero costume, but for my Little Dude it might as well be. 

choose your battles

He has been head over heels in love with his two pairs of monkey jammies ever since they were brought home from the Moncton Multiples Spring Sale. He asked for them, he cries when other jammies are suggested and quite frankly he even sleeps better with them on. 

They have almost become his security blanket of sorts and a constant for him. Heck, he even wore them the day he went for his day surgery and was such a champ!

But not long ago, it happened. He wouldn't get dressed. I know you are all thinking I could have made him get dressed... after all I am much bigger than he is and should be the boss. Well, my back was sore and I really just didn't have the gumption to have a fight at 7am as we were trying to get out the door in our way to daycare/work. So, off he went to daycare in his monkey jammies happy as can be with his clothes packed in his back pack. 
choose your battles

When I dropped him off I said "so, he didn't want to get dressed..." and to my surprise I didn't get a disapproving look or lecture on dressing my kid before he leaves the house. Instead the response I received was "you have to choose your battles, not a big deal! We will dress him later if he wants to"

Fast forward to the end of the day - Little Dude was picked up still wearing his monkey jammies and still happy as can be. 

Moral of the story - Lise was 100% right. Choose your battles. It wasn't going to hurt anyone if he wore his monkey jammies to daycare and it made him happy... 

PS He happily wore his clothes the next day since he wore non-monkey jammies to sleep the night before. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

House Hunting Check List

check list

Decisions, decisions, decisions. But do you really know what you're looking for!?

House hunting is super fun, but it can also be a little overwhelming. After-all it is likely the largest purchase of your life!

Throughout the process of finding our home I made a check list for each and every house. Side Note: If you know me you know I have a check list for everything or a spreadsheet, or both... In fact, I even carried a little note pad with me during the house tours so I could jot things down as I saw them. Even though you can take some pictures and go back to the online listing it becomes difficult to remember if you thought the secondary bathroom in any given house was amazing, needed some love or was down right terrible. Believe me, you are going to be thankful you took notes!

Keeping a list of our "must have" and our "nice to have" elements was incredibly handy. When we were touring houses it was easy to forget that I really wanted to live somewhere that I could easily go for a walk or that I didn't want to live without a proper front entrance and closet. It was easy to get swept up in the feel of a new house, see everything it had to offer and forget about the little things that were on my "I can't live without" list. What is important to me might not be all that important to you, so it is crucial (in my opinion anyway) to really sit down and think about what YOU want. I have left space in my checklist for you to fill in your own items, but in case you would like some inspiration, here is what my list looked like:

Things I can't live without:
  • Front entrance with closet
  • Location (street) good for walking
  • 3 bedrooms (minimum)
  • Low maintenance yard
  • Ample storage
Things I would love:
  • Garage
  • Paved Driveway
  • Air Conditioning
  • Extra living space for a "play room"
  • Ensuite bathroom

check list
(don't forget to share this image on Pinterest!)

After you get through all the things you can't live without and the things you would love make sure to have a very good look at the general condition of the house. In my case just because a house has an entrance wouldn't make it the house if it didn't have a good foundation, roof, etc. So although you have your list, don't forget the really important things!

And now, for what it's worth I am going to lend you some advice when you are house hunting... Keep an open mind and really get the feeling of the house. Imagine yourself at Christmas, imagine having a family dinner and most of all imagine sitting on the couch relaxing with a glass of wine. If the space doesn't feel right or you can't picture yourself being you - move on to the next spot no matter how many check marks the house has.

After months of house hunting, furniture shopping and planning we are finally almost ready to reveal a few of the makeovers we have done in our new home. Check out what it looked like before we bought it and stay tuned for the updates coming your way!

My shoes for that: Charlie's favourite dress shoes from Boston Shoe Company
check list

check list
Charlie and I had so much fun working together we decided "why stop once the house closed ?"- a special thank you for sponsoring this post and helping me share my story with other home buyers. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

There's a Shoe for That - September Round Up

Here is your monthly round up of "My Shoes for That" for September... Just in case you missed a post or have been dying to find out where to buy the shoes you have everything here in one place!

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission.**

Happy fall y'all!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Baby's Organized IKEA Dresser

With all of the excitement of the new IKEA store in Halifax, Nova Scotia I can't help but join in on the craze!

Two years ago I was VERY pregnant right about now and was in full nursery organization mode... I had (of course) been on pinterest for months trying to determine the best way to organize baby clothes, diapers, wipes, receiving blankets and all the other stuff that comes with a newborn. I can across this post about Nursery Dresser Organization from Chelsea that became my inspiration for an organized nursery storage system.

Little Dude's nursery was not big enough to fit the 8 drawer Hemnes Dresser, but we were able to make do with the 3 drawer version quite well! In fact, we are still using the dresser 2 years later with a similar organization method...just bigger clothes and bigger diapers.

Here's a look inside Little Dude's 3 drawer Hemnes Dresser:

Facebook Live - Filmed/Posted the day before (Sept 26, 2017) the Halifax location officially opened

Little Dude's Nursery Furniture
My shoes for that: Sweedish Hasbeens Lacy Sandal

This post is NOT sponsored 
I simply love IKEA products and wanted to share Little Dude's furniture with all of you


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Choosing Paint Colors- The Story

paint colors
Choosing paint colors was quite a task for me as you all know now... but the story of choosing the colors and then buying the paint is one I think you will really enjoy. So, here it goes:

My friend and colleague became my personal sounding board through this entire process. I would run color ideas by her, pretend I knew what she was talking about when she spoke about undertones, lighting, furniture coordination etc. In the end, I knew that whatever she suggested was the "right choice" including convincing me to paint ALL the walls. 

Yep, you read that correctly. At one point in this whole process being overwhelmed by color selection I was going to leave the living room, kitchen and main open are walls alone. Reflecting on this now I have no idea what I was thinking and in fact I can admit, I wasn't thinking! The moral of this part of the story is don't give up! No matter how stressful or difficult it might be to choose a color. Choose one!
paint colors
Top: The wall colors before me moved in
Bottom: The wall colors mid-painting (big difference, eh?!)
Now... the day we went to buy all the paint ended up making me laugh and realize that taking my own advice would be a good idea. The lady I met in line took it to the extreme... here's what happened:

I was standing in line (it was on sale 50% off, so of course I wasn't the only person with this idea) with my list of paint requirements written out by room, how many halls per room I thought I would need and the name of the color I chose. I had quite a list which I knew would take a while to mix so when a lady came and stood by me in line with one gallon in her hand I asked if she wanted to go ahead of me. 
paint colors
My cart full of paint
She smiled and said (in French), "Well yes dear but I need to choose a color". I am pretty sure without thinking about it I looked at her with huge eyes and surprise. 

She went over to the color board, pulled out a green swatch and then came back next to me. Shocked that she just pulled a color without thinking about it, without consulting anybody and without considering undertones I had to ask, "so you are going to go with that one?"
paint colors
We exchanged back and forth for a few minutes and I chose a few other colors for her to consider (although still green) for her bathroom. She ended up choosing one of my suggestions. 

After she had her color mixed she walked away with a huge smile on her face and said  "Merci ma belle, merci!" 

What we can all learn from Madame McGraw:
It really is "just paint"
Going with your gut works almost every time 
Be open to suggestions from others to help you make the best decision

For those of you struggling to choose a color... maybe just go in and pick one like Madame McGraw did! 

My shoes for that: Suede Strappy D'Orsay Flats
paint colors

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice

pumpkin spice
When the Pumpkin Spice craze first started I really didn't jump on the band wagon. I (without having any idea) assumed I wouldn't like it and was totally against liking something just because everyone else did. Fast forward a year or two when I finally gave in and ordered a pumpkin spice latte instead of my typical order during a conference I was attending in Houston... well, let's just say I have never looked back!

Pumpkin spice has become the smell of fall for me. Kind of like what I think when I smell spruce, evergreen and especially pine trees... I am immediately reminded of Christmas. Speaking of Christmas (if you know me at all, you knew I couldn't get through a holiday related post without bringing up Christmas!), I love decorating the house for the holiday season and this year in particular am beyond excited to decorate our new home! But first, Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice.

I have been pinning away getting ready for fall but have also taken a few recipes as inspiration from fellow bloggers to help get the creative juices flowing (and my tummy rumbling!).

These muffins are not exactly pumpkin spice, but they sure do look nice...
pumpkin spice
Honey & Betts (@honeyandbetts)

Not only do these pumpkin muffins looks delicious, they keep in the freezer up to 6 months!  

pumpkin spice
Valley Family Fun (@valleyfamilyfun)

pumpkin spice
A Lush Life (@alushlifeblog)

pumpkin spice

And, one from me that takes me back to that first Pumpkin Spice experience in Houston, TX. I told you about the latte, but I didn't tell you about the scone I tried the next day. It was absolutely to die for! When I found this copycat recipe, made scones (for the first time) and they were just as good I knew I had to share it with all of you. So here it is:
There's a Shoe for That (@jennamac007) - recipe originally found on Pinterest from Damn Delicious

Last, but certainly not least for all of your fall inspiration needs, check out my Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Board on Pinterest and be sure to follow along. 
pumpkin spice

Happy baking, decorating & pinning!

My shoes for that: Little Kid Turkey Sneakers


Monday, September 18, 2017

Choosing Paint Colors

paint colors
Making the title for this post "How to choose paint colors" was what I wanted to name it but really don't have any expertise to offer you on the subject. In fact choosing paint colors was the source of almost all of my stress before we actually took possession of our home. HOWEVER, I can offer you my non-professional advice and experience letting you in on the secret of what I did that fortunately worked out extremely well!

For all of you "regular home owners" like me, I think we can all agree that choosing colors is intimidating. You stand there in front of a huge panel of color and you can only choose one. Then top that off with rooms that you might want multiple colors for, open concept color changes, etc. It's just down right overwhelming.
paint colors
To try and help with your next paint color selection here are three tips:

Tip 1
Buy paint from somewhere that has great color swatches with multiple shades on a swatch.

Of course I didn't follow this advice because I was looking for a deal. After-all I was going to be painting the entire house, so getting a good deal on high quality paint was essential for me not to bust the decorating budget in the first weekend of home ownership.
paint colors

I love the SICO paint swatches found at Kent Building Supplies and usually go there to get fun colour names and good quality paint at a good price. But this time I knew I was going to be able to buy all of the paint I needed at 50% off at Home Hardware so I was swayed by the sale to the Beauti-Tone paint. I was really pleased with the paint, but I do admit it was a risk as I had never used it before. What I didn't like about Home Hardware was that each color swatch was an individual sheet. For those of you out there who are color experts and can tell which grey has a blue undertone and which grey has a green undertone these swatches wouldn't scare you off - all I knew was that there is a such thing as undertones and messing with them would be terrible once they are on the walls next to each other.

Thankfully Home Hardware has some super fun paint collections that made the experience fun again. More about that in a minute...
paint colors

Tip 2
Plan the colors for the whole house (or as much of it as you can) at the same time.

Not everyone has the luxury of painting their whole house at the same time or choosing the colors for every room. This is exactly my point... especially if you are not painting everything be sure to work around the walls you won't be painting to they don't stand out (in a bad way) when you're done your painting project. 

If you re-painting everything try to come up with a theme that you want to bring through the whole house to help with the flow. I know I might sound all "interior designer" right now, but I am merely repeating what my color expert friends told me and what I have learned by watching every episode of Masters of Flip (several times I might add).

Back to the paint collections from Home Hardware... I chose all of our colors from the National Parks of Canada collection. I loved that they each represented a Canadian National Park and since we purchased the house in the Canada 150 celebration year I thought it was a fun collection to choose.  
paint colors

Tip 3
Take a risk. 

In the end, it really is "just paint". If there is a color you have been dreaming of trying but are scared of... DO IT! You can always re-paint (or close the door).

I felt this way in our master bedroom. I saw a bedroom design done by Angela Price (wife of hockey player Carey Price, mom to Liv Price & Lifestyle blogger) that I fell in love with. I loved the dark walls and the general concept of the room. It has since become the inspiration for the wall color and some of the design features in our master bedroom.

And finally...
The colors I chose (by room):
  • Main area (kitchen/living room) - Whooping Crane
  • Entrance and walls leading downstairs - Grey Seal
  • Little Dude's room & Guest room #1 (bath rooms have chair rails so we decided to paint them the same colors) - Top half: Morning Mist from //:: National Park & Bottom half: Blue Heron 
  • Master bedroom - Dark Sky Night & Whooping Crane for the top border created by an existing chair rail
  • Guest room #2 & Office - Northern Reflections 
  • Rec room - Cobblestone Beaches
I can't wait to show you each of the rooms!

If you have a painting project coming up I would love to hear about it and even help choose colors, after-all it's always so much easier to help others than to choose for myself, haha. 

paint colors

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Flying with a Toddler

flying with a toddler
The real title to this post should be: "Flying with a Toddler... with minimal preparation!"

We are all busy in our day to day lives, but lately... well, lately having room to breathe seems to be asking too much. I am used to keeping a hectic schedule so normally this wouldn't be that "abnormal". But keeping up with EVERYTHING and preparing to go on vacation was absolutely incredible. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What I'm Pumped About for Fall

Inspired by one of my fellow Jambassadors I started thinking about all the things coming this fall that I am really pumped about and thought you would all want to know what's coming...

Here it goes:
  1. Annapolis Valley Wine Tour - brought together by our husbands, three of us gals have become great friends. We haven't had the chance to get together in so long, so our upcoming weekend of Nova Scotia wine and friendship is long overdue!
  2. Work Travel - some of you know and some of you are not so familiar with me travelling for my job. This fall you can expect some fun Instagram travel pop ups in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, etc. 
  3. Thanksgiving - this is the first thanksgiving Little Dude will really be able to participate in so you can be sure there will be some turkey fun coming your way!
  4. Blog Jam - I am really really (like really!) proud to be the New Brunswick Jambassador this year for Blog Jam. Last year I learned so much and can't wait to see what inspiration this year's even will bring. Thinking about going?! I can't wait to meet you there!
  5. Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice - 'tis the season and thank goodness! After a year without pumpkin spice everything I can't wait to indulge in a pumpkin spice scone (or 2!) and of course a pumpkin spice latte while travelling. 
  6. Little Dude's 2nd Birthday - I kinda can't believe I just wrote that! But, I will have some party planning on my hands this fall for my little man. If you have any pointers let me know! It's been nearly 22 years since I've been to a 2 year old's birthday party (that I can remember anyway...)
  7. Colourful hiking - hiking in the fall is my favourite! Stay tuned on my instastories to see where we end up and the colourful fall views we will get to share with you all. 
  8. Curtains - this might be a weird thing to look forward to, but it's the last big piece required to finish up the dining room, living room and master bedroom so we can pull the rooms together with final touches before showing them to you! I can't wait to have at least some of the rooms in our home "done". 
What are you looking forward to this fall?! 

My shoes for that: Daisie Pointy-Toe Pumps by Steve Madden in Rose Gold (of course!)


Thursday, August 31, 2017

There's a Shoe for That - August Round Up

There's a Shoe for That

Here is your monthly round up of "My Shoes for That" for August... Just in case you missed a post or have been dying to find out where to buy the shoes you have everything here in one place!

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission.**

There's a Shoe for That
Mr. Black's Little Book
Shahan Gold Loafers

(sadly, these shoes are really had to find. Best of luck to you in your search!)


Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy Wedding Anniversary {to us}

I don't usually think too much about our wedding anniversary. In fact, in the 6 years we've been married this is only the second time we'v actually been together on our anniversary date. And to be fair the other time was in 2014 when we were at a work function of mine, so yes... we were together but it almost doesn't count as being together (not in my books anyhow). This year feels a bit different for some reason. We didn't do anything fancy to celebrate, we didn't buy gifts, but we were together. This year feels special and it is.

We did go to a new pub in our town the night before our anniversary as a little date night to celebrate. We started talking about what we've done over the past 6 years together, everything we have accomplished as a couple and how there is so much adventure yet to come. What struck me the most about our conversation is that it focused mainly around travel and experiences (other than Little Dude). 

We reminisced about the big trips we've taken almost every year: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Banff, Newfoundland, Cuba to name the ones we highlighted. And then laughed about all the times we've gone to Montreal - how really it's our home away from home and our #1 getaway location for a multitude of reasons.
San Francisco - our big trip 2014
The biggest take-a-way from the night was that we didn't talk about any furniture we've purchased, cars we've owned, shirts that have been ruined, or anything material for that matter. The entire conversation was about our biggest accomplishment, Little Dude, and all of the fun we've had travelling and making memories.
Canmore - our big trip 2016
So, to all of you newly weds out there or seasoned life partners listen up:
It's what you do that counts, not what you buy. Get out there, see the world and laugh your way through life together.


My shoes for that: Barefoot - sometimes you need to feel the sand between your toes to appreciate the beach your walking on and the life you're living.
Santa Maria - our big trip 2015

Monday, August 21, 2017

Finding Our Home

finding our home
We have had our home for just over a month now and things are finally starting to come together. We finally having dining room chairs in the house and have moved the patio chairs back outside, our fireplace arrived a few days ago and I have almost chosen curtains for the living room and dining room. Everyone says the finishing touches always take the longest, and I can now confirm that they are right! 

When we decided to start looking for a house last winter we started the process like most people do now-a-days: we started shopping online. I looked at hundreds of properties, dreamed about what it might be like to live in a mansion, contemplated the adventure of a fixer upper and had a ball looking through all the houses available.

Eventually I snapped out of the dreamland I was living in and starting looking at properties that were more realistic for our budget and that only needed a renovation that we could conceivably take on (i.e. a very small one!). I seemed to end up on the Keller Williams site quite often based on the houses that were appealing to me and so I signed up for notifications from Charlie Vienneau's website so that I would get an email when new listings came on the market. To my surprise I received an email from Charlie the next day letting me know that if I was interested in a house he could help me as a buyer and could show me all listings (unless they were exclusive) and was not limited to showing only his listings.

I don't know about you, but before receiving this email I had no idea I could use a realtor (and for free I might add!) to help me find a house! I felt relieved and figured we had nothing to lose so why not give Charlie an idea of what we were looking for and see what he could find for us.
finding our home
About a week later we met with Charlie - he gave us printouts of all the houses that met our criteria which included a bit more information than what is provided online. Online you do not typically see the monthly electricity bill, heating bill or property taxes but this information was all provided in the printouts. I loved this since it gave us the true overall picture of what our monthly costs would be in any of the houses we were considering. In true Jenna fashion I made up a spreadsheet to compare the numbers and was glad I did! Just because a house was more expensive didn't always make it a bad deal if the less expensive house had a much higher property tax bill or electricity expenses. It was certainly an exercise worth doing.

On a side note for a minute... you might be wondering how we chose Charlie? It wasn't because of his initial email that we chose him although that did have something to do with it. I knew Charlie's daughters when I was in high school and knew of Charlie as a real-estate agent but didn't know him well. Kind of one of those people that I would say hi to, but not be 100% sure if he knew who I was. So the honest truth is that I thought he would be perfect since he has a good reputation and I kind of knew him, but not well enough that if it didn't go well it would be awkward to end up hating each other. Thankfully, it turned out quite the opposite and the experience was extremely good!

Back to the house hunting...

We narrowed down the houses to 5 that we wanted to see. Charlie lined up visits to all 5 of them (and even a 6th we added at the last minute) on a Saturday morning. For anyone that has ever organized events before or tried to line up meetings you can appreciate how much time and effort we saved by having Charlie line up the visits with all of the other realtors and homeowners! Only 1 out of the 6 houses we visited that day was one of Charlie's listings so there was quite a bit of coordination behind the scenes that we didn't have to worry about. All we had to do was show up at house #1 at 11am. It was kind of like being on Property Brothers, haha.

In the end we went back to the house we ended up buying 1 more time and visited a 7th property that was listed after our initial house hunting Saturday before making our offer. Charlie was essential in advising us in what we should and should not ask for in our offer, what we should expect the seller to agree to or what would be crazy of us to ask for as well as guiding us on what he felt would be a fair price offer for us to begin with. In the end, it was pretty obvious that he knew what he was doing since our offer was accepted within 24 hours without any changes to what we had asked for!

When you are looking 
for your next house: 
I would strongly recommend using a realtor! They know the area better than you do, they have an idea of the neighbourhood (and even in the neighbours in some cases!) and as a buyer you are not paying anything extra to have them work for you - it's really a win win.

Last, but certainly not least the Mr., Little Dude and I would like to thank Charlie for working around our crazy schedules - meeting us at his office on a Sunday morning and doing house tours at 9:00pm. Charlie's flexibility and commitment to helping us find the home that suited us the best was second to none. We never once felt rushed or pressured - we were encouraged through the entire process to take our time, get the feeling, and think about any of the houses as long as we wanted. Having Charlie as a realtor truly made buying our first home a great experience.

My shoes for that: Miss L Fire "Home Sweet Home" shoes
finding our home

Buying or selling a house?! Give Charlie a call 
he would be delighted to help you :)

Charlie and I had so much fun working together we decided why stop once the house closed - a special thank you for sponsoring this post and helping me share my story with other home buyers. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.