Going Into 2018

Going into 2018 is another adventure that I'm incredibly excited for. What are your plans? Resolutions? Goals? Reach for the moon, girl!

For many, ringing in the new year is like being given a chance at a whole new start. For me, going into 2018 is another adventure that I’m incredibly excited for.

Why is it that we blame a calendar for the events that place within the year? Come December, so many of us have formed such a fierce love/hate relationship with 20xx. We’re just about ready to forget about everything and move on.

I believe in fresh starts. I believe in new beginnings. I believe that every new year is a new chance to take on challenges and opportunities. We should take advantage of all 365 days to shine on and keep going. There’s no need to linger on the negative.

Going Into 2018…

Going into 2018 is another adventure that I'm incredibly excited for. What are your plans? Resolutions? Goals? Reach for the moon, girl!

Going into 2018, I’ll be a mother of a one-year-old. Yes, the first year passed ever so quickly. My heart is full of love. Joe and I are eager to watch our family grow.

Going into 2018, I’ll finally be able to use the WAHM acronym. We’ve been working hard on expanding Fabulous Habits. We aimed to create more content in order to fit different needs and reach a wider audience. So you: yes, you! Thank you for your ongoing support and readership. I’m excited to take on parenting and blogging on a full-time basis.

Going into 2018 will be like going into any adventure. I’ll keep my head high with a wide smile. I’ll try and learn from any missed opportunities. I’ll feel encouraged knowing that my loved ones are constantly by my side.

Happy New Year.

 

Photos by: Laurie-Anne Photographe

Five of my Best Purchases from 2017

Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

2017 has been one eventful year. Through adjustments in parenting, body image, and overall self-care, here are five of my best purchases.

Every year, I make a few key purchases that really leave an impression. I consider them my ‘best purchases’ and they make me want to scream, “Where have you been all my life?!”

Our 2017 calendar was packed to the brim. With our family’s new addition, our shopping habits shifted quite a bit.

You’ve probably noticed that the Fabulous Habits blog shifted gears as well. Now also offering family-oriented content, we’re aiming to cater you whether you’re a household of 1 or 100.

So to wrap-up the year, here are the best purchases we made:

Five of My Best Purchases from 2017

Aveda Shampure Shampoo
Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

My hair is prone to getting sticky from build-up. It’s proven quite difficult in choosing the right hair products. Thankfully, my hairdresser recommended Shampure and it has worked wonders. Even after using it for the first tie, my hair felt lighter, cleaner, and bouncier.

Nursing Tank Top
I transitioned out of maternity clothes slower than I had anticipated. I may be wearing “regular jeans” again, but I’m also still sporting my Thyme Maternity nursing tank tops. After hundreds of washes, they’ve held their shape and color. I wear them under cardis, ponchos, and blazers – which are a good reflection on how I rotate my “mommy uniform.”

Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer
I purchased this in the middle of the summer and it immediately became this year’s go-to product. I have really dry skin. This concealer works wonders without making me look too flakey or washed-out.

Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

Lion Towel
Pottery Barn Kids’ Icon Towel is oh-so soft and oh-so cute. I love the hood-feature because it ends up serving as a bathrobe-towel hybrid. Leo isn’t so cold when he comes out of the bath in this number.

Lightweight Down Jacket
Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

I like to call this my “puffer jacket” (similar here). It has served as a great autumn piece and now, it makes for the perfect transitional outwear as we step into winter. It’s lightweight and keeps me warm. I especially love it for its “bomber-style” cut.

Here it is: my official list for the best purchases I made this year! Enjoy and we'll see you in 2018!

My best wishes to you as you ring in the new year! We’ll be back in 2018!

My New Take on Body Image

As we grow, we learn… and life is full of lessons. Here’s my new take on body image.

Learning to love myself inside and out. I've realized who I am, what I do, and how I should feel accomplished: it's a whole new view on body image.

photos by: Violaine Fiset

Growing up, when it came to body image, I was pretty inconsistent. At times, I’d engage in great lifestyle practices: healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, and more. But every once in a while, I’d have phases of discouragement. I’d let my insecurities get the best of me. It was a whirlwind of emotions with hardly any steadiness.

I’m ready for change.

Now that I’m a mama (and not to mention, quickly approaching my thirties), I’ve come to appreciate my body.

I carried my baby. I gave birth. I run around completing endless tasks and errands.

Learning to love myself inside and out. I've realized who I am, what I do, and how I should feel accomplished: it's a whole new view on body image.

Regardless of the fact that I recently entered parenthood – I am also my own person.

I am a woman that works, plays, and experiences life through eyes of curiosity. I like to travel. I thrived in college by staying focused, studious, and by participating in extracurricular activities. I had an amazing career as a retail manager. I’ve been given beautiful opportunities to share my passion for song and dance.

So yes: I’ve done so much and I have so much more to do.

So for body image: it’s taken time to appreciate myself, to take care of myself, and to give myself more credit.

When I was given the opportunity to do a boudoir photoshoot with the highly-talented Violaine Fiset, I was ecstatic. With a little nudge and sprinkling of encouragement, I said, “Heck, yeah!” I walked in excited but slightly nervous.

Learning to love myself inside and out. I've realized who I am, what I do, and how I should feel accomplished: it's a whole new view on body image. Learning to love myself inside and out. I've realized who I am, what I do, and how I should feel accomplished: it's a whole new view on body image.

I guess my take on body image has grown and shifted over the years. In my opinion, self-appreciation and healthy choices are the two leading factors in creating and maintaining a beautiful person (inside and out).

Check out more of Violaine’s work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram! You can also take a look at her specialized IG feed here.

Your Holiday Menu: Chocolate Madeleines with Caramel Dip

Your holiday menu needs more chocolate. And caramel. Heck, why don't you just cover it with desserts - your sweet tooth will thank you later.

Every holiday menu needs sweet elegance: offer your guests these chocolate madeleines and they’ll thank you for days (and so will your sweet tooth).

Just like most families, our holiday season is hectic and (sometimes) frantic. This year, our calendar seemed to have filled fairly early on in the month.

Between visiting family, friends, and Leo’s godparents, I decided to whip up a holiday dessert that would be easy to take to-go. While Christmas cookies are easy to pack up, I figured that chocolate madeleines would make for a more original dessert-offering.

Your holiday menu needs more chocolate. And caramel. Heck, why don't you just cover it with desserts - your sweet tooth will thank you later.

Chocolate Madeleines with Caramel Dip

For the madeleines:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 stick butter, softened + 2-3 tbsp for coating pan

For the caramel dip:
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cooking cream
1 vanilla bean
1/8 tsp salt

To make the madeleines:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat your madeline pan generously so as to avoid any sticky situations.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, cacao, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, start slowly mixing eggs and sugar. Scrape vanilla from bean and add to the mixture. Add stick of butter.

Slowly add dry ingredients to your egg and sugar mixture. Mix on medium-high.

Spoon into madeleine mold, 3/4 full. Tap pan on countertop to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the caramel dip:
In a small pot, mix all of your ingredients and cook on medium heat. Wait until it boils and remove from heat. Once cooled, pour into a mason jar.

Your holiday menu needs more chocolate. And caramel. Heck, why don't you just cover it with desserts - your sweet tooth will thank you later. Your holiday menu needs more chocolate. And caramel. Heck, why don't you just cover it with desserts - your sweet tooth will thank you later. Your holiday menu needs more chocolate. And caramel. Heck, why don't you just cover it with desserts - your sweet tooth will thank you later.

How to Host a Fabulous Holiday Cocktail Party: with Rita Wong Events & Cointreau

The holidays are here. Time to step-up your cocktail game.

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

Ever since I planned mine and Joe’s 2015 nuptials, I was hooked on the idea of event planning. I learned that entertaining and playing hostess was something I loved to do. Whether it’d be on a larger scale like Leo’s baptism, or a more intimate setting like my best friend’s bachelorette, I’m always up for a party (or two!).

Rita Wong is the owner and founder of Rita Wong Events. She is, in basic terms, queen bee of Montreal’s party planning industry. After sifting through her Instagram and witnessing her work, all I could tell myself was: “Can my 10-year vow renewal come any sooner?!”

When I heard that Rita would be hosting an event to teach the A-Z of hosting cocktail parties, I was ecstatic. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn straight from the expert?!

How to Host a Fabulous Holiday Cocktail Party: with Rita Wong Events & Cointreau

So, you’re ready to take on your first holiday get-together? Take a breath. Relax. Everything will go okay. The most important part is to be organized, have fun, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

In Rita and Cointreau‘s event, guests walked  through a circuit-style setup to learn from some of the industry’s top experts. Each station was dynamic, keeping us interested, entertained, and well-fed.

At one station, we were warmly welcomed by Rita. Charismatic and compelling, Rita had tons of valuable lessons to share about party planning. At florals, we met with Robert Pettigrew (psst: if that name seems familiar it’s because he is, in fact, Celine Dion’s florist) to get  hands-on with flower arrangements.

The final station was a Cointreau interactive bar. (I know, right?! You can only imagine my excitement when I found out that I’d be mixing cocktails alongside Cointreau‘s very own experts.) Here, we were handed a cocktail guide and given the ultimate instruction on creating delicious, high-quality drinks. It was hands-on, full of information, and so much fun. (And duh, we got to drink our own concoctions… along with other beverages!)

Here was the overall takeaway:

Tablescape & General Ambiance
The first aspect to think of is your party’s theme: will you be showcasing a specific colour? A motif?

When it comes to themes, you’ll also want to think of the general ambiance of your party. Will it be a more intimate, formal, sit-down dinner? Perhaps you want to set up a buffet and have everyone serve themselves. If you’re expecting a larger guestlist, passed hors d’oeuvres may be your best bet.

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

Set up your table to make it convenient yet, beautiful for your guests. A few suggestions:

  • Menu cards on each table setting for more formal dinners
  • Candles, candles, candles: set the tone (they’re pretty and budget-friendly)
  • For buffet-style parties, ensure you have enough plates, cups, cutlery (consider rental to ensure that you have more than the right amount)

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

Floral Arrangements
Take your party to the next level with unforgettable floral arrangements. Be bold  and create a “hills and valleys look” by using vases of different heights. Go for seasonal flowers and greenery to ensure that your arrangements are looking crisp and fresh.

Don’t be afraid to “accessorize” your floral decor. A bouquet could be elevated with a few ornaments, well-placed branches, etc.

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

The Perfect Cocktail
Okay, so imagine this: your guests arrive, they put their coats away, and you walk towards them whilst handing them a welcome cocktail.

Hostess goals: check!

A holiday cocktail party isn’t complete without… well, a cocktail.

  • Go for gold – you’ll only want to use quality ingredients for your mixed drinks. Cointreau offers the best flavour because they use the best ingredients.
  • Prepare your cocktail in batches. This will make your life easier as you’re serving. Essentially, you’ll just have to pour the drink and garnish it.
  • Take flavours into consideration (because it’s all about balance). Mix it up with sweet and bitter notes. It will regulate the overall taste of your signature beverage.

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party. Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

When it comes to balance, Cointreau has perfected its game. The orange liqueur boasts both sweet and bitter orange peel that creates an incredibly delicious flavour.

So what are you waiting for? Enjoy the fruits of your labour. If it weren’t for you, this holiday cocktail party wouldn’t be a reality. Rita suggests: “The thing to remember about hosting a really beautiful, festive and delicious party is that you are enjoying if you were a guest as well. This is why it’s beneficial to get as much done before and to make it about treating your guests to a wonderful experience.”

Do you plan on hosting any holiday parties this year? What are your tips and tricks? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

Be the hostess they all talk about with your next holiday cocktail party.

 

Tips on Sending Out Holiday Cards

This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards!

‘Tis the season… to get your holiday correspondence in order! Here are our reasons for sending out holiday cards this year.

I always knew. I always told myself: “When I start a family, I am so mailing out Christmas cards.”

And so, folks, that is exactly what Joe and I (and Leo!) will be doing this year.

This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards!

Tips on Sending Out Holiday Cards

I’m a sucker for traditional snail mail, so I’ve had our Christmas cards planned out for quite some time. There are a few tricks that I’ve followed to ease up this holiday process.

Timing
You’ll want to make sure that your cards are well-received before December 25th. Ensure that you give yourself enough time for photos, printing, and general correspondence.

Handwritten Words
Try to handwrite as much as you can: the address on the envelope, signing off your names, your message, etc. It just adds that personalized touch we lose with emails, texts, etc.

Short, Sweet, & Positive
Don’t get carried away with your card’s personalized message. Keep it short, sweet, and free of negativity. Remember: it’s the most wonderful season of all!

Include a Photo!
Your loved ones will love to see how your family is doing. Including a photo makes for wonderful memories.

Of course, we had our family photographer, Laurie-Anne Thuot, capture some of our first holiday memories. See more of her work here and here.

This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards! This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards! This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards!

Are holiday cards a part of your family’s traditions?

This year, go with classic correspondence by mailing out the most beautiful and heartfelt holiday cards!

Holiday Wardrobe: Shimmery Pleats

Keeping it shiny, pleated, and sophisticated for this year’s holiday wardrobe.

Keeping it shiny, pleated, and sophisticated for this year's holiday wardrobe.

Metallic double-layer dress (Gap) / Merino wool crewneck cardigan (Gap)

My mom always had an admiration for pleated skirts. She’ll gracefully pair one with a tucked-in blouse, strappy sandals, and pulls off her signature look each time.

For this year’s holiday wardrobe, I wanted to be ahead of the game. Last year, I was struggling to fit in maternity-wear. I was 8 months pregnant and Leo was just about ready to greet the world.

When I spotted this metallic number, I decided to take a page out of my mom’s book. I loved the fact that the pleats were in the form of a dress as I always struggle to match anything with a single skirt. The flow is magical and forgiving to my postpartum body. I love how it follows that metallic trend that’s been popping up in holiday lookbooks everywhere.

Most importantly, I’m happy that I found my outfit well ahead of schedule. The holidays get stressful as it is; your holiday wardrobe shouldn’t be a hassle, but something to feel beautiful in.

Keeping it shiny, pleated, and sophisticated for this year's holiday wardrobe. Keeping it shiny, pleated, and sophisticated for this year's holiday wardrobe. Keeping it shiny, pleated, and sophisticated for this year's holiday wardrobe.

Sleeping Habits: 5 Tricks to a Better Night’s Sleep

Feeling groggy? Tired? Stay fabulous and thriving with these tricks for a better night's sleep.

Rise and shine. You deserve a better night’s sleep.

When I announced my pregnancy, the most common piece of advice I received was: “Get your sleep… now.” Of course, with becoming a parent lies the possibility of losing hours upon hours of sleep. Well, Joe and I scored pretty well within that department. At just two months old, Leo was doing his full nights. We relished in an entire night’s sleep early on in our parenting journey.

Feeling groggy? Tired? Stay fabulous and thriving with these tricks for a better night's sleep.

Regardless, there are still processes and steps that we take in order to get the right amount of shut-eye.

5 Tricks to a Better Night’s Sleep

It’s All About Routine
Babies thrive on routine and your sleeping pattern should be the same. Get accustomed to going to bed at the same time every night. This also goes for waking up: rise and shine at the same hour every single day.

Bookworm
Get lost in a good book. Nothing else gets my eyelids feeling heavier than reading in bed.

Feeling groggy? Tired? Stay fabulous and thriving with these tricks for a better night's sleep.

Lights Out
If you find yourself tossing and turning, avoid bright lights. TVs off, cell phones put away… you’ll find yourself having a better night’s sleep.

Partner Agreements
Joe and I have always respected each other’s sleep preferences. We openly discuss what our likes/dislikes are regarding bedtime routines. Joe prefers the left side of the bed, whereas I don’t mind either one. If Joe has a snoring phase, he’ll find solutions ASAP to ensure I get a sufficient amount of rest.

A Made-Up Bed
I make a conscious effort to make my bed every morning. It’s just so much more inviting to crawl into a clean bed with neatly folded sheets and fluffed-up pillows.

What does your sleep routine look like? What steps do you take to ensure a better night’s sleep?

Feeling groggy? Tired? Stay fabulous and thriving with these tricks for a better night's sleep.

Twirling in Tulle

Embracing my post-baby body with a tulle skirt - my favorite skirt of all time.

Because a tulle skirt is the best kind of skirt!

I can’t stress the importance of knowing your own body. I’m a firm believer in self-love and embracing every square inch of yourself – both inside and out.

When I gave birth to Leo, my body went through a lot of changes. Though it took some time, I finally came out of my shell and started appreciating myself. Pregnancy and childbirth puts you through so much. Heck, I should have burst out of that shell, held my head high, and screamed with great pride with all that I did. It’s no easy feat, let me tell you.

But that’s not how it went.

In reality, it’s as if I had to introduce the new me to… well, me. Yes, my body went through a lot. While some things shifted and changed, it just took getting used to.

I can finally say that I’m happy. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but it feels great to be comfortable in my skin again.

Embracing my post-baby body with a tulle skirt - my favorite skirt of all time.

I decided to celebrate with my favorite wardrobe piece of all-time: the airy, romantic, and classic tulle skirt. I have always had one in my closet. When I spotted this one on sale at Forever21 (score!), I grabbed it, attempted to try it on, but then Leo started crying, so I just paid for it and left. True story.

Embracing my post-baby body with a tulle skirt - my favorite skirt of all time. Embracing my post-baby body with a tulle skirt - my favorite skirt of all time. Embracing my post-baby body with a tulle skirt - my favorite skirt of all time.

Photos by: Laurie-Anne Thuot

5 Fabulous Gift Ideas: Baby’s First Christmas

Who’s ready for the holidays? Here are a few ideas we tossed around for baby’s first Christmas.

Baby's first Christmas is always a special time! Make gift choices easy with these unique gifting ideas!

This year, I seem to be surrounded by babies. Yep, amongst my peers, there has been a baby boom – myself included!

Our family is definitely looking forward to Leo’s first Christmas. This is the time of year to start traditions and we couldn’t be more eager. Not to mention, we’re in full-mode for gift-preparation. With all the babies, infants, and toddlers in our extended family, we’re trying to get creative.

Here are a few ideas we’ve come up with:

5 Fabulous Gift Ideas for Baby’s First Christmas

Luxurious Bathtime
How about some accessories to elevate bath-time? Imagine putting this gift basket together: fluffy kid-sized bathrobes, comfortable slippers, and high-end soap. These are the items that people never think of buying on a regular basis, so they’re ideal to receive as presents!

Their Very Own Stocking
Stockings are the gifts that keep on giving. Think about it: they’re filled to the rim with goodies on Christmas day! Why not invest in a stunning stocking for baby’s first holiday season?

A Personalized Pillow
Make their room look ultra special with a personalized throw pillow. Many Etsy shops even have the option of putting baby’s name, birth date, weight, height, etc.

A Scenic Keepsake
Snow globes are some of my favourite things to receive (yes, even as an adult). Although it’s not something he/she can use right away, it’s a great way to showcase the memories from baby’s first holiday season.

Fluffy, Cozy, and Charming Pyjamas
Let’s face it: babies and infants live quite the life. With milk, sleep, and poop on rotation, they have the entire day to play, discover, and just have a good time.

But all jokes aside…

Most of the time, your baby will be sporting pj’s – so why not make them fabulous? Pyjamas should be comfortable, easy to clean, and one-of-a-kind. I mean, now that you’re a parent, you’re always looking for that perfect photo opp! Right?!

Baby's first Christmas is always a special time! Make gift choices easy with these unique gifting ideas!

When I discovered Happy Panda Clothing, I just knew that Leo needed to sport one of their onesies. First and foremost, their handmade in Canada. Quality is key – especially when you’re looking for meaningful holiday gifts.

Once we received our cow baby onesie, I was ecstatic. Softness aside, I could tell the stitching was done with so much care. Leo plays, rolls, and crawls a lot, but I knew these pj’s would hold on their own. Not to mention, the attention to detail is what makes these pyjamas stand out from the rest. We’ve got little hooves, the sweetest ears, and cute little cow horns to make these pj’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Baby's first Christmas is always a special time! Make gift choices easy with these unique gifting ideas!

Be sure to follow Happy Panda Clothing on Instagram for the cutest updates. Trust me, your feed will be full of the fluffiest moo-cows, monkeys, and lambs! So. Worth. It.

How will you be celebrating baby’s first Christmas?

Baby's first Christmas is always a special time! Make gift choices easy with these unique gifting ideas!

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