lifestyle

30 before 30 // a year in review

January 20, 2017

Last January, on the day before my 29th birthday, I posted my 30 Before 30 list. Thirty things that I wanted to accomplish during the last year of my twenties.

In 3 days I will be turning 30 and although I didn’t get everything on my list done I am still pretty happy with how many things I did do!

You can check out the original list here, but here’s my year in review:

  1. vacation with Matt // I did say I wanted a non work/family trip which we didn’t do exactly, but we did get to go to Cuba for a week with family and Vancouver for a week inbetween 2 work trips. So I can’t complain. Those posts here, here, and here.
  2. make a quilt // yeah, this didn’t happen in any way. This one has been on my to-learn list for years, but I just can’t get myself to start! I thought that with a baby coming that would motivate me, but nope. Still nothing. So maybe I don’t actually want to learn it as much as I thought I did?
  3. run for 30 minutes // I’m not a runner in the first place, and then I got pregnant so I didn’t think starting then would be a great idea. And now it’s Ontario winter which means cold and very, very icey. Maybe next year.
  4. get a tattoo // Done! And with good timing too because a few days later I found out I was pregnant so I wouldn’t have been able to do it I had waited. I’m already planning my next one which will hopefully happen this year. Post on that here.
  5. get a massage // Done. Twice! All thanks to my mother-in-law who took us girls for them in Cuba and then gave me a gift certificate for a prenatal massage for Mother’s Day. They were just as amazing as I’d always imagined.
  6. do Whole 30 // Done. I did this one for the whole month of January and it was weirdly amazing. I’m planning on doing it again at the end of this month! Post here.
  7. road trip/overnight trip to Vermont or New York City // definitely didn’t happen. Turns out we’re only good at going places when other people are involved I guess.
  8. grow a mini garden // Done. I grew strawberries and chives on our deck and they didn’t die! Because I planted them in planters they are currently wintering in our basement storage area so I’m crossing my fingers that they survive until this summer. Post here.
  9. lipstick and eyeliner // Done. It might sound like an odd one, but I was kind of scared of both these things. But I’ve been using them for a while now and am a big fan! Yay for new things. Post here.
  10. 30 day yoga challenge // I know I already used the pregnant excuse for not running so I probably can’t use it again. I don’t have a good excuse for not doing this one.
  11. read the Bible in a year // I was doing so good at this one right up until April. I was reading every day, but then we went away for our month long trip and I never caught up again once we got back. I’ve recently heard of the app/program “She Reads Truth” so I might give that a go and see if it helps me stay on track better.
  12. make cheesecake // Done. And boy was it delicious. And expensive. And not really worth the effort. But now I know, and isn’t the point of all this to learn things? Post here.
  13. write a letter to my future self // I didn’t know when I was going to do this and at some point I thought I’d wait until just before by 30th birthday. But then one day in October – the day before my due date, I decided to write it. I also wrote one for baby-to-be. I think I still might write one on my birthday this year too because a lot has changed since October 30th.
  14. get a Kate Spade purse // I never thought that this one would ever happen. But it did! Post here.
  15. have a grown up house // I’m going to file this one under done even though it’s technically not where I’d like it to be. But we have a nursery that I actually really like and a few changed to our bedroom that have made me like it more. One day the rest of the house might follow. Nursery reveal here.
  16. new logo and branding // This hasn’t happened yet, but I’m actually okay with that for now. I still want to do it, but I’ve been busy working on my business instead which is the more important thing right now anyway.
  17. learn how to edit video // I wanted to do this one to push myself to do something I didn’t like. But why do I want to spend my time doing something I don’t like? I don’t know… it seemed to make sense at the time. I’m okay with avoiding video and editing and sticking to photography.
  18. read a book a month // I didn’t reach this goal, but I did manage to read 7 books this year. Seven! That’s about 6 more than I usually get through so I’m pretty excited about that. I signed up with Good Reads and love the suggestions and goal tracking it has going on. I also have 2 books in my possession right now for the day when I feel like I can sit down and read something again. Book post here.
  19. get bangs // Did it. Loved in. Regretted it for a day. Was good with it again. And have been growing them out ever since. I’m glad I tried it, but turns out I’m too low maintenance to deal with bangs and prefer my hair long and boring like it’s been my whole life. Post here.
  20. go for a walk for an entire day // When we were in Vancouver this is exactly what we did. Can I go back now please?
  21. do a photo challenge // After over complicating this one in my mind I decided to stop and just do something achievable. So I did a Day in the Life. It was a fun project and I liked that it was started and finished in a day. Check it out here.
  22. design a family tree and get it printed // I want to check this one off as done, but I know I shouldn’t cheat. We have quite the family tree compiled and I’ve started trying to design it a few times, but wow is it time consuming to try and create something like this. I might just end up printing out a typical tree layout so that we have it out to see. Still working on that one..
  23. shoot more (#girlbosses) // Done. I love my job. I met a bunch of new people this year, made some photos of beautiful people, and love where my business is going. Here’s to more of that in 2017! Photos here.
  24. learn Snapchat // Done. I figured it all out, used it for a few months, and then Instagram Stories came out and I stopped caring about Snapchat anymore. So moral of the story is: don’t put technology related things on your 30 before 30 list because it will be irrelevant really quickly ;)
  25. start a family // Done! And it’s the cutest family I’ve ever seen ;) Post here.

So, it turns out I never actually finished coming up with 30 things. Oops. So instead here are 5 things that happened this year that are list-worthy:

  1. visit my besties //  Canada is too big a country. Especially when your closest friends live on the opposite side and in the middle of it, and it costs more to fly around Canada than it does to fly to Europe. Or a week long vacation down South. It’s not fair. BUT I was so lucky this year and got to visit friends in BC in April and have another come here in October. Unexpected, but definitely a highlight of the year.
  2. get a new car // This never even crossed my mind until the summer when we tried putting our brand new car seat into my tiny old car. There were other factors too, but we quickly realized that an upgrade was needed and we lucked out finding the perfect car for us really quickly!
  3. make new friends // I’m the first to admit that I’m not good at making new friends. My closest friends are people I’ve known since birth – that’s hard to compete with. But I’ve lived in Ottawa for over 3 years now and know that I need to stop being a hermit so I made an effort to meet some new people. Some through Instagram other through jobs, but all lovely ladies who I need to reconnect with now that I have this mom-baby routine figured out a bit more. Anyone want to go for coffee? Send me a text! I’ll try and do the same :)
  4. get my work published // Last year I shot for Edible Ottawa, Our Homes magazine, LiveStrong.com, and some businesses in the city as well. I also started a gallery for published work on my website. Yay!
  5. make a new list // I haven’t decided yet if it will be a 35 Before 35 list, life bucket list, 2017 goals…. but I’ve started a new list of things I’d like to do and will share it soon :)

Do you have a bucket list? What kind of things would you put on it if you did? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

baby + family diy

DIY baby gym

January 17, 2017

You learn a lot of new things when you become a parent.

Like how long you can bounce a baby for just to keep him happy (about 10 times longer than I thought was humanly possible). Or that folding all those tiny wash cloths is not actually a valuable use of time. Or that this baby contraption is called a “play gym”.

I Googled something like “baby mobile play thing” before I discovered that someone decided it’s called a gym. I’m still not sold on that name, but since it’s far less words than I was using I’ll go with it.

When Bash was about a month old and starting to track things with his tiny baby eyes I realized that we didn’t have anything for him to look at when he was laying down.

It’s probably due to the fact that I really don’t like all those plastic, colorful toys out there and have made that quite clear to everyone in our life. But that’s resulted in Bash not really having any toys… sorry kid.

I looked online and found out that most play gyms out there were way over priced in my opinion – except maybe this one from IKEA. But again, I didn’t think it was very good looking and everyone knows aesthetics are what 1 month olds appreciate the most ;)

So I decided to DIY it! Then quickly realized we have no tools or wood to actually do that. BUT I do have an amazing mother-in-law whose father has a wood workshop. We asked them to make us a wooden frame and within a day we had it in our living room. Thanks guys!!

They took 4 pieces of wood, cut the same length and attached them at the top with a dowel. They drilled holes in the middle of the legs so we could attach strings through to help support it when it’s standing.

I found the wooden letters and beads at Michael’s for a couple dollars a piece, and Matt drilled holes in the letters so I could string them up.

And now Bash has his very own, neutral and gorgeous play gym!

Which he couldn’t care less about…. that is until I clipped on a bunch of plastic, colorful rings and toys and then he loved it. Insert eye rolling here. Two months old and he already doesn’t care what I think and wants to do his own thing ;)

If you want measurements leave me a comment below and I’ll get them for you!

baby + family lifestyle

Bash’s Story

January 15, 2017

I was never one to read a lot of birth stories when I was pregnant. I read a few around that time when pregnant-you decides that you want to learn all the nitty gritty stuff about childbirth and then quickly realize that it sounds terrifying and is it too late to change your mind?

But I think there are a lot of people out there who do like reading them, and find comfort in them, so here I am sharing mine with you.


October was my busiest work month of the whole year and I was taking in as much as I could. I worked right up until 39 weeks and the only reason I stopped was that my best friend came to visit me that week. And thank goodness for her! She helped me slow down, she cooked for us, she cleaned my bathroom. We shopped, did puzzles (because we’re basically 29 year old grandmas), watched movies, and enjoyed a kid-less week.

Side note: best friends should not have to live half a country apart. So not fair.

October 29th // two days before my due date

Bestie flew back home, Matt went to watch a soccer game, and I spent the day puttering around the house convinced that baby Z wouldn’t be showing up any time soon.

October 30th // one day before my due date

It was one of those really great Sundays. We had a quiet morning at home, drinking coffee, and probably stayed in pjs until noon.

I finished a diy for the nursery, worked on some blog posts, and decided that I should probably repack my hospital bag since I hadn’t touched it in a few months and had no idea what was even in it anymore.

I remember my sister in law coming over for a quick visit that afternoon and as she was leaving our conversation went something like this:

“How are you feeling?”

“Good. Same as usual…”

“You might have a baby the next time I see you”

“Haha, yeah right. He’s not going to come for at least another week.”

A few hours later I started feeling a bit different.

I should also probably mention that I had an incredible pregnancy and for some reason I didn’t have to go through any of sucky stuff that most pregnant women do. Other than my massive belly and walking slower than usual I felt pretty much exactly the same as I did before I was pregnant. So when I say I started feeling a bit different I mean that I just felt kind of a stirring inside. Not the baby moving or kicking, just something… different. I don’t know how to explain it really.

But of course, it was probably in my head so onto the next thing I wanted to do that day.

Matt was watching a hockey game on tv that evening so I decided it would be a good time for me to finally write a letter to myself (one of my 30 before 30 things) and then wrote one for the baby too. I got Matt to take some Instax photos of us to put in the envelopes with the letters and some for the baby book too.

Around 8pm that “different” feeling I had was growing stronger. I thought that would be a great time to Google “How do I know when I am in labour“. Not even joking haha.

Of course it couldn’t be labour… labour was supposed to be obvious. And all the things the internet told me basically said “even if you have these signs it could still be a week away. You’ll know when it’s happening”. So I wandered around the house alternating between sitting and standing while watching the game with Matt.

The game finished around 11pm and by now I was a bit more convinced that something real was happening. I was getting more and more uncomfortable and suspected that what I was feeling was contractions.

So I did the next obvious thing: “Matt, can you find some sort of contraction timing app for me to use?”

He already had one. The pain was getting stronger. I decided to go to bed.

My thought process was that I did not want to be the couple that goes to the hospital just to get sent home because it’s false labour. No one was going to roll their eyes at me for showing up at the hospital too soon!

I also remember thinking, “Well, if I’m actually in labour then the contractions will wake me up and I’ll know for sure we should go in.”

Which kind of worked because we went to bed around midnight and I lasted about half an hour before finally deciding that this really hurt and if these weren’t real contractions then there was no way I was going to survive them when they did happen.

Around 1am we grabbed our bags and drove the 10 minutes to the hospital. We parked in the short term parking and left our bags in the car because of course they were going to send us home. That’s what happens to all first time parents, right?

(Left: the face of someone getting their photo taken before giving birth. Thanks husband / Right: the face of someone in the midst of a contraction and someone who’s feeling great about it haha)

We went up to Labour & Delivery and signed in. After about 10 minutes they finally brought us to an exam room and a few minutes later someone came to check on me.

1:55am

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m alright. The contractions hurt a lot though”

“What kind of pain medication will you want?”

“Everything!” (that was my only “birth plan” I had. Least amount of pain and get a baby in the end)

“Let’s check you out………. Okay, you’re 8cm dilated and we need to get you to the delivery room NOW!”

Well, that was unexpected.

2:00am

They got me in a wheel chair and practically ran me to the delivery room. While they were trying to get my IV in Matt asked if there was enough time to go park the car and grab our bags. The nurse looked skeptical, but said that if he hurried and didn’t stop for a coffee on the way then he should be fine.

Off he went and in went the IV (eventually).

Now this part is always a little hazy. The way I tell it and the way Matt tells it are two different stories, but since he was the one watching it happen and I had my eyes closed the whole time I’ve come to believe his version of events.

2:15am

They hooked up a monitor to check baby’s heart rate and found that it was very low (60 when it should’ve been closer to 140). The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.

They called in more doctors.

I asked for drugs.

They said that’s not happening.

The baby inhaled meconium.

The NICU team arrived incase the baby needed to be resuscitated.

I heard the words “c-section” and at that moment knew I needed to do whatever it took to avoid that.

They said I was 9cm dilated and although you usually don’t start pushing until 10, I could try.

And did I ever. I pushed hard. But kept forgetting to breathe so my pushes weren’t long enough.

This was taking too long and they asked me if they could use the vacuum.

You’re the doctors, do whatever you need to to get this baby out!

They told me to keep pushing, counting it out so I wouldn’t stop too soon.

I never understood before how people said that you don’t remember the pain of childbirth. But now I totally get it. I remember it being the worst pain imaginable. I remember thinking that there was no way anything on earth could ever hurt more than it did at that moment.

2:28am

And then he’s out and the pain stops. And immediately it wasn’t so bad. I did it. 

October 31st // my due date

Suddenly there’s a baby crying. I open my eyes to see them handing me this puffy, red, bundle of perfection. Everything is okay.

Matt is beside me and we are now a family of 3. We can’t stop staring at his perfect little face.

He cuts the umbilical cord and I get 2 stitches and some Tylenol. We did it.

The room empties out and we are left alone with our baby and a nurse who needs to do all the paperwork that usually gets done well before delivery. Oops.

“What’s his name?” she asks

“Bastian William Zambonin. Bash. Our little baby Bash.”

The next 24 hours were kind of surreal. We texted everyone letting them know that the baby had arrived, and Matt’s parents came first thing in the morning to meet him.

I didn’t end up sleeping until the following night. How can you sleep when the cutest person to ever live is right there beside you just asking to be stared at?

We had visitors in an out that day, we learned the tricks to the perfect swaddle, and found out that Bash’s least favorite thing in the world is bath time (still true today).

November 1st // going home

We were supposed to leave by 11am, but the angel nurses let us have some much needed sleep. After we woke up and Bash had all his final checks, Matt got him dressed in his going home outfit which turned out to be entirely too big for him, buckled him in his car seat and we said goodbye.

Nothing feels as strange as walking out of the hospital with your new baby. You mean they’re just going to let us take this tiny human home and take care of him by ourselves now?

It kind of felt like the end of a movie. Like everything was right in the world.

The young couple carry their new baby out the hospital doors and into the rain. Smiling and talking about this amazing new adventure that’s about to begin as the cheesy music starts and the credits begin to roll.

And I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.

lifestyle style + beauty

Love + Coffee with JORD (and a giveaway!)

January 14, 2017

It’s hard to believe that the Christmas holidays are over, we’re almost halfway through January, and Valentine’s day is just around the corner! Time sure does fly (…when you have a newborn)

A month or so ago JORD reached out to me asking if I would be interested in reviewing their product, a gorgeous wood watch. Yep, you read that right – their unique men’s and women’s watches are wooden. How cool is that?

But I’ll be honest, I don’t wear watches. Don’t get me wrong I love the look of them and I’m sure it would be more practical to wear one than to dig my phone out of my purse to check the time, but I don’t even wear bracelets or rings besides my wedding ring so I didn’t want to lie to all you lovely people – just keeping it real folks.

However, I happen to know a handsome guy who does wear and appreciate a really nice watch so he became my model and recipient of the JORD time piece.

He chose this one from the Fieldcrest series in dark sandalwood and I have to say it looks pretty good on him :)

They have a handy sizing tool on their website that you can use so that your watch arrives in just the right size or it can also be easily sized by a jeweler or watch shop. After Matt’s arrived he decided he wanted it a bit smaller than we had measured so he took one of the links out without a problem.

The watch arrived in this wooden box (which can also be engraved when you order), along with a cleaning cloth, preserving oil, and humidity pack to help keep the watch in top condition.

We’re very impressed with the quality, care accessories, and look of the watch. And with Valentine’s day coming up it’s a great gift idea for that person in your life that’s hard to shop for too!

The Giveaway!

Click here to enter to win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD website!

At the end of the giveaway you will receive a code for $25 off your purchase. So it’s win-win!

The contest will close 2/12/16 at 11:59pm

*This post is sponsored by JORD, but all opinions are my own

Luxury Wooden Watch

Miscellaneous

UASHMAMA

December 10, 2016

Story time: I’ve moved around this country a whole bunch of times over the past 10 years and each time I would get more and more ruthless on what belongings I would keep or get rid of.

Can I get it in the new city for the same cost as shipping it? If yes, then to the donation bin it went.
Does it hold any sentimental value that I will truly miss if I don’t keep it? No? Add it to the giveaway pile.
Is it something I can live without over the next couple of weeks while I move? Yes? buh-bye!

Pretty ruthless.

In my last move I had my whole life’s contents down to about 5 boxes and a suitcase.

However, I have this set of generic linen-lined wicker baskets that I got for Christmas when I was a kid (I was a weird kid that was obsessed with baskets for time).

Baskets that I could easily buy in any city.
Baskets that don’t really have any sentimental value.
Baskets that I can definiltey live without at any time.

But yet I’ve gotten rid of other things so I could keep them. I’ve paid to move them around to seven different cities.

So what’s the point of this long-winded story you ask? I love a good looking basket, box, or bag! Yep, all that to show how seriously I take containers ;)

(PS want to see the infamous wicker? Take a look at my nursery reveal and you’ll find them)


I first got connected with UASHMAMA (pronounced “wash-mama”) through Instagram earlier this year, and when they reached out to me to collaborate I was all ears!

If you haven’t heard of UASHMAMA yet it is a small family owned brand based in Italy. They make a variety of gorgeous products, but it’s their process that I think really makes them stand out.

“UASHMAMA washable paper looks and feels like leather, but washes with ease. Our bags are soft yet resilient, where the manufacturing process is similar to leather as the paper is stretched and tanned making it durable to withstand washing and daily use.

… Paper that washes like fabric holding it’s form so it can be used over and over again promoting sustainability perfect for catering and home wares. Originally designed as bread bags, over time the uses, finishes and designs have become so much more. Their usefulness is limited only by ones imagination. Countless and ever new, depending on taste and trends, which do not follow any fashion, only the inspiration of its creator: Marco Marconi.”

It’s pretty much paper that’s been transformed into leather! How cool is that?

I have the paniere in grey and found so many different uses for it. I’m always a sucker for gift baskets especially when the packaging is just as pretty and useful as the contents :)

Since the bags are washable it’s okay if they get wet – which makes them great for planters! (although they aren’t waterproof so I would suggest keeping the plant in it’s original pot and then put it in the bag so it doesn’t sit in water)

Who doesn’t love a good tote bag! I think my knitting projects should live in there this winter… and then get kicked out for picnics and evenings strolls in the summer time. 

Yes, I know. It’s another gift basket. But look how cozy it is! Hot chocolate, marshmallows, blanket scarf, and that adorable little mug ornament. A perfect Christmas gift for … well, you probably ;)

I took it into the nursery and saw about 100 different ways I could use it… toy bin, blanket storage, book basket, change table organizer. The list goes on…

And here are a few of my other favorites that can be found in their online shop too. Look at that metallic! As much as I love the neutrals I can appreciate some shiny rose gold once in a while too :)

With Christmas being only a couple of weeks away they’re offering free shipping until the end of the month. Woo!

Or if you’re in Ottawa you can find the bags locally at JV Studio, Boogie + Birdie, and Vincent or you can check out their holiday pop-up shop that’s happening on December 15-18 at Patrick Mikhail Gallery (2401 Bank Street).

You can find a list of their other stockists across Canada on their website.

*this post has been sponsored by UASHMAMA.ca. All opinions are my own