Maxin’ Relaxin’

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Blue Boho Maxi Dress | Grey Booties | Brown Saddle Bag

I have been on a bit of a boho kick lately, have you noticed? I always find that as the temperatures rise I turn to light and airy pieces like this printed blue maxi. I especially love when I find pieces with unique details like the buttons and little bow detail, I am particularly in love with the slit on this dress because it’s perfect for twirling around in.

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Day to Night Dressing

Dress

Look 1: Denim Jacket | White Sneakers | Purse | Aviator Sunglasses

Look 2: Sandal Heels | Hot Pink Clutch | Bauble Earrings | Cat-eye Sunglasses

When it comes to investing in a piece I aim to find something that I can wear multiple times. Whether it be a little black dress that I can style multiple ways for nights out or a dress like this one that can easily transition from day to night. I love the faux wrap detail on this dress and the fringe detail along the edge. Today I’m showing you how you can get more use out of this investment piece (I know it’s under $200 but anything over $125 is an investment in my books).

The first look would be perfect for a casual brunch with your girlfriends or running to the farmers market, my favourite weekend stop, to pick up flowers, and cupcakes of course. Then simply add a fun clutch, some strappy sandals, and a statement earring to amp this outfit up  and take you to night out with your love or a summer wedding.

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Minty Fresh

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Bow Sleeve Sweater (less than $40) | Denim | Grey Flats | Purse | Pink Sunglasses | Earrings | Lip Stain

Happy Monday! This past weekend I headed out for a weekend away with one of my best girlfriends. She’s getting married in less than two months – insert excited squeal! – and I am helping with some of the wedding planning. We spent the weekend visiting the venue, picking out fabrics, and scouting venues for photos. It was so much fun!

When I was packing I checked the weather and it looked like it was going to finally warm up this weekend. I knew it could be cold at night so I decided to throw in a couple sweaters in case it was still wintery where she is. As I started approaching the town she lives in I was shocked to see a few inches of snow – thank goodness for packing a couple warm pieces! This knit sweater is SO dang soft and perfectly warm, but also breathable. I also love the darling bow sleeve detail on this sweater (did I mention it’s less than $40 and so cozy). I would suggest finding a friend who knows how to tie good bows before heading out in the sweater, unless you’re more skilled at tying bows one handed.

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Valentine's Day Nails

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Though I’m not one who likes to go out for Valentine’s Day, I do love dressing up for it! If you were to peak into my closet, you would see that there are a lot of white, pink, and red pieces in there. I love to wear bright pinks and reds, I feel like they are very flattering on blondes even if it’s just on your nails.

When I was younger, my mom would often do my nails for me for Valentine’s Day. She would either paint them pink for me, or she would paint little red or white hearts on my nails. This post started with the intention of showing you those cute heart nails, but I am not as skilled of an artist as my mother, who has an art degree and is quite a talented artist. After three tries at painting delicate little hearts, I got frustrated and moved on to these easy polka dot nails. These polka dots are much easier to achieve!

First thing you need to do is start with a white base. I used Blanc by Essie. I have tried a whole variety of brands, ranging in price, and Essie is my favourite! The quality is just so much better than the others I have tried.

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Once you have two coats of the white, you can start on the polka dots. Simply dab your colour of choice onto a nail art stick and dot that onto your nail. I bought wooden sticks from Joe Fresh (a pack of 12 is $4 – I can’t find them online, but you can pick them up at Shoppers or Superstore, or get 100 for less than $4 on Amazon) and just brushed the nail polish onto the tip of the stick. It helps if you can get a bit of a good amount of nail polish onto the stick so you get a good sized dot. I chose to alternate Mod Square with Double Breasted Jacket to have a mix of red and pink. It’s as simple as that! If you try this out be sure to tag me in your post @theemalexander.

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My Costco roses (bought two weeks ago) finally kicked the bucket this weekend, but I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye so we had some fun using them as props in upcoming blog and Instagram photos.

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Nails

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Though I’m not one who likes to go out for Valentine’s Day, I do love dressing up for it! If you were to peak into my closet, you would see that there are a lot of white, pink, and red pieces in there. I love to wear bright pinks and reds, I feel like they are very flattering on blondes even if it’s just on your nails.

When I was younger, my mom would often do my nails for me for Valentine’s Day. She would either paint them pink for me, or she would paint little red or white hearts on my nails. This post started with the intention of showing you those cute heart nails, but I am not as skilled of an artist as my mother, who has an art degree and is quite a talented artist. After three tries at painting delicate little hearts, I got frustrated and moved on to these easy polka dot nails. These polka dots are much easier to achieve!

First thing you need to do is start with a white base. I used Blanc by Essie. I have tried a whole variety of brands, ranging in price, and Essie is my favourite! The quality is just so much better than the others I have tried.

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Once you have two coats of the white, you can start on the polka dots. Simply dab your colour of choice onto a nail art stick and dot that onto your nail. I bought wooden sticks from Joe Fresh (a pack of 12 is $4 – I can’t find them online, but you can pick them up at Shoppers or Superstore, or get 100 for less than $4 on Amazon) and just brushed the nail polish onto the tip of the stick. It helps if you can get a bit of a good amount of nail polish onto the stick so you get a good sized dot. I chose to alternate Mod Square with Double Breasted Jacket to have a mix of red and pink. It’s as simple as that! If you try this out be sure to tag me in your post @theemalexander.

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My Costco roses (bought two weeks ago) finally kicked the bucket this weekend, but I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye so we had some fun using them as props in upcoming blog and Instagram photos.

 

 

 

How To Get a Better Nights Sleep

Something that is really important to me, is sleep. I know that may seem obvious, or funny, to some but it is truly really important when it comes to my ability to function property. I am a true believer that getting a good nights rest can do wonders for your energy level, cognitive ability, attitude, and health.

I am one of those people who really needs a full 7-8 hours a night in order to keep up. Though I love sleeping, I really try to make the most of every day. I truly hate sleeping in, or wasting a day. I feel like a day that doesn’t consist of doing something that will help me move forward in life, regardless of how small of a move that is, is a day on this earth that is wasted. I don’t want to get all preachy over here, but I am a firm believer that every day is a gift and should be treated as such. Am I perfect at doing this, oh hells no, but I do try every day. Some are harder than others, and those days are usually the ones that I am tired, or hangry – those are my main two sources of unhappiness, so someone please feed me and make me take a nap if I am in a bad mood!

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So, how do I ensure I get a good night’s sleep and not become a gwumpy pants, as my one friend calls me? Keep reading to find out. *Disclaimer* By no means am I even close to having any expertise in this field, but these particular things are what helped me improve my sleep, so, if you’re still interested, here are my tips for getting a more restful nights sleep, so you can go from the above photo, to the below…

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Tip One: Limit blue light. A few months ago a friend of mine showed me his blue light blocking glasses and shared how he was getting a deeper nights sleep with them. While I am not willing to wear said glasses each night, I discovered an easy way to lower my blue light exposure each evening. If you have one of the newer operating systems on your iPhone, you can set this up in less than a minute. Simply go into your settings –> Display & Brightness –> Night Shift, then set it up to start a couple hours before you usually go to bed each night and end when you usually wake up. At the time it switches each night, I try to log off my computer and shut down the TV as well. It’s a simple change that has significantly altered how well I sleep each night.

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Tip Two: Lavender. If you enter “Calming effects of” into Google, lavender is one of the first things that pops up. It is so calming and soothing, with many report of it helping to ease anxiety and insomnia. We keep a couple pouches filled with lavender buds laying around our bedroom – you should be able to find them at your local florist. We get ours from Fiori or Terre Bleu Lavender Farm. If I am feeling anxious that day, or having trouble sleeping I will either hook one on to the fan in our room so it blows the scent around, or take the pouch and throw it at our pillows a few times. That may seem a bit weird, but when you throw it at something it will really release the scent, and tossing it onto your pillow a few times will fill your night with the calming scent.

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Tip Three: Darkness. If you are anything like me, you need it to be pitch back when you sleep. For almost my entire life I have lived with my bedroom facing a main road, bright street light included. At my parents house there was a bright street light about 20 feet from my bed, which was amplified after each snowfall, and I had a big window that faced right at it, the struggle was real! After a number of years spent throwing various clothing items over my eyes throughout the night…okay that sounds weird, I mostly put an old t-shirt over my eyes..I finally purchased an eye mask, and never looked back. Sleeping with that eye mask on was life changing! I really notice a difference if I stay at a friends and forget to bring it. There are SO many cute and comfortable ones on the market now, so go pick one up!

Tip Four: Read. This is something my father told me ALL THE TIME as a child. I really struggled with sleep for many, many years. I have struggled with turning my brain off for many years. I am sure other people experience this. When I would close my eyes, all of a sudden everything I thought about that day, or needed to do the next day, would flood into my head and own my night, it was brutal. I remember many sleepless nights laying there with all kinds of things running through my mind, wishing there was a way to make it stop, then I finally took my dads advice (thanks dadio!). I now keep a stack of books on my bedside table and I slowly work my way through them by reading a little each night. I try to save the really thrilling books for earlier in the day, and choose more intellectual ones for my pre-bed reading.

Tip Five: Get it out. Keep a notebook or journal next to your bed and write down anything that pops into your head before bed. Things that you need to do the next day, things you are particularly grateful for that day, plans for the future, goals etc. Whatever it is, get it out of your mind before your lay it down for the night. I have heard a few people refer to this as a “brain dump” and I think that is pretty accurate. Just get all that info out so you can have a truly restful night.

Tip Six: ROUTINE!!!!!: This may seem so simple, and it really is, but SERIOUSLY folks, get yo self into a good sleep schedule, like right now! Go do it! It can be tough to figure out at times, especially when you have weird work schedules like Josh and I do, but it’s so critical. Figuring this out made the most significant change in my overall happiness. That is not to say that you need to be asleep by 11:00 pm and up by 7:00 am every day (this is what my sleep goal is each day) but at least set yourself an evening and morning routine each day. There are definitely times when I am working an event that is going late and I know there is absolutely no way I will be out of there by 11:00 pm, let alone in bed, but I still make a point of setting a schedule for the next day. If I go to sleep at 1:30 am, I will not let myself sleep past 9:30 am, unless I am REALLY sick, because I know I don’t need more sleep than those eight hours. I am just throwing away the morning if I stay in bed until 11:00 am, or later. I know some people may disagree with me, and that is totally fine, but I really noticed a difference with this. It’s the same concept as working out when you don’t feel like it. When Josh and I were doing personal training, there were days where it took everything in me to show up, seriously (Andrew and Andrew, yeah they both had the same name, if you’re reading this, I like you guys, but I f-ing hate  burpies and am not sorry for whining). I dreaded it sometimes and if I didn’t have a trainer to keep me accountable, I might not have gone. The crazy thing was, once I was there and got moving, I felt great and was really proud of myself for going. The same applies to setting a schedule. There are days where I really think that being a housewife with no kids and living a life of leisure would be the best thing ever, stay in bed all day and do nothing, sure it sounds great, but to me, that is not fulfilling. So, I drag my ass out of that bed and get moving, even if it’s just walking into the kitchen to start brewing some coffee, getting going and knowing that is my morning routine, just like my nightly routine is brush my teeth, wash face, chapstick, hand cream, read, I have a morning routine that helps get me going, like my nightly routine helps me unwind. Give it a try for a few weeks and let me know how it goes for you!

I really hope these tips help you get a deeper sleep and wake up feeling refreshed! P.S. having a good mattress also helps a lot. We invested in a pillow top Stearns and Foster bed a couple of  years ago and it is amazing. You spend a lot of your life in bed, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

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P.P.S. Letting your giant dog sleep in bed can be a challenge when wanting to get a good nights sleep, but we love to cuddle him and he loves it too, so we let him be. It’s not perfect, but we make it work.

Toronto Christmas Market

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One of the things we look forward to every Christmas Season is the Toronto Christmas Market. We love the Distillery District any time of the year, but there is something so magical about the Christmas Market. I just love strolling around and taking everything in.

This year we went on a day that was forecast to be a big snowstorm so there were smaller crowds and we found we didn’t have to wait for anything. One of the stops we make every year is the patio at El Catrin for some mulled wine. I love that you can cozy up around one of the fires and keep warm while enjoying your drink outside.

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Holiday Wishlist

 

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Can you believe it’s just over one month until Christmas is here!? I feel like this month is flying by and before I know it Christmas will be here. That means it’s time to get my butt in gear with getting my Christmas shopping done and putting together a wishlist for Josh.

I have known about Stella & Dot for a number of years and always loved their products, but it wasn’t until recently that a friend of mine became a Stylist and I was able to see their products up close and personal. I was really impressed by the quality, price-point, and variety that is offered. After spending some time looking through their website and lookbooks, I picked out my ten favourite pieces to share with you today. I tried to keep this more simple and pick versatile pieces that you could wear with most of your outfits. I know some people may think that leopard print isn’t the most versatile choice, but I am in full agreement with Jenna Lyons statement that”As far as I’m concerned, leopard is a neutral”. I love that many of their pieces can be worn in more than one way, like this Sutton Statement Necklace, which can be worn five different ways!

Links to the items I picked are listed below in order of how they are in the photo. If you shop now, you will earn $25 Dot Dollars for event $50 you spend. Which means you can shop now for gifts for all the ladies in your life, then snag something great for yourself after December 27, 2016. Should you have any questions about these products or getting your orders placed in time for Christmas, you can contact my friend Jenna.

Burgundy Lace Tee

Black bag & Burgundy

Denim: Anthropologie | Lace tee: Forever 21 | Red tank: Anthropologie | Booties: Jessica Simpson 

This outfit is perfect for a date night dinner, especially because these jeans by Pilcro feel like leggings and this seamless layering tank is incredibly comfortable, I have it in multiple colours ( I just wish this red was a bit darker), it’s perfect for layering under a sheer top like my burgundy lace tee. This exact top is no longer available in this colour, it is currently available in black and white, and there is a very similar top in this exact  colour, all available for less than $35!

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