Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happiness Project: Closet Edit

It's been a while since I've posted about my Happiness Project but I promise I've been hard at work. One of my resolutions was to be more organized. In the first chapter of Gretchen Rubin's book she decides to 'boost her energy' by 'tossing, restoring, and organizing'. Her first project was to clean out her closet. This is something that I can empathize with completely. There is something so therapeutic about a good old fashioned closet purge.

Confession: I'm a reformed shopaholic. You may laugh at this but the truth is I used to buy obscene amounts of expensive clothing. Every time I edited my closet it was to make room for my new purchases which never got me further ahead in the organizing department. A lot of the clothes that I didn't wear anymore (or never wore in the first place) were too expensive to simply give away. The solution only just dawned on me - sell them!

So I recently tackled the task of cleaning out my closet. I combed through and removed anything that was damaged beyond repair and threw it in the trash. I went through again and pulled out everything that I haven't worn in the past two years (I chose two years instead of one because I was pregnant for one of those years). Of that collection, I divided my clothes in to three piles: clothes for storage, clothes to donate, & clothes to sell/consign. I skimmed my closet one last time and removed the duplicates that I wear the least (a person only needs so many grey v-neck tshirts) and added them to my "give aways". What I was left with was a well-edited wardrobe made up only of items that I use consistently. I removed almost half the clothes in my closet - HALF!

I immediately felt a huge sense of relief and calm and I haven't missed those clothes since. Now when I get dressed in the morning I'm not overwhelmed by selection, in fact, I actually feel like I have more options. Getting organized is definitely making me happier.

I've had really good luck selling some of my clothing. I just posted a few more pieces on Kijiji this week and thought some of you might be interested in what I'm offering. Click here to view all the items I have for sale. If there is something you like, contact me through my Kijiji ad and we'll work out a discount for being an Erin In Wonderland follower.

Happy shopping & happy organizing!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Drunken Whip

I'm not usually a fan of whipped cream (or worse, whipped "topping"), I typically opt out of it with my dessert or coffee orders. Like anything else, though, home made is better. Every year for Christmas my mom makes a traditional English trifle which includes whipped cream spiked with liqueur and it's impossible to resist. So whenever I make something that would be a little better with whipped cream I make this 'recipe'.

You'll need a 250 mL carton of 33% MF cream, a liqueur of your choosing (I like amaretto but just about anything would work), and sugar.

Using the whisk attachment on your handheld mixer, whip cream until it's just thickened. Add 1-1.5 ounces of your liqueur and continue to whisk until light peaks form. Add 2-4 teaspoons of sugar and whisk until cream forms peaks when the mixer is lifted. Use right away or cover, refrigerate, and use within 24 hours.

 This makes a great addition to coffee or hot chocolate.

Add it to fresh berries or seasonal fruit for an easy & impressive dessert.

A little bit of decadence to start your Wednesday morning!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Share The Love GIVEAWAY

This past weekend I posted my 50th blog post. It's a small milestone but I'd like to mark it with a celebratory giveaway to say thank you for sharing this adventure with me. This is my first giveaway so I've decided to keep it simple, sharing three favourite items from past posts.

The current issue of Cottage Style magazine which was featured in the 'my favourite magazine' post

 The single wick Voluspa French Bourbon Vanille candle from 'a new favourite candle'.

A $10 Starbucks gift card so you can treat yourself, like in 'favourite five: guilty pleasures'.

To enter, share your favourite Erin In Wonderland blog post link on Facebook or your blog then comment on this post or my link to it on Facebook letting me know which post you chose. This contest closes Tuesday, March 5 at noon and is open to Canadian readers only (sorry!). The winner will be chosen randomly.

Thank you so much for all your kind words and support over the past months, it really means so much to me.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Buzz

The Oscars are tomorrow and this is the first year that I haven't seen even one film that is nominated for Best Picture. I used to try to see all of them, then the Academy started nominating 9 or 10 movies for the big awards and I just couldn't keep up. This year I saw "The Hobbit" and "Skyfall" so those are my bets for the cinematography and make-up categories. It's actually kind of liberating though - instead of filling out a ballot and being glued to the screen for three (or four) hours I can watch the Red Carpet, read my book, then go to bed early. Ahh how parenthood changes you!

For a complete list of awards categories and films nominated click here.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2013

What I Wore This Week, Baby Edition

There are many reasons why I love being the mama to a little boy, among them is the adorable clothing! Now, I also love girls' clothes, in fact I envy a lot of them, but I've always loved how you can dress up a baby boy to look like a real guy. We're at the annoying in-between-sizes phase right now where his 9-12 month stuff is too short but the 12-18 month things are a little baggy. Anyway, it's an opportunity to share some current W photos for those of you who have been asking for them.

What He Wore This Week

{channeling Jay Leno in his 'Canadian tuxedo'}


{chambray shirt - Gap, jeans - Joe Fresh}

{striped onesie - Kate Quinn Organics, cords - Joe Fresh}

{'Mr Mischief' tee - Junkfood, jeans - H&M}

{tshirt - American Apparel, jeans - MEXX}

 {pants - Carters, tee - Apericots, Cardi - Hilfiger, boots - Shop Mod Tots}

Sometimes I dress him like his Daddy, sometimes I dress him like me - the kid does have a lot of skinny jeans...

Where do you buy your little fashionisto's wardrobe?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dress-ed For Winter

Spring is coming early this year! At least according to Punxsutawney Phil. While the weather has been warming up a bit around here (like, single digits below zero) it's not exactly time to start unpacking your spring/summer wardrobe. Since the New Year I've been itching to get back in to my favourite skirts & dresses and last week I finally gave in. I skimmed through my closet and found a few dresses that could be paired with some warmer elements to make them more season-appropriate, this is what I came up with.

{a chambray mini with wool leggings & cashmere cardigan}

{layered shift dresses with an over-sized sweater, high socks, & boots}

 {maxi skirt with wool/cashmere cropped sweater}

 {lined skirt with tights, denim jacket with scarf}

I'm looking forward to the days of sundresses and flipflops but these outfits have at least satisfied a  wardrobe craving in the meantime.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eleven Months

This past weekend we celebrated Wesley's 11 month birthday. Boy, time flies. About a year ago I had a conversation with my sister about the things I planned to accomplish while I was on my maternity leave from work, little projects around the house that I had neglected because I had been "too busy" but would surely be able to finish over the next 12 months. Ha ha ha! I recently found that list and not a single item has been crossed off, not one. I started to feel kind of panicked since I know I'm never going to have more time so I reassessed my list to see what I could tackle over the next few weeks and you know what? I ended up just throwing the whole thing out and starting over.

This is my new list of things I want to do this month:

1. Take Wesley on a lunch date, just the two of us.
2. Print & frame some of my favourite photos of him.
3. Fill out his baby book.
4. Write in his journal everyday, even if it's only one line.

The house stuff can wait. The next month is all about making the most of my time at home with my boy.


(PS - I also want to spend more time loving the dog, we've become quite close as of late and I'm really going to miss her too)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Favourite Five: Love Songs

A mini playlist for those with love in their hearts.

Daniel Wesley - It'll Be You

Angus & Julia Stone - You're The One That I Want

The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses

City & Colour - We Found Each Other In The Dark (audio only)

Dave Matthews Band - Oh

And for the haters...

Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day full of love & kindness from Erin in Wonderland!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conversation Heart Sugar Cookies

The last time I made sugar cookies I used Martha Stewart's recipe for both the cookies & the royal icing and it took me three days, two trips to the grocery store, and probably took 6 years off my life. It was so laborious and frustrating I vowed I wouldn't bother with them again. A few months ago, while browsing Pinterest, I came across this recipe from Peppermint Plum for thick, soft sugar cookies that required few ingredients and no refrigerating so I decided to give them a shot.

I want to make them for Wesley's St Patrick's Day birthday party and thought Valentine's Day would be a good chance for a trial run. They turned out great! Soft and tasty, just like the recipe promised. The original recipe uses buttercream frosting but I wanted something a little firmer so that I could stack them so I used this one from All Recipes instead (I substituted almond extract for the vanilla extract). I like that it doesn't use raw egg whites like royal icing does. I decided to decorate them to look like those Conversation Heart candies that are always out this time of year - you know the ones with the silly little messages on them?

 {like this - ha ha!}

I only managed to make them in three colours because my orange turned out more brown than pastel.

It was fun coming up with little sayings to put on each heart, you can get really creative. I found a couple of candies that read "tweet me" - social networking is even taking over our sweets!

These recipes were a lot easier than the first ones I made years ago but they were still a little time-consuming - I suppose that's the nature of rolled cookies that require decorating. Thankfully, my St Patrick's Day cookies only need one colour of frosting. 

I'm excited to set these out at our parties later this week but they're almost too cute to eat! Almost.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Je T'adore!

Paris is my favourite city that I've never been to. The city of love, the city of lights - c'est magnifique! In my fantasy world I would be able to spend this Valentine's Day having a romantic picnic in Luxembourg Gardens, but I'm not, so I thought it would be fun to bring some Parisian touches home for the holidays.

Why not mix up your own Parisian-inspired cocktail? One of my favourites is the French Martini which combines vodka, pineapple juice, and Chambord Royale raspberry liquer.

To make, mix:
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/4 oz Chambord
1/4 oz pineapple juice
Shake with ice then strain in to a martini glass (I use a coupe)

For a cheekier version (a French Kiss), mix:
1 oz vodka
1 oz Chambord
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
Shake with ice then strain in to a flute & top with whipped cream

To accompany your pretty pink cocktail with a sweet treat, pain au chocolat is the only way to go. Cobs bakery makes a chocolate croissant that is very similar so I picked up a couple.

And while you're enjoying your gateries, I highly recommend a viewing of 'Paris, Je T'Aime', my favourite French movie, which takes an ensemble cast of actors & directors and explores all different types of love in, where else? Paris!

In my opinion, this is the second best way to spend Valentine's Day - whether you're alone, with friends, or with your amoureaux.

What is your favourite way to celebrate Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Decorating & A Tassel Garland DIY

I mentioned last week that I'm not typically excited for Valentine's Day but because this will be my baby's first I wanted to make it special and decided to do a little decorating. I saw this as a chance to re-use some of my Christmas decorations, like the red pillar candles and heart-shaped ornaments from Ikea.

I was also in the mood for a little crafting so I decided to make a tissue paper tassel garland for our mantel.

It was super easy and cheap so I thought I would share the steps with you.

1) Fold one sheet of tissue paper in half width-wise then in half again width-wise. 2) With your seams at the top & left, cut 1/2 inch strips towards the top fold leaving 2 inches uncut at top. 3) Unfold tissue once and cut in half, set one piece aside. 4) Unfold tissue all the way then roll up the center tightly. 5) Twist the center from one tasseled end to the other. 6) Loop around and twist together to form an "eye".

Repeat steps 1-6 with different colours of tissue paper to make as many tassels as you would like (I made 20). Thread a length of cord or ribbon through your tassels to make a garland - I used my Divine Twine in Cherry. 
I used the left over tissue paper to make a pom pom which, together with my heart-shaped balloons, completes the look I wanted. I already had the candles, ornaments, and twine - the balloons were a gift from my friend Ramona at Sweet Social - so I spent a grand total of $3 on tissue paper & helium for my decorations. Not too shabby!

Now that we're all set up, bring on the festivities!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine's Card DIY

I'm not usually one who gets very excited over Valentine's Day but since this will be Wesley's first I'm looking forward to starting some traditions with him. My most vivid memory of Valentine's Day growing up is the card exchange at school. There was always one afternoon in February that was dedicated to building your little "mailbox" & passing out cards and then the real excitement of opening them all up once you got home. This week I assembled some pretty & easy valentine cards for Wesley to send off to his friends.

You've probably seen tons of craft ideas that use paint cards from hardware stores - they're all over Pinterest - so that was my first stop. I used a craft punch to get all my little hearts in different shades of pink but you could also cut them out with scissors (if you were only making a few cards). Cardstock in two sizes & colours, craft glue, glue pen, red glitter, and paper adhesive make up the rest of the supplies needed.

1) Print out your messages on the letter-sized cardstock. I used white paper and printed them in landscape orientation to get 4 cards per sheet. 2) Cut your cardstock in quarters to separate the cards - I used a paper cutter but scissors would work again here. 3) Draw a heavy, rounded line across your card with the glue pen. I wanted the hearts to look like they are hanging from a clothes line so I tried to draw that shape. 4) Sprinkle the wet glue with your sparkles, enough to cover the whole line.
5) Shake off excess sparkles. *Tip: spray the sparkle line with hairspray to keep them from rubbing off later. 6) Use your craft glue to attach your hearts along the "clothes line". 7) I used 4 hearts in different shades of pink to create an ombre look but you could use alternating colours or all one colour - get creative! 8) Trim your second colour of cardstock slightly larger than the first to create a border all the way around. 9) Attach your message card to the backing using paper adhesive (or double-sided tape).

All done and ready to be delivered! A simple & fun way to spread the love this Valentine's Day. Hopefully Wesley's friends are as excited about opening their cards as I was about making them!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Say Cheese!

Just a quick reminder that you only have 3 DAYS LEFT to enter Sarah's amazing giveaway! This is a great chance to capture some memories with a loved one - be it your sweetheart, your mom, your dog, whoever! In addition to an 8x10 print, Sarah is giving you a boatload of digital images AND a write-up on her blog. Just share this giveaway on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter then comment on the Sarah Mavro Photography giveaway blog post (link here) letting her know you've done so.

(and here's a little secret: if you get your intended photo partner to enter the contest as well you double your chances at winning!)

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A New Favourite Candle

A few years ago I bought the best candle. It was Henri Bendel's Biscotti scent which I found at Bath & Body Works, of all places. It was the perfect mix of sweet & spicy and I loved it. In fact, I adored it so much that I wouldn't burn it save for special occasions. It took me over two years to use it and by that time Bath & Body Works had stopped carrying the Henri Bendel line. Naturally, I was devastated. I love candles but I'm pretty particular about scents and, despite great effort, I could not find a candle that compared to that one - until now.

Voluspa's French Bourbon Vanille smells identical to Bendel's Biscotti. The only difference I can tell is that the Voluspa candle is a two-wick candle so the smell is a little stronger. Instead of burning it in the kitchen like I normally would, I keep this candle in the living room so that the scent is a little milder throughout the house.

I love the beautiful container: white on the outside and mercury glass on the inside gives it a sort of vintage look.

This scent is part of Voluspa's Vermeil collection, which is seasonal, so I can only assume it will not stick around forever. This time I'm going to be proactive and stock up on a few of these so that I don't run in to the same trouble I had before. I bought mine at Chapters (the 11oz candle is $24) and they had lots of other fragrances and sizes. For those of you who are interested, the Biscotti candle is available through Henri Bendel New York (online here), but it's more expensive and you have to pay for shipping.

Which candles are you burning? Have you found the Bendels candles anywhere else in the city?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Favourite Five: Guilty Pleasures

Everyone has those little indulgences that you dabble in every now and again just because they make you happy. No one else seems to understand why you like these things so much, or maybe they do and they're too proud (or ashamed) to admit it. The little things that make you smile despite yourself. These are my top five guiltiest pleasures.

Number 1: Donuts for Breakfast

Most days it's hard to justify eating dessert first thing in the morning but on rare and special occasions I will make an exception for donuts. Not just any old donuts though. I have a particular fancy for the glazed yeast donuts from Safeway. O. M. G. If you've never had them before you must go treat yourself to two right now - one of them won't even make it home before it's gobbled up!

Number 2: The $6 Coffee

I'm usually pretty good about getting my caffeine fix at home or grabbing a cup on the go from a more economical coffee shop but every once in a while I feel the need for a fancy drink with a long, sometimes unpronounceable name. I'm sure everyone has heard that if you stop spending your money on Starbucks that by the end of the year you'll be able to afford a new car but, darn it, sometimes a girl just wants a macchiato.

Number 3: Teen Fiction Novels

This one isn't my fault. I would have never gotten in to these books if my sister hadn't insisted that I read the first three chapters of Twilight when it was so popular. It just escalated from there! Fortunately, I can just borrow these books from the library and return them a week later, easily avoiding the questioning looks your friends give you while they browse your book shelves. I just have to wait in line behind 14 year old girls to get them.

Number 4: Afternoon Naps

{strangely, no one takes my picture when I nap so instead I offer this one of Wesley when he was 2 months old}

It would be easier to justify the occasional cat nap if I wasn't a good sleeper at night or if I didn't have anything better to do. The truth is, though, that I am completely capable of getting a solid 8 hours at night and should probably be cleaning up the growing piles of dishes/laundry/dog hair but I will always choose sleep above all else. That's why it's called a guilty pleasure. The trick is to only partake in this one infrequently enough that no one can claim that you're negligent. Aren't we all more efficient when we're rested?

Number 5: Justin Bieber

This could extend to other bubblegum pop artists because I do like some of their songs (there are a couple by One Direction on my iPod) but I don't actually care that much for Bieber's music. It's awful, really. What I do admire about this guy is how well spoken and charming he is. Have you ever seen him interviewed? He's so sweet and polite! He always smiles! And he's so darn adorable! I really don't understand why people get down on the Biebs, I think he's doing a great job of representing Canadian talent. Plus he pays taxes here so go ahead and make another bazillion dollars, keep supporting our economy!

If I could plan my perfect day it would definitely involve nibbling on a donut while sipping my latte, listening to Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me" and reading the newest Lauren Conrad novel - but just thinking of all that makes me a little tired so instead I think I'll just have a little {yawn} lay down.

What is your guilty pleasure? I promise I won't judge.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Game Day

I don't actually have much to say about the Superbowl, I don't even really like football. I am excited that the 49ers are playing, though, because I've seen them play before and I love San Francisco. I had a lot of fun on our vacation there.

Have a happy Sunday!