Natural Spring Pampering

Isn’t it amusing how our Canadian spring always goes from winter to summer with no real in between? The tragic result of this dramatic shift is beautiful weather that gives me ZERO desire to spend any time indoors cleaning out the winter grime. Thank the gods for rainy days, or I swear I’d do nothing at all. Okay, truthfully, on the rainy days I’d rather focus on natural spring pampering than on house work.

Today I have an exciting new treat for you. I’m happy to tell you that Playboy Mommy has our first official sponsor, Holy Taste, a Canadian company specializing in organic health foods, supplements and natural cleaning products.  Holy Taste is partnering with us to bring you some of the best items they have on offer, and I’ll give you the real scoop on how these products perform.

We’re going to get things rolling with this beautiful bundle that I hand selected from the Holy Taste website of a collection of products sure to help you feel fresh, inspired, and invigorated – everything you need to tackle your spring projects!


The Holy Taste Spring Pampering Bundle consists of the following delightful treats:

Righteously Raw Caramel Cacao Bar – This is an experience in chocolate that is not for the faint-of-heart. If you’re a die hard chocolate lover like me, you’ll appreciate the incredible richness of this 90% dark chocolate, lucuma and date bar. It’s delicious and it’s an incredible source of anti-oxidants. A couple of squares was all it took to power me through a particularly challenging day with the munchkins. If super dark chocolate isn’t your bag, consider gifting this to the chocolate lover in your life, because we all know at least one.

Devas Vanilla Body Lotion – This line of beautiful, natural beauty products is handmade in Quebec from ingredients sourced from the company’s own organic farm. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom (because that’s what you do when you are at home full time with three kids) and rub this on my feet and hands. It makes me so happy that I want to cry.

Devas Grapefruit & Bergamot Bubble Bath – As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that I’ve only used this product as a shower gel thus far. Clearly I need to schedule some time for the full on bubble bath experience. These days, I only get in the tub with a rambunctious toddler, which isn’t exactly the soothing and rejuvenating experience I crave. This light, fresh, clean scent is mild, and my dry skin seems to find it quite agreeable.

NutriDeo Frankincense Natural Deodorant – My quest to find an effective, clean natural deodorant has finally ended. I’ve tried powders with some success, but they are so messy. I’m so glad to have found NutriDeo, and I love this slightly musky scent. It’s gentle on my skin, and the fragrance is subtle. FYI, natural deodorants last about 18-24 hours and you have to apply them generously. It took me a while to find one that worked with my particular body chemistry. I don’t sweat a lot, but I guess I’m particularly pungent. You’re welcome for the extreme over-share. NutriDeo works, and now I want to try the other scents too!

Aangen Yogi Tea  This unique ayurvedic tea infusion claims to be “perfect to energize your body any time of the day, especially in the morning or before engaging in any physical exercise.” It was created in partnership with one of Toronto’s leading Ayurvedic doctors to ensure that it is perfectly balanced according to Ayurvedic medicine, which I’m becoming more and more fascinated by.  This tea is also designed to help detox, boost the immune system, aid in concentration, and increase warmth. I haven’t yet swapped it out for my daily morning coffee, but it is a wonderful sipping experience, and it does give me a nice little nudge right around the 3pm slump.

Holy Taste is offering the Spring Pampering Bundle for a limited time to Playboy Mommy readers for $49.99. Plus, Holy Taste is offering an additional 15% discount with the code 110513Holy.

[standout-css3-button href=""]Get the Bundle![/standout-css3-button]




Fall Wardrobe Essentials

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I have a love/hate relationship with fall. The colours, the weather, and the fashion save me from sinking into the mire of painful personal associations with this season. The food, the harvest and the fact that both my baby boy and my eldest girl have autumn birthdays give me reason to look forward to the weeks ahead.

Something possessed me to donate most of my (admittedly kind of shoddy) fall wardrobe last year when I was pregnant, and so this year as I was looking for warmer clothing, I found myself coming up with very little. My new promise to be more thrifty required me to make some careful choices about where and how to acquire a new fall wardrobe. My seasonal blues spurred me into some serious retail therapy.

First, I took stock of what I had. The panic set in when I opened the Rubbermaid tub in the basement to search for something to wear to a baby-naming ceremony. I had nothing. Not one stitch of dressy fall clothing. I started from there. On the long car ride to the city to attend said ceremony, I shopped. My go-to place now is ThredUp, a very gently used clothing resource that currently only ships to the US. No big deal for me because we have a box at the UPS store in Niagara Falls, NY which is a short jaunt from where we currently live.

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I got twenty pieces consisting of dresses, tops and skirts for $290.00. A second visit and $250 later, I got some dressy fall clothes for the girls (three dresses each), seven work-appropriate and dressy tops for Mama S, and four sweaters and two pairs of pants for me. All of this stuff will look brand new because ThredUp is so particular about their quality control. For an additional $200 I rounded things out with a trip to good old Value Village. There I bought a full-length, mint condition, black wool Cole Haan coat for $17; a chocolate-brown Tory Burch sweater for $7; a long light beige cashmere Max Mara coat for $18; a couple of cardigans; an adorable pair of twill wide-legged denim like pants; a pair of brand new navy suede Nine West loafers that are like walking on pillows; a beautiful tunic dress, a couple of casual tops, and a hand-woven sweater. I think there were a couple more goodies in there, but I can’t think of what they are at the moment. Oh yes, three more tops for Mamma S.

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Now I have a LOT of fall clothes, and I spent a total of $740 between myself and three other people. Second-hand shopping requires patience, it’s true. I think it also speaks to a certain personality type – someone who loves color and texture and combing through a mountain of stuff to find treasure.

My search for excellent thrift stores has led me to the following excellent links: – Canadian!

And of course the old fall-backs:

Here’s my list of fall wardrobe basics:

Three dressy dresses
Three casual dresses
Two pairs of jeans, one skinny, one that could be dressed up
Two pairs of casual pants
Two pairs of dress pants
One blazer in a neutral color you will wear frequently
One crisp white button down, long-sleeved
Three blouses
Three skirts
One pencil skirt
One chambray shirt
One maxi skirt

Three pullover sweaters
Three cardigans
One lightweight casual jacket
One lightweight dressy jacket
One casual coat
One dressy coat
Two pairs of comfortable flats
Two pairs of heels
One pair of riding boots
Two pairs of dressy boots
One pair of booties
Several pairs of footed tights in neutral colors and interesting textures
One large autumn colored bag
Three fall scarves
One wooly infinity scarf

I’m sure that most people could survive on less, and of course I know I don’t need clothes to be happy, but I will be the first to freely admit that opening my closet every morning to a sea of rich autumn hues and cozy textures makes me smile. I love clothes, and I feel good about recycling. Now I just need to find somewhere to wear everything!

Here’s a link to my Fashion board on Pinterest for further inspiration:

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Thrifty Mommy

I finally got a chance to hit one of the local thrift stores. It was a quick trip, and I grabbed some light weight, light-coloured hiking clothes for the Noodle and I, but I found a couple of cute things I wanted to share with you. 

$6.99 – I found a pretty embroidered tablecloth for our classroom, for when we decide to host tea parties.


$7.99 (set of 5) – These cheerful place mats will be cute in the classroom for lunches


$4.99 – I loved this cute apron. I think homeschool teachers should wear aprons.


$3.99 – I found this three-dimensional wooden tic tac toe game for the girls.


$5.99 – I love the owl on this cute tote. Great for library visits!


$2.99 – I couldn’t resist these little kitties. I figure they are Waldorf toys because they are made of fur, cardboard and glass.


I scored high in the book department. I found myself some vintage gems, and a copy of Stephen King’s book about the creative process, which comes highly recommended. I also found some lovely books for the girls. I’m really excited about the princess series based on historical figures. They even had a book special – buy three books, get one free.





I’ve wisely started using my grocery shopping app to make a list of items to look for next time I’m thrifting. It’s too easy to get distracted, and I don’t want to come home with more stuff that we don’t really need. With the exception of the little cats, which were a huge hit, I think I was pretty savvy.

Next trip, I need to find storage containers for our classroom made from natural materials.

Thrifty Mommy

I ran away to my parent’s house in Hamilton on Tuesday, which was the night before our moving day. It made more sense for me (and my breasts) to be available to little Noah, and let’s face it, everyone is happier if I’m not a big stress ball. Witnessing the move would have made me a big stress ball, and so I enjoyed the quiet of my parents’ home instead. No trip to Hamilton is complete without a visit to the local thrift store, and my parents live within walking distance of one of those chain department style thrift shops.  I spent a total of $71 and here are some of the treasures that I found…


$3.99 ea – Quilted pillow shams for the girls’ room. I want to work on making their room a little more age-appropriate, and I thought these colors were great inspiration for two girls who don’t like pink. I was lucky to find a pair of duvet covers at Ikea that complimented these pillow shams beautifully. Now I just need to find some turquoise and lime green accents.


$4.99 – A generously stuffed seat cushion for me in our classroom. It’s a simple but pretty green and purple print on a white background. I know I already have a lot of cushion for my booty, but I’ll appreciate the support if I’m spending more time writing.

$1.99 – A vintage scrapbook/photo album, untouched, with black pages

$.99 ea – Handmade paper scrapbooks with shoe lace style binding for the girls. We read a very cute book recently about a summer vacation, and I’d like to have them each work on a summer vacation scrapbook like the little girl in our story.


$7.99 – A queen sized vintage bed sheet in perfect condition with a sunny butterfly pattern. I’m either going to use this on my bed in my new room, or use it to build collapsible tee pees for the girls to play in outside.

$3.99 – A huge April Cornell cushion cover in black with magenta and fuchsia butterflies. I’m collecting cheerful linens in warm tones for the quiet nook in our classroom.


$2.99 – This darling, brand new mobile for Noodle. The little stuffed animals are all made of natural fibers, and the tags were still on it. It’s perfect for above his change table, and when he grows out of it; I can cut it apart and give him some little friends to play with.


$4.99 – Brand new, tags still on soft leather shoes for Noodle. I love these kinds of baby shoes. They are the only kind that stays on their feet.

$.99 – A wooden train and train car, hand-made, for Noodle. We love wooden toys for him.


$7.99 – A green and black tie-died Calvin Klein sun dress for me. I’m looking for some breast-feeding friendly summer attire, and I refuse to spend money on over-priced and often ugly clothes that are specifically designed for breast-feeding.

$3.99 – A navy blue Gap tank top made of very sweet eyelet cotton and jersey. It’s scandalously low-cut, but Noodle can just reach in and grab a snack!

I can hardly wait to check out the local thrift shops in our area. My plan is to pick an afternoon when someone else can mind Noodle and just get lost inside the stores for a couple of hours. I find it so satisfying when I locate interesting items and good deals, and Daddy has wisely shown me a very clever way to hunt for re-sellable book titles, so I can now finance my occasional trips without dipping into our household budget!

What are your some of your second-hand treasure acquisitions?

Ten Things I’ll Miss About the City

Guess how many boxes I packed yesterday? None. Not a single box. I did however spend the entire day with Aylu and The Noodle, and half the day with Hannu. We hit the playground, grabbed some tacos, and then Ayla and I hiked home from Bloor and Christie making a few shopping stops along the way.

I have totally taken for granted how easy it is to just pop the baby in the stroller and go and see things. Soon we’ll only be walking along our country road, looking for interesting road kill and wildflowers that I might not be allergic to. I’m really starting to realize how many things I’m going to miss about living in the city. Here’s an overview of the ten things I’ll miss most about living in Toronto.


  1. Tacos El Asador – This tiny, sweaty little joint is on the north side of Bloor just east of Christie. It’s so typical of Toronto that the best place for Mexican is in Little Korea. The food is cheap, the beer is cold, and the place is never empty. Also, Smokey who has worked there for 15 years is the only stranger who can currently grab Noah out of our arms and not make him scream. Check out the great blogTO review here.


  1. Dufferin Grove Park – If you are easily offended by vegans who smell like garlic, women who don’t shave their armpits, or families with same-sex parents, DO NOT go to this park. If you would like to sit under the shade of massive old trees and watch your children frolic in an epic, community-run playground while you graze on healthy snacks prepared by the local volunteers you need this park. I will so miss being able to go to a playground where Ayla can yell, “They’re BOTH my mom, and that’s my DAD!” and nobody will raise an eyebrow. Also, did you know that patchouli is a natural insect repellent? It even repelled Daddy before he got used to it. This photo is from the darling and informative Neighbourhood Walks blog found here.


  1. The Toronto Public Library – Sure there’s a lady who smells like cheese sitting under a pile of dubiously stained granny square afghans who always threatens to pinch my baby, and yes, the old Asian man is asleep and not dead on that stack of periodicals, but I will miss my local library. The St. Catharine’s Library branches might be pristine and filled with fresh flowers, but I doubt they will have the same kind of selection available in Toronto. I also doubt they will have anyone hiding in the back of the cookbooks stack talking softly to their pet ferret.
  1. Walks At Dusk – I love talking walks through city neighbourhoods just before sunset. This is a lovely thing to do any time of the year, but summer is my favourite because all of the gardens are in bloom and the fragrance is magical.
  1. Free Stuff to Do – There’s a seemingly endless stream of awesome and free summer events and festivals in Toronto. We didn’t take advantage of this nearly enough and now we’re stuck with the St. Catharine’s summer concert series which includes the Walter Ostanek Polka Band.
  1. Fiesta Farms – Long before Whole Foods farted up it’s quinoa scented obnoxiousness in Yorkville, there was Fiesta Farms, an independent grocery and nursery specializing in organic foods and healthy food choices. You can buy groceries for less than a month’s rent, and you can be sure to run into at least one of the families from the local Waldorf School.


  1. Pride – True I haven’t gone to a Gay Pride event in years, but I love that our city has a massive week-long celebration of our LGBTQ community that has become a tourist attraction. Woah, wait! What’s this? PRIDE NIAGARA? Oh yessss!
  1. The Restaurants – There is a truly ridiculous number of great restaurants in Toronto, and an incredible variety of cuisine. Daddy assures me that there are some incredible restaurants in Niagara and Fort Erie, so I suppose I will look forward to the adventure of culinary exploration. If you can recommend anything, do let me know.
  1. Shops – I don’t shop in them, but I do like to browse. I’ll miss all of the quirky storefronts, particularly in Queen West. I really dislike shopping in the mall, and that’s basically all I’m left with in Niagara. I’ll have to sniff out all of the antiques markets and thrift shops in the area.
  1. Ethnicity – I know Niagara won’t necessarily be totally WASPy, but I will certainly miss having entire neighbourhoods of ethnic variety to enjoy. I can’t imagine a world without the PAT market in Little Korea, or the Mexican grocery store on Dufferin, or the Danforth, or…Oh god, what if they don’t have pho in Niagara?