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Archive for Children

The best summer shoes


Love the navy/coral combo!
These are the ones I ordered.

What’s not to love about summer – warmer temperatures, sunshine, lighter clothing, sandals, barbecues – I could go on and on! But ask me what my favourite footwear is and these beauties will be at or near the top of my list. Espadrilles!

Classic, old fashioned, and hand sewn from cotton canvas, jute and rubber these timeless shoes have been made in the Pyrenees in Spain since the fourteenth century. If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona this summer, please be smarter than I was and buy several pairs in all of your favourite colours! I found the perfect espadrilles there and bought one pair! Lesson learned. If you can’t make it to Barcelona – you can order your own espadrilles online from The Espadrille shop in Montreal. They feature different heel heights, colours and lacing options as well as slip ons, men’s and children’s shoes. If you sign up for email alerts, they regularly have free shipping – or pop into their well organized store at 4518 rue Saint-Denis next time you are in Montreal and say bonjour to Diego and his staff.

Espadrilles look great with a sundress, maxi dress, mini skirt, cut offs, jeans, cropped pants – or just about anything you can think of for summer. They are comfortable, breathable and can be gently washed if necessary. Wedge heel versions are great for a casual summer wedding and with their closed toe are good for hiding an overdue pedicure.  Espadrilles are easy to walk in and pack flat for a carry on. Get some for the whole family!

Secretly wondering if you should be on “Hoarders” ?

Hoarding shows on television have  become quite popular and have helped raise public awareness of Organizing as a profession. These programs show the worst case scenario of what can happen when you lose control of your possessions. Sadly, in real life, many people who have a problem with hoarding have experienced a trauma or life-changing event. Perhaps being organized wasn’t second nature to them, but they managed to get along in life okay. After a trauma or life-changing event this becomes much harder and/or impossible. When children are involved it becomes even more serious.

Please get professional help if you find yourself in this situation.

If you think you might be a hoarder there are quizzes you can try and a clutter scale to help you recognize where you are. Once a room or item can no longer be used for its intended purpose you know you’re getting into trouble. For example, you can no longer find a place to sit in the living room, so you sit on your bed. Or, the dining room table is piled so high with papers you eat standing over the sink. Or, you have duplicated your possessions because you can not find the originals.


Digging out (in some cases literally) from clutter can take hours, weeks and sometimes months before the desired outcome is reached. Besides, it didn’t get that way overnight. Burnout is high, decision making can be emotional and progress slow. If you have someone helping you it will be much easier and quicker. There are multiple health risks when one lives in a hoarding situation, safety being  just one of them.  Hire a Professional Organizer who has had experience with hoarding.  Don’t worry, they have seen this before and that is why they are in business.

Please don’t get discouraged.

It is darkest before the dawn, and coldest too. If you and your Organizer are working well together, you are going to get results and you will feel better. You’ll find things you forgot you had, often money and gift cards! Your sleep will be more refreshing, you will have more time in the day and performance will increase at work when you are organized and clutter free at home.

Progress not Perfection

No, you are never going to be as organized as your Professional Organizer. And he or she know that! What you are both striving  for is improvement and progress in the right direction – not perfection. Your Organizer will do what is right for you in your situation. Every individual is unique and solutions are custom.

Happy Organizing!





Denim, s’il vous plait!

How’s your French? Did you know that the word “denim” comes from the French “serge de Nimes”? Serge is a tough double woven fabric originally made in Nimes, a port town in France. This tough indigo-dyed fabric was used to make pants for sailors long before it became the current rage. Levi Strauss added rivets for miner’s pocket and the rest, as they say, is history. Is there anything now that isn’t made of denim? Car upholstery, jackets, coats, suits, bags, shoes, wallets, placemats, furniture, trousers, dresses, skirts – you name it. Nowadays we shred it, sand it, distress it, over dye it, wax it, tie dye it, acid wash it and bleach it.

Levi Strauss … a sartorial legend

I remember my first pair, bought with money saved from babysitting at 50 cents/hour. Plotting against my mother who would not buy me a pair, I crept to K-Mart in secret and bought my first pair of Wranglers. In the 70’s there were plenty of bell bottoms to choose from, but mine were more of a straight leg and a size too big. When my mother discovered them, she of course freaked out and swore which was most uncharacteristic of her. “Those are for shovelling sh*t”, she said.  Jeans in her day were worn by work men to do farming and field work. “No lady would be caught wearing them in this house”.

Well, times have changed, and my mom has denim capris with a matching denim jacket,  and embellished jeans that look great on her. From designer to grocery store jeans there are all kinds of brands, washes,  colours and styles  - jeggings, skinnies, boyfriend, “mom”, bootcut, overalls, hip huggers, skinny kicks, flares and so on …  They make jeans for babies, kids, your dog and your grandpa.

Is there anything that isn’t made of denim?

How much denim to wear at one time is a frequent question. Canada leads the way for denim overkill with our infamous Canadian Tuxedo – the jean jacket worn with jeans. Fashionistas commonly agreed that if you do choose to wear head- to- toe denim, you should change your colours up a bit – mixing light with dark, or mixing fabric weights – chambray with a heavier jean. Colour blocking and denim patchwork are all over the stores for fall. It is hard to say that denim is “NEW”, but it is constantly being re-invented. With the addition of spandex denim has become more comfortable. Talented tailors can re-attach original hems preserving details and novelty stitching. There pretty much is a style for every body shape.

Some denim purists say you should not wash your denim … but I’m not really a member of that school of thought. I do turn my jeans inside out and take care which ones I put in the dryer. Usually I fluff them in the dryer first for a few minutes and then hang to fully dry.

I occasionally miss those days of my youth, sitting in the bathtub with a new pair of Levi’s trying to get the stiffness out, fade them somewhat and have them mould to my body while the water turned dark, dark blue…


For Mother’s Day

The author as a toddler with her mother

If you are among the fortunate majority, you probably grew up with your mother. Or maybe a female relative was like a mother to you. Lucky you! My deepest sympathies for those who did not know their mothers or had them for too short of a time.

She is often our primary caregiver and role model. A person you may wish to be like … or someone you may not wish to be like. Or both! A person who shaped our lives, our beliefs, our faith – almost everything about us. Our mothers!

My Mom was a stay-at-home mother and I always remember her freshening up before my Dad got home from work. She changed her dress, washed her face, put on lipstick. A nice idea!

She made our clothes, and matching ones for our Barbies. She made our meals (Shake ‘n’ Bake, anyone?) and taught me how to bake. Mom taught me how to sew, knit, write thank you letters and do laundry. She wouldn’t let me wear jeans or pierce my ears. She made me take piano lessons and practise daily. She bought me round toe brown oxfords because they were good for my feet. She also bought me these amazing pearlized leather pumps for my wedding day thirty years ago …

My mother – My Friend, Globetrotter, Social Butterfly and Shopper Extraordinaire! Maddeningly self sufficient with energy to spare and in excellent health! I want to be you when I grow up!

Twenty nine years ago I became a mother and its a role I always wanted. I am fortunate to have both a son and a daughter and even though they are adults now, its true what my mom always said – You never stop being a mother! Its one of the strongest bonds between human beings and vital for our survival. It will be interesting to hear what my children think I taught them someday, but truly I probably learned as much from them! Thank you Mike and Shannon for letting me be your Mom!

Contrary to my own popular belief, Mother’s Day was not started by Hallmark Cards – its roots trace back to ancient Greek times. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK since the 1600′s. It does not need to be a huge commercial celebration. Most of my friends who are moms appreciate time with their grown children – and moms with little ones underfoot generally appreciate some time with themselves! However you celebrate it – enjoy your Mom, your kids and your day!

Happy Mother’s Day! And thanks Mom!



Travel and Packing Tips for Parents

Be ready for fun in the sun!

Are you lucky enough to be heading for warmer climates with your family?Here are ten tips to help you with your travel and packing.

  1. Pack twice as many tops as bottoms, if your kids are out of diapers. People notice what you are wearing on top more because it is next to your face. Also, you are more likely to spill on your shirt than on your pants.
  2. Pack reversible clothing – if it gets dirty, turn it inside out!
  3. Roll your clothes – they take up much less room in a suitcase or duffel bag.
  4. Place your rolled clothes in resealable plastic zip lock bags. You can use one for each child for each day. These can be reused from trip to trip.You can also pack the dirty clothes in them at the end of each day. Squeeze out the air and toss in the suitcase.
  5. Pack a few unisex items in case one child’s bag is lost or delayed.
  6. Pack the same clothing items for each family member.  i.e. “OK, everyone – put 1 pair jeans, 2 pair shorts, 5 T shirts, a windbreaker,  pyjamas and 6 pair underwear in your bag.”  Bring hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for everyone whatever the season.  If everyone has the same type and number of items it is easier to keep track.
  7. Consider taking fewer pieces of luggage, as many airlines now charge $25 each way for a suitcase. Double up if you have several children. Their clothing is generally smaller so you can fit two or three children’s clothing in one bag.
  8. Check if there are laundry facilities at your destination. Tossing a load or two in the washer mid-week can save you money and will greatly reduce the amount of clothing you need to bring.
  9. Get suitcases with the new wheels that roll in all directions. Even your kids can help guide those around an airport.
  10. Think and pack light!

 Bon Voyage!