Wear Your Story: Meaningful Jewelry


Sometimes I think about this online world of ours and how so much of our social lives are online. I’ve made some amazing connections and I truly have friends in this online community. I look forward to seeing the latest posts of their kiddos, reading a funny story from their day, or exchanging advice mama to mama. The best connections often arise when we really get to know someone, the person behind that pretty Instagram feed.

This month I am excited to feature a collaboration that encourages us to tell our stories. Because really, what’s more fun than reppin’ your own life?! I’ve been on a journey to be me this year, and this collaboration is a perfect fit.

I met the beautiful designer behind Ebb & Flow Jewelry, Cambria, and her work was love at first sight. I instantly picked out a Love Bar Necklace, a beautiful, simple statement piece. When I learned a bit more about Cambria and her story, I knew our meeting was no coincidence. Cambria created her first personalized necklaces for her family after her stepfather’s passing as something personal that they could wear every day to remember him and cherish for years to come. What a beautiful sentiment. I’ve often looked for something just like this in remembrance of my Mom.

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The Little Big Things: Age 3.5

With Vienna’s first year of preschool wrapping up, I wanted to capture a few memories of her at this age. Although they’re about nothing substantial per se, these are my favourite posts to look back on.

Miss V, or “Nenna” to her little sister, is now 3.5. She is still the sweetest girl with the biggest heart (three-nager tantrums aside). She loves to play, especially outside, and she still has that sweet tooth, just like her Dad. Lot’s of people say she is tall for her age and people are forever shocked that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby girl is mine.

V is still a chatterbox, but her little toddler pronunciations are few and far between lately. Every now and again there’s a new one: noon-i-corn (unicorn) is the latest, which literally had me laughing out loud; “ressert” (dessert); “bacuum” (vacuum); and we’re pretty much never letting go of “gar-gibs” (garbage) … we’ve just adjusted so the whole family says it this way so we never have to give it up 😉 Right now she’s also big into nicknames: “Mom, this is Monk. He used to be Monkey, but I just like to call him Monk. You know, like a nickname.” So. Cute.

I love having conversations with V while we are out for a walk, her memory is incredible and, with her new-found preschool knowledge, she’s talking a big talk, you know, about things like trips to the moon and the “morphis” of a caterpillar. It’s so darn cute and so amazing to see her grow, learn, and change, although part of me wishes she’d just stay little forever.

Vienna loves to read and still wakes up at the crack of dawn. Some days I hear her at 6 am and she’s reading every book in her room. V loves to colour and draw and it’s so cute to see how much even this little thing changes over the course of a year– mad scribbles, to lines and dots, to carefully colouring inside the lines. Pretty cute stuff. Her big dream right now is to play soccer when she grows up (“like Kadence”– our friend’s daughter). V just finished her first ballet lessons, which were really adorable, although a game of tag will win equal (if not more) smiles from her.

Vienna had a wonderful first year at preschool and became best buds with the sweetest little boy. Her teacher says she never would have guessed shy little Vienna and energetic little Jordie would hit it off so well, but they are two peas in a pod.

Three has been a year of emotions, that’s for sure. If V’s upset, she’ll be sure to tell you that you’ve “hurt her heart.” It’s pretty sweet, but certainly doesn’t help with the Mom guilt. Whoever deemed the twos terrible didn’t wait to see what three would bring.

Vienna loves her one-on-one time and her all time favorite thing is when we play board games together (so much that she cannot possibly fall asleep afterwards). She loves Aria, too, and refers to her in the most affectionate terms, “my little darlin'” is one of my personal faves. We’ve started playing “i spy” at bedtime and she gets so excited she hugs me throughout the game and squeals with excitement. And, when we finally tuck V in and blow a kiss from the door, she reaches up and shouts “Got it! In my pocket” and swipes it into her pretend pocket. Heart. Melting.

All these little things, they are the BIG things right now. These are the things that I want to hold on tight to, and never, ever forget.





Summer Style with Jord Watches

Summer is here and I couldn’t be more excited for a wardrobe change! I love simple summer dresses, or jean shorts and a basic tank paired with flip flops for days at the park with my girls.

I’ll let you in on a little secret– I’m pretty terrible when it comes to losing accessories. I blame a pair of small children who are accessory obsessed … (but really I should be more careful about where I keep my jewelry). This is all to say that my summer accessory style is pretty minimal: usually a pair of sunglasses and a watch, and if I’m lucky one other accessory that I wear every dang day because it’s the one I can keep track of. So, I’m always happy to pick up another watch or new fave pair of shades. 😉

Jord wood watches are the perfect match for my summer style. They’ve got that simple yet chic look that goes with pretty much anything, and their selection of women’s watches is amazing, you’d be hard pressed to not find something that suits your own style! I am so excited to be wearing the Frankie 35 Zebrawood and Champagne Watch: it’s simple, yet stunning. It easily transitions from office wear to casual style and I love the natural colors and the sleekness of it. It is SO light weight and comfortable, yet it stands out and looks like it carries a certain weight to it, you know? I’m already wearing mine all day, everyday.

And Jord has great stuff for guys, too. With Father’s Day just a week away, Jord’s selection of men’s watches is a great gift idea for any Dad (PS- last minute shipping within the U.S. is a total breeze!) Mike absolutely loves his Conway Kosso & Midnight Blue watch and it perfectly suits his nautical nature. Jord watches come individually sized AND you can even order an engraved gift– a seriously sweet anniversary or Father’s Day gift if you ask me!

I love partnering with Jord and we’ve teamed up again for a fun giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a $100 E-credit towards their fave Jord watch!!! AND, just for entering, you’ll score yourself a $25 off code too! I feel like Oprah, you get a watch, you get a… ok, enough of that. But really, how can you pass up a contest that is so easy with no strings attached? WIN!
Thank you to Jord Watches for sponsoring this post, and thanks to all of you for supporting the brands that keep this space fun! xo
*The contest will close June 25th at 11:59pm. As a reminder, winner receives $100 E Gift Code. All other entrants receive a $25 E Gift Code. The $100 and $25 Gift Codes will expire July 31st, 2017.




Watch Gift Ideas

Mom Balance: 5 Tips to (Not) Doing It All

Hi, I’m Raina, and I’m addicted to taking on new projects. When I was a kid I always wanted to be everything when I grew up (in third grade alone I was spouting off my plans to be a lawyer, doctor, and a Mom… meh, one out of 3 ain’t bad, right?) 😉 I’ve always kept that drive to continuously learn and grow… or maybe more accurately it’s more of an addiction to doing everything. Case in point: you can catch me around the holidays crafting my toddler’s “shared snack” for preschool into theme-appropriate shapes late into the evening. Anyways…

Working outside the home, being a Mom to two girls aged 1.5 and 3.5, attempting to keep this little space afloat, pursuing a side hobby as a Pilates instructor, and being a wife to what can only be defined as a serial entrepreneur (think many business, much work), I’ve often found myself in conversations about how I “do it all”. Although I’m flattered (and on many occasions it has actually been ME asking others this same question!) I certainly don’t see myself this way or have the magic answer.

What I am learning is the answer is in fact the exact opposite of the question itself: I don’t. Today I’m sharing five ways I find balance in Motherhood.

5 Tips for Finding Balance in Motherhood


Focus rather than multi-task. There used to be (is it over yet?) this intense pressure to become a whiz at doing everything, all at once. Don’t get me wrong. I can still carry a conversation with a baby on my hip while making dinner, playing with my three year old, and probably five other things. I’ve got mad multi-tasking skills. And, it is a skill to master, because you’ll need it some days. But to live it isn’t the ideal we should be striving for. I’ve started focusing on only the task at hand and it is making a big difference. When I get home from work and it’s family time, I don’t take my phone out of my bag. We play and my only focus is being with the kids. Just an hour will go by and we are all so happy and filled up with love from short, yet focused, time together. When I’m with my friends or hubby, I do the same. Be present for whatever it is you are doing in that moment. Try it.


If there is something I love doing and I add it to my plate, its usually both doable and worth it. And yes, sometimes this leads to me being in a self-induced state of overwhelm, but it will be short lived (and the next tip will help with this 😉 ). If there is something you have a passion for, the time will come. I don’t know why or how, it just seems to work out this way. And that’s ok by me. Although it seems counter intuitive, in some ways the more I do, the more time I have, simply because the way I’m using my time.  Trust it.

Choose again

Building off #2, there are some things to leave behind and choose not to do. Obligations. Events you don’t want to attend. Activities you don’t have time for. Things you don’t enjoy. People that make you uncomfortable. Yes, we all have obligations in some form, but there are likely a few things you can take out of your day. Your time is YOUR time, so feel free to say no! It’s kind of liberating, actually. I like to apply this tip when it comes to doing things with the kids. If the activity or event is overly complicated or too far to get to, I know our time will be more enjoyed in our own backyard. Choose what you decide not to give your time to. Own it.


Make some time for yourself. Whether it’s reading, reflection, time with friends, or exercise. Whatever down-time or personal-time looks like to you, add it in as you can. It’s true that if Mama ain’t happy nobody is happy. Bonus- if you are outside you will feel completely refreshed. I love going for a walk with the dog, or doing Pilates. And, recognize your season. Sometimes getting away isn’t ideal when you’ve got little babes at home, or maybe you spend a lot of time taking kids to activities. Your time will certainly look different depending on the current season of life you’re in, and that’s okay. Find something that fits and makes you happy and take the time. Love it.


This is one that I am working on constantly. And I’ll admit, I’m not great at it (me cleaning out closet: “but what if I want to wear that again for (insert name of event I definitely won’t wear it to)”? I have slowly been working on minimizing stuff, because stuff is taking over my life. I’m trying to simplify in all areas of my life, from the toys we have to the meals I plan. Anyone else ever get lost on Pinterest attempting to come up with a meal plan? Me too. I end up making meals that take far too long or even worse– no one enjoys. I’ve started using the ingredients I have on hand and the things in the cupboard and creatively and quickly throwing together simple meals. Most things in our fridge and cupboards are healthy, so what if I didn’t try so hard to make it complicated? To my surprise, everyone is eating these simplified meals and meal prep time (and stress!) has gone down significantly. Similarly the kids play better when there are less toys to play with. Let it go.

Each of our days may look different, but we all seek some form of balance. And this Mom gig, it’s not always easy. So, whatever your season and wherever you are, I hope you, too, are finding balance to enjoy the moments. xo

5 ways to find balance in motherhood

Friday Flat Lay Faves: for the Mamas

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend I’m excited to share a few of my favourite products that make for a thoughtful gift for all of the Mamas out there! Of course Mother’s Day is not about the gifts we receive, but it is always nice to get a little something special. Plus, I know my three year old daughter just loves to pick out and give gifts. She gets so excited and that makes me so happy! Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, as cliche as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts.

Here are five simple, yet thoughtful gifts for the Mamas:

  1. Spring Mug- similar here  I always love a fun new mug for my coffee.
  2. David’s Teas– How perfect is this Mother’s Little Helper blend? David’s also carries selection of adorable Mother’s Day gift sets.
  3. Sage essential oils– I love this gratitude blend, Vanilla and Coffee, two of my fave things!
  4. A book– make it personal! Find something suited to the interests of the Mama in your life.
  5. Personalized Jewelry— my new go-to accessory is this beautiful bar necklace. So gorgeous and thoughtful!

And, it’s always nice to treat Mom to something special and spend some quality time together. I’ll be enjoying my Mother’s Day with my girls at the park and then getting treated to a Pedicure! What are you all up to this Mother’s Day? Share below!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful Mamas following along! xo

Mother's Day Gift Guide
Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Easter Baskets for the Girls

Spring is here and we’re getting ready for our next holiday festivities (of course!) I love holidays, and having the girls has taken this to a whole new level. #sorrynotsorry. I’m a sucker for holiday anything.

I put the girls’ Easter baskets together this weekend and they turned out so sweet! Yes, my kids don’t need anything, but no, I’m not willing to forgo holidays in favor of minimalism. I enjoy it too much! I am however becoming more mindful of what goes into the basket (read: not random throw away junk, but stuff that we use or need –save for the Shopkins this year– because apparently that is the thing for V). I’m also getting smarter and buying more of the same things for the girls despite their age difference, especially since lately they have to have what the other has.

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My Mama’s Kitchen: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Do you have any of those tried and true family recipes that get passed down from generation to generation? My Mom passed away suddenly eleven years ago, and was gone far too young. She was an amazing cook, and I wish so desperately that I had more of her recipes written down (although I’m sure most often she was “winging it”).

Sometime around when I went off to University she wrote a few recipes down in the back of a cookbook that she had bought for me. There are three: her famous Lasagna; garlic potatoes; and these banana chocolate chip muffins. Surely that’s enough to survive on, right?

In any case, these recipes bring back memories of my childhood and the smell of her kitchen. The oldest of five kids, she grew up cooking and caring for her younger siblings. Needless to say, she definitely knew her way around a kitchen. I’m mindful that one day my girls will want my everyday recipes, too, and I’m making more of an effort to record these things. Vienna loves to help in the kitchen and this is one of our favorite recipes to make together.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Cream together:
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar*
1 egg

1 cup mashed banana (3-4 bananas)
1 tsp vanilla

Sift and add:
1.5 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Blend in:
Chocolate chips (I use mini dark chocolate chips, add as much or as little as you like!)

To be honest, I just follow the order above and throw it all into one bowl (with the exception of pre-mashing the bananas). Then grease the muffin tin, or line with baking cups, and spoon in batter. Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 large.

*A word on sugar: This recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar. Recipes twenty years ago (I’m not possibly old enough to say “back then”, am I??) at least to my knowledge, did not strive to be sugar, dairy, gluten and five-other-ingredients free. (I know, I know … some people require these modifications, and I’m not here to argue that sugar isn’t bad). Over time I have modified this ever so slightly to be 1/2 cup of sugar, which is plenty sweet. I’ve also substituted in coconut sugar and my family couldn’t tell the difference and they were just as delicious!

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does. xo

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffin Recipe

Here Comes The Sun: Navigating the Time Change with Kids

Navigating the Time Change with Kids

I don’t know about you, but over here we are (rather desperately now) dreaming of summer. Anyone else feel like this winter is never ending? It seems that we’ve had a few glimpses of spring (and we immediately commence conversations about riding bikes, blowing bubbles and hitting the park) and every. single. time. winter shows up the very next day to prove us wrong. Sigh.

One thing that does single spring for sure is daylight savings time. Ain’t no winter going to mess with that 😉 Yes, the very thing all of us Mamas have been cursing since it screwed with the nap schedule for the very first time– the time change. But, I’ll happily sacrifice an hour of morning sun and a few perfectly scheduled naps or bedtimes for an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, which clearly signals us to get outside! I mean, it could be worse: it could be Fall and we could have the problem of kids waking up TOO early.

So, is there any trick to surviving the time change with kids? I’m no expert (in time change, really, is anyone?) But I’m happy to share some tried and true tips from our family to yours.


Adjust the schedule: We ease our kids into the time change by adjusting their bedtime to 15-30 min earlier, depending on how tired they are. So, if bedtime is 7:30 pm (which will become 8:30 pm) we put them to bed about a half-an-hour earlier, which is 7:00 pm in their body, but now 8:00 pm in reality. Yikes- I can barely keep these times straight!

If your kids tend to just sleep later on nights where they are up late then 1. I’m jealous, and 2. maybe you can totally just roll with the new time. Lucky you! My kids don’t buy this concept and no matter which way the time change is, we always have a few days of adjustment. When we slowly inch closer and closer towards the new time, our kids seem to adjust better and are back to the same schedule within a few nights. Thankfully, because lord knows my kids won’t simply wake up an hour later if I just put them to bed an hour later!

If you’re like me and love trying out a good baby/kid product, here are a few other things that might help with the transition:

Make it dark: We love our Gro Anywhere Blinds by the Gro Company. Made of thin black-out material, these “blinds” are amazing for blocking out light. We bought these for our previous home when the afternoon sun blared into our daughter’s room like a marching band at nap time and we always use them now since they are amazing at blocking out sun and kids sleep better in the dark. They are meant for travel and attach to the window with suction cups, so they can easily be attached temporarily to your windows and adjusted or moved as you see fit.

Be consistent: We always find that being consistent with our bedtime routine the first few days is very helpful. If you’re struggling with mixed up wake-up times, the Gro Clock , also by the Gro Company, can be a helpful tool for consistency. We purchased one of these for our daughter who has always been an early riser. The Gro Clock is adjustable so that you set a time for the icon sun to come up, which signals your child that it’s okay to get out of bed.

Now, this part is going to sound a little inconsistent, how’s that for being consistent? This is a great product, but (like anything) it does require commitment on your part. We haven’t done our part in enforcing that our daughter always go back to bed to wait for the sun, so (as completely expected) she half listens to the clock. This is totally on us, but I wasn’t prepared to push this issue when our wake up times and morning obligations weren’t always consistent. That said you can adjust the clock daily to a different time, but really you aren’t teaching their body any sort of consistent rhythm. Again, this is a great product and we still use it today, I am simply sharing my reality of how it plays out with a three year old. Be consistent if you want the results!

At the end of the day, products or not, daylight savings time brings about a new season. One filled with warm sun, fresh air, and the opportunity to get outside more often than not– no excuses. So, perhaps all we need is a little positive spin, with the added promise of new adventures outdoors with our kiddos. Here’s to a happy, healthy spring ahead!

Navigating the Time Change with Kids





Put This Bucket on Your List

What’s the one baby purchase that both my husband and I rave about? Our infant bucket seat: the Chicco Keyfit 30. After our first born, we became those parents who told anyone in the market for baby gear who would listen about our love for this seat. Now, this behavior is not unusual for a Mama, especially one obsessed with finding the best infant gear (me). But my husband? Now that’s something to write about! When it came time to move our eldest into a convertible seat, we both missed the ease of the bucket seat. (Side note: I think people who claim that their convertible seat is so amazing and so easy must not have used the Chicco. They just don’t know how good it can be 😉 ).

We purchased the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base on the recommendation of a local Children and Baby Goods store. Their take? The seat is so user-friendly that it is the safest seat on the market because it is being used correctly. This seat is the #1-rated infant car seat in America. Correct installation is key to car seat safety, and Chicco makes this not only possible, but very easy.

One feature I love is that anything that is the color orange on the car seat is adjustable: the five point harness is adjusted with one simple pull; the bucket lifts incredibly easily by releasing the orange handle on the back; the base has a leveling foot to adjust the fit to any vehicle’s seat angle; the bubble-level indicators on each side show you when the proper position and fit is achieved (genius!). All of these things make installation a breeze. We used this seat for 12 months with our first daughter.

When our second daughter was born, naturally we purchased a double stroller. The Chicco Keyfit 30, used with the universal car seat adapter, fits perfectly on our double stroller. One could argue that a potential “draw back” of this seat is that that it’s not as deep as others, i.e. your child could outgrow it sooner, based on height. BUT, the size of this seat allows it to fit well on the double stroller. I would suspect that a larger or deeper infant bucket seat would be less ideal for use with a double stroller as the second child sitting in the stroller would be more cramped for space.

We recently used our Chicco infant seat for air travel (it is airline approved, they double checked our seat’s sticker at the airport!) and it was a dream. I’m going to credit the size here again as it fit perfect onto the plane seat. I’m almost certain a deeper or bigger bucket seat could have difficulty fitting easily buckled onto the plane seat (aircraft size and leg room dependent, of course).

The recommended weight and height of the child using this seat is 4-30lbs and less than 30 inches tall.

Another favorite feature of this seat is the weight- it weighs just 9.6lbs (without baby or base). From a mom who’s hauled a bucket seat in one arm and a toddler in another arm, let me tell you the light-weight feature of this seat is crucial. Our second daughter, pictured here, is petite and is still safely using the seat at 16 months!

The cover is removable and machine washable on a delicate cycle in cold. I don’t know if any other brand makes a spot-clean-only infant car seat, but if that is the case then RUN. Milk, formula, diaper explosions… you are going to want a seat with a removable, washable cover. Guaranteed.

Now, my only regret is that in viewing the website while writing this review they have come out with a new print: the Lilla grey and pink polka dot, which almost has me wishing for another baby 😉

Chicco Keyfit 30 Features We LOVE 

Easy to Install

Easy to Adjust

#1 Rated Seat in North America!

Slim Size

Light Weight

Removable Cover

 IMG_0517Chicco Chicco Keyfit 30

Island Beats, Swim, Repeat

You know what the most crucial thing about travelling with kids is? MIND SET. A while back I read this article, and it’s so spot-on (and hilariously) truthful that I can’t even pick just one quote.

Some of my favorites:

“If your final destination has a kitchen, you are not on vacation. You are on a trip. If you have to grocery shop before or during your time away, it is a trip. If you, at any time during your stay, have to load or unload a dishwasher, that is a Groundhog-Day-style trip.” (We are in the moment where we live for a kitchen on our “trips.” And, I may have also nearly lost my mind not being able to find a solid grocery store near Waikiki beach).

“If there is a pack-and-play in your room, you are on a trip. If you are in a hotel room with two double beds, trippity trip trip.” Yup! Totally us right now!

Can’t. Stop. Laughing. Despite the headaches that can come with traveling with two littles, it’s still worth it in my books. And, we’ve been coming back from some pretty stellar family trips lately: we’ve just returned from Oahu, Hawaii, and our trip to  San Diego in the fall was pretty amazing! Our travel entails nothing too adventurous these days, mostly getting outside, enjoying the sunshine, and eating too much ice cream. WIN. The winter time is when our family gets to reconnect since our summers are so crazy with our boat business. Oddly enough we live in a summer paradise, yet have to get away in the winter to enjoy one! We don’t have huge expectations to do much more than see a few sites and get in some good quality family time.

We love traveling to Hawaii and this year we headed to Oahu for the first time. We spent one week in Waikiki and one week in Ko Olina, both which are really amazing locations. We would highly recommend the Ko Olina area for families. There are four lagoons along a boardwalk that links a few resorts, and the lagoons are beautiful protected and uncrowded areas for kids to explore the beach and water. V and I spent lot’s of time together scouring the beach for “treasures” and we had the most amazing one-on-one time doing this. Her sweet little three-year old inquisitiveness is in full force and we had some pretty cute conversations.

Oahu offers a lot of different sites and activities and I can imagine the endless exploring that kids a little bit older than ours would love to do. There’s something about Hawaii that always has us coming back for more. Everyone is so happy, the weather is nearly always perfect (and with the ocean breeze, not overly hot for little kids), and the pace of life follows those memorable island beats that ease us right into vacation mode. Sigh. Take me back.

Our days consisted mostly of coffee run (note, there is no comma between those two items 😉 ), swim, nap, swim, ice cream, iced coffee, swim, repeat. Or something like that. We took in the odd adventure: the Honolulu Zoo, a sunset dinner cruise, a character breakfast and Luau at Disney’s Aulani, Mike took a day at Pearl Harbour (the girls and I were uninvited, apparently for reasons related to our level of patience and/or our snack break requirements- insert that little eye roll emoji here), and a day trip out to the North Shore. For the most part we loved all of our excursions. After returning from the zoo someone at the hotel asked Vienna how she liked it. “There were no polar bears there. It’s too sunny here for them.” Great take away, kid.

At the end of the day we are constantly reminded that down time is the best time.

If you’ve got questions about or want a review of any of the activities we took in, feel free to send me a message! I’ll spare the details and get straight to the main point– a quick photo recap of some of my favourite memories. Enjoy! xo