Hope

This post was originally published on my old blog: Mama’s Baby Steps, but in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought I would share it here.

Posted May 4, 2016

HOPE

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

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The Best Apple Crisp Recipe

One of my favourite desserts to make in the Fall is apple crisp. I take the kids apple picking every year and apple crisp is always a staple in our home from Thanksgiving until Christmas baking starts (Thanksgiving is the beginning of October, here in Canada).

This recipe is definitely one you will want to add to your Favourites! The juicy sweet filling and crisp oat topping will have you going back for seconds! Don’t forget to add a dollop of your favourite vanilla ice cream.

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Ingredients

Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter , diced into cubes

Filling

1.5 lbs sliced cortland apples
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish or deep dish pie plate.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all dry topping ingredients.
  3. Add the diced butter and mix together with your fingertips. Place in the fridge until needed.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and flour until well combined.  Add in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk in brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well combined.
  5. Pour mixture over sliced apples and toss lightly. Place apples into the baking dish.
  6. Removing topping mixture from the fridge and sprinkle crumble evenly over apple mixture.
  7. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow 5 minutes to cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Maxton’s Bedroom Update Part 1

When we moved into this house last summer; it was a brand new build and everything was the typical “builder’s beige”. I knew we would only be here a couple of years so I didn’t want to go crazy decorating the bedrooms. Maxton and Everly both had twin size beds in our old house so I kept their beds the same. Everly’s headboard and footboard were an oak colour (which I got from my Mom) and I spray painted it white before assembling her bed.

Recently I had been thinking about switching the kids over to double beds. Mainly because it would give me more space when I am laying in bed with them; and specifically for Everly because with the amount of stuffies she has in her bed now, there isn’t much room left for her.

My Mom had a fairly new double mattress she was going to get rid of and she asked me if I wanted it. I said absolutely and started hunting on Wayfair for a double bed frame for Maxton. I found the perfect one and it was on sale! There were some issues with it getting to me, but when all the pieces finally arrived, it was perfect. I was so excited for him to see it.

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I wanted bedding that would grow with him; and then I could add items throughout his room that would match his current interests. I found his comforter at Home Sense along with the hockey sheets (which he loves).

The body pillow I also found at Home Sense and the Toronto Maple Leafs blanket I purchased from Walmart.

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It took me a while to find the perfect nightstand for him. I finally found one I liked at Walmart and it was under $80. I decided to only get one for now, for the one side of his bed. He has so many little lego tables and toy bins around his room; and right now he has a storage ottoman in the other corner of the bedroom.

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His name sign I am still debating where to place (I will share about its final home when I share the second part of this post). It was made by a local handmade business that I have shared a few times on Instagram; and I actually really like the piece sitting on his nightstand right now.

I will share the rest of his room once I finish up the dresser remodel (which has been ongoing for over two years).

Sources:

Bed Frame: Wayfair
Bedding: Home Sense
Sheets: Home Sense
Toronto Maple Leafs Blanket: Walmart
Body Pillow: Home Sense
You Will Move Mountains & All Good Things Are Wild And Free Frames: Home Sense
Super Hero Picture: Home Sense
Night Stand: Walmart
Lamp: Home Sense
Picture Frame: Walmart
Basket: Walmart
Carpet: Home Sense
Name Sign: The Squirrelly Scroller

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My Top Five Bralettes

I have tried so many different bralettes that I feel like an expert when it comes to them. The biggest struggle for me is finding one that provides enough support. I nursed my son for 13 months and my daughter for 18 months,

so these puppies need a lift. Who else is with me?

I am sharing my top five bralettess with you and why I love them.

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First up is the Free People Intimately Adella Longline Bralette. It comes in 13 colours and is by far the prettiest one of them all; however; it is also the one that provides the least support. The lace detail is gorgeous and the adjustable crisscrossing straps adds to the romantic silhouette. It doubles as a bra and a cami.

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This one is a little more expensive, retailing for just under $52. It washes well and is very comfortable.

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The Aerie Romantic Lace Plunge Bralette is definitely one the provides a good amount of support. It has removable pads and a J-hook, giving you the option to wear it as a racerback.

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It comes in four colours and retails for just under $40. The lace detail is beautiful on its own, and it’s definitely one you want to peek through a tank.

The Aerie Adjustable Strap Bralette is very similar to this one in terms of support and coverage. The only major difference is the thickness of the straps. These are my two favourite bralettes, that I have purchased from Aerie.

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The Dynamite Scalloped Lace Bralette isn’t one I thought I would love when I first saw it. I thought it would lack in support but I was actually impressed after trying it on. It supports the girls nicely! This bra doesn’t have padding so it can be a little more see through at times. I love the extra length of it; and it almost feels like a crop top tank but with support!

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This one retails for under $25 and is similar to the Free People one – with no clasp in the back.

The Aerie Wonder Lace Padded Bralette has adjustable straps and split strap detail. It provides decent support and has padding for extra coverage. This is one of the first bralettes I purchased and is still one of my favourites. It comes in seven colours but I would recommend sizing up from your normal size in this one. This bralette is under $40.

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If you haven’t already guessed; I love Aerie bralettes. I really do recommend trying them on before purchasing and I find a lot of the time it is better to size up a size. If you are a B cup I would recommend a medium, and if you are a C cup, a large.

Watch for sales and promo codes; I have never paid regular price for any of these. The Free People bralette rarely goes on sale, but keep your eye out!

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Top Makeup Picks from Sephora

I have been meaning to share this post for weeks! I purchased these items a few weeks ago when Sephora had their Beauty Insider Appreciation Event.

I purchased the items below and I am going to share my favourites from this round up.

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First up is the Tarte Tartelette™ Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette

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This palette caught my eye because of all the neutral colours. I love wearing these shades (maybe with the exception of black) and typically stick to shades of brown with other products I have tried. It’s a long-wearing clay-infused powder formula that blends effortlessly. It retails for $49.

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The first and second row shades are the ones I wear most often (as you can see in the photo).

Next up is the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in the colour Perversion. It’s the blackest of their black shades and is a matte base. Personally, I am not a fan of shimmery liners, so this matte black is perfect.

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This creamy eye pencil glides on smoothly and is easy to blend before it dries. I apply it to my bottom lashline in the morning, and I only touch it up in the evening if I am going out somewhere (which isn’t often in Mama land; unless the grocery store counts). It’s soooo good and I love it!

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It retails for $25.

The Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick Lipstick is a MUST with the cold weather quickly approaching.

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This oil-infused lipstick provides so much lip hydration. It’s formulated with 65 percent oils which provides moisture and a hint of colour. I have the Rose colour and I swear my lips feel softer after having used it for a couple of weeks. It also smells amazing.

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It is a little more pricey, retailing at $44; but it’s totally worth it and there are so many colours to choose from.

The Too Faced Sweetie Pie Radiant Matte Bronzer from the Peaches and Cream Collections is the best bronzer I have ever used. This bronzer is made up of four shades that blend together effortlessly.

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My favourite part about this bronzer is that you don’t need to do any other contouring. I apply it to my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and across my forehead. This blend of colours adds the perfect amount of dimension to your face.

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If that doesn’t convince you, the smell alone should. It smells sooo good. This retails for $38.

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Last but not least, and my favourite purchase from my Sephora hull was the Too Faced Peach Perfect Comfort Matte Foundation from the Peaches and Cream Collection. This is hands down the BEST and my absolute favourite foundation I have ever used. Seriously. It’s that good.

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It’s a medium-coverage foundation that provides a flawless matte look that never cakes or flakes. It’s oil controlling and provides up to 14 hours of wear. It’s also vegan for those who prefer to use vegan makeup.

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It’s in  a tube but it has a pump. It is honestly the best foundation I have ever used; and, because it’s part of the Peaches and Cream Collection it smells amazing. This retails for $45 and is worth every penny.

So let’s summarize: It smells amazing, is long-wearing, it’s oil controlling, gives you a flawless look, and it doesn’t flake. What more can you ask for in a foundation? If you are going to take anything away from this post, let it be this!

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Thanksgiving/Fall Tablescape

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada and I had the honour of hosting dinner for my family. It’s usually my Mom who hosts all major holidays but since she beat breast cancer and still battles MS daily – I have been taking the reigns for Thanksgiving.

This year I was all about neutral Fall decor with a touch of vintage meets modern.

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I wanted neutral colours, simple patterns and different textures. I first found the table runner from Home Sense and loved how simple it was. I knew I had beige place mats at home, and I wanted to get another textured place mat to add some dimension to the place setting. The napkins caught my eye right away and I knew they had to come home with me.

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I just love all of the different textures here!

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The large plates are actually Rae Dunn melamine plates that say “BBQ”. Haha BBQ can be Thanksgiving/Fall themed too, right? The smaller plates are actually part of my Royal Dalton china collection and I never get to use them so this was a great opportunity.

I just purchased some rosemary from the grocery store and tied a bow made from twine around each piece, and placed them in the centre of each plate.

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The centrepiece was probably my favourite part of the table.

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I wanted something in the centre of the table to add some dimension with a vintage feel.

I got a piece of barn board from a dilapidated barn and lightly sanded it; covered it in wax and then did a light white wash on top with some chalk paint.

I found the faux plant piece from Home Sense and then filled large mason jars with a variety of fresh flowers. The candlestick holders and candles I had, and the little white pumpkins I picked up from the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.

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Neutral colours can still bring a Fall feel and florals are a great way to add pops of colour to your tablescape. I love how the flowers brought out the orange and green tones in the napkins.

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I hope this brings you some inspiration for your Thanksgiving/Fall table.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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