Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Vintage Flower Girl

Okay folks, only a few weeks left to go until the big day! Eek! I can't get over how quickly time has passed. We have a fairly large wedding party and are blessed to have in it, our two beautiful nieces who will be playing the rolls of junior bridesmaids (a.k.a flower girls). We chose not to call them flower girls because they are both above the age of 10 and just thought they deserved the mightier title (and also, there would be no flowers strewn about).

With a vintage themed wedding, dressing these little girls seemed like a bit of a challenge. But with some luck and a lot of inspiration, I think they are going to look amazing! Here are some of my most favorite inspiration pics!

1. Flower Headbands

I can remember being a little girl and standing in my aunt's wedding. I wore a beautiful flower wreath in my hair and I looked so pretty. I simply adore this look. When I was choosing my flowers for the wedding,  my florist asked what types of bouquets I wanted for the little girls. I really didn't know. I honestly did not see them wanting to carry them and envisioned them being destroyed or left accidentally on a chair somewhere as they ran off to the party. I opted against a bouquet for them and instead, they will be wearing their flowers in their hair. Nothing says vintage elegance and youthful innocence like these amazing floral wreaths.

2. Bohemian Style Dress

As I shopped for my wedding gown, I always peeked at the little girls dresses and although I always oohed and awed at the big, puffy Cinderella type dresses, I knew that I wanted something different. I wanted the girls to carry the vintage vibe as well as find them a dress that they could wear again. I was out shopping and came across a Bohemian style girls dress that I just fell in love with. The dresses are simple and romantic.


3.  A Little Girl in Pearls

Well now comes the hard part... well at least for me anyways. I'm horrible when it comes to accessorizing. I just wasn't born with that gene. I tried to think about what type of jewelry would match the girls dresses and would also match the theme of the wedding..... pearls! Pearls are classic and beautiful and will almost make it look as though the girls are playing dress up with their mothers jewelry!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

My Green Smoothie

In the past few months, I've realized the amazing benefits that can come from adding a delicious green smoothie to your diet. Although I have a very healthy diet and eat lots of veggies and fruit, I still found that I was missing some essential minerals. Especially on busy days, I noticed that I wasn't getting all of the nutrients that I needed. 

On the advice of my naturopath, I decided to try adding a green smoothie into my daily routine and since doing so, cannot imagine a day without it! I have more energy, my IBS symptoms are less frequent, my mood has improved, and I'm less hungry throughout the day helping me to maintain a healthy weight.

Kim's Green Smoothie


1/4 cup of gluten-free oats
1/4 cup of whole flax (not ground)
handful of raw cocoa nibs
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 cup of frozen or fresh fruit (your choice!)
1 tbsp organic honey
1/4 cup coconut yogurt (dairy free)
1/4 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh green kale
4-5 slices of cucumber 
1 cup of vanilla almond milk (dairy free)

**Additional items that I sometimes add depending on what's in my fridge or fresh at the grocery store/market: red beets, watercress, parsley, aloe juice (unsweetened) almonds, red kale 

 I throw everything together into a blender and mix! Now, my blender is nothing special. It is actually quite old and I believe it belonged to my grandmother. So don't feel like you need to go out and buy some fancy juicer or blender in order to enjoy green smoothies - you really can make them at home with a very basic blender. Add more or less milk depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be. 

She sure isn't pretty... but she gets the job done!

Once everything is well blended, I add in about 2 tbsp of chia seeds (not ground) to the bottom of my cup and then pour in the wonderful green yummy mixture! 

Why chia seeds? and why add them after blending?
First of all, chia seeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre. They are tasteless and so easy to add to any meal of the day - especially a smoothie. I got introduced to chia seeds over a year ago by my naturopath as a way to help treat my IBS symptoms. If you know anything about IBS or celiac disease, you'll know that it comes with a lot of stomach cramping due to foods that simply will not pass through your digestive system. Chia seeds came into my life and literally transformed my everyday bowel movements (sorry for the details) and I rarely suffer from stomach cramps anymore.

Here is how they work! If you've never eaten a chia seed before, I encourage you take one and place it in your mouth. Let it sit there for a little while and soon enough you'll start to feel a gel like coating around the seed. Chia seeds when emersed in a liquid take on a gelatinous like coating. Imagine taking in hundreds of those seeds with their wonderful gooey coating on the outside. As they sit in your stomach, they begin to coat the rest of the food and allow it to more easily pass through your digestive track. The food literally glides through and out! 

The reason for adding them after the blending is because you want them to be whole so that they will get gooey on the outside and give you all of those wonderful digestive benefits.

Here is my smoothy all ready to eat!

I simply cannot live without this smoothie as a part of my everyday diet. I usually have a light breakfast and lunch and fit the smoothie in somewhere around 2pm which keeps me nice and full until dinner. This smoothie could also be a great way to start off your day rather than having a bowl of cereal or let's face it.. a cup of coffee! Make the smoothie, place it in a travel mug and drink it on your way to work. I even once had a colleague years ago who would make her smoothie in the morning, put it in a mason jar, bring it to work and drink it at lunch. Back then, I thought it was gross, but now wish I had started doing it sooner! 

It can take a few tries to get the right combintation of tastes that you're going to like. I don't mind tasting the greens at all while some of you might prefer to taste more of the fruit so might need to load in more of that. You could also replace the almond milk with a juice like orange or apple for added taste.

Bottoms up!


Monday, 17 March 2014

Book Review: Wheat Belly

As a devoted gluten-free eater and unfortunate sufferer of IBS, I'm always interested in learning more about gluten, how it affects my condition and how I can keep myself as healthy as possible. A few months ago, I heard about a book called "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. I thought the title was funny and decided it might be a good read for me. It might be nice to read about gluten from a doctor's perspective.

I grabbed the book at my local Chapters and got reading!

Wheat Belly is a provocative look at how eliminating wheat-even so-called healthy whole grain wheat-from our diets is the key to permanent weight loss and can offer relief from a broad spectrum of health and digestive problems.
Drawing on decades of clinical studies and the extraordinary results he has observed after putting thousands of his patients on wheat-free regimens, Dr. William Davis makes a compelling case against this ubiquitous ingredient. A wheat-free diet has been associated with significant benefits, including the following:
  • Weight loss of twenty, thirty, even fifty pounds in the first few months
  • Alleviation of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
  • Recovery from intestinal woes, like ulcerative colitis and celiac disease
  • Marked improvement in overall cholesterol and LDL counts
  • Improvement in bone density and reversal of osteoporosis
  • Cessation of skin conditions from psoriasis to oral ulcers and hair loss
  • Reduction of inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis pain
Readable, thought-provoking and carefully researched, Wheat Belly offers a new and vitally important perspective on the most critical health concerns of our time.

What I thought about this book..... 

I definitely jumped into this book with both feet (or should I say both hands? eyes?) This is the first book that I've read that talked about being gluten-free and I was really excited about learning more about what it means to be gluten-free and why it is so important.

From the very beginning of the book, it is extremely apparent that Dr. Davis is serious about the issue of gluten and has had many experiences with patients who have greatly benefited from removing gluten from their diets. He is honest (brutally honest at times), knowledgeable, aggressive in his viewpoints and filled with sincere disgust for gluten. He in no way tries to sugar coat how harmful and health altering it can be.

In my opinion, this book is best suited for those who are already living a gluten-free lifestyle. There is a lot of information presented in this book - some very technical and from a scientific perspective and others from a more experience based perspective. If you are new to the idea of going gluten-free, this book may not be the best place to start.  

I figured that since I was already living a gluten-free diet, that I would be able to read this book guilt free and probably feel pretty proud of the lifestyle changes that I've made. I went into this book believing that I already knew quite a bit about the dangers of gluten and how it can affect my body. Well, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn. Dr. Davis covers the effects of gluten not just on the gut, but goes into great detail about:
  • wheat's destructive effects on the skin
  • how it affects our brains including dementia and autism
  • wheat's role in heart disease and overall heart health
  • the role is plays in aging including cataracts and wrinkles
  • how it affects diabetes and insulin resistance
I would sit in bed at night reading this book and on so many occasions found myself saying out loud "Oh my God.. that's so true!" or "I feel like that sometimes, I never realized that it could be due to the gluten". I would stop my fiancee from watching tv to read to him the newest insightful passage I had just read. This book literally blew my mind. It made so many personal connections for me as someone who has suffered so many of the unfortunate side effects of gluten for so many years.

In the end, although this was a heavy read (a lot of technical information to take in), I really enjoyed the book and ended it feeling so happy that I had removed gluten from my diet. It really helped me to link so many of the health issues that I had struggled with for so long to gluten. I wish that I had realized it sooner, but without gluten now, feel amazing and am living a very healthy and happy life.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

My Love Affair with Meditation

For many years, I've practiced yoga and enjoyed the many health benefits that come with it - both physically and mentally. In my yoga practice, I've always incorporated a short meditation session to end my practice. Meditation has not been an easy practice for me. I always found it to be very difficult to quiet my mind and just focus on my body and my breathing. 

Recently, I've found myself bogged down with a great deal of stress which yoga simply could not alleviate. My stress continued to grow into anxiety and well, things only got worse from there. My Naturopath suggested that I try meditation. I figured, why not give it a try again and see if I can master my extremely busy mind.

With a little practice, and a self-guided meditation video, I've been enjoying the amazing benefits of meditation. I realize that this practice is not for everyone and many of you may roll your eyes at the thought of practicing what some see as silly fluff. I'm here to tell you that with only a few short minutes every day, you can really begin to control your stress, better your health and have an overall more positive life! (yes, meditation can really do that!)

If you can find even just 5 minutes to sneak away in a day, then you have time to meditate!

Meditation has been shown to not only decrease stress, but has also been linked to several other health benefits. Daily meditation has become such a big part of my life and I can honestly say that it changes my mood, my ability to handle stressful situations and my overall sense of well being.

"But I don't have time to meditate!"
I know you might be thinking, "Kim, are you crazy? I've got kids, work, a house to keep up, I don't have time to step away and meditate." Meditation doesn't have to take long. Even if you can manage to step away and find a quiet space (or use headphones) for 5 minutes, you can begin to feel some great benefits from meditation. Quiet your mind, breath deeply and enjoy a relaxing moment.

Tip: Don't have time to meditate when you get home from work? Many workplaces have meditation or quiet rooms that you can use to take time for yourself. Step away for 10 minutes, breath deeply and you'll come out of the room ready to take on whatever your boss has to throw at you. 

 "I've never meditated before"
No problem! Aside from very short meditation during my yoga practice, I had never meditated either - especially not in my home without the guide of my yoga teacher. To the internet I went! I went on to YouTube and searched 'self guided meditation' and found many different types of meditation videos - some for anxiety, relationships, stress or simple relaxation.  Find a video you like, shut yourself away in a quiet room, seat yourself on a comfortable chair supported by cushions (or you could lay down on a couch or bed), plug your earphones in, close your eyes and do your best to shut off your mind and follow the guided meditation. You'll awaken 30 minutes later refreshed, with a quiet mind and calm spirit. You might even feel a little sleepy! Here is a link to my current favorite video by Kelly Howell

Everyone has a different reason for meditating: reducing stress, quieting the inner chatter, helping with sleep, reducing anxiety, or just because you enjoy it! No matter why you do it, remember some of the amazing health benefits that these quiet moments can bring you:

1. It lowers stress (really!)
I have found that with continued meditation, I can feel existing stress melt away and my ability to prevent new stresses from taking a toll on me getting stronger. I feel calmer, more clear headed and more able to take on life's daily stresses.

2. Your body will thank you
There are so many physiological benefits that come with meditation. The moment I've completed a session, I can feel that my heart rate is lowered, I have little to no tension or pain in my body, I feel more positive and uplifted and suddenly feel full of energy (who needs Red Bull!).  

- lowers high blood pressure
- lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
- decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
- increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
- improves the immune system 

- increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy

3. Break the mental fog
Before I started meditating, my overwhelmingly stressed out brain felt like it was constantly in a fog. I was very forgetful, found it so difficult to focus, lacked creativity and the ability to critically think through situations. Because of this fog, I found myself reacting to simple situations and just simply unable to handle minimal stress. Meditation has really helped me clear my mind and I feel so much more focused and clear headed - I can remember what I have to do in a day, I get tasks completed and can actually think through a situation before becoming overwhelmed and potentially overacting. 

- anxiety decreases
- emotional stability improves
- creativity increases
- happiness increases

- intuition develops
- gain clarity and peace of mind
- problems become smaller

These are just some of the amazing benefits that you can expect through meditation. I know that after only a few short weeks of dedicated practice, that I'm already enjoying so many of these benefits. Meditation isn't a cure all - but it really is such a great step to take to bring yourself into a quieter and happier place. Try it - at first, you might find it challenging to turn off your mind, but stick with it and in a short time you'll find yourself more able to relax and enjoy the benefits of meditation.  

I hope that you'll give it a try or in the words of Sheldon Cooper, you might still believe that "meditation is nothing by hokum".

Monday, 3 February 2014

Finding Vintage Items for your Wedding

We are reaching the 5 months mark to our big day! (eek!) Where has the time gone..? Since the moment I started planning my wedding, I knew that I wanted to incorporate as many vintage pieces as I could, while still keeping my 'modern man' happy. For months now, I've been searching far and wide for great vintage details that I could add in to my special day. 

This process has proved to be a little more difficult than I originally thought it would be - especially considering that I own a vintage business myself. After many months, I do have most of my items in place, but I continue to search for more. 

If you're also looking to add in some vintage touches, here are my top 4 places to search!

Stop #1: Estate Sales / Garage Sales
Hauls from a great estate sale!

This is where I started my search. Each weekend, I can usually be found driving around stopping at every yard sale I see or standing in line at 7am for a great estate sale. Now, you may hit a few of these and find nothing, but all it takes is that one great find to make it all worth while. Garage sales and estate sales are a great place to find unique pieces at a fabulous price! Every week, I search through our local newspapers, online ads and specific estate sale companies that I like to see what sales are happening that weekend. Most will provide descriptions and even pictures so you can choose to go to the ones that offer items you're interested in. Don't forget to bring cash and your patience! 

Stop #2: Vintage Shops or Thrift Stores

I have several amazing vintage shops that I frequent - both online and in store. Look online for shops that might be in your neighborhood. Staff are so knowledgeable and can help you find what you are looking for - even if they don't have it in stock. The great thing about buying from most vintage shops is that you can still barter no matter what the sticker price is. Buying multiple items? See if they'll give you a package price! Some vintage stores will even let you rent the pieces rather than buy them. I also like to hit up my local thrift stores for some great deals! Don't forgot to look online! Etsy has some amazing vintage shops that offer unique finds that might just be perfect for your special day. 

Stop #3: Vintage Rental Companies
These companies have been growing in abundance of the past few years as more and more brides are going 'vintage'. Some offer decor services on top of the vintage rentals and others offer simply an opportunity to rent their pieces. These companies can make your life a lot easier! Simply go through their catalog or visit their in person studio, pick out what you want, pay for it and that's it! You don't have to rummage through garage sales or online ads - they do it all for you! 

Stop #4: Friends & Family

My mothers beautiful milk glass!
One of my first stops was my mother's kitchen cupboards because I knew she had some amazing vintage milk glass bottles. I immediately stole them! Yoink! Ask around with friends and family - especially grandmothers and aunts. They might have some great pieces that could just add a really special touch to your day like an old vintage frame or dish. You can't beat free and it would be nice to feature some family heirlooms.

Friday, 3 January 2014

How to Create a Vintage Inspired Reception

We are now just over 6 months away from our wedding date! In a previous post, I featured some of my favorite vintage style ideas for our wedding ceremony. I've pulled most of those details together, so I'm now starting to focus on how to carry that vintage style into our wedding reception. I've once again used my Pinterest addiction to help me find some amazing ideas.

Our wedding reception venue in no way offers any kind of vintage or rustic feel. Instead, it boasts beautiful high ceilings, wall to wall glass which overlooks beautiful landscaping and an overall modern decor. My job is to carefully weave in some vintage details! Here are some of my favorite ideas for creating a vintage style at my upcoming summer wedding reception.

Must have #1: A vintage inspired welcome table
When my guests enter my reception hall, one of the first things they will see is our welcome tables. A place where they can put gifts, view family pictures and sign our guest book. I love this simple, rustic white wood table complete with vintage frames and pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day. Ideally, I'd like to find a couple of these and have them placed side by side. I would probably also add a lovely lace or burlap runner to give the tables just a little extra 'pretty'.

Must have #2: A unique guest book
I have struggled to find a unique and quite frankly, useful, way to have a guest book at our wedding. I really didn't want to simply have a guest book out that our friends and family would sign - I knew that we would probably end up putting it away after the wedding and never look at it again. Instead, I have fallen in love with this vintage inspired guest book using vintage postcards. Our guests will take a postcard and write a personal note to us on the back. When they are done, we'll ask them to put it in a vintage mailbox or suitcase and then give them to my Maid of Honor at the end of the night. Over the course of our first year of marriage, she will randomly pop them in the mail for us. It's going to be great to get these in the mail - constant reminders of our fabulous wedding and all of our friends and family who shared it with us. I will be spending the next 6 months scouring vintage shops for beautiful postcards!

Must have #3: Vintage inspired signage
Vintage styled frames and artwork are a must for my upcoming wedding. I really love the idea of putting a chalkboard in a vintage frame and using it to welcome your guests, list your signature drinks, or introduce your wedding party. I plan to incorporate a few of these into our reception decor. I also love these mini frames to be used as place cards for your guests. Now, if I could only find these mini frames... 

Must have #4: Amazing head table
I really think this look is what could make my reception stand out and really help to give our modern space a very warm, romantic and timeless feel. I wish I could offer this seating to all of my guests, but unfortunately that's just not in the budget! I think this seating is going to be really great as our head table. I'm currently working on finding just the right combination of vintage chairs and rustic tables.

Must have #5: Unique table settings
Love the idea of having vintage plates! Each guest would have a unique plate that would add some colour and let's face it, a wow factor! There are so many companies that rent these out so it makes them very easy to find. Ugh, I just love this...

These are just some of my favorite ideas! If you want to see more, be sure to check out my Pinterest board. Would love to have any experiences that you might have with creating a vintage style for your wedding reception!