Thursday, December 19, 2013

Be Our Guest (Surviving the season of joy)

Related Posts with ThumbnailsThe holidays are always a stressful stressful time and really they should be the most enjoyable of the year. Family and friends getting together shouldn't cause our anxiety rise and migraines to come upon us. So here are my best holiday tips from someone who has massive amounts of anxiety when people visit. I can become a very unpleasant person in fact prior to house guests.

So how do we make the holidays pleasant? For one let go of perfection. Do what you enjoy and do it well. If you like cooking, cook up a storm. Baking? Go nuts! What if you are not a fan of either? Plan ahead and keep it simple. Don't spend hours on something you find entirely stressful. Your guests want to spend time with you they are not going to care if your appetizers are top notch.

I love to decorate and do all the little touches for my guest room so that's where my energy goes. I cook ahead what I can because it's not my favourite thing to do and this year baking has been minimized too because I just don't have the time or inclination. Focus on what you enjoy and your guests will enjoy it too. Store bought muffins won't kill anyone... I think.

Plan ahead as much as you can. I have tried to break down little chores for the last couple of weeks so that the day or so before people come over I'm not panicking. If your guests feel like you are stressed out it's hard for them to enjoy themselves. No one wants to feel like an inconvenience.

If you are a bit uptight like me (uptight is the nicest way to put it) this may help you. I like things a certain way so I stress out over little things that a normal person probably wouldn't even consider. Because I like things to look a certain way I have planned ahead for my own craziness. I have an empty drawer in our only bathroom. This way guests stuff is out of our way and contained as well as a shower caddy. I have towel hooks designated for guests so my bathroom stays relatively the same. When you have a small space it's nice to still feel like there is a semblance of order. It's minor things but for me they make a huge difference.

Now given I LOVE to do the "bed and breakfast" type things I created a guest binder. We decided to name our house "Millie's Cottage" after Millicent who was the original owner of our 1920's home.
In it I put our address and closest intersection, as well as our internet passwords. I also have a breakfast menu, and since it's Christmas I put a Christmas picture in with a small calendar of what we'll be doing over the holidays while our guests are here. I have always wanted a guest room so doing things like this was a blast!

I also created a guest basket full of bath things, tooth brushes, cotton balls and q-tips. Also men and women's deodorant, shampoo and a sleep mask.

Because our home reminds me of a Jane Austen novel I have lined the book shelves with her books and I ordered a print of a Pride and Prejudice quote from Etsy for above the bed. Who doesn't love Mr.Darcy? These are the things I love to do and hopefully our guests can enjoy.

Finally something about hospitality is that we are teaching our children what it means to be hospitable. So when we are running around freaking out about visitors (which believe me I am an expert on) I'm teaching my son that hospitality is stressful. That friends and family are stressful. I'm basically teaching him that none of this is fun which is a horrible message and one I need to work on constantly. I don't want him to think the holidays are when everyone yells at each other and mommy is crying over spilled milk. Literally.

So from me to you I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday and that you enjoy the warmth and company the holidays brings your way.

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
   Washington Irving

Happy Holidays! Jessa, xx

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It Was Supposed to Be Sexy

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Because it's our 9th wedding anniversary and what better gift than sharing an embarrassing story with all of you. You'll have to excuse me as I bare my soul among other things today.

 A few years ago I thought it would be fun to take some "risqué" photos for my dear husband. I got myself all prettied up, put on some fancy ridiculously expensive underwear, and set up our computer to take what I hoped would be sexy yet tasteful very sexy pics. I mean if George Costanza could do it, surely I could give it the old college try.

 There I was in all my glory looking forward to surprising him and when the moment came (drum roll please) he looked at me like I was nuts and lectured me on the fact anyone could now have access to these pictures. This was rather anticlimactic in many ways as you can imagine. I mean he really seemed concerned that some cyber stalker had been waiting for this moment when amongst our boring old vacation photos of fully dressed people, my naked behind would suddenly appear. Given his reaction in all honesty I was hoping that was the case so at least someone would appreciate the effort.

 We looked at each other and while I thought I had married a total jack ass, he thought he'd married a clueless tart. We were both right to be fair.

 I never again attempted such a fiasco and promptly forgot about blocked out the entire experience... Until one evening when we had a couple friends over for our Friday night game night. We were sitting around listening to music chatting away when suddenly our two male companions leaned forward jaws dropped and said "whoa!" while eyeing the computer screen. I leaned forward to see what was so exciting and there I was. Our computer had gone to screen saver and was cycling through our photo albums and the pictures I had all but forgotten were flashing upon the screen. And let me tell you this, as embarrassing as said moment was, I still looked fabulous.

 Doug of course was shaking his head I think secretly relishing the fact he was indeed correct and naked pictures really do come back to bite you in the proverbial naked behind. And I was thinking of every single celebrity who has been caught in this same situation and wondering if flat out denying it was me would in fact work. It turns out no, that tactic in fact does not work.

 So let my embarrassing moment be a lesson to you all. That said I've been sitting here for five minutes now trying to pin point what exactly the lesson is... I suppose it's that if you're at all an exhibitionist floozy make sure you marry a like minded individual.

So Happy Anniversary my dear husband. I love you like crazy and I still firmly believe that when we're 90, you are going to be appreciating those pictures a heck of a lot more.

 J xx

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where To Begin...

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                Related Posts with ThumbnailsI've been thinking about where to begin in sharing about our new home and projects and future ideas and it occurred to me I should begin where all things begin, inspiration. I started making an inspiration board a few years ago and it used to sit on the back of our bedroom door so I'd see it before I closed my eyes and first thing in the morning. I found it became impossible to not wake up inspired by the images I had there. My pictures tended to vary and focus on a wide array of goals. One was a picture of an organized closet, one was a quote on entertaining to prompt me to socialize more. I had a picture of Jennifer Aniston doing yoga, and a picture of Angelina Jolie speaking out. I'm sure the occasional guest saw this collage and thought I was some freaky stalker of Brad Pitt's love life. Actually I even had a pic of Gwenyth Pawltrow in this gorgeous Tom Ford gown. Maybe Brad Pitt and I do share the same taste in women. None the less, it inspired me in some way and I found whatever the image was at some point I'd feel I had accomplished the goal and would add on a new image. I'm very visual so this worked beautifully for me.

So I thought I'd share my new inspiration board that is currently in the guest room/ what I call "the Jane Austen reading room" because I'm pretentious like that. It was a cute framed bulletin board I picked up at a yard sale for $7. It currently is filled with ideas for organizing, fashion, the guest room, and family. I always like to have a picture up of a happy couple or family because it makes me happy and reminds me of what's important.

I've also included a few gorgeous boards that rather put mine to shame but offer great ideas if you're in the mood for your own inspiration!!

Love, J xx

Images from

Friday, November 15, 2013

Moving On

Related Posts with ThumbnailsIt's been a while and frankly it's been a lot. If you are wondering why I've fallen  off the blogging hemisphere it's because I just haven't had the energy. Adjusting to motherhood this past year and half has been an amazing and exhausting ride. Plus four months ago we moved across the country and that has been major. I want to say we're all settled in but we still have some things to do. Plus we just don't feel settled on the inside.

On the bright side we love Toronto. It's a fabulous city (current politics aside) and the people are lovely. We love our house and that has been a real blessing. We have friends and family near by which has made the move a lot easier... Still though. It's hard. It can be really lonely. We miss our friends and family a lot. It's like a big wonderful adventure but you don't get to share it with your loved ones which makes it very bitter sweet. Some days we have a blast and other days we struggle. It's a roller coaster but I've been told it will take a year to really feel comfortable.

With that said I should give a huge thank you to those of you who've done a great job at making us feel welcome here! Believe me it helps. It helps tremendously and your efforts are so deeply appreciated. And to those in Vancouver we miss you. We love you and miss you tons. This is my big virtual hug to you all.

Now back to this pesky blogging business. Since being home with Oz I've been trying to figure out what to write about. I do still have a couple infertility blog ideas in my back pocket (and a huge thank you to the few commenters I've had on old posts of mine this year! Knowing my posts on infertility help alleviate your loneliness a little or help your family understand warms me in ways I can't even express. It is HUGE for me to read. It is everything to me in terms of opening up about my own struggles so thank you from the bottom of my heart!!) However, I don't plan to put too much focus on infertility and adoption but more on pretty things and organizing. One of my favourite things to do is organize and moving has been a wonderful challenge in figuring out new systems. So my blog will become a little more light and frivolous and I do hope all of you will continue to enjoy it.

I have been so thankful to my readership and to the amazing support I've received through this blog. I hope to see much more of you!!

Lots of love, J xx