5 ways to Savor the Summer

Do you feel relieved that carefree summers days are here? or are you dreading the summer because you know your kids will be on their devices, plugged into their cell phones, and texting friends?   What if I told you that you have only 18 summers at best with your kids before they are off to college.    

I’m sure most of you are thinking, what only 18 summers. When a friend with older children first mentioned this, I was brought to tears.  The next thought was, I better start making every summer matter.  

With this in mind,  I am more determined to create more digital free moments with my family. 

Make it a point this summer to unplug from digital devices a little more often, and find new ways that you and your family can experience together time.  By doing so, you create lasting memories, and most importantly you will all have fun.   Here are just a few ways you can savor together time this summer.

1.    Punctuate your week with pleasure-You are more likely to look forward to the week ahead if you sprinkle it with some fun.  I say, plan a picnic-on a weeknight.  Pack all your family favorites in a basket and head outside in your backyard.  Enlist your kids to help plan and pack, they will love being included this way.

2.    TRY something new- attend your first ‘Lantern Fest’ -or how about a hot air balloon ride, or if you never tried camping, start in your backyard. 

3.    Entertain a block/street party-this is a great way to meet all your neighbors.  Set up some tables and ask each household to bring their favorite dish and dessert.  It’s a great way to get all the neighbors together and catch up.

4.    Pick berries-every month choose a berry that is in season, then plan a family outing to the berry fields.  Once home, challenge each family member to create a dish with the berries. 

5.    Get outside-how about setting up an outdoor movie night. Set up a projector in your backyard and enjoying a movie under the stars. 

You only get a few summers with sticky ice cream kisses, sandy beach experiences, and lemonade by the lake. This is your moment to savor the summer with your family. 



The secrets to finding the right Husband who will make the best Dad.

Twenty-three years ago, I knew the kind of guy that I wanted to commit the rest of my life to.  What I didn’t expect was the turbulent road that life was about to throw my way.  Buckle up baby – cause life’s about to get pretty rocky was the message from the universe.  Let me tell you I heard it loud and clear.  But, I’m certain I was one of the fortunate ones as it turns out there is one thing that I know for sure and that is that I made the most incredible choice in finding my ideal mate, and a fantastic Dad to our three amazing kids.
So without further ado here are my own secrets to finding the right man who makes the best Dad list. You will be reading the list momentarily but I can’t help but point out that it is not just about Him. You are front and center in my list.

Master yourself first
Understand your emotional needs, your strengths, your weaknesses, what makes you tick?  What lights you up, what makes you uncomfortable, what have you dedicated to making happen for yourself?  What do you value, and what are your relationship dealbreakers.  Knowing yourself first is the key to finding someone that will get you too and give the relationship a fight chance to last in this day and age.

Make a ‘Must haves list’
what characteristics do you value, such as honestly, integrity, someone who respects your choices and opinions.  Gary Smalley in his “Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships”, states that good communication skills, a forgiving spirit and an affectionate nature are important.  Pick a guy who celebrates your uniqueness and brags about you to his friends and family. YES – to all this.  Or perhaps you have a few other features that are important to you. Know them and list them.

I know what you are all thinking. But you are wrong. This item isn’t all about physical appearance and sex appeal. That isn’t to say that attraction isn’t important – it most certainly is; But, choose someone who supports your ‘dreams’, who encourages you to pursue your life’s goals, and vice versa, so that you are both moving in similar directions. Support, and encouragement is a two way street.  See that wasn’t at all what you thought it was going to be.

Maintaining family as a priority
Marriage will have its rough patches, and conflicts are inevitable.  How does he handle really difficult situations and confrontations?  Look for a man with good problem solving and team skills, someone who can work though a conflict instead of walking away or falling apart. Someone who maintains focus on family first.  Stress is all around us. It is inescapable making resilience, coping with and managing stress an advanced skillset that you will want in your partner.   

Money Matters
Yes money matters, especially when growing from couple to a family unit.  Having a clear understanding of both of your spending and saving habits is critical.   Share your money memories and how your money ‘story’ has shaped you as a person.  Ask each other. What is your first memory of money?  What is the best thing you learned about money from your parents?  Another important discussion, is how do you handle debt? What is his stance on family vacations?  Joint bank accounts, separate accounts, or both?  Discuss what works best for your needs and wants.  Money matters are a leading cause of marital discourse and so having a coordinated vision is paramount.

Chasing happiness this summer has a lot to do with understanding your needs, your desires, filling your well with happiness first.  It’s sounds self-serving,  but being happy with yourself first becomes a beacon of light that attracts the people, and experiences you crave. When you are happy, you radiate positive energy and others catch on to this and are attached to your vibe.  


My secret ingredient in Avocado Toast

I know what what you’re thinking, what’s so special about your avocado toast?  Smash up some avocado, squeeze some lime, add salt/pepper and you’re done.   Not exactly.  After noticing  some left over pesto in my fridge, I decided to kick this classic up a notch.  A must try. It’s delicious. 


-1 avocado -peeled and smashed

-Fresh lime juice-just a squeeze

-1/2 teaspoon store bought pesto- or homemade. 

-diced jalapeño (optional- add how much your like)


-Drizzle of honey at the end.



Unplug, for your own sake

Parents don’t want guilt.  We know that we spend a lot of time on our phones, especially in front of our kids.  

Let’s face it, when most of our lives are legitimately embedded in our phones, its hard to put it away.   If you are anything like me, you are scrolling through your social media updates or e-mail, and maybe even playing a round of candy crush. The smartphone has become the greatest distraction in history and with it has brought health issues such as urgency addiction.  

So what Can be done about it?  Start small…become aware…start by turning your phone on silent during breakfast, or leave it in your purse, or better yet leave it in your car.   

Your kids will appreciate the attention you are giving them. You’ll be a better role model for getting them off their consoles and devices.  Who knows you may start feeling better yourself without the constant temptation of your phone. 



Easter brunch beverage

What is your favorite beverage for a causal relaxing weekend brunch?  I enjoy a mimosa, but it would seem that I’m not the only one who occasionally indulgences in the day time beverage.  Data from Google trends shows that search interest in brunch has been rising since 2004.  Those spikes in interest correspond to Easter and Mother’s Day-two days that are evidently synonymous with brunch, with mimosa leading the way as the favorite.

I personally like having brunch at home as I find it overpriced at restaurants, plus I love the causal vibe it creates.  AND its so easy to set up. 



What you will need
-Your finest Orange Juice
-Your favorite Prosecco

1.     Find a place where your guests can easily help themselves.  The last thing you need or want are your guests coming in the kitchen interrupting you while you are busy preparing.
2.    Set the Prosecco in a wine bucket filled with ice
3.    Place Orange juice on a tray along with plenty of glasses.

For guests who prefer a mocktail, how about an Orange juice, mineral water spritzer with elderflower syrup—2 parts Orange Juice—1 part fizzy water—a splash of elderflower syrup.

What better way to welcome your guests and wish them a Happy Easter- than with a bubbly glass of happiness.

Unplugged Family Time


Put your phones away, turn off your IPADS and tune into your spouse, kids, and family.  A simple pancake breakfast can make all the difference.  Why gather?  Why turn around the damaging trend of constant connectivity, screen time, and instant gratification?

·       Because research examining 5,000 teenagers has shown that when children eat with their parents regularly, they are more likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health.

·       Teens who ate regular family meals were also more likely to be adjusted, have good manners, and communication skills.

·       Eating together has also been shown to help Mom’s out as well. Mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed as compared to mothers who did not.

Believe it or not, if you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office. 

Need help getting your kids off their digital devices?  If so then join the Beta coaching program, where I will help you – “Make Meal Time Unplugged Family Time”. 

Enroll here by clicking on this link.

Launch is scheduled for March 2018.

This is your call to action. Join the movement. Unplug your digital devices and re-engage with what’s important in life – your family, and friends!

Half Time Entertainment-Family Style

Super Bowl Inspiration-

Half time is here, get your family up and over to your tablescapes and have some fun. 

I am not a beer drinker, but guess what?  Beer (well not in the traditional sense) was my inspiration for this easy and fun interactive family friendly tablescape.  Create your own Root Beer Float Station. Yum Yum.


The Set Up
I bought this green floor runner from party city  for $8.99, along with these tiny soft footballs.  

I found 2 burlap table runners and placed them on either end of the green runner.  I then placed these yellow goal posts on either end. Now the field is set for the game!  


The Food-Make it yourself-Root Beer Float Station-

Playing on the theme of the beer tent, I thought I would set up Haagen Dazs ice cream, A & W root beer, and frosted mugs, or frosted mason jars for the best results.


Finally-the best for last-My Giant Beergarita.
So it’s my birthday, and I thought why not make myself the ultimate beer drink and share with my love.
The main ingredient Corona beer

Limeade concentrate, and tequila, and crushed ice. I’d recommend a good tequila like an anejo or reposada. Your can go with a Patron or more recently I have been using Casamigos.

Take two cups of limeade, 3 ounces of tequila and 1 bottle of Corona. Be sure to apply a healthy coating of ungranulated raw sugar to the rim after running a lime wedge along it. Garnish with lime wedges and add a couple straws. Or if it has been one of those days just endulge yourself. After all my husband is a liver transplant surgeon.

That’s all folks.  An easy and most of all fun half time entertainment table that will have your family talking several days after.  Gather, Connect and Make Memories.


My Why

Recently I’ve been reflecting on ‘WHY’ I set tablescapes. 

Thinking back to the very first tablescape that I set for my family I realized that my goal was a simple one.  It had come to my attention that we had all gotten drawn in to our busy lives and screens and lost sight of what is truly important.  Spending time with one another, deep in conversation, sharing laughter, our thoughts, and emotions.  And so that very first tablescape was about being together, slowing down, getting off the proverbial electronic grid, and sharing a meal, an activity, and a theme.  We laughed, we cried, we re-connected. 

Today, the reason why I continue to set tables remarkably remains one and the same.  But, I think that taking the time to reflect on the “WHY”, and the with “WHOM” has helped to confirm my resolve .  It made me realize just how important it is to bring families, friends, and people together to keep us grounded in meaningful interaction.

For more family gathering ideas subscribe to my Digital Dinner Party Guide.


Chili Saturdays’

Saturday’s are my day to chill out with my favorite people and my bowl of chili. Each time I make this wonderful bowl of delishisness I  get excited at the possibilities that await.  For starters, I love enhancing my chili with avocados, shredded cheese, fresh jalapeño peppers and a generous dollop of dill sour cream—Yum Yum.  Plus, it’s a great way to gather the family together, talk without our devices in our hands, and enjoy each other’s company.

 Try my chili recipe and let me know what favorite topping you decide to garnish your dish.

Ingredients for Chili

2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 chopped jalapeño

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bottle of ragu tomato sauce

1 can 28oz crushed tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

Directions:  In a large Dutch oven add extra virgin olive oil and sauté onions and jalapeños over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Until onions are translucent.  Add ground turkey, and cook for about 8 minutes.  Add salt, chili powder, dried oregano, tomoto sauce and crushed tomatoes.  Bring all ingredients up to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Add kidney beans, stir, serve and garnish with you favorite items.  Mine are listed below.



Olive Me

Day 12 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style.

For the final day I decided to pick this delicious food—Olive Oil-This product is so versatile, and of course delicious.   With a passion for food and eye for detail I made this beautiful spread.  

I purchased this olive oil, and with so many different flavors of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar  I created this fun food board.  Artisanal breads, with various fruits made this spread come together.  Try it yourself.  Pick 3-5 different breads, and pour your olive oil on different plates and allow your guests to taste test. 

Enjoy this festive feast-cheers and happy holidays. 



Day 11

Day 11-of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Invite your friends over for a special evening of cheer. Entertaining is such a personal and thoughtful gift you can give those you mean a lot to you.  People always love the detains you add to make them feel special.  With that in mind, try making this ice ring.  Then add to your punch bowl and serve your favorite beverage.  Here I am pouring pomegranate soda.



For Him

Day 8-of my 12 Days of Christmas in Style

When you see the brand Hermes, you think French luxury, rich heritage, exquisite craftsmanship, eye for detail and high quality.  That’s exactly what this men’s cologne exudes.  The fragrance is subtle yet lingering, soft yet captivating.  I absolutely love this cologne, and for the retail price of $112 Canadian dollars at the Bay.

Perfect gift for your man this holiday season.



Bringing it home

Day 7- of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Brining it home today, with Gail Simmon’s brand new cookbook.   I had the rare opportunity to meet this Top Chef judge a few weeks ago in Toronto and it was incredible.  I tasted some her yummy recipes as well as a couple of her delicious cocktail, straight from her new cook book-“Brining it Home”, order it right here.

This gift is perfect for anyone who loves and appreciates cooking.  Gail is a culinary force, and is able to translate her expertise to even the novice cooks.  I made her grilled pineapple here, and my family loved it.

The second photo is me with Gail in Toronto. Many people were excited that I got a chance to meet her;  but many also asked where I purchased my purple blouse.  It was a great find, and one of my favorites this season, I bought it at the Bay.


Bare Neccesities

It’s  all about the soft, and stylish Bare necessities.  Did you know that nightwear is the most important thing about a good night’s sleep.  Why? because if ‘you’ are not comfortable, while trying to ‘get’ comfortable chances are your sleep will not ‘be’ comfortable.  

There are a lot of options available for women when looking for nightwear.  Plenty of options to make them feel sexy and comfortable.  Like these from Victoria Secret. Great news, free shipping over $100.   

Gift guide:
If your spouse is having a hard time finding the perfect gift for you, direct them to VS.  


Grow great things for 2018

Day 5 0f my 12 days of Christmas in Style

What great things to do want to grow in your life for 2018?  If you’re anything like me, running from one thing to the next, you probably could use some down time to reflect on the real things that matter.  More than a daily calendar to cross of the things you accomplished, the cultivate what matters ‘workbook’ helps to uncover purpose filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen.  Sounds pretty great to me.  Grab yours today at https://shop.cultivatewhatmatters.com/pages/2018-powersheets

And start growing great things for yourself in 2018.

Perfect gift for all the busy Moms in your life.


Cool and cozy

Day 4: of my 12 days of Christmas

It’s not only my tablescapes that have seen a lot of sequence, but many of my gifts this year are adorned with shine and faux fur.  

If you are having a hard time finding something cool and glamorous for your tween or teenage daughter, than you landed on the right spot.  How about this sequence beret from Forever 21
 or this faux fur infinity scarf

If you are all ‘Mais Non’ on the beret and faux fur scarf how about these cool and cozy earmuffs with head phones 

Listen, look good and keep warm this holiday season.


Mom in Sytle


Lite up my world

Day 3 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Candles are always a safe and easy gift idea.  They make the perfect client gift, corporate gift or hostess gift, or stocking stuffer.  Named after some of the neighborhoods of Toronto and Vancouver these Vancouver Candle Co www.vancouvercandleco.com are all handmade using traditional artisan craftsmanship.  Each candle and diffuser is poured by hand in small batches.   These are just some of the my favorite Toronto neighborhoods that I love to visit.

  So get your candle now, shipping is free on North American orders over $59. 


12 days of Christmas in Style

Mom Truth- we like to feel good.

Welcome to Day 2 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

I’m obsessed with watching real Mom’s tell it like it is.  So when I discovered Cat and Nat on instagram #CatandNat, I was naturally hooked.  Real life Mama’s caring for their families while still making time for themselves.  Most recently this Mama duo came out with a holiday makeup kit that’s perfect for the Mom on the Go.  Check it out. This gift is perfect for any Mom on your gift list

Haley Bogaert Cosmetics