How To Survive A Blended Family



My parents divorced several years ago when my siblings and I were all in our adult years. My father recently remarried and there began our blended family. His new wife has children who range in ages from 7yrs to early 20’s, while my siblings and I range from age 28 to 34 – it’s quite the spread!

The adjustment hasn’t been difficult for me, personally. Having been an adult when my parents divorced and when my father remarried, made it a little easier to adjust. After all, I no longer lived at home, and had a life of my own. While we all got along and seemed to settle into this new dynamic, a smooth transition isn’t usually the case for all blended families. There are many factors, people, relationships, and bonds to take into account when attempting to meld both families, whether you are the parent, child, or new spouse.

Keep communication open

It’s not always easy to speak your mind without offending someone else – communication is the one thing seldom mastered. By establishing a method of communication that works best between you and each family member, you can address problems or gritty situations before they snowball or avalanche out of hand.

Start with an open mind and be genuine

Regardless of your role in a blended family, don’t push yourself onto new step-family members. I know it’s natural to want to form a strong bond immediately, but this could actually work against you if you push too hard. Take it one step at a time, be yourself, and let your relationship flow naturally.

If you’re the new spouse, remember not to impose a “parent” role onto young or adult children. Keep in mind the kind of relationships that still exist between birth parents. Not all children of divorced families have a parent who is MIA. Where children experience the divorce of their parents in their adult years, there will very likely still be loyalty and strong bonds to your spouse’s ex.

Make room for one-on-one time

I think it is important to allow your spouse the space they need to have time alone with their children, young or old. It’s important to respect the relationships and bonds that have formed between them before you, and allow room for that relationship to continue to grow. Unfortunately, that may mean spending time together that may not include you. On the flip side, take time for you and your spouse to reconnect, and, most importantly, take time for you.

Don’t Interfere

If you’re an adult child with a parent who has remarried, be mindful not to meddle in your parents’ relationship, give them space to adjust to their new lives as a couple, and try to be as supportive as you can. If your newly-wed parent is happy, why interfere with that?

Plan group get-togethers

This is a great way to create bonding and relationship building between both families. When you become more comfortable with each other, your time spent together is more relaxing and fun!


Are you a part of a blended family? What advice do you have for children and parents in this type of family dynamic?


Top Photo | Just Watch

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Paperless Greeting Cards

send someone a love letter


With Christmas only 46 days away, I’ve started thinking about all the details I need to check off my list in preparation for the holidays. One thing that’s taken a regular spot on my “to-do’s” is mailing Christmas cards to close family and friends.

While sending a hand signed card in the mail is more personal, it can become costly if you have a large group of recipients. Paperless cards are free, and for more premium designs, they cost less then purchasing cards and paying for postage (especially if you live in Canada), and they are more environmentally friendly.

E-cards have a come a long way from what they used to be and definitely have more “pretty” appeal than when they first hit the scene. Here are a handful of my favourite e-greeting card sites:


Pingg is a one stop shop. Here you can select between sending an invitation and keeping track of rsvp’s, sell tickets to an event, send and e-card or choose a design to send by mail. Pingg works with a community of over 250 designers (they are like Etsy for online greeting and invitations) to bring you the most stylish and eco-friendly greeting cards and invitations. There are various membership tiers available ranging from free to $70USD per year.


Although Evite is primarily for sending out party invitations and managing rsvp’s, it’s still a great option to sending out physical invites in the mail or by regular email. Evite also has thank you card designs to thank your guests after your party. They have free and premium designs to choose from, and if you don’t like anything, you can create your own. 

Downside to sending paperless cards
May end up in junk mail
Could be accidentally deleted (I do it all the time!)
You send it to the wrong email address
Not as personal as a mailed card




Um. DROOL. Greenvelope is a whole other kind of eye-candy! This site leaves me speechless from their site layout, their story, and their designs. I could look at this site all day just because or for creative influence. They are a one stop site for sending invitations and managing rsvp’s, including details such as meal selections. The only downside is that it’s a fully paid service, there are no free options. However, I really like that with the more cards you send you get a bulk discount.
Image | Colin Cowie card design,

Upside to sending paperless cards
Saves time + trees!
Can send to multiple recipients at once
Zero or low cost
Last minute “fix”
Good option for international friends and family.


Canva isn’t specifically for sending e-cards but it’s a great site for finding templates which you can customize to make your own greeting cards. It does also have an iPad app you can use to create your cards on the go. It has both free and paid options.

Smile Box

If you prefer animated greeting cards and invitations, this is the site for you. You can also create and share slideshows and collages. It’s a free service, but you will need to download the software to use it.

Paperless Post

Paperless post is an online stationary shop which allows you to send greetings and invitations, free or for a cost depending on the design. It lets you easily track rsvp’s and keep multiple events organized. My only dislikes about the service is the “coin” currency used to purchase premium cards and that it’s a bit tricky to navigate when you want to remove the paid features from your card or invitation design.

How do you feel about paperless greetings and invitations? Are there any noteworthy sites you use to send e-greetings not mentioned above?

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Cozy Sweater Weather Must Haves



Sweater season is back! I have to admit, after the super hot and humid summer we had here in Toronto, it was a bit difficult to even think about getting cozy in a sweater. But soon after the welcome of September and the leaves began to turn into beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and red, I was happy to welcome back the cooler mornings and nights. I was quickly swayed and my sweater daydreaming (and shopping list) was in full swing.

After purging my closet of my older, worn out sweaters, I needed to replenish. Here are a handful of must-have sweaters from my favourite shops to help you build your own timeless, versatile, cozy sweater collection this season.

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These are the best sweaters for a lazy Sunday, hands down. Paired with soft, comfy leggings and thick knit socks (or fuzzy animal slippers), it’s the perfect combo for lounging on the couch and sipping on tea or hot chocolate. I can’t think of a better way to watch re-runs of all my favourite Christmas movies for the next eight weeks.
Aritzia Brullon Sweater $97





Perfect for many reasons like if you’re having a bad hair day, it’s really windy, or it’s raining outside. Team it up with a down filled vest for extra warmth.
Zara Soft Sweatshirt With Zip $69.90



Sweater Dress

The cold weather season version of the maxi dress. Dress it down or dress it up, heck, do both in the same day if you’ve got some running around to do in the morning and a dinner part at night. Pair it with running shoes or casual boots, oversized scarf and toque during the day. At night, add a pair of leggings, dressy boots or ankle booties, statement watch, and dressy tote.
Aritzia Streep Dress $165



Cable Knit

A timeless closet staple. A cable knit sweater is the perfect versatile winter cozy knit. These sweaters are great for adding texture to your look and awesome for layering a button-up shirt underneath. Wear it out to a casual restaurant with your favourite pair of ripped jeans or to the office paired with trousers or a skirt. Dress it up with leather tights like the photo above.
H&M Knit Sweater $19.99



Button-Up Cardigan

A button-up cardigan is perfect for shedding layers or adding a layer on fall days when  the weather starts off chilly but warms up in the afternoon. Like the cable knit sweater, it can easily be dressed up or down.
Zara Merino Cardigan $49.50


Top Photo | Unsplash


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Immune System Boosters



I’m not a health care professional. Please consult your medical physician before complete information and guidance.

Fall and Winter are dubbed “cold and flu season” since it’s inevitable during the colder months, we will catch a cold or flu. This doesn’t mean we have to let them knock us out of commission for days or even weeks. There are a handful of ways to be proactive and take control of your health this fall/winter season.

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Our bodies produce and release certain proteins and chemicals while we sleep which aid in fighting off infections. A lack of sleep may prevent the production of these proteins and chemicals which leaves us vulnerable to sickness and can even prolong the infection in our body.

2. Exercise + Be Active

Exercising or keeping physically active is good for your immune system because it helps to lower stress levels. When we exercise our bodies release natural “feel good” chemicals and helps us get a better nights sleep.

3. Stick To A Balanced Diet

Cut back on sugar as it suppresses your immune system. It’s okay to have a sweet treat once in a while, but packing you day full of sugar won’t do your body any good in the long run. Instead, eat more vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C + E. Also be sure to limit the amount of deep fried foods you consume, especially if you do have a cold since this prevents your white blood cells from protecting against infection.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake

One or two alcoholic drinks won’t have any major effects on your health, but three or more can hamper the white cells in your body from fighting off harmful bacteria.

5. Probiotics

Although there isn’t any extensive research to prove this, probiotics might be an aid in supporting your immune system since it maintains your digestive system and helps to expel toxins from your body.

6. Herbs + Minerals

I know there is a lot of scepticism around vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements, but there are many medicines which derive from plants and are used medicinally, such as marijuana and coca, so why can’t herbal oils and minerals do the same? They may not be fast acting like the aforementioned, but I believe they definitely can be an asset to our immune system, like oil of oregano and magnesium. I take a multi-vitamin (almost) every day along with magnesium. When I feel like I could be catching something I add echinacea drops to my morning drink and at night I have a few drops of oil of oregano (be sure to place it UNDER your tongue) until my symptoms seemed to have cleared.

7. Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands frequently during the cold and flu season. I try to stay away from hand sanitizers and just use soap and warm water.  Wash your hands after using the washroom and remember to do so if you travel on public transit.

8. Prevent The Spread of Germs

If you are sick, help prevent the spread of germs by sneezing into your elbow, not your hand, cover your nose and mouth with tissue when you sneeze or cough, and stay home and rest to help your body recover.


Did I forget anything? Are there any special practices you do to keep your immune system strong during the cold and flu season?


Photo | Road To 80kg

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Why I Read + Write Reviews



I have a small confession. I write and read customer reviews. For the most part, I think many of us read reviews, but a smaller portion of consumers take time to write them. For me, this need to share feedback and give reviews started when I was a customer service representative at my first long-time job. Not only because I provided customer service, but because it was the first time I was working in a more structured work environment where there was a yearly review of employees. Yearly reviews made us self-reflect on our shortfalls and achievements over the year and opened a forum to allow employees to provide company feedback.

My employer at the time showed me the importance of constructive feedback, how we could work together to achieve personal work goals, and how they could improve the culture and work environment at the office. I saw this trend carry through into my corporate job several years later with a larger, suit n’ tie company. One major difference was that employee reviews was a continuous process which carried throughout the year, not just at year end. I’ve seen the positive benefits firsthand and can advocate for the practice.

When companies take the time to gather or welcome feedback, even criticism, about their service, product, practice or culture, they are making themselves vulnerable, but also leaving the door open for new and creative ways to improve and stay current. This is one of the reasons I leave customer reviews either via email or platforms like Google+, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Etsy, and just about anywhere that will let me leave a review.

Lately, I find myself leaving destination and product reviews. I write these reviews to help fellow consumers have an idea of what they are about to purchase. Whether it be a camera, hair straightener, beauty product, service or vacation. When you make online purchases of a product or book a vacation, you can’t “try before you buy”. You’re kind of going in blind. So we depend on the feedback of others. As e-commerce continues to grow in Canada and throughout the world, it’s clear that more and more consumers are becoming comfortable with the idea of making purchases from the comfort of their home and I’d like to think that customer reviews contribute to that.

What I look for when I read or write a review for a product, service, or experience:

  • To find out if it is right for me and my needs
  • What are the pro’s and con’s
  • The quality
  • If it is worth the price
  • Does it actually measure up to its claims and description

Do you read customer reviews or write them? Do you think they are beneficial or are just a bunch of whiney people? I’d love to hear your take on it.

Photo | Life Buzz

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