March 24, 2017

Personalize Your Phone and Laptop with CaseApp {& A Giveaway!}

Ever since I one dropped my (previous) phone on concrete and smashed the screen to bits, I vowed to never go without a phone case again. As much as I love the sleekness of not having a case on my phone, and granted, screens can still crack even with a case on, I'm in the camp of some protection is better than none. And while I want to protect my phone as best I can, I'm just not a fan of huge, bulky cases. I also think it's fun to personalize your phone with a cute/pretty/loud/stylish case.
marble phone and laptop case from CaseApp
When CaseApp reached out to me asking me to design my own custom phone case and laptop skin, I was pretty pumped! At the time, I was currently rocking a clear phone case and I was ready to change it up. The hardest part about this whole process was deciding on a design. CaseApp has a ton of pre-designed phone cases and laptop/tablet skins, to which you can add font or your own photos/designs. Or you can completely design your own case from scratch. The options are pretty endless!

I went back and forth between different design options, but ultimately, this marble one kept catching my eye. I loved the pop of pastel and I decided that this time around, I wanted a sleek, yet eye-catching phone case.
marble and pink phone case
CaseApp offers phone cases in two different styles: a "regular" slim-fitting one, which offers light protection from bumps, scratches and shocks, or a "tough" case, which offers protection against more aggressive falls and bumps. The cases also come in either matte or high gloss finish.

I opted for the tough case in a matte finish, and I'm so glad I did. It's not nearly as bulky as I feared it might be, and the quality is top-notch. The matte finish makes the phone less slippery, which I really appreciate when texting one handed, or transferring my phone into and out of my purse or diaper bag.

For my MacBook skin, I matched it to my phone case, but I added some text to customize it.
custom phone cases and laptop skins
marble and pink custom iPhone and laptop case


But I've saved the best part for last!  I'm giving away to one lucky person, their choice of either a custom phone case or custom laptop/tablet skin! Head over to my Instagram page to enter!

In the meantime, you can use code SLICEOFBRIE20 to receive 20% off your order on CaseApp
Code is good until March 31/17 so don't wait!


*I received a custom iPhone case and MacBook skin from CaseApp in exchange for this post,
 but as always, all thoughts and reviews expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the companies that continue to make this hobby of mine possible!







March 22, 2017

Meet Me at the Barre

The other weekend, The Alberta Blog Squad was invited to have a private class at Barre Body Studio at their Ramsey location here in Calgary. I'm no stranger to barre, I've even done Mommy & Baby classes at one of their Edmonton locations, but it's not an activity that I get to go to very often. Plus, a private class with my girlfriends is always a good time. And the youngest honorary member of the Blog Squad, Emmy, even got to tag along! I had planned to wear her, but the little slacker slept through the whole thing in her carseat.
Barre Body Studio Review
Anyway. Barre class. It's not a new fitness trend and I'm pretty confident it's not going anywhere anytime soon! I'm also pretty sure that if you haven't yet tried a class, you have at least heard all about it. And if you haven't tried a class yet, you should really get on that! (Psst - there's a discount code for you at the bottom of this post!)

Barre Body is a low-impact workout, consisting of a million repetitions (not even joking!) in order to build lean muscles, tighter behinds and stronger cores. The phrase "up an inch/down an inch" will haunt you in your dreams! Little pulses are no laughing matter. Classes often utilize equipment such as light weights (1, 2, 3 or 5 pound weights - I stuck to 2 pound weights and was sore the next day!), resistance bands, a ball, and a balance disk, but a lot of the class focuses on using just body weight as well.
Barre Body What to Expect
Barre class review
In your one hour class, you are put through a warm-up, strength exercises for your arms, leg exercises which can consist of movements both on and away from the barre, cardio sprints and a core workout, ending with a cool down. If you think you aren't going to sweat just because this class is low-impact, you would be wrong! Our instructor Lanette, put us through a gruelling workout that had us all sweating by the end.

Barre is one of those classes that you go into thinking "this is no big deal, how hard can this actually be!?", only to find yourself swearing under your breath at the burning sensation in your gluten and thighs! This class works muscles you didn't even know existed! Which is why I love it. Plus, the inner ballerina in me loves me some barre work. Plié, first position, second position, etc...it all takes me back to my days of dancing. 
Review of Barre Body Studio Calgary
Review of Barre Body Studio Calgary
Barre Body Studio Calgary
Alberta Blog Squad Barre Body Class
Anyway, the class is tough, but the beautiful exposed brick walls and pretty lighting in the studios at the Ramsey location distract you from the pain a bit. The locker rooms are equally as stunning, and offer guests complimentary hair dryers, deodorant, hand cream, hair elastics, as well as free lockers. There's even a private shower should you wish to use it. The entire ambiance of Barre Body is on point! 

What you should know before taking your first class at Barre Body:
  • you must wear grip socks (bring your own, purchase a pair for sale at the studio, or rent a pair for $1 - proceeds go to charity)
  • wear comfortable athletic clothing (think yoga/dance wear)
  • bring a water bottle, you will need it!
  • most importantly, don't be afraid! Even if you don't have a dance background, the moves will be explained and nothing is overly complicated (meaning you will pick it up quickly!)
  • 1-Month New Client Intro pass: $65
  • Drop-in: $25
  • 5-Card Class Pass: $112
  • 10-Card Class Pass: $195
  • 20-Card Class Pass: $390
  • Mommy &b Me Class: $225 (I did this in Edmonton with Sully when he was 7 months old and highly recommend it!)

Locations:
  • Ramsey: 1202 20 Ave SW, Calgary, AB
  • Bow Trail: 4251 Bow Trail SW, Calgary, AB
  • Whitemud Crossing: #184, 4211 - 106 Street, Edmonton, AB
  • Holland Plaza: 11996 - 109A Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Barre Body Studio Review
{Ange//Leigh//Jen//Kaella//Me//Alison//Becky//Laura}

And good news for you! Use code BRIE10 to receive $10 off either a 10-Card Class Pass, 
or a 1-Month New Client Intro!

Thanks again to BBS for hosting the Blog Squad, and to Ange for organizing it! 


Have you tried Barre before? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!



March 21, 2017

A Little Mountain Getaway

Last week, we decided on a whim, to head to the mountains for the weekend! Meaning, we booked a hotel room Friday afternoon, packed that evening and loaded up the car Saturday morning. Who says all spontaneity dies once you have children? ;)

We didn't have too much of an agenda - the hotel we booked had a pool with a waterslide, and we knew we wanted lots of time to enjoy it with Sully. He loves swimming right now, and loves going down waterslides, so we knew it would be a big hit with him (it was!). We stayed at the Best Western in Canmore, and I would definitely stay there again. The rooms are nice and clean, there was a fridge and microwave (a definite must when traveling with kids!), and a fireplace! Plus, my other must have when staying at a hotel: hot continental breakfast. Nothing makes you feel like you're getting your monies worth than a free breakfast for you and your kids! Unlimited juice for everyone!

On Saturday, we headed out past our hotel, to Banff, where we had lunch and then walked around for about an hour. It was unfortunately raining all day, but it wasn't too cold so it wasn't miserable. Plus, Sully had a blast jumping in all the puddles and throwing snowballs on the sidewalks (snow plus light rain equals the best snowballs).
Banff, Alberta Weekend Getaway
Banff, Alberta
Banff, Alberta
Explore Banff, Alberta
Explore Banff, Alberta
The hotel had a late check-in time of 4pm, so around then, we made our way from Banff back to the hotel. We changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the pool for a few hours. Emmy slept in her bassinet the entire time, which allowed me to get a few runs in down the slide and some time in the hot tub. We ordered pizza in that night for supper and when it was time for bed, Jim and I wished each other the best of luck! Haha! We chose a room with two queen beds so that Jim and Sully could sleep in one, and Emmy and I slept in the other. Sully was pretty restless all night and fell out of bed once (oops!), but thankfully Emmy slept well, other than needing to be fed and changed once in the middle of the night.
Pool and Waterslide at Pocaterra Best Western
Pocaterra Best Western
Best Western Pocaterra
We didn't have time to go swimming again Sunday morning, but we did take advantage of the hot breakfast, and then once we were packed up, we headed back out towards Banff to drive around and explore. There's so much out that way that I've never actually seen and we made lots of notes of places we will return to once it's a) warmer out and b) the kids are older.
Lake Minnewanka, Banff, AlbertaTunnel Mountain, Alberta
Then on our way back into the city, we detoured a bit towards Kananaskis and attempted to hike to Troll Falls. I did this hike on a girls weekend trip just over a year ago, and it's an easy, family friendly hike. I knew I wanted to return with Jim and Sully one day, but unfortunately, all the rain turned the trail into a sheet of ice. We managed to get about 3/4 of the way by walking on the edges of the trail where there was still some untouched snow, but it was challenging for Sully and for me since I was wearing Emmy. But my family was a great sport about it and Sully walked the entire time, so I was proud of him! I'm sad they didn't get to see the frozen waterfalls, but we will be back!
Troll Falls Family Friendly Hike
Troll Falls Family Friendly Hike, Alberta
Troll Falls - A family friendly hike in Kananaskis, Alberta
Troll Falls - A Family Friendly Hike
And that was about it! Our little hike ended around 5:30pm, so we hopped back in the vehicle and made the drive home. Despite the logistics of traveling with a toddler and a newborn (ohhhh the logistics!!), we had a really nice time. The weather didn't end up being as nice as we had thought it was going to be, which made everything a little bit more challenging - like stopping to nurse and change diapers - everything had to be done in the vehicle with it running. But I think we made the best of it, and a trip to the mountains, no matter how short, is always so good for the soul.



March 16, 2017

Get Ready to Rumble!

The other weekend, The Alberta Blog Squad had the opportunity to try out another boxing studio. Having just taken my first boxing class shortly before this, I was super excited to have another go at throwing punches and unleashing my inner bad-ass. There is something so cathartic about wrapping your hands, donning boxing gloves and letting loose in a dark, loud boxing studio.
What to expect at Rumble Boxing Studio
Rumble Boxing Studio invited The Blog Squad to have a private class and I have to say, I was much less intimidated this time around. Both because I sort of knew what to expect, and also because I was surrounded by my girlfriends and I'm not nearly as worried about making a fool of myself in front of them!

Rumble is located in the heart of 17th Ave in Calgary. When we arrived, we checked in at the front desk which also doubles as an acai/juice bar (perfect for refuelling after class!), were given boxing gloves (which are always complimentary), and got to work wrapping our hands (you must purchase wraps if you don't already own them). There's also free lockers to stash your stuff in, full change rooms complete with showers, a water fountain and complimentary towels. Make sure you take a towel into class with you - you will need it!
What to expect at your first boxing class
The Alberta Blog Squad at Rumble Boxing Studio Calgary
what to expect at Rumble Boxing Studio
The studio is set up in such a way that the instructor is smack dab in the centre of the room, with the participants boxing bags surrounding them. This allowed all of us to grab a bag facing the instructor. Because of this, I found this class much easier to follow along with and it also made it easier for our awesome instructor, Kealen, to come around to each of us to check our form or encourage us to punch harder. Just like last time, each punch is given a number (1=jab; 2=cross; etc), and I felt much more in control with my punches this time. I found if I over thought the combinations, I got flustered and lost track of which punches to throw, but if you can learn to let your mind relax and zone out, it just flows. Boxing is a really cool sport that way! You get to punch sh*t and meditate, haha!

Kealen led us through a tough and sweaty workout for an hour, that combined punches and squats. We were spared an ab workout at the end which I appreciated. I feel like boxing is already an ab workout as you need to engage your core the whole time. I'd rather box for an extra ten minutes than get down on the floor and do crunches!
Alberta Blog Squad boxing class
what to expect at a boxing studio
After class, we were treated to the best part: Ewan MacGregor! He was in the studio boxing it out in the boxing ring that's in the foyer of Rumble when you first walk in!
Ewan MacGregor at Rumble Boxing Studio Calgary

Anyway, here's what you need to know before taking a class at Rumble:

-You have to purchase your own wraps ($15) or bring your own
-Boxing gloves are complimentary
-Prior boxing experience is not necessary
-Arrive early to fill out your waiver and wrap your hands
-Wear running shoes and bring a water bottle
-Most importantly: don't be afraid! The staff at Rumble are so friendly and welcoming!
-Parking tips HERE

Prices:
  • Drop-in: $20
  • 10-Class Pass: $180
  • 20-Class Pass: $320
  • 1, 3, 6 & 12 Month Passes also available 

If you can't tell yet, I have a newfound love for boxing! I tried really hard (both during this class and while writing this post), not to compare the two studios I've been to. Based on my experiences, I liked the style of the class at Rumble more, but that could be because I wasn't as intimated this time and had a better idea of what I was doing. Of course, I need to go take more classes to really pick a favourite though!



Have I encouraged you to take a boxing class yet?! 

Have you ever had a random celebrity encounter? I want to hear about it!



March 09, 2017

Emmeline: Two Months


Dear Miss Emmy,

Every day you become less newborn and more "baby". I'm already having trouble remember just how teeny tiny you were the day you were born. You're still a petite little thing, weighing in at just under 9 pounds, but you've gained a few inches, bringing you up to 21.6 inches long! You're finally starting to outgrow your newborn sleepers (just in length though) and you're officially in size 1 diapers. You nurse about every 3 hours and when you're done, you are done! The other night I tried to wake you up to feed you before I went to bed, and no way were you having any of that!

You're still an amazing little sleeper, a fact I still can't over most days. I exclaim to your daddy all the time, "I can't believe she's still sleeping!". I don't have the luxury of holding you all the time when you sleep, but when I can, you bet I keep you in my arms. There is nothing better than looking down at your sweet, peaceful face when you are fast asleep. You also continue to sleep well at night, allowing me to have 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, sometimes even longer. And when I run errands, or take you places with me, I can pretty much count on you to sleep through it all. Car rides knock you right out!
I Will Move Mountains blanket
I think the best thing that has happened this month though is hearing you coo to us. I had forgotten what a sweet sound that is. You also smile a lot now, big toothless grins, and certain sounds I make can really get them out of you. I can't wait until you start laughing! Interacting with you is just the best thing ever.

You still love your baths in the washpod, although you love to kick up with your little legs from the bottom of it which I think is hilarious. You also enjoy tummy time, and it's something your big brother loves to do with you. Sometimes he even tells me he thinks it's time for some tummy time! When I place you under your activity mat that plays melodies and has some lights and birds that turn with the music, you coo and coo away at it. It's so neat to see you starting to notice things and be more alert.
I Will Move Mountains Blanket
I will move mountains blanket
Your eyes are still a piercing blue, but we still aren't sure what colour your hair is going to end up being. Sometimes it looks really light, especially on top, but in the back, where it's a lot thicker, it has a light auburn tone to it.

Emmy, you are the sweetest, calmest, most beautiful baby girl ever and I'm so lucky that you are mine!

I love you with all my heart,
xoxo Mommy



March 08, 2017

The Transition From One Child to Two

You hear it a lot: when a mother of one becomes pregnant with her second child, often her biggest fear is how will she possibly have enough love for both her children? For me, this was never a question of doubt. I knew I had more than enough love to give two children. Instead, I worried about how I was going to manage a newborn baby and a toddler at the same time. I touched on it briefly in this post, but Sully was a pretty high maintenance baby, requiring me to hold him for pretty much the first year of his life. Of course, as he became more mobile, he tolerated being put down, but the only way I could get him to nap was by holding him or driving around in my car. So in my mind, as I was preparing for baby #2 to come along, I envisioned a second child requiring just as much of my undivided attention and both of my hands. And all I could think of was "HOW?!" How will I cope both physically and mentally with a needy newborn and a demanding toddler?

So that was my biggest fear. We only know what we know, and so for me, I assumed my second baby would be just like my first.

organic cotton elephant safari pyjamas from Finn + Emma
{elephant pyjamas c/o Finn + Emma}

Then Emmy was born. And from that very first day, I knew she was different than her brother. She was quiet and calm, only becoming fussy when she was hungry. I don't think we heard her actually cry until a few weeks after she came home. She literally, ate, pooped and slept. I think of all the times, during Sully's first year of life, where I would hear other mother's bragging about the 3+ hour naps their newborns would take (NOT in their arms) and I would be torn between feeling absolutely jealous and thinking they were big fat liars. I couldn't even fathom what that would be like it was so far from my reality.

I don't for a second regret all those hundreds of hours I spent holding him. Those are some of the best memories I have. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't, at the time, also resent all those "lost" hours. Hours I felt I should be doing something more important - like cleaning, or laundry, or showering, or making dinner. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I realize now that there was nothing more important at the time and I wouldn't trade those hours spent snuggling my son for anything.
finn + emma organic cotton pyjamas for baby and toddler
matching pyjamas from Finn + Emma for brother and sister
Finn + Emma elephant pyjamas for baby and toddler
Emmy on the other hand, has been a great sleeper since day one. She still sleeps a great deal, both in my arms when I'm able to hold her, or in one of the many baby seats/swings we have around the house. She's pretty content all of the time, and when she isn't, it doesn't take much to soothe her. She loves being in the car and I can take her places knowing she will most likely sleep through it all. She has made the transition from one child to two, incredibly easy for me.

Of course, my transition wasn't the only one in question here. The transition for Sully from only child to older brother was tough at first. I wasn't naive about it, I knew to expect "the worst" and that jealously and an increase in temper tantrums would most likely ensue, but I think a big part of me hoped he would welcome his sister with open arms and that her sudden presence in our family wouldn't be an issue.

When Sully first came to visit us in the hospital after Emmy was born, he was pretty smitten with her, which made me think that he truly was going to be okay with not being the only child. But then we came home and I realized just how much this was going to rock his world. The first two weeks were the toughest and thankfully Jim was home during that time with us. There was a lot of crying, from both Sully and myself, a lot of meltdowns over absolutely nothing, and a lot of jealousy. For those first two weeks, the first thing Sully would say to me when I came downstairs with the baby was "Put the baby in daddy's hands!". I did my best to give Sully one on one time with just me, without the distraction of a nursing baby, and I made sure to do my best at keeping some of his routines intact, such as his bedtime one.

super soft, organic cotton pyjamas from Finn + Emma for you baby and toddler
{elephant safari pyjamas c/o Finn + Emma}

Thankfully, all transitions are temporary. Navigating your new role in a new family dynamic is tough, especially for an almost three year old who is still learning how to express his feelings. I can honestly say now though, that Sully adores his baby sister and rarely shows any jealousy. He hugs and kisses her all the time, asks where she is if she's in another room sleeping, tends to her if she's crying (gives her her soother back), asks to hold her and has even given her a bottle. The incredible, overwhelming feeling of love I get when I see how much he loves her is hard to explain. It's pure and honest, as only a three year old knows, and I couldn't love my children anymore if I tried.
finn + emma pyjamas
matching pyjamas for siblings from Finn + Emma
soft, organic pyjamas for your baby and toddler

And as much as I often wish I could freeze time in these early, tender years, I'm also excited to watch these two grow up together and hopefully become the best of friends. This is only the beginning. And who says you can't dress your son and daughter in matching clothes? ;) It will be a sad day when I have to pack up these super soft, organic cotton pyjamas from Finn + Emma.


Parents - how was your transition from one child to two (or more)? 

Was it easier or harder than you expected?



*Elephant Safari Pajamas c/o Finn + Emma, but as always, all thoughts and reviews expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the companies that continue to make this hobby of mine possible!




March 02, 2017

Currently // March

Well, February sure flew by in a flash, didn't it? February was a busy month for us, we had my sister visiting for a week (so much fun!), and we celebrated Sully's third birthday! I'm always a little happy to see January and February go though as it means we are that much closer to spring! Anyway, here's a little look at what I've been up to currently.
Currently March
Thinking About: How amazing the human body is. As of today, I am 9 weeks postpartum, and 9 weeks post c-section. I have a post in the works talking about mind and body at this point after delivery, so it's been on my mind a lot. Up until about 7 weeks postpartum, I was still having quite a bit of weird discomfort in my belly in the area above my c-section incision and it was still very numb feeling. It's so hard to describe, but it wasn't always pleasant. Every day I would think, "Did I pull something? Am I ever going to feel better?" and then boom! I woke up one morning and there was no more pain, no more pulling, no more weird numbness. And that's when I finally started to feel "whole" again and more like my old self. This is also when I was like "ok, I'm ready to be cleared for exercise, I'm ready to move and workout!", something I definitely did not think in those first few weeks of recovery.

Reading: February was a slow reading month. I haven't been making the time for it in the evenings like I usually do, instead I've been interneting (totally a word) into the wee hours of the night because sometimes (especially during nursing sessions), interneting is just so much easier. I still have Faithful by Alice Hoffman checked out from the library that I need to read so I plan to devote some time to getting into it (I literally read the first two pages last week before shutting it and picking up my phone instead).

Listening To: Sully is showing way more interest in music lately than he ever has in the past. He asks me what every song is called that we are listening to and if he doesn't like the title I give him, he tells me what he thinks the title should be, (he calls the song 'Home' by Blue October, 'Dancing in the Kitchen', because that's a lyric from it).  It's pretty cute. I also have noticed that he is picking up song lyrics now so I have to watch what comes on the playlist. Anyway, all that being said, I haven't actually been listening to anything new. His most requested song of all time is Carol of the Bells by the Piano Guys. Yes, we are still listening to Christmas music over here, but I'm not complaining - this instrumental song is beautiful and The Piano Guys are so talented. Plus, Sully likes to imitate playing the cello when listening to this song and it's the cutest thing ever.

Watching: I've been working my way through the Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix (3 episodes left!) and really enjoying it. Have you watched it? I adore Drew Barrymore. This show is a little gruesome, but that kind of thing never bothered me, plus since it's a dark comedy, I don't take the gross scenes too seriously. Highly recommend it though! Otherwise, I'm still watching the same old stuff...Gilmore Girls, Riverdale (a few episodes behind), This Is Us (also a few episodes behind), and Love Sick (another Netflix original I highly recommend!).
Eating: I'm trying to clean up my diet in efforts to start living a more healthier lifestyle. When I'm pregnant and/or breastfeeding, I really start to let myself eat whatever I want, using those two things as an excuse. But even though breastfeeding burns extra calories, does not in fact give me the right to eat extra calories worth of junk (which I've been doing). I really have no will power when it comes to sweets in the house, so I told Jim he's going to start having to satisfy his sweet tooth at work as I am not bringing them into the house anymore. I've also noticed that I can go all morning without eating anything, sometimes as late as 2 p.m. before I even realize that all I've had is coffee. BAD! Not eating is not doing me any favours. So, needless to say, I've got some work to do in my diet.

Wearing: A mishmash of old clothes and maternity clothes (because ruching is a postpartum mom's best friend). Seriously though, my closet is the most depressing room in my house. Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the VIP event for the brand new Women's Sport Chek at Chinook Centre that opens today (more on that tomorrow!), and I think I spent a good hour trying to figure out what to wear to it. Nothing fit how I wanted it to. My closet needs a serious overhaul.
VIP event for Women's Sport Chek at Chinook Centre
Laughing About: This Buzzfeed post sharing 100 parenting memes. You guys, this is the funniest thing I've read all week because it's so, so true. I screen capped so many of them to text Jim throughout the day. One of my favs because this is my life 100% and why I go to bed at ungodly hours:
Looking Forward To: This weekend! It's jam packed full of fun workouts and dinner with friends. On Saturday, I'll be trying out another Boxing class with the Blog Squad and then a bunch of us will be going out for dinner to say goodbye to our good friend Jen, who will be leaving us for a year as her and her husband travel the world! Amazing, right?! And then on Sunday, we'll be hitting up a private Barre class (Emmy's coming with!), and then some of us will be heading over to Chinook Centre to take a fitness class offered by Sport Chek Women in celebration of their grand opening. It's going to be busy and tiring, but worth it!


Over to you! 

Tell me something you're looking forward to! 

Current favourite song? TV show?


*Linking up with Kristen & Gretchen for What's New With You?