Oshawa Centre Media Preview Event

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the Media Preview Event for the Grand Opening (happening September 29) of the newly renovated Oshawa Centre. The $230 million expansion brings 60 new stores, a new 1000 – seat food court, two brand new full service restaurants: Kelsey’s (which is already open) and Baxter’s Landing (opening December of this year), 250 underground parking spaces and so much more!

Some of the new stores include: Adidas, Forever 21 (which is 20,000 sq ft!), Starbucks (in the brand new food court), Skechers, and an H&M flagship store (YES!) Also, just announced yesterday…a Zara and Browns Shoes, both opening Spring 2017! I cannot wait for the Zara to open. This is going to be very dangerous for me as the mall is only a five minute drive from my work…

Overall I was very impressed with the layout of the new addition to the mall and it’s hard to believe it will be done and ready to open in a week!

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Stay tuned for my post next week on the official Grand Opening!

Pink Lemon Decor

Happy first day of Summer! I figured this was a great post for today.

I am a big fan of supporting local small businesses, especially when the owner is a friend of mine.

I met Amber a few years ago through a mutual friend and clicked with her immediately. Not only did she have a son the same age as Maxton, she had an awesome personality and I could picture a few ladies nights in our future. Since then, she has had another little boy who is also the same age as Everly. It’s fun to watch all these crazy kids play together.

She recently took a huge leap of faith and left her job to be a stay-at-home-mommy and pursue a passion of hers. Let me tell you, this girl has some SERIOUS TALENT. Her and her hubby recently purchased a new home and she has decorated it beautifully with many of her handmade creations.

I asked Amber what her inspiration was in starting up Pink Lemon Decor…

“Painting was always something I loved. I was always a crafter, DIY’er, and loved making anything for my home. When I had my first baby, all of those things were put on hold. Fast forward a few years later and painting has become my passion! I’m now a stay at home mom with 2 sweet boys and have pink lemon as my creative outlet!

I really love bringing ideas to life and seeing them admired in someone’s home. It started with family and friends asking me to make them signs or just something special for their home. It quickly evolved into something much more and that’s how Pink Lemon was born. My style is always evolving… although I just love rustic, farmhouse chic! I’m a perfectionist so a lot of time goes into planning, designing and actually painting. 

Each sign is hand-cut, sanded, primed and painted or stained by yours truly. I always want something to be ‘perfectly you!'”

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How awesome are these pieces?! I told you this girl has talent! She puts her heart and soul into every piece and the end result is the proof.

Check out her Facebook page and follow her on Instagram.

Enter promo code HELEN15 until August 1, 2016 for 15% off your entire purchase.

Happy shopping readers!

 

 

What 31 Looks Like

I am going to warn you now I have a serious case of verbal diarrhea. There is going to be little to no structure with this post…

Those of you who know me well, are aware I had a bit of an “issue” with the idea of turning 30 last year. (Those of you over 40, stop rolling your eyes.) I don’t know what it was about it, I just kept repeating it in my head over and over again…I’m going to be 30…So this went on for months and then I decided: Screw it! I am going to throw a party. So that’s what I did.  I rented a hall, invited all my friends and made it a “Roaring Twenties” theme. Clever or dumb? I thought it was clever. For the most part everyone dressed up and had a great time. I turned 30 May 20 of last year and literally the next day I thought: Meh. So what. I was over it just like that.

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So with all of that said, 31 was also: Meh. Okay, I’m 31.

So what does 31 look like? I find myself reflecting on where I am versus where I thought I would be at 31. Here is what I would have pictured 10 years ago: Married, 3 kids, Accountant (or Interior Designer, which is just a pipe dream it seems, but it’s actually a passion…), making decent money, owning a nice piece of property where my kids can run around…etc. You get the idea.

I have watched my parents go through a divorce, watch my Mom battle MS AND fight off cancer – this is real life. Life is precious, our time here is short and can be snatched away in the blink of an eye. I lost a friend a week ago. She passed away from Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 31. She was given 3-5 years to live about a year-and-a-half ago and never made it that far. She cherished every moment and lived life to the fullest, or tried to at least. How would you live your life if you were given a an approximate estimation of when you would die? Would you live it the same or differently? Quit your job? Spend all of your money? Travel? She did none of these things. She just…lived. I really don’t know what I would do.

I am not going to predict where I will be 10 years down the road because I really have no idea. Life is a mystery and ultimately we write our own story but the universe plays a huge part in that, I believe. You never know what will come knocking at your door. Strength is my motto these days. Live one day at a time. The past is the past and your future is dependent on what you choose your now to be.

That’s all for now guys.

H.

 

Hope

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

A Look Back: A Gold and Pink Party for Everly

So this post is beyond late. Like 6 months late. Everly will be 2.5 years old on January 30th, so I figured it was time I share her 2nd birthday party with you. It’s so late on account of all the things that had been going on that kept me from blogging. Better late than never right?

For her second birthday, I decided to do a gold and pink theme, with a little bit of sparkle. She is such a little girly girl I thought it would be a perfect fit for her. I had so much fun planning all of the little details. It’s easy to say that now that I can look back on it and smile; but maybe if you had asked me at 1:30am the morning of, I may have said something else as I iced 60 cupcakes in my kitchen…

We decided to rent a hall for her party because we were expecting quite a few guests, I didn’t want to chance it incase it rained which would leave us cramming people into our house. (It’s a good thing we did, because it was pouring rain the day of her party.)

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Her birthday banner I made myself (I purchased the card stock from Michaels, as well as the gold polka-dot wallpaper.) The tassels I made myself. Each one is a single sheet of tissue paper. They were a little time-consuming to make (only because I needed quite a few of them), but they turned out great.

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The cake pops I purchased from Starbucks – they are a little pricey but the kids LOVED them. The pink cotton candy jelly beans I purchased from bulk barn. The cotton candy I purchased from a local business owner, it came in the containers and was around $1.50 per tub. Again, these were a huge hit with the kids. I added the gold sparkle tape around the tubs, which I purchased on clearance from Michaels. The chalk board easel I also purchased from Michaels, and the carnations were a pretty touch. The cupcakes I made myself, and dusted them all with some edible gold sparkles. I am really happy with how they turned out (well worth the effort – again, easy to say now).

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The loot bags and tags I purchased on clearance at Michaels and filled them with little trinkets from Dollarama. The sand buckets were for the littlest ones. The princess rendition of “pin the tail on the donkey” was also purchased from the dollar store.

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I tried to buzz around as much as possible to take pictures of all of the guests and kids playing together – it’s times like that I could really use a clone…

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How sweet is she?! I think my little cupcake had a great party.