Dear Diary

It’s been a year since Jonnie and I said “I do” amongst our nearest and dearest in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, and despite all of the trials and tribulations that we’ve been through these past 365 days, thinking back to our wedding day still takes my breath away. Hitting our first anniversary felt like a great excuse to reflect, share some of my favourite photos (@scarletoneill really outdid herself), and credit our vendor list for all of the magic they contributed!

I’ve had lots of experience with events, styled shoots, and wedding industry pros over the years, so I went into my wedding planning journey with some pretty clear ideas about what I wanted, and an assumption that things would quite easily fall into place. Turns out even with some experience, a clear vision, and a lot of organization, putting together a wedding is so much hard work. Here’s what I learned:

Now that we’re on the other side of our celebration, my biggest bride advice without a doubt is to invest in a team you trust, focus on the details that matter most to you as a couple, and don’t sweat the small stuff. I could have easily lost myself entirely in the depths of rented cutlery, tablecloths and extravagant printing for our paper things, but I forced myself to keep it simple, instead choosing 100 Acre Wood as our venue (and the second vendor we booked – @scarletoneill was the first) An all-inclusive venue with beautiful handmade ceramic plates and a bar stocked with locally crafted drinks, they brought so many heartfelt touches that felt like us to our day, without an insane amount of sourcing and coordinating. I can’t stress enough how much this decision paid off in the long run, keeping our day seamless, joyful and stress-free.

With most of the details carefully managed by our wonderful team, I had the space to pour my heart into bits and pieces that felt the most true to us. I agonized over flowers, constantly adding to the list of blooms that simply had to be included, especially lilacs, a nod to our baby Penny Lilah, who was attending the day in utero. I also dried rose petals from my garden, bouquets Jonnie got me, and the engagement setup he did, which I cut up into eco-friendly confetti to pass out to guests to throw when we walked back down the aisle as man and wife. There was a balloon drop inspired by New Years at The Madonna Inn, a bouncy castle to ensure our day was just as fun for Summer and her kid guests, and Jonnie put together a series of amazing collaborative playlists featuring all of our favourite special songs. It was these touches that really made our day feel unique and overflowing with meaning.

My last tidbit to share before diving into the photos is this: make sure you squeeze in some time to slip away as newlyweds and take a moment to connect, cuddle, and soak it all in together. One of Jonnie’s coworkers suggested this to us, and that 10 minutes sitting at a picnic table just the two of us, revelling in everything we were feeling, is one of my favourite memories of all time.

Scroll down for full list of vendor credits

Vendor Credits //

Photographer: @scarletoneill

Venue: @onehundredacrewood

Florals: @coriandergirl

Dress: @alenaleenabridal via @everly_bridal

Hair and Makeup: @esbridal

Hair colour: @jonglossalon at @glossalonyvr

Nails: @majestyspleasure

Shoes: @loefflerrandall

Veil: David & Chiyo (now @tempetebrand)

Engagement Ring: @foeanddear

Wedding Custom Rings:

Suit: @indocino

Groom’s shoes: @poppybarley

Flowergirl Dress: @shop_noralee

Flowergirl Shoes: @shop.kaileep

Custom wedding jackets: @daily_disco

Bridesmaids Dresses: @parkandfifthco


Voicemail Guestbook:

Jam Guest Favours: @kittenandthebear

Prints and design work: by the bride (@randomactsofpastel)

Bouncy Castle: Oui Bounce

Let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments below!

A Pastel Baby

Just after my cesarean with Summer, knowing how disappointed I was with how things had turned out, my midwife looked me in the eyes and said “next time you’ll get the birth you wanted”. From that moment on, I had HBAC (home birth after cesarean) on my mind, and this past September, I finally got there! It was one of the most exciting, redemptive moments of my entire life, and changed my perspective on my first birth in ways I never could have expected, but most of all it gave me peace. Here’s how it all happened:

I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a second baby; in fact, for the first couple of years with Summer I was confident I was one and done. Then I met Jonnie, and the more I fell in love with him and watched him become the most amazing parent to Summer, the more I felt like our little family wasn’t quite complete. After a lot of back and forth, we agreed on a timeline, and the first month we gave it a try, I got pregnant with Penny!

This pregnancy was really hard for me. Physically I felt it so much more – I was sore and achy pretty early on, and baby moved so much that it became really painful in specific spots. While Summer was breech all along and never really descended into my pelvis or moved much, Penny was head down and really low early on, so I had lightning crotch and lower back pain that struck randomly and often stopped me in my tracks long before my due date.

But if I’m being honest, it was the mental game that I struggled with the most.

A lot of birth trauma that I thought I had worked through came up full force, and I was extremely anxious that something was going to go wrong and derail everything I was working toward, just like it did with Summer. While knowledge is power in the world of birth, I found myself almost too aware of all the little problems that could come up, and even my earliest appointments with the midwives I was skipping ahead to all of the worst case scenarios. In the space between my first birth and my second pregnancy I had become a total birth nerd, constantly absorbing every bit of knowledge I could get my hands on, but at some point the interest turned into a full blown obsession, and the pressure of getting it “right” took over.

For those prepping for their own VBAC, here are some of the ways I prepared for mine (aside from the constant worrying):

I was very aware of positioning my entire pregnancy. I sat upright in the car with my legs apart, watched tv from the birth ball instead of the couch, and perched on the edge of every chair or stood if it was an option. I really wanted this baby to be head down!

When it came to interventions, I felt less was more, so I skipped almost every test that was offered, including the NIPT test, gestational diabetes, a third ultrasound to confirm position and non-stress testing when I was overdue (I did test for Group B strep, but with the understanding I’d likely decline IV antibiotics if positive, and opt for close monitoring of baby after birth instead).

I regularly went to chiro, massage, pelvic physio, and at the very end to help induce naturally, acupuncture one time. I also walked at last half an hour every single day without fail.

I planned for a hands-off home birth, not only because it was the place I felt most comfortable after having such a sterile medical experience the first time, but also because the data on avoiding cesarean and medical interventions is overwhelmingly in favour of avoiding the hospital when possible.

And most importantly, I found the most amazing supportive provider who never made me feel “different” or high-risk in any way as a VBAC. No matter what irrational fears I had, they remained calm and confident, and my midwifery appointments always helped settle my nerves.

Looking back, so much of my anxiety was based on a desire to control something so important to me, while knowing deep down I could do everything under the sun and still have little control over what my body and this baby ended up doing. I was convinced she would come early, so when my due date came and went, I really started to spiral into a bad headspace. I was in a constant state of “maybe this is labour!”. Indigestion? Could be labour. Lots of energy? Probably labour! No energy at all? It’s got to be labour. I was doing the miles circuit every day, constantly checking in with my doula (who was living in Calgary and planning to fly in for my birth!) and trying every gentle natural induction trick in the book, but nothing seemed to make a difference. I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for months, but they never seemed to escalate, and by week 41 I was starting to feel pretty hopeless.

No one really talks about how hard that overdue space can be: excitement can easily fade to restlessness, and the constant unknown waiting for something to happen can be crushing. I knew from everything I had listened to and learned that the most important thing I could do to get the physiological birth I wanted was give my body patience, surrender control, and let things happen without interference, but actually being in that situation was unbelievably difficult, especially with my type A personality. Every night Jonnie and I would lay in bed and say “Maybe it will be tonight!” and by the morning I’d feel so crushed I’d had another uncomfortable, sleepless night, and nothing had happened. There were so many days where I was tempted to ask for a stretch and sweep to get things moving, but with the support of my team and lots of pep talks from our doula, I held off on any interventions. The only step I did take was to come up with a plan for what interventions I might consider if I went past 42 weeks – knowing 75% of women give birth by 41+2, I booked a non-stress test and placenta health check at the hospital for 41+4 (spoiler alert… we never made that appointment!)

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when early labour started, but if I had to guess I’d say it was about 24 hours before active labour got underway, at 41+2. Summer, Jonnie and I went on a walk around one of our favourite parks as the sun was setting. It was one of those perfect East Van evenings – we stumbled upon some live music just off the park where the 3 of us danced together on the grass. Shortly after I had to pee, and when I did I noticed a fairly intense contraction followed right after. Nothing more caught my attention, so we went home to bed as usual.

The next day Jonnie went off to work, and Summer and I got started on what would end up being our last day just the two of us. Instead of the exhaustion that had dominated most of my days, I felt energized and jittery, and together we made pancakes and did a bit of tidying around the house. In the afternoon we set off on a big walk and I was having a lot of light cramps – I even texted Jonnie joking that I wasn’t sure I’d make it home. He must have tapped into some dad intuition, because he insisted on loading up on groceries on his way home from work so that we were fully stocked, “just in case”.

When we got back to the house I was feeling really uncomfortable super low in my pelvis and in my actual vagina, so I did a bit of self examining, and sure enough, I could feel baby’s head through my vaginal wall! I’d never heard of that happening, and I started to worry I’d had some kind of prolapse, so I called the midwife and she offered an exam in-clinic (the first of my entire pregnancy) to ease my mind. About an hour later Jonnie was home, and we headed into the midwifery clinic to figure out what exactly I was feeling. The internal exam confirmed what I had suspected: baby’s head was so low you could feel it bulging through my vaginal wall a few inches in! I had been confused about how that was possible when baby’s head should have been resting on my cervix at the top of the canal, so I asked the midwife to locate my cervix, and it was high and forward (as labour progresses, it moves back and lower to meet baby’s head, which I didn’t know until that point!) Because we’d already gone this far, I went against my birth intentions and asked how dilated I was. Our midwife confirmed she could fit one finger in my cervix at that time, and asked if I’d like a stretch and sweep to get it to 2 fingers, but I declined, as I didn’t want to push my body before it was ready. But as soon as the exam was over, I had my bloody show!

Sunday nights are usually spent having family dinner with my mom, dad, sister and her partner at our place, so we headed home to host as usual, but as they filtered in I felt more and more crampy. By the time we served dessert, I couldn’t take another bite, and I suddenly had the urge to get everyone out of our house immediately. Looking back I was straight up rude! As I shooed them out the door a contraction hit, and my mom, dad and sister all started insisting this was IT (especially when I lifted up my shirt to show my mom how hard my belly was getting). By the time they had left, I was stopping to lean against the wall every time a wave hit, but even then I was in denial. I think there’s a lot of doubt for second time moms who didn’t experience labour the first time they gave birth – I was so afraid to be wrong, to get caught up in the mental game of false labour, that I refused to believe it was really happening for me.

Jonnie and I decided to get some rest “just in case” – it was only 9pm, so we settled into bed and queued up our show of the moment, Winning Time. A few minutes in, as the theme song started to play, I got hit with a contraction so hard I couldn’t sit through it in bed, and right away said “NOPE, no we are not watching this show”. I got into the shower shortly after to test if the contractions would slow or die-out, and when they didn’t, I finally let myself feel what I’d been waiting so many years to feel: elation and joy! I was actually in labour! I let happy tears stream down my face as I soaked up that moment alone in the shower, letting the relief that I had gotten to this point sink in. Then I got myself out of the shower and told Jonnie to call work and let them know he wouldn’t be there in the morning: we were having a baby!

Things intensified very quickly from that point, and sneaking in a bit of sleep so we were well-rested for all of the hard work ahead went out the window. I experienced my contractions most in my hips and lower back, and wasn’t able to lay down in any position without being in excruciating pain, so I mostly stuck to all fours, standing while leaning on Jonnie for support, or leaning over the birth ball (which very quickly became very exhausting, especially with no sleep!) Jonnie and I had really wanted some time to labour alone just the two of us, and for a short time we did, but my contractions continued to pick up speed and were less than 5 minutes apart less than an hour in, so we decided to call my mom to come back for support in case Summer woke up, and call our doula Shania, who had magically just gotten off her plane from Calgary to support my birth.

When our support people showed up, I was still coping really well, but the contractions had definitely gone from uncomfortable to painful, and all of the knowledge I had about positions and counter pressure had completely disappeared from my memory (thank goodness for our doula!) As the contractions came on stronger and stronger, my body only wanted to move more, so I tried to lean into that and listen to what it was telling me to do. I started to feel the tiredness setting in, so our doula worked really hard to find a position I could rest in, but every time I laid down it seemed to almost bring on an extremely painful contraction, so we decided to move me back to the shower for some comfort and I sent Jonnie for a power nap so he could continue to support me through the night and be mentally present when baby arrived.

The shower was glorious as contractions got harder to breath through – my mom and our doula took turns supporting me by using their arms like a bar I could hang off of or lean into, and eventually we moved the birth ball in so I could lean over it on the ground with the hot water hitting my back. I’m not sure where I got it from, but as every contraction hit, I visualized hiking up a mountain, the terrain getting steeper and steeper until the peak, and then the downhill would come as the contraction started to taper back down, and that was really helpful for me. Around that time I lost my mucus plug, which gave me confidence things were moving forward well.

We had agreed not to call the midwife until contractions were back to back with no break in-between, because once your midwife arrives they stay until baby is born, and for some birthing people that pressure can cause things to stall or slow down. I could feel myself getting to that point in the shower, the point where I could no longer control myself and started to moan, so I asked to call the midwife to come, and also had my mom wake Jonnie up because I needed his support. In my mind that time in the shower was only 20 minutes, but in reality it had been over two hours (!) and everyone started to register that if I didn’t get out of the shower, we’d have no hot water left for the birth pool. I *very* slowly and reluctantly got out of the shower, and it was definitely one of the hardest moments for me. At this point it felt like my pelvis was splitting in half, with unbelievable pressure in my hips, and almost no break between contractions to catch my breath and regroup, so getting out of the comfort of the shower and back to our room where I couldn’t lay down was difficult to say the least. There were also some issues with getting the birth pool hose connected, and I could hear Jonnie swearing from the other room while Shania tried to find a solution, which looking back was a hilarious detail (I love Jonnie so much, but he’s definitely not handy in the least, so this was pretty typical)

By the time I was back on the bed, I started to get really loud, and as a result Summer woke up and my mom went into her room to support her (something we had planned and discussed at great length with our team, and with Summer herself). Shortly after the midwife arrived, and though I’d been quite clear about my birth being as hands-off as possible with minimal fetal heart checks and cervical checks (because both can be so inaccurate and cause more harm than good in many cases), I decided to move forward with both because I was craving some information, even knowing it could mean very little. Baby was doing great, and I was already about 6 cm dilated after only 6 hours, so I felt reassured everything was happening how it should be. That said, I was really struggling to manage the pain, and despite not being fully dilated, I went into the transition phase shortly after being checked.

As much as I had learned everything I could about labour, and knew transition was often the part where all bets are off, nothing could have prepared me for how it would actually feel. I totally lost control and my vision of a calm birth disappeared: I went from moaning to full-on screaming, crying, and begging for help. When a contraction hit, I physically couldn’t stay still, and started writhing around and clawing at Jonnie and Shania like an animal. It was around this point I let myself say out loud “I don’t think I can do this”, and so we decided to move to the birth pool to give me some comfort. I don’t remember being moved into the birth pool, but I do remember how good getting into that hot water felt – such a massive help, if only for a moment. And then I started to feel the urge to push…


The urge to push hit me long before I was fully dilated and ready to actually push baby out, which was a big challenge mentally and physically for me. It was around this time that I completely zoned out – I remember looking up from the wall of the pool into Jonnie’s face and thinking “Oh, I’m still here” and then going right back into an out of body experience as contractions rolled in on top of each other. I started repeating “I just want this to be over, I’m so tired, I need it to be over”, and asked the midwife to break my water for me to speed things up, which she calmly told me she didn’t do without a significant reason (something I’m so grateful for looking back). I even half-heartedly asked if it was too late for a hospital transfer, and while no one overtly said “yes, it’s too late”, I didn’t use the safe word I’d agreed to with Jonnie and Shania, so the team knew I wasn’t actually asking to go.

Eventually my water broke with a big gush from the pressure, and the pain intensified even more, but I felt like something wasn’t quite right: as much as I had the undeniable urge to push, baby’s head wasn’t descending, so I asked the midwife to check for a cervical lip. Sure enough, there was a lip holding baby’s head up, and the midwife offered to try and hold it to the side so I could push past it, which I agreed to. Unfortunately even getting through the check trying to lay back was so unbelievably painful for me, and I couldn’t bare to sit through the contraction while she held the lip (it was pure agony!) so I asked her to stop. At that point I knew I needed to try and slow down my pushing to avoid swelling until baby had passed the lip, but it was SO HARD. I did a lot of self checking between contractions, waiting to feel the head move downward, and after what felt like forever, it did!

After writhing around and begging for mercy for hours, the midwife finally gave me the go ahead to push, and instantly the mood in the room completely changed. I called out for someone to get my mom and Summer, and as soon as they walked in I surrendered entirely to my body – it was such a relief to feel like I could start using the pain instead of just finding ways to get through it. Suddenly it was like I had woken up from a trance, and after hours of screaming and feeling totally out of body, I “came back” to myself and even started joking around. I pushed way too hard too fast, knowing I’d likely cause a tear, but I was so eager to be done, to meet this baby, and to FINALLY be able rest on my back (or at least sit down).

I wanted to watch our baby come into the world and catch her myself, so I tried to lay back just for the final few pushes, but it continued to be too uncomfortable, so I went back to all fours as everyone around the birth pool cheered me on and Jonnie held my shoulders, switching between encouraging words and shouting profanities. I dug deep as I felt the ring of fire, gave one big roaring push, and her head (along with one of her hands) came popping out! I had hoped for this stage to be completely hands off, but one of her shoulders was pretty stuck, so our midwife did a bit of maneuvering (which in the moment I didn’t mind, I just wanted her OUT). And then there she was – I laid back against the pool wall in Jonnies arms, and brought her up to my chest. Penny Lilah Garrison Carfrae, my little lucky Penny, was here, and I’d done it. I went from complete shock, to smiling so big, to sobbing, and everyone in the room sobbed along with me. It was everything I had ever wanted, and more.

In the end I had pushed with so much intensity that I caught our team off guard, and the second midwife only walked through the front door at the same moment Penny was born! She got herself setup while Summer came over to the pool to officially meet her baby sister. It was the sweetest moment, and instantly those difficult 9 months melted away. Every single second had been worth it.

The final stage of my labour was a bit of a wild ride: I had asked to birth the placenta naturally, with no oxytocin shot and no traction. Unfortunately the pool had gotten really cold, I was completely exhausted and the contractions were so painful, so I just couldn’t get relaxed to nurse and cuddle Penny the way I’d hoped. I honestly felt like I could hardly hold onto her at all. 45 minutes later, the placenta still hadn’t made an appearance, and knowing bleeding can get dangerous if it’s been over an hour, I asked for some help to get out of the pool and make my way to the bathroom to warm up in the shower and let gravity work it’s magic.

Long story short, the chord wasn’t as long as the midwife thought, and as the lifted Penny to pass her to Jonnie, it started to pull. I was so panicked the chord would break off inside me or the placenta would tear, that I reached up to grab the chord instinctively, and it ripped in my hand! The majority of the blood had already transferred to Penny, but the residual blood in the chord spattered everywhere, including onto everyone in the room. Though ripping the chord in the middle had avoided a possible emergency outcome, the shock of the blood and the fear of the moment really affected me, and even after Penny had been safely passed off to Jonnie for skin to skin and I got wrapped in a towel, I still felt really shaken (plus, I was actually shaking). The midwife ended up having to apply some traction to help get the placenta out, and in retrospect I wish I’d made a better plan for that part of the birth so I could have been resting and bonding with my baby in bed a lot sooner.

When I finally did make it to bed, I had to have about 5 stitches for a second degree tear (which I hadn’t even felt until that moment), and then I finally got my chance to relax. Summer, Jonnie, Penny and I all piled into the king size bed and basked in the warm morning light, fighting our sleepiness to savour the moment together. It was an incredible feeling and I still have a hard time believing it really happened.

I learned so much from this empowering, life-changing experience. For one, no birth is perfect or predictable! I may have had my “dream birth”, but that doesn’t mean it was easy or smooth by any stretch of the imagination. Both my vaginal birth and my cesarean had moments of pain, of fear, of joy and of beauty, and both presented their own unique challenges. My VBAC also helped me accept and even appreciate more aspects of my cesarean: having a scheduled delivery was definitely easier on my anxiety because I had some sense of control, and being forced to rest in bed with nothing but cuddles and naps postpartum was a part of my first time becoming a mom that I took for granted. Having a vaginal birth this time with much less obvious damage to me body, I didn’t really allow myself much rest time (especially with an older kid to chase after), and it ended up making bonding with Penny a lot harder than it was with Summer. My cesarean also meant my support system was airtight – my mom stayed with me for a few weeks while I was healing, and that time just the two of us with newborn Summer holds some of the most precious, special memories of my entire life.

Overall, I’m so grateful for the peace I finally feel about both of my vastly different, but equally beautiful births.

I’ve listed some of the resources that helped me below:


The Midwives Cauldron

The VBAC Link

Evidence Based Birth


The Chiro Culture

The Village Acupuncture

Nurturing the Mother Massage

Spinning Babies and The Miles Circuit

Expectful Pregnancy Meditation

Special thanks to my incredible team! The Orange team at Pomegranate Midwives, and our doula Shania Lane.

Oh so Pretty

I’ve put a lot of thought into what I might want my wedding to look like over the years, and now that it’s really happening, the reality of making all my dreams come to life is a LOT. A lot of the decisions have been quick and easy, like photographer and venue, but others I have agonized over, and a big one is what to do with my hair!

Anyone who has been following along here awhile knows that my hair is a massive part of my identity (and for awhile, it was my claim to fame!) I always envisioned getting married with pink hair, my “natural” colour, but as the date gets closer, I find myself totally stuck on all things hair. Do I want my hair up, or down? Blonde, pink, or an unexpected shade of pastel? Do I need extensions? The only thing I do know for sure: I want my hair to be as long and healthy as possible on the big day!

That’s where Vegamour comes in.

I’ve always had a hard time growing my hair past shoulder length, so I’m always on the lookout for a product that might push my hair to longer lengths. Vegamour’s GRO collection is specially formulated with Karmatin™, a vegan b-silk™ protein that replaces traditional keratin, a building block that occurs naturally in the hair (you can read all about the science here).

So far my experience with the GRO shampoo, conditioner, and scalp detoxifying serum has been amazing – these products look gorgeous, smell great, and leave my hair feeling so silky soft. Plus they’re 100% cruelty-free, non-toxic, and vegan, which means they check every box in my books. I can’t wait to see how long I can get my hair by May with the help of Vegamour – I’ll report back then, but in the meantime, here’s some of my favourite wedding beauty inspo!

All images via. Pinterest

A Pastel Home

If you follow me on Instagram at all, you’ve probably noticed I have a pretty massive obsession. No, I’m not talking about horses – I’m talking about my garden!

I’ve always had a penchant for growing and caring for things – even when I lived in tiny apartments in Toronto, my little balcony was always covered in as many planters as I could fit, brimming with potted tomato plants and kale. It wasn’t until I moved into our current home nearly two years ago now that my passion truly took hold. The first year here we moved in halfway through the planting season, so we bought some seedlings for the back yard and didn’t see much of a yield, mostly due to a lack of sunlight that I hadn’t accounted for.

This year, I started planning my gardens back in January, and instead of just sticking to the veggie patch in the yard, I decided to take on the front of the house as well to maximize growing space. When we moved in this house, the front garden bed was absolutely packed with massive weeds, specifically towers of horsetail (the WORST weed to get rid of!), so we got started by ripping almost everything pre-existing out, save for the rosebushes and rhododendrons that we inherited. I also decided to install a couple of Sproutbox gardens in the front yard to take advantage of all the sun that our back yard struggle to attain, and that added a lot of prime garden space where we previously just had boring old grass.

The biggest shift this year though, was my decision to try growing as much as possible from seed. I’ve always been the kind of person who goes to the garden centre and stocks up on seedlings in the spring, because growing from seed has failed so miserably in my few small attempts in the past, but growing from seed is so much more affordable, and when West Coast Seeds invited me to be one of their ambassadors for the year, I couldn’t say no!

I knew very little about growing seeds and WOW, just this first year has taught me more than I ever could have dreamed. I genuinely think I look at the world in a new way, constantly studying how flowers grow and reproduce, when they bloom and where they thrive. Growing flowers from seed is an entire language of it’s own, and I’m just learning to speak it, but since so many of you asked about my gardening on Instagram over the summer, I wanted to take some time to share a bit of what I know so far, and especially my mistakes to help others avoid them!

Some of my biggest lessons:

Label seedlings //

My biggest mistake was the assumption that I’d know what everything was when the seeds started to sprout and grow. As a result I confused lots of seedlings and their planting schedules, and ultimately lost out on a lot of plants. Next year I’m going to be much more organized.

Don’t over-plant //

I tried to grow too many varieties of way too many things, which left me with not enough time and a lot of suffering plants, especially in the veggie patch. Next year I hope to streamline based on what worked best for me this past season, and make lots of cuts!

Timing is everything //

It’s amazing how far you can stretch a garden space if you know when everything grows and dies off. I planted everything as if it would all mature at the same time, and as a result I had patches of bare dirt in different spots all summer long. Staggered planting based on depth and timing is a great way to maximize your garden!

Some of my best easy successes and favourites:

Amazing Grey Poppies

Mission bell poppies

ProCut White Lite Sunflowers

Polar Bear Zinnea

Anything from a ! My biggest advice for brand new gardeners looking to grow their own flowers is to start here. Bulbs are extremely easy to plant, low maintenance, and so satisfying to enjoy in the springtime. Dahlias and tulips are my top picks, and you can dig them up and split to multiply your plants annually too.

My biggest fails //

I had absolutely no luck with lavender, even with these simple-to-use (which worked super well for my !)

Eggplants, peppers and cauliflower were also a struggle, and a lot of my zucchini plants were damaged beyond repair by all of our summer rain, though these cue ball specialty ones somehow still did amazing!

I bought a handful of rose bushes in bare-root form and they all did very poorly because I over-watered them (lesson learned)

Overall my flowers from seed did really well, except seeds I planted too late experimentally (most still grew, they just didn’t gather enough energy to bloom before the weather turned cold)

On my list for next year //

Pizzicato Poppy

Indian Spring Hollyhock

Let me know what you love to grow in the comments below!

A Pastel Home

I’m usually quite quick when it comes to developing a vision for a space, and most of the rooms in this new apartment were a piece of cake – except for the living room. Since moving in last year, the living and dining area of our apartment have been constantly in-flux. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really designed such a large, open space, or because we wanted to make the furniture we already had work vs. buying all new everything, but no matter how many times I shuffled items around, it just didn’t feel “finished” or “right”.

Fast forward to a whole year of living here, and Jonnie suggested maybe we just needed to buy a bigger couch. His words were a big ah-hah moment for me – as much as I loved our faux leather couch, it just wasn’t well suited to this space. We needed something bigger. We needed an Article sectional.

Article is our go-to for just about everything furniture related. A Canadian company based right here in Vancouver, they design beautifully crafted items at attainable prices. When it comes to sofas and sectionals, there was no company we could find who did it so well, and so within our budget. We were torn between so many different styles, but in the end we went simple, low, and classic, with The Abisko Sectional.

Making that one big switch made a world of difference to our living room – it finally felt intentional, like everything flowed the way it was meant to. A few extra bits and pieces helped tie it all together, like this pedestal side table and massive new terrazzo planter for our fig tree (an overdue upgrade!) Mostly though, we made use of the items I’ve had for years in different apartments, like the pink area rug and the rocking chair that originally lived in Summer’s Nursery.

I couldn’t be happier with this open, airy, modern beach bungalow-inspired space, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Like what you see? Click through here for $50 off your Article order of $200 or more!

Sources and shopping links listed below…

Shopping Links //

Article Abisko White Right Sectional 

Article Lanna Pink Round Sheepskin Pillow

Article Vardo Oyster White Side Table

Article Tuva White Terrazzo Large Planter



IKEA floating shelves

IKEA dining table (sold out, similar here)

Crate and Barrel Kids Pink Floor Lamp


Large Wool Moroccan Pouf (one of a kind, similar )

Area Rug from Lulu and Georgia x Claire Zinnecker collection (sold out, similar)

Paint colours from Benjamin Moore – main colour is AURA Interior Paint in Light Quartz 2011-70 Matte, tile accent colour is ADVANCE Interior Paint in Mixed Fruit 2011-50 Semi Gloss with a coat of Fresh Start Primer 046 beforehand

Surfer art by Sabina Fenn from iCanvas

Bubble Vase from Homecoming Candles

Jar Candles by Homecoming Candles

Brass wall mounted candle holders by Fredericks and Mae via. Coco Et Olive here in Vancouver

Additional planters from and Hudson and Oak

Fireplace set, vases, bookends and other details not noted are found items or vintage treasures

Click through here for $50 off your Article order of $200 or more!

Some of the items featured in this post were gifted, but my opinions remain entirely my own.