Ava Grace's Closet

Friday, February 23, 2018

Stealing Memories : A Giveaway with Canvas Factory

I will say, it's not technically stealing per se since I am the one that took this photograph in the first place.
But I did secretly do this for my girl.

The day of her high school prom, we took what some might consider a ridiculous amount of pictures.
But this one?
It stood out for me.
The pure innocence of it combined with the pure joy on my Isabella's face.
Still makes me melt every time I look at it.
And if every picture tells a story - this one tells one of my favourites.

Canvas Factory made it so simple for me to create this keepsake for her - which she may or may not have received on the morning of her 19th birthday.
Tons of available options for sizing, colour and effects; but somehow, I always go back to classic black + white.
{you may notice my Julian's canvas in the background #creatureofhabit}

The team at Canvas Factory is giving you a chance to win a canvas of your own.
Sized {like the one above} 16 x 20.
And perfect for gift-giving to someone you love or better yet, keep this one for yourself.
Open to residents of Canada + the U.S.

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
                                                                                                                 - Dr. Suess

Monday, January 29, 2018

Life Lately

Some days, I feel like my life is just a whirlwind of waking up, frantically getting everyone ready for school, downing a coffee, rushing out of the house, drop offs and then, starting it all over again the next day.
Oh yes, there is pick up and dinner at some point.
Although the latter seems to be scarcer as the days go on.
Don't get me wrong - we do actually eat.
It's just not as thought out as it once was.
I told someone recently that I always overcook.
So used to prepping for a family of five - and now, between work and school for all - it's not often enough that we all sit down at the same time.
Some days, I just give up.
Others, I pretend to be super domestic and cook for days ahead.
It's a delicate balancing act.
But it works.

Isabella is in her 2nd year of university and is so dedicated to her schooling - honestly, she makes me so proud.
I can't say I had that same dedication.
I often think life should be lived in reverse.
Today, I think school would so be my thing.
Then, not so much.
My girl is driving. Working. Helping with her younger brother. Super independent.
I try to teach her every day not to rely on anyone.
She will learn that on her own I am sure; but raising strong girls has always been top priority for me.

Julian spends his days at school, gaming and making his little sister crazy.
Not necessarily in that order.
He is in 10th grade - almost half way through high school.
I remember Isabella telling me how quickly - too quickly - those years went. And how often she wishes she could go back to what now seem like such carefree years.
In just a few short years, at the tender age of 17, these kids need to decide the course of their future.
Even when they can barely decide what they want to eat for breakfast.
Just way, way too young.
My boy still feels he's going to be either a pro gamer, you-tuber or a rapper.
And I want him to be a dreamer.
At least for a little while longer, non?

Oh, Ava.
This child is something else entirely.
I've always said she was sent here for a reason - meant to be here among us.
But she has been here before.
Of that I am sure.
Her vocabulary rivals that of a 25 year old. The things that come out of her mouth amaze me on the daily.
Currently, she's obsessed with all things dance.
Watching episodes of The Next Step likes it's her job.
And making comments like "Mom, I can't believe Jacquie likes Noah. Do you see his side profile? His nose?!"

Me? I'm just trying to slow things down.
Not worry so much about everything getting done.
I've found that no matter how hard you try, the laundry will still pile up. The ironing will still sit for days. The dust will come back. And the to-do list will always seem never-ending.
The now however, we can't get back.
So my goal this year?
Appreciate the little things. They truly are the big things in the end.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What I Wore : Simply Scalloped

As I sat down to prepare today's post, I realized it has been a LONG time since I shared a What I Wore here on the blog.
In fact, I can't actually recall the last time I did.
I'm furiously playing catch up following the holidays and trying to share all of the fun pieces we've been sent over the last short while.

If you follow along on instagram {here} you will typically see daily outfits - but some pieces, including this scalloped number, just need a little more.
Because let's face it - scallops just make everything better, n'est pas?

scallop fitted tee | jeans | moto jacket {by Black Tape // similiar} | otk boots | leather gloves
 Check out the SheIn site for lots of fun + affordable fashion.
I'm promising to bring more next week.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Gift Guide : For Her

So, here's the thing.
I think the perfect gift is always one that you would really, really like to have, but would never buy for yourself.
Let's face it - every single one of us doesn't really need anything.
But damn, doesn't the Christmas season make it so hard to not want everything?
Plus a great blanket or the perfect pj's never hurt anyone.

1. I'm still hooked on these Olivia Burton watches. They're just so darn pretty! And, the price is definitely right. Find it here, $168.

2. I may or may not have more blankets than the next girl. But, it truly is the perfect gift. And, on cold winter nights? It just keeps on giving. Kennebunk, $54.

3. OK, now how did this get in here? If you're looking to splurge, this might just be it. It's the perfect simple, wear with everything, black calfskin bag - in a structure that's new and fresh. Plus, Balenciaga. I mean, who are we kidding. $2400.

4. Chanel anything is virtually untouchable, I get it. But why not treat her to this super cool shaped hand cream. Any girl would love to slip this out of her purse. And trust me, no one is buying this for herself. Chanel, $67.

5. Don't tell my Izzy but I think I finally found the perfect robe for her. We've been on the hunt for a while and this one sums her up plus, since she won't speak to anyone until at least noon, it can do the talking for her. Privledge, $89.

6. Please, please tell me you have smelled any of the Maison Margiela Replica fragrances? I am obsessed. Not only are the bottles too cool for school but the scents are so different with super fun names to match. This one, aptly called Lazy Sunday Morning is the perfect light fragrance for a day spent indoors. My favourite. Sephora, $150.

7. And last but not least. I have seen this baby everywhere this Christmas season. At $500+ it's not cheap but apparently it is is the $#*%! I cannot say I speak from experience however, I have had a ton of my blogger friends give it a go and the reviews are all nothing short of rave. Dyson, $499.

I'll have you know that I have unofficially started Christmas shopping.
My annual goal of having it all done by December 1st? Epic fail. 
But that's ok - somehow, I always manage to have it all under the tree by the 24th.

Happy Monday.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Gift Guide 2017 : For Him

Apparently, the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner.
I've been in a blur of family.work.sleep..repeat I must say, it just kinda crept up on me this year. 
But, no matter how hard I try, I just can't get away from Christmas shopping.
The list gets shorter but somehow, more expensive. Anyone else?
Today, I'm sharing my picks for the men in your life. 
Bonus points for gifts that are really for you, like the first one.

1. Tell me this doesn't look like the coziest hoodie you've ever seen. Men + velour = not so sure but I'm thinking it's worth a try. If it doesn't work out, see last line above. I mean really, it's the gift that just keeps on giving. Available at Bloomingdales, here, $80. {25% off now for f+f event}

2. My dad is obsessed with Sudoku. OBSESSED. When I'm picking up Ava after work, I often find him at the kitchen table solving a puzzle. I think he would love this wooden version that you can play again + again. Find it here, $18.

3. My nephew came to visit this past weekend following an afternoon of Christmas shopping. He smelled ridiculously good - and this Valentino Intense cologne is what he was wearing. Think clean, woodsy and modern. Also, rockstud bottle? YES PLEASE. Available here, $90.

4. The older I get, the more I like things from the past. I recently dug out a bunch of my old records and honestly, what a trip. It really does bring you back to a time when things were so much simpler - I think this is the perfect gift for any say, 35+ something or anyone who actually knows that at one point in time, we actually used to buy physical music. What? What?
Find it here, $80.

5. I almost {key word almost} forgot about Acca Kappa since their store in Etobicoke closed down. Good news! All of the product is still available on-line through their site. 
This is a long-time favourite of mine; the quality and the smell (!) is incredible. 
Try the hand cream for your powder room. Trust me, you'll thank me. 
For him, this might be a nice addition. Available on-line, here. $38.

6. I have been a longtime fan of Canadian line Matt and Nat; all vegan with simplistic styles that are always right. This messenger bag is perfection non? And the price won't break the bank. Plus, they literally last forever. Available here, $220.

7. OK, so here's something. These Salvatore Ferragamo gancini slides would make the perfect addition to his travel wardrobe - PLUS, it would mean he would actually need to travel somewhere. PLUS, it would have to be warm. PLUS, he would need company.
So really, yet again, it's a gift for you diguised as a gift for him. 
And really, aren't those the best kind? Find them here, $195.

So tell me, have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
I'm a no.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nineteen : Dear Izzy

 Dear Izzy,
Funny how we call you that.
When I chose your name, I envisioned calling you Bella.
Not sure we've ever called you that - even once.
You were Isabella.
My first born.
My heart.
And today, as you turn 19, you're just Izzy.

I want so many things for you.
But most of all, I want you to be whoever you want to be.
Just like my mother before you allowed me to be exactly what I wanted.
Never judging.
Even when I did the craziest stuff imaginable.
I know I made her insane most days.
Today - I realize that her reactions were those of unconditional love.
The same type of love I have for you my beautiful girl.

You are me.
More than the others.
I know everyone tells you that - but Izzy, you are far more.
You pick up where I left off and do better.
Pushing yourself harder than I ever did.
Without any prompting from anyone.
No matter how many times I tell you to go easy on yourself.
You just continue to be the best that you can be.
Often at the expense of yourself.

You care so much about what is right.
And are sensitive. And kind. And thoughtful.
I like to think you learned some of this from me.
I hope I instilled in you that giving is so much sweeter than receiving.
That not everyone will appreciate your efforts - and that those need to be done for no one but yourself.
That speaking your mind and sharing your wisdom should never not be an option.
That you are beautiful on the outside but far, far more beautiful on the inside.
And that the right boy will care about that far more than how you present yourself to the world.

I have done many of the things you are doing before you.
And made many of the same mistakes.
Some days, the toughest part of being your mother is not warning you enough about those.
Not always catching you before you fall.
And days where even I can't stop the tears - of heartbreak or of frustration.
Know that I have cried a river before you.
And if I could, would take each of your tears as my own.

Your smile lights up a room little girl.
And my wish for you, on this day, and every day is that your smiles outweigh your sadness.
That your heart is always full.
And that you are always treated - by everyone - the way you DESERVE to be treated.

No one will ever love you like I do.
My baby girl.
Then, today, always.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Learning through the Process

Be warned.
This is a very personal post and one that has been burning inside me for some time.
It may not be what you have come to expect from this little space.
But I am different than I was before.
The softness than once was has somehow hardened - I believe pain can do that to a person.
The realizing that things you once thought were - are not. And will never be.

If you have read this post - you will know where I am at now.
When you decide to leave a marriage, I don't think you realize what the true outcome will eventually be.
I know I did not.
I did not think that a family that I knew for over 20 years would not offer a single ounce of support. Ever. Not a one.
You see, I never even got one single phone call to see how I was/am coping.
And that is ok.
But not to see how I am doing with 3 children in tow?
They forget.
They forget all of the celebrations put together so lovingly.
The early morning conversations following a night of babysitting.
The support when they suffered similiarly.
The struggle of drug abuse and an auntie who stepped in big time and loved on that boy like he was my very own.
They forget.
It makes you question why you did things.
And though I did everything with an open heart - I wonder today if perhaps I should have held back.
Been not as true to myself as I was.

Friends you thought you had?
You may not.
My lifelong friend - one who has been a big part of my life since I was a mere three years old?
She has yet to see me a single time since hearing the news of our separation and pending divorce.
It has been a year and a half.
Is life really that busy?
Or do you truly just not give a shit?
Funny enough. She is a religious person.
I do not understand a religion that does not encourage support. Acceptance. And love.
I'm sorry.
No God would do that.
 And the father of my children?
That is all he has become.
He has thrown words like arrows.
And doubts not only everything I say.
But everything I do.
Funny - it was more than good for 18+ years.
Now, apparently, I have become not just a different person.
But a different mother.
I pray for him.
For he knows not what he does.

I encourage you.
Take a good hard look at who is in your life.
Who will be there when the champagne isn't flowing - when you are not running around the kitchen like a mad woman trying to please everyone.
Really look.
Because life can surprise you.
And you might learn - you never really knew them at all.

Rant over.
It's Friday.
Thank God.

Big love to my support system.
You are my six.
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