My Top Five Albums

 

Today i wanted to talk about my top five favorite albums. Lorde’s first album Pure Heroine  made my cut so in honor of her new and upcoming music, i thought there was no better time to post this!

The thing about music, is that the first few notes of a song can transport you to another day or change your mood and emotions entirely. All of the albums on this list do that for me and this was a really fun and intimate article to write. I was really brought back in time and reminded of so many good, bad, sad and emotional memories, As i wrote about each album i listen to it’s songs and it was a slightly emotional post for me!

(*disclaimer – it was already hard enough for me to narrow down my top albums, you can’t expect me to put them in order as well! So this list is in no particular order.)

 

1.-Lorde-Pure-Heroine

Lorde- Pure Heroine

This album came out in 2013, but i really got into it during my first year out of college, 2014. I love it because only a handful of the songs on it are romantic. A lot of them are about life – some are as simple as spending time with friends (No Better), or as deep as commenting on society and the way we live. (Tennis Court)

Favorite SongWhite Teeth Teens

Honorable Mention: No Better (this is actually my favorite song on the album, but it’s from the extended edition, so i feel like i can’t make it my official fave.)

Best Memory of this Album: I really got into this album when i first moved in with my now fiance, so it has lots of memories of love and romantic happiness attached to it! Those are my favorites, but what’s funny is that I also remember walking home from the gym once, listening to this album, when Ryan texted me saying that our room mates were having a big blow out fight. And that’s just how music and memory work! It’s not like that fight has any impact on my life after that day, i wasn’t even involved in it, i just happened to be listening to that album as i arrived home to a screaming match and for some reason it stuck with me. lol!

 

Breakaway_Album

Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

This album was actually one of the first albums i ever bought myself. I was only about 8 years old when it came out in 2003 but i think i actually bought the album when i was about 11. I actually still have my original copy and it’s one of the most played CD’s in my car!

This album is so much more then a frilly pop CD, so please really give it a true listen before rolling your eyes at it. If you actually give the lyrics a chance you’ll see that it’s full of emotion and thought. Sure, there are the iconic pop anthems (like all of Kelly’s CD’s) like Since U Been Gone, but there are emotional songs (like all of Kelly’s CD’s) like Because of You (which is about her father).

Favorite Song: Addicted

Honorable Mention: Gone

Best Memory of this Album: It’s funny that my greatest memories of this album are from current day. It came out over a decade ago, but i love to blast this album in the summer with the windows down and the sunroof open! Summer 2016 definitely comes to mind.

 

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Sarah Harmer – You Were Here

This album is a indie folk style album by a Canadian artist. It came out in 2000, but i really got into it in 2013.

Any of my family members who may be reading this are probably laughing. This was an album that was constantly playing at family parties and gatherings growing up, especially on my dads side. It was pretty much the sound track to my childhood and it reminds me of running around with my cousins, and playing in the yard.

It wasn’t until my second year of college that i really began to listen to it as an adult, and take in the music for myself. Now, this is also a big break up album for me. It reminds me of walking through Toronto, music blasting in my head phones, feeling sorry for myself because i had just broken up with a summer fling and i was back in school having to complete a program that i had lost interest in.

Favorite Song: Capsized and  Lodestar.

Honorable Mention: Uniform Grey, Basement Apartment, Don’t Get Your Back Up. (All nostalgic, i can’t just pick one!)

Best Memory of This Album: Childhood and family.

*side note – if you only listen to one album from this list, let it be this one. It’s so unique and beautiful and under appreciated!

 

 

TML

Drake – Thank Me Later

This album came out in 2010 and shocker – this time i actually bought and listened to the album the year it came out! I remember hearing one of Drake’s first main stream singles Best I Ever Had and thinking to myself “Damn. I need to get this guys album.” Thank Me Later is actually what i credit for jump starting my rap/hip hop phase, which enjoyed through high school and into my first year of college. lol!

Best Song: Karaoke

Honorable Mention: Show Me a Good Time

Best Memory of This Album: Hanging out in my bedroom with my friends in high school.

 

 

Taylor_Swift_-_Red

Red – Taylor Swift

This was the album of grade 12 (2012, the year it came out) and the following two years of college. This was another huge break up album for me, as it got me through my ‘big, end of high school’ break up and it’s still an album i put on to this day when i’m feeling emotional about almost anything.

It’s full of iconic ballads, fun, poppy dance tracks and quiet, emotional love songs. Pretty much the formula to a great album right there.

Best Song: All Too Well (IMO this is Taylor Swift’s best song ever.)

Honorable Mention: Begin Again, State of Grace, (and State of Grace acoustic, which isn’t officially on the album.)

Best Memory of This Album: The song State of Grace reminds me, down to every lyric, of me and Ryan’s relationship, so that song always brings good vibes. In general I’m reminded of high school friends and scream singing the songs in my car. (This album is so belt-out-able. Is that a thing? It’s just so easy to get into the emotion of each track and sing as loud as you can to every lyric!)

*side note – i think it’s pretty well known that Taylor Swift doesn’t let her music live on Youtube, so the Youtube links to her songs aren’t quality…

 

Honorable Mention Albums:

Taylor Swift’s 1989 was close to making the cut, but i really couldn’t have two Taylor Swift albums on the list… I’m not a super fan, even i know that’s a bit much.

I also adore the to the movie version of the musical The Last Five Years, but since it’s a soundtrack i thought i would save it. I want to do a favorite Musicals post soon, so i’ll talk about it then!

  • xo, becca.

 

 

*disclaimer – i do not own the rights or images to any of the photos used in this blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays and Turning 23

happy birthday to me!

 

Almost every other day of the year I’m someone who really doesn’t like attention… but my birthday is the one time I’m cool with it, in fact i welcome it. I’m absolutely the girl wearing the plastic tiara to the club, I’m 100% the one with the sash at the party and yes, you’d better bet i’ll ask about the birthday freebie at the restaurant! My birthday is a time to celebrate and believe me, i do it all!

Personally, I love a themed party and this years theme was “Blackout.” Kris and i and my lovely friends Kristin and Danielle decorated my house with black balloons and black streamers and everyone dressed head to toe in all black. It ended up making for some really great pictures! (and i loved getting an excuse to wear a black lipstick!)

One of the reasons i like my birthday so much is because i always feel so loved! Its such a great feeling to have your favorite people come together, all at once, and spend that time with each other. And i want to make sure it’s known, so i don’t seem like a self centered narcissist, i also love other peoples birthdays – I’m always happy to plan or host a friends party! On the other hand, Ryan doesn’t care at all about his birthday. So when i want to make a big deal out of the day and treat him and buy him gifts, he really doesn’t want it. I always joke and say “you’re ruining your birthday for me!” because i really do like to celebrate other people just as much as i celebrate my own day!

This year i’ll take comfort in the fact that at 23, it’s still acceptable to not have your life together. lol As i slowly approach my mid 20’s i feel like the pressure gets higher and higher to be a full fledged adult, and i’m just not ready for that yet! I take solace in the age of 23. Sure, it’s not quite 22, but i can live with it…


 

Like i said above – give me all of the free birthday things! Not only am i girl on a budget, but it’s just fun to get to declare that it’s your birthday everywhere you go and get a little (eatable) gift! So i decided to compile a list of my favorite birthday freebie spots.

Enjoy and happy birthday!

  • Starbucks – Starbucks is my favorite place to go on my birthday. You get a free drink (any size!) OR a free food item. Considering Starbucks is so delicious (and expensive), i love the birthday freebie! Am i going to get an EXTRA large Passion Tea lemonade? – Yes! Do i need an extra large? – Of course not. But it’s free so i’m going to get it anyway! (Shut up, it’s my birthday, don’t judge me.)
  • The Keg – At The Keg on your birthday you get a free Billy Minor Pie. Which, if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying it, is a delicious caramely, ice cream, cake thingy. (You also get this on your anniversary, for the record.)
  • Panera Bread – Panera is actually my favorite on-the-go breakfast spot. It’s tasty and much healthier then an Egg McMuffin. On your birthday you get a free pastry, and since this is another place that’s a bit on the expensive side, it’s worth a stop! I would recommend choosing the cinnamon bun as your free treat. Its huge and delicious! (You do have to have a membership card to redeem the treat, but the card alone is so worth it, it’s a great rewards program!)
  • Booster Juice – If you’re a juice or smoothie lover you have to stop at Booster Juice! They give you a free smoothie, which would normally cost you around $8. Definitely worth it.
  • Medieval Times – This is one I’ve never gotten the chance to redeem, but apparently you get a free “feast and tournament” on your birthday! And that’s awesome considering Medieval Times tickets usually cost something like $70! My next birthday falls on a Saturday, so maybe i should take advantage of this one next year…
  • Casey’s – Casey’s isn’t my favorite restaurant, but i wanted to mention it because they’re one of the few places that still gives you a free entree. I’ve found most places these days do a free dessert or a free appetizer, but Casey’s is an OG and they give you a free meal and drink.

All in all, i think it’s obvious that my birthday is my favorite time of year. Partying, friends, food, free things (lol), the list goes on. Whats not to love?

 

  • xo, becca.

Galentine’s Day Party

galentines-day-brunch-party

 

Galentine’s Day – (noun)

/Galənˌtīn/

February 13th. Observed in honor of your girlfriends. A day to spend time with your best girls and exchange tokens of love and affection.

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Valentines day is the time of year for love, and though Kris and I have lots of love for our significant others, I think it’s important to remember that your girlfriends hold a part of your heart as well!

This year we decided to throw a Galentine’s Day brunch party, to show a few of the women in our lives how much we love and appreciate them! Together, with our awesome friend Corri, we DIY decorated and baked up a storm in anticipation of a fun, girly afternoon.

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Though not all of our girlfriends could make it – some live (way too) far away – we ended up having such a fun time! It reminded me that when you make a point, and take a day to love your friends it really makes for great memories and warm, fuzzy feelings.

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We made a few purse bingo boards as a game, so please go a head and use the free download to get a copy of those! They’d also be excellent for a bridal shower, or similar event!

Download Purse Bingo
Download Galentine’s Poster

  • xo, Becca (& Kris)

Becca’s Getting Married (Beginning to Plan)

becca-is-getting-married

I’m a plan-a-holic. I have my birthday parties planned months in advance, i plan my week by making lists and keeping an agenda, if I’m going on a trip i plan what to do and where to go. Something in having a plan (should we all take a shot every time i say plan?) is oddly a lot of fun to me. I like to take a second to dream and think about what lays ahead in order to make the most out of time. So I’m sure you can guess putting together a wedding has been a blast! I wanted to talk a bit about the (very) early planning stages. What i’ve loved, what i’ve hated and my advice so far, a couple of months in.(We’re at 7 shots, now if you’re keeping count. I hope you’re all good and drunk by the end of your read lol)


The Bad

I’ll start off with the bad, just to get it out of the way. The worst thing in these early stages, has been coming up with a budget. It’s awkward to talk to our families about how much money they can give us, it’s upsetting to have to whittle down the guest list because we can’t afford to invite everyone we want to, its stressful thinking about how many thousands of dollars we’ll be spending on one damn day. It’s all just kind of awful really and there’s not too much else to say about it. I want to be real with you guys, and with the blog, and I’ll be real by saying that budgeting has been my main and only source of stress and upset-ness so far. In fact, i had my first wedding related cry about the budget the other night. (which, lol, i cry about 20 times a day so it wasn’t even a big deal.)


The Good

Once you come to terms with the budget, the fun begins!

The most exciting part of the early stages has been deciding on our wedding parties. Planning on how i’ll ask my future bridesmaids to actually be my bridesmaids is exciting and getting to look up ideas for the bridal shower and the bachelorette is so much fun! I know i have an awesome group of girls and Ryan has some great guys on his side as well, and i can’t wait until we get to make the wedding party “official!” I’m waiting until the engagement party in March to “pop the question” to them, because one of the girls lives hours away and that’s the next time i’ll be seeing everyone together. (Though i may have already drunkenly asked her over Snapchat on new Years Eve, but we’ll pretend that didn’t happen…) I have a whole plan of how i’m going to ask the girls and you can expect a post all about it in the future!


My Tips

I wanted to speak on the resources that I’ve been using to help plan the wedding.

  • First off, screw any bridal magazine. I was excited to get to subscribe to one for the duration of the engagement, but when i picked up a copy of Brides magazine i noticed it was almost totally advertisements. Sure, there’s pretty ads for dresses and shoes, but a bunch of ads is just not helpful when trying to make real decisions. So if you’re getting married, don’t bother with magazines.
  • The next thing i tried was a wedding planning app, and unfortunately it also wasn’t helpful. I found that it wasn’t personalized at all. It had lots of pages and categories that didn’t matter to me and I found a lot of it to be useless.
  • So, that brings me to my most helpful piece of wedding planning info: make a wedding planning book or binder. This is exactly what it sounds like – a binder or a notebook filled with different lists, print outs, scratch pads and spaces to brain storm and keep organized. This way you can keep things totally personalized. I made some of my own print outs and found some templates online and it really has been an organization game changer! So go the old fashioned route with paper and pencil.

 

All in all, so far its been pretty fun! With the budgeting out of the way and some fun events ahead, i’m very excited to be moving forward!

  • xo, becca

 

Winter One-derland

WinterOne-derland.png

You can have the best laid plans in the world – but sometimes life gets in the way. Am-I-right?

We had scheduled a first birthday party, the morning of two other events. I also had an event the night before that we were going to be a little late for, because work schedules. That’s okay! I thought. My mom was going to come down early, and we would decorate and clean the entire house the day before, and prep the food. That way, the morning of my mom could finish off the food, Andrew would go to the store to pick up fresh doughnuts and hot chocolate, and I could take some cute photos for the blog…

Ha. Hahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

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I’m not going to explain the series of several events, but between multiple people bailing on me, and getting seriously sick the morning of (almost go to the hospital sick) … we moved it to the next day.

My sister and sister-in-law coming from Downtown and Missisauaga respectively had already left by the time we rescheduled, and since they were family we did low-key visits with them during the day. A good amount of people still showed the next day, which was nice. Although I don’t have ANY pictures (except a few cell-phone pics of the cake smash) my baby had fun, and we got to see some friends and enjoy ourselves. That’s all that really matters right?

 

I thought I should probably share these printables that I made, although I didn’t get any cute photos of them in use 😦

winterone-derland_babyitscoldouttherebeckraa-comwinterone-derland_welcomepleasecomeinbeckraa-com

BIG SIGNS: These signs I had printed at Staples using the engineering prints.

  • Welcome To The Winter Wonderland: We used the welcome sign that said “please come in” so that we didn’t have to run back and forth to the door, especially with the cold weather! We have a “knock and enter” household as it is, but I did include a sign without it, if you’d prefer!
  • Baby It’s Cold Out There: The lettering is smaller in the middle because we weren’t sure how much space we wanted it to take up. We added paper snowflakes, foam snowflakes, and glittery foam snowmen around it and had this as a wall decoration.

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FOOD SIGNS:

  • It’s Chili In Here: I like puns. This was placed on the cupboard above the chili, because … winter, chili … Yup. This was a bigger sign.
  • Food Tags:
    • Hot Chocolate Bar: What great winter party isn’t equipped with a hot chocolate bar?! People probably know what candy canes and marshmallows are, but the extracts and powders aren’t always clear. Plus, this makes everything look cohesive. We got two carafs of hot chocolate from Tim Horton’s, as we were crunched for time. I would still do this in future, but maybe use gift wrap on the caraf to make it look a bit nicer.
    • There’s a few fun winter food ideas in here too. “Cold Cuts” and “Melted Snowman (ranch dressing, carrots, pretzel sticks). For “snowballs” we used powdered TimBits and got them fresh that morning, but there are a LOT of small white desserts you could use. cookies, big marshmallows, rice krispie balls, white truffles, etc. For beverages we had “Melted Iceberg”(water) and Hawaiian Blue Punch as our “Polar Punch” because of it’s great colour.
    • I’ve also left blanks for to be added for whatever you need! / I forgot 🙂

winterone-derland_snowmanassembledbeckraa-comwinterone-derland_snowmanasseccoriesbeckraa-comwinterone-derland_timecapsulesignbeckraa-com

ACTIVITIES:

  • Make A Snowman!: This can be used a myriad of ways. Either taped to the fridge (or metal door) and then add magnets to the accessories, OR use the snowman as a template with white felt, and add felt to the backs of the accessories. Then they will “stick” and this can be done on the floor as well as the wall. Printed as an engineering print on 24×36.  I’ve left blank space if you’d like to draw your own items to add, and a banner at the bottom you can cut out and use as well.  For a smaller, table game, print out on 8×10 sheets and let children colour &/ cut and paste.
  • Time Capsule : I’ve included “He/She/They options depending on the needs of your birthday child[ren]. I suggest filling in the sign with a fun example, but it can be framed or placed on the wall. I had my slips printed on blue 8×10 paper and then asked to use the paper cutter to cut them out. I then put them in a snowflake tin. P.S. I, also, will not be reading these until my child turns 18!

 

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EXTRAS: Thank You! We had hot chocolate powder and marshmallows in little baggies, with a snowflake design on them, for guest to take as they left, and we had a sign taped above them. However you could just as easily frame it!

 

 

DOWNLOAD LIST:

Baby It’s Cold Out There

It’s Chili In Here

Food Tags

Make A Snowman

Thank You Snow Much

Time Capsule [He] | Time Capsule [She] | Time Capsule They

Time Capsule Slips

Welcome To The Winter One-derland | Welcome – Please Come In

I also made tassel banners, a banner with monthly photos printed out and strung up, and TONS of paper snowflakes (which are REALLY hard to do without an exact o-knife!)

Hope your next event goes as planned!

Lots of winter wishes! & Happy January!

  • xo, Kris

Becca’s Getting Married! (The Proposal)

becca-is-getting-married

 

I’m one of those girls who has been thinking and dreaming of her wedding since she was very young. One of my best friends Kristin often recalls the wedding planning scrap book i made when i was in the 8th grade. It was filled with black and white print outs of flower arrangements, jewellery, brides maid dress sketches, venue ideas – it was all there in detail! I spent my high school years watching Say Yes to the Dress and i even completed my college education for Fashion Industry Business with being a wedding dress consultant in mind! I have been obsessed with weddings for my whole life.

And now… it’s my turn!

So the proposal story goes…

Ryan and I had been talking about getting engaged for a very long time, so I knew a proposal was coming soon – but he still totally surprised me! This Christmas I had decided that I was going to ask him for earrings as my gift. We ventured off to the jewellery store one night to scout out possible earring options and while we were waiting to be helped by the jeweller I noticed a beautiful case of engagement rings right in front of us, staring me down. We couldn’t help it and we tried on every ring in the case. (Side note – now that I’ve actually tried on rings I recommend everyone who is getting engaged or married do this. It was SO much fun slipping dainty little circles of gold and diamonds on and off. Seriously, GO and do this!) After finding a few perfect rings (and leaving it to Ryan to decide which of the bunch he would eventually buy for me) the jeweller mentioned that it takes about 3 weeks to order a ring. This is key to my surprised reaction to Ryan’s proposal. In that moment, in my mind, any proposal that could possibly be happening wouldn’t be going down for at lest three weeks. But it turns out Ryan ended up going back to the store a few days later and buying the basic sized ring that they had in stock. It was slightly too small for me (and getting it sized is what would have taken the 3 weeks) but it was just big enough to slip on my finger and get to show off for a few weeks before we send it back to be resized!

On December 23rd Ryan told me he was going to make me a winter wonderland in the basement. Both of us hadn’t been feeling very Christmassy this year because we were moving and renovating all through the holiday season so far, so he wanted to decorate the basement to feel extra festive for me. We had a cozy and romantic couple of hours driving around town to look at Christmas lights and when we got back home he ran down stairs to decorate! It’s so funny to me now, I had no clue he was going to propose to me that night. I actually remember sitting upstairs while he decorated and thinking “too bad it takes three weeks to order a ring because tonight would be the perfect night to propose!” Soon he was finished with the basement and he brought me to the doorway to enter the “winter wonderland.” I opened the basement door and there was white Christmas lights and red ribbon leading down the stairs, with sparkly decorations all over the place. On the wall across from the door way was a hand written sign that said “October 2013 we started talking to each other…” When I started to walk down the stairs our song started playing. I followed the red ribbon down the stairs and through the basement. Every few steps was another hand written note marking another important moment in our relationship (our first date, moving in together etc) and at the end of the ribbon was my stocking. I reached in and grabbed a ring box. When I opened it I realized it was empty and when I turned around Ryan was on one knee with the ring in his hand. He said the most beautiful and romantic words and I completely fell apart. He proposed marriage to me. I said yes. And I ugly cried for the next few hours! LOL

As soon as our song started playing I knew that it was going to be an engagement proposal. The first thing that popped into my mind was “Oh my gosh. This is actually happening.” And the next thing that popped into my mind was literally nothing. After I realized what was happening my mind was clear and weightless as I walked through the basement and took it all in.

We spend the rest of the night and the following few days telling family and friends and living in newly engaged bliss! And let me just say, getting to tell people we were close to was SO much fun! It touched my heart that a lot of my close friends cried when I told them and we felt so much love from everyone.

Now that it’s over a week later, and all of our family and friends know, we have really had time to process what actually happened. We went out and bought a wedding planning binder, a guide to wedding planning book and we’ve even done smaller things like making our first draft guest list and deciding on our wedding party.

Thinking about exciting things like the engagement party, cake tastings and getting to ask my friends to be my brides maids has been so much fun! The more intimidating things like the Jack and Jill, the ceremony, and the price tag has been a bit more stressful. But all in all I really can’t wait to celebrate with those I love and of course, to throw the biggest and best party any of us have ever been to!

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Many, many more wedding posts to follow! 😉

  • xo, becca.

Holiday Outfits – Christmas ’16

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wait – no – it doesn’t work if you can’t hear my voice. Frosty the snowman reference anyone?

Here’s a quick peak at what we’ll be wearing this Christmas!

 

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Becca: My outfit description is going to be pretty lame because non of it is new, which means I can’t post any links to the specific pieces! I’m sorry! Just for the sake of it, I’ll link the store website.

Dress – American Eagle (bought about five years ago), Gold Sparkly Heels – Aldo  (bought about four years ago, and are my favorite shoes i own!), Blazer – Suzie Sheir  (bought about four years ago)

–♥–

Kris: Red Dress – Bluenotes a different colour or similar dress, Nude Pumps Just Fab (no longer available), Red Leather Belt – Vintage

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  • xo, Becca & Kris

P.S. If you’ve noticed the bottom half of my tree doesn’t have ornaments … just remember that I have a one year old. We also don’t place our star/angel on top until Christmas Eve. ❤