Why Taking “Mommy Time” Actually Makes You a Better Person!

mommy time

This post about taking mommy time was previously published, I updated it to reflect my current thoughts on taking mommy time and to update some links. This was actually one of the very first blog posts that I ever wrote!

I think taking Mommy time is so important, in fact, I know it is! I’m also aware that since Ava was born, I’ve said this but I have never really practiced what I preached.  This is from a book “100 Questions from my Child”, a book my mother had gotten me written by Mallika Chopra.

If you know a mom who is much like me, and never practices what they preach as for mommy time, stop by one day… kick her out for an hour and play with her children.  Bring a $10.00 gift card for starbucks..even better!

This piece in particular resonated with me and I wanted to share the answer Mallika gave her daughters about why she needs to mommy time with you. 

“Being a mother requires wearing many hats.  From managing the house, meals, bath time, nap time and bills, to balance work and relationships many days I find very few moments to even sit down.  Life with kids gets crazy, and there are times I feel I just can’t manage any more.  But the reality sinks in- as a mom, I can’t even let the craziness get to me!

Then there are those days when things are just more difficult.  There is a work deadline, no good in the house, the phone doesn’t stop ringing, the bills are late and I have a miserable headache.  Inevitably on such days, I find that my daughters, sensing my stress, also demand more attention, fight more, and are generally moody.

My daughters are used to the concept of my needing some mommy time, and my husband respects my need for it.  For me, finding some ME time every day has been life transforming.  These moments, if tapped into regularly, build up over time to give me a source of peace, perspective, and calmness.  Ideally, I can meditate for 15 minutes to catch my breath and be silent.  Most often, my mind is racing with all the things I haven’t done, forgot to do, or need to do.  Nonetheless, I force myself to take the time to decompress.  I become more centered, less frantic, and calmer. Family time becomes more focused and more fulfilling.

When my daughters ask me why I need mommy time, the answer is quite simple.   Mommy time makes me a better mommy!

As mothers, we feel selfish or guilty if we take some “me time” I did for many years but honestly I think it’s a work in progress. Sometimes the plate feels too full, you cannot possibly put one more thing on that plate and yet you want to hit pause and take some me time? Ya right!

When I began running, it was the thing that allowed me to mentally put all the things away that maybe were hanging out where they didn’t need to be. I couldn’t run listening to music as I found the cords distracting so in my moments of anxiousness, I found this the best time to ask myself what was lingering in the back of my mind?

I’d make note of the things I needed to do and what was realistic! What could I actually get done today? What do I actually NEED to get done today? What do I want to get done today? Will I be ok if these things didn’t get done today? As I ran, I found myself really putting things into perspective. There was a lot of things I wanted to get done today but they didn’t NEED to get done today.

I was setting myself up to fail with unrealistic expectations of myself. In my personal opinion, balance is like a unicorn it simply doesn’t exist in the material way we want it too. Balance is figuring out what you’re ok with letting go of today! I am busy, I wear many hats but at the end of the day when I’m asking how do you do it all? I simply respond, “I don’t… I can’t” and I’m ok with that cause taking that me time makes me a better me, a better mommy, a better friend and wife!


Make It Vancouver 2019: What You Need To Know Before Attending!

Make It Vancouver 2019

Make It Vancouver 2019 is one of the most anticipated markets to hit Vancouver. Year after Year, Make It Show has taken place in East Vancouver not to far from me at the PNE Forum. If you love to support local and have an eye for all things handmade, this is one market you do not want to miss!

When I first started Shop Ava To Zoe, of course, it was under a different name at the time, but Make It Show was a market I had aspired to be a vendor at!  After attending a few years in a row, it became clear that I was not going to be able to produce the quantity nor would I probably be able to keep up energy wise. With so many amazing vendors Make It Vancouver 2019 is easily one of the most sought after local shopping experiences.

“Since 2008, Make It has grown to become one of the most popular and well-attended craft fairs in Canada, with biannual shows in VancouverEdmonton and Calgary. This massive growth would have never been possible without the support, enthusiasm, and love from our amazing community. Each year, more and more conscious shoppers buy from our Makies, which in turn allows them to do the work they love.”

Make It was founded by siblings Chandler Herbut and Jenna Herbut. in 2016, Chandler make the decision to leave Make It and focus on his clothing company. Jenna continues to run Make It with an incredible and dedicated team. Make It has been a platform for countless artists, makers, and designers to be able to sell their work to the public.

I’ve been going for a few years now, so I may be biased but with over 200 of your favourite Makies (and some brand new ones, too!) the Make It Vancouver 2019 spring show promises to knock you off your feet!  You will be able to shop all the beautiful handmade goodies at the PNE Forum this April 19th to 21st. Stock up on accessories, jewellery, clothing, art, home decor, food, baby/kid items, and lots of other beautifully crafted goods.

Make It Vancouver 2019


Being a maker myself, I can promise you that everything at Make It is made with a whole lotta love! But if that’s not enough for you, there will be delicious food trucks and a beer garden so make sure you come hungry n’ thirsty!

When you’re at Make It Vancouver 2019, make sure you check out the Grand Prize draw and charity silent auction with beautiful items donated by our generous Makies. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the Union Gospel Mission.

If I can give you any words of wisdom, it would be these three tips

  1. Bring Cash just in case
  2. Leave the stroller at home (baby wear if you can)
  3. Be kind and respectful of all the vendors. If you don’t agree on the prices, keep that to yourself and share with your guests once you’ve left the building! It’s disheartening to hear someone say “I could make that for less” cause honestly, anyone who has fell victim to Pinterest, knows its usually cheaper to just buy it from the professional!

Now… let’s get to it, the shopping at Make It Vancouver 2019!

Some of my favourite vendors that I’m looking forward to seeing again are:

Make It Vancouver 2019
Photo by Erin Ireland!

And here are some new to me vendors that I am excited to check out at the Upcoming Make It Spring edition April 19th to 21st

Make It Vancouver 2019

Interested in checking out Make It Vancouver 2019 for yourself? Head over to the website to see a full list of vendors and the other Make It Locations. I’m also giving away 10 sets of 2 tickets over on Instagram and Facebook! Be sure to remember some of those companies listed above, it’ll help in the giveaway!

Playmobil Magic Collection: 3 Toy Sets For Endless Adventures

Disclaimer: We received these Playmobil Magic Collection sets; Crystal Palace, Yeti and Winter Phoenix playsets in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

If you haven’t imagined yourself living in a Crystal Palace, have you ever truly been a kid? The Playmobil Magic collection which is set on a winter wonderland with several different playsets for endless winter adventures! The entire line is so detailed and well thought out complete with Yeti’s and Phoenix’s and so much more!

My girls are absolutely obsessed with anything, dragons, unicorns, yetis, and phoenix’s that these playsets from the Playmobil Magic Collection couldn’t be more perfect for my two girls! Listening to them conspire on adventures their characters are going on warms my heart as it’s not often the two of them get along!

Playmobil Magic Collection

The glorious palace of the winter world shines has the girls creating magical adventures; with a lockable entrance gate, royal throne room, bedroom with dressing area, secret staircase to the observation tower, and many other accessories.  Even the princess’s magical hoop skirt changes patterns in the cold.

Playmobil Magic Collection Playmobil Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace retails for $169.99 and does require an adult to assemble. In all honesty, it was a bit complicated to get together but once it’s fully assembled, it’s 100% worth it! The adventures have been endless and their little imaginations enjoying the majesticness of the Crystal Palace is incredible!

Playmobil Crystal Palace

But the fun doesn’t stop there, we also received the Yeti with Sleigh which retails for $29.99. After watching the movie Small Foot last year, the girls fell in love with Yetis.  Even though this Yeti looks a bit more serious than the Yeti from the movie SmallFoot, the girls pretend that he’s searching for Small Foot.

Playmobil Magic Collection Playmobil Magic Collection

The Yeti with sleigh playset from the Playmobil Magic collection includes a flickering lantern and glass crystal case. What else are you going to transport your magical jewels to the Crystal Palace?! With two additional characters and their Wolf, the girls took turns switching off from the Yeti to the Phoenix.

Playmobil Magic Collection

The Winter Phoenix playset was probably one of the girls favourites! If you don’t know what a Phoenix sounds like, do my girls have a sound contest for you! With my ears plugged the girls made every sound imaginable. That contest is very similar to that scene from Dumb and Dumber with Lloyd and Harry trying to make the worlds most annoying sound!

Playmobil Magic Collection Playmobil Magic Collection

I personally love that there are so many playsets in the Playmobil Magic Collection, as it makes it easy to shop for gifts. My parents are in another province so they aren’t always in touch with what the girls are into so having a few go-to items to refer them to helps make gift shopping so much easier!

Playmobil has been a staple toy in our house as it allows the girls no matter which age to come together in imagination and simply get along! No matter which playset it is from Playmobil the girls will find a way to incorporate it into their existing adventures. Currently, we have the Playmobil Magic Collection combined with the Playmobil Spirit line and a few older sets from when Ava was a few years younger!

The Playmobil Magic Collection is the perfect way to help develop your child imagination rain or shine or in this case winter or spring!

From the yeti searching from Smallfoot to the Phoenix helping the knight capture crystals to return to the king; the Playmobil Magic Collection playsets have kept the girls entertained for hours. And anything that lets them have fun with no fighting is welcome in my home no matter how much room it might take up!

Playmobil Magic Collection


Playmobil Magic Collection

Personal Branding 101: Build Your Canadian Personal Brand!

Canadian personal branding

DISCLAIMER: This personal branding post was written in partnership for the DIGITAL ME campaign with Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), all opinions expressed are 100% my own!

When I first began blogging, I started like many others on the platform blogspot.com, within a few months, I knew how important it was going to be for my personal branding to have my own presence.  My friends at CIRA have been working hard to educate young Canadians through a campaign called Digitial Me on why it’s so important to have a .CA website! 5 years ago, I had no idea how important that digital presence would be, and even more so why making my presence as a Canadian be known would mean so much to me!

Personal Branding

My first blog address was a .com, honestly for no other reason other than I didn’t know any different. As I maneuvered through that web space and began meeting other Canadian business women I began to see all these .CA websites popping up. I had no idea that a Canadian web address was a thing, why wouldn’t it though? After all, aren’t we all proud to be Canadian?

Initially, when I began my leather business, even that was housed on a platform outside of my own website, I was giving that site my traffic and relying on their internal SEO programs to drive traffic to my business. Figuring out how I could have my site, tied into my blog on my own site meant that I have complete control of my personal branding and my success! After all, this is my income, my livelihood, I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to market myself, my business and my brand.

By having my shop on my site meant that I could build up even more credibility with my customers. I went from 20 purchases in a year on an outside platform to 400+ a year with 4 retailers carrying my products on my own website. For a passive business, that’s not terrible!

Throughout the last several years we’ve seen Instagram and Facebook truly blow up! Every time you think you know what you’re doing, the algorithm changes. These algorithms are next to impossible to figure out which as an influencer or small business can be frustrating, to say the least! I’ve had months where I’ve grown my following by next to nothing on Facebook and Instagram and others where I’ve grown hundreds.

On top of all the changes, in the last few months, we’ve seen the platforms crash, sometimes for hours or as of most recently almost a full working day! Earlier in the year, we also witnessed several influencers who put all their eggs into the IG basket, lose their entire IG accounts, thousands of followers and endless hours of hard work all gone because of a bug in the system allowing people to hack accounts. Do you know what I’ll never lose? The email list for subscribers that I grow myself!

Now, do you want to truly want to invest all your time in to building a presence in just one singular platform that you don’t own and have no control over?

In a world where we are all learning and growing each day, we need to be able to share our voice and the things that matter to us. However, within these platforms, they have the ability to filter the things that we post! Since everyone has an opinion, your posts can be flagged and removed by the platforms with no notice to you.

Breastfeeding photos have been deemed as nudity and I’ve even had friends being questioned simply because of their last name and their ethnicity. This doesn’t sound like the place I want all my hard work going into!

So why do we invest all this time in these platforms which are ultimately not in our control? When I began this journey of blogging, I knew that I never wanted to put all my eggs in one basket. Growing slowly month by month, and some platforms being more successful than others.

I believe a more well-rounded presence online will ultimately be part of my success; which it is, however owning my own space with my own voice means that I never experience any downtime at the hand of something I cannot control!

With the rise of social media influencers who have built their following through social media only, it’s now more than ever important to have your own online presence. But why? Why should you have an online presence?

Personal Branding

Personal branding is about more than just an online resume, it is a way to define who you are and what you believe in the world.  The Digital Me campaign by CIRA seeks to remind us of the importance of owning our brand, the personal domain, and our personal website.

First impressions matter and if you’ve ever googled yourself, you might wonder sometimes why certain images or websites turn up before others. A personal domain allows you to share more than just your resume, you can brand yourself with your personality, values, thoughts, and dreams. I want my personal brand to be something that my girls will be proud of, so when they see my digital footprint, they too will strive for that same excellence in their digital footprint!

When I first began blogging, I had no idea the number of things I would learn. 5 years later, I can proudly say that I have taught myself everything from photography, graphic design and so on! Having my own space has allowed me to explore my digital skills in your own online sandbox.

Furthermore, my website means that I always have stability; as long as I can find an internet connection, I will always have relevance and be able to share with my readers. Building newsletters letter list, and working on all the platforms including my website ensures that my influencer career can’t be controlled by any one company. It gives me longevity to be able to provide for my family!

Personal Branding

Now the big question… Why should I choose .CA over an alternative?

Did you know that in order to have a .CA website you must have a Canadian address? There is an entire team dedicated to ensuring that those operating under .CA actually have a Canadian address! This is how I know that there has never been a better time to be Canadian. Canada’s role on the global stage and prestige in the world has never been higher. The world loves and embraces Canadian values. So why not let the world know that you are proud to be Canadian by building your personal branding?

How do I start to develop my Canadian personal branding?

Start building your personal brand by asking, what do I want the world to see/know about me? You don’t need to get a complicated website, remember we all start somewhere and building from the ground up is half the fun! To me honestly, this is the most important part, Get in touch with your “why”… why do you present yourself the way you do? Why do you do what you do? When you know and understand the reasons why

Now I’m not saying don’t be on social media as social media is one way that I leverage my personal branding. Anytime I publish something new, it is shared across all channels. It’s my online resume, I share it with everyone! Some of my best work has come from writing this blog. I’ve grown as a writer both in my emotional appeal and within the technical aspects.

Just blog weekly or daily; whatever works for you and remember to keep posting your awards and/or accomplishments. Your domain truly is the place to share all those things that make you proud! Interested in learning more about why having a personal brand matters, how you can get started building your own personal brand and why now is that perfect time to be Canadian online? Check out the Digital Me E-book for some amazing ideas and tips on how to grow your Canadian personal brand!

Photography by Kristy Powers Photography

Spring is HERE: Blossom At Metropolis ft: 250,000 Blossoms

Blossom At Metropolis

Just when Metropolis at Metrotown cannot get any better Blossom At Metropolis. This gorgeous art installation brought spring indoors for everyone to admire! From now until March 31st, the Grand Court at Metropolis has been taken over by one of our favourite parts of Spring…Cherry Blossoms!

When I first moved to Vancouver in 2006 to go to Make Up School I was living downtown Vancouver. Each spring, I would take in the views of the Cherry Blossoms that lined the roads. This spring Cherry Blossoms have been sadly been missing from our views until now. More than 250,000 cherry blossoms are on display in this one of a kind Art Installation Blossom at Metropolis.

Blossom At Metropolis

This breathtaking art installation is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. As if we need more reasons to stop and take a selfie, the magical pink and white petals of the cherry blossoms is guaranteed to capture your heart!

Blossom At Metropolis

Created by Vancouver interactive-arts company Hfour, Blossom at Metropolis encourages people to wander, take photos, and sit in awe of the quarter-million-plus blossoms. Enjoy these gorgeous blossoms as they reflect off dozens of mirror spheres (with the largest being 4 metres in size) creating the illusion of infinite blooms hanging above them.

With Spring break right around the corner,  take in one of the daily workshops happening located inside the Grand Court where the Panda’s were last summer. Be sure to head over to metropolisatmetrotown.com for the complete schedule, registration information, and age restrictions as some workshops are all-ages.

Blossom At Metropolis

There are a variety of floral art and Japanese cultural workshops every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the installation’s 27 days, presented in collaboration with MUJI (Workshop Wednesdays) and Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

The Blossom At Metropolis workshops include origami, brush lettering, traditional Japanese paper and fabric art, flower arranging, traditional Japanese folk dancing, and much more.

Blossom At Metropolis

Blossom At Metropolis

Stuart Ward, Creative Director of Hfour, adds: “Our team always aims to create experiential works of art that people can really lose themselves in. With Blossom at Metropolis, we think we’ve achieved something special that everyone, no matter their age or background, will connect to. It’s our largest and most visual experience in Canada to date, and we’re excited to share this with Metropolis.”

From the Blossoms themselves to these amazing workshops, there is something for everyone! Take this moment to teach the children about the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms that we are so fortunate to enjoy and learn about the beautiful Japanese culture.

We have been quite fortunate in years past to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms early in the spring. This art installation truly is a breath of fresh spring air!

Blossom At Metropolis

Because Metropolis at Metrotown is so amazing, they once again are hosting a fabulour giveaway. Head down to the kiosk’ at the installation to enter for your chance to win a $1000 shopping spree.

In addition, by sharing their videos and photos of their visit on Instagram using #METBlossom and @metropolisatmet, you can also enter for a chance to win a weekly Blossom prize package or a $500 Metropolis at Metrotown gift card.

You can check out the Blossom At Metropolis Art Installation daily during regular mall hours but be sure to check the website before heading down if you are wishing to participate in one of the workshops as they only happen Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Don’t forget to share your photos and tag Metropolis at Metrotown on Instagram, that giveaway is too good to miss out on!

Blossom At Metropolis

From the crocus to the Daffodils a big part of my heart belongs to the Cherry Blossoms. What is your favourite spring flower?

Blossom At Metropolis Blossom At Metropolis

Blossom At Metropolis