What is the holiday season for you? Dancing around the house to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas classics, the magical looks on the kids faces as they open their advent calendar or the pure joy I feel around this time of year – I am about as corny as it gets guys, I assure you.
This time of year has a whole bunch more meaning to me however…
Those Christmas songs that play on the radio every year or in our home, they also make me think of my nana that passed away before meeting our sweet littles. She passed away juuuust before we found out that we were soon to be parents of our Ella. My nana, she was my “person”. Yes think Grey’s anatomy, and you’ll have an ah ha moment and feel me here. She was my soul mate, the one person in the entire world that truly got me. She was a writer, a book lover, a hilarious and strong woman. She would tell you how it is, no beating around the bush!
My mother of course understands me, probably all too well sometimes but that came about after I had kids of my own – we have a common understanding now that I understand, truly the love she has for me and the chaos I put her through too.
My nana saw into my soul from the get-go however and her Christmas spirit was strong!
She introduced me to classical music, my love affair with books, my OCD of spelling and lastly my infatuation with movies. She had great taste, and Frankie’s holiday classics make me think of her every, single year. Even more so since she passed because the winter she passed away I would play all of our favourites on my stereo driving to and from her nursing home that last year.
When I listen to these songs I don’t cry however or feel sad, I feel happy and calm. My heart feels full and warm thinking of her, thinking of how proud I am hopeful that she would be.
Proud of the children I am raising, proud of my marriage and growth as a person daily. Proud that I am passionate about supporting other women around me and helping them succeed, proud that I am doing more philanthropy and proud that we built a library in our home lol. I feel like that was a big part of why we did a reading advent calendar with the kids this year, to see them excited about a new book to read every day and get lost in the stories like I once did makes me think of her. She would have loved reading to them.
She loved books so much she was a librarian for years! Proud that I am pursuing a creative career as I always wanted. She would probably be upset that I am not pursuing singing or acting but heck nana, the show ain’t over yet!
The holidays for me are like the big finale, when all the feels start flooding in. I know this is New Years for some people but I start pondering resolutions right as November ends. We have big things coming this year for the blog and I hope you all stick along for another year with us!
On the home front…
We have nearly completed the transformation of our current home, we started with the upstairs interior and this fall shared our exterior flip with you guys – we are so glad you loved it as much as we do! White brick, and that homemade porch swing by Craig has my heart. I feel so lucky that he is always up for tackling those wild ideas of mine. In the new year we are tackling the basement, it’s huge and I cannot wait to share all of our plans with you! Wish us luck, we finish almost every project with smiles on our faces but the process isn’t always kisses & hugs, we do argue like every other couple.
My marriage, our marriage – I have so much I want to open up to you guys about in the New Year. Even on parenting, and business. I am content, I feel like this year is one of our best years (second to having our children of course ha ha). I don’t want to gloat, I want to share that marriage can be wonderful in a world that sometimes makes it seem impossible. There is so much I have learnt in the last year that I feel many of you could not only relate to but wishfully appreciate as well. Let’s save you all from making some of the same mistakes I have shall we? Or how to succeed based on what I have learnt from 10 years in this industry.
I feel like this year was a big year of growth in so many facets. If anything, I hope that we can put a smile on your face in 2019 – help you to have a good laugh, to feel inspired whether it is by awakening your senses with recipes or giving you the next DIY project for your home.
As I reflect on this past year and all of our growth as a team and of course hurdles – I truly feel as though I have been raising another child. I don’t say that in a gloomy way of course, I am proud – fulfilled. I am surrounded by some amazing women in my life that have helped me get to where I am, I am so grateful to them. I was inspired this year to sponsor a family for Christmas, Craig and the kids were so excited to create some Christmas magic for a family of 6 in need of love and just that, magic. We’ve been pouring our hearts into this project over the past month and it feels so great to be giving back in this way. 2019 has a lot more of this, I promise.
A letter to you, our readers…
I plan to write one of these every month to you, my lovely readers. I adore each of you, without you this wouldn’t be and I hope you know how much we cherish your every comment, email or message. Even those double taps on Instagram! Every month to give back to you we will be sharing a free downloadable wallpaper for your phone at the end of the post, check out this month’s when you’ve made it to the end of my letter. There will always be an English & French version, because of my French background of course. It is very me, forest green, golds and all…
In today’s letter I wanted to share 2 creative women.
Two inspiring women.
Our first is Stacie Bennett, a fellow Canadian mother that truly puts me in awe with her creativity. She is an artist with icing, yes we are talking baked goods here! Last year we dabbled in a creative shoot idea around gingerbread house mug toppers, we tested some and did a few photos but in the end mom life got the best of us both and we promised each other that Christmas 2018 it would happen. I never thought cookies could give me goosebumps? Well here is one of them and my gosh did my jaw drop, only to quickly come back to life when it was time to devour them! Stacie knows that my tummy isn’t exactly a fan of dairy and surprised me with making them vegan too, she’s become quite a great friend. Friends are important in this industry, not because they help you get ahead but because it’s important to have women around you that understand. Simple that, they get it. They get the hustle, they understand the magnitude of parenting, the juggle of ideas and putting them to fruiting…they understand the burn out. I am so grateful for my friend Stacie of Sugar Love Cookie Designs and her creativity for making this perfect little gingerbread house a reality, you can find her beautiful work here. Get ready to drool, in the most tasteful way ever of course!
Our second creative woman I want to highlight is Rachel Parcell of the Pink Peonies blog, blogger turned fashion designer. But really, she is a woman of many hats. Also a mother, Rachel can be described as having one of the most “Instagrammed” homes ever. I say that confidently as I swoon over her home, her love of French decor resonates with my roots and she is also a big fan of gold accents too! When you think of peonies in a farmhouse sink, she is one of the first on your list. This year Rachel launched a beautiful clothing line including a gorgeous green dress where all 100% of the proceeds went to the Hayes Tough foundation. I am actually wearing the dress in today’s post! This foundation was launched by Savanna and Steve Tate – a beautiful couple, a beautiful family that lost their son and sibling Hayes to childhood cancer and the foundation is focused on the fight against childhood cancer. This wasn’t the first dress where Rachel did this, her and Savanna designed 2 dresses together in honour of Hayes. Rachel is selfless, she loves her family and helping those around her – this dress is a pure example of that. I followed along on her creative launch of the Rachel Parcell line and after reading the book on the story of Hayes I had to get my hands on that beautiful green Monaco dress for such a long list of reasons. Hayes left a mark on my heart after reading about him, as a parent – when I put on that dress not only do I feel great it in physically, but emotionally too. I am so happy to have purchased something that not only supports a fellow mother & blogger in the industry but to also be donating to a cause that needs much more funding than it receives.
Often I promise myself in the fall that I won’t take on too much work for the holidays, so that I don’t focus so much on what needs to be done and can focus on making this time of year magical for my kids. I KNOW I am always telling you guys this but again, remember – we will never get these years back with them! There is no magical rewind button on a remote like the Adam Sandler click movie – there is no re-do. This is our time, my kids are my greatest accomplishment – what I was meant to do, be their mom. The rest is just background noise for me.
This year I managed to follow through and take on HALF of what we did last year and boy am I glad, I plan to take a few weeks off around Christmas and just BE. To go back to the basics of the blog and post for fun, cook as much as my heart desires without any deadlines. Pick up my expensive camera and actually take photos again, for the heck of it. Capture my littles the way I see them, as best as a camera can capture the magic. Slow things down, find those creative juices again…we all need a reset sometimes. This year is mine.
If you’re anything like me, you ask your husband what outfit he thinks you should wear out of the 3 you tried on. Only to pick the one you wanted from the get go even if he picked the others. You ask him which sunglasses to get, you buy the ones he doesn’t think you should buy. Call me a rebel, I go with my intuition and guts. If I can leave you with any piece of advice this month it’s that no advice from anyone is better than your own. No self-help book, no conference. Many of us just need to be told things we already know, what we know is the right move – we just ignore it sometimes. We hide from it or avoid it, or let fear get in the way. If you are at the mercy of your own fear, get out. There is so much out there for you beyond it.
One thing I know about myself is that I do not give up, almost to a fault. But I am happy with that character. I will always do what I want, especially in interior design. It’s healthy to know exactly what you want, I pride myself on that. I am working on not having such ridiculously high expectations however and being kinder to myself. But my point is that, I know that the best advice for ME will always be from ME. Sometimes you need to just drown out the noise and reconnect to know what move to make next. I often refer to life like a game of chess, not because I believe that life is a game but because of this very quote – one of my all time favourites. And that is what I will leave you with this month.
“Nobody ever won a chess game by resigning.” – Savielly Tartakower
With Love, Roxanne West
Here is this month’s FREE downloadable wallpaper for your phone and desktop. Simply hold down on the image and click SAVE! Make sure to tag us if you use it and we hope you love it as much as we do!