the best day and a plug for TVO Kids

Our fun morning at TVO Kids

Last Friday I had the best day with my kids.

The majority of our days are spent rushing from one routine thing to the next while trying to do my own mundane routine things in between (boring!).

Get dressed! Brush your teeth! Eat your breakfast! Stop yelling! Why are you yelling? Do you need to go pee? You should go pee. Get in the car! We’re late! Let’s go! Put your boots on! 10 minutes and then it’s bed. Yes it IS bath night.

Sound familiar??

Well last Friday I tossed the routine aside, L’il E skipped school, LJ was on his A-game because big bro was home and we just had a fun day. It was awesome!

The day started at TVO Kids I was invited to celebrate the launch of their new game Bear’s Birthday Party and learn about their new Polka Dot Play TV segments. For the record I had no idea there was this much content on TVO Kids’ website! It’s an amazing resource and all the content is based on the Ontario school curriculum (read: you don’t have to feel guilty!).

Anyway, L’il E and LJ had a blast and I got all nostalgic seeing the original “toys” from Polka Dot Door and getting a hug from Polkaroo. I loved that show!

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After that we headed home and had a great visit with my girlfriend who recently moved all the way to Vancouver. She has two boys very close in age to L’il E and LJ. The boys ripped around (no fighting and nothing broke!) while we got caught up.

Boys club!

Can I just say here that four boys is insane! Kuddos to mamas out there with 4 boys. You go girl!

When they left I didn’t want to embark on making dinner so I took my two little men out for a pizza dinner (I was feeling the flow). They were little angels, ate all their dinner and we were home by 6 pm (with no clean up FTW)!

Best dates in town.

Since LJ didn’t get any nap time he headed to bed early. L’il E and I curled up and watched a movie and when I told him it was time for bed he hopped up, brushed his teeth and climbed into bed happy as a clam (internal high five).

I seriously had to pinch myself. Why can’t it be like this every day?

Do you ever have days where you throw the routine out the window?

When we’re constantly rushing and nagging and forcing them (our children) to do things when we want them to do it they must feel the anxiety. It totally makes sense that they push back. I know I would!

Here’s to more unscheduled days!


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it’s a new year – looking ahead!

New Year Looking Ahead

At the start of every year I usually do a round-up of posts from the previous year as you can see here and here and here. Sadly I don’t have much to “round up” from 2014 because I spent most of it figuring shit stuff out and not writing a single thing down.

But guys….I have time again.

My little LJ is already 18 months and L’il E is going to be FOUR in a couple of weeks (ya I know!). So, all that crazy baby stuff is over. I’m no longer sleep deprived (ya that’s nice) and I actually feel like a normal functioning human being again (huzzah!).

Instead of griping on about what an “interesting” year 2014 was I’m just going to sail on through and tell y’all what’s going to happen this year. Because 2015 is already pretty rad. Am I right??

This is just a short list to share here. I pledge to:

  • Get back on the blog train and stop ignoring pitches from PR agencies.
  • Swim, do yoga and say good riddance to this GD diastasis recti.
  • Buy MORE fabric for the shop (requests please)!
  • Move forward with my creative career plans (that’s a secret for now!)
  • Get on with YouTube

There is so much more but I’m stopping here because I don’t want to be held accountable for any more stuff!

Here is to a new and fulfilling year. I can’t wait!

What are your plans?





Filed under life with baby, wishful thinking

follow your dreams

i'm free

It’s taken me some time for this to actually sink in, but two weeks ago I quit my full-time job of nearly ten years and (eek!) I don’t have a new job to go to. I completely ignored the old you shouldn’t quit your job until you’ve got a new one lined up.

I have never been this irresponsible. I have always had a job, I even worked for free when I was just starting out in PR. I have always had a place to be. Not anymore!

You know what? It feels so good. I have also never been this excited, scared, nervous, and clear-headed.

Since I can remember my dream has been to do my own thing. Anyone close to me knows that. My brain is always churning with creative endeavours. In January 2013 I had this insanely strong urge to follow my dream and make it happen. No more talking, just acting and I haphazardly launched my online fabric shop while working full-time and pregnant with LJ to boot. I was tired of chugging along and ignoring my dreams.

Now lets get real for a minute people. I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of what I’ve done without all the experiences I had from work. I am very grateful for the time I spent working in PR land and the relationships I made were fantastic. It’s also not all butterflies and roses right now. Fortunately the Hubs is SUPER supportive (I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him) and I’ve got a one-day a week teaching gig (god love multiple sources of income!). The best part of it all is that I get to spend oodles of time with my little men, L’il E and LJ. It’s surreal not having the 9-5 commitment anymore.

So, now when people ask me what I do I can proudly say that I’m following my dreams. I’m a PR professional turned entrepreneur, fabric curator, college instructor, blogger. Who knows what will be next for me. I’m still brimming with ideas.

Anyone else out there done something so reckless!? In case you’re thinking about it I found these 11 reason why it’s important to follow your dreams.

Happy dreaming!






Filed under not sure

a summer cocktail – dehydrate and rehydrate

Coconut Water and Rum

So after many requests I’m reinstating “It’s Friday and I need a drink”. I figure it’s only appropriate considering I’ve assumed the position of “stay-at-home mom” this summer. Until September it’s me, L’il E and LJ 24/7 and let me tell you it’s more work than any 9-5 out there. Seriously!

So, here goes. On a cottage weekend a couple weeks ago, my friend Brandon introduced me to one of the best cocktails. It’s the best for us moms because it hydrates you as it dehydrates you with a generous amount of coconut water. Ya it’s pretty great. Interested? Well keep reading.

Boorman’s Coconut Water Rum

You’ll need:

  • Tall glass filled with ice
  • One can Grace’s Coconut Water (note: it HAS to be Grace’s Coconut Water (the sweetened one). After much research it tastes the best :))
  • Spiced Rum (any brand will do) or you can just go for regular rum, but it’s gotta be dark rum (I’m married to a Haligonian).

Then you:

  1. Fill tall glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 shots rum.
  3. Top off with Grace’s Coconut Water.

Done! Happy Friday!


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Filed under it's friday and i need a drink

ConKerr Cancer and Fridays Off Fabric Shop

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This is an old video, but it does a really good job of explaining what ConKerr Cancer is all about.

I am so stoked to finally share some really fun news with y’all.

Over the last year I have been trying to find a way to align my fabric shop with a charitable organization that I could really get behind. Thanks to a customer out in Victoria BC, she opened my eyes to a fabulous volunteer-based group that is doing amazing things with their sewing machines for kids with cancer – it’s called ConKerr Cancer.

Over the last seven years ConKerr Cancer has been inviting people from all over the world to make pillowcases for children who are fighting cancer. A pillowcase is a simple item to make but brings huge smiles to the children and their parents during their hospital stay.

So how does my little shop fit into the picture? Well first off I am a drop off location for pillowcases and will be delivering all of your handmade beauties to The Hospital for Sick Children on a (hopefully!) regular basis. I also have some other ideas up my sleeve to get y’all involved so stay tuned.

Now if you want to get started sewing up some pillowcases today here is what you need to know:

1. Check out the specific pattern that you need to use on the ConKerr Cancer website.

2. When you’re finished sewing your pillowcase(s) you are asked to wash, press and fold it up into a ziplock bag.

3. Please send finished pillowcases to my shop and address to me Alanna Banks, 54 Northcote Avenue, Toronto, ON M6J 3K3

If you live outside of Ontario and would prefer to get involved with your local chapter, please take a look here and click on Canada, to find out if there is one near you.

Let’s bring smiles and get involved one pillowcase at a time!



Filed under fabric shop, sewing, stuff i love

we’re hiring a growth hacker

growth hacker opportunity

Fridays Off Fabric Shop is looking for a Growth Hacker!

Fridays Off Fabric Shop is an online fabric shop serving Canada and the US. I have no problem taking care of all the fabric business but I need help on the back end. I am looking for more eyeballs and ultimately conversions so if this sounds like a challenge you’re willing to sink your teeth into keep reading.

I’m looking for someone with experience in the following (these aren’t required, but it would be great if you knew a little about):

  • SEO
  • JAVA script
  • A/B testing
  • Landing page design
  • eCommerce
  • Shopify, liquid (nice to have!)
  • Customer acquisition

You have a strong eye for analytics and the drive to identify opportunities and try new things to improve the overall conversion funnel of Fridays Off.

This is a great opportunity for someone fresh out of or in the final stages of an engineering degree or dev co-op with some spare time, looking to flex their muscles with a real business. You will play a strategic role in the growth of a small but growing business, with a lot of autonomy to be creative.

This a volunteer position (sorry!), with no set hours, so you need to be self-motivated and comfortable working remotely.

If you’re interested please email me at and let me know what makes you a good fit.






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guilt free candy bars

gluten free candy bar, vegan candy bar, treat, recipes

Everyone is going bonkers over these “candy bars” I recently made. The hubs, friends, even my three-year-old L’il E is gobbling them up. The best part is they’re gluten free, vegan and sweetened with pitted dates (ew!) so no matter who pops by for a visit you’ll be able to pull these bad boys out!

It’s a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s most recent cookbook It’s All Good.

Want to give them a spin? Here’s the recipe!



I can guarantee these won’t last long!



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Filed under gluten free, recipes

my jesus year – 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Every January I kick things off with a round-up of the previous year (as you can see here and here). This year I’m a little late because it’s taken me some time to figure out how I wanted to go about summing up 2013.

It was such a peculiar year for me.

Usually I’m super positive, but last year I felt like the little guy in Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go. More specifically the little guy half-way through the book. I was a bit lost.

You’ll come  to a place where the streets are not marked Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked… Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win? And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not,…

It turns out that I was feeling so weird because 2013 was my “Jesus Year”. Anyone heard of this? I just read about it in the paper a couple of weeks ago. Basically age 33, the age Jesus was when he was crucified,  has been deemed the year of reinvention – a year where one searches for meaning.

Well, I’ve been searching people and let me tell you I didn’t have the luxury of abandoning all of the pressures of adulthood like some other early 30 somethings. Instead I gave birth to a second child and was burdened with the mundane of a mortgage, renovations, kids etc. (I don’t mean to sound harsh, I love my fam).

However in addition to the “mundane” I made a point of dabbling in things that inspired me. I chose to be more assertive and with that came change. I took things confidently into my own hands. I did things that I’ve always wanted to do and blindly, but passionately launched my own business (I’m still learning as I go).

I did things that made ME happy.

So, with all of that I think it was a pretty successful Jesus Year. Maybe not as romantic as finding myself while traveling abroad or surfing in South East Asia, but decent nonetheless. I have definitely found more meaning.

The year 2014 is going to be pretty great. I think it will simply solidify all of the change that took place in 2013.

Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout my Jesus year, especially when I would drone on and on about fabric and my shop and fat quarter bundles etc. etc. Your support got me through :)

Onward and upward. I won’t be looking back.


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Filed under life with baby, stuff i love

back in the saddle


It seems I have a turned a corner. Could it be possible that I am back?!

The last time I posted here I was actually in labour. Twenty four hours later our little LJ was born and since then (I can’t believe it’s been five months already)  life has been intense.

It’s been five months of my own first-world problems and as a result I  decided to neglect my l’il old blog and focus on my family and manage my fabric shop. However, as the year draws to a close (I’ll be happy to say goodbye to 2013) I have many plans for the new year and look forward to sharing them with y’all.

The Hubs and I stand by Robert H Schuller’s famous quote – Tough Time Never Last, But Tough People Do!

No matter how tough times get, we have the potential to achieve the best of life. This is what has helped me get through the last several months and when I look back, I am proud at all that we have achieved. I will share in future posts, but until then bring on the holiday season and 2014!

Glad to be back :)

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fresh strawberry spelt muffins

Fresh strawberry spelt muffin

I hope everyone had a great Canada Day! We struck close to home as we anticipated #2’s arrival.

To celebrate and use up leftover fresh Ontario strawberries I made these delicious strawberry spelt muffins. They taste amazing right out of the oven.

I love strawberry season! They would taste even more amazing with a spoonful of homemade strawberry jam.

Give them a try!



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Filed under recipes, wheat free