Bargain Cold Shoulder Top

Ahoy!

So this top… I ordered it back when I was pregnant and since having Nora I have worn it a number of times. I had never ordered from SheIn before and was skeptical but since the prices were so cheap- I HAD to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised!!!! I ordered this top and one other, and the quality of both were well beyond what I expected.

This shirt is shown on the website with the model wearing the slit in the front buttt.. after having a baby I’m not ready to rock the front slit quite yet- so I just wear it reversed!  I highly recommend this top.. the fit is true to size and there is a lot of extra fabric so you wouldn’t want to go a size up because I believe it would look too bulky. Direct links below!

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One other note- as you shop through the site they will post up promo codes for % of your first order, or other various things- use this to bring your price down even further. I ended up getting both tops for around $30 CDN. Only downside was shipping took a few weeks (2 1/2 I think?).

Top: SheIn / Jeans: Maternity, Gap , Shoes: Zara (old)

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Candy Apple Red

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This shirt is all about the colour.. okay and maybe the fact that it has buttons and I can breastfeed while wearing it. Win-Win right?

Here I am just wearing this shirt as-is but it will be perfect for layering under a sweater or top when the weather cools off.

 

 

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Shirt: H&M – for some reason I can’t find this specific colour on their website but it’s similar to this one and this one  / Jeans: old – new version here: Zara / Shoes: Old Navy

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Green & Grey

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What are your favourite colours to wear for fall? One of mine is green. Today we are featuring this versatile sweater dress with grey booties and a grey hat. When wearing this outfit I feel a bit more hip and reminds me if life pre-baby.

I would recommend this dress for anyone- it’s loose, has POCKETS (!!!!), is super soft and a great price. Unfortunately it looks like this specific colour is sold out for the time being, but check an Aritizia near you and you may luck out with one off the rack! If you click on the colour swab on their website it also says to call their customer service line and they might be able to help you out! How cool is that??  Also if green isn’t your colour there are FIVE other colour options to choose from. I think I will be wearing this dress into the winter with a pair of leather-like leggings or skinny jeans.

Links to everything at the bottom! Both my booties and hat are from previous seasons- booties from a random store in Toronto and hat from Winners.. but I’ve linked to similar versions below.

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Dress: Aritzia   (I’m wearing a size Small) / Booties: similar / Hat: similar / Watch: Daniel Wellington

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Crazy for Coconut

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I got inspired scrolling through my Instagram feed a few days ago – this is the sole source of modern day inspiration isn’t it?!  – when I came upon a coconut bread recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s account (if you aren’t following her you’re doing all of the things wrong, fix it now!). This coconut bread is bread in the same way that banana bread is “bread”, like ‘hey I’m actually better as dessert with butter and powdered sugar bread’. Basically, the exact kind of bread we all need more of in our life.

I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to a tee, and I’m super happy with the result, wouldn’t change a thing. If you’re a coconut lover this might just replace your go-to banana bread recipe.

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Carrot Soup

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If you have been following my journey over on Instagram you’ll know that Ben and I have a MASSIVE garden this year. On Tuesday I decided to harvest all of our carrots to see how they did- and boy, they did!

We put a bunch of carrots into sand for storage to use over the fall/early winter and the rest we will cook with and share with family and friends.

Inspired by my harvest and yesterday’s cool weather here in Kingston, Ontario, Canada I decided to try my hands at a carrot soup. I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos because I wasn’t really expecting the soup to turn out so well.. but it did and I am going to share the recipe with you. I basically just used whatever I had in the house.. and voila- using what you have can be a  beautiful thing! IMG_6426.jpg

Yield: This recipe makes about 5 generous dinner size bowls of soup

Ingredients:
Approximately 17 medium sized carrots (mine were a mix of small-large), washed and chopped into ~1 inch pieces
1 can of your favourite coconut milk
1 large carton of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegan or vegetarian) – I used about 1 1/2 cups of homemade stock and 1 1/2- 2 cups of store bought
1 large white onion, peeled & diced
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
5 tsp of Thai curry paste – I used the brand shown below because it’s what I had in the fridge and you can get it at Farm Boy I believe, but any thai red curry paste would be fine
2 limes, juiced
1 tbsp of brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp of butter (or olive oil if you are trying to make recipe vegan)

1. In a large, deep pan (with a lid) heat you butter and add your diced onion. Cook until translucent and fragrant.

2. Stir in the garlic and thai curry paste and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes.IMG_6427.jpg IMG_6428.jpg

3. Add the juice of 2 limes – you will get a lot of sizzle here and a great smell, let some of the lime juice cook off- about 1 minute.

3. Now add your carrots and about 1 1/2 cups of broth. Stir it all together, cover with a lid and let cook on low until carrots are tender to touch with a  fork. About 30-40 minutes. This will depend on the size you have chopped your carrots also. Mine were very “rustically” chopped so I had to wait until the larger pieces were cooked through. You don’t have to keep too close watch here, as long as your burner is on low and there is enough liquid in the pan your carrots will continue to just get tender.

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4. Now it’s time to get your blender ready. I used my Vitamix blender because it was already out on the counter, but you can use a food processor or hand blender if that’s all you have. I find that the Vitamix makes a beautiful puree and almost adds creaminess. Take about half of your cooked carrot/onion/garlic/broth mixture and add it to the blender. Pour in half the can of coconut milk and  about 1 cup of broth. Blend on high until all chunks have dissolved. Pour this mixture out into another saucepan and repeat for the rest of your ingredients.IMG_6434.jpgIMG_6435.jpgIMG_6436.jpg

Note: Don’t overcrowd your blender, I usually just fill mine to about half full. This will give you a better blend and be faster in the long run.

5. Now that all of your pureed mixture is back in the saucepan, add the tbsp of brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Turn your burner on low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes before serving. I made mine earlier in the day so I did the 10-15 minute simmer, shut the burner off and then turned it back on when we were ready to eat to heat throughly again.IMG_6472.jpg

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Top Ten Baby Products

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Nora McIlquham – our latest addition – was born on July 10th. Today she is eight weeks old so I thought I would write a post of the top ten items that we have loved so far and can’t imagine doing without. When I was preparing for her arrival I found lists like this VERY helpful. Each one was different so it was helpful to read what different people found helpful and allowed us to determine exactly what would work best for our family. You never really know what will be most helpful until your babe is on the ground but I hope this list will help whomever comes across it.

Our mantra when preparing for the baby was to make our lives and the transition to parenting as easy as possible with a focus on good quality, attractive and gender neutral items.

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  1. Boppy Newborn Lounger  : As soon as we brought Nora home from the hospital I opened up the packaging to this amazing item –  literally 5 minutes after being home – and we’ve used it daily ever since. Light and easy to move around Nora spent many hours napping and enjoying her lounger beside Ben and I while we cleaned, cooked or were just relaxing on the couch. Here is one of the many pictures of Nora in it.IMG_5295-2.JPG
  2. Peas in a Pod Bottoms Up Bum Spray : OKAY! I wish I could be a spokesperson for this product. One of Ben’s colleagues bought us a bottle of this and our lives have been changed ever since. Prior to using this we were using various diaper creams to keep Nora from getting a diaper rash and keep her feeling fresh and clean. This product is SO. MUCH. BETTER – I spray it when cleaning her up and then give her a spray or two before re-applying her diaper to keep her fresh. It’s a spray so it’s FAST, it smells great and you don’t get the mess that comes with diaper cream. As far as I’m concerned- if there was one product on this list that you decide to purchase- make it this one.
  3. Plain Coloured Zipper Onesies : I was told by a friend that zipper (not snap up) onesies are the way to go- she was SO right. I only received one as a gift and it was a newborn size so when Nora grew out of it I was on the hunt for some more. I was also on the hunt for plain sleepers. It seems that everything available these days is patterned and very gender specific. I found a few brands with plain onesies but they were American based and going to be pretty pricey to order. When I found these sleepers on the Old Navy website I was ecstatic. Plain, great price and zippers! I ordered three colours in 0-3 months size and 4 in 3-6 months. They make nighttime diaper changes much easier and in my opinion, look adorable!FullSizeRender-5.jpg
  4. Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer : When I told Ben that I wanted this fairly pricey diaper change pad he was skeptical. I went ahead and got it and here is why we ALL THREE of us love it. You will spend A LOT of time changing diapers – why wouldn’t you invest in this?!  Reason 1- it looks awesome. Reason 2 -it’s not cloth so you can wipe it clean of any accident. It seems that at least twice a day she has an accident while on the peanut and so being able to just wipe it clean is a game changer. Reason 3- Nora loves it. She hangs out, smiles, coos and some of our best moments have been on this peanut with our little peanut.FullSizeRender-7.jpg
  5. Native Wilds Nest : Having Nora in the summer I knew I would want some kind of cover for her car seat for when we are out and about. When I found this one- which also doubles as a nursing cover and shopping cart cover- I was sold by the stripes. It makes her car seat/stroller look more trendy, blocks the sun and bugs, the bottom can fold up and cover her legs when it’s chilly. It’s been awesome and I can’t imagine not having it.  I bought this Native Wilds one because it was available at our local baby/kids shop, but there is also one by Milk Snob that I’m curious about and may have purchased it if I knew this brand was out there when I was looking.FullSizeRender-6.jpg
  6. Summer Infant Swaddle Me – 3 Pack : These have been a lifesaver. We got one as a gift and then I ended up buying another later – I wish I had just gotten the three pack as linked here. Nora tends to jolt a lot in her sleep and I am sure that these are what has helped us to get longer stretches of sleep through the night. They keep her arms next to her body and also keep her warm. They are easy to do up and you are going to want more than one for when the other is in the laundry.FullSizeRender-4.jpgPS: She wiggles her way down the  bassinet like this every night..
  7. Comfy Bras : Prior to Nora’s arrival I bought a couple of nursing bras and tanks. They are great but I’ve learned that a light cotton bra like these ones are MUCH better. Here’s my case. Nursing bras have snaps. When you are balancing a fussy, hungry, crying baby trying to get your top off or up and then also unsnap your bra isn’t the easiest. These bras I can just fold the cup down and away we go. Nursing bras have THICK straps. Post baby your body image may struggle- I know mine did – and having Nora in the heat of the summer it was hard enough to find tops that I was comfortable in, let alone finding one and then realizing that my clunky nursing bra looks awful underneath. Comfort. These bras are super comfortable. Post-baby I am bigger than a DD and so although these bras have less support, they are still really covering and comfortable. They are lighter which makes it nicer in heat and at this cheap price point they are much better than trying to find a decent + DD nursing bra.
  8. Avent Soothie : I wasn’t 100% sure we would use a soother with Nora. A couple of weeks in she was wanting to feed very frequently and it was becoming exhausting and we didn’t know how else to sooth her- so we tried a soother. These are her favourite. We don’t use them all the time but when we are trying to stretch out a bit of time between feedings they really do help. Because Nora is still so small she can’t exactly hold her own soother in so these soothers actually have an indent in the centre which make them really easy to hold in her mouth when trying to calm her down- especially when we are on the go. Another plus- you can buy this brand at all major pharmacy’s and grocery stores so if you are need on the go – you can be sure to find a replacement.IMG_5996.JPG
  9. The Honest Company Laundry Detergent  : Baby clothes are small and sometimes it takes a little while to build up enough of her clothing and blankets for a load to wash in that special baby detergent. I was so happy to buy a bottle of this Honest Company detergent because I can wash both our clothes and Nora’s in the same load. I haven’t done this with the other baby detergent because the fragrance is quite “baby scented” and Ben and I don’t really want our clothing smelling like this. The Honest Company detergent basically has no scent. I’ve linked here to Canadian Tire but you can buy these products are various locations – Chapters/Indigo, many grocery stores, amazon, or directly from the Honest Company’s website.
  10. Puj Hug Hands-Free Hooded Towel : This towel is amazing and SO soft. I only have the one towel for her because I do laundry enough that I don’t feel like I need a bunch so we decided to splurge on the one we got and I’m SO glad we did. Nora loves being wrapped up in it after her bath, it soaks up water super fast for when she does get fussy and the clasps on the towel allow me to wear it to keep me dry (will be more useful when she starts splashing around) but also make it easy for wrapping her up post-bath. I highly recommend it!IMG_0025.JPG

 

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Peaches & Prosecco

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When most think of peaches they think “peaches and cream”.. not over here on Anchored to the East- we are puling out all the stops and doing it up with Peaches and Prosecco.

I recently ordered some candy for gifts from Squish Candies – a Canadian company that makes adorable and DELISH gourmet candy. When I placed the order I got a little bag of their Bubbly Bears – couldn’t resist it! While we were sampling the bears the other night while watching Bachelor in Paradise we were inspired to do a post. Since peaches are also in season- this felt like a match made in heaven. Now we bring you- peach cupcakes with prosecco icing – served with a side of Bubbly Bears and Prosecco of course ( couldn’t waste the rest of the bottle).

Ingredients/Shopping List:

Cupcakes:
3/4 cup of softened salted butter
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar – packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup of buttermilk
3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 ripe peaches – cored and diced  (ours were very ripe so made them taste even sweeter)

Icing:
1 cup of softened salted butter
4 1/4 cups of icing sugar
5 tbsp of your favourite prosecco or champagne – we used Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Sparkling – one of my favourite lower cost sparkling wines.

Cupcakes:
Heat your oven to 350 degrees (on convection if you have it) and line two 12 muffin pans with liners.

Cream together butter and sugars using your stand or hand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add eggs and vanilla- and blend until combined. Scraping sides to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Add in the buttermilk and combine on low.  In a separate bowl- mix together your flour, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients until completely combined. Remove your bowl from the mixed and stir in your chopped peaches. Voila!  Spoon dough into your two pans and pop into the oven for 18 minutes. Remove when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

Prosecco Icing:

Cream butter. Add 3 1/2 cups of icing sugar and mix on low until combined. Pop your prosecco (if you haven’t already) and mix in the 5 tbsp. And hey- why not pour yourself a glass?! Mix in the last 3/4 cup of icing sugar.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, top with icing. We used a a piping bag and simple star tip because we find this faster and more visually appealing.

Enjoy the following photos of our process/ finished product.

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Some bears were harmed during the making of this post… *wink*IMG_5837.jpgIMG_5569IMG_5572IMG_5576IMG_5599IMG_5602

Enjoy these summer-y cupcakes for your girls night, Bachelor viewing party or heck- to spice up any day of the week.

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Breezy Summer

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Okay so maybe it hasn’t been the “breeziest” summer in history.. it’s been bloody HOT. But this STEAL of a dress will be sure to keep you cool and looking fine through the rest of the summer. I was checking out H&M online (which I rarely do because you can’t actually shop their site) when I saw this dress and it was listed for $19.99 -YES, $19.99- can you believe that??? So I knew I had to take a look at it. Lucky enough I walked into the Kingston H&M and found it displayed on the racks right out front! Ben and our crying newborn were in the car so I didn’t even try it on- I grabbed one size up from my pre-baby size and took a chance.

This dress is great- it’s got tie up straps at the top which makes the off-the-shoulder style even more comfortable, it’s a great length and the colour is fabulous! It’s also loose enough I probably could have gotten away with my pre-baby size. There is a direct link to the dress below. All of these photos were taken in my garden next to my beautifully blooming zinnias!

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Dress: H&M / Hat: J.Crew

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Just Peachy!

Ahoy!

It’s been a minute since we’ve posted anything new to the blog – we’ve all been delightfully distracted with the newest and cutest addition to our family, little Nora Emma McIlquham. She has stolen our hearts and we couldn’t be happier!

We’re back today because its peach season and we couldn’t just stand by with peach juice on our chins and not share some of this yumminess with all of you!

I made this Peach Upside-Down Cake last week and it was a big hit! I followed the recipe here exactly as its written and it turned out great! If you’re in our area try and use Niagara peaches – they are the best!

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Ready to Pop in a “Little” Black Dress

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I’m a few days away from my due date now and this whole having a baby thing is really starting to sink in. I would say that I’ve been pretty calm and collected throughout this pregnancy, but last night the anxiety started to kick in. I’m super super excited to meet our little gal but the whole process of getting her from inside my belly to cuddling in my arms is quite daunting. For the last ten months  I have been telling myself.. we all get into the world this way.. it will be fine. But maybe it’s the unknown, the fear of pain, the waiting.. last night it started to get to me. That’s normal right?? I woke up this morning, deciding today is a new day, I am going to try to be as positive as possible and just keep distracted! Let’s hope it works!

I picked up this dress at RW&Co a few weeks ago in hopes that I can wear it to my friends wedding later in July.. but I love the way it hugs my bump right now so thought I would photograph it to share with all of you. I don’t typically wear black but there was something so classic and elegant that drew me to this dress.. I wonder how it will look post-baby??

As always Utah made his way into my snaps. Scroll to the bottom for a link to the dress.

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Dress: RW-Co / Shoes: Zara ( Sold Out), Similar 

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