Social Media Free Sunday

Hi, my name is Christine and I am addicted to my iPhone. "Hi, Christine".

Yep, it's true, I have a love hate relationship with my phone. Social media (particularly instagram) has been such an amazing way to document day to day life and to keep in touch with some really great people. I really love it and while having that information and connection at your fingertips is great, it's also really distracting.

I have my phone nearby pretty much all the time and sometimes it becomes oh too easy to just pick it up and check things out. In the car, on the couch, making dinner, going to bed.... yikes. It's a bit ridiculous. I hate how sometimes I feel this need to see what's going on, this fear of missing out. I have no intentions of up and cancelling all my accounts but every now and then you need a break—a reminder to live life in the moment.

I was inspired by my sweet bloggy friend, Rhi (Hey Gorgeous) who has been practicing 'social media free weekends' herself, only I decided to make it 'social media free Sunday' (baby steps, people, baby steps). I challenged myself this past Sunday and, you know what, I did it! I didn't even pick up my phone as a passenger in the car! That was a big one for me. I could chat with Mike or just stare out the window and let my mind wander. Luxury, I tell ya! I was engaged, I was focused, I was present.

Now, this is not going to change how much I love instagram or keeping in touch with family via facebook, but it did remind me there is a time and a place. Sometimes you just need to step back and be present, social media will still be there when you get back.


So, spill. Am I the only one so attached? Have you considered taking a break from your phone?


Around Here...

letter pressed cookie cutters, it's been sooo nice getting outside lately, when your preggo sister wants wendy's, you get wendy's, I'm going to be an auntie again!!, daddy time, big girl didn't even cry after her shot, most addicting kettle corn ever + photobomb, loves wiping up her tray by herself, Alice was here.

"start the car!" moment at j.crew - cashmere form $310 to $50!, birthday dinner for my beautiful friend, Kat, got this jacket as a gift when she was a newborn - it just kills me, sunset, play date, birthday fun mail (thanks, Marie!), canadian baby, book worm, just me and my girl :)


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Instagram Photo Book Part Two

Confession: 'make wedding photo book' has been on my to-do list for nearly FIVE years. We have hundreds of absolutely beautiful photos from pink sugar photography that have yet to be put to paper. Don't get me wrong, they mean the world to me and we most certainly have enjoyed them. I think the fact that I love them all so much is what makes the task so daunting. One day, one day...

Knowing this, I was unsure if I'd stick to my plan to make my yearly instagram book. I've mentioned before, I'm sort of an instagram addict. My phone is with me all the time and it's become my way to document everyday life. I blogged about the instagram photo book I made documenting the first half of 2012 here and I'm happy to say I got my butt in gear and ordered part two! It just arrived and I LOVE it.

Instagram Photo Book

That photo just kills me, one of my favs from Alice's first birthday party.

instagram photo book

Photo to paper feels pretty good. Maybe there's hope for you yet, wedding album.


p.s. There is a promo on right now at Blurb for 20% off your order with the code MYBOOKLOVE, order by Feb 14, 2013.

disclosure: blurb affiliate links, but don't worry I genuinely love this book and wouldn't blog it if I didn't :)

Read My Lips

I was in love with this 'read my lips' tea before I even tasted it. Vanilla, peppermint, spicy peppercorns, chocolate and sweet little red candy lips. Are you kidding me? Who knew a tea could be cute?

It's delicious and might just be the perfect valentine's tea.


Also on my tea love list is this steeper and adorable mug that I received as birthday gifts. I still love you coffee, but my current tea obsession is going strong. 

Just a little something to warm up your Monday, have a great week!


p.s. thanks for the facebook love and for making me feel not so weird about signing up the blog. You guys are the best :)

the Face-book??

So, I realize that I might be about a million years behind the times but Just Bella is now on facebook.

I'll be honest, I always felt sort of weird about the idea of setting up a facebook page for my blog. I mean it's just a personal blog, a hobby and I hesitated having yet another social media thing to keep up with. But the reality is I do spend time on facebook already and the majority of you do too.

I reached out to some of my bloggy friends and the response was unanimous, just do it. I know I find myself clicking over and keeping up with some of my favourite blogs via facebook, why not give that option to those who might want it. I have created a wonderful community and I'm all about keeping in touch and reaching out to you lovely peeps, so I did it, I jumped on the bandwagon.

Please hop over and 'like' just bella and welcome this slow mover to the digital age of 'the face-book'!

Thanks you crazy kids.

Happy Friday!

p.s. as a bonus, you'll find a sneak peek of my blog redesign up on my facebook page, it's allllmost ready :)

Around Here...

lunch date with Justine and the best pizza ever (brussel sprouts, prosciutto crisps, dates, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, honey - droool. thanks, famoso), sledding, my little shopper, awesome storage boxes from the dollar store!, happy birthday to our pal, Broderick, I'm pretty sure this was the appropriate 30th birthday breakfast, my birthday spaaaah day, fresh and bare post-christmas mantel, brightest pants ever.  


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Hey. You're Awesome.

Just wanted to pop in to wish you all a happy friday and to say, 'hey, you're awesome'.

That is all.

Hey. You're Awesome.

Beautiful print by Paperhearts Studio available here.


Favourite Things: One Year Old

I found myself wracking my brain for a newborn baby gift the other day. I mean it was just over a year ago I myself was sleep walking through that baby phase, I should have tons of great gift ideas, right? I was drawing a big fat blank. I was so thankful to scroll on back to these posts to refresh my mom brain and find a few of those new mom and baby essentials.

So I thought since that came in handy that I would do another favourites post: the one year old edition. Hopefully it'll help you mamas or those shopping for kids and, at the very least, I'll have a reference next time I need a one year old gift. Win, win.

Here are a few of our current faves:

Fav Things: One Year Old

1) Kidkraft Play Kitchen - Alice loves this thing. When we first set it up she spent an hour just opening and closing all the doors.

2) Play Food - pretend eating is a fav past time, she even does the "nom, nom, nom".

3) Boon Whale Pod - Awesome bath corral that holds soap, toys and even lets them drain out so they can dry nicely.

4) Snack Dish - perfect for keeping the cheerio spill to a minimum. We also love this bowl, which is great for staying put when using utensils.

5) Triangle Crayons - or anything to colour with.

6) Stacking Blocks - I wouldn't say she exactly likes these, more like she can't stand the sight of this thing stacked up. We play a game trying to build the tower before Alice can knock it over. Good times.

7) Paintable Nesting Dolls - Alice's Aunty painted these for her and she loves opening and closing them.

8) Books - In my opinion you can never have too many books and Alice definitely agrees. She'll sit down in a chair and start babbling 'blah, blah, blah" (sometimes I feel like she's mocking us, hahaha).
(more of our fave books).

9) Aden & Anais Security Blankets - This has been a nap/bedtime essential since the day she could hold it and they come in packs of two in case, god forbid, you lose one.

What are some of your kiddo essentials / go-to gifts?


Looking Back... And Forward (to thirty!)

Not only is January a time for retrospection and new beginnings, it's also my birth month. I'm not here to solicit birthday greetings from you all or to complain about how much a January birthday sucks (I've done my fair share of that growing up). Nope, this time I can actually say I'm looking forward to my birthday and not because I need a big party/celebration, but because I'm turning 30. 3 - 0.

Guys, I remember when my mom turned 30. We had a huge surprise party with those terrible "over the hill" signs. Ya, sorry about that mom - let's blame Dad. 30 seemed so old and so far away. Well, here I am and you know what, I like it. It's definitely not old and not the scary thing some people make it out to be. I've got some lovely friends who tell me their thirties have been their best decade so far. My nana always said that you're only as young as you feel and to be proud of you who you are at any age, so bring it on 30.

I know 30 isn't a magic number or anything. Things aren't perfect, I'm still trying to figure things out, who I am, what I want to be when I grow up, how I'm ever going to stay on top of housework, but as I get older I find I'm pretty happy just figuring it all out. I have great friends, an amazing family, a loving husband, a daughter who makes me smile every day - life is pretty good. 30 is looking pretty good.

So I guess that's the looking forward part, and since I'm being all reflective and stuff let's look back at 2012. With a new life to take care of this past year, blogging took a bit of a back seat, but that didn't stop me from being nosy and peeking in on my blog stats. If I'm going to do a rerun it better be with the good stuff, right? Here we go... just bella's top 12 of 2012.

A Pregnancy Collage - from twelve to 41 loooong weeks.

Haters Gonna Hate - a discussion on those mean people out there in internetland.

Pinned: DIY Washi Tape Magnets.

Valentine's Day! - hearts, hearts and more hearts.

Keepin' it Real: The Lived in Nursery - ya, this is how it usually looks (or worse).

DIY Glitter Easter Eggs - cause everything is more fun covered in glitter.

A Beautiful Southern Wedding Y'all - my brother ties the knot.

Laundry Room Update.

Instagram Photo Book.

Alice's First Birthday Party - lots of pink and lots of polka dots!

DIY Polka Dot Cards - easiest thank you cards ever, which reminds me I still need to get those out! Sorry friends :)
DIY Polka Dot Cards, just bella

The Nursery! - technically still 2011, but it was the most popular post this year (thanks, pinterest) so it had to make the list.

Yep, all in all a pretty good year. Click here for top 11 of 2011.

Thanks for bearing with me through quite possibly the longest post ever! Hope you get up to something fun this weekend. I've got a relaxing weekend planned with my family and friends and a lemon meringue cake with my name on it.

Happy Friday!

Oh, and tell me, how did you (or will you) handle turning 30?


Around Here...

happy new year!, even our quiet night at home required a little sparkle, alice was here, kissing cousins, rekindling my childhood obsession with stickers!, the game: try and stack blocks before Alice can destroy it, my new vintage bracelet, best gift ever, peace, love, and popcorn! (free printable via eat drink chic).

bringing back an old family tradition of making homemade ice cream, white chocolate peppermint popcorn (so good), a new use for my $1.99 IKEA tape, a beautiful paperhearts original all wrapped up for mom, shopping without a stroller sucks (so.heavy), just hanging out in some foam, reading perch, birthday balloons, happy birthday to a special "mr. birthday".

Phew! It has been one crazy busy holiday season around here! Tons of socializing, tons of family, tons of FOOD. Good times, indeed, but I am spent. We spent a glorious day today doing absolutely nothing, it was pretty great. I hope your holiday season has been just as wonderful.

Happy New Year!!