Skip to content

the Lainie List.

I love drawing with Tate.
He learned how to draw his first boat this week.
  1. chocolate chip banana bread recipe from Hershey
  2. this cute bedside lamp might end up on my Christmas Wish List.
  3. setting daily intentions will change your life
  4. finished reading this and now reading this
  5. Tate brings this library book home every other week.
  6. the word collector. love this children’s book. beautiful.
  7. The Hidden Life of Trees. I totally nerded out over this book. it was fascinating.
  8. The Magnolia Journal. I always find pieces of inspiration in this magazine.
  9. Whiskey in a Tea Cup gets me thinking about the book I’m writing for the kids (layout and design wise – also content pieces).
  10. Evidence: the first Mary Oliver poetry book I’ve read. love her already.

my happy place.

I just spent 4 hours 
surrounded by creative 
and talented people.

Smart and brave 
people who let themselves
be seen.  

beautiful work.

I felt so inspired.

4 hours at Chapters
surrounded by
books.

the Lainie List.

How Charlie chooses to roll first thing in the morning.
  1. Children and memories. a New York Times article.
  2. All new to me: where to buy crystals in Toronto. Geologic. The Rock Store.
  3. I learned how to make a mean paper airplane from this blog.
  4. Toying with the idea of wrapping a quilt around canvas. Leaning more towards no.
  5. New parents face up to six years of sleep deprivation, study says
  6. different stones for a mala
  7. What are mala beads?
  8. St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Toronto
  9. I’m starting to read like I’m in university again. With articles like these.
  10. Beautiful and creative books I looked at in the AGO gift shop: Make Blackout Poetry, Middle Bear, Decomposition Book, Draw Bridge, and The Wish Tree.
  11. The story behind Decomposition Books.

a lesson in enjoying the journey.

I’m all about the destination.

People say things like,
enjoy the journey…

Yah, yah.
It sounds nice and all,
but a little hippy dippy
(no offense).

But I’m learning.

Today I decided to go to FIKA.

I’ve wanted to go there for over a year. It’s a little Swedish-inspired coffee shop in Kensington Market.

FIKA is a Swedish verb meaning, “to go out for coffee.” It can also be used as a noun: “coffee break” (your fun little word facts for the day!) It’s common in Sweden to invite friends to fika every few hours during the work day. And coffee also means a small snack like a cinnamon bun or a piece of cake. Now you can see why this magical sounding place was on my must see list.

I wanted
to sit.
sip.
nibble.
and write.

I was disappointed.

The place was packed; there wasn’t one seat left. The majority of the coffee shop was filled with people working alone on their laptops (which I can’t say anything about; I planned to do the same). And I found it ironic that a coffee shop named after a custom involving friends and going out for coffee together was filled with customers flying solo.

It felt like the opposite of fika.

I spent $12 for a latte and two cookies.
And I left.

This is what I learned:

  1. I need to be careful about building things up in my head. I had a year of imagining how magical this place would be. The FIKA instagram account is amazing. Once you see the pastries, you’ll wanna go too. Pictures of warm wooden tables, perfectly poured lattes in cute mugs, and traditional cinnamon buns make this space look warm and inviting.
  2. Things aren’t always what they seem.

When I got there, it felt very different. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was just the day. It felt like any other coffee shop and it made me think about the connection between branding and experience. Does it feel the way it looks online? What is the experience like for the person who visits? Is it different than what they expected?

I’ve been in coffee shops that reserve tables for people to socialize. I kinda like it. Even though it has relegated me to sit on a stool facing a brick wall with my laptop, I get it and can appreciate it. You know what they value. And with a name like FIKA, I was expecting it to feel different.

Now back to the journey part. I totally went on a tangent.

The best part of my adventure to FIKA today was my walk back to the subway station. Seriously.

I walked by the AGO and thought, it would be nice to go in there and just wander around. I wonder what admission is… I bet their gift shop has nice stuff. I bet I could go in. They would want people to spend money…

And it was amazing. A beautiful curation of books, art, and stuff. The books were so creative and beautiful to look at. They had the best selection of children’s books and toys, and their Canadian themed products… I was in my happy place.

If you ever need to buy someone a gift, go to the AGO gift shop. You will find something great.

After the AGO, I wandered into a Curry’s art store before hopping on the subway. I began looking for little things that I could tuck into the writer’s kits that I’m making. Old school pencils. Flat carpenter pencils. Pink Pearl erasers like when we were in school.

I was able to find the Rhodia notebooks. I love their design and the feel of the smooth paper inside. I thought to myself, I would love to create something like this one day.

The AGO, an art store… the walk back to the subway was the best part of my adventure. And going home to Eric with an oatmeal, chocolate fig cookie for him from FIKA.

Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this journey thing.

the Lainie List.

the kids had a great time at the ROM this week.
  1. Moon trees. Actual trees across the U.S. that grew from seeds that went to the moon.
  2. How cool to have this on your stairs.
  3. Fear of losing loved ones. A very honest post from ScaryMommy.com
  4. The practice of letting go.
  5. I need to have one of these. A lamp where you can rest your book. Too cute.
  6. The Construction of Self.
  7. The Toronto Public Library has a whole YouTube Channel of talks they’ve hosted with popular authors.
  8. What I’m reading right now. I’m not loving it as much as her book, Story Driven (the Kindle version costs $1.99)
  9. Wildlife Photographer of the Year – an exhibit at the ROM right now.
  10. The Ladder of Needs
  11. How to make black food colouring.

the Lainie List.

to say that someone was excited about her birthday cake this week
would be an understatement.
  1. Are you a Mom with a budding business on the side? Marilyn Dennis is looking for you.
  2. You are horrible people. Reactions from the public regarding a late night Amber Alert in Ontario.
  3. Prioritize your projects to get mre done.
  4. Rebel Wilson talks to kids about Valentine’s Day. Too funny. And I’m glad she wasn’t talking to our kids 🙂
  5. Amazing maternity packages given to every expectant mother in Finland.
  6. The most incredible story of a photographer you created such a memorable experience for a bride who was blind.
  7. IKEA manifesto.
  8. 2019 Best Conferences for Women
  9. One exquisite life.
  10. Your purpose.
  11. Why she has the career you want.
  12. Why you should go for it.
  13. Start your business without a thing.

my first love letter.

I got my first love letter in grade 3.

It was written on a small piece of lined school paper from a boy that I liked.

I love you. Do you love me?
_____ yes
_____ no


The boy who gave it to me (who shall remain nameless for now)
followed me around most of the day. He must have really wanted a response.

I was getting tired of his pursuit. (Now I would say, come on, Lainie! Give the guy a chance.)

Our class was in the gym. We were asked to sit along the edge of the stage. I can remember him switching spots with others to slowly make his way down towards me.

Enough was enough. This needed to stop.

I handed the note to my teacher.

My grade 3 romance was over.


the hope chest.

It’s 8 bells,
Dad would announce.
Rob and I would run
as fast as we could
to the hope chest
sitting in the living room.  

The long, heavy wooden chest
stretched the length
of our picture window
and came up
to our chests.
We knew
it wouldn’t move.

We clasped our fingers
around the hardware.
We thought that if
we were able to hold on
long enough,
we wouldn’t have to
go to bed.  
It didn’t work.

Mom would quickly tickle us.
Our hands struggled
to hold on.
Eventually,
we would
lose our grip
and be taken off to bed
giggling.

But it didn’t stop us
from trying again
the next night.


you would never know.

When I was a kid,
I didn’t realize
the treasures
that were inside.

To me,
it was just a big piece of
furniture.
A place where
we kept
our fish bowl
and some
picture frames.

The hope chest
now rests
in my parent’s
basement.
It no longer has
such a prominent place
in the house.  

It sits in the furnace room,
usually covered
with newspapers
and flyers
that are used
to start the wood fire.  
Mittens and toques
are often scattered on top.  
You would never know
that it’s filled
with amazing things.



a treasure box.

Dad’s first pencil box.  
Mom’s baby book.
Their high school yearbooks.

Dad’s boy scout sash with badges.
Newspaper clippings of Mom
on the high school curling team.

My first pair of shoes.  
My brother’s drawings.  
Our kindergarten scrapbooks.
My grade 2 writing journals
and the little vest
I wore for school photos
one year.  

Little artefacts
of our family,
tucked away
for safekeeping.

Mom and Dad
saved up to buy the hope chest
before they were married.  
Mom said she used it
to store her prizes
from curling bonspiels.  

Back in the day,
hope chests were meant
to store items
that women would need
when they became wives –   
bedding, tea towels,
and things they made.  
A makers version
of a dowry.  

For our family,
it became a place
to hold our keepsakes.  
My dad is sentimental.  
Mom is too.  
I think Eric and I
are the same way.  
We keep first birthday candles
and pieces of the kids art work.  

It’s a tradition
that will keep going.

the Lainie List.

the photo I chose from our week. a week of two kids on antibiotics.
two sick parents and a little sister with a cold. it was a long week.
  1. How to actually love yourself.
  2. Let go of your past. Get clear on your future.
  3. Keep Going – by Austin Kleon
  4. how to order coffee in Italy without sounding like an idiot.
  5. how forest bathing can help with stress and anxiety
  6. an obituary written with a bit of sass.
  7. signs you’re addicted to sugar
  8. National Home Doctor. Why didn’t we do this sooner?
  9. introduced to Joan Didion this week.

Gram’s recipes.

After Grandma Lainie passed away, I made Mom a recipe book one Christmas through Shutterfly.com

I scanned some of gram’s favourite recipes and included family photos. Some recipes were scribbled onto scraps of paper or envelopes, along with her doodles. I included them all. I loved seeing her writing.

Grandma used to make us blueberry sauce to put on ice cream.

Mom loved her fudge.
Gram always had little notepads like this lying around the house.
She loved these coconut tarts. I remember them being a favourite of hers
in the years before she passed away.
I love this recipe because it shows the outdoors side of her and when they used to live on the lake.
Every year, Grandma Lainie would make a christmas cake. She would wrap it in tinfoil and tie ribbons around it. Her cake always had a white icing with sprinkles.
Mom and I would help it slowly disappear with our cups of tea.
One of my favourite recipes. Gram used to make these bars and tuck them into care packages for me when I was
away at university.
Gram liked making these at Christmas time. Something to snack on.
1 2 29