What's On Your Heart?

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I keep going back to last months Magnolia magazine for many reasons, but I keep being drawn to one article in particular, the one titled "On Mentoring - Generational Wisdom".

We all need a mentor or mentors in our lives and this article articulates why. Its doesn't have to be the 'big things', but the small gestures offered between both the mentor and 'mentoree' that help each individual grow and mature to be the best they can be. The relationship between these two gentlemen in the article really does seem to be a 'once in a lifetime' experience and from their words, it truly resonates how much they mean to each other. 

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Have you ever had a first meeting like Poppa describes above? I've been lucky enough to have had a handful of these and for every person that this has occurred with, I'm still friends with and look up to and admire them. You can tell from his words just how important taking on a role of being a mentor has been in his life and after decades of support and daily conversations, I can only imagine how special the bond is between these two men. Jerry uses words such as 'encouragement' and 'priceless' to describe their relationship and you can tangibly feel/sense how much he looks forward to those 8am conversations...

Every word of this article hit home to me and the warmth and genuine respect for the human relationship warmed my heart...but.... one phrase really, really stuck out and I'm going to begin to use it in my everyday life, as I feel it is so important on so many levels and for so many reasons....

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"What's on your heart for the day ahead?"


He doesn't ask "what's on your mind?", but instead, "what's on your heart?". This warms my heart and soul to the core as it's probably one of the most important questions we can ask those we care about to truly 'check in' and get a gauge on where both their mind and heart stands for the day ahead. It pushes the respondent to 'dig deep' and potentially bring difficult or challenging feelings to the surface that could be a huge barrier for their day and even weeks ahead. I realize that this isn't a question we can just ask anyone, at least I would feel more comfortable asking this to someone I had a more established relationship with, but with that being said, I would feel comfortable asking someone I didn't quite as well if I sensed the person I was in conversation with was struggling with their day and was having difficulties finding the words to explain their thoughts/feelings. Again, it wouldn't be in every situation like that that I may come across...I'd have to 'go with my gut'...but it's a phrase that could also help build or take a relationship to the next level, as it's a question that requires some true soul searching and self awareness and being able to open up to the person asking you this requires a level of trust and understanding you would not find in every relationship in your life.

We're coming into a time of year that can be emotionally and mentally challenging for a number of people for a number of reasons. Loved ones and those we care about (including ourselves) can find the hustle and bustle and sentiment of the Christmas season to be too much at times and when we sense that occurring, why not offer to go get a coffee, ask that person about their day and dive into 'what's on their heart' at that moment. 

I truly believe that the words 'mentor' and 'friend' can be used interchangeably as both terms show a level of caring towards the other person in the relationship, for their overall well being and growth. This holiday season, why not challenge yourself to be that 'priceless' person and invest time in those you hold close to your heart and at the same time, if you feel you need a little extra encouragement and support, don't be afraid to tell someone close to you, what's on your heart too....


New York, New York - Part Two!

The first 24 hours in NYC were fantastic and I was bound and determined to make the most of my second and final day there, sore feet or not (That's what happens when you walk over 20km the first day!).

I woke up and headed to a bagel shop around the corner (people were literally lined up out the door). I spoke with a lovely man from Texas while we were waiting in line (who had just happened to be in Guelph on business a few weeks prior...yes, it's a small world!) and after getting all the goodness that comes with a NYC bagel and cream cheese, I headed off to Dean and Deluca for one last caffeine fix. With a latte and bagel in hand, I headed towards Central Park, with a wee detour by Saks 5th Avenue. I had to have one last look at their Christmas windows!!

Saks 5th Avenue

Saks 5th Avenue



I then kept heading north towards the Park and literally had Breakfast at Tiffany's! 

Every time I'm in NYC, I go to Tiffany's and get myself a little something as a momento. Their windows were absolutely gorgeous and you  can't help but get into the holiday cheer when you're surrounded by such beautiful creations! THE, yes THE Tiffany Yellow Diamond was there too and it literally took my breath away! I was completely mesmerized ......

After picking out my piece and taking one last look around magic that is Tiffany's, I headed out to the Park. It was such a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the crazy warm weather, I just couldn't believe it! I felt like I had hit the jackpot!

I spent almost the entire day at the park...wandering, sitting, strolling....just letting all of the NYC goodness sink in! From the skating rink, to the lake (and there were people out in boats..in December!!), to the trees, the artists, the people, the sunshine.....I was in heaven!

After a few hours in the Park, I left with an absolutely goofy grin on my face....it has to be one of my favourite bits of NYC...the touch of country green space in the big city. 

I was off to meet a friend of a friend who took me on a fantastic tour through the city, down to Grand Central where we tried the Whispering Gallery, had samosas, drank in the architecture & history and enjoyed the 'hum' of people moving through the station en route to who knows where. She was a wealth of information about the city and it's buildings and the stories she was able to share were fantastic! It was the perfect way to wrap up my trip!

It was then back to the hotel to gather by bags and wait for the car to the airport....

I sat in this gorgeous little parkette across the street from the hotel, closed my eyes and let the city sink in for one last time.

I can't wait to get back to this wonderful city and I'm so grateful to have had the 48 hours there and all that they were filled with!

See you soon NYC!!


Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!

It's Boxing Day and I'm sitting here at the Country House beside the Christmas tree in a partial food coma. It's been a mix of emotions the past few weeks but as I sit here, I'm feeling very lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful family and friends and am very grateful for their love and support!

I will admit, I found it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year and I know many others expressed the same feeling. I think it had to do with the fact that we had double digit temperatures (in the positive #s) and green grass that could have almost used a cut on Christmas Eve. There's just something about a fresh blanket of snow to realllllly get you in the Christmas mood (not that I'm complaining at all about this amazing weather we've been having!).

I wasn't going to let the lack of snow dampen my Christmas decorating and I had such a good time decorating both my City Cottage and the Country Home. You saw the decor for my City Cottage in my Winter Neutrals post and I will say, the evenings I spent wrapping at my dining table with a warm adult beverage and sweet treat (see above), the magic of Christmas was in the air...finally!

Since that post, people have been inquiring as to where they could find similar rustic and natural decor pieces. If you want to create a similar look as that above and in the Winter Neutrals post, some sources for the decor items include:

Then it was time to decorate at the Country House. One of the great things of country living is that so many of the elements from your back yard can literally be used in your decorating.

I literally walked around the `back 50`, cut some some cedar, pine, spruce and red willow branches and voila, we had urns! 

We went to a local tree farm and found the perfect tree (with Charlie`s help of course!). We got it home, let it drop, hung the lights and after adding snowflake themed decorations, we could just sit back and enjoy its beauty! I`m sitting here, with the lights all aglow and it makes me wish I could freeze time...that we could leave the decorations up all year long... 

 I hope you had a great time with your family and friends and that you had the opportunity to make many more wonderful memories this Christmas! All the best!





Winter Neutrals

Not only have I been neglecting my blogging this year, but I've also been neglecting my home decor. That being said, Friday night was the night for Christmas to arrive at the city cottage!

I make a point of decorating more so for Winter versus a scheme that is 100% Christmas as I enjoy leaving the decor up as long as possible, seeing as I'm not home all that much to truly enjoy it!

This year was no different....I decided to go with a neutral, rustic theme this year, with a bit of metallics added in for some sparkle (it is Christmas after all). I put on the Love Actually soundtrack, cleared off the sideboard and raided the many rubbermaids downstairs that are overflowing with Christmas/Winter decor. The sideboard was soon transformed into a neutral, rustic centerpiece for my home.

The photo above was taken at about 9pm, shortly after I finished (my apologies for the not so great photo quality) and I just love the glow of the lights, the variety of textures, the rustic charm and natural elements.

I was so happy to wake up Saturday morning and love the sideboard as much in the daylight as I did at night. 

As you know, I have an affinity for trees and I try to use them in my decor as often as possible in some way shape or form. What better time of year to incorporate them then during the winter months? 

Fur, feathers, wood, glass, metal, burlap....all the elements that speak to me in their rustic ways and when they all come together, a little magic happens!

I've done a few little tweaks here and there since Friday and just love how it all came together!

As I'm writing this I've just come in from decorating the outside of my cottage (more to come on that soon) and I'm sitting down to enjoy a latte, an amazing cinnamon bun and just take it all in.


I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have been able to find some festive cheer to incorporate into your home!




Christmas Means to Me....

Christmas means transforming my home for the holidays by bringing out some sparkle and shimmer.....

Christmas means beautiful simplicity.....

Christmas means getting creative.....

Christmas means enjoying the creative talent of others and supporting local boutiques and shops ....Gorgeous as always Blushshop!

Christmas means traditions and making memories with friends....

Christmas means bringing the beauty of Mother Nature into your home....

Christmas means sitting back and enjoying the view.......

Christmas means snowflakes, red, white and family.......

Christmas means smiles, memories and Ho Ho Ho.......

As beautiful and happy as this time of year is.......It is also a time that can be not so happy. We do our best to focus on the good times.....the great times.....especially when we're surrounded by such joy and cheer....but we also tend to be reminded of those times that involved loss into our lives....that brought sadness. 

Christmas means two more things...and these are so very key! Christmas means to be grateful for who and what we have in our lives and it also means to reflect on and remember who and what we DID have. I find myself looking at pictures more often this time of year....seeing the smiling faces of moments that have passed by can be bittersweet. For that moment captured on film, life was just that....smiles and laughter...something to be so grateful for. But those smiling and happy people may no longer be with us...and while their smile makes you smile, your eyes fill with tears as you reflect and remember.

The holiday season can really be an emotional roller coaster for a number of reasons. When I find myself in a bit of a low spot on the holiday ride, I remember what Christmas means to me and I act on it. Whether I head downtown to admire the store windows or I curl up on the couch with a warm beverage, light all the Christmas lights and become enveloped with their glow...that low spot quickly starts moving up hill and smiles return.

A while back, I blogged about holiday stressors and ways to ensure you take care of you this Christmas. I hope you're doing that..taking care of you! Enjoying the season, just how you want to...remembering what Christmas means to you...

My wish and hope for you this holiday season is that it brings you a thousand reasons to smile.....and adds even more items/moments/memories to your list of what Christmas means to you...




Davishill = Christmasville

With all the snow we've had, it was time to put the snow tires on my car, which meant a trip to Walkerton. I can't go to Walkerton this time of year without popping into Davishill Nursery...one of my absolute favourite places to shop during the holiday season (and really any time of year)!  

You pull up to the greenhouse and cabin and all you see is Christmas! Urns, wreaths, swags, greenery, branches etc etc etc....

But then...you walk through the door of the little cabin, and you're greeted with a Christmas Wonderland.... Every inch is covered in Holiday wonderfulness! Trees adorned in every ornament and bauble imaginable, in every colour scheme possible for every design and decor taste and style. 

I couldn't leave without a few new pieces for my Christmas collection.... a 'birch bark' table runner and a 'birch bark' tree (to add to my Christmas Forest on my sideboard...see my Instagram for pics!) along with  a few gifts too! There were so many things that I absolutely loved...like the burlap poinsettias, the leather leaves with a sprinkle of glitter, music note paper 'swirls', wooden sleds, the fur wreath (*drool*)...the list goes on and on.

I will let the photos speak for themselves....and if you're in the Walkerton/Hanover area this Christmas season, be SURE to drop in!

I'm making it my goal to support as many local and small businesses as I can this Christmas and I challenge you to do the same! As you can see, they have so many unique and one-of-a-kind pieces....Let's support our friends and neighbours and give thoughtful gifts that truly have meaning!


It's OK!!

It's that time of year that 'To-Do' Lists grow to epic proportions; our calendars overflow with parties, events and get together's; budgets get thrown out the window and literally every waking hour is filled with some sort of holiday preparation.

Just writing this is making me nervous in anticipation of the upcoming Holiday Season. I have lists upon lists, shopping to do, wreaths to create, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, a house to decorate, gifts to make, cards to write and mail, parties to attend, workouts to fit in, a 9-5 job to focus on......I`m sure this list of tasks is similar to yours and as overwhelming as it can be, I enjoy every second of these activities. But....in reality.....can I really do this all on my own? ...And even more so.....Is there a reason why I need to try to do this all on my own?

A gal pal and I were out for dinner the other night and got talking about the pressures that come along this year. We came to the realization that a lot of these pressures are purely self inflicted....We can be so hard on ourselves during the holiday season and this must stop!

We feel that everything must be perfect (we see everyone's "perfect" lives on social media and forget that no one's life is really THAT perfect), that we must do/create everything ourselves (heaven forbid you ask for help) and that it all must be done in a way that looks effortless (if only we had staff to help us)!


IT'S OK to not be everything, to everyone, at all times! Especially this time of year.

This is a time of year that flies by in a blur, when we really should be spending time enjoying it with family and friends, immersing ourselves in the beauty and magic of the season. How many of us can actually say that we've really been able to do this in the last decade?

When you're making your list for all of your Holiday Tasks....why not make 2 columns? One for "Made by Me" and the second being "Made by Others". This is the time of year to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize and be sure to truly put value in your personal time as every minute counts.

Ask yourself, what are the Top 6 Holiday Tasks that I would "like to create myself" but that you know wholeheartedly that someone else could do for you. For instance, something like Holiday Baking...sure, you can head to the grocery store, buy all the supplies you need, get home, do all the prep, bake, cool and package the cookies, cupcakes, tarts, squares......I'm exhausted just thinking about all of this. Even though it's something you enjoy doing, maybe this year it's time to contact a wonderful local bakery and ask them to do your baking for you. Sure, on paper the direct monetary cost may seem to be a bit more (or it may not be), but remember what your time is worth. Your baking marathon may take an entire weekend, whereas you can pick up a phone and place an order for Christmas Goodies in less than 10 minutes. When you pick up the Goodies (or maybe they even deliver), you can still package them up in your own unique way, or maybe the bakery could even do that for you too. 

Take those 6 Tasks and put 3 into the "Made by Me" column and 3 into the "Made by Others"column.

Believe me....I understand how difficult it is to 'give up' part of your Holiday Ritual(s) that you enjoy doing, but what you gain back in time and decreased stress levels lets you truly focus on those 3 tasks you're going to do yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to find or return to great local resources to use again in the future, let alone how important it is to support local small businesses!

Remember, IT'S OK to prioritize to allow you more time for you and your loved ones this Holiday Season. No one will remember whether or not you baked them a cookie, but they will remember the afternoon on the outdoor rink, with huge fluffy snowflakes falling that you were able to spend with them because you weren't holed up in your kitchen all day.........


"That" Time of Year....

It's that time of year when we head to our basements in search of the boxes labelled "Christmas" and begin rummaging through decorations full of memories. Some of us start decorating immediately after Halloween while others wait until closer to December.

Even if you aren't starting your decorating now, I'm willing to bet you are starting to think about your holiday decor, dinners, entertaining, gifts, shopping etc etc.... Did you feel your pulse race a bit, either in happy anticipation or with a tad bit of anxiety for all that lies ahead over the next 2 months? I'm a fan of decorating for Christmas earlier than later for many reasons. It allows me time to truly enjoy the festive atmosphere in my home for a longer period of time; I can host family and friends through the entire holiday season with my home 'ready to go'; and decorating early takes one item off the longggggg Christmas/Holiday "To Do" List which for me, helps lower my pulse rate and stress levels. 

I definitely have my decor plans in place and will be implementing them sooner than later.....Do you? 

Wreaths, Urns, Swags, Garland, Decorations, Greenery, Sparkle.....Where to start?

Whether your holiday decor equals a wreath on your door or adorning every room in your home, Rustic Retrievals can assist you with pulling ideas together, implementing them and making them a reality...

I am taking orders for wreaths, urns, swags and centerpieces for both indoors and outdoors. You choose either live greens or artificial greens; you choose your colour scheme (I can also assist with this); and then the creative process begins!

Pricing varies depending on the materials used and the size of the piece(s), but they start at:

  • Wreaths - $45
  • Urns - $45 (per insert)
  • Swags - $30
  • Centerpieces - $30 

       ***discounts for multi-item purchases*** 

I also offer Decor Services....whether it's one hour in your home to help pull your ideas together or full decor services (ie. consult, plan, implementation of the plan), I can assist in making your home a holiday space to welcome your family & friends and for you to enjoy well into the New Year! Pricing starts at $45.00/hr for Decor Services. 

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Cheers to the Christmas and Holiday Season! December 25th will be here before we know it!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to email me at rusticretrievals@gmail.com or follow along with my holiday projects on Facebook and Instagram......