Monday, December 14, 2015

Team Tolhurst Christmas Traditions :: Part 2

We hope you liked our first 12 Traditions. Here are the next 13 Team Tolhurst Traditions, to carry you through to Christmas Day! (Sorry I am a little late in posting.) You can follow along on instagram | @sassianne @instasam_iam #25teamtolhursttraditions

13 :: Plan your Christmas meal
So many meals, so little time … get a jump start on planning your holiday meals. If you are anything like me, you’ll love the feeling of writing a big long list of everything from festive food to fancy table décor!
My favourite meal on Christmas Day (actually, any day) is Brunch! This year we are making individual baked egg dishes as well as a hash brown dish & of course coffee and mimosa’s!

14 :: Let’s get creative
There are so many ways to get creative at Christmas time. From wrapping, to wreathing, decking the halls, baking & planning party outfits, the list is endless. Find an avenue you like & go all out in getting your creative on!

15 :: Watch your favourite Christmas movies
We have a list of our top 25 Christmas movies that we like to cycle through each year. My top fave’s are :: White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Holiday, Elf & Miracle on 34th Street.

16 :: Go ice skating outdoors
Now, in my mind this is such a romantic fun activity to do … in reality I am usually so cold within minutes of being outside that I rarely enjoy this experience! However, every year I try again, just to make sure …

17 :: See a local production
I have heard a number of people have an annual evening each Christmas to see The Nutcracker at the Ballet … I am determined to start this tradition in our family this year.

18 :: Buy a Christmas day dress
Growing up, my sisters and I would always buy a new dress to wear on Christmas day. A fun new look to celebrate in! Since being married my husband has carried on the tradition and continues to buy me a new dress each year. Yes, he picks it and yes, every year I have loved it!

19 :: Christmas Lights
Make a thermos of hot chocolate & drive around looking at Christmas Lights. Or if you are in Calgary, make a trip to the zoo to experience Zoo Lights!

20 :: Pick a gift wrapping theme + wrap your gifts
Oh how I love to wrap! It really is such a delightful experience for me. Each year I go out and buy my wrapping theme. And its not always “Christmasy” This year I have brown & white printed paper and neon coloured ribbon! Think outside the box!
Gather your friends and make a night of it.

21 :: Fill your Christmas Stockings
Last year Samuel and I started a new tradition where we made filling each others stockings into a game. We set a $50 limit, and had a limited time in 2 stores in which to purchase. It was fun & caused us to be decisive, quickly!

22 :: Buy Christmas Eve Pj’s
This is a tradition we have picked up since living in Canada, it seems to be quite popular here. I love putting on those fresh new jammies and getting cozy on Christmas Eve. I cannot wait to find some this year for Zeke!

23 :: Christmas Eve Service
There really is something magical about being at church on Christmas Eve. Whether it is midnight mass or earlier, stopping to reflect on the real reason we are celebrating, is both calming and refreshing after all the hustle and bustle.

24 :: Open a gift on Christmas Eve
Snuggle up with a cup of mulled wine & chocolate as you share a sneaky gift before the whirlwind of Christmas.

25 :: Sleep out by the tree & read the Christmas story
On Christmas Eve, Samuel and I love to move our bed out by the Christmas tree. We slow down, read the Christmas story and fall asleep to the rhythmic blinking of the twinkling lights.

There you go! 25 of our family traditions. Hope you enjoyed them and maybe picked up a few new ones for you and your tribe.
May you have a radiant Christmas & a delightful New Year!

Image ::

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Team Tolhurst Christmas Traditions :: Part I

25 Days of Team Tolhurst Christmas Traditions

Well, its that time of year where celebrations and sparkles reign.
Where lights twinkle + sugar is sprinkled,
Traditions are created & saved.
It’s Christmas Time!

For the next 25 days on instagram I am going to be sharing pictures of our personal family traditions or new traditions I would like to adopt.
Follow along on instagram @sassianne & @instasam_iam
 Just in case you need inspiration for creating some of your own, here are the first 12 of our 25 Team Tolhurst Traditions.

1 :: Decorate the Christmas Tree
Growing up the 1st of December was the traditional day of decorating the Christmas Tree. This is a tradition Samuel and I have continued in our married life. I must admit, I do set up a few other Christmas decorations in anticipation to this day!

2 :: Create Your Own Advent Calendar
It’s never too late to start your advent calendar! This year we have added “Random Acts of Kindness to each day of our calendar. Inside each bag is an ornament to hang, a candy to eat + an act to do.

3 :: Buy a New Christmas Ornament
My mum has bought each of her 6 children a new ornament every year of our lives! And now our spouses and children too. My husband and I have also adopted this tradition & we are so excited to buy our son his first ornament by local designer @milkandhoney.yyc
No themed tree for us, but an eclectic messy work of art!
4 :: Christmas Décor
Get creative with your décor. Simplify it & look for new ways to use what you have.
I love filling up glass vases with coloured ball ornaments.

5 :: Create a Christmas Music Playlist
Or just let do it for you! I don’t ever tire of Christmas music, the new, the old, all day, every day!

6 :: Christmas Baking
Now this is a tradition I would like to adopt. I sometimes occasionally bake. But this year we have promised friends we will bake with them while watching a Christmas movie, so I am accountable now!

7 :: Create + Enjoy Christmas Drinks
Most evenings between now and Christmas are filled with family and friends celebrating, watching Christmas movies and wrapping gifts, so why not cheers with creative + festive drinks?! Here is a list of our favourites -
Bailey’s in coffee, Mimosa’s, kahlua in hot choc + mulled wine! 

8 :: Create a Christmas Card
Creating + writing Christmas cards as a kid was one of my favourite holiday things to do but these days I am usually pretty terrible at writing them. Now I love to pick a fun picture of us from the year and turn it into our Christmas card! I simply edit the picture at home and print it them out at Walmart.

9 :: Host a Christmas Party
Sometimes there are just too many people we want to give a gift to and so years ago we came up with the tradition of hosting a Christmas Party in lieu of gifts. We invite our dearest fun friends and enjoy either an evening of appies and wine or a morning of brunch and mimosa’s!

10 :: Build a Gingerbread House
Truth be told, I don’t actually like eating ginger bread houses … But there is something fun about gathering some of your besties & sweet treats and letting their creative juices fly!

11 :: Make a Hamper for Someone in Need
Each Christmas Samuel + I will try to make a hamper for a family in need. If we can, we like to include others in this random act of kindness & go shopping as a group. We set a budget & make a game of it to see how close we can stick to the budget.

12 :: Doing Gifts verses Material Gifts
My husband Samuel is a minimalist to the max! He does not like stuff, so material gifts are hard to buy for him. So when we got married (11 years ago) we started the tradition of buying “doing gifts” or an activity. One of us will buy the doing gift for us both to do & the other one will buy a few material gifts. We alternate each year who gets what!

Well, there you have it! The first 12 Team Tolhurst Traditions! Stay tuned for the next 12 and don’t forget to follow along on instagram | @sassianne & @instasam_iam

Monday, November 30, 2015

'Tis the Season

Tis the Season …

Back when one of my closest friends and I were a little younger and not nearly as wise, we used to truly dislike the phrase “Don’t worry, this is just a season you are going through!” Why did it seem like we were always going through some kind of  “season?”
As we grew older and slightly more wise, we realized that this is exactly what life is all about, a never-ending series of seasons!

Just like the Earth goes through Summer, Autumn (Fall), Winter + Spring, we as humans also go through seasons. Sometimes our seasons are blissful and carefree, while others are painful + more difficult, and these are the ones that stretch us, mold us + make us. 

This year has been a season of stretching, learning + growing for Samuel + I. We have been striped back. Earlier in the year I made the decision to leave my full time role and follow some creative dreams + become self-employed. This in itself has had layers of learning.
We have been learning the art of being still, being content + patient in the waiting. Through heartache, patience & forgiveness we have had to fight for some of our closest relationships, while others have deepened with the blink of an eye + some that have simply faded away.
All of these things, I think we will continue to learn more of for the rest of our lives.

Samuel & I love to travel, adventure and explore but this year we haven’t been able to do nearly as much travel as we would like. This makes us feel stuck, trapped and a little bit antsy. Especially when you watch others flying in + out, camping and taking weekend trips to the mountains. Let’s be honest, sometimes it is hard to take a step back and be content with where you are and what you have. But this is the lesson we spent most of Summer learning. Being thankful in every season + situation we found ourselves in.

And then along came Ezekiel … our peaceful little son, born on none other than Canadian Thanksgiving! A coincidence, I think not! A constant reminder to be thankful, always, no matter what.
As we entered this very new season and uncharted waters (for us,) Samuel has chosen to take extended paternity leave, so he can be present in these precious new days. This is a narrow road, one far less taken.
Comments of “oh you’re so lucky to have him at home with you.” or “That is such a luxury, I wish we could do that.” began streaming in.
Luck & luxury have nothing to do with it. It is simply a CHOICE that we made. And a choice that comes with significant financial sacrifices. The age old battle of time verses money… But this time is priceless and can never be bought!

Less is more and we are rich indeed. Riches are not the $$$ in your bank account but really are in the relationships you share, the experiences you have + the memories you make.
Our family motto sums  it up -

S. xx

iPhone photography :: Samuel Tolhurst @instasam_iam
Location :: West Hillhurst, Calgary, Canada
Style Details :: Shirt dress by H&M | Sweater by Target | Leggings by Ebay | Booties By Aldo | Necklace by Colette By Colette Hayman | Earrings by Mimco | Makeup by MAC 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sweet Sensations | Fairy Floss Locks

Fairy Floss, the Aussie term for Cotton Candy … And that’s exactly what my new hair makes me think of, fluffy fun and a love for sugar!

Calgary is full of hidden gems + highly creative people. I am so honoured when I get to meet and mingle with some of its finest.
Enter Dawn, from Dawn Bradley Hair who I met through a mutual friend a number of years ago … Dawn is an incredibly creative woman who runs her own Hair Studio here in the city … (with an exciting new location coming soon!! Stay tuned!)

As soon as I arrived at her studio, I knew I was in for a treat. Dawn has made her space her own + only great things can come out of a place where creative juices are free to flow.
The sign " Do what you LOVE what you do" that hangs right by the mirror, is just one more confirmation that this woman is passionate about what she does and creates. 

I love colour + I love adventure, so I blended the two and let Dawn go to town on my do! And I was not disappointed!
Having had the purple/blue rinse look for quite some time now, I thought why not try pink?! I remember wanting to try the pink about four years ago + am only just getting around to it now! Better late than never …

I love that adventure and experimentation awaits me at each hair appointment I make. I love always having hair stylists that just love to play! And Dawn is no exception …
I get giddy with excitement when I know I am headed to a hair appointment, who knows what will happen sometimes!

Check out Dawn’s other incredible works + do’s on her Instagram and to book an appointment with her be sure to go to her website

I know we aren’t all as relaxed with who touches our hair + what they do with it but today, I dare you to try something new, you never know you just might be liberated in a whole new way!

S. xx

P.S. I did a tiny little freak out when Dawn brought out the mixed colour, so I had to share the pic! X 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BEACH | Calgary's Beauty Spot

Of everything Australia has to offer, it's the beaches we miss the most, (besides our family & friends of course!)
So we soak up any taste of the ocean we can get ... Introducing BEACH! A healthy beauty bar & Calgary's newest beauty spot.
Officially into its second week, this beach is somewhere you will want to make your regular watering hole. There’s even real sand you can sink your toes into (obviously, before your pedicure treatment) !!

Not only is the atmosphere calming & relaxed just like that of the beach, the staff are beautiful, knowledgeable & personable. The prettiest details have been thought of and really make this place its own. Anyone that creates excellence in atmosphere is a winner in my books!

The product used is toxic free, cruelty free & organic. Being pregnant this has become even more important to me of late. 
I am more than ever aware of my body, and the little life inside of it. Knowing I can be treated and our Sesame is safe allows me to really relax & enjoy the pampering, worry (& toxins) free.
The gel polishes used are Bio Seaweed Gel and for a normal application the cheeky fun brand Trust Fund Beauty is used! I am in love with the one I picked out “Put A Ring On It!”

Alongside your manicure & pedicure, you can enjoy a complimentary elegant glass of champagne … I will be back in a few months to indulge in this treat. But for now I have tasted their iced tea delights with great appreciation!

As well as a mani/pedi, the BEACH beauties also offer make up & hair styling sessions, all at comparable prices! 

Every day is a fun day at BEACH with their themed weekdays …
Mondays are Mom Days – Tuesdays are Industry Days, Wednesdays are Dude Days & Thursdays are Student Days. And Private parties for you & your gal pals is also a must!

So be sure to grab your bestie & visit this fresh, life giving atmosphere! I'll probably see you there! 

S. xx


Friday, August 7, 2015

Reflections :: Life of Busy

Take "busy" out of your vocabulary & eliminate busyness from your life ... for we are what we speak. This is my goal!

I have lived busy for most of my life. I was a busy baby, (walking at 9months!) an even busier child and busyness has continued to surround my life into adulthood.  

I love being busy, just ask those closest to me ... But over the past 3 or so years and even more this year, I have begun to question my busyness. For what reason am I so busy? Is my value and identity wrapped up in how busy I am & how much I can do?  

We live in a society, a time & a culture that glorifies busyness. It is an excuse, a reason, and a way of life for most people. Whether we are aware of it or not we can look to find our value and identity in being busy. Listen to people's first response when you ask them how they are ... It is usually answered with a "Oh, I'm so busy ..." 
Samuel & I recently experimented with this in a large group of friends. EVERY person said "busy" in their response to questions of "How are you? How was your week? How is your Summer?"  

At what point did our lives become validated by how "busy" we are?  
I am very aware that we will all have seasons of busyness but when it becomes an automatic response or excuse for everything, it starts getting a little old ...  

When we become too busy for people, life is too busy and we need to look at making some lifestyle changes.  
I recently resigned from my full time job & a major reason was because I realised I was too busy for people and this broke my heart. Others, is what my life is all about and I had begun to neglect them. My question was "for what?"  
I made a choice that cost me dearly in relationships and financial security but in return, that decision has given me great joy and time for others. As well as time for the unexpected.   

Busyness, like anything is a choice. Choice is a gift, we can all choose to respond to life & circumstances in any way we wish, what's your choice?  
I honestly don't think that when we get to heaven God will say "Well done, you were so busy" No, He will say "Well done" ONLY if we are faithful with WHO created us to BE and if in that we were faithful with what he gave us to DO. 

All too often these days I am hearing stories of how people have gone through moving house, having operations & even having babies without any help or care from the communities that surround them. All because people are too busy and we assume someone else with help them. And we all know what happens when we assume ...  
To assume is to "suppose to be the case, without proof."  
If you can assume, you can ask. 
Get the proof, don't just make something up in your head. 

We are called to DEMONSTRATE LOVE, not simply say love, think love or text love but to actually turn up and show love to those around us.  

Although we are constantly "connected" through the devices that never seem to leave our hands, we are living in very isolating & self centred times.  
We have lost the art of creating time margins in our lives. Just like we need to have financial margins in our budgets for emergencies, effective time management will allow you to create time margins in your life. Try not booking up every second of every day and realise the freedom this can bring as well as being even more effective in what you do. Watch it allow you to meet new people, connect on a deeper level and eliminate feeling rushed. 
Now, in all of this, I am not saying we should live lazy lifestyles but are we using and hiding behind "busy" as an excuse too much of the time?  

Just as much as we have been designed to DO, in fact even more, we have been created to BE. When was the last time you truly rested? When was the last time you committed to something straight away without waiting for a better option? When was the last time you spontaneously did anything? When have you set aside your busyness & sacrificed something just to show someone else you cared?  

I am a pro at being busy for busy sake but due to unforeseen circumstances this year and of late, having had emergency surgery, I have been forced to let go, embrace rest and be on the other side of busy. It has finally caught up with me and I am listening. 

If you have ever felt I was too busy for you, or I didn't show up when you thought I might, I am truly, sincerely sorry ...  

We are what we think & what we think becomes what we say & do. Busy is a word I am trying to delete from my vocabulary and in turn, eliminating the unnecessary busyness from my life ... 

S. xx

Top & bottom images by Annie Groves ::
Location :: Lanikai, Hawaii

#FBF :: Eyelets of Summer

Eyelets of Summer

I have too many pictures of outfits and events that I never got around to posting.
So, in order to TRY & keep myself consistent, each Friday I am going to TRY and post a Flash Back Friday post here on the blog! A look back … So here goes the first one!

#FBF to a warm sunny mid spring afternoon. I remember it being one of the first days the weather warranted shorts and a t-shirt! That first feeling of sun on winter skin, nothing but delightful!
I think i was a little four months pregnant here and my belly was just beginning to grow and show!

I am loving this trend of eyelet fabrics. You can honestly find so many different variations of this summer trend. Small eyelets, large eyelets, dresses with eyelets, skirts, shirts, you name it!
For a sophisticated clean look, stick to eyelets in white. Although navy and black won't go astray either ... Pair with denim and strappy sandals and there you have a simple fresh look that can take you from brunch to drinks or a picnic by the water soaking up every ray our short Summer (& Spring!) gives us!

S. xx

iphone photography :: @instasam_iam
Location :: Calgary, Canada
Style Details ::  Top by Banana Republic | Jean shorts by Target | Sandals from Town Shoes | Sunnies by Mimco Australia | Coat by ASOS | Bangles by Target | Watch by The Horse