Snow Day!

Tuesday Feb 12th, 2019

snow storm

Who doesn't love a good snowstorm when the city shuts down? With schools and businesses shuttered or closing up early across Toronto, well, there is nothing left to do but go play in the snow. We did put in the work first and shovelled our neighbours' walks (finally, I got out there before they did!). Then we put in the fun. Frozen eyelashes, numb toes, snowflakes sliding down the napes of our necks ... YES! That's a proper snow day. To wrap it all up: hot... [read more]

Snowbody like our St. Clair West neighbours

Thursday Feb 07th, 2019

Toronto snow

Our St. Clair West neighbours are top-notch. If I didn't know this before, I came to know it when it first snowed. Now, throughout our Toronto winter, It is almost a rush to get out there — to see who can shovel each others' walkways first! I do lose, often, due to the fact that our one neighbour is an incredibly early riser and has all kinds of energy first-thing, and well, I have two kids including a newborn (aka slooooow moving... [read more]

Why the Chinese New Year is special to me

Wednesday Feb 06th, 2019

Chinese New Year

One of the most transformative times in my life? When I lived in China for several months. Experiencing the culture, learning the language, finding my way through the continent before I knew the language, eating weird stuff and seeing some of the world's most beautiful sights ... life-changing. So when I see the Chinese New Year has come around again, some of my most special memories wash over me. I think about how fascinated I was by the culture, the architecture, the dumplings, the... [read more]

Snow better time than the first snow

Monday Jan 21st, 2019

Toronto snow

The day I've been waiting for is finally here — Toronto's first big snow of the season. What we've seen so far — a couple of snowflakes, the light dusting here and there, the quiet crunch under your boots, snow that falls off the car the moment you drive away ... nah. There is nothing better than when that heavy powder just blankets the city and the air is crisp enough to freeze your eyeballs, just a little. Bring on the frigid temps! I love... [read more]

Bye bye holidays — hello 2019!

Sunday Jan 06th, 2019

Christmas Santa

We gained back a serious amount of greenspace at our home the other day when we bid adieu to our bountiful holiday blowups for the year, which covered the entirety of our front lawn. A bittersweet moment, as our colossal Santa, massive snowman and biggest and newest addition, the reindeer, (and more!) had become an enjoyable of smiley friends we got used to seeing every time we came home from work. But ... it was also the sign of a new year beginning.  Happy 2019,... [read more]

Holiday fun

Sunday Dec 23rd, 2018


How does time fly by so quickly. Suddenly the holidays are here, which means the end of the year is near. This is why it is so important to live each day to the fullest, especially during our fleeting holiday season. Our much-too-short summer in Toronto flies by too, but let's not start thinking about that — I'm still hopeful for that all-too-tough-to-come-by white Christmas! As you can probably imagine, our front lawn has transformed into a magical stage of snow-themed and... [read more]

An extra special Hanukkah season

Sunday Dec 09th, 2018

Hanukkah menorah

Just before Christmas gets underway in full force, we will enjoy this last evening of Hanukkah, and all of the traditions we as a young family have begun. My fiancee, Jenn, is Jewish, and has introduced me to many incredible holidays and celebrations. What a week of candle lighting, latkes and family celebrations. Oh, and all of the presents! This year in time for Hanukkah, we were blessed to welcome into the world a baby boy, Emmett Seth Leonard! He has begun his life basked in the... [read more]

Our tricky tree

Wednesday Nov 14th, 2018

Tricky tree

Our new house in the St. Clair and Dufferin area is quite perfect for my growing family. Certainly part of its curb appeal is the beautiful tree that adorns our front lawn, one of the biggest trees on the street. I have been able to get to know this massive arbour for the last few months, and now I can see it has a mind of its own. It’s our friend — but it has also become our foe. We have a love-hate relationship.  I wouldn't trade it for a shrub, nor an... [read more]

What's your favourite part of fall?

Thursday Nov 08th, 2018

fall leaves

One cool thing about living in a multiseasonal country (out of so many cool things) is watching the leaves change colour and do their thing. Before the snow hits and the bare branches get covered by snow and crystallize with ice, the leaves run through a spectrum of changing colours that is so beautiful — if you can remember to stop and look up and appreciate. Then of course, they all fall down, leaving an exciting play area for the kiddies that is allllll Mother Nature. Kicking... [read more]

Thank you to our Halloween contest winners!

Tuesday Nov 06th, 2018

Halloween winner

A big hearty thanks to all of our Halloween contest winners! We loved your Halloween spirit, we loved your spooky decorations, we love what you did for the neighbourhood. The month of October is just so much fun when you can see ghouls hanging from trees, bloodied body parts littering the lawn, and assorted creepy characters giving you the stare-down as you walk by. Our St. Clair West neighbours really showed their spirit.  Winners — we hope you enjoy your $25 gift cards!... [read more]

Our Halloween house

Tuesday Nov 06th, 2018

Halloween-night house

  So this is what Halloween looked like at our house.  I wouldn't be giving the honest truth if I said I did it ALL for the kiddies, as you can guess I probably have a tough time holding back (all the while a huge smile on my face). But it certainly was a ton of fun and quite incredible to hear the response to our devilish display throughout the neighbourhood. We incorporated spooky music, fog machines, weird lights, and of course, my nightmarish... [read more]

Are you a contest winner?

Tuesday Oct 30th, 2018

Halloween house

We have really been spooking ourselves as we drive around our fabulous St. Clair West neighbourhood scouting for frightening houses to select as contest winners. We have seen ghastly ghosts, blood-curdling boogeymen and creepy cobwebs galore. We have seen caskets and cemeteries and ghouls and gravestones and let's not forget the strange scarecrows standing in the shadows. I can't wait to see what happens come nightfall on the big night. I talk a big game, but I might end up... [read more]

The Halloween madness continues ...

Monday Oct 29th, 2018

Halloween clown

We are just mere days away from the big day and I think I may be struggling with a bit of an obsession. I just can't stop decorating. Readers, Dads, Halloween fanatics — am I striking a chord with anyone out there? I know I am not alone, as I have seen some of your houses, decorated voraciously, several of which have been crowned winners in our fabulous Halloween contest (do see the link from the home page!). Beetlejuice now has a friend — a terrifying clown that is even... [read more]

Madness of a Realtor

Friday Oct 26th, 2018


Driving around our incredible St. Clair West neighbourhood is getting quite fun these days. I can see people are really getting into the Halloween spirit. I'm glad to see I am not ... er ... alone. Our house has begun to take on a life of its own. Life amongst the undead, that is.  It might be surprising to some that I admittedly have this crazy kid inside me, who, once he smells the pumpkins and sees the Halloween movies hit the TV lineup, cannot wait to tear into the stores... [read more]

Our Halloween contest is live!

Monday Oct 22nd, 2018

Halloween contest

We are excited to announce our Halloween contest, live today! Halloween is extremely important in my books, as it enables me to let my inner child out and get a little crazy. We're talking costumes, scary movie marathons and decorations. Oh, the decorations. As a real estate agent, I do offer my two cents toward my clients' interior design when they need a hand, but it's on Halloween that I let my design chops out, full force, scaring the neighbours and... [read more]

Dinosaur hunters

Sunday Oct 21st, 2018

Dinosaurs at Canada's Wonderland

We brrrr-aved the c-c-c-old today to venture to Canada's Wonderland one last time this year. Yes it was absolutely freeeeeezing (I swear I can spell, I just can't stop accentuating my cold words!) but the fun that can be found at Wonderland this late in the season, with Halloween around the corner, can almost make you forget about the cold. Kids and Wonderland staff were dressed in costumes, there were spook-tified rides, trick or treating, and of course, there is the anticipated... [read more]

Fall — cool temps, colourful trees, and pumpkin pie

Saturday Oct 20th, 2018

Fall leaves

Fall is my favourite season. I love the crisp, cool air, I love dressing warmly in denim and a toque, I love the leaves falling, I love going for walks and seeing our trees change from green to oranges and reds, and I love the comfort food! Grilled root vegetables, mushroom and barley soup, baked apples … and of course, pumpkin pie. I’m considering a post-Thanksgiving dinner pumpkin pie, a second one, to just have. It just looks so nice on our counter. Might. Just. Have. To. Eat.... [read more]

Real Estate/Real Life

Wednesday Oct 17th, 2018

Ben Leonard in Bagan, Myanmar

  Welcome to our blog! As you will see from the name, Real Estate/Real Life, our blog aims to step outside the usual real estate market news, buying and selling tips and décor ideas and create content that better represents who we are. I am a real estate agent dedicated to my craft, but I wanted to give you better insight into who I am and why you may choose to work with me — I want to show you I am not a robot, as I feel that many real... [read more]