Links I clicked this week

Friday, February 20, 2015

I was so excited to read about Adriane's new business THE WILD!

Vitamins Hide the Low Quality of Our Food.

I'm doing a 30-day squat challenge. This one from POPSUGAR Fitness is fantastic because it breaks up the monotony of doing regular squats 200 times!

JCrew Factory has the cutest T-Shirts for boys.

This seemed kind of silly to me: Does Toronto need to change holiday shopping rules?

This T-shirt line has a logo for each Toronto neighbourhood (but not all!)

A green smoothie that tastes like caramel? I'm in.

Have a great weekend y'all!

ONE and MANY | ceramic design

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm realizing that I have a slight obsession with ceramics on Etsy. There are so many gorgeous pieces that filter through my stream including these beautiful pieces from Ya'ara Landau-Katz of ONE and MANY based out of Netanya, Israel.

From Ya'ara:

"My work is characterized by clean, modern lines; I strive for a classic, sophisticated style with a twist. I love working with a minimal color palette: white, blue, gray and black. I always try to give my products strong elements of simplicity, and I like to search for new shapes and compositions to incorporate into my work. I’m inspired by my surroundings and special moments in the everyday. I believe inspiration is everywhere, you just need to grab it."

Ahh something to add to my love affair with black and white.

Find more pieces from Ya'ara here | Facebook | Instagram

Links I clicked this week

Friday, February 13, 2015

I spent the week getting things ready for my surprise visit to my mom for her birthday. I made some soup and drove to Cobourg for the afternoon. It was fun and I think she was surprised! Here are the links I clicked to prepare for that and others I looked at this week:

Kale Quinoa Bites Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

I visited MillStone Bakery in Cobourg this week and the bread is to die for!

Beet, ginger & coconut milk soup. I made this for my mom's birthday lunch on Wednesday and it was super simple to put together and delish!

Blogging Trends: The Power of Newsletters

I loved this social experiment in Dundas Square in Toronto.

Ikea's new designer collection has be yearning for summer, now!

Happy Weekend and Happy Valentine's Day!

Fancy Farm Girl’s Wine 101 for Valentine’s Day

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Earlier this week I got an email from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan, Ontario, makers of Fancy Farm Girl Wines, which had some tips for enhancing your wine drinking experience. Since I like drinking wine, I thought I'd share. Here are Sue-Ann's tips:

Pour before your drink. Sue-Ann isn't talking about resisting the urge to drink out of the bottle (although that is a good tip!), but to decant your wines, especially the big, bold reds. Pouring your wines into a decanter allows them to breathe and brings new complexities to the flavour profile.

Swirl, sniff, sip and savour. Similar to decanting, giving your glass a swirl brings oxygen into the wine and opens up the flavor, while a sniff of the aroma will give you a better overall taste experience. Then take a sip and savour the wine as it washes over your tongue.

Get the perfect serving temperature. The common knowledge is to put your whites in the fridge and serve your reds at room temperature, but it’s not that simple. A light white wine (think Pinot Grigio or a semi-dry Riesling like Fancy Farm Girl’s Frivolous White), rose or bubbly is best served between 40°F and 50°F. Serve full-bodied whites like Chardonnay and lighter reds between 50°F and 60°F and bold reds between 60°F and 65°F — slightly cooler than room temperature.

Pair it up. Valentine’s Day is all about the right match. You have found your match and you can do the same with your wine, meal and dessert. If you're serving chicken, seafood, or light cheeses as an appetizer, go with an approachable, easy drinking white like a Riesling or Pinot Grigio. If your dinner is a little more flamboyant, match it with an equally-flamboyant red wine, which incidentally, will also pair well with that box of chocolates…

Visit a winery. Winery staff can walk you through the wines you're sampling and help you to better understand what you're tasting. There's also an undeniable romanticism amid the vineyards and wine tasting rooms (especially if they're located in a restored 1896 farm house). An escape to Niagara’s wine country is an unforgettable way to try new wines.

Be extravagant. Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day. Go over the top for that special someone in your life. After all, a bottle of wine pairs quite nicely with a tennis bracelet or diamond earrings.

Fancy Farm Girl Wines are currently at LCBO until May 7 if you want to try them!

This post is not sponsored, I just liked the tips and wanted to share!

Camp Wanakita + trying something new

Monday, February 09, 2015

A few months ago my friend Erin emailed me asking me, along with a few other friends from university, if I wanted to go on a weekend trip to Camp Wanakita. She said it would be a weekend of amazing fun, but that we'd be exhausted because we'd be outside in the cold for hours doing various activities.

Out in the cold for hours? Uh oh. I'm not a big fan of the cold; especially spending hours upon hours outside in it. But I decided to say yes. Here's the thing, I'm trying to say yes to most things people ask me to try these days (I'm sure I'll regret writing that down) even if it's out of my comfort zone. It's been my unofficial new year resolution. 

So I said yes and I asked my best friend Carol to come along. We've been trying to take a trip together for a while now and this was the perfect opportunity to get away. With no kids!

This past weekend, six of us packed into a minivan and drove up to Haliburton to Camp Wanakita. The first night we checked in and hung out in one of the bigger cabins. It was a bit awkward because there were 20+ women who all knew some of each other, but not all, but the activities brought everyone closer together in the end. We had some snacks and a couple drinks, went back to our own cabins and went to bed. 

Breakfast was at 8:30 and then it was time to strap on our snow shoes for a hike along the lake to check out a beaver dam with our weekend guide Caitlyn (she's wearing the orange headband above!). It was so interesting to go for a hike like this: we weren't really on a regular trail; instead we walked around and over trees and branches and over streams... anywhere we wanted to really. It was a beautiful way to walk in the wilderness.

After snow shoeing, we went straight to what they call the Low Ropes which consisted of several obstacles built using ropes that were close to the ground. We had to try to maneuver them on our own or sometimes with the help of others, challenging our stability, balance and perseverance. It was a very fun exercise and made me want to try to the high ropes in the trees some day.

We took off for the toboggan hill next. I'm not a huge fan of tobogganing (I blame my abnormally large tail bone!), but I wanted to try it at least once to say I did it. We went down on tubes and it was a wonderful scene watching grown women squee like children as they shot down the packed snow. 

Lunch was next and I don't think I've ever eaten so much at that time of the day. We were ravenous. Erin warned us we'd be hungry after the morning activities but I didn't expect to eat as much as I did. The food here was fantastic. Fresh salads, soups, and grilled cheese (yum!).

Cross country skiing was after lunch which was another first for me. We were supposed to ski across the lake to take in some frozen waterfalls. A few of us didn't make it that far, but I really enjoyed the trek and can definitely see myself skiing again.

We had a well-deserved rest, then dinner and then got geared up for a crazy game of broom ball. I've never played the sport and I'm sure I could have done better had it been on a court versus ice, but it was pretty fun. I have to admit that by this point I was ready to call it a night. We had been up for 12 hours and I wanted to chill and have some wine so a few of us went back to the cabin for just that.

Sunday we decided to leave early because the weather was threatening snow, so we piled back in the van after another fantastic breakfast and left the camp. 

I learned a few things about myself this weekend one of which is that it's ok to say yes when someone asks you to try something new because you can always stop if it makes you feel uncomfortable. The atmosphere at Camp Wanakita is perfect for that. Right up front Caitlyn told us we didn't have to do everything; that we could just sit and read or rest if we wanted to and that it was our weekend. It helped us to make decisions about what we wanted to do or felt we could do and helped to make the weekend that much more enjoyable. 

I learned that I can enjoy winter activities if I dress properly. The weather on Saturday was pretty mild which helped but I was so comfortable being outside all day that I started to embrace winter and forgot that I usually hate it...

Finally, I learned that it's ok to be away from my kids. I'm going to be completely honest: I was looking forward to my weekend away. Most of the weekend I only thought of what I was doing and not of what was going on back home (that is until Mark would send me super sweet photos of the kids a few times over the weekend). But as long as the kids and hubby were happy and having fun on their own, then it's ok for me to do the same.

It was a truly wonderful weekend and I look forward to more like it!

Links I clicked on this week

Friday, February 06, 2015

Next weekend is Valentine's Day and instead of going to Target (wahhh!) I decided to look on Etsy for Valentine's cards for Leo's class. I did a search for printable kid's valentine's and there are so many great options! I went through them to chose four that I thought Leo would like and then let him choose the one he wanted. He chose these cute dinos from AvEHdesigns. It's so simple to print them, especially if you already have card stock on hand and they look great printed from an ink jet. 

Here are some other links I clicked on this week:

How to cover an ugly AC wall unit. This is exactly the type of project I would like to do in our bedroom. I had this idea last year and tried to explain it to Mark but he didn't get my idea. Now he gets it! 

Crispy Cauliflower-Carrot Fritters with Smoky Garlic Aioli I made these for dinner this week and they were delish!

Mila is obsessed with the song Tomorrow. She sings it all day, every day. I apologize for getting it in your head.

This map shows which coffee shop rules your part of the country (US).

I think this is a great story.

No-Excuses Body Weight Blast (A printable!)

The sales at Target weren't quite what people were thinking.

That's it for today! Have a great weekend!

Interview with: Jennifer Kirk of Jennifer Kirk Photography

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

I first met Jenn about 10 years ago through my sister-in-law Lisa and immediately loved her personality and giant smile (she's smiling and laughing all the time by the way). She was just getting into the photography business and travelled with us to Martha's Vineyard to be a guest and to shoot Lisa's wedding. She was so much fun to have around that when it came time to decide a photographer for our wedding we asked her. Here's the kicker... we got married in Italy and she agreed to travel with us! It was amazing having her along for the trip and she did such a fantastic job. She lives in BC now and has taken the west by storm with her business Jennifer Kirk Photography. Read more about this fantastic gal below.

Tell me about Jennifer Kirk. What do you love to do, hate to do, wish you could do?

I love camping, hitting my reset button beside a quiet mountain lake. I love trying new things and new foods. I love fancy dinners. I hate waking up to an alarm. I wish mortgages didn’t exist so I could spend more time travelling!

How did you get into the photography business?

I didn’t know I would end up loving weddings so much. I attended a wedding show with a friend who had asked me to shoot her wedding, it would be my first. I met someone who was looking for an assistant, so I did that for a while to gain experience. I shot my first wedding in film on the island of Martha’s Vineyard that summer, which makes this August my tenth anniversary in the wedding industry!

Why did you start your own company?

I strive for a balance in my life – making my own hours has always appealed to me. Being self-employed is more work in a lot of ways, but the cliché is right, do what you love and it doesn’t seem like work. I thrive under pressure and revel in providing my clients with something that will last a lifetime. Working for myself is a natural fit.

What do you think is missing from the photography industry and how do you want to change it?

Tough question! This industry changes every year. I think there are things both missing and in abundance but I try to focus on what I am doing, and on pleasing my hard-earned customers. I don’t want to change anything so long as my business model is producing happy clients!

What types of photos do you love to take?

The kind that show personality, and realness. Somebody once told me “use what is great about you to show others what is great about them” and a few years ago, a groom saw himself in all his bear-hug, teary-eyed glory in my photos and realized what everyone loves about him, that he loves BIG. That moment summed it all up for me.

What are you passionate about outside of photography?

Fitness… if I’m not taking or working on photos I’m probably at the gym. I’m also a certified fitness trainer and I love helping people find their love for health and fitness. It’s something that works nicely with my business and in fact enhances it, I no longer feel like I’ve been hit by a bus after shooting a wedding! It’s just another day, and I’m usually spending some of it at the gym.

Favourite food to eat?

Do I really have to pick just one? I can’t. It’s a toss up between bacon, those little white donuts, crab legs and pasta.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Africa. A safari is definitely on my bucket list, along with a scuba diving experience off Matagascar with the whale sharks.

Thanks so much Jenn! See more of Jenn's work on her website here.

Patrick Lajoie Photography

Monday, February 02, 2015

I first noticed the work of Patrick Lajoie at The One of Kind Show last year and instantly fell for his work. I love how he makes everyday events and things look extraordinary. My favourites are the photos of random signs and beach scenes. I particularly love his long 6 x 48 Image Transfer pieces. I didn't bother to include them here because they wouldn't fit! 

I've been keeping an eye out for original art and Patrick's work tops the list. To see more beautiful pieces visit his website here. Or visit his Etsy shop here.

ps- Patrick is also an accomplished workworker! He has an Etsy shop called Studio Liscious where he makes and sells gorgeous pieces for the home.
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