Mini fireplace update

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do you happen to remember when I mentioned that we were thinking of doing a big fireplace reno in our living room? Well guess what? We ended up doing something but it wasn't a major reno. We made a minor change that made a biggish impact.

Do you see the difference?

After writing the post, I suggested to Mark that we simply put in shelves into the weird side areas of the fireplace and call it a day, so that's what we did. Mark made some shelves out of MDF and then we painted them white to match as best we could. Now we get to keep the texture of the brick behind the shelves, while at the same time breaking up the massive brick area with a few of our favourite shelfie things.

They're not super-styled or full of stuff which is fine by me. I'm really trying not to bring a bunch of stuff into the house just to make it look nice. I want to love what I bring into the house from now on. So I just grabbed some things around the house to add to the shelves and the rest will come later.

My favourite organic red wines

Monday, April 27, 2015

Roche Bastide Cotes Du Rhone AOC Organic (My personal favourite!)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: organic red wine will not cause bad hangovers (within reason of course....).*

Last year I went to Cellar Door, my favourite Italian restaurant in the area and we ordered a bottle of Roche Bastide, an organic red wine. Over the course of the night, we had about two bottles or so at the table and then went home. I remember thinking that I shouldn't have had as much wine as I did and I was kind of dreading waking up in the morning. But when the morning came, I didn't feel horrible. I had a slight headache, but I rolled out of bed and got on with my day like any other day.

Some time after that night, Mark brought home some Beau's to try on a Friday night. We had a few more than we should have and again, I found myself dreading the morning wake-up. But once again, when I woke up I felt fine.

Then I started to realize that the reason I wasn't getting hangovers was because we were drinking organic wines and beer. According to Wines of Canada, organic wine is wine that has been produced with organically grown grapes and although the wines may contain sulphites, they're naturally occurring as no sulphites are added. Also the organic (unofficial in some cases) label comes with using proper cleaning solutions used to clean the tanks and equipment.

As many know, I'm a huge proponent of buying organic and I had never made the change to drink solely organic wines and beer but I'll make the move to drink more of these in the future. The lack of hangover is worth it!

*This of course is a personal experiment so I can't speak for the hangover level experienced by the mass population.
**I know this post makes it seem like I drink a lot but I assure you these instances are spread out over time! 

Links I clicked this week

Friday, April 17, 2015

Image via I Heart Organizing

I ordered these super sweet TOMS for Mila.

I'm going to try this 10-Minute Jump Rope workout next week!

A genius way to teach your child not to interrupt via A Cup of Jo

I'm getting rid of my blender and here's why.

As fundraising gap grows, Toronto’s wealthy schools leaving poor schools behind

9 Tips for Becoming a Farmers' Market Maven

Food Irradiation: 5 Things You Need to Know

I love this painted shoe cabinet from I Heart Organizing!

Twin strangers: Woman finds her exact doppelganger on Facebook. I've been thinking about this for a while... have you ever realized that everyone you see seems to fit into a particular group of facial similarities (does that make sense? It does in my head...)? Take notice next time you're out in public!

Ok that's it! Have a great weekend folks!

Backyard urban garden inspiration

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I have romantic visions of creating and maintaining a beautiful vegetable garden. I would grow everything I typically get from the store or market and it would just be gorgeous and delicious and little bugs and animals would stay away.

Lovely thought, isn't it?

Alas, gardening takes a crap load of work, but a girl can dream.

I'm determined to start a garden this year though. I even have a place picked out along the driveway fence where those little cars and trucks are in this pic:

Now to get building... I would love to have a wood structure stained the same colour as the fence so it blends in well. It'll come out about three or four feet and will be built into two boxes. We need to allow room to access the back door in the fence because that's where we keep our garbage containers. I looked around on Pinterest for a few ideas and I realized there are a lot of gardening people out there!

With every urban garden picture I found I thought: These people get it! They're growing their own food so they will be able to sustain themselves if the food system goes kaput and we're all scrounging for something to eat.

Yes I read too much Margaret Atwood and watch too many movies like the Hunger Games.

Anyway I digress. Here are a few inspiring photos for our little urban garden.

Photo via Stark Insider

Photo via Eco Worrier

Photo via Fiskars

Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

Photo via Wallace Gardens
Do you have a little urban garden oasis? Give me your tips!

Meal planning my workouts

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ok so obviously planning workouts doesn't have anything to do with meal planning, but I was thinking last night that it would be great to plan my workouts the same way I plan my meals so that I always know what's coming up. I have been wanting to kick my workouts up a notch and one of the best ways to do that is to get in the habit of coming up with an exercise plan every week.

The awesome thing about the Internet is that there are tons of exercises to choose from. I've really been loving Popsugar Fitness. The workouts are short, but intense which is great if you only have a short period of time to get in a workout. We have P90X3 at home so it's easy to squeeze that in while Mila is napping or after the kids have gone to bed. The key is to make routines as accessible as possible so you'll do them! I've also started a Pinterest folder for Fitness which makes it easy to earmark the routines I want to try.

Ok. Here's the first one! Let's see how this goes:

8 p.m.: P90X3 yoga (30 mins)

7:45 p.m.: neighbourhood bootcamp (60 mins)

(25 mins total)

7:45 p.m.: neighbourhood bootcamp (60 mins)

1 p.m.: P90X3 Pilates (30 mins)

8 a.m.: Run with bootcamp class OR BodyPump class @ Goodlife

8 p.m.: P90X3 yoga (30 mins - the hubby and I do this one together - date night! ;))

How do you track your fitness so that you'll keep doing it?

Links I clicked this week

Friday, April 10, 2015

Photo via Waen

I'm a little late today with my links! I'm getting ready for my awesome cousin to come over and give a few friends and me a lesson on essential oils. I'm super excited about it (look for more on her in May!). Here are the links I clicked this week.

I'm totally in love with these geometric terrariums. Gorgeous.

I'm thinking seriously about enrolling in this program. I've taken one of Meghan's classes before and loved it.

Why going mobile just became important.

How to grow and endless supply of lemons indoors!

Here's why you should never eat Tilapia again. eek!

I love how Nicolette styled her scarf!

18 People Who Ran Into Their Doppelgangers In Real Life (I've been told I look like someone else on more than one occasion!)

I think we might check out the TIFF International Kids Festival this weekend.

How to sauce pasta.

That's it! Have a great weekend y'all!

This boy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

It's not until I'm laying on the floor with him playing tic tac toe that I realize how much I miss this boy during the day. He was my first and will always be my first. I snuggled with him and read to him when he was just six weeks old. The fact that he rarely closed his eyes made me realize that he would be observant (he is) and that he would always be asking questions (he does).

Did you love me when I was a baby? He asked me this morning while eating his cereal and milk. Mila was still in bed and it was just the two of us.

Oh I certainly did, I say. You were such a sweet baby, but you know something? I still love you so much even now. My voice cracked while I was saying this because I realize he's not a baby anymore. When did that happen?

Even on the hardest days (they're getting easier now; they'll get harder again) I realize that I'm just not ready for them to grow up.

My favourite go-to healthy salad dressing

Monday, April 06, 2015

I stopped buying salad dressing years ago when I realized that it's super simple to make healthier versions at home. Like really simple. You likely have olive oil and some type of vinegar in your cupboards and that alone is fantastic. If I'm too lazy to make a proper dressing, I'll just pour a bit of each on my salad and that's it. But my go-to salad dressing is the Everyday House Dressing from the book Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health. It calls for balsamic vinegar but I've been using apple cider vinegar lately to give it even more of a health boost. (Read about the benefits of apple cider vinegar here).

Everyday Power House Dressing
Adapted from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (like Bragg or Eden Organic)
1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey*
1 clove of garlic, chopped**

Mix everything into a container with a lid, shake and use! It's that simple. The recipe in the book says that this will be good in a sealed container in the fridge for a week.

*The dressing is great without the garlic if you don't have it on hand.
**Use raw honey to make this a power house dressing!

Make it! You'll never buy store-bought dressing again.

Links I clicked this week

Friday, April 03, 2015

Photo via Rufus & Murdog
Well my friends it's Easter Weekend; a holiday that always catches up to me. At around 1:30 yesterday afternoon I realized that I still hadn't bought any eggs of any kind, but as luck would have it Mila woke up early from her nap so we high-tailed it over to Sweet Olenka's for some bunnies and white chocolate-covered blueberries (super delish by the way) so I think we're set now. And now, as you nosh on your own chocolate egg stash, here are the links I clicked on this week for your reading pleasure.

8 Things to Get Rid of that You'll Never Even Know Are Gone

A great way to book babysitters. I wish we had this in Toronto!

I've been drinking a ton of this lemon tea this week because I'm fighting a bug yuck!

25 Creative Easter Baskets for Kids

Grace Bonney's morning routine. I love reading about how people go about their day.

The new Rufus & Murdog shop is super sweet. I'm in love with these Mini Mocks!

6 Game-Changing Questions to Ask Your Picky Eater. Great tips that I will use on Leo!

Have a great Easter Weekend y'all!

Interview with Adriane Duckworth artist and owner of THE WILD

Thursday, April 02, 2015

My next interview is with Adriane Duckworth, artist and owner of THE WILD, Modern Apparel for Hip Kids. I first began following Adriane years ago not only because of her beautiful artwork but because she's from Hamilton (my husband's hometown yay!). When she wrote about starting THE WILD I knew I wanted to interview her because I loved her new business concept. Read more about Adriane below.

Tell me about Adriane Duckworth. What do you love to do, hate to do, wish you could do?

Oh my goodness, where to begin! Well, I'm a mom, a wife, an artist, and a chocolate addict. I love to spend time with my family, to draw, to paint, to read, anything creative really. I hate it when I am really in the zone working on something and then I realize that it's 1 a.m., considering I have to little boys who never let me sleep past 6 a.m. I wish I could travel, but I hope that will happen in time more.

How did you become an artist? Was it something you always wanted to do?

I've always wanted to be an artist, since I was a kid. My parents raised me to be creative and to try different things. I have been drawing, painting and designing my entire life really.

When I read that you had started your new company, THE WILD, I was super excited for you. Tell me about the process you had to go through and how you came up with the idea (and the name) for your company.

It all began after my son Benjamin was born a few years ago. I started creating these little characters for fun, and they translated really well to artwork for kids rooms. I knew I wanted to do more with this little pile of characters, but I needed time to plan it all out. After my second son, Sawyer, was born, I went through a small business program to help me get started. It was the best thing I could have done to motivate me and to create a really comprehensive business plan. The name comes from where I envision all of these characters living, out in the wild, and it also represents the big picture of what I want to do with this story.

You mainly use black and white in your work. What is the attraction to these colours?

I love simplicity. I'm a total minimalist, which is tough with small kids, but I try very hard to keep things simple. When I walk into kids shops in the mall, it's like a colour explosion. I wanted to offer something different.

What is your favourite form of art?

I love to draw, but I think painting is my absolute fav.

What are you passionate about outside of your work?

My biggest passion is definitely my family of course. I also love to read, I love interior design, and I'm a bit of a Pinterest addict.

Summer or winter?

Where I live we get to enjoy all four beautiful seasons, but if I had to pick, I'd go with winter.

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

It's tempting to say Paris, and one day I'll get there, but even more I think I would like to explore Canada. This is such a beautiful country, I want to see it all.

Thanks so much Adriane! If you want to learn more about THE WILD visit the website here or shop right away here!
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