Links I clicked this week

Friday, January 30, 2015

Image via Weekday Carnival

Do you pull your kids out of school for vacation... we're going to in a few weeks!

Making A Home Inventory Could Be The Best Thing You'll Ever Do For Your House

Love this kitchen (this corner of it anyway!)

This Mashup Proves Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" Is a Tom Petty Song (oop!)

Stunning Photos Showing NYC Subway Cars Being Dumped Into the Ocean

I would love this coffee table for our living room!

I absolutely love Christine Dovey's Master Bathroom Reno on Steven and Chris.

First family of Shopify to restore Opinicon resort

Happy Weekend!

Lemon + Ginger Tea | Cold & Flu Fighter

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

At the moment that I'm writing this I have a bit of a scratchy throat. My voice has already checked out a couple of times. My nose is runny.

It seems as though I'm getting a cold. Womp. Womp.

But instead of crying about it, I decided to make something for it: Lemon & Ginger Tea. The truth is that I've been drinking this first thing every morning for weeks. It's super yummy. Feels good in your tummy and gets things moving if ya know what I mean. It also helps to protect against cold and flu.

I've taken this when I've felt a sore throat coming on and the next day it's gone. It's truly a miracle maker! Ok enough of that hoolaba.

Here are the details of this yummy concoction:

  • Boiled water
  • 1 quarter of a lemon
  • About a teaspoon of honey (it really should be raw honey for the full effect)
  • A few grates of ginger
  • A dash of cayenne


  • Pour the boiled water in the cup, but leave a bit of room at the top. I then add some room temp water. I don't know why I do this but I feel like I read something on Food Babe about the properties of lemon juice diminishing in super hot water (I could be just imagining this).
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice.
  • Add the honey and stir.
  • Grate some ginger into the cup with a microplane.
  • Shake a bit of cayenne on the top. 
  • Stir and sip!

Wait! Before you go, I have a little tip about ginger and I'm going to tell you it's life changing if you like having real ginger in the house. Did you know you could freeze it? I learned about this from an episode of Best Recipes Ever and I haven't looked back since. You can freeze the whole thing and then just grate it when you need it and throw it back into the freezer. Amazing.

Keeping track of what I eat (aka boring post but super interesting for me!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

My sad single-serving bowl of popcorn
3 servings of veg in this one!
Look at all that romaine!
Prepping veg for the week.
I've never been one to track what I eat when it comes to serving size. Over the past 15 or so years I've maintained my weight, so I never thought to consider keeping track, nor did it really interest me to do so. But as I may have mentioned, I'm doing a little fitness and health challenge over the course of 10 weeks and this week we've had to eat at least four servings of veggies so I need to keep track!

Now I eat a lot of veggies so I wasn't even going to do the challenge, but then I started wondering how much I really eat in a day. Do I actually get the recommended serving size of fruits and vegetables every day? I also thought I had four servings in the bag no problem and I was going to challenge myself with even more.

But in a matter of only a few days,  I've learned a lot that I didn't know about serving size:

1. Even though I eat a lot of vegetables a week, I don't actually think I was getting the recommended servings of a day. Also I don't eat a ton of fruit (I favour eating veggies over fruit most times). Most servings of vegetables (with the exception of greens which are a cup raw) come in half-cup increments so if you really think about it, it can be a lot of vegetables to eat in one day and you have to find time to eat them all (salads are a great way to get a lot of them in!). Now please note that the actual recommended daily serving suggestion size is 7-8 of fruit and veg for women my age. I felt like four servings took up most of my day not even leaving room for 3-4 more servings of fruit and veg that I should have been eating.

2. It's interesting to see what really is a serving. I decided to take a look at serving sizes of other things like pasta which is my ultimate downfall... I can eat a BIG bowl in one sitting and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I always know that I'm eating way too much. Today I had some leftover pasta for lunch so I checked to see what the serving size should be and it's half a cup.

Do you know how much that is? It's maybe eight penne noodles. 

I tipped it into my pasta bowl and promptly added another half cup to make myself feel better. But get this, I ate it with a cup of raw kale and some vegan parmesan and it totally filled me up. I bet that on average I typically would eat about five servings of pasta and the reality is that it's too much. We don't need to eat that much food in one sitting.

I had some popcorn later in the afternoon which I also thought would be fun to measure. I'm not sure why I thought this would be fun because I realized that one serving of popcorn is two cups which I thought would be more than enough. You see, when I eat popcorn it's in a big bowl, like BIG (is there a theme here??). So today I put a smaller amount of kernels in the popper and then used a smaller bowl. Then for fun I measured out two cups into another bowl and barely dented my first bowl. There was so much leftover. And that was a smaller bowl than what I usually have. I was probably having 10 servings of popcorn on a regular basis.

I know... I know. It's popcorn. Big deal but I think that overall we all eat way too much food for what we actually need for our bodies and we don't realize it (unless of course it's taking over our waistlines). It has been an interesting experiment to measure out my food. I don't want to become obsessed, but I think it will have an impact on my future eating habits. I already feel better physically from just four days of eating this way.

So that's my ramble post for the month. How about you? What do you know you eat too much of?

Want to know the recommended daily serving suggestions (come on you know you do!)

Canada's Food Guide
I think this is the site for the States although it's confusing to find a graph that gives actual figures

Links I clicked this week

Friday, January 23, 2015

Botanical Art Print from Antique Wall Art

Yummy lemon salmon burgers. I made these this week and they were great!

An abandoned mall that was once the largest in the world. Creepy!

How much water do we really need to drink? I've been drinking 2 litres a day this whole week and although I've been living in the washroom I'm really liking water again!

I'm currently scouring the Internet for art for our living room and I love this flower print. Something about the spiky petals!

Ikea to open string of smaller stores across Canada.

We have a date night on Saturday so I was looking for live music. NOW Toronto is an excellent source for live music in Toronto.

What do you think of the new IKEA SEKTION Kitchen?

Happy Weekend!

Share the Love with Etsy

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Personalized Hearts Wedding Pillow
Pale Pink Heart Earrings 
Racerback Heart Tank
San Francisco Art
Bear Hugs Card
Je t'aime banner

Custom Family Portrait
Ahh Valentine's Day. Full of love and hope and candy and hearts. Instead of chocolate and flowers (although I think these are great too!) I thought I'd put together some things on my Etsy favourites that would be fun to get this year. 

What do you think? What's your favourite thing to get (besides extra lovin'...)?

Hook nook

Monday, January 19, 2015

We have a little nook beside the stairs that isn't really big enough to fit anything like a bench or table so it just sat empty until Mark had a great idea of putting hooks there.

It was a great idea because, even though we have a closet by the door, we always pile our coats on the bannisters when we come in the door. This way we can hang them up instead. The other issue with the closet is that it's so cold in the winter that our coats are freezing when we put them on. Hanging them on the hooks helps to keep our coats at room temp.

I got these hooks last year at Artefacts in St. Jacobs. They are from 1812 and add a little character to what would otherwise be a blank space. I have three and put the third one in Mila's room.

And because I love you I'm going to keep it real. This is what the hooks look like right now...

Links I clicked this week

Friday, January 16, 2015

Michael Hyatt pulled comments from his blog, here's why

The Best and Worst Celebrity Names of 2014Aww I kind of like Wyatt Isabelle!

but first tea

6 Full-Body Stretching Exercises from Real Simple. I'm part of a fitness challenge for the next 10 weeks and this week our challenge is to stretch 10 minutes a day for a week. I think this will help!

Target is closing! I didn't really care too much it was here in the beginning but I've come to like it! 

I'm really loving Banana Republic right now.

Happy weekend!

What's for lunch | The eat-your-veggies-in-the-winter salad

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

eat your veggies

Even in these super cold temperatures I've been craving bright green salads for lunch. I love soup but it's either in the freezer when I think of it or I don't think to make some early enough. Salads are super fast to put together and I can use up what I have in the fridge.

Here's what I threw together this week for lunch:

4-5 leaves of romaine lettuce cut into pieces
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
Half of a red pepper, chopped
1 quarter of a cucumber, chopped
A few slices of red onion
A handful of olives
A hand full of cashews
A tablespoon of hemp seeds
A splash of apple cider vinegar
A splash of olive oil
A dash of salt & pinch of cayenne

I've been buying olives a lot lately just for this purpose... they really take these salads up a notch. Delish!

ps-Earlier this week I added a can of Raincoast tuna and it was the perfect addition.

Catherine De Abreu | artiste céramiste

Monday, January 12, 2015

I noticed Catherine De Abreu's work right away when I was running through the One of a Kind Show in November. Catherine had her collection called Collection Cobalt that stopped me in my tracks. I loved the white and blue pottery with a unexpected twist of jellyfish and trees. I also love the handles on the mugs and tea pots. Totally rustic against their smooth white ceramic bodies.

For more of Catherine's work, visit her website here.

Links I clicked on this week

Friday, January 09, 2015

Photo via PopSugar
Well it's been a cold week in more ways than one and I'm dreaming of when I'll be sitting on the beach in Florida in several weeks. It can't come fast enough for me. I'm totally not a winter person and if you see me walking on the street you may not know it's me by the amount of clothes I wear.

To stay warm, I did some extra clicking this week.... here are some of the things I warmed up to:

Super Seed Chocolate Protein Bites from Oh She Glows (Going to make these today!)

My most favourite kale salad ever from Marin Mama Cooks

Pilates Body Workout (This woman just moved to my 'hood and I'm so excited to meet her!)

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen's New York Home (This made me want to do something different with our kitchen when we do our reno in a couple years. I also thought the video was super cute).

My French Beauty Uniform from Cup of Jo. I really enjoyed reading this and learning that how the French do beauty.

I loved this post from Jennifer Flores about being mindful

I bought this ampersand poster and had it printed this week. I can't wait to get it up!

That's it! Happy weekend friends. Stay warm and cozy.

Interview with: Tanya Mykytiuk of Ptashka

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Ukrainian design

Welcome to my first Interview with post of 2015! I'm super excited to be interviewing a newfound friend and neighbour Tanya Mykytiuk of Ptashka. Tanya lives in my neighbourhood and I met her through my friend Tara Russel of Russel Events and I immediately loved her personality. Tanya is outgoing and she has a love for style that I can relate to. She also runs a pretty cool graphic design business and Etsy shop: PtashkaArts where she specializes in Ukrainian design so I wanted to interview her to get to know her a bit better. And this is perfect timing because Ukrainian New Year celebrations start this week! Here we go!

Tell me about Tanya Mykytiuk. What do you love to do, hate to do, wish you could do?

Love: Spending time with my kids, preferably at the cottage or on a beach somewhere! I caught the travel bug early in life so travelling is something I absolutely love to do, especially with my family. With kids, it’s even more interesting to watch how they experience different cultures and places in their innocent and curious ways. I also love to read, paint, and create… but wish I had more time for leisure activities!

Hate: Doing dishes, ironing, shoveling snow, ugh!

Wish I could: Take a trip every weekend, with no budgetary restraints!

Ukrainian design

How did you get into the graphic design business?

I suppose I was a “graphic-designer-in-denial” for a long time before I took the plunge into my own business. I actually still find it hard to call myself a graphic designer. I feel like what I do is more graphic communications – not just design, but more of a holistic approach to delivering my clients’ needs strategically – with a lot of thought into their message and the best means to communicate it both verbally and graphically.

My professional background started in print production: layout, retouching, pre-press and production coordination. From there, I moved into marketing at a media company and that’s where I really started to spread my design wings. My role incorporated so many different facets of design: logos, marketing communications, branding, presentations, promotional goods, sales materials, copywriting, proposals and website graphics. My hands-on technical and business management experience, combined with my creative side made it easy and fun for me and it worked both right and left sides of my brain simultaneously.

Ukrainian design

Why and when did you start Ptashka?

I started working as an independent graphic communications specialist after my second maternity leave came to an end in 2013. With only one kid, it was still easy to balance a corporate life with his and my family’s needs, but with two kids it was much harder to juggle everyone’s schedules and keep up a 9 to 5 job happily. Working independently gives me the opportunity to balance family priorities, and a chance to continue my professional development. It also opened up a whole new world of small-business ownership to me; an exciting, scary and incredibly gratifying experience! I love a challenge, and I relished the idea of jumping into something new and completely my own.

Then, in December 2013, I started PtashkaArts on Etsy as more of a hobby. I’m Ukrainian-Canadian and have always been involved in Toronto’s Ukrainian community in one way or another. Something that I always wanted to do was bring modern printed design to Ukrainians in Canada and abroad. Things like greeting cards, artwork and printed matter - unique, artisanal quality stationery and gift items. I’ve been an Etsy shopper for many years and love connecting with international artisans and customers. The global reach that Etsy gives me is amazing. Ptashka just celebrated its first “Bird-Day” (ptashka means “bird” in Ukrainian) and it’s been an incredibly successful year in a niche industry. Way beyond my expectations.

How do you balance your business with your family?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure.  I thought my time would be more flexible, but the reality is that I actually have more time restraints and distractions at home than I expected, so I often end up working late at night when everyone is sleeping. It’s the only time there is peace and quiet in the house! I learned quickly that I would need to really discipline myself and set aside dedicated hours during the week where I only focus on business, and ignore the laundry, house-cleaning and cooking.

What is your favourite thing to design/work on?

I’ve been lucky to work with really interesting clients in a variety of industries who come to me with unique needs and ideas. It’s so satisfying to sink my teeth into a project that requires innovative, out-of-the-box thinking; something out of the norm that stretches the average design needs, and sees the project through to fruition.

I have so much fun designing my Ukrainian greeting cards. I even launched a line of Ukrainian Valentine’s Day cards last year, something that has never been done before. It is so much fun to come up with cheeky, quirky, and witty ideas that celebrate our unique Ukrainian-Canadian culture.

What are you passionate about outside of graphic design?

My family: my kids, my husband. They keep me grounded, keep me laughing, keep me motivated. Everything is good when I’m with them. I never thought I’d love being a mom so much, but these two little minions are amazing. Everything they say and do, I love it – even when they’re beating each other up (boys will be boys!)!  I’ve known my husband for more than 25 years and he is absolutely the best friend, dance partner, business consultant, travel buddy, creative collaborator and trouble-seeker I could ever dream of.

Chocolate or chips?

CHIPS! But I’m super picky. They have to be plain, lightly-salted, preferably the ones in “the blue bag.” A chip should taste like a potato, dammit. Not a dill pickle or stinky feet.

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

Oh boy… now that is a loaded question. I fell in love with Paris the first time I visited, I was only nine and was mesmerized by the architecture, the people, and intense beauty that surrounds you every step you take within the city. Since then, I’ve visited four times, as well as other major European centres. So, anywhere in Europe, I suppose. I could move there in a heartbeat. Europeans have a different approach to everyday living and an intense appreciation for the simple things in life.

I’m yet to visit Ukraine, believe it or not. Once the kids are a bit older and the political turmoil settles down a bit, we’d like to go for an extended visit and really explore our ancestral land. It will be an emotional trip, for sure… and we’ll want to go for a good chunk of time, we have roots all over the country… and it’s a BIG country!

I’d also be equally happy on a secluded, hot, sandy beach somewhere… anywhere!

Thanks so much Tanya, I really enjoyed this interview! For more information about Tanya, visit her website here and her Etsy shop here.

2015: The year of yoga

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Photo via Aaron Neifer
Here we are, a few days into 2015.

This year marks 15 years since I graduated university (I think my heart just stopped when I wrote that), it's also the year that Marty McFly traveled to in 1989.

I'm marking 2015 as my year of yoga.

You see I used to do yoga a lot. It was one of my things. I felt amazing after a class and it helped me keep my decrepit back in check. It helped me with breathing (which really helped during labour) and helped to keep me calm. That last one there is what's missing the most right now from my life... that calm factor.

After I had Mila I didn't go to yoga as much. There really is no excuse other than I had two mini kidlets at home and I didn't feel like trekking them up to the gym daycare. I brought them a few times, but I would much rather go to the gym on my own when I'm not constantly thinking of what's going on in the other room. Anyway I stopped going for a while. I still worked out by going to my bootcamp which I love, but yoga is different. It's a beautiful complement to those gruelling bootcamp workouts.

So here marks my resolution or intention or whatever you want to call it for 2015. I vow to go to yoga again. I will make it my thing again and from there I know everything else will fall into place.

What are you doing this year?
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