Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Today the Mr and I have been married three years...I love how our relationship grows stronger and we are more in love year after year. I look forward to many many more...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Taste of summer: easy no-canning-required blueberry jam

Fall is here. I think it's official. This weekend had that fall chill in the air and had me reaching for my coat! Time to get that living room project of mine started...

This weekend we went to Ottawa to visit friends and family - too short as always, but thankful for all the fun visits we had. Since this weekend had me caught in the middle of being excited for fall and missing summer I thought I would post something I haven't gotten around to yet.

This summer I made blueberry jam and it was delicious. The best part of it? It's super easy (and I mean SUPER easy).

The recipe is Real Simple's Blueberry Jam . It requires blueberries and pectin, no canning, no fuss.
I made about half the recipe, and ended up with about 3/4 of a cup of jam. It was the perfect amount to last a few weeks in the fridge without feeling like I had to eat it every day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to the books - On Beauty {Blogger Book Club}

Just like September meant back to school shopping to me, it also means back to the books!

Blogger Book Club is back and we're reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith:
This is an older novel, so if you don't want to buy it you can likely find it at your local library (that's what I did!). 

We'll be reviewing this book after Thanksgiving, so although it's a bigger novel you have at least a month to read up. Hope to hear what you think about it in Ocotber! And just remember - you don't have to be a blogger to take part in the book club - everyone is welcome!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday faves: Fall edition

Happy Friday folks! Although it's warmed up this week, last weekend and the beginning of this week definitely had a fall flavour, non? Maybe it's because I was eating soup three meals a day to help conquer strep throat, but even hot days have cool nights now. It's not quite fall but it's coming.

Here's what I'm looking forward to...
- jeans, boots, scarves
- wearing my classic trench with my new teal structured bag
- comfort food - risotto, roasts, tagines...yumm
- baking - I don't feel bad baking when it's nice enough to take the chill out of the air while the windows are open
- project living room! We got a new sectional couch and now need to bring the rest of the room up to par

What are your favourite things about fall?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If you say you don't like beets, try beet chips

I like beets...especially roasted. I think their colour is phenomenal and as long as you're careful preparing them (I think I would have to cut them out of my life if I had marble counter tops), they are delicious.

I came across this recipe from Martha last week and tried it out.

Having a mandolin for this recipe is key, so you get finely sliced beets like this:
Isn't that colour ah-mazing?

I followed Martha's steps, including putting another cooking sheet ontop of the beets...but this just seemed to steam them and increase the cooking time needed, so I would try without next time. Let them shrink up in the oven, and then you have to let them cool for the full crispness to take effect. Pretty simple and a great snack.  

Beet chips might be taking on kale chips (which I have yet to make) for the title of King Chip. Who would have thought we'd be making chips with so many veggies?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DIY fabric covered tray

Today I'm keeping it light, but definitely remembering 9/11. My thoughts go out to all who were affected or suffered loss that day.

Onto the lighter side....

All summer the Mr. and I lamented about needing a tray to carry dishes outside for eating al-fresco. I finally found one at the end of August that needed a little face lift.
It was I did a good clean on it and then started to remove the old shelving paper that was lining it.

Fortunately it peeled off pretty easily.

I decided I didn't want to paint the tray (been there, done that) so I thought I would line it with fabric. Initially I thought I would cover it so we could wipe it down, but the Mr. said we shouldn't really need to do that since we'll be using it primarily for dishes before / after eating, not for actual food. Good point.

I broke out some extra fabric I had from our master bedroom bench. it's durable since it's outdoor fabric which is a bonus. I laid it over the tray to measure, and traced the inside of the tray with pencil.
I cut out the fabric and sprayed the back with spray-adhesive, set it on the tray and pushed out any creases / bubbles (sort of like putting on a new iPhone cover...but wayyyyyy easier).

It's hard to tell from this photo, but the edges weren't great since I just cut the fabric and didn't hem it. The fabric was fraying a bit and not perfectly square with the tray. So I decided to add some ribbon to finish the edges off.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trip recap: Kauai, Hawaii

I got hit with a nasty bug this weekend...strep throat to be exact...which meant cancelling our planned visit to Ottawa, which was a bummer. The only positive thing to come out of it was a LOT of quality time with our new couch, and a bit of time to catch up on my blog reading (although I'm still feeling pretty brutal so not as much time as I would have liked).

I also finally got some time to go through all of my photos from our trip to Kauai. It's a heavenly place, and I'm sure you're going to agree after the eye candy that goes along with this post.

It all started leaving bright and early from Toronto...

And without further ado...beautiful Kauai:

We did a lot of hiking this trip, which was wonderful. This is a gorgeous view litterally 5 minutes into a hike in Waimea Canyon (The Alakai Swamp hike). The only downside? Weather changes really quickly in Hawaii, and by the time we got to the view point of this hike about 4 miles away everything was blocked out by fog. We waited about 30 minutes with another couple who had already been waiting that long and then decided to turn around. We talked to locals who have done this hike many times and never seen the view due to fog, so I didn't feel so bad!

When we weren't hiking, playing tennis, or golfing, we were beaching. Kauai has so many little beaches to pop into all around the island, particularly on the north shore. This one is my new favourite (Hideaways Beach):

And this is how you get there:

Don't you love hidden places??

The Mr's favourite beach is Polihale. It's as far as you can go on the Northwest side of the island, never busy and goes for ages:

One of our biggest highlights of this year's trip was hiking the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls. Good (read: tough) hike, but huge reward:

That's ME! Under the falls :)

And now just some additional pictures for your viewing pleasure (if you made it this's a long post!)
And that's just part of why we love Kauai...this was our fourth trip there - even though it's quite far we just can't stay away :) If you are planning on going or want any information I would be happy to help! Also, we use this guidebook, which also now has an app (that you can use on your phone without using any data - that's what we did this time and it was awesome).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Exciting finds at Homesense

When I went shopping for the bags I mentioned in my last post, I also popped into Homesense and was floored by some of the amazing stuff in stores right now. All of this was found at the Leaside location in Toronto, and I am seriously drooling over some of this stuff.

What do you think?
That royal blue velvet settee is just gorgeous! At $550 it doesn't seem like a total bargain, but when you consider that is cheaper than most chairs, it's a great deal. I think it would look amazing against a marble or penny tile floor of a foyer (that is, if I had a house that could make room for a foyer to fit a settee :) ). The little chevron poofs and stool were just adorable for student living or a kids playroom, and the Ikat pillows were large, and down-filled for $40. You couldn't make them and buy the inserts for that price!
Homesense has really stepped it up in the lighting department in my opinion. They have so many reasonable and trendy options, including a good number of hanging pendants, drum shades, and chandeliers.
This is just a mish mash of cool stuff. The equestrian influence was loud and clear with the artwork, and a black horse head lamp below it (see what I mean about lighting??). The orange and white duvet cover could really punch up a room, and the mustard yellow and gray apron brings an old school 50's vibe back to your kitchen. Finally, the rug at the bottom is a great find for $199 - I think it would look perfect in a modern living room or in a nursery.
Sadly none of these things made it home with me this trip, but I kept wishing I had a place to put them all!
Full disclosure: This post just represents my inner love for HomeSense - I can spend hours in there! I was not compensated for this post (I wish).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to school, back to blog

Hi friends!

I know I have and there, let's say, over the last month or so. It's just that with the summer weather being as spectacular as it was (is??) I really have relished outdoor unplugged time. It seems like that was a bit of a trend amongst my bloggy friends and really - summer only lasts so long so I decided to soak it all in.

This past weekend was no exception. The Mr. and I stayed in the city which is lovely because you do not need to fight traffic. My weekend started with an early escape from work where I did some shopping and picked up these beauties:
The plan was never to keep both...cause I don't think I NEED 2 ostrich bags this year...but the winner of this duo is the teal bag to the left...I wasn't sure about the size (it's pretty big), but I like the size with the structured shape and I LOVE the teal, and how it will look with my trench in the fall. Hooray for back to school shopping!

Another hooray - that couch you see in the background is no longer in my living has been replaced with a similar, but larger and more loungey version...will post soon, promise.
Aside from this little shopping expedition, the Mr. and I spent about as much time outside as we could over the weekend. We logged serious km's on our bikes: Saturday we biked out to the Scarborough Bluffs (GORGEOUS), Sunday we biked to the west end of the city for a picnic in High Park, and Monday we biked not too far to our friends' rooftop pool. Great way to spend the weekend in Toronto. Here are some of my photos from the bluffs - who said Toronto doesn't have beauty??

Happy September, y'all!

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