October 29, 2015

whiskey pom

we are in the heart of fall these days, and i am loving it!  ignoring all the rain we've had the past two days, the weather has been just beautiful.  sunny, crisp, windy...and wonderful.  my favourite time of year.  

while apple is a normal fall staple in this house, i thought i would shake things up a bit and try incorporating pomegranates into the season.  

this has been the household favourite after-dinner drink for the past few weeks.  it's fresh and fall and not-too-sweet but not-too-sour.  i used bourbon whiskey for this recipe, but any whiskey or rum would work just as well.

whiskey pom
serves one

[what you need]
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 ounces bourbon or whiskey
2 ounces pomegranate juice
sparkling water

[for garnish]
lime wedges

[to make]
in a tall glass with ice, combine lime juice, bourbon, and pomegranate juice. top with sparkling water.  stir to combine.  garnish with pomegranates or lime wedges. enjoy!


October 26, 2015

an amazing birthday surprise [cedar row farm sanctuary]


my birthday this year was amazing. it was perfect - full of friends and family and brunch and animals...

that may sound a little strange, so let me explain.  

last saturday b had a birthday surprise for me. he told me very (very!) little . we promptly left our little home at 9am and headed out of the city.  

two hours later we had arrived...at the cedar row farm sanctuary.  

a little back story...i'm a huge animal lover. when we drive around in the country, i always ask b to stop so that i can go see the cows (here is proof). i also really want to move out to the country and have a little farm of our own - somewhere to keep way too many pets and grow our own veggies.

this farm only offers work visits (you volunteer a few hours helping out around the farm), and they all end in a group potluck. so we grabbed our wellies and spent the rest of the morning helping out.

after the potluck i got another birthday surprise.  my gift from b was sponsoring an animal - chickpea, the black and white cow.  rescued from a vet because she was born very premature, she is such a beautiful, kind, gentle creature. 

thanks for letting me share my birthday adventures!  it was such an amazing experience. one that i will cherish forever.


October 22, 2015

the life-changing magic of tidying up

our house has felt really full lately.  i don't really know how else to describe it.  it's not that there is physically more stuff, it's more so that the stuff that's there feels a lot larger.  does that make sense?

it has put me in the mood to purge lately. i have always been one to toss items with the changing seasons, but this time i wanted to do something more...something bigger.

i found out about marie kondo's the life-changing magic of tidying up through the grape vine, read a few reviews, and got very interested in the fresh perspective this book offers.

her concept is simple.  do your items "spark joy"?  if not, then it goes.  her main argument is that one should only surround themselves with things that bring them joy.  and when you think about it, she has a point.  why keep things that make you unhappy?

here are a few things i liked/found helpful:

- the book offers a very interesting perspective on why we keep things.  the emotional connections we make to our things, and what purpose they serve.

- she proposes the idea of sorting by category, not room.  compile your items, and sort thoroughly and quickly, all in one go.

- another part i found very helpful was to gather all like items together (clothes from the closet, coats, out-of-season items, etc). this will allow you to fully evaluate what you have.  i will admit, i was shocked when i saw the quantity of things like clothing and books i had stuffed into my closet.

- organization does not need to be complex.  she actually discourages purchasing fancy organizing systems, opting for simple at-home options such as old shoe boxes, jars, and baskets.

so, armed with a ton of inspiration and helpful purging tips, b and i decided to put her theory to the test.  we spent two days, going through everything, keeping what we love, and getting rid of the rest.  it proved to be very successful - we were able to get rid of over 30 garbage bags.  thirty, can you believe it!  i'm really proud of what we accomplished!

as you can see above, the kitten had a blast as well.  she was sure to explore every empty drawer, basket and cupboard.  

overall, i enjoyed the book. it was easy to read and she offered anecdotal stories of experiences she has had with past clients.  while some of her ideas are a little too extreme for me, the book offered some really helpful tips.  it will definitely inspire you to give your place a good purge.  

read it? let me know what you thought!


October 19, 2015

[egg carton] desk drawer organizer

[egg carton] desk drawer organizer
[egg carton] desk drawer organizer
[egg carton] desk drawer organizer

this d-i-y is a great (and quick) way to keep all those tiny little items that would be scattered all over your desk drawer neat & organized.  

all you need is an old egg carton.  the small, egg compartments are the perfect size to hold small items like paper clips, staples, erasers and batteries, while the longer lid section can hold larger items like tape, scissors, highlighters and pens.  

i love how this simple storage solution gives a home to all of the tiny items.  it makes the drawer look a million times better.

happy organizing!


[egg carton] desk drawer organizer

October 15, 2015

apple picking

[apple picking]
[apple picking]
[apple picking]
[apple picking]
[apple picking]
[apple picking]
[apple picking]

it never feels like fall until we've done our annual trip to the farm to pick some apples.  there is something about this place - the fresh air, the changing leaves, the friendly farmers, mentally making a huge list of all of the yummy foods to be made with the apples - that really sparks that "fall feeling".

over the thanksgiving weekend we got to stop in at my favourite orchard and grab some apples.  it was worth the wait, they are delicious!

hope you guys had a great thanksgiving weekend.  thanks for letting me share!


[apple picking]

October 12, 2015

[homemade] almond milk

happy [canadian] thanksgiving!

thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. a long weekend full of beautiful fall weather, changing leaves, delicious food & family.

after all of the eating, i love to utilize a long weekend to get a little "caught up" on life - grocery shopping, cleaning, & meal prepping.

making my own almond milk is one of the easiest & helpful "prep" things we do in our household.  have you ever made your own nut milk before? if your answer is no, i'm here to tell you that it is one of the easiest things to do.  seriously!  it takes just a few minutes of your time (in total), & tastes delicious.  the best part, it works just as well in recipes as store bought almond milk.

almond milk
makes about 4 cups of milk

[you will need]
1 cup of almond milk
1 bowl or jar
water, enough to cover the almonds
nut bag or fine strainer
3-4 cups of water, depending on how creamy you like your milk

flavouring options: cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, dates or other sweetener

[to make]
measure out 1 cup of almonds into a bowl or mason jar.  fill bowl or jar with water, making sure the almonds are completely submerged.  set aside.

the next day, strain almonds & rinse.  they should look larger & plump.  dump soaked almonds in a blender.  add water, & any flavouring you'd like (see note below).  blend for one minute, pulsing to get all the chunks.

using a nut bag or fine strainer, pour the almond milk through the strainer into a large bowl.  gently squeeze the bag (or press the pulp) to get all of the remaining milk.

pour milk into a jug that seals, & place in the fridge.

don't toss the almond pulp. it can be used in a bunch of great recipes, such as crackers, brownies, macaroons, or dehydrated into granola (this recipe looks awesome!).

the milk should last for 3-5 days.  just be sure to give it a good shake before using.


depending on what you think you will use the milk for, you can add as much or as little flavour milk to your liking.  for a milk that will be used to drink or in a breakfast dish, i like to add 1/4 tsp cinnamon & a vanilla bean before blending.  i use this almond milk for overnight oats a lot.

for a great chocolately version, add 2 tbsp cocoa powder before blending.

if you prefer your milk sweeter, add in some honey, sugar or maple syrup.


October 05, 2015

vancouver [british columbia]

[vancouver] cambie bridge view
[vancouver] lions gate bridge
[vancouver] photographing fall colours
[vancouver] city views
[vancouver] steamclock
[vancouver] time in precious
[vancouver] shebeen whiskey bar
[vancouver] stanley park & city
[vancouver] spot cafe brunch
[vancouver] rainy city
[vancouver] steel toad brewery
[vancouver] steel toad beers
[vancouver] public art
[vancouver] aquarium
[vancouver] waterfront art sculpture
[vancouver] tacos
[vancouver] city & mountains
[vancouver] olympics & music
[vancouver] rainy view

i was so excited to take b to vancouver this year.  we were going out for my brother's wedding anyways, so we stuck a few days on to do some exploring (only had 3 days in the city since we were in whistler for the wedding).

even though it rained every day (we arrived at the same time as a major storm), we still had a blast celebrating new family, birthdays, & catching up with old (university) friends.

[vancouver] lions gate bridge

vancouver is an amazing city, & 3 days was just not enough!  here are some of the things we ate, drank & did on this trip:

vancouver aquarium. the two beluga whales, aurora & qila, are adorable!

> walking along the sea wall in stanley park. it's just beautiful.

> vancouver has a growing craft beer scene.  we did a self guided "beer hop" with an old university friend.  on her recommendations, & b's research, we started at tap & barrel, continued on to the steel toad brewery, & finally to 33 acres brewing company )which was so awesome we decided to spend the rest of our evening there).

> eating lots of taco's at la taqueria. this place needs to come to toronto, it's amazing.

> brunching at spot cafe - great eggs benedict!

> shopping along main street (between 2nd & 25th).  loads of cute, unique clothing, stationary & home decor shops.

> eating, drinking, shopping & antiquing in gastown.

> dipping fries in the coconut curry sauce (from the green beans dish) at chill winston. a restaurant with a focus local, sustainable & responsible dining, the food is really delicious.

> the greedy pig makes a mean whiskey sour.

> i did not know so many types of whiskey existed, until we had a drink at shebeen whiskey bar.

...and a few places that were on our list that we didn't get a chance to visit this trip: suspension bridge in lynn canyon, hiking up grouse mountain, checking out the public market & brewery on granville island, wreck beach, & commuting along the water with the false creek ferries.

any vancouver recommendations that i missed?  i'd love to hear!  comment below or send us an e-mail.  i always love a good recommendation.

thanks for letting me share our trip out west!


[vancouver] looking downtown