Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Try it Tuesday: Strawberry, Pineapple & Mint Smoothie

I am constantly craving this insanely refreshing smoothie I concocted over the holidays and don't worry you can't taste the spinach so go ahead and add as much in as you want!

Ingredients
2 cups of fresh pineapple
1.5 cups of frozen strawberries
1 handful of mint leaves
2 large handfuls of spinach
splash of water (more if needed)
1 scoop of chia seeds
1 scoop of coconut oil

Directions
Blend and enjoy!

Pineapple, Strawberry and Mint Smoothie with spinach

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tea Party Themed Baby Shower





Well this is long overdue, but better late than never!

This fall I helped to host a baby shower in honour of my sister Christina and niece/God Daughter, Emilia.

My sister has always LOVED tea parties. The women in my family are tea party obsessed, any chance my sister gets to go for high tea at a fancy hotel she does (okay, so do I). Earlier this year when I went to New York, my sister sent me on a mission to get the tea menu from the Plaza hotel.  I ended up getting the insides, but 2 visits and 3 asks later, this is all I was able to get. She was also after the pretty pink hardcover it sat it. I knew when it came to planning her baby shower that this tea party theme would be perfect! Thankfully, I also have a team of amazing women (my mom, aunts, and pseudo- aunts) that helped pull it all together.

We opted to hold the shower at a beautiful bed and breakfast where my sister and her husband spent their wedding night. It's a gorgeous character home called McVivcar Manor, and it was the perfect setting for this event.

I created the invitations through Paperless Post. It was easy, cost effective, efficient and not to mention beautiful. You can see we set the time for only two hours. We did this as a) nobody wants to give up an entire afternoon to go to a shower b) mama and baby are tired and the more efficient and less drawn out the event, the better!

I strongly believe that for a good event you need to have drinks and food ready as soon as people walk in so that is exactly what we did. For the menu we served a berries and cream, tea sandwiches, scones and jam and danties. You can see the full list in the menu/program I made below.

Instead of a guest book, I bought the hard cover book Eloise so it was also a keepsake. The guests signed their messages on different pages and we also chose a page at random for a door prize.

As I am one for efficiency and with only 2 hours, we also stayed away from doing a lot of games. We had a quiz on each place setting if people wanted to participate and for a little fun we had a basket of diapers that we asked people to fill out a funny or loving message to the parents. This was a real hoot, as some of the messages were hilarious; we read them out and gave prizes to the funniest ones.

It was a very lovely afternoon and Christina and Emilia loved it, although Emilia slept through most of it. Here are some pictures...






I LOVE this, I found the idea online and made it i PowerPoint. It sat at the entrance and now Mia has it in her room. 
The guest of honour...taking a little nap!
Grandma and her girls
My aunts, grandma, mom, sister, niece and cousin after the shower (ignore my mom's shoes haha)! Love these ladies so much!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Things I am loving lately: Winter Hygge favourites



Hygge: (Pronounced - Hoo-Ga) basically my life motto of being cozy, is now the center of a popular book called The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. Hygge is Danish word mean enjoying warmth and friendship, and it is apparently the reason the Danish are the happiest people on earth. Nearly all of my winter favs center around it so here we go:

Eye Studio Sampler
Beauty: Mascara pack from Shoppers (okay not so much this one for Hygge). I got this for Christmas from my mom. It is 8 of the most popular mascaras, you try the samples and then cash in a coupon for a full size of your favourite. Who doesn't love trying mascaras? If you are looking for a new one try this pack out!


TV: Currently watching on Netflix: The Good Wife and Jane the Virgin.
My friend Gen always has the best recommendations so when she said watch The Good Wife, I dove in. It's so entertaining (I know I am about 5 years behind on this trend) and Matt Czuchry is in it and I love him long time. I spent several days over the Christmas holidays curled up watching binging on a couple seasons. #worthit
Jane the Virgin was a random find,  it's very quirky but funny and cute. I would say it has a similar vibe to The Mindy Project, if it were a telenovela (Spanish soap); it's mindless fun.


Clothing: Eddie Bauer pants: If you live somewhere with a long, cold winter, you need a pair of these pants. They are fleece lined with a windbreaker outer layer. I throw them over my pants and stay cozy warm on my long walks with Finnegan. Every time I wear them, I think to myself "I freaking love these pants."


Book: The Year of Cozy My sister got me this book for Christmas, it's full of cute DIY's, recipes and homemade ideas. It is broken down by season so I am looking forward to trying a few of her winter ideas.
  
Body: Omnipae Pedi Perfect. It looks like it could be one of those overrated gimmicks, but let me and my butter soft feet tell you it is not! I love this thing and ain't nobody want to get cozy with someone with rough feet, so go get one!

Tea: Celestial Seasonings - Sleepytime Vanilla: This is my all-time favourite evening tea. I love chamomile and this tea takes it to the next level adding a little vanilla, it is perfection. I usually have a cup of this every night.
Also worth noting since it is in this pic, I am a huge fan of Dr. Oz's magaine (random I know) it is loaded with great information, recipes etc.

Wishing you a winter filled with lots of Hygge, so grab your favourite cup of cocoa, some cozy socks and enjoy a little happy, cozy time!  Do you have any fun winter favourites?
                                        
                                                

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday with your family and friends! I had a most enjoyable couple of weeks spent visiting, eating, and binge watching The Good Wife - it was glorious!

I took down our tree yesterday and it was a little depressing, the house always seems so bare afterwards. Jeff walked into our bathroom and yelled "what happened in here?" to which I replied "I just removed the Christmas" (whomp-whomp).  It was also depressing to realize it's time to stop holiday eating.  Anyone in need of dozens of peanut butter marshmallow squares or shortbread? *help me*

I have my goals and to do's for 2017, but this year I have boiled my New Years Resolution down to one...

Enjoy the moment!

By this I mean be present, don't always be looking ahead, really and truly appreciate what is happening at this very minute. Cheers to 2017, let's hope it is a year filled with good health, happiness, lots of fun and a few miracles! Here are some of my favourite holiday moments.

Making Christmas Morning Crepes
 
 My mom, Finn and I Christmas Morning
Baby dressed as an elf
 Girl's Night Out

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Canadian Girl's Guide to NYC at Christmas: Tips for making your trip extra special!

I am super excited to be teaming up with Alex Inspired and an amazing group of Canadian bloggers for my first ever Blog Hop. Find the links to their blogs below my post and visit all of their pages for more holiday inspiration!

Have you watched Serendipity a hundred times while dreaming of skating at Rockefeller Centre?
Does the scene in Elf where they are trying to get Santa's sleigh to fly, make you want to be in Central Park, stat? 
Do you dream of the Rockettes kicking their way across the stage?

If you answered yes, then this is the post for you!

New york city at Christmas time - pictures of New York landmarks and christmas events

Earlier this year I visited NYC for the first time with my girlfriends for our 30th Birthdays, see post here. I.loved.every.minute.of.it. My husband, in an effort to make this year awesome (despite our baby troubles) surprised me by saying we would be going for the Christmas tree lighting! What this actually meant was that I would have to do all the planning, but hey, I am not complaining!

It was a dream trip, and many of my bucket list items were checked off! I know so many of my friends have always dreamed of NYC at Christmas, so I have compiled my top 4 tips for planning your NYC getaway.

1. BOOK EARLY & CHOOSE WISELY!

It's New York, things are not going to get any cheaper (especially with the exchange rate๐Ÿ˜‚) so book as soon as you can!

Hotel: I booked our hotel 4 months ahead. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on West 35. I highly recommend this location; it was across the street from Macy's, there was a subway station right outside the door and it was in the middle of everywhere (they don't call it midtown for nothing!) 
Don't feel like you need to stay in Times Square, I would actually say do not stay in Times Square - save the extra dollars it will cost you and explore a different area, you will go to Times Square anyways! I stayed in TS my first trip and preferred the Midtown location.

Flights: NYC has 3 airports, so choose carefully when booking your flight. If you choose the very large JFK you might be spending upwards of $80 to get downtown. LaGuardia (LGA) however, is the closest to midtown; it cost us about $30-$40  to get to our hotel (depending on traffic and time of day). There are airport shuttles that run about $15 as well, so it just depends what you want to do. See more details here. I would always choose LGA, if you can get a flight through there that works.

2. ACTIVITIES

Where do we start? This is the best part, you have to decide what are your MUSTS!

Mine were:
- Seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
- Carriage ride in Central Park
- Ice skating
- Macy's Santa Land
- Window Shopping on 5th Avenue
- Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center
- Visiting the Chelsea Market and the Highline (Food Tour)

I feel like these may be everyone's musts, so let me start by sharing our itinerary and then I will give you some specific advice about each activity.

Day 1
11:00am Arrive in NYC at LGA, go to hotel and check in
1:00pm Visit Times Square, have lunch 
3:00pm Lion King
5:30pm Walk to Rockefeller Center and back to hotel to change for dinner
7:45pm Dinner at Chef's Club
9:00pm Quick wander through Macy's

Day 2
10:00am Food Tour of Chelsea Market/Highline (Trip highlight!)
3:00pm  Carriage ride in Central Park
4:00pm Stroll down 5th Avenue (to check out the window displays)
5:00pm Back to hotel to change
6:00pm Arrive at Rockettes (Trip highlight!)
9:00pm Visit Bar 65 at Top of the Rock (Amazing city views, while enjoying a drink). We did this instead of the Empire State Building.

Day 3
9:00am  Breakfast at Best Bagel and Coffee
9:30am  Shopping at Macy's and visit to Macy's Santa Land (only visit Santa Land right after it opens or just before close to save you from a giant line)
11:00am Visit the NY public Library
12:00pm Shopping in SOHO
2:00pm  Lunch at Gramercy Tavern
3:30pm More shopping!
6:00pm Back to hotel
7:30pm Dinner at Chelsea Market
9:00pm Wander through Bryant Park

Day 4
9:00am Visit Grand Central Station
10:00am Walk to Rockefeller Center - see Christmas tree set up
4:30pm Stroll through Central Park
5:00pm Happy Hour at the Food Hall below the Plaza Hotel
6:30pm Dinner at Obao (Thai food)
8:00pm Billy Joel at Madison Square Gardens
10:30pm Rockefeller Centre to see the lit tree
11:30pm Max Brenner for hot chocolate
12:30am Late night pizza search
Fly home the next morning

Extra Tips
Booking a Broadway show. If you are going to book a show for the day you arrive, especially at this time of year, I recommend getting the ticket insurance. You will see the option for this as you are going through your ticket purchase online. This insurance will reimburse 100% of your ticket cost, if your flight gets delayed or canceled, or for a variety of other reasons.
When you get up at 4am in Canada and are at the Lion King in NYC at 3pm #hesexcited
Ice Skating. There are many options for going ice skating in NYC, I would say the top 3 are Rockefeller Center, Central Park or Bryant Park. All are great, it just depends on what you are looking for. Rockefeller Center is the most expensive place and also the busiest, the other two are a little less well known, but still offer a fun experience.  I actually think Central Park has the best view, as you see the skyline of buildings, while surrounded by all the beautiful trees. Strangely enough, we didn't end up skating because when we got to Central Park I felt like I would be doing it just to do it, so we skipped it, although I thoroughly enjoyed watching other people skate!
Rockefeller Center
Carriage Ride. It's not cheap, a 45 min tour costs $118 + tip, but when your feet are hurting and you need a bit of a break from walking, it was a little bit of heaven! We did it in the afternoon, but I imagine the evening would be beautiful as well! No need to book ahead, there are lines of carriages waiting when you get there.

Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree Lighting. This was the entire reason for our trip timing and it almost didn't happen! Months after booking our flights and hotel, they changed the date. I only noticed because I was looking to see if they had released the concert details. Rockefeller Center's website didn't even acknowledge that they had done this, I found another website that confirmed it. When I called to complain they were rude and unhelpful. Luckily, my amazing boss let me extend my trip (and it only cost several hundred dollars to change flights and add an extra night at our hotel ๐Ÿ˜’).

Fortunately, the tree lives up the hype! It is the biggest, most beautiful tree I have ever seen, but the lighting event itself is not a MUST. The standing area is quite small and you have to be willing to be there for 6 + hours to get a good spot. The concert is on the rink level, so only a few people get down here (not even sure how). This year it poured rain the entire day and night and no one in the area was allowed an umbrella, so those who stayed got completely soaked. Jeff and I went to see Billy Joel instead (this was Jeff's bucket list and it was totally amazing) and we back after to see the tree. I held my umbrella down and had my own little reveal and it was incredible! I recommend booking your trip to be there after the tree is lit so you can enjoy it, but the lighting itself isn't as great as it might seem #tvmakeseverythingbetter

3. FOOD

Don't panic, but in NYC people book restaurant reservations a month early! This doesn't mean you can't get in later, it just means you may want to plan ahead for some places, depending on their popularity. Download the app Open Table, it's very easy and you can book everything through this, as well as see reviews. I was overwhelmed with work before our trip, so I only booked one ahead of time (Chef's Club) the rest we booked the day of, or just showed up at.

Food is one of the most fun parts of NYC as they literally have everything! You can spend as much or as little as you want on dining, from the highest end world famous restaurants, to the $1 pizza slices and hot dog carts. I would say have a few places booked or in mind that you want to try, but for the rest, explore, get lost, stumble on something and try it out! *It doesn't hurt to check TripAdvisor reviews.*

My Top 4 Food Picks:

 It is quick, cheap and delicious!

Lunch/Dinner: Gramercy Tavern
I had a brussels sprout dish I will dream about and a Harvey Fitz Spitz  that was to die for! 

Dinner: Chef's Club
Sitting at the counter you get to watch the chefs as they prepare fresh, renowned dishes, with recipes on loan from world famous chefs. Excellent service and delightful dishes!
Chef's Club - NYC
Dinner and a Show- Chef's Club

Any time of day: The Chelsea Market
Seemingly endless, beautiful novelty foods in a historical building, there is so much to see and try! Keep your eyes open for celebs like Rachel Ray picking up ingredients (Food Network is upstairs), Whoopi Goldberg getting our (I can say our because it's mine too) favourite grilled cheese or Hugh Jackman strolling back to his nearby home. I didn't see them, but I did see Damien Lewis casually eating his lunch. Make sure to visit Lucy's Whey for a life-changing grilled cheese - I had the aged cheddar and fig jam one *drools* just.do.it

#timessquareselfie

And that's it, friends! If you have any questions or want to share some of your NYC favs, comment below! Now, be sure to hop on over to explore some more holiday tips from these fabulous ladies!


Alex Inspired | Sunshine & Sugar | The Dream House Project | Glittering Ambition Lesley Metcalfe | The Lunchbox Season | Elizabeth Montilla Design | Once Upon a Maison | The Healthy Garage

Friday, October 21, 2016

What I am thankful for...


During this season of Thanksgiving I have been thinking a lot about what I am thankful for, I could go on for a while, but here is my top list.

- Our beautiful new niece Emilia!
- Our furbaby who is going to be a Therapy Dog at the hospital!
- A beautiful city and country to live in
- Pumpkin everything and fall in general
- A big Framily scattered around the world that although far, remain so close!
- Hot baths on a cold day #preach
- The will power to live out our 6 week detox cleanse *this is preemptive...I am only on week 2...help!*
- For Pinterest, seriously what did we do before it? I have found so many great recipes lately! 
- My friend Nadia for getting me addicted to Cross Fit and my sister-in-law Jen for pushing my running limits and being an amazing coach!
- Grey's Anatomy for being my Thursday night entertainment since.for.like.ever
- For the people who read this blog and the conversations it has started
- For perspective, a sense of humour and our friends and family that keep it real
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

                                           Happy Friday Friends! Enjoy your weekend!
             Let me leaf you with a picture of my favourite tree (see what I did there? ;)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Favourite Fall Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crackers

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means the leaves are falling, the air is crisp and pumpkin everything is in season!  My friend Karen introduced me to this recipe a couple years ago and it was love at first bight!

It tastes like your eating pumpkin pie, but it's healthy!
After rinsing the chickpeas, let them dry off, then rub them with  paper towel to get the skins off
ingredients in a food processor
Combine the chickpeas, pumpkin, spices, maple syrup and melted coconut oil in a food processor 
bat shaped tortilla crackers
I used a cookie cutter to cut out bat shapes, then a pizza cutter to make the others
Pumpkin Hummus with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crackers

Ingredients

Hummus
1 can of chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and de-skinned)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 tsp of pumpkin spice
3/4-1 cup of canned pumpkin  (I tend to add closer to a cup)
2 tsp of coconut oil (melted)

Cinnamon Tortilla Crackers
Whole wheat tortillas 
Coconut oil (melted)
Cinnamon 
Sugar or Truvia

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the chickpeas, let them dry in a strainer or on some paper towel. Rub the chickpeas with another sheet of paper towel in order to get the skins off. I think this is a gross job and its very time consuming, but do it anyways.

Next, combine all the ingredients in a food processor. It can take a while before the hummus becomes smooth, so don't worry if it takes 6+ minutes of pulsing or full blending.

To make the crackers spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Take the tortillas and either use a fun cookie cutter to cut out the shapes or use a pizza cutter to quickly make them into triangles. Brush the melted coconut oil on the tortillas, sprinkle with sugar or Truvia and cinnamon. Place on the cookie sheet and let them bake for 5-6 minutes. Then flip them over, brush with more coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Watch them carefully to ensure they don't burn.

That's it that's all! Serve them up, it will go quickly.


Happy Thanksgiving!