Monday, 15 September 2014

SWITZERLAND - POST ONE

Life is pretty fantastic most days when you think about it.

Like when you think about the world - in its size, with all its diversity... the more you see of it the smaller it feels, the more you realize we're all really the same.

And sometimes when I think that at this exact moment in my little home, people exist in all other parts of the world - in all sorts of other homes... It blows my mind a little.

Where am I going with this, you might be wondering?  This summer hubby and I were fortunate enough to go on a two week celebratory grad trip to Switzerland!  It was hub's first trip overseas and my second and we loved (mostly) every second of it.  I thought I would share some of our best photos from the trip starting with a post about Zurich.

We flew into Zurich and spent a couple of days there at the beginning of our trip and one night at the end before flying home.  One of my few travel tips is to spend a night or two in the city you fly into.  This gives you a chance to get over any jet lag before you travel to your next destination, and also gives you a chance to wait for missing luggage (heaven forbid - but that was my experience on my first trip to Europe)!

Zurich is a beautiful city on a lake (Lake Zurich) with a path around the lake that is always full of walkers, roller skaters, cyclists, etc.  The lake is also surrounded by parks and green space full of healthy Swiss people playing badminton and swimming.  It was a beautiful city (although very expensive) and had an interesting contrast of people lounging outdoors by the lake and businessmen in Porsches driving the streets.

Mostly we walked the path along Lake Zurich, lounged in the parks, ate ice cream, explored the Old Town, and did a little window shopping (AKA tried on a pair of shoes at Prada).  And napped.  Because when you're jet lagged in Zurich it is essential to take naps on the grass in the park like your life is a movie.  We also took a little day trip into Kyburg, a tiny town outside Zurich.  It had a medieval castle and hiking path and since we went on a day when the castle was closed, there were no other tourists there.  We had a picnic lunch and went for a walk in the Swiss countryside all alone.  It was so peaceful and one of my favourite moments.  Here are our pictures from Zurich and Kyburg (pronounced Key burg)!

PS - The headband I'm wearing in the bottom photo is by MairiRyan Textile Designs and more headbands will be available at the Fall Craft Show!













Friday, 12 September 2014

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER

Most nights we have a fairly healthy meal, whether or not I'm "on the wagon".  Although I have to say, a lot of the healthy recipes I have tried have been flops.  We have been married for six years and from day one I insisted hubby tell me if he didn't enjoy something I cooked.  So there have been a few times I've made healthy recipes where our meal ends with hubby saying slowly, "You know...you say you want me to tell you when I don't like something..."  And honestly, it is always unanimous.

When I was visiting my friend F in Calgary this winter/spring, a friend of hers took us out for authentic Indian food.  He chose the meals we ordered and we shared everything.  I love trying new foods and having someone there who knows the food and could order for us?  It was pretty fab.  One of the dishes we had was a cauliflower appetizer and it was sooo good.  Covered in spices.  Roasted perfectly.  Yum.

It was a dish I thought I could recreate at home without too much trouble - granted, my version is not a legit Indian version.  I didn't buy any special spices; I only used what I had in my cupboard.  But let me tell you.  Still yum.



I made this dish again a week ago and I think it's going to be in our regular rotation.  It's nice to have cauliflower without drowning it in cheese sauce (delish but not so much on the healthy end of things).  Here's what you do:

1. Steam the cauliflower until it is the texture that you like - I like mine to be a bit on the soft side.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Heap the cauliflower onto the cookie sheet. Drizzle in olive oil, sprinkle on cumin, curry powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy).  If you don't cook with these spices very often - the curry powder and cumin aren't spicy so don't be afraid to use lots to give lots of flavour!
4. Bake in the oven at 350.  I can't remember how long I baked this for but maybe in the 20 minute range?  It will give your nice soft cauliflower a bit of a crispy, roasted texture on the outside.  Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.

That's it! Easy, really tasty, and healthy.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

LOCAL TALENT FEATURING MAIRIRYAN TEXTILE DESIGNS

This is new for me, guys.  I'm super nervous about this post because I want to do justice to this project because I am really proud of it.   This is the first time I've shared someone else's work and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Let me start at the beginning.

My incredibly talented cousin, Dee Wilkie, started her own business a couple of years ago.  It is called MairiRyan Textile Designs (named for her sister and husband) and you can find more information here.  She makes a variety of cool products including headbands and she will be at the Fredericton Fall Craft Show if you're local and want to check it out (because you totally should. Peer pressure).

My favourite thing that Dee makes?  Gorgeous hand dyed and hand painted silk fabrics.  Enter Adrienne Goodine, local fashion designer.  A collaboration between the two with Dee's fabrics and Adrienne's designs?  Awesome.  I'll stop there because the photos below really speak for themselves.

Remember to support local artisans and check out MairiRyan Textile Designs at the Fredericton Fall Craft Show on October 3 - 5.

Photo Credit: Lance Kenneth Blakney and assistant Bobby Cole.  Model: Athenais model.  Hair and Makeup: Amy Barter.  Designers: Dee Wilkie and Adrienne Goodine.

 



Monday, 8 September 2014

CHOOSING EXTERIOR PAINT

Now that God has shipped us back to our first home, we have some work to do!

Our house has cedar shingles which I am conflicted about.  On the one hand I'm not a fan of the look of vinyl siding.  On the other hand vinyl siding has zero maintenance which is kind of awesome.  Hubby and I had been complaining to each other because a previous owner had painted the shingles rather than leaving them stained.  We were worried that was going to make upkeep a far bigger job than necessary.

And back to having work to do.

Those shingles needed to be painted, people.  Or the house needed new siding.  Cost wise painting is the better option and once we decided to do it - go big or go home, right?  We chose a different colour.  A waaaay different colour.

You may remember old red/brown before?


We never felt strongly one way or the other about this colour.  Mainly we felt strongly we didn't want to paint.  You know how it is.  But when you're going to be painting it anyway and the world is your oyster?  Let's make a dramatic change to the neighbourhood!!

My advice when you're changing the exterior of your home?  Drive around your neighbourhood!  We took a drive and paid attention to the colours we did and didn't like, as well as the colours directly around our house.  There are a lot of gray homes within direct sight line of ours so although we liked gray, we had to eliminate it.  As we did the neighbourhood tour we realized we liked muted colours best - muted blues, greens, yellows, creams, etc.  Then we went to Home Depot and below was our jumping off point.  We painstakingly selected a bunch of colours and then went to the kitchen section where we could put them on a counter (that wasn't surrounded by thousands of other distracting paint colours) and analyze them in peace.


Hubby wasn't feeling any kind of blue, which as you can see above, eliminated more than half of the colours we had chosen.  Neither of us was feeling the cream.  That left us with a few gray/green options.  And then choosing darker vs lighter was a challenge.  

We are planning on replacing our front door next year (one thing at a time) so I thought we should head to the door section and compare with wood tones.  I was happy with either of the greens against "Caramel" or "Medium Oak" pretend wood.  (Don't you just hate pretend wood, though.  I know the fiberglass doors must be more efficient but really.  Pretend.  Wood.)  And maybe I am the only person who has ever taken paint samples to compare against doors because we were asked my multiple employees if they could help us.  They seemed confused when I said, "Nope!  Just checking out this paint colour against the door colours!"  I dunno.  It seemed logical to me.



Stay tuned for the finished product.  Spoiler alert - we chose urban nature.  One side of the house is done but I want to wait until we finish the front before I share!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

NURSERY INSPIRATION - GENDER NEUTRAL

See? I told you I was back!

I wanted to start my first post back with a little interior design inspiration.  One of my besties is a little over 20 weeks pregnant with her first baby and she has been digging into nursery design.  Last weekend she was showing me her recent purchases for Baby E's room and asked me what I would do if I was planning a nursery.  What luck!  My favourite game to play!

You might remember from a post earlier this year that I am into gender neutral nurseries.  I have had this vision in my head since I found out T was pregnant. (And this is my first attempt at making an inspiration board so hopefully I'll get the hang of it.)


Nursery #1

I hope you found this as super duper exciting as I did.  I especially love that fitted sheet - it has little sheep on it.  So cute.  Have a great weekend, all!