Jeff, like me, likes to takes pictures of food.
Each year I have a few March Break goals. Last year it was mainly to paint the kitchen and redo the grout. Well this year I took a more relaxing approach. It was much more enjoyable!
My goals. Though "make bunting" was not one of them, I think it turned out nicely and matches my kitchen colours.
First night of the break we went to dinner with our friends Jeff and Liz at Goods & Provisions.
Jeff, like me, likes to takes pictures of food.
Sunday dinner by Matt - coq au vin blanc with potatoes and bacon.
Birthday Manicure from Miyuki at Tips Nail Bar
It was tbt so I decided to do a collage of past birthday fun
Lie to me and tell me I don't look 31!
Oh yeah, remember THIS CAKE? I made that. No big deal.
My brother and Jessica had us over for dinner the following day - pretty tulips!
Delicious salad my parents brought. Going to modify it a bit and add quinoa for dinner tomorrow.
I said no birthday candles so instead I had to blow out a tea light from the bottom of the Eiffel Tour
Okay so many I am really proud of this cake.
See how Adam's right eye is more dilated than the left? Yeah he got beat up by a nerf gun by a child...it's a sensitive topic. That's why I'm writing about it here. LOVE YOU!
Then we listened to some records - love the baby blue player!
Matt and I don't really do a lot usually for Valentine's Day. We don't do cards or gifts. In the past we've gone to Leaf games, but mostly we just cook a good meal and enjoy each other's company. That's exactly what we did this year. I did a bit of prep work this time - I made a chocolate terrine for dessert (since I failed on New Years) on Thursday evening - it has to set 12-24 hours. I also made one for my work wife, Marta! Other than that, I just set the table when I got home on Friday, made a little garland (honestly took me 10 minutes) and Matt cooked dinner (pomegranate balsamic glazed sirloin steak with kale and tricolour quinoa).
Cut strips of scrapbook paper, staple 2 ends together, pinch top of one and staple.
Connect by the bottom staple of one heart with the top pinch of the other. Simple and quick!
Heart napkin fold link HERE (there's is better than mine...)
Final delicious product, along with a pinot noir!
Chocolate terrine! Recipe from HERE.
Added some toasted almond slices around the edges, plus a dash of icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Served with fresh whipped cream. Let to cool in my grandmother's heart shaped baking pan.
I cut the recipe in half as it served 12, and this did serve us 3 times, but with big pieces. It should be served in small doses - probably could have lasted 4-5 nights, haha, but it was just so good! Just as good as the one at our favourite restaurant, Goods and Provisions.
Since we didn't have people over for Christmas Eve or Day, but we had decorated and cleaned, we were feeling a bit let down without playing host. We debated doing a New Year's Eve dinner, but we know that it's tricky. Most of our friends and family lay low, were out of town, or already had plans. These kind of things need to be planned well in advance. I also know, personally, that I like to have an easy way home, but be able to drink, and not be freezing cold taking TTC with a party dress. So home is best for us.
Last year's meal - braised duck poutine (leftover duck from Christmas Eve)
This year, just like the past few, we make a great dinner and cuddle up together to watch movies. A few years ago we were hooked on Dexter. Last year we watched the first two Godfather movies (how had we not seen them before?), and this year we just watched the movie "Don Jon" - directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - it was pretty funny and well done. Not to be taken seriously but still really good. We made sea bass with creme fraiche, fingerling potatoes, and artichoke. I attempted to make a chocolate terrine, but timing was off. I started it before I realized I didn't have whipped cream, and by the time I got it, the chocolate had hardened (couldn't reheat as it had eggwhites in it), so it was pretty much a fail. Since it needs 12-24 hours in the fridge, we were out of luck. Matt went to the rescue and got some delicious mousse tarts from Bobbette & Belle, a bakery near us.
So anyway, back to the lack of hosting. We decided to invite our siblings over for a New Year's Day brunch. Jamie and Hope got back from England the day before so knew they wouldn't want to do Eve, but would come the next day if we could watch the Winter Classic. Adam and Jessica were up for it, and Meg was AT the Winter Classic so didn't come. We made easy food - tried and true which are cozy brunch foods. French toast souflee made with brioche (I made the day before and just cooked it that morning), the bacon, cheddar, potato bake we did on Christmas morning (easy and delicious), did a fruit salad with winter fruits - citrus, apple, pear, pomegranate (made this for a brunch last year), plus some prosciutto and melon. We also did a hot chocolate station, had coffee and tea, and the hangover cures of mimosas, Caesars, and beer.
The setup was fun - I was going to leave all the Christmas stuff, but Matt and I always clean it up on New Year's Eve day to start the year fresh and clean, so I cleaned up and just left a few silver and gold sparkly pieces to keep it festive but not Christmas-y. Here are the decor pictures:
Painting from Home Sense, LOVE Print from Madebygirl
Okay, I just mean the type of hot chocolate...nothing else (talking to you, Jamie).
Runner is from West Elm
Silver chargers are from The Bay, gold are from Dollar Tree (score!)
This candle from Bath & Body Works is both festive and smells delicious!
My grandma's neighbour was throwing this mirror away, can you believe it?
She asked for it and kept it for us - I love it!
Pineapples mean welcome!
Matt is smiling but probably saying on the inside "please put down the camera and help me!"
To prove to my brother that my fridge isn't just full of beer and butter
(we were going away one summer after I had made a lot of buttercream icing and bought too much butter, haha)
Mimosa & Caesar station
All in all it was fun decorating and hosting. We had some good food, some great company, and watched the longest hockey game ever, haha. Maybe we'll make this an annual tradition! Plus it gave us an excuse to clean the house top to bottom and it was a nice clean start to 2014! Happy New Year everyone!
So here is my January Cure project list for 2014. If you want to see my list from 2013, you can see it HERE. There are quite a few from last year that are still on this list! Here are the pictures I took to help me remember instead of writing the list down. These are all unedited - a glimpse at my day to day house - though it is quite clean since we just had family over yesterday for a New Year's Day brunch.
1. An easy one - make the bed. Most of the time Matt makes it because he is last up. But I could make it today...
2. Organize closet drawers - I have to do this a few times a year. A good uncluttering and reorganizing.
3. Organize this one too. Especially the middle area.
4. Reorganize jewelry area.
PS - Yay for hockey tickets!
5. Still have this yellow storage unit...make it purple to match the bedroom!
6. Shoe boxes with pictures to identify each shoe and organize
Guest Bedroom # 1
7. Clothes to Salvation Army/Goodwill
8. Still have this sweater closing up the vent - get vent cover!
9. Put Christmas wrapping stuff away
10. Storage for suitcases
Guest Bedroom # 2
11. Hooks on the back of this door for extra towel storage during the week
12. Art/something for this wall on the left - it's so empty.
13. Organize these drawers - makeup, hair products - all the stuff that doesn't fit in our tiny bathroom
14. Area rug for this room?
15. Caddy for bathroom organization in the shower
16. New bathmat
Upstairs Hallway & Closet
17. Closet organization - annual thing!
18. Gallery wall of family pictures - have wanted to do this since last year
19. New light for the hallway! Geez!
20. Spray paint the black on the light to bronze, silver or gold
21. New entryway shoe organization. Those rocks are so annoying.
22. .Coat storage is not working either!
Let's be honest - I love my dining room.
23. Let's make it a little bit more homey now, slightly less model home.
24. I do not love lamp. Get new one. NOW!
25. Can we do anything about this exposed plug? Make it look less exposed?
26. More energy efficient thermostat - maybe one of the NEST ones?
27. I always feel this corner looks a little lonely/empty. Not sure what to do to fix this.
28. Curtains for this window may fix the one above too?
29. I love this painting Matt did, but I'm not sure it goes with this room anymore.
Where to put it? What to replace it with?
30. Move the carpet back a bit so the little ottoman can fit a bit better in that space.
31. This corner needs something taller?
32. This was organized last year but now we have more DVDs (and with Netflix that seems ridiculous)
33. Just...no. Clean this.
34. Paint this butcher block island. I'm going to do slightly darker wood stained tops, turquoise legs.
35. Something new on the chalkboard
36. Our cookbook collection is expanding. Where to put them?
37. Somehow clean the inside of the dishwasher (beyond the grossness on the door)
38. Clean the oven.
39. Organize this drawer. Tons of ideas for this and all organizing from the blog
iheartorganizing - she's a freaking genius
40. Little ruffly shade for the top of the window? Curtains?
41. Do we keep this or sell it? We hardly use the cappuccino maker even though it is awesome.
PS - there's my turquoise butcher block inspiration - David's Tea (and of course my friend, Tiffany)
42. Something pretty on the wall in this corner, too. A cool recipe blown up maybe.
43. Pictures/gallery wall down the stairs?
These next few are part of a larger project coming up this month!
44. Rip the carpet off the stairs
45. Under the stair storage shelving unit
46. Reinforce the stairs - perhaps a post is needed.
47. New storage units across the whole wall.
48. Take back empties.
49. New coat storage (extend and organize and rebuild).
50. Storage for all this stuff my mom gave me on the left, and general personal stuff on the right.
(PS - Mmmmm if you've never tried White Linen Marinara from Costco, it will change your life. It's down here because we were hosting yesterday and just brought it down here with other stuff. It will be used very soon.
Thanks mom in law!)
51. Find storage for my photography stuff and gym stuff.
52. This one is from the kitchen - the key is that brown box. It contains a very cute Ikea step stool that I am going to stain just like the kitchen butcher block island. Stained wood top, turquoise sides.
53. This is extra seasonal foliage from upstairs. Matt knocked it over while vacuuming. Better solution?
(PS - Matt hung our diplomas in the office - don't they look great?)
54. Hang the pretty map Matt got for Christmas, and my periodic table! GEEEEEEEK!!!!
55. Fix my printer (again). A cartridge leaked and now it won't print. I need it.
Basement Bathroom & Laundry Room
56. Oh my goodness. This bathroom.
This is a bigger project probably, but maybe I can just buy a pretty shower curtain to spruce it up a bit.
57. Tool storage improvements.
58. What to do with this ceiling....?
61. Skirt this laundry tub to hide all our chemicals.
62. Finish the walls - complete filling holes, paint drywall.
Oh my goodness this post took me forever! I remember thinking this last year too! For the most part, it is a bit of cleaning and organizing. The big project is the basement storage (#44-50) - we are starting this weekend! Can't wait to share ideas and updates. This will take longer than a month, but it's a start.
If you want to join in, go HERE and subscribe. If you stumble upon this post, leave me a comment about your plans and a link to your blog. I'd love to see some other January Curer's!!!
I wish I could post pictures from Christmas Eve, but I actually did not take any. We had a lovely evening at Matt's parents' place with family. Delicious salad, tortiere pies and baked Alaska, plus the obligatory sweet and cookie trays. Exchanged gifts - my highlight was a LABEL MAKER! Yes, my in-laws know me extremely well.
Christmas Day we went to my parents' house with my family. First up, decor. These pictures are a mix of ones I took and Adam - once he got a handle of the 50mm lens he took some great shots!
My cabbage patch moon ornament - my favourite.
From my year in teacher's college
Precious moments are featured heavily on the tree
I love this one - Adam took it!
Next up is the family shots - my mom got us all Sochi Olympic gear, and wanted to take a family picture. Actually it was my idea. My uncle Brian was completely against it. After a while I was annoyed that people weren't cooperating - yes, I can be very demanding, I know - and didn't want to do it anymore, but we got through it.
We started on the stairs but my dad's tripod doesn't go portrait so it wasn't framed well. This was a test.
There we go.
My cousin Andrew is such a ham (as seen as above and below)
My pretty mom
Adam, the professional photog.
Adam starts off with his serious face (above), then mocks Jessica (below)
Christmas cracker crowns
My aunt Karen got married last Saturday at the Toronto Wedding Chapel at Yonge & Eglinton. It was an intimate affair of less than 30 people and here are some pictures I took (though I tried my best to stay out of the photog's way so there are some odd angles, haha). Enjoy!
Signing of the Register
Drink and be Merry
Cutting the Cake
Dinner & Dancing
While in Vegas, I got a text from my sister-in-law Hope saying "COME BACK TO MEEEE" - I guess she missed me. This was Thursday, so I asked if she wanted to come over with Jamie for a BBQ. I also invited Jessica and Adam. Saturday worked best for all, so that was good. Well I sort of forgot that we were flying home late Friday night and arriving home by 9 AM Saturday morning. Well just call me Martha because we slept until noon, I cleaned the house, Matt got groceries, and we threw together a backyard BBQ in a few hours. It also helped that Jessica made a delicious cheesy french onion dip appetizer and Hope made a yummy apple berry crumble for dessert. We did a fruity salad (from a Comfort of Cooking recipe), grilled bread with prosciutto (from a Barefoot Contessa recipe), and hamburgers with grilled corn. Lots of drinks and laughs with both sides of my family made a really good night. Plus we got to show off our bench seating and string lights!
I realize now that we did not invite Meg (I think I thought she was working) - Meg if you were home all sad and lonely I'm sorry and I will take you to dinner this week!!!!! Love you littlest sister!!!!!!
Bread, cheese, prosciutto, garlic, parsley, olive oil - assemble & BBQ - yum!
(adapted from THIS recipe)
Arugula, strawberry, peach, cucumber, goat cheese salad with a balsamic reduction
(adapted from THIS recipe)
Yes, Adam is wearing a leopard print snuggy!
Good weekend - let's do it again really soon!
Matt had to go to Round Mountain, Nevada, for a last minute business meeting, and his work was nice enough to put me up for a few days while he was down there. His meeting was on Wednesday, so we left Tuesday morning, arrived in Vegas Tuesday morning (gotta love time differences), he headed up to Round Mountain (about 4 hours away), and went to his meeting the next day. I stayed in Vegas, and he got back here Wednesday night in time for our third anniversary. We stayed Thursday and Friday and went home Friday night, arriving home Saturday morning (gotta hate time differences). I paid for only my flights and meals, and lounged around while he was gone (probably would have done that back in Toronto anyway). I didn't bring my DSLR, so these are all iPhone photos.
Weather check prior to the trip - looks good! No humidity, hot and sunny.
View at the top of the strip of our hotel - Mandalay Bay
Oh yes, that flash of blue above was our rental car - the bright blue Mustang. Very flashy, but just honestly what they had in terms of a mid-sized car. I'm pretty sure the guys at the mine site made fun of Matt for it!
Also shown is the famous "welcome to las vegas" sign, and the view from our room of the "beach"
Tuesday night solo dinner - went to Fleur in our hotel, sat at the bar, and had an amazing caprese, plus the sea bass, plus some wine. Very proud of myself for going out to eat. Wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be!
After a Wednesday of relaxing outside by the pool, cooling off with Shark Week and Starbucks
Anniversary dinner outfit - trying a new peachy shade.
Matt drove around Nevada looking for a florist open at 9 pm. Awww.
One of many delectable parallel courses at Aureole.
Happy 3 Years!
Thanks, multiple waiters (seriously, we were not left alone for a second! Guess it was a slow night...)
Evening wandering - directly beside us was the Luxor
And beside it Excalibur
"I don't wanna be a princess!"
Then New York (fun hotel)
Thursday wanderings - all of the above hotels were not there 5 years ago...
Aria was one of my fav hotels - beautifully decorated and the least smokey.
Ohhhhh Paris (said like par-ee)...
Closest I'll get to France for now!
Okay this looks gross, but it was pretty much the best food I've ever eaten.
Crepe, with nutella, caramel, creme fraiche, bananas. Wow. I felt so sick after - totally worth it.
The Cosmopolitan hotel. Can you say SATC?
From Michael Kors in the forum shops - my 3rd anniversary gift - leather!
Dinner at Julian Serrano Tapas - wow this was also a great meal.
Just one of the great decor areas of the Aria hotel
Caprese, done with marmalade and pesto too, in layers
Oh we need to get dessert...
Jean Philippe gelato
Went to see the Cirque show "Ka" - so incredible
(though I was terrified the entire time that another person was going to fall off unintentionally)
Last day - brunch at Verandah
Why is food in the States often in such huge portions compared to Canada?
Aquarium and shark reef!
Have you ever pet a stingray? They are very soft.
(Hope got stung by a little one on her honeymoon...Jamie wouldn't pee on her...#lovefail)
Schools of fish
Wow scary when it goes above your head...
Oh yes, we did this. Going to 3 things was cheaper than just one - so we did the shark reef, Titanic, and Bodies. We had been to the reef before but Matt wanted to go again. Titanic was cool to see all the artifacts - my mom would have really liked it. I loved Bodies because it was so science-y and I never went when it was at the Science Centre here (Body Worlds). This one, however, was more explanation of all the body parts versus the bodies in random poses - much more educational. Matt, however, was pretty much traumatized by it. Wimp.
Lunch at "Gonzalez Gonzalez" in New York (I missed you when I saw this Dawn!)
They called this a "salad" - I ate 2 bites.
View of the Mirage
The Venetian (great shopping here)
Bellagio fountains set to Frank
So overall the trip was good for the fact that I didn't have to pay for half of it, we ate great food (but way too much), and saw a fun show.
BUT...We first went in 2008 and we definitely thought we hardly saw any of it. We were wrong - we saw all the best parts. Going back this time I realized how crowded, and hot, and smokey it truly is. Really, you can smoke everywhere, so most hotels you wanted to go in to either see the sights or escape the heat were really just hazy and made me feel sick. Especially if the stores or restaurants were right beside the casino, where people smoked the most. Also it was sad to see people just sit at the slots for hours on end like pod people. I'm not really a gambler, so I guess I don't really get the appeal. There are people on the streets everywhere trying to sell prostitutes and drugs, and it's so busy everywhere. Definitely won't be going back again just to see the sites!
The first weekend we were home all summer it was Matt's birthday on Sunday, August 4th. He turned 30, so now he is old like me, haha. Since his favourite restaurant (and mine, too!), is not open Sunday, we went out to dinner on Saturday night. Goods & Provisions is by far the best place for great food and wine - and its in Leslieville, not too far from us.
Us 30 year olds...
Matt in candlelight of Goods & Provisions
Saw this early Sunday morning on Instagram from his mom
First Sunday morning stop to Matt's fav coffee place for a drink on the patio - Te Aro
Picked up some steaks for dinner and some "boy" birthday flowers
Enjoying our patio
Plus some Pinot Noir and bread with olive oil dip from Caroline's wedding
Yep, BBQing his own birthday dinner. I offered to cook but he wanted to do it!
Love our lights
Steak and loaded potato and tomato - yum. As good as The Keg!
Finished off with some cupcakes from Yummy Stuff. These were oatmeal maple bacon
Just a few of the sites and places we went before and after Caroline's wedding from the iPhone:
Driving in Pete's BMW with a Te Aro tea latte and a great book - Little Bee
Stopped for lunch in Kingston at Pan Chancho (ohhh memories from uni)
RMC arch - you walk through only when arriving and departing RMC for the first and last time.
Sweet welcome bag at the hotel from Caroline and Andrew
Brunch at Benny's Bakery (delicious)
Fairmont Chateau Laurier (had to take it for my mom - always such pretty hotels)
View from Parliament of the Red Bull Flugtag (our hotel was just behind it)
Had to take some Parliament pictures
This never-ending incomplete combustion is just no good for our environment...
That guy. Love him.
Jessica introduced me to this at the pub - it's pretty much just apple juice, or as I call "apple beer", to which Matt laughs and says "hard cider" - apple beer is a way better name.
I don't even remember what this was, but it was yummy.
Trying a little ombre eye for the wedding (yep, eye freckle!)