Print on Print

I am excited, friends! Why? Because today marks our first fashion related guest post from my good pal, Diana Prymack! Along with being one of the most hilarious human beings on this planet, she has a gifted eye for fashion and writing things with words. It’s true! Without further ado, here’s Diana: 

You know the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Perfect, because I’m using that same logic today in declaring that it is sometimes necessary to dress for the weather you want, not the weather you’re experiencing. It’s April, and though Calgary might insist on making you believe otherwise, it’s time for happy colours, poppy prints, and exposed flesh.

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Here we have the lovely Rachèle facing bravely into the elements in an artful showcasing of the print-on-print(-on-print-on-print) trend that’s flowing right into spring and hopefully also to infinity and beyond. This is a pretty easy look to pull off as long as you anchor the prints with a solid or two. Here our solids are the cropped trench and the coral cardigan. You may notice, however, that 3 out of the 4 prints present in this outfit are rooted in blue and feature only 2 colours; one of which is a neutral. The shoes are are an awesome stand out piece, but still work with the rest of the outfit because the tones coordinate with the solid cardigan and jacket.  This might be the only reason Rachèle looks every bit the classy and well-balanced lady despite the presence of 4 separate prints. Otherwise, 4 printed main pieces in one outfit might be a tad bit optically abrasive – even for me, and I love kaleidoscopes, man!

Now, on to the earlier promised exposed flesh! I mean look at those ankles, people. They’re a regular slap in the face of this spring snowstorm. Cropped or rolled pants are a perfect way to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, a flirtation with the idea that in mere days you could comfortably wear shorts. A nice cuff or roll on a slim fitting pant is a nice way to balance out the bulk of a layered top half, as well. And while we are on the subject of cropped items – outerwear without full sleeves is another great way to bridge the seasonal gap that obviously exists in Calgary and other parts of the world that are silly-close to mountains and other annoying meteorologically significant things. You want your torso toasty while exposing your wrists and hands to damaging UV rays? You’re not alone! Plus, the more varied the limb-length of your clothes, the more opportunities for layers (of print) and thus visual interest.

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Maybe dancing all night to summon the day isn’t enough, people! Maybe it’s necessary to dance all winter and into spring itself to summon spring’s warmth. At the very least, let us all resolve to dance during unseasonably cold spring weather in order to tolerate the biting wind while defiantly dressed in cute spring ensembles.

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Styling and Photo Credit: Diana Prymack

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Krispie Squares

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When my pal Stephanie and I were coming up with our breakfast themed birthday menu, we had a lot of ideas – some reasonable and a bit on the wacky side. We had fully developed our menu when Beau asked “Are you going to have cereal?”. Stephanie and I looked at each other with the wheels turning in our heads and came up with the concept for these bars in about 15 seconds. Cereal? Rice Krispie Squares? More cereal? CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH SQUARES?

Beau was talking about regular cereal.. like in a bowl with milk, but we thanked him for the inspiration nonetheless.

These squares are a delicious update to the traditional cereal bar. The addition of the browned butter adds a subtle caramel flavour and we all know Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the best sugary breakfast cereal. It’s a winning combo!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Krispie Squares

Makes 12 large sqaures

Adapted from Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Squares Recipe

Ingredients: 

3 tbsp. butter

5 cups mini marshmallows

4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch

2 cups Rice Krispies

Directions:

1.  Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the butter turns a light-medium brown colour and starts to smell extra delicious, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add marshmallows and stir until they are all melted.

3. Remove from heat and add the cereal to the marshmallow mixture. Stir until well combined.

4. Press the mixture into a 13X9 baking tray prepared with cooking spray.

It’s a good idea to spray your stirring spoon with cooking spray so it doesn’t cause you sticky grief when you’re pressing down the cereal mixture. 

5. Let cool and enjoy!  These treats are best served on the same day, but will last a couple of days in an airtight container at room temperature.

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This year, I shall…

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Though I’m not the typical new year’s resolution kind of gal, I’ve been finding more and more that I love to set goals for myself. I tend to work a lot better once I identify my end goals and then break down the steps to help me achieve them.

This year I decided to make a list of 12 fun personal (not too stressy!) goals to accomplish or activities to try over the next year! Since I just turned, ahem.. 27 this week, I thought what better time to create a year long list of things experience/explore/enjoy!

Without further ado, here is my list of 12 things I want to do before I blow out my birthday candles next year.

This Year, I Shall…

1. Run a 5K

2. Go on a photo adventure.

3. Take a solo trip.

4. Make croissants from scratch.

5. Sew an apron.

6. Go on a food tour in Calgary.

7. Go three weeks with no junk food.

8. Style an event for one of my friends/family.

9. Go ziplining.

10.  Make jalapeno jelly.

11. Eat a vegetarian diet for two weeks.

12. Take a class in something completely new!

What are some things you want to try this year?

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Photo Sources: 1/2

Happy Happy Birthday! – Breakfast Themed Birthday Party

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For the second year now, my great pal Stephanie and I have thrown a joint celebration to commemorate our communal birthday on March 25. This year, we decided on a breakfast themed party because we both have an unnatural obsession with all things bacon, eggs and toast.

We came up with a menu of bite sized or mini breakfast themed appetizers. Our array included breakfast sausage in a maple syrupy blanket, stacks of mini pancakes, mini quiches,  cereal only snack mix and cinnamon toast crunch cereal bars. Hilariously enough, the most time consuming  item of the whole day was making a heaping plate of bacon to be dipped in maple syrup or (as our guests figured out) to be used as a stir stick in a Caesar.

As far as decor, we decided to use bright springy colours as a nod to our spring birthday (even if there’s still frost on the ground). We added a flowery pinwheel feature wall behind our fresh and bright food table.

We whipped up the quick, easy and cute food labels on yellow cardstock with a little accent of baker’s twine. They were a not too fussy and not too simple way of showcasing our food selections to our guests.

The party was so. much. fun! There’s little better than gathering a group of your favouritest people in one room – especially when the best birthday cake ever is involved!

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We’re super serious ladies.

Roasted Vegetable Garlic Chicken Pizza

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I don’t think I’m alone in saying – I. love. pizza! I’m always happy to learn about different topping combinations and variations to the delicious cheesy crusty goodness. When I recently came across a recipe for pizza that doesn’t have pizza sauce, I knew I had to try it. Instead of the traditional tomato sauce as the base, this recipe uses a vinegar/mustard/garlic mixture that fills your house with a delicious garlicky aroma as it bakes and adds at acidic kick to your standard pizza.

You could use this base mixture and any number of toppings, but I decided to give it a Mediterranean flare with roasted vegetables and feta cheese. Topped with chicken, a mountain of vegetables and only a little bit of cheese, this pizza is a healthier weekday option than the delivery man would bring.

Warning: With the amount of garlic and onion on it, this is most definitely not a first date pizza. In fact, it’s more of a ‘we’ve-been-together-for-five-years-and-you’re-stuck-with-me’ type meal.

Roasted Vegetable and Garlic Chicken Pizza

Adapted from Cooking Light Weeknight

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini, sliced

1 cup coarsely chopped red onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 cup chopped red or yellow pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste.

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pizza crust

I used a pre-made pizza crust as I like to make this as a quick week night meal, but this would be even more amazing with homemade pizza crust. 

1 cup cubed cooked chicken

1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1/4 cup green onions

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place zucchini, red onion, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes in a bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat.  Pour vegetables onto a baking pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables begin to roast.

4. Combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic in a small bowl.

5. Brush the crust with vinegar mixture and follow with roasted vegetables, chicken and feta cheese.

6. Place the crust directly on the middle rack of your oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust begins to brown.

7. Add green onions and serve!

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Pep Talk T-Shirt

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I don’t know about you, pals, but every so often I need a little self pep talk. Just a quick note to myself to say “You’re doing swell” or “It’s all going to be ok”.

This t-shirt has a typographic message that is backwards to everyone looking at you but it’s the right way forward when you look at yourself in the mirror. For me, it’s a personal cheering squad letting me know “I’ve got this!”.  I took a (somewhat unexpected) leap of faith on a pretty significant life decision this week, so this DIY is almost spookily well timed in my life.

Imagine wearing something like this under your blazer for a big interview or client meeting. It’s like the Superman ‘S’ under your interview costume, but personalized to be just want to need to hear!

Other suggestions for messages include: Take A Deep Breath, Stay Positive,  Don’t Spend All Of Your Time Watching Puppy Videos <— Just me?

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Pep Talk T-Shirt

Materials:

T-Shirt (in your colour of choice)

Iron on labels

Printer

Scissors

Iron

Directions:

1. Design your inspirational message in InDesign, Photoshop or Microsoft Word (or ask the awesome graphic designer in the family to help).

2. Print your design onto iron on labels.

Usually when you are printing type onto a t-shirt, you have to print it backwards to ensure that the transfer turns out the right way. You don’t have to worry about that with this project because you want it to be backwards!

3. Place your design on your t-shirt and iron on per package directions.

4. Wear and take over the world!

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Makes Me Smile: Tiny Treasures

Lately I have been trying to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive. Life is a collection of small moments, and I truly believe that the key to being happy every single day is appreciating how those tiny details make life so great. Today I decided to collect and photograph a few items around my home which make me smile. Each of these tiny treasures is special to me for a very different reason, and I love them because they are all attached to a special person or memory in my life.

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1. The scarf was given to me by my good pal, Samantha, who recently moved away to Chicago. I love it because it reminds me of our good times together at the Farmer’s Market, eating ice cream and our long talks over g-chat. This scarf is a bright addition to any outfit just like Sam is a bright addition to my life.

2. This book was a lovely gift by an even lovelier lady, Stephanie. Stephanie and I are birthday twins and very twin like in a lot of other ways. We originally bonded over baking, but have since solidified our connection over stationary supplies, Costco dried cherries and making every song more awesome by replacing any word with “meow”. Stephanie is a dear friend of mine and I can’t wait to grow older with her at the exact same rate.

3. I have been so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by inspiration and creativity for my whole life.  My mother is a talented mixed media painter, and this is one of my favourite paintings she has given to me. Both of my parents are so supportive of everything I  have done, and I really truly appreciate it (even if I didn’t say so at the time – silly teenage years!). I love to have little reminders of my family in my home, and it is a special bonus that it’s in the form of bright, cheery personalized home decor.

4. A seemingly random trinket which lives on our book shelf, but one of the most special. This bell is an amazing souvenir of one of the best moments of my life. It was an ordinary Friday in October and I had arranged to attend the Loose Moose theater with Beau and two of my closest pals. Little did I know, Beau had masterminded a plan to have us brought onstage and use this tiny bell to carry out the surprise of my life. He proposed to me at the end and I will always remember that moment as one of the happiest of my life. Our friends caught it all on video too, and you can see it here.

On days when life gets hard and overwhelming, sometimes all we need is to look around and truly appreciate the little things.

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What are some of the small moments or objects in life that you treasure?

A Party for a Beautiful Friend

My good pal Brieanne has a birthday coming up and I wanted to do something fun and surprisey to show her how much all of her friends love her. This past Friday, we all met at a super secret location and awaited our luscious haired gal pal.

Brieanne_PhotoPhoto credit: Lori Andrews

The theme  was “Brie’s Favourite Things!!” – just like Oprah, if Oprah was a coffee aficionado and in love with Eddie Redmayne. In keeping with the theme, I stalked Brie’s Pinterest and put together this inspiration board to kick start the decor planning.

Brie_Party_Idea_BoardPhoto Sources: 1/2/3/4/5

The night was fabulous! It was such a treat to meet up with some of Brie’s best ladies (who as happen to be some of my best ladies!) to kick off the weekend with fantastic cocktails, delicious tapas and maaaaaaaaybe a muff dive made with Bar C’s signature lemon foam.

Bar C was a wonderful and accommodating host. I was a bit worried about whether the restaurant would be cool with me bringing my own table decor, but they were more than lovely and the staff even helped me set it up!

The drinks were delicious, original, and (possibly the best part) you could order their wine in customized volume intervals! If you want to try tiny samplings of each wine on the menu, you could! It was bonkers!

Let’s not forget the food! Oh, the food! I roll with a bunch of foodie type women, and we were all very impressed with the selection and the quality of each item were ordered. We pranced out of there drunk and stuffed to the brim with everything from tuna tartar, elk tacos and baked hot chocolate soufflé. I had the house frites with smoked paprika mayo and padano cheese and then I died of salty cheesy happiness.

The photos later on in the night are not all fit for the internet, but I thought I’d share some photos of the table set up before all the hi jinks ensued.

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Happy Birthday, Brie! Love you!

Jewelry Frame

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Some DIY projects come from a desire to create something fun or decorative and some are a result of pure necessity. This ring frame is something I came up with in an effort to avoid “omgwheresmyring!” panic after taking my jewelry off for baking or cleaning. Now I always know where my arm adornments are and the frame is fun and decorative too! PHEW! I hung mine on the side of my kitchen cabinets so it’s not in the way but still accessible. It’s also cute enough that you could put it on and nearby bookshelf or even add magnets and put it on the fridge!

Ring Frame Tutorial

Jewelry Frame

Materials

1 4×6″ photo frame

Cork tile (or rolled cork)

Fabric (about 5×7″ in size)

Glue gun

Crafter’s paint in colour of choice

Sewing pins

Directions

1. Remove the backing and the glass from the photo frame and set aside. You can discard the glass or save it for another project.

2. Paint the outside of the frame (if desired) and let the paint dry according to package directions.

3. Measure the opening of the frame and cut a piece from the cork tile to the same dimensions.

4.  Cover the cork with your fabric and secure with hot glue.

5. Place the cork piece in the frame opening and replace the frame backing.

6. Push the pins into the cork and arrange as desired.

Pecan Pie Blondies

Pecan Pie Blondies

Whether we like it or not,  Valentine’s Day is this coming up this Thursday. Though I am not personally concerned with heart shaped boxes of chocolates or roses, I don’t see anything wrong with spending an extra couple of moments letting your loved ones know you think they’re pretty darn swell. I made these pecan pie blondies for my main squeeze and shaped them into hearts – just for a little extra cheesiness. For those who would rather watch kung fu movies and ignore the holiday entirely, these blondies will satisfy your sweet cravings on any ol’ day of the year!

The browned butter and the toasted pecans come together to make decadent blondie. The taste immediately reminds of pecan pie – if pecan pie was soft, chewy and hand held. Nom!

Pecan Pie Blondies

Adapted from Cooking Light

Makes 24 squares or heart shaped bars.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

1-2 tbsp. milk (if required)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a 13×9 inch metal baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, stirring or swirling occasionally, until the butter is lightly brown (about 10 minutes). Pour into a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

3. In the meantime, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.

4. Add the eggs to the bowl with the butter and whisk together. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture.

5. Stir the batter until just moistened and then fold in the toasted pecans.

If you find the mixture is a little on the crumbly side at this point, add 1-2 tbsp of milk.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and press it down with a spatula (or your fingers).

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.

8. Let cool completely and use a cookie cutter to knife to cut into desired shape.

Pecan Pie Blondies

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