Five things

If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize most of these photos but here (and only here!) can you get the scoop behind the pictures. Okay not really. You can also get it on Instagram. But sometimes I fill in different details here too, so you should still read my Five Things. Heck you’re here, so you must want to. ūüôā Read on then! Don’t let me get in your way!

five things sept 14

1. Speed-walking to school, as we do most mornings. How can we get almost everything ready the night before and still take so long getting out the door? Tell me I’m not alone in this. What hurries things along for you?

2. I can’t get over these emoji cookies from A Couple of Squares. The London, Ontario bakery supplies to The Second Cup near our dentist, so we picked up a few after our last visit. And then brushed our teeth really well.

3. Well we already know Mindy Kaling has an amazing sense of style, but did you know she’s also got a brilliant eye for decor? I love her feature in the latest issue of Domino. And may I just say I’m so glad the magazine’s back? Now we just need them to put out another book!

4. This cutie is one of the¬†Minted prints I’ll be showing you in an upcoming post about transitioning your decor to fall/winter. Don’t you love?

5. I’ve started a six-week bootcamp at the gym three mornings a week and let me tell you, it’s a killer. Or I am super out of shape. Or maybe both. Today I managed to squeak out a few more push-ups than I did in the first class on Monday so I can already see some progress. Yay! (Everything hurts but still, yay!) Do you amp up your fitness routine in the fall?

Hope you’re having a good week, everybody! Talk to you again really soon.

Five things

I love these kind of round-up posts for a Sunday, only it’s already Tuesday. I’m gonna blame the heat. All I want to do is nap. But I also want to see what’s in my first¬†Birchbox, and I told myself I could only open it after I’d written my post. Do you do that too? Set up little rewards for yourself? Honestly I am soooo tempted to open it but no, nope! I’ll press on. Here are some of the things we’ve been up to lately.

five things aug 15

1. We finally made the marbled clay ring dishes from A Beautiful Mess. (I’ve been wanting to make them since they were posted last November.) Lily said it was the most fun craft ever! Word to the wise: don’t try to remove the clay from the bowls you baked them in until both are cool. You’ll burn yourself (guilty!) and might tear the clay (did that too). I say “tear” because they’re kind of pliable, rather than rock hard like I thought they’d be. But they still do the job and they’re cute, so it’s all good.

2. The watermelon popsicles¬†from Eat Yourself Skinny were a little bit more difficult. The popsicles melted so quickly (seriously, it’s hot here) that they fell apart every time I tried to take a picture and we probably went through three or four before I finally got this one. The green part is supposed to be lime sherbet but nobody here likes it so I used vanilla pudding with a little food colouring instead. The “seeds” are chocolate chips. Cute eh?

3. A couple of weeks ago we taught the kids to play backgammon and they are totally obsessed. I’m so happy to see they like it. It’s the same set I spent hours and hours playing on with my grandmother when I was their age.

4. A Beautiful Mess regrammed this picture I posted on Instagram and it’s had something crazy like 5,800 likes. The print was in the last Happy Mail. Don’t you love?

5. And my girl Aneta and I have a flash giveaway happening here on Instagram for a $20 gift card to Home Depot. Quick, hop over! It ends tomorrow at 5 pm. Canadian residents only svp.

Now to open my goodies! I’ll tell you more about it in another post.

Have a great day, everybody. Stay cool.

Five things + A giveaway!

School’s out and summer’s officially here! What’s in store for the weekend, everybody? My kiddos are away visiting family for a couple of days so I’m catching up on some reading, doing¬†a lot of cleaning (it’s really the only time I feel like I can make some headway) and going out to dinner tonight with girlfriends from the neighbourhood. Here’s a look at some of the goings-on in the past week or two. Five things + A giveaway!

Five things

Do you have a Summer bucket list? I’ve never made one myself, but I do have few things that I’d like to do. Like take the kids to a water park. Pick strawberries and make jam. Do a road trip to Target (the nearest one is two hours away) and Hello Yellow in Almonte (a 45-minute drive). And read Sophie Kinsella’s new book. (And about a dozen others!) Here’s a few things¬†I’ve been up lately.

five things june 8

1. Bananas, cherries and a splash of milk whizzed together in the food processor made the most delicious (and nutritious!) popicles the other day. Me and the kids could live on frozen treats, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of my concoctions this summer.

2. I’m partnering with minted to build a gallery wall and last week my prints arrived. Oh I can’t wait to show you the big reveal when it all comes together! (And there might be a little sumthin’ in it for you too!)

3. All these carnations, just $6 in Loblaws’ discounted flower section! I call them poor man’s peonies.

4. Have you done any planting this year? Yesterday we put together a wee herb garden with all of the usual suspects (chives, basil, thyme, etc.).

5. June is going to be a busy month here on the blog, what with the gallery wall reveal, more book reviews, a look at my trip to a super fun craft show, another giveaway from Lampe Berger and more! I hope you’ll follow along. I’m so glad you’re reading.

Have a great week everybody!

Five things

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is shining — it’s what we’ve been waiting for, isn’t it? And yet this time of year I find it especially hard to fight the urge to crawl into bed and shut out the world. Spring has sprung! We’re supposed to be happy! But what if you’re not? If you struggle with anxiety and depression or something else crappy, you might feel a little (or a lot) guilty. A little (or a lot) out of place. A little (or a lot) like something is wrong with you. Maybe all of those things. That’s how I feel a lot of the time, but I keep trying small things to lift myself up. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately. Five things

Five things

You know those weeks when you feel like you can’t get anything done? I’m having one of those. Well, a couple of them actually. The house is upside down and I don’t know where to even begin to put it right side up, and the whole mess has got me feeling terribly unorganized and unmotivated to do anything. But then I look at pictures from the past couple of weeks and think wait a second! I have been doing things. I may not be ripping through my to-do list, but these things still matter.

five things april 28 15

1. For special occasions, I love the Chateau Laurier. (Seen here from the Alexandra Bridge, which we walked along after a trip to the Museum of History.) It’s where we gathered for lunch the day I graduated from university, where my girlfriends surprised me with a baby shower when I was pregnant with my son, and where we celebrated my daughter’s fourth birthday with afternoon tea. Ah, so fancy! What’s your special occasion place?

2. I love whiling away the lunch hour at a favourite coffee shop with a girlfriend. That’s Kirsten’s sleeve up there. We met at work nearly 20 years ago and have been friends ever since.

3. A lesson from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. It’s one of the books I turn to for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck or stale.¬†What books inspire you?

4. My entry for Chatelaine’s April cooking club challenge, classic vanilla cake. Each month the magazine invites readers to make and photograph a particular recipe for the chance to win a prize (this month it’s a set of bakeware — right up my alley!). The winner was announced today. And it’s me! Woot woot!

5. And tomorrow I’m off to the second annual BConnected blogger conference, just across the river in Gatineau. I know it takes an army of dedicated people to pull off an event like this and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from so many of my talented peers. But if I could do it from home I totally would. I’m nervous to meet everybody and feel way more comfortable here at home behind my computer than I do out there in the world. I feel so vulnerable admitting it. Aren’t you supposed to never let ’em see you sweat? I am sweating here, people!

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, everybody. I’ll be back soon with another fantastic giveaway!

Five things

Hey, you came by! Thanks for popping in. I know many of you are busy celebrating Easter and Passover, so it’s especially nice to see you here. Here’s a little update on the week that was. Five things

Five things

I’ve been feeling badly for not posting last week’s highlights earlier but now that it’s Throwback Thursday, it’s totally legit! Don’t you love when things work out like that?

five things march 21

1. I thought IKEA would be mobbed last week with everyone around for March Break, but last Monday it was surprisingly quiet. (Ahh!) I restrained myself from bringing home more kitchen goods and picked up a few things from the Paper Shop instead. (Oh and meatballs, of course.) Have you seen IKEA’s new stationary, gift wrap and party decorations? I love!

2. Tuesday we woke up to more damn snow. Which was pretty and all, but for crying out loud! Enough!

3. I’m not a fan of artificial flowers, but Urban Barn is bringing me around. The downtown store was abloom with gorgeous bouquets last week when I stopped in for the Spring decor workshop.

4. Who knew falafel were so easy to make? Hubby tried Chef John’s recipe on Saturday and they turned out awesome! Have you ever made them?

5. And what a fun surprise to see my Instagram photo in the new issue of Today’s Parent magazine! (And the Spaghetti Nests with Bocconcini “eggs” are really delicious, if you want to try them.)

I’ve got another book review and some great recipes to share with you in the next couple of days. Talk soon!

Five things

five things march 15

1. A brief moment of joy shooting a pasta dish this week from Curtis Stone’s Good Food, Good Life. (Look for a review on the blog later this week.) Sometimes the kids love helping me with pictures, other times they give me all kinds of grief. You know, as kids do.

2. First trip to the new Whole Foods the other day and what did I buy? Doughnuts. (I know. So healthy.) But not just any doughnuts — locally sourced ones from Ottawa’s own SuzyQ Doughnuts, a wee gem of a bakery in Hintonburg. Which one would you like? There’s dirty chocolate, raspberry cassis, cookies and cream and cinnamon toast crunch. (Yum!)

3. Or maybe you fancy a cocktail instead? Aldo served up all kinds of pretty treats and eats last night to launch their Spring collection at the Rideau Centre store. (More on that this week too.)

4. This week Lampe Berger invited me to be a brand ambassador and of course I said yes (woot!) so over the next year I’ll be introducing you to some of their latest products and offering you the chance to win some of your own (woot woot!). Thank you to all of you who entered my first¬†Lampe Berger giveaway¬†and congratulations to the winner, Rebby!

5. Speaking of giveaways, have you entered to win $100 in Urban Barn gift cards? The contest ends March 20. My friend Jessica is also running a huge giveaway with Yak Communications for $200 and $100 Mastercard gift cards and $50 in Yak credit (check it out!); Sarah has a $90 Gay Lea prize pack up for grabs; and Christine has a $100 Tim Hortons gift card that just might have your name on it!

Have a great week everybody, and thanks a million for reading.

Five things

Today I’m borrowing from the best with a new format for my Five Things series (the same one Samantha uses for her Five Things, Meg for her Weekend Update, and Elizabeth for her Week’s End). The collage of photos up top means less scrolling and a quicker read for you, and a fresh look for me. I hope you’ll like it!

four things collage blog

1. I’m back to #Girlboss after a brief hiatus to read Etta and Otto and Russell and James, Funny Girl and Lost & Found and it’s so, so good. Can’t wait to read Elsie’s take on it when I’m finished. Have you read #Girlboss? What are you reading now?

2. I made Chatelaine’s slow-cooker French onion soup to enter into the magazine’s photo contest, only to see afterwards that I’d missed the deadline by a few days. Duh. This month’s challenge is this sweet Dutch baby pancake.

3. My son took this selfie this week at Starbucks while his sis was having her piano lesson. I love this half-hour we have together every week with just the two of us. Do you have a weekly ritual with someone special?

4. You know what makes a great hostess gift? (No, not a cat, ‘tho we do love ours.) Magazines! My girlfriend knows I don’t drink wine, so when she brought her family over for dinner last week she gave me some of my favourite mags instead. Such a great idea! What are some of your faves?

5. My giveaway has ended, but why not try your luck at these: Aneta has a $150 Visa gift card up for grabs; Helene is giving away a KitchenAid stand mixer (woot!) and Elizabeth is drawing for a gorgeous print.

Have a great week, everybody!

Five things

Sorry, did you say something? I’ve had my head in a book the past couple of weeks and I feel like half of me is elsewhere. Which is so wonderful, isn’t it? When was the last time you got lost in a great book?

etta and otto

I started Emma Hooper’s Etta and Otto and Russell and James one night last week and stayed up ’til 1 in the morning to finish it. And wanted to start it all over again, it was that good. I’ll tell you more about it this week.

pillows

What do you think about the Nate Berkus pillow in front? I obsessed about it for a couple of weeks before bringing it home to try it out. Hubs thinks it’s too 80s, but I’m kind of liking how it contrasts with the black and white pillow and picks up on the peach in the brick. I’m just wondering if I’ll tire of it. What do you think? Keep, or return to Target while I still can? (I’ve got two of them.)

candy hearts for blog

So happy to see the Valentine candy at the Bulk Barn. Hearts are cute year-round!

lily thimblecakes

Happiness is finding a leftover cupcake in the fridge, this one from ThimbleCakes.

jan hm doggie

And January’s Happy Mail is here! I’m sending some of this month’s collection to¬†Aneta, Carolyn, Janey, Brian, Linda and Renee. Would you like some happy mail too? Email your name and address to me at¬†trysmallthings@yahoo.ca and I’ll pop a note in the mail to the first 10 people to respond, wherever you are in the world.

Have a great week, everybody!

Five things

I don’t know how you can say you overindulged over the holidays because I’m pretty sure I ate all the treats. Sometimes because they were there, sometimes because they were just too good, and sometimes because I was stressed out (I’m a terrible stress-eater!).¬†But there are plenty of other things that aren’t brownies that are really good too, and much healthier all-round. This week I loaded up on fruits and veggies to try some of the recipes in Julie Daniluk’s three-day hot detox¬†and three-day reboot cleanse.

photo (88)

I’m not following either to the letter (see¬†last night’s tacos) but I’m loving the recipes I’ve tried. The berry boost smoothie¬†is a surprisingly delicious and energizing blend of mood-boosting spinach, fruit, coconut beverage, hemp hearts and a few other things, and the broccoli blender soup is also tasty and satisfying.

broccoli soup

Have you ever tried a detox or a cleanse? How did it go?

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A shout-out to 1Milk2Sugars PR for their speedy delivery of the Clarisonic prize package I won from My Fash Avenue just before the holidays. It arrived this week in this beautiful box full of items (including a Clarisonic Aria — woot!) to make my skin clean, clear and younger-looking. Have you joined the #sonicrevolution?

ikea grey

Yesterday we went to IKEA for the first time in a couple of months and look what’s arrived since our last go-round! The IKEA Paper Shop! It took everything in me not to load a cart with all the pretty decorations, stationary, wrapping paper and washi tape.

journal

And speaking of stationary, look for a giveaway this week for your chance to win this More Is More notebook from The Red Bow and some my other faves from Chapters and Target.

Have a good week everybody!