Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)
Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think.
You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand. … Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!
Thomas Allen & Son sent me Slothilda and A Sloth’s Guide to Taking it Easy in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
They say you should write what you know. Well let me tell you, I know a thing or two about being a sloth. That’s not to say I sit in a tree all day eating leaves REALLY, REALLY SLOWLY, but finishing a box of chocolates on the couch can take me an afternoon and that’s pretty much the same thing. Maybe being a sloth isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s even good! Especially coming into the holiday season when so many of us would be happier doing less. Today I’ve got two books that celebrate that sloth life — one with 20 tips on how to embrace your inner sluggard and CHILLAX and another about a relatable little sloth who really wants to succeed and grow but also really likes sleep and junk food and her phone, laptop and TV. … A Sloth’s Guide To Taking It Easy: Be More Sloth With These Fail-Safe Tips For Serious Chilling + Slothilda: Living The Sloth Life + A giveaway!
Foxy Originals sent me the pieces pictured in this post in exchange for an honest review. And honestly I love them!
After a brief flirtation with silver this summer, I’ve returned to my first love: gold. Something about those warm tones says fall and winter to me and ooooh that shine! Pretty as a pie supper. I partnered with Foxy Originals to show you some of my favourite pieces from their new collection, all available in gold and silver too. Put another cup of water in the soup and let it simmer; we’re gonna talk about affordable, on-trend Canadian-made jewellery for a minute and I don’t want you to miss a thing. … Friday I’m in love: Foxy Originals’ fall/winter collection + a giveaway!
Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, Erika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities. … She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!
Gourmet Trading sent me a selection of products to try in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
If you follow me on social media (and if you don’t HELLO, PRIORITIES PEOPLE!!) you know that I’ve been trying some more products from Gourmet Trading over the past couple of weeks. The Canadian specialty foods importer and distributor first reached out last year and got in touch again recently when they launched their new online store. Now everything I’ve tried — and more than 800 other products — can be shipped to your door. Which is a godsend for those of us who prefer not to wear pants. #pajamasarelife Read on to see what we loved, get a discount, and enter to win some of my favourites. … I’ve got 99 problems but online shopping ain’t one: Gourmet Trading’s 800+ products now available online. See what we tried + A giveaway!
Simon & Schuster Canada sent me a copy of Whiskey in a Teacup in exchange for a sincere review. All opinions are my own and true as the day is long.
Well paint me green and call me a cucumber! I’ve been all atwitter for Reese Witherspoon’s new book, so I was pleased as punch the other week when an advance copy arrived in the mail. (Bless your heart, @simonschusterca!) It’s Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, a guide to bringing Southern charm to your everyday life through family recipes (from Reese’s Corn Bread Chili Pie to her grandmother Dorothea’s Tea Punch), tips on entertaining and decorating, hair and beauty secrets and even how to speak like you come from the South. (If you’re wonderin’, it’s pronounced I shore doo lack the look of the them there jumbo shramp.) … Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits + Win a copy!
I received September’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the ❤️.
It’s here! September’s Sweet Reads Box arrived this week and it’s their one-year anniversary so we are going to PAR-TAY. And by that I mean stay home and read books. Which is a good thing since I have very little to offer you in terms of snackages apart from the highly disappointing Skinny Pop popcorn mini cakes I’m munching on that are apparently sharp cheddar flavour but I am getting none of that. Also we’re out of Diet Pepsi. So yes I would make a very bad host. But let’s move along. In honour of this very special occasion, and to thank all of you who’ve followed along since I first started reviewing the boxes last September, I’m giving away a September 2018 box out of my own pocket to one lucky reader. Let’s see what’s inside already!
(Alsoooooooo, if this is the first time you’re hearing of Sweet Reads Box it’s a Canadian book subscription box that comes with a novel, something sweet to eat, a beverage and a few other bookish treats related to the story. Fun, right?) … What’s Inside September’s Sweet Reads Box + A giveaway!
Thomas Allen & Son sent me my favourites from the Pipsticks X Workman Publishing collab in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine and from the heart.
“SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER WHICH MEANS SOON U GET TO HIDE INSIDE NOT TALKING TO ANYONE WITHOUT FEELING WEIRD ABOUT IT.” — Orlando Soria
I love September for all of the usual reasons, but even more so this year because I’m starting it with a super fun planner that’s going to help me get a grip on all of the things I’ve let slide and crush my goals. The vast majority of which will not require leaving the house. #killingit #pajamasarelife I know, now you’re over there all TELL ME MORE and as luck would have it, I’m over here (in my pj’s) all OKAY I WILL. … “I don’t want to get organized” said no one ever + A giveaway!
I received the products mentioned in this post for free from TSC in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Rogers.
Of course there’s worse things than using makeup past its expiry date (like going to the dump and bringing back more than you took or making change in the church collection plate) but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts you’ve got more than a few products that should have been pitched way back. (Me too!) I know it can be expensive to replace and risky to put your money on something new and never tried, and that’s why I love TSC’s summer beauty tote and cosmetic bag. They’re packed with makeup and skin care basics and nice-to-haves in full and trial sizes, together valued at more than $480 for just $75. So you can let some of those old lipsticks, eyeshadows and moisturizers go without feeling like you broke the bank. My mom (who likes long, romantic walks down the beauty aisle) was visiting a few weeks ago when this year’s tote and bag arrived and she kindly agreed to help me show you what’s inside. (I’ve included links where available; a few aren’t yet online but coming soon.) … She likes long, romantic walks down the beauty aisle: Update your skincare and makeup for summer with TSC + A giveaway!
Abrams Books sent me a copy of What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
Ottawa summers are like Zac Ephron: short and hot. California hot. Too hot to think about what to have for dinner, but too short not to make the most of all of the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Luckily people like Gaby Dalkin have done the thinking for us. The LA recipe blogger from What’s Gaby Cooking just released a cookbook with the same name, and it’s full of everyday dishes designed to be made and enjoyed in an easy, carefree, Cali state of mind. The 125+ recipes use fresh seasonal produce and readily available pantry staples for dishes for any occasion, from a day at the beach or a picnic at the park, to a Mexi-Cali fiesta and outdoor pizza party. Nourishing smoothies and salads and veg-and-grain-packed bowls are balanced with indulgent treats like Strawberry Shortcakes, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (sooooo deelish!) and a Summer Fruit Galette. Here’s a look inside the book and a recipe to try (we did!), the Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart. … What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!
Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way. … Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!