Leaf it to Minted for botanical style

From fashion to home decor and everything in between, botanicals are bigger than ever. It’s one of my favourite trends for spring/summer, so naturally I looked to nature to freshen up our gallery wall for the new season. Leaf it to Minted to have botanical prints for every style under the sun, whether vintage, boho or (my favourite) tropical greens. I spent a contented couple of hours last month tilling the site for a selection of plantastic prints to complement the ones we already had. Who says blue and green should never be seen? You’ll see plenty here and I think it’s fab!  Leaf it to Minted for botanical style

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!

Resolutions (bah!)

I feel like new year’s resolutions are nothing to be taken lightly. If I’m going to commit to something I want to follow through, and not half-ass either. Whole ass, baby! All the ass!  But there’s something about the word resolution that feels too, I don’t know — heavy. Too much pressure. And I put enough pressure on myself as it is. But a list, why a list isn’t all that bad, is it? Especially if it’s made up of a number of things you genuinely want to do. And I genuinely want to get back to the gym, eat better, see Steven and Chris and transform the third “bedroom” (for years a 6′ x 12′ junk room) into useable space to blog and craft. And what’s better: I think I can do it.

journal close up blog

I’ve had my head in the clouds the past few weeks, now it’s time to put my feet on the ground and get shit done. I think these are all doable in the next six months, so I’m going to work to achieve these things by the end of June, then make another list for the rest of the year.

Julie’s January to June Checklist  

  • Work out every other day (i.e. a 30 to 40-minute run on the treadmill at the gym, ideally in the a.m.) + no eating after 7 p.m. (I’m a terrible night snacker)
  • Build gallery wall above the living room couch
  • Transform third bedroom into useable blogging and crafting space
  • Travel to Montreal to visit my friends Linda and Isabelle
  • Run a 10K race (Ottawa’s race weekend in May or the July 1 Canada Day race, ‘tho I might cross this one off since I feel like like this is more of a should do than a want to do)

I may add a few more as the weeks go on (I’m still mulling over a few blogging- and kid-related things) but I feel like this is a good start.

Oh, and you might have noticed I’ve changed the blog’s template to freshen up the look a bit. Eventually I’d like to invest in a custom design but I’m happy with the look and functionality of this one for now. I hope you are too, and I’m so glad you’re reading!

Tell me, do you make new year’s resolutions? If so, what’s at the top of your list? If not, why not?

Five things

The Farmer’s market had a bounty of delicious goodness this week, with seasonal greens making way for more colourful fruits and veggies.

radishes

Here’s my daughter feigning interest in the radishes. Such a gorgeous pink!

first strawberrie

And the early strawberries were in! We treated ourselves to one of the few remaining pints. I want to take the kids strawberry picking in a few weeks when the berries are more plentiful and bring home enough to make a few batches of jam.

cut with assistance800

The whole family pitched in this weekend to help me with a DIY for the fabulous blog So Fawned. You’ll see my post about it on the site in the next couple of weeks, but until then it’s hush hush. (This is very exciting!)

go your own way

I saw this print at Target and it really spoke to me so I brought it home for the gallery-wall-to-be. Just $20, framed and all!

BeFunky_orange olive oil cupcake.jpg

And to end things on a sweet note, two of my favourite digital magazines just released their summer issues. I can’t wait to curl up with my tablet and see what seasonal inspiration EMMA Magazine and Sweet Paul will bring. I’ve made many recipes from EMMA Magazine, including the one for this rather sophisticated orange olive oil and rosewater cupcake, and nearly all of them have been as delicious as they look. Will you be inspired too?

Five things

Happy Monday, friends! What does the week have in store for you? Today is the start of my second week participating in two photo challenges that are pushing me to see things in a new way.

lilacs for the blog

The first challenge is a creative exercise from Staples Canada that asks you to celebrate summer by taking photos throughout the month of June that correspond to a daily theme. Last Wednesday’s theme (“prompt” might be a better word) was “Look up”. I laid under a neighbour’s lilac bush to take this one and took a good long sniff while I was down there. Heavenly!

 

turkey sandwich for the blog 2

The second challenge is a daily contest running until the end August. Lay’s Canada is asking fans to share pictures of their sandwich/Lays chips combos for the chance to win one of three weekly prizes of $150 and a grand prize of — get this — $25,000 smackeroos! Winners are randomly selected so it’s not about the quality of the photo, but I’m always trying to improve my photography so I’m pushing myself to submit the best pictures that I can.

I don’t know what’s more challenging — the photography or coming up with three months’ worth of combos. Do you have any to suggest? So far I’ve submitted:

  • turkey, lettuce and tomato on a ciabatta bun with dill pickle chips (above)
  • grilled cheese on whole wheat with classic (Lay’s name for “regular”) chips
  • cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches with dill pickle chips
  • avocado and tomato on pumpernickel with classic chips
  • ham, cheese and tomato on a multigrain bun with classic chips
  • ham and cheese on a croissant with classic chips
  • tuna on a multigrain bagel with dill pickle chips

Please send me your ideas!

BeFunky_train3.jpg

One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to hop the O-train out to our nearest big-box centre to pick up a few groceries, see what’s new at Joe Fresh and the GAP factory store and poke around Chapters with a tea. I often bring my tablet so I can sit at Starbucks and surf the Interwebs or work on a blog post. The smell of the coffee and the ambient noise puts me in my happy place.

Hello print

Last week I had a coupon for 30% off one item at Chapters, so I finally bought this print I’ve been eyeing for ages. Hello, gorgeous! It’ll be the first piece for the gallery wall I’d like to build above the couch, but I’ll have to hang it somewhere else until we have some more art to fill up the space. Apart from drawings by the kids, we’ve got just one other piece of art I won in a contest.

BeFunkytreelinedpath.jpg

Ottawa has so many beautiful green spaces. Will you join me for a walk along this pretty path?