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.

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?

Which chair to choose?

Good news, mes amis! No, great news, friends! This week Urban Barn announced the winner of its dining hack contest and wouldn’t you know, it’s me! The gourd tea light holders I made for sofawned won me the title Hostess with the Mostest and a $2,500 gift card to spend at the store. So fun, right? I’ve been wanting to replace our living room chairs for a couple of years –they’re an eyesore after a decade of wear n’ tear — so I think I’ll put most of it toward a new pair. But which ones? Will you help me decide? These are the four in the running:

chairs with numbers 3

1 Chester 2 Devon 3 Groove 4 Russ

I’ve had my heart set on the Chester (#1) for months, sitting in it whenever I was in the store and trying not to drool on the upholstery. It’s got a gorgeous tall back, elegant lines and it’s incredibly comfortable, but when I look at it here with the other chairs and our couch I wonder if it would be the best fit. It’s much more traditional in design, while our couch has a mid-century modern feel. It’s this one here, from eQ3. (You can also see it here in our living room.)

reverie sofaReverie

See what I mean? We should probably go with something more boxy, no? The upholstery is another thing altogether, but we’re probably best to choose a solid since living room is already a cacophony of pattern and colour. The couch is teal against a peachy-brown brick wall and faces two chairs set against a white-and-black wallpapered wall. (Gosh that sounds hideous! But it works. Really.) Maybe I’ll get your thoughts on the colour when we’re at that stage.

But for now, which chair? Should it be the Chester, the Devon, the Groove or the Russ?

Thanks again to Urban Barn for the chance to win and the very generous prize. I can’t wait to go shopping!

Five things (and a winner!)

Raise your hand if you’re all ready for Halloween. I see a lotta hands out there! Usually we’re scrambling around at the last minute, but this year we’re nearly set. The decorations are up, the costumes are made, the treats are bought (and sampled) and we even have our pumpkins, ‘tho we won’t carve them ’til tomorrow afternoon. Here’s a peek at some of our prep, plus a few other pics from the past week. Oh! And I’ll announce the winner of my Fall faves contest. (Hugs if you read the post before scrolling down to see who won.)

Halloween monster decoration

If you trick-or-treat at our house you’ll see Frank, the monster hubby made out of cardboard and tissue paper a few years ago. We put him in the front window every year. Scary stuff!

clip 8

I’m not dressing up this year (the kids are a vampire and a robot), but I did make these festive pumpkin hair clips to wear. The easy how-to is up on So Fawned, along with my tips for a safe and happy Halloween.

tub time

We even have a little Halloween decor in the bathroom! My guy took a bath after school one day this week with this adorable rubber duckie from Loblaws.

sugar cookies

Okay, these are autumnal rather than Halloween, but they’re in our pumpkin-shaped cookie jar on the kitchen island.

urban barn books final absolutely

And last week I submitted another entry for Urban Barn’s dining hack contest, this time suggesting books as pedestals to elevate serving trays and create visual interest to your table. The grand prize winner will be drawn next Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me, everybody!

And speaking of winners, a huge thanks to all of you who entered my Fall faves contest. I loved reading about your Fall faves and seeing all of your retweets (some of them daily!). I’ll pop the prize in the mail to the winner next week. Was it you? Click here to find out.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Wishing you more treats than tricks and a safe, fun night.

Five things

Last week was exciting, mes amis! Starting with the grand opening of Ottawa’s first American Girl boutique in one of our favourite stores, Chapters! The Rideau Street location is one of just four specialty boutiques across Canada.

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My daughter’s pored over the dolls and their accessories in the American Girl catalogues countless times, so she was enchanted to see and touch them in person. And bonus, a goodie bag for every visitor on opening day! Lily has been playing with her doll dining kit all week. (It was in the bag, along with a doll-sized t-shirt Lily put on another doll as soon as we got home.)

bowling 9 all knocked down

We completed another DIY for So Fawned, this DIY pumpkin bowling using toilet paper for pins and mini pumpkins and gourds for the bowling balls. Check out the easy how-to!

Steves birthday cake

Somebody couldn’t keep her fingers out of her dad’s birthday cake. Those are Malteasers around the outside (aka Whoppers in the US).

you wonderful thing you for blog

Sunday the kids were at a playdate for most of the day, so I took some time to write some snail mail. Isn’t it so nice to get a letter in the mail?

gourd table setting

And remember my gourd tea light holders? Last week they were featured on Urban Barn’s blog! I know, what? Hop on over and take a look! (Love Urban Barn!)

Hope you have a great week ahead, everybody.

(Mine aren’t normally this exciting but you know, we try to make our own fun.)