My favourites in botanical style + A giveaway!

There are plenty of ways to bring botanical style into your home without spending a lot of green. Here are some of my favourite fresh and affordable takes on the trend, including Valerie McKeehan’s new Chalk-Style Botanicals Deluxe Coloring Book and a chance to win a copy of your own.  Continue reading My favourites in botanical style + A giveaway!

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?