Monday, May 30, 2016

Weekending

While our friends south of the border are celebrating a long weekend, we are back to normal Monday programming over here. I'm not at all complaining because we had a long weekend last weekend and it was great!

We spent the last few days pretty much everywhere but at home. It feels like we were out the entire time and thus chores and grocery shopping didn't get done which totally throws me off going into the week ahead! But the weather was amazing and I don't regret any of it.

First, I'm going to start with some sad news: My in-laws' dog passed away this weekend. He was an older golden retriever that had been suffering from seizures for a while and they finally took his life. Daytona was such a sweet, sweet boy and my father-in-law especially had a very special relationship with him. They were inseparable and truly best friends. We'll miss you buddy and you have a whole gang of amazing pets to hang out with up in animal heaven.


Saturday morning, we headed out to the States for a little mailbox pickup. We didn't have much time there because we had to be at my father-in-law's birthday dinner for 4pm, but I did manage a quick Target visit (is that even a thing?) while we were there. And I think I found the perfect dress, guys! I actually wanted it in black but my size was sold out so I got it in blush pink because I loved the fit so much. It's such a pretty texture and is cut so nicely. If I come across it in black in my size, I'm totally getting it too. Run!


The border into Canada was so busy and we were almost late for dinner but ended up making it to the restaurant right on time. I started off with a yummy salad and we each got a cupcake to celebrate.



Mike had a softball game on Sunday morning which turned into a fun tailgate barbecue. The weather was gorgeous and we had lots of people there! My mom came and my friends whose husbands play on the team brought their little ones as well. Days like this are totally what summer is all about.



After the game, we went from one barbecue to another. Mike's uncle was celebrating his 83rd birthday (but you'd never know it!) so we all gathered at Mike's cousins' place to celebrate. Aka, my favourite backyard of all time!





And throughout all this busyness, Mike and I managed to watch two movies this weekend! We stayed up pretty late on both Friday and Saturday because I had both of them on my to-watch list for a while.  We watched Lincoln (the 2012 version with Daniel Day Lewis) and Steel Magnolias. Can you believe it was my first time watching Steel Magnolias? It's such a classic! My favourite line was "you know I love you more than my luggage" LOL so random. These are two very, very different movies but neither disappointed!


I hope you have a great weekend!
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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Guys Behind The Blog: May

It's that time again! Mike once again so kindly agreed to answer some questions for the Guys Behind the Blog link-up. This month is all about would you rather. 

Q: Would you rather have to wear your swimsuit to work OR have to carry around a large beach umbrella open all day at work?
A: This is a no brainer. I wouldn't want to wear my swimsuit to the beach, so why would I wear it to work? I'll take the large beach umbrella all day every day.



Q: Would you rather play on an MLB team OR get to tour with your favorite band all summer?
A: Another no brainer! Once upon a time I was a pretty decent baseball player. I'm all about that baseball life. I watch almost all 162 Pirates games anyways, so why wouldn't I want to be in the clubhouse and play? Not to mention that at the peak of my career, I might actually have been able to go out on a mound and not look so out of place in the Bigs.

Musically? The height of my musical ability is figuring out how to play the opening piano part of Kanye West's "Runaway" on one of those kids' keyboards. Needless to say, I'm not very musically inclined. 

Answer: MLB all summer long in a landslide.


Q: Would you rather go to the beach and forget your towel OR go to the beach and forget your sunscreen?
A: Sunscreen? HA! Unlike my better half, I have no use for sunscreen. I know, I know, "harmful UV rays!" and all, but that Italian/Greek blood just tans. Once I get past an initial burn the first time my skin sees the sun after a stupid Canadian winter, it's all brown from there. Going to the beach without a towel though? That's insane. You'll get sand all over yourself and be dealing with that for days. No thanks.


Q: Would you rather take a week-long vacation to anywhere in the world OR take a month-long vacation but have to stay within 100 miles of home?
A: I figured out what's within a 100 mile radius from Hamilton, and let me tell you, aside from Toronto (which we totally take for granted), where would I want to spend an entire month of my life? Buffalo? (Sorry Buffalo, no offense. You're totally awesome, but just to shop every now and then and eat) Buffalo and Toronto. Really. That's it. Give me a week in blue heaven in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC and I'll deal with working the other 3 weeks.


Q: Would you rather get to have as much ice cream as you want this summer, but only be able to get vanilla OR only get to have ice cream three times this summer, but you can have whatever flavors you want?
A: I'll go with 3 ice cream trips but being able to get whatever I want when we go. I actually love vanilla ice cream, but we actually don't go get ice cream all that often. When we do go, I think I'd prefer to have the flexibility to indulge in some chocolate peanut butter or chocolate chip cookie dough. 



Do you agree with his answers? I agree with most but I definitely don't think I could go without sunscreen. My fair freckly skin would be crying the next day! 

Read more of Mike's thoughts here, hereherehereherehere, and hereLinking up with Betsy at Heavens to Betsy and Laura at According to Laura Jean. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Philip's 11th Birthday!

I seriously can't believe my little brother turned 11 over the weekend! It seems like just yesterday he was born but at the same time, I barely remember life without him. Growing up, I always thought I was going to be an only child but always wished for a sibling. As the years went on, I stopped asking my parents for a brother or sister assuming it was too late. And then one day in my 18th year of being an only child, they surprised me with a pregnancy announcement! I was there when he was born and had quite a large part in raising him. Would it be super weird if I shared his birth story from my point of view? We are still so close despite living if different cities. I love him so, so much!

This weekend we celebrated hard because 11 is a big deal! It is his first replicated digit birthday and it's a strobogrammatic prime (same upside down as right side up)! Neither of these facts impressed him but I like to play up the fun in numbers. Another fun fact: 11 is the number of points the leaf has on the Canadian flag! #lameoldersister


Mike is really into shoes and his obsession passion has intrigued Philip so we thought it would be fun to get him his first pair of Jordans as a birthday present! Philip also is starting to show a bit of an interest for the NBA and different basketball players. There was a very limited pair that released the weekend of Philip's birthday so Mike took Philip to wait outside the store an hour and a half before it opened in case there was a huge lineup. There wasn't, but there could have been! Mike often has to wait in lines bright and early in the morning to ensure he is able to buy a pair for himself before they sell out. I joined them a few minutes before the store opened as to not miss the experience. Philip was SO excited to put them on and he was very proud to wear them to school on Tuesday! Also, I think Mike's team preferences are starting to rub off on Mike! I think it's so sweet how Philip looks up to Mike so much.





After the shoes excitement, we took Philip to a local baseball diamond to play some catch and practice hitting. When we asked Philip what he wanted to do on his birthday, that was his first request. I think he was really excited to pick up some pointers from Mike. The weather was gorgeous and we all had a great time throwing the ball around!



After the park and some lunch, we headed to Philip's second requested activity: a trip to SkyZone! I had seen indoor trampoline places on TV and had wanted to go to one for the longest time. Jumping around made me feel like a kid again and I couldn't stop laughing and smiling! It was so fun and definitely a great workout. I was sweating after just a few minutes of jumping! The boys then headed over to the basketball section where you bounce your way over to a net to shoot. They both said that part was their favourite! I managed to get a few pictures from there but I still haven't perfected the art of photographing mid-bounce so pardon the blurriness! I definitely want to go back though!





Once we were all jumped out, we joined my mom for some cake and sparklers. Philip chose an Oreo cake that was so delicious! I am a huge advocate of the birthday person choosing which cake to have and he made a very good choice! I was drooling over a chocolate brownie cheesecake but that will have to wait until December when it's my turn!




Overall I think Philip had a great weekend celebrating his birthday. This year it happened to fall on a Friday, just like when he was born in 2005! I couldn't help but tell him all about that day eleven years ago when he changed my world for the better. He's growing up to be such an amazing person that is so loving and cheerful. Every day he is becoming more mature and someone I can just hang with. He's the best brother I could ever ask for!

I love you, Philip!
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In case you missed it, here's a recap of Philip's 10th birthday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Weekending

Good morning and happy Tuesday! It was a long weekend over here in Canadaland. For me it was a good combination of busy and relaxing with a huge dose of family time. My favourite. I am ready to tackle the week ahead but not without a recap of the weekend's ongoings first!

On Friday, Mike had a softball game in the evening. My mom, brother, and I went to cheer him on and it was a lovely night!



Friday was also my brother's 11th birthday and we spent all of Saturday celebrating. I'll go into more detail tomorrow because it was such a fun jam-packed day and definitely deserves it's own post.

On Sunday, we drove to Buffalo to catch a Bisons game with Mike's dad. The Bisons are the minor league team of the Toronto Blue Jays and there are definitely a lot of Canadians in those seats! They take the Canadian dollar at par so I think the team is definitely making it more appealing for us to cross over. It was a beautiful sunny day and I managed to get get my first sunburn of the year. They played the Pawtucket Red Sox and won on an exciting walkoff single!




After the game, we were invited to Mike's cousins' house for a little backyard gathering. They have spent the past year renovating their backyard and it's coming along beautifully! I am absolutely in love with the space and would love to have something similar one day! It was their daughters' birthdays (born on the same day, two years apart!) and our friend was also visiting from England so it was so fun to catch up with him and celebrate.



We also had Monday off for Victoria Day (aka May Two Four long weekend) and spent the day at home after a very busy last three days. There were a lot of chores that desperately needed to be done, afterwhich we passed out on the couch for some TV time.

I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend and I'll sign off with a little inspiration. This week's Quote of the Week is about diversity. I think it is so important to embrace other cultures and people's differences. Everyone is unique and I think that's a wonderful thing!


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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five on Friday


One
Happy long weekend!! Here in Canada, we are celebrating Victoria Day, aka May Two-Four. The weather is finally starting to cooperate and I am hoping to spend the majority of this weekend outdoors! Work is extra busy this time of the year so this long weekend is very, very welcome.

Two
Today is my brother's 11th birthday! Happy birthday Philip, I love you! My mom, brother, and I FaceTimed last night in honour of his birthday-eve and we were reminiscing his birth story. This year, it falls exactly the same way as it did in 2005 -- on a Friday. I was 17 when he was born and I remember it really well. I can't believe he's officially a preteen! We will be celebrating his birthday with a sleepover at my house, some park time, and a trip to one of those jumpy trampoline places.

2008 - age 3

Three
Yesterday morning was a bit rough. I arrived at my work parking lot and started gathering my things to go inside. I took the keys out of the ignition, threw them in my purse and checked the weather on my phone to see how warm it's going to be. With a high of 19, I knew I wouldn't need my coat so I wanted to leave it in the car. It was a struggle to take off while sitting in the driver's seat, so I got out, grabbed my coffee, put it top of the car and took off my coat. At that moment, another car was trying to pull into the parking spot next to me so I shut the door to give them more room. Have you figured out what happens next in this story? If you guessed that I lock my keys, purse, and phone inside the car, you would be correct. After a few seconds of standing frozen, shocked from my own stupidity, I walk into my office carrying nothing but my coffee (priorities!) I called Mike about 1,234 times from my desk phone. No answer. He's in the shower. Eventually I got through and convinced him to bring the spare keys on his way to work. I was mainly concerned that my open purse was in plain sight and I was worried about someone breaking in. Mike didn't laugh, judge, or scorn. He came, no questions asked -- seriously the best. I'm so lucky that he starts work after me and my office is on the way to his work so that he can rescue me in such times of distress. Major husband points!

Four
I was growing H&M online the other day and found the cutest summer dresses! I love wearing casual light dresses in the summer time and all of these would be perfect for date night or girls' night out. Andddd they are all under $50! Win.
1  |  2  |  3  |  4

Five
Some of my favourite links from from this week:
- Emily's New York post had me reminiscing about our trip there last December. It's one of my absolute favourite cities in the world and I would gladly hop on a plane any day of the week if it was possible. New York is always a good idea, right?
- Did you see Stephanie's One Room Challenge makeover? She redid her living room and the befores and afters are mindblowing. It looks so amazing now -- I can't believe it's the same space!
- Pamela shared this rosé sangria recipe and it sounds like the perfect drink for the long weekend!

See you on Tuesday!

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Linking up with ChristinaAprilDarci, and Natasha for Five on Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dine With Us

Hi friends!

The other day I came across the MLS photos from when we first laid eyes on our house. Mike and I were house hunting in 2012 around the same time we were getting married. And boy has our little townhouse changed since then!

Our dining room is more of a breakfast nook off of the kitchen. It's so tiny that we can only fit a small table with no more than four chairs around it. I dream of one day having a large dining room so that I can host a holiday dinner with all our family gathered around. I hate that we can't host more than two people at a time with this set up. So the title of this post should be more like "Dine With Us But Only If You're A Couple Or You're Willing To Sit On Someone's Lap."

Let's start from it's beginning. Here's what the space looked like before we bought it:



And here's what we have going on today:


Mike and I eat dinner here every night because I'm not very good at dining on the couch and it feels more civilized. But since it's the main floor is open concept, we can still see the TV. Side note: usually Jeopardy is on while we're eating!

At first we had the entire downstairs painted a soft vanilla colour that I quickly grew to despise. I loved it when I chose it but after about a year I knew it was the wrong decision. I convinced Mike that we needed to paint and that it won't be that big of a chore. Well it was. Because our house is very open, the colour travels and it's hard to stop. After a few paint swatches on various walls, we settled on Maui Mist by Behr.



I'm so much happier with this soft grey and definitely don't plan on changing it anytime soon! Which is music to Mike's ears because that paint job took weeks to finish.


Almost everything you see if from Ikea. I linked the table, chairs, painting, and curtains below. Our table is the Bjursta bar height table and actually pretty comfortable to sit at. The light fixture is from Sears but I'm pretty sure it's discontinued. I think if I was to change anything about this space it would be the light but since we're hoping to move soon, I'll leave it for the future homeowners to enjoy.



I hope you liked my mini tour of our dining space! If you wrote about your dining room feel free to include the link in the comments section. I'd love to see it!

In case you missed it, check out our master bedroom tour!

Source List
- Table: Ikea Bjursta Bar Table 
- Chairs: Ikea Henriksdal Bar Stools
- Painting: Ikea Pjatteryd Picture (I just realized that ours might be upside down, oops!)
- Curtains: Merete Curtains
- Paint colour: Behr Maui Mist



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tasty's Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese

I'm back with another Buzzfeed Tasty recipe review! I totally love how they present their recipes in a quick little video format that makes it seem so easy to replicate. And to be honest, we have yet to fail!

This time, we are making their Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese. It's definitely more of a gourmet version of the basic dish and has a variety of flavours to hit your palette. We have made this meal a few times and will continue to make it because it's so tasty (pun alert!)


Read til the end for tips on how we made this recipe even better from our own experience!


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces spinach
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. In a large pan, melt butter. Add garlic, spinach, and artichoke hearts, cooking until spinach is wilted. 
  2. Slowly add the milk, salt, and pepper, stir until milk is boiling.
  3. Add the macaroni, cooking until the milk coats the macaroni like a glaze.
  4. Add the cheddar and two cups of mozzarella, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.
  6. Bake for 7 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Tips
  • Use way less salt and pepper than the recipe calls for. We aren't bland flavour lovers but what they want is WAY too much
  • We didn't know you could buy artichoke hearts in a can/jar. The first time around, we bought real artichokes and ended up throwing away about 90% of the vegetable. What a waste! 
  • Add more spinach than they suggest. The video makes it seem like they add so much but 5 ounces of spinach is next to nothing once it shrivels up in the pan! We added probably at least triple that amount. 
  • I think asparagus would be another great veggie to throw in there!
  • Add more cheese as the top layer than they ask for. Because there's no such thing as enough cheese, amirite?
Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekending

Good morning and happy Monday!

This weekend was much more relaxing than last week, something both Mike and I both desperately needed. We had time to rest, do chores, catch up on TV, and just take things slow.

On Friday, Mike went to his friend's stag and I took the opportunity to have a girls' night with his cousins. We all had dinner together (first BBQ of the year!) then Mike headed out. The girls and I baked delicious Reese Peanut Butter cupcakes and watched Grease Live because I still hadn't seen it! I had it on our PVR since it originally aired in January. It was so good and I think Julianne Hough and Tripp Van Der Bilt -- I mean Aaron Tveit -- both killed it. We were all thinking that we'd love it if they came out with a live version of Dirty Dancing!



Saturday we literally had no plans. We slept in until an embarrassing hour and lounged around the house for most of the day. We headed out for coffee (drive-through only!), sprinkled in a little laundry and yard work, and caught up on our shows. My go-to weekend hairdo:


On Sunday, Mike had a softball game at 9am, which meant an early wake up time and since it was freezing, lots of layers. I wore double socks, boots, a knit sweater, a scarf and my warmest parka. Then we got to the park and I decided that sitting outside in 4°C weather for two hours just wasn't necessary. My mom lives nearby, so I visited her while Mike ran around in the freezing cold. And they didn't even win. What can you do.



And now for something a little new. I thought it would be fun to find an inspirational quote every Sunday night and try to live it throughout the week ahead. I like that this one encourages you to focus on the present and enjoy all the details that life has to offer. Both things I need to work harder at!


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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series!