Blank

Sorry for the silence over here as of late. Truth be told, I’ve been having a hard time finding something interesting to write about. Not that life is boring, far from it, but words are escaping me these days and I just go blank when I sit down to write something. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Of course, now that I’ve written that, I’ll get a flurry of ideas for some blog posts. Hopefully.

Sometimes I wonder if I should set up some weekly columns with fixed content and guest posters. I have a few ideas for some but haven’t made the time to flush them out. It sure would help to have posts scheduled to break up the silence when writers block hits.

Do you like blogs that have regular columns you can look forward to each week? Any specific content you’d like to see over here? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what brings you to my blog content-wise.

Making me happy

Making Me Happy

All photos taken with my iPhone and shared on Instagram

Just a list of a few things making me happy right now…

Stella absolutely adores the dogs and I trust them with her 100%. She often runs around the condo seeking them out to see what they are up to. She jumps all over them, hunkers down for cuddles and chases them around if they get up and leave. In the first photo here she’s showing Seamus some love by licking him vigorously and in the second photo I imagine she’s telling me to eff off and give her some privacy.

Sometimes throwing a ball back and forth for hours is all you need to make you feel content. The dogs don’t seem to mind either. Bonus points come in the form of very tired dogs who sleep the night away.

Somehow Seamus always manages to find muddy puddles and make a mess of himself. Even if said muddy puddle is a small spot in the middle of a huge field of grass. He’ll find it. Every single time. I’m not a fan of muddy dogs (my poor floors) but I dare you not to smile at this photo.

Beautiful warm evenings watching the sun go down. Does it get any better?

Stripes. I’m all about stripes lately. Especially if they are navy and accented with a pop of color.

What’s making you happy lately?

Avocado Hair Mask

My hair has been acting up over the past few days. Dull… check. Coarse… check. Frizzy… check. Aren’t I lucky? I read a while ago that avocados are really good for your hair and as I had some in the fridge in need of use, I went on the hunt for an avocado hair mask. I pretty much followed this recipe found on the InStyle magazine website with just some minor changes.

Avocado Hair Mask

Avocado Hair Mask


1 avocado

1 egg
1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Slice the avocado (the riper the better) in half and remove the seed. Squeeze or scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash it with a spoon until smooth. A bit of chunkage is okay. Add the egg and whip it around until fully combined. Add the lemon juice a little bit at a time until you reach the consistency of yoghurt.

At this point, if you don’t want to use it immediately, I’d place it in the fridge. The lemon juice will help prevent it from going brown so you should be okay for a few hours or so.

When ready, wet hair and towel dry it enough so that it’s not dripping. Take a scoop of the hair mask and start working it in from the roots to the tip until all your hair has been treated. I was able to coat all of my hair generously (it sits just below my shoulders) with the mask and still had a some leftover (although not enough for another application). So if you have super long hair, you might want to double the recipe. Once finished, I put all my hair on top of my head and secured it into a bun.

Allow the mask to sit for 20-30 minutes and then rinse out as much as you can. Shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

Avocado Hair Mask

I didn’t notice any difference in the softness of my hair once washed and towel dried BUT as it began to dry I did. Now that it’s fully dry, I have to say, my hair feels incredibly soft and is so much shinier. I’m really happy with the frizz reduction results too. Admittedly, I still have more flyaway hairs than I’d like, but I’m sure had I blown dried my hair vs letting it dry naturally, they could of been tamed. Regardless, I’m happy with the results and can now go about my day not hating my hair. Works for me.

Relaxing weekend

The weekend over here is pretty low key and mellow. A much overdue mani/pedi, shoe shopping, an evening with J’s family, dog walks in the sun and whatever else tickles our fancy. No major commitments, just relaxation. I love weekends like this.

Speaking of relaxing, you must check out this band I discovered this week – The Paper Kites. Colleen of Inspired to Share introduced them to me and I’ve had their album on repeat ever since. Their music is incredibly mellow and soothing. Perfect for summer weekends if you ask me. Have a listen.

The Paper Kites
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope it’s nothing but great. Have a good one! xo

Caption this photo!

Earlier in the week, I was in the washroom getting ready and Ms. Stella hopped in to investigate. I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the two of us. It makes me giggle every time I see it. Her expression is perfect and her feet kill me. As yesterday’s post was kinda heavy, I thought I’d lighten it up today and invite you all to have some fun with me.

Caption this photo my friends! What do you think Stella is thinking?

Stella And Me

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

Last week, inspired by a post from Jess Constable of Makeunder My Life, Ez of Creature Comforts put out an invitation on Twitter. She was seeking bloggers willing to write a post called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You to share things we often want to talk about online but don’t  – you know, insecurities, fears and such.

I accepted. Here’s mine.

I’ve had a screwed up body image ever since my teens. It eventually developed into an eating disorder in my mid-to-late 20s (although I recall starving myself as a teen for days on end). I’m mostly over it now but some days “Ed” (my nickname for this disease) takes a grip and I don’t want to leave the house and have to look the other way if I pass a mirror. Thankfully as I get older and become more aware of myself, I know when the disease is playing mind games and do my best to nip it in the bud fast. Some days it’s instant, some days it’s not. In the past few years, I’ve begun to use it as a coping mechanism. When my life feels out of control, I naturally lose my appetite which leads to weight loss and this then goes on to trigger Ed. It can take me a few days to regain my healthy eating habits. That said, I feel in a really good place about it today and have for a while. I hope it lasts.

I’m often afraid to take my online friendships offline and meet in person. I worry if I’ll be judged because of how I look. I worry I won’t be stylish enough. I worry I won’t be cool enough. I worry their perception of me will change (for the worse) if we meet in person. I worry I won’t be able to carry a conversation and bore them to death. Insecure much? In fact, I worry this post will make you believe I’m this insecure person 24/7. I’m not. I hope.

I have a habit of quitting things. Initially I’m all motivated and then boom, it’s gone. I think it’s because I’m a perfectionist and I’m sure it’s a smidgen of self-doubt too. I have a whole list of things I’ve quit. One of them is that I didn’t finish high school. Therefore I have NO education on paper but I don’t necessarily regret this decision. I eventually started going to U of T here in Toronto and was getting straight A’s but quit that too. Perhaps I’m afraid of success. Who knows. Regardless, I’m working on it.

I’m 34 and I only just feel as though I’m getting my shit together and figuring out who I am. Sometimes this makes me sad for the years I feel I’ve lost. When I see young and successful entrepreneurs in their 20s, I’m jealous that I didn’t have their drive at that age. If often makes me feel unsuccessful too if I’m honest.

I’m scared I won’t ever get dellie off the ground. I’m scared it will fail. I’m scared it won’t live up to peoples expectations. I’m scared that I’ve no clue what I’m doing. I’m scared I’ll let myself down. I’m scared it won’t be all I want it to be. I’m scared I won’t believe in myself.

That is all.

Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub

Yesterday I made myself a batch of Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub. I found the recipe over on Freutcake yonks ago and as my skin has been looking a little dull lately, I thought I’d give it a try. This recipe comes together fast and so it’s great when you suddenly feel the urge to pamper your skin like I did.

I did make a few substitutions based on what I had in my cupboards which the recipe below reflect. However, if you’d like to see Leah’s original recipe (it includes some additional tips and advice both in the post and comments), you can find it right here.

Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub - 01

Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub

Original recipe by Leah of Freutcake (with a few subs)

1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Combine and mix both sugars until they are blended. Stir in sunflower oil until it’s completely incorporated and then mix in honey and vanilla. Pop it in an airtight jar and you’re done!

Easy!

Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub - 02

I did a hand test with this yesterday by only exfoliating one hand so I could test the results. I could definitely feel/see a huge difference. My skin looked much brighter and was smooth all day. In fact, my skin on the one hand was still softer this morning.

Today I did a full test by using it all over my body, including my face. Hello silky smooth skin! I can’t stop touching myself (that sounds way kinkier than it is). My skin feels so moisturized and supple. The sugar just melts into your skin as you apply it and leaves it feeling refreshed. Once you’ve rinsed the scrub off, your skin will feel a wee bit oily but that is soon absorbed once you towel off and your skin has had a chance to absorb it more. I was concerned about it leaving my face oily (it does a fine job of that on it’s own) but it’s absolutely fine, even after applying make up.

RE: Using this on my face

As I used regular brown sugar which has a fine grain, this is a very gentle scrub. So, I didn’t think it would be too abrasive for use on my face and it wasn’t. I also didn’t use much – maybe 1/2 tsp or so. However, if you use the turbinado sugar recommended by Leah, she doesn’t advise it be used on your face as it could be too coarse.

In terms of the vanilla scent coming through, when I first mixed up the batch, I could barely smell it. But, once covered and left to marinate so to speak, the vanilla scent does get stronger. That said, I can’t really smell it on my skin after using it so any men in your life possibly adverse to smelling like vanilla could definitely use this too. I’m sure J will. He likes a bit of pampering too!

If you make yourself a batch, make sure you store it in a vessel big enough to allow you to stir it easily. The oil does settle over time and so you’ll want to whip it around quickly to blend it all again. I also read online somewhere that if you’re using your hands to scoop this out, you might want to store it in the fridge when not in use to keep bacteria at bay. I’m no pro at this so do whatever you feel comfortable with. I plan on storing it in the fridge just in case.

The scent options for this body scrub are endless. I’m going to make a batch using almond extract next time. And wouldn’t this scrub make for a perfect gift? Grab some masons jars, print some cute labels and then wrap a little jute twine around it for the perfect handmade finish. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, give it go!

Stella the Sumo Rabbit

Stella the Sumo Rabbit

Stella was a very random surprise. I was feeling a little low and J thought a rabbit would cheer me up. I guess his mind didn’t go to the usual suspects when it comes to “cheering up material” such as chocolate or flowers. Instead he thought “I’ll buy her a rabbit!”.

When he initially shared his surprise with me, I thought Stella was a stuffed toy for about 2 minutes. She was snuggled into his jacket as still as could be. That soon changed once I approached her and she went to sniff me. I was so convinced it was a stuffed toy, I almost jumped out of my chair when she moved. Umm yeah, no stuffed toy to be found there! That is one real rabbit Adele!

I wasn’t too impressed with his impulse purchase at first, but I have to admit, having Stella running around our place is kinda fun. I can’t imagine her not being a part of my little zoo.

Stella the Sumo Rabbit

These photos of Stella make me laugh, especially the top one. She looks like a little sumo wrestling rabbit all bunched up like that don’t you think?

Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup

Yesterday was an overcast and gloomy here in Toronto (boo!) but it made for a perfect day to make a batch of homemade soup. I’ve shared this soup recipe before (on my old blog) but I love it so much that it’s worth sharing again over here. The recipe is originally from Food & Drink magazine but I’ve adapted it ever so slightly. Here’s the original recipe if you’d like to see it.

Lentil & Sweet Potato SoupLentil & Sweet Potato Soup

Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup

Adapted from Food & Drink Magazine, Autumn 2010

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
1 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them for 2 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and sauté them for 5 minutes or until they have a nice golden hue. Toss in the ginger and nutmeg and stir for 1 minute or until nice and fragrant. Add the lentils and give it another good stir.

Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so you have a nice simmer and let it bubble away for 20 to 25 minutes. Take if off the heat when the vegetables are soft and tender.

Let the soup cool down for a bit and then puree it in a food processor until smooth. I don’t find this recipe gets velvety smooth but keep processing away until it has a texture you like. Transfer it back to the pot and warm it up over medium heat. Stir in the half and half and then season with salt and pepper to your liking.

This soup is quite thick (my preference) but you can easily loosen it up by adding more half and half (if you’re feeling naughty) or more chicken stock. It’s entirely up to you.

Serve + enjoy!

If you’re in the mood for the smell of Fall in your kitchen, give this soup a try. It really is delicious. Like most soups, it’s better the next day so make it ahead of time if you can.

DIY Terracotta Plant Pots

I’m a huge fan of the DIYs that Amanda of Wit & Whistle creates. A few weeks ago, she posted one for DIY Color Block Terracotta Pots and I just had to have a go myself. I already had some pots lying around that I knew I wanted to spruce up with some color and so it was just the motivation I needed. Thanks Amanda!

DIY Terracotta Plant Pots

On Saturday, I popped over to the art store and picked up the supplies I needed. Surprisingly, I managed to restrain myself from buying anything else. I have a habit of buying art supplies and never using them don’t you? Here’s what I came away with – two tubes of Amsterdam acrylic paint in Turquoise Green (661) and Titanium Buff Light (289).

Amsterdam Acrylic Paints

I’m not going to share the whole process here as you can read it over on Wit & Whistle but I will share one step I changed. When it came to applying the second color, rather than use masking tape to define a line, I first painted the whole pot in one color and then placed another pot on top of it so that I could trace a line with a pencil. I then just used the pencil line as my guideline for applying the additional color. Worked like a charm. It’s not perfect, but who cares. Not me.

DIY Terracotta Plant Pots

As you can see, this project couldn’t be any easier. Pick your colors, paint your pots and simply let them dry. In fact, the hardest part of this project for me will be keeping the plant alive. I swear I have black thumbs of death.

DIY Terracotta Plant Pots

So, are you going to paint any plant pots soon? I think I may have to do a few more myself.