Thursday, December 31, 2015

happy happy 2016

Wishing you the happiest of celebrations as you ring in 2016. My mind and heart are filled with wonderful memories from 2015 and I can't wait for what 2016 has in store for all aspects of my life. Thank you for making this little blog space feel important and special, your support is always appreciated. 

Happy New Year! xx

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

homemade chicken wings

I had some time off last week, which as great as it was, I have to admit I was a tad lonely. I begged D to stay home from work on the 23rd with me to no avail, but decided to celebrate when he finally joined me on holidays that evening. As is the case with any man, chicken wings and beer is an easy way to satisfy. 
I took a walk down to our local butcher shop, Custodio Meats & Eats and picked up about two pounds of chicken wings. Having no idea where to start with cooking chicken wings, I asked the butcher, who was very helpful with instructions. 
The butcher had teamed up with a local espresso shop to make homemade coffee bbq sauce that seemed like the perfect sauce to douse the wings in. It was smokey and sweet and seriously delicious. 
The end result was restaurant worthy, the beer was significantly cheaper and stretchy pants are much more socially acceptable when at home on the couch. Read below for the cooking instructions.

Blue Cheese Chicken Wings:

1-2lbs raw chicken wings
salt & pepper
bbq sauce blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Lay chicken wings on baking tray and apply salt & pepper.
3. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping wings every 15 minutes.
4. Increase oven to 450 degrees.
5. Baste wings in sauce and bake for 5 minutes.
6. Flip wings and brush with remaining sauce. Bake for 5 minutes.
7. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top.
8. Serve & Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

restart for the new year

I recently came across this article on 'How to Up Your Financial Game'. When it comes to personal finances it can sometimes be difficult to accept advice or intimidating to ask questions. I found this article had a really positive, relatable tone and it felt like a good piece to share. With holiday bills rolling in and the start of 2016 shortly upon us, it's a great time to review the past year and set goals for the year ahead!

a laugh for your tuesday

Have you watched the Whine About It videos on YouTube? The host drinks a bottle of wine at his desk and goes on to sarcastically whine and complain about the topic of choice. The most recent video is holiday themed and pretty darn cynical, but none the less, hilarious. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

merry christmas

{ stacked firewood }

It's happened before, it will happen again and it happened - life got in the way of blogging. The holidays are always a busy time in the best way. Our weekend was packed full with five holiday parties, and it was such a fun time catching up with friends and completely over-indulging. I've been on holidays this week and it's been great sleeping in, shopping for last minute gifts and enjoying a date night with D. The next few days are filled with traditions, that I am so looking forward to after being in Whistler for Christmas last year. 

Even without snow, the city feels so festive and I'm easily reminded that Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays!

{ hearty greenery that currently decorates the dining table }

{ the tastiest fried artichoke hearts at Nuit Social }

{ pretty little berries + julep cup }

{ candy cane Lindors from my co-worker (they're sooo good!) }

{ homemade chicken wings with Cherry Bomb coffee bbq sauce }

{ candy overload from ginger bread decorating }

{ the last of the present wrapping (thankfully) }

{ a perfect spot for last minute stocking stuffers }

{ dainty gold rings from the TDM }

{ holiday drinks with girlfriends at the ever-charming Good Son }

{ 'candy cane' tulips have been on display lately } 

book club

I met with my book club girls last week after finishing Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. It was a memoir written about Gail and Caroline's friendship. It touches on relationships, personal struggle and grief. It was my choice and I don't think it was a huge hit with the book club girls but I enjoyed the read. I find it interesting reading about peoples emotional journey through death and dealing with grief. The sadness is balanced with their genuine and inspiring friendship.

Onto the next read... I'd love to know, any suggestions?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

an easy gift for the host

With holiday parties in full swing, it's a great idea to stock your cupboards with some easy host & hostess gifts. I like to keep different wines on hand that are both well priced and tasty. You can tie a ribbon around the neck and the host can stash it away for a quiet night after the holidays have settled down. All of my choices are under $15 but would still make a perfectly enjoyable gift.

Red Wine - this organic Pinot Noir or a French Grenache/Syrah

White Wine - this Italian Pinot Grigio, a French Loire or a Chardonnay from Chili 

Rose - Serve this pink Pinot Grigio, and gift this Rose

Sparkling Wine - either this Prosecco or this Sparking Wine 

For a friend or family member who is really into their wine, try consulting the staff at the liquor store! They are often super knowledgeable and get feedback from customers who are wine aficionado's and often have terrific suggestions!

And so your manners are up to speed for all the partying that lies ahead, read up on ten holiday etiquette tips here.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

for the foodie in your life

We all have that friend who scours the city in search of the best of all things food. They might have a jelly that they love from a shop in the West End, a small batch bbq sauce from a restaurant north of Bloor and the only coffee they'll drink might come from a coffee shop in the Beaches. For all those food enthusiasts, and even those who just stick to their local grocer, Mouth's 'indie food baskets' are a dream. Packaged in Brooklyn, the baskets are themed and filled to the brim with amazing local delicacies from NYC. Best part, Mouth will ship up to us Canadians!

All of their tasty gifts are super tempting but here are my top picks:

(They also have monthly subscriptions, how fun would it be to get a surprise box of goodies each month!)

Monday, December 14, 2015

an extra special gift

We got together with D's family over the weekend for an early Christmas celebration. For the holidays the adults always opt for charitable donations in lieu of gifts. This year D and I chose the Sick Kids Foundation for his aunt, uncle and cousins. For each couple we donated $45 which covers the cost of a holiday meal for a family who will be spending Christmas at the hospital. Even better, over the weekend another foundation was matching every donation, so the donation was doubled. I couldn't imagine having a little sick child, never mind spending the holidays in the hospital. Sadly, it is the reality for many, and it felt nice knowing that we were able to hopefully bring a little bit of Christmas cheer, to those families needing it most.

There are terrific gifts available to help those in need starting at just $15. 
Shop the Sick Kids Foundation here.

If the Sick Kids Foundation isn't right for you, I'd urge you to research another charity to donate to this holiday season!

Friday, December 11, 2015

gift giving inspiration

I'd like to think of myself as a pretty good gift giver. I do my best to be a friend that listens and in turn I bank details of friends favorite things, or items they might mention in passing, for later on when a gift giving opportunity arises. I also never pass up a great gift, even if I'm buying it six months in advance.

Here are a few of my go-to gifts for friends - easy to find and can be customized and wrapped up pretty with wishes for a wonderful holiday season...

And here are a few other ideas....

- a gift certificate to an awesome local restaurant

- a bottle of bubbly
(LCBO will take it back without a receipt if champagne isn't really their thing)

- a box of cookies from your favorite local bakery

Monday, December 7, 2015

christmas movies

{ this year's mini christmas tree }
{ slightly smaller then last year's 10 footer, but still does the trick! }

I don't know about you, but come December (maybe even earlier) I'm in full-on holiday mode. There are particular things I love about Christmas but I can easily say, hands down, taking part in (and creating) traditions is what I love most. The parties, gatherings and happenings that come year in and year out, always ignite those familiar, cozy, happy memories. I always look forward to catching a few Christmas movies on TV - my favorites are Elf, the old school Rudolph, A Christmas Story, Love Actually and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I'd love to know, what are your favorite Christmas movies?

catch up

{ festive nutcrackers at Cafe Bar Pasta (ps. they have the best kale ceasar salad) }

What did you get up to over the weekend? I re-visited the One of a Kind Show on Friday night, then spent the rest of the weekend with D. I rarely get sick but I was feeling under the weather on Saturday and it was amazing how exhausting it was. I managed to rest up and am back to normal now, just in time for a busy week. I have my last work meeting of the year (!!!) followed by my work Christmas lunch and two dinners with girlfriends. The holidays are definitely in full swing and I am loving every minute of it. Here are a few photos from recent days...

{ a cactus hanky to tie around the strap of a grey purse }

{ a pretty gift for a special lady }

{ finally made it to Sweet Jesus last week }
{ we tried the roasted marshmallow soft serve (that tasted like a campfire!) }

{ his & hers Stance socks for our ever growing collections }

{ mastering the art of the cheese board }

{ work week lunch prep, that was unintentionally very festive }

{ a woodsy table scape }

{ brightened up the bull }

Friday, December 4, 2015

let the shopping begin!

The first weekend of December is officially here and if you haven't already, it's time to start checking friends and family members off your Christmas list. I always like to get a jump start on shopping so that I can avoid the malls on the week leading up to the 25th. I've got a good chunk of my shopping done but definitely still have some presents to find.

In the coming weeks I'm going to help you out with some suggestions for the special people on your list. To start, those lovely ladies in your life who do so much for others and deserve the right to relax. Here are a few luxe sleepwear items that will help her unwind and enjoy some time to herself...

{ satin boxers }

Thursday, December 3, 2015

a holiday diy for the entertainer

Do you plan on entertaining a lot over the holidays? This is our first year with a dining table, so I'm hoping to host a couple of gatherings. I'd love to bring friends together, listen to Christmas music, drink spiked cider and chat about our annual traditions. These mini personalized wreaths would be adorable to adorn a  holiday table scape. Paired with crisp white napkins and loads of white candles, it would make for the coziest atmosphere. They would also make a beautiful gift for your friend who always hosts parties. Check out the DIY here.