Back to School

Well, this is it! I’ve officially been an interior design student for the past 3 weeks. It’s a ton of work, and I will definitely have less of a social life during the next few years, but ultimately it feels right. Change is good.

I thought I’d do a post to commemorate my beloved mid-century vanity table and all my little trinkets on it. It is now covered in books, drafting equipment, and half-completed assignments. RIP vanity table! Welcome, work desk. img_6663img_6641img_6632img_6642

Beet-dyed devilled eggs

IMG_7997 (1)If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope it’s a good one!
As an easy appetizer that’s always a crowd-pleaser, I made some devilled eggs. I dyed them in beet juice to add some extra colour to the dish. I love the result!
There are many ways to do this, and I feel like they all work. I boiled a pot of beets the day before, removed the beets and saved the pink water.  Once my eggs were hard-boiled and peeled, I just put them in the pot of pink water (made sure they were covered) and added 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to it. About an hour later, the dye had sunk in. Perfect for Easter, but I think I’d make this at any point during the year for a potluck or a dinner.

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Lessons in Confidence

I decided to draw Iris Apfel after seeing the documentary “Iris” (on Netflix). Have you seen it? It was directed by Albert Maysles, who made Grey Gardens. Love this lady and her DGAF attitude, whether it’s regarding her sense of style, beauty standards, or other people’s expectations of her. That level of confidence is something many of us aspire to have, and it almost feels a little contagious as you watch her go about her day. I was often told that confidence comes with experience, but lately I’ve been thinking  that it’s something you have to fake or imitate until it becomes a true part of yourself. Maybe I’ll try that. Let’s pretend to be Iris for a day.

While I’m at it, here are some podcasts featuring a few other queens:

Fashion Inspiration: The Oil Slick

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As a kid, I remember being mesmerized by pools of gasoline on the asphalt near the park where I played. I thought they looked like the edgier, tougher older brother of rainbows. I’d be staring at the ground mystified and sure enough, my dad would yell “Get away from that! Don’t touch it!” Anyway, here I am, a grown up, still fascinated by this blend of colours. I’m not the only one, it seems, since I’ve noticed the pattern popping up in fashion over the past few years. Here’s a collage to round up just a few.

Leggings from Urban Outfitters
Dr Martens Shoes
Duochrome Nail Polish: Peace, love and OPI, Essie “For the twill of it”, Nars “Disco inferno”
T-Shirt from Asos
Mini Clutch bag from Proenza Schouler
Eye makeup via Bows and Curtseys
Headphones by Nastygal
Oil slick hair found on Reddit

IMG_4855                                                          Picture from my Instagram

Galentine’s Day Jam and Nutella Straws

I’m so happy that we live in a time where we can take a holiday (that is normally exclusive and can be a bummer to many) and turn it into something fun, lady-positive, and delicious. Kudos to Leslie Knope and the writers of Parks and Rec for making it a thing.  For tomorrow’s Galentine’s Day Brunch, I made these puff pastry straws. Super easy to put together, yet decadent enough for a special occasion. Definitely go well with too much coffee and awesome friends. Original recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.
IMG_79381 package puff pastry (2 sheets)

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Flour for dusting

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

“Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.” Personal tip: use cooking spray on top of the parchment to avoid peeling jam-encrusted pastry bits later on.

Allow puff pastry to thaw as directed on the package.  Dust work surface with flour and lightly dust rolling pin with flour. Roll out puff pastry until about 2″ larger on each side.  Cut crosswise into two rectangles.

Heat 1/4 cup of jam in microwave for 15-20 seconds, just enough to loosen the consistency.

With a pastry brush, coat one piece of puff pastry with half the jam.  Cover jam-coated piece with the remaining plain piece of puff pastry and gently roll together with rolling pin – not too hard, or your jam will squish out.”

strawsSlice into long strips and twist, then place on parchment lined pan.   Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

IMG_7904“Repeat process with second sheet of puff pastry.”  For added variety, I used Nutella diluted with a bit of melted butter on the second batch. Thanks, Sprinkle Bakes!

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Let’s have a Hygge

In Danish, a hygge is one of those untranslatable words with a beautiful meaning; it roughly translates to the feeling of cosiness and joy you experience when sharing happy moments with good friends and family, in a warm, intimate atmosphere. It’s common in Scandinavia during the colder months, and since we share a similar climate in Canada, I think we should adopt this feeling to brighten up this dark time of year.

Here are some essential elements for feeling hygge in my home:
1) Plants
IMG_7771IMG_7776I don’t know about you guys, but I go through a major chlorophyl withdrawl around this time of year. As much as I miss the sun, I miss the greenery outside even more. To make up for the lack of grass and leaves, I filled my house with plants this winter, which makes any space feel more happy and bright. Bonus: they help clean the indoor air when it’s too cold to open the windows.

2) MusicIMG_7806IMG_7797IMG_7814I like playing records during the winter because the sound just feels warmer. The occasional crackle is reminiscent of a fireplace, and I love the ritual of picking out a record rather than just mindlessly selecting a playlist on my computer. Above: some of my favorites.

3) Ambient lighting:

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I love natural light best, but when it gets dark so early in the day, a table lamp makes for perfect cozy lighting. Just please, no overhead neon lights! Home should not feel like the office or a department store. Above: Birch tree lamp from Montreal Machin. Thrifted curtains from Value Village.

4) Blankets, cushions, comfort
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Extra slippers for guests, soft places to sit, maybe a blanket or a throw… anything that’s the opposite of cold hard surfaces.

5) Tea (or wine or cider!)

Tea is my beverage of choice lately, but some wine in a mug could be a nice option if it’s an evening thing. What are your musts for spending cosy time with loved ones?

 

Potluck Planning

Do you have any go-to recipes or crowd pleasing dishes for big dinners? I often try something new at the last minute, which usually involves some unexpected little disasters along the way. Nevertheless, here is what I’m planning on making over the next few weeks:Perencake2Pear cardamom cake [via]

Caramel pecan tart [via] or [via]

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.24.56 PMLamb chops with garlic [via]

MTM0NTE3OTc2NTQ3MjM1MDkwRoasted sweet potato, beets, fennel and pear with cinnamon dressing [via]

Holiday Dresses under $100

dresses5When it comes to dressing for the holidays, I’ve definitely grown out of sparkly metallic fabrics that have little wearability once all the festivities are over. These days I’m drawn to unique shapes, quality materials and styles that can be worn again and again when special occasions come up. Here are a few picks that range from casual to fancy, all while keeping the pricetag under $100.
[Above image: Left: plaid swing dress, Asos. Right, Gap cable knit sweater dress that makes me want to cozy up next to the fire after having eaten too much.]dresses2Above: Keep it girly and sweet with floral details.
Left: teal lace, Zara.
Right: embroidered velvet, Zara.

dresses4Throw a blazer on and they’re work-appropriate. Both available in plus sizes.
Left: striped boat neck cotton dress, Gap.
Right: Wrap dress, Asos.

dresses1Show off that body all while keeping it classy.
Left: Asymmetrical dress with double hem, H&M (also available in forest green.)
 Right: jersey body-con dress, Wilfred Free from Aritzia.

dresses3Minimalist details make a great impact.
Left: black dress with mesh neckline trim, Babaton from Aritzia.
Right: long sheer crepe dress, Zara.

Fall Cookbooks for Everyone

I love cookbooks. As much as I use the internet as my main resource for recipes, I love the feel of a solid good cookbook. I read them like bed time stories, pausing to look at beautiful photographs and fantasizing about recreating dishes in my own kitchen. Clearly I can’t be the only one, because there have been tons of new release in the last little while. Here’s a round-up of the ones that have caught my eye.

1. The Art of Eating Well: Hemsley and Hemsley: By now we all get that eating healthy is a lifestyle approach. What better way to encourage that than delicious, accessible meals?
2. Plenty More by Yottam Ottolenghi: I’m always looking for new interesting ways to make vegetables. Now I just wish I had a fresh herb garden year round.
3.  Cairo Kitchen by Suzanne Zeidi: My love for Middle Eastern food holds no bounds, and it’s about time I learn how to make some of my favorite meals.
4. Three Times a Day by Marilou and Alexandre Champagne: a.k.a “Trois Fois par Jour”, this local Montreal duo has created quite a buzz in the last year. With new recipes that are not featured on their blog, as well as some favorites like buttered chicken,
5. A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones: Packed with vegetarian recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes. Ideal for the real world where you just give in after a long day of work and throw a frozen pizza in the oven.
6. Audrey at Home: Memories from my Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti: Both a scrapbook of Audrey Hepburn’s life and a cookbook, nostalgia-lovers can fully indulge in the vintage photographs, anecdotes and foods from another time.
7. Baking from Food52: Because sometimes, after all that healthy eating, I just want to make something entirely out of sugar and flour. This go-to site compiled a book of classic baked recipes (like banana bread) to mind-blowing new desserts (like black sesame cupcakes with matcha icing!!!!!)
8. Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson: are you noticing a trend here? Cooks offering recipes that are less complex, more accessible? Well last but not least, Nigella is on board, offering meals that can easily be made during your workweek. Butternut and halloumi burgers? I’m totally down.

Anything I missed? What are your favorite cookbooks?

DIY PAGE BUNTING

IMG_7504A few months ago, I attended an event at Centrale Culinaire, and couldn’t take my eyes off the incredibly simple-yet-striking buntings that hung across the room. I decided to steal the idea and recreate them in my own home. I’ve always loved old books and how they draw in all the senses- the faded yellow pages, that sweet vanilla-tobacco scent, the feel of the paper wearing thin… so using them as decor was really appealing to me. Tearing pages out of a book might seem sacrilegious to some, but rest assured, I found this book in the trash and I’m pretty sure no one was really dying to read it anyway (sorry to all the Emile Zola fans out there!).
IMG_7589The materials needed are pretty basic: old book, string, craft glue. The process is super easy and you’ll have a cool wall decoration in no time!

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I tried it out on both our grey bedroom wall and my pink office/boudoir/studio. Which do you prefer?

IMG_7554IMG_7608PS: can someone in the candle industry please make a candle that smells like old books? Or is that gross? Think about it: Dyptique, Vieux Livres.