Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Dream Basement Tour - Complete With Wine Cellar, Craft Room and Movie Theatre

Photos by Dylan Photography.

This 10,000-square-foot Stouffville, Ontario home - custom-designed by Royal Interior Design - is a carefully crafted blend of beauty, elegance and function. "A lot of people think a beautiful home is not practical or functional for children or everyday living," says Royal Interior Design principal Catherine-Lucie Horber. "I always try to find the perfect balance of beauty and function." The basement is a case in point. With the abundance of trim work, beautiful finishes, dark flooring, plush furnishings and glam accessories, it has an elegance that could easily translate to a sophisticated condo.

Friday, July 6, 2018

New in Nonfiction (Book Review & Giveaway)

Are you a fan of fiction? Nonfiction? Both? I tend to be attracted to literary fiction (especially by women), vegan cookbooks and décor books. But, let's be honest, there aren't too many types of books I'll pass up. I have received several interesting new nonfiction books over the past couple of months and I want to share a handful of them with you today. I think they all make perfect reads for summer. The great thing about nonfiction in summer is you can pick up a book poolside or at the beach or on a patio or any time you have a few minutes and read one page, one chapter or the whole book - whatever you have time for. It won't require a ton of concentration and you learn as you go, in snippets.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

I'm not a fan of fad diets at all. I believe in a healthy, whole foods diet and moderate exercise for more sustainable wellness. Recently, though, I picked this book off my shelf (I have a lot of books that I haven't read): The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss. It's by Kathy Freston, author of Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World and Quantum Wellness: A Practical Guide to Health and Happiness.

I decided to browse through The Lean and I am actually finding it really inspiring. The book calls upon you to make one change each day (maintaining the previous days' changes too) for 30 days. It's a plant-based routine that asks you to cut out dairy, meat and eggs. Seeing as I'm already vegan I was able to easily skip past a lot of the suggestions. The remaining changes are really not a "diet" per se. It's more a sustainable way of eating healthy that so far has me starting the day with a high-fibre breakfast (like the breakfast quinoa, above, made from a recipe in the back of The Lean), eating at least one apple each day, having a handful of nuts for a morning snack, adding two tablespoons of ground flax to my food and drinking lots of water.

Basically it's about getting plenty of fibre and crowding the less healthy choices out with better choices. I'll tell you more about it as I go on, or you can also follow along in my Instagram stories. In case you're wondering, the reason I'm doing it is to tackle my "muffin top," which I earned from having my second child over 13 years ago. But I want to be clear that this is my choice and if you are content with your muffin top, more power to you!

Friday, June 22, 2018

How To Get A Photo Printed On Canvas (With A Giveaway)

Although I'm a big fan of white and light grey paint on walls, I feel it's important to add colour, texture and personality through accessories. I particularly like to liven up our home decor with artwork. My husband and I used to collect all kinds of unique art pieces when we were younger. Since we've had kids, though, we tend to look for art that is more personal and also less expensive (because who has the disposable income anymore?).

Our latest piece of artwork came to us courtesy of the folks at CanvasChamp. It's an image that's special to me because it's from one of my favourite places. I took this photograph on a secluded private beach down the road from the farmhouse my dad grew up in. It's in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Some of you may know that my kids are teenagers now, so obviously this photo was taken a while back. That's parent life, right? We don't get photos printed as fast as we would like. But it's super easy to get your favourite family photos printed on canvas, turning them into personalized artwork for your home. Here's how it's done:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Vegan Burgers and Burritos (Book Review & Ultimate "Meatball" Burger Recipe)

Even for vegans and vegetarians, burgers are a staple of summer. While I admit we often throw pre-packaged veggie burgers on the barbecue, if you have a bit of extra time and energy, making a fresh burger from whole foods is ideal. My family also loves a good burrito. Burritos are versatile and offer up the possibility of tailoring the stuffings to the likes and dislikes of different family members, including picky kids.

When I saw the gorgeous cover of Vegan Burgers and Burritos: Easy and Delicious Whole Food Recipes for the Everyday Cook, I was hooked. A luscious, well-topped burger, crispy fries and a burrito oozing with black beans, tomatoes and rice. Looks like the perfect cookbook for summer!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Making Father's Day Cards With Cricut

I posted these cards for Mother's Day, so you know I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to post about the Father's Day cards I made this year with my Cricut Explore Air™. I made three cards once again - one for my dad, one for my father-in-law and one for my husband. I tried to find appropriate cards for each one of them using the card designs that are ready to go in Cricut Design Space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday (A Day of Vegan Eats)

Can you believe that we're almost mid-way through June? "I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June," wrote L.M. Montgomery. And, for many years, this great Canadian author lived not too far from where I'm sitting, so I feel I know exactly what she's talking about. June has so many gifts - blossoms, sunshine, strawberries - and it's our duty to enjoy them while they last.

I try my best to enjoy berries as often as possible while they are in season. For the day of vegan eats I'm sharing today, I started the day with a smoothie of frozen banana, peach slices, pineapple, strawberries, orange juice and soy milk. I didn't add any "superfoods" such as chia seeds because I find they can be tricky on my digestion.

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