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Monday, December 29, 2014

NYE 2014: Fab Local Fashions

Where did 2014 go??? To help you have an amazing NYE & ring in 2015 here's some ideas to inspire your style from some of my favourite local brands. 

I hope your 2015 is AMAZING! 
For something a little different...
Perfect for ladies looking for a FUNky take on NYE fashion!
Clockwise from left:
Black romper: Maccs
Silver sequin skirt: Maccs
Grey t- shirt: Modern Fort (a brand making a difference!)

 For something a little dressy...
'Cause you can't ever go wrong with a pretty party frock!
Black mesh & sequin dress: Maccs

...And don't forget the accessories!
Style your NYE look right with the perfect finishing touch!
Clockwise from top left:
Arrow necklace: TPB Shop*
Double triangle necklace: JQ Vancouver
Geo necklace: TPB Shop*
Double layer heart necklace: JQ Vancouver
Grace necklace: TPB Shop*

Goddess Headband: TPB Shop*

*TPB Shop items available upon request. Contact me for details & prices.

Like what you saw in this post? Support the amazing ladies behind these brands & #shoplocal in 2015!

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Monday, December 22, 2014

Make Ahead Christmas Morning Brekkie

The lead up to Christmas is busy. Christmas morning- especially with kids!- is even busier! Instead of rushing to organize a yummy breakfast in between unwrapping gifts, cooking dinner, or corralling the family to get to Grandma's, why not whip up some make- ahead choices that you can prep in advance? No elves required. See below for 3 ideas for an easy & delicious Christmas morning menu.

Vanilla Chia Pudding 
A favourite from my friend Jessica over at North Shore Mama, we made this healthy pudding and LOVED it! It's like having dessert for breakfast!

1 cup black chia seeds
4 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Toppings of choice, such as fresh berries, nuts, sliced bananas, etc

1. In a medium bowl add the chia seeds, milk, & maple syrup & stir until combined.
2. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight (or for a minimum of 2 hours).
3. To serve, scoop into bowl & add your toppings of choice (it would be cute to have a topping station!)
Tip: If the pudding seems a little thick, add a little bit extra milk or water until desired consistency is reached.

Breakfast Casserole
I came across a similar recipe on the Trader Joe's website a few years ago and love this hearty brekkie that you can simply pop in the oven to warm on Christmas morning while you open pressies!

1 loaf of your favourite bread* (swap out white or French for raisin or sourdough for a delicious twist!)
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk*
1 cup cooked sausage, bacon, and/ or ham
1 cup cheese, grated

*Or use your favourite gluten free version; for a dairy free casserole, I recommend unsweetened almond milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a casserole dish with oil or butter.
2. Cut or tear the bread into pieces approx. 1" square & distribute evenly in the dish; cut the meat into desired pieces and do the same.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk and pour over the bread & meat, making sure to coat everything.
4. Bake for 25 minutes (or until top starts to turn golden brown) and let stand to cool before placing in fridge (if eating right away, allow it to stand for a few minutes before serving).
5. In the morning, reheat oven to 350 degrees and warm for 10- 15 minutes.
Serve with ketchup or syrup depending if you prefer a sweet or savoury version.

Crockpot Apple Cider
What could be better than the smell of cider wafting through the house on Christmas morning? Add a shot of your favourite rum for an adult sippy.

1L apple juice
1 cup cranberry juice (not cocktail!)
Rind or zest of 1 orange & lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
(you can also find pre- mixed mulling spices in most grocery stores, which are also delicious)
Optional: Fresh apples slices

1. Place citrus zest & spices into a piece of cheesecloth and tie with food safe string (you can also use a coffee filter if you don't have cheesecloth); it should look like a little bundle.
2. Pour juices into crockpot & pop you spice sachet into the liquid (add fresh apple slices if you're including).
3. Set the crockpot on low & steep the cider over night for 8 hours or so. Check it occasionally to make sure the zests and spices don't become too overpowering/ bitter. Remove spice sachet when cider has reached the flavour mix you like.
4. Set crockpot to 'warm' setting until ready to serve.

Image Sources:
Breakfast Casserole: Trader Joes
Vanilla Chia Pudding: North Shore Mama
Apple Cider: K Petrunia

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Saturday, December 20, 2014

At Home: Christmas 2014

Deck the Halls!
Before I wind down posting for the holidays I wanted to share some photos of our house in all it's Christmas glory! We only get to enjoy the tree, lights, stockings, and decorations for such a short time so I wanted to make sure I take it all in before it all comes back down again in January. I tend to stock up on decor on boxing day and pick items that go with an existing theme or catch my eye (penguins have a special meaning in our house and come out year after year, no matter what). So a penguin or two tend to get added each year for the next.

I stock up on basics at favourite stores like Homesense, Superstore, etc and will buy more delicate and fancy items after the holidays from stores such as Restoration Hardware and Hudson's Bay. I also am lucky to have access to a floral wholesaler for fresh flowers, greens, and budget- friendly vases and filler.

This year I went with a traditional red & green colour scheme and chose specific elements to carry throughout the house: tartan accents, fresh Christmas greens, & clear glass vases with white 'snowy' filler. See the end of this post for Where to Buy.

The 'fancy tree' (aka Mom's tree): We've only put a few presents out to see how Ari would resist them. So far so good!

Quick & simple decor idea: 
Glass vases with filler of your choice & a branch of Christmas greens

 In addition to the 'fancy tree', we also do a family tree that's decorated with all of our sentimental ornaments- no theme here but love & memories!

For a fun DIY project make personalized stockings! Click here for the tutorial.

Some of our penguins...

...And a few more!

Favourite sentimental ornaments include some from my childhood & our family's old restaurant, DIY projects, and those commemorating life events

Sometimes simple is better: An unadorned wreath makes a statement among other festive items

My Dad is Scottish, so tartan tends to be a common trend in our house during the holidays (plus it's everywhere this year!).

Place settings don't have to be expensive & complicated to look good...

This year I used cookie cutters found at Homesense & wrapped the cutlery in doilies tied with a gift tag (Tip: use gift tags as fun alternatives to place cards)

I kept the centrepiece simple to balance all of the tartan and other accents in the room: seeded eucalyptus in a glass vase.

Where to Buy
Christmas tree 
Canadian Tire
Tree decorations: Hudson's Bay, Superstore, Costco

Garland & wreath: Superstore
Glass vases & filler: Floral supply wholesaler

Mantle (L to R)
Penguin accents: Homesense
Wreath: Superstore
Snowglobe: indigo/ Chapters
Vase & Filler: Floral supply wholesaler, Homesense
Gold metal reindeer: Gift
Penguin accent & snowglobes: Homesense, Costco
Love you more pillow: TPB Pop Up Shop

Dinning Room
Painting: DIY project
Wreath: Home Depot
Flowers: DIY project; flowers & vases purchased from wholesaler
Globe light strand: Restoration Hardware
Tartan placemats (used as table runner): Superstore
Silver chargers: Target
Plates & bowls: Denby, purchased at Homesense
Tartan napkins: Superstore
Centerpiece: Seeded eucalyptus purchased from wholesaler
Cutlery wrap: dollarstore (doilies), Target (tags)
Cookie cutters: Homesense
Garland (on chandelier): Superstore

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

$avvy Family Tip: Adult Gift Challenge

Today's $avvy Family is a cute suggestion to make Christmas gifts memorable vs. material. What's the most memorable gift you've received?

Christmas is a wonderful season. An opportunity to get together with friends and family, share memories and cookies, and exchange gifts. Last year how many of the packages contained gift cards? Were the gifts personal and thoughtful, or rushed and obligatory? Is anyone creating financial stress on your family, to provide gifts to your relatives? 

One of the most wonderful Christmas traditions I’ve heard about is the Adult Family Gift Challenge. It's based on the Secret Santa idea, where everyone draws one name to obtain a gift for another. The challenge is that the gift must be obtained with minimal spending. Special recognition is granted each year for the best gift at the lowest price. It’s amazing what’s available for free! You might think it's a tough challenge, or that the gifts will all be from the dollar store. That’s not necessarily the case. Think about all the free or nearly free stuff that’s available throughout the year. Promotional items offered by companies. The free list on Craigslist. Garage and estate sales. You can find a gift that's much more valuable and special if you're a little creative instead of grabbing a gift card in the grocery store checkout. 

Mix in creative wrapping and presentation, the gift exchange becomes memorable. 
My favourite was when an uncle presented a newly licensed niece with a package that looked like a massive roll of Lifesavers- it was 30 inches in diameter! 
When she ripped open the package she discovered 4 snow tires he’d found at a garage sale. Real lifesavers! 

Is your family ready to stop spending and get creative to make Christmas memorable again? 

Dan Olson is a Sun Life Financial Advisor. An experienced Dad with three children, now young adults. With everyone under one roof for the Summer, his home is feeling really, really small.

If you have some questions for Dan, or would like some help with your family's savings, here's how you can contact him: 

604 308 9502

Image Source: Comfy Ho.Me
December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Salted Chocolate Covered Caramels

Looking for a holiday treat you can whip up in no time? These are a perfect no- bake item to bring to a holiday party or as a last minute hostess gift. And my favourite part (other than how addicting they are!) is that there are only 3 ingredients. They'll be gone in no time!

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Salted Chocolate Covered Caramels

Caramel cubes 
Milk & white melting chocolate (I bought the caramels and chocolate in bulk based on how much I thought I'd need)
Sea salt

1. In a double boiler bring some water to a boil and begin melting chocolate; cover a baking sheet or chopping board with a piece of parchment paper.
2. Once water has come to a boil reduce to medium heat. You can do batches of each chocolate or drizzle both chocolates over the caramels based on how much time you have/ how artsy you want to be.
3. While chocolate is melting unwrap the caramels, stirring chocolate occasionally to avoid lumps.
4. When the chocolate has melted, use a fork to spear the caramels and dip them in the chocolate, tap them against the the side to shake off excess & place on parchment paper.
5. Place baking sheet in fridge for 5 minute to help the chocolate set. 
6. After 5 minutes, remove from fridge & re- dip in chocolate, again tapping to remove excess. Drizzle with the alternate chocolate if desired & sprinkle salt before the chocolate sets.
7. Place in fridge for 5 more minutes to ensure the second layer of chocolate has set. 
8. Wrap or arrange as desired (I recommend keeping some for yourself too!).

Image Source: Weary Chef

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, December 12, 2014

Affordable Holiday Fashion Ideas

Do you have some holiday parties on your calendar already? What are you going to wear? I love dressing up and finding the perfect outfit (what girl doesn't???). Even better, I love feeling like I treated myself without breaking the bank. I teamed up with local boutique Betty Be Good (located just south of the border in Birch Bay, WA) to make sure you've got something perfect for all occasions, from casual to dressy. Here's my 4 top picks:

Hello Gorgeous!

Don’t Forget to Sparkle

Everyone needs a LBD!

Keep the Red in Christmas

Don't forget to pair your favourite outfit with the right accessories (need some of those??? make sure you check out our pop up shop before it's gone!)!

To get your hands on the looks in this post, check them out on the Betty Be Good website & make sure to find the store on Facebook & Twitter.

Images & logo courtesy of Betty Be Good.

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique