Friday, September 30, 2016

Stockholm Minimalism

While I try to muddle my way through cleaning up and organizing my house this fall, I thought I would post some inspirational places as motivation to let go of more material items. 

This apartment in Stockholm looks pretty perfect if you ask me. Clean, uncluttered, but still full of personality. Warm leathers balance the cool blues and greys. White walls contrast the warmth of a wood fireplace. Solid fabric colours but enough throw pillows to have a bit of fun! And the thoughtful clusters of personal items cut the sterility. 


As linked
Cozy fire nook
Just what you need, and a touch of beauty
Minimal everywhere but one nook. 
That fig tree. *heart*

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Goals

This fall I am feeling a sense of nostalgia mixed with urgency and denial. Nostalgia for the days of after work bike rides, sitting on my sunny porch, and getting my fingers dirty in the garden. An urgency to make the most of the last days with temperatures above freezing and sunlight past 5pm. Denial that another fall has come to pass and I feel none the wiser, like I have not grown since last year. 


Image result for fall sun set calgary crescent
Via Hiking Photography

As I watch the sun slowly cast an enchanting glow over the city as it falls behind the horizon, I can't help be feel a pang of sadness. An ache in my heart even the best ski videos cannot remedy. I envy those who love this season for all of its golden glory without a sense of foreshadowing.

This fall is definitely better than the August Angst I felt last year. In part because I got out and did a lot this summer. My summer goals focused my attention and allowed me to experience so many wonderful things! But also because I am trying to own it. Own these feelings of nostalgia and sadness and sit in them. Understand a bit of where they are coming from and try to be ok. Recognizing what works for me, what are healthy responses to these feelings. 


But it's easy to allow these feelings to pass without much thought. Soon it will be holiday season, and these feelings that swirl around will be swept away with the fall leaves. So I have decided to try three things to help me focus and try and catch some leaves while they are still in the air. 



  1. Reflect - This means slowing down, allowing myself to just be, be alone, be with my feelings, be in the moment. Be alone without being lonely, feel without dwelling, be in the moment without planning for the next moment. To have faith that spending alone with my feelings will not result in a negative spiral out of control. That it will bring me closer to the person I want to be. 
  2. Conquer Long-Standing To-Dos - This may seem like a simple task that doesn't deserve a spot on this list, but most of my to-dos remain undone because of my fear of failure. They are difficult tasks with no obvious solution, or method to execute. Thinking about them creates a sense of disappointment and pulls at the strings that are keeping my self-confidence blanket together. Before I unravel, I want to face them head on, and try my hardest to solve them. To look the fear of failure in the eye and at least try. To really believe that the only failure is to not try. The top three that nag at me are:
    1. Complete my night side tables - One is half built, the other one remains under my couch, in pieces. Where it has been for 1.5 years. I ran into a problem that the copper pipes did not withstand the weight of my side table top. I've found a solution. I am just not sure it will work, or I will implement it correctly.
    2. Image result for copper c tables
      Ideal final product
    3. Install my wood stove - I have owned the wood stove for over 6 months. It is clearly the season to install it (impending winter). I want to cozy up in front of a fire more than anything. But playing with fire is scary. Installation requires a lot of decisions. The method on how to install is ambiguous and likely very time consuming. I struggle with ambiguity and I don't have all the time in the world. 
    4. Fix my sink and drawer - They work, but poorly. They bother me. Every time I think about them, I cringe. I worry about them, I am embarrassed. They aren't hard fixes, but they are wreaking havoc on my mind.  
  3. Clean Out my House – This includes the basement, my computers, my mind and my soul. A clean house = a clean mind? Not only is this task something that I have been putting off, but it is also something that bothers me every.single.day. I discussed how organizing makes me happy almost a year ago! Having unaddressed clutter conflicts with my wholehearted desire to live streamlined. I have a theory that a streamlined life is a free life - one that allows me to do the things I love without the distractions or time consumption of stuff. Right now, my life is not even close. I pack it all away in the basement, hoping that out of sight equals out of mind. But that is never the case. The cobwebs that are collecting on my piles in my basement are also collecting in the baggage in my mind and soul. I need to physically and mentally / emotionally clear out and find what works for me.
Fall in High Prairie Alberta by Questa-Durron
Not a bad time to lay back and relax.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peg It

This weekend I came across these leather and wood peg hooks in a new store's change room. I thought they were ingenious: Hangers would lay flat wonderfully in the leather and the wood peg is just perfect for a purse. I would use these all the time to lay out my outfits for the week. If I did that... 

And then today - I found this hook round-up. And I swear I wasn't looking for it. I can't put holes in my walls so I definitely am not looking for hooks. 


But I found the source for my beloved wood and leather hooks. Not to mention so many more awesome hooks. Now if only I could convince my landlord to let me put a few holes in the walls!



Peg And Strap Wall Hook - Natural Maple
And I imagine it would look better with time! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

It seems that my posts recently have been more list a little less design. That was slightly intentional (focus on what I'm doing rather than dreaming about what could be). But list get long after a while... so let's talk about inspiration...

For anyone who has been to my house - I have a secret. The design/decor of my living room may seem original, and in general it was (especially since a lot of my furniture was inherited, not purchased). But, I did draw inspiration from another living room, no, full disclosure - by draw inspiration, I mean copied another living room.

It was just so beachy and airy and generally inviting - everything in that room I wanted - and well half consciously and half unconsciously I have pretty much made a dolperganer. So now is the time to come clean, well half clean. Here are some imagines from Bri Henderson  (DesignLoveFest)'s remodeled living room. I'll refrain from showing you my living room - for now.

Emily_Henderson_Bri_Emery_Design_Lovefest_Living_Room_Makeover
Yes, we have the exact same rug.

Henderson/Emery
I need more plants. I was just looking at fig trees today at Plant

proud_mary_gold_coasters_white_vessel
I've scoured the internet for that navy blue fabric to no avail. 

Henderson/Emery
Teak dining room table? Check. Wax Wagner Tulum photo? Check.Seriously,  I'm just an imposter!

So essentially what I am saying is that if you would like to know how I am going to decorate the rest of my house? Just check out the Emily Henderson, the room's designer, and also my design, hilarious writer, life idol.  

Also - Christine - thanks for the content comment.
.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer Goals - September Recap

Ok, so there is snow on the mountain tops and my furnace has kicked in - but I'm still not willing to admit that summer is over! 
  1. Plant a garden at the lake and at home
    • Status: I just dug up my garden at the lake and ate potatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, and had wonderful spices all weekend long! It was just wonderful. Now I am thinking about how to improve my soil for next year! 
  2. Spend 7 days at a lake, especially shoulder weekends 
    • Status: 7 nights down! I was lucky enough to have access to the cabin on the September long weekend, so I took full advantage. It was such a great way to decompress and relax after quite a busy summer! The weather wasn't great but it was a blessing in disguise since it allowed me to really do nothing except for stoke the fire, read my book and cook (and eat) food! I'll likely be up there for one more night when I put the cabin and garden to bed, so I may even beat my 7 nights!
  3. Camp in my Siesta for 10 nights
    • Status: I've spent 4 nights in it so far. The last two nights were out of the blue and so much fun! The trailer isn't 100% complete STILL but it still worked great! With another trip planned for September, I'm at least going to get 1/2 way there! 
  4. Overnight camp in the backcountry for 5 night
    • Status: No change from last time - only 4 nights down - all from one trip!
  5. Go on 10 hikes / back country mountain bike rides
    • Status: Completed! My day hikes were  - Three sisters (Fernie), Bourgeau Lake (Banff), Lone Pine (Tofino), Barrier Lookout (Kananaskis), Bertha Lake (Waterton); my mountain bike rides were: Castle Mountain (Fernie); my multi day trip was to the Enchantments (Washington State), and I have 1-2 more in the planning stage!
  6. Have 3 BBQs at my house 
    • Status: Fail - it's hard to BBQ when I'm never in town! I've had one person BBQs, and people over for breakfast but nothing more... I am hosting book club this week, so if BBQs = people over then I can maybe sneak by. 
  7. Bike over 200 km on my road bike 
    • Status: After reaching 500 km, I kind of slowed down my riding, but did manage to go on a great road biking trip near Millerville, until the road became gravel! I really do love riding, but have noticed that it is quite hard on my hips. I'll have to be sure to keep on stretching them!
  8. Go to Waterton Lakes National Park 
    • Status: On an impromptu trip I went down in my trailer with a friend from out of town. It was way easier than I anticipated, and while the week leading up to the trip was very busy and I was hesitating on going... I'm so glad I did! I feel quite rejuvenated this week and it was great to see a place I've been dying to get to! 
Views from  the Price of Whales Hotel
Overall, I've done better than I anticipated for the summer, but I'm also exhausted, which makes me re-think my list for next year. I'm so happy I pushed to do all these things -  because it really got me out and didn't allow for any indecision, but I'm not sure that going at break back speeds is also what I want (the grass is always greener...) - As the leaves turn to yellow, I hope to take a few weeks to reflect, collect my photos and memories from the summer and take away some learnings from this summer's to-do list! 

The major up side is that even though the weather this summer has been less than ideal (thundershowers almost everyday), I managed to get out a lot. I feel like this list helped motivate me get out despite the weather - it's so easy to pull the plug when the forecast looks gloomy and plans aren't set in stone, but making plans and having a list to tick off really helps me get out there! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saucy.

Life mission 3,496: Find the best Spaghetti Sauce.

The leaves are changing colour - there is a crispness in the air and there has even been snow in the mountains. Fall is definitely here. And with fall comes my desire to cozy up, tuck in and eat a lot of pasta! 

Years ago I discovered this lasagna recipe from Gluten Free Goddess which was to die for! 
This is what got me hooked on the sauce - by far one of the best lasagna recipes I've tried!

I realized that it was the sauce that had all the flavours I loved. Since then I have been trying to adapt it into a meat spaghetti sauce with moderate success. Until last night! (Thanks to Jo Mama) I think I finally cracked the nut, and now have to pen the recipe before I forget all the random ingredients I threw in. 

Ingredients

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 can tomato paste
1 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers 
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (I forgot this but imagine it would be great)
4 very large garlic cloves (2-3 tablespoons of cut garlic)
2 lbs of ground beef
1/4 to 1/2 a white onion diced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp or more of red wine
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons sage
2 teaspoons basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese
Spaghetti noodles

Directions

  1. Dice onion and garlic, keep separate
  2. Place onion in skillet and cook on medium to high heat
  3. Add ground beef to onions, add half the garlic to the skillet and continue to cook at medium to high heat until meat is fully cooked
  4. In a blender / food processor - add diced tomatoes roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes - blend until pureed
  5. Pour tomato / roasted red pepper mixture into a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, the remaining garlic, balsamic vinegar, molasses, olive oil, red wine, and the spices, less the salt and pepper, put on a low simmer
  6. When meat is cooked add to the pot of sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Either keep pasta sauce simmering for hours (adding extra water if need be) or let it simmer for another 40 minutes (so it has simmered for about an hour total) and then boil some water for pasta 
  8. Spoon onto pasta, top with parmesan cheese (you can also add parmesan to the sauce)
  9. Lastly - I think this could be used for meat lasagnas as well. It goes great with Portobello mushrooms!