Thursday, July 30, 2015

Guys Behind The Blog - July

It's that time again! The time where our favourite men sit behind the laptop and answer a few questions. The lovely Betsy at Heavens to Betsy hosts this monthly link up called Guys Behind The Blog. I love that you get to hear a little from Mike. He's honestly such an amazing husband and I am one very lucky lady! 

(Dining in Warsaw, Poland - 2014)


This month's topic was all about food, something Mike feels very passionately about! 



Q: What is your all time favourite food?

A: Attention people who make up these questions: Why must you torture me so? Anybody who knows me knows that I love to eat. Asking me my favourite food is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child, but only if they had a kid that they liked way more than the others, and if that kid’s name was pizza. It seems so typical that a guy loves pizza, but I just can’t get enough of that cheese and bread and sauce combination. And meat. Mmmm… meat. I could eat pizza every day for every meal and never get tired of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small, independent place, or if it’s a chain like Pizza Hut, or even a frozen pizza. Give me tons of cheese, a mountain of meat, some mushrooms, and a doughy crust and I am in heaven.


Q: Who is the cook between you and your significant other?

A: I’d say that we share the cooking duties fairly evenly. I often get home before Evelina, so I’ll get dinner started. I think we can admit that neither of us are fairly adept in the kitchen yet and are still getting used to having to prepare our own meals, but we are learning and getting better together. Typically if dinner prep involves chopping vegetables or getting messy, I’ll leave that to Evelina. My specialties are grilled cheese (I know, we’re talking some fine dining here) and French toast.


Q: What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

A: Every year we go to my mother-in-law’s place for a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. This typically involves about 12 different courses of fish based dishes. Neither Evelina nor I are big fans of fish. I don’t mind salmon, and I’ll have lobster or cocktail shrimp, but if I’m going to have fish it pretty much has to be deep fried and covered in a ton of batter. Unfortunately, none of that is on the table despite the seemingly endless plates of food. One of my first Christmases there, I wanted to be polite and impress the potential future family and tried everything. One of those dishes was some casserole that had a ton of fish and vegetables in some jello like substance. I’m sure some people enjoy this and I’m sure it was prepared well, but it was probably the weirdest, grossest thing I’d ever tasted. It’s a good thing my mother-in-law is the coolest and despite my best efforts to conceal my true feelings, could tell that I absolutely was not feeling it and told me that I didn’t have to eat it. I’m sure she appreciated me giving it my all though!


Q: Are there any foods that you absolutely detest?

A: The only thing that I will absolutely not eat under any circumstance is anything with horse radish. There have been only two instances in which I have consumed horse radish – both were given unbeknownst to me – and neither went very well for me. That’s pretty much the nicest way I can put it. The last time was at Panera Bread when I ordered a steak Panini and they snuck some horse radish in there. Totally ruined my meal. Thanks, Panera! If you’re planning a dinner and I’m invited, please keep the horse radish off of my plate.


Q: What is your favorite local, little-known, or hole in the wall place to eat?

A: I’m not one of these food hipsters that has to only eat at independent, local places. Food is food, and I can find something delicious everywhere. With that said, there are some places that are unique to my area that I would be absolutely devastated if they were to go away. My favourite, not surprisingly, is my favourite pizza place called Mr. Grande Pizza. They certainly live up to their name as their pizzas are huge. One place where they do not live up to their name? The prices. If you get a large pizza from there, you better have a mini van or an empty trunk, because that sucker is not fitting in your backseat. Or, you can get a slice that is the equivalent of about a quarter of a pizza with a Coke for $3. I’m not sure how they make money with these sizes and prices, but I’ve been going there since I was in high school and can’t get enough. I haven’t even mentioned that it’s the best tasting pizza in the city.

As you can see, Mike loves pizza! So it's basically a requirement that he eats it at least once a week. I can't wait to read the other husbands' answers! Any other pizza lovers out there? 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Front Door Painting: From Beige To Beige

A door is a first impression of your house. And mine was pretty sad. And embarrassing. The paint on it was chipping like woah. See?


At least it may have scared away some sales people? It was clearly desperate for a paint job. So that's what it got!

I was super nervous about striking this task off of our Summer To-Do List. I thought it was going to be a way bigger task that it actually was. To calm my anxiety, my amazing mother-in-law offered to come over and help me get the job done. It was so nice to have someone experienced oversee the mess.

She basically told me that there are 4 steps in painting an exterior door: sand, wash, paint, dry. Aside from drying time, the sanding part is what had originally scared me. I was picturing crazy sanding machines and getting all of the old paint off. We only ended up sanding the parts that needed it and it took about 15 minutes between the two of us.


Of course I had removed my wreath and window insert, and taped up the door hardware. After the sanding, we washed the surface with hot water mixed with a little dish soap.


And now for the fun part! Paint! Unfortunately, we are not allowed to choose the colour of our door due to our complex's restrictions. I would loved to have painted our front door a pretty bright yellow, robins egg blue, or even a sophisticated black. But "builder's beige" will have to do. I grabbed a bunch of paint chips from Home Depot to try to best match the original colour.


We taped them up for a good day or so and I am sure our neighbours thought we lost it. I feel like none of these worked perfectly and after a little deliberation session with Mike, we settled on Stonewashed by Behr. The paint department person at HD recommended we get the Behr Exterior Paint and Primer to ensure longevity.


I have been painting interior doors for years and I always paint them in a certain order. I found this graphic from Thrifty Decor Chick that explains it perfectly.


I used a paint brush for the panel frames and a foam roller for the rest to avoid brush strokes. I also touched up the frame of the window with a nice fresh coat of white trim paint. Once the painting portion was done, it was drying time. It was a nice breezy dry day so it dried really quickly but I left the door open for about 5 hours to be safe. My cats only tried to escape a few times.

And there she is all pretty and happy!


I must admit that the colour turned out a bit lighter than it was before but hopefully our complex people won't say anything to us. I especially love how my wreath really pops now on the bright background!


I am so happy to cross this chore off of my list. And now I know that painting an exterior door is far from scary!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekending


I hope everyone had a lovely and relaxing weekend!

This weekend's theme was sports. Friday night and Sunday morning Mike had softball games and the weather for both was gorgeous. Actually we had amazing weather all weekend long. Days like these are what summer is all about. Sitting outside with the ladies, watching our boys play ball. I love it every year!

On Saturday, the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifier draw took place and we watched to see where Poland would be placed. Neither Mike nor I are huge soccer fans but I will alwaysalwaysalways cheer for my country! It seems like Poland got a pretty good group so everyone back home is hopeful for a successful World Cup run. Also, they are in Group E, which is my first initial, so clearly that means success. (LOL)


On Sunday, we watched the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Pedro Martinez is Mike's all-time favourite athlete so it was emotional to see him be celebrated for his accomplishments. Mike had originally planned to go to Cooperstown for the induction but settled for watching it on TV instead. I thought his speech was amazing. His energy, appreciation, and love for his home country were so awesome to see.


And then to round off the sports-themed weekend, we watching the closing cemeronies of the Pan-Am Games. We actually didn't catch any of the actual games which I sort of regret. Not only were most of the events a quick drive away, we didn't even watch them on TV. Based on the recaps, some of the events looked pretty fun. But alas, we watched the very end and I thought they did a really nice job representing the different participating countries and passing the torch off to Peru. I loved the Peruvian folk dancing! And Pitbull and Kanye were so good! They killed it! I'm definitely a fan of both of them!


We did manage to get away from all the sports on Saturday night to celebrate a couple of our friends' birthdays. A large group of us went to an outdoor restaurant/bar on the water. We had a great time which included mojitos and even a little dancing. I look super weird and sweaty in this photo but I love the string lights!


With that, I am saying adios to the weekend. I am excited about the posts I have lined up for this week so make sure to check back for those. Thanks as always for reading!

~
Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favourite: Striped Weekender Bag

Happy Friday! We are only hours away from the weekend and I. Can't. Wait! The weather is gorgeous and I am looking forward to spending most of it outside.

Before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to praise this weekend bag that I picked up at Target a couple months ago.


Mike and I love going on quick weekend roadtrips and this is the perfect size for all my stuff. We went to Pittsburgh a little while ago and it fit all my things. Plus a ton of things that I brought that I of course didn't really need. Because you know, that's how girls pack. I don't think I will ever learn how to pack light. But this bag has my back!

It's not so big that it's inconvenient and isn't heavy on it's own. It also has a crossbody strap for those situations where you need both hands free. But Mike doesn't mind carrying it around for me since it has neutral colours.


I can't find it on the Target website but last time I was my the closest store (across the border, sad face) there were still a bunch left. Here's a similar one.

What do you use for quick get-aways?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gimme S'more

I am here today to share with you my favourite sweet treat. S'mores. I seriously find it difficult to not have a dozen of these every day.


Ever since Jillian at Cornflake Dreams mentioned these in a post, they have been on my mind. And since I don't have access to an outdoor fire pit, the microwave has to do. While it's definitely not the same, it does a pretty good job!

Ingredients:
-. 2 graham crackers
- 1 piece of chocolate
- 1 jumbo marshmallow

Directions:
- On a paper towel, layer a graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow
- Microwave for 15 seconds (watch it to make sure the marshmallow doesn't get too large)
- Top with second graham cracker
- Wait 5-10 second for the chocolate to melt a little from the heat of the marshmallow
- Enjoy and try to not to eat a million on these.

But if you do become addicted (like I am), I take no responsibility! I am warning you now.

I have seen several derivations from this basic recipe such as substituting the graham crackers for chocolate chip cookies (heaven!), adding in nutella, sticking a mini chocolate bar in there. Mmmmmm mmm!

You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Move Live!

This past weekend we had tickets to see the Move Live on Tour show. It's the show put on by Derek and Julianne Hough, the most awesomest sibling dancing duo ever.


I have been a fan of theirs for years on Dancing With The Stars. And I totally have a girl crush on Julianne. She just seems like perfection. I love how they are both such kind and positive people. I feel like that's kind of a rare breed in Hollywood. Not to mention, they are wildly talented! Amazing dancers (obvi), singers, musicians, and they had me laughing so hard too!

We had to drive quite a way to the venue, through crazy rush-hour traffic and Friday cottage traffic. Basically it took four hours to get there and only less than two on the way back. If you're from the Toronto area, you know that the 401 and 400 are no joke.

Our show was in Casino Rama and the drive was totally worth it. I would definitely go a bunch more times if I could. Mike might be content with only going once. He's such a trooper for making the trek and sitting through 2 hours of dancing with me. Totally not his thing and he totally deserves several husband points for that one.


The show had so much content and there was never a dull moment. They had 8 other dancers on stage, two of which I recognized from So You Think You Can Dance. Derek and Julianne went out into the crowd to dance with some of the audience and even brought a few people up on stage! Derek also played guitar and they both sang a ton. They had little mini inspiration speeches, talked about their DWTS experiences, and even ragged on each other a bit.

It was great! I give them mad props for doing this show almost every night of the week during this tour. It's no wonder they are in amazing shape! The next night they were headed to Detroit to do it all over again.


I tried to upload a couple videos to really show how great the show was. They may be small and grainy, but please forgive me, I am still learning about this quality blogging thing and I want these to help remember the night. Unfortunately I forgot our good camera at home and the iPhone had to do!

So, photo/video dump!



Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekending

Busy busy busy!We were bih-sy this weekend. My in-laws were on vacation and we had the honour of doggie sitting their pup, Daytona. He is such a calm and gentle dog and a total pleasure. Although our cats might beg to differ haha!


I mean, who can get mad at that face?? We loved having him stay with us and taking him for nice long walks on these gorgeous summer days.


On Friday we saw Move Live On Tour and let me tell you, it as AMAZING. I have been a fan of Julianne and Derek Hough for years and I totally loved seeing them live. The show was so good!


I will do a a separate recap of the show in a little bit. But, thumbs up and smiles everywhere.

At night we had crazy thunderstorms that made for some pretty interesting pictures and videos. My dog-in-law wasn't a fan of the thunder, poor guy.


On Saturday, the weather cleared up and we ventured across the border to pick up some packages from our mailbox.


We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with some yummy ice cream. Actually it was homemade frozen custard, which I have never tried before. But I couldn't tell the difference between that and regular old soft serve. I welcome any insights on the topic!


Mike was back on the baseball diamond on Sunday morning and I was back hugging my favourite little ones.




Afterwards we picked up my in-laws after their vacation and had a lovely dinner so we could hear all about their trip!

And thus brings us back to Monday. Good ol' Monday! Bring on the coffee!

~
Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jamberry Nail Wraps

I'm big on nails. I can't remember the last time I had naked nails. Usually I paint my nails at home but as we all know, that can get annoying sometimes. The drying time lasts so long, I can't touch anything for so long and can't go to sleep for at least two hours. Enter: nail wraps.


Nail wraps are basically stickers for your nails. And an amazing alternative to regular ol' nail polish. I have been eager to try them for so long and Jamberry has a huge selection. Seriously, I couldn't choose because all the designs are so good. I ulimately got this design but love this one, this one, and this one (for Mike) too. Next time those are getting ordered for sure.

Amanda, my consultant, was super helpful with my order and the whole process. My order came with all the necessary tools for application. The wraps themselves, a heater and a few other accessories.


 The wraps come in a variety of sizes so they are guaranteed to fit any nail size. Toes too! They come on clear backing so that you can easily see which one fits your nail the best.


Amanda also sent me an awesome application video that I watched to make sure I get it right. There's also this quick graphic that explains the steps really well. I love how much support they provide. But even without all the help, it's pretty self-explanatory and user friendly. I got the hang of it really quickly.


I put them on on Saturday and they are still holding well! I purposely haven't been very careful since then to see how well they last. Through multiple showers and hair washes, laundry, bathroom cleaning, gardening, cooking, and dishwashing, I am just barely starting to see a little peeling now. So already better than an average polish manicure lifespan.


I'd say the only downside is now that they have started to ever so slightly peel, I can't stop picking them. They still look great but just like I am with nail polish, I tend to pick it after a few days. But the wraps that came in the package are enough for two separate applications so I may put them on again right after because I'm obsessed.




*While I was provided all of the Jamberry products for this review, all opinions are my own*

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wreath Switcheroo

A few days ago, my mother-in-law surprised us with such a beautiful hydrangea. It is huge, purple and blue. I love hydrangeas and can't wait to plant this one in my backyard. But for now, I put it on our front porch. I use the term porch loosely because it's basically the size of a postage stamp. I dream of one day owning a house with a gorgeous porch and adirondack chairs.

Anyway, this hydrangea just wasn't jiving with the old wreath on my door and it was bothering me a little too much. I talked about how I DIYed the peach roses wreath in this post.


This just didn't match in my eyes anymore. So I decided to tear out the raffia and old flowers, which faded from the sun, and ditch 'em. I got a whole new batch of flowers from the dollar store to match the blue and purple tones in the hydrangea. I spent around $10.



Just like last time, I cut the sprigs of flowers to get shorter stems and start plunking them between the vines. The wreath is so thick that no glue is required.


I try to spread things out as best as I can and start with the bigger flowers. Other than that, it's such a relaxing activity that I don't even really think about what goes where.


LOL this picture really shows how badly the front door needs painting. It's on the list, guys. It will definitely get done.


Better, no?

Here's a little before and after.