Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August Angst

Now that it is September, I can write this post - while I'm in my August 'state' there is really no point to talk about it... I only grow more angry! But thankfully August and the angst has past. 

Around the middle of August, I tend to get antsy, have angst and am generally kind of angry, I'm angry at the weather for not being super hot, I'm angry at the sun setting earlier, I'm angry at work that is keeping me indoors, I'm angry that people won't drop everything to go outside with me, but mostly I'm just angry at myself. I always feel like I have not done enough in the summer and disappointed for not making the most of the warm, long days.

I can't decide if this is a normal reaction to the closing of flip flop season or if it is actually a function of actually not getting my plans together and not fulfilling my outdoor summer desires? Even this summer, which found most of my weekends since the beginning of June booked and out of town, I'm still feeling this August syndrome. So it may just be the natural reaction to an all too fast transition into winter (last year it snowed on September 9th!). And it may be the natural reaction, but I'm not going to accept it, just yet. 

But what does one do to avoid this angst and anger and enjoy the last few weeks of the season? I have tried booking vacations at the end of August, planning for winter, and diving into work, but none of those things have abated this feeling. 

To be honest, even when on summer holidays, they don't feel as good as summer vacations should, or as how I remembered them. So what am I doing wrong? I'm at the cabin, the water is warm, the weather is nice, but it just doesn't feel right. What is the missing piece? 

Cabin time this year. Beautiful, but in need of some adventure.
What made summer vacation so special when I was younger?... It was that I was able to do things I couldn't do the rest of the year. I would build forts in the forest, go tubing and water skiing and play kick the can with all of my cousins, staying up late and having wayyy too many marshmallows. It was the adventure. Summers will filled with adventures - biking to random destinations, back country hikes, kayaking between islands I didn't know existed a week prior. Adventures. Check. I need more of them. Problem solved. 

But is it just adventures? I also remember people (one can't play kick the can by ones self!), large groups of family and friends together laughing, sharing stories, food, drinks... 

So maybe the answer is adventures with friends/family. Which, in our hectic world means planning ahead. So maybe for me avoid August Angst desire will involve more adventures, and more friends/family more planning! 

I'm going to test this theory and head out to the mountains in September for a moderately epic trip with a friend and see how I feel after that. And if there's positive feedback, then let the adventure planning for summer and winter begin in order to avoid this August angst. Besides I hear angst is not good for ones heart! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The World in Watercolour

I haven't posted in a long time (clearly not achieving my goals). It all started when I didn't think I had anything to post about, I honestly thought that there was nothing post worthy going on in my life or in my head... but as the deadline came and went, I realized I there were several items I wanted to share! It's interesting how so often when we quickly look back at a week and see nothing inspiring, or interesting, or at all noteworthy but in reality there are so many activities or thoughts that are worth additional reflection, if only we give ourselves time to reflect. 

This week I want to talk about one of my (many) recent fixations: Water based art. Both 'by the sea' type art as well as watercolours. There is something about the light, breeziness, and whimsical nature of these pieces that really draw me in. I think they signify a bit of an escape - from the routine, from the grid of the city and from having to keep everything 'inside the lines'

Here are some of my favs:

For the wall:

Tulum Mexico Photo, Ocean Beach Photo, Mexico Travel Photography, Caribbean Sea, Art and Decor Print
I recently purchased this piece from Danielle Aquiline and love the soft edges, water colours and random pattern of people
Marta Spendowska's paintings remind me of geology class where we would have to look at thin sections of rocks and some of them looked like this. Art imitating nature? I also love the sense of fluidity in the images
Image of waikiki no.7
Max Wagner is the master of the water shots. He has some similar to Danielle's above as well. I also bought this one from him a while ago, and absolutely love it
For the table:
Glacier Hand Painted Porcelain Dessert Plate with 14K Gold Luster, Peach, Pink, and Navy Blue // Perfect for an Organic, Modern Kitchen
Red Raven Studio's dinnerware is so fabulous, it may not be watercolour technique (I have no clue!), but it makes me think of watercolour paintings and the deep blue totally mimics our deep Canadian lakes
Yao Cheng has amazing piece of artwork, but I just love the tea towels, they really add some colour to a kitchen without having to make a long-term bet on your colour tastes 20 years from now!

While not the kitchen table, this would be amazing on my desk, love the mixture of geometric shapes with watercolours, it really softens up the pattern
All this talk of water makes me want to jump in a lake! And it's only Monday....

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Well I'm one day early on this blog post. That is a first for me. Although it does mean that I am delaying other things, so kind of a net net. But still meeting a deadline before the deadline is definitely a novelty around here...

Unfortunately this post will definitely fall on the 'less inspiring', but it's still a good touch base for the goals. So how has this week gone? Well can I tell you, my goals are conflicting. For example this weekend, I definitely picked the take time for myself over be outdoors.

I had all these plans to do great outdoor activities on Sunday, but then it was kind of drizzling in the am, so I started to read... not clean, not fix stuff but take time for myself. It was lovely, until I looked up, it was sunny outside and it was 2:00pm. 2:00pm!! I had definitely missed the boat on a larger outdoor activity that day. (I did make it out for a walk/run with my dog, who seemed to refuse to go faster than a doggy trot.)

On a positive note, I was outside for most of the day on Saturday and slept for 9+ hours on Saturday night.  So I think I checked a few of the goals off for the week. I'm definitely going to try and keep some consistency in this, since I didn't get to bed too early during the week!

I've also noticed that one thing that makes me happy is having a clean house, it doesn't have to be clean to most people's standards, but neat, and with items in their place (I am only mentioning this because its definitely not this way now). I typically only clean when it gets dire or when I have guests over, but I'd really like to have anyone pop by whenever and have it in a state I would be proud to show to anyone. I'm not sure how I am going to do this, since I have a natural habit of dropping things rather than placing them carefully where they belong, as well most of my messes occur when I'm in a rush, or popping in and out. Which happens more often than not. So I imagine a clean house will be more of a reflection on a larger lifestyle change than just a small change in my house tidying activity. But none the less, it's going on my goals list! Let's see if I'll have as many positive things to report on next week as this!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Back with Goals

Well, 4 years later, and I here I am. Writing again. 4 years ago, I quit my engineering job, packed up my ocean view Vancouver apartment, sold all of my furniture and my beloved Jetta, Charlotte, said so long (but not farewell) to many beloved friends and moved east to Toronto to embark on a new challenge - My MBA. Fast forward 4 years and I am 2 years post-MBA living in my first house (still rented) in Calgary working in the finance sector. It seems like things are so much different, and they are, but at the same time, they aren't. I still struggle to figure out what is important to me, how to manage work/life/goals/morals and values while still fitting into society's structure. I'm happy to note that many topics I wrote here 4+ years ago still resonate today. But fulfilling those ideas still pose a challenge. So I am back to continue this journey.

Talking to a close friend last night, she discussed her method for acting purposefully this year. She established goals and PUBLICLY shared them. I was blown away by the dedication and the willingness to expose this vulnerability.

She has clearly inspired me to take steps in the same direction. So here we go:

H2 2015 Goals

  1. Blog once a week - It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to be inspiring. Hopefully it will allow me a moment to explore topics that peak my interest
  2. Sleep - Get more of it. Make it a priority. Go to bed earlier. This is probably something I struggle with the most. 
  3. Be outdoors - I heard a quote this morning, perfect timing: "We are better outdoors". So simple, So true. "I've never seen someone with trail rage, but I definitely have personally experienced road rage."
  4. Take time. For myself. Make it a priority.
  5. Recognize what makes me happy. Do it with abandon and without judgement. 

So that's it. 1 - 4 probably meet the SMART goal setting guidelines. 5 will be a be more difficult. But I'll definitely know every time I achieve that one... I'll have a huge smile.

I'm excited for the next 6 months!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A beautiful Winter Room

It has been a while since my last post, and many things have changed in my life since then... I am now living in Toronto and going to school... And with that comes a new apartment. It has been fun trying to decorate a place with only hand me downs (serious, the only piece of furniture I have bought so far is my bed).

Here is a room that has me inspired. Stunning muted colours, and layers of textures. It makes me want to stop studying and start white washing the chair I found on the street this weekend!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Speaking of Bees

This bee post brings us slightly below the hairline… to the ears.  I read a little while ago that a study out of India correlated the decline in bees with the increase of cell phone usage.  It’s not to difficult to believe that the radio waves coming from mobile phones are disrupting bees’ navigational abilities. 

If more studies support this theory, I will have to think twice before making a call on my mobile.  I can’t imagine a world without bees (well, I don’t think there would be much of a living world!)

On a positive note, there is a chance that we can change the frequency of the radio waves so that they don’t impede the worker bees’ ability to find the hive. 


Via Flickr - Wolfpix

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Style forward, comb back

So on several of my periodic scans of the online NY Times Global edition, the right column kept on bombarding me with the new hairstyle…. the Beehive!  I couldn’t be happier, I have longed for the days when I could create ridiculous volume and still have it back and away from my face!  Besides I really loved the 50s and 60s.  Now if only I could learn how to make one that doesn’t look like Amy Winehouse!


Jennifer Lopez rocks it.

Katherine Heigl_

So does Katherine Heigl


And of course so does the NY Times Model

I seriously think I am going to go home and try this tonight… I’ll let you know how it goes, it will either be Mad Men here I come, or conditioner here I purchase…

Monday, September 20, 2010

Burlap Ready!

Did I mention that I am going to be a bridesmaid?  Well I am!  Now that I am back in the city, I’m really excited for the prep and planning, although it is less than a month away!  Today the bride to be and I went to go pick up the burlap we are going to use for the table centers, 42 yards!  I love the use of burlap in fall weddings, the material is so rustic and natural, and brings in a wonderful texture.  Together they will make the wedding venue a much more comfortable and homey feel!

 burlap-table-runner-diy_Photo by Carrie Patterson

Via Style me Pretty

 ruffleblog_com_Karen Moderchai

Via Ruffle Blog

Sabine Scherer


I have never been to a burlap ‘factory’ before and it smelt very farm like.  I wish I took pictures but it was great!  Burlap fluff everywhere and piles and piles of  wonderful burlap!  You also know that burlap is popular when Apple was considering using it :)


PS – if you are looking for Burlap in the Vancouver area Burnaby Bag and Burlap was very helpful and friendly!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oldie but Goodie

It seems like I like my original blog template is the best.  Despite spending most of the morning trying to find another one, I have decided to return to my initial set up.  It is slightly different then before but the feeling is still the same.  Hopefully with my template back to normal and my newly downloaded windows live writer, I will actually blog more frequently.  I realized over dinner with my girlfriends on Sunday night, that I didn’t stop blogging because I didn’t have anything to write about, however I didn’t have the time or patience to spend hours editing the posts, and well that is just not a good enough reason to stop blogging!

So I have decided to give blogging one last try.  It’s not going to be a daily blog, but I will try and post weekly.  Post topics will be whatever my heart desires, and unfortunately not only discuss design, there will be more personal content and probably a lot more random thoughts!  I’m excited to have this new found freedom.  I hope that inspiration will flow more freely then it has in the past 6 months!!

So, welcome to the new Free Form. I hope you enjoy.

Sunrise in the Canadian North

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipes to remember

So I might have spent most of the day watching cooking shows... And there were a lot of great recipes that I don't want to forget!! So here they are:

English Onion Soup - Jamie Oliver

· A good knob of butter
· Olive oil
· A good handful of fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving
· 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
· 5 red onions, peeled and sliced
· 3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
· 3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
· 300g of leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
· Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 2 litres of good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock
· 8 slices of good-quality stale bread, 2cm thick
· 200g freshly grated cheddar cheese
· Worcestershire sauce
Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes - your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don't be tempted to speed this bit up.

When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.

Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.

Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.
Balsamic Roasted Potatoes and Onions - Jamie Oliver

1.5kg medium-size waxy potatoes (such as Charlotte), peeled and quartered lengthways
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
200g butter, cubed
a bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 whole bulb of garlic, quartered or smashed
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
350ml cheap balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for about eight minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.
Get a roasting tray, into which you can fit the potatoes in one layer, and heat it on the hob. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavours. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes on the hob to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the tray on the top shelf and cook for about 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy - removing the tray to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through. After an hour, the meat should be cooked. Prick it with a sharp knife - if the juices run clear, it's done; if not, pop it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, keeping the potatoes warm.

Salmon Cakes - Giada De Laurentiis
1 pound skinless salmon fillet (see Cook's Note)
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
large egg, beaten
1/3 cup (1/2-ounce) chopped fresh chives
26 saltine crackers, crushed, divided
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more, as needed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salmon: Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until the flesh is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
Patties: Using a fork, flake the salmon into 1/2-inch pieces and put into a medium bowl. Add the egg, chives, 1/2 of the crushed crackers, the corn, mustard, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix gently until just combined. Form the mixture into 2 1/2-inch diameter patties, about 3/4 inches thick. (If the mixture is too dry to form into patties, add extra mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time,) Carefully coat the patties in the remaining crushed crackers and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until golden and crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels.
Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Arrange the salmon cakes on a platter and serve alongside the sauce.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne - Giada De Laurentiis

· Vegetable oil cooking spray
· 1 (2-pound) butternut or kombucha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
· 1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
· Olive oil, for drizzling
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1 pound penne pasta
· 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
· 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook's Note)
· 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
· 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Photo a day for 2921 days

I've heard of the 365 project, where you take a photo each day... and I think it is great. My friend is doing it right now and I must say it is quite impressive, but to take a photo of yourself each day for 8 years. That takes dedication! Check it out!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Template Search

Over the next little while I'll be changing my blogger template... Going to try some new ones out and see how they fit. Please bare with me... Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Today's is sail away.... What do you think?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beauty I had to share

I have been on a complete hiatus from blogging. Very odd, especially after asking everyone how they blog everyday.... But for some reason I feel compelled to post at the moment. I have a long list of topics and thoughts that I would love to share with you, but am still at work and really need to get out of here... So I'll leave you with this beautiful image that, despite this hectic week, just stopped me in my tracks.

Morgan, in the Doorway, Facing Out by Lou O' Bedlam.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I heart Jamie Oliver

He had me at episode one. I didn't even search him out, he automatically came on after the show I was watching online was over. I was immediately drawn to the him and quickly emotionally invested.... In a TV show! His passion for fresh food and his desire to make a change is so inspirational. I'm currently inthralled in the 3rd episode as I write...

Images from Jamie Oliver website
I am going to head out and pick up one of Jamie's books... because in Jamie's words "fresh food, that's what it's all about, brotha"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturdays are for....Spring Bulbs

A little spring cleaning this weekend.... and some spring planting planning. This book might just give me some ideas! If only I lived in the country and had a large garden... ha ha!

3-21-08 garden1.jpg