Monday

I Love How You Love Me






I love that you watch your your boring television shows when I'm not home so I don't have to sit through them, and without a complaint you watch all of mine. I love that you aren't afraid to kiss me in public and that you have no problem being alone with me on a dance floor. I love that your hand finds a place on my back when you are walking by, and that you bring our morning coffee to the bedroom on weekends. I love that a serious conversation is always followed up with a comforting smile so I know not to worry, and you let me season our popcorn even though you'd rather it plain. I love that you're always considering what is best for us right now as well as later, and that you hang a clean towel outside the shower when you notice the empty hook. I love that you go out of your way to surprise me, that you wink at me from behind your drums on stage, and you never complain about my cooking. I love that in ten years you've never discouraged me from wearing certain clothes or changing the style or color of my hair, and you never comment on me eating seconds or making my fries a Poutine. I love that you accept that I am an over-sharer, that I like writing and sharing my life through pictures and stories even though it's not exactly your style. You trust my ideas. You let me paint things, move things and change things whenever I want. You don't question me, and you never give me a hard time if my plan fails. I love how you purchase concert tickets before I even know they are on sale and you never raise your voice unless you're singing. I love that you never make me feel guilty for having had a lazy day or two or three, or six or seven in a row. I love that you pretend to be blind to dark circles, lines and spots, and swear I don't need makeup even after I point out my flaws...


... You get the picture, right?


I love how you love me.



*This post, written on Valentine's Day, makes it absolutely acceptable not to mention extra cute. Only on Valentine's Day can you use the word love fourteen times in one paragraph to gush about your guy and how good you have it. If I have made anyone gag... Sorry, not sorry.*

Tuesday

Mornings. The Struggle Is Real.


He wakes up before his alarm clock and instantly rises to his feet. He doesn't wait for the alarm just so he can hit the snooze button three times, or stretch, rub his eyes or take a few minutes to process that it is now morning. He jumps out of bed. No matter how little sleep he had he appears rested, energized and ready to tackle the day. He lets OB out for a pee, throws the lazy dog back into our bed and hops in the shower. He makes a trip downstairs to freshen his clothes in the dryer and comes back upstairs to iron his outfit, if need be. He may pack himself a lunch, make a cup of coffee, and may even sit in front of the television with a bowl of cereal.


Me? 

 
 

For the life of me I have tried to rise and shine, but I just can't. I have even set the alarm on my tablet to wake me with a motivational message. Good morning, Rachel. It's a new day! Get up, make coffee, exercise! I have prepared a lunch the night before, gone to bed early, set out clothes, pre-set the coffee pot to brew at 6am, and I've even slept in workout clothes but I still can't do it. I can't do mornings. Instead, I wake up with just enough time to shower, dress, grab my things and go. If a lunch is one of those things it's a good day.

 
If I could program myself to do mornings, I would give myself time to putter around. I like to putter. When I'm cleaning, cooking or getting ready to go somewhere I like to take my good old time. It may sound crazy or straight up lazy, but I like to give myself hours to do things. Don't get me wrong, I can clean, cook and get stuff done like a boss but I'd prefer to take my time. Ideally, I'd fold a basket of clean clothes over the course of an hour, watching a show on TV. Or, I'd set my hair in hot rollers two hours before go time just so I can enjoy some wine and sit around.
 

I would give anything to wake up in the morning with a few hours to burn. I'd sip on a cup of coffee while watching Breakfast Television, I'd eat breakfast and throw a lunch together, unload the dishwasher or do a wash, and I'd even try to get in some exercise. Perhaps a run down the North East with my dog while the coffee is brewing. Wouldn't that be swell? I'd even spend time styling my hair and put effort into picking out a cute outfit. I could make myself do all this... But it would be painful. I want to love it. I want to do it without a struggle.


Some of you actually love the morning, don't you? Some of you are out the door by 6am to get to the gym, go running, tidy up and tend to children. Teach me.
 
 
What are mornings like in your house? 

2015 Reading Challenge

Let's be real. The book with 500 pages will probably take me the entire year to finish, so chances are I will not tick all of these boxes by 2016. However, I do have every intention to try and with a long reading list and this awesome challenge to motivate me, I think I'll do just fine. Last Christmas my parents gave me a tablet and although I much prefer holding an actual book in my hand, it's made keeping up with good reads a lot easier. Here in the sticks, there isn't a library or decent bookstore for miles and miles!

 Are you on the fence about reading from a screen? I get it, but here are some perks that I personally love...

... Borrowing books instead of buying, although you can download or purchase to keep.
... Borrowing means you only have the book for a limited time which encourages slackers like me to finish it within a certain time frame.
... Having the option to listen to your book comes in handy when taking bubble baths, when you need to rest your eyes, or when you need to drown out noise in a crowd.
... Syncing to your vehicle Bluetooth means having your book read to you on long car rides. This is my favorite perk.

Is anyone else up for the challenge? I'm currently working on Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and We Are Water by Wally Lamb. 




Get a head start on your New Year's resolution to read more books with our 2015 reading challenge!

Monday

This Year I've Got Some Big Plans

 
 
 
 

 
  • Entertain friends at our home more often, host dinner parties.
  • Put more time and energy into preparing meals, eat out less, waste less food.
  • Renovate both bathrooms.
  • Install new windows, doors and siding in the spring.
  • Get serious about playing the guitar.
  • Start a new journal.
  • Organize my craft supplies, complete the scrapbook I started years ago and start a new one with all that's piling up.
  • Play outside.
  • Drink more water.
  • Start a new weekend tradition. Pizza Fridays! (Can't take credit for that genius idea.)
  • Use my stand mixer more often.
  • Read more books, complete a reading challenge.
  • Start and complete a 30 day fitness challenge and get serious about exercising regularly.
  • Take advantage of the fitness equipment and shower facilities at my workplace. I mean, how easy can it be and why am I not in amazing shape by now?
  • Let my hair grow, master how to use a curling wand, find new ways to style my hair.
  • Present myself better, spend less time in yoga pants and leggings.
  • Stop cluttering our spare bedrooms with crap I should probably trash.
  • Visit friends and family more often.
  • Try Sushi.
  • Get new glasses.
  • Go on an adventure with friends.
  • Accomplish all the things I wanted to do last summer this summer.
  • See the Dentist.
  • Save money.
  • Treat myself more often.

Friday

Focus on the Good



Having spent New Years Eve under the covers asleep long before midnight, and having been isolated in the Out Patients Department receiving fluids through an IV for most of New Years Day, it's safe to say I didn't ring in 2015 in style... But that's okay.
 
After a beautiful Christmas with my parents, I got hit with a nasty bug that knocked me off my feet and right into my bed for a few days. Literally in bed for days, looking, sounding and feeling like death. During those few days, knowing there were many in the same boat as me if not worse, I tried my best to think positive. One of the many goals I've set for myself this year is to focus on the good, and although it was very difficult to see the good in said New Years Eve events, having no energy, a splitting headache, congested sinuses, a terrible cough and what felt like shards of glass lining my throat, I came up with this...
 
  • I have a warm house. I am safe here. This bed is not going anywhere.
  • Keith Urban concert from the comfort of my living room? Win.
  • Better yet, attending a Keith Urban concert this summer in PEI? Huge win.
  • Group texts are amazing. All of my caring friends in one conversation making each other laugh and helping each other from different parts of the Province is amazing. I don't even have to speak, just read and reply, and even from this germ-filled bed I am not missing anything.
  • I can finally binge watch Gossip Girl and not feel guilty about it. I've only ever watched bits and pieces of it now and then while tidying my room or getting ready to go out, so it's taken me a year and a half to get through Season 1. Well, I'm going to watch an entire Season today and an entire Season tomorrow and I'll finally know what's up and it will be awesome.
  • Speaking of awesome, Netflix is frigging AWESOME.
  • Thanks to this constant coughing and hacking I legit have abs of steel.
  • My husband is a gem. Between working hard on the kitchen downstairs and stopping every so often to come upstairs, check on me, bring me things to drink and snack on, he is really going above and beyond. He is taking care of everything and expecting nothing from me despite all we have to do, and he's encouraging lots of rest. On New Years Eve when I apologized for being so lame he looked at me and said, "It's not what you're doing that's important, it's who you're with." Like really? I am extremely lucky, and I want to kiss his face off and I don't care if I give him my germs...
  • ... But I can't kiss him. But when I can, oh it will be magical.
  • Our kitchen is finally in the end stages of its transformation and I could not be more excited.
  • All this down time has got me meal planning, recipe pinning and list making.
  • I'm convinced our dog is the stuffed animal I wished would come to life back when I was a little kid. He is the cutest, sweetest little thing and he adds so much joy to my life.
  • My family call me a lot. This is good, as it is proof they love me very much, just as I love them.

See that? I'm already carrying out one New Years Resolution like a boss. Try it, focus on the good.


XO

Tuesday

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2013.
 
 
Boy, did I slack off this Christmas! With the monstrous renovations taking place at our house, we didn't do so much as hang a wreath let alone put up a Christmas tree. Now that's a first. See, things don't go as smoothly as they do on HGTV programs. We faced many road blocks and delays and had many days where we just didn't have time to work on the house, so our completion date has come and gone and still we're in a mess. It's okay. We don't have kids, we didn't have anything pressing us to be finished by Christmas and thankfully we have both of our family homes that offer that warm, inviting Christmas nostalgia that our home can't. We're actually having fun with it. Although it's been a bit overwhelming at times, it's extremely satisfying to see progress and know you did it all yourself. So what if it's taken longer than we anticipated? It's all good. We're extremely fortunate to be able to make these changes, and this business of living out of our bedroom hasn't been that bad. Wink wink.
 

So that's that. Our 2014 Christmas may appear pretty dull if you're judging by the amount of lights and decorations we've displayed, but I assure you it has been everything but. Our shopping is done and tonight I'll spend the evening with Mom wrapping gifts, sipping mulled cider and snacking on crackers and cheese, I've hugged all of my best friends, I've danced at Christmas parties and sported some festive red lipstick. Hubby and I have been singing Christmas carols in the car, we watched Love Actually and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation under the covers, and we're looking forward to a few days of eating, drinking and laughing with our favorite people. We may not have a tree or lights, but we have our health and a special kind of love. I am really happy, and life is good.
 

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!
 
 
XO
 

Wednesday

Mulligatawny Soup




I made this traditional Indian soup a few weeks ago and can't wait to make again. You may find the list of ingredients a bit odd, but somehow they work together wonderfully and make a very satisfying meal for cold and blustery night. There are many variations to this dish so if you have an idea, by all means put your own spin on it. Perhaps you wish to use coconut milk instead of cream, cut back on curry or serve it over a bed of white rice? Knock yourself out. It will get two thumbs up either way!


Mulligatawny Soup


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces.
1 medium/large onion chopped small.
3 cloves of garlic minced, or 1 Tsp of bottled garlic.
1/4 cup all purpose flour.
1 tbsp curry powder.
1 box of chicken broth.
2 cups of blend cream.
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces.
1 tbsp brown sugar.
Black pepper, salt, butter and cayenne pepper for seasoning.
 


Green onion, sour cream and red pepper flakes for garnish.
 

On medium to high heat in a Dutch oven, cook salt and peppered chicken in two tablespoons of butter. Brown and set aside. Once done, add two more tablespoons to the pot and sauté onions and garlic, stirring well to prevent burning. At this point, sprinkle flour and curry over onions and remaining butter, use a whisk to create a paste. Now add the broth and stir well. It's time to add the cooked chicken, brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Allow flavours combine - then add apples and cream. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
 

Garnish your bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of green onion, red pepper flakes for kick and some fresh naan bread.


- R

What The F*** Were We Thinking?



Our kitchen is where it all goes down. The most important room in our house. It's where we sit to drink our coffee and map out our day, and where we meet again later to talk about it. It's where we stop to re-group and where we drop our bags, our keys and our mail. It's where we skim through the weekly flyers and organize and pay our bills. On the kitchen floor is where I sit to talk on the phone and at our table is where G opens his laptop to do work, or where I bookmark the next recipe I'm going to try on Pinterest. It's often where I blog, where I think, plan and make lists. It's where I fold our clean laundry, and where I turn the music up and dance and sing at the top of my lungs when I'm alone.


Our kitchen is where we gather with friends. Like true Capers, we sit around the table all hours of the night pouring drinks, playing guitars, singing, laughing, joking and eating like kings. It's where we spend hours cleaning, washing the dishes that we ate from and rinsing the bottles that we drank from. Lastly and most importantly, it's where I am happiest cooking, baking and preparing meals for the ones I love.

 
For the last four weeks my kitchen has been a construction zone. Four weeks, in case you didn't hear me. We are halfway through an expansion and complete renovation and although I am so very excited for the finished product, I am feeling a bit lost. I miss my kitchen. Our cabinets are empty, some are gone and all are soon to be replaced, and our dishes and cookware are piled high in no order in our sitting room. My husband has even asked on a few occasions that I avoid our house so not to see the mess he's created with a sledgehammer, for example, a busted out wall with exposed electrical wires and insulation, dry wall dust everywhere, and tools and extension chords cluttering every empty space. 


My happy place is not so happy.

 
To me, halfway through a home project and deep into a mess is also known as the what the f*** were we thinking stage. I know it will pass, but anyone who has tackled home renovations will agree, the midway point is extremely overwhelming. On top of that, productivity is at a bit of a standstill. Our helpers are juggling a few jobs at a time and materials needed aren't easily accessible to us folks living in the sticks. With that, I've started asking myself what was wrong with the old kitchen? Those old wood cabinets, they didn't do anything wrong. They were cabinets I once loved. They were a subject of conversation, they were rustic and made the home feel like a cabin in the woods and so what if G and I were always butt to butt preparing meals together. I like being butt to butt. We'll never cook butt to butt again!

 
I know I'm getting a bit carried away and sounding a bit like a spoiled brat. Poor girl, she wanted a bigger kitchen and she's getting one. She wanted new cabinets and she's getting them. It just goes to show you, or I guess me, how much I depend on routine and how lost I am without it. I'm completely thrown off my game. Not being able to find my coffee maker, sit at my kitchen table or cook a proper meal for my husband has been affecting my mental status.
 
 

Ask me if I've started decorating. I dare you.
 

Monday

A Perfect Sunday & A Perfect Apple Crisp!




I'm sure y'all know by now that this right here, this is my favorite time of year. Why? Don't be silly, you know why. Sweater weather is the best weather for long walks and long drives, and my love for cooking, baking and being crafty is at its peak. The kettle is always on, the wood is in and the blankets are always messy on the couch because, well, we're always in them. Cozy and warm and lazy. Those are only a few of the many reasons why I love the fall.

On Sunday, we woke up early to scoot into the village for breakfast. We got our coffee fix for the day as we planned our afternoon and talked about some upcoming home projects, then went for a drive along the countryside. We took in the beautiful sights; the rolling hills of red, orange and yellow, the scattered hay bails as far as the eye can see and cows roaming in the pastures.

We stopped at the Farmer's Market and picked up lots of goodies for a week of happy eating. Corn on the cob, turnip, yellow string beans, squash and mustard pickles! Then back at home, we cuddled up to watch Nashville until I finally found the energy to make an Apple Crisp for a dinner with my parents. The day and the dessert was absolutely perfect.

Have a great week, everyone!


Apple Crisp

8-12 peeled, thinly sliced apples of your choice.
1/4 cup of sugar.
1 cup of brown sugar.
1 cup of flour.
1 cup of rolled oats.
1/2 cup of butter, softened.
E.D Smith Apple Pie Filling. (Optional)
Cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, oats, soft butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Mix all together until crumbly and set aside.

Butter a casserole dish, preferably something longer than it is deep, and layer the sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and a dusting of cinnamon. Should you choose to add the pie filling, which I highly recommend you do, spread it evenly over your sliced apples. Lastly, create an even layer of the crumbly oat mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until oats are browned and filling is bubbly!

Enjoy!

Friday

Sephora, thanks but no thanks.



The store was big and bright. There were people everywhere. The music was loud. Each product station promised the same light weight, long lasting coverage. I didn't know where to look or where to start, and in every direction I turned there was a mirror reminding me that I was a Sephora Virgin. Who is that poor pale girl? She looks lost. Oh, that's me. My head was spinning. If I hadn't had a consultation booked, I would have turned around ran for the hills.
 

I clearly explained the look I was going for. I wanted an easy to do, day to day look that could carry from morning to night and appear as natural as possible. Simple is best. Less is more. My concerns were, and always have been the darkness under my eyes and sun spots, which makes my skin tone uneven. I explained that my biggest challenge is finding a coverage that lasts so I can stop feeling the need to touch up throughout the day, and I asked for a subtle but a sexy eye with a light sun kissed glow. I stressed that I spend all of ten minutes in the mirror in the morning and I didn't want that to change.
 

My makeup artist took a good look at me then gathered a whopping nineteen products from around the store. Are you ready for this? She applied a hydration mask, an eye cream, a primer, a corrector, a foundation, a concealer, a finish, a bronzer, a blush, a contouring powder and highlighter. Then she applied a crease, lid, and corner shadow to my eyes, a liquid liner, a mascara and a shit ton of makeup to thicken and shape my brows. Finally, she applied a liner, a lipstick, a gloss, and then sprayed my face to set it in place.
 
You want a picture? Are you crazy? There was nothing natural, fresh or simple about my look. I was back at square one once again, feeling extremely overwhelmed and lost - only this time with drawn on eyebrows. Looking in the mirror at said eyebrows I didn't even recognize myself, wasn't makeup supposed to enhance your features, not create new ones? My friends couldn't even keep a straight face.


 I didn't have the heart to tell the consultant I wasn't happy, so I waited until she disappeared out of sight to pull someone else aside. Excuse me? I should probably buy groceries this year, so all these products have to go back. What makeup of the nineteen on my face and in this basket, is the biggest bang for my buck?


 
And that's how I left Sephora with one lonely item. Makeup For Ever HD Foundation.
 
 
 
All in all, despite my anxiousness to wash the mask off my face, I left the store feeling extremely satisfied. Although I didn't like my makeover, and didn't understand the need for all those products, I left with the realization that I didn't need any of it. The desire to have it all is gone, and for the first time in my life I felt confident that what I do at home in the mirror is enough. It wasn't the experience I was going for, but I'll take it. My bank account will surely thank me.



So, Sephora, thanks but no thanks.
 
 
***
 
 
Update: Makeup For Ever HD Foundation was the best $56 I have ever spent. Yep, $56 buckaroos. It's totally worth it, and will forever have a place in my baby wipe container. Yep, baby wipe container - the place my makeup calls home. If you ask me, it does the work of a primer, concealer and foundation all in one because I personally feel there's no need to wear anything else. It goes on light with great coverage and stays on from morning until night. I've never felt so comfortable wearing so little makeup, and feel it hides those little problem spots perfectly.