Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mini Grilled Cheese

I don't know about you but what's not to love about a grilled cheese sandwich. Michael loves them so much he wanted to have a late night grilled cheese station at our wedding. It didn't happen but it would have been cool.

When I saw these I immediately fell in love. How great would these be at your next cocktail party!




I just adore these. You could also move away from your typical grilled cheese and add some fun toppings like arugula, prosciutto, brie, possibly an apple wood smoked cheddar.... the options are endless!

Are you a grilled cheese fan like me? Would you serve something like this?

Don't forget I have a great giveaway going on hosted by Blurb Books. Click here to enter!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blurb Giveaway

If you read my post on Sunday you know that I attended Blog Podium over the weekend. The event had some fabulous sponsors, one of which was Blurb. Blurb is a great online resource to help you make your own photo book. When Blurb contacted me about hosting this giveaway I quickly jumped at the opportunity. I mean who doesn't have a million pictures sitting in a box somewhere or on their Facebook page! Why not arrange them to your liking in a gorgeous book!

Blurb has both hard cover and soft cover books with numerous trim options to suit your fancy. Blurb offers tips and tutorials to help you make your bright, colourful and smart looking photo book. I don't know about you, but I love these!

You can add both your favourite photos and text to your Blurb book. Whether it's your wedding album, cook book (I need to make a cook book), Facebook photo book, or a baby book, Blurb has every tool and idea you could imagine.

Now To The Contest Info:

Blurb would like to offer one of you fabulous readers a $35 promo code to create your next book...Amazing, I know!

Here's what you have to do:

1. Leave a comment and let me know what type of book you'd like to create.

2. Follow my blog!

For a bonus entry, tweet about this contest.

It's that simple folks! The contest ends June 7th @ 11:00PM so be sure to enter before then.

This contest is open to Canadian residents only.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Window Treatments

We've been in our house since November, 2011 and still have these gorgeous hideous paper blinds. At the beginning they did the trick but now they're just driving me nuts. We don't have a big house (1970 sq ft) so we don't have many windows to worry about. We need to tackle our bedroom window, window in walk-in closet, kitchen window, great room window and slidding door.

Here's what things currently look like... It's not pretty!

Slidding door to backyard. As you can see, there's still lots of construction going on around us.

This is the kitchen window at the front of our house. Yes, I need to take down the ugly builders house number too!

I'm not a big fan of shutters so that's out of the question.

I really like these Serenity Shades from Blinds To Go for the kitchen, great room, bedroom & closet.  

Would you do the same for the slidding door? What do you think of these serenity shades? What do you have in your house?

Monday, May 28, 2012


With the amazing, unseasonly warm weather we've been having in Toronto I thought I'd touch on a summer must-have, sunnies! I'm always on the look out for a great pair of sunnies. I have a fabulous pair but a girl can never have too many pairs, right?

I've found these and have fallen in love. Tell me what you think.




What type of sun-glasses person are you? Do you have a favourite brand or style?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blog Podium 101... Through My Eyes

If you follow me on Twitter and read my post on Friday you know that I attended Blog Podium yesterday. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit nervous going into yesterday event, with being around all of the fabulous people with amazing blogs and all.

First off, I need to mention how great the space looked. I walked in a fell in love with the centerpieces We Create Hoopla created. I also adored the Blog Podium pencils in the rice jar - definitely something I'm going to do in my office.

The event was headlined by key note speaker Nicole Bach from Making It Lovely. Nicole spoke about Monetizing Your Blog and boy was it a great presentation.

Here is some of what I took from Nicole's 40 minute presentation
- Anything I'd want to read on another blog is what I'd put on mine.
- Different avenues of advertising on your blog: Sponsored Posts, Affiliate Links, Direct Sales, Networks, Google Ads.
- Determining rates - Chat with fellow bloggers and see what they think is reasonable and is working for them.
- 10,000 page views per month is a good start for advertising.
- Offering free ads is a good way to get your feet wet.
- Blog Networks - most offer a page view minimum
- Placement of ads matters - above and below the fold
- "There's a good match for everyone"
- "Brought to you by....." Sponsored posts has worked for Nicole.
- Don't be shy to propose ideas that make you comfortable and feel right for you.
- Going out there, getting what you want and giving exposure.
- "Always experimenting and seeing where to go next"
- Business & blogging can co-exist. Don't blog about your daily business, blog about what your customers are wanting to hear.
- Contacting trades and how to go about it.
- Making your blog look bigger than it is.
- Make sure your comfortable for what's right for you.

After Nicole's inspiring presentation we moved onto the Business Of Blogging. The Business Of Blogging portion of the event was a panel discussion with four influential ladies and a great moderator, Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault.

Lindsay from Little House Blog

Christine from Bijou and Boheme

Cheryl from Gluckstein Home

Laura from Tribal DDB

The above panel covered some interesting topics with great banter.

Here is some of what I took from the panel discussion
- Set a goal
- Don't be too specific when contacting companies
- If I'm getting something for myself I try and get something for my readers too.
- Don't do giveaways too often or you'll become to giveaway blog!
- How are companies (people) finding you? Chicken & egg scenario.
- Brands are always looking for content
- The concept of working with bloggers is still new - Companies find bloggers intimidating.
- Good content, knowledge, attractive, identify yourself as a Canadian blog.
- Twitter lists - I must look into this!
- What the companies are looking at
- Your blog has the ability to open avenues and opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise.
- Make sure you're commenting on the blogs you're reading - time consuming but necessary.
- How much to charge for ads & a minimum amount of months
- If you tweet about a sponsored post say it's sponsored!

And that's only the information I was able to quickly write down in my fabulous new Blog Podium notebook.

A big thank you to the amazing sponsors of Blog Podium!

 Last but certainly not least, a big thank you to Lindsay & Jennifer for putting on such a fabulous, inspiring and educational event. We're lucky to have such motivated women in this great blogging community!

Friday, May 25, 2012

How To Set Your Table

Ever wondered how to set your table properly? Whether it's for a formal dinner party or a casual night with friends, it's always good to know to how set your table the right way.

I always add a nice floral arrangment or something unique to the table depending on the season, guests and reason for the event.


Annemarie from Brunch At Saks did a post using this diagram back in the fall and she added the pink banners.

Call me crazy but I always remember the start from the outside trick from Titanic!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Tomorrow I'm off to Blog Podium, a fabulous event for bloggers put on by Jennifer from Rambling Renovators and Lindsay from Little House Blog. The event is held in Toronto with a discussion panel focusing on the 'Business of Blogging.' There's also a cocktail reception and vendor meet and greet. I am beyond excited to meet some of my favourite bloggers tomorrow!

Enjoy the sunsine :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Garage Sale Glory

Today you can find me over on my great friend Krista's blog Nook Of Wellington where I'll be sharing some of my great (if I do say so myself) garage sale finds.

Be sure to hop over and check out Krista's blog, it's fabulous!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Wall Needs Some Love!

We are slowly turing our house into a home. Someone asked me recently if it's feeling like home yet and the answer is 100%, YES! Are there things we'd like to do to our house so it looks more finished and polish, of course.

One of things on the to-do list is tackle the big blank wall in the kitchen / dining area. Right now we have one lonely painting on it that we bought in Venice on our honeymoon.

I did a post a while back about doing a Plate Wall here and while I do love that idea, I also love this idea.


How amazing would it be to frame my mom and grandmother's recipe. All three of them are amazing cooks and it would definitely add a personal and touch to our kitchen, the room we use most.

Would you do this? What do you think of this idea?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weekend In Review

If you were in the Greater Toronto / Ontario area this long weekend you know the weather was beyond gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky all weekend and boy did I take advantage of that!

Aside from being outside all weekend, I also ate some incredibly delicious food and drank some great wines.

Saturday night we headed to one of my favourite restaurants, Fishbone Bistro. The food and wine is always amazing and the service never disappoints.

This was Michael's dinner at Fishbone.

On Sunday Michael and I headed to Niagara On The Lake for a fun, relaxing overnight get-away. Either of us had ever been and we loved every minute of it. We couldn't get over how beautifully landscaped and maintained the town is. From the gardens to the waterfront to the shops, it was all fantastic and a great way to spend the long weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend too! What did you get up to?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Strawberry Vodka Sparklers

It's a long weekend here this weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled especially since the weather is supposed to be amazing!

Being that it's the first long weekend of spring I thought a fun cocktail would be a suitable post for today.

2 oz. strawberry infused Svedka vodka | 2 oz. simple syrup | 2 oz. fresh lemon juice | Top with sparkling wine | Garnish with strawberries and mint

Are you a mixed drink lover? Is this something you'd try?

Have a safe & fun weekend :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cake Sizes & Servings

I am not a baker. Yes, I can open up a pre-made batter add an egg and water but that's pretty much all I can do. That being said, if I'm in charge of bringing dessert somewhere, I buy it.

When I saw this I thought it was genius and very necessary for people like me.


Please don't forget to vote/comment on Krista's mood board!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spinach Dip Cups

I may have mentioned this before, but making dips is not my specialty. I can make homemade tzatziki and that's about it. Don't get me wrong, I love a good dip....if someone else makes it for me!

When I saw this I fell in love. I enjoy personalized, individual appetizers and think this would be a wonderful addition to my next dinner party.


Here are the ingredients and directions. For a more detailed overview please click here.

Spinach Artichoke Cups
24 wonton wrappers
1 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray miniature muffin pan cups lightly with cooking spray. Press 1 wonton wrapper into each cup and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake about 10 minutes until light golden brown. Remove shells from pan; place on a cooling rack and repeat with remaining wonton wrappers.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. You can also add 4 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese if you’re craving some addition goodness. Mix this together with a fork and transfer to a piping bag or a large zip lock bag.
If using a zip lock bag, trim a medium hole on one of the bottom corners. Pipe the mixture into the cooled wonton cups until the mixture almost reaches the top.
Transfer the spinach artichoke cups back into the mini muffin tin and bake for 8-10 minutes until the wonton wrappers turn a darker golden brown and the spinach artichoke dip is warmed. Remove from oven and repeat with remaining cups. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


First off, please don't forget to click HERE and vote for Krista from Nook Of Wellington!



Monday, May 14, 2012

Nook Of Wellington!

I hope everyone, especially all the moms, had a lovely Mother's Day weekend! Michael and I took his parents out for dinner on Saturday night to celebrate Mother's Day and yesterday we hosted my family for dinner. Here's a picutre of the place settings from yesterday.

Now onto something very important! My dear from Krista who writes the fabulous blog Nook Of Wellington has entered into a fabulous contest via Blog Podium & EQ3. Krista has created this fabulous mood board which features this stunning sofa.

Here's how she needs your help. If you're on Pinterest please click HERE and comment. Each comment counts as a vote.

Don't you want to see Krista win this amazing sofa!! Thanks for clicking and commenting!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cake In A Jar!

If you love cake and mason jars you'll love today's post. I'm not a massive dessert person. I'd rather another glass of wine if I'm going to have more calories! But when I saw these on Pinterest I knew I had to share them.

I can picture these at a romantic dinner party (sharing) or having very small jars and serving them at a child's birthday party.

 Adorable, right?!

What's everyone up to this weekend? Tonight I'm having drinks with my favourite ladies. Saturday & Sunday will be filled with Mother's Day dinner parties.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mini Turkey Burgers

I just checked the weather for the weekend and it screams BBQ weather! Michael and I are hosting two Mother's Day dinners this weekend (I know, we're nuts) and we plan on bbq'ing for one of them.

When I saw these my mouth started watering. If you're a mini burger fan like I am you'll love these as much as I do.


Here is my recipe turkey burger recipe

In a bowl, mix together:
1 pound of lean turkey
1 egg
2 tbsp. of breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. of chopped parsley
2 tbsp of barbecue sauce (use Diana sauce if you can)
1/2 tsp salt, 1/ tsp of black pepper and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder (or garlic salt)
Diced Onion (optional - I didn't put any onion in mine)

Is this something you'd try?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dinner Parties

If you know M & I you know that we're always entertaining and hosting a rather large group and this past weekend was no different. Friday night we had 10 people for dinner and Sunday 12, including ourselves.

A big thing for us me is cooking dishes that aren't going to stress me out. For instance, I made rapini for the first time on Sunday and I cooked it ahead of time to make sure I wouldn't screw it up in front of everyone. Side note, we had Michael's aunts & uncles for dinner on Sunday and cooking for them was not stress-free.

Brussels Sprouts & Mini Potatoes. If you're looking for a new recipe for either let me know and I'll post them or email you.

I'm also very big on serving some yummy appetizers before dinner. It gives everyone a chance to chat and have fun. An appetizer I usually make is white pizza - foccacia for anyone who doesn't know what white pizza is. The red sauce in the little bowl is La Bomba. It's a spicy chili pepper oil that tastes amazing on the pizza if you like spicy food!

Let me know if you'd like the white pizza recipe and I'll send it too!

Last but not least, the table. We don't have a big house by any means but it's ours and we love it. We have this massive piece of wood that we put on top of our table and voila, we can fit 13+ people around our 6 seater table. We have to angle the table when the table top is on but it works.

And that my friends is how we host our dinner parties!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wrapped Cutlery

Looking for a way to jazz up your table for Mother's Day brunch, lunch or dinner? Why not wrap your cutlery with bright, beautiful colours?


How lovely is this! Is this something you'd try? What fun tablescaping ideas have you done lately?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spicy Shrimp & Avocado

How was your weekend? Mine was very busy and today I'm exhausted. It's one of those everything hurts, I need to be back in bed type of days!

How delicious does this look? I'm drooling just looking at the picture.


The recipe and directions below is from here. Is this something that would interest you? I think I'm going to make this on Sunday.

The creamy avocado in these bite sized appetizers is a cool complement to the spicy prawns and the crunchy texture of the rice cracker. This delightful and gluten-free appetizer will whet your guests’ appetites during all spring and summer entertainment occasions. Ensure you make plenty of extras as they will quickly disappear!
1 tbspolive oil15 mL
20large prawns, shelled20
1 tbspchilli garlic paste15 mL
1/4 cupchopped fresh cilantro50 mL
2avocados from Mexico, finely diced2
1green onion, sliced1
1lemon, juice and zest1
20sesame rice crackers20
20cilantro leaves20
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and shrimp. Cook shrimp for 2 to 4 minutes per side until they turn orange/red in colour and opaque. Add chili garlic paste and stir to coat, continuing to cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine cilantro, avocados, green onion, lemon juice and zest. Top each cracker with 1 tsp (5mL) avocado spread and 1 prawn. Garnish with a cilantro leaf.
Serve immediately.
Yield: 20 pieces
Nutritional Information: Per Serving ( 2 pieces) : about 99 cal, 3 g pro, 7 g total fat (1 g sat fat),
7 g carb, 3 g fibre, 21 mg chol, 92 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 5%, calcium 1%, vit A 2%, vit C 12%.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Recipe Friday... Ricotta Cheesecake & Fruit Lollipops

It's Friday! I hope everyone had a good work week. Mine was busy as usual and busy means good.

I came across this and love it. Michael's family, my mother in-law in particular, loves ricotta cheese. They cook with it a lot and when I saw this I thought it would be something I could whip up as dessert the next time they come over.


Here's the full how to for these delicious little bites:


For the ricotta cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups Sargento® Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
To prepare the lollipops:
Fresh Pineapple Chunks
Hot Fudge or Chocolate Ganache for dipping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To prepare the ricotta cheesecake squares:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sugar, whipping cream, flour, salt. Beat until well combined. Add the milk and vanilla. Beat until incorporated.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition until smooth. Scrape the sides of the pan with a spatula as needed.
Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined 9x13 inch baking pan. (Related: Kitchen Tip: Lining Pans with Parchment)Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 - 35 minutes, or until set. Cool in oven with door propped open 30 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled before preparing the cheesecake pops.
To prepare the cheesecake pops:
Cut the cheesecake into 1 - 1 1/2 inch squares. Set aside. Wash and dry the strawberries. Cut the pineapple into cubes. Remove the tops from each. Thread strawberry top, pineapple cube, strawberry, and two squares of cheesecake onto sticks (such as Wilton 4 Inch Lollipop Sticks). Serve with hot fudge sauce or chocolate ganache for dipping, if desired.

Are you a ricotta cheese person? Is this something you'd try?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Summer Cocktails

I can't believe it's already Thursday, not that I'm complaining, trust me! I hope everyone has been having a good week.

I came across this and fell in love. How great would this be at an outdoor wedding, shower, birthday party.... basically anything outside, in the summer, on a beautiful day!

I'm picturing it with a chalk board next to it informing people what type of drink is in each jar.


What do you think, something you'd try this summer? What's your favourite summer cocktail?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Live Your Life!

My Nonna always says, "You can sleep when you're dead, now it's time to party!" My Nonna is a very wise and wonderful lady!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rainbow Lasagna With Heirloom Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Olives

I just stumbled across this and thought it was way too interesting not to share. The recipe is rather detailed so please click here for the step by step process to making this delicious looking creation. I will 100% be trying this in the coming weeks.



Looks delicious, right?!