Friday, July 3, 2015

Date Night Menu with Ricardo Cuisine!

Happy Fabulous Friday y’all! Hope you all had a great Canada Day. The weather in Ottawa was changing at rapid speeds so we did a mixture of celebrating on Parliament Hill with the kids, relaxing at home and having a BBQ with friends. It was also our wedding anniversary so it’s always nice to have a holiday together on your special day. This weekend we’re heading up to the cottage with some friends for good food, good wine, good fun.

Speaking of food, tis the season for BBQ-ing! Some of you may brave the BBQ in the winter but generally, outside grilling is where it’s at in the summer. Ricardo Cuisine asked me to try some of their barbecue recipes and after browsing through the recipes, I was game. It was a great way for Mr. Fix-It and I to have a “date night” last week and I saw that one of the recipes called for halloumi cheese. Heard of it? I hadn’t, until Mr. Fix-It and I started buying these pre-made kabobs from the grocery store that had this amazing cheese on them. The best part, is that it doesn’t melt all over the BBQ. Win!
So…the night before “date night”, I made up the marinade for the Flank Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce. Sounds yum eh? Flank steak is not a piece of beef that you want to pick up and throw on the grill. It needs time to get happy and tender.

The marinade was really easy. It called for olive oil (I find that olive oil burns so easily on the grill so I swapped it out for canola oil), red wine vinegar, shallots, a bunch of fresh herbs (oregano, thyme & cilantro – I’ve been growing the cilantro and love it, so added a little more in there for extra yum) and a dash of red pepper flakes.

I added the steak, put it in the fridge overnight and let the magic happen. Then, all it needs is a hot BBQ and a few minutes on each side…depending on how rare you like it.
Next up, Halloumi Cheese and Roasted Bell Pepper Miniature Skewers. Sounds good eh? These were also easy peasy.

I soaked the cheese in a bowl for an hour and put it aside, chopped the red peppers into strips and made up the sauce - oil, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, fresh cilantro (it called for rosemary but I swapped it out), salt & pepper. Then you just give the sliced peppers a toss in the sauce ;)
Cut the cheese into cubes so they will fit on your sliced peppers.
After cutting the peppers, I realized I hadn’t cut them long enough so it was hard to string them on the skewers wrapped around the cheese. So, I just folded up a little tinfoil package and placed them right on the grill. They just needed a few mins to get toasty.
I cooked up some wild rice and voila…Date Night menu complete.
We waited till the kids were asleep and everything was ready pretty fast. I love menus where you can do the prep work the night before. The food was delish, I definitely recommend these two recipes if you’re looking for a yummy meal for the weekend.
TGIF!

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is Your Family Filled with Superheroes? Marvel Universe LIVE is Coming to Ottawa!

Happy Friday my friends! It's hard to believe that school is officially out! Our big guy finished off grade 1 and our middle guy is starting JK in September. Where has the time gone? Do you remember what the last day of school felt like? The best! Freedom! Our big guy wanted to hit the park yesterday afternoon with his buddies for fries and fun. Lost boys and summer. Adorable.

So, I wanted to let you know that Marvel Universe LIVE is coming to a city near you. Do you have superhero lovers? I'm sure you do. Superheroes are the bomb in our house. From Spiderman to Ninja Turtles, they're digging it.

Marvel Universe LIVE is coming to Ottawa! Woot! It will be at the Canadian Tire Centre from July 31st to August 2nd. What a fun way to treat your kids this summer. Here are the deets:

Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything you’ve seen before. Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and The Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) and threatening villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza, coming to Ottawa. You’ll definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!


Fun eh? You can purchase tickets here and I've got a coupon code for 20% off and a family of 4 pack to giveaway!! Enter MULOC for 20% off.

The Ottawa shows are on:
Friday, July 31 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 1 – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 2 – 11 a.m. and a 3 p.m. French performance

Other major cities along this Canadian tour are Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Vancouver and more
Marvel Universe LIVE!

Superheroes unite! TGIF!

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Decorating the Summer Mantle

Did you know that Sunday was the first day of summer? The peonies have burst, the grass is green and the sun is hot. My fav season. Time to get rid of the spring mantle and give it a summer splash.  I decided to decorate this season with some gorg prints from Minted.
I’ve told you about Minted before (fab holiday cards) and they have gorgeous artwork. I knew as soon as I saw this beauty, it had to be on the mantle.
It’s called “Float”. It reminds me of my Nana. We belonged to a fabulous summer club when we were kids in Halifax, NS and she would float in the pool wearing her latest bathing cap. This is what the artist, Betty Hatchett, says about her piece: 

There's something to be said about relaxing and letting go of fear's impulses. It helps us rise to the surface - in water, in painting, and in life. I wanted to capture that peaceful space when fluid, transitory water supports us, as a metaphor for learning to rest in the middle of life's shifts and transformations.

Isn’t it so peaceful? Beautiful.
I also chose this one, Ethereal, as I just love the softness.
 When choosing Minted prints, you can opt to have them framed or un-framed. I decided to go with the weathered barnboard frame. It feels summer to me!

In Winter, I don’t mind a heavier mantle, it feels warm. Summer…needs to be light, fresh, spacious.  I paired the prints with a few pieces that I had around the house and voila…a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated summer mantle for 2015.
 
At the same time that I chose the above prints, I couldn’t resist choosing a couple for the basement gallery wall when it’s all done, as well as, a print for the cottage gallery wall that I want to do in the kids’ room. Stay tuned.
I know you'll love what you see on Minted and so I've got a code for 10% off :) Woot! Happy browsing. Use the code: KEEPITBEAUTIFUL10

Happy summer my friends!

Keep it Beautiful.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Minted. All words and opinions are my own. They produce high quality, beautiful products and I want you to know about them. I love pretty things and Minted definitely makes them. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that support this blog.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fabulous Friday Love + Giveaway!

Happy Friday my friends!

Hope you had a good week! The weather was gorg. Here is what has caught my eye this week and wanted to share it with you...

Ummm, this cottage bathroom
via
Need the deets on what's happening in your local city? Chatterblock has created a new iPhone app that gives you the 411 on what's going on. It's easy to use and focuses on local community events.

A great resource for summer activities. And...if you click here...you might see someone you know ;)
 
 Father's Day this weekend. Mr. Fix-It will be opening up this from the kids. Has he ever asked for an adult scooter? Nope. Will he love to be riding around the neighbourhood with the kids? Yup.
 
The basement is moving along. We've had some hiccups but our contactor is working away, came up with a solution and gettin' it done. Woot! Here is where we're at...good thing there is no water in this beach! There will be a bathroom somewhere in there!
 
The plumbing is almost done so the concrete can be poured and the framing completed. I've got more ideas I want to share with you on the pretty things of the basement next week.
 
 
Remember these for the weekend. A great addition to your Father's Day menu.
 
Check out this tree house!  We want to make one for the kids at the cottage. Some tips on how to. 
via
Apparently when Taylor Swift wears a harness, its cool?
 
Giveaway time! I told you all about Lampe Berger a couple of months ago. I'm really loving their summer fragrances. Exotic Cocktail has pineapple, mandarin, orange, rum, coffee, coconut, patchouli, vanilla & musk. That's a whole lot of yummy.
 The Daring Pepper is made up of black pepper, saffron, jasmine, raspberry, violet, plum liqueur, vetiver, vanilla & cordovan leather.
Sounds very desert hot to me. You can also get one called "Summer Nights"...gets rid of mozzies. I think you need these pretty fragrances to get rid of any barbecue smoke that comes in your windows this summer. Of course, these fragrances need to go in a gorg lamp too.
You can't win if you don't enter! 
Lampe Berger Summer Giveaway

 Next week I'm hoping to talk summer decorating, basement ideas and another giveaway!
 
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the Daddy's! It's also my Dad's birthday so double celebration over here.
 
Keep it Beautiful.
 



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Decorate for Canada Day and Get Your Red & White ON!

July 1st is around the corner? Crazy how fast spring went. Why doesn’t winter go by so quickly? July 1 always feels like the kick off to summer. Not only is it Canada’s birthday but it’s also our wedding anniversary. Woot! This year we're celebrating 10 years. What?! That flew by! Our wedding day was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. The weather was perfect, we were so excited, our family and friends we’re beaming, the ceremony was gorg, I loved my dress, Mr. Fix-It looked amazing and the party was rockin! I mean rockin! Goodtimes. We’re heading to San Francisco in the Fall to celebrate our 10 years. Awesome!
Every year I wear my veil out and about. This was us on the dock last year. Crazy lady ;)

To continue the awesome party that we started 10 years ago, we usually have a Canada Day party. Its best when it falls on a weekend but this year it’s a Wednesday. So, we’ve decided to carry it over to the weekend and have it up at the cottage again. Goodtimes!
It was even more goodtimes when a giant box of goodies arrived on my doorstep from Giant Tiger to help kick off the party d├ęcor! It's a #MysteryBoxChallenge

Whether you’re having a big or small get together to celebrate C-day, it’s always fun to pick up a whole bunch of red and white. The more the better! You can always have way too many Christmas decorations but you can’t really have enough Canada day red and white. Celebrate the love! Bring on the patriotism.
This year, I’ve decided to focus on the bar. My dad built this fab outside bar on the deck at the cottage with a mini fridge, speakers…all the fixings. So I decorated it.

The leis on the chairs are a perfect item to give to your guests when they arrive and the wine glasses are plastic so good for outside. 
 Behind the bar you can have all your adult drinks and I filled the glass jug with nice cold water in case you need a little break in between ;) You could also fill it with a fun red juice for the kids or add a bunch of strawberries to reduce the sugar. My kiddies love the novelty of turning on the spout. Regardless of Canada Day party or not, it’s a great item to have outside on the deck for a hydrating hot day.

You can easily do this on a tight budget. The key is to get to the store now because all the good stuff will be gone if you’re too late.
Get your Canada t-shirts on, turn up the music, start a dance party and give ‘er. 
 Happy Birthday Canada!




*Disclosure: everything you see here is from Giant Tiger. They have tons of products to help you celebrate Canada’s bday. You know that I only promote products that I love and want you to know about. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that support this blog.
Happy Canada Day friends!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gin & Tonic Popsicles - Your Weekend Dessert!


Happy Fabulous Friday everyone!

TGIF! I’ve got something fabulously delicious to share with you today. What’s your fav drink of the summer? Hands down I’m a beer girl. But my cocktail of choice on a sticky, hot summer day is a Gin and Tonic. Come to mama!
What’s better than a G&T? A G&T popsicle. They’re simple to make and so refreshingly delish. My mum and I whipped these babies up last weekend at the cottage...
Here's How To:
What You Need:
- 1/2 cup gin
- 10 oz tonic
- 16 oz 7-up
- juice of 1 lime

 
What To Do:
- Mix up all the ingredients. Fill 8 plastic popsicle cups just before the top. Place the stick/top on and pop those babies in the freezer.
- The popsicles need to freeze for 12 hours. They will take longer than regular "juice" popsicles because of the alcohol content. Another tip...you might be inclined to increase the alcohol content...sorry my friends...not a good idea, they wont freeze if there is too much of the fun stuff!

I made up some fruit juice popsicles for the kids so when it was time for a popsicle break for them, it was time for the adults to have one too :)
Have a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated weekend my friends. We're full steam ahead on the basement reno. We had a minor...okay what felt like a major hiccup (like the City denied our permit hiccup...ugh), but our contractor figured out a new plan and we're good to go. Phew! I'll give you an update on where we are next week, share our living room mini-gallery wall and a giveaway!

Keep it Beautiful


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Have You Heard of Scleroderma?

Hi guys,

I wanted to tell you about someone that I don’t think I’ve mentioned before on the blog. Her name was Matina “Tina” and she was Mr. Fix-It’s mom. I met Tina a long time ago at one of the most special places in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's called The Waegwoltic Club. It’s a swimming, tennis and sailing club for families. It’s amazing! It’s the kind of place where you would see your parents at the beginning of the day, and then at the end when you’re filled with sand, water-logged and sun-kissed. It’s a safe, friendly, beautiful place and my family would spend our summers there. It's there I met Mr. Fix-It and his family when I was 12 years old. Although Mr. Fix-It and I didn’t date from when we were 12 (obviously!), we always hung around. Every summer. We swam on the same swim team, travelled in the same pack, had summer teenage “love drama” and then I would go back to Ontario at the end of the summer and we would re-unite again the following summer.

Over the years, I got to know his mum and dad very well. A fantastic couple that loved their family very much. Tina had a disease called Scleroderma. Heard of it? Probably not. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease with no known cause and no cure. It’s very rare and affects only 1 in 906 people, mostly women. The body’s own system attacks the tissue. Tina had it for a long time and in 1998, Tina died at the age of 50. Mr. Fix-It was 19, his brother 24 and his dad was now a widow. As any story, when someone dies too young, it was heartbreak.
I really love this photo. Tina gave it to Nick's dad when they were dating. Love how she signed it.
I was 18, the last time I saw Tina and she said to me, “Ali, I know you will marry my son”. I’ll never forget those words and she was right, seven years later I did.
There are many diseases out there like Scleroderma that are rare, vicious and most people don’t know anything about them. It’s incredible how the research has advanced since Tina was diagnosed, however because so few people are aware of the disease, researchers don’t always get the resources they need.

However, I was so happy to hear that June is Scleroderma Awareness Month. Neither Mr. Fix-It nor I had any idea until now. Tina’s birthday was also in June (just this past weekend) so it seems fitting.

If you are interested in learning more about Scleroderma, you can read about it here and I encourage you to take the pledge to tell one person about it. It has no cure and we need to find one.
We talk about Tina to our kids as they sometimes ask why Daddy doesn’t have a mom. It’s a hard thing to explain to little ones and Mr. Fix-It’s heart swells with sadness when he has to tell them why. However, her gentleness lives on in her son and she would be so proud of everything that he is.

Keep it Beautiful.
“Disclosure: I am part of the Scleroderma Awareness
Campaign with Influence Central and I received
special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.
This is a disease that is near to my
heart and I want you to know about it.
The opinions on this blog are my own.”
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