Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Basement Renovation!

Do you have a room or space in your home that stores all your junk? A space that people rarely see? A space that you avoid like the plague? It might be your garage, a spare room, a closet or, for's the BASEMENT!

I avoid going down there because it's dark, gross, dirty, cellar-like, messy, get the picture. Mr. Fix-It does most of the laundry so he has to experience it more than me. Here it is....gasp!
Since we bought our house, Mr. Fix-It has been dying to renovate the basement. There were so many other things we needed to do to our home before the basement that I pushed back for awhile. Then, while on maternity leave, I felt the need for more space. I needed a space for them to go when I was trying to get dinner on the table, a space that we could store all their toys without having to stare at them from my living room, a space that we could all gather as a family and watch tv together without feeling like we were on top of each other.

Obviously we love to renovate ourselves, but with both of us working full time we've decided to hire a contractor for all the nitty gritty tough stuff. The basement is old, super old, like 100 year-old-house-old. It needs mega love from chipping floor to walls to insulation, electrical to new venting. Mucho work. We're hoping to start it in the next 6 weeks or so. First, we need to get rid of, and organize, all the stuff! We have boxes down there that we haven't opened since we moved...what's in them? Ummm, not sure.

Someone before us obviously added this carpet (God knows how long ago?!) and drywalled some of the walls...yikes!

See those black bags? Mr. Fix-It has already begun to take down walls!? That's going out on the curb tomorrow for garbage day.

Honestly, what are all those wires? Have you seen a more disorganized electrical panel? At one point our house had knob & tube wiring which is a no-no. When the electrical was upgraded they just cut the knob & tube and left the wires! Random.

So there, I let you in to our dirty little house secret. The basement. However, I'm very excited to get it moving and to share it all with you. We need a laundry room, storage, bathroom, tv room & play area. Soon the fun part begins...choosing all the pretty finishes :)

Any favourite design trends you're loving right now that you want to share with me? I thinking a sliding barn door for the laundry, maybe some herringbone tiling in the bathroom, white built-ins and grey flooring. FUN! I've started a "Basement Inspiration" board on Pinterest.

Here we go!

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Review of the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello - A Luxurious Canadian Gem!

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share a fabulous place with you. Mr. Fix-It and I just returned from a winter getaway. We spent two nights, three days at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Quebec. Oh was it fab! Let me tell you about it...

In June 1930, a private Seignory Club was built in Quebec, along the Ottawa River for the rich and famous. This gorg club was built in just four months with over 10,000 red cedar logs! Later, in 1970, the club was converted into a beautiful rustic chic hotel.

I truly fell in love with the feeling in the main building. The huge fireplace anchors the room and provides guests with a cozy place to sit in front of the fire and read, enjoy a cocktail or just be.

The beams in the ceiling are incredible and when you think of the word “cozy”, this space is it. Mr. Fix-It and I sat in the main lobby a lot. He read the newspaper cover-to-cover (since when does that happen when you have small kids?!) and I flipped through my fav magazines. We returned back to the lobby in the early evening for a few warm cocktails. Perfect.
Our room was awesome. We felt like it was our own little cottage. The décor is a rustic, log cabin that feels Canadian in every way, however it has all the luxurious amenities.
Before heading down for dinner, we set up our own little cheese plate in the room and cracked open the vino. Something to note, you can bring your own food and alcohol into your room. I would recommend you do this for mid-day snacks. There is a small store in the lobby to grab a bag of chips and water/pop, however it’s expensive. We headed into the town of Montebello and found a little cheese store that made the most delicious blue cheese. It was quickly added to our in-room cheese plate. Also, if you don't speak French, I recommend you bring your own reading material because you wont find many English magazines or books in town.

The activities. Fab. Again, if you love winter, this is your winter destination. They have snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding (yup, dogsledding!) tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing & sleigh rides. Mr. Fix-It and I went snowshoeing into the forest (you can follow the trail or make your own) and it was super fun. Neither of us had been and it made a walk in the woods a fun adventure. Is it just me or does it look like my snowshoes are on the wrong feet?!

Of course, after all that fresh air, we needed the spa. Heaven on a plate. We opted for the couples massage (one hour, two massage tables in the room). Lovely.
The food. Are you a foodie? You can choose from the main restaurant or the bistro. We had dinner at both. The bistro is more like pub food, with a band…goodtimes. The food in the restaurant is outstanding! Melt in your mouth delish…go for the three course option.
You know how I only tell you about my fav products and places? Hands down, Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is one of them. We were sitting in the spa and so relaxed, we called up the front lobby and booked ourselves in for another night!

If you are looking for a romantic getaway or a wonderful destination for your family, then consider Fairmont Le ChateauMontebello. I promise you, you’ll love it. Love it! They even have a supervised movie room for the kids to watch a movie in the evenings (on weekends)…and mum and dad can then have a quiet dinner in the restaurant. Win-Win!
They have a few promotions going on right now. The resort is turning 85 this year so click here and you can see their promotion package. Also, it’s a great place to go for Easter! They have lots of activities for the kids to do including a Golden Egg hunt. Adorable. The resort is open all year round so a great opportunity to visit in the warm weather also. A whole new feel!

I know we will definitely be returning to the magical fresh.fabulous.sophisticated Canadian gem and I hope you get there too!

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram - KEEPITBEAUTIFULDESIGNS and on Twitter- @keepitbeautifu1 for more photos of the fab resort. Also, here is a video that I made about the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello.
Keep it Beautiful.

*I received special perks (complimentary night& breakfast) from the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. However, my words to you are all mine and from my heart. I truly loved everything about this fabulous resort and recommend it to all of you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Staying Warm: Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello + Stew + Stiga Snow Kick Contest Winner!

Hey guys!            

People it is COLD outside! On the weekend, we headed to the cottage for a quick overnight and a cold quick run from the cottage to the hot tub. My dad carried the babies in a blanket right to the hot tub so they would stay warm. This is my mum, the kids and I donning our toques and watching the ice huts and fisherman brave the cold on the lake while we stayed toasty warm!
How are you staying warm? If you’re looking for a delicious stew recipe, I’ve got one here. I just made it again last week. It’s delish! Stick to your ribs, warm and scrumptious.
As you know, I’ve also been super sick this for the past 6 weeks. Yup, 6 weeks! Brutal. I’m most definitely feeling better than I did and now I’m in defense mode and want to keep the sickies at bay or maybe one of you can pack me in their suitcase for the hot sunny South?! Alas, my Aunt Mary swears by diluting apple cider with a bit of water, honey, cinnamon and lemon. Mix it up, gargle with it and then drink it if you can. Might not taste all that great but it just may do the trick!

Call it hocus pocus if you want, but I’ll do anything to stay healthy for the rest of the winter!
Another way we're staying warm is by heading to the Fairmont Chateau Montebello tomorrow.

Yup, Mr. Fix-It and I are going for an overnight getaway to the beautiful historical resort. I’ll be sharing all the details about the resort here next week but it sounds oh so fab! It sounds like a wonderful getaway for couples or a great destination to bring your family! Awesome. You can check it all out here on their site.

And, if you love the cold then I hope you entered into the Stiga Snow Kick contest because it’s closed and here is the winner….
Elizabeth Matos!!
Congratulations! Fun sled! Thanks MasterMind Toys!
Alright friends. Peace out. Off to get some serious R&R and hang out with my hubby while Nana & Poppa thankfully are hanging out with our kiddies.
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram-KEEPITBEAUTIFULDESIGNS and Twitter-@keepitbeautifu1

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Easy Valentine's Day Ideas!

Happy Fabulous Friday everyone!

It's love day tomorrow. I've been celebrating Valentine's Day since I can remember. I've shown you this pic before...classic.hilarious! My poor dad...what a sport! And mum's hair?!?

You don't need to make a huge deal of Valentine's Day but it's nice to recognize the ones you love by doing something. Tucking a chocolate kiss under your partner's pillow, leaving a note in their lunch or buying your friend a's just nice. Mr. Fix-It and I don't give each other anything big but we try to do something. This year, I'm going to give him a gift card to his fav coffee store (Starbucks) and pick up a pound of coffee to go with it (I know he's out of it at the office and drinks a whole lotta coffee at work!). Easy, but nice. Right?

My kids are super excited for love day. Here's what I did this year. It's super easy and you can still run out and pick up a few things to make your own love box.

I picked up a bin at the dollar store along with some small toys, crafts, chocolates for the kids. Wrapped them up, labeled them with their names and tonight the kids are going to decorate the outside of the box with stickers. Easy peasy. They are dying to bust open the box and open up their little treats.

Here are more ideas that I've done in past years. You can click on the highlighted link to take you to the post.
Turn your pizza dough into a heart! Click for my fav homemade pizza dough recipe!

Easy DIY Valentine's Day envelope craft

Easy Dry-Erase Message Frame

Have a wonderful weekend and happy Valentine's Day tomorrow. Spend some time this weekend with someone you love and if you are far away from your loved ones then treat yourself. Who says you can't buy flowers for yourself? or treat yourself to a fabulous meal :)

Keep it Beautiful.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stiga Snow Kick Giveaway!!

Oh hi! Remember me? I've been totally MIA the past month. A long story short, I was super sick, had the worst headache of my life for four weeks, had a bunch of tests and some incredible meds and I'm slowly on the mend. I never ever want to feel like that again!

While I've been under my blankets working on getting better, my kiddies have been out having fun, tobogganing.  Thank God my kids love winter because it can be nasty in Ottawa! Our big guy for sure seems to love the freezing season the most. Seriously, it feels like that kid wants to stay out all day sometimes! Anyway, it’s worked out pretty well because Mastermind Toys sent me a pretty cool sled for our kids to try out and it’s been a hit! Here’s the deets…

It’s called the Stiga Snow Kick. As soon as my kids opened the package they were jumping. Especially my big guy because he’s obsessed with his regular scooter. It folds in half so storing it is great. Essentially…it’s a scooter for the snow!
My big guy loves it. I feel like it will be even better for him next year as you need to have really good balance on it. It’s definitely too big for our little guy who is three and a half! Our big guy is 6.5 and all is good. Generally, I would say go for it if your 6 year old is used to riding a regular scooter or if your kids are 7 and older. I also really like that you can raise the handle bar up and down easily depending on  the height needed.

Besides the fact that I’m trying to convince my kids to wear their ski helmets when they tobogganing (my son looked at me like I was a total loser when I suggested this on Saturday), it’s a pretty fun ride…according to them.
And, of course…I wouldn’t leave you without spreading my love for Mastermind Toys. They are going to give one of you your own Stiga Scooter. Woot! You can’t win if you don’t enter! I’m going to make this a short contest because I want the winner to get their Stiga Scooter soon so they can hit the hill!

Stiga Snow Kick!

Thanks Mastermind Toys!
Keep it Beautiful.

*Yes, Master Mind Toys has provided me with this wicked sled but all opinions and words are mine and they're going to provide one of you lucky readers one too*

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fabulous Friday!

TGIF!! Glad it’s Friday? I am! If you can believe it, I’m still fighting this wicked virus. I’m back in the office but still waiting for this nasty bug to fully vacate! Eviction notice served.

Here are a few things I’m loving this week that I thought I would share…
Take me here now please!


Heard of this app? It’s called Waterlogue. Takes a photo and instantly turns it into a watercolour. Super cool.

How do you feel about Target leaving? I’m pretty bummed. I agree that the shelves weren’t always full and the prices might not have been as good as the States, but it still was pretty inexpensive and they had great home décor style for really good prices. I’m going to miss their Threshold line.

Disney on Ice is coming up in Ottawa on February 25th – March 1st .

We went last year and my kiddies loved it! This year it’s Disney on Ice – Worlds of Fantasy. All your kids’ fav Disney characters together on the ice with lights and music. Yup, they’ll love it. Here’s the link for tickets in Ottawa but it's a travelling show so check to see the other locations. A really great way to spend an afternoon with your little ones or even better if they go with their grandparents and you can put your feet up! Stay tuned next week, I’ll have a giveaway for a family pack of tix. Oh yeah!!

Loving this docking station

Well this is oh-so-pretty.
One of Keep It Beautiful’s loyal readers sent me an email asking how to hang three photos in a row as well as the ideal spacing. I wanted to share her end result with you. They’re perfectly straight and spaced! Great job Janet!!

Happy Weekend lovelies!

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wednesday Yummies: Mac 'n Cheese

Happy hump day my friends! I wanted to share with you this DELICIOUS mac ‘n cheese recipe that my girlfriend Katey made for her daughter’s 1st birthday a couple of weekends ago.

Do you love homemade mac ‘n cheese? It’s one of my favs and I could have done a face plant right into this pot. I’ll tell you now, it’s not low fat…in fact it’s the opposite. Its full of cheesy amazingness and you’ll love it. I've made a very healthy mac 'n cheese that is also really yum if you are looking for something lighter.  It also feeds a crowd. Katey doubled the recipe and it made two huge pots. I present to you...
Creamy Bake Macaroni and Cheese - The Food Network
Food Network
Get the recipe here.
This is perfect to make on a weekend and then eat the leftovers for quick meals through the week. That’s my plan!

I’m always looking for recipes that I can either make on the weekend and freeze for quick weeknight dinners or a quick weeknight recipe. Please send me your fav quick meal ideas and I would be happy to share them here on Keep It Beautiful.

Keep It Beautiful.

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