27 February 2011

Cupcake wars....

Last week my work had a bake-off of sorts.  Each department had to create an entry of cupcakes and let's just say some people got a bit competitive.  I love things like this, not because I really like to bake (I don't) but because I like the challenge of trying to make something super creative, something I've never done before.  So since I don't work for one specific department I joined up with some great ladies, we put our heads together and the final result got us the winning prize (a small silver trophy) but more so the gratification and glory of winning!  See our entry below.

Red Velvet Apple Cupcakes:
Find the recipe here (Note:  Reduce the amount of cocoa powder and add a small amount of beet juice to really bring out the red colour of the cupcake.)
Add red sugar, a tootsie roll stem and either green taffy or green fondant leaf for the apple effect.

Double Vanilla Apple Pie Cupcakes:
See the recipe - I bought the small cupcake tins at the Dollar Store.  Add smarties and coloured icing to create the pie.

16 February 2011

Colour me... Organized

When some dream about winning the lottery, their vision for how to spend their newly gained money is often filled with grand vacations, big houses, boats, cars, maybe charity or helping family members. Although these things would all be nice I can't help myself dreaming of one simple thing if I were to win the lottery...


Glorious bins, shelves, folders!  Book cases, book ends, peg boards, containers and jars galore!  If money were no object every inch of my home would be neatly packaged into order, from my kitchen to my closet to my craft room (the nightmare of all disorganization.)  I think about this organization, dream about it, talk about it and now write about it with the hope that one day the order fairy will grant me three wishes and all the organization items I could ever wish for would be mine.  Sigh....

For now these ideas will have to do...

Flower storage containers
Chalkboard sticker
Day planner
Ikea wall storage (can be hung right against the wall or on a rack as in photo #2)
Felt pen holder
Book ends (love these)
Animal paper clips
Coloured push pins (on my wish list, these are fabulous)

14 February 2011

Love is in the air...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thought I'd write a short post to update you on our favourite plastic couple, you can check out my earlier post for more info.

Barbie and Ken are together again, check it out!

What could make Valentine's Day more perfect then knowing that love in the toy world can triumph over all?  Hope your day is just as sweet as this little romance!

11 February 2011

Pick of the Week

For all of you with a sweet tooth, and just in time for Valentine's Day, this week's 'Pick of the week' will quench your thirst for sugary goodness and may aid in the gift-giving woes which go hand in hand with this day of love.

Another Queen E. pick - Sweet Bliss Baking Company exists to provide its customers with the best Cupcakes (or, as the owners like to call them, "Fairy cakes") possible and boy, do they deliver.  My husband and I have been frequenting this tiny shop since we moved to the area last year.  We stumbled upon it while taking a walk and it was love at first taste.  Although I might argue that the best thing about this little bakery are the fabulous cupcakes (the red velvet is unbelievable) the bakery itself is filled with a diverse mix of gift ideas, baskets, flowers, jams, breads and their other big hit, cinnamon buns (although only on weekends). 
Sweet Bliss uses only natural, local and Canadian grown products (awesome!),  so it's practically healthy to indulge in their tasty treats!

Although their hours are a little wonky (be sure to call before heading out as I have only known them to be open Thursdays - Sundays) this place really lives up to its name and is definitely worth a visit.

09 February 2011

I'm thinking Red, Pink, White....

I very much enjoy holidays, they are an excuse to give gifts which I love to do, decorate and plan something extra special, a break from the mundane so to say.  I like to "go all out" as some define it but mostly I just really enjoy creating, decorating and parties (well, planning them at least), let's face it holidays are made for people like me and I embrace it!

I can't say I have always loved Valentine's Day, it is super commercialized and expensive but I got into it a bit more the first year I was married. Maybe because I was a newly-wed, or then again Cupid may have finally got to me.  When thinking about Valentine's Day as a child I have great memories filled with homemade cards and little surprises in my lunch bag or a special adventure with my dad.  Valentine's Day was  simple, it was about the little things; more homemade, so to say.  For our first Valentine's Day as a married couple  I decided to bring Valentine's Day, the homemade way, back.  No big gifts or expensive outings, just simple gestures/homemade gifts to make the 14th especially filled with love. This year I cut many, many, many red and pink hearts out and wrote sweet nothings to my hubby and taped them up all over our apartment.  I woke up really early to get them all up (which was a grand gesture in and of itself) and when he awoke he was greeted by the red and pink valentines and he spent the rest of the day reading all of them.  The same year my husband Brett wrote a Valentine's Day song, it was about our little life in BC as a newly married couple and was the most perfect gift.  After this year we made a rule that Valentines day will always be homemade, I just love the thought that goes into these simple gifts and gestures, for me it's a perfect way to spend the holiday.  Since then I will admit I have received flowers and sometimes a little gift and I have broke the rules myself once or twice and bought a yummy food item or two but mostly we stick to our homemade plan and it's something I very much look forward to each year.

I have a few ideas in the works for this year but at the moment they are top secret.  I've listed some other fun and easy ideas for friends, family and co-workers, hopefully they will be inspiring and your loved one, whomever they might be, will feel especially appreciated - homemade style.

These were super easy to make and are a great little gift for friends, family & co-workers

 Ideas I want to try out.  The flower valentines are lollypops, so fun!

07 February 2011

"Come on Barbie, let's go party"

You may have heard that Ken, the famous and handsome doll will be celebrating his 50th birthday this year. I have noticed a few quirky ads around our city which have got me intrigued (hats off marketing firm), so I did some research and here's the scoop.
The History of Barbie & Ken:
1961 - Barbie and Ken meet on the set of a TV commercial, it was love at first sight and they became the 'it' couple in the toy world.  Let's call them Benie.
1961-2004 - Through many hair do's (well not so much for Ken), professions and fashion trends the couple stayed together until February of 2004.
2004 - On Valentines day Benie parted ways and Barbie rocked the toy world by quickly moving on to date Aussie surfer Blaine (what the heck?!)  From this point on Barbie could be found in stores worldwide with a slightly darker tan.
2004-2010 - Ken quickly became the ultimate bachelor, you can find him on sites such as Match.com, Facebook and even Twitter.  He took some time off and stayed out of the spotlight over the past few years until recently when he accepted a role in the Oscar nominated film - Toy Story 3.  He plays 'Ken'
2011 - Now back in the spotlight Ken only wants one plastic hand to hold down the red carpet.  Being a hopeless romantic he has launched an elaborate campaign to win Barbie back.  From cupcakes to bus shelters there is a buzz in the air and as Valentines day approaches one wonders if a plastic wedding for Benie is on the horizon. We'll have to wait a few more days to find out, oh the anticipation!
Click here for more info.

04 February 2011

Pick of the week

One of my favourite coffee/tea places can be found in Leslieville and no it's not Starbucks.  Te Aro on Queen St. is not only warm and cozy on a cold day but in the summer the patio is a fabulous place to sit back and people watch.  There is just something about this place that makes you feel cooler then you really are.  Maybe it is the design aesthetic, which is a unique mix of modern and rustic furniture, accessories and decor or maybe it is the people who frequent this Queen E. gem but regardless it is one of my favourite places and therefore is my pick of the week.

I dropped by this week to meet my cousin and we both indulged ourselves with the Te Aro London Fog.  Now I don't usually like London Fogs, but this place has them down and they are awesome!  If you are in the neighbourhood be sure to drop by for a visit and check this place out, you can also check out the BlogTO review which of course says this place to awesome too!  It won't be long until the patio will be full with many mugs glistening in the sun, ahhh, one can hope right!?

02 February 2011

Snowy day...

A simple day working at home with two sleepy pups at my side.

Sigh. I could get used to this.