Archive for July, 2011

Easiest, Yummiest Bread Ever

Friday, July 29th, 2011

In my youth (that makes me sound so old), I was known for my bread making skills. Saturday mornings I’d be in the kitchen baking mini loafs in all different shapes and sizes. They looked oh so cute, but never lasted long since my siblings and parents would devour them before they were even cool.

During this time that my family moved to the US and I had other activities on a Saturday mornings; it was years until I attempted to make bread again, and it wasn’t a success. I’ve tried several different recipes, but all turn out the same: dense, heavy and unattractive. I gave up.

Until, last year while staying with Em’s in-laws I tasted the most delicious homemade bread that Maureen had made; it was crispy on the outside and soft in the inside…yum! I told her my sad tale, and she assured me that this particular bread recipe is fool prof; and I’m so happy to report it actually is the easiest, yummiest bread ever, and you all need to try it!



3 cups of flour

1/2 tea spoons of yeast

1 3/4 tea spoons of salt

1 1/2 cups of water (I always end up adding an extra 1/2 cup or so)


Mix all ingredients till combined. Cover with foil and let sit in a warm place for 12-18 hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees when ready to bake. Place a cast iron pot (I use my Le Creuset) in the oven to warm for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle flour over the dough and turn it over a couple of times until it forms a ball. Cover the dough with towel and leave for up to 2 hours, or until pot is heated. Then place the dough in pot.

Bake with lid on at 450 degrees for 30 mintues, then remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.

This is the basic recipe, and it’s been fun to mix in different ingredients to mix things up. Our favorite has been finely chopped fresh rosemary. I also like to dust the pan with corn meal to prevent getting too crispy on the bottom.

I hope you bake this bread and let me know how you like it, I’m fully converted and now laugh at the price of this style bread in the stores. $4 I don’t think so…it’s basically flour and water and costs under 50 cents ha ha haaa!

Pretty Porch

Thursday, July 28th, 2011
canadian house and home

This porch is simply divine.  I love the black shingles and copper light fixture.  Neutrals are so fantastic!  They can create a bold visual statement without the use of bright color using contrast and texture.  LOVE!!!

Target Bracelets

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

A few weeks ago these cuff bracelets caught my eye at a favorite store of mine named Nordstrom.  I’ve always loved leather bracelets and loved the added rock and roll factor.These bracelets are usually priced $48, but right now are only $29 for the anniversary sale.  Unfortunately, the very little bracelet did not make it home due to my very little budget.

Sar and I were browsing around Target the other day when I spied these pretty knock-offs.  I am dying over these bracelets!  They would look so great worn solo or stacked together, and with a price point average of $15, a few bracelets would be quite affordable.

tan leather bracelet with oval grommets
white bracelet with gold links

I am going to keep my eye out very closely for mark-downs and coupons, please let me know if you see any!

City Deals: Sundance Spa

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago it was Mum’s birthday, so Dad treated the three of us to a day at the Sundance Spa and it was divine!

I found a deal through City Deals, that gave us a mandi + pedi for only $48 each!

The afternoon was perfect, nestled and relaxed in the breezy mountains. We’re happy to report that two weeks later our nails STILL look fantastic…we’ve all rated it our best mandi + pedi EVER, now we’re completely spoiled and don’t want to go anywhere else.

With bargains like this it’s easy to see why we’re loving City Deals; be sure to sign up for their email so you can be notified when they have their ‘flash’ sales. For example this deal is usually $60 for $115 worth of service, I purchased it on a flash sale when there’s additional percentage off the whole website, making our deal only $48!

Deal Alert: Old Navy Tees

Monday, July 25th, 2011

On a quick trip to Old Navy today I scored some basic v-neck tees that were on sale for $3!!  That’s right only $3!

Oversized v-necks have been my staple this summer paired with denim cut-offs, leggings for working out, and super comfy/cool jammies.  Head over to Old Navy, they are on sale until Thurs, but selling out fast!

Design Trend: Director Chair

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

It seems as though director chairs have been popping up everywhere.

This week we spotted them at World Market on clearance for $10!!!

It is so great to follow design trends that you fall in love without having to deliberate about the expense.  We are loving director chairs around a large table, and think they make an AWESOME alternative to folding chairs for parties and large gatherings.

Functional, pretty and VERY affordable!  Really…I think we all need to go and snag a few….we better hurry there wasn’t that many left!

I’ve died and gone to…Lindon?

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Yesterday while lunching at Chick fil a with the ladies, Natalie mentioned a house she’d seen that she thought I’d love, and referred me to THIS blog to check it out.

At first glance I presume it was in Cape Cod; crisp white trim, dusty shingles, turquoise accents and even an american flag. It’s hard for me to imagine this house anywhere but by the sea, but alas my eyes deceive me, as I discover it’s actually in Lindon, Utah!

(all images by: Cirsti B. home owner & Jessi Safsten at

I’m in love with this house. I’m taken by all the subtle neutrals hues, with just a pop of colour and pattern. It’s so bright, crisp, airy, and such a breath of fresh air in Utah real estate! Well done Hatfield Homes, hopefully we’ll be friends in the future!

To read more about the house: click HERE and HERE.

Surprise Package

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Several weeks ago I got a surprise package in the mail, it was a belated Birthday gift from my good friend Brittany (yes, I also mentioned her yesterday!); she’s one of the best gift givers I know, as her gifts always reflect the personality and current situation of the receiver, this is what I received…

A boxwood ball! As you may or may not know we’re a little obsessed with this shrub around here (hence, name of blog); it’s just so fresh, clean and  lovely looking. The best thing about this persevered arrangement is that it’s alive, but only needs spritzing once a month or so.

I wasn’t sure where to place it because it was looking fabulous everywhere, but I finally decided it’s home shall be the table behind our couch. I placed it in a cereal bowl to add hight and balance…cereal bowls come in so handy for such things, especially if they’re white.

Design Dilemma: NYC Kitchen

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

A friend and loyal reader of ours asked us to solve a design dilemma for her daughter Brittany. Britt moved to NYC a couple of months ago, and while she’s been busy planning and decorating the rest of her apartment, she was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the kitchen. Having a budget of $100 we came up with this design board.

By adding just a few accessories you can really help spruce up a dull room, and as this is may just a temporary apartment for Britt, we wanted to make sure we were suggesting things that would work in most kitchen spaces, and easily transportable.


No. 1 Lantern: These lanterns have been our fave for years, they make a huge impact and cost only $5 from IKEA. Adding light, always adds warmth.

No.2 Art: We wanted part of the apartment to show off NYC, and what better way than subway stops.

No.3 Plants: Bringing living things into any space adds life, and air. We suggested easy herbs like Rosemary; that look good, smell lovely and spice up any dish. The plant pots are also from IKEA $2.99 each.

No.4 Clocks: We adore the look of clocks, and the more the merrier. We suggested 3 in a row, with time zones of family members in different cities. These are from Target, and cost $3.99 each. (Also seen in our post HERE)

No.5 Jars: These came to mind immediately when I saw Britt’s kitchen, as the counters + drawers are white, while the rest of the cabinets are wood. Not only are they functional but look great too. Currently on clearance at IKEA for $3.99 each

No.6 Baskets: Britts kitchen also has a few open shelves were she keeps food items. All the different packaging of food items can make the place look messy and disorganized, by simply hiding them in baskets you’ve done an instant clean! Baskets $6.99-$12.99 at IKEA.

No. 7 Tea Towels: These are a great way to add a burst of colour and pattern. These are from Dwell at Target, and can only be found in some locations or online $12.99.

No. 8 Photo Frames: As always these are a vessel to add any personal touch. We suggested framing some favorite family recipes or some recent snapshots of the city.

We had so much fun with this project, and hope we successfully helped Britt’s new home feel like home!

Britt, we’d love to see before and after shots if you have time to snap some. x

Deal of the Day: Chipotle

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Today Sar and I had a day full of errands.  We needed a fast, yummy and budget-friendly lunch.  Chipotle is one of my faves and I wanted to show Sarah how freakin’ cute and scrumptious their kid’s meals are.  $3.95 for two tacos (you choose meat and side), a cute bag of chips (perfect for portion control), and let’s not forget endless diet cokes.  Absolutely delicious, we’re sure you’ll love it too!

Gift Idea: Costco Floral

Friday, July 15th, 2011

I am in awe at all the beautiful flowers at Costco lately.  The prices are better than a wholesale florist and their selection this season is exceptional.  There are very few things in the world better than a beautiful bouquet of flowers and without a doubt it is the gift idea ever (especially at these prices!).  Check out what I spied on my last Costco trip:

Gladiolus $8.99 per bunch

All those fellas out there:  This is the best $19.99 floral arrangement you can find…hint, hint.

my faves:  hydrangeas and peonies $8.99 each.

Those stunning hydrangeas were too hard to resist, I bought them for a birthday present.

Word to the wise:  Hydrangeas don’t do well in the heat, peonies would have been a better choice!

Back to Basics

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
house beautiful

simple. beautiful.

Target Tuesday: Stationary Deals

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I love love love the back to school season; there’s nothing like a brand new pen and a fresh notebook, the deals are great too!

(Greenroom Notebooks found HERE)

Today at Target I purchased: 2 2pk Sharpies FREE, 2 10 packs of Paper Mate ball point pens FREE, 2 2pk RoseArt glue sticks 20 cents each. Click HERE to find the coupons used to get the free items.

With items this cheap, try and stock up for the whole year. I always get my printer paper, glue, pens and pencils for free (after rebates). Also, try to think outside the box for how you can use these items; for example, one year my sister-in-law decorated and personalized basic composition books for all our nieces and nephews, they now use them as journals. We’ll also be sharing a couple of our thrifty projects shortly.

My Office Needs a Makeover…or at Least a Tidy

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I don’t know what it is about my office, but i can never keep it clean. The floor is always cluttered with shopping bags, or projects I’m half way through finishing. My trash can it’s big enough…so it’s more like a trash corner; and there’s always little bits cluttering my workspace like memory cards, headphones, receipts and soda cups.

It’s definitely a room I spend a lot of time in, so I’m not even going to atempt the perfect model home look but if it’d look more these pictures, I’d be much happier.

Don’t you  just love those narrow shelfs to help keep little supplies neat and tidy?

I’ll get around to it one of these days, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Tonight I am exhausted!  I’ve been trying to get some things done around the house, but all I can think about is…

(I even like my chocolate white )

Paired with one of these,

and a soak in a tub that’s less pretty, but equally as relaxing as this,

image unknown

and i’m a happy girl!  Happy weekend everyone!

The Past Week

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

All I have been doing the past week:

Working-As a Brit I always get the honor of working all of the “American” holidays.

Family Time- Our sis, Helen and fam as well as Brad’s parents are all in town.

Pool Time-It’s finally reached that time when you want to be at the pool 24/7!!!

Yea, for summer!  It has been a pretty perfect week (except for my poor hubby studying his brains out for the the bar!).

Here is the extent of my 4th of July decor, Sarah totally put me to shame!  Oh, and those are the cut-offs I mentioned….still living in them as the air conditioner is STILL not working!

Hope you are all enjoying the summer, doing the things you love!!!!

Deal Alert: Free PF Changs Lettuce Wraps

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

PF Changs has been one of our favorite places to go for years, but since Em’s Celiac diagnosis it’s become even more of a trusty fav because they have a whole gluten free menu, including gluten free lettuce wraps.

As part for their 18th Birthday celebration PF Changs are giving away a free order of their famous lettuce wraps to their facebook fans. Simply click HERE and follow instructions to get your coupon. I think you can only print this coupon today, but is good to use thru the end of the month, with any food or drink purchase.

Coupons like this don’t come around everyday, so we recommend printing and enjoying!

(Thanks Hip2Save!)

Martha Stewart Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The July issue of Martha Stewart Living is fantastic, and in my opinion one of the best her team has published in some time. It’s chock -a -block full of crafts, decorations and recipes that are sparkly new and so refreshing.

This cake was too fantastic not to share. It’s so pretty, and has me craving a large glass of milk.

My hubs has been on a sugar fast since March, I’m thinking a dessert party is in order when he finishes, and this cake will definitely be making an appearance.

Recipe has temporally been removed from her website, will link to it when it’s back!

UPDATE: The recipe is back up, click HERE for link. Thanks for letting us know Steph!

Summer trend: Skinny Cut-Offs

Friday, July 1st, 2011

It is getting hot around here and my summer staple is fast becoming cut-offs.  I am grateful that longer length cut-offs are kind of “in” this summer.  I got out my scissors and a few less-than-perfect fitting jeans and snip, snip, snip.  I am happy with the results.  These ones from GAP are so cute, actually it’s probably the skinny legs that make them look cute!  I kind of want/need a white pair too:

picture:  anthropologie
picture:  anthropologie

Have you tried this trend?  What are your summer staples this year?