Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

Canada Day fireworks From the island : toronto

Canada is a diverse country, from picturesque landscapes to towering highrises. The faces of the people are a representation of cultures from all over the world, and they dwell together in a place we all call home. Canada will be 152 years old, and even though it may be considered young country compared to others, its historical roots run deep with the distant sounds of First Nations drums, beating the tune of nature’s origin. Smoke rises, and the ashes fall, telling the tale of gains and losses, bloodshed and sacrifice, all in the name of freedom. The First People of this land will never be forgotten. Canada stands tall in its magnificence, and a life here is still portrayed as living the “Canadian Dream” to many.

Canada Day is tomorrow and we go big or go home with our celebrations! Even though we are limited on how big our parties can be, the preparations don’t have to lose their grandeur! I can almost smell the bbq simmering, and it has given me some delicious ideas! Beginning with appetizers, you can make simple look sophisticated with just a few ingredients, that will make you look like a professional chef! Here are a few recipes you can try:

Dilly Cheese Ball

Dilly Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup dill pickle relish, drained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  • Beat first six ingredients until smooth. Shape into a ball; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate several hours. Sprinkle with parsley; serve with crackers.
Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 100 calories, 8g fat (4g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein.

*Recipe taken from tasteofhome.com

Watermelon and Feta Skewers

WATERMELON AND FETA SKEWERS

INGREDIENTS

3 lb(s) seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 48 1-inch cubes

24 mint leaves

6 oz feta cheese, cut into 24 3/4-inch cubes

24 basil leaves

3 – 4 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

*Recipe taken from foodnetwork.ca

DIRECTIONS

1. Thread a piece of watermelon onto a skewer, followed by a mint leaf, a chunk of feta, a basil leaf, and another piece of watermelon. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Store covered in the refrigerator for up 1 hour, if desired. Just before serving, drizzle each skewer with some pomegranate molasses; serve.

Sides can be exciting if you put your mind to it. Creating cold dishes that are fun to eat, and beautiful to look at, definitely takes the food up a notch! Let’s see what we can do with typical salads to make them a ten!

Zucchini noodle salad with herbs, cashews and chilli dressing

Zucchini Salad with Herbs

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large zucchini, trimmed
  • 2 large corncobs, husks and silk removed
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 long fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt-reduced tamari
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted cashews

EQUIPMENT

  • Spiraliser

METHOD

  • Step 1Cut the zucchini into long strands using a spiraliser, stopping when you reach the seeds. Alternatively, cut the zucchini into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the corn.
  • Step 2Combine the zucchini, corn, tomato, mint and coriander in a large bowl. Combine the chilli, lime juice, tamari, ginger and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar
  • Step 3Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Serve sprinkled with the cashews.

*Recipe taken from taste.com

best quinoa salad recipe

Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion (from 1 small red onion)
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up.
  2. In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
  4. Once the quinoa is mostly cool, add it to the serving bowl, and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with black pepper, to taste, and add an extra pinch of salt if necessary. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  5. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

*Recipe taken from cookieandkate.com

Now that your food is in order, your bbq is now on its way to perfection! Don’t forget the decorations! It is an absolute must for an outdoor setting. Candles, banners, and sparklers, are just a few extras you can use to spice up the evening. If fireworks are not allowed, then hook up your outdoor projector for your fireworks enjoyment. They may not be the same, but at least a version of the real deal will be one everyone will remember as the most innovative way to celebrate! To all my Canadian readers, I hope you all have a blast tomorrow! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday: Confessions of a Shopping Diva

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We are soaring into the heart of summer, the time of year we have all been waiting for to show off the curves we’ve been working on during the colder months. However, it doesn’t stop here. If you want to stay on top of the game, you have to make this summer body a year-round thing. Investing time and energy into moving that body of yours on purpose every day, is the only way you will see lasting results.

Amanda Grant - Instructor Page
Amanda Grant, GRANTED FITNESS

Currently, gyms are not accessible, but there are many other ways to get your body into shape. For example, I am part of an online fitness club called, “Granted Fitness,” where we get together through zoom, doing a variety of classes, from Sculpt and Tone, to Strong. If you haven’t heard of Strong classes before, you need to get on to grantedtobe.com to learn more. It will change your body and your life forever! Amanda is the fitness instructor, and she is so full of life and energy, that makes it so easy to get in front of the screen and work! The beauty of it all is that you can work out with her from anywhere in the world! All you need is a device and zoom, and you can be part of the Granted family too!

But if you are going to join us what should you wear? Funny you should ask. Today’s segment takes a peek into the world of fitness wear. For women, marrying both style and comfort is the focus. Women feel that looking and feeling sexy is key to motivation. A good workout is hard enough as it is, so you really want to look good while doing it! Colours are vibrant and keep outfits interesting, as well as criss cross and waterfall backs. Pockets keep devices handy, and zippers secure items to prevent losing valuables while on the move. Layering a sports bra with a sport shirt will give us females added support, and compression tights for both men and women, are popular because they pull everything in, and make you sweat!

Make workouts a part of your life, rather than a chore you have to complete! That way, it won’t be a problem to keep it going over a lifetime. Dress for the occasion, as you would any other that you enjoy. Life is about living it up, and your clothes will reflect your attitude. Bring your best game to the workout floor, and you will relish in the splendor of your success. Talk is cheap, but work is progress. Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday: Reflections

What to Say and Not Say to Someone Living With Infertility ...

Lost in the thoughts of a woman approaching 40, I look back at my life and think about miracle of my three children, and wonder about the other side of the coin. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing special about me. I could have easily been the woman who fights in the struggle of making a family, or one who had to consider having one alone. For those who experience this today, my heart goes out to you. Understandably, you may feel that the words fall short of comforting, but I’ve found in life, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Looking in from the outside of the situation, a few thoughts and questions come to me. For those who face the challenge of infertility, the world is neither kind or understanding. The weight of the problem becomes so heavy to bear, that it you begin to internalize it, and take the blame. When you carry this burden to a certain age, it now becomes the loss that you must make peace with and move on from. However, how do we as women live with knowing that there was something that we felt destined to do, but could not physically follow through? Living the years with the thoughts of motherhood as something to be expected for any woman, now becomes faded dream. What must we do to keep moving and living, so that our lives are not in vain?

I talk to many women who are going through infertility, and they have voiced the pain. However, they say there is light at the end of a dark tunnel, and the key to happiness is to live your life without regret or shame. This is not your fault, nor are you destined to live a life of mourning. Instead, it is an opportunity to explore the person you are blossoming into, and to discover a life that is meant for your happiness. I like the sound of that.

In all things, we must see the beauty of life. Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is joy. Where there is joy, there is peace. Peace holds us up, and keeps us together like glue. Peace gives you rest and gives you strength for another day. Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday: The Socialite

platter of fresh fruit, cheese, and crackers

The best part about summer is the outdoors! A chance to soak up the sun, or bask in the moonlight of a cool evening. What to do with all this fresh air? Have yourself an open-air Wine and Cheese Platter party, but without the big crowd of course! A few close friends and family invited to dine safely, but for a few good laughs and lots of fun. If you are not the wine and cheese expert, I found a few suggestions on what would go well on a CHARCUTERIE or CHEESE BOARD.

Different Types of Cheese | HowStuffWorks
  • Gouda – the perfect pairing with Cabernet
  • Aged cheddar – lovely with Malbec
  • Manchego – try this one with a sparkly wine. Also, this is a sheep milk based cheese ( great for those sensitive to cow’s milk cheeses).
  • Ricotta – goes well with Riesling
  • Parmesan – delicious with a bubbly Prosecco
  • Gruyere – a love fest with Chardonnay
  • Brie – goes well with many wines, but my favorite is Merlot
  • Bleu cheese – pairs well with a Pinot Noir or a sweet Port
  • Feta – a bright red or dry Rose, slightly sweet wine is perfect with salty feta

For vibrant colours, and a few extra flavours, you could also consider adding the following:

Spiced Pickled Figs With Ginger and Cardamom Recipe

*Cheese board ideas taken from cottercrunch.com

Sounds like a pretty swanky party, complete with great music, and delicious wine for the tasting! This is the get together that is needed to finally get summer in motion! We have been cooped up for a very long time! It’s time to gather ourselves for the best of what the season brings. Make the most out of each day, understanding that we are in different times, but also realizing that we must still live life to the fullest. Cheers! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday: What’s Baking?

Banana Caramel Cream Dessert - A simply amazing dessert!

In need of something delectable to satisfy your summer cravings? This basic, yet scrumptious dessert can fool even the best critics! This easy peasy Banana Caramel Cream Dessert can be enjoyed after a fabulous outdoor dinner, or as a “just because” snack. A cream parfait is an simple solution to skipping on the baking during hotter days, but still having a proper dessert to show for it. Taking a few of these babies out of the fridge, and serving them chilled in a fancy dessert dish, will impress the pants off of your loved ones for sure!

Banana Caramel Cream Dessert

Yield: 6-10 servings (see notes)

Creamy homemade pastry cream, fresh banana, caramel, whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble!

ingredients:

Ingredients~

Vanilla Pastry Cream (recipe below)

Bananas (I used two bananas for 6 small dessert servings)

Good quality caramel sauce, or dulce de leche.

Fresh whipped cream (I used 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar)

Graham Cracker crumble (recipe below)

Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 2/3 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1/2 cup if you prefer desserts less sweet)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)

Graham Cracker Crumble

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sized crackers)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Make Pastry Cream –

  1. In a medium bowl,  beat eggs with a fork to combine.  Set aside.
  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Gradually pour in milk, while whisking, to make a smooth mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.  Continue to cook and stir one minute.
  3. Pour several tablespoons of the hot mixture into the bowl with the eggs and immediately stir well.  Pour warmed egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk mixture.  Return to a slow boil, and cook one minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Set aside to cool.  When the pan has cooled, place in the refrigerator to fully cool.  If desired, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the top surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.

Make Graham Cracker Crumble –

  1. Crush crackers in a large ziplock type bag.  Pour crumbs, sugar and melted butter into a bowl and , stir until fully combined.  Pour into a 9″x13″ casserole dish and press into a even layer.  Bake at 350*F for 10-12 minutes, until light brown.  Allow to cool.
Banana Caramel Cream Dessert - A simply amazing dessert!

Assemble dessert –

  1. Spoon about 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumble into individual serving dishes.  Use a small glass to press the crumble into a firm layer (as pictured below).
  2. Add a layer of pastry cream into each dish.  For easy assembly, fill a large ziplock type bag with the pastry cream, snip off the end and fill the dishes from this bag.
  3. Add a few slices of banana.
  4. Top bananas with a layer of whipped cream.
  5. Add some graham cracker crumble and a drizzle of caramel (scoop caramel or dulce de leche into a small ziplock bag and snip off the end for easy application).

Repeat layers 2-5

Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours.  Top with a slice of fresh banana just before serving.

*Recipe taken from glorioustreats.com

Simple French Crème Brûlée Recipe

When you’re out shopping, and you see some interesting serving dishes, never be afraid to pick up a few. These things always come in handy, as they are a major statement piece for the recipes you try at home. Serving style and presentation are key factors in taking your dessert from good to fabulous! Just consider the concept of Crème Brûlée. They are baked in the oven in cute little ramekins, and then torched on the top for a brittle caramelization effect. Exciting! One of my favourite desserts, more so for the process, but still a big fan of the taste! Get busy with your no-bake baking day, and remember to add the creativity! That is where the fun truly lies. Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

How many times has your kids lost their keys to the house? Or you forget that zoom chat with a teacher? Maybe you are on the phone, and need a pen to take down an important message, but can’t find a pen! Where is your last T4 for the bank appointment you have tomorrow? If any of these scenarios are you, this challenge might be of interest. Making an “Organization Station” in your home might be the best thing for your life right now.

Beginning with the wall you will choose to dedicate your organizational space, is the first step in bringing your chaos into a more systematic order. This wall can be wallpapered, or even painted for added flair. Choosing to keep the wall the same colour is not boring, but keeps the home looking uniform, which isn’t a bad idea either. You could include word art and small pictures or paintings that keep the space visually appealing.

Now the greater challenge: What types of organization does your home need?

1.Key Storage

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I assume most people deal with the issue of missing keys very often in their everyday lives, so key storage probably makes the list at number one. Having a hook for each member of your family might prove to be effective, so you can keep track of who has misplaced their keys, or who isn’t home. The challenge here is to make this system the only one you use to store keys. That way, you can be sure you will be able to find them everytime;)

2. Mail Storage

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I don’t know about you, but this number two storage solution is essential for my household! I find that keeping junk mail in the garbage, and opening older mail in a timely manner, seems to be a difficult task to stay on top of. A warning to those who decide to go this route: Be sure to stay on top of filing important letters, and discarding others to keep the system effective. Otherwise, the folder idea just turns into a space where anything is stored, and for years at a time! If you want folders to make a difference in the way you organize your mail, there definitely needs to be order.

3. Weekly/Monthly Calendar

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Keeping important dates and appointments are key to a household running effortlessly, and everyone being on the same page. Soccer tournaments, doctors appointments, and interviews can all be viewed easily on a simple calendar. Everyone’s life schedule written in one place so that each person plan around one another, or include themselves in plans. Most importantly, you would never forget important events because they stare at you before you leave the house (that’s if you sneak a peak before you go!)

4. Note Exchange

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Having a blackboard/whiteboard as a center for note exchanges may prove useful for younger kids without cells, or a quick update before you become unavailable. It revives the traditional way we communicated in a home, and brings the personal charm back to the way we live.

Overall, the four items mentioned above are recommended in building your home’s Organization Station, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Buckets with pens and pencils for that quick note, or pin boards to hang recent artwork from the kids, could be a must for your home. Whatever helps to keep your home running like clockwork, you should always consider. At the end of the day, you will love how much better your family is able to stay connected, and how smoothly your home runs. Take it easy tonight, and enjoy the place you call home. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s Cooking?

Finding the perfect Tuesday night meal can be taxing on a warm summer night like this one. A one-pan wonder might be the answer that you are looking for, which solves the issue of dinner. For tonight, I’ve managed to find a recipe that can be done in one pot, that I thought you might thoroughly enjoy. It’s called, “Slow-Cooked Summer Beef Casserole,” and it can be savoured with anything from couscous to a delicious naan. What makes this a summer meal is the medley of vegetables that give it a vibrant colour, and hearty enough to be a stand-alone meal if you’re not digging the extra carbs. Here is the recipe for you to discover:

Slow Cooked Summer Beef Casserole in a bowl with couscous, red onions and parmesan.

Slow Cooked SUMMER Beef Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 + 1/3 lbs (600g) braising beef chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 11 oz (330ml or a little under 1.5 cups) Guinness or other ale
  • 1 + 1/2 cups (360ml) beef stock
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small courgette/zucchini chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

To Serve:

  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 red onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • Cooked couscous If I’m going for a flavoured couscous, I like Ainsley Harriott’s Spice Sensation with this meal

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160c/325f.
  • Heat the oil on a medium-high heat in a dutch oven or other heavy based pan. Place the beef in a bowl or bag and add the flour, salt and pepper. Toss together to coat, then add the beef to the pan. Brown the meat all over (should take about 6-8 minutes).
  • Add the garlic,stir and cook for one minute, then add the Guinness and stock.
  • Bring to the boil, stir and place a lid on the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours (check every hour and top up with a splash of water if it’s starting to look a little dry).
  • After 3 hours add in the in chopped peppers and courgette. Place the lid on and place back in the oven for 5 minutes. This should ensure the veg stays crunchy but is warmed through.
  • Take out of the oven and, sprinkle on the parmesan, parsley and red onion slices, then serve with warm cous cous.

Notes

Want to change the number of servings?You can double or triple the recipe using the same ratio of ingredients.I wouldn’t suggest reducing the quantities as the meat would dry out when cooking for the 3-hour period (and it wouldn’t be fall-apart if you cooked it for less time). This recipe does freeze well though (see instructions below), so you could make it up and freeze some for later.Can I make it ahead?Yes, make the casserole, but don’t add the peppers and courgette, then cool, cover and refrigerate.Reheat in a lidded dish in the oven at 160C/320F for 35-45 minutes until piping hot throughout. Add the peppers and courgette for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir once or twice whilst reheating to ensure it heats evenly.You can reheat on the hob if you prefer, although you will need to be careful when stirring so you don’t break down the tender chunks of beef too much. Reheat over a low-medium heat, stirring often until piping hot throughout – which should take 10-15 minutes (adding those chunks of peppers and courgette for the final 5 minutes).Can I freeze this beef casserole?Yes, make the casserole, but don’t add the peppers and courgette. Cool, cover and freeze the casserole, then defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat as per the ‘Can I make it ahead?’ instructions above.Best cut of beef for Beef Casserole:Use either braising steak (chuck steak) or silverside. My preference is braising steak for better flavour.

  • Chuck steak (braising steak) – comes from the forequarter- Consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm.
    • It’s a tough but very flavorful cut of meat. It has a lot of connective tissue, which needs long slow cooking to break down and become tender. Cut into bite-size chunks, or you can use bigger chunks and shred the beef into strips.
  • Silverside (bottom round) – comes from the hindquarter – just above the back leg
    • It’s a leaner, inexpensive cut of meat with little marbling. The lack of fat means it doesn’t have as much flavour as chuck steak, so make sure you use good quality stock (as well as the Guinness) to cook it in. It’s good for slow cooking, but must be cooked with moisture/liquid so doesn’t dry out and become tough.

*Recipe taken from kitchensanctuary.com

I’m thinking that this dish could easily be vegan if seitan strips are added, but the cook time would probably not be nearly as long. If someone does the vegan option, please share with a photo, and let us know how it turned out for you. Be sure to make enough for tomorrow because cooking in this heat is so not cool! Pair this with a great glass of wine, my preference these days is an African Riesling from Magnotta. Sweet, rich and bursting with flavour. Check it out and see if I’m right;) Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday: Confessions of a Shopping Diva

As Carrie Bradshaw would say, “Shoes are a girl’s best friend!”, and ain’t that the truth! The love of fancy feet is one of the many reasons why our closets are overstuffed, and out of control! However, we won’t stop! We can’t stop the fashion frenzy of fancy footwear because it makes a powerful statement about who you are, simply by the shoes you wear. Shoes can glitter and shine, they can also be low profile, or comfy for a long journey if need be. Your life reflects your shoes.

So, now that we have that speech out of the way, let me also say that the men are also caught up in the “shoe love affair” they often blame us for. Men can be very trendy, and may have a different pair for every mood they want to convey. Shoes can freshen them up, or make them sporty. They can make them handsome, or casual for a stroll. They might not want to admit they have a problem, but men gotta have their shoes too!

For the ladies, this year’s trend for flats are your leopard prints that bring added drama to your basic jeans look. The babydolls are still a thing for those who can’t get enough, and the strappy flats give a bit of a “turnt up” vibe that accentuates to your casual apparel. Who would have thought that ropey sandals would make the cut? But they are noteworthy in beach wear, and the Versace pump is saving the best for last. The steel heel is edgy and full of class, which is definitely suited for the power suit lady boss, who clicks her way into meetings with the big boys. Yassss! Shoes are making noise on the feet of women, but what about the men?

Men are living large in canvas these days, making easy wear, breezy wear. It makes sense with anything from khakis to jeans, and even a proper blazer if he’s feeling confident. The men love their sports, and the Air Jordan Retro High Tops can walk the streets, or play street ball. Either way, they look fresh. What about these loafers though? This is a big deal in a man’s world, and going with the sockless look is the name of the game. Rolling up a pair of slim cuts to expose those ankles can make any woman swoon! The Oxford dress shoes are the swanky add-ons for his wardrobe, bringing his look to A-Class. A suit and slightly unbuttoned shirt summons a “Christian Grey” attitude for the well-dressed gentleman.

Now that we have explored shoes, it is your time to shine. Shop the look and get what works for you. Not every trend goes well with everyone, so be selective in what you choose, and love it because it compliments you! Don’t be afraid to wear colours and styles that stand out, or don’t match your outfit. You can’t be apologetic for your artistic self-expression. Too bad, so sad, but you just have to do you! Have fun shoe shopping, and Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday: At Home

The whole day seemed to fly by, from cleaning and cooking, to the bbq in the evening. I would definitely call it a success, as we dined on various salads, steak, and jerk chicken. We completed our feast with that Angel Food Cake that I said I’d try. There are quite a few intricate steps to this dessert, but overall, it can be done. Here are a few pictures of the cake, complete with homemade whipped cream and berries:

As you can see, the kids thought it was a big hit! Dads cleared their plates, and there was not one berry left behind! Another job well done, and a triumphant Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there! You have no idea how irreplaceable you are to your family. There has never been a father like you, nor will there ever be. Take your bow, today is reserved for only you! Enjoy the time, right down to its last moments, and take in the love and laughter that surrounds you. Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday: The Socialite

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On your mark, get set, let’s go exploring the city through a lense, making memories of life in quarantine by taking photos of places without people. A friend of mine inspired this project when she told me she was going into the city to document streets and landmarks that are usually busy and bustling, that now lay in peculiar silence. She said to me, “There will never be another time quite like this, where the whole world goes still as if it ceases to exist.” Pretty crazy, huh? That pretty much sums up the experience we’ve had over the past few months, no matter where you were in the world.

Before things get back to “normal” it might be interesting to dust off that old camera, and go out to see the sights and sounds of empty. I took a drive down to Niagra Falls a month ago, and at 10pm on a Friday night, it was absolutely deserted! My family and I had the best view from any point we wanted to stand because there was no one around! We stood there and watched the falls change colours, and it was almost eerie. It reminded me of one of those apocalyptic movies you watch on tv, as we stood in silence. At the same time, it was one of the easiest trips to Niagra that I’ve ever taken! No waits, no crowds, no stress. However, there is something clearly amiss about going to a famous tourist attraction without people there.

You will have to go out and see for yourself. It is a great time to be out enjoying the sun, and an even better time to catch the sunsets. Check out malls, financial districts, major streets, museums and restaurants. Who knows? These pictures may be worth something big one day as this pandemic becomes a part of our history; a story that will never be forgotten. Happy Friday everyone!