I’ve been a little M.I.A. since our trip to Portugal (where we eloped), yup you heard right! It’s been a whirlwind of changes for me especially. New role at work, going on vacation, getting married and also moving! It’s been over 3 months now and I’m ready to share some images from our elopement. We eloped in Lisbon and we drove up the coast to Porto for a few days and ended in Paris for our “honeymoon”. If you have not traveled to Portugal, it’s a must go. You get all the delights of a big European city, but it still feels small. It’s also not very expensive. The wine is cheap and you can find some well priced Air BnB’s and apartment rentals.
We kept the elopement simple. We hired an officiant, we found some great local photographers (a husband and wife team) that go by the name “Love is My Favorite Color”. Both Rui and Cristiana Vaz Franco were a joy to work with – Stress free, easy going and FUN!
We arrived days before the big day to scout around for spots. Luckily during our walks we found the most stunning street side court yard with beautiful Jacaranda trees. The original park we thinking was NOT what we expected and we had to make a last minute change of location!
My flowers – Cristiana recommended Marta from Flow. They were perfect! I wanted something with Proteas in them and she executed my vision to a tee! Funny sorry…We didn’t have a car so I had to carry this beautiful bouquet in between my legs (in a vase, wrapped and covered with cellophane), on a SCOOTER on a 25 minute ride back to our apartment. But they survived the ride – YAY!
Our ride of choice? Nope, not some fancy limo or classic car, but a tuk tuk! Our driver was the most amazing guy and he drove us around for 2 hours as we went from site to site to take our photos. (BTW, it is the best way to travel in Lisbon, or by scooter).
There we too many pictures to choose from but I think I narrowed them down to some of my favourites below!
We ended our day by the water just before the light started setting. It was a magical day. The most perfect day and we did our way. Thank you to everyone near and far whom made this day possible.
Love and Light, the SHMELOS.
I consider myself an amateur home cook. But I love food and I pride myself in having a fairly wide and extensive pallet. Being able to learn about the kitchen and dining business these past few months has been amazing and oddly a great fit. When it comes to the kitchen I there are some things that are must haves and I wanted to share some of my pick this season all from Bestbuy.ca. In addition, they are having a kick ass GET COOKING EVENT from September 25 to October 8, 2015.
1. This M’heritage sauté pan from Mauviel is such a beautiful piece. (Would make for a great holiday gift – hint hint). It’s made from a wonderful coupling of copper and stainless steel. Its 3.1L capacity gives you ample volume for numerous types of recipes. Mauvuel pieces are just too gorgeous to hide and hopefully your kitchen is set up in a way where you can show these off! On sale for $314.99 save $210 from Sept 25th to Oct 8th, 2015 online at BestBuy.ca.
2. This Paris-inspired U’Select 9″ pepper mill from Peugeot makes a fine addition to any kitchen or dining table. It sports a smooth beechwood body with a pristine white lacquer finish. Traditional best selling colors would be red and dark espresso but I think the white adds a nice contemporary touch. On sale for $44.99 save $20 from Sept 25th to Oct 8th, 2015 online at BestBuy.ca.
3. OK, these are great! Especially if you are a tad clumsy or you have a household with kids! The Govino dishwasher safe 16oz. wine glass set means you’ll never have to deal with a broken glass again (and we broke many when we moved). It has an elegant tulip-shaped design and the glasses are made from a flexible polymer that’s shatterproof, reusable, and recyclable. The ultra-thin glasses also feature an innovative thumb notch to give you the perfect grip. Best part too, these are great to go from indoor to outdoor in a cinch. On sale for $19.99 save $10 from Sept 25th to Oct 8th, 2015 online at Bestbuy.ca.
4. If there is one knife you need, that’s a chefs knife. I have this Global chefs knife with sharpener set and it’s my go to knife in the kitchen. This set includes Global’s best-selling G2 20cm cook’s knife and a 220 MinoSharp two-stage water sharpener. You can sharpen your other knives as well with this sharpener with ease (instructions included in the box). On sale for $135.99 save $24 from Sept 25th to Oct 8th, 2015 online at Bestbuy.ca.
5. When autumn hits, all I think about is comfort food and a lot of roasting , braising and stewing. One line I trust when it comes to cast iron is Staub. Staub’s signature Cocotte is a high-quality oval-shaped casserole dish made in an enameled cast iron construction that offers excellent heat retention and distribution properties. They offer these in so many lovely colors for the fall season, but this aubergine is my favourite. On sale for $217.99 save $72 from Sept 25th to Oct 8th, 2015 online at BestBuy.ca.
6. Last but not least, waste removal. That’s right. We’ve been looking for an organized way to separate our garbage, compost and recycling and the guys from Joseph Joseph have come up with a well designed solution – The Intelligent Waste. Available in both Charcoal and white. This will be your LIFE SAVER! Regular price $249.99 available online at BestBuy.ca.
All this stuff is getting me excited for some home cooked meals! Happy shopping and make sure to browse the entire Best Buy Canada site for more great deals during their 2 week GET COOKING EVENT from Sept 25th to Oct 8th ONLY!!
Love & Light, S
2015 has been a VERY fruitful one. On top of accepting a new role at work and running off to Portugal to elope with the love of my life – 6 days after we returned from our trip, we MOVED! So let’s talk about how much of a stress case I was. Note to self – Don’t do 3 major things all in a span of 1 month, ha! The timing was horrible BUT we had been looking to move from our area for many years and this townhome was brand new and located in the best area. We really couldn’t say no. So, after about 2 weeks of fighting, bickering, purging, organizing, buying and selling – We finally have our place decent enough to live comfortably. Most importantly, we are extremely happy in our new neighbourhood.
We also decided it would be a good time to change the pallet of our home. We’ve had the same look for about the last 4- 6 years and we decided to move towards a much lighter and brighter pallet. We also had a goal – We wanted to live a more minimal life which meant trimming down on everything. In today’s blog, I wanted to share just a few details I love about the new home.
First things first, we upped our game and up graded to a king bed and we found ours at Moe’s Furniture. Wow – Not sure if I can ever go back to smaller, it’s an absolute luxury. Best part, it’s a storage bed. The bed has a pin tuck head board and wrapped in a gorgeous grey textured linen like fabric. We had something in mind for our side tables and had a hard time finding the right thing. We actually ended up using dining room side tables and added a white lacquered tray to the bottom to give it some storage ability, both rom CB2.
Since the foot print of the side table is fairly small we decided against table lamps and went with these funky gold swing lights from CB2. not only do they provide a stylish look, they are completely functional and they are space savers.
Right off the bedroom, we have our own private balcony. This is the ultimate “quite zone” and guess who has been enjoying it more than we have? It’s the perfect little nook to enjoy a cup of java and to take in some fresh air.
The separation is probably the best thing. I think sometimes splitting square footage between 2 floors can make a space look smaller, but this is why we decided to go for a lighter pallet. It opens up the space a bit more. We’re also very fortunate we have a lot of windows and skylights. Although, our dog Rocco doesn’t seem to be a fan of the stairs yet.
We are still looking for a smaller dining table, but we did find a ceiling light solution. I knew I wanted something geometric and my husband found a work around. He found the ceiling light rope, bulb and the gold decor piece separately at CB2. Lucky for us, the light tube fits perfectly through the gold decor piece! Viola – DIY geometric lamp shade ceiling light.
Aside from the private balcony, we love our front porch. It faces into the court yard where all the neighbours and the kids hang out. I found some great planters from Crate and Barrel and headed straight to Art Knapps for some outdoor plants. I didn’t want anything to floral, but I needed a deep splash of color. I went for the purple shammrock plant and coleus. These guys have lasted me straight into the fall season.
WOW – What a work in progress. We’ve made a lot of headway, with so many other details in the works. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some art work up on the walls soon!
Love & Light, S
I first discovered Eat Grain products at one of my favourite local boutiques, Walrus. I bought a bunch of Eat Grain’s one step bake breads as holidays gifts. I also had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners of Eat Grain, Shira McDermott in the store while shopping. She has a food blog, focused on budget friendly, easy to prepare, vegetarian foods called In Pursuit of More. I HIGHLY recommend you follow her and try out some of her recipes!
Today, I’m sharing a very yummy hummus recipe. I know what you guys are thinking, hummus? Really, that’s it? But in all seriousness, this hummus has a secret sauce and that secret sauce is the creamy cilantro dressing (which I’ve used with a few other recipes as well!) So let’s start with the cilantro dressing first:
Creamy Cilantro Cashew Dressing Recipe – The Secret Sauce
What you’ll need:
- Blender ( I surprisingly used my magic bullet and did this in smaller batches)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
- 1 fresh scallion
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup cashews
- 1/2 fresh jalapeño
Take all off these ingredients, toss them into a blender – Blend until smooth! Taste and taste some more to adjust the heat, (if you want to add more jalapeno or not). Trust me, you’ll want to put this sauce on everything you cook! Now on to the hummus.
White Bean Hummus
What you need:
- 2 cups (cooked, pre-cooked) white kidney beans
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 yellow pepper, roasted
- 1/4 cup cilantro dressing (*Recipe above)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c lemon juice (*A squeeze of lime juice – personal preference)
- chile flakes
- green onions for topping
- olive oil for garnish
First thing, you need to roast the bell pepper. Set your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the pepper in half and place it on a flat baking tray, seed side down (no need to seed the pepper first). Roast the pepper for about 15 – 20 minute. Keep you eye on it. Roast until the skin is black and starting to rise off the flesh of the pepper. The more char, the easier to remove the skin of the pepper when done. Once done, remove from oven and let cool to handle. Remove the seeds and the cahr skin the best you can, It;s ok if you can not get it all.
*TIP – Now, if you are pressed for time, you can cheat and use roasted yellow bell pepper from the jar. You just have to make sure to drain and wash off as much of the olive oil or else the dip can turn too oily.
Now that the peppers are ready, combine all of your ingredients and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy (yes, this is where add that cilantro dressing!!).
*TIP – I added a squeeze of lime and a little less lemon to my recipe as I like a more tart taste. If you don’t just stick with the lemon.
That is all, you are done. Serve in a bowl, topped with chile flakes, sliced scallions, and a dash of olive oil (and black pepper if desired).
Hope you love this dip as much as I do. Let me now how it goes!
Love & Light, S
We really packed in London on day one, not sure if we had enough energy for day two! We decided to take day two at a slower pace and decided to walk ( a lot) and do a bit of shopping and people watching.
We started heading towards Chiltern Street, and I fell in love with this quaint shopping district. My husband was especially exited because this shopping street was primarily focused on menswear, sprinkle with giftware and bridal boutiques and a gorgeous flower shop (life gaols). We stopped into the Monocle cafe to grab a coffee and starting scoping out the street. Just to highlight some great stores: Cire Trvdon candle store, Sunspel, Trunk Clothiers and a men’s only Club Monaco boutique.
As my hubby took some extra time chatting it up with the staff in the Club Monaco boutique, I sat outside on their bench to take in the view and got my fill of people watching. Right across the street from the Club Monaco boutique is the Chiltern Firehouse.
The firehouse was one of the first purpose-built fire stations in London, dating from 1889. It was restored by hotelier André Balazs, offers 26 elegantly restored bedrooms and suites with one or more working fireplaces. There’s also a restaurant attached lead by Michelin star chef Nuno Mendes. As I sipped on my coffee, I sat there watching all the posh and khaki wearing folks coming in and out for bunch. I think I counted 8 men with sweaters thrown over their shoulders and about 8 women who looked like they walked out of a Ralph Lauren ad.
We continued our way towards Oxford Circus, dropping into Liberty (a must do). I just love the old department building, it has so much character. I was also on a mission to drop into a COS and & Other Stories store because we don’t have one in Vancouver. I really liked the COS stores, they offered very clean, simple garments. As for & Other Stories, the store was so busy…my head was spinning. There was just too much too look at and too many people to even have a good shopping experience. Tip: Go in the morning!
That pretty much covers our short 2 day adventure in London. Until our next travels!
Love & Light, S
It’s been so many years since my last visit London and this time I still only had about 2.5 days! However, it was a fun packed 2.5 days of London and I am forever grateful! My (now Husband) and I decided to elope in Portugal (more on this later), and London was a stop over. Luckily, we have some super duper friends that live there and kindly hosted us for our one night in London.
In 2 days we packed in quite a bit. First day we took a stroll on Portobello Street, it wasn’t too a busy of a day but I got the chance to see some cool antique shops and hundreds of market dealers selling everything from t-shirts to spoons.
Best part, our hosts asked if we wanted burgers for lunch…my husband and I can NEVER say no to a HAMBURGER. They took us to Honest Burgers. What can I say, good ol’ simple, burgers made with good ingrediants and sided with rosemary fries – YUM. I truly hit the spot after a long day of traveling.
We continued to stroll and ended up at Kensington Garden. I think that is where Prince William and Princess Kate live, or maybe they stay on the grounds every now an then, not sure. Either way, gorgeous gardens of course packed with tourist, even on a somewhat dreary day.
We continued towards the Victoria and Albert Museum (VAM) where our hosts treated us to the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit, (which has now ended). I was not stealth enough to take a bunch of photos because the security was watching everyone like a hawk, but my husband was able to take one! Needless to say, it was amazing, especially the black room where all his accessories, detailed jewel and head dresses were displayed.
After the VAM, it was off to dinner we go! We met up with a few more friends and dined at Blue Bird in Chelsea. A busy, happening, two – three floor space, with a outdoor front patio to be jealous about.
Phew, what a long day. That’s about sums up day one. Day two will have to be another time.
Love & Light, S
Keeping things real and simple is my mantra for 2015 and I like to keep my beauty regime this way as well. I’ve been able to pair down the the number of products I keep in my bathroom to a bare minimal. If the goodies are 100% natural, even better! Here are my top 5 beauty must haves that I am using every day right now:
1. Tart Creaseless Concealer – This is Tart’s best-selling concealer and I now know why after using it. It provides full coverage and it doesn’t crease or flake. It’s super light weight on the skin, which is super important for me because I like to wear the least amount of make up on my face possible. It’s also a waterproof formula with skinvigorating™ skincare benefits. *See main image.
2. Bite Luminous Lipstick Duo - Love love love the mini sized duo lipstick by Bite. Mini enough to carry in a small clutch and the duo contrasting lip colors provides you with options. Love it! There’s a plus side as well – Besides radiantly colourful lips, with every application, antioxidant Resveratrol fights free radicals with potent long-term age-repair benefits.
3. Herbivore Botanicals Mint Lip Balm - I don’t leave home without it. These lip butters are 100% Natural. They are made with moisturizing shea butter and essential oils – no artificial fragrances or flavors – and moisturize beautifully. They are also available in other scents like rose and blood orange. YUM.
4. Pure Heat Earthstik Flat Iron – Firstly, did you know that you can buy everything from baby stuff, luggage, kitchenware, furniture and beauty products on the Best Buy Canada shopping site called VIVA by Best Buy? That’s right, not only do they specialize in consumer electronics, they’ve entered the “lifestyle” market. I was in desperate need for a new flat iron. The old one I had was ruining my hair. I found this one by Pure Heat and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to use. I stopped using curly irons a long time ago, I find I get a much better “wave” with a flat iron. My hair passes through smoothly because of the nano tourmaline infused ceramic plates. No more rough spots, chemical stains or chipping with superior Ceramic Fusion Technology from NASA. One more great thing, Pure Heat donates a portion of the sale to EarthShare - A national non-profit federation with 25 years of experience in connecting people and workplaces with effective ways to support critical environmental causes.
5. Multi Task Body and Shave Oil - I’m a huge fan of soul sunday’s 100% natural multi task oil. Especially one that is a combination of nutrient-rich natural oils and essential oils that do more than one job. I use this use this nourishing oil to moisturize my skin, shave my legs, remove my eye makeup, and deep condition my hair too! Trust me, you’ll find it addicting.
Love & Light, S
Who do you call “mom”? I ask that because nowadays I don’t think of mom’s (and dad’s) in the traditional sense. Either way you cut it, mother’s are the people in our lives that provide us with that unconditional care and love. They check in on us randomly. They always ask if you’ve had enough to eat. Even when it’s 20 degrees and sunny out side, they always say “be sure to bring a jacket!” Here’s to all the mom’s out there, doing their thing. So, if you are thinking about spoiling that special person in your life, I’ve curated a few gift ideas to help you out.
1. This lariat style necklace by local designer Lisbeth, features two vermeil linked bar pedants and it’s simple and elegant. Comes in both silver or gold.
2. Mom’s have many brilliant ideas. This brilliant idea notepad is perfect for documenting all your brilliant thoughts and quick reminders.
3. Who doesn’t like a cute letter press greeting card? Even if your mom wants nothing, a pretty note telling her how much your love her will warm her heart and give her smiles.
4. All natural goodness is the best kind of kindness to moisturize your skin. This jasmine body oil is heaven! In contrast to cream moisturizers and lotions which tend to be high in water and emulsifying agents but low in effective ingredients, body oils contain no fillers and are formulated with only effective natural ingredients.
5. My favourite way to relax is by having a bath. This coconut milk bath powder is life changing.
6. Does your mom love sparkly things? These earrings would be the way to go. A beautiful combination of old and new; vintage and modern. Silver, Vintage Rhinestone Earrings with post and Vintage Brass Stick Beads.
7. When I travel, I try to travel light. Especially for those quick weekend jaunts. Nothing is more frustrating than having to organdie all your beauty products into small TSA/airport security approved travel size for your carry on. For the mom that ravels frequently, this palette of five soul sunday essentials makes the perfect gift. Ideal for the traveler and includes: Mini cool down body scrub, 1oz / Mini multitask body + shave oil, 1oz / Mini ricewash facial cleanser, 1oz / Mini tokai aloe mist, 1oz / mini pits deodorant, 1oz .
8. If you live in Vancouver, you’ll know what I mean when I say this. It’s a layering city. Be prepared for yo yo weather and always carry a scarf. Designer Mona Sultan unites colours, distinct graphics and composition to create vibrant collections that have strong urban attributes. The scarves come in several colours but I think the red is stunning. *See main image.
Everything in this gift guide you can find in the SHOP! Until May 1o, you save 25% with promo code LOVEMOM25. Be sure to give yourself some time for the goods to ship.
Love & Light, S
I hate working out. I get bored very easily and it’s difficult for me to stick to one thing for a long time. But I may have found the thing that I love and it makes me sweat buckets – Spin cycling. You basically are on a stationary bike, spinning at fast speeds, with some added off and on saddle movements, in a room with awesome music and a super hyped up instructor that can keep your energy levels going. I’ve tried a few in Vancouver (not all) and each of them have a different flavor, so it really just comes down to what you prefer.
Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary - Located in the edge of Gastown, this studio is a sanctuary and the interior design has a Moroccan theme throughout. The studio is spacious, airy and calming. When you enter the studio you are greeted with a lobby and retail space; the studio is straight through behind the blue doors. Down stairs is where you will find the change rooms, bathroom with 2 showers, lockers and lounge area. My favour instructor is Jess Brock. she’s got great energy, reads the crowd well and she plays great music. She teaches a class called the “Detox” which is a 45 minute spin class that takes you on a even ride of cardio and strength building. Eastwood also offers unique classes like the “Mamacita” with Child Care and “The Boxer”, which includes 30 minutes of kick boxing. *All images below are from Eastwood Instagram page.
Ride Cycle Club - If you are interested in a sweaty, dirty (in a good way) version of spinning, I suggest Ride Cycle located on the edge of Yaletown. Probably some of the more difficult classes I have taken, most of the time you are completely off saddle for the entire duration of the class. The studio is small and you snuggy up in a dark room and they really love to pump their music ( I kinda feel like I’m in a night club). With the smaller room, you really get a good sense of what it feels like to ride in a tight pack. Everything is on one floor, they have lockers lined up along the wall, however they only offer one shower in their bathroom. Kick ass teachers I recommend are Julie, Ashley and Brooke. You can not go wrong with these 3 ladies and they will #werk you. I come out like a sweaty hot-mess every single time and hungry for more. *All Images below are from Ride Cycle Club Instagram page.
Spin Society - Fresh, clean, modern design space located downtown Vancouver, just off the Granville bridge at Drake street. It’s in a little bit of a dead zone, but it makes this spin studio a hidden gem. They have stations at the front desk so you can log in yourself, infused water for your bottle and treats on the counter for after your ride! They have a 3 shower bathroom (very convenient) with Saje products for freshening up. Some high energy instructors with some sass and attitude, give Bridgette and Shannon a whirl. *All Images from the Spin Society website.
Ride, rest repeat. Hope you all get the chance to give these studios and their workouts a try.
Love & Light, S
Just like when the seasons change, you feel like you need to change your entire wardrobe. Let me tell you, this is NOT necessary. I got through the winter season with just a handful of new basics and you can do the same for spring!
1. The Simple White Shirt or Shirt Dress – Simply put it goes well with jeans and dresser bottoms. Now of you are like me, (I’m clumsy with spillage), then I suggest keeping a few in stock. The classic white shirt is a staple in everyones wardrobe, so don’t feel bad if you need to purchase a few. Also, I say invest in few Tide pens and keep them in your purse for those “food splatter” accidents. Image below: Karla Spetic Dress from Shopbop.
2. Long Cardigan or Light Jacket (whatever you want to call it) – I’m all about transitional pieces and layering. My body temperature changes on a daily, going from freezing to a sweaty hot mess in 0 to 60 seconds. I always have scarves, shawls and cardigans around that I can slide on and off quickly. Keep it light, buy a basic color and go with a slightly more loose fitting look. Cozy is the best thing since sliced bread. Image below: Oak and Fort.
3. Squeaky Clean White Sneakers – When it comes to white sneakers I’ve always been a Converse gal and if you have a pair, keep them around. White sneakers are a necessity this Spring/Summer. In my teens I was a big fan of Adidas and it seems they have been getting some more attention from the fashion industry. Their classic Stan Smiths have been seen all over fashion weeks around the world on and off the runway. Now, the only issue I have with the Stan Smiths is that they are too wide for my feet and the toe cap is too short. They look like mini boats on my feet – Not a good look. If the Stan Smiths don’t fit, you would then lean towards the Gazelles which are typically a more narrow fit, but they don’t look like a court shoes. Images below: Via Pinterest and Harpers Bazar.
So guess what? I think the design team at Adidas must have read my mind because this year they launched the “Miss Stan Smith” called the Proilian. It’s a narrower, longer toed version of the Original Stan Smith and they fit skinny feet! Hooray! I found mine at Little Burgundy. Image Below: #OOTD #viewfromtheop #viewfromabove @TheSunnyShum
4. A Skirt With a Slit – Go with at the knee and longer this season. The slit can go to the front or the side, but just enough to show some some leg, NOT all of it, please and thank you. Let’s keep it rated PG ladies! Image Below: Aritzia.
5. The Jogger – Not quite a sweat pant but a morph of a cargo and a jogging pant. In most cases I think sweat pants need to stay where they are meant to be – At the gym or lounging at home. But, if you can find a jogger type style pant made of a non-sweatshirt type of material, you can dress them up a little bit and pull off a super chic casual look. If you’re on a budget, the Gap has some really well priced ones in their collection now. Image Below: Style Blogger #inspo found on Pinterest + the Gap.
Main Image: Photo by Paul Melo - #OOTD details / Hat from Beyrnie Utz Hats in Seattle / Sweater from the Gap / Mesh Leggings from Lululemon / Cardigan from Oak and Fort / Purse by Lizzie Fortunato from Violet Boutique / Sneakers by Adidas fro Little Burgundy
Love & Light, S