Friday, 26 January 2018

Made to look weathered family sign with Rust-Oleum

It shouldn't be news to you that I like my stuff a little country-modern, I like new shiny metals but I love a weathered antique.

A melting pot of old and new, bonus points if it's personalized and DIY'd!
As soon as I got my hands on these new Rust-Oleum products, I had a vision... (just call me Raven)

*This post is in partnership with Rust-Oleum

I took a little stroll through Michaels craft store and found my inspiration in the bare wood aisle, I already knew I wanted to go with our last name but I wasn't sure what the backdrop would be.

I ended up picking out larger letters because I wanted this to be something I could use as a front porch prop, I was worried that I wouldn't find a suitable backdrop (the letters are pretty large!) but I was at Michaels, you can find anything! A large hanging sign was exactly what I had wanted.

I arrived home and got to work right on the kitchen island, the Weathered Wood Accelerator (click for more info) was almost odourless and easy to work with/clean up.

I used a sponge paint brush and brushed the liquid on like a stain, thin coats to build up the colour - it was super fast drying.

While I waited between coats I started with the letters, I used this Metal Effects kit from Modern Masters and I was genuinely so curious to see how it would turn out.

I used another sponge brush and coated the letters with a copper paint, it went on very easily and already looked opaque.

That copper dried extremely fast so I did a second coat and when that had dried I applied the shiny copper paint.  

The trick next was to spray the letters with the liquid provided, while they were still wet.

I crossed my fingers and sprayed!

Immediately you could see only what I can call a 'mouldy' effect begin to form.
This was so satisfying and I couldn't take my eyes off of it!

That same night I went back and checked on everything, it dried after just a few hours so I hot glued the letters to the board... and voila!

A super simple, single day project that you can personalize or get as creative with as you please.

Nick modelling for me that very night but the best photos are below captured on our front porch.

My girlfriend came over to visit and she said that it looked even better in person than it had in Insta stories so I take that as a big win!

I love the look of it and I've already plotted my next Weathered item, I only used the smallest amount of stain so I may make some for friends/family.

Anything custom makes a really lovely gift!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Brie Cheese Toast and Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts...

I've always wanted to do a charcuterie board... Nicks not a snacker but I am SUCH a snacker! 
Like, I need snacks and I need them salty and pickle-ish where possible.

I decided to test out a few treats and hone my skills for a future charcuterie board, I have been craving one for so long and I am super happy with this first draft!

First things first, if you're not into Cider.. get into it!
I have a really hard time with wine... to me, it feels like a chore to drink, maybe I just haven't found 'the' wine but I am halting that search because I've found the drink crush and its cider.

This is my second time picking up Bulwark (click) brand and it won't be the last.
I received a ton of messages on Instagram stating this was super delicious and I picked it because the price was R.I.G.H.T. (plus its made right here in New Ross NS, win, win, win, win.)

Next, I grabbed a fresh jar of this cheese topper from Sobeys, they were sold out of the apple and fig but the cranberry port was just as good. These little jars are located next to the cheese display and the mini french bread was also in a basket on display.

Layer the crusty bread, brie cheese and a dollop of topper for a tasty bite-size treat. 

I'm not great with deli decisions so I figured a variety pack was the way to go, these three meats were pre-packed together in the pickup cooler so I grabbed them and ran, and they were actually fantastic!

The final piece of the puzzle was the bacon wrapped water chestnuts.. we typically have these around Christmas but this year no one made them and I have had a craving ever since.

I didn't get a proper photo, they were made, displayed and devoured before I could stage a fancy flatlay so let's just hope you've been watching my insta stories and got the behind the scenes sneak peek.












That's it!
A tasty snack board with some sweetness in the bacon, something salty in the meat and some creamy deliciousness in the cheese.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Why do my kids need me so much?

Its been a minute since I've talked about the kids, and this may be the Buckleys cough, cold and flu meds talking, exhaustion from all of our sickness, or it could be Noelle...
A. because she is regular needy
B. because she is sick needy

but our kids are just. so. needy.
I am with them 24/7 and if they could manage I'm sure they would make it 25/8 because there is hardly a moment of silence or second of peace.

And it has me wondering all the time, how did my grandmother with 7 kids do this?
I legitimately wonder how anyone with more kids did/does it?

To be clear I'm not whining about our kids, we obviously love them, want them, expected them to need us. You know I only talk about our 'rough' moments because you see our great moments on insta stories and great moments are not what I need to get out of my system.

But that neediness though...
Every minute from dawn until dusk it's mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.
It's "look at me!"
"I need this!"
"I want this!"
"Play with me!"
"I'll come with you!"
"I'll help you!"

It's Noelle crying when I move an inch away from her... sometimes I am just reaching for a remote or toy basket and her little heart breaks as if I've dropped her off at the orphanage.

When you have to explain "I'm just going to the garbage can" more than once a day I think its a solid indication that your kids are needy. 

I never use the term 'bad mom' because I'm a kick-butt mom but in fleeting moments I wonder "is it bad that I'm so available to them??"

Should I just say "NO."
Don't talk to me, don't bother me, don't expect me to help you on your schedule.

For the most part, I do do that.
Elliott is moderately well behaved, his listening skills are ok for being 3, but it's the wanting to be around me, wanting to help me, come with me wherever I go.

If I go upstairs he is hot on my tracks, when I'm in the bathroom I hear "where are you, mom? I need to see you”

I just have a hard time understanding how moms with 3,4,5,6,7+ do it, I would love to be a fly on their wall.

Are they less available?

Is it a household fact that mom is less available because well, she straight up has to be less availble when spread out over so many kids OR do those moms have way more mom energy/patience than me?

Elliott is great at independent play, he's got a wild imagination and he is really good at keeping busy but it still feels like I need to be 'around'.

He doesn't like me to be far, he likes when I watch him playing independently (defeats the purpose much?!? lol) and Noelle is just addicted to me, I've become a pro at doing everything with my right hand while shes perched on my left arm, I fear for what that translates to in the future.

Some days it's so overwhelming, I'm wishing for someone to pop by and just take them for a while or even someone to distract them while I go take a nap/shower/read a book, whatever!

But most days I get through just fine, they're only small for so long and I enjoy how much they love spending time with me.

The question of how other parents do it still plagues me though...
Really, I want to be a fly on the wall.
Is it me being too giving with my time? or my kids being to eager to take it?
Can I just come to your house and watch how it goes down? ;)
Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Nanny Rues Cape Breton Goulash...

I don't consider myself a chef, I am ok with cooking...
I know how to make mashed potatoes which apparently is more than my mom knew how to do when she got married. 

I stick to the basics and repeat meals, I know I use too many pre-made, high in sodium, canned style ingredients. However, I always feel like our alternative is Mcdonalds or ordering pizza (again) so eating this homemade casserole that maybe has canned soup as a main component is the lesser of two evils.

Quick and easy meals make the cut, my main problem is defrosting.. I always forget to DEFROST.
Or I get everything ready and realize I forgot onions and onions are too big of a step to skip...

Long story short, I am trying to make more meals even if they're 'semi' homemade style and so far this week I've made Shepherds pie and my Nannys Cape Breton Goulash.

I posted them on Instagram and I am shocked the number of messages I received from people saying they have never heard of or never made them that way, shook!

I thought these were well known but if not, I thought I could type them up but really, really it's not a recipe as much as it's SO basic, I just eyeball everything.


- pack of lean ground beef
- one small onion
- box of macaroni
- 2 cans of tomato soup
- 2 cheese slices thin or 1-1.5 thick/regular (like grilled cheese style, Kraft, processed cheese)

Chop your onion into teeny, tiny pieces or risk my kids not liking it.. place in frying pan on low.
Brown onion until soft and then add ground beef and cook through.
Remove beef/onion mixture from heat, place on a napkin-lined plate for later.
Cook macaroni according to box directions.

Here is where I wing it, we like more macaroni than beef so I use about 75% of the box of noodles for a small/medium tray of ground beef but there are no right or wrong measurements. The sauce grabs both the meat and noodles equally so you don't have to worry about the final product as much as measuring it to your familys preference.

Once macaroni is almost done, add ground beef mixture back into frying pan, open soup cans and pour onto beef, then open cheese slices and tear into 4 pieces per slice add into mixture.

You just warm up the beef/soup/cheese until melted together, no more than a few minutes so it doesn't  dry out. Strain water from macaroni and I pour the whole pot of noodles into my frying pan, I use a really big pan on purpose.

Serve with rolls or bread and butter for comfort food style meal!

While I was busy this week cooking and cleaning, someone was WAY too quiet and when I checked in on him in the playroom... THIS is what he was up to ^

It was one of those moments where you think "my kid knows better".
Elliott is pretty serious and on the scale, I would say he's well behaved/obedient minus some outbursts when Nick was in charge.

I could count on one finger the number of times he's not listened when I've told him to do something, that's not counting the "mom please, please can I mom? Now, can I? When can I?" whining because he does that all the time. lol

For the most part, we keep his markers lying around, glue, glitter, play-doh, slime, anything messy is out in the open because he's always been responsible.

HOWEVER, this was one of those moments when I was reminded he's only 3 and it would be super tempting to color your play plate and hands if the stuff was just staring you in the face. LOL

I wasn't mad, I just explained he needs to keep the coloring on paper and when he wants to use glitter tell mom so I can prep a workspace. loling again.

I am always impressed with how good of an artist he is for being so little, he's really taken a liking to coloring/painting in the last few months.

As far as the goulash goes he LOVES it! He is such a pasta fan and anything with tomato based sauce gets a thumbs up from him.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Fake it until you make it: A beginners guide to blog photos/videos....

Everything on the internet is fake, everything.

I just want to make sure you know that. lol.

But really, every dang thing is cropped, edited and highlighted to show the best possible portion of our lives and I'm not any different.

You know I'm 100% behind the FREE THE FACE movement (I think I invented it LOL), I want to think I am a champion for natural aging and showing the grey, wrinkled, jiggly bits but, that doesn't mean I don't tweak here and there to fake a pretty picture.

The nature of this blog beast is basically that I have to do some minimal editing..
I don't feel guilty about it because I mean the word minimal, and the larger of a following I get, the more I can influence 'Face freeing'... so don't call me a sell out just yet!

This is my blog/instagram work centre ^

Planoly (click here)
is what I use to see what photos will look like next to each other, before you post.

Honestly I don't do this often because I've stopped trying to mimic 'big bloggers' feeds, I care more about getting the info out to you than I care that theres been two food photos this week but zero face shots.

But at the same time sometimes its nice to see if you've done selfies in the last 25 posts, maybe a full body photo would be nice. This app connects to your instagram feed and you can 'fake' upload photos to see if you like the layout, you can also upload directly from there OR you can save the pic and upload it later. 

Canva (click here)
I have no idea why I was so against getting Canva, its like I was giving into the man when I downloaded that app, but its genuinely so simple to use it makes all my blog cover photos (see first photo), my youtube covers AND my media kit!

Yep, I made my new media kit in Canva and it took about 5 minutes.
A Media Kit is basically a resume for bloggers (and similar) it hosts all of our social media data, blog traffic and blurbs about us. It's used to send to brands for partnerships etc, in my experience they have always cared more about the numbers/info on it than the presentation itself.

You still want it to look nice, clean, organized, spicy (lol I made mine a little saucy, shows some personality) but Canva did a fantastic job for a $0 price tag.

Lets talk about the photos...
I don't believe in face tune, I freaking hate the blurred skin pictures I see all over social media.
I understand the need, and I get how brainwashed we are into thinking we look better that way, but I refuse to partake, no matter how old, wrinkled, puffy, droopy I am.

You can call me a hypocrite because I love makeup and use the old look down/sideways at an invisible objects trick.

But I LOVE my wrinkles.

I really do, I look in the mirror and things that people would call 'flaws' I appreciate more than I ever have. I have this skin tag on my face, maybe you've noticed it, maybe you haven't, its never really bothered me but some people have made comments over the years. (why call it a skin tag tho that sounds BLECK lol)

I have hereditary under eye bags, I use skin care on them but I would never go more extreme than that, theres peach fuzz everywhere and I use to be insucure about it (because TONS of boys made fun of me over my life about this. likeWTF) now I just laser it off and move on.

I just want my kids to remember exactly this face, the skin, fuzz, saggy baggy truth.

So whenever I am making photos look pretty for Instagram I do as minimal editing on the face/body shots as possible. Especially if I am showing a makeup look, lipstick or eyeshadow obviously you're going to need the real unedited shot.

there a time and place so when I edit I use VSCO (click here)

I typically brighten, contrast, crop and sharpen.
Sounds like a lot but it takes two seconds and then you get a lighter more crisp photo like the above fashion shot.

To be honest I edit my kids way more than myself, I know that sounds horrible but they aren't showing any skin/makeup colours, plus they're always moving and blurring themselves.

I use a combo of exposure, contrast, straightening and sharpening regularly on them.

My final stop is the Retouch app (click here) which again killed me to get because its so sleazy but for the odd job here and there it is SUPER handy.

Our house is very dark and cluttered, it never makes for good photos so I always expose them a bit more and just for fun I used Retouch to edit out a piece of the photo below, can you see where?!?!?

The tapes gone!
OOOooooh La La.
It's like magic!
or Retouch! ;)

And that's it! I don't use all these apps on every photo, I try to keep it as basic as possible and photograph as much as I can outside so I don't have to deal with these extra steps at all.

As far as the actual changing of the photos go I try to relate it to a professional photographer and what they would do for your wedding photos/family photos etc.

You wouldn't be happy if you paid good money for photos and every shot was a dark, dingy, half blinking photo. I am in a way selling myself to you in the blog/social media, I am working with brands who pay/offer product trade for exposure so it only makes sense to brighten things up.

I am also in no way a professional and I honestly shoot EVERYTHING with my iPhone.
That may be the worst or best kept secret of all time but every. single. photo you have ever seen on the blog or social media from me is iPhone camera roll.

I think my photos have been upgrading over time so I am happy, very happy with the growth :)

Ok movies, omg this is SO simple.

I film on my iPhone, I use iMovie to crop, speed up, add music, slow down, add text etc.
There's practically nothing that iMovie can't do!

Then I save the video, open it in the Continual App (click here) which chops it into 15 second clips to post to Instagram!

I feel like my mini Instagram movies changed the game for me a bit, people seemed to really like them and I loved having a bit of an up on other bloggers with my time lapse and music additions.

When I first started with the iMovie videos I use to painstakingly count on my fingers 15 seconds and crop EACH 15 second clip that way.

I knew there was easier ways but I was too lazy to look for them, but a follower suggested the Continual App and I will be forever grateful!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Feeling Fashionable with PinkBlush...

Every one of my blog groups has been brainstorming 'words' for their word of the year.
I had a word in mind but I didn't want to share it with anyone until now..


Fashion has been on my brain for quite a while now, its been showcased in a series of ups and downs on Instagram stories and its actually been a hot topic throughout my entire life.

I like to express myself by wearing the makeup/hair/clothing that I feel like wearing at any particular time. I've been every shape and style in ALL categories; think red, blonde, black, long, short, skinny, curvy, natural and over done.

I've had moments in my life where I dimmed my glow because of what others have said, you have no idea how many people have something to say about my lipstick choices. (like why???)
People can be so judge-y and not just more distant people, my family is more conservative in the beauty/fashion department and has never supported my more 'adventurous' pursuits.

I swore I would never do the same to my kids, they're free to be whoever they want to be and if they change styles, hair colours, beauty regimens on the daily - YAY.
Life is too short to be worried about what others will think and honestly I feel like anyone who has something to say about a lipstick choice is just jealous that they don't have the balls guts to wear said lipstick!

This year not only am I allowing myself to find and change my style as often as I want.
I am also letting fashion ooze into the rest of my life by saying 'Fashion a life you love'.

*This post is in partnership with PinkBlush, obviously all thoughts are my own.

I'm really going to try to find the balance this year, balance of work, family, food, money, friends, social media, etc. I don't do resolutions but I do do fresh starts, I do fresh starts a lot and January is always a great month to re-start.

Instead of doing a capsule wardrobe, I am sort of doing the opposite.
I am going to open up my entire closet and wear MORE, more, more, more.

I've done closet makeovers on the blog and you know I have more than I know what to do with, but think about what you see me in, same stuff on repeat.. isn't it? 

I feel like I live in an unintentional capsule wardrobe and it's a crying shame when I have some fabulous pieces that just hang there until they get donated.

I am going to push myself to wear different combos and make sure I add in accessories, I may be at home 99% of the time but there's still space for a little bling.

I am all about making pieces go farther, like this long flowy kimono $45 -click to preview

It CAN work for anytime of year, I am rocking it in this -10 degree weather and I am super excited to lounge around the pool in it when we travel down south this spring. 

I LOVE booties and own no less than 6 pairs but I haven't been putting them on as often as I should, mainly because laziness, I just don't bother to open the mudroom closet but not anymore!

Hats! You will see me in more hats.

I will try to share fashion inspiration on the blog as much as possible, I am hoping to make it a regular thing here and you know you will be seeing it over on insta stories!

I feel like I get encouraged to "fashion" when I see other people doing it, so even though my pieces may not be brand new, if I pull together a look and you have something similar it just might jog your memory and you'll be pulling out your hot pink blazer.
I have this hot pink blazer that I can't part with, I love it so much but never wear it. loling

So tag me in any style inspo photos of yourself or yourself wannabe photos..
After attending Atlantic Fashion week in the spring, I came home renewed and energized by the clothing and styles, I want us to feel that hyped up feeling through these dreary months.

It's going to be cold and grey here in Canada for the next little while but I am committing to getting out of my pjs more often than not!

I also have a dress from PinkBlush that I wore on New Years and it is really beautiful, its super comfortable and loose in the right places but doesn't let me completely lose my figure.

And like this kimono, the dress is available right now!
Super flattering for post baby - Preview dress SALE $53