Four Words

Salted. Caramel. Chocolate. Cake.

Back in July, we celebrated Alex’s birthday with this delicious cake.

 

I started this post shortly after making it in an effort to share it with all of you ASAP, but it has remained in my drafts until now. Oops! In any case, the end of September has me thinking back to our summer happenings, wondering how on earth it all went by so fast?! Without further ado, read on to feast your eyes on our new family favourite.

Thea has proven her interest in all things baking and cooking time and time again, and she makes the cutest little sous chef. Every time I’m working on something, she pulls up a chair right next to me and asks to help. To which I excitedly respond, “OK!!!!!”. So we donned our aprons and got to work following this recipe . We followed it as is, with the exception of the garnish on top of the cake at the very end. I had Chipits Skor Toffee Bits on hand and decided to go with those instead of the flaky sea salt. No regrets there.

 

 

Now, I need to tell you guys about a secret little ingredient. One that I’m definitely going to buy again because it’s so decadent, whether you’re adding it into a cake or drizzling it on top of ice cream. This Salted Caramel by local dynasty, Duchess Provisions, is the ultimate jar of heaven that ever lived in your pantry (next to Nutella, of course). It truly added to the richness of the frosting and the layers in between the cakes. Yes, you read that right – cakes. Three layers, in fact!

 

We are a family of four, but technically only three of us eat food that requires chewing, so there were definitely leftovers. Leftovers for days (which was just fine by me)! This birthday celebration was as delicious as it was cute, and I think we’re all waiting for an excuse to indulge in this cake again. Good thing Thanksgiving is coming up…

 

Back to how there are only a few days left in September – anyone else feel like this month serves as motivation to do new things? My to-do list is long, and sitting nicely at the top are things like checking out the brand new Rogers Place arena, brunching at Cafe Linnea, and take in as much of this beautiful fall weather and crunchy, golden leaves as we can. How about you?

Happy almost weekend!

 

//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

Beating the Heat

What a summer! And I’m talking about the heat. It seems like our summers have gotten hotter, in general. Is it just me?! I always say that the really hot days are still too few to justify installing an air conditioning unit in our home. Except that those really hot days are increasing in frequency and temperature, and I’m about ready to bid our fans adieu, and just go for the real deal. I blame a few things for this (my Mediterranean-living, heat-loving friends and family are rolling their eyes right now, I just know it!). One: I think it comes with age. I not only have become less tolerant of heat, but I physically can’t handle it like I used to in my 20s. Gone are the days where I could spend hour after hour being a slave to the sun. I get the shakes, I get weak, and I turn into a big mess if I don’t have a hat, a bottle of water and some shade nearby. Sigh. Two: 95% of my day is now spent running after and keeping up with my two young girls. My pre-kid self might relish in these soaring temperatures a bit more. But kid wrangling and +30 degrees…I’m sweating just thinking about it.

Bottom line: I love summer, I really do. I just love it with cold water and even colder decaf, iced Americanos. Here’s what we’ve been up to and how we’re beating the heat:

A Rocky Mountain getaway back in June. That cool, mountain air was welcomed with open arms.

 

Lots of lake walks, refreshing slurpees every once in a while, and playing tour guide for my cousin who recently visited from North Carolina

I have also made it my goal to experiment with some different dinner recipes to limit my oven use on the exceptionally scorching days. So far, I’ve tried these summer rolls (a new family hit!) and a summer vegetable soup (very similar to this recipe).

Hope you’re enjoying the summer! Tell me about the ways your beating the heat and any tasty, summer dinner recipes you love 🙂

xo,

Kassey

Mother’s Day

Motherhood has been, and continues to be, the most beautiful and incredible ride. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, it’s feeling and expressing a love you didn’t quite know existed, and it requires you to develop a thick skin pretty quickly in order to roll with the learning curves along the way. This Mother’s Day, my wishlist consists of things that are totally basic and simple, but are tied to the experiences I enjoy and look forward to having more of with my little family. Below is a round up of every day things, but things that take on new meaning once you become a mom.

Clockwise L to R: Oversized vegan weekender, Explore Alberta HoodieNike Juvenate, Signature home scent, Sugared & Spiced cake, Mug, Love Fresh lotion

Photo credits: Sole Society, Ole Originals, Nike, Anthropologie, Sugared & Spiced, Jillian Schecher, Love Fresh

Packing up and running off with my family for a few days is what my dreams are made of, especially as life gets busier and we get caught in the day-to-day of things. Everything I would need for a mountain getaway, tossed into this beautiful weekender bag, and off we go!

A mountain getaway needs this Explore Alberta hoodie. It’s casual and cute and just what I need to run around with my girls (also makes me feel Alberta proud)

As the girls get older and more active, I look forward to keeping pace right there with them. Why not do it in a pair of cute kicks?!

I love a signature scent for my family to associate with a warm and cozy home. This Capri Blue candle from Anthropologie is perfection.

The sweet tooth runs strong in this family. And just look at this cake…need I say more?!

Coffee is a necessary treat that I look forward to each day, and I absolutely love this mug that my dear friend, Justine Ma, designed with another sweet and talented gal, Miss Chrissy Charms.

By the end of each day, my hands are in need of some beautifully scented TLC, and this Lavender lotion from Love Fresh is just what my skin needs and loves.

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and moms-to-be, and especially to my favourite – my own mom ❤

xo

//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

We are a family of four! But first…

Well, hello! Sincere apologies for my absence on here lately, but as you may remember, we welcomed our second daughter last month and we’ve been indulging in all of that newborn magic. And, let’s be honest, adjusting, cause a house with a toddler and a newborn requires adjusting. For the most part, it’s been going well, and I am now just emerging from the haze caused by lack of sleep and learning to divide myself between two little humans. But they’re so darn cute and lovable that it all works out in the end 🙂

Before I gush about how much I love that we are now a family of four, allow me to talk about our last couple of months as a family of three. Let me take you back to early November, when we decided to do some family photos that were somewhat twofold. Okay, threefold. One was to work with the amazing Kelsy Nielson again (she has photographed us since our days as two newly engaged, fresh faced kids!) Another was to capture us as a family of three, with my prominent baby bump. And finally, I wanted to use one of the photos for our Christmas cards. Sounds simple, and I expected it to be a simple and enjoyable process because we came to our photo location prepared: treats, toys, books, and tablet in tow. Everything Thea likes on a normal day. Except that it wasn’t a normal day because we skipped a nap and had something specific we wanted to accomplish. Our strong-willed two year old had different plans; plans that included things going completely opposite. Tantrums, hot chocolate stains, toddler wrangling and puddle battling were but a few of the happenings in that short time span, though you wouldn’t guess it from the pictures below. That’s all thanks to the magic that is Kelsy – photographer and kid whisperer extraordinaire.

 

 

 

 

 

After dissecting and re-hashing the incidents that unfolded (and after a few tears of frustration, if I’m being honest) I realized that, hey, she’s a two year old. That’s just how they roll – they’re happily cooperating and eating a chocolate chip cookie one minute, and then like the flip of a switch, losing their minds because we said no to puddle jumping (after she was already soaked from 20 minutes of puddle jumping)!

I love how Kelsy captured us here, and I look forward to sharing some pictures where she captured us as a new family of four with our sweet Emmanuela. Stay tuned!

xo,

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

2016 So Far

A couple of weeks into the new year, and I’m just now getting around to this post! I hope the holidays were full of family and good food, and that you’re all feeling recharged, rejuvenated, and ready to take on another great year.

I am still one week away from my due date, so anxious and excited would be the biggest understatements to describe how we’re feeling about the impending arrival of our fourth family member! I, especially, am feeling beyond ready to welcome this little bundle of a girl into our lives, because if I’m being honest – pregnant and toddler wrangling on the daily is plain … hard. I just continue to remind myself that I physically can’t be pregnant forever, and before long, we will all be getting acquainted and getting to know the latest and cutest addition to our family.

With so much excitement (and adjustment, no doubt) awaiting us in 2016, I am looking forward to taking it all in in somewhat of a scaled back way. I will probably be a little quieter on this space for the next couple of months, for no reason other than to just focus on us as a new family of four. Stick with me, though, as I will remain active on Instagram and Twitter. and of course try my best to get back on here with updates and photos when I can. I’m also looking forward to sharing some of the plans I’ve been working on for the work side of my life. But you’ll have to wait until spring/summer for that one 🙂

Here are a few photos from the last little while. Enjoy, and hope you’re having a great week!

 

We celebrated Thea turning two with a Minnie Mouse themed day!

|| Cake by Jacqueline at Cake Affair & topper designed by Justine Ma ||

This cookie decorating station was a hit, and super simple to whip up.

She was really into decorating this year, and surprisingly wasn’t too interested in dismantling any of the tree after the fact – thank goodness!

On Christmas Eve, we decided to head down to the Legislature Grounds, and we’re so glad we did. You can’t really tell from these photos, but it was an exceptionally cold evening. It was a short-lived visit, but the beauty sure made up for it!

Our last Christmas as a family of three! Something tells me that the exact picture of this time next year is going to look a whole lot different!!

xo,

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

See & Do in #yeg || Holiday Edition

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a good friend asking me for recommendations on what to see and do in the city over the holidays. A friend of hers will be bringing her boyfriend to Edmonton for Christmas, and she wanted my “expert” advice. I laughed when I read that part, because…expert?! Despite being born and raised in Edmonton and area (my friend is a former Edmontonian, too; now Calgarian), I hardly consider myself an expert. More suitable titles I’d be quick to claim could include city lover, fun seeker, or even cheerleader (because I’m always trying to sing our city’s praises to whoever will listen!) But I was up for the challenge and excited to share some of the things that pop into my mind when prompted with a question like this. (love ya, MT! I really enjoyed putting this together!)

Exploring the city, whether by day or night, has changed for us a little bit since becoming parents, but I tried to include spots that would appeal to all kinds of people, children in tow or not. Most of the places below are ones we have experienced and can attest to why they’re on this list, and others are here because they’re on our radar and we hope to tackle them in the near future. I know I’ve probably missed a few as well, but to fill that gap, I like to stay informed through my favourite, go-to sites like Explore Edmonton, Share Edmonton, Where.ca, and Twitter.

So here it goes! I hope you like it, and please do share your favourites with me!

Image: Iconoclast Coffee via Vue Weekly

You can tell something ranks highly with me when I create a category for it all on its own! There’s something I love about incorporating a delicious and warm coffee or hot chocolate on a cold winter day, and even more so when you can make it social and meet with friends for a catch up. My picks below include places that boast an abundance of charm, a really fun atmosphere, and that showcase really cool parts of Edmonton.

Rosso
Leva
Little Brick
Transcend
Credo
Remedy Cafe
Iconoclast
Lockstock
Coffee Bureau
DaCapo
Duchess
Elm Cafe
District Coffee
Burrow
Cafe Bicyclette

Image: Parlor Italian Kitchen & Bar via Explore Edmonton

My late night suggestions will surely differ from those coming from someone who’s evening is not dictated by a toddler (and a soon-to-be newborn in five short weeks!) 🙂 But a lot of the restaurants listed here spill over into late night spots, anyway, so it’s a win-win in my mind – great food plus a great night all around.

Rosso
Leva
The Marc
Tres Carnales
Rostizado
Woodwork
North 53
The Common
Parlor Italian Kitchen & Bar
Corso 32
Three Boars
Cibo Bistro
Bar Bricco
Dovetail Deli
Farrow Sandwich

Image: skating at City Hall via Explore Edmonton

I continue to learn and get excited about really cool, outdoor activities to take in throughout the winter months. Not knowing what these friends of my friend were into, I took a more broad approach in recommending holiday activities. You could call them more winter-friendly as opposed to holiday-specific, but a fresh white blanket of snow and some twinkling lights give me the warm holiday fuzzies any day!

River Valley Adventure Co – snow shoe tours through the river valley
Sleigh shuttle in Old Strathcona – five pick up locations throughout the area
Outdoor skating – various locations
Tobogganing – fun for adults and kids alike
Skiing – Edmonton Ski Club, Rabbit Hill, Snow Valley, Sunridge Ski Area
Cross-country skiing – various locations

Hope your week is off to a great start! xo

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

#yeg Spotlight: Holiday Gift Guide 2015

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and I’m excited once again to share my list of a few local favourites that I will be shopping and gifting for the holidays (you can check out my round up of last year’s locals here, who are producing wonderful things yet again this year!)

I know not everyone gets excited about Christmas music immediately following Halloween, or the decorations popping up faster than you can say “boo!”. But, truth be told, I am totally one of those people that has Christmas movies and mugs on rotation all year round. Regardless of where you stand on the Christmas excitement meter, the task of shopping for the holidays can be daunting; even dreadful at times. But if you’re making a commitment to shop locally, and that’s something you enjoy anyway, then I hope to inspire even the slightest bit of cheer with my collection below.

Clockwise:

Transcend Coffee Subscription
Coffee. Delivered to your house. Need I say more?! This local shop has made gift-giving to the serious coffee lover so much easier. You select the type of subscription you want, length of time you wish to send coffee to the recipient’s home, and Transcend takes care of the rest of the logistics. I have almost signed myself up many times…

The Skinny
For all of those impeccably dressed little ones in your life. This shop carries everything from cute and modern swaddle blankets to outfits that make you want to request the same in adult sizes. All of the shop’s items are curated by the lovely (in every sense of the word) Erinn, and can be shopped either online or from their trendy, underground storefront in Vacancy Hall of the Mercer Warehouse.

Top Knot Style
I recently gifted one of these luxurious and beautiful cowls to my sister for her birthday, and it’s taking everything in me not to order one of everything else for myself and the rest of my family! All hand made, right here in Edmonton!

Pura Botanicals
I have yet to experience the beauty and serenity of Pura’s brand new space located on 124 Street, but what I know from pictures and experiences of friends of mine that have been, I can’t wait to discover more. Eco-friendly, sustainable, and effective skin care is a gift everyone must experience, right?

Berg and Betts
Stylish accessories made from the heart. This local company truly works magic with their hands as they transform scrap leathers into beautiful watches of various styles, and tassle necklaces that are highly coveted by any fashion girl at heart.

I don’t want to end this post without mentioning the holiday markets, because that is where you can get your hands on even more uniquely Edmonton goods:

Make It Edmonton – November 26-29
Cory Christopher Christmas Market – now until December 20
Royal Bison – November 27-29 + December 4-6
Shop the Loft – December 12

It’s fun and exciting to me to find that perfect holiday gift for the special people in our lives, but it’s giving, in general, that excites me the most. In keeping with our family tradition of giving back, this year we have decided to donate to the organizations that will be supporting Syrian refugees coming to Edmonton. An unavoidable issue in the news these days, this is something that lives very close to my heart. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter, granddaughter and niece of immigrants, who faced similar struggles (though the circumstances for coming here were different, in some cases). Or maybe it’s because we have a young family of our own and can’t help but see our own daughter in the faces of the young children and their families on the treacherous journey to a better life. Either way, if my family’s contributions help make even the slightest difference, then it’s something we’re ready to dive right into. Here are the links to some information we found helpful, and where/how to donate:

Direct help in Edmonton: Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Canadian Red Cross

UNHCR Canada – The UN Refugee Agency

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re having a great week! xo

Kassey
//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences\\