In mid-April I had my final bridal shower (and my wedding just a few days ago!)! Earlier in our engagement my future Mother-In-Law hosted a shower at her home outside the city for her friends, and my aunt hosted a wonderful afternoon tea at the Windsor Arms for our families. This most recent shower was hosted in our apartment's party room with all of my friends invited!
I had always dreamed of a beautiful dessert table. Just something about them seem to luxurious, so beautiful, and so fun! I love walking the aisles at Homesense, both alone and with friends. They always have new fun products coming in, and always at such great prices. I actually shop so much there that I ended up getting a few Homesense gift cards as wedding gifts! Were saving up for a home, so once we have one I know Ill be spending those cards.... ANYWAYS, off that tangent and back to the post. I was really happy to find that Homesense had everything we needed to create the perfect dessert table.
Now, I know that the Bride doesn't traditionally get too involved with her showers, but I love baking, hosting, and pretty things. So, while the hosts were my wonderful Mother-In-Law and Aunt-In-Law to be, they were more than happy to let me try my hand at the desserts!
When I was picking the pieces to create this table, I was looking for timeless pieces that not only would look great at my shower, but that I could also use again while hosting guests, or at my friend's bridal shower later this summer, or maybe even at a future baby shower (not that we're in a rush!). I wanted pieces that were durable, and beautiful.
I started with a beautiful floral tablecloth. Not only is it perfect for my shower, but it's perfect to reuse all Spring long! I felt a table cloth was important to help tie the whole look together. This one really stood out to me because it was feminine and floral without being all pink, all the time. Greenery is very in right now, and I want it everywhere!
The most important aspect of a sweet table is (other than the sweets) a variety of heights. The crown jewel of this table is, of course, the two tiered dessert stand. This beautiful gold and mother-of-pearl stand was $49.99. It comfortably held the cupcakes, but of course, could also hold scones, or even some savory bites.
I actually made the cupcakes from two mixes that I picked up in Homesense's cooking isle. Both the Princess Enchanted Cupcake Kit and the Unicorn Magical Cupcake Kit retailed for $8.99 and came complete with cupcake mix, icing mix, and sprinkles! These yummy funfetti cupcakes were easy to make, and earned me countless compliments both from my guests, and from my colleauges at the office when I brought the leftovers in the next day! Rather than use the fun multi-coloured sprinkles that the kits came with (which would be perfect for a kids birthday! And the star wands were even included!), I picked up a bottle of pearl styled sprinkles and a bottle of pink sugar style sprinkles! To help the icing look so decant, I picked up an "icing gun" that made decorating a dream. Everybody was so impressed by how pretty they looked, and they couldn't believe that I did it on my own. I even found the pretty pink and white cupcake papers for $7.99 right next to the sprinkles!
I found the small glass domes in the clearance section for only $6, and filled them with macaroons, Lindor chocolates, and other yummy treats, sticking very much in the pink and gold family. The pink truffles were a big hit!
To help tie it all together, I picked up a set of three plastic white bowls that say "Happily Ever After", "Best Day Ever" and "I Do" and filled them with yummy pre-made popcorn and Terra chips! They even had matching small plates. I can't wait to re-use these at my friend's shower.
To help fill in the background of the tables, I found a cursive white wooden sign that says "love" and another that says "Mr & Mrs" for only $14.99 each! These signs make for a great photo prop, and I will probably even bring them to the wedding! I could even imagine down the road putting them on a fireplace with wedding photos (if we can ever break into the Toronto market, but that's a whole other story!). We even used them to help decorate the restaurant for our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding.
Not to sound too cheesy, but the hardest thing about setting up my sweet table from Homesense was picking what I wanted. Their selection is always changing, but that's what makes it so fun! I love that I was able to create something in the white & floral family, but I could have just as easily done something white-on-white, white with gold, or even something with a nautical feel. Right now they have loads of Easter stuff in store, which made my floral and gold dreams come true! I love that I will be able to use many of these products again and again, and that I will get to remember such a special day with my favourite people!
It was so wonderful to spend an afternoon with my favourite women. Later on my fiancé even came by with a bouquet of flowers for me. I received so many gifts from my registry, but also so many unique and thoughtful gifts, and cards. My grandma was there taking photos every step of the way, and my bridesmaids were there helping everything run smoothly. I was lucky to even get a photo of my mom, my aunts, my grandmas, and my aunts and mother-in-law to be! It was so fun to see everybody getting along. Hard to believe that the wedding is less than two weeks away!
Happy wedding planning to all of you brides out there! As I click "post" I am just waiting to board my flight to Tahiti for our honeymoon!
This post is in partnership with Homesense Canada. Opinions remain my own!
Registering for our wedding has been one of the most fun parts about wedding planning. Yes, I know weddings aren't all about the gifts, but there is something really fun about picking out a whole bunch of things to start your new life with, and thinking about all the ways you will get to use them. Sure, its just a serving tray, but that tray represents all the fun grown up dinner parties you will host. Yes, that's just a vase, but thats the vase that will sit on the table with all your new dishes when you host Christmas for the first time ever and it will be filled with flowers that your husband picked up for you.
Well, you can't think about registering with out seeing an ad for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, or without seeing one of your friends be gifted one at her shower! Of course, I knew I wanted to register for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, but I had two concerns. First, where would I put it in our apartment, and second, what colour should I get? I would have loved to have had the navy one, or the teal/Tiffany Blue, but I don't know if that will match a future kitchen. We are hoping to buy a townhouse in the next year or two, so I wanted something that would match anywhere, plus, I love how clean and bright white looks, so we went with a white mixer.
Recently KitchenAid has introduced their newest mixer, the Artisan Mini 3.5 qt. Stand Mixer. Retailing in at $100 less than the "standard" 5 qt. at $429, the Artisan Mini is 25% lighter and 20% smaller than its full sized cousin. We use an Ikea Kallax as a bookshelf/storage unit just beside our kitchen, and the Artisan Mini fits perfectly in one of the cubbies. Just like the 5 qt mixer, the mini has 10 mixing speeds, a dough hook, a flat beater, a wire whisk and a stainless steel bowl. The 5 qt. comes with an additional pouring shield.
I was initially worried that the 3.5 qt would have a significant impact on the volume of food that I am able to make. However this has not been an issue for me. Day-to-day it is just my fiancé and I at home, and anything I make leaves us with loads of leftovers. When we have guests there is still more than enough to go around. I figure that one day, if our needs change we can always buy a larger one.
The first thing that I made with my Artisan Mini was a batch of scones. After I got more comfortable using the machine I ventured into something that I never imagined myself making from scratch: pasta.
I started by mixing the dough in the mixing bowl.
Then I attached on the pasta press. I found it really easy to attach and to use.
I used the pasta press as directed to smooth out my dough so I could feet it through the cutter.
I proceeded to stretch my dough out to the seventh setting which resulted in a very fine pasta. I would suggest stopping at the fifth setting as I found the pasta I made was a bit too fine for my liking.
I then switched from the rolling attachment to the cutting attachment. KitchenAid's Deluxe Pasta Set ($299.99) comes with a pasta roller and four different cutters. Each cutter has its name embossed on it, so you won't be able to forget which is which. The Deluxe Pasta Set comes with a lasagnette cutter, a capellini cutter, a fettuccini cutter and a spaghetti cutter.
I was really surprised at how quick pasta making was once it came time for the cutting. I just fed my long, thing sheets of pasta into the cutter and out flowed soft and silky hand made pasta. I rolled each sheet of cut pasta into "doughnuts" (inspired by the fancy part of the grocery store).
Half of the pasta went in the freezer for future use, and the other half...
...became this beautiful pasta. Made with my special pesto cream sauce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onion...it was amazing. My fiancé was impressed by how fresh the pasta tasted and was already dreaming up new dishes to enjoy it with before he was done the first bite.
Overall it was very satisfying to have taken some flour, salt, eggs and oil and have turned it into fresh pasta with the silkiest consistency I could imagine. Did I mention how silky it felt? Because it was silky.
If you were wondering,I followed KitchenAid's basic pasta recipe. Next time I want to try adding spinach, mushrooms, or other flavours, direct to the pasta. This post is sponsored by KitchenAid Canada. Views are my own!
Earlier this summer my fiancé and I had the chance to escape the city for a weekend and enjoy some time in the beautiful Kawarthas. Viamede Resort is nestled on the shores of Stoney Lake, not too far from Peterborough.
Our weekend started with slipping out of the city on a Friday just after lunch. Traffic getting out of Toronto? Pretty awful. But once we passed Oshawa it was smooth sailing on to Peterborough and then the Kawarthas.
Once we arrived we checked into our room, dropped out bags and headed out to the lake.
Our room had a nice comfortable bed and a beautiful view of the lake. After long days in the sun and on the lake, it was the perfect place to come and fall asleep in. The room was simple, and that is all it needed to be. The bed was beyond inviting, and the AC worked well, which was great for the heat wave!
One night we grabbed the Scrabble game from the board game shelf and played a round or two in our room. I loved how many DVDs and games they had to choose from. The rec room even had giant Jenga, darts, and ping pong! But of course, we didn't come all this way to play Scrabble.
For our first night, we had dinner at Mount Julian, which is Viamede's more upscale restaurant. Ingredients are sourced from Viamede's onsite farm, forests, and local farmers. With 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menus and wine and beer pairings, you will talk away with countless flavours and memories. Wine pairings are done by the General Manager, Ben Sämann (who will also take you out tubing on the lake if you ask!). Our tasting meal left us satisfied, but full. Our meal was made up of small plates including a fish dish, beef, duck, cheese, desserts, and more. The interesting thing about a tasting meal is that I probably wouldn't have ordered half of the things that arrived, but I still loved every course that we got to try. I walked away impressed, but Stuart, he walked out raving! He is much more of a foodie than I am, and he was blown away!
Our fish dish. Dinner was candle-lit, which was beautiful but did not lead to the best photos for the blog ;)
The next morning we spent some time exploring the property. Not only do they have traditional hotel rooms in the lodge, but they also have darling little cottages that can be rented, perfect for families! And did you see this beautiful playground overlooking the lake?
I was the most excited about the kayaks and canoes that guests can use! I took one of the kayaks out for a little while and enjoyed a peaceful morning paddling along. We even tried out the paddle-board, but let's just say that it not my strong suit.
And did I mention the water trampoline?
For those who aren't "lake people" they also have both an indoor and an outdoor pool. Other guests were loving the pool, but I was way more interested in the lake!
Viamede can also host weddings of up to 100 people. Imagine booking out this whole resort for an unforgettable wedding! Weddings can't be booked between Canada Day and Labour Day (or on long weekends) but can you imagine saying your vows overlooking the lake at this gazebo while the trees are painted shades of red and orange? While our wedding will have closer to 150 guests, I do love the idea of hosting a wedding here (or maybe even a low key bachelor or bachelorette party!). I was o impressed by how attentive the staff were for our weekend away, I can't imagine hoe lovely they would be to work with in planning a wedding!
As we continued to explore the property over the weekend, I couldn't help but imagine beautiful wedding photos taken in front of this sweet little church (or the lake, or the trees, or Mount Julian).
Later on in the afternoon we wanted to go tubing. However, it wasn't listed in the day's activity chart. So we went to the front desk to ask, and the owner, Ben, agreed to take us out basically right on the spot! We had a great time on the tube and were both pretty sore by the end of two rounds!
(In the background you can see the resort)
That night we enjoyed dinner at The Boat House, which is Viamede's more casual restaurant.
I opted for the pasta, while Stuart went for one of the sandwiches. Again I found the food to be fresh and yummy, though, of course, not as fancy as Mount Julian.
We enjoyed watching the sunset over the lake while finishing up our dinner. After, we played a few rounds of ping pong before heading off to bed.
The next morning we slept in later than we wanted to. Something about fresh air and a day of being active all day and being on vacation! Then we went out for a hike on one of the trails, that thankfully, are well marked. I really enjoyed how much the terrain varied on our walk, but this section was by far my favourite:
After our hike we packed up the car and grabbed lunch in Peterborough with Stuart's younger brother.
We both loved how friendly and accommodating the staff were, and how sweet the ambiance was. The guests were a mix of families on vacations, couples escaping the city, and friends catching up. The food was a real highlight, as was the chance to escape the city.
One other thing? No tips. The property is strictly no tips. After our incredible dinner at Mount Julian Stuart wanted to leave a tip, and the owner quite literally handed it back to us.
If you are looking to enjoy a beautiful lake, have some time to unwind, and maybe even host a wedding, be sure to check out Viamede in Ontario's Kawarthas!
Accommodations were provided in exchange for review. Opinions are my own.
Last weekend my fiancé and I celebrated our engagement at a party with friends and family! We were lucky to have so many people want to come out and join us for an afternoon backyard BBQ, and to have so many guests generously gift us things off our registry. Today I am excited to be partnered with Bed Bath and Beyond to share with you some of my top registry picks, and some tips to make the whole wedding planning process a bit easier!
A few months ago Stuart and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to register. We had a great time walking through the store and scanning our way through. It was really interesting to see what he was interested in that I had never thought about (like a clothing steamer and an air fryer).
I can't stress enough just how important it is to register early. Not only does Bed Bath and Beyond make it easy to add and delete items from your registry online, but registering early means that guests will know what to get you for your engagement party and bridal shower.
Go In Store
I loved getting to go in store with Stuart. It was a really fun date (and yes... we totally bought ourself a few things while we were there), and we grabbed lunch together afterwords. I found our in-store consultant to be really helpful. She managed to strike the balance of giving us space so we could explore together, while also being able to answer any questions we had (such as the difference between various stand mixers and vacuums!).
Even now, months after we registered in-store, you can catch me logged in to my registry online, adding, swapping and deleting items to perfect my registry. When my consultant told me that Bed Bath and Beyond was the most popular place to register because of their easy to use website, I sort of shrugged it off. However, I love that it keeps my account logged in, and that I can browse the website as if I was shopping, but then rather than add to my cart I can add to my registry. You can even schedule an in-store appointment online!
Now... let's get to the fun stuff! My top registry picks:
One thing I am really glad that I picked up while in store was this cute little "Our Adventure Fund" wooden box. We have been lucky to be gifted a number of gift cards at our party (and I figure the trend will continue at future showers). I like that we can keep our gift cards all in one place. After the wedding we are hoping to buy a home together. Once we have that home I am looking forward to spending our gift cards on larger purchases (such as a King sized bed, or a new coffee table). Best part? After your wedding, Bed Bath and Beyond invites you to come in store a few months later where you can complete your registry for 20% off everything. Needless to say... our gift cards will stocked away until then!
When one of my good friends got married this winter, she registered for the Kate Spade 10 Inch Calhoun Court vase, and I ordered it off her registry for her. Well, I loved the vase she picked so much that when I went to register a few months later I added it to mine. And, because she is amazing like that, she gifted it to me for our engagement party! I love the elegant diamond etching and how heavy the vase is. Right now I have it filled with hydrangeas, but it also beautifully holds sunflowers and peonies!
I am loving this super affordable set of porcelain ramekins. After falling in love with creme burlee this winter, I became obsessed with making it myself! When these simple little dishes aren't holding creme burlee, they are great for fruit, yogurt, or other little snacks. It is always a good idea to register for items at various price points, because guests may have different budgets for your wedding vs. your shower, or may want to put together a gift with various smaller items. We ended up with three sets of these (for a total of 12) so that we can easily entertain guests!
We found these beautiful (and affordable) pieces of wall art in store. I love that online you can sort what sort of art you are interested in into categories such as "Costal and Tropical" or "Floral and Botanical". Stuart found these pretty sand dollars, and we love how they balance off the (formerly blank) space above our couch.
When we moved in together my parents gifted us a set of Gordon Ramsay's White Maze dinner wear as a house warming gift. I love the simple elegance of these dishes, and how long they stay looking new! The simple line design makes these dishes perfect for every day, and perfect for entertaining. We registered for two more sets so that way we can have seating for 12!
Kate Spade always has beautiful prints to choose from. We thought it would be fun to mix and match their linens to have a table setting that was uniquely ours. We love her Charlotte Street Placemat in Navy because it is reversible! Navy and white is one of my all time favourite colour combos, and I think it looks great no matter what the season. To add some colour, we selected her Rose Terrace napkin. I love the way the white, navy and pink all go together! This look is completed by Kassatex's Eternity Napkin Ring in rose gold.
If you are getting married, but already live together, I can't recommend enough how great it is to upgrade some things around your kitchen. Two things I suggest keeping in mind when it comes to upgrades are looking for things that will transition from your apartment kitchen to your "forever" kitchen. I would suggest things that are neutral, and that will be long lasting.
As an avid tea drinker, one thing on the top of my list was a variable kettle. See, some teas are best when brewed at different temperatures. I am loving Breville's Variable Temperature Kettle. With different settings for various types of tea, and French press coffee, you can make sure that you are enjoying your beverage at its optimal flavour. I drink excessive quantities of green tea, and the green tea setting has really upped my tea game. This kettle is a major upgrade from our old kettle, which served its purpose, but has been re-homed to my cousin's university suite. For me, this kettle was a great upgrade because it is something I use every day!
If there is one thing that wedding magazines do a great job at hyping up, it is Kitchenaid Stand Mixers. In fact, it was probably the #1 thing I was excited to register for! My only concern was where I would put it. However, Kitchenaid's latest launch is perfect for apartment dewllers like me! Their new Artisan Mini Stand Mixer takes up 20% less space and is 25% lighter! I opted for it in white because I know it will look great in my current kitchen, but that it will translate well no matter what colour my future kitchen!
When registering, don't forget to include some "splurge" items on the higher end of the spectrum. You never know who may surprise you with their generosity, or which friends or family may want to pool together on a gift! I have always had my eye on a Dyson vacuum, and with two cats, it really is a necessity. I have been loving my Dyson V10 Animal Cord Free Stick Vacuum! Perfect for small spaces (it fits neatly on the wall with its charging station), but I know it will transition well to a future home. Plus I love that once charged, you can take it anywhere, like the car!
When registering, make sure to hit a variety of price points. If you already live together, think about how your picks will translate to a future home, or how they can be more versatile. Don't be afraid to pick something out of the norm, like art for your walls, or patio furniture! Make sure to register well in advance so your guests have some ideas for your engagement party and shower. While you may not get everything off your registry, don't worry about it! You can always buy any favourites that weren't purchased at the completion event for 20% off. Happy registering!
Ps. After registering, Stuart and I ended up buying an item off our registry as an anniversary gift. We will probably buy something off our registry for Christmas too!
Is it just me, or did it somehow go from third winter straight to summer? Either way, when the weather gets nicer one of the first things that I am excited to do is leave my boots behind. With my winter boots firmly in the back of the closet and my spring/fall boots with them, it is finally time to switch it up.
For this post, I am partnering with Hillcrest Mall. They have recently upped their shoe game, so I had to stop by to update my wardrobe. I like to have a few different pairs of shoes so I can switch it up, but let's be honest, my colour palette is pretty consistent white, navy, khaki, soft blues, greys.
My first stop was Browns, where I found these stunning Navy Leather "Charlston" Boat Shoes for $169. I fell in love with the gold soles, and the mix of navy and brown leather details. I love these shoes with a cute summer dress, or even a business casual outfit for the office. They are so soft and comfortable -- they feel like slippers! I think that these are perfect for the office or a meeting, though because they are so pretty I would be hesitant to walk long distances in them.
My next stop was Sporting Life. Now, to be honest I thought that I would just stop by, do some window shopping, and then head off to the next store. See, Sporting Life has a reputation for being a bit expensive...however, I found these stunning Keds! The Womens Champion Floral Sneaker retails for $54.99. I love how bright and fresh these look, and the little floral details make them perfect for spring. I have been loving these with khakis, shorts, and other casual outfits.
My final shoe stop was The Bay. Every spring I buy myself a pair of Sperry's. They are the perfect every day shoe for me in the summer. I find the more you wear them and the more beat up they get the better they look. I love wearing them on my parents' dock, walking around the city, and everything else in between. I would wear them all day every day, but I find they are not formal enough for work. The Sperry Top Slider Original retails for $125. I found that this pair of Sperrys could be found in a bunch of different stores at Hillcrest, but The Bay was the first store that had them in stock in my size.
One really cool thing I found at Brown's were their disposable insoles. With six pairs for about $8, these are an affordable solution to my least favourite thing to wear in the summer: socks. As you can see, all of the shoes I picked up for the spring/summer aren't really shoes you wear with socks. These insoles help keep your shoes from smelling, and are easy to swap out. They slip in so you don't have to worry about sticking them on.
Best part? Once you are wearing the insoles, nobody can see them!
I was really excited to learn that both Sporting Life and Browns accepts Apple Pay, and Sporting Life even accepts WeChat Pay!
While I was at Browns, I couldn't get over the beautiful selection. If I had my way, I would have a pair in every colour! Some of the beautiful brands they carry include Jeffery Campbell, Raf Simons, Dr. Martins, Guiseppe Zanotti, and even Stuart Weitzman!
I also couldn't get over the selection at Sporting Life. I wasn't really in the market for running shoes, but if I was, this would be heaven! Some of their other brands include Soia and Kyo, Preloved (which Hilary Duff adores!), Moncler, Patagonia, and Y-3.
What shoes are you loving this spring? Anything catch your eye?
This post is in partnership with Hillcrest Mall. Opinions are my own.