Rose Gold Addiction

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If you have been following my blog, you may recall several months ago I revealed my ‘work desk transformation’. It included lots of personal touches in a rose gold colour scheme. The quest for additional items continues. On a recent adventure to a craft store, I spotted a perfect accent piece…a few blush coloured flowers, with a hint of gold glitter.  When I saw them, I knew they were destined for my desk. They were calling my name and looking for a home.

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My knitting hobby continues. Now that I have a completed a couple of small projects, I figured it was time to start something a little bigger and more challenging…a blanket, for those chilly days at the office What colour is this blanket? You guessed it, rose gold! The blanket is well underway, but is quite an undertaking. I don’t want to rush making it, as that is when errors will be made. At the rate it is coming along, it should be finished by next fall (or winter), which is completely fine with me.

My rose gold addiction doesn’t end there. If you were to peek into my closet, you will find a variety of accessories from hats, scarves and necklaces in rose gold or blush shades. You will even find a pale pink pair of suede heels. If that wasn’t enough, my love of all things rose gold has also made an appearance in my cosmetic case in products such as lip glosses and eyeshadows (I am a big fan of Rimmel’s Magnif’Eyes Shadow Pallette in London Nudes Calling). Who knows, the popular hue might  even make an appearance on my nails.

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One other rose gold trend that I have been hearing and seeing lots about lately, that I am not sure if I am ready to jump into, is rose gold hair. I have seen lots of ideas for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, which range from very subtle, blush highlights, all the way to a full head of bright pink hair. I know for a fact I am not going to go for the latter.  A few subtle highlights, however, might be fun. I am just not sure if I am ready to make the commitment and spend a lot of hard earned money on a hair colour that 1) might not like as good as I thought, 2) might not be ‘cool’ in the near future. Or even worse, 3) both.

I was encouraged when a friend recently told me they discovered a great alternative to expensive salon appointments to get your hair coloured. They recommended an at-home hair colouring system, OverTone.  Have you heard of it? I have done some research and am possibly considering taking the leap and maybe trying either their rose gold or pastel pink conditioners. For those of you who know me, this is a big step. I don’t colour my hair very often and when I do, I am very cautious. This product sounds like a relatively low commitment and is considerably less expensive than a trip to a hairstylist. If I do go ahead, I will keep you posted of how it goes.

What do you think of the rose gold trend?  Is it here to stay?  Is there another colour trend that you have heard of?  

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor being sponsored by the companies mentioned in this post.

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A Weekend of Meeting Bloggers and a Feast of Food = Food Bloggers of Canada Conference

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Caution: This post may cause you to salivate!

Salmon pot pie, sounds good! Lemon sorbet with berries, yum! Lentil sausage, I’ll give it a try! Sweet potato pierogis, bring it on! These are just a couple of the items I ate at a recent conference. The Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, also referred to as (FBC), was held in picturesque Ottawa, this year, from October 20-22.

The food at the event was exceptional and the pictures and descriptions throughout don’t quite do it justice. It truly was a culinary adventure that I will not forget. I wish I could add smells and tastes into this post.

I had the privilege to attend this anticipated conference again this year as a sponsor with Ontario PorkIf you haven’t heard of this group of bloggers, I highly recommend looking them up. They are a group of incredibly talented individuals that do everything from developing delicious recipes, showcasing their creations through beautiful photography and they also know how to tell a story. Many of them now create recipe videos, as consumers love to watch how a recipe is prepared.

It was wonderful to meet new faces, as well as reconnect with familiar ones. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the conversations over the weekend. I have attended many events during my professional career and something that stands out with this conference, besides the exquisite food, is how friendly and supportive everyone is.  \Nobody feels left out and all are welcome.

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Ontario Pork was a silver sponsor of FBC and I was proud to serve Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles during the opening reception. Yes, you heard right. These decadent, sweet and salty treats were the talk of the night (in a good way) and were enjoyed by many. Recipe cards were provided and a short video was looping to demonstrate how simple these truffles are to make at home.

Following the reception, was a tasty dinner, sponsored by Canadian Lentils. Instead of a sit down meal, there were numerous stations, each featuring a local restaurant that prepared a unique lentil dish. This format allowed for more networking opportunities. I will admit I was a bit skeptical at first, and thought this may not fill me up. I don’t cook with lentils very often, likely because I am not overly creative on how to use them. I was impressed with the dishes, some of which included a lentil donut with a tomatoey sauce, pierogis with pickled cabbage and a phenomenal brownie, that tasted like a real-chocolate brownie, if not better (if that is even possible).

The next morning, keynote speaker, Elizabeth Baird, talked about Canadian food history. You may know her as a former Canadian Living food editor, author of multiple cookbooks or as a member of the Order of Canada. An interesting fact that I learned during her presentation is carrot pudding is just as Canadian as the butter tart. It is made from grated carrots and potatoes. Who knew?

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Over the several days, I listened to a variety of speakers, that talked about a range of topics including: How to Snag Media Opportunities and Survive Interviews; What PR Teams Need Bloggers to Know; Using Video to Build a Successful Food Business and Community; and Canadian Entrepreneurship and Food Trends. In addition, I attended the ‘Boots ‘N’ Roots’ session, hosted by Farm and Food Care Ontario. This brought seven local farmers, including a hog farmer, to talk with the bloggers about questions they had about farming and to debunk myths and misconceptions.

In addition, as a sponsor I had the opportunity to participate in the 1 on 1 blogger/sponsor speed networking session.  Approximately ten bloggers spoke with me for 10 minutes to discuss opportunities to work with Ontario Pork and its blogging platform. So many connections were made. I look forward to receiving their proposals and hopefully working with many of them. The selection process will not be easy, as I met with so many talented individuals, each unique.  Stay tuned to Ontario Pork’s blog at http://www.ontariopork.on.ca/recipes/Blog

Only at FBC, is it not only acceptable, but expected that you take photos of your food. Nobody is judging you. It was neat to see so many people taking pictures of the same dish. However, no two pictures were the same. I can’t do that now, without my husband giving me a weird look that says “do you really need a picture of your (insert name of dish)?”
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It wasn’t just the meals that included delicious creations.  Even the coffee/snack breaks were well thought through. You know you are at a food event when there is a popcorn bar (I regret not getting a photo, it was just too good); fresh scones and jam, and even fresh fruit in the water stations.

I returned home full, both physically and mentally. I am eager to review my notes and to look back as to what makes sense for the next step(s) for both Ontario Pork’s blog, as well as my own.

An event of this magnitude takes a lot of planning and I would like to thank the two organizers and hosts, Ethan Adeland and Melissa Hartfield, as well as the volunteer team for their hard work and dedication to put this incredible event together. Thank you to all of the sponsors for their generosity. As a planner (including events), I appreciated all of the work put in to make sure the event was a success. What an amazing weekend, on all accounts!

If you are interested to learn more, you can follow the discussion at #FBC2017

What great and/or unique conferences have you attended?  What made them stand out to you?

Posted in agriculture, career development, Dining, events, food, lifestyle, recipes, Travel | Leave a comment

Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation Conference – ‘Land of Culture and Agriculture’ in Quebec

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The end of September signifies a time of year that I look forward to. Why, do you ask?  For the past five years, I have filled my suitcase and headed to a different province to attend the annual Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) Conference. This year it was unique as CFWF partnered with its sister organization in Quebec, Association des communicators et redactors de l’agrolimentaire (ACRA) and held the conference in Quebec City. I was very excited as somehow, I had never traveled to this beautiful city, despite it not being too far from home.

Hotel Le Concorde Quebec was home base for the event. The location was extremely convenient as there were countless restaurants and cafes within a block, it was a short walk to downtown and you didn’t have to venture to far to do some sight-seeing (the Plains of Abraham) were right outside the hotels doorsteps. You really couldn’t have asked for a better location to see all that Quebec City has to offer.

I look forward to this conference as I am able to visit farms and agricultural related venues and learn about farming in a different province. I also have the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers on different topics during the professional development day. I must not forget to mention the amazing networking and social opportunities this conference offers. It is useful to have connections across the country, all in similar professions, that I can reach out to when needed to discuss anything agriculture, writing or communications related.

On tour day, I woke up bright and early, which wasn’t much earlier than my normal routine and enjoyed a hearty breakfast. I found a small coffee shop across the road from the hotel and since I had a few minutes to spare I took advantage and grabbed a salted caramel latte.

It was a tough choice of which tour to select when registering for the conference, as they all looked appealing. One focused on entrepreneurial production, another was to farms that feature product from the land and the third option was to tour several innovative agri-food sector establishments. I chose the second option, which would tour île d’Orleans, home to some of the earliest French Canadian farms from the 17th century.

The tour began at  Onesime Pouliot Farm where the farm 160 hectares producing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and sweet potatoes. The next stop was at Les fromages de I’sle d’Orleans where guests learned about the award winning maker of artisanal cheese since the colonial period of New France. It was interesting to learn that all of the milk used is from the island and it does not contain any additives. Next up was a visit to Relais des pins, a third generation sugar shack that has been part of the maple industry for 50 years. A delicious family-style lunch was served and ended with a sampling of maple taffy. Upon conclusion of lunch, the next stop was Le Domaine Orleans, an apple orchard and apple processor where cider production was explained. The last stop of the day was at Maison Cassis Monna and Filles, where 50,000 bottles of various black currant liquors are produced each year. It was interesting to learn that black currants are highly resistant to plant diseases and are able to adapt to harsh winters.

On the Saturday, delegates were provided with headsets to wear as presentations would be simultaneously translated throughout the day. The morning began with a discussion on ‘Breakfast for the Future’ – possibilities for future collaboration between CFWF and ACRA. Next on the agenda were several panel discussions. The first was on ‘Public Relations in Agricultural Communications’, followed by ‘ The Changing Face of Agricultural Trade’. Both sessions brought forward lots of useful information that could be applied in my role as a communications/marketing professional; as well as relevant information. An economist also discussed what makes Quebec agriculture different.

The day wrapped up with an awards banquet and dinner, followed by dancing and singing along with the live band (The GMO’s).

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Quebec and hope to return again to explore more. My only regret about my trip, is that I didn’t know enough French.

Have you travelled to Quebec City?  What unique experiences did you have?

Posted in agriculture, career development, Dining, events, farming, food, lifestyle, personal growth, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Changing Seasons

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My calendar says it is September 17th, but the temperature says it is 27 degrees Celsius. Can this be right?  It should be starting to feel like Fall, but the mercury begs to differ. I am loving every minute of this late Summer and will hold onto it as long as I can.

I am not sure if Mother Nature realizes what month it is, either. Leaves on the trees are starting to change colour to vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow and gold, which typically is a telltale sign that Fall is on its way. The temperatures, however, are well above seasonal average.

I love Summer for the warm, sunny days, backyard bbq’s, getting together with friends, enjoying drinks on a patio, tank tops, sandals and spending lots of time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. With that being said, I also enjoy Fall which means pumpkin spice everything, fall boots, sweaters, comfort food, hot chocolate and curling up with a blanket and a good book. Right now, I don’t know what season I am supposed to be enjoying.  Should I have a pumpkin spice frappuccino instead of the traditional latte? That just somehow doesn’t seem right to me.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip down memory lane to Glen Williams, Ontario. It was almost exactly five years ago that we had our engagement photos taken by Sandra Nigrello in this charming and artsy little hamlet. Again, the weather was unpredictable. During our stroll through the art galleries we went from wearing light jackets, to being warm in t-shirts, to getting caught in a rainstorm. In addition to seeing unique art pieces, including hand-blown glass sculptures, we enjoyed a tasty lunch at the Copper Kettle Pub. We also browsed through a book store, an antique market, a furniture store and finally a quilt shoppe.


Yesterday, I spent the afternoon sitting on my front patio with a cold fruity beverage and completed my first real knitting project…a scarf. I am really pleased with how it turned out and look forward to wearing it.  Yes, it has its flaws, but that is what makes it unique.  I have begun my next project, which will likely take quite some time to finish, but I am in no rush. Stay tuned to find out what it is.

I have enjoyed the warmer weather, but I am still confused about what season we are in. It should be Fall, but is definitely feeling more like Summer. What do you think? Are you hoping Summer sticks around? Or are you hoping Fall is here to stay? Maybe you prefer one of the other two seasons.

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A Country Estate Retreat

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Where is the summer going? It is hard to believe it’s already the middle of August.  To get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life, Brendan and I recently escaped from the city (Milton) to enjoy a quiet and peaceful country estate retreat.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the Stone Edge Estate when searching nearby hotels.  This immaculate bed and breakfast, nestled on beautifully manicured grounds just outside of Georgetown, Ontario had rave reviews. Originally I was not looking for a bed and breakfast, but it definitely sounded appealing. In reality, it was what we were looking for, but didn’t know if we would be able to find. I am glad we booked here, as it surpassed our expectations.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Doug (the owner), who asked us to sign some paperwork for our stay, followed by asking us to choose our breakfast selections from the menu for the next morning. Let’s just say, all of the options sounded delicious, so it was a hard choice.  More about breakfast later.

Next, we were shown the reading room and indoor pool/hot tub, which were both in pristine condition.  The tour continued to our guest room (the Escarpment Suite), which was incredibly spacious (nearly 700 square feet) and well appointed. There was a reading nook, balcony and hot tub.  Bathrobes, slippers, ample towels in the room (and at the pool), a microwave and fridge, as well as wine glasses, plates and cutlery were some of the amenities provided.  A wide selection of coffee, to use in the single cup brewer, as well as a variety of teas were also available.

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Attention to detail was evident throughout the property. I can not think of anything that was not thought of (and I do a lot of event planning).

Our stay was at the beginning of the week and it appeared that we were the only guests there. There is only three guest rooms, so even if they were occupied, the home would not have been busy.

It is rare to find an indoor pool at a bed and breakfast and this one was absolutely stunning. The hot tub was relaxing and the pool refreshing.   I could have spent much more time there.


For dinner, we took a short drive into town where we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner at The Cellar. I ordered the New York striploin and Brendan chose to have the ribeye. Both of the steaks were cooked to perfection and the side dishes (roast potatoes and carrots) were tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary. There was an extensive wine selection as well as some creative martinis. Fun dessert options were also available, including a s’mores dip, which we selected. Although it was tasty, I am not sure it was worth the half hour wait.

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Upon returning to Stone Edge Estate, we were a bit worried it would be difficult to find the driveway, as it is on a country road that is not well lit.  To our surprise the front sign at the end of the driveway stood out and the 1/2 kilometre driveway was well lit.

The king-sized bed was very comfortable and we woke up to the sun peeking through the curtains the next morning. We both enjoyed a cup of coffee on the balcony as we watched the sunrise…which was completely worth it. Sometimes it is the little things that matter.
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When I went back into the room, I could smell breakfast cooking and the wonderful aromas were wafting up the staircase. My stomach was starting to rumble, so I knew it was getting close to breakfast time.  Breakfast was a scrumptious feast, all prepared by Doug. The ham and swiss quiche was fantastic, as was the chocolate chip muffin and the array of fruit was incredibly fresh. Brendan enjoyed waffles with fresh whipped cream and a sliced strawberries and a blueberry muffin. If we had stayed at a hotel, we likely would have been overcharged for a mediocre breakfast that couldn’t compare to this. It was one of the best, if not the best breakfast I have ever had.  Warning, you will not need lunch (and maybe dinner) that day, as you will leave the dinning room from breakfast so full.  A walk around the grounds helps to burn off some calories.

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I would highly recommend this amazing bed and breakfast if you are looking for a place to relax and unwind. Learn more at: http://www.stoneedgeestate.ca 

If you are looking for a romantic spot to enjoy a dinner on a special occasion, I would recommend The Cellar Steak and Seafood Restaurant.  You can find them at: https://www.cellarrestaurant.com

Have you ever been to a bed and breakfast that you would recommend?  What did you enjoy about the experience?

Posted in Dining, food, lifestyle, restaurant, Travel | 2 Comments

Work Desk Transformation

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TA-DA!!  Finally a clean desk.  It feels great!

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you may remember a couple of months ago,I wrote about personalizing an office space? I had been wanting to do for quite some time. Recently, I had some spare time to tackle this project of cleaning and personalizing my work desk. I am very pleased with how it turned out!

The first step was to organize and declutter. Piles of paper were stacking up, creating a small mountain. Help! Make it stop! I managed to wade through all of it. Papers were either, recycled, shredded, filed or kept on my desk if it is a current project. It was amazing to see numerous versions of documents through many revisions.

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It was a huge relief to see the copious amounts of paper on my desk reduced significantly to only what I am currently working on. This process made me aware of how much paper is printed. I want to do my part to protect the environment and will be more conscious before I click ‘print’. It was a really eye opener.

Each sheet of paper had been addressed at the time it arrived on my desk, it just hadn’t been properly stored in my filing cabinets or appropriately discarded. With that being said, each document was saved electronically onto the work network (if needed). I am in the process of brainstorming ways for a better system for file management of physical documents that require a hard copy to be kept.

The next part took some careful decision. This was a chance for me to rearrange items on my desk to make sure everything was in a place that made sense. A pen and notebook are near my computer; sticky notes and a pen are close to my phone. Desk essentials such as a stapler, paper clips, highlighters, scissors and a ruler are all neatly contained in a clear desk organizer. My inbox tray is located near the entrance to my workspace, so colleagues can easily put stuff in it.

The last stage of this project was the fun part…adding the personal touches. It was time to find a place for  a photo and add a bit of colour with pink and purple push pins on the wall. I also recently purchased an iced tea tumbler; tea tin and water glass in pink that ties everything together. These items (not pictured), along with the pillow on my desk chair, notebook and picture frame all tie in with my colour scheme of pink and gold.

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Before the big clean up, there were days I was embarrassed to have people come into my cubicle.  It was almost like a war zone on my desk. Now I am proud to show off my new space! 

I feel relieved that I now have an organized and clutter free desk.  No more wading through stacks of paper.  The past few days working in my clean space, I felt more productive and clear-minded with no piles of paper to distract me. I look forward to keeping my home-away-from-home space as clutter-free as possible.

My advice is that if you work in an office environment like I do, take a few minutes at the end of each day before you head home to neaten up up your desk. This simple task will hopefully help so that you don’t end up with an untidy space.

The black or neutral colour palettes of typical office environments are pretty sterile and don’t say much about a person.  If you are allowed to personalize your space, I encourage you to do so (within reason). It will help your co-workers get to know you a bit better, makes for conversation and when done right, makes for a welcoming environment.

If you work in an office (or at home), I would be interested to hear how you stay organized?  What are your tips?  Also, how do you make your workspace more personal?

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Channeling My Crafty Side

“In from the right side, front to back…bring yarn under and over needle, draw yarn through stitch”.  These are steps that I have been repeating to myself this week when I pick up my new craft project.

Maybe these phrases sound familiar to you.  Have you figured out what I am up to?  Guess what? I am knitting.  

This popular craft was something I learned at a young age, but put aside for many years.  Now as an adult, I want to take up an artsy hobby and have something to work on after a busy day.  I was looking for a project that would help me to relax and unwind, to help keep my sanity through the busyness of this thing called life. If for some reason I become stressed while knitting, I will put it aside and pick it up again later. Knitting should not be stressful, right?

Recently, I took a trip to a nearby craft store and with a shopping basket in hand I was ready to peruse the aisles filled with an assortment of different colours and textures of wool. I will admit I was a bit overwhelmed with the selection, not only of yarn, but knitting needles and other supplies. Where do I begin? How do I know what type of wool is good for beginners?  What type of needles do I need?  Are they the right type, based on the wool? Do I need to buy a book with patterns, or can I find them online just as easily?  These are some of the questions that I wondered about.

If you look in my closet, you will find a wide array of garments in pink, purple and blue, as well as black and white.  These colours speak to me and would be good options when selecting my ball of wool. I just learned a ball of wool is more commonly referred to as a ‘skein’. After browsing for what seemed like a long time, I found a colour that spoke to me.  It almost jumped out at me, as it to say ‘buy me.  I am perfect.’  As you can see from the picture above, I purchased a multi-coloured ball, I mean skein that has lovely shades of pink, blue and purple.

Next up, finding the appropriate knitting needles. I read the label on the wool carefully and found the corresponding needles (5.5 mm) fairly easily. I think I now have what I need to get started, so I proceeded to check-out and was excited to get home to start my knitting journey.

Now, it was time to refresh my memory on the basic stitches, knit and purl. I watched a few videos online to review the techniques. I also needed to learn how to put the stitches on the needle (better known as ‘casting on’) and then how to finish an item (called ‘binding off’), so your item does not unravel (like my sample pieces did).

I was eager to start practicing!  To my surprise, the process came back to me quickly. It wasn’t long before I felt comfortable to start my first project. You may have heard the phrase ‘like riding a bike’, meaning once  you know how to do something, you never forget the skill.  Knitting was similar.  After so many years of not knitting, I still remembered how to do it. All it took was a littler refresher and some practice.

What will I be knitting as my first project?  A simple scarf. It consists mostly of the knit and purl stitches, which I just learned is also called ‘stocking’ or ‘stockinette’ stitch.

In case you are a knitter, or are interested in the pattern I am using, it is as follows:

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1) 20 stitches – cast on
2) knit 1 row
3) purl 1 row
4) 1 slip stitch, 18 knit stitches, 1 slip stitch
5) 1 knit stitch, 18 purl stitches, 1 knit stitch
**Repeat steps 4 and 5 until desired length
6) 20 stitches – cast off

Pretty simple, right? I will post a picture when my scarf is complete. I am very pleased with how it is turning out so far and look forward to wearing it when it is done.  I will be very proud to wear something that I made, by hand.  I am sure it will not be perfect, but that is okay.

Are you a knitter (or crocheter?) What projects are you working on or have you completed?  I would also love to hear your tips, techniques, patterns.

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