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

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Happy New Year!!! Help a Bloggy out..

I am writing this from my brand new MacBook Pro!!!!

So exciting and also going to take me so freaking long to learn all the ins/outs!
oh well. trade offs. lol

Nick got me this sweet little surprise Christmas gift and he really pulled out all the stops to surprise me. First off I thought for sure we were too broke to afford such a lux gift (spoiler we are still too poor lol) and secondly, he put hand weights and kettle bells into this huge box to throw me off the scent.

I thought it was a desk from IKEA maybe...
It was so heavy I really wasn't thinking laptop.
At most I thought maybe he would splurge on the camera that I wanted.. that would've been much less expensive.. but I am NOT complaining! yayayyayayay.

Did any one try any of my breakfast recipes?!
Dang I forgot to add that to the questionnaire at the bottom.
If you did try any, let me know in one of the responses!

Mine turned out AMAZING.
So happy with them, I was tempted to make them again for the New Year.

Our power went out on Christmas Day DURING SUPPER.
For like, 2 hours...

It was pretty funny really, I had just finished cooking so that was good timing and I was charging my Beats Pill (music speaker, Nick bought me for my birthday) so it ended up being an ok night with the Christmas carols in the background while we were opening our 'Jingle ball' in the dark, it was sort of fun really.

The kids are getting SO big!
They aged about 12 months in the last 2 weeks.. 

They LOVED every minute of Christmas and it was honestly the best Christmas yet.
Elliott was so excited.

Nicks still got the 'stash!
because I like it and I've convinced him to keep it until March.. maybe.

Face Mask Friday will be back in January so stay tuned. (GOT SOME GOODIES.)

I just realized I have Amazon Prime and can watch TV there, DUH.
I LOVED Grace under fire when I was a kid! LOVED it!
Let me know also in the questionnaire if you watched it, I am so excited to watch it again.
And Roseanne because obviously need a refresh before the reboot, but did you hear how they're going to include both the Beckys???

I heard one Becky will be the surrogate baby carrier for the other Becky.
And then I hear a commenter say they "Should have made them both Marks Ex wives and they've remained friends since Mark has passed"

And I thought that would've been brilliant because the actor who played Mark sadly passed away years ago and he was such a big part of Roseanne I really hope they give him credit somewhere.

The actor was also Doyle on Angel which I also watched and loved and now I am wondering if I should have made a question  in the questionnaire about pop culture... and adding more of it to my blog/social medias... BRB

Really I've no time for grammar or ending run on sentences at this stage of the year life so don't you dare add that as a critique below! Although if you do, its anonymous sooo feel free. hehe

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Big Christmas Breakfast, done easy...

Fingers crossed!
because the last thing you need Christmas morning is to be stuck in the kitchen right?!?

This year I will be upping my toast game and going ALL in!
I'm so sorry this is a last minute second post but...
that's who I am! lol

Here goes:

Elliott's wonderful babysitter wrote these out so perfectly for me I don't even feel like I need to retype. The first two recipes are from her and I am so excited to try them!

Monkey bread is something I've always wanted to make but never trusted my cooking skills enough to do but with her encouragement/being a text away, I feel like I can do it.



The third recipe I have tried myself and its EASY PEASE, so that was a no brainer.
Since we're feeding potentially up to 10 people having an extra overnight dish is perfect.

This cinnamon roll breakfast dish is from The Hungry Homemaker Fran, and she has TONS of easy recipes. I normally make some of her Christmas cookies and dang it, I forgot this year.. so I may whip these (click) up today because I bought an ugly Christmas sweater shaped cookie cutter at Michael's craft store last week, its super cute and has great real-estate space for decorating.

(OOOOOHhhh these ones, I normally make these ones, CLICK)

And here is the overnight cinnamon roll french toast -Clicky

Okie doke, that's it!
Follow my stories for behind the scenes holiday cheer and I will see you in 2018!

Thank you all for 2017, this last quarter has been my fastest growing blog quarter to date and I am so thankful for the support.

Enjoy your holidays and message me if these recipes need clarifying, I will text Carrie for help. LOL

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Ugly Christmas Sweater Mani, vote for me to win!

I love nail polish but I wouldn't consider this a nail blog in any way, shape or form!
However when Nail Polish Canada comes a knockin'.. you answer!

They challenged me to create a holiday mani to be put up against other holiday mani's and I was ALL in, even though I was scared. (LOL)

At last count I think I own 86 nail polish.. I do love my polish but a solid colour with an accent nail is normally my most elaborate.

I do own a nail art kit like this one (click) which comes in handy for the odd easy nail design.

*this post contains affiliate links

The dotting tools are super easy to use so I knew right away - Holly berries would be my best bet.

During my first draft I thought it would be adorable to utilize Noelle's name (Noel) however, I grossly overestimated my talent. (LOLOL)

See my first attempt:

That just wouldn't do, so see my second attempt:

Ok, this one is better!
The pointer finger was suppose to be a candy cane but did not go as planned so I erased and tried one more time.

The final look!! ^

CND Vinylux Cream Puff $12
Ciate Nail Polish - Beach Hut $12  (similar. mine is 'all aglow' from Winners) Butter London Nail Lacquer Come to bed red $19 (similar. mine is Mac holiday collection 2013)
Julep Phoebe $14 (out of stock)
Seche Vite top coat $9.25 (one of my favs!!)

I'm no artist but I think this is pretty good for an amateur and its something you can recreate too! You know I love anything tacky & this mani is the perfect addition to your ugly Christmas sweater.

If you like it and like me.. could you please, please, please go vote for my mani over on the competition page/

I don't ask for much on the blog but I would really love to place for this one!
Something about my messy mani being recognized would feel lovely, plus there's $800 worth of prizes to be won! YAY (think of the IG unboxing!)