Monday, December 15, 2014

the sisterhood: bri tejeda

sisterhood - a bond between two or more women, not always related by blood. they always tell the truth, honor each other, and love each other deeply, like sisters. 

bri tejada is one of those kindred souls that comes along very rarely in life. the type you instantly feel a close friend connection with. the type that you follow, hanging on every single word, happily feeling that connection deepen.

with three little girls at home, her life is incredibly busy, but bri still manages to share some truly beautiful stories through her (new) blog- and her always inspiring instagram feed. a welcome spot of sunshine on the gloomiest of days, i am so thankful to get to share a little bit about bri today. 

name, occupation, location? 
bri tejeda, blogger/ mother/ story-teller/ natural skin care aficionado, bellingham, washington

what makes your heart happy?
i know it sounds odd, and i’m sure i could give you a million answers as to what keeps my heart full and happy, but “perseverance” pretty much sums it all up.

there is nothing like the feeling of working hard and looking back, seeing everything you overcame. everything you felt and experienced and learned, most of the time the hard way, as a person to get where you are today. it's honestly what keeps me positive and keeps me focused. i moved out at a really young age and have essentially had a lot of looking back and “ whoa, i got through that” moments. the “silver lining” in life is what makes my heart happy, and seeing that my daughters are growing up learning to find the good in the bad and enjoy it when its smooth sailing is really encouraging for me as their mother. i want that for them.

when i was about 15 i used to fly back and forth from washington to santa cruz, CA and stay with my sister in her dorm when i needed someone (she is the best sister). she gave me this little book by anna quinlend and it had a quote in it that read:

'Exhaust the little moment.
Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold
it will not come.
Again in this identical

that quote really did give me so much perspective in my life, so much so that at the ripe age of 16 i decided it was good enough to get tattooed on me... so i guess the lesson here is buy your siblings (kids) books that encourage them, but don’t let them move out on their own when their still babies and get tattoos.

your all time favourite recipe?
my favorite recipe of all time is, hands down, our families swedish Yuletide bread. I was just deemed capable enough (thanks family) to have the recipe so i can start making it with my daughters. 

although i can’t share it with you (its a family TREASURE) i can tell you if you google “Swedish Yule Bread” you’ll get something pretty close... with some pointers:i cut the amount of candied cherries in half, get extra generous on the nuts, and double the amount of cardamom it asks for. also, don’t compare this delicacy to fruit cake, those are fighting words.

your all time favourite photograph?

my favorite photograph is grainy and taken with a cell phone. it's a picture of my husband and i having our first kiss as husband and wife. we got married in a court room on a saturday, the judge had a messy robe and we stepped over homeless people on our way in. most people would not want that to be their wedding day, and of course when i look at these pinterest perfect weddings i sigh a little, but honestly i would have it no other way. it wasn’t about the event, the clothes, or the guests, it was about me spending my life with the only person who stole my heart.

joe and I have known each other since we were twelve years old, and neither of our lives have been necessarily ideal. we have seen each other through a lot, and even as kids knew we would end up together. i can honestly say he is the only person i have genuinely felt that unconditional love with, and i try to remind myself constantly what a gift that really is. i want to be the realist and say the concept of soul mates sounds silly, but i suppose even at twelve, when you know you know.

something in your home that you adore?

i adore two spaces in this little home.

one being the constellation wall we did for the girls room as part of our birthday gift for our oldest daughter, indiauna, and the second being my very cluttered and yet somehow endearing sun window above my sink. it's full of succulents and that's genuinely the only plant i can keep alive, so i shove them all up there with the best intentions to spread them around the house, though the always seem to die if i move them.

maybe air plants are my thing?

something on your wish list?
something that means a whole lot to me, and i suppose is on a ‘wish list’ would be that the blog and skin line that i’ve been tediously working on for the last year, translate in the way i want it to, and be received with as much love and thoughtfulness that i’ve poured into it. my intention is to spread a little honesty through authenticity and to take people along that journey with me, as well as celebrate other women who inspire me.

as silly as it sounds, doing justice by those things is a very big deal to me, and i guess that's my wish.

something totally random about yourself?
i love elvis. a lot. i grew up in las vegas and bought a fake copy of his drivers license at a flee market when i was seven. i carried it in my wallet until i was 23. i lost that wallet, and the only part i regret losing is that damn elvis ID. he’s the king, bottom line.

how people can connect with you
you can find me on instagram - @indimoonrose and on facebook under bri tejeda, as well as my blog 

thank you so much bri! it was such a treat to get to spend some time reading more about you and your beautiful family. xo

the sisterhood is a regular feature post intended to highlight inspiring women in this world. near or far, real life friends, internet buds, or beauties that have connecting through this blog. members of my sisterhood doing great things and worthy of a bit of our admiration, love and attention. if you are interested in joining, please get in touch!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12 days of baking || brown sugar shortbread

my friend kristen is a special one. we met in a bradely birth class almost 5 years ago and have been wonderful and connected friends ever since. she is an amazing inspiration- SO hard working, loving, calm, kind and considerate, healthy, and an incredible cook. She always knows just what to say and is an absolute joy to be around. she makes my heart happy. it's been a wild few years, but the sweetest treat has been watching our babies grow up together. and getting to sip beer, chat endlessly and eat delicious meals with kristen by my side has been pretty swell too. i love you my friend!

today is officially the last entry for the '12 days of baking' series, and kristen was excited to share a  recipe from her childhood for shortbread. technically this is the second shortbread recipe but this one uses brown sugar instead of confectioners, so its a rich and much different tasting cookie. one i will be adding to my holiday baking rotation from here on in.

brown sugar shortbread
'This is my grandma's recipe that my mom made every year when I was a kid (and still does). I have to admit, that as a kid they weren't my favourite Christmas treat, but with age came wisdom...brown sugar, butter and flour make the most golden melt in your mouth treats!  Thank goodness I wised up!   A couple of years ago I started making them with my oldest daughter, Ellen (now 4.5 years old). I feel her opinion of them is the same as mine was at that age (although her little sister was a fan tonight), but so long as she wants to bake with me, I'm happy! Classic, simple, delicious.' - Kristen Powell

:: ingredients ::
1 pound butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour

:: directions ::
cream together butter and brown sugar. add flour and once combined kneed well.
roll onto floured surface and cut with cookie cutters (or, if your like me and don't own cookie cutters or just prefer a simple look, cut dough with a knife into squares and rectangles and make designs on top with a fork...this was a highlight for both Ellen and me)
bake in 300° for approximately 20 minutes. watch them, and if they start to turn slightly golden they are done (i find this the toughest part!)
dont forget to lick the spoon! (butter + sugar = heaven!!)

view more from the '12 days of baking series' here

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12 days of baking || sugar cookies

sugar cookies have always been my favourite homemade cookie. no matter the holiday, they are an appropriate treat to incorporate into the festivities.

this past week, we had my sweet friend carie and her sweet kiddos over to bake with us. it was quickly agreed that between scooping and dumping, rolling and cutting, decorating and taste-testing, sugar cookies would offer enough tasks to keep two 4 year olds and and a 1.5 year old well entertained. of course tons of laughter, a giant mess and many delicious cookies were enjoyed by all.

sugar cookies
:: ingredients ::
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups flour + more for rolling out
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

:: directions ::
preheat the oven to 375 degrees
cream butter and sugar together
add eggs and vanilla and continue to mix
in a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt
add dry ingredients slowly into wet and continue to mix. if your dough feels a bit sticky or still too wet, add another 1/4 cup of flour
roll out dough on well floured surface, cut into shapes and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden.

we added sprinkles, smarties and almonds to our cookies before baking so the kids would have a more active roll in the decorating, but feel free to top with butter cream icing (my fave! my aunt rose's special butter cream icing recipe is here) or whatever other decorations you fancy.

to view the rest of the 12 days of baking series, click here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

12 days of baking || almond roca

this recipe is another of my grandma's greatest. it's one i make over and over and over again. one that everyone raves about and one that i got no less than 9 emails requesting the recipe for after our wedding. i have actually shared this on the blog before, but i just couldn't do a roundup of my favourite holiday recipes and not have this one included.

if you only make one recipe this entire holiday season, this would be the one to pick. simple ingredients, so easy to whip up, and bodes well tossed in a container in your fridges for an instant crowd pleaser whenever guests pop by. buttery, a little bit of crunch, the perfect mix of delicious and melt-in-your-mouth. there are not enough words to describe how perfect this simple recipe is, so you should probably just go try for yourself.

almond roca
:: ingredients ::
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 lb butter (don't use margarine. ever.)
1 cup sliced almonds
1-2 sleeve of graham crackers

:: directions ::
preheat oven to 350 degrees
line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and cover with a single layer of graham crackers
in a pot, melt butter and brown sugar together, stirring constantly until bubbly and foamy - about 5-7 minutes
remove from heat and stir in almonds
pour mixture over top of graham crackers and gently smooth out to edges
bake for 10 minutes
let cool in pan, break into pieces and enjoy!

for more 12 days of baking recipes, click HERE

Monday, November 24, 2014

12 days of baking || anne's gingerbread cookies

jeff's mom anne has one of the best recipes for gingerbread cookies. one that has been made every year since jeff and his brother kyle were little boys, and one that we look most forward to inhaling each december. a delicious treat full of happy memories.

because my brain wont keep up with me lately, i was forced to make a couple small modifications to anne's completely perfected recipe, but the results, thankfully, were equally delicious.
  • i substituted butter for shortening because i didnt have shortening on hand. the cookies turned out just great, but with the butter substitute, i chilled the dough for a couple hours before rolling it out. 
  • anne's classic recipe uses smarties for buttons on the gingerbread men. i forgot to add them to the grocery list (and all thats left of finn's halloween candy is suckers. bad parents.) so instead, i made this simple icing to drizzle over the top. it was almost as delicious as smarties.
  • anne traditionally cuts the dough into gingerbread people shapes, both big and small, but finn recently picked out a snowflake cookie cutter at the store and was adamant we use it when we made these. who am i to argue? 

anne's gingerbread cookies
:: ingredients ::
1 cup shortening or butter (or a mix of the two)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
4 cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
smarties or simple icing to top

:: directions ::
preheat oven to 325 degrees
in a large bowl, cream together sugar and shortening/ butter
add in molasses and mix until incorporated
beat one add and add to the liquid mixture
in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and spices.
add flour mixture into wet ingredients and mix until combined
flour your surface and roll dough out until 1/3" thick
cut shapes and add smarties (if using)
bake for 10-15 minutes (around 12 minutes is perfect for large shaped gingerbread men or snowflakes)
to avoid breaking, let the cookies cool on the baking tray for a bit before moving to a wire cooling rack. let them cool completely if you plan to ice them.


 to see more of the 12 days of baking recipes, click HERE

Friday, November 21, 2014

12 days of baking || glögg (mulled wine)

carina is a superhero. i have talked before about this amazing skill of hers - somehow managing to get it all done. and today, between moving houses, running kids around, volunteering for PAC, managing her own incredible blog, oh and working full-time, this beautiful swedish woman somehow found the time to make and share a special family tradition of hers- glögg.

this mulled wine is the perfect treat to warm you up from the inside out. it easily lived up to its reputation of pure deliciousness on our girls night earlier in the week where we sat around sipping the quintessential tastes of christmas and listening to david sedaris' santaland diaries. the most perfect of evenings indeed.

glögg (mulled wine)
'since i was a little girl, i always remember a pot of this richly coloured and deliciously pungent liquid simmering on our stove around Christmas-time. i've been lucky to have such a close life with my swedish background through travels, traditions, and loving relations, and this is one of many wintertime rituals i've brought with me into my adult life. the wonderful thing about Glögg is that you can make it your own. you can add the traditional raisins (I forgot mine at the store!), or almonds (i'm allergic), or you can give an extra kick to this mulled warm drink with as much (or as little)
rum/whiskey as you like!' - carina thiedeke

:: ingredients ::
peel of one orange
1 tbsp thinly julienned ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp cardamom pods or seeds
2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 cup rum
1 cup water
1 bottle of your favourite red wine (the deeper the flavour the better)
add some chopped up raisins if you enjoy a sweeter flavour wine, or leave out for a crisp, dry taste. either way will result in pure deliciousness.

:: directions ::
in a large saucepan or deep pot, add the orange peel and all the spices, including the ginger.
pour the rum in and simmer the mixture on low for about 5 minutes - you should start to smell the delicious flavours infusing the rum.
add a cup of water and simmer on low for a additional 30 minutes- be sure that you never let the mixture boil at any point or you'll burn off all the alcohol (unless you want virgin glögg! but then it wouldn't be authentic viking drink).
once everything is smelling nice and spicy pour in your bottle of wine, give it all a good stir, and let it simmer again for at least an hour.
once your entire home is smelling like christmas, you're ready to serve your warm glögg!
you can also let it cool and bottle it in clean jars or wine bottles to keep for a later party or a gift.
some people like to strain the spices from the glögg before serving or storing it, but i personally like it nice and complex, and tend to leave everything in for a day or two for some extra flavour.

family photo by images by bethany
more of the 12 days of baking recipes can be found HERE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

12 days of baking || simple cinnamon rolls

cinnamon buns are a christmas morning tradition in my family. as we all trickled out of bed on december 25th, my mom would greet us with a heavenly waft of cinnamon and a big cup of tea to fuel us through present opening. so naturally, when steph asked if she could share her childhood cinnamon bun recipe, i was more than happy to oblige.

stephanie is an amazing cook. everything she touches is just so much more delicious than the same recipe made by someone else. her mom, janice (or 'nana j' as finn calls her) is also totally top notch in the kitchen (likely where steph got a bit of her magic from...) so without having actually tried these cinnamon rolls, i can wholeheartedly promise you that they will be divine! and the perfect addition to our christmas morning this year.

mumma j’s cinnamon rolls
makes 12 cinnamon rolls (but can easily be doubled)

'this recipe is not glamorous but is fast, easy and satisfying. when we were growing up, we had these cinnamon rolls almost every saturday morning during the winter.  for my mom who had 3 kids under 4 years old, they fit the bill - inexpensive ingredients that you always have on had, no messing with yeast ot waiting for dough to rise, 20 minutes to bake and only 2 bowls to clean... they never lasted long in our house. they are not really the ooey-gooey kind you might expect, but the crispy outer edges covered in butter is a whole other kind of yummy.  (or dunked into your hot chocolate, coffee or hot apple cider? seriously.)' - stephanie nigh

:: ingredients ::
- dough -
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup milk, (approximately)

- cinnamon topping -
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp (or more) cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped raisins or currants (optional)

:: directions ::
preheat oven to 400°f and grease 12 large muffin tins
in large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
pour in milk, stirring lightly with fork, and adding a little more milk if needed to make dough soft. turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. roll into 12x8 inch rectangle.

in bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
drop 1 tsp into each of the 12 greased muffin cups. spread remaining mixture over dough rectangle. sprinkle raisins or currants over top (if using); roll up, jelly roll style, from long side.
cut into 12 equal slices and place in muffin cups.

put baking sheet on oven rack below muffin cups to catch any drips.
bake until golden brown and cinnamon filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
turn out immediately onto heatproof tray and serve warm.
for a little something extra, top with an easy creamcheese icing or a dollop of butter- you cant go wrong with these delicious rolls. 

steph and her mama, janice.

view more recipes from the 12 days of baking HERE

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

holiday gift guide - bestest friends

girlfriends can either be incredibly easy or very very hard to gift give to. always wanting whatever you find to be the perfect something that will make their heart swell and a smile appear on their face each time they think of you- kind of a tall order! but fret not, below are a few items that have my heart fluttering as of late. sure to please even the most difficult of gift receivers in your life. filling hearts and creating smiles for years to come.

one || sunday suppers - i adore a good cookbook. pawing them over and over until the pages start to tatter, admiring the photos, the beautiful stories and of course, the recipes! i have a soft spot for sunday dinners as that has always been a day my family gathers and eats a big, delicious meal together, so its no surprise that this cookbook is the top of my gift giving (and receiving) list this year. one that will surely be happily covered in food splatter in no time flat.

two || chilote house shoes - these slippers are made fair by women in chile under transparent eco-inclusive design-craft model. using only premium, renewable raw patigonia sheep wool and repurposed, upcycled salmon leather from commercial fisheries. a gift that will make your toes and heart feel warm.

three || astronomy print - a beautiful, large scale poster showing the sky and stars of the northern hemisphere. white walls everywhere are just begging for this print to be hung up on them.

four || 1000 flowers reglisse noire - perfume can be a bit of wild card when it comes to gift giving, but this scent is the most divine i have ever smelled. i typically avoid scented products all together, but if you are going to cheat once in a while, this is scent to do it with. organic naturals and biodegradable musks make a little touch of this spice, black licorice, cocoa, woods and musk scent complex, perfect, and suitable for men and women. (1000 flowers also has 100% natural fragrances - rose otto and narcotic flowers are both on my wish list this year)

five || state the label smock - im smitten over smocks lately. just the perfect piece to keep you feeling good as you tackle the cooking, child rearing, house tidying and grocery shopping. toss on a little lipstick and your favourite boots, and you effortlessly transition into an outfit worthy of coffee dates or an evening of drinks with your best pals.

for more holiday gift ideas, click HERE

Monday, November 17, 2014

12 days of baking || lemony lemon squares

michelle and i met several years ago through the power of instagram. at the time, she was pregnant with their second daughter and sharing lots of homesteading/ nesting ideas they were working on to prepare for their new addition. instantly, i knew we would be wonderful friends.

michelle is an EXCEPTIONAL cook. making everything from scratch (raising bees for honey, rendering her own lard, making butter...) and only using whole, organic ingredients (they have an incredible urban garden, and seriously, you have never seen pies like the pies michelle makes). she is a daily inspiration and also one of the kindest women i am lucky enough to call a friend.

today, i get to share her incredible lemon square recipe. there is very little in life that i love more than lemon squares, and this recipe offers the perfect compliment to the chocolate and butter filled desserts that traditionally make their way into our stomachs during the holidays. 

delightfully lemony lemon squares

:: ingredients ::
- crust -
1 cup organic, unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup icing/confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold, chopped into small pieces)

- filling -
3 large free range, organic eggs
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (approx 2-3 lemons)
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
3 tbsp organic, unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

:: directions ::
line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper (makes removal so easy)
preheat oven to 350 degrees

- crust -
mix flour, icing/confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl.
add cold chopped butter and mix with your fingers until crumbly.
press mixture into prepared pan in an even layer. bake for 15 minutes and set aside.

- filling -
beat eggs with a whisk until super frothy. slowly add cane sugar until just combined.
add lemon juice and zest and mix well.
mix flour and salt together in a tiny bowl and sift or whisk into lemon mixture.
pour filling over the baked crust and bake for about 15 minutes until the top sets (it should have tiny bubbles on the surface and the edges should be slightly browned and pulling away from parchment paper.)
let cool for an hour or more before cutting, dust the top with confectioners sugar if desired.
remove by pulling the edges of the parchment paper and place onto a cutting board. cut into desired size- makes 12 rectangular bars or 16 smaller squares.

enjoy! xo

view more 12 days of baking recipes HERE

Friday, November 14, 2014

holiday gift guide - tricky husbands

jeff is notoriously difficult to gift-give to. he does however have an appreciation for classic, simple and practical items. below are a few things that might fit that criteria, and perhaps offer you a little inspiration should you too find yourself with a tricky partner to gift hunt for.

one || chemex drip coffee maker - we love coffee in our house, so any contraption that will help brew the perfect cup will forever be a welcome addition.

two || turkish bath sheets - these towels are the greatest! they dry quickly (so they never smell musky - perfect for humid climates like vancouver), they are slim and lightweight so they take up less space in your linen cupboard or swim bag, and they're large enough to be used as a blanket at the beach. win win win.

three || handmade leather wallet - if someone in your life is lugging around a gnarly faded black crusty wallet that they have had since grade 10, it might be nice to get them something beautiful to replace it. there are tons of options out there, but i especially appreciated the simplicity of these ones- and just a touch of uniqueness in the patterns.

four || shaving set - a beautiful handmade shaving mug, natural shaving cream, and a boar bristle brush should absolutely be part of every mans shaving routine. 

five || opinel trekking knife - knives are always a welcome gift- a great tool to have on hand, and something that is forever being lost and in need of replacement in our household. opinel blades are classic, beautoful, and the best quality around.

for more holiday gift guides, click HERE

Thursday, November 13, 2014

12 days of baking || cocktail crisps

we all have that friend who no matter what, just always knows about the coolest stuff before the rest of the world. that someone who somehow hears about the greatest restaurants, most delicious yet cooly obscure coffee shops, the hippest websites and all the greatest items to fill your living room and closet (a full season before anyone else.) and then they travel to other places and STILL manage to find all the coolest stuff there too. whats with that?

for me, that person is anna palmier. she is actually the coolest person i have ever known. her blog is incredible- a perfectly curated mix of dreamy travel photos, delicious food and drinks, and always packed with details on things i completely adore before i even know i adore them. i honestly don't know where i would find all my favourite cool things if it weren't for anna.

 AND shes just so happens to be an incredible and creative cook! case and point- these delicious looking savory cookie/cracker crunchy bits! YUM!!

cocktail crisps
from the best of bridge | yields about 3 dozen

:: ingredients ::
1 c. butter
1 250g continer of imperial chees
dash of salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
11/2 c. flour
4 c. rice crispies

:: directions ::

preheat oven to 350
soften butter and cheese and cream together. Add salt, cayenne and worcestershire. Stir in flour and rice crispies. Mix well. Shape into balls and press down with a fork that has been dipped in cold water. You can also form into logs; chill and cut into slices. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. enjoy! xo

* a small note - this recipe doesn't double well.

above photo by my favourite, brittany staddon

view the rest of the 12 days of baking recipes HERE

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

holiday gift guide - non-traditional, alternative gift ideas

perhaps a touch contrary to what these gift guides would have you believe, i am a huge advocate of non-traditional gifts- presents that arent things. when push comes to shove, there is very little that we actually need, so try to think outside the box- picking a charity or cause to donate to on behalf of the ones we love most, offering a gift of service or time together, or hand-making something sentimental. if its tears of joy you want to see on christmas morning, these gifts are sure to get them flowing.

one || canada helps - a one stop shop for charitable giving in canada- search through thousands of registered charities and donate to multiple causes at the same time. with a mission to increase charitable giving by making it easier to donate online, canada helps is a nonprofit organization, so their fees are a fraction of the for-profit alternatives. pick a charity to donate to on behalf of someone, or purchase a gift certificate and let the recipient decide.

two || plan canada - gifts of hope - plan canadas gifts of hope is an ethical gift-giving program. unique gifts that bring with it hope and change to the lives of families and entire communities across the world. select from items like bed nets, fruit trees, baby chicks, goats, maternal health initiatives... the list is endless, with varied price points starting at just $10. you can definitely find something for everyone. (and a small side note: plan canada has no religious affiliation, which may or may not be important to you.)

three || kiva - loans that change lives - a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. kiva leverages the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, letting individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. you can purchase giftcards online for friends or family- they are then able to select a cause that's important to them, lend the funds, and overtime when the loan is paid back, reinvest in another cause.

four || gifts of time or experience - there is really nothing better than the gift of time. think pre-planned date nights, tickets to a play or movie, registration to a class or workshop, vouchers to go swimming/ skating/ skiing/ whatever. an offer to share a skill you have - maybe you know how knit, or bake bread, or fix cars or surf... whatever you can do, there is surely someone who would love to learn. or babysitting. parents LOVE offers to babysit.

five || handmade and sentimental - handmade items always make for beautiful gifts, something the recipient feels extra special receiving knowing you put so much time and effort into creating just for them (see a few past ideas here, here and here)- pinterest is also loaded with endless ideas so find a little inspiration and get crafting! a few simple and sentimental ideas i love:
  • a letter a month - promise to send a letter or postcard to someone special every month for one year. this is especially awesome for kids, but really, who doesnt love getting real mail?
  • a family / friend / coworker cookbook - a few years ago, the office i worked in all brought in our favourite recipes. we compiled them into an office cookbook and everyone received a copy.
  • christmas cards with a little something extra- send a packet of native wild flower or vegetable seeds with your handwritten holiday note. 
  • soup swap - gather a group of friends and each make your favourite soup recipe- divvy into jars and freeze- you will each take home a variety of hearty soups to fill your freezer for the cold winter months ahead. you could of course do this with baking or pretty much anything that strikes your fancy.
  • host a re-gift party. rather than rushing out to purchase more stuff that no one really cares about, get everyone on board and find something gift-worthy around your house that you no longer have use for. everyone brings something, and you take turns drawing numbers and picking the things you like most.
  • give away the last great book you read to someone with similar taste.
for more ideas on simplifying the holidays, practical tips for less stress and more joy, have a look at the centre for the new american dream's downloadable booklet. its an absolute favourite of mine, and is FULL of amazing ideas for thoughtful, environmentally and budget conscious, meaningful gifts. enjoy! xo 

for more holiday gift ideas, click HERE

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

12 days of baking || sweet + spicy mixed nuts

nuts are always a favourite snack of mine, and around the holidays they are extra great as they don''t carry with them the same guilt factor that cookies and other festive treats tend to.

this sweet and spicy mixed nut recipe fancy's up the most basic of nuts- adding just a little hit of intense flavour that we all crave when indulging over the holidays (but still better for you than that cookie.) simple to whip up, they look extra beautiful perched on a side table in your living room in that glass dish your grandma gave you that doesn't get used as often as you might like.

sweet + spicy mixed nuts

:: ingredients ::
1 large egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt + more to garnish
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cups unsalted mixed nuts
(i used almonds because we had them in the cupboard, but feel free to use whatever you have/like)

:: directions ::
heat your oven to 325 degrees
line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
in a large bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, salt, and all the spices
add the nuts and toss to coat
spread nuts out onto the baking sheet and arrange in an even layer
bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until nuts are dry, approximately 30-40 minutes
transfer to a clean sheet of aluminum foil, sprinkle with an extra few grinds of sea salt and let cool
once cooled, display nuts in your favourite pretty bowl, and enjoy!

view the rest of the 12 days of baking recipes HERE

Monday, November 10, 2014

holiday gift guide - argh! teenagers!

if we are being totally honest, i myself would love anything on this list. i don't know if that makes me completely out of touch or super hip, but i'm banking on hip. the older children in our lives can often be the trickiest to shop for, but hopefully something on this list will result in a half smile. maybe even a hug?! i'm probably pushing my luck today.

one || vans x star wars- yoda aloha sk8-hi - these shoes are the greatest! classic style made new with this awesome star wars hawaiian inspired print. everyone needs a pair of these.

two || crosley portable turntable - when i was teenager, endless saturdays were spent scouring the citys junk shops praying to find a record player with the needle still intact. nowadays, $80 and an amazon account will have this beautiful machine delivered to your front door in a matter of days. the magic of technology.

three || fjall raven kanken backpack - these backpacks have been around for decades, and are build to last a lifetime. sure to impress even the coolest of teens on your christmas list (and get a ton of use in the process.)

four || in bloom book collection - rifle paper co. has re-illustrated some of the most beautiful covers to these classic books -  anne of green gables, a little princess, heidi and little women. the perfect addition to any book collection, young or old alike.

five || ebbets field flannels ball caps - vintage, authentic, handmade, limited edition - all buzz words we love to hear. these ball caps have it all and then some- lovingly researched, made in american and hand-crafted using vintage wool and felt.

for more holiday gift ideas, click HERE