Sunday, August 30, 2015

Instagram meet Blogger

Okay, so is this sort of like cheating?

Or is it maybe more like mixing friends?

I have the sweetest niece on the planet and she has always had this interesting need to keep particular aspects of her life in different "compartments".....
One group of friends which signifies one part of her life cannot mix with those from another segment of her world.

Yep, I am the person that invites a lot of different people to the same dinner party with the hope
that they will all get along....
Mixing people is not always easy.
Usually after one dinner party with new guests invited you start to sort out the best mix. have to keep it interesting and you have to keep trying.

Maybe I should be following her rules and keep Instagram in a totally different "zone".
But, I just had to share some of the pics I have been posting there
that are integral to my summer wrap-up mood.

Oh and not all of this is on my Instagram account.
It just seems that I am loving the ease of posting on Instagram these days
and the quick access to great images from the people that I follow.

As of late, I usually get up early, grab a coffee and sit out here in the early morning light and
tap into Instagram before settling into work.

 So, here are a few random shots....

Lobster rolls from the Panache Mobile on Ïle d'Orléans....
Trufle mayonaise with the fries of course and a healthy dose of avacado to top off the lobster roll.

Québec city is a great town for walking your dog
and it always seems that local restaurants understand the need to consider 4 legged friends.

Still need to deal with the collections from the sea...

But, sweet summer is certainly feeling like it is winding down...
and I cannot complain.
2015 has been a great summer for us!

I am starting to turn my sights indoors to possible projects.
There is one particular change that I want to make in our kitchen.
Style at Home- click image to go to site

I am on the hunt for directors chairs for our kitchen island.
We spend a great deal of time at the island
during the fall and winter months.
It ends up being the best spot for a cocktail dînatoire.
And for us
that becomes the best dining option after a day of skiing or snowshoeing.

welcome September.
Cannot wait to see what you have in store!!

See you back here or on Instagram!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Musings

So, I do understand that summer is not yet over....
even though a visit to Costco yesterday
had me lose my grip on the shopping cart.

Christmas trees were mingling with Halloween costumes which were concealing the kayaks.
Snack-size candy bars for trick or treaters were sharing shelf space 
with gold and silver ornaments 
that were only one aisle away from the remaining BBQ tools, 
flotation devices
and outdoor tables and chairs. 

Early July on the edge of Georgian Bay

It had me all "confussed" and frustrated.
I mean seriously...what is that all about??

Ignoring that merchandising nightmare,
I always have this sense of August as being a time to review our efforts to enjoy the wonders of summer and consider what still needs to be lived, tasted and experienced.

Alfresco dining in a beautiful backyard in Thornbury on the edge of Georgian Bay

August also brings on a tiny sense of panic 
as I see the maple tree on our neighbour's property 
starting to show hints of red....
That tree would be in serious trouble if it lived here.

Summer Rental in Tadoussac

But then I gather up my thoughts about where we have been,
the people we were with
and the fun times we had.

The summer began with family on Georgian Bay.

Going "home" always provides me with a new sense of balance.
Dinner parties, swimming in the bay and early morning walks with the dogs
quickly become the established routine.

Follow that up with a 3 week stay in beautiful Tadoussac.

Barns in our backyard in Tadoussac and lake just beyond

Ferry crossing to Tadoussac
Mouth of the Saguenay River

And, the best part of all...
the most unique wedding I have ever attended.

Pre-wedding cookout        
Chapel at Port au Persil

Each table set with a different antique place setting.

Individual desserts for the wedding guests served on their table's china setting

And of course the beautiful couple.

So.... what's left to do?
Perhaps a few more trips to ïle d'orléans..... a day with friends at Lac Sergent..... some family bbq's....

Oh, but I have a little surprise for you.
I don't usually mix my business with my blog but....
We were busy working during one of our weeks in Tadoussac and we posted a video trailer of a project that we are going to be providing through our classroom management platform.
The project will be part of our integrated content library.

In the meantime, here is a link....

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Company's comin'

This is how it goes down in our home.

Somebody is coming for dinner,
for a visit,
or for some reason or another....
The point is they are coming "chez nous"...
which means
call out the broom, the vacuum, the cleaning agents, you name it,
there is work to be done.

It is a certain type of panic that washes over me.
All those little jobs that I have been meaning to do move to the top of a rather long and daunting list.

I become obsessed with the "must-do list'.
The problem is that the "must-do list" did not officially exist until now...
well, other than a random fleeting idea of some design detail I might want to add or adjust in our home.... but you know,
in the future,
down the road,
on a rainy day.

I lose control of my ability to reason and be logical, it is like there is this whistle blowing in my head and it all has to get done....NOW.

We joke around here about the dinner party clean-up before and after.
The, "why did we bother getting so obsessed about cleaning up as the kitchen is a mess all over again...."

I head to the grocery store and stock up on flowers.

I find myself in the ditch gathering lupins by the armfull. 

I haul out the sewing machine to make a new curtain for the washer and dryer
because my favourite yellow and white version is stained and really not camera-worthy.

And then of course there is always Jack,
he is a big boy and although kind and gentle,
his size can be rather imposing.

Sometimes Jack heads to the kennel which he loves, lots of dogs, free run of a large country property and usually a rather long play date that requires 3 days of sleep to recuperate.

But not this time.
He was typical Jack, intimidating when our guests arrived but
calm and laid back once he felt properly introduced.

So, I am being somewhat mysterious I know.
But, I will remind you of this rather cryptic post in about a year.

Let's just say,
our company was lovely,
creative, interesting and inspirational.

I saw our home through a different perspective.

And now, I am hoping to put away my rain boots
and pull out my flip flops!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Here I Go Again

Well, my mother would say that the polite thing to do is to
simply say sorry.

I cannot really explain my absence and perhaps it is not a big deal anyway
but life has this way of twisting and turning and well.... happening.

This is my favourite time of year really.
Everything is coming to life.
It may seem late to some of you but our lilacs just bloomed
and I have been putting them everywhere.

I have been getting up early in the morning
and enjoying the sunshine that streams through the house
giving this wonderful effect enhance by all the green outdoors.

Jack seems to be sleeping more these days....and those legs....oh boy, he is so much bigger than we ever expected.
Sort of like having a teenager around again.

With our kids moving on we are learning to adjust and make decisions about what our future looks like.
The empty nest affair.

So, with that in mind, I am changing jobs.
An opportunity has come my way and I am going to be spreading my wings.
It is a bit of a risk but I figure the clock is ticking and the time to take risks is now.

 I realize that I am going to treasure these dinners with our children when they happen
since they are fewer and far between.
Actually enjoy having a mess to clean up after a dinner with my family.

And I am looking forward to some down time this summer outdoors
and the opportunity to get back here now that things are settling down.

Please excuse the poor quality images but I had posted these via my iPad on my Instagram
and thought it would be nice to share them here too.

I will be back!
Hope you are all ready for a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Madrid, Spain

I know, I am jumping ahead to the end of the trip.
But, it seems that I am missing some photos for Nijar and Alicante.

Nijar was our pottery location and this is just one example of the the bowls I bought and of course my little rock collection from Nerja.

Alicante was in our travel itinerary since we were in Spain to visit our daughter who is finishing her university studies in spanish at the local university.
We wanted an opportunity to see where she was living and get a feel for what life is like for her there.
Alicante ended up being a fabulous 3 days for us with great food experiences, a dinner at a restaurant called El Portal Taberna
which I cannot recommend enough....fabulous place with a great ambience.
We also had an opportunity to invite a few of her friends over for a dinner that we prepared for them with food from their local market.

We also dropped our car off here since we did not feel we would need it in Madrid.
From Alicante we took the high-speed train to Madrid at 6 a.m...... a tad early but we wanted all the time we could get in Madrid before flying out on the Monday.

Somehow we were able to travel first class with a really good deal which was cheaper than economy? Strange, I know but hey we were not complaining when we got our lovely breakfast served with tomato purée and olive oil and nice bread and a spanish omelette and chocolates.... LOVED it.

So Madrid....well Madrid is spectacular for some many reasons.
First, architecture.
I could not get enough of these shutters....oh I want shutters!!

Second, fashion.
Everyone is dressed so well....seriously, I came home and studied the difference and it is definitely obvious that we are somewhat lazy here in North America about fashion.
One of my friends attributed it to our love of yoga wear and sneakers and "comfort".

Oh, I know my saying that that will raise a few eyebrows but there is a real sense of style on the streets of the Spanish cities that I visited,
from smaller cities to the capital of Madrid.

Even the children are so carefully put together.
We kept noticing all these children with bows in their hair and colour coordinated outfits.
This was a Saturday in the park when I came across these two children all decked out.

Third, food.
Of course I am a lover of seafood so that was never a problem for me.
Ham, is perhaps a little more prevalent than I care for but that was not an issue either.
We loved the markets and the fresh assortment of cheeses, fish, meat and veggies.
And we had fun experimenting with the local treats such as.... Churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

We also found a cute restaurant that we loved so much named, Bar Galleta
We had breakfast there one day and dinner there the next.
Creative use of old book pages in the bathrooms.

Finally, the markets.
We had lunch our first day in the San Anton Market which ended up being my preferred market and it was very close to where we were staying in the Chueca neighbourhood.
Our second day we went to the San Miguel market which is much larger and also much more crowded. Actually you need to get to this market really early otherwise it is wall to wall people.

Our third day we got up and went to the El Rastro market.

I would recommend walking down through the market and then coming back up on the edge of the market so you don't miss all the off beat little stores and as well as the artist alleys and the antique courts etc.
Lots of people by 11 a.m. but 10 o'clock was not too bad for getting around to see all the stalls.

Madrid felt like a place I could go back to and explore further.
Actually Spain is a place I would love to go back and visit and get to know better.

On a final note, we were watching a procession of people one day in the streets of Madrid speaking out about some government issue but what struck us was the group of people following at the end of the procession...... street cleaners.
Every city that we were in had people cleaning the streets... late at night, early in the morning... it was quite something, quite impressive.

Spain, thank you.
Until the next time.

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