5 Things to Do Before You Begin a Renovation

pink chai home makeover

[Planning home decoration is so much more fun than planning a reno!]

Last spring, our family made some big changes and moved in with my father-in-law. He was living on his own in a mid-sized home and we were sort of squished into a 2-bedroom basement, so it made sense logistically. There were a few other reasons, including my FIL’s health that played a factor, but more space & separate rooms for the kids was a big motivator for us.

To make the house a better fit and a little more functional for everyone, we did a little renovating. The tiles in the entry room were updated, an old fireplace was removed from the living room and laminate floor was installed throughout the upper floor. The biggest change though was the addition of an extra TV/family room at the back of the house. 

I had never taken part in a renovation before and had no idea what to expect, or how many safety considerations there are. It was tough, messy and long. The experience taught me a few things about renos. So, if you’ve been thinking about doing ‘a little work’ around your house, I’m sharing some of my top tips for the renovation process today.
Continue reading

Should I Buy a Microwave?

Here’s a strange thing you might not know about me – the last time I owned a microwave was in 2008. Yup it’s been 9 years since we had one in our house, and neither of our kids has ever known life with a microwave.pink-microwave[A pink microwave, this is too cute!]

To be honest, even before we got rid of the microwave I didn’t use it much. I’ve never been a fan of the way the texture of food changes when you heat it in a microwave, so I’ve generally avoided them.

We didn’t really make a conscious decision to live life sans microwaves, it just happened. During one of our many moves we decided to donate our rather large and clunky microwave and planned to get something smaller later, but we never felt the urge to buy a replacement. Since then we’ve heard a lot of different thoughts on how radiation effects food and I’ve become hesitant to bring a microwave back into our lives. However, I did think about it yesterday.

These days I do a lot more batch cooking, and we are often reheating meals for lunch. I’ve been thinking how having a microwave would make the process so much easier and quicker. A number of friends have told me that microwaves have come a long way, and the food quality is not affected so much in the newer models. I did a bit of research and also found that some of the more high-end models can also work on steam. 

So here I am considering the one kitchen appliance I was sure I didn’t need! What do you think, should I get a microwave? Does it make your life easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment and help me decide!

Dining Room: Progress Report

Back in December I shared my new decorating crush – partially painted walls. I’ve always been a fan of deep saturated paint colours and accent walls, but I’ve been struggling with the right way to integrate that into my current house which is pretty compact and a little dark. Well, a few weeks ago inspiration struck on a Friday night and I decided to paint the dining room. 

pink-chai-dining-room-1[The colour is by Behr and it’s called Very Navy]

Before I show you a full picture of the room as it looks now, here’s a reminder of how blah it was back in the spring when I started working on it: Continue reading

Hamilton Beach Spiralizer: First Reaction (Video)

Guys, (or more likely gals) I’m kind of excited today!! There are two firsts in this blog post – my first time using a spiralizer, and my first YouTube video of the year.

I’m going to tell you about the spiralizer in a sec, but I think I need to back up and tell you why this video business is so exciting. I’ve a had YouTube channel for a while, and have added random videos here and there, but this year I’ve committed to publishing one video a week. Every Monday. Whether I have an idea or not, whether I think the video is great or not. Historically I’m not very good at challenges like this, but I’m really excited to give this a try. I don’t have any particular subjects chosen, or any great plan, and that is why my first video is unboxing a spiralizer!

About that spiralizer….the awesome folks at Hamilton Beach sent me their 3 in 1 Spiralizer to try out, and I thought it would be fun to record my first attempt at using it. Sometimes kitchen gadgets can seem so simple to use and practical until I get them into my kitchen. I’ve had a number of fails with specialty gadgets in the last year so I wanted to be sure this is a good tool before I recommend it.

What was my first reaction, you can see in the video below:

The spiralizer is my first attempt at replacing foods my family already eats with healthier alternatives (you can read more about that here), and I’m sure you’ll be seeing more spiralizing on the blog soon!

Family Food Goals: 2017

About five years ago I started getting serious about annual goal setting, and one of the areas I took into consideration was the food my family eats. I know it sounds kind of silly to set goals and intentions around grocery shopping and meal plans, but it’s so important. aloo bhartha[Aloo bhartha – takes 20 minutes to prepare and the kids love it!]

What we eat and the fuel we put into our bodies is vital, yet so many of us treat our meals like an afterthought, or a nuisance even. (I used to). We take the time to educate ourselves on new apps and computer software but don’t really understand the ingredients in our foods – see any red flags?

I shared my family’s food goals in 2015 and 2016, and I’ve made some progress on both those lists, and there are some areas that still need work, but I’m not giving up. Maybe this is the year I hit all my goals! Continue reading

Victoria BC: Girls Weekend Guide

Just before Christmas Salma and I got a rare opportunity to slip away from life, responsibilities (aka husbands & kids), and work stress to take both of our first ever girl’s trip! It’s kind of sad that neither of us had ever done a girl’s trip, but kind of awesome that we got to do it together, and have such a great time!girls trip victoria[Girls trip fun coming up, but first, we take a selfie!]

Usually when people think about planning a girl’s trip, they think about places like Las Vegas or Palm Springs, we were presented with the opportunity to visit the capital city of our home province Victoria, BC, and we loved it. I’ve been to Victoria many times (I was also born there), but never really as a tourist, and Salma hadn’t been for nearly 20 years.

We did so much in two days – including hitting 20,000 steps on our Fitbits on day 1, but I’m going to try to recap some of favourite stops, and must-do items. 
helijet ride
[bye-bye real life, see you  in a few days]
Continue reading

Word of the Year: 2017

I love January 1st. A new beginning, a clean slate, and an opportunity to reset for a new year. While I don’t believe in setting New Year’s resolutions, I do take time out for goal-setting, and creating some intentions for the New Year.word of the year[Looking for inspiration between the pages of my favourite books]

For the past few years I’ve chosen a word of the year – a sort of guide for the things I want to focus on in the coming  year. 

2011 – Prosperity
2012 – Create
2013 – Shine
2014 – Ease
2015 – Focus
2016 – Abundance & Simplicity (I chose two words last year because I wanted to remind myself that abundance doesn’t have to come with stuff and clutter).

This year I was really struggling with the right word. The last couple of months have been so busy I can barely get through the day, let alone stop and contemplate my word of the year. Thankfully, my word found me (because clearly I wasn’t going to go on a hunt to find it!) Continue reading

5 Last Minute Experience Gifts for Girlfriends

‘Tis the season of giving, and if you are anything like me, you are frantically buying last minute gifts. Every year I commit to starting early, doing some baking, DIY’ing some gifts, and being generally organized. Yet somehow, every year I find myself scrambling to buy gifts on Christmas Eve. 

girlfriends[Speaking of girlfriends – meet Salma!]

Part of the problem is my poor planning, and part is my decision paralysis when it comes to gifts. Everyone pretty much has everything these days, and I hate adding to the piles of ‘stuff’ my friends and family are already dealing with around their house. 

Thankfully though, I’ve figured out the solution for all the girlfriends on my gift list this year – experiences. I’m not giving my friends things they have to store somewhere, I’m giving them memories. As an added bonus, I’ve planned some experiences where I can tag along and hang out too. It’s a win/win – a gift for you, and a gift for me! Continue reading

Our Last Minute, No Stress Holiday Party Idea

Anyone who knows me can vouch for my love of entertaining. Nothing makes me happier than a house full of friends, and a kitchen full of food! This year though, I just couldn’t bring myself to put on a big holiday party.holiday party evite

When I told the kids we were going to pass on having a Christmas party, they were gutted. They totally understood that mom is very very tired this year, but I could see how disappointed they were – especially Zara. Just when I was about to cave and say yes to the big production, the folks at Evite reached out to see if I’d like to share some ideas for putting together a holiday party on the fly.

holiday party evite[Some crafting, some observing, and some ‘snapchatting’ in the back!]

The ask was simple (and kind of hard). Spend a maximum of $100 and get a few friends together for a holiday party on short notice. Zara and I accepted the challenge, and planned a party around our favourite mother daughter activity; crafting! Continue reading

Chai Chat: Being a Mom Entrepreneur

chai chatThe last few weeks I’ve been feeling like my kids are growing up way too fast, and this has me analyzing all the decisions I’ve made as a mom (even though I’m painfully aware that there is no changing them now). As I was packing for a quick business trip last night, I could sense Zara’s mood dropping (as it always does when I travel), and I started to feel my least favourite feeling; mom-guilt. That got me thinking about my choice to start my own business when my kids were born instead of going back to work. 

Being a self-employed mom is not really what I expected it would be like. The reason I pursued entrepreneurship was so that I could stay home with my kids, and have a flexible schedule. Instead for almost 13 years I’ve been battling mom guilt, and missing bedtimes. In the last 5 years, our family business has grown exponentially, and that has meant more and more time away from the kids.
Continue reading

Theme by NUDGE MEDIA DESIGN © 2013 All Rights Reserved.