Monday, November 4, 2013

little lessons : build in rest & buy yourself a sweater

Happy Monday to you all! We survived.

Last week was a little bit of a blur for me. Every night I had somewhere to be or something to do - mind you, it was all fun stuff. When the dust settled this weekend, I had a bit of time to reflect.

Here are a few mini-lessons I've learned:

- If you see a sweater you love at Target and there's only one left in your size, buy it. It won't be there next week.

- No matter how long you've been saving, you will feel a pang of anxiety when you make a big purchase. Wait it out, you will get excited...

-  If you plan to go somewhere on Friday, built in rest time during the week. Otherwise, you will crash. You are not superwoman. It's okay to be tired and call a time out. This is a lesson I will learn and re-learn.

- Peppermint tea will make your belly feel better 75% of the time. Drink lots of it!

- A short workout is better than no workout. Even if you can't remember the last time you did any physical activity other than walking your dog.

post-workout & smiling.

How was your weekend? Any lessons learned?

xx Janelle

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Tag | lambchops & chocolate

I normally never do these, but I was tagged by my real-life friend Val from Making It Sparkle, so I had to say yes.

If you're not into these types of things, come back next week for a Fall favorites post inspired by my friend Jamie's YouTube channel. I'm hoping to share some of my well-loved items for Fall. Some food, some clothes, some home comforts. Oh, and don't worry there will be no mention of pumpkin spiced lattes! Promise.

1. What is your favorite Halloween movie?
Hmm, well considering I can't handle scary movies at all... probably something more suspensful. Maybe Black Magic, although I haven't seen that one in years. I'm more into Christmas movies. I think it's still too early to watch Elf though. I have strict rules about these things.


2.  What was your favorite costume?
Ah, so many to choose from! I'm one of those annoying people who gets overly excited about dressing up in costume. I was a dance and theatre kid back in grade school. That should explain some of it.

Here's my favorite costume I've thrown together:

I got to become my beloved childhood best friend, my stuffed animal Lambchops. Every little girl's dream.

Please ignore how scary I look in the top right photo. I know it's Halloween and I was cold, but still.

3.  Do you like haunted houses?
No. Not even a little bit.

One year I succumbed to peer pressure and went to to a haunted walk at a zoo with friends. This was a terrible idea. The thought of going through these enclosed spaces while people jumped out at me with blood all over themselves and holding weapons was too much for me. I got about one or two steps into one of the exhibits and darted back out. So, I waited outside after each one. All night. While seven year olds went through without batting an eye.

4.  What's your favorite candy?
Chocolate or sour candy.

5.  Do you decorate for Halloween?
I don't now, but if we had a house we would put a few pumpkins out. No skeletons and bones though.... not really our style.

6.  Do you still dress up for Halloween? If yes, what will you be this year?
I always do, if there's a party to go to. This year, I planned to be a mermaid, but I couldn't make it to the fabric store, so I'm going as a swamp lady instead. There will be drapey fishnet fabric, painted on fish scales and fake seaweed. I'll make it work!

7.  What is the one Halloween candy you can't stand?
Those taffy's wrapped in the orange and black wrappers. Ick.

8.  What's your best Halloween memory?
Trick or treating around my subdivision as a kid. There were quaite a few houses which meant a decent candy haul. We always collected our candy in pillowcases. Did you guys do that?

9.  What song comes to mind when you think of Halloween?
The monster mash.

10.  What's your favorite part of Halloween?
Cute kids in costumes. Little superman's & fairies melt my heart!

11.  Would you rather trick or treat?

12.  Candy Corn- Take It or Leave It?
13.  If a black cat crosses your path, what do you do?
Call it towards me so I can pat it. Here kitty, kitty, kitty....

14.  Do you carve/decorate pumpkins?
Yes! I haven't the past couple of years though. I painted one a few years ago and it was really enjoyable so I think I'll do that again soon.

15.  How old were you when you stopped Trick-or-Treating?
16? I still remember feeling too old for it at that point, but some teens in the neighborhood still did it. I guess I'm a sucker for free candy.
I was a banana that year. A hellow hoodie and a sign on my chest that said "Yes, I'm a banana". I hope you don't feel jealous of how cool I was... Haha.

16.  Festive Nail Art- Yes or No?
Subtle nail art is good. Black with silver, a deep burnt orange or peach, but no long red claws for me.

I hope your Halloween is extra sweet. Happy trick or treating!


Friday, October 11, 2013

give thanks

 lettering by me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends & readers! I hope you find time this weekend to spend with your loved ones - both human & furry.

Things I'm thankful for today...

D's family and all they do for us. I can't even count all the drives they've given us.

My parents willingness to come down to Halifax to visit, so we don't have to drive up. 3 kids here does outnumber 2 parents up in New Brunswick though and they have a car... but still. 

Having the afternoon off work. My manager is super-accommodating and I'm so grateful for that.

Creativity and the joy it brings.

Friends and connections I've made through volunteering with Happily Ever Active. Building community.

Stuffing. Who can argue with that one?

Wishing you a great weekend!
xx Janelle

Monday, October 7, 2013

5 years later

I never understood how people could last in a long term relationship. To me, it seemed like an eternity. The thought of being in a serious, long-term relationship with someone seemed at once boring and stifling. I was too independent for that. I'm a Sagittarius, for god's sake. 

I was good at being alone. I had it handled. I self-regulated my emotions, cooked decent meals for myself and had enough going on in my social life to feel busy. That's what being an adult is, right?

And now, five years later - here we are.

At the end of the summer before 3rd year, my friend N and I made a trip to the liquor store a few days before school started. Us and every other university student in the tiny town of Sackville. I spotted that guy from my Spanish class. I accidentally let it slip to N that I thought that guy was cute.

Later that night, we headed out to catch up with everyone after a long summer away. Mostly everyone went to the campus pub, since it was one of the three bars worth visiting. Guess who was also there?

This guy.

A little tanned-up from working outside...

And so, N made sure that we "met" that night, even though we already knew each other. It was a very obvious and slightly awkward set-up.

And somehow, it worked.

I realized today that since our anniversary is in October, Halloween photos serve as pretty good benchmarks of each year. Except 2009. We were clearly too busy stuffing our faces with candy or assembling our costumes. 

Five Halloweens later - here we are.

Happy anniversary to the sweetest man. The only one capable of converting a commitment-phobe.

I'm ending it here before you barf from all the sappiness.

Can you guess all our costumes? Some are pretty obvious and others not so much.

xx Janelle

Sunday, September 29, 2013

weekend recap | Sackville adventure

Want to come with me to get a tattoo tomorrow? Not usually the first thing a friend says to you when you arrive to stay the weekend. 

Last weekend, I went to stay with my good friend L in Sackville, New Brunswick, our former university town. In a moment of bravery, or maybe impulsivity, she booked a tattoo appointment for Saturday morning. After hitting up the Sackville market for some Indian comfort food, we headed to Moncton.

She decided on a simple black anchor on her wrist. And before she could change her mind, we found ourselves in a small room at the back of the shop.

The tattoo took all of 3 minutes to complete and before we knew it we were back on the road. We did a little store-hopping to find some storage baskets for her new place. By the time we finally made it back to town, we were starving and had to just sit for a bit. An episode of Orange is the New Black and stir-fried noodles is the perfect wind-down activity. Oh, and cheesecake.

Do you like our creative laptop stand?

On my last day we decided to head down to the waterfowl park. On our way there we spotted a really pretty courtyard with old doors by the mealhall. There are big round metal tables with fixed chairs and lots of greenery.

The least awkward of all the photos. Trust me.

It wouldn't be Sackville without the wind. Oh, the wind. Don't be deceived. My hair is not in a ponytail in the photo below.

The waterfowl park is such a peaceful place. It's set back from the university and the main roads, so most days it's calm and quiet. 

We walked along the boardwalk through the marsh and sat on a small bench and watched the ducks dive. We played a little sketching game and talked about the different definitions people hold of a successful work life. We talked about getting our shit together and about what that really means. We talked about settling down and how comforting it can be to have a homebase from which to explore the world on mini-vacations and trips.

L has a great perspective on building adventure into everyday. Travel is non-negotiable for her and I love that. 

All in all, we both had a soul filling weekend.

I hope all of you have a great day.
xx Janelle

Sunday, September 8, 2013

weekend recap | getting stuff done at home

veggies from D's dad | abby waiting patiently for her treat | hedgehog closeup | blurry selfie, since i rarely post my face on here.

This weekend was just what I needed. I think D and I were both craving some time at home to do some cleaning, watch movies and relax.

On Friday night we watched FIBA Americas (basketball). Then on Saturday, I had a laughing fit with the seniors at our dance fitness class. The theme was ABBA and we came up with some pretty creative choreography. "Jump with my baby", turned into us miming being pregnant while hopping up and down. Almost everyone was in stitches. Maybe you had to be there?

Saturday night we watched The Beach - I know. I can't believe it took me this long to watch it. Apparently, it's a classic Leo movie. I liked it, but I feel like it started going downhill about halfway through. The whole gameboy scene was a bit wacky.

Today we got a few things done around the house that we've been procrastinating on. Hung a curtain in the living room (pics soon!), cleaned 3 windows, and hung up this painting I did a while ago.

I try not to see the mistakes when I look at it. I do like the hair though and it's the first of my artwork I've ever framed and hung. Plus I think it coordinates well with the wall colour.

What did you do this weekend? Fill me in.

Thanks for stopping in,
xx Janelle

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

that weekend feeling

I find myself living for the weekend and I know I'm not the only one.

Monday mornings seem to creep up unannounced and it's back to the weekly routine. Work, eat, sleep, repeat.

"How many days until Friday?" we all joke.

Isn't this a little bit sad? 

I don't want to live 2 out of 7 days. I want to live all of them. I really don't care how cheesy that sounds.

For the past couple weeks I've been reflecting on how I can capture the "weekend feeling" during the work week. 

A few Mondays ago I went out for dinner with my sister. I rarely do this because I'm usually too tired to stay downtown after work. We were having a great time catching up, laughing and sharing our excitement that our brother would be moving to Halifax, but at first I kept feeling like I had to get home. It was a work night.

For some reason, I felt like I was obligated to get going, even though I knew the dog was cared for and I had nothing else planned that evening. 

I wasn't quite ready to leave yet, and we had lots to catch up on, so I forced that nagging thought out of my mind and we walked down to the waterfront. We got slushies like when we were little, sat on the dock and hashed out what our future lives might look like. 

For an hour, I forgot it was Monday. And for a moment, it felt like the weekend. A time to relax, enjoy time with friends and family and eat slowly. A time when the dishes can wait, I can play one more round or stay out just a little bit later.

I think I'm going to start allowing myself more opportunities for times like these. The weekend moments. Everyday.

Wishing you a happy day,

xx Janelle

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

etsy finds | nautical by nature

I don't often browse through Etsy. Oh, but when I do, I always find stuff I like. Lately, I've come across some pretty little shops via blogs and BRIKA - a curated online marketplace. Full post on BRIKA to come later!

After collecting the names of shops to check out, I finally made time to browse. My favorite items were these mostly eco-friendly, unintentionally nautical pieces. 

Something wearable for you, for your furry friend and two blue hand-lettered pieces of art for your home. 

1. tank | bark decor | $27.40 CAD
2. original watercolour | laura frances designs | $42.16 CAD
3. throw pillow | brightjuly | $57.97 CAD
4. rope leash | RESQ/CO | $52.70 CAD

Do you have any favorite Etsy shops? 

A few local sellers I love are Thief&Bandit (screenprinted goodies), Sarah Phelps Creative (bright, eye-catching, clean design cards) & My Handbound Books (got my sister a mini silver notebook from here last Christmas. it was so soft.).

Happy not-Monday!
xx Janelle

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

currently | frivolous with a side of serious

Now seems like a good time for a little life update. Want to come and virtually sit with me for a minute?

Listening to | Can't Hold Us. I know this Macklemore song came out a few months ago, but I was a bit late to the game. This has been my morning jam lately. I first thought John Legend was the featured artist, but it's Ray Dalton who has that smooth, soulful sound. I need to look up more of his other work. Fun fact: He used to be a gospel singer.

Craving | Anything from Humani-T Cafe. Can I just live there? Or better yet, can their chef come live with me? My current favorite treat is an iced vanilla soy latte. I gulped mine down in less than ten minutes last time. So yummy. It was the first time I had tried an iced latte and I'm already dreaming of my next one.

Yesterday I had their African Peanut Stew and was pleasantly surprised. I have a go-to recipe for this soup, so I was worried it would taste "off" to me, you know what I mean? Thankfully, the flavour was completely different from my recipe and I loved it! It had just the right amount of spice and had big pieces of sweet potato and celery.

Procrastinating | on a project. I've been pretty creatively productive lately - ever since I took a night class at NSCAD in the Spring. But, I've been slow to make progress on a new creative expression program I'm building. More to come on this in a few months... I can't wait to share more with you.

Wishing | I could sleep better. A few situational factors have resulted in me sleeping a little over half of what I normally would. Yesterday I survived the afternoon on chai and a dark chocolate energy boost around 3:00. I trained myself to love the dark, smooth bars by Lindt. Right now I'm loving the 70% plain, but the one with almonds in it is also worth stealing from your coworkers treat drawer. Not that I would ever do that.

Thinking about | how to truly acknowledge and more importantly, dissect white privilege. I thought I understood the term before, but I didn't. Last week, I read this post about how to be an anti-racist ally and could not stop thinking about it. The article is very accessible and it helped me recognize a few areas which I needed - and still need to - read up on. 

Although I have been involved in diverse community groups for some time, only now do I realize my own limitations in facilitating diversity workshops. It may sound obvious but as a White person I will never be able to understand what it is like to live as a person of colour. I can assume, carefully listen to others' experiences, read every existing journal article on racism, and even empathize but I will never truly know. This is the very first step to humility. Baby steps.

In the same way, confronting my own biases and prejudices is a never-ending process. It can be uncomfortable at times, but is so necessary. There is still so much I need to learn about diversity, racism and how to advocate respectfully and appropriately for and alongside those who are systemically oppressed. With time and patience...

Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate you stopping by and reading my rants and rambles. Especially when they are about things that are so important to me.

xx Janelle

Post idea credit to Dani at Sometimes Sweet.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a birthday pool party

This is where I spent most of my day Saturday and it was heavenly. 

Last Wednesday was D's niece's 10th birthday and next Wednesday is his nephew's 4th birthday, so their parents threw a joint pool party for friends and family. 

I had been looking forward to some time in the water, since we're not able to get to the beach for lack of a vehicle and I'm practically a mermaid. Being away from the water just feels weird to me. I was born near the ocean and plan to leave near it always. 

Although I now think I'm inseperable from the sea, or any water really, it wasn't always this way. When I was about five or six years old, I spent the first 4 weeks of swimming lessons on the side of the pool. Crying. My parents persisted though, and I went on to finish all levels. My mom can't swim and for this reason she was determined to make sure we could. It worked, Mom!

Back to the party: When we first got there, the kids were in the pool, but they quickly came out to fill their hungry bellies with hotdogs, hamburgers and cake - of course! Soon after the younger one (let's call him C) opened his presents, we hopped in the pool. By default (as the oldest person in the pool area) I was appointed the unofficial lifeguard/babysitter/water-gun police. At this point, I was lucky enough to be befriended by the most talkative, adorable, energetic four year old. She wanted me to catch her every single time she jumped in and was my shadow for the next hour or so. And..... cue baby fever.

1 | D being climbed on, as usual
2 | me keeping an eye out
3 | C telling begging us to spray him in the face with his water gun. no fear...

All in all, it was a perfect summer day. A little BBQ, a little swimming and a lot of sunshine. Hope you all had a great weekend!

xx Janelle

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

summer intentions | less of this and more of that


Okay, so remember a month ago when I posted about wanting to cut down on clutter in the apartment? Well, I still haven't made much progress. Here come the excuses - brace yourselves! I've been either hosting guests (both family & friends) or away for each of the last 4-5 weekends. This doesn't exactly leave me with much energy during weeknights to decide whether or not I can live without my flower-y boxer shorts from high school. Spoiler alert: I can't!

Sometimes when people try to live with less, others tend to focus on what they're doing without, what they're giving up. We're not buying anymore clothes. Spending freeze. Less is more. Give it away! Purge it ALL. This man only owns 55 things. No really, he does. 

But at its core, minimalism is centered on what you gain. It's about having more. For me, the desire to get rid of some stuff and monitor what comes into my apartment comes from wanting more space, physically and mentally. I'm easily distracted - especially by shiny and/or sparkly things - and so leaving room for some empty space in my home leaves me room to think and create. To spread o u t but also to get out. Less stuff in a smaller home means less time spent cleaning/organizing and more time doing. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather be free to gallivant around on an unusually nice day instead of trying to make sense of pile of clothes ready to morph into a blob of some sort. 

In keeping with this theme, I made a list (surprise!) of what I want less of this summer and this lead to another list of what I want more of. Want to see?

Do any of you ever feel that wanting less leads you experience more? What do you want to do more of this summer? Read, swim, craft, travel? I'd love to know.

As always, thanks for reading.

xx Janelle

Thursday, June 13, 2013

an unintentially moody update on the last 2 weeks

addicted to coffee (decaf, flavoured, lattes etc.)

I think a little recap is in order, since I didn't post here in oh, about 3 weeks. The truth is I've been trying to keep myself motivated in other arguably more important areas of my life - like work, a course I'm taking one evening a week and taking care of the dog. Which some nights consists of me half-passed out reading in bed with her sulking next to me. I can't lie. I've been a little run-down lately.

I'm not trying to turn this post to turn into a bummer, so I'll feed you some happiness (or at least something lighter). After all, I am wearing the schlumpiest of the schlumpy sweatpants. And that shit makes me happy.

The most UNimportant update is I cut my bangs.

I didn't plan it at all really. Just trimmed them normally, didn't like them, wanted a change and impulsively snipped them a week or so later. Last time I had them like this was a couple years ago, but they only stayed for a couple of months. They took some time to style back then and I really appreciate having low maintenance hair. They've been a bit easier to maintain this time, so I'm hoping to keep them for a while. We'll see...

I would also like to keep the sun a bit longer. The pic on the left was taken on Monday and the right side on Thursday. From sandals and my new (and favorite!) maxi dress to covering up in lounge pants and funny slippers that remind me of Minnie Mouse. Must be the bows!

It's still coat weather here. This was me last night. I was reading a blog about a vegan restaurant and I just couldn't stop thinking about my favorite vegan soups from Human-T cafe. So I made the long trek to the cafe with D in the mist to pick up a nice big cup of this.

Broccoli soup with sweet potato and crostini. I drank the whole cup. Yes, drank. I was expecting it to be a bit thicker, but it the taste was so delicious I didn't mind at all. The perfect comfort soup. And best of all - dairy free!

If anyone is actually still reading this -- I'm thankful but surprised.

Tonight I watched Jesse & Celeste Forever. It was completely adorable, weird at times and tear-inducing. Andy Samberg was impressive and Rashida Jones was magic. You should watch it - it's on Netflix. Unless you just broke up with someone, in which case, you should probably wait six months or so. I'm telling warning you, it's emotional.

Afterwards, I forced myself to just paint and this is what came out. Ugh, feelings.


TGIF. Tomorrow.

Anyone have plans for the weekend?

xx Janelle

Thursday, May 23, 2013

goodbye gray : a painted makeover - a paintover?

One project on my list last weekend was to add some colour to the craft room/office. There is a flat-weave, beige patterned rug in there and the walls are a very light gray, aptly named Chelsea Fog. You may have seen it in my post on photo ledges. I actually really love the gray in that space. I find that having a neutral colour on the walls helps keep my mind clear to create. 

That said, a room full of neutrals can feel a bit flat - particularly if it's been overcast and drizzly for the past, oh say, ten days.

Although I wasn't quite ready to paint any of our hand-me-down, solid wood furniture just yet, I knew I could easily tackle the concrete (plaster?) planter. It was a Winners find sometime last winter for around $20. And it would give me an excuse to browse the paint chip aisle.

Here's what it looked like before:

See how it kind of blends in to the wall behind it? It looks better in this pic than it does in person.

I was contemplating either a dark teal, sunny yellow or a kelly or emerald green. After I got the nod of approval from D, guess which one I picked... Keep quiet if you saw my sneak peek yesterday ;)

Emerald. Specifically, Eleanor's Emerald by CIL.

Here is how the project went down:

- I put my hot painting clothes on, grabbed a 2" angled brush, a butter knife (to pop the can) and some newspaper/cardboard.

- I laid down newspaper and then cardboard to protect the floor. The cardboard was easy to peel away from the painted surface, but a drop cloth or plastic tarp would work well too.

- I taped around the inside of the rim with painter's tape for a clean line on the inside. Since the tree is a swirly bugger and actually rests on the rim in one spot, I decided to tape him up too just to be safe. If you squint, you can see this in the bottom right photo below.


- To get even coverage, I did three thin coats of paint working my way around. In hindsight, I probably should have used primer first but since this tree will stay inside (at least for now) it'll be fine. If you plan to house yours outdoors, I would recommend priming, and also using a sealant afterwards. Gotta protect it from the elements.

- I peeled off the tape after painting & slid the planter back in its place.

PS: I listened to Design*Sponge answer FAQs about their blog while I painted. Grace & Amy were so lively to listen to - a welcomed distraction!


I have to admit when I decided on green I was a bit nervous about it being too much green with the leaves and all, but I intentionally chose a green that was more blue since I knew the plant had yellow undertones. This gives it a bit more contrast than if the planter was a lime-y colour.

Here's how it turned out:

I'm so happy with it. Every time I walk into the room my eye goes right to that corner. Thankfully, it helps distract from the fact that there is a Star Wars poster hanging above it. I know how to pick my battles when it comes to decorating...

It's surprising how painting an accessory can have a big impact. And now that it's done - I've been thinking about what else I could do to tie the room together. Next on the docket:

- Hang curtain rod & panel on the window
- Fix the lack of closet door situation
- Re-organize bookshelf
- Get diploma from home & hang it up

Are you an emerald fan? 

If you did any decor projects recently, feel free to link up in the comments, I'd love to see!

xx Janelle