Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn inspiration

Fall has arrived!  That glorious season that catches me by surprise every year, and then leaves (pun intended) much too quickly.

I love fall for many reasons.  Fall fashion for starters, is awesome.  Boots, scarves, sweaters, tweed, leather and rich colours.  I always have a craving to shop for new clothing this time of year.  

The weather is also the bomb.  That perfect feeling when the air is crisp, but not enough to see your breath, and the sun is still warm on your face.  It makes for the ideal afternoon patio weather to sit an enjoy a pint of beer or a pumpkin spiced lattée.

And speaking of PSLs, I have yet to enjoy one this year.  I usually indulge in only one, and it has to be the most perfect setting.  A perfect fall afternoon (hopefully it's the weekend), ideally with my bff out for a day of shopping in the market, and it helps if I'm wearing a cute fall outfit to complete the experience.

As a lover of décor blogs, I have been enjoying seeing how everyone has been infusing fall into their homes.  There is nothing more charming than a front door seasonally decorated to greet guests, or a lovely mantel re-done in fall colours.  

Here are some of my favourites....

Kate, from Centsational Girl, hits the mark every time, and didn't miss when sprucing up her mantel for the season.  See, it's as easy as clipping a few stems to bring the beauty inside.

autumn mantel and framed marbled paper

My girl, Sherry, from Young House Love has also displayed some fall foliage to give her dining tablet that fall feeling.

I love the idea of decorating with dried, pressed leaves.  I remember hunting for the perfect maple leaf to press and save when I was a kid - so much fun.  Apartment Therapy shares some ideas and the easy steps to doing it yourself.  My favourite is the leaf garland.  


Better Homes and Gardens reminds us that fall decorating can be as easy as filling up a bowl full of apples!

Go For Green

If you prefer to streamline your fall décor with the rest of your home, take Suzie Harris' cue by spray painting faux (or real) gourds and pumpkins to match your colour scheme!  Très chic.

Stay trendy and take some inspiration from Pantone's Fashion Colour Report for fall 2012 when adding a new throw blanket or accent pillow to your home.

Loving this pillow from etsy.

Fall Pillow Rustic Decor Autumn Fall Cotton Throw Pillow Cover Decorative Accent

And these pretty throws by West Elm.


Now lets head outdoors...

Last year Ryan and Laura from Smith & Ratliff featured some fun seasonal front steps from their West Village neighbourhood in Manhattan.  I'm so jealous.

Pumpkins on a West Village Stoop

Halloween Pumpkins and decorations in the west village

I love the DIY yarn wreath trend that's been popping up.  Living in a condo doesn't allow for that charming front step decor, so I may have to give this a go.  Tonya from Love of Family shows us how nice it can look and includes a tutorial too.

So, have you begun your fall decorating yet?  So far, I’ve only been inspired, and have yet to actually DO anything.  However with the month of October (and Thanksgiving!) quickly approaching I’m determined to make the first fall in our new condo a beautiful one, and I’m happy too, that I’ve come across a few free ideas!

My goal is to share a post next weekend showing you all my hard work, and also how our amazing view is changing colours!

Happy autumn everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On my way to wedding day shape!

There are one hundred and ten days remaining until I marry the man of my dreams!  Slash until I have to look super hot because a million pictures will be taken of me which will last a life time.  

Yippeee!!!  Slash EEEEK!!!

I am beginning to look forward to all the different tasks and events that will surround our wedding, including getting into wedding day (and honeymoon) shape.

As I've mentioned, I've had quite a busy summer, which has unfortunately led to my diet and exercise being placed on the back burner.  

I was not completely stagnant; I did play soccer twice per week and volleyball once a week, but this exercise schedule combined with over celebrating (i.e. over drinking and eating too much party food) didn't cut it.

So, with the new month of September came my search for a new fitness program. 

We do have a gym and a pool in our new condo, I have a bike and running shoes and we are surrounded by nice paths.  The practical and economical choice would be to make use of my surroundings and condo fees.  But I just. can’t. motivate. myself.  I’m seriously like the WORST!  I have to either play a sport where my teammates are counting on me to show up to games, or I have to spend money on a membership which pushes me to attend in order to get my money’s worth.

Here’s what I was looking for in a fitness facility/program:
  • Motivation – I love classes, loud music and someone who can really pump me up!
  • Good location – the location needed to be within walking or cycling distance from work/home
  • Convenient schedule – I like working out right after work or early in the morning if it’s close enough to home
  • Personal and friendly – I hate that feeling of being intimidated or really feeling like the “newbie” in class
  • Affordability – I still have fees for soccer to pay for and I am not a millionaire, so I needed to find a gym around $75/month (my goal is to attend 4 classes per week, which works out to under $5/class – dynamo!)
  • Results – obviously!  I like to participate in a good combination of strength training, cardio and stretching classes to keep my body and muscles from getting familiar

So, do I sound picky or what?  I thought I did, but lo and behold, through my research I was able to find the most PERECT fitness facility: The Fitness Fusion Studio!!!

The Fitness Fusion Studio basically met ALL of my criteria!

Jackie Gravel, the Owner and Manager, is the most lovely lady I’ve ever met.  She is so friendly, but when it comes to instructing classes she kicks it up a notch and definitely doesn’t let you “cheat” your way through.  She has the ability to make a workout extremely challenging yet fun at the same time.  Also, I feel like I gain muscle just by looking at her – her body is ripped!

  • They offer, on average 4 different classes per evening between the hours of 4PM and 9PM.
  •  Their location is basically right in the middle of my home and office, making it a convenient stop on the way home from work.
  • The variety of their classes is amazing!  You can do anything from Zumba, Pilates, Kick Boxing, Kettlebell, Yoga, Boot Camp (which is outdoors until November!) and other classes with names like "Sculpt Your Body" (ummm, yes please!) and "Total Core Conditioning" which is a quick 30 minute class that focuses on strengthening your abs and lower back!  There are even some outdoor classes which are as simple as a 5km speed walk across the bridge to Quebec and back.
  • A major bonus, the cost is $199 (plus tax) for 3-months of unlimited classes.  Right in my budget!  

I registered for their 3-month program last week and so far I’ve totally loved it.  Everyone there is super friendly and encouraging.  I do kind of feel like the new girl, but not in a bad way.  People recognize that I haven’t been to a class before and offer suggestions, personal experience and help me with things like choosing the best size of weight for a certain exercise. 

After attending only 4 classes I can feel a difference.  Jackie was excited to hear that I will be getting married this NYE and I trust that with her kick-ass classes I will wear my wedding dress confidently. 

But more importantly I would love to rock a bikini in Hawaii!

So for anyone looking for a new fitness program, I would definitely recommend The Fitness Fusion Studio.  It's located on Cumberland at York in the ByWard Market.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Soaking in the last drops of summer

I hope all of you enjoyed your final summer long-weekend!  Derek and I did our best to soak up as much summer as we could.  And I think that knowing cooler temperatures and busy weekends are on their way helped us appreciate it a bit more.

We kicked-off the weekend by participating in The Canadian, Saturday at Mooney's Bay.  It was a jam packed day full of various types of races and events.  Derek ran an 8km and I did my first try-a-tri.  We both really enjoyed ourselves, did pretty well for first-timers, and will definitely participate again.

Here's a photo of Derek stretching it out before his race.

And here I am prepping for the first leg of my tri: the swim!  Super attractive, I know...and this is before the nose plug and goggles!

On Sunday we spent the day at Lac La Peche in the Gatineau Park.  Derek had read an article earlier in the summer about this specific lake and how it was not as busy as others in Gatineau Park.  It is an awesome lake and beach, but a little farther from the city, so I can see why people may not make it all the way out there.  

The lake is really big, with a nice cordoned off swimming area with lifeguards.  You can rent kayaks and canoes for a reasonable price, parking is only $10 per car for the day, and I don't think it's ever very busy!  

It was the perfect setting for a relaxing Sunday.  We enjoyed a picnic, some wine, canoed around the lake and discovered little private beaches.

That's me!  The water was so warm, and I loved it after having craved a swim in a fresh water lake all summer.  

Completing our little Canadiana outing, was the discovery of a huge beaver dam and a pair of loons!  

Derek and I will most definitely be taking another trip back to Lac La Peche, maybe even this autumn to take in all the changing colours from a canoe!  Seeing as it is only about 40 minutes from downtown Ottawa, it is the perfect day trip destination for family outings, romantic picnics or a get-together with a bunch of friends.  

What did you guys do over the long-weekend?  Anyone participate in a race or other type of outdoor activity?