I’ve been in a weird funk with photography. I’ve been trying so hard to be present in life, but to really accomplish this, I don’t want to be reaching for my camera constantly. The downside is, I really miss documenting life on my blog and recently I decided another Photo an Hour was just what I needed to jump back in the saddle. What I love about committing to this challenge is that it forces me to look outside of scenes that are picture perfect and to see the simple beauty in a pile of rocks or a cluttered counter top. I need to take a picture wherever I am in that moment, and something about removing the perfectionism feels so good. This was a recent sunny Saturday spent out and about when Tom was away for the weekend. I met a friend for lunch at The Meating Room, bought some sweet things for our baby, and went for a lovely after dinner walk with my furry BFF.
I’m excited to finally share a new project that I’ve been working on!
Regina @ Home is a new monthly magazine produced by the Leader-Post and I am going to be a regular contributor. This has been a new experience for me and I’ve learned a lot so far.
The first issue will be distributed with the newspaper starting today, or to read it online, click HERE.
Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks. I was so excited for this launch as I love Urban Decay and the price point was pretty reasonable for a high end lipstick. I ordered the deluxe sample pack from Sephora and I’ve been having a lot of fun testing to see what shades to buy. EZ is my favorite so far from the sampler and Tom surprised me with Bittersweet, which is perfect for late summer going into fall. I like the “Comfort Matte” finish the best.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is the craziest thriller I’ve read in a while. If you liked Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you’ll appreciate it for sure.
Western Family Club Soda. As you know, I love sparkling drinks and I’ve tried every flavor of these and love them all. The grapefruit is probably my favorite although the cucumber works great for making Pimm’s Cups! I get them at Save-On-Foods.
Sewing! I’ve started cutting squares for my first project, a small quilt. Choosing the fabrics was really fun; now I’m hoping I can turn them into something useful.
Igloo Portable Ice Maker. My brother-in-law recently mentioned needing an ice machine for a trip he was going on and Tom acted super interested so I surprised him with this one for a birthday gift. It makes the first batch of ice in 15 minutes or less and keeps cranking it out as quickly as you use it. It fits nicely on our counter top and it’s been super handy for cold drink season.
Herschel’s “Outfitter” Duffel. When Tom and I started honeymoon planning I was quickly reminded of my dire luggage situation. After a ton of research I decided that one of the larger Herschel duffels would be the way to go. I’ve heard great things about the quality and they have a lifetime warranty. I was almost sold on the Novel but once I saw the Outfitter in person I knew it was a better choice. It’s very large and transitions into a backpack if you need a hands-free option. I really appreciate the shoe compartment and laundry bag inside. This bag seems super sturdy and I’m really excited to put it to the test. I also love that I can add a toiletry bag and wheelie suitcase in the future for a complete luggage set.
McDonald’s “Build Your Own Burger” station. Yes, really. I’m that annoying person who always wants to customize my order when I eat out but this lets me do it myself! I love that you can choose gourmet cheeses and buns and add toppings like guacamole or garlic aioli. The burger I had was phenomenal, and I definitely didn’t think I’d ever say that about McDonald’s. Pro tip: get the crumbled bacon.
What are you obsessed with lately?
Flowers make me ridiculously happy. I’ve forever wanted to be one of those ladies who always had fresh flowers in my home and more recently I’ve made it my mission to keep them around regularly. They add such a happy and welcoming vibe to our space. The cost used to be a concern for me but I’ve figured out how to keep my fresh flower habit affordable and thought I would share what I’ve learned.
The most cost effective place I’ve gotten flowers is the grocery store. I’m partial to Safeway and Save-On-Foods. Both stores have a good selection that changes all the time and regular specials, as well as helpful staff.
It’s no secret that different flowers vary in their lifespan. Once I figured out which flowers lasted the longest my costs went way down. For example, if a bouquet of roses is $20 and lasts a week and carnations are $6 and last three weeks, it’s easy to see which option is most cost effective. I’ve found that anything that has a tougher, woody stem usually lasts a long time. Also, use your judgement when looking at the condition of the flowers. If they are already soft and droopy in the store, they won’t last long at home.
When something is in-season the store gets more of it so they can sell it cheaper. The flowers will also be in better condition because they are in their prime. Look for the in-season bunches to be displayed in a high visibility area (in front of the till or store entrance) with a sign like, “Market Bunch” or “Special of the Week” and a price tag under $10. I’ve gotten peonies, hydrangeas and sunflowers for just $7.99 a bunch this way. Even if one of those seasonal bunches only last a week (and they have lasted much longer!), that cost is well worth it to me.
You know those bouquets that are already put together with a bunch of different flowers? They look pretty but if you want long lasting and budget friendly, step away. Those pre-made bouquets can easily cost $30-40 even at the grocery store but the value typically isn’t great. They usually include a few more expensive flowers (like roses or lilies) which jacks up the cost and those tend to die faster, also decreasing the life of your bouquet overall. You’re better off to choose a few long lasting varieties and put them together yourself. You’ll easily cut your cost in half this way while increasing the lifespan of your blooms. Safeway has a 3 bunches for $18 special that I like for this. The first photo in this post is of a bouquet I put together myself using a mix and match special!
Most stores sell bunches of leafy fillers that tend to be very long lasting. I am STILL reusing the greens I purchased for our wedding flowers; they were $4.99 a bunch and are still in perfect condition two months later! Including greens makes your bouquet look full while keeping costs down and I’ve just been swapping out the flowers as they die. I’ve also had just greens themselves in a vase and they look great. Bunches of mixed greens are inexpensive and a unique way to add colour and freshness that will last a long time.
Clean Them Up
Once you get them home, don’t just stick them in water and forget about them. Trim the ends of the stems on an angle and remove all leaves that will be underwater. If you don’t, they will rot once submerged and the flowers will die faster. My flowers lasted way longer once I started doing this.
Change your water regularly to keep it fresh; I change mine every two days and always use cold water. Also, use the flower food; it really does help increase the lifespan of your flowers. I like to ask for an extra packet too.
What’s your favourite flower?
Mine are peonies, of course! They remind me of being a little girl, running around my great-grandma’s yard. She had tons of them…it’s a nostalgia thing for me.