DIY Abstract Art on a Budget

I love a good DIY, and i’ve done a few for my new place that I am hoping to post on here sometime soon. I will admit that I came to the realization while making my Ikea Hack nightstand (coming soon), that you don’t always save money. After buying all the supplies, and spending the time doing the work, I realized that I really could have just bought a finished piece at Ikea for the same price. That being said, I really enjoyed the process and the challenge of saying that I can make something, having a vision of how it will turn out and then actually doing it and being proud of the results. It’s thrilling to me, but I know it’s not for everyone. Plus with a DIY, you then have something unique, that you can’t find in a store or anyone else’s home. I don’t know, it really depends how much time you have on your hands and how much importance you put on making things by hand, but personally I know that even if it’s hard work, I am going to keep DIYing because I find it so rewarding and fun!

I have posted on here a few times this week after being MIA for a while. I guess thats my MO. I get bursts of creativity, and ideas, and energy to make blog posts and then I go into hibernation for a while. I know that I should probably hold off on posting this project for a little while to space out my work, but I’m way too excited, because I really, really love how this project turned out and I feel like anyone can do something like it.
When I moved into my new place I made two decisions. The first was that I wanted to start being more minimalistic. After reading Marie Kondo’s book; The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up, the idea of only holding onto the things in my life that I loved resonated with me. So when I moved, I only brought the stuff that made me smile into my home, and have been taking my time filling it, so as not to buy unnecessary items. The second thing I decided was that I wanted to make a lot of my own art. In my last apartment I had some of my photography printed and I framed them in simple frames to go above the couch, then over the TV in NYC. I think I might do that again soon, but I also wanted to try my hand at painting because I not only love it but I find it so therapeutic.
I started doing a little research to find what pieces made my heart flutter. I went on Pinterest and pinned a bunch of art and then tried to zero in on what I really liked about them. I realized I was being drawn to abstract art, simple lines and feminine colours. With that idea in my mind I went to the dollar store (yep, this DIY is really low cost, high impact!) and bought brushes, paint and canvases. This whole project cost me under $20.00, and I ended up with two pieces of personalized art, one extra canvas that I still need to paint, and a ton of paint and supplies left over for future projects. Score! My bedroom has pops of coral, navy, gold and white, so I wanted to use those tones in the artwork to tie the whole room together. I used navy paint from my Ikea Hack Nightstand (which I will get around to posting about as soon as I get to putting the handles on it). I love how the navy in the canvas matches my nightstand perfectly, I also made a coral colour, and bought a light pink and gold.
I really think that even if you aren’t artistic, you can definitely pull this off with a little research and some planning and this DIY will actually save you a ton of money, because art isn’t cheap.
Here is what you need: 
Several different sized paint brushes
Paint (you need at least 3 different paint colours. I chose gold, navy and coral because those were the colors in my room.
2 canvases
Paint tray
Paper towel or old dish rag
drop cloth

What you need to do:
1. Start by going on pinterest for inspiration, figure out what look you are going for before you start. With a vision in mind it will be a bit easier to get started, but I find once you start it just comes to you and you go with what looks good.
2. Prepare a workspace with a drop cloth to avoid paint splatter on your furniture.
3. Start with one colour on the canvas. I chose to start with the gold. Make several random lines using different brush sizes on the canvas. Continue using other colours to fill in the spaces around it. You can adjust the shades by wiping away excess paint of the canvas in certain parts to fade the colour, or blend colors. Continue adding lines in different thicknesses and lengths, blending where you can to create a cohesive piece.
4. Hang and enjoy.

How do you feel about DIYing? As I mentioned earlier, sometimes it ends up costing more, but is it always about the money or is it about the challenge and fun? I found this article on Huffington post that says to use a flowchart when trying to decide on whether to DIY it or Buy it. Could be a helpful way to decide! Check it out here. 

Simple Orecchiette Pasta Dish with Fennel, Turkey and Broccoli

I’ve been dreading the fact that summer is slipping away and fall is right around the corner, but this week has been so hot and I am just trying to soak it up while I still can! The only issue I have with this heat is cooking in it, since I have no air-conditioning in my apartment. Turning on the oven when its already 100 degrees in my tiny kitchen isn’t ideal, so in order to embrace the heat while it lasts, I’ve been trying to do most of my cooking on the stovetop, and i’ve been choosing quick and easy recipes. That way, I am in and out of the kitchen in a flash and this dish is perfect for that.

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I fell in love with this pasta dish when I got the Carmine’s Family Style Cookbook a few years back. If you have ever been to their restaurant in NYC you will know that it’s one flavour explosion after another. Every recipe in their cookbook is delicious, but their dishes aren’t exactly on the healthy side. Because of that, I try to modify where I can, but I won’t lie… their version of this meal is really, really, really good, so if ever you’re feeling like a cheat night and don’t mind the extra calories, go for it! You won’t regret it (well, maybe a little).

For this regular weeknight meal I wanted it to become something a little healthier, a little quicker and a little lighter.  So while their version calls for nearly a cup of olive oil, mine calls for 4 tbsp, and you know what? The flavours are close enough to the real deal! It’s still bursting with a delicious garlic, fennel olive oil flavour. This is definitely one of my go-to favourite weeknight recipes and it’s just as yummy the next day for lunch!

Simple Turkey Broccoli Orecchiette – Adapted from Carmine’s Family-style Cookbook
Serves 2 to 4

What you need:

3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Orecchiette
1 small head of broccoli cut into 3-inch spears
1 lb ground turkey or if you’re feeling fancy, 1/2 lb of fennel sausage (casings removed).
2-3 cloves coarsely chopped garlic
8 fresh basil leaves sliced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (if you went for the ground turkey)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Romano cheese

What you need to do: 

  1. In a large salted pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to the package directions, and add the broccoli spears during the last minute of cooking. Drain and return the pasta and broccoli to the pot.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and basil, and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until browned. 3 to 5 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the turkey with the pasta and broccoli in the pot. Add the remaining olive oil and the 1/2 cup of Romano.
  4. Enjoy!

Green with Envy Smoothie

Can anyone tell I am obsessed with smoothies of the green variation? I can’t get enough of them. Is it just me, or is there something super satisfying about drinking something that is such a bright green colour? You just know it’s good for you and filled with all sorts of nutrients that will keep you going throughout the day.

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While I was living in NYC I was careful where I spent my money. I was there for almost 6 months, and I have to say I never once paid for a smoothie. I had my own blender so I thought it was a waste to spend 10$ for someone else to whip up something so simple, but when I was there a few weekends ago (without my own blender) I was craving one and bit the bullet. I went to the Green Bean Cafe near where I was staying and bought the Green with Envy smoothie packed with kale, banana, spinach, dates and pineapple. Wow! I shouldn’t have waited that long, it was amazing and so close to where I was living, although it’s probably best that I had no idea it existed because I would have been broke. The smoothie was just sweet enough and creamy and so, so tasty. When I got back to Montreal I decided I needed to replicate it right away.

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The best part of this smoothie in my humble opinion, is the dates. They add just the right amount of sweetness that balances the kale really well. I love kale, but if you aren’t fond of its raw flavour but love it’s nutritious value than this smoothie is perfect for you.
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Here’s my version of the Green with Envy Smoothie Adapted from The Green Bean Cafe NYC

{Serves 2}

What you need:

3 dates pits removed
1.5 cups rice milk, almond milk or soy milk
1 banana (I use frozen)
handful of pineapple (I use frozen)
handful of kale washed and de-ribbed.
2 Tbsp Chia seeds

What you need to do:

1. Add the milk in first then the kale, pineapple, banana and dates.
2. blend until nice and smooth (making sure there are no chunks of dates left behind)
3. Add the Chia seeds and blend quickly to incorporate (I do this so they don’t all stick to the sides)
4. Pour and enjoy!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with a Crunchy Cilantro Lime Slaw

I usually wait until I can take the perfect photos of my meals or baked goods before I post them. But I am starting to see that this need for perfection is actually holding me back from posting on this beloved blog of mine. I’m not taking away from the fact that I love photoshoots. I get a thrill from the planning, styling, composing, photographing and editing that goes along with food photography and I will continue to practice these skills every chance I get. But sometimes my best creations happen after work when the sun is low and the photo ops are slim and my iphone is already by my side. So I decided to go ahead and post this recipe on here without a “perfected” photo. That’s ok right? My iphone certainly captures more of my meals than my SLR ever has (anyone who follows me on Instagram knows this). So for anyone wondering, I am basically just giving myself permission to do things a little differently. I am not a perfectionist… nope. 

I was looking for something quick, light and healthy for dinner the other day, so I though shrimp would be a nice change for a hot summer day. The meal took me 30 min from start to finish, so when I say easy, I mean it, and did I mention they are delicious? Spicy shrimp topped with a crunchy cilantro, lime slaw, some fresh avocado, crumbled feta cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to finish it off? How can anyone resist? I have to confess that I have since made it again and have eaten it about 4 times in the last 7 days. They are highly addictive, you have been warned.

Recipe adapted from pinch of yum 

Heres what you need:

Crunchy Cilantro Lime Slaw
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup green onions
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 small cloves garlic (or more if you love garlic)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage (green or purple works the same)
For the Shrimp Tacos
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • 1 teaspoon each chili powder, korean red pepper powder, paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 pepper
  • 8 small corn tortillas (I used flour because my grocery store only had that at the time)
  • 1-2 avocados
  • Feta cheese and additional cilantro for topping
  • lime wedges for serving
 What you need to do:
1. Start by peeling and de-veining all the shrimp and patting them dry.
2. Add all the ingredients for the slaw (except the cabbage and the yogurt/sour cream) into a food processor and pulse until smooth then add the yogurt in and pulse until smooth. Set aside
3. Coat the shrimp with the spice mixture and heat a skillet on medium high, add some coconut oil and cook shrimp well, flipping every few minutes until they are cooked through.
6. Heat tortillas on a clean dry pan and toss the cabbage together with some sauce until evenly coated.
7. Assemble tortillas with shrimp, some slaw, some mashed up avocado and a sprinkle of feta cheese on top, a little drizzle of the leftover cilantro lime sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
8. Enjoy! Try not to eat these more than once in one week I dare you.

Phil and Hadley’s Wedding

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to be assistant coordinator at Phil and Hadley’s Wedding with Shauna of Paisley Promotions. It was such a fun experience, and because of that, I am going to make sure it’s not the last time I get involved in something like it! I had a blast working with Shauna and loved how the whole wedding came together. I can’t take credit for the amazing planning that went into it, that’s all Paisley Promotions, but it was really fun to help make the dream into a reality!

The couple was adorable and down to earth and their rustic, boho inspired wedding was pure simplicity at its best. Madeline Druce captured the whole night and if you haven’t heard of her, check out her work, it is amazing! Just look at these two shots that she captured of the bride and groom.

The couple chose a gorgeous spot on Parc Jean Drapeau that is home to the Tour de Lévis, a 1930’s historical landmark, which if you can handle walking up the 157-step staircase to the observation deck, will dazzle you with its breathtaking 360-degree views of the river, downtown Montreal, the biosphere, the beautiful Jacques Cartier bridge and all the surrounding areas. I definitely felt it in my legs the next day after walking up and down those stairs several times throughout the night. Great workout!


When I first saw the site a few weeks before the wedding I had a hard time imagining how it would all look, which was frustrating because I am usually really good at visualizing, but aside from the tower; the piece de resistance, it was a very basic, open space that almost resembled a camp ground. As the tents began going up though, the pieces of the puzzle started coming together, and I began to see that it was going to become a very magical space, and it did. It went from nothing special, to spectacular in a few hours. It’s amazing how a lot of creativity, careful planning and hard work can do that.

The ceremony took place in a clearing in front of the tower that was surrounded by trees, brush and grass. Bohemian carpets were laid down for people to sit on and rose petals formed an aisle for the bride and groom to walk down. Phil and Hadley stood under two cherry trees that drooped to form a canopy under which they said their I do’s. Dinner was served in a large tent with huge rustic wood tables and chairs, simple wild flower centrepieces and magical string lights that warmed the tent with a gentle yellow glow. After dinner and some dancing the cake was cut in front of the tower and the bridal party made their way up the many stairs to the observation deck. There, they all had  the perfect view of the fireworks going on at La Ronde that night. It was all very romantic. The rest of the evening was spent dancing the night away under an open tent adorned by more magical string lights and a bar that kept the drinks flowing.

Once everyone had danced enough to feel hungry again, dessert was served inside the medieval tower. The rain held off until the early hours of the morning when no one cared about the way they looked anymore, they were just happy to feel a nice breeze and some cool, wet drops on their faces. Everyone seemed so happy and carefree and the night really couldn’t have gone any better from my point of view.

Often it’s the simpler things in life that end up being the best things and this wedding was a testament to that! I love how so much work went into making the night feel effortless, relaxed and simple. It just proves a job well done.

Congratulations to Phil and Hadley

Special thanks goes to Dansereau Traiteur for the incredible food that night. Every little thing was beyond delicious and the presentation was phenomenal, and to Eventex for going above and beyond their mandate that evening. Amazing work.

Side note: My photos were all taken on the fly with my iPhone camera so while they aren’t of the best quality, they do manage to give a good idea of the vibe of the night!

Tropical Melon Blast Smoothie

It has been a windy road these past few months. There have been ups, many downs and sharp turns in unpredictable directions, explaining why I haven’t contributed to this little space of mine on the internet in over 3 months. At least I have stayed active on Instagram, right? My last post was from when I was still living in NYC and I can’t believe it has been that long since I have been back home in Montreal. So many things have happened in such a short amount of time and i’ve faced a lot of challenges and forks in the road along the way. With that, I have learned some valuable lessons and am coming to terms with the fact that life is just one big surprise and that the key to living a happy life is to not take it all too seriously and roll with the punches, but ask me if I find that easy?? At least I am working towards it becoming my mantra, and that alone has made me a happier person. I can say that for sure.


I am finally starting to settle down now after being in complete limbo for the past 3 months. With all these big changes happening all at once, the challenge is finding my rhythm again, but as the dust settles I am finding it easier and easier to get back into my old, but good routines, like making weekly meal plans so that I spend less and eat well and making fruit and veggie packed smoothies every morning to start the day off on the right foot. Here’s where the point of this post comes in. While I don’t think smoothies need a recipe, sometimes the concoctions you come up with need to be written down so they can be enjoyed again and again, and this is one of them! I’m a smoothie fan, not only for their delicious nutritional value, but because they are a really convenient way to stay full in between breakfast and lunch while at work. You can just sip on them in between phone calls and emails, it’s great!



Having recently learned about FODMAP’S (Click to learn more) I wanted to create a smoothie using only low fodmap fruits and veggies. Having a fickle stomach, which I am sure many of you can relate too, I want to see if this could be a solution for me. Haven’t figured that out yet, but i’ll keep you posted.

This smoothie is packed with sweet honeydew, hearty kale and a tropical twist with banana and pineapple and some chia seeds for that extra nutritious boost. This is a super refreshing drink to have on a hot summers day. Hope you enjoy it!


Tropical Melon Blast Smoothie

(Serves 2)

1 cup of cubed Honeydew

1 cup of frozen pineapple

1/2 frozen banana

Small handful of kale (ribs removed)

1 cup of rice milk

2 tbsp chia seeds

Blend all the ingredients together and serve it up nice and cold for a nutritious morning or afternoon snack!

The Orchid Show: Chandeliers at the New York Botanical Gardens

Orchids have always been my favourite flower for as long as I can remember, so when I heard that the New York Botanical Garden was having an Orchid exhibition I jumped at the opportunity. This weekend I finally made my way to The Orchid Show: Chandeliers, which was such a great way to escape the cold and dreary weather we’ve been having. As soon as I walked into the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, I was hit with warm tropical air and an intoxicating fragrance. I immediately noticed the huge orchid arrangements floating in the pond and thought that, that was going to be the best part of the exhibition, but once I walked through the doors of the main show I realized that was only the beginning and was nothing compared to what came next. The goal of this show is to mimic the way orchids grow in the rainforest by attracting the eye upward with an impressive presentation that highlights the aerial beauty of this iconic flower. Everywhere you look you are flooded with colorful, unique orchids in all shapes and sizes hanging in planters and growing off trees as they would in their natural habitat. The most impressive part, is in the middle of the conservatory where hanging from the ceiling is a huge star shaped, 3 tier orchid chandelier, overflowing with hundreds of plants. I would strongly recommend that if you are in the NYC area between now and April 19th you go and see this beautiful exhibition. It really is a truly breathtaking experience.

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