Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dream Home - Kiwi Style

Today we're headed to New Zealand to find a dream home for Maggie. She was looking for a contemporary home in the mountains... so that was exactly what I went looking for, with the help of Sotheby's Realty. I hope this is what you had in mind Maggie!

This New Zealand home is located in Queenstown, Southern Lakes and is listed for $5.25M US.

The house is located in The Peak Estate which, according to the listing is "...Central Queenstown’s only private gated community and is the ultimate dress circle address, perfectly perched high above the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu". The area has only 12 exclusive sites, so I'm sure to be an owner is a pretty big deal. Afterall... check out these breathtaking views...

Are you sold yet? Okay... then let's take a look inside...

How great are those floor to ceiling windows / doors!? With views like that from the sofa, I don't think I'd need a TV!

The kitchen is open and updated... look at the size of the fridge and the stove!

And it also comes equppied with a great "little" bar area. Perfect for entertaining at your perfect address, am I right?

The bedrooms aren't too shabby either with their incredible views.

And the bathroom connected to that last bedroom, would also offer a stunning view from the tub... and I'm assuming the shower as well! TV, scenery... whatever. Just lay back and enjoy...

Surprisingly, I think some of the most incredible parts of the home, are the bits that are offered as part of the small community! According to Sotheby's listing, "All 12 owners exclusively share ownership of the health and fitness complex, including the heated indoor/outdoor pool, luxury spa, sauna, steam room, state-of-the-art gym, kitchen, BBQ, and shower and changing facilities." The best part is that this stunning home is the closest to the complex, providing access via a private stairway from the upper level or straight through the master bedroom suite. But let's check out those facilities...

I think those views could inspire anyone to work out! If you want to check out all of the details of this jaw dropping abode, you can find more right here. Thank you Maggie for requesting a home in New Zealand... I had a seriously fun time discovering this gem!

Next week I'll be heading to Bali to find Jennifer an escape from our snowy and cold Canadian winters. Where in the world is your dream home? Want me to search something out? Leave a comment or shoot me an email, and I'll do my best to find you your own dream home, near or far!

Cookin' it in the Kitchen with B

As the head chef in our kitchen (and Kerry as my sous chef and beautiful baker) we find it a challenge to come up with new and exciting ideas every night for dinner. I must admit that far too often we settle for just some sort of meat and veggies type dinner just to satisfy hunger. However I also manage to come up with some pretty spectacular dishes from time to time (if I do say so myself). Being the first one through the door at night, and the one who actually enjoys cooking, I tend to be the pointman for dinner.

I'd like to share with you some of the hits and misses we enjoy in this new segment called Cookin' it in the Kitchen with B! (and Kerry too... sometimes)

Kerry's biggest gripe with cooking is that she needs a recipe to follow in order to produce something decent. She does a wonderful job putting together some of my favorite dishes to remind me of home (crab cakes and clam chowdah anyone?). Recipes for baking usually have to be followed pretty closely which is why she tends to stick to what she knows best, producing delicious treats.

I always think that a recipe is merely a suggestion for how something should be prepared and as long as you know the basics of cooking, the directions can be altered as much or as little as desired. This theory of mine obviously doesn't work on cupcakes unless you like when they look more like pancakes. So I try and keep my improvisation to the main courses and side dishes.

It does work on some of my specialties which include many different varieties of stir-frys and casseroles. To start this series off, I want to share our newest love; 'Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie'


For the base:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 sage leaves, chopped - I don't currently have any so I left it out
1-2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup milk - Changed to 1% from Buttermilk to keep it healthier
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup frozen peas

The topping:
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp honey (substituted light honey and lowered it from TBSP to TSP)
1/2 cup milk (again changed from buttermilk)
1 tablespoon Becel (changed from butter)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350*
Boil the Potatos, mash, add honey/milk/margarin/cinnamon/S&P
Saute the garlic/onions and turkey just until done
Add curry, salt, pepper, sage, sprinkle flour over turkey mix and pour in the milk.
Add the peas and place it in a greased casserole pan (8x8 or similar)
Bake for 15-20mins until the topping is slightly browned
If you're not a big curry fan you can always substitute it for something like cajun seasoning or maybe some Mrs. Dash. Maybe make it a lemmon pepper turkey or anything in your sprice rack really.
This meal shouldn't take more than 20mins to put together, cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces prior to boiling to expedite the process.

Keep an eye out for more deliciousness in the near future!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love for One of A Kind

The One of a Kind Show is a must for me twice a year. Spring and Fall, I never miss it! As you may have seen from some other fantastic Toronto bloggers, last Thursday was the media preview breakfast for the One of a Kind Show here in the city. It was a great way to get in there and check out some of the 800+ talented artisians before the place got really jammed (which we all know it does!).

I started the morning off wandering around with a few others, snapping some pictures of the beautiful set up.

Afterwards, we sat down to a delicious breakfast cooked up by the students of George Brown College, who work at the Chef's House...

Everything was delicious (I fell in love with the breakfast tea poached pears - YUM!)... and then it was time to get down to the stuff we were really looking forward to. Checking out some of the incredible artisans that had assembled under this one roof. The theme to the show this season was Love, in particular love for the artisans... and love them I did!

The work of Hilary Cosgrove was the first booth that I spotted and fell in love with... check our her work...

The little birds, the owls... those alphabet pillows! Everything in her booth was adorable, and in my opinion great for adults and children alike. I brought something home for myself from her booth... I'll share that another time though!

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to wander around on Thursday - so I headed back over yesterday with B and my parents to have a longer stroll around the building and check out some other booths. Our first stop is one of our usuals... where the talented artisan knows us. Terry, from Fables, Fantasy & Fairy Tales is a One of Kind veteran, and member of their Hall of Fame!

Each of the fairy's are hand made with the faces hand painted - so they are extremely delicate and each one unique! Terry also does custom pieces. A couple of years ago we contacted him in the early fall to recreate B's parents favourite wedding photo as a Christmas gift... and it was breath taking! I wish I had a photo handy to share, but trust, he does an incredible job! Looking for a life like cake topper? I recommend his work!

We continued down the aisle and stumbled across the beautiful stained glass work of Michelle Hiltz.

I adored that beautiful snowflake, and how lovely are those leaves? B stopped to ask her about her process and it was beyond impressive to hear what she goes through to make her lovely pieces! 

After visiting Michelle we popped over to Pietersma Tinworks. The booth is just as beautiful as all of the pieces within it...

We have some of his tin tinsel on our tree and it's beautiful (and pet friendly!). He also creates gorgeous lanterns and how about those night lights? His little booth was packed with ladies snatching up all kinds of lovely tin pieces shortly after I started snapping photos... and I'm sure it will be that way throughout the show!

During our travels throughout the show floor, I was also drawn to the adorable booth for open door designs, who create puppets and puppet theatres.

I loved how soft and whimsical these gorgeous little puppets were. B and I agreed that puppets are something we thought are a little lost among kids today, but these were so fantastic! There was such a variety of different creatures... I loved the dragon, and B was a big fan of the devil (go figure).

One of the last booths that I knew I had to share, was the work of Katie from Lost Nation. Her whole booth immediately drew me in... in particular, her gorgeous light fixtures!

Made from sticks and driftwood, all of her pieces are so lovely - check out her humane antlers! She mentioned that a lady had picked up a pair for her nursery - isn't that such a sweet idea!? B and I also thought her large light fixture would look great in our front entrance when it's finished. 

Just a few more booths that I visited but didn't snap any pictures of (but knew I had to share): Fine Wood Ornaments, Katie McLellan and Art Toy Universe Studio

I couldn't thank these talented individuals enough for letting me get in there and snap pictures of their beautiful pieces of work - but I just knew I had to share them with my readers! If you're interested in visiting any of them in person, the show is open until December 5th at the Direct Energy Centre on the Exhibition Grounds. It's a great day out, especially if you need to get some Christmas shopping done - B and I picked up a bunch of great little things! 

Have you been yet this year, or do you plan on going? Would love to hear what your favourite part of the show was this year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fancy Friday Love

Friday is here once again... and next week will bring the start of December! Can you believe it?

Thought I would start off this Fancy Friday with a little extra Fancy... and announcing the winner of the Lather & Soak giveaway! So who won those two pretty goats milk soaps? Lucky #7 did!

Congrats Sandy! I'll be in touch so that you can receive your pretty soaps! Hope this brought a little bit of extra happy to your Friday!

Isn't Liz's bedroom absolutely gorgeous? Seriously... all of your beautiful bedrooms are killing me. We need to tackle ours ASAP!

This gorgeous Christmasy photo from this is glamorous. What girl wouldn't want one of those blue boxes under the tree on Christmas morning?

Another paid of gorgeous Kate Spade shoes stole my heart again! Aren't the Cheeky flats beautiful? And only $75!

Also feeling the love for HomeSav this week and the awesome promo code they provided to my readers! Until December 31st, you can visit HomeSav and save $10 off a purchase when you use the code FTFancy (this offer cannot be combined with other offers). So head on over this and see what strikes a fancy with you! 

OH, and seriously loved this little face that entered the world on Monday morning!...

Yup, thats our god son! Little Dallas is here, and we got to spend a little time with him by our very own Christmas tree last night! A nice way to spend the evening for me after a long week and a seriously sore back (feels like I pulled or strained some thing). 

Quite a short list, but we had a busy, busy week! Looking forward to this weekend and heading back to the One of a Kind Show again, and some more Christmas shopping! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back on Monday with all kinds of goodness from this years One of a Kind Christmas Show....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect - Rebecca's Family Room

Today, Rebecca from the lil house that could is here to share her perfectly imperfect family room with us. I met Rebecca through Twitter, and her blog is fantastic - so make sure to check it out!

I think you came up with such a great idea and once I read your post I thought about how many times I've photographed my family room and moved things out of the way or cropped things out so no one sees. I am definitely guilty of putting up that 'perfect' image!

My house is new construction, which many think means move in ready... very much not the case. My family room was one of the first areas painted, it has mostly furniture leftover from our condo and is full of "trial" pieces and unfinished ideas.

The worst part of this space is that we have paper blinds hanging. I know I know, many new homeowners do, but it's been 6 months and our paper blinds are far from perfect. Like, they won't stay up! We gave up on one window so it's naked, then there are 3 that are completely crinkled from us slapping them back up when they fall. The sad part is, I am so used to seeing them like this that I had some friends over on Friday and I completely forgot to mention why one window was missing a paper shade and the others were a mess!

On top of that, we have some mismatched furniture, empty frames, vases with tags still attached, exposed tv and surround sound wires and an unfinished, refaced fireplace. Our nice new Crate and Barrel entertainment center is full of things we've just unpacked or bought and stuck on a random shelf with no thought involved. Almost all days, I have an ugly comforter that belongs to my mother in law sprawled out on a chair I always sit in, because I cannot be cozy without a comforter! So I left it in the pictures :)

After my frustration with the blinds and understanding the fact that the room is indeed functional and cozy, I have really put completing the family room on the back burner. I'd rather wait until I find the right solutions for us, than rush into making it appear perfect just for the sake of it!

Thanks so much Rebecca for sharing your Family Room! It really is a beautiful new space and I love your fireplace, flanked by those windows! I have another great room from another great blogger next week, so be sure to come back!
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