Thursday 17 March 2016

DIY Wedding Details

I love making things. There is something incredibly relaxing about making something, whether it's food, a piece of art or a gift for someone.

It's been 9 months since I got married.......and I realized that I had quite a few DIYs for my wedding that I wanted to share with you!

First up- flowers and bouttinieres.

I knew that I didn't want to go with anything traditional for the wedding and my biggest DIY surprise for myself was that I made my flowers from crepe paper! Once I knew what I was going to do for flowers it just made complete sense for me-I'd get to customize the sizes, colours and even the quantity.

Using this blog post from Studio DIY, a couple of my bridesmaids and I were able to put together all of  flowers over the course of a couple of evenings. One evening was spent cutting out everything, the other was spent making them.

Gorgeous flowers for my gorgeous gals!

 Just look at how vibrant those colours are

I hired Wildfell Florals to make some simple herb bouttinieres for the men. For my groom's bout, I added a special touch- a succulent that I had kept growing from my Feb 2015 photoshoot with Arynn Photography. While this may not count as a complete DIY, as someone with a notorious black thumb  I'm extremely proud of myself for keeping the succulent alive.

The succulent is still alive and well, and I've managed to propogate two more baby plants from its leaves

Wedding Favours- Tea Sachets

This is the DIY that took up the most of my time...but was the most fun to do! I looooove tea. It's my go-to beverage, with coffee being a close second. These bags were my pride and joy, but took a lot of effort to make. I'd say they took about two evenings of work but were well worth it.

I had five types of tea hidden amongst all the sachets.
  1. Chai
  2. Earl Grey
  3. Pomegranate Green
  4. Genmaicha
  5. Tropical Black Tea

First off- those tags took an entire evening of taping (there's a washi tape strip on the other side for colour) writing and threading. I put 2-3 servings of tea into teabags to seal up so they didn't lose their flavour, then put them into the little burlap bags.

It was a fun couple of nights to hangout with bridesmaids and put them to work...but when you've got 250 to make it was awesome to be able to split up the work.

Have you tackled any DIYs lately, wedding or day-to-day life?

Tuesday 16 February 2016

#BioreBakingSoda Influenster Box

I came home from a long day of teaching to find a bright green box waiting or me at the post office. Turns Influenster VoxBox had arrived!

I knew that the box was a skincare line and when I received it, the brand was on the outside- it was a Biore VoxBox

products were received complimentary of Infuenster so I could test 'em out 

I was excited because the last couple weeks (okay...last full month) had been fairly stressful with some personal issues, and a ton of of supply work-which led to breakouts galore! I was hoping that whatever Influenster sent me would be a natural product, but was happy to try this. 

I'll start with the Pore Cleanser. It ha a thicker consistency, but managed to get right down to my pores. My skin felt squeaky clean when I was done! It also didn't smell weird or overly chemical, unlike a lot of facial lines I've used in the past. 

The scrub reminded me of the Dermalogica one, except this I wouldn't use everyday. To use it, you put a bit into your hand, and mix with water to get a paste of whatever consistency you choose. If you want a more exfoliating effect, use less water. If you want a gentle cleanser, use more water. 

As someone who's been using purely natural products for the past little while, these products were a bit rougher on my skin than I expected, but my skin grew to adapt to them. Depending on how my sin reacts (which could take a couple weeks) I may or may not stick to this product. 

I think these products would best be suited for normal to oilier skin tones. Sensitive skin- stay away! 

Sunday 3 January 2016

New Year. New Beginnings

I always felt a bit odd when New Years' Eve comes around.

Maybe it's because as a teacher my personal New Year has always been in September when I started classes or teaching piano. Growing up, I was quite confused that we started a new year in the middle of the year. I knew calendars started with January and ended with December, but it just didn't make any sense to me.

Another thing that never made sense to me was New Years' resolutions. Goals that were set, that many tried to keep and ultimately failed at doing.

New Years' eve this year was relaxing, spent with my in-laws and a family from church. We got fireworks going, played board games, and watched movies until midnight. It's a stark contrast from the many New Years eve parties that were advertised on Facebook, the radio and TV...but it was perfect. No crazy big countdown, no heels- just my husband (!! I am still not over calling him that and it's been 6 months), sweatpants, my in-laws. a good cup of tea and a movie. Dec 31st quietly turned into Jan 1st.

This past year has been a year of changes, the biggest one being that I got married!

I also went from working 3 part-time jobs to none to 2 part-time jobs (one of which I am self-employed), moving from a suburb to a small town and living 7 hours away from my parents.
All of these changes were monumental changes for me, and in the span of 6 months since I've been married they've led me to meeting great people, working great jobs and feeling much more content than I had been in years!

2016 is just a number, a year. I'm hoping this year will follow the greatness of last. I haven't set any resolutions for myself.....mostly because I know I won't keep them. I have vague goals I want to work towards but they're goals that have been in motion since I decided my career path.

Readers, tell me- have you set any resolutions?

Happy New Year!


Monday 19 October 2015

Time's a tickin'

Hello blogosphere!

Have you had those days, weeks, months, years where it feels like all you're doing is rushing, and not taking the time to just enjoy the moments you're in?

Over the past few months, I've been trying to spend a few moments every day just pausing to reflect on anything and everything that comes to mind. In the midst of rushing to make dinner, or teaching lessons I'll have moments where I go "this is wonderful and I am so thankful to be able to do what I love"

I'm officially a married woman, and with that came some changes. The biggest one of all was moving from a suburb of Toronto to a small town 7 hours north from home. It was a big change because it was just a completely different pace of life. There isn't an insane rush to go anywhere, and there are no feelings of anxiety to run late anywhere. This new town has given me time to stop and smell the roses, and to just destress. The moving process was also quite easy. We had a ton of family and friends help us move everything from my parent's place to our new apartment and it was a breeze.

Part of having time to relax has been playing around with quite a few recipes. From raw vegan desserts, to gluten free breads to quite a few slow cooker recipes- I've been cooking a lot! It's been a lot of fun making new recipes and adapting them to my own tastes.

Though I'm still waiting to hear about a job, and I live farther than I ever have from home- I'm surprisingly not stressed or anxious. Everything will happen in its own time and in the meenwhile I' just be cookin' up a storm!

Friday 5 June 2015

Hello universe!

I swear...I don't mean to leave the blog alone for such a long period of time.

The oldest excuse in the book- life got busy.

Since my last post, I've been working 3 jobs and planning my wedding!

"Is she crazy?" you may be asking.


Absolutely, completely one hundred percent insane. And I love it!

Two of my jobs involve what I've been wanting to do as a career since I was a wee little one- I've been teaching private music lessons to around 30 students, plus co-teaching 3 group musical theatre classes. I like being able to connect with students and push them to be their best while still having a lot of fun.

My third job is something that was just for "fun"- I started working at a raw vegan restaurant. It has such delicious food, and it's always a great atmosphere.

But doing wedding planning on top of that? Yeaaah....not my smartest move.

If I had to go back in time, I would make myself schedule more me-time, just so I don't feel run-down.

All this hard working is going to be paying off though, because I'm marrying this handsome man in exactly THREE WEEKS!

Thursday 7 August 2014

#ThriftStyleThursday-Bollywood Babe (Influenced by India)

Alright guys, whoever voted for this week's #ThriftStyleThursday...I love ya!

For someone who is Indian, this week was actually a bit of a struggle for me. Do I just put on an Indian outfit and go completely Bollywood or do I tame it down?

It's really hard to make outfit decisions...

I decided to focus on two aspects of most Indian outfits- bright bold patterns, and bright bold jewelry (bling bling baby!) 

Except...what's a girl to do when she has a rotating wardrobe of black and denim, but barely have any colour?!

Well...I made it work. I remember buying this top when peplum was just starting to take off. It was one of those "it's cheap and trendy, so I'll buy it" moments. I mean for $3, you can't go wrong! It features a very popular Indian motif-the ever-so-popular paisley. Combine that with a giant shiny statement necklace straight from India itself?

[Shirt-$3 from Stitches] [Necklace-gift]

Also Bollywood- appropriate? A thick, shiny head of hair, and tons of eyeliner!

[Hair- au naturel baby!] [Eyeliner- Essence waterproof eyeliner, $2.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart]

My hair has been one of my biggest struggles since I was a baby. Would you believe that as a baby, I had a head full of curls?! 
Unfortunately, keeping those pretty curls tangle-free was my poor mother's biggest struggle. By the time I started school, chop chop-no more curls! 

Over the past several years, I've killed my hair. Between dying it different colours, straightening it almost every day in university, and blowdrying it to hair wasn't happy. It was brittle and still crazy prone to frizz. 

I made a huge change in February of this year when I started the no-poo movement on my hair. I wash my hair with apple cider vinegar, and condition with coconut oil. Yes, oil. Coconut oil is the only oil that is able to completely penetrate into the hair, conditioning from the inside out. I think it's paid off wonderfully because my hair is the softest it's ever been! 

What is your favourite Indian trend?

Take an exotic vacation to my thrifty gals to see how they styled this weel's Indian theme!


Sunday 3 August 2014

Foodie Feature-My Take on Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls


As mentioned in a previous post, I am beginning a series called Foodie Feature, where I try out different recipes from my cookbook arsenal. 

This week's Foodie Feature is a recipe inspired by this cookbook: 
The Good, the Bad and the Yummy, by Adina Steiman

I picked up this book at a discount bookstore in the States a few years back, and I love it! True to its title, it gives recipes that are "good" (healthy pick-me-ups) and "bad" (delicious treats), with the focus on every recipe being delicious.

This week, I wanted to make something for a girl's day sitting poolside. I was looking for something light, healthy-ish and easy to make. I decided to use this book because I remembered that there was a fresh rice paper roll recipe in it.

However, true to my Sarina style- I can't just follow a recipe. I absolutely have to tweak it in some way.
The original recipe called for shrimp, rice noodles, cilantro and cucumber.

What did I do?
I decided to make dessert rolls. 

Following true rice paper roll form, I had a carb- homemade sweet rice with condensed milk, something crunchy- a Pink Lady apple, and something herby- mint leaves. I also added in slice of mango and strawberries, just for some beautiful colours. These flavours together just screamed summertime to me!

The tricky thing about this recipe is prepping the rice paper. Each piece needs to soak in water for a bit beforehand, so that it becomes pliable. Too short of a soak time and the rice paper is brittle, too long and it becomes a mushy mess. I slowly got the hang of it though, and somewhat mastered the rolling technique. 

Look at these beautiful colours! So summery

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls-makes 8
 (adapted from The Good, The Bad and the Yummy)

8 sheets of rice paper
a bowl filled with water- must be large enough to fit the rice paper into 
1/3 cup rice
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup condensed milk
1 mango, seeded, peeled and sliced
1 apple, cored and sliced (I didn't peel mine, but if you want to you can)
1/2 pint of strawberries, washed and sliced into quarters
2 sprigs mint leaves, taken off the stem

  • First prepare the rice- in a small saucepan, combine rice and milk. Over high heat, let rice boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 min, stirring occasionally. After, stir the condensed milk into the rice. Set aside. 
  • To make rolls
    • Soak a sheet of rice paper in water for 30-40 seconds, or until pliable. 
    • Lay rice paper onto a flat surface. Put a teaspoon of rice mixture down the middle. Top with 2 slices each of apple and mango, 4 strawberry quarters and 2 mint leaves. 
    • To roll. Fold top and bottom towards each other. Pull one side of rice paper towards the middle, making sure all ingredients are tight together. Roll. 
  • Repeat process for all 8 rolls
Have you have fresh rice paper rolls before?