Where did the week go? I cannot believe it is Friday again already!
I just realized I did not take many photos this week, oops! I will try harder next week, I promise.

1. SB date. His = unsweetened, light ice, black iced tea. Hers = 2p caramel, soy, light ice, iced coffee. Amazing! 2. I discovered the cheese basket at Whole Foods this week where all pieces of cheese are under $5. I found some great cheeses that were new to use (like bergamot cheese) and some old favorites (like gouda). 3. Just call me the grim reaper.  I killed 7 fire ant hills in the yard this week! 4. Mangoes are amazing right now! They are so ripe and juicy. I will be buying more this weekend.

In other news, I have been a domestic diva this week. I have been fixing toilets, fixing lattice, hanging pictures, spraying the perimeter of the house with pest control spray, watering the garden, and of course killing ant hills. 

Plans for this weekend include meal plans, groceries, a date, relaxing at home and reading. I got a new book on my iPad, MWF seeking BFF. So far it is really good but I cannot wait to read more.

Have a great weekend.


Strawberry tart

Remember all those strawberries I froze a while back? Well I decided to use some up with an extra sheet of puff pastry that was in my fridge on the weekend! A strawberry tart seemed like a simple idea, and it was! Strawberries remind me a summer, and since it feels like summer here (+27C and sunny!), I knew they would be the perfect end to our weekend.

defrosted strawberries
puff pastry

Defrost approx 3 cups of strawberries for slicing and puree. Slice approx 1 1/2 c strawberries and save in a bowl. Put other half of strawberries in a small saucepan with water and sugar. Bring to a boil, let simmer for approx 5 minutes. Let cool. Puree with immersion blender, chill in fridge. Roll out puff pastry sheet on a floured surface until it fits your tart pan. I like the rustic look so I make mine too big then fold in the edges. Place puff pastry in tart pan, fill with strawberry puree and sliced strawberries. Bake in 350F oven for approx 45 minutes or until puff pastry is golden and cooked through. Let cool then slice.

Yes, it was as delicious as it looked. I could have had an entire bowl of strawberry puree! B likes his with fresh whipped cream but I prefer mine plain. This is really easy to prepare early then bake while you eat dinner. I cannot wait to make this again or something similar with a different fruit!



Yesterday we made our first trip to New Orleans to have dinner with family who happened to be in town for the day. It is only an hour drive and we were very excited to go visit.

On the way, we drove over Lake Ponchatrain which was definitely a different experience and not actually a real lake. No need to drive around the lake, lets just make a bridge right over it! Weird. We also drove past the Tanger Outlets at Gonzales but did not stop. Maybe next time...

We decided to go to the french quarter to walk around and eat dinner. We researched a few places then decided on Bourssard's. What an excellent choice! Unfortunately there was a private function in the back garden so we ate inside. We were served by a team of 4 wait staff who all had different roles and some great recommendations. 

I started with the salad mont chevre with marinated local goats milk cheese, radishes, kalamata olives,  heirloom beets, oven roasted tomatoes and black pepper honey vinaigrette. For my entree I loved the Louisiana bouillabaisse of gulf fish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams and mussels in a savory tomato saffron broth with crabmeat and rouille croutons. Finally for dessert, I enjoyed the cranberry almond and raisin diplomat pudding served with Old New Orleans Rum custard sauce. My meal was enjoyed with a glass of Franciscan Merlot from California.

I took some other photos during the evening on Bourbon Street but they are a bit blurry, sorry!

We plan to go back to NO in a few weeks when we have more visitors and hopefully many more times in the future! Thanks again for the invite to NO and the amazing dinner!


Sewing: basic curtains

I have been busy sewing these past few days. I wanted to make basic solid curtains for a few rooms in the house, specifically the living room and guest room. After getting some inspiration on Pinterest, I decided to go with a basic solid color using a skinny black rod and curtain clips. I thought I may want to go for grommets and a silver rod but after reading this post, I decided on simplicity. I also loved that this post called this style of curtain rod "eyeliner for the window". 

Here is the room before:

Here is our living room after with basic charcoal colored curtains:

I wanted something basic that would go with the colors of our rental house but could be used in other homes as well. I was very happy with how they turned out considering they were my first try at curtains and I did not use a pattern. Then again, who needs a pattern to make a rectangle? I really love the finesse they add to the room. Did you notice you still have not seen the other side of the living room? That's because there is nothing to see! Hopefully someday we will have furniture!

Once I became an expert at curtains, I decided to quickly make some navy curtains for the guest bedroom. I think they really make a difference in the room. I love navy, it goes with the bedding and wall color, and will work well to keep the heat out of the house in the summer.

Now my brother-in-law can come visit and sleep all day because he can block the sunlight with the new curtains.

When buying my curtains rods at Target, I got a 50% off coupon for 2 packs of curtains. The other day I spent some time there trying to get a vision for our dining room. I finally have decided on a color scheme and have picked a few pieces. I picked up my tablecloth since it was the last one but waited on the curtains. Once we have chairs and curtains, and can get rid of a sofa that was left behind, I'll post some photos!

My next sewing project is this:
I bought these chairs about 5 years ago at Urban Outfitters on sale for $10 each (originally $50 each!). I love these chairs but the covers are at the end of their lives and do not match the mint green paint of the sunroom. I found some material I want to use to make new covers but need to wait until next weekend as I have a coupon for 50% off at Joanne Fabrics. Oh and B got me a teacher's discount card to get an extra 15% off my entire purchase anytime. Who knew professors qualified for this discount?

Time to go! I have a few things to get done yet today!


Garden update

Its been a couple weeks since my last garden update. After some work in the yard this weekend I realized I am about due to show you where things are at.

With the excess of rain and the hot temperatures, everything is growing like crazy. My largest tomato plant is over 2 feet tall, the radishes are growing like crazy, the lettuce and carrots are getting thicker, and my peas and beans are enjoying their new trellises to grow on.

In sad news, the rain got to my peppers and the pots are not draining. I am not exactly sure what to do with them at this point.
 Maybe with the warm weather this week it will dry them out enough for me to tip them up and make holes in the bottom with a hammer and nails. Any other thoughts?

Also, we have a wonderful back corner of our yard we like to call the lake. When it rains the entire area is under water. There is a great planter box back there with some great soil but we do not know what to plant that will be able to withstand being under water when it rains then lots of heat for weeks at a time. Any recommendations?

We have also planted some grass seed where grass had died. With the rain and hot weather, it is growing like crazy, is now longer than the grass and will need to be cut this week! Success! There are still areas that need extra seed to fill in some smaller patches but we are happy with the result thus far.

How the weather up north or in other areas of the world? 
I am loving the blue skies, birds chirping, and the smell of fresh cut grass.

The south and I are learning to become very good friends. Time to go outside relax while I plan some upcoming projects!


Keeping motivated

I must remember this. I tend to be very accident prone. I also let my fear of injury prevent me from working my hardest and trying to push harder in a workout. I am NOT as breakable as I think.



This week went by way too quick! I honestly have no clue what I was up to all week other than making curtains, working out, and cooking. I went for a bike ride this week... first time I have been on my bike is about 6 years! It was a killer workout.

 1. I had a kale smoothie and a ginger snap larabar for breakfast last Saturday. I thought I should eat some green food for the occasion! 2. We have a charcoal BBQ and a chimney starter. These two things can be very intimidating for someone who has only ever used gas BBQs. Well, I can now say starting the BBQ is on of my new skills, and it is no that hard either! 3. Want some beads? This is my collection from the parade on Saturday! If you happen to visit, you will find them in my shed. 4. Did someone mention Easter? It must be right around the corner because some dark chocolate mini eggs ended up at our house the other day. Yum!

5. This is my fave corner of the backyard. It actually grew in naturally like this. I like how rustic it looks and the small purple flowers dispersed throughout. 6. Tazo cucumber white tea. Its my new fave! I love all the different things I can find at Whole Foods! 7. This is the crispy crawfish salad at Walk-On's. It is my fave dish they serve. We go there every Thursday and I choose this about 75% of the time! 8. Times have changed at the fabric store. Check out this amazing thread. These beauties did not exist last time I was at a fabric store. Oh the pleasures of having my own sewing machine and being a crafter!

Have a great weekend! 
Our plans include yard work (like usual) meal planning, grocery shopping, and a couple bike rides!
What are you planning to do this weekend?


A funny story

When it rains, it pours... literally... in the south. I am not used to the amount of rain here in the south still. I have a funny story for you... atleast I think its funny. On Tuesday morning I bought a rain barrel at Whole Foods. I brought it home, set it up on a wood step to have height to put a watering can under the faucet, and waited for the rain to start. I placed it under a stream of water that pours off the house where the two edges of the roof meet.

On Wednesday, it started to rain around 10am. I looked outside at the rain barrel at about 5pm and there was water flowing over the top. I assumed there were leaves clogging the screen in the top so I ran outside to clear the leaves. I was wrong! The 55 gallon rain barrel was full in less than 7 hours!

This was taken after B drained some water out to prevent water access for mosquitoes. I officially have rain water ready for my garden!

In other news, I made an amazing vegetarian dinner on Tuesday:

tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella salad
chilled almond avocado soup
 roasted 5 mushroom tart

I was very impressed with my final menu. It was very simple and only took a bit of prep work earlier in the day to make the soup base then chill it along with roasting 5 types of mushrooms! Want any recipes? Let me know! 

My curtains in the living room are complete... I just need to find the right rings to hang them. Super Target is sold out at both locations in town! Hopefully you will get to see them early next week! Also, Joann Fabrics is having their grand opening sale this weekend! I would not be surprised if I end up there for fabric for curtains for another room since I have 6 50% off coupons for this weekend!


The best part...

Want to know the best part about living in the USA? You can go to the bookstore, sit in the cafe, and read magazines or books for free! Okay, there are other things I like about where we live but this is currently making my Top 10. In Canada, there are no chairs in bookstores and you cannot take unpaid merchandise into the cafe. Seriously! I recently discovered, after years of B telling me this and me not believing him, that I can walk through my local Barnes and Noble, find a book or a magazine I am interested in, and either read it in one of their chairs provided throughout the store or grab a tea in the cafe and sit there to read. What a concept.

I had peppermint tea and crumb cake. Both delish! Do you like how excited I am about our new date night location? B got very into his financial magazines while I read Martha Stewart's organizing magazine and the latest issue of Self. If you are not an organized person I highly recommend Martha's organizing magazine. She has some great tips and tricks. I even learned a thing or two and I would consider myself a very organized person. I may have also called something a "good thing" to B to give him a chuckle.

The bookstore = my new love. We will see you on our next date night!


Vegetarian soup

During lent, we don't eat meat on Fridays. Do you know what that means? Yummy vegetarian meals! Or seafood... but this week we choose vegetarian. We were snacking all day while watching March Madness so we wanted something light and simple. This past week on Pinterest I saw a recipe for tortellini soup. Cheese tortellini is always easy to find so I knew this was our meal... with a few changes of course.

mushroom tortellini soup:

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 container of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 tetrapack vegetarian broth
1 package cheese tortellini
3 cups baby spinach, stems removed
pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, sautee mushrooms and onions. Add tetrapack of vegetarian broth and bring to boil. Add tortellini, cook until el dente. Add spinach and cook until wilted and pepper to taste. Told you it was simple!

Our soup was enjoyed with a glass of red wine.

Bon appetit!


St. Patrick's Day

I did not know Baton Rouge had so many Irish people! Okay, maybe not, but the locals really love a reason to have a parade. We decided to join the festivities and go to the St. Patty's Day parade on Saturday. By the way - this was my first parade in BR. The weather was perfect for a 10 am parade.

We attended wearing green, of course, met up with friends, and got ready for the event. By getting ready, I mean everyone else drank beer and I had a kale smoothie from Whole Foods. I just don't think its necessary to drink alcohol that early in the morning... call me a prude.

My fave parade floats was the one led by "blind referees". There were some other great ones too. I also found out that no matter what the occasion, they love to throw beads. By the end of the parade I was covered in beads, so many that I had to carry them home with two arms!

Good times were had by all. We will definitely go to this one again!



Another busy week for us! I feel like I say that every week. This week was filled with yummy but healthy food, a water line break, working on my never ending to-do list, and beautiful weather. Here's a little peek into our week:

 1. Did you know when you order mozza sticks at Twin Peaks, they come in the shape of a log cabin. Very cute and goes with the decor of the restaurant. The mozza sticks were good, everything else was just okay. But I guess that is to be expected when you walk  in the door. 2. Have you ever tried key lime greek yogurt? Amazing! I will be buying this one again. 3. This was my birthday dinner. I really wanted the wedge salad from Ralph & Kacoo's. It is soooo good. It looks small but it will fill you up quickly. I am such a fan of crisp lettuce and blue cheese. 4. Craft project?!? This one is taking longer than expected. Hopefully I will complete it soon but I am quite distracted by my sewing machine.

5. I got B a surprise this week for being a great husband. And by that I mean he does not make me get a job at a fast food place just because I cannot find work elsewhere. He is just too nice! In lieu of his understanding, I picked up Irish cream St. Patrick's Day cupcakes from Sweet Wishes. They were delish and the perfect portion size! 6. This is the next book on my reading list: Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Since our trip to Paris in the summer I am obsessed with all things Parisian and it looks like a well written book. When I finish my current read, I will be heading to the iBooks store for this one! 7. Having friends over for March Madness = baking like a maniac. I made tortilla chips for our three dip medley and oatmeal cookies to eat frozen... soooo good! 8. Oreo milkshake... soo good but too much dairy for this girl.

What are you plans for the weekend? Here: basketball, the St. Patrick's Day parade, a party at the neighbors, and a trip to my fave store! Oh and I have a pile of mending to do now that I have a sewing machine.

Welcome to Chelsea's sweat shop... we fix clothes, we bake, and we DIY. By "we" I mean I "myself" and by "sweat" I mean literally as it is supposed to be +27C and sunny all weekend. Thank goodness for air conditioning.


It has arrived

If you did not know, last week was my birthday! When my parents asked what I would like... I knew exactly what I wanted! 

In true old lady style, I asked for a sewing machine! I found one I liked on Amazon.com, ordered it, and it arrived on my doorstep yesterday! I ordered the Singer 3321 Talent as I wanted a basic machine that was not electronic. Has anyone out there used an electronic machine? They are very foreign to me so I thought I would stick to what I know.

It was simple to set up, of course, and I got started right away filling a bobbin with black thread so I could fix pants for B and myself.

Of course, I have plans for my sewing machine. I plan to make curtains for our house, maybe some throw pillows when we get a sofa, and anything else I dream up or see on Pinterest! Oh crafts, how I love thee.

Interesting fact: did you know I was quite the seasoned sewer back in my highschool days. In home economics I made a curduroy coat with a silk lining, fur trim, and a zipper. Sewing is one of my hidden talents... most of which seem to be the same talents of people 3 times my age. Need me to make something or fix something? I am ready to go!

Time to prep for the weekend. Its going to be a busy one... St. Patrick's Day is big here so we plan to attend the local parade and rumor has it some big basketball tournament is starting and B's faculty will be watching it here. the boys can watch  basketball all they want... I will be sewing!


Interesting notes from the day

Today has been an excellent day. Want to know why? Of course you do! 

1. This morning I got am email from The Daily Buzz Health Living Team stating I was featured in today's Top 9! What for you may ask? Well, fave fitness wear of course. Can anyone take a guess what my post was about... Lululemon! I  am obsessed but that is quite obvious if you read my blog, take a peek in my closet, or see me on any given day.

Even better... I was featured with some blogs that I read everyday, like The Fitnessista and Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Thank you Daily Buzz!

2. I stopped by J Crew today, another obsession of mine. I could have bought one of everything in the store. Though I been loving the unemployed life, this was my motivation to get a job so I can afford their beautiful clothes. Even better yet, they should hire me so I can have $ to buy the clothes and get a staff discount. Great  idea! Here are some of my faves from the store:

There were so many amazing pieces in the store. Lots of solids, a few patterned pieces, and some great accessories. Maybe I will use some bday money to buy 1 or 2 new pieces. Must get job... I promise I keep telling myself this. I also need to take B when I go so he keeps me under control and he can use his educator card to get me 15% off!

3. Today I wore shorts. Why is this relevant? Well, yesterday I came up with the brilliant idea I should wear pants when it is +27 so +40 does not feel so hot when it happens. It seemed like a good idea until I walked out the door. Not such a good idea. I have still not adjusted to my warmer climate. The locals can wear pants, mine have been put away for the spring, summer and fall.

4. Tonight is date night. We are going to Target to buy curtain rods and to Cheeseburger Cheeseburger for supper. I need curtain rods as something exciting has arrived! You will hear about that tomorrow!

Have a great evening.


Lusting over...

I was perusing the internet this weekend and found this:

So simple and so cute! Its only $19 so I may need to order this one.
Other things I am loving lately: Urban Nester blog, DIYs and specifically this DIY blog, everything at J Crew, the thought that my new sewing maching arrives this week (I can finally make curtains!) and these:

Oops! Forgot to take out the card holder for the photo! Thanks for the bday flowers mom and dad!


DIY: pouf

I love modern home decor. One of the things I have been lusting over since I saw it on Pinterest was this pouf from CB2:

This beauty is $89.95 + tax & shipping! I know it is nice but that is just way too much. I am quite proud of my crafting and knitting skills so I knew this one would be easy to re-create!

With a few coupons and trips to Michaels as well as a trip to Walmart for cotton batting to use as stuffing, I was ready to go! This project did not take much time due to the chunky knit and simple pattern. Oh, I used this pattern as is was simple and free!

 It works wonderfully as a footstool due to the height and softness.

I would like to make another one of these next time yarn goes on sale at Michales. I plan to make it wider next time as well as stuff it with something a bit more firm. Also, the next one will probably be a different color, I am thinking charcol.

If you want one, let me know! I promise not to charge as much as CB2.



Happy Friday!

1. We went to Cici's Pizza last weekend. I has a piece of macaroni and cheese pizza. Wow. It was delish. Okay, maybe I had two pieces, I could not control myself. 2. My ombre tree in my backyard. Isn't it cute? If I can't color my hair ombre then I may as well have a tree in multiple shades. 3. Veggies and hummus... to balance out the mac n cheese pizza. 4. Raised with TLC. Love my bananas but these may need to go in the freezer for baking.

5. Have you tried chocolate avocado mousse? I found this recipe on Peanut Butter Fingers. Go make this recipe. It is amazing and only takes a couple minutes to make! 6. & 7. These photos were taken around the same time in my backyard in opposite directions. I love the framing of the trees and the silhouette of the moon. 8. We go to the same place with friends every Thursday... I mean every Thursday... a la Big Bang Theory. This week we changed it up and ordered spinach dip. It was a great start to our meal so we could share an entree.

Have a great weekend! Today is yoga and some work at the university. This weekend it is supposed to rain so we will be spending our time indoors.  Oh and I have another DIY project to finish so I can post about it next week!


DIY: screen

Do you ever wonder what I am up to when I do not blog for a few days? Me too. Actually... I guess I just made a big assumption people are actually reading my blog. Well, the past 2 days have been full of DIYs. 
Or as I like to call it, getting my craft on. I am a very visual person and I love textiles of all kinds. I am also big into making something old useful and beautiful again. When posed with a home decor problem, I can usually find a solution. 

Problem: no space for our freezer

Did you know houses in Louisiana do not have basements? Well now you know. No basement = no storage. If all my Canadian friends take a moment to think about it... where do you keep your freezer? That's right, the basement. We inherited my grandmother's apartment size freezer when she no longer wanted it (thanks grandma!) and we like to cook and freeze portions. Hence, the freezer moved with us. 

When organizing the house I found an old screen in the back shed. It was worn, I was not into the color, and it needed some TLC. Problem solved! Use the screen to hide the freezer... in the spare bedroom that is just around the corner from the kitchen. And really, we live in a rental house so I did not want to do anything too costly or that could not be moved. I cleaned all the cob webs and dust off the screen, sanded the rough edges, then brought it inside.

Once I knew my vision would work, I jumped in the car and headed out to two of my fave places: Home Depot and Anthropologie to make some purchases. 

Home depot: 1 quart can of behr interior flat paint in "polar bear" = $10.78
Anthropologie: 2 decorative replacement handles = $21.80

I gave then screen 2 coats of paint (by the way, 1 quart was the perfect amount) and replaced the handles. Simple as pie. Seriously.

With the completed project in place, you cannot even tell my freezer is behind there! Brilliant.I really like the contrast against the wood floors and the neutral color.

Total cost = $32.58


Movin on up

We got a delivery yesterday, a very exciting one. Let me tell you why.

We have been sleeping on the floor since we sold our bedframe at the beginning of December. We went from the floor in Edmonton:

to the floor in Baton Rouge:

to this:

I love our new bedframe. I also love the height of the bed. It fits perfectly in our space and suits our style. In case you want to buy this exact one, we purchased the miami platform bed from Target. As soon as it arrived yesterday I put it together which was very simple. 

My feng shui is back. I had such a good sleep. I am actually tempted to stay in bed all day today to celebrate. Kidding!

Today: workout, clean, craft, and cook!
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