AeroPress Coffee Maker

Taking a selfie with my cup of coffee made from the AeroPress Coffee Maker.

Hey everyone, 

Hope you had a great Easter long weekend!

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks moving into our new condo and after this weekend I finally feel rested. It’s been exhausting but so exciting. Can’t wait to show you the first home we bought together and do a little home tour. 

Coming out from a restful weekend, it’s nice to start the week with some good coffee. My sister and I both love using our AeroPress coffee maker, it’s simple and quick. The AeroPress is not only easy to use, is also so compact and you can take it anywhere with you, even if you’re traveling. I’ve been testing it out over the last few months and wanted to show you how I use my mine. Check out my new YouTube video and make sure to like and subscribe!

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At-Home Cooking: Instant Pot Hong Kong Borscht Soup

Hi everyone,

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. I’ve always loved to cook (because I love to eat even more!) and over the pandemic I have been cooking a lot with the extra time at home. One of my goals for 2021 is to share some of my favourite recipes on my blog. We love using our Instant Pot appliances to cook up different meals and recipes so why not start with our favourite Instant Pot Hong Kong Borscht Soup. The original recipe is by Pressurecookrecipes.com and I’ve modified it to our liking. I’ve listed the ingredients for this recipe as well as the things I used to prep and cook this meal. Scroll all the way to the bottom if you prefer to watch my YouTube video instead!

Ingredients

1.5 – 2 pounds beef back ribs
2 large onions – sliced
3 – 5 yellow or red potatoes – chunks
4 – 6 tomatoes (2 roma + 2 – 4 avalantino) – diced
2 – 4 medium carrots – chunks
4 celery stalks – chunks
4 – 6 garlic cloves – crushed
3 bay leaves
4 cups unsalted chicken / beef / veggie stock
4 full teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 – 2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons corn starch
Salt, black pepper and garlic powder to taste

What I used
Listing out the things I used to prep and cook this meal.

6 qt Instant Pot
Knife – use a good quality one to make the chopping easier
Peeler
Meat Tenderizer – or anything that can smash the garlic cloves
Cutting board
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons/Teaspoons
Spatula, tongs and ladle for cooking

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Our 2020 Halloween Party

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’ve been staying safe and healthy during this pandemic. Halloween is always such a fun time of the year and although this year was very different we made sure we went the extra mile to have fun with it. We usually don’t put up the decorations at the beginning of the month but thought why not start the celebrations earlier this year. We’ve both been spending so much time at home working and socially distancing so it was nice to enjoy the decor throughout the month.

When the pandemic hit, we started planning more elaborate date nights that turned into monthly parties. It’s quite a bit of planning so we would alternate months to give time for planning and execution. The fiancé had October which worked out perfectly because it’s also my birthday month. He did such an amazing job planning out all of the details of the party, everything from food, drinks, decor, lighting and even our costumes. 

Most of the decor were from Dollarama and they really transformed the space. Out of them all, I especially love the wall bats and spiders. They were such a great price and came with so many in a pack! The Philips Hue lights (Philips Hue Go Bluetooth & A19 Smart Bluetooth LED Light Bulb) gave such a cool shadow effect. Those lights are so great when setting the tone and mood of the space and can be changed to any colour. Once we turned it to the purply tone it instantly gave a spooky vibe. We live in a 1 + den condo and we did quite a lot to the place as you can tell. We try to utilize the wall space, light fixtures, our bar cart and the doors.

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My workout during Self-Isolation

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It’s been over a month of self-isolation and I’m finally getting into the grove with a new workout routine. I always try to find the silver lining in difficult times because it’s good to keep a positive outlook. I’ve been telling myself for a for the past couple of years that I want to workout more and have discipline when it comes to self-care but I always let work and my passion projects take over (#workaholic). Our new normal has given me the opportunity to refocus, reset and to give myself some much need self-care. There are so many amazing tools, resources, streams out there right now but this is what I’ve been doing. 

Home “Gym”

Abs on the mat: There are a few ab workouts that I do on the mat that I really like – 3 sets of bicycle crunches (30 reps), Russian twist (30 reps), mountain climbers (20 reps) and bent-leg sit-ups lifting a 10lb weight (10 reps). Recently, I’ve discovered Emi Wong and have been challenging myself to do her 15-day lower abs & intense belly fat burn program. Her transformation is amazing and I love all of her other videos!

Arms & shoulders: I do a mix of this upper body pump and shoulder workout by @Kayla_itsines.

Legs & booty: I’ve followed @CaraLoren for a number of years now and she has some really great workout videos on her Instagram for legs. I also really like this @Meghanroup leg sculpting combo. When I want to switch it up, mix in a bunch of squats and lunges using my Peach Bands (love them!).

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Zumba: My sisters, cousin and I have been going to Zumba Ko for a while now. Karen (sister) was the first one to get on-board, I believe 8+ years ago, and end up bringing a following. We used to go every Wednesday together but ever since the self-isolation, Zumba Ko has now been streaming 40-minute Zumba workouts on Wednesday evenings & Saturday mornings. It’s so much fun to blast the music and dance around! You really work up a sweat.

MyBlancCanvas - Zumba.jpgNicole Steen: On Saturdays, we usually follow up our Zumba workout with some ab workouts on the mat but one day we had the energy to do some more dancing and stumbled across this 30-Minute cardio Latin dancing workout on Youtube with Nicole Steen by POPSUGAR Fitness and loved it. It’s already a lot of the same moves that we know from our Zumba class so it was easy to get into it. Even if you’re just starting out, this one is a good pace and she gives clear instructions/steps that are easy to follow. Try it out!

Ryan Heffington: Been hearing his name for quite some time and so many of my friends have been raving about his #SweatFest virtual dance parties. I gave it a try for the first time today and I’m hooked! It was so much fun and Ryan just has the best energy. It was non-stop dancing for a solid hour. Catch his next one (Tues/Wed/Thurs at 1pm, Sat/Sun at 3pm) and dance like nobody’s watching. 

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Meditation, stretch, and recovery: I love doing some simple yoga poses on the mat after my workouts to wind down or when I need a light meditation break. It’s also nice to get in some stretches before and after a workout. Since I’ve been working out more and sitting around a lot too, I find that my muscles can get really sore so I use my foam roller to do some muscle recovery exercises throughout the week.

Outdoor Playground

I have a new-found appreciation for the things that we used to take for granted. 

Myblanccanvas - cardio.JPGWalk: It’s so important to go out for walks and get fresh air. I’ve been trying to keep up a 10k steps a day streak and over the past 5 weeks the longest streak I’ve had was for 5 days. I’m so happy that I got my Fitbit this year, it has really pushed me to stay active. I talk about my Fitbit in an earlier post here.

 Jog/Run: I’ve never been a runner but in the past years  I’ve always felt amazing and saw results the times that I’ve tried adding it to my workouts. The weather hasn’t been consistently warm yet but on the days that have been a bit warmer, I’ve gone out for a light jog/run – feels so refreshing! 

Skipping: Got a skipping rope to do some skipping, it’s such good cardio. It’s way harder than I remember it to be.

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Couldn’t go to Jamaica this year, this was what we did instead.

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This time last year we were in Jamaica at the Excellence Oyster Bay all-inclusive, adults-only resort. We had such an amazing, memorable experience there. I took so many pictures and videos that I’ll be sharing in a separate post. We always talked about going back but of course, due to uncertain times with COVID19, it’s not something that’s possible in the near future. While we’re practicing social distancing, we’ve been trying to have a different routine for the weekend so that it feels like an actual weekend. How many of you are feeling like the days and weeks just blur together? The first couple of weeks were the transition period but now we’re getting into a bit of a routine which is so nice.

The fiancé was planning a surprise date night for a while and this weekend he revealed what he has been planning. He said because we couldn’t be in Jamaica this year, he brought Jamaica to us instead! He is the biggest sweetheart and always so thoughtful. During our trip to Jamaica last year, we found out that April 6th is Jamaica’s Independence Day and there was a huge celebration at the resort with delicious Jamaican food and cultural performances. This was how we celebrated at home! 

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First, we wanted to set the mood, we put a beach scene on the TV with crashing wave sounds. The weather has been warming up here so we had all the windows opened with a breeze coming through the condo. It felt so nice and it even smelt like the beach with this Sand + Fog Sage & Sea Salt candle lit up. I added some greenery by decorated the place with my silk flower arrangements (check out my passion project account @myblanccuration).

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Drinks were served, Red Stripe beer and rum punch (I’ll share the recipe!) on the menu! When we were at Excellence, we had a lot of these drinks. It brought back so many memories. We started the night with some drinks and mini beef patties as appetizers (PC Mini Jamaican Beef Patties).

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Kicking Off 2020 with my Fitbit

Happy 2020!

How is it the beginning of a new decade!? Where did the last 10 years go?! As you get older, it just seems that time goes by faster and faster. I’ve been meaning to listen to Stuff You Should Know’s “Short Stuff: Why Does Time Speed Up As You Age?” podcast, maybe there’s a scientific reason why we feel this way the older we get?

My wedding is next year so this year I really want to take the time to focus on self-care. The fiancé got a Fitbit and that motivated me to get one too so that I can keep track of my eating habits, water intake, the amount of exercise and sleep that I’m getting each week. The first Fitbit product that I started using wasn’t actually the tracker but the Aria Air scale. It gave me the hard facts and I knew it was just the right kick in the butt to get me back into a healthy lifestyle. I hop on it every morning to get a pulse on where I’m at with my weight before I start my day. I’m not super focused on my weight or the calorie count but overall I do want to be more conscious and try to get my calorie in and out to be balanced and keep track of the progress I’m making. It has definitely motivated me to hit the gym more and I’ve been feeling great!

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I thought about it for quite some time on which Fitbit would best suit my lifestyle and ended up getting the Inspire HR. This tracker along with the Fitbit app gives me motivation, just the right notifications and tracks everything in one place. Having a band that looks proportionate to my wrist was also important for me. I didn’t want anything too clunky as that may deter me from wanting to wear it. I’m so happy that I got the Inspire, it’s sleek and doesn’t feel like it gets in the way throughout the day or when I’m sleeping.

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Memories from 2017 & A Few 2018 Intentions

Happy New Year!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday and wrapped up the end of 2017 with great company and memories. At the end of every year, I think about all of the high and low moments, lessons learned, people who walked into my life and opportunities that I am thankful for and begin the New Year with some perspective and planning. 2017 was a great year, I traveled to Montreal, Vegas, Bali and took a cruise around Europe. I was also asked to be in 3 weddings, that brought all the good feels. It definitely kept me very busy during the first half of the year. It’s a really great feeling to witness love with the people who you cherish and love the most. During the process of bridesmaid and maid of honour duties, I discovered that I have quite the nack for styling hair, creating flower arrangements/bouquets as well as wedding planning. I’ve been interested in doing these things over the years on both a personal and professional level but to see it applied to actual weddings made it more real. I may turn this little passion into something bigger – stay tuned!

Another milestone moment from 2017 was that I met someone very special. I don’t want to give out too many details as of yet but he’s definitely a keeper! He came out of nowhere, completely unexpected and caught me by surprise. Over the years, I have felt comfortable with being single, without the pressure of trying to chase for love to find “The One”. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in a relationship but my fear of being in an unhealthy relationship is far greater than being on my own. I have been in a few of those unhealthy relationships and it makes me grateful to know that it happened to the younger me, allowing me to learn and grow from them. It made me stronger and eventually, more comfortable in my own skin. I’m very happy that I have been patient and took the time to take care of myself before I allowed another person into my life. We’ve been really enjoying each other’s company by taking some short travels, learning new things from each other and trying restaurants together. I’ll make sure to share our 2018 adventures with you!

To start off the new year on the right foot, I want to set some intentions. I was reading Chriselle Lim’s blog post on her 2018 Intentions and I really liked her approach on how intentions are focused on “being” instead of “doing”. So here are some of my intentions for this year.

 

Intentions for 2018:

I intend to take better care of my body and soul.

I intend to let my mind take a break when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I intend to be more patient with those who are around me.

I intend to always be thankful for the present.

 

Highlights from 2017:

With my special someone. ❤

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The 3 weddings that I was in and the bridal showers for each of the beautiful brides brought so many laughs and tears. I had such a blast standing by these amazing ladies during such a special moment in their lives.

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I also celebrated my 29th birthday with the best company in a Halloween-themed party. We went to Bad Axe Throwing and of course, dressed up as lumberjacks!

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With great company, I Made a few small trips over the summer and fall to the wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Vineland. I discovered a new found love for red wine and have my picks from each of the wineries. Angels Gate was my favorite winery though, it’s so beautiful there! It’s a must-go if you ever get a chance to make a visit to Vineland.

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This year I was lucky to be able to travel to so many places. I had such a blast in Bali…

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Foodie Friday: La Palma

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Happy Friday!

It’s finally the weekend and I’m excited to share with you my recent experience at La Palma. I remember seeing this on Instagram and didn’t think that it’s located in Toronto but then was very pleasantly surprised that it was! This restaurant has a very Cali vibe with the way the interior has been designed. We didn’t get a chance to make a reservation beforehand so we were seating in the back by the open kitchen but it was still nice. Wish we got a larger table though as the tables for 2 felt a little crammed for sharing dishes. All in all, I had a great experience, the food was very delicious and the service was amazing. The next time you’re looking to try a new restaurant in Toronto, consider La Palma.

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Cacio e Pepe ($14): This is kind of like a flatbread cheese pizza with garlic and olive oil. It was SO delicious, definitely my favourite dish of the night. 

Ontario Corn & Beluga Lentils ($12): This dish also has arugula pesto, feta, chickpeas and I like all of those ingredients. It had a fresh and light flavour to it with a little kick of feta. Sometimes I find that the feta can be too overpowering in flavour but this dish was delicious!

Wood-fired Cornish Hen – half ($14): The cornish hen was so tender with great flavour.

8 oz. Flatiron with chermoula ($17): It came as ‘medium’ and it was cooked perfectly. The sauce that came with the dish added a very rich flavour. I really enjoyed this!

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LaPalma.ca

849 Dundas Street West, Toronto

 

I will definitely go back again for more of the Cacio e Pepe. Thanks for stopping by – have a great weekend!

xx

 

 

My Obsession Monday: Velvet Knee High Boots

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Happy #MyObsessionMonday!

Fall is my favourite season – I get to wear boots and layer up while enjoying the cooler weather. I love looking for new boots to rock and this time around, I wanted a pair of statement boots.

What I really like about these blue velvet boots from Zara are that they have a really nice arch and heel shape. Those are usually the two things that I look for first. The blue colour is also very easy to pair with different outfit options so I’m looking forward to wearing it more throughout the season. This long weekend was the perfect weather to start wearing boots so I wore it out to my weekend day trip to the wineries!

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Zara Over the Knee High Heel Boots in Blue Velvet ($99.90 – these boots are now marked as a “special price” item and is priced at $49.99!)

Here are some fall style inspiration pictures from Pinterest – love how these ladies are rocking their knee-high boots!

 

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I went to the Vineland wineries for the first time and it was so stunning there! Angels Gate was my favourite out of the 3 that I went to. I’ve been wanting to expand my red wine appreciation and what better way than to do some wine tastings at all the wineries we have in Ontario. As I try the same type of wine at each of the wineries, I start to figure out which ones I like. At Angels Gate, I really enjoyed the Cabernet Merlot. It’s a great one to enjoy during the holidays!

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All the wineries look stunning, very quaint and smaller in size compared to some of the ones from Niagara on the Lake (although those ones are impressive too!). The views are so beautiful. The second winery I went to was Tawse Winery. I LOVE rieslings and this one was so delicious, I picked up a bottle! The Gamay was also great too since they’re running low on the 2015 bottles, we thought it was great to pick up one of those as well.

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The last stop was to Fieldings Estate Winery – such a beautiful place there. I love that you can sit out and overlook the vineyard while enjoying a cheese platter and some delicious wine. We didn’t have enough time to try the cheese but will definitely try it next time!

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Hope you’re enjoying your Monday – thank you for reading!

xx