Heathered Grey

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Hey guys!

If you’re searching for some casual outfit inspiration for NYE still, you’ve found your place! If you are looking for something a bit more fancy for an upcoming event at an affordable price, I’ve included a bunch of options under $150 below as well.

These photos were obviously shot a while ago, but I loved that the dress from Dynamite (no longer available) was comfortable enough for dinner or dancing, but that paired with the faux-leather vest was still casual enough to not make me look like an eighteen-year-old celebrating their first booze-allowable New Year’s Eve. If you wanted to go out dancing, I’d switch to some fun pumps and ditch the vest! The Nine West clutch was my nod to color and I love being able to see my bag in the sea of black clutches when getting ready at a girlfriend’s place.

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Dressier options:

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Parker Montclair Cap-Sleeve Beaded Cocktail Dress • Parker
Women’s Leith Velvet Maxi Slipdress • Leith
Lumier Remember When Dress • Lumier
NBD x REVOLVE Rosie Dress • NBD
Dress the Population Kelly Long Sleeve Sequined Dress • Dress the Population
Women’s Fraiche By J Velvet Body-Con Dress
Long Sleeve Sequin Wrap Dress Gold • Missguided
Bardot Divinity Dress • Bardot
Calvin Klein Sleeveless Beaded Sheath Dress • Calvin Klein
Finders Keepers Wrong Direction Dress • Finders Keepers
Nookie Eva Bodycon Dress • Nookie
Women’s Maggy London Tie Dye Print Crepe Midi Sheath Dress • Maggy London
What are you doing tonight for New Year’s Eve? Let me know in the comments, and whatever you’re up to, I hope you ring in the New Year safely with public transit, taxi, a DD, or safe at home (like me).

Tuna Puttanesca with Spaghetti Squash

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Hey guys!

I hope that you had the merriest Christmas and are looking forward to an awesome 2017. If you’re like me, you may be teetering on the edge of “turkey’d out” for the season and ready to eat something a bit different. This recipe is similar to my regular puttanesca, which I’ve blogged about eating before with zucchini noodles!

The difference in this case is that I eat it with spaghetti squash, and mix in a can of tuna for an extra bit of protein. I love tinned tuna for its affordability and am always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my meals about once a week. This recipe is easy and so, so quick. No standing over a stove for 2 hours- just make your sauce while your spaghetti squash roasts and keep it warm!

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Tuna Puttanesca with Spaghetti Squash

Serves four for $7.56, or $1.89 per serving

2 Cans of tomato sauce (398ml) – $1.48

Tinned sliced black olives (200ml)- $1.18

1/2 an onion- $0.20

2 spaghetti squash – $2.12

1 tin of flaked tuna – $2.58

Pantry items: 2 cloves garlic, chili flakes,  salt and pepper, parmesan

For the spaghetti squash:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees- while it heats up, cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper and salt, then place face-down onto a baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes. When the tines of a fork can pierce the skin, it’s ready to use the fork to scrape out the noodle-y deliciousness.

For the sauce:

Start off by chopping your onion and garlic into small pieces and sauteing them in olive oil with chili flakes, pepper, salt, dried thyme and dried basil. You want to soften these up all the way since this sauce isn’t going to be cooking for terribly long. Once you’re done that, open your tinned tomatoes, tuna and olives and put them into the pot. Put the lid on and bring this up to a simmer, stirring occasionally and testing for flavor. If your sauce tastes dull, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to brighten it up.

To assemble:

Put your “noodles” (I used half a squash in these pictures and it’s what I’d normally eat) in the bottom of a flat bowl or on a plate and then spoon your desired amount of sauce on top! Then, top with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

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What are you eating to break out of the treat-meat filled holiday season? Are you getting ready for some resolutions for the new year maybe? I will have a WHOLE post about mine soon, so stay tuned!

Happy New Year and be safe to all of you! Thank you for spending 2016 with me.

Tools to make:

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 Architec Gripper Cutting Board • Architec •
Rachael Ray Silicone Oven Mitt • Rachael Ray •
OXO Stainless Steel Can Opener by OXO • OXO •
Valira Aire 4 Quart Tall Sauce Pan with Glass Lid •
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 6-Quart Sauce Pot with Cover • Cuisinart •
Michael Symon by Ergo Chef 9″ Chef’s Knife •
Le Creuset Signature 3 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Roaster • Le Creuset •
Cuisinart 14 Lasagna/Roasting Pan with Stainless Steel Rack • Cuisinart •

Affordable Christmas Decorating

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Hey Guys!

I know this seems a bit late to be discussing decorating for the holidays, but:

a. We all have a last minute gathering that comes up and if your house isn’t decorated people can look at you like you’re some sort of scrooge, even if it’s after Christmas.

b. Christmas decorations go on sale this time of year!

So don’t judge me, ok?

My favorite place to start looking at decorations is the dollar store. I have some examples in photos below, but great things to find there are inexpensive ornaments to decorate your tree with, or to fill a hurricane vase with to make an easy and affordable centerpiece. Ornaments can be really expensive but there are so many ways to cut down the expense and still have an awesome outcome.

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I also picked up the packaging I used for my Christmas baking gifts at the dollar store! They have such cute options that make packing up a baked gift so easy and fun. I also loved their hard-sided wine bottle carriers!

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Another thing to keep in mind is to not get pigeon holed into thinking you’ll only find great wrapping or decorating items at certain stores. I found these twenty tree ornaments, for $13 at Shoppers Drug Mart! I also found a ribbon and bow pack for my sister that ended up being 77 cents. Like what?

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When it comes to sales, I say focus on the big things- are you without a Christmas tree, or are you wanting some garland or a wreath for next year? Now is the time! Stores like Canadian Tire have some trees, wreaths and garland on for 50% off! To be able to get nine feet of premium garland for $15 is great, and purchasing a quality imitation allows you to save money year over year from purchasing live garland, wreaths or trees. Plus it is much easier for your guests with allergies.

Here is my holiday home tour on Youtube! What are your tips for keeping holiday decorating affordable? Let me know!

Affordable Christmas: Gifts from the Kitchen

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Hey Guys!

I hope this last week before Christmas is treating you well and that you’re ready (or almost ready) for the big day on Sunday. I have been super busy given that I started a new job on Monday (part time currently, but loving it!) and came home to a house raining inside of itself on Monday as well. I could go alllll into that situation but I will save it, as it’s not yet resolved. Suffice it to say, I’ve had my zen turned on to not go all whacky about it. Does anyone else feel that way about their homes, like God help anyone who doesn’t take me seriously about this, they’re going to have their ear talked off? Probably more people feel that way about their kids I’m guessing!

Anywho, back to the point of this- if you’re like me, Christmas can be one of the biggest “fun” expenses of the year. Or your only fun expense of the year. I love to give gifts to friends and family and get together just like anyone else, but my financial situation means that I seriously budget out Christmas every year. Not even kidding you, I save a certain amount each month! It’s so worth it though because once October hits, it’s like my hobby to look at gifts for people and think about them, one year I was done Christmas shopping in September I was so excited. I’m sure you can tell from all of the gift guides I posted, but I love everything about Christmas!

One of the ways that I keep to my budget is by giving thoughtful home-made gifts to friends that pop over to the house and neighbors! I love to bake and so does my sister, so we had a baking afternoon a little while ago and I did some solo baking as well. These few hours (and few sinks full of dishes!) created a bunch of awesome gifts for our friends, and we found a super easy new way to package up baked goodies to make it easy to give them away!

The first thing my sister made was a home-made bits and bites style snackmix recipe. She made two huge roasting pans of this, which is awesome because seriously everyone loves this. I’ve included the recipe (from a family friend) in photo as well- for our variation, she added cayenne pepper (but don’t worry, it’s not crazy hot!) and black pepper in the same amount as the other ingredients.

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Next we made these awesome chocolate mint cupcakes by Martha Stewart! My sister found this recipe in one of Martha’s baking books and there is only one variation that she makes- she makes them mini, so that they are an easy item to grab off of a cookie plate if you want to indulge in more than one item!

Now for myself, I make one other variation- and it’s a #hack to be honest. I am not about to go make chocolate mint buttercream! I’m just not- the average person can’t tell the difference and Christmas is incredibly busy. So, I use a store bought icing and add peppermint extract to it! Decorate these up pretty and watch your friends and family enjoy them because they are so, so good! (Also, this makes SO many minis, so be prepared!)

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I hope these two recipes give you some ideas! We got our boxes at the dollar store and lined them with parchment paper, the snack mix was put into festive zipper bags!

Gifts like these are great this time of year because they’re an affordable way to have something great to bring to an unexpected holiday invitation over to someone’s house, or have packaged up for a neighbor or other visitor that drops by! Having enough baking in the freezer like this also means that if someone invites you out after Christmas when you really don’t want to hit the stores, you don’t have to, you have a gift just waiting to be assembled.

Guys Christmas Gift Guide

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Hey!

I wanted to share a gift guide for what to get your man this holiday season, and this is actually my last “gift guide” in so much as the next one is actually a gift-making guide for gifts from the kitchen! Anyhow, I think these are great ideas for any guy, though! For the guys in my life, I love to get them things that I know they wouldn’t go out and shop for themselves. So luxe grooming items, great moccasins for when the temperature dips, nice sweaters and things like a cable case for all of the cords we all seem to have are high on the list for consideration for gifting. For a special touch, an engraved ID band is great. I have never gifted these as an actual ID piece, always with a special date or note engraved.

I find my dad especially exceedingly hard to shop for since he doesn’t wear jewelry, only likes to wear a few colors, does not have to wear a suit or tie to work, and mostly has all of the tools any dude could want! Does anyone else feel like that about the men in their lives? I feel like I could always use an extra cozy sweater or nice new lipstick, but what do you get a man? Probably why I’m single, but…

 

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Shop the post:

Gant Rugger The Zipper Ribbed Cotton-Blend Cardigan • Gant •

Full Zip Sweater • Tommy Hilfiger •

Nachtmann ‘Highland’ Whiskey Tumblers • Nachtmann •

Kensington Cashmere Hat • Club Monaco •

Men’s Wicked Good Moccasins • L.L. Bean •

Beard Buddy Duo Kit •

Skits ‘Smart’ Tech Accessories & Cables Case – Black •

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Men’s Starter Kit • Kiehl’s •

Timex ‘Easy Reader’ Leather Strap Watch •

Things Remembered Gunmetal Rubber ID Bracelet •

If you are shopping for a boyfriend/fiance/husband/partner, I would suggest thinking of local experiences! Things like a carnivore’s dinner at a restaurant that specializes in BBQ (or a veggie spot if that’s what he prefers!) followed by an event you know he’d like, or preceded by something like a dog mushing session, hot air balloon ride, or heli-tour of your city is something SO cool to do, but for a more advanced budget than I could afford. If you’re up in the great white north, consider checking Aurora Watch and planning an impromptu dinner and Northern Light’s watch if it’s not too cold out to keep the budget down! It’s so nice to be able to do something together rather than just giving.

 

What would you recommend to a friend stumped on what to get their significant other for Christmas? Let me know!

Affordable Christmas: Gifts under $30

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Hey guys!

Tis the season for gatherings, right? Usually I love to bring a hostess a gift from the kitchen, something to make their life easier in the days after they’re nice enough to host me at their place, but sometimes a gift from the kitchen just isn’t as appropriate (or you’re just out of time!) and a bought gift will have to be the way to go. When situations like that turn up, I try to focus on things that are super affordable and readily usable. Things like barware, festive napkins, hot chocolate assortments, or artisan food items are affordable go-to’s that are a small enough gift to not break the bank, but personal enough to wrap up one or two items and have your host or hostess feel special.

 

Shop the post:

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 The Jam Stand Large Raspberry Jalapeno Jam • $6.99
Brookstone® Connoisseurs Compact Wine Opener • $29.99
Oster Electric Wine Opener, Metallic Red • Oster • $19.33
Caskata Wicker Mug • Caskata • $26.99
Fringe Studio ‘Polka Dots’ Monogram Mug • $12
Harry London Peppermint Hot Drinking Chocolate Tin- 7 oz. • $7.50
H&M – Christmas-motif Paper Napkins – White/Merry Christmas • H&M • $2.99
H&M – Christmas-motif Paper Napkins – White/stars • H&M • $2.99

What is your go-to purchased gift for a host this holiday season? Let me know!

Christmas Gift Guide: For the Fashionista

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Hey Guys!

Today’s gift guide is for the fashion lover in your life. I love fashion myself, even though most people would never guess it from my love of sweatpants! When I want to buy something fun and fashionable for someone, I usually lean towards accessories to avoid the “which size should I buy?!” issue (unless it’s someone close, like my mum or sister where I can find out their sizing). In recent years, most of my friends and I have moved towards doing something together rather than gifting each other, which is a practice I really love and try to support, but sometimes you just want to get that someone a gift, right?

This gift guide ranges from $5 to nearly $400, so there’s something for everyone’s budget. A good pair of sunglasses are always an important thing to have, not only to finish an outfit but also to protect your eyes, so you’ll see a couple pairs from Quay and Rayban that I’ve been coveting lately. I love the pompom trend and I especially love faux fur ones, so I’ve included one in a pretty wine color and one in a classic black.

The weather in Edmonton has recently had me thinking about keeping warm semi-stylishly, and for that reason I’ve included a super luxe cashmere toque, as well as an affordable option from Express. I also have been loving mini bags (here and here)and this Sole Society Thalia bag is a total dupe for the Chloe Marcie bag I would never be able to afford.

I also chose to include a classic investment piece for the watch wearer- Daniel Wellington’s classic Sheffield watch. I love that it has a crisp black leather strap and unfussy face. Lastly, this gift guide is rounded out with some smaller items like chic earrings, a festive blanket scarf, initial disk necklaces (blame Caitlin Covington) and an idiom bangle.

Did I mention I love fashion? I know, this gift guide is excessive.

Shop the post:

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Inverni Cashmere Cable-Knit Pompom Beanie, Gray • Inverni •
Women’s Bp. Knit Beanie With Faux Fur Pompom – Black • BP •
Express ok originals black faux fur pom keychain and bag charm • Express •
B Brian Atwood Bobbe Faux Fur Pom Pom Bag Charm • Brian Atwood •
KC JAGER Mason Geometric Mini Bag – Bloomingdale’s Exclusive •
River Island Womens Black velvet snake print mini bag • River Island •
Sole Society ‘Thalia’ Crossbody Bag – Black • Sole Society •
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield Watch, 36mm • Daniel Wellington •
Logan Rose Gold Stud Earrings in Ivory Pearl • Kendra Scott •
Women’s Bp. Reversible Scarf • BP •
Women’s Quay Australia Cherry Bomb Sunglasses – Rose Gold/ Pink • Quay •
Sole Society ‘Marlena’ Faux Leather Foldover Clutch – Black • Sole Society •
Women’s Moon And Lola ‘Dalton’ Long Initial Pendant Necklace • Moon and Lola •
Women’s Nashelle 14K-Gold Fill Initial Disc Necklace • Nashelle •
Ray-Ban Mirrored Flash Aviator Sunglasses • Ray-Ban •
Women’s Kate Spade New York ‘Idiom – Heart Of Gold’ Bangle • Kate Spade •

What would you love to give the fashion lover in your life? Let me know in the comments! As a note, my last two gift guides will be up tomorrow, with one for your love and an affordable hostess gift guide. After that, I have a couple more holiday posts in the works for this week, with some last minute budget decorating ideas as well as some ideas for how to gift from the kitchen.