Categories
Decor Holidays Lifestyle Photography

12 Days of Christmas: The Toronto Christmas Market #tcm16

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I always found it so interesting that people tend to already live in such amazing cities or towns but choose to travel around the world. I have lived in Toronto my entire life and have to admit that I do not know my city very well when it comes to what makes people want to travel here. I’ve been making a serious effort to explore my city and to visit some amazing places at home! This year, I was determined to go to The Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. So, my finance, fur-baby and I ventured out on the coldest night (so far) and explored!

I was so happy to discover that dogs are allowed and welcomed at The Christmas Market! Ace was definitely a crowd pleaser in his cute little Christmas sweater. We couldn’t get very far without stopping for people who wanted to say hello to our handsome little fellow.

Our first stop (no doubt) was a Grilled Cheese station. I can’t even express in words on this blog how yummy our grilled cheese was. We ordered “Christmas Dinner” grilled cheese, which was turkey, cranberry sauce and brie. I promise to post about how to make this amazing sandwich. I have a few favourite food groups and grilled cheese is absolutely one of them!

We wandered around some more, looking at the different markets and new light displays. Overall it was a beautiful sight. I just wish there was a few more things to do…as it got a tad boring by the end and only ended spending just over an hour there. I think it would have been too cold to stay any longer anyways!

But, it’s definitely worth checking out and will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit!

Next on my Christmas Market list is Nathan Philips Square (somewhere I also have never visited!!).

Take a look at some of the photos I snapped (in between trying to keep my fingers warm – I definitely need the touch gloves for Christmas).

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What are some of your favourite places to visit during the Holidays?

Merry Christmas!
lxiv

Categories
Crafts Holidays Lifestyle

12 Days of Christmas: How to Wrap the Perfect Gift

Now that my Christmas shopping list has been checked once and almost twice, it’s time to start wrapping them! I love selecting beautifully designed wrapping paper, tying the gifts with ribbon and finishing it all off with a bow! After the final touches, I add my homemade gift tags so that I know who gets what! Gift wrapping is not always easy, so I’m showing you my tips and tricks on how to wrap the most beautiful gift!

What you’ll need:

  • Wrapping paper of your choice
  • Box
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbons and Bows (optional)
  • Candle and hot chocolate for a festive touch (also, optional!)

img_1826Step 1: Roll out your wrapping paper and place your box on top. Ensure that your paper completely covers the box.

img_1827img_1829Step 2: Once you have measured, make the first cut length-wise.

img_1831Step 3: You will now make your second cut to ensure that the wrapping paper will not be too wide to make your fold for the sides of the box. My rule of thumb is that the sides of your paper should hit at approximately half of the height of the box.

img_1834Step 4: Ensure that the box is flipped upside down. Then take the longer side of the paper, fold around the box and tape to secure in the middle. Repeat with other side.

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img_1836Step 5: Turn the box so that one side is facing you. Fold down the top edge.

img_1838Step 6: Now take the right corner and fold towards the center (follow the folds that will naturally be made from Step 5). The top and right edges of the box should be smooth. Repeat for the left side.

img_1839img_1840Step 7: To make a nice, crisp point on the bottom, you can fold the excess paper (the paper that sticks out beyond the nice line you created) underneath the one fold, or you can just simply cut it out.

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Step 8: Fold the bottom point upwards towards the center and secure with tape!

img_1843Step 9: Repeat steps 5-8 on the other side!

Step 10: Final step is to use ribbons and bows to add your special touches!

img_1845img_1848Attach the tag to the gift by using the ribbon you added, or simply tape it on the box. I chose to leave extra ribbon, cut it in half and use that to tie a small knot!

img_1850img_1851There you have it! I chose to attach the bows and ribbon onto the “side” of the box to make that the top since it was a cube. However, you would normally flip the box over (especially with a rectangular shape) so that the side without any folds or tape is on top. You can repeat the same steps for any shape or size. The most important step is measuring the paper to your gift box!

What’s your wrapping style? Do you like to decorate with ribbons and bows? Or do you prefer a gift bag and some tissue paper? Let me know in the comments below.

lxiv

Categories
Crafts Holidays Lifestyle

12 Days of Christmas: Holiday Gift Tags DIY

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Every time I go to buy Christmas tags for all of my thoughtfully purchased gifts, I can’t get over the price tag! Tags are SO EXPENSIVE! I’m not just being frugal….I genuinely think that they are overpriced (yes, I know you can get some at the Dollar store…but they aren’t as pretty!). My sister and I decided last year that we were going to try to make our own tags! We loved the way they turned out, so I’m going to share how to make them with you!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Bristol board (white…or whatever colour you want)
  • White glue
  • Loose glitter
  • Foam brushes
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Sissors
  • Hole punch
  • Hairspray (yes, hairspray!)

Step 1: Trace out a tag template (you can find them on Pinterest for free or just hand-draw your own. Cut out the template and use this to trace onto the rest of the bristol board.

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Step 2: Cut out each tag.

Step 3: Paint each tag with the colour paint of your choosing! We chose gold as it made the tags look like they had a wood grain finish! No need to be precise – and this WILL get messy! Make sure the one side is completely dry before painting the other side of the tag.

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Step 4: Once the tags are dry, use the foam brush to apply the white glue where you want your glitter to go. We opted to only apply the glitter to the bottom of the tag. However, we have done polka-dots or other designs in the past!

Step 5: Apply the glitter! Ensure that the glue you applied is completely covered by the glitter. Tap off any excess.

*TIP* We used a plastic bag to “catch” the loose glitter so that we didn’t waste any and so that there wasn’t as big of a mess!

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Step 6: Hairspray! With an aerosol can of hairspray, spray the tags where you applied the glitter to ensure it stays in place and sets the glitter.

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Step 7: Last but not least, hole punch where you will want your ribbon or string to go through.

Simple but cute DIY and easy to get the whole family involved!

Alternatively, you can use the glitter paper that I mentioned in my Garland DIY post and cut out the tag templates. You can still paint it if you would like or leave it white!

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Stay tuned for the next 12 Days of Christmas post where I show you how to wrap the perfect gift with these tags!

Let me know if you’re going to try this DIY! I’d love to see your creations in the comments below!

lxiv

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle

12 Days of Christmas: Easy Christmas Fudge

I love to bake during the Holiday season, but sometimes I don’t have all day to dedicate to baking. This was the case a couple of days ago before I hosted my “Cookies, Cocktails and Christmas Cheer” party with my cousins and aunts! I wanted to still make something home made, but didn’t have the time to make a full assortment of holiday baked goods. Solution? Easy and quick to make treats that will impress your guests! First up for Post #2 of #12DaysOfChristmas is Cookies & Cream Fudge!

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This recipe is only 3 ingredients! Yes, you read that correctly! So simply and such a crowd favourite! I followed the recipe from Hidden Ponies Blog, check out her version of the recipe here.

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What you’ll need:

  • 8″x 8″ round or square baking dish (I used round since that’s what I had and it worked just as good!)
  • Large bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies (approx 20 Cookies), chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the chocolate chips and can of condensed milk.
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  2. Place in microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. img_1924
  3. Place back in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  4. Repeat step 3 until the mixture is smooth. DO NOT OVER MICROWAVE! (I only needed to repeat step 3 once!).
  5. Chop Oreo cookies. img_1926
  6. Add half of the chopped cookies to the bowl and combine.
  7. Line baking dish with parchment paper and pour mixture into dish.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cookies on top of the mixture in the baking dish. Press down lightly to ensure they are firmly in the mixture. img_1931
  9. Place uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  10. Remove from dish, cut into pieces and serve!

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That’s it! Do you have a favourite fudge flavour? Or easy to make holiday recipe? Let me comments below!

lxiv

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle

The Best S’Mores Bar Recipe

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I’m sitting here dreaming of Christmas, and what better way to kick off the Holiday Season than by posting a yummy, cozy, gooey treat?! I adapted this recipe from Wine & Glue and made these on a whim! I am so happy with how they turned out. This is a simple recipe to follow and I break it down into three separate layers to complete the entire bar.

The final product is 100% messy to eat – but well worth it! I thought this would be a nice post before I kick off the 12 Days of Christmas here on lxiv. Christmas is absolutely one of my favourite times of the year. I love the cozy warm glow from the Christmas tree, to the crisp cool air and the hot beverage in a beautiful mug. It’s a time to bring people together and enjoy the company and laughter of others. Stay tuned for some fun DIY, Christmas decor, recipes, some collaborations and more!!

Follow along below to see how I made these tasty treats.

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients

  • Graham crackers (enough to line your pan, then crush!)
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Cookie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Top Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray or coat with butter or coconut oil.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Crush the graham crackers (easiest way is to put them in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush them!).
  2. Mix together the crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar. Then press onto bottom of baking pan.

Cookie Layer:

  1. In a new bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for about two minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla until just combined. Next, add flour mixture until completely combined.
  4. Ensure you do not handle the cookie dough too much! You will need to spread the dough on top of the graham crust. This was the trickiest part! Work your way from the corners of the pan into the middle by spreading dough in your hands and gently pressing it on top of the crust. In other words, make mini pancakes by flattening the dough between your hands and place on top of the graham cracker crust. You cannot move or spread the cookie dough once placed, as it will start to lift the crust off of the pan. Another idea would be to pipe the dough onto the crust, using a clear plastic bag and cutting a little hole in the corner.

Top Layer:

  1. Next, spread the marshmallows and chocolate chips over the cookie dough. Then pour the condensed milk.
  2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the marshmallows turn golden brown.
  3. Wait for the pan to cool before cutting! The bars are very crumbly, so don’t be surprised if they do not cut or serve perfectly.

Et, Voila! Yields approximately 20 squares (depending on the size you cut them!).

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What’s your favourite holiday dessert? Let me know in the comments below!

 

lxiv

Categories
Beauty Holidays Lifestyle Photography

Mermaid Makeup Look + Photoshoot

Looking for a last minute easy Halloween costume? Look no further! At the end of the summer my sister and talented photographer at Magic in Colours Photography, Christina, put together a ‘colour-bomb’ photoshoot. Each model had a theme and a colour story such as Galaxy (pink and purple) and Sunset (red, orange and yellow). My theme was Mermaid. AMAZING. With my love of makeup and doing makeup for others, I immediately volunteered to create the looks! The photos turned out so well. You should definitely take a look at her Facebook page to check out some of her other photography shoots!

Take a look below to see how they turned out along with instructions on how to recreate the look.
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As for the Mermaid makeup…here’s what you’ll need:

  • Aqua, turquoise, navy blue, green and purple eye shadow
  • Black eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Fishnet Stockings
  • Highlighter
  • Blue lipstick (optional: I used the eye shadows to create the lip look!)

I started the look by creating a smokey blue eye, defining the lashes with eyeliner and then applying many coats of mascara. I then placed the fishnet stockings where I wanted to add the effect of scales and dusted a layer of light blue and then added deeper tones such as the green and purple. I found it easier to wet the brushes so that the eye shadow stuck well to my face! Once the scales were in place, I added a blue lip to tie the whole look together. Since I did not have any blue lipstick, I simply wet the eye shadows on the back of my hand with a lip brush and then applied directly to my lips. I added highlighter on the high points of my face and lightly over the scales to add some sheen and dimension.

For my hair, I wanted it to look wet and slicked back, as if I had just surfaced from the water (did I mention I have a really big imagination?). So I used gel and mousse to slick my hair back with a comb and hair sprayed it in place. I used a couple of bobby pins to keep some stray hairs from slipping out. But overall, the look was very simple to do.

The shots definitely speak for themselves! They turned out great.

Fun fact: the shoot took 10 times longer than planned because wasps were attracted to the colour bombs and we had to keep running away! Okay…I had to keep running away…they are my #1 fear!

For a more detailed guide on how to recreate this look check out this video here by one of my favourite beauty bloggers, Melissa Alatorre. Want the outfit too? Check out Lauren Conrad’s DIY post here.

What are some of your favourite Halloween costumes? Leave me a comment below!

Happy Halloween!

lxiv

Categories
Crafts Decor Holidays Lifestyle

Must Have Items for Fall Decor

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With October in full swing, I wanted to show you some of my fall decor pieces that I purchased this year to decorate our home. I like to find a good deal – so most (if not all of these pieces) were found at local vintage shops, Winners or the good old local Dollarstore! I like to change accessories throughout our space since I am constantly switching things up! I can’t help but be a little indecisive with decorating. There are just too many different options and I happen to love them all. So finding great deals on items are definitely worth it for me.

Below are my Top 6 Must Have Items for fall decorating!

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

1. YouTube Fall Tutorials

I love browsing YouTube to get inspired for upcoming seasons! I usually skim through until I see a thumbnail that grabs my attention and then eventually end up on a never-ending spiral of YouTube videos.

2. Fake Florals

I purchased those potted plants at The Real Canadian Superstore at the end of last season, but you can find similar ones at Ikea or your local craft or dollarstore. I opt for fake flowers because I can re-use them year after year for different purposes. Real flowers are costly and they do not last as long! This way I can have the look all season long without having to constantly purchase new flowers.

3. Scented Candles

These are a definite MUST HAVE item for any season. I purchased my “Pumpkin Clove” candle last year from Anthropologie along with the mercury votives. If you’re looking for a great scent, their Pumpkin Souflee Candle by Boulangerie is the perfect scent for fall.

4. Fall Garland

Adding a string of garland is an easy way to spruce up your home without going overboard. Best part again is that they can be reused in so many different capacities. I used my garland on our TV stand, but you can use it on your table, above a doorway – anywhere really!

5. Fall Table Runner

This year I decided to purchase a table runner instead of a full table cloth. I love the natural wood of our dining table and wanted that warmth to show through. I purchased the table runner at my local Homesense. They always have so many options to choose from to suit your colour story.

6. Fall Prints

I find a lot of my prints online for free from Pinterest, where the artist has allowed people to print and share them as long as they do not sell them or make any profit from them! Like I said, I change things up often, so it makes more sense to print them at home than to spend a lot of money on prints that I will eventually recycle. You can get the Fall Compass Print here and the Thankful Print here.

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Frames from Ikea.
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Print from Chicfetti.com

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I love changing up our home for fall. The crispness of the weather, wool sweaters, hot apple cider, warm blankets, scented candles and the changing leaves are just a few things I love about Fall, so it just makes sense to give my home that same inspired feeling!

What are some must have fall decor items on your list?

PS. Here’s a cozy little fall inspired picture with the pup!

lxiv

Categories
Crafts Lifestyle Wedding

Floral Monogram DIY

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With my wedding day officially selected (October 2017) I have been on Pinterest for embarrassing amounts of time searching for crafts, colour schemes, DIY projects, anything wedding or decor related.

Creative projects are not new to me as I’ve been crafting, knitting, sewing, woodworking and all of that fun creative stuff since I was young. I was privileged to have grandparents who taught me a lot about what I know about ‘Doing It Yourself’.

This time around, I wanted to create large monogram letters made of flowers. Since I am doing this DIY so far in advance (and also on a budget) I opted for fake flowers. This way they will not only last until next October, they will also be easy to store!

Follow along to see how I did it myself with these floral monogram letters! This is perfect for a fall wedding (or even just as some fall decorations). You can switch up the flowers and colours to suit whatever season or occasion you want them for!

I was able to get all of the materials I needed from my local Dollar Store here in Canada. You can also get these supplies at any craft store near you.

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What you’ll need:

  • 3 Foam Boards
  • 1 Foam Paintbrush
  • Gold Paint
  • Fake Flowers (LOTS!)
  • Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Trace or sketch your letters onto your foam board. You can make your letters as large or small as you prefer. I wanted mine to be fairly large as they will be acting as a backdrop on our entry table.

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Step 2: Cut out your letters! I found it a lot easier to cut out the letters with an X-ACTO knife.

Step 3: To ensure the white colouring on the foam board didn’t show through, I opted to paint the cut-out letters with gold paint. Since the paint is just to soften the stark white background, it does not have to be perfect!

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Step 4: Take all of the stems off of the flowers! It’s easier then you think! All you need to do is pull the flower off of the stem since they are not glued or permanently attached. I also removed some of the leaves off the stems to be able to layer those in where necessary.

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Step 5: Glue the flowers onto the letters.


*Tip: You can use the little stem still attached to the flower as a “pin” by pushing it down into the board where you want it to go, then fill that hole with hot glue and secure!

*Tip: Set your large flowers first and then build off of that. It was easier to arrange the flowers in mini clusters and then fill in afterwards.

Continue with Step 5 until your letters are full of flowers! Here’s what the final project looks like.

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Here’s a little snap of our dog, “Ace”. You can follow him on Instagram @ace_the_red_dog!

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Have any other creative DIY ideas? Share in the comments below!

Happy Crafting!

lxiv