Let me be the first to say: HAPPY 1ST DAY OF SUMMER! Or as I like to call it, my favourite time of year. 😉 Canada Day is right around the corner and there’s some fun stuff coming to OHP to help celebrate Canada 150, but before we get to that I couldn’t resist posting something to celebrate the switch from Spring to Summer. I’ve got 3 Summer- inspired printables for you to download and print at home to bring the season indoors. All you have to do is pop in a frame or use some washi tape to adhere to a space that needs some brightening up. Pick your favourite or go for all 3 for a cute group. Click the links below to download. WELCOME TO SUMMER! <3
Tip: These prints should fit a standard piece of printer paper with a border around the design when printed. Scale up or down to size the image to fit the frame you want. 50% should be about right for a 4″ * 6″ frame; I went for 60% since I had a matte in the frame I was using.
Don’t have time to download & print now? Pin this post for later!
I never used to be a ‘hat person’. But now I can honestly say I have a little bit of an addiction. And all the cute Summer hats I keep seeing everywhere ain’t helping. I’ve seen a variety of different versions online of big hats with writing on them and kept thinking ‘I can make that’- so I did just that. Hats can get a bit pricey, but I’m happy to say this wide- brimmed cutie cost me less than $10 (the hat I used for this DIY was $5 at IKEA folks!) and is super easy to make. I also love the idea of making a mini version with a kids hat for some cute Summer twinning (if you find one let me know!). Just pick a favourite word or phrase, pick up some thread or twine and glue. It’s. That. Simple. Pair with your favourite swimsuit and sandals for a beachy #ootd! See below for the steps.
Wide- brimmed hat (I bought mine at IKEA for $5- I also found a similar one on Amazon)
Black embroidery thread or twine (I doubled mine up and twisted it together so the design would show up clearly)
Fine- tipped marker
Hot glue gun
Start by picking a phrase and writing the letters with the fine- tipped marker on the brim using dots or dashed lines
2. Using the glue gun, trace over the letters with hot glue, doing about 2- 3″ at a time so the glue doesn’t cool before you press the embroidery thread onto the design
3. Continue until your phrase is finished. For some letters like ‘a’, it might be easier to cut the thread and restart the letter rather than doubling over the thread you’ve already glued down
Have you ever tried bison? How about another exotic or game meat? Sometimes stepping out of your culinary comfort zone has a big pay out and these burgers were that for me. If you’re looking for something a little different to grill up this Summer- maybe Dad would love these for Father’s Day, or how about for that Canada Day BBQ?- these won’t disappoint. I love that bison is similar to beef, so it’s not too unfamiliar for those less adventurous, but the meat itself is amazing and these beauties contain no binding (no egg, breadcrumbs, etc). Just good, simple, delicious ingredients. I originally made these as sliders as part of my menu for Will’s surprise 30+1 birthday last month, but wanted to re- create them in full form to share on OHP since they blew away my expectations (read more about the menu at the end of this post). The bison I used for this recipe is from one of my favourite stores that I’ve shopped at for years, Heritage Meats, and after an amazing experience serving up an exotic meats menu for Will’s party, I teamed up with them to recreate and share the recipe. You’ll never look at a beef burger the same way again. Promise.
2 lb ground buffalo/ bison
2 medium yellow onions
1 bulb + 4 cloves of garlic
Aged white cheddar cheese
Pretzel buns (or your favourite burger bun)
2 cups arugula
5 large russet potatoes
4 cups organic beef broth
1 tsp organic corn starch
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the russet potatoes and slice into large fries. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Shake onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown/ slightly charred (approx 45 minutes to one hour). Turn the fries after 1/2 an hour in the oven.
2. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic and remove any excess outer layers, making sure it maintains it’s shape. Place on a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic for approx 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and soft. If you have room in your oven, place it on another rack while the fries cook, otherwise roast the garlic separately ahead of time.
2. While the fries are cooking, finely dice one of the onions and crush the cloves of garlic. In a large bowl, combine onion and garlic with the ground buffalo. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Form the mixture into patties 1/2″ thick and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Either cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook or cook immediately.
4. When ready, bring your BBQ or grill to medium heat and space the patties evenly over the heat. Flip after 5- 7 minutes and grill until cooked through (approx 10- 15 minutes total at medium heat). Place some slices of the aged white cheddar on the burgers a few minutes before they’re ready if you prefer melted cheese.
5. While the burgers are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/ high heat. Slice the remaining onion and mushrooms and sauté them separately (don’t clean the pan!). Set aside until ready to build the burgers. In the same pan, heat the 4 cups of organic beef broth and add the cornstarch to thicken slightly (if desired) to make the au jus for dipping (so, SO good!). The beef broth will absorb some of the flavours left over from the onions and mushrooms and make for some tasty dipping.
5. To build the burgers, scoop some Dijon mustard and mayo onto the buns, along with some of the roasted garlic. Next add the sautéed mushrooms and onion, followed by the burger patty. Top off with slices of the aged white cheddar (if you haven’t already melted it on) and arugula. Secure the top of the bun with a bamboo skewer and serve with the fries (and au jus, if desired). Now just try going back to your regular beef burger. 😉
This is a delicious twist on a traditional beef burger and one you’ll hopefully love making throughout the year. If serving with the au jus, cutting the burgers in half once built makes dipping easier and (slightly) less messy.
More about that exotic meats menu…
Last month I surprised Will with a 30+ 1 party (aka a belated 30th) and when it came time to plan the menu I knew I wanted to do something different, a little crazy even. I thought it over and ultimately decided to go with a menu that was waaay different than anything I had ever done before, something totally out of my comfort zone and experience: a menu made up of a variety of exotic meats. I know of restaurants that serve up protein that’s less common than our typical beef and chicken and I had a hunch one of my favourite stores might be able to help me plan the menu. I’ve shopped at Heritage Meats since they opened in 2003- way before kids, going gluten- free, etc- because I love their passion for food and the quality selection they offer. I called to find out what they carried and I wasn’t disappointed, ultimately deciding on a selection of five to try: crocodile, buffalo, kangaroo, boar, and camel- cooked up in different recipes and served alongside some BBQ chicken just in case our families weren’t in an adventurous mood. I didn’t play it safe, I Googled and Googled and Googled how to cook the different meats (and no one got food poisoning, yay!) and Will loved the crazy menu. This was some of the most fun I’ve had with food in a while and I couldn’t have pulled it off so calmly if it weren’t for the advice and help from a few of the staff members at Heritage Meats.
Please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed. I have shopped at this store since it opened in 2003 and they were the first place I thought of when I decided on an exotic menu for Will’s birthday. When I originally called to ask for help narrowing down the menu, the service and help I received both over the phone prior to visiting and in- store was exceptional (and I did not mention I was a blogger to try to get ‘special attention’). This has always been my experience with the staff of this store and it led me to reach out to them to partner on this recipe. They kindly provided the buffalo and aged cheddar cheese to help me recreate the recipe I served at Will’s birthday and I whole- heartedly recommend you check them out online to learn more and pay them a visit. Whether you’re passionate about food and care about it’s quality, or seek specialty products, this store is a destination worth the drive and the staff will be the finishing touch of a great shopping experience. It’s been a pleasure shopping with them over the past 13+ years and even more so partnering with them here on OHP. Shops like this keep my love for food alive and I’m so grateful to them for their dedication to what they do.
About Heritage Meats
Located in Langley, BC, Heritage Meats specializes in gourmet, high- quality, and specialty foods including gluten- free, organic, and premium quality meats. Since opening in 2003, it’s become a destination, offering a selection of everything from deli items, pantry staples, and meat to gourmet and specialty items (including exotic meats!) hard to find in most stores. All of the meat and poultry carried in the store is non- medicated- no hormones, antibiotics, or animal by- products- and the friendly staff can help you with any questions you may have.
In addition to the exotic meats mentioned in this post, they also carry a selection of other quality meat and deli items:
– Beef (non medicated Alberta beef, dry aged for flavour and tenderness)
– Chicken (local, non medicated, air chilled)
– Pork (local, non medicated, free run)
– Sausages (made in house, no fillers, gluten free)
– Entrees (made in house by the shop’s chef, with a large selection of gluten free options)
To learn more about the store and it’s product offerings, visit the Heritage Meats website and find them on social media:
Every Spring as the weather is getting warmer I start to get everything organized for the heat of the Summer- water shoes and sandals, hats, beach essentials, swim suits… and sunscreen. And each year I try to find a natural option that isn’t loaded with chemicals while keeping my family from turning into lobsters (no olive skin/ 5 minutes to bronzed over here, we fair- skinned folks have to build up a tan over a looooong time). There seem to be some general things to look out for, some questionable, and some that you want for sun protection. As I did the research for this post I tried to simplify the information and make recommendations based on what I found* (I’ve also included the sources that I referred to at the end of the post so you can do some research for yourself if you wish). It’s sometimes hard to find quality options in grocery stores, so all of the options below are ones that you can easily find online (you can also find them in natural/ health food stores). See some of the good and bad things to look for in sunscreens and a few suggestions to try this Summer below- just add sun!
For more natural sunscreen options available online check out Well.ca and Amazon– if you’re unsure about some of the products you find, Google search them by name and you should be able to find their ingredients listed along with information about how they really measure up (that’s how I discovered one of my old go- tos wasn’t as good as I thought).
One other thing I learned while researching the sunscreens to include in this post: if you like sunscreens in spray form (ie in an aerosol/ pressurized can), look closely at the ingredients, as they may not be cause for concern when applied to the skin, but inhaling them has it’s own set of concerns (this article was informative on this topic). This opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, so I didn’t include any aerosol suggestions, just a cream that you can spray on without it becoming a mist).
* Please note that these recommendations are based on research and information I found online. I am not making medical or scientific recommendations, and as with any skincare product if in doubt, apply a small amount to a test area prior to use.
I scream, you scream… it’s hard to think of a Summer where there wasn’t a day spent at the beach served up with a scoop or two of my favourite flavour (usually bubble gum- you know the kind with real bits of gum in it?- or cotton candy). And it’s still a favourite treat of mine, no matter what time of year. Buuuuut, since we’re headed into the hottest time of the year I thought what better time than now to share a recipe for a sweet frozen treat that’s tasty and- gasp!- healthy too (can you guess the hidden uber- healthy ingredient???). And if you haven’t tried making your own ice cream/ froyo/ nice cream, now’s the perfect time to try. In case you’re unfamiliar, nice cream is the dairy free sister to the classic dairy dessert we know and love. You can absolutely whip up this recipe with milk, but I’ve been wanting to try making nice cream and had a freezer full of frozen ripe bananas calling my name, so I went for it.
Ari and I spent a messy morning blending up the flavours (we went with blueberry, raspberry, and the secret flavour you’ll have to scroll down to find out about), and I now know what I’ll do from now on with all the bananas that get over- ripe when it’s too hot to bake banana bread. This takes about 15 minutes to make, and the mix is also perfect for popsicles. Your kids will love helping, everyone will love eating it, and you’ll love that it’s a healthy version of a favourite Summer sweet treat. Now about that secret ingredient and how to make your own nice cream at home..!
6- 10 ripe bananas (you don’t have to be frozen, mine were just in the freezer waiting to be made into something yummy)
1 cup each of your favourite frozen fruits; for ours we used blueberries, raspberries, and kale (how’s that for a sneaky/ healthy secret ingredient?!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
2 tsbp honey or maple syrup (optional)
1- 2 cups of water, dairy- free milk, or milk
1. Start by blending all of your bananas as if you were making a smoothie. I added about 1 cup of dairy- free milk to mine to help get a thick/ creamy/ smooth consistency (we splurged on a Blendtec a few years ago and love it for things like smoothies and soups). The more flavours you want to make, the more bananas you’ll want (I used 10 for this recipe).
2. Once you’ve got the banana mixture smooth, pour it into a large jug and set aside. To make the green nice cream, I juiced a few few kale leaves (you don’t need very many as the colour is really strong). For each flavour, combine 1 cup of frozen or fresh fruit with 1- 2 cups of the banana mixture. For the green, add 1 tbsp of kale juice (you won’t be able to taste the kale, but if you prefer you can add some vanilla extract and/ or honey). Pour each colour/ flavour into their own container until you’ve made all the flavours you want to include.
3. Scoop spoonfuls of each flavour into a baking dish until it’s full, putting different colours/ flavours throughout (this is what will help create the marble effect).
4. Drag a skewer or chopstick through the mixture to create a marble effect- make sure to go all the way to the bottom so the nice cream is marbled throughout, not just on top.
5. Place your dish in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to freeze. When you want to serve, take it out of the freezer for 10- 15 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!
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Both our juicer and blender get a lot of use in our house. They were two kitchen items we researched and invested some money into, since we wanted ones that would hold up well to use and last a long time. So far we’ve been more than satisfied with them and they do a great job; they were both splurges and we bought them at different times as we were able to put the money aside. I use them for many of the recipes that appear on the blog and get asked fairly often about which ones we own. The juicer we have is the Breville Juice Fountain Elite 800JEXL and we have the Blendtec TB-621-20 Total Blender. I’d highly recommend them both and worth the investment, especially if you enjoy making healthy food at home.
Confession: this post was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be! There are so many fun pool floaties out there, and it was hard to narrow down choices to include. I’ve rounded up 20 to help make the most of all the hot days spent poolside and at the beach to come from two of my favourite places to shop online: Amazon.ca and Indigo (tip: from May 23- 25 enjoy free shipping when you order online at Indigo). Some of these are more of a splurge than others, but the fun (and photos!) will be worth it. Scroll to the bottom for where to buy info.
Anyone else counting down the days to Summer? This Spring hasn’t been the greatest for weather and it’s got me craving the sun and heat in a major way. The West Coast is a beautiful place to live but we have so much grey and rain that we earn the blue skies and hot weather for the few short months they’re here.
And with that sun comes all the things for Spring and Summer in our wardrobes: tees, shorts, flip flips, maxi dresses… I’ll take one of everything. ;). I teamed up with Chews Boutique on a fashion feature in the Fall (see that here) and we’ve got together again to share some style ideas for the Spring and Summer (also perfect to take on vacation!). We paired everything with items you’ve probably already got in your closest to show how easy and versatile her pieces are to wear- perfect if you like pieces that can multitask and go with a variety of items you already own.
All of the pieces Chelsey carries in her online shop combine comfort with style, with everything under $70. Comfort, style, aaaand at a good price? Check, check, check! Like I said, I’ll take one of everything ;). See below for 5 outfits perfect for the warmer weather featuring pieces available from Chews- just add sun!!!
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but it’s safe to say that Chelsey stocks her online shop with some pretty great pieces. Whatever is on your warm weather style wish list, make sure you check out Chews, you definitely won’t come away disappointed. We always have a good time when we get together for shoots and we had a blast with Akane shooting the photos for this post- I hope it gave you some ideas for your Spring and Summer style!
Want to treat yo’self??? Hop over to Instagram and enter to win a $25 shop credit from Chews! Click here for a direct link to the contest photo. Good luck!!
Chews Boutiqie was established by owner Chelsey Andrews to offer a unique take on wardrobe basics. Offering up a variety of pieces that invokde effortless style with a minimalist and modern feel, Chews aims to offer pieces that will becomes staples in their shopper’s closets at an affordable price point. To view current selection, visit the Chews website.
Follow Chews on social media for the latest releases and special discounts:
It’s finally SPRING! And that means longer days, warmer weather, aaaaaaand Summer isn’t too far away! Whether you’re planning a beach- y holiday or are just looking for some cute pieces for the warm months ahead, this post is all about the things to help you make the most of sunny days. So grab the SPF and your favourite pair of sunnies, it just gets better from here!
First up: swim suit. Pretty much a staple when it comes to Summer and a necessity when you’re hopping on a plane to sit on a beautiful beach somewhere. This peachy suit is a 2- piece from The Secret Closet, perfect if you aren’t a fan of one- pieces but still like a little extra coverage. And for bikini lovers like me, you’ll also like that the strap is removable and the bottom is reversible (this one has a pretty floral print on the other side) and can be rolled down if you like a lower- lying bikini bottom. Also: anything with a little bit of sparkle makes you feel kind of like a mermaid, and how can you not have fun when you’re channeling your inner Ariel? 😉 You can visit The Secret Closet owner, Nicole, in Maple Ridge to try on the swim suits so you find one that’s the perfect fit and style- the hardest part is narrowing down all the cute choices!
Next up: beach essentials. Think cover up, towel, and bag. For travel, I think anything with a zipper is a good option to keep your personal belongings like wallet and travel documents safe. This striped beauty is my go- to for everyday and has doubled as a carry- all when I go away for a few days. If you’re in charge of plane tickets and passports when it comes to vacations, a passport holder is a great idea to help keep everything together and organized. The one below is made by Pecan Tree Creations, and there are a few options available including holders for up to 6 passports, so if you’re travelling with the whole family you can keep everyone’s passports and documents all together. It has an elastic closure to keep everything secure and you can pick from several pretty prints (how perfect would this be to give as a grad gift with some money tucked inside for someone you know planning a post- grad trip?).
If you like to cover up while you hunt down the perfect beach- side ice cream cone, there are so many cute options and I’ve shared two completely different ones below. The first is this pretty cover up from Jammy and Co that doubles as a dress when you wear a slip underneath. It’s lightweight and perfect if you want a light layer over top your swim suit, or want something that serves double- duty when you travel and saves on packing space. I love that it goes with anything and you can take it from beach to dinner with a quick change out of your swim suit and into a light layer underneath (they also make cute options in kids sizes if you’re looking for something for your little lady- how cute would twinning at the beach be?!).
If you’re like me and love a good towel for the beach, or want a plush one to take on vacation, this wearable poncho towel from LOLL is a great option. Throw it over your other beach layers to stay warm with the ocean breeze, use it dry off, or use it to change in and out of your swim suit underneath. There’s a zip on both sides or pop it on and off over your head. I love how soft and thick it is- plus the hood is a nice added bonus to keep warm. Whether you lie on it to soak up some sun, or throw it over your bathing suit it’s great for the pool and beach (think walking to and from the beach/ pool at a hotel on vacation). If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that walking on deck while the ship is moving can make for an extra cool breeze and this would be perfect to stay warm, especially for those late- night dips in the pool. 😉 Also- how perfect would this be to curl up in for a fresh air nap? There are several designs available, including Turkish towel options and thick terry towels like this one. Whether for the beach, to take to a sunny vacation spot, or for Summers spent at home, this is a towel I’m glad to have discovered. Now I just need Summer to hurry up and get here!
OK, last thing I want to mention: I feel like vacations are an excuse to buy a few cute outfits. 😉 Or if you’re staying close to home this Summer, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about your warm weather wardrobe. You can’t beat a classic t- shirt, and the great thing is you can wear them year- round. Hawaii holds a special place in my heart and I love Aloha Kai’s line of apparel inspired by the Islands. This ‘You Had Me At Aloha’ tee goes with everything and is super soft and comfortable. Wear it with jeans until it really warms up or pair with shorts or cute skirt (might have to try this with a pretty tulle number as well 😉 ) … And then there’s this pineapple skirt from Lone Wolf Boutique– I don’t think it gets more fun than this! (I also can’t wait to wear this skirt with my swim suits this Summer). Owner Stephanie and I actually went to high school together and I was so excited to get to include her in this post (she’s also got a watermelon print skirt I’ve got my eye on that’s super cute). This outfit just makes me smile and I think is a great example of some of the fun things you can work into your Summer wardrobe. And seriously- just try not to love that pineapple print. Just try. It’s just plain fun and that to me is what Summer/ vacation and the clothes that come with it are all about.
I hope this post gives you some ideas for the warm weather ahead! BC in the Summer can’t be beat and for those of you lucky enough to be heading on a vacation this year, I hope you enjoy a yummy cocktail on the beach for me. Now it’s just a waiting game until the hot days of Summer get here!
Who else is going to be rockin’ shorts into September??? I found these cuties at The Rag Machine and even though I’m a Canadian girl, I couldn’t resist the stars & stripes. Even when the weather starts to cool off you can pull on a pair of leggings and extend how long you can wear them. Paired with some closed- toe shoes like these ‘Drop It Like It’s Yacht’ Shoes from Sanuk (how awesome is that name?) and it makes for a cute outfit.
And what goes better with a cute pair of shorts than a classic tee? Another wardrobe staple that transitions through the seasons effortlessly. Pull on a cozy sweater when it starts to get chilly and you’ve got everything you need for a late Summer evening. Get your hands on a pair of Sanuks for yourself & make sure you enter below!
Can you tell I’m really just about having some fun with style? That tee from West + Wind is so soft and one of my favourites. I know these boat (excuse me, yacht shoes) will get a lot of love and I think it’s great how they go with so many things. They’re the perfect transition shoe for heading into Fall and would be super cute for you lucky people going on vacation soon. Even if you just dig flats & booties for Fall, why not pick up a pair for next Summer so you’ve got them? Yay for thinking ahead! 😉
Happy hump day all! It’s Wednesday which brings me to the third outfit in my style series with Sanuk. Hands up who pretty much lives in jeans most of the year? I love everything from a slim- fit dark wash to a distressed, relaxed pair. Basically I have a thing for denim and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The pair I picked up at The Rag Machine in this post are super soft and comfy and are perfect for shifting outfits from Summer to Fall.
I swapped in a couple of things with this outfit to take it from Summer casual to Fall cozy (plus it shows how simple it is to change the look of an outfit). As much as I hate saying goodbye to Summer, jeans are a favourite staple I’m looking forward to bringing back. I paired this outfit with the Yoga Sling sandals from Sanuk and love how comfortable everything was- proof that style doesn’t have to be tricky or uncomfortable. See all the outfit details below and make sure you enter to win a pair of Sanuks for yourself!
I love how simple swaps can change the look of an outfit. Pop on a snapback on a messy hair day for a cute casual look, or layer on a sweater to stay cozy. Jeans are pretty much fool- proof and I love how well this distressed pair from The Rag Machine goes with the Sanuk Yoga Slings. Kinda surfer- chic, dontcha think? Oh, and that bag was just plain fun for me. It was a super simple DIY project I whipped up and I love how it turned out (check the link to the DIY below).