Advice on Going Back to School as an Adult!

Hi all, it’s your long lost friend Silken!

It’s the same old me, only now I’m an official graduate of Georgian College’s Early Childhood Education program and I finally have some free time back! (YAY!) I can’t believe how long it’s been since I sat down to write something other than an assignment for school. As someone who loves creative writing, I’ve missed the freedom of mindlessly typing on word-press or putting my pen to paper in a gratitude journal. I’m excited to dive right back into sharing new recipes, wellness tips, spreading positivity and sharing my lifestyle! Before I close this chapter and move onto the next one, I want to share my advice on going back to school as an adult!

If there was anything holding me back from enrolling in my THIRD college program, it was fear. I was worried about what others would think of me. I was worried about managing a full time job and being in a full time program. I was worried about finances. I was worried about how long it would take for me to graduate. And to be honest, looking back now, all of the things I was worried about were totally figure-outable! First of all, WHO CARES what other people think of you! (Shouldn’t we all know this by now!?) Secondly, if working and being in school simultaneously taught me anything…it was how to be organized, develop time-management skills and that I am an extremely hard worker! Financially, I needed to budget, prioritize and learn to say no! (R.I.P. daily Starbucks and weekend trips to Homesense, I probably shouldn’t be buying you anyways!) And as for how long it would take me to graduate…the time was going to pass anyways, I might as well be consistently working towards my goals!

Here’s five tips that helped me survive the last two years as a full-time college student:

  1. Feel the fear and do it anyways! I was 17 when I enrolled in my first college program. At the time I had a general idea of what I found interesting career-wise, but my mind has (naturally with age and life experiences) changed multiple times since! I always knew my purpose was to support vulnerable people in my community. At first I thought I would be in social services and then I thought I’d work in law enforcement and eventually I found a passion in child development! Five years later, I have an impressive amount of education, knowledge and skills that will support me in any direction that my career takes me. The funny thing is that with each program I enrolled in, I had fears. The outcome? I faced those fears, learned so much (about working in the field of human services as well as about myself) and came out confident and with not one, not two, but three diplomas! So I encourage you to find your WHY, feel the fear and do it anyways!
  2. Find a support system. I have no idea where I’d be in life without my support system. As adults we have many responsibilities: jobs, houses, bills, children, pets, etc! Without support, reassurance or someone to cry to during midterm season (don’t act like you’ve never done it!) life can feel overwhelming at times. Finding a support system is crucial in our day to day lives and it’s a bonus to have when you’re in school. Receiving support, words of encouragement and love from my friends and family over the past two years is what continuously motivated me to work hard, stay focused and do the damn thing! This time around, I also wasn’t afraid to rely on my college faculty for support when I needed it either! I was e-mailing, asking questions, booking meetings and sitting front seat to ensure that I received the support I needed to be successful in my program! (Your teachers want to help you, but if you don’t ask, you won’t receive answers! If you have a question, it’s most likely that other students in your program do too…so just reach out! You won’t regret it!)
  3. PLAN! Before I even applied to different colleges, I made a game plan. (Remember SMART goals from high school!? This is one of those things that you can actually use in life!) Be SPECIFIC: I wanted to graduate the early childhood education program with honours *I did it*. Ensure that it is MEASURABLE: I wanted to transfer as many courses I could from previous programs as possible, to minimize my course-load and remain focused on completing one semester at a time. Ensure that the goal is ATTAINABLE: I had to remain flexible in my lifestyle to make sure that my goal was attainable. This meant changing my schedule at work (to split shift hours) so that I could remain working while also having time to study in the middle of the day between shifts. Be RELEVANT: I had to find my WHY! I wanted to feel more confident in my practice, I wanted to dive deeper into studying child development and I wanted to further my qualifications to better my career! Set a TIME: I dipped my toes into the child development practitioner apprenticeship program and realized that I could achieve my goal of becoming a registered early childhood educator sooner if I just took the leap, worked a little harder and enrolled in the fast-track program at Georgian College. Goodbye 3-5 year apprenticeship, hello 1.5 year diploma!
  4. Set Priorities. I’m not going to lie, prioritizing school over other things that seem fun as a 24 year old was sometimes a buzzkill! I had to miss a few weekend plans with friends, spend some of the summer inside at my desk, save my money for text books and tuition and completely forget about any type of week-night plans! With that being said, it’s also important to find a balance in your work/school/personal life. Prioritizing mandatory “me time” was how I managed to survive the last year and a half without completely burning out! (Many many many, Sunday night bubble baths and face masks were had!) In the end, I am so proud that I prioritized school and hammered it out when I did!
  5. Work hard! I feel like this is a given. But when you’re an adult and make the choice to return to school, the pressure is on to be successful. Not that the 17 year old Silken didn’t want to be successful (at “funshawe” like they call it), but this time around I wanted to to kick ass, get 90’s, dive deep into my studies, READ all of the resources provided, feel engaged in our lectures and prove to myself that I can do hard things! I wanted to be the best student I could be, so that I can be the best Early Childhood Educator that I can be!
  6. Bonus tip: Buy cute notebooks, drink wine and use swear words! (Just kidding- kind of!) I would be lying if I said I didn’t pour a glass of wine or two and maybe say WTF to myself at least once during exam season! Do what it takes people!!

If you’ve been considering returning to school as an adult, whether it’s full time or part time, PLEASE take my advice and just do it! You can do it! I believe in you! You should believe in you! The time will pass anyways! You will never regret doing something that will better yourself and your future! That’s it, that’s all! Happy studying nerds!

Love, Miss.Silken♥

14 Things I’ve Learnt About Love!

Remember being in elementary school and thinking relationships were as easy as a check mark in a yes or no box? Or receiving hand written letters from a secret admirer? Or sending your crush a rose on Valentines Day for a dollar twenty five? Those were the days weren’t they!? Innocent, pure and uncomplicated. Fast forward to high school thinking who you liked in math class would be relevant later on in life…boy was I ever wrong! Then comes college and dating apps! Yikes. I think I had to swipe for like 3 years before finding my match! (Thank god for my dedication because I was about one more bad pickup line from staying single for the rest of my life). I remember being 21 and my dad telling me I needed to put myself “out there”. When your own dad is giving you dating advice, you know you’ve hit an all time low! At the time I worked at Pandora and in Child Care. Needless to say, the only men in my life were happily taken and shopping for Valentines Day gifts or picking up their child from preschool…what a time to be alive! Finally, along came Jake! My besty. My side kick. My game changer. My forever guy. Thanks to the trusty tinder app, I received a “super-like” from a handsome guy that wasn’t too far away! So I took a chance, set up a date, went to the drive-in, talked too much, kissed a lot and fell in love. The real kind! Ever since then, I haven’t looked back!

Consider this a love letter to myself (and now to you gals!) as a reminder of all the things I’ve learnt so far about having a healthy relationship, myself and about my *insert Chris Harrison’s voice* “journey to find love”.

  1. In order to fully love someone else, you need to love and accept yourself first. Inside and outside, on the good and the bad days, throughout the different phases of life and as you continue to change and grow.
  2. Be open. To meeting new people, to trying new things, to doing things outside of your comfort zone and to giving someone who may not be your “type” a chance! Don’t take everything so seriously, dating and meeting new people should be fun! If you put yourself out there to new things or experiences and it doesn’t work out who cares! Move along and be open to the next opportunity that comes your way.
  3. Let go of societal pressure. I cannot stress this enough! You do not need to be dating, engaged, married or wanting children because the people around you are doing it. You do not need to be at a certain point in your education, career or life to be worthy of love. You do not need to look a certain way or be a certain size to feel confident enough to date. You do not need to put so much pressure on meeting someone in a cliche coffee shop setting for it to be considered “real”. Don’t get me wrong that would be cute, but so is my relationship that stemmed from a dating app! You do not need to wait for a guy to ask you out or tell them they love you, if you want to say it first say it! Stop putting so much pressure on yourself based off of societies standards and start focusing on your own standards!
  4. Nobody is perfect. Not me, not you and nor will your s/o be (even if they come pretty dang close!) When meeting new people, it’s important to keep in mind that nobody will ever be perfect. Everybody has their flaws. What matters most is how they treat you and if you’re accepting of who they are as the best (and worst) version of themselves!
  5. If somebody wants you, you’ll know! There’s nothing worse than getting to know someone or continuing a relationship with someone that leaves you consistently guessing. Do they like me? Do they want to hangout with me? Do I text them too much? Are my feelings reciprocated? Where do we stand? Is this a relationship or a situationship? Trust me the games aren’t worth playing, fore-fit now, because the right person will make it known…not through their words, but through their actions!
  6. Understand the “5 Love Languages”. Read the book or google it! Trust me it’s a game changer to understanding how other people give and receive love. Trying to understand a man’s brain in general is a full time study. The theory of the 5 love languages is like the intro to decoding what’s going on up there, if you know what I mean.
  7. Relationships aren’t always 50/50. Being a “team” is crucial to establishing a healthy relationship. Some days you will feel like you’re carrying the team, other days you’ll feel like you need to allow your partner to take the lead. As you go through a serious relationship you’ll begin to notice and accept this more!
  8. Communicate! Communicate about your wants, needs and expectations. Talk about your goals independently and as partners. Talk about your views on certain topics. Be open minded to what you can learn from other people! Share how you’re feeling even when it’s hard. Talk about things until they are resolved. Be mature, patient, understanding and think about what you’re saying before you say it! And whatever you do, do not go to bed upset!
  9. Your other relationships matter too! When you get into a relationship, don’t forget about your other relationships. Of course this can be challenging in the beginning, because you want to spend every waking hour talking to or about your new person! It’s an exciting time! But at the end of the day, your family has been by your side throughout your entire life and your friends will be there for you throughout the rest of your life. They matter too, so make sure they feel it!
  10. Set healthy boundaries. It’s important to love your relationship, but it’s also important to love your life with or without a relationship. Set healthy boundaries with your partner that will ensure you have time for yourself, your hobbies or your friends! Your s/o needs to be an extension to a life that you already love!
  11. Never stop dating! Growing up with parents who have had a successful 30 year marriage really gave me something to look up to. Something I always loved about them is that after all those years they would still date! They would go for dinner alone, they would go on stay-cations or vacations together and to this day they still hold hands in public! One date night a week has always been a non-negotiable in my relationship. And trust me, it will stay a non-negotiable no matter what life throws our way!
  12. Learn to let go! Of your past and your significant others past. After all, that’s what got you to where you are with them today. Do not carry your past baggage into a new relationship and for the love of god stop trying to dig up their baggage! Trust someone until they give you a reason not to. Make your own judgements. Don’t compare. Listen to your intuition. And honestly, just be excited about where the future is taking you together!
  13. Stop trying to change people. Their clothes, their hobbies, their taste in music, their friends, their goals are what make them, them! Take it or leave it! If you don’t like someone for who they truly are (or vice versa) it’s not meant to be!
  14. Happiness comes first. Relationships are supposed to be happy, loving, respectful, trustworthy, caring, fun and affectionate! Don’t get me wrong I know relationships take work and life will throw you curve balls as a couple. But at the end of the day, it’s all about surrounding yourself with the person who brings you happiness and that you’d be happy to go through anything with!

Whether you’re single and ready to mingle, in a relationship or celebrating with your gals I hope you feel the love today! Let me know what you’ve learnt about love in your current relationship or what you’ve learnt in your past! Sending you all of the mushiness today, because you deserve to feel it!

Xo Silk

My Winter 2020 Bucket List!

“First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish…we’ll snuggle!!”

Only in Canada (or the North Pole) is it “normal” to have a winter bucket list...

I’m one of those crazies who appreciate each season in Canada! I love change, I love the different experiences that the weather can bring, I love transitioning my closet each season and let’s be real, we all know I love to change up my home decor! (I’m also a kid at heart, so celebrating traditions with the kiddos in my classroom is a non-negotiable!) This year, I’ve been really intentional when it comes to finding joy in the little things. Between working full time + being in school full time, I like to spend my weekends doing anything but thinking about either. (Work hard, play hard right!?) To keep things easy going + light in my life, I’ve decided to take on an alter ego (buddy the elf) and make a winter bucket list! So grab your hot chocolate, put on your fuzzy socks and let’s get to planning!

  • Have a girls night with wine in the hot tub
  • Snowshoe in the forest
  • Go snowmobiling with my dad
  • Ice skate in arrowhead
  • Eat dinner in an “igloo bubble”
  • Spend the weekend in a cabin
  • Have a winter campfire
  • Bake a Christmas treat + do porch drop offs for friends/family
  • Make a blanket fort + binge watch a tv series
  • Finally finish those books I’ve been wanting to read!
  • Perfect my winter sangria recipe
  • Make hot chocolate + walk around at night to see the Christmas lights
  • Have a games night at home
  • Take hot yoga classes
  • Donate clothes (at least 2 bags)
  • Paint a room in the house
  • Start a vacation fund
  • Completely unplug + disconnect for a week
  • Cook a fancy meal at home with J
  • Find a frozen waterfall

If you know of any local/outdoor activities that I should add to my list, please share! Winter months can seem to drag on if you don’t keep yourself + your family occupied! Stay warm, safe + happy friends! -Silk

Stocking Stuffers That Your Man Will Love!

Alright ladies, who else can admit that men are 100% easier to shop for than women? When I ask my s/o what he wants or needs for Christmas I get the same answer every year: boxers, socks and chocolate. I on the other hand, like to play hard-to-guess and tell him I just want something “thoughtful”. (If he really loves me…shouldn’t he be able to read my mind!?) This year Christmas won’t be too big at our house, so we thought we’d stay on trend and stick to doing something small with our gift exchange as well. With that being said, I wanted to make sure that what I shopped for was going to be something my handsome fella would actually like and use! So I went straight to the source and asked the men in my life (BF, dad + BIL) what they would consider quality stocking stuffers. (The only suggestion I didn’t include in the gift guide was crocs *no explanation necessary* but for the most part I’ll give credit where credit is due and the guys were pretty helpful!)

With 12 days left until Christmas it’s crunch time! If you’re still trying to come up with some last minute ideas of what to give your man, I’ve put together a list of more than 25 ideas that any guy will love to find in his stocking this year!

For the tech guy:

  • Wireless charger
  • Amazon firestick 4k
  • Otterbox case

For the guys who needs clothes/accesories:

  • Saxx boxers
  • Nike slides
  • Ball cap/touque
  • Lavastone bracelet
  • Wallet
  • Masks
  • Socks

For the outdoorsy guy:

  • Yeti mug
  • Pocket knife
  • Fishing leurs
  • Packable hammock
  • Packable backpack
  • Work gloves

For the car guy:

  • OBD2 Car scanner
  • Microfibre car towels
  • Detail wipes
  • Key chain
  • Tire pressure gauge

For the food guy:

  • Grill brush
  • Beef jerky
  • BBQ sauce
  • Toblerone bar

For the self-care guy:

  • Cologne
  • Toiletry bag
  • Shaving set
  • Beard oil
  • Hair gel

For the guy who likes games:

  • Catch phrase
  • Card games
  • Scratch tickets
  • Tickets to a sports game…this one is hopeful for 2021!

If all else fails you could go with the “Crocs and Cabela’s fudge” suggestion from my dad…but I’ll leave that one up to you 😉 Happy shopping gals!

Take Note!

12/07/2020

Today I am grateful for:

  • Living a healthy life
  • My little family (J + Nash) and my big family (parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Working in a field I love
  • Podcasts that make me laugh out loud
  • A deep-cleaned house
  • Homemade dinners
  • Sunshine on a cold December day
  • Compliments from strangers
  • Studying from the comfort of my own bed
  • Puppy snuggles

Can you believe that we have less than one month left before 2020 is over!? Something I really wanted to focus on this year was practicing gratitude. I’m grateful for lots of things- big things, small things and everything in between. Most days I choose to focus on big + important things, like my health and my families health. Other days I feel grateful for little things, like the good ‘ol days of drinking hot coffee while walking down the aisles of winners (if you know you know). I can’t tell you how many cute notebooks I’ve brought home from that place hoping that I would stick to my (every-year-ever) goal of journaling. *I know, I know, I know. Put the notebooks DOWN silken, you don’t need them! But this year, for whatever reason I stuck to my goal! In January I began using a gratitude journal, every morning I would write down three things I was grateful for and three things I was looking forward to *and yes, I found the journal for like $7 in a winners*. I began to notice the little things in life that actually had a huge impact on my mindset. I felt like I was becoming a more positive and happy person (because I totally was)! To this day I still consistently write down 5-10 things I’m grateful for and I’m onto filling my second notebook with words of love, gratitude and positivity! I’m such a big believer in all things self-growth, self-care and self-reflection. I truly believe in order to be the best version of yourself, you should be doing things to work on self-growth every.single.day. I also truly believe, if you read my blogs you’re probably into the same things as I am! With the new year coming up, many people are going to begin to start thinking about their goals/resolutions. This year, instead of focusing on all of the things you want to change about your life…I challenge you to focus/reflect on all of the things you’re already grateful for in your life! I’ve come up with a few journal prompts to help get you started…so grab your favourite notebook & pen and let’s get writing!

  • What inspires you? Are you finding inspiration regularly or just going through the motions of life?
  • What are you grateful for this season? What can you do to start focusing on gratitude?
  • What do you love about yourself? What self care can you begin implementing this year?
  • If you could spend the holidays anywhere in the world, where would it be? with who? why?
  • What is one quote that inspired you this year?
  • Write a letter to the year 2020 about one lesson you learned this year.
  • What are your favourite winter traditions and why?
  • What is your top priority for 2021?
  • What were your goals at the beginning of the year vs. now?
  • What is something you find comfort in?
  • What is your biggest gift in life right now?

Today’s Mantra: when you focus on the good, the good gets better!

Hey, Pumpkin!

It’s that time of year again!

Are you ready for a weekend full of food, family and fall photos!? I know I sure am!

If you’re anything like me, you begin brainstorming what you can bring to family dinners pretty last minute! Sometimes it results in an impromptu appetizer, other times it’s a bottle of wine (to me, love me). Either way, I somehow always impress myself! This year I’ve been thinking ahead (24 really has me feeling older + wiser!) and I came up with an easy DIY that could be a festive alternative to bringing food to dinner. I feel like more often than not, I hear…“We don’t need anymore food, just bring yourself!” And I always end up bringing food, and we always end up having left overs. (For the rest of October I should add! If you know, you know!) Not that I ever complain about the left overs- but this 5 step DIY pumpkin bouquet will impress the dinner host while giving you the *favourite* daughter/sister/ friend/niece/grand daughter title this year!

Instructions:

  1. Pick a pumpkin (You can get them for less than 5$ at any grocery store, farm or road side stop!)
  2. Buy flowers (I got two packs for under 10$ at Walmart!)
  3. Fill a red solo cup with water (or any cup that you don’t mind using as a vase!)
  4. Carve a hole in the top of the pumpkin just big enough for the red solo cup to sit inside. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, saving the seeds if you want to roast them!
  5. Place the cup of water inside the pumpkin and begin arranging your bouquet! Spice up your pumpkin by re-using the bouquet packaging and placing it around the flowers!

Place the pumpkin bouquet as the centre piece of the dinner table to enjoy for the night + weeks ahead! (If your family won’t be getting together this year, surprise them with a porch drop off + leave it on their front step! I promise you, they will love it either way!)

This thanksgiving, I have a lot to be grateful for, but right now I’m grateful for you! Thanks for reading + let me know if you give it a go!

Virtual Cheers! -Silk🤍

Today’s Mantra: Be present in all things and thankful for all things.

Home Sweet Airbnb!

After this year I’m not sure if I need a hug, a large coffee, an entire bottle of wine or two months of travel. (Actually, can I have all of the above?)

While we may not be able to travel this year, we can still take “staycations” and Airbnb’s are the next best place to rest, relax + get a much needed change of scenery! This time last year, the Airbnb I got to stay in was located in Nashville, TN *sorry not sorry for bragging* (and I’m still dreaming of the day I get to go back!) But this year, I celebrated my 24th trip around the sun at the “Simply Suite” we booked in small town Collingwood, ON and let me just say, it was still a 5 star getaway! With a few questions in my DM’s about this cozy stay, I thought I’d share the deets with a blog post!

First off, if you have yet to switch from hotels to Airbnb’s do it! I’ve had nothing but great experiences. Airbnb’s are unique places to stay and can be rented for a night/week or however long you need. They can be anything from a single room in a house to an entire house itself! There are condos, suites, cottages, lofts, glamping, tiny houses, huts by the ocean…you name it Airbnb has it! They provide you all of the amenities of a hotel, if not more!

The “Simply Suite” was exactly as it was listed…a sweet little apartment located 5 minutes from downtown collingwood or 15 minutes from Blue Mountain! Upon arrival, our host sent us all of the details we’d need to know…from travel directions to the wifi password we knew what to expect! The suite was just as cute in person as it was online. (no catfishing here😜)

I loved the self check-in process. There were separate door codes for both the main entrance and our suite entrance. (Which made me feel safe, knowing that there were other residents in the building!) The host even offered to give J, his preferred parking spot. Which gave brownie points from the car guy! Upon arrival there was hand sanitizer at each entry way, lysol wipes and chocolate. (You guessed right, the Lindors didn’t last long!) To ensure guest safety, it was requested that guests bring their own linens & pillows. Which TBH, I preferred!

The decor deserved a 10/10 for the boho vibe that the host was going for. I loved her style and the little hints of Collingwood she added throughout the space. From the kitchenette to the living room, the space was fully functional and we could have easily stayed put for more than one night! The host provided all of the cookware and utensils you’d need to make a breakfast, lunch or dinner. She even provided Keurig coffee pods with milk and oatmeal for breaky! (BIG breakfast girl here! I loved that she thought of that!) In the morning we curled up on the couch (which doubled as an extra bed!) with our coffees by the fire and took full advantage of all of the tv show/movie options from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+…Disney won of course!

I would recommend this space to a single couple looking for a cozy space to stay, maximum three guests (as advertised) but definitely not more! After our night’s sleep J and I both rated our stay a 5 star experience! It was quiet, close to downtown and the host did everything she could to ensure it was an enjoyable experience!

If you’re looking to get out of the Airbnb to hit the town, I would recommend trying the Northwinds Brewhouse & Kitchen (Just a short drive away!), touring the Blue Mountain Village or visiting the Scandinave Spa. The only thing we missed out on was experiencing the scenic caves + suspension bridge (rain, rain go away) but I guess that just gives us a reason to come back for another visit! The host provided an entire magazine rack filled with brochures of local Collingwood and surrounding area activities…and some beach gear, lawn chairs + a cooler to go along with them! Collingwood will forever have a place in my heart!

Link to the “Simply Suite” Airbnb:

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/44076392?source_impression_id=p3_1602015272_7ANi0iReGum%2F49RM

Discount link for first time Airbnb-ers:

https://www.airbnb.ca/c/silkenk6?referral_share_id=051b86cc-2f33-425a-9a9c-3054041a9183

*You can get up to 95$ off your first stay! Terms apply.

Today’s Mantra: If you never go, you will never know!

Pumpkin + coffee, two of my favourite things.

Q: Is there anything better than the mixture of pumpkin + coffee!?

A: Nothing better.

B: I’m Obsessed.

C: A +B.

First thing’s first, let’s address the aroma that has officially taken over my house thanks to the fall baking I’ve been doing on this chilly afternoon. I don’t think I could be more content than when I’m at home in my kitchen, sipping coffee and baking in my apron. (Domestic AF, I know.) This pumpkin-coffee-cake recipe will be the perfect fall dish to bring to your upcoming friends-giving, to have with coffee in the morning or to fix your late night sweet tooth (we all have one sometimes, just admit it!) It’s soft on the inside + crumbly on the outside! *insert mouth watering emoji here* Fair warning: If you aren’t a pumpkin spice lover (who isn’t though) the recipe I’m about to share probably isn’t for you! But if you’re anything like me and are a PSL everything type of gal (Candles, coffee…or in this case coffee cake!) then keep reading + let’s get to baking!

Full disclosure: this is not the *skinny, low cal, substitution* version of the recipe. This is more of the *grandma’s trying to stuff you as full as the turkey at thanksgiving* type of recipe. Seriously though, no regrets.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 + 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Pumpkin Cake:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 +1/2 cups of packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin

Glaze:

  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  • preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Grease a 9×13 baking pan (I used two smaller pans instead)
  • In a medium bowl, mix the streusel ingredients together
  • In a seperate medium bowl, whisk together the: flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder + salt
  • In a separate medium bowl, beat together the: oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin + sour cream
  • Pour the flour mixture + pumpkin mixture together (Mix until smooth)
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased pan
  • Crumble the streusel topping over the top of the cake batter.
  • Bake @ 350 for 40 mins (or until the middle doesn’t wobble + a toothpick comes out clean)
  • Mix the glaze ingredients together + drizzle over the cake when cooled.
  • Serve with a PSL + enjoy!

Today’s Mantra: Eat the cake for breakfast!

Goodbye Summer, Hello September!

Current location: coffee brewing in the kitchen, acoustic music playing in the background, “sweater weather” burning in my living room, windows open, curled up on the couch with my puppy + perfectly content!

Who else has been patiently waiting to cozy up their life for the best season ever? Something about autumn gives me all of the feels! Maybe it’s that “fresh start” feeling of going back to school (I’m lucky enough to experience that every September, thanks to my career), maybe it’s the fact that the next couple months are filled with things to celebrate in our house (birthdays, thanksgiving + an anniversary) or maybe it’s how the temperature outside and leaves on our trees begin to change in the best ways! Regardless, I’m one of the people who embrace all things cozy beginning September 1st! (Okay okay, I’ll admit it…I couldn’t even wait until September 1st to begin PSL season this year!)

With a little inspo from Pinterest + “The Little Book of Hygge” I feel like I’ve curated the perfect list of 10 cozy things you can do to refresh your life + welcome fall!

  • Warm Lighting– Instead of using overhead lights, try filling the house with fall scented candles + fairy lights to create a warm and inviting atmosphere! Nothing’s cozier than a low lit room to wind down in at the end of the night!
  • Front Porch Decor– What’s better than being greeted by a welcoming front porch the minute you get home?! A wreath, mums + a witty front door rug can do wonders for a little autumn inspired curb appeal!
  • Throw Blankets + Pillows– There’s nothing I love more than snuggling up in the living room with a million throw blankets and pillows! While drinking your morning coffee, taking an afternoon nap or watching a movie before bed, always having a blanket near by will up your comfort level instantly!
  • Hot Coffee + Your Favourite Mug– It’s that time of year! I love iced coffee year round, but there’s something so satisfying about starting off the morning with a warm cup of Joe in my favourite fall mug! (Life hack: Homesense sells 0 calorie PSL flavouring! Don’t walk, run!)
  • Transition Your Closet– There’s something so refreshing about transitioning your closet into the upcoming season. It’s time to say goodbye to shorts + sandals and hello to cozy cardigans, flannels and layering pieces. *Dare I say scarves!?
  • Recipe Books– Is there anything better than the aroma of fall baking in the kitchen to bring that sense of hygge to a home!? Start browsing for hearty fall inspired recipes that will taste like food for the soul!
  • Fall Florals– There’s something so uplifting about buying yourself flowers! What better way to show yourself some love + bring a little bit of natural colour into your home than with a fall bouquet! (sidenote: Yes, you deserve it!)
  • Create an Autumn Playlist– I’ve been really into acoustic covers lately. They give me that coffee shop on a slow sunday morning vibe! Spotify is filled with hundreds of playlists that will fill your heart and home up with cozy + calming music!
  • Gratitude Journals– Don’t wait until thanksgiving to start practicing gratitude! Write down 10 things you’re grateful for every day and watch your mindset change. (Then thank me later!)
  • Make Plans– Before you know it this year will be over. The last thing you want is to miss out on being with the people who fill your cup up most, during one of the best seasons! Hikes, farmers markets + coffee dates are a few easy ways to plan quality time with the ones you love! Friendly reminder: make that phone call or send the text asap!

What are some of the lifestyle changes you hope to make with new season approaching?

I hope this season brings a sense of hygge to your life! Xx

Today’s Mantra: Make it a September to remember!

Southern cooking makes you good looking!

If you know me, you know that if I had to pick somewhere to live in the USA I’d pick Nashville, TN hands down! The 24/7 live country music, the one of a kind restaurants/bars, the farmers market, the murals, the small shops, the southern neighbourhoods, the sweet sweet people, the outfits, the history…it’s definitely my *small town* (but make it big) vibe!

Well, butter my buns and and call me a biscuit! A little taste of Nashville has come to my town at a new hot local spot “North Country BBQ” located at the 5 points downtown Barrie, ON! (10 Dunlop st. E, Barrie)

North Country BBQ is a Nashville inspired eatery filled with smokey food, country music and a whole lotta character! The brick walls are covered with posters of all of the classic country music artists you could think of! Brooks ‘N Dunn, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, you name it! The aesthetic doesn’t stop there, they had windmills for ceiling fans, string lights above the stage, bull horns, fiddles and horseshoes covering the walls! Where I sat there was a gorgeous mosaic tin accent wall! I loved all of the details that were put into bringing the music city vibes to this local spot.

“You know I like my chicken fried, cold beer on a Friday night, pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio uuuuuuuuup!” The live band playing at North Country BBQ had the playlist on point all night! Between today’s country and throwback country they put on a great show that kept me singing the whole time! (If only we could get up and dance!)

Speaking of the precautions that the restaurant is taking to keep it’s customers safe! In between each booth there were plexiglass privacy dividers installed to keep a safe distance in between each party. (Yes I said party! Each table was having just as much fun singing along to the music which in my opinion makes for an even more entertaining experience!) All of the employees were wearing masks (properly, I should add!) The proper sanitizing was complete in between serving new tables. And lastly, before being seated the hostess reminded us to keep our masks on while leaving the table or using the washroom! I give them an A for effort for the safety measures put in place to keep their customers/employees safe! (But I’ve gotta say, I can’t wait for the day I can get up out of my seat and attempt a two-step on a dance floor again!)

Saving the best for last, the menu!

Y’all. I ordered the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with Mac n’ cheese on the side. (Because go big or go home when reviewing a new restaurant right!) It was so dang good! Paired with a cold glass of beer (or two)…and add a peach mango margarita for dessert. Let me just say, I left with a full belly and full heart!

The sandwich was perfectly crispy and perfectly spicy! I added their signature bbq sauce that was on the table and it made it even better! (side note: my s/o loves spice…he said he wanted it to be set-your-mouth-on-fire-hot and didn’t get that! In my opinion- it just depends on what your tastebuds can handle! He also said he wanted more chicken…again I guess it depends how hangry you are! I was SO full!) The Mac n’ cheese reminded me so much of the meals I had while I was in Nash! It was creamy and came in the perfect portion size!

The drinks were great! The peach mango margarita was mixed well and went down almost too smooth! Knowing myself, one tequila mixed drink is typically one too many! If I didn’t have to work the next day, I easily could have spent the night enjoying the music and some cold bevvy’s with friends!

Over all I give my experience a 9.9! (That .1 is because you truly can’t bring the full Nashville experience to Canada…but you can get pretty dang close! And that’s what North Country BBQ has mastered!)

If you’re all about country music, a satisfying meal, cold drinks and great service I’d highly recommend trying out this new hot spot! (Did I mention…they’re working on a patio that will seat 100 people! I’m seeing a major girls night out in my near future!)

Welcome to Barrie, North Country! I’m head over boots for you!