Summer Eating: Chicken Avocado Mango Salad

by Nadine on August 7, 2014

This is a staple meal in our house. We eat it at least twice a month between Easter and Thanksgiving, not because it’s the “right” thing to do, but because we can’t help it. It’s addictive.

(Yes, it’s possible to crave salad.)

Adapted from this recipe.

Chicken Avocado Mango Salad
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Slice chicken breast. Toss in olive oil over medium heat. Season with fresh ground pepper.
  2. Divide lettuce, mango, avocado, red onion between two bowls — or more, if you like small salads.
  3. Top salads with cooked chicken.
  4. In glass jar or measuring cup, whisk together balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salads.
  6. Enjoy.


What’s your favourite summer salad?


Can a country song give you an STD?

To be fair, I was warned. In a rant by a Nashville resident who knows way more about the country scene than I do.

Florida Georgia Line.


I caught the second half of the CMA Music Festival on ABC tonight.

Hmm, I wonder what’s new in the world of country, I thought to myself, hoping for some fun hooks and impressive guitar riffs with a dash of “How Great Thou Art.” Or Jennifer Nettles.


Bad ink, gal-unfriendly lyrics and ill-named “wife-beaters.” What’s wrong with sleeves?!

(Zac Brown Band and Keith Urban, I’m NOT looking at you. We’re good.)

FGL started playing their hit song I can’t remember the name of and have no interest in Googling.

ME: Look! They’re so gross.

MATTHEW enters the room.

ME: You have to admit that Kid Rock is the sexiest redneck, right? I mean, compared to this?

MATTHEW: They’re just standing there.

ME: So sweaty. With bad tattoos. I can’t even. So awful.

MATTHEW: Um, they’re not playing any instruments. They’re just a country boy band.

To confirm this assertion, the singers slap hands as if playing some choreographed playground game. I’m dying.

ME: Ugh.


STILL ME: Ooh. Stop it! They’re, like, where Creed probably would have ended up.

The song finally finishes.

You know what it is? It’s the Sheryl Crow effect. Kid Rock did a duet with Sheryl…and I love her. So he doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies the way this group does. Also, he rhythms “things” with “things” in “All Summer Long.” That takes real guts. So I’m cool with his brand of creepy bro, but not FGL’s.

ME: Maybe if Florida Georgia Line recorded a single with Amy Grant, I’d feel different?

MATTHEW: Oh, my gosh. That will never happen.

And later:

MATTHEW: It’s weird that Shania Twain isn’t part of these things anymore…I wonder how country fans feel about Johnny Cash.

Then a band I can only describe as “auctioneer-turned-camp-counsellor-turned-ACDC” started playing.

I need a Dolly Parton palate cleanse.

Friends who listen to country, who are your current favourite non-gross artists?


Parisian Style: Home Edition

by Nadine on August 4, 2014

When we were in Paris, I found myself making mental notes — and taking photos — as if I were actively seeking home design inspiration.

Because we have a Versailles budget. Obviously.

I fell in love with flooring in Paris.

Especially chevron floors. If we ever own a home and have a few thousand to spare, we will have chevron floors. (Not herringbone.) Even if we have to do the math ourselves. (So much floor math.)

With warm white walls. Because Paris.

Moulding! Detail!


Other places I’ve found design inspiration: Green Gables, Black Creek Pioneer Village, ZebuuLikely General, The Toronto Zoo….

I think I have a problem.

Do you ever find yourself at your favourite local restaurant, plotting to steal some of their design ideas one day?


Wanted: Gingham

by Nadine on August 2, 2014

As mentioned in this post, I have a few sewing patterns lined up.

This dress needs one specific thing: gingham.

Because there is none in my wardrobe.

And it is trendy, so says the runway.

And it is hip, so say the celebs.

And it is classic, so say these lovely ladies.*

And Kate.

The best princesses drink wine. 

And Dorothy.

Anyone else wearing gingham this summer?

*These photos remind me of a scene in the otherwise-awful What’s Your Number?

GIRL: That pant suit is sexy. It’s very Katharine Hepburn.
GUY: Alright, let’s clear something up right now. Katharine Hepburn was not sexy. Audrey Hepburn was sexy. Katharine Hepburn was a dude.

Matthew and I have had the same conversation. Apparently guys don’t dig Kate Hepburn as much as we do, ladies.


Throwback Thursday: A Makeover Story

by Nadine on July 31, 2014

Happy #TBT, y’all.



Clothes really do make the man princess.


Spotted: The Belcarra Blouse

by Nadine on July 22, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I made something with (short) sleeves!

Who lives in a loft with no overhead lighting? This girl!


Pattern: Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic
Fabric: Polka-dot mystery fabric — I won a giveaway!
Size: Cut a straight 6.

This was my first-ever Sewaholic pattern.

Um, I impulse-bought three others. So it certainly won’t be the last.

Back to Belcarra.

I won a giveaway on Miss Crayola Creepy’s blog in the spring, which included about a yard and a half of this polka-dot fabric. I had no plans for it. I was too caught up in “must make a green dress or die.”

Last week, when I was suffering from a very severe case of cabin fever, I decided I needed to MAKE something. So I downloaded this pattern, pieced it together, and…procrastinated for a few days.

I’m the worst.

Anyway, here she is.

The fabric isn’t as soft and drapey as the pattern probably deserves, and I’m not sure how I feel about the neckline fit — raglan sleeves don’t always sit flat and I’m trying to figure out if I made it too big or too small — but this will definitely get some wear.

And I’ll be making the pattern again, too, I’m sure. Next time, it’ll be a snap to sew up. Such a straightforward, no-drama make. (Highly recommended for beginners!)

Anyone else out there tackling a sewing project or two this summer?



by Nadine on July 21, 2014

Please go see Boyhood.

When critics call this movie “a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” it’s because it is.

This thing took TWELVE YEARS to make. You watch a boy grow up — literally — on the screen.

It doesn’t take long before you’re watching it as if you’re his parent:

You want to rescue him. You get nervous for him. You fear the worst will happen.

It’s just a beautiful, simple, story about growing up…that attaches itself to your brain for days after you leave the movie theatre.

P.S. Patricia Arquette is always so wonderful.

P.P.S. I want the Beatles’ “Black Album.”



by Nadine on July 20, 2014

I used to believe that if you were alive for the trend the first time, you’re not allowed to participate the second time around.

So even though I called the shortalls-comeback — I told Matthew that it was inevitable that they follow last summer’s crop-top resurgence — I don’t feel like I’m allowed to wear them. Because I already did. At camp. When I was 10.

Also, I swear this outfit is currently available at Topshop/H&M/Zara.


What if you were around for a trend and totally missed it?

Birkenstocks. They’re everywhere. And until Friday evening, I’d never been a fan. When it came to chunky footwear in the ’90s, I opted for silver velcro Guess platforms over the classic leather sandals. Because I was a discerning teenager with impeccable taste.

Sadly, I have no photographic proof the silver shoes ever existed. Nor do I have photos of my silver-eyeliner days.

Boys, I was so cool. Why didn’t any of you want to date me?!


My toe is broken AND Birks are back in a big way. So I gave in and bought my first pair.

For the first time in two weeks, I CAN WALK.

Birks change your life. It’s actually true!

Now for Challenge #2: I’m going to a wedding on Saturday. And I have to wear said Birks if I want to survive the day.

So now not only am I wearing Birkenstocks like a ’90s kid, I’m doing the dress-with-Birks thing, bringing me one step closer to turning into my celebrity doppelgänger:

Probably no socks for me. I have my limits.

And because I needed a dress for this wedding — I realized that I’ve worn all of my dresses to family weddings in the last three years and wanted to wear something a little less “Haven’t I seen that in every other wedding group shot?” — I visited my favourite store ever and splurged on something, um, pretty ridiculous. Frilly cap sleeves! Lace! Bodycon! (I’m typically a ‘What-would-Audrey-wear?’ A-line gal.)

It’s pretty much straight out of 90210. I’m in trouble.

(Fun fact: In Grade 4, someone told me I looked like Tori Spelling, pre-boob-and-nose jobs. “Thank you???”)

Matthew suggested I wear a scrunchie in my hair. I’m worried it will be too much…with the old leather fringe purse I’m planning to resurrect. It’s back to the future!

Off to tease my hair to death… (Kidding. Maybe.)

I own velcro rollers. This is within my hairstyling powers. 

The things a busted toe can do to you.


Put Your Feet Up, Stay a While

by Nadine on July 17, 2014

I need this.

That is, until my need for foot-elevation is trumped by the need* to get up from my desk. Then I will get stuck/tangled up and fall on my face.

I don’t know if comfort is worth the risk of sudden office death.


*Coffee break, bathroom break, repeat. Am I right, writers? 


These Feet Were Made For Walkin’

by Nadine on July 14, 2014

If you have a foot fetish — please DON’T tell me if you do — these pics will do you no good.

Swollen ankle, an improvement since 9 a.m.; Broken toe.

This morning, I woke up in pain. The other foot.

Not only is my right foot still semi-out-of-commission — the doc said to stay off it for SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS — my left ankle is painfully swollen. Because…mosquitoes.

(At least Matthew and I won at bocce ball while mosquitoes feasted on my ankle, right? Right?!)

No shoes for me this week.

When I was a kid, I’d slather on sunscreen, douse myself in bug spray, and end up the most burnt and bitten kid at camp.

Personal record: 20 bites in one evening. And that was just my hands.

Now that I’m an adult, the bugs love me even more. And my body reacts in horrible, awful ways, often leaving me temporarily disfigured.

I think it’s safe to say I have an allergy. (Last year, my arm looked broken. That’s how much damage one mosquito bite did.)

Moral of the story: When I get stressed around buggy campfires, it’s not because I’m a wimp, it’s because I anticipate hating my life in the days to come. And bug spray might work for those of you who barely notice the little pests, but mosquitos aren’t going to let a little Deet shower get in the way of going to town on my limbs. Through layers of clothing.

I’m not an (always) indoor cat by choice.

I think I’m ready to move to the Seychelles. (No mosquitos AND “tropical paradise” conditions. Sign me up. Oh, wait. There might be pirates.)

I will walk again. One day. Hopefully before it snows.

And maybe one day I’ll even wear these again:

Married ladies with functional feet, do you ever wear your wedding shoes?