Get ‘Er Done: The January Cure

by Nadine on January 10, 2015

This is not our apartment. If it’s yours, we’d like to put in an offer. 

The saddest part of the new year: taking down the Christmas tree.

The most exciting part: Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.

(I’m cool. Don’t forget it.)

Sure, I could purge, sort and rearrange our entire place any month of the year…but I don’t.

I do, however, follow rules, lists and plans quite well.

So if someone — in this case, a website — gives me a cleaning schedule, I’ll follow it. With a smile on my face, even. (I like a good challenge.)

Now excuse me while I go clean out every single kitchen cupboard….


The Golden Globes are this Sunday. Cue the pretty dresses!

Here’s what I expect/hope to see on the red carpet this award season:

Winter White…

…with Metallics

You heard it here first: stars are about to become the new polka dots.


If my husband were a girl, he’d probably go with the wildcat dress.


It’s the colour of the year, folks. Embrace it.


The first dress is very pregnancy-friendly. I care about these things.

Deep Teal

I’d marry this colour if I wasn’t already wearing a diamond.

Graphic Florals

The first dress is Oscar de la Renta.

There will be a lot of Oscar de la Renta on the red carpet this season. (RIP.)

Soft Florals

Please, someone wear long sleeves. (Top left.)

Tea Length

I dare you to show off those ankles, ladies.

(Keira Knightley is pregnant. She often wears Chanel. I recommend the middle number.)

Zac Posen

I’ve been digging his silhouettes recently. Also, his Instagram account has convinced me that I need a design studio. You know, for kicks.

Sweaters and Skirts

I saved the best for last. I would wear any of these. All day. Every day.

(All images via


Great Expectations

by Nadine on January 1, 2015

“As to forming any plan for the future, I could as soon have formed an elephant.”

~ Pip, Great Expectations

I read this this morning and thought it was appropriate. It’s a new year…and I have no real clue as to what’s in store. Unlike poor Pip, however, I’m pretty excited about it.

[Image: AmyTylerPhotography]


15 things in 2015

by Nadine on December 23, 2014

‘Tis the season….

1. Sew — with knits.

‘Cause I’m pregnant — and feeling brave. Stretch is needed. (I’m using the elastic band method with my jeans already. Babies certainly challenge your vanity.)

Also: Maybe sew for a man and a baby.

2. Cook — with new veggies.

Rapini, celeriac and parsnips, I’m lookin’ at you. (I should be an expert on these things. See here and here and here.)


Our apartment is too small. And we’re about to add ANOTHER WHOLE PERSON. (Who will be small, but will come with stuff.) Time to get creative.

4. Get my G2.

There. I put it out there. (I’m scared.)

Also: Buy a car.

5. Budget.

I’m a freelancer. With no paid maternity leave. Let’s do this (somehow)!

6. Get life insurance — and write a will.

I also just opened an RRSP!! I’m totally a convincing grownup now.

7. Decorate.

Our bedroom is currently a lovely shade of light grey. With hints of blue-grey. It needs life.

8. Related: Create a nursery.

This one’s a doozy. We have no space. We’re too stubborn to move (yet). Wish us luck!

9. Grow herbs. And keep them alive.

On the wish list: basil, parsley, rosemary, cilantro and dill.

10. Prenatal (and postnatal) exercise.

I suck at exercise. I have no interest in it. But I’ll do it for the baby — and for bouncin’ back and relieving stress. I’m V-E-R-Y good at stress.

11. Create homemade gifts.

I want to be that person, the one who gives people lovely, thoughtful, homemade gifts at Christmas.

12. Drink more water. A lot more water. All of the water.

I’ve never been a big drinker. I blame this on my childhood fear of using public washrooms.

13. Expand my bread repertoire.

Now that I’ve got a simple French bread recipe down, it’s time for sourdough. And maybe brioche. (I miss Paris.)

14. DIY beauty.

Lip scrubs and body butter. I must make these.

15. Dry-clean my wedding dress.

MATTHEW: Send it out for dry-cleaning. Don’t do it yourself.

It has been taking up space in the front closet — wedged between winter coats and the vacuum cleaner — for over 2 1/2 years. Time to deal with it.

What’s on your list for 2015, friends?

(Here are 14 Things in 2014 and 13 Things in 2013.)

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Looking Back: 14 Things in 2014

by Nadine on December 22, 2014

There’s just over one week left in 2014 — and I’m only now getting into the Christmas spirit.

(A viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life yesterday helped. That movie is magic.)

Time to revisit my 14 goals for the year!

1. Get thriftier. Shop smarter.

There’s still room for improvement in this area, but we’re getting better at making our own chicken stock after roasting a chicken…and making a handful of meals in a row that all use similar herb combinations so we’re throwing out less dill, cilantro and basil.

Example: roast chicken, make stock. With stock, make carrot and ginger soup, topped with dill, served with French bread. With leftover bread and dill, let husband make you smoked salmon and dill on toast for breakfast.

(Matthew keeps upping his game in the kitchen. We’re saving our brunch money.)

Still not soaking beans, though.

Oh, and I was pretty proud of this thrifty-but elegant skirt.

2. Sew a dress.

Done. And done. And done. And done.

Next up: maternity clothes.

3. Learn to drive.

I drove!  Not much, and not very well. But I drove. We’ll probably get a car in 2015, which will make driving lessons easier. (We’re car-sharing right now.)

4. Read books.

Not a banner year or anything, but I did read a few!


On Writing. Bossypants. The Old Man and the Sea. Farewell to Arms. The Little Prince. Hound of the Baskervilles. Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d.

I’m in the middle of Great Expectations.

5. Bake a pie.

Done. It was glorious. Should’ve made two.

6. Get a plant or two.

We grew herbs. And then they died. Will try again in the new year.

7. Build this blog — intentionally.


8. Make more music.

Done. Let’s make even more, Matthew!

9. Get a stamp on my passport.

Done and done.

10. Learn to relax.

I broke my toe and was forced to take things easy for a month. Does that count?

11. Keep turning our little apartment into a home.

It’s a work in progress. (Next up: turn office nook into nursery.)

12. Pick a (career) project.

With six months until baby — and no paid maternity leave — things are gonna have to change. I’m ready for a shake-up. What it will look like, I still have no clue.

Non-career project: motherhood.

13. Stretch. Breathe. Move.

I should probably sign up for prenatal yoga, right?

14. Simplify.

A broken toe followed by an exhausting first trimester made for a pretty unproductive summer/fall in terms of purging, cleaning and organizing. But that nesting instinct is starting to kick in. There will be purging.

In conclusion, while not a 14-for-14 year…not bad, self.

How was your 2014, folks?

Up next: 15 Things in 2015.

P.S. Here’s 13 Things in 2013.

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YouTube Tuesday: Here We Go

by Nadine on December 16, 2014

This song has nothing to do with Christmas, although Santa does make an appearance….

I heart Drew Holcomb and the Neighbours. But you already knew that.


Countdown to June 2015

by Nadine on December 15, 2014

Hello, readers! (Are you still there?)

Sorry for the radio silence. This fall got extra busy, work-wise. And exhausting, life-wise.

This happened.

Now that I’m in my second trimester, I anticipate that I’ll start blogging more frequently. The fact that I no longer feel nauseous/narcoleptic should help.

2015 is going to be a fun one.


At Long Last: the Gabriola Skirt

by Nadine on October 9, 2014

I finished this skirt just in time for my brother-in-law’s wedding last month. (I hemmed it two nights before — with the game-changing help of my handy, multitalented husband.)


Pattern: Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic
Fabric: Heavy-ish stretch cotton from Designer Fabrics — $7/yd.
Size: Cut a size 4, shaved down the hips in construction.
Hemming Stress Level: Through. The. Roof.

Excuse the bad ironing job. Just showin’ off the yoke panels. 

Sizing Issue:

I took Aspen’s advice and didn’t worry too much about grading between the waist/hip sizes. I made the smallest size I could squeeze into — the fabric had plenty of stretch so I (correctly) assumed I could get away with a 4 — then shaved down the hips after I pieced it together.

Sewaholic patterns are for pear-shaped gals. I’m pretty hip-less. Adjustments were made.

Waistband Issue:

The waistband stuck straight up, away from my body.

Quick solution: I created darts in the waistband, lining them up with the side seams. The end result was a little chunky on the inside, but my belt helped smooth things out. (Ideally, I’d eventually take apart the waistband and make it look prettier. But who am I kidding?)

Fashion on a budget:

My wedding outfit cost $30.

I think I’m going to become some sort of sewing evangelist. “You will save money!”

I paired my new skirt with the (free) Belcarra blouse, an old belt I purchased for a wedding in 2010, cubic zirconia earrings my aunt gave me in my teens, and my go-with-everything leather Clarks. (Broken toes take forever to heal. I’m not back to heels yet.) Even the lipstick cost nada, thanks to my sister-in-law who used to work at a drugstore and blessed the ladies with free stuff last Christmas.

Dolly Parton once said of her iconic look: “It cost a lot of money to look this cheap.”

I, however, believe in spending no money to look expensive.

Hoedown, anyone?

Long skirt perks:

I felt classy, had extra fun on the dance floor thanks to the swish factor, and acquired a few alteration skills.


Did I mention the hemming? Ugh.

Also, if I pair the skirt with a white button-up blouse (with puffed sleeves), I turn into Anne Shirley, second movie. True story. (Which isn’t really a bad thing. At all.)


Fashion Week: Just In Time for Halloween

by Nadine on October 1, 2014

I’m guessing that’s the most expensive scarecrow costume of all time.

Is it weird that I like the white dress? (Note: I’d style my head differently.)


Well. That’s…a look.

Anyone else getting a pagan-ritual-circa-True Detective vibe here?

See the rest of Gareth Pugh’s Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear — a debatable term — collection here.

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What’s Mine Is Mine

by Nadine on September 30, 2014

We have a pretty small bathroom. We’re not very good at taking turns. So we’re often elbow-in-the-gut beside each other as we go through those nightly routines of teeth-brushing, face-washing and “I should drink more water” night-cream-applying.

Two nights ago, I was washing my face as Matthew brushed his teeth. At one point he made eye contact with me in the mirror and grinned.

“That’s cute, Matthew, trying to flirt with me while you use MY TOOTHBRUSH.”

He had no idea he was using the wrong one.

Mine is red and white with my dentist’s name printed on it. His is orange and clear with his dentist’s name on it. Different sizes and brands. But, hey, honest mistake.

What’s mine is his…but this crosses a line. A hygiene line.

I was all, like, “Ew! I’m pretty sure Dr. Oz or someone says we’re not allowed to do that!”

And he was all, like, “Uh, I kiss you all the time. No big deal.”

“No, I’m pretty sure this is way more disease-y or something.”

And then he kept brushing his teeth. With my toothbrush.

“Might as well finish what I started.”

Marriage. It’s dangerous for your health. (Maybe.)

Would you ever share a toothbrush?