5 Ways to infuse Emerald Green into your home décor

Emerald Green Bedroom

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Pantone has named Emerald Green the 2013 colour of the year. This gorgeous colour has been popping up on runways, already gaining popularity for fashion, jewellery and even cars! But it’s also starting to make its way into people’s homes.

Emerald Green can be a little intimidating to infuse into your home décor and will certainly push the comfort level for many home owners. But with the right accessories and colour combinations, it can really add some punch, elegance or exotic flair to any room.

I have infused green in my bedroom through simple bedding with subtle green embroidery, lamp shades and a throw pillow. Because the rest of my décor is neutral, this pop of colour makes it feel fresh and cheerful.

If you want to try infusing a little green into your home, here’s 5 easy and inexpensive ways to freshen up your home.

1)      Throw Pillows & Blankets

Throw Pillow and Blanket

Courtesy of Bouclair

Throw pillows and blankets are a very easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your home and keep it trendy. Use them on accent chairs, your sofa or your bed for an updated look every season.

2)      Vases

Green Vase

Courtesy of Bouclair

Vases are another great way to accent your home with the colour of the season. Clustering three small vases of different shades, shapes and heights is a great way to add visual interest to a table or a book shelf.

3)      Candle Holders and candles

Candles and Candle Holders

Courtesy of Bouclair and IKEA

Candle holders come in a variety of beautiful shapes and sizes. From tea lights to gorgeous pedestal candle holders, they are a great way to refresh any space with new colours.

4)      Serving Trays

Serving Trays

Courtesy of Chachkis

If you have a large ottoman in your living room, an emerald green serving tray is another great way to add the pop of colour.

5)      Wallpaper and Wall Colour

Emerald Green Wallpaper

Courtesy of Bouclair

For those of you with the courage to be bolder, emerald green wallpaper or a strategically selected emerald green accent wall is also a beautiful way to bring the colour into your home.

For more inspiration, colour pallets and bold ideas, check out http://canadianhometrends.com/emerald-green-colour-palettes/.

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Embracing metallic home décor accents

Silver Decor Accents

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Ever since I can remember, I have loved to decorate my personal living space. As a little girl, I was always moving my furniture around in my room to freshen it up. When I moved into my dorm in university, I put a lot of thought and time into selecting the right bedding and decorations to make my tiny little shoe box feel homey. After first year, I moved into a house with 4 other girls and insisted that they help me measure my new room so that I knew what I had to work with before I went furniture shopping. I drew the layout of the room, took measurements of the furniture I wanted, and tested several configurations to make sure it would fit. (If you’ve been following my posts for some time, you’re probably getting a good sense of my OCD tendencies. Hehehe)

As an adult, I would describe my style as elegant and classic. I like dark wood finishes and neutral furniture that is built to last and classic enough that it won’t soon go out of style. But I also love colour.  One of my favourite ways to freshen up a space without spending a ton of money on new furniture is by infusing new and fresh colours through wall paint and accessories.

Lately, I have been absolutely in love with the metallic accent trends. In a classic space like I’ve created in my home, they add a bit of modern pop, really freshening up the space. Especially against dark wood furniture and brightly coloured walls.

I recently picked up a number of silver and chrome home accents from IKEA, Bouclair and Home Sense. I live in a small, open concept space, so I have placed them throughout the space for a cohesive theme. My kitchen appliances are also stainless steel so they really help to pull everything together in the space.

There are so many beautiful metallic pieces out there, that you are sure to find something to match your space. The classics like silver, gold and bronze are always great choices, but there are also stunning colourful metallic accents like pink and blue, for bolder tastes.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home this spring, give metallics a try!

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The Book of Awesome is Awesome!

Katerina ReadingOne of my favourite ways to escape the hustle and bustle of my every day life, is to read a book. Sometimes I will choose something educational and aligned with my career, but a lot of the time, I forego any resemblance of a literary masterpiece in favour of immersing myself in a plot only a girl could find enjoyment in. In my world, the Shopaholic and 50 Shades of Grey series along with pretty much anything written by Sophie Kinsella or Emily Griffin fit that mould nicely.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend gave me the wonderful gift of “The Book of Awesome” by Neil Pasricha. I started reading it, and I have to say, it has not only brought a smile to my face with every entry, it is making me look at my life and surroundings differently and with a greater appreciation for the little things.

In this book, Neil highlights some the awesomeness in some of life’s most little, obscure and often taken for granted things. And he does so with a colourful humour that you will be able to relate to. The entries are short and easy to digest allowing you take even 5 minutes to appreciate something about life’s general awesomeness.

I’m nowhere near the end of the book, but here are a couple of my favourite entries so far:

Wearing underwear just out of the dryer

Now tell me: is there anything quite so nice as wrapping yourself up in a pair of steaming skivvies just out of the dryer? It’s like skinny-dipping in a hot tub, jumping on a horse that’s been in the sun all day, and lying on a warm and sandy beach… combined! Sure, the moment doesn’t last long, yes, there may be some static cling, and it’s true, you’ll soon have to get changed really quickly in the laundry room to pull it off.

But dang, girl.

Hot undies, they is fine.

AWESOME!

Seeing a cop on the side of the road and realizing you’re going the speed limit anyway

Stress level goes up.

Stress level goes down.

AWESOME!

My appreciation for life’s general awesomeness today is the discovery that there are several books of awesome, and even an iPhone app! Check out www.1000awesomethings.com for more awesome things!

Have you found the awesome in today?

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Gorgeous in green… Seafoam green!

Gorgeous in Green

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My favourite thing about summer is the introduction of all the beautiful, vibrant and just plain “make me feel pretty” colours to the wardrobe, combined with delicate, flowing fabrics. Something about the sunshine, smell of freshly cut grass and the gentle breeze flirting with my hems makes me feel especially pretty.

I was so excited to see all the delicate colours and sheer, flowing fabrics that line the racks of my favourite stores this spring. But I have to admit, I was especially excited to see seafoam green in this year’s colour pallet. Once reserved for outdated, blasé bathroom tiles and cringe-worthy bridesmaid dresses, seafoam green has come a long way and is the absolute “it” colour this spring and summer.

Not only is it feminine, flirty and beautiful, seafoam green will go with just about any other colour in your wardrobe. I had such great fun pulling together a few key seafoam green pieces to incorporate into my wardrobe including a phenomenal pair of seafoam and cream heels that I got for an incredible bargain! Last week, I even got a seafoam green manicure and pedicure which I have been getting a lot of compliments on.

I don’t think seafoam is going anywhere for a while, so if you like it, invest in a few classic pieces. A necklace, t-shirt, tank top, clutch and jeans are great pieces to get you started. You can pair any of these items with your existing wardrobe basics for a runway worthy look.

Happy shopping!

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Failing to prepare is preparing to fail…

Meal Prep Sunday

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We know that our diet is the single most important contributor to our ability to maintain a good physique. So even during the busiest of weeks, if we aren’t able to find time to exercise, ensuring we don’t binge or seek convenience food is critical.

Doing weekly meal prep is a great way to free up a lot of time during the week. I know it seems daunting and requires a lot of discipline, but it’s actually not as time-consuming as it might seem. I don’t know how many times I told myself I was going to do it… Even bought a crock pot cookbook to meal prep the easiest way possible but I fell off the wagon after one attempt.

I decided this year would be the year that I disciplined myself to prep food for the week, allowing myself the weekends for dining out with friends. I’ve been doing well thus far and sticking to my plan quite well. Pat on the shoulder for me. *PAT*

Sadly, one of the biggest motivating factors for me was the purchase of fabulous glass containers for the meal prep. If only everything in life came so easy.

So… pictured above is my meal prep from last Sunday. It took me a total of 1.5 hours to complete and resulted in snacks, lunch and dinner for the entire week. Here’s a quick breakdown of each meal.

BREAKFAST

  • Protein shake, or
  • Greek Yogurt, berries, almonds and almond butter, or
  • Organic Steel Cut Oats, berries, almonds and almond butter, or
  • Whole wheat sandwich thins, avocado, 2 scrambled or sunnyside eggs

MORNING SNACK

  • Grape Tomatoes and Cucumbers, or
  • Baby Carrots and Celery

LUNCH

  • Salad comprised of baby spinach, kale, green peppers, red peppers, strawberries and avocado
  • Protein of either 2 hard boiled eggs or tuna

AFTERNOON SNACK

  • Bounce Protein Ball (LOVE THESE! Especially the peanut butter one. It’s literally a ball of peanut butter. YUM!)

DINNER

  • Either backed Chicken breast or Backed Turkey Breast
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Corn
  • Quinoa

Some people find it boring to eat the same thing every day, and I admit I struggled with that too… But I infuse a lot of flavour with spices on the meat, trying a different combination for each piece resulting in a different flavour each night. Similarly, I cook my quinoa in chicken stalk and throw some spices in there for some flavour. And then I try a different sauce every night for additional variety.

Of course, knowing that I will treat myself over the weekend is also a nice motivator to stick to my plan.

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Farmer’s Market… Cheaper? or More Expensive?

Farmers Market in Skopje

Farmers Market in Skopje, Macedonia
(Click to Enlarge)

As a little girl growing up in Macedonia, one of my favourite memories has always been going to the local farmers market with my grandfather. It was always a lively place with friendly people who often gave me a free strawberry or piece of chocolate as my grandfather and I made our way up and down the isles. I can still smell the fresh bread.

In Toronto, we’re lucky to have a couple of farmers markets open year round, with many springing up in the summer months at shopping malls and city halls around the suburbs. As I have been focusing on improving my diet and eating organic, locally grown food, shopping at the farmer’s market has become part of my weekly ritual… Every Saturday, I grab my reusable grocery bags, my shopping list, pick up a Starbucks latte, and make my way to St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto.

Last weekend, for the first time, I was struck by how inexpensive my shopping trip was compared to what I had been spending at my local Loblaws Superstore. I got all the groceries pictured below for $58.18. Not only are all of them organic, they will last me for two weeks!

Farmers Market Groceries

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I decided to compare the prices with a few of the major grocery banners in Toronto, just to make sure my memory wasn’t off. I compared the total cost of purchasing all the items on my grocery list at St. Lawrence Market, Sobeys, Metro, Loblaws Superstore and Whole Foods.

Grocery List

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Here is what I found:

St. Lawrence Market        $58.18

Metro                                 $148.32

Sobeys                               $128.56

Loblaws Superstore         $136.89

Whole Foods                     $173.44

 

 

 

Based on this shopping list, I am saving over $1800 a year on groceries by doing my shopping at St. Lawrence Market! That’s a LOT of stilettos… And sweatpants… And maybe even a vacation…

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To cleanse…. or not to cleanse…

juicesIs it just me, or is there something about juice cleanses EVERYWHERE lately? The news, Facebook, Instagram… You name it!

I have to be honest, I’ve never really understood the benefits of these things. They seem short-term and a bit extreme for my liking. As one of my dear friends points out, chewing the food you’re eating is a large part of the satisfaction of the meal. I like it when my belly feels full, the food is tasty and I am satisfied for a few hours after. The only time I will “drink” a meal is a morning protein shake.

But I’ve been seeing information on detoxes and cleanses everywhere, so I thought, maybe I’m missing something… So of course, I did some research.

While there is a lot of contradictory information out there on whether to cleanse or not to cleanse, juice or not to juice, overall there are some benefits and some things to be careful about.

Benefits

It Actually DOES Cleanse! – Did you know that the average person holds 5 – 10lbs of toxic old matter in their intestines??? Feasting is the only way to get rid of it. Doing a juice cleanse gives your digestive system a break, allowing your body to use the excess energy to clean out old matter from your small intestine.

Rapid Nutritional Intake – Juice hardly requires any digestion. Nutrients get absorbed by your body incredibly quickly, leaving you feeling energized and rejuvenated.

Increased Vitamin and Mineral Intake – Let’s face it… We all struggle with getting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. A juice cleanse can help you to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables (and associated vitamins and minerals) you take in daily. You can pack a looooot of veggies in a juice glass!

Juicing Right

There are some potential risks with juice cleanses, so nutritionists say to keep an eye on a few things.

1)      Use Only Organic Fruits and Vegetables – There is an increased risk that you may consume unwanted chemicals if you’re juicing with non-organic, genetically modified produce.

2)      Watch Out for Chemical Pesticides – When you juice, any chemical pesticides will be ingested in much higher quantities. Most organic produce is treated with organic, natural pesticides, but not all. Make sure you double check.

3)      Don’t Exceed 3 Weeks – for best results, nutritionists recommend doing a juice only cleanse for no more than three weeks and then resuming a nutrition rich, clean and organic diet that incorporates fresh juices to amplify vitamin intake.

4)      Cleanses Are Best for Generally Fit People – While there are some weight benefits associated with doing one, if you’re overweight and considering a juice cleanse, speak to your doctor first. Most overweight adults have an unstable glycemic index making a juice cleanse a bit too extreme for their bodies.

What’s in your juice?

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When you’re trying to get fit, throw away the scale!

scale

“What???!! Not the scale??!!! What do you mean throw away the scale??!!”

This was my immediate reaction when I was first told this by a fitness guru friend. As someone who is obsessed with and motivated by measuring my performance against objectives, the idea of throwing out the scale when I’m trying to achieve certain fitness goals is like driving blind-folded.

But, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I have learned that it is definitely the best thing you can do for yourself. Next to making the decision to get fit, of course. Here’s why…

The Problem With The Scale

Fat and muscle weigh approximately the same; however muscle takes up less space. So it’s not uncommon for your weight to plateau or stay much the same as you begin your fitness regimen. You may even gain weight as you build more muscle than fat.

Then there’s the issue of water retention – a particular challenge for us women, especially during our cycle. This alone can make our weight fluctuate anywhere from 3 – 5 pounds.

Discouraging if you’re weighing yourself regularly, right?

Better Alternatives

There are plenty of better alternatives to measuring your progress against your fitness or weight loss goals.

  1. BMI or Body Fat Test – Most gyms will offer fitness tests to their members on an annual basis for a nominal fee – often even for free. This is a great way to measure your progress over time looking at the change in body fat percentage.
  2. How Your Clothes Fit – I don’t know about you, but the first way I can tell that my fitness regimen is working is by how my clothes fit. They start to feel loose and look more flattering. You can even use a pair of jeans that don’t fit to help you measure your progress.
  3. Visual Inspection – As I progress with my fitness plan, I often start to literally see my body looking tighter and more defined. It’s gradual, but oh so satisfying… Taking pictures throughout your progress is also a helpful way to see how your body is transforming.

How do you measure your progress against your fitness goals?

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Why do couples try to control eachother?

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As we sat at Pier 39 with our newfound friends last night, the conversations took many twists and turns (thanks to fruity drinks, no doubt), and eventually landed on the topic of relationships. Shocking, I know….

One of our new friends was sharing how he has found that women feel the need to control men that they are in a relationship with, have a need to know exactly where they are and with whom at all times, eventually stifling the very qualities they were attracted to in the first place. Now, I have to give this guy a lot of kudos for broaching this subject and taking such a bold position in the company of 3 women. Needless to say, we promptly put him in his place.

But it got me thinking… There is no doubt that there are women AND men out there who fit this description to varying degrees. But why do they feel the need to do this and how much (if at all) is a healthy part of a relationship?

I have always imagined a relationship in which I am completely accepted as I am, while simultaneously being challenged to continue to grow as an individual. Where spending time with my friends and doing the things I love is encouraged rather than stifled. Where there is complete trust. This is what I strive for in all my relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Various studies on relationships are aligned with my thinking, indicating that the most significant predictor of success in marriage is the ability to maintain your individuality while building a partnership based on mutual understanding, respect and support. Where it’s truly safe to be yourself because you know you are completely accepted for who you are.

But we all know that relationships like this are difficult to come by as we all enter the relationship with our own scars and “baggage” if you will. I believe that these scars unconsciously lead to the need for control in certain situations.

For example, someone who was physically or emotionally abandoned by their parents at some point in their life may fear being abandoned by their partner. This may manifest in their relationship through a desire to know where their partner is at all times, feelings of jealousy when others are getting their partner’s attention and the need for constant reassurance. In this case, they are not trying to be controlling to be hurtful, but are unconsciously trying to protect themselves from feeling the same hurt they felt when they were abandoned by their parents.

However, if you are in a relationship with this type of individual, you have to remember that knowing where it stems from, doesn’t make it right, or healthy. It’s not your job to heal their wounds. That’s something only they can do and it may require some commitment to therapy. All you can do is help them see what they are doing in a gentle way and support them as they start their journey of healing. And take the time to know what your boundaries are – what you are willing to tolerate and for how long – and communicate that to them.

And if you’re the one experiencing these feelings, know that they are perfectly normal. It’s how you act on them that matters. It’s neither good to transfer these feelings to your partner nor to hold them inside for a long time. So learn about what is making you feel that way and think about what you need to do for yourself to grow and heal so that those feelings are not controlling YOU anymore. You will be a much more complete and self assured person at the end of that journey.

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The day of many vices…

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An integral part of maintaining a good balance in life is to treat yourself once in a while. Work hard, and play hard, as they say. Last Friday I bid farewell to the grey skies and frigid cold of Toronto in favour of the sunshine and warmth of San Francisco, California.

The past 5 days have been a wonderful treat to an otherwise busy and rather gruelling year. Spending time with incredible friends and taking in the sights has been really relaxing and therapeutic.

When on vacation, it’s easy to let your diet and exercise slide, so I made a concerted effort to stay active while here. I have gone running through wine country for 2 out of the 5 days I’ve been here and utilized the San Francisco hills for butt and leg sculpting the remainder of the time. By and large, I have been eating relatively healthy as well. Until today that is….

I have no idea what came over me, but today has turned into the day of many vices. I kicked off the morning with a wholesome breakfast of leftover pizza. Not having had the opportunity to try San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread, I followed this with a brunch of a sourdough turkey and avocado sandwich. For lunch, we were at Ghirardelli Square, so I thought… What the heck… A chocolate brownie sundae sounds like a great idea! So I had that for lunch… If you’ve never been to Ghirardelli Square and you find yourself in San Fran, you MUST go and have some dessert. It’s to DIE for and worth every calorie.

Following this, my friend and I headed to Pier 39 where, like good Canadians, we got comfortable on some Muskoka chairs and ordered fruity drinks complete with little umbrellas. We quickly attracted some wonderful people who were out for a work function. They joined us on the Muskoka chairs and promptly offered us a few drinks on the company. We’re not ones to refuse great conversation and free drinks with new friends, so two more fruity cocktails ensued.

Time flies when you’re having fun, so before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Off we stumbled to an Italian restaurant we had scoped out earlier. More sourdough bread with butter, olive oil and vinegar magically appeared on our table along with wine. Clearly I had to sample some before my spaghetti a la salmone arrived. It would be rude not to…

So within 12 hours, I consumed more carbs and sugar than I have eaten in at least 3 years. I would normally be feeling very guilty, but I am relishing in the glow of the wonderful tastes I sampled comforted by the fact that I have earned every calorie not just by walking the steep hills and climbing 800 steps throughout the day, but by all the hard work I have put in over the past year. Soon, vacation will be over and I will be back to the grind of work, the gym and my own carbless cooking. So for now, I am treating myself. Because I deserve it.

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