For Her

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Hey Mom,
You are a strong, beautiful, and kind woman who is always trying to be better for her family and herself. You are there for me, have always been there for me, and I want you to know I am here for you too. Today is meant for mothers, but I will be celebrating too – because you might have got me, but I got you!
-Katie

Happy Mother’s Day!
You know I’m not one for buying cards, so this year we did something a little different. Not pictured here is the mud we had to walk through and the wind that nearly blew our signs away. If it’s the thought that counts, I hope it shows. Have a great Mother’s Day, Mom! I’ll call ya soon, but until then, I love you!
-Michael

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(Click this one to enlarge!)

Levitation

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IMG_9566You know what’s fun? Defying gravity.
Just kidding. There is no levitation going on in the above images, just some trick photography. Anybody with a camera, chair, and photoshop skills can achieve the same look. Don’t believe me? Check out this tutorial or this one. Actually, for the last photo you’ll also need some core strength. My abs were pretty sore after that one. The lengths I go to for a cool a picture! Who am I kidding? It was totally worth it.

katie

Made at home: Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

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The bar and bean eat guacamole and salsa at every opportunity, so when the latest Kinfolk magazine featured a recipe for tortilla we were a little excited. While not specifically a breakfast dish, and while this recipe made no mention of the green or red, we knew we had stumbled upon a potentially killer morning meal. We began by frying a sliced half onion and a thinly sliced potato until crispy and tender, respectively. Setting that aside, we used the same pan to fry four beaten eggs until a little cooked on bottom. We scattered the potato and onion over our frying eggs, and, veering off the beaten path (aka the recipe), we added a healthy handful of Balderson cheddar. Fold all that in half and continue cooking until browned on each side and you have yourself a delicious tortilla. If you’re us, you’ll serve your tortilla with guacamole, salsa, and Greek yogurt or sour cream. Otherwise, we hear tortillas are great as a take-away lunch. Just think of the possibilities!

katieplusmike

Class Historian

firstsquare2topMy career history has been anything but linear. I’ve flipped, I’ve flopped, I’ve changed my mind more times than I can count. I used to feel really guilty and embarrassed about this. I feared other people thought I was flighty, all-over-the-place, a mess. However, the more I read and the more people I meet, the more I realize it’s quite common to change your career path. I bet if I surveyed all of the people in my graduating class, the majority would reveal that their career history has been as disorderly as mine. It’s normal not to be what you wanted to be at age 8, 16, 24, 32 etc. It’s okay, even healthy, to change your mind. When we think about careers, we often think in permanent terms: “what do I want to do for the rest of my life?” What if we changed this question to appreciate the fact that people change, and that’s okay? What if instead we asked: “what do I want to do right now?” and when the answer changed, what if we didn’t feel bad about it? Just a thought.

Wears: Head scarf, coat, and oxfords (all thrifted), black denim (Yoga Jeans), socks (Target).
Listens: Broncho – Class Historian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to-nZLV794g)

katie

Lume

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I haven’t studied architecture in the classroom for a few months now, but I have made an effort to continue my learning; I’ve been reading architectural texts, practicing my sketching skills, and working on hypotheticals. In January I was lucky enough to learn of a competition based out of Canada exploring light and the built environment. The theme this year was Interface, where the built and unbuilt environments meet. Living on the coast, I gravitated toward the ultimate interface between land, which is built-on and pretty much under control, and the untamable ocean. I designed a system of lights and gathering points for the trails at Signal Hill, which I’ve nearly fallen from on more than one occasion. The jury deliberated recently and, while I did not place, I did learn a lot from the experience – and I have some new portfolio pages to boot!

mike

Restored Vintage Mirror

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Our latest vintage restoration is “The Fifty Pound Mirror,” and trust me, the name is accurate. We found this baby at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore for a whopping $15. Its original condition was pretty rough – grungy, badly spray-painted, with a strange dirty shoestring tied on the back – but we saw the potential. We opened the mirror up and soon figured out why it was so heavy; it has an outer and inner frame, one metal and the other hardwood, as well as two thick panes of mirrored glass. Using steel wool we gently scraped off the paint around the outer frame to reveal beautiful, shiny chrome. After dissembling and cleaning it up a bit, we got to painting. We used black paint (actually, it was some leftover chalkboard paint we had lying around!) to paint the circle cut-out insert. Finally, we put it all back together and glued it securely in place. The total cost of this project was less that $20. It is a great addition to our bedroom, and fits really well above our shared dresser. It required a little bit of elbow grease, but it was totally worth it. On a related note, if anyone is looking for a couple to revamp their home decor on the cheap, you know where to send ‘em.

katie

 

Made at Home: Donut Cakes

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Donuts are one of our guiltiest of pleasures. They weren’t always such temptations; Tim Hortons’ donuts are good, but not go-out-of-your-way good. It wasn’t until the artisanal donuts at Holy Donut in Portland, Maine that we became truly hooked. Back in Halifax, our old home, we were lucky to find that a new donut shop had become a regular at the Alderney Landing Farmers Market. Both delicious and dangerous, we were lucky we could only access those heavenly halos on Saturday mornings. St. John’s, on the other hand, is donut-dry. So far we haven’t found any bakers consistently pumping out fine donuts.
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In steps the bar and bean. Risking an Icarus moment, we finally took it upon ourselves to DIY a batch. As a precaution, we did opt for a lower-fat, baked version of the donut, saving our calories for the rich toppings. We also decided to go with a mini bundt pan because it was available, and because we felt it would be more versatile in the long run (and have a few ideas in mind for future posts). Ergo, we present a recipe for three flavours of donut cakes!
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We used this baked donut recipe for our base, pouring the batter into a mini bundt pan instead of forming rings. The recipes below can of course be doubled, tripled, and beyond. For our health, we chose to make only 6 of these babies.

Topping 1: The “Almond Ring”

Inspired by the almond ring pastries at the Gingerbread Haus bakery in Halifax, this is an almond-encrusted honey glaze.

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp honey
4 tsp whole milk (we used half blend cream, half 1% milk)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Whisk together the sugar, honey, and milk/cream until smooth. Drizzle generously over donuts and sprinkle with almonds.

Topping 2: Strawberry-Yogurt Sprinkle

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry greek yogurt
1 cup confectioners sugar
Lots of sprinkles

Whisk together yogurt and sugar until smooth. Dip donuts in yogurt frosting, and then immediately in shallow bowl of sprinkles.

Topping 3: Maple Bacon

Inspired by bacon-brown sugar donuts (a favourite of ours), we added a twist of maple. The ratios for the frosting are approx. 1 butter to 2 maple syrup to 4 icing sugar.

2 slices bacon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

Bake bacon at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping once. Meanwhile, whisk together brown sugar and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Drain bacon and brush with sugar mixture. Bake for 5 more minutes, then chop coarsely.

For the frosting, melt butter along with maple syrup in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioners sugar, allowing to cool/thicken. Dunk your donuts in the frosting and sprinkle with bacon pieces.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy!

katie

Self Love Files: Good Company

LOVEI used to think that losing your independence was a symptom of a bad partner. I thought that I would be fine as long as I was with someone who wasn’t controlling, or the jealous type. I believed that my independence hinged on someone else’s behavior; I would only lose myself if someone else wanted me to be lost.

Before my current relationship I was incredibly independent. I went to movies, restaurants, and concerts by myself without a second thought. I traveled alone, ate alone, hiked alone, and shopped alone. But my relationship changed things. I didn’t want to be alone as much. Being with someone else, especially someone who was so amazing, was much better than being alone. Why do something by yourself when you can double the fun with someone else? It seemed only logical: two is greater than one.

Although my relationship correlates with my decreasing independence, it is not causative. While I do know that some people lose their independence because of a controlling or jealous partner, I cannot blame this one on my boyfriend. He is good and loving and kind. He supports me, and encourages me to try things on my own, to be my own person. But if I can’t blame him, what’s going on? What happened to me? Why did I start believing that time by myself wasn’t as valuable as time with him?

Then it hit me. Before, my alone time wasn’t really a choice. I was single, and not really looking, so I didn’t have any options. It was a forced independence. When I entered a relationship, all of a sudden I had a choice, and over and over again I chose someone else. Turns out, choosing independence is hard. Choosing me is tough.

Women are continuously told that confidence and independence are sexy traits. We all know nobody likes a clingy girlfriend. But how can we be expected to be so confident and independent when we live in a society that teaches us to hate our bodies? If we are conditioned to hate ourselves, how can we choose ourselves?

My struggle with my independence is really about self-love. It is about realizing that hanging out with myself is fun, amazing, and worthwhile because I am fun, amazing, and worthwhile. It is about hanging out with myself because I love myself, and not because I know being independent is a turn-on.

I think for me, as well as for anyone else who feels like they are losing their independence, it is important to actively choose you every now and then. To not extend the invite. To go it alone. To be a lone wolf. Independent actions can be a powerful method of self-care, and a recognition of your self-worth. Remember: you are not hanging out by yourself, but with yourself, and you are pretty awesome company.

katie