I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

I ❤ Fall Tag

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

Yes, I know I haven’t posted since I started grad school. Sorry about that! I’m hoping that now that I’ve been in school for almost two months I’ve figured out scheduling, so I’ll be able to post once or twice a week here! I figured I would start back off with some fall inspiration, and soon I’ll get to posting about our new apartment and all the things we’ve been doing since moving back to Ottawa!

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

1. Favourite fall lip product

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick #124 “Bordeaux”, Clinique Chubby stick intense #08 “Grandest Grape”, NARS “Funny Face”, and MAC #A74 “Kinda Sexy”

2. Favourite fall nail polishes

Essie “Wicked” and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails #120 “Bad to the Bone”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

 

3. Favourite Starbucks fall drink

(Non-fat, no-whip) pumpkin spice latte, but really all I want is a tea latte. Probably a nice, spicy chai, or a London Fog.

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin candle from DW Home

4. Favourite fall candle

Anything pumpkin and spicy

5. Favourite fall scarf or accessory

Last fall I bought this awesome reversible blanket scarf from the Bay. It was a promotion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and supposedly some of the money went towards research. I had been looking for the perfect size, pattern, and warmth, and this fit the list. It was even 100% manufactured fabric, so no wool to give me hives! I love to wear it open, or wrapped all around me. This weekend on the Greyhound I used it as a blanket. Perfect.

6. Haunted house, haunted hay ride, or haunted corn maze?

I had really wished we would have had time to go to Saunders Farm outside of Ottawa this October, but I’m busy every weekend, and we don’t have a car to drive out there. In high school it was always lots of fun, because you get to go around being scared by people, go on the hayride, watching their satirical play, and drinking hot apple cider. My least favourite parts were the haunted houses.

7. Favourite Halloween movie?

I definitely don’t watch scary movies, but if I was going to watch something creepy and fun, it’d be something along the lines of “Hot Fuzz.”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin cream cheese pop tarts

8. Favourite treat?

If I’m not going for pumpkin or apple pie, it would have to be these amazing pop tarts I made for one time we hosted friends!

9. Favourite fall activities

We all know how much I love to hike, so obviously that’s my favourite. I also love baking lots of fall things, celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family, and carving pumpkins!

 

Wedding Wednesdays: What You Should and Shouldn’t Register For

What To Register For: What You Do and Don't Need - JanessaMann.Com

For 9 months leading up to my wedding, I worked full-time as the main customer service person at the nearest Bed Bath & Beyond to me. No, it wasn’t a great job, related to my field, or particularly fulfilling, but I did learn a lot about how to set up your home.

People will tell you tons of things about what you need, pressure you into certain brands or gifts you’ll never use, and make you get ridiculously priced items. Depending what you ask for, you won’t get much of it. Registries are a pretty conventional wedding thing, so some people are trying to step away from it. However, it’s really helpful for guests to know where to go for things you will actually use-it saves headaches, and is less up-front than “please give us cash.”

Here is a standard checklist from TheKnot.com, which as some great references, but there are some pitfalls.

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1) Items you already have

If you’ve been living on your own or together for a while, you probably already have lots of these things. You have two routes: request replacements/upgrades of your current stuff, or stick with what you have and save gift requests for things you wouldn’t/couldn’t buy on your own.

For instance, my brother and sister-in-law had a terrible toaster that burned the toast all the time since it was like 20 years old. They registered for a new one. However, their microwave was fine. Why bother asking for another one?

2) Things you don’t want

Sometimes your parents, in-laws, or someone else will try to pressure you into requesting gifts that you don’t foresee yourself using. Stay strong. If it’s a gift they really want to give you, compromise is fine. If it’s something they think you need, but wont’ get you, why do they want you to get it? It’s just a waste of someone else’s money.

Nic and I did our registry at my store, and the whole time my managers were pressuring me into registering for china. They figured I would regret not asking for it, and that the IKEA set we wanted would not cut it. To get them off our back, we put it on the registry. Later that night I logged in and deleted it all. I have half of the Royal Dalton Old Country Rose set, and Nic doesn’t like it. Why would I bother getting more or another set? My plan for the long run is to mix in nicer pieces with the IKEA ones, which fits our current lifestyle.

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3) Things you don’t need

I will admit that a KitchenAid standmixer was the first thing on my list, and I was super pumped when I found out that my Dad’s family bought ours for us! No, they’re not necessary. Have I loved it completely? Yup. But you don’t need one.

If you’ve never  made juice in a Magic Bullet, you don’t need a juicer. Neither of you bake? You don’t need very much baking stuff.

As greedy as it sounds, the registry should be things that you really want. Don’t fill up a registry of things people are buying for you with things you don’t actually want. Some guests might remember what they got you, and when they visit, will be happy to see you’re using the item on a regular basis.

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4) Consider different routes

Nic and I needed towels, sheets, some cooking stuff, so we registered at Bed Bath & Beyond. However, we also registered on ehoneymoonregistry.com and MyRegistry.com.

Honeymoon registries are super cool: if you’re planning a honeymoon, you can get some of your activities paid for! Our camping in Cape Breton was covered, we got money for dinners and ice cream breaks, and whale watching. Writing those thank you cards were so much fun, because we had such a great time doing it all. Honeymoon registries are even more helpful for couples who already have all their home stuff, and don’t want to just get cash.

We used MyRegistry because we wanted a universal registry where we could put our camping supplies from MEC, various items from IKEA, and our Nikon DSLR fund. If you don’t have a specific store you want many things from, this is super helpful, and makes sure gifts aren’t doubled. Are you super into rock-climbing and want some more gear for the two of you? That’s your time, and guests love to give gifts they know you’ll really enjoy. Like to go to art galleries? Request year memberships to places on your universal registry. The sky is the limit.

5) Gift budgets

If you only have gifts above $100, you’d better hope all your guests are rich. For the rest of us normal people, you need to have a variety of budgets so that no one is uncomfortable.

Once I knew some ladies from my church were throwing me a bridal shower, I added some cheaper baking supplies that were $5-20 so people could choose whatever they were comfortable spending. For most of my friends, we all spent an average of $50 per person, so we had a bunch of gifts that were around that range. Relatives who could spend more chose the pricier items (standmixer, towel sets, sheet sets).

Don’t be like many of my friends who requested super expensive dishes, got maybe 2 dinner plates, one soup bowl, and no cutlery. If you request only expensive things, your guests won’t be able to buy them for you unless they all go in together. And you’ll be stuck eating on your old dishes. Giving wedding gifts should be a fun process for the guests-it’s always exciting (for me at least) to look at what they’re asking for, and see if I can top up the gift with something special (gift receipt included, of course).

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Resources:

It comes down to being considerate of your guests’ budgets, what will help you and your partner set up your home together, and what the two of you find important in your lives. Make sure to write in a spreadsheet what gifts you got from whom so you can write a thank you card or email-one of the wedding traditions that I hold firm to!

Our Kitchen Herb Garden

Kitchen Herb Garden

What’s better than fresh herbs for your cooking? Not much. Nic and I picked up some more potting soil, a window planter, and four herbs to plant for our use this summer.

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This is an adorable and perfect size for our kitchen window. We had thought about putting it outside in a real window box, but Nic pointed out we wouldn’t use it much then. You have to go around outside the building, unlock the gate to the alley, and then get what you need. We decided to use the windowsill instead, which will be much more convenient, and we get to enjoy the scents more!

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We got basil, mint, lavendar, and parsley. This is going to be a great summer! I already used the mint last night for some fresh tea with honey.

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Want some gardening resources?

  • You Grow Girl with Gayla Trail – I have her book by that name, and she also has an Instagram which documents her urban organic gardening in Toronto
  • My Pinterest plants board
  • Grow It – helps you determine which plants will do best in your area, and crowd-source answers to your gardening questions
  •  Inhabitat Herb Garden Infographic – lots of info on when in the year to grow, how to propagate, etc.
  • Homegrown Remedies” Anne McIntyre – includes recipes and tips on what to grow together

 

IKEA Vanity Tour

Vanity Tour - JanessaMann.Com

For my birthday last year, Nic boughtvittsjo-laptop-table-brown__0135390_pe292080_s4 me the IKEA Vittsjo Laptop table to use as a vanity. I only installed it this summer when I moved to Toronto, and have been incredibly happy with it. During university, I just used the top of a
dresser and a small mirror on top of that to do my makeup, but I would always be hunching over it. When I was at my parents’ in Ottawa, I had it all spread out on my large bathroom counter. I knew for our first home, I wanted something I could sit at, and was minimal so it could be used for other purposes later in our life.

The Vittsjo table was only $39, as opposed to their actual vanities of above $100, and I’ve seen really cool adaptations of it into hallway consoles and bar carts. I just use a simple dining chair with it, and it’s perfect for my vanity.

Vanity Tour - JanessaMann.Com
Vanity Drawers

I ordered these drawers from Amazon several years ago, but you can find similar things at any home goods store. Inside I have blushes, bronzers, tools, and everything else.

I wouldn’t recommend the mirror I got from IKEA, the screws don’t stay tight, and the magnified side is warped a bit. The good thing is that it’s beside my mirrored closet doors, so I can always look in there.

Vanity Tour - JanessaMann.Com
Lips and Box

I also purchased this lipstick holder several years ago. Since I haven’t been adding that many lip products recently, and I get rid of old ones I don’t use, it’s the right size for me. I have it pretty organized, with nudes, reds, brights, corals, and pinks.

In the box beside it I keep sunscreens, primer, BB cream, foundation, and hair products.

How do you store your supplies?

Christmas in Ottawa

Nic and I were very thankful to go home to Ottawa for a week and a half over Christmas. Our parents still live there, so we had a lot of fun.

The Cobers

Nic’s dad does Bonsai, and this is his gorgeous jade
Pileated woodpecker

One of my favourite aspects of Ottawa is the Greenbelt, which is a protected natural area surrounding the city. My parents live an easy drive away for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

It was surprisingly cold

Snow, at last!

Chickadee
I love feeding chickadees in my hand!
Mann stockings

My brother and sister-in-law arrived, so we had Christmas with them, next.

Nic’s loving the foot of snow that dropped!
The Manns
National Gallery of Art

Deanna wanted to see the Art Gallery, which is always one of my favourite places to go.

Merry Cookiemas! – Cookie Decorating Party

For our first Christmas, I wanted to host some sort of a Christmas cookie party. I figured for the three houses of my friends from undergrad, we should either make cookies together, or exchange them, so we have more cookies. We ended up decorating regular sugar cookies, and doing Maddie’s cool egg-wash orange cookies, and splitting them up at the end. 

I set up our side table with the baked cookies (since Maddie was baking the orange ones in the kitchen at the same time), hot chocolate stuff, and someone even brought Bailey’s.

Nic’s parents lived in Zambia for a few years, and came back with this sugar cookie recipe. Nic was adament that we had to make!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 cups flour

Instructions:

  1. Cream sugar, butter, shortening, and salt.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  3. Stir the baking powder into the flour.
  4. Alternate adding milk and baking powder/flour mixture slowly.
  5. Chill dough.
  6. Roll out, cut out shapes, and bake at 350* for ~10 minutes.
I got these stunning copper cookie cutters at my bridal shower this spring, and I love how they look! My other cookie cutters are 5 dinosaurs that I got from Dollarama. We used both. 
 
We made basic icing with butter and icing sugar, and added food colouring.

 Maddie really wanted to do her egg-wash orange cookies. I’d never seen these before, so it was really cool to try them. I found a recipe from Pioneer Woman that you can try out. You roll them out, then paint them with different egg-washes, and then bake them.

I didn’t do a cost breakdown, but I’m pretty sure that all of us chipping in for 4 dozen + cookies was cheaper than doing it all separately. And way more fun.

Embroidered throw pillow!! – Newlywedded Nesting

I wanted to make Nic a gift for us for our wedding, and started this throw pillow during the spring. I got distracted by other wedding preparations, and then lost the bag that it was kept in, until a few weeks ago. My goal was to make a kind of kitschy pillow to commemorate the wedding, and I kinda like how it turned out. 
I used a linen throw pillow cover from IKEA as well as their inserts. It’s 20×20″ and looks great on our bed. 

Fun story, I originally embroidered “June 21, 2015.” That’s wrong. We got married on the 20th. Oops.