Thursday, August 22, 2013

design inspiration for fall

In the fall, Stu is moving from Toronto back to Vancouver to finish up his degree and although I have a major sad about that ("it's only for 4 months!" is my mantra right now) I've been trying to focus on the positives. One cool thing is that I'll be living solo for the first time and thus will have my own room to design/decorate exactly as I see fit!

I've never been a "decorating" person before but as soon as the prospect of my very own space came into view, I became obsessed. I must have pinned 100 different ideas (yes, Pinterest. Don't hate, it's an excellent tool) in the span of a month. I thought I'd organize my thoughts in an inspiration post so I can focus my intentions for my fall space.

Gallery Walls

right: photo from Design*Sponge, left: photo from

I'm a big believer in using space from floor to ceiling because I think it makes a room look bigger, and also more lived-in. It's for that reason that I love gallery walls. Is there any better way to display a large collection of art (and I use art loosely, because I definitely don't have an expensive collection. Mine is more like magazine clippings, drawings from friends, etc.) while making your space look cool and eclectic?

All White With Wood Accents

right: photo from Ikea Family Live, left: photo from Interiors

Aren't all-white walls and furniture and plush rugs just so pretty? White opens up a room, makes it feel airy and inviting and it's such an excellent blank canvas just ready to be decorated. I'm most drawn to white rooms that have wood accents like tables, chair legs, stools, benches and the like. They make a white room so cozy.


right: photo from Domino Magazine, left: photo from Freunden Von Freunden

There was a time when this method of decorating/storing magazines and books would be considered totally hoarder-y, but for some reason these days I find it very cute and contemporary. It has that air of not trying too hard while still trying (I mean, you kind of have to try to put stuff in piles, right?) and it's a great way to display old magazines and coffee table books you still want to keep. Love the flower pot on top of the stack, too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

homemade panko tilapia fish tacos

Ever since "breaking veg" two years ago after being an almost life-long vegetarian, I've been a huge fan of white fish. Unlike other meats, which I still don't eat (pescetarian is my new dietary title, I suppose), white fish is light, flaky and mild. I first started eating it in it's junk-foodiest form: fish & chips. I used to joke that yes, I'm a vegetarian but I'll eat fish if it's battered and fried. 

From fish & chips I ventured into Mexican territory and a formed a love affair with the perfect little package of goodness known as the fish taco. My favourite fish tacos remain the baja style tacos from Chronic Tacos in Vancouver (they're a chain that started in California) but making my own FT's didn't occur to me until moving to Toronto where Chronic was nowhere to be found.  

The following is less of a recipe and more of an outline — I just sort of made it up as I went along, following a the classic dredging technique. I would have liked to make my own pico de gallo but store-bought salsa was on hand and fast and we were HUNGRY. Ditto for the slaw: our new kitchen isn't stocked properly yet so a few shortcuts were taken. Still delicious though, I promise you that. 

Panko Fish Tacos - An Outline

For the crispy fish:
  • White fish (2 small ones or 1 fat one per person should cut it. I used frozen tilapia fillets that I thawed that morning)
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten with ~1/4 cup of milk or water (I used almond milk)
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Mexican spices or seasoning mix (make your own with smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt) 
  • Cooking oil (I used a mixture of canola and coconut oils)
  • Small tortillas (preferably corn but we had to use flour ones because the store was out)
Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan on medium-high. Cut the fish into small strips about an inch wide and 4 inches long and pat dry with a paper towel. Lay out three dishes (I used plates for the dry components and a bowl for the egg). The first dish is for the flour, the next dish is for the beaten egg and milk, and the last dish is for the panko — in that order. Just eyeball the amounts and add more as you go if needed. 

Season all three components generously with the spices — the key is to add flavour at every point for optimal deliciousness. Start at the flour end of the assembly line and coat a couple pieces of fish at a time. Now move them into the egg mixture and coat them in there. Then drop them into the panko and coat them in there. Now you can transfer the fish into the hot oil pan and cook them on each side until golden brown, which should take about 5 minutes per side. Don't try to do all your fish at once, it'll get out of hand. Just be patient and enjoy the monotony of the assembly line. When you take the fish out of the pan, place the pieces on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil. 

For the coleslaw: 
  • Coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage and carrots
  • Mayonaise 
  • Lime juice
  • Mexican spices or seasoning mix (see above)
In a bowl mix about 1/2 cup of mayonaise with the juice of a lime. Season with mexican spices and taste to make sure it's not too sour. If it is, add more mayo. Then mix the dressing with the slaw.

We assembled our tacos on oven-warmed tortillas (wrap them in foil so they don't crisp up) and topped them with salsa. It was awesome. Would have been even better with some beer, just fyi. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

cat eye: played out for a reason

So, I realize that the cat eye look has been Played Out For Life and is somewhat of a beauty writing cliche by now. But bear with me when I say it's played out for a reason: it's so damn flattering on absolutely anybody and everybody (um, especially Brigitte Bardot but she's not human so we don't have to compare ourselves to her.) 

I had abandoned the winged-out look for a while because I was having a lot of trouble with the liquid liner I owned and was too lazy to get a new one. I can never seem to get both eyes going at the exact same angle and it's frustrating, damn it. That is, it was frustrating until I finally bit the bullet (another cliche, woops) and handed over the $26 for the ever-popular and ever-praised Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner from Sephora:
damn girl

It's like the beautiful pointed tip markers we used to use in fashion illustration class to draw details on our designs and I'm sooooo into it. The first time I tried it I did not get the exact same angle of wing (because that's me, not so good at drawing despite the efforts of my amazing illustration teacher) but unlike with my previous cheap liquid liner, I have confidence that I will get there. And that's where the biggest difference lies. Meow. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

breakfast of champions: the "men's health" smoothie (peanut butter, banana, coffee, sunwarrior)

I'm a huge believer in the old adage that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." It's important in that it is delicious and life isn't as great without delicious breakfast foods, right?

On any given day a few months ago you could find me eating breakfasts consisting of hard boiled eggs with cold veggies, scrambled eggs with cheese and a side of fruit, yogurt with granola and fruit, and of course egg sandwiches. Ohhhh egg sandwiches.

All photos from my Instagram (@stefinmotion) except for bottom right - that's the Spanglish sandwich. Image from here

(Sidenote: the egg sandwich you see up there may look familiar — it's from that adorable little movie Spanglish with Adam Sandler. The sandwich was developed by famous chef Thomas Keller and foodies everywhere went nuts for it. You can see how to make it step-by-step here.)

One thing all my favourite breakfast foods had in common? They all contained an allergen - eggs, and/or gluten, and/or dairy. So imagine my chagrin when my Naturopath put me on an elimination diet for a MONTH to figure out why my energy was low and why I was having other digestive problems. On this "diet" I was strictly required to cut out all allergens and the doctor recommended a daily breakfast of a smoothie made with frozen fruit, almond milk, and vegan protein powder. "This was going to be the hardest part," I thought, "RIP, breakfast."

I started on the elimination diet and didn't notice much difference after the month was up except for one thing: I loved the smoothies! (Oh and dairy was my enemy. My tummy's enemy. I still miss brie like an old best friend.) I wasn't allowed to eat bananas during that month because it is a common allergen so after the elimination portion was over, I developed the best. smoothie. ever. Here's the recipe:

The "Men's Health" Smoothie

Stu hilariously dubbed this smoothie the "Men's Health" smoothie because he said it sounded like something you'd find in the pages of that particular publication. Masculine. Strong. I guess? 

1 ripe banana (I used peeled, chopped and frozen bananas to thicken it)
1 cup almond milk (my favorite is Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla but any kind is fine)
1 scoop Vanilla Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder
1 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1/3 cup cold coffee (If you only have warm, add ice to the smoothie)

optional: 3-4 ice cubes (if I was out of frozen bananas and only had fresh, I used ice to thicken the smoothie and cool it down)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Drink as fast as you can (ok, not necessary but it's what I did).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dove 'Real Beauty Sketches' Campaign Assures Women That We're More Conventionally Beautiful Than We Think (Scoff)

Here's the premise of Dove's latest "Real Beauty" campaign: women are asked to sit down with a forensic sketch artist who can't see them. He asks them questions about their own appearance and then draws them based on their description. He then sits down with somebody who has recently met them and asks the stranger to describe the woman they just met. Then the sketches are "revealed."

Spoiler alert: the sketches based on the womens' own descriptions of themselves are much more conventionally ugly than the sketches based on the descriptions of strangers. WOW. The women cry. They say [paraphrased] "I guess I am beautiful."

Luckily we have a corporation to assure us women, whose looks matter a great deal, that we are much more conventionally beautiful than we think.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Watching Felicity: Season 1, Episodes 1&2 — First Impressions

I had no idea what to expect from Felicity because I'd never watched it before and I think I was a little young for it when it first came out. I also don't think it caught on much in Canada. I remember seeing Keri Russel in the teen magazines I read at the time, like YM but I never really knew anything about what she was famous for (besides having curly hair, which is surprisingly uncommon in actresses).

I knew so little about Felicity that it wasn't until a week ago that I learned that the show was set in New York. This knowledge is what first piqued my interest since "young woman in the big city" things are my jam. Here are my first impressions after watching the first few episodes...

Felicity moved to the city for... a guy

When I first learned that this was the basis of the throwback TV series I had decided to watch, I was livid. First I was confused ("I can't possibly be understanding this correctly?") and then I was livid. How could they base a show on a seemingly smart girl following a guy she barely knows (by the way they've never spoken, well except for once) across the country to potentially win his heart? Ok, breathe. I'll try my best to get over this as I watch, but my initial reaction is "wtf."

Her parents

...are assholes! When she reveals her plans to nix her whole Stanford medical school education and move to New York, they're understandably shocked. What I don't get is when they threaten to disown her/ cut her off/ never speak to her again. These parents are just wrong. It's kind of disturbing. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Golden Globes 2013: Never Thought I'd Say This But... (Emily Blunt)

I've never really "gotten" Emily Blunt. I think she's kind of plain and usually plays boring characters (except for the messed up lesbian she played in "Sunshine Cleaning") and there's just nothing about her that interests me. BUT. Last night she totally impressed me.

I may have been more than a little swayed by her jewelry choice because I think the probably very expensive earrings look like lucite wonders she got from a vending machine. How cool, right? Collecting my quarters...

Golden Globes 2013: Most Played-Out — Zooey Deschanel

Before I get into it, let me make one thing clear: I am not a Zooey Deschanel hater, like, at all. I think New Girl is a surprisingly funny, clever and entertaining show and her character is charming and loveable. So this pains me to say, but her Golden Globes look (especially for a nominee!) was stale, played-out, lack-luster.

She opted for a classic ball gown which, whatever, it's fine, but she then paired it with a half-up half-down hairstyle and PEARLS. Fucking PEARLS. There needs to be a moratorium put on "retro pearls" because they're flat and common and make the wearer LOOK flat and common. Pearls can be done right (see: Chanel S/S 2012) and I can totally get into them but not in this string-of-pearls Leave It To Beaver 1950's housewife way. Come onnnnnnn.

Golden Globes 2013: Best Hosts Ever - Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Who's the genius who hired Tina and Amy to host the show this year? Was it the awesome lady /President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly? Whomever it was deserves some sort of distinction because last night was the best Golden Globes in a while (and I'm saying that as somebody who actually liked Ricky Gervais's "controversial" hosting year). They were comfortable on stage — years at SNL will help with that — and seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves and one another.

Their red-carpet looks were completely different and both completely awesome. Tina looked maybe the most stunning I've ever seen her look (that HAIR! So full and shiny and lush) and Amy looked really, just, FUN. I'm obsessed with her 90's combo of strappy sandals and capris and I'm also really into the fact that she's doing BOOBS a lot lately (her Primetime Emmy's look was supa-hot). Please let them host again in 2014? Please?

Golden Globes 2013: Amanda Seyfried

I love this woman. She's the prettiest princess in all of the land and her voice in Les Miserables sounds like birds singing a beautiful morning song. Her dress wasn't earth-shattering but she looked incredible and her hairstylist somehow managed to make her hair look long and flowing while avoiding the dreaded Hollywood-Mermaid thing that almost everyone wears on the regz.

Although I'm pretty sure it's part of the dress, seeing her made me want to get a gold bar necklace like this one or this one.

Golden Globes 2013