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2011: The Year That Was (Part 1 of 2)

I'm going to be self-indulgent here and look back at the year that was on Coffee with Julie ... perhaps I'll learn something or perhaps I will learn that I need to learn something in 2012! January 2011: The new year started on a very high note when I found out that Coffee with Julie had placed 2nd and 3rd in two Canadian Weblog Awards. Then I started a thread of posts on over-consumption (I had so many other posts I wanted to write about on … [Read more...]

Giveaway: Tickets for Svengali Ballet at National Arts Centre

"Svengali: A person who manipulates or exerts excessive control over another." The origin of the word we know commonly know as "svengali" is actually from a novel published in 1894 by George Du Maurier. In it, a singer named Trilby is captured by an unsuccessful musician, Svengali. Svengali manages to live a life of luxury by keeping Trilby under hypnosis, performing concert performances and living as his slave. In 1931, this same plot line … [Read more...]

Ottawa’s New Ikea: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

People go on and on about how much they hate Walmart and how evil it is. But you rarely hear the same people talk about Ikea with the same vehemence. I even checked: Google results for "I hate Ikea" are 13 million, where as "I hate Walmart" delivers more than 58 million results. And we all know that Google knows everything. After making my first visit to the largest Ikea in Canada, I find this rather perplexing since I would much rather shop … [Read more...]

The largest Ikea store in Canada


If you don't live in Ottawa, you might have missed the breaking news: we have a new Ikea store. Not just any Ikea store, mind you, but the biggest in Canada (for now). 427,000 square feet. There was quite a bit of real excitement in Ottawa about this new store, as well as some manufactured excitement (like the press release warnings that traffic on the Queensway would be slow due to opening day, but in actual fact, numbers for the store … [Read more...]

Worried about the waistline this holiday?

I definitely need to lose a few pounds. But I'm not crazy enough to think that's going to happen over the Christmas holidays. The sheer amount of food and temptation at this time of the year is enough to put even the most disciplined any person over the edge! So, in the meantime, I'm going to take solace in these vintage advertisements. Won't you join me? More ads can be viewed (and deeply enjoyed!) over at Babble. … [Read more...]

Happy Holiday Wishes to You!!!

May you be grateful. May you be merry. May you laugh so hard that you pee your pants just a wee bit. image credit … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Wrapping


I never would have thought of using paper doilies for anything except snowflakes (remember making those as a kid?). But I happened to have seen Guilia's wrapping and then happened to see red doilies in the dollar store. So here is how I've wrapped Stella's teachers' gifts this year. I love how they turned out! If you want to try it, you'll need: Brown paper bags (Michaels) Paper doilies (The Dollar Store) Glue for sticking the … [Read more...]

Super Sweet Christmas Vignette


With my new found love for vignettes, I couldn't help but take notice of this gorgeous little vignette that my neighbour had created in her front hall. It's unfortunate for you that I only have the camera in my BlackBerry and zero photography skills. But trust me, this vignette is so super sweet. What you can't really see from the angle on this photograph is that the wooden frame is actually made specifically for hosting vignettes. I love … [Read more...]

10 Grand Gifts for Kids: $30 or Less!

We all know Christmas spending can easily get out of control. But really, most young kids like a $20 gift as much as a $200 gift -- they don't know the value of money, it's just about having some fun! So, in that spirit, I thought I'd share some gift ideas that I think are "winners" under the $30 price range. Some are products that were sent to me to review and some are simply things I've come across on my own. 1. Walrooz sleds: These … [Read more...]

It’s December. Christmas is now allowed.


This is how I feel about Christmas when I see all the gaudy decorations and hear those brain-screeching carols before December has even hit: Seriously. This ornament is just so perfect (with big props to Coffee with Julie reader Giulia for sharing this with me today!). I am a total Grinch about Christmas in October. And November. Only come December do I feel that Christmas is actually allowed. Thank you very much. But I am not a total … [Read more...]

DIY Design: Suggestions for Painted Wood Furniture?

Full frontal view

I really like the look of painted wood furniture. Hubby, though, loves wood so much that it is almost sacriligious to suggest painting it. However, after forcing him to look at countless samples online, he has relented and said he'll paint some of our wood furniture for me! Yipee! (Here are some of the samples I've shown him: a cobalt blue dresser, this groovy credenza, and for kids' rooms, things can get really fun.) Pretty much everything we … [Read more...]

DIY Design: Front Hall “Vignette”

vignette 1

For the record, I'm not calling these posts "DIY Design" because I actually believe I have any interior design flair. It's because we moved into a new home this past summer and I am now madly in love with house decor shows, magazines, and yes, that addictive fiend pinterest. It's "DIY Design" in my case because, like most DYIers, it's not on par with a professional's work! So far, we haven't managed to do much in the way of actual design or … [Read more...]

Congrats to the TGIF Winners of Tim Horton’s Gift Certificates!

Many faithful Tim Horton's fans entered my coffee giveaway this week as well as followed @TimHortons on twitter! This is really no surprise considering how addictive their coffee is and just how quintessentially "Canadian" it is to drink a Timmys. The two lucky winners of the $25 Tim Horton's gift certificates are: krista, who is currently in India and desperately missing her Timmys coffee Km_66, who likes her Timmys as Large Black but … [Read more...]

A Latte for $2. Need I say more? Okay, I will … you know I will …

I like me my Tim Horton's Coffee. I used to be a Large Double Double, girl. Now I've managed to wean myself to 2 Cream, 1 Sugar. I know, my self-discipline is amazing. A-MAZE-ING. One day I will move to milk and no sugar, but I could be really, really old by then. Like, maybe when I'm really old and have completely lost all my faculties so that I know longer can remember how much better coffee is with cream than milk. Then. But only then, I … [Read more...]

3 disturbing facts that every wife should know about Movember

If you've gone into hibernation early, there's the possibility that you've missed the fact that all around us, the men in our country are sporting moustaches. Or what their particular genetics happens to allow them to grow as a moustache. No, you're not having a bad flashback to the 70s, it's Movember. Movember has two goals: to raise funds to battle prostate cancer and to raise awareness of men's health issues in general. It's a great … [Read more...]

Impractical Purchasing, NYC edition, part 1

Trying to do my best sexy librarian look.

As of late, it has come to my attention that I am an impractical girl. I have been stubbornly resisting this label. I like to consider myself a practical person -- getting what needs to get done done, leaving the rest; buying sensible, well-priced things; leaving the rest. Sadly, I think this might have been a case of living in suspended disbelief. My first hint should have been the fact that Hubby does not let me do the grocery shopping. His … [Read more...]

Taking a Stand (thoughts for Remembrance Day)

This poem, Taking a Stand, was penned by John Bailey, who is a former regular and now serving Territorial Army soldier who served in Afghanistan in 2008. In 2009, a member of his unit, Corporal Steven Boote, was killed along with four others by a rogue Afghan policeman. He spent the day in Wootton Bassett the day their bodies were repatriated and that night he wrote this poem as a comment on TA service in general but more importantly as a tribute … [Read more...]

And the winner of the $50 Mark’s Gift Certificate is …

Wow, this has been the most popular giveaway that I've done so far! I'm going to have to let Mark's know how much you all love their stuff (and to continue to include us in their fun promotions!). The objective of this particular promotion was to raise awareness of their new e-commerce site. And I've just been back to the site to check things out again and boy, have they been busy. The selection has radically expanded since the first day of … [Read more...]

Multi-tasking is the bane of my existence and also my life bread

It's all the rage these days to talk about how multi-tasking isn't really a good skill to apply anymore. That you are better off focusing all your attention on one task and in doing so, you will actually get it done quicker. In other words, you'll save more time and get more done if you just line all your tasks up in row and knock them down one by one. That, my friends, is not how multi-tasking works. As any mother knows, multi-tasking is not … [Read more...]

Beautiful Book Stores: Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers, NY

I can remember my father telling me that when he was young he dreamed of having a house full of books and art. I can also remember the look of contentedness he had on his face as he sat in his own home telling this to me. You see, I can never remember us living in a home that wasn't full of books and art. Granted, there were always far more books than art. Much of the artwork that we had on the walls when I was a kid was of his own creation. … [Read more...]

And, now back to you! (Mark’s $50 Giveaway)

You've had just about enough "Month of Me" by now, I'm sure. So, let's turn it back to you! I have a treat for one of you: A $50 gift certificate from my BFF (aka Mark's, remember?) ... and just in time for the season change! (Yes, because I do still need to convince myself that I don't hate winter. Cozy, cute winter clothes will help, right?) I love online shopping (here's a list of my favourite spots for getting errands done) and clothes … [Read more...]