#PsBootcamp: What I Learned

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking #PsBootcamp from Bria of Digital Darlings. Bria and I worked closely together when I was writing a wine column for Framework Magazine and producing content for entertaining features. Framework Mag was the jumping off point for showing my love of entertaining and reminding people to celebrate every occasion, so it has been really fun to support Bria’s new business venture! Let me tell you, this girl can teach. It takes a certain amount of dedication and patience to teach something like Photoshop and B has it nailed. I learned so much and wanted to share some of my favourite graphics that I created (all alone!!)

Here is a header that I made. While it didn’t make it to a permanent spot on my blog, I did love the new font so have used a simplified version of it (up top!)

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I’ve always been curious to know how people make gold foil prints, and now I know how easy it is. Hint: it involves googling.

Sophie Collins shapes Gold Foil

Love those quotes and graphics you find on Pinterest and Instagram? I’ll never have to “steal” one again!

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Last but not least, we learned how to edit people by using our own photos. This can get out of hand really quickly and it made me realize the importance of understanding how different people can look once they’ve been photoshopped. The image below is only slightly altered (no face manipulation here guys!) but it was nice to be able to clean up a few stray hairs and smooth over some wrinkles in my shirt.

Sophie Headshot

If you’ve always wanted to learn photoshop, I would highly recommend taking the Digital Darlings class. It was two full days of great learnings, meeting some wonderful people, and honing in on a new skill!

3rd Annual Mother’s Day Brunch

A few years ago, Peter and I decided we wanted to start an annual holiday tradition for our family. Since most holidays already have traditions in place, we declared Mother’s Day the holiday that we would love to host our families for brunch! This year is probably our last year in our current home, so it was totally bittersweet! Bitter in the sense that we won’t likely have another big meal here, and sweet because fitting 8 people in our tiny dining room is more work than it looks!

We always like to incorporate elements of our Moms’ cooking into the mix. This year, the highlight was Nonna’s “egg dish” – a very simple, yet hearty brunch plate. My mom loves green salads, so we made a simple one to go along with it, and Peter’s mom always serves berries, so we took a page out of her entertaining book! It was a simple, leisurely meal and I had a great time.

Cadeaux Cake

The table was set to look like a smorgasbord: lots of food to choose from…no-one left hungry that’s for sure!

Cake and Bread

The cake was made by Cadeaux Bakery, and was a buttercream icing with lavender cake and raspberry compote. It was delicious.

Mother's Day Brunch

I threw together the detail below at the last minute. I love taking fresh herbs from our garden along with grocery flowers and putting together something small and special. When we served lunch, I took all of the rosemary and roses off of the plates and filled three small mason jars with water to make little arrangements that each mom took home.
Rose and RosemaryHow did you spoil your Mom?

Life Skills: Learning Photoshop

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I’ve been blogging for the last 5 years (albeit, not everyday) and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how best to connect with my readers and other bloggers. I’ve learned how to leverage social media for myself my clients. But, the great thing about the online world is there is always more to learn and many places to soak up knowledge. The two goals I had last year were to learn more about photography and photoshop. I took a photography class with Christie Graham which helped me take the leap into shooting manual, and I’m so excited to tell you that I’m signed up for Digital Darlings May #PsBootcamp. While I may be a year late accomplishing this goal, it’s better late than never! I’m hoping that after #PsBootcamp, I’ll be able to step up my game when consulting with clients on their social media, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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NOTE: the class ticket is reduced to $495 until Wednesday April 15th. Get $50 off your ticket and take the class with me by using this code when checking out: pslovesyou

photos: 1, 2

Wine Wednesday: Easter Wine Trio

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Easter is coming up quickly, and I find that it is the type of holiday that is celebrated completely differently among families. Some families with small children host an Easter egg hunt and a brunch. Some forego the chocolate in favour of mimosas and muffins. Others celebrate with a lengthy Sunday night dinner and ham on the table. For the upcoming holiday, I wanted to put together three wines that are perfect for different types of celebrations. A bubbly that would be just as delicious in the late morning with pastries as it would be an aperitif… a light red that goes perfectly with ham and turkey, and would be an easy choice for lunch…and a full-bodied red perfect to match up with a traditional rabbit or lamb dish. The way you choose to celebrate is up to you, but always remember that celebrations don’t have to be over the top! It’s all about getting together with your loved ones, opening a bottle of wine, and breaking bread.

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My first pick for Easter wines is Moingeon Cremant de Bourgogne. This being Easter (aka, a special occasion) I wanted to open up my price range a little further. While I usually try and stick to the $20-$25 mark when it comes to wines, this is a perfect bubbly to bring as a hostess gift as it’s a little bit more special than a typical Prosecco. It’s also great for brunch, because not all of us are ready to drink red or white wines at this time of the day. A little hint of bubbles makes it shine alongside everything from croissants to tea sandwiches to quiche!

This bubbly is made in the traditional champagne method, but doesn’t carry the price tag of Champagne because it’s made in Burgundy. Lucky for us, it’s just as good! It’s quite fruity, not heavily yeasty with a hint of green apple acidity. There are also notes of ripe pear, which would be lovely with a pear cake, especially in spring! The flavours linger on your mouth and are nice and long lasting. At $39.99, this is a bubbly that has the elegance of Champagne, and the price point of sparkling wine.

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For an early evening dinner, I would suggest the Duck Pond Pinot Noir. If you’ve tried Oregon Pinot, you know that there are some very specific elements to the Oregonian classic. Minerality, earthy, balanced acidity and ripe berry flavours are among the many fantastic characteristics of these wines. The Duck Pond Pinot Noir is no different. It is light ruby in colour, and has a huge hit of cherry on the nose. I really enjoyed the ripe plum, dried fig and blueberry notes when tasting the wine. There is also a hint of cranberry jam, which immediately brought to mind a pairing with duck or turkey. Luckily, it’s light enough to drink on its own before dinner as well!

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My favourite special occasion wine for this Easter has to be The Chocolate Block from South Africa. I’ve featured this wine before, and even though I like to keep it fresh, I needed to include it, because wine is like chocolate for grown ups! It is a natural pairing for those red-meat eaters that want to indulge in something like rabbit or lamb for Easter. Perfect alongside potatoes, some spring asparagus and buttered rolls, your host (or your guests) will not be disappointed with the outstanding flavours in this wine. It’s not too in your face, so your meal will be able to shine through, but the slight hints of spice and raspberry are sure to delight your palate!

I hope this helps you when you’re buying some wine for Easter!

Easter flower arrangement by The Flower Factory.

Photos by me.

Bedroom Inspiration

We’re in the final stages of designing our new place before moving, and my mind is now focusing on paint colours and furniture! While we will be ordering everything in stages to account for time to save up, I want to have a good overall picture of how I want things to look before we make any decisions. Since we’ll be painting soon, it’s time to decide on paint colours! All of this has me pinning images of what I want our bedroom to look like. For me, the bedroom is a place to escape the world. Sleeping is my favourite, as is waking up on the weekend to sunshine streaming in the windows, in bed with coffee and a good book. I want our bedroom to feel relaxing, cozy, a little luxurious, but mostly like US. Here are some pictures I’ve been using as inspiration.

I love the vibe and the neutral colours of the bedroom below. Lots of pillows, comfy blankets and taupes and grays. It looks like a place I’d want to curl up all weekend!

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(original source unknown, unfortunately!)

One thing I know I want for sure, is a faux fur throw for the bottom of the bed. I love the contrast of the deep brown tones with the crisp white bedding.

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(photo: Nuevo Estilo)

I’ve been leaning towards lots of neutrals for our place because I know I can build upon them later. I love the serene vibe of this room below and I especially love the natural textures like wood and the green branches.

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(photo via Coco+Kelley)

This bedroom below is one of my absolute favourites. While we don’t have high ceilings or natural wood beams (maybe one day!), the fresh and calming palette, and those dreamy windows are so beautiful! I’ll be drawing neutral colours from this, as well as the pops of black that will come from our black windows!

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(photo via this cute barn featured on Architectural Digest)

The bedroom below is probably a little more elegant than we’ll be steering towards, but I had to include it because, in my mind, it executes the perfect balance of shades of grey, taupe and greige. It’s so calming and elegant at the same time.

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(Photographer: Andreas Trauttmansdorff, Designer: Julie Charbonneau)

The space below is total urban perfection to me! The cool white tones are warmed up by the leather and the sheepskin. I’m also loving the simplicity of no headboard here.

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(designed by Jarlath Mellett)

Ok, how amazing are those vintage doors behind the bed? While we won’t be doing anything to this level of extravangance, I kept the photo because of the use of white and taupe tones. We will also add a sliding door to our closet one day, and it would be great to find something vintage that resembles this “headboard.”

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(photo via Restoration Hardware)

The room below is SO glam, and is something I would definitely strive towards if I were to be living alone. Since that’s not the case, I’ll be taking some hints from this room and hope to add just a dash of leopard for a little fun.

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(photo via Jessika Goranson’s home on Domaine Home)

The bedroom below is near PERFECT in my mind. The wall colour (we’ll probably be doing something a little more earthy), the gold mirror, the grey fabric headboard and white sheets – I love everything about it!

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(photo: styled by Elkie Brown For The White Company)

I love the clean and tidy feeling of this bedroom below. Because we don’t have a ton of space, we’ll need to use dressers as side tables to keep things neat. This will be inspiration to me for keeping our bedroom spic and span! I think I would put something different (or nothing) above the bed in this room.

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(original source unknown, unfortunately)

I grabbed the image below mostly for the natural light and gauzy white curtains. I also love the feeling of a sisal rug for those rustic fibers. We currently have black IKEA dressers that I think will act as our bedside tables like this image below.

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(photo via Mr and Mrs)

I am LOVING the bed linens and pop of black in the photo below.

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(photo via Gardens & Gun)

The bedroom below belongs to Ivanka Trump. I have had this picture pinned for YEARS, and while it’s still probably a bit too feminine for our room, I love the elegant yet relaxing vibe. I think it’s the subtle use of colour that works for me.

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(Originally published in InStyle and House and Garden. Found here)

Is there anything better than natural wood beams against a blank white slate? I think not. Again, this won’t be happening in our place, but I loved the colour of the floors (very similar to what we chose) with the white and natural wood tones.

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(image found here)

That’s it for now – a round up of the bedroom spaces that are inspiring me! Check out our designer, Gillian’s, original post on our reno for more inspiration!

Xo,

Sophie

New Wines from VIWF

Last week, I attended the Vancouver International Wine Festival. For those of you who haven’t been, I highly recommend it next year. It’s a great place to try new wines, talk to winemakers, and mostly, it’s FUN! This year was my first year…as you know I’m obsessed with Cornucopia, but I was excited to add another wine fest into the mix.

This year, my goal was to find a few new reds and whites (and rosés, of course) too add into the mix at a good price point. There were LOTS of options, but here are a few of my favourites.

Did you go to the wine fest? What were your favourite wines?

WHITES & ROSÉS

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Spice Route Chenin Blanc – $25.99 (available by case at the BCL)

I’m usually partial to South African whites because I think you get big flavour for a small price. This wine had great flavours like passion fruit, but was a bit more full than typical South African Whites that I usually drink.

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The Wild Olive South Africa Rosé – $12.99 (available at the BCL)

I’m obsessed with how beautiful this label is – the winemaker’s wife painted this of her daughter. This is a “cheap and cheerful” rosé that is perfect with BBQ’ed chicken in the summer and also easy to drink on it’s own. The wine’s flavours are strawberry, berry and citrus. Perfect for summer!

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White Cliff Sauvignon Blanc – $17.99 (available by the case at the BCL)

This is a very easy drinking white. The higher residual sugar balances the acidity that is usually quite prevalent with Sauvignon Blancs. It’s a great everyday table wine.

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Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc – $18.95 (available by the case from the BCL)

I’m loving orange right now, and I think this bottle would look as beautiful on a table as it would styled on a black bar cart. I loved this Sauvignon Blanc – it was really fruity with some strawberry notes. Most Sauvignon Blancs are drunk a year after they are bottled, so the added aging gives this wine some nice complexity.

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Sables d’Azur Rosé Côtes de Provence – $17.99 (available at the BCL)

This rosé, to me, is typical of the Provençal style and brings me right back to our trip last summer (ps I want to go back!) This is a great value wine that is flavourful enough to stand up to food, yet light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day. It’s very dry.

REDS

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Angove Family Winemakers Family Crest Shiraz 2013 – $29.99 (available by the case at the BCL)

This is a beautiful, special occasion full wine. Great flavours like pepper and ripe berry. I think it would be great with a filet mignon. The mouth feel is rounded tannins – meaning that it’s meaty without being too intense.

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Fowles Wine Are you Game? Shiraz 2012 – $23.99 (available at the BCL)

Meeting the Fowles team was one of the highlights of the festival for me. The CEO of the wine label is a lawyer who found his knack making wine and hasn’t looked back since. The Are You Game? Shiraz is so delectable, fruit forward (mainly raspberry flavours) and it was definitely one of my favourite wines of the night.

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Fowles Wine Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012 – $39.99 (available at the BCL)

Another special occasion wine, I was in love with this label and concept behind the wine. Ladies who shoot their lunch is a beautiful Shiraz with raspberry notes and round pepper flavours.

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Barossa Valley Estate Grenache Blend – $19.99 (available by the case at the BCL)

From the people who brought you Oyster Bay (a favourite amongst my friends), Barossa Valley Estate is aiming to bring great quality wines to the public at a great price. They hit the nail on the head with this blend.

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Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz – $21.99 (available at the BCL)

This is a really approachable Shiraz. It would be delicious with steak, but also good to sip pre dinner with some cheese and crackers. The main flavours that stuck out to me are blackberry and plum.

I hope this helps you pick up some new wines the next time you’re in the store!