6 Gorgeous Chandeliers (Most for Under $300)

Of all the strange things in my house the strangest has to be the fact that my dining room didn't come with a ceiling light centered in the room. For whatever reason it's set back into a corner of the room. What's more unusual is that it's the only ceiling light in the entire room! It does very little when it comes to illuminating my dinner parties... one off-centre flush-mount light doesn't quite produce the "mood" lighting I've been looking for! Following some serious hemming and hawing, "J" and I have decided it's time to install a dining room light, but because of the nature of the work, we can't do it ourselves. We have to hire someone.

After attending Kimberley Seldon's "Power Your Reno" panel at the Toronto Fall Home Show a few weeks ago, I learned Licensed Electrical Contractors are the only businesses in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work in your home!

Since I am not a law-breaker, next week I'll be working with a Licensed Electrical Contractor, who I found using the Electrical Safety Authority’s contractor locator tool, to install my new dining room light (hoooray!). With that checked off the list I can now focus on the fun part... buying a brand new chandelier! 

Disclosure: I am partnering with the Electrical Safety Authority to educate my readers on the importance of electrical safety. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Before & After // Main Bathroom Refresh

You know what I find amazing? How much a single can of paint can transform a room. I mean, it's so simple right? A can of paint can take a room from dreary to cheery, from boring to exciting, from blah to oh-my-gosh-did-you-see-that-bathroom!!?
My situation was definitely the latter. The main bathroom in my house was in desperate need of some new paint... and I am sure you can see why, BLAH! I really wish I could blame this colour on the previous owners, like I do with everything else that's wrong with this house (ie: no dining room light, dirty grout, kitchen layout, etc), but no. Unfortunately I painted the bathroom this colour. Yes, I did this to myself!
I honestly don't know what I was thinking. Ok, I know what I was thinking... "paint it an outrageous colour and that will detract from the fact that it's still a builder-grade bathroom." Needless to say, it backfired. Like lipstick on a pig. So a few weeks ago "J" and I decided it was time to say goodbye to our builder-grade bathroom, but we wanted to do it in the most economical and easiest way possible.
We outlined three things that needed to change in order to make the bathroom feel less cookie-cutter and more custom... First up, paint. Clearly this bathroom needed to be painted. STAT! After a very long conversation with "J" I convinced him to paint it white. Surprised? You should be! "J" is not a paint-it-white kind of guy, so there was a lot of phrases like "trust me, you'll love," "it will look soooo beautiful, you'll love it," and "if you don't outright let me paint it white I will just do it while you're sleeping... and you'll love it!" thrown around.
Needless to say, painting the bathroom with Behr Marquee Interior Matte paint in White Wool was the first step in the right direction. It immediately made the bathroom feel fresh and inviting. At this point "J" outright declared he hated it, but I told him to wait until it was all put together before he committed to his feelings.... again, I told him he would loooove it!
Next on to-do list upgrade anything and everything that was "builder-grade." That meant the bulbous light fixture, the tacky plastic toilet paper holder, and towel rack had to go! #RipThoseSuckersOut.
The towel bar was easily removed, but the toilet paper holder proved to be a bit more difficult as we didn't want to damage the side of the cupboard. We tried our best, but the industrial strength adhesive the builder slapped that sucker on there with chipped the wood slightly. Nothing a little stain couldn't fix!
Free of the horrible monstrosities that are builder-grade holders, we happily replaced the toilet paper holder and the towel rack with a beautiful chrome set from the Moen Iso collection and the vanity light with one we had stowed away since we moved into the house.
At this point in the project I could see "J" coming around, but he wasn't 100% convinced he was going to love it.
But I still had one more trick up my sleeve... the last thing on my list; the mirror. If you have ever been in a basic new-build home you know the type of mirror I am talking about. They are large. They are plain. They are boring. And they scream "frame me!"
After a quick trip to Home Depot Canada, "J" and I had all the supplies to build a beautiful wooden frame: pine, stain and liquid nails. It was super easy and as you can tell... oh. so. worth. it! (Stay tuned I'll be sharing exactly how we built and installed this frame very soon!)
So there you have it! In one weekend our main bathroom went from drab to fab. From meh to yeah! From blah to oh-my-gosh-did-you-see-that-bathroom!!? And wouldn't you know it, "J" went from "I hate it" to "I love it."

// Project Breakdown \\
For those of you who are interested in the materials breakdown of this project, you can find everything listed below:
Disclosure: This post was in partnership with Home Depot Canada. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Chicken Thighs & Creamy Mushroom Rice

Guys. I am ready for Fall. I'm ready for the fuzzy sweaters, big scarves and plush slippers. I'm ready for the crunchy leaves, frosty mornings and shorter days. I'm ready for rich and hearty squash bisque, roast beef, and stew.
In these parts Summer just doesn't want to leave. While it might not feel like Fall yet, I am craving typical Fall fare. Casseroles, soups, pasta ... not only do they fill you up, they stick to your ribs and make you feel all warm and cozy!
One dish that always finds its way into my weekly rotation come Fall is hearty Chicken Thighs & Creamy Mushroom Rice. It might sound complicated, but I can assure you, you won't be slaving away for hours in the kitchen! This recipe is quick and easy to prepare any night of the week thanks to Minute Rice! Because Minute Rice is pre-cooked, dehydrated rice, it cooks up in a fraction of the time, getting your meal on the table in less than 30 minutes! Not to mention it's preservative free!
Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mushroom Rice
Golden chicken thighs are served atop rich and creamy mushroom rice. The rice gets a nice punch of umami from earthy mushrooms and flavourful Parmesan cheese.  Best of all, it's all done in one pan so clean up is a breeze! That's what I call a #WeekdayWin!

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced (crimini, portabella, shiitake)
1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup white wine, or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cream (table cream or heavy cream)
1 cup Original Minute Rice
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
Garnish: Chopped parsley

1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, brown chicken thighs, 5-7 minutes on either side. Remove chicken thighs from pan, cover with foil and set aside.
2. To the same pan used for the chicken add sliced mushrooms over medium-high heat. Saute 2-3 minutes, just until they begin to release their moisture. Add butter, shallot, and garlic to the pan. Saute 1-2 minutes. Add fresh thyme and rosemary. Cook another minute or until herbs become fragrant.
3. Pour white wine into pan with mushrooms to deglaze; scrape up any stuck-on bits using a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
4. To the mushrooms add cream and Minute Rice. Stir until evenly distributed in pan. Place cooked thighs on top of rice. Lower heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan cheese. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot.

What are some of your favourite hearty Fall recipes?

Disclosure: This post was in partnership with Minute Rice Canada. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

How to Build a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

The leaves are changing, there is a slight chill in the air, and the days are getting shorter... all telltale signs that Fall is upon us. In the blink of an eye it went from long, hot summer days to sweater weather (my favourite kind of weather by the way!) And if you've taken a look at a calendar recently you would have notice that Thanksgiving is a mere 2 weeks away!
 Now I've done every type of Thanksgiving out there: the "last minute rush to pull it all together." The "week of planning and extravagant decor." The "show up at a relative's house, sit back and take it all in." And even the "I'm not going." (yeah, that last one didn't go over very well with the fam!).
When it comes to the food, the appetizer course is where I shine. I am not one who believes guests should be searching their pockets and purses for stowed away candies to tide them over until dinner! There is no such thing as ruining your appetite at Thanksgiving... I want my guests to leave my house with the top button of their pants undone.
So for my appetizer course this year I am opting for something that is not only easy for me to pull together but is fun for everyone I'm entertaining.... and nothing says easy and fun like a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board!

Ok, I know what you're thinking... "Charcuterie Board? I have no idea how to pronounce that, let alone build one for an appetizer course!" Don't you worry, I wouldn't suggest it if it wasn't easy!
How to Build a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Variety is key when it comes to building the perfect board. Not only do you want a variety of foods, you want a variety of flavours and textures. Meat, cheese, fruit, mustards, pickles, jams, crackers and nuts are just a few common items I like to include on my boards:
Meat // I tend to go for meats like sausage, kielbasa, prosciutto, spicy genoa and mortadella. Sometimes I'll add something soft and rich like a pâté to even out the saltiness from the cured meats.

Cheese // I could easily go overboard on the cheese, but I tend to stick to brie, gorgonzola or blue, smoked gouda, goat chevre, and an aged cheddar.
Spreads // Adding spreads can help to enhance the flavours of the meat and cheese. Opt for spreads like dijon mustards, bacon marmalade, fig jam and even hummus or bean dips.

Crackers // Something has to hold all this meaty, cheesy goodness! I like to play around with the textures here offering up crunchy crisps and soft sliced baguettes. Just make sure the flavours of the crackers aren't to strong, you don't want to overpower the main attraction!
Fruit // While the main attraction is the meat and cheese, I like to add some fruit for sweetness! Concord grapes, plums, pears and apples are wonderful seasonal options for a Thanksgiving board... and the colours really pop!

Pickles, Olives, Etc // Every board needs something that is a little briny. I like to include gherkins, pickles, stuffed olives and marinated artichokes. Other items you can add include dark chocolate and roasted nuts.
The Tools // Depending on how many guests you are hosting this board might be big or small. Arranging several boards on a table is also a great option. Serving bowls are also a good idea for things like the condiments and spreads. Don't forget the little forks, knives and spreaders!

Tips // Build your boards and then place in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Don't let charcuterie stand for more than two hours. Keep cut up meats and cheeses in the fridge to allow for quick and easy replenishment.

See, I told you it would be easy! Now that I've whet your appetite for everything Thanksgiving, get ready to hop along to the next bloggers participating in this Thanksgiving blog feast!

Disclosure: This post was in partnership with Wayfair Canada. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.