Welcome To My Closet – Summer Haul (with Tag)

I did a closet haul last Summer and another for Autumn/Winter and so many of you enjoyed and commented on them that I thought I’d do a new one with pieces I’ve added for this season.

I’ll also be answering a fun Summer Tag from a fashion blog I follow.

Welcome to my closet.

1. Favorite bronzer for summer?  QUO shimmer bronzer in Sun Kissed. Sold only at Shoppers Drugmart

I wore this for my birthday party dinner. AX Paris pink lace and mesh

2. You’re relaxing in a hammock, on a tropical island. What are you sipping on?  Pineapple Gin and Tonic  or a hard Apple Cider

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Classic white Chuck Taylors with summer dresses and jeans

3. Favorite summer lip product?  Maybelline Babylips lip balms

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A simple denim dress with sandals and sunglasses looks comfy and put together

4. Pool or Beach?  The Beach – take some good books and I’m good for the afternoon

This maxi gingham dress has a red ribbon tie on the back for a pop of unexpected color

5. Summer = crazy hair! What’s your must-have styling product? Moroccan Oil hair serum and a deep moisturizing treatment weekly with Monoi Oil

Michael Kors classic ballet flats are a staple in any wardrobe

6. Sun bathing or fake tan?  Spray tan with Bioderma. The only sunless tanner I’ve tried that looks completely natural.

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I wear this floral jumpsuit dressed up with heels or paired down with converse

7. Favorite summer nail polish? bright corals, electric blues or a clean french tip.

Michael Kors cork platform heels in orange

8. Any summer traditions? So many:  Camping, hiking, floating on the lakes, family trip to Cultus, my birthday party dinner with friends.

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The lace detailing and print on this flowy dress is just lovely. By Free People

9. Favorite summer scent?  Coconut & Happy by Clinique

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This kimono style dress feel feminine and looks great with sandals or my orange cork heels

10. Favorite BBQ food? ribs, corn on the cob and macaroni salad

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Michael Kors Mahari Sandal

11. What’s your favorite summer-proof product?  La Roche Posay Anthellios SPF 60 for face.  I have oily skin and this SPF is matte. I layer Aveeno tinted moisturizer overtop with SPF 30 then do my makeup.

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This gorgeous lacy top has winged sleeves and looks pretty with a skirt or even distressed cutoffs 

12. Any summer vacation plans this year? No plans? Tell us about your dream summer trip!  Our Summer has been chock full of activities, family time. We camped a couple of times, my birthday party dinner was fun.  We’re headed to Cultus for our annual family trip. And it’s not stopping there.  We’re headed to Jamaica next month! 

 

I do hope you’ve enjoyed another peek inside my closet and if you have a topic to suggest I write about or just want to drop by and say hello,  You know you can always find me here a the Bell Witch Manor.

Love,

Jennifer

PS:  To read my past closet hauls I will add the links here:

Summer Haul 2016  https://thebellwitchmanor.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/in-my-closet-summer-edition/

Autumn Haul 2016  https://thebellwitchmanor.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/in-my-closet-autumn-edition-tag/

A Ramble and Fall Candle Preview

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As August enters it’s 3rd week and  the weather is still hot and the sun is bright, I can’t help but feel a twinge of excitement at the coming of Autumn. Summer’s been so busy and I quite look forward to the slowing down that occurs with longer nights. 

June began with the rush of birthday parties in my boyfriend’s family.  They’re all Gemini see, so every year, right after Mother’s Day, the birthday’s start and we find ourselves at a party every weekend, enjoying Seth’s mom’s amazingly creative cakes and too many visits to Toys R Us to count.  It’s always fun to be with family however. 

July started with a bang. Canada day celebrations, BBQ’s, trips to Brohm Lake in Squamish followed by my annual Birthday dinner.  Family camping,  a road trip to Portland with my sister and nephew and in a blink of an eye, here we are. August.  

Taking a very purposeful stroll into Home Sense the other day I was welcomed at the door by pumpkins, scarecrows and that buttery, spicy scent only Autumn can conjure. I love candle shopping at Home Sense especially. They may be discontinued or last season candles but this just means they’re as cozy and delicious, but 50% off. 

I wandered the isles reading the labels and removing glass lids, inhaling pumpkin spice, apples, woodfire and before I knew it, I had about 8 candles in my basket. 

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So I will continue to enjoy the heat wave August has brought us but I know that inside my armoire cupboard is the hope of autumn storms, cozy nights by the fire, Thanksgiving and soft sweaters.  

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Yankee Candle Macintosh  – this candle smells exactly as biting into a crunchy sweet apple

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DW Home in Autumn Embers – Wood fire cozy fireplace scent. A favourite of mine every year.

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DW Home in Apple Cider – a mulled cider scent with sweet apple, cloves and cinnamon.

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Everyday Luxe Pumpkin Candle – basically a pumpkin pie baking in the oven

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White Barn Bourbon Sea Salt & Caramel – This one smells like a butter pecan pie topped with mouth watering salted caramel.

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Yankee Candle Vanilla Cupcake – I buy this one every single year and pull it out closer to Winter.  Light this candle in your kitchen and your guests will think you’re baking a delicious cake.

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Yankee Candle Autumn Leave – A favourite of mine.  With notes of maple and pomegranate, this one reminds me of a crisp sunny September walk in the park under a canopy of golden leaves.

Love,

Jennifer

Creamy Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Spinach

It’s high Summer on the Pacific Northwest Coast. It hasn’t rained in weeks.  The sun is hot and we spent the day hiking at Belcarra Regional Park about 1 hour outside of Vancouver.  Shielded from the muggy, hazy air, the cooler temperature under the forest canopy was a welcome reward.   Ignoring the cougar and bear siting signs, we trekked up to the summit overlooking Deep Cove and back down to the beach at Jug Island to snack on blueberries, rice crackers and hummus.

13 kms later and all I could think of was a big bowl of creamy pasta.  During a visit to Bruce’s Country Market earlier in the week (http://www.bruces.ca/history.html), we picked up some of their famous salmon, double smoked on site.  After snacking on it straight out of the bag if found it’s way into the drawer in the fridge so I pulled out the remaining 2 pieces and improvised this recipe that came out… OMG…really good.

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The amounts will be to taste or approximate as this is the first time I’ve made this and my cooking is usually based on tasting it as it’s in the pot and adjusting so bear with me.

You will need:

  • 4 cups cooked fettuccine
  • 2 handfulls chopped baby spinach
  • 1 cup flaked smoked salmon
  • 3 Tblsp butter (1 for the cooked fettuccine and 2 for the sauce)
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 3/4 cups half & half cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine
  • 4 Tblsp (or more to taste) parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Cook the fettuccine according to the package, strain and butter. Set aside. You will add the pasta to the sauce once it’s ready.

Merlin insisted he needed attention at the exact time as I was cooking.  He can be demanding but he’s such a sweet guy that I had to crouch down and give him snuggles and belly rubs, dragging my cooking out a little.

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To make the cream sauce set the stove at medium heat and in a deep/heavy pan add the 2Tblsp of butter and once melted add the garlic and stir for about a minute.  Sprinkle the flour and stir quickly as it will thicken fast. Immediately add the chicken broth (or white wine) and stir/whisk as it begins to thicken again.

Next comes the cream, stirring while you pour it in.  This is where you will have to  use your judgement and add more cream or broth to keep the sauce thick but not too much so.

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Add garlic powder and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Remember that smoked salmon is salty so you might prefer to add the salmon first then salt as needed.

Add the spinach and smoked salmon and mix well. Now it was smelling so good and my mouth was watering in anticipation.

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Lower heat to minimum and add the pasta, scoop by scoop, mixing to coat.

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Light candles, serve immediately and top with parmesan.

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Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Summer Orzo Salad with Spinach, Feta and Cranberries

British Columbia is on fire!. Literally.  There are currently close to 800 fires burning throughout the interior and Cariboo region of BC. The winds must have changed because this morning we woke to hazy skies and a crimson sun.  It’s August 1st, Lammas or the first harvest that we as pagans celebrate.  Wheat, corn, squash, grapes and an abundance of fruit are ready to be enjoyed.

In honour of the Harvest Festival we decided to make a Summer feast: Sweet corn on the cob, BBQ chicken and my favourite summer Orzo Salad.

You will need: 

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo, uncooked
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • about 3/4 of a bag of baby spinach,sliced
  • 2 handfuls of dried cranberries
  • Feta cheese crumbled (as much as you like)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I toast them in a nonstick pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes with a drizzle of sesame oil)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (I add 1 then taste and add more if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons minced green onion (scallion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of Olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

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  • Cook orzo in boiling water until it is al dente. Strain and set aside to cool.
  • In bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, sugar, green onion, paprika, vinegar, oil and pinches of salt and pepper.
  • In a large salad bowl combine orzo, almonds, spinach and cranberries. Gently toss ingredients with about 1/2 amount of dressing. Taste and add more if you like.
  •  Add feta cheese and gently toss again.
  • Serve  at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Happy Harvest friends!

Love,

Jennifer

Yellow Wax Beans in Garlic Butter & Spinach Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing. 

The sun was shining when we woke this morning.  Seth strolled over to the coffee shop for his morning cappuccino while I bustled barefoot around the kitchen making bacon and egg wraps for breakfast.  After a leisurely breakfast, we parted ways;  Seth out to pick up supplies for our upcoming camping trip. I drove into Kits for groceries.

I like to take time in the produce section, looking for inspiration among colourful peppers and leafy greens.  I found yellow wax beans today which must be in season as I don’t usually see them and this is how our dinner sides were born:

Yellow wax beans in garlic butter and Spinach Strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing. 

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Yellow Wax Beans in Garlic Butter 

You will need:

2 cups trimmed yellow wax beans

3-4 garlic cloves chopped

2 Tblsp of Butter

Herbs of your choice – I used dill today

Wash and trim the yellow beans and blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water. When they are al dente, strain and heat up butter in a pan.  Add the garlic, beans and herbs to the butter and stir to coat.  The beans will be cooked already after boiling so you only need do this for a few minutes.  Serve immediately.

 

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

You will need:

Spinach chopped

Strawberries sliced

1 carrot shredded

1 small avocado sliced

Poppyseed dressing

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Add all ingredients into a salad bowl and add dressing when serving. Yup!  that simple.

 

Both of these sides took just minutes to prepare and were on the table by the time Seth came in with the BBQ’d  chicken.   After our breakfast wraps we really weren’t hungry the rest of the day so aside from snacking on some cantaloupe, blueberries and yogurt in the afternoon, we were now ready to eat a real meal.

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Summer cooking is all about seasonal veggies and fruit at home. Light meals, short cooking times and more time outdoors camping, hiking and enjoying the beautiful nature the Pacific Coast offers us.  I hope you’ve enjoyed these simple recipes and bon appetit!

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Love,

jennifer

 

What I Got For My Birthday

I had such a great birthday this week.  Family and Friends joined me for dinner at Hapa Izakaya and spoiled me with flowers and cards and gifts.  I thought I’d share what I got as these are some of my personal favourite blogs to read myself; what’s in my closet or my bag or shower.  It’s fun to see what products and things people are into and many times I find myself purchasing the same things.

So this is what I got! And a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out. I love and appreciate you.

The Kinfolk Table Book

I’ll start with something I treated myself with.  I have a tradition each year where I buy a new dress to wear on my birthday and something from one of my wish lists.  These 2 books have been on my Amazon wish list for a while.  The Kinfolk Table is a beautifully photographed book that visits a variety of couples homes and records the recipes they love as well as take the reader to the hip-est dinner parties. I could just look at the pictures in this book all day. The recipes are simple and amazing too.

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An Old Fashioned Christmas

I love Christmas; the baking, the spirit in the air, the snow, shopping for presents. This book encompasses all of this and places it in a New England setting.  I dream of a trip to the East Coast in the near future: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire & Massachusetts seem like such magical places.  Pine forests and wood smoke is what I envision. This book will be perfect to curl up with next to the fire when the sun starts setting early.

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From my Sister Stephanie

I’ve been using this body scrub for years and will continue to do so as long as they make it.  It is an amazing scrub that foams so your skin feels really clean afterward, not greasy like many body scrubs. This one’s perfect for using before spray tanning.

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She also got me a $25 gift card for Chapters, a book store here in Canada that also carries home decor and unique beauty products.  I went for a browse today and found this amazing Coconut bath powder.  The ingredients are literally baking soda and coconut powder and it smells like mouthwatering coconut..like so good you want to eat it.  I’m so taking a bath after I write this blog tonight!

From Seth

My sweet boyfriend got me this gorgeous rose gold iPad.  I don’t have a cel phone so whenever we travel and I need to be online, I lug my MacBook Pro with me which is bulky and heavy and not very convenient.  I’ve been wanting an iPad for a while as we plan do to some more world travelling in the near future (starting with Jamaica in September) and being an anxious traveller, this will come so in handy to distract me  before boarding and while flying.  I plan to download movies and meditation vids that will help soothe my anxiety.

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From Mom and Dad

My parents got me a few goodies, including some body butter and perfume from the Body Shop, a really soft, stretchy skirt (which I’ve been wearing everyday) and a pair of beautiful Native Art earrings featuring the Orca and the Eagle.

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From my sister in law Alli

Allison and her children got me this great t-shirt that basically describes everything I love in life.  They also drew me these beautiful cards with a wand a la Harry Potter and a heart for a sun.  Alli also got me a certificate to my favourite shop and I’ll show you what I got from there in a bit.

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From my sister in law Ragne

Ragne bought me these lovely white and fuschia snap dragons that are currently adorning my kitchen counter.  She had visited the crystal ark earlier in the day and the children chose these 2 rose quartz for me.  I love crystals and have a  large collection.

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From Cheryl

My Mother in law very generously gifted me $100 to Shoppers Drugmart. Everytime I tell people that this is my favourite store (aside from Asos for clothing), they giggle.  But I buy all of my cosmetics and toiletries at Shoppers so getting a certificate is so great plus I’d been eyeing a couple of things that I REALLY wanted and got to go buy today!

With my shoppers cards both from Alli and Cheryl I purchased my Strivectin Retinol which I use religiously and is pretty steeply priced but worth every penny.  I also bought (finally) the Mind eye shadow palette by Stila  I got to sample it at an event last winter and have been pining over it ever since.  The rich burnt orange, browns and burgundy shadows are going to be my go-to look for Fall this year.

From Jenn, Renne & Brooklyn

My dear friends and fellow Colombian (Jenn) were so sweet to come out and celebrate. They bought me these lovely fragrant soap and perfume.  The soap is in Thai Lily and the perfume is Honeysuckle which is a crazy coincidence because in my 20’s I used to always buy a honeysuckle scented oil that was my signature scent so what a great guess on their part.

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Another gift from ME

And all that shopping today took me right by Bath & Bodyworks and of course I had to go in. I absolutely love candles and just my luck they had a 2 for 1 sale so I chose the Rose Water one which I’m burning as I write and is so sweet and perfect for summer.  The Bourbon candle is the type of foodie candle I love to use in the Fall so I’ll save it until then.

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And this concludes the wonderful gifts I received although the greatest gift is to be able to have a family and friends to celebrate life with. I’m so grateful to them all. Until next year!

 

Love,

Jennifer

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Chopped Salad a la Jenn

It’s July and the hot spell we’ve had in the city has kept us outdoors.  Enjoying afternoons floating on the lake or laying on a blanket at the beach with music and books,  it’s hard to come inside especially when our summers last less than 3 months. The impending shorter days and rainy season in the back of our minds.  It’s so convenient to keep meals quick and simple and this salad quite literally takes minutes to make.  After reading in the park for a few hours today, we were hungry and having dinner served in under 30 minutes was exactly what we needed.

 

You will need: 

1 iceberg lettuce

2 chicken breasts

3 eggs

Chopped bacon (optional)

Cherry tomatoes halved

Olives

1 avocado

Ranch Dressing

 

Start by bringing a small pot of water to a boil then add the eggs and boil for 15 minutes. Strain and peel under cold running water.  Chop and set aside.

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Slice the chicken breast into thick strips.  Place in a bowl and marinade to your taste.  I added salt, Old Bay seasoning, Sriracha sauce, dill and 2 Asian spices  I have in smoky hibachi and sweet ginger garlic flavours.

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Chop bacon and cook on a hot pan.  Remove from heat when crispy and strain on a paper towel.

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In the same pan you cooked the bacon, add a drizzle of coconut oil and butter and grill the chicken until cooked.  Set aside.

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In a bowl add large chunks of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocado and olives.  The idea is that each person put together their own salad once it’s set on the table.

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I served the hot ingredients separately. The chicken on a platter and to another bowl added the chopped eggs and bacon bits.

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Set the table and place all ingredients in the centre of the table and enjoy putting your own salads together with ingredients that appeal to you.

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The chicken, eggs and avocado give you the protein and healthy fat that makes this salad go a long way.  You may be eating a salad but I guarantee you, you won’t be hungry.

Enjoy friends.

Love,

Jennifer

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