Are you ready for a bigger, and better Kelsey Says? We are! Please be patient as the team toils away and works our magic. We’re so excited to unveil everything we have in store this Spring 2016!
Stay tuned! And, even more importantly, have yourself a Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year.
The Kelsey Says Team
“A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” – Phyllis McGinley
Guys, I don’t know what doldrums are, but they don’t sound promising.
Most of us haven’t consciously thought much about hobbies since we were kids, when teachers, on the first day of school, would have us introduce ourselves by listing a few of our favorite things to do at home. “Reading and writing,” I’d always say proudly, like the teacher’s pet I was at that age.
Since I now write as my vocation, I don’t consider it a hobby. It still brings me joy, of course, but, for better or for worse, there is a sense of obligation that surrounds it as deadlines, reader statistics, and other stressful business aspects creep into the picture.
Adopting new hobbies is a never-ending process, and almost a hobby itself for me. I’ve replaced writing as my main hobby with other interests, and I’m constantly in search of anything and everything that captivates and excites me. Though my grade school days are far behind me, the science behind hobbies and happiness is so compelling that it’s a real shame we as adults don’t place the same value on embracing our passions as we did in our childhood.
Read on for the impact of hobbies on our well-being, and a really easy, practical tip for choosing your next hobby.
There are many things I dig about pico de gallo: its ease and versatility; the fact it reminds me of our dreamy Mexican honeymoon; and that my husband can never remember its name. He’s obliviously asked me to make “cinqo de mayo,” “pico de mayo,” “cinqo de gallo,” and several other similar renditions on more occasions than I like to admit.
I keep blabbing on about the exquisite freshness of Mexican food but it’s a cooking attitude I’m totally behind. Allowing the simplicity of the ingredients to shine, with a little help from the addition of fresh herbs and seasonings, introduces the eater to the dish’s components on a more intimate level.
I love how pico de gallo does just that. With the nacho chip as your vehicle (vroom, vroom), you experience the complex marriage of flavors that explodes in your mouth (that’s what she said), achieved with just four ingredients and a dash of salt.
Continue on for the recipe!
(Sorry, Goop. If I’m looking for a list of deluxe coffee presses specifically made for organic, fair-trade beans only – you’re my first stop.)
In one of my last posts, I spoke on changing my blogging practices and, more than anything, my blogging philosophy. This was mostly to save my psyche, but also as a method of connecting more deeply with readers. (Like you!?) (Check out my new About page for where Kelsey Says is heading, or my ‘mission statement,’ if you fancy.)
As much as I’d be so proud to say I’ve always realized perfection is an impossible standard that no one can measure up to, I’ve actually taken this fact as more of a challenge. Like, “Oh yeah, perfection? We’ll see who wins this round.” SPOILER ALERT: It is always the elusive perfection that gets the last laugh, as you’re crying in a pile of your clothes, unable to put together your dream outfit. Oh, you’re just going for groceries with your significant other? DOESN’T MATTER. You’ve gone from zero to you hate yourself in a span of 5 minutes and we both know there’s no way you’re leaving the house now.
Thus goes one’s battle with perfection. Or, at least, my battle. (Admittedly, I’m a tad more dramatic than the average bear.)
Almost as much as our trip to the Mayan Riviera was a love honeymoon, it was a food honeymoon! The bold, vibrant flavors infused in every bite we took there rightfully captivated my tummy. So, I’ve been on a bit of a Mexican kick in the kitchen since our return.
Accordingly, I’m sharing with you today my favorite and go-to lunch option lately: Spicy Shrimp Tacos! Olé!
Some sorry-looking sandwich or limp salad are not passable picks for my mid-day fuel-up. The lunch conundrum I run into echoes a common theme in my life, gastronomic and otherwise: I want something awesome with little to no effort required on my part. While I can’t honestly say this dish takes zero exertion on your part, I can say it’s minimal and totally worth it.
Keep reading for the recipe!
It’s official: Eric and I have been married for one whole month!
The last time I checked up here, I was in the midst of wedding planning chaos, i.e. I was curled up in the fetal position, counting down the seconds until the big day was over. Now that the wedding has passed, I can admit that I spent a lot of time wondering if the fuss would be worth it.
See, I started thinking about my 16th birthday. As a young teenager growing up in North America, turning 16 had been idealized by coming-of-age films starring Molly Ringwald and episodes of obnoxious teens on My Super Sweet 16. I bought into the hype and, as my birthday approached, I was curious for the transformation that would undoubtedly take place. Why make such a big deal over nothing? There was no way I’d be the same awkward teen once I was 16. I’d finally be the effortless, fun-loving teen I’d imagined I’d become as a child.
Returning for its fifth delicious year, the annual Harvest Table luncheon will be gracing Ottawa’s foodie community the end of this month, Sunday, August 30 from noon to 2 p.m.! With your ticket, not only are you treated to a generous, seasonal feast, you’re gifted the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the faces behind the food, from chefs, producers, retailers, and more.
Six months ago – hell, even two months ago – when I was planning how to handle the month-of wedding stress, I figured that well-thought-out blog schedules and detailed to-do lists would enable me to keep up with my blog schedule. Why I ever dreamed I’d be so rational and sane, I’ll never know.
I have to give myself credit because I think I’m keeping my cool a lot better than maybe some would have predicted. This is thanks to The Knot’s prep lists and the occasional tranquilizer. Still, how anyone, especially a freelancer, gets any professional work done the month before their wedding is a trick I’ll never figure out. Kudos to you, warriors of time and organization.
The last two weeks have slipped by like a long weekend and, to be truthful, the amount of time I spend perusing web links is admittedly much less than in an average work week, where I embrace procrastination much more voraciously. Still, here’s what’s tickling my fancy lately, featuring Insta-breaks, ballet flat heels, and MY BRIDAL SHOWER!
As predicted, things are getting chaotic with the wedding only 25 days away. (Typing that sentence may or may not have been the catalyst of a mini panic attack. Hello, sweat stains.) The past week has been all about tweaking before the big day: wedding dress fittings, hair trials, and figuring out other details like make-up and accessories.
I feel like every second is a second I should be using doing something productive and, for a lot of those moments, I am in the midst of a project or at least planning one out. I have to force myself to be okay with downtime at the end of the night or sitting at the dinner table to eat with Eric instead of scribbling in my wedding binder.
In between frantic planning and sleep, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite links from the past week, from a reason to hang out more with your good friends to a turkey burger to die for and a top-notch bridal store that should be a stop for all Ottawa bride-to-bes!
You may or may not have picked up on the few (hundred) times I’ve mentioned I’m getting married at the end of August. I realize it’s every second word out of my mouth – or typed out my fingers, I guess – and I’m almost as sick of talking about it as you are of hearing it. (‘Almost’ is the operative word here, I know.)
“How am I going to get everything done?” and “Will I still fit into my dress?” were questions I saw coming and prepared for months ago. (The respective answers are ‘very carefully’ and ‘if it’s the last thing I do on this earth.’) However, throughout my experience as a bride-to-be, I’ve been surprised by a few other questions that have crossed my mind more than once or twice. Keep reading to find out what they are and how to deal with your wedding day jitters.
With the wedding only a month (and one day!) away, you’d think the romance of exchanging our vows or the anticipation of my big walk down the aisle would be some of my more predominant thoughts. You would be wrong. As the day gets closer, both Eric and I are like, “What wedding? LET’S HONEYMOON!”
We’ll be heading to the Riviera Maya in Mexico at the beginning of September to de-stress and enjoy each other’s company after over a year of planning for our marriage. As pumped as we are for the wedding (and we really, really are), after thinking about it for long enough, you start to wonder if all the hassle (i.e. extravagant expenses) is worth it. I know the answer is yes, but the nail-biting leading up to the day and obsessively checking the weather forecast is making me a little nutty.
If you’re like us and drawing your escape route to a tropical, beachy destination, you’ve probably been mentally putting together your packing list already. I know I have! Let me your travel prep that much easier with the 8 Sunny Essentials I wouldn’t leave for the beach without.
Hi friends! Hope you’ve had a great week. It is hot hot heat here in Ottawa this week, and I am LOVING it! It’s exactly what my soul needed, as cheesy as it sounds.
This week’s edition brings snaps from our weekend hiking mini-adventure, a cultural look at the word ‘just,’ Misty Copeland, and MORE! Come take a look!
Moving to Bank St. last September was a dizzying experience. It took a while to feel balanced, like I was home. The first new things I bought that made the dreary apartment more us and less our shitty rental company’s was a rose quartz crystal and a small, white pyramid from Planet Botanix.
A curious little shop just around the corner from us, it reminded me of charming, kitschy stores my family and I love to visit in Westport or Merrickville. I couldn’t wait to revisit, expand my crystal collection, and explore more of what their business had to offer. It’s since become one of my favorite stores in the neighborhood and a stop at Planet Botanix is an easy pick-me-up if I’m having a blah day.
GUYS. This wedding planning hoopla is BANANAS. I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions and all I want to do is curl up with a cocktail and an episode of You’re the Worst.
Still, I feel even worse for my bridal party, as my bachelorette is coming up this weekend and I know they’re all working so hard. They’ve all been so awesome, enthusiastic, and supportive during this rollercoaster of an experience. I count myself very lucky to have been graced with such wonderful women by my side. I couldn’t have done it without you guys!
Because it’s so hectic, excuse me for bringing you a Lite edition of Last Week’s Favorites – and a day late, no less!
Enjoy this week’s picks from Gala Darling’s beginner’s guide to crystals to Mindy serving up some bridesmaid realness and MORE!
My second and most recent month as a participant of the Foodie Pen Pal program, I received a small jar of Thai Kitchen’s Red Curry Paste as part of my package. Admittedly, I was hesitant but I wasn’t entirely sure why.
A long-time fan of all things spicy and, more specifically, curry, it didn’t take me long to pinpoint the culprit behind my apprehension: a lack of ideas on how to implement the paste in the kitchen. I just hate having ingredients sit around my pantry, or fridge, dutifully waiting as their expiry date approaches and I finally have an excuse to toss them. No doubt, this was the future in store for this curry paste. Or so I thought.
It was Eric that cracked the seal on the curry seasoning for a curious taste. “Hey, we could use this red curry paste or whatever in a lot of meals. I like the savoryness. Do I have to put this in the fridge?” Eric noted absentmindedly as I chopped at the cutting board, preparing dinner one evening.
Hi again, friends! Hope you had an awesome weekend – mine was spent doing some much-needed relaxing, prior to the very real impending wedding whirlwind. I’m so excited for the events of the next few months, but am trying desperately to save from feeling overwhelmed. It’s all in being proactive and doing some prior planning! (And engaging in some alliteration, apparently.)
This Monday’s version of Last Week’s Favorites features big news for the Kelsey Says website, big news for the caffeine-phobic, big news for The Mindy Project fans, and MORE!
So announced Netflix last night, six hours earlier than the already established release time, much to the surprise and elation of the show’s enthusiastic fans.
Are you a fan of the prison dramedy? After being introduced to the show by a pal, Eric and I got into it, and got into it hardcore. On weeknights, being eyed down by work bedtimes, we’d turn to each other as the episode ended to ask the now-rhetorical question, “Another?”
Last week’s colorful, flavorful, and just so damn photogenic steak fajitas, from the good people at Culiniste. (Click the link for recipe!)
This week’s edition of Last Week’s Favorites introduces the lovely Caitlyn Jenner, reveals the hidden bond between cats and dolphins, and presents coffee & donut ice cream.
Have a happy week, friends!
Last September, Eric and I made the move from suburban life to downtown dwelling. Along with a handful of other adjustments we had to make, Eric had to find a way to satisfy his green thumb without a backyard of our own.
Not as difficult as we had envisioned, with only a balcony, window sills, and lots of sunlight, he currently has a number of plants on the go, including both Roma and cherry tomatoes, a lime tree, a grapefruit tree, basil, and more.
Last week, I was lucky enough to sample the weekly dinner service, Culiniste, for Ottawa blog, Apt613. (For more details on this very cool company, keep an eye out here for the link or check out their website.) We were so satisfied with our meals that I’ll be sharing these three very delicious recipes over the next few weeks!
On Culiniste, you have the ability to choose which meals you are sent. When we perused our six options for the coming week, the Pan-Seared Bavette Steak was a no-brainer. A classic dish, just the anticipation of the savory cut of beef paired with a fresh salad dressed with a tomato vinaigrette was simply too mouth-watering to deny.
A generous serving size for two, any leftovers can be quickly transformed into an equally appetizing lunch the next day. Keep reading for the recipe and leftover suggestions!
Image courtesy of Bon Appetit.
I want to start this week by introducing a new feature: Last Week’s Favorites! Meant as a collection of Internet finds, real life moments, cherished products, or returning old faithfuls that made me excited the week before, I hope you like it and that you’ll share your picks too!
Without further ado, here’s what I was into last week! Unsurprisingly, foodie picks reign supreme – hello, color-coded salad via Bon Appetit! – along with a cat lady pick, home décor based on your Myers-Briggs type, and much more!