Weekend Links

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April 18th 2014

The Best Food Blog Awards – hours and hours of procrastination material.

This viral video is pretty clever – and touching.

A friend sent me this recipe and we booth drooled for a solid 5 minutes.

Truly minimalist living at its finest.

Fun recipes for naturally dyed Easter eggs.

Historical myths and traditions about hot cross buns. Happy Easter!

Have a great weekend! xo

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Photo from LaurenConrad.com

Your inner dialogue

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April 17th 2014

Do you really pay attention to your inner dialogue? I mean, really pay attention.

Are you kind to yourself? Are you kind in your thoughts about others?

I’ve been trying to be more conscious about my own thoughts and I’ve been surprised by how negative I am. Honestly. I am particularly negative when it comes to my inner dialogue about myself. This is surprising because I consider myself to be in a pretty great mood lately but, to my surprise, the things I tell myself about myself aren’t that great. My sub-conscious seems to be set to “Self-Critical” most of the time. I don’t consider myself to be someone who is particularly high maintenance or obsessive with regards to my appearance – or so I thought. I wasn’t really paying attention to how hard I am on myself.

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When I began to actually listen to what first came to mind when I looked in the mirror, contemplated taking chances or put myself in vulnerable situations, I wasn’t exactly my own cheering squad. It’s not easy to rewire to brain to stop certain “thought reflexes”. Even when we’re not speaking, we are saying things to ourselves – about ourselves and about others. Learning to listen to these thoughts is a difficult habit to form but one that is worthwhile. I’ve come to discover that I really need to work on what thoughts I allow to percolate up there. I try to counter the negative with positives and to remind myself when I’m being completely ridiculous or just plain lacking perspective. It’s a work in progress but being aware is the first step I suppose.

Ask Lake Jane

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April 16th 2014

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Dear Lake Jane,

I cannot stand this in my house anymore…  What do I do?  Paint it in white?  Build a wall around it?

Thank you!

Sophie

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Dear Sophie,

Your living space looks bright and airy and – as I’m sure you know – this railing prevents it from feeling like one big open space. I’ll give credit where credit is due and thank the railing for preventing your child from falling a couple of feet off the ledge but there are other ways of creating a softer transition between the dining room and living room. 

One of the biggest issues with the railing is the colour of the wood. It’s quite orange and blends right in with the wood floors so it feels even heavier. As you mentioned, painting it white is a great place to start if the budget doesn’t allow for an immediate full-on makeover. I used my very rudimentary Photoshop skills to demonstrate what this would look like:

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This is what you would call Step 1 of a makeover project because it makes the problem area easier to live with whilst you figure out what you really want to do with it. Give it a good sanding, 2 coats of good primer and about 3 coats of white semi-gloss paint and it should stand up really well.

If you have room in the budget for a more elaborate makeover, I have two suggestions. The first involves removing the railing completely, including the steps leading to the living room, thus completely opening up the space. Replace the steps with 2 low and quite deep steps that go from wall to wall. I can’t see what’s on the other right side of the steps but I’m hoping it’s a wall. The steps could have a wood tread and white riser or be all white for a really modern look. Again, please forgive my Photoshopping:

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Another idea would be to, again, remove the railing and stairs completely and to replace half of the railing with a low wall, which would be painted the same wall colour as your existing walls. I would not have the wall extend all the way to the steps as this will actually close up the space even further. Instead, have the wall be 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the existing railing and re-build the steps so that they fill out the difference, creating a wider passageway. A fun idea would be to use the other side of the wall to create a cozy dining nook with a custom banquette (although this depends on how low your window sill is).

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I hope this helps! Good luck Sophie!

Marie-Eve xo

 

If you have entertaining, design, decorating or cooking dilemnas, please send in your questions (photos welcome) to lakejaneblog[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line “Ask Lake Jane”. 

Cheese & Mushroom Melt

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April 15th 2014

It’s raining and it’s pouring and all I want to eat is cheese. Anyone else feelin’ me?

This is certainly not a recipe that photographs well – unless you actually take the time to style it and photograph it with a decent camera, which I did not. But I still want to share it with you because it’s absolutely delicious and a great way to prepare a hearty lunch in less than 5 minutes. Please don’t let the less than stellar photos stop you from giving it a go!

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Ingredients

A little bit of butter

2-3 large mushrooms, chopped

a pinch of fresh thyme, rosemary or any other herb you might fancy

salt and pepper

2 slices of crusty bread, lightly toasted

Old cheddar (or any melty cheese you like), sliced

 

1. Melt the butter in a medium-hot pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté lightly, until the edges of the mushrooms get golden. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and sauté for another minute. Take this minute to toast your bread.

2. Place the slices of melted cheese on top of the mushrooms and cover with a lid to help it melt.

3. When the cheese is all melty, slide the mushroom and cheese mixture to your bread. You can eat it as an open face sandwich too but I prefer to smush it all between two slices of bread and really get in there.

A very easy but satisfying snack that is perfect for dreary weather.

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