Thursday, 25 September 2014

We're Still Mad For Plaid!

Last November, we wrote about plaid fashions for your closet and home. This Autumn, we're at it again! Check out the latest, cutest and most affordable items in the season's hottest print. Bonus: You can wear your plaid into winter!

Mad For Plaid: Classy

Channel glam pin-up model Bernie Dexter (pictured) and choose one plaid piece and glam it up with feminine shoes, a structured handbag or a vintage hairdo. Effortlessly classy!
Mad For Plaid: Casual

Kick back and relax in casual, comfy pieces in a fun print. We're especially fond of those plaid pj pants, which go up to a size 4X and will run you just $18. (We've found even cheaper, fleece and cotton versions at Walmart, too!)
Mad For Plaid: Grunge

Whether you're missing the 90s and Nirvana or just want to rock an affordable trend, try grunge. Go all out with an oversized flannel top (à la Kurt Cobain), sneakers or combat boots and thrifted torn jeans. Or pick one piece, like a frayed plaid scarf or big boots covered in Buffalo plaid print.

Which look do you like best? And what print are you most excited about wearing this fall?

Friday, 19 September 2014

Toronto: Free Book Festival This Sunday!

The Word On The Street is an annual literacy festival in Toronto featuring pop-up bookstores, free entertainment for kids, author talks and more. Admission is free!

The festival appeals to a wide variety of people, including:

Bibliophiles. Just being surrounded by books induces bibliophile bliss, but being able to purchase books from local authors with heavy discounts? Bonus!

Families. Is there anything better than entertaining your kid for an entire day, without spending a cent? Visit the Toronto Public Library's tent, where your child can sign up for her very own library card (just bring proof that your family resides in the GTA). Next, learn about great new books for kids at the TD Children's Literature tent, explore the Children's Activity Tent and watch a live show at the TVOKids stage.

English language learners/ English as a second language learners (ELL/ESL): Find books in your native language (especially children's picture books), resources for practicing your English and information for newcomers to Canada.

Educators: If you're a teacher of any kind and are passionate about literacy being accessible for all, you'll enjoy this festival. Literacy Lane will be right up your alley! And be sure to keep an eye out for freebies and discounts exclusively for teachers.
Our favourite part of the festival is the marketplace, dubbed "Canada's biggest outdoor bookstore", where you can buy books, magazines, bookmarks, t-shirts and more. The emphasis on Canadian publications is refreshing. You might even run into a local author or two!

A few extra tips for making the best of WOTS:

-Wear comfy shoes! Although there are some places to sit, you'll want to see everything, so there's a lot of walking!
-Pack a healthy snack. You'll need your sustenance! There are usually a few food trucks around, but nothing beats a cheap and cheerful, made-with-love picnic lunch on a nice day!
-If you plan on shopping, bring cash. There are some great deals that make visiting an ATM totally worthwhile.

The Word On The Street is this Sunday, 21 September 2014 from 11 am to 6 pm, at Queen's Park Circle.

For more information, see the official Word On The Street website.

Full disclosure: We are in no way affiliated with The Word On The Street. We're simply fans of the event and believe supporting literacy and Canadian authors is important!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Easy Autumn Recipe: Bruschetta and Spaghetti with Homemade Crockpot Meat Sauce

It's starting to get chilly here in Ohio! Warm up with this delicious, hearty and easy to prepare meal the whole family will love. Bonus: It's full of vegetables and protein; perfect sustenance for kids who have to do homework and moms who have freelancing to do after dinner.



Roma tomatoes
Garlic cloves (I like it garlicky!)
Olive oil
Basil (fresh or dried)
Parmesan cheese
Your choice of bread

How to:
Chop up tomatoes into bite sized pieces.
Crush your garlic. As a shortcut, skip this step and use chopped garlic in a jar.
Combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil (to taste) and basil in a large bowl. Stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Turn on broiler.
Slice bread, place on cookie tray and place in oven until slightly browned.
Put bruschetta mixture on bread and broil until the bread looks crispy.
Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Spaghetti with Homemade Crockpot Meat Sauce

Olive oil
Ground hamburger, turkey or chicken (I used ground sirloin from Meijer)
2 jars of spaghetti sauce (any brand, as long as it is thick in consistency)
Bay leaf and spices, if desired
Parmesan cheese, if desired

How to:

Chop up vegetables.
Saute vegetables and garlic in olive oil.
Place cooked vegetables in crockpot.
Add ground meat to unwashed frying pan. The meat will take on the flavour of the vegetables. Cook until browned.
Drain any grease from meat. Then add meat to crockpot and mix.
Add spaghetti sauce and mix again.
Add bay leaf and spices if desired.
Cover crock pot. Cook on low for several hours. This makes the flavours "marry" and the consistency thicken. Yum!
Cook spaghetti according to directions on box.
Drain spaghetti and serve with a generous helping of sauce, and parmesan, if desired.