Friday, 24 February 2012


We all have it. 

Regardless of how much we pretend to be organized and neat as can be, we all have that drawer, that closet, or that storage room filled with random odds and sods that for some reason or another we have difficulty letting go. Old t-shirts from college. Ratty paperbacks with embarrassing titles. Letters from old friends and lovers. Horrible party pictures that should never have been taken. Birthday cards from people you can barely remember. The remains of some sort of stupid crafting project gone wrong (anyone want a set of knitting needles tangled in a ball of yarn?). Or if you're me, it could be the red plastic fireman's hat...which I don't remember buying - yet it's lived in my closet for years.
And while I'm definitely one of those guys that likes to be surrounded by his stuff, there comes a point when that stuff becomes crap. Useless, stale, space and energy consuming crap. Those $250 college textbooks that seemed so important five years ago - not so much anymore. The shirts that I'll never get into again - or the ones that I'm hanging onto for stupid sentimental reasons...the movies and CD's that I haven't watched or listened to in years have slowly been taking over my place....all crap.

To say that these past two months has been a roller coaster of sorts is definitely an understatement. The end of a relationship. New adventures. New outlooks on where I'd like to see myself in a couple of years. A fresh perspective on what's really important vs. what's just consuming negative energy - and in this case space. I've really found myself really focusing in on 'me' lately to say the least...and by clearing random 'crap' per say, be it physical or otherwise, I've been able to better focus my energies into what drives me, motivates me and in the end, what makes me happy.

Slowly but surely I've spent the past couple of evenings weeding through my place...something that I like to do every couple of months. However, this time, I found myself being ruthless. If I hadn't worn it in the past six months, into the Goodwill bag it went. If it had been hidden under my bed for the past year, into the Goodwill bag it went. 

And you know what - 

It felt great lightening my load. Getting rid of some stuff. Some crap. Stuff that once meant so much that had served its purpose, or never found a purpose around my place.

I've still got a ways to go. There's a storage room waiting for me...but I think that I'm on the right track.

Two evenings, a gazillion songs, some random Dan dancing and prancing around later I've ended up with this - 
Four bags of stuff for Goodwill. Four bags of my useless, meaningless crap. Stuff that I'm not going to miss. And let's not forget about the two bags of random garbage...old papers, magazine clippings, ratty t-shirts and other crap not worthy of being donated.

I feel lighter. I feel satisfied. I can see open my closet again without having a mountain of jeans falling on me. It's all good....and it's just the beginning!

I might need to buy some more garbage bags!


PS. Anyone want a silver tea set? It seemed like a good idea at the time...that or who's up for coming over for tea...using my stupid tea set? I might even make some 'brony' inspired cookies to serve with the tea! :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Word up.

Do what makes you happy. 
Be with who makes you smile. 
Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Dan made soup.

Last night as I laid under the covers flipping through a magazine before bed I stumbled across a recipe that excited me enough that it was all I could think about today (well almost....obviously I was thinking about other goofy things as well...but that's another story for another time). Sitting at my desk this afternoon my mind was made-up that I was going to come straight home to attempt to make what hopefully become the first of many batches of roasted red pepper & tomato soup. From scratch....even the roasting.

And while by no means is this is a food blog, I ended up impressed enough with my end results that I figured that it was worth sharing the recipe. It's not often that I stumble across a new recipe that's as fool proof as this one...that said, make sure you block off about 1-1/2 to 2 hours to make your own takes a bitta time to get everything just right! 

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

4 red peppers (I always buy the smaller bagged ones....if they're larger, use 3)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (buy the good stuff!)
1 cup diced sweet onion
3 cloves of garlic (or if you're like me and don't wanna go overboard with garlic-y fun, use 1/2 tsp of ready minced garlic)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (chop it fairly fine)
1 28 oz can of whole or diced stewing tomatoes (grab the basic ones without added spices)
1 cup of water
1 pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of granulated sugar
So, first off, you'll want to preheat your oven to 375F. Wash your peppers, cut the tops off, discarding the seeds and inner membranes. Grab a baking sheet (or a cake pan), line with parchment paper, placing peppers cut side down. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until blistered looking.
Once your peppers are ready, you'll want to place them in a bowl (I used tongs to do this); cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap....this lets the peppers steam and loosens the skins. Leave for 20 minutes.

While your peppers are steaming, grab a large pot and heat your olive oil over medium heat. Toss in your garlic, onion and rosemary. Saute for ten minutes (ps. your place will smell amazing!), or until everything is softened. 

At this time, you'll want to peel your peppers....which can get messy....and then add to the pot, followed by your can of tomatoes, water, salt and sugar. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once your soup has finished cooking, you're going to want to grab your blender  (or in my case lug out your blender....I swear, I own the first blender ever heavy) at which point you'll want to puree small batches (I did about a quarter of my soup per batch). 
Pour your pureed soup into bowls and serve with a drizzling of olive oil, crumpled cheese and fresh rosemary sprigs (the oil drizzle really sets it off).

Even though it took awhile, this is hands down one of the easiest recipes that I've tried as of late. In the end I think I may have ended up with about 4 decent sized servings of soup. I'm thinking the next time I make it I'll definitely double the batch.

If you're in a hurry and are starving...grab some canned soup, if you've got some time to play around (and have a chocolate bar in the freezer that you can nibble on like me....), then this recipe is so worth trying!

So after making this recipe as well as the pumpkin soup that I made last Thanksgiving, I now know that I've basically figured out pureed soups....I'm thinking it's time to crack out the slow cooker and see what sorta stew I can dream up....mmm.....stew! Something meaty, flavorful and filling (get your minds out of the gutter)!

Stew tuned! Haha.

***Recipe based on the roasted red pepper & tomato soup recipe featured in the February 2012 Style at Home magazine

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Around the office.

Holy shiz! 

How fast have the past couple of weeks gone by!?! I can't believe that we're already into February....and I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted! Wasn't the goal for 2012 to be a better blogger....grow this site? 

Let's just say that January was an uphill battle of sorts filled with a gazillion adventures and emotions - both planned and unplanned. I think I kinda finally feel like a grownup. 
Anyways, it's a new month filled with new adventures, lots of potential & opportunity...and so far, so good!

I've been crazy busy around the office as of late! Seriously - I'm like the Tasmanian Devil when I get into work. I've got a million different projects on the go right and sometimes feel like all I do is spin in circles throwing files around. However, slowly but surely, everything is starting to make sense.
A lot of time has been devoted to arranging for the arrival of 60-ish containers of spring and summer fun. I've got loads of amazing seasonal pieces coming from overseas and I'm excited for them to arrive! You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to seeing the bright colours that come with summer (Winnipeg's looking pretty bleak right now...)! 

I received confirmation this morning that my first couple of containers arrived and were being un-stuffed this afternoon....exciting stuff! I can't wait to share some snaps once everything is set-up and looking great! Did I mention that I'll be broke after buying one of everything that's coming off the containers?! I'm especially excited for my Vietnamese pottery....bright turquoise! Lots of reds! Amazing ceramic garden stools! Can't wait!
And while I'm uber excited for spring to arrive (for personal and professional reasons), professionally I'm already looking ahead to this coming fall - I've spent the past couple of weeks reviewing upholstery swatches, granite colours, wood finishes and quotes from what seems like every second factory in Asia...
It can be a little bit overwhelming at times...I've got some tight deadlines and a lot of numbers to figure out, colours to pick, etc, etc, but at the same time it's pretty damn exciting! I mean, not that many people get to play with fabric swatches or see the actual factory cost of pieces (before the retailers throw on their markups....). It's a pretty neat process. Plus there's fabric swatches (I mentioned those already didn't I?)!

At some point I'll dig myself out from under the stack of catalogues and brochures that's starting to fill my office (I guess that's what I get for posting a couple of inquiries onto LinkedIn....), will figure out which fabric swatches make me the happiest and will hopefully resume activities at a somewhat normal which time I'll begin looking for summer seasonal pieces again - for 2013. 
At some point I should invest in a couple calendars so I can remember what month I'm actually in vs. which month's purchases I'm reviewing....

But until then, I'm gonna keep exploring, digging, uncovering and investigating all of the different puzzle pieces that make my job as exciting and interesting as it is! 

What's exciting and motivating you around your workplace? I'm curious to know!

Don't be shy! I wanna see what you have to say!


PS. At some point I'll get around to putting my newly repainting living and dining room back together - the colour looks awesome & I can't wait to show you what I've done!


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