Tuesday, 30 August 2011


How to give your inspiration board a face lift in three easy steps:

1. Remove all (former) inspiration -- what once motivated you to eat more leafy green vegetables now reminds you of the time you ate too many leafy greens and nearly what? I can't say that here?

2. Slab on a coat of paint -- with a single coat of black acrylic paint, I transformed my inspiration board from boring to bold.

3. Re-pin it -- what's inspiring you now? Cut, tear, collect, and pin all of your favourite bits of inspiration. Go wild!

Monday, 29 August 2011


EmersonMade has just released their (super amazing) fall line--and a new look to their website! Check it out here.

I'm totally smitten with this feminine tuxedo look--so chic, so re-creating this.

image via emersonmade


While I'm definitely a summer girl--nothing beats a glowing tan, sunshine-y skies, and a cold drink on a patio--I am starting to embrace the beauty in every season. Next up? Fall.  

Evening temperatures have already began to drop, leaves have started to transition from bright green to bold yellow and oranges (well, almost), and the air...well, it just feels different. Grim and blah and ugly. Wait, no. Full of life and new beginnings! (?) 

In transitioning from warm summer nights to cool, crisp fall days, I thought I'd share with you some of my go-to looks for the coming season. Or rather, the 'in-between' from summer to fall: that odd time of the year (here in Toronto, at least) where the weather shifts from shorts and tee shirts to shorts and blouses, long sleeves, cardigans, and to jeans and light jackets, and then whomp, the next day, we're all wearing goose down parkas and boots that belong in the Arctic. 

Well, that's another post for another day.

Happy (last-week-of-summer) Monday!

images via olsens anonymous, street style, pinterest, and the glitter guide

Friday, 26 August 2011


This past week at Tomfoolery & Bright, just settling (back) into the swing of things with:

inspiration from my roots
my out-of-control clutch obsession
stocking the freezer full of healthy banana muffins
and my simple and hearty Vegetarian Chilli recipe

And to kick off the weekend, some late summer inspiration (every last drop):

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Thursday, 25 August 2011


While I hate to see the end of summer draw nearer, I must say that I do enjoy the change from season to season--at least when it comes to food. In the summer time, it's all about light and fresh flavours: grilled meats, bright salads, fresh herbs, and simple, refreshing flavours like citrus (which I looove). For the fall, though, things start to deepen and get a little heartier. As do our schedules. So, what better way to tackle the flavours and busy timetables of the fall than with stocking the freezer full of deliciously satisfying prepared soups and stews?

For those busy nights when you're too exhausted to cook a balanced meal, head to the freezer for this: my very simple vegetarian chilli. It's super easy to make, uses just a few basic ingredients, and the best part? If you don't like something about it, you can alter it how you like!

Vegetarian Chilli

extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 can of whole tomatoes + liquid (no salt added), diced
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
2 generous pinches of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
cilantro leaves
sharp cheddar or parmesan, shredded
non-fat plain yogurt
sliced avocado

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium. Add onion, pepper, and carrots to the pot and saute until onions are soft and tender.

2. Add diced tomatoes with liquid, beans, and corn. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Add jalapeno pepper, if desired. 

3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about an hour or until all vegetables are tender.

4. Add more spices to taste. Ladle into bowls, garnish with any or all of: a small spoonful of plain yogurt, a sprinkle of cheese, chopped cilantro, or a couple of slices of avocado. Enjoy!

Try This: It is best to cool chilli completely before transferring to glass or tupperware containers for freezing. Don't forget to label before freezing!

While the beans provide protein, if you're looking for something more filling and that packs a greater punch, when sauteing the veggies add lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey and brown until cooked through.

image via joy the baker

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Another post dedicated to my Momma, and this one revolves around food. My Mum's a chef. Even better, she's a pro at stocking the fridge (and freezers) full of prepared soups and stews for when life gets real busy. So, taking a cue from her, I've organized the next several days in order to cook up some big batches of lentil and sweet potato soup, chicken noodle soup, vegetarian chilli, and banana muffins (check!).

I've already baked a few dozen banana muffins and frozen them. The recipe? Oh, but of course!

Clean Eating Banana Muffins
recipe from The Gracious Pantry

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup almond or soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
crushed pecans, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk. Make sure all ingredients are well blended together.

3. Pour batter into a muffin tin lined with muffin papers. Fill each liner half way.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool and enjoy!

Try This: Monkey see, monkey do. Want to freeze muffins for future munching? Using small squares of plastic wrap, wrap each muffin and place in a plastic freezer bag. I could fit 5 muffins in one of my medium sized freezer bags. For future snacking, remove a baggy of muffins from the freezer and store in the refrigerator to let thaw. Warm up in the oven, if desired.

Also, when storing prepared foods in the freezer, be sure to label the date of when you first store them. This way, you can know just by looking at the package if whether or not it should still be consumed.

Check back tomorrow for my super simple and delicious vegetarian chilli recipe!

image via the gracious pantry


Every time I head home for a summer vacation or the Christmas holiday, I scoop up some kind of inspiration. It's as if being back west--out of the city and into the country--enables me to recharge, to re-evaluate my life, to reconsider all things outside of myself. It's as if stepping away from the hustle and bustle of my so-called 'reality' let's me escape myself--for just a moment--and to sketch a new plan of action. That is, how I should proceed in this world that is chaos. And when I'm stressed out and let's face it, having a down right not-so-mid-life crisis because I'm still not totally sure what I'm going to be when I grow up, stepping away from it all and taking a breather is really, really...refreshing.

One of the greatest inspirations in my life? My Mum. She's super talented, always motivating, and if I could ever be half the woman she is, I could happily say I lived a fulfilling life. She's worked, she's raised four kids, she knows her way around a kitchen, a garden, a drafting table, a sewing machine, the list goes on...

And this trip home, she inspired me in a number of ways: yes, with the sewing machine. And in the kitchen, the garden, uh huh. And so, I dedicate the next few posts to the lady of the hour, my dear Mum.

The first bit of inspiration that's set my heart fluttering? Sewing. The sewing machine. My mom is a sewing machine.

Three different sizes: large in neon yellow linen, medium-sized in leopard
print denim, and small in white leather--all lined for extra security.
Last spring, she shipped me an old sewing machine of hers (actually, her very first sewing machine ever), and I've been itching to use it. My lack of comfort with sewing has kept me from unpacking the clunky machine, but while I was home she did supervise me as I sewed a number of oversized clutches (yes, I finally made them!) and assisted me in finding the right colour threads so that I can sew cushions for the living room with my Spoonflower finds. So?

So, I'm making sewing cushions as we speak! Well, kind of. Almost there. You know. But what's better, she's given me the confidence to maneuver a sewing machine and more, more! She's inspired me to grab some pretty textiles, cut it accordingly, throw in some bells and whistles (figuratively, of course), and go wild.

What's inspiring you? It (or he/she) could be closer than you think.

Monday, 22 August 2011


Fresh raspberries from Mum and Dad's garden.
One of my best teachers: my Mum, 'the sewing machine'.
Old friends.
Outdoor dinner parties with loved ones.
And a promise between two friends for one hell of an adventure.

Where to begin?! The past couple weeks were full of special moments. I flew back to B.C. for ten days, and while the time usually crawls when I head back west, this time everything just seemed to fly by. 

I caught up with family and old friends, enjoyed the outdoors (as did the outdoors enjoy me--mosquitoes, anyone?), and squeezed in some much needed R&R.

I returned to the city (and to R and Zoey) this past Friday and by noon Saturday, was (re)packed for a weekend of wedding fun in Niagara Falls.

So, while I still collect myself--from all the excitement!--here's a list of some 'likes' and 'dislikes' of my time (well-) spent back home:

Because it's all about the little things, and appreciating what you already have.

That my parents' house is surrounded by woodlands, making for a refreshing afternoon run.

My mom's massive collection of craft and sewing materials (she's a hoarder).

A (very) well-stocked refrigerator. And second refrigeratore in the basement. And two huge deep freezer chests.

My bright orange childhood bedroom.

The small town charm.

That running in the woods freaked the hell out of me, with quail scurrying about, woodpeckers pecking, snakes slithering, and ducks gone quacky--I was keeping my eyes out for bears, so you can imagine my shock when I came across all of these critters, not to mention my growing fear of birds (have you ever watched Hitchcock's The Birds?).

The fact that I can only squeeze so much craft and sewing materials into my backpack to bring back with me.

That when I leave, not only am I leaving my family and friends, but a house full of food.

How bright my bedroom is in the morning. Agh.

The small town mentality. And that the small town charm doesn't work so well in the big city--I tried this afternoon and was nearly abducted or just stalked, or both?

Lots of bits and pieces to share this week and the next, so stay tuned!

images via google, healthy livin', and tumblr perfect pics

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


And I'm gone.

I'm on the west coast for the next couple of weeks, lads.

It's where my whole family is and all that history that has made me who I am today, blah blah blah. So, I'll be checkin' out for a bit while I'm there--maybe with an occassional update every once in a while.


image via pinterest

Monday, 8 August 2011


Clare Vivier, move on over. Actually, don't. Stay a while longer, I still really like you. But get a load of these!

One of my summer must-have items is/was an oversized leather clutch, preferably in a bright hue like the ones by Clare Vivier. Though, I kept putting off purchasing this 'It' item, claiming that I would eventually just make my own. Then I couldn't find the leather I was looking for--okay okay, maybe I wasn't looking that hard. After all, Fabricland isn't exactly known for its trendy and chic textiles.

Alas, I've been hunting the web for other options ever since. That's when I came across k.slademade by Kelsea Slade, just a gal looking to make the world a better place one handmade tote/clutch/piece of jewelry at a time! I'm absolutely in love with her oversized clutches, and look at that, they're half the price of those at Clare Vivier!

Another find? Check out American Apparel for their collection of leather clutches in pop colours.

images via k.slademade

Friday, 5 August 2011


Another week goes by and we're that much closer to autumn (sigh). Here's the week in review at Tomfoolery & Bright:

a diary entry by yours truly
inspiration for the month of August
the gorgeous and talented Brit Marling
a delicious chicken burger recipe to kick start the weekend
and a fresh cucumber salad to accompany it

Now, for the rest of the weekend...I've got cakes to bake, dinner dates, and if the weather holds out, a much needed trip to the beach!

Have a wonderful first weekend of August, lovelies!

images via we heart it, you are my fave, and the berry

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Growing up, my mom would always make cucumber salads. It was a nice way to eat something other than the classic tossed salad of lettuce and tomatoes. Her dish? Cucumbers, fresh dill, and creamy cucumber dressing a la Kraft.

Hey, as a working mom of four, she was entitled to a shortcut here and there--it's salad dressing, for crying out loud.

Now on my own, I get a nostalgic twitch every once in a while for that light, refreshing cucumber salad that Mom used to make. Instead of the store-bought salad dressing, though, I've found a healthier--just as delicious--alternative. And here it is:

Summer Cucumber Salad

1 English cucumber, or 2 small field cucumbers, or 6 baby cukes, sliced in rounds
2 tbsp. non-fat plain yogurt
fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients and serve.

Serves 4.

Try This: Instead of dill, use fresh chives.

image via southern pink lemonade


Dinner the other night was phenomenally delicious. In fact, it was so delicious, I gobbled it up before I could (even attempt to) snap a photo--but this is what it might have looked like.

What was on the menu? Homemade 'naked' chicken burgers ('naked' meaning without bun) with avocado and shiitake mushrooms, served with my 'healthy' Caesar salad and refreshing cucumber salad. It..was..so...good. Uh.

And now, for the goods.

'Naked' Chicken Burgers with Avocado & Shiitake Mushrooms

1 package of extra lean ground chicken or turkey, about 1 lb.
1 egg
1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry rosemary
1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
salt and pepper

1 avocado, sliced
4 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
olive oil
cilantro, minced (optional)

1. In a bowl, mix ground chicken, egg, Worcestershire, rosemary, chives, salt and pepper until well combined.

2. Heat a non-stick pan on medium. Form 3 to 4 well-sized burger patties using your hands. Add 1 or 2 patties at a time to the hot pan.

3. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until burgers begin to brown on the one side. Flip patties and cook through and/or until browned on either side. Continue to form and cook patties until all meat is used.

4. In the same non-stick pan that was used to cook the burgers, add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the 4 mushroom caps to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and heat through, about 5 minutes, turning to either side.

5. Plate the burgers sans buns (or using buns, totally up to you), and top with a few slices of avocado. Remove mushrooms from heat and top each burger with a large mushroom cap and a sprinkling of cilantro.

6. Serve burgers with a fresh salad and/or oven fries and enjoy!

Makes 4 burgers.

Try This: Make an extra thick burger and add cheese to its center! Use either cubed hard cheese and embed it into the center of a patty or spread a softer cheese in the center. Yummy.

These burgers do not use bread crumbs, yet they cook up perfectly. Bonus: they're gluten-free!

What are some other tasty burger toppings? Some of my other favourites include caramelized onions, whole grain Dijon mustard, organic barbecue sauce, jalapeno, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, goat cheese...the list goes on.

images via how sweet it is

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Brit Marling, lead actress, co-writer, and producer of Another Earth. I saw this film over the weekend, and was blown away--it was really good. It's sci-fi meets drama meets thriller. And don't let 'sci-fi' scare you away if you're not usually a fan of the genre--this film is totally worth seeing. Marling's performance is wonderful, the cinematography is lovely, and of course, the screenplay itself is so well-written (so well). This one's high on my list of recommended must-see films this summer.

See here for an interview with Brit Marling about the film.

image and video via google and youtube

Monday, 1 August 2011


Where has the time gone?! Can you believe it's already August? Maybe it's the fact that I'm still writing papers for classes that finished over a month ago (sigh, grad school), but holy moly, these hot summer days are zooming by! 

And being my favourite season, I can't help but feel a little bit sad, even with the heatwave we're in right now. Fingers crossed this warm weather lasts well into September (I realize anyone not a fan of this hot and humid weather is probably shaking their fist at me right now).

Soak up the sun!


Let's talk discipline: self-discipline. It's something that you can have either a little or a lot of. It's something that can be practiced over time. It's something that is required if there's a specific goal you want to achieve. It's something that leads to personal improvement.

Ladies and gents, I'm happy to confess that I suffer from a lack of self-discipline (as so many of us do). And while it's not something I can change tomorrow, it's certainly something I can recognize today and spend years--years?--trying to combat. That said, while self-discipline is a desirable trait, maybe we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. 

Take my 'tri-training', for instance. I'm disappointed--yet somewhat relieved--that I will not be continuing with my 'training' routine. A lesson learned on my part? Perhaps. I'm two-thirds to completing the 90-day 'training', so one might ask, why the abrupt termination of the plan? There's a number of reasons for this, but let's just say the overarching reason is self-discipline--or the lack thereof.

When starting a fitness plan of any kind, one must have ample self-discipline and determination. There must be a good reason for why the training has been put in place. And the 'training' must be implemented in such a fashion that it becomes a priority. This is, after all, the only way any end goal is going to be achieved and any results are going to surface.

For my training, you could say that problem number 1 was that I didn't have an end goal, but rather, I was just doing it for 'fun'--or as I explain in a previous post, for 'structure'.

You could say that I'm throwing the towel in and giving up--totally legitimate--or you could say I'm seeing things in a new perspective. I've realized the importance of not only self-discipline, but of setting goals and what impact this can have on the process to obtaining one's goals. Most importantly, though, find what works for you. Evidently, this didn't work for me--this time around. But perhaps when I have a set race date, it will work.

And what about everything else we do? Maybe such a regimented program isn't what I need. My schedule is constantly shifting, with academic deadlines, auditions and work popping up unexpectedly, and most importantly, maintaining friendships (social life = important). So, what's more important to you now? Find out and focus your energy there. It's not that I (or in the event of failure, you) don't have self-discipline or the ability to set and achieve goals--in fact, I'm constantly setting and achieving new goals--but sometimes, we make mistakes by setting goals that aren't our own or that are, but don't suit us today, tomorrow, or the next day, but perhaps are better suited to us later down the road.

For now, a structured, regimented exercise plan just didn't seem to fit the bill for me--or my manic schedule. And that's okay. For now, I've learned a lesson. For now, I'm calling it quits--and that, too, is okay--because right now, I'm going for a nice long run.

And that's okay

It's not the end: for progress and results of my 'tri-training' up until now, see here.

images via strive for progress, not perfection