Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Dessert #1

I'm on dessert duty for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year. Usually I opt for an appetizer but lately I've been really keen on making decadent desserts that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Since I'm working up until Christmas Eve and we have church tomorrow night, I'm going to get started on Friday's dessert tonight: a white chocolate tart with raspberries. I made it once last year and it was so fabulous, I can't wait to do it again!

photo credit: LCBO Food and Drink

The last time I made this dessert it actually looked just like the photo above. I'll remember to take pics as I go and post a step by step guide to making this fabulous dessert.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stocking Stuffers

As December draws nearer I am reminded that I need to get started on my Christmas shopping, which immediately makes me think of all the things I would like to find in my stocking and under the tree. I really like high quality stocking stuffers versus gifts under the tree. I'd rather have a few great small things than one or two expensive gifts that someone stressed over trying to buy, wondering if I would really like it.

Here's a few things I think would make perfect stocking stuffers for me or any other twenty-something jcrew/chapters/kate spade/anthropologie/allthingsculinary-loving girl:

Kate Spade Wallet (on sale right now!)

JCrew hat

The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, available at and Amazon.

JCrew belt

Anthropologie necklace

Holiday cupcake stencils, Williams Sonoma

What's on your Christmas list?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All Dogs Go To Heaven...

...and last night our family dog Daisy got to go too.

I woke up this morning to the news that my mom and step dad had put Daisy down last night. On Sunday my step dad brought her to the emergency animal hospital, not sure of what was wrong but knew there was definitely a problem, as she wasn't her usual tail-wagging, face-kissing, crooning-at-the-squirrels self. Turns out her little puppy kidneys were failing and the outlook wasn't good. I'll spare you any details, but after a night of treatments she wasn't doing any better. Last night my sister, mom and step dad went to hold her giant bear-sized paws and say goodbye.

Just a couple of my favourite photos of the pup:

At my bridal shower, summer 2009.

Christmas 2008.

You were a good dog, Daisy. I'm going to miss walking up to the house and seeing you waiting for us in the window. I hope you're having a blast in doggy heaven!

Friday, October 29, 2010

How I'm Spending My Halloween Weekend

I am too excited for words so I will make this brief. This weekend I am embarking on my first big DIY project at our house and I am ecstatic! I will post before and after photos when it's done, but let's just say that I get to use my palm sander for the first time AND painting supplies :)

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween!

Friday, September 3, 2010


This has been one of the longest and most stressful weeks in a long time. I'm so glad it's the long weekend. We're heading up to the cottage with our good friends Mel and Jay tomorrow morning until Monday. I'm really looking forward to some solid reading/wine drinking/catching-up time with friends.

I also really love this BlackBerry smartphone case that is just so conveniently made for the 9700, which I currently use. The price point isn't bad either, at $25 and free shipping.

What are your long weekend plans?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's the Little Things... replacing my old bulky computer mouse with this flashy new wireless pink one, that makes coming back into work after one day off to 125 new emails not so bad.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Year In Review

This past weekend Brent and I celebrated the one year anniversary from the day we said "I do." To commemorate this milestone we planned a long weekend away up North in Muskoka at The Rosseau. It was a beautifully relaxing (and much needed) vacation away from the craziness of our every day lives and a chance for us to spend some quality Renee and Brent time.

While on vacation we exhanged our gifts to one another. We decided a few months ago that we would stick with the traditional anniversary gifts (year one: paper). Brent proved (yet again) to be a super observant husband when he surprised me Sunday with incredible tickets to see Wicked in November! I've been wanting to see it since it's last Toronto engagement and he was obviously paying attention! For Brent's gift, I knew how much he wanted to golf at Grey Silo here in Waterloo, so I surprised him with a round. His reaction was equally as awesome as mine.

One other tradition we decided to start was inspired by one of my favourite blogger couples: John and Sherry at Young House Love. Each anniversary they take a picture together that displays the year they're celebrating and then display the collection in their home. When I mentioned the idea to Brent I half expected him to give me the cute-but-not-happening look, but to my surprise he was all for it! So, on the terrace of our suite at the JW this past weekend, we took our first photograph of the collection honoring our anniversary:

Our first year of marriage has been incredible. We've purchased (and moved into) our first home, taken a few trips to great spots like here and here and (Brent) started a new job. With all of the adventures we've had over the past 12 months, I can't wait to see what the next 12 are going to bring!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Good Good Night

Most of you who know me well know that I have a deep rooted love of the Black Eyed Peas. This love dates back to first year university and I've been wanting to see them live ever since Let's Get It Started became our freshmen anthem. I've seen perform twice and even met him twice (which was awesome), but never the group as a whole. Well I finally got my wish last night! The three month wait from purchase to party was long and seemed like forever, but was absolutely worth it! My voice is scratchy today and my feet and quads hurt from dancing/rocking/singing (and screaming when Will gave a shout out to WATERLOO!), but I'm still on a high from one of the best shows I've ever been to!

I didn't have my camera, so I just have a few pics taken from my BlackBerry. My friend Mel has better ones which I might post later on.

Walking up to the ACC

My aunt Sharon and I before the show

Me, my sis Joanna and Mel

Can't wait til next time Peas! Next stop on the summer concert list: Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum in August!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Budget Blooms: Installment #1

Just a quick post on the semi-homemade floral arrangement I whipped up the other day. I love having flowers in the house, but don't love the expense of buying those gorgeous hand-tied bouquets from the flower shops. But what I don't love even more are the grocery store thrown-together bunches that look like caca once you put them in a vase, however I do love the small price tag. So on Sunday I thought to myself, "why can't I have both the budget and the aesthetically pleasing bouquet?" To solve my dilemma, I picked up a $10 bunch of alstroemeria and roses from Zehrs, brought them home and went to town.

After disassembling the bunch, cutting the stems and finding our spool of twine in the shed, I had created my own hand-tied bouquet, without cleaning out my wallet! Here's what the finished product looks like:

View from the top:

Reentering the Blogosphere

Dear friends and family,
I have been a bad blogger. I haven't blogged since April 1st! Shame on me. In an effort to turn this trend around, I am making a committment to blog once a week -minimum. There, now it's in writing so I better live up to my promise! I'll be back later this week with our big back yard transformation but until then, happy hump day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last Rent Cheque!

Brent and I paid our LAST rent cheque last night! One step closer to home owner bliss!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kitchen Brights

Brent and I are going on a walk through of our house this coming Sunday, and I am SO excited! With April just around the corner, we're so close to being able to refer to our move as "next month!" Pretty much anyone who knows me can attest to my affinity towards all things kitchen. Cooking, decorating, glassware, bakeware, appliances, you name it. If it has anything to do with my kitchen - I love it. Since I will soon have a kitchen to call my own, I have been perusing the web a lot more lately for things to outfit my culinary office. Today I stumbled upon these from Anthropolgie and just had to share.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Officially Declare....

...2010 as the year of Renee's concerts. Last year Brent and I saw The Tragically Hip, Dave Matthews Band, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Metric, and a few other bands in concert, and while they were all great shows, the majority of them were geared towards Brent's musical taste (aside from Metric, which I love).

Therefore I officially delcare 2010 as the year of my-kind-of-music concerts. First stop on the tour: Carrie Underwood TONIGHT!!! Add in the fact that I'm going with my best friend Mel and it's double the awesomeness! I love her music and am so excited to see all the amazing outfits she'll wear!

The only other confirmed stop for this year is Black Eyed Peas in July, but Tim McGraw is coming in August and I absolutely intend on getting tickets for that show too! Now if only the Foo Fighters would tour this year, I'd be in heaven.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary Ben and Anna!

One year ago today one of my closest friends married the love of her life...

What an incredible wedding weekend! I am so happy to have been a part of their special day...

The past year has been so amazing and full of adventures for you two. Congratulations Anna and Ben!

Photos courtesy of Susan Stripling Photography

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And My Favourite Song Was On!

Am I the last person to discover this video? One thing you should all know about me is that 1) I not-so-secretly love dance and pop music and 2)love to dance like a fool, especially with all my girlfriends (you know who you are).

Make sure you're watching this in a place where you can LOL.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Purchase Appliances: Check.

Our new house comes with a refrigerator and dishwasher, which meant we needed to purchase a range, washer and dryer. Possibly the three most expensive appliances one needs to run their home = eek.

Right off the bat we determined that we wanted a gas range and gas dryer, since the house is already equipped with the hookup and they're much more efficient to run. The only issue with this is those features tend to cost more than your standard electric appliances, so we had our work cut out for us. (Since I love to cook with gas I was pretty pumped that I was going to get my wish of having a gas range without having to fight for it...score!)

After spending a few weeks casually looking at big orange and other major home furnishing stores, and figuring out what we wanted to spend, we decided to spend last Sunday afternoon driving around and looking at some local places that advertised sales in the weekend paper. We started out at Bad Boy (I never thought I'd step foot in one of their stores, their kitchy commercials always screamed "STAY AWAY!" for me but alas, we went in. After looking around a bit, a salesman helped answer our questions and also showed us a laundry pair that was last year's model but was offering a sweet discount AND no extra charge for the gas dryer option. With my trusty notebook in tow, I took down the specs of the pair and also the range and off we went.

We then proceeded to a handful of other appliance stores looking for this same laundry pair and the range (which I had already checked out on Consumer Reports and read a slew of reviews on), and to my surprise none of them compared to the prices at Bad Boy. Thus, Brent and I went for a coffee and discussed purchasing the three appliances that day, (they were going to hold them for us til May 15th, what more could we ask for?) and came to the conclusion that we would go back to Bad Boy and buy the appliances.

Back to the store we went and, after some superb negotiating skills by both Brent and myself (don't we make a stellar team?) we left the store the proud owners of a soon-to-be-delivered washer, dryer and range!

I'm so excited to cook with this beauty!

Who's better at finding deals than yours truly? Nooooooooobody!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

House Beautiful

I am SO excited. Brent and I went to Florida last week and while in the airport I picked up a copy of House Beautiful. I was ecstatic to find a home decor magazine that had lots of gorgeous pictures without a billion advertisements. Sadly, I've never seen this magazine in Canadian stores, so I subscribed today! 20 issues for $32...yes please!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Very First Home(!)

Here it is, Brents and my first home! (Well it will officially be ours on May 14 when we get the keys, only 84 more days!) Isn't she a beaut? Ok I know what you're thinking: Satellite dish = eww. We couldn't agree more. We have already decided that it is the first thing to go, and with a new paint job on the garage and front door it will be oh-so-pretty.

Ahhh home owner bliss. No more rent. No more filling out request forms to change paint colours - we can paint it flourescent green if we want to (of course we won't because Brent married me, and I love my colour wheel).

We are beyond excited about our new (first) house. We're so excited to make it ours, inside and out and share our DIY's, upgrades and renos with you all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

This is my first official post on my first official blog. A blog that I can guarantee to be one thing: all about me.

I don't really have a theme, unless you count my culinary-DIY-home-improvement-travel endeavours and adventures a theme. My husband, Brent and I just bought our first home last week(!) and I wanted a place to share my DIYs, ideas and random thoughts with family and friends.

Thus, the birth of my blog. Who am I? Keep checking this blog and you'll find out a lot more about me, but for starters, my name is Renee Carpenter. Last August I married the love of my life, Brent, and we now live in Waterloo, Ontario (just outside of Toronto for all of you South of the border readers). As previously mentioned, we will be moving into our first home in a matter of months, and I thought it would be a fun way to document our home improvements (and other exciting finds and experiences along the way).