{Travel} Oh, Canada! Part III

Well, folks we've inadvertently come to the last leg of our Canadian venture that I've been slowly recapping throughout the last week. (Read about part one and part two if you need to catch up!)

By this time the husband and I had regathered our wits after losing each other in downtown Toronto and made it to the nearest bar, which I unfortunately cannot remember the name of. (That may or may not be due to the "recovery drinks" we practically inhaled as soon as rear touched bar stool. I shan't say.) It was actually a pub with several craft bars on draft and a fresh pour of coke and whisky that kept my glass full. We snacked on some light bites there before heading over to the Second City Comedy Club for a raucous night of improvisation. It did not disappoint! We met a nice Canadian couple at our table and had a great time—laughing till we cried and relieved to avoid being called on stage, while jeering at the unfortunate folks who were "volunteered" (read: made the butt of many public hilarities).


The next morning, we grabbed lunch at Jack Astors and sat outside on the sunny patio. It's crazy that the weather was so nice and cool! A welcome break from the triple digits of Texas.

Afterward, we climbed back into our rent car and headed back east, to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This adorable town, my friends, is very much worth a visit if you're ever in the area. Here's a quick peek at what most of the town looked like:

But first, we discovered there were a million and one wineries around and the signs on the highway occurred every passing two miles, listing the nearest vino-making stomping grounds you can tour and taste.

After a wee bit of research, I decided that we should start with The Vineland Winery. This turned out to  be a very wise choice, it was a gorgeous stone and wood building nestled among a very serene set of acres masked by wispy green vine leaves and an oasis of quiet relaxation.

I couldn't resist a few photos in their vineyards before the clouds threatened to darken the horizon...

We did the red wine tasting, sampling a bit of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and an iceland wine that turned out to be even sweeter than port wine. It's apparently made from frozen grapes, hence the name, and is much more concentrated because the juice and sugar squeezed from the grape is in smaller portions but higher doses. Wasn't our cup of tea, but we certainly learned some new facts!

We stopped at a few more wineries en route to our B&B, pausing for a couple sips at each one and sitting out on the patios or outdoor balconies for a few minutes to enjoy the cool, cloudy weather. Rain threatened to burst from the sky at any moment and you could almost smell it upon the grapevines weaving their way along the fields, bordering the roadways like decorative fences. 

Just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake, we pulled in at our B&B—which I found after much Googling and Canadian phone calls, since it was a holiday weekend and we were a bit last-minute in our arrangements—to unload luggage and get into some fresh clothes. (I had permanent fold marks on my shorts from sitting in the car so much.) It was a quaint little home on the edge of town, clean and peaceful and complete with an adorable black-and-white kitten pouncing in the grassy yard.

As soon as we got into the actual middle of town, I was taken aback at all the beautiful flowers and scenery. Niagara-on-the-Lake is truly gorgeous. We walked up and down the main street for a bit, taking it all in and admiring fellow passersby and Saturday evening activities.

Of course we had to snap a photo of this little Scottish shop, after living in the land o' Kilts for a year! 

We found a house hotel—which also reminded us of Scotland, since we used to frequent our favorite house hotel, the Ferryhill, just blocks away from our flat—for hors d'oeuvres and a glass of wine. It was the perfect place for humorous people watching. (We spotted a couple arguing on the sidewalk, which clearly ended badly for the husband when he was left standing alone and bewildered while the wife stomped down the sidewalk in a huff. Perhaps they should have tried the wine?)

Later we wondered down the street in search of a few trinkets, like a Niagara Christmas ornament for our tree, before deciding on a pubby type place for dinner (the name escapes me, otherwise I'd recommend it). A table on the patio opened up as we approached the host stand, so we sat outside sipping beer and wine with our delicious pasta drenched in sauce—mine with large shrimp and the husband's with chicken parmigiana.

After dinner, we went back to our B&B where we sat on the porch for one last glass of vino and watched the night sky twinkle. Our hostess prepared an amazing breakfast the next morning, complete with made-from-scratch chocolate muffins, waffles, a huge bowl of fresh berries and orange juice she squeezed by hand. Full to the brim, we stuffed ourselves in the car and made for the border, praying that the 4th of July holiday traffic wouldn't keep us gridlocked for hours. All went smoothly and we touched down back in Houston later that evening—one bottle of wine and a Canadian-trip richer. 

The end! ;)


{Daily Pics} Time with Mom!

While the husband was away this weekend at a bachelor party, my mom decided to come in town and keep me company. I was glad, too, since it can get pretty quiet around here when I'm the only one at home! We had a great time getting pedicures, shopping, I cooked and we celebrated her birthday! My mom is one incredible person and I'm so blessed to have her.

From top to bottom:

1.) Sporting a new top I got at Target... love the ruffles and that it's not too girly for me. Bought it in two different patterns!
2.) Making my mom a birthday breakfast! Fried potatoes, scrambled egg whites w/ cheese, turkey bacon and fruit.
3.) After breakfast, we headed straight for the nail salon. I surprised my mom with a pair of bling flip flops for her birthday. She'd been admiring my zebra ones for awhile, and I knew she could use a little extra sparkle. ;)
4.) We shopped all afternoon on Saturday - and good finds make for a great reward. We each picked up one of these super cute leopard-print lamps at Stein Mart for just $2.97!
5.) My adorable momma hanging out with me at home (with the zebra pillow she made for me!)... happy birthday, I love you!!


{Home Decor} DIY Metallic Pumpkins

So it didn't take long after I put up my fall decor that I wanted to change something. The hallway table just wasn't quite right. I was really inspired by the latest Pottery Barn catalogue to show up in my mailbox and wanted a more modern and metallic-inspired setup.

So I grabbed a bunch of faux pumpkins for a couple bucks at Hobby Lobby (love their 40% off sale!) and got to work. I spray painted them Rustoleum's Heirloom White...

Then I brushed on some metallic Folk Art paint in silver and Champagne, occasionally layering the two colors on a couple of the pumpkins. 

The table looks so much better now!

Here's the original before...

...and AFTER!

I love being able to see our wedding photo, since September is our anniversary month (five years next weekend!).

And I bought a few pumpkins and decorative acorns in the hues I wanted to include, which were also on sale for $5 or less at Hobby Lobby.

My mom helped me put the finishing touches on the table—she loves to decorate!

I took the garland and other items that were previously on the table and added some festive flair to my piano, which sits adjacent to the entryway. Perfect!

Looks plenty improved, don't you think?

When do you decorate for fall? 
I'd love to browse your seasonal home decor posts, so leave a link!


{Home Decor} My Fall Decorations!

As I recently posted, I realized I hadn't seen any of my holiday decorations for the past two years since we were living in Scotland for a year and later looking for a new home back in Texas. So I was all too happy to bring them out a little earlier than usual this season (okay, a lot early for me!) and bedeck our house with a couple strands of fall foliage and a peppering of pumpkins.

This morning I snapped some photos of part of our front yard, one of many areas basking in the still-wet ground from the downpours that occurred last night. It's been so dry in parts of Texas that the ground has begun to crack open, fires have been destroying homes and acre after acre of land, the smell of burning trees and ash have filled the air and any plant life struggling to survive has turned a dismal shade of brown. So to see some lingering rain drops and a revival of green was more than reassuring.

The front yard is actually where my decorations start, with a cute yard stick I got at Hobby Lobby recently (my cat, Snowball, pictured above, was keen on inspecting it). 

My front porch needed a little festive spirit, too. The pumpkin hanging on the wall came from Hobby Lobby, new this season, and the other items I've had for years. The seasonal mat was a wedding gift, and I DIY'ed my chalkboard paint flower pot

C'mon inside! My hallway table is overflowing with foliage, a few more decorative knicknacks and a couple keepsakes.

The paper-covered books are borrowed from my office....

...decorative picks came from Hobby Lobby....

...and the plaid flask I purchased in Scotland, while the Grouse Whisky mirror was a surprise gift I gave to my husband to mark our fantastic time living overseas.

Meanwhile, the mantel got a little love too.

I stuck one of the decorative picks into the top of this wood stick pumpkin and called it a day.

Our hutch is sporting some foliage, which goes nicely with our Woodlands Spode china, and a few faux pumpkins and squashes for good measure. ;)

Lastly is the kitchen table, which features place mats, chargers and a glass pumpkin purchased at Walmart several years ago, clearance napkins (.78 cents each!!) and vase ($2.48) from Stein Mart, Texas star napkin rings (from a store in Weatherford) and faux apples and flowers from Hobby Lobby. Please ignore the kennel in the corner, it's for this little gal we've been housing!

Have you decorated for fall yet? Or found some great new decorations this year? Leave a link to your post and tell me all about it in the comments section!
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