Thursday, 19 July 2018

Fabulous Food & Flowers

The heat of summer has set in. With longer days and veggie markets selling tempting herbs and fresh ingredients, I have found myself wanting (on an almost daily basis...) to create something mouth-wateringly delicious. Some of my recipe choices have been healthy (chili, spiced Indian spinach with paneer, veggie soups), but alas, most of the healthy recipes have gone un-photographed. So, I present to you a collection of the not-so-healthy goods that have satisfied the taste buds of many human beings (myself included). But of course, a post without flowers would hardly be appropriate, so enjoy the vibrant blooms that have helped make our new house a home!

First up, a strawberry custard tart that I made for a close friend's bridal shower. My friend loves to make mini strawberry custard tarts, so I decided to make an intense version for us to devour. :) 
Much to my (and my mom's) absolute joy, the veggie market located a quick one minute walk away sells the most amazing selection of fresh flowers. AND at a reasonable price. This has been fantastic, but also makes it challenging to not purchase a new flower every day when I walk past! The lilies above are from our back garden, and the gerbera daises are from said veggie shop.
A cup of coffee on the deck as the morning light sets in. I love this. Simplicity and serenity in one. 
For my 23rd birthday my brother made this incredible black forest trifle. Wow, just looking at it makes me drool! 
A quiet moment in the house. Mom had just finished arranging her latest flower purchase, Dad enjoyed music on his phone, and my brother cozied up on the couch studying (sneak peek on the far right - haha!)
One of my favourite things to bake is granola. This particular recipe is laden with seeds (pumpkin seeds, especially!), all kinds of nuts, and a healthy handful of coconut. Air fresheners are one option, but the aroma of freshly baked granola is hard to beat!
Yay - a healthy recipe caught on camera! For dinner a few nights ago I made a creamy zucchini soup and a herb bread ring. Although the dinner was a hit, the almost 30 degree weather made iced drinks necessary! 
You know those treats at coffee shops you always ooh and ahh at through the glass window and never purchase? Well, cinnamon streusel coffee cake is that for me. So! I decided to whip up a full tray of the stuff. The recipe turned out so well, with a light and fluffy vanilla cake wonderfully complemented by a light cinnamon crunch.  
A house starts to feel like a home when the flowers are happy. How I love hydrangeas! If any of the aforementioned recipes make your mouth water, leave a comment below and I'd be happy to share the recipe. Happy summer time, friends! I hope your days are filled with color, joy, and a mixture of health & decadence. 

Much love, Vivi 

Thursday, 19 April 2018


As of yesterday, I am free of exams! Which means that I will never again write an exam as a biology undergraduate student. Five years ago that statement seemed so very, very far away, and today, it is already one day old. What I love most about April is that (once exams are over) my camera and I become best friends again. The long winter is over, and magnolia buds, glorious springtime blossoms, and rays of golden warmth make themselves known again. What a beautiful time it is!

Much love, Vivi   

Friday, 9 February 2018

Symphony of Colour

The past month has been a whirlwind of activity. I realized the other day just *how* busy things have been, which surprised me because I've been very calm and have been in a self-proclaimed "non-stressful" season. I don't think I realized how challenging preparing for a medical school interview would be. Although I loved the discussions and brain workouts that came with every practice session, I can't deny the challenge that accompanied actively practicing critical thinking, art interpretation, and analyzing ethical and social issues. It certainly opened up my eyes to relevant issues that I hadn't previously given much thought. I did a lot of reading and investigating, and sought out friends, family, and professors who I knew had more knowledge than me. What a learning curve! But I must say, what a fantastic learning curve! 

I'd like to call this past season of life a Symphony of Colour, not entirely in the literal sense, but mostly in the figurative way. I've had shades of thought fill my mind, tones and highlights of reflection, and new combinations of ideas invigorate creativity. It has been quite exciting.

Now, I must wait until May (yes, MAY!) to hear the results of my interview. Applying to medical school has been no small feat, but it has been an incredible journey of growth. Here's to a new season, a new journey, and graduating in June! 

Much love, Vivi

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Christmas Time, Oh Christmas Time!

Things I've loved this Christmas season: 
  • Baking a double layer pecan cake to kick off the Christmas treats (which included a large amount of cookies eaten so quickly that no camera could capture them...)
  • Crocheting my very first blanket! 
  • A fresh snowfall right in time for Christmas
  • Exploring classic Christmas treats with marzipan fruit creations. Apples, oranges, plums, grapes, pears, and bananas!  
  • A family Christmas dinner with a plethora of vegetables and creative dishes
This Christmas time has been a very peaceful and rejuvenating season, filled with excellent food and time spent with loved ones. I have begun reading an annotated version of Emma by Jane Austen, and oh my, the eloquent sentences and 19th century humor is fantastic. I officially start the final semester of my undergrad degree this Tuesday, so I'm indulging in all of the leisure reading I can fit in before textbooks take over... :) 

Much love, Vivi 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Dandelions, penny boards, and two lovely people

I took these photos of two absolutely wonderful people, Shelby and Tanner, a couple of months ago in late summer. The sun was a hazy red due to smoke moving south from the B.C. wildfires, and the evening air was warm and calm. These two make "couples photography" so easy. I follow around with my camera, happily snapping away as Shelby and Tanner fly around on penny boards, frolic in open fields, and hang out in front of a vintage school house. These are some of my favorite photos of these two - aren't they good looking?! And even more, they are two of the most fantastic people this world has. Thanks for making photography so fun, you two!  

Much love, Vivi     

Monday, 9 October 2017

Let Autumn Roll in Softly

With five weeks of my final year of university behind me, it's at last beginning to feel like autumn. 

The vibrant greens of leaves remove themselves from center stage as shades of burgundy and warm ocher yellow come to life. Gourds, crisp apples, and pumpkin pie fill the shelves of grocery stores, and with welcome arms we bring them into our home. The evenings are that magical kind of warm, with quilts and knitted goods and socks of familiar comfort. Decorations that smell of cinnamon and clove make their way from cupboards and totes, and memories, they come back quickly. 

Wishing you and your's a wonderful Thanksgiving, Canadian friends! Soak up the beautiful time with loved ones and ponder on some thoughts of thankfulness. What's on my heart right now? Thankful for peace, thankful for decisions made, thankful for people, thankful for resilience.    

Much love, Vivi 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Fruit of the Garden

Today is the final day of August, marking five more days until the beginning of the fall semester. I'm excited to get back into the swing of lectures and assignments, new faces and familiar ones, university coffee and yam fries... Until then, I'm soaking up these last days of summer. 

The garden was particularly beautiful this summer; the blueberry bush bore its first fruit, the ochre yellow roses bloomed in both June and August, and an abundance of wild lavatera made itself known in lush collections of purple petals. I've grown to appreciate summer more. Nature manages to flourish despite piercing heat and lack of rain, and it gives us moments of peace to place our minds on throughout our days.    

Jane Austen captures it so well:

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Happy last day of August, friends! Here's to an excellent September! 

Much love, Vivi