December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

My, my, my... where has the time gone! I can't believe we are already saying goodbye to 2013 and are about to start a new year. I know it happens on the same day every year, but it sort of tends to sneak up on me! And I probably say this every year, but this past year has felt like the best one yet (graduating from university and deciding to chop off my hair definitely top the list)!  Two thousand and fourteen sounds like a good year, doesn't it? I am already looking forward to graduating again (but hopefully for the last time), going on an European adventure, and starting my career! So bring it on 2014! 

In the meantime I am reflecting on my most dearest moments, and the word thankful is not enough to describe how I feel about this year! Here are some my favourite moments, on and off the blog. 

Thank you so, so much for reading and following along on my Pastels and Pastries journey! Exciting things are to come. 

xx
gabriella 

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December 27, 2013

A Classic New Year's Eve


I do love any excuse to celebrate, but the whole New Year's Eve routine has got to be a bit repetitive over the past few years.  In order to avoid all the unnecessary pressure put on this one evening (that just tends to end up with expectations unfulfilled) I told myself I would not be buying a new outfit for New Years Eve. 

That was until I saw this dress. I spotted it back in October in the Dynamite window, and I was surprised by how much I loved it. Still unsure how it would look, I ordered it online when they were having free shipping and I thought that even if I have to return it, so be it. I love that even though it's classic black and white, it is definitely unlike anything I own, which I am thrilled about. I mean it's basically a turtle neck, has long sleeves  and as my boyfriend says, "resembles a carpet"- which I am totally okay with! However, I couldn't say no to a little sparkle, so I'll be pairing it with my red pumps and KSNY glitter clutch. 

What are your New Year's Eve plans? 

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December 25, 2013

Christmas Kindness


The past few days have been complete chaos around here. In case you haven't heard, Toronto and the GTA were hit with a freakish ice storm three days ago, and many are still without power and heat. We only just received power, heat and water last night and the amount of love and kindness I have experienced during our outage was remarkable. We really thought we would have to cancel our Christmas dinner! From friends who gave me a warm place to sleep and shower, to the hydro workers who came to our house at 5:00pm on Christmas Eve to ensure we would have power for today, thank you! Merry Christmas to all, and enjoy this day with your loved ones because without them there would be no light in this world!
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December 23, 2013

Feeling Festive


Red, glitter, and leopard- pretty much the trifecta of holiday attire in my eyes. Friday night we had our second holiday party of the season and since it was a bit more casual I went with my favourite sparkly leopard sweater dress, booties, and my go to red lipstick, Lady Danger (by MAC). I can't forget my extreme glitter clutch, that I am actually obsessed with. I've been wearing it everywhere and anywhere, even better is that it has a strap tucked inside. Gotta love the versatility! But seriously, 'tis the season to be sparkly, fa la la la la la, la la la la! 
{Mink Pink sweater dress, Juicy coat, Kate Spade clutch, Sam Edelman booties}

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December 20, 2013

Packaging Baked Goods

After I made these cookies I decided they would be the perfect little gifts to bring to holiday parties.  I had to first think of a creative way to package them that didn't involve the dreaded cellophane and curly ribbon. I decided on a really easy method that I think looks great. Here's what I used and how I did it: 
  • brown paper bags
  • scissors 
  • thin string
  • ribbon
  • tape
  • sparkly card-stock
  • hole-punch 
  • baked goods to go inside
  1. By cutting some card stock I made homemade gift tags. I wrote my notes on the back, hole-punched them, and put them off to the side.
  2. Take the brown paper bag and cut off a couple inches from the top opening depending on how big you want the package to be.
  3. Fold over top portion of the bag to act as a flap (roughly 2 inches).
  4. Place baked goods inside the bag.
  5. Use a bit of tape to seal the underside of the flap to the bag.
  6. Using decorative ribbons, tie a bow around the filled bag.
  7. Using thinner string go over the previously tied bow and attach tag forming another bow.
So, so simple! And how cute would these be as place settings too! I suggest to make sure the cookies are cold and hard so no icing smudges. And it's best to package the day of since the oils from the butter may go through the bags! Enjoy! 




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December 19, 2013

'Tis The Season


It's so easy to get caught up in all the commotion that occurs this time of year, whether it be in the malls, in the kitchen or even in your head. Besides trying to slow the fast paced season down, I am really trying to focus on giving, and avoiding the whole "one for you, one for me" mentality while shopping. Instead I've been trying to find the perfect gifts for my loved ones, and up my game in the wrapping department. Not to mention focus on the real reason for this season, which is not presents but our presence and that of our family and friends. 

What is your main focus this Holiday season? Maybe a little game of pay it forward? 


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December 18, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Concluding this season's gift guides will be that for the male in your life. Boyfriend, dad, brother-  these gifts are pretty interchangeable once you take into account personal style and taste.  Well, if you are like me and still have yet to finish Christmas shopping. And no I do not need to be reminded that Christmas is exactly one week today! Oh well. Wish me luck as I brace myself for the malls!


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

If you are really far behind in your shopping check out my other gift guides: for the hostess, and your best gal
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December 17, 2013

Around Town: Christmas Edition

If the bright lights, perfectly decorated window displays, and copious amounts of holiday harmonies taking over the city hasn't satisfied your holiday bug, I really hope you managed to visit the Toronto Christmas Market over the past few weeks. I love going to the Christmas Market for many reasons- the ginormous tree, the mulled wine, the local vendors and most importantly how it really embodies that European charm I see to be addicted to. The Christmas Market takes over the historic Distillery District for two weeks every December and livens the streets with an outdoor fair that looks straight out of a movie. Surprisingly I managed to get there twice this year- once with some friends from out of town, and again with my boyfriend and his family, so I can definitely say if there is one place that can bring out the holiday cheer in anyone, by way of Christmas traditions and entertainment, it's here! 

Did you brave the cold (and snow) and get a chance to visit the market this year? 

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December 16, 2013

Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing


 A few years ago I asked my aunt for her famous sugar cookie recipe and now every time I make them my mind becomes flooded with childhood memories. Her cookies were always baked to perfection, iced in pretty colours, cut into fun shapes and I could not wait to dive into them at any chance I could get! This year I decided to put a pastel spin on the classic Christmas shapes and I'm so excited to bring them out on Christmas day where she can give mine a taste. Follow the recipe below and make these for any occasion, I promise you won't be disappointed!








Sugar Cookie:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 TSP vanilla
2 1/2 cups four
1 TSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
  1. Thoroughly mix butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  2. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cover dough at least 1 hour to chill in refrigerator.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on  floured board.
  6. Cut our shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 6-8 minutes. (makes about 4 dozen)
Royal Icing:
4 cups sifted powered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
8-10 tablespoons of warm water
  1. On a medium speed, beat powered sugar and meringue powder together.
  2. Gradually add in the warm water- 1 TSP at a time (you may find you don't need all 10).
  3. Stop beating when icing is texture of toothpaste (not too runny, not too thick). 
  4. Separate into bowls and add desired food colouring.
  5. Put icing into squeeze bottles or icing bags and pipe away (I start by outlining the cookie and then flood the inside adding more as necessary). 
I usually ice the cookies the day after I bake them because the process tends to be long. Don't let this discourage you! They are the cutest little cookies and are just as delicious as they look.



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December 13, 2013

Being Productive At Home


Over the past few years I've caught myself in too many scenarios of procrastination that I would like to admit, obviously all occurring around the dreaded exam season. However, these instances have also made me realize when it's time to stop binge watching a new series on Netflix, and get things done. I have somewhat developed a system in order to stay productive at home and I wanted to share my tips in case you find yourself unmotivated to do anything that isn't Holiday related this exam season.

*Personally, I am more productive in the AM, so in order to benefit the most from these hours, I set my alarm early and get straight out of bed. I then follow my usual routine of washing my face, brushing my teeth and making coffee.

*I always make sure to change out of pyjamas, even if it's just to get into comfy pants, a sweater and fuzzy socks. This will help you to re-focus and make you feel more energetic. 

*My desk is in my room, which can sometimes be a bit distracting. To ensure I don't hop back into my inviting, unmade bed, I allot some time for cleaning and declutteing. Having a clean, organized work space gives a fresh attitude and a clear mind to complete tasks. Natural light gives off a much more positive vibe so I also like to open all curtains and blinds.

*Reward yourself with breaks, but be sure to measure when to take them by material, not by time. Let me explain: if I know my break is in 10 minutes I am more likely to be thinking about all the things to do on that break instead of actually focusing on what I'm studying.  Tell yourself you can have a break when you finish a certain chapter or get to a certain page. 

*Do not get back into bed thinking you will just do a little reading lying down. Speaking from experience, this effects all productivity levels and may or may not result in a 2 hour nap.

*And if nothing seems to be motivating, I switch up my workspace. Take over the kitchen table, or head to the nearest library or Starbucks and regroup. 

This morning marked the end of another semester for me! I am jumping back into bed to rest my pounding head and wrap myself in my waterfall duvet- but first to catch up on some missed episodes of Homeland
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December 10, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Best Friend

Every year my girlfriends and I host a Holiday dinner party, and it has since turned into being my most favoured activity of the season. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, we do a ruthless form of Kris Kringle. Everyone draws a number and the person with number 1 opens a gift. The next person has the option to steal the previously opened gift or grab a new one, and the rest follow in that manner. We put into effect a (more or less) 40 dollar limit, but sometimes buying a gift that can suit anyone can be a bit difficult. We play this game for the fun factor and not to make anyone feel cheated, so I tend to abide by a certain gift guide every year to ensure everyone goes home happy. Below are some options I am considering for this year's gift. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
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December 06, 2013

As Of Late..

Between final exams and projects, and trying to get ready for Christmas, the past few weeks have been a blur. I still have one more week to get through before the semester is over and then I can really focus on the Holidays. Since I tend to over-stress and in turn forget to enjoy the little things, I've been making a point to relax, and sneak in some fun activites. For starters, visiting the new Ripley's Aquarium of Canada with a friend in from out of town, and decorating and indulging in treats at every chance I get (if you have never tried the waffles at Le Petit Déjeuner go now, and immerse yourself in all things Belgian)! Hang in there to everyone else trying to get through finals, and I'll see you back here in one weeks time! 

You can follow along on Instagram for updates like these!
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