Saving Bruno

fullsizeoutput_174.jpeg

Oh the power of social media….Little did I know that an innocent scroll through Facebook on December 6, 2018 would change my/our life forever.

I saw a post by Horseshoe Stable of the big, handsome face above and knew I had to go meet him. He had been saved from OLEX (a livestock auction in Waterloo that sees most horses sold there go to slaughter for meat…yes, meat…for human consumption) by the incredible souls at Horseshoe Stable and he was in really rough shape. We arrived at the stable and within minutes…possibly even seconds….I knew this big guy (a Clydesdale/Belgian cross at around 17.2 hands) was meant to be a part of our life….

IMG_5135.jpg


The photo above is from the evening we met him and the photo below is a full view of the extremely poor physical state that he was in when he arrived at Horseshoe Stable. His eyes were so incredibly sad…..after meeting him I had an hour drive to go see my Mom and I cried the entire trip there. I had never witnessed an animal of this size in such horrible shape and it absolutely broke my heart. I didn’t get any sleep that night and at about 2am, I started a Go Fund Me as I knew at that moment he had to come home to me, our family and our farm family at Rivendell. The initial costs associated with rescuing an animal can be very, very high due to all of the unknowns regarding their health, behaviour, needs etc and this fund would go to help this big guy get the care that he so desperately needed. It was the start of his hashtag… #savingbruno

#savingbruno

#savingbruno

He arrived at Rivendell at 7am the morning of December 8, 2019. I wish I had gotten a photo of him on the trailer as he’s so tall and almost had to duck, even on a stock trailer.

He stepped off the trailer and I hope he could feel the immediate love and support around him. We walked around the farm and stood to watch the sunrise on the first day in the next chapter of his life….a chapter full of happiness, lots of treats and the care he deserves. He also met his brother, Lightning, and it was brotherly love at the first touching of their noses.

IMG_5191.JPG
IMG_5381.JPG

He settled in well and one of our first endeavours was to have our Veterinarian come out to give him a full check up, his first round of vaccines, float his teeth and clean his sheath. Dr. Molson from McKee-Pownall Equine Services has such a thoughtful and patient manner with these incredible beasts and treated Bruno with such care and compassion. He was sedated to have his teeth floated and you could immediately tell there was something wrong when Dr. Molson opened his mouth…..his teeth/mouth were in horrible condition….in fact, the worst she had ever seen. Bruno has a fairly significant overbite (ie. parrot mouth) and his teeth do not wear properly because of this. Dr. Molson said that if we hadn’t done this when we had, in a few more months his teeth would have curled all the way around and would have started to grow back into his palate. Bruno will require dentistry care every 6 months for the next 2-3 years to get his teeth back to where they should be as we don’t want to take them back too quickly due to nerve endings in the teeth. He was such a trooper through all his initial treatments that morning and after 2 dentistry treatments in the past 8 months, I can tell he’s more comfortable and can masticate his food much more effectively. The photos below show his first and second sessions of dentistry care with Dr. Molson to help grind down or ‘float’ his teeth.

IMG_5213.JPG
IMG_6619.JPG

After ensuring a solid baseline from his visit with Dr. Molson, it was then time to figure out his food program (we needed him to gain weight but do so in a steady and healthy manner), get his measurements for tack, blankets etc (he wears the largest halter that Brubacher’s Harness and Tack Shop sells and a size 92 blanket - in comparison, Lightning wears a size 82). He lived his few few months with us in a stall overnight to stay sheltered and warm and then out in the pasture making friends during the day. He now lives outside 24/7 and absolutely loves his life with his field-mates and friends he’s made. He has two hearty meals a day and all the hay a horse could ask for. The first time I fed him an apple, the look on his face was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I have a feeling that he did not get many, if any, treats in his prior life and to see something so simple bring him so much contentedness was oh so heart warming.

I’ll now take you through a photographic journey of the past 7 months, to show you the incredible transformation that has occurred before our eyes, thanks to so many people. We truly do have a family at the farm, led by our farm manager, Lori. I can honestly say that I would not have even fathomed embarking on this journey without knowing she was the foundation of our farm and I truly cannot say ‘thank you’ enough for all that she has done for this big guy….and me! A huge thank you too to my Mom for all of her support (couldn’t have done this without you), the family at Rivendell - Mike, Grace, Chelsea etc, McKee-Pownall, Brubacher’ s, Sharpe Farm Supply, and of course, all of the Go Fund Me supporters. You helped me/us get this guy the new start he deserved and I am so beyond grateful and humbled by your support.

His first few weeks at the farm. The swelling in his legs had just started to subside.

His first few weeks at the farm. The swelling in his legs had just started to subside.

Even with a full winter coat, you can see his ribs :(

Even with a full winter coat, you can see his ribs :(

He truly is a ray of sunshine.

He truly is a ray of sunshine.

A bit heavier blanket to keep him warm once the snow decided to stick around - size 92!

A bit heavier blanket to keep him warm once the snow decided to stick around - size 92!

Making friends….you can start to see the brightness coming back to his eyes.

Making friends….you can start to see the brightness coming back to his eyes.

So handsome.

So handsome.

Eating dinner with his farm pup friends….

Eating dinner with his farm pup friends….

Dirty feet…

Dirty feet…

Look at that belly!

Look at that belly!

This first time hanging out in a field with his brother…..the boys :) They live in separate fields as Lightning is in our ‘weight watchers’ field with netted hay while Bruno has the ‘full serve’ option in his.

This first time hanging out in a field with his brother…..the boys :) They live in separate fields as Lightning is in our ‘weight watchers’ field with netted hay while Bruno has the ‘full serve’ option in his.

0F28AEFC-9240-4207-A631-39F372852564.JPG
So shiny….and he’s starting to gain back some muscle tone!

So shiny….and he’s starting to gain back some muscle tone!

56CADCC1-0D86-42D5-AE26-C1CB537D0EC5.JPG
Look at him!!! Such a commanding presence with a spark in his eye!

Look at him!!! Such a commanding presence with a spark in his eye!

From the other night…. My happy place….

From the other night…. My happy place….

It has been quite a journey over the past 7-8 months and I wouldn’t change a second of it. We still have a long journey ahead….some work to do with standing much more politely for the farrier (he ‘dances’ as I’m sure he’s had a not great experience previously), more dentistry treatments, more weight to gain, more training to do….but that’s what it’s all about….the journey. Every time I pull down the laneway at the farm and see him standing there in the field, his head buried in a bale of hay or munching on some grass, my eyes well up with tears of happiness. He’s an amazing creature and I’m so glad the fates aligned the way they did to bring us all together!

A huge thank you again to everyone for all of your support….it truly does take a village!

RR

Salle de Bain Reno

IMG_2650.JPG

You all know how much I LOVE my lil City Cottage. Well, there was one wee part of it that since I bought it, I hadn’t really been a fan of….

Enter space capsule/time machine shower enclosure…

I really liked everything else about my Salle de Bain, but, when the time machine started leaking a wee bit, I felt like I finally had an excuse to reno this tiny space into what I’d always hoped for.

Who better to do this for me than….my brother Mike!! He’d done my gorgeous backyard patio, has built me my stunning dining table and desk and now it was time for him to work his magic on my small space living washroom. Off I went to house sit for a friend who was out of the country and off he went on demo-ing, so we could say ‘so long’ to my space capsule.

IMG_2649.JPG

When I walked in and saw this (see above) I was so excited but also so scared….what had we gotten ourselves into?? My brother is a contractor so he lives this everyday and to see this space transformed in such a short time was amazing..yet partially terrifying (for all the right reasons). It was literally stripped back to the studs and it was also so nice to see the history of my home that was hidden behind the walls.

My brother had filled the bin with the time capsule and everything else and off we went to Home Depot for a round of supplies. I had picked the stone/pebble tiles about a year and a half before the reno as they had been a fantastic deal (see below) and I knew that I wanted to incorporate them into the room once I was reno-ing it. They were my jumping off point as far as a palette for the small space and I knew they’d add a little, ‘je ne sais quoi’ as well. I found these gorgeous porcelain/stone look tiles at Home Depot for another great deal (see below) and just like that, the core of my bathroom was decided!

IMG_2783.jpg


Mike found me the PERFECT small space vanity at Rona in Mississauga, at a price point for less than $100 as it was the last in stock (YASSS!!- you’ll see it in the reveal). My goal for this project was to complete in as economical manner as possible, but to not scrimp on quality, hence why we chose to put in a Schluter Shower System (see below). As a Contractor, I can always count on Mike to have done his research and be up to date and well versed on the latest and greatest when it comes to home renovations. With this system being installed, I feel confident in the fact that I will be able to enjoy this space for years to come without a concern.

IMG_2780.jpg

I left Mike to his devices. I not only trust his skill but also his design savvy. He’s someone that not only thinks about the install but also what the final product will look like as well from an aesthetics perspective and his attention to detail is second to none! For instance, due to his care and concern, he papered over and taped off my hardwood outside the washroom all the way to the door and literally took such calculated steps in laying the first few floor tiles as we knew they’d be pivotal as we were not only tiling the floor but the walls too!

fullsizeoutput_16d.jpeg

This next piece of attention to detail still blows me away to this day. He was installing the pebble/stone tile as my shower floor and didn’t like how it was angling towards the drain and also didn’t care for how it was looking….so….what does he do? He removes every pebble/stone from it’s backing and places them individually to make up the pebbled floor. INDIVIDUALLY!!!!!!!! Can you believe that level of care and concern for both the practical usage application but also the aesthetics piece? Again…BLOWN AWAY! See below for this gorgeous handiwork and also how he took the time to ensure proper spacing of the wall tile…again, attention to detail is at 110%!

fullsizeoutput_16f.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_170.jpeg

So…..here it is…the BIG REVEAL. To this day, I still can’t believe this incredible space is in my wee cottage!

IMG_2968.jpg

To say I love it would be such an understatement as it is exactly what I was hoping for…and even more. And, knowing that this is Mike’s handiwork means so much too! I truly feel like I’m walking into a spa every time I cross the threshold!

Below are some photos of my salle de bain today (I feel like I have to call it ‘salle de bain’ vs bathroom as it’s just too nice to be called a boring old bathroom). We’ve put a shower curtain up for now and maybe someday I’ll put up a glass door…but….we’ll see. I’m beyond perfectly happy with it as it is right now! I found a great small space storage solution at Homesense that houses my day to day toiletries and works perfectly with the vanity and also blends in against the tile. I also love how the colours change in the room, depending on the time of day and natural light coming in.

IMG_7957.jpg
IMG_7958.jpg
IMG_7959.jpg
IMG_7963.jpg

And last, but certainly not least, is the HUGE THANK YOU to my brother Mike for all of his incredibly hard work, time and attention to this project…I truly cannot say thank you enough!

If you’d like to work with Mike, his email address is Bigfoot.Contracting.TO@gmail.com and he’s located in Toronto, with projects around the GTA. Be sure to keep an eye out for his logo and you’ll be sure that a one-of-a-kind true piece of craftsman ship is being created at that site.

IMG_7976.JPG

And P.S., if you’d like assistance with your renovation design or home decor/styling, you can contact me at rusticretrievals@gmail.com or on Instagram. I’d be happy to help you transform your house into a home!

RR

Current Vibe...

IMG_7055.jpg

I have to remind myself sometimes that restoring and reinventing isn’t just for furniture or an old home…it’s for me too!

I took a look back and realized that my last post was June 2018…and… I only posted once last year… :(

I truly can’t believe that, especially knowing how much I enjoy writing and sharing my photography. Speaking of photography, I was looking back through photos since June and it became apparent quite quickly how I’ve had very little time to sit down and put a post together and here are just a few reasons:

  • One horse that became two after rescuing a beautiful soul in December.

  • An amazingly beautiful wedding in November and I now have a sister.

  • Bachelorette weekend, cottage weekends/vacations, work travel.

  • Work.

  • A bathroom renovation.

  • A Winter Christmas Market showcasing my photography.

  • Many scrumptious dinners and nights out with family and friends.

  • A university course.

  • Celebrating new chapters for friends (moving, babies etc).

  • Wine and sunsets.

  • House hunting/sitting.

The list could go on and on….

Through all of this, as much as I love working hard, moving at a mile a minute, the so many amazing events, days, moments of the past 6-9 months, I had started to feel a bit foggy…physically, emotionally….

Life was/is great but I was running low on my reserves and it was time for some restoration.

I looked at pictures of myself and asked, ‘where did that extra 15lbs come from?’, ‘do I really look that tired?’. I had some time off around the holidays and it was time to do some real soul searching. Life was getting the best of me and it was time to change the vibe…to start feeling like the energetic, full-of-life version of me again!

Again, life is allll good…I have/had zero complaints, but, I’d somehow lost track of what truly mattered….lost that feeling of taking care of me by putting myself on autopilot. I’d lost the drive or ambition to reinvent myself and was in a bit of a rut. When I start to lose that drive, when people actually comment that I’m not smiling as much as I usually do, I know it’s time to take a step back. I just needed to slow down, re-focus and then sit down, re-prioritize, plan and figure out what I needed to do to lift this fog.

Reinvention can seem to be a very ‘large word’….to have huge meaning. It may mean to some that an enormous transformation must occur and you become an entirely different version of you than before. For me, it means a better version, not a holistically different version.

So…..for 2019 I’ve been doing my best to say no more often (which is incredibly difficult for me), stay in, shift gears and be present. I’m back at the gym (almost back to pushing my university weights), I’m walking more, drinking more water, I’m eating better and I just signed up for a 5k….yes, you read that right. Talk about shifting gears!

None of these have been monumental changes by any means. If anything, the re-prioritizing of things like writing this post to help me be more aware and present or simply adding at least 30 minutes of activity to my day has helped to clear my mind for so many reasons. I get outside or go to the gym, I listen to a great podcast (Tim Ferriss is one of my favs!) and that time is truly for me. Now, the 5k is something totally new…have I mentioned i really, reallllly don’t like running. After years of figure skating I have these ‘friends’ called shin splints that can rear their ugly head at times. But…I wanted to stretch myself a bit…try something different. Signing up for the 5K will make me stay focused and be present. And…the good news is….my ‘friends’ haven’t made an appearance (knock on wood).

As I’m writing this, I look down at my tattoo that says, “Keep Calm and Believe”. Keeping calm through the rollercoaster that is life truly is a super power and believing in ones self is the fuel to keep moving forward on that rollercoaster, to allow yourself to shift gears because you know in your heart of hearts that a shift is necessary. That phrase has helped me to ground myself more times then I can recall…and has helped bring me back around to my current vibe….one where I truly do feel so much more focused, present and incredible!! I can do it, I deserve it and I will get it!

IMG_7056.jpg

RR


Choose Discovery Through Pain.....

image.jpeg

"Pain shapes a woman into a warrior." - R.H. Sin

It's a sunny Dad's Day and I'm lounging in the sunshine on the back deck, thinking how much Dad would have loved this day. It's the perfect day for a road trip to the lake, taking the back roads, in search of the sandy beaches of Lake Huron. Instead of being at the lake, I'm on my deck, reading quite a variety of material...everything from the Summer 2018 Issue of Magnolia Journal to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Joanna Gaines writes about 'A Time to be Playful' and the importance of stepping outside of ones comfort zone, to be curious, to choose discovery. If there was one thing my Dad was was curious. We could never take the same route twice on our road trips and he never cared that it took an extra few minutes to get somewhere, as long as we took the scenic route. Joanna writes about something similar in this issue of Magnolia as well (I don't want to give it all away, but let's just say Chip loves a good 'scenic route' too).

Mark Manson writes about happiness coming from solving problems. He states, "Don't hope for a life without problems. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems."

"Our problems birth our happiness."

Perhaps one of my favourite lines yet in the book states, "What determines your success isn't, 'What do you want to enjoy?' The relevant question is, 'What pain do you want to sustain?' The path to happiness is a path full of shit-heaps and shame."

I never would have thought that by happy accident, I'd be able to draw a comparison between these two VERY different sets of reading material, but....I sure did...and reminded myself of a very valuable lesson along the way.

Let's use the analogy of learning to drive a standard vehicle for instance. My Dad, the oh so patient man that he was, taught me how to drive a standard shortly after I turned 16. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone, choosing discovery and the 'birth of problems'. I honestly, to this day, don't know how I didn't end up dropping the transmission right out of the truck as it shuddered and shook across the field Dad was teaching me the art of 'driving a stick' in. Yes...a field...not the road....a field. Through a few tears and frustrated comments in a raised tone (both by yours truly), Dad remained calm, cool and collected, guiding me through this unknown activity to a word of discovery that is driving a manual transmission vehicle. To this day, I still get nervous when I get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a stick shift, but, I quickly think back to those days with Dad and his soothing tone and coaching and away I go. This was a 'good problem' to have (learning how to drive a standard) and yes, it has allowed me a great deal of happiness, even with the 'sustained pain' of the first time I stall after not having driven one for a while.

This may be a fairly 'simple' analogy, but as Mr. Manson also states, "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for." "Our struggles determine our successes." These two sentences bring some pretty hefty 'AH HA' moments to mind for me....

What does success truly mean to me and how much pain and struggle am I willing to bring into my life and muddle through (and potentially sustain) in order to achieve that success? A new challenge or goal can be a very scary and daunting thing to face, but again, if I truly do want it, I must be prepared for a certain amount (and sometimes a lot) of pain. Sometimes life events occur that are out of our control, such as the passing of a loved one, and all the pain and struggle that goes along with that and how we maneuver through that situation, can in fact lead us to happiness again, along with many lessons learned and a deeper sense of resilience to face the next unknown or struggle. "To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it's an activity, not something passively bestowed upon you." Our happiness needs to include the process to our desired outcome, not just the outcome. At times, the process can seem far from happy and we will experience pain, but again, the pain is part of the process and we must embrace that pain to reach out desired outcome.

I couldn't agree more with this by Mr. Manson..."Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems. See: it's a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you're allowed to stop climbing, I'm afraid you're missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself."

Today was a day filled with mixed emotions, "ah ha' moments, great reading and some key take aways to help me move forward.

First and foremost, choose discovery and keep climbing. As I get older, I see myself trending towards the known and comfortable....I'm not doing myself any favours by doing that because secondly, in order to continue on the ever evolving journey of happiness, I must be willing to experience and embrace pain, to continue to learn and grow and better myself. I'm prepared to 'struggle' for many things, but one thing I have realized over the past few years, what I struggle for or through, had to be of the utmost importance to me and not anyone else. I must put myself and my needs first in these 'struggles' to truly reap the benefits of the outcome. 

I cannot recommend both of these reads enough, though for very different, but yet similar reasons. I hope you can find some time this week or in the weeks to come to pick up a book or magazine that inspires you like these have inspired me.

I'll leave you with this....one of my favourite quotes about the formation of a warrior...

"The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace, did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways, on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes." Elizabeth Gilbert

RR

 

 

 

 

What's On Your Heart?

FullSizeRender (1).jpg

I keep going back to last months Magnolia magazine for many reasons, but I keep being drawn to one article in particular, the one titled "On Mentoring - Generational Wisdom".

We all need a mentor or mentors in our lives and this article articulates why. Its doesn't have to be the 'big things', but the small gestures offered between both the mentor and 'mentoree' that help each individual grow and mature to be the best they can be. The relationship between these two gentlemen in the article really does seem to be a 'once in a lifetime' experience and from their words, it truly resonates how much they mean to each other. 

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

Have you ever had a first meeting like Poppa describes above? I've been lucky enough to have had a handful of these and for every person that this has occurred with, I'm still friends with and look up to and admire them. You can tell from his words just how important taking on a role of being a mentor has been in his life and after decades of support and daily conversations, I can only imagine how special the bond is between these two men. Jerry uses words such as 'encouragement' and 'priceless' to describe their relationship and you can tangibly feel/sense how much he looks forward to those 8am conversations...

Every word of this article hit home to me and the warmth and genuine respect for the human relationship warmed my heart...but.... one phrase really, really stuck out and I'm going to begin to use it in my everyday life, as I feel it is so important on so many levels and for so many reasons....

FullSizeRender (3).jpg

"What's on your heart for the day ahead?"

I LOVE THIS!!

He doesn't ask "what's on your mind?", but instead, "what's on your heart?". This warms my heart and soul to the core as it's probably one of the most important questions we can ask those we care about to truly 'check in' and get a gauge on where both their mind and heart stands for the day ahead. It pushes the respondent to 'dig deep' and potentially bring difficult or challenging feelings to the surface that could be a huge barrier for their day and even weeks ahead. I realize that this isn't a question we can just ask anyone, at least I would feel more comfortable asking this to someone I had a more established relationship with, but with that being said, I would feel comfortable asking someone I didn't quite as well if I sensed the person I was in conversation with was struggling with their day and was having difficulties finding the words to explain their thoughts/feelings. Again, it wouldn't be in every situation like that that I may come across...I'd have to 'go with my gut'...but it's a phrase that could also help build or take a relationship to the next level, as it's a question that requires some true soul searching and self awareness and being able to open up to the person asking you this requires a level of trust and understanding you would not find in every relationship in your life.

We're coming into a time of year that can be emotionally and mentally challenging for a number of people for a number of reasons. Loved ones and those we care about (including ourselves) can find the hustle and bustle and sentiment of the Christmas season to be too much at times and when we sense that occurring, why not offer to go get a coffee, ask that person about their day and dive into 'what's on their heart' at that moment. 

I truly believe that the words 'mentor' and 'friend' can be used interchangeably as both terms show a level of caring towards the other person in the relationship, for their overall well being and growth. This holiday season, why not challenge yourself to be that 'priceless' person and invest time in those you hold close to your heart and at the same time, if you feel you need a little extra encouragement and support, don't be afraid to tell someone close to you, what's on your heart too....

RR

Where Has This Year Gone??

fullsizeoutput_3e.jpeg

How on earth is it November 19th??

This year has absolutely flown by and I can't get over how full every day is and when I say full, I mean it in only the best way!

I will fully admit that I haven't been spending as much as I would like to with the big guy (aka Lightning - my horse), but the time we do spend together is so good for my soul....and his too I think. I snapped this photo as he was eating his dinner and as he does so, I lean on him like he's a big, furry pillow. He munches away and I get to breath in the horsey aroma that has intoxicated me since I was a child. So simple, yet soooo good.

IMG_8544.JPG
IMG_8586.JPG

Speaking of big guys, it wouldn't be November without a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. My bestie's family shows there every year so I went in to see her daughter and uncle show on a Sunday afternoon. The day I was there her daughter showed a Clydesdale in a line class and she did a fantastic job. These gentle giants are truly magnificent creatures and Clydes will always be my first love of the equine world.

IMG_8607.JPG
IMG_8637.JPG

There's something magical about the first snow and as I stepped out my front door at the City Cottage on the sunny morning after ours in Guelph, I couldn't help but smile and revel in the beauty that surrounded me. 

The second photo above is the view from the end of the laneway at my Moms home (the Country House). The tamaracks are so beautiful with their rusty-burnt orange hue this time of year...I was out gathering greenery and couldn't help but snap this photo.

IMG_8671.JPG

The greenery I was collecting was for these....I got a head start on the Winter/Christmas decor at the Country House by putting together the planter inserts at the front door. Every piece contained in the insert is from our property and I'm beyond happy with how well they turned out.

They're so full with a variety of textures, from the hydrangeas to the cone flowers to the 'fluffy weeds', I just love them!!

I wouldn't have been able to pull these together without the help of this guy.....

IMG_8686.JPG

My Charlie Bear helps me with the outdoor decor every year and this year he was right beside me, ensuring only the best from a quality control perspective... I just love him to bits and with that face, how can you not?

I hope you've had a wonderful November too and can you believe that it'll be Christmas in 5 short weeks?? I better start my shopping!!!

RR

Time For A Refresh - Part Two

IMG_6642.JPG

My last blog post took you through the first steps of my living/dining area refresh. 

From painting the walls in Ink Black from Home Depot, to my gorgeous antique sideboard from Simply Cottage in Bracebridge, the room was taking shape quickly!

A part of the refresh also meant a new couch was in order too. I had originally had my heart set on a camel leather option but after much searching and researching, I came to a sad conclusion. Living in a small cottage has its limits and whoever designed the entryway of my home obviously did not have the idea of moving furniture in mind when they built it. I am limited to the size of furniture I can bring in both my front and side door (sadly) and I could not find a couch of the leather colour and type I wanted that was small enough and I was not about to spend thousands on a custom leather piece either. Soooo......I found a very, very happy replacement with the help of the amazing gals at Urban Barn in Cambridge. We had paint samples, fabrics and accessories strewn around the back corner of the store as we decided on fabric for a custom piece for my home. I was also in the market for a new rug too and they happened to have THE perfect one that would still allow me to bring leather into my space, just in a different avenue.

fullsizeoutput_3b.jpeg

After much contemplation, re-checking measurements and trying out the 'comfie' factor, I decided on the Lure Custom Sofa in a lux, cozy fabric option. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff at the Cambridge store were and how the entire experience of choosing, ordering and delivery have been nothing but impeccable! Another aspect that I am really happy about is that my couch is Canadian made (and Urban Barn is a Canadian company). It feels good to know I'm supporting our economy through my choices and receiving a high quality, beautiful end product.

fullsizeoutput_3a.jpeg

The day of delivery arrived (to say I was excited is an absolute understatement) and the photo above was taken literally two minutes after the pieces were placed in my living room (the delivery experience was fantastic and the guys took impeccable care of the pieces as they entered the house through tight constraints!). I mayyyy have let out a wee squeal of happiness to see the pieces in place and I spent the duration of the afternoon pulling the space together.

fullsizeoutput_37.jpeg

I went with the cozy grey velvet-esque fabric to add warmth to the space and tie to the faux bois fabric in the chairs/coffee table. The leather 'rag rug' has hints of camel, grey and turquoise to tie in the sideboard and bring some light into the space. My 'forever' pieces from Willowhouse still look amazing in the space (my coffee table and sofa table on my gallery wall behind the chairs) and I just couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear as I witnessed everything coming together.

fullsizeoutput_31.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_3c.jpeg

With the key pieces in place, it was then time to add in just a few more accessories, but mainly, throw pillows! I had looked high and low and had an idea of what I was looking for and to say I was overjoyed when I found the perfect options at Comfort & Co in downtown Guelph would be an understatement. Wendy and I had fun mixing and matching the many fabtastic options she had in store and I ended up taking home 4 pillows that exude comfort, coziness and bring their own story to the space through their texture and tones. These two in the photos above have helped transform this corner of the couch/living room and the faux fur options in the photos below have added a sense of lux coziness that only 'fur' can add to a space.

fullsizeoutput_3d.jpeg
FullSizeRender.jpg

My home is transforming every day to be even more 'me' and I couldn't be happier! I cannot say 'thank you' enough to those involved in assisting in this transformation, from friends and family who I bounced ideas off of and helped move things around, to the companies I worked with the bring these beautiful new pieces/colours into my home. I couldn't have done this without:

- Home Depot, Guelph

- Simply Cottage, Bracebridge

- Urban Barn, Cambridge

- Comfort & Co, Guelph

Stay tuned for further updates and I can't wait to show you the dining table that will be the final piece to bring this space together.... I hope you've enjoyed the journey through my design/decor adventure as much as I have!

RR

Time For A Refresh - Part One

fullsizeoutput_2e.jpeg

Every 5 years or so I get the urge for a major change and seeing that I celebrated 6 years in my City Cottage this year, it was time for change. Do I sell? I really didn't want to as I love my home, my neighbours, my neighbourhood etc so that really wasn't an option. I looked around my living/dining room and with the help of some inspiration from the Instagram account of @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa (you must have a look), I decided it was time to refresh my living space. Wait until you see the before and after!!!

FullSizeRender.jpg

So, I sold my furniture (my sideboard that has been with me for almost 10 years was the hardest piece to part with), decided on a paint colour for the walls, found the perfect 'jumping off piece' (a sideboard from Simply Cottage) and off I went!

fullsizeoutput_29.jpeg
IMG_5879.JPG

The patina on this piece pulled me in from the moment I saw it on their Instagram feed (yes, I bought this piece sight unseen). A huge 'thank you' to my incredible friends that brought this home for me....it's absolutely what I had hoped for and more!

I had painted test canvases to help decide on what paint colour I wanted to move forward with.....I went with Ink Black by Behr at Home Depot. It went on incredibly well and as much as I enjoy painting, I'm pretty slow, so the fact that it went on so well and evenly, let me finish the project in a day!

fullsizeoutput_2b.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_2c.jpeg

So I cleared away the furniture I had remaining in the space, taped off the walls, got out my drop sheets and roller and off I went.... 

From the first swipe of colour on the wall, I knew I had made the right decision and by the time I moved to the second wall, I was in LOVE!!!

fullsizeoutput_2d.jpeg

The paint had barely dried and I had to pull this vignette together on the sideboard. It came together so easily and my jaw was on the floor with how absolutely perfect it was! It was more than I had ever hoped for!

Living in a small space, I had been worried that painting 2 walls a darker colour could close the space in....but....my worries were easily appeased and my home instantly felt even more like me! Every time I walk in my front door, a huge smile comes across my face, knowing that I get to call this space home.

Welcome to my new space and stay tuned to see what I have done in the living space to continue to make my city cottage my home!

RR

So Long Summer......

FullSizeRender.jpg

So where the heck has Summer gone?!?! 

I can't believe it's already September and when I look back at the last few months, I realize how jam packed with fun and great times they were and I'm so very grateful. I'll take you on a photo journey of the Summer of 2017 and all that it held for me, my family and friends.

IMG_5385.JPG

I ate some fantastic meals with some wonderful people this Summer. There was a point where I ate at the Bread Bar in Guelph 3 times in a week and a half! One of my favourite ways to spend an evening is with friends, surrounded by great food and drink!

IMG_5599.JPG

Not only did I have great meals with friends, I had great times with friends! One of those oh so memorable days was the Queen's Plate at Woodbine in Toronto with some pretty incredible women!!

IMG_5707.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

Making memories with friends doesn't just happen in restaurants and sports venues, it can also occur in our own backyards! Whether its under a pergola on the deck of my friend's 100 year old home or on a bouncy castle in the yard of a friend who has held her summer bash for 20 years, thinking back on these times bring a huge smile to my face!

IMG_5683.JPG

Then there's Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market (and Balzac's). I didn't get there as often as I would have liked to, though I did find other Markets this summer as well, it was always a great way to kick off the weekend!

IMG_5905.JPG

I've done a lot of walking this summer (sometimes on my own, sometimes with a friend) and I've been able to truly enjoy the city that I call home. I've watched the gardens transform over the months and as always, admire the beautiful homes/architecture this city has to offer.

IMG_6164.JPG

My happy place.....the back deck of my city cottage. Some great stories, laughter and memories were made here this summer. I even fell asleep a few evenings under the stars and the canopy of the trees. It truly is my escape in the ity

IMG_6468.JPG

One thing that illustrates to me that the Summer truly got away from me, is the fact that I really only got to the lake once.....yes, only once....and only for a few hours. There was no cottage this year, no swimming in Lake Huron, but, that's ok....there's still September and I enjoy time at the lake just as much (if not even more) now....

IMG_5917.JPG
IMG_6690.JPG

I spent a lot of time with this big guy this summer (isn't he handsome?!) and finally got my photo of him, 'Look Me In The Eye", printed on canvas! If you'd like your own, have a look in my website shop!

IMG_6120.JPG

Even though there are around 20 days of Summer left, Labour Day Weekend always feels like the unofficial end to Summer...the sunset of summertime :(

I hope you've all had the Summer that you were hoping for and had the chance to make as many wonderful memories as I did (and am very grateful for). Cheers and so long to the Summer of 2017!

RR

Back in the Saddle...

I pulled into the farm today and as much as LTN and I like to work outside, I decided we'd stay indoors with how the day was heating up. The windows were open, the doors were open and a nice cross breeze was blowing through, so it was pretty much as perfect as we could ask for. 

Since moving to the new farm, the big guy has taken some big strides forward with his training and I'm quite happy with how he's doing and more importantly, I'm extremely happy with how our relationship has/is developing. He's been a part of the family for almost 10 months now and while there has been some back and forth about who the 'boss' is some days, I truly do feel that we are falling in stride with each other. 

Some people know his story and some don't, so let me share.

This guy came into my life through two wonderful women who we're still with today (hence our move to this farm, as they were moving there as the new farm managers). He's 11 years old and is GREEEEN! Up to last summer, he essentially lived his life in a pasture with a mare and their daughter (he was a late geld at age 6). From what I understood, he had very little to no work done with him (up until last August) and he would need to be started from the ground up.

I know our progress may seem slow to some people and that's just fine with me. I'm in no rush and wanted to really establish a trusting and collaborative relationship with him first and foremost. We will never be jumping fences at The Royal (or any competition for that fact) or running barrels at a rodeo. He's my return to the equine world and to be able to take him out on the trails or ride him around the ring through walk/trot/canter is enough. I'd rather take our time and do things properly so both he and I enjoy it and can learn from each other along the way, vs me solely dictating to him. 

He's had someone on his back mayyyybe 15 times now and today was my longest session on him (about 15 minutes). We made it around the arena 3 times!! This is HUGE for a guy, who not matter what cueing you use, pretty much stands still as soon as someone gets on his back (he is absolutely more whoa than go). With A LOT of encouragement and me leaving him to his own timing at times, we did made it around and the smile on my face couldn't have been bigger! He moves forward perfectly on the lunge line and we're working on transitioning to that to the saddle. As you can see in the photo below, I'm currently using a halter and lead rope to guide him when I'm on his back. I have very mixed feelings about introducing a bridle/bit at 11 years old, but it is inevitable if we're wanting to head out on the trails (at least until he is much more seasoned and then I may move to a witless bridle).

Such a great view... #throughtheears..

I will also admit, somedays, I've been nervous to get back into the saddle too. I'm no longer a 17 year old with no fear (and a hockey helmet on my head, that would then climb on a wayyy too energetic 3 year old filly and hold on for dear life) and this 38 year old mind and body is all too conscious of the potential of being sent flying through the air to the dirt. I'm very aware that falling off is part and parcel of riding and I continue to wrap my head around that. I am absolutely amazed how well he is doing with so few rides 'under his belt' and once I'm on, I feel much better about things.

He is one incredible creature and has a 'once in a lifetime' personality and way about him. He's so smart and with that, comes his stubbornness (kinda like his Mom and his other furry brother Charlie). He's playful, caring (he'll literally lick/'kiss' you to death), full of life yet calm (most days) and there's this look he gets in his eyes that brings a huge smile to my face, no matter what. 

I truly feel that finding him was meant to be and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

RR