I’m not really sure what’s happened — but this year, my love of cocktails is outshining my love of sangria (hey… no hard feelings sangria — we had a really good run!). I’ve also been dreaming of publishing a lavender lemonade for years — but funny enough, it’s never made it’s way onto these pages. I had the most delicious lavender lemonade the summer before I started blogging at some small town in interior British Columbia on our way back from a music festival — and I’ve been determined to create an equally delicious lavender lemonade ever since! That said, I know there are tons of lavender lemonade recipes out there, but now that I have a few solid years of COCKTAIL development under my belt and some incredible, unique, delicious ingredients in my bar, I thought I’d give it a go this summer!
So, while I fully intended this recipe to be a vodka-based lavender lemonade, as I moved though a rather intense testing process (remember when I mentioned I was cocktail testing over the long weekend?), I ended up swapping lavender for lilacs and vodka for gin — and I’m so glad I did! My Japanese Lilac Gin Lemonade tastes like summertime in the country and is very near to my heart — incorporating Japanese Lilac blossoms from the tree at my childhood home in rural Alberta, honey from the hives just across the stream and Eau Claire Distillery‘s award winning Parlour Gin distilled from the flourishing barley crops and unique botanicals of Alberta’s prairies. This floral-kissed, lightly effervescent lemonade was created with a thoughtful, hand crafted, farm-to-glass approach and made for lazy summer days on the patio, easy entertaining and watching the sunset behind glowing fields of canola! Join myself and my Connecting Over Cocktails crew to indulge in a summer inspired cocktail menu (check out their creations at the end of this post!) and enter to win bottle of the best gin I’ve ever tasted, along with a Tour & Tasting for 2 at Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery! Cheers to hot summer nights, refreshing gourmet cocktails and the celebrating the bountiful offerings of this beautiful land!
Happy Monday everyone — and welcome back for the next, highly anticipated reveal in our SPACE REFRESH series! Today, in partnership with HomeSense Canada, I’m elated to unveil the other half of our refreshed main living area — the Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen. While we’ve been refreshing our space since last summer (when we embarked on our huge Paint Transformation!), most of our time was spent gathering inspiration for the Living Room, as we almost completely started from scratch furniture and decor wise over there. Our Living Room took the better part of 6 months to pull together — and during my many HomeSense runs as it came to life (a lot of you came along via Insta Stories!), I also had a vision for the adjacent Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen in mind, picking up items for this space as I curated details for our Living Room. So, relatively speaking, this area came together quite quickly in comparison!
Our Living Room, Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen are all located in the same space — a large, long and somewhat narrow room. So, we kept the overall look and feel as cohesive as possible to unify the separate areas of the room with an overarching design sensibility. We took design cues for our SPACE REFRESH from our developer who was inspired by earth’s natural elements — our space features natural materials and textures with a warm, mid century modern vibe, a touch of boho and an abundance of greenery! Not only are we thrilled with the aesthetic appeal of our refreshed Dining Room, Bar & Kitchen, this space is also very functional for the way we live in it, which I consider the true mark of great design. Today I’m sharing all my tips, tricks and inspiration for designating different areas within one large room, creating and maximizing apartment storage, as well cost effective ways to refresh your space while repurposing your existing furniture (our only new piece in this space is our sideboard — the rest has been with us for years!). Pull up a seat at our table and settle in for your evening read, friends — can I fix you a cocktail?
Friends, welcome back for my annual (and very belated!) Blogiversary celebration! My 3rd Blogiversary went roaring by on March 2nd — but to be honest, I was completely engrossed in our Living Room Reveal and some other fun, last minute projects at the time. Earlier this year I chatted about changing things up around here and creating space to let life happen — and that’s exactly what I’ve done! There’s been a lot happening here at JustineCelina lately as we get ready to reveal the next rooms in our SPACE REFRESH series (coming your way later this month!) and I simply had to prioritize my time differently to make this all possible. March was one of my most creatively fulfilling months of my life — it left me completely exhausted but also incredibly inspired! In the two months since My 3rd Blogiversary I’ve reached some milestones I’ve dreamed of achieving since launching JustineCelina and they’ve reminded me exactly why I started this whole thing in the first place. So, although it’s a bit late and I’ve been chipping away at this post when I can, I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this Pantone Spring 2018 inspired 3rd Blogiversary soirée with you!
In the midst of it all, I came up with the concept for this celebratory post pretty last minute — about 10 days before the shoot (which, admittedly, was about 2 months ago!). It was so spontaneous, but serendipitous and things just fell into place (I shot it myself one sunny Friday afternoon with my tripod and self timer). This year, we’re going all out — because after 323 blog posts, almost a million views (OMG!), 180 000 images, 2 900 comments and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears (quite literally), I truly never thought I’d get here! My third year was one of intense growth, both on these pages and off of them — I hope you enjoy reading about 10 Things I Learned in my Third Year of Blogging in this raw, honest, unabashed post (you may need a sparkling glass of rosé to get though it!). Whether you’re new to JustineCelina (and there are a lot of you beautiful people — welcome!) or have been with me since the very beginning, I’m so grateful to have you here celebrating with me today!
And just like that it’s the end of April, which means it’s time for another Monthly Soundtrack! April was such a whirlwind month — from our first Apartment Therapy feature to working with Tourism Calgary and SAKS to lots happening BTS for our upcoming Kitchen / Dining Reveal (there’s still a lot of work to do but it’s coming together!), this chill, eclectic, easy going playlist was on repeat the entire time! My April 2018 Soundtrack features 3 hours of instrumental and electronic (I love to listen to music without lyrics while I’m reading, writing and working), tropical house, alternative and indie with a dash of hip hop thrown in for good measure. If you’re looking for some inspiring tunes to help motivate you this spring, I have just the playlist!
A few of my favourite tracks this month include LAYNE’s The Fog, Blockhead’s Insomniac Olympics, Kodomo’s Concept 16, TM Juke’s Marbles & Drains, Mishegas Episodes, Soccer Mommy’s Your Dog, The Voidz Leave It In My Dreams (major The Strokes vibes!), Sir Sly’s &Run, J-Walk’s Soul Vibration, Moby’s Mothers of the Night, Hovvdy’s Pretend, Bite’s Plastic Picnic and Phelian’s Grimoire. If you take a listen, be sure to let me know what some of your favourites were!
Happy first weekend of spring, friends! Wow — what a crazy, whirlwind week this has been. Between publishing our Living Room Reveal on Monday, my Style Me Pretty Living feature on Wednesday (pinch me!), a very exciting FASHION announcement (which has now published!), to a jam packed calendar full of events and meetings, plus 8 rounds of testing for this recipe (and subsequent cocktail ingredient runs before noon!), I’m finally getting a fresh cocktail for you this weekend. Initially this recipe was supposed to publish on Wednesday to welcome the first day of spring, so let’s just say my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash is fashionably late (like our spring weather) — but she comes bearing gifts! I’ve teamed up with Eau Claire Distillery once again to give away a full sized bottle of Prickly Pear EquineOx to one of you lovely Canadians (check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!).
After a long, snow covered winter, I’m elated to unleash my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash — a post-hibernation celebration of spring’s refreshing flavours in cocktail form! I figured it was time to pump the brakes on the gin train (let’s be real… there’s been a ton of gin drinking going down here at JustineCelina!) and introduce you to a completely unique spirit to welcome spring’s arrival. Today I’m working with Eau Claire Distillery’s award winning Prickly Pear EquineOx — a sweet, lightly citrusy, barley based vodka incorporating Alberta’s Prickly Pear Cactus with a special blend of spring botanicals. Complimented by a refreshing bouquet of elderflower, kiwi, lime, a kiss of wine, a dash of bitters and a splash of soda, I’ve created a seasonal elixir that pairs perfectly with longer evenings and balmier weather. I’ve also teamed up with 4 talented food bloggers across North America to bring you the Spring 2018 Edition of Connecting Over Cocktails! If you’re looking for some inspired cocktail ideas as we transition into spring, we’re totally got you covered — stay tuned to see what my fellow Food Bloggers of Canada are mixing up for you this weekend!
It’s such a surreal experience finally being able to share our Space Refresh | Living Room Reveal with you today, friends! If you just tuned into our brand new SPACE REFRESH series last week and don’t follow along with Instagram Stories, it probably seems like this happened overnight. Let me assure you — nothing is further from the truth! We’ve been planning our Space Refresh series since January 2017 and working on the Living Room since the summer. I truly believe that authentic, functional design takes time — especially in your own home. Once we had a fresh coat of paint up, we decided to start redesigning our living room first — the largest space in our apartment and where we spend the majority of our free time. The process of creating our mid century modern space with a bohemian twist was an organic one, with lots of unexpected twists and turns — but we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results!
Today I’m absolutely ecstatic to bring you our Living Room Reveal in partnership with HomeSense Canada — a longtime partner here at JustineCelina and my favourite destination for unique decor and entertaining essentials. A heartfelt thank you to HomeSense for embarking on this journey with me as I transition into more DWELL content this year — I truly couldn’t imagine a more perfect partner to have by my side! Throughout this process I’ve made countless HomeSense runs (my Insta Stories crew knows!) and it’s where I purchased about 90% of our decor. I’m so excited to walk you through every detail of our refreshed Living Room — so please make yourself at home, I have a glass of chilled rosé waiting for you!
Remember the summer I acquired a taste for gin? It’s since become my favourite spirit. In fact, around this time last year I even ventured to Vancouver Island to track down an infamous local gin unavailable in Alberta (I also made a cocktail with that one!). Although the gin I brought home from my coastal travels is long gone, late last year I stumbled on Eau Claire Distillery via Instagram (their bottles are gorgeous and totally drew me in!). Imagine my surprise to find out we have an incredible, award winning distillery less than an hour from home! Over the holidays I took a trip to the visit their distillery in Turner Valley with my Mom (who loves gin) and my brother (who was home from New York and loves cocktails) for a tour and tasting — and we were all completely blown away by the quality of Eau Claire’s hand crafted offerings and their farm to glass approach. Now that I know they exist (and they’re local!) I actually can’t fathom using anything else in my cocktails! Over the last couple of months, we’ve padded our bar with several of Eau Claire’s artisinal spirits — including their most recent offering, Cherry Gin.
In honour of love day, I’m so excited to share my Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz! This feminine, fruity and lightly floral cocktail combines Eau Claire’s stunning Cherry Gin with my favourite Prosecco, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a Rose & Pink Peppercorn Infused Honey Simple Syrup for a contemporary spin on the classic French 75. My Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz is a beautiful addition to your Valentine’s Day menu, but can be enjoyed anytime you want to indulge in a gourmet craft cocktail at home! As always, it’s free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar — and bursting with fruity flavours, floral undertones, unique botanicals and a refreshing effervescence. The best part? Eau Claire is helping me share the love this Valentine’s Day by giving away a Cherry Gin Cocktail Caddy valued at $99 to one of my Canadian friends — check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!