Chef's Plate

Chef’s Plate – The Relationship Saver

We lead a pretty busy life! Both of us work (obviously), flip properties and when you add my chaotic #realtorlife to the equation, planning meals can be a bit overwhelming. Last year when we bought our second house, were renovating and adding a secondary suite, tensions were a little high and when asked “What’s for dinner?” I would bite off the head of my unsuspecting partner. It wasn’t his fault and, in truth, a valid question but I didn’t have the answer.

That’s when I was introduced to Chef’s Plate. People had mentioned it before but now that the dinner dilemma had reached critical volume, I took a closer look. And thank goodness because I swear it saved our relationship – lol.

Here is the scoop….
Meal Plans range from classic and family friendly to 15 minute meals and vegetarian. And you can pick either 2, 3, or 4 meals a week delivered.

We opted for the 4x per week Classic, which is their widest variety of meat, seafood and vegetarian recipes. Both 30 minute and 15 Minute recipes are included. Note the 15 minutes ones are offered at a premium price.

The nice thing is some weeks when we have a lot of dinner plans and events, we can reduce our order to 2 or 3 meals or even skip the delivery entirely (which we did over the holidays).

This is great not only for busy families but I think it would also be amazing for the seniors in your life! If someone has mobility issues or isn’t eating the healthiest options then fresh food can be delivered to their door. They choose the meals and the 15 minute meals even come with all the veggies/ingredients chopped and ready to go.

I have been impressed with the freshness of the ingredients, the ease of the recipes and, actually most surprisingly, the portion size. We can both eat dinner and most nights, there is enough left over for my partner to take for lunch the next day.

We did the math and worked out how much wasted food we had at the end of the week and this works for us! Maybe it’s not for everyone, but I encourage you to run the numbers and see what it might do to your family’s quality of life and time spent together!

Get your free plates here -> chefsplate.com?r=3pc-IS4KGSW or use the referral tag #freeplatesfromYYCRedShoeRealtor

 

WE PICK THE ONES THAT WE WOULDN’T MAKE OURSELVES, DUE TO LACK OF SKILL AND SPECIALTY INGREDIENTS. OUR TASTES LEAN TOWARD MEXICAN AND ASIAN. SOME OF OUR FAVOURITES:

  • Sweet Potato & Avocado Poke Bowl with sticky rice and sesame-soy dressing
  • Crispy Chicken Katsu Sandwich with garlic aioli and a crunchy slaw
  • Pork Meatball Hot Pot with leeks and rice noodles
  • Crispy Fish Tacos with avocado salsa & creamy lime slaw
Farmer's Markets

Farmer’s Markets… be still my heart!

There is something I love about wandering through the aisles, filled with all the bright colours and local products. With the new year’s resolutions still going strong, I imagine the market is super busy right now. Fresh fruit, vegetables and local organic meats are easily at your fingertips. It smart to eat local because you are supporting a neighbour, organic is a healthy option and eating seasonally is definitely best, but I wonder why I don’t go enough?

Whenever I travel, I try to make it to the local market and I vow that when I get home will go to our markets more often. But somehow when I get back, I just don’t do it 🙁

Here are my excuses, which are totally lame. I’m not a morning person, so maybe that is why I opt for Superstore vs. the Calgary Farmer’s Market. You don’t have to go early but in my head that goes together for some reason. Or it’s the parking thing, which is so #firstworldproblems. Or maybe it’s because I’m too busy to menu plan my week. I dunno why but I never get there, which sucks!

Here are some reasons I’m going to make it a priority in 2019.

What’s Fresh

Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumbers (GH), Eggplant (GH), Peppers (GH), Potatoes, Tomatoes (GH), Winter Squash.

They have a list of seasonal recipes too, so there are no excuses. http://www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca/fresh

Meet the Vendors

Such a huge selection to choose from! You can look on the website here for the full list. Some I love to hit up, Simple Simons Pies, Spragg’s Meat Shop and Better.  http://www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca/explore-market/meet-our-vendors

Better has cold press juices and smoothies made with fresh ingredients. And you know how much I love my juices! Eau Claire Distillery is also there, can we say Gin and Juice?! LOL

What’s New

If you haven’t heard by spring 2020 the Calgary Farmer’s Market will be growing by 50,000 ft2! They are opening a second location in the new northwest community of Greenwich.

Those are all amazing reasons to go and I can’t wait to make this part of my grocery shopping routine!

Date Night

Calgary – It’s Date Night!

Calgary is AMAZING!

I know, I might be biased – but there is so much to do in our city.  With everything the city has to offer date night should be easy and more than just dinner and a movie. 

How about these cool local date night ideas:

• Live Improv: Loose Moose Theatre 
• Handmade Pasta Making Lesson: The Spice Chica 
• Murder Mystery Dinner: Fort Calgary 
• Sunday Brunch: Monki Breakfast Club
• Drop in Volleyball: Rally Pointe
• Tacos and Bowling: National on 10th
• Escape Room Experience: Level 1 Escape / Escape Capers YYC 
• Surfset Group Fitness: Revolution Fitness 
• Live Music: There are tons of cool places like Ironwood and Wine Ohs

Everyone is different and the more you can personalize the experience the better it will be for both of you.  Remember that they love you  just spending time together and reminding them how important they are to you will win you major brownie points and fill your heart up with joy.

Or, “Netflix and Chilling” always works too  😉

Love Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day – Pamper Her or Spoil Him

Tis the season of love, tingly feelings and romance.  I adore this time of year, people being all mushy gushy with feelings, open hearts and public displays of affection. I mean, seriously, is there anything cuter than a couple holding hands walking in the snow and not feeling the cold. It doesn’t matter if you are in love with yourself, a partner, your family, your friends or even your pet – sing it from the rooftops during this time of year. It’s OK!

“BEING IN LOVE IS AN AMAZING THING; BUT BEING IN LOVE WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND IS EVERYTHING!”

There seems to be a lot of gift giving this time of year, but celebrating your love for another doesn’t mean you have to spend all your savings. There are many ways you can show you care … I’ve listed some of my ideas below that you can totally steal and take credit for on Valentine’s Day:

Pamper Her
  • Breakfast in bed or meet for breakfast somewhere instead of dinner
  • Send her a sexy text message or tantalizing voicemail
  • Have a romantic Valentine’s Day picnic on the floor. Use some candles and lay a soft blanket on the floor. Put on some soft music and white Christmas lights for additional romantic lighting
  • Share a warm bath with scented oil or bubble bath
  • Together write your love story – how you met and fell in love. Don’t forget “lived happily ever after”
Spoil Him
  • Hide post it notes around the house with cute little sentiments
  • Mail a love letter to his office so it arrives on Valentine’s Day
  • Use lipstick to make hearts and XO’s on the rear view mirror or bathroom mirror. Leave a kiss on his napkin for lunch or dinner
  • Do something together, go skating or tobogganing – its fun, seriously!
  • Break out his favourite board game, puzzle or video game

Asbestos – What We Did!

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and for years prior to 1990 it was a popular in construction Canada wide.  Mainly used for insulating buildings and homes against wintry weather and noise. It has also been used, and, in some cases, continues to be used, in products like:

  • cement and plaster
  • industrial furnaces and heating systems
  • building insulation
  • floor and ceiling tiles
  • house siding

Here we were, looking to renovate a townhouse that was built in the late 1970’s – we were pretty sure that there would be asbestos. Therefore, during our home inspection period we had a testing company come out and grab samples from everywhere that could potentially contain asbestos. We were right, they did detect 2% Chrysotile Asbestos (which is by far the most common form) in the drywall joint compound no where else. The company said that it was often added to the mud as a binding agent – I sure didn’t know that. Anyways, we negotiated with the seller some of the costs and were off the races.

So, you know, Health Canada says there are no significant risks if materials containing asbestos in your home are:
  • tightly bound in products and are in good condition
  • sealed behind walls and floorboards
  • isolated in an attic
  • left undisturbed

Well, we were definitely going to be disturbing those nasty little asbestos fibres, so next came abatement. We hired M.A.R.S. Environmental Services to do the work for us as we wanted it done properly and safely. It was going to take them 2.5 to 3 full days to remediate all the areas that were going to be affected by our renovation plans. That even included around each of the electrical plugs we were either going to move or replace/repair.

Did we learn a lot through the process? Yes. Was it a bit costly and time consuming? Yes. Was it worth it? YES!! The health of my family, and the ability to confidently say it has been remediated when we go to sell, is totally worth it.  I would say that if you are going to be renovating or flipping an older property, get the testing done prior to waiving your conditions for peace of mind and to ensure you still have a profit margin in that flip!

Diamond

Diamond or my down payment?!

What you see with me, is pretty much what you get and let me preface by saying that today was no different.

I picked up my cousin from the airport and then hurried to a coffee meeting I had agreed to with a custom home builder. I didn’t really know what to expect but had been following them on Instagram for awhile. They do some pretty wicked stuff and the properties they feature are like hella’ amazing. So why not, I love a pretty property!

It’s snowy and ugly out today,  so I have my hair in a top knot and with a classic basic b*tch blanket scarf. Little did I know I was arriving at a “coffee meeting” with several other realtors. As a Range Rover, Audi and other expensive cars pulled in I hesitated…. maybe I should just leave, I mean I really don’t have multi-million dollar clients (not yet – haha). But I persisted and walked in – what the hell right?

Oh man, was there bling…. I was there with my $12.99 Costco stretchy jeans and my chucks and ladies were showcasing diamond jewelry worth more that most people have for their down payment. I know there is a perception of this industry and I had just walked into the epitome of it. No joke, I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say one of them had a diamond on her finger that could be worth more than my entire’s year salary.  And I don’t know much about diamonds, but this one practically dwarfed her hand!!

That being said, we all had a tour of the house (which was hella’ amazing) and met the owners (super nice and down to earth people) and learned a little about their business. I felt a bit inadequate to start but then the marketing person took a picture of my shoes in the home and posted it to Instagram, what did I learn? Red chucks for the win.

Love your Home!

Love (for your home) is all around. Or, well, it certainly should be!

Ok, Imma tell it to ya straight. At the risk of sounding to “yolo-y”: we only get one life to live, and you’re in your house every. single. day. You better love that place! Your residence is your fortress, your mansion, your den and your pad — all with your personalized touches. If you’re not feeling the vibes of your dwelling, don’t do nothing. Reorganize, redesign, renovate or – you guessed it – get yourself into a new home you love!

I work with clients of all budgets and needs, and it would be my pleasure to help you find your specific style of domestic paradise. Finding a place so “you” it verges on ridiculous comes with a life-changing, and empowering feeling of fulfilment. So, this February definitely show some love to your significant other, but don’t forget to spread the love all around your personal palace. Each mark in the floor should tell a story, each smell evoke a memory, each squeaky stair and settling clack resound in your ears as a comforting purr.

Love – Monique – xoxo

Romantic, Yet Actually Useful Gifts

Oh wow, it’s a …a heart-shaped candle maker. …Um, thanks!

Forget pink chocolates and cupid-themed cards. This February why not splash out on something charmingly practical for your most favouritest person? Or better yet, something you can both enjoy?

Bring home a:

1. New set of extra soft sheets, pillow cases, and a duvet cover. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like that brand new, soft cozy feeling.

2. Practical Kitchen Gadget. Like a slow cooker, or a food processor. (Then turn the romance up to 11 by making a fancy dinner with it.)

2b: Or a SODA STREAM! Those things are freakin’ great.

3. Really, really good quality coffee Or hot chocolate, or tea, if that’s your thing.

4. A gift certificate for a cleaning service to come into their/your house. Danger: You’ll never go back.

5. Go practical to the max and get their tires/oil changed. Seriously, though, how nice would that be!?

6. Organize with their friends to give them a fun night out. (With or without you!)

7. Prepare in advance their lunches to take to work for the next week. Go on and stick some cute notes in there too.

8. Clean their bathroom / fridge / garage / whatever they don’t want to do.

9. Repaint the house, up all the weeds, stock the fridge and run the bath.

10. Buy a class! Research suggests (and fear of materiality compels) that we like experiences more than things. Find something awesome for you guys (or just your partner) to try out that may result in an awesome new skill.

Life is short — buy the couch. (In January!)

Did you know that along with July, January is the most practical, penny-wise month to go furniture shopping? The after Christmas sales are serious business, and you’re likely to land right in-between on-sale collections for many top home brands. So, if you managed to stick to your Christmas budget, go treat yourself to the fun light-fixture or cushy armchair you’ve had your eye on.

5 Fast Fixes

You don’t need a complete renovation to add impact to your home. Easy weekend DYIs will spruce up your abode. If you have some spare time this weekend here are 5 fast fixes:

  1. Paint it: The quickest and cheapest way to totally transform your home is with a fresh new colour
  2. Curb Appeal: changing your front door is like a facelift for your home
  3. Petal Power: fresh flowers and plants scream summer and cozy up any space
  4. Deep Clean: give carpets a shampoo clean for an instant update
  5. Pillow Talk: change up throw pillows and cushions to update furniture

Have a great long weekend!!