Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Top Songs of 2015

As a follow up to yesterday's post, here, in no particular order are some of my favourite songs of 2015.  These were part of the soundtrack that got me through this year. Click each track to hear the song. 

Also, every year I look forward to DJ Earworm's mash-up of the hottest songs of the year.  Here is 2015's masterpiece:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Top Albums of 2015

'Tis the time for year-end lists and this is one of my favourites! Yet again proving that my music taste is no particular order:

Beauty Behind the Madness - The Weekend
Wild EP - Troye Sivan
Storyteller - Carrie Underwood
1989 DLX - Taylor Swift
The Pinkprint - Nicki Minaj
25 - Adele

Sunday, December 27, 2015

An Easy Dinner

Are you sick of cooking yet? Tired of company and having to come up with meals for everyone? Look no further! This is my fail-safe lasagna that is made in the slow cooker! I have made this for countless people and it's always a hit!
oxox Mare

  • 3 cans (14.4 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 containers (15 ounces each) fresh ricotta
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 12 lasagna noodles (about three-quarters of a 1-pound box)
  • 5 ounces (about 6 cups) baby spinach
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

In the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, spread a thin layer of the sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary). Spread about 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce and 1 cup mozzarella.

Cook on low, covered, until the noodles are tender—especially in the center of the lasagna—about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's All in a Word

Today I want to share with you a very simple shift I have made in my life.  It is so easy, comes at no cost and has made a real difference in my everyday life.

Think of a word you write multiple times a day, whether signing into a computer, email, social media or even your phone. 

A password. 

In 2014 some of the most popular passwords were 'qwerty', 'password', 'letmein' and '123456'.
Not only are these ridiculously easy to hack into, but they have no added value to your life. 

Now, imagine if you typed in something meaningful every single time you unlocked your phone. You may think the passwords you choose make no difference. Who cares what you are typing? It's just a means to an end. 

Well, for the past six months I have been using only positive words and phrases to open my accounts.  It started out as an experiment when I was feeling particularly down one day and I needed something to bring me out of my funk (because it was 5am and there was no wine ;).

The physical act of typing out a positive phrase has made such a difference.  By making yourself think these words multiple times a day and then having to actually write them out, you are programming your brain to think a different way.  It seems small, but over time, it imprints and changes your outlook ever so slightly.

What words would/phrases would you use?  Here are a few to get you started:


I guarantee some of you are reading this with doubt or rolling your eyes.  I was that person too, until I tried it.  Why not fill your world with positive words and phrases?  I did.

oxox Mare

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vlogmas Week 1 Recap

I can't believe we are well into Vlogmas!  I would love to know if there is anything you would to see this month.  Thank you so much to everyone who has been tuning in and supporting Vlogmas 2015.  I can't believe this is the fourth year I have been filming this series!  In case you have missed some of the episodes, here is a recap of the first week!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

"Taylor was actually at my house the other day," Selena Gomez, said of Taylor Swift. "We were sitting by the fire and I was talking about relationships and business in my life." During their heart-to-heart, Taylor gave the former Disney star some pivotal life advice.

"She just kind of looked at me and was like, 'Selena, if you're the smartest person in the room, I think you're going to be in the wrong room,'" Gomez recalled. "She thinks I should constantly surround myself with people who are going to make me better — that are going to challenge and motivate me."

As for whether Selena took her pal's advice? "It kind of stuck to me," Gomez admitted. "I want to surround myself with those people."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Answering Holiday Questions

If you have been reading my blog for years (first of all, thanks!) you will remember when I used to do Tuesday Questionnaires.  Today is a bit of a throw-back to that era, with a holiday quiz!  I would love to hear your answers in the comment section! 
Favourite holiday beverage Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, hands down.  I gave up coffee in January and before this month, had maybe had four cups all year.  But there is just something about this drink that allows me to make an exception; it's like Christmas in a cup!  I also only drink Baileys at Christmas.  I like it on the rocks and keep it coming!

Favourite holiday movie Muppet's Christmas Carol, Love Actually, The Holiday and The Grinch (Jim Carrey version)

Favourite holiday song All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey or Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - N'Sync

Favourite treat to indulge in Peppermint Mocha 

Real or fake tree Fun Fact: I have never had a real tree.

Do you do turkey or something else We always had a turkey on Christmas Day, but it's not something I feel makes or breaks the holiday.  Last year we had a crab feast which was amazing!  It is fun to make something indulgent and special for the day, but I don't think it's imperative to have turkey.  

Have you decorated yet Heck yes! Growing up we decorated 12 days before Christmas and left it up 12 days afterwards.  But now I decorate around December first!  I considered not doing anything this year as we aren't going to be home, but of course I caved! As I sit and write this by the light of the Christmas tree, I am happy I did. 

Do you secretly wish you still had an advent calendar I totally do! I absolutely wish I had an advent calendar. I love the idea of an adult calendar with drinks and presents and treats but I have never had one.
oxox Mare

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Yesterday I had one of my mentors on my morning radio show and I asked her what advice she has for someone who has been through a terrible 2015:
"Life is very unkind at times and I have always found in my own life, that every day, even when the worst things happen, there's always moments of joy...whether it was a sunny day, or someone smiled at you or someone just did something that made you feel better.  I think sometimes even on the very worst days we can find seconds of joy so that we can put it into perspective.  It's a life filled with joys and sorrows and we have to see that."
Janice Perrino

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Welcome to Vlogmas 2015!

Good news! I am vlogging every day in December again this year.  In fact, this marks my FOURTH annual Vlogmas! Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see this month in the videos :)

To kick off  Vlogmas this year, Jeremy posted a video this morning:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Jennifer Lawrence recently spoke about her clique with Entertainment Weekly saying,  
"I have a very small circle. The moment I feel like someone is using me or is in it for the wrong reasons, I have zero guilt about just cutting them the f*** out of my life. My bulls**t detector is phenomenal. None of my friends bulls**t me. Everything in my life has to be real."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Humbled Thank You

This week I hit a milestone on YouTube, one I didn't see coming. I don't watch my stats closely, as the numbers don't drive me, so I was shocked yesterday to see I had surpassed 400,000 views! This is an incredibly humbling number for me. (My hometown is about 12,000 people, just to put that staggering number into perspective.)

I started my YouTube channel on maternity leave in 2011, as a hobby to keep my creative side satisfied.  I could never have predicted the impact this community would have on my life. 

The connections you and I make on a daily basis has gotten me through some of my darkest days in the past four years.  You've also been there for my best days.

It may look like frivolous banter to you as I talk about nail polish and Netflix but it's so much more to me. Your comments and our back-and-forth is  incredibly touching. You have done more for me than I can ever express. 

YouTube has brought out a confidence and a voice in me I knew was there, but I didn't know how to access.  I have shared more about myself than I ever thought I would and in turn, your have generously trusted me with your struggles. 

Here's to another 400,000 views my friends! To celebrate, I present one of my first videos of a very young and adorable T Bone.
oxox Mare

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

From our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Fall is officially here with cozy scarves, pumpkin spiced everything and chilly mornings.  To celebrate the colours and season changing, I produced a three part series called Fall Into Fall. Enjoy!
oxox Mare 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

"Successful women don't have a lot of time for people who don't lift them up. There are a lot of people in life who want to tear you down or get you involved in their drama. That's a big life lesson that is hard to learn when you're young, but as I get older, I see women weeding people out of their lives. This is healthy. You don't need to be a good friend to someone who's not a good friend to you. You don't even need to be a good daughter or sister or wife to somebody who's not good to you. It goes that far."

Reese Witherspoon

(see the full article here)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Best Dressed at the Emmys 2015

These three are my top picks for looks last night at the Emmys.  From left is Sarah Hyland who rarely has a miss.  Her outfits are consistently on point and beautiful.  She finds a great way to blend her femininity and edge in age-appropriate looks.  Love her style!  In the middle we have Lady Gaga.  Yes, you read that correctly.  She looks absolutely gorgeous in this black number.  I find it incredible how Gaga continues to evolve in all aspects from fashion to career moves.  On the right is January Jones.   In a night that was filled with huge gowns and beautiful dresses, I love her alternate look in this beautiful green jumpsuit. 
The biggest chill-inducing moment of the night was when the stunning Viola Davis became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in drama. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mare's Music Monday: The Weeknd

It's been a hot minute since I did an album review, so let's get to it!  I actually haven't bought an actual physical CD in a really long time so it seems fitting to tell you about it. 
The Weeknd is Canadian and killing it around the world!  His second album, Beauty Behind the Madness, was released two weeks ago and has spent both at number one on the Billboard charts.
The Weeknd has a unique sound, many compare to Michael Jackson.  He doesn't rap, but his lyrics remind me of that style, quick-witted, smart and raw.  The songs definitely have adult content with drug use and sex being constant themes.  Somehow with his rough subject matter, many of the songs still have a pop-love-song vibe to them.  I love how the songs paint a vivid picture and I find myself transported into them.  I find this especially happens when listening to the album in headphones. 
Some of my favourites are Can't Feel My Face, Dark Times (featuring Ed Sheeran), Real Life and Shameless.  
Of course this won't be to everyone's taste, but two weeks at number one can't lie.  I am thoroughly enjoying this one!
oxox Mare

Friday, September 11, 2015

Food Friday: Protein Shake

I've been chatting about protein shakes quite a bit in my videos in the past month, especially during Vlogust, so today I thought I would spotlight my current favourite protein powder. 
I've been delving into the world of protein powders for a couple years, trying different brands and formulas, but I seem to always come back to Vega.
Personally, whey-free powder is much easier to digest, which is why I exclusively use plant-based products.  I have tried quite a few flavours of Vega, but settled on French Vanilla because I like the freedom to mix it with many other things.  Some days I like a shake with frozen berries, banana and spinach for example, while another I want cacao, natural peanut butter (like this one) and a banana.  French Vanilla is nice and versatile. 
The Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake contains 20 grams of protein and just one gram of sugar.  WIN! Now, the particular blend is 160 calories per serving but I use a smaller scoop to reduce the calories. It contains six servings of greens, as well as fibre, probiotics, antioxidants and more. It's gluten free, non GMO and 100% vegan. 
As I said, I like to switch up what I mix with the powder.  After playing around with it a bit, I recommend putting whatever liquid you are using in the blender first (I use filtered water) and then the powder.  I also have found I use much more water than expected to make a great consistency that isn't powdery.  
I have found this specific powder at Superstore on sale, but I know it can easily be purchased online and in many stores.  Finding it on sale is always a bonus as it can seem pricey.  To counteract this, I remind myself that I don't but anything else for breakfast (besides the additions for the shake like berries).  The container says it provides 20 portions, but I get WAY more out of it!  I believe it to be worth it, considering how great I feel drinking it.  More energy, bloat-free and alert. 
I have been making protein shakes for my co-host and myself five days a week for about a month now and we both feel fabulous.  
I don't mean this to sound sales-pitchy, but I wanted to share it with you because the protein powder section can definitely be overwhelming! 
oxox Mare

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Losing A Parent

I am not a doctor, a therapist or an expert.  But I am someone who's had 13 years of first-hand experience on this topic and I wanted to share my experience.  I hope the tips and advice I share in this video are helpful as you or someone you know deals with the loss of someone very important. Please share this with anyone you think it might help and also leave any questions or comments you many have. 
oxox Mare

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mare's Music Monday: Songs I'm Loving Lately

Here are the songs I have been playing on repeat lately.  Each of these is a link to the music video.  Enjoy and happy Labour Day! 
oxox Mare

Levels - Nick Jonas

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Vlogust Playlist

Hello my beautiful and not-forgotten blog.  I love Mare's Place and promise to post more here this month than last.  Please forgive me for a lack of blog posts, but as I warned you, I did Vlogust!  Every day in August I vlogged, which produced THIRTY videos!  Yes, I will say, quite the feat!  You can expect more regularly scheduled blogging to commence.  But, in case you missed any of the thirty videos, I created a neat playlist for your viewing pleasure.  Feel free to binge watch away my friend!
oxox Mare

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mare's Music Monday

Did you catch the MTV VMAs last night?  You know I love my award shows and this one never disappoints.  You can always catch crazy outfits and antics. I thought I would share some of my highlights. 
Let's start with the outfits.  I love the above three: Britney, Demi and Taylor.  Last night was all about the cut-outs and skin showing with colour and sparkles.  So fun!  
My favourite performances were Macklemore (loved the Kool & the Gang cameo and the choreography), Demi Lovato (girl ROCKED!) and Justin Bieber (yes, I just said that). 
Now, let's talk Miley.
 She had a TON of outfits last night but these three are my faves.  I am sure there are people who were shocked by her hosting the awards and her behaviour.  But, she's just being Miley.  She hosted the night exactly as I expected she would, with flair, freedom of expression and a lot of skin.  What I didn't expect was her announcing her entire new album is streaming for free online! 
As for Kanye, really, I have not much to say.  He hates award shows, yet doesn't like to be left out.  He basically gave MTV a huge middle finger with last night's "speech" and I felt like Taylor shouldn't have put herself in that situation.  That's great she's forgiven him, and I thought for a second he was going to apologize.  But then it got weird, annoying and ridiculous. Stop giving him chances. He's a brilliant artist but that's it.
What were your favourites of the show last night?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wise Word Wednesday

This quote for the week is something that definitely speaks to me.  I often find myself hurt or annoyed by another person's behaviour and have to work to shake it off.  We can only control ourselves and our reactions to others.  Some you can eliminate from your life and move on but others are there, not going anywhere whether they are co-workers, family or mutual friends.  How you choose to react definitely shows character.  In my experience most people have no idea how much their behaviour affects others.  It's up to you to find peace without letting others affect you.  It's a work in progress, but worth it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jocelyn Alice In Studio

Today's blog post has a guest feature: my husband Jer!  He recently had Canadian singer Jocelyn Alice in studio where they chatted and she performed her hit song Jackpot.  
I played a clip in Vlogust Day 12, but if you want to hear the whole thing you can click here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Update on VLOGUST

I am doing VLOGUST!! This means I am vlogging every day in August! I explain all about it in my Apology and Announcement video:

So, yay! I am vlogging every day this month.  As I explain in the above video, I didn't want to edit and upload while I was exploring New York.  So, prepare for a flurry of vlogs to pop up in your subscription box on YouTube!  To catch you up, I started the month with a bang at the Taylor Swift concert in Vancouver:

 I had a day to spend with Emilie before heading to New York so, obviously, we went to Target! 

So, that brings you up to date on Vlogust! I will be posting the next vlogs daily on my channel, so make sure to subscribe! Also, let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see this month. oxox Mare

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

They Totally SHOCKED Me!

Tomorrow is my birthday but I've already had an incredible surprise party I wanted to tell you all about.  My friends and husband are so sneaky!

A couple weeks ago my friend Leanne suggested we do a wine tour to celebrate and of course I said yes right away!  It was scheduled for this past Sunday the 26th.  I arranged Jeremy to drive our friends around to visit different local wineries and do tastings, and then drop us at a final winery for a delicious dinner.  

Leanne told me she would take care of all the details and invites so I didn't have to worry about a thing.  And I didn't!  Honestly, it was so great to have someone else plan a lovely afternoon out for my birthday that I didn't give it another thought.  I have so many commitments and entries in my daytimer that one of the best gifts she gave me was just that.

Lol, little did I know what was happening behind the scenes! 

There was never going to be a wine tour. 

Jeremy pretended to arrange a babysitter, Leanne invited a few friends and everyone stuck to the story.  I even saw most of these women last week and no one even gave as much as a sideways glance. Not a one!  These people are sneaky!
Leanne invited me over Friday night to help her purge her closet.  Of course I was game to do that!  I arrived, hair a mess, no makeup and in my comfy clothes ready to sit on her bed, drink wine and be ruthless with her collection.
Lol!  I walked into her house and was blown away!  I actually think I was in shock for about the first hour! 
Leanne planned an at-home blind wine tasting and she out-did herself!  Check out the delicious treats she made from scratch:

Like I said it was a blind wine tasting.  The ladies each brought a bottle which Leanne covered so we couldn't tell what the label was.  She served each, along with cards to fill out with our thoughts on the flavours.  We sat outside on her beautiful deck, munching snacks, sipping wine and chatting.  Perfection.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate. I felt so loved and surrounded by such warmth. (And it wasn't just the wine talking;)
These ladies were so generous with their time and kept the secret like pros. I even got sent home with gifts!  I love the names on these two bottles of red:
As I prepare to close the chapter on this past year, this surprise really capped it off for me.  You know it's been a struggle for me since my last birthday, and I couldn't have done it without the love and support of friends. 
oxox Mare

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mare's Music Monday

It's officially five days until I see Taylor Swift in concert for the second time at BC Place in Vancouver!  Yes I am counting down ;)  Today for Mare's Music Monday, I want to share my favourite songs from each of Taylor's albums.  I've been a fan since about 2007, when I was convinced I was much too old to like this superstar.  Got over that quickly, and have been an avid supporter ever since. So, let's dive into her five part discography:
Taylor SwiftHer debut self-titled album
Should’ve Said No and Tim McGraw are my two faves on this album.  In particular, I believe a career-changing performance was when Taylor sang Should've Said No in 2008 at the ACMs. Watch her stun the audience:

 Fearless: Taylor's second album that has so many gems
In particular I like a couple ballads on this one, White Horse and Forever and Always the piano version.  I think Taylor's live performances have won her so many fans.  This was another turning point for her:

Speak Now: This is a legendary record because Taylor wrote every song herself, without any help. 
Dear John and Ours are two of my favourites off this album, and too faves out of entire library.

 Red: This album came out October 2012 and has never left my van.  If it was possible to wear out a cd, this one would have melted!  It's nearly impossible to narrow down my favourites, but a few stand-outs are
 All Too Well, State of Grace, Red and Begin Again. 
When she performed All Too Well at the 2014 Grammys...well, I still get goosebumps watching this performance:


1989: Her fifth album was a complete shift from country to pop.  Even though many skeptics said it would never work, it's her best-seller to date!
Shake It Off, Style, Bad Blood, and This Love are just a few of my faves, but again tough to pick and choose. 
Still, I will never get enough of this video. Total genius. I will always remember where I was and what I was doing the minute this song was released.  You may think I'm dramatic, but it was life-changing.

What are your favourite Taylor Swift songs? Are you seeing the 1989 Tour? 
oxox Mare

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Plight of the Dreaded Strapless Bra

Today, we are talking ta-tas!  I have debated whether to post these photos, but ladies, you KNOW what I am talkin' about!  
The strapless bra. 
My rib cage hates me just typing those words.  
I've always been well-endowed in the breasty area.  Some ladies will read this and think, "what's the issue?".  You clearly haven't had to bend over and hoist your ladies into a strapless bra and hated it from the second those hooks close. 
I was convinced having double Ds and beyond, I was destined to never have a comfortable strapless.  I passed by cute strapless dresses, ignored halters and accepted my fate.
Until this summer. I swear ALL the cute tops this year require a strapless. I'm not into wearing a halter with a regular bra.  Please don't show the straps!
So, I decided to take my bosom and put an expert to the test.  I went to Peaches, a local lingerie store.  Christina measured me and then went to work. Girl earned her paycheque that day!  I tried on quite a few different models and finally, magically, as if sent down on a ta-ta shaped cloud, one fit.
Not only did it fit, it felt good. 
I didn't want to rip it off and apologize to my ribs. 
Say what? 
I've worn it twice, and one of those times was for SEVEN hours straight!
The bra I chose is a Calvin Klein model.  No, I wasn't going to actually show you my underwear, so instead look at the difference a properly fitting garment makes. 
The first photo is me, delusional, believing I can pull off a bandeau:
No Mare, you aren't 19.  Those ladies have nursed a baby.  Support them!
Moral of the story: YOU can be welcomed into the strapless world.  Yes, you.  Show those girls off! Now, I'm not wearing this every day, but it sure is fun to have the option! 
oxox Mare

Monday, July 20, 2015

Six Months Without Coffee

Today marks six months since I gave up coffee.  This is definitely the longest I've gone without it and I wanted to write a post to celebrate!  In the video below, I talk about how and why I gave up coffee in January.  I filmed it in April, but am still going strong!  I can honestly say I don't miss it and continue to feel either just as tired or awake, depending on the day, as I did when I was drinking coffee.  I am loving iced black tea from Starbucks instead of frapps this summer. I never thought I would like brewed iced tea, but I do! It's even yummy without milk or sweetener, which is fabulous as it's a cool treat without the heavy calories of a frapp! 
I hope you enjoy this video and remember, if this morning radio host can give it up, you can too!
oxox Mare
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