Here's what's making June a happy month for me.
The Blogcation Retreat was a smash success!
Photography, food, friendship - this pretty much sums up the awesomeness that was the first Blogcation Retreat. Leading such a group of fantastic bloggers was a hugely rewarding experience and we couldn't have asked for a better location than the Towers Manor house in Prince Edward County. It was so inspiring to work with the local entrepreneurs of the region and I think we truly accomplished our goals of rejuvenating our minds, bodies,and blogs!
I have to give a huge thank you to Ford for providing us with an Expedition for the retreat. I don't know what we would have done without it! As you can tell, it took all of our packing skills to load up the back with our endless coolers, swag bags, suitcases, and supplies but there was still plenty of room for the 4 of us in the front. We rode in comfort and style all the way to Prince Edward County. As chief driver for the first part of the trip, I was hugely appreciative for the back up camera (you did see how stuffed things were, didn't you?) and for the rear climate control. It took us a while to figure it out but once we did it was heavenly!
Our homemade Blogcation brigadeiros
Prior to the Blogcation Retreat, one of our local partners - Cocoa Camino - sent us a box of their fantastic, fair trade, organic baking supplies to create desserts and treats for the retreat participants. Challenge accepted! I got together with one of my Blogcation Retreat co-organizers, Sandy from Canadian Blog House, to channel our inner Martha Stewart and come up with some incredible chocolate concoctions.
Have you ever had brigadeiros? They are a Brazilian specialty and they taste like a cross between chocolate truffles and Bounty chocolate bars! Here's how you make them:
3 Tablespoons of Cocoa Camino cocoa
1 Tablespoon of butter
1 can (14oz) of sweetened, condensed milk
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir all the ingredients together and cook the mixture until it thickens (about 10 minutes - it will be about the thickness of brownie batter). When the mixture has cooled enough for you to handle it, you roll the batter into small balls and then into Cocoa Camino coconut - you'll need about a 1/2 cup. (The recipe originally says it will make 20 brigadeiros but we doubled it and we only got 30 balls in total).
Beware - things will be STICKY! We found the best method was to place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and cover it with coconut, then use our fingers to grab the desired amount of mixture out of the pot. Yep, sticky and messy! But once they're rolled in coconut things become much easier to handle and the end result is delicious!
Heading back to London - Ontario that is!
We loved our visit to London in February and we're so excited to be going back in mid June to attend Fiesta London. There's a jalapeno eating contest but don't worry - this is one anti-adventurist challenge I have the good sense to turn down in advance! I can't wait to share all the stories with you!
Being behind the trend on reading
I absolutely adore independent bookstores and I found one of my favourites in Kauai, Hawaii. The Talk Story is the westernmost bookstore in the United States and stepping inside is the literary equivalent of mashed potatoes and roasted chicken - it's comfort food for the soul!
I'm finally getting around to reading the book I picked up there: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The irony of me being behind the times when it comes to reading a book about trends that were trending several years ago is not lost on me but I'm really enjoying it all the same!
Triumphant backyard makeover
We did it! Finally, after hauling and heaving so much soil, it finally looks like we've got our backyard act together for the first time. Now our biggest challenge will be keeping the raspberry shoots in check! You can remove raspberry canes, but they keep coming back! I'm also looking forward to finishing my book (and starting some others) out here in the sun.
In case you missed it, here's what January 2015, February 2015, March 2015, April 2015, and May 2015 were like.
Tell me about your June. What's making you happy and what are you looking forward to?