Bring Home Outside

To help contain the spread of the coronavirus, people around the world have been told to wear a mask, stay at home, keep your “bubbles” small ……  Thankfully we live in a region where fresh air and the great outdoors can be found by simply opening our own doors.

The pandemic has taught us that having a great outdoor space to gather with friends and family (or to have a space for some quiet time) is so important.  We found that consumers carefully researched the best products and services that would extend their indoor spaces outdoors.  It’s no surprise that the most popular products were patio furniture, BBQs, pizza ovens and fire tables.  Not only did these purchases take “socially distanced interaction” to the next level, elevating the experiences in that outdoor living area also became an investment in the home.  We anticipate that such purchasing trends will continue, no matter how big or small the space is.

Al fresco dining and fire side chats under the stars do not have to end just because the season is changing.  Cocktails/mocktails, great food on the table and a cozy blanket will take summer into fall. They are simple pleasures that we once took for granted. Being outdoors is the greatest place to heal, recharge and reconnect. So bring home outside.

Giving Thanks

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, I look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and appreciation of the positive response our little communities of Squamish and Whistler have shown our business.

While attending a women’s empowerment and business strategy retreat at beautiful Sulphurous Lake last fall, a seed was planted in casual conversation that grew into a real life venture.

  • how do you tap into a much needed retail market in our very active community that is influenced by those who explore the great outdoors and those who want to make the most out of their time with friends and family at home?
  • how do you keep business (that otherwise went to Vancouver) local?
  • how do you make an impact in your own “backyard”?

Goals with soul was the answer.

  • keep marketing personal
  • sell products of the highest quality
  • collaborate with local entrepreneurs
  • give back to your community

The answers became clear – I just needed to delve into the nitty gritty of it all.

In the past year we’ve been able to establish an ever-growing presence and seen first hand how the sale of simple quality outdoor living products have brought lasting memories to families.  They’ve shared their trial and error pizza creation photos with us, sent us messages of how much they enjoy their backyard gas firepit, posted photos of food they’ve grilled and smoked on their BBQ and shared stores of their glamping adventures.

This journey of being a creative, calm, active, present and mindful business person has been much more than I had anticipated and I am grateful for all of it (even the never-ending paperwork).

Modern Backyard Bliss

After almost twenty years of marriage, I still do all of the cooking.  I know, I know, it’s not very “modern woman” of me.  BUT this summer we added a new BBQ to our outdoor living room and it has been a game changer!  Hello hubby the BBQ’r!!!!!

I love my gas grill.  Winter or summer, that baby gets fired up 4-5 times a week.  While it’s fast and convenient, I find the true BBQ flavour just isn’t there.  Our new modern charcoal grill with electronic ignition (FYI – amazing feature) has literally changed our outdoor dining experience.  Just like the “modern woman”, the charcoal BBQ continues to evolve.  The temperature is much easier to regulate than I first thought;  it’s not as messy as I first imagined; and the flavours ………..  But have no fear ladies, I’m watching all of this from the sidelines and taking full advantage of my hubby’s new passion for cooking.

I am having to share some of my famous marinades with him and am having to wash the dishes a bit more (FYI:  house rules – if you cook, you don’t clean), but it’s a great trade off.  What’s been my favourite deliciously mouth-watering backyard meal so far?  Without a doubt it’s the grilled beef tenderloin roast.  I usually buy a large beef tenderloin roast and cut it into steaks, vacuum seal and freeze them.  The last 12″ or so at the end of the roast is thinner and is the perfect share plate protein.  I coat it with crushed garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, salt-free steak spice and kelp sea salt ….. and then pass it over to my new found chef to work his magic.  It’s constantly rotated with care on the grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit and is then taken off the grill to rest.  Thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes and onions (all tossed with a simple olive oil/pepper/salt mixture) are quickly roasted as a healthy complement to our share plate/board.

Your outdoor living space is an extension of your home.  We spend a lot of time in our “outdoor living room”, aka “man cave”, aka “mama’s wine shelter”.  It is filled with items that are tailored to how WE live. This unique, modern, trendy charcoal grill has been the best budget minded purchase we’ve made in quite some time. In this modern world of online design sharing, there are so many great websites and social media sites where you can spend an afternoon (or ten) getting ideas. Wayfair is one of our favourites! Whether it’s comfortable furniture, a unique rug or pillow, simple patio lanterns, a fire feature, a patio heater, a grill or smoker …….. fill your space with products that have you not wanting to go back inside! That’s outdoor bliss.

Supporting Squamish

In recent years, a movement has begun that takes consumers away from big-box retailers and direct-to-consumer sales and introduces them to people doing business in their very own towns and cities. When a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in their community (fun fact: for every $100 you spend locally, $68 will stay in your community) . Let’s be honest, in a world where you can purchase almost anything with the click of your mouse, we become “disconnected”.  When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you create a “connection” you wouldn’t otherwise have. When you shop local, the business owner is usually directly connected to every one of their employees, which means any problem you have is taken seriously. A more personalized approach where the products you buy, or the services you request, are often tailored to make your experience even better.  Bottom line: when you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.

So get to know your local farmers, craftspeople, antique dealers, photographers, construction companies, designers, mechanics, gardeners …….. FYI – photo is courtesy of the amazingly talented Tim Cyr. He has an eye for wildlife and scenery. Check him out on Facebook! You can also find his work for sale at many of our local markets.  Thanks Tim for allowing us to use your image.  It’s a beauty!

Taking it one step further, the global trend on where products are made and manufactured is also starting to reverse itself. Canadian shoppers prefer to buy goods made/manufactured in either Canada or the US (fun fact: some shoppers are even willing to pay more for a product knowing where it comes from aligns with their values). The most common reasons: save/create jobs, lower carbon footprint/less pollution, human rights and, once again, a stronger economy. Buying Canadian or US made goods doesn’t just support the workers who make the goods. Its benefits ripple out through the entire economy (from construction and accounting firms to skilled tradespeople and support workers to small retail stores).

Be mindful when you can of where the products you purchase are grown, made or manufactured. While it may not be possible for everything you buy to be made locally, sometimes you simply have to make cost and quality your top priorities (fun fact:  the majority of the products we sell are made/manufactured in either Canada or the US).

Campsite Envy

Long gone are the days of ripped tents, wet sleeping bags, smoky clothing, and sniffing the food in the cooler to make sure it’s safe.

 

Today’s camping families, whether in a tent or a trailer, want the experiences of being away, with all of the comforts of being at home.  If your friends are anything like mine, having a few prized pieces of camping equipment that make you the envy of your camping buddies is all a part of the adventure.

 

A good cooler, like the nICE brand, can keep your beer (food – we meant food) cold for days.  Sweat resistant and bear proof (important for the Squamish lifestyle) , tough and trendy (because no one wants an old ugly cooler) , this is a must have whether your spot for the weekend is along the shores of Howe Sound or in the backcountry beyond the Squamish or Pemberton Valleys.  Could you imagine having cold beer (food – we meant food) all weekend long!

 

If you love to grill, or even if you pretend to, a good quality stainless steel BBQ will bring out the best chef in you.  Having a grill you can easily transport to your picnic table, to the lakeshore, to the campsite next door, or even onto the boat, will keep everyone happy (and healthy).  Having a grill with enough power and versatility to cook for a crowd is what Jackson Grills is known for.  Their BBQs have this unique grilling surface with two different sized grilling rods that allow you to cook small portion sizes (think prawns, fish and vegetables) and larger portion sizes (think steak and chicken) all at the same time.  What does that mean?  It means the food won’t fall through the cracks and there’s less flare-ups.  Imaging having a grill that you don’t have to replace every camping season!

 

Now let’s get to the good stuff.  A campfire is what truly brings a crowd together.  Agreed?  The campfire, in my opinion, has been the one essential element that has evolved the most.  The Flame Genie is one of my favourite products.  This portable campfire uses wood pellets, which means there’s no sparks, minimal smoke and ash, and almost no clean-up.  No more hunting for firewood.  Just grab a cheap bag of pellets on your way out of town and you’re set.  Modern thinking and modern looking.  It even comes with it’s own carry case for easy transportation.  The flame pattern produced by the Flame Genie will have you staring for hours.  The name says it all!  Oh and did I mention that you won’t go to bed smelling like a campfire (aka cariboo cologne)?

 

Beer, food and fire.  And friends.  That’s camping!

Backyard Inspiration That’s A Breeze

Whether your backyard is designed for entertaining a crowd or just relaxing with a good book, simple elements can take your space from blah to breathtaking.

Start with an uncomplicated paving stone (or crushed rock) platform, hang a string of outdoor Edison light bulbs, incorporate a few brightly coloured aridondack chairs and, of course, add a little flame.

Paving stones are durable, low maintenance, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. They can be laid directly on top of dirt or gravel. All you need is flat, firm ground to get started.

Edison strings are the latest lighting trend. The weather-resistant, vintage shaped glass bulbs with exposed filaments, give off a beautiful glow. String them along a fence, through the trees or attach them to a pole.

Adirondack chairs have a distinct look, with wide arms and a backward sloping seat that sits close to the ground. These classic chairs have graced patios and porches for more than a hundred years, bringing a charming vibe to outdoor décor.  Available in both tradition wood or composite material and in a variety of colours.

A propane/natural gas firepit will make your backyard area come to light, literally. A firepit can be round or rectangular, and can feature a cast log set, glass beads or lava rock. Best of all – our Kingsman certified outdoor firepits can be installed on top of wood decks or patios! You can even create your own design around your firepit using non-combustible material (leftover paving stones or rocks from your garden).

This affordable DIY upgrade allows you take the indoors out. All it needs is you!

Create a Focal Point Within Your Home

A fireplace mantel can be the perfect place to show off your personal style year round.  Mantels and hearths can be transformed each season with the right pieces to bring your fireplace from ordinary to extraordinary.  Whether modern or boho, country or flea market, there are plenty of décor concepts to suit your style.  Our blog will feature tips and inspiration to help you curate your own unique fireplace statement.

This dated fireplace is given a modern update on a low budget.  The mantel is repurposed from scrap wood, stained and fastened to the wall.  The subway tile is leftover from a kitchen renovation. The beautiful white hearth was built from simple wood at the hardware store, painted and put straight on top of the old brick hearth.  The right mix of accessories enhance this simple makeover.  Place or hang a mirror in the middle of the mantel, add a couple of candles on one side and anchor the mantel with a larger vase.  Fill in the spaces with smaller accessories and decorative objects. Pick up on colors and materials found elsewhere in the room. Vary the height and texture of items on the hearth.  The woven basket complements the colours of the mantel and the simple greenery adds a feminine touch. Modest yet elegant.

Bring out the best flavours when you grill

Do yourself a favour when you use a smoker or a grill – use only all-natural, hardwood lump charcoal. While gas grills are convenient, this method of using natural wood smoke will enhance the taste of anything prepared on the grill. And this monster burger cooked by our very own RS Hearth & Home curator on the Primo Ceramic grill is amazing. Here’s the recipe:

  • start with a high quality pork/beef ground combo
  • mix in an egg, a handful of smashed croutons, a ¼” tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper, and a splash or two of siracha and Worcestershire sauces
  • finely grate ¼ of a zucchini, ¼ of a red pepper and ¼ of a red onion (now you know our secret)
  • form into ¼” thick patties the size of a small saucer
  • finish off each pattie with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and place onto your hot grill (flip after 4 minutes and add cheese)
  • while your patties are smoking to perfection, start to compose your stack on a fresh brioche bun:
    • a swirl of mustard and/or mayo on the bottom bun
    • a spoonful of salsa
    • ¼ of a sliced avocado
    • 2-3 slices of thick bacon
    • add your burger pattie with melted cheese
    • a scoop of sautéed mushrooms
    • a fork full of spicy banana peppers
    • a spoonful of salsa
    • a swirl of BBQ sauce on the top bun and …………….. heaven on a plate. Enjoy!

Healthy Hearts, Healthy Minds

When we launched RS Hearth & Home and put a feminine spin on the “RS” brand, one of our visions was to have goals with soul! Finding ways to support our community – whether it be through promoting local entrepreneurs and businesses or charitable partners whose values are in line with ours – will be a part of our journey.

Healthy Hearts, Healthy Minds is a Squamish based organization that provides day camp programs, tailored workshops, adventures and team building around healthy friendships and self love to youth 3- 16 years. Their quest is to make their programs a possibility for all who have an interest in their leadership development, making a difference in their community and an overall love of building strong and lasting friendships. They firmly believe that “no child should be precluded from the camp/leadership experience due to financial means”. RS Hearth & Home was honoured to support their 1 st Annual Halloween Party & Campership Fundraiser by donating an Adventure Day to their auction items. Adventure Days are where young girls have the opportunity to challenge themselves as well as help and encourage other girls to achieve their goals for the day. We helped Healthy Hearts, Healthy Minds reach their goal of raising enough funds to send ten local Squamish kids to summer camp as well as ten boys and ten girls to each of their amazing BLAZE and SWING leadership programs!!!!! Changing the world one leader at a time! Honoured to be a part of this fundraiser.