Quality Outdoor Wear for Country Living

Sharing with you today a few quality pieces of outdoor wear that I have been using for over 2 years now. My reviews are all my own and not sponsored or paid in any kind of way. I wrote last week all about Country Living - are you cut out for it and today I wanted to share some items that are staples in my house. 

I would like to make it clear that I understand these items are all on the higher price end but after testing out other brands I can definitely say the investment is worth it! If you shop at the right time of the year you can usually get them on sale, saving anywhere between $25 - $50. 

First lets talk footwear! 

The first boots are the UGG Adirondack Boot Leather and are priced at $298. They come in a tall version and several different colours. The second boot is the women's Kesey boot and they are priced at $198. After trying them on they are really comfortable and have a side zipper which makes them easy to slip on. The adirondack boots are so warm that going to the mall or grocery shopping they made my feet too hot! I love the Kesey boot because I live in the country and needed something with good grip and would still keep my feet warm. I saw these black ones on the website the UGG Simmens, they are on my wish list for next year! 

Once the warmer whether rolls around our backyard and driveway tend to get muddy because our landscaping isn't done yet. I stick to my Hunter Short boots since they keep my feet dry. They are a long lasting boot. I picked up both of those colors on sale and snagged them for under $100. I had a tall pair that lasted me 4 years but the tall pair were a huge pain to get off of my feet. I love love love the short version! Your legs don't get hot, they are easy to slip on and off, and you can usually get them for a good price. The Hunter boots have great grip on the soles which is important for our deck that can be slippery at times. 

I cannot tell you how many winter jackets I've cycled thru when I finally decided to make the plunge and invest in a good quality winter jacket. This jack from North Face has been a life saver. One time when we first moved here we had a major snow storm and could not drive up our 400 ft long driveway. We had to walk! In the dark and in snow up to above my knees. Thankfully I had this jacket with me, the wind was so crazy and I remember my husband didn't have any proper winter wear on, he was freezing!!! Me....I was good! This jacket reaches down to almost my knees. The hood is built so well, it stays on and covers a good portion of your face. 

My last item I wanted to share were these gloves! We've have gone thru so many pairs of gloves and have both come to an agreement that these very unattractive looking bright yellow gloves are a country girls dream come true. My poor hands were always so cold and wet whenever I would bring firewood into the house. With these gloves I was never cold. We received these specific gloves as a Christmas gift. I think these from Walmart are very similar in style. They have to be thinsulate and preferable leather on the outside and a good lining on the inside. 

snow

My last picture is some beautiful scenery from my front yard, hope you enjoyed the info I shared above. As usual if you have any questions about country living please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below! Don't be shy please share any tips you may have because I am definitely not an expert and have a ton of learning to do myself!  

You can catch me on Instagram where I share real life stories about our home build and country living! 

Country Living - Are you cut out for it?

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A portion of our back yard, we have 49 acres mostly forest with many walking trails. 

If I am being really honest when I shared with my family my plans to move out to the country with Branko they all rolled there eyes in disbelief.

"You are not cut out for the country!!"

Who gets to decide that?? Nobody will know if they are cut out for country living until they try. I knew I had to give it a chance. Branko's first home was much smaller with only 2 1/2 acres of land and small house. He did most of the outside yard work and I helped with mundane things like gardening. 

When we moved to the new house it was pretty clear I would have to step up my country living skills! I cut the lawn for the first time on our riding lawn mower. I can actually admit (shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don't tell Branko) it was relaxing! 

My current biggest helping hand is to ensure the firewood is stacked under the porch. Branko does so much that it's important I help where ever I can. Funny enough, I find this oddly relaxing as well. I kind of hate when he does it. He doesn't stack the wood neatly like I like too and that drives me a little bananas. It's so quiet here that doing this work provides me with some much needed exercise and time to reflect. 

The reason I wanted to share these thoughts with you today is because I always get asked..."so do you really love it out here"....and my answer will forever be YES. If you have any doubts about moving to the country whether it be the yard maintenance or commuting or how your kids will get to school OR gasp where do you get your groceries, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. I am more then willing to share tips I have learned over the years that has made living in the country the same as living in the city.

Lastly.......DO your research! If you found a home you love test it out early one morning to see what the commute might be like or drive to the closest town and check out the local shops. 

Now for some fun I made a little video so you can all have a little laugh and in an upcoming post I will share some of my favorite outdoor gear to ensure I am always warm! 

Welcome to Hillside Casa

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. Don’t forget to make art - write or draw or BUILD - or sing or LIVE only as you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Hi Friends, I hope you take in that above mantra for the new year because I know I will!!!

I am excited to share with you my new blog name and provide some explanation behind why I chose Hillside Casa BUT first I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who have been following along and supporting our journey of building two homes and two(sort of 3) very large garages in the last 4 years, getting married, and having a child. 

When I first started out blogging all I wanted was to share our journey of building our Forever Home. I had no idea how much extra it would bring to my life. The stories I've followed, the friendships I've built. It hasn't always been an uphill journey but it has showed me how to be more open minded that's for sure! 

The name was seemingly simple - I knew I wanted the word "Hill" because our area is known as "the hills" not only that but our house itself is on a hill! Since we are so high we have some pretty nice views of our front yard and newly backyard that we created. My second word was "Casa" - for me casa has such a nice flow AND home is where our heart belongs. Hillside Home sounded a bit off. That's it. Nothing too complicated. 

With this change I also wanted to share more on the blog - what happens at Hillside Casa? Not only building that is for sure. We have 49 acres with a ton of walking trails. We like to try out new recipes. Day road trips to visit local small towns is something we love to do as a family. On a personal side I've always loved shopping. I have been known to take "me" days and explore different malls. I know very silly way to waste your time but for me it is relaxing! I am also hoping to share some lifestyle changes I've had to make once we really started country living with that will bring reviews on outdoor wear, tools,and necessary equipment needed when owning a large piece of land. 

Now I want to hear from all of you! What would you like to hear more about? Any burning questions about country living? Videos of our DIY projects?  Let me know in the comments!! 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and soon I will have a Facebook page. 

Home Update

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We sat back and listed all of the things we've done over the course of the summer and couldn't believe how long our completed list actually was. When Dominik was born we knew family time was going to be important but we have a house that needs to be finished. We definitely do not want to go into next year with too much landscaping left simply because he will be two and running around so much. I'm sure I missed some small projects we worked on but below are a few of the "big" things we managed to get done. 

Branko had to clear cut more forest so that we can have a proper backyard and also remove ourselves from the risk of a massive tree falling on our home. (More on this will come including a run in with a by-law officer!) 

The below picture was taken on April 27th, 2016. As you can see, no deck addition and we were just starting the clear cutting of the trees. 

The photo below was taken today. Eventually that firewood will be moved behind the retaining wall and closer to the forest. All of backyard will have grass. You can see we also finally finished the deck other than some railing on the stairs on the front part of the house. We were able to get a lot of use out of our back deck and front porch this summer which was amazing. 

We originally had the idea of using large stones for retaining walls and landscape features around the house but when we realized it would cost us over $10,000, we nixed the idea. After some research we decided on using wood. It turned out so much better than I expected. Once the grass grows and the flowerbeds are done, the walls will stand out so nicely. I also plan on sharing more about our retaining walls -- we built our posts out of concrete instead of wood for longevity, and that needs an entire blog post in itself! 

Lastly, installing our pipes for Geo-thermal. This has been a labour of love project for Branko and he is determined to finish this himself. One trench has been completed, our second trench is currently in the process of being back filled. Once this project is completely done I will be sharing a full post on the system we bought, how we attempted to dig trenches three(!) times and all of the problems with sandy soil and digging. 

Hopefully you come back for some more exciting updates! I plan on sharing how we chose to use cedar shakes on the exterior of our home, installing board & batten, and stone feature walls we plan on having. Plus a post on taking down all of the trees and installing our Geo-thermal unit. 

If you want to follow along I still keep it real over on Instagram. I keep our day to day progress over there and throw in a couple photos of Dominik because he's the cutest out of the three of us. :)