In this monthly series I’m interviewing my favourite bloggers and sharing their kitchens, typical workdays and favourite eats. This month I’m chatting with Justine Celina Maguire of JustineCelina.com!
About Justine Celina Maguire:
In just over a year, Justine has created a beautiful, well-branded, creative lifestyle blog.
When she first started blogging, back in March of 2015, she was using her website to share her interests, passions and inspirations with like-minded people. Now her website is becoming a hub of curated content that covers a variety of topics, from beauty and fashion to entertaining, travel, music and DIY.
Justine says, “JustineCelina is my answer to working and living in a way that nurtures my passions — I’m at my happiest (and most inspired) when I’m creating in all areas of my life and sharing it.”
If you want to learn more about Justine’s creative journey as a blogger so far, check out this celebratory post she published on her 1st blogiversary.
Congratulations on your first blogging anniversary! What’s next? Do you have anything new and exciting happening that you’d like to share?
There are always exciting things happening behind the scenes! Just over the weekend I surpassed quite a large milestone in terms of views and, although I try not to pay too much attention to those sorts of things, it made me really happy. Blogging is definitely a labour of love, and I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into it for just over a year — it’s nice to know that my hard work is starting to pay off.
This year I’m focusing on bringing collaborative posts to the blog by partnering with other creative professionals to enrich my content. I’m so fortunate to be able to work with some of Calgary’s best and brightest, like Justine Milton— a film photographer who I worked with for this post. I’m sure you’ll agree that her work is insanely gorgeous!
I’ve also recently partnered with my friend and amazing flower designer Rebecca Dawn Design to bring flower related content to my website. Recently, we published out first educational post together, An Introduction to Spring Flowers. We also launched a new series called Digital Blooms last month, where we team up to bring you 3 free downloads on the 1st of each month to pretty up your digital devices. The series has really taken off! You can check out our latest edition for May where we created tulip-exclusive designs.
Are you blogging full-time now? What does your typical workday look like?
That’s an interesting question. In terms of time commitment, I spend at least 30-40 hours a week on blog-related things.
I use JustineCelina as a way to showcase my creative work — it’s basically an elaborate advertisement to help me market my creative services and attract the type of clients I’d like to work with. I like to think of it as my pretty little corner of the Internet where I can showcase a more personal side of my work alongside my personal brand.
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that my content is carefully crafted and highly visual. What you may not know is that I started my first business straight out of college in 2007! I’ve been an entrepreneur, creative director, designer and stylist for my entire career. So, if I’m not working on the blog, I’m doing client work in the same realm as what you see on the blog — branding, design, art and creative direction, styling, writing, etc.
I’m currently working 60 – 80 hour weeks to create my content and run my business. My schedule is a little crazy, but my life feels pretty balanced because I make the things that I want in my life a priority. There really is no typical workday for me — every single day is different, and that’s what I love about being an entrepreneur. I spring out of bed at the crack of dawn each morning feeling super inspired to create, share and keep going!
That’s an intense work schedule! What do you make for dinner when you’re busy?
I usually make something simple, fresh and nourishing. We try to keep our kitchen stocked with fresh ingredients and little-to-no junk so it makes it easier to whip up healthy things when we’re busy.
During the week I do a lot of quick, 1 pan or pot meals, or entrée salads — those are my favourite things to eat! Some of my to-go recipes for busy weekdays include my Roasted Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Tahini Sauce, Tangled Thai Salad with Ginger Peanut Sauce, Vegan Southwest Quinoa Bowls and my Crudité-Style Niçoise Salad.
Do you listen to music while you cook? If so, what’s playing?
I’m always listening to music — no matter what I’m doing!
What do you love about your kitchen?
I love the sleek lines and simplicity. I have a major soft spot for modern, industrial architecture — it’s why we fell in love with our place!
We’ve been here for just about 4 years and I really love the kitchen, it’s definitely the hub of our home. Since our space is open concept, friends often sit at the bar while I cook and we catch up — it makes entertaining so seamless. Sometimes I like to sit there and enjoy a glass of wine while my boyfriend cooks dinner. He’s a really good cook, but we like to make opposite things — so we compliment each other really well in the kitchen!
Name one item in your kitchen that you would be devastated to lose.
I have one of the first editions of The Joy of Cooking and a vintage cast iron skillet — both belonged to my late father. He was an amazing cook and looking back I think that’s really where my love of food stems from. Those are the most sentimental items in my kitchen.
What’s in your fridge right now?
I just did a weekend farmers market run, so there are lots of fruits and veggies in there. I was really excited to find rhubarb, rainbow carrots, some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs and gorgeous edible flowers at the market this weekend! There are always lots of condiments, almond milk, coconut water and at least one bottle of white or rosé wine chilling. Lately I’ve been really into dry Spanish rosado (rosé).
Hungry friends show up at your door unexpectedly – what are you going to feed them?
First, I’d serve them a beverage — a glass of wine, something from the bar, or non-alcoholic beverage like sparkling water with fresh citrus, or tea.
I like our place to be a chill zone where people come to relax — so I always try to create an inviting atmosphere by putting on some great music and keeping glasses full.
I love to have my girlfriends over for dinner — I actually get together with my college friends almost every week (we take turns hosting). After I’ve served a beverage, I’d probably whip together an entrée salad, or something fresh and seasonal that allows guests to serve themselves. I’ve always been into serving things crudité-style so guests can customize their own plates. Plus, I can make a salad or fresh platter from pretty much anything!
When you’re not cooking or blogging, what are you doing?
I’m passionate about so many things. Most often, I’m doing client work or dreaming up ideas for blog content — I have 5 notebooks on the go right now!
In my downtime, you can find me sharing a meal with friends, checking out what’s new in fashion, beauty or design, catching up with other bloggers, attending events, or exploring a new coffee shop, market or restaurant. I’ve also been really into HIIT workouts lately, which is something new for me.
Whenever possible I like to get out of the city, either to visit my family (who live on an acreage in rural Alberta), or take day trip to the mountains with my boyfriend. Those little trips are so grounding!
When was the last time you made a bad dish?
I test recipes for as long as it takes, and sometimes it takes many rounds of testing and tweaking. I’ve always been a very experimental cook and to put it bluntly, sometimes the first drafts are total disasters!
I tested the recipe for my Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Lime Tofu about 5 times. It’s probably one of my most inventive recipes yet — the base of the sauce is cooked carrots, blended up in my Vitamix! At first, I started with raw carrots. Lets just say it wasn’t that good. Haha!
The first crack at my Dark Chocolate Raspberry Energy Bites was also a huge fail. They came out super oily because I used too many nuts — the excess oil actually stained the marble serving board in those photos! But that recipe turned out to be a hit — I had a few readers make the bites for holiday parties and they got rave reviews. If I’m not making mistakes in the kitchen I think I’m playing it too safe and not challenging myself. I like to shake things up and incorporate inspiration from all areas of life into my food!
I’m hungry, where should we go to eat?
How much time do we have?
If we were grabbing-and-going, we’re just a few blocks from the best gourmet grab-and-go in Calgary, Our Daily Brett. They use incredible, high quality ingredients, plus their food is just as healthy as I’d make at home. Or, we could go to The Coup for organic, vegetarian dishes and a super cool atmosphere — they often have a DJ spinning, even at lunch.
I really love food from all different cultures, so I have restaurant favourites for almost every type of cuisine. My favourite Thai is De Thai on 33rd, my favourite Indian is Moti Mahal on 17th, my favourite sushi is at Kabuku downtown and my favourite Mexican is at Añejo in Mission (they also have killer margaritas!).
If you wanted to grab something caffeinated, I frequent Monogram in Altadore. I love Monogram when I need a change of scenery during the week. I take my laptop along and plough through my inbox or meet clients there — it’s a gorgeous space, and they have a delicious house-made nut milk.
This is not a sponsored post.
Photos have been published with permission from Justine Celina Maguire.