Thanks for visiting! I know you'll find something here that makes your life easier and inspires your creativity. Join me as I share favorite recipes, money-saving ideas, design tips and even my travel adventures. I love collaborating with like-minded people, so if you have an idea you'd like to explore, feel free to send me an email at angelastcyr@yahoo.com.

Let me tell you about myself and explain why I created this site. I live in Vancouver, Canada, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Most people here will tell you that being frugal isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity. I’ve lived in Vancouver all my life, so from a young age I learned the value of a dollar. I’ve lived on a small budget, and, sometimes, on no budget at all! I learned to create beautiful experiences that enriched my life and the lives of those I love without relying on wealth. My experiences helped me develop the skill I want to share with you…. the fine art of living well on limited funds.

My formal training is in Interior Design, which I studied at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. In my twenties I began my career in freelance design and decorating work. My clients loved my designs, but what truly impressed them was how frugal I was with their money. The design industry is not known for careful spending, so my bill was always a welcome surprise! Every job presented a challenge for me to see what I could create without breaking the bank, and handing money back to a client became a badge of honor.

My unique approach did not go unnoticed. Clients began asking for my advice not only on  design and decorating, but on other creative ways to enhance their lives. Soon I was asked to take on event planning and catering as well as interior design, and I also began to advise clients on their individual meal planning and budgeting. I loved the opportunity to help people enhance the beauty in their lives, and I referred to it as “living a life by design.” It became my mantra.

I have an amazing husband, and we started our family in 2000. Like many women with young children, I made the choice to step away from my design business and focus all my energy on our family. For many years my heart and time belonged to my two little girls, but I never stopped looking for ways to be creative. And I shared that passion whenever I could.

In 2008 I was chosen to be participant on the hit television series, “100 Mile Challenge,” produced by Paperny Films for The Food Network, which challenged participants to live for 100 days using only the food and resources grown within 100 miles. It was an adventure I knew would test my creative ability and bring our family even closer, but I did not anticipate the incredible reaction I received when the show aired. My family’s experience on the show inspired many others in our own country, and the show’s focus on sustainability made it immensely popular around the world. I eventually appeared on television in France to discuss the experience and the issues and ethics around food culture. Not only was the show a rewarding and educational experience for my family, it inspired me to new heights of creativity in food preparation, planning, and sustainable living.

As my children grew older, I included them and their friends in my focus on food and design, and we worked together to elevate even the simplest meals. People seemed shocked when my ten-year-old daughter put together homemade cinnamon buns or pizza as an after school snack, but for her it was fun and rewarding!!!  Parents began to investigate our approach, and they asked me to teach their kids the skills I had taught my own. I jumped right in and set up weekly classes in my home. In no time my classes were so popular I had to turn students away. I hated to do it, but I just could not accommodate more classes in my tiny kitchen!  

In my cooking classes, I taught kids not only to cook healthy, beautiful homemade meals, but also to appreciate the economic and environmental cost of food and to minimize waste. I wanted to instil a sense of pride and accomplishment in the kids, so I always made sure they made enough food to bring home to their families. A child who makes family dinner for the first time never forgets that feeling of pride and self-confidence.

Today, my girls are fully involved in school, sports and the arts, and I have more time to pursue  other creative passions. This year I was chosen as a “Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador,” to help Jamie spread his message of healthy and sustainable eating. I’ve also begun to take on private decorating jobs again, referred by friends and family. I am lucky to be surrounded by such thoughtful friends whom I love and who seem to love me back!

These experiences, my creative passions, and my loving relationships planted the seeds of this website. My goal is to create a platform to share ideas with other creative people, and provide a source of inspiration for us all. I hope you will join me on this journey as I chronicle the design tips, recipes, and money-saving ideas that have helped me along the way.

Together, let’s go out and live “a life by design.”