October 31, 2012

Shell Out, Shell Out, The Witches Are Out!

I am really not that into Halloween, as I think it is a pretty silly and unnecessary excuse for a holiday - and to even refer to it as such, in my opinion, is a good example of playing fast and loose with the term 'holiday'. There is just something about Halloween that bothers me, and I assure you that it's not the costumes and the gore. Rather, I think it is a pretty gross example of consumerism at it's finest: Parents are required to splash out cash for a new costume for their child(ren) each year, which is sadly often hidden under the large rain or winter jacket that children are required to wear, because the weather is October is horrendous. And how ridiculous it is that the occupants of each home are expected to dole out a 'treat' to the one hundred or so decorated children knocking on their door, in order to prevent themselves from falling victim to the ever-threatened 'trick'?! Halloween festivities reportedly began a very long time ago, when people were legitimately looking to ward off the souls of the dead; now the we're all digging deep into our wallets trying to ward off mischievous children...

Obviously when I was a child I thoroughly enjoyed Halloween and looked forward to it each year. I was always excited to have my mom make me a new costume (as mom's did back then) and then have my dad accompany my brother and I around the neighborhood to collect as much candy as our pillowcases could possibly hold. My grandmother would even get into it, as every year without fail she would dress up in a witch's costume and chant "Shell out, shell out, the witches are out" as we made our way around to each house. Frankly, it was awesome. But the older I get the more ridiculous Halloween becomes, and each year I question the alleged holiday with increasing disdain. Perhaps I am becoming Halloween's equivalent of the Christmas Scrooge (there's a costume idea...), but I honestly no longer can see - or care to see - what all the fuss is about. This is simply a day each year when I turn off all the lights in the house, dread the chime of the doorbell, and pray that my house/cars aren't coated in eggs when I get up for work the following morning. All while trying to ignore the fact that much like Valentine's Day (which represents another questionable use of the term holiday), the grocery stores are overwhelmed with chocolates and other sweets that seem harder and harder to remove from my waistline as the years go by. So shell out, shell out, 'cuz this bitch is out.

Photo Credit: Halloween Witch at Faithweb

October 29, 2012

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few days ago I mentioned that I would be baking cookies for a fundraiser at work, and I questioned readers as to what kind of cookies I should bake. After hearing a few responses, I chose to make a twist on an old favourite, the chocolate chip cookie.

I had wanted to make something a little more adventurous and creative, like sugar cookies with royal icing, but I decided against it. As this is a bake sale, I need to appeal to the masses, and that's exactly what chocolate chip cookies do. And also, to be completely honest, they are pretty easy to make and don't require a huge amount of time and effort. Though it would have been fun to make and decorate sugar cookies, I just don't have the time right now.

So I decided to make Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are a slight twist on the original plain recipe. I chose to go with this type of cookie in order to ensure that they are purchased and not hesitantly skimmed over, like other kinds of less-familiar cookies may be. But I chose to specifically go with salted cookies as this provides a nice, subtle variation on the original theme. Therefore, though plain and universally appealing, my cookies are certainly not boring! In case you would like to make them for yourself, here is the recipe I used {adapted from For Me For You}:

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies

2 cups minus 2 tbsp cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt {try kosher salt}
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup and 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 and 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkle of sea salt

1. Combine both types of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Once completely mixed, set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Once fluffy, add in both eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla once eggs are thoroughly mixed in.

3. Turn the mixer setting to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredient mixture. Once the wet and dry ingredients have completely combined, add the chocolate chips and mix briefly, so that they are well-distributed throughout the batter.

4. Place plastic wrap around the dough, and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours, maximum 72 hours.

5. Once a minimum of 24 hours has elapsed, preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator and allow the dough to soften slightly.

6. Using a standard-sized ice cream scoop, scoop the dough into balls. Place the balls onto the baking sheet and sprinkle sea salt onto the top of each ball before baking. Make sure to space the dough evenly and far enough apart to allow the cookies to spread out without touching as they cook.

7. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. If you wish for the centers of the cookies to be soft, cook for only 15 minutes. Allow the cookies and baking pan to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the pan but continue to cool them on the wire rack for at least another 10 minutes.

I struggled a little bit mixing all of the ingredients together, as the dough becomes more and more stiff as you continue to add in the dry ingredients. Despite using my stand mixer I had problems, as the dough was so stiff that my poor mixer was visibly struggling to push the beater through the dough. Not wanting to put my mixer into harm's way any longer, I chose to mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Based on the crazy amount of chocolate chips called for by this recipe, combined with the stiffness of this dough, I also struggled with this. I much have been struggling a lot as my husband came over and offered to stir in the chocolate chips for me. With his help, I got everything mixed an into the fridge.

The rest of the baking process went smoothly. However, I ended up with 31 cookies rather than the estimated 24. I think that this may have to do with the fact that some of the cookies turned out bigger than others, and the smaller ones in the batch likely didn't have enough dough in them. If they had been bigger I may have gotten closer to 24 cookies. But nonetheless, the cookies turned out amazing! They were super delicious, thick and chewy in the middle, just how I had hoped they would be. And they were a huge hit at work, selling out completely at the bake sale!

Photo Credit: For Me For You

October 28, 2012

Pin of the Week: J Crew Bubble Necklace

This gorgeous necklace keeps popping up all over the place, in various colours. I love the sheer impact of it, as it takes an outfit from blah to beautiful. Thinking that I might try to score one for myself, I looked into where I could get one. Apparently the original of this beauty is sold by J Crew and it retails for a whopping $150 USD. That's a lot of money for some plastic baubles!

So I did a little more searching and I found out that many people have re-created the necklace and are selling them on Etsy {if the link doesn't work, use the search term "J Crew bubble necklace" to get results}. The prices of the Etsy versions of this necklace are much more reasonable, as they typically range in price from $12 to $40 CAD. Even with shipping, these prices are less than a fraction of the original. Also, as the necklaces on Esty are handmade, they are available in a much wider range of colours than what is currently available on the J Crew website. And at such a reduced price, it means I could afford to make a statement in a few different colours!

Photo Credit: Dress Interest

October 27, 2012

Rain, Rain Go Away...

My morning started way too early today, as I forgot to turn off my alarm clock before I went to bed last night. Thus, I was rudely woken from my glorious sleep at 5:30am by and incessant beeping. Not only was I extremely irritated to have had this happen, but I was disappointed to have such a great night's sleep interrupted on the only day that I can really sleep in. To make matters worse, once I quieted the shrill scream of my alarm clock, my ears picked up on the steady drum of rain outside. Nothing is worse than waking up and realizing that the weather is going to make for a cold, damp day.

I am a firm believer that on days like this, everything should shut down and we should all stay in our warm beds. Quite frankly, rainy, cold, damp days make me very grumpy. The reasons for my bad mood are practically endless: I am cold, my hair is ruined, my clothes are damp, the traffic is horrendous because people seemingly forget how to drive, my dog gets muddy, my house/office is dank and dark due to lack of sunlight... the list goes on and on. And let's not forget the fact that I am not the only grumpy one; everyone else seems to be less than impressed that they have been required to leave the comfort of their warm bed/home to attend work/school/wherever else they have to be. So rather than involve myself in all this grumping, I chose to stay in bed.

Thankfully, I was able to get back to sleep soon after I shut off my alarm clock. However, my precious sleep didn't last very long, as I was once again wide awake by 7:20am, less than two hours later. I lazed around in bed for a while, surfing Twitter and Facebook on my phone, until this became boring and I was forced to get up. But don't worry, I still kept to my strong belief of remaining cuddled all day: I simply moved from my bed to the couch, making sure to be in close proximity to a lot of snugly blankets, a warm cup of coffee, and the TV remote. The perfect set-up for a day like this.

I have RSVP'ed to go to a friend's Halloween party tonight, and attending means that I will have to actually leave my cocoon of blankets and become a productive member of society. And it means I will have to venture out into the rain, breaking my own rule. But in the mean time, I will just keep snuggling...

Photo Credit: WeHeartIt // VisualizeUS

October 25, 2012

The Cookie Conundrum

Next Monday at work we are having a bake sale to raise funds for charity. As I am part of the fundraising committee and I love baking, I have volunteered myself to bake cookies for the sale.

But the issue is that I don't know what kinds of cookies to bake. Invariably, I know that whatever I bake will be bought and eaten, but I am stuck between making something that will be a crowd pleaser - like the chocolate chip cookie above - and something a little more sophisticated and challenging.

So I therefore defer to my readers: What kind of cookie would you suggest I bake? And if any of my co-workers happen to be reading this, is there any kind of cookie you would like to request? Suggestions are encouraged!

Photo Credit: The Cilantropist

October 24, 2012

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

I was recently watching HGTV's Four Houses, and one of the contestants was describing her home. She was discussing how it was stylish and elegant, formal yet sexy. And then she exclaimed "my house is a high-heel shoe!" Instantly in my mind she became the {not so old} woman who lived in a shoe. But it also got me thinking: What kind of shoe would be house be?

I'm pretty certain it wouldn't be a high heel, as my house is not elegant or formal or sexy, though there are some aspects of my house that I would consider to be stylish...

After much consideration I decided that my house is a flat. Flats are cute and trendy. Flats are plain, decorated, sparkly, and matte. These shoes come in all shapes and sizes, colours, textures, and fabrics. Flats are versatile  They can be dressed up or dressed down, and they are appropriate for many varied occasions. But most importantly, flats are comfortable.

I like to think of my house as being very similar to a good pair of flats. My house is stylish and trendy, as the paint colours and furniture reflect the current trends. My house comes in many (paint) colours, and the furniture and fabrics are varied. My house can be dressed up for the holidays, or it can be dressed down when I have no one to impress (and I allow myself to be a little lazy). But most importantly my house is comfortable and lived in.

The lady on Four Houses who lives in a high heel home discussed the extensive upkeep involved in maintaining her house, and honestly, though her home was beautiful, it did not appear to be lived in. It actually resembled more of a museum for nice things than a place of residence. Though I dream of having a high heel home worthy of a spread on HGTV or in Style at Home Magazine, I think that having a house akin to a pair of flats is much more practical. After all, comfort and versatility are what make a house a home.

Photo Credit: Vintage Wedding Planner

October 21, 2012

Pin of the Week: Fall Colour Pallet

My must-have colour right now for a cardigan is mustard yellow. So when I saw this pin, I re-pinned it right away, as it captures the essence of every reason why I want a mustard yellow cardigan.

Mustard yellow is one of those colours that only comes around once in a while. In a world full of neutrals, every season seems to have it's trendy colour: Last fall was burgundies and deep purples, last spring was robin blue and similar pastels. Despite the name of the colour, which isn't the most pleasant (as most of us try to avoid wearing mustard on our clothes), this colour is pretty awesome. It's bright without trying too hard, and it's reminiscent of the jewel-toned colour trend of a few years ago, but without being too over the top.

I have always been more of a neutral colour wearer my whole life - navy blues, blacks, greys and browns have always been my go-to colours of choice. But lately I have been trying to break out of my niche and expand the colours in my closet.

This pin shows exactly how an un-adventurous person such as myself can mix in a little colour. Other than the sweater (and the cute coffee mug) this outfit is completely constructed from neutrals. The yellow cardigan adds a pop of colour that makes the outfit complete. It makes it seasonally-relevant, without being too in your face, and it takes an otherwise plain outfit from simple to smashing.

Photo Credit: Tumblr: Middle Child Complex

October 20, 2012

My Latest Nail Polish Obsession: Essie's Marshmallow

I saw this gorgeous nail polish on Pintrest (where else), and I surprisingly fell in love with it: This is Essie's Marshmallow. I don't normally like light-coloured nail polish, as I find it difficult to apply evenly, and very unforgiving to the slightest little imperfect brush stroke. But this colour is awesome - it's not too white (think white-out) but it is still enough of a contrast to the colour of my skin, so that it's not just another neutral. Also, the thickness of colour appears to be non-translucent, which theoretically makes it a little harder to mess up when applying.

As I have previously mentioned in my Pin of the Week post on mulberry nail polish, despite my love for the Essie packaging and the quality of the nail polish, I can't rationalize spending $10 on a bottle of nail polish. I only own a few legit bottles of Essie polish, and it is simply because I was unable to find the exact shade in another cheaper brand. However, I after searching high and low and comparing shades in the store, I was able to find a pretty close alternative to Marshmallow: Rimmel London French Manicure Pro in French Ivory. Instead of paying $10, this nail polish was only $3.75. What a steal!

Photo Credit: Essie

October 19, 2012

Under the Weather

I want to take a quick minute to apologize for the lack of posts this week, I have been under the weather. Remember last week when I discussed how I felt like I was coming down with something? Well after a week of fighting my immune system waived the white flag and I am now officially sick.

I have many things to discuss but they will have to wait until I am feeling better and have a little more energy. Right now I am laying low and trying to get over this cold as soon as I can, so please bear with me! Chat soon.

Photo Credit: The Rockstar Diaries: Sweatpants and Slippers

October 15, 2012

Puppy Love

This is Nala, my sweet little puppy. It's hard to believe, but exactly one year ago today she came home with us! We weren't really looking for a dog when we found her; I had been bugging my husband to get a dog for a really long time, but the timing was never right for us. We both worked full-time and so it wouldn't have been fair to bring a tiny little puppy into our home, as we wouldn't be around as often as required to train a puppy and let them out to pee every few hours. It just so happened that last fall I was coming into a two-month break in my contract at work, and I was trying very hard to plead my case with my husband that a two-month gap would be the perfect amount of time to train a puppy.

I was working him, but I honestly didn't think that my pleading was very effective. However, one Friday evening my husband came home, and when I started into him again for the millionth time about how crucial to my happiness it would be to get a puppy, he opened his laptop and started a Google search for French Bulldog puppies (the breed we had in mind). I couldn't believe my luck! But knowing my husband, this might have also been a ploy to prove to me just how impossible this idea would be - part of me figured that he would find the cutest little puppy alive and then destroy my hopes by telling me that it was too expensive, or some other logical reason for not getting a puppy that I would have a hard time arguing against.

To my surprise, this didn't happen. My husband appeared to be honestly looking for a puppy, so I soon grabbed my laptop and joined in the search for French Bulldog breeders. However, we were unable to search very long, as we had dinner plans with his family that we soon had to attend. However, dinner proved to be very useful in our dog search, as one person happened to mention something about the Toronto Humane Society which sparked and idea with me: We had not even considered looking at shelter dogs, but this would definitely be worth a shot!

So when we got home that night, my husband resumed looking online for breeders, and I started an Ontario-wide search of animal shelters. Over the course of the next three hours, several important things happened: First, we widened our search from only French Bulldogs to other small dogs; Second, my husband made it very clear that he is obsessed with Huskies; Third, we re-evaluated the size of dog we thought we wanted, and bickered about how large of a dog we could have in our small-ish house; and fourth and most importantly, I found Nala.

As you may have guessed from the picture above, Nala is not a French Bulldog; she is a Husky cross (hence her big blue eyes). I was arguing with my husband that there was no way we could possibly have a large dog in our home, and I was still in favour of getting a small dog. But when I saw Nala's picture online, her blue eyes got me. I sat there with my computer open to her picture for at least a full minute, debating with myself whether I should show her to my husband or not, because I knew that the second I did, he would likely fall in love with her too. Finally I gave in and showed him, and just as predicted he loved her instantly. This ended my husband's search for breeders and other types of dogs. The focus of the evening then became a consideration of a number of factors, which ended up with us deciding that the next morning we would venture out to the Brampton Animal Shelter when it opened and see this sweet little puppy.

The next morning my husband had a basketball game from 9-10am, and the shelter - which is at least a 45 minutes drive from our house - opened at 10am. We figured that given that Nala is so cute, we should try and get there as soon as possible. So my husband left his game and sped home as fast as possible; I met him in the driveway and we sped off the to the shelter. On the way I called them to ensure that no one else had scooped up Nala, and the advise them that we were on our way to see her, with the hopes that this meant they may hold her in case someone else wanted to adopt her before we got there.

We made it to the shelter in record time, and thankfully no one else had come to see Nala in the mean time. After speaking to us a bit, they brought Nala out to meet us. I will admit that I have a little fear of dogs that I don't know, but there was none of that with her. She literally bounded into my arms and began trying to simultaneously lick me and get me to play. I knew we weren't leaving there without her.

As per the shelter policy, we officially had to take Nala outside and play with her, while they watched how were interacted with her. Then we had to fill out about 8 pieces of paper to complete a formal adoption request, which still did not guarantee that she would be ours. Upon review of our application, it was determined that we were suitable parents, and they would allow us to adopt her that day. Thank goodness! I can't even comprehend how devastated I would have been had our application been denied.

I mostly dealt with the paperwork and the application while my husband continued to play with our soon-to-be puppy. There was still a ton of paperwork to complete once the initial application was complete, and other things to get done, like signing up for puppy training (also a requirement of the adoption), and having Nala micro-chipped. As I was busy with all of these things, I wasn't terribly aware of the other things happening in the shelter, other than recognizing that it was pretty busy.

I found it a little odd when we were finally leaving, that a woman standing in the shelter handed me a flyer with Nala's picture on it and said something along the lines of "Well I guess you need this more than me!" My arms were full of food and towels and other puppy things, so I allowed her to sit the flyer down on my pile of goods as I carried on to the car. When I got there, I told my husband what had happened, and he informed me that while I was processing the adoption, four other people had come to the shelter with the intention of adopting Nala. Once again, thank goodness we had gotten there early!

Nala is absolutely the best dog in the entire world {I realize that I am slightly biased, but still}. I can't imagine not having her, as she has brought so much fun and joy into our lives and into our house. Being that she is a Husky cross - we suspect with a German Shepherd but we don't know for sure - she sheds like crazy and there is always dog hair everywhere in my house and on my clothes. She also loves to dig, and rolling in the mud after it rains is probably one of her favorite pastimes. And belly rubs are apparently the best thing in the entire world. But as I previously discussed in my post about the similarities between puppies and children, Nala teaches me so many things, and makes me appreciate some of the smaller things in life. She is definitely a handful, but for every ounce of mischief she creates, we love her even more.

She is definitely not a small dog like we had initially set out to get, as in the picture above Nala is approximately 12 pounds, but she has grown a bunch since then and currently weights about 70 pounds. Sometimes I wonder if we need a bigger house to contain her - like when she is playing with her ball and crashing into our legs and our furniture - but never do I wonder if we should have gotten a smaller dog. She is part of our family, and I love my 'big puppy' so much!

Photo Credit: Moi

October 14, 2012

Pin of the Week: Big Cozy Bed

For the past few days I have been feeling under the weather. I feel like I have been fighting something, and given that a nasty cold has been going around lately, I would not be surprised. I have had a sore stomach, sore throat, and general feeling of malaise. Plus I have been freezing cold, and nothing I do ever warms me up. It's been pretty ridiculous actually, as I have been doing everything possible to warm up and feel better. But nothing seems to be working. And it is that terrible cold feeling, where it feels like you are cold from the inside out, so piling on clothing and blankets doesn't really address the issue.

Consequently, I have been spending a lot of time in bed, as I go to bed early each day and fight with my alarm clock in the morning to get up at the last possible second so that I won't be late for work. And while I'm at work, I long for the comfort and warm of my bed. It thus seems to be fitting that this week's Pin of the Week is a big cozy bed. I will keep this bed short and sweet, as there really isn't much to say about a big comfy bed, other than to simply enjoy it, which I intend to do shortly. Stay comfy and cozy!

Photo Credit: Trend Design Interior

October 13, 2012

These Uggs Were Made for Walking

Ugg boots were all the rage when I was in university, circa 2006. I admit that I initially thought these boots looked like the stupidest things I had ever seen; I thought they looked lumpy and shapeless, and thus made the wearer's feet resemble the feet in a small child's scribbley drawing of a person. But they quickly became all the rage and I soon jumped on board and bought my first pair - though I will admit that I found the actual Ugg brand to be a little over-priced, so I settled for a knock-off brand.

I rationalized my purchase by telling myself that I needed them, as they are very warm, and at the time I was living in Ottawa, ON and it was cold in the winters. But pretty soon it was obvious that I loved these boots for the way they looked and the high-fashion status they then held. I loved them so much in fact, that when my first pair wore out, I bought a new pair, but black instead of camel-coloured this time. And when the salt from the road turned my black pair white after a little while, I purchased another camel-coloured pair, but the shorter version this time. I was hooked.

So here we are six years after the peak of Ugg popularity, and I still have a pair of camel-coloured boots. Though they are no longer as fashionable as they used to be, and even though I have reverted to once again thinking that they look pretty ridiculous, I will admit that I still wear these boots. I had to run errands this afternoon, and on a very chilly, rainy day such as today, there is no other form of footwear that I would consider. Because at the end of the day, these boots are warm, and they are comfortable. They are also very easy to get on and off, so when buying clothes they are very convenient to remove and put back on as needed. At the end of the day fashion has become function, which was initially the reason I gave myself when I bought these boots in the first place. These boots really were made for walking...

Photo Credit: The Guardian

For the Love of Freckles

I absolutely love fall! In my opinion this is the best season of the year: The outfits are cute, my hair stays straight and smooth, and my makeup doesn't sweat off my face like it did all summer long. I freaking love fall.

The only downside to this crisp and chilly season is the fact that my freckles fade away and begin their winter-long hibernation. When I was young I absolutely hated my freckles: They spanned my nose and spread across my cheek bones, and a few even dared so far as my forehead. I considered them to be tiny little marks that marred my complexion. And as a teenager fighting the appearance of pimples I hated my freckles even more, as I thought they resembled acne scars and made me look even more pimply.

But as I outgrew my awkward teenage years I started to grow fond of my freckles. The fact that few others had freckles was why I once hated them, but this soon became the reason that I loved them; they made me stand out a little from the crowd, a subtle little difference from everyone else.

Thank goodness that I was warming up to my freckles, as my very first trip to the Caribbean in 2010 resulted in an explosion of freckles in places I had never had them previously. It seemed like anywhere the sun touched my skin, I got freckles. Not only are freckles still prominent on my face, but they have spread to my shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet as well. And I love them! They are a cute little feature that make me unique.

So it makes me a little sad every year when fall rolls around and I no longer remain outside in the sun for long period of time, as this means that my freckles lighten, and in some cases disappear. I know that they will return again next spring, but my face looks so bare all winter long. And as I am someone with a very light complexion, the little hint of colour from freckles is greatly missed.

I guess we can't have our cake and eat it too, so the fact that fall is great in so many other ways makes up for the short-term loss of my freckles. But I'll be honest, the return of my freckles gives me one thing to look forward to each spring!

Photo Credit: 500px: Erika Parfenova

October 12, 2012

For the Birds

There is a major bird problem near my office. My office is located near a major highway, and there are lots of electrical wires close by, which are apparently perfect bird perches. These birds sit on the electrical wires all day long, which are precariously aligned over the staff vehicles. The fact that birds love to hang out above our cars has been a very big source of frustration, as we require frequent car washes to clean up after the messes that the birds drop on our cars all day. Though frustrating (and expensive), this was never really a major problem for me; it was more just something annoying to put up with until winter arrives and the birds fly south.

Until today, when a bird pooped on me.

I didn't see it coming, and I didn't even realize when it happened. I assumed that the excrement landed on me when I was leaving work and crossing the parking lot to get to my car, but as sad as it is to say, I don't really know. I didn't realize that anything had happened until I was driving home, and I turned my head to check my mirrors. I unknowingly almost rubbed my chin in it, because it had landed on my collar.

You have to understand, when this unfortunate thing happened to me, I was wearing my beautiful leather jacket. I love this jacket more than any other article of my clothing, and as I have previously discussed, as I take care of it like it's my child. So when I looked over my shoulder and saw a big black splash of something crusty on the collar of my jacket, my immediate reaction was to reach up and brush it off. It wasn't until the dried poop was in my hand that I realized exactly what it was.

I was thoroughly horrified and may have emitted a little shriek when I realized what I was holding in my naked, unprotected hand. Despite the fact that getting pooped on by a bird is reportedly not so bad, and it is even sometimes considered to be good luck or like winning the lottery, I was thoroughly disgusted. Regardless of what others say, I don't find it to be lucky or good. It's messy and often embarrassing. As I write this and I discuss the fact that the excrement was hardened on my jacket, I wonder if it actually happened while I was leaving work, or if it happened while I was walking into work early this morning, or perhaps even when I was crossing the parking lot to meet with a client. But none of that even matters, because being pooped on today resulted in my having poop on my hands. And poop on one's hands is never a good thing.

Photo Credit: Destination Knowlton

October 9, 2012

Leftover Turkey Sandwiches

This is definitely not the most glamorous sandwich in the world, but it is by far the most delicious. I love Thanksgiving (and all other turkey-based holidays), but I love the leftovers more. Ever since I was a child my mom has been making me turkey sandwiches for lunch after the Thanksgiving holidays, and since I moved out I have been perfecting the craft. Here is my recipe for delicious turkey leftovers:

Leftover Turkey Sandwich

2 slices of bread

1-2 slices of thinly sliced white turkey meat
1/2 cup of turkey stuffing
1/2 cup of mashed cranberry jelly
1 tsp margarine {or butter}

1. Spread the margarine onto both slices of bread. Spread the mashed cranberry jelly on top of the margarine, but only do this on one slice of the bread.

2. On the opposite slice of the bread (the one without the cranberry jelly), pile on the turkey stuffing. You can use as much or as little as you want; my measurements above are simply approximations for the amount that I like to use.

3. Layer the turkey on top of the stuffing, and then place the slice of bread with the cranberry jelly on top. Slice down the middle and enjoy!

Photo Credit: A Dash of Megnut

October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!As I try and digest all three turkey dinners I had this weekend, I just wanted to wish you all a great day filled with delicious food, family, and friends!

Photo Credit: London Tips

October 7, 2012

Pin of the Week: Mulberry Nail Polish

I have said many times before, and I am certain I will say it again, but I love fall colours! I am not normally a fuchsia/mulberry/dark pink kind of person, but when it comes to nail polish I can't resist. I actually came across this picture and loved it instantly - it was one of my first-ever pins when I joined Pintrest because I knew I would want to keep it for reference later on.

The picture is actually from a blog that I adore, called Lovely Little Things. The author of this blog is showcasing Essie's "It's Genius", which appears to be a wonderful colour, and perfect for fall.

I love Essie nail polish, as not only does it apply well, but I find that it has less of that pungent smell known to other brands of nail polish. The colours available are great, and I find that they last a long time. Even the packaging is nice! But I hate the price of this polish; I have such a hard time paying more for nail polish than I do for lunch.

So I resolved to find an alternative nail polish brand in a similar shade. After much searching of the racks and racks of nail polish in various stores, I finally found a suitable alternative, and I now swear by this nail polish as my go-to fall mulberry colour: Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle in #350 Perfect Plum. This nail polish is the perfect shade, and I totally recommend it. The only down side, however, is the fact that as the colour is so vibrant, when you are removing it, it tends to bleed and smear more than other nail polishes I have previously used, and so it takes a little extra effort to get it off. But otherwise, it's the perfect mulberry shade!

Picture Credit: Lovely Little Things

October 6, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Not too long ago I posted about my attempt to make Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes. At the time, the cupcakes turned out somewhat poorly, as they didn't rise and they did not have the consistency of cupcakes; they were more like pumpkin pie filling in cupcake papers. In my post I discussed how the recipe might be more appropriate as mini pumpkin pies rather than cupcakes, and how I would try to cook them in mini pie shells the next time I made the recipe.

Being Thanksgiving weekend, I finally got the chance to make this recipe again, and I used mini pie shells in place of cupcake papers this time. I am so happy to say that they turned out perfectly, just as I had hoped they would. Perfect little bite-sized pumpkin pies!

In case you would like to make them yourself, here is the modified recipe:

Mini Pumpkin Pies

2 pkgs Tenderflake mini tart shells

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half & half cream
1 can whipped cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Take the shells out of the freezer and let thaw for 5-10 minutes before separating them for filling.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, making sure there are no lumps and all ingredients are evenly mixed in. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cream until well combined.

4. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix together until no streaks of flour remain and the batter is smooth {I used a stand mixer for this part and it was very easy}.

5. Fill each pie shell until full, but do not fill beyond the edges of the shell or the filling will spill over the shell and make a mess.

6. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool in the pan; they will sink as they cool.

7. Chill mini pies before serving. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Photo Credit: World of Female

October 4, 2012

I Am Not a Cook

Sorry to disappoint, mom. But I came to a very startling realization this past week: I don't like cooking.

I always thought that I liked to cook - since I certainly love to eat - but I don't. I think I have been trying to trick myself into the notion that I like cooking for a long time, and I had even gone so far that last fall when I was briefly unemployed I wrote a cooking blog (now defunct). But it didn't last long, because I found it to be too demanding when I went back to work, as the premise of the blog was that I would cook at least one new recipe per week. One a week! When I found myself no longer into my cooking blog that should have told me something right there: One new recipe a week is hardly a challenge for those who enjoy what they are doing.

But I didn't figure it out then, and I continued to try and cook new things. Try being the operative word here, as many attempts were failures. But it still didn't click with me until this week when I was speaking with a co-worker about the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and she she said "Aren't you the one who is always posting your baking on Facebook? Ya, you just posted about Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes!" And she had a point, but I had never realized it before: I am a baker.

It all makes sense: I love to make cookies and decorate them in pretty ways. I like cakes, and melted chocolate, and icing. I like mixing ingredients, I like putting things into the oven and watching them rise, and I like liking the beaters. I am a baker; how did I not realize this before?

Now that I have come to this realization, that is not to say that I won't cook anything ever again. But I am sure that most of my efforts will be focused on baking, and all of the delicious things that result from it. Stay tuned for some lovely recipes!

Photo Credit: Nicolesy

October 2, 2012

October Photo a Day Challenge

Sorry that I didn't get an opportunity to post this yesterday, I had a horrible day at work, and when I finally made it home around 7:45PM, I had no energy or desire to even turn my computer on. But I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the October Photo a Day Challenge as created by Fat Mum Slim. I participated in the September Photo a Day Challenge, and I will admit that I didn't remember to take a picture everyday, and I did go back later and take some of the pictures when I realized I had forgotten all about them. This month I hope to make an improvement on my success rate, and hopefully I will be able to post more pictures throughout the month. Wish me luck!

Photo Credit: Fat Mum Slim
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