May 21, 2013

Feta & Veggie Salad Recipe




























Before I get into the meat of this post, I would like to clarify something: I am pretty certain I have the name of this salad all wrong. I know this because I just made it up for the purpose of this post, and I have no clue what the real name is. And frankly, when you taste this salad you won't care what the real name is either, because you will be too busy having your mouth full and simultaneously trying to ask for more. It's that good, regardless of whatever it's really called. Here's the recipe:


Feta & Veggie Salad

1 pkg cherry tomatoes
1 whole English cucumber
1 large green pepper
200 gram pkg cubed feta cheese
2 tbsp Mediterranean salad dressing

1. Wash the cherry tomatoes and slice in half.

2. Slice the cucumber vertically into thick slices {approximately 1 cm in thickness}. Cut each slice twice, making each cut perpendicular to each other, so that each slice of cucumber now becomes four triangle-shaped pieces.

3. Cut the green pepper vertically into thick strips. Cut each strip horizontally so that the pepper is diced into large chunks.

4. Add all vegetables into a large bowl and mix. Add feta and salad dressing and mix again, until the dressing appears to be evenly distributed. Enjoy!


Though I haven't tried it yet, I think that quinoa may be a delicious addition to this salad, to add some much-needed protein. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

Photo Credit: this & that blog

May 20, 2013

My Bad... Kinda



























So I disappeared there for a bit again, and I don't really know what to say other than I hope you will understand and stick with me. I'm back, I promise!

The reason for my absence is that my husband and puppy and I packed up and moved to a totally new city two weeks ago. Not only have we been exhausted from the sheer stress of the move, but we have been busy unpacking as well. And the move was intended to force us to make some changes to our lifestyle, which I am very happy to report have begun. But sadly for this blog, it means very little time to blog. Though I have lots to talk about, I have no time to sit and bang it out.

Though I am disappointed in myself for my lack of posts, I must admit that I am absolutely thrilled that my blogging time had been reduced due to the fact that I am actually getting up and moving. Today was a holiday in Ontario so I didn't have to work; the day strongly resembled a Sunday. My typical Sunday morning activities include drinking coffee, watching HGTV, and blogging and/or surfing Pinterest. In the past, holidays tended to resemble this as well. However, now that I live in a condo I can't simply let my dog out into the backyard and plant myself back on the couch. And frankly, this is a pattern that I wanted to end. While sometimes we all need those down-time days, having several in succession is simply lazy. So I am proud to say that rather than sitting on the couch and blogging, I took my dog for two walks this morning, one of which was an hour and a half long.

So long story short: You can probably expect fewer posts from me from now on. When I first started this blog I was posting on average once every other day. Perhaps this is something that I will achieve again, maybe when the weather becomes colder, but for now this is impossible to keep up while also working full-time and trying to enjoy the outdoors and the exercise it brings as much as possible. But stay tuned, I'll be back again soon!

Photo Credit: Club Mom

May 1, 2013

May Photo A Day Challenge







































In a follow-up to yesterday's post, I wanted to post the Photo a Day Challenge list that I am playing so you have some idea of what my photos are from if you are following me {or you want to play as well} on Instagram. For those who don't have Instagram, I will post all the pictures at the end of the month in one huge post. Stay tuned!

Photo Credit: Fat Mum Slim

April 30, 2013

Photo A Day Challenge on Instagram



























So a quick update amid the insane, never-ending packing of my house: I recently upgraded to an iPhone! What a huge difference this is to my previous phone, I have apps now! It's awesome! Anyways, all excitement aside, this now means that I can participate in "photo a day" activities on Instagram, which I something I attempted to do last fall but couldn't due to my horrible old phone, it's grainy excuse of a camera, and a lack of the Instagram app.

I will be participating in the  photo a day challenge posted by Fat Mum Slim - one of my favourite bloggers. I will my beat to take a picture each day {a nice relief from packing!} and I will post the pictures to my Instagram account, just because I can. If you don't have an Instagram account but are still interested in my photos, not to worry, I will post he month's pictures in a large post at the end of the month.

Wish me luck!

Photo Credit: Far A-Field Notes

April 28, 2013

Going Green

























For a long time I have been telling myself that I am going to try a green smoothie. I have been putting it off for a while because something about a green smoothie has made me take a pause. I think perhaps the colour of the smoothie is part of the problem, as green is not really a super appetizing colour. No matter how delicious, I can't seem to get the idea of swamp water out of my head. Also, I think that the fact that vegetables make this smoothie green is part of the problem. I realize how silly this sounds, as I have been wanting to try a green smoothie because of the fact that it contains veggies - and therefore a host of nutritional benefits not found in most traditional smoothies - but I think this is part of my hang up.

But I finally set my excuses to the side and made one this past weekend. I chose a recipe that is fairly similar to the smoothies that I make on a regular basis, with the hopes that I would be able to stomach the idea of vegetables before I've had coffee. This recipe is from the Healthy's Girls Kitchen Blog, and there are many green smoothie recipes listed there. I would really like to try one that includes avocado in its ingredients, but for now this recipe was a good starting point.


Good Greens Smoothie

1 cup almond milk
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 tsp flax seeds

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


The smoothie itself turned out really well, however, you should know that I left the flax seeds out because, I'll be honest, I couldn't find them in the grocery store {anyone know what aisle they're in?} but I would like to add them in the future. I was pretty happy that the spinach taste was hidden by the other ingredients; the blueberries and the banana really sweetened the entire flavour. However, the consistency and colour weren't quite what I had hoped. The shade of green was not as light and pretty as the smoothie pictured above - sadly my smoothie was pretty dark in colour and actually did resemble swamp water. But it tasted so good  that I got over the colour and enjoyed it!


Photo Credit: Inspired Taste

April 27, 2013

My Accumulation of Stuff



When I was a  kid I was very, very, very messy and unorganized. As an adult, in many aspects of my life I have {thankfully} become the absolute opposite. If asked, several of my co-workers would tell you that I am an organizational freak - I am generally organized and on top of everything at all times. At home though, it's a bit of a different story. I would love to tell you that I live by that old saying "a place for everything, and everything in it's place" but that would be a lie. The truth is, my husband and I just have too much stuff in order to be truly organized.

This is a fact that is becoming more and more painfully obvious to us the more we pack up our house. With one week left until moving day, I am pretty concerned. We have made several attempts to downsize our possessions - including selling furniture and donating clothing - but nothing really seems to make a noticeable different in the amount of stuff we have. It always seem like too much. And the thing I am really trying not to think about is if it looks like we have too much stuff in our current house, what will it look like when we get down to the condo, which is less than half the size of our current place? I am horrified.

I would love to be able to tell you that I am one of those people who hoards things - this way my gluttonous possession of stuff would be a little more excusable. But frankly I'm not. I would also love to provide you with some logical explanation as to why there is so much stuff in my house to begin with - but I can't. Honestly, I know that my husband or I would have walked all this stuff in through the front door at one point or another, but I don't recall such things ever happening to the scale it apparently is. I plead ignorance - how did we accumulate so much stuff?!

The worst part is, that we have only lived here for a little over two years. Imagine if I had lived here for 10 years? Heaven forbid this place was my "forever home" and I had lived here for 40+ years. I can't even imagine all the stuff we would have lying around!

Photo Credit: SaveMax Storage

April 22, 2013

Pastel Polish























Though the weather has been kind of schizophrenic lately, I think it may be safe to say that spring is finally here! I am so pleased that the weather is finally nice enough to once again wear flats, but what I am most excited about is pastel nail polish. I used to hate pastel polish as I always thought it looked a little fake - not that black or other nail polishes looked any more 'real' - but darker colours tends to be a little more forgiving to mistakes. But this year I have jumped right on the pastel polish bandwagon, and I can't get enough of it. I want to paint my nails soft blue and mint green and baby pink and lavender!

I indulged my opaque obsession by purchasing a very soft pink pastel polish. Though I love it and quite simply can't get enough of it right now, those same old problems that made me so against this polish in the past still remain. For instance, I find pastel polish a lot harder to apply nicely than darker colours. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I am sure if you have ever swiped on a pastel polish you know what I mean. Also, you have to have perfect cuticles {and heaven forbid hang nails!} if you want to pull this look off without having it look scraggly and unkempt. The light tones of the pastel polish stand in stark contrast to little cuts and tend to make cracked cuticles stand right out.

The moral of this story is that if you want to pull off pastel polish, the best way to do so is to have a professional make the look happen for you. But for all us fugal girls out here - practice makes perfect! Thank goodness I have lots of spring weather ahead to practice painting my nails pretty pastel pink...

Photo Credit: Rachel's Fashion Patch

April 17, 2013

There are Never Enough Hours in the Day







































I know I previously promised more blog posts when my back got better, and I have failed to deliver. And I am tremendously sorry about that, I am usually good on my word. But I am seriously running on steam right now. And sadly it looks like this may be the case for the foreseeable future.

My wonderful  job that I told you all about {without actually telling you what I do} last winter has become absolutely insane. I still love it more than ever, but it has taken over my life as of late. I was supposed to be moving into a different unit at work, and this transition was to start taking place at the beginning of April. The idea was that I would start handing my assignments and cases over to a co-worker who was coming back from vacation and would be taking my current position. However, due to unforeseen circumstances this co-worker has not yet been able to come back to work, which means that this transition of handing work over has not yet begun. But the part of the transition that required me to take on the work related to my new position most certainly has! So I am currently doing two jobs - though I love them both very much it's very overwhelming due to the sheer volume of work I have right now. Last week I worked 10 hours a day in the office {50 hours} drove my hour-each-way commute every day {another 10 hours} and then worked from home approximately 2 hours each night {another 8 hours}, with the exception of Thursday because I was just too spent. In total I dedicated almost 70 hours to work last week. It was insane!

Life at home is just as crazy, if not more so. You may remember a little while ago I mentioned that my husband and I were selling our house and moving into the city - well all this is going down two weeks from today. Two weeks! While this is very very very exciting, it is also a huge source of stress. Not only do we have to pack everything, but given that we are downsizing from our house into a condo we have a lot of pieces of furniture and other misc things that we need to sell. We also have to figure out where to put the things that we want to keep but can't fit into the condo - do we store them elsewhere or do we try and make everything fit into our tiny storage locker in our building? What stuff can we put at the back of the storage locker {i.e. what stuff can we bury} and what needs to be placed at the front so it can be easily accessed? There is a lot of logistical thinking that apparently needs to go into this move. And then there is the issue of having our address changed with every person/organization who ever sends us mail, and having our Internet/cable/phone services changed, cancelling our house insurance, getting condo insurance, getting the keys, lawyers fees.. It just never seems to end!

And I still have to file my income taxes too.

So once again, I ask you dear readers, to please bear with me. I promise you more blog posts again in the near future, once everything settles down and I actually have time to write. Thanks for your patience!

Photo Credit: Flickr

April 6, 2013

Little Quinoa Patties Recipe



























If you remember back a few months, I was {and still am} obsessed with a quinoa salad recipe that my mother-in-law gave me at Christmas time. I have been trying to increase my quinoa recipe stash since I have mastered this salad, but I have had little success in finding recipes that would suit my tastes and those of my somewhat picky husband {he won't eat the aforementioned salad}. I was starting to think that maybe I wouldn't find anything that would suit both of our tastes, until I found this little gem of a recipe.

A friend of mine made these little quinoa patties for me recently when we were having lunch at her place and I freakin love them! Loved them to the point that even if my husband didn't want to try them I was going to make them on a regular basis. Here is the recipe so you can try them for yourself:


Little Quinoa Patties

Yield: 12 little patties / 6 large patties

  • 2 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan or greyere cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Once well mixed, stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic.

2. Stir in the bread crumbs and let sit for a few minutes in order to let the crumbs soak up some of the moisture. At this point, the mixture should be easily be formed into 2 cm thick patties. If the mixture won't easily form into patties, then add either more eggs or water in order to make it more moist, or more bread crumbs in order to soak up excess moisture.

3. Add oil to the bottom of a large pan and add patties so that they have space between them. Cover and cook the patties for 7-10 minutes, until the bottoms are brown. Once browned, carefully flip the patties over and cook the other side for 7-10 minutes, until they are as brown as the other side.

4. Remove the patties from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Continue to cook patties until the mixture is used up. However, if you only wish to make a few patties at a time, the mixture will keep in the fridge for a few days.


I will completely honest with you, my first try to make this recipe was a complete disaster. Complete. Disaster. I couldn't make the patties form into actual patties no hard how I tried. The closest thing I could get them to be was semi-circular lumps of the mixture in the pan. I think that perhaps they would cook and so I set the timer and kept a close eye on them. Well, a close eye until the smoke detector started shrieking {as apparently they were burning} and my puppy freaked out.

It basically became a lost cause at this point. Once I stopped the smoke alarm and comforted my dog, I figured I should try and flip them to see just how black the bottoms had become. Except that they didn't flip well at all; I was able to get them onto the spatula without issue, but the actual flipping action caused each little 'patties' {if I can even call them that} to explode into a hundred little pieces when they hit the pan. I tried to be super gentle after I flipped the first one without success, but it didn't make a difference as they broke apart no matter that.

So starving by now, I resolved to make the best of it. I threw away the really burned pieces and I tried to salvage the rest. I put it in a bowl and mixed in a little bit of the tsatziki sauce that I had bought to dip the little patties into. It actually tasted pretty good, but was a very far cry from the intended patties. But my husband and I were so hungry that I decided to fry up the rest of the mixture, mush like I would if I was making scrambled eggs. It was kind of strange, but mixed with the tsatziki it was pretty tasty. So tasty in fact that my husband {the quinoa-hater} loved it! I'm sure that he would love it even more had the recipe actually turned out...

Anyways, I will be trying this again in the future. I loved the recipe so much when I previously had it with my friend that I won't let a disaster like this put me off the recipe forever. I am still trying to figure out where I went wrong {maybe too much bread?} but I will keep you updated.

Photo Credit: The Kitchen is Calling

April 1, 2013

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels


























Yesterday we celebrated Easter with a dinner hosted by some of my husband's extended family. While they took care of the main dinner accouterments, we were requested to bring either an appetizer, a side dish, or a dessert. Having seen this recipe for Cranberry Feta Pinwheels via Pintrest a little while ago, I opted to bring an appetizer, as a means of trying out the recipe. I am always a little skeptical when trying out a new recipe and taking it immediately to somewhere where others will be eating it {just in case it doesn't turn out}, but this recipe seemed very easy and somewhat foolproof - and it turned out perfectly!


Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

Yield: 48 Pinwheels

3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup (250 g) container spreadable cream cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 large whole wheat flour tortilla

1. Combine all of the ingredients - except the tortillas - and mix well.

2. Divide the mixture evenly onto each of the tortillas and spread.

3. Roll each of the tortillas very tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

4. To serve, cut each tortilla into twelve slices.


I found that in order to get the size of pinwheels I wanted {approximately 2 cm thick} I didn't get the predicted twelve pinwheels per tortilla. I actually got about 6-7 pinwheels per tortilla. Also, the ends of each tortilla are not usable {though delicious} so they can't be counted towards the pinwheel yield.

Making the recipe as is, I got a dinner-sized plate full of pinwheels. I was hoping to take a full serving platter full based on the estimated yield on the recipe; I feel that had I doubled the recipe I would have been able to achieve this amount. Considering how quickly they disappeared, I would suggest doubling the recipe. They are a delicious combination of sweet and salty and perfect for any event or dinner!

Photo Credit: Food.com

March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

























Happy Easter everyone! I don't have a lot of time to write right now as I have some things to do before going to our family Easter celebrations later today. I am making a very delicious appetizer {Cranberry Feta Pinwheels} for Easter dinner - look for the recipe in an upcoming post!

Photo Credit: Wallpapers Only

March 26, 2013

The Big Burger Dinner Disaster




























A few weeks ago, before my back failed me, my husband and I went out for dinner. It wasn't a romantic scene, so don't start picturing that; it was simply that we were overdue on our grocery shopping and decided to stop for dinner on our way to the grocery store so that we wouldn't be grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Truth be told, we really shouldn't have been in the restaurant to begin with. We should have done either one of two things: We should have been more responsible and grocery shopped at the appropriate time {before we ran out of food}, or we should have just sucked it up, gone shopping, and avoided all the tempting foods like the adults we are. But we took the more simple and somewhat indulgent way out by going to a major sit-down type restaurant chain for a gourmet burger.

Our simple plan of stopping for a quick dinner went to hell nearly immediately {karma?}. Not only did our dinner take more than half an hour to arrive after placing our order, but when it arrived it came all wrong. My husband didn't get the correct burger that he ordered, and though my burger was correct, my salad was non-existent and in its place was french fries. Though I would have normally accepted this mistake with secret guilty pleasure, I am really making more of an effort to eat vegetables and I actually wanted the salad that I had ordered. So we tried in vain to flag down our waitress, who after setting down our plates, had run back to table of what appeared to be her friends. After two or three minutes of unsuccessful attempts to catch her attention, I decided to start eating my burger before it got cold.

It took ten minutes before we were able to flag down our waitress, and when she finally arrived back at our table my mouth was full of hamburger. I put my burger down and grabbed my napkin in an attempt to tell her my dilemma, but my husband stepped in for me: "Sorry to bother you {obviously sarcastically}," he said "but my wife ordered a salad and she ended up with fries." Before he had even finished the sentence, and while I was still chewing my mouthful and attempting to dab my mouth, our waitress screeched "Oh so sorry about that!" while grabbing my plate right out from under me, half eaten burger and all. It's a good thing that I had managed to swallow while this happened, as my mouth dropped open in shock as she took my whole plate away and disappeared with it.

She returned about five minutes later with my plate, having switched out my french fries for a salad. However, everything on my plate had been rearranged and it was obvious that someone had touched my burger in attempt to make the plate more presentable for her second attempt at getting my order right. Only this time, I was more offended than when the french fries had been on my plate: Someone had touched my half-eaten food {and who knows where their hands have been}! Perhaps I am over-reacting a little bit here, and if that's the case, then please let me know. But my husband is not afraid to tell me when I am over-reacting or being ridiculous {his words}, and his reaction to this entire incident mirrored my own. Not only were were shocked and offended when my burger was unceremoniously ripped out from right in front of me, but we were even more horrified {read: grossed-out} that someone had so blatantly manhandled something that I had already started eating. Ew.

Needless to say, this waitress did not get a great tip. She actually even made matters worse {as if it was possible by now} by making a very off-colour comment while were we paying our bill, at just the exact same moment that I was filling in the tip amount on the credit card bill - any earlier and she may not have gotten any tip at all!

Photo Credit: Ottawa Citizen

March 25, 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel


























I am so sincerely sorry for having not posted in over two weeks. I am sure that some of you wondered where I was, or perhaps thought that I had ditched the blog cold-turkey {wouldn't be the first time..} and for leaving in you in the dark I apologize. But this is the light at the end of the tunnel, both literally and figuratively. I have been unable to post for the past few weeks because I have been having severe back issues, much worse than I had the last time I was able to post.

Previously when I was whining about being bored - well I should have bitten my tongue. For a little while there I seemed to to be getting better, but it got so much worse. About a week and a half ago I woke up in the middle of the night in pain and unable to get comfortable. It was strange, as up until then I was completely pain-free when I was laying down. I should have recognized it for what it was - a gigantic problem - but I moved around and finally drifted off back to sleep. In the morning I got up and went to work as if nothing happened, which only made my situation worse. But midday I was unable to walk upright, and as I limped around my office, half hunched over like some kind of troll, people kept telling me to go home.

Thankfully, I listened and I went home, took some painkillers, and went to bed. I spent the next day and a half laying in my bed, too sore and stiff to get up, with the exception of needing to use the bathroom. And it's truly no exaggeration when I say that I only got up when I really, really needed to - it was so difficult and painful to get up that I was limiting my fluid intake and holding it in as long as I could. Not only was I a hump-backed troll, but I was also channeling my inner camel. It was a great couple days...

Finally on the Friday I was able to see my doctor and get some relief. She explained that not only had I irritated my chronic sciatica, but that as a result of favouring the injured area I was now in complete muscle spasm down the left side of my spine, as well as a couple on the right {apparently this was the cause of the limp and hunch}. She prescribed my some strong painkillers and some heavy-duty muscle relaxants, and told me not to get out of bed until I could stand up straight and only had minimal pain. So I listened, and I am proud to say that I took two whole days off work to relax and recover. For me, someone who has never taken a sick day in their entire career, this was a big deal!

So I am sure you can forgive me for the lack of posts over the last little while; I have still been taking it easy, and I am trying to relax and lay down every chance I get because I am terrified of rushing the healing process and wrecking my back again. But I have successfully returned to work and I am trying my best to resume normal life, which means back to blogging! Looking forward to chatting again soon!

Photo Credit: Flickr

March 9, 2013

Staying in Bed All Day





























We all daydream about all the wonderful things we wouldn't do if we could just stay in bed all day {or at least I do...}. I always thought that this would be great: I would stay snuggled in my bed, warm and comfy, watching TV re-runs and enjoying the lovely life of doing nothing. It always seemed to me to be the best way to spend a "lazy" Saturday, as opposed to the way I typically spend them now - cleaning the bathroom, doing load{s} of laundry, and making lunch for the upcoming week.

Having hurt my back recently, I have been {and still am} spending a lot of time laying in bed or on the couch, in an effort to stop the burning, shooting pain that stabs it's way down both of my legs. The relief I get from laying down and having my back flat is amazing, but despite what I may have thought, staying in bed all day sucks. As I lamented my bed rest blues to you in a previous post, I won't do it again. But I have certainly learned my lesson: Be careful what you wish for!

Photo Credit: SantaBanta

March 7, 2013

Here's Looking at You, Spring




























I don't know about you, but I am so over winter. It really has to go. I have had enough of these snow storms, slippery ice, and cold gusts of wind that chill to the bone. It has reached that point where I am no longer happy to hear that it's snowing of that we are expecting a snowstorm - the romance associated with snow softly falling is over. In a similar sense, my love affair with chunky sweaters and cable knits is done {for now; I'm certain it will return again mid-September}. I want so badly to wear bright spring colours and not look out of place in a sea of neutral winter hues. I want to wear a cardigan instead of a jacket. I want to wear flats!

I think the shoes are the thing I miss most throughout the winter months. While boots are wonderful and I often look forward to cool weather at the end of summer so that I can wear them, they tend to become a bit cumbersome by the end of winter, no matter how cute they are. I just want to slip on a pair of flats and carry on with my day. My love of the ever-awesome slip-on ballet flat is not born out of laziness and/or my sense of style {well, perhaps in part}, but it is also born out of functionality. At my lovely job I am constantly visiting clients in their homes, and this means that my shoes are on and off all day long. I am sure you can appreciate how much of a problem this can be when wearing boots - I can't even count the number of times that I have stumbled, tripped, or nearly tipped over when trying to put my boots back on as I am leaving a client's home. How embarrassing. So not only am I looking forward to spring shoes from a fashion standpoint, but in an attempt to maintain my professionalism I am really looking forward to the change of season as well!

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

March 6, 2013

Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas




























I have been intending to make this recipe for a really long time now, as I saw it on Pintrest ages ago and thought it looked delicious. I finally made it today, and it lived up to my expectations!


Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas

1 can (14 oz) chickpeas
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon {or spice of your choice}
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. Open can of chick peas and drain the liquid using a strainer. Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and place chickpeas on the baking sheet.

2. Bake the chickpeas for 30 mins at 450F. While the chickpeas are baking, mix all of the other ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Once the chickpeas are done, transfer them from the baking sheet into the bowl that contains all of the other ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Enjoy hot, or wait for them to cool; they are delicious either way!


These chickpeas are somewhat similar to flavoured popcorn, but way healthier. They have the same kind of crunch, but they do maintain some of their chickpea flavour {which I love!}. Be forewarned, a few of them popped in the oven and in fact, made a noise similar to a corn kernel popping. I was startled by this at first and thought perhaps I had done something wrong, but this appears to be normal.

Photo Credit: Sprinkle n' Simmer

March 3, 2013

Right on Schedule!


























A few days ago I talked about how excited I was for the impending the arrival of my friends' baby girl. I am very happy to report that she arrived today, born 13 minutes after midnight, on her due date! I have seen a few pictures of her {sadly that's not her above} and she is adorable! Newborn babies typically don't look awesome {they are usually a little squished-looking}, but even for a newborn baby she is already gorgeous and I am looking forward to meeting her in the near future!

Photo Credit: Baby Stepz

March 2, 2013

Shop Til You Drop






















This morning I went to the mall. As I am really trying to save money I have been avoiding the mall as much as possible, as I will be honest, I am terrible for the impulse-buy. However, I needed to pick up a few staples {i.e. hair ties} and I wanted to do a little window shopping. Also, I have been in the market for a red leather wristlet, so I figured that I would have a look while I was there.

I had seen a really nice red leather wristlet on the Coach website, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that much, and I also wanted to see it in person before I splashed out that kind of money. I was pretty excited about it - I have been looking for a red leather wristlet for a while but I am picky - and I thought that perhaps I had found what I have been searching for. But no. The wristlet was much to small, and not at all worth all the money that Coach was asking for it.

Never a quitter, I decided to walk the mall to see if I could find another wristlet that would be more what I was looking for. I also figured that at other stores I may be able to score one for a good price; red is more of a fall colour, and given that several stores have started bringing out their spring merchandise, there may be some good sales that I could scour. There certainly was, and many stores had several options of red wristlets for me to choose from, like Danier Leather and Roots.

Sadly, I still wasn't able to find what I wanted. But I wasn't ready to give up until I was sure that none of the stores in the mall had what I was looking for, which means that I walked both levels of the mall in entirety. I am not sure the distance I covered, but I was there for just under two hours. By the time I called it quits I was pretty disheveled: I was exhausted from fighting crowds, and I was hot and itchy as I had left my wool coat on the whole time. Not to mention that I was disappointed that I was unable to find exactly what I wanted. I may have been borderline hot mess. There is nothing like going to the mall or any other store with a particular product in mind, and being unable to find it. Oh the frustration!

Photo Credit: Jesspants Blog

February 28, 2013

Anticipation



Rest assured, I am not announcing my own pregnancy. Rather, one of my very good friends from university and her husband {another one of my close university friends} are expecting their first child. Their due date is very quickly approaching, as they are expecting their little bundle of joy on Sunday!

I can't even articulate how excited I am for the arrival of this little baby. My friends are the first couple in my group of my university friends to have a baby, so it's huge for all of us, not just the expectant parents. However, my good friends currently live in Quebec, so unfortunately it will be quite the road trip in order to meet their little bundle of joy when she arrives, and the winter road conditions won't make this any better. Nonetheless, I {along with my husband} will be making the trip east to celebrate with our friends and welcome their little daughter into the world!

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

February 27, 2013

The Colour and The Shape


























My new condo is presenting somewhat of a design/decorating challenge for my husband and I. Not only do we have a very small amount of space with which we have to cram everything we currently own, but we have to make it look good while doing so. As a result, we will have to part with many of our much-loved furniture pieces, as they simply will not fit, or they do not offer us the combined comfort and functionality that we need. For instance, we are now in the market for a great-looking queen size bed frame that has shelving underneath. This is not as easy to find as one might think, as most of these styles of beds are made for children and thus come in bright colours and sizes no larger than a twin. Not exactly what we're looking for.

On top of these more logistical challenges comes the actual styling and decorating. Both my husband and I love industrial style, so thankfully we agree on the general theme to follow. However, we have also recognized that this style is characterized by blacks and greys and metallics - which can be quite boring if they are the only colours present in the condo - but we have no idea what other colours to mix in. I am trying to consider all angles; I want the condo to have a definite industrial-style feeling, and I think this will be well-achieved through some of our new furniture, lighting, and wall-hangings. But at the same time I don't want it to be cold. I have seen several images on Pintrest that emulate industrial style well, but the spaces always look so cold and almost clinical. Though sometimes pretty, this is not the feeling that I want for my home. That being said, the logical step would be to bring in warmer colours through throw blankets, pillows, and perhaps even a few decorative items placed throughout.

Currently we are looking to purchase a light grey sectional couch as a means of lightening up the more dark and drab colours associated with this style, and I think this is a great start. However, then I am left wondering what colour{s} of throw pillows I should place on the couch, and tie in throughout the room with decorative items. Currently, corals and yellows are great colours to match with grey, but my husband isn't really into either colour, and truth be told, I'm not sure that I would love either colour on an everyday long-term basis. I am also considering red and orange and white {and associated shades in between} as I am currently loving these colours as they are warm and bright. But I am also concerned that my love of them will be fleeting, and while I love them now, in six months time I may regret this choice. I guess this is why I typically end up sticking to neutral colours; they are timeless and I don't often regret them.

But I am tired of being neutral, and I want to mix in colour. This I know for sure, even if I can't figure out what colour or colours to incorporate. So readers, I need your help. Have any of you ever struggled with this problem? What colours did you eventually choose to adorn your home? Do you still like them or do you regret your choices? Any and all feedback would be so greatly appreciated!

Photo Credit: Stylizimo Blog

February 25, 2013

Quick Chicken Dinner



There are many days when I get home from work and I am exhausted and not at all in the mood to cook. At all. Given that I am more of a baker than a chef anyways, on a normal day cooking dinner is not one of my favourite tasks. But I have to eat, so in order to try and make the dinner hour as painless as possible I have been trying to put together some healthy and quick recipes that I can whip up after a long and tiring day. One such recipe is commonly referred to in my house as "quick chicken dinner". It has very few ingredients and takes less than 15 minutes to cook {if you time everything right}. The great thing about this recipe - other than it's ease and it's short prep time - is that it can be modified in order to accommodate what you have and/or don't have available in your kitchen at any given time. Here is the recipe for my most-common rendition of this meal:


Quick Chicken Dinner

Serves: 2-3

2 medium-sized chicken breasts
1 cup penne pasta
2 cups frozen vegetables
2-3 tbsp herb & garlic cream cheese

1. Start boiling the water for the pasta. While the pasta is boiling, cut the {thawed} chicken breasts into cubes that are no larger than 2cm by 2cm.

2. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add the chicken, once cubed. Cook the chicken until it is white all over and the middle is cooked through.

3. At this point the water should be boiled; add the pasta and cook only long enough for the pasta to become al dante in texture, approximately 8 minutes in length. Any longer and the pasta will turn out mushy.

4. Add the frozen vegetables to the chicken and follow the directions on the bag. However, be aware that the vegetables may cook slightly faster than the directions indicate.

5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the pasta into the chicken and vegetable mix. Once evenly mixed in, add in 2-3 tbsp cream cheese. Mix thoroughly and allow to cook for another minute in order to let flavours combine. Serve while hot.


Photo Credit: Life's Ambrosia

February 24, 2013

All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun



Earlier this week I talk about being bed ridden due to my painful back issues. I am sad to report that though my back is improving, I am still laid flat out. I want so badly to get up and go for a walk. Also, I pinned a really awesome leg workout that I am itching to try, but I will have to wait.

Compounding this sense of cabin fever is the fact that my house officially sold this week, and our lease agreement for our condo went through. We are officially moving! I literally have cabin fever sitting in my house - now that I know we are moving I just want to move already. I want to get settled into our new neighbourhood, and even though it is freezing cold outside, I want to walk around and explore the sites and new places that we will call 'home'. We are moving to downtown Toronto {hence the picture on this post}, and I am so excited to once again call Toronto my hometown. And I can't wait to be back in the big city atmosphere - though I dearly love my current neighbourhood, it is really boring. So we're out of here: Time for a big city adventure!

Now, if I could only get off the couch...

Photo Credit: Ottawa Bus Gallery on Flickr

February 20, 2013

Bed Rest Blues


























About 15 years ago I injured my back/spine very badly. Since that time I have had numerous problems with it, which has resulted in several trips to the doctor's office, a few sleepless nights in the emergency room, and many hours spent at physio enduring treatments that range from exercising to massage to acupuncture. Though I have recovered from my injury, I have been informed that I have four permanently herniated disks and arthritis in the associated vertebrae, which will never completely heal. Most of the time this isn't a problem for me, but once in a while the area becomes aggravated and I am confined to my bed while the swelling in my spine slowly eases.

Sadly, this week has been one of those weeks: I slipped and fell when shoveling the driveway last week {something that I shouldn't have been doing in the first place, so kind of my fault}. Initially when I fell my shoulder and wrist were very sore, as they took the brunt of my fall - when you have a chronic injury of this kind you learn very quickly how to fall to protect your back, but it's often at the expense of other body parts. So based on the pain and stiffness in my arm and the lack thereof in my back, I thought I had saved myself from the inevitable back pain.

But this past weekend it started. It creeped in slowly with some mild stiffness and some tingling in my lower calves {nerve pain is often displaced - so I have learned}. But as the weekend wore on so did my pain, increasing bit by bit until it became a full-on nightmare. Due to a cocktail of muscle relaxants, nerve-blockers, and good old-fashioned Advil, I have been able to function {if barely} this week. Due to a hectic work schedule I have not been able to take time off, and I have suffered through a few meetings and several hours in the car. However, in my down-time I am literally laying down flat on my back, as this is the only way that I am able to obtain any relief from my aches and pains. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how horribly boring this is, as well as how frustrating it is to lay around thinking of all the things you should/need to be doing instead. I know I should enjoy this reprieve from the busy pace of everyday life while I have it - after all, how many times have I complained that I wish I could just sit/lay down and do nothing? But the grass is always greener I guess...

Photo Credit: Babble

February 17, 2013

You Can't Always Go Home



























I have huge news: My husband and I are selling our house and moving to the city! While this is incredibly exciting news, it is also quite stressful. We put our house on the market on Friday, and since that time we have barely been home. Yesterday I left the house at 8:25am as we had a showing at 8:30 {ughhh so early} and then I wasn't able to go back home until 5:00pm, as there were six other showings and an open house booked throughout the day. Today hasn't been quite as packed full of showings, but there have been at least four of them, meaning that I haven't been able to spend much time at home either. To pass the time I have been seeing friends and frequenting many malls and coffee shops.

While I have always dreamed of being one of those people who seem to spend endless time in the couches at a coffee shop, I am not enjoying this quite as much as I thought I would. Living my life on other people's schedule really isn't ideal, as it takes a lot of planning and adjustment. First of all, my husband and I had to figure out what to do with our dog, as we can't bring her to hang out in the coffee shop with us, nor can we leave her at home {thank you to gracious our family that it currently looking after her!}. Secondly, we had to be selective in the places that we chose to go; we couldn't be too far away in case we needed to return home to deal with an offer or any other real estate-related concern. But, living in the suburbs doesn't allow for many interesting places to go, and none of them so far have allowed us the creature comforts of home. Even though I haven't done much, the stress of being kicked out of my home and the impending life change have made me tired. But no naps in the coffee shop...

Photo Credit: Bergreen Barometer

February 14, 2013

My Funny Valentine



























I don't really like Valentine's Day. To me it seems to be such a useless holiday in the sense that it holds no true value. It is hyped up to be a day where couples shower each other with love and sentiment, but we all know it's not genuine. It's simply a holiday that was initially invented with good intent, but much like Christmas it has been twisted into something else entirely. To me, Valentine's Day is nothing more than a cash grab for companies like Hallmark and Hershey's.

So I boycott it. I will ohhh and ahhh over everyone else's sweet presents and nice gifts, but I don't take part. It's not that I am excluded - and trust me, Valentine's Day can be VERY exclusionary to the single ladies {and gentlemen} out there - but rather that I have made the choice to exclude myself. I don't think that love and affection should be shown in such a commercial way, and I really dislike the expectations {and oft-resulting disappointment} that come with a fake holiday such as this. It becomes a pissing contest of sorts; who got the bigger box of chocolates, who got roses, and whose boyfriend/husband did the best job at buying an elaborate gift. We all know that the men aren't out there buying us things for Valentine's Day because they want to, they are doing it because they feel they have to. This sense of obligation is what robs what once was a well-intended day of celebration from it's authenticity.

In order to restore some semblance of true affection into the 'holiday', my husband and I have created our own celebration of sorts. Rather that partaking in the over-priced chocolate, balloons, flowers, and fancy dinners, my husband and I totally forget about the fact that Valentine's Day is anything special. Aside from the obligatory "Valentine's Day" wish to each other as we leave for work in the morning, we don't even think twice about it. The magic starts the next day, on February 15th. We go to work like any other normal day, but when we get home we go out the grocery store and purchase some left-over clearance-priced Valentine's Day candy and/or chocolate. It's really nothing special, but there is something nice in knowing that we have our own little tradition for the day after Valentine's Day that actually has some meaning.

Photo Credit: Love Graffiti on Tumblr

February 11, 2013

Currently Craving Chocolate Cupcakes



Ohhh maaannnn I am craving chocolate cupcakes right now. I have eaten dinner and I am not the tiniest bit hungry, but for some reason I am obsessed with the though of a chocolate cupcake. So obsessed in fact, that I actually considered driving to the bakery down the street to buy one. And given the fact that it's cold out, my town is currently coated in three feet of snow, and I have my pj's on, the fact that I am even considering this says something big. I want a chocolate cupcake so bad!

Fighting my urges, I decided that there must be some way that I can satisfy my craving without making a trip to the bakery or the grocery store for some baking supplies {yes, I am that desperate that I would bake cupcakes at 9 o'clock at night} or ruining my waistline. So I tried looking at a bunch of pictures of delectable chocolate cupcakes - which ended up inspiring this post - but didn't do anything to satisfy my craving. I though at first it was working, as some of the cupcakes looked really sugary which turned my stomach, but then the super rich ones {like the one pictured above} kind of made my craving worse. Clearly this wasn't the answer.

Next I thought about other chocolate substitutions that I could use which might give me the same taste as a chocolate cupcake, such as making hot chocolate. But as I was putting the kettle on in order to boil the water I realized that this isn't actually what I wanted; part of my craving was to actually bite into the cupcake and taste the creamy icing and the spongy cake intermingle. This is clearly not something that a mug of hot chocolate could achieve.

Still trying to avoid venturing out into the night and contributing to my muffin top, I googled "craving chocolate" in order to see if there were any other suitable suggestions for dealing with a crazy chocolate craving that I hadn't thought of. There were actually a lot of suggestions, but most of them simply recommended substituting unhealthy chocolate items with more-healthy items such as chocolate covered rice cakes. No thank you. I thought I might actually be onto something when I found a website titled "7 Healthy Ways to Satisfy Your Chocolate Cravings". This website was also sadly disappointing as some of the suggestions suggest that the authors of this website have never had a chocolate craving in their life. "Wait a little"? "Drink water?" These authors must be joking.

Out of options, I don't really know what to do now. I want so badly to eat a chocolate cupcake, but I know I really don't need it. Also, I have this nagging feeling that as soon as I take one bite, I suddenly won't want a chocolate cupcake anymore. Perhaps it's now just become the thrill of the chase. Anyways, for now I will sit here and fight the urge to devour the delicious. But if you or anyone you know have chocolate cupcakes and are willing to share... Please help a girl out!

Photo Credit: Sweet Serendipity

Integrity of Purpose



Photo Credit: This & That with iPiccy

February 10, 2013

Penny Pinching


























This week in Canada the penny - our one cent currency - was officially halted in production. Apparently, it had become too expensive to manufacture the penny, and it reportedly cost more to make a penny than a penny is worth. This change in Canadian currently has obvious implications for the way we spend out money and the way that things are priced. Though the penny remains valid as Canadian currency and will be excepted at stores and banks, it is officially being phased out of circulation. In order to accommodate this change, the Canadian government has provided guidelines for stores and other retailers with respect to altering their prices in order to help phase out the use of pennies. No longer will Canadians have to pay prices that would require the use of a penny; this means that prices will be rounded wither up or down in order to ensure that they end in 0.05. Officially, it has been declared that all prices ending in 0.01 or 0.02 will be rounded down to 0.00, and all prices ending in 0.03 and 0.04 will be rounded up to 0.05.

We all know that with any big change comes confusion. Though you would think that this policy is pretty straight-forward, there are clearly some concerns in application. On Monday, when this change officially rolled out, several prominent country-wide grocery store chains refused to accept the penny, but still charged customers prices that did not follow the round-up or round-down policy. This basically forced customers to over-pay for their products. On Thursday, I attended a large national brand sandwich shop, and was informed that my lunch came to a total of $5.35. When I informed the cashier that I would be paying via my debt card, she apparently changed her mind, and re-informed me that the price of my lunch was $5.37. I don't care about the extra two cents that I was required to pay, but the fact that my method of payment changed the price of my lunch stuck me as strange.

I am sure that all of this confusion will be sorted out within the coming weeks, as stores and retailers will make more sense of the government polices and will be able to implement them seamlessly. However, this change leaves me with a problem of my own: The large penny collection that I have at home. Both my husband and I were avid penny collectors as children, and as a result we have a mountain of pennies stored in various containers around the house. Initially I thought that perhaps I should hold onto all of these pennies, as they would likely increase in value since they are no longer in production. However, the general consensus is that pennies will be nothing special, and they really won't increase at all. In fact, it's likely that they will decrease and only be as worth as much as the tiny bit of copper used to make them. So, my options are as follows: I could keep holing onto this collection and never spend it, or I could roll them and deposit them at the bank. Or I could be that person at the grocery store. You know the one I mean: The one who brings a massive bag of change to the store during the Saturday morning grocery rush, and proceeds to enter the express lane and dump and count this copious amount of coin on the conveyor belt, thus ruining any notion of express for anyone in line behind them. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot of these people in the very near future...

Photo Credit: Skeptikai

February 6, 2013

10 Warm Dates for Cold Winter Nights


























With Valentine's Day just around the corner it seemed fitting to write this post now. There are certainly more than 15 great date night ideas out there, but these are some of my favourites. As my husband and I are still trying to watch our wallets, I am particularly fond of these date night ideas as they are relatively cheap, and in some instances they are virtually free!

1. Have a Movie Night
I don't know about you, but there is an extensive movie collection in my house. My husband is a movie collector, and I won't lie - we both enjoy scrounging through the $5 bin movie bin with the hopes of finding a "good" one for cheap. Over the years we have amassed a massive movie collection that just begs to be watched. So rather than splurging to go to the theater, why not stay in {and stay warm} at home with an old favourite.

2. Make Hot Chocolate
Despite my chocolate obsession, I am not the biggest fan of coffee shop hot chocolate. I find it to be too sweet or too tart  or too sticky, or lumpy; it's just never right. However, making homemade hot chocolate is a fun date night activity, and it allows picky hot chocolate connoisseurs like me the ability to control the sweetness or the amount of lumps in the drink. Or, try a variation on the original, such as a vanilla hot chocolate!

3. Play a Board Game
Nothing like a little friendly competition, right? This is also a great date night when hosting other couples, because it is such a versatile idea {in that you can play individuals, teams, etc} and most everyone loves board games. This idea can also be great fun when combined with #6 below!

4. Make a Charcuterie Plate
You have to eat dinner, so why not make it a little unusual and interesting with a charcuterie plate for two. The price of this 'date' will be dependent on how much of a gourmand you are, as in if you only eat the most high-end meats and cheeses then this could very easily become a pricey date night very quickly. But checking out the deli section of your grocery store as well as store-brand cheeses can make a charcuterie quite affordable, and delicious! If you need some inspiration, check out my Fig and Brie Appetizer recipe for an easy go-to for getting your plate started.

5. Skip Dinner, Have Dessert
Not the most healthy of dates, this one is certainly one of my favourites, in moderation of course. How many times have you sat in a restaurant and taken a sneak peek at the dessert menu before you even considered your entree? Maybe it's just me, but I do this all the time. So as something out of the ordinary {and much cheaper than having a full course dinner and dessert} why not skip dinner and go straight for the good stuff!

6. Play a Drinking Game
Though not the most healthy or cheap {not to mention socially responsible} idea, playing a drinking game with your date can be a fun date idea to bring out your competitive sides. When my husband and I were in university we chose to play a round of beer pong just the two of us, and it was great fun to change the game based on the setting and the number of participants. This idea can also be added into other date night ideas, such as having a movie night {#1 above} in order to spice things up.

7. Have Dinner in a "Hole-in-the-Wall" Restaurant
When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we made a point of walking about the city in order to find the restaurants that were not frequented by tourists. There is a saying, that you should eat where the locals eat, and we did just that. We ended up finding some amazing little restaurants that we would have otherwise missed, and had some of the best food of our lives as a result. So why not try taking a walk or drive through a part of your city that is known for it's diverse restaurants and pick one you have never been to before. Also keep in mind that some of the best restaurants are often the ones that look the worst from the outside!

8. Snuggle Up by the Fire
Not a glamorous date by any means, but one of the most comfortable! Put on a warm sweater, grab a blanket, and perhaps make a hot chocolate or hot vanilla {as suggested in #2} and enjoy the warm of the fire and the pleasure of each other's company.

9. Take a Cooking Class
Another great idea for getting out of the house while staying warm, taking a cooking class is a perfect winter date night activity. Not only are you and your date able to spend some great time together, but you will likely learn how to make a great dinner that you can make at home {which is another great date idea}.

10. Get to Know Your Neighbours
Perhaps by now you are getting a little bored of hanging out just the two of you? Why not invite your neighbours over for a drink {and perhaps a second rendition of the charcuterie plate mentioned in #4}. You and your date will get to enjoy each other's company, but you will also {hopefully!} make friends and find another couple that you will be able to "double date" with in the future.

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

February 4, 2013

It's Just Not Clicking

























I love photography. There are {few} things in the world as satisfying to me as taking the perfect picture, or capturing something on film in a way that is unusual or different; it is a never-ending challenge for me and my lens to capture something in a way that offers a new or unusual perspective. But lately I haven't been taking many pictures. In fact, I honestly can't remember the last time that I took my camera out of the case and took pictures just for the fun of it. For that matter, I can't remember the last time that I used my camera at all.

Looking back on my albums from the past several years, most of my photographs center around friends and travel. It's been a long time since I have hung out with my friends in a new or exciting situation that would warrant pictures being taken {Starbucks dates don't qualify haha} and I haven't been able to travel anywhere in a very long time {unless you count my daily commute into the city}. I will admit that there have been several times where I have been driving along the highway and various pieces of scenery will strike me as photogenic, but unfortunately I don't have my camera on me, and better yet, I can't stop in the middle of the highway to take the photo. It's such unfortunate timing.

I have read several articles and blog posts that offer advice on what to do when you have lost your sense of inspiration, but frankly, I haven't found these articles to be very helpful. I also thought that perhaps participating in a photo-a-day type of challenge might help me get out of this drought, but even that seems unappealing to me at the moment. Part of the problem I think is that I have nothing new to photograph, and I feel like all of my everyday objects are too mundane to make a nice picture. I guess that's the point of a photo-a-day challenge, to force you to look at everyday objects in a new way, but I am so uninspired that even that seems boring. Call it a rut I guess.

Photo Credit: Jarvie Studios Blog

February 3, 2013

Pin of the Week: On Hold
























As many of my dedicated readers know, each Sunday morning I have been posting images that I have found on Pintrest in a weekly feature called "Pin of the Week". I started this feature last September when I was pinning like it was my job, and I was obsessed with everything Pintrest. Since then I have faithfully been pinning and writing about some of my favourite pins each Sunday morning without fail.

But more recently I have found that I have been becoming somewhat bored with Pin of the Week; there are lots of things that I am pinning {outfits galore!} but nothing that really makes a great article or something interesting to talk about. I mean, really, how much can I babble on about a great outfit combo or a paint color? Some people certainly can {as there are lots of fashion and design blogs out there} but I am finding it increasingly difficult to do that on such a frequent basis, while making the information fresh and relevant.

So I have decided that for the meantime I will be putting the weekly Pin of the Week feature on hold. That's not to say that this will not resurface again soon {as I am always looking for a new project or hobby and need some pinspiration} but right now I am going to shelf this feature.  This is not to say that I have stopped pinning, and I will likely continue to do so without fail. So keep following me on Pintrest, and happy pinning!

Photo Credit: Pintrest for the Profesional

January 30, 2013

The Sweetest Thing

























Sometimes we all could use a little dose of awesomeness. A little while back when mindlessly surfing around the internet I found this website that featured pictures of baby animals. I am not normally a cat person {I clearly prefer dogs, especially my own}, but something about the above picture stole my heart. What a cute little kitty! Anyways, enjoy the sweet little baby animals....

Photo Credit: Bored Panda

January 29, 2013

Eyebrow Anxiety


























Trying to save some money, I recently stopped having my eyebrows professionally waxed. I figured this would be no issue, as when I was in high school I used to pluck my own eyebrows. Well. high school was a long time ago, and apparently over the years between then and now I lost my nerve. Many times I would look at my refection and take note of the fact that my eyebrows were slowing becoming unkempt, and not that long ago I settled on the fact that they had officially become out of control. But despite my analysis of the state of my bushy eyebrows, I still couldn't bring myself to raise the tweezers and pluck them back into perfection.

My anxiety was born from the fact that it is very easy to mess up eyebrows, and I really didn't want to have to live with my mistake literally displayed on my forehead. Though I did pluck my own eyebrows in high school, this is not to say that I did a good job. Rather, my amateur plucking skills came from the fact that my mother didn't want me to pluck/wax/remove them at all and refused to help me in my endeavor to clean up my uni-brow, so I was forced to take matters into my own hands. My 'eyebrow lady' has been faithfully working since then to fix the mistakes that I made in my youth, as I sadly over-plucked.

Anyways, I clearly didn't want to mess up my eyebrows so I was incredibly hesitant to do anything to them, but I was also pretty anxious about the fact that they looked so messy and unkempt. I finally took the plunge this weekend and plucked them. I figured that they already looked bad, growing all over my forehead, so plucking them into two, hopefully even lines would be an improvement  even if I screwed them up. They aren't perfect, but considering that I did them myself and I am out of practice, they look pretty good. In fact, if I wasn't writing this post you might not have known that I did them myself {or so I hope!}.

Photo Credit: eHow Style

January 26, 2013

High Maintenance





























Earlier this month I talked about how I have reduced the amount of makeup that I wear on a daily basis, in favour of a more natural and naked face. I love makeup, but I was getting tired of always having the feeling of something on my skin, and the worry that the slightest touch against my cheek would result in a streaky appearance or the dreaded orange line.

I never really wore a ton of makeup as I prefer the more natural look to the overly made up face, and quite frankly, as I am not  a morning person I often don't have a lot of time to apply a ton of different products. I want to look great in under 5 minutes; I don't want to have to spend hours labouring to achieve a great but very painted face. I don't want to be high maintenance.

Speaking of which, I read an excellent article last week that discusses the exact issue that I am talking about. Rather than trying to re-hash the original here for you, I will simply direct to you the article, which humourously discusses the benefits of becoming high maintenance. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: All Women Stalk

January 25, 2013

I Am A Hot Mess

























Today was one of those days that make you cringe and wish you had never gotten out of bed. It didn't start that way, and for the first few hours of my day I was right on track. I got up at a decent time {which is impressive} and I made my breakfast and lunch, pulled together a cute but warm outfit, and did my hair and makeup perfectly. I brushed off my car, pleased that the snow came off without needing to be scraped, and hopped in and had a pleasant drive to work.

It all went straight to hell when I pulled into the parking lot and realized that I had left my work laptop at home. Let me explain the gravity of this situation to you: I live approximately 40 kms from my office. Typically in good traffic this drive takes me about 45 minutes, and today I had the pleasure of a quick drive in. But the later I leave my house, the more time traffic has to accumulate. So not only would returning home to retrieve my laptop suck as it would mean literally reversing my just-completed 40 km drive, but it would mean that on my way back to the office I would be stuck in terrible traffic that would double or triple my 45 minute commute. Compounding this problem was the fact that I had to attend a meeting at a satellite office, which was 40 km away from my office, in the opposite direction of my house. I had an hour and a half to go home, get my laptop, and then drive back past my office and out to the satellite office. Normally, for a drive of this length at this time of day I would afford myself at the very least 2 hours, sometimes more.

Not having the luxury of time, I started my car and drove as quickly as I could home, making it home in record time. I grabbed my laptop and set back out on the road, with one hour to spare before my meeting {which, by the way, I was supposed to be chairing}. I decided to take back roads to get there, in the hope that avoiding the highway would save me some time; looking back now, this well-intentioned plan may not have been the best idea, in that I don't know the back roads route all that well. I thought I knew exactly where I was going, and I have a pretty good sense of direction, so I figured that if I did get lost I could make it up as I went. However, what I didn't know is that the main road I chose to take slowly curved north - so slowly in fact that the change in direction is not noticeable while on the road. So when I thought I was going east, I was actually travelling north-east.

I am sure that you have already figured out that I am leading up to the inevitable fact that I got lost. I was frantically calling my husband for directions while trying to drive as quickly as possible, with the vain hope that pressing the gas pedal would get me to the meeting on time, regardless of where I was or the direction that I was travelling. Thankfully, he was able to figure out where I was and get me literally back on track. Unfortunately, I was still 15 minutes late for my meeting. But the other meeting participants were very understanding, and the rest of the meeting {thankfully} went off without concern.

At this point I thought the stress of my day was over. I left the satellite office and began the drive back to my office. I was rocking out to some great tunes on this highway, almost back to my office when all of the sudden and without warning my nose exploded in blood. It was like someone turned on a faucet in my right nostril and blood was gushing out. For no reason at all! So with one hand I tried to stem the bleeding, and with the other I tried to maneuver my car across the highway and onto the upcoming exit ramp. Thankfully I was able to do so without killing myself or others, and I was able to pull into a parking lot and get some tissues to soak up the sea of red. Once my nose stopped bleeding, I was able to finally check myself out in the mirror: The lower half of my face was covered in blood, as well as my neck and my left hand. It was in my hair, on my jacket, and all over my seat belt. What a disaster. I clearly couldn't go back to the office looking like this, but I couldn't just walk into a public washroom like this either, as I am sure I would have attracted a lot of attention and alarm. So I sat in my car and using tissues and a little saliva I tried to clean myself up as best as I could given what I had available.

After a lot of scrubbing I managed to make myself presentable and made my way back to the office. I was able to clean myself up in the washroom a little more, and I was finally presentable again. I slunk back to my office and half closed the door, and I remained there - hiding from disaster - until I left for the day. Thankfully I made my way home without incurring further catastrophe or forgetting anything else imperative to my day. But you know what they say: You can dress the girl up, but you can't take her out...

Photo Credit: Single Approachable Girl
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