Thursday, 29 November 2012

life lately...

(errand time with my man) 

(raw brownies and blondies. the secret is to make them really smooth with a spoon) 

(enjoyed christmas carols from a live band and barbershop quartet) 

(our town is looking white and festive) 

(though my fav mug's handle broke, i still love it)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

buy nothing until 2013 and other holiday ideas

(last year's tree)

i don't actually think i could do it, but lots of people are trying to buy nothing for the rest of the year. did you know that black friday got it's name from everyone hating how jammed up the streets got when everyone tried to go shopping on the same day? yup, i actually wiki'd it. i was curious. 

for the last 7 years or so, my family and i have travelled south around christmas, forgoing gifts. we still spent the same amount of money (or more), but we didn't end up with any useless objects. but i really do think that buying gifts at christmas can be really fun. opening a few gifts is awesome. it's so fun to sit around with rum and eggnog or mimosas on christmas morning and take turns opening little gifts. 

what i'm not into is people stressing that they need to find more stuff to buy their friends and family. i'm guessing the whole point is not to make each other stressed about spending a certain amount, having a certain number of gifts under the tree. 

so what my family is doing this year is a swap. we all buy a gift worth a certain amount, then we swap them around on christmas morning. i am so into it! and j and i will get each other a tiny something. i usually get him a book or new album. what do other people do? 

also, other non-gift sweet holiday traditions in our family:

- going to the movies on christmas or boxing day
- cocktails. we get pretty serious about this. my mother has her signature "double d", and we love winter sangria, and rum and eggnog. i am also into apple schnapps at christmas
- watching national lampoons christmas vacation. has to be done
- making puzzles. so relaxing. goes well with cocktails
- monopoly night.
- driving around looking at lights. my sister insists on bringing her cocktail
- go to the gym. as a family. this is something we do with my mother in law. you never regret it.
- and i am totally starting a new one this year. family photo. cocktails optional.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

lentil loaf love

maybe this doesn't look super appealing, but for real, it is awesome. i never had meatloaf as a kid, but i'd imagine this lentil loaf is similar. i made it on sunday, and j and i had it gone by monday. soo good. i followed this recipe from oh she glows pretty much exactly. the only issue is that your kitchen will look like a tornado hit. but it was worth all the mess. i'll probably start making this every couple weeks. i didn't bother to make a fancy glaze. i just used some barbeque sauce we had kicking around. make this.

Monday, 26 November 2012

life in a small town: tip #4

(Gander Flyers on the weekend)

go to every event you can.

just in the past few weeks we have gone to a hypnotist show, a play, a few concerts, a hockey game, a bowl-athon. in a bigger city, i would probably pass on a few of these activities, but here, there is not much else to do, so we get tickets. and the thing is, we pretty much always have an awesome time. we never regret going to community events. this week we are heading to concert called "a jazzy christmas" and the week after i am going to the ballet "the nutcracker". might as well.

Friday, 23 November 2012


this week flew by. this weekend i am looking forward to not being stuck in bed the entire time! i'll be going to my first christmas play of the season on sunday, and updating my cpr. good times. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

winter's here

it's getting cold. there is a bit of snow still on the ground from a snowfall a few nights ago. i kind of have to amp myself up for winter as it's not really by fav season. but. there are some good things. 

these are all pics from last year. j and i took pretty good advantage of the snow and ice last year. i want more of the same this year. these are my winter plans:

- take a few more snowboarding lessons
- skate. we have to clear the pond by hand to skate outside, and we are competing with the many, many skidoos flying all over the pond. but still. there's also indoor skating where they play pop music and charge a few dollars
- walk dogs. we are pretty committed SPCA volunteers
- cross country ski. tough to find skis in this town, but the trails are so pretty and lit up at night. i have never done this, so very excited
- pay it forward. we have gotten so many little gifts over the past year or so (i have mentioned this before, but seriously: snow crabs, bottled fruit, jam, cod, moose, cooked dinner, etc, etc). i want to start giving gifts for no reason. maybe baked goods? maybe cactus?
- relax. this has to be on every list of plans/goals i ever make, because it's something i actually have to remind myself to do sometimes. i think hot yoga will be part of this.

also, unrelated: last night i went to a few grocery stores, did laundry, went to the bank. people seemed to be looking at me a little funny. i did not know why. when i got home and looked in the mirror i found a large smear of nutella on my chin from the toast and nutella snack i had after work. awesome. i think maybe we should install a mirror near the front door.

Monday, 19 November 2012

teenaged me: nail polish

(our apartment's bathroom in halifax, plus nail polish)

due to being in bed with a head cold ALL DAY on sunday, i ended up reading all of this book and hours worth of this blog. i came upon a post about being nostalgic for teenage things. the music you loved as a teen, your clothes, your room.

it got me thinking about my true obsession with nail polish. i had maybe 200 bottles (i used my babysitting money). i had a special case for it, which of course i had painted completely with nail polish. the polishes were organized by colour. i used to paint my latest colours on a piece of looseleaf, which i would then send to my best friend. i didn't even paint my fingernails that often. i used the polish to paint my nightstand, my mirror, my alarm clock. i still wake up every day to the 80's big white sony alarm clock covered in nail polish. only i can work it, since you can't see the writing on the buttons due to the polish.

anyway, when i was 15 we moved, and i couldn't take all my nail polish with me. now i have maybe six nail polished, with three bottles of mint sprint by sally hansen, because i am always scared of running  out, i love it that much.

other things i was obsessed with as a teen: smashing pumpkins (billy corgan, not jack-o-lanterns), beads, allure magazine, cosmetics (especially wet & wild and covergirl), this one pair of non-stretchy bell bottomed silver jeans, thrift shopping, making collages, disposable cameras, doc martins.

Friday, 16 November 2012

some weekend pics: st john's

(a rainbow on the way back from the airport) 

(j making brunch. and mimosas) 

(remembrance day ceremony on water street) 

(the signal hill hike) 

(a work i loved at the rooms) 

(blurry pic of matt mays) 

(our view at the matt mays show) 

(after much searching, perfect new travel coffee mugs)

hotel review: the battery house, st john's, NL

we stayed at the battery house vacation rental with my family over the weekend. there were three bedrooms with double beds, perfect for 3 couples. 

(the main room) 

(one of the smaller bedrooms) 

(view from the front step)

price: around $300 per night. this was the off season rate.
bathroom: the main bathroom had a huge bathtub, which no one used. it also had the only shower in the house, which was tiny and had the weakest pressure ever. 
pool: no
breakfast: there was a full kitchen, and grocery stores nearby. j made breakfast each morning. 
wifi: yes, free
tv: the tv was smallish and housed in a big wall unit (90's style)
location: my favourite thing. the signal hill hike ends nearby, which is nice. and we walked to downtown. it took maybe 15 minutes. 
parking: room for one vehicle. 
- this place was nothing fancy. the furniture seemed sort of cheap and old. the second bathroom was teeny tiny. there were tons of dusty plastic flowers everywhere. 
- but, it was completely functional. there was a dining room table where we ate, played cards, hung out. there were books, board games, cards. it was 100% fine

Thursday, 15 November 2012

hotel review: franklin hotel, st. john's, NL

j and i stayed at the franklin hotel for two nights. we were there to go to the matt mayes show, which was completely amazing. 

price: around $145 per night, plus around $20 per day for parking
bathroom: the shower was huge with a rain head and a regular head. really nice
breakfast: nope
wifi: yes, free.
tv: there was a big flatscreen hanging super high on the wall. we watched some kardashians and storage wars. high quality tv
location: so good. the matt mayes show was in a bar on george street, and it was a 5 minute walk. and there is a really good coffee shop right across the street.

- this was a tiny hotel. there was no lobby, and the restaurant in the bottom of the hotel was closed the entire time we were there. you couldn't order room service or anything, which was fine with us.
- the parking sucked. they don't have any parking, so you have to get up and feed your meter at 8 am, or move your car in the morning to a parking garage, which is closed at night. j didn't mind this. he got up both mornings to move the car and get us coffee.
- there is no gym in the hotel. or sauna. or pool. or hot tub. but, there is a nice gym two minutes away, and a hot yoga studio two blocks away. j and i took advantage. the hot yoga was almost as good as sauna/hot tub time.
- the bedding was sweet. fluffy, cozy duvet. also, wall to wall carpeting. j was a fan, i was not.
- overall, i really liked this hotel, even though it lacked most of the usual hotel amenities.

the rooms, st john's, nfld

(the view from the cafe in the rooms)

j and i had such a great time in st john's with the fam over the weekend. i have lots more pics coming up. we also finally got a chance to check out the rooms. it's sort of part art gallery, part museum, with a restaurant on the top. i was loving it. the museum part is cool. i liked looking at old shoes and fancy outfits from a hundred years ago. j liked looking at whale skeletons and giant squid in formaldehyde. there were also some crazy pics from this "seal disaster" that happened one hundred years ago. the cafe on the top had probably the best view in the city. we had cupcakes and coffee. we'll definitely go back again when the mary pratt exhibit happens in the spring.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I don't have twitter, but if i did: sitting at coffee and company downtown St. John's, and just saw Alan Doyle of gbs walk by!! #starstruck

Friday, 9 November 2012

it's friday!

(this time last year: wedding planning and keith's white)

i have so many things to look forward to this weekend. j and i are meeting the fam in st. john's for a weekend of fun. i am hoping to see a little more of my mother's bowling skills, and maybe even play some pool. also looking forward to eating out and just relaxing in the house we rented for the weekend. i am going to check off a couple hotels for my goal, and j and i are going to see matt mayes. have a great weekend.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

a healthier pumpkin pie

i am not super into desserts without chocolate in them, but j loves pumpkin pie, so i made this for him. he loved it. 

side note: i am so excited to be seeing joel plaskett play tonight right here in gander. when j and i had only known each other a few days, he asked me to a joel plaskett show. it was our first date, and the best concert i have ever been to. we have seen joel many many times in the five + years since then, but i am looking forward to the smaller venue tonight. 

pumpkin pie:

crust: (from here)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
6 or so dates
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

throw it all in the food processor, process until doughy. press it into an oiled and floured pie plate or tart plate.

filling: (from here)
1 cup pumpkin puree (i used canned)
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
splash vanilla

pour everything in a food processor, and process until smooth. i processed the cashews for a few seconds before throwing in the other ingredients. pour onto the crust, keep in the fridge for a few minutes before putting the whipped cream on top

whipped topping: (from here)
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut milk (the thick part of a can of coconut milk)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp guar gum (optional)

blend all but oil and guar gum in the food processor until smooth. then add the oil and guar gum, mix a bit more. spread on top of the filling. i cut a hole in a ziploc bag to put the whipped cream on, just to be fancy. keep the pie in the fridge.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

life in a small town: tip #3

shop around for your groceries.

we have a few grocery stores, and also a store sorta like bulk barn, but tinier. if i want all the things i love to bake/cook with (like quinoa, chia seeds, coconut milk, spelt flour, rice noodles, eggplant, bok choy, sushi mats, etc), i pretty much need to go to all three of these stores. our "big" grocery store is pretty good, except that the produce section gets cleaned out super quick, so sometimes there are no bananas, sprouts, snap peas, avocado. and for some reason, the tinier grocery store is the one with the sushi-making stuff, which you will find on top of the freezer with the chicken nuggets in it. i have been on a total hunt for irish moss to make raw vegan desserts, and finally found it this weekend beside the candles at the tiny grocery store. weird.

basically, i have to be super meticulous with my grocery shopping if i want all the things we like to use in the kitchen. but really, i find everything i need eventually. and i get such a thrill when i finally find that one thing i needed to make that recipe.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and spelt

just like everyone, i am into the pumpkin baked goods around this time every year. my mom always made this cake-like bread when we were growing up. i ate half the loaf last night.

pumpkin bread

4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 16 ounce can pumpkin
1 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
3 cups spelt flour (or some other flour)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

-beat eggs until frothy. mix in sugar, pumpkin, oil
-in another bowl mix dry ingredients, then add to egg mixture
-beat together, then add chocolate chips
-pour into greased and floured loaf pan (or muffin tin)
-bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 325 (i covered in tinfoil for the first half hour, so the top wouldn't be too dark)

Monday, 5 November 2012

on the weekend

(posing in a stand-in car) 

(nice view at the bowl-athon) 

(sweet bowling kicks) 

(super easy cheese tray) 

(library loot)

this weekend i was most looking forward to the photo op for the car i won. i was sorta convinced that i was going to get the car. but my car (i chose blue) is a few months away from arriving here. still, it was fun (and awkward) to get my pic taken with the stand in red car. at one point the photog asked me to stick my head out the sunroof. i attempted it, but i think that may only be possible in limos. did i mention the whole situation was awkward? i will write more about the whole "winning a car" experience once i actually have the car. 

the bowl-athon was very quick as we were eliminated in the first round. very fun though. we also went to an "electrifying" hypnosis show, which was actually really funny. j went up on stage, but was quickly sent back to his seat since he wasn't "going as deep" as some of the other volunteers. good weekend in gander

Sunday, 4 November 2012

things to do in gander: hot yoga

the first yoga studio in gander opened up last week. i was so excited to check it out. for me, hot yoga is like a beach vacation. i can relax, and i come out seriously rejuvenated. many of their classes fall during regular work hours (maybe catering to shift workers or stay-at-home-moms?), but there is a karma hot yoga class on saturdays. i went yesterday. i must say, my expectations were low. but i was happily surprised!

(relaxed and happy)

i arrived early, since i figured it would be busy. it totally was busy. there were probably 35 people there, which is pretty good for a small town like this. the first thing i noticed when i walked in was how loud it was. everybody was chatting, standing up, walking in and out of the hot room. every hot yoga class i have ever been to is very calm and quiet before class.

the class itself was good. her instructions were good, and she did her best to make corrections. i'd say 80% of the people in the class had never been to a hot yoga class. people were all over the place, and very few people were holding the poses. some people ended up just chilling through the class. at the end of the class, the instructor released us, and the whole class starting applauding, which is something i have never seen in a hot yoga class either. then everyone started chatting again. no chance to relax after the class. the room never got as hot as i remember from past classes, but it was warm enough that it felt good.

i think it is really cool that so many people who had never done hot yoga before gave it a try. i like the idea of the class sort of growing and getting better together. i bet a year from now, the hot yoga will be awesome. i'll definitely be back whenever i can.
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