Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Island in the Sun

In a couple of days I will be saying farewell to winter, grey skies and this...
Work :(
for a week in sunny Barbados. We are having a double fam jam. Husband, his family, me, my family. My father-in-law turns 60 next weekend and this is his birthday present...more like a birthday present for everyone! We have plans to see the sights, surf, relax by the beach, eat fresh seafood, indulge in local cocktails and spend lots of time together.

I've been packing in my mind for the last few weeks. Day dreaming about resurrecting my summer clothes and shoes has been getting me through the long winter days. Now the time has come to actually pack...

Here's my list of essentials for a beach/warm weather vacation:
1. Sunscreen - I plan on having great skin as long as possible, and that includes some serious sunscreen application
2. Hat - I've opted for a big floppy beach hat
3. Bathing suits - bring a few options for mixing/matching
4. Summer dresses - easy to thrown, light weight, and you'll always look pulled together
5. Bright nail polish - now's your chance to rock that bright shade that you may have been shying away from
6. Magazines/books - It's always great to have something to read by the pool/beach. I just bought The Hunger Games - I'll let you know how it is

Of course I will end up packing way more than that. I always over-pack, it's just my nature. The good news is that I have figured out how to save a little bit of room in my suitcase: limit the number of pairs of shoes. I know, I know, as if I am saying that, but seriously, I've learned from all my various travels that I always have too many shoes and I always end up with one pair in my carry-on bag on the way home, poking me in the side. It's not right.

I've limited my pairs of shoes to 4:
1. Ballet flats (similar)
2. Pretty/sparkly flats
3. Flip flops (for the beach)
4. Casual sandals (similar)

On a day out shopping/sight seeing, I can wear either the ballet flats or casual sandals, out to dinner I can wear the ballet flats, sandals or sparkly flats, to the beach I can wear the flip flops. I think I've got it covered!
sneaky sneakers; sunnies, beach hat & purse; beach reading material;
summer dresses; metallic flats
I am considering bringing sneakers...but that will depend on how much room I have after I fill my suitcase with every summer clothing item I've ever owned :)

Have a great week!

xx. E

ps. Any suggestions for things to do/see in Barbados?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Spring Fever

The weather keeps teasing us with a little bit of mild, then a little bit of OH MY GOD it's FREEEEEEZING. But just one little taste of mild weather gets me thinking Spring. That's what happened this week...

Oh Spring, with your beautiful flowers and that rainy, clean smell. I can't wait for you to grace our presence!

In the meantime, we can think about all the things we want to wear when Spring finally arrives. I will wear things like these (ok, being honest, it may have to be a bit warmer than 'spring' for this...but I can't help it, how cute!)

And how about this little beauty?

 Ahhh needless to say, I will be shopping this weekend!

xx E.

ps. Happy Friday tomorrow!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Farewell Kacie B

In my world, Monday nights are girls nights. I truly refrain from making any other commitments. Why, you ask? Because that's when the Bachelor is on. Admit it, like me, you loooooove the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Season after season I tune in to watch love sick men and women chase down the person of their dreams, only to find out this person isn't really as great as they once thought. Anyway.......

 Last night, we said goodbye to my personal #1 choice, Kacie B. That girl was my favourite from day one. She was so cute and normal. I totally had her pegged for a spot in the final two, so you can imagine my horror when she did not receive the last rose. 

What could have happened between the last episode and last night's rose ceremony to change their budding relationship? Two words: her parents.

Nothing scarier for a man who's looking to fast track an engagement than a girl's father who doesn't believe in the 'magical journey' that is the Bachelor, and a mother who is morally opposed to her daughter living in sin with him. 

Sorry Kacie, your parents really ruined that one for you. But, there is a bright side. My girlfriends and I decided (long before you were left without a rose) that you are far too good for the likes of Ben the Bachelor. You will have men lining up for you now :)

The best part was the drive away in the limo. She started off very calm/cool, but by the end she was yelling "what the f@*% happened?!" I know it's not fair to enjoy other person's misery, but she was just so funny! 

You can check out the exit interview here (and I suggest you do).

So I bid poor Kacie B farewell, but really, we all know she'll go on to bigger and better things, so it's more like 'see ya around!'

xx E.

ps. of the last three left standing, are any of them going to win?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Flower Power

Many of my favourite places to shop are now featuring these little babies:

Citizens of Humanity - Mandy

Are you in love? I am! They are absolutely adorable. They also come in blue, and in a shorts version here

So now comes the tricky part. Wearing them. My biggest tip for anything you wear is: wear it like you mean it. Nothing will look or feel right on you if you seem uncomfortable in it. If you're not so adventurous in mixing patterns/prints, I would go with a neutral top. Those who are more skilled at the art of mixing could add a contrasting print (think graphic strips or dots). 

Next question: is flowered denim here to stay? Chances are, it's not. As much as we may love it this spring/summer and maybe even next, these babies will eventually become a thing of the past. Keep that in mind when purchasing a pair. Floral denim is available at lots of different price points, like this pair from Forever21.

This makes me very excited for spring!


ps. one last tip for floral or any patterned denim - keep them skinny...busting out flowered flares will look more hippie than hip :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


In honour of Valentine's Day, I would like to introduce you to.......Husband!

us on a hike in England
I first met him when we were both working at a golf course. I worked there as a summer job for five years, and in my last year, I was working for the turf department as their administrative assistant. Husband had traveled to Canada from the UK to work at this golf course (he is a Greens Keeper by trade). My first assignment as the admin was to secure a new work permit for him. Did I have any idea how to do this? No. Was I terrified that I would screw up this person's job opportunity? Yes.

So there I was, compiling paperwork while he was back in England for the winter months. During that time, I had to email back and forth with him quite a bit, and we had a couple phone conversations as well. I remember that I was nervous to speak to him on the phone...that should have been my first clue.

Needless to say, I was able to get the work permit and he returned to Canada that spring.

At work, we flirted back and forth, but man was he able to play it cool. I really wasn't sure if he liked me or not. After some work flirting and some facebook flirting, we ended up out on a date. Even after that, I wasn't convinced that he was into me. Any guys looking to learn something about playing hard to get, please get in touch with my husband. Then, we had one special date, the Guinness and Sushi date as we like to call it, and that one sealed the deal.

For the rest of that summer, we passed each other love notes, had secret rendezvous around the golf course, and fell in love :)

Our first picture as a couple...sparked much conversation among his family back in England

Happy Valentine's Day,
xx E.

ps. someday I'll tell you the story of our engagement.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Valentine's Day DIY

As we all know, we're coming up to one of my favourite holidays, Valentine's Day.

Side note: I love it so much that I even forgot that it's not an official statutory holiday, so when my entire department at work decided to each dress as one of the stat holidays for Halloween (hey, we're in HR, it works), I yelled out "dibs on Valentine's day!" ...then I was not-so-gently reminded that V-Day isn't a 'real' holiday...

Anyway, I love the day so much because I love LOVE and because hearts are my favourite shape.

I'm not that into giving gifts, I much prefer a romantic dinner with a valentine card and some chocolate. That being said, lots of people DO give gifts for V-Day and other than the obvious (flowers, chocolates, jewellery) it's difficult to come up with something original.

Last year, I got Husband this print for Valentine's day. Later in the year, for our anniversary, I was inspired. Framed words are so popular, and they're everywhere. I decided I would create my own.

Here's a quick and easy DIY that your significant other will certainly love, because it carries meaning specific to only you!

Choose one or two songs (or poems) that have particular meaning to you as a couple. I chose our song (It's Only Natural, Crowded House), the song from our first dance at our wedding (Lucky, Jason Mraz) and a song that my sisters-in-law read during our wedding ceremony (Better Together, Jack Johnson).

Out of those songs, choose one or two lines that convey the message you're trying to send (for example, It's always better when we're together)

Type out those lines in the font of your choice, making it bold enough to be able to read from a distance.

Print the lyrics out on cardstock, or pretty paper. Be careful to choose paper that the words will stand out on.

Choose a set of frames, and frame your work!

I chose to do three different fonts and different alignments for my lyrics, just to make each one unique. Husband loved them and they are on display in our bedroom.

This gift could work for any occasion, and for different people (it could be a great gift for your best friend, parents, etc, just choose a song that has meaning)

Happy (almost) Love Day!

xx E.

ps. what are your Valentine's Day plans?

Frank Walker

Well in a lot of ways, it seems too soon to be writing such a serious post, but I wouldn't be true to myself if I just blogged on and pretended it didn't happen.

This past Friday, my granddad, Frank Walker, passed away. Although he was very old and we knew he wouldn't live forever, it was still a surprise when I got the phone call at work on Friday morning. I rushed to the hospital with my brother. My mom and a close family friend were already there. Husband met us there not much later. When we were all gathered there, my granddad really perked up. He just kept saying "My Family's here". We ended up spending the entire day with him, trying to distract him, keep him comfy, and really just be there for him.

Granddad, me, Grandma on my 27th birthday
My Grandparents at my wedding

Frank was such a great man, and although over the last few years his mind started to go, it made it that much more entertaining to talk to him. We called him the Forest Gump of our family, because his stories were so detailed yet so strange, that we could never fully tell if he was telling the truth (and neither could he!)
Husband, Granddad, Grandma, me 

Right up to the very end, he kept his wit, even teasing me about the blue sweater I was wearing because it was the colour of his favourite soccer team's rival.

He was an amazing dancer, musician and story teller. Everything he did was for his family and we are so lucky to have had him with us for as long as we did.

He would always say "see you on your travels" instead of goodbye, so I'll follow suit by saying:
See you on your travels, Granddad. I love you.

xx E.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I have met my emotional match

I was watching Ellen last week (I was home sick!) when Kristen Bell came on. I watched for a couple minutes as she started discussing how often she cries. As I'm watching this, I'm thinking 'oh my god, this girl is ME'. I've never known someone who cries quite as much as I do. At one point she said if she's not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, she's probably crying. I can relate!

It's actually hilarious. Sometimes, I will start crying about something silly, and I can see husband's mouth twitch, and then I'll realize that it's dumb that I'm crying, so I'll start to laugh, while still crying, and feeling like a bit of a lunatic.

Just watch this.

Ok, now you have a good comparison of what it might be like to hang around with me.

xx E.

ps. I think she's lovely

Monday, 6 February 2012

Yummy Bowl Sunday

Completely inspired by this post, I couldn't resist trying out this recipe for the Super Bowl potluck that I went to. Luckily, most people don't make dessert for sporting events, so this one was truly an original.

A friend of mine even went straight for them saying "Oh great! Sliders!" I had to let him down gently by explaining that they were actually fakes. Not gonna lie, I was pretty proud at that moment.

I couldn't find a large baking pan (I've recently moved, more on that another day), so I just divided the brownie batter in half, and baked it half at a time. Also, I cheated and used packaged brownie mix. Let's be honest, these little babies are pretty labour intensive, so I decided to give myself a break. I made the cookies from scratch (super simple). My best tip is to make sure to pull the cookies out before they look 'done'. They will finish baking after they've come out of the oven. Otherwise, they will get too crunchy (unless you like crunchy cookies...ick).

I baked the brownies on parchment paper to give them the look of real burgers

Top and bottom buns

The finished product!
They got great reviews, and I'd definitely make them again.

Yum Yum!
xx E.

ps. Who won the game again? :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Comfort Food

Well for a blog that's supposed to be about things that are lovely, this week was anything but. So after a long week of hard work while feeling under the weather, what's the best cure? Well wine, of course, but I was thinking more about comfort food.

One thing you should know about me, and this is very important, is how much I love macaroni and cheese. It's practically my religion. If I'm in a restaurant and there's any type of mac 'n' cheese on the menu, it's EXTREMELY difficult for me to order anything else.

Worse still (in most people's opinions), is my love of Kraft Dinner. I have never tired of the stuff. I grew up on it, as did most of my friends. After a while, my friends stopped eating it. It's gross, too processed, too fake, etc, is the general consensus. I do not share those feelings. Sometimes I wonder why I like it so much. It doesn't hold a candle to 'real' macaroni and cheese, but yet, it has such a specific taste that can not be replicated.

Those Kraft Dinner connoisseurs out there will agree with me that the other brands simply won't do. It MUST be Kraft. That being said, if you're going for the white cheddar variety, it has to be President's Choice brand. I've never had anyone disagree with those two statements.

If you ever decide to rekindle an old love affair with the stuff, just remember a few points.

  • One box is not enough for two people
  • You can add anything you want to it (all those purists out there will be shuddering right now). Ketchup, Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, they all enhance it in their own way
  • The best protein match for KD is hot dogs
  • Do not eat the whole wheat variety. I know you're just trying to be a bit healthier, but it just doesn't taste right
  • Kraft Dinner, Spirals, tastes just a little different, but it my absolute favourite variety
  • It is the ultimate hangover cure (I can't get through a hangover without it...husband has been known to make special trips to the grocery store for me!)

Long live Kraft Dinner!

xx E.

ps. you're welcome, Kraft.
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