Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Morning Traditions

What is your Christmas morning like? Back when my brother and I were little kids, we'd be awake from about 4am on. Good thing my parents allowed the opening of stockings before they were up. Eventually (probably around 5:30am) my parents would crawl out of bed, clearly desperate for coffee, and indulge their annoying children. At the time, I knew it was early, but I had no real concept of how crappy it must have felt. For that I say, thank you dear parents.

Since we've grown up, we've changed up the tradition a bit. Whereas before, all gifts would be open by about 7am, now we don't even make it over to my parents place until about 10:30. Nick and I open presents together at home, followed by a lively Skype with our family in the UK. Then we head over to my parents' place. We will drink coffee and leisurely open our stockings. Then, we will all sit down to a big Christmas brunch of french toast, bacon, sausage, fruit, mimosas, sometimes followed by cinnamon buns (because the rest wasn't indulgent enough).

Eventually, we'll drag our full tummies back to the living room to open gifts. This ends up lasting into the afternoon. If weather and energy permits (as it did last year) we'll head outside for a walk. So our Christmas morning really turns into an entire day.

This year will be slightly different, but for a wonderful reason. Nick's parents and sister are coming to town! We'll change up the routine just a bit (Nick and I are hosting brunch), but they will still get to experience our version of a Canadian Christmas. Just a couple more days until they arrive :)

I will be taking a holiday blogging break, but I'm looking forward to 2014 and all the excitement it has to bring. Have a very wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A First Grinch Experience

Most, if not all, of us have seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original cartoon version). Yesterday, Nick watched it for the first time. I was bouncing off the walls to see it again. I'm not sure why he hadn't seen it. Either it's not a popular story in the UK or his issue with Dr. Seuss (the rhyming freaks him out) prevented him from seeing it.

So we watched it. I sang along. I glanced in his direction every so often to see if he was smiling. I heard him laugh at parts. He liked it!

He did say that it's weird that the Grinch doesn't wear pants. He then crafted a little song to the tune of 'You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch' that detailed the lack of pants, and some other observations (like how creepy it is when he slithers like a snake around the Christmas tree). I pointed out that Daffy Duck doesn't wear pants either. I guess I'm a little defensive of the dear old Grinch. Did anyone else notice that when his heart grew three sizes, his eyes turned from red to blue??

One week until Christmas my friends! Get rid of your inner-Grinch and watch some Christmas movies!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gift Idea: Infused Liquor

If you're looking for a gift idea, here's one that's easy to make but delicious. Infused liquor. I was inspired by a friend who makes variations of Christmas cheer each year. The best thing about this is that you can personalize it to the taste of the person you're giving it to. For my first round, I decided to keep it simple and choose one flavour to infuse into each liquor. I went for bourbon infused with figs and gin infused with cucumber. Put your infusing item into a jar, add the liquor, and shake daily. I let them infuse for 6 days, but from what I've read, 4 days is enough time. Afterwards, strain into a bottle, label and gift away!

Tips from experience:
I took the seeds out of the cucumber so it wouldn't water-down the gin.
I used a coffee filter (in a funnel) to filter the little bits out. It's not the easiest - cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve would likely be easier.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas Playlist

I've gathered up some of my favourite Christmas songs, divided them into delightful categories and listed them here for your Christmas party planning and enjoyment. After all, it's best to create a mix so that there's a little something for everyone...if you use the list below, then it's basically just for me :) My personal favourite is Fairytale of New York. If you've never heard it, I suggest you do so immediately. We play it every Christmas morning without fail. 

Happy Rockin' Around that Tree!

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Dad Responds to his Daughter's Christmas List

Happy Monday Friends!

Since it's a Monday, I think everyone could use a little something to make them smile today. I read this over the weekend and it totally had me laughing. This father takes us through his daughter's Christmas list, line by line, provides commentary and determines whether or not she will be receiving the item.

Read the annotated Christmas List here.

Does it bring you back to your Christmas lists as a kid? I can tell you that I was no where near as creative as this little girl is.

Have a great day.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Sleepless in Burlington

I've never been the kind of person that struggles with sleep. I fall asleep easily and usually sleep through the night without any trouble. Lately, not so much.

Have you seen this commercial?

That's now me. I wake up in the middle of the night (2 or 3 am) and the thoughts start going. This isn't like 'the list' where I can just write it down and go back to sleep, this is a chain of thoughts, one thing automatically leading to another. The dryer's on, what if there's a fire? Where's the smoke alarm in this place anyway? I wonder if it works. If there's a fire, would the smoke go up into the condo above us? Maybe I should stay awake until the dryer's finished. Wait, do we have a carbon monoxide detector? Must get one. What generates carbon monoxide anyway? ...and so it continues. I may even look over at Nick, jealous that he's asleep, and just be mad. As if somehow it's his fault that I'm awake.

Anyone else have this problem? Shoot me a text in the middle of the night - at least we can share in the misery. I mean, seriously, what if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

O Christmas Tree

I have held out on any Christmas posts for a long time. Today I'm holding out no longer. I've been listening to Christmas tunes since November 2nd. This is my all-time favourite holiday and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

This past weekend, we got our Christmas tree. It's real and it's spectacular ;) It was so fresh that I was covered in sap by the time I put the lights on it. Anyway, here it is!

I like a tree with tons of decorations, so I have a ton of basics (like baubles) on hand, but I also have some special ones that make me smile when I pull them out each year. How early (or late) do you put your tree up?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Black(out) Friday

Hello Monday - as promised, here is the embarrassing story about last Friday. It's long and due to the nature of the story, I wasn't able to snap any selfies during the event. My apologies for the lack of photos.

While I am not a resident of the US, I, like most people, like a good deal. When I found out that Old Navy was have a 50% off the entire store sale, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a dog-walking coat (read: long, cozy, hooded) on the cheap. Because really, who wants to spent a ton of money on a coat that’s just for walking the dog?

Anyway, Friday morning, I woke up extra early so I could get out the door and arrive at ON for 7am (when it opened). It would give me an hour and a bit to shop/wait in line. I quickly found a coat and a couple other things, and wandered around the store for a couple additional laps, just to make sure I had everything I needed. Then I noticed a very long line-up forming, so I hopped on in. Keep in mind, I was wearing a blouse, blazer, wool winter coat and huge scarf, while carrying a warm winter coat and sweater. Overall theme here, I was warm.

After a few minutes of waiting, I started to shed some layers. First, I just took off my scarf and tied it to my purse. When that didn’t help, I wiggled out of my coat (at this point I was carrying two warm coats, plus extra stuff). Then, I could feel it happening. My blood pressure was dropping (not out of the ordinary for me, especially when I’m too warm). So I casually got my lean on (thank goodness there is a sturdy railing, I thought). After leaning for a bit and squeezing all my butt/thigh muscles (it works), I still wasn’t feeling so great. It was happening. I was passing out.

My usual approach to passing out is to sit down, but with nowhere to sit, I just decided to crouch. So there I am, still a decent distance from the cash, crouched down in Old Navy. No one even acknowledged this (probably thought I was just lazy). The line moved so I stood up to move with the crowd. Bad idea, head still very light, I crouched back down. I then shimmied my way along the line, but by this point, there was no railing to hold on to, and I was growing concerned. THEN, I spotted my friend’s older brother (a few people ahead in line). He was conveniently located in front of the little fridge of drinks they have in ON. “Stephen!” I awkwardly called. “Can you grab me a Snapple from the fridge?” He looked totally confused, I told him I didn’t feel well, asked for the Strawberry Kiwi (who bothers with any other kind?). The woman in front of me reminded him to shake it first (thanks lady, because THAT was my top concern), he shook it, opened it, gave it to me, tried to make me feel better (but probably secretly didn’t want people to know that he actually knows me). The Snapple did nothing. I still couldn’t stand up. But I had made so much progress, only a few more minutes and I could be outta there with my good deals. So shimmied, crouched down, the rest of the way. I muttered a half-apology to the girl behind me, who finally acknowledged my existence and said ‘it’s ok, just don’t faint’. I was trying not to.

I made it to the cash register, stood up (difficult, to say the least), was tempted to throw my wallet at the girl and have her just grab a card, but instead, gracefully was able to pay my bill. Then I had to crouch down again, so now I looked like I was resting my head on the counter. Then she says “and can I please have your email address?” REALLY? I look like I’m dying. Is that really necessary? Instead of trying to explain why I wasn’t feeling good, I gave my email address, pulled myself back up, grabbed my bag and booked it to a soft chair just outside the Old Navy doors. I rested for 15 minutes, then made it to my car. What a loser! Why didn’t I just abandon my cheap coat?? I’m sure everyone that was near me in that store thought I was nuts. I swear I will never shop sales on my own ever again.

Ps. did I mention that not one person asked me if I was ok, or let me go ahead of them, just so I could get out quicker?

Friday, 29 November 2013

Blog Vacation

Hi lovely readers. Let me just apologize for the radio-silence that has been this space for the last couple weeks. It wasn't exactly planned, but it was much needed. As much as I love blogging, I hit a bit of a writing road-block and I refuse to post just for the sake of posting. I promise to be much more loyal to you and start giving you things to read again. It may not be every single day, but there will be stuff to read.

Thanks for sticking around! I'll be back next week with a good (read: embarassing) story for ya :)

Monday, 11 November 2013

What's Your Go-To Meal?

What’s your go-to meal? Everyone seems to have one or two things they know how to make well, right? For me it’s either broccoli chicken casserole, shrimp scampi, risotto or mac and cheese. I can put together a meal around any of those things quickly and easily. There are a few very basic recipes that I have yet to master though.

Over the weekend, while catching up on some blog posts, I came across this one from Dinner: A Love Story about the 15 Recipes Every (Parent) Should Know how to make. I think it applies to non-parents as well. It’s a mix of foods, meals and drinks. Have a look and let me know what you think. I thought it was fantastic and I’m excited to cook/drink my way through their list. It can't hurt to add a few more dishes to my repertoire, right?

So I’d love to know – what’s your go-to meal? Should I add it to my list?

Image via

Friday, 8 November 2013

Happy Friday

Well the past two weeks at work have been super busy, hence the lack of posts (sorry readers!), but trust me, you don't wanna read about work anyway. So after such a jam-packed week, I'm certainly glad to see that it's Friday. This weekend we have a couple birthdays and a housewarming to celebrate, so no doubt it will be a busy one! Here are a few things that have made me smile this week.

{I'm still enjoying the colourful leaves - the oak leaves are especially pretty} 

{This radio station has officially started playing Christmas music...and I'm listening! Something about singing Christmas songs in the car makes driving in traffic a lot easier to tolerate}

{I might have bought some Christmas stuff stockings and some cards... :)}

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Let's Talk About Neighbours

When I grew up, I grew up in a place that was very neighbourly. We played together in the streets. Our parents hosted bbq's and backyard parties. We were friends. Sometimes I wonder if that was a unique situation, however I tend to believe that was the norm for the 80's and 90's.

Since then, I have lived in several different types of housing in several different neighbourhoods. I can't really say that any of my neighbours have been neighbourly.

My theory is that with the onslaught of the internet, and specifically social media, has caused the end of neighbours. People are able to stay in touch with friends from their childhood and university and therefore are less likely to seek out new friendships from their neighbours. Personally, it really makes me sad.

I thought once we moved into our new condo that we may end up meeting some of our neighbours, but so far, people seem to avoid eye contact if possible, and basically avoid conversation. Halloween was the kicker, when no one (even the loud child that lives upstairs) came trick-or-treating in our complex.

People, I'm begging you, say hi to your neighbours today. Invite them over for dinner, or a drink, or even a cup of coffee. Bring back neighbours who are more than just the people who live around you. Please and thanks.

image via

Friday, 1 November 2013

Sayonara October!

For some reason, October felt like it just went on and on. No offence to the October babies and Halloween lovers out there, but I'm glad to see it behind me this year.

It must have something to do with the fact that we're just that much closer to Christmas (my absolute favourite season). I promise I'll keep the Christmas spirit under control this month. I can't say the same for December.

So that's making me really happy this Friday. That, and the fact that it's the weekend. We have a relaxing weekend planned, what about you?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

C'est L'Halloween

C'est l'Halloween, c'est l'Halloween, hey! I can't help it - that song gets stuck in my head every year.

Anywho, it's Halloween! Usually, I am excited and have a costume planned, but for whatever reason this year it sorta fell through the cracks so I'm basically over it. I think if I were young enough to trick-or-treat, I'd be singing a different tune.

Last night I was reminiscing about all my trick-or-treating memories. Forcing down dinner because I was really too excited to eat. Running from door to door and then decanting my easy-to-carry Halloween bucket (from McDonald's, obviously), into the much larger bag that my dad was carrying for me (thanks dad!), arriving home and dumping out all the candy to count and sort (and see who had the most). Ah, those were the days. I made it sound so glamorous that Nick may even attempt to trick-or-treat tonight (it wasn't very popular in England when Nick was a kid, so he doesn't remember ever doing it).

Then I brought up the part about going through and finding all the home-made stuff. You know, the Rice Krispie Square from the old lady down the street. Or the homemade candy apples. They were always from the most thoughtful people, and yet the automatic reaction was: throw it away immediately. Nick thought I was just being picky, until I explain the whole 'razor blades being hidden in the candy' scenario, at which he was shocked and speechless. Maybe there's no trick-or-treating in England for good reason: no need to check your innocent child's candy for hidden objects that are intended to harm them.

So, if you or your kiddos are out trick-or-treating tonight - enjoy! Watch out for cars and hidden razor blades.

Ps. How accommodating am I? I bought two boxes of candy. One of them is peanut free, so I can offer those allergy-ridden children some candy they can actually eat. Gold star for Emma.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Do You Like Scary Movies?

I don't. Well, not anymore anyway.

With that being said, I went through a phase in my early teens where watching scary movies was the thing to do. In the spirit of Hallowe'en, I thought I'd give you a list of my (former) favourites:

The Sixth Sense
The Poltergeist
Child's Play
Black Christmas
When a Stranger Calls (the original)
The Exorcist
The Ring
The Shining 

Movies I can’t even bring myself to watch because I know I’ll be terrified:

Any of the Friday the 13th series - the mask alone scares me.
Nightmare on Elm Street
Any of the Saw movies
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Any of the Paranormal Activity movies

I can’t even stop to think about some of the content in these movies because it still scares me. But if you’re looking for a good scare this Hallowe'en, give them a try.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Ladies Who Lunch

This weekend I attended a bridal shower. But this wasn't your typical bridal shower. It was a beautifully planned luncheon, sans the usual games. If you’re planning a bridal shower, I encourage you to rethink the traditional, flip the shower on its head and really make it a reflection of the bride-to-be.

The bride and groom have a beautiful house with all the housewares they need, so rather than bringing them more of the same, it was a champagne shower (bride’s favourite). I've also been to a wine shower. It’s fun to help the couple stock their wine collection :).

I realize that I didn't take enough pictures (I was too busy chatting) but I managed to capture a few moments. We all sat around one large table adorned with champagne glasses filled with flowers and popcorn (obviously I was thrilled). After perusing the menu, I opted for the green salad to start and scallops for my main. I also happen to steal tastes of the lobster bisque from the MOH beside me. The MOH is quite the baker, so she took care of a beautiful sweets table, as well as the champagne flute cookie favours (seen in every picture).

It was a lovely way to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of someone I have known for my entire life. Congrats again! xo

Friday, 25 October 2013

It's All In The Eyes

Have you seen this quiz yet? It tests your ability to read people's emotions based on their facial expressions, specifically their eyes.

I've always thought I was pretty intuitive about people's emotions, but according to this quiz, I'm pretty darn good at reading their eyes. Maybe this can be my excuse for harassing Nick whenever I 'sense' something is the matter. I must be able to recognize it in his face.

The score to beat is 31 out of 36. How well can you read their eyes? Take the quiz and let me know how you do!

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend my friends!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


The scene: I pulled out my (pricey) round brush since I just got my hair cut, only to notice some white fuzz in it.

Me: Babe - you know the other day, when you were brushing the dog?

Nick: {makes a bit of a cringe face} Ya?

M: Did you use my round brush??

N: {super cringe face} Ya...I thought it would work well for his tail!

M: Babe!

N: I didn't think you used it anymore!

M: Well I do - I pulled it out to use! I can't believe you used it on the dog.

N: You could use anything of mine on the dog. We're family.
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