Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff...

...like bingle balls and whofoo fluff.

Centrepiece made from Value Village hurricane vase, dollar store candle, extra ornaments and old garland from Winners.

A candle tree and paper cone trees I made, the bigger paper tree took hours!

Shelves about the computer area with Boba Fetts, the Grinch and some gift candles

I made the wreath out of old garland, ribbon and some extra ornaments

Trim up the town with goowho gums and bizilbix and wums
Trim every blessed window and trim every blessed door


Our 7' real tree! Only $35! The tree stand was $6 off craigslist last year and I made a lot of ornaments.

Hang up whoboohoo bricks
Then run out and get some more!

 "Winter-Themed" Star Wars Lego

 I added Christmas Cards to our photo wall

Whailand's countin' down

I was able to decorate a bit between end of classes and beginning of exam crunch time. Right now this is what I am looking at:

Cumulative Statistics Final! Whhhhyyyhyhyyyy1??/! :(

Pre-Christmas Diet and a Recipe

So far this year I have lost 14 lbs. However, I have not quite reached my goal for this year of being right smack dab in the middle of the normal BMI range. This requires me to lose another 3 lbs. Big woop.


Not big woop.

This is hot chocolate baking cheese milk cookie gravy butter potato cider chocolate candy face stuffing season and it will be a little bit more challenging than if it were January or another boring month. So I have initiated: Diet Phase Three. (A follow up to the 7 lb loss of phase 1 in the spring and the 7 lb loss during phase two in the summer, neither of which I ever referred to as phase anything it just sounds fun to call it that now.) I will diet for about 20 days stopping on Christmas Eve so I can enjoy stew and pancakes and also allowing myself one holiday party in the middle. Woo. The rules are: No sugar or dairy, at all, no carbs after lunch and no food after 8pm (with the execption of days when I am working until 12am.) I will also try to get a bit of exercise but not worry too much about that factor. Yesterday was my first day and so far so good. I made this for dinner:

Pear, Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash

 1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1lb peeled, diced butternut squash
1 large pear, peeled, cored and diced
6 oz soy chorizo sausage, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander
poached or fried eggs for serving, optional

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Saute onions until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the squash in a covered, microwavable dish with 1 tablespoon of water. Cook on high for 3 minutes, until just tender.

Add the squash, pears, chorizo, cinnamon and coriander to the skillet with the onions. Increase heat to medium high and cook for 5-8 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until heated through and browned.

Serve hot with poached or fried eggs, if desired
Recipe from http://www.carascravings.com/

I didn't measure things out perfectly, I used turkey chorizo instead of pork, I used a little bit of granny smith apple instead of pear, I didn't have corinander and I added some chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Still it was delicious. I had it with a poached egg and some spinach.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gift Ideas for Your Man-Boy

I don't know about you but I always find that men are incredibly difficult to shop for. My poor Dad always ended up with nuts, licorice or slippers because what else were we gonna give him? Thankfully, my husband is a little easier to shop for because deep down he is still a twelve year old boy who would play with Lego and talk about Star Wars all day if he didn't have all his other obligations. So the following are gift ideas that I think would work for any man who doesn't take himself too seriously. :)

I love the justice leage vs. dc villains ones.

Lego Tower Bridge <-- This site also has a lego star wars advent calendar!!

As far as shopping for Dads goes, if you find it challenging you may want to consider a tradition my Dad and I started: A most ridiculous gift war. It began when he gave me an eraser shaped like a gorilla and I retaliated with a decorative toilet brush. Happy shopping, and don't forget manly wrapping paper!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dear Santa...

It's that time of year again. That time when you start getting texts/phone calls from family members asking you what you and your husband want for Christmas this year and you're all like "I haven't thought about it yet, I haven't even finshed classes for the semester!? Besides if I tell you then it won't be a surprise! Don't you have telepathic abilities that allow you to delve into the deepest depths of my mind and extract my unmade Christmas list?"

I understand though. They have Shopper's Block, a very serious consumer condition known to strike during the early winter months. The only known cure is 10cc's of X-mas List. So, for their sake and their sake alone I have conducted an exhaustive search of the interwebs (and my heart) and assembled here several items that would make me squeal with childish joy to unwrap. However, shoppers should note that I would also be happy with hugs and underwear.

Avalon Organics daily facial moisturizer. I love this stuff but it can be hard to find. Health stores and London Drugs are the most reliable.

Pretty little whale ornament, I've seen them at anthropologie and Urban Barn.

Ikea Gaspa Queen Size Sheet Set.

Harmony King Size Duvet (Cover) Set from nood. We buy our duvets a size bigger than our bed so that we don't have trouble sharing.

Ikea ALĂ„NG Table lamp, so we can see our pretty new bed spread.
PLASTIS Dishwashing brush, also from Ikea. I love these little guys but the suction cup always breaks off. :(

A Very She and Him Christmas C.D., I've seen it online at Anthropologie.ca


Hunter Wellies, Black, tall, glossy, practical. (ohhi monsoon season)

These thermal p.j.s from Victoria's Secrect are really cute, and if I can't pull off the whole long john thing it's ok because no one (except poor Andrew) will have to see me in them!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Europe Part 1: South of France

I am finally getting around to my Europe posts. Lots of photos!

In August Andrew and I went to Europe. We planned and saved for about 6 months, went way over budget and had a great time. Some of the sites we used were Travel Cuts for booking our flights, Eurail for train passes, VRBO for our rental in France, and hotels.com for our hotel and hostel bookings.

We were gone for 23 days. We left Vancouver Airport early in the morning on August 7th, the day after my mom's post-wedding open house. Our first 5 days were spent staying at a rented apartment in a small city, named Menton, in the South of France, right on the ocean, right on the border of France and Italy. We flew Vancouver-Calgary, Calgary-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Nice. From Nice we took a 90 minute bus ride to downtown Menton, where we go onto a city bus that took us closer to the apartment which we then walked 3 minutes to.

image via

We stayed in the eastern-most part on the city, it was a 5 minute walk to the Italian border from the apartment we rented.

We spent our days eating on our patio with an unobstructed view of the Mediterranean Sea, wandering around the old town, swimming, drinking our morning espresso, going on quick day trips to Monaco and St. Agnes, and even going for an afternoon walk to Italy (it was so hot out we didn't make it very far in.) I would highly recommend Menton, it's known as Nice's quieter cousin and is much cheaper to stay in. However, if you are going to stay there I recommend a dark tan, sparkly accessories and a tiny dog as must haves for fitting in.... Also, if French isn't your thing then learn some Italian as there were just as many Italian people/places as there were French.

On to the photos...

At YVR really, really early in the morning

Andrew and some beer at the Calgary airport.

Flying over Greenland

Andrew feeling like crap at the Frankfurt airport

My delightful snack on Lufthansa Air, my new fav. airline!

First Morning in Menton, looking towards Italy just after sunrise

breakfast on our deck

view from a cemetary at the top of the city


The old town

Beach in Ventimiglia (northern Italy)
looking out over Menton

Beach in Monaco

Espresso and Pain au Chocolat at Amie du Pain, next to our apartment
one of the many creepy/beautiful alleys in old town

lots and lots of dogs in Menton
morning swim in the sea
emerging from the mediterranean sea just like ariel when triton made her human...

just for comparison, leathery tanned old man and my pale ginger husband


getting lunch

looking out towards old town at dusk

The school and city hall in St. Agnes and nearby mountain village, sooo pretty!

at the train station in menton, on our way to ROME!
Next up: Europe Part 2: Rome