Monday, January 31, 2011

My favourite drink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tonight, as I am tired, it's late and we had an app't, I am sharing a picture with you of my all-time favourite cocktail.  This picture is from the LCBO magazine, but it is made at our favourite brunch spot in Toronto- "The Burger bar and tequila tavern".  We have been trying to figure out how to make this drink, and then I found a recipe quite similar.  It might sound gross, as it has a meringue foam on top, that is really sour (read raw eggs shaken with lemon), but it is sooooo good.  Graham prefers to have his as their Whiskey Sour version, and I a good old Double Bourbon Sour.

If you are anywhere within a 2 hour radius of Toronto, go to Kensington Market, eat here for brunch on Sundays and enjoy this $5 cocktail (a HUGE rarity in Toronto), alongside a sesame chicken sandwich, the best sweet potatoes fries EVER and an amazing rocket salad with toasted garlic!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exercise, determination and Poughkeepsie!!!

Today I needed to run out to get a few things, as Mom and Dad were coming over, I was needing to cook something and I couldn't get them with our grocery order (we also ran out of toilet paper!!!).  The fire alarm had been going off since 7:30 this morning, and by 10am, we were annoyed beyond belief.  We finished breakfast, and I decided to head out.

Little did I know, that once the alarm stopped at 10, the fire department still hadn't reset the alarm, so we had no working elevators and the fans were on full in the whole building.  That meant walking down 23 floors to get to the car, so that I could pick up 4 things that we couldn't do without. 

I left, battled the stairs (I have bad knees, so stairs don't go over too well with my body) and prayed that when I came back the elevator would be working. 

Unfortunately, when I came home, not only did I have a huge thing of toilet paper, and a heavy bag of groceries, but the elevator was still not working.  So up I went, 23 flights, just me and my positive attitude knowing that I could fall over and die when I walked in the door if I really needed to.

Even more unfortunate, I left after having breakfast, which was not sitting too well, and by the time I hit floor 10, I thought I was going to "Poughkeepsie in my pants" (for all you Sex and the City fans out there).  Graham about died when I got in the door and made a beeline for the bathroom.

So thanks fire alarm, stairs and a VERY unfit lower half of my body!  I had great exercise, a true laugh and will visit Starbucks till the elevator is working next time, if this ever happens again. Or maybe not have so much dairy before running into a non-working elevator!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winterlicious! A rare pic of me blogged...

Tonight we are out with friends tonight to Trapper's restaurant for Winterlicious, a 2 week long event in Toronto showcasing some of the top rest in the City.

We were sad to miss Summerlicious, but are very excited to go out tonight with some great friends we've met through Graham's work. A triple date!

Here I am in my new skinny jeans, a new tank I bought for Thailand and some killer purple glittered heels... A nice 10lbs lighter than the last time we dressed up and hit the town!

Can't wait for dinner!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I am going to pat myself on the back and call myself a trooper!

All week I have been anticipating taking the kids out for lunch on Friday.  I wondered whether I was biting off more than I can chew; two 18 month olds (give or take), a pub, a tiring week of off and on napping, schedules that don't quite match up yet with each child and lunchtime, which has been a bit of a struggle lately, as some days they eat like a horse and some days they throw ALL of their food on the floor or at me.

Needless to say when I asked their parents, they were happy for me to take them out.  One gave the best reaction when I asked, by chuckling, telling me it's hard when TWO parents take one child out and that she wished I had a video camera to record it all.  I was feeling the same way she was, but I wanted to try anyway.  The worst that could happen, is that they would leave fed, but antsy, the restaurant floor would be a mess and I would have to pack up my entire lunch, eat when we got home, and apologize to anyone else who was dining there in case we "ruined" their meal.

So today we set off.  I had prepared EVERYTHING I could possibly imagine to make this the most enjoyable experience for all of us.  I had them changed, snacked, watered (sounds funny describing it that way) and ready to go by 10:30.  I packed a bag with diapers, wipes, Cole's epi pens, bibs, crayons, colouring pages, sippy cups, craisins, crackers, two flip books, my camera, my phone, and a tupperware container full of their usual "starter food": cucumber wedges, snap peas, corn, broccoli and ham and chicken for Cole as he has allergies that I just wouldn't want to chance anything other than fries at this point unless it was guaranteed to be nut, dairy and egg free.

By the time we got to the pub at 11 (so nice it's open early), they were so excited when we got in and I sat them in the high chairs.  They said "Hi" 10x over to the older gentleman that was sitting at the table by the bar, and the waitress behind the counter.  I strapped them in and felt confident, mostly because the waitress told me that I could do it, she had faith in me and if worse came to worse, she would take one of the kids, help me dress them while I dressed the other and packed them up to go home (now that's service, and YES I left a tip!).

The kids started with their colouring books and crayons at the same time, letting them pick at whatever they wanted to eat in the tupperware while they coloured and we waited for their food.  I had never seen them eat so much, and so willingly, which made me start to worry that I was ordering food that was going to go to waste.  Once lunch arrived, I took their books and crayons, telling them they could have them back once they ate lunch, chopped their food and gave them each a plate (a real one) and a fork (an adult one).  The look on their faces was incredible!  I was terrified they were going to drop it or smash it, but instead, they just kept going, "WOOOWWW!  WOOOWWW!" and ate away like champs.

I happily ate my WHOLE lunch while still piping hot and enjoyed every moment of it, taking pictures of them enjoying themselves and feeling proud of what was accomplished.  After they finished eating, they "read" their books (which EVERY customer thought was ADORABLE) and babbled away saying, "DAT? DAT?" a million times over at anything new they saw.

Before we left, a Mom with her daughter told me that I was very brave, she could barely do it with one and that I had the most well behaved, well mannered children she'd seen in a long time.  I told her that I would love to take the credit for that, but that their parents should be very proud of them, as I was just the nanny.  She abruptly stopped me, thanked me for what I do for someone else's children and told me that no one should ever refer to themself as "just the nanny", as we help raise, mold and teach these children just as much, sometimes more than the parents depending on how long are days are and how many of them we work.  I humbly took some credit, as today was a lot of work, but well worth it.

I kissed Cayenne and Cole, put their winter gear back on, thanked them for a nice lunch, to which they each gave me a kiss, a HUGE hug and a smile back (I almost had a tear, realizing we all felt proud and happy).  It was ALMOST perfect.  I left with everyone saying goodbye to them, telling me how adorable they are and wishing we came back soon, literally.  I ended their day with laughter when the perfect moment ended our DATE :)

Cayenne refused to get into the stroller, started crying when we had to leave (guess she REALLY was having fun) and I had to push the double stroller out of the pub, while football carrying her in my left arm kicking and screaming!  The manager held the door and asked me if I was okay, to which I replied, "We're perfect, and we'll be fine once we get outside, thanks for an amazing lunch".  He laughed his whole way back in stopping at the door, watching me try to buckle her in!

What a fun day, a fun memory and I feel so blessed to have these kids in my life, especially for the parents to allow me to share in such precious moments of their development!

                                                     Now that's multi-tasking at it's best!
                                                          What are we doing L-Anne?

                                                        Really?  We're having lunch here?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winner, winner curry dinner!

Tonight I came home to a condo building that smelled like Sulphur.  Not a promising start to a night. 

Then I walked through the door and came home to a condo that smelt like curry.  YUM.  Even better, I didn't have to cook it.  Even BETTER, it wasn't takeout. 

I sure do have a good man on my hands!
It sure is nice coming home to an almost ready meal when you work later than your beloved other half.  The fact that he was so determined to have dinner ready for me, that he didn't even get out of his suit...winner!

Now, I do love a good curry (usually a Korma, as I love anything coconutty, nutty, and fruity), but Graham made a killer veg curry that hit the right spot.

If you have a lot or even a little extra veg that looks a bit past the normal use if you were to just steam it or cook it, I highly suggest a veg curry!  So good for you, so delicious and a perfect way to clean out the fridge before grocery day!!!

I love you hunny for all you do for me/us, tonight, I love you even more for me not even having to THINK about dinner, or how late we were going to have to eat if we made it when I got home!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hart house

Today we attended a workshop at university of Toronto's Hart House.

Why I've never walked this campus is beyond me, but it's incredible and I can't wait to stroll through with a coffee on a nice summer's day!

Makes me miss England!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to the most incredible Mom. If you don't know her, you should!

Happy Birthday to my Mom!  She is one of the most INCREDIBLE women I know, maybe only second to my Oma.  She is so strong willed, but has the biggest heart of gold at the same time (maybe that's where I get it from).  Mom tends to say Dad is stubborn, but sometimes I tend to disagree, as Mom tends to be stubborn in a sense where she believes EVERYONE deserves better in life, and she will do her best to make that happen.

We used to bug Mom about how she would always bring us WAY more food than we could all eat when we had friends over.  To this day, I am not sure why we ever complained about that!  Our friends loved her for it and she is still well known for it in our circle of friends to this day!

My Mom is a strong woman, who isn't afraid to share her joys AND her struggles.  She is an incredible Mom to look up to and desire to be just like her one day.

Happy Birthday Mom!  We love you very much.  Everyday Graham and I talk about how lucky we are to have you (AND DAD) in our lives! There's always something to laugh about when we're together!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter blahs.

While this picture may seem like NOTHING to some of our readers, it means something to me.  The person who doesn't have a car to get into to drive to work, or to get home with.  No heated seats (like Graham likes to point out daily that he has), and definetely not an already heated car, as we have a heated parking garage. 

This morning was a whopping -21, but -30 with the windchill.  When you wait for the streetcar for 5-10 minutes with wind blowing off the lake, and no wind protection, it is cold.  What really hits though, is the fact that it is 6:15am when I do this.  I look across from my stop and see everyone's lights start to come on in their bedrooms, still all tucked in a warm bed.  Sometimes I look over at our building and see our condo unit, knowing Graham is in a ridiculously HOT shower, while I am freezing my BUTT off.

This cold also means that I am housebound with the kids, and even if the sun is gloriously shining, it's just a tease, as it was still -17 when that sun shone today.

Everyday I count down to the days where I can be in flip flops, not have to spend 30 minutes bundling the kids (just for them to poop right when we're about to leave), and walk outside bag and kids in tow in less than 2 minutes flat.

At least it's supposed to warm up this week.  Ha. Now don't forget this is the base temp without windchill!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rogers, Rogers, Rogers.

I have been a Rogers customer for too many years to count.  Too many complaints and too many overages.  Too many bills that I was overcharged on and too many changes made to my bill without authorization.

When I went to Rogers yesterday to get a new phone and see what they could do for me, as my phone is now hanging up on people, missing calls I didn't know I got, turning off mid phone call, has a broken cover on the back and a broken track ball, I was hoping for great things.

Instead, what I got was, information finding out that they have been charging me all along (4 years) for something on my plan I never agreed to, $100's of dollars of charges for going over my minutes of long distance, which was incorrect, and a person who signed my contract up for a further 3 years on a data plan I never agreed to.  After 2 hours, I ended up leaving without a new phone, without an upgrade, and without any helpful answers.  Just a "call rogers and see what they can do, because they have obviously screwed you over."

I felt so angry yesterday, I didn't bother calling.  I waited until this afternoon to do so, and after talking with the first person, who SAID she fixed some things on my bill, she immediately escalated my call to Customer Service, as I must have a) said the right things or b) scared her by threatening to go to my Ombudsman/small claims court as they owed me between $300 and $500.

I spoke with the customer service rep and not only did the lady NOT take the things off of my bill, but she accidentally added something too.  Nice, that he was honest enough to tell me that she screwed up.

After telling him that my contract was up in April, and I was BEYOND unhappy with their service, the issues at hand, and the lack of committment they have to their long term customers (I have been with them 10 years total), he really listened and worked out a KILLER plan.  Killer in the sense that he spoke with another manager above him (he was already a manager) and they agreed that I should have an employee plan. Sounded too good to be true.  But oh no, it sure wasn't.  Thank goodnes.

Not only did I sign on for another 3 years, I could go into the store to pick out a Blackberry Torch for $100 less than they would charge, get a mail in rebate and my plan would be a whopping $61 with tax for everything I could ever need or want.  SERIOUSLY.  I happily agreed, thanked him for helping me, and giving me a further $150 credit for the last 3 months of screw ups that they have done on my phone bill (which actually only totalled $83, but he knew I was pissed, so he bargained with me).

I am glad to say that now, not only do I have his ID #, but I have his name and reference number. 

Who says that there is no such thing as good customer service anymore?

His one last comment, was thanking me for not raising my voice, getting upset, remaining calm and not uttering threats, all things that lead to customers not getting their full offers from Rogers even if they messed up. to play with my TORCH!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

St. Lawrence Market

Today I am uploading just a photo.  A photo of one of my favourite places.  The fresh baked muffins.  The bacon with mustard samples on a weekend.  The hustle and bustle.  The fish.  The fresh produce.

If you haven't been.  Go.  It's an amazing experience.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday morning ritual/routine

Every Friday morning, before work, I LOVE to get my Starbucks! While it used to always be the same order, since the invention of the cinnamon dolce latte, it varies!
I am a creature of routine. I love it! I loathe something making it hiccup, especially in the morning, as it really does throw my whole day off!
I am at each of the kids house on alternating weeks, meaning my Starbucks fix is now bi-weekly. Boo! There is a coffee shop by the one house, but it's crap and I usually avoid it unless desperate.
Needless to say, it makes my friday when I get to stop in, see the regular staff and get my fix.
Sometimes it's the small things in life!
Here's to my cinnamon dolce latte today! Worth every penny and every calorie!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The man of my dreams!

This man, is the most patient man. He is so kind. So thoughtful at the times I desperately need it.

Everyday while I take care of his heart and his stomach with lunch, he takes care of the finances, the house and dinner when I'm too tired.

This man, is the perfect partnership!

I love you babe!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Never get in the way between a man/boy and their toys! :)

I love my job for SO many reasons.  That will be another post for another day.  But when I have both kids at Cayenne's house, Cole tends to find toys that he wouldn't have at home...for specifics reasons, like, he's a boy.

However, Cole is a very manly boy, and is keen to play with his favourite toy the SECOND he comes to Cayenne's house.  He is SO cute when he sees it and leans down to give a kiss to one part of his favourite toy before he ventures round the house with it.

I love that when Cayenne takes this toy, he gets very upset, comes to give me a cuddle and points at it, wanting it back so badly.  When Cayenne throws it to the floor, he is quicker than anyone I have ever seen to recover it.

What might this toy be?

Don't get between a man, his baby and their stroller! 

Cole seriously BOUNDS around the house like nobody's business, taking "bAbee", as he calls her, for nice long "alks".

How cute!  What's even cuter is when Cayenne throws "bAbee" to the ground and Cole runs to her, picks her up, cuddles her in his arms and gives her kisses- like a Momma does to their sad baby!  SO CUTE!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes you just need video games.

I LOVED playing N64 with my Dad when I was younger.  We would play perfect dark.  I ROYALLY sucked at it, as I would come out from my corner, shoot in the middle of nowhere a 100 times and hope that I might just hit somebody on my way into the firing zone.  No wonder Dad loved playing with me...I ALWAYS lost.

Not much has changed.  Graham and I have a Wii and we tend to play "tanks" on Wii play.  Again, nothing has changed.  I shoot into a mess of tanks, hoping that I hit somebody and make my contribution to our "team" game.  My score is usually embarassing, and my tactics tend to kill Graham instead of the enemy, yet he is happy to play it with me.

I don't think I'll be one to introduce our children (should we have them one day) to them at an early age.  Not because I think I will lose them, or it will ruin their childhood, but mostly because I will lose Graham to video games and our children teaching HIM HOW TO SHARE! :)

Sometimes everyone needs a night of nothing but video games.  Especially on nights when YOU WIN!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Childhood to lifelong friends

Sometimes friends come and go. Sometimes friends out grow eachother. Sometimes friends just lose touch for no reason at all.

And sometimes no matter how far you move, how hard you push, how many times you forget important moments, friends will be there, sticking by every decision you make whether they agree with it or not.

Those are the friends that you need to remember and cherish for every little part they play in your life.

Here's to you Day! You've been around for literally HALF of my life so far. We've walked together, laughed together, caused trouble together, cried together, celebrated together and made more memories than anyone I've known outside my family so far!

Today, you started your dream.  Your dream to be a Toronto Police Officer.  We couldn't be more proud!  We knew you could do it and were so incredibly strong during the journey to get there!

Now that you're working in our jurisdiction, PLEASE don't feel guilty if you're the first person to give Graham a ticket for any reason at all!

Here's to another 14 years!  We love you so much!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tired, annoyed and discouraged.

I had a plan for this post.  After coming home and spending 2 hours with Graham looking over the massively organized budget and forcast he made, I am both frustrated, exhausted and less than inspired.

I had my make up trial today.  While I was VERY excited about it before, during and IMMEDIATELY after, by the time I got to the car, I not only felt like I didn't even REMOTELY look like myself, the make up was too dark on my eyes, and my foundation was spotty.  I thought I would feel a bit better by the time I got home, until I walked in the door and Graham told me that I looked a) SCARY and b) cakey.  GREAT.

I went to look in the mirror again, and remember that this is 1 hour after my make up was completed.  Not only was my eye shadow caked BADLY in the crease of my eyelids, but when I had to PICK it off, it left my eyes bare and uneven in make up.  My eyes were watering from going from the cold to heat and I had streaks down my face!  What the heck would I do if I CRIED on my wedding day?  Have a personal make up artist to fix it everytime!?!?!?!?

I called to let the girl know and ask for a 2nd trial, as my 1st one was so disappointing and there was obviously a product choice issue by her.  Not only that, but when I took a photo and looked at what it would look like in my wedding photos, you saw no eye shadow and only RIDICULOUSLY dark eye liner, and every red spot/blemish/uneven skin tone on my face.  She told me that she would change my foundation and eye make up on the day of and that she didn't want to do a second trial, I should just "hope" that it works better next time!  I am sorry, but the total money I will pay for the trial and day of, plus the girls paying too, NO WAY I CAN TAKE THAT CHANCE.

So tomorrow it's back to the drawing board and ANOTHER trip I will have to make to Hamilton/Ancaster etc, when I really don't have the spare time.  Needless to say I am tired and frustrated.

Enjoy the pictures. The second is right when I got home, and only able to see eyeliner and not enough coverage and the first is how bad it caked/flaked/made creases/is uneven.

Boo. But at least those are the length of my REAL EYELASHES!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Huge thanks to my MOM

Mom,  I couldn't have done this without you!  You saved my sanity, my hands and any spare time I had over the weeks before Christmas.  You are amazing!

Our invites are done and making their way to the post office!  How exciting!  Now THAT makes it feel all to real!  Staring at them, after addressing them, stamping them, stuffing them, sealing them and double checking that they are all correct and in line with my spreadsheet, really made me realize that 3 months is not far away!

How fun!  The lady at the Post Office was so cute, when I handed them to her and told her that I wanted to check the weight and size before sending them out, as I didn't want them all back in my mailbox.  It went a little like this:

Lady: "Hi, what can I help you with?"
Me: "Umm...I have these wedding invites and my Mom and I worked really hard on them.  See, she hand tied A LOT of ribbons on our invites.  I addressed everything, stuffed them and triple checked them with my spreadsheet at home. I'd really appreciate if you could weigh them for me and check their size."
Lady: "What a nice Mom!"
Me: "You have no idea!"
Lady: "They are 1mm too long, but I'm sure they will be fine."
Me: "Umm...are you joking?  Cause this is kind of not funny, and I don't want to pay for more stamps, or to resend them if they come back!"
Lady: "I guess there is never a good time to make a joke about stuff like this?"
Me: "Ahh...NO!"
Lady: "Sorry, maybe we can laugh about this when I see you next time?"
Me: "Of course, how about I send one to myself first to make sure it's okay?"
Lady: "How fun!  You are sending yourself an invite!  I LOVE that!"
Me: "It was one of the top recommended things to make sure you do, and I am kind of anal about wanting to be included in everything that is fun about my wedding, and inviting people, including myself is fun to me.  I am kind of one of those loves the little details so much kind of people."
Lady: "You are too fun!"
Me: "Thanks.  See you soon.  Thanks for making this seem like a fun part of your day."
Lady: "Thanks for letting me be a LITTLE part of your memories that will last a lifetime.  Would you like a picture in front of the post office with your invites?"
Me: "You are my favourite person!  I am not wearing make-up today, and had a late night last night, can I take one holding my invites?"
Lady: "Anything to make you happy!"
Me: "Thanks and see you soon!"

So Mom, that's how it went.  She even let me take a photo.  I loved it.  You would have laughed the whole way through!

I LOVE MY MOM!  And only 3 months to go!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friends. Everyone needs them.

I can honestly say that there are only a small number of people that I have met that I instantly FULLY opened up to and they to me, the instant we met.  It is such a rare thing to find someone who is as open, as non-judgemental, as friendly, and has as big of a heart.

I met Kathryn 2 years ago at work, and have NEVER looked back since.  She introduced me to Gary, her then boyfriend, then fiancee, now husband.  Who knew in such a short period of time, so much could change!  WOW!  I met Kathryn and knew that we would be LIFE long friends.  Few and far between, and hard to come by some days.

I am very thankful for Kathryn and Gary (and little Brayden, man, he melts my heart!) and their friendship, listening ears, and support through all of the hard times, depressing times, joys and through many celebrations!  We both got engaged and celebrated together, Brayden was born, Kathryn and Gary got married, and Graham and I got to both be in the wedding (such a rarity, and such a blessing), and they are both in ours!  It's been a whirlwind and one that I would never change a single thing about!!!!  Kathryn and I tend to get into trouble, or can conspire to make the best of plans!  She is a great support in convincing Graham that it's not a big deal to do this or that...or that we are mature enough and old enough to be moving our lives forward!

We love all 3 of you and can't wait to see how much more our lives will share!  Thanks for being a huge part of how we've made it thus far!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

He summed up the way I feel perfectly.

Ahh...the METRO.

I absolutely LOVE reading the free paper on my subway journey in the morning.  It's what gets me by and distracts me from any obnoxious delays, cold weather etc.  I get a really sad face when I get off the streetcar, hop onto my subway line and there are no papers left behind.  I have a habit of skipping through anything sports or politcal, unless it's some hoop-lah to do with Rob Ford lately, as it's more entertaining than normal politics.  I NEVER miss the sections where they review restaurants/local shops, or the commentary from writers about something that usually takes the piss out of the city, or shows why us Torontonians have a love/hate relationship with the city.

Today, I read this article, which I thought had to do with either a) AD(H)D or b) the constant need to be up and down and moving about all the time.  I stood corrected, and had an intense smile from ear to ear when I read that the article was about travelling/moving/a constant need to find somewhere new.

What hit home for me, was when the author, John Mazerolle, made this statement, "'s not that I judge people like him, so much as I consider them part of a different species (He was referring to a man who said he had been EVERYWHERE...Nova Scotia, New Brunswick).  There's a whole planet to see.  Why would anyone pass that up?  Am I the crazy one?  Though it might seem to some like I'm running away from family or responsibilities, the truth is: I'm a better person when I travel; I read more; I learn more; I live in the moment. And I'm way more accepting of things as they are." "I'm frankly baffled by anybody who would prefer to stay where they are."

If you can access this article, and remotely feel the same way, or have never understood someone you know who does, I encourage you to read the full article.  It really hit home to me, and summed up the way I have felt since the day I set off to Scotland on my first flight ever.  Who knew that 9 years ago, hyperventilating on a plane, on my first flight ever, would bring me to a time, where I have a good 50+ flights under my belt!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

tikki tikki tembo!!!

I couldn't have been more THRILLED when I took the kids to the library and found Tikki, Tikki, Tembo as a book on CD!  It was one of my ABSOLUTE favourite books growing up, and I was so pleased to be able to read this book with the kids!

I love when a book brings back so MANY flooding memories.

What was your favourite book?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No longer a dream, but soon to be reality!

I got these beauties in the mail today. 

It only took a whopping 3 days for them to arrive in the mail!  Gotta love the internet.  I don't know whether it's a good thing for these to arrive with 3 months to go till our honeymoon, as I LOVE to look at fun stuff to do and plan in as many of them as possible (which I usually accomplish, with plenty of time to still eat, drink and tan).  I don't know how it's possible, or how I do it so cheaply, but I am excited that I have a little less to worry about it this time.  I mean, come on...


While I may still be bargaining at markets, for glorious spices, silks, foods and handicrafts, I will do my best not to look for too much of a bargain in regards to hotels.  Usually, my forte.  Thailand has some of the most gorgeous beach front hotels for anywhere between $20-70 dollars a night, and those are for amazing hotels.  We are looking at one hotel that has private huts on the beach, which would cost us a whopping $12 a night.  Shocking.  Why have I never been to Asia before?

Anyways, I can't WAIT to break into these and see what suggestions are on offer!


Monday, January 10, 2011


We all need it, whether we want to admit it or not.  Some people, however, are willing to put themselves out there, be held accountable and say that they need encouragement in order to accomplish something.  Be it a small goal, a big goal, or just to do something they have never done before, or never thought they could do again.

I have had this on my mind since I started blogging this year, and I wanted to remind myself to hold myself accountable to encourage those who need it for one reason or another.  I know that I have received my fair share of it in my life so far, and I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't get it at just the right time.

My encouragement comes today in the form of repaying someone who protected my heart and self more than I think they will ever know, until today.  She is a very strong willed, kind woman, who will set time aside to listen and help, even when you know she has a huge to-do list under her belt. 

1 year ago today, I stopped blogging.  I stopped working at my last job, CAS.  I stopped because I needed a break.  I kept this very close to my heart and was so destroyed by what was going on at work, my caseload, and what I was taking home, I knew that a break would more than likely mean, "a never going back there break".  I stopped blogging because 1 year before that, I had blogged about something that had affected me badly at work, and I needed to get my feelings on paper (with no confidentiality broken), which in turn, led to work not agreeing with my blogging.  After 5 years of having a blog, it put such a fear in me, that I swore to never put myself out there, to never blog again.

She had told me not to let them get to me, and that I had done nothing wrong.  She had encouraged me to keep writing, but to be more careful about it.  I don't know if to this day, she remembers having this conversation with me.  I unfortunately let it get to me, until this past Christmas, when I had to reflect on it all again, 2 years after it all came to head.

So here I am, thanking you for putting yourself out there and encouraging me (without knowing it this time) to be blogging again and hoping that I find myself in writing, taking photos and remembering my year through this blog.

I encourage you while you go on your journey.  I am THRILLED to be following your journey.  I am proud of your transparency and your accomplishments thus far.  The amount of encouragement you will give other people and the change you will ensue in their lives, while changing your own, will be amazing to see and hear about.

Thank you so much.

I don't want to post a picture without any permission, so instead I will leave you a link to her amazing blog and journey that she is taking.

year of the shrinking mommy

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A constant reminder

I forget how blessed we are to be living in the place that we are.  I often resent it due to my public commute to work, the lack of friendliness in our building (NO ONE even talks in the elevator!) and the fact that I feel we are overflowing into every inch of space in this condo.

But every night we see this view.  This view of the city.  This view of the CN Tower's light show.  This view that never gets old.

So tonight, I share a part of our view with you.

Enjoy, and if you so desire, please come stop by sometime and enjoy the view in person!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Enough said!

Now, this is one of the 5, yes 5 dedicated people I saw on my way to/from doing groceries in a snowstorm today!  I thought that I was dedicated just for going out to do groceries in it at 8:30 in the morning, but I've gotten NOTHING on them!  By the time I was on my way home, this guy looked exhausted and must have been glad the snow finally stopped!

Kudos to you buddy and your other friends who must have made you proud when you passed by them!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Impromptu date.

My favourite way to end the day, especially to end my work day/week is when Graham comes to pick me up and I don't have to walk 5-10 mins to the subway, take 2 subway transfers, then to the streetcar, before I finally get home 45 mins- 1 hour later (which if I had a car, would be a 12 minute drive- even more irritating some days if I think about that!).

Today, Graham picked me up and said, "we have no groceries, so how about we get McDonald's (this man knows my guilty pleasure and how to work it) and then go to whatever movie is on at the time when we show up at the theatre?"  Me, "Done!  I was just reading the paper today and really wanted to see Black Swan".

So off we went, slummed it to Macky D's, as Graham calls it, and had a GREAT date!  Me and my filet o' fish and him and his Big Mac. 

Black Swan was psycho, but incredibly made, and a movie I would recommend to everyone.  It really gets inside your head, while still keeping you totally focused on the movie and storyline.  It was actually so good, and so twisted, I think I have to see it again to really appreciate the amazing work Natalie Portman put into it.  As good as it was, if I ever am blessed enough to have kids, or a girl one day, SHE WILL NEVER BE A DANCER! 

Go see the movie.  It's incredible.

Thanks babe, you made me week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exhausting, but rewarding.

Today was the day I taught a child to walk.  Well, he's been taught for awhile now, step by step, moment by moment, encouragment after encouragement.  Each time he took a step the previous times, I cried.  I never thought it would be that emotional, but when you spend 10 hours of your day with someone, you really grow to love them and be incredibly proud of every little thing they do that makes them who they are.

Today, I cried.  I cried with every bit of non motherly love I had in me.  I cried because I know how special it is for his parents to see him walk.  Not just steps here and there, but walk.  One step methodically after the other, not stoping for a break, not stopping to sit, not even cruising on furniture.  It took a lot of determination from the both of us.  Him putting up with me not letting him sit or scooch and me on my knees crawling around the house in front of him for hours, cheering him on everytime he just kept going and going.  I think I just about picked him up to squeeze him and kiss him and stopped him from walking the first moment he walked, turned a corner and kept going all in one fluid moment.

Today was a day that I can be very proud of.  Very proud to tell Cole one day every single step he took and how proud of him everybody is.

To top it all off, when I set him standing up after his Dad came to pick him up, he walked right to Cayenne and showed Dad just how good he is at walking. 4 people cheering and clapping (including Cayenne and Cole) made for one heck of a good bye tonight!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's all GREEK to me!

There was a review online for the top 10 cheap eats in Toronto yesterday.  One of them happened to be a Greek restaurant!  We have been dying for GREAT Greek food since our last visit to Crete to see Graham's Dad.  As tonight was date night, we thought we'd head to Folia Grill and see what the fuss was all about.

Well, you know a place MUST be good when you get there at 7:30 and they tell you the only thing they have left on the menu is chicken breast!  We thought we miss heard him, so we asked again, "Do you have zucchini fries"? Not a chance, they had been sold out since lunch!  Needless to say, we will be back another day!

This sweet Greek lady from a bakery down the road, recommended us to go to Megas on the Danforth.  Dang, was she right!  My chicken souvlaki pita, french fries with feta and the tatziki was to die for!  Graham and I haven't had a good Frappe since our last time in Crete and when it arrived, it was just as good as we remembered it!  I am so full, but my mouth is watering for the leftover tatziki and bread that is ready for my lunch tomorrow!'s the good stuff!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sometimes the best desserts are the ones thrown together with cupboard leftovers!

Some dutch Christmas cookies crumbled, marshmallows, leftover Haagen-Dazs ice cream and the best caramel sauce ever (Gordon Ramsay recipe from incredible chocolate fondants), made the most DELICIOUS, last minute ice cream Sundae!  YUMMY!  Too bad we only had enough ice cream to make a 3 bite sundae, although probably a good thing!!!!!!!

What a good end to dinner tonight!

Monday, January 3, 2011

These two light up my life.

Cole and Cayenne.  They cause me as much heartache as they do headaches some days, but I never thought I could love spending so much time with someone else's kids as much as I do these two! I have to think that this is one of my most favourite "jobs" I have ever had.  Not just because these kids are incredible, but their parents are such a pleasure to work for, it seems like looking after a friend's kids, instead of an employers.

Cole is 18 months and although not yet walking (I am working on this everyday whether he loves me for it at the time or not!), he bum scooches better than any kid I've ever seen!  He is FULL of personality and breaks my heart everyday with how protective he is of me.  He can be very stubborn with sharing his toys, and is even more stubborn with sharing me.  If Cayenne comes anywhere near me when Cole's around, she doesn't have a chance of surviving in my arms or on my lap.  He has learned so much since I have been his nanny (6 months already!): he learned his first word (Hi!), and has really taken off with many more (DAT! or THAT! being one said a million times a day).  He is trying so desperately to say my name, and I'll take whatever he's come out with so far- "Nenanne"!  His ever so blonde hair, his laugh that Graham swears sounds like a dolphin and his once in a while cuddles where he squeezes you SO HARD make the long days my absolute favourite!

Cayenne is now 15 months and went from walking somewhat unsteadily to running so quickly I can't even remember the moment it happened! She is VERY talkative and can babble up such a story right to your face, it's like she's having a full on conversation that you should totally be understanding.  My favourite part of this, is when she ends her babbles with what you can clearly tell is a question mark!  Full head tilt to the side, high pitched "uh?" and then she runs away giggling, so proud of herself for making you smile! Cayenne isn't the biggest cuddler (although she used to be all OVER Cole for hugs and kisses), but when you do something she really loves, or read her her favourite story, or cuddle up with her on the couch, letting her sprawl across your lap while watching Sesame Street, you'd never know she isn't that cuddly all day. She has learned so much already since I have been her nanny (3 months already!): she is piecing together sentences of her own words, runs around like a marathoner, and will bring me EVERY SINGLE PAIR OF SHOES WITHIN REACH if she wants to get out of the house! Cayenne is always saying thank you to me ("Dank do") and REALLY loves to try to get Cole to play with her. Her adorable smile that could melt anyone's heart, the way she can booty dance better than most grown women and the way she picks up anything that looks like a phone, prances around the house and carries on a full conversation makes any day where she throws food or doesn't want to nap, the days that make me smile!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So excited, I cried.

Our tickets came to my email this morning! Our dream honeymoon! 1 day in Hong Kong, followed by 12 days in Thailand (Bangkok, Northern Thailand, Phuket and the Similan Islands). The perfect mix of culture, local cuisine, sightseeing, relaxation, city life, trekking, elephant riding and the most beautiful beaches in the world. More to come when we choose our actual destinations in Thailand! It feels so unreal! I have the best fiancee in the world! Never thought this dream would come true...

Saturday April 16, 2011: Toronto, Pearson Int'l to Hong Kong

Sunday April 17, 2011: Arrive in Hong Kong

Monday April 18, 2011: Depart Hong Kong

Monday April 18, 2011: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project 365- Photo a day

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to take photos (get that from my Dad!) and I love to remember every special moment, even the small ones that might seem silly to someone else.  Be it a random thing at the grocery store, a fun day out, a successful cooking venture, or many different travel experiences.

I have blogged before, and truly enjoyed it.  I blogged to write.  I blogged to cook more adventurous foods.  I blogged to get my mind off a job that was truly overtaking every bit of personality I had left in me.  I blogged to ignore, escape and to write what at times, no one wanted to listen to.  I blogged because I was happy.  I blogged because I was depressed.  I blogged so that the ones I love, could keep track of where I was and where my life was taking me.

I thought this time, it would be easier for me to blog if I could capture moments that were my everyday life.  The joys, the memories, the sadness, the frustrations, the randomness.  The everyday girl, in the everyday city, living the everyday life, but through my eyes.

I hope that you enjoy each day as it comes.  I hope to be able to write alongside my photos when wanted, or just use a photo to sum up my day.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I will.  I feel good about starting a new year, with a new goal (I think resolutions never really get followed through for the most part, but I am pretty good at goals).  A new year that will make me a wife, a part of a new family and a happier, and at times, maybe more fulfilled person.

Happy New Year to the love of my life, my husband to be, my best friend!  This new year will hopefully bring us one of the happiest days of our life!