Monday, November 6, 2017

Friday Favourites on a Monday!

 I missed Friday Favourites last week -- so I'm doing Monday favourites. Same deal, different day. So even though the link up is closed -- it's still good fun!

We had a busy Saturday this weekend. I went for a 10k run in the morning while we had people view our condo, followed by a mani/pedi with my momma and then crisis responder volunteer work from 4-11. It was definitely an exhausting day.
Thankfully Sunday was completely empty which allowed for lots of relaxation in between laundry and cooking. It was much needed and very enjoyable!

I love the part of daylight savings where we get an extra hour of sleep, but the darkness so early is not the best - especially for running. I was able to run Thursday as soon as I got home from work around 5, and it was just starting to get dark, but now it's already darkening by 5:00 and looks like night by 5:30. Since the area I run through has lots of parks and ravines leading off of it, it isn't really safe in the dark. Guess I'll have to figure that one out.

Anyways, time for my Monday (Friday) Favourites!

1. Vanilla Bean Noel time

I know I'm not that only one who loves this scent -- proven by the mass amounts they produce at bath and body works and have to keep restocking. I used to be OBSESSED with B&BW but over the years I've stopped going as much. I still love their 3 wick candles and many of their warm winter scents, I'm just not a fan of the mall so I rarely go. However, I will always go to restock my VBN because it smells exactly like Christmas. Everything from this line smells the same and it's all perfect.

2. Neogen Naturals Serum in Oil Drop White Truffle


What a mouthful. This is an ipsy gem that I'm really enjoying. I definitely need more than the recommended two drops (not sure who that would work for), but the serum has done a great job at keeping my skin from getting all sketchy and dry as the weather turns colder. I think I see a full size product in my future. It's not oily at all, not sticky like some serums and doesn't leave any sort of residue. It literally absorbs in seconds and then you can apply your eye cream and moisturizer right away. It's lovely!

3. This Mellow Eye shadow

Blogger fail. I totally didn't take a photo of the name. Oh well. According to ipsy it's either coco or plum so I'll go with coco. I actually got this colour ages ago, and decided to try it out because I had run out of my fave neutral (and can't really justify buying eye shadow when I have so many. So I gave this one a shot and it's just lovely! I'm actually kind of bummed that I didn't try it earlier. It does have a shimmer, but it's very muted and it has an amazing look when you add a bit of water to use it as a liner. Really gorgeous. I'd definitely recommend not only this colour, but this brand!

4.  Thoughtful co-workers
Should have taken a pic of the inside!

Our favourite receptionist/legal administrator is the only person in the office who makes sure we celebrate holidays. Whether it be valentines day or Halloween, she makes sure we celebrate in some small way. Halloween was a truly dull affair, with just one new person asking if we were going to do anything. I told him that sadly, no. There would be no celebrating that I knew of. Our only festive person was on maternity leave. Well guess who showed up with Halloween treats?!
She came with Halloween cupcakes for everyone and because I can't eat cupcakes she made me my own pumpkin tin of treats with things she knew I liked. It was just the sweetest! I can't wait until she's back, even thought it's a good 10 months from now :(

Anyways, I think that's about it. We are headed out for Miami this Thursday, so I will definitely miss Friday Favourites again this week. Boo.

Happy Monday & stay warm! It's supposed to snow a tiny bit on Thursday, but sadly we will probably already be in the land of palm trees and humidity by then!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A 'nothing to do with Halloween' post on Halloween day!


When you're an adult without kids and living in a condo (so no trick or treaters), Halloween doesn't really feel like anything other than a normal day. How boring, right? It will be nice when we have kids and a house and can make Halloween fun. It will be fun buying half off candy tomorrow though!

I feel like with our vacation coming up next week, I am just counting the days at work. It quickly got cold here, so coming back from Winnipeg was really just coming back to a different kind of cold. I can't wait to be in Miami!

To prepare, I bought some shorts online because I don't really have shorts (I don't wear them aside from exercise or comfy lulu ones), But since all things have to be wife appropriate for these trips, I got some online at the Bay. Unfortunately, with it being October, they are really just selling off whatever they have left from the summer. So I got a nice white pair that fits well, and a denim part that is quite big, but will have to do. I know I could have looked elsewhere, but the Bay is just so easy to shop at and so close to home if you need to do a return. I pretty much buy anything I need there related to clothing/shoes/accessories/home ... if they sell it, that's where I get it. Our superintendent must think we have a shopping problem, since he always accepts our packages. Funny thing is we return half of it. Shopping at the store is absolute torture, but they've got their online world down pat!

So pretty

I also bought a new purse, because sadly beige doesn't hold up well in my world. I'm not a purse girl, so I usually get one and use it until it dies. I loved my beige coach purse, but unfortunately it became very dirty and the drycleaner wanted $150 to clean it. I can buy a new purse for that price! And I did!
So I bought this new CK purse. I love it, but it's bigger which I'm pretty sure just means I'll be cramming more into it. Ah well.

Last night I made beef and broccoli for dinner.

I packed my cook books, so I didn't have access to my tried and true recipe so I used this one from Jo Cooks. I didn't use the cooking sherry, because I didn't have it, and for the vegetables I also added some carrots and red peppers but otherwise I followed the recipe. It's so easy to find gluten free soy sauce and chicken stock these days, so I didn't even really have to think about edits/changes to make it gluten free, because those ingredients already are in my home. This is why I firmly believe in using regular recipes with small adaptations. It's so much easier to stay close to the original intention of the recipe without adding a plethora of extra ingredients. I know gluten free cookbooks can be useful, but I just found them to be frustrating with a page and a half of ingredients. I like simplicity, especially on a Monday night!
I think I'll be using the slow cooker this week - I feel like enchiladas. So that's coming up. My simmers cookbook has some excellent recipes, seeing as she's southern. We'll have to say what tastes are presenting later in the week.

Have a happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Back from the 'Peg

 It's been a week of radio silence -- I must apologize. I didn't bring a computer for my trip, and typing blogs on my phone would have been impossible.
So I'm back from Winnipeg -- and I'll say that the conference ate up so much of my time (understandably) that I didn't really have a chance to see much else, though I did get to see the Canadian Human Rights Museum.
Pretty impressive building, with meaning in every piece of it (specifically designed that way) Ex: The walls inside are unfinished because human rights work will never be complete.

The people who lived in Winnipeg spoke highly of the community engagement and general care for each other, and it was nice to know that they do try to help those around them who live in shelters or the street and rely on donations of clothing and funds to get by. It definitely seemed more closely knit than other places I've seen. I can't say it's somewhere I would desire to go back to -- but it did encourage me to explore Canada a bit more. Whenever I travel I immediately think of other countries, but I've not seen much of what my own country has to offer. So something to consider for sure.
Landing in the prairies was definitely different than landing anywhere else I've been!

Last week, or prior to today's post is probably more accurate, I took the plunge and made squash soup for the first time. I'm not a fan of making soups that need to be blended, but I had an intense craving for some squash soup so I went for it. A fellow blogger had posted her recipe for squash soup and had also given me a suggestion to avoid the hassle of peeling and dicing the squash. Am I the only one who gets sliced up fingers when I do this? It literally seems that the squash peel rips the skin off of my fingers. Disgusting and painful. I googled this and I'm not alone -- just an FYI ;)
Anyways, her suggestion was to first roast the squash and then the skin would easily be removed. So I had husband slice it lengthwise down the middle, I scooped out the seeds, drizzled a bit of evoo and sprinkled some salt and pepper. Then I roasted it for about 45 minutes at 425. Not only did the skin literally fall off, but it was already so delicious. I'm pretty sure I ate way too much of it in the moving it to the pot process.
I followed the rest of the recipe process, editing it only to add in my own spices. I wasn't quite sure what would taste best. Squash is quite savoury, so I knew that things like allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg would taste good, but I wanted kick. So I added little bits of those to complement, but also added in a hefty dose of black pepper and red pepper flakes. To say it was divine is an understatement. We ate practically half of the pot that first night, and I froze the rest, which I defrosted it when I got back on Friday and we enjoyed it again. There is one little serving left with my name on it. I'll likely make it again this weekend. I just love squash soup. My MIL also makes a mean squash soup - every time she sends some over, I pretty much claim all of it. It's an obsession.
As an added note: Definitely use a real blender rather than an immersion blender to make the soup smooth once everything is added and ready to blend. I tried an immersion blender first and it was pretty useless. I think if I'd be ready to devote a good half hour to the process, maybe it would have eventually smoothed it out, but I wasn't willing to wait. I had to blend mine in three batches to fit it all and I added a bit of water each time because it was quite thick. Maybe a quarter cup each time. A more high tech blender like the vitamix or ninja probably wouldn't need added water.

Mmm, could go for some right now.

Well, that was a really long discussion of soup. Anyways, in lieu of my last weeks Friday Favourites, I did want to include some fun little things that happened.

I got free sweet potato fries at my favourite lunch spot (three cheers for having a delayed lunch and being there during a lull!)

Not a great photo (afternoon sun-fail), but the serving was so big I took the rest home and had it with breakfast Saturday morning

I finally got to my parents house to open my ipsy bag with my mom (ever since someone started stealing my mail, I send smaller packages to my parents house). This bag was one of the cutest (red with a black lace-look overlay), but I wasn't terribly impressed with the contents. I love getting eye cream, so that was nice, and the nail polish is a beautiful colour, but I generally get shellac manicures and pedicures, so I don't use much polish (despite my burgeoning collection). I don't have large pores, but I'll try the powder -- maybe it will de-shine as well, and I wouldn't mind using the eye shadow primer if I'm going out. I already used the hand cream. It has such a beautiful peach smell. So 2/5 things I love, and really for that price, you can't beat it. I have bought many full sized items following items I've received from Ipsy which is one of the things I love most about the bag. I'm relatively new to the world of makeup, so trying new things is really fun (plus I haven't had to buy mascara in AGES!) 
Pretty pretty bag

Last, I went for a 10k run on Sunday with one of my running friends and although we went a slower pace than last week, I was really pleased that I was able to make it through the whole run much better than last week. I was still fairly breathless throughout, but I know it's a process of getting back into it. I also managed to make it to the gym in Winnipeg. Mind you, they were definitely stretching the truth in their "world class gym" statement on the hotel website. So I have completed week 1/6 of husbands goal-setting for me to get my Christmas decoration that I posted a few posts back. I'm definitely a girl that needs goals!
That's it for today!

Happy Monday!  Here's a picture of Snicker for your enjoyment.
Can't you tell that he thinks we're just peasants there to serve him?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Favourites

Lord help me. How is it Friday?! This week has completely flown past me. I swear life is on fast forward right now. We had a huge work event in the community last night which has been sapping my time for awhile. It went SO well, but man am I glad to be done with it! Last night I didn't even leave work until 10:30. 14 hour days FTW! Sigh. I ended up eating perogies around midnight because let's be real. I was starving by that point.

But we are here for Friday Favourites so here we go!

1. This scarf

I look weird in this photo and I am totally "bag-ladying" it up, but whatever. You can't really see my coat, so I need to work on a better picture of that (it's my new Karl Lagerfeld coat), but this scarf is my new favourite. My mom got it in a monthly subscription box and didn't like it, so she gave it to me (haha). I love it though! I've been wearing it at least twice a week! Also, grey manicure still going strong. It's been almost two weeks with nary a chip. Guess that's what happens when they stick you under the UV light 15 times because of screw-ups. Sigh.
2. Royal Botanical Gardens of Ontario

I went to a conference earlier this week at the botanical gardens and it was so beautifully decorated for fall. There were pumpkins EVERYWHERE. So I went to the bathroom and ended up lingering for a good 15 minutes taking pumpkin photos #oops
Y'all know me and pumpkins. I couldn't help myself. I was lucky enough to get free passes, so I will be forcing husband back with me to see the gorgeousness. I want to go a little closer to Christmas in hopes that it will be decorated with little cranberries and pine trees and I can't handle it. This festive time is year is my very favourite!

#3 These booties
Link found here

I have a shoe problem. For reals. A colleague was wearing these booties at a meeting a few weeks ago and I seriously haven't stopped thinking about them. She had them in grey and they were too gorgeous. So far I've resisted, but I feel like that ability is fading fast. because seriously. Have you seen these?! Too much. They're sold out in most places. I'm torn between wanting to get them before they're gone, and knowing full well that I just bought a new pair of shoes like a month ago. Decisions decisions!

#4 Winning my step bet

It was frustrating at times, tiring some nights and downright annoying but I won, I didn't lose my money and I made a cool $9.19 USD (haha - honestly). So yeah, stepbet isn't going to make you rich anytime soon, but it's a solid way to force movement, especially for people with office jobs. Last week on Friday, I was a little worried. I had to hit my stretch goal and we were at a dinner party (and I was wearing my new Kate Spades, which aren't exactly walking shoes -- though some butt butter (for cycling) helped prevent blisters! We got back to our hotel around 11:15 and walked around our hotel floor in circles until I hit my goal. It was definitely close. I think I almost missed it by 10 minutes. Saturday I had to hit my stretch goal again, which was much easier and that was that! I've already recycled my $40 entry fee into another stepbet starting this weekend. Husband isn't too pleased, but he's just a poop who doesn't like walks, haha.

Anyways, that's it for me today! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Talk

It's Tuesday, and on Tuesdays we talk!

I want to talk about breakfast, because I am a creature of habit and have the same breakfast Mon-Fri. It's easy, fast, and despite it coming up on a year of having this for breakfast daily, I'm still not sick of it (and neither is husband, who has a short attention span).

So for breakfast each morning I blend:

2 cups almond milk
4 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tbsp of cocoa powder
2 thawed bananas

Then I split it in half and breakfast is served. It fulfills the hunger, isn't heavy at all and has nothing in it that causes sketchy stomach business. As someone with a super sensitive stomach, I'm all about avoiding sketchy stomach stuff. The hemp hearts also have a nice amount of protein -- I believe 3 tbsp. has 10 g, so we are a bit below that at 2tbsp of hemp hearts each.

Doesn't look too pretty, but it's the only photo I have of it.

But then I see these things on pinterest, where all these really motivated people are making stuff for the week ahead, like breakfast cookies or those little egg mixtures in muffin tins and I think maybe ... maybe it's time to think ahead (beyond putting bananas in the fridge to thaw out overnight). Maybe I should change things up, and have different smoothies or make eggs in a muffin tin or whip up some breakfast cookies.
Who has the time for this?? I seriously want to know. Do they have extra breakfast making hours added into their days? It reminds me of sitcoms, like Full House, where they did so much in the morning. Did they wake up at 4am to get all of that stuff done? I used to have a boss who woke up at 4am and he said it was the most productive part of his day (from 4-7) because no one else was awake and he could work in peace. But what about sleeping? Y'see, he didn't really sleep. I need a solid 9 hours to even feel rested. And really - whether you're doing stuff at 4am or doing it at 11pm, what's the difference? So that's my dilemma. Do I attempt to force myself to be an early riser and get stuff done in the morning, and find time on weekends to meal prep for the week or do I carry on with my 'fly by the seat of your pants' life where we still manage to eat dinner every night, only buy lunch sometimes and always have a breakfast smoothie? Something I need to figure out before we bring kids into the mix. Who knows, maybe kids would force me to be more organized.

but hey, there's always next week!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Will exercise for Christmas decor

 Happy Monday! With a busy week ahead, it's nice to take a few moments to stop and take everything in from the weekend. We had a semi-restful weekend, which was definitely needed.

Friday evening we went to a dinner party hosted by husband's VP and his wife. It's an annual event that is awarded to a select number of people who hit above their target numbers. We went last year and were so happy to be there again this year. One of the waiters (because yes, they totally hire waiters) told us that he was shocked to see us back again, because they never see the same faces year after year. It's such a great evening - lots of good conversations and amazing food. Plus hotel stays for the night are comped which is always a bonus :)
We stayed overnight downtown and went to breakfast at a nice little place in Toronto called Lola's - tons of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. It was a bit expensive, but nothing out of the ordinary. I loved being able to have gluten free toast with my breakfast because it's such a rarity unless I'm at home. We both got the "Lola's breakfast" and enjoyed it immensely. Their home fries were also out of this world! Then we headed home, did some cleaning and the photographer came and did the proper photos of our home. We saw the posting now that it's been updated and it looks 1000x better. Here's hoping our place sells soon!

Sunday was pretty much a day of relaxation  -- our power went out for about 2 hours in the afternoon from the crazy storm that blew through. All of a sudden it just got super windy and the rain was pouring down like mad in these huge sheets of rain, our power flickered on and off about ten times and then just shut off completely. Luckily it was still daylight so with the curtains open wide, we were able to avoid having to light candles just to see things. It really only infringed on my plan to wash our bedding after the clothing laundry was done, so I'll have to do that today instead. For dinner we had the autumn skillet hash that I posted a few weeks ago from Speedy Spatula's instagram -- I added some different veggies this time around and it was delicious as usual. Can't go wrong with that meal!

I finished my stepbet on Saturday. Those last two days were definitely down to the wire. I made $9.19, which is exciting (no one joins a stepbet to get rich, haha), so I reinvested my $40 into the next stepbet, Anything that keeps me motivated to move can't be a bad thing. I don't know why fitness motivation has been such a struggle lately, but what I do know is that I need to get into a routine again. Working these randomly late days isn't helping either. So with a new week and some new goals in mind, we reset. Husband has given me some motivation (a Christmas decoration that I've literally been eyeing for three years from Costco) -- so we'll see how things go. I've got a good man, I'll tell you that!  This week calls for 1xrun and 1xgym. Sounds easy, but easier said than done! For someone who used to organize their life around fitness, things sure have changed! I'd like to get into a happy medium and stay there.

This is what I'm working for!

Anyways, that's a quick rundown of the weekend -- always so fleeting. Another busy week ahead, and next week is Winnipeg.

Wishing you all the best Monday yet!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favourites!


TGIF! Short weeks sometimes feel the longest. This week however seemed to just speed by with a higher than usual level of exhaustion attached. I'm ready to relax!
This will be short and sweet and is pretty much fueled by my mom's harassment because this is her favourite post (Thanks mom!) So, as usual, I'm linking up with the ladies in the FF pic to bring you my favourites this week!

1. Kelly's Bake Shoppe

I could write an ode to this place -- for real. They are a local bakery that is fairly close to my work (closer than to my home anyways) and they have gluten free, vegan, nut free treats. Everything falls under the same guideline, so you don't go in there, see something you want and find out it's only vegan OR gluten free OR nut free. It's always all of the above. This is one of favourite things about them. I love my dairy in baked goods, but they make it something you won't miss. They recently developed their own coffee blend. Not sure what they use but holy moly. I'm not usually a fan of a straight cup of coffee. I tend to prefer plain lattes or tea, but a few weeks ago I stopped in and they were giving away free cups of coffee to show people their new blend. I had a cup and now I'm hooked! With a splash of coconut milk -- divine! So this week I had a meeting near there and stopped in for a mini powdered doughnut and a coffee. Perfect mid-morning treat!

2. Grey nail polish!
I had my nails done this week, and I won't bore you with the story of horror I endured, but it made me realize just how much I love my usual place. So my favourite is the colour. The downside was the crap it took to get it on.

3. This necklace

I got this in Utah but keep forgetting to post it. It's so pretty and sparkly and matches pretty much everything, especially because the colours change to reflect on whatever you're wearing. I love a good necklace!

4. Fresh Cleanser

Link found here

Seriously. Obsessed. Have you noticed yet? This cleanser is so gorgeous. It literally just melts the makeup off your face -- even waterproof mascara. It's so smooth that it just feels like you're rinsing the water off - you won't even notice that all of your makeup has been effortlessly removed. I like trying new brands too much to just stick to one brand, but I think that one day Fresh may just be the only thing my cupboard is full of.

5. Brown gel eyeliner.

Link found here

I recently got into brown eyeliner when I realized black was just too harsh. It was making me look like a gothic raccoon and I wasn't feeling it. I made the switch to brown a few months ago and I have really enjoyed the toned down look it provides. It still gives me what I'm looking for (the eye-accentuating), but we've lost the gothic raccoon. I just loved the Clinique one I tried first, but ended up trying out another one because I was lazy and feeling cheap. The Clinique one is about $20, and the one I just picked up is about $7. There are some differences in quality, but not enough for me to care right now. I can't even remember the brand of the current one I'm using, but it's just some drug store kind like rimmell or Maybelline. The point of this favourite is that brown eyeliner is the perfect colour to use if you have paler skin but still want to line your eyes. But I'll use a picture of the Clinique one since it is pretty bitchin'
I also prefer gel because you eliminate the whole 'eyeliner marks on the brow-line dilemma.

That's all for today. I hope next week I can spend a little more time putting together a post. I have SO many things to share, but no time and want to use real pictures instead of stock photos from online.

Have the very best weekend!