Tag Archives: holiday

a 31 pumpkin salute!

happy halloween evening!

thankfully, it is not frankenstorming here, and if they bundle up, the little goblins and goblettes should be able to enjoy their trick-or-treating (although the accompanying moms and dads may be hiding out under umbrellas due to the inclement weather)!

in honour of october 31st, i give to you our tribute to hallowe’en in the form of a 31 pumpkin feature presentation.

have a spooktacular night!

happy pumpkins!

“I’M at little pumpkin!” (sung to the tune of “i’m a little teapot!…)

ten little pumpkins, all in a row…

look at those teeth on these three!!

“bubba”

ghosts – or is that witches?! – of hallowe’en past (1975!)

a true example of “pumpkin carving!”

my mom used to put up cardboard decorations like this when we were little!

pumpkin-on-a-stick! times two!

today’s festive accessories: jack-o-lantern earrings along with my special spider bracelet!

seeking shelter from the storms!

boo!!

“scarecrow standing guard”

mr potato head! i mean, pumpkin-head!

and, finally, saving the best til last:

cutie c and little e with their pumpkin creations, organized with g’ma & g’pa last weekend (the girls created their own designs!)

did you dress up or wear orange today? i saw some adults in costumes when i was out and about -> love when people get into the hallowe’en spirit!

this is the way we do thanksgiving

…and longtime readers, you already know of my family’s (un)usual thanksgiving traditions as seen in the 2010 and 2011 celebration recaps!

to kick off the afternoon, i took my usual thanks giving walk. yesterday, i almost got rained upon!

these beautiful pots are aligning my street right now. thanks, city of waterloo!

gorgeous red tones, here…

brrr….glad i was wearing my mittens and winter jacket!

around 4pm, we all gathered at mom and dad’s. i walked next door!

:)

dad and mom/our host and hostess!

sharon and paul (mom’s brother), the empty-nesters!

cousin kate! (who is embarking on more exotic world travel in the new year!)

cousin joel! (who is now back from korea and in teacher’s college!)

cousin alex! (who is in first year university, studying civil engineering!)

yours truly!

sil ana and cutie c! (who is ready with her xmas list!)

the brother and little e (who is in her favourite chair at g’ma and g’pa’s!)

the first order of business: CHRISTMAS LISTS!!!! we all go around, youngest to oldest, and pass out copies/share/explain our prepared xmas lists of gift ideas:

my copies!

[i did promise the family that my 100 item list from last year was a once-in-a-lifetime happening!]. i am excited to get out shopping!!!

pretty soon thereafter…food time! here’s our traditional menu (and i neglected to photo the chips and homemade cream cheese salsa dish):

pizza!! (waterloo-ites, these pies were from “gourmet pizza” in uptown)

chicken wings (from “the huether”)

this is the best menu – no fuss, minimal dishes, maximum enjoyment for all ages.

desserts:

mom’s homemade apple pie…

…and mom’s homemade apple crisp ->both rate an A+!

and no blog post would be complete without the traditional family-around-the-table pic!

let’s enjoy our feast!

we had such a fun time! everyone in my family has a really good sense of humour, and the wisecracks and jokes that get tossed about during christmas list time really make me laugh. this year, we also seemed to have lots of time for relaxed visiting and conversation…it was a really great get-together!

(i missed seeing grandma from her usual spots, smiling on from the couch and at the table).

i always am thankful for being with my family at thanksgiving. my third year of university, when i was in chicoutimi, i was away from home for the first time over a holiday. four of us girls went out to st hubert (the quebec version of swiss chalet) for our “thanksgiving dinner,” and while we had a good time, i was quite homesick for my family that year (giving your xmas list over the phone just does not cut it). it really is family togetherness that makes a holiday extra special.

happy thanksgiving monday! if you are going to the parade, my local friends, bundle up!!

giving thanks

~~thank you for all of the blog and fb comments, emails, and in-person hugs over the past week…my family and i feel very supported and loved.~~

~*~*~*~*~

happy thanksgiving weekend, friends!

in honour of thanksgiving, here is my list of 42 things for which i am thankful. [42 because i am 42 years old] i had a lot of fun composing this list, it’s a compilation of the first 42 thoughts to spring to mind, some serious, some not so much. here we go!…

1. every single member of my family

2. that i have a job that i love and adore and look forward to each day

3. that little e still reaches for my hand when we walk home from the school bus

4. tim horton’s choco chip muffins

5. high speed internet – i have absolutely no comprehension of how this technology actually works – i find the whole concept of websites, google etc simply amazing!

6. that feeling i get when running: i feel free, powerful, in the moment, in a zone, happy, clear-headed, centred…it’s awesome

7. that my list of people who irk me is much, much smaller than my list of people  i like

8. my walkable neighbourhood

9. cutie c‘s random and enthusiastic hugs and snuggles

10. this song because it makes me happy!

11. the creative and imaginative outlet that knitting offers; the way you can produce works of art with knitting

12. that i found the will to break my diet coke addiction [i know i complain a lot in my kikiproject updates, but i truly am proud and grateful that i could stop drinking pop]

13. reading, esp novels that you can’t wait to get back to!

14. quirky stories from my life (for example: the time i stalked an semi-famous ultrarunner in moab, utah; the time i got lost in the atlanta airport) that sure are memorable

15. s’bux choco chip cookies

16. that i ran the boston marathon three times and had three awesome races there

17. my rooftop garden and patio area

18. the stories and experiences i hear from customers at the store – every one is unique

19. that any seinfeld episode can make me LOL

20. my green eyes

21. cereal!!! [except any types that contain raisins]

22. having a competitive personality – i like being a go-getter

23. that i can still get away with plucking out any grey hairs on my head, no dye job is yet necessary

24. my circle of friends

25. the mega-bass option on any stereo system

26. that i left teaching after three years and did not spend my life at a career that was not for me

27. doing a crossword puzzle and being able to fill in all the answers [ok, i only do easy x-words, but that's beside the point]

28. that as we get older mature, we know what we like and what we don’t: i no longer concern myself about the fact that i dislike cooking or am not an animal person, for example

29. any and all vacations i have ever taken: childhood trips out east, out west, to florida; adulthood holidays in aruba, florida, the U.S…all provided awesome memories

30. my running shoe/flipflops/footwear collection

31. baskin robbins choco chip ice cream

32. that i am 5’5″ tall – not too tall, not too short

33. my abba box set

34. that i like watching a lot of different sports, live or on tv

35. this song because it centred me this summer

36. blogging! i really enjoy coming up with ideas, writing, editing, the interactions through comments…it’s a fun hobby

37. that you can sit at chapters and read magazines for free

38. the way my cardinal tattoo turned out [i love my boston one, too, but the cardinal is the ultimate special one]

39. the movie “when harry met sally,” one of my all-time favourites

40. that i got to say good-bye to grandma [and was with grandpa c when he passed away eleven years ago].

41. that little e and cutie c are only one hour away, down the 401

42. that each morning we can wake up and welcome a new day, new opportunities, new experiences

quick: what are any three things for which you are thankful, today? sure, i can join you and do three more!

that my drive to TO on wednesday was hassle-free and uneventful (dare i say “quick,” even?!); the deliciousness that is maranatha crunchy almond butter; that TOMORROW we are doing our annual family christmas list exchange!

maman et papa et la ville de montreal

bonjour, mes amis!

as a friday treat, we have a special guest post today. i asked my mom if she would please write about a new experience that she and dad recently enjoyed. take it away, mom!

~*~*~*~*~

Anglophones in Montreal

mom and dad, montreal, april 2012

We are not seasoned or savvy or readily disposed to travel.

We have escaped winter to sunny spots – Aruba and Caribbean cruises several times; once, a decade ago, we flew to Singapore and Malaysia for a month of heat and humidity.  But, I think that travel, generally – and enormous, over-crowded, noisy airports in particular – are vastly over-rated. Therefore, I have practised avoidance techniques for years: quickly re-cycling brochures, flipping through the pages of travel sections in the newspapers, smiling blandly and mumbling trite phrases when friends and family enthuse about ports-of-call seen and appreciated.

And then we opened our 2011 Christmas gift from our son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren: return flight and hotel accommodations for a holiday in Montreal in April.  My joy was genuine.

*****

We have never been to Montreal to stay.  Traversing the city with our eyes glued to the direction Ouest to and from holidays in Eastern Canada does not count. Navigating the bridges and French signage after we had driven to and from Chicoutimi some 20 years ago was a dim memory. Five years of high school French 50 years ago does not render me confident in communicating in a foreign language.  Did we manage in cosmopolitan Montreal?  Yes!

Throughout our entire 3-day visit we were respectfully greeted, given directions, and had questions answered and explanations provided graciously in English after it was established that anglais was our language preference.

*****

After a sleep-over in Toronto at our family’s home, we taxied to the ferry that glided across Lake Ontario for all of 3 minutes to Toronto Island Billy Bishop airport.  The airport was small and clean with a friendly feeling and extremely navigable procedures to get us on the plane.  The flight to Montreal’s Pierre Trudeau Airport took an hour.  The taxi ride to our hotel took about 25 minutes.  A huge black umbrella balanced adroitly by the hotel concierge protected me from the downpour.  The boutique Hotel Nelligan on Rue St. Paul Ouest/St. Paul Street West was elegant and beautiful.  Two of the red brick walls in our luxury suite had been preserved when the original old building was restored. In the tastefully appointed lobby area, we were served cups of complimentary and excellent coffee.  Later in the afternoon, we sipped a complimentary glass of wine and spent an entertaining hour surreptitiously people-watching and eavesdropping (although we did not comprehend any of the rapid-fire conversations en français.)

*****

During our 3-day stay, we did not stray far from the hotel, and walked along St. Paul Street east and west visiting a different lively and interesting café each day for lunch.  We visited a wide range of art galleries, clothing boutiques, shops with displays of sleek and modern tableware, an excellent stationery and paper goods store, and a large book store with all-in-French titles.  In one boutique, I admired a beguiling gown that had as a price point a jaw-dropping ¼ of what our first house cost. “Just browsing, thank you” was easily accepted by the staff.  We avoided the tourist trap t-shirts and coffee mugs and native dolls made-in-China a few blocks away.

The Centre des Sciences de Montreal/Montreal Science Centre located on the Quays of the old Port of Montreal was a delightful adventure.  The IMAX 3-D movie The Last Reef was enchanting.  I loved catching tiny sea creatures that seemed to float right into my hand.

We toured the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal/Notre Dame Basilica where Celine Dion was married in December 1994.  The Neo-Gothic exterior is imposing and the opulent interior is dramatic and colourful with brilliant blues and azure and gold hues.  I could not believe the size of the organ, 7000 pipes mounted to the highest of high ceilings.

inside the basilica

Partly because of the pouring rain, we stayed at the dining room, Verses, at Hotel Nelligan for dinner the first night.  For a 2-week period, the chef was experimenting with a tapas-style menu, and we devoured deconstructed duck with tasty sides and then finished with decadent batter-fried apples accompanied by warm, salted butterscotch sauce for dessert.

*****

The highlight was dinner at Garde Manger, the brainchild of Chef and Food Network Host Chuck Hughes. The restaurant is unobtrusively tucked into a side street, Rue St. Francois-Xavier. Our son had made the reservations for us a month in advance.  We arrived to a packed room with space for about 35 diners.  It was small and antique, but definitely not quaint and cozy.  The place was rockin’!  We were the oldest people in the restaurant by two decades, but did not feel estranged. Our helpful and charming waitress translated the all-in-French menu for us scrawled on a blackboard.  The younger couples at the tables to our left and right were friendly without being invasive and it was from them that we learned that Chuck was actually in house that night.  Usually he is not.  One couple had seen him roar up on his motorcycle!  I discreetly craned my neck, frequently, to view hunky Chuck who was highly visible and busy all evening.

The food was delicious.  We started with a clam amuse bouche, a great beginning.  Then the appetizer: I had a roasted beet salad, the beets in 2 vivid colours, and hubby chose lobster poutine.  Fantastic! For our mains I ate perfectly cooked scallops with accompanying potato gnocchi on a bed of carmelized carrots and hubby savoured slow-braised (for 36 hours according to our server) short ribs with rich gravy.  At the recommendation of our next-table neighbour, he drank Chinese beer with that.  Wow!  For dessert we shared a deep-fried Mars bar with vanilla ice cream.  Oh, my…it does not get better than this.

Chuck was friendly and approachable when we asked if I could have my photo taken with him.  I had that treasured souvenir posted on facebook shortly after our return to reality.  It was a marvelous evening, and as we strolled (well, more accurately, waddled) back the short distance to our hotel we murmured deep appreciation for family and superbly cooked food and new experiences.

WITH CHUCK!! at garde manger

After an unaccustomed sleep-in and a leisurely light breakfast, we reversed our route and returned to Toronto, in the rain, where our daughter-in-law met us at the airport and patiently listened to our hyperbole as we talked and talked.  What a wonderful trip.

We may not have been savagely bitten by a travel bug nor been rhapsodized by wanderlust, but la Ville de Montreal à la Belle Province beckons.

~*~*~*~*~

thanks so much, mom! i want to meet chuck!!

have you ever visited montreal? me = no! despite going to school in québec for eight months, i have never spent time in montréal. now, québec city i have enjoyed on numerous occasions, but a tour de montréal has never materialized. maybe someone(s) will surprise aunti with a petit get-away trip to montreal?!

java joints with kate and juanita!

i’ve got no preamble for you today, i just want to start talking!

on good friday afternoon, i fairly sprinted down the street, so eager was i to pay my first visit to death valley’s little brother, my hood’s latest coffee spot.

a very unassuming storefront: there is no highly visible signage, only the wood-framed blackboard that you see on the left, there

glad they were open for good friday - our back-up spot was tim horton's which does not have quite the same ambiance!

i arrived a few minutes early so that i could snap some photos – i had a feeling this place would be pretty unique. and i was right! [i was really wishing i had a fancy camera that could take panoramic photos; you cannot capture a vast area with a point 'n' shoot!]. the space was A LOT larger inside than i had anticipated – the room extends to the back quite impressively.

the communal work table, immediately to your right, upon entering...

care for a seat in a vintage theatre chair??

blackboard drawings (notations? doodlings?) on the back wall...

who puts a piano in a whiskey + coffee bar?!

see the whiskey, see the coffee and tea choices...

i like the artsy yet also symmetrical arrangement of cups - very pleasing to my type a eye

first impression: wow, this is one hip and cool spot. seriously, dvlb exudes the type of “confident in its unconventionalism” atmosphere found in toronto’s best indy coffee shops [there are two in the brother and sil ana's area that i am using as my reference points]. when i arrived at dvlb, nearly every table was filled, but the room was tranquil…honestly, the adjective “hip” is how i can best describe this place, and that’s the ultimate in compliments.

so, who was i meeting? cousin kate! when i put out the call for someone to go to dvlb with me, kate was the first to volunteer!

our first-ever coffee visit, together!

i was so honoured that kate could meet up on friday…because it was her 30th birthday! it was a joy to spend an hour of celebration with my oldest cousin.

from my photo album archives: april, 1982 -> my first time holding my brand new - and much cherished! - cousin kate.

i picked a rooibos tea to drink. it came served up in one of those china mugs. locals, be forewarned – the only sweeteners available at dvlb are honey or sugar. how *cool!*

i can’t wait to return – i’d love to hang out at that work table and blog an afternoon away. or chat with a friend and sip a hot beverage.

:)

~*~*~*~*~

(easter) saturday morning found me at the opposite end of uptown’s section of king street – back at “the old faithful…”

so corporate!

our uptown s’bux was renovated within the past month – gone is the comfy couch, the series of small work tables lining the far wall, and the old earth-toned colour scheme. instead, we find:

new artwork...

single seating where the "friends"-type couch used to reside

i commend s’bux for keeping the colour scheme muted (thank goodness it’s not fastfood red + yellow) but in chatting with friends, we all agree that the vibe has gone from “make us your office-away-from home!” to “we want you to enjoy your coffee…in 37 minutes then kindly take your leave.” the fresh paint, updated paintings and new furniture are very nice, however.

so who was i meeting? childhood friend juanita!

our first visit in nearly 20 years!

i was so excited to see juanita. i can best describe our relationship as “ebb and flow.” we became best chums back in grade four, and our friendship was solid right through grade eight. then, we went to different high schools and lost touch. the first day of university orientation, juanita and i met on the lawns of u of w -> we discovered we were in the same program and even had courses together over the next two years. we lost touch again a few years after university (except for annual xmas card exchanges). then, facebook reconnected us almost two years ago, followed by this blog!

back when i requested input for what i could do for this year’s kikiproject, it was juanita who blog-commented, and suggested meeting up with 42 friends. [i loved this idea, but thought there was no way i could find 42 people to go out with, so i modified the goal to twelve. well, now 42 seems not so unattainable!].

juanita’s bday is also in april, so i thought a reunion this month would be fitting.

speaking of birthdays…

at my 10th bday party: juanita, me, gina!

12th birthday! that is vfbf joanne in the back; juanita is beside me in the front

it was so awesome to chat with juanita – our conversation flowed and it sure did not seem like eons had passed since we last saw each other. with true friends you can just pick right up from where you last left off, regardless of the passage of time.

~*~*~*~*~

who was your very first best friend? the story of vfbf joanne is documented here! going back to juanita…she has a younger brother, and he and MY brother became best friends their very first day of kindergarten when they stood side-by-side in line to go into school and noticed that they were both wearing the very same pair of star wars shoes. you just never know when or how you’ll meet a friend.

friday the good

every good friday, i think of my most excellent running chum, sandy (from back when we ran together at the y) who called good friday “no fun friday,” and did not permit herself to do anything that she enjoyed for the whole entire day. that logic is a little too extreme for me although the #1 item for me today is spring cleaning, a job that does not exactly fill me with mirth. i will keep visualizing the “after” look of the condo casa to keep me on task!

i was going to entitle today’s post fun! facts! friday! (and yes, use an abundance of exclamation points to make up for yesterday) but good friday does contain solemn overtones to it, given my christian upbringing – even if fun is allowed, in my books. i also ruled out five foto friday or friday fotos because i am trying to never repeat a blog title (i think i’m on track, do correct me if i am wrong).

shopping is always entertaining to discuss, and i managed to finagle it so that the items begin with “f;” here are two purchases from this week!

#1: feather earrings:

i had my heart set on the peacock type!

in the fashion post from not so long ago, i mentioned these earrings, and i’ve been fixated on them since then. so, i caved and bought them…there were cheaper ones at conestoga mall, but they were not PEACOCK feathers, and i know from previous experience that if i “settle” for x when i truly want y, i will regret it – and end up buying y, eventually.

good progress is being made with the spring fashion wardrobe, 2012 edition!

  • aviator sunglasses
  • cutoff shorts (i did get the roxy’s at o.w. sports – 50% off? i had to!).
  • peacock earrings

i think i’ve satisfied my shopping bug! ok, not quite…

#2 nike free shoes

wayyyyy back here (september 2011!) i first talked about and showed you these shoes. every. single. day. i have gazed at them at the storeS and thought about how very cute and happy they are. well, they finally went on sale….and i bought a pair:

welcome home!!

(karen, you and i can be twins on our next coffee get-together!!).

this purchase is justifiable – i had to grab my fifth pair of these fantastic frees! look at my purple pair!

i can't be wearing hole-y frees around - how unprofessional!

now, can you guess why the nike free + 2 shoes went on sale??? yea. if you guessed at the arrival of the updated version, you would be correct.

the nike free + 3 shoes - in stores now! luckily, i have a pair of neon pink, so while these are fun, they are not essential to my life

it is just impossible to keep up around here!

how are you spending good friday? how much fun will you have? i am breaking up my cleaning marathon with a mid-day coffee outing!

how i spent my leap year day

seeing as february 29th = wednesday, that means leap year day was an aunti day in TO, right?

wrong. :(

just enough snowfall to potentially cause havoc on the roads

the weather gods decided to have a little *fun,* and delivered a spring-like storm of flurries and freezing rain on us. since the conditions were already getting nasty before 8 a.m., aunti made the executive decision to not make the drive down the 401 to toronto. sad.

the latest selection of cd's from the library will have to wait til NEXT wednesday to be delivered!

sooo…that meant that i now had an unexpected and unplanned day at home! what to do?

well, it didn’t take me long to make some plans.

first: i completed another step on the surprise project for dad:

a far-away photo, on purpose!

all will be revealed [to dad + on the blog] within the next week!

given the crappy weather, i declared yesterday a car-free day. that meant that i had no other option than to get my groceries at valumart [i had been planning to hit up the neighbourhood food basics in TO]. after tabulating my grocery expenditures for the month, i realized i had saved between $100-$200 during february, thanks to switching over to food basics for the majority of my shopping – wild, eh?! so, since there was extra money in the grocery kitty, i decided to perform r.a.o.k.#2!

thinking ahead to just such a day, i had saved the food drive bags that were delivered to our building a few weeks ago:

this time, the bags were smaller than the usual grocery bag size

when i went over to valumart to get my own groceries, i decided to fill the bags. there is no food drive going on right now, but the food bank always needs to replenish its stores.

my philosophy is that i only pick items that i would eat myself or give to my family. i had great FUN sourcing out sale items!

bag #1 was baby themed...(eight different flavours!)

...bag #2 was for an adult.

...and into the food bank receptacle they go (which is very small right now because there is no food drive going on).

completing r.a.o.k.#2 deserves a reward, agreed?! yesterday, juanita left a blog comment to let me know that david’s tea was offering a FREE large TEA in celebration of leap year day! i scooted directly from valumart to david’s.

sign in the window! how many people took advantage, i wonder?!

there were two types of tea available, for free:

(L): "green & fruity rooibos" w mango, peach, papaya, apple; (R): "north african mint," a green tea w cardamon, peppermint, ginger, black pepper and fennel

after sampling both offerings, and since i am not a fruit flavour fan, i chose the green tea. i brought my cuppa back to the condo casa…because david’s is also right across the street from home!

tea and knitting -> very nice!

in the aft, i coffee-shopped with mom and dad!

back to the mall, to "a matter of taste," this time!

and for my evening activity? how about a movie?! last eve, the princess was showing both “the artist” and “the iron lady.”

(source)

(source)

if you read yesterday’s blog post, i think you can guess which film i chose to see [although after reading zo's comment about "the artist," i will say that i did consider picking the oscar-winning best picture movie...but my love for meryl streep's acting won out, in the end].

the verdict?

totally worthwhile. i had a marvelous time watching “the iron lady,” and was very engrossed by the movie.

as anticipated, meryl is wonderful – phenomenal, even? – and deserves every inch of that oscar statue that she won. the storyline is touching, informative, enjoyable. i do recommend seeing this film! i’ll give it *** (three stars) out of a possible **** (four stars). 1.75 stars for meryl, and 1.25 stars for the movie.

(source)

all in all, it was an enjoyable leap year day. although, i did miss my little chiclets!

a christmas file photo will have to suffice!

better luck next week!

did you celebrate leap year day by doing anything out-of-the-ordinary and/or did you see any leap year day deals? tangent: i am freaked that i will be 46 years old when the next leap year rolls around! closer to 50 than 40 = O.L.D.!!!! :0

…because you HAVE to have a blog post dated leap year day!

since february 29th arrives but once every four years, i knew for sure that i wanted to chat with you this morning! we just must have a blog post dated leap year day, since we won’t get this chance for another four years! and who knows what the status of the kiki blog will be in 2016 (given the lightening speed with which technology advances, will we even be reading blogs four years from now? it’s fascinating to consider!).

let’s randomly visit over a variety of topics. we haven’t done that for a while.

the oscars

i watched 1.5 hours of the red carpet and 45 minutes of the actual awards show. in good ol’ siskel and ebert fashion, here are my picks ‘n’ pans…

thumbs up:
~ billy crystal should be the eternal host of the oscars. i love when they do that opening montage of take-offs on the nominated best movies. and although his song-and-dance number was cheesy, i found it funny. only billy crystal can make this type of entertainment work.

~ i am so happy that meryl streep won best actress! she is one of my favourite actors, and is so talented. i have not seen the iron lady, but would be keen to view it! [tangent: i said to mom that next year, i think i will make it a goal - or kikiproject? - to see every oscar-nominated movie before the february awards show].

~ my pick for best dress goes to penelope cruz:

(source)

penelope nailed it – hair, makeup, jewellery, dress, classy attitude…she scores 100%.

thumbs down:

~ the fact that the artist won best picture. i saw a preview for this silent movie when i went to see the descendants. i am sorry, but in this day and age, a silent movie should not win best picture. every time i see a clip or hear the title, all i can think of is going to mother’s pizza, when we were little. at this very popular pizzeria, they played silent movies up on a ceiling-mounted tv. part of the attraction of going to mother’s was viewing the old-time movies as we ate! (we never watched tv at the dinner table, in our family).

~ my darling george clooney did NOT win best actor – boo hoo. i say this not just because he is my sweet baboo – his performance in the descendants is one of the best of his career.

~ sandra bullock’s ponytail:

(source)

[anyone else want to place a bet as to whether or not sandra is sporting a fake ponytail hair extensions??].

i loved sandra’s gown, i admire her acting ability, i loved her breezy conversation on the red carpet…but the ponytail spoiled an otherwise A+ look. if she wanted to go with that hairstyle, the dress should have been of a different style.

the best part about watching the oscars this year? i did not have to stay up til the very, bitter end!!! (watching the entire show was one of my new experiences, last year!).

coffee conundrum

almost two months in to my switch from diet coke back to coffee, i am finding it very challenging to hit that happy zone where i enjoy an energy bump/wake-up after sipping my coffee vs feeling jittery and even downright anxious. i am perplexed!! i can stick to the same coffee-drinking schedule, and feel very different reactions on different days. i do not enjoy the “over the edge” days! yet, i can’t predict them! the bizarre thing is that diet coke did not affect me like this, at all. so i don’t know what to do. even decaf coffee can give me a shaky feeling! maybe i should switch to tea?? (i can get varieties with caffeine, i know). more research is needed. i will address the coffee subject again on march 9th when i do the two month kiki project review; maybe i will have some answers/conclusions by then.

so embarrassed

one day last week, i went to pull up the zipper on my winter jacket…and the pull tab came off in my hand. drat!

that paper clip is my temporary fix - so tacky!!

now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the zipper itself. i just need some sort of new tab with which to zip and unzip my jacket – the paperclip, funny enough, works brilliantly, but i cannot bear to walk around with a paperclip on my jacket, long term. i have a solution in mind (a small piece of climbing rope, threaded through), but if that does not work, i will have to replace the whole zipper. i don’t want to get rid of the jacket – it’s columbia brand, several years old now, but i have never, ever been cold in it! plus, it’s my favourite orange!

a theme for march

my last monthly theme was back in december when we celebrated all christmas all the time. for march, we are going to focus on FUN. my desire is to have FUN, be FUN – out and about, at home, at work – as much as humanly possible! there is a difference between being happy and being nice (my current status, most of the time), and being FUN, having FUN. for example, coffee shop socials are such FUN! (good thing i have one lined up for tomorrow!) so that is the (rather vague, yes) goal for the next 31 days.

look at those lights!

the brother sent me these photos of some northern lights that he witnessed, first-hand:

wow.

awesome.

breathtaking.

pretty neat, eh? nature in its wondrous glory sure is something else.

i hope you have a great leap year wednesday! any special plans? i do not know of anyone celebrating a birthday today – do you?

pick your holiday!

yesterday, it was…

  • family day in ontario [the fact that we have this holiday slays me as it is a day off made up by the provincial government a few years ago. so, stores, schools, banks, private industry, and municipal/provincial employees are all off...but federal services are still running (so, i can't go grocery shopping, but my mail is delivered!). makes no sense! and there is no real reason for the holiday except to break up the span of time between christmas and easter!].
  • louis riel day in manitoba [thanks, gina, for that fyi!]
  • islander day on prince edward island [thanks, mom, for that tip!]
  • presidents’ day in the states [i was ignorant about the very existence of president's day until going to aruba. my american friends warned never EVER to travel to aruba for president's week because paradise the island is jam-packed with families. the only GOOD thing about all the swarms of people is that is the bingo pots are sky high - haha!].
  • also, did you know that february is: national grapefruit month; national snack food month, national sweet potato month, national cherry month, and national canned food month? ’tis true. i found out here! [would it not make more sense to declare february national chocolate month, thanks to ♥ lovey-dovey day ♥ on the 14th??].

anyway, to get back to yesterday – all i did the whole entire day was be social and drink hot beverages! it was fantastic!

in the morning, i went out to sarah’s house. sarah gave me a tour around their lovely, new home…

notice zoe the kittie peaking out from upstairs?!

…and then we went out for coffee to tim hortons. it is now roll up the rim season…and, surprise, surprise, i won a coffee!

i will be cashing that rim in for the LARGEST size possible!

in the afternoon, i met mom and dad at our uptown starbucks:

what's one more coffee in a day??!

i had to see family on family day, for sure!

in the evening, i got together with my neighbourhood + blog friend, tricia! third coffee shop of the day ->we met up at coffee culture:

tricia and i realized we have the exact same cameras!!

i was actually feeling a bit “coffee’d out,” (what a surprise, eh?!) and switched to decaf tea. it was wonderful to chat with tricia – our schedules are such that they conflict completely, normally, so it was really fun to be able to meet up – all thanks to family day!

~*~*~*~*~

which national food would you be most likely to celebrate? me = canned food – yes! i love all manner of tinned seafood; mushrooms; and many varieties of beans!

what was the theme of your day, yesterday? ummm, coffee?! :)

and sunshine! check out the spectacular day we enjoyed!

...and no wind, temps above zero

the rink in the uptown square was packed!

today it is back to reality…and less coffee!

xoxo

it’s ♥ valentine’s day ♥ … tomorrow!

(source)
in honour of happy heart day , here are fourteen of my latest ♥ loves ♥:

1. this *winter*: yes, this weekend was snowy, blowy and cold, but truly, it has been a dreamboat of a winter. and seeing as it’s already the middle of february, we’ve got what, maybe a month of winter to go? sweet!

2. the new runner’s world shoe finder: in the march issue of runner’s world magazine, the editors debut their updated shoe finder:

i heart the flow chart style!

runner’s world has moved on from classifying shoes as neutral/stability/motion control in favour of a more interactive schemata which poses yes/no questions in order to help you to determine the best makes and models of shoes for you. this update fascinates me because at the store, we use the three-shoe-type classification system. so, i have to wonder if down the road, we, too, will move in a new direction??

3. top chef texas: top chef is my ♥ favourite ♥ foodnetwork series, and we’re down to seven remaining contestants in this 9th edition! once again, it’s a good one! my favourite judges, padma and tom, are back, the contestants are the usual mix of diverse personalities, and the challenges have been innovative. i’ve got my fingers crossed that edward ends up as top chef! [i've got a good track record for picking reality show winners...will my streak continue??!].

4. seeing my cousin joel pursue a travel opportunity: on friday eve, i met up with my cousin joel for coffee.

@ cafe 1842; outing #6 of this year's kiki project!

joel is leaving tomorrow for korea! he’ll be teaching english there until he comes home for kate’s wedding in june. all the best, joel, and i can’t wait to read your blog updates!

5. madonna!

(source)

five point one: madonna’s new song (listen here!) – yes, i agree it is a bubble-gummy type tune, and as someone said, well suited to an old navy tv ad, but i can’t help but bop when i hear it – it makes me so happy!

five point two: madonna tickets go on sale TODAY at 10 a.m. for her two toronto shows, sept 12th and 13th. sadly, i will not be attempting to purchase tix to her 2012 tour. maybe the next one!

6. this valentine from little e:

the inside of little e's valentine's card for aunti

someone knows the way to aunti’s !

7. food basics: ok, call me slow but i only just have discovered the wonders of food basics

au revoir, valumart and hellooooo, food basics!

i cannot believe their produce prices!!

check out this comparison: on an average week, broccoli is $2.99 at valu. this is what i paid at food basics:

can you believe that?!

and mushrooms are $2.49 at valu, while at food basics…

i did a double take!

now, i am not one to drive all over the universe to save a few cents. but this is insanity! luckily, there is a food basics right across the street from theOTHERstore, and a mere two blocks north of the brother and sil ana’s house in toronto. you can betcha i am going to strategically plan out my grocery needs and my timing so that i can hit up food basics for…basics (fresh produce is indeed a basic!).

8. reid coolsaet’s classy act of philanthropy: i ♥ reid because i met him

file photo, march 2011!

…and he was so laidback and not arrogant, and he is going to represent canada at the olympics this summer, and he is a super speedy fast marathoner. if all of those virtues were not enough, the sweet guy is donating $10 000 of his marathon earnings to help renovate/redo the university of guelph’s track facility. read the toronto star article here!

9. a serendipitous free coffee:

i was lucky enough to receive a s’bux gift card last week, so you can bet i was into starbucks the very next day. i picked up a 12 pac of starbuck’s newest via blend, a blonde roast called “veranda.” when i got to the checkout, the barista told me that i could have a free coffee, thanks to a special promotion they were running that day!

both she and the woman behind me in line encouraged me to get an expensive, fancy drink, since it would be free! but since i am not up on my venti-mochi-soaki-lattés, i opted for a plain ol’ decaf:

i had about seventeen other errands to complete in 57 minutes that day, but there is always time for free coffee…and the paper!

10. sleep: i fully confess that it has been a while since i have consistently seen the hour of 5 a.m. on my watch when i get up in the morning. lately, i’ve been taking advantage of sleeping in on days when i can afford to have a more relaxed start to my day, and it has been h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y. i hope i start de-hibernating once spring rolls around. but the bed is just so darn warm and comfy!

11. this motivational quote that our half marathon instructor, derek, shared with his clinic members in his weekly email:

you have a choice. you can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.

12. diet coke: oops, did i just say type that? my fingers must have slipped.

13. wearing perfume: i have not worn perfume in years! when i was up at conestoga mall in january, trying to take care of my sil-vah situation, i popped into “icing by claire” and thoughtlessly spritzed myself with a perfume that was set out by the til. i could not stop sniffing myself the rest of the day! loved it! and had no clue as the name of it. well, if dear old mom did not pursue the perfume for me when she was at the mall last week. i am now the proud owner – and daily wearer – of…

"addicted," by icing -> how completely appropriately named!

and i still can’t stop smelling myself!

14. deciding to go with my ♥ heart and switch up my blogging *schedule,* yet again: in an effort to not be too angsty, i will keep this explanation concise. ever since i switched to a three-times-a-week posting schedule, i am not feeling the ♥ blogging love ♥. i have lost my mojo, my creativity has nose-dived, and blogging often feels like one more item on my “to do” list. i do not like to write when blogging is a chore. so, i am going to go back (as i did with the first kikiproject) to blogging whenever the heck i feel like it.

what does this decision mean for this year’s 12 days of kiki? i’m sticking with it! so, a recap on the 9th of each month will be coming at you, for sure. otherwise, i will be writing when i am fully inspired about a topic and/or really feel the urge to express myself.

i have added an amendment to the 12 days of kiki, item #3; instead of stating that i will blog three times per week on a mon-wed-fri schedule, it now states that i will:

leave a comment on a minimum of three blogs, every day. [i do this already so i know it is enjoyable and manageable]. this way, i still get to interact and socialize with blog-friends, but they have to do all the creative work – haha! maybe i’ll even expand my usual list of reads…

whew! i feel so relieved!

and with that…

happy valentines day to YOU!

today’s a-ha:

chats…whenever!

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