Category Archives: Uncategorized

Emilio and Cork’s Rehearsal Dinner

Okay, so! Corey and Emily’s wedding. I have about four pictures of the actual wedding, since I was in it and did not have a camera with me for most of the day (and then once it got dark my camera decided to not cooperate), but it was so beautiful and Emily had so many thoughtful touches, so I do really want to blog about it once I get some photos from the amazing photographer. I need a record of the wedding of my oldest friend! In the meantime though, I will tell you about the rehearsal dinner, ’cause that sure was a good time.

Emilio and Cork’s wedding was at the beautiful Briars Resort in Jackson Point on Lake Simcoe. The entire resort is pretty classy, but also has a very rustic feel to it, which is my favourite. Everything felt like an elaborate cabin. The original house was built in like the 1840s or something, and then there were additions added over the years, so it is not only a beautiful setting, it is also extremely fun to explore. Tons of weird nooks and crannies everywhere, and doors leading to what I have to imagine are secret passages.

IMG_6228

IMG_6256

The staff were pretty tight-lipped about any ghosts there, but it’s gotta be haunted. I like to think it is haunted by the man in this photo:

IMG_6255

The entire bridal party stayed in our own private lodge, and this was really awesome because we all had our own guest rooms (facing the frozen lake!)…

IMG_6230

But then there was a big common area with a living room and mini kitchen, so we could all hang out together.

IMG_6235

So that is where the rehearsal dinner took place, and where we got our hair and makeup done on wedding day).

There were little Emily touches all throughout the wedding, like the bottle of wine and sugar cookies that were waiting for us in our room.

IMG_6233

I saw those cookies and I was like “see ya Whole30.” Emily is the most thoughtful person I know (besides Evan).

After we checked in and got settled it was rehearsal time. According to Evan, this was my face when I found out that I was going to be walking down the aisle first, and alone.

IMG_6238

Welp.

We successfully rehearsed…

IMG_6252

And then headed back to the bridal party lodge for dinner.

IMG_6300

I already talked about the dinner, but I did not talk about the cake!

IMG_6297

It was banana Nutella cake and it was ridiculously delicious. Like banana bread topped with Nutella icing. We had already thrown Whole30 out the window by this point, so obviously I had to have a slice of it. Prior Whole30 though, I would have had about four.

Emily continued her thoughtfulness with her gift bags for the bridal party.

IMG_6273

Aww, oldest friend!

She included the sweetest card for all of us…

IMG_6288

It has been safely put in my box of things that I will keep forever.

Matching kimonos and bridesmaid hangers!

IMG_6285

And the most comfortable slippers!

IMG_6290

Along with earring and a little travel pack of things we might need the day of the wedding (a mirrored compact, wet wipes, etc.) Again with the thoughtfulness!

The groomsmen all received a pocket knife and three of them cut themselves with it almost immediately.

My favourite thing about Emily’s wedding was that some of my very best friends from high school were in attendance, including our friend Crystal, who lives in Calgary. Later in the evening, all the boys took Corey out to the bar for one last night as a single man, and the girls stayed behind and had a good old fashioned sleepover, complete with doing each other’s hair…

IMG_6275

 

Dance parties…

IMG_6318

Pajama dance parties…

IMG_6333

And other activities…

IMG_6322

It was such a fun night with some of my very bestests, and I am so thankful I was able to to be a part of it. I love my little Emilio and I am so happy for her.

IMG_6293
Wedding shenanigans to come eventually because it was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL. Just need some photos. It’ll happen.

By the way I am heading to VEGAS for the weekend with a bunch of my friends, so girl your loins for those adventures!

Advertisements

The Whole 22.5

I’M BACK! Ah, it’s been a while. I have really missed blogging! I said a few weeks ago that my goal for January was three blog posts a week, but that was before the true work craziness hit me. I have been planning two summits and a gala for ~700 Canadian executives and their teams, which happens TODAY (Snowmageddon is also happening today though, and I have already gotten cancellations…)

You can’t even imagine how glad I am that this day is finally here. I planned this last year as well, but I forgot how much of an insane grind it is. I have been working 12-15 hour days the last two and a half weeks or so, and this past Wednesday I worked for, I am not even exaggerating, 20 hours. I know the sense of accomplishment I will feel after today is over though, so it will all be worth it.

Anyway, no one likes to hear about how busy other people are, so I will stop. However, I will say that it is a very good thing my eating was in check this month, because sitting at my computer for that many hours a day is not a dream for my waistline (or my brain, or anything really, I don’t recommend it). I made it to the gym exactly one time throughout the entire month of January, but despite living the most sedentary lifestyle imaginable, I managed to lose 9 pounds. How did I do this? The Whole30! Well, the Whole22.5, that’s as long as Evan and I made it. On Day 21 I feel like I was finally in the Tiger Blood stage (Evan did too, two days earlier than me) and like I could eat like this forever. I felt like I had unlimited energy, which again I think would be difficult to accomplish while staring at a computer screen all day, so there can’t be another reason for it other than the way I was eating.

We ultimately fell off the bandwagon at my good friend Emily’s wedding (which I am definitely going to blog about when I get a hot minute, and also some pictures). I suspected it might happen. I knew for sure we would be drinking, but my plan going into it was no pop and no beer. I would allow myself wine and if I wanted a mixed drink then vodka soda. But I was going to try to stay Whole30 compliant with the eating, but alas, it was the eating that broke us. I was in the wedding and the entire wedding party was there for the weekend, starting with the rehearsal and dinner on Friday. The rehearsal dinner was amazing: pulled pork sliders, slider burgers, lobster mac and cheese, and cheese covered potatoes.

IMG_6261

And then there was dessert.

IMG_6258

So it was amazing, but not Whole30 compliant. Those were the options though, and I was some of my best friends in the world and we were having such a good time and I was NOT going to not eat and be miserable, so I went with it. Like I could pass up those ridiculously cute bride and groom sugar cookies, homemade by Emily’s sister Sara. Come on now.

I hadn’t eaten a grain, or a grain of sugar, or any dairy for 22 days, and I wasn’t sure how they were going to affect me. I didn’t want to feel awful on Emily’s big day, so I did take it easy with the bread and cheese. Afterwards, I felt normal. Not my new amazing normal, but my old normal. Nothing notable to report there. I didn’t get sick or anything, but my Tiger Blood was gone on Saturday.

But you know, I don’t even care that we only made it 22.5 days because I do feel like 3 weeks was enough time to completely change the way that I eat. It was long enough for me to notice how amazing I can feel, and how I don’t really miss bread and I actually don’t miss cheese that much and I am fine without sugar. That night when everyone was snacking on popcorn and chips and gummies and all the things, I noticed that I didn’t feel like I needed to snack. And normally I would have been all up in that, especially if I was drinking. At the actual wedding there was late night pizza and a candy bar, and I didn’t touch it. Well to be fair, I was ABOUT to take a slice of pizza but then FunkyTown came on and that is my jam so I abandoned the mission.

Since we got back from wedding weekend Evan and I have actually still been eating mainly Whole30 compliant… I have just added in wine in the evenings while I am working at home, because I’m not sure I would make it through this crazy work time without it. We ordered pizza on Friday and normally I would eat about 4 slices but I had 2 and some salad and I was good. Though I have to say, I felt gross afterwards. And I felt gross on Saturday. And yesterday I felt like I wanted to eat all the things again. I was insatiable.

So even though it was only 22 days and not 30, it was enough for me. I am sold. I know what moderation is again, and I would like to continue eating Paleo 80% of the time.

That being said, here’s what we were eating in our last week of Whole30.

Whole30

1. Whole roasted chicken with potato, parsnip, carrots, sweet potato, onions, celeriac, and garlic.

2. Ground  beef tacos with homemade seasoning topped with tomatoes, salsa and avocado on lettuce. Green bean salad (just cooked green beans tossed in olive oil, white vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper), and a sweet potato fritter that Evan made.

3. Spaghetti squash topped with Evan’s peperonata (stewed sweet peppers, very similar to this recipe without the wine).

4. Evan’s (he cooks a lot, alright?)  beef curry on top of cauliflower “rice” (cooked, grated cauliflower). The curry sauce is really coconut milk and red curry sauce with spices, so fully compliant.

5. Egg scramble with leftover taco meat, spinach, green pepper and onion.

6. Egg scramble with spinach, green onion, sweet potato (LOVE adding sweet potato into eggs, so good!).

7. Frittata with leftover ground beef and prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Evan made this for my friend Crystal and I for breakfast the day before Emily’s wedding and it was amazing. We are both still raving on about it.

8. Baked chicken with green bean salad, baked sweet potato with coconut mana.

9. Monkey salad (cashews, coconut flakes, sliced banana and raisins). This was my standard weekday breakfast, along with two hardboiled eggs.

So yep, eating like that did not make me feel like I was missing out on anything at all and I am excited to continue.

Stay safe today, Ontarians! It is nuts out there!

20 Loves

Before the holidays my CEO asked my coworkers and I to put together a personal business plan that outlined our personal (if we wanted to share) and professional goals for the next three years. I struggle with doing things like that, but I know this kind of planning and goal-setting is a useful life skill and after procrastinating for a while on it I ultimately enjoyed the exercise and found it helpful. We also all had to do a DISC profile (an in-depth personality test that basically details how you work), and it nailed me to a T! It was so eerily accurate, and I am actually excited for my CEO to read it so that he can kind of “get to know” me better. Not that he doesn’t know me…but it really does show the way I think and what I need to work productively.

One of the assignments we were asked to do as part of our plan was a 20 Loves exercise, where we simply wrote down 20 things that we love. Your loves can be anything. When I first heard this I wondered how I was going to be able to come up with 20 things that I loved…but once I got into it I realized that I could probably write an endless list of things I love. I guess I love a lot of things. Of my personal business plan, this was the part I liked doing the most!

So I have decided to share my 20 loves with you. Here they are!

20 Loves

  1. My family and partner in life.
  2. My wonderful friends.
  3. Reading. I’ll read anything, I am always reading something, but I especially love reading a good book.
  4. Writing and blogging.
  5. Being outside, always. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, if I have a choice I want to be outside.
  6. Being active outside – hiking, skiing, skating, swimming, just going for a walk.
  7. How I feel after a good workout. I wish I could bottle up that feeling so when I really, really don’t want to work out I can remember how good I’ll feel afterwards.
  8. Deep water lake swimming (or ocean, I’m not picky).
  9. Eating. Just eating good food in general, but home cooked meals by Evan are my favourite.
  10. Making Sunday brunch and weekend dinners with Evan.
  11. Leisuring around at the cottage.
  12. Making people laugh.
  13. Graphic design/drawing/cartooning/video editing.
  14. When I arrive home after a long work day and dinner is ready.
  15. Listening to music very loudly and singing along very badly while driving.
  16. Red wine on Friday evenings. And Saturday evenings. Probably Sunday too. Beer on sunny summer days.
  17. Traveling and exploring Ontario (yours to discover!). Going on adventures.
  18. Camping!!!
  19. Networking/socializing.
  20. Telling stories. To anyone who will listen.

(PS – after 1 and 2, these are just in random order for me. Numbering by what I love more would be tough)

Now tell me about your loves, lovers!

Bowling, Kitchen Carts and Spanish Tortillas

I don’t know how to tell you this but I feel like my blog is going to be pretty boring over the next few weeks. Not that I think my blog is usually exceptionally riveting or anything, but my big annual event is coming up at work, so January is my super insane busy time and this makes my blog suffer. I’m aiming for three posts a week, so fingers crossed I can keep that up.

We are still doing this Whole30 thing. We are almost at the two week mark and have not cheated at all, so I will have a recap on that coming up (content, yay!) because we are experiencing some pretty good side effects over here. On Saturday we had Evan’s friend Ian over for dinner and this is the first time we have entertained since this lifestyle change we have embarked on. I understand that most people still like to eat grains and dairy (I don’t want to start thinking they are bad either, it’s just 30 days!), so we tried to go with a dinner that would work for everyone.

IMG_6031

Spaghetti squash and Evan’s meat sauce. Ian had regular noodles, and our cheese drawer is miraculously still full of cheese even though I tried to take care of that (by eating it)  before January 1st, so Ian was able to find some fresh parmesan in there. No parmesan on my squash, but that is alright. A few years ago if you told me that spaghetti squash was as satisfying as spaghetti I would have laughed in your face but I don’t know what is going on lately because I like it. I don’t think I was cooking it long enough before because the squash was still on the crunchy side. But if you do it right, spaghetti squash is a good time!

Afterwards we went glow-in-the-dark bowling with 10 of Evan and Ian’s friends.

IMG_6036

Evan after leaving just one pin behind…

I confirmed that I am very, very bad at 10 pin bowling. I wasn’t dead last, but I was pretty close. Sometimes I will surprise myself and pull a strike out of nowhere, but it is a total fluke. I wouldn’t be able to do it again if I was trying. It only happens when I’m not expecting it. It is also too bad I wasn’t drinking, because I tend to get better at bowling the more beer I consume. And mostly everyone was drinking, so I cannot lie, that was tempting. But Evan and I stuck to our water and I was happy about that the next morning.

I also had a moment where I tried to use a ball with finger holes that were too big for me (which was a surprise as my fingers are pretty fat), and it slipped out of my hand when I brought my arm back and rolled behind me instead of down the lane. So that was funny for everyone, of course. It could have been worse.

Bowling PBA Trip
We spent most of Sunday cooking and food prepping. Exciting, I know. Evan and I have been listening to podcasts while we are cooking though, and that makes it kind of fun.

We spent two hours on Sunday morning making this delicious specimen for brunch.

IMG_6044

A Spanish tortilla (recipe there). It is made with eggs, potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil, so it is Whole30 compliant, which is great. Although the potatoes are sort of deep fried in the olive oil so it is not exactly the epitome of healthy. But it was amazing and totally worth the two hours.

IMG_6045

IMG_6048

It wasn’t overly difficult to make, but it was incredibly time consuming. But I also had it today and yesterday for breakfast, so it is paying for itself.

Also, the best way to cut onions.

IMG_6064

It may look ridiculous but I did not shed a tear!

We also skipped out to Ikea for a bit because we had a $20 coupon to use since we bought our tree there, and we were on the hunt for a kitchen cart. This one specifically:

forhoja-kitchen-cart__38532_PE130363_S4

 

We brought it home and Evan seemed to really enjoy putting it together…

IMG_6054

IMG_6057

Et voila. Kitchen cart.

IMG_6059

 

I love it!! We may eventually paint it, or Evan is thinking of making a tile top for it using tiles that match our turquoise wall. But for now it’s fine as it is. The extra storage space is great, since previously all those fruits and vegetables were just hanging out on the counter.

So that is that. My uneventful weekend. Hope yours was great!

The Complete Kitchen

I promised a full update on the kitchen renovation so heeeere it is!

When I last left off, the kitchen looked like this:

img_5162

img_5164

(only the sink was in and working)

Definitely an improvement already, but still a ways to go.

Next up was cabinet knobs. Exciting. Ikea has a handy template with holes so you can make sure you are adding the knob to the same place on every cabinet.

IMG_5191

No one likes wonky cabinet knobs. Evan had to customize it a bit (ie – add extra holes) because we were using Home Depot handles and not Ikea’s. They use different metrics so the template didn’t work quite right. But with Evan’s customization it was very helpful.

IMG_5192

Just put a dot in pencil where the handle will be, and then you can start drilling.

IMG_5196

We ended up taking the cabinets off one at a time and then drilling though, because sawdust was getting everywhere. But there you have it, knobs!

IMG_5290

Again, exciting.

Next Evan installed the over-the-range microwave…

IMG_5291

I really do not know anything about that because it happened while I was at work, but I do know that it was a pain and Evan did not enjoy it at all.

We really debated how high the microwave was going to be, because if it was flush with the bottom of the lower cabinets it was too low to the stove and felt awkward… And also, what were we going to do with that weird space above it? It was too small to add a cupboard there.

After venting it, Evan made a custom half shelf with a false back, which he can pull in and out if he needs to.

IMG_5295

IMG_5302

Evan and Brotherman also installed the kickboard, the board that runs underneath the cabinets, so with that and the microwave, the kitchen is now looking like this.

IMG_5310

Next they installed the pine beams to the top, just under the ceiling (the wall was weird there so we had to do something), we painted as you know, and we added the trim between the cabinets and the wood.

IMG_5392

I again was not here for the installation of the pine beams, but I do know that they weren’t as bad as the main beam which is GIGANTIC and wouldn’t fit in the elevator, so Evan and Brotherman, with the help of our Super, carried it up the stairs and somehow maneuvred it into our place. The other beams were a piece of cake in comparison.

As for the trim. Evan was having a difficult time finding one he liked, so he made his own with two separate pieces of wood. It looks pretty awesome.

IMG_5399

And to show you how the false back on that shelf works…

IMG_5401

IMG_5404

He made it so we have a built in stereo/iPod dock there.

IMG_5406

With the paint and the wood and the trim, the kitchen is now looking like this:

IMG_5409

Last week I came home from work one day to find the backsplash had been installed.

IMG_5501

We chose a white beveled back splash, because we liked the look of that, and also because Evan and Brotherman happened to have a box leftover from a previous job they did…

IMG_5503

It was such a difference and I thought it looked so good that I literally screamed when I saw it. Finally that grungy wall and red electrical tape is gone!

The next day I came home and they had grouted the backsplash and the trim under the cabinets had been added.

IMG_5544

IMG_5542

And they added some shelving!

IMG_5537

IMG_5539

Notice how the second shelf is just the first shelf upside down? Two of the same shelves wouldn’t work there, but we wanted two, so that was the solution. Clever boys.

And of course, the custom wine rack.

IMG_5531

Which is still missing a top shelf, but basically done (and we have done some painting touch ups where you can see white above the metal edging on the left).

And there you have it.

IMG_5541
IMG_5546

IMG_5548

(note: we will be staining the pine beams at some point, because right now they’re too light – but we will be keeping the natural wood look. We will also be adding wood to the ceiling, probably something along these lines)

It is so bright and wonderful. Every time I walk in the room I’m like “OH HELLO KITCHEN!!!!” It’s a pleasant surprise.

Let’s look at before and after, as those are my favourite.

img_4780

Before

IMG_5542

After

img_4785

Before

IMG_5546

After

photo-16

During

IMG_5560

After

If you want any more detail about anything in particular feel free to ask me and I will ask Evan for you 🙂 I might have to get him to do a guest post about some of the trickier stuff…

And that’s the kitchen. I LOVE IT!!!

6 Thing Thursday

1. I went to see my lovely Nana last Friday.

IMG_5357

She is looking so good and doing so well. She has an alarm attached to her bed now, which goes off if she gets up. It is because she’s had a few falls (but nothing major and she just keeps on truckin’), so the nurses want to know when she is out and about. She has a hard time hearing so the alarm doesn’t bother her, but it sure surprised me! She got our of bed and this crazy siren was sounding, and it is quite loud and alarming, so I was all “Nana! What is that?! What is happening?” and she said “Oh just hit the button, hit the button,” and continued puttering around like it was no big deal. I’m not sure if the alarm is to deter her from getting up, but if it is it’s not working.

She requested that I bring a couple things with me that she has been wanting. One of them was chips. Two large bags of plain salted chips. She said she can’t stop thinking about them. I understand.

IMG_5347

She was pretty happy to get those. I hope she is going to town on them right now. I’ve said it before, but I hope I am just like her when I am 100. Actually, if I ever make it to 100 and I’m in a nursing home my plan is to be in my room playing video games all day long. By that time video games should be on the same level as the Matrix, so that sounds like a pretty good time to me. I’ll use the call button to get the nurses to bring me sandwiches and change my diapers while I’m running around The Barrens (that would be a WoW reference…I used to play, and I still would if it wasn’t such a time/life suck).

2. I have been on a serious cider kick lately. It started in the spring when those Somersby ciders became all the rage. It was my drink of choice all summer and I still can’t get enough. Normally I stick to beer and wine, so cider feels like a natural progression. I can’t drink just cider all night, but I like to mix cider between beer to tingle my tastebuds. Since the spring I have been on a hunt for my favourite cider and I have tried them all, or so I thought… I was sent these samples this week from Molson:

IMG_5508

The Molson Canadian cider I have tried several times (and I like), but what is this MadJack?! Also can I just say how extremely excited I was to receive booze in the mail? I thought I might be getting a coupon to get beer, but when the box arrived and I opened it to find those I nearly lost my mind.

Anyway, MadJack.

IMG_5513

It is delicious, and apparently it’s available at The Beer Store. It’s different from Somersby and the other ciders I have been trying, it tastes more like a lager and it’s not as sweet. I loved it immediately. And check out these recipes for apple cake and apple cider vinaigrette using the ciders. The kitchen has been a mess so I haven’t tried them yet, but I certainly plan to. I know Evan wants to make me that vinaigrette.

3. One of my coworkers also happens to be co-owner of Oyster Boy on Queen West. I haven’t been to that restaurant (but I have heard really good things!) but I need to go immediately. She brought in oysters for us this week and OMG.

IMG_5520

Fresh from the East Coast!

I have never seen oysters look like that before and they were the BEST oysters I have ever had. Not that I have had a lot of oysters, but one of my other coworkers is a self-proclaimed oyster connoisseur and she agreed. They were so good.

IMG_5521

I could not stop eating them. I had at least 10 and I’m not exaggerating. I think oysters might be my new kick. Oysters and cider.

4. My mom shipped me all her Christmas baking from BC! Cookies and rum balls!

IMG_5554

I really need to learn how to make a good rum ball. They’re one of my faves.

And the dessert of my childhood:

IMG_5557

Peanut butter marshmallow squares!

I ate two of those immediately. It has been so long. I remember bringing them into my kindergarten class! That would never fly now, since peanut butter is the devil. Oh they’re so good. Thank you mom!!!

5. We had some room between the cabinet and the wall in the new kitchen, so Evan decided to make a wine rack. A custom wine rack, with a spot for my box of wine:

IMG_5531

Because, as I have said, it is very important to have a place for your box of wine. That Evan, I tell you. That is just such a thoughtful gesture. I will never go thirsty.

6. Speaking of the kitchen…guess what?! IT’S DONE!!!!!

IMG_5547

AHHH!!!

Well, as done as it’s going to be before Christmas. We will be staining all the pine beams/wood, but that won’t happen until after the holidays. Doesn’t it look amazing?! I can’t get over it!!! Evan and Brotherman did such a good job! It looks so great I almost forget what it looked like before… Full update to come. And if you need any reno’s done in your house you should probably hire Evan and Brotherman, just sayin’…