Friday, 23 December 2011

Holiday Blog Break

I'm going to take a little blog break for the rest of 2011.


photo

Have a lovely holiday and a happy new year! See you on January 3rd.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

An Outfit for Opening Stockings

Opening Stockings

Eric and I celebrated our 4-year Anniversary yesterday! I'm looking forward to opening our stockings together on Saturday and having our own little Christmas before joining our families for the real madness. I found the Eberjey romper on sale at Holt Renfrew and couldn't help but treat myself. It's so soft and comfy, it kind of makes me wish I never had to leave the house.


MW Matthew Williamson wrap coat
Eberjey
Minnetonka slipper shoes
Marc by marc jacobs jewelry
Alexander McQueen floral shawl
Pendleton Woolen Mills: LAKOTA COFFEE MUGS, SET OF 4

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Living Ornaments

I picked up a couple of these succulent ornaments as gifts for friends at Anne Paterson's Flowers.

Once the holidays are over, they can be planted (perhaps like this) and enjoyed for a long time.
A gift that keeps on giving!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Dinner Etiquette

'Tis the season for big group dinners. Whether trying to impress your boss or your mother in-law, here's a quick etiquette guide.

Source

I always tend to use the Pretty Woman guide to cutlery- start from the outside and work your way in. A friend also taught me a little cheat when trying to figure out which bread and drink are yours at a large table. Make a circle with your thumb and middle, ring and pinky fingers. With your pointer finger sticking up you should see a lower case "b" and "d." B is for bread and D is for drink. Now you'll never forget!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ahh the Weekend

A birthday, a baby and a bulldog.

On Friday night we celebrated Michelle's birthday at Mango Shiva. I'm still salivating over the lamb "pops."

Saturday, we got to meet our dearest friends' new cub, Charlie Rando and he's absolutely perfect.




Charlie, Eric and proud papa Rando

I'm counting down the days until I can see him again. Congratulations Brittany and Rando!

Yesterday, we braved the snow covered highway and headed up to Leduc for a little family get together. We made some ski plans, my brother and I beat my dad and Eric in a couple games of crib and we got to see Norman!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Shop Local

Every year I swear I won't leave my Christmas shopping until the last minute, but once again, 8 days before Christmas and I still have shopping to do. I'm hoping to avoid the mall entirely and hit up a few local shops for all of my remaining gifts.

First stop is Livingstone & Cavell Extraordinary Toys. This independent toy store is a blast for kids and adults. I'm hoping to pick up the old school Fisher Price record play for my nephew. I remember watching a family video of my 3rd birthday and my brother helping me open my gifts. When he unwrapped it he exclaimed (with a little lisp) "It's a recorrrrrrd player! This thing weighs a tonne and TWO halves!"

On second thought, I might just give it to him instead.

Next on my list is Steeling Home. This store is my go-to gift store. They carry great jewellery, trinkets and home goods. I usually end up spending 20 minutes just looking at their stationary and cards.

For clothes, I'm a big fan of Purr (for me) and Purr Petite (for the little guys). Look at this dapper young lad in Axel and Hudson.


Finally, you can never go wrong with gifts from Gravity Pope, Reid's or Choklat.

If you're like me and can't stand the mall at the best of times this ought to help. Have a great weekend and happy last minute shopping!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas Baking- Wrapping It All Up

Now comes the really fun part!

I can never seem to find tins to fit baking in. I try not to stack baking because I find it make a bit of a mess of everything so I decided to use memory boxes. They have plenty of room and look nice all wrapped up.


I used saltine toffee to separate the other goodies. You must make it. It's insanely good and it takes about 10 minutes. My mom had sent me a version using graham crackers, but the saltines make for the perfect salty sweet.

Saltine Toffee
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
24 saltines
1 c. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Bring the sugar and butter to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Line a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with tin foil. Arrange the saltines in a single layer. Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes or until the toffee is bubbly. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and let them melt. Spread to cover evenly. Put it in the fridge to cool. Once fully cool, break it into pieces and try not to eat it all.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Truth About Santa


This might be the best possible answer to the age old question: is Santa real?

"Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible."

Now if that doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will. Read the rest of the answer and the full story here.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Monday, 12 December 2011

Ahh the Weekend

We had a great weekend in Banff. A Christmas party on Friday night, relaxing on Saturday and the first ski/snowboard trip of the year.


I was quickly reminded that snowboarding at 26 is different than snowboarding at 18. There was a time when a friend and I would wake up at 5:00am, drive out to Fernie, snowboard all day and drive home. Now, I can barely make it through the day and a 2 hour drive home. The snow was great though and it felt good to spend the day on the mountain.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Baking- Lemon Squares

Sorry for the late baking post. This week went a little off the rails somewhere around Tuesday. Anyways, the last entry is for lemon squares. I'm a lemon dessert junkie and with their shortbread-like crust, these are the perfect tart/sweet combo.


Lemon Squares

Crust

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. icing sugar
1 c. melted butter

Stir together flour and sugar. Add melted butter. Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until just brown.

Lemon Top

4 eggs
2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. + 2 tbsp. lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)

Beat eggs until light. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking powder and flour. Mix to get rid of any lumps. Stir the dry mixtue into the eggs and add lemon juice and zest.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until set. Let cool completely. Once cool, dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Office Party Flow Chart

Speaking of Christmas parties, here's a handy etiquette guide for drinking with co-workers...

Chow

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Shoes

I have a Christmas party on Friday and need some black shoes with a little something extra. Something along these lines...

Zara, Gianmarco Lorenzi, Jimmy Choo, Elizabeth and James

Did you know that Net-A-Porter has a shoe subscription? It's a new pair of shoes each month for a year with a total value of $10,000. Totally reasonable, right? No?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

El Camino

New Black Keys out today!


If the single "Lonely Boy" and their performance on SNL are any indication, it's going to be amazing!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Home

I shopped a lot this weekend and somehow, none of it was for Christmas. Yikes! Most of the purchases were for our home. Now that we've got things somewhat sorted out, we definitely needed more storage and few decor items. In addition to the stuff we bought, a trip to Crate and Barrel had us longing for a couple of new items.
 This trunk is the perfect replacement for our current coffee table. It has lots of storage (including a wine rack in the centre) and the rustic look we've been searching the antique markets for.

We both fell in love with this bar cabinet. Now, if only we had somewhere to put it!

I had a lofty goal of cleaning and organizing our whole place and getting our Christmas decorations up this weekend. That may have been somewhat unrealistic. Maybe we'll get the tree up tonight. Fingers crossed!



Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas Baking- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These soft and fudgy crinkles are sort of like brownies in cookie form.


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 sq. unsweetened chocolate melted (or cocoa equivalent - see side of cocoa container)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. bp
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. icing sugar for rolling

Mix oil, sugar, chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients. The dough will be surprisingly wet. You can refridgerate it for an hour to make it easier to work with, but it's not necessary. Drop teaspoonfuls into icing sugar. Roll into balls. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12min.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Book Nook

I finally joined a book club. It's something I've always wanted to do, but never really put the effort into organizing. My dear friend Lindsay has taken on the task and I can't wait to get reading. Now if only I had a little nook to get lost in...

Source

Source


Source
A library next to the bathtub?! I would never leave!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Stickygrams

Have you seen this?


Stickygram turns your iPhone instagram pictures into magnets! Very cool.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Farewell #107


This about sums up how I'm feeling right now (except far, far less glamorous). Eric and I spent all day moving yesterday. I always tend to underestimate how much work moving involves. I believe I said  "I only have a bed and a couple big shelves to move. It won't take long." Oh, that was cute. Eight hours and two very sore backs later, it's done.

Suite 107, you were the very first place I lived by myself. You held many a kitchen dance party and you will be missed.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Do or Don't: Sequin Pants

Now bear with me here. Obviously, you're not rocking them around the office, but picture counting down on New Year's Eve, glass of champagne in hand wearing a pair of these...

3.1 Philip Lim Sequin Trousers

Michael Kors Deep-Pocket Sequin Pants

Asos Petite Sequin Pants
I love that whole third outfit!

So, aside from being somewhat impractical, are they totally nuts or trés chic?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas Baking- Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps are one of my favorite cookies and yet, I somehow seem to forget all about them until Christmas rolls around. These little delights beg for a nice warm chai tea after a day of tobogganing.


Gingersnaps

3/4 c butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
2 c. flour
11/2 tbsp. ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together butter and sugar. Stir in egg and molasses. Add the dry ingredients and mix into a firm dough. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in additional sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. They should look underdone when you take them out. That's the trick to making them soft and chewy.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lefse

One of my favorite new holiday traditions is heading to my friend Brittany's parents' house to make lefse. Lefse is a Noweigan flatbread and any good viking will tell you that it's the very best part of Christmas. It is, however, very time consuming to make so having a team of people to help cook and rice potatoes, make dough, roll dough and cook it is a must.





Once it's finished, you cover it with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, roll it up and eat it. I took home a hefty bag and I'm still not sure I'll be able to share it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Gift Guide- The Hard to Buy For

For the next few Fridays, I'd like to share with you a couple of gift guides for the holidays-starting with one full of gifts that keep on giving.

A couple of years ago Eric and I adopted this little guy

We got him from Nudo. We picked which grove we wanted him from and in the spring we received 3 bottles of their flavored oils (chili, orange and lemon) and in the fall we received olive oil from the grove of our adopted tree. Both the flavored and plain oils were delicious. They even made it on to Oprah's Favorite Things list this year. You also get a picture of your tree and it's exact location so if you're ever in Italy, you can visit and thank it for all it's delicious offerings.


Janice Beaton Fine Cheese offers a Cheese of the Month gift. Each month (you can choose from 3, 6 or 12 months) 3 incredible cheeses will be delivered to the recipient's door. It includes descriptions of each cheese and where they come from.

What an awesome surprise to receive every month. It's also a great opportunity to branch out and try some cheeses you might normally be too scared to try.

You can't have all that cheese without beer and wine! Zyn offers a case of the month for both. You can choose between an all red, mixed and beer case and delivery is free!


Gourmet gifts can run a bit pricey, but these photobooks from Pinhole Press are budget friendly and great, personalized gifts for someone close to you. You pick which book you want, add your photos and titles, they put it all together and send it to you.


Photo: Pinhole Press
You can also make your own notepads, cards and calendars.

All of these gifts are available for order online so you don't even have to brave the mall. And, if you were to order them now, the lucky recipient would have them in time for Christmas. Probably best not to leave cheese under the tree though.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Christmas Baking- Magic Cookie Bars

You might also know these as Seven Layer Bars (although, I only count five). By any name, they are incredibly easy and always get rave reviews. Doesn't everything involving condensed milk?




Magic Cookie Bars

1/2 c. butter, melted
11/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 c. chocolate chips - I prefer milk chocolate, but any kind will do
1/2 c. pecans
1 1/3 c. sweetened coconut
300 mL sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix graham crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9x13 pan. Spread chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Layer pecans and coconut on top. Pour condensed milk evenly on top of the mixture. It's ok if there are a few uncovered parts. Bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

First Covers

Flavorwire did some digging and found the first covers of some of today's most popular magazines.

1888


1925

1892

1933

1944
It's so interesting to see how similar some covers look and how some have completely changed. Very cool!