Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Book, Song, Body

Book- Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster is a book that is currently going around our office. I had heard a lot about this book and asked for it last year for Christmas. I read it in a matter of days and loved this book. I had lent a co-worker some books, another co-worker asked if she could borrow a book or two, and I said sure. I lent her this book and she too loved it. She said that she literally laughed out loud while reading it- I did too, I must admit. A third co-worker heard the two of us discussing the book. She picked it up, read the first page, laughed, and asked if she could borrow it, which she is. The first co-worker, who started this whole book borrowing thing, has already requested to borrow it next.

The book is a memoir and follows Jen from childhood to adult life. Moments in her life are remembered by the fashion, the fashion is a minor character in this book, which adds to the humour and charm. I highly recommend this book to any girl who`s looking for a light, funny read.

Song-A show that I am addicted to in The Sing-Off. This week was the final episode *tear*, but thank goodness for youtube! I can continue to watch the episodes over and over. This seasons winner, and my favourite group from the beginning, was Pentatonix. So, in honour of their win, this weeks song is my favourite song of their's from the season: Video Killed The Radio Star. You can see the performance and listen to the song here. The song is also available on itunes.

Body- I once had a makeup artist say to me; 'Promise me you will never leave your house without putting mascara on. You have such long lashes, you need to make sure they get noticed. Even if you don't wear any other make up, promise me you'll always wear mascara.'

While it is not a promise I have kept (I don't wear makeup everyday), I do have to say that IF I do go to wear makeup, mascara is one of the few products I reach for. I personally love Oscillation by Lancome. I have a friend who used to work at the Lancome Beauty Counter, so she turned me on to their products. I've found that Lancome mascara's are easy to apply, don't clump (no spider eyes!) and don't smudge or rub off easily. However, at the end of the night, with a little makeup remover, the mascara comes off no problem. With Oscillation, all my eyelashes get coated, making them longer and bolder then they naturally are. While it is a bit expensive, I find it to be worth the price.

A more economically priced mascara brand that I also like is Cover Girl. No specific type of mascara, but the brand is pretty good (and one my sister swears by).

This idea taken from Brittany at happybrittany.com.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Hey! It's Ok

This idea was taken from Whispering Writer.

It's ok...

To be annoyed with American websites (bedbathandbeyond.com, amazon.com and nhl.com, I'm looking at you) that will not ship to Canada. Why? We are right beside you and we even have free trade agreements with your country. Why won't you ship items to us? It wouldn't be so bad if your Canadian version websites carried items at the same price (20% price increase at Bed Bath & Beyond) or carried the items in general (amazon.ca doesn't have half of the items amazon.com has). Not only is this super annoying and frustrating, but it makes me not want to buy from you. Ever.

To love product samples! I seriously LOVE samples, but who doesn't? My life was made this week when I found out about this great little company called My Dream Sample Box. The put together monthly themed boxes full of samples! I've ordered a couple of boxes and can't WAIT for them to come!

To throw your dry, clean clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes before you put them on. Makes your clothes warm, which will make you warm. This is especially great in colder months. There is no better feeling then putting on clothes fresh out of the dryer.

To watch the Victoria Secret Fashion shows and feel a bit of envy that, no matter how much you work out, watch what you eat, etc you will never look as good- or as tall- as the Angels. Plus, they usually have some good musical guests and it's fun to see the clothes.

To be playing Christmas music even though it's not even December yet. I've been playing Christmas music since Nov 12, right after Remembrance Day. It's one of the best and easiest ways to get into the Christmas spirit. And who doesn't love Christmas music? It's also ok to be super excited for next Monday, when The Sing-Off, one of my favourite shows, will have a special episode dedicated only to Christmas music. I'm counting down the days!

Monday, 28 November 2011

i & i

i(nspiration)

& 
i(dea)
Go for a walk. Today was 40 degrees, which for Ontario at the end of November is WARM! No ice, no snow...and no rain, at least here...making it a perfect day to go for a walk. Who knows how many more days we will have like this..before the snow and ice come...so why not go for a little stroll. The fresh air and exercise will be refreshing and a change from being inside all day.

And when you get home, why not make a warm cup of hot chocolate.



i & i (idea & inspiration) taken from Brittany at Happy Brittany.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

LOL

It all began with an iPhone...


March was when our son celebrated his 17th birthday, and we got him an iPhone. He just loved it. Who wouldn't?

 


I celebrated my birthday in July, and my wife made me very happy when she bought me an 
iPad.


Our daughter's birthday was in August so we got her an iPod Touch.



My wife celebrated her birthday in September so I got her an iRon.








 
It was around then that the fight started...

What my wife failed to recognize is that the iRon can be integrated into the home network with the iWash, iCook and iClean.

This inevitably activates the iNag reminder service.



I should be out of the hospital next week!!




 
 PS: iHurt!!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Interwebz

Same Sky is a great fair trade company that employs women from Africa who have HIV/AIDS ans is an effort to get them out of poverty. You can visit the website to learn more about Same Sky and the work they do.

Also on the website, you can purchase the items that the women make, with proceeds going back to the organization- so they can purchase more material, employ more women and expand the organization into more countries.

I particularly like Fire Red, Glass Bead Bracelet and the Teenage Dream Long Fabric which can be worn as a bracelet, necklace or in your hair.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Favourite Thing

One of my favourite things is Gourmet du Village hot chocolate!

There's nothing better than a cup of cinnamon hot chocolate, especially on a cold day/night. There's nothing like curling up, on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

I usually add some milk/soy milk to my hot chocolate just to make it a bit thicker and/or cool it off a bit so I don't burn my tongue.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Make With Me

Chocolate Cookies & Cream Truffles
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • 1 package of oreos
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • Carmel or chocolate sauce
To make:
  • Chop cookies very finely
  • Mix cookie pieces and cream cheese together
  • Form small balls and refrigerate until hard (about an hour)
  • Melt chocolate chips
  • Dip balls in melted chocolate
  • Refrigerate to harden
  • Drizzle with Carmel or chocolate sauce, if desired
  • Enjoy!

Notes:
  1. I made this recipe earlier this week and used all organic products. No one could taste the difference but were happy to hear that they were healthier due to the organic products.
  2. I also melted some chocolate chips and mixed them in with the cookies and cream cheese for extra chocolate flavour.
  3. Chocolate chips can be substituted with butterscotch or peanut butter chips

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Book, Song, Body

Book- One of my all time favourite books is Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. This is a book that I read several times a year and Lee Fiora (the main character) has been compared as a modern day Holden Caulfield. The novel is focused on Lee's high school years, where she attended a boarding school on scholarship. This book looks at different class, race and gender issues which add to making this book a captivating read. Lee is the outsider, in her eyes because she's on scholarship, and spends her years at boarding school observing her classmates. While this book isn't for everyone, I do highly recommend it. It brought me back to my high school years- although not similar to Lee's, I was still reminded of my formative years, my experiences and my friends in high school.

Song-One of my all time favourite songs in Nowhere With You by Joel Plaskett, a great Canadian musician. Like last weeks song, this song makes me just want to get up, dance and sing a long. To me, this is just a feel good, fun song that always puts me in a great mood. You can hear the song here.

Body- One of my all time favourite (yes, I realize I started all three topics the same way) beauty products is Hydra Bright by Estee Lauder. I have SUPER dry skin and this seems to be the only moisturizer which keeps my skin hydrated ALL day. Plus, it doesn't leave my skin feeling oily, heavy or anything like that. I notice a difference in the brightness and texture of my skin right away. It makes my skin feel less tight and super hydrated- like my skin just drank a tall glass of water. I have tried different kinds and types of moisturizer but this is the only one that I have come back to time and time again. Love it. As an added bonus, it also contains an SPF 15.

This idea taken from Brittany at happybrittany.com.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hey! It's Ok

This idea was taken from Whispering Writer.

It's ok...

To not fully understand Black Friday. I know what Black Friday IS but don't understand why people get so crazy about it. Especially Canadians. I don't see the point of lining up at midnight, or whatever time, to fight tons of maniac people for some material objects. Sure, you can score great deals...but does it REALLY need to start at midnight? And do you REALLY need to line up for hours? In fact, I'd rather pay the higher price just to avoid the crazy crowds!

To attempt to bake using nothing but organic products. If it's going to be bad for your health (cookies, pie, etc), might as well use organic products to make it somewhat healthier. I attempted this tonight, but my cookies, while tasted good, didn't look that great. But that's more the baker (aka me) then the ingredients. It's also ok to use your co-workers as a tasting board before serving to family and friends.

To offer to bring dinner for a friend/co-worker after they have moved, instead of helping them pack/unpack, actually move or paint their new home. Even if the friend is 6+ months pregnant. And bring pizza, which you purchased instead of made yourself is acceptable.

To drink an entire bottle of wine by yourself over the course of one evening. As long as it happens once in a blue moon and you do not have any other responsibilities or have to drive anywhere that night. Sometimes, you just have one of those days.

To call in sick on American Thanksgiving, if you're Canadian, so you can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's a pretty good parade.

Monday, 21 November 2011

i & i

i(nspiration)


& 

i(dea)
Saturday November 26th is Small Business Saturday

What is Small Business Saturday? It's the day that people make a pledge to shop at small businesses. A pretty simple concept and with Christmas quickly coming up, a great way to kill two birds with one stone- participate in supporting small business and get some Christmas shopping done. 

So, this weekend when you are doing your Saturday shopping (Christmas or otherwise), remember to shop small.

P.S. Don't forget to 'like' Small Business Saturday on Facebook.



i & i (idea & inspiration) taken from Brittany at Happy Brittany.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Interwebz

The website I'm going to recommend this week is milkandbookies.org.

Milk & Bookies is actually a non-profit organization that is a literacy initiative. It also teaches children about the importance of giving. Literacy and closing the education gap are important topics in today's society. Equally important is teaching kids about philanthropy so that when they are older, they continue to give back to the communities that they are apart of.

You can host your own Milk and Bookies event as away to support this super great organization. Or you can buy their book Sweet Pete- which makes a FANTASTIC Christmas present- with the proceeds going towards this great cause.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Favourite Things

One of my favourite things right now is my Kindle! I love it and take it with me everywhere.

I have the Kindle Keyboard 3G. I went with this version specifically for the 3G, but it also has wi-fi. Both of them are free (no additional charges). I love the fact that this device fits in my purse and can come with me everywhere. I love that I can be reading multiple books at once, have them all with me but not have to carry numerous books with me.

I can't even tell you how many times I've heard about a book and wanted to check it out, but would forget about it. With Kindle, I can look up the books right away and buy it, if I want it, in a matter of seconds. Or, I can add the book to my wishlist so I can look at it later- which is what I usually do.

Prices are pretty reasonable ($4.99 and $9.99 are popular prices but tons of books for free!) and it's environmentally friendly- saving all those trees.

What else do I like? It reads to you! Sure, the voice are options aren't amazing, but better then nothing. Plus, you can access the internet from it and load mp3s.

Yes, I love my Kindle and I can't imagine going back to life without one.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Make With Me- Vanilla Macchiato

Vanilla Macchiato

Ingredients:
  • Espresso
  • Milk
  • Vanilla syrup or flavour
To make:
  • Add vanilla syrup (2 teaspoons, as per the bottle of syrup I used) and steamed milk (directions below) to mug.
  • Top milk with foam and add freshly brewed espresso through the foam.
  • Enjoy!

Steamed milk:
  • Pour 1/2 cup of milk in a 16 ounce glass jar.
  • Cover jar and shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds. Milk should double in volume due to bubbles.
  • Remove cover and place jar in microwave. Microwave 30-45 seconds
  • Pour milk into prepared drink and spoon on the milk foam


Notes:
  1. I use coffee (instant or regular, depending on my mood and how much time I have) as I don't know how to make espresso.
  2. Any kind of milk can be used, including soy or almond. I have also used chocolate milk for a different flavour.
  3. I have substituted vanilla syrup for caramel syrup. I have also down one teaspoon of vanilla and one teaspoon of caramel.
  4. For steamed milk, I've used a cocktail shaker and then poured contents into a microwave safe container.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Book, Song, Body

This idea taken from Brittany at  happybrittany.com.

Book- The Great Gatsby is a book I recently read. I felt that it was one of those classic books that I should read, so I did. and I loved it. LOVED IT! I highly recommend this book and after reading it, I can see why it's considered a classic. Set in the 1920's (an era I am interested in and possibly was a part of in a past life) and told by Nick, who lives next door to Jay Gatsby who is in love with Nick's cousin Daisy. Daisy is married but her husband has a mistress. Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy- rising to wealth and buying a house near Daisy's, throwing lavish parties hoping that either Daisy will show up or someone who knows Daisy will appear and reunite them.This is a love story, and a well written, engaging one at that.  (You can buy this book for $0.99 on Kindle!)

Song-Let's go with something fun...Your Man by Down With Webster. This song is one of those songs I turn up and sing along with every time it's on the radio/my ipod. If I'm at home (and alone) it's one of those songs I get up and dance to. You can see the music video here and download the song from itunes.

Body- Coriander and Olive Tree Hand Wash from Fruits & Passion. I have been using this hand wash for years. I keep it in the kitchen. Years ago, I bought my mom some stuff from Fruits & Passion. Because I spent over a specified limit, I got a bottle of this hand wash for free. I went through the bottle and have bought refill after refill for it. My parents loved it too and bought a bottle for their house. My grandma, after spending a few days with me, loved it as well and asked for a bottle last year for Christmas (which we got her). Why do I love this? Not only does it get my hands clean and smell good (but not girly, so even guys will love it) but it leaves my skin feeling sooo good. Really soft, smooth and not at all dried out.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hey! It's Ok

This idea was taken from Whispering Writer.

It's ok...

To not care about Twilight. To have never seen any of the movies or read any of the books and not have any...ANY...desire to do so.

To not be into the entire vampire crazy- Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Secret Circle (is this even about vampires?). Or even understand the appeal of vampires.

To buy one of the chocolate advent calendars. Bringing you back to your childhood and a yummy way to count down the days until Christmas.

To not be as excited as everyone else that Brad Richards is now a New York Ranger. Don't get me wrong...I think he's a decent hockey player and I'm ok with him being a Ranger...I just don't get all the hype around him.

To hit the snooze button a handful of times each morning. As long as you get to work on time, what's so wrong about staying in bed for an extra 5-20 minutes? Bed, especially in the winter months, is just so warm and cozy.

Monday, 14 November 2011

i & i

i & i stands for inspiration & idea. I got this idea from Brittany at Happy Brittany.

So here we go...Inspiration:



Idea: Buy something for a child and give it to a charity or community Christmas project (ex Toys for Tots).

This idea is inspired by a trip I just took to a store (Zellers). As soon you walk in, there is a table set up a few a people standing near it. These people were asking shoppers to buy an extra toy and donate it to the local Christmas program. The items collected would be distributed to local families in need. 

You can take a stroll down the toy aisle and pick out a toy that was favourite of yours when you were a kid or a toy that you would like to have if you were a kid or maybe even a toy you wanted as a kid but never got. Books also make great kids gifts!

Please remember that kids of all ages (usually ages 0-16) are included in local toy drives (but check with your local organization for ages).

Can't buy a toy? What about volunteering your time with the organization? They rely on volunteers to collect toys, spread the word and staff the facility for when families come to pick up their items. 

What a great way to give back to the community, spread some holiday cheer and maybe even make someone's Christmas. 

If you are  unaware of an organization in your area that does this, contact your local town hall, chamber of commerce or BIA and they will most likely be able to put you in contact with an organization who is running the project. You can also contact your local police or fire stations as a lot of them run their own toy drives.