Monthly Archives: November 2012

It’s That Time of Year

Ah, the holidays.  Cool crisp air, twinkling lights, delicious warm comfort food, smells of pumpkin, peppermint, and gingerbread, holiday songs in the air…can you feel it yet?  That special mix of childlike glee, shopping frustration, peace and love, and c-c-c-cold? 🙂

This year I’ve really managed to get myself into a holiday mood early, which is sort of unlike me (I usually mourn the end of summer and it can get me pretty grouchy).  Maybe it’s the fact that once Halloween is done, I feel so lightened and refreshed, seeing all those spiderwebs and skeletons replaced by glitter and ribbons and twinkling lights.  Maybe it’s the fact that this has been the first full year of our marriage, and I’m finding a wonderful happiness in the routines of our little family of two, having settled into our little home.  I don’t really know what causes such joy around this time of year, the kindness we show each other more of, the way charities and churches get most of their budget at this time, the gearing up for a new year full of promise and hope.

And so I’ve caught holiday fever.  I happily strung our lights up almost 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been listening to holiday music as I cook and bake and clean.  And I’m not even wishing for a white Christmas.  See, we’re in Canada, and I grew up in a part of the “snow belt”, where kids usually wore their snowsuits under their Halloween costumes, so if anything, I’m welcoming the strangely mild weather with open arms.  But in the spirit of this wonderful time of year, I thought I would take a moment to reflect, and put some positivity out there in cyberspace.

Faith – My faith is the cornerstone of my life, and I am grateful that it is stronger and more palpable than it has ever been.

Nick – My love, my life.  This amazing man covers me with so much love, that romantic gestures that belong in movies are his everyday standard.  He is the man of my dreams and much, much more.  I am blessed beyond words to have him in my life, as the strong head of our family, as a great provider, as my best friend in the whole world, and the love of my life.

Family – I am grateful for having one, and a wonderful one.  It’s a haven of love and warmth, it provides such wisdom and guidance, and it means the world to me.

Friends – Our wonderful friends are like jewels in a necklace, each one has their own unique shine and beauty, and our lives would not be as full without them.  Some are invaluable mentors, some are like family, some are spirited and vibrant like siblings, some we are connected to online… all are precious.

Home – Ours is small and cozy, but it is ours.  It is decorated and furnished by us, and full of peace and love and laughter.  Our view is beautiful, and we can wake up with the sunrise.  Our fridge and pantry are full, and that is a blessing I do not take for granted.

Toronto – This city is so wonderful.  Beautiful sparkling store displays, awe-inspiring skyscrapers, amazing diversity of food and fun, being able to live car-free, and an ever-awake, ever-buzzing hub that literally energizes me.

Security – Our neighbourhood is safe, where we can walk at night without fear, and where the sound of children playing is often heard on the streets.  Also, this year has been the first in a while where we have not had money stress (largely due to planning).  That has made life so much more peaceful, and has opened the door for us to give more than ever before.

Connecting – those small moments that remind you we’re all in this together, communicating freely.  I’m thankful that I can post here, and thankful for those who take time out of their day and read my words.  Thank YOU.

What are you grateful for?  Sending out warm (cyber)hugs to you as the holidays arrive.


Super Basic Yummy French Toast

Good morning!  (Well, it’s morning somewhere)  And what better way to start a morning than with a delicious, filling breakfast?  I don’t know about you, but I grew up loving French toast.  I would usually have it every day at all-inclusive resorts on vacation, and then beg my mom to make it at home afterwards.

So, naturally, once my June Cleaver instincts kicked in, I wanted to master French toast in my own household.  So I put on my little homemaker apron, found a great Reduced Fat French Toast recipe right here, and so I figured I would try it, with a variation or two in there.

So, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 slices bread

1. Heat up a nonstick pan on medium heat.
2. In a wide bowl, mix together egg whites, skim milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.

3. Slice your bread slices in half diagonally.

4. Lightly soak the slices in the egg mixture on both sides, and cook in the pan, for about a minute on each side (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step).
5. Plate the French toast, and sprinkle with some icing sugar for added yumminess!

I used a bit more egg and milk, since I find the mixture tends to run a little low as I near the end, and I added more cinnamon (we looove cinnamon!).  I had some already cooked bacon in the fridge, so I served that as well.
Super easy and tasty breakfast!  And since I like sleeping in on weekends, this was quick enough to whip together while I was still only about half awake.  For a perfect morning, my darling husband made us some big mugs of hot coffee! Such a great way to start a day full of awesome!

The End of the Great Dispute

Update as of January 2013 – This system worked pretty well, but we just happily found a countertop dishwasher – THAT has finally solved it 🙂 

Today I’m tackling a sticky subject.  In fact, it’s sticky, soggy, messy, and sometimes even crusty – that’s right, I’m talking about dishes (dun dun dunnnnh).  Dirty dishes.

But fear not, Nick and I have found the answer! Now, the kitchen is clear of dirty dishes, and clean ones are available in the cupboards, all thanks to a simple solution to an apparently very common problem.

This simple chore is the classic example of something small causing marital strife and resentment, and driving women crazy.  No one wants to do them, yet they must get done.  And it just so happens that our beautiful little urban home with a breathtaking view does not have a dishwasher (gasp!).

Really, they’re just another chore, and need to get done in some division of labour.  Nick puts together furniture, since he’s good at it and I’m as useful as a Barbie doll for that.  I handle organizing, because I’m a neat freak who colour-codes her closet for fun (I know, I may need help).  As a new wife I was thrilled when he volunteered to do dishes, saying it was only fair since I cooked.  I know, I really did find Prince Charming.  But alas, Prince Charming is also super-busy, and gets very tired, and likes to handle the big stuff for us like slaying dragons, watching the real estate market, and researching investment options.  All wonderful things, but it tended to lead to a (tiny) kitchen counter covered in dirty dishes, and empty cabinets where there should be clean dishes.

And then one day, I had an idea.  An idea that ended the dishes dispute as we knew it!  What if he was able to do dishes once a week, for the whole week?  He liked the idea, and we got to work.  We decided that we would buy another set of dishes, so clean dishes were available, and the dirty dishes could be kept in a laundry basket so they were out of the way.  And that, my friends, is how we ended the Great Dispute.

The hero of our story

Happy dishwashing (wine helps!)


Natural Makeup Look – All in One Compact

Today I’ll be doing a makeup tutorial that I’ve really gotten excited about.  After all, though inner beauty is so much more important, enhancing our natural beauty through makeup and fashion is fun!  This is a natural look that’s great for everyday, and all the colour is contained in one small makeup compact.  This has become my go-to lazy weekend or just lazy day makeup, and it helps me look more awake, so I’m excited to share it with you!  I’ve included pictures, but I apologize in advance for the bad lighting in my bathroom, which kind of downplays the look of the makeup.

It all started on a recent Saturday morning (at about 1pm, ahem), when I was finally awake, washed and dressed, and ready to take on the day of fun and errands (yes, I tend to sleep in pretty late on Saturdays).  I had done the basic foundation, concealer, loose powder, and it was time for the fun makeup – eyes & blush.  I have a great compact of highlighter and bronzer called 3D Face Powder that I was only using occasionally.  I use the Shimmer Pink palette since I’m so pale.  It was amazing for pictures, and especially for my bridal makeup since it has a really pretty subtle shimmer, but I found that using it exactly as directed to highlight my forehead and T-zone kind of made me look sweaty, which I wasn’t too crazy about.  So I had started using the powder again, only not on that area, just to highlight cheekbones and such.  But on this Saturday, I reached for it first, and had an “Aha!” moment – I could use the centre colour alone for a soft blush, and the other 4 colours were perfect for creating a natural-looking eyeshadow look!

The makeup compact is available here.

So I did just that.  Here is me with no powder on….

And this is the compact.  To make it easier, I will refer to these shades by number (1-5, going from left to right, and going from light to dark).

First, I used my blush brush to highlight above my cheekbones (Shades 1 & 2).

Next, the bronzer on the hollows of my cheeks (Shades 4 & 5).

Blush time!  Using the centre shade (Shade 3), right on the cheekbones (this makes them look more defined, and looks more natural than the apples)

Eyes!  I used Shade 1 to highlight the brow bone and inner corner, Shade 2 for the lid above the crease, Shades 1 & 2 in a sweep right below the eye (to look more awake), Shade 4 on the lid below the crease, And Shade 5 for a thick line along the lash line.

Then blend the colours nicely together….

Top it off with a quick coat of mascara (I’m using Artistry Length & Definition in Granite from Escape to Paradise)

And done!  A super-quick beauty look that’s natural and with just enough shimmer!  It’s very subtle, but it makes me look more awake, reflects light in a flattering way, and defines features and cheekbones.  I really love this for a barely-there, natural enhanced look! 🙂

Hope you like it!