Thursday, August 28, 2008

busted!


what you see above is the last picture i'll ever take at the local t & t grocery store. i went shopping there yesterday to get stuff for making inari and maki rolls for dinner. as i wandered the aisles, i took some quick pics of things that caught my eye. just as i finished taking this picture, an employee came up to me and said "no pictures". i was caught so off-guard that my only response was, "really? but it's so pretty!!"

oh well. at least i got this one last picture before being busted.

and really...isn't it so pretty? i imagine the liquid inside those bottles must taste like fairy water.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

breakfast of champions


summer is sadly coming to an end and i'm headed back to work next tuesday after two glorious months off. so this morning as i fixed my breakfast, i realized that in a few days i probably won't have time to linger over the lovely meal i've been making for myself for most of the summer.

this breakfast has been such a treat for me over the last couple of months. it usually contained some variation of the following:
* 10-12 buttered crackers with brie
* a handful of raw almonds
* a few dried apricots (i like the organic kind but it takes awhile to get used to that rusty brown colour instead of the bright orange you typically find)
* organic vanilla yogurt with seasonal fruits mixed in (today it was some diced peach, blueberries, and strawberries*...all from ontario)

mmmm...

*believe it or not, the strawberries are from ontario even though strawberry season is kind of over. these are apparently called "everbearing strawberries" or so the friendly farmer from the market tells me. i think i was able to buy them well into september last year!

Monday, August 18, 2008

my favourite thing of the day

this is about the cutest thing i've seen in a really long time. a man singing a litter of puppies to sleep!!

(found via pretty little things blog)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

happy birthday, madonna


today you're 50 years old. but don't worry, honey...you're still totally fabulous!!(i still want to be you when i grow up...)

another book finished


while we were at the cottage, i spent a large chunk of my week lying on the dock slathered with sunscreen and reading black swan green by david mitchell. i have to tell you, it was a really wonderful way to spend my days at the lake.

so briefly, without giving too much away, the story follows a 13-year old boy named jason for a year of his life. he wants desperately to be part of the cool crowd but he's bullied because he stammers. it's a really touching novel and reminded me of how tough it is to be a kid just trying to fit in.

i really liked this book. i liked jason so much that after i'd finished reading it, i actually thought about him for days afterward, and kind of missed him. i guess that's the sign of a good story, huh?

my rating: 8.5/10

(and a big thanks to the lovely person on bookmooch who kindly sent this book to me all the way from japan.)

*****
in case you're interested, i've just started reading "a long way down" by nick hornby. i'm only about 20 pages in so far though....

Monday, August 11, 2008

cottage = summer


a couple of weeks ago, paul and i spent a week at the cottage we rent every year near haliburton. we had such a great time. a couple of our friends always come with us for a few days and that always makes for good times too. here are some of my favourite pictures from our week.

noah loves the cottage:

looking down the curve in the lake:

i want to remember this day in the middle of january:

a group of "shoe trees" just outside of kinmount:

a snack from the chip truck:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the tastes of summer


last thursday i checked out a new farmers' market in the neighbourhood. it wasn't as good as my favourite one (which i sadly still haven't made it to yet) but it was still nicer than the grocery store aisle. check out all those pretty colours!

*****

and tonight's dinner i'm dubbing "adventures in sushi". i guess that makes it sound like it was a little dodgey but it actually all turned out really well. i've made maki rolls before but this was my first time making inari sushi. it certainly won't be my last...so easy with those little pre-made wrappers! we stuffed ours with rice, avocado, and carrots. mmmm...so good!! here's a blurry picture...we were too hungry to take a perfect one...sorry! (for non-sushi eaters, that's wasabi in the dish in the middle of the plate. we mixed it in some temari sauce for dipping).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

catching up on books i've read

it's been awhile since i mentioned the books i've been reading. summer is an especially good time to get into a good book so i thought this little list of the last 3 books i've finished might help someone choose a new one to delve into.

way back in april i finished up "a spot of bother" by mark haddon.

even though i had a hard time getting into this book, i did enjoy it in the end. it's quite different from haddon's other book "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime" which i thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. a spot of bother is about a neurotic man and his dysfunctional family. all in all, i enjoyed it and would recommend it.
my rating: 7/10


my next read was very different..."the secret life of bees" by sue monk kidd.

my goodness...i can't say enough about this story! i absolutely LOVED this book. straight from the beginning i was instantly hooked. i haven't felt that pull since i read "lullabies for little criminals" last summer. googling around to find the image of the book cover, i found out that there's going to be a movie version of this book coming out in october 2008 and paul tells me it's coming to tiff in september. i can't wait!!
my rating: 8.5/10


and the book i finished up at the end of june was "love is a mix tape" by rob sheffield.
i think paul liked this book a little better than i did. this book told the true story of how sheffield met and fell in love with his wife and then dealt with losing her. i don't want to say much more for fear of giving too much of the story away. however, this story surprisingly didn't draw me in the way i expected it would. overall, meh.
my rating: 5/10

*****
right now i'm reading "black swan green" by david mitchell and even though i'm only on page 62, i'm quite enjoying it. i've recently come to the realization that my favourite kind of book is a work of fiction where the main character is a child or teen. such is the case with "black swan green". not sure if being a teacher has something to do with why these stories speak to me or not.

anyhow, i'll be back for quick review of "black swan green" once i've finished. fair warning though...i'm a terribly sloooowwww reader.

our date with david sedaris

on thursday night, carla and i went to see david sedaris at the indigo at bay and bloor. he was making an appearance there to promote his new book. carla and i got there at just the right time (an hour before it started) because we ended up with a pretty good spot where we could see him quite clearly. we're pretty sure the guy who introduced him said that there were 800 people there!
david sedaris is reading

he read a story from "when you are engulfed in flames" plus a bit from a new book he's working on. then he read a bunch of really funny entries from his diary. the last part was left for q & a, which i really enjoyed because he ended up telling a few stories to answer each question. so instead of a short 1-minute answer, i swear each answer ended up being almost 10 minutes long and thoroughly entertaining!

he's so naturally funny and witty, carla and i left feeling like we just really wanted to spend an evening at the movies, maybe dinner too, with david and his boyfriend hugh.

*****
ps. if you want to hear a great interview with david sedaris from the same day, you can go here and right-click on the podcast for thursday, july 10th. his interview begins about 1/3 of the way through (after william h. macy).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

goat!

yesterday paul and i went on a day trip to stouffville, just outside of toronto. it was such a nice day! we started by going into the town of stouffville and wandering around the downtown area. we went into the latcham gallery and a great little thrift store where i finally found something i've been searching for forever (the glass jug top left). then we headed to applewood farm where we did some strawberry picking.
mmmm

there were a few goats and sheep at the farm and i was so excited to be able to pet one and feed it some dandilion leaves. i wanted to stay there all day and hang out with the animals.


we ended the trip with lunch at a new-to-us restaurant called the graceful vegetarian which is located right behind the pacific mall. we had vegetarian dim sum and i loved every bit of it! my favourite was the (vegetarian) bbq pork steamed bun. mmmm...doughy goodness. (sorry, i was too hungry and impatient to take pics)

i did some gardening when we got home and then made a yummy (and super easy) dinner of faux tuna sandwiches with salad (using lettuce from our garden).

this is the tuna we buy at king's cafe in kensington market.

if you look in the bottom right hand corner it says "borax free". that worries me that the other kind we sometimes buy might be loaded with borax. who knew that was the secret ingredient to mock meat???? ;)
fauxtunasalad

and for dessert....strawberries and whipped cream of course!
strawberries&whippedcream

Monday, July 07, 2008


i had an itch to go thrifting on friday...it had been a few months since i'd gone and for some strange reason when i get an itch to go, i usually end up finding some good treasures. friday did not disappoint!

- 3 cute new scarves... one is even yves st. laurent and another is by vera with a sweet little print of carrots and peas. woot!
- a pretty luxurious rust coloured cable-knit scarf/shawl...holt renfrew brand. double woot!
- black skirt
- 2 issues of the sadly defunct "blueprint" magazine which i was too cheap to let myself buy when it was still around
- a white porceline dish for displaying my jewellery at shows (3 compartments, maybe for brooches and hairpins?)
- 2 retro oblong melmac-type dishes
- skinny belt
- a small wooden dish for storing my jewellery when i'm not wearing it
- and a happy apple!

here's a closer look:

Friday, July 04, 2008

peek inside my makeup bag


after reading about some of the toxic chemicals in cosmetics about a year ago, i've been trying to make some safer choices with the beauty products i buy. since i'm on a pretty strict budget, i didn't immediately throw away all of my "toxic" stuff...just started slowly replacing them with better choices once they were used up. since i've been doing this for about a year now, i realized that most of my daily products have been replaced. thought you might want to take a peek at what i'm using these days and maybe it will give you a starting point to make some safer choices for yourself.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT

maybelline waterproof liquid eyeliner: not exactly "safe" but i refuse to give up my black eyeliner. this one isn't the worst of the bunch so i'm ok with it.

the body shop lip & cheek stain: i only use it on my cheeks and it's my "stranded on a desert island" product.

the body shop concealer pencil: a bit "dry" for using under the eyes. i'll probably replace it with a creamier product once it's gone

weleda everon lip balm: smells amazing!

the body shop loose powder: i had a hard time finding safer compact powder so i went with this. it's ok but i still prefer pressed powder.

the body shop aloe calming facial cleanser: i love this! i was a dedicated "cetaphil" user for about 10 years and it broke my heart to have to switch but for me, this is just as good.

the body shop aloe soothing day cream: love this too! paul even uses it. i even use it under my eyes without any problem. really gentle.

badger sunscreen, spf 30: this is a new addition within the past 3 weeks. the sun protection is great but it leaves the skin with a noticeable white cast. after it warms up a bit on the skin i can usually rub it in better so it doesn't show.

giovanni 50:50 balanced hair remoisturizer: good stuff

giovanni 50:50 balanced shampoo: takes awhile to get used to the fact that it doesn't foam up but that's because it doesn't have sodium lauryl sufate (not a great ingredient). it works well though.

kiss my face olive oil soap: we use it as a regular body soap in the shower. it costs next to nothing ($3) but literally lasts one whole month! it's like magic!

- still need to replace my deoderant with a better choice once it runs out.
----------
i'm certainly no expert in the area of cosmetics and toxic ingredients but here's a few tips i follow almost religiously now.

1. i've learned you can't just assume if a company has a few safer products everything in their line will be too. for example, you see above that i use some body shop products but unfortunately most of their line is pretty toxic according to the cosmetics database.

2. just because you can buy it in a health food store doesn't mean it's "safe". likewise, just because it's expensive as hell doesn't mean it's safe either. try researching those expensive department store brands or lines carried by sephora. it's kinda scary.

3. i avoid anything that has "fragrance" as one of the ingredients. unless the ingredients list essential oils , chances are the product has synthetic fragrance and that includes pthalates which are potentially unsafe. unfortunately you'll never see pthalates listed in the ingredients because it's considered a company's "trade secret" and they don't need to give that info up. evil!
-----------------
* and i should mention a couple of things in case anyone is wondering: one...i am definitely not getting paid to endorse any of these products (i should be so lucky!) nor do any of my friends/family members or i work for any of these companies. two....i've found all of these products using the incredibly useful cosmetics database resource (a non-profit organization called the environmental working group runs the website).

Monday, June 30, 2008

so funny but you probably already know about it


i know paul & i are little late to this party, but we just discovered the awesomeness that is "flight of the conchords". (be gentle on us...we don't have cable). here's the intro of the show just because it makes me so happy.

we rented the 1st disc of season one (has there only been one season so far?) and watched the whole thing (6 episodes) yesterday. omg, this show is hilarious! if you're like us and don't have cable you totally have to rent the dvd. we're looking forward to hopefully renting the 2nd disc this week.

*******
on a related note...is it just me, or does anyone else start singing the "sex and the city theme" every time you see that "hbo logo/static-y tv opening bit" that shows up at the beginning of every hbo tv show? i swear it's like an involuntary reaction everytime i see it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


isn't this necklace the best? (mary-jane shoe on one side, "sensible shoes" on the reverse) i've had my eye on it since last december when frederica (friend and maker of the necklace) and i had our booths next to each other at the ooak show. when i told her the name of my blog she couldn't believe the coincidence. i finally broke down and bought it for myself at her studio sale last weekend and have been wearing it ever since.

it also helped to remind me that this blog has been sitting woefully neglected for far too long.

i'm on summer vacation now (as of last thursday at noon). the last couple months at work were a bit stressful to say the least. i found out i was declared "surplus" which means there wouldn't be a teaching job for me at my current school come september. after two rounds of job searches, three positions turned down after cold feet about teaching kindergarten, and a week or so of being on pins & needles waiting to find out where i'd be placed, it turns out that i got a fantasic placement at a great school teaching (almost) exactly what i wanted! (yay!!!)

it was really sad leaving my old school though. i'd been there for 4 years so lots of tears!!!

before i left i had a little party for my knitting club girls. i baked cupcakes and brought in icing & a variety of candies for them to decorate with. they were a huge hit! i also made each one a little knitting necklace as a souvenir and hopefully will inspire them to keep up with their knitting.


on the last day of school i almost forgot to take a picture of my most favourite part of the building. this sign put a smile on my face everytime i saw it. the fact that it is hung in a school is, to me, pure irony!


ah, grammatically incorrect signage.....i'll miss you so.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

yummy dinner #3


this was a great meal we had earlier in the week. i made these tofu & rice balls from the garden of vegan, another sarah kramer cookbook i use on a regular basis. these balls (tee hee) are extra yummy with mushroom gravy, which i just buy in a can and warm up quickly on the stove. a nice big salad with sunflower seeds was the perfect side.

yum.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

my new favourite blog

i've been feeling a bit under-the-weather this week and i woke up today having completely lost my voice. catching up on this blog totally lifted my spirits though. it made me laugh out loud (well, not loud...more like a whisper i suppose) and at times i was crying from laughing so hard. maybe you'll like it too.

i especially loved the nordic catalog disaster

red bull: gives you nightmares

and by the time i was at that must be some distinctive nose i was crying from laughing so hard.

i so needed that today!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

yummy dinner #2

tonight's dinner was from my most favourite of all my cookbooks, la dolce vegan by sarah kramer. i swear i use this book a minimum of 3 meals out of the 5 i cook during the week (paul's in charge of sat & sun dinners). this was my first attempt with this recipe and it was soooo yummy!

tonight i made butternut squash & lentil soup with ginger. we had it with fresh 9-grain rustic bread from brick bakery, drizzled with olive oil.
sadly, this photo does not do justice to the soup. it was such a flavourful and slightly spicy meal. the generous amount of fresh ginger really added a nice flavour.

rating: 10/10

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

yummy dinner #1

i've always been really inspired by bloggers that post delicious-looking meals they've made. one blog i miss dearly is dinner daily. i used to get lots of quick and interesting meal ideas from her.

anyhow, i'm going to give this a try myself mostly to have a record of meals i've made and enjoyed. i'm not sure how long this will last as i'm often in too much of a rush to start eating. running to find the camera (and working batteries) before digging in can be a bit of a hassle. but here goes attempt #1.

this is what we had for dinner tonight.
penne with chickpeas, baby spinach, and sundried tomatoes from quick fix vegetarian

it was so easy to make and turned out really yummy. basically it's just a quick sauce made from minced garlic, canned (diced) tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas, a bag of baby spinach, and s&p . i sprinkled some sunflower seeds on top for some crunch.

the verdict: 9/10

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

happy earth day!

hope everyone's enjoying this sunshiney earth day!

i thought it would be fun to show you some of the earth-friendly goodies i've been crushing on over at etsy.

poppy bobbypins made with recycled vintage fabric by foundling


sweater dress made from repurposed sweaters by devilmademedoit

broken plate ring by the broken plate


messenger bag made from a men's suit jacket by rumah kampung


jounals made from old highschool yearbook pictures by christine renee


dog collars made from recycled ties by annie's sweatshop (we just bought this one for noah a couple of months ago)


also made with a repurposed tie, this "necklace" by sam's shop


pretty vintage slip embellished by bayou salvage


handwoven brooch made from grocery bags by frucci design


and i could really use these reusable bags for our frequent trips to bulk barn (handmade by kootsac)

if only i could plant a money tree for earth day.....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

weekend in the city


oh my goodness...the weather here was AMAZING this weekend! this afternoon paul and i went on a field trip to allen gardens to look at all of the beautiful flowers and plants. it was my very first visit and it did not disappoint!

looking up at the beautiful glass roof from inside the main greenhouse


there were beautiful tropical flowers tucked into every corner of the greenhouses






i especially loved the cactus & succulent greenhouse



there was even a cute doggy hanging out inside

this place was so much fun and (surprisingly) absolutely free! highly recommended if you haven't been before.

more of my pictures from today are over at flickr...