quelques photos

very quickly, voici le vieux-quebec.. today we're going whale watching and there's a little bit of a drive beforehand (as in, three hours worth!) so we've gotta get rolling.

don't forget to email me your mailing address so you can get a postcard!


as the french say...

oui, allo?

i'm in quebec and couldn't get my internet connection to work properly in the hotel - which is a-ok cause i've been out and about, trekking all over old quebec city. it's surprising how much i remember from my tour guide days - seven years and i still haven't gotten us lost yet!

i'll try to post some pics before we get back to toronto on saturday, but check my twitter feed for updates in the meanwhile.


ps - alternatively, email me your mailing address and i'll send you a postcard!


sweetness + rain

oh - hello monday!

t-minus two days until i take off for a few days for a girls getaway in quebec city - and it couldn't be more perfectly timed! i haven't been back there since i worked there as a tour guide seven years ago (seven! i can hardly believe it!) and i miss it like you wouldn't believe.

i've never been to europe, so quebec city is my little taste of the trips to come (sooner or later, i'll make it over there - mark my words).

this weekend: seemed to whiz by in a flash. i went for my first-ever professional massage, which was absolutely lovely. i tried my best to relax but i find some days i have too many things that i can't block out of my head, but it was great nonetheless. i'll definitely be going back and next time, i'm just gonna be sure to enjoy it. no work-related thoughts of any kind. true story. the upside is, is that later on that afternoon i got some artwork done, which i find pretty relaxing - sketches of paige's house that i'll hopefully have painted within the week. sweet.

liam and i hung out for a lil bit and watched some of the incredibles (that is, i watched it and liam was up and down and up and down and up again to pat the dog, visit his mom, look out the window, play with a few toys, and back again. he's the best three-year-old multitasker that i know.

i also tried out martha's recipe for vanilla-roasted peaches with raspberries and vanilla ice cream. it was pretty good, although i couldn't quite shake the feeling that there needed to be some sort of crumble or crust with it. also, some spices - maybe some cinnamon or nutmeg or something. i'm gonna give it another whirl for sure with a few alterations.

crumble or no crumble, it was still a sweet little change-up from our traditional dessert fare of fudgee-o's or brownie sundaes, so i'd recommend it to anyone who's got a craving for something sweet but who isn't looking for chocolate.

this week: aside from our quebec trip, one of these days, it'll stop raining and i'll actually be able to go berry picking. then i'm gonna make some jam. does anyone have a great recipe for raspberry jam or jelly?


ok, maybe just one sitcom.

i'm really surprised at the responses to my post about my cable-free existence.

specifically, i didn't realize how many people didn't have cable to start with (either as a conscious choice or a money-saving option). maybe it's because - as far as i know - the rates for cable charged differently than they are in canada. is it an american thing, or have i just been living under a rock my whole life - or maybe - i've just been too busy watching tv?

my friend duncan is the one person i know who who didn't have cable growing up - and funnily enough, even now he's a super creative & interesting person who's always up to something new.

true story - one time i called him to ask what he was up to, and he said, very matter-of-factly, "i'm returning a trombone".

a what? why?

"well," he said, "i've always wanted to learn how to play. so i rented one, and now i'm returning it."

the funny thing was, it made perfect sense. i'd just never known any other 22-year old guys who would up and rent a trombone for the hell of it.

he also cooks up a storm, bakes a mean pie from scratch, is an awesome artist who taught himself how to airbrush (i believe that was after the trombone affair), listens to music from the 20's and has a wicked sense of humor.

and yes, ladies, he's taken.

anyhow - the point is, this no-cable thing has always been a bit of an enigma to me. and now i'm a no-cable person. sweet.

for the record:
  • most of the shows that i love so dearly are available through various tv streaming sites, as well bits and bites through the various network websites. my brother uses this quite often, but i can't remember what the site is called. the quality varies a bit, which can be a bit of a downer if you're watching it on a larger screen.

  • mike downloads a ton of shows for me from a bunch of sites including eztv (which looks like it's currently down but promises to be back up soon) and pirate bay. it definitely helps scratch the itch when it gets itchy. plus - you can burn it to dvd and watch it on your tv if your player is DIVX compatible (it'll likely have the DIVX logo on the top, if you're not sure.) for more of the techy work-arounds for non-cable peeps, check out his blog - he posts his resources there quite often.


not another sitcom

about two months ago, we cancelled our cable in order to save a little bit of money.

i have to admit - even though i don't consider myself a big tv watcher - i was originally strongly opposed to the idea of not having cable. what was i going to do when i came home from work and just wanted to zone out for a little while?

you'd think that since i'm a big bookworm, and have more than enough crafty projects on the go to keep me busy for a month of sundays, i wouldn't think it a big deal about cutting off cable. we didn't grow up in front of the tv - we've always eaten dinner at the dinner table with the tv off, would play outside on a regular basis, and friday or saturday nights are still often spent hanging out with one of my siblings doing things unrelated to the television.

no - it's not like i needed cable to survive; it just was my convenient little safety net for boredom. i rarely watched it, but when i did it sucked up hours of my time - particularly back in the days when we had HGTV and the food network. jamie oliver, giada de laurentiis, ina garten, and bobby flay were my constant companions – i’d often cheer on their newest culinary inventions from the comfort of my couch. i could also consider myself a professional house-flipper (from my armchair, of course), and sarah richardson’s best network friend. not to mention restaurant makeover, which was the perfect storm of two of my favourite things,
cooking and interior design.

i’d often say that there were only a few channels that i really needed anyhow –
HGTV, the food network, the weather network and maybe the news channel. and oh – the history or discovery channel as well, in case i felt the need to dork out for a few hours.

ever since we made the cut, though, i’ve barely missed it.
surprise! my world hasn’t spun off of it’s axis nor have i found myself wandering the streets in the evenings with nothing to do. the biggest change i’ve noticed, actually, is that we’re more conscious of any time spent in front of the television – when a movie is finished, we get up and do something else instead of staring like zombies at the continual prime-time programming (even though it’s not really all that good in the first place).

yeah, this no-cable thing is actually
pretty alright.

cartoon by dave walker


how lovely.

i don't know where i came up with this quote, but it's one of my favourites. i'm not even sure if it's attributed to anyone else - it just popped into my head and i've been meditating on it since.

be still.
this moment is yours.
live it.
breathe it.

(apologies for the small text - the original image is saved on my now-corrupt hard drive from my old laptop. click on the image to see it larger, if you'd like.)


oh yeah, uh huh

a big ole apology goes out to all of you guys who ended up snacking on a cupcake or three because of yesterday's cupcake post. one benefit from it, though, is that genevieve mentioned in the comments that she'll be baking some tiramisu cupcakes very soon. maybe if i'm nice, she'll let me do an exclusive cupcake review.

what do you say, gen? yum.

this weekend: heading up to my dad's place for some much-needed r+r. gonna lay in the hammock and read, unless it rains. if it rains, i'm going to get some painting done. finally!

what've you got lined up this weekend?


a little cake love

thanks to one of the super-talented students that i know and her delicious blog, i've been feeling the itch more and more to flex my baking muscles lately.

i still haven't cracked open the little cakes from the whimsical bakehouse cookbook that my sister got me a little while ago (i'm not even going to get into how long i've had it - it's appalling actually), so i'm going to have to get on that right quick.

these oh-so-gorgeous masterpieces are by martha stewart - the edible flowers kind of fascinate me in a strange way. and tiramisu cupcakes? yes please!


the cure for a bad day

yesterday as i was driving home from work, there were some little kids at a roadside stand (aka fisher price table) selling freshly picked raspberries. being a veteran proprietor of a number of roadside stands myself, i can never say turn one down.

i pulled over my car and bought two little "trays" of them, made from paper bags. too cute. they'll be going deliciously with some vanilla yogurt and granola.

yesterday: was just one of those days. you know? a few things got under my skin in a hardcore kind of way and so today will be spent sorting them out; my reward for getting it done today is to go to unionville for a little walk and then perhaps a single scoop of moose tracks ice cream in a cone.

yeah. that should do it.


memory lane

i was driving down the backroads last night on the way home from work, and champagne supernova came on the radio. instinctively, i cranked up the volume and rolled my windows down the rest of the way, singing at the top of my voice.

"how many special people change / how many lives are livin' strange / where were you while we were getting hiiiiiiigh"

that song is the summer of '97 when i was going into grade ten; an angsty awkward teenager who hated everything about high school, couldn't figure out where exactly i fit in and my summers lasted forever. i'd spent part of the summer at my cottage because my parents didn't like my friends; i hated missing out on the scene but looking back, those weeks i spent with my family alone helped me to understand and get along better with them. i was only pretending to be rebellious anyways - i wouldn't have really run away. i would have missed them too much.

when i was finally back in the city and could get out of the house with my friends, we'd spend our afternoons loitering on queen street west, hanging out by
muchmusic hoping we'd run into our favourite bands, watching people at speakers corner, visiting used cd stores and raiding vintage clothing shops for kids soccer jerseys sponsored by local garages or men's mechanic shirts with the name badge still on them.

mine was huge and blue, and belonged to a guy named

we wore original airwalks (before nike bought them out and started selling them at payless), and baggy raver jeans; visited the
eatons centre and goofed around all summer, taking the long subway ride back to the suburbs at the end of the day.

someday you will find me / caught beneath the landsliiiiiide / in a champagne supernova, a champagne supernova in the skyyyy

what songs are inextricably bound to a specific memory for you?




ribfest. the weather was once again bipolar; sunny and hot one moment and then monsoon rain the next (documented below). pig elvis was in attendance to showcase the various trophies for best ribs, rubs and sauces; we ate and managed to stay dry (thanks to mike's keen weather forecasting senses!) and then as soon as the rain came, it left us with sunny skies and a fresh perspective on the world.

not to mention, some cinnamon tiny tom donuts to munch on in the car while we warmed up.



h'ohhhh yeah. friday.

i finally dyed jess's hair last night, and managed to cook a pretty sweet salad too. (yes, cook. it's a spinach salad with sauteed veggies and chicken topped with warm balsamic vinagrette. i find that eating salad that's made entirely out of cold things makes me feel a little bit rabbity at some times. i need something warm to feel like it's a meal instead of a snack!)

The recipe was super easy - chop up onions, mushrooms and bell peppers; slice boneless skinless chicken breast. sautee (separately) with some extra-virgin olive oil and a little bit of garlic and pepper.

For the dressing, heat some more olive oil and garlic in a small pan over moderate heat. Simmer garlic in oil to infuse the flavor; remove the garlic from the oil and transfer it to a small bowl. Wipe the pan and return to heat. Add balsamic vinegar. Raise heat to high and reduce vinegar by 1/2, 30 seconds. Stream the oil into saucepan and whisk to combine with vinegar.

Put the sauteed veggies and chicken on a bed of spinach; drizzle dressing over the salad and season the greens with salt and pepper to taste. I've seen this recipe with goat cheese added - I didn't have any on hand so I didn't use any, but it'd be a nice touch too, I think!

today: i'm babysitting liam, who is one super cool two-year-old that happens to be my second cousin. we're gonna kick it while his mom gets some her-time and like are gonna play on his backyard swingset so that he gets nice and tired out.

this weekend: mike and i found a 100-house garage sale so that should keep us occupied for a few hours at least. after that, we're gonna hit up the markham ribfest (which i'd mistakenly thought was last weekend) with our friends rob and justyna, and then play the rest by ear. my mom mentioned wanting to take a drive down to st jacobs for the farmers markets, which would most definitely be something i'm also up for.

what are your plans for the weekend?


0 for 2

ok, so i'm on a music kick this week. i was working late last night and had my music on shuffle, and india arie's "this too shall pass" came on. i love that song. so i played it three times on repeat, just because there was nobody else around to hear it and complain about the repetitiveness.

it's one of those songs that only she can do so well - she's so soulful and hopeful and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing, and so i wanted to listen to it a few more times today. (ha!)

yesterday: let's just say that the evening didn't go as planned. worked late, then decided to eat out with mike instead of cooking. by the time i got home it was 9:30 which was way too late to start dyeing hair and so i did a few things before bed. tonight will be the night of getting stuff done. painting, dyeing, and then whatever i feel like.

perhaps a little bit of reading?

here we go - it's almost friday!


highlights and then some

well hello there wednesday!

a few highlights from my blogroll:
finally, check out the new food blog that i've recently discovered - raising foodies written by joslyn of simple lovely. not only is the name ever so sweet, but the content and style is something that i really dig. check it out if you haven't already!

today: i'm working late tonight (it's so much easier when it's quiet!) and then i'm dyeing jess's hair and hope to get started on a new commissioned piece that i'm really excited about. i haven't had the chance to get painting in the past lil while, so when my cousin paige saw little cornell and asked me to take some pictures of her new house to paint it as well, i jumped at the chance.

come on wednesday. bring it on!


all hooked up

i heart my new iPhone. it's freakin fantastic. i'm never one that has the newest techie phone so this is quite a big leap for me, coming from my old clunky thick ugly cell phone. expect me to be twittering up a storm now that i'm connected 24/7. i just need to find an app for windows live messenger and then i'm good to go.

mike and most of my fam have blackberries and i've heard a few boo's from the peanut gallery about my conversion to apple, but i don't really care. while i wouldn't buy a mac computer cause they're not customizeable enough for me, the iPhone suits me just fine. mac stuff is the sleekest and prettiest stuff on the market, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better marketing scheme.

(note to any developer types out there: if you're not currently considering developing an app for messenger, could you please consider it? it doesn't make much sense to me that there's apps for other microsoft products but not for messenger. it makes me sad.)

yesterday: back to work after a week of vacation, and i'm determined to keep calm and relaxed. not too hard yesterday; i made a to-do list for the umpteen events and conferences i'll be running between now and november and even had time to go sit outside in the sunshine for 15 minutes.

i almost fell asleep, i was so peaceful.


today: more of the same. smooth sailing. cool as a cucumber - that's me.

ps - speaking of pretty and sleek, miss elise has her new website up, so be sure to check it out! (would you expect anything less? i love the design!)



this is my song for today. i love it. i love india arie. i love her message and her writing and her voice.

she's so inspirational, and so i wanted to share it with all of you. close your eyes and listen to the message - a little reminder for this monday in july.


long weekends are for patios

hello friday!

blair from delight by design was rocking her blog with some of the prettiest patio images i've seen in a while and so i wanted to pass them all on to you. if you haven't been over to there yet, be sure to get on over to check out the rest!

it's gonna be a quick post today - it's our last official non-weekend day of vacation and badda-boom, it's sunny with no rain in the forecast. there's nowhere to go but up, right? oh well. at least it'll be nice for commuting to work on monday.

today, mike and i have a bunch of errands to run before his parents arrive from waaaaay up north (like thirteen hours drive north) for an extended visit. we're gonna hit up the bookstore, some breakfast, the art supply store, and more.

happy independence day weekend to all of my american friends - i hope your weekend is filled with sunshine, good food and great memories!

(and maybe a few patios like the ones above)

image credits via delight by design


hello, universe

while it's still gray and cloudy here in toronto, it's at least finally stopped raining and i've finally stopped sneezing. sweet.

it's also been a little while since i've shared some of my most recent flickr faves with you - surprise, surprise, but the majority of the shots i've been coming across and hearting lately give me that warm fuzzy summer feeling. the lighting, the colours, the ambiance. so lighthearted!

today: lazing around. i'll likely get some drawing done this afternoon and maybe watch a movie. mike wants to hit up the used bookstore so perhaps we'll do that as well. we'll float and see where thursday takes us - i'm in my comfy pants and am ready to rock. now - where will the day take me?

1. busy, 2. sweet little things of sweet little child., 3. In The Floodlight, 4. once i wanted to be, 5. apple green, 6. saturday morning sunshine, 7. we become silhouettes, 8. numeral types, 9. hole, 10. tea and chopsticks, 11. On tiptoes, 12. Fairground, 13. (explored!), 14. Paths, 15. Untitled, 16. thirtythree, 17. Let me sit here for a while, 18. Piensos equilibrados, 19. Palacios de la Sierra, 20. Typewriter Hammers, 21. eternal moment / momento eterno, 22. Keep smiling, 23. Coffee and chocolate, 24. Untitled, 25. lightnings are cool., 26. 3549934446_3ea858dcc0, 27. Red Bike,Pink Wall and Shadows near Sunset ~, 28. Classic Bicycles, 29. Toolshed at the Secret Garden {64.365}, 30. Mission Street Lightscape 8:20 pm {22.365}, 31. Hooded Man Beside Road, 32. Full S-T-O-P {49.365}, 33. Esther, red hallway, Seattle Library, 34. starlings, 35. Where the Sidewalk Ends, 36. ...and they all lived happily ever after. `


some some summertime

happy canada day!

i'm going to keep this one short - partly because it's a holiday and partly because my allergies are going haywire today. i've been sneezing and sniffling my way through the morning in hopes that my medication would kick in, but to no avail. it's time for a serious nap - i'm crossing my fingers that the pollen count goes down by the time i'm awake and ready to roll.

despite the persistently bipolar weather that we've been having over the course of the week, i'm deciding to remain optimistic that it'll cheer up for a span of more than an hour. given our mid-week holiday, many of the traditionally scheduled street festivals are running this weekend instead of on canada day actual, so it's gonna be an awesome weekend filled with visits to markham's annual ribfest and to stouffville's strawberry festival. it's gonna be a great weekend with gorgeous weather (no rain!) and good food to boot.

to give it some encouragement, i've chosen some summery dresses in cheery colours along with footwear and jewelry to match. now - if only the weather would take the hint!

images via polyvore


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