Wednesday, January 30, 2013

happy february

Is it almost February?! Where on earth did the time go? Oh man... that dreadful time around the 14th of February is coming up soon and stores are in full fledged marketing mode for it. I plan on going to Boston Pizza for heart shaped pizzas with my sis (& anyone else who wants to come!), like I did last year, but minus baby Sophie since she's back in Toronto.

Did you guys know I love babies?! My cousin Graham & his wife Julia had a BABY BOY a few days ago - Linden Elliot Bradley! I think my grandpa is excited to have a boy in the family to carry on the Bradley last name. ANDDDD.... my friend Christy-Dawn's brother Jason and his wife Stephanie had a BABY GIRL yesterday - Kaelyn Elianne Boileau!!! I can't wait to meet them both - I saw some pictures and they are both pretty darn cute; although I am sure MUCH cuter in person! (don't worry - there will be photos of both once I go visit!)  Babies are seriously such an exciting part of life - who doesn't love a good baby snuggle?!

On another note, I baked cookies on Monday with this recipe - check it out, they are HEALTHY cookies!!  Well, there's still butter & sugar BUT I will tell you a secret - there's carrots in them! I think you could even improvise with the recipe and add cranberries, or other dried fruit perhaps? That'd add a bit of sweetness & crunch which would be good.


I read a blog called "A Cup of Jo" and she does a lovely list of things "from around the web" on her Friday posts & I loooove reading through all the fun things she find. Check out this week's; there is some fun stuff she found! I loved the article about Google's female employees maternity leave.

Even though I am not in the market for a new job currently, I am always on the hunt for cool job postings. You never know what you might come across for yourself or for anyone else! I am constantly sending people job postings. I love the CivicInfo website which has municipal postings on it; any other good sites people look through?!

Oh. My. Gosh. I went to Whole Foods on Cambie & Broadway for lunch yesterday and the salad bar was the Best. Thing. Ever. Everything was amazingly fresh and there was everything you could ever imagine to put on salads, plus some! I put so much on my salad: edamame, kale, cabbage, marinated mushrooms, tofu, eggplant, quinoa, pecans, squash, corn, onions...the list could continue for a while. It was so delicious!! However, it was not so budget-friendly...my oh-so-fantastic salad was about $15. Totally worth it, but I definitely can't turn this into a regular lunch time occurrence. A girl I work with has an inside family joke & calls the store "Whole Paycheque" - I enjoyed that! (so true!)


I worked out of Tong Louie today which was exciting to be back in my old stompin' grounds. As much as I don't mind my new commute, a quick 15 minute drive is kinda nice once in a while!

Hope everyone is having a great day :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

birthday cake.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that it was Lindsay's birthday, so on Friday Heidi & I made dinner to celebrate it and we FINALLY got to meet her 'new' boyfriend! Heidi also made these adorable pink cupcakes for Lindsay: (they tasted even better than they looked - cream cheese icing & all!)


Lindsay blowing out her candles accompanied by Mr. Jack
Yesterday was Jessica's birthday so my cute little siblings took it upon themselves to bake her a cake with her favorite fishy on it - Nemo. I came home 3/4 of the way through the process so I didn't do a whole lot, but I did help!!

We googled 'how to draw Nemo' & my sister followed a tutorial...we didn't have  much faith in being able to do this on a cake but as you will see below, she did it quite well!!

Making Nemo color orange icing is a challenge with food coloring we learned...

See - I helped! I iced cupcakes!

They got fancy & made a marble cake

Ocean blue icing being applied

My cupcakes - Heid, you were my inspiration, but I had to use ziploc bags for the application process! Not so fancy...

NEMO! Jessica loved it :)
PS - did you hear about the fire at the club in Brazil? Sad & crazy....

PPS - I want to make this easy marinara sauce for pasta

Thursday, January 24, 2013

what's new?

Yay hockey is back! The above photo explains what hockey season means to me: social outings with yummy drinks & nachos. This giant fishbowl drink was on special at Steamworks on Saturday night.

This is my buddy Jack. We went for a walk on Monday to get coffee (& a delish cinnamon bun!) at the Stomping Grounds Cafe which is super close to Heid's new casa.

If you haven't tried Menchies, you simply haven't lived. It's essentially make-your-own-frozen-yogurt-sundaes. So good. And who remembers the circus animal crackers?! (pink & white with polka dots) I used to eat them at my grandparents allllll the time as a kid. Memories!
Our friends at 7-11 are getting re-branded...
...and bringing retro colors & fonts back. Kinda cool!

Check out these super cool U.S Air Force photos


 PS - what one woman learned from spending a year in prison. Her book, called "Orange is the New Black" would be interesting!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

black bean & sweet potato chili

A girl I work with shared this recipe (below) with me that I made tonight. I've made chili lots of times, so this was just a slight variation on a classic recipe. I really liked the addition of sweet potatoes! It made it feel quite hearty which was nice; and it is also quite healthy. I also love cilantro in ANYTHING.I forgot to put lime in, but that would have added a nice Mexican flair; I also thought that adding corn would work well with it but we didn't have any this time around.

I really need to start taking photos with an actual camera in some decent light - these iPhone photos I keep putting on here don't do ANY justice to my food!! :(

_____________________________________________________
2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin

Pinch sea salt
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water
1 - 14 oz (398 mL) can black beans, rinsed
1 cup (250 mL) canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped 


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, sweet potato, and zucchini; cook, stirring often, until onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt; cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. 

Add water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover and simmer until sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Add beans, tomatoes, and lime juice; increase heat to high, and return to a strong simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a slight boil and cook 5 additional minutes. Remove from heat and toss in cilantro. 

Serves 2 to 3. 

Each serving contains: 295 calories; 12 g protein; 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 55 g carbohydrates; 15 g fibre; 350 g sodium 
___________________________________________________

On the food topic, have you ever heard of hemp hearts? The same girl who gave me this recipe (who is super duper insanely healthy!) also told me about hemp hearts. They are one of the 'super foods' and are a grain that is very high in protein, which is good for me to try to get more of given that I don't eat meat.  I made a chopped salad for lunch today for little sister & I (can you tell I'm trying to be healthier?!) and it consisted of: broccoli, tuna, chick peas, apple, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt n' peppa and hemp hearts! It was really yummy! I always find it such a challenge to make things that I am excited to eat come lunch time AND ones that are healthy at that. 

Eating lunch at my desk...
And finally, my dear sister sent this to me and we both think it's SO true: (hehe)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I had dinner tonight with a friend from high school that I literally haven't seen in ten years! It was crazy to talk about how old we are getting... high school was already TEN years ago??! Where has the time gone? Crazy.

We had dinner at The Eatery, which is on Broadway & Alma. It's this super funky sushi restaurant that has a lot of quirk and spunk. We had to wait for about 15 - 20 minutes to get a seat but the menu is really interesting. It has typical sushi items (except with fun, unique names), as well as some other dishes. Apparently there is even a DJ there on the weekends! I'd recommend it not only for the good sushi rolls & ah-mazingly excellent tuna tempura, but a fun atmostphere.

Another good classic restaurant, and personal FAVE is Browns Socialhouse and they are the Groupon for the day! I bought a few since they are such good deals and I end up going there quite frequently. Coincedentally, one of my favorite items there is the dynamite roll. Oh, and of course the social sodas! Sushi and drinks; what more can you want in a restaurant?!

JC is home - hooray!! She has been working on cruise ships for a while now and is only back for a few weeks; then off on a vacation to Colombia & Ecuador... SO JEALOUS! It's been lovely to see her while she is back since I miss her lots when she is away. Her and I went to the gym together yesterday and then had dinner with lil' sis and Dave at the aforementioned Browns. That's right, you heard me correctly, I WENT TO THE GYM! Proud? I am! I did cardio for half an hour. It's a start!

After dinner, I really wanted to lay in bed and watch a movie. Remember the good ol' days of renting movies from Blockbuster? I loved the fun, eventful-ness of going to the actual store and picking one out, then buying candy at the checkout and going home to watch it. There just really isn't the same excitement of "renting a movie" when it means you simply charge it to your credit card and buy it off iTunes... Alas, I watched the Five Year Engagement and it was pretty cute.

Lastly, check out this cover letter that became a hit on Wall Street! Pretty funny & VERY bold.

Hope everyone had a great few days!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

manicotti

I found a recipe on Pinterest that I to made for dinner this evening: spinach & ricotta stuffed shells.  Except, apparently Price Smart in Fleetwood doesn't carry pasta shells (like in the recipe photo) or anything stuff-able besides manicotti & cannelloni shells. So, manicotti it was! I just doubled the recipe for the stuffing and stuffed it in the other shells which worked totally fine. I added a few red & green peppers to the sauce though for some extra veggies; I also didn't use the chorizo sausage that this recipe called for.

Where it turned out quite well, it's definitely a challenge of your kitchen abilities to be able to cook the manicotti shells to the right softness/hardness! I think I did it well in the end, but there were a few I had to throw out because they were super al dente in some spots. Not sure how that worked but oh well! I still had tons of shells leftover to stuff. Lots of variations you could do on this dish too - add ground beef, add other veggies...


In other news... 

Remember the Sweet Valley High books? From when I was in approximately grade eight? My friend Lara from work told me that there's a SEQUEL!!! It shows the crew ten years later...I am definitely going to need to read them!

One of the blogs I read regularly is expecting baby #2

Kwantlen is giving four honorary degrees & one is to the CEO of the YWCA in Vancouver.

I used this recipe to make stuffed mushroom caps on Friday & they were yummy!

My sis discovered that the Palms Hotel in Vegas has a 'Barbie Fantasy Suite'... 

A pretty wedding

A hilarious YouTube video that pokes fun of Instagram (I'm totally guilty of all of these...)

A bowling alley wedding

Love this pillow

What's everyone up to this weekend?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BINZY! This photo (one of my faves) is circa 2002 or 2003 maybe? Gosh...are we getting old!? xoxo

I had coffee recently with Eliza & her big belly! She is due in March & waddling around now. Can't wait!!

And a few little things from my travels around the web today... 


Job hunting tips (my favorite is #1 - don't pretend to know what you want to do if you don't know!) 

These Nicholas Kirkwood shoes are so fun & wild! (and expensive...) 

Vancouver Social Media Awards are coming March 28, 2013

The Globe & Mail's Stars & Dogs of the week

Mine & little sisters absolute FAVE new song

The new shampoo Santa got me to thicken my hair (ever used it? Does it work?)

Want to join a gym?! The YMCA has no joiner fee for the month of January! (come visit me at the Langara YMCA!!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

life skills

I found this article on the Huffington Post about the life skills you should learn by the time you are 40. It's pretty interesting since they are fairly basic things but things we don't necessarily think about:

  • how to delegate
  • how to comfort someone
  • how to spot a good opportunity
  • how to make conversation at parties
  • how to end a friendship
  • how to stay in touch
  • how to not sweat the small stuff
  • how to not embarrass yourself at karaoke
  • how to make new friends at any age
  • how to forgive yourself
  • how to tell a secret
  • simple ways to look polished
  • how to let go of anger
  • how to say goodbye to a loved one
  • how to listen better
  • how to buy great wine
  • how to laugh at life

Like them?  I do! I especially like 'how to laugh at life' since I think it's important to be able to have fun in anything you do.

goals

I decided I want to make goals for the year of 2013, but feel like since I just got a new job as well as finished school in 2012, what kind of goals can I make? Not that work & school are the end-all-be-all, but they are pretty major things that won't be changing in 2013. So... what does that leave me with?! I guess my bucket list is a good start of things to work on...

Blonde on a Budget wrote a list of her goals for 2013, and it's pretty inspiring!

What are you up to this year?! Do tell!

Friday, January 4, 2013

twenty thirteen

You would think with so much time on my hands that I'd blog more often, but I just realized it's almost been a week! Weird.

Is everyone else still accidentally writing '2012' as the date? Always weird to change that habit each year. Hope everyone rang in the new year well - I am not a big new years event fan as I feel that it is SO overrated. It is just another night where places charge way more than they normally do and there is so much pressure to find the 'most fun' thing to do. I always say this and never plan anything but then last minute am scrambling to find something so I am not bored at home....! It never fails.

This year, my siblings and I hung out with some friends at a pub. We were out quite late, which didn't work in our favor since we had a wedding to go to the next morning! I do love weddings, but was a little on the tired side for this one! It was beautiful & great though.

Hope everyone is having a lovely 2013 so far! 

The Spier siblings

Me, Jessica & her sister

Little sister & I at midnight

Pants & his super cool new years hat that left sparkles allllllll over him

The wedding - it was so sweet that they had their kids as their wedding party!


The bride & groom

A little gangnam style dancing to wrap up the night....