Extreme Backyard Tobogganing

We get a lot of snow during the winter.

A lot.

Of snow.

As such, everyone around here makes the most of it and fills their days with wondrous winter activities like snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing...an assortment of fun things but the BEST is going tobogganing. There's just nothing like throwing yourself down a way too steep hill, with no way to stop yourself because you're actually riding on a somewhat frozen piece of plastic that has nothing but two holes  on the top that are too small for your mitts to actually get a good grip on. The wind whipping at your face as you scream before hitting a bump at the bottom with such speed that you're launched off of the ground and face-plant in a nearby snowbank.

Loves it.

The most difficult part about tobogganing though, is finding a great hill. Some kids growing up around me had amazing backyards with enough pitch to really get going and I was so jealous but what was I going to do? Build my own in my backyard to compete?

Well, when I was driving around my neighbourhood last week, I saw THIS:


This house has it's own bobsled/luge track!! The bottom part goes on forever which makes me think that you could get a lot of speed off of the top, especially with the banks. 

That's what I call good parenting. 


The Sucky Shawn Desman

Just before Christmas, I was out doing some shopping and picked up a brand of razors that I don't usually purchase because there was a rebate for a $15 iTunes gift card. Usually, I forget to mail rebates but considering the total cost of the razors was  $10, it made sense to clip the UPC code and sent it on in. 

Finally, the gift card arrived on Friday! Yipee!! FREE MUSIC!!!

Naturally, I spent the next hour or so listening to new tracks and purchasing a few. As I was scanning the Top 100 songs, my gaze fell upon a name that I hadn't seen in quite some time. With my lip curled in disgust, I was confused on how this dude was still making music. It's not like he's the worst singer in the world, but I had an encounter with him in university that turned me off him for life. If you're not Canadian, or more specifically a Torontonian, then I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't heard of him before.

His name is Shawn Desman.

You can tell that he loves himself. And yes, that is a weird side-non-mohawk-thing on his head (it didn't catch on, thank jebus). 

When I was an undergrad student, I was heavily involved with my Student Union. One of my responsibilities was to greet and hang out with whatever musicians the SU would bring in for concerts. It was a pretty sweet job and I met a lot of really cool bands and virtually EVERYONE I was assigned to  was great. In fact, there were times that I ended up liking a band's music more after meeting them and I got to meet a few big names along the way.

I'll give you one guess at who the douchiest McDouche was though...

Yes, it was Shawn Desman.

For the majority of you who've never heard of SD, he had a mildly popular song in the mid 2000's that gave some shout-out's to Toronto. 

"This is how we rock it in the T-Dot" is a line from the chorus. Now, there aren't many songs out there that directly reference Toronto, so locals embraced it to a point even though the song sounded like a bootleg rip-off of some boy band. Considering I went to school in Fredericton, I didn't suspect that he'd be a major draw. Well, not only was he NOT a major draw, he was the worst selling concert in Student Union history. In a venue that can hold 3,000 students, he sold under 200 tickets.

No joke, TWO HUNDRED TICKETS!! We couldn't even give them away.

So as the concert night approached, I roped a gal pal into helping me because I knew that it would be lame and didn't want to be alone all night. The person in charge of booking the bands came into my office the morning of the concert and handed me a small box with a shy smile. Inside, I found the most RIDICULOUS assortment of things.

As I run through the contents of the box, please keep in mind that this dude had ONE moderately successful single and we are a UNIVERSITY campus, not some major venue.

The first gem I uncovered was a TWO PAGE list of SD's rider cart demands. Although it was a long time ago, I do remember the following highlights (mostly because it took me ALL DAY to put it together):

6 pairs white tube socks
6 pairs black tube socks
6-pack of white tanks
2, 8-packs of black Sharpie markers
1 bottle rum (specific brand, don't remember)
1 bottle vodka (specific brand, don't remember)
1 bottle tequila (specific brand, don't remember)
2, 24's bottles of beer (not cans, bottles)
Many, many different types of mixes
Sparking and flat bottles of water
Assorted sandwich tray
Assorted fruit tray
A bunch of specific candy
(if you can believe it, there was way more than this...)

Imagine my surprise as I scanned the list. Why on EARTH would I buy tube socks? Why would he need TWELVE pairs? SIXTEEN Sharpies? There were only 200 people coming! And just how much was he planning on drinking? He's only ONE PERSON!

I was mentally calculating how long it was going to take me when something at the bottom of the box caught my eye. As my hands held the addition up in front of my face, it took me a moment to register what I was looking at.

It was a blue, one-shouldered tank top with "Shawn Desman" written across the front in glittery graffiti. At the bottom of the rider demand sheet was a small sentence which informed me that any SU representative assigned to Shawn-y had to wear the tank. There were two in the box. Oh, and we didn't get to keep them, we had to give them back after the show.


So the SU was LOSING money with this idiot and now he wanted at LEAST a few hundred dollars worth of crap for his dressing room and for me to wear ugly merchandise? Forcing people to APPEAR like they're your fans when they're not is simultaneously sad and embarrassing. There was NO WAY that I was going to wear it and NO WAY I was going to make my friend (actually she thought it was hysterical and opted to wear it anyway). 

So after I spent the better part of the morning scouring the city for his specific and insane demands, I thought that I'd done pretty well and returned back to campus to start setting up his dressing room. A few hours later, it looked awesome and I went back to my office to await his arrival. Well, he arrived all right, with TWO huge suburbans and...no joke...THREE bodyguards, his manager and two other dudes. The teeny singer (he was seriously short) briefly acknowledged my presence (probably because I wasn't wearing the shirt and my gal pal wasn't coming until closer to the concert time) before announcing that he was hungry. I told him that there were the sandwich and fruit trays in his dressing room but he decided that wasn't good enough and that he wanted to go out to a restaurant for dinner.


I had spent HOURS prepping and he wasn't even going to go inside?!

Nope, he really didn't. Everyone got back into their large black SUV's and took off (the SU received a bill a week later for the dinner. They picked the MOST EXPENSIVE restaurant in town...he's still waiting to be reimbursed...haha). He came back MOMENTS before having to perform and only sang two songs to the "crowd" before claiming that his voice wasn't "working" and bailed. Frankly, we were happy to get out of there.

When we went back to his dressing room to clean it out, THEY HAD TAKEN EVERYTHING!! There wasn't a single thing left on the TWO tables I needed to lay everything out. 


So yeah, that was way back in the early 2000s and I hadn't heard much about him since until this week. I   tried to find the photo shoot that my pal and I had (slightly wasted) after the concert, in our tanks (I begrudgingly put mine on for the concert with a little liquid lubrication) but couldn't find them. 

It ended up being a pretty funny night really, after SD and his unnecessary entourage left, but all the rage came storming back when I saw his name on iTunes. 

Dear Shawn Desman: you suuuuuuuuuuck.

Oh, and we didn't return the tanks....one may have been destroyed in a parking lot during the wee hours of morning after the concert.


Down Under Dirty Thirty

A wonderful pal who's currently living in a land down under is having a big birthday today!!


What up, dirty thirty?

So in honour of my Rapunzl-haired friend, I have composed the following poem:

Something Bad Has Happened

*clears throat*

It was over 12 weeks ago when I marched right in
To my local post office, to do me some inquirin.'
I asked the very knowledgable clerk how long it would take
to send something to Australia so my present wouldn't be late.

It would take four to 12 weeks for something big
and three to six weeks for something small like a fig.
I looked at her quizzicly and said, "That's a really big gap!"
 "A bin sits till it's full, then goes," came out of her yap.

So my quest for a small gift began then and there,
perhaps there was something I could buy for her hair?
Around and around my little city, I went
until I found her the most perfect present.

Delighted and proud that I'd left enough time
for it to arrive down under, frankly I felt sublime.
"I need to mail this in a month" I said to myself
and put the gift down on a nearby shelf.

Well Christmas came and went, but the present stayed
exactly where I left it, until the mailing day came.
I went to the shelf to collect the gift
but it wasn't there; man I was miffed.

I searched and searched, but it was nowhere to be found.
Where the heck did it go? It has to be around!
Up the stairs and down, from the bedroom to my car
As the title of this poem tells you, I didn't get very far.

Convinced I would find it when I wasn't really looking
I went about my business, doing my usual baking and cooking.
But not a day would go by without me rifling around
in drawers, cabinets and closets -- oh please just be found!

So now it's my Aussie pals' big dirty thirty
and the only present she got from me is this one, it's wordy.
Since she's a day ahead, this is actually a day late
but that's kind of fitting, considering her present's fate.

I love and miss my fellow loud-talker,
when she comes back to Canada, I'm becoming her stalker.
Someday I hope to find the missing inventory
but in the mean time, it's kind of a funny story.

Happy Birthday Aussie!



Amazing New Hybrid

I couldn't sleep at all last night and was up at the crack of dawn with Marc. After dropping off the boys at the groomer, I headed down to the Superstore (aka the greatest supermarket ever...aside from Highland Farms but we don't have those here) to do our weekly shop. Cruising around the baked goods department to steal some of their plastic bags for my homemade bagels (don't judge, I make sure to buy SOMETHING from the bakery to even it out) I came upon THIS!


According to a bakery worker, the croissants are FRIED and then GLAZED.

Mon Dieu! What would the French say? (probably that we're a bunch of fatties)

I would have bought one to try but they were only available in packs of six. There's no possible way that these aren't the greatest things ever so I'm proud of myself for NOT picking up the box. One probably has enough calories to carry through two days and the chances of me eating a SINGLE croissant donut are...well...slim. Since I'm trying to get back down to my summer slim-ness, these pastries-on-steroids had to remain at the store.

Still though, I couldn't resist sharing the discovery. 

I do love me a great hybrid. 


Eye Popping Pepi

After a small tutorial with my Baby Brother via Skype, I've learned a few new tricks with Patty (my new camera). I took my photo-party upstairs because we have a really pretty duvet cover that I thought would make a fantastic background. The shot I ended up getting of Pepi made me laugh so hard that I actually teared up a little, which is why I knew that I just HAD to post it.

His eyeballs are slightly disproportionate for the size of his head.
It's like he wants to eat the remote and I can't stop laughing! Pepi is the funniest subject to take pictures of because he has about a zillion facial expressions. I hadn't noticed his variety of looks until I started taking pictures of him every seven seconds.

And just so I'm not playing favourites, here's one of The Pickle (he's kind of like Zoolander in that he only has one pose but I guess that's all you need when you're really, really good-looking). 

What a handsome fella.
They're off to the groomer tomorrow (Friday), which means that we'll have extra-adorable puppies. I'm not sure if it's possible for me to take more pictures of them than I already am, but perhaps I'll be inspired by their haircuts. 

Plus, the place where we take them uses a shampoo that smells like vanilla cookies. It's awesome. 


Early Easter Pops

Bored, I decided to bake something. My latest obsession has been playing around with CAKE POPS, so off to the cupboard I went to get started. During my last trip for baking supplies at The Bulk Barn I picked up some mini springtime/Easter cookie cutters. Despite the raging BLIZZARD outside, I decided to bring a little spring into my morning.

I'm starting to get better with eavening out the coatings, but it's still a little tricky sometimes. I've learned that the cake needs to be COLD before dipping or it's more likely to split. That means I need to take a break halfway through and refreeze them. It's worth the extra time because there aren't as many casualties.

I made four different shapes:




and Flowers

This shot makes me giggle (despite the crumbling nose).

I seriously love making these things. They're pretty easy and turn out pretty well. I'm not into using sticks though because they're kind of expensive and when the pops are small, they look like little truffles. Delicious chocolate truffles with a magnificent cake and icing centre. 

Oh man, how many days left 'till Spring? *looks longingly outside at snow-covered ground*

The Bloggie Awards

So Nikki, The Fashionable Wife, has decided to host her own version of the Oscars, named 

The Bloggie Awards 

and needs help passing the word around.

She made this button herself!

If you're interested in participating, mosey on over to The Fashionable Wife and post your nominations for the following categories:

Best Picture(s)- the best photography
Best Comedy-  funny blogger
Best Supporting Cast -  husbands, boyfriends, children, pets
Best Costumes -  most fashionable blogger/ best fashion posts
Best Food-  the best recipes
Best DIY- crafts, decorating, etc
Best Blogger in a Leading Role-  most likeable blog writer
Best Blog-  the best blog overall- good pics

Nikki will reveal the winners on Sunday, Feb 27th.

Good luck participants!!


Sound Machine Suggestions

When Marc and I lived in a condo in downtown Toronto, it was noisy. So noisy, in fact, that we were forced to take action or risk never getting a good night's sleep. After considerable running around we found our solution -- a sound machine. 

It has six sound options:

1. Thunder - Which just sounds like white noise. I've heard other "thunders" that are far superior to our machine.
2. The Beach - Pretty good aside from the birds. It would be better if it was just waves.
3. Rainstorm - Also pretty good but could be slightly more authentic.
4. Jungle - Sounds cool but not consistent enough for sleeping. Shrieking monkeys aren't exactly soothing.
5. Crickets - Very nice. Great for sleeping
6. White noise - Nothing fancy but great if we're in a hotel because we can't hear doors slamming in the hallway.

Although the six options seem like a lot, there really are only two sounds that we keep in heavy rotation: Crickets and The Beach. It's been years now and we still sleep with the machine. I love it because it's pretty small and therefore can be brought with us anywhere we go. During my nap yesterday, I turned on The Beach and my mind started to wander.

If I could have ANY sound in the whole world on my sound machine, what would I want?

Here's what I've come up with so far.

1. Popcorn popping - I know it may sound strange, but I find that while standing in line at the movies, I'm often transfixed by the sound (and sight) of popcorn gently popping. It sounds a little like a drumroll, which could be a problem for sleeping because a sound like that would build momentum instead of relaxation, but I think there's a pretty good chance it would end up in the latter category. Also, it could lead to some tasty, tasty dreams.

2. Muffled noises like you're in the inside of a car - Babies LOVE falling asleep in the car. I guess it could have something to do with the movement, but the sounds must also play a part. I'd suggest going for a country drive and recording it. Maybe keeping the windows down for a bit, while cruising along (and obviously not on a highway). 

3. Frying bacon - So it's sort of like popcorn popping, but bacon cooking has got to be one of the better sounds out there. It's fairly consistent, which would be great for sleeping, and again -- the dreams would be TASTY. Better yet would be some kind of scent distributer which would waft gentle wisps of maple-smoked-meat. Hmm..on second thought that could kind of suck because I'd wake up wanting to EAT the delicious-sounding-and-smelling food but not actually have any to eat. Okay, this one's a work in progress. 

4. Tennis - I grew up playing tennis and the sounds of fuzzy-covered-rubber-balls being whacked back and forth put me in a very zen state. Our neighbours here have a court and I just adored sitting on our back porch with my morning tea, listening to the soft "thwaps." Naturally, any kind of cursing would have to be edited out. 

So I'm not sure who I'll be sending my GENIUS sound machine ideas to, but I'm gonna get on it because these are GOLD! In the meantime, I guess I'll keep beaching it up with the occasional cricket session.

*chirp, chirp*


Glitter-ing Triumph

I have a serious penchant for awful movies and by "awful," I mean made-for-TV-movies. The majority of straight-to-TV films are full of plot holes, predicable endings and awkward dialogue but that's what makes them so amazing. It's also nice that I can clean my house while watching one because I can leave the room for time to time and not really miss anything. 

Well, the DIVA network is a wonderful place to find movies on the weekend and last night was no exception. Although not an original TV movie, I believe it's found an appropriate home.

The movie I'm referring to is Glitter, starring the unintentionally hilarious Mariah Carey.


Here are some reasons why you should watch this gem:

(a) Mariah Carey plays "Billie," an aspiring singer who's also an orphan. Not only is "Billie" like the worst name ever for a character, but being an orphan takes her character's emotional handicaps to the next level. Her mother was a somewhat famous singer who ended up losing her marbles. 

(b) Billie likes to wear a smear of silver glitter somewhere on her skin EVERY DAY. Some days it's on her shoulder, others on her collarbone or back. It's like playing "Where's Waldo." I keep waiting for it to smudge on something. 

(c) Billie's two best friends, who she met in the orphanage BTW, are played by Da Brat and the scary cop chick from Third Watch (pre-crazy-lip-job). DA BRAT?! Amazing.

(d) Billie's manager likes to wear dress shirts that aren't buttoned to parties, award shows and clubs...oh, and his name is Dice and he wears a necklace with his name on it. He also prefers to say "chu" instead of "you." 

(e) It's set in the EIGHTIES and, therefore, the outfits are breathtakingly mortifying.

Case in point, her hat. You can't see that she's also wearing hot pants with fishnet garters. (link)

I won't give away the end but trust me, it's epic and involves a character played by Terrence Howard. TERRENCE HOWARD! And, of course, Billie sings a power-ballad in front of a packed stadium (which she wrote herself and her label didn't want her to sing, obviously)...in a 40% see-through dress.

I NEED to find this movie on DVD because it belongs in my rotation of when-I'm-sick-or-sad movies. It's GLORIOUS!


Hugging "The Help"

I've been reading voraciously for the last few weeks, devouring novels like they're Nerd Ropes. I decided to branch out a little from my favourite authors and am very happy I did because I've discovered some really great fiction. 

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett blew me away.

It's about the relationship between black women who work as maids and their white women employers. Set in Jacksonville, Mississippi in the 1960s, around the time of Dr. King's march, there are three perspectives, two from the point of view of different maids (Aibileen and Minny) and one white woman (Skeeter). The author's ability to create three unique narratives is impressive, but even more impressive is her ability to really get the reader hooked within the first few sentences. 

I laughed, cried and couldn't put it down. I'm not usually drawn to "serious fiction" as I don't really enjoy stories that make me sad, but this book took all my previous preferences and promptly threw them out my living room window. It wasn't what I'd describe as an "easy read," but that has more to do with the content than the author's writing style. There are so many examples of how black women (and men) are mistreated which usually fills me with rage, but the author presented the information in such a way that it almost became empowering. That's the mark of someone who knows how to write.

Even in the end, when some of the white women were getting their just desserts, I couldn't help but feel pangs of sympathy for their ignorance. Making the character "Hilly" into an actual person was quite a feat.

So if you're looking for a heartfelt read that will leave you feeling slightly drained but ultimately uplifted, then go pick it up!


Pictures Galore!

It's official, I simply CANNOT stop taking pictures with Patty (my new fancy-pants camera). If I can't see it through her lens, then I don't want to see it at ALL! Mwuah ha ha!

But seriously, Patty's arrival into my life couldn't have come at a better time since I've been trapped inside my (wonderful but slowly-becoming-confining) house. So far I've drained the battery once and taken over 500 pictures! I think I may have to get an external hard drive or something because I can't decide which ones to keep and which ones to delete yet.

I'm LOVING getting to take all types of artsy-shots. Here are some of my faves.

When Costco opens here in May I'm going to need to pace myself on photo enlargements. That or win the lottery and buy myself an art gallery or something. Taking pictures is SO FUN!!!


Twitter Vindication

A few weeks ago, I blogged about cookies I made for my Grandma’s birthday. I wrapped them up in beautiful little bags, packed them snugly in between layers of bubble-wrap and sent them off with Purolator to arrive safely at my Aunt’s house the day before the big surprise party.

Just to refresh your memory.

Here’s the thing though…

That did NOT happen.

I got a text from my Aunt on Monday (two days AFTER the party) saying that the cookies arrived.

WHAT? I screamed inside my head. What is she talking about? I paid a FORTUNE to ship those puppies and they were guaranteed to arrive by the end of business on FRIDAY. It was too late in the day for me to run into the place where I mail things (not a Purolator/Canada Post Outlet itself, but a counter at a local independent office supply store…I love me them independents). Since it was already late, I didn’t feel like there was a rush.

The next day, I went into the Local Store to see what happened. Luckily, I’m a total disaster when it comes to disposing of papers so I had the confirmation slip (after spending a small amount of time rifling through my filing cabinet back seat of my car). The ever helpful worker entered the number into her computer and was very sad to report to me that the delay was due to weather. I stood there staring at her until she explained that meant I wouldn’t get my money back and if I wanted the package to be shipped anywhere else, I’d have to pay full price. She offered me the phone number for Purolator’s direct customer service line and wished me luck.

Frustrated but not deterred, I got back into my car and called before leaving the parking lot. I was convinced I’d solve the issue on the phone and then just hop back into the Local Store to complete the reshipment up to my Grandmother’s house (travelling from a suburb of Toronto to a city about a 2 hours north). The conversation with the agent on the phone lasted about two minutes and they gave me the same information as the worker in the Local Store.

Weather is considered an “act of God” and therefore nullifies any guarantee of delivery.

Pissed off and fired up, I took to my Twitter Account and posted the following:

Paid $50 to @Purolatorhelp for "guaranteed" next day delivery. Too bad it arrived TWO DAYS LATE. #neveragain #epicfail #fedex4life

Halfway home, Fiona (my AyePhone) vibrated in my lap. I’d gotten a Direct Message from a dude named Jérémie who works at Purolator’s customer service department, asking me if he could help with my problem.

By the end of business on TUESDAY, he had arranged for the package to be picked up from my Aunt’s house and delivered to my Grandma’s. I’d be responsible for the difference if it would have cost more to deliver the package from my home town to my Grandma’s, which I thought was fair since it wasn’t the company’s ineptitude that led to the delay (and I was psyched to not pay full price to actually get my Grandma her cookies).

Well, by THURSDAY of that week, I still hadn’t heard anything. Nothing from Purolator asking for more money and nothing from my Grandma, squealing her excitement at her couture cookies. I wrote Jérémie an email following up. On FRIDAY, I got the fateful news that there’d been a mix-up and the cookies were being RETURNED TO ME!

Oh the HORROR!!

All I wanted was to do something nice and surprise my Grandma and the whole thing became an official nightmare. So now my Grandma thinks that I FORGOT her birthday and the damn cookies would be stale by the time they got back to me.

Well, by the MONDAY, there were zero cookies in my life (aside from the OREOS that I couldn’t stop shoving in my mouth because the supply was never ending thanks to our not-so-recent Costco trip). I wrote Jérémie again and received a response that he wouldn’t be in the office until TUESDAY.

Sure enough, on TUESDAY, Jérémie wrote me saying that the package should have been delivered on MONDAY and was no longer showing up in his system.


Because he’s clearly no newbie when it comes to crazy customers, his next email stated that he would credit me for another shipment. I have to say that I wasn’t too confident that it would actually arrive. Sure enough though, exactly ONE WEEK after he said he mailed it, I indeed got a credit note in the mail…for WAY MORE than I’d used!

I sent a package for overnight delivery 2 provinces over that weighed just over 1LB.

The credit was for a package up to FIVE POUNDS, anywhere in Canada!

Naturally, I thought of my Dad & Dale (Stepmom) who live on an island in British Columbia. I was going to use every CENT of the credit and they seriously couldn’t be much farther from me. They loved my bagels when they visited, so I got to baking and created a care package that weighed as close to 5 LBS as I could get (4LBS 12.5OZ to be exact, I have a ballin’ kitchen scale thanks to my Dad & Dale). It included 8 bagels, a loaf of cinnamon banana pecan bread and a half-dozen cake pops. 

When I brought my pre-wrapped baked-goods package to the Local Store, they were DELIGHTED to see me. I’d been in earlier to tell them all about my Twitter experience and they surged with pride when I won in the end. Needless to say, they were DEVESTATED when I told them the cookies never arrived but bounced back to DELIGHTED when I showed them my credit.

This is where it gets awesome.

The wonderful Jérémie didn’t check off if the package credit was for “air” or “ground.” We hummed and hawed over it for about three NANOSECONDS before checking off “air.” The worker checked in her computer and said that it would take 3 – 4 business days to arrive because my Dad lives on an island. She also calculated that it would have cost me over $100 to send it!!

Feeling proud as a PEACOCK, I strutted back to my car and Twittered my happiness with how the situation ended. Vindication never felt so sweet.

Or does it?

I got a phone call TWO DAYS LATER from my Dad & Dale telling me that the package just arrived! Crazy! It literally got there in less than 48-hours.

I guess when the package is sent from the head office, it gets super-special treatment.

Lesson Learned: TWITTER RULES and it will be my GO-TO place for customer complaints. Apparently it’s the best way to actually get some SERVICE!

So get an account, people! It’s WORTH IT!

Oh, and those friggin’ cookies finally made an appearance on FRIDAY of that week. To Purolator’s credit though, not one cookie was broken! Fairly impressive considering all the turn-over. 


Dear Canon T2i:

You are phenomenal.


I thought that you'd take over a week to arrive at my door, but you came YESTERDAY!! Oh Canon, I've longed for you. You were sold out FOREVER but my Baby Brother was on it and now you're MINE!!

So far, I've read 6 pages of the manual and am loving wandering around my house taking shots of whatever catches my eye. Here are some of the examples that I, a total beginner, managed to take (essentially confirming that you were the Best Purchase Ever).

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bollywood Bangles



Tomatoes on the windowsill 

I can't WAIT for a Skype convo with my wonderful Baby Bro later tonight so he can walk me through your features although I must say that you're pretty easy to use right out of the box! I've always wanted to be able to take zoom-y and up-close-fuzzy-focus-ed pictures (you can tell I'm no pro just by those descriptions) and now I can!

So THANK YOU Canon for creating such a bad-ass camera and although mine doesn't have a name yet (everything gets a name with me) I think she'll reveal it to me sometime today while we're getting to know each other better. 


Cake Pops Aren't For Suckers

Just when I thought cake couldn't get any yummier, or fun to decorate, something new and exciting came into my life.

They're called CAKE POPS and they're friggin' bananas. Frosted, chocolatey, icing-filled bananas. Making them takes almost no time at all and they are DELICIOUS! Like, eat-half-a-batch-yourself delicious (and by "half" I mean "all but three"). 

I've made two batches so far with mixed results.

The first had white cake mix, which I dyed pink with colouring, and white frosting. Simply bake the cake, let it cool completely and then crumble it into a bowl. Then, add just enough icing to be able to make small balls. Shape the balls and then let them cool in the fridge or freezer.

I used half of the cake and still ended up with 16 balls.
Then, you shape the balls into whatever shape you'd like. I decided to try making hearts so I used a cookie cutter as a mold. Then, just heat up some melting chocolate in the microwave and dip! The hardest part was remembering to have a block of Styrofoam handy for drying. 

The chocolate wafers had sprinkles in them already. Of the 13 balls, only 6 survived the dipping process. The casualties were thoroughly enjoyed.
The second batch I made had Devil's Food chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. I must say that although they are just as pretty to look at, I preferred the white cake centre. Marc, however, liked them both equally. It could be a "tomato, tomahto" situation. 

I decided to leave the sticks out this time.
And wrap them in cute little bags for Valentine's Day treats (don't worry, they're in the freezer). 

So the verdict is that CAKE POPS are super fun, relatively inexpensive and shutthefrontdoor fantastic. There's lots of websites that show you how to make them and there's also a great book.


Some look VERY TRICKY, but I'm looking forward to them out!


The Humpback of Hanwell

I'm smack-dab in the middle of my THIRD mega-increase of medications since before Christmas, which has been the longest "up and down" period I've had in over a year. Although it's primarily Prednisone that keeps me on track, it's also the cause for a lot of discomfort. 

I'm VERY grateful to be stuck with a disease that has virtually no pain associated with it, but the drugs have brutal side-effects. Aside from the more intense-internal-organ issues, it likes to attack my physical beauty (I said it, PHYSICAL BEAUTY ;) ). I've morphed into a less confident version of myself over the last couple of years and although I try to take it in stride, it sucks. Lately, I've really been trying to work on giving myself a break, but sometimes all I want to do is cry (and then am incredibly GRATEFUL for Marc's amazing way of making me feel like the prettiest girl in the world...and smartest...and most hilarious...I'll stop cause this list could go on forever).

Anyway, that very-controlled-feeling-sorry-for-myself part of my life peaked this weekend when I made a startling discovery.

I was at the bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth (and flossing, booya!) to get ready for bed. I turned to say something to Marc and noticed the back of my neck. More specifically, the HUMP that is now perched just below my hairline.

You heard me,


I've read of the Prednisone bump online, but had yet to develop one of my own. So I've gone from having a weak chin to having multiples, there's darker hair growing where there used to be blonde and now I'm a second cousin to Quasimodo. It's like a twisted version of second puberty.

According to Marc, it's actually been hanging out with me for a while but I haven't noticed. Being an amazing hubby, he didn't feel the need to tell be about its presence and instead has attempted to disperse some of fluid build-up by offering to rub my shoulders. Yeah, he's just the BEST.

So what does that mean, fair readers? What am I to do with my new growth accessory? Well, since I can't do a DAMN THING about it, I've decided to make it FUNNY by compiling a list of songs that include the word "hump" and then dance my pants off to them. (I'm aware that the songs are talking about hump-ing, but that's cool. Who the heck is singing about a hump at the bottom of their neck?)

Here's what I've come up with so far:

1. My Humps - Fergie (arguably the most well-known)
2. Do the Humpty-Hump - Digital Underground
3. Everybody's Humpin' Around - Bobby Brown
4. Hump de Bump - Red Hot Chili Peppers

...and that's about it that comes to mind. Yes, I know that I could "Google" it, but I'd probably come up with a bunch of songs that I've never heard of (and therefore have the potential to suck). Anyone else got any great HUMPING songs? 



Monday's Fictional Hottie 13

Hello fellow lovers of hotties that exist only in our imaginations!!

I've been slightly slacking on hitting EVERY Monday, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Now, onto this week's nominee. 

There's nothing more wonderful than being immersed in a book. Movies are fun to watch and all, but it's a great novel that will keep me up late at night even though I know that I'll be exhausted and cranky the next day. The next TWO (yes, it's another double feature) characters practically leapt off the pages and into my heart.

One is an unconventional young lady of her time and the other? Well he's a total fox and digs her seemingly unfeminine ways (hmm...this is sounding familiar, anyhoo). Her creativity is stifled by her family's place in society and his grandfather's kind of an ass. They live next door to each other and although there is serious romantic tension, their love wasn't meant to be anything more than true friendship.

Congrats Jo March and "Laurie" Laurence III, you're numbers 13 & 14! (in no particular order).

All right, so this may look like they're about to jump each other, but it was the only pic I could find with the both of them. (link)
A strong and fiercely independent woman, Jo's talent for writing and the dramatic wins her "Funnest at the Party" every time. With her big sexy brain often working over time and her heart leading her to impulsive acts (like when she sold her hair so her mother could visit her father) Jo's a mega-hottie...and not just for the 1800s. Living on her own (fine, in a boarding house, but STILL) and moving to the city is an incredible adventure for anyone, and Jo's able to make the most of it without succumbing to what women "should" be doing instead. She's a character who does what she wants and that is H-O-T!

Laurie is kind of an arrogant assface in the beginning and then blossoms into his hotness when he gets his head together. Undeniably attracted to Jo, he lets his guard down and blends in with the March crew while having to live with his tutor in an emotionally cold house. Obviously, his craving for family life adds to his hotness. That and how Christian Bale was cast to play him in one of the more recent movie adaptations, but even before the delectable Mr. Bale, Laurie claimed "hottie" status (although marrying Beth at the end borders on "icky").

Happy Monday!!


Talented Buddies

Marc came home yesterday with the mail and said I'd gotten a big package. After it was made clear he was talking about the MAIL, I was delighted to find a gift from a Pretty Little Blonde Friend.

Opening the plastic package, I found 3 cards. What's awesome about Blondie is her sense of humour and ability to find create ways to express it. When I first came to the East Side for university, she sent me off with a bundle of cards and letters to open at very specific times: when I was hungover, the hottest day of summer, when I was feeling stressed, first day of exams...and MANY OTHER instances. They were a highlight of my First Year and my university pals loved hearing what she wrote.

For my birthday last year, she sent a cardboard cut out for an application to Hogwarts that she'd already filled out with my information, along with a new batch of cards. A few got misplaced last year but I found them a while ago and have one to open on Valentine's Day and on St. Patty's Day.

I love her writing and preference for glittery ink (as you can see in the upper right corner).

So, along with two VERY cool baking books and scented pencils, there was the CUTEST apron EVER, handmade by my talented buddy. It's PERFECT! Like, not a crooked stitch or overrun thread to be seen! Plus, it's the most gorgeous fabric. When Blondie was out visiting in the summer (with her cutie boyfriend) I was talking a big game about how I was going to garden. Although that didn't really pan out, she remembered my interest and made me this BEAUTIFUL gardening accessory.

It's it AWESOME?!?
There are a whole bunch of these teeny post-its through both baking books. *sigh* She's just SO FUNNY!

Sorry if I've made you jealous because I have such an amazing pal (but I get it, she's AMAZING so I'd be jealous too). There's nothing quite like unexpected love from a friend to keep a smile on your face for weeks!!


(ps. I'm fairly certain that she should get on the Etsy bandwagon because those aprons would be a BESTSELLING item, fo sho). 


Dental Liberation

Yippee!! My (bottom) teeth are FREE!! 

FREE I tell you!

For the last TWELVE years (give or take) I've had a thin metal wire glued to the inside of my bottom teeth. Way back when I was a teen and had braces, the "permanent retainer" was all the rage. A new technique that solidified the investment that many parents made because teens are fairly unreliable when it came to wearing their retainers. Frankly, it was probably a good move because I was eager to leave the awkwardness of metal mouth behind me the MINUTE my hardware was removed. 

Since it's installation, I've kind of hated it. You see, I LOVE seeds and nuts...

Lemon poppy seed muffins.

Sesame seed bagels. 

Pine nuts on the top of salads.

Crunchy peanut butter.

All of these delightful treats have one thing in common: they all got trapped in the stupid permanent retainer. 

No matter what new flossy-thing came onto the market, it was IMPOSSIBLE to really keep clean. My dentist LOATHES it. 

I made the decision before Christmas that the time had come to get it taken off. Now-a-days there's fancy clear retainers that don't make you sound like Daffy Duck and you only have to wear for 6 months, so I was psyched to have a consult about replacing my irritating orthodontic wear WITHOUT needing a braces-looking-like retainer.

So, this morning it was grind-ed off and my teeth have never felt better!! Also, they've never felt bigger (a strange and unexpected result). 

I came home afterwards and FLOSSED!! Yes, I'm aware that it makes me sound a little geeky, but I'm VERY EXCITED about it! In about 4 hours, I have to go back to get my clear retainer and 6 months from now the process will be over.



Cinnamon Toast Cannibalism

Since our massive Costco shopping experience, we've been eating like Royalty! ROYALTY I tell you! With giant packages of everything, it's been a total gorge-fest.

One of the treats we picked up was a MASSIVE box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It's so big because it contains TWO packs of regular sized CTC. The Hubby and I are kinda obsessed with cereal.

We love it.


I'd eat it for every meal if it had enough nutritional content. Since the yummiest ones are full of sugar, I choose to eat bowls for dessert.

Last night, we finished up the unworthy small box and started in on the MEGABOX. As I was pouring my serving, I noticed a strange picture on the side.

Add caption
I went back to the teeny box and this picture wasn't on it. Perhaps the box designers needed to fill more space because of the box's ENORMITY, but I'm left with the following question:

Why is one Cinnamon Toast Crunch character LICKING the other? 

By the expression on the lick-ee's face, s/he seems to be enjoying it but his/her eyes also show a trace of concern. The lick-er though, is having the time of his/her life. If they taste the same, why wouldn't s/he lick themselves?

Obviously, there's only one explanation; s/he's a cannibal.