LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa

There is something so comforting to me about a big bowl of fresh, warm pasta covered in delicious sauce in the winter months. Comfort food at it’s finest! Unfortunately for me, my hips find pasta a little bit TOO comforting.

So, how to get a bowl of fresh, warm pasta still covered in delicious sauce that is jean approved? Use vegetables as your noodles!

I’m sure you’ve seen this latest “trend” spiraling (pun defs necessary) out of control and you’ve probably thought that the concept seems interesting but there is NO WAY that you will replace your delicious, carby pasta noodles with VEGETABLES!? Stick with me, my fellow Carb Lovers!

Think zucchini is only delicious in loaf form with chocolate? Well you are wrong, my lovely!

First, let me share some health benefits of that silly, little green squash we call the zucchini:

  •  There’s ONLY 21 calories per cup.. HELLOOOO!!
  •  A POWER house of Vitamin C… move over oranges!
  •  Lutein & Zeaxanthin which promotes healthy eyesight… I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE!
  •  Manganese… no this is not a “manly” Japanese dish, but a very essential mineral that promotes healthy bone tissue development and helps your body produce collagen. Asta la vista crow lines!
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Have you SEEN more beautiful noodles?!

Now let’s get to it, shall well?

Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa Recipe:

 Ingredients:

4 medium sized zucchini
Splash of olive oil
1 garlic glove diced
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
Approximately a cup of diced onions, mushrooms, garlic and bell peppers
Seasoning (I used Italian seasoning, and the classic duo of S&P)

Directions:

> I used my Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer to turn my zuch’s into long and luscious zuch noodles, but you could also use a mandolin slicer, a veggie peeler or simply a knife. I kept the peels on for extra nutrients. And it’s prettier.

> Sautee diced garlic in the EVOO for a minute or two, add the raw zuch noodles to the pan.

> Sautee, toss and coat the noodles in the oil & garlic until evenly coated. Only sautee for a minute or two… the noodles will JUST start to change color. TAKE THEM OUT! You’ll probably be tempted to keep cooking them because they still kind of look raw, but NOBODY likes mushy noodles.

> Remove noodles from the pan, put them in a side bowl.

> In same pan, sautée the diced veggies in a bit of EVOO. After they get a little bit tender, add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

> Stir around until heated throughout. Season to your taste.

> Once heated and seasoned accordingly, toss back in the noodles into the sauce bath.

> Toss to coat the noodles evenly and serve immediately. Dig in and be amazed!

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Be prepared to be surprised how full you are off from a beautiful bowl of vegetables that is jean friendly! All comments, tips and questions are welcomed!

Also, this was “Husband Approved” – that’s a winner in my books! Voila!

Enjoy!
Lisa

*** Can also easily be made with added meat or beans!


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Our Adventures Five Years In

Five years ago I met the man of my dreams. In fact, as time has passed, I realized that he has surpassed the man of my dreams on so many levels. Is it possible to feel as if we just met yesterday yet also feel like I’ve known this person my whole life?

When John and I met, we both felt all sorts of strong emotions that neither of us had ever felt before. After all this time, those strong emotions have gone away… but only to become fiercer, more intense and stronger than ever before!

When we first met, we were young. I was finishing up university and John was three weeks into his career. We happened to work for sister companies in the same building downtown and only three flours separated us. Since I was still finishing up school, I only worked part time but the days that I did work we would each leave our houses at the perfect time so that we could meet before work at our special spot and walk the few blocks together hand in hand. We would meet for lunch at least once a week and our coworkers would both make comments to us about how cute we were when they saw us together. We still meet each other for lunch once a week, even if that meant that a 12 block walk or a train ride just to see each other for twenty minutes and for that midday smooch. Since day one, we’ve never been able to get enough of each other and I’m so happy to say that we still can’t.

We have gone through so many life changes together and I can’t imagine what our life will look like when we get to a decade. Over the past five years, between the two of us there have been five moves, five jobs, three vehicles, two countries and a puppy! There have been ups and downs, positives and negatives but the one thing that has never wavered has been the love and respect for one another.

Although our looks and hair have changed a bit over the past five years, the way we feel about each other surely has not. We are celebrating this weekend by doing five things that we have never done before… today we kickstarted the “events” by going some place new for lunch.

Sticking with the “five” theme, here are five photos for each year that we’ve been together to highlight some of our favourite memories together:

2010:

Our First Road Trip

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Our First Calgary Stampede Together

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A fancy dinner and evening at the Calgary Tower celebrating our 6th month anniversary

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On “our bench” we discovered our on our first trip to the mountains together. This is where John eventually proposed. EEE!
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At Heritage Park in the fall time. Being our silly, sassy selves.

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2011:

Pre St. Patty’s Day Green Beer Chugging

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A helicopter ride in the mountains to celebrate one year together

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Christmas at my parents new home

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My University Graduation

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BBQ’inq and drinking beer in our backyard

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2012:

We had a stay-cation in Calgary and went to Calway park for the day (amusement park for kids)

 

IMG_0465He put a ring on it!
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We “I do’d”

 

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We mini-honeymooned in the Mountains. This is canoeing on Lake Louise

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An autumn stroll in a park close to our home

 

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2013:

Watching the sunset together in Whitefish, Montana

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Enjoying our honeymoon in Punta Cana!

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Just hiking n’ stuff in the mountains

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ERNIE!!!

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A trip to Edmonton

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We ran stairs here ohhhh too many times to count. The view was always worth it at the top.

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Just a typical Saturday…

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Walking in the provincial park right next to what was supposed to be our Forever Home

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Celebrating Christmas in said Forever Home

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2014:

Hiking in Palm Springs and keeping an extra cautious eye out for snakes

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Leaving our Calgary life behind for our Chicago life

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Drinking beer at our favourite place

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One of many “selfies” of us on my favourite bridges in Chicago

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Deeeeeeeeeeep Dishhhhh

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We’ve been to 2 Cubs games and 2 Sox games… we liked the hot dogs equally

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What our summer Saturdays typically look like now

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2015  has already been an amazing start and we are SO excited to see what else we can get up to in the next five years! And fifteen years! And fifty years!

Thank you, Lovely, for taking the time to read and celebrate with us! Cheers to you!

I love you, Honey, and I wouldn’t want to go on this adventure with anyone but YOU!

Enjoy,
L


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Is Human Nature Good Or Bad?

It’s funny how things stick with you no matter what has happened. It’s funny that in the moment, you have no idea that the moment will resonate with you for likely the rest of your life. It’s funny how a memory is made… so much happens to us but you never know which moments will make a lasting impression on you. It’s amazing how no matter how much time has passed or how insignificant a moment may have seemed at the time, you still feel a connection to a certain moment.

Some of you may understand what I am talking about, where as others may be wondering how much Bailey’s I’ve added to my coffee this morning but bear with me… maybe this will resonate with you too. If not, add some more Bailey’s to your own coffee and give me a another read.

When I was in high school, my English teacher had us read “Lord Of The Flies” by William Golding. Long story short (pun very much intended): A group of young boys are stranded alone on an island. Left to fend for themselves, they must take on the responsibilities of adults, even if they are not ready to do so. Inevitably, two factions form: one group (lead by Ralph) want to build shelters and collect food, whereas Jack’s group would rather have fun and hunt; illustrating the difference between civilization and savagery.

We were assigned to write an essay based on the novel as to whether we believed human nature was good or bad. I remember when I first started writing my essay, I had started my tangent about how human nature was good because OBVIOUSLY it just was. As I started getting deeper and deeper in to my essay, I started to second guess my initial assumption that human nature was in fact good. That was a scary thought to me at the time. My whole life I believed that human nature was good, kind, positive, etc, etc, but as I delved deeper and deeper and starting thinking from an outsider’s perspective I realized that perhaps I was being prejudice and naïve. It was too scary to say that human nature was purely not good either.

I turned in my essay and my final conclusion was that human nature was neutral. There are tendencies to both sides. There is good and there is bad. I don’t remember what my mark was on my essay, but even since I started thinking about human nature I have not been able to stop. Over a decade has passed by and I still find myself thinking about that very same question and still struggling to find an answer. In the most mundane everyday tasks, I find myself wondering if human nature is in fact good or bad. And then I wonder if my teacher realizes that she has had me thinking deeply about this very same question for over a decade now without coming to a sound conclusion.

Obviously there is bad in this world. Turn on the news and you are bombarded with the “evil” in this world. It’s really sad to think that it is almost 2015 and there is still a very real war going on in the world today. Living in North America, we assume that we are the “good guys” and those other guys are the “bad guys” but there are always two sides to a pancake no matter how flat you make it (thank you, Dr. Phil). We are all well aware of all the bad going on in the world today and that makes me think that human nature isn’t 100% good. Human all have selfish tendencies, it’s all about “survival of the fittest.” This creates greed, which leads to lying, stealing, fear, cowardness, bullying and violence. We have tried to make the Earth a better place for ourselves and to evolve. In doing so, we have eradicated a countless amount of species as well as destroyed the ecosystem. We are destroying earth with our litter and carelessness, but we sweep all of that under the figurative carpet (collecting more litter). You have to stop and think for a second as to why all of this technology is even necessary in the world? Is it really necessary or are we just continuing to spoil the Earth? We have the chance to lessen and decrease the emissions that we create, but we don’t use it. We have the chance to help the less fortunate, but then why are there so many people in this world who don’t even have clean water to drink from while we are washing our luxury cars with the same water we take for granted every single day? Do our egos make us bad? Why were there ever slaves in the first place? And why are there still slaves today? Because our egos make us feel macho and superior? Are we born bad or does society create this side of us? And that, my lovely, is the very same question I have been debating with myself for the past 10+ years.

On the other hand, of course human nature is good. Otherwise the world would be in even bigger shambles than it already is, right? How could one ever possibly consider Mother Theresa to be evil? There is a lot of good in the world, but it doesn’t get broadcasted as much as the negativity in the world. Not convinced? Well then let me share with you something that happened to me not too long ago on the very same day…:

I had just finished a class at my gym and I was so excited for it to be over, I hustled my butt to the exit door ASAP. When I got to the door, I saw that during my class a monsoon had developed. Am I exaggerating? Probably. But it was as if Heaven were making every living creature do the ALS ice bucket challenge whether or not they wanted to.

The lady at the front desk of the gym smiled at me and told me that I should do an extra workout while the storm passed… That was the last thing I wanted to do. So I headed outside sans-umbrella in my workout clothes and went to my happy spot…. Trader Joe’s. TJ’s is only about 2 blocks away, so I figured I could hustle over there without getting absolutely drenched. Well, I was dead wrong. But there is something that happened to me during those two blocks that I need to share with you…

As I was waiting at the longest red light ever waiting to cross the street, a man saw me standing there getting hammered by the rain in my tank top. He started to walk over and before I knew it, he smiled at me and simply placed his umbrella over my head until I was able to cross the street. I was so appreciative and I thanked him endlessly and he just smiled back. The only thing that he said to me was “If that man on the other side of the street talks to you, just be nice to him.” I said “of course” and walked the rest of the way to Trader Joe’s with a smile on my face. A complete stranger, without saying a single word, saw me getting completely soaked and went out of his way to offer me his shelter. He sacrfiiced his own dryness and warmth just to offer me shelter for a minute or two. Would you do that for a complete stranger? I hope that I would, but I’m not entirely 100% sure that I actually would.  He did this without telling me his name, without trying to sell me anything… he did this purely out of the goodness of his own heart. And the only thing he wanted in return was for me to be nice to somebody else on the other side on the street. Sadly, I’m not sure I would ever recognize the man who offered me his umbrella if I were to see him again, but he sure provided me a lot more than a minute of dryness.

Once I got inside TJ’s, the woman who always offers juice samples looked at me in complete horror. To be frank, I looked like a wet dog. Probably smelt like one too since I was coming from the gym. She went on about “you poor thing, you got stuck out there, you must be freezing… etc, etc, etc” she went on for a solid two minutes while I smiled at her and told her that I was fine. She didn’t believe me and aggressively (in a nice aggressive for of way) offered me her sweater. She had literally offered me the shirt off of her back! I didn’t know that people actually did that! I was able to convince her that I was okay and thank her… her parting words to me were “if you change your mind, I’ll still be here”.

That was only in a matter of five minutes. In a part of the city that can be described as “sketchy”. It’s not totally unsafe, but it’s not exactly a place where I would go by myself in the evening.

I see acts of kindness in this city every single day… I’ve watched teenagers (both girls and boys) go out of their way to give money to the homeless, I’ve watched complete strangers help blind people across the street, I’ve seen people go into a fast food chain and give people on the street corner the lunch that they had just purchased. Those kinds of stories don’t get told as much as they should.

I wonder what would happen if stories like this were told more often. Would the world change if we were to spread these stories more often? Rather than focus solely on what’s wrong with the world today, realize that there’s a lot right in the world too. A lot of goodness. But people don’t like to hear about these sort of stories… the kind of stories that create buzz don’t generally make you view the world in a positive light. And I think that needs to change. I think that the world would be a better place if people told their stories more often about nice things that others did for them.  I think that the world would be a better place if we told positive stories just as much as negative stories. If the media shared what good also happened in the world that day. I think the world would be a better place if we simply shared with others what somebody did for them that day, NOT tell others how shitty society is or brag about what nice thing they did for somebody else. I do nice things for people too, but I absolutely despise it when people brag about the nice things that they did for somebody else. When you brag about something nice you did for somebody else, that gives the act a giant dose of selfishness and there is already enough of that in the world. Imagine if people focused more on what nice things OTHER people did rather than tell anybody who will listen about what nice thing they did for someone.

My lovely, living here has taught me to ease up on premeditated judgements of others. To literally walk a mile in other’s shoes. To be more open minded that your way is not necessarily the best way. I encourage you to tell your friend about the complete stranger who held open the door for you rather than bitch to your friend about the guy in front of you taking “forever” to place his order. I encourage you to write a positive review for every negative review that you write. I encourage you to help spread the goodness of every day life. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making the world a more loving and friendly place. Be kinder to strangers, put your damn ego aside and say “hello” and “thank you”. If you owe somebody an apology, suck it up and give them a sincere apology. Be accountable for your actions and don’t succumb to the excuses that you create for yourself.

At the end of the day, I still can’t make a decision as to whether or not human nature is inherently good or bad. Regardless of what the true, genuine answer is to that question, I’m not sure it necessarily matters. At the end of the day, no matter what race you are, how much money you have, how you were raised, my belief is that at the core of each and every single one of us we all want the same thing. We are all on the mystery pursuit of happiness, health and love. I believe that if we all put aside our egos, our greed and our selfishness, this is something that can absolutely be attained by all one day. We can all make the world a better place, but it’s up to us to do so. The real question is, are we willing to do so?

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Final thought: don’t bother sending me hate letters accusing me of being a bible thumper or a tree hugger… rather than waste your energy and time doing that, give this another read and go buy a stranger a coffee.


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Moments Of Time

Time is a funny thing… we think that we have a lifetime of time, but do we really? Exactly how long is a lifetime? Does that allow us to settle and to coast through life thinking that our time is infinite? Does that allow us to push our dreams aside knowing that we will do them “one day”? Does “one day” come and go without ever fulfilling our dreams? Do we receive comfort knowing that we have decades ahead of us?

What about those who don’t have decades ahead of them? What about those who only live to 16? Does that mean that their 16 years are not as fulfilled as your 60 or even 80 years?

Time is a fickle fellow. We are often told that “our time will come” – but what does that even mean? One day will we get a knock on the door and outside there is a sign saying “your time has come”? Probably not. Why do people wait for funerals to tell the living what the recently passed meant to them? Why don’t we tell people while they are still alive and there is still plenty of “time”? Why do we wait for people to die before telling everyone but them how much we love them? Because there’s never the right “time”? Sounds like a poor excuse to me.

This journey of ours has allowed me to see life through different eyes. To see life with a whole new perspective. This journey of ours has shown me that this is the only life that we are going to get, so live it accordingly. Live it presently. Stop thinking ahead. Stop thinking of the past. To live in the moment. To live in the now. At any given moment, life could be taken from us. Just. Like. That. And there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing that you can do differently. It’s too late…

This journey of ours has shown us to try new things now, to do things outside of our comfort zone, to make difficult choices, to take each day as it comes. To live in the moment, to stop stressing about the future, to stop thinking of ‘what could have been’, to let go of the past.

My Lovely, just be. Embrace the moment as  these moments of time are not infinite.

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Enjoy Life,
L


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Does Size Really Matter?!

The age old question that never seems to die… The answer to this question gets debated back and forth with such controversy… And yes, my lovely, you guessed it… today I am going there!!!! I am going to talk about it, give you my opinion, maybe even paint you a pretty picture, so hold on tight because HERE WE GO!!!

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My answer to this age old question only has two letters… and you guessed them ‘n’ and ‘o’!

Now is probably about the time to get your head out of the gutter, you sick perv, because you think you know what I am talking about, however you are oh so wrong. I know that you think that I’m talking about “that” and some of you were already excited to read what I was about to write, some of you were completely disgusted with me and have probably already stopped reading altogether by now, and then there were those who would never admit to wanting to read this, but secretly were pretty curious…

So if I’m not referring to “that” what the hell am I rambling about? Well I am going share with you my  journey of accepting myself the way that I am no matter what pant size I am. If you are so disappointed with this new topic, I understand if you quit reading, but I encourage you to come along for the ride, my lovely, the more the merrier! Stay tuned for tales from my double chin 🙂

Now, I’m not entirely sure at which point my mind was swallowed by society’s perception of what the perfect beach body was and how I so badly needed to obtain it to be a better person, but somewhere along the lines, it did. I think it was somewhere in my late teens or early twenties though. Throughout high school, I was always very athletic and active and never gave one thought as to what jean size I was because I truly did not care. That was such a wonderful feeling and I’m working on having that feeling back again.

I was never exactly a super scrawny rawny, nor was I obese, however I still was never happy with my body no matter what weight I was. I have always had a healthy lifestyle, I eat relatively healthy and also regularly go to the gym, however it didn’t seem to matter what I did or didn’t do, nothing was ever good enough. I would look at old pictures of myself and think to myself “man, I had a killer body back then… I wish that I appreciated it more back then, I would love to look like that again” and there were probably times that I said this to myself were I still looked the same… but when I looked in the mirror, the body I was looking at was not the body that I saw in old photos.

There was always something… too soft in one place, not enough muscle definition in another, etc… and I would focus only on that, I wouldn’t see the good parts. I used to frustrate my husband when we would take a picture together and force him to take another picture with me because I thought my face looked too fat in the first one. No matter what I ate or how hard I exercised, I was always able to find something to pick apart…

My poor husband has had to listen to me complain about how I look like a stuffed sausage in my jeans, how my body looked like a white whale in my bathing suit, etc, etc… and the poor guy endlessly told me how beautiful I was to him, but I wasn’t able to see myself through his eyes. (Much to his credit, he has never given up trying to make me see myself the same way that he sees me. And for that, I love him dearly.)

I’ve struggled for years with my weight, obsessing over it, shaming myself for it, and I have FINALLY come to realize that this bootylicious body of mine is the only one that I am ever going to get. I am 5’8″ and have been anywhere from a size 2 up to a size 10, and the size of my pants no longer controls me. I have somehow learnt to let go and to stop putting so much energy and attention on my own body image issues.

I’ve learnt that the size of my pants does not define me as a person. I’ve learnt that people aren’t going to talk about my body at my funeral, they are going to talk about what kind of person I was. I’ve learnt that I would hate for my own child to ever have negative thoughts about her body, and I that I need to ensure that she hears her Mom talk about how much she loves her body. I’ve learnt that my husband, family and closest friends do not give a single crap what size I am and that neither should I. I’ve learnt that people at the beach aren’t going to point and laugh at me, that they themselves likely have the same insecurities that I do. I’ve learnt that some years I will be a size 6 and some years I will be a size 10 and that is a-okay. I’ve learnt to accept myself the way that I am whether I ever obtain a “perfect” beach body or not. I’ve learnt that I would never in a million years talk to any other person the way that I talk to myself and that I need to start being nicer to myself.

I’ve learnt that I am a happier person when I allow myself to occasionally indulge and eat the white pasta with cream sauce, or to have a whole dessert all to myself. I am a happier person when stop I focusing on a caloric intake and outtake and just enjoy myself.
I’ve learnt not to let some symbols on a pair of pants define who I am as a person. I have learnt to fully accept myself and to own my bootlicious self no matter how licious my booty is that year…

I’ve learnt that my thighs will always be each others best friends, that they have such a strong bond that there is nothing that I can do to separate them. They keep each other company. They tell each other secrets. They cuddle and snuggle each other when comfort is needed. I’ve learnt that it’s okay if I’m never able to grate cheese off my stomach. It’s okay if my arms wave back at you a little bit when you wave to me… they are friendly and for that, I love them.

I’m more than the number says on the scale. I no longer allow that number to reflect who I am. I value so much more in this life than jeans that might be a little bit too snug. And that, my lovely, is why size does not matter.

Enjoy Life,
L