LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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10 Things I Miss About Calgary

Yesterday I posted “Ten Reasons We Love Life In Chicago” – but I didn’t want Calgary to get jealous! There are definitely some things that we do miss about Calgary, after all I did compose a love letter for Calgary about a year ago which I will post soon.

Ironically, as I type this… it is SNOWING in Alberta… like real snow. It’s May 6th, 2015. Guess which picture is taken today in Calgary and which picture is taken today in Chicago:

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I wish this was a joke, but it’s just a way of life. No one is surprised by this, yet nobody welcomes it either.

Okay, let’s get on with it shall we? Obviously, I miss our friends and family…  let’s collectively “awww” over that for a minute…   I also really miss our accent! Yeah, I know you are reading this and think to yourself “I don’t have an accent…” But we really truly do! I get SO excited to hear it when I speak to most of you… people from Northern Alberta have it the most. “Eh”, “sorry”, “about”, etc are all very true to the stereotype… and I’m darn tooting’ proud of it! Alrighty then, let’s move on to what I miss about the city itself, shall we:

1) Second Cup – The Pumpkin Spice Latte and Gingerbread Latte seriously makes me homesick during the winter time. There is no comparison. Suck it, Starbucks… their PSL is more like StarSucks.

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2) Waves Cafe – The caramel frappes in the summertime are in a whole new playing field then all of the other frappes in the world. Yeah, I said it… I totally go whappe for their frappe!

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3) The Memorial Trail Stairs – Those stairs are a lung burner, a thigh burner, a butt burner… but I LOVE them so much for these reasons! I cannot find a hill, let alone stairs, in Chicago to improvise on. I loved the commadery and respect of other stair lovers as well. “Started from the bottom….”

 

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4) Glamorgan Bakery – Cheese Buns. And donuts. And sausage rolls. And cream puffs. And cheese buns again. Hint: microwave the cheese bun for 10 seconds and your life will forever be changed into a ooey gooey cheesy goodness!

 

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5) Rat Free since ’93 – don’t quote me on the year, it just has a nice ring to it. Rats.. gross. Dear Americans reading this… yes, it’s true!

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6) Plus Fifteens – Best winter invention ever. Working downtown and walking through the secret passages from building to building deserves a Nobel Prize. Especially during the 8 month winters. I didn’t realize these were not in every city until I moved away… they are an absolute necessity in life.

 

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7) Jelly Modern Doughnuts – After one bite of their donuts, you’ll be willing to spend more than $3 per donut.

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8) Eau Claire Park and Stephen Ave – I used to love going to Eau Claire during my lunch hour to break up the day or else sitting on a patio on Stephen Ave drinking my day away

 

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9) Floating Down The Bow River – Can you miss something even if you’ve never done it? I was always dying to do this… One day!

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10) The Mountains – Have to give it to them… those mountains sure keep ya wanting to come back for more. We got engaged in the mountains, had our mini honeymoon in the mountains… so many special moments happen in the majesty of the Rockies!

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YES PLEASE!

 

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Calgary, you are where I became my true self. Where I met the man of my dreams. The place where I realized that life didn’t have to have limitations… That I decided settling wasn’t an option for me. Calgary, you were only my home for 5 years, but you will always hold a place near n’ dear to me.
I miss you, ya cold son of a gun!
And Albertans, I miss you too… Cheers ya tough troopers!
P.S. you definitely have the Canadian accent in case you are still in denial 🙂

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Enjoy Life,

Lisa

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10 Reasons We Love Life in Chicago

We have been in Chicago for just over a year now and in some ways it seems like we just got here yesterday, but in other ways it feels like this has been our home for a while. The year has been a whirlwind adventure, but I wouldn’t trade this experience we’ve been able to share for the world. Although I now know way too much about Visa’s then I would ever care to know, there is nobody else in this world who I would rather be on this journey with then my amazing husband, John.

 

 

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I’ve tried to make a video about our one year in Chicago, but apparently I am not tech savvy enough to do so. Therefore, out of frustration, I have put together a list of why we love this gosh darn city so much!

Top Reasons We Love Life in Chicago:

1) Unhealthy Food! From popcorn, to deep dish pizza, to italian beef, to hot dogs… it’s paradise! Cue “paradise” song from Bachelor in Paradise…  When we first moved here, I ate like we were on vacation every weekend… turns out, my jeans weren’t stretching with the rest of me… Jerks. 

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2) The Weather! People LOVE to bitch about the weather, and although it is now May 2015 people are still complaining about the winter in 2014. One thing I’ve learnt about winters since living in Chicago… Canadians and Chicagoans measure snow very differently. We didn’t need our “real” winter gear this year at all and it is so wonderful living somewhere where there are actual Springs and Falls!

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3) The Beaches! Who knew a ginormous city could boast so many beautiful beaches off of one lake!? I love the beaches here.

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4) The architecture… also referred to as Chi-tecture. It’s something that photos don’t do justice, looking at all of the incredibly diverse buildings in an experience in itself.

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bridges

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5) Free parking! Or if you have to pay for parking, it’s extremely cheap compared to what we are used to. Free parking seemed to only exist in Monopoly in Calgary…

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6) Flowers & Art! Throughout the city, there are beautiful flowers planted. And not just pansies… but hydrangeas, etc! Chicago prides itself on having amazing art sculptures, paintings, etc and you can’t help but be impressed by how beautiful the city is!

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7) Diversity: Until living in Chicago, I always lived where the people were predominantly white. I love learning about other cultures, influences, food, etc. If you choose ten random people on the street, there will be a handful of different races in that group. I love it. I was talking to my friend the other day and had mentioned Bridget Jones Diary, and he had no idea what I was talking about! That blew my mind! Things like that make me realize how ignorant I can be to just assume that my normal is somebody else’s normal. 

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8) Restaurants/Pubs/Breweries/Wineries/Cafes … need I go on?

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Cheers!

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9) Baseball games! I will never ever, ever, EVER get sick of watching a Cubs or Sox game. The whole city comes ALIVE and they are so proud of ALL of their sports teams.

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10) SO MUCH TO DO ALL THE TIME!!!! If somebody ever says that they are bored in Chicago, then the city itself is not the problem…. From Second City, to Blues music, to Jazz music, kayaking on the river, paddle boarding on the lake, to visiting the Bean, or going skating in front of the Bean in the winter! There are so many free events that happen all throughout the summer and even the winter. There are tons of museums, including the Art Institute that just won Best Museum In The World award, an incredible planetarium, the Field Museum, etc. There are AMAZING parks, the lake side goes on for miles, and miles, and miles, and it NEVER gets old. There are free fireworks over the lake every single Wednesday and Saturday night throughout the summer. There are parades, which can be really annoying when you live on the same street as the darn parade. And the shopping is absolutely ridiculous too.

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The city is just so alive and people who live here have such pride in living in Chicago. It’s amazing! There is a city of Chicago Flag, and you will see that bad boy almost anywhere you go.. from clothing, to bumper cars, to flailing in the wind, dog collars, etc…

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There is a huge sense of pride in living in such an amazing city, and there should be. We are proud to be part of the city as well.

I could go on and on about how amazing Chicago is and how much we love it, but I’ll never do the city the justice it deserves. It’s a city that needs to be experienced. So, my lovely, put Chicago on your bucket list if you’ve never been here before… the only thing you’ll regret is not coming to Chicago sooner!

Enjoy Life,
L


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Bikini Butt Friendly Noodle Vegetable Chow Mein

If I could eat Chinese food every day for the rest of my life, I’d die fat and happy.
Sadly, Chinese food isn’t exactly considered healthy… but it sure makes my taste buds dance!

I’m on a vegetable kick lately as we are going to Miami in a couple of months and the very thought of being on a beach with Miami girls makes me feel insecure. So, here is a healthy version of noodle-y, veggie, chow mein goodness that is bikini butt friendly!

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BIKINI BUTT FRIENDLY NOODLE VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN

       Ingredients:

  • 1 large daikon radish spiraled into noodles (can also use a veggie peeler, a knife, or a mandolin, but I use my veggie spiral slicer which I LOVE)
  • 1 carton of shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced (stems removed)
  • 2 baby bok choys chopped up
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup of grated carrot
  • 1 heaping cup of snap peas
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 garlic glove smashed and chopped (or grated)
  • 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of EVOO
  • 1 splash of red wine vinegar
  • Directions:
  • To make the sauce, combine ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, EVOO & red wine vinegar in a bowl and stir well.
  • In a wok, sauté EVOO with the onion and garlic until starts to become tender
  • Add mushrooms to the wok and sauté until mushrooms begin to become tender
  • Add the bell pepper, bok choy and snap peas to the wok until the peas become bright green
  • Add in the carrots and spinach
  • Once spinach starts to wilt, add in the sauce and combine everything evenly
  • Lastly toss in those daikon noodles to the party, sauté everything for about 5 minutes until the noodles start to become slightly cooked
  • Serve with sesame seeds and chopped green onions on topTwirl those noodles round and round, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how hearty, filling and delicious this dish truly is!

    Could easily add baby corn and/or brocolli to the dish as well.
    Or chicken, shrimp, ribs… whatever floats your boat.

    Would love to hear what you lovelies think of this butt friendly dish! This one was also husband approved… as long as the noodles are twirly, I have a happy hubby!

    Bon Appetit!

    Enjoy,
    L


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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)

 

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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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10 Things To Stop Complaining About Tis This Season

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Complaining has become a national pastime. It’s been a gradual process, a creep of grumbling and carping that started out kind of wry, then, over time, became full-on obnoxious. We even complain about good things now, because it’s supposed to be cute or coy—implying that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We call our kids “a-holes,” go on and on about our high rents and mortgage payments in our comfortable neighborhoods, bemoan about the weather … IT CANNOT ALWAYS BE EITHER TOO HOT OR COLD!

Seriously, people?

Do we need some outright hardship to remind us of how great we have it?

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Nothing induces as much groaning and whining as the holidays, which have all the ingredients for the perfect self-pity pie: family, money, subtext and weather delays.

Enough is enough! If you have something to complain about this holiday season that isn’t a grave illness diagnosis, bankruptcy or a surprise serial-killer spouse, then shut up and sit down.

Here’s the list of the top 10 least bitch-worthy holiday gripes:

1. Houseguests

Yes, it’s taxing to have extra bodies crowding your couch, talking at you when you just want to watch TV after a long day, and generally changing the air quality in your home. But how lovely to have people who want to come and stay with you. And a home.

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2. Family (even if they’re #1, above)

They anger you, they frustrate you, they infuriate you. With a single raised eyebrow or shift in intonation, they cause you to revert to a cranky 7-year-old. But they’re yours, and you’re theirs, and—give or take one (or two of them)—you will miss them when they’re gone. So be grateful you even have a family whether they are near or far.

3. Eating too much

If it’s really a problem, don’t do it.

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Just! Stop! Eating!

Simple, right?

But if you’re going to eat—a lot or a little—savor it and start fresh tomorrow. But above all, do not complain because you have too much food. That’s just disgusting. And if you DO have too much food… give some of it away to people who would truly appreciate it.

4. Spending too much

See above. Just don’t do it. You are not actually contractually obligated to spend more than you have on other people. Anyone who expects that from you sucks.

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We put that pressure on ourselves. It’s a choice.

Let’s be real… do you even remember any of the Christmas gifts you received three years ago at the TOP OF YOUR MIND? Didn’t think so. But I bet you do remember when Jimmy accidentally lit the Christmas tree on fire three years ago!? Point made.

5. Work parties

You have a job. Shut up.

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6. Vegetarians/Vegans/Gluten-freegans/Pesca-what’s-a-tarians

Hey! How nice! You have friends!

Friends who have beliefs and care about their bodies!

And who want to come over and eat at your house and spend time with you!

Must be tough…

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7. People spoiling your children

But seriously now…people love your children, and children love to be loved and spoiled once in a while. This is definitely not the worst problem anyone has ever had. Some people show their love through expensive Christmas gifts… so thank them, appreciate them and be grateful that there are people out there who like your booger fingered kids.

8. If you’re too old to write to Santa, then don’t even dare writing a “wish list”

But for real… isn’t this the most obnoxious thing about Christmas? Handing somebody a list of items that you want them to buy you?! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ALL of your excuses… but none of them are valid. Nope, not even that one… NONE OF THEM! They all suck. And so does your wish list. Go buy everything yourself.

Don’t know what to get your friend or family member? How is that possible… you don’t speak to them and you don’t know their likes and dislikes?! Maybe instead of exchanging wish lists you should actually start by having a conversation once in a while.

If you are REALLY stuck get them a damn gift card – and to all you people who bitch and complain about receiving free money, then why don’t you just give that “awful, thoughtless gift” to the next homeless person you see on the street. At least somebody will appreciate it.

Pissed off that you spend way more money on somebody than they spent on you?  Looks like you need to revisit #4 again

 

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9. Weather

It’s either too hot, too cold. Too windy, too glumy. Too rainy, too sunny. Too much hail. Too much drought.

Complaining about the weather is a full time job… and what exactly do you think complaining could possibly do to change it!?

Especially at Christmas… there aren’t songs about a non-white Christmas! So shut up, suit up and grab your shovel. Or if you live in a land where there isn’t any snow at Christmas time and can roam the streets in your bathing suit… you best be shutting up extra hard.

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10. Travel

You have people to go see and the disposable income to buy a plane/train/stagecoach ticket. The crowds are terrible, people behave in direct opposition to the principles of the holiday spirit, and the inner Scrooge residing in your deepest core is stretching and yawning, awake again after a 51-week nap. But that’s what you signed up for when you planned this trip and chose to go somewhere else at the busiest time of year. You’re going because, for better or worse, you want to be with people you care about, who care about you, at a time when our hearts are cracked open just a teeny bit more than usual. You’re traveling to share love—just like all the other millions of nasty-faced assheads standing in the security line behind you. So when your patience is threadbare and you’re stranded on the tarmac at O’Hare with only one granola bar to split among a family of four, try to remember that we’re all in it together…one big happy holiday human stew.

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Enjoy Life,
L

Adapted from here


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Homemade Friggin’ Graham Crackers!!! S’MORE ME!

I’m in a baking mooooooood today!!!! My pup, Ernie, is sick today so being the overprotective PupMama that I am, I am sticking around the house today to keep an eye on the poor guy. That’s the only excuse that I need to put on my baking pants!

With the four brown bananas in our fruit bowl, I already whipped up some banana muffins. My Mom was famous for her muffins and I try to replicate hers the best that I can. She was known as the Muffin Lady by a few of my friends growing up… every Saturday morning she would whip up muffins and the banana ones were always my favourite (her blueberry ones are a very close second…) The muffins are so moist, soft and delicious…. every bite you get a mouthful of banana muffin, chocolate chips, coconut and raisins! Does it get better than that!?

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I’m also slow cooking a teriyaki, pineapple chicken dish that I am winging and plan to serve it with steamed broccoli, rice and a salad to start. On a Wednesday night! We rarely ate like this mid-week in Canada! John offered to BBQ some big, fat juicy pork chops that are currently marinating, but I have an inkling he’ll get home late tonight and the last thing he’ll want to do is go up to the rooftop to BBQ.

Now… to the good stuff! Last time I was at the grocery store, I checked the ingredients in graham crackers and was disgusted. I don’t remember why I picked up the box in the first place, but that’s beside the point. Why does there need to be so much garbage in crackers!? These are the ingredients in the store bought ones:

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Is it really necessary to have hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soybean oil, calcium phosphate, artificial flavour, and soy lecithin in simple crackers? I didn’t think so… so I made my own. With real ingredients that you have in your cupboards! I googled a few recipes and this is the recipe that I blended together:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar (Trader Joe’s brown sugar is my absolute fave)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (mine was quite “heaping”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • A pour of molasses… I probably used 1/3 cup but I like the taste of molasses
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Mix together flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Add butter chunks and mix until the mixture has turned to coarse crumbs… a couple minutes or so. Should be pretty crumbly at this point
  2. Add in honey, water and as much molasses as your heart desires. Mix until all blended in together and forms easily into a ball of dough.photo 1
  3. Roll dough between two large pieces of parchment until ¼ inch thick. I used a pizza cutter to cut into rectangles but you can use cookie cutters too. Place crackers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll remaining dough until all of dough is used up.photo 2
  4. Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, until slightly darkened around edges (they will harden as they cool). Remove crackers to a wire wrack to cool.
  5. Devour as s’mores, spread pb or chocolate on top, or just eat them plain jane!

 

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Hope you enjoy them as much or “s’more” than we are!

Enjoy Lovelies!!!
L





19 Comments

A Year Ago Today… And NOW!

A year ago today, John and I came to Chicago to celebrate our first wedding anniversary together. We had five days off and we narrowed our options down to Mexico, Vegas, California and Chicago. John had been to Chicago before to visit his parents when his Dad had worked here for 3 years and he always told that I would love it. So, because of an awesome Flight Centre package deal we saw Chicago was the chicken dinner! Thank you, Flight Centre!

I loved Chicago from the very first night that we had spent here. We didn’t get to our hotel until about 9:00pm but there was no way that we were just going to have a quiet night and shut it down early. So we spruced ourselves up and went exploring! That night we discovered our favourite place to go, which to this day is still our favourite place to go! The nachos, $4 beer, ambiance and location won us over and they keep winning us over again, again and again!

 

 

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THEN – at the Bean

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NOW – at the Bean

During our five days here, we did a lot of exploring, eating, drinking, Cubs baseballing and shopping! A perfect way to spend your first anniversary together, wouldn’t you agree!? We took a gazillion pictures and we dreamed out loud about moving to Chicago. We were just playing make belief but we dreamed about working together again in the same building downtown, buying a cool loft condo smack downtown and living the urban life, going to all these trendy spots during the week because we were so cool, etc, etc. But then we would play devil’s advocate and go on about how much we would miss our family, friends, our friends kids, our Calgary life which was safe, simple and the norm. We went on about how if we did live the Chicago life how John would have to work 2,000 hours per week and how we would never have time to live the cool lifestyle… but we never stopped talking about our make belief life even after we got home.

We would watch Mike & Molly and whenever we would see the skyline on the intro to the show we would sigh a dramatic sigh snuggled up together in our home in the ‘burbs. We would go on and on and on about how green the grass must be on the other side, and then we would come back to reality and give our heads a shake. There was no way we were moving to Chicago. Ever. We loved our Calgary home and the chances of us ever leaving Calgary because of John’s job were slimmer than a Slim Jim.

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Until…. there were some hypothetical knocks on John’s door bribing him to bring his family to the US. We ho’d and hummed and thought “what the hell” let’s see what could happen…. turns out moving to Chicago a couple months later is exactly what not only could happen, but did happen! Like every big decision, there has been highs and there has been lows, but we wouldn’t have done a damn thing differently (well that’s not true… we would never have sold our townhouse and bought our “forever home” only to sell it 6 months later… but aside from that.)

A year ago today, we were in Chicago as tourists dreaming about John and I working together in the Aon building. Living in a loft condo downtown. Doing trendy things and going to trendy places. Wearing weird clothes that I would never wear in Calgary. A year ago today, we stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel and ate frozen yogurt in River North. We shopped in the Loop. We went sight seeing. A year ago today, we had suitcases to take us back to our reality back in Canada….

 

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Fro Yo

Today, we are living smack downtown Chicago. We are not working together in the same building, but the job situation is even better than what either of us could have predicted. We do trendy things and go to trendy places. I’ve never heard of a “wine flight” until we moved here. I wear weird clothes like jumpsuits and scarfs in my hair. A year ago I was sad that we didn’t get to end up seeing Buckingham Fountain. Buckingham Fountain is now our neighbour and Ernie and I walk by it every single day. Today we are living a life that we dreamed about a year ago… except our reality is far greater than our dream!

 

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My First Wine Flight

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My Second Favorite Neighbour

Lovely, it’s funny how life can change so much in a year… it’s funny in the best way possible. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for the next year ahead!

Enjoy Life,
L


23 Comments

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


19 Comments

The Liebster Award… WITH A TWIST!

My blog has received an award!

Which award you ask? Why, the mighty Liebster Award!

So thank you, A La Modern Mom, thank you for the recognition!

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What is the Liebster Award? It is an award given to bloggers from fellow bloggers.

What does this award mean? Well, “Liebster” is of German origin and has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart … I’ll take them all, thank you very much!

This award is a way to show appreciation and love from the blogging community and it feels like a warm pat on the back. Perhaps even accompanied by a high five!

There are some “rules” that I must follow, so as much as I love the bend the rules, this time I shall obey. These are the rules:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves (I’m regretting posting this post where I shared most than 11 things just a few days ago)
2. Answer the questions that your nominator asked you
3. Nominate 5-11 bloggers and link them in your post
4. Go to their page and tell them
5. Thank and link back the person’s page who nominated you

OH WHO AM I KIDDING?! I am going to bend the rules once again… I’m going to throw a twist into it! I ask that you (yes, you) answer each of the questions that I ask of the nominees in a comment below! 

Easy enough, right? Okay, let’s get started!


11 Random Facts About Yours Truly

1. I am terrified of snakes

2. I have learnt that friendship is absolutely quality over quantity

3. I like sour cream a lot

4. I love weddings… not for the party part but for the love part

5. I struggled with math throughout school but my high school teacher told me that I’d be successful regardless because of my strong work ethic

6. I can and do eat entire watermelons to myself in one sitting

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7. I have lady crushes on Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Emma Stone and Melissa McCarthy

8. As a kid and teen, I was always an avid Backstreet Boy fan but Justin Timberlake has won me over in my adult years

9. I love flowers and plants but have a hard time not killing my plants… my new friend is helping me with this

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10. I love food and eat healthy about 80% of the time. Life is too short to avoid cupcakes, my friend.

11. Cuddling with John and Ernie makes me happiest.

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And now answers to the burning questions A La Modern Mom asked…

1. Why did you start your blog?

I started this blog as a way to share the journey of moving from Canada to the US with my husband and my puppy. I wanted to share our ups, our lows and everything in between. Turns out that I have more to say than just talk about our experience of moving!

2. What is your favorite quote and by whom?

This is a good one… I love quotes! I’m unsure if I can actually chose a favourite and my favourite often changes depending on what I am experiencing or feeling. That being said, here is one that I love:

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“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you did or said, they will remember how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

3. What is your favorite post that you’ve written (provide a link!)?

My favourite post that I have ever written is probably “Why I Gave Up The 8:00 To 5:00 Corporate Career.” This is probably my favourite because when I wrote it, my biggest audience was my family and friends. I felt like this post was the best way for me to explain to them our situation, our circumstances and how some reactions made me feel.

4. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Winnie The Pooh. He is naive and slow witted, but also friendly, thoughtful and steadfast. He often comes up with clever ideas, driven by common sense. He has a kindhearted soul.

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5. What single quality do you most appreciate in people?

Honesty. Always have, always will. Be upfront and honest from the get go. Honesty also drives loyalty and genuineness.

6. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Ooh, good question… There are many things. I would tell my 13 year old self to nourish friendships with those who you know deep down are your true friends. And that in the grand scheme of life, your teen years do not matter nearly as much as you think they do.

7. Where was your best vacation?

Dominican Republic with my Husband for our honeymoon. It was a relaxing 2 weeks in the dead of a Canadian winter on a beautiful beach with too much food and booze. Pure bliss.

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8. What is your hidden talent?

I think that I make a mean banana muffin and banana bread… Thanks Mom!

9. What is your favorite meal?

A dinner with close friends and family with lots of laughter, love and happiness in the room.

10. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would love to fly!

11. What movie did you love to watch as a child?

Land Before Time… over and over and over again!

 

Pay It Forward

I would like to nominate the following to receive this award as I enjoy each and every one of you:

Little Miss Jennaay
Thoughtful Minds United
Full Leather Interior
Vera Kasi
Nonsense & Shenanigans
Ann St Vincent
The Bitching Mound
Keely’s Graffiti
Kayleigh’s World

My Questions For The Nominees To Answer:

1. What are your favourite and least favourite blog posts to read?
2. If you could have any profession in the world, what would it be (without worrying about money, time, financial)?
3. What is your favourite physical feature of yourself?
4. Who do you need to say “I love you” to more?
5. Who do you need to say “I’m sorry” to?
6. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?
7. Where is your favourite place in the whole world?
8. If you could redo anything in your life differently, what would you redo?
9. What is the nicest thing that somebody has ever done for/to you?
10. What would an ideal day be for you?
11. What is your favourite post that I have ever written?
12. What is your favourite post that you have ever written?

Lovelies, don’t think that I forgot about you and the TWIST of this award… in the comment box below I encourage you to answer the above questions! There may even be a prize involved for those who actually participate… Oh, I am dead serious, Buster! I love learning about my lovelies 🙂

Enjoy Life, Lovelies!
L