LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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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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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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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!


10 Comments

Emotional Hoarders Unite

My name is Lisa and I am an Emotional Hoarder.  Not to be confused with a “can’t throw away soup cans, have spiders crawling on my toilet, used kleenex collection” kind of hoarder. I’m more of a “saver of things that have some sort of emotional value” kind of hoarder. Actually I’m about 100 points away from being any kind of self proclaimed hoarder… the “H” word is a hard word to accept. Maybe denial is the first sign? Bear with me if I turn to anger next…

I tend to give things “feelings”.

I fought back tears when I sold my first car because I was certain that Henry Honda thought that I was abandoning him and I made myself believe that he (yes, “he” as in my car”) thought that he wasn’t good enough for me. Even after a few months (and right now as I’m typing this) I wonder how Henry is doing… if his new owners are kind to him and taking good enough care of him. I can’t bring myself to wonder if he’s actually in one of those auto graveyards…

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been this way. I didn’t really realize that this was an issue until my husband pointed out that I was giving my car feelings. Uh, didn’t everybody do that?! Hearing that this kind of behaviour was not normal was news to me!

I feel guilty about throwing something out that somebody has given me. Even if I don’t like it or if I never use it.

I have a chest that my Dad gave to me when I was probably ten years old that it full of cards, letters, poems, etc. given to me from people. Words that touched me. Even though I rarely go back and read them, and even though the top of the chest is completely busted, I will never get rid of the chest itself or the sentimental words within the chest. I will also probably never get the top of the chest repaired because I fear that the repair man will break it even more. That’s totally logical, right?

Within that chest there are letters from my deceased Grandma, she used to be my pen pal, and when she died I read all the letters and cards that I had kept from her over the years. If that’s not comfort, than I don’t know what is! Also within that chest is a letter from my cousin, Nicole. Nicole is about 15 years older than me and although she lived in an entirely different part of the country from me and we hardly ever saw her, I still idolized her and looked up to her growing up. I thought that she was THE coolest! Nicole went missing in Syria on March 31st, 2007 and although her Mom and Brother have done absolutely everything possible to try and find out what happened to her, sadly, it’s still an unsolved mystery. I have a letter from her from when I was about 12 where she had traced her hand for me… again, that was so comforting to me.

I have every single nice card or letter from my parents. I have every single card that we received from our engagement and our weddings. I have every single card that was ever given to me that was out of the ordinary… such as the card I received out of the blue with a gift card to Magnolia Bakery “just because” or the card I received my “Lovely” necklace with that was also “just because”. I have kept all the flower “cards” that I have received from John, especially the “just because” ones.  And if the card is homemade, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll keep that too.

For every single email account I’ve ever had, I’ve ALWAYS struggled to delete any non-junk related email. It’s pathetic really. I am pretty sure that I still have emails from when I was in grade 8. Don’t judge.

When we moved to Chicago, as I’ve mentioned before, we started brand new – selling most of our belongings in Canada. I had no problems getting rid of our furniture and such, but getting rid of things that have sentimental value to me is nearly impossible for me to do. Our friends in Calgary are keeping boxes of John’s and my childhood memories which the very thought of having to get rid of brings a lump to my throat. John had a dinosaur hat that was given to him that probably didn’t cost any more than ten dollars, but because it had sentimental value it made the cut and was brought to Chicago. Sadly, throughout the moving process it got crushed and ruined, and it was so tough for me to throw away. RIP Dino Hat

I’m also a hoarder of things that I can consider to be special and/or fancy. Case in point, I never actually wear my Lululemon clothing to work out in because I want to “save” them and make them last longer. I have clothes in my closet that I hardly ever wear because I want to “save” them for something special. I always save gift cards too because I know that once I use it, it’s gone. I will go to the store that the gift card is for and pay for the item out of pocket because I want to save my gift card. John forces me to use them, which I’m begrudgingly grateful he does. He also forces me to spend the full amount on the gift card because he knows that if there is money leftover, I will “save” it.

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I save fancy bath products that I receive to the point of where I hardly ever use them because I am “saving” them. Until recently I saved my first pair of boots that I had ever bought, but I finally managed to bring myself to get rid of them when they started to make me bleed… but even then I made excuses for them and tried to convince John that I would just wear thicker socks with them. I have saved a leather coat from my Grandma that hangs in our front closet that I have never actually worn before, I’m not even sure if it actually fits me to tell you the truth, but I will likely save that forever too. The jewellery box that my parents gave to me when I was probably 14 or so it completely busted from moving over ten times, but I can’t bring myself to replace it even though the top rests on top and the side doors don’t easily open or close.

Even as a child, I would always save my Halloween candy. I would eat my least favourite ones first and then hide everything else under my bed. I would allow myself one or two of my favourite chocolate bars, but my natural instinct was to save them. I would save my Halloween candy to the point of still having about 80% of it the following Halloween and I’d have to throw my last year’s stash of favourite chocolate bars away.

I’m a booze hoarder too. I HATE cracking open an expensive bottle of booze because I am saving it for sometime special. In fact, John and I have been saving a fancy bottle of Pinot Noir since we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Whenever John asked me if I wanted to crack it open, I would always tell him no, that I wanted to save it for sometime special. It’s been sitting there collecting dust for about five years and although we have shared SO many special times in our life, I still wouldn’t want to crack the bottle of wine. I didn’t even have a pathetic excuse as to why none of those moments where special enough to crack, all I knew was that I wanted to save it. For what? I had never really thought about what the perfect occasion would be that would make me WANT to actually open it… so we continued to save it.

BUT WE FINALLY CRACKED THE SPECIAL BOTTLE OF WINE!!

Last week was another loooooong week at work for John. Since August he keeps telling me that “this is the busiest time of the year”. Whenever I ask him when the “busiest time of the year” will finally be over, he doesn’t really have a concrete answer. Since August his hours have been getting longer and longer, and his stress levels have been getting higher and higher. He loves his job, don’t get me wrong, but having him come home around 9:00pm is starting to get really old. I don’t even bother starting to cook dinner until around 8:30pm most nights. This past week was probably the longest week he’s worked all week, and he had to go into work for Saturday and Sunday as well. Knowing that he had to work all weekend on top of an already really long week, we decided on Friday night that a glass of wine was most definitely necessary (to be clear, by glass of wine I really mean bottle… but glass sounds nicer.)

It was just a typical Friday night, nothing special or anything. We were wearing our cozy winter clothes, which include sweat pants, hoodies and for me a magic bag wrapped around my neck because I have I am always freezing if I’m not in a sauna. When John was selecting a bottle of wine, he first grabbed the Pinot Noir that we’ve been saving for the past five years. For some reason at the time, I didn’t fight it. So sweatpants, hoodies, magic bags and all, we popped open that fancy bottle, put our feet up and savoured each and every sip.

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What I learned from doing that, is that there was never going to be the “right moment”. There was never going to be a moment that I had deemed special enough to crack that bottle of wine. I would always find an excuse as to why we should save it for another five years. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, I learned that just an ordinary Friday night was in fact the perfect moment! It helped me remember to live in the moment, to stop romanticizing about future moments, to stop pretending as if there would be an actual moment where I decided that “it was time…”

I learned that although I will likely always save all my letters and cards that I receive, and that I will still have a hard time giving or throwing things away that are sentimental to me, life is too gosh darn short to save the fancy wine. To not wear the expensive gym wear to the actual gym. To use the fancy soap on yourself. To eat your favourite chocolate bars first before digging deeper into the others.

Lovely, life’s too short to plan for special moments! Just pop open the fancy wine and enjoy it because tomorrow promises nothing. And for goodness sakes, you can always go and buy another bottle of wine to save for another five years!

Enjoy Life,

L


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Because I Said Sew

A Hem – now that I have your attention and those extremely clever dorky puns out of the way, I have a story to tell you.

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Most girls at one time or another in the life learn how to sew. Well maybe not sew, but at least learn how to sew a button back on or to hem a pair of pants. Maybe even hand sew a small hole in fabric closed.

But not me! When I told this to my Mom, she didn’t believe me that I never learned how to sew. She was a little bit horrified. My Mom used to sew all Halloween costumes for my sister and I, and I remember in junior high when my sister went on an apron sewing spree. But somehow, I slipped through the ropes of learning how to sew. I never took a Home Economics course in any of my school years, nor did I ever have any strong desire to learn how to sew or to do anything girly at one stage in my life. I was a bit of a tomboy.

At my first corporate job, there was a woman who I worked with who was sick of seeing me in pants that were just a little bit too long. Finally, one day she cracked and let out a small outburst:

“Didn’t your Mother ever teach you to sew!?”

I would have loved to see what my face must have looked like, because she then followed up with “Oh my gosh… what if you don’t have a Mother!” She went on a tangent and felt terrible, but in return she hemmed any and all pairs of pants for me during my time at that job. Thank you again!

John would make little comments to me here and there when there was a small tear in something that needed to be sewed up or when I would pay a tailor to sew fallen off buttons back onto my peacoat. I brushed his comments off, but don’t worry Honey… I heard them all.

Since moving to a new country where I am not allowed to work, I initially felt pressure (not from my husband) to be THE ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE! Sweet John would tell me that I already was the ultimate housewife, but we all know that he is biased. I was convinced that an ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE needed to at least know how to turn on a sewing machine.

I looked up sewing classes and did my due diligent. For some reason or another, I didn’t want to learn to sew at a place like Michael’s. Like I am in most things in life, I decided that if I was going to learn how to sew than I was going to go all in. Sew (c’mon had to sneak one more in there) after many hours of researching sewing courses, I found the perfect one where I would learn to sew. It was in Uptown, which I had initially confused with Old Town so I thought that it was close by. Turns out, it wasn’t at all… but I got to meet lots of strange characters on the train commuting back and forth.

The class that I had chosen was taught by a high end fashion designer who sewed his own creations for his clients. He did everything from bridal to leather jackets, so I figured if he couldn’t teach me to sew than nobody could. I registered online for my sewing classes and received an email saying that there will be a follow up email with all necessary information. The week before my classes were about to start, I began emailing and phoning the guy to ask for the list so that I could pick up anything that I may require. I didn’t hear back from him.

The night before my class was scheduled to begin, I was in a tithy. I figured that I would just show up empty handed the next day, but then at 7pm that night I FINALLY received an email from him saying everything that I needed. There was a lot and I didn’t know what half of the stuff on the list was, so I panicked! John was still at work, I couldn’t drive myself (no license remember?) to a store to pick up the stuff on my own, so I did what any logical woman would do. I called my parents and cried. Boo Hoo.

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The sewing store closed at 9pm and God knew if John would make it home before then, so I was panicked, flustered, pissed off and lonely. I lucked out and John got home at 8:15pm and immediately drove my ass to the store to go on the hunt for shit neither of had any clue about. One of the items on the list was “muslin” – It took everything in my power to make sure I pronounced that word correctly when I asked the employee where/what muslin was. We gathered most of the stuff and went home. John was so nice about the whole situation… He’s seriously the best!

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Now, most people sew a pillow case or an apron as their first project when they are learning to sew. Not me… oh no no no!!! I decided that my first project was going to be a freakin’ WRAP DRESS! One that I could hopefully wear when I finished. Go big or go home, right? You going to give me grieve about not knowing how to sew on a button – I’ll show you, I’ll sew a gosh darn wrap dress!!!! (Side note: I’m not competitive at all.)

My sewing classes were 3 hours classes once a week for ten weeks. My very first day, I was cocky because for some reason I thought that being naturally athletic would translate well into being a natural sewer. I asked the guy “So it’s going to take me thirty whole hours to sew one single dress!?” I was baffled and was certain that I was going to finish in half that time. Nope… it took me a total of probably 45 HOURS! 45 freaking’ hours… let that sink in.

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My 45 hours in that sewing class were interesting. There were a few classes were I was the only female and also the only straight person. I thought that my dreams were coming true and that I could finally be surrounded by my new found gay best friends. Except they wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!!!! They were too busy flirting with each other. I thought that it was awesome, until I realized that I was such an enormous outcast in my sewing class.

 

In one of my sewing classes, I met a Russian girl. I thought that maybe we could bond over being foreigners and such, but quickly realized that we had nothing to bond over. She bragged to me about how she received a green card by marrying an American and swiftly divorcing him. She then went on to brag about how she is known as the fashionista among all of her friends and they all look to her for new trends. I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

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There were also a few people who constantly pestered me about poutine or who would want to argue with me about how disgusting poutine was. They acted as if they were the poutine champions of the world. Finally somebody asked what was in poutine and I heard somebody say “cheese, french fries, and mayo.” I almost lost it at that point… here I’ve been listening to some dorks go on about poutine and they don’t even know what the hell it is!? C’MON!!!! So I specified that traditional poutine was “french fries, gravy and cheese curds” – and no not cheese slices, but CURDS!

The actual sewing aspect was A LOT MORE tedious and annoying than I ever would have imagined. Never did I realize how key patience were in the sewing world. Perhaps that was why we had never met before? It took my 15 minutes every single time to put the damn thread through the “eye” of the needle on the sewing machine. I would have to get down on one knee, close an eyeball, tilt my head and chest slightly to the right, and hope that my wood pecker hand movements would eventually put the damn thread through the hole. And that was the start of class every single time.

I had no idea how much cutting and pinning and ironing was involved in sewing. And it takes so freakin’ long! Every time after sewing class I would tell John what I had just spent the last 5 hours doing and I always felt like I should be able to tell him that I did more than just cut and iron. Props to all you sewers – you are patient people.

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On my very last class the instructor (who was totally, unbelievably strange by the way… but also nice) was talking to me about how he was getting ready to turn the big 4-0. He kept going on and on and on about it, and I would just smile politely or make an “uh huh” noise when it felt natural. He was still going on about turning forty, and had come over to sit REALLY close to me to help me with something… like so close our noses were almost touching… when this is what he said to me:

“We’re about the same age, aren’t we!?”

I almost cried on the spot. Sew much for this class I thought….

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All of that aside, now that it is all over, I actually think that I might enjoy sewing. I like being able to create something new and after I was finished, I was so proud of myself for creating a wrap dress that I can actually wear. I at least now know where the power switch is on a sewing machine, how to cut fabric properly, I’ve learned sewing terminology, I’ve learned that it’s really annoying to be sewing and realize that your machine isn’t threaded, I’ve learned that the sense of pride you have when it’s all over is worth all the pin marks in your finger pads. I hope that one day I’ll sew my own children their own Halloween costumes, don’t hold me to that though.

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Ironically, through my whole entire 45 hours of sewing class, I was never taught how to sew a button on… but that’s what tailors in our condo lobby are for, right Baby?!

 

Enjoy Life Lovelies!
L


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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





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Liebster Award – Numero 2! Encore, Encore!

Although I was just nominated for this award not too long ago, I’ve been nominated once again from Autumn! So thank you very much, Autumn! I appreciate it hugely and graciously accept!

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So here we go again, folks! The rules are here in case you forget them.

11 Random Things About Myself

1. I do not do fake cheese… ie. velveeta, american cheese, space cheese… no thanks
2. I love dolphins and have gone swimming with them in the wild in New Zealand
3. As a kid I used to hate cookies, donuts and pizza.. my parents called me the Fruit Monster because I loved fruit so much
4. For the majority of my life, I’ve had a dog as a pet
5. I can’t wait to go to Thailand, Vietnam and Bali one day
6. I’m not extremely tech savvy
7. I could eat 5 pound of king crab all to myself (well, I’m up for the challenge anyhow)
8. I love small, thoughtful gestures that make someone feel special
9. My older sister looked like Annie when she was a kid
10. I drove a packer/roller for a construction site one summer
11. I can hold my own in a chess match

Questions From Autumn

  1. Stripes or Polka Dots?

    Both 🙂

  2. Signature Starbucks drink?

    Depends on my mood…  I like a gingerbread latte in the winter, an iced caramel macchiato in the summer with extra caramel, an iced tea if I’m not feeling coffee…

  3. What’s your best feature, in your opinion? (Self love, y’all)

    I’m thoughtful

  4. If you could live in another era, which era would you choose?

    I will also require an explanation…I like this era. I like life now 🙂

  5. Who inspires you?

    My Mom. She was one of the greatest teachers there ever once was.  She worked endless hours and did so much for her students because she loved them. She spend her evenings doing schoolwork and spent her summer in her classroom preparing for her kids. From a daughter’s perspective she put way too much thought and consideration into every single report card and it always took her forever to do them because she would never write anything generic. Looking back, I love that about her. She always did so much extra for her kids and she would do it year after year after year without getting the recognition she deserved. As an adult, I realized that she did so much for her kids because she loved them… not because she wanted a pat on the back.

  6. Describe your perfect day.

    My favourite kinds of days are going on new adventures to places I’ve never been before with people I love. Eating good food. Drinking good wine and/or other bevs. Going to the beach. Watching the sunset. Smelling fresh flowers.

  7. Favorite way to relax and de-stress?

    Ideally a day at the spa! Followed by wine.

  8. Describe one quirk about yourself.

    Oh boy… I have many. I can’t and will not finish the last bit of liquid at the bottom of my drink. The thought of backwash has taunted me from my childhood days.

  9. What was your childhood dream?

    So cheesy… to meet my Mr. Wonderful and have a long, happy and healthy life together. Nailed it.

  10. What is your mantra/favorite quote?maya
  11. What’s one item off your bucket list?

    Paddleboarding!! Happy to have scratched that one off last weekend 🙂

 

My Nominees:
A La Modern Mom

Witty Critty
Kevil
Don
Aimee

My Questions for the Nominees:

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?

Enjoy Life, Lovelies!
L

 

 

 


1 Comment

Bloggity Blog Hoppin’ Hop

What the hellllllllll is a Blog Hop you ask? That was my question to when I was asked by Routine Dreamer to participate in a Blog Hop. Essentially what it is is a blog train… ALL ABOARD LOVELIES!!!

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Routine Dreamer asked me a few questions that I am to answer and then I hand over the blog baton to two others and they do the same… which is apparently a Blog Hop! Who knew!?  Routine Dreamer is a bright, young man who writes with a pure and raw honesty that you cannot help but feel. I connect with his words and enjoy his posts very much. So thank you, Mister, for asking me to play along!

Let’s get down to it folks!

  • What am I working on/writing?

I tend to go through spurts… as of write now I am writing nothing other than this post. I may start a book since I’ve been told numerous times lately that I should do so… but that’s up in the air. Like the clouds.

  • How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?

I don’t really know… I’m a different breed and always have been. I’m the kind of gal that you either love me or you non-love me (hate is too strong a word… I reserve that work for things I actually hate such as fake cheese). I’ve been told by my friends that they enjoy the strange things that pop out of my mouth and that is what they would miss most for when we moved to another country. So here you go, you can still read the crazy thoughts that go around in my mind!

  • Why do I write what I do?

I started sharing our journey of moving to the US from Canada but it turns out that I have more to say than just the stories of our journey. I write what I’m feeling and I write in the hopes of connecting with another being who knows that they aren’t crazy for feeling what they are feeling.. there’s another crazy out there who feels what they feel.

  • How does my writing process work?

I just write. What comes in my mind. My hubs watched me start a post one day and he said “you can just write just like that!?” I didn’t know that that was strange… I write the thoughts in my head as they come. Which I think is why my friends and family tell me that they can hear my voice and imagine us having a real conversation in real life.

Okay, now is the time to pass along to Blog Hop Baton! And I pass the baton to…..:

1) A La Modern Mom

2) Autumn

Thanks for playing along!!! If you are confused about what a Blog Hop is, don’t worry… I think we all are!

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


22 Comments

Canadians Go To The Beach On Coldest Day Of Summer

Since we have moved to Chicago, I’ve been dying to go on a road trip to the Indiana Dunes. This weekend, we decided to go!

It was a warm and balmy 70ish degrees (20ish degrees Canadian friends) around 9:30am in Chicago when we decided to drive out, so we thought that it would be a perfect beach day! We were so excited and we just couldn’t hide it!

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Enroute to the beach!

I still get excited every time we go somewhere new and I have always loved entering new territory. I am fascinated that by straddling a border line you can be in two places at once. I am easily pleased and impressed. Here is our obligatory new State photo:

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As you can see by the sky, the clouds did not appear to be perfect beach day clouds. The temperature dropped the closer we got to our destination, but there was no way that grey skies would stop our day of fun!

We finally arrived at our destination and the temperature was 62 degrees (approx 10ish degrees Celcius). The coldest day we have experienced thus far. We figured that since it was only 10:30am, the sun was maybe still waking up… maybe it had too many drinks the night before and was having a late start!

When we arrived at the beach, we were the only ones there… parking was really difficult:

 

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We had the whole lot to ourselves

We didn’t care about the weather, we were just so excited to be AT THE BEACH!

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The pictures do not do the waves justice… they were humongous and it was so windy. It would have been perfect “dingy” boating waves. Except there were rip tide signs everywhere and warnings to not even go wading… but a part from that, it was perfect!

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Still looks pretty warm and nice, doesn’t it? This picture captures what the sky was like for most of the day:

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Pretty though, isn’t it!?

And here is an obligatory pic to show how windy it was:

 

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Now, even though our ears were aching from the wind, that didn’t stop us. In fact, the ringing in our ears helped enhance the crushing of the waves.

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The sun made a quick appearance and we relished in it!!

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AHHH SUN!!!

 

We were so excited, that we just could not hide it! And why hide it!? It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?!

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John snuck up on me and photographed my inner 2 year old self coming out in me 🙂

 

It was SUCH a fun day on the beach, we had the entire State National Park to ourselves and we LOVED IT! Look how pretty it is!!



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We didn’t even have to worry about anybody stealing John’s size 15 flip flops… do you know how hard it is to find shoes that big!?

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We could even take all the selfies in the world without others watching or offering to take our photo:

 


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Just after noon, we realized that the temperature was not going to get higher than 64 (low teens, Canadians). Cue pouting face.

 

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We had a decision to make… we could either call it a day and go home OR we could go buy matching hoodies from the closest Walmart and continue our beach day! If you can’t beat em, join em!



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Although the weather did not get past 64 degrees, we still pulled out the towels and did the beach thing. Here is proof:

As if I am posting a picture of myself on the internet in my bikini.... get real, lovely

As if I am posting a picture of myself on the internet in my bikini…. get real, lovely

We drove home around 3:00pm and I am already looking forward to going back for more!

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Where is your favourite secret beach, lovely?

Enjoy Life,
L


8 Comments

Who Knew That So Much Of Your Life Could Change In Only A Matter Of 3 Months?

3 months

92 days

2,208 hours

25% of an entire year

A whole quarter of a year!

That’s how long it’s been since we left Canada and made Chicago our new home

That’s how long it’s been since we saw our one bedroom, one bathroom apartment for the very first time

That’s how long it’s been since all of struggles were really put into overdrive

That’s how long it’s been since our puppy no longer has a backyard to frolic in

That’s how long it’s been since we started this crazy journey of ours

That’s how long it’s been since the best part of our life began!

Who knew that so much of your life could change in only a matter of 3 months? I sure as hell did not! In only a matter of three months, we are living a whole new life and each day that passes, it is starting to feel more normal! We are loving this “city life” and absolutely loving living downtown in a major city.

Living downtown Chicago, you see approximately 180 differential kinds of people. People who you prejudge right away until they smile and say “hi” to you. People who you try to avoid eye contact with until they reach down and start petting your puppy and you can see their eyes light up from a love that only a puppy can provide. People who shake their cup at you and you wonder what they are going to do with any change their muster up… but then you talk to them and you hear their side of the story.

In three months, I have really enjoyed living a city that is so cultured. Living in a city where a Memorial Parade can make you tear up even though you aren’t from this country. You can feel the pride, the courage, the strength and the sadness from those whose shoulders you are rubbing against.  You can walk down a block or two and have hundreds of different cuisine offered to you. You can walk down the street and hear languages that you have never heard of before.

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In three simple months, my eyes have been opened. I love all of the different kinds of people who live here. The other day at a popular clothing store, a white man helping me was wearing a turban, had a piercing through the septum of his nose, was wearing a cop tank top, tight leather pants, as well as high heels. I didn’t think anything of his style choice until I was leaving and thought that if I had ever seen somebody dressed like that in Calgary, I’m sure I would have thought that he was weird or strange. But now, I applaud his confidence and courage to be who he wants to be.

Since living in Chicago, we have started to “play” tennis. We walk like we are walking to China. Hell, we have gone to China Town and to Greek Town! We go to baseball games. We try new cuisine. We are meeting new people who I have an inkling will become lifelong friends. We have gone stand up paddle boarding. We go to the beach. We go for bike rides and jogs along the lakeside. We probably eat too much gelato, but really is there such thing as too much gelato!? We are learning a new language (yeah, they speak English here but differently terminologies, learning healthcare terms, learning different sayings and pronunciations, etc)
We are vacationing in our own city and we love it! We haven’t even done 2% of the greatness that Chicago has to offer and yet we are already having the time of our life!

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I guess it’s true that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. I am so proud of us for doing all of this and for living outside of the box. We are making a lifetime of memories together and creating stories that only each other’s souls are able to hear.

I cannot wait to see what greatness unfolds in the next three months of our journey!!

Stay tuned, my lovely, stay tuned!

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Enjoy Life  (we sure are!)
L