Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

Photo by Candice Stringham
It's New Year's Eve 2010 and I'm sitting here reflecting on the past year.  My first thought is, where did it go?  This year came and went so fast.

On the professional front, I worked my butt off and it looks like I'm beginning to reap the benefits: I received a completely unexpected Christmas bonus which is incremental to the usual annual bonus paid out in February, and when I get back to work in the new year, I'll start real discussions about my new role on the team.  It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds...I'm still a little fuzzy about where I want to be beyond the next year, but one step at a time.

On the personal front, it's a bit mixed:  Fitness-wise, I've never felt stronger than I do now - at my last body composition assessment, I was down to 23% body fat which is huge considering where I started.  Truth be told, I worry that my arms and shoulders are bordering on butch - but my trainer insists that it's not possible for me to butch up like a she-male.  I've still got a ways to go to get to my ideal toned shape but when I was able to fit into my skinny jeans - the jeans I haven't been able to button up for 5+ years? - Miranda's confidence and elation in that Sex and the City scene where she slips on her No Excuses skinny jeans immediately springs to mind!

My sister (finally!) married her baby-daddy - :) - and my dearest adorable Piglet turned 3!  

I went on a fantastic 2-week Gap Adventure to Morocco, the photos of which I've only just recently begun to edit and hope to post in the next few days.  Suffice to say that it was beyond my expectations.  It's a beautiful country of various landscapes and generous, welcoming people.

I followed up Morocco with a one-week stopover in London to visit with my favourite cousin, A.  She always inspires me to be more open to the magic that is the universe.

Now, I'm generally very rational and pragmatic and not given to the "airy-fairy" intangibles of manifestations and such, but I've decided that I'm going to give it a try in 2011. I was resolutely single-minded in my singledom but that's going to change in the new year.  I've come to realize this past year that while I've been content to be alone, it can be rather lonely.  Life is sweeter when there's someone to share it with and somewhere along the way, I seem to have given up on that dream/goal. So how am I going to make this happen?  First and foremost I'm going to have to work on my attitude: dating, which I've always dreaded is supposed to be fun!  I'll try and keep you posted on how this goes! 

Segue to resolutions - which I generally don't like making but here they are:
1. Date and have fun doing it!
2. Watch less TV
3. Read more
4. Spend less
5. Blog more
6. Be open to possibilities!

On that note, I leave you with this video of "Happiness" by Alexis Jordan.  A played this song every morning for the week I was in London and I love this lyric:  

Through strength I found love, in time I found myself in happiness with you.  

Wishing you much love, health and prosperity in 2011!

Holiday Alphabet Mugs

Remember the Alphabet Mugs I picked up early last November?  For the last few years I've baked cookies for friends and this year, I packaged them up in personalized mugs with mini ornaments picked up at my local Dollarama(!!):

In addition to my usual soft and chewy Old-fashioned Molasses Cookies from one of Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookie Specials and Brown Sugar Shortbread from Mrs. Field's Cookie Book, I baked a batch of Chocolate Chip Surprises which I tweaked with a Hershey's Chocolate Mint Truffle and my new favourite, Pikkuleivat, aka Cardamom Sugar Cookies which were both Star Kitchen-Tested.  None of their recipes have yet failed me - granted, I've only ever tried 3, including my all-time favourite carrot cake recipe that's yellowed with age.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boxing Week Sales

How was your Christmas?  Mine was rather restful.  I spent an extra-extra-long weekend at my mom's and filled myself with all sorts of goodies like cookies, dim sum, turkey, prime rib and roast potatoes.  All kinds of bad during my current burn phase of training but it's the holidays! Down with protein days!!

After the damage I'd done to my wallet while on vacation, I had no intention of shopping the annual Boxing Week sales, let alone braving the malls on the actual day. But my brother's girlfriend wanted my help in finding a nice wool coat so I woke up bright and early Sunday to make it for the 8am opening at Fairview Mall - no way was I going later to drive circles around the parking lot looking for a spot.

We found her a coat at Aritzia, this T.Babaton Military Coat with shiny buttons that looks really cute on, and me, I picked up 2 blazers at only 10% of :( - the Wilfred satin crepe shawl blazer and a grey wool Talula blazer which I already have in black.  Neither of which I was really looking for, but both look great with skinny jeans, which I've come to love of late. 
Once I started, I couldn't really stop. I hopped online to check out the sales at Chapters/Indigo and picked up a bunch of holiday stuff at 50-75% off - mostly candles and reed diffusers plus a couple of books.
And today, while out to get 2 of my Axxium french manicured nails re-done because the polish had chipped off far too soon, I picked up Christmas ornaments at Urban Barn that were 3 for the price of 1 in sparkly/iridescent shades of purple, brown and white:
Now I just need to get a skinny condo-sized tree for next year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mast Brothers

S&W went to NYC before Christmas and came back with a Pecan and Maple Dark Chocolate bar made by Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn. My first impression: adorable packaging. Check it out below:
Each bar is hand-wrapped in gorgeous patterned papers.  And the taste?  My bar was crazy dark chocolate with whole pecans and none of the sweetness I would have expected from the maple, but oh so good! I wish I had a glass of red wine to go with it!

Here's a video W sent me of their artisanal bean-to-bar process:

Mast Brothers from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gettin' in the mood

I arrived home from London Saturday evening in time for a home cooked dinner at my mim's and since then, have done 4 loads of laundry in 3 days - the first 2 the very night I returned and am slowly getting back into the rhythm of life.
One of the first things I did was trim my little tree:

The next thing on my festive to-do list is decide what cookie(s) to bake.
But before that, I've got to clean and get organized. My place is a mess and it's stressing me out!!!!

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gallery walls

These 2 gallery walls caught my eye today - a shoe shop in Covent Garden:

And in Liberty:

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London Days 4 & 5

Coming up on my last days in London Town. I saw Wicked for the second time yesterday and Billy Elliot today. I love the theatre scene here. I stopped at Leicester Square both days to visit the half price ticket booths and came away with fantastic tix in the stalls, aka orchestra level for £42 - which is ~$72 and still cheaper then the seats would have been at home.

Dinner last night was with a small group of family and friends at Suze Wine Bar where there was great conversation over lively libations. Witness the many glasses on our table:

I spent the morning in Covent Garden and stopped in the Museum of Transport where I was a total nerd and picked up a towel of a map of the London Underground along with a poster.
After the musical, I made my pilgrimage to Liberty for a proper browse. Look how lovely it is at night:

The fourth floor was decked out for Christmas and of course, I had to take a photo of their selection of purple ornaments.

I know thus is totally lame but I couldn't leave without a purple Liberty bag so what did I do but buy a canvas Liberty tote, a tea towel and a Lisa Stickley makeup bag.

Tomorrow I'm heading to the shops in Knightsbridge as I promised to return with the Harrods Christmas Bear for WL.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fav buy...

I found this "bag in bag" in a shop on Carnaby St. and it's my new favorite thing because it just makes total sense since I carry big-ass bags that things can get lost in.

I bought this bag from Karen Millen today after sleeping on it for the last 3 nights and look how fab my little organizer is:

Now I can find my camera without digging around and my London A-Z and copy of John Armstrong's Conditions of Love are in one place. Love love love!!!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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