Sunday, January 30, 2011

Only 48 more days until spring

January turned out to be a full and busy month.
I kind of thought that it would be more a time for hibernation and being home-bound due to not wanting to venture out in this frigid weather, feeling lazy, and generally a time for quiet reflection (aka watching a ridiculous amount of television).
Definitely this has not been the case for us at all.
During the month we went up north to a ski resort for a weekend which was super fun.
Visited with family.
We've been out socially probably more than we had during the holidays.
Which is pretty often I must say.
We've been out to dinner a bunch of times, went latin dancing, yes I said latin dancing.
I know I know...not my usual kind of thing to do, but I figured why not?
Can't think of a better way to stay warm than to shake my booty to some salsa music.
I've had a few girls nights out too, which is always so much fun.
I love connecting with my girlfriends and even better when you actually get to make new friends too.
Who knew "tupperware" parties, book clubs and cougars night out could be so much fun?
We have also really embraced the winter this year doing lots of outdoor activities like skating and tobogganing.
Lulu is getting so great on skates.
It's so much easier to skate with her now that I don't have to hold on to her constantly.
Lulu even got the opportunity to be in her first video this month.
She had her own lines, which she delivered like a pro.
It goes without saying that her social life has been even more active than ours.
Lots of play-dates, dancing, drama class, piano recitals, building killer snow forts with her dad, going to plays and the ballet, visits to the Science is very good for a five year old around here.
I've been busy with some creative work projects which is always a good thing.
I've also been on a reading roll this month and read a few really excellent books.
Nothing better than escaping into a great novel on a cold winter night.
So all in all not a bad way to pass the time during the winter.
Now, only 48 more days to kill until spring is finally here....

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. ~From the movie An Affair to Remember

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeling Flaky

These day's I'm trying to stay on track and continue to eat right.
Especially all the feel good mood boosting foods like sweet potato, avocado, blood oranges and grapefruit, kale and collard greens, brown rice, tofu, green tea, pomegranate, salmon, walnuts and almonds, oatmeal and quinoa.
You name it, I'll do or eat anything to boost the ol' mood and keep
Mrs. Crusty McGrumpiness at bay.
It's mid January and ridiculously freezing outside and lately I find myself finding it harder and harder to get up in the mornings despite the 4-7 hours I'm spending at the gym each week and the solid 8+ hours of sleep I've been getting.
Isn't exercise supposed to make you feel more energized?

Anyhow, my diet is good, I exercise, I'm getting plenty of rest these days, I take my vitamins- yet I still feel blah.
So what's a girl to do?
I'll tell you what.
Hit her local bakery that's what.
Carbs- schmarbs.
Nothing beats the blues like a warm pastry from one of the amazing french bakeries in my neighbourhood.
A few weeks ago we shared one of these..

mmmm....warm, perfectly flaky with a soft almond filling...yum.
Now that my friends is enough to banish the blues away (or at least until my next trip to the patisserie.)
As is custom for a new year Galette de Rois there is a little treat inside the filling.
Whomever finds it is king for the day (or has to make an emergency trip to the dentist.)
Guess who found it?
Thankfully before choking on it or ruining my pearly off-whites.
Now that makes me happy.

Last time I checked I've never found a miniature porcelain trinket inside a banana.
I'm just saying...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

january blues fire side

Well here we are, mid winter, snow falling and temperatures plummeting..
A couple of nights ago, while feeling a touch of the January blues, I had to make a choice between two wintery night options.

1. Stay inside, preferably cozied up to the fire reading a good book and drinking a nice warm cup of herbal tea.
okay or more realistically parked in front of the t.v. with a glass of wine watching several hours of mind numbing (yet sadly comforting) episodes of Flipping Out on HGTV or Top Chef All Stars on the food network.
Love those shows!


2. Book a sitter and get the heck out of the house and go for dinner at a new restaurant just south of College St. with some good friends that I haven't seen in ages.
Guess what I decided to do?
So we went to Woodlot a great new restaurant on Palmerston.
It was the perfect place for a cold and crappy January night.
We sat on the second level overlooking the big wood burning stove and all the people below.
I love a bird's eye view.
The food was very good.
I had the smoked white fish and potato salad with watercress to start and the Red Fife papardelle with wild boar.
Big daddy had the salad (pictured above) and duck cabbage rolls with chestnuts and prunes.
Comfort food is an understatement. yum...
Casual, comforting, unpretentious and mostly local.
Great service too.
My kind of place.
They offer a vegetarian menu as well, which was handy as one of my friends doesn't eat meat.
My only criticism would be the wine menu.
Not that I'm an expert, but it would be nice to see more options by the glass, specifically local wines.
As a result of the lack of options we were "forced" (wink wink nudge nudge) to order that second bottle of wine....
Other than that, I loved it there and can't wait to go back again soon.

It was nice to catch up with some old friends/ work mates.
After dinner we ended up going to Reposado Tequila bar on Ossington.
Yes I said tequila.
Now that's a way to warm up on a cold winter night with some friends.
Bonus there was some very good live jazz playing there as well which is always nice.

I'm so glad we decided to go out mid week for a change of scenery.
I didn't really post a new year's resolution list, mostly because I don't really have anything specific in mind these days other than
the usual stuff that I'm always working on.
But I do want to get out more.
Both big daddy & I are fairly social, but in the winter it's so easy to become a hermit and not get out as often as we do during the rest of the year.
Nothing beats the winter blues like eating, drinking & laughing with friends.

That being said, can't wait to cozy up to the fire tonight with a good book.....or better yet, wonder what's on the Food Network tonight?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

her fearful symmetry

I'm starting the new year with a new book club.
The last book club I was in, was a result of this blog.
Twelve other bloggers met each month to discuss different books.
While I enjoyed the diverse selection of books and people, I found I couldn't always commit to the book each month.
And to be totally honest there were some months (okay many months) that the book held absolutely no interest for me.
There are so many other great reads out there that I started to feel discouraged about having to read ones I didn't really want to.
But I felt obligated, so I always read them- like them or not.
Eventually I dropped out of the book club, after much debate I might add.
I felt like if I couldn't commit to reading the book of choice each month I should make room for someone who really wanted to be a part of it.
(there was an online waiting list of people wanting to join the bookclub)
But like I said, I really enjoyed the mix of women (and one man) and found it interesting going to various parts of the city for our meetings.
I occasionally check in on line to see what they are reading and if it's one I feel like picking up I do so.

I really enjoyed being part of a book club and have been kind of missing being a part of one ever since.
Not only does it encourage you to read books you might not necessarily pick up on your own, but I love hearing what others thought about the book.
Not to mention it's a great way to get out of the house on a weeknight (especially in the middle of winter.)
As luck should have it, my local book store has a monthly book club and tonight I decided to check it out.
I love this book shop, the staff is so friendly and so well versed on so many topics.
They are very passionate yet completely unpretentious about book suggestions.
I don't think they have ever steered me in the wrong direction.
Every single book I've purchased from there was a winner.
So it comes as no surprise that my first meeting was a positive one.
It was informative and interesting.
We read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Neiffenegger.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.
There was some very interesting discussion about it and overall everyone really enjoyed it.
Even though I only gave it a seven out of ten- I thought it was extremely well written and the characters were well developed but the ending kind of knocked off a few points for me.
Not that it was a bad ending, but once I finished, I was just kind of meh...but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
However the majority of the group rated it nine out of ten and in some cases 10 out of 10.
So like I said, worth picking up.
It's nice to meet with other women from the neighbourhood as well.
Bonus I can walk there in five minutes.
The best thing is that if I don't feel like reading the book each month there's absolutely no commitment.
But to be honest I'm already in the middle of the book for next month and loving it so far.
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute in case you were wondering.
The list for the rest of the year looks fantastic as well.
So it is unlikely that I'll want to skip any meetings, because after-all....

"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting." ~Edmund Burke