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Saturday, December 31, 2011

sayonara 2011. it's been a slice.

saying goodbye to a year has never felt so bittersweet.

usually i am gung ho when it comes to celebrating a new year. for me, it's a great excuse to get dressed up, spend time with friends, maybe enjoy a swanky meal and seal the deal with a champagne midnight kiss. sure you feel nostalgic and reflect on some of the things that made the year a good one. maybe there are things you wished never happened, things you wish you could take back--do over, try again and really get it right. but i guess that's why they say you live and you learn; without the bad, there can't be any good. 
well there can, but life just doesn't work that way. which really blows.

however this year, i am hesitant. i'm taking baby steps towards it, as if it's an avoidable day that i can just scoot around and be on to the next. maybe 2012 can just be an extension of 2011? will cheques still be valid if i throw a "2011" in brackets next to the date? if i use last year's calendar and just correct the day of the week for each month, can i still hang on to a year i am not ready to let go of? ps-that's totally the dutch in me coming out. my old man did this for years until i started buying him a calendar for christmas and forced him to get rid of the old one. i guess i just can't wrap my little head around the thought: how can 2012 ever top 2011? ok, top may be an overstatement, how can it ever even come close to it. play on the same team? work the same shift? take the same bus? i just don't think it's possible, it can't be.

this was the best year of my life.

this was the year i learned the most about myself, and more than that, who i want to be. a year that taught me how to pick my battles wisely, admit when i am wrong, learn from those around me and appreciate every opportunity i am given. i married the sweetest man i have ever known, and was able to share it with my family and friends. developed a stronger relationship and even better friendship with my parents and brother. visited and fell in love with the most beautiful country on earth, which in turn made me fall in love with food and cooking, especially with paul. i saw some of my closest friends get married to wonderful men, and others become engaged, turned my house into more of my home, learned how to give myself a proper manicure, discovered the freedom of not letting things get to me and the respect i have for someone who goes after their dreams with reckless abandon.

this was the best year of my life.

while planning this post i learned something else. for everything i am so proud of seeing and experiencing in the last year to not have been in vain, i need to welcome the year ahead with open arms. grab it by the balls and take it for all it's worth. this doesn't mean that all i love about 2011 is forgotten, or never happened, it means it can't be taken away from me, it's mine. 2012 will be whatever i make it to be, 
and that's some pretty sick shit.
happy new years. to you and yours.
{image found here}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

pretty christmas things.

i hope everyone had a beautiful christmas, and y'all have been rolling around these last few days just stuffed to shit with turkey. i was able to get together with my girls to have a serious dance party, had two wonderful meals and celebrated with both of our families, which was exactly what i was hoping for. we tag teamed a gingerbread train (houses are on the back burner when there's a train nerd in the house) and were able to convince paul's fabulous 87~year~old gran to help (as she sipped her wine of course), she's my kinda girl. we visited with some old friends and even got a wee bagpipe performance out of the deal. everything else in between was a cherry on top.
one of those things was tickets to see "quidam", a 'cirque du soleil' production that is rolling through toronto this week. i have been talking about seeing a 'cirque' show for forever, and was pleasantly surprised that paul was able to snag two seats for a performance the day after christmas. we made a day of it, shopping, dinner and cirque for dessert. i knew it was going to be good, but had no idea it was going to even though my friend jules warned me that my "head would fall off", nothing could have prepared me for the way it would bring me to tears. it was beautiful. the set, the lighting, the music, the costumes and talent...i loved every moment. i found myself thinking "these people are doing exactly what they were meant to, and get to share it with the world". how lucky. my favourite part, was the most beautiful couple, doing a 'main à main' routine, which is a hand in hand acrobat act (ahhh thank you wiki). they were so strong, and so controlled, it was incredible. while swooning over their chemistry/praying they were a couple in real life and bawling like an idiot, paul whispered in my ear "these people probably have some crazy ass cirque sex".

it was such a romantic moment.
and because i am spoiled rotten, yesterday was part two of my christmas gift from paul. i got a tattoo i have been wanting for the last 100 years, and couldn't be more over the moon about it. it's exactly what i asked my shaved head, fully sleeved, tattoo artist for; "pretty & girly". and it didn't give my highly dramatic italian mother a heart attack. which is a bonus.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

nailed it.

sometimes things turn out the way you plan.
sometimes, not so much. 
girlfriends + rye and cokes = nailed it.
who wants one?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

wrap that shit like you're giving it to martha stewart herself.

so you have spent every penny out of your bank account (and your significant others), maxed out your credit cards and pulled out the money you keep under your mattress. you have a present for everyone you know and their cat, and now you just need to wrap all this crap up. normally a job that isn't necessarily considered "fun", wrapping presents, whether for christmas, birthdays or special occasions, is my favourite part of giving someone a gift. i love when the outside is a reflection of how good the inside is going to be, and when the person you give it to appreciates that and takes the time to open the gift like a sane person without rabies. however i do not love when the wrapping goes totally unnoticed, and he tears that shit apart like it's a bag of chips and he hasn't ate since april and it's the last bag of cool ranch doritos ever made (paul). despite this i keep wrapping my gifts as if i were giving one to martha stewart herself. or oprah. i feel she appreciates these superfluous things as well.

this sunday, while watching 'home alone 2' (which i finally decided is funnier than the first 'home alone') and 'it's a wonderful life' (which i decided is not my favourite) i wrapped four gifts. yes. a whopping four. i took a catnap in between and stopped for a couple pickle breaks, but other than that, i was working away like i was employed at the gift wrapping kiosk in the mall. i had a whole bunch of crap i have collected over the years that i used up; pine cones, twine, paper, sheet music from an old songbook and some fresh greens left over from my outdoor urns. with each person i was giving the gift to in mind, i put a lot of love, two sided tape and 'fucking fuck's' into every present i wrapped. depending on your style and taste, you could use just about anything to jazz up your gifts. start with choosing a wrapping paper you really love, and add your details to compliment the paper. this doesn't mean it has to be matchy-matchy, an eclectic mix is usually the nicest. add some natural elements and you'll pull together something fresh and interesting. promise. these are some of my favourites.
 if you have the time to find your inner martha this year, i promise the effort is worth the look on your loved one's face when you hand them something you wrapped especially for them. or maybe, you'll get the same response i got from paul's auntie kathie the first year we dated and i arrived at their christmas day dinner with a tin of cookies i had baked and decorated, and wrapped with a satin bow on top:

"oh amanda. get a life".

i knew i was a part of the family that very moment.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

office christmas parties. the night you leave your shame at home.

the guy in the santa costume always has the most fun.
oh the office christmas party. where you can get shit faced in front of your co-workers and no one judges you because they too, are shmammered out of their tree. i have always been jealous of the classic "office christmas party". like the one my grandfather would have attended in the 40's, where the only evidence it ever happened are the black and white photos they stashed away for no one to find. the one where you decorate the office in streamers and drink too much scotch while smoking menthol slims and dancing on your desk with your pantyhose around your ankles. the one where no one gives a single iota of fuck as to how they look, act or sound. 
that's the kind of christmas party i want to go to. 

long gone are the days when it's acceptable to smoke and drink where you work--kinda like you don't shit where you eat, it's the same thing but totally different. nowadays you book a hall or pay for a ticket to sit in a room full of other established businesses to enjoy a meal and some pleasant dinner music. but don't think for one second that the minute those plates are cleared and the bottle of wine you drank before you even got to the party kicks in, you won't be on the dance floor doing the macarena with the guy who sits three cubicles away, and only says hi to you when you accidentally make eye contact and it's too late and far too impolite to pretend it never happened. 

tonight is my office christmas party.

after a few years of trying out different locations and suggestions from my co-workers, i pretty much told my boss that i was planning the christmas party this year (remember that time i admitted i am going through planning withdrawals?). if my house was big enough to fit 45 people comfortably (i've done it before, talk about having someone up in your grill) i would have had the party at my house. i also would have brought in desks and made people dance on them when they were good and hammered. i heard from a friend about a hall that does a multi-company christmas party every year. she says it's always a really dirty time, and worth the night out. 
so i pitched the idea to the boss and was on my merry little way. 
after all, 

"tis the season to be merry"
"mary? well that's my name"
"no shit"

i'm really excited to see how the night pans out. i know it will be a good time, and i don't doubt for a second we'll be talking about it for days. it may not be the classic office christmas party i long for, but who knows, maybe one day i will own a business with more employees than myself, paul (who would be my secretary) and india. and i will throw a christmas party in our office that would make your grandparents jealous. and you better believe i'll be sippin' on a dirty martini, with my pantyhose right where they should be, 
keeping my ankles toasty warm.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

i have a girl crush. on zooey deschanel.

when it comes to zooey deschanel, i don't know who has the bigger crush, paul or myself. i like to think that because i'm a girl, i know what i'm talking about, but then again, he has a decent list of celebrity crushes. (natalie portman is his get out of jail free card, so i mean the kid 
isn't crushing on megan fox or anything crazy like that).

i decided i liked her when she played 'jovie' in "elf" (thank god she got over her blonde phase), i fell in love with her as 'summer' in "500 days of summer" and have fallen head over heels with her as 'jess' in "the new girl". she is quirky, sweet, sexy awkward, absolutely hilarious and ridiculously stunning. yes, i would date her.

"the new girl",which airs on tuesday nights, is the only thing on television i look forward to during the week. i honestly laugh like a lunatic until i have tears in my eyes. paul says he doesn't know what's funnier, the show, or how hilarious i think it is. last weeks episode had a 4 minute sex scene in it that i rewound 4 times. after the fourth time, when my little finger went for the rewind button, paul stole the remote from me and told me "no" in the same stern voice he uses with india when she is about to eat the cat's treats when he's not looking. on the show she's dating the adorable justin long who plays a character named 'paul'. kawinkeydink? i think so.

tell me this isn't hilarious. i'm going to start talking with an accent in the bedroom.

on top of being an actress, she also sings, and i mean the girl can sing. she has a jazzy, 40's tone to her voice, which is really interesting, refreshing and very easy to listen to. her and matthew ward sing in a duo, called "she & him", and they put out a christmas album that was released in october, called "a very she & him christmas". i have not stopped singing listening to it since the first time i heard it. 
give it a whirl if you like. and please watch "the new girl". you won't be disappointed. and if you are, please keep that to yourself.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

it's our six month wedding anniversary. eat that kim kardashian.

today is our six month wedding anniversary. i know, six months, whoopie shit. especially when you have been together for nine years, six months doesn't sound like something worth celebrating. but in a world where you can be married and divorced after 72 days, paul and i have a "go on, give yourself a pat on the ass" sort of attitude today. he even shook my hand and congratulated me. 

currently he is watching "gordon ramsay's ultimate christmas" and drooling over a glazed ham (i think he may have a chub going on, i'm not too sure), oh what a special day it is. then again, i guess it's just a normal day like any other, and i'm ok with that. so i'm not going to go on and on about how i feel about him, even though i love disgustingly mushy sentiments and being a gigantic cheeseball. 

this poem says more than i ever could about what he means to me, whether he gets boners from hams or not.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

pinterest: because i need another obsession like i need a hole in the head.

i love the look i get when i tell someone i found something ridiculously amazing on pinterest. usually a combo of confused, interested and a little bit of what the eff are you talking about, i explain it, make them sign up, and watch them pin their little hearts out with the same joy i get from doing it. like a mama bird watching their babies fly for the first time.

if you love collecting unique recipes, learning how to do something new, decorating your home, photography and too much more to list, and you don't know about the site, you must be on crack. it is absolutely jam packed to the tits with everything you could ever need, and just when you think you have seen it all, you discover something else that blows your brains. the site is described as a "virtual pinboard", a place where you can catalogue the images you collect, either on the internet via the "pinning tool" which you download to your toolbar, or through their search engine, which is beautifully organized into categories for convenient perusing. once you pin your jazz, a link will connect the original site of the image to the image on your board--so if you pinned a diy or instructions, you will always have the info. 

throughout my time on the site, i have discovered a few things about myself i didn't know before pinterest. i have a thing for asian babies; i simply cannot get enough of them. i also have a thing for delicious men, and on the first board i created, which is also the one i frequent most, i have pinned a healthy collection of a few good delectable men i enjoy very much. i also enjoy animals in glasses (sun or prescription), designing my unborn child's nursery and apparently i want to dress men for a living. 
just imagine what you could learn about yourself!

after a decent bout of collecting and organizing my pins (which i love doing by the way--it truly is the perfect place for a person with ocd) i realized that i hadn't actually made/done/tried anything i found on pinterest, i was simply sitting on my ass and loving the things that fellow pinners with motivation actually completed. i mean, i know that just because i pin a picture of ryan gosling, doesn't mean i get to try him out or do him, but i could attempt a recipe, or make a craft or paint my nails. 
and so i did, and these are some of my favourite pinterest projects thus far.
i almost shit when i saw these. 
i made about 10 of them and wore them all at once. 
like i was 9.
i want to lie and say i did this myself, but my vietnamese nail queen did it.
i will try it now that i know how.
no promises.
pretzel. rolo. pecan.
the best thing i have ever ate.
all 25 of them

now that you have been educated you can head on over to and sign up for your own account. you actually have to "request an invite" and the site emails you back to say you have been "accepted" as a member. this may take a few days, i believe it took almost a week for them to finally allow me access to their oh-so prestigious hoity toity club. BUT. if you happen to know someone who is already a member, they can invite you and your accepted almost instantly. hmmmm....fancy that.  happy pinning.

ps-if you hit the "p" button on the top right side of the screen, it will take you to my page on pinterest. 
please don't judge me.

Monday, December 05, 2011

urns: the ones on your porch, not your mantle.

the year we moved into our home i went bananas when it came to decorating. fresh flowers in almost every room, the gardens done to the nines and christmas crap everywhere during the holidays, my favourite project being the urns outside. i worked away like a cracked out martha stewart, fingers chilled to the bone and a nose full of frozen snot i was just happier than a pig in shit. then one day paul said he wanted to move and i stopped doing anything in the house that helped make it feel like home. plans to paint the top floor and design a vegetable garden in the backyard went out the window-it's all or nothing with me. five years later, we're still living in our lovely home in the ghetto, and i need to enjoy it to its fullest. just because i am not going to live here for the rest of my life, doesn't mean i can't love it while it's mine.

this weekend i dusted off my clippers, packed the boy and the pooch in the car and spent a few hours in short hills collecting pine and dogwood branches. i did all the dirty work as paul entertained india (typical) and stood on the lookout for anyone on the trail who heaven forbid saw him with this crazy broad tits deep in the bush. apparently my foraging embarrassed him (also typical). 

paul: "can't we just buy all this crap somewhere like normal people?" 
me: "um no. i would much rather embarrass the hell out of you".

if india had opposable thumbs i would have had her drive my ass to collect twigs. she doesn't get embarrassed about these things. 
plus she is just the cutest thing and apparently thinks she is the "queen of the forest".
by the end of our hike, i left with a garbage bag full of foliage we i had collected, a photo shoot with india on my camera and was ready to destroy my freshly done manicure. i knew i didn't have enough greens to do all three of my urns, so i grabbed a few bunches of cedar and a couple huge ass pine cones from the grocery store on the way home.
how we do: christmas urns
i like to make sure i have everything i need before i start working away. nothing makes me crazier than having to go inside for something--and i'll hold a pee for hours if i have to. i knew i wanted gold accents, so i spray painted the dogwood i had clipped and the pine cones i had purchased with a metallic gold spray paint, and made sure my pots were full of fresh clean, moist soil. the moisture will help hold the branches as you put them in, and everything will freeze in place if it ever gets friggen' cold enough (it was 12 degrees yesterday by the way).
i started by layering my greens, alternating the cedar and pine, until i created a shape that was full and looked natural. shove your branches in as far as you can so they don't come loose and fall out, and will be able to handle wind and the weight of snow. once you have them greened up, you can start adding your accoutrements. the dogwood helped give the urns some height and interest, the pine cones were nice too, but as i stood back to check things out, i decided they were not "me enough". i wanted to pull a little of the inside of our home outside, and remembered i had some gold picture frames in the basement that were used at our wedding. a little craft wire and swearing later, and i am in love with the end result. they are clean and simple, christmassy and have the vintage flavour i was craving. paul no longer can call me a slacker and i even got a high five out of the deal.

now all i have to do is say a little prayer that the rednecks in my neighbourhood don't steal these bad boys right off my porch, and i'm a happy girl. and don't think they won't. my terra cotta pots were punked this summer and i could have set the entire block on fire.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

for what it's worth.

well. here goes nothin'.
for what it's worth i'm going to write a blog.

cause i have shit to say, and the kid i live with is tired of hearing about it. maybe if i share it with the world, i'll finally feel like i can get it all out and can shut the eff up, but probably not. on the heels of my wedding i have been left to mourn the stress of organizing something that is creatively satisfying, personal and fulfilling. i find myself jumping at the opportunity to plan anything i can get my dirty little hands on: 
"paul, do you want to have a dinner party? is a seating chart, place cards and programs overkill? yes? tough titties".

oh, and because i love to share. despite my grade two report card which said something along the lines of "amanda has 'difficulty' sharing and doesn't like waiting her turn" i want others to be able to enjoy the things that pique my interest and tickle my fancy. when i find something too good to keep to myself, i want to be able to say "check this shit out world! you're gonna love it!". 20 years later i like to think i have learned how to share, however i still absolutely hate waiting my turn.

and, maybe most importantly, i need to write. journals are fun but only for the person writing them. unless you're like me and have a younger brother who went through your crap and found anything and everything you ever had to say about the boy you crushed hard on for ten years but never gave your pimpled face the time of day. there's only so many love notes i can write in birthday cards ('someone' got three this birthday cause i just couldn't seem to get it all out in one) and the idea of writing a book makes me piss myself.

so this will be the place where i am can let my hair down. where i'll talk about arts and crafts, delicious recipes, fashion and beauty, home decor, entertaining, movies, music and anything else that is worthy of being shared; a plethora or polish tea towel of things if you will. a place where i can organize my thoughts and spare my husband's sanity. at the end of the day, he couldn't care less if i found the sickest tutorial on how to make the cutest tank top from a pair of underwear, but maybe, just maybe, someone else out there does. 
and if you are that person, i'm glad we found each other.

welcome to pretty things & potty mouths. - pretty things & potty mouths. talking about random pretty shit since right now.
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