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Monday, December 31, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

christmas thangs.

our tree wasn't the only thing that got lit this year : wrapping homemade baked treats.
meow meow mother teresa.
as for mentioned drool worthy sweets : a special dinner with special friends.
map + canvas + bonnie raitt = a last minute gift made for paulie.
pink & mint cozy socks on girls night.
windy with a bow on top.
christmas morning smiles from the boy aka my favourite little 'train nerd'.
buddy the sweetest christmas kitty : my favourite presents of all time.
a group tree pic at every home i visited this holiday season.
pretty girl coco sat still long enough to let me take her picture.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry fuckin' christmas!

i hope you all had a beautiful christmas with your families, and are just full to the brim 
with turkey, booze and the happiest of memories.
merry christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

handmade wrapping paper: that's a fucking wrap.

each year i have the same issue when it comes to picking out wrapping paper -- i just don't like any of the shit out there. and for the stuff i do, it's all about $10 a roll, which is just bananas. because i like the tree to to be the shining star, i try to keep my wrapping minimal and clean, but with some character and charm, so this year i decided to make my own. now i know what you're thinking, ain't nobody got tiiiime for that, but honestly it took less than 20 minutes to stamp almost three full rolls of paper, and they turned out just fucking darling.
i borrowed a beautiful stamp set from a friend, and purchased a few rolls of kraft paper from the post office -- at $2.49 a roll, i can pretty much wrap all my gifts for less than $8 in paper. i choose to stick with 3 stamp styles, and 2 different colours for the ink, to keep things familiar and complimentary. i also recruited paulie to stamp a roll for me, which he bitched about the entire time, but ended up really lovely.
once all the sheets were stamped, i let them dry and then began the wrapping business. using a bit of red & white bakers twine, some fresh cedar and washi tape, the gifts turned out exactly how i wanted them to look and i am even more excited to give them to our friends and family. only a small part of my heart will break into a thousand pieces when those bastards rip their gifts apart to get to the goods, 
but it's all part of the fun, and i'm ok with that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

for the lazy baker: cranberry & pistachio chocolate bark.

when i first began what has become the tradition of baking holiday treats, i stuck to a tried and tested recipe for sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. i would get together with my girlfriends cassie & neena, and we would bake and decorate hundreds of cookies in the days leading up to christmas. they were delicious, pretty and fun to make, but somewhere along the line, i must have sustained a serious head injury, as i have since started adding a new item to my list of holiday baking as each year passes. for the past two years, we have switched up the sugar cookies to butter cookies (which are still full of sugar by the way), and added peanut butter balls and rolo turtles to the list. so why should this year be any different? variety is the spice bastard of life right? so i tacked on this recipe for cranberry pistachio bark and called it a day.
this special treat adds a fruity, nutty element to the baking i am already committed to, and adds some colour and texture to the tins and packages i will be making up to hand out. it looks equally pretty when served on a platter or wrapped as a small gift with cello, greens and a handmade ornament. with less than a week left until christmas, this treat is the easiest way to pull something together that takes less than 20 minutes to make but looks like much more work than that. no one needs to know you could whip this shit up blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back and high on bath salts. if that's the kind of thing you're into.

Friday, December 14, 2012

baby, it's cold outside.

k, not so much here in niagara. i'm pretty sure we will never see snow again. ever.
in the meantime, this fulfills my need for a winter wonderland.
i linked to the blog these images were stolen from below -- it's one of my favourite things on the internet, 
and is always full of beautiful things to love.
{every single last image via an early morning walk}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

just say the word and i'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

everyone has their all time favourite christmas movie -- some can't let a year go by without watching 'christmas vacation' (which is definitely my go-to, never-gets-old, hands down favourite), some are serious advocates for 'home alone' (my dear friend jen can recite the entire movie front to back, and even wrote the most amazing speech about it while in college) and some just can't get enough of 'it's a wonderful life'. paulie happens to be 'one of those'.

he introduced it to me as his favourite the first year we dated, explaining he and his family had watched it every christmas eve his entire life. every year like clockwork, the cbc was on and 'it's a wonderful life' entertained the cowley clan for the next 9 fucking hours straight: reason #1 i didn't want to like it -- the longest christmas movie in christmas movie history, you could roast twenty five, fifty pound turkeys and it still wouldn't be over. reason #2, shamefully: strictly because it was fun to make fun of it. i would see how annoying of a voice i could pull off while saying "every time a bell rings, an angel gets it's wiiiings", and in turn he would give me a look of pure death.

but as the years went on, and he kept the tradition alive on christmas eve's, i decided there was something really sweet about him having such a soft spot for a what i consider one of the more serious but romantic christmas classics. and it wasn't until i sat down, shut my damn mouth and paid attention, that this particular scene in the film made everything click for me; how could you not love a story about a man who would give his girl the moon if he could? i never intended to like this movie, and will probably continue to make paulie think i don't. 
they don't always need to know when you're wrong they're right.

Monday, December 10, 2012

day to day.

consuming enough vitamin c that getting sick is damn near impossible.
zac: the cutest googly-eyed black & white fuck i ever did see.
my pretty baby girl in her favourite spot : winter place settings.
most favourite nails to date. rip.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

christmas cards: handmade with love & wine.

every christmas without fail i convince myself it's a good idea to take on more than i can chew, which happens to be a lot considering i have a gigantic hole in my face for a mouth. this year, i had the brilliant idea to make all of my christmas cards. yes, you read that right, make. all of them. with an incredible amount of inspiration at my fingertips (from both my friends and the always reliable pinterest) i managed to pump out 50 cards all made by hand (usually just one, the other was most likely holding a glass of wine) and with a shit tonne of love.
using scrapbook paper, doilies, glitter, washi tape, ribbon, felt and anything else i had that could work, it was easy to pull together some really cute cards with a little bit of time and a lot of inspiration. i found this site & this site full of sweet, easy ideas, so to share the love, i thought i would post a few of my favourites.  i made the envelopes to match the cards and think they ended up really kitschy, festive and fun. if you can make the time to sit and craft your own cards, or even gift tags for less of a commitment, i think it will surprise you how rewarding it feels when you finally get the fuckers done. if you happen to have kids in your life this would be even more fun to do -- i can't believe i just said that. for now, i have a small pooch and a creeper of a cat who like to be a part of the process, and that's enough for me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

vicky's quick & dirty chicken noodle soup.

it's my mom's birthday today, so it was only fitting i share her recipe on what is hands down, my absolute favourite soup on the planet, her chicken noodle recipe. it's hearty, super rustic, full of flavour and tastes better and better as you eat it. until recently, i had only ever enjoyed her soup, so i never knew how she made it or what kind of work went into this tasty winter meal. thinking this was a full day process and a tradition i should keep alive to pass on, i added asking her to teach me how to make her recipe to my 30 by 30 list, and did just that a few sundays back. it was when she looked at me like i was asking her to teach me how to boil water, that i realized this was less of a task than i had pictured it being in my mind and of course, my mouth.

how we do: vicky's quick & dirty chicken noodle soup
{makes 1 enormous pot}
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 1.5 hours
eating time: my family? before that shit has a chance to cool.

you will need:
small macaroni or noodles of your choice
pieces of chicken legs & thighs
5 stalks of celery
1 small bag of peeled baby carrots
1 large can of plum tomatoes
dried oregano & parsley
salt & pepper to taste
fill your largest pot with water and get it on the stove on high to get it boiling. while that's going, you can prep the chicken, which includes washing it and trimming off any excess fat, and is not a job i would be interested  in doing -- it makes me queasy just thinking about it. i actually had to look away while my mom man handled those legs and thighs, and i spent the entire time asking her how the hell she doesn't barf when she does it. she's tough as balls. when the water was boiling, she dropped the chicken and let it do it's thang while i did the less slimy task of chopping the veggies.

wash and roughly chop 5 stalks of celery and a small bag of baby carrots, we like our soup rustic, but chop your veg however you enjoy it most. once your chicken in cooked through, you can add the celery, carrots and 1 large can of plum tomatoes with their juice. flavouring is as easy as a few 'nonna handfuls' (very small handful) of dried parsley and oregano from nonno's garden, and salt and pepper to taste. let this baby go for a good hour, pull apart any large pieces of chicken and remove any bones, boil up some small macaroni or egg noodles, and you have the best homemade quick and dirty chicken noodle soup you could ask for, worth the nasty chicken prep all damn day.

Monday, December 03, 2012

alexander ebert: truth.

i'm going to preface this by saying a very large part of me loves this man's music because well, let's be honest, i find him insanely beautiful. at first it was purely physical, but as i learn more about him and watch him in interviews (this one had me drooling all over myself) i become more attracted to his whole style -- his creativity, his interest in more than just the genre he and his music falls into, and his story.  if you recognize him, it's not because he looks like jesus, it's because before going solo he was in the band 'edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros'.  if you like 'truth', listen to the rest of his stuff, a million years and glimpses are also so good.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

a year in review: for what it's worth.

exactly one year ago today, i sat on this very couch, probably drinking coffee out of the exact same mug, and began this fulfilling journey of documenting and sharing the things that make me the most happy, inspired and proud -- things that have forced me to reflect, learn and strive for, things i never would have accomplished had i not created a place to call my own and just let all the shit out. it has become a reflection of myself (not all of me, but a good amount) and a tool to guide me into the girl i hope to one day be -- it has opened not only my eyes, but also my  heart to the joy of accomplishing what i can, and letting go of what i can't. this space is a visual representation of the way this last year has changed me, and that means more to me than i ever expected it to.

a few months back, i shared the lessons i have learned through writing, and how i can see myself slowy but surely learning the value of having the power to choose what i will and will not allow to affect me. of course i still have my moments breakdowns and lapses in judgement, but i have solid influences in my life and am trying my best to use them to my advantage, to stand up to myself and the times where i am pulled down, so i can get back up, pick my balls up off the ground, and move the fuck on. the reward in that also came as a surprise, like an added bonus, like the four maraschino cherries at the bottom of my double white russian.

cheese aside, i spent the last few days looking back on some of my favourite posts, adventures and the life lessons that inevitably come from each of those experiences. from getting organized to embracing what is around me exactly when it's before me, i am proud to see what something like this little corner of the internets has done for an ordinary girl with some extraordinary goals, hopes and dreams; when physically removing yourself from welland isn't a viable option, it's only a click away to put yourself into this great big world, and i plan to do just that until it's no longer something that makes me as happy as it does.

a few lessons i didn't intend or expect to learn:

writing a blog requires some level of computer knowledge. before starting this i knew how to use ms paint, a word document and photo booth on a mac like it was my job. since then i have learned how to write very basic code, edit without losing every fucking thing i ever posted, and the miracle that is googling anything. any.thing.

just when i think i know what i'm doing, i'm reminded i haven't a damn clue.
trying to be like everyone else never works; i love what i love and i swear like a trucker because i like to and don't give a rats ass if that makes me appear less educated, classless or worthy of living in the ghetto i do. "you either like me or you don't. it took me twenty-something years to learn to love myself, i don't have that kinda time to convince somebody else." --daniel franzese

it doesn't matter if a million people read what i put out there, or if it never meets the eyes of another soul, this is for me, and i like what i see.
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