Read. I’m listening to Stanley Tucci’s Taste: My Life Through Food, and I can’t help but think – hey, why haven’t I written such a book? There are so many similarities between my family and his, and the recipes he shares are ones that I grew up with, and that I’m starting to try on my own, too. I’m enjoying the audio book version mostly because he reads it. I also read The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles, which I absolutely enjoyed. It is based on the true story of the librarians of The American Library in Paris during WWII.
Learn. Learn about Inuit facial expressions at Shina Nova.
Act. Looking for ways to help one another, be kind, pay it forward? Read through the posts at Random Acts of Kindness.
Write. Take a few minutes to write your future self an email at FutureMe.org. It’ll be delivered at a future date of your choosing.
Watch. We went to see Chicago at the Stratford Festival a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. I’m so glad the Festival has reopened.
I watched Inventing Anna over the course of a week or so. I liked it. I remember when the story of this fake con-artist socialite originally made the news. As far as acting goes, Julia Garner (as Anna Delvey) and Anna Chlumsky (as Vivienne Kent) were great.
I watched half of the Super Bowl, including the half-time show. Like many others, I enjoyed the show. Dr. Dre was my favourite. I polled my students about who their favourite performers were, and most of them liked Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar. I knew very little about Kendrick Lamar, but my students have taught me quite a bit about him this week, which made me do additional research. Did you know Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album DAMN.? I didn’t. I have since watched many videos and read many of his lyrics. As I was brainstorming ideas about how to incorporate his writing into my course, I learned that Drs. Christopher Driscoll, Anthony Pinn, and Monica Miller edited the first academic book about him and even developed a course focused on his work at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. I’ve just accessed the book from the university library, and I’m interested in seeing what it covers. Going down the Kendrick Lamar rabbit hole of research wasn’t what I was expecting to do after watching the Super Bowl!
Here is some of what has been on my mind over the last little while.
I watched Dream Home Makeover with Shae and Syd McGee (of Studio McGee). There are some beautiful homes and spaces in this series.
I’ve been doing a bit of historical research about Waterloo, and I was surprised by the Waterloo Public Library’s digital collection. Count me impressed! I didn’t think I’d be able to read up on anything until I was in a library looking at microfiche. Does microfiche still exist?
I recently learned about the Brownstone Boys (renovators) via the One Room Challenge, and I enjoyed looking through the photos of their The Gates House project. All the historical details in this house are lovely!
If you’re interested in following along major home reno journeys, check out Kathlyn’s new Toronto Reno Story Instagram page. Her new mid-century home has been completely gutted.
I’ve finished watching all the seasons of The Crown and all the episodes of Bridgerton. Like many (many, many) people, I enjoyed both. The stories, the costumes, the acting, and the scenery in both shows kept me entertained.
I made this penne alla vecchia bettola recipe for my beau’s birthday, and it was a hit. I ended up making it twice in one week because it became high in demand! I’ll be making it again, I’m sure.
I’m so tired of seeing all the loungewear currently being promoted on nearly every store’s website. While I haven’t worn my traditional work wear in nearly a year (suit, dress pants, dress skirts), I also don’t wear leggings or joggers every day. Generally, my daily outfit consists of jeans and a sweater. I’m aiming to document a “week of outfits” to share here or on Instagram soon. I know, I know…exciting stuff coming your way! What about you? Has your fashion changed over the last year?
Watch. On Disney+, I’ve recently watched Moana, Lion King (the new one), and Mandalorian. On Netflix, I’ve watched Trial of the Chicago 7, Holidate, Emily in Paris, and The Queen’s Gambit. It’s an eclectic selection, I know, but I’ve enjoyed them all!
Read. I’ve been reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo for a faculty book club I joined, and Creepers by David Morrell. I’ve also been reading my usual stack of magazines. Veranda, in recent months, has become a favourite!
Eat. I made this easy pulled pork recipe in the slow cooker a few weeks ago, and it was delicious. I ventured out to Kitchener’s Grand Trunk Saloon to get a taste of southern cookin’. My mom made paella when I went for dinner this week, and it was so good! Heck, fall meals are off to a good start!
Do. I’ve been helping to renovate a powder room, and one of the most satisfying parts of the reno (besides painting the wood trim white…I know it’s a no-no for so many people, but it was a necessity in my honest opinion!) was polishing up the brass window hardware. Since the house was built in the 1930s, this hardware is old! I love it!
Do. I watched this “how to crochet for absolute beginners” video, and I picked up crochet needles (and a ton of other crafty goods) from my mom this week. I’m ready to hunker down and get crafty! Now I just need to figure out what to crochet! Any ideas?
A friend challenged me to try some recipes from Binging with Babish for my 40th. Sadly, I haven’t tried any. I think it got buried among other challenges, to be honest. It’s now on my mind again.
The Umbrella Academy on Netflix caught my attention. I’ve watched a few episodes, and I’m really enjoying it. It was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton.
I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens in just over a day last week, and I just loved it. It actually made me cry. Anyone else? Apparently Reese Witherspoon’s film company, Hello Sunshine, will be making it into a movie.
1.News. What else is there to say about the devastation that we have seen? I encourage you to donate even $1 to support our friends in Australia and to learn about the people who lost their lives in the Iranian plane crash. So many people’s lives have been affected and so many will need support to move past the trauma in the future.
2. Fun. With so much bad news in the world, it’s nice to see moments like this. Apparently two grandsons wanted to prank their grandmother, but she had other plans!
Here are five festive drinks to enjoy over the holidays.
1.Hot chocolate. Oh, it’s a classic winter drink, isn’t it? My aunt made the best hot chocolate when I was little.
2. Hot toddy. A classic hot toddy combines whiskey, lemon juice, honey, and water. This recipe is an easy one to try. If you’re in the Waterloo region, I recommend the hot toddy at White Rabbit.
3. Mulled wine. This is a favourite at holiday gatherings I host. I generally make it by combining Ikea glogg with red wine. You can also buy this pre-made warm n cozy mulled wine from the LCBO or make your own with this recipe.
4. Apple cider. Hot apple cider is another great drink for a holiday party, especially as a non-alcoholic option. It warms you up, and it’s sweet!
5. Cappuccino. A slow morning during the holidays calls for a foamy cappuccino. Whip up the milk with an inexpensive milk frother and add cinnamon on top. Yum! Some people like to add a shot of Bailey’s or Amaretto to their cappuccinos, but I’m a traditionalist, so I opt out.
1.Books. I listed to Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbour and completely enjoyed it from start to finish. I then listened to Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys, and I really enjoyed it, too. The story line is interesting (inspired by true events), the character development is strong, and the writing is excellent. I am adding some of his other works to my library queue now.
Do you have your Christmas tree up already? I’m hoping to get mine this weekend, and every year, unpacking all of my ornaments is one of my favourite times of the Christmas season. My tree is full of ornaments from all of my travels, so each piece brings back happy memories of my adventures abroad. (See a glimpse of it at #WhiteCabanaChristmas.)
If you’re looking to add to your ornament collection or pick up a perfect gift for a friend, read on! I have gathered ornaments around five themes.
1.Read. I am a Too Much Woman by Evâ€™Yan Whitney. (via Swiss Miss)
â€śThere she is. . . the â€śtoo muchâ€ť woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.
There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves,
her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide
as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much
space she takes.
There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much
wanting. She desires a lot, wants everythingâ€”too much happiness, too
much alone time, too much pleasure. Sheâ€™ll go through brimstone, murky
river, and hellfire to get it. Sheâ€™ll risk all to quell the longings of
her heart and body. This makes her dangerous.
She is dangerous.
And there she goes, that â€śtoo muchâ€ť woman, making people think too
much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose and a
self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly
laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness to fiery passion.
All eyes on her, thinking sheâ€™s hot shit.
Oh, that â€śtoo muchâ€ť woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too
emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too
sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too
strong, too political, too joyous, too needyâ€”too much.
She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone
should put her back in a more respectable place. Someone should tell
Here I am. . . a Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions.
A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lotâ€”justice,
sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be
seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, and all of your
promises to be kept.
Iâ€™ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want, and
intimidating because of the space I occupy. Iâ€™ve been called selfish
because I am self-loving. Iâ€™ve been called a witch because I know how to
And still. . . I rise.â€ť
â€” Evâ€™Yan Whitney
2. Watch. I saw Jojo Rabbit this week, and I thought it was excellent. It had the theatre laughing, smiling, and crying. It told a well-known story from a unique satirical perspective. Teaser: Jojo’s imaginary best friend is Hitler.
3. Do. I have been taking flamenco dancing lessons this fall, and I’ve been enjoying it so much. I have learned a lot! And I definitely love wearing my flamenco skirt! (Thanks, B, for the skirt. Thanks, M, for challenging me to take a dance class.)
4. Do. Two weeks ago, I bought a Verilux Happy Light at Costco. Sitting in front of it for about 15 minutes a day is supposed to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I’m not sure if I suffer from SAD, but I figured the light can’t hurt. And since it was on sale, and Costco has a great return policy, I figured I had nothing to lose. For the last two weeks, I’ve been using it every morning for 15 minutes or so. Have I noticed a difference? Yes. I have noticed that I have energy all day long. You know that 3pm, 4pm slump that many of us get? Well, I haven’t had that in 2 weeks! I haven’t changed my activities or my diet, and I seem to have energy all day long. It could be the light or it could be a whole bunch of other things, but I’m going to continue with the light because, well, why not?
5. Think. What does everyone think of the dramatic flooding in Venice this week? It makes me sad to see destruction.
1. Educated by Tara Westover. This is a true story of Westover’s upbringing as a Morman in a mountain village in Idaho. She stepped into her first classroom at age 17 after growing up isolated and working on her father’s junk yard.
It was excellent. It was engaging and interesting, and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to learn more and hear more of Tara’s stories. I read a few more stories about her online, including this article where she had this to say about education:
“Education is discoveryâ€”it’s your mind growing, taking responsibility, letting go, and holding tight. Itâ€™s all of those things. Itâ€™s having enough knowledge and empathy for yourself and for other people to make decisions so that you can do well with the things you need to do. Itâ€™s that ability to have many different perspectives and different points of view.” (Oprah mag)
4. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It was excellent. It was hard to press stop on this one as I wanted to keep listening to learn how the story unfolded. This is a story about a family’s life in Alaska and the challenging and traumatic interactions between family members
5. Sula by Toni Morrison. I finished Sula this week and enjoyed it. This was the first Toni Morrison novel I have read/listened to, and I’m glad I did. It’s a story of friendship – and betrayal. The story had a nice pace and character development. I have a few other Morrison books in my queue, and I look forward to reading them.
I have written about coffee quite a bit over the years of White Cabana’s history. I love coffee. The taste. The ritual. The variety. Love it all! I have been on a drip coffee kick for at least 6 months now, and my Cuisinart is working well! But I still like looking out for other interesting coffee making concepts, prototypes, and products.
I like them all, but I really love the concept from Yu Huiyang. It combines architecture and coffee – two of my favourite things!
Have a great weekend, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!
1.The climate crisis. The world climate strike has been a hot topic in the news recently. The climate strikes that happened around the world these last couple of weeks have been impressive. The photos floating around the internet of people gathering in cities and small towns have been incredible. The world may not unite on many things, but people from all corners of the earth are coming together for climate strike action. If you want to learn more about what you can do to learn more and take action, read this post by Joanna Goddard on Cup of Jo.
After reading the article, I calculated my carbon footprint using this carbon calculator. I’m below the Canadian average, but I know I can do better. I am still above the average for the European Union and the world. I (and you, too!) can reduce my carbon emissions by following this advice and reducing use of plastic. We don’t have green bin (food waste) collection where I live, but I might try this simple composting method to discard food scraps. I already do this with egg shells, which has been easy (and good for my tomatoes!).
Individuals can make a difference! Get educated. Stay informed.
2. Books. I listened to Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Melinda Gates’ The Moment of Lift. I enjoyed them both and learned a lot. Both women offered candid stories of the lives of their families and their goals.
I also listened to An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and I liked it.
3. Netflix. I watched Unbelieveable one evening last week. I was so hooked that I stayed up until the wee hours! It held my attention all the way through. It’s a true crime series that centres on the story of a young rape victim. While noone believed her account, in time, two detectives in another state linked pieces of a puzzle together to catch a serial rapist. I then read this article to learn more about the young main charcter – Katlin Dever.
4. Beauty. Has anyone used castor oil for hair growth? A friend recently recommended I give it a try, so I’ve been reading up it. Some articles say there are benefits, but others say there’s no scientific evidence to show that it does promote hair growth. And what about these vitamins? I’m tempted to try them after reading this thread.
5. Charity. I’m run/walking the CIBC Run for the Cure this Sunday in Kitchener-Waterloo. Are you? Where? If you’d like to donate to the cause, please do so here. I appreciate your support!
We saw the teddy coat hit the market last year, and it’s back again for an encore this fall. Although this fuzzy number comes in a multitude of colours, I like it in cream the best (of course)! I think it looks the most chic.
1.Birthday Time. My birthday is next week, and it’s a big one. I’m pretty excited because I have four days of birthday festivities planned (in addition to the early surprise birthday dinner friends threw me last month). I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends (and eating cake, too)! I’m asking family and friends to give me challenges for this year, so if you’d like to suggest something you’d like me to do/you think I should do in the year(s) ahead, please leave a comment. So far, I’ve watched all three Godfather movies (thanks E&J), and I started reading The Republic by Plato (thanks J). I’m loving the diverse challenges I’m getting!
2. Vocabulary. I analyze words on the daily…both online and offline. Recently I have noticed an overuse of certain words around the blogosphere and Instagram, and they are driving me crazy. For example, why do so many people use the word “literally”? And why is “I’m obsessed” the common reaction to food, clothes, beauty products, and more? Are people really obsessed with lipstick and shoes? Obsessed? I also get annoyed with the “swipe” notices on Instagram. Do people still need this instruction? Can they not see the arrows on photos or Instagram stories? Are there any terms that you are getting tired of (e.g., yasssss, that’s so fashion)?
2. Movies. Friends have been giving me challenges/suggestions to achieve before and during the next year (I’m turning a big number in just a few weeks!). One of these suggestions was to watch The Godfather series because I have never watched it. So, I took the DVDs out from the library, and over the period of two weeks, I made my way through them. So good! The first was my favourite, but all three were great…as per every review you’ve probably already read! Have you watched them?
3. Books. I’ve been listening to Thomas Friedman’s book Thank you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. I am finding it so interesting. He writes about what happens when technology, globalization, and climate change and biodiversity loss are all accelerating at once – as in this current time we’re in. The chapters on higher education are especially interesting because of what I do and see in my own work.
5. Personality tests. I enjoy doing personality tests. I know my colours. I know my DISC assessment. And now I know my personality signature via Helen Fisher’s personality quiz. All three are consistent. I don’t know the details of all of them, but overall, they all say the same kind of thing. Helen Fisher’s personality quiz was a new one for me. If you enjoy the intersection between personality quizzes and Tinder bios, have a read (and laugh) through this article on Man Repeller.
The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs on my end. For every happy bit of news, there was a piece of sad news.
A family friend died unexpectedly last weekend at the age of 44. He was loved by so many and will be greatly missed. He was jolly and joyful at every family gathering. It has been a shock for everyone, and we are all praying for his wife and 1-year old daughter.
It’s time to take a pause and share some words of wisdom about life that I’ve gathered from one of my favourite daily reads – Swiss Miss.
â€śIn the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.â€ť â€• ??? (Swiss Miss)
â€śWe have to spend time with each other that is not digital. Civic organizations, libraries and social institutions that pre-date consumerism are all viable alternatives. If we reacquaint ourselves without digital crutches, I believe weâ€™ll be less afraid of each other. Turn off the TV and go outside and start talking to people and then people who are inside will want to come out and see whatâ€™s going on. That is a type of influence that is sorely needed. It is peer-to-peer influence and it is an innately human social order.â€ť â€• Douglas Rushkoff, Fighting for #TeamHuman (Swiss Miss)
â€śIf all you did was just looked for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.â€ť â€• Esther Abraham Hicks (Swiss Miss)
“Tell people if you think they did something remarkable, no matter how small. Don’t just think it to yourself, tell them!” â€” Tina Roth Eisenberg May 11, 2019 (Swiss Miss
â€śSigns of Healing: More observing, less judging. More responding, less reacting. More self-love, less sabotage. More boundaries, less resentments. More inner peace, less outer chaos. More clarity, less confusion. More being, less doing. More faith, less fear.â€ť (via) (Swiss Miss)
I hope your Canada Day long weekend is one that is full of laughter and joy with friends and family.
This week, Daniela shared an impressive gift guide for teachers. It has been the most popular gift guide yet! If you missed it, have a look at it here.
2. Netflix. I finished watching two seasons of David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. I hope more seasons are in the works. My favourite interviews from seasons 1 and 2 were with Ellen Degeneres, Barak Obama, George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, and Lewis Hamilton.
3. Food. I made this quiche last weekend for lunch guests, and it’s a winning recipe. I’ve made it before (and it was a winning recipe then, too). Asparagus is now in season, so it’s a perfect time to make the quiche!
4. Books. I’m reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. It’s an easy read, so I’m going through it quickly. In between my reading time, I’m thinking about her stories. What would happen if you started saying yes to things that made you nervous/uncomfortable/move out of your comfort zone/anxious? You’d face and overcome new challenges, and be open to opportunities for learning new things. This is one of the messages that’s coming through the book so far.
5. We the North. The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship game last night. And if social media is any indication, many Canadians are very excited! As for me? Well, I tuned in last night when the score was 91-91 and there were about 10 or 15 minutes left in the game. I figured I should keep watching, so I did. That has really been the extent of my viewing of basketball this season. I liked following along the commentary on Twitter, too. And I’m grateful to my friends and students who kept me informed throughout the season.
This post is sort of a variation of my “things on my mind” column that many of you seem to really love! Today, I’m sharing 5 articles that I have come across in my Internet travels. I enjoyed reading each of them, and they all taught me something new.
1.Netflix. I finished watching all seasons of Schitt’s Creek, and I have started to watch Dead to Me with Christina Applegate. I’ve been enjoying it.
2. New venture. I’m working on a new venture, which has been energizing. I will share soon. Shout out to family and friends who have been listening to me talk about it, have responded to my many questions, and who have given me very useful feedback.
3. My book. Many of you already know that my first book (co-authored with my colleague and friend) was published in January. It has been exciting to share it with others, and it has already brought some rewarding work opportunities. I feel very lucky. My university wrote this article about it.
4. Train travel. I realized recently that the distance from Tokyo to Kyoto is about the same as it is from Toronto to Montreal. Why am I telling you this? Well, just so I can complain about Canada’s transportation system. Trains in Japan run constantly, and while I was there, I didn’t book anything in advance. I wasn’t at all worried about missing a train, getting stranded, or not getting where I needed to go at any time during my trip. I used one train card. It was so incredibly easy and stress free. People of all ages took the train with ease. Boarding was organized and signage made things so easy for foreigners (like me) who don’t speak Japanese. The high-speed train took about 3 hours. In Canada, on the other hand, there are just a couple of trains to/from Toronto to Montreal each day, and if you don’t book in advance, there’s a good chance the train you want will be sold out. There are barely any escalators and elevators, so you have to lug your luggage up too many stairs. And there are signs like “Great Hall” when what you really need is “Exit” and “Ticket Counter.” The train from Toronto to Montreal is about 5 hours. Instead of expanding highways (I’ve heard HWY 401 is going to be expanded), I’d so much rather my tax money go to building an effective and efficient train system. Rant over (for now).
5. Birthdays. It’s my Dad’s birthday today. He’s like me in that we love our birthdays, and we especially love attention on our birthdays! I was happy to have breakfast with him this morning, and we chatted with family and friends from Italy via FaceTime. What a great Friday treat!
1.Netflix. A friend recommended I watch Gad El…’s stand up comedy show, so I did. And I laughed out loud. His show revolves around cultural tendencies of the French and American. I hadn’t heard of him, but apparently he’s big in France. Huge. And now he’s got a Netflix series based on this, too, called Huge in France. So, of course, I started watching it, too. Pretty funny. Especially if you know anything about the French people or language.
2. Japanese wares in Canada. After conversations with Tim about all the gorgeous kimonos and housewares I saw (and bought) in Japan, I started looking around at where to buy authentic Japanese items in Canada. So far, I’ve come across Murata for gorgeous kimonos and tableware. The store is in Vancouver, but it also has an online shop. Oomomo for kitchenware, beauty products, and organizers. The store has locations in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta (opening soon).
3. Habits of luck people. I saw this list on Swiss Miss, and I like it. I’m not certain they’re habits of lucky people, though. I think they are habits of hard workers and good people.
4. Brownies. Do you have a favourite brownie recipe or brownie mix? When I make brownies, I like Ghirardelli. But now that I’ve read this article, I may have to try some other brands.
5. Eyeglasses. I ordered two new pairs of glasses from Polette after I had a huge try-on session at the Paris store. I bought a few pairs over the last few years from Polette’s online store, so I was happy to have the opportunity to try them on in person. Polette certainly does have some unique options. Here’s a look at my new red specs. The shipping took so long with this order, but I’ve usually never had a problem.
Do you have a drawer in your kitchen that is filled with kitchen utensils? Yep. Me, too. I have a drawer full, and while I use just about all of the items, some utensils get more use than others. Today I’m sharing five kitchen utensils that I use on nearly a daily basis.
From left to right:
1.Tongs. I picked up these Kuhn Rikon tongs last summer at Sur La Table. Did I need another pair of tongs? No. But was I drawn into this compact pair by one of my favourite utensil companies? Yes. So I bought them. I went all the way to Florida, and I brought back a pair of kitchen tongs. What’s wrong with that? Well, they’ve been my go-to tongs ever since. I don’t think I’ve used any of the other pairs in my drawer. What I like about these is that they lock easily, and they have silcone edges, so they don’t scratch my pans. Most importantly, when they close, the edges actually touch each other and can grab whatever it is that they need to grab!
2. Peeler. I have had this Kuhn Rikon peeler for years. I wasn’t lying when I said I really like this brand. This peeler is comfortable to hold and has stayed sharp over many years and many washes.
3. Mini scoop. When my friend bought this mini ladle for me a few years ago, I asked her what she thought I should do with it. I didn’t know I needed a mini scooper until I had one! This little gadget is great for scooping out batter for muffins, cookies, pancakes, and more!
4. Mini spatula. Same friend. Same question. Little did I know that I’d put a mini spatula to use on a weekly basis! My favourite use for the mini spatula is for scooping out the last of the Nutella in the jar! Here’s a similar spatula if you’re in the market for one.
1.Enneagram. Interested in learning more about yourself and your personality? Have you completed an Enneagram test? I did. I’m Type 3: The Achiever. No surprise there. This description is fairly accurate.
2. Truths about life. I enjoyed reading this list of 88 truths about life. There were several reminders that I need to keep top of mind rather than bury away when life is too busy.
3. Netflix. I haven’t spent much time in front of the TV these last couple of weeks, but I did watch two stand-up comedy shows: Jim Gaffigan and Ricky Gervais. Both made me laugh.
4. Science & Art. I went to a talk at the University of Waterloo this week about the science of touch and what governs our sense of attachment. It was interesting. The first speaker, a professor of neuroscience, spoke of the brain and what governs our desire to be close to one another. One thing that stuck with me was her explanation that a 3cm per second caress trigger a positive sense of touch, but a 30cm per second caress doesn’t. I know her research is much more complicated than this one example, but this was something easy for me to remember! The other speaker, a professor in the medical humanities, spoke about her research about care and touch, which included an analysis of the movie Under the Skin. Is emotion in my realm of research interests? Not at all. Did I learn something new? Of course! Am I grateful that I live in a city with two universities that offer public lectures? You bet!
5. Don’t apologize for being successful. This was one of the pieces of advice Andi Petrillo – a Canadian sports broadcaster – shared in a keynote presentation I attended last night. Such a good reminder.
1.French bloggers. Do any of you have any recommendations for bloggers (or Instagrammers or Youtubers) that write and speak in French? I’ve started following Daphne from Mode and The City and Sabrina from Sab The French Way (I met her in Paris…she’s lovely, beautiful, happy, and energetic just like she is in her videos). I want to listen and read more French.
2. Bathing suits. Do I need more? No, of course not. I mean, I live in a country that has only two months (maybe three if you count June) of summer weather. But when I find bathing suits I like and are reasonable in price, I snap them up. When I saw this one on The Vault Files, I started browsing the H&M site. With free shipping and free returns, how could I not put a few in my shopping cart? When they arrived, I was pleased. I ordered several sizes because I find H&M sizing so unpredictable. In the end, I bought and kept this one, this one, and this two-piece. I’m set for the summer. Now I just need the sun and warmth to arrive!
3. Jazz. I was invited to TWH Social‘s first jazz night with Brownman Ali – an award-winning trumpeter. Every Saturday in the month of March, Brownman will lead an all-star ensemble through five eras of Miles Davis’s jazz. If you’re looking for a great evening out in Kitchener, go! Tickets are $20 per person and the show begins at 9pm. Learn more here.
4. Costco. I have been a card-carrying member of Costco since December, and people continue to ask me what I buy there. I guess since I don’t have a family, people are curious. So what do I buy? I have gone about once a month and the things I’ve bought most regularly are: gas, yogurt, spinach, eggs, milk, almond milk, fruit, meat (I divide it, wrap it, and freeze it) and crackers (e.g., these). On my most recent visit, I picked up this Kate Spade blanket for about $20. It is so soft!
5. Netflix. I spent the last couple of weeks watching The Blacklist. All 22 episodes of Season 1. It took a while, but I was hooked. Have you seen it?
1. Movies. I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and Instant Family on my flight home from Paris. I loved Bohemian Rhapsody. I was pretty much dancing in my seat. And I cried, too. Instant Family was fine. On Netflix, I watched Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan. I really enjoyed the movie and cried throughout. Jeez. I guess I have a few tears to shed these days! I also went to see Shoplifters – a Japanese film nominated for an Oscar. It was sad, interesting, and engaging. I can see why it’s nominated for an Oscar. It’s a story that hasn’t been told in movies, and the acting was very strong.
2. Linen bedding. Does anyone have linen bed linens? I’d love to try them one day. Parachute has quite the selection of linen bedding.
4. Nail polish. I opted for a shellac manicure pre-Paris as I didn’t want my polish to be chipping off while I was away. My nails looked great for over two weeks! I had forgotten how smooth and shiny this type of polish stays for an extended period of time. I don’t think it’s good for my nails, but I think it was a great option for a vacation. How’d I remove it? I dipped my fingers in nail polish remover for 10 minutes or so and then carefully scraped off the polish. It took some effort, but it was fine. I’m giving my nails a break from it as they do seem softer. I’ll likely opt for shellac again pre-Japan.
5. Books. I finished The Witch Elm by Tana French. There are mixed reviews of it online, but I enjoyed it. Now I’m back on another book by Japanese bestseller Haruki Murakimi – Norwegian Wood.
I was so happy to be in Paris, even for just a few days. I was there for work, but I tacked on a few extra vacation days, so I could enjoy the city. I spent much of one free day shopping – and window shopping – and enjoyed seeing all the new-to-me brands and the latest in Parisan chic. One of the brands that I kept coming back to was Sandro. There were so many pretty items in its current and previous collections. The dresses fit me so well that I wanted to buy them all!
I realized once I came back to Canada that we have Sandro in stand-alone stores and at The Bay in Canada. I had no idea! Now I can shop the brand close to home…even though it’s much more fun to buy French brands when in France!
1. Cars. I just want to publicly acknowledge my car breaks and quick reflexes. Thanks to both of these things, I avoided a potentially major accident the other week. Oh my goodness. I am so thankful.
And on the topic of cars, I learned how to replace the bulb of my tail light. I felt like a hero. I’d like to thank a couple of YouTubers and their videos for teaching me how to do it. Easy peasy.
2. Costco. I took up a Groupon offer for a Costco membership recently. If you follow me on Instagram, you already knew that. If you’re my friend in real life, then you’ve already heard me talk about this multiple times. Now, prior to this acquisition, I had been to Costco many times with family and friends who are members, but now that I have my own card, I’m part of the club. On my last few trips, I seem to have spent more time looking at the jewelry and purses than I have at the food, and I’m sure that’s not really what I’m supposed to be doing. đź™‚ The gas is so much cheaper than anywhere else, so I’ve been taking advantage of that…oh, and Nutella was on sale the other day, so of course I had to stock up for 2019! I’ll check back in a few months or a year to let you know if the membership is worth it for me.
3. Things to do instead of spending money. Post-Christmas, you may be looking to spend less money. To resist the temptation, try doing one (or more) of the things on this list. Thanks to Jen at Rambling Renovators for sharing this.
4. Gift guides. Are you still on the hunt for gifts for your loved ones? I’m so thankful that Daniela was able to gather a ton of great gift ideas once again this year. Perhaps one of her features will catch your attention: for the host; for men; for women; for kids, tweens, and teens.
5. Blog break. I’ll be taking a week or so off from the blog. I’m sure I’ll be posting on Instagram, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me over the next little while.
Years and years after blogs came into my life, I still read them on a daily basis. I love reading people’s perspectives on food, fashion, travel, and everything in between. That said, some things really do annoy me about some blogs. One of the things that bothers me is that some of my favourite bloggers continuously put together outfits that cost thousands (and thousands) of dollars. And when recent “holiday party outfits” posts featured dresses in the thousands, I thought I should have a look around to see what other party outfits I could find at a more affordable price point.
Here are some of the gems that I found that are under $200CAD and that are good for a variety of occasions this holiday season.
I really thought that I’d get crafty for the holidays, but so far, it’s not happening. One of the things I wanted to make is this felt garland. I also wanted to make some of these dolls. Needless to say, I haven’t started either project. Honestly, neither may happen. Maybe I should consider beaded items like some of the ones here.
If you’re looking for a set of pretty earrings, I have five lovely pairs for you to consider. They’d make beautiful gifts for friends, family, or yourself. And they’d be great for holiday outfits, too!
Well, I don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving, and I haven’t been a cross-border shopper for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good Canadian sale or two or five. Here are sales from five of my favourite places that I’ll be taking advantage of today.
1. Langdon Hall
With any e-certificate purchase at Langdon Hall from November 23rd to 26th, you’ll receive an additional gift card worth 10% of the value of your purchase. By the way, if you didn’t already know, Chef Jason Bangerter – along with sous chefs Philippe de Montbrun and Dan Angus – was competing on Iron Chef Canada earlier this week. You can now watch the video online at the Food Network Canada. If you need more convincing to treat yourself, read up on my many adventures at Langdon Hall (and, no, I don’t work for the hotel).
2. Joe Fresh
Joe Fresh is offering 30% off site-wide (and in stores) from November 23rd to 25th. Honestly, I rarely buy anything from Joe Fresh these days, but I have had my eye on this coatigan, and I’m going to grab it in store today (many sizes are out online, unfortunately).
The Bay is offering thousands of items up to 70% off. It’s a great time to grab some classic Hudson’s Bay stripes from the HBC Collection.
5. Home Depot Canada
How often are you at Home Depot Canada? Even now that my major renovations are done, I can’t seem to stay away. The Black Friday sale is a great time to purchase appliances and tools. Because who doesn’t want more tools?
This Friday has come around very quickly. For no reason in particular, this week has just gone by in a flash. Waterloo is now covered in a blanket of snow, which, yes, is pretty, but reminds me that this is the first of many snowfalls from now until March. Sigh. It is also a sign that the holidays – and parties – are right around the corner. Anyone need a new pair of fancy shoes for such parties? If so, have a look at this stunning collection of sparkling footwear.
3. Carly the Prepster brought us on tour of her recent stay at the Ritz Paris. Oh, dear. So gorgeous! The service sounds impeccable.
4. I finished audio-listening to Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukura Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. I’m now onto Dance, Dance, Dance by the same author. I can see why Murakami is one of Japan’s best-selling authors. The stories are unique and very well-told. In terms of what I’m learning about Japan, well, both stories refer to Hokkaido, a northern part of Japan, but I won’t have a chance to go there when I’m there in April. Colorless Tsukara Tazaki also has scenes in Tokyo, and I appreciated Murakami’s description of the Shinjuku train station at the beginning of Chapter 19. Here are screenshots of the text if you’d like to read a small excerpt.
From the bit of research that I did, this seems to be the photo Murakami was referring to in the text:
I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come up with five things that have been on my mind today because ever since I booked my trip to Japan, it’s just about all that I have had on my mind! Okay, okay, here are a few things that have been on my mind lately.
I have been reading a lot and talking to anyone I know who has been to Japan. My discussions are definitely making me even more excited. My Japanese is slow-going, but I hope to know more than arigato (thank you) by April.
2. The Office
I never watched the US or British versions of The Office. Until now. I have had a pretty exhausting week, and I opted for it one night. It makes me laugh out loud. I know I’m not alone on this one.
3. The Duchesses
Who has been watching Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan touring and attending events? I’ve caught updates and photos here and there, and I can’t help but be interested in what they say and do (and what they wear!).
4. Local travel
One of the reasons why I love living in Waterloo is that it’s close to so many lovely places. Toronto is only an hour away. In the other direction, we have Stratford, where I was just a couple of weeks ago. And London, too, is just over an hour away, and I’m happy to be heading there this weekend to see friends. While I do love to travel far away (see point #1), I have been enjoying learning about local gems, too, over the years I’ve lived in Southwestern Ontario.
What do you think about Outfit Of the Day (OOTD) posts that you see online and/or on Instagram? I post my outfits regularly on Instagram (not styled, not posed, no fancy lighting, no photographer), but I wonder if I should keep going. I do scroll back through these photos when I need an outfit idea or when I want to see how I wear some of my favourite pieces, so in that sense, the photos serve a purpose. I’m curious though…Do you like seeing what your friends and favourite bloggers wear each day?
I have to say (again) that of all the celebrations, Halloween is not my favourite. I’ve appreciated some of the simpler decorations that have come up in recent years much more than the traditional black and orange decorations, but I still don’t decorate beyond (maybe) a pumpkin. But that’s just me. Maybe you do! If you do, then this post is for you. Here are five ways to decorate for a white and black Halloween.
Many of us in the design community are used to seeing large round mirrors in hallways, foyers, bedrooms, and bathrooms, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the classic rectangle. There is! Check out these beautiful spaces with rectangular mirrors.