- Recently watched: Look at the interesting discovery in this same sky postcards video. Watching cheesy holiday movies has begun in my house with Father Christmas is Back, Love Hard, A California Christmas, and The Holiday. All the cheesy holiday movies are made even better with a “Hallmark holiday movie watching box” that my beau gave me, which included a mug, candle, and Bingo cards so we can all have fun while we watch! So cheesy and great! We went to see House of Gucci last weekend (I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did).
- Recently read: I’m still making my way through the stack of books from last month. I have been reading a lot about our home’s history via the Waterloo Public Library’s digital archives (amazing records!).
- Recently listened to: Jack Johnson’s Greatest Hits (on repeat) and all the Christmas carols (on repeat)
- Recently visited: Langdon Hall in Cambridge (for a special overnight celebration) and Benjamin Tree Farm in St. Jacobs to buy our Christmas tree
- Recently baked: classic sugar cookies (ready to be decorated this weekend)
What have you been doing/watching/reading/visiting/making this fall? Please share! I’m always looking for new things to try.
Here is a glimpse into some of what I’ve been up to lately.
- Recently watched: Call My Agent (French, set in Paris), The Great British Baking Show (who can resist Paul Hollywood?), Sex and The City (started from the pilot episode, makes me want to to to New York), Kid90 (Soleil Moon Frye’s documentary), Mixte (French), Maid (based on the autobiography), this short video by Sadeck Waff for the Paris 2024 Olympics (watch more of his work – it’s mesmerizing!) – and I’d recommend all of them!
- Recently read: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop by Felicia Rose Chavez, The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi – I’d recommend all of these books!
- Recently played: The John Derion Painter’s Palette puzzle, Globe & Mail Saturday crossword (one of my favourite things to do over the weekend)
- Recently visited: The Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain (I’m already eager to return. My nearly-back-to-normal sprained ankle, back, and skin felt so good.
- Recently purchased: an incredible antique Italian armoire (absolutely stunning – my office design dream is slowly coming true)
- Recently made: NYT plum torte (so good that I made it twice in two weeks!), slow roasted chicken and garlic (a hit for a crowd), Ina Garten’s roasted shrimp and orzo (eaten warm rather than room temp)
I have a long list of things on my mind for you today. There are plenty of interesting links for you to peruse over the weekend.
- Jacques Pepin making a fried egg is a good video.
- A couple of months ago, I started meeting my nephews and niece on Zoom for a short French lesson each week. It’s been a very fun part of my week (and I hope the same is true for them). Even though it has taken a pandemic to get us here, I’m so happy! If they weren’t in virtual school/homeschool/half-time school (so many variations this past year!), and I wasn’t working from home, and Zoom didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be having these lessons. I find it very cool.
- I made this acorn squash stuffed with chicken dish from Half Baked Harvest, and it was an easy and tasty recipe.
- I did the 16 Personalities test, and my results were pretty darn accurate. Any guesses as to my personality? (Executive: ESTJ – Part of the Sentinels personality type: Observant and judging personality types known for their practicality and focus on order, security, and stability.)
- I need to do this historical walking tour of Waterloo.
- This video from the Marsh family “Totally Fixed Where We Are” is fun (if you can laugh about the reality of lockdown life). Watch their other videos, too!
- Speaking of music and creative people, you’ve got to check out Damien Robitaille on Instagram. He makes me smile with each video. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but his version of Daft Punk’s Around the World could be it.
- And Korean acapella group Maytree’s acapella jingles are impressive, too!
- What have you been watching on Netflix/Prime/Crave/Disney+/etc.? Here’s what I’ve watched in the last little while (with brief ratings): Ginny & Georgia (fine), Little Fires Everywhere (good), Parks & Recreation (so funny), Margin Call (very good), The Big Short (very good), and Criminal (fine).
- I keep going back to this list of recipes I’ve tried and loved. Pasta alla vecchia bettola, potato leek soup, roast chicken, and chicken broth have been on a weekly (or near weekly rotation). Yum!
- 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?
1.Netflix. I have watched a lot of Netflix these last few weeks. Here’s what I’ve watched (and recommend):
The Social Dilemma. This documentary gave an interesting look into social media, its roots, uses, and impact. Like other viewers, it made me want to delete everything and monitor more closely what I do online. That said, I haven’t yet deleted Twitter or Instagram. So…
The Duchess. I laughed throughout every episode of this show. And the fashion is fun to watch, too.
Cobra Kai (season 1), The Karate Kid (with Jaden Smith), The Karate Kid (original). My arm was sort of twisted to start watching Cobra Kai. I liked it, so then it was all-karate-all-the-time. Cobra Kai season 1 was good. Season 2 was was a bit too teen drama for my liking. Surprisingly, I really liked the new Karate Kid movie with Jaden Smith. And, I can’t believe I had never watched the original Karate Kid. Wax on. Wax off. Quite good!
Venom. I thought I was going to hate this one as I’m not so into alien movies, but I liked the acting, music, plot, and special effects, so it was a win.
2. Shopping. I really don’t like adding more reusable bags to my already big collection, but I couldn’t resist the vibrant print of this Baggu bag on a recent trip to Indigo.
3. Learn. I’m not starting another degree (but never say never), but I did want to take a biology (focus on plants) course this year. Considering I started a new job, I’ve put this on hold for now. Instead, however, I’ve settled on attending online lectures on architecture hosted by Athabasca University. The first lecture I attended was focused on architecture in South Africa, and the second was focused on architecture in Africa. Both lectures were fantastic. I think I’ll share some of what I learned in an upcoming post.
4. News. Obviously, the pandemic is still top of mind. This article about the University of Illinois’s massive COVID-19 testing initiative was interesting, and it demonstrates that testing isn’t enough. Stay at a distance. Wear a mask. Closer to home, cases at universities have been reported, and increasing case numbers makes me nervous.
5. Hobbies. It’s usually about this time of year when I start signing up for a whack of new activities. Last year, I opted into flamenco dancing and cross country skiing lessons, for example. This year, I’m hesitant to join anything (on account of the pandemic), so I’ve been thinking what non-group activities I can do as the fall and winter come. Here’s what I’ve come up with: puzzles, jogging, cross-country skiing, and sewing. I’ve made slight progress on three of these things already. Any other suggestions?
6.Charity. On Sunday, October 4th, I will be jogging in the CIBC Run for the Cure. You may remember that I’ve been doing this for several years now in Kitchener-Waterloo. This year, the event has gone virtual, which means I’ll be running alone (or with anyone I see wearing pink running in my neighbourhood). It’ll be a different experience, but the cause remains the same. I hope that even more money is raised this year to support needed research and support for the Canadian Cancer Society. If you’d like to donate to the cause, please do so here. I appreciate your support!
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!
1.Netflix. I watched a comedy show earlier this week: Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room. I laughed. She was funny. She’s originally from Sarnia!
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.
4.Food. Have you ever BBQed an egg? I did. It worked! I cooked it on medium for about 12 minutes, but next time, I’ll do it for about 9 minutes. Learn more on Bon AppÃ©tit. Note that I wouldn’t start my BBQ just to grill eggs. I’d only put eggs on the grill while I was grilling something else. It’s much easier to just boil them on a daily basis! Beyond BBQ eggs, I haven’t tried any new recipes lately. Have you?
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.
1.Watch. This otter doing sit-ups.
2. Inspiration. âWhen you believe something is hard, the universe demonstrates the difficulty. When you believe something is easy, the universe demonstrates the ease.â â Esther Abraham Hicks (via Swiss Miss)
3. Music. Have you listened to Madonna’s Madame X album yet? I can’t believe she’s 60! I’m so impressed by her artistry.
4. Food. Last weekend, I went to Langdon Hall’s first BBQ of its 2019 summer BBQ series. Five chefs created mini menus, and guests feasted for hours. It was heaven! I posted a few photos on my Instagram feed if you’d like to see some mouth-watering food.
5. The ION in Kitchener-Waterloo. The ION, Kitchener-Waterloo’s light rail, is making its official debut today. The city is offering free rides from June 21st until July 1st to celebrate the launch (here’s the map). The ION has been in development since 2011, so it’s nice to finally see the launch day arrive. I last wrote about the ION in April 2017 when there was an open house to share info with the public about the ION light rail system in our region. This weekend, I may just ride it from my local stop to Conestoga mall in Waterloo or the market in Kitchener.
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.
3. Mascara. When I was in Paris, I had my makeup done at the Dior counter at Le Bon MarchÃ©. It was a nice treat. I bought a few things, which was a real change for me as I never buy expensive makeup. But Dior might be on to something! The mascara is especially amazing. My lashes grow like crazy, and it does a great job at separating them. The Dior makeup artist taught me how to layer it on if I want to be even more dramatic. I’m thinking I might do a before and after post to really show you what I’m talking about. Interested in seeing a before and after?
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.
During my undergrad, I read so many classic and contemporary novels, plays, and poems en franÃ§ais. Then, when I was a teacher, I read kids books daily, and in my PhD life, I read a French academic article every now and then. Since then, however, I’ve read minimally in French. I never pick up any French books now, although this post reminds me that there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. I know a lot about language learning and teaching, and so I should know better. To continue building skills in a language, reading in that language is a must!
One of my favourite, classic French plays is Le Malade Imaginaire by MoliÃ¨re. This was the last piece MoliÃ¨re wrote back in 1673. Yes, 1673! Can you imagine? When I had to read it for for class, I remember laughing and I did the same when we watched the film. It’s so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh.
In addition to reading, listening, too, is a skill that needs practice when learning another language. One French movie that I recommend because of its characters, humour, scenery, and story is AmÃ©lie. It’s such a charming movie, and it you’re like me, you’ve already watched it countless times. With each viewing, I seem to discover yet one more quirk about the piece.
Here’s a bit of a review of what’s been on my mind lately, including music, movie, and book recommendations.
1. THE Book. For so many months – and a couple of years, too – my friend/colleague/co-author/mentor and I have called it The Book. Now, The Book has been published, and I am so thrilled. So so so thrilled! Mastering Academic Writing has been one of my most fun and rewarding writing projects thus far, and to have had fun, shared laughs, brainstormed over so many meals with a good friend made the experience that much more positive and memorable. Copies of our book arrived from our publisher, Sage, over the holiday break, and it made for quite a happy mail day!
The book is intended for upper year undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors who are looking for a great writing resource and guide. Now, it’s not a boring academic textbook (if you ask me!); we took an informal, approachable tone as we offered instruction, examples, and notes about academic writing. It’s affordable, too! If you’d like to know more, let me know. The book is available at Sage and Amazon.
Don’t be surprised if you see it pop up again on White Cabana.
2. Music. For the last month or so, I’ve been listening to French radio (89.9 FM – CBC – Ici musique – in Waterloo) and French tunes on Spotify. It’s not only been a needed change from my usual pop/rap/top40 tunes, but also I can brush up on my French listening and comprehension skills (in preparation for my February vacance Ã Paris!). On Spotify, I’ve had Lisa LeBlanc (Dump the guy ASAP is a hit) and Mackjoffat (Music Face is my current fave, but it’s in English) on repeat.
3. Blogosphere. Remember the good ol’ days of blogging? When people read blogs daily? When bloggers wrote daily? Before Instagram took over everyone’s phones? Before bloggers applied rose-coloured tints over every darn photo? Yeah, me too. I had brunch with Melissa over the break, and we chatted about how things have changed and the approaches we observe from afar from influencers, vloggers, bloggers, and more.
I have barely changed my approach to blogging even though I know the blogging world around me has changed. I blog every day unless I’m on a break. I read blogs daily, too. I like to read about people’s real lives, their Pinterest and DIY fails and successes, and what they do in the spare time. I continuously learn from others, and I’m inspired by a lot of what I see on my daily blog visits. Who’s with me on this?
4. Movies and Netflix. Oh my goodness. I have watched so much Netflix. Too much, in my opinion, but such is life. I guess I’m in post-book, post-MBA relaxation mode. I don’t love being a couch potato, but I didn’t argue with myself about it over the holidays.
So what did I watch? Just about every cheesy Christmas movie set in Belgravia, Genovia, anyotherovia. I don’t recommend any of them unless you’re embracing a cheesy couch potato lifestyle.
And in the theatre, I opted to watch The Favorite. It was interesting. Funny but quirky but not too quirky. Great acting, costumes, and set design. Plus, if you’re a fan of Emma Stone, you’re going to enjoy her performance. The movie had the audience laughing. I recommend it.
I also went to see Mary Queen of Scots, and it was excellent. I learned a lot, really enjoyed the acting, and, of course, the costumes were amazing.
5. Books. I’m still listening to Haruki Murakami audiobooks. I love that they’re all set in Japan. I started a collection of his short stories. This is the first time I’ve read (or listened to) a collection of short stories. I like that they’re quick, but I don’t like that there’s no time to develop plot and characters. I also can barely remember any story that I’ve listened to. There was one set in a hotel, there was one about a teenage romance…see, the details escape me! There are too many stories to remember! But do I still enjoy his writing? Yes.
Here are just a few things that have been on my mind this week.
1. Pearl Morissette
I just learned of Pearl Morissette winery and restaurant in Jordan, Ontario, and it’s now on my must-visit list.
2. DIY Wedding Details
The DIY details of Homey Oh My‘s recent wedding definitely impressed me. Amy and Oleg set such a pretty scene for a special occasion.
Did you read Under the Tuscan Sun? See the movie? If so, you’re certainly familiar with Bramasole (aka Villa Laura). And now…you can stay there!
4. Pool View
Oh, this exterior pool scene is beautiful.
Tiger tail residence, Edward Ogosta Architecture
I watched Elizabeth this week. I liked it a lot. The costumes are incredible. I know this movie is from 1998, but I hadn’t ever seen it. How had I never seen it?
Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy Canada Day!
I have very little time for watching TV/Netflix/movies, so I don’t have a massive list of show recommendations for you today. I just thought I’d share with you what I have been (sort of) watching over the last couple of months.
1. Chelsea. I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Handler. I sort of like her tough/funny personality, but I can only take it in small doses. I think she asks good questions, and I like her guests. For these reasons, I keep watching her show(s).
2. The Mind of a Chef. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this show, but I’m definitely enjoying it. The show follows Momofuku’s David Chang as he travels around the world, meets with his top-chef friends, and cooks up wild dishes (poached eggs in saran wrap – I want to try this!). I’m learning a lot! And it’s making me want to go to Japan!
3. My Way: The Rise and Fall of Silvio Berlusconi. I’m only about 30 minutes into this documentary. While I mostly like listening to Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian and seeing his massive villa, I’ve also been enjoying learning about his life.
4. Riverdale. I binge-watched this I-think-it’s-only-for-teens show in April when I had some free time. I was entertained.
5. Alice Through the Looking Glass. Why did I wait so long to watch this? What a fun movie! I loved it. I’d watch it again. Easily.
I have taken note of Rox-Anne’s recommendations from last month, and maybe I’ll eventually get to the must-watch-asap 13 Reasons Why.
What have you been watching? What are your recommendations?
I didn’t watch the Oscars this year, but I did follow a bit of the news on Twitter. I was especially waiting to hear the announcement about the Best Animated Short Film. Why? Well, while I don’t personally know the director, Alan Barillaro, we do have a family connection, so I was very happy to support his Oscar nomination from afar. Not only that, but his film, Piper, is ridiculously sweet! Happily, he and his team won! Yay!
Have you seen it?
Look at those grains of sand! Animation is amazing!
If you’ve watched it, what do you think?
The lady with the glasses. That’s how I know many people describe Iris Apfel. She’s been in the fashion and design industries for just about ever. While I’ve known a bit about her for a while now, I didn’t really know what she did – or still does – in fashion and design until I watched the Iris Apfel documentary and learned quite a bit.
Iris is such an eclectic lady who has quite the collection of clothes and jewelry. I’m impressed at how she stacks her necklaces and bangles and everything just magically works. Her style is completely unique.
It’s rare (as far as I can tell) to see Iris in an all-white ensemble because she’s all about colour, but she’s all-in-white in Kate Spade’s spring campaign. So fun!
I watched Dior and I the other night – a documentary about the House of Dior and Raf Simon’s journey of his first couture collection. The movie gives us the backstage pass to the atelier, and I loved it. Those ladies and men who do all the beautiful hand stitching is incredibly impressive, and, of course, it was interesting to see Raf Simon’s approach to fashion design. On top of this, the movie is in French, and so I got to enjoy the language for a couple of hours.
Have you seen The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro? I haven’t (yet), but it’s on my watch-this-movie-when-I-have-some-more-free-time list. For now, I’ve enjoyed a long browse on Director Nancy Meyers’s Pinterest account. It’s full of beauty!
I noticed quite a number of pins of spaces with exposed greyish brick and stone walls. I’m assuming that this design made it into the film. Yes? Secret’s out?
Check out all of Nancy Meyers’s Pinterest boards for more gorgeous images of interiors, fashion, and style.
Have a wonderful (and spooky Halloween) weekend!
Last night I watched the 1966 rom-com How to Steal a Million starring Audrey Hepburn (who isn’t a fan, right?) and Peter O’Toole. I knew it was going to be a good movie as soon as I saw Audrey Hepburn driving a sweet red sports car and wearing an all-white ensemble!
Have you seen this movie? What did you think?
Read more about fashion from this classic over at Fashion in Motion.