January 2, 2010

In light of my recent over-over-indulgence during the holidays, I think I’m going to go on a mild detox for the next month or so. And by detox, I don’t mean anything like the Master Cleanse or that sort of thing. No hype, no gimmicks, nothing sketchy.

More like…

  • A serving of vegetables or fruit at every meal
  • No wheat; I know, I know, this one is trendy. But I suspect that it gives me issues & the only way to know is to eliminate it for awhile.
  • No booze. Yes, this means no wine.
  • Vitamins every day: multi, fish oil, cal/mag/d before bed.
  • Lots of water.
  • No artificial sweeteners. This one will be tough, because I enjoy a Sprite Zero most days. Somehow, I swear I feel better overall when I abstain.
  • No junk food. Yuck.
  • No added sugars. Sugar makes me feel really gross and it becomes this self-perpetuating cycle.
  • Lots of green tea (this one is easy, I love it)
  • Limit coffee to 1x/day (sob!)
  • I’m not sure whether this will seem overly restrictive to others, but it’s basically how I eat the vast majority of the time, just tightened up a bit here and there. I know I’ll feel a thousand times better for this after even just one week.


    January 2, 2010

    I don’t think I have the brain power to write a full-on post, but a few random things:

    1. Never underestimate the power of a good blow-out; works wonders for the self-esteem. If I may brag, I’m having a great hair day. This would be even more brag-worthy had it not taken me nearly an hour of wrestling with the blowdryer and round brush last night. Consequently, I have felt pretty darn hot all day with my nice swingy hair. Even in spite of schlepping around the house in my Lululemon Groove pants, a ribbed racerback Artizia tank and no makeup. Must remember this in the future when I am tempted to be lazy and skip the blowdry.

    2. I enjoy being domestic. I love picking up items like fresh garlic at the store, then coming home to whip up a good meal from scratch. It is surprisingly empowering. The same goes for scratch baking, which seems to be a sadly dying art (though less so in the blogosphere!).

    3. Being  old and (almost) married is lovely. Even if that does mean enduring things like 7-day old scruff because he is lazy about shaving. I still get to wake up next to him every day– scruff and all. That’s something  I longed for back in the days of long distance!

    4. Wine is good. More wine is not always better. Especially the next day.

    5. Despite the previous reference to scratch baking, two-bite brownies are totally addictive and cannot be kept in my house.

    it’s tough being a kitten

    December 30, 2009

    it’s tough originally uploaded by vanityandsanity.

    Looks like hard work, huh? Eat, sleep, snuggle, eat, sleep, eat. What a life.
    I apologize for including so many kitten pictures; trying to up the visual interest here and it’s all I’ve got. My procrastination problem clearly extends to photography. As you can probably tell, we don’t really take a ton of pictures unless it’s a special occasion or we’re bored. I planned to over Christmas, but between the food and the booze, well, I got a little distracted… I’ll try to remedy this soon.
    As an aside, when we were thinking of getting a pet, I was actually worried I wouldn’t bond with a cat. I was afraid I wouldn’t like him! Growing up, we’d always had dogs and I considered myself a steadfast dog person.  I did not “get” cats. However, we didn’t have the time to be fair to a dog so that wasn’t an option. And I really, really wanted a pet. M’s always had cats so he finally sold me on the idea and we went to the shelter to go look. Once I saw him (being tossed around by overzealous- though well-intended- little girls, actually! poor thing!) I was a goner. Now he pokes me in the eye with his paw at 3am and chews on my hair. ’tis true love.
    It’s a bit formualic but I found an old, old year-end poll in Livejournal dating back to 2004. I thought it would make a suitable in-depth year-end wrap-up.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    2336 minutes ’til the New Year

    December 30, 2009

    2009 was an interesting year. I have to admit, I will be a little relieved to see it end. That’s not to say it was all bad – we got engaged, adopted our kitten and sold our house. However, there was a lot of stress and negativity as well. Lots of ups and downs.

    2010 will be great. Really, how can it not be? We will move into our new house and get married! Will also continue work on M’s company, getting ready for him to go out on his own. Granted, I still have to figure out what I am doing in terms of my own career path… but I’m working on that. Sort of.

    My biggest goal for the next year is to be happier & more positive. I’m a bit cynical by nature, not to mention neurotic. Combine those two and basically you’re left with someone who’s afraid to be happy because they are convinced they will swiftly be proven wrong. Objectively, I know this is no way to live– what a waste of time and energy to feel that way. Particularly with everything going on right now – I should be enjoying the wedding planning process, rather than stressing about work, money and other silly details.

    Speaking of the wedding: I am a huge wedding slacker. I really need to get on with booking a ceremony venue. Oops. Just one minor detail: we can’t find one! M had his heart set on an outdoor ceremony and it’s strangely difficult to find an outdoor venue that can accomodate 200-220 guests.

    Plan B is an indoor ceremony with candlelight, flower petals, etc. It would be at 4 or 5pm (photos beforehand) and we could play up the romantic, evening feel. I think it could be quite elegant. However, I am sad that M might not get the one thing he really cared about. Er, that sounds bad; of course he cares about the wedding… but other details like flowers aren’t exactly his cup of tea. Or his mug of beer, rather.

    I mentioned before that we’re working with a planner; from what I’ve gathered in my discussions with her, I suspect she’s used to the stereotypical Bridezilla. i.e.: very detail-oriented, knows exactly what she wants, pro-active planner… basically, the opposite of me. I don’t think she knows what to make of me. 

    It has occurred to me that I have become one of those girls that I used to hate. When M and I were still dating, I used to hear them complain about wedding planning. I used to think ‘Are you kidding me? You’re marrying the man you love. How bad can it be? Suck it up‘. And now, I have to say, I’m eating my words just a little bit

    Don’t get me wrong: I am excited to marry M (so much so that I wish the wedding were sooner than September!). I know the wedding will be wonderful. I just wish someone could crawl into my head, take all of the ideas out, and translate them into my wedding. Then I’ll show up at the designated date, time and location. Is that so much to ask?

    your blonde is showing

    December 30, 2009

    Got home by a reasonable hour due to lack of traffic (thanks, vacationing commuters!). Struck by sudden headache, I went to feed mewling kitty and noticed that I was on his last can of food. Called M, who was going to pick some up earlier, and proceeded to leave voicemail as follows:

    “Hey, just wondering if you grabbed any kitten food or if you were going to do that on your way home, since we’re running — oh, I just saw the bag of kitten food that you bought. Um, right on the island in front of me… “

    Ever looked at something and still managed to look right past it? Story of my life.

    Long time, no blog

    December 29, 2009

    I hadn’t planned on going totally MIA over the holidays, but things were a bit chaotic and there wasn’t much time to get online!

    Brief re-cap…

    Wednesday: Left work early so I could hit the gym and go home to pack. Arrived at MIL’s (well, future MIL) house just after dinnertime. M and his brother had friends over, so socialized with them, played some drinking games (note: not advisable with red wine… just sayin’) and I had a fairly early night while M went out to the bar around midnight for a couple of hours.

    Thursday: Celebrated Christmas a day early with M’s family and then had turkey dinner. Completely overate, felt like a blob.  Furthered the blob cause by eating some kind of custard pie prepared by SIL that was tasty, but not at all necessary. If it’s not apparent by now, I fell- or maybe leapt- off of the healthy eating wagon over the holidays.

    Friday: Headed to my parents’ place which is about 3 hours away. We brought kitty with us in his softsided carrier and he was a trooper, save for the last 15 minutes or so when he started mewling. He’s an experienced roadtripper at only 6 months of age (actually, I think he turned 6 months on boxing day; the shelter said his birthday was June 26th!). Went for Chinese food with some extended family. The food was delicious but a bit greasy since we had ginger beef, chicken chow mein etc. Also had sizzling tomato beef over rice, baby broccoli, wonton soup, some kind of pea greens(?) and a great French white wine. [As you can tell, this re-cap involves a lot of wine].

    Saturday: Had a lazy day in at my parents’. I did squeeze in a weights workout which was a triumph. Watched Extract which was so-so, not as funny as I had hoped. For some reason, was exhausted and crashed around 3pm for a 2-hour nap. I never nap – so strange! My parents made paella with crab and clams which may have been the highlight of 2009. It was amazing. I really should have taken a picture since it’s astonishing that only 4 people polished off the quantity of food that we had. Then we broke into the bottle of Taylor Fladgate 10-year Port that my mom received from M’s family. Also delish. I love port. We then watched Beyond a Reasonable Doubt which was pretty cheesy; the plot itself wasn’t bad, but I can’t say the same for the acting (sorry, Amber Tamblyn!)

    Sunday: Another lazy day at my parents’. I love just being able to hang out and watch movies all day – it’s something we rarely have the opportunity to do. Watched State of Play which I really enjoyed. Oh and we met my best friend and her boyfriend  for a quick drink to exchange presents. This also involved a beerlini (raspberry ale + bellini slush + fresh raspberries) and some loaded nachos since at this point I figured, hell, it’s a lost cause. My mom made a big organic roast and roasted root vegetables for dinner. and we also had a delicious French red wine. Wish I had the names of all the different wines that we tried but they were all new to me since my parents received them as a gift (I suppose they still have the empty bottles for recycling). It was unusual that we had so much French wine; usually we stick to a few tried & true inexpensive (some might say cheap – tomato, tomahto) wines, primarily Australian and Canadian.

    Monday: Packed up kitty and all of our gifts, then headed back home. M unpacked all of our stuff while I went to the gym and the grocery store. Being in another city, I miss my parents a lot but it did feel good to be home! I am a major creature of habit and I get a bit discombobulated when I am away from home and out of my regular routine. The grocery store had fresh perch at a decent price, which piqued my interest. Fish/seafood that hasn’t been previously frozen is hard to come by here and is often very expensive. Turns out, the perch was delicious. I pan-fried it with some butter, dill, salt and pepper and had it with asparagus and brown rice. Even the non-fish-eating fiance said it smelled so good that he willingly tried it (if you knew him, you’d know how big of a deal that is) and even- gasp- liked it.

    Overall, a great Christmas! My parents swear that they will be in Hawaii or somewhere else warm next year for Christmas. I don’t know if we would join them since we might take our honeymoon in early December (finances and other factors depending).

    Oh and I did get totally spoiled, as did M. I’m an only child, he only has one brother and thus far, there are no children in either family (which is actually a shame, I think Christmas is more fun and magical with kids around!). This leaves only us for the parents to spoil – and they did. Mostly, I got tons of gift certificates which I know some might say defeats the purpose of giving but I don’t care! Money is a bit tight with trying to save for the wedding so the gift of shopping  is the perfect gift indeed.

    Now I am back at work for a three-day workweek which is a nice way to ease back in. Also trying to make preparations for our New Year’s Eve bash. Trying to figure out crowd-pleasing appetizers that are both man-friendly (mostly for M’s sake) while still impressive… These bacon cheddar stuffed mushrooms are a strong contender, but I am still going to peruse the web while at work (shh) for additional ideas.

    wedding dress + miscellany

    December 23, 2009

    Sagrera, originally uploaded by vanityandsanity.

    I thought I would share a pic of my wedding dress. It’s a Pronovias by Manuel Mota and the style is called Sagrera. True to what ‘they’ say, it was the first dress I tried on. Isn’t that funny? I actually went looking two additional times and tried on probably about 20 dresses in total, but this was by far my favourite. I apologize for the lighting– I don’t know why everything looks so yellow! The dress is an off-white, not even full-on ivory.

    This is the sample and it was about 4 sizes too large; if it looks like it’s pulling in the front, that’s because it’s pinned in the back by million clips. The real deal should fit much better when it arrives sometime this spring.

    Besides the wedding dress, I’ve been a bit of a wedding slacker. We have a reception booked, photographers and… uh… that’s it. I haven’t even found a ceremony site yet! Starting to get a bit panicked about that one. We still have just under 9 months, but things book up quickly.

    Rumor has it that they are going to send us home early from work. I’m happy about that since it will give me time to go to the gym and then pack (of course I couldn’t possibly have done that earlier in the week). Tonight we’re off to visit M’s family, then my family on Christmas Day. It’s our annual tour of the province, as I like to say. We’re packing up kitty and bringing him along in his little carrier; he is quite the experienced roadtripper already.

    Foodie highlights of the trip include turkey dinner tomorrow night, going out for Chinese food Christmas Day, and having paella at my parents’ house (including tons and tons of delicious crab legs) on Boxing Day. I’ll try to actually take some photos to document all of the indulgence!

    I’m also looking forward to visiting with friends and family. Since I moved to M’s city, I don’t get to see some of them as often as I’d like. It’s sure to be a jam-packed couple of days.

    recipe: butter tart deliciousness

    December 23, 2009

    snacky, originally uploaded by vanityandsanity.

    Butter tart is on the bottom right; shortbread on the bottom left and, of course, Timmy Ho’s is at the top. 

    They are rich, sweet and totally sinful! A must for the holidays.


    • 12 tart shells (I use premade; you can make your own from scratch if you wish)
    • 250 ml (1 cup) packed brown sugar
    • 1 cup seedless raisins
    • 75 ml (1/3 cup) melted butter
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 25 ml (1 tsp) cream
    • 5 ml vanilla


    1. Preheat oven to 375F
    2. Soak raisins in small amount of water- just enough to moisten- and place in microwave for one minute on high. This is a ‘family secret’ passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me. It softens the raisins and makes the tarts even better.
    3. Combine ingredients one at a time
    4. Fill tart shells one half full
    5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned

    Wait until they are completely cool before devouring. Or, you may freeze them, separating each layer with some wax paper; they keep for a couple of weeks.

    Be forewarned that if you share these, people may beg you for them annually!

    Next time we make these, I think I might try soaking the raisins in rum instead of water. I think it could add a nice zing.


    December 22, 2009

    o4, originally uploaded by vanityandsanity.

    Since my blog is still sadly lacking for photos, I thought I would share one of the kitten (aka, one of the reasons for my not-so-great sleep last night… kitten kneading is cute, but ouch!)

    Trust me: he only looks innocent.

    A confession

    December 22, 2009

    I deviated from the plan that I posted yesterday. Instead, I started The Female Body Breakthrough. I had planned to wait and start fresh after the new year. But, fitness nerd that I am, I got too excited (impatient).

    Lemme just say, the warm-ups alone had me short of breath! I’m notorious for skimping on warming up. Warm-up sets, I can manage, but I am shamefully lazy when it comes to dynamic work. Never again! I really did feel like this prepped my body for lifting. And those inchworms were a workout in and of themselves.

    I’ll report back when I’ve finished the entire program, of course. But so far, so good.

    Another thing I’m loving lately is Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal. I think I might even prefer it to steel-cut oats.

    I’m a little tired today, sleep wasn’t the best; M went to his mother’s (out of town) and ended up staying due to the weather. I’m a big wimp and I hate being alone in our house. The tiniest noise has me convinced that someone has broken in to our basement and is waiting to come get me. I know, it’s pathetic. I did live on my own at one point, but it was in an apartment; something about an empty house is somehow much scarier.

    I can’t believe Christmas is right around the corner! It doesn’t feel like it. Usually, I love Christmas but this year, I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Maybe I’ll crank some Christmas tunes on Sirius while I’m at work (through headphones, of course; I’m not that coworker) and see if that helps.


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