La Nuit des pantalons rouges.

This week we got a happy and unexpected surprise from two of our great friends, Chuck and Gabie who needed a place to crash for a couple days while they were in Toronto doing a camera test.

As they live in le Quebec, it is not often that we get to hang out with them so we’re always excited when they appear out of nowhere like magic.

Earlier in the summer they were married in Inverness, QC and Jamie and I were lucky enough to be invited to stay for their Cottage weekend nuptial spectacular. Since then, we’ve seen them more in two months than we did all last year, so I consider us lucky.

They were in town making sure their SkyMotion Video crazy robot helicopter camera device can perform using the Red Epic and they ended up sharing their demo online. They shoot the craziest arial photography and cinematography – recently they shot some footage for Newfoundland tourism and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Makes me crave the sea…

We had a fun, short visit and we said goodbye as they ran off to hang out with some mutual friends at their cottage (jealous).

Last night was my good old friend, Cheryl’s birthday party at The Gem at Ossington and Davenport. I read about their nachos online so I had to try them and let me tell you- the internet reviewers do not lie about epic dill sauce. On top of seeing lots of people I never get to see, and being able to celebrate with Cheryl, it was also an excellent excuse to wear bright red pants. I’m trying to integrate colour into my life.

After that, it was off to Kipling to smash a metaphorical champagne bottle against the side of my friend, Cristina’s new apartment. Thats what they do with new ships when they’re ready to sail. Sail, Cristina…sail with the wind.

It was fun times of dancing, wine-ing, new friend-ing and watching Aaron unpacking. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, I had to work today, so my football Sunday started late, but I am managing to catch the Giants game which we recorded earlier! Mushroom soup and grilled cheese for dinner, lovely crisp fall evening. Snuggles on the coach with Jamie. Good times in the end.

Ugly:

Working on the weekend (blech)

Awesome:

When you’re the only one in the office, you can use the great acoustics to your advantage and practise singing Christmas Carols. A the top of your lungs.

Read My Whips.

This weekend was full of interesting events which is a nice change from my usual full schedule of eating chips, watching football and staring at the clutter piles hoping they will move on their own.

Friday night was super exciting! I ate leftover pasta and watched an entire night’s worth of TLC programming including the exact SAME episode of “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta” twice! It was THE BEST. And not sad and pathetic in the least. Tell your friends.

Saturday, I took myself out for a coffee and a scone at Crema on the Danforth then scooted over to Bizzy B Stamps to buy some fancy paper for my wall project. (I’ll show you the paper once the wall project starts playing a bigger role in my consciousness). That night, I met up with some beautiful folks from work to witness the championship Toronto Roller Derby match between Chicks Ahoy and The Gore Gore Rollergirls. Chicks Ahoy came up on top to win the whole shebang and I drank a rum and coke – in a can! If I wasn’t such a fetus, I would totally try out for Roller Derby. I would aspire to be like Juliette’s Lewis’s character, Iron Maven from Whip It. (But it would never work because everyone would see through my icy, angry layer and would know that deep inside, I’m just a sensitive lady).

Sunday began with a brisk jaunt to the old Mad Dog Cafe where Jamie and I ate delicious brunch while trying to ignore the least annoying duo beside us: A father and daughter team, who would otherwise be adorable if their main act didn’t consist of the father asking the 3 year old to do something and then the 3 year old doing the exact opposite thing, only to be encouraged to continue this behaviour by her daddy laughing at how cute it was whenever she disobeyed him. I still have boot marks on my jeans. Bah Humbug.

After yummy smoked salmon, I went to my lovely friend Kari’s book reading at the “Word on the Street” festival at Queen’s Park. She was reading a few chapters from her first novel, “Margaret and The Moth Tree” to some very attentive children. As some of you know, my parents own the longest running Montessori school in Kingston. Over the years, the school has inherited a VAST number of children’s books, many of which I read (and/or owned) as a child. So I consider myself somewhat versed and currently interested in the quality of children’s books on the market today and I can tell you this – I actually read “Margaret and the Moth Tree” and thought it was amazing. Obviously, I was prepared to tell my friend that the book was amazing, regardless of its quality, because that’s what girls do, but I’m soooo proud of her because it actually IS a wonderful book. One little girl came up to Kari during the book signing and told her that her mom had purchased the book for her that morning, and by 3pm when Kari signed the 176 paged novel for her, she had finished reading it – she apparently couldn’t put it down all day. Very cool. I totally know a famous author, guys. Boom.

Ugly:
I had planned to decorate the whole porch situation today, but life ran a little longer than expected, so instead I just bought two planters and stuck them beside the door.

Awesome:
Those planters look boss.

Home is Where the Evil Ravens Are.

It’s fall time!!

Although my posts on this blog have been sporadic, you can always count on me to blog about fall. I could write a novel about fall. In fact if you took every piece of text I’ve ever written about fall, I honestly believe it would be the size of a short novella.

But THIS year is different. Because I have a porch. And an obsession with interior decorating. So THIS year, I’m going to decorate my porch for fall the way a person obsessed with fall should. With bats. And pumpkins. And fake, Dollarama foliage. And I AM PSYCHED!

I officially began the fall-time enthusiasm this evening by decorating our hutch in the living room/kitchen area. Actually, it’s just a dresser, but since it lives in my main living space, I call it a hutch. So sue me. I’m also putting up some “before” pictures, because I’m so proud of my new found ability to look at something on Pinterest and then make it happen with mostly Dollar store and Value Village items.

So, here it is…My living room/ kitchen place. I hope you love her.

Ugly:
The unthinkable amount of things I bought from Dollarama.

Awesome:
How little I paid for the unthinkable amount of things I bought from Dollarama. Bring it on, PORCH!

The Final European Chapter

We made it!! After more than a year, I have finally motivated my lazy ass to blog the final chapter of my Europe trip!! I promise, after this I will stop living in the past. I feel like a hibernating bear crawling out of his cave of Europe photos after a whole year of comfy slumber. Time to catch some fish.

Sooo…the final leg of our journey after the relaxing Benalmadena beach trip was a few days of urban culture in Madrid. The first thing we did after surviving the packed bus trip to the city center was unload our bags at the hostel and head down to the restaurant square to have a pint.

The first thing we noticed in Madrid was that we actually needed to use our limited Spanish. No one spoke English and after spending a week in the British stomping grounds of Benalmadena this seemed somehow shocking to us. It was was a welcome change of authenticity, so we busted out our Spanish/English dictionary and actually started trying.

We took a walk to the Royal Palace of Madrid, watched a Bride to Be wade through an ancient fountain in a strawberry costume and enjoyed the Spanish sunset. After the sun went down, we began our hunt for food. First we stumbled upon the Mercado de San Miguel (San Miguel Market) which was incredible, with food stands offering a wide variety of every food and dessert under the sun, but it was packed and we were looking for somewhere to sit down and relax. So we continued happily roaming the streets and even happened upon a few surprises along the way like the hard apple cider slushy cart (Waupoos slushy anyone!?!?!?!) and a sausage snack stand! As you know by now, our previous Spanish tapas experience had been been less than satisfactory along the way, so we were searching for something authentic but maybe a little more our style. We found exactly that at an amazing restaurant that served unique tapas like walnut and brie on a baguette smeared with caramelized onion jelly and smoked salmon with dill and brie (again…I love brie)…it was perfect. We also loved it for it’s young, fun, atmosphere – it was like the Dundas and Ossington of Madrid. I can’t find what street it was exactly, but if you Google map “cafe majaderitos Madrid”, that’s the street we were on. You know, in case you’re going to Madrid.

The next day we woke up at 9 to start our day. When we left our hostel, we realized that in a city where everyone goes to sleep at 4am, no one wakes up until 11. Especially on a Sunday. We traveled the streets searching for a cup of coffee on our way to ‘El Rastro”, a flea market said to be the largest in Europe. No coffee was to be had until we reached the market, where thankfully one of the 3,500 stalls served Jamie’s and my lifeblood. We spent several hours at this market, which was surprising because I assumed after a couple hours, Jamie would fold as many men do in shopping situations. But he bravely explored with me, as we looked for gifts for loved ones, interesting antiques and various markety snacks, even when it started pouring rain.

That afternoon, we went to The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum where we saw some of my favourite artists’ works up close. We were going to go to the Museo del Prado which is the most famous Art Museum in Madrid, but we kind of ran out of time, chose which artists were our personal favourites and most of those works were in the Thyssen. It was amazing until the museum started to close and we had to leave…then we went for a walk over to the Museo del Prado and took pictures there as if we actually went inside. Which we didn’t. We hung around on the grassy hill and people watched, then walked back to our hostel through the Parque del Retiro, a big, pretty park next to the Artists Walk. We soaked up the sunset and took as many photos of random architecture as we could because tonight was our last night in Europe. We finished off the day at the same restaurant as the night before, got gelato and went went to sleep.

The next day, we had a fancy shmancy breakfast to cheer us up because we were leaving.

This was the best trip of my life so far (hence why I spent an entire year focusing on it) and I feel really lucky because a lot of people never get to get to experience a trip like that in their lifetime. It also proved that Jamie and I travel well together, which I’ve heard is not always the case with some couples. We are in the process of trying to decide where to go next, so I’ll let you know when we figure it out. But for now, I’m going to try this new thing called blogging about what’s currently happening, not what happened a year ago. We’ll see how that goes 🙂

Ugly:

Not being in Europe.

Awesome:

One of my favourite parts of Madrid was seeing paintings which I’ve admired since I was a small child, in person. I’ve been to art museums before, but I don’t think I ever saw paintings in real life that I’ve been staring at for my entire life in books. I saw paintings by Picasso, Dali, Degas, Renoir, Vermeer, Van Gogh and it was awesome.

Next time on Ugly/Awesome: Who knows!? It’s back to blogging real time!