Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stuff I love: Winter Uniform Edition

Alternate title: Stuff I love: try not to leave the house edition

Well it's winter here. Finally. After last year's poor excuse for a season (What, was it -15c like 4 times?) it's been a steady -10c for a good month. Maybe it's been less or more, my brain is fogged over from today's blowing snow.

Only two things get me out the door these days: going for groceries so I can further stock my freezer with comfort food and dog walking. Haven't they come up with a way to get them to look after themselves? Lazy creatures, I tells ya.

So, in my ventures to the great outdoors this has become my standard uniform, with a few extras.

1. Arctic Parka - this jacket was a Christmas gift from my mom two years ago. It covers my bum, it's crazy warm, and there's just no substitution for down insulation. The giant (non-flimsy, actually warm) hood is a great perk, too.

 The hood is also great when you don't want to make eye contact with anyone. 

3. Power-stretch Glove - slim profile gloves that are warm enough to fight off the wind but flexible enough to... 'scoop' without having to remove.

I have an extra left glove if you're interested...

4. Studio Pant w/ Liner - I have these sans liner and I'm wishes I had purchased avec liner. A friend of mine has them and told me they are her go-to dog walking pants. Sweat pants that have some semblance to regular pants? Sign me up.

The difference is that I usually have a shirt on. Ain't nobody wanna see that!

5. Cozy scarf - I have this scarf in pink and damn it is SO COZY! I unwrapped it at Christmas and it was passed around the room for all to try on. It's massive and perfect for travelling as it doubles as a shall/blanket. Oh ya, it's on sale. BOOM.

Careful your boyfriend doesn't steal it. 

6. Aspelina W boots - I don't have these boots but I have other Tretorn brand boots, these just look so warm and toasty and maybe even a bit cute with the purple lining? Let's just forget trying to be cute in slushy snow, mmk? Also: waterproof. Win. (BTW I have these boots that I wear with an extra liner but they could be warmer and taller).

Can you help me tie them please?

7. Hands-free Reflective Leash - I love this thing. You can adjust the length so you can wear it cross-body or around your waist so your hands are free to stay warm in your pockets! Also has convenient pocket to carry bags and large reflective bands so you don't get hit by a car.
Also convenient for tying the dog to a tree during late-night licorice runs. Don't YOU want to eat licorice while watching Fringe? Thought so. 

Maybe someday I'll write a Winter Uniform: Going out in Public edition. I'd have to go out in public to do that, though...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Favourites ver. 27

In which I post fun and favourite things from my week, semi-regularly... every-other... randomly... on Friday!  

... and then I woke up and February was over? What the?

1. Do you love cookbooks? If yes then you will love 'The Piglet' - a yearly cookbook competition run by the fabulous Food 52 blog. 16 books published in the previous year go head-to-head with celebrity judges and food writers to give commentary. A very cool way to see which hottest cookbooks should go on your Amazon wish list. Fingers crossed for Smitten Kitchen!

2. Winter in Ontario is a sonofabitch. I love me some serious snow and cold but there never seems to be the right balance in these parts. We are forever in a cycle of snow-melt-slush-repeat. Enter the eternal battle to find the right boots. Forget Uggs (salt stains! slush!), forget leather (salt stains! slush!), forget heels (ice! snow!), forget anything that isn't waterproof (did I mention the slush?). I have given up on finding anything cute and have resorted to insulated rubber boots. Do YOU have a secret solution to fashionable, waterproof, and warm boots? I will pay you for your answer. With cupcakes.

At least I'm not in Manitoba

3. I made a headboard! It was pretty easy, too! After we finished the project and I was admiring our handy work I felt like we had just turned our otherwise utilitarian bedroom into some kind of swanky-ass hotel. What a game changer. I don't care if you make one or buy one - adding a real life headboard makes a HUGE difference. (I used this DIY for reference but there are literally thousands of similar articles available).

Need to hang some artwork and add some colourful details... main goal was getting it on the wall! The rest comes later...

4. We're coming off a long weekend filled with some serious home-time and we even BABYSAT. Someone actually let us look after their small child... without supervision! I suppose it was a success given that we returned the baby in her original condition. It was a bit scary at first (I have very minimal baby experience) but it turns out all you have to do is sit there and make sure they don't ... do anything stupid? Something like that. Rob was googoo over how cute this little girl was. Excuse me while my brain explodes.

5. I got tickets to see The Book of Mormon!! It's going to be in Toronto starting April 30th. Finally a musical that Rob might actually like...

6. Onto the links!


Have a great weekend friends! I'm going to a wedding and also bridesmaid's dress shopping... wish me luck!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

NOLA

I'm back. I'm alive.

I spent part of last week in silence because I was in desperate need of some quiet time.


The jist: I went to NOLA during Mardi Gras with a group of 12 woman to celebrate my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party. Forgive me for leaving out the specific party details - what happens at Mardi Gras gets stuck under all the garbage and never makes it out of Mardi Gras.


 Overall thoughts:
  • Excuse my French but the city is fucking FILTHY during Mardi Gras
  • But... the city does a seriously awesome job cleaning up every night and then the city is temporarily clean for about one hour between 8am and 9am. Clean up involves tractors and spray trucks and street cleaners. It's very intense. 
  • Yes I saw boobs but very few. No, I didn't participate. 
  • The quantity of beads handed out is incomprehensible. At the end of the parade we probably had close to 600 strands in our group of 12. 
  • The number people is even more incomprehensible. 
  • I didn't know this beforehand - you can drink in the streets!
  • Every one is drunk. All day, every day (during Mardi Gras).
How people watch parades. Many of these ladders have little seats on top for kids. 

How I traveled/accommodations
  • I flew out of Kitchener and took 3 flights to NOLA (through Chicago and Dallas)
  • I flew direct home - THANK GOD. 
  • We stayed at the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street and it was excellent! Friendly staff, very clean, conveniently located, loved it. 
  • We walked everywhere with the exception of the streetcar that took us to the cemetery tour and the various taxi's we took to/from airport and to/from bars when it was too late/we were too tired. One driver played pretend Cash-Cab with us, he was crazy smart!
  • All the service people we encountered were extremely friendly and welcoming and didn't seem too depressed that their city was overrun. 
Rob's wet dream

What we saw:
  • We spent the first night walking Bourbon Street which is basically a giant street party. There are balconies everywhere, so much bead throwing happens from above. Watch your head!
  • We did a cemetery tour with a group called 'Save Our Cemeteries' of the Layayette Cemetery No. 1. It was very cool and an interesting insight into different cultural treatments of the dead. Our tour guide was a woman named Candy and she was SO awesome. Ask for her if you can! We got locked in the cemetery at the end of the tour, no joke. Thankfully it was a bright sunny day and only lasted about 10 minutes. 
  • We walked down Decateur Street, which is right along the river and full of shops, restaurants, and street-vendors/performers. Very nice way to spend the afternoon.
  • We had tickets to the Endymion Parade and it was by far the most ridiculous experience of the whole trip. We purchased bleacher seats so we'd have somewhere to sit/guaranteed seats. The marching bands, the floats, and the BEADS. The beads HURT and you have to be careful not to get hit in the face. The histories of the different parades are very interesting - some have all male float riders - all float riders need to wear masks, etc. This year's parade Marshall was Kelly Clarkson - we saw her but she was facing the other way. 

What we ate:
  • In short: everything. This is not a city to visit while on a diet. Also - everything has a kick to it. 
  • K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen - it was great! Excellent service
  • Stanley's - omgsogood. We went for brunch, I had the Korean BBQ po' boy and it was TDF - to die for. 
  • Domenica - an Italian restaurant just off Canal Street... I shared a charcuterie board that came with beignets instead of crackers. Be still my heart (and not due to the clogged arteries!)
My Korean po'boy that refused to rotate for this post. 

Pros:
  • The people of this city are SO. FRIENDLY. 
  • The history is very interesting and I think there is so much more to see than the small corner we experienced
  • Drinks were cheap!
  • Very walk-able city
Some of the street performers were crazy good! Like this group - Yes Ma'am

Cons:
  • Did I mention how dirty everything was? Perhaps returning after Mardi Gras is the answer.
  • It was very difficult to get on the street car... though again I think this is likely only during Mardi Gras.
Great group of girls to travel with!