Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weddin' Plannin' Saturday

Despite the continued snow dumping by Ma Nature this weekend, I did manage to get a fair bit of stuff done towards the nuptials.

I met with Gillian, who kindly trudged through knee-deep snow with me so I could see the Ellis Chapel. Still as beautiful inside as I remembered it to be. And now with electricity! Woohoo! (Not sure if we'll even use it, but woohoo anyways!!!)

Afterwards I met with Mizzus K for a crazy good dark cherry mocha at Starbucks, and she graciously informed me that she would like to design and create our invitations as her wedding gift to us. Well, of course I jumped at that one!

So off to Michael's we decided to go, for inspiration and ideas on colour scheme etc. But first I asked her if she wouldn't mind accompanying me to Klara Johnson's shop to look at wedding cakes. Her cakes are expensive, but truly works of art. I fell in love with a display cake decorated with orchids made of sugar paste. So beautiful...(Now I need to get JD over there to look at it, and agree the extra expense will be worth it!)

Mizzus K and I spent HOURS at Michael's, pouring over papers and looking at the invitation kits for ideas. Almost immediately I found a's not a stamp...but not sure what it's called. Anyways, it cuts out a silhouette of a dragonfly when applied to paper. This was our starting point. Now for the papers - Mizzus K and I both were agreed on looking for a variety of different textures and patterns that complemented each other. After what seemed like forever, we came to find 3-4 beautiful papers that had everything I was looking for: rich colours, great patterns, shimmer and shine, that worked together beautifully. After that, finding coordinating ribbon was a snap. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

As a bonus, I picked up a lovely cake topper - a silver letter S, studded with diamond-like stones, for JD's last name, the one I will be assuming after the marriage. I can see it already, tucked behind that sugar orchid....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Um, yeah, it's Winter calling. Sorry I'm late...

This is what Mizz Lucy and I woke up to on Feb 23rd - winter wonderland. Um, a little late, doncha think? I was hopin' this would be winter's (first and ) last hurrah, but we continue to get snow dumped on us as we head into March.

I do really think that February is the longest and cruelest month, and this winter, though exceptional weather-wise, hasn't changed my opinion much. Well, nothing to do but make the most of it.

Wednesday's photo (Feb 24), I tried to capture the beauty of the sunrise coming over the hill in the part of the trail I walk Mizz Lucy on every morning, that I call the "Cathedral". It's a steep hill covered in tall thin deciduous trees, which seems to me like a church, the way God would design it. If She was "into" churches. Which I am not entirely convinced is true. It's the only church I really feel comfortable in.
Feb 25th brought us another snow storm. Blowing winds, a sudden drop in temperatures, snow...again. I hurried into the grocery store on the way home from working late, just wanting to get a few necessary things. But ended up with all this:

There was just so much good stuff on sale! What gives? Is it the recession? Or Wal-Mart Supercentres providing competition? No matter, it's bargain-city right now, for those that have any extra cash.

When I arrived at the store it was fairly busy, but suddenly it seemed to just empty out. A store employee asked me if there was a storm brewing, is that why the store was devoid of customers? I said definitely, that it was nasty out. Someone else piped up that the women's gold medal game was on (Congrats Canadian Womens Hockey Team on your Gold! Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Oh yeah, you did....Ha!), and also Survivor. (Is that show still going on?!?!? Haven't they run out of deserted islands yet?). It was certainly a good night to get home and stay home, whatever the reason.

And now this morning, this:

I got up nice and early, planning to walk Mizz L as usual, and then have time to do an upper body workout. On the way back to the house, I laughed at the absurdity of hurrying inside to lift dumbells to the instructor on the DVD when I had a driveway full of snow I could be lifting instead! So I made things easier for Edward by clearing a path to the street. Shoulda brushed him off before I cleaned up the driveway though....

And now tonight I get to do it all over again 'cos it's snowing and snowing hard and heavy. However, things are looking up for next week. Temps in the pluses for most of it. Yay!

On a completely different subject: I've been tracking my weight loss for the past 3 weeks and I'm averaging 0.9 lbs lost per week. At this rate I will lose 26 pounds by the wedding date. Not too shabby! I developed a little Excel spreadsheet and even created a graph in it to help me track my progress towards this goal. I am delighted that I am seeing success with making just a couple of little changes to my lifestyle and being more mindful of everything I eat and how much I move.

Now to get back to snow shovelling. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Goin' to the Chah-pull, an' We're Gonna Get Mah-ried...

Feb 21 POD - Ellis Chapel - Drive-by "Shooting"
Yesterday was a bee-yoo-ti-ful day, and we took a moment to drive by the chapel we are going to book for the wedding. A tiny, lovely chapel in the country near the Village. The caretaker is going to be showing it to us on Saturday. My sis and her hubby had their nuptials there, about 14 or so years ago. Hey Sis - they have electricity in the building now - one whole outlet!

In contrast to yesterday's great weather (sunny, +5°C), is this (not so) hot mess (Feb 22 POD):

Taken through the Venetian blinds in my work's lunch room. Today is my other Sis's Birthday. Hope the weather is better in your part of the province, Mizz C!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Gives? And Assorted Ramblings....

Feb 18th POD - What is UP with these nails of mine? They have never been this strong or long...that I can remember, anyways.
For years (almost a decade), I have worn acrylic nails on and off (mostly on) because I was tired of having a less than perfect set of nails. There was always one or more that broke once they got a little length happening, which meant of course that they all had to be cut down to size. (See above: obsession with achieving nail "perfection" at all times.)
The other great thing about wearing acrylics is that the polish stays perfect until you want to take it off - no chipping!
Now, for some reason my nails are all long strong and perfect. This sent me to the Net to research what I could be ingesting that would result in this change. Looks like Biotin is the likely suspect, but where is it coming from in my diet?

I take the following supplements religiously - fish oil (because of my bad cardiovascular genetics), vitamin D (because my doc said so), evening primrose oil (because I read in Prevention that it could help with my thinning hair), and a daily multivitamin (just because). Could they be contributing? Because I really don't think I've changed my diet all that much over the past few months.
Oh, to keep them looking like this till the wedding day!

Speaking of, I have been thinking a bit about footwear, now that I have THE DRESS. I am thinking of wearing shoes with colour, specifically pink....because I love pink, and they would add a flash of whimsy with the dress.

I already own a beautiful pair of pink leather sandals, by Franco Sarto. I've only worn them a couple of times and the heel height is nice and low so they are more comfortable than sky-high stilettos.
Only problem is I can already imagine me sinking into the grass during outside photos, thanks to the little spike heels. (And Mizz J is urging me to buy new shoes to wear on my wedding day, so there's that to contend with as well. LOL!)

If I could find the perfect pair of pink peep toe wedges or flats, I think my problem would be solved. In the meantime, these sandals (Feb 19th POD) will be my backup plan.
What about pink running shoes? I can see me wearing a cute little pair, ala Cybill Shepherd, (in)famous for wearing sneakers under her gowns when she walked the red carpet in glamourous gowns. I've been racking up the steps on my step counter lately, and comfort in walking/standing is becoming of prime importance! Feb 20th POD - steps so far today....

Well, enough blogging - time to get walking. Need to hit at least 10,000 steps today!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I have entered a world of pain, and it hurts so good

Feb 17th POD - Personal Training with Jackie - Abs workout

In about 90 days I go for my first fitting of my wedding dress. If that isn't inspiration to work out and eat right, I don't know what is.

Yesterday my date with Jackie involved my (non-existent) abs. Well, I am thoroughly convinced of their existence now, let me tell you. Keepin' my eye on the prize as I struggle through the workout, telling myself it will be so rewarding when I can actually do the full set with good form!

Feb 18th POD - Same DVD, this time the Upper Body Workout.
Not quite the same struggle as with the abs.
Despite feeling the muscle soreness (Hello muscles! Ah yes, I remember you now...), it does feel really good to be working out again.
Why do I stop from time to time? And why do I have to keep relearning this lesson? I AM worth the time to do this, no matter how busy life gets.

The Dress

(JD, if you ever take the notion to start reading this blog, please look no further!)

Well, knock me over with a feather. I have a dress.

First dress shop, first dress I tried on.

The consultant pulled this one for me, after she quizzed me about what I was looking for and sized up my personality and body type. (Man, she IS good.)

Of course I tried on many dresses after that, but none could compare to that first dress. Mizz J was with me and knew it was THE DRESS when I had it on.

I tried it on again, after all of the other dresses. Mizz J clinched it for me when she said "Mom, I would get married in that dress!"

The dress does wonders for my current (abundance of) figure. I ordered it in my current size, knowing that even if I didn't lose another ounce, I would look and feel as good as can be in that dress.

And the consultant assured me it could be taken down 2 more sizes if need be. What more can anyone ask for? Plus it was within the "budget", coming in at well under a thousand bucks.

Three months from now, the dress will come in, and I will go for my first fitting. Now I have a goal to work towards.

The dress is white.
Some people say that second-time brides should not wear white, but some people say that anything goes anymore and women can wear whatever colour they like, even white for a subsequent wedding.

I chose white because my husband-to-be asked me to.

Here is the dress (Feb 16 POD):

Dinner and a Movie Night

Feb 15th POD - Menu from Princess Cafe
The Princess is an independent movie house (now with cafe!) in a City Near the Village. JD and I do love to go to the show, but aren't always quick enough. Hence the movies we want to see sometimes have cleared out of the mainstream theatres by the time we're able to go. This is what happened with Up in the Air.
After a quick search on the Net, we found it is was still "around", playing at the Princess. We decided it would be fun to ask good friends of ours (plus we had an ulterior motive - mwahahaha!) and they said yes to Dinner and a Movie at the Princess.
Mizzus J also said yes to my ulterior motive: asking her to stand up with me at my wedding! She has been a very close and "stand-up" friend of mine for over 25 years now. Been through all my trials (lots) and triumphs (few) with me, always had my back. Our kids grew up together and our sons are still close friends. It is only fitting she stand up with me yet again on this special day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Inspiration

Yesterday it was finally time to say good-bye to Christmas. A last look at this years' Swarovski before it got packed away (Feb 14th pic).

Some may think it strange that we keep the tree and decorations up this long afterwards, but one year they stayed up till Easter. Which was just a bit too long, even for me. It felt like the Christmas decor was preventing Spring from coming!
JD's mom (who passed away shortly after we started dating in 2002) used to keep a little tiny tree up all year long, as a reminder for her family to keep the Christmas spirit in their hearts every day of the year. I wouldn't mind doing something similar after the move to our new place. JD's dad still keeps her tree up, as well as buying her a single rose every week and placing it next to her urn on the mantel. Very sweet.

As I was dismantling the tree and packing the ornaments carefully away, I was inspired by the colours in one box of ornaments:

These are the colours I would love to have incorporated into the wedding decorations, flowers and invitations. Soft pinks, creams, gold, silver...even some lavender. Now I have a definitive colour scheme and my artistic and crafty friend Mizzus K and I can go shopping for invitation-making supplies!

It's Time to Get Serious...

Feb 11th POD

About fitness and the wedding, that is.

Purchased a few cheap exercise DVDs to spur me on. Two for kicking my butt, and one for STRESS RELIEF! With a bonus talk by the Dalai Lama on could I pass that one up? Plus, did I mention it was cheap?

Feb 12 POD - Catching Olympic Fever - Go Canada!!!!!

Since paying attention to my eating and trying to ramp up the activity (thank you Pedometer!), I have been feeling so much better and I have lost 2 pounds to boot! My body really does want to heal itself, I just have to give it a chance.

I started off slowly, by just increasing the amount of time and intensity of walking Mizz Lucy. Now I am adding workouts in the pool (sprinting laps), elliptical trainer, and DVD workouts.

Feb 13th - Date with Jackie Warner for a 15 minute total body circuit training session. Oh my goddess....I have no core strength. Sad. But I certainly have progress to make in that area, and that will be rewarding to note of as I get stronger. No wonder I have been struggling so much with most belly dance moves!
Who knew you could get so much done in 15 minutes? I am impressed. And pleasantly sore 2 days later. Not crazy-Frankenstein-walk soreness, but just enough that you remember you worked your body good.
Wedding planning got kicked off into a higher gear this week. We met with (and booked) our photographer, the lovely Jillian. Who was a fountain of wedding advice, due to her experiences at weddings of all sorts. And we also met with Tracey, at the Village Hotel, who was/continues to be also most helpful! Things are starting to come together, that's for sure. And about time.
And, in talking things through with these two, we are slowly developing the picture of what we want our guests to experience. We've nixed the DJ/Dance idea in favour of live music and hope we can find someone to fit that bill. Guitar, piano...someone who sings too would be wonderful.
Otherwise we just may be recording hours of our favourite tunes and investing in an iPod and some speakers. We've also decided against a receiving line. The guest list is small enough that we won't have any problem mixing and mingling with everybody immediately afterwards and during the rest of the night. Wedding dress shopping starts tomorrow. Things are starting to come together, all right!

Edward Gets Confused

Feb 9th Pic of the Day - Our newish car (bought Nov 09)

JD and I are fans and consumers of Toyota products. We recently traded in our beloved 2006 Matrix and bought our second Toyota, a 2010 Prius. I secretly (well, guess the cat is out of the bag now) refer to the car as Edward....because the Blizzard White paint job is pearlescent and sparkles in the light. Thanks to Mizz J for introducing me to the Twilight series et al, and that reference!

And now Edward is going to be recalled because of a braking problem. We hadn't experienced it until just this weekend, when JD was braking and went over a bump. Ooops, Edward got confused apparently and the braking just cut out. Thankfully we were going quite slow anyways and there was no one ahead of us.

I do hope Toyota learns from this experience and comes back stronger and more quality-focused than ever. We do think they make excellent cars (well, excellent for our needs...reasonably priced, durable, reliable) and I personally love our dealership - which has besides exemplary customer service, a cafe and quiet room with really don't mind waiting for the car to be worked on. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the complimentary car wash, so Edward can continue to be sparkly!

Feb 10 POD - Maple Quinoa Cereal
I recently made this recipe, from OhSheGlows, a wonderful website with many great recipes. Vegan baker Angela comes up with cool ways to eat healthy.
I've gotten a lot of great ideas from her site, including the whole Green Monster smoothie crush I'm currently experiencing!
The cereal was easy to make, quite crunchy and nicely sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with cinnamon.
It did keep me full longer than a regular bowl of flakes, no doubt due to the high protein content of the quinoa.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cowl of Kindness Started, New Mascara!

Feb 7th Pic o' de Day

This is how far I've gotten so far on the yarn I was winding up in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago. The pattern is called "Cowl of Kindness", from Knitting Philistine's blog. At the rate I am knitting this, I will be wearing it next winter. Sigh.

Above are 2 pics of yours truly (Feb 8th) modelling my new purchase of Lash Blast mascara in Black Cabernet. A fashion photographer I am not. It was not easy (nor obviously too successful) shooting myself in the face, by myself, but I am so pleased with this product that I had to try. The pics don't do the mascara (or myself) any favours, but believe me, this stuff is AWESOME. Cover Girl has done it right. Cheap, readily available, easy to put on and take off, and makes each eyelash do the work of a dozen, WITHOUT clumping. What's not to love?

Health Update

Feb 5th Picture of the Day - finds from Costco

I've been feeling a lot better lately. My TSH levels have dropped again, to more normal levels. So it appears the thyroid might be OK after all. So what IS/WAS going on with me then?

My theory now, is that I burned the candle at both ends for too long in November and December and then paid the price. Stress, people, is what did me in. All work, no exercise and too much restaurant food makes Mizz D is a dull gal indeed!

I've been wearing my pedometer religiously since I got it. I even forgot to take it off my PJs last night and wore it to bed...oh, for crying out loud! How silly is that? I guess I know for sure now that I don't sleep walk, thanks to the zero steps reading this a.m. (Pedometer automatically resets to zero at midnight every night.)

I figured out what the aerobic steps are: anytime you walk more than 10 minutes straight, the pedometer calls that "aerobic".

So, now when walking Mizz Lucy I keep moving, pacing back and forth, when she stops to check her "pee-mail" so I don't lose those valuable aerobic minutes being logged. Valuable why? Just for the mental boost it gives me, to read those aerobic minutes logged at the end of the day and know that I was walking with purpose and energy instead of just accumulating steps shuffling around at work or in the kitchen.

So I look kinda strange, but Mizz L doesn't seem to mind. In fact, I am sure if you asked her she would say the pedometer is the greatest thing ever as it makes her mistress take her for more frequent and longer walks! And now that is it staying light out longer (Feb 6th POD, taken at 6 pm), walking the pooch is much more enjoyable too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vegan Comfort Food, More Wedding Planning

Feb 4th POD - Curried ChickPeas with Cashews Mixed with Brown Rice

This recipe comes from the Flat Belly Cookbook. Fabulous recipes in there - haven't found one yet that I haven't liked.

This dish is a particular favourite of mine. It makes my far-from-flat belly very happy when I eat it. Like another chickpea dish I just love - chickpeas with sauteed spinach, tomatoes, onions and lemon zest, over rice. Yum Yum.

I haven't gone vegan or even vegetarian. But I do love to add these dishes to my repertoire. I think I am following what is called a "flexitarian" diet. Doesn't matter what you call me, you can call my tummy happy with this way of eating.

JD and I are really ramping up the wedding planning. We are meeting the wedding coordinator and a photographer tomorrow night. And I have been emailing the City to see if we can arrange to be married out of doors at the Village Park, down by the river. Backup plan (in case of foul weather) is to see if we can book a little country chapel (where my sis got hitched) 10 minutes away, or barring that, get married at the Village Hotel.

Note to self: ask WC about officiants tomorrow night!

Maybe I Can Just Grow My Own?

On Feb 1st I went out for a latte and chatte (hah, I just made that up!) with a good friend of mine. She looked at my hand, curled around the tall decaf-sugarfree-lowfat-no whip cinnamon dolce soy latte (Uh, yes, it was tiring to order. Why do you ask?) and asked me when I put a new set of acrylic nails on.

I was surprised that she thought my very own nails looked that good. And she was surprised they were indeed my very 0wn nails (Feb 2 POD). Hmmm. Maybe I will go au naturel (in the hand department anyway) for my wedding day. Makes room in the wedding budget for eyelash extensions...tee hee!

Which reminds me - I have actually booked something for this upcoming shindig! Drumroll please! It's and makeup appointment! That's right. I may be wearing a paper bag and getting married goddess-knows-where, but I will have my face on and hair done. I met the very busy and popular Village Salon owner at a meeting in January, and asked her to do me up right on September 3rd. Whew. Cross that off my mental (OMG, did she actually acknowledge she does not even have stuff written down? With her memory???) list.

(I am attributing my newly strong and long nails to the Green Monsters I have been drinking, thanks to Feb 3rd POD - my stick blender. I do love this machine. All that spinach, protein powder and frozen fruits just has to do a body good.)
Back to the wedding planning: I have made an appointment to visit a bridal salon with Mizz J. That happens next week and I felt a funny and odd feeling when I got off the phone from talking to the consultant there. It took a while to realize that what I was feeling was FEAR.
It wasn't because of anything the woman said. She couldn't have been nicer and more reassuring (and I needed reassurance, people). I in fact asked her if they would possibly have anything to suit ME - someone who will be 51 when she walks down the aisle. "Of course" she laughed, "We have many options for the more sophisticated bride!"
"More sophisticated bride". Not ancient bride. Not ridiculous bride. Sophisticated. OK. I like it. Now I need to feel it.

The Zen of Toothbrush

JD and I recently went electric. With our toothbrushes that is. Handy little Oral-B Vitality numbers, cordless with charging stands - Feb 1 POD.

Now I have to be IN THE MOMENT when I brush, instead of wandering down the dusty dim hallways of my mind to goddess-knows-where while I mechanically scrub away at my choppers without thinking.

I have to carefully, S-L-O-W-L-Y, and thoughtfully move the brush around all the surfaces of my teeth such that all are given their appropriate due before the 2 minute timer on the brush signals me by "hiccuping", that the brushing can now cease. Have you any idea how hard it is for me to focus on this one little thing for 2 whole minutes???? Especially in the morning!

I really do need to work on my powers of concen....did I just hear a car go by? Where was I?

New Obsession

Bengal Spice Tea by Celestial Seasonings. Jan 31 POD.

This tea is spiced perfectly, and for some strange reason, tastes sweet although it contains nary a bit of sugar or any sugar-like chemical.


Which means of course, that at any moment, it will be discontinued. Lipton Raspberry Mandarin and Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Maple (not the decaf version), I am looking at you BOTH.

Catch Up, Yet Again

My oh my, where does the time go?

In my own defense, I have been rather busy - working, wedding planning (OMG - about time!), and helping my mom and stepdad with their move to the house from the condo.

It has been a tough move for them (she's 74, he's 80) but they are settled in now and hopefully can rest a bit. My painting clothes came home on the 30th (POD) which means the kitchen, computer room and bathroom are DONE! You may not be able to see from the photo, but we painted the kitchen and bath a lovely creamy shade (dripping down the B in CIBC) called "Fuzzy Mitten".
Remind me someday to show you the pic of the peeling paint in my own bathroom at home. Sigh.