Friday, November 30, 2012

FITBFs I missed

Okay, so I was away for a little while and therefore missed some Fill in the _____ Fridays. Since I know you all hang off every word I post and must have been COMPLETELY DEVASTATED not to be able to read my answers, I've decided to do a post with the FITBF posts I missed while I was away. You're welcome, world.

  1. My best quality is... sarcasm? Love of dirty jokes? Ability to worry incessantly? Take your pick. I'm full of win, y'all.
  2. One of my less flattering qualities is... I'm a total control freak. Honestly, I even annoy myself sometimes. I have no idea how J. puts up with me.
  3. I'd rather be... back on a beach in Cuba (this was the Friday I came back, so I was suffering from some sun withdrawal.)
  4. Something I have been challenged with lately is... Cuban food that created WWIII in my belly. Not fun. Also packing to come home. 
  5. I am looking forward to... the next vacation I get to go on? Yeah, let's go with that.
  6. A super random factoid about me is... I can't stand the smell of meat cooking in the house. BBQ is okay. But in the house? Gross.
  7. I want to... go back to bed. (This applies to the Friday this set of questions came out, today, and pretty much every day forever.)
  1.  I like... beer. Sleeping. Pizza. Peppermint mochas. Banana chocolate chip muffins. Cats.
  2. A life goal of mind is... to retire. I'm actually not kidding. I'm going to be so good at retirement. Brunch, shuffleboard, bingo, nap. I totally got this.
  3. The last thing you would expect me to like (though I secretly do) is... well if I told you, not only would it no longer be a secret, but I'd have to kill you. Ok, fine. Cheesy movies like Love Actually. And Bridget Jones. And Christmas. And awesome Halloween decorations.
  4. Some wise words that I love are... "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." ~ Hunter S. Thompson
  5. Most mornings you will find me... slogging my way to work, usually in the rain, always in a bad mood. 
  6. Right now I am super into... taking photos. When this came out I was probably wandering around Havana, camera in hand. Awesome place for shutterbugs!
  7. Right now I am super over... hearing about celebrity love lives. Who the hell cares??
  1. Something I swore I'd never do but have ended up doing anyway is... settling down, moving to suburbia and working in a job that is alright, but not really something I jump out of bed for in the morning.
  2. Something I've always wanted to do is... write a book. Turns out it's a lot of work though. So I've been putting it off to work on this blog.
  3. Something I have no desire to ever do is... eat insects. Joust. Climb Everest. Have triplets. Especially that last one.
  4. The best thing I ever did was... leave home.
  5. When it comes to trying new things, I am... either totally for it or totally against it. Depends on the new thing. Duh.
  6. One thing I've never done is... hmmmm. Well, I've never shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. It was cos he stole my whiskey. Just kidding. It was to watch him die.
  7. My favourite thing to do is... as I was about to discover a day or two after this came out, wandering around Havana taking pictures and then stopping to drink beer and watch people is pretty great. 
I think that's it for the missing blanks. You guys can stop sulking about how much you missed while I was away now. 

Fill in the _____ Friday

  1. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is... I have no idea. Sarcasm?
  2. The holiday season is... a madhouse. Seriously. 
  3. When it comes to holiday decorating... I throw a string of multi-coloured lights around the mantel and call it a day. We've got cats. Anything else would get destroyed. Also, lazy.
  4. The thing I look forward to most about the holidays is... the colours, the lights, the smell of spices, Christmas movies. That general feeling that magic could happen. Of course it never does and by new year, after hours of fighting your way through mall crowds, wrestling with rolls of wrapping paper and trying to tune out the Christmas music you've heard on repeat for 2+ months, you're about ready to punch anyone who so much as mentions "Christmas." But for a little while, it's magical.
  5. My favourite holiday tradition is... Peppermint mochas. Shut up. They totally count.
  6. This year my Christmas plans include... trying to figure out how to make stuff cos I'm too broke to buy real presents. 
  7. My favourite holiday food is... see #5. And winter ale. Also totally count as food. Shut up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Random Thursday: Winter Survival

'Tis the season! And by that, I mean winter. Lin, Sarah and I want you to tell us: what are your winter survival items? We want to hear all your tips, because it's going to take some treats, cosy winter clothes and serious hibernation to get through to spring!

1. Scarves, hats, thick socks and gloves

I have TERRIBLE circulation. I wear scarves all year round. So in winter, I need all the help I can get to stay warm! I have to confess that one of the main reasons I took up knitting was so that I could add to my collectoin of neck wear!

2. Peppermint Mochas

There is nothing more delicious than a rich, sweet mocha spiked with just a bit of refreshing mint. I have been known to drink these all year round, they're so good. I also have a soft spot for Starbucks' red cups. They're just so cheerful! I caved last year and bought a re-usable red mug:

3. Uggs

Oh, the cosiness! They're so warm, it's like my feet are being hugged all day long. Not the best for long walks, since they have no support, and they're useless in the rain, but for the 5 days a year in Vancouver when it's cold and NOT raining, they're like heaven.

4. A fireplace

What's better than curling up in front of a fire with a hot drink, warm blanket and good book? Nothing, that's what.

5. Feel-good movies

When it's cold and dark out, it's great to escape into another world, where adventure, romance and magic await! My faves are the Harry Potter movies, Bridget Jones, Love Actually and reruns of The Big Bang Theory.

6. Moisturizer and lip balm

Due to the terrible circulation, I get very dry skin and my lips get super chapped. Right around the end of September, it's time to start packing on the moisture! My faves are Pied de Pepper Foot Cream by LUSH Cosmetics, Rosebud Salve in Minted Rose, Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Lemon, Clinique's Dramatically Different lotion (I've also been known to use this as hand cream) and L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream.

What gets you through the long, cold winter? Link up and give us some winter tips to try out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

I'm back! Okay, I've been back for a week and a half, but just haven't gotten around to blogging. My bad. At any rate, it's time for Ten on Tuesday - what better way to start?!

1. Surprisingly, I wish I was still on vacation. I know, shocker, right? Not only is it remarkably grey in Vancouver, but the temperature has plummeted and I swear my ears actually freeze solid when I leave the house. Sometimes while I'm still in it. Goddamn, I miss Cuban sunshine.

2. Due in part to the cold and in part to spending a portion of the weekend going through bins of stuff to put in attic storage and re-discovering my yarn collection, I'm back to knitting. While re-watching Harry Potter movies. Yes, I'm a dork. Here's my progress so far:

3.  So my first Friday back, I was pretty excited to jump back in to FITBF... only to discover that for some unfathomable reason, there wasn't one. Way to drop the ball, Lauren. It's almost like you didn't miss me at all. At any rate, while bemoaning this unfortunate turn of events to Lin, we came up with a plot to create blanks for each other. Of course, being the irresponsible procrastinators we both are, neither of us actually got around to filling in said blanks. So the rest of this post is the blanks she created for me last week.

4. If my house was on fire, the three things Id grab are... Assuming the cats and J. have all bolted on their own, and that right now it's like -100 degrees outside, I'd probably grab my Uggs, a few blankets and a pair of gloves. To hell with the birth certificates, what's a house-bonfire without a blanket??

5. Nothing aggravates me more than... people who are inconsiderate on public transit. Seriously. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean there aren't people behind you. Take off your damn backpack, stop stepping on my toes, and kindly remove your elbow from my ribcage before I stab you.

6. In a zombie apocalypse my weapon of choice would be... a well-stocked panic room ...because... I'm pretty sure I'm a terrible shot and have the upper body strength of a wet noodle. Or maybe a few treadmills:

7. I consider ... reality TV ...a form of torture.

8. Love at first sight is... a terrible idea. I mean, how are you supposed to know if they're any good in bed??

9. One thing that will always get me to laugh is... inappropriate jokes. The ruder the better.

10. If I could live anywhere in the world it would be... London, England. I love everything about it - the tube, the free museums and art galleries, the accents, the mishmash of ancient and modern buildings, the Thames, Big Ben, Camden... I'd never get bored.

That's it for another week! Head over to Lin's blog and link up to share yours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random Thursday: My Hometown

Are you ready? It's that time of the week again! Lin, Sarah and I are bringing you yet another awesome and totally random topic - My Hometown!

Every city (or even part of a city) has its own personality. Things people do there that no one else would understand, certain things everyone seems to have and even words that everyone else says aren't real. Even though they totally are.

My hometown is Vancouver, on the We(s)t coast of Canada. We're a fashion-forward and yet outdoorsy lot (well, except for me), two seemingly irreconcilable characteristics that give our town a personality all its own. Here's some stuff you can expect to encounter if you visit, in no particular order:

1. Drinking hot coffee through a straw

Yes, it's weird.  I don't get it either. But I see it all the time. Not quite as often now as I did a few years back, but I still think of it as something we do here.

2. Yoga wear (particularly Lululemon) worn by... well, everyone

Yoga wear is pervasive in Vancouver. I've even seen people wearing yoga pants with dress shoes and shirts to work. Also people doing yoga classes on their lunch break. That's a thing here.

3. Quinoa and hemp hearts

Do YOU know what those are? We do. We even eat them. Click on the image above for a recipe that uses both if you're curious (and brave).

4. Not a single person saying "eh"

Whenever someone hears "Canada," they think "eh." Except Canadians. Because no one here actually says that.

5. Squirrels

They're like rats or cockroaches in other cities... they're all over the place here. Anywhere there's trees, there are squirrels. And some places there aren't.

6. Clouds of pot smoke

Seriously, everywhere. Particularly on April 20th - don't even bother going downtown if you don't want a contact high. There's literally a haze for about two blocks around the Art Gallery, where people gather to celebrate "Cannabis Freedom." No, I'm not kidding. Gotta love the west coast!

7. People biking to work

We've got a pretty fantastic infrastructure for biking in Vancouver - and they're constantly improving it. We even have a "bike route" along 10th Avenue that people use to commute from one side of town to the other. It's actually pretty awesome!

8. People talking casually about how they climbed a mountain on the weekend

There's this mountain in North Vancouver called Grouse Mountain. There's a path that you can climb to the top called the Grouse Grind, where you can take a gondola back down to your car. People do this, believe it or not, for fun. It's also, apparently, a great way for active single people to meet. Cos what you want is someone sweaty to fall for you. No, I don't get it either.

9. Mountain Equipment Co-Op

Started here, MEC has great quality outdoor gear for affordable prices, and has grown over the years. Everyone here owns at least one or two things from MEC. 

10. Umbrellas

Like I said, it rains A LOT. No one is silly enough to leave the house without an umbrella between September and June. (If you know where I can get one of those umbrellas, let me know, because I'd love to flip off the world in general whenever it's rainy. And sometimes when it isn't.)

11. Canucks

Even if you don't like or follow hockey, you'll recognize the jersey, know if we won or lost our last game and be aware of game night - if only because 90% of people on public transit are wearing jersesy and heading to the Stadium! And if you try to insult the 'Nucks here, that picture up there is pretty much the reaction you'll get.

12. Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland is a Vancouver gem. He's a writer who was born and raised in North Vancouver and has written several novels set here. You might have heard of Microserfs or JPod (which was made into a tragically short-lived TV series and I'm still bitter they didn't finish it). He also wrote a movie called Everything's Gone Green which is one of my favourites. But the main reason I bring him up is that he wrote a book about Vancouver that covers exactly what this post does - but in much more detail - called City of Glass. For my full review of the book go here. If you want the more general Canada version of this book, he's got that covered too - Souvenir of Canada and Souvenir of Canada II that are basically scrapbooks of Canadian culture - there was stuff in there even I didn't know!

Hometown Bonus:

And also, because it's one of my favourite songs, here's Adele singing about her hometown. So you can have a soundtrack while you read and/or post.

Now it's your turn! Give us the insider scoop on the town you call home!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Thursday: 5 Things I Use Every Day

Welcome back to Random Thursday with Lin, Sarah and me!This week's topic is a pretty easy one - tell us 5 things you use every single day, without fail. And I'm betting computer and/or smartphone will make every list!

Here are mine:

1. iPod

If it weren't for my iPod, I would be in jail. I'm actually not kidding. My day includes two hours on public transit. Anyone who rides public transit knows that it is full of rude people who shove you, poke you with their bags and backpacks, stand on your feet, skip the queue, refuse to give up their seat to people who need it, decide they want to tell you every detail of their lives and/or are publicly drunk. The best way to deal with all this? Put in your earphones, turn up the volume, and prepare to elbow anyone who won't take a hint. I would have stabbed someone for now if it weren't for that thing.

2. Toothbrush

Okay, so it's boring - but dude, where would we be without it? In a smelly, smelly world, that's where.

3.Water bottle

I drink about a gallon of water every day. Not sure if this is good or bad (I keep expecting to disappear into a puddle like that witch from The Wizard of Oz) but I take water with me EVERYWHERE. Except the bathroom.

4. Post-It Notes

I have about 20 post-it note pads scattered around my desk in all different colours. I think partly I like that they're colourful, but I also make notes of stuff I have to do and stick them on my computer monitors and the wall over my desk so that I can tear them down when I'm done, and carry one with me when I'm going into a meeting with my boss so that I can write down things she needs me to do. I can't remember what I did without them.

5. Debit Card

Sadly, it's true. I use this sucker way more than I should and am terrible at remembering to get cash. I'd be totally helpless without it.

Now it's your turn! What do you use every day (and try not to stick with keys, wallet, phone, purse and money!)?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Random Thursday: If I Didn't Have to Work...

Lin, Sarah and I are back with yet another Random Thursday topic for you to sink your teeth into! This week's all about fantasyland. We want to know: What would you do if you didn't have to work?

This is the perfect topic for a wintery Thursday in November when most of you are probably at work, daydreaming about being anywhere else and doing anything else! Share your daydreams!

1. Travel

Well, really, who wouldn't? There are so many places in the world I'd love to see, and in my experience I learn more about myself by meeting people whose experiences and culture are very diffeernt from my own. I'd love to spend a year living in another country, and would love to travel somewhere new every year!

2. Get an awesome camera!

I love taking pictures, but I find that the camera equipment really does make a difference to the quality of the images you produce. I'd also love to take more photography classes and learn how to find the best light and work on composition.

3. Sleep in every. Damn. Day.
You know, so I don't feel like this all the time.
You have no idea how much I abhor mornings. You know I'm serious when I start throwing around words like "abhor." Every morning hurts, and every morning I wish I'd gone to bed earlier. But, of course, I never do.

4. Learn to cook

I love good, healthy, delicious food, but by the end of an 8-hour work day and 2-hour commute, the last thing I want to do is slave in the kitchen. I've perfected the art of the fast meal, but I'd love to have the time to prepare proper dinners!

5. Volunteer

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than doing a job well for a cause I believe in. I'd love to be able to choose how to spend my time and work with organizations that benefit those with little money.

6. Go back to school

I loved being in school. I loved learning, being exposed to informatio I never would have found myself, and engaging in intelligent discussion with my peers. I'd love to go back and get a Masters - even a doctorate - but I just don't have the time or money to do it! Ah well, a girl can dream, right?

What do you dream of doing if only there were more hours in the day? Link up and share!

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