Wednesday, January 30, 2013

sometimes i make lists about the weird stuff i do

 Just an old photo from winter 2011, skating on the Oval

Do any of you remember the column in Glamour called 'Hey, it's OK.."? I don't know if they still run it or not as I stopped reading the magazine. Basically, the feature was a list of things that it's okay to do every once in a while. I liked the concept and how it encouraged people to let their idiosyncrasies show through. It's nice to be reminded that I'm not the only one who doesn't shave their legs for a week in the winter-time. It's not sexy and that's okay.

I also think it's important to be kind to ourselves. I know I can be very hard on myself and I'm somewhat of a perfectionist - except when it comes to my pile of clothing in the corner of my bedroom. That doesn't count! As I move through my twenties I find that it's getting easier to accept my shortcomings. I'm never going to be someone who has it all together and I am 100% fine with that. I'm trying not to beat myself up over the little things. It's a learning process, but a little self-compassion can help so much.

In the spirit of the original column, I made a list of things I do sometimes. Most of these have happened in the last week so they were still fresh in my mind. Some of these are things I refuse to feel bad for and others are just my little quirks. I hope you can relate to some of them!


- don't do dishes for a whole week. i just let them pile up until i absolutely have to wash them so i can make a meal. sometimes this means we eat our cereal out of tupperware with measuring spoons. i need a dishwasher - a machine, i already have a human one.

- annoy the heck out of my dog by smothering her with love, hugs & unwanted cuddles.

- get hangry. you know, so hungry you get angry. this happens most often after i get home from work and can't decide what to have for supper. you're seriously putting yourself in a bad situation if you try to talk to me in this state. save the important discussions for after i've had the first bite. you'll be so glad you did.

- feel guilty about a comment i made years ago. this happens more often than it should. the people i made these comments to probably never think about what i said, but i'm still haunted. i guess you could say i'm really, really good at overthinking.

- make an English muffin with cream cheese and call it supper.

- get overwhelmed by all of the support of some of the caring people i met at Mount Allison. seriously, the staff at MTA are so generous. i'm so thankful.

- dance like a maniac while i'm cooking or baking. when i made cherry bars on Sunday, I was grooving to some Mo-Town hits. not just dancing, but seriously grooving and twitching. something about prepping food makes me a little crazy.

want to spend the night parked on the couch, preferably with an episode (or three) of Ink Master, Sherlock, Luther or Dexter.

Do you share any of these habits? If you make a list, link it up in the comments! I'd love to read it.

xx Janelle

Monday, January 28, 2013

sundays are for baking & drawing

Another weekend down. Where does the time go? People have told me that time moves even faster as you age. I can't even imagine!

If you know me, or have been reading my blog for a while, you know that Sundays are my rest day. I like to do a few things, but I love not having any set plans and spending my day doing what I want when I want. I know this luxury won't last forever, so I plan to take advantage of it!

Yesterday, I woke up slowly and chatted with mom on the phone for a bit. Once she told me they were having smoothies, a craving hit. After finishing our phone call, I busted out my trusty magic bullet and threw in some frozen peaches, fresh strawberries and low-acid orange juice. Instant smoothie! Even on a frigid day, like yesterday, a smoothie still hit the spot.

I've already told you before that Sunday makes me want to bake. I've also confessed that baking feeling went away the day we moved into this apartment, with it's seemingly surface-less space. D had been wanting to make for a couple of months now, so yesterday we bit the bullet and made them. It didn't take very long, since worked together. He did the wet bowl and I did the dry bowl. Then mix. They turned out alright from what I could tell. I only had a little bite because I was too busy binging on chocolate I had bought on Friday.

One must-do Sunday activity, unless it's raining, is to take Abby to the off-leash dog park. She doesn't get much (if any) dog interaction during the week, so we try to bring her a couple times every weekend to release some energy by chasing and wrestling the other dogs. When we finally took her inside because our feet were frozen, she looked like this. Man, she knows how to turn on the puppy eyes.

Later on in the evening, after watching a couple episodes of Ink Masters on Spike TV, D & I decided to draw. Inspired by the tattoo designs on the show, we decided to challenge each other. We set up our table so we couldn't see each others' drawings and then described a tattoo we would want to get. We had one hour to create a cool design. The photo on the left is just a sketch I started to make a collage over, the photo on the right is what I came up with after he gave me the following instructions:

I want a bomb dropping into water. You can use blue, red and orange.
A man of few words.

Not bad, for my first "tattoo design" ever. I'm pretty sure that no one would ever get this permanently drawn on their body though. Haha. I asked for a spiral/floral design with lots of detail in blue, green and purple, but he won't let me show you his. It was actually really fun to surprise each other with the design at the end. We'll probably try this again.

The design on the left above is just a sketch I made of an old travel photo my parents took. I'm planning on doing a paper collage over it sometimes this week or next. I'll be sure to show you the finished product.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

xx Janelle

Friday, January 25, 2013

baby, it's really, really cold outside

This picture was taken last summer on one of my lunch breaks in the park. And now? The pond is one big sheet of the thickest ice you can imagine. It's been -30C with the windchill here for the past few days. -30! That's -22F, for my American friends. Cold enough for my friend's water bottle to freeze shut on the way to the gym. Cold enough to freeze your thighs like chicken breasts. Cold enough that you get a headache if you leave your forehead exposed.

I'm not complaining though, because let's face it - it is winter. In northern NB, when I used to live with my parents, we used to get cold snaps like this at least 5 times a winter. They still do! But here in Halifax, it's normally about 10 degrees warmer. Not this week. Way to be the Canadian stereotype and find a way to stretch one weather comment into two paragraphs, eh?

Anyway, our plans for the weekend are pretty relaxed. Lot's of space to do whatever we want. Tonight we need groceries badly. D just packed his lunch for today, but you can hardly even say that because all it is is a banana and an apple. Haha!

What are you up to this weekend? Is it also freeeeezing where you are?

xx Janelle

Monday, January 21, 2013

he[art]ed : Clare Elsaesser of Tastes Orangey

Asleep, original artwork by Clare Elsaesser

If I had to describe Clare Elsaesser's paintings in one word, I would say enchanting. When I saw Joanna's pin of Clare's work, I was pulled in by the way she captures intimate moments. It's almost like she's giving us a peek at something we wouldn't normally see - a shared kiss, a quick change of clothes or a sleepy, late-night spooning session. Her work exudes a voyeuristic quality without the feeling of violation, but more longing or admiration.

Sweet Dreams, original artwork by Clare Elsaesser

Undertow, original artwork by Clare Elsaesser

Isn't her use of colour beautiful? The blue-green tones in the last one seem to capture the light and reflections of the water so well. Meanwhile, the airy white background of Sweet Dreams mimics a deep, carefree sleep.

If you want to see more of Clare's artwork, please go visit her website, etsy shop Tastes Orangey or blog. It's only a matter of time before I snatch up one of her prints! I'd probably go with the last one thanks to my love of all things sea related.

What do you think of these pieces? Which one is your favorite?

xx Janelle

he[art]ed: every so often I'll share an artist or designer I admire FYI - I'm not an art critic and probably will repeat the same adjectives in every post, but I love art, find it inspiring & want to share it with you. Simple enough, right? If you like their work, please go show them some FB/link/comment love.

Monday, January 14, 2013

currently : january fourteenth

photo by Ansel Adams for Department of the Interior, via flickr | text by me

Listening: I can't say Ellie Goulding because that was my answer last time... so I'll say rap. Lots of rap & hip hop. When I bought my new computer last May, I decided not to download iTunes to save some hard-drive space so I rely on D for most of my music. In the evenings lately I've been hearing Trinidad James and Kendrick Lamar. We had a good laugh about some Kendrick lyrics yesterday... We always insert Abby's (our dog & the star of my blog) name into the lyrics and the result is often hilariously bad. I can't even think of retyping some of the funny ones here. Haha. You know how it is...

Luther on Netflix! It's so addictive. You guys know Idris Elba, right? Well not only is he a stunner, but he can act. He plays a clever, temperamental cop in the BBC drama. We just finished the first season (6 episodes) last night and were so impressed. It had such a cliffhanger ending that we will probably pick up with the second season tonight.

Eating/Drinking: Hummus wraps. I threw a couple of these together for my work lunches. Thinly sliced peppers and a big dollop of hummus on a spinach wrap. Too easy to be this tasty. And I'm now drinking so. much. coffee. It's free at work, so it's such a temptation. I'm trying to break it up a bit with some tea and cold water though. Too much coffee for me = a bit jittery mess.

Talking about: Racism. I know that's a bit heavy. D and I were talking yesterday about the pervasive racist mentality of some people. So-called, "subtle racism" is such a big problem that is also hard to talk about with family or close friends. No one wants to be called a racist, but some ideas need to be challenged. I think if we treated all people as the photo above suggests, we would all be better off. People are not their race, age, socio-economic status, sexuality, sex, religion or otherwise; they are humans and we should treat them as such. If only it were that simple...

Dreaming about: Taking a vacation with my love. We've been talking about visiting the US this year and I really, really hope we can swing it. We want to visit a new climate, whether it's the mountains, the desert or a coastal city in the deep South. Yesterday we looked up concerts and events in New Orleans, but Phoenix is also a contender. We'll see where we end up.

Looking forward to: My new Saturday volunteering gig. I signed up to volunteer with Happily Ever Active, a no-cost fitness program in Halifax for seniors with mobility or health concerns and my first session was last Saturday. I have to tell you, I really enjoyed it! I was looking for an arts/health based volunteering program for the past few months and in December I came across the organization via a FB post. I'm glad I waited to find a volunteering opportunity that matches my interests and skills and I'm so excited to build relationships and work with seniors. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but it's actually fun. Moving & grooving to some Johnny Cash on a weekend morning is my idea of a good time.

What have you been up to lately? Do you watch Luther? Let's chat.

xx Janelle

Thank you to Danielle @ Sometimes Sweet for this post inspiration.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

sundays are for cuddling

I have what seems like an infinite number of photos of Abby in this last pose. Sulking, all day long. Just look at those eyes and tell me how you could bring her back to the shelter. Abby was adopted and returned at least twice before we met her. I just don't get it.

On to happier thoughts...

My plans for the rest of the night consist of sipping vanilla nut cream tea, while watching my new obsession, Sherlock, on Netflix and pretending I don't have to go back to work tomorrow. Oh, and cuddling up with my two housemates, one furry and the other not so much.

What is your favorite Sunday night activity? Tell me.xx Janelle

PS - try to ignore the terrible white balance in the photos above. D bought new lightbulbs for the living room but we still have the old, yellow light ones in the office. my camera doesn't know how to handle that. haha.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

details : food, games & family

I know those of you who read a lot of blogs are probably sick of hearing about the holidays, but indulge me a little on this one, okay? I'm not quite ready to share my intentions for the new year. Plus, my boss surprised me today by saying that the new office is not quite ready yet, so we have until Monday off. If you're back at work right now: I would hate me too.

The picture above is one of the Rifle Paper Co holiday postcards I picked up from the paper & other handmade goods emporium Inkwell Boutique. I had big plans to do our first holiday postcard complete with a personalized photo of D, Abby and I, but when I saw these postcards, I decided they would work perfectly. Less of a time-crunch, less stress and postcards are always fun to receive.

My grandmother made this ornament for me and my sister when we were younger. The other side has another photo of us together. Nearly all of the ornaments on my family's tree have always been handmade or gifted to us by family, friends and family friends. I love that each one holds a memory and reminds me of special times. I'm looking forward to having room to put a tree up, so I can mix in some handmade ornaments with the store-bought ones. I love a tree that's coordinated, while also being sentimental. 

Yes, just like last year, we played Scattergories again. We played a couple of games actually. The second one was LOUD and I kind of needed an Advil, but that's Christmas with my family... Haha.

Cake baking with my mom for our last family dinner of my stay. Her icing recipe is yummy and crazy easy. Shortening, icing sugar and cocoa. Mix it up and it's done. So easy.

Testing out my brother's gift to me - a raclette! It's kind of like a fondue, in that you prepare all of the raw ingredients. Then you fire up the grill which has an element that runs along the bottom. When you're done cooking your meat and/or veggies on top, you put rice in these little shovel things, top with sauce and cheese and then heat it up underneath the grill. So delicious! Mom couldn't stop raving about how great it was that we could sit down and cook our supper. All of that Christmas hosting had her feeling a little wiped.

And we topped off my last night with a game of Mexican Train. There are many different versions of how to play. In this one, we use little tokens or figurines to signal that others can play on our "train". Mine was a miniature angel, while my Grandmaman had a donkey and my mom had what looks like the big bad Wolf. I have no idea where these came from, but thought they looked cute and oddly enough their hands (and paws) are in the same pose.

I think these pictures are a fair representation of my holiday. A lot of food, a lot of games and relaxing time with the family. I'm feeling pretty lucky. 

I hope you had a great Christmas holiday too!

The series: Life is all about the details - the moments. Over the next few months I'm going to test out a series called details. Since I don't have instagram or a smartphone to capture my daily life, I'm going to rely on my trust Sony P&S and will share the photos here. I hope you like it!

a Christmas surprise

This is what happened when I surprised by parents by coming home a day early. They were expecting me home on the train in the evening on Dec 21st.

So that night we cleaned the kitchen and dining room and the plan was for me to hide in the spare room and then come out and say "what's for supper"? Instead, what happened was Mom and Dad were so surprised by the house being clean, that they thought something was up. E & M (my siblings) could not stop smiling. So this lead my Mom to ask where all of the clutter was and for my Dad to suggest that they had put it in the spare room. Here comes my Dad sauntering into the room to find me crouching in the dark in the corner. Instead of screaming or laughing, he starts clapping and tells Mom that they did put all the stuff on the bed. Mom's reaction is the best! When my mom is excited or happy she just laughs. It's the cutest thing.

Hope you're all having a great weekend.