Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guys Behind The Blog: April

It's that time again! Mike once again so kindly agreed to answer some questions for the Guys Behind the Blog link-up. I get so many comments that his answers are so detailed and I absolutely love hearing what he has to say every time. I would never think to ask some of these questions myself. 
Here we go!

Q: In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
A: As a child, I was always very into things. I had a lot of things that I would become interested in and would get crazy immersed in. I liked sports cards, and spent every waking minute thinking about and buying sports cards. Then it was pogs. Then it was wrestling. That really hasn't changed. I've always liked sports, but as an adult my interest has really intensified. In that sense, I'm very similar to when I was a child. When I get into something, I'm all in. I don't really see my interest in sports being a passing interest like the fads of my youth given that it's always been a part of my life, but my level of interest mirrors how I felt about things I cared about when I was young.


Q: What does family mean to you?
A: Family means everything to me. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for our family, we'd no longer be living in Canada. The thought of being far away from our family was just too much to overcome, despite the overwhelming list of "pros" on the side of moving to the States. Some events of the last couple of weeks have taught me to never take for granted time with those we love. 



Q: How would your family or closest friends describe you?
A: This is a pretty tough question to answer, because I know what I'd want them to say - which of course are all the most flattering things about my personality - but it seems pretty arrogant to say all those things about myself! I'd hope they'd describe me as loyal, thoughtful, caring, passionate, obsessive, brave, calm, analytical, hilariously sarcastic, and adventurous. 

Q: What’s your fondest childhood memory?
A: I was blessed to have a really spectacular childhood. It's really tough to narrow down to one specific childhood memory, but two things that I'll always cherish are family vacations, and how my older brother always included me in his activities. While I'd never been on a plane until I was 21 years old, family road trips were a staple of my youth. We had family in Erie, PA who we visited often whenever we had a long weekend. I still get nostalgic whenever we're driving towards Erie on I-90 on our way to Pittsburgh. We also made other road trips to places like Virginia, Florida, New York, and Boston. While at times when you have all of your family in such close quarters there will be conflict, those memories and experiences are priceless.

My brother was also the best older brother I could ask for. Even though he was 8 years older than me, he'd always include me in his plans with his friends. If he and his friends went out to play basketball, he brought me along. If they went out to watch a wrestling event, I was invited. If he and his friends went to the mall, he'd bring me. When he played on baseball teams, I always ended up hanging out in the dugout or working as their bat boy. And I feel like I should add that this wasn't a case of my parents asking him to include me, he voluntarily included me. I will always be grateful and always consider him to be not only my brother but my best friend.


Q: What words of wisdom would pass on to your childhood self?
A: I'd tell my child self that things will not always come easy and that if you want to be the best you can be that you need to work at it. I wasn't the most motivated as a kid, and that's something that still plagues me now. I was fortunate enough that some things came easily and I could have success without working as hard as I could, but to be all that I could possibly be, I should have put forth a greater effort.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Masking It

Can I get a praise hands emoji for winter officially being done? Despite a snow storm earlier this month, it is all spring from here on out. I have brought out the maxi dresses and flip flops. Ok, maybe no flip flops yet, but we're close.

Unfortunately winter left behind more than just some gross salt stains on my boots. My skin suffered big time. I already have super dry skin and have dealt with eczema all my life. But these past few months, there would be times when I would step out of the shower and it literally felt like I had a ton of facelifts all at once. My face would get so tight that it would hurt. I would slather on moisturizer every morning, but it just wasn't enough. So I went on a mission to fix the situation. 

Face masks have been all the rage lately, and I truly don't know why I didn't try them sooner. But since I was new to the game, I didn't really know which masks were good. I bought a few little ones to test out. 

yes to coconut fast mask

Let's start with my favourite. The Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Facial Mask. It's a really thick cream that you apply all over your face, leave on for 10 minutes, then wash off. I found this mask to be SO hydrating and effective. I even noticed a difference on my skin the next couple of days after application. It left my face feeling so soft and smooth but not greasy. It has coconut and avocado oils that my face totally loved. And so did my nose -- it smelled amazing! I have tried a couple other products from the Yes To line and so far I haven't been disappointed by any of their stuff. I totally recommend this one! 

The nügg masks found their way into my shopping cart almost purely because of the packaging. They were so cute and tiny, I just couldn't resist. I loved that they were individual pods for per-use basis so if I didn't like them, I wasn't committing to a lot of product.  I used the entire package but there was quite a bit in there that I could've easily saved half for the next application. I bought the nügg Hydrating Face Mask and the Revitalizing Face Mask. Both of them had a more watery, gel-like consistency. The Hydrating one left my face feeling hydrated and smooth, as it promised. The Revitalizing one felt (and smelled) like peppermint gum on my face. It was very refreshing and cool. They have a lot of other "flavours" all of which serve a different purpose and maybe one day I will get around to trying them all, but this time I wanted intense moisture. And I'd give the Hydrating one a 7/10 in that category because it just didn't feel like it was as hydrating and powerful as the Yes To Coconut mask. 

nugg face mask

These days my skin is much happier thanks to these weekly mask applications and much less artificial heat being blown on my face. I also have a fun natural mask recipe made with 100% kitchen ingredients that I can't wait to share!

What do you use to keep your skin hydrated? Do you have any treatments that you recommend? Do you just live in the South or SoCal and have perfectly hydrated skin year-round? You can tell me, I won't be (too) jealous.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekending

Restful, relaxing, peaceful... all not words that I would describe this weekend. It was so busy and I could really use a day or two to recoup!


Right after work on Friday, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday by going out for dinner. We tried a new Greek restaurant and I loved everything about it! The decor, food, and service were all great and I definitely think we will be going back! I got gyros and feta (!) cheesecake.


Saturday morning I had my long-overdue and much needed hair appointment. My roots were bad and my end were screaming to be cut. Such simple things make so much of a difference! I snap chatted my way through the appointment, which included an older gentleman getting a highlights done while typing away on a laptop. Never a dull moment!



My hair appointment was perfect timing for my friend's bachelorette party! All the girls celebrated the bride-to-be by going to a restaurant/lounge in Toronto called Brassaii. It had such a cool vibe and I kept saying that I expected Drake and his crew to walk in any second. We ate, danced, hung out with a panda, and had a great time!








I hope you had a very great weekend too! 
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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five On Friday

Happy Friday!! This week wasn't the greatest and I have to be honest and say that I am looking forward to it being over. These past few days has really taught me to keep my loved ones close and to not sweat the small stuff. So I'd like to start the weekend off on a lighter note with some Five on Friday!

One
Remember when my tassel fell off my Kendra Scott Rayne necklace? So many of you recommended that I contact their customer service for a replacement. I took your advice and it worked!! They emailed me a prepaid shipping label, I sent them the broken necklace and they sent me a new one free of charge! I couldn't be happier with their customer service. Hurray!


Two
I mainly listen to the radio when I'm in the car and lately I am loving two songs. One Dance by Drake (6!) and Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande. I have zero music on my phone but I think I will need to download these songs because I want to listen to both of them over and over!

Three
Warmer weather always make me want to eat lighter things. This past weekend when my mom and brother were over, we made these teeny tiny sandwiches. Rye bread, ham, tomato, and cucumber. Perfect for lunch!


Four
Thursday marked the 3rd anniversary of my beloved dog's passing. Neptune was with us for 15 glorious years and he is still very missed. After three years, I can finally look back at our times together with a smile instead of sadness.


Five
I have something going on everyday this weekend so it'll be a busy one! We will be celebrating my MIL's birthday, I'll be going to a friend's bachelorette party, and I have a hair appointment. I'll see you bright and early on Monday morning with a full recap :)

Have a great weekend!


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Linking up with ChristinaAprilDarci, and Natasha for Five on Friday

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today I Confess


... Spring has finally sprung in Ontario and we have had several warm sunny days in a row! I have been able to leave my jacket at home a few times and get away with just a light cardigan. I even got to dine alfresco earlier this week. It was glorious.

... This also means that I desperately need to get some colour on my skin. I am so pale that I may actually blind you. I think I'll be bringing back my trusty self-tanner for some help.

... We went to trivia night on Tuesday and our team won! Sadly the questions did fall in my direction so I didn't contribute too much but I still had a good time. Mike goes almost every week but I only go once in a while. Anyone else do bar trivia?


... We have done nothing on our spring to-do list!! Ah.

... I started a book earlier this month and I just can't find the time or motivation to finish it right now. It was Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes who wrote Under The Tuscan Sun. What I read, I really enjoyed so I definitely plan to pick it up again in the future.


... There has been a lot going on these days and I'm feeling a little emotionally drained. I need a night where I go to bed at 9 and just rest.

So with that, I'm off. One more day until the weekend! Woo!
___________________________

Linking up with
Jessica at The Newly for her Confessional Thursday link-up
Sarah at Plucky In Love for her Humpday Confessions link-up

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Things My Husband Hears - Episode 1

There are certain phrases that pretty much every husband hears. "Can you double check if we locked the front door?" or "We need to turn around. I think I left my curling iron on."

I thought it would be fun to chronicle the weird, silly, and sometimes very stereotypical things that have floated out of my mouth and into Mike's ears. Some will be unique to me and some won't, but all have made me laugh in hindsight.


This month, the subject matter is social media and I KNOW I'm not the only one who has uttered these sentences. Being a blogger, these are almost daily occurrences.

Wait. Don't eat that yet. I need to take a picture. 
Apparently this is Mike's most hated combination of words. He loves eating and isn't fond of waiting. And picture taking is not considered a good reason to wait in his books. Ever since I started blogging, this happens a lot. Of course, the tastier the dish, the more it needs to be photographed, and the more annoyed Mike gets.

Come here. We need to take a selfie in front of this.
To go along with the documentation theme, I like to take a picture of us two in front of whatever landmark or exciting thing we encounter. Mike argues that I could just take a picture of the thing without us in it. My rebuttal? If we aren't in the photo, we weren't there. Obviously. Oh, and I should also mention that he has refused to be in a picture taken by a selfie stick. So there's that too.

Are you looking at the dot or at yourself? Look at the dot.
It's natural to want to see what you look like before the picture is snapped. That's why the forward-facing camera was invented after all! But once you're done, it is crucial to move your gaze to the actual camera. The little dot beside the speaker. Reminders are necessary.

I look weird in that one. Just one more. 
Even if everyone's eyeballs are pointing in the right direction, that does not ensure a good selfie. I have an average of 5 takes of each one because the first 4 are no good. That's a lie. It's way more.

Can you say that again? I want to post it on Snapchat.
So I'm just going to come right out and say it. Mike hates Snapchat. I don't understand because it's clearly the best social media out there right now. There have been situations where he said something noteworthy and I wasn't ready so I asked him to repeat it. Unsuccessfully.

Want to watch my snapchat story?
Since he doesn't have his own account, he misses all of my glorious snaps. So one of the very last things I ask him before he falls asleep everyday is the above. He amuses me and agrees but I know he's majorly rolling his eyes inside. I don't blame him.


Have you said any of these to your significant other? Don't even try to pretend that you haven't!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekending

Hello, hello and happy Monday! We had absolutely gorgeous weather this weekend (finally!) and most of it was spent outside. I was able to run around without a jacket on and even just a t-shirt for a little bit.


Friday morning I facilitated a workshop and I think it went really well! People seemed to be really engaged and asked good questions. I feel like I am getting more and more comfortable with public speaking every time I do it. I remember when I was in school and had to do a presentation, I would literally tremble with fear. But now I just present as though I am talking one-on-one to the people that are there. It's one of those that things that really does get easier with experience.

After work, Mike and I drove across the border to pick up some orders. Of course, I had to visit Target. I finally bought some Mrs Meyers products after hearing such amazing things about them. And after only a couple days of use, I'm officially obsessed. I'm sure I will blab about this more as time goes on. Target was also killing it in the home decor department, as usual. I wanted eeeeeverything.


Saturday and Sunday my mom and brother were over for a visit. I absolutely love having them over for the weekend. I haven't seen them since before Easter! Mike and I made them the meatball sub bake that I blogged about last week and they loved it. My mom even took down the recipe because my brother asked her to make it at home.


About 80% of our time was spent outside geocaching. We found 15 this weekend and had a blast. This was my brother's first time and I think I got him hooked! We are already planning which ones we will look for next time they come over. We trecked through mud, climbed trees, and crawled under things. We even came across someone else that was out geocaching! So fun.




This coming week ahead we will be celebrating my MIL's birthday and I'll be going to a bachelorette party. I hope you have a good Monday!!

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her Weekending series! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five on Friday

One
I was strolling through Indigo (Canada's version of Barnes & Noble) after a Starbucks date with a girlfriend because they always have the cutest accessories. I immediately fell in love with their laptop trays. I think they are so adorable but I'm not sure if Mike would love how girly they are for the living room. I ended up getting this little jewelry dish for my nightstand. To my fellow Canadian ladies, Indigo is killing it right now! 


1  |  2  |  3

Two
This week started out less than great. Monday morning I spilled my coffee all down my white shirt but somehow managed to clean it up. Then about an hour later, I spilled yogurt in the exact same spot. It was a hot mess. But really it wasn't that bad. Until I tried to make french macaroons on Tuesday. I bought all the ingredients on the weekend and was really excited to make them. I had read that they are the most difficult cookie to make but I was determined. I used this recipe and started as soon as I got home from work. Long story short, I screwed up. I added the eggs when I shouldn't have. SO I went back out to the store to get more ingredients. Restart! Still determined. And then I screwed up again. This time, I misread the amount of sugar needed and added 8 times more than the recipe said. I was supposed to have batter the consistency of molten lava, but instead had this.


Three
Wednesday brought me another disaster moment. I went to drive home after work but my car wouldn't start. It's 12 years old so I honestly thought it was donezo ("my car is DONEZO!" Do you recognize that quote?) Turns out all I needed was a boost because the battery died. The only reason I can think of for this happening is maybe I didn't close the door all the way? The CAA guy came about an hour later and I was soon back in business. 


Four
I am hosting an off-site conference at work today and I have to admit I'm nervous. Public speaking does not come easily to me and I am always a nervous wreck. But I practiced a lot so I'm well prepared and really comfortable with the topic at hand. Wish me luck!! 


Five
Thank you for all the love on my post yesterday!! I worked really hard to make this video and the positive feedback made my heart happy! I was nervous to put it out in the blogosphere because it's far from perfect but I really hope to get better as I make more vacation videos. Our families loved watching it too which was my main objective. 

I hope you have a very fabulous weekend! See you Monday! 

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Linking up with ChristinaAprilDarci, and Natasha for Five on Friday

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My First Vacation Video!

Every time Mike and I go on a trip, our families want to hear all about it. But with most of my family living in Poland, I have to email the photos. I can only fit five photos in one email so I either bombard them with huge emails or severely pare down the details. I don't have Facebook so I can't make an album with all our photos. I started brainstorming ways I can get the point across in a fun easy way. It was either upload a bunch of photos to an FTP site (boring!), print them and mail them, or make a little slideshow video. Now I just had to send a short little email with the YouTube link to our families and that's it.

These vacation recap videos also let Mike and I remember trips without sifting through hundreds of photos from one weekend. I take a LOT of photos on vacations. Mike hates it as I'm taking them (especially the selfies!) but I know in the end he's happy that we have them to look back on. This way we can stroll down memory lane in a few minutes with a fun, cheery soundtrack.

So without further ado, here's my first ever vacation video!


It recaps our trip to Chapel Hill, which I chatted about in more detail here. I grouped the photos and videos into similar categories, as chronologically as possible. For example, I put all photos of our hotel together and all the photos of the UNC campus together. Trust me, there were way more, but I chose a few photos from each category to get the point across.

I used iMovie to compile everything, which is the default video editing software on my Mac. I actually found the program to be very user-friendly and intuitive. There was definitely a learning curve but most of it was self-explanatory. For the parts I couldn't figure out,  I turned to YouTube tutorials (of course!) I used a default audio track from iMovie but I think next time I would like to explore other music options. And I think it would be fun to have a few more videos in there as well.


I hope to make these little videos for future vacations and maybe other milestones in our lives. Have you made a video to remember something special before? If so, send me the link in the comments!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

FH Travels: Chapel Hill, NC (March 2016)

Over Easter, Mike and I road tripped to Chapel Hill. We had four days off and knew we wanted to go somewhere. We thought about going to Philadelphia because UNC was playing there in the March Madness tournament but ultimately couldn't get tickets at a reasonable price. The next best thing would be to go to North Carolina to celebrate with all the local fans and students. I was really excited just to go on a vacation together and to get away from the cold weather.


It's about a twelve hour drive so we started at 5 am on Friday morning and got there around dinnertime. Mike loves Boberry biscuits from Bojangles so that was one of our food stops on the way down!


We had beautiful weather while we were there. It only rained one night and the rest of the time I didn't need a jacket or boots. It was basically heaven. I wore dresses, capris, t-shirts, sandals and even thought about sunscreen at one point!


Our hotel, The Carolina Inn, was right on campus and it was basically the most gorgeous hotel I have ever stayed at! It is almost 100 years old and has so much character and history. The rooms had four post beds, scalloped bed sheets, and a beautiful grand armoire for the TV. There was a huge porch with window shutters, rocking chairs, and pretty flower beds in front. It was exactly what I picture in my head when I think of Southern life. The hotel was definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip!




This was our second visit to Chapel Hill (read the first recap here and here) but the last time I feel like we spread ourselves really thin because we wanted to explore so many of the surrounding cities. Staying at The Carolina Inn allowed us to be within walking distance of everything we wanted. We spent a lot of time strolling around the campus and getting to know the University better. The architecture of the buildings is so stunning and impresses me every time. The fraternity and sorority houses are like straight out of a movie.




And there was spring everywhere! I already blogged about how captivated I was with the spring happenings in NC. Meanwhile, there are still zero flowers and leaves here in Ontario so looking back at these pictures makes me so happy.




We saw the Old Well, the Bell Tower, the basketball arena, the football stadium, and even a mural of Coach Dean Smith that Mike was excited about.






AND we got to see a baseball game! The university baseball season lasts 6 weeks in Canada and definitely does not compare to college ball in the States. We saw the Tar Heels play against Georgia Tech in warm weather at their gorgeous stadium. Fun fact: Matt Harvey (Mets ace) and Andrew Miller (Yankees closer) are Tar Heels. They lost, but we still had a great time.




Mike's main reason to go to Chapel Hill was to watch the basketball games with other fans. It sure beats watching at home on our couch while I'm next to him scrolling through Instagram. For the first game we went to the Carolina Ale House and the second one we watched at Top of the Hill. They're both on Franklin Street, which is the main drag where everything seems to be happening. The Tar Heels won both games and it was so fun to celebrate with the students and other fans! I definitely got more into it with all the excitement of being on campus. They went on to play in the Championship game which makes for a pretty great season!




It was sad to leave after a great time there, but unfortunately, all vacations have to come to an end. On Monday morning, we again left at 5 in the morning and it was so nice to catch both sunsets. I find that leaving in the wee hours of the morning makes the trip feel much shorter. In West Virginia, we stopped at the New River Gorge to admire the bridge and the Appalachian mountains. The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the highest vehicular bridges in the world and is completely breathtaking.




We hope to go back to North Carolina in the fall, which will make it 3 out of 4 seasons that we will have visited. The drive to and from seems to get shorter every time we go and our road trip radius is definitely expanding. Who would have thought that I would consider a 12 hour road trip to be not that bad!