Wednesday, 22 October 2014

LEROY, KONA, AND COOPER

It's been awhile since I've posted much about my best friend Leroy. But boy, do I have a gem!!

Last weekend we all parted ways and hubby and Leroy went on a boys trip while I went to visit friends in the opposite direction. Leroy met up with a couple of his old buds - Kona and Cooper. They are brothers (adopted brothers you might say) and both chocolate labs. I sent hubby with my camera hoping he would get some sweet photos of the three guys.

First thing Monday morning he sent me the best photo! The three doggies at the top of the stairs with their tongues out waiting for a treat. He did such a good job capturing it at the perfect moment!

And for good measure I'm including one more of our manny by himself. Just because.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

SWITZERLAND - POST FOUR

I have to apologize for dragging out the posts on Switzerland. It's probably super obnoxious to look at someone else's vacation photos but since I am only living at home part-time I am running out of recent projects to blog about! I am fitting our final three destinations into one post so this is the end, I promise. Here it is.

Our next stop was Interlaken, literally "between lakes". This is certainly a tourist destination, especially because of its perfect location for outdoor adventure sports. Paragliding is hugely popular and with good weather conditions you can watch paragliders all day. They landed in a big grassy square in the middle of town and when the weather was nice we sat on benches after dinner and watched. We also rented bicycles in Interlaken because it was nice flat terrain through town (surprising for Switzerland, right?). We had a lovely bike ride to the lake and swam. We could have ventured further but we didn't feel the most safe biking on a twisty road through the hills with no shoulder (and possibly no helmets if I remember correctly). The lake was fed by mountain water and it was chilly but refreshing! At this point on our trip we were dying from the heat so we welcomed cold water! This was a fun stop and biking was a great (inexpensive) activity.








Next stop. We took the train into Bern for the day. When we were in Zurich (trying on those Prada shoes, remember?) the salesperson was shocked and appalled that we weren't going to see Bern's old town so we planned this day trip specifically for that reason. Just call us day trippers. We were definitely glad we went - the old town was beautiful with lots of character - cobblestone streets and flags of the regions hanging everywhere. We went to the Einstein museum (in one of his old apartments) and found out old Albert was actually a very interesting character! (He was anti-atom bombs and warned the Americans the Germans may have been building an atom bomb. And we all know how history played out from there.) Bern means "bear" and there is a small park near the water that is still home to a few bears. Other fun fact - the original gate into the city is still in place. That's why I think Europe is awesome. (Oh - and in the bottom picture the red thing is a raspberry popsicle because I know you're going to wonder.)






And now our final stop in Switzerland! Lucerne. My friend E lived in this region as an exchange student in high school so I was excited to see her old stomping ground. We only spent one night here and I wish we had more time. This was one of my favourite places, especially because we did a ferry ride to Mt Pilatus and then took a cogwheel train up the mountain, a gondola partway down the mountain, and did "toboggan-ing" on the way down as well. I found the toboggan ride in a guide book before we went, and it was like a slow version of the bobsled on an aluminum track. If you're interested in what that would look like, here's a youtube video. Hubby and I commented to each other that we could actually picturing ourselves living in Lucerne. It was a small city with a familiar feel, somehow.

That was the end of our trip! The next day we went back to Zurich and spent one last night there before we flew out. It was an amazing vacation and we felt very fortunate!







Friday, 17 October 2014

PUMPED UP KICKS

Hey guys!

I was just going through some old photos trying to find something to blog about before heading out for the weekend. I found these outfit photos from back in the spring. Sadly the trees are going to look like this again soon!

T-shirt and pants from Aritzia. Jacket from Garage (my sister went back and bought the same one in burgundy). Scarf from my mom. Shoes from Converse (all the rage in Switzerland, coincidentally).

Have an awesome weekend! I hope it's a little less rainy wherever you are.




Thursday, 16 October 2014

LOCAL TALENT

You might remember a few weeks ago I was going on about my cousin's local business - MairiRyan Textile Designs. (If you don't remember you can see it back here.) At the time I was promoting shopping local and mentioned the Fredericton Fall Craft Show.

I will gladly admit supporting local business has not normally been high on my priority list. However, after many discussions with my cousin about the frustrations of being a local artist, I realized I should be supporting people in my community! Colour me changed. So forgive me if in the future I'm a broken record about it.

When we went to the craft fair a couple of weekends ago I was determined to turn over a new leaf. Shopping local all the way. Here is a little showcase of the craft fair! And to be fair - I'm showing you products from three booths and two of them are a friend/family member. But I still think they're awesome.

1. Courtney's Creations - find the facebook page here.
My friend Courtney makes beautiful decorative eggs - yes, that's right - eggs. They are an art form called "Pysanky" or Ukrainian Easter Eggs. This is very similar to batik, using a wax and dye method. The eggs are beautiful and a great decoration to put on display or hang on your Christmas tree. If you like, she even makes custom orders. And if you're nearby, she will be at Rhoda's Christmas Festival in Saint John from Nov 14 - 16.





2. MairiRyan Textile Designs - find the facebook page here.
As I mentioned above, I wrote a post on my cousin Dara's largest project to date a few weeks ago - a collaboration with a fashion designer using MairiRyan fabrics. Dara also creates a variety of other products that she sells including Comfort Cathy dolls (microwaveable for aches and pains), hand-dyed silk scarves, headbands, and notebooks. If you are looking for Christmas or birthday presents I would highly recommend a hand dyed scarf! Or even a headband as a stocking stuffer! She makes baby sized headbands too, which would be adorable for a newborn photo shoot.




3. Megan Billings Pottery - find her website here.
I have to tell you - I have no bias here. I don't know Megan, but I have been admiring her work at the Saint John City Market (at The Butcher's Daughter, specifically) for the last four years! When we found her at the craft fair I was so excited to meet her! Her pottery is gorgeous - bright and happy. The colours she uses make me happy. Nothing feels too precious or fussy but there is beautiful attention to design and detail.




Hopefully this will also inspire you (at least a little) to shop locally! Keep it in mind when you're buying Christmas presents this year. I'm definitely trying to!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

BANANA BREAD THREE WAYS

It's no secret I love to bake.

Special breads are one of my favourite things to bake and recently I have been making a cream cheese banana bread I found on pinterest. Then I started to think about comparing new banana bread recipes to find a favourite. So I tried out my current fave - Cream Cheese Banana Bread - and compared it with a Coconut Banana Bread and Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread. My mom has a classic recipe she has always made but it's kind of nice to add a twist.

Now, I have to warn you. Hubby was very evasive and wouldn't tell me which one he liked best. He was all, "Why do I have to pick a favourite?" "Why do you always make me pick a favourite?"

So I'm just going on one opinion here (my own). Maybe if you try them you can let me know what you think. :)

1. Coconut Banana Bread. The clear loser. It is a healthy version so it really wasn't sweet at all. I really like coconut but we both agreed it didn't add anything. However, if you're into the healthy version of things, it's definitely the one for you. Personally, I won't be making it again. It just doesn't feel like the treat that banana bread is. I know that isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but if you're looking for something healthy to bake, here's the recipe - LINK HERE.



2. Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread. We haven't eaten the whole loaf yet (because as you can see we were in banana bread overload so this one went to the freezer) but it was delicious. I would consider this one more of a dessert with its sugary cinnamon topping. In all honesty, I would cut the amount of cinnamon "swirl" in half because it was a bit excessive and didn't all bake into the bread. If I was trying to have a relatively simple dessert at a dinner party, this would be on my list. If you like sweet, this is your option - LINK HERE.



3. Cream Cheese Banana Bread. This is the one I've been making for the last year or so. It takes a stick of cream cheese and it is really so delicious. It is moist and thick and just perfect, really. This is definitely my favourite (although jury's still out on hubby's choice). You can add pecans (which I've done before) or leave them out (which I mostly do). And when you lick the batter off the bowl at the end - someone else must do that too - it is AH-mazing. Since I recommend this one so highly I know you'll go make it this weekend so...you're welcome - LINK HERE.



I hope you enjoyed this! It really is fun to compare recipes and see if you can find one you like best. (One of my best friends spent a summer trying to find "the perfect chocolate cake" and "the perfect chocolate chip cookie" with her mom!) Happy baking.