Soulmates.

I was out, but at a computer, missing the Artist. I was studying for a midterm, and of course full of stress and anxiety about it. I am waiting to hear if I got into the MA program I applied to and interviewed for, and I am really stressed about that too. Stressed if I don’t get it, yet anxious if I do. If I don’t get in, that is a lot of hard work applying (and applying for a scholarship) that didn’t pay off, and my plans will have to change. But if I do get in, that is 2 more years of what I know will be really hard work. I want to take on the challenge, but still, I know that lots of hard work would be in my future. Not to mention the stresses of daily life, trying to find time to do laundry and cook and all that.

I had been feeling particularly stressed at that moment, my body feeling restless and anxious, and I was yearning (and still am) to take a vacation with the Artist. We took an amazing week long vacation to the Dominican Republic in 2010, and we went to Chicago for a few days exploring in 2015, but that is it. We have bee talking about wanting a vacation together for so long, even just a few nights away somewhere within driving distance where there is a cheap motel where we can watch a “movie on TV” and order all kinds of takeout and junk food for a few days while we enjoy an outdoor pool, restaurants, sightseeing, a beach, etc. Even that seems impossible when you are broke AF, let alone going somewhere tropical or otherwise expensive like NYC or Florida.

But, my number one way to redirect my anxious thoughts it to think about my love, and how we get to share our lives together, no matter what. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we get to be together. Master’s program or no Master’s program, vacation or no vacation, money or no money, we will make it. We will figure it out. And then I checked my email. The Artist sent me an email with nothing in the body or subject line, just a link to a video. The video was of a car commercial, and the song of that car commercial has become associated with our lives. I was just saying that every time I hear that commercial, I think back to last summer. We had just moved, it was a hard, hard move with lots of obstacles. We were even more broke than we are now. I had classes start the day after we moved in, I didn’t know my way around and had no phone to use GPS, on top of the nerves of just going back to school after 5 years off. The summer was spent in a realm of anxiety and stress, with boxes everywhere as we tried to balance school, job searching, and unpacking. I was so stressed that I had no appetite and didn’t sleep well, and if you know me, you know that this is VERY unlike me. And somehow, with that commercial always coming on, the song somehow became associated with that period of our lives.

But now, the song is a reminder that no matter how stressful life gets, I have this guy by my side making me laugh, supporting me, and enriching my life on a daily basis. He sees beauty in such ordinary things that I never would have noticed before, and it reminds me to stop and smell the roses. So we would stop the craziness for a few hours, go exploring in our new city, and have some laughs.

I teared up watching this video, it was like he knew exactly my stress levels and that I was thinking of him, and sent this video to let me know he was also thinking of me, and that whatever happens, we will find a way to flourish, together ‚̧

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No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

Surprises and My First Tattoo.

I get home from work on December 22nd, 2014 in the early evening, carrying my bags, binders, and change of shoes (I don’t like wearing heels driving) in my arms and fumbling through the door. ¬†Steve hands me the phone and tells me to call my mom on her cell phone ASAP, not letting me empty my hands or take of my coat and boots. His sense of urgency concerned me a little, thinking that maybe something is wrong, or something urgent is going on. ¬†I call her cell phone. ¬†She answers and says hello, and after a few seconds on small talk her and my dad emerge from our bedroom. ¬†SURPRISE! ¬†All the way from Ontario, Canada, they surprised both the Artist and myself that night. ¬†We talk often enough, that they new the Artist was home during the days and I was at work. ¬†They knew we had one car, that I used it to get to work during weekdays. ¬†Minutes before I arrived home, they had called the Artist to have him come down and let them in the front door of our apartment building, as you need a key. ¬†He thought it was a joke- he and my mother have a very sarcastic dialogue. ¬†But there they were, standing in the rain, waiting to be let inside. ¬†I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. ¬†I have never been surprised like that before- they came from SO far! ¬†It’s not like ¬†they stopped by on their way home……they drove down from another country. ¬†We were unable to make it home for the holidays for both time and financial constraints, so they came to us! ¬†They skipped all other holiday gatherings to spend the holidays with us ‚̧

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And they brought a million presents!!!

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I come from a small town, and everyone knew about the surprise. ¬†Lots of folks sent gifts for us down with them, and holidays cards as well. ¬†I know this is going to sound SO cliche, but it was a Christmas miracle ‚̧ ¬†My family doesn’t have much, but they are willing to spend what they do have one us ‚̧ ¬†I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family- there are no words.

We enjoyed some local museums, shopping, and lots of cooking. ¬†And of course, lots of cooking meant lots of eating. ¬†They even brought down a bunch of my favourite snacks from home that are unavailable here. ¬†It was very hard when they left the following weekend. ¬†There were many tears. ¬†I think I am still recovering from the post-holiday blues……

To get ours spirits up, the Artist gave me my first tattoo on New Years Day.  Actually, he gave me two!

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The one on my finger is the crown motif in Basquiat’s paintings, and the Artist has a larger version of this one his ankle. ¬†This was his first time doing a tattoo on someone else other then himself. ¬†The one on my heel is the deathly hallows symbol from Harry Potter. ¬†These are both very intimately meaningful to me in so many ways, but I am not going to divulge them on here. ¬†Instead, ask me sometime.

As they heal, they are becoming more of a grey tone then black, and I have no idea why.  My skin is crazy, the Artist said I am like a member of X-Men.  I never get sun burns, I have very little body hair, and my skin is very oily and soft.  Like, so oily.  These tattoos have healed very well, and have caused me little inconvenience.  So we will see how they finish up!

Happy holidays ‚̧

Top 6 Ideas for Easy Preparation of Weeknight Meals (and even packing lunches too!).

My sister and brother-in-law are very busy career folk with 2 dogs, a house under renovations, and a million other things to do, and freeze a lot of meals for quick dinners on busy weeknights.  After a recent conversation, I was inspired to share what I do for quick and easy meals, and how this preparation and routine has helped me maintain a healthy, whole foods diet (for the most part, haha!).

1. Have cooked or thawed protein in the fridge at all times.

I like to buy in bulk and freeze meat, and there is nothing worse then being hungry for dinner and having to defrost something before you can even cook it!  I like to bake 5 or 6 chicken breasts in the oven, with a simple seasoning such as salt and pepper, or some herbs.  This way, they can be doctored up later.  Add a drizzle of oil for extra flavour and juiciness.  Chill in the fridge in a container for later use.  P.S. Cutting cooked and chilled chicken is so much easier and slices SO nice.  Now you can add it to a salad for an entree-style salad, make a quick wrap, or pasta.  You could also cook a whole chicken, bone-in chicken, etc. and do the same thing.  For pork and beef, I prefer to have them thawed and even marinated for a day or two in spices or whatever, or even cut up and put on kabobs for quick grilling.  This works with chicken too.  Or with thawed meat you can cube it or slice it when raw and store in the fridge.  Sometimes cleaning and cutting the meat takes awhile, but this way, it is already done.

 

2. Make a big batch of homemade tomato sauce.

When you have tried this, you will never go back to the canned store bought kind again.  I freeze it in batches and always have one ready in the fridge.  Chicken parm sandwiches, english muffin or pita pizzas, or pastas are made super quick easy.

 

3.  Triple recipes, or just make a TON of something at once.

Put on the radio, and spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend and cook up a favourite dinner. ¬†We love pasta dishes in our house and make huge batches of them. ¬†Mac n’ cheese is really delicious for leftovers, and can easily be healthified. ¬†We will make a pasta that has 4 or 5 chicken breasts in it and a mound of veggies is on the cutting board waiting to go in. ¬†Pasta is good for leftovers and re-heats well too. ¬†If you have a microwave at work (or like cold pasta) you will have lunches for several days, or leftovers to eat anytime.

 

4. Prep all your produce.

Wash, cut, and prepare all the fruits and veggies (including lettuce and greens) in your fridge store in containers (which also makes for easy snacking, I find I am much more likely to grab them if they are ready to go).  For lunches, I even take it a step further and portion them into baggies for small lunch containers for the week.  That way, all the work is done and I plop them into my lunch bag.  And having peppers and mushrooms sliced and washed already, and lettuce clean and dried, cuts dinner prep time way down.  I even sometimes do things 2-ways, for example, I will cut carrots into sticks for snacks and side dishes and also shred some for salad toppings.  Words cannot describe how useful it is to have a fridge full of washed and prepped fruits and veggies.  If I have edamamme, I will cook it and do the same thing (it is good hot or cold, or added to salad or stir fry).  Or I will have a can of beans or chick peas rinsed and ready in a container for salads and topping any dish basically.

 

5. Cook up a batch of rice.  A big one.

With your veggies already prepared and meat thawed, you can stir fry it all together and then serve over rice for such an effortless, yet delicious dinner.  I find rice re-heats well, in my opinion.  Or make a curry, which is really easy, yet really hardy, and serve with rice.  And combine leftover cooked rice with leftover cooked chicken, you get an amazing homemade chicken fried rice.  I even like our homemade, healthier version better then take-out now.  We almost never buy it out anymore.

 

6.  Use the slow cooker for everything.

Casseroles, meat, roasts, sauces, etc.  It does the work all day and you come home to a delicious meal!  For extra fast meals, do something all-in-one, like pork loin with potatoes/onions/carrots, seasoning of choice, and voila.  You could even add a side salad or corn on the cob for something extra.

Now I bet all of this sounds like a ton of work, and just really not do-able at all. ¬†But I don’t have every single example above ready in my fridge. ¬†My rule of thumb is: always have cooked or at least thawed protein available and abundant, and prep all produce. ¬†One week I might have a ton of cooked chicken breast and rice in the fridge, the next week might be more grilling with side salads, and the next week might be making loads of 1 or 2 dishes for leftovers.

I pick a day when I have some time, put on my favourite radio station (oldies or NPR usually) and head into the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It’s very relaxing, because there is no time frame, I am not starving, and can putter around. ¬†Or the Artist and I will do it together one night, and catch up, be silly, or have really great talks about life, or all of the above. ¬†Being in the kitchen together is one of our favourite ways to spend time together. ¬†Sometimes we even take it a step further; the Artist will prepare a big dinner with tons of leftovers, and I will prep all the produce for the week, and we will pour drinks, turn up the tunes, eat the dinner by candle light, and make a mini-date out of it.

When these are all prepared, and I even pre-portion for lunches (so I literally grab my lunch from the fridge and plop it in my lunch bag in the morning), I eat a lot healthier and a much more balanced diet.  We are less likely to resort to junk or take-out when we get home tired after a long day because we can make something delicious and homemade in minutes.

The fastest meals, I would say in 15 minutes or less, would be: entree-style salads, tacos (using already cooked meat or beans), quesadillas, wraps, and grilled kabobs.

On the more medium side of things, in about 20 minutes, you could have: grilled meat, stir fry (less time probably if you use cooked meat instead of sautéing), pita or flatbread pizza, or grilled paninis.

And in about 30 minutes, you could make: spaghetti, chicken fried rice, any pasta dish, prepare pizza dough ahead of time by rolling it in desired shape(s) and freezing (you could even cook it for a few minutes to help it hold its shape) for taking pizza at home to the next level, spicy orange chicken with cashew nuts (or any Asian dish that doesn’t involve battering and frying the meat before starting), or larger cuts of meat including larger cuts of bone-in meat either grilled, or oven roasted.

In 30+ minutes: mac n’cheese casserole, sweet and sour chicken (or Asian dishes that include battering and frying meat), Mongolian style stir fry with Sriracha sauce, and of course things in the slow cooker. ¬†These just mostly require time for cooking and don’t need as much attention other then checking or stirring during this time.

And for all of these examples, having prepped produce will come in handy for easy and quick side dishes and salads.  For example; grilled peppers, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, raw veggie platter with hummus, and never ending combinations of salads.  And to keep things as healthy as possible, choose whole wheat options, make your own marinade instead of using a bottled one, and be aware of how much sodium and sugar you use so that you can adjust to fit your needs/wants.

I hope this was helpful ūüôā

 

T-shirt Art and Orzo

As I am watching Melrose Place, the series from the 90s not the newer one, the Artist gets up from doing his readings for school and starts puttering around. ¬†I continue to watch my show on the computer with headphones, because I don’t have the DVDs and the computer is so quiet, headphones are needed to hear better. ¬†I guess I could have hooked up speakers, but come on, that is just way to much hassle and avoiding any unnecessary movements are key to beat this heat. ¬†Besides, I disturb the Artist much less this way. ¬†Then I see him look like he is trying to talk to me, so I take my headphones out. ¬†He is holding up a shirt, asking me how on earth it is made because this particular t-shirt does not have seams down the sides. ¬†We conclude, that neither of us have any idea. ¬†This shirt was from the pile of clothes that are too small, have holes, or are otherwise unwearable, and are used for rags, fabric for sewing, or whatever else we devise.

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Having lived with the Artist since before we were even dating, I didn’t think anything of this. ¬†I continued to watch my show and hear the faint sounds of rustling and bustling in the distance. ¬†When the episode is over, I see this on the floor beside me:

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Funny looking on the left side eh? ¬†And then I see the scissors nearby, and immediately knew what he had done- began a masterpiece. ¬†Earlier, he had wanted to buy some blue camping tarp, just the cheap stuff at Walmart for one of his pieces, but said that the colours sucked and didn’t get any. ¬†Clearly, this was the colour he was after. ¬†So I go in to the other room to find the Artist smiling proud, in front of this:

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He is arranging and rearranging the fabric pieces on canvas to decide how and where to attach them.

How can I do anything but smile at this?  Instead of donating the old shirts, he insisted on keeping them, as he does with everything else, because you never know when you might need them.  I have quickly learned that yes, they will actually get used.  Even old cans, pop bottles, cardboard, etc. gets used in his art.  What talent.  And I love finding his shenanigans and then hearing the story of they came to be.  It is always hilarious, yet impressive.

Then we go about our days.  I go to yoga and the Artist goes to an evening class.  I get home around 7pm and immediately re-heat some left overs of this delicious dish:

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Orzo, baked chicken, tomatoes, olives (for the Artist, I pick them out- yuck), onions, and a mediterranean inspired seasoning with balsamic. ¬†It is absolutely delicious, one of our favourite dishes ever. ¬†It is a take on a dish that friends made us when they had us over for dinner, and we have been experimenting with it ever since. ¬†You know who you are, so if you are reading- THANKS ūüėÄ ¬†I hope there is enough left for lunch later. ¬†Then I jump in the shower, and the Artist comes home and heats himself up a serving, it is not about 8pm. ¬†After catching up on how our days went, we decided to watch House, because we just borrowed the DVDs from the library and were anxious to see what happened to the Dr. in rehab.

Me: I am kind of hungry, like I could eat again.

The Artist: I am f*#@ing starving.

Me: (laughs)

The Artist: You know when you are hungry and you could be handed any option of all your favourite things, but nothing seems satisfying?  Like you have no craving or desire?

Me: Ya, that is the worst.  I have been wanting Ruffles brand All Dressed flavoured chips for so long, but no where seems to have them.  Anywhere.  (so to any American readers, are there Ruffles All Dressed flavoured chips in St. Louis, or in America in general or is it a Canadian thing?)

The Artist: Actually, my one thing that I could never turn down and enjoy no matter what, are Tim Bits.

Me: They have to be actual Tim Bits from Tim Horton’s right?

The Artist: Yes, sour cream glazed or old fashioned glazed. ¬†F$#k. ¬†Lets drive to Michigan, they have Tim Horton’s right? ¬†Nothing else will suffice right now. (closes his eyes and lets out a huge sigh of yearning)

So we continue to watch House, and cuddle up to go to bed.

I can’t help but come to the conclusion that we are always hungry, eating, or preparing food. ¬†Always. ¬†Maybe we have big appetites? ¬†Or maybe because we lose our minds if we get hungry? ¬†Or maybe because we just love cooking and eating? ¬†All of the above? ¬†Whatever it is, I love to cook, especially when we get to do it together, and I love to eat. ¬†I guess I am fortunate to have these interests and enjoy them, because I get to enjoy preparing foods and get to eat healthy, home cooked meals often ūüôā

Happily Married for 3 Years.

Today is the Artist and I’s 3rd wedding anniversary. ¬†It also marks about 3 years and 9.5 months of dating, and about 3 years and 11.5 months of knowing each other. ¬†That’s right, we were married less then 1 year after the day we first met, and the rest is history. ¬†I was looking for a room to rent in a house while attending Georgian College, but wanted to live in Barrie instead of Orillia (I was attending the Orillia campus). ¬†There was a cheap room for rent in a great location near the Barrie campus, but close to the highway for easy access to get to my campus. ¬†Everyone thought I should live at home and drive every day- but I wanted my own space again, and it is a pretty far drive. ¬†On a whim, I decided to view the room for rent with my mom at the last minute. ¬†I had just got off work, I was working as a nanny at the time, and went right away. ¬†I felt like I needed a shower, and instead of putting on some makeup I threw on some sunglasses and off I went. ¬†The Artist answered the door and showed me around, he too was renting a room there, and his family owned the house, so he helped them out my giving tours and posting ads online. ¬†My first impression: what a cutie! ¬†Holy crap. ¬†The first things I noticed about him here his cheeks- man they looked so soft and squishy and kissable, and his smile- nice, full lips with perfect straight, white teeth, and those eyes- the lightest shade of blue I have ever seen, that now melt my heart every time. ¬†He showed me and my mom around, and was super nice. ¬†Meanwhile, I haven’t taken my sunglasses off because I wasn’t expecting such a good lookin’ guy, and my mom embarrasses me by telling me to take my sunglasses off because we are in the house! ¬†Haha! ¬†Oh well, he saw me with no makeup, unwashed hair, a coral coloured top and a white skirt. ¬†He always tells me how he remembers because to him, apparently I looked good au natural. ¬†I don’t even remember what he was wearing, I was too busy looking at his gorgeous eyes.

So afterwards, in the car, I am chatting with my mom. ¬†We both agreed that for a student house it was incredibly clean, organized, in great shape, and that the Artist seemed nice. ¬†The room was really small, I think something like 10ft by 8 or 9 ft, but it was really cheap and I had access to the rest of the house. ¬†So I took it, without viewing any other place or even looking into anything else. ¬†I moved in just after the Labour Day weekend. ¬†The Artist and I quickly became good friends, best friends actually. ¬†We were super close. ¬†We shared groceries and split the bill, ate meals together, went to the gym together, hung out together, did everything together. ¬†I really started to like him. ¬†In fact, people assumed we were dating, even though we weren’t, he was actually dating someone else at the time, so I didn’t say anything and denied my friends’ accusations that I liked him. ¬†But one drunken night, our true feelings came out, and we became officially boyfriend and girlfriend. ¬†We were best friends who were in love with each other before we even had our first kiss.

Less then 2 months later was Christmas, and the Artist got me a promise ring, which I wore on my right hand ring finger. ¬†He said that it was a promise that the next ring would be for “this finger” as he grabbed my left hand ring finger. ¬†When we went to bed that night, he said to me, “just so you know, I am going to ask” and I replied, “just so you know, I am going to say yes” and that we shared one of the best embraces ever. ¬†As we finished up the school year, we were driving home from a Trivia Night event and the Artist mentioned something about “when we get married….” and then realized he had mentioned getting married and started stumbling and trying not to “scare” me. ¬†But I just looked at him and giggled, saying I had been thinking about it too. ¬†We talked about what we wanted in a wedding, which ended up being very little. ¬†Neither of us seemed to care too much about anything other then being officially married. ¬†So we decided that despite having no money, we could still manage it. ¬†So we picked out an engagement ring together, and made the announcement that we were getting married in 2 months. ¬†There was availability at the Station on the Green in Creemore, and since we didn’t have the means, nor the desire, for anything fancy, why wait? ¬†It sounds crazy, I know. ¬†But if you knew us, and saw us together, it just fits. ¬†My parents weren’t really surprised, they saw it coming, and other close family members predicted it as well. ¬†We literally planned everything and bought everything in 1 day. ¬†We bought the rings, my dress, and the Artist’s suit, all of which were “off the rack” because they fit perfectly and didn’t need to be ordered. ¬†We decided who would do the flowers, who would marry us, that we would get married at 7pm and serve appetizers and desserts, and a family friend would take the photos. ¬†Family friends helped serve the food, tend the bar, set up the music which was just an iPod, and decorate. ¬†The only person we hired was the one who married us. ¬†I wore a necklace the Artist gave me for Valentine’s Day, shoes I already had, there was no bridal party, themes, colours, or dinner, I made the invites and the cake myself (which was cherry cheesecake!), etc. ¬†Super simple, cheap, and small- approximately less then 50 people. ¬†But it was a very intimate wedding, we got to visit with everyone. ¬†Neither of us wanted to be a part of the billion dollar industry that weddings have become these days, which is why we invited only our immediate family. ¬†And since we are each other’s best friend, we wanted only us up at the alter. ¬†We wanted to highlight our future lives together, and for the day to be about our marriage, and not about the wedding. ¬†A wedding is one day, but a marriage is forever. ¬†This is why we did things the way we did, and even though some didn’t agree, we were extremely happy with it. ¬†We have the same attitudes for most things, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. ¬†There is a lot of “buying for the sake of buying” and lots of unnecessary stuff. ¬†We try and make our holiday celebrations to be about spending time together, and any gifts we exchange are just a bonus. ¬†Often, we don’t even exchange gifts, but rather just home made cards, loving words, and do something like have a movie night in, or go to the park for a picnic, or something along those lines. ¬†And we often do little things for each other on a regular basis, because who says you need a holiday to do so?

Back to the wedding haha.

There was this 1 moment that I will never forget- walking down the aisle. ¬†We did not follow tradition, not only did the Artist see me before the wedding, he helped me pick out my dress and we did a lot of photos before the ceremony. ¬†So we came to the venue and went in the back to wait a few minutes as everyone sat down. ¬†Then the officiant came in and said all was ready and the Artist went out with him to the alter. ¬†My dad had a tearful talk with me about how proud he was and how much he loved the Artist, I took his arm, and emerged out the doors. ¬†I saw Steve, the Artist’s cousin’s now husband, playing the guitar as I began to walk- Rod Stewart’s have you ever seen the rain, just an instrumental version. ¬†I turned the corner and he smiled as he hit the part of the song “I know…” and that is when I saw the Artist at the other end of the alter. ¬†That moment will be forever frozen in time. ¬†Nothing could have changed the way that I felt at that very moment. ¬†I am even getting teared up as I type this story, it is very special to me. ¬†I could have been wearing pyjamas, it could have been in a courthouse, it could have been raining- nothing would have changed the way that I felt. ¬†Seeing the Artist’s gorgeous smile and walking down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to me, and watching me walk down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to him.

As we progressed through the ceremony, we both held back our tears, and became husband and wife.  Following that was a few more photos, and then we had our first dance.  No speeches, no seating chart, no nothing, it was a free for all.  There were hot and cold appetizers, munchies, desserts, and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  We had a great night visiting with our immediate family, and arrived at our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, chauffeured around by my father.  We had a huge heart to heart, and I cried my make up off with all my happy tears.

By this time we were living in Newmarket, I was finishing up school- both a degree and a diploma. ¬†The Artist was done is BFA, and was applying for grad school, exhibiting his work, and working part time. ¬†After I finished up at Georgian, we moved to Toronto. ¬†There, I finished up my degree, and started working as a nanny, and the Artist as a cook in a fine Italian restaurant, still applying to grad school and making art. ¬†We had loads of adventures in Toronto, and then as the Artist was walking home from work, we crossed paths as I was walking to the TTC stop to go to work. ¬†He had been listening to a message on his phone- he had got accepted to Washington University in St. Louis for a Master’s of Fine Art, with a hefty scholarship. ¬†I cried. ¬†I was so happy for him. ¬†I don’t know how, but somehow, we managed to move to St. Louis, Missouri shortly thereafter.

We have been here a year now, and it has been amazing. ¬†I dearly miss the family I nannied for, and hope we can visit with them soon. ¬†But St. Louis has been one crazy adventure. ¬†My parents have drove down to visit twice now, the first time my aunt and brother came along too. ¬†Geez, I love my family so freaking much. ¬†They have been so helpful, supportive, and generous through all of this. ¬†I can’t wait to see them again. ¬†The Artist’s family has been incredibly supportive and generous as well, we are very lucky to have such great families. ¬†Since being in St. Louis I have been able to make some great steps for my own career by meeting some great people and experiencing some great opportunities. ¬†The Artist is out right now on his second day of his Teaching Assistantship for this year, and his first day of class. ¬†This next year is going to just fly by, and who knows where the next opportunity will take us. ¬†We are mobile right now, and are taking advantage of it while it exists, because it won’t exist forever.

These last few years have been a whirlwind, but what an amazing one. ¬†I can’t imagine it any other way ‚̧

Cheers to the second half of our St. Louis adventure, and whatever may follow ūüėÄ

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To Canada and Back.

The last 2 weeks the Artist and I have been in Ontario, Canada to visit family and friends. ¬†It has been amazing. ¬†I found myself not taking too many photos, in comparison to the huge amounts of fun adventures we embarked on, and that “urge” to snap shots of fun times just wasn’t there. ¬†But all for a good reason- I was too busy talking and visiting with everyone, time passed me by in an instant. ¬†I was too consumed in enjoying the moments that taking photos seemed unimportant next to actually experiencing the adventures.

The drive there took 17.5 hours, which is pretty long….too long actually. ¬†There was traffic, construction, and a line at the border, all of which added up. ¬†We stopped overnight at a cheap motel, which was such a treat. ¬†We ate late night junk food from burger joints and convenience stores, enjoyed the most comfortable bed and pillows ever (waaay better then the fancy places!), a hot shower, and cable TV. ¬†It was just glorious. ¬†The Artist and I fantasized about what it would be like to vacation like this for more then 1 night…….one day.

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our room

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Smurf milk for breakfast.

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After we arrived, right away we had “business” to take care of with things like health insurance, doctor’s appointments, etc. ¬†On the way home from these, we got some Pad Thai. ¬†I have yet to find a restaurant that tops the Mango Tree in Barrie for Pad Thai. ¬†There are no words to describe it. ¬†It is perfection.

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Of course I also had to try on my wedding dress. ¬†Not only does it still fit, but it is loose fitting! ¬†The Artist and I are about to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary this month. ¬†Every time I put on this dress, I am transported back to our wedding day. ¬†What an amazing day. ¬†Simple, small, and cheap, but it was everything I wanted in a wedding- because all I wanted was to marry my Artist. ¬†Nothing else mattered to me. ¬†I wasn’t after the “dream wedding”, but rather, the dream marriage. ¬†And I have it. ¬†Nothing could have changed the way I felt holding my dad’s arm walking down the aisle to marry the Artist. ¬†Nothing. ¬†I could have been wearing pyjamas, and I still would have felt the same. ¬†I get a little teary every time I think about it, I am so truly happy with my beloved Artist, there are no words to describe the feeling.

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On another note, Creemore was freezing! ¬†It was so chilly I borrowed Char’s slippers. ¬†They were pretty big on my tiny feet, but they were so fuzzy and warm! ¬†They reminded me of the Smurfs. ¬†And I only had brought 1 sweater, which wasn’t very thick, but I layered up.

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I even made some homemade peach popsicles, the same as on my previous posts, because they are my favourite snack, even when it is cold.  My mom had these moulds from my childhood, they were really tiny with little bears on the sticks.  She always made us homemade popsicles, the most common flavour being Tang.

 

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We did lots of eating while in Canada, and here are some spicy peanut kabobs I made when everyone else was having steak- I am not a beef lover.

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And then of course we did some camping with my parents and sister and brother-in-law. ¬†The photos are dark, but this was Sherilee’s first time eating s’mores! ¬†Obviously being the chocolate lover that she is, she loved them. ¬†The 2 of us had them for lunch the next day ūüėÄ

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Pork souvlaki kabobs with BBQ roasted mini potatoes with cheese and sugar snap peas….not too bad for roughing it eh?

 

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My Artist is so good at making and maintaining camp fires. ¬†Awww, look at that face! ¬†I just love him so much ‚̧

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We woke up on the last morning to find some animals had gotten into our food, and left no trace of an entire loaf of bread!!!!! ¬†So my mom improvised, and used hotdog buns to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. ¬†I was a little skeptical, but everyone who knows my mother- don’t under estimate her ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

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We went for walks, shopping, watched satellite TV (we don’t have cable, so we caught up on our favourite shows!), went sailing, driving, I practiced driving our standard car lots, met up with friends, went swimming, went to the beach, and countless other adventures. ¬†We did lots of visiting with family, and friends. ¬†Ate lots of good food. ¬†Had countless great laughs, until my eyes watered and my cheeks hurt. ¬†Great heart-to-hearts, conversation, and we even squeezed in a trip to the Creemore Farmer’s market (where we ate Mama Marie’s perogies, Angie’s Place jerk chicken, and a local farmers muffins and butter tarts- we were stuffed afterwards) and out for ice cream at Mr. Norm’s Nephew. ¬†I even got to satisfy my poutine craving! ¬†I am so lucky to have such an amazing family, everyone is so supportive and generous, and love the Artist like their own.

My mom is so thoughtful, she sent these home with us so we could have a little Canadian homey touch in our St. Louis kitchen. ¬†We LOVE Swiss Chalet, but there are none here, so she bought us some marinade and dip. ¬†And the cookies are not only delicious, but a chlidhood favourite with a wonderful nostalgia attached to them. ¬†They remind me of bummin’ around at home in the summers outside on the farm, watering the garden with my dad when I was in my pyjamas and supposed to be getting ready for bed, and hanging out with my mom. ¬†The Golden Graham bars are a new product that are a variation of a discontinued childhood favourite as well, bringing back the same great memories, and are of course delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have the best family. ¬†My mom is like my best girly friend, my dad and I have the greatest talks about life, I enjoy just hanging out with my brothers and being goofy with Sean, I look up to Sherilee and Allan- you guys are so awesome I don’t even know where to start! ¬†My aunt Char has been like a second mom to me, my grandparents are the most generous, supportive, hilarious people I know. ¬†I love listening to their anecdotes about life, and learning about my family history. ¬†I could seriously so on and on about each family member and how incredible they are, and the same goes for the Artist’s family. ¬†But I don’t need to say it, you all know. ¬†Thanks for a wonderful visit, we can’t wait for next time!

P.S. ¬†It is still hot as heck in St. Louis! ¬†I was sweating to death while unpacking…yuck.