Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fashion: Gimme a hug

Any one else just a little creeped out by this alien-esque woman in the Vince Camuto ad? How does this get through QA and into a print magazine? Do they think we won't notice or that we think this looks normal? Yikes...

Bunny: Sears Family Portrait Syle

It's like she should be wearing a sweater vest or something.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Visit: Las Vegas

Like many people that come back from a short jaunt to Las Vegas, I am suffering. For other people, the suffering is usually related to a lack of sleep due to late nights of drunken debauchery.  I, on the other hand, am suffering from being an old fart. What did me in was a deadly cocktail of a time zone changes, tons of walking, a surprise migraine, a delay on the return flight, and a series of bad decisions.

Bad Decision #1: We sandwiched the 3 night trip with no extra time off on either end. The 2 hour flight delay on the return trip didn't help; 4 hours of sleep feels exponentially less than 6 hours. I am way too old for this kind of travel; I need recoup time before I get thrown back into work.

Bad Decision #2: I decided to wear my cute kicks rather than my more functional (i.e. not fashionable) running shoes. Walking from 10am to 8pm in mediocre shoes lead to feet/calves that were so sore that I'm still feeling the pain days later. Stupid, stupid vanity.

Bad Decision #3: I managed to acquire a big, beautiful bruise on my ass when I decided to hop into the back seat of a taxi and landed hard on a fixed belt buckle. Note to self: In the future, enter a taxi with less abandon. It's not too often you get to say 'owww, my coccyx!' but I promise that when you do, you'll remember it.

Re-reading this, I realize that it sounds like I had a terrible time, which was definitely not the case. It was actually a lot more fun than I expected, I'd even go back. I plan on posting on my specific topics later (i.e. restos, shopping, etc.) but I just wanted to get the lamenting out of the way. Look, it's us at Otto, smiling:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Watch: The manliest 'stache on TV

Oh my god, this makes me laugh. Ron Swanson is one of my favourite things about Thursdays. I could quote him endlessly. I give to you, Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Parks & Recs on NBC

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shop: Banana Rebuplic Evan Satchel in Leopard

I ordered the Banana Republic Evan Satchel in Leopard a couple weeks back. I absolutely love the shape of the satchel and the cute tassel FOB that is attached. The leopard print version was more than 100 dollars off  the price of the regular version of the same bag and I waited until I had an additional 40% promo, so in the end it was a real steal. (Seriously, BR owes most of their Quebec sales to me)

This purchase is really against type. I'm not a black leather, gold and animal print kind of gal; I generally leave that to the ladies out there that rock a more 'sexy' appearance (smokey make up, heels, etc.). I'm more of a self proclaimed nerdy girl, my preferences lean more towards peter pan collars, argyle prints and tweed blazers. So I bought the purse thinking it would be a wardrobe experiment and I am actually finding it much easier to incorporate into my wardrobe that I first thought. For one thing, a handful of compliments from strangers and friends are making me realize it was a good pick. Second, most of my winter outerwear is dark neutral or jewel tone, which ends up working pretty well with the pattern.

There are a couple negatives that I have found with the bag, however. I was hesitant to get it because it is made out of calf hair. Over the years I have avoided buying anything made with calf hair, not so much because of a political stance or even belief based (since I use leather products) but because the feel of calf hair creeps me out. I have this unnerving need to pet it, which makes me feel sad, cuz know. Chalk it up to another of my quirks; it has less to do with the bag and more to do with me. The other drawback is more functional in nature. There are no hooks located at the ends of the purse to attach the shoulder strap. If you want to use the strap you have to connect it to the handle hardware, but that puts the connection points of the strap at about 5-6 inches apart - this does not make for good balance or ease of use. It's hard to explain but you'd know what I mean the minute you try it on. I'll just use the handles instead, problem solved.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Read/Watch: The Walking Dead

I had the opportunity this weekend to dig into vol. 17 of the Walking Dead trade paperback. I've been buying the trades because they collect a few issues of the comic book together at a time, which is just the right amount of pages for me to get into the story. I'm probably 4-5 issues behind the storyline but it keeps me relatively current. All zombie content aside, The Walking Dead has to be the most dystopic look at humanity I have ever encountered. At this point in the story, I know I shouldn't be surprised any longer when something horrendous happens but JEBUS, really, does it have to get that bad? I found myself putting the book down and muttering "Holy Sh*t!" to absolutely no one.

The Walking Dead reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Jose Saramago's Blindness.
They are all 'Lord of the Flies' type tales of dystopic societies which give me the heebie jeebies. I alternately feel interest, discomfort and repugnance while reading these books; especially with regards to how quickly the stories turn to bullying, torture and rape. Which begs the question; why do I keep reading? I liken it to eating something sour; I enjoy the agitation.

But back to the Walking Dead....the one difference that I find between these other stories and that of the Walking Dead (so far) is that Walking Dead does not seem to sugar coat or put a positive spin on the narrative. I really thought it couldn't get any worse but Robert Kirkman keeps going down that spiral. I dread how this series is going to end but to be honest, if it didn't end badly, I wouldn't think it to be true to the narrative. At this point, the only ending can be a violent one, and like a deer in headlights, I don't think I will be able to look away.

On a side note, no spoilers, I swear.... I knew what was coming in season 3 but I was curious to see how a TV show, even one on a subscribe channel with R-rated content, would represent such cruelty & degradation on screen. Hint: they took a decidedly more gentle approach.


Bunny: Ellie at rest

She's starting to trust us just enough that when she is outside of her cage, she will stretch out and lie down. She won't normally do this because she is way too nervous; if she does it's not for very long. It takes great stealth on my part to crouch down beside her for the opportunity to pet her belly.  It takes even more willpower to just leave her alone, but we all know I'm no good at that!

Is it just me or are her front paws just silly adorable? They are especially cute because of how utterly ineffectual they look's like she has mittens on. Mittens with sharp ouchie claws that find their way into the soft flesh of my feet, belly, arms, chest....okay, so not ineffectual. But adorable nonetheless.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Eat: Slow Cooker Baked Beans & Osso Buco

I bought my crock pot slow cooker about two years ago and apart from one Indian lamb & pea recipe, it has sat atop the pantry waiting to be put into our kitchen rotation. I have to admit, I've been intimidated by it. I know this isn't rational. I've been told numerous times how simple it is to use but there's this part of me (due to years of family influence) that is afraid to leave it unattended while I am out during the day. Despite this paranoia, I finally decided to man up and try it.

I picked two recipes from Ricardo's Mijoteuse recipe book, one for breakfast and another for dinner.
The first was baked beans, which I prepared on a Friday night so that we could have beans with our breakfast over the weekend. I have always wanted to try my hand at baked beans and I think it was a good recipe to start with because it required very little ingredient prep before assembling all ingredients in the slow cooker (as long as you pre-soak the beans). I did the fast soak method by boiling the beans for 2 minutes and then letting them sit in a covered pot for two hours. I've read that every slow cooker model can function quite differently from one another and I found this to be true. Even though I followed the directions, I still needed to reduce the liquid by continuing the cooking process on high, uncovered until it reached a better consistency. I was very pleased with the end result though, the flavour was delicious. This recipe is a keeper, with the following minor adaptions: bacon instead of salt lard and the addition of ketchup for tang.

I capitalized on the 'slow cooker' momentum and tried my hand at Osso Buco the next day. This recipe required a bit more prep (browning the shank, onions, etc.) but I wouldn't call it labour intensive. Again, the end results we delicious but I did find that the sauce could have been reduced more. I didn't want to change the recipe the first time I tried it, but I'm getting the sense that most recipes I make will need to be adjusted to use less liquid or cook longer. Or at least with Ricardo's recipes, anyway...

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the Osso Buco, but here are some pictures of the baked beans. Marc decided to dice up his omelette and drop it right into a bowl of beans and hot sauce. Me likely.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oh Happy Day!!

I was so flabbergasted about my mug going MIA that I decided to print up a 'Missing Mug' poster yesterday evening. It was primarily in jest but I figured what the hell, maybe it would lead to it's safe return. If nothing else, it was an interesting conversation starter around the office this morning.

As a result of my 'Missing Mug' campaign, someone during lunch today made a joke about the possibility that my mug was the prize for today's Valentine's Day draw in the cafeteria. His joke reminded me that I should do my daily sweep of the cafeteria coffee station in case it was returned there. Lo and behold! My mug was on the tray of washed coffee mugs! I was so pleased I nearly skipped back to my table!

Shop: J. Crew Heartbreaker Sweater in Lavender Burgundy

In honour of Valentine's day I decided to dress for the occasion in one of my recent eBay acquisitions, the J. Crew Heartbreaker Sweater in Lavender Burgundy. This pattern, and colour pallet is definitely not something I would have gone for just a few years ago, but I find that I am far more adventurous with colour/pattern in my old age. Bold colours and mixed patterns are still pretty fashionable this season so for the most part, I don't feel like I stand out like a sore thumb even when  I'm brightly adorned. Today however, I really felt that a lot of people were smiling and looking at me in the office. At first it didn't dawn on me why that was; it was only after a few comments in meetings and in the hallway that made me realize how many people had taken notice of the sweater based on it's Valentine theme. Perhaps it is a little jejune, but I think it's cute and I liked how people smiled when they saw it. I guess the true test, from a cost per use perspective, will be to see how people react when I wear it in November or some other time of the year other than Valentine's day!

Courtesy of J. Crew

Courtesy of J. Crew

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Evil Dictators (and me!)

In honour of Valentine's Day (a day which seems to polarize society into thinking they must take a stand and identify as either Pro-Valentine or Anti-Valentine), I share with you, the worlds most discomforting valentine messages. "Don't Embargo My Love" has to be my personal favourite...

From I Can has Cheezburger....I think...


I don't want to sound like a total conspiracy theorist but here it goes: Someone stole my coffee mug.

It's POSSIBLE that I misplaced it but no, I'm sure some mean jerk took it. I had it on my desk when I left the office last Friday and it was gone when I arrived on Monday morning. I checked around all the offices that I used on Friday, and even the coffee station and cafeteria but to no avail. I'm totally bummed. I know it's just a mug but it was a cool mug! I got it a few years back from the Crow Bookshop in Burlington, Vermont. I adore the bookshop, it has the ambiance and layout of the kind of quintessential bookshop that you just want to spend hours perusing. Not to mention the fact I love the graphic design of the namesake crow that adorns their store front. I was all too happy to pick up one of their branded mugs. I have a thing for quirky or interestingly designed coffee mugs.

So, in ode to my mug, I give you the image it was etched with:

The Crow Bookshop Logo

If anyone has any information on said mug, I would appreciate it. No reward, but you may be lucky enough to witness me giving hell to the person responsible. Woe to the person who gets caught drinking from my mug.....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Okay well, it makes me happier...

Sooooo, the forecast indicates that another snow storm is on it's way tonight. I'm guessing that's because tomorrow is Friday and I made plans to go out and actually do things in the world. I keep giving myself pep talks, like "it's normal that February is the coldest month of winter", and "March, in like a lion and out like a lamb!" but who am I kidding? My dry, ashy skin and static charged hair tell the truth about the weather conditions.

Sorry about that but I had to bitch just a teensy weensy bit; this winter is kicking my ass. I'm going to try and make up for it with this:

Read/Watch: The Game of Thrones dilemma

I recently started reading the Game of Thrones series and I am absolutely savouring it. Now that I have a basis of comparison, I realize how pitch perfect the adaptation of the first book was to the first season of the HBO show. I am fully up to date with the show which is two seasons in, with the third season  starting on March 31st. I am giddy with anticipation! But here is my dilemma; once I read the first and second books to catch up with the show, should I stop and wait until I have finished the 3rd season before I start the third book?

Normally the answer to this is easy because with movie/book adaptions, I prefer to read the book first. This way, I can imagine what the characters and scenery look like in my own head before seeing how someone else envisioned it. But with a serialized show like GoT, I am having a hard time deciding which version I want to treat as the 'master' version. The show is just that good. Knowing that GoT is my absolute favourite show on TV right now, I am torn about whether or not I want the read ahead and ruin the surprises that will come with each episode. I was told that the story veers so much in the second season that I probably won't have to worry about plots being ruined, but I will undoubtedly be making comparisons throughout the show. For example, during the break between the first and second seasons of The Walking Dead, I went on a blitz and read all of the comic books without really thinking it through. This put me way ahead of the show and I'm guessing this made for a frustrating experience to watch the show with me (I know Marc, I know). I have no ability to restrain myself from constantly comparing my interpretation to what is on the screen. Com-puls-ive.

Does this sound totally neurotic, or are there other bibliophiles out there that struggle with the same (first world) problems?? It's like I'm trying to pre-empt my own idiosyncratic behaviour. I have a few hundred pages to read before I make my decision, but I'm leaning towards waiting until after the third season is over...

BTW, if you respond to this, PLEASE don't ruin any of the story lines, spoilers and Heather don't mix!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shop: Banana Republic's Monique clutch in Coral

Another day, another sale at Banana Republic. Every email evokes a Pavlovian effect in me to scour the site for new goodies. I have been better about my retail spending but it's got less to do with a conscious effort to stop spending and more to do with the fact I'm not feeling particularly attractive these days (bloated and ouchie from my lovely UC*). Being in a UC flare up tends to have a direct correlation to my disinterest in clothing. You can always tell when I'm not feeling the self-esteem because my purchasing turn towards accessories. Lovely items that do not require a Small, Medium or Large size to fit into my life. One size fits all....and will continue to fit whether or not my belly bloats. So.....a 40% promo code and no interest in clothes? Jewellery, scarves and purses, oh my! I have already beaten this point to death but winter is getting to me.  I really wanted something that said 'Spring' to me so the colour of this pretty little thing really caught my eye. I love the lattice work of the leather as well as the gold tone of the hardware. At 40% off, the Monique clutch was too hard to resist. Is it too much to hope that it's arrival will bring with it some spring weather as well?

* NOTE: I will forever after refer to Ulcerative Colitis as UC, so that I avoid having to spell it and make a million typos. Besides, even typing ulcerative colitis is yucky. Boooooooo....UC sucks.

Photo courtesy of BR

Photo courtesy of BR

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Eleanor Binky Wigglebottom

Just a small sample of the oodles of bunny photos that reside on my iPhone. I can not stop gushing about how cute she is. Don't get me wrong, she's naughty and at times, just pure evil. But she can win you over with a simple hop in the air or nibble of hay. It's really interesting to see how people react when they meet her. I can see the sckepticism at first, but after watching her binky and play, I can tell people are pleasantly surprised by how fun she is.

I am in love with this little bun and boy, do I have the scratches on my forearms and chest to prove it ...she doesn't love being picked up nearly as much as I like holding her.


Listen: Not quite the soundtrack of Silver Linings Playbook

Last week I went with a friend to see Silver Linings Playbook. I enjoyed the film, particularly the awkward dynamic between the two main characters and the cadence of the dialogue. Well, that and fact I could stare at Jennifer Lawrence for nearly two hours....that girl is downright luscious. I was really hung up on a song that they used in the film. It was a song I can remember listening to a million times over as a teenager and I was 100% sure it was Led Zepplin...but how could I have forgotten about such a good song? It was killing me that I couldn't place it.... what album? what song? I was angry with myself for having forgotten it. When I got home I searched iTunes for the soundtrack only to discover that there were no Led Zep songs on it. I couldn't be THAT wrong, it had to be a Led Zep song. After a few key word searches, I discovered that I was correct; the song, which was excluded from the soundtrack was 'What is, and What Should Never Be". What a relief it was to have found the answer, I thought my brain was going to explode. I thought I was all 'Led Zep'ed out' after years of listening but I think I need to add Lep Zep IV back to my music rotation.