Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions for 2010

Inspired by Rebecca's post I have decided I should also write down some of my resolutions for the new year. I usually never bother with any since let's be serious, when do you ever see them through?  But this year I'm feeling kind of inspired, so here we go:

1. Become a runner and run in the Sun Run.  This is inspired by the fact that two different people I know who run marathons have mistaken me for a fellow runner.  I'm feeling like 'Hey, I could be a runner.' Now all I need is a pair of running shoes.

2. Do yoga once a week.

3. Buy reusable bags for carrying produce and use them.

4. Learn how to use J's camera so I can start putting better pictures on this blog. I'm not sure how he'll feel about that one:)

5. Finish reading Anna Karenina. Ha! Yeah two years after I started I still don't see that happening.

6. Learn how to make something new on my loom and buy a double heddle kit.

7. Stay in the moment as much as I can.

Happy new year to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Sitting in my robe still at 1:30 pm, drinking coffee. I am definitely making the most of this vacation. Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Almost there...

I can feel it, I'm on the home stretch.  14 hours more of work to go and I'm on vacation!  One whole week of absolutely nothing to do (as in nothing I have to do) in lovely, chilly Kamloops.  This month has flown by and I can hardly believe that I find myself here on Christmas Eve morning.  Returning to shift work, job interview travels, working overtime, last minute Christmas crafts, Christmas baking, and throwing our family's Christmas dinner yesterday, not to mention trying to find some time to visit with friends and family.  It has been a full month. 

But even all that work has not dampened my festive spirit.  One of my favourite things this past couple years has been inventing new traditions with James.  Even though this is only our third married Christmas, I get excited about watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, or giving each other ornaments every year. 

The problem is, although I like to dream about doing these things, I'm not so good at executing them.  After decreeing that exchanging ornaments should be a tradition so we could build up our measly ornament collection, I promptly forgot all about it the next year.  James, wonderful husband that he is, did not forget.  This year, having been shamed by my poor performance last year, I was set on finding the perfect one... but is it possible to find cute ornaments outside of craft fairs?  I couldn't.  And I forgot to look at the one craft fair I went to this year.  Oops.  And as for It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, well I'm working all night.  Unless I can convince James to stop by work, it isn't going to be happening.  But that's OK, they'll be plenty of time for our Christams traditions after Christmas is over.

So what are some of your favourite new or old traditions?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And then there were two.

A post for Rachel.

Yup, now I have a baby Le Creuset.  Oh my.  My mom kindly bought me a 2-something qt french oven for Christmas.  When she discovered that I had just bought my own, she thought she would have to return it and get me a different gift.  I kind of thought that I would want to return it too.  That is until I opened up the box and cried out 'I'm keeping it!'.  It was just way too pretty and cute to return.  But since I had already opened the gift up, Mom let me take it home early.  Merry Christmas to me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My favourite place to stay...

A week ago I was in Edmonton for a job interview.  Definitely NOT fun.  But I did get to spend the night at Rachel's place, and she is perhaps the best hostess in the world.  Fresh towels and macaroons from the Duchess bakery waiting on my pillow.  Treats from Trader Joes, wine, and The Duchess waiting to keep me full while knitting.  And of course, a fantastic dinner with great conversation that helped me forget I was in for a long, stressful day the next morning.  Thanks Rach!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some Christmas-y thoughts...

Can someone explain to me how the heck it is already December 12?  This month is just flying by, and every day when I turn another box around in my advent calendar, I think to myself 'Nooo!  Not another day gone... I want it back!'.  OK, maybe I'm being slightly melodramatic, but I really wish I could be savoring this season a bit more before it's over and we're back to our dreary lives in January.

Work has been hectic this week (nights, overtime), plus flying to Edmonton (so so so cold) for a couple days also contributed to the whirlwind feel.  But even so I've managed to put up our cute new tree, listen to approximately 20 hours of Christmas music (or so it seems), send out 80% of my Christmas cards, and watch the super awesome movie The Santa Clause with dear friends while eating goodies imported from Trader Joes.  Here's to squeezing in some Christmas wherever you can!

In the meantime, while stuck at work, I've been dreaming up gifts for people with a little help from my blog roll.  A Cup of Jo has been posting the greatest gift ideas, along with the cutest gift categories. 

Gift Guide Part #2: Your Husband Who Smells Like Musk and Tells You Bedtime Stories Every Night.

Gift Guide Part #6: Your British Dad Who Makes Peppery Soups and Isn't Scared of Anything (Even Really Scary Things). 

Was talking about these last night with Rebecca, while her adorable son slept in the other room.  And today, what category should appear on A Cup of Jo?

Gift Guide Part #7: Your Lovely Friend Who Just Had an Adorable Rosy-Cheeked Baby.

 I've also been mentally setting my Christmas table with a little help from frolic!

Doesn't this just make you want to throw a Christmas breakfast?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Oh Celestial Seasonings

Sipping tension tamer tea out of my christmas mug... a great way to end the day.  But does anyone else find the illustration on the cover of the tea a little odd?  Am I supposed to feel like the princess?  Is the tea the princess?  Pretty sure my tension is the dragon.  Anyway it makes me laugh every time, which reduces my tension, so I guess it's doing its job.

Oh, and if you've never heard about my trip to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory, ask me to tell you sometime.  It is a wonderful, magical place and there is a whole room filled with mint that makes your eyes water and clears out your sinuses when you step in.  Plus, you can try any kind of tea you want.  Plus, the factory is on Sleepy Time Drive... how cute is that?

Feels like old times...

Well after being a day worker for the past three months, I have returned to shift work.  I was really looking forward to my first day off during the week to get started on my Christmas activities.  Christmas cards, decorating the house, knitting, shopping... but instead it was a day of studying for a test I have to take next week.  Yuck.  Although it really took me back to my student days, because 5 years ago this was exactly what I would have been doing at the beginning of December.  Sitting around in PJs all day, thinking about how great it will be when the studying is over and the fun can begin.

Still, I managed to bring up our decorations from storage, so the advent calendar is up even though it's not filled with any goodies yet.  Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yes please!

Check out this amazing place in the country.  I was telling James the other day that I would love to live in the middle of the woods someday, just as long as it's within 20 minutes of the city centre.  But for this place, I might put up with 30 minutes.

You can see more of the ridiculous gorgeousness of this place at the selby.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Le Creuset and I

It was such a rainy and cold weekend.  We had friends staying at our place, and even still the most we could make ourselves do was walk down the block to the Indian restaurant, and then quickly run home for cards and Scattegories.  But today, the sun came out for a few minutes while we were walking down West 4th, and I stumbled across the Le Creuset 5 L pot I've been coveting on sale!  Suddenly, this was the best weekend ever.

I was so happy that I didn't even mind that they didn't have the colour I wanted.  But then the sales girl overheard me talking and offered to call around and see if anyone else had the Caribbean Blue, and sure enough another store in Vancouver did.

So here it is, my new love in the kitchen, helping me make dinner.  I think it's going to be nothing but soups and stews for the rest of the winter!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

wish I was a french girl...

I just spent an entire weekend speaking French at the UBC French immersion weekend.  Besides being very exhausting, and leading to me eating way too many of the complementary croissants, it fit perfectly with my new obsession with all things French.  I am also helped out in this by one of my new favourite blogs (thanks google reader!) A Cup of Jo.  She has been posting links to her current project called Experience Parisienne, where bloggers look for the Parisian experience in American cities.  So fun.

What fun blogs has google reader sent you to lately?

shopaholic falls off the wagon

But wouldn't you?  I found this dress at Circle Craft last week and fell a little bit in love.  And when I stumbled across it again today at Planet Claire in Gastown at 40% off, I was done.  Now I just need some reason to wear it.

Now, clearly I broke a few of my rules of the fast.  I was in a store, with my credit card, and buying clothes.  All I can say is I had a moment of weakness.  Hopefully this will be the last big stumble I have to tell you about in the remaining 15 days, 3 hours, and 38 minutes of this fast.  If not, well I don't know what will happen... perhaps I'll have to start this whole experiment over again in December, or even worse January.  Oh no!  Not sale season!  I'd better get my act together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a little more about my loom...

This year for the first time ever I've decided to make presents for Christmas.  Usually, I rebel against setting deadlines for myself like Christmas to finish projects.  I mean who needs that pressure?  But this year I decided to be bold and to make not one, but five separate gifts... eek!  Luckily, I have my secret weapon... the Ashford Knitters Loom.  Since I've had a few questions about what it actually looks like, here are some pics where you can see the whole thing.

Also, does anyone else have a husband who likes to bring home the weirdest thing he can find from the produce store?  Mine loves to look for the craziest looking fruit or vegetable, that neither of us knows what to do with, and take it home to take up space in our teeny, tiny fridge.

This is what he brought home the other day.  Now obviously, I tease him mercilessly about this quirk, and after cutting this up I got to hear the phrase I love most of all... "Alyssa, I think you were right".   It's called a Pomelo, and actually after I forced him to eat it, James decided it wasn't so bad.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping (not pictured), then knitting and football.  Just a typical Sunday in our house these days.

The soup we made was Pioneer Woman's Carrot and Squash Curry Soup.  Only there were no summer squash (I wonder why?) at the market, so we used butternut squash instead.  I have never ever cooked one before, but after today I am a convert.  So much easier to use than I thought it'd be and tasty!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


So remember this post about my new Senioritas?  Well I finally got around to using the colour Suzi Skis the Pyrenees a few weeks ago, and it's my new love.  It looks like black in the bottle, but once you get it on it's this very dark matte, grey.  I love how OPI nail polish always has such depth.  Anyways, I've been wearing it the past couple weeks, and today as I was arriving at work a woman I work with commented to me 'Oh, you're still wearing your Halloween nail polish'.  I replied 'Nope, this is my everyday'.  She's quite a pulled together, stylish woman.  Perhaps that was her polite way of telling me almost black nails are not work appropriate?  If it was, I definitely chose to ignore that message.  Super dark nails at work make me feel a bit rebellious, which I am so not.  Like 'by day I'm a buttoned down meteorologist,  but by night...', well you get the picture.

Here is the lovely polish, with my horrible, chipped manicure.  And if you think doing self-photographed hand modeling is easy, you should think again.  There were many, many botched attempts before I got this gem.  Ha!

In other news, I'm on the fast!  The shopping fast to be precise.  No going into stores (much), and no buying any clothes for the month of November!  To help with this I actually started leaving my credit card at home when I got work so as not to be tempted on my way home.  I'm a nut job.  Funny thing is, shopping is all I can think about but only because I've told myself I'm NOT allowed to shop.

Instead of shopping, I have been reading about shopping.  Healthy choice, right?  Well remember these shoes?  I had decided to return them, only to realize that Winners only has a 10 day return policy.  What the what?  So I was feeling kind of sad about that, since they're sandals and it's winter.  Then I stumbled across this pic in one of my reader recommended blogs A Cup of Jo.  Tights.  What a great idea!  Now I just need a skirt...

From's Six Perfect Outfits for Fall

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's WAY too early for Christmas...

But I don't care!  I was SO excited to see that the Christmas decorations were up at Starbucks on my way to work this morning, because it meant the return of the Gingerbread Latte.  Oh how I missed you friend.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

On our walk on Halloween...

James took this last one... ha ha, those pesky geese finally got what was coming to them!  Happy Halloween day everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My name is Alyssa, and I'm a shopaholic...

So, I may have shared before how I have this slight little problem with shopping.  I can't seem to stop.  My biggest problem is clothes, and somehow walking home along Robson Street does not help.  Lately I've been feeling kind of fed up with myself for this.  I have a bag full of barely worn clothes I bought just last fall that I'm giving away, and yet I still feel like I need so much more.  Ugh!  I think the month of November is going to be a fast from shopping.

But before that happens I've been busy getting sucked in by marketing schemes.  I found this lovely wool vest at Banana Republic, but convinced myself that it was too expensive and managed to leave the store.  

What shows up in my inbox a couple days later?  A 25% off coupon for BR.  How am I supposed to resist?  I couldn't.  And while I was there I found this sweater in navy/grey and these navy cord pants.  

The sweater I bought and I love.  It kind of reminds me of a Joan from Mad Men collar, and trying to look like any female character on Mad Men is sort of a new obsession of mine.  But I managed to convince myself that the skinny cords are not needed, and left them behind.

Well a couple days later at the Gap, I find the same cords for $60 and this lovely sweater.  I summoned all my will power, and walked out of the store because I know that you don't buy full priced at the Gap.  So then today, I'm walking by the Gap and they have this new thing called sprize.  If you buy something at full price, and then it goes on sale in the next 45 days, they will automatically put the difference on your account, and then you can use that for other purchases.  Well, that's all it took.  Sigh.  Why am I falling for all their tricks? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No Haircuts For Me ...

I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but as soon as I decide to cut my hair I all of a sudden proceed to have a string of love-my-hair days.  This plunges me into a pit of doubt, "Why would I want to change my hair when it's working so great?" I ask myself.  Well that's what I was thinking today as I was on my way to the hairdressers to get a drastically different haircut (short! red!) than any I've ever had before.  Only when I arrived, he wasn't there, and rather than trust a stranger (who I'm sure is very good) with this big life change, I decided to put it off (maybe forever).  The only problem was, now I was SO sad that I didn't get new hair and had an afternoon with nothing to do.  Should I go home and tackle the pile of weaving/knitting that is building up ahead of Christmas?  Heck no!  I should play with red lipstick and take "artsy" - emphasis on the quotations - photos of myself a la 14 year old Alyssa.  Oh dear, what must the man cleaning windows next door have thought of me?  On second thought, why was he staring through the windows?  Hmm..

In the past these photos would never seen the light of day, but since I've decided this blog needs a) more photos and b) more posts, AND since I've discovered the 'edit' button in iphoto, lets share!

I guess I should clean my mirror more often.


Blurry photography!  This was my 'let's hang the camera and swing it' experiment.  It's worse than sitting in the third row at Paranormal Activity (which I happened to do yesterday).

Ok, that's about all I can handle sharing right now.  I don't think I'll be quitting my day job soon.  But the upside is I've totally forgotten my lack of haircut disappointment.

Monday, October 19, 2009


It seemed like ages since I had a weekend at home, so when this past one finally rolled around I wanted to make the most of it.  Saturday morning was for coffee, pancakes and the weekend Globe and Mail.  Followed by cleaning the bathroom, which turned into trying to find a place to put things in the crowded hall closets, which turned into pulling out everything in the hall closets and a mass organizing/purging session (with lots of help from James).  Oh my, that was an eye opener.  Emptying out the shoes closet I discovered about 10 pairs of shoes or sandals that I didn't even know I had.  James was pretty tired of me exclaiming "I still have these?!?" by the end of it.  We cleaned up just in time to head out in the pouring rain to meet my parents for a screening of This Way of Life and Chinese at Chonqing.

Sunday started off relaxed, but then it turned into grocery shopping, laundry, and a very frustrating weaving session that ended with me taking it all apart and putting away the loom.  Whew, after all that I felt so exhausted I needed another weekend just to recover.  Sigh, I guess it's only 5 days away, right?

Luckily we got to have dinner with some friends who just returned to town, a nice reward after all that hard work.  And this amazing bouquet somehow ended up in my apartment after they left.  What good friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Keep or Return...

that is the question.  Found these at winners while shopping with my mom.  Funky Frye heels, and as you can see from the pic, a little on the expensive side but such soft, lovely leather.  So here's the question, do I keep them or return them?  I cannot decide if they are my new loves or a big mistake.  Help please!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My First Scarves

Well, as you can tell I've been busy with the Ashford Knitters Loom. I have made four scarves so far, and am getting a little nervous that I might become one of those people, you know the ones with closets full of completed knitting/sewing/jewelry etc. that they have nothing to do with. It is a danger since I caved at the end of my class and bought my very own loom!

Luckily, I've been working on a knitting project to slow me down a bit over the past couple weeks... a baby sweater for my friend Rebecca's son. A few years ago I tried knitting a sweater for myself and it was a disaster... I used gross acrylic yarn, was bored by so much dull stockinette stitch, and it was bulky so I never, ever wore it. After that I said to myself that I'd proved that I could make a sweater if I wanted, and therefor never had to do it again. Well, I didn't count on baby sweaters... specifically this adorable one that Rebecca asked if I could make for her. Well here it is! I had so much fun making this that now I'm trying to figure out how I can make a big kid version for myself!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some thoughts...

I flew to Edmonton yesterday for a job interview. Then I flew home that evening. When I was getting on the plane in the morning, I noticed a small rip in my seat. And on the return flight, there it was again! I sat on the same seat, on the same plane both ways! Crazy. Also, it was very strange to be in a different city, just for one day. Had it been any other city, I would have felt like quite the jet setter ( ha ha). But it was worth it just to get to have burgers with Rachel and Dallas. I wish my work would pay for that more often.

So while I was flying, I was of course watching TLC. Here are some of my new reasons for wishing we had more than basic cable.

~ My Monkey Baby (What? And furthermore, WHAT?)
~Toddlers and Tiaras (The little kid pageant has a bathing suit section?!? What is wrong with the world???)
~Tiara King (Because one beauty pageant show wasn't enough.)
~Cake Boss (Scary big guy makes beautiful cakes, enough said.)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed we get a plane with TVs for our flight to Montreal this weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A new hobby

... or a twist to an old one. I'm taking a Weaving for Knitters class and today was the first day. After a couple hours at the yarn store and maybe 30 minutes at home, my scarf is done! Wow, they were not joking when they said this was fast. If only I knew how to get the scarf off the loom, I could be starting my second scarf by now, but I guess I'll have to go do the chores I planned on avoiding all day in favour of sitting on the deck with the loom.

And in other news, I finally broke down and bought a 'tree' for my jewelry and organized my dresser. And just in time for my beautiful Stella and Dot stuff to arrive. I meant to take before and after shots of my dresser to show what an improvement this was, but I forgot. But trust me, this is WAY better. I find that I'll get excited about fixing up little corners of my place, but then quickly loose steam and forget about it (which is why our TV is still sitting on an old, gross, microwave stand). So I'm posting this picture to remind myself how nice it feels to take an ugly corner and make it something you enjoy looking at.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I'm loving right now...

The OPI Spain collection. I really love OPI nail polish, but really has anyone ever finished an entire bottle? So when I saw this package of mini nail polishes I was sold. Still, when I got home I was feeling a little silly since these were probably none of the colours I would have chosen on my own. I forced myself to paint my toes with the bright pink (what I thought would be my least favourite colour), and much to my surprise I actually love it! Can't wait to try out the others.

Monday, August 10, 2009


It was rainy and cold today, the first time in a very long time ( I could tell you exactly how long but then this blog would be too much like my work), and I started to get excited about the fact that fall is just around the corner. September always reminds me of new beginnings, a new school year, new teachers, new school supplies, a new schedule to learn. Well, not for me for the past few years since my school days ended and I joined the 'real world'. And even though not going back to school in the fall has allowed me to discover how much I truly love the season, in a way that I couldn't when it was wrapped up with the anxiety of a new school year and the end of summer vacations and freedom, I still miss the change and excitement that comes from starting something new.

But not this year. This year, I DO get to start something new. Starting September and going until December it looks like I will be doing a different job at work, and this means no shift work for three whole months! And that means only one thing ... I can sign up for classes! I haven't even heard 100% that the job is mine yet, and already I've started signing up for things. I was already taking intermediate sailing classes on Saturdays, but now I've also signed up for a weaving for knitters class on Sundays. Plus there are french classes, cooking classes, spinning classes, exercise classes, oh my! So many different activities that I could never do because of my crazy work schedule are now open to me for three whole months. I think there a lot of things I'll miss about shift work, but the chance to sign up for classes again... this is going to be fun.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Back on the Bandwagon: An Update

So, right after I posted how whenever I watch too much of a TV show I start to sound like the characters, the following scene occurred in my living room.

And I must add that James and I have been watching multiple episodes of The Wire every night this past week. For those who don't know, the show is about a gang of drug dealers in Baltimore, and the cops who are trying to catch them.

James and Alyssa sit discussing the living situation of some friends.

J: Yeah, it's too bad that their parents are living so far away.
A: (Thoughtfully) Yeah, that's straight up unfortunate.
J Laughs at A for the next 20 minutes.
End Scene

My Morning Cup

My dad is a potter. When I was young, I never realized that it wasn't the norm to have cupboards filled with mismatched pottery made by your father and his friends. It started to sink in as I grew older, that other people had matching dish sets made uniform by machines, and I started to think that maybe I preferred it that way.

I remember once, asking my dad why on earth he had bought home yet another mug from some friends pottery sale when we could barely close the cupboard as it was. He told me that it was good for your health to have an emotional attachment to the dishes you eat and drink off of. That thinking kind and happy thoughts about the person who had created these mugs while he had his morning coffee was good for his heart.

That idea has stuck with me. Although I cannot afford a cupboard full of handmade stoneware at this point in my life, I treasure all the pieces I have... the casts offs from my parents, the wedding tea set from friends, and the few odds and ends we have bought ourselves.

This cup is my favorite. It was a Christmas gift from James to replace another cup he broke (although growing up with an abundance of pottery in a kitchen with hard ceramic tile floors means I don't get too broken up when things get, well broken up:) Anyways, this is my morning coffee cup. It was made by a friend of my parents who I don't really know, but I feel like the enjoyment I get from its beauty makes up for that. When I drink coffee in the morning from this cup, I feel like it's good for my soul.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Back on the bandwagon...

Back in April, I decided to start updating the blog again. I had the best of intentions, and even wrote a fairly long post for it, but one thing led to another and the post was never posted. Well, I just found it again... and it reminded me that Yes, I SHOULD start writing on my blog again. However, I am still the same lazy blogger that I've always been, so rather than starting with a fresh post, here's what I felt like sharing with you back on April 10, 2009.

Censoring the Status…

So, I've been noticing that my internal monologue is very heavily influenced by the the things I read/watch/hear. Maybe this happens to everyone, or maybe I'm just a natural imitator. I do tend to start sounding like the people I hang around with… which can be good or bad. When hanging around intellectuals makes me sound smarter than I am, good. When being around my husband and his goofy laugh makes me start to 'in-laugh' too, not so good. When hanging around anyone with an accent that I unconsciously adopt and then butcher, bad - and possibly insulting to other cultures. So the same thing happens with the thoughts that are constantly running through my mind. Like when I was watching WAY too much Sex and the City because my roommate had all the seasons on DVD, I found myself walking around thinking things like "In a city like Vancouver, I couldn't help but wonder… should I have tuna melts or take out sushi for dinner?"

Well lately, I have started to think my thoughts as status updates. Yes, facebook status updates are constantly running through my mind. You may find yourself thinking "What? She doesn't even update her status". It's true. And I'm not even on Twitter! But the reason I don't update my status is not that I can't think of what to say, it's that I'm constantly thinking of status updates and then censoring myself. Everything is either too boring/harsh/true/personal… it's a funny thing to phrase your thoughts as public announcements. And it's interesting how little I think in my mind that I'm actually willing to say out loud.

So, here are a few 'updates' I remember from over my lunch today that I don't mind sharing...

Alyssa is psyched to find out that a Tim's roll up the rim free coffee, means ANY SIZE YOU WANT!!!

Alyssa is amazed that the Spanish tourist thinks he can pay for his $2 soup with a US 100 dollar bill and get the change in American money. What country works that way?

Alyssa just remembered the Euro.

Alyssa is pretty sure that she's about to win the car from the roll up the rim cup she got…oh no, she just doubted it.

Alyssa did not win but feels OK with that.

Alyssa is regretting the extra large.