September 30, 2015


Me to Jarryd: "When you bake two batches of oatmeal cookies, and cook a salmon and asparagus dinner and your kitchen is STILL clean...this means you have reached culinary success!"
Hooray for multi-tasking and cleaning-as-you-go!
I feel like the cleaner your kitchen is while eating, the better your food tastes. ;)


One of my favourite Christian artists today is Francesca Battistelli.
As her music played in the background this morning, a section of her lyrics really stood out of me:

"Oh God let my heart be tender in a world so tough, I'm gonna choose to love".

For those of you who know me and who have met me, can make a fair judgement that my demeanor is more on the "tender" end of the spectrum than its opposite, "tough".

Words that I've been countlessly described as include: soft-spoken, graceful, calm, quiet, warm, and gentle.
So you must be thinking that it must be remarkably easy for me to be "tender in a world so tough", yeah?

Not really. For those of you who really know me, know that I have a bitter side to me.

I'll never forget the time that after months of living together, one of my roommates told me: "Jenny when I first met you, I thought you were the sweetest most gentlest of girls, and then I are actually quite sassy."

I could not help but wholeheartedly and amusingly agree. I can be extremely sassy, or impudent as I like to call it.
Impudent: "not showing due respect for another person".

This cheeky part of me is really always there, deep down in the moats of my heart. (Yes, my heart has moats). But it only comes out a) when I'm with someone I'm really close with, such as my hubs, my friends, sisters, parents, ect., and b) when someone is really irritating me and I want to fire at them in a passive-aggressive fashion.

Do I like this sassy part of me? No, not really...

I feel like the world is always telling us (especially women) to be tough, to never let our guard down, to build walls and always be ready to fight if we feel we're being attacked (verbally, that is).
Someone once told me that I need to "thicken my skin". They told me this probably four years ago and I still to this day can't seem to shake their little suggestion off. Do I really need "thick skin" to survive in this world?

I don't think so. Um hello? I survived culinary school, immigration, wedding planning, and landed a job as a cook all without needing to "thicken my skin". And I am still alive.

I truly believe that the strongest of people are the ones who acknowledge their hurts, fears, pains, and share it with the world. Do you really think it makes you stronger when you push your feelings under the rug? Really?

There is nothing inside of me who wants to be like those people who are constantly sarcastic, always joking, and never able to have a real conversation with you. I feel like I know way too many people like that; it drives me nuts and requires almost all of my patience to deal with them.

So like Francesca's lyrics say, I am going to choose to be tender in this tough world. And as a highly-sensitive person I'd say it's pretty easy for me.

I want to be tough as in never-wavering from my beliefs and relationship in Christ, and tender as in being open, honest, real, and soft (like my brand new slippers). :)

September 29, 2015

The Weekdays Are Here!

My weekend is over and I am SO happy about it.
I'm definitely weird in the way that I look forward to the weekdays more so than I do the weekends.

Weekends = chaos.
Weekdays = routine.

Don't get me wrong, the weekends are normally alot of fun because they are filled with exciting experiences all shared with friends and family. Fortunately I would estimate that a good 8/10 times my weekends turn out to be more fun than I ever expect them to. But it's just hard for me to cope with not knowing exactly what to expect, how late will we be staying up? How early do I have to get up? What time do I work? Will I have time to shower between this and this? Who are we seeing? Where are we seeing them? Ect.

What I love about the weekdays is that I have a general idea of what to expect from Monday to Friday. Jarryd always works 7-4. If scheduled to work--I know that I will always work from 6-2. I know that if I'm not scheduled to work, that I'll most likely be spending my mornings with coffee, Rachael Ray, and The View. And I know that my evenings will always be free for whatever we so desire! And I know that we'll always be shootin' to go to bed by 10 pm.

I heart routine almost as much as I heart NYC. Almost. ;)

Friday: I worked from 6-2. Then did some serious shoe shopping for new work shoes. I ended up choosing $65.00 memory-foamed shoes over non-slip shoes, so I will probably break an ankle one of these days at work, (but at least my feet will be incredibly comfy whilst doing so). Then we watched the season premiere of Shark Tank, because that show is AWESOME.

Saturday: Was my 14 hour work day, 6 am to 8 pm. It was agonizingly long, especially when you know it is a Saturday and all of your friends and family are enjoying themselves at home without you. What made it even longer was the fact that my co-workers and I nailed out the prep-list the day before so besides cooking off the meals, we didn't have much else to do. Sigh.

Sunday: Worked 6 am to 10 am. Then I finally went to church! Finally!! It's been much too long! After, we watched football at our place with Tim, then we all went to the in-laws for Jarryd's birthday crab fest.

Oh. My. Goodness. These were the best crabs I've ever had! Their flavour was absolutely impeccable. Eating crabs with Jarryd's family is one of my favourite things to do. We all sit around the picnic table under the shade of the magnolia tree, grab a ton of paper towels, dump a whole bushel of crabs in the centre of the table, grab hold of our mallets and get to picking! Eating crabs together is really just a social bonding experience, and if Jarryd and I ever move away from Maryland, this is one thing I'm really going to miss! Might I add, for a central-Canadian, I am pretty darn good at picking crabs! But in comparison to a Marylander, my crab-picking skills is absolute garbage. :P
Believe me, I wish I had a photo to show you but it's literally impossible to take photos while eating crabs because your hands are like elbow deep in Old Bay seasoning. It's glorious.

Oh and on top of that, my father-in-law grilled us an incredibily delicious dinner of mushroom-swiss burgers, chicken thighs, baked corn, garlic-butter green beans, and apple crisp. Can you say: bloated with pure glee? I know I can.

Monday: Worked my usual 6 am to 2 pm, and then Tim and Jarryd surprised me with tickets to my very first Baltimore Orioles game!!!! (Or as I call them, Baltimore Oreos). It was an awesome experience! Anyone who knows me, knows that I love living like a tourist in my own town/city/region/state/country/world. Camden Yards was on my mental list of ball-parks to visit (with #1 on the list being Fenway Park), and I'm so happy I finally got to see it. It's a beautiful place.

What sets it apart from other ball-parks is its abundance of brick. Doesn't it resemble a historic American university to you?
The moment you enter through the gates you find yourself on what feels like a normal city street, where you're surrounded by shops and restaurants. But really, you're inside a ball-park! How cool!
We all know I gotta wear my glasses so that I can actually see the ball.
Panorama never fails to please.
The three amigos!!
Tuesday (Today): I didn't work this morning, I got to sleep in until 9:45 (although I probably could have slept longer if I hadn't have set my alarm), I drank my coffee, and I watched my tv shows. I am without-a-doubt happy as a clam because I finally have some alone time. It has been 6 days since I've had me-time but it may as well have been 6 months. I've been over-stimulated this past weekend (it's a struggle), and I am just so content to be here in my cozy apartment by myself blogging, dreaming, planning, learning, and praying. :)

September 22, 2015

I Heart NY.

Oh New York City,

They say the third time is the charm, but you had me at the first time.

I remember when I was younger, falling in love with you a little more and more with every movie I'd watch...from Breakfast at Tiffanys, Home Alone 2, and FRIENDS, to You've Got Mail.

Every ounce of you that I walk on feels like the makings of a movie set. Every avenue, every stoop, and every cafe encompasses so much character and has potential for so much love.

You make me feel underdressed, but still simultaneously you always make every part of me feel welcome (even my country roots seem to enjoy their time here).
By the end of the day you exhaust me, you utilize every muscle of my legs that I didn't even know existed. But on the train ride home I think to myself, I could definitely do this all over again. If I could I would come right back to you tomorrow.

New York City, I just can't get enough of and your Starbucks-on-every-corner-way.
Let's do this again some time, some time soon. ;)

September 13, 2015

"A poem begins as a lump in the throat, 

a sense of wrong,

a homesickness,

a lovesickness."

-Robert Frost

September 10, 2015

A New Normal.

Good morning, friends!
I am writing to you at 10 AM. That is right, 10:00 in theeee morning. Two weeks ago this early in the day I was in the midst of my deepest sleep. But now, as Jarryd and I are going through some job/schedule changes, my wakeup is 6 AM.

The absolute worst part about getting up this early is that throughout the day I'll go through these hour long periods of total exhaustion. I'll sit on the couch in the oddest of positions and won't be able to move because my mind is in a fog and I can't think straight.
I really have to go to the bathroom...I need to get up NOW....nah....I think I'll just lie here for another hour or so and suffer.

The absolute best part about getting up this early is the morning news and talkshows on TV. I was seriously missing out on life before. I thoroughly enjoy drinking my creme brûlée coffee whilst listening to Rachael Ray yelling at her audience (in a fashion that only Rachael Ray can pull off) and the six, yes SIX, ladies of The View bickering at one another.

Do they really need six co-hosts? I mean, is it necessary? Although, I am super thrilled with the two newest co-hosts who are both believers in the Lord. Firstly, I am a huuuuge fan of Candace Cameron Bure. She is like super mom to me; confession, I am even a subscriber to her daughters Youtube channel. I am all about the Bure family. :P

Secondly, on yesterday's show Paula Faris explained what it meant to be a Born-Again Believer and she totally nailed it. It makes me so happy to see these two strong Christian women standing up for their beliefs on national television.

Anyway, in a week my work schedule will be changing from 3pm-8pm back to a 6am-2pm schedule. Lord, help me. For most, these are the dream hours; for me, not so much. At work what happens from 6-2 is that I have to prepare both breakfast and lunch, not to mention prepping ingredients for the next day's meals. It's so stressful and I'm not really looking forward to it. I mean, it's unfortunate because in general my least favourite meal of the day is breakfast, so it's hard putting love into a meal that I don't actually enjoy as much as the others.

BUT the upside to this schedule change is that Jarryd and I will have our evenings free. Meaning, we can actually make plans with anyone and everyone of whom we choose. I think this will make my new work schedule all worth it in the end. :)

Gotta go, it's time for The View.

September 9, 2015

Culinary Tip: Incorporating Frozen Blueberries into Muffins

Have you ever found an awesome blueberry muffin recipe,

pulled your--almost--forsaken stash of frozen blueberries from the freezer,

gently folded them into the muffin batter,

and felt quizzical pangs as the batter turned from a beautiful creamy golden to an unwelcome gloomy gray/green?

You probably thought to yourself: hmm, maybe as the batter gets baked under high temperature this unfortunate colour will magically disappear into thin, hot oven air.

So, you bake it until the timer dings.

You *cross your fingers*.

You take a bite, only to find that the whole muffin has turned greenish-gray

It's one of the most frustrating things to me, because it simply just does not look like the blueberry muffins you would find at a bakery. With my perfectionist tendencies, (a bittersweet personality, really), I not only want my food to taste good, but I want it to look good!

Yes the greenish-gray blueberry muffins still taste delicious, but they don't look as delicious as they potentially could, (...unless you're aiming for greenish-gray look...for some odd reason).

And remember, it's just a common fact that you don't solely eat with your mouth (taste), you eat with your nose (smell) and your EYES (sight).

So how do the bakeries do it? How do they achieve those perfect, golden blueberry muffins even while using frozen blueberries?

Truthfully, I have never baked blueberry muffins at a bakery, so I have no idea how they do it.
But, I do know how I do it! :)

1. Put frozen blueberries in a colander, place it in the sink and run it under cold water. Do this until they thaw and the purpley-pink juice ceases to drain.

2. Lay the blueberries out onto a paper towel/cloth and pat to dry.

3. Place blueberries in a bowl, sprinkle with flour, and toss them around until all of the blueberries are evenly coated with the flour.

4. Gently fold them into your muffin batter and continue on normally with your recipe.

As you can see from my photo above, this method seriously works! Also, hindsight teaches us alot of things; and right now, hindsight is teaching me that I should have added way more blueberries than the recipe called for!

Anyway, I hope this helped some of you to feel confident in using up some of those freezer blueberries leftover from the summer! Yay for no more greenish-gray muffins! I'll eat to that ;)

September 4, 2015

Our New Home Tour (Apartment #2)

After a month of dwelling in our new apartment, it is finally time to share some photos of the place that I just loooove to come home to! <3

Selfie with our new apartment in the back! :)
For those of you who don't know, Jarryd and I's very first apartment was an above-garage, privately owned apartment. When we signed the lease and moved in after we got married in June of 2014, we were THRILLED to move in. Finally a place of our very own! We were very thankful to God for providing us a home with cheap rent, which suited our needs perfectly within a season of endless job hunting and a humble lifestyle of one income.

What we have learned is that your newlywed home is a fantastic time to realize what you want and DON'T want in your next home. It's not like you intentionally scope out your apartment and make a list of things you absolutely despise. It is something you realize as the weeks turn into months. Certain experiences just begin to build up and build up and eventually you just cannot take it anymore. You NEED to move out. A few prime examples for us was the poor insulation, torn window screens, and the endless stream of bugs. Oh my goodness, just writing out that previous sentence gets me all riled up.

So anyway, enough about that old place. By the grace of God, we were able to find the perfect apartment for us:
  • Closer to both of our work places.
  • Brand-spankin'-new. Built this year (January 2015)!
  • Quiet area surrounded by lots of trees.
  • Super close to so many shops and restaurants (although, still too far from Target, in my books).
  • An awesome management landlord team. (We all know how important that is!)
  • Brand new, energy-efficient appliances, and central air. (This is a HUGE deal)!!
  • Friendly neighbours.
  • Breezeway entries.
  • Our apartment is on the second floor, which honestly was a deal-breaker for me. You couldn't pay me to live in the first floor of an apartment complex.
With that said, it's time for the big reveal! Forewarning: the photos that I am about to show you were taken in the second week of August, when we had literally just finished unpacking, putting things in their rightful places, and making it look squeaky clean! So furniture and decor-wise, the photos will portray the bare minimum of what we own. (So prepare to see alot of clean, white walls, haha)!
But now, almost a month later we have added a few things here and there, which actually have made a huge difference; and I cannot wait to show you those updates one of these days (not today).

But for now, here we goooooo:
Here is our humble entrance (the middle door is our front door).
When you open the door to the left of our front door, you will find our laundry closet! Since this photo we have bought ourselves a washer for only $299, brand new too!
To the right of our front door, is our coat closet. YES. A coat closet. To me, there's nothing worse than having all of your gross, dirty shoes on display. I am more than happy to hide them away here. :)
The grand view of the kitchen.
I love our new kitchen, so much. It has plenty of counter space, cabinet storage, and having an island is great. And yes, that office chair is a makeshift bar stool, for now. :P
Our little coffee corner, as I like to call it. Unfortunately, the mechanical closet to the right blocks alot of the natural sunlight coming in, so it gets a little dark at times. 
Here is what it looks like when the sun has set and the kitchen lights need to be turned on. Also, new placemats are perfect for an island!

My FAVOURITE FAVOURITE FAVOURITE part of our kitchen, an actual dishwasher. When we moved in, Jarryd said "Yay! Now we have two dishwashers!" *looks at me* How does he get away with comments like that? :P But for real, having a dishwasher has changed my life. 
A different view. Also, our sink has a garburator which I love. It's not only practical, but it's fun to use too!
There's alotta love goin' on in this kitchen. :)
Butter dish, sugar bowl, and salt & pepper shakers. Some of my favourite little knicky-knackers.

The wooden white organizer I bought at Home Goods, and it's sooo handy. It's the perfect place to put all of our mail, pens, keys, and apparently wine corks? 
A larger view of the main room.
Our living room! I can't wait to show you the updated version!
A nice, big window. :) 
As you can see, I love my Tiffany blue.
Our makeshift tv stand. And yes, I am watching Property Brothers. We just got cable so I'm practically glued to HGTV. (His hair is awful, right?) 
Little knick knacks.
So many books and frames with nowhere to go at the time. It was quite an eye sore.  
Artwork that Jarryd surprisingly loved.
Here is the view from our living room window. One of my favourite things is how much of the sky we can see from our place. It definitely has an open feel to it. It also helps that the buildings are beautiful!
Here is our guest bathroom! I would call it a "Powder Room", but it actually has a shower tub! It's placed right next to the guest bedroom, which is fantastic for our future guests to enjoy. :) 
My collection of hotel shampoos, body washes, and conditioners. :) Something I love about having two bathrooms is that the guest bathroom is ALWAYS clean, and when you have unexpected company you don't have to stress about how dirty the bathroom might be. 
The guest bedroom! At the time this room was a total chaos, but now I have it all organized and it's ready for a bed! :) 
The guest bedroom features a huuuuge closet! Bonus!! Finally somewhere to put all of our suitcases.
Our bedroom. I am just in love with this room. I bought brand new bedding (comforter set from Kmart for $48, and sheet set from Target). The sheets are my dream Tiffany blue colour!! And this room is just sooo bright, I love it!
So cozy :)
Bedside table with new lamps from Target.

I'm a huge fan of having wedding photos beside the bed.
The view into our ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet.
Our walk-in closet. It has never been a main priority for me to have a walk-in closet, I'd much rather have other things. But I gotta say, it's quite nice to have all of this space.
So many colours and patterns.
Our bathroom. It is such a luxury to have a sink with cabinet storage underneath. Finally, a place for all of the cleaning products, toilet paper, hair products, ect.
Yeah...this photo is a month old and even now this situation is still going on! I just don't know where to put it! 
And our shower tub!
I hope you enjoyed this photo tour, and we would looooove to have you stay with us in our guest bedroom! :)