January 31, 2016

January's End.

The month of January ended just swimmingly!

Of course I worked all weekend (what else is knew?), but on Sunday my workplace didn't have any guests scheduled for lunch, which meant I got to leave at 10 AM! Which meant, that yes, I could go to church with my husband!

WOW! (!!!)

Going to church together as a couple has been quite a foreign concept since I started this job--10 months ago.
Last December we started attending a new church, and between my work schedule and our Christmas trip to Canada, we've been going as often as we can! We love it!
It truly felt awesome being able to attend church and not have to worry about rushing home so I can quickly get changed and go work the lunch and dinner shift. (You don't know how great Sundays are until they get snatched from you--so to my readers who are lucky enough, enjoy them for me!!)

So after the church service, we realized: HEY! The snow is melting (remember Winter Storm Jonas Bro?), the sun is shining, and we are free as birds today! Let's go somewhere new!

Actually, it wasn't WE who said this, it was me. Therefore, I take full credit for our awesome Sunday adventure. With a little help from Yelp and Zomato, we picked out a restaurant in Lancaster, PA.
I love Pennsylvania. The drive through Amish Country never fails to be absolutely stunning. AND we saw over 10 horse and buggies! (We made a game of it, 'cuz why not?)
Yes, that silo is filled with their own house-made beer.
Isn't even just the sign beautiful in itself?
We got to sit right next to the brewers which was an atmospherical experience.
For $9.00 we got to try 6 (5 oz) glasses of different beers that they brew. (What a deal!) It was super fun tasting them all and deciding on our favourites--and least favourites. Surprisingly, I liked the Strawberry Wheat beer (I was shocked that I actually loved it)! And as for my least favourite, it was probably the Imperial Jo Espresso Stout. But for real, beer that is delivered to you on a paddle? Yes please.
My mushroom, caramelized onion, and ricotta pizza.
We also ordered Firecracker Shrimp which was so absolutely amazing that we inhaled it before I could even take a photo. Oopsie. :D
My hott date! He appears all calm and serious here, but the whole time he was actually such a goof. Baha! :)
OK, this caramel pecan pie was ALL Jarryd's idea. I had nothing to do with it. But it was oh so tasty!
After. Also, take note: they have copper topped tables. COPPER. I love it!

We then ended the date with a George Strait sing-a-long in the car ride home. Ahhh, country.

This was honestly one of the most fun dates we've ever had, probably because it was the first date we'd been on in WAY too long. Cozying up on the couch binging on Gilmore Girls just doesn't count anymore. 
It was such an awesome Sunday afternoon, and we both cannot wait to go back to Lancaster Brewing Company!! I encourage everyone to go on dates! Drive out to new cities and try new restaurants! As long as you've got some good company with you, it's totally worth the splurge. :)

Toodles, January! You were snowy, adventurous, and fun! :)

January 28, 2016

River of Tears.

I can't stop listening to this song. It's typical of me to be drawn heavyhearted piano ballads. But the more I listen to it, the more I wish I had written it first. And the more I listen to it, I just find myself interpreting it different than how I'm sure it was meant to be interpreted.

I haven't asked Alessia Cara (the artist) if it was written after a relationship breakup, but I don't think I need to; it is for sure a breakup song.

Don't worry, I'm not experiencing a relationship breakup; thankfully, I cannot relate to the song in that regard. Actually, I find that it perfectly tells the story of my relationship with my--sinful--flesh.
My flesh keeps convincing me that it's going to save me. It's going to sculpt me and make me into something new and beautiful, inside out. My flesh keeps promising me that it is all I need and that I don't need anything else to make me whole.
I keep buying into the promises and lies and before I know it, this sculpture it has created of me is now in pieces, broken. My flesh essentially lies to me, over and over again; and of course, I keep falling for it and letting it happen over and over again.

You might be thinking, "how on earth did she get that out of the song?! That's so crazy." And that is ok if you think that. The beauty of music is that you can take it and mold it any which way you so desire. And that is how I choose to mold this song.

I listen to songs to fit the "mood" I'm in, not change the "mood" I'm in. And right now, this battle between the Holy Spirit inside of me and my flesh is in full swing. Sometimes all the time it feels like my flesh is enveloped around my body a little too tight.

"Still got the flowers that you sent
And the note you wrote that said we're meant to be forever
I keep them all as evidence
In a drawer under the mirror, filled with empty promises
I don't know why
I keep letting you lie to me
Hard as I try
It seems I can't break away
I thought that you would be the hero
Come and save the day
But you're a villain
Your sins unforgiven

I'm going down, and you have watched me drown
In a river of tears, lost beneath the stream
Under the waves, I've found the strength to say
The river of tears has washed me clean
Go 'head and wish me well
I'll cry a wishing well
I'll fly before I fail
I'll set sail and drift away
So I won't need you here
Love sinks and hope floats
In a river of tears
In a river of tears

I catch your scent in every wind
And I recall the love we had
I can't pretend that I don't miss you
Every now and then
But the hurt is for the better
Moving on, it's now or never
Lost in the tide, I can't keep my pillows dry
Like there's a sea in my eyes
I realize that sometimes love brings you flowers
Then it builds you coffins
And far too often
We end up falling to our demise

I'm going down, and you have watched me drown
In a river of tears, lost beneath the stream
Under the waves, I've found the strength to say
The river of tears has washed me clean
Go 'head and wish me well
I'll cry a wishing well
I'll fly before I fail
I'll set sail and drift away
So I won't need you here
Love sinks and hope floats
In a river of tears
In a river of tears

Cry me a river, build myself a bridge
I'm over this, can't let memories become the death of me
I'm glad to see everything that you are
And I believe that you are everything I needed
But I don't need no more"

January 26, 2016

My DIY Hutch Makeover.

Guess what? I did a DIY project!
I know, it's crazy. (Pigs must be flying right now!)

A few months after Jarryd and I got married and moved into our first apartment, my father-in-law bought an old hutch at an antique auction. This hutch--one that is in great solid condition, might I add--went for only $35.00! Uhhh-mazing!

AND, he decided to give to us because we had hardly any furniture in our newlywed apartment. I was flattered, absolutely. But at the same time I felt pretty hesitant to take it home with us because I am not a huge lover of antique dark wood pieces. Nothing against it, to each his own, but my style is a total 180 from that. I love brights, whites, and lights! Anything that brightens up a room is what my true heart believes in.

Despite my hesitancy, we brought it home and we were actually really were happy to have it. Because it is a huge piece of furniture, it is a fabulous storage piece!

But it scared me.
It was like this big dark thing hovering over me as I would innocently watch tv. (I know it doesn't look that scary in the above photos, but that is because I did you a favour and brightened them with iPhoto. You're welcome!)

Then, when we moved into our two-bedroom apartment this past August, we even hid it in our spare bedroom; a room that hardly sees human life.

With it being "out of sight, out of mind" I almost forgot about! Then noticed on Pinterest a series of "hutch makeovers". I quickly realized, hutches were IN...and they looked GOOD. Hmmm...
I mean, I didn't LOVE them enough to actually go out hunting for them at thrift stores, but I figured since I already had one at my "disposal", why not make the most out of it?

All this time I had a fear that antiquer-people would come into my home and attack me for even flirting with the idea of painting over the dark wood. But I finally took control of my life, because I am the one who has to live with this thing. I am the one who has to walk by this thing every day and acknowledge its presence! So I was finally going to do something about it!

One of my best friends up in Canada made-over her hutch into this gorgeous seafoam green colour, and it looked amazing!! So I had to ask, "how how how HOW did you do it?!"

The answer was--and always will be from now on--:

Chalk paint eliminates the need for sanding. And seeing as I am not an avid DIYer, I wasn't about to go buy an electric sander. Also having to sand this huge hutch down by hand with just a few sheets of flimsy sandpaper would be about as fun as sanding my eyes out. From there on out I knew that chalk paint was a gift from the heavens above.

A determined woman, I went to Lowe's and picked up:
  •  a 29 fl oz can of "Valspar Chalky Finish Paint" in "Trousseau Blue". (I was fearful this wouldn't be enough paint, but I actually had more than enough paint leftover)!
  • a can of "Valspar Sealing Wax". As I had never seal waxed anything before, this was weird and definitely something to get used to. I suggest watching youtube tutorials first.
  • a can of glossy black spray paint (for the hardware).
  • a paintbrush!
I gathered from much of my "hutch makeover" research that the thing to do is to remove the upper cupboard doors to create open shelving. Open concept is IN, people!
So, after removing the doors, it was lookin' better already! (But still looks a little scary, right?!)
I was also working on finding the perfect spot for this monstrous thing. The above photo is not where it ended up because it didn't quite fit along that little wall.

Anyway, the next thing I did was remove the drawer, the doors, and all of the hardware. To put it as nicely as possible, this was a total pain-in-my-rear. The screws must have been made in the 1700's because they were in horrible condition; their "crosses" were no longer "crosses" but blob-shaped indentations. I was sweat-drenched by the time I got those suckers out!
Now this was the fun part! I LOVE painting. I could paint all day! I would be totally happy to paint and get paid for it! Jarryd, on the other hand loathes painting. I guess you either love it or hate it?
I did two coats of paint on the Friday evening, a coat of paint on the Saturday afternoon (three coats in total), a coat of sealing wax on the Saturday evening, and a second coat of sealing wax on the Sunday evening (two coats in total).
I then gave the rusty old hardware a fresh coat of glossy black spray paint. Despite breathing in the fumes and having an awful headache for the rest of the day (a mask would have been a good idea...), that was also a fun activity!
Lastly, I screwed everything back into place and...
VOILA! It's finished and it seriously felt SO good to be done!
I absolutely love the result. Even the colour turned out to be the perfect shade of light blue.
It's no longer a scary dark monster, but a cute monster dressed in--an almost--Tiffany Blue.
The way the wood curves beneath the shelving is probably my favourite thing about this hutch.
I put only my favourite mugs on display, of course. (Jarryd's John Wayne mug or his Yoda mug have no place on this hutch. Ha ha! ;)
My modest cookbook collection. We all know I'm more of an online recipe kinda girl. ;)
The shelves on a hutch are a perfect place to show off some memorabilia; For example, here I have one of our favourite weddings photos placed between my Eiffel Tower figurine from France and my teacup from Germany. It's perfect. :)
I appreciate the fine detail here!
Our little espresso machine! We didn't put a hole in the hutch to run an electrical cord through, so when we make espressos we just carry the machine to the kitchen. Haha! (Posers!)
The hardware turned out quite nice! During the planning process I was deciding between gold or black for the hardware, and I am so glad I chose black. It gives a really nice contrast to the blue paint, I think!
There! I even found the perfect spot for it. :)
I'm really happy with how it turned out, and that is really all that matters. BUT I would love to hear what you guys think of the result! Would you have left it dark, or left the top doors on? Painted the hardware a different colour? Whatever it is I would love to hear! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my (successful) DIY adventure! :)

January 24, 2016

Surviving Winter Storm Jonas.

The storm, Winter Storm Jonas Bro, has been weathered! It is over! We survived! In my honest and super experienced opinion (thank you, Canadian childhood) , this storm wasn't even that bad. Granted, we didn't have to drive anywhere. And granted, we never had to endure a power-outage. I don't know, with all the hype I was expecting it to be a little crazier, like watch Stop signs fly through the air and smash windows open. Shrug.
Oh well. I'm definitely not complaining!

Our Friday Night-Sunday Snow Days involved plenty of:

  • European football
  • Cleaning/organizing (this is a pretty good feat for me, as I rarely have the motivation to do this when Jarryd his home. I'd rather just be hangin' out with him, you know?)
  • Tea :)
  • Coffee :)
  • Coke. Lots of Coke. :)
  • Hot shower--whilst praying the power won't suddenly go out before I even get the chance to rinse out my conditioner.
  • Ordering--the worst pizza I've ever had--and walking to the pizza place to go pick it up. (The snow was just beginning to fall then, so it was a slightly more romantic walk). The pizza cooled down quite a bit by the time we reached home, so we stuck it in the oven, box and all! Ten minutes later I start to smell smoke. I open the oven door, and low and behold the lid of the box is touching the heating elements and part of the box is on fire! (Errmagerssh!!) Thankfully, we put it out and everything was OK. Well, minus the pizza. That pizza was a total let down. And the only reason we even ordered from there was because my favourite pizza place (Pizza Hut) was closed because of the storm! :'(
  • "The Office". We just finished the episode where Michael Scott leaves for Colorado. PAINFUL!
  • "Unbroken" <--an intense and inspirational movie about choosing forgiveness! I recommend it. It's also a true story!
  • Moving our couches together and gathering pillows to create a comfy couch oasis.
  • "The Great Gatsby". This was done by the same director who did Moulin Rouge. As soon as the movie starting playing I could tell. How? Because it's super weird. Weird in that I-can't-stop-looking-this-is-so-weird kind of way. But just as Moulin Rouge was, it gets better and better with every minute! I liked it! :)
  • Staring out the window in our warm and cozy state watching the snow plow come around every couple hours, and thinking to ourselves: Yep! Apartment living definitely has its perks!
  • Macaroni and Cheese with hot dogs. Classic comfort food, right?! ;)
  • Cuddles.
  • Junk food!! People went to the store to stock up on milk and bread, we went to the store to stock up on chips!
  • Just pure laziness. It has felt like the laziest weekend of my life. Good thing I am working tomorrow!
We even went for a little walk around the complex! It was fun braving the storm together.
This, this is my car. Currently it is Sunday night and we still haven't cleared the snow off of it. Perhaps the sun will shine and the warm air will melt it right off and do the job for us? :)
Yay! Thanks for following along, friends! I wish I could share this experience even more with you by sending you a little box of snow. :)

January 22, 2016

Snow Weekend!

As I am sure all of you have heard, Winter Storm Jonas Brother is on its way to North Eastern USA! When I first heard the warnings earlier in the week about this storm, I felt slightly panicked because I was scheduled to work both Saturday and Sunday. Granted, my commute to work is only ten minutes, but I absolutely loathe winter driving. With this cold Canadian blood running through my veins, I am pretty skilled at driving through ice and snow (I had to endure this on my recent trip to Canada), but it still terrifies me!

I even received an email a few days ago from my workplace saying that we are to work as scheduled and we need to bring overnight clothes as rooms are available for us to sleep in. Seeing as I work at a resort center/hotel, the sleeping conditions wouldn't be terrible at all! Definitely nothing to complain about. Sure, it would be a cool story to tell, but I don't want to stay the night at my workplace! Am I totally off base here?!

This morning my boss called and said significant numbers of guests have dropped, meaning...I HAVE THE WEEKEND OFF!! I never get both Saturday AND Sunday off without requesting for it off.

I'm not a fortune teller or anything, but I predict two whole days of being stranded inside with Jarryd, binge-watching The Office, Parks & Rec, and eating pizza and perogies! I am just so excited! :D Well, unless there is a power-outage, then that completely ruins my prediction. :/

And now, to give you a current update on the winter storm situation now at 12:30 PM:

Things are crazy out there...

* cough *

I shouldn't speak too soon though. The storm isn't supposed to start for a few hours yet. Truthfully, I don't know what to expect. It seems that there is a correlation between the higher the hype, the milder the storm turns out to be, AND the less the hype, the worse the storm. This storm has gained a lot of hype, so I guess only time will tell!

Stay safe everyone!

January 20, 2016

Half & Half.

Today I wore my hair in a new style that I like to call: the half-up half-down bun!
I'm totally not that girl who wears zillions of different hair styles, so this is kind of a big deal.

I have grand total of four signature hair styles that I wear:
1) Down
2) Half up/half down
3) Ponytail
4) Braid

I would definitely be more inclined to wear a variety of dos if I could hire my own personal hairstylist...but I can't... :'(
I guess now I have a fifth signature hair style because I really like this half-up half-down bun business! Even the hubs showered me with a couple compliments on it. Yay!! ;)

If you were hoping for some kind of hair tutorial on this, you've come to the wrong place. I'm no good for that. But if there is something I can suggest, it's that you'll need:

  • An imagination.
  • A maximum of 60 seconds.
  • Common sense.
  • A tiny "hair tie" (as they say here in the US)/"ponytail" (as said in Canada)/elastic.
  • And a bobby pin!

I guess what I'm really saying here, is that if I can do it, literally ANYONE can do this.
Happy half-up-half-down-bun time! :)

January 19, 2016

Our Turkey Point Lighthouse Christmas Photoshoot.

Where I'm from (Winnipeg, Canada), taking family Christmas photos, getting them edited and printed, and handing them out to everyone you know at Christmas family gatherings is a huge deal. Huuuuge! Like, you should see my parent's house. They have two walls covered in friends and family's Christmas photos! (I can only hope and dream to have that many photos when I am their age, heehee)!
Christmas card photos are just a fantastic way to update loved ones on changes in the family, whether that be through pregnancies, birth, or weddings. Personally, I love to see the families grow in numbers and watch the kids get taller and taller each year.

In Maryland, it's a different story. During my first Christmas here,
I said to Jarryd: "let's take Christmas photos and send them to everyone!"
Jarryd: "...huh?"
Me: "You're JOKING!"
After a whole big explanation, and because Jarryd wants to be a Mennonite-German-Canadian convert so badly, we decided to take some shots (photo shots that is). And here is a photo of our very first Christmas together as husband and wifey (2014):
I love that photo. I think it's the matching shirts that does it for me. ;) Because we knew we weren't going to be spending Christmas in Canada, and because international postage is so expensive, we only printed out photos for my immediate family and Jarryd's family. It was good enough at the time.

As for this last Christmas of 2015, we knew we were coming back to Canada for the holidays, so we had to bring out the big guns!
So after work one Saturday in early December, I straightened my hair, did my make up, picked out an outfit (choosing an outfit is always the hardest part, right?!), grabbed the Canon, and we raced to the Turkey Point Lighthouse. We had absolutely no doubts about taking our photos here, because it's probably the most beautiful place in this area of Maryland.

To save--a lot of--money we just used the Self-Timer option on our camera. Guys, this is an awesome way to save some coins, because you don't have to pay for a session with a photographer. But if I could offer one bit of advice, use a tripod. Unfortunately, we do not own a tripod, so this resulted in us having to set our expensive Canon camera on branches, uneven rocks, stumps, benches, ect. It's slightly terrifying when you feel the wind coming around and you are just praying that it doesn't knock your baby over. Thankfully, our baby lived to show and tell the tale!
We had exactly one hour before the sun was about to set so we had to move quickly. The few hours before sunset is a GOLDEN time to take photos because the lighting is magnificent. (This is because you have the sun level with you, therefore it is shining AT you. This is better than taking photos at noon where the sun is on top of your head, creating a ton of unwanted shadows on your face). Having such a limited amount of time was slightly stressful for me, but once I actually took a look around and grasped how freaking beautiful the Chesapeake Bay is, I realized it was silly of me to not enjoy this moment. And because this place is so breathtaking, I couldn't resist stopping to take some landscape photos.
Have you ever seen such perfect lighting? :)
The handsome bearded fellow, my husband.
Ooo thanks Jarryd for the photo! :)
This above photo was our second choice for Christmas cards, the complexity of the trees in the background is just gorgeous! But I think the trees take away from the whole point of the photos, us.
 There she is: the Turkey Point Lighthouse!
Fuzzy boots!
Such a beauuuuutiful sunset!
 I also love this one. Third choice!
 Ooo la looove! This whole silhouette photo was Jarryd's idea, and it turned out beautifully! 
Yeah, I had no idea my scarf was doing that. None the less, this one is cute!
We had to take one WITH the Lighthouse of course!
Kissie kissie smoochie smooch! ;)
 Goodbye sun! Have you ever watched a sunset? It's incredible how quickly the sun actually falls! And it's kind of a sad moment once it disappears. Aww...
 A bench is always nice to sit on.
 I am in LOVE with this photo. What I love the most is how perfectly shaped the two trees are to give the illusion that it's one tree.
Ugh, wow.
Thank goodness he found himself an outhouse.... LOL!
I love all of the growth and vines in this photo.

And last but definitely not least, the photo we chose for our 2015 Christmas card was:
I love this one because it's up close, you can easily see our faces, and clearly WE are the subject and main focus of the photo, not the landscape! Also, I'm a huge fan of direct eye contact with the camera lens. :)

So it's official, taking Christmas card photos is fun and even Jarryd enjoyed the whole experience too! Next year, we are going to take our photos in either October or November so we're not pressed for time. Plus, there's pretty leaves on the trees and the weather is nice and warm. Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoyed! I always love to show friends and family back home the beauty of Maryland! :)