Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

Our year in photos…!

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope 2012 is just as awesome!

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Wow – was this ever good. I chose creminis and shitakes. The shallots, butter, garlic and parsley were the perfect additions to the mushrooms.

The recipe is from the Barefoot in Paris cookbook and can be found here.

We had them as is, alongside the beets for a vegetarian dinner (served with a cab franc from Ravine). Very tasty indeed. But I can see these mushrooms topping pasta like fettucine or egg noodles, or served with meat like a pork chop or rabbit. So flavourful.

Mushrooms for the win.

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Another yummy recipe from Ina Garten, this time from the Barefoot in Paris cookbook. The recipe can be found here.

I had never roasted my own beets before; I had always bought beets pickled in a jar. I’ve had them before at restaurants in roasted vegetable medleys and always enjoyed them, so it was about time I made my own. I’m a lover of roots vegetables so I wasn’t surprised that I really enjoyed these. Very tasty – and the splash of raspberry vinegar and orange juice added at the end gave them a nice kick.

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2011 marked the end of an era. Yahoo compiled a list outlining the top 10 “ends” that took place in this year.

“An era is truly known only when it’s over. In 2011, institutions closed shop, government programs ended, and others simply moved on. While an era might be a grandiose way to describe the end of, say, Borders or “Kate Plus 8,” each of these finales symbolized, in their own fields, a way of being that wouldn’t happen again.” – Vera H-C Chan.

End of an Era

  1. Space Shuttle Program
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Borders
  4. Harry Potter
  5. Friendster
  6. Steve Jobs
  7. News of the World
  8. “Kate Plus 8″
  9. Elizabeth Warren
  10. Iraq Withdrawal

Read the full article here – it’s a great summary of endings in 2011:

Yahoo! 2011 Year In Review – End of an Era#End of an Era.

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It’s that time of year again! My January 1st to January 3rd diet is about to begin – so exciting. 🙂 Ahem…

But seriously, it’s a new year, time to think about what I’d like to change, what worked, what didn’t, what would bring more happiness and health to my life.

These are my resolutions for 2012:

  • Make an effort to connect regularly with family and friends. Whether that’s through letters, phone calls, emails/messages, anything.
  • Be more active (this doesn’t mean I’m starting a huge fitness regime that I’ll never stick to – I simply want to be more active in my every day life, which will, in turn, contribute positively to my overall health).
  • Have more meatless / lean meat meals. We’ve all but eliminated red meat from our diet and eat mainly fish and chicken when we do have meat at all. I’d like to push this even further.
  • Follow through with outstanding house maintenance items (upgrade windows, electrical inspection, etc.) and get at least two done in 2012.

That’s it. Short, sweet, reasonable and achievable.

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So, after careful review, I’ve highlighted the items on my Life List I’ll be tackling in 2012 (you know, if the world doesn’t end and all. Some will depend on whether our tentative vacation plans pan out or not, but here goes:

  • Walk through a hedge maze (there’s one at the Toronto Islands so this will be a summer thing)
  • Go to a batting cage
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Learn how to make bread (have tons of recipes, just have to make it)
  • Make falafel
  • Make a Black Forest Cake
  • Complete 10 random acts of kindness (2 done, 8 to go)
  • Own a stand mixer
  • Make a colouring book (for my nieces)
  • Participate in the walk to end breast cancer (October)
  • Cruise to Alaska (pending confirmation – this will be my 7th cruise)
  • Try dog sledding (see cruise to Alaska)
  • Try snowshoeing (possibly cruise to Alaska)
  • Travel to France
  • Visit Paris
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower
  • Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Eat a pastry and cafe au lait in Paris
  • Visit the Louvre
  • See the Mona Lisa

As you can see, a lot of those are tied to trips, which is fine by me. Just need to work out the details. 🙂

Some items are ongoing:

  • Continue my cooking challenge (cook all recipes in the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks)
  • View 50 movies in a year (I surpassed it this year)
  • Read 30 books in a year (I only hit 26 this year)

We’ll also visit some new places in and around town to add to our list of local adventures, including the ROM, Kensington Market, and others.

Excited. Lots of fun plans to make. 🙂 2012 is going to be awesome!!! Well, until the world ends anyway. Maybe I should add that to my Life List – participate in the End of the World. But I won’t be around to cross it off. That would suck.

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I had some time off for the holidays so decided to do some catching up on my movie-watching. Below are the ones I’ve seen recently, some in theaters, some not.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I’m a Mission Impossible fan. I like the franchise, I like action films with techie gadgets and cool stunts and effects. I even like Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movies. In this one, I really enjoyed the cast including Jeremy Renner (who is moving up on my actors-I-like-to-watch list), the hilarious Simon Pegg and the female badass agent Paula Patton. I liked the story, the requisite “cool car” these types of movies have, the techie effects…the whole bit. Is it Oscar-worthy? No. Did I leave the theater feeling fulfilled and enlightened? Nah. Did I thoroughly enjoy the couple of hours I spent watching an action-packed movie with an awesome cast? Absolutely! I also liked Ving Rhames at the end. Needed more Ving.

Rating: B+

The Help

Bring the Kleenex. This is the story of an aspiring writer (Emma Stone) that wants to write a book in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960’s civil rights movement about the point of view of the help – the African-American maids who work for white families. It’s a tough topic to cover and there are several tragic and heartbreaking moments (Constantine!!) – the story was told remarkably well. The performances in this movie were fantastic. Definite Oscar buzz here. Emma Stone is great. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are fantastic. Jessica Chastain is hilarious. A must-see.

Rating: A


I’m a sucker for an inspirational sports movie. And one based on a true story will get me every time. Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the General Manager for the Oakland A’s. Partnered with a young and bright Yale graduate Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), they manage the team on a shoestring budget and, unable to compete with the “richer” teams, pick their players based strictly on computer statistics. Philip Seymour Hoffman always delivers a great performance and in this one, he’s the guy you love to hate as he resists the new theory and ultimately delays the A’s success. Jonah Hill steals most of the scenes he’s in. And is it just me or does Brad Pitt look more and more like Robert Redford the older he gets? It’s uncanny. Good movie all in all.

Rating: B

The Ides of March

George Clooney plays Governor Mike Morris who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Paul) is his campaign manager and Ryan Gosling (Stephen) is a sharp up-and-coming media consultant who works for Paul. Paul Giamatti (Tom) is the rival candidate’s campaign manager. As with many political movies, there are the usual tactics, scandal and maneuvering but in this film, it’s still done tastefully and with style. Morris’ campaign focus is very current and timely in our world today. Clooney’s character is very likeable,  his beliefs and direct manner foster hope and enthusiasm on the part of his audience. There are some good performances in this film. Oscar buzz? Yes, some. But I fear the subdued style of the movie just might slip under the radar.

Rating: B+

Midnight in Paris

This Woody Allen film about a family on a business trip in Paris. Engaged couple Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel Adams) tag along on her parents’ business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood scriptwriter but is currently struggling to write his first novel and isn’t receiving much support from his fiancee, who doesn’t share Gil’s enchantment with 1920’s Paris. One night, Gil is walking the streets of Paris and gets pulled into the past, and meets literary and art idols how they were during la belle époque including F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Salvador Dali (Adrian Brody), Pablo Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, T.S. Eliot, as well as Picasso’s mistress Adriana (played brilliantly by Marion Cotillard). The movie itself is a feast for the eyes and any Paris aficionado would appreciate the sets, the music, the overall look and feel of the film. It’s a very creative concept and encourages the viewer to jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride. Some highly entertaining performances here. I appreciated the out-of-the-box creativity and enjoyed being immersed in old Paris while it lasted.

Rating: B-

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As you can probably guess, our Christmas was awesome. We got to spend time with family, ate some delicious meals, enjoyed some R&R, the gifts we gave were well-received, the gifts we received were greatly appreciated.

Here’s a sampling:

I think this was my favourite of the year (thanks Christina & Adam!) – Harry Potter AND a board game in one?? Omg. We got to play it on Monday night and it’s a great update on the original Clue game with lots of new magical twists. Lots of fun!

I never thought I could love a slipper. But lo and behold, then came the Muk Luks (thanks Sue!). They have fake fur inside. Did you hear that?  Furrrr. I keep mine rolled all the way up for ultimate contact with said fur. And they have reindeer on them. And a nordic pattern.

I also received a double-whammy bag of loot from David’s Tea (thanks Mark!). My brother Mark did a 2-in-1 birthday/Christmas gift since I hadn’t seen him for a while.

The winter collection includes some pretty cool flavours:  Hot Toboggan, Chocolate Chili Chai, Alpine Punch, Apres Ski, Snow Bunny. The gift also included a glass travel thermos and glass tea mug, plus some extra teas. Awesome!

And how cute is this bread basket (thanks Nicki!):

Too many to mention, all very very much appreciated…especially those homemade chocolates from my father-in-law! 😛 MmmMmm

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I’m a big online shopper and it’s been gaining steadily in popularity with retailers, much to my glee. So, holiday sales and boxing day/boxing week sales are aplenty these days, even online. Which means you don’t have to brave the crammed malls to score some good deals. And, since I live in a fairly large city, I’m usually lucky enough to get my orders in 2-3 days.

I bought some work clothes online at Cleo (www.cleo.ca), all for $97 with free shipping. Normally (i.e. not on sale), it would have amounted to about $250, so score one for moi.

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As many of you know, this year I was participating in the WordPress blogging challenge Postaday2011 which was to post at least once a day.

Although some days I didn’t post anything, I usually made up for it with several posts on subsequent days. Here’s the tally as of December 28th (including this post):

January 2011 32
February 2011 36
March 2011 35
April 2011 31
May 2011 28
June 2011 31
July 2011 27
August 2011 37
September 2011 21
October 2011 22
November 2011 19
December 2011 37

Not bad at all! And yes, I’m going to make sure I hit 365 posts by the end of the year, just for the principle. 🙂

Some other fun facts are:

# of followers:  198 (including WordPress, email and Facebook followers) (wow – Thanks everyone!!!)

Total all-time views to date: 83,594

Average views per day: 177 (lowest avg/day January 59, highest avg/day November 388)

Day with highest # of views: November 27, 2011 with 688 views.

Most visited post: Owls. Weird ass birds. (I suspect it must be people searching for owl photos on Google images).

Second most visited: Home page

My Christmas-related posts are quite popular too.




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