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francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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“The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family — that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking — preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.” Hygge’s high season is winter, and Christmas lights, candles galore, and other manifestations of warmth and light, including warm alcoholic beverages, are key to the concept. (Source)

This beautiful Danish concept has been on my mind lately, & although it hasn’t been particularly cold, I think it deserves a place in my life. Here’s to making a more conscious effort to embrace this cozy concept.

Here’s to slowing down, connecting with friends, & carving out some time for the simpler things. Here’s to adding a little hygge. 

Bullet Journaling

I’ve always tried to make a point of journaling. I think it was even one of my new years resolutions last year – to physically write more. There’s something so great about having my memories logged all in one place. Moleskine journals are my absolute favourite; I think they’re the perfect journal to tuck into your purse & especially great for travelling. I have a whole collection to look back on from each of my trips & have often given them as gifts. They’ve even got the perfect little pocket at the back for storing things you collect along the way.

That’s all well & good for while I’m away, but what about when I’m back at home? I find don’t always take the time to sit down & write outside of travelling. As much as I enjoy it, I find myself prioritizing other hobbies. I’ve also found that although I love technology, I don’t love digital solutions for day planners & calendars. There’s something so much more satisfying about analog options. I’m a sucker for writing things down, feeling the connection of pen to paper. (Is that a thing?)

Last week, I read about Bullet Journals & it just seemed like such a perfect solution for me. I love lists. I love moleskin journals, & I love journalling & analog planners. It pretty much combines all of these things in a really simple format.

I picked up a graph paper moleskin from Indigo on my way home from work & have been using it ever since. (Any excuse for a new moleskine journal, right?)The idea is really simple & so far I love it. We’ll see how it goes as the month progresses & whether I still find it useful by the end of the month.

If you’re looking for a simple way to journal or keep track of to dos, check out the bullet journal. Do you have a favourite way to keep track of life’s details?

December In Instagram

Twenty Fifteen. We’re here. December is officially last year. It always sounds a bit odd to refer to something that happened so recently as last year. This year has some big shoes to feel. I mean, last year we got married & went on our first trip together to another continent. It was a big one. Nonetheless, I’m excited for what 2015 has in store for us. I wish I could say we had another big trip planned, but we’re keeping closer to home this year. We’re looking for a house, putting down roots, trying that on for size. We’ll see how it goes. (Don’t worry, I’ve already got 5 more trips planned for the years after this one…) This year will be my fourth back in Calgary. In some ways it feels like a long time to be in one place. But I digress, this isn’t a 2014 recap. Let’s get on with it! Here’s what we got up to in December according to my favourite social media app:  

1. I can’t believe it took us this long, but we finally went to the new Anju. We shared all of our favourites (they added pork belly to the crispy tofu. It’s perfect!) & I’m already itching to go back. We rounded out the evening at ATP’s performance of Charlotte’s Web. It was a wonderful date night.
2. My work Christmas party lived up to its reputation & we had a great time with my wonderful coworkers. There were many drinks & lots of hilarious dance moves.
3. Our good friends returned from South America just in time for Market Collective & an outdoor winter pop up at Container Bar. H & I snuggled under blankets, enjoyed mulled wine & shared crispy crepes, while chatting with her bar manager. Such a cool group of guys running the show over there!
4. Dad & I enjoying my parents annual Christmas Cocktail Party. Good food, festive drinks, my favourite people.
5. We enjoyed our first day on the slopes at Lake Louise for our friends’ annual Ski Trip. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year if this snow continues!
6. I started this Christmas Day 5 km Tradition a few years ago. The three of us are still the only participants to date.
7. We spent the holidays at my parents’ place in BC. Thanks for finding the weirdest Christmas crackers, mom. This picture is so greasy.
8. Boxing Day Skiing trumps shopping in our books. We spent the day at Panorama with my family. We’re the three best friends that anybody could ever have and we’ll never ever ever ever leave each other. Right guys?
9. & the final day of the year. We started our evening with a steak dinner & ended it at a house party with some of our closest friends.

Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year

It’s going to be pretty tough to top 2014. You’ve got some big shoes to fill, 2015. 

Happy New Year, friends! Mes meilleurs vœux pour la nouvelle an! 


Merry Christmas!

The stockings are hung, presents are around the tree, coffee is brewing, & we’re waiting on the rest of my family to rise. I’m certain we’re the last to open our presents Christmas morning. It’s a funny little tradition in this house. 

I hope you’re all having a marvellous Christmas filled with your own traditions. Merry Christmas from our house to yours. 
All the best for 2015! 



Noel, Noel

Is it possible to be homesick for a place that isn’t really home? With Christmas around the corner, I certainly feel that way. While I love many of our traditions here at home, there are many things I miss about this time I year abroad too.

I find my feelings of nostalgia are especially strong in December as I reminisce about the Christmas Markets this time of year. While most people tend to plan their trips in the summer months, I find there’s something particularly special about Christmas in France (& England). The cities are so festive, filled with lights & decorations. It’s hard not to get caught up in it.

That’s not to say that we don’t get into the Christmas Spirit in Canada – we certainly do. & I love heading out to the mountains to celebrate this holiday with family & friends. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re missing this wonderful part of Christmas in Europe: the Market.

We have Christmas Markets & I’ve been to a few that I’ve enjoyed, but a Christmas Market in Europe is a thing to experience. I loved wandering my neighbourhood one in the evenings. Amongst the typical homemade gifts you see in most markets, you’ll also find delicious food & wonderful drinks. My favourite market treat is raclette with a side of vin chaud (mulled wine), of course. The raclette tartine or tartiflette are also great choices. You really can’t go wrong with warm, melted cheese. A European Christmas Market is the perfect place to meet up with friends or wander yourself. & with most of these markets in the city center, they’re easily accessible.

Raclette Tartine: baguette, raclette cheese, & charcuterie. Perfect!

The daily morning market is still my very favourite, but the daily Christmas market is a close second. Europe is beautiful any time of year, of course, but I especially love the cooler months. Don’t let the fact that it’s a less popular time to travel deter you – it truly has its own merits. It’s less busy & if you go in November, you’ll get to experience the beginning of the Christmas season. You may not be sitting on a beach this time of year, but you can certainly brag about the warmer temperatures to your friends back home (if you’re Canadian at least)!

Most of my photos here are pre-DSLR days, so don’t let the grainy low light shots deter you. I hope the beauty of the French Christmas Market still shines through. I have such fond memories of them.

November in Instagram

I’m using a different method to post this month’s Instagram recap. You’ll have to let me know if you like it. It’s significantly less time consuming than my previous methods, which I’m always a fan of. It might not be the best quality though. I really wish tables with photos weren’t such a pain in blogger. It takes me back to my first website, when I almost always chose to write in html. Now, I’m the complete opposite. I find I’m much more motivated to blog about what’s going on than to write a bunch of html to get those thoughts up there. Maybe one day I’ll get back into it, but for now I’m still wishing on a better way to add tables. You hear that, blogger! Get on it. We like tables. & while you’re at it, I’d like to put two photos side by side & have them look nice, without using photoshop. Consider it my blogging Christmas Wishlist. I’m sure I’m not the first to want these things!

Here’s what we got up to this November:

1. We started off the month with Banff Winterstart. It’s an 8 km night run up Banff’s Tunnel Mountain. N & a few of our friends dressed as penguins. I highly recommend this run. We had a great time!
2. Rouladen has always been a winter favourite for my family. I wanted to share that with N, so I made a paleo version. It was delicious!
3. Saturday morning coffee in bed has become a staple lately. N gets up at 9:30 & puts coffee on. He likes to get up & play games, while I sit in bed & read. I like these kind of slow starts.
4. I’ve been writing Thank Yous all month. I really wanted them to be genuine so I took my time. Sometimes wine was involved. My desk is messy.
5. I’ve been making an effort to workout more this month. As soon as the temperature dropped, my motivation evaporated, but this month I made an effort to get my butt moving at least four times a week. Many burpees were involved.
6. We got a beautiful Staub Cast-Iron Grill Pan as a Wedding Gift & christened it with some delicious grass-fed beef. This is my kind of Friday evening at home.
7. Brunch at OEB is a monthly thing for us. Their breakfast poutine is by far the absolute best way to start the day. I literally compare every breakfast to theirs. It’s always worth the wait.
8. D & I had a girls night with some of her coworkers last week. We grabbed dinner & drinks & then hit the mall for some shopping during the ‘Twas the Night event.
9. My awesome optometrist (& friend!) hooked me up with some awesome Ray Bans. I’m really excited for longer days so I can more wear out of them.

Winter thoughts

Winter may not be official for another couple weeks, but our climate certainly says otherwise. We’ve been bundling up, wearing extra layers of wool, & trudging through snow banks for a couple weeks now. & I love many aspects of winter – planning ski trips with friends, comfy wool socks (these are a staple for me. They’re men’s but they last for years), flannel & leggings, carefully braising beautiful meals (winter cooking is probably my favourite), skating at the rink in our neighbourhood, & reading by the fire at my parents’ house in the mountains. Just thinking about all this gets me pretty excited for the winter months ahead.

Unfortunately, my motivation seems to wane when the temperature drops far below zero. I’m not alone here either. There’s even a disorder for this season – seasonal affective disorder – SAD. Isn’t that acronym depressing? I don’t think I suffer from SAD, I just have a hard time motivating myself to get up & do a whole lot of anything. Gilmore Girls was just added to Netflix & I’ve made every excuse to watch episode after episode on the couch. I’ve watched it while blogging (like right now), writing thank you notes, cooking, & even cleaning.

In the summer months, I’m usually pretty motivated to workout. I get my butt to the gym or go for a run or even just go for a walk. We live about a minute from the river paths, so it’s easy to take advantage of this proximity. In the summer.

The great thing about the paths though is that they are cleared all year long & we’re lucky enough to experience breaks in the freezing cold pretty often. Even when it is cold out, it’s just a matter of taking the plunge. Once you get out there, it’s really not so bad.

I’ve been making an effort of getting out there more often lately. Even on the days that I don’t feel like heading to the gym, I’ve been going. I’ve been setting my alarm for 5 am & forcing myself out of bed for spin class. (I know that seems so crazy, but I have the best time once I’m there. The best!) I reminded N to pick up his skates so we can head over to the skating rink in the evening. Free dates are the best dates, right?

that’s it. Those are my thoughts about winter. None of this is truly groundbreaking, but I hope maybe it helps a little bit if you’re finding yourself in hibernation mode. You can do it! Get up, get out, & go for it. You can either hate on winter for the next 6 months or you can find a way to make it great.

Or maybe you’re already an expert in getting through the winter. Let me know if the comments what keeps you going

October in Instagram

So here’s a new tradition for you: posting my Instagram recaps late. Does twice in a row make it a tradition? It’s probably happened more than that in reality.

It’s tough to ignore winter now. Daylight Savings was last week & I always forget how much this little change affects everything. I think most of us are playing catch-up still (keep the coffee flowing) & my walks home are getting increasingly dark. I think that’s the worst part of winter: walking to & from work in the dark. It feels lonely. Luckily, it doesn’t last long & there is something so wonderful about realizing the days are getting longer. I guess it would be tough to appreciate one without the other. (That’s the theory I’m going with this year, anyway. Roll with it.)

Let’s talk about October. It was a good one. Here’s what we got up to:

1. For YYC Pizza Week, we decided to check out Posto Pizzeria. This little restaurant, sister to Bonterra, Cibo, & now Scopa, is fast becoming a favourite. Our visit coincided with Porchetta Thursday, which I can’t recommend enough if you love pork even a little bit.
2. I changed my name on my licence. I’m slowly changing it on other things too, but for now I’m in this strange in between phase. Sometimes I use my maiden name & sometimes I use my married name. I just like to keep people guessing.
3. We picked up another eight of a cow this year, so we’ve been working through last year’s order. Now that we have a meat thermometer, we’re all about the roast. This one was particular delicious.
4. My lovely friends got married at the River Cafe & we were so excited to celebrate with them. They had perfect fall weather, beautiful full, & one of the best dance parties. Congratulations, J & J!
5. We spent Thanksgiving out at the lake with my parents & brother. It was gorgeous & we ate some incredible food. I blogged about it here.
6. Our travels to France & Italy this year have carried over a little bit into our lives here in the form of charcuterie, wine, & cheese. One of my favourite ways to spend an evening is with a beautiful bottle of wine, some nice cheeses, & salami. Europe knows what’s up.
7. My sommelier friend introduced me to Metrovino this month & it was such an incredible wine shop. I’m already predicting I’ll be upping my wine game very soon.
8. A girlfriend & I met up on the new St Patrick’s bridge for Feast in the East. We shared Taiko Taco & Waffles & Chix.
9. Halloween. My coworkers are a lot of fun & we had some great costumes. I went the easy route & dressed up as a scarecrow. L was an adorable Olive Oyl.

On to November. Please don’t talk to me about Christmas yet, guys. We have a full, blissful month of non-Christmas activities & I fully intend to be a grinch until at least December 1.

Giving Thanks

Our one Turkey holiday of the year (at least for my parents) is over & done with. We roasted an impressively large bird for five people last weekend & now we’re into leftover season. I’ll definitely be trying to take advantage of all that turkey & stuffing (my mom’s turkey stuffing is off the charts).

We spent Thanksgiving out at the lake this year. My parents headed out Friday & then N, my brother, & I drove out on Saturday. The whole weekend was filled with delicious food & family time. N & I brought out a bottle of wine & Lemon honey from Cinque Terre & picked up a wedge of pecorino to pair with it. Mom set out our usual cheese & appies (including some pickled carrots I’d made a couple weeks ago) & we dug in. This is definitely a family tradition of ours & I love it. How can you not enjoy such a spread?

Dad had made homemade pappardelle & lamb ragu for dinner that night. It was fantastic. He makes great pasta homemade pasta that we are always happy to devour.

Saturday morning, the boys went golfing while Mom & I stayed home & prepared our friend Tom the Turkey. Yes, we name our turkey & yes, his name is always Tom. We’re weird like that. This meal is such an all day affair so I don’t blame my parents for keeping it for Thanksgiving. I always enjoy the meal & it’s great to get everyone together in the kitchen as it all comes together in the end, but it is truly an all day affair. Not to mention, I love trying new things so our plan to have duck for Christmas is right up my alley.

The next day, I prepared an Egg & Meatball Tagine for everyone for brunch. It was delicious, if I do say myself. While not the most conventional of breakfast dishes, the flavours will make you forget what that even means.  & sometimes it’s fun to break the rules, right?

Monday was the perfect fall day so N & I took a walk down to the lake before packing the car for home. We even ran into a few deer on our way down.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few things I’m personally thankful for this year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday & have many things on your list as well.

I am thankful for:

  • My family, my husband, & my friends. There isn’t much more to it really. We had a great weekend at the lake & returned to more family time with N’s parents. We also just received our wedding photos & they are a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to be surrounded with the best people. 
  • You. Those of you who read this blog & keep me from feeling like I’m talking to myself. I’m grateful that I have this space to write & share & be creative. Thank you for reading! 
  • First World Problems. Yeah, I’m grateful that they are really the only problems we face on a regular basis. We both have good jobs, a roof over our heads, minimal debt, & our own cars. We’re lucky to be able to afford to do most of the things we want to do. 
  • Our health. N & I are both quite healthy people. That seems rare these days. 
I’m sure I could go on about the many other things I’m grateful for, but these are my big four. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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