Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Year Has Come and Gone...Goodbye, 2011!

I've been doing some reflecting the past few days - well, the past couple of weeks really - about how I felt about 2011. I can say right off the bat that it definitely wasn't my favourite year, and didn't turn out to be "The Year of Elizabeth...Again". I gave up on that a month or so in and decided I didn't need it to be. I'd save it for the next year. :)

Like 2010, however, 2011 was still a big year of change: change in jobs, living situations, relationships and most of all, change in me. It's funny to look back and think, "This time last year, did I ever expect all the things that have happened to have happened?" This time last year, would I have thought I'd be back living in Newfoundland? Probably not. It wasn't in my plans, but I am glad it happened. There have been a lot of things I've experienced, both good and bad, but it's all added to an eventful year.

And so, enough rambling. Let's do a recap of what 2011 held for this girl:

- Celebrating my 26th Birthday at home with my family and friends in Newfoundland after being away from them for months!

- Getting up at 3am to watch "The Wedding of the Century", the Royal Wedding coverage and ceremony, and having a "Royal Wedding Breakfast" for family and friends!

- Beginning work at one of the most amazing jobs I think I'll ever have: working on a television show for a national television network and meeting some wonderful new friends! 

- Working at CTV definitely had its perks: I got to work the CTV Upfronts and the MMVAs (Much Music Video Awards) and cross paths with lots of amazing musicians, actors and celebrities. It was really neat to see how things work behind the scenes!

- Getting to see Coldplay, one of my favourite bands in concert for the first time, was a real dream come true!

- Having the best weekend of my year with three of my best friends in Toronto. We came from all across the country for 3 days of hilarious chats, exciting wedding dress excursions and lots of dinners and drinks!

- Getting to visit Niagara Falls and Ottawa, two places I haven't been in a long time, to see family and friends before I left Ontario.

- Coming home and beginning work at the place where I started my PR career last year: the best marketing communications agency on the east coast!

So, as you can tell, it's been an eventful year. And after reflecting on all the things I've listed above, maybe it wasn't such a bad year after all!

One of my favourite things to do in life is learn: learn new recipes, learn about a new area of the world, read a new book, visit a new place, try something different. I really believe in living life to the fullest, and I try to practice that in my career and the rest of my life.

2011 was an interesting year, but to be honest, I've been looking forward to 2012 for months, for a number of reasons: My champagne birthday is coming up in March, and since it only happens once in a lifetime, I intend to make it the most memorable birthday of all; one of my best friends is marrying her long-time boyfriend, and her three bridesmaids are myself and our other two friends. A wedding of friends is something to definitely be excited about; I intend to take better care of myself and spend as much time with family and friends as possible, because as I've learned the hard way, you never really know how much time you have left with them.

And so, I can finally say, "So Long, 2011!" You helped me grow and I experience a lot. Here's to 2012, the Year of Elizabeth!

Happy New Year! This will be the best year yet!

"Twenty years from now, you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So sail away from the safe harbour. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'll be posting a final blog later in the week in celebration of the new year. Check back in a few days to read it! :)

In the mean time, I hope Santa was good to you all, that you've enjoyed many a delicious meal, many fun parties and lots of time with family and friends.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(oh, and don't forget those Boxing Day sales! ;) An extra drop of Christmas cheer!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tadaaa! Here's the Latest...

Well, like I'd said, change was a comin', and it came.

The big news is that incase you didn't already know, I've moved from Toronto back to my home in St. John's, Newfoundland. While I loved Toronto, and still do, I felt it was time to come back to Newfoundland for a little while at least, to clear my head and figure out which direction I wanted my life to go in. That included both my personal life and professional life.

I wasn't really sure how long I'd be staying here, but as fate would have it, I ended up getting a job at one of the best PR agencies in Atlantic Canada - it wasn't something I really planned, but when you're trying to figure out your life, having a job offered to you really does help you answer some questions. This job will have me here in Newfoundland again for at least a year, which gives me plenty of time to again, figure out if I want to put down roots here, or make another move to somewhere else in Canada, or even, the world.

I'm looking forward to learning more about the PR industry here in Newfoundland, and becoming familiarized with the community in St. John's, especially social media wise. Toronto is famous for its numerous tweet ups and social media events, and being kind of new to that world here in Newfoundland, I'm still discovering what kinds of things go on here in this smaller city.

Not only that, but I decided it was time to change the look, feel and title of my blog, since I can't really say "I'm Not in Newfoundland Anymore..." because I am. So, time for a fresh, clean slate. And name! Since this blog is about me, why not call it The Elizabeth Files?

Wish me luck as I continue on in my new position at the agency! I know it's going to be a great experience, one I'll take a lot from!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Change is a Comin'

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine said to me it was probably time to change the title of my blog, and that got me thinking. I knew it was time for another update, because there's been a few significant updates in my life over the past couple of months.

And so, here I am, announcing to you, dear reader, that change is a comin' to my blog like it came to my life. Watch this space, 'cause it's about to undergo some remodeling.

Patience. You'll see soon enough! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adventures in Baking

I like to talk about a number of topics on my blog, one of which is food. Whether I'm sharing the story of meeting my favourite chefs, or divulging where to find the most delicious pasta in Toronto, or indulging in gourmet foodie heaven at a TweetUp, I like to talk about food every once in a while.

And why not? It fuels us, sure, but there's something about the joy of food - the preparation, the look, the smell and of course, the taste, that makes us all enjoy at least one of those elements. It can be a conversation starter, something that brings friends and family together, and an adventure to go on all without leaving your kitchen.

I'm a big fan of the website Pinterest - basically an online bulletin board where you can "pin" things that you like. For some reason, I got the baking itch tonight, and I needed to bake - not wanted to, needed to.

I didn't want to make the trek outside in the cold, so I looked up an easy recipe on Pinterest for simple chocolate chip cookies. I came across this one, the "Best-Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies", on Kelsey's "Apple A Day" blog. Well, if a cookie is called the "Best-Ever"...then I have to find out for myself.

In a relatively short amount of time, my cookies were



and baked!

And what goes best with fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies? A nice tall glass of deliciously cold milk. Perfect for a chilly autumn night! Do you have any easy recipes that you love?

*Be sure to check out Kelsey's blog for more great recipes! There are some delicious looking dinners there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Summer That Was...Amazing

I realized while I was writing this entry that it's been exactly five months to the day since I've updated my blog. I know I've said it before, but I had a good reason!

After a month's stay home in Newfoundland in April, I returned to Toronto in May to begin a new job. And this job actually consumed my life for the next five months. I lived, breathed, slept and ate this job. And it was worth every minute of it.

I had the privilege of working on a television show, doing publicity and viewer relations for it. Yeah, I worked six days a week, didn't sleep much, forgot to eat afternoon snack here or there, and I didn't read a book for a looong time. But those months were some of the best of my life, especially during my (so far) short career. I worked with an outstanding team of communications professionals whom I learned a great deal from and made some great connections with. I got to see the production side of a hugely popular television show, something that not many people can say they've seen. I can't gush enough about how much I loved this job. It simply was the best. :)

I'm sad that it's over, but like all television shows, (or anything, really) all good things must come to an end. I'll never forget my summer working on Dance. It gave me a whole new appreciation for an art form that I hadn't paid much attention to for years, and has made me fall in love with dancing all over again. Plus, I learned some sweet new dance moves... (it's true, I'm thinking of taking a dance class in the new year!)

Oh, and by the way, here a few of my favourite routines from this season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, because as one of the videos sings...I had the time of my life. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

'Twacking' about Downtown St. John's

If there's something that I love about both St. John's and Toronto, it's wandering around downtown. I love looking in shop windows, walking down the street and seeing street performers and listening to the sounds of traffic going by. While the two cities are obviously very different, if you close your eyes and just listen, sometimes, they might almost sound the same. Some people hate the noise, but most of the time, I love it.

I took a walk around downtown St. John's a few weeks ago and took some pictures, partly because I wanted to remember what a beautiful day it was, but also because I wanted to show off what I love about St. John's.

Multi-coloured houses and buildings of all shapes and sizes. Modern versus traditional, young and old, all around. St. John's is a city that is rich in culture and I think one thing that definitely reflects part of that is its architecture.

For those of you not from Newfoundland and who may be wondering about the title of this blog post, "twacking" is a Newfoundland term which basically means to window shop, to look at things but not actually purchase them. I did some twacking that day, but I also did some purchasing. :)

I'm no photographer, by any means, but hopefully these few snaps will give you a taste of what historical St. John's has to offer!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a diary of little things and curiosities: today i believe...

I know I've talked about Laura Marie Given in the past, but I just had to talk about her again! She writes the most delightful blog called "a diary of little things and curiosities", and all of her entries are interesting, but my favourite posts she writes are her, "today I believe" series.

I came across her latest entry and just had to share with you all a couple of my favourites that, somehow, it's like she's going into my mind and finding exactly what I'm feeling, and is able to put it into words for me in a way that I just can't.

She also always posts the most amazing photography, and I'm always left wondering where she finds such gorgeous gems!

If you haven't already checked out her blog, you should. :)

***Please note the quotes below are not written by Elizabeth Marie, but by Laura Marie. EM is simply a reposting admirer. :)

"... that there's nothing quite so invigorating as really smart, thoughtful conversation.

... that it's important to keep some secrets to yourself.

... that you can't always give your all, and sometimes "just enough" really is enough.

... and that sometimes, you just have to choose, acknowledging and accepting that you'll eventually, either way, be forced to look back and wonder if what you did was right."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saturday Mornings at the Market!

One of my favourite things to do in Toronto these days is visit the St. Lawrence Market. Saturday mornings are my time to go and explore what local farmers, artists and entrepreneurs have to offer people like me who have wandered down for a look.

I usually like to buy things like fresh veggies and fruit, or delicious baked goods, but I'm also a sucker for things like the perogies at the Polish stand, or the fresh cut tulips that I can buy for super cheap.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I ventured down to the St. Lawrence Market with my good friend Paul, who had never been there before. I decided to take some snaps of the market to commemorate our visit, as well as show off some of my favourite places to visit!

Our first stop was the North building, which houses more of the vegetables and fruit and out of town delicacies, where I could pick up some lovely peppers, carrots and onions for a soup I was planning on trying to make later that day. As you can see, there were lots to choose from, and they only cost a couple of dollars for a whole bunch! Much better prices than the supermarkets!

Then it was off to Moyer's Candy Apples stand, where they sell the most delicious Caramel Chocolate apples. As I was heading to Newfoundland for a visit a few days later, I knew I had to pick up some of these apples to bring home to treat my family and friends...they're too delicious to keep to myself!

We then went across the street to the main building, where meats, cheeses, fish and pasta and more permanent stalls are housed. I knew another thing I would have to pick up was some fresh pasta and pasta sauce from St. Lawrence Pizza and Ice Cream. If you ever get to go to the Market, you MUST stop by this place on the upper level. The pasta is out of this world and the sauce....absolutely amazing. I've never tasted anything like it!

Downstairs is another one of my favourite spots, European Delight, where they serve fresh homemade Polish food like chicken and veal schnitzel, sausage rolls, and my favourite - perogies. Their potato/cheddar/bacon perogies, fried up with some bacon and onions....a favourite Saturday lunchtime meal!

After a successful day of shopping, and too many groceries for my poor little arms to walk home with, I decided it was time to call it a day. I had

perogies to eat and soup to attempt to make! Paul and I walked home content with our great day at the St. Lawrence Market!

If you're in Toronto and you've never been, I highly recommend you check it out! Who knows? Maybe you'll bump into me there one Saturday morning. :)

Oh, and that soup I wanted to make? I think it was successful. Take a look!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Dining Experience Like No Other!

One thing I really love about living in Toronto is that there are certain opportunities here that just don't exist in Newfoundland. Whether it's something like a concert, a sporting event, or even a book signing, Newfoundland doesn't see a lot of famous faces or play host to many cutting edge events. At least not as many as a place like Toronto does. So while in "The Big Smoke", I'm determined to see and do as many unique things as possible. One of those things happened on Friday night.

On February 18th, I had the pleasure of attending Indigo's first TweetUp. Having been asked a few weeks ago by the lovely gentleman who runs the Indigo Events Twitter account if I'd be interested in participating, I happily agreed and met the rest of the group at a Chapters downtown, where our evening began.

Leaving the bookstore, we dined at Luma, feasting on dishes from the new 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men cookbook, which were prepared by the amazing Chef Bangerter. The five course meal was unique, delicious, and exquisitely presented.

The 11 of us discussed how Indigo is doing in terms of its engagement with consumers and suggested ways they could continue to grow their followers.

A surprise visit from the 3 Chefs themselves made the evening extra special, along with a giftcard and the brand new cookbook to add to my growing collection!

It was a fantastic evening, and I'm so grateful to the Indigo Events team for inviting me to be a part of the night!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Soon...

An exciting new blog post coming soon! Watch this space! ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time for a Change...

Ever since Blogger changed around their templates, I've been struggling to try and update the look of my blog. Sure I've fiddled around with the colours a bit, but I wanted a big change to reflect the big change in my life, of moving to a new city and venturing out on my own.

After much searching, I finally found one that's closer to what I've been looking for! So, welcome to the new ININA! I'll be posting a bit more regularly from now on (I know, I know, I said that before, but sometimes life does get in the way!) about life in the big city, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, why not check out my best friend Meghan's new blog, It's a Colourful Life, where you'll find all kinds of interior decorating tips from an aspiring interior designer!

Have a happy week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Detour into Hell's Kitchen? Or Quality Time with The Naked Chef?

Well, I wouldn't say it was Hell's Kitchen, but it's definitely been adventures in cooking. This past autumn while in the process of looking for a job here in Toronto, I decided to use my free time to try new things, one of which was cooking.

Now, don't get my wrong, I learned how to cook years ago, thanks to my mother teaching me a handful of recipes throughout my childhood and through picking a few up on my own. But I'd never really used a cookbook, and living on my own for the first time, I wanted to have one to show me how to make some basic dishes that you'd think people would know, but tend to screw up sometimes.

I guess what started all this off was my addiction to The Food Network. I started watching programs like "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" and "Chef at Home", both of which I love, (especially Triple D, that Guy makes me laugh every time). But then I discovered Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares", and Jamie Oliver's "Ministry of Food", and I
was hooked. Two British men showing off their fancy culinary skills? It was like a dream come true.

While at Indigo in November, I learned that November was Chef Month, and numerous chefs would be doing book signings at the Manulife Centre. To my surprise and delight, guess who came? Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. :)

Both were pleasant and extremely charming, and Chef Ramsay in particular was quite chatty when I went up to get my book signed! While I like them both very much, when it came to their cook books, Ramsay's is just a little too advanced for me. Jamie's Food Revolution, on the other hand, was just what I'd been looking for. I've tried a number of recipes already, and each one has been delicious.

One of my favourites so far? Jamie's spaghetti and meatballs from scratch:

I'll post more of my culinary creations in the coming months. In the meantime, if you're looking for a great cook book, why not pick up Jamie's Food Revolution? :) You won't be disappointed!