Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year in Review

It's that time of year again - the ol' Year in Review. Time to take a look at the past 12 months and all the good (and maybe not so good) things that happened in my life.

My first impression of 2012 was that it wasn't exactly what I'd hoped it would be; but then, things rarely go the way you hope or plan them to. So while I first thought of 2012 as kind of disappointing, reflecting on the past 366 days (it was a leap year, remember?) has shown me that there was a lot of good in the year, and I have much to be thankful for. Let's take a look, shall we?

- Beginning a transatlantic cooking adventure with a best friend living across the pond that has taught us a number of new recipes and to be thankful for ever-evolving forms of communication that keeps us connected while living on opposite sides of the world.

- Celebrating my Champagne Birthday in my former home, Toronto. A weekend filled with my favourite things in one of my favourite places!

- Having laser surgery and saying goodbye to glasses for good! Our 17 year relationship finally came to an end, and I am thankful every day for my perfect vision.

- Taking off to the Sunshine State for a week in April with my family, our first family vacation in about 12 years!

- Going to Montreal with three of my best friends for a wild bachelorette weekend in July! It was time well spent for the four of us, who hadn't been all together since the previous Christmas.

- Getting to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's weddings, and being a part of her special day when she married her very best friend.

- Undertaking a blogging challenge in the month of November that tested my blogging skills and my patience!

- Enjoying the most relaxing Christmas I've had in years with family and friends, better than any gift that could be bought from a store.

I remember this time last year, I was really excited for 2011 to be over and for 2012 to begin, because I had a lot of plans for this year. I'd said I wanted to make my champagne birthday the most memorable of all, and I couldn't have asked for a better birthday than doing exactly what I'd wanted to do - spend it in Toronto doing all my favourite things. My trip to Florida with my family was a fantastic week filled with shopping, sunning and quality family time.

The bachelorette weekend in Montreal was definitely one of the more memorable experiences myself and the girls have had in our friendship, but the icing on the cake was definitely standing in A's wedding. Moments before we walked down the aisle, the four of us stood in a circle and marveled at how far we've come over the past seven years, and how much has changed for the better in our lives. It was a magical day and I'm so thankful I was part of it.

So, I guess when I think about all these lovely thing that happened this past year, I can say that while it didn't exactly happen the way I'd planned, 2012 still held wonderful things for me. It was a really good year, but I have a sneaky feeling 2013 holds something even better.

Last year, I shared my favourite Mark Twain quote: "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." And while those words are ones I try to live by every day, this year, I have a new quote that I'm going to live by, and it's one you may have already seen around the internet. It's called The Holstee Manifesto, and it's pictured below.

This is my life. I'm planning to live it as best I can and to the fullest extent. Happy New Year! Here's to 2013: My Break Out Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To All...

...and to all, a good night. I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blogging Detox...

After a month long blogging challenge, I felt a bit drained and had to take a little break from The Elizabeth Files. I have to say though, even though there were times when I dreaded having to write a new entry, I actually really enjoyed the challenge and would consider doing it again in the future.

But, after taking a couple of weeks off, I'm back at it! With the Christmas season upon us, I have lots of new things to talk about, including my venture into wine-making, as I mentioned last month. Plus, as December is drawing to a close, it'll soon be time for the annual Year in Review. I feel that once you do something three times in a row, it becomes a tradition. So, as this will be the third year for the Year in Review, it is now officially a tradition. That will come in a couple weeks time. I'll also have to do a review of how my New Years resolutions went. Lots to blog about!

Check back soon!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blogging Challenge = Complete!

Today is the last day of November and that means it's the last day of my blogging challenge! All month long I've been blogging once a day, every day. There were days when I almost didn't make it; had no idea what to write about; almost completely forgot to write; but, I made it to November 30th with an entry every day. I'm proud that I was able to stick with it, even through the times when I almost said "I don't wanna blog today, I don't have time, I'm too tired, blah blah blah." It's been tough, but it's finally finished! Thanks for sticking with me, and we'll see how long it takes me to write another entry. :) Might be sooner than I think!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Personal Goal? Check.

This year, being the Year of Elizabeth (Again), I made a few resolutions to try and make this my best year yet. I wrote them up in a lovely little blog post for you all to see, and I've been working hard to keeping those resolutions. But I also made another resolution to myself that I didn't share with you.

I've admired friends of mine who are also bloggers for their dedication to their blogs and how they've managed to stick with blogging on a regular basis. It was something I wanted to do as well, and so this year, along with my four listed resolutions that I intended to keep, I also made a fifth one that I kept to myself. I wanted to blog at least once a week for the entire year, so I would have at least fifty-two entries by the end of 2012. It might seem like a strange resolution, but I wanted to challenge myself.

I started off pretty good, and managed to keep up with my once-a-week blogging until around April, when work got busy and my personal life went out the window. I kept meaning to blog, but I just didn't have the time to sit down and think out an entry. So I put it off and put it off, promising myself I'd get back on track the next week.

Summer turned to Fall and I only had one entry a month for about four months straight, so when I counted up how many entries I'd had for the year, I was less than halfway to my target of fifty-two and it was almost November. I was disappointed I'd let it go on for so long, but then, I heard about NaNoWriMo.

As I'd said in my entry at the beginning on November, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and while I didn't want to write a novel, it did give me the idea to write a blog entry every day for the month. Not only would it be a great way to challenge my blogging and writing skills, but it would take me up to my goal of fifty-two entries for the year.

Yesterday I'm happy to say, was my fifty-second entry of the year. It was a little accomplishment that I'm actually pretty proud of. I managed to hit my target, and with this entry, I'm surpassing it. There's still one more day left to November, and one more month left to 2012, so let's see what number I can hit by the end of the Year of Elizabeth. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post-work coffee at Post

If you haven't been to Post Espresso in downtown St. John's yet, I insist you go. It is definitely one of the best coffee spots in the city.

I stopped by on a Friday after work a few weeks ago with a friend for a delicious beverage and was delighted as usual. I love the interior of the shop with all its clean walls, funky lighting and light woods.

I asked the owner when they'd opened and he said they're coming up on their first anniversary, which is very exciting for them. From what I've heard, opening a new business can be very difficult, but it seems the folks at Post have been successful so far in building a loyal clientèle. They serve a range of hot beverages, including coffees, lattes, teas and more. During my visit, I had a cafe mocha and my coffee companion had a maple latte, both quite tasty.

You'll also notice in one of my pictures a Nanaimo Bar square - yes, that was mine. I have a hard time resisting chocolate, especially a treat that is a childhood favourite! All their baked goods come from a local gluten-free bakery in Paradise, called Nourish. You wouldn't be able to tell it was gluten-free because it was absolutely delicious - like everything else I've tried from there!

If you're looking for a spot to grab a tasty hot beverage, Post Espresso should be your next stop. If you can't find something there that you like, then you clearly don't like coffee.

a delicious maple latte

and an equally delicious cafe mocha and Nanaimo bar

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

O Christmas Tree

Tonight, my best friend Meghan and I went shopping for decorations for my Christmas tree. As I'd said before, this is my first tree that's completely my own, so I'm decorating it the way I want. And of course, typical me, I want it to be sparkly and colourful...kinda like me. Ha!

Meghan knows me well - I will hem and haw over things and take a while to make decisions, so she decided to "help me" make some decisions...which really means she pressured me, haha. Obviously not in a mean spirited way, but I knew I could count on her to give me that push that I needed to make up my mind as to what colours and things I wanted to put on my tree.

She helped me pick out a couple of packs of balls and some ribbons and lights and we were set. The first step of the decorating is complete with the lights on, and tomorrow, I'll add more. I'm looking forward to seeing how the finished product turns out!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wine, wine and more wine!

Over the past couple of months, my uncle and I have been making our own wine, a very exciting venture for the two of us. I've always been curious as to how people go about making their own wine or beer, and so this year, I decided to give my uncle a hand and help him make two batches - a batch of Merlot and a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tonight, after weeks of work and waiting, we bottled our wine, finally!! Check back over the next few days for the step by step process of how we made these delicious drinks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas is coming...

A month from today it will be Christmas Day. As it's my first Christmas on my own in my own little apartment, I went out and bought a tree last night and put it up this afternoon. It's not decorated yet, but it's a start. I'm looking forward to buying all the lights and bulbs to decorate it, and to buying other Christmassy things to make my little apartment nice and festive.

With the first of December only days away, I'm trying to get more and more into the Christmas spirit, and get my Christmas shopping underway. There are presents to be bought and wrapped and cookies to be baked in the coming weeks! My countdown to Christmas is finally underway!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Big City versus Small City

I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear that life in Toronto is a lot different than life in St. John's. While they may be in the same country, they really couldn't be more different.

Toronto is face-paced, energetic, lively, loud, there's always something to do, the best concerts come to town, movies and television shows are filmed there every offers so much that a small city like St. John's never could.

St. John's, on the other hand, is slower, a little more easy-going, more quiet, and while you won't see it everywhere, you will more often then not get the ol' "wave and nod" while driving past some folks walking down the sidewalk. While there's not as much craziness happening like in Toronto, it certainly does have its charms, that's for sure.

When I first moved to Toronto, I didn't like it very much. I found the people unfriendly and the city big and harsh. It took a while for me to get used to it, but when I finally found "my" Toronto - the little life that I created and built up around me in this massive metropolis - I loved it. I loved going to my regular haunts, I loved riding the subway and walking along Bay Street being surrounded by towering buildings and the sounds of busy traffic. I became more familiar and more comfortable in such a large place, and I was sad when I left.

When I think about it, I really can't choose which place I prefer. Sometimes I lean more towards a quieter life in St. John's, still fun and exciting, but not the same way Toronto is. Other times, I crave the hectic, loud craziness of Toronto, and miss it fiercely. I might be in Newfoundland now, but I wouldn't rule out another stint in the T Dot in my future.

Friday, November 23, 2012


After a long week, it's finally Friday, and I can definitely say I'm ready for a few days off. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The 10k Mark

Last night as I was posting my latest entry about Alias, I noticed that the counter at the bottom of the page had hit 10,000 views. It might not seem like a big deal, and really, it isn't. But for me, it felt like a little accomplishment. (Sad? Maybe. Do I care? Not really.)

I originally started this blog about three years ago for school. In my Humber College PR program, one of our courses was a social media course, and we had to sign up for Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and create a blog. While I don't use my Youtube account anymore, I tweet almost daily and LinkedIn is one of the websites I visit first when I turn my computer on in the mornings at work.

This blog has undergone a few changes over the years, and there have been months when I haven't written an entry at all, but I've managed to keep it chugging along somehow. I know some people are much more dedicated with their blogs, and have tens of thousands of visitors an oodles of entries, but that's not mine, and that doesn't matter to me. I'm proud of the variety of entries I've written over the past few years and the bits and pieces of my life I've shared. I'm looking forward to becoming more comfortable with blogging over time, and looking forward to seeing what direction it'll take me in next.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My love for all things "Alias" (and Sydney Bristow)

Recently, I've taken to rewatching one of my favourite television shows, Alias. I first got into the show in 2005 thanks to my roommate J in Harlow. She was a big fan of the series and had brought along all the seasons to date to Harlow with her. It was a show I'd wanted to watch for a few years but just never got into it.

While in Harlow, however, with access to a large number of episodes, I finally sat down and watched a few episodes every. single. day. I was hooked. I remember saying to J countless times, "Just one more...I'm only going to watch one more episode before bed." She'd nod her head knowingly, pretending she believed me, but she knew me too well. One episode always turned into two or three episodes.

I think what attracted me to the show for the most part was the fact that the lead character was a woman, and not just any woman: a strong, intelligent, kick-ass young woman. I knew it was only a television show, but I really admired Sydney Bristow and loved watching whatever mission she was sent on each episode, and how she juggled being a spy while trying to keep her identity a secret and have a real life.

Another friend of mine has recently started watching the show as well for the first time, and we'll discuss plot lines and different characters, but one thing we discuss the most is how much we like Sydney Bristow. There's just something about that Sydney Bristow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baffled by Almond Butter

Being allergic to peanut butter and sometimes feeling left out when people say how delicious it is, I decided to buy some almond butter to see if it was similar. I planned to make cookies and use it with other yummy foods...but I stuck the jar in the back of the fridge and forgot about it.

A month or two later, I was at the grocery store and thought, "y'know, I should try almond butter. I'll bet I could eat that with pretzels or fruit or bake it into cookies...yeah, I'm gonna get a jar." Completely forgetting about the gigantic jar already in my fridge.

So now, I have two big jars of almond butter...and haven't done anything with them. What's a girl to do?

Do you eat almond butter? What do you eat it with? Or do you bake with it or add it to a dessert? Share your go-to recipes please, as I'm looking for any ideas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas time is here again...almost.

As it's nearing December and stores are already starting to play Christmas tunes, have their display windows decked out festively, and are already overrun with crazy shoppers, I am slowly starting to get in the holiday mood.

While perusing Pinterest earlier, I found a few Christmasy things that made me long for gently falling snow on a calm, chilly night, bundled up with boots and scarves and mitts, walking through a winter wonderland; sitting around the fire place at my cousin's house with all the extended family, playing Trivial Pursuit or singing a few carols. All the things that remind me of Christmases gone by, all things I love.

What puts you in the Christmas spirit?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

There's Nothing Like...

A long overdue phone call with your sister living away, catching up on each other's news and excitedly making plans for Christmas. I think my most favourite part of Christmas time is not the presents or the food, (though I do enjoy both those things) but the people that come from away. I am so looking forward to seeing so many good friends next month, I can hardly wait.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A dessert auction to die for!

Last night I attended the St. Bonaventure's College Fall Gala and Auction. It was a lovely evening with a delicious dinner and a lively live auction. The best part of the evening though, was the dessert auction after dinner. 

The way it works is each table puts in as much money as they want, and once the money is tallied up, the table who put the most money up gets their choice of the desserts first. As you can see below, there was quite the selection. My selection for our table? A delicious Kit Kat bar cake. Layers of rainbow cake topped with chocolate icing, M&M's and Kit Kat bars. Amazing!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Halfway there...

I'm just over halfway through my month of blogging and I think it's been going fairly well. There have been days when it's been a struggle to bang out an entry, but I've always managed to spit out something, no matter how small it is. In the coming days, I'll talk more about some of my favourite spots in the city, probably some more Harlow stories (as I'm super nostalgic for that part of my life) and undoubtably, more Pinterest. Check back again tomorrow for another update!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happiest of birthdays to my oldest of friends

Today my best friend of 22 years turns 27. Meghan and I have been through a lot over the past two decades: births, deaths, good times, bad times. Holidays and special occasions, summertime deck parties and snow days curled up with movies and junk food. Primary school, elementary school, high school, university. Boyfriends, other friends, the list goes on and on. We've been there for each other's biggest moments and shared in the little ones as well.

After all this time, after ups and downs and drifting apart and coming back together, we're still friends.

Happy birthday, Meggie. Here's to the next 22 years of friendship. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The day my heart stopped.

Okay, that sounds a little dramatic. Rest assured, it didn't actually stop for like, medical reasons. It felt like it'd stopped because I was shocked by someone I'd seen on the street.

Seven years ago today, while in studying at Harlow in England, I was staying in London with my folks for a long weekend. It was a Monday morning and we were out looking around Bond Street at all the super expensive, fancy shops. As we walked along, I noticed some photographers on the other side of the street, taking pictures of someone from a distance on my side of the street. I joked to my parents, "oh, they're probably taking photos of some obscure British celebrity, we'll have no idea who they are."

As we passed by the shop window, however, I glanced in and felt my heart thud in my chest. I'd felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me and I know I turned as white as a ghost. In the store was one of the members of the Irish group Westlife. Now, I know I'll probably get lots of fun poked at me for liking a boy band, but I don't really care!

I first discovered Westlife while on vacation in Ireland in 1999 and had been a fan ever since. Living across the pond made it difficult to get CDs and merchandise a lot of the time, and I had to pay a small fortune to get things shipped from the UK. But it was worth it to me.

So when I saw Kian Egan in the window at Dolce & Gabbana I knew it had to be fate. That out of all the British celebrities that happened to be in that store while I was walking by, it was one that I actually knew of and completely adored. I saw them starting to leave the store and my mother encouraged me to go talk to him, but I said "no, no, I don't want to disturb them." But then I thought, "...when will I ever get this opportunity again? To meet him? I won't." So I went for it.

I said "excuse me" and told him I was a big fan from Canada and I'd been following his group for years long distance. He seemed surprised that they had fans in Canada and was impressed that I'd been so dedicated in my following. I asked him for a photo and he agreed, while his girlfriend (now wife) Jodi chatted with my mother. I thanked them for stopping to chat and wished them a pleasant day, and as you might be able to see in the second last picture below, my face was beaming with happiness and shock.

When I went home a few days later and did a search, sure enough, I found the paparazzi photos online on a fan site. I couldn't believe it and immediately saved the photos and emailed them to my folks. Some of them are below. To say that it was one of the most memorable moments of my time in Harlow is an understatement, and I felt really fortunate to have met such a lovely young man who I've admired for years. So, haters gonna hate, but how many of you can say you've been in the tabloids? :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sail away from safe harbour.

I always did like Mark Twain. I always enjoyed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn was one of my favourite books in high school. But the thing I like most about Mark Twain is the quote below. It's one of my favourites and something I try to remember every single day.

I discovered this quote in my mid-twenties and it's resonated with me ever since. I try to live by it every day, because I don't want to look back and say "I wish I'd done that." I want to look back and say "I can't believe I did that."

Monday, November 12, 2012

The end of the long weekend

A funny thing about a long weekend is that even though you only get one extra day off, that day can make all the difference in the world. I spent a lot of this weekend relaxing and trying to recharge my batteries before the final push to the end of the year. I've been determined to make 2012 a good year, and so far, I've done fairly well. 

There are only six weeks left until Christmas and seven weeks left until the end of the year, and I'm determined to make them count. Time to hit the sack and get back on track. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We Remember

I blogged recently about my time in Harlow and how it was such an amazing experience. While there, a group of us took a trip to Beaumont Hamel and visited the battlefields where so many Newfoundlanders gave their lives during World War I. Below are just a few of the pictures I took during that trip. 
As today is Remembrance Day, I thought it would be fitting for today's entry to be about remembering the young men and women who gave their lives in battles over the years, but I also believe it's important to remember the veterans who survived and are still living today. Thank you for your service to our country and to your fellow Canadians.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

These are a few of my favourite things

Not having enough time to write a proper entry, I'm going to cheat a bit and write a quick little one with pictures of some of my favourite things I've found on Pinterest. Recipes, quotes, funny pictures, clothes, you name it. Maybe they're some of your favourite things too?

Have a great Saturday night!