Monday, January 30, 2012

Elizabeth and Nancy's Transatlantic Cooking Adventures!

In my first blog post of the year, I talked about 2012 being the Year of Elizabeth (Again), and the different resolutions I want to keep during that time. One of those resolutions was to learn to cook more.

Being a big fan of Jamie Oliver, I own a bunch of his cook books, like any proper fan would. One of my favourite books of his is  "Jamie's Food Revolution" - a collection of recipes for even the most basic of chefs (like myself.)

I sat down to lunch one day a few weeks ago with my good friend Nancy. She's currently working on her Ph.D at Oxford, and was about to fly back to England to begin a new term. I told her of my plan to work my way through a lot of the recipes in Jamie's book, and the more I talked about it, the more she liked my plan. The more she liked it, the more she wanted to do it herself, until finally, Nancy decided that she, too, wanted to try some of the recipes.

From our talking and planning, we agreed to have a weekly cooking date, where we would make the same recipe, me in Newfoundland and Nancy in Oxford. Of course, being the arts students we are, we can't do something like this and not document it. So I decided I would write about it on my blog, and Nancy would keep a photo journal.

 Our first cooking date was yesterday, so in the next few days, I'll be updating with a blog post, summarizing our adventure. Check back again soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Day!

Well, it's a snowy day in St. John's today, with over 20cm having fallen since the early morning. Though I was up nice and early this morning to prepare to venture out into the weather, my lovely boss sent word to stay home and work from my couch. So, that's what I've been doing!

Later tonight, since it looks like this outside:

I'm going to be doing a whole lot of this inside:

I hope everyone in St. John's is snuggled away from the weather, but if not, take care if you're out driving, and Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm Picky about Paint Colours

When moving into a new place all your own, the prospect of shopping for new furniture, picking out paint colours and decorating your walls seems pretty exciting, right? Right.


For someone who likes to think she knows how to match colours, and knows what goes with what, let's just say that the task of picking out paint colours for my apartment was one that was pretty overwhelming. I wish I were kidding. 

Like the colour beige, for example: I knew I wanted a beige colour for my living room and halls, but I couldn't find that perfect colour, the one I'd been thinking of and persistently looking for. And then, when you do find a shade you like, apparently it won't actually look like that when you put in on the walls. And then, you have to think about lighting - what will your chosen colour look like in the daylight? What about in the lamplight? Not to mention the type of paint, and the finish, and the many questions! Too many questions. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I gave up...but not completely.

You see, it's handy to have friends that are creative. I'm creative in some ways, but picking colours just isn't one. I left that to the professionals. One professional in particular: my best friend.

She just completed an interior design program and now, not only is Meghan naturally talented when it comes to colour and lighting, space planning, window treatments and more, she now has the credentials to back her up. This girl knows her stuff, as you can tell from her blog and all her design ideas!

So instead of pulling all my hair out, I grabbed a handful of different blues and beiges and brought them to the expert, who promptly pulled two paint chips out of the pile and said, "Here. Do you like these?" And of course, I did, since she knows me so well. And that was that, problem solved.

And so, voila, I give living room colours:

So exciting, I know. ;) I'll bet you wanted to see the finished product? Don't worry, that's coming in a blog post in the next couple of weeks!

Oh, and by the way - I got so frustrated with choosing colours, I used the beige alllll through the halls, living room and half the dining room. The kitchen, bathroom and other half of the dining room are the blue colour. After a while, I just couldn't take another visit to the Paint Shop, staring at paint chips for 30 minutes, trying to figure out what went with what, and I couldn't bear to bother poor Meghan again. 

I'll be back next week with another post about the trials and tribulations of that pesky chore: furniture shopping. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, New Me (and possibly New You?)

Now that we're into the second week of 2012, I thought it would be a good time to lay out some new resolutions. I'm sure we all make the usual "I'll do more of this, less of that" kind of thing, but how many of us actually stick to it?

I'm betting (and I'm including myself in this) that the majority of us don't stay committed to our New Years resolutions. I wonder how long it takes for us to forget about them or give up on them? Well, I'm hoping to change that this year.

Since this is The Year of Elizabeth (Part 2), I've made a couple of...promises to myself, shall we say. A couple of "more's" and one or two "lesses". Let's see if I can stick with these for the next 355 or so days:

1. Learn to cook more: One of my best friends is currently completing her Ph.D in England, so since she's 5,000 kilometers across the Atlantic, Skype is pretty much a Godsend in keeping in touch and being able to interact with her. Cooking is something that I'm becoming more and more interested in over the past year and a half, and she has also expressed an interest in mastering some new recipes.

So, we've made a pact (Yes, a pact, Nancy, that makes it sound more official) to have a weekly Sunday night Skype date where we both make the same recipe, 5,000 kilometers apart, a new recipe each week. If only there were some way to have a judge taste test our creations...we're very competitive, you see. I have a feeling Jamie Oliver's cookbooks are definitely going to be well used this year. Even if the pact doesn't quite stick, (because, y'know, she's writing her Ph.D and I've just started a new job as a PR coordinator for a busy marketing firm, so we might be a bit busy at times...) I'll still be testing new creations and sharing them on my blog.

2. Spend less: This could mean any number of things. Spend less money, spend less time watching television, spend less whatever. If I'm going to make this my best year yet, I don't have time to waste, or money to spend on trivial things. So, if I want to accomplish some financial goals and lifestyle goals, it's time to spend less.

3. Read more: Having done an English degree in university, I've always been a big reader. But when life gets in the way, especially when it comes to my job, reading for pleasure tends to take a back seat. I had wanted to read more this year anyway, but having now joined a book club hosted by one of my girlfriends, I'm going to have to read at least one book a month in order to keep up with the club! Here's hoping there are some good reads in my future! I've already finished one book so far this year, and I'm starting my next today: P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley. I've heard good things about it from a reliable source (my favourite former English prof) so I'm very excited to begin tonight.

4. Worry less: I have a problem: I'm a big thinker. I think about a lot of things and then think some more about them, and when I'm finished....I go back and think again. And then...I just might think it over, one more time. Again.

Sometimes my thinking is more so worrying: worrying about oversleeping, worrying about getting a document written in time, worrying about being late for something, worrying about upsetting someone. This year....I'm going to learn to chill out. Worry less. Think...well, not less. But over-analyze less. This one will definitely be a challenge for me, because how do you stop yourself from thinking?

And so, there you have it. Four rules, resolutions, guidelines, goals, whatever - that I'll hopefully be able to stick to, keep up with, follow - over the next year. Wish me luck!

Have you made any resolutions for 2012? Share them with me!