22 October 2014

Currently


Thinking about how quickly time passes. Just last year we took these engagement photos & were looking into details for our wedding. Now we're married, back from our honeymoon, & looking to the next step (no, not babies. Stahp) - a house. I knew our wedding day would fly by (everyone says it does, so we heard it a million times), but it's still kind of surreal. I'm halfway through the process of officially changing my name & we've been talking to banks & brokers & it's still kind of like whoa. Hold up. We got married, guys.

& then we had an epic honeymoon. I'd like to stay with 2014 for a little while longer, but I know in no time we'll be into 2015. I'm excited for everything that's coming, but I'm also still really happy about our present & trying to live in it a little bit longer. I'm trying to hang on I guess. The older I get, the quicker time seems to pass. My twenties have been great & I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to them.

Drinking red wine, lately. We spent the weekend cooking a couple of nice meals & I always find a good bottle of wine makes dinner feel a little bit more special. 

Doing a lot of things I never thought I'd do. I was thinking about that this morning as my early morning spin class was wrapping up. Our awesome motivator, Alex, was talking about how we were all game changers for choosing to come to spin & choosing to wake up at 5 am to do it. Both of those are things many people would never consider.

Honestly, spin was not something I ever thought I'd enjoy so I was surprised when I found myself looking forward to these classes (& willing to wake up before the crack of dawn to participate). This isn't the first time this has happened to me either. There was a time when I thought running more than 5 kms would kill me. I vowed I would never be a runner. My five half marathons are evidence that I was quite wrong.

There are so many examples of this in my life & I think it just goes to show that you're capable of so many things you never thought possible. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance & see where it takes you. You never know what might become a staple if you step outside your comfort zone. 

Loving trying out new recipes. As much as I love summer, the cooler seasons are my favourite in terms of cooking. Cold weather cooking is totally my jam - roasting, braising, slow cooking, it's all so delicious. & we have some fancy new wedding gifts to help in this department. 

Watching so many episodes of Suits. It's kind of ridiculous, but mostly awesome. Have you watched this show? It's smart & hilarious & great. I want to be friends with so many of the characters. We're almost caught up sadly, so I'm not sure what we'll do with all our free time once it's done. Blog more perhaps?

Thanks to Megan from Freckled Italian for the post inspiration. 

20 October 2014

Honeymoon \\ Paris 002


On our second day in Paris we had planned to do a free walking tour. I've previously talked about the New Europe Free Walking tours as I've now done them in numerous cities & think they are great. At the end of the day it doesn't actually wind up being free since they ask for tips if you think it was worth it, but it let's you decide how much you want to pay. If you didn't like the tour - leave nothing. If you thought it was great - leave what you think is reasonable. I've always found the tours are great since they won't be getting paid if they aren't.

Unfortunately, we got a little turned around in the morning & missed the first tour, so we decided to try our luck at touring the catacombs. This was my first trip to Europe during anything close to peak time, so I had no idea what to expect in terms of lines. That's one of the nice things about travelling outside of busy season - you rarely wait long in a line. We arrived at the entrance to the catacombs & the queue snacked all the way around the square. I think we laughed out loud - we certainly didn't have time to waste hours in a line up, so instead we walked back towards Place St Michel & the Jardin du Luxembourg.

This is one of my favourite things to do in a city like Paris. Just wander. Take in the neighbourhoods & the buildings & enjoy a walk. You miss so much taking the metro from sight to sight. The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of my favourite parks in Paris. It's huge, for one. It's also got some great people watching & a pond in the centre where kids run around pushing these little rented boats. It's a cool spot.

Always a sucker for these kinds of buildings
Gas Station, Central Paris 







We hung out there for a bit before continuing on back to Place St Michel for the tour. We arrived just in time to start the tour with a British girl named Harriet (or Harry as she preferred to be called). That day there were actually two English-speaking tours running, another reminder of what season we were travelling in. Both tours took off at the same time but we almost never crossed paths with one another. (Another perk of these free walking tours - they're always different.) So although I'd done this Paris tour before, it wouldn't be the same as last time. It wasn't exactly a recent experience either (as I'd already proven by getting lost earlier).



From Place St Michel we headed over the Notre-Dame de Paris. This church is such an iconic sight for many when they visit Paris that it's shocking to think it was almost demolished. Luckily for us, Victor Hugo was interested in saving much of Paris' gothic architecture & began writing a book to raise awareness of its importance. In 1831, he penned Notre-Dame de Paris (or as you probably know it better - The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).





Next, we walked along the banks of the Seine to Pont Neuf - the oldest bridge in Paris. The many amusing faces mounted on this bridge are said to be King Henry's friends at the end of a particularly unruly night of partying. I'm not sure if this story is actually true, but it certainly makes these faces even more entertaining. Up the stairs & around the corner stands a statue of Henri-Quatre (Good King Henry), who was murdered. Apparently, you can tell because one of his horse's front legs & one of his hind legs are raised.




We wandered further along the banks of the Seine towards Pont des Arts (another bridge filled with lover's padlocks) for an incredible view of Île de la Cité. Pont des Arts also joins the Institut de France (home of the Académie Française) to the Louvre, which was our next stop. We stopped in the Cour Carré, one third of the whole Louvre Museum & originally the King's Palace, before crossing over into the iconic square with the glass pyramid.

Institut de France 
Île de la Cité & Pont Neuf 







We took a quick bathroom & snack break just off Rue du Rivoli (where you'll find great shopping if you're ever in Paris) before continuing on to the Jardin des Tuileries. This was originally the Queen's garden as their Palace once stood there. Our final stop was one of the largest square's in Europe - Place de la Concorde. From here you can see the Eiffel Tower & the start of the Champs-Elysées.






We decided to walk the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, with a little stop in at Ladurée for some macarons. I know Ladurée is one of the more touristy spots for macarons, but they are still truly delicious. We picked up a little box of six & continued on to the Arc.










In 2005, I had met my parents in Paris for a weekend & we had stayed at the beautiful Hôtel Prince de Galles on Avenue George V. The afternoon they arrived, we ventured out for a glass of wine at a little bar around the corner. Before moving to France, I strictly drank cocktails & coolers. I quickly found out that's a very expensive way to drink in France & within my first month in Rennes, learned how great wine could be.

We all cherish the memory of that afternoon in Paris very much so I convinced N to see if we could find the little bar again. We did (it's called Rival) & proceeded to enjoy a glass of wine, & nibble our macarons as I told him about that very first trip to Paris, nine years prior.


Rival
Pretty little box of colourful macarons
It had been a long day of walking so we jumped on the metro back to our apartment to change for dinner. I'll talk about that next time though. This post is starting to remind me of my long winded emails home while I was living in France,so it's time for a break (& some wine & dinner).

Bon appétit!

16 October 2014

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!