Friday, August 31, 2012

Uptown 17th : The Big Cheese

Ever just crave poutine....or perogies? How about both?

The Big Cheese Poutinerie on 17th ave SW can give it to you.

This is one of those hole in the wall spots that is perfect for your lunch break, or for 2am post bar feasting, and I've enjoyed it for both those reasons. They've got like 30 odd flavours on the menu, sorted into what kind of meat your getting with all that cheese and gravey (or veggie options too!) along with a special each month.

On special, that I was sure to come back for again before the month was out, is the Perogy Poutine, Cheese Curds and Gravy, plus caramelized onions, bacon bits and sour cream....oh and whole perogies fried up fresh as well!

 Turns out I wasn't the only one coming back for it, because they added it to the regular menu. (Which is maybe a good thing cause it's amazing...and maybe bad, because I haven't tried any other flavours since).

Anyways you can see what I pigged out on for lunch today....sooo much goodness in one small paper box.

If you love poutine, I challenge you to find a better place in this city to get it, or with friendlier staff. Big Cheese, you have a special place in my heart...and in my stomach!

Big Cheese Poutinerie on Urbanspoon

August 2012 Recap

Wow I can't believe summer already over. This morning I woke up to find the temperature outside was a brisk 6 degrees, and when I was home in the Soo last weekend, about 10% of the trees had already turned their leaves. While fall is possibly my favourite season (as I was telling the boy this morning, nothing beats the smells of fall) this has been a great summer, and August has been an exciting month for my little old blog. So let's take a look back why don't we?

This August saw me hitting a whopping 25 followers on GFC, which I am very proud of, thank you very much; as well as over 5000 page views (equally as much as I'd had since I started on this blog over a year ago). I also had my most post happy month, with this one being number 22!

I made some major changes round here, rearranging my layout a couple times to include things like social networking icons on the left and button swaps on the right (if you're interested, send me an email).

On to my favourite posts in Aug!

I ran in Calgary's Spartan Race with the Boy, and received the most page view ever from a reddit bump!

I reflected back on my childhood, inspired by Hasbro's return of the Furby.

Sarah and I went down to YYC Taste the Trucks 2, and I stuffed my face in the sunshine.

And speaking of delicious food, I finally had breakfast at Galaxy Diner, after nearly a full year of living right around the corner.

Anyways, I hope your August's were just as eventful! Now I get to start looking forward to Sept, to welcoming new (foolish) grad students to Calgary (why would you have voluntarily signed yourself up for this), to taking my final Graduate class, to finishing my research proposal once and for all, to another round of begging the government for money, and to enjoying myself as much as I can before winter sets in.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sparked My Pinterest 02

While I patiently wait for a Picaboo album to load so I can order it with a living social voucher... I thought I'd share with you all another edition of Sparked My Pinterest.

Stuff to Make - a quilt is on my bucket list this year, and this one is so easy!

Items to Buy - These soaps remind me of my friend Steph... so much fun!

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

Things to Wear - fall is coming, and this looks like exactly what I want to be wearing

Eventually - not that this would be anytime in the near future, but these feathers in the place of a veil, perfect!

Come and Pin along with me!

Button, Button, Who's got the Button

If you look over to the right side of the screen, you'll notice there's a new side bar there.

And what might be on it? Well, Up at the top you'll find a link to my featured Great Canadian Bloggers Page.

If you stopped by on Friday, then you know that Nicole from Gypsy in Jasper was my first featured Canadian Blogger!

And what's underneath it, why my first button swap partner, Kit from What a Peach!

Are you interested in swapping buttons with me? If you are send me and email!


In other news, my trip back to Ontario was great this weekend, but now I'm kinda glad to be spending the next nearly 2 months not flying anyways, and working my ass off in the lab!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A-Z post...these are fun!

Sometimes it's just fun to do one of these silly things. This one came to me via Miss Indie's blog. Enjoy!

A= Available - Nope! he's a lucky man!

B= Best Friend - My mom, even tho we fight like the two Italian women we are sometimes.

C= Cake or pie - Cake but not chocolate.
D= Drink of choice - Coke when I'm being bad (right now) otherwise water from the fridge.
E= Essential item you use everyday - blackberry.... it lives within a meter of me at all times.
F= Favorite color - Teal/turquoise...I died the ends of my hair that colour.
G= Gummy bears or worms - the gummy worms with the sugar coating.
H= Hometown - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont (but I was born in Orangeville)
I= Indulgences - reading fantasy novels until late into the night.
J= January or February - birthday!
K= Kids and Names - No kids yet.
L= Life is incomplete without? - Family, the one thing I hate so much about living away from the Soo, being away from my giant family.
M= Marriage date - Sometime in the future...maybe a winter wedding?
N= Number of siblings - 1 younger brother.
O= Oranges or apples - apples...but I have to cut them with a knife into wedges.
P= Phobias or Fears - tonnes... afraid to drown would be the biggest one.
Q= Favorite Quote - 'Sit tight, take hold, thunder road' and I got it tattooed on.
R= Reason to smile - Jenna Marbles (huge girl crush here)
S= Season - Fall, I love the smell of leaves decomposing.
T= Tag 3 or 4 people - you're it! but we're playing toilet tag!
U= Unknown fact about me - Sometimes I get afraid of the dark in my own apartment at night.
V= Vegetable you don't like - Can't think of one, veggies are good, especially grilled.
W= Worst habit - Nit pick my skin sometimes.
X= X-rays - Most recently...lungs for a cough that lasted months a couple years ago.
Y= Your favorite food - Perogies! making my own is on my to-do list. (done!)
Z= Zodiac Sign - Aquarius... we have our own song.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Great Canadian Bloggers - Gypsy in Jasper

For my very first featured Great Canadian Blogger, I'd like to introduce you all to:

Nicole, the lovely lady behind Gypsy in Jasper.

While I've been following her blog for quite a while now, this week, I took the opportunity to get to know Nicole a little better by asking her some questions.

How long have you been blogging for? 
  • Since January of 2011.
Describe your blog in 12 words or less.
  • Rants, ramblings and outfits of a wandering vagabond currently living in Jasper. 
What are some of your favourite posts?
    What's your day job?
    •  I'm a small town reporter/photographer for a newspaper.
    How do you incorporate blogging into your busy schedule?
    • I usually blog in the evenings. I'll admit that sometimes I don't want to, but I generally force myself to sit down and write for half an hour to an hour. I don't like to commit too many hours to my blog because I feel like that takes away from my time living and experiencing things that I can then blog about. To make blogging six times a week manageable, sometimes, when I'm really inspired, I set aside an evening to pump out a few posts and then I can just take it easy and ride those out for awhile.
    Do you eat maple syrup with something that's not pancakes/waffles?
    • Well, this is still waffles, but we make fried chicken and waffles, which I eat with maple syrup, sriracha and ketchup! Yum!

    What inspires you most to continue to produce awesome content for your blog?
    • For me, it's a way to document what I'm doing at that very moment. I used to be an avid journal writer when I was kid, but somewhere down the line (once my life was actually exciting enough to document), I lost the motivation to write for myself. So having a blog is a great way to keep a record of what I'm up to, while also meeting new people. I have to say, the people who read and comment on my blog are a great source of encouragement and inspiration. Without them I may have quit months ago!
    What Canadian stereotype would you say closest applies to you?
    • Probably friendly, hospitable and accommodating. Here's a story to prove it: In 2010, I moved to Yellowknife, NWT, which is a bit intimidating when you're a southerner who has never experience -40 C. Once I got my bearings, I made it my mission to be a one-woman welcome wagon for any new reporters who came to work at my paper. I did it because I wanted to make sure those people didn't feel lonely in this remote, new place and I also wanted to ensure that when they left the North, whether it was within months or years, they would remember it fondly. Basically, I just want everyone to have a good time and feel welcome wherever they go.
    If you could live anywhere else in the world (apart from Canada) where would it be?
    • That's a tough question for me because for the last few years I've made it mission to work and live in every province and territory in Canada. So really, I never even consider living outside of this beautiful country of ours. I guess, if you really twisted my arm, I'd probably say Holland because both of my parents are Dutch immigrants, so going to Holland would be a great way to reconnect with my extended family.
    What YouTube video or Internet meme makes you laugh the hardest?
    • Haha. I love this question because I am always way behind on YouTube videos and memes. I seriously don't give them the time of day. If I had to chose one, though, it would be the "Hey Girl" meme with Ryan Gosling. I just love seeing feminism making its way into pop culture.

    Anything else you'd like to say?
    •  Yes! Of course there is. I'd like to say thank-you to Sara for choosing me as a Great Canadian Blogger. I am so honoured. I don't know that I'm great, but I am definitely Canadian and proud of it.
    Thanks so much Nicole for agreeing to be my first featured Great Canadian Blogger! I had a tonne of fun putting together these questions and hearing your answers! 

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    The Campaign : Laughed until I had tears in my eyess.

    Last night the boy and I bbq'd a super tasty dinner (chicken breast with asparagus risotto stuffed grilled red peppers and spinach and strawberry salad) and then went out for a Tuesday cheep night movie.

    We saw the Campaign, since in features two of my favourite funny men, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis (seriously every time I see him walking a tiny dog, my whole world gets happier).

    This was definitely a hit, I'd highly recommend it. Chuck full of improvised one liners that get a laugh every time, good old fashioned slap stick chuckles, and some real wit at the expense of politicians everywhere.

    And I won't spoil it for you, but the maid may have been the funniest part in my opinion, although the Huggins family dinner was out of control (way better than even the trailer lead me to believe).

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    25 before 25 recap

    so you may know that this year, on my 24th birthday, I made a list of 25 things I am determined to accomplish before I turn 25.

    As we're right at the 6 month point, I thought I'd give you all a recap of where I am on the list.

    1. Run a half marathon - Ok so I've done a 10km this summer, and the spartan race, but looks like the half marathon will have to be the last chance one in November...before winter sets in in full.
    2. Donate blood again - have donated a couple times to science... but as for to blood services canada, will have to wait another 3 months before it's been long enough since the tattoo.
    3. Get a new camera -Done! Got a sweet Fujifilm water proof one, a great choice for taking it with you hiking, swimming, everywhere! Took it out for the first time here.
    4. Take an art or photography class - haven't done this one yet.... need to get on it!
    5. Go camping -Done! we went the Canada day long weekend, right after I got back from Colorado, and before going to was muddy!
    6. Visit 5 new places - O'ahu and Maui, Hawaii; Sorrento and Amantea, Italy; Aspen, Collorado; Chicago, Illinios
    7. Host a breakfast, lunch and dinner  - gotta get on these... Had Kev and a friend over for dinner back in July, made an awesome chicken stir fry.
    8. Get a first author paper - Not yet, gotta get that DSS paper out asap.
    9. Go trail riding- We thought about doing this in Hawaii, maybe in the fall?
    10. Adopt a kitten - How badly do I want a pet....soooo bad, but still can't have one in my apartment.
    11. Learn to bake with yeast - Check! even if it is via a bread maker! I've been using it just to do the dough cycle and been making some awesome buns and rolls. One makes an appearance here.
    12. Knit and donate 5 sweaters - haven't even started on this one... I do most of my knitting in the winter anyways.
    13. Try a fun hair colour - done! dip dyed the ends of my hair (much to my mother's dismay) teal back in June
    14. Write my thesis proposal, get it approved - We're getting there on this one, have a solid draft going (14 pages single spaced)
    15. Take a dance class...hip hop? - Planning on signing up for one or two in the fall (funds pending)
    16. Scramble 5 mountains - ok this guy... clearly had no idea how hard this would be, instead I'm committed to 5 serious hikes, Did one in Colorado to the Lake of America, did one in our lab up to Old Goat Glacier, did 3 in hawaii - Manoa Falls in Honolulu, Iao Valley in Maui, and the Bamboo Forrest hike at the end of the road to Hana in Maui (two of the hawaii ones were easy-ish, so I'd like to add at least one more.
    17. Watch a sunrise - got a couple sunsets under my belt... going to have to have the boy take me out for this one.
    18. Visit a museum - Surprisingly didn't do any museums in Italy this time.
    19. Make a quilt - I have the shirts ready, and the interfacing... need to get going on this.
    20. Float the bow - Floated the elbow river on July 22...sooo much fun, such a beautiful day.
    21. Make my own bath bombs - coming up soon!
    22. Get a tattoo - got my very first tattoo on May 19... on my ribs, it hurt like heck!
    23. Read 20 new books - I'm at seven new books... probably re-read 10 old books at least as well.
    24. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity - Signed up to volunteer at a build in Sept. I can't wait!
    25. Print more photos - From traveling sooo many places this summer, I certainly have lots of photos to print.
    Well there you have it, half way through the year, but not half way done yet. As it stands, this year has already been truly amazing and chuck full of new experiences. The last 6 months have gone by in a flash, can't imagine what the next 6 have in store.

    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Did you know: There are no rats in Alberta

    In the wild that is. Also it's illegal to have a rat as a pet here.

    In fact, Alberta is one of the few places in the world to bravely boast "Rat Free".

    So naturally when a dead rat was found in a Calgary community last week, the normal response is to put city officials on "high alert" and the community "under surveillance for two weeks."

    Check out the report on the Calgary sun website here.

    Spartan Race Calgary 2012

    Yesterday I woke up bright and early, thru on some pink spandex and black paint, and got ready to sweat in the sun.

    The spartan race had come to Calgary, and I, the boy, and countless foolish others, signed ourselves up for 5km of hot misery under a cloudless sky. The course featured flames to leap, walls to climb, bricks to drag, more hills and mud than a person ever needs. Oh and burpees....every time you failed a task you did 25 burpees...I did 50.

    Nothing will make you feel prouder tho than being able to carry a sand bag up and down a near vertical hill, low crawling under like 50m of barbed wire (getting your pony tail tangled in barbed wire is less than fun) and high stepping through waist deep mud. So even tho I didn't have the fastest time (the boy was a true gentleman and stuck with my dragging ass the whole race to make sure I didn't keel over and die) and even tho I was woefully under prepared.....and even tho I got a mean case of sun stroke and spent the evening in a shivering huddle....

    I still feel incredibly proud to have came, and ran, and overcome everything they threw at me. I can call myself a spartan!

    Now to spend the rest of today getting mud off my things and prepping for a committee meeting tomorrow.

    What did you overcome this weekend?

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Fascinated on Fridays: Furby is Back!

    I was just over at Miss Indie's reading her 'Friday's Favourite Things' and gasp.... Furbies are back she says! (Miss Indie's got a great blog, and every single friday I find my way over to something amazing thanks to her lists)

    Oh I grew up in the glory days of the Furby, I remember the wild rush and line ups back in 1998 when myself and everyone else I knew wanted one for Christmas. That year my Aunt managed to get one for me from a store in Timmons (it was an all grey one) and we got another (the spotted grey and pink one) from a raffle at a Canadian Tire in the Sault...I remember there being hundreds of people there that night because a shipment of something like 25 of the things came in.

    Image comes from Angelfire's Furbsite.

    This was way better than neopets... this was a real life fuzzy toy (about as solid as a brick under the fuzz) that you could feed, tickle, pet and love.... and they were definitely vocal about wanting all that attention. Getting the stupid things to sleep through the night may have been worse than actual least until you finally resorted to pulling the batteries out.

    What became of my precious Furbies... well as all fads do pass, I eventually got bored of the little guy. I know that the grey one sat in the toy bin at my Nana's for years, along with a Tickle-Me-Elmo that probably needed to be exorcised (as the voice got really strange the older that got). The last time I saw this furby he was looking worse for wear, with the fabric covering his ears pulled off and the rest of his fur looking pretty scragly... I think he may have even been missing an eye lid. (the next set of cousins in my family are a pair of brothers and I think they play too hard with Furby)

    So that brings me to today, and the Walmart Website's announcement that Hasbro has brought Furby back!

    I have to say.. .these solid colour guys, with their digital eyes and plastic ears just don't seem as cute to me. But who knows, maybe my littlest cousin Caitlin will be begging for one for Christmas this year just like I did way back when.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday : The Cloud Gate

    From my recent trip to Chicago, we saw the Cloud Gate at noon on a Sunday with a beautiful blue sky full of clouds and a tonne of tourists.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    How to Add Social Networking Icons to My Blog

    Ok, I know I use a plain old simple blogger template for my blog, but that's because 1) it's clean and I like it. and 2) I can't justify spending money for someone to do a blog design for me right now and 3)I just don't want to learn myself to do things like serious HTML myself.

    But seriously.... the Twitter, Pinterest, RSS and whatever buttons that come standard from their sites just sort of make my eyes finally I did something about it.

    This post here gave me the tips I needed to start.

    And here's what I went and did about it.

    • First I searched around for some free icon sets.
    Icon Archive has tonnes of sets that you can browse through, and links back to the designer's site where you can download them. I ultimately however picked my set, found while googling for a free pink set (ooh yeah girly girl here) from They look like this:

    • Next up opened the files (they usually come as a zip) and thru them all into powerpoint so I could pick what ones I wanted and play with arangement... Well this set, I soon realized didn't come with a pinterest I was back to searching (a less than matched set would be less than ideal).
    • Once I knew which ones I wanted and in what order, I uploaded them all to photobucket... since this would generate HTML code. This new set came from position : relative.
    • Then I had to add the HTML Gadget to your blogger template, and copy the HTML code in for each image, use the code <br/> to break them up into two rows (or more). When I copied in the code from photobucket, the code is automatically set up to link back to photobucket. All I had to do was to change the url here to where I wanted to link to. Easy as pie!

    This image shows what all that looks like. I just replaced the photobucket url within the quotations with the url of  I wanted to link to. I also got rid of the bit 'target="_blank" all that seems to do is take your browser to a blank page on its was to your new link.

    • Once I did these few simple steps, I was good to go. As it was the size icons I chose were a bit to wide to go 5 across. I could have go back and repeated the process with smaller icons that had come with the set. As it was, I just made my side bar a tiny bit wider to fit 5 of these in a row. 

    Don't all those pretty icons look nice up there. If you have any questions about how I put my social networking icons on my blog,  don't hesitate to ask either in the comments, or by clicking the brand new email icon!

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    3 Awesome Easy Nail Tutorials

    So if you're anything like me, you like to have your nails painted, you're crappy at painting one hand versus the other and you want your nails to look classy (and not like they belong on a 13 year old girl). Here's 3 great, easy looks that change things up from the normal one colour routine (or my go to, one colour plus a stripe!).

    1. Neon Rainbow/Ombre Nails...this video comes to us from Nikkie Tutorials and this exciting paint job looks easy enough to pull off that your right hand might even look as good as your left when your done. This technique can also be easily adapted to do a two colour ombre effect.

    2. Louboutin comes via NailsFreakBlog... and I've never considered painting the underside of my nails before, but just like that classic pop of red under shoes I'll never afford (tears) this look is in my opinion both classy and vampy.

    3. Crackle Nails....this is one I've been doing all summer long, especially when travelling (I find if you chip your polish with crackled nails, it's not as noticeable) Anyways there's a 1000 odd videos on youtube for this, but all you do is throw on a bright undercoat (I like neons best) and then go over it with a quick layer of the crackle polish (mine's from Sally Hanson) and you do have to be quick, as it starts to crackle right away, then top coat and you're done.

    Anyways, these are three great, simple ways to do your nails, that don't require extensive technique with tiny brushes and stuff. And you can do all three looks in relatively little time!


    Now I seriously need to get back to my research proposal.....any second now.

    ~~~~Update! I tried technique number one last night, here's the results:

    Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

    Isn't that just about the least attractive picture of fingers ever?


    also Elycia and Kaylah just posted a hilarious how to video on nail stickers, you should promptly check it out!

    Living better with Leslie and Janet: Nail Stickers

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Scully and Mulder together again?

    First: Mr David Duchovny was my very first crush, way back in my childhood years there really wasn't anyone more appealing than the erratic, true believer, little bit of a bad boy Agent Fox Mulder.

    Second: If you grew up in the 90s, then you know you spent many sleepless nights, terrified to sleep because of something that happened on an episode of the X-files. Recently I asked the boy to name his most memorable/terrifying episode and believe it or not we both recall the same one: Darkness Falls. Featuring swarms of killer bugs that spin you into cocoons and kill you (recall the person who seeks shelter in a car only to have the bugs find their way in through the vents). Maybe it comes from growing up in black fly country (norther Ontario) or just the creepy crawly nature but this one surely stands out the most.

    When 'I Want to Believe' came out in 2008, I was thrilled, it had been so long since the end of the show in 2002, and you bet I rushed out to see the new movie. Was a mildly disappointed that this film featured no aliens sure, and I probably wasn't the only one as the film received mostly negative reviews. But I was happy to see Scully and Mulder together at last after the credits heading towards paradise.

    So what do I want to Believe? That despite Duchovny's reps denying the rumours springing up all over the internet this week....That Mr. Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are in fact together in real life. Common, that really would be perfect right?

    Either way, hopefully the buzz the rumours have generated might just be the best thing towards getting a 3rd movie produced soon.

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Calgary Food Trucks : Taste the Trucks II

    Yesterday I flocked, along with hundreds of other hungry Calgarians, to the Riverwalk in the East Village to experience the goodness that was YYC Taste the Trucks II.

     Oh, and I wore my pinkest pants (H&M, the top too!).

    The event ran from 1-6pm...and since I couldn't get out of the lab till 4, some things were sold out, but there was still plenty of good eating to go around.

    First on my list was The Perogy Bozy, 'A gourmet mobile food truck, serving Eastern-European-inspired street food."

    I got the Sauerkraut perogies, Sarah rocked the mexican ones. And they were both phenomenally good!

    Of course we went and sat right on the edge of the Bow River, beautiful place to sit in the sun and eat, and the recent work on the Riverwalk, means it's better than ever to enjoy it!

    But it was too hot to just eat hot food, so we also checked out Fiasco Gelato, a small batch artisan gelatiere, operating in Calgary since 2003. And let me tell you, these guys give Amato Gelato a run for their money.

    I got the regular size, featuring a scoop of Watermelon Mint and a scoop of Zesty Lemon, and I had to eat fast to keep up with the melting in the sun, but no complaints from me about that!

     That's all the space my stomach had for food, even tho my eyes and nose were screaming for more. So I have to give a shout out to the Fries and Dolls truck, that easily had the biggest line, and some of the best food smells.

    Interested in tracking down any member of Calgary's fleet of food trucks, head over to YYC food truck locator where they google map track them at all times for you.

    Now if anyone with a food truck is reading this....Please come to Foothills.....Please...please?

    Hospital cafeteria food can only keep you alive.... it can't give you happiness.

    Please bring us happiness.



    linked up at The Happy Home