Monday, December 31, 2012

A look back at 2012

2012 has been an exciting year for me blog wise. Although I have been a blogger in some shape or for for the past 4 our so years, this year things really came together. I started thinking of my blog as a legitimate hoby, I 'came out' if you will, as a blogger to family and friends (my mom is certainly my biggest fan) and wrote more posts in the last 6 months than I had over the past 4 years.

Additionally, I began to really use twitter  (follow me @Turner_SR) to promote my blog, drawing in more readers. And finally, this past week, I began splitting my one blog in two (which is why you are reading here at my new URL). Splitting the blog is a fresh start for me, to have both a personal and (I hesitate to use the word professional) school related blog; is a new challenge. One I certainly look forward to in the New Year, especially as an opportunity to develop my writing skills further.

I'd encourage you to follow one or both of them.

And now, I'll give you a look back over the past 12 months, and my best posts of 2012. Click the picture to read the full post. And here's wishing all of you all the best in 2013! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Visiting the Sault

I only make it home to the Sault a couple times a year. Usually over the holidays, and again some time during the summer. The Sault is one of those love/hate home towns. When you're here you love to hate on it, and when you're gone you hate that you can't be there more (because really you love it).

Every time I'm home I go through a checklist of food I need to eat while I'm here.Things I can't get anywhere else in the world (although I have been trying to cook some of them myself lately). Yesterday I had the pleasure (guilty I might add) of having three of the things on my list.

1. Ricardo`s Pizza: Panzarotti

You can see on the far right on the shelves in the picture fried bundles of goodness, those would be their one of a kind panzarotti. Bassically the best slice of pizza ever, rolled up on itself (with extra cheese stuffed in for good measure) and then deep fried. You cut it up and dip it in home made marinara sauce. Everybody wins (except for your cholesterol levels).

2. Deep Fried Ravioli

This is something that I can`t seem to find outside the Sault. Here they grace the appitizers menu of pretty much every restuarant worth its name. Usually mini meat filled ravs, breaded and fried. Best dipped in ranch, marinara or believe it or not plum sauce (Uncle Gino`s I`m looking at you). Last night I had the pleasure of eating a basket of these at 2 in the morning.

3. West Side Cafe, Poutine

Now you may know, I happen to love good poutine. And while West Side might not live up to the high standard of The Big Cheese back in Calgary, when you want post bar food in the Soo, this 24 hour dinner will serve up exactly the kind of greasy goodness you`re looking for, and poutine is their specialty. Last night I thought, what the heck, and ordered up a bacon poutine and some deep fried ravs.

Then this happened.

That's right, I got gravy on the sleeve of my brand new white tuxedo jacket. So much happiness turned to so much sadness so quickly.  

What other places do I plan on eating at while I home this next week? (apart from my nana's kitchen) For sure on the list is Aurora's Pizza (best pizza ever!), the only sushi place in town, Uncle Gino's for breakfast, Gigi's for lunch, and Giovani's with Krista.

Now I better go get my ass on the treadmill, so I can continue to eat at a frantic pace (hey it's probably going to be at least 6 months before I get to eat this stuff again).

What places do you absolutely have to go to when you visit your home town?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Days of Listmas: Calgary Blogs!

Hey it's not midnight yet, so I can still bring you a list today.

But first, Yesterday I got something wonderful from the post office.

You guessed it, my blogger, Favourite Things, Christmas swap present, from the loverly Maria over at Little Miss Cornucopia!

And as you can probably imagine, it was chuck full of lovely things!

Oh yeah, individually wrapped good times!

And what was inside all those wrappings, a new dream journal, a smashing sparkly pen, forever nuts tea from david's (incidentally, this is one of my favourite teas), burts bees (essential for Calgary land of the perpetually chapped lips) a super cute tree ornament shaped like a Starbucks to-go cup, and chocolate (sweet sweet chocolate).

So Maria, thank you ever so much for putting such thought, care and awesomeness into this package! And I hope you have a perfect holiday season!

If you want to see what everyone else got, we're all linked up over at All you need is Love. So you can click the picture below to go there.

What else is totally amazing? Yesterday I bought gas for less than a dollar a liter! You have no idea how thrilled I was about that (way back when, before I could even drive gas in Ontario went over a dollar, and as they hastily added room for an extra 1 to all the price signs, my father told me "That's it, you'll never see it go under a dollar again." Well guess what, turns out all I had to do was move to the province the gas comes from!).

Finally tonight I made a singly sized strawberry and apply pie, in about 5min prep time and 35min baking. I'll get a recipe up as soon as I perfect it!

OK! oh and you may notice some changes happening around here in the next little while (let's just say I have big plans for 2013!) don't let them confuse you too much, posts will continue as usual until Christmas at least!

Finally today's list.

The 5th day of Listmas : 12 Calgary Blogs to check out over the holidays!
  1. Scribbles and Sass by Laura 
  2. All you need is love by Leigh 
  3. The Fit Housewife by Jen 
  4. Life and Times of Alison and Justin by Alison 
  5. Nut Case in Point by Jen 
  6. The Next Chapter by Lacey 
  7. The Guiltless Life by Anna 
  8. Runner Leana by Leana 
  9. For the Love of Shoes by Leslie 
  10. A Running Tale byLindsey 
  11. Born Electric by Suzanne
  12.  Life to the Full by Bonnie

If you want to see some more great Calgary blogs you can click the link in the header, and if there are any I'm missing be sure to let me know in the comments!

The First Day of Listmas: A Gift Guide
The Second Day of Listmas: Holiday Movie Picks
The Thrid Day of Listmas: Things I put off till the last minute
The Fourth Day of Listmas: Books I want for Christmas

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12 Days of LIstmas: Holiday Traditions

Merry Christmas everyone! hope you are having an amazing holiday. So far mine has been a whirlwind of travel and family, wrapped up in phlegm (I've been sick as a dog, but am powering through).

Here's list number 6. 12 days of Listmas will be continued next year with the other half.

Today I'll share with you a list of holiday traditions in our family.

  1. Watching my younger cousin's open their presents. Ever since my brother and I got too old for Santa, we wake up at the crack of dawn to live this joy vicariously through my younger cousins' Christmas Morning.
  2. Christmas Eve seafood dinner. As good Italians, we don't eat meat on Christmas Eve, which of course means we eat seafood instead (someone somewhere decided fish and shrimp aren't meat).
  3. Christmas day brunch at my house. As I write this my house smells like baccon from the 5 pounds of it my mom is cooking downstairs. I can't wait to stuff my face with breakfast foods along with my whole family (you'll notice that most of our traditions involve eating).
  4. My dad buys my mom's gifts on Christmas Eve. Without fail he goes out shopping on the day before Christmas, another tradition he buys magazines for her stockings that she doesn't read, despite being told the correct ones to buy.
  5. Christmas Eve at Lisa's. This tradition of  my family and my friend's family goes way back, we stop buy for a drink and gingerbread cookies on the way home from seafood dinner. Last year we broke this tradition tho, and this year, we meant to go, but I fizzled out as far as feeling sick goes around 9, and had to go home to bed ASAP.
  6. Christmas home videos. When I was much much younger, my aunts and uncles and parents used to have a men vs. women competition each year of who could make the better hilarious movie. Last year we started this one back up, but kids vs. adults.
  7. Uncle Dave sets off a bucket of fireworks. New Years eve usually results in a family party at my house, and my uncle lighting as many fireworks as he can get his hands on in the back yard.
  8. The snow drop. When me and my Cousin Krista were kids, we used to spend hours over the holidays entertaining ourselves by cutting up bags of paper into tiny squares to be used in a snow drop at midnight on New Years, this tradition continues, although we still find paper under furniture from years past.
  9. The Martha Stewart Christmas Tree. My mom used to have magazine cover worthy Christmas trees every year, which meant that when deccorting the tree as kids, we were heavily supervised over which coloured ornaments went where. Anything homemade that didn't fit the theme went on the back.
  10. The New Ornaments. To compensate for this traumatic childhood experience, my mom mow buys us awesome ornaments each year, and the tree is now decorated nearly exclusively with personally amazing ornaments (and love).
  11. The what do we get for Nana. Every year my aunts and uncles and mom frantically discuss what to get for my Nana, calling dibs on good ideas as they are generated. It seems that you never grow out of not knowing what to get your mom for Christmas.
  12. New Years Eve. My family does New Years Eve big, and awesome and fun and together. Everyone comes in from out of town, we drink, play games, eat food, and party all night. Last year we even had an epic beer pong tournament. Subsequently I never worry about plans for New Years anymore, because I always know where I want to be!
Anyways, hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Years, or if you don't celebrate those, just enjoy some time off, and for sure time with Family. I'll try to get a post or two up over the next couple days. I'm for sure looking forward to 2013, I guess the Mayan's weren't so smart after all.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Eeep what's going on here

OK so I'm in the process of dividing My life in a lab coat into two blogs: one in and one out of.

Unfortunately due to the way I originally picked my domain name, that involves moving the bulk of my posts over here (lifestyle, non school/career/academia/science related posts) along with redesigning both blogs and then deleting away all the old lifestyle posts from the other one.

This is a process, one I intend to have completed by 2013. In the mean time, posts will still be happening as usual over at My life in a lab coat.

So click on over there for now!



Saturday, December 15, 2012

12 days of Listmas: The books I want for Christmas

Today Kev and I were in the book section of Walmart, and I dropped a hint that books are always a good choice for gifts for me.

Additionally I have been hooked on the vlogbrothers of late, and John Green writes books, book of the year type books.

So I thought what's a quick to put together list for Saturday Night, considering one didn't happen yesterday (grad student winter formal, Kevin bought me flowers, my insides are full of mush).

12 days of Listmas: books to buy me for Christmas

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Like I said I've been watching a lot of the vlogbrothers videos, and am intrigued to read this book asap. Lucky for me I told my brother (currently working at a book store to buy it for me). Check out the vlogbrothers on Youtube here!!

2. The emporer of all maladies: a biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I once took an anthropology of plagues course in undergrad, and loved it, the textbook for that course was like a narrative of diseases. I can only imagine this book will appeal to me in a similar way.

3. Bruce: The innocence, the darkness,the rising. Biography by Peter A Carlin. I have held off on buying this book myself based on the assumtion someone else will likely get it for me. (I love Bruce Springsteen, my one and only tattoo is of lyrics from one of his songs).

4. A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I have been waiting for the end of the Wheel of Time series forever, then Robert Jordan passed away one book before the end. They brought Sanderson on, and 1 book became 3. Technically this book doesn't release until Jan 8, but a pre-order would be a great gift.

5. The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julien Rubinstein. A book recomending in a John Green video about books. The synopsis sounds great. Plus I always love true stories.

6. I don't know how she does it by Allison Pearson. This book was recommended to me by a neuro-opthalmologist in an elevator this Friday, during an afternoon which left me with much to think about; least of all that I should read this book.

7. Uglies by Scott Westefeld. Another John Green recomendation. Plus its a book about a dystopian future, so how can it be wrong?

8. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. And I guess by extension copies of Graceling and Fire, which I don't actually own. If you liked the Hunger Games (I did) I promise you'll like Graceling.

9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. The synopsis of this book reminds me heavily of the movie The Way (post about it here) so it should be a good read.

10. Bobcat, and other stories by Rebecca Lee. Lately I've been making an effort to read more Canadian Literature, and this one comes highly recommended.

11. Doppler by Erlend Loe. Common an endearing story about a man and his moose. Need I say more?

12. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Kevin recently said this was one of the few books he's read cover to cover and enjoyed in full. I guess I should see what pulled him and two thousand years of readers in.

What books are you hoping for for Christmas? Or perhaps more importantly, what books are you going to enjoy reading in your time off over the holidays?

The First Day of Listmas: A Gift Guide
The Second Day of Listmas: Holiday Movie Picks
The Thrid Day of Listmas: Things I put off till the last minute

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Lists of Christmas: Things I put off till the last minute.

Still with the 12 list countdown.

Who else is feeling the re-tiltle of this to :

The 12 days of Listmas?

List number one was a gift guide, list number two was holiday movies.

Today's apropirately themed list is

12 things I put off to the last minute before the holidays.

1. Christmas shopping. I still have quite a few people left (and I'm a student, let's be honest, I don't shop for that many people!)

2. Christmas baking. I have done a tonne of baking this month, and what do I have to show for it? none it's all been eaten! But I do have over $200 dollars raised for charity today, and this awesome picture of our periodic table of cupcakes (oooh yeah nerds!)

IMG-20121213-00350, Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

3. Packing to travel home. Flying home next weekend, in years past packing happens morning of, lets try and change that this time around!

4. Paper writing. As a perpetual student, I always have a paper due before the holidays, in true grad student fashion, I once again left it to the last minute!

5. Mailing my Christmas Cards. I make my own, and this year I was way ahead of the game on that. Now lets see if I can get them in the mail by (lets say Tuesday).

Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

6. Christmas knitting. I usually do some knitting for someone's gift for Christmas. I usually spend Christmas eve frantically sewing in ends.

8. Tree decorating. Ok mine's been up since the middle of November. It's only about half decorated tho.

Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

9. Christmas travel. Once again, I will be getting home on the 23rd....which isn't so bad compared to those rushing home on the 24th I suppose.

10. Pre Christmas apartment cleaning. Often I get back to Calgary to find my apartment in the mess I left it (usually by packing at the last minute) let's try to avoid that this year.

11. Christmas Painting. I once gave my parents an oil painting of one of their wedding photos for Christmas. The paint was still wet as I had painted it the night before.

12. Annnd finally Christmas blogging. But hey things can change, and I'm holding myself accountable on this Listmas thing.

Anyways hope you are having a great Thursday! What do you leave to the last minute during the holidays? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Lists of Christmas: Christmas Movies

Yesterday I gave you my first of 12 lists of Christmas, featuring a gift guide for everyone on your list. Today I present:

List number 2 : 12 Movies to Watch this Season.

Disclaimer, ok there are some missing from this list, that you might love (I mean I didn`t even put Nightmare Before Christmas on it) but I was going with 4 categories ok. Tell me your favourites in the comments!

Technically not Christmas Movies

1. Rocky, the ultimate underdog story. Is it a Christmas movie? not really but it has many Christmassy bits, and will leave you wanting to race up and down the stairs at city hall, and shout for the one you love.

2. Tim Burton's Batman Movies, specifically Batman Returns, once again arguably not a Christmas movie per say, but for sure (much like most Burton movies) set around the holidays.

3. Die Hard the ultimate Christmas Eve is absolutely spent with Bruce Willis, taking out terrorists.

Laugh out Loud Christmas Movies

4. Home Alone (and for that matter Home Alone 2). Watching Marv get beat up throughout those movies kills me every single time.

5. Jingle All the Way, watching Arnold do what it takes to get his hands on a Turbo-Man action figure, amazing.

6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, why not spend the holiday's laughing at the Griswalds?

Children's Classic Christmas Movies

7. Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer this stop motion classic must live in the hearts of all of us.

8. The Muppets Christmas Carol. Easily the best rendition of this time tested Christmas tale.

9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey brought the grinch to a new kind of life, but I still love the old animated version too! (yeah Max)

Top 3 in no particular order

10. Elf. "I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel." Need I say more?

11. A Christmas Story. Oh how many ways do I love this movie, so many that I can't put my arms down!

13. Love Actually. OK there has to be one perfect love story on this list, and this movie gives you several. Love actually is all around.

All images came from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Lists of Christmas : Holiday Gift Guide

Hello all, now that I've finished my course work (never have to take a class again.... somehow will still be a student for 3-4 more years) and my annual journal club, it's Christmas (or at least it feels like it!) And I've been thinking on what I can give you (my much beloved reading audience) for Christmas. And I thought the 12 posts of Christmas, but better yet, how does the 12 lists of Christmas sound?

Here's list number 1: Last Minute Gift Ideas

1. For your supervisor: How about a super awesome Einstein USB drive, available online from MIMOBOT.
2. For your lab Secret Santa exchange: A travel mug good for coffee or loose leaf tea, available online from David's Tea
3. As a hostess gift: A selection of Canadian made seasonings for dips (so easy, and always needed over the holiday) My favourite Epicure Selections Cheese, Chives and Bacon Dip.
4. Home Made Goodness: Why not knit a simple scarf (Harry Potter anyone?) I make one up quick fast every year, with only two Red Heart Super Savers. The Pattern, cast on 40 stitches in a circle on 5mm needles, and knit 25 rows before switching colours, add fringe and you're good to go!

5. For your best girl friend: Give the gift of yoga this year with a Passport To Prana, the card gets you a Yoga class at each participating studio in your city, Calgary has 17 on the card, that's less the $2 a class,
6. For your best guy friend: A remote controlled mini helicopter, these things handle like you would not believe and will provide hours and hours of fun. Available online from London Drugs.
7. For your little cousin: Mine's been asking, every time I talk to her, for a Crayola Marker Airbrush set, which turns any Crayola marker into an airbrush painter thingy....looks cool if you ask me, available online from Walmart.
8. For your big cousin: Mine sent me a request for Rocky Mountain Soap Company products, but I think as she gifted me a Michigan University sweater last year, I should gift back in suit. Jovi (their chocolate lab) would look great in green State colours. Available online from Amazon.

9. For your sibling: Mine is kinda hard to shop for, but nothing works better with siblings than the gift of nostalgia, I suggest a refurbish N64. Complete with a game such as GoldenEye. You can pick up a working condition used one from Amazon.
10. For your father: Dad's are the hardest to shop for, especially mine. Years past I've gone with music, movies, model airplanes. But sometimes it's best to gift simply. Good old fashioned Canadian Whisky should do the trick.
11. For your mom: Did I say dad's are the hardest to shop for, sorry I meant mothers, the notorious 'don't want anything' gift recipient. So for her I'd go with cookware that might eventually be handed down to me. How does something cast iron by le creuset sound, available online from amazon.
12. For your plus one: Luckily this year I've been working on Kev's gift for a couple weeks already (I'm 3/4 through four canvases for his wall, pictures to come later) but yesterday I was browsing the men's section of lululemon and thought of how much I'd like to wrap him in luon instead.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Things to do instead of writing a grant proposal...round 2

Last December I wrote a list of things I was doing while not writing a grant proposal for a class I was taking. You can (and should) read it here.

This December I am once again writing a grant proposal for a biochem class (have I come full circle?) and so once again, I present you with:

Things to do instead of writing a grant proposal.

  • Wrap Christmas Presents, I now have my mom done, my brother done, Kev half done and my dad half done... and a list of still to do's.
  • Wash bedding...this has been a 3 loads of laundry week for me (eep! haha mothers everywhere are thinking 'I wish').
  • Go for a 6.5km Wednesday night run.
  • Go to a lunch time talk on Calmodulin binding to Cav1.3 channels.
  • Wash dishes in your sink (a never ending task).
  • Live Tweet the writing process (follow along @Turner_SR)
  • Make tea, tweet about it, respond to people tweeting back at me (yeah I'm cool/have friends lol)
  • Clean apartment for Christmas Date night tomorrow.
  • Resist temptation to call and annoy boyfriend.
  • Plan out 12 days of bloggy Christmas.
  • Watch home and garden television.
  • Look up flights to Boston for EB in April!
  • Write this blog post.

Anyways I could extend this list pretty much indefinitely... procrastination is just so much fun right?! But I should get back to writing!

Do you love to procrastinate as much as I do? What's your favourite way to do it?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Great Customer Service

Last night turned in to a random date night with the bf and I. We left school/the lab around 6 and headed out to get our skates sharpened (for a super romantic Friday evening we have planned) and then wander the mall while we waited and potentially grab some food (I was thinking food court).

While wandering the mall, he thought about buying boots, and didn't....thought about buying a sweater....and didn't and thought about buying another sweater....and didn't. I on the other hand visited the boots I've decided I want for Christmas.... they live at Town Shoes and are on sale for $199 right now!!! In case you're interested, they're tan mid length Manitobah MukLuks.
Annnnnd they would keep my Christmas boots from last year excellent company! My Minnetonka boots!

What else did we do at the mall?! We held puppies at the pet store...and I made pet eyes at Kevin because he hasn't bought me a present yet, and wouldn't a puppy be cute.... cute but not practical (you can't have one yet Sara, you know this).

And so why is this post titles Great Customer Service, well as we were wandering we decided why not sit down and have real dinner at Milestones!

I got a bellini... image from their menu clearly... as it took the menu along with it. Mine had a tiny bull cow on top of it. Lisa I thought of you.

Anyways, the seasonal mushroom soup we ordered to share came out right away (super tasty, doesn't need added pepper). Then then we sat a while... now Kev and I don't usually notice long waits because we entertain each other very well and never are at a loss for things to talk about. But lets say it was a bit slow.

Suddenly a manager is at are table, to say sorry our mains have been 20min, and probably another 5ish, and did we want anything while we were waiting. And I thought that was nice of her to come buy and update us.

Then our mains came out, he had steak and I had the Californian style burger with added Mozzarella cheese (cause I like cheese). And they were awesome, I almost managed to eat the whole thing. And we were full...but then our waiter comes and says, would you like a dessert menu, it would be on us because you had to wait for your meals.

What, free desert, and we didn't even have to wine or say anything to get it. Heck yes I can make room for that. So we split a giant chocolate cookie with vanilla ice cream, and it was like heaven in our mouths (only that's not the word that was used).

Aaaaand not only was the desert free, but they gave us the soup free too!

People that was the single best customer service I have ever had in my life! I told Kev, man I better blog about this! They deserve a good review.

Allllsooo they have just solved the debate, permanently, that comes to mind when I'm at market mall and think, where do I want to go for dinner. Milestones or Moxies. Well people, Milestones it is!

Milestone's at Market Mall on Urbanspoon