november mini book.

over the weekend, i worked on some mini books.  november in particular was really quick & easy.  i didn't have too many pictures from the month- so it came together much faster than i thought it would.  another reason i love mini books- you can finish one in a day.  

as you'll notice, i have still have to bind it.  silly me, i shipped the october mini book to a. without making a template of where i need to punch the holes.  but you get the idea...
i tried to give november a different feel while keeping with october's simplicity.  the months still have to flow together since ultimately, this will be one mini book.  i kept a lot of the same sewing patterns, photo layouts and labels to keep the storyline consistent.  but let's be honest, it's the pictures that do all the talking.  


*you can view the rest of the pages here


an extended weekend.

it was quite a weekend.  mostly spent at home whittling away the to-do list.
i cleaned.  i cooked.  i reorganized.  i crafted.  i painted and hung stuff.  i sewed.

looking back, it was pretty awesome.  i was really hoping to go somewhere & do something, you know- for holiday bragging rights- but a weekend around the house was much needed.  despite all the time spent on projects, i still managed to make time for bubble baths, movies, long convos with a., a birthday brunch and my all time favorite treat every night: hot cocoa.

i will share most of my weekend projects with you this week.  but for now, i will leave you with this- the yummiest (and easiest) hot cocoa recipe.
hot cocoa
makes 1 cup

really, really good chocolate 
cinnamon (optional)

place chocolate in the bottom of a microwave-safe mug (i use about a handful of bittersweet chocolate chips).  microwave until melted (about 2 minutes).

add milk directly into mug.  microwave until milk is hot (about 3-4 minutes), stirring frequently.  use caution when microwaving milk- when it get's too hot it will boil over the mug and make a mess of your microwave.

add a dash (or two) of cinnamon to the hot cocoa.  enjoy with caution- it's dangerously good- and you'll never drink the powdered stuff again.

i hope you had an enjoyable weekend as well.  here's to getting things done and a four day work week!  
hip hip!


i love*.

i love tea.  iced or hot and definitely unsweetened.
i love that i can "light" a fire with the flip of a switch.
i love lunchtime yoga.
i love birthday parties and chocolate cake.
i love that i'm still finding hidden post-it notes a. left me.
i love my camera.
i love water.  and lots of it.
i love that it's officially triathlon training season.
i love talking to a. about our future.
i love that spring is right around the corner.

there's a lot to love in my life!

*inspired by elise's valentine's day post.


spending habits.

note to self: bring lunch.  every. day.  no matter what.

last week i managed to forget my lunch.  everyday.  i meant to pack it, but for some reason i opted to live off cereal all week.  and let me tell you, cereal doesn't make very good leftovers.  so i opted to live the life of a city girl.  i used my lack of planning as the perfect opportunity to enjoy the fabulous downtown dining scene.  i spent a week enjoying pastas and soups, salads and sandwiches.  it was heaven.

but hell for the wallet.  every saturday i balance our account to make sure we stay within our budget.  that's right, we have a budget.  anyway, just for kicks i decided to total up my week of luxury and almost feel out of my chair.  $42.25.  yep.  forty two dollars on lunch.  yikes!

to put it into further perspective, i decided to ponder all the different things i could have bought for $42.00 or less....

- a tank of gas (and a pack of gum, bottle of water, and maybe even some peanut m&m's)
- two trips snowboarding.  yep- two.
- a trip to the doggy spa & a pedicure for myself.
- concert tickets.
- a months gym membership.
- two weeks of groceries.
- a great haircut.
- a new pair of really great gloves (very important since i sadly lost one)
- a gallon of paint.

...ah.  i have to stop.  i get it.  bring lunch. everyday. no matter what.  and i recommend you do too.


winter in niagara

two of my co-workers are in the u.s helping us gear up for a few upcoming conferences.  one, from south africa and the other from australia.  while here, they really wanted to see niagara falls (can you blame them?).  i couldn't wait to see the falls in the winter so i happily volunteered to chauffeur.  

we are about 3 hours from niagara, so generally, the drive isn't that bad.  unfortunately, we hit really bad weather the entire drive east.  a lot of snow, wind and sleet.  i thought the entire trip was going to be a bust.  once we arrived to the falls, the weather stopped- but it was still very cloudy.

the iconic falls are unlike anything i've ever seen.  the sound of them hits you first.  then, you see the mist, rising against the sky & finally the falls.  they're mesmerizing.  the last time i was in niagara was september- right before a. left.  here is a picture from that trip...
and here is one from my trip over the weekend.
i was blown away by the contrast.  it was beautiful.  peaceful.  and stunning.  unlike anything i had ever seen.  oh, and cold.  really cold.  the mist sprays everywhere and on everything.  in some areas i felt like i was on the moon.  the best part?  we were some of the only people there.  
generally, niagara is swarming with people.  lines miles long & you practically have to elbow people to get a decent view of the falls.  granted, in the winter everything is closed (sorry folks- no maid of the mist tours), but in a way, it's almost nicer.  

everything- and i mean everything was frozen- thanks to the mist.  i've never seen anything so beautiful in my life- just don't stand under the trees...falling ice!
finally, we had the rare opportunity to feed the wildlife.  while we were walking to the restroom we walked over a bunch of whole, shelled peanuts on the path.  curious, we picked some up, cracked them open in our hand, and waited.  patiently.  and it was worth the wait.
feeling like a princess! :)
we really lucked out.  it was a beautiful day and i'm jealous of myself for being able to visit the falls in the winter.  if you ever have the chance, i highly, highly recommend making the trip!


don't be jealous.

....we'd be more than happy to share!

enjoy your weekend.  i'll be taking a road trip to niagara falls and playing in the snow as much as possible.


on inspiration.

lately i've been having the hardest time finding inspiration in the day to day.  and then to translate my lack of inspiration to this blog is well, down-right impossible.  

so instead, i've found myself stressing about posts.  
and finding the right topic.  
and having plenty of pictures.

but when all is said and done, let's be honest.  hopefully you might find some enjoyment from this blog (and i really hope you do).  but its for me.  & it's for a.  and if i force posts and ideas and pictures, then the blog won't reflect me or my thoughts.  and i'd like to keep it real.

so many of my blogging reads are so good about posting daily.  one day, i would love to be that organized and thought-focused & awesome.  but for now i'm not going to force the process.  I'll take it in stride and let each day dictate the blog of tomorrow...for now.

so here's to keeping it real from a wanna-be blogger's point of view!


weekend roundup.

i'll be first to admit i've been lame.  i haven't had the camera in tow these past couple days, so needless-to-say, i have no pictures of the weekend- boo.  but it was a great weekend nonetheless.  

saturday was a day of laziness with the chance to talk and see a., followed by an evening out with some new friends.  sunday was nothing but a long, relaxing morning graced with another conversation with a., followed by an afternoon snow shoeing with the boys. (in my defense, i actually brought the camera- but forgot to replace the memory card...so, maybe it's better that i don't admit bringing the camera after all....).  i'm so bummed the camera wasn't prepped to take pictures- we were hit with a huge snowstorm last night so everything is covered in a heavy, white, fresh powder.  it's beautiful.

it was the perfect weekend after my ridiculously long week.  cheers to a great mix of friends, fun & solitude.


my winter song.

winter is in full swing and here in central new york, it won't let up for another couple months.  & while this may be considered a christmas carol to some of you, i'm currently embracing & loving this song at the moment.

doesn't make you want to curl up with someone you love, maybe a cup of cocoa and watch the snowflakes fall outside your window...

love is alive.  no matter how many miles apart you may be.