If it is going to keep snowing in April…

Might as well hit the slopes!

I must confess. I bought two season passes to the Lake Louise Ski Resort and hadn’t used them even once this season. Seemed like such a disgrace. I mean, one of the main reasons I moved to this part of the country was because of the proximity to the beautiful Rocky Mountains and all the adventure they have to offer. But the passes just sat on my desk, taunting me.

Yes, there were a few ski weekends planned this winter, but they always seemed to get derailed because of out of town guests visiting, studying taking precedent or just bad timing. But when we got another big dump of the white stuff this month, I said to heck with it…I’m going!

Since Danny is completely in ‘study-only’ mode, I asked a good friend of mine to come along. We got up really early in the morning and made our way out to the hill. The roads were horrible…so much so that we considered turning around. Even with driving at half the speed limit, we could barely see the pavement because it was covered in so much snow…and we hadn’t even hit the mountains yet. Now if experience has taught me anything, it is that inner mountain roads are usually the most treacherous section to drive. We figured that if things didn’t improve by the time we hit the next town we were heading back home.

Contrary to all logic, the roads actually got better! Yipee, our ski day could continue! We made it to the hill just as it was opening, got our equipment and were one of the first people to get on the hill. It was fantastic!

I took this photo while we were waiting in line to take the Gondola up to the top of the mountain. I was feeling a bit nervous because I hadn't gone skiing all year and wasn't sure how my legs were going to hold up. Plus I had never taken a gondola before, only chair lifts. Apparently this route was too high up for chair lift access. Oh boy, time to suck it up and jump right in!

Making our way up the mountain on the gondola. It was a 12 minute ride to the top. Crazy if you ask me.

It was a lot colder once we reached the summit (not surprisingly) but the view was fantastic. We spent a few minutes just taking in the sights before we conquered the slopes.

Time to put on a brave face. There's only one way down!

The first few trails were thrilling. I definitely had to use some muscles that hadn't been activated for a while but it felt great to be back on the hill.

When we were approaching the bottom of the mountain, I spotted this little guy. He was skiing all on his own and let me tell you, these were no gradual slopes! I was very impressed. In fact, these metal stairs were more of a challenge for his little legs. His Dad told us that he was 3 1/2 years old. Wow!

A familiar comfort awaited us in the chalet. Mmmm....delicious! Such a great way to wrap up a day on the slopes.

As we leisurely headed back to the city, we decided to stop at the Fairmont Lake Louise. It was snowing and quite overcast at this point so we didn't even attempt to take the quintessential mountain/lake shot. However, I found the snow accumulation to be quite impressive.

I told you we've got lots of snow, right?

All in all it was a fantastic day. I'm so glad that my friend and I were able to head out into the Rockies and enjoy fun day of winter activities...even if it was late April!


Grouchy Cookies

The last few days I’d been feeling kind a bit under the weather. It is still cloudy and grey here most days and there is no green grass in sight. I was ready for spring like three months ago, so this prolonged cold weather wasn’t helping my mood much. Sniffles, sneezes, and a two-day headache weren’t exactly reason to celebrate either.

Normally I like to go to the gym, work on design modules, meet with friends or just get out and about in the evenings. But this week, no. I would come home from work, make a lame dinner, clean up the dishes and then crash on the couch. My motivation level was nearly zero. I needed to snap out of it. So on Tuesday I decided that if I was going to ignore my laundry, the gym and cleaning, I had to do something semi-productive so I could at least pretend I was being productive.

So I decided to bake.

I grabbed a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I pulled out my Kitchenaid and lined up all the ingredients on my counter. My brown sugar had clumped into a huge solid mass (despite my attempts to soften it with a piece of bread) so I chipped away at it for a few minutes until I got a measly cup of the stuff. I then proceeded to assemble the wet and dry ingredients. When it was time to add the dry to the wet, I got lazy and just dumped the dry bowl into my Kitchenaid instead of blending it by hand. I KNOW better and was cursing the crumbly mixture that resulted. Subsequently rolling the dough into balls was a lot more difficult than it should have been as the butter was cold and brittle. Gah, why do I do this to myself?

All things considered, the cookies turned out pretty good. Definitely not my best work, but not horrible either. I ate a couple and put the rest into a big Tupperware container for later, whenever that would be.

So the next day, Danny came over with some Vietnamese food in tow. Yay! I didn’t have to cook! He had a practice exam scheduled 2000h that night at a Staff Doc’s house. I thought it was a bit strange that the Doc wanted him to go over to his own house for the exam instead of going to the hospital (as is normally the case) but figured it was probably just more convenient. Plus, when a Staff Doc asks you to do something you always say yes.

Side note: We’re hoping Danny eventually gets hired as Staff at this particular hospital so positive impressions with existing Staff Docs are key.

We ate our Pho/Vermicelli and Danny studied until just before he had to leave for the exam. Noticing the cookies sitting on counter, he suggested taking some over to Staff Doc’s house. Now normally I would have been all over that idea but this time I was a bit more hesitant.

These cookies weren’t exactly made with love. Truth be told I was rather annoyed and bored at the time. Would my grouchiness be detected in the flavour? Could they tell that the brown sugar wasn’t at its optimal consistency? Would they think I was trying to bribe them? Oh my God, what if they hate them and I ruin all chances of Danny getting hired on as Staff because of my less-than-perfect cookies?

Obviously I was over exaggerating and in my head I knew they were just fine, but if I had known where this batch would end up I would have tried a little harder!

Danny called me after his exam and said that the cookies were a hit. I had nothing to worry about and was grateful that I didn’t ruin his entire future.

Big Sigh...


30th Birthday Celebration

This past weekend we celebrated Danny's 30th Birthday. It was a fairly low key celebration considering the milestone year but when the big exam is lurking, priorities (aka studying) pretty much dictate the course of events.

After work on Friday, I took Danny out for a steak supper. We're both Albertans through and through so when it comes to beef, we've got high standards, haha. The meal did not disappoint. I ordered my favourite dish, Prime Rib, and he had a Baseball Steak. Yum. After the meal (and at Danny's request!) we drove around to some of the nicest neighbourhoods in the city and gawked at houses. Obviously we're not looking at buying anything but it was sure fun to play 'what if'. Finally, we went back home to have dessert. Earlier in the day, I had dropped in at Crave Cupcakes and grabbed and assortment of goodies. Crave is my absolute favorite bakery so any excuse to grab a sweet treat is a good one for me. The cupcakes were fantastic.

On Saturday (Danny's actual birthday) it was snowing. Yuck! I'm so tired of snow. Regardless, we ventured out for some dim sum with his family at the near by cultural centre and then headed back to their house for some dessert.

One of the things I love about celebrating birthdays with Danny's family is the cake. It is so different than the cakes that I grew up with as a kid. These are often made at specialty bakeries. The cake itself is similar to a white cake or a sponge cake filled with whipped creme. Then the entire cake is adorned with fresh fruit (mango, strawberries, kiwi or whatever is in season) and topped with an edible chocolate message. The end result was so yummy and tasted just as delicious as it looked!

We finished the day by running a few errands and, of course, studying. All in all it was a great way to spend a 30th birthday... not that I'm approaching that milestone any time soon, haha!

(My apologies for the poor iPhone picture quality)


Feeling Fresh

I'm going to ignore the fact that we got 20+ cm of snow last night and re-direct my thoughts to something much more refreshing. I'm currently craving spring fashion. Bright bold colours, fresh fun fabrics, and lots of sun! If I had my way, I'd be reaching in my closet for something like these pieces today instead of the thick tights, wool sweater and a scarf I'm currently donning.


[P]Inspired: Romantic Bathrooms

I've been imagining my dream home for years. The location, the mood, the interior furnishings. When I was still in elementary school, one of my favourite activities would be grabbing the Sears catalogue, hiding under my bed covers and picking out the various pieces I would use to furnish my future home.  These visualizations, of course, have changed and shifted over the years but I've always liked to imagine 'what could be'. 

The dreaming has never really stopped and I often find myself seeing snippets in magazines or online and thinking, "Could I really design a whole house around a metal basin?" The answer is probably no, but I still like to pretend.

So here is a compilation of Romantic Bathrooms that (thanks to Pinterest) have recently caught my eye. Who knows what my actual bathroom will end up looking like, but these are a fun jumping off point. 


Sister Weekend

This past weekend I decided to go visit my sister for a couple days. I’d say we’re pretty close, but we don’t get to see each other very often as we live a few hours apart. I think the last time we got together was at Christmas! It was definitely time for a girls’ weekend.

When we were younger, we’d go through phases of fighting and cooperating. I’m older by a couple years but she always wanted to be in charge. Of course, I had an issue with that and conflict would ensue. I’m sure if you asked my parents, they’d say we fought more than we got along, but fortunately when you ‘grow up’ and aren’t living in such close quarters all the time, it is much easier to see eye to eye.

I arrived on Friday night after a long drive on snowy highways. In true hospitable fashion, my sister had a nice hot pot of tea ready for me (we can thank our mom for teaching us about how to be a good hostess). She made a nice strawberry spinach salad which was supplemented with some home-made chili I brought along and we caught up on the latest news.

Then we decided to go play racket ball. Now I must admit that I’ve never played racket ball before and, unlike my sister, I do not I have particularly strong abilities in sports-related activities. But, she was patient with me and we had lots of fun! I was horrible, of course, but that just added to the laughter. I left proudly with my first racket ball related blister and we lounged in the sauna.

The next day we got up and headed to the Art Gallery of Alberta. I had recently written a paper about the massive renovation the building underwent so was quite eager to see it myself. My sister is less interested in art than I am but she humored my conversations about the Japanese influences in Walter J. Phillips work and Emily Carr’s early experiments with European Modernism. A nice gentleman offered to take our photo but we both decided afterwards it was too unflattering for me to post, ha!

Our next pit stop was the City Centre Mall where we met up with a University friend of mine and perused the stores together. After coming up short, we decided to try another mall where I had my first Anthropologie experience.

After a few hours we decided it was best to head home. We had a late dinner, watched part of Jerry Maguire and then I read aloud an outrageous chapter in one of Chelsea Handler’s books. Too many giggles only sisters could share.

The next morning, we met up with some friends, including my old University room mate for brunch. We chatted for hours about old news, new news, and everything in between. It was a great way to wrap up a fun sister weekend. We said our goodbyes and I hit road for the drive home.

I’m really glad that I decided to go visit. Too often we get caught up in the business of our own lives and expect a phone call or email to suffice, but nothing quite compares to spending time together with your family. I’m so glad we get along enough now to genuinely enjoy each other’s company!