Monday, 29 April 2013

Music Monday - Walk off the Earth

I'd never heard of this group until a week or so ago. I heard their song "Red Hands" on the radio and immediately got it stuck in my head. It feels like if I'm not actually listening to it, I'm humming the chorus or it's playing on repeat in my head. I looked them up on YouTube and discovered they are from Canada (yipeee!) and are well-known mostly from covering popular songs. Their most watched video is a cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know". The video tagline is 5 Peeps, 1 Guitar, which I didn't get until I watched the video...and then I was kind of blown away - so you should definitely watch it! I know I'm definitely going to be checking out more of their originals and covers!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Quote For Today

"Don't try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you're good, bad things can still happen. And if you're bad, you can still be lucky". 
                                                                - Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Kickin' Fish Tacos

One of my closest gal pals, Jenae, is home for a month! I'm ecstatic! This summer the two of us are setting out for some world travelling, so, to prepare we have big plans to finalize our itinerary, master the art of DSLR photography and get a little more in touch with our creative sides. We wanted to kick off her break with a fantastic meal. Since we're both a bit addicted to avocados, cilantro and limes, it made sense to make these delicious fish tacos - a recipe found through Pinterest (we're a bit addicted to that too). The fish is pan fried until golden, then topped with a spicy slaw and avocado! Wipe that saliva off your chin and go try this recipe out! =)

Kickin' Fish Tacos
Recipe adapted from Censational Girl

4 fresh white fish fillets (we used Tilapia)
8 small size torillas - corn or flour
1 1/4 cup of each (shredded): green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
3/4 cup light sour cream
3 limes
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp vinegar (we used red wine vinegar)
salt & pepper

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce were a foreign ingredient to me until last summer when I used them to make spicy chicken wings - yum. In this recipe they are used to give the slaw dressing a heated punch. Only one pepper is needed - cut it open and remove the seeds. Make sure you save a couple teaspoons of the adobo sauce the peppers are packed in for the dressing.
In a food processor, blend the chipotle pepper, 2 tsp of adobo sauce, sour cream, juice of 1 lime, a handful of cilantro & vinegar until smooth. Pour over the shredded cabbage and carrot and mix until well combined. Set aside.
Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and pan fry on medium heat with a bit of oil until cooked through. It would be amazing to grill these on a BBQ in the summer. Squeeze half a lime over top while cooking to infuse some extra flavour!
Heat tortillas in a pan with 1 tbsp of oil, turning over after 30 seconds or until they begin to "puff" slightly. Transfer to a plate with paper towel.
Slice up some avocados. I say "some" because you can never have too much. We used 2 for 3 people (it's a healthy fat!). Chop up a bit of extra cilantro and wedge some limes for garnish.
Compile all the ingredients, fold it up and devour! These are so delicious and you don't even have to feel guilty about enjoying a few of them! These would be perfect for a summer meal on the patio with ice cold lemonade or frozen drinks. Let me know what you think!

PS - I just bought a used DSLR camera and these are some of the first pictures I've taken with it. I'm still getting the hang of it! It's fun, but there are quite a lot more buttons than on my cell phone! =)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Music Monday - Serena Ryder

Apparently I'm a bit late to this party because Serena Ryder has been a part of the music scene since at least 1999 - putting on shows, doing covers and writing her own music. She won a Juno in 2008 for Best New Artist and I still hadn't heard of her until several months ago when "Stompa", from her newest album Harmony, debuted on the radio. It was instantly catchy and great even after being stuck on repeat (I don't know how many songs I've ruined that way). This past week though, I've had another song, "What I Wouldn't Do", from the same album stuck in my head. It has a really strong beat and melody!

Also, I've been really impressed with the music selections this season on one of my favourite TV shows, Grey's Anatomy. Week after week they are including great artists, such as MS MR, Metric, Lord Huron, Grizzly Bear, Daughter, Ellie Goulding AND Serena Ryder. Kudos to whoever is in charge of music over there at ABC!

Are you a Serena fan? Are you addicted to Grey's Anatomy like me?

 PS - Congratulations to Serena Ryder for picking up 2 trophies last night at the Juno Awards for Harmony and "Stompa"!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

How To: Take a Bath

Image taken from Apartment Therapy
It seems to me that the luxurious pleasure of taking a bath is slowly falling by the wayside. Everyone is too busy to take a half hour out of their day just to relax! Mind you, some people have other reasons - too girly or the idea of "sitting in their own filth isn't pleasant". I feel sad for those people because I love them! At the beginning of this year I did the 3-day Dr. Oz Detox Cleanse, which mandated a nightly bath and since then I've been kind of hooked. It helps me sleep better, it soothes my muscles and honestly, it puts me in a better mood. Here's how I create the perfect bath:

1. A Clean Tub. This is a bit of a no-brainer.. if you hate housework, it may have been awhile since the bathtub has had a good scrub. Make sure you do this first,  no one wants to sit in a tub that isn't clean.

2. Water Temperature. This can be a bit tricky.. too hot and it takes you an hour to get into the tub, but too cool and it's lukewarm by the time you're done. Fill the tub as hot as you can stand, it will cool down quicker than you think. It can be helpful to fill it up halfway, get in, and then finish filling - your body will adjust more gradually.

3. Bubbles, Salts, & Bombs. There are so many things you can buy or make to add to your bathwater. I'm usually pretty wiped out after a 12 hour shift at the hospital, so Epsom Salts are a must for me to soothe tired muscles. I also use a variety of aromatherapy products from Bath & Body Works. I couldn't find my favourite scent, Night Time Tea, on their website, but look for it if you're in the store - the smell is out of control amazing!

4. If You're Feeling Extra Fancy... I like to light a candle or two and turn most of the lights off to help me relax even more. A calm playlist like "Mellow Indie" from Songza will block out some of the external noise.

5. Moisturize. When you're relaxed through and through, drain the water and take your time standing up. The hot water will make your blood vessels dilate, which can lower your blood pressure and make you dizzy if you get up too fast (I speak from experience!). I prefer to rinse off very quickly with the shower just because some of the bath products can leave residues on your skin. After a bath is the best time to moisturize your skin. I like Jergens Vitamin E Replenishing Moisturizer, but use your favourite!

Now enjoy the wonderful feeling of being totally relaxed! Repeat as necessary! =)

And would you just look at these stunning bathtubs?! I definitely have some "tub envy" going on!

(L to R) Images taken from Tumblr, Style Estate, Besotted, Flickr, Casa Haus, Pinterest

Monday, 15 April 2013

Music Monday - ??

I've always been a bit obsessed with television...the programs AND the commercials. In elementary school I was proud of how many advertisements I could recite and how many different jingles I knew by heart (I've gotten a lot cooler since then, right?). While I am less TV-crazed than in those days, I still enjoy a good commercial..and good music is a big part of that. Shazam, a smartphone app, has made it a lot easier for me to find out the names of those really catchy songs that get stuck in my head. Here are three commercials I've "Shazam-ed" recently: Windows 8, Netflix, & the Chevrolet Trax one (it's always those car commercials, isn't it?).

Every once in a while, a song comes up that seems impossible to find. Shazam won't work, I've tried googling every descriptor I can think of, and YouTube isn't any help either. I'm taunted with that beautiful 20 second clip every time the commercial plays and left wanting more...sorry, am I being a bit dramatic? Maybe I am, but that's kind of how I felt after hearing this new song from the new Kia commercial...especially when I found out the bad news...that 20 second clip isn't from a full length song, it was only written for this specific ad. Tragic, really. Here it is...I'm sure you'll love it and then we can lament together.

Ohh yeah! You've got me flyin'... Ohh yeah! You've got me smilin'... Shine! Shine! Takin' some time awayyy... Keep an open mind and... Flyyyy awayyyy! We flyyyy awayyyyy...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Banana Smoothie

I've had a few days off from work and my desire to cook anything requiring effort is reaaal low. These are the days I'm thankful for blenders. Push one button and BAM...a meal! I'm pretty boring though because I have roughly two smoothies that I alternate between - a green smoothie and a berry smoothie. I was feeling bored with those options so I decided to turn one of my favourite mid-day snacks, bananas and peanut butter, into a smoothie. It's wicked fast to make, delicious to consume and very simple to clean up. Here's how I did it:

1. Gather your ingredients. You could use soy milk or cow's milk if you prefer. I chose Almond simply because I saw it in the fridge first. Also shown are bananas, peanut butter, ground flax seed & ice cubes.

2. Next put about 8 ice cubes in your blender with 2/3 cup of milk. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp of ground flax over the top. Put on the blender lid (safety first, kids) and turn your blender on. Every blender is different and you're the expert on how yours works best. I have a Vita-Mix, so I start on variable, speed 1 and slowly increase to 10. Add more milk if it's too thick.

3. When all the ice is blended, add in 2 bananas and 1 Tbsp of peanut butter. I added extra because I have a problem. Blend again until smooth.

4. Pour into a tall glass. Yuuuuum. This should make enough for one meal-size serving or two snack-size servings.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Music Monday - John Mayer

John Mayer was my first official favourite musician. His name was always the first to escape my mouth whenever someone asked me, "What type of music do you listen to?" I have all his albums on CD and I faithfully brought them with me to school to play on my discman for the bus ride home. I repeated them so often that I could tell where on the bus route we were just by hearing what track was playing. Certain songs trigger memories from middle school and early high school -- very memorable years.
Let's be real, he's still one of my favourites as I'm always returning to his music. I think his earlier albums, Room For Squares and Heavier Things, are still my favourite, but I always enjoy the new music he puts out. It would be sinful not to mention Where the Light Is, a live concert that was released by the John Mayer Trio - there are some amaaaaazing songs on really REALLY good. I know people are always talking about his public image or attitude towards others, but at the end of the day, I care about the music. Nobody is perfect and I'm in no position to judge him.

More recently, John Mayer struggled with health concerns about his vocal cords. He took some time off, even taking of vow of silence for voice rest. He's back now though and heading out on tour for his most recent album, Battle Studies, because it has been delayed. I'm pretty bummed there are no shows near me...not even Seattle, but it's still on my bucket list to see him live! I know he spent a lot of time writing music on his time off, so I'm excited to hear what's next for him!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

My Secret Stash of Happy Moments

Once in awhile when I'm stuck at the hospital for 12 (or 16) hours and I just want to be at home, I can get a little bit down. It always helps me to retrieve a good memory from a happy day to remind myself that, "Hey, your life is actually pretty swell. Stop pouting, you have it good!"

Images taken from my Instagram account. Come follow me!
During the past week or so there has definitely been an abundance of those happy moments and memories to add to my stash! The weather has been gorgeous and sunny (think suntanning with a thick novel and iced coffee), there was a holiday long weekend (yay! family time!), a Menchie's Frozen Yogourt shop opened (I've already been there a sickening number of times) and of course, Meeko was just being super handsome like allll the time (still gets me after a year and a half)! Let's not forget the things I couldn't capture with my cellphone camera, like phone and skype dates with best friends, lengthy bubble baths & sleeping in until 11am! I head back to work tomorrow but I think I'm all set! =)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Music Monday - Born Ruffians

When I'm driving in my car, I usually have the radio turned to The Peak 102.7 fm. They play really good tunes, a lot of local bands, and often turn me onto new artists to look up. This week they introduced me to the Born Ruffians, from Ontario. They've been around for awhile, putting out 2 studio albums so far, with their 3rd album, Birthmarks, to be release on April 16th! I'm a little bit addicted to their single, "Needle". All week I've been playing it on repeat at the nursing station at work, just loud enough for me to enjoy! It's so catchy, especially the chorus, and has had me bopping around through night shifts. Thanks for keeping me awake boys, much appreciated! =)