Christmas Decorations 2017

Its almost a tradition now to start off the holiday marathon with my Christmas decorations. There’s always a bit of the same and still manage to get some changes in there. If you’ve seen the previous one (and actually remember it), then there will be something new still. Christmas is a big deal at our place especially with my husband and his family so in our 9+ years together from dating to marriage, its been a huge part of our life and honestly, one of the most exciting times of the year when we do get to decorate. At the point of this going up, we still have some possibly outdoor decoration to put up but not sure when that is happening as outdoorsy wires and rigs are up to my husband and he hasn’t found the time just yet. Its our turn to host the family party this year so I’m guessing it will happen.

Let’s go!

Bay Window Lights

It seems fitting to look at the display for the outside. Our bay window lights haven’t changed using a layer of white and blue lights. My poinsettia has been the same for the last three years. Its a little sad but I’m hoping it’ll turn red soon. You can’t see it here but I ended up adding in a garland to line the bottom of the window and putting a candy cane decoration on the top.

On top of the stairs

One of our new purchases this year from Michael’s are somewhat rustic which matches our dining room ceiling that extends over our stairs. Its little people hanging on in their winter getup on some rustic string.

I can’t remember where I put this reindeer last year but I think it was in the den. This year we took away the candle and put it here by the shoe rack drawer by the front door.

On top of the piano are these singing chipmunks that when pressed sing Up on the Rooftop. On its side is a little gift from Starry Traveler which was a little puzzle and I put it together and decided to use it as display instead of ornament this year.

Our new wreath this year that I put together is with a empty wreath and wrapping around a garland of white poinsettia, adding in three elves, one little santa, two tricolor berries along with a bell ornament that I used to put on the tree but fills as a ribbon. There are some pine scented Scentsicles buried in it.

Dining Table Decoration

The santa here was bought this year as a possible tree topper but we decided to use it as a dining table decoration with some white beads as the bottom. The candle holder on the side is also a new purchase and used for the table decoration. We don’t have a big table so these items will move when we have the party.

Moving into the den, we have a little berries display with some IKEA shards in the vase to keep it in place. I have a red snowflake candle holder along with a little Merry and Bright panel.

Wreath

On the other side by the closet door is the first wreath I made for the house. I added in some new Scentsicles. I couldn’t find the berry ones so I also used pine for this one as well.

Moving over to the office, I used to only have one strand of light on the bookcase but we found another smaller one so I connected it up and draped it over the new art I had put up this year. I love it as it keeps me in a great mood and motivated to get work done.

FINALLY…

To wrap things up, the christmas tree! We’ve had the same one as the last few years. Its a 7 foot Christmas tree from Costco. This year, we have the colored lights and then after a very painful hour, I managed to strand a shorter but brighter strand of LED colored lights around the middle. We didn’t get any new ornaments this year but did keep it between the fun and fancy ones and held off on some of the solid color ball ornaments.

That’s mostly it for this year’s Christmas decorations!
What do you think?

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My Weekly Adventures #55

The last two weeks of November has been somewhat of a whirlwind. I’ve talked about catching up with a lot of stuff and posts unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked exactly as I had planned but I’m working hard through it. Regardless of that, there was some fun times even though I’ve covered most of it in other posts.

Montreal Expo Gaming Arcade 2017

MEGA MTL

MEGA Montreal happened on the November 18th and 19th. It I did a quick recap about it while linking back to the huge recap that I did for the Montreal Independent Games Festival which was held in collaboration with each other. Suffice to say that it was fun. We do hit a lot of the gaming events but this event usually has the most games. While I only saw 40, apparently there was over 50 games. I read that in an article afterwards from the festival.

Kinto Ramen & Sugar Marmalade

Last Friday was a busy day. My friends and I met up after work to go grab some ramen in celebration for the cold weather. Soup-based noodles are the best for getting ready for any cold weather. We went to Kinton Ramen which I have written about before HERE. It was delicious although we had quite a wait and ended up being seated at the bar which was nice because you get to watch the kitchen in action.

Afterwards, we went across the street to Sugar Marmalade which is a Chinese dessert place that finally opened in Montreal a few months ago and has incredible line-ups. The line-up did help us digest the dinner so it all worked out. I’ll be posting about that soon.

Black Friday

If you missed my Black Friday Haul post, you can find it right HERE.

You will also find that I forgot to add my David’s Tea buy. I usually pick up Dragonwell tea however, to be honest, I’m more of a fan of Emperor’s Cloud and Mist at Teavana. Its the green tea they serve at Starbucks pretty much. My absolute fave even before Teavana got bought by Starbucks. Regardless of that, David’s Tea had a cool promotion which ended up to be that I picked up like 10g of an extra tea and ended up making my purchase less than when I bought two. Thanks to the customer rep for sharing with me that info. Its very nice. These are all new teas for myself. I have had Butterfly Jasmine before in another independent tea store when I was on vacation and liked it.

Christmas Decoration Begins

Since the weekend of November 18th, I’ve been getting together the Christmas decor in the house. I got the flowers in the vases done (fake flower displays) and centerpieces. I did a brand new wreath right here (which has been modified since this initial design) and the Christmas tree is up. However, we’re just a little way from the finish line to fix up the bannisters. I’ll have a Christmas decoration post coming very very soon!

Healthy Lifestyle Take…

I don’t know what take it is now. Since the 2014 surge of crazy where I managed to work out a ton and get in a really nice routine and then got hit with some ridiculous eye infections, I never got back on track. Maybe I did for the summer before I got married but then I fell out of it again. This year has been really bad and the last two months have really taken a hit of just all kinds of crazy which has affected how I feel a lot so I’m changing it up. I started up my Nike Training Club app and put in a 4 week program to get back into the training mode. I only missed 2 workouts so far with the final workout coming up today to wrap up the 4 weeks. Then I’ll be starting up the 6 weeks one. Its going to overlap the holidays but I’m sure I can shift the schedule around as this one is pretty flexible especially with their latest updates on the app, its polished it up quite a bit.

Indoor Container Update

A surprise gardening update! It was a last minute thing that I thought about this one. When I was closing the garden back in October, I ended up trying a second time to grow the pineapple sage in water and after doing a ton of research on what to use which they suggest tinted mason jars, I used my extra purple tinted jars leftover from my wedding centerpiece materials to get it going. It is doing great as it sprouts some new leaves and has some roots .

What is about the 3rd attempt to bring in the rosemary this year has seemed to work. Perhaps its because this year, the rosemary is much more developed and not just two twigs. I’m watering it sparingly and it seems to be pretty happy where it is. I’ve always had humidity problems with rosemary where it just drowns itself so its near a vent right now, hopefully it’ll help prevent that from happening again.

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • A lot of TV Binge
  • Holiday marathon announcement

This wraps up this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to? 

Christmas Decorations!

Happy Wednesday, my lovelies! We’re only days away from Christmas and this year, its been much less holidays and Christmas focused than past years! However, it just doesn’t feel right to not share a little Christmas decor post!

Every year I try to change things around a little. We sometimes buy stuff on Boxing Day from the previous year to plan for this year. Most of the time, by the time its time to decorate, I already forgot the initial plan and just try to remember again, or just whip up something completely different. I think the most steady decorations are the wreaths. I haven’t wanted to change them yet or make a new one. Maybe next year. But I swapped them around. And as you see this post, I’ll only be missing the garland for the stairwell and finding that extension cord for the star.

A hint of Christmas in the office

A hint of Christmas in the office with Christmas Mickey

Christmas decorations

Our new LED trees that change colors

Added lights to another window

Added lights to another window

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

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Disney Winter plushies: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy

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Wreath moved to the den

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Added a little bit to the berries arrangement in the den along with the sign and candle holder and reindeer

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A new floral arrangement by the stairs

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Christmas seat covers and cushions

Christmas Tree (day and night)

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Do you decorate for Christmas?

 

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey! :)

Happy Chinese New Year~! 🙂

We’re stepping into the Year of the Monkey today in Chinese tradition.  Spring has arrived in the lunar calendar and we welcome it with a lot of traditions.  We spent most of the weekend tidying the house and making sure that we’re all set for a fresh start in the New Year! This is the first year I’m spending Chinese New Year living at my new house away from my mom.  We had to put together a bit of decorations to hopefully bring some good luck.

Here’s a bit of the decorations around our house and some of the Chinese New Year celebrations and we’ll end with a 2016 New Year video.  Its in Cantonese and its a ton of good luck wishes but yeah, its fun to watch even if you don’t know what its saying. And well, Hoi-Pang Lo is one that you’ll recognize if you watch Hong Kong movies. 😉

I know its more flowers than anything but its really lively and I love having them there.  We have a few of those hanging decorations.  I just didn’t want to bore you with how they are everywhere as well as those lucky slogans.  We have 3 of those around the house. As for the orchids, they opened just in time for the New Year.  The timing couldn’t be any better! 🙂

Dinner

Dinner

Chiense New Year

Year Cake

Rice Balls

Dessert

Heading over to my mom’s for dinner is always awesome! I think my mom makes the best food ever so what more can I say? Plus, we had the Superbowl playing in the background which I talked more than I watched but the halftime show was fun.  I thought it did the 50 years justice.  Bruno Mars was a great special guest and its great that they had him because well, he got judged so harshly back when he did it a few years ago that having him back gives him justice that he is definitely a great performer. Plus, Coldplay is always great! 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! :)

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! 🙂

And now for the song! 🙂

Have a great day, my lovelies! 🙂
It may be Chinese New Year but expect another post this afternoon!

Baking: Sugar Cookies (with 4 different toppings)!

The holidays are fantastic.  We take turns spending time with our friends and this year, we had a few friends drop by for a little potluck and game night to ring in the New Year’s.  Some of you know that I’m in absolutely love with baking.  With My Weekly Adventures post, before rambling about recaps and updates, I gave a quick look of some Boxing Day finds and the one I’m most proud of is finally getting the standing mixer.  For New Year’s Eve, I put it to the test and after much debate between various recipes, I decided to go with Sugar Cookies.  It does sound kind of familiar since I did do Chocolate Sugar Cookies on the baking date with my friend right before Christmas. Except, I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Butter Baked Goods, one of the cookbooks I own.

Here it is!

“Big” Sugar Cookies
(from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykins)

Sugar Cookies

Sprinkled with icing sugar

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Sugar Cookies

2nd batch: With Sliced Almonds

 1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and oil on medium to high heat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat again to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

6. Use the ice cream scoop to drop 24 equally sized portions of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Use the palm of your hand to press down lightly on the top of each dough portion to flatten slightly, then sprinkle with a little sanding sugar.

7. Baking in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges and cracked in the center.

8. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Sugar Cookies

3rd batch: with Dark Chocolate (Lindt 70% Cocao)

Notes:

  • I ended up with double the batch (48 cookies) with probably smaller size cookies.
  • Replaced vegetable oil with olive oil
  • Sprinkled with icing sugar for first batch but then used, sliced almonds, dark chocolate and snowflakes sugar decorations
Sugar Cookies

4th batch: with sugared snowflakes

These sugar cookies were pretty good. There was a good crunchy consistency.  I put the batches for 15 minutes in the oven. Suffice to say that the snowflakes was a true experiment and they ended up melting so that isn’t a great idea. The dark chocolate toppings were the big hit and ended the night with most of them eaten. Sugar cookies are a very easy solution.  I did these without a sifter and a proper ice cream scoop or parchment paper.  My new home needs some improvement in the supplies portion but that is on our shopping list. To be honest, cookies are my go-to whenever I need a quick fix for baking.  Preparation is usually quite minimal (unless you need to use cookies cutters which adds a step and maybe some kneading the dough depending on what you make) and the bake time is usually under 20 minutes (unless its biscotti which needs to baking sessions). I love quick solutions.  Sometimes life is about enjoying the simple things and sugar cookies definitely fits that category.

On a side note, the promise I made (to my husband and myself) with the new mixer purchase was that it would be the motivation to step back into my favorite activity ever: Baking and work towards improving this year.  Consider these sugar cookies to be the first step back in the kitchen.  For the record, there should be another recipe up soon for the Baking Through Disney.

How do you like to top your Sugar Cookies? Are you fan of cookies? What type do you like?

My Weekly Adventures: Christmas Prep and Decorations (plus a new DIY skill)

C’mon! You knew this weekly adventures was all about Christmas 😉

What other time would I be able to, right? This year, I actually got my house decorated earlier than two days before Christmas.  Last year, we took so much time looking for decorations and ribbons and beads to decorate the tree that it took us 3 weeks to get it all done. This year, I did my shopping on Black Friday weekend and took care of mostly everything.  We did the outdoor decorations just this past weekend and its also the reason why I only did the update now.  Plus, we’re right on track! Remember 1st and 15th from last post where I was going to attempt this new schedule for Weekly Adventures segment? Right on time! 😉

Its these little achievements that make me happy!

I’ve rambled enough! Let’s talk Christmas! 🙂

1) Christmas decorations around Montreal!

Le Atrium

Le Atrium @ 1000 de la Gauchetiere West

Christmas

Place Ville Marie

Christmas

Restaurant Costa Del Sole

I know I know…its so little.  I haven’t really had a lot of wandering adventures yet. At least not a lot of new decorations so I’ve already talked about it in previous years.

2) Salon des Metiers d’arts de Montreal (aka Montreal Arts and Crafts Show)

Salon des metiers d'art Montreal

I go to this show every year. I’ve probably talked about it before and showed you my purchases.  The show seems to be getting smaller and smaller but this year, there was quite a few new vendors and they had some rather awesome new products.  We usually go for the foods, snacks, wines and ice cider varieties. Mostly because those are great for parties and gifts for family and friends. This year, I had set a budget and it got me this loot right here (plus a co-gift for my chiropractor which is not shown here).Salon des metiers d'art Montreal

Starting from the top left to right and next row, here are the items:

Ice Cider is kind of a Montreal thing.  Quebec has a ton of apple orchards and a bunch of them will also produce ice ciders.  As of last year, Fire Ciders came onto the market from Union Libre and I just loved it.  That’s why it was on my hit list for this year’s show.  Much to my surprise though, Domain Labranche is a new vendor and has this product too except they chose to give us a second option of trying it heated it.  He described it like drinking Sake.  Now, I’m not a fan of sake because its too strong for me but this one tastes absolutely fantastic.  As I drank it, I could picture heating this up, stirring it with a sprig of rosemary or thyme or cinnamon stick (as he suggested to us), and sitting by the fireplace while watching an awesome movie.  Look, if your product can give me a vivid image like that, I just couldn’t refuse getting it. Blink Chocolate is dark chocolate and lactose free and it taste so good.  Its good for little tastes of dessert. As for La Nougaterie, I just love their products.  Last year, I was introduced to Coach House Shortbread and I gave all of them away.  This year, its going to be also a little dessert with tea or coffee or something like that.  It’ll be so awesome.

I’m loving my purchases so far.  This year, there’s not so much about gifts but thinking about how to be a great host for the Christmas party.  I think I’m set! 😉

3) Christmas decorations at my place!

Last year, we just bought the house and I hadn’t moved in yet so all we did was put up a Christmas tree.  This year, since I’m around, I stepped it up.  We took two weekends or so to decorate.  The first to go up was the Christmas tree and some little decorations, then I made a new wreath (I’ve already shown you my other wreath last year so I’ll skip that), and finally some outdoors decorations we set up this past weekend!

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Berry Sprigs with Color Lights in a Vase

Christmas decorations

New Wreath: Blue and White theme

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Inflatable Santa with his little companions, Polar Bear and Snowman

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Its always nice when plans happen to work out. I still have one more garland to put along my inside stairwell.  I also showed that last year. I have a little bit of rearranging for that one before putting it up.  We’re still debating whether to wrap a ribbon around the Christmas tree.  Those outdoor setup looks really nice. Our area is all about side entrances so no one uses their front doors.  Its a little weird but hey, Santa’s guarding it for me 😉 And my fave goes to my husbands idea of having a few layers of lights on the bay window: clear lights surrounded with a backdrop of blue lights.  I love it! 🙂

As for the last minute addition right before sitting down to draft this post, its the book shelf.  Its newly installed and I just arranged all the TBR books that I own, so the bookworm in me felt like it deserved a little decoration. I guess its also a sneak peek of next year’s reading list, if you can see the titles 😉

4) Making Ribbons the FIRST TIME! 🙂

As you can see that I made a new wreath up there, I had to learn how to make a ribbon.  Last year, I was super lucky and one of my girl friends made it for me.  Hers was much more complex and its on my older wreath thats also hung up somewhere else.  But, I just had to make one this year so I chose that simpler model and found a link on Pinterest that I followed.

Here’s the zoomed in version of the bow:

DIY Bow for Wreaths

DIY Bows for Wreath

Pinterest instructions: http://lizoncall.com/2014/09/17/how-to-make-a-big-bow/

Its not perfect, but its my first shot and took me like 20 minutes or something to get it looking fairly balanced.  I’m starting to think it looks a little oversized for my little wreath.  But hey, for a first time, I think I did decent. I’ll give it another shot next year and maybe change to another ribbon if I have to 🙂

5) What is going on with the Weather!?!?!

Its more of a thought than an adventure but I don’t know about all of your whereabouts since I’m guessing it varies but we had one little sprinkle of snow so far and all we’ve gotten was rain.  Last Friday, it was 15 degrees Celsius! That’s a little crazy for being in winter and all.  For my guests sake, I really don’t want to have a storm on Christmas day but I would like to see some snow on the ground by then.  Maybe its just me being Canadian…

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The best part however is that the mild weather gave me a chance to go out this past weekend and clear out the rest of my pots on my patio that I didn’t get a chance to do before.  And guess what I found: mint growing in my garden…. Its December and my mint thinks its still okay to grow.  Yikes! Mojito anyone?

6) Upcoming: CHRISTMAS!

You know what? Its Christmas month pretty much with a few days of like after Christmas posts and before New Year’s wrapping up the year posts for that last week.  That’s what you’ll be expecting here.  I wrapped up the first round of Netflix.  The Random Chat Show also kicked off our Christmas Show. I have a few movies planned but this year, I want to get back to DIY crafts and baking so it’ll be a mixed bag.  I’ll have a few really overdue book reviews and extra posts going up that I promised I’d do. My guess is the next weekly adventures I’ll get to talking about plans for next year and 2015 recap and all that good stuff. I still can’t believe there’s only 16 days and 2015 ends! Its a little crazy!

FINALLY…

To wrap it all up, an adorable and somewhat hilarious video of NHL Montreal Canadiens doing a rendition of Frozen’s “Let It Go”.

Happy Tuesday, my lovelies! 🙂

My Weekly Adventures: Kickstarter Rewards, Wedding and Halloween Marathon Kickoff!!

We’re back with another weekly adventures!

I’m sorry that its taken me a little longer than usual to get back.  To be fair, I did say that this would take 3 weeks instead of the normal 2, at the very least.  I really wanted to be back, you know. Like, there are things happening and I’m not just forcing up some updates for nothing.  Although, last time I really did want to get the updates and announcements out.  I’m starting to think weekly adventures are a good way to get it through. So, when it does say updates and/or announcements, this will be where I’ll do it! 🙂

Back to business, what has been going on, you ask? Well, lets see what little adventures I’ve been in the last few weeks. Let’s go!

1) Kickstarter Rewards coming in!

Kosmos -TV series was funded on December 2014.  I had signed up for the exclusive of the Episode 1 and a limited edition personalized frame from the show signed by one of the cast or crew.  Finally, after a few months, I got it in the mail.

Plus, the show is for free viewing on Youtube up to Episode 4 now. You can check it out below:

Kiss Me, Kill Me was funded on November 2014.  A part of the reward came to me in the form of a Virtual Premiere.  I almost didn’t make it but I managed to give the movie one viewing before the link expired.  No regrets at all! Here’s the trailer:

While it has a strong LGBT focus, the story of this thriller is great and the acting is rather good as well.  Consider me rather impressed.  I’ll be posting up an actual review when I get the actual movie with the final reward which I had backed for a DVD copy.

$5 Drawings by Dada was successfully funded in September 2015.  I used to go to college with Dada and she’s always been an extremely creative person.  While I didn’t have money to back a higher tier, I still loved the random work of art I received on 7 x 10 inch paper using color pencils (I chose the medium).  It was beautiful. I just need to figure out a way to frame it up or somethin and decorate my walls.  You can check out her work on Instagram @dada16808

2) I’m Married!!!

On October 11th, 2015 (the past Sunday), I got married! I know I’ve been ranting about the crazy wedding plans but trying to kind of not be too overbearing about it but things worked out fine.  There was some hiccups but with the help of some amazing friends, everyone played out really well! Everyone had a great time and I saw so many wonderful friends and family that I haven’t seen in ages and connected with others that I never knew really well but did more afterwards. I did debate doing a huge post on it but we’ll see.  For now, here are few wedding pics of decors and dresses and all that fun stuff 🙂

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Coral Evening Gown

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Cake and Cupcakes were done by Montreal Cake Guy.  Despite being hurt the day before he had to deliver the order, he still managed to get it all done and we found a way to accommodate and got one of my best friends’ boyfriend to go pick it up for me the morning of.

On a side note, I had to doll up for the wedding.  Thanks goes out to the lovely  Groupon deal for the mani-pedi from Beauty Box in Brossard.  And hair goes out to Coiffure Spa Portobello

3) Announcement: Halloween Marathon Starts TODAY!!!

I know I’ve been hinting at Halloween with Netflix A-Z having two movies and a book review of Ranger Martin.  It was an effort to keep with the theme but now that the wedding is done and I’ve had a few days to recuperate from that one very crazy but memorable day, I’m ready to get back on track here! We’re kicking off  the Halloween Marathon officially!! Later today, you’ll be getting the first review for our highlight series, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Have fun and enjoy! My line-up for filler horror movies have been changing and its probably just going to be absolutely spontaneous save for one recommendation but its happening! Have lots of fun! Enjoy this half of October full of horror reviews! 🙂

On a side note, you all know things don’t quite return to normal until the New Year with NaNoWriMo in November and Christmas related posts in Christmas.  Netflix A-Z will return in November however but everything else will be just a mixed bag of backlogged posts that I’m accumulating right now.

—> No upcoming posts this time around! You all know whats up for the next two weeks! Halloween and all that jazz!

To wrap it all up, here’s a little music to get us all relaxed and feeling all warm, happy and bubbly in a 360 video!

Happy Wednesday, my lovelies!
Have an awesome day!! 🙂