Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Renovate and Recreate

I love experimenting with new colors in our home. Nothing makes more impact for the least amount of cash then a fresh coat of paint. Fortunately my lovely husband is a handy guy and is willing and ready to be my painter extraordinaire on his off hours (wink, wink).

Since we moved here a few years ago, our kitchen has been the drab base shade that we have throughout our home. I call it peachy tan. In hindsight I wish I had picked a color with more brown tones than the slightly peach shade that we have now. I digress... I have been wanting to paint the kitchen for a while but I didn't want to introduce a new color into our already colorful decorative pallet. So I decided to paint the kitchen a neutral shade of gray. I know that gray sounds depressing but with our white cabinets and molding it looks contemporary. We have also been busy renovating our playroom but it is not quite 'after shot' ready at the moment. I will post more pics when we are done in there. For now, enjoy the subtly revamped kitchen shots.

Before Shot. Boring peachy tan color.

After Shot. A modern take on neutral.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing Twist

As many of you can see from the size of my 'baby,' my maternity leave is quickly coming to an end. The Canadian Government has ever so graciously bestowed upon me a 'Be a Mom at Home' check twice a month for the duration of my leave. It rocks. Receiving 'free' money to stay at home in my pajamas with my child. Alas, those days are soon gone and I am excited to announce that my career has taken a new turn.

I have officially given my notice at the advertising company that I have been with since 2005. They gave me a chance to prove myself when the company was still tiny and I was blessed to be able to grow alongside them. After a year away from the office I still miss the hectic pace and my colleagues, but it was time to move on.

Which segues into my big news... I have opened my own company called Twist Communications Consulting. Twist specializes in Media Relations, Media Training, Corporate Event Planning and Marketing. Don't bother to look for a site yet, it does not exist. I know, I know... you are asking yourself 'how can you be a PR professional and not even have your own site?' The answer to that is that I have already started my first contract and I don't currently have time to properly market myself. As soon as my site is live I will post a link for all to see.

I am at a good place right now. Working for myself allows me the flexibility to stay at home with Lil while simultaneously pursuing what I am passionate about. It is a win, win, situation. So if you know anyone that has communications needs (ahem, blatant self-plug), feel free to refer them my way.

Cheesy old work shot.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Babushka Baby

You can't beat fresh perogies- starchy dough, with cheese filling, smothered in melted butter. These doughy little delights are the reason that we decided to trek on over to the Victoria Ukrainian Cultural Center's monthly dinner. Old Ukrainian ladies with thick accents usher you through the doors and welcome you into the tiny center which is on the verge of chaotic, complete with live oom-pah music and people gorging on sausage. It is a tasty and entertaining way to spend a Friday night- we really live life on the wild side these days.

The authentic Ukrainian food... not quite as appetizing in photographs.

Enjoy a couple of Ukrainian dance moves from Lily and her BFF Danica!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pop Culture Break.. Lots of Age Creepery

Ahh... the ex- Willis', they make me laugh. It has been all over the news lately that Bruce Willis tied the knot to a 30 year old woman named Emma Heming. Heming is well-known in the lingerie world and has modeled for both Victoria's Secret and La Senza. Really Bruce, could you be anymore cliche? A lingerie model, 24 years younger? At least shake it up a bit and marry a neurosurgeon that is only 15 years younger.

I think that Bruce Willis and his lovely ex, Demi, have an obsession with the fountain of youth. Since they keep aging(even thought they fight it with botox) they try to find the youngest person possible to marry them. People say that you become similar in appearance to the person that you marry- they are hoping for some of the youngness to rub off. To be honest, I think it works for Demi. That woman looks hotter now than she did 15 years ago.

I sympathize with poor Rummer Willis who at 20 years old can relate better to her young step-parents more than Bruce or Demi ever will. Oh, and don't even get me started on Billy Joel and his child bride who is only 4 years older than his 23 year old daughter Alexa. Don't these celebs consider how creepy their cradle robbing is for their own children? They are obviously not enlightened by the secret 'age creepiness equation.' All you do is divide your own age by 2 and then add 7 to that number. So in Bruce Willis' case, at the age of 54 the youngest he could go with out being creepy is 34. His 30 year old wife is 4 years off of the acceptable age of creepiness. This simple universal equation works without fail, we need to teach it to our young and discourage future acts of creepery.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Movie Madess

I debated whether or not to review the following movie, knowing full and well that I might be judged for my taste in films. But I felt compelled to write a review for one of the most thought provoking movies I have seen in a long time.

As a San Francisco Bay Area native, I was intrigued by the film Milk. Milk is a biographical film that follows the life of Harvey Milk, California's first openly gay politician. Harvey Milk moved to San Francisco in the early 1970's and developed a passion for gay rights as a result of seeing his friends brutally beaten, ostracized and even killed for their sexuality. Milk ran unsuccessfully for political office three times. His theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and he finally won a seat as a city supervisor in 1977. During his short political career, one of Milk's biggest challenges was dealing with Prop 6 a proposed law which would make it mandatory to fire any openly gay teacher or public school employee. It is not coincidence that the movie concentrates heavily on Prop 6 in the wake of California's controversial Prop 8 which recently repealed the right of same-sex couples to marry. The end of the film shows the brutal murders of both Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor Moscone by a fellow, disgruntled politician named Dan White. White was made famous by his "twinkie defense" while on trial for the murders. White's defense claimed that he was in a deteriorated mental state due to a junk food binge the night before he committed the murders.

In the film Milk, Harvey Milk is expertly portrayed by veteran award winner Sean Penn. I had my doubts as to whether or not Penn deserved to win Best Actor for his role in Milk because in my opinion 'gay' movies tend to win unmerited awards (Brokeback Mountain being case in point). Yet, Penn was both engaging and convincing as Harvey Milk. He gave a performance of a lifetime.

Overall, I found Milk to be an excellent film that does not necessarily appeal to a broad audience. The film is a political statement about what has been going on in the state of California in the last year but if you can try to get past the obvious political leanings, Milk is an interesting biography. Be warned that there are erotic scenes ( although not overtly offensive) in this movie. If you are on the conservative side of the spectrum when it comes to your taste in films I would not advise renting Milk. But if you are a bit more liberal in your viewing and up for a movie that will give you food for thought, I would recommend giving Milk a shot.

Grade: A

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Canadian Yogurt Dilemma

There is a frozen dilemma sweeping across the land of Canada and I am not talking about catastrophic weather patterns. I am crying out from the tops of the Rocky Mountains and to the icy Atlantic shores- 'Where is the Yogurt!' That's right there is a serious dearth of frozen yogurt in Canada. The only frozen yogurt I have discovered in Victoria is a sub-par TCBY that serves two flavors at the large movie theater complex in town.

Perhaps you need a little background information to fully grasp the severity of this issue. Growing up in Northern California consuming frozen yogurt was a way of life. We rarely went for an ice cream cone- that was reserved for birthdays. But a non-fat, raspberry and chocolate truffle swirl yogurt cone, with a few sprinkles, was definitely a weekly occurrence. All the taste not so much guilt. This embodies the California lifestyle. There are at least 1 or 2 frozen yogurt shops in even the smallest towns in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fast forward ten years and I am living in Canada without a decent yogurt anywhere in sight.

I have formulated a few reasons for the lack of yogurt in this country. 1. It is just too cold. People would rather drink coffee and eat donuts to keep warm. 2. Pure ignorance. They don't realize what they are missing. 3. It is spelled 'Yoghurt' here in Canada and therefore sounds less palatable (would you eat something for pleasure with the word 'hurt' in it?) than the American spelling 'Yogurt.' I feel that it is my destiny to inform the Canadian masses of the goodness that is frozen yogurt. Embrace the frozen delights of yogurt my Canucks!

Birthday Ben

Today is the culmination of 29 years of aging. The rather elderly Ben is 29 today and has been celebrating his birthday for the past week (his yearly tradition). This year we have stuck to family parties but after tonight we will have celebrated Ben's birthday 3 times! Ben's birthday week also seems to override choices such as what movie we rent, 'it's my birthday (week) so I get to choose Transporter 3.' But I can't complain, the rest of the year Ben bends over backwards to make sure that his two ladies are happy and taken care of. This is your year Ben! Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All You Ever Wanted to Know About.... Puffer Fish

While strolling down the shores of Cabo San Lucas, we encountered a bizarre sea creature situated tummy side up in the sand. His eyes were wide open, body inflated to the size of a small grapefruit, and he possessed menacing spikes. A real life (except it was dead) puffer fish! I was thrilled. As we continued down the beach, we started counting puffer fish that had met their unfortunate demise upon the Cabo shore. We lost count after 17 puffer fish-it was like a veritable puffer fish graveyard. After so many encounters of the fishy kind, I decided to stick to the pool for the remainder of my swimming adventures. An ocean teeming with that kind of life made me nervous to wade through the waves for fear of being poked by a puffer fish or stung by a jellyfish.

After looking at my photos post-Cabo, I decided to do a little research on my friend the puffer fish. Biologists think puffer fish, also known as blow fish, developed their famous “inflatability” because their slow, somewhat clumsy swimming style makes them vulnerable to predators. In lieu of escape, puffer fish use their highly elastic stomachs and ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water (and air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible ball several times their normal size. Some species also have spines (like the ones that we encountered) on their skin to make them even less palatable.

Almost all puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one puffer fish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

Strangely enough, in Japan the meat of the puffer fish is considered a highly desirable delicacy. Deaths happen on an annual basis from improper cutting of this fish. There are rumors that the puffers fish poison is also being used to make a new pain reliever due to its numbing effects. In fact, when puffer fish is eaten it has a tendency to numb the diner's lips, mouth and tongue. Mmmm... sign me up for some puffer fish delight for dinner tonight!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No Lily, We Didn't Permanently Abandon You

After spending a few luxurious days in Mexico we decided it was time to fly back to San Francisco to see Lily. We wondered how she was going to react after not seeing us for 5 days. Worst case scenario she starts bawling, as if to say ' how could you abandon me?' Best case scenario she starts squealing with joy and dancing around the moment she catches a glimpse of her well-rested parents. When we pulled up in my parents driveway Lily was in the front yard sitting in her sling, clinging to my mother. At first she stared at us as to say "Oh, it's you two," but then started smiling and hyperventilating when she realized that she was supposed to have missed us. Needless to say, we know she will be fine when we leave her again.

We spent two quick days at my parents place and packed it full of all the East Bay has to offer. Mainly shopping at Ross, Target and eating at the Yogurt Shack ( I will elaborate on The Shack in a later post). We had fun hanging out with family and checking out the monthly Friday night gathering that my parents have been hosting. We also spent a little time with Lily's California boyfriend Cole and his Mommy Kristen.

After returning from Mexico, we learned from several Californians that people are avoiding traveling South of the Border. Apparently there has been a lot of civil unrest in Mexico due to corrupt police forces and major drug wars. My parent's church even canceled their annual missions trip that usually takes place over Spring Break. Hmm... I was wondering why Cabo seemed so quiet. Honestly, I don't think that this mayhem is effecting the touristy areas of Mexico. I felt safe and would fly back down in a heartbeat. You can't live your life based on 'what if.'
Lily plays us a tune.

Chihuahua hunting.

The exhausted, hunted chihuahua.

Playing with California boyfriend Cole and his Mommy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We Missed You Too

Actually that is a little bit of a lie. We had way too much fun laying in the sun down in Cabo San Lucas to miss anyone (except Lily just a small amount). I have a lot of pics and things to share with you so I am going to break up our trip into a couple of different posts.

Our travels South of the Border began after a quick 24 hour pit stop in San Francisco to drop off the youngest member of our family. Then we hopped on a plane and took a direct flight down to Cabo San Lucas. We chose this destination due to the fact that we could get there in 3 hours and still have a good portion of our day left to play after traveling. It generally takes me a good 24 hours to decide whether or not I like a new destination, but I fell in love with Cabo the moment I stepped off the plane. Cabo is a barren desert, with sharp craggy mountains and bright blue ocean. The best part is that this desert oasis is a dry 85 degrees (that is about 30 C. for our Canadians) all year round.

We stayed for 4 nights at the Melia Cabo Real which is right on the ocean and only 20 minutes from downtown Cabo. We were greeted with welcome Margaritas and lead to a lobby with lots of marble and 'interesting' phallic statues. The Melia is an all-inclusive which means we paid a flat fee for our room, food and alcohol- it is the only way to to travel. The rest of our trip revolved around laying around the pool, stuffing our faces with guacamole and drinking various fruity cocktails. FYI- we want to do this type of trip with friends at some point in time. If you are interested and not the flaky type hit me up.

I mentioned in a previous post that part of the allure with Cabo is its celebrity sightings. I did do a little investigating while at the beach but the closest I came to seeing Leo DiCaprio was looking at the hotel he likes to stay at. Oh well, better luck next time!

Beach in front of Hotel.

Downtown in Cabo San Lucas at the Marina. It took a lively 20 minute bus ride on Mexican public transportation to get there.

Yes, it is true. Our resort had beds outside of the room. I have always wanted to stay at a place with outdoor beds.

View from my outdoor bed. Favorite part of the trip.

Staying at an all-inclusive is like being on a cruise ship that stays in one spot. They have night time shows and entertainment. Contrary to popular rumors going around, no that is not me dancing in the head piece.

Friday, March 6, 2009

See You in a Week

We are going on a little hiatus while becoming wrinkly in the sun, stuffing our faces and saying Por Favor and Gracias. Hasta La Vista Readers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day in the Life

We have been a little bit lazy with posting this week since we are busy preparing to leave for California and Mexico!This is a snapshot of what today looked like:

Nibbled on some lunch.

Got pushed around on my Princess car by one of my boyfriends.

Had a snack from of the pile of junk off the floor that my Mom swept up.

Uh-oh. Busted.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Couple of Cute Ones

Cutie cousin Mattias (barely 3 weeks old) came for a quick visit this weekend. I had to take this opportunity to show off my latest crocheted handiwork- it helps that the model is an adorable little peanut.

We broke down this weekend and bought our big peanut a push toy/princess car. She has been a little too adventurous lately and constantly falling over while practicing her cruising, so we figured that a push toy was in order. At the moment she is more interested in pushing the musical buttons than trying to walk around.