Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughts on Thursday

Here’s just a few of the random thoughts spinning around my ol’ noggin this Thursday morning…

  • I am not a morning person.  Anyone who knows me, KNOWS that I am not a morning person.  I never leap from my bed when the alarm goes off with a smile on my face and cheerily hippity-hop off to the shower.  Not even on my bestest, most happiest days.  But these past two weeks?  Crawling out of my warm snuggly bed to face the deep-freeze temperatures?  Not cool, Mother Nature.  You have made me hate mornings even more.


  • This morning, for whatever reason, seemed exceptionally difficult.  Maybe because I know it’s going to be the last one for a while, as the temps are to warm up a bit over the next few days (you know it’s been cold when you’re excited for –5!!).  I soooo did not want to go out to warm up my car.  It made me extra-crusty. 
  • So I cheered myself up by going to my Amazon Wishlist and selecting a few DVD’s that were on sale.  Ah, on-line shopping.  You do make me smile!
  • I’m finally into a book.  It’s been so long since I became immersed in a story and didn’t want to put it down.  Thank you, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  I knew you would be my literary saving grace.


  • I have to say, I get hungry a lot while I’m reading this particular book.  I’ve noticed this author likes to have his characters make coffee and sandwiches a lot.  Not much more description than that, but it pops up often.  Must be a Swedish thing.  “He rolled out of bed and immediately made himself coffee and sandwiches.”  “She went down the street to the little cafe and ordered coffee and sandwiches.”  “The first thing he did when he got home was turn on the coffee maker and make himself a sandwich.”  Why does this appeal to me?  I have no idea.  I don’t even really like ambiguous ‘sandwiches’.

coffee and sandwich

  • I didn’t tell you guys yet about the marvelous thing I did last Saturday. I went sliding.  OK.  So… pretty normal Canadian Winter thing to do, but I haven’t been sliding in years.  Partly because I don’t own snow pants, and partly because I really never enjoyed sliding.  As a kid, I was the one who trudged to the hill in a too-tight snowsuit, went down the hill once, and then sat at the bottom and refused to exert the energy it took to climb back up the hill.  So I’d sit there and get cold and mad and wait for the time when everyone wanted to go back home so I could have hot chocolate.  But this past Saturday, I borrowed a pair of snow pants from a friend, and I was determined to go sliding.  And it was  I had tons of energy, and even though we weren’t out there long, I never had trouble getting back up the hill.  I felt like I could’ve stayed out there all day long.  I felt totally energized and youthful.  I want to go sliding again this weekend!


  • Speaking of this weekend… It’s the SUPERBOWL!!  Which means YUMMY FOOD!!  I’m allll about the Superbowl snacks, folks.  Who’s playing in the big game?  Not sure.  But I DO know I’m going shopping tomorrow and I’m going to be picking up some yummy treats for while I wait for the half-time show! ;)  I’m feeling the guac and queso and nacho chips, I think…


  • That’s not true.  I DO know who is playing now.  Because Jimmy Fallon is keeping me up with current events.  So thanks to Jimmy Fallon, I know that it’s Seattle vs. Denver.
  • I don’t think I’ve talked about Jimmy Fallon at all this week.  He’s still my boy du jour.  I so look forward to coming home each night, getting my workout in, and then watching my PVR’d episode from the night before.  J’adore Jimmy.

jimmy fallon

  • I think I’m going to have a mini movie marathon on Saturday.  I keep talking about having my “Old School Movie Marathon”, in which I watch all of these old favourite movies from my youth and eat junk food, and I was targeting Valentine’s Day-ish to do so.  But I’ve come to the realization that I have way too many movies on my list to watch in just one day, so I’m going to watch a few of them on Saturday.  Just no junk food (it’s not reward time yet).  I’ll put on a pot of soup instead.
  • Oh, pots of soup.  They have become a source of joy for me this winter.  I’ve made several different recipes over the past few weeks, with my ultimate favourite being Lindsay’s Potato Leek recipe.   She just gave me a recipe for Sweet Potato soup yesterday, so that’s the next one I’m going to try!  I also have on my list to try Dill Pickle Soup – no idea if it will be any good, but I’m intrigued!


  • And now, I must briefly address the current state of crazy chaos that is Justin Bieber.  I’ve had a few people ask me if I’m still a Belieber.  I’m not honestly sure how to answer that.  I’m not happy with Justin.  And I certainly don’t condone his recent behaviour.  But I also kind of feel sorry for him.  He’s obviously surrounded himself with the wrong people, and he’s no longer that sweet innocent kid with talent that I once so respected and enjoyed.  It’s like all of my worst Bieber fears have come true… I think I kind of always knew this would happen to him, as I look back on the letter I once wrote him.  I told Justin to stay grounded and keep looking to his mom and grandparents to keep him down-to-earth; I begged him to not let the industry break him.  I’m afraid Justin somehow missed that open letter I wrote to him… *sigh*  I want my “Imma Be Under the Mistletoe” Bieber back again.

bieber mugshot

And… I think that’s enough random thoughts for this Thursday.  Have a great day, guys!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WWTKW: I’m an emotional girrrrrl…

So.  Ever since I read the questions for this week’s We Want to Know Wednesday, I’ve had Terri Clark’s “Emotional Girl” stuck in my head.

And it’s true.  I am.  An emotional girl.

Kinda made answering this week’s questions easy!  Linking up with Scriptor & Kenzie.


Are you an emotional person or do you tend to hold things in?

I said it once.  I’ll say it again.  I’m an emotional girl.  Even on my happiest days.  I feel things and I’m very bad at bottling up the emotions and holding them in.  Whether it be uncontrollable tears, vehement anger, debilitating worry, or hysterical laughter… I tend to let my emotions spill all over the place rather than keeping them neatly tied up inside of me.

Do you cry at commercials?

OK.  So I just told you how emotional I am, but I honestly can’t say I cry over things like commercials.  Unless they’re, like… really really sad.  I suppose I’ve gotten choked up over things like that before, but I can’t really think of an example right now.

Name a movie or movies that make you cry. (If none, then that's ok)

The first movie that comes to mine which resulted in a major bawl-fest for me was the time I watched Pearl Harbor with my friends Sara and Amy during our college days.  I remember the movie ending, and all of us looking at each other with red, swollen eyes, and we actually felt dazed we had been crying so much.


While I may not cry during commercials very often, I can definitely say, without a doubt, that I cry during movies.  A lot.  PS I Love You.  White Squall.  The Notebook.  Titanic. Steel Magnolias.  Ghost.  Rudy.  Armageddon.  Ladder 49.  Even Top Gun.  Just to name a few…

Name songs that may make you cry (If none, then that's ok) 

Free Fallin’.  The Green Green Grass of Home.  Lost Together.  Those three are bittersweet, for sure (meaning, I may have tears in my eyes, but they bring smiles and memories, too). 

Hymns that I now associate with funerals (How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, What a Friend We Have In Jesus). 

Over You by Miranda Lambert, Drink a Beer By Luke Bryan, Beam Me Up by Pink, New Again by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans.  Again… just to name a few… (listening to music in the car with too much time to think has become my “crying place”.)

In times of panic or when you feel overwhelmed, are you more likely to buckle down or break down?

Break down.  My initial reaction is to crumple.  Totally fall apart.  I’d like to think I’m stronger than that, but if I told you I buckle down right away, I’d be lying.  When I was a waitress as a teen, I’m sure I went to cry in the walk-in cooler on a weekly basis.  I’m still known to burst into tears at work when things become too much for me to handle. (how embarrassing!!)  And when dreaded bad news comes to my doorstep, I will be the first one to burst into tears.  Guaranteed.

The good news is that usually, after my initial break down, I can pick myself up and muddle through it, whatever it may be.  I really can be strong.  It just takes me a little while to wrap my head around things and get myself back in the game.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Year Without Poutine

As you’re all well aware, I filled this past year with self-imposed challenges, regarding both my health and fitness.  I gave myself goals to reach on the scales.  I forced myself out of my comfort zone by making myself work out on a daily basis, and even further by teaching myself to run.  I emptied my home of junk food and only treated myself with it occasionally.  I challenged myself to find healthy foods that I loved.

I took part in a squat challenge, an arms & legs challenge, a 20-week TurboFire schedule, the Couch to 5K app which led to running the Army Run 5K, and of course my “30 Before 30 Project” (which eventually became the “50 Before 30 Project”); among many other little challenges throughout the year.  And I’m so proud of what I was able to accomplish with all of them.

But there was one little quest that I gave myself that I’m extremely proud to say I accomplished.

And that is the fact that I went one whole year without even having a bite of poutine.


Truthfully, this was a challenge that I didn’t even realize I was in the middle of until half-way through the summer.  I don’t know when exactly it was that I realized I hadn’t had a poutine since starting my journey on January 7th, 2013, but it was probably when I was standing at one of the local chipstands, trying to decide if I should go the whole 9 yards with treating myself and ordering one.

Golden French fries topped with either shredded mozzarella cheese or plump white cheese curds, and then smothered in rich gravy.   It’s a delicacy that was created in my home province of Quebec and has now become a wide-spread food phenomenon.

Some might call it “Heart Attack on a Plate”. 

I prefer to call it heaven-sent deliciousness.


I really don’t know when my love for poutine was born, because even though I live in The Land of Poutine Lovers, I actually grew up in a no-poutine household.  My parents hated  poutine.  To this day, my mom still curls up her nose at it, and questions why I like it so much.

Don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t mean we were super-healthy-eaters or anything.  Chipstand junk was a treat around here, for sure.  Nothing delighted me more than my dad out-of-the-blue suggesting we order “a mess of stuff from Mae’s”.  Pogos, Egg Rolls, Onion Rings, Pizza Fingers… 

But not poutine.   I definitely wasn’t born and raised on poutine.  I probably wasn’t introduced to it as early as many young Quebecers, just because my parents weren’t fans of it.

Somewhere along the way, though, I discovered it.  And boy oh boy, it was gooood.

I remember saving my baby-sitting money as a young teen and begging my dad to drive me to the chipstand so that I could have one.  I ate poutine every chance I got.  Then I went to work as a waitress at a local restaurant, and thus I literally had poutine at my fingertips, far too often.  I ate it as much as I possibly could, and usually as a side-dish for a cheeseburger or chicken burger or chicken fingers or cheese sticks, or…something else deep-fried and really really not good for me.


Indeed, the poutine, and many many years of its consumption, can largely be blamed for my desperate need to lose weight one year ago.

Really, though, I didn’t set out to go a whole year without it.  At least not at the beginning.  Aside from Lent, when I gave up French fries completely, I didn’t consciously avoid poutine until the year was half-over.  I did make an effort to order salad as a side more often, but I didn’t immediately set out to boycott the poutine entirely.

Like I said, I was probably standing at McCann Chips one warm summer day, deliberating whether or not I should go the whole way and really treat myself, when I realized… Holy crap.  I don’t think I’ve had a taste of poutine since I started trying to eat healthier this year.

And then, it tweaked in my brain.  The idea. 

The Challenge. 

I wonder if I could go a whole year without having even one bite??

So I did it.  I made a pledge to myself that I would stay away from it at all costs.

And I was successful.

I promised myself that if I was successful, I would treat myself to a great big one when the year was up.

But here’s where the even bigger triumph comes in.  See, I was SO good at avoiding poutine, that, wouldn’t ya know it, I kind of ended up forgetting about it altogether.  So much so that I went almost the whole month of January 2014 without even realizing that I had accomplished my goal.

I went one whole year without eating poutine.  And it only dawned on my late last week that I had done it.

Needless to say, while I didn’t exactly have a stellar weekend with food choices, I have yet to treat myself to my “reward” for my whole year without poutine.  I honestly don’t know when I last had one, but I’d say I can now safely say I’ve gone at least 13 months without the gooey, cheesy, deep-fried goodness, and I haven’t yet had my treat.

And that means The Challenge has been sparked even more in me.  How long CAN I take this??  Could I go into the summer without it?  Possibly another whole year??

If I was drooling – literally salivatingdying for a taste, I’m pretty sure I’d be off to the nearest diner and ordering one today.  After all, I did promise myself that reward if I was successful.

But the truth is, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t even really missed it.  Not even one tiny little bit.

If I get a massive urge, I’m not afraid to treat myself to one.  I’m not going to vow to never touch poutine again, because that would just be silly.

That being said, I don’t feel like I was missing out all year long by not having one. 

So maybe, at the end of the day, it really wasn’t something I needed in my life to begin with…?  Who knew.

One whole year without poutine = check!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

There was an old lady, who lived by herself…

Any Sex & The City fans out there?

Any of you remember the episode where Miranda freaks out because she’s afraid she’s going to become an old spinster living alone, and that she’ll die alone, and she’ll be rotting away in her apartment for days before someone even bothers to look for her?

OK, so I can’t remember the exact details, but it was something along those lines.  And as a perpetual single girl, I can honestly say that I could relate.

I mean, that’s a place that I don’t often let my single-girl-brain wander and dwell for too long.  Because if I did, I’d be a basket case.

But it is a concern, albeit a little silly, especially at this point in my life.  I’m kind of still too young to worry about being an old spinster and dying alone (at least, I hope).

Yet, it’s a thought that has crossed my mind before.  Mostly over the past few years, seeing both my grandmother and dad in hospital before passing away, and seeing the family members that were there for them.  

If I’m old and sick and lying in a hospital bed, who is going to take care of me?  Who is going to visit me?  Who is going to be…my person???

It’s a morbid place for my single-girl-brain to go, so you can understand, I’m sure, why I don’t let it stray there often.

But it went there on Monday.  Mid-Monday-afternoon, as I headed to my basement to start my laundry, and I slipped on the top step before bouncing down three stairs, ending up on the landing with a basket of dirty laundry on top of me, two very sore elbows, one very sore tailbone, and the wind knocked right out of me.

It should be noted that this is the second time I have done this in the past month.  How????  First month on your new feet, Jillian???  I know.  I have no idea.  I thought after losing weight and becoming more fit, I’d be more agile on my feet.  Apparently not.

But the first time it happened, right before Christmas, I was at my mom’s, and while my pride and back were hurt, I didn’t give it much more thought.

This time, though? 

This time I was alone.

What if I’d banged my head?  What if I’d been knocked unconscious?  What if I’d broken something and couldn’t move?

I know my mom would’ve eventually come looking for me, but it could’ve been hours.  Probably not even until the following morning, when I didn’t show up for breakfast before work.  And if it had been a day when I wasn’t going to work, who KNOWS how long it would have been before she’d go looking for me!!

These are the concerns my mom and her siblings used to have regarding their elderly mother when she lived alone.  I remember them harping at her to carry her portable phone with her at all times.  But she was in her early 90’s.  It’s probably a little ridiculous that I’m having these concerns now, as a 30 year old kid.

But it’s true, right??  It’s a frigging legitimate concern, and you all know it!!!

Ok, so.  Right now, I’ve got a mom to look after me, but she can’t take care of me forever.  And yes, I have siblings and siblings-in-law and nieces and a nephew and friends who will hopefully one day care enough to check in on me once in a while. 

But it’s not the same.

If this wasn’t such a damn morbid post, I’d be putting it under The Single Girl Files.  Reason # 987 Why Jill Needs A Husband.  So that when I fall down the stairs and break my tailbone, he will hopefully find me and call me a damn ambulance.

God help me.

Welcome to a day inside my crazy brain.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WWTKW: Books, movies, music… my kind of Q&A!

It’s been a while since I took part in We Want to Know Wednesday with Scriptor and Kenzie.  But this week, I just couldn’t resist – these questions are right up my alley!


1. Are you a football fan? If so, which team are you rooting for?

Oh, I’ve tried to be a football fan.  Really, I have.  As a kid, I never understood the game, despite (probably mildly) valiant attempts to learn the ins & outs.  Finally, in my early adult years, my brother broke it down in a way I could grasp, and I swore then and there that I would become a football fan.  I mean, I love the movie & TV show Friday Night Lights, I love big burly hot men, and I love a good sporting event in a big stadium…so how could I not love football?


But it’s just never worked.  My favourite football team and players remain fictional.

I’ve never found a real team or player to latch on to, and thus, my football fandom has basically been relegated to “the big games”, like the Grey Cup and Superbowl.  And mostly, just because of the half-time show and the snacks.

I don’t even know who is playing in this year’s Superbowl.

2. What is one movie you could watch over and over and not get tired of?

Top Gun.  OK, not like I watch it a hundred times a year or anything, but I’m pretty sure it is the movie I’ve watched the most times during my life thus far, and it just never gets old.  Love me some Maverick!


I’ve always watched Dirty Dancing and Grease a lot over the years, but I don’t think either of them come close to the number of times I’ve watched Top Gun.

3. Are there any books you've read lately that you would recommend?

Hmmm… this is a toughie, because I haven’t been madly in love with any books lately.  I feel like I’ve been in a reading rut.  It’s been forever since I got totally caught up in a book that I felt like I just couldn’t put down.

The two most recent that I really enjoyed were “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, and “Where We Belong” by Emily Giffin.  Fairly light chick lit, but I really enjoyed both authors and the storylines were interesting and entertaining.


 where we belong book

But honestly, the last time I felt totally sucked in by a book was the second novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”.  I have the third book in my possession, but haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.  It’s next on my list to read … just as soon as I’m done this book club selection that I’m reading right now!

girl who played with fire

4. What is currently your favorite song?

Another toughie… because I have quite a few on my list right now that I’m loving!  Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”, Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”,  Britney Spears’ “Perfume”, Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer”… but I’ll go with my 2014 Anthem, “The Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.  Just adds a little pep to my step!! :)

5. What's your favorite way to pass time?

Lately, that would be watching TV and or/movies.  Specifically, those 8 million episodes of Criminal Minds that I PVR’d over the holidays, intermingled with a little Dexter.  And working on my puzzle while I watch them.  Absolutely my favourite way to put in an evening right now.



Happy Wednesday, friends! :) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday randoms.

Happy Tuesday, friends!  Let’s go random, shall we?

  • The coooold is back.  We had a week-long reprieve from the deep freeze, but are back to seasonable January temperatures again.  Which, of course, means my long johns are back.  God bless the long johns.
  • Last week, the furnace at my place was acting funny.  A sporadic electrical smell that was wafting up through the vents (but only in certain rooms in the house??), a loud buzzing noise, and eventually, it stopped heating the house to the temperature it was set at.  The furnace would still turn on, but would shut off after only a minute or so.  Staring down the barrel of a very cold week, you could say I was getting a little nervous…
  • Rolly to the rescue!!  I’m very lucky to have a Rolly, guys.  He’s a co-worker and friend, and also happens to be on the “board” of landlords that rent the church Manse to me.  By yesterday afternoon, Rolly had a repairman in to the house and the furnace was fixed.  Don’t know what I’d do without him!  I felt terrible that he had to give up his Sunday afternoon to help me out, though.  I owe him big-time!
  • A few of you asked last week how my Quick Tomato Cheddar Basil Soup recipe turned out.  It was just… meh.  I wasn’t madly in love with it.  I WAS madly in love with the low calories, though, and it made for some easy, healthy suppers last week.  But it is not Soup & Sandwich Lunch worthy.
  • Thankfully, Lindsay shared her Potato Leek Soup recipe with me, so that’s the one I’ll be bringing for our church fundraiser lunch tomorrow!  It’s a tried-and-true. ;)  Although, this is the first time I’m making it myself, so hopefully I don’t botch it!!!
  • potato-leek-soup

  • Have I mentioned how excited I am for the first Soup & Sandwich lunch of the year?  One of my favourite days of the month!!
  • Dexter.  Season 6.  1 episode left.  And it’s crazygood!!!  I’ve really enjoyed this season, after finding Season 5 kind of fell flat.  Season 4 remains my absolute favourite thus far, though.  I have a hard time believing they’ll top it in the last two seasons, but I’m excited to see them try!!
  • dexter season 6

  • Guys.  I went to the Amazon website and bought the movie Fever Pitch.  Just because Jimmy Fallon’s in it.  No other reason.  Just Jimmy.  I think I even saw the movie years ago, but I can’t remember it.  I know I’m not supposed to be “spending foolishly” on Amazon anymore, but I make no apologies for my Jimmy purchase!!!
  • fever pitch

  • It is only Tuesday, but I’m already looking ahead to a fun-filled weekend.  On Saturday, the guys at Trickle Creek Lodge are hosting their annual sliding party, and it’s one of my favourite events!  I might even try to find some snow pants this year and take a few trips down the massive hill, instead of just hiding out in the way-too-hot “lodge”, eating like a pig! haha!  Then Saturday night, I’m going out for dinner with friends to belatedly celebrate our friend PKB’s birthday.  Good times with family and friends, what more could a kid ask for?!
  • And no, for those of you wondering - I still haven’t gone my “date” by myself to the movies.  I’m starting to think American Hustle and I are never going to happen.  Maybe I’ll take myself this coming Friday…
  • How about a little Les Mills Combat update?  I’m starting Week 3 of the schedule, and absolutely loving it!  It’s got everything I loved about Karate class – punching, kicking, Katas – PLUS awesome tunes and high energy.  Seriously, really loving it.  The only part I’ve come to dread are the HIIT workouts, because there are burpees in them.  Still not a fan of burpees.  BUT – the good news is, when I first started Turbo Fire over a year ago, I wouldn’t even attempt a burpee.  At least now I can do ‘em.  (Doesn’t mean I have to like ‘em, though.)
  • Les-Mills-Combat-161

    Hope you’re all having a good week. STAY WARM!! :)

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    These are a few of my favourite things!

    Life is so much easier when you find a product that works for you.  Sometimes you don’t even realize how much more smoothly your day goes when you have these products or items in your life.

    Today, I’m taking a moment to show my appreciation to the things in my life that I may overlook on a day-to-day basis.  Without them… I’d probably be a mess!  Or at least a more unhappy version of myself ;)

    Here are a few of my favourite things…



    Infusium Leave-In Hair Treatment – Believe it or not, this is pretty much the only product I put in my hair (other than shampoo & conditioner, of course).  I discovered it after my Grandma passed away and I was given a bottle that she had in her collection of hair products.  I spritz it in my wet hair after a shower, then blowdry and straighten, and that’s it.  It has left my hair softer, and without as much trouble with frizzing and fly-aways.  Maybe it’s an old lady hair product, but it gets the job done, so I don’t care!


    puzzle mat

    Puzzle Roll-Up Mat – OK, maybe I am an old lady, but I love working on puzzles.  Two years ago, I enjoyed fitting them in the middle of my living room floor.  I’d put on a movie or TV, make a cup of tea, and sit and work on my puzzle for hours.  But it was inconvenient having it stuck in the middle of my living room floor, so last winter, I worked on puzzles at my dining room table – which I rarely sit at to actually eat dinner.  Still, inconvenient for when guests were over, and I didn’t enjoy sitting in there as much as I did when it was in the living room.  Mom to the rescue!  Someone gave her a puzzle mat, and she has loaned it to me.  I can roll it up when I’m done working on it (or, as I’m apt to do, just slide it under the coffee table), and it’s out of the way but I don’t have to mess it up.   So convenient!


    perfume 2

    Tommy Hilfiger Pear Blossom perfume – It was a gift on Christmas morning from my niece & nephew, and I was so excited to open it!  My CK One from the Christmas before was almost done, and I was thinking it was something I would have to buy for myself.  I LOVE the scent!!


    cool gear cups

    Cool Gear cups – God bless you, Walmart, for  always keeping these cups in stuck, and at such a reasonable price.  One large cups runs around $5, and I MUST have one of these with me at all times.  It ensures that I get my minimum 8 glasses of water a day (usually more), and they are fun to look at and drink out of! ;)  I seem to drop and break them on a regular basis (my clumsy fault, not the cup’s), so I like that they are cheap to replace.



    Big Soup Bowls -  I’ve been making soup a staple in my diet these past few weeks, as I attempt to get back on track with eating healthy after the Christmas indulgences.  I discovered after making a big pot of fat flush soup last Monday that I didn’t have any proper soup bowls anymore!  So I picked up a few at Walmart last Friday for $1.50 each, and I’m loving them.  I only wish I’d taken my mom’s advice and bought the ones with the handle instead.  Next time!


    seagate external harddrive

    Seagate Expansion 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive -  You have no idea how much joy this little box has brought to my life since I bought it in the fall.  It turned my satellite receiver into a PVR, and since then, my life has been complete!!  And the space on this thing… I don’t know if I could ever fill it.  Four straight days of Criminal Minds episodes barely made a dent in it. ;)  Also, I can now get a daily dose of Jimmy Fallon without having to stay up til the middle night to see him.  It’s bliss, I tell you.  Pure bliss.


    Camp 25

    Headband/bandana from Giant Tiger – Yes, another high-end shop that I like to frequent. ;)  But seriously, I can’t remember the brand name of these bandana-type headbands that I picked up last summer, but they have been awesome to keep my hair back and out of my face when I’m working out.  (And PS – no, I am not actually working out in this picture.  I’m eating a s’more. So sue me.)  Nothing annoys me more than sweaty hair falling in my face, and it doesn’t matter how tight I tie my pony tail, it always falls out when I’m working out.  These have been the best solution I’ve found to that problem thus far!



    Sunbeam Ceramic Space Heater – This is a new one for me just this week, but I don’t know how I lived without it.  Being cold never used to be an issue for me before, but this winter, I haven’t been able to handle it.  I’m always so cold.  And it’s been a pretty cold winter so far, too.  (current January thaw notwithstanding).  I used to make fun of Lindsay in the office for running a heater under her desk all the time, but I stopped mocking her this winter.  Picked one  up last Friday, and I’ve been toasty warm in the office all week long!!



    The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector -  God Bless the Body Shop for this hand cream.  As you may recall (or read on my Facebook status back in early December), I was having SERIOUS issues with dry and cracked skin on my hands.  Couldn’t get it under control with the hand creams I had at home.  So I asked my FB friends for suggestions, which spawned a ridiculously long comment thread with a gazillion remedies and product recommendations.  Several mentioned this one, so I bought it on sale a few weeks before Christmas.  I haven’t bothered to try any of the others, because this one saved me.  I’m sure there were others that would work just as well, but I don’t want to chance it.  My hands have been 99% better since I started using the Hemp Hand Protector!  I have one at home and one at work.  At first, I used it after every hand washing, but now usually two or three applications a day does the trick, and a little bit goes a long way!



    Blistex Lip Medex – The only thing more annoying than my chapped hands is my chapped lips.  This has been a chronic problem for me for years.  It doesn’t help that I have a nervous habit of picking at my lips.  But for a few months this past fall, it had gotten terribly bad.  I looked like I had big clown lips they were so sore and red all the time.  (I do a good enough job repulsing the boys without freakishly chapped lips, thankyouverymuch.)  A few of my friends recommended I try this medicated formula from Blistex, and BOOM!  They were right!  I was wary because other Blistex lip balms had never worked, but this one is pure medicated magic.  My lips are pretty much normal now thanks to regular applications of this balm, and I don’t even pick my lips as much anymore.  I can’t live without my Blistex now, and I keep the little pots everywhere – at home, at work, in my purse, in my car… can’t be without it!

    Well, there you have it… my current list of Favourite Things!  What makes your list?  What products/items can you not live without??

    Happy Thursday, friends!! :)

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    The end of an era.

    It happened last week.  I got the news on Thursday.

    It was already a big news day in these parts, as it was the day that Ottawa Senators Assistant GM – and local boy – Tim Murray signed on to become the new GM of the Buffalo Sabres.

    tim murray

    My Facebook newsfeed and Twitter feed were filled all day long with clips, stories, and messages of congratulations in honour of Tim and his family.  It was a big move for a small-town guy who has proven, yet again, that great hockey minds come out of Shawville, Quebec.  Tim follows in the footsteps of his uncles Bryan and Terry as he takes on his first challenge as General Manager for an NHL club.

    But there, buried amidst all of the Tim Murray accolades, was the little announcement that caught my attention and caused my heart to stop for just a moment.  A tweet from local sports radio personality Steve Warne: “Wade Redden retired. Solid career & person. After a memorable 2006 (50 pts, Olympic selection, Chara exit), his game died for some reason.”

    And there it was.

    The end of an era.

    It wasn’t the same as the shock of Alfie leaving the team this past summer, and it didn’t cause the tears and heartache I felt when Redden was let go from Ottawa to free agency back in 2008.

    But to say I was unaffected by the news that my hero – my favourite hockey player of all time, and the main reason I started cheering for the Senators in the first place – was hanging up his blades after 14 seasons in the NHL would be untrue.

    wade redden 5

    I was sad.  And on top of that, it made me feel old.

    I started cheering for Wade (and the Sens) when he was just 19 years old.  (I was 13.)  I had some really good years there as a Wade fan, back when he was one of our top d-men, an assistant captain, and an Olympian.  He was one of the cornerstones of really great team that once even got a chance at the Stanley Cup.

    Wade Conference Champ

    I consider them my Ottawa Senator glory years, and he was very much a part of it all.

    I used to obsess over any little detail I could get my hands on where Wade was concerned.  I’d clip articles out of the newspaper and save them.  I’d spout off “Wade Redden Trivia” for all to hear – the family dog’s name is Biff; he has a brother named Bart and a sister named Nikki; he grew up on a farm in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan; he buys a luxury suite every year and calls it “Wade’s World”, and kids from CHEO get to watch games from there for free every game.

    I once spotted his dad at a game in Ottawa, standing in the lobby, and I whispered, “Oh my God, that’s Wade Redden’s dad.  That’s Gord Redden.  Right there.”  And the people I was with that night were a little alarmed, I think, that I actually recognized him.

    I also once spoke to his brother Bart at a game in Ottawa, not long before Wade left the Senators.  Discovered him sitting right behind me.  He looked enough like Wade that I knew it had to be him.  I was on Cloud 9 that day, just talking to Wade’s brother.

    I grieved for him when his mother passed away, during the playoffs in 2006.  While many chalk up Wade’s lackluster career thereafter to rumored “off-ice activities”, I tend to believe he lost his love & passion for the game when he lost his mom – his biggest fan.

    Of course, I met Wade Redden once, too.  At a 65 Roses event that my friend Brenda took me to, when I was about 18 years old.  I was so nervous I couldn’t even speak to him.  He stood with his arm around me for a picture, and when he said, “How’s it goin?” …I couldn’t even answer him.  I was frozen.

    Jill & Wade

    And then, of course, there was this past December, when I creepily spied on him (and snapped a few terrible pics) from a distance at Bayshore while he stood in line at Booster Juice.  He still made my heart go pitter-pat.


    It was around that time, when he was in Ottawa visiting his in-laws, that I heard him give a radio interview.  He was asked what he was up to these days, and he said he was currently training with the Kelowna Rockets, still an unrestricted free agent, and hoping to get a call eventually.

    He must have given up waiting.  And that, as far as I’m concerned, is a bit of a shame.  I know Wade Redden’s career dwindled severely, and that he was never worth the $6.5M he was eventually signed to by the New York Rangers in ‘08.  But I still think he’s a guy who had skill, a guy who could’ve made a difference on somebody’s blueline, a guy with gas left in the tank.

    The fact that he was forgotten about and left to fade away is what really bothers me.


    At the end of the day, though, I realize that he’s probably quite content with his decision.  He has a young family, and retiring allows him to turn the page, and look forward to spending even more time with his wife and children. 

    I endured some pretty bad days as a Wade Redden fan – torment and mockery from other fans, vicious rumors, and watching him fade quickly from being a top NHL defenceman to a vastly-overpaid minor leaguer – but I never stopped believing in him.  I never stopped being a Wade Redden fan.

    I’m glad he got to come back after his days in the minors in Hartford.  I’m glad he got to play his 1000th NHL game for St. Louis, and then made a drive in the playoffs with the Bruins.  If I only got one last fleeting moment of glory, it will be that game against the Leafs last spring in which he scored a goal, an assist, and they took a big 4-1 win.

    I didn’t know then that it would be my last hurrah as a Wade Fan.

    But I’ll remember it – and him – forever.

    wade retires

    Thank you, Wade.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    Randomly, Tuesday

    Here we go with some randoms for this Tuesday morning…

    • I had a very successful shopping trip with my momma last Friday.  I got a new DVD player to replace the one that went on the fritz back before Christmas, I got a heater for under my desk at work so I won’t be freezing anymore, I got hand weights that I needed for my workouts… but best of all, I got a pair of jeans at American Eagle which are TEN SIZES SMALLER than the pair I was wearing one year ago.  Can you say… ecstatic????


    • I admit that when I woke up Saturday morning, the day seemed to stretch out too long before me.  The weather was kind of crazy, so I’d axed my plans to go to the movies solo.  It was looking like a long day ahead of watching TV/movies, working on a puzzle, maybe some scrapbooking, reading… which I normally look forward to, but on this day, I felt antsy.  Luckily, it didn’t last long!  My friend Stacy texted me to see if I wanted to join her & Ricky and a group of their family/friends for dinner out and a trip to the Casino.  I’m so grateful that I have friends who don’t mind me 3rd-wheeling it with them! (or, in this case, I was actually the 9th wheel. lol)  Thank you Stace & Ricky for letting me tag along!
    • Dinner was at The Baton Rouge, and so I strayed from my meal plan that night… but it was so worth it.  I had the Louisiana Chicken Sandwich with sweet potato fries, and they were the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had!  I’d go back anytime just for them.


    • I couldn’t believe the Casino offered free coffee & pop to patrons.  And I also couldn’t believe how good the coffee was.  (yes, I had coffee at the Casino. old lady in da houuuuse.) I didn’t play at all while I was there, but I had fun watching the others, and just people-watching in general.  But the next time I go… I’m going to limit myself to $20 and actually play some machines!
    • I’m not really one for award shows, but I always try to catch the Golden Globes.  I love the party atmosphere that surrounds the event – the fact that many of the celebs are drunk by the time they start and they can’t get them to settle down and be quiet after coming back from commercial breaks always makes me giggle… oh, and Tina Fey & Amy Poehler are HILARIOUS.

    • I admit, though, that I felt fairly un-sophisticated watching them on Sunday night.  I haven’t seen any of the movies, barely any of the TV shows, I got sad when Sheldon Cooper didn’t win in his category, and the highlights of my night included any moment that Jimmy Fallon was on-screen.


    • I’m trying out a new recipe I found on-line for Easy Tomato Cheddar Basil Soup.  It sounds rich and creamy, but uses only reduced fat cheese, and a cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt.  I hope it tastes as good as I think it will… if it’s a success, I’m making it for our church’s soup & sandwich lunch fundraiser next week!

    • I also hope it reminds me nothing of the homemade tomato soup I made last year.  It was good – don’t get me wrong – but shortly after making it, I had a wicked migraine that made my stomach turn, and I now associate that with the smell of that tomato soup.  Please please please let this one be different.
    • My latest addiction: Grapefruit.  Why?  Because my Les Mills Combat “Eat Right for the Fight” guide recommends eating half a grapefruit 10 minutes before a meal, so I picked a few up last week.  I’ve always claimed that I wasn’t a big fan of grapefruit, but for some reason, they are sure hitting the spot these days!  Yum!!  I haven’t been eating half of one before every meal, by any means, but I’m trying to get in half a day, and so far, enjoying them immensely!


    • Have I mentioned lately how much I adore Jimmy Fallon?  Like, just went and added Fever Pitch to my Amazon Wishlist, because I need more Jimmy in my life.

    fever pitch


    • I’ve been thinking again of having my “Old-School Movie Marathon” that I promised myself a few months back.  The idea was to watch a line-up of old favourite movies from when I was a kid, and treat myself to junky food that I try to stay away from now.  Chips and dip, peanut M&M’s, Mountain Dew… you get the drift.  But Halloween and Christmas got in the way – they both offered so many treats on their own, I couldn’t add another whole day like that to the mix.  But I’d like to do it sometime in the next few months, while I’m still off on Fridays and Mondays.  I’m thinking I might schedule it in for around V-day (my least favourite day of the year) – if I can stay on point with my eating and exercising until then, I think I’ll deserve a reward by then, don’t you think??  My very own Barf Day treat to myself!!  I like it!!

    Happy Random Tuesday, friends!

    Linking up with Stacy Uncorked!! :)