Saturday, April 28, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 44: Chalkie

This lil cute fella is my parents' pup, Chalkie. He is the sweetest little pug around. Every week we visit our parents along with my brother and we both bring our dogs along. Chalkie has figured out that on the days where my mom stays home from work, it means his friends are coming over to play so he will sit at the top of stairs and wait. And wait. And wait. He'll sit there and not even go to my parents when they try to lure him with food. He survives on fresh yams, broccoli stems, whatever my parents eat and a little bit of kibble. The human food isn't good for him but we can't control what my parents feed him. Doesn't help that Chalkie sits there and whines for food all the time. You'd think that all three dogs get along but Khuno actually can't stand Chalkie. Perhaps it's because Chalkie constantly jumps up on Khuno and it annoys him like a fly would annoy us. There's a lot of low growls that happen throughout dinner. Hope everyone is enjoying the great weather. I'll be back tomorrow to post photo 45. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 43: Lashes

Remember baby Ella that I ported over from my other blog? Well, she isn't so baby anymore! She's growing into this adorable little toddler. Growing along with everything are her stinkin' eyelashes! Are they not amazing?!? It wasn't easy capturing this photo but I'm sure glad I did. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Ella

I originally started a separate photography blog called Live Love Capture Photography (original, I know), but after the one post, I discovered myfotojournal and have since stopped using the blogger version. You can see my other blog here. I know what you're thinking, enough with all these blogs already! I totally agree! I'd like to keep my card making posts kept strictly on my StampNStuff blog, personal posts on here and photography only related posts on myfotojournal. In trying to pull away from the blogger version of my photography blog, I've pulled the one and only post over to here. I will try and find time to post it under myfotojournal as well. Here's what I posted back in November 2011: 

I wanted to start this blog as a little photography journal. I enjoy taking photos and I'd love to have a special little place to share it with everyone. My very first post is going to be sharing an afternoon spent with lil Ella. She was a trooper and by the end of the hour all she wanted to do was eat her lunch! Here's a few of my favorites from the day. Hope you enjoy them mama Amber! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 42: Rebecca

Remember when I posted the little twinsies blankies I made for my friend and her girls? I went to visit her a few weeks ago and decided to bring my camera along to sneak a few pictures in. I'm not sure if they have been officially declared identical or not, but I was able to remember that this little cutie is Rebecca! So bright-eyed and perfect. Congrats Mandy. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 41: Double Chocolate Muffins

A few weeks ago I decided to try a recipe I found on since I was going to visit a friend who recently had twin girls. It's always nice to show up with some food for the new parents so I thought some healthy muffins would do just fine. The recipe I found is called Irresistible Double Chocolate Muffins. I know what you're thinking... double chocolate=mega calorie. What I didn't mention is that these muffins are surprisingly healthy! 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seed (I used 1/2 cup of this)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (I used 3/4 cup instead)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (pretty sure I used 1 cup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be very light and airy (which scared me a lot at first). Bake in a 400 degree oven until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it. I think it took about 22 minutes for me. I originally wanted to grease my tins but Jamie wasn't in the mood to help so we decided to just throw down some liners. I know, The batter looks like poop. I actually doubled the recipe and made some loaves as well. Those took way longer to bake, as one would expect. I topped some of the muffins with some raw sugar and they turned out great. I threw in a picture of my ridiculously small counter top. I can't wait till we tear up this old kitchen and start on the new. Can you believe Jamie rolls out dough on that little corner all the time? I know... it's sick. 

Please don't judge the dirtiness of my muffin tin. It's just well loved. =) 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Relay For Life 2012 - Team Dawn

Canadian Cancer Society
www.cancer.caAbout usCelebrateRememberFight back
Relay For Life
Dear friends and family,

This will be my third year (and Jamie's 4th) participating in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Cancer has unfortunately touched all of our lives and we hope to do everything we can to fight cancer and prevent it from taking any more loved ones from us. Join me in the fight against cancer by pledging me for my participation in the Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life!

The Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life is an overnight non-competitive relay that celebrates cancer survivors and pays tribute to the lives of loved ones. It involves teams of 10 people who take turns walking, running or strolling around a track to raise money to support the work of the Canadian Cancer Society. It's a night of fun, friendship and fundraising to beat cancer. Every step you take in Relay raises money to help the Canadian Cancer Society save lives.
Funds raised through Relay For Life make a difference. They help the Canadian Cancer Society fund the most promising research projects in the country, provide information services and support programs in the community and advocate for public policies that prevent cancer and help those living with it. Join the Fight by pledging my participation in Relay For Life – just click the link at the bottom of this message to view my personal page and look for the blue button to support me in this event. Online pledging is secure and it saves the Society money by reducing administrative costs. No amount is too small, or too big. And with a donation of $10 or more, you will receive a tax receipt immediately by e-mail.
Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
Click here to view the team page for Team Dawn
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please click here or paste this URL into your browser:

Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/N.W.T. Division200, 325 Manning Road NE  Calgary, AB   T2E 2P5
Toll-free:1 800 661-2262 | Phone: (403) 205-3966

366 Photo Project - Photo 40: Ameya Studio

Last Thursday I managed to make a stop at Sabrina Butterfly during their Late Night on the Ave in Highlands. Sabrina was featuring a local soap company, Ameya Studio. I love supporting local and instantly snapped up 2 bars of this Gardener's Scrub Bar. Now I know what you're all thinking, "Sandy doesn't garden." You are absolutely right, I don't. I picked these up as little gifts for my neighbors because everyone around us have mega green thumbs. In fact, their hands are probably green. I can see my one neighbor starting seedlings in her window. One day I'll take advantage of the sun we get in our kitchen window and try to get a herb pot going. 

366 Photo Project - Photo 39: Spring Messes

This is what Jamie and I have to look forward to every time we shower... A aqua tub full of sand that's fallen off of Khuno's underbelly. The rest of the sand slowly falls out all around the house as his fur dries. So if you're wondering why the heck our floors feel like they haven't been swept in forever, the amount of sand you see is from one walk. Khuno gets 2 walks a day. His underbelly is basically a mini sandbox. 

Friday, April 13, 2012


If you live in Edmonton, there's a tasty little bistro that deserves a visit. It's called Dahlia's Mediterranean Bistro. It's on High Street right near MEC. Their menu is short and simple. A few of us decided to eat here for lunch during one of our meetings at Plaza 124. It used to be a tasty little catering company here. I wasn't sure what to order at first so I asked the owner, who was also the chef. He said that their falafel pita was just voted one of the top 25 things to try in Edmonton. Bam! It sold me. I told him he was a good salesman and he said the food sells itself. Bam again!
I also ordered a greek salad to go with it. The pita was quite simple really. He slathered it with hummus, then filled it with some greens, falafel, pickled turnips and finished with a touch of hot sauce. The salad was nothing special and it was actually quite expensive for the amount I got. They should really put it into a bowl instead of on a plate to make the serving size look better. Onto the star of the meal though, the falafel pita. It was so flipping delicious. The other ladies had the shawarma and they described the food as "very flavorful". They weren't kidding! I've tried making falafels before and I've eaten both good and bad ones. These ones were moist and seasoned well. The pickled turnips gave just the right hit of acid to balance out the creamy hummus. I actually couldn't finish about 1/3 of it because of my late morning snack so I wrapped it up and to eat later. I left it in my lunch bag and the next morning realized I had forgotten about it. It was so tasty the day before that I thought, "Screw it, I'm heating it up and eating it anyways." Well let me tell you, it was just as tasty the next day even after it had sat out all night in my lunch bag. I'm going to bring Jamie here because the falafel was just that good. Do it. Go. Today if possible. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 38: Happiness Is...

Jamie is still in Las Vegas so I decided to cook myself some spaghetti for supper today. I made the same sized pot of sauce and noodles as if Jamie were here to eat it. This left me 4 containers of leftovers. Smart or stupid? Probably a bit of both. You know what's absolutely stupid though? I always try to multitask when I'm cooking. This usually includes me cranking on the stove before I've even pulled out the cutting board. No matter what I'm cooking, it usually starts with a bit of oil and garlic in the pan. I'd say 80% of the time, I don't move as fast as I'd like to think I do and the garlic will be slightly charred. Today's supper was different. My garlic didn't char, but rather browning nicely with the onions. In an attempt to cool the pan down to avoid the looming char demon, I rip open the package of ground beef and dump it in. Do you foresee the problem yet? I didn't either. I had another old half onion to chop up so I did that before I went back to break up that hunk of beef I just threw in. What do I find on the bottom side of that hunk o' cow? The bloody plastic tissue liner they put the meat on. Of course the plastic side went down first and proceeded to melt into the bottom of the pan. I could've been super lazy and just keep cooking, hoping that I wouldn't get the runs later, but I opted to err on the side of not being stupid. I dump out all the contents into a frying pan I had conveniently left on the stove from yesterday's breakfast and scrubbed the pot clean before carrying on with my meat sauce. I guess my laziness with frying pan washing paid off. 
Are you confused about what this whole blog post is about? I'm getting there, I promise. While eating my plastic-free spaghettini and meat sauce, I look down and saw this in my bowl. Still confused? Here it is: Happiness is looking into your almost empty bowl, finding there are mostly mushrooms left. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Novelle Bridal Experience

I'm spending a quiet Sunday morning with my puppy, eating breakfast and watching Say Yes to the Dress. It brought back all these wonderful and not so wonderful emotions about my own wedding dress. Remember when I put in my wedding dress order back in January? I fell in love with the very first dress that I put on. It was a Priscilla of Boston Vineyard collection dress full of beautiful lace with absolutely zero glitz or sparkle, exactly what I was looking for. It made me feel so beautiful the moment my consultant zipped it up that it brought tears to eyes. I committed the cardinal sin of trying on a dress that was out of my budget, but after working out a great deal with Novelle Bridal, I took the $2500 plunge. Deposit was put down and the dress was ordered 8 1/2 months before my wedding. 

Fast forward to August. I get a message from the store owner, asking me to call her. When I called back, the owner wasn't going to be back till the following Monday and I was going to be in Mexico for that entire week. I end up getting in touch with her after my Mexico trip in mid-August. She tells me that there is an issue with my dress order and that Priscilla of Boston was on a trunk show when my order was put in so my order was somehow missed. She reassured me that they put a rush on the order and it would arrive by September 5th. She also gave me the # for the Priscilla of Boston rep in case I wanted to call and check up on things. So I call the rep the next day and try to get more information as to how the dress order was missed and the girl was no help. She said the original girl that was dealing with my file is no longer with them so she doesn't have any information to provide to me. I asked if there would be compensation and she said no because I am Novelle's customer and Novelle is their customer so any compensation would be through Novelle. She also confirmed that the dress wasn't going to actually arrive on September 5, but rather it was going to be shipped out of their warehouse in the States on the 5th. I requested to get the name and # of the rep's supervisor and she said she would get back to me. 

A few hours later, I get a message from the rep. She tells me that the supervisor and Novelle worked out a deal and that I should call Novelle to discuss it. So I call Novelle and the owner tells me that she feels really bad this situation happened and it shouldn't happen to any bride so she's offering me $100 store credit towards accessories. She tells me this is out of their own pocket. Novelle knew I had my eye on one of their $300 lace veils, but they must've been insane to think that I was willing to drop another cent in their store. I tell the owner again and again I'm nervous about the dress coming in so late and that I've lost all faith in them especially when she couldn't even get the ship date correct. She reassured me that she received a confirmation email about the Sept 5 date but another phone call later, she re-confirms that it is indeed the ship date and not the arrival date that she was reassuring me about. The deal from the rep ended up being another minor credit on the dress. I don't remember exactly what it was anymore, but it was along the lines of another $100. 

It's a Friday and after a long phone call with the owner, yet again, we come up with several solutions. 
1. I wait and hope the dress comes in on time and Novelle will cover all costs of my alterations. 
2. I buy the sample dress for $2000 so I have time to find an independent seamstress to alter it for me. 
3. I cancel my order. 
I ended the call with the understanding that I would get the weekend to think about my options. That evening, however, I get a call from the owner's husband. He starts off the conversation with saying how he heard that I was very upset and if I had any other questions for him. I told him that I just wanted to take the weekend to think through my options to which he responded, "What options do you think you have?" I tell him and he quickly corrects me saying that cancelling the order is not an option. The phone call went downhill from there. He informs me that my only options right now are to wait until the dress gets here or walk away from my deposit. I'm absolutely livid at this point and I will always remember the hot angry tears as I slam the phone down and cry out to Jamie my tears of frustration. 

Meanwhile, I'm telling everyone at work about my situation and my coworker tells me she also bought her dress from Novelle. She ended up purchasing a lace dress from them and although her dress was just over $1000, alterations were $700. She had it taken in and straps added. The seamstress told her that the straps were simple to add and it would be done quickly. After not hearing from them, she calls Novelle and they tell her the alterations aren't complete yet. Something that should have taken a couple hours is now taking over a week. She ends up getting her dress Friday afternoon right before she needs to leave town for her destination wedding. I brought this up to Novelle as another reason my confidence in their store has dwindled. Their response, "She never told us she was leaving town on Friday." ... 

On the following Monday, Jamie decides to go into Novelle to get everything in writing because their promises mean nothing now. He calls me from the store and tells me the owner is telling him the store is guaranteeing the dress to arrive no later than September 16th. If it doesn't arrive by then, I get a full refund of my deposit. The $200 credit will not be available if I choose to get the alterations covered. The owner also quoted Jamie a higher price for the sample dress than what was told to me before. I'm again very frustrated that Novelle is changing their word again especially when a part of that credit was apparently offered by Priscilla of Boston. My friend and I drive down to Novelle to meet Jamie. He tells me that the owner's husband is coming as well. He also tells me that he had yelled at the owner for the dress being late, in front of all the customers. 

When the owner's husband arrives, we all sit down to try and discuss the situation. It started off with Jamie and her husband arguing about whether the dress was late or not. The owner refused to admit the dress was late. "Late by what definition? I consider the dress late if it doesn't arrive in time for your wedding." Novelle originally told me the dress should arrive by mid-July. Now they're saying it should arrive by Sept 16 for my wedding date of October 1. The conversation quickly escalates to yelling and both men are so visibly upset that both their hands are shaking. I think because they were both upset, I actually managed to stay calm. I told them why we were upset and they kept asking what I wanted. My friend finally stepped in and said what I want is my deposit back, that I don't want the dress anymore because it no longer has good memories associated with it and it doesn't mean the same to me anymore. The husband's response, "I'm not a psychologist so I really don't know what to tell you to make you like the dress again." ... What. The. Eff.

I gave my closing argument. I told them that what I want is peace of mind. I want to get a refund of my deposit and I don't care what I get married in anymore. All I want is a dress, physically in my hands so that I can get started on my alterations. I reasoned with them that once the dress does come in, they can still sell the dress as a sample dress for a price that is almost identical to the price they were going to sell it to me for. (They had given me a 15% discount because of the Priscilla of Boston sale.) The loss to them would be very little, if any. I also asked them to disregard the business aspect for a moment and just think about me as a stressed out bride. They listened and told me they would think about the options and get back to me the next day. 

The next day, I get a call from Novelle asking me to go in. The owner tells me that they have decided to give me a full refund of my $1500. I'm ecstatic and relieved. After I leave the store, I call Urban Bride Delivered, which I've contacted prior, and ask her if I can swing by to try on some dresses. I end up finding a lace dress  that has sparkle and beading. Not my first love, but like I said before, I just need a dress at this point. For $500, I jumped and bought the consigned dress. 
The Priscilla of Boston Vineyard dress ($2675) and the Alfred Angelo consignment dress ($500)
 After $500 of alterations, the dress was brought down by over 4 dress sizes and all the crinoline layers were removed. I still loved my dress and at the end of the day, everything worked out.

What I learnt from this experience: Bridal stores get a confirmation fax/email once the order is submitted and they do not generally follow up or check in on your dress till close to the estimated ship date. I never did see the confirmation that Novelle claims they got. I'll never know if a confirmation was ever generated if Priscilla of Boston is saying an order was never placed. For all the brides out there, be diligent in checking up on your dress status. I was busy with my friend's wedding and just never got around to calling Novelle when mid-July came and went. I figured they would call me and when they did, instead of hearing that my dress was in, I heard that my dress wasn't even ordered. I definitely do not want this to happen to anyone else. 

A week later, I hear on the news that Priscilla of Boston is announcing that they are closing all their US stores to focus more on David's Bridal. They were going to fill all the orders that have been placed, but will not be taking any new dress orders. Wow. 

366 Photo Project - Photo 37: Twinsies Blankies

Some of you may recall me mentioning that I have a friend who had twin girls not too long ago. I went to visit her back in March so I made a couple flannel blankets for the girls, Rachel & Rebecca. I had chosen out the yellow fabric a long time ago because toads have a special meaning to her family and I thought it was absolutely perfect! I bought matching boy and girl flannel to pair with it. I'm really loving how these flannels turn out. They are imperfect and I love that about them. They are double layered and extra big so even the girls can even use them when they are toddlers. I had made the labels according to these instructions, but my friend Penny just informed me that the ink does wash out. Boooo. I knew it was too good to be true but I was hoping oh so bad that it would work. I love personalizing the blankets. I will have to look into some permanent fabric inks for future labels. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 36: Snow Play

You know how dogs do the weirdest things sometimes? Like when they decide to roll around in the snow for no apparent reason? Khuno does that a lot, especially on the snow in our front yard. One day Jamie rings the doorbell while I'm downstairs crafting. I wasn't expecting anyone so I creep upstairs and don't see anyone in the window. I head back downstairs and I hear another doorbell. Now I'm all paranoid and I duck down and race to the backdoor to make sure it's locked and the alarm is on. I head back to the living room all hunched over to check things out and I hear someone rummaging through the mailbox. That's when I see that it's flippin' Jamie! All he said when I opened the door (after I ran to turn off the alarm), "Khuno doesn't want to come inside." So we sat there on the front porch, our little family, taking in the gorgeous winter day. 

366 Photo Project - Photo 35: Puppy Date

I've spent my entire day (literally from 9:30-3:00) processing photos from my camera. As I've said before, I may not post a new picture everyday for this 366 Photo Project but that doesn't mean I'm not taking them! I finally got around to processing the past 2 months worth of photos and I'm so happy to finally delete them off my camera. Jamie has this thing for keeping raw files but they are just so darn massive and annoying to keep. Why you might ask? Because I end up deleting a lot of photos while I'm processing them in Lightroom but I don't keep a list of all the ones I delete. So when I go to clear out my memory card, I don't want to have to sort through them to see which ones I've kept and which ones I've dumped. What happens then is that I end up keeping all the raw files! Jamie's rationale, which I totally agree with, is if I ever needed to go back and edit the photo, the raw file would be a lifesaver. But it's just so many photos!!! If you have any suggestions for me on how to improve my workflow and backing up of files (I'm directing this to you Justin), please let me know. 
Anyways this photo is from way back in February. Julie and I decided to have a Project Life night so she packed up a bit of supplies and her puppy for a night of scrapping and doggy fun. It was really funny watching Toffee because she didn't want to play with Khuno at first and when Khuno finally got tired of waiting for Toffee, that's when she decided she'd poke the big white bear. Don't let her size fool you though because she definitely put Khuno in his place whenever he was being inappropriate. We couldn't get Khuno to sit up beside Julie no matter how hard we tried so we just settled on a laying down picture. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Amazon Ridiculousness

How did I guess that Amazon would get back to me with a stupid response? Just as I suspected, Mr. Jayakumar didn't understand my situation and just decided to throw it over to an account specialist. So now they think I want to order something when I'm trying to tell them that someone else ordered the bloody gift cards! Geez... Amazon I'm disappointed in your suckiness. After reading that useless email, I go onto their live chat again and talk to another agent. 
Live agent, Taylor, was way more helpful. Perhaps it's because I typed a lot of CAPS in my complaint. Either way, Taylor was helpful and had the courtesy to ask if there was anything else I needed and did the decent thing of signing off with "Take care!" 

Amazon Annoyance

While I was in San Fran, I received a confirmation email from for 2 gift card purchases of $115 each sent to an email that I don't know. After attempting to log into Amazon several times, I thought my password was wrong so I reset it again and again, still unable to log in. So I sent them an email saying perhaps I received a phishing email. 3 days later I still haven't heard back from them. So today I contact their live chat help. You can see our little conversation on the left. I am beyond annoyed. If Amazon had put my account on hold, they should have notified me. For me to not even be able to log in to see my account is ridiculous. I wasted a lot of time resetting my password again and again. Amazon should have at least had a prompt that told me my account was on hold and to contact them or they will contact me. It just kept saying it couldn't log in and if I forgot my password, click here. I've used live chat help before for other companies and never did the rep just leave. Mr. Jayakumar, you suck at customer service. Amazon, you also suck at customer service. 

366 Photo Project - Photo 34: Date Night

I just dropped Jamie off at the airport with AI. They're heading to Vegas for AI's stag so it'll be a long weekend of just Khuno and I. I'm looking forward to getting a lot of crap done. The list is massive and it includes: 
1. Finish making 12 more cards for Amanda
2. Process photos from the past 2 months
3. Print photos for Project Life & scrapbooking
4. Work on Project Life & scrapbooking
5. Figure out expenses for San Fran
6. Work on thank you cards (no, we aren't done yet...)
7. Laundry
The rest of the list includes daily tasks like walking Khuno, cooking, lounging and more importantly, TV watching. It's almost 3:30 and all I've done so far is heat up my coffee, throw on my robe and slippers and load a video showing the new features of Lightroom 4... 
Oh right, the point of the post was the photo! Jamie and I decided to go out to Sweet Mango last night for supper because we had a voucher for it and we just realized 2 of our other vouchers either expired or the restaurant shut down. We attempted taking a self portrait with his phone. It took us a good 10 minutes and in the end, we still got a crappy photo but oh well! It's always nice to go out for dinner because it feels like a date night whenever we do it. We ended up ordering tofu fries, green onion cakes, pad thai and singapore noodles. Greasy and delicious.