Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sweetness is...

being an aunt. I can't believe my lil niece is not so little anymore! The last time I posted a picture of her, we were welcoming autumn. Now she's 6 months old, sitting, eating solids and still the giggliest, happy, easygoing baby that she's always been. I'm so grateful that I can snuggle her every week (as long as I can pry her away from her grandparents' hands). This picture on the left was taken when she was about 4 1/2 months. The ones below are closer to 5 1/2 months. From tummy time to sitting up all on her own. She did have a few "timber" types of falls but I decided against posting those since +Cynthia Chau probably wouldn't approve. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcome Winter

Posting once per season is really abysmal, I admit it. I have the usual slew of excuses like life is busy, work is consuming blah blah blah but in they are just that. Excuses. So I won't bore you too much with a lengthy update. It'll be the Cole's Notes of the last 2 months. Right after we went out that gorgeous autumn day to take some photos, Jamie went to play soccer the next morning and came home with a torn Achilles tendon. A clean rip. So we spent the long weekend in the ER, waiting for assessment, scans, consults from ortho etc. Things actually went a lot smoother than I had anticipated. We were seen on Sunday afternoon, he got a temporary cast and came home. Monday morning we went back to the hospital for an ultrasound and waited in emerg again for an orthopedic consult. The doc came by and just suggested he get admitted. He was on call for surgery Tuesday and actually got operated on Tuesday night! Fast forward 2 months and he's doing physio now with a right calf that shrunk 2 inches smaller than his left! 

During his healing, we went on a 2 week adventure to Asia. Jamie hobbled along in his plastic aircast and he did amazingly well considering he just started bearing weight a couple days before we left. We stopped in Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Seoul. We ate a lot (as usual) and went from 35 degrees Celsius in Bangkok to -10 degrees in Seoul. Now we are home and welcoming Old Man Winter today as winter officially begins. 2014 in T minus 10 days!  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Welcome Autumn

 This happens to all of us every year. We open our eyes one morning and ask ourselves, "Why the heck is it so dark out?" Then we climb out of our warm bed into the cold house and realize that autumn has arrived. There's such a small window of time where the sun rise happens right about the same time you wake up and that small window was 2 weeks ago for me. Jamie has been travelling a lot lately so I've been walking Khuno and although mornings just destroy me, it felt so amazing to be out in the crisp air with the sunrise and my gorgeous pup. Now it's just plain dark and I'm reminded of how miserable it's going to be when not only is it going to be dark, but it'll be flippin' cold and snowy. We did manage to get out this past weekend to snap some fall family photos. Here's a little updated family photo and for not planning our outfits, we coordinated pretty well. And for not taking very many photos, +Van Tran did a pretty darn good job snapping our family pic. None of us could beat lil Annalise's cuteness though. She's giggling and smiling now which just melts everyone's heart. I <3 U little peanut! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Card Biz Update

Remember way back last spring when I was so excited to announce that I was taking on a little business adventure with a local store? I just thought it was time for an update on how things are going with that venture. The store is called Apple Box Boutique and it's located in the heart of Highlands. Leanne is the wonderful owner of this unique store and she has been so supportive of local artisans that the store is loaded with products from my greeting cards, small local company bath and body products, locally painted artwork to hand-sewn quilts. The focus of her store is the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and you can see the paint in action with all the painted furniture in the store. Sales have been slow since the cards were all kept in a little box on a counter, but after some discussion we decided to have a display shelf to draw more customers to the product. How amazing is Leanne for allowing me to have the space that she has? Jamie impressed me when he built this card rack and after some sanding and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, there it sits in all its glory. Smack dab in the middle of the store, directly across from the checkout counter. I'm not expecting to sell hundreds of cards but just seeing them all displayed out like that sure makes a gal feel good.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ribbon Tag Blankie

This past weekend Jinnee and I stopped by the Creative Stitches & Crafting Show held at Millennium Place in Sherwood Park. There wasn't a lot that we purchased since neither of us prepared by having projects in mind. The old me would've bought charm packs and jelly rolls like they were free but the new me resisted and only walked away with some washi tape, one sheet of letter stickers and a kit to make this little ribbon tag square. I have loads of ribbon and flannel at home but I didn't have that nice soft chenille at home so I splurged on this cute kit. It's from Earthy Goods Quilting and put me out only $8.95! It only took just under 2 hours with numerous breaks so this would make a great gift for someone! Hopefully Annalise will like it! Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Annalise - 7 Weeks

Can't believe that my sweet lil niece, Annalise, is already 2 months old! +Cynthia Chau wanted to capture monthly photos of the lil peanut so we snapped some shots before we left for vacation. She might look like she's all calm and sweet here, but don't let those sweet cheeks fool you! She was crying and fussing throughout the whole thing. This was a mere couple minutes of calm, cool and collected right after she was finished being fed (which had to be done a few times throughout the photo op!). I still can't believe how big her eyes are and her lashes are getting so long. She's more alert now and following objects around with her eyes. As you can tell from the picture, she's got some pretty sick deltoids developing. And can one deny that she's got the Tran family nose? Yah... didn't think so. Poor thing. 

Monday, August 5, 2013


+Cynthia Chau  & +Van Tran welcomed baby Annalise into the world on June 27th, which makes Jamie and I officially Auntie and Uncle! As bias as all aunties are, I must say that she is just the cutest little, wide-eyed, wrinkly forehead, Blue Steal lip poser that I have ever seen. This is little Annalise at 10 days old. The lil monkey peed through the blanket, a soaker pad and the pillow case, right onto her parents' pillow. I love her more already.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

38 Weeks

I'm going to be an aunt any day now. And I'm not talking about the Asian aunt, where everyone and anyone is called "auntie". My brother +Van Tran  and sister-in-law +Cynthia Chau are expecting their first baby girl and we are all so excited. They already picked out the name, but they've been very tight-lipped about it. All we know are the total number of syllables! But we'll all find out soon enough! I was adamant that we capture some photos of this cute baby belly before baby Tran decides to make her appearance so here's one of pictures I snagged earlier this week. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Homemade Cream

I found a recipe for homemade eczema cream on Pinterest a while back and decided to give it a go since I have miserable eczema on both my shins. I read a lot of the comments and was skeptical about the ground up oats in the recipe, but there were enough positive comments that I went with it anyways. I'm never one to follow instructions exactly so I ended up using: 
- organic coconut oil (4-5 large tablespoon scoops)
- olive oil (a quick swig in the pan)
- shea butter (a tablespoon?)
- ground oats (1/4 cup unground)
I melted everything down in pan and poured the mixture into various jars I had laying around. As others had mentioned, the oats all settled to the bottom so I gave the containers a good shake every so often as it was setting. This worked like a charm to keep the oats suspended in the mixture. Unfortunately as I was using this mixture, I soon discovered that I absolutely hated the ground bits of oat. It felt like I had sand all over and since I used it right before bed, I constantly had to de-sand myself before climbing in. After a few days, I gave up and put the jars over my heating vents and the oats all settled to the bottom as the mixtures melted. I have since used up everything I made and I made a second batch. This time I altered it a bit just to see what else would work well with my skin. 
- 4 parts coconut oil
- 1 part petroleum jelly
- 1 part shea butter
- a swig or two of olive oil
The petroleum jelly gave the mixture a very soft clear consistency, almost like a very warm jelly. What's been amazing about it so far is that once you apply it, the greasiness literally disappears! It's fascinating! Even Jamie commented that it wasn't oily feeling like the first batch. I gave some of this new mixture to my brother and dad, both who have eczema on their shins (inherited much eh?). My eczema has been improving but is nowhere close to being cleared. If something miraculously clears up my legs, I'm patenting it! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy National Nurses Week!

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. It's National Nurses Week. We don't always get the praise I think that we deserve. You'll need a nurse at many points in your life, starting from the minute you're born all the way till the end of your life. I've been a nurse for 8 years now and although I haven't loved every minute of it, I do love the career I chose. You have likely seen a lot of these ecards floating around and most of them are funny because of the stereotype but many of them were funny with a very sharp edge. This one was true, funny and unoffensive so it won me over. 
My original plan for my nurses was to make cloth covered buttons to go over the retractable ID badges. Unfortunately this wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be. Turns out, there's a fancy dancy tool you buy to make fabric covered buttons. Who knew? Not I! So plan B was to go with what I knew and what I had on hand: leftover wedding fabric! I cut some circles out, lit my French Baguette candle from Bath & Body Works and plugged in my hot glue gun. I even made one for myself! Hopefully my nurses like them. I spent yesterday afternoon stamping up some cute little cards with a colleague and it was a fabulous Sunday. Happy National Nurses Week to all my fellow nurses! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Administrative Appreciation Week 2013

Hopefully everyone knows how much administrative personnel are needed in any work environment. They truly are the oil that keeps all motors running smoothly. Without them, things would break down pretty darn quickly. They aren't always recognized for the work they do or the importance they play and it's unfortunate that sometimes I hear them say things that refer to themselves as "the bottom of the totem pole". I personally think their role is just as important as any other role. Without them, many offices, hospitals, work sites, just wouldn't be able to function. I wanted to let me clerical staff know that I value each and every one of them. With the help of +Jinnee Barazzuol and her Silhouette and Armor Etch,  I was able to customize a mug for each of my staff. I tucked a little handmade card in each mug and hopefully they all like it! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Khuno Turns 5

I can't believe my little pup turned 5 last week. I would take you on a trip down memory lane with some photos of Khuno as a puppy but our network drive is down so I can't access them. Needless to say, he was cute as can be with him being all of a whopping 10 pounds. I still remember picking him up from the airport cargo area. We heard his poor puppy barks from the waiting area and our hearts instantly melted. He's caused us a lot of grief over these past 5 years, but we can't imagine our lives without him. He brings us such joy. I mean, look at that face. How can you not love him? The little hat was compliments of +Cynthia Chau. I'm glad Khuno has a little cousin, Audi, to keep him young at heart. Happy 5th birthday my sweet puppy. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Canon CP900 Selphy

My friend, +Jinnee Barazzuol told me about a printer that she bought not long ago as she embarked on her 2013 Handbook Album and it peaked my interest in the idea. With my Project Life album well on its way... into May 2012... I figured it might not hurt to have the convenience of a small home printer. What I've typically done in the past was pick a weekend where I'd sit down and go hard at PL, figuring out layouts, creating collages, uploading photos. I'd print months at a time and just load them up to Costco because it was convenient for Jamie to pick up. But the idea of being able to print the photos and slot them in within minutes was appealing! I trusted that +Jinnee Barazzuol did her research and she had no complaints about the printer she got so I hoped onto and ordered myself a Canon CP900 Selphy and 2 extra ink cartridges and paper. I could have swung by Staples to pick it up but why, when I could get it delivered straight into my hands? Many reviews talk about a line that runs down the left hand edge of the phone and I unfortunately have to admit that the line exists. The good news: it doesn't always show up! I had lines on all 5 photos that I printed with the test cartridge that came with the printer. After loading in a new ink cartridge and a full package of 18 sheets of paper, the line disappeared! I'm not sure if the line will reappear once I run low on paper/ink again, but the convenience definitely outweighs the line. 

A few things that I like: 
- Good quality photos
- No drying time required
- Convenient and easy to use software
- Can print from smartphone app
- Photos are coated and supposedly last 100+ years
- Small compact size means I could take it on a trip with me
- Did I mention it was uber convenient?

Things I don't fancy: 
- Slightly smaller than 4x6 size (the perforated edges take off some extra paper
- The cost per photo is as much as I would pay through a professional printer
- The dreaded line (sometimes)
- Glossy paper (I'm a matte fan)

In the end, I'm happy I bought the cute little printer. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated. If you look at the picture I uploaded, the 4x6 photo can be used to compare the size of the actual printer. Not much bigger at all then a standard 4x6 photo. Do you print your photos at home? What printer do you use? Do you even print photos anymore? How do you archive your photos? I'd love to hear ideas! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Craze: Overnight Oats

Apparently everyone is on this bandwagon of overnight oats. I heard about it from my friend, +Penny Nabozniak. She's been whipping up containers of these and can't say enough good things about it. She showed me a popular link, The Yummy Life, and also to just search on Pinterest. I finally decided to give it a go since I had all the ingredients conveniently in my house already! As you have likely learned by now, I'm not a huge follower of recipes and this might be the contributing factor to why I skim recipes. This time was no different! I dug out some old mason jars and attempted to follow the recipe from The Yummy Life: 

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, or enough to fill jar

What my recipe ended up looking like:

  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats (one oatmeal serving is typically 1/3 cup)
  • skim milk (enough to make the whole mixture a soggy cereal consistency)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of greek yogurt (if you use plain, you may need some sweetner)
  • 1 tbsp dried chia seeds (I like the crunch)
  • small handful of almonds for extra protein
  • whatever other flavorings you'd like to try

Some flavors I've made so far: 
- a spoonful of apple jelly, dash of cinnamon, toasted sesame seeds
- frozen blueberries and bananas with honey Greek yogurt
- fresh strawberries and banana with honey Greek yogurt

I've learned that more milk is better than less milk for me. I'd much prefer a runnier porridge consistency then the solid gelatinous chunk I found the first morning I made it. I think the recipe said she left her non-fresh fruit ones for up to 3 nights and yup, my apple cinnamon one had no issues when I ate it on the 3rd morning. The fresh strawberry banana one was starting to get iffy by the 2nd morning. This is way better than eating plain yogurt and I love how you can prep a few days worth at once. We pack this for our late morning snack since Jamie and I are always missing our lunch and we've even packed it this past weekend as an after swimming snack.  

Have you tried this before? If not, let me know if you do up trying it. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


Last weekend Jamie and I had our annual dental check-up and afterwards, decided to frolic downtown. It took a little bit to find parking but finally managed to make it to the City Market inside City Hall. It was bustling with vendors, customers and live music. The vendors that we hit up: Green Valley Farms, Theo's Greek Kouzina, Shooting Star Ranch and Fruits of Sherbrooke. We always get our elk antlers and elk jerky from Shoot Start Ranch. Khuno loves gnawing on those suckers. Fruits of Sherbrooke was a vendor we've never seen before. Their story is they take urban fruits that would otherwise go to waste, and make yummy things out of them! I'm sure you've all seen the large number of rotten apples on the ground in people's yards. These folks will swoop in and rescue them. This jam we bought has a lovely pureed texture (I'm not a fan of big chunks of fruit on my toast) and isn't too sweet. They also make things like Chipotle Ketchup, which I've heard is quite delicious. 
After the market, we walked past City Hall to De Dutch on Jasper Ave. We had very similar Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam so it definitely brought us back to our honeymoon days. Really quaint bright atmosphere and there was no lineup at all, which surprised us. It's a nice change of taste from the typical Cora's breakfast. We both chose savory items but they had a massive list of sweet treats to choose from. It was such a gorgeous day to be out walking and we almost forgot about all the wonderful things to do in the city. There were people skating on the free public ice right outside City Hall. There was a free gigantic chess set for anyone who wanted to play and there was a shinny hockey tournament going on all afternoon! If you're bored and have nothing to do next Saturday, downtown is full of fun things including the mall! You'll be reminded of our lovely downtown by all the buttons people are wearing that support #yegdt. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Asian Glazed Drumsticks

Skinny Taste is a blog I found a long time ago through my good friend, Penny. This tasty recipe for Asian Glazed Drumsticks was easy to make and if you pop over to the website, her photo makes it look much more appetizing. As you all know, Jamie and I aren't ones to follow recipes exactly so we never did get a nice ooey gooey sauce like the recipe said we should. It was actually a big wok of boiling watery sauce but that's okay! Definitely worth a try if you're looking for something tasty to have with a nice big bowl of fluffy white rice.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

False Hope

Did this photo get your hopes up despite my disclaimer title? I sat down today to work on processing some old photos and let me tell you, there are a lot of them. My most recent dumping of the memory cards landed me back in March 2012. I always take photos with the intention of blogging about it, but I'm a year behind with this one. I don't even want to think about the other dumping folders buried deep without our hard drive. I remember taking this photo because I am so amazed every spring when these tulips start peeking out. We have a southeast facing backyard that gets loads of sun from sunrise till late afternoon. These babies pop out often before the grass is even green or all the snow has melted. This is a photo we can all focus on because a year ago, this lovely occurrence happened March 26th. Just don't mind that dead stuff in the right hand corner. Pretty sure it was a weed anyways. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday Sun

We've been meaning to take some New Year shots of our little family and finally got around to doing it today. After running a few errands, on the drive down our alley we noticed how gorgeous the lighting was. The sun was setting and it was just perfect. After our little impromptu photo session, we went for a little stroll and got to enjoy the wonderful warm weather. Hopefully everyone had a relaxing Sunday. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

366 Photo Project: Photo 60: Boogers

I'm going through old photos for Project Life and it's helping me discover all the old photos I never got a chance to share! This is an oldie of little Ella. She was getting over a cold that day and was blowing a huge booger bubble. I tried snapping a picture of it but by the time I got the camera again, the bubble shrank. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who Needs a Trim?

Or a weed whacker? One may think that Jamie's hair isn't too bad based on the above photo but here's a different perspective. The photo above was taken just before we left the house. We had a plan that Saturday: coffee at Credo, baked deliciousness at Dauphine's and most importantly, a visit to Maqxter's. You might be thinking, "Oh it's not that bad..." but trust me folks, I'm going to show you what I have to contend with.   

That's what his hair really looks like. One. Giant. Fro. Who would have thought an Asian in his 30s could have such luscious hair? Not me. But as always, Jamie proves to be something else. Something special. It's amazing how a hair cut can slim down a face and for $15 including tax and tip, I'd say it was money well spent! 

You didn't think I'd leave without showing you the outcome of the haircut did you? I don't remember if I insisted on a haircut first or not but my inkling is I did because who really wants to go sit in a coffee shop with big hair boy? 
Much better. 

A Brief Reflection

Happy New Year everyone! January is always such a unique month. It always gets people thinking of ways to better themselves, whether it be the common ones like more exercise, be healthier etc. or more specific things like learn to paint or get a dog. Jamie made it a point to start eating healthier and start working out again because his skinny clothes are no longer fitting. I told him I would join him in his working out ventures as long as we could agree on a time. I'm not a morning person and he's not a night person so I can't wake up early to work out and he can't do it late. Oh the dilemma!

2012 brought some amazing memories. We started off with some photography goals set with +Jinnee Barazzuol. I never did manage to post 366 photos but I sure did take them! Some of you might remember that I was introduced to Project Life. I wasn't able to keep that up to date despite how easy it was supposed to be, but I am officially on March 2012 so it's a good start! There was also some major travelling done. I got to visit San Francisco, Vancouver and Las Vegas again for some rockin' stagettes with some great friends. We also had our amazing honeymoon that landed Jamie and I in Europe for 4 weeks. I call it a trip of a lifetime and I'm so happy we did it. We also got to see quaint and beautiful Victoria, B.C. and I've concluded that I'd like to retire there. 

I learnt some new skills to add to my hobby/crafting list. I took a quilting class at Sew Divine with +Jinnee Barazzuol and I also picked up crocheting. I did manage to finish some projects with both newly acquired skills! I'm a proud owner of a rail fence quilt and I managed to finish 4 Catherine Wheel circle scarves. Jamie continued to dabble in his knitting and officially had one meeting for his unofficial knitting club. 

Jamie and I both took some big leaps in our career by taking on management roles. It was by far, the hardest interview I've ever had. We're both definitely more stressed and busy at work and it's been challenging trying to get home every evening in time to walk Khuno. I think we've figured out a good rhythm now, but for a while there we were constantly calling each other to say we were working late and asking if the other could go home to walk Khuno. 

We celebrated our 1 year anniversary and although it wasn't a big celebration, Jamie got me the most perfect gift. Paper. I Know that sounds a bit odd, but the reason it was such a great gift is because he filled the paper with his thoughts. I've read and re-read these two sheets of paper countless times and I still feel all warm and sappy each time. 

My brother and sister-in-law ( +Cynthia Chau +Van Tran ) announced that they are expecting their first baby, which means I'm going to be an aunt! She's due this June and I can't wait to have a little baby to snuggle! 

To end off this post, I want to share one last bit of a story. Jamie and I were chatting last week and he asked me something interesting. "If high school you were to talk to you today, what do you think high school you would think of who you've become?" It took us a few minutes to realize it was a question we couldn't answer because high school me was so long ago that I have no idea what I would have thought at 17. It did lead us to a conversation about what we thought of ourselves now. I realize that I am very happy with the person that I've become and I'm so ridiculously content with everything in my life right now that I feel so blessed, lucky, fortunate, the list goes on. I have an amazing husband, a handsome pup, family and friends I love, a job that's challenging me to grow, even my neighbors are amazing. 

I don't know who all actually reads this blog, but I want you to know that I love sharing bits and pieces of our humble lives and I hope you enjoy stopping by. Happy 2013.