December 30, 2013

christmas $$$

I am a 43 year old mature adult (sometimes), therefore, I do not expect family to give me gifts on Christmas. However, my Daddy (yes people! I am a Daddy's girl) always gives me a little bit of money that I love to use on an unplanned "splurge". 

This year, we decided to take the $$$ and buy whatever book we wanted at Chapters (for my USA friends... Chapters is the equivalent to your Barnes & Nobles). I usually do my reading on my mini i-pad but there are time that I do love to pick up a actual book.

Here are the books that I am adding to my non ending books to read pile!

1. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg - Any book that Fannie releases I buy!  Love the characters in all of her books.

2. I am Malada by Malala Tousatzai - I heard great things about this book. 

3. Just one year by Gayle Forman - This is the sequel to Just one day. I hope it is as good as the first book.

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I really enjoyed his first book called "Attachments" so hopefully this book will be as enjoyable.

I can't forget to mention that I recently bought a Longchamp Purple\Navy Blue Tote and told Bidou that it was his Christmas gift to me from him!  Thanks Bidou!!  By the way, I love this tote and it has become my new favourite work bag.

(Sorry guys! I can't get this picture to rotate!)

Did you get any Christmas $$$ this year?? If so, how will you spend it??

December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

I can't even express how happy I am that we decided to stay home for the holidays instead of going to Manhattan (you can read about it here). So far it has been relaxing... spending many hours on the couch catching up on some tv (latest season of the Biggest Loser) and reading.  I finally finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. If you haven't read it.  Please do!  I haven't read a good book like that in a while.

Christmas eve was quiet. Daddy came over for supper.  Then Bidou and I matched a movie.

Christmas Day morning was spent at my sister's for breakfast. She served an amazing spread of so many goodies!  

The following are some of my favourite pictures of Xmas 2013 ~

 My brother and his son Kevin

 Kevin and I

 My niece Jessica and my 2 nephew Phil and Kevin horsing around!

Bidou and Kloé 

How was your Christmas??
Stressful or Relaxing??

December 24, 2013

Staycation or Manhattan

If you had to choose to spend 3 days and 2 nights in a great hotel near Time Square in Manhattan NY during the holidays or stay at home... what would  you choose???
I choose a "staycation" and here is why!

Over a year ago, I bought a 3 day/2 night package with Hilton Vacations. At first I was thinking... let's go in the Fall but unfortunately that did not happen. And then life went on.

Last September, we needed to schedule a date since this package expires in December 2013. Bidou and I discussed it and decided that spending the Christmas holidays in Manhattan was GREAT idea. Now that the December is upon us... we have no desire to be away. It has been a very hectic October/November/December for us. All we want to do is stay home, spend quality time with Kloé, catch up on some reading, maybe see a movie or 2 and visit a local museum.

Any exciting plans for the holidays??

December 18, 2013

2013 year in review - book version

That's What She Read

I was planning to do a post in January regarding the books I read in 2013 but when I heard that Jen and Steph were planning a link-up titled "Year in Review - Your Favorite Things in 2013". I knew that this would be a great occasion to share my book post.  

Last January, I challenged myself to read 40 books. Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal but I am proud to announce that I have read 28 books thus far (still 13 days to go!)

The following is a list of all 28 books I have read in 2013. I read 13 French Canadian novels (I have marked them in italics). I am very proud of this number since I just started to read French language books in 2011. Even though my daily spoken language is French. I relate more to English stuff, especially when it comes to reading a book. I would never be caught reading an English translated to French book.  Strange!!

1. Chère Laurette - Tome 4 by Michel David - french
2. Love Athony by Lisa Genova
3. Souvenirs de la Banlieue - Sylvie - Tome 1 by Rosette Laberge - french
4. Au Bord de la Rivière - Tome 4 - Michel David - french
5. Les Soeurs Beaudry - Tome 1 by Micheline Dalpé - french
6. Souvenirs de la Banlieu - Michel - Tome 2 by Rosette Laberge - french
7. Les Soeurs Beaudry - Tome 2 by Micheline Dalpé - french
8. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
9. La vie épicée de Charlotte Lavigne - Tome 2 by Nathalie Roy - french
10. Virgin River - book 1 by Robyn Carr
11. Poussière du temps - Tome 1 by Michel David - french
12. Souvenir de la Banlieue - Sonia - Tome 3 by Rosette Laberge - french
13. Souvenir de la Banlieue - Junior - Tome 4 by Rosette Laberge - french
14. Souvenir de la banlieue - Tante Irma - Tome 5 by Rosette Laberge - french
15. The Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
16. The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans 
17. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
18. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
19. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
20. The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
21. Poussière du Temps - Tome 2 by Michel David - french
22. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
23. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
24. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
25. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
26. Mensonges sur le Plateau Mont-Royal - Book 1 by Michel David - french
27. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Streds
28. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak

Currently Reading 
Me before you by Jojo Moyes (the count will be 29 books if I finish this one before the end of 2013)

Books that I started but did not finish in 2013
Oliver Kitterridge by Elizabeth Strout ~ I tried but just couldn't finish it! See post here
Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes

Author I discovered in 2013
Lisa Genova - After picking up "Still Alice", I just couldn't stop...!

Biggest Disappointment
After reading "Broken Horses" and "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls, I was excited for the release of her new book "The Silver Star" last June but was so disappointed.  C'mon Jeannette... you can do a lot better!!

Best Book in 2013
"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova but REALLY loving the book I am currently reading... Me Before You.

Since I was not able to reach my goal of reading 40 books this year... I am setting the same goal for 2014. 

How many books did you read in 2013??
Any book goals for 2014??

December 17, 2013

late recap of last weekend in pictures

If you follow me on Instragram you probably have seen most of these pictures.  And if you are NOT following me on Instagram... you better press that follow button now.  Merci beaucoup mes amis!!

Left - I read most of Saturday afternoon on the couch while Kloe snored her little heart out! 

Top right - All bundled up for -20c weather... the joys of living in a condo with a dog. We must dress up every time we take her out.  No leaving her free in the yard.

Bottom right - My nephew slept over Saturday night and we watched the Steve Jobs movie (picture of Kevin chilling with Kloé on the couch). I surprisingly enjoyed the movie. Ashton Kutcher did an amazing job portraying him. 

P.S. For the curious minds out there regarding last Friday post, I ended up NOT attending my Annual Christmas Holiday party at work. I have decided that 2014 will be the year that I am introducing the word "NO" into my vocabulary.  Thanks to Stephanie for sending me her post entitled The Art of Saying No. It made me realize that saying NO is not a selfish thing...

December 13, 2013

I am a plan breaker! - I'm excited for the plans I made this weekend that I'm going to break once I remember I don't like having plans

Why is it that I love to have a full schedule in the evenings and weekends but when it is time to attend the event... I am like... Why did I say yes to this? I just want to go home, sit on my couch and watch a movie, play Candy Crush (I admit it... I am obsessed and even paid $0.99 to reach the next level), read a book while drinking a latte.

Example ~ Tonight is the Annual Christmas Holiday party at work. The entire company will be there. It will probably be fun. Even the spouses are invited. Back in November when I received the invite, I was so excited, really looking forward to it. I even forward the e-mail to Bidou and told him to make sure that this was added to his agenda. That said Annual Christmas Holiday party is tonight... and I am dreading it... here I go again... why did I say yes... I am tired... I have a headache... it is FREEZING out... all I want to do after work is go home, have supper and sit on my couch and do nothing besides watching TV and play Candy Crush (lol)!!

Do you dread attending already planned events??

That Friday Blog Hop

December 12, 2013

pets are people too - bath time!

Jade and Oak

This week, I have been an unreliable blogger.  On Monday, I posted a great Part 1 of my tops reasons why you should stay at the Secrets The Vine in Cancun Mexico and promised a Part 2 on Tuesday.  Well Part 2 will probably be posted next week since I am still working on it!  Please be patient!

Today I am linking up with Jade for Pets are People too.  Any reason is a good reason to talk about my favourite girl in the house...Kloé.  

I try to get her groomed every 5-6 weeks.  I just adore her when she is smelling perfum-y and when her fur is silky and white. My Dad (her grandpa) dogsat while we were in Cancun last week. And when I picked her up last Saturday, she was grey and smelly.  Her next grooming appointment is only scheduled for December 23rd, therefore, I decided to give her a bath myself for the very first time. And she loved it!!

How often do you get your dog groomed?? 

December 9, 2013

Secrets The Vine - Cancun Mexico Part 1 of 2

Secrets The Vine is ranked #8 out of 173 hotels in Cancun as per Trip Advisor and I completely agree with this ranking. We paid more than we usually pay for an all-inclusive resort for a week but since last year Ive been eying for this resort. It was worth every penny!

Here are the top reasons why you should stay at the Secrets The Vine in Cancun, Mexico:

Coffee Shop
Their coffee shop is amazing.  And yes… better than Starbucks (never thought that I would ever say that!). I drank way too many lattes but since they were included I did not give a dam.  Claudia made the cutest coffee art. They also offered the best bran and banana muffins that I ever tasted. And as a mid-afternoon snack, they also offered various mini-sandwiches that which were equally delicious.

Room Service
We only took advantage of the room service once for breakfast and regretted not doing it more. The meal is served on a fancy well placed table on wheels. The meal is kept hot in a storage unit under the table. The view from our balcony was amazing therefore we decided to eat our meal outside. By the way, not only breakfasts are served. You can get it 24/7 and heard that all meals were good. 

We ate like royalty at every. single. meal. - many many calories were consumed but what the hell! All food was amazing including the morning and lunch buffets. The "à la carte" restaurants were to die for. No reservations are needed for all restaurants. That is nice! We mostly enjoyed the Dragon. Kudos to Chef William, a young French Canadian from Thetford Mines, Quebec.

Kitchen Tour
We are not one to participate in many on-site organized activities but the one that caught our interest was the Kitchen Tour. Chef William conducted the tour and we were amazed by the logistics, the cleanliness and the hard working individuals that it takes to operate a state-of-the-art kitchen. I was totally surprised that all food including the bread, the pasta, the desserts, the ice cream were all made behind the scenes. I was happy for this planet to learn that they recycle immensely. Only 500 kilos of organic waste is generated every day. Other fact that I retained was that they used 1080 eggs a day... that is a lot of hens and one happy rooster!

We were offered an upgrade to a “Preferred Room” for an additional $120 US a night but we opted for the basic room with no regrets. At home, Bidou and I sleep in a King Size bed but at the time of check-in they was only had 2 Queen Size beds available. We took it and slept like babies all week! The room is spacious and very well decorated. The bathroom is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  It consisted of a double head shower stall in which my entire family could have bathed together, a separate enclosed toilet, 2 very modern sinks and a lot of shelves for your toiletries. Their closets were gigantic.  Also included was a very well stocked mini-fridge with soft-drinks, bottle water and “cerveza”.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow! 

December 5, 2013

ten favorite things - the holidays

Hey folks… I am still "stuck" but really enjoying my vacation in Cancun.  I am over indulging in lattes and smoked salmon! Details to come next Monday…

But for now, I am linking up with Brianna on her monthly ten favorite things (better late than never). She has chosen for this month's theme… The Holidays.  For different reasons, Christmas is not my favorite time of the year. Over the last couple of years, it has become a very stressful day.  However, there is some stuff that surrounds the holidays that I do enjoy.

  1. The famous red cups at Starbucks.
  2. Christmas music on the radio.
  3. Receiving new Pandora charms from Bidou (hint! hint!)
  4. Having some time off from work - this year Christmas falls on a Wednesday, my company is giving us the 25th, 26th and the 27th as vacation days!
  5. Buying gifts for family.
  6. Since I have no room for a tree in my condo, I still enjoy to decorate with some precious Christmas items I cherish.
  7. Love to watch a classic Christmas movie. I am thinking that I will re-re-rewatch "Elf" again this year.
  8. Window shopping at the mall.
  9. Quality time with family and friends.
  10. Cooking Bidou's favorite French Canadian holiday meal "La Tourtière".  I will post the recipe and instructions on a  future December post.