Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yes! I actually have STUFF TO CROSS OFF!!

Slowly but surely, I'm whittling away at the ol' 101 List.

Here's what I've been up to lately:

#9 - Lose 20 lbs. Those of you who follow my blog at Jill's World are probably pretty familiar with my current weight loss project by now. First, I was trying to lose weight for my friend Lindsay's wedding, which is in May 2012. Then, a few weeks ago, my brother got engaged, and his fiancee Amanda asked me to be in their wedding as well - and they're getting married in February 2012. Of course, I took the absurd notion to order dress sizes that are too small for me currently, so I have no choice but to lose weight. Trust me, folks, this is a good thing. Since changing my eating habits and ramping up my exercise in late August, I have lost 20 lbs. (Don't believe me? Go to my other blog and see the nifty weight-loss ticker on the sidebar!) #9 - CHECK!! (And hopefully at least double that in the next 3 months!)

#33 - Attend at least 3 Ottawa Senators hockey games per season within the 1001 days. I got to my first game of the 2011-2012 season on Sunday October 30th. I actually won the first-level tickets after entering a Facebook contest hosted by the Team 1200 radio station! I hardly ever win anything, so this was pretty exciting. Plus, the enemy in town was our loathed rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I invited my friend Sharon to come along, and we had a blast - especially since the hometeam earned the narrow 3-2 victory! GO SENS GO!! And thanks to the Team 1200 for the awesome seats - Section 113 Row D!!! I've never sat so close in my life, it was heaven!!

#52 - Buy a lottery ticket. Sounds simple enough, right? But never before had I bought myself a lottery ticket. I didn't know how. People have given them to me as gifts before, but I've never purchased one myself - because I didn't know what to ask for. So many times I've gone into the store intending to buy one, but I always chickened out. Sooooo silly. Anyways, it was like a little stroke of fate last night when I was in paying for my gas when Mary, the cashier, said to me, "Would you like to buy a ticket for tonight's 649, Jilly?" Before I had a chance to second-guess myself, I said, "Sure! How much are they?" She said, "Oh, just $2, another dollar for the extra if you want it." So I said, "Sure!" I really have no idea what that means, but I forked over my $3 and got my very first lottery ticket! Fingers crossed that I'm a big winner! (haha!)

#79 - Get an updated picture taken with my family. I'm checking this one off, even though it's not technically my whole family. It's a picture taken with my siblings, siblings-in-law, niece, nephew, and puppy nephew. Thanksgiving weekend, my mom assembled us on the front steps to get a "Christmas Card" photo. We did this several years ago - all of us - but she and my dad aren't in this one. Close enough...

#100 - Come in 2nd place in the Car Rally. Car Rally time has come and gone again, and once again, I have failed to place 2nd. This year we were SO CLOSE. We ended up tying for 3rd (with my family, of course). It's one of those very fine lines...we definitely don't want to WIN, so I guess if I had to fall on either side of 2nd, 3rd is the best place to be. Maybe next year!

So it hasn't exactly been a "flurry of 101 List activity", but at least it's a few more things to check off!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#19 Completed, Still Working on #30

Oh, my poor little 101 List.

I haven't forgotten it. I just haven't been inspired to do much on it this summer.

That's terrible. A whole season has passed, and I've basically accomplished nothing. All of those summer days when I could have been planning a trip to TO, or being a tourist in Ottawa, or for God's sake at least carving my name in a damned tree!!

But nope. Nothing. Nothing but books and movies. I do believe this is a sign that my life is in a bit of a rut. A book and movie RUT, I tell you.

The good news is that I finished #19 - Read 10 Books in One Year. (In August. Ooooooo, atta challenge yourself, Jill.)

The bad news is that this blog will probably be even more neglected than it already is now that I won't have any book reviews to write. eeeep.

The book that checked in at #10 was Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love.

I was reading it for my book club, and as it turns out, I was one of the few who actually really enjoyed it. The funny thing is that I purchased the book from Amazon a long time ago, and when it arrived, I was surprised at how BIG the book was. Huge. MASSIVE. I was intimidated by it. I told everyone I knew would be reading it for book club to get it early, because it was going to take a looooong time to read it.

Turns out, once I finally flipped it open to get started on it, I discovered I had accidentally purchased the LARGE PRINT EDITION. So yes, it was big, huge, MASSIVE - but there were, like, 10 words on a page. I giggled to myself as I thought of the few people I talked to who had already read it that probably wondered why I was complaining about how long I thought the book would be. I imagine they were thinking, And this girl says she's a reader? And she's scared of the size of Eat Pray Love? What does she read, RL Stine books?

In fact, I loved the way Eat Pray Love was broken down, into 109 small chapters that, for me, just flew by. That's the nice part about a LARGE PRINT EDITION book. You can whiz through those millions of pages very quickly. And I felt a connection to Gilbert's first-person account of her real-life adventures. No, I don't think I could ever just drop everything and leave for a whole year, but I envied her ability to do so. I think it would be something I could really enjoy, if I had the balls to actually do it.

The book is broken into three parts, based on the three places she traveled to: Italy, where she ate; India, where she prayed; and Indonesia, where she finally found the ability to love again. It was her own spiritual journey, her effort to mend her broken life, and I admired her for it. I loved reading about all the people she met, the little situations she found herself in during the year-long adventure. A few people I talked to felt they struggled, especially through the section on India, but I was fascinated by her experience at the Ashram, and felt intrigued by the idea of meditation and Yoga. I'm interested in trying both.

So yes, I really did love Eat Pray Love, even though several people at our book club disliked it and didn't even finish reading it. I was glad I read it, and it has stuck with me since then.

There you have it. The very last book review. I'm sure you're all sick of me talking about books by now.

So let's move on to movies. I hardly ever talk about them. (ha!)

I got two more letters checked off for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet.

First, I watched my "T" movie in August, and it was one I'd been wanting to see for a while: The Town, starring Ben Affleck.

So.good. Suspenseful, thrilling a little scary, and....well...Ben Affleck is in it. And I love Ben Affleck.

It tells the story of a group of friends from a neighbourhood in Boston called Charlestown who grow up to be robbers, but in the midst of a bank heist, Affleck's character, Doug, takes a liking for their hostage, Claire, and begins a relationship with her shortly after. She has no idea that her new boyfriend is one of the masked men who caused her so much terror.

I also got the "M" movie checked off when I saw Morning Glory, which features such a fun cast, including Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and Harrison Ford.

I didn't have high expectations for this movie - in fact, I thought the previews for it looked kinda boring - but I really enjoyed it. McAdams plays Becky, an upstart workaholic TV producer who gets her big break by getting the chance to right the failing morning show "Daybreak". Her biggest challenge is convincing legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to join Collen Peck (delightfully played by Keaton) as co-host of the program. The story follows the rise to success of Becky's show and her handling of its temperamental stars, while she also tries to juggle a new relationship with her hottie colleague, Adam (played by Patrick Wilson).

I really recommend both of these movies - both are worth it!!

So I know I've said this before, but I'm really going to try to get more knocked off the list in the coming weeks. Otherwise, there's no way I'll ever get most of it accomplished by the end of the 1001 days!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yes. I read another book. And watched another movie.

So, are you confused?

Is this not supposed to be a blog following my 101 List accomplisments? Why does it look so much like a book/movie review blog?

Are these questions you're asking yourself?

I know. Enough with the books and movies already, right?!

But that's all I seem to be doing on the 101 Adventure these days. Watching movies and reading books. What a wild ride, eh?

I swear. Summer is here, and I'm going to start doing some more "adventurous" things. Maybe zip-lining? I'd like to go to High Falls. Hoping to wiggle in a trip to T.O. some weekend, and might even go by train. Camping? Boat ride? Spider dogs? All possibilities in the months to come.

So stay tuned.

But for now, I'm going to tell you all how much I love love loved Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, the eighth book crossed off for #19 - Read 10 books in one year.

I missed out on seeing the flick while it was still in theatres, so I decided I'd better read the book before the movie came out on DVD. My local library got the book in a few weeks ago, and I just happened to be there the day it arrived. The librarian offered me first crack at it, and I'm so glad I took it.

It was one of those books. It swallowed me up and I became totally engrossed with the story. It was a completely different time, a completely different world, and I was entirely intrigued by it.

The story begins at the height of the Great Depression, with young Jacob Jankowski receiving the biggest jolt of his life: the untimely and tragic death of his parents, only days before he's to write his finals at Cornell University, where he is about to graduate as a veterinarian. After discovering that his father, also a vet, had no savings and was mortgaging his home in order to pay for his son's education, Jacob realizes he is completely lost and alone. Caught in a whirlwind of pain, he runs away and jumps a train in an attempt to escape his misery.

Jacob discovers very quickly he has landed on the train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He has literally, though unintentionally, run away with the circus. Jacob survives the first few uncertain days as several kind-hearted members of the Flying Squadron take him under their wings, but when the owner of the traveling circus catches wind that he's a university-trained veterinarian, Jacob's stock goes up, and he's offered full employment with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

Jacob then meets Marlena, the star of the Equestrian Show, and her husband, August, the animal trainer with a mean streak. Throw in a temperamental elephant named Rosie, a dwarf named Walter, a dog named Queenie, and an old cripple named Camel... and then the adventures really begin for Jacob.

I seriously couldn't put it down. I'm usually a "chapter before bedtime" reader, but I was forgoing television for this book. That's big. It also helped that I got to picture Rob Pattinson as Jacob, and Reese Witherspoon as Marlena. Now I really can't wait to see the movie!

I also got one of those tricky letters crossed off my list for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet. On Friday night, Lindsay, Ryan, and I ignored the Great Flood of 2011 and went to see X-Men: First Class in theatres.

I know. I don't look like an X-Men kind of girl, right? The truth is, I'm not. Usually. But I bought the first three movies on DVD during the most crazy part of my James Marsden phase. (He plays Cyclops.)


So when Lindsay suggested going to see First Class, I jumped. Find out how the mutants originally began? Sure. Why not.

It was entertaining. The whole plot was tied in with the Cuban Missile Crisis, so it was a neat way to integrate history into the fictional story, which is the prequel of the battle between 'good' mutants and 'bad' mutants. The origin of the relationship between Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) is discovered, as well as some of the mutant characters we become familiar with in the trilogy. We also find out the reason Professor X is in a wheelchair. ( And probably a ton of other little bits and pieces that X-Men diehards would pick up on that I did not).

I enjoyed it. A little disappointed that Cyclops didn't play a role in it, but a fun movie nonetheless. And very happy to get the "X" movie crossed off, because how many other movies could possibly begin with the letter X?!

Highly recommend both Water for Elephants and X-Men: First Class!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yet another book down!

I'm just rollin' through #19 - Read 10 books in one year. After finishing The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell - the latest selection for our book club - I now have only three more books to read to complete this task! (And I'm already half-way done book #8, Water for Elephants - I just can't put it down!)

As for The Carrie Diaries, it was a fun, quick read. I'm a big Sex and the City fan, so it was neat to take a stroll back, and find out who Carrie Bradshaw was in high school, and how she was launched into the phase of her life that we SATC fans are so familiar with.

At times, it was a little juvenile - sort of like a glorified edition of the Sweet Valley High series - but what more could you expect from a story about a gang of high school students, riding the rollercoaster of Senior Year? I'm eleven years removed from high school, but I still remember what that last year was like. It was filled with highs and lows, and each one felt like it was the end of the world. Little did we know... I think the author did a good job of capturing what life would be like for a group of misfit teens, standing on the cusp of the rest of their lives.

I also really enjoyed the little twist at the end; the hint that Carrie's about to meet at least once of her future best friends whom we've all come to know and love over the years. I'm hoping to get Summer and the City sometime soon, which is the follow-up to this book, so that I can find out how Carrie's first summer of freedom in New York goes.

It's a must-read for SATC fans, especially for younger women who may be interested in starting to watch the episodes. It's also a fun read for those of us who have already been through the six seasons and two movies; to see where it really all began!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

#89 - A lot of blogs written.

I was about two weeks into May when I realized I had written a blog every weekday so far that month. This is usually a rare occurance for me. I usually miss at least once or twice a week, if not more. That was why I included on my 101 List #89 - Write a blog post for Jill's World or Jill's 101 Adventure every weekday for a month. It would be a challenge for sure!

So once I realized I had two weeks down, I figured May would be that month.

What a dumb, dumb idea. May is kind of a busy month. So while I try to get my blog written the night before just to post in the morning, that doesn't always go as planned. That left me scrambling some days to get a blog up before the clock struck midnight, so that I could say I had written a post that day.

Then there was the great BLOGGER MALFUNCTION OF 2011, which took place smack-dab in the middle of it all. Somehow, I escaped unscathed. One of my posts vanished for a few days, but reappeard again. Phewf.

So here, as proof, are links to allll of my posts for the month of May. Go back and read 'em again if you want. There were some fun ones in there!

May 1 - Sunday, no blog
May 2 - Getting to Know You, Royal Wedding Edition
May 3 - Need something to smile about today? Look no further.
May 4 - Feeling like a "SO WHAT" Wednesday
May 5 - A feeble attempt at writing a shorter Survivor/Idol Mash-Up
May 6 - I want to be a dancer.
May 7 - Saturday
May 8 - Sunday
May 9 - That lunatic cutting their grass over and over? That's me.
May 10 - The Turkey Blog
May 11 - It's a "We Want to Know Wednesday"!!
May 12 - I don't need a puppy anymore. I have a whole LITTER. (This is the post that went missing during the BLOGGER MALFUNCTION OF 2011. It almost ruined this whole project.)
May 13 - Friday Randomness
May 14 - Saturday
May 15 - Sunday
May 16 - I'm so tiiiiiiirrrrred
May 17 - B Movie - a RIOT!
May 18 - The Single Girl Files: Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell
May 19 - A Tale of Grass-Cutting Woe
May 20 - A Random Friday-of-the-long-weekend
May 21 - Saturday
May 22 - Sunday
May 23 - How I Survived the Apocalypse (or, just another May 2-4 Weekend) (Bonus points - I blogged on a holiday Monday!!)
May 24 - N Movie - Anything with Ashton is okay by me...
May 25 - Look Out! It's a "Jill's Gonna Ramble" Wednesday!! AND Oh, and I almost forgot... (What the...?? Two posts in one day?? DOUBLE BONUS POINTS!!!)
May 26 - Oprah's Farewell + American Idol Finale = Awesome Night
May 27 - Friday Confessional. Because I'm too busy. (We almost lost 'er here, folks. This was a crazybusy day. I finally found two minutes to throw a bunch of words together and call it a "blog post". I couldn't lose so late in the game!!)
May 28 - Saturday
May 29 - Sunday
May 30 - Another Book Down
May 31 - My Latest Purchase. AKA, the reason I should not be allowed to have a credit card.

Fitting that the last blog of the month also wins the "LONGEST TITLE EVER" award.

So #89 is complete! And I must pat myself on the back for this one, 'cause it was a toughie!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Another Book Down...

I have finished my 6th book of the year for #19 - Read 10 books in one year. And once again, it was a book that should have gone quickly, but instead took six weeks to read!! Eeep!!

I recently re-joined my local library (I hadn't been there since I was a kid, but she still had me in her system! Gotta love small towns!), and the first night I was there perusing the selections, trying to find something to read before I start The Carrie Diaries for our next book club, I ran into a friend who told me I had to read the book she had just returned: Separate Beds by Lavyrle Spencer.

I know we have similar taste when it comes to other books. (She's a Twilight fan, too.) But for some reason, it took me forever to get through this one. It's a good ol' romance, with one of those classic "predictable" story lines - low-class girl meets high-class boy, girl gets pregnant, boy's parents force him to marry her, they're supposed to put on a charade until the baby arrives and then get divorced, but whaddya know...they fall in lurrrrrrrve...

Cue the chirping birds and harp music.

Maybe I just haven't been in a lovey-dovey, dreams-do-come-true mood lately. Maybe I've just read so many riveting books in the past few years that this one fell short in comparison.

I don't know what the problem was. But it took me too long to plod through it.

Hoping for better luck with The Carrie Diaries, which I started last night!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

N Movie - Anything with Ashton is OK by me...

Sick of the movie reviews?

Too bad. That's all I seem to be accomplishing on the 101 List these days! Over the long weekend I was able to check off my "N" movie for #30 - Watch a movie starting with each letter of the alphabet that I haven't seen before. I rented No Strings Attached starring Natalie Portman and my cutiepie Ashton Kutcher.

I think my expectations were a little too high for the caliber of this movie. That, and I was quite tired the night I watched it. Like, so tired I kept falling asleep, then I'd wake up and skip back to the last scene I remembered, fall asleep, and so on until I finally gave up and just finished watching it the next morning.

So it wasn't exactly riveting. But then again, I'm not sure anything could have kept me awake that night.

It made me a little depressed that Ashton's character, Adam, was so head-over-heels for Portman's character, Emma, but she refused to reciprocate the emtional side of their relationship. Friends with benefits, nothing more. His attempts to woo Emma in the hopes of her wanting their relationship to become more were so sweet.

Like seriously. Who turns down a guy like that?!?

The movie was filled with dry, sarcastic humour. One of my favourite parts was when Adam gives Emma a mixed CD with time-of-the-month-themed music for...well, that particular "time of month"...Listening to them singing "Bleeding Love" was definitely one of the funniest moments.

If you like light and fluffy chick flicks, check it out. If you like Natalie Portman (who is in, like, every movie these days), check it out.

And, needless to say, Ashton is adorbs. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

B Movie...a RIOT!!

I was able to cross off another movie for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet last Friday evening, when I saw Bridesmaids on opening night. "B" movie - CHECK!

You see, my friend Lindsay is getting married (in less than a year now!! squeeeeal!!), so she rounded up myself (the MOH) and her bridesmaids, Rebekka and Amanda, for a fun night out for dinner and to see the movie, which was a highly appropriate way to kick off her "Wedding Year"!!

We may have laughed. Just a little bit. Just a teeny, tiny smidge.

No, seriously. It's a piss-your-pants-you're-laughing-so-hard kind of movie. People are calling it the girl version of The Hangover, but it's not the same at all. And it's not just a chick flick. My bro rolled his eyes when I told him this, but I truly believe that he - and any other man - would have drink squirting out of their noses from laughing so hard.

Like, literally pains in your sides from laughing.

Have I stressed that enough?

Go see it. Even if you're a boy.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I went through my list of movies that I've already watched and discovered I got all the way through the alphabet, to L I think, continuously. Go me and my movies! The crappy part? The only ones left to watch are the hard letters. Like Q and X and Z. If anyone has any recommendations for good movies starting with uncool letters, let me know!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Turkey Blog

I have a few things to check off the list in my 101 Adventure.

The first is kind of a biggie to me. All my life, I’ve enjoyed delicious meals and baking, because I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a mom who is an excellent cook. (I blame her for my constant battle with my weight!

So, you would think I’m also an expert in the kitchen.

You would be wrong.

As wonderful a cook as my mom is, she’s passed very little of her talent down to me. It’s not like I haven’t tried. Many times, especially during my adolescent years, I’d ask her to show me how to do something – like make lasagne, or decorate a cake. The problem? Mom just can’t stand back and let me do it. The second I do something wrong, or struggle with one of the steps, she jumps in and takes over. Just easier for her to do it.

Eventually, I quit asking her to show me.

So, with this in mind, I put #5 - Cook a Turkey on my 101 List. Because I had no idea how. And it bothered me to think that one day I might want to cook a turkey, and I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Perfect opportunity to learn how: EASTER.

Now, I’m crossing it off, but again, I wasn’t able to accomplish the task without Mom trying to jump in from time to time. I would, eventually, like to do this on my own, without her hanging over my shoulder. But I think I did enough of it to cross it off the list!

Here are some of the pictures of me and my turkey-cooking skills.

Mom already had the turkey in a pot in the basement sink, defrosted and soaking. I did not know that you had to do this. I also did not know I had to "wash" it (rinse it with water). Already learning so much...

My first time fondling a turkey. Note the joy in my expression.

Okay. So we have him upstairs, in a pan, dried off, ready to season and stuff. This is so easy!!

She just can't let me to ANYTHING on my own!!

"How do you expect me to learn if you do it for me?!?!" Turkey frustration.

Hand up a turkey's ass. Yay!!

Succesfully stuffed the turkey without Mom meddling too much.

Those are not my hands pinning the turkey together (or whatever you call it). Shocking.

"MOM!!!!!!! LET ME DO IT!!!"

She informed me the giblets were to go in the pan too. I threw the bag in. She then informed me I had to take the giblets out of the bag. Ewwwwww.

Rubbing oil on the turkey: Not my favourite part.

I was so grossed out by touching the turkey that I probably washed my hands 10 times between the steps.

A little salt & peppa.

Then I had to build a tent of tinfoil over it. Note that Mother is still hovering, not even confident in my tent-building skills.

And we finally got that bird in the oven. Woo-hoo! Unfortuantely, there are no pictures to show I followed through with the basting over the afternoon. And unfortunately, there are no pictures of the finished product, because, surprise-surprise, my mom had it out of the oven and slicing it before I knew what she was up to.

But I assure you, it was delicious, and I gratefully accepted the compliments on how good it tasted all throughout dinner. (However, after successfully cooking my first turkey, I'm not sure how it is possible to mess it up, unless you forget it in the oven and burn it. Which I did not get the opportunity to do, as ol' Lizzie had it out before I knew it.)

Thanks to my sister Kara for being the photographer for this blessed event.

Moving on, from turkey to crow...I was also able to get another book done for #19 - Read 10 books in one year. By finishing Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, I’m now half-way complete this task! Woo-Hoo! I absolutely loved Crow Lake, which is a story told in the first person by Kate Morrison, who is struggling in the present to reconcile the tragic events and memories she has of her childhood.

The author smoothly transitions back and forth from Kate’s present to her past, as she tells the story of the year of her youth that forever changed her path in life – the year after her parents died in a car accident, and she and her baby sister Bo were left in the care of their two older brothers, Matt and Luke.

I gobbled this story up, and became absolutely enthralled by it. I literally Highly recommended, and once again, I enjoyed the discussion we had about it at Book Club.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4th Book of the Year - Complete

It took a while, but I finally finished my 4th book for #19 - Read 10 Books in One Year. I'd had Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella sitting on my shelf for quite some time, and I decided to read it before taking on our next book club selection, Crow Lake.

I don't know what it was with this book. I've read many of Sophie Kinsella's chick lit offerings in the past and always enjoyed them, but I found this one tedious and not nearly as funny as the others.

Basically, the story follows our beloved Shopaholic, Becky Bloomwood, after she becomes engaged to her long-time millionaire beau, Luke Brandon. Becky somehow ends up torn between two weddings - a hokey hometown wedding that her mom is planning for her back in England, and a grand marital event that Luke's mother is footing the bill for in New York City...both planned for the same date.

Every couple of chapters, Becky changes her mind.

"I want to get married at home!"

"No, I want to get married at the Plaza!"

"My mum will be so upset if I cancel now..."

"My NYC wedding planner will sue me if I cancel now!!"

Holy jumpins! Make up your damn mind!!!

So yes. I tired of this very quickly, but forced myself to trudge through it. This should have been a quick, easy read. Fluff. Pure enjoyment.

Not so much.

The good news? I started Crow Lake yesterday while home sick, which is our next book we're reading for Book Club, and I'm over half-way through it already. So I should be half-way through this task shortly, and it's not even summer yet! Yay me!! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F Movie Done for #30 - The Fighter

Do you know how long I've been a fan of this guy?

Since back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark...

I go through Mark Wahlberg phases. The last time I went through a big one was after seeing Steve Carrell and Tina Fey's comedy-adventure, Date Night. Wahlberg played the ever-buff, the ever-suave, the ever-shirtless Holbrooke Grant.

Might I just say... yum.

I'm going through another Wahlberg phase, scouring my movie shelves for anything I own that he's been in, prepping for a Marky Mark Marathon someday soon. I might even listen to "Good Vibrations", too.

So what brought on this new Wahlberg phase, you ask?

On Monday, I rented the critically-acclaimed, award-winning drama The Fighter, which is based on a true story. Wahlberg plays the lead role of "Irish" Micky Ward, a down-on-his-luck boxer living in the shadow of his much louder, much more entertaining brother Dickie, played by Christian Bale (and holy mother, no wonder the dude won awards for his performance. uh-may-zing.)

Dickie once took down Sugar Ray Leonard years ago and had his 15 minutes. But now he trains his brother and yaps constantly about his comeback, which everyone knows is an unrealistic dream because he now dwells in a world of drugs and crime. Micky's career is bogged down by poor choices made by his white trash family - his mother as his manager, his brother as his trainer, and his eleventy-billion sisters who trail after him as his fan club.

It isn't until Dickie is thrown in jail and Micky's new strong-willed, sharp-tongued girlfriend Charlene (played by Amy Adams in a stark contrast to her usual sweet, cutesy roles) convinces him to make important changes to his management, that he begins to climb the ladder of success in the boxing world.

Gotta say, I loved this flick. Not just because Mark Wahlberg has big muscles and takes his shirt off a lot. Not just because I've always had a soft spot for boxing movies.

It's a great story. A sad story, a bittersweet story, and yet also a story of hope, and family, and making dreams come true. The acting in it was brilliant, especially by Bale, and by Melissa Leo who played Micky's mother, Alice.

And...well... I have a soft spot for boxing movies. And Mark Wahlberg has big muscles and takes his shirt off a lot. Really, you can't go wrong.

If you haven't seen it already, go rent it.

F Movie for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet - Check!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spaghetti Pie for #44

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love food. And my favourite food? Italian. Spaghetti, Lasagne, Ravioli, Cannelloni, Macaroni – you name it. If it’s pasta, I generally love it.

So is it any surprise that when I decided to choose my first recipe for #44 - Make something from every section of my Betty Crocker cookbook, that I picked a pasta dish?

I’ve actually been wanting to make Spaghetti Pie for a while now; ever since my boss/co-worker Sue made it a few months ago and brought it in for me to taste-test. It was so yummy. I printed off a recipe that I found on-line which sounded similar, and intended on making it last night. On a whim, I checked the Betty Crocker cookbook before starting to see if there was a Spaghetti Pie recipe in it, and bam – there it was, in the Casserole section! Perfect!

See, Lindsay gave me this Betty Crocker cookbook for my birthday last summer, and it is a fairly in-depth cookbook – it covers pretty much everything, from Appetizers & Beverages to Cookies & Candies, from Cakes & Pies to Eggs & Cheese, from Breads to Meats & Poultry...and everything in between. There are 17 sections. SEVENTEEN. If I hope to make something from each section before this 1001 day limit is up, I gotta get crackin’.

So I’m going to write out the Betty Crocker recipe for you here, and in brackets, I will tell you what I actually did – as I switched up some of the steps for the recipe I found on-line (based on how Sue made hers), and then I added a few little “Jill twists” to it – because I never follow a recipe exactly unless I’m super-sure I’m going to mess it up!

Spaghetti Pie

Prep: 10 mins, Cook: 16 mins, Bake: 45 mins, Stand: 5 mins, Makes six servings


4 oz uncooked spaghetti (if you hold uncooked spaghetti together in a bundle, 4 oz is about as big around as the size of a quarter)
½ lb lean ground beef
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 jar (14 oz) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)

(In my twisted recipe – I also used 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese & 2 Tbsp margarine)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Spray 10-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. (whoops, forgot this part) Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.

2. Meanwhile, in skillet, cook beef, bell pepper, and onion over medium heat 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in pasta sauce, chilli powder, salt & pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. (I had a container of homemade pasta meat sauce in my freezer, so I pretty much skipped this step, and just defrosted my sauce in the microwave).

3. Place spaghetti in pie plate; gently press on bottom and 1 inch up side of plate. (Despite Betty's handy instructions on how to measure spaghetti, I still ended up with too much, so my "crust" was kiiiinda thick. oops!)

4. In small bowl, stir eggs and cottage cheese until well mixed; spread evenly over spaghetti. (Here's where I went off the page and followed the other recipe instead. I actually mixed the 2 eggs, beaten, into the spaghetti noodles, along with 2 Tbsp of margarine and the parmesan cheese. I also tossed in a Tbsp of Epicure's Bruschetta herbs because the spaghetti looked so plain and sad. I left the cottage cheese as is.)

5. Spoon beef mixture over the cottage cheese. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set. (My other recipe called for 25-30 minutes, so that's all mine got). Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Let me tell you – it was deeeeelish! I added a slice of garlic bread to my meal by taking ½ a Tbsp of margarine and blending with Epicure's Herb & Garlic dip mix and spreading it on a piece of multi-grain bread, then sprinkling it with a bit of grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese and broiling it for 5 minutes.

As you can see, the first piece does not look like pie. I also probably did not wait for five minutes before hacking into it...

Next time, I would leave out the Brushetta herbs in the spaghetti, or not put so much, because the flavour was too strong. Otherwise, it was great, and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Update on the 101 List

Still not a whole lot going with the 101 accomplishments, but I do have a few little check marks to add.

#33 - Go to a minimum 3 Sens games per year : I was worried that my first year of this vow would be a failure. Usually I get to at least three games per season, but due to a lacklustre year for the Sens, I haven't been all that interested in attending games. A few weeks ago, I realized I needed to take in one more game live to get my three games in for the year, so I floated the idea to a few family members that we should go to one more game before the year was over. Needless to say, they weren't exactly clamouring to fork over cash to go see a team that we've known wouldn't make the playoffs for months.

Thank goodness for my bro-in-law's 12-game pack. Because of it, my sister had laid claim to Saturday night's tickets, for the Tampa Bay game, and she invited me along. We had a great night, despite the fact that I chipped my tooth on a piece of nice, soft, not-even-close-to-tough pizza (seriously, who does that?!?), and I accidentally walked into the men's washroom (after seeing the row of urinals, I shouted, "Oh my God, I'm in the mens' washroom!", turned around and saw the guy behind me grinning and he said, "Yeah you are!").

Through the first two and a half periods, it was sort of a boring game, with nothing to cheer about as Tampa were the only ones getting on the scoreboard, notching 2 goals. But then the momentum swung in our favour, as the Sens scored two in the final ten minutes to tie things up, and then Jason Spezza potted the OT winner for a happy ending at the Bank!

Even though the Sens' playoff hopes died long ago, and most fans have actually been rooting for them to lose lately in hopes of staying in the NHL basement and increasing their chances of getting the top draft pick this year, I must say the atmosphere was great the other night. I expected attendence to be much lower than it was (managed to get 18,800 +!) The fans were pumped and cheered heartily all night long. They even had the wave going at one point. Most left quite happy at the end of night - except for the little Tampa Bay fan behind us who had been gloating for most of the game, laughing at his Sens fans parents. After the Sens came back to win in OT and we were jumping and cheering, we turned around to grab our coats on the way out and discovered him sobbing in his seat. Poor little guy!!

#69 - Donate to a food bank : Not sure why I didn't check this one off earlier, but I definitely gave a food donation at our White Gift service at church this past December, and all the food collected goes to a local food bank.

#70 - Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years: Again, I must have forgotten to blog about this one, because I wrote my letter on New Year's Day. It will be interesting to read what I wrote that morning, 10 years from now, on January 1, 2021...

#88 - Buy a laptop : I've always wanted one. On March 2, I finally bought one. I had just paid off my credit card, so of course I needed to load it right back up again. ;) I purchased my wonderful black Toshiba Satellite on the Best Buy website, after asking my brother a million questions about laptops (and got helpful answers like, "They can be black or silver or other colours, they come with chords and fancy battery packs, they range in size from 15" to 19" depending on how much you want to spend, hope this helps!!!) I now have all of my music and pictures transferred off my work computer onto it, and I love it! Having a computer at my side at all times will hopefully help me get back to writing, which I haven't done much of lately, other than blogging!

Slowly whittling away at the list...Now that spring has sprung, I will hopefully get back into the 101 swing of things!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Movies to Check Off for #30

I haven't been accomplishing much on my 101 List since Cuba. I got so much knocked off in one week that I sort of took a 101 break when I got home.

But the one thing I never take much of a break from? Watching movies.
So I have a my J & P movies to cross off for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet.

The "J" movie is embarrassing. But if you follow me over at Jill's World, you already know that I've been afflicted by Bieber Fever. I swore this would never happen to me, but I've fallen victim to the Bieb's charm. You can read about my sad decline into the ramblings of a 14-year-old girl here. And here. And here.

So yes, I saw the Bieber movie in theatres. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D. And yes, I know how pathetic that sounds, coming from an old lady like me. But just for the record, my twenty-something friend Lindsay came too. I'm not alone in this Old Lady Justin Bieber Fan Club. (Sorry for calling you an old lady, Linds. You know what I mean.)

And also for the record? It's really good. Call him a floopy-haired little fruit if you want, but I swear, if you see the movie, you'd give the kid a little more respect. It's because of the movie that I've become a Bieber fan. His story is truly remarkable, and say what you will, the boy's got talent.

Okay. Enough. I've been pimpin' the Biebs out on my blogs too much lately. I know this. I'll stop now.

As for my "P" movie, you can also head to my other blog and read all about my afternoon date with Paranormal Activity 2 here. Any movie that has a baby being stalked by an invisible demon is not cool with me. Wasn't as scary as the first, but still gave me the shivers.

The sequel is actually more of a prequel to the original, in which happy couple Micah and Katie are torn apart by an evil entity that is haunting their home and eventually enters Katie's body and kills Micah. With this flick, we go back a few month's before Katie & Micah's horror story, and are introduced to Katie's sister Kristi and her family: husband Daniel, step-daughter Ali, and new baby Hunter. They begin experiencing similar paranormal activity that we originally saw with Katie & Micah. But this time, it's centreing around Baby Hunter.

Through security cameras stationed throughout their home, we are able to see Baby Hunter staring into space in the middle of the night while the family dog acts very strangely, and other odd occurrences take place: the baby's mobile moving, lights flickering, pots and pans falling off their hooks in the kitchen, the rocking chair moving on it's own, the creepy crawler in the pool jumping out by itself every night, the TV acting strangely, odd bumps and footsteps, and so on.
When Kristi asks Katie to help her remember what happened when odd paranormal activity happened to them as children, Katie orders her sister to stop talking about it, because she believes whatever is haunting them thrives on the attention, and will go away if ignored.

Oh, Katie. If only you knew...

So yeah. It's totally silly and the two stories don't entirely match up and I think this "prequel" sort of ruins the spooky magic of the original.

That being said, demons and evil entities freak me out, so yes, I am still sleeping with the hall light on at night.

But that's nothing new for me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Third Book of the Year - Done!

For #19 - Read 10 Books in 1 Year, I finished my third of 2011 last night. I'm realizing now that this isn't much of a challenge, as I'm pretty sure I average at least a book a month, and that makes 12 in one year. Oh well!

For my third book of the year, I read Grecian Holiday by Kate Cann. Sharon let me borrow the book to take South with me, but I didn't end up getting to it while on the beach in Cuba. Upon returning home, I read The Kite Runner, and following that, I definitely needed a light, fluffy read, which Sharon had guaranteed me this fit that bill.

Oddly enough, it took me longer to get through the chick lit than The Kite Runner. Go figure.

Grecian Holiday tells the light, fluffy story of a young British woman named Kelly who opts to spend her summer holidaying in Greece with her friends instead of back-packing it across Europe with her new boyfriend, Mike.

Kelly and her friends Jade and Sarah are living their dream vacation, staying in a gorgeous old farmhouse, spending their days at the beach, and their evenings clubbing and hosting lavish parties. Then, one day Mike and his mates turn up, and Kelly must decide whether she wants to continue on for the rest of the summer with her friends or take off with Mike instead. On one hand, she'll have some ticked off friends. On the other, she could lose her boyfriend. Oh the dilemma!

Light & fluffy. Through & through. I think my favourite parts of the book were the descriptions of Greece - the beach, the ocean, the villages, the architecture, the people, the food, the wine... I've never thought of Greece as a place I'd like to go when dreaming of overseas vacations, but it seriously shot up the list after this book! It sounds heavenly!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Movie Checked Off for #30

I was a little surprised that I didn't already have a 'C' movie checked off for #30 - Watch 26 movies starting with each letter of the alphabet. But I'm very pleased to count Country Strong towards that task! I now have 13 of the 26 movies knocked off the list. Woo!

I really really loved Country Strong. Totally my kind of flick. I went with my friend Sharon last Friday night to see it in theatre, and when we left, my mind was spinning with thoughts of the bittersweet tale, my new celeb crush, and a soundtrack that I can't wait to get my hands on.

For Sharon's take on the flick, check it out here. If you want to read my schoolgirl ramblings on how dreamy Garrett Hedlund is, carry on:

The story centres on Hedlund's character, Beau Hutton, an up-and-coming country singer, who gets his big break opening for superstar Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) after he befriends her at the rehab centre where he works and she is a patient. Canter's husband/manager James (Tim McGraw) also sees potential in Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester), so he brings her along for the ride too. Kelly mounts her comeback while opening doors for two new bright stars-in-the-making, offering them advice while unknowingly giving them a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how fame can tear a person apart.

There's also a lot of mixed-up romance going on. Kelly adores Beau, but she also depends and leans on her husband, striving for his approval and hoping to make up the mistakes she's made in their marriage. Meanwhile, she's jealous of Chiles, who has caught James' eye. And once Beau and Chiles, old-time frenemies, are put in close confines, they start falling for each other too. At times, it's hard to keep up with the love...square?

But the soundtrack was the shining star of this movie. Gwyneth Paltrow was excellent as Kelly Canter, and from the concert scenes, you'd swear she spent her life on stage, doing just that. Leighton Meester, who James calls "the next Carrie Underwood", also perfectly portrays a young country starlet.

And Garrett Hedlund...Ohhhh, yum. His voice is like sand paper and warm hot chocolate. He reminded me of one my new country singing faves, Jamey Johnson. From Beau's first performance in the movie, when he sang a cover of Merle's "Silver Wings", I was in love. Definitely, definitely, my new celebrity crush. Sharon said she thought he looked like he needed to be thrown in a shower and scrubbed down. Quite personally, I was a big fan of his scruffy, shaggy cowboy appearance. But if we had to throw him in a shower and scrub him down, I volunteer...

Whoops. Just drooled a little on my desk, there.

Anyways, I was also fully impressed by the fact that all the stars in the movie sang their own songs. And thought it was pretty funny that the only actual country star in the cast, McGraw, didn't even have a singing role. In any case, it ups the cred of the movie that they all did their own vocals (and were quite good at it, too), much like Jeff Bridges and Colin Ferrell in Crazy Heart. Anyone of them could release a country CD right now and I'm sure it would hit the charts. Highlights are Hedlund's "Chances Are" and "Timing is Everything", Meester's take on one of my Jessica Andrews favourites, "Summer Girl", and her duet with Hedlund, "Give in to Me", as well as Paltrow's performances of "Shake That Thing", "Coming Home", and of course, "Country Strong".

It was a tragic movie about fame, love, and loss. I enjoyed every minute of it. If you like country music - or just scruffy, shaggy cowboys - I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another Book & Movie to Cross Off

Yesterday, when re-capping all that I'd crossed off the 101 List in 2011, I forgot a movie for #30 - Watch 26 movies starting with each letter of the alphabet. Not sure how I forgot it, since I'd been dying to see it and loved every second of it once I saw it on Saturday afternoon. It's my "D" movie - Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. For obvious reasons, I'd been wanting to see it since I returned from Cuba.
(I promise, I'm going to stop talking about Cuba some day soon!)

It's no original Dirty Dancing. To even try to compare it would be unfair. Not even a cameo by Patrick Swayze as the dance instructor at the hotel in Cuba could bring it the magic of the original.

But the music was hot. The dancing was fun. The story had a touch of history, as it took place on the eve of the Revolution. And it was pretty cool to pick out landmarks and places I remembered from our trip into Havana.

And it also made me wonder why I never found any Cuban boys quite as sweet & charming as Javier. ;)

I also have my second book to cross off for the year for #19 - Read 10 books in one year. The book club I'm in had selected The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for our first book of 2011, and I wasn't sure how long it would take me to read it, so I wanted to get it started well before the end-of-February meeting date.

As it turned out, a whirlwind week of being completely enthralled by the story, and I was done it. I don't think I've read a book so quickly since Twilight! But it wasn't a feel-good story. In fact, it was quite a sad one. I expected this, as I read Hosseini's other acclaimed novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was prepared for the gut-wrenching horror, the sadness, the fear, and that sick feeling in my stomach as I thought to myself, This stuff really happens. These kids in Afghanistan really go through this.

It's an eye-opener. It's easy to forget about the terror in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, because they are just so far away. I sometimes find it easier to just turn a blind eye.

But Hosseini brings the reality of present-day Afghanistan closer to home. He puts a spotlight on their plight. In this novel, he does so by telling the story of Amir, a young Afghan boy who treats his servant boy, Hassan, quite badly, and feels guilt for it for years, knowing how Hassan always stuck up for him, but he turned his back on him in his hour of need.

As Amir grows into a man and moves to America with his father when political upheaval tears their homeland apart, he can never forget Hassan, the servant boy who was his only true friend. It isn't until Amir is married and his father long gone that he begins to find out secrets that his father kept from him, and he returns to Afghanistan to try to right the wrongs he committed against Hassan.

It's a moving novel, and Hosseini is a brilliant story-teller. I literally couldn't put it down, and when I finally forced myself to bed, I'd have trouble sleeping because I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was a heavy read, and I'm a little relieved it's over now.

I can't wait to see how everyone else feels about it at Book Club in a few weeks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Check times... a LOT!

So, it's been awhile since I updated the 101 List. Since before Christmas.

I can't believe January's over already! And I've already accomplished so much off my 101 List in 2011! Here's the run-down:

#4 - Go Down South - Taking a trip south has always been a dream of mine, and it finally became reality on January 14th, when a group of us arrived at the Breezes Jibacoa resort in Cuba. It was a wonderful week of fun in the sun, and we also celebrated the marriage of Jeff and Kerry. I looooooooooooved Cuba!!

#13 - Dabble my toes in the ocean - Also accomplished January 14th - in fact, it was one of the first things I did in Cuba. We quickly changed into shorts and sandals and raced down to the beach, where the wind had kicked up white caps that kept crashing into the shoreline. Standing there, with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean washing over my feet as I literally squealed with of my favourite memories!!

#17 - Go a whole week without signing into Facebook. Ryan tells me it's cheating since Internet access was slow in Cuba and we had to pay to use it, and also because there were a million other things to do, but I happen to know lots of our fellow travellers who checked into their Facebooks while we were down there. I, proudly, did not! From about 11:30 PM on January 13, 2011 to about 9:00 PM on January 21, 2011, I not only avoided Facebook, but I also had left my Blackberry at home, turned off. No technology for a week, other than a few quick emails home. Impressive, no?

#19 - Read 10 books in one year - I can check off the first book of 2011, as I read The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah while in Cuba. It was a light read, perfect for the beach - about a young girl whose mother abandons her, but fortunately she befriends a woman who is in the midst of divorce and was never able to have her own children. The two are a match made in heaven, and the girl finds out what it's like to be in a real family, while the woman finally gets to try her hand at mothering. A great, quick read! I have to admit, I was highly optimistic that I'd get more reading done, as I brought two other books with me, but I guess I must have been busy with other things, because I didn't finish The Things We Do For Love until we were almost back in Ottawa!

#21 - Try a food I've never eaten before. Again, I accomplished this in Cuba. My plan was to try lobster at some point, but I missed out on the lobster night because we had booked an a la carte restaurant for seafood night at the buffet. So instead, I tried a bite of rabbit off Brenda's plate one day at lunch. And it's true what they say - tastes just like chicken!

#22 - Pull an all-nighter - It wasn't exactly what I had planned when I put this on the list, but because our bus picked us up at 2 AM the morning of January 14th to take us to the airport, there was pretty much no sleep to be had that night. I was just toooooo excited to get to Cuba! I had a quick "nap" at Mom & Dad's that evening (but I don't think I actually slept), then showered and arrived at Wayne's by 12:30 AM. By the time we got on the bus, I was starting to feel pretty zonked, and then I tried napping on the plane, but it didn't work either. By the time we arrived in Veradero, I hadn't really slept for over 30 hours!!

#30 - Watch 26 movies I've never before starting with each letter of the alphabet - I have a whole bunch to add to this list:

  • G - Grownups - One of Adam Sandler's latest offerings, and it was just "meh" for me. A bunch of old friends getting together, talking about the old days, and trying to teach their kids to have fun the way they used to. But it wasn't very funny...Not one of my favourite Sandler movies.
  • H - How Do You Know - Saw this one in theatres with Lindsay and Sharon. It starred Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson - three of my faves. While I found the movie a little slow-moving at times, and I truly expected more from the Jack Nicholson scenes, it was a sweet movie with a happy ending, and a great night out with friends!
  • O - Orphan - There's a reason why I don't watch scary movies. Orphan is one of the scariest I've seen in a while. (Maybe it's because I don't usually watch them, as my imagination runs wild afterwards and I have to sleep with the lights on. For months.) Yep, this one creeped me out. And there's a pretty cool twist at the end which really helps to explain why "There's something wrong with Esther..."
  • S - The Switch - Just rented this one last night with Luke and Amanda, and what a pleasant surprise it was! Starring Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman, it tells the story of a woman, Cassie, who decides to have a baby on her own after selecting a sperm donor, but then her best friend Wally gets drunk and switches the "goods" for his own. Seven years later, Wally meets his son, Sebastian. And the kid is the spitting image of him. But Cassie still has no idea that Wally is her son's father... Well worth the rental fee, and the kid who plays Sebastian is ADORABLE!!
  • V - The Vanishing - Oy. Luke picked this one up out of a cheap bin somewhere, and it piqued his curiosity because it starred such big names as Kiefer Sutherland, Jeff Bridges, and Sandra Bullock. But it was released a long time ago, long before any of them were big names in Hollywood. You can tell by the clothes and hair styles. It was dated, to say the least. And also scary. Awesome.

#31 - Take a plan ride for the first time - January 14, 2011, holding Brittany's hand, I flew for the first time on Sunwing flight # 694. I was nervous. I worried that every little bump and noise meant there was something wrong. But we made it. And now I'd never hesitate to fly again!

On the plane before take-off - a little excited!

#42 - Spend an entire day at the beach. I crossed this one off on January 19, 2011. We spent lots of time on the beach in Cuba, but on this day, I was there from 9:30 in the morning til sunset, around 5:30 PM. I lounged. I read. I listened to my iPod. We took a paddle boat out. I snorkeled. But I never strayed far from the sand or the ocean. It was the perfect day.

This is the sun setting on my full day on the beach!

#98 - Wear a bathing suit in public without shorts. Again, not what I had planned when I put this on my list. I had hoped to lose a pile of weight and then finally not be embarrassed to go in public without cover-up. It was supposed to be an empowering moment. But it actually went down in Cuba, while still very uncomfortable with my size and weight, yet I couldn't imagine getting into the jacuzzi with the girls with my shorts on. So I took 'em off. And I did so all week long. But there is no photo evidence, because it wasn't pretty, people!

There we have it! All of my check marks since Christmas til now. Sorry I haven't kept up with the postings, but I'll try to be better from now on! It's been so rewarding to cross off so much on the list - and much of it all in one week!