Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce

Spring? Spring rolls? Get it? I think it’s probably the closest I’m going to get to spring in the next couple weeks or so. I mean, how can it be that it snowed today? Isn’t it April and shouldn’t we be digging out our sunhats and swimsuits? I simply cannot wait until spring is sprung!

Even with the unpredictable weather, this weekend was a great one!

I checked out the Yoga Show with a friend, followed by dinner at Fresh (bbq burger with quinoa onion rings were delish!). Saturday morning was a fitness filled one with BodyAttack, BodyFlow and BodyFlow (round 2), then a night of dancing. Today started off wonderfully with a 45+ member BodyFlow class. The afternoon was filled with tying up lots of loose ends from switching jobs and some time in the kitchen making spring rolls!
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cupcake army

At last! This weekend, I acquired the critical assets to complete my mission of a mini cupcake revolution. Gone are the days of full-sized muffins and cupcakes. Bite-sized is where it’s at. I always find that my eyes are bigger than my stomach and half way through a muffin or cupcake, I realized that I only wanted half of it. So this is the perfect solution.

On numerous occasions I’ve looked for these mini cupcake pans at my local Superstore but they were always sold out! Today, I found a whole stack of them AND they were on sale. Score!

I used two recipes and tweaked them a bit to suit the ingredients I had at home – the dead simple chocolate cake and Roxanne’s Banana Bread (from a colleague at my old workplace).

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I survived week two at my new job and can I admit that I love it even more each day? Perhaps it’s the honeymoon period (or the fact that they feed us breakfast and lunch) but I’m looking forward to what else is in store!

Anyway, New York seems like so long ago but I wanted to share my time there because it was great and I have tons of photos!

I stayed at The Standard, a boutique hotel known for it’s hip interior, great food, and celebrity sightings. It’s located in the trendy Meatpacking District , an area unfamiliar to me (the last time I went, we were just south of Central Park).

the standard hotelthe standard exteriorthe standard bathroom the standard bathroom
(Notice how the massive tub doesn’t have a door, and all that separates it from the bedroom is a pane of glass? Yeah, that’s right! Kinky!)

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nyc by night
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
The lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York…

New York City is one of those places that I feel like I can visit over and over and there will always be something new to see and do. My trip was fabulous and far exceeded my expectations. It was the perfect mix of newness, education, exploration, and fun (the lovely weather didn’t hurt either!).

Monday morning was nerve wracking for me – my first day at my new job. As vain as it is, I fretted over picking out my outfit for the day! You can never take back that first impression. It’s like picking out your outfit for the first day of school. You want to make sure you fit in with the culture, are work appropriate, and look approachable.

first day of work
(shirt from Jacob, sweater from Jacob, skirt from Zara, necklace from Walmart, boots from Aldo)

My first day was jam packed with orientation stuff – introductions, building tours, social ice breaker games – and then the rest of the week just flew by and I was still LOVING it. I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow at my normal office (did I just say I can’t wait to go to work?).

More photos and such on my New York trip to come!

jw
(dress from Jacob, necklace from The Bay)

If I had a glass of wine or a cocktail right now, I’d cheers you all -to new adventures! As I mentioned in a previous post, I quit my job and am starting a new one on Monday. It really was a bittersweet moment. I was sad but happy and I will definitely miss my colleagues. It was my first job out of university so it is all that I have ever known.

Things have been so hectic that I haven’t really had the chance to digest. After I got back from Vancouver, I hopped the Ontario border to Montreal, the last stop of the roadshow I was a part of at my [old] work.

When I think of Montreal, I think style, culture, sophistication, excitement, and romance (it’s the French thing!). And that means it also makes it on my list of ‘places I’d like to live in’. I can also then practice my french. Oui oui!

old montreal building (The view from my hotel room – it was snowing)

A couple of restaurants we went to:

L’assomoir
A quaint tapas style place that specializes in seafood. We started of with an assortment of appetizers (humus, candied salmon, kefta, plantain chips) and for our main, we ordered a huge feast to share (literally, I think the translation was “The Feast”). The platter had crab legs, steak, shrimp, salmon, salad…we were stuffed!

Holder
Located in old Montreal, I couldn’t tell what sort of cuisine this restaurant was. It was okay. Nothing too special in my opinion. I ordered the calamari and the lobster ravioli and sampled a pesto potato salad and salmon tartare. The latter two were really tasty and unique.

Well, m’dears, I’m off again! This time to New York City, baby! My new company is flying me out for an orientation and training which is OUTSTANDING! I can’t wait!

me in hotel roomDay 1: casual outfit for event set up
(shirt from gap, vest from jacob, pants from rue 21, belt from ?, boots from Nine West)

me in hotel room
me in hotel room Day 2: suited up for customer event; jeans for evening outings
(suit custom made in Hoi An, Vietnam, shirt from H&M, necklace from the Bay, jeans from rue 21)

Guys, I think I am in love. With Vancouver that is. I knew right from the moment I got out of the airport and hopped into a cab for the short ride over to the downtown core. The scenery is amazing, the air is fresh and crisp, the buildings are beautiful – the vibe is so inviting. And I knew right then and there that it has made it onto my “places I’d want to live” list.

My hotel was the Renaissance Harbourside Hotel which boasted a spectacular view of the mountains and water.

vancouver - view from hotel
vancouver - view from hotel bar view from hotel
This time around, I was lucky to have squeezed in some downtime, and even luckier that I had a friend and some colleagues out there who were kind enough to take us out.

Here are a few places that we went over two days:

Kamei Japanese Restaurant
One of the first Japanese restaurants in Vancouver that introduced the traditions and culture of Japan to Vancouverites. The staff are dressed in kimonos and we had to remove our shoes to sit on mats (there was space carved out under the table so we could dangle our legs). We ordered a bunch of share plates and roles. I tried fresh wild salmon (very different in taste and texture than the salmon sashimi in Toronto) and sea urchin. The latter was less than appetizing.

Cactus Club Cafe
A trendy bar (casual fine dining during the day) where we were entertained by a very intoxicated lady who tried relentlessly to pick up men.

Chill Winston
A restaurant & lounge in the lovely, cobbled streets of Gastown. We ended up in the private party room. I ordered the indulgent poutine and balanced it out with some steamed veg. Nice vibe, great food, great company!

Republic Nightclub
After a night of food and drinks, we wanted to go dancing and this was a great pick! We found ourselves a cozy corner on the second floor and hopped from one room to another where they were playing both house and hip hop.

Off to Montreal on Monday – last show and my last days at my current job. What a crazy month it has been!

30 for 30 - day 25 daily outfit
(DAY 25: sweater from ralph lauren, dress from banana republic, belt from INC Macy’s, scarf from my mom’s closet, shoes from Aldo)

Dear friends,

A quickie post before I jet set off to Vancouver, BC. Hoping to have some down time to explore the city or perhaps taste some succulent french sushi.

Be back soon!

xoxo
Jen

Day 24: 30 for 30 challenge

(DAY 24: skirt from Jacob, white shirt from RW&CO, vest from Jacob, boots from Aldo)

Yup. I sure did. Sent in my official resignation letter and all. It is one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. Ever. My current company has treated me well but opportunities await and this new gig fell into my lap and I’d be silly not to take it!

Still sort of processing it all. I am a jumbled ball of emotions right now: proud, relieved, excited & nervous! I know that this is the best thing for me and my career.

So the one thing I will not do is look back…except for in this picture!

day 24 - 30 for 30 challenge daily outfit

me in hotel room - day 23 daily outfit 30 for 30
(DAY 23: sweater from INC in Macy’s, shirt from Smart Set [technically, not part of my 30 for 30 but I changed into a shirt that was 30 for 30 compliant later on in the day], jeans from Rue 21, belt from Nine West?, shoes from Joe)

My trip to the nation’s capital, Ottawa, was another whirlwind of activity. I flew in Wednesday morning on the highly recommended Porter Airlines.

I need to take a second to rave about Porter! It was so easy to get to using public transit and once there, NO line ups, and a welcoming Porter lounge that hosted free refreshments and wi-fi. Given it was only a 40 minute flight, I wasn’t expecting any on board hospitality but they provided us with a small blueberry loaf, and yogurt. Sure beats the other airplane food I’ve had in the past!

porter airlines
My room at the Westin hotel was luxurious and my only regret was not having had the chance to spend more time in it!

westin room ottawa
The view from my room was amazing, overlooking the parliament buildings.

ottawa parliament buildings
The two days I spent their was rainy and wet but looking back, I have nothing to complain about. In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I am thankful of the rain and snow that we’ve received in the past few weeks, that it has been manageable and short-lived.

My heart goes out to the people in Japan who have had a devastating few days. I must commend them on their sense of calm and poise even in such a horrific time.

30 for 30 - day 23
The travel is really starting to get to me. I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past couple of weeks, have neglected the gym, am eating a diet of deliciously rich and likely unhealthy hotel food, and am spending the weekends catching up on sleep versus spending time with friends and family. Anyways, I’m off to do some laundry and to pack for my trip to Vancouver this week!

30 for 30 daily outfit - day 22

(blazer from urban behaviour, sweater from jacob, jeans from some store in the U.S.)

So does it count as cheating if I swapped out a shirt I haven’t worn with jeans? I should have selected jeans to be part of my 30 items from the get go – what was I thinking!

This week is another busy week so don’t mind if I’m MIA around here. For work, I am manning a booth at a cross country roadshow for customers. Last week it was Edmonton. This week, it’s Toronto and Ottawa. Coming up are Vancouver and Montreal. I used to think business travel would be glamourous and fun but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be! I mean, I hardly got a chance to enjoy the hotel’s plush, king sized bed, big screen tv, and room service or check out local attractions. And wouldn’t it be awesome if these shows took place in a nice, warm climate, like Hawaii?