Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Trip To East Coast Canada

So as usual I am late with our trip recaps! It was nice to spend 10 days straight with Mr. Milk and Monday felt kinda lonely! Lame I know. Anyhoo, here are some pics from our trip. Since we are total foodies, most of our pics revolve around that! :) (click on pics to enlarge)

So this is milk in Ontario. It comes in plastic BAGS! I about lost it when I saw this! Never seen this before! Anywhere! Most people have one of those pitchers that you place the carton BAG of milk, snip the corner, and pour in your coffee, cereal, whatever. I think its more environmentally friendly so kudos to them! 

We went to this amazing chocolate store Soma Chocolatemaker in the beautiful Distillery District in Toronto. Well no need to say that this Chocolate Lover felt like she had died and gone to chocolate heaven! We got spicy hot chocolate, almond caramel clister, dark chocolate truffle with aged balsamic vinegar (doesn't sound so great but tastes de-lish!), an espresso truffle, and dark chocolate with caramel and fleur de sel! Yum-O!

The Montreal Biodome was a fun place and great experience for any animal lover like myself. Look at that little monkey in the middle there! So cute! And those in the bottom right corner are King Penguins (a la March of the Penguins). They are huge!

We went to the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal and it is ridiculously stunning! I think its one of the most beautiful churches I have seen!

So this is Mr. Milk and I being pigs! We couldn't just order those yummy chocolate drinks at Juliette & Chocolat. Oh no, not us! We had to order couldn't resist the semi-sweet chocolate fondue! I'm drooling just thinking about it!

So this was a wonderful boulangerie (bakery) a block away from our hotel called Premiere Moisson. I swear if I could have bought one of everything I would have! Their chocolate croissants were divine! Should have brought a bunch of those back here to freeze...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Blog Love

The lovely Alicia over at Curious Catchall passed on this great award to me. If you haven't visited her blog yet go on over and check it out! She has some awesome recipes on there too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Looking For A House

So since things are happening so quickly with the move and Mr. Milk starts his new job only a week after we arrive, the task of looking for a place to live falls in my lap. Ideally we would like to rent a place for the first few months, find our footing, and then look for a place to buy. We have been renters for so long and sometimes feel like that was money wasted that could have been going towards a mortgage payment. Either way, the idea of having a place of our own excites me! So I've gone on this wild search looking into properties, decorations, bathrooms, and my most favorite, kitchens! The two rooms in the home that I really really care about and want to make beautiful are the bathroom and the kitchen!

The one thing I have always wanted in a kitchen is an island with the stove on it! Look at some of these beautiful kitchens I am dreaming about. 

I love those counter stools around the island! So comfy and friends and family can hang out while you cook and nibble (source)

This one is funky :)

Not sure about the red but love the feel of this kitchen

I love wood, stainless steal, and glass together (source)

I love to tease Mr. Milk that we will have separate bathrooms! I want my bathroom to be a little spa-like sanctuary! And frankly, if you are sharing with a boy it just can't be!

love this tub!

This one needs a little more decor but has lots of potential!

What are your favorite rooms in the house? Any dreams or plans for your kitchens and bathrooms?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fridays with Mr. Milk - Taking a Break

It has been a hectic two weeks! From a trip to the East coast to preparations for my company's Annual General Meeting, to the immense emotional reaction of everybody around me that now knows our big announcement.... it has certainly been exhausting.

I'm going to Miami.

It's Friday morning and I am writing the post I promised Chocolate Lover, right before I head to Vancouver airport. Myself and eight other friends of mine from all over the world are meeting in Miami for a bachelor party. Not mine(!), yet, but one of the other guys who's also getting married in Cyprus in May. I'm not all that excited yet, as it has been quite the crazy run the past few weeks, but I'm sure I'll be in seventh heaven once I hook up with the rest of the gang. I've promised Chocolate Lover to take photos with a blog post in mind, so now I'm making that promise to you too :)

It feels awkward being away from Chocolate Lover for the weekend, but I am grateful for how pleasant, encouraging and selfless Chocolate Lover has been, knowing that I'll be taking off with the boys to have fun while she's stuck back in Vancouver. Thank you honey!

Until next Friday, this is Mr. Milk signing off.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Introducing Our Monogram

We are finally done with designing our invitations! We've spent a lot of time looking at invitations and stationary online and even went as far as to inquire about designing invitations with a professional. But we finally settled on doing them ourselves since Mr. Milk is pretty talented in this area. 

Mr. Milk is definitely the creative one in this duo. He has a good eye and does a lot of similar things for his work. He also has some connections with a professional printer, which means we can get our paper products printed for much cheaper. So after we got over the technical issues we were having, we got into creative mode, and started with the monogram. We chose the font we liked and off we went.

Here is what we first came up with. 

We both liked this one and it was the contender for a while until we worked on it a little more. Not sure how the color will show up on your screen but they are supposed to be pool/aqua (border, names, date) and sand (initials). Between the different computers we've seen this on we get light blue, very bright blue, and aqua. But you get the idea I guess. The monogram will be backed onto metallic aqua cardstock, hence the border.

We were happy with the color scheme but thought about making it a little more modern. So here is what we finally decided on:

What do you think? How are you doing with invitation/stationary design and/or purchase?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thank You Ladies...

For all of your great, supportive comments yesterday. As I was reading through them I started to feel a little sad, like I would be losing all these great friends! And the I snapped back into reality and realized that nothing would be different (other than time zone) and all you wonderful peeps would still be in my life! As long as there is an internet connection (which Mr. Milk will make sure there is - he is an internet whore) I am definitely going to keep blogging and reading!

And... even more exciting... if any of you lovelies are in the vicinity (i.e. anywhere in Europe!) Cyprus is just a hop and a skip over! Vacation anyone??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The BIG Announcement

As some of you may remember, I pulled a sneaky move in this post and told you I had a big announcement, but left you hanging a little. Well, its time to reveal all.

Mr. Milk and I are moving! We are so excited about this as it has been a work-in-progress for some time. Where are we moving to you might ask? Right here:

Yup! Thats right! We are moving back home!

We have been talking about this for many many months and although it was tough coming to the decision, we both feel a lot of relief now that its been made. We will both miss North America greatly (me mostly the US and Mr. Milk Canada) but we are just too far away from our friends and family over here. If you recall the family health issues we had over the Christmas holidays, well those pushed us further towards this decision. 

But lets start from the beginning. Back in September, Mr. Milk was faced with a job opportunity that he wasn't quite expecting. Accepting it would mean that we would be spending the next 3-5 years in Canada for sure. While the job offer was enticing, there were other issues. I for one am a visitor here, hence can't work. It would take at least a year for me to become a permanent resident and be allowed to work. I was already feeling restless at home as it was. And then there was the question, if we stay now, will we ever go back to Cyprus? It's hard enough to leave now, neither of us could imagine how much harder it would be if we had established careers and potentially kids. 

Luckily Mr. Milk had a lot of time to think about this and while we were in Cyprus over Christmas, he started looking into potential job opportunities there. While the economic crisis is starting to improve over here, there it's probably at its worst at the moment. But it seems like we are truly blessed because a few weeks ago he was offered a job at a company he was interested in and he has accepted! All the T's have been crossed and the I's dotted! We are both very grateful that at least one of us will have an income going back. I have applied for a position at a college/university there, so fingers crossed that it goes well!

So when is the big day? May 29th 2010 will be our departure date from Vancouver. Not a lot of time!

In the meantime there is sooooooo much to do! We need to sell off all of our furniture, purchase some things that are cheaper to get from here (hence the upcoming Portland shopping spree), pack the things we are taking, get rid of the things we are not, get quotes from freight companies, and so on and so forth! Aargh! 

I am sure my blog will come to reflect the chaos that will be my life in the next couple of months, so please bare with me ladies! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Baaaaack

Hi Ladies! How are you all? I feel like I've missed out on so much in the week that I've been gone! A couple of you even got married! Congrats! 

Mr. Milk and I had a great time in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, but are pretty happy to be home too. We were on the go almost the whole time and it always amazes me how tired you can get when you're on vacation! Thankfully we had all day yesterday to get back in gear, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and clean up the house. As soon as I get the chance I'll post some pics from our trip.

In the meantime, take a look at these:

Thats us! Courtesy of the lovely Penga over at Convention of a Wedding! This lady is so talented! Not only is she DIYing EVERYTHING for her upcoming wedding, she also does Line-Art and very generously offered to do some of her fellow bloggers so she can practice! She makes it sound like we are doing her a favor! If you look closely, you'll see that she even colored my shoes teal! What attention to detail! Both Mr. Milk and I love it! We are trying to think of ways to use it for our wedding. 

If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to rush over and check out Penga's blog. There's a quick-link on the right side-bar which takes you to her line-art post and where you can check out all the other pieces!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting Fit

I have always been one of those people who needs someone else to motivate them to go to the gym. I just get so bored in a gym, so if I have someone to go with it becomes more of a social affair and I enjoy it more. I enjoy outdoor activities but once winter comes around, they are less than appealing! 

We are lucky to have a small gym on our floor in our building. It's nothing fancy but has all the basics, a treadmill, stationary bike, pilates balls, free weights, and one of those combo weight machines which I never use. So we have no excuse for not going. Mr. Milk and I both want to use the wedding as the excuse to get us leading a healthier lifestyle. Of course we both want to look great on our wedding day, but we also lead pretty sedentary lifestyles which are only made worse in the winter.

I'd seen a few of you bloggers recommending Sue Flemings book Buff Brides so I thought I'd give it a go too. I work better when I have a routine to follow at the gym and that's exactly what her book offers.

There are two programs to follow, a 24-week one and a 12-week one for the bride in a hurry. I am on week 6 and let me tell you I have noticed a difference. My goal was to tighten and tone up,  be more heart healthy, and have my clothes fit better. I haven't lost weight but I am definitely tightening up. I see the muscles in my arms developing, my legs are stronger, and I feel better. And because I am seeing results, I am encouraged to go back and workout. Going with Mr. Milk makes it fun too. We tease each other, have friendly competitions, and whine at each other to get our butts of the couch and into the gym!

So what do you ladies do to stay healthy? Do you have trouble getting motivated to work out?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fridays with Mr. Milk - The Marriage Ref

Hey everyone and sorry for skipping on last Friday. It's okay to side track the "routine" once in a while but I'm guessing Chocolate Lover might not forgive a second omission in a row. See, in a way, she gets to play marriage ref on this one. 

Has anyone seen that new show on NBC with Tom Papa? It's absolutely hilarious! What else can you expect from Producer Jerry Sienfeld, who again managed to take real-life comedy and put it on TV? Tonight's show had Madonna, Larry David and Ricky Gervais (he's awesome!). You see all those couples with their ridiculous problems and you think "boy do these people ever have problems!" But somehow they manage to stay together for 15+ years. What is it that makes a couple "weird" in ones eyes and "normal" in someone else's? I wonder what CL and I have that makes us weird for others...

We don't have a 5ft iguana roaming around the house, or an ex-boy/girlfriend's prosthetic leg in the closet... we don't have our mother in-laws living with us nor do I spend ten hours a day grooming myself like a metrosexual... so what is it that we have that's kinda off? 

Stick around for a few more years and maybe you'll find out :)

Until next Friday, this is Mr. Milk signing off.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some Trips, Some Visits, And A BIG Announcement!

Lots of things have been going on in the Chocolate Milk household (I just put that together!)! 

To begin with, we are going on a trip to the East Coast of Canada. Mr. Milk has a work thing and I am tagging along since I've never been. We leave tomorrow evening and our first stop is Toronto. We spend the weekend there, then take the train to Ottawa, where Mr. Milk will have his meeting and I will be a tourist. Hopefully I'll have some time to blog then and post some pics. After 3 days, we get back on the train and head to Montreal for 4 days. This is the part I am most excited about, as I've heard great things about it! If any of you have any advice, tips, must-sees, please let us know! 

So needless to say I will be a little absent next week, but will be popping in whenever possible.

The following week, Mr. Milk will be in Miami for a bachelor party. Hopefully I can get him to take lots of pics so we can see what goes on during these affairs! A day before he returns, his best man will be coming to visit us from Cyprus for a couple of weeks! We are very excited about this. We are also planning a road trip to Portland for some tax-free shopping while he is here, and my hope is to return with my wedding band! :)

My chocoholic friend and her husband are looking into coming up to Vancouver at the beginning of May to spend Mr. Milk's birthday with us! We are super excited about this visit too because we have tried to plan it since September!!! So after 2 failed attempts we are hoping that the third time will be the lucky one. Mr. Milk and I have it written down in our calendar that they will be here so there. 

As for the BIG announcement... you'll have to wait a little more for that :) 

Sorry! But have to keep the suspense going a little longer! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

{Sponsor} Whiteflash - Is Your Engagement Ring Covered?

The average engagement ring costs over $1,500 yet many of us forget to get adequate coverage in case it is lost or stolen. While you can never replace your ring’s emotional value, there are ways you can insure its monetary value. Purchasing jewelry insurance doesn’t have to be complicated.

When planning a romantic proposal, insuring a valuable gift is not necessarily the first thing that springs to mind, so we are reminding people to make sure expensive jewelry is fully covered.

First, get your ring valued by a jeweler or appraiser, who should give you a valuation certificate.
Then check if it’s covered by your home and contents insurance policy.

Once you’ve got your insurance, take a photo of your ring, as this will help your insurer to process any claim more quickly.

Finally, if you lose your ring, inform your insurer immediately, and if it’s stolen, contact the police and get a crime reference number, as this is essential for a theft claim.

How to ensure valuable jewelry is fully protected against theft or loss
Have expensive jewelry items valued every two years
Tell your insurer about any items of particularly high value, and keep any valuation certificates or receipts in case you need to make a claim in the future
Take photographs of your valuable items as these can also help insurers to process your claim more easily
Don’t advertise jewelry to thieves – ideally, when not in use, keep it in a safe or lockable cabinet. 'Safe' places – such as under the bed or in your bedside drawers – tend to be the first places burglars look
If you are wearing precious items that have been passed down through generations, ensure you get an up-to-date valuation on these and take out additional ‘away from home' cover
Don’t dismiss jewelry you never wear. This should still be taken into account when estimating the value of your home contents

This is an incredibly busy time in your life. Do yourself a favor and go with an insurance company that the jewelry vendor recommends. The store may even be able to set it all up right then and there. This way, it’s done and taken care of and you won’t need to worry about it again for at least a year. You’ve spent a lot of time finding the perfect ring, take 10 minutes and make sure you have a good insurance policy for it in case something happens.

Provided by Whiteflash

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

200 Days Till The Wedding!

Hahaha not the closest milestone, but one I noticed this morning so thought I'd share :)

I'm sure like all the rest it will pass super quickly!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recaps of Everyday Life - Alpine Skiing at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver

This has taken me longer than I would have wanted, but better late than never, right!? Mr. Milk and I had an awesome time at the Alpine Skiing Slalom event and we really lucked out with the weather too. Although it was cold, we were well equipped (thanks to some very nice friends!), and it didn't rain like it had the previous day. There was some snow in the first part of the day, but this just added to the atmosphere!

So now for the fun par! Pictures!!!

One of the athletes coming down the mountain 

The crowd in the seated section of the spectators. We were in the sitting section cause the tickets were cheaper!

If you click to enlarge the picture you can see the Swiss horn better. He was all dressed up in traditional clothing too!

Mr. Milk with our friend Yangos holding up the Greek and Cypriot flags

Us with the skiers from Cyprus. They were really sweet and we hung out and chatted for a while.

Another view of the slopes

So you may have heard about the infamous Snow-Leopard from Ghana. He is the first skier from the snow-less country and only started skiing about 5 years ago. There was a lot of publicity about him in Vancouver and the crowed went nuts for him during both runs!

Here's a close-up of him. He kept getting stopped for people to take pics with him! Including the other athletes!

The Gold Medal Winner from Italy!

The Italians in the crowd went nuts after he won :)

Here is a video of a Canadian skier (sorry forgot his name) but you can see the reaction and encouragement from the crowd, which obviously consisted mostly of Canadians. Sorry about the camera turning! In my rush to get this recorded I got the angle of the camera wrong initially! :)

The most impressive thing was how much Olympic spirit there was! The crowd cheered every athlete on, especially when they missed a gate or fell, but went on to continue and finish their run! There was a lot of fog during the morning run making the skiing conditions tough for the athletes, and a lot of them ended up missing the gates and not finishing the run. 

We are actually looking forward to going to some Paralympic events, so will keep you posted if we do! 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Guys Ties

I finally got my act together and ordered the guys ties! Can I just say how much easier it is to figure out the men's attire than it is to figure out the women's!

Once we'd decided on a dress, picked out colors, and ordered them, I started the hunt for ties that would match the ladies dresses. And to be honest this was pretty easy! It only took me a couple of websites until I came across The Tie Bar. They have sooooo many ties on there and you can search by color, style, pattern, and so on! 

And the best parts? Their ties cost just $15 (except if you want the extra length ones)! And the ties I bought are 100% woven silk! And they have flat rate shipping!

Once I'd placed my order I was contacted within 20 mins or so by one of their customer service staff letting me know that they only had one of the aqua ties in stock but would be getting some within the next 2 weeks, and would it be ok to wait till then to ship my order all together. So although I have yet to receive my order, I am still excited about it! I ordered the Herringbone ties cause I liked the texture and Mr. Milk approved. 

This raspberry tie is for the best man (to match the maid of honor's dress)

I ordered two aqua ties to go with the two bridesmaids dresses 

And finally a turquoise tie to match the third bridesmaid's dress
Images: The Tie Bar

Where are you ladies getting the guys ties from? Are you matching them to your ladies dresses?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blueberry Banana Muffins

I hadn't baked in a while and wanted to make use of my new muffin pan so decided to bake some blueberry banana muffins (since thats what I already had at home).

Here's what you need:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries

1 teaspoon all purpose flour to sprinkle on the blueberries. 

Before baking...

Preheat oven to 375o. 
Mix together the flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
In another bowl combine the mashed bananas, milk, and vanilla
Sprinkle the blueberries with the 1tsp of flour.
Beat butter and sugars together
Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
Add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, alternating between the two.
Once its all combined, stir in the blueberries.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and divide batter into them.
Bake for 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
Transfer to cooling rack.

After baking  :)

They aren't too sweet and make a great quick breakfast or snack. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recaps of Everyday Life - Trip to Salmon Arm and Kelowna

Last week Mr. Milk had to drive the 5-6 hours to Salmon Arm from Vancouver so he could present at a meeting. Since he was going the day before, he asked me to go along with him and  keep him company on the long drive, promising to make the return drive fun by stopping at a couple of wineries. 

Beautiful snow covered mountains on our way there.

The next morning after Mr. Milk's presentation we stopped at a local cafe to grab breakfast and some sandwiches for lunch later. I couldn't resist taking a picture of their gorgeous baked goods display!

This is the gorgeous Lake Okanagan. You can see the mist over the lake. In the summer this place is buzzing with people.

As we are driving the weather just gets better and the sun peaks its head out 

Mr. Milk really wanted to go to this winery and was happy they were open. A lot of them are closed for the season.

The Burrowing Owl winery. They have a beautiful guest house on their premises that we might revisit when it opens mid-March!