“Whoa – I had no idea my makeup brush was that colour!”

It’s been a pretty hectic week – lots and lots of assignments, which meant I was spending a lot of time in my cave – er, room. This upcoming week isn’t too great either, but at least things are due at the end of the week, which gives me some time to study and whatnot.

For my weekly Thursday lunch, I went to a raw food vegan place called Gorilla Food, on Richards. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – to be honest, I never really understand what vegans eat. From what I can tell, they seem to be missing out on a heck of a lot (of course, my food addiction probably biases me a little), but hey, to each their own. My friend and I initially got lost trying to find it – we thought their kitchen was the restaurant and were quite confused at the lack of decor and chairs. Turns out it was another few storefronts down, and we just suck at reading signs.

I got a choco-gorilla shake, which had almond milk, cacao, banana and hempseed, and a “nyce” bowl, which was veggies and seeds. They were actually pretty good – the shake tasted a bit gritty because of the hemp, but the dressing on the veggies was really good. I was pretty full by the time I had gone through half of my shake and 2/3rds of my bowl and I couldn’t finish everything. That in itself is likely a good sign because I never seem to get permanently full when my meal consists mostly of veggies. It was pretty pricey though, probably because everything was organic.

This evening, I wanted a break from my homework, so I did what every normal girl does on a Saturday night: my sister and I washed our makeup brushes. We’re pretty cool that way. I hadn’t washed mine in at least a year, and my sister in at least two years, so it seemed like a good plan considering we rub them all over our faces on a regular basis. It’s a pretty easy procedure – take some water and baby shampoo and scrub-a-dub-dub. What made it interesting was the absolutely disgusting colour of the water we were washing them in. It was pretty gross. On the bright side, my sister kept on discovering that “whoa, my brush is actually that colour?!”

We then finished our amazing Saturday night by watching the Game of Thrones TV series (which is awesome, by the way). We are the coolest sisters ever.

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Green Monsters Galore

Apparently, “no pain, no gain” applies to comp sci homework as well – my head hurts from staring at my screen and praying for the right numbers to come up in Terminal. Who knew CS was so similar to [insert violent sport where they use that saying here]. Or really any of those sports with the big burly men who roar about how if they’re not in agony, they’re not doing it right. (In my opinion, they’re doing it very, very wrong, but what do I know?)

What makes up for it? I had two green monsters enter my life today :)

ANDROID PYJAMAS YO!

God, I’m such a Google fangirl. I think I actually disgust myself sometimes.

I’m part of a mentorship program for Google, so they sent me some pretty sweet pjs for helping them out. I may work for the best company ever. And nobody could ever deny that the little green android robots are freaking adorable. (Should I mention I have two sitting on my desk..?)

My second monster of the day:

My first green monster smoothie! I’m trying to be a little more conscious of what I eat during the day – mostly so that when I go out I don’t feel so guilty about it – and jumping on the smoothie bandwagon seems to be a good way to get more fruits and veggies in my diet. Despite the fact that it looks like something Frankenstein might drink, this was actually really delicious! I guessed at my ingredient proportions, but this is roughly what I put in:

Green Monster Smoothie

2/3 cup chocolate almond milk

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp peanut butter

2 handfuls spinach

Smoothies are pretty easy to tweak – I used chocolate almond milk because I happened to have some on hand, but you could probably throw lots of things in there: any type of milk, yogurt, berries…the key seems to be banana and spinach though. Nom. My new breakfast. Plus, I’m usually a zombie in the mornings, but I had a ton of energy this morning despite poor sleep. Coincidence? Or green monster superpower? Or perhaps I was simply all energized because I was excited that my pjs were arriving today. Knowing me, that’s totally plausible.

Pounds of pancakes and red umbrellas

Well, the rain is back in Vancouver. It’s a little needy and never leaves us for long.

I went for breakfast/lunch (what do you call it when you eat breakfast past lunch time? Brunch seems to imply it’s before lunch time. Post-lunch brunch?) at a place called Jethro’s today. It’s at Dunbar and 18th, so it was a bit of a trek, but thankfully my girlfriend and I have infinite patience for good food (we once waited two hours to eat at a place in San Francisco – we’re those people). It’s this tiny little restaurant that only serves breakfast and lunch, and seemed to have a line-up the entire time we were there.

I tried the Rooster pancakes, which had chocolate chip and espresso, and we got a Denver omelette, which had ham, onions and cheese. We messed up a little – we intended to get the South of Denver, which had pulled pork, but it’s okay – it’s an excuse to go back next time (like I need one). The food was great, but the thing that got me was that the pancakes were honestly the biggest things I’ve ever seen. They were the size of small UFOs. I swear, they could’ve fed four people – they were ridiculous.

Between my girlfriend and I, we managed to finish most of the omelette and 3/4 of one pancake. I swear I had at least a pound of pancake left over when I came home, which I promptly fed to my hungry little sister and friend. I had to waddle a bit coming home…

Definition of a food coma

Next time I want to try their pancake with bacon baked in – it sounds like the most delicious heart attack ever.

I also conducted Operation See-If-New-Boots-Will-Destroy-My-Feet: I bought these gorgeous constructions of over the knee grey leather and chunky heels in Seattle, and I am kind of in love with them. I don’t normally wear heeled boots though so I had to test if wearing them meant I would be hobbling for days, but all systems were a go! I love when that happens. They were so beautiful, I figured they deserved some photographic love, so I took a few pictures in the rain with my sister and my beat up red umbrella.

If any boots were marriage material, it’s these ones.

 

“Twee” just seems appropriate.

I think I’ve discovered my new obsession: mini muffins!

When I was down in Seattle I bought a mini-muffin tin. I love muffins but they’re essentially like eating cakes, so I figured that having them in smaller form seems to be a better way of practicing portion control than my usual method of eating half a muffin, then really wanting the second half and capitulating ten minutes later (unless I get carried away and inhale multiple because they’re so small.) Also, as soon as anything goes mini, it gets way cuter. Trust me.

As per usual, my procrastination often takes the form of baking, so I decided to take a break from my homework and try out my new pan. As I said, I tend to devour muffins like they’re the last food on earth, so I wanted to make something a bit healthier so that I at least reaped some nutritional benefits while shoving them into my mouth two at a time.

Enter: banana chia nut mini muffins!

This was a super easy recipe, but I don’t feel too guilty about eating them because they have some pretty good stuff in there – chia seeds and nonfat greek yogurt being my personal all-stars. And even better – they are absolutely DELICIOUS. Nommmmmmmmmm.

I found the recipe online at Ingredients Inc, but I’ve pasted it here for your viewing pleasure.

Chia Banana-Nut Muffins

Makes 48 mini-muffins – not sure about regular sized

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt – I just used normal salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
11/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt (I used vanilla because that’s all I had, but plain would be fine too)
1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, bananas, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla and walnuts, if desired, in a large bowl, mixing well. Pour batter into lightly greased muffin pans coated with cooking spray. (My note: She says to mix well, but muffins tend to get hard if you mix them too long. Personally, I mixed all the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another, and then folded the two together until it was just combined.)
3. Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes for regular muffins and 13-15 minutes for mini muffins or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Which one is not like the other?

My peace-sign of a mixing bowl.

Proceed to devour.

The only thing I can think of when I look at these things is the word “twee.” They are just so damn cute. It’s ridiculous.

Stressless in Seattle

It’s finally reading break!

Usually I scoff at the “reading” part, but unfortunately it looks like I actually have a lot of homework to do over the break. And by a lot, I mean an amount that makes me cringe and send off little prayers to the denial gods every time I think about it.

However, I feel like I’ve started off my reading break pretty well. I had intended to cross off some homework on Saturday, but I ended up running around doing errands instead. I did have a chance to snap a picture of the beautiful sun peeking over the mountains, though:

After a day of non-productiveness, I went for dinner at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants: Sha-lin on Broadway. It has awesome food, including the most amazing panfried dumplings and zhajiang noodles ever. Drool.

My family tends to eat a fair bit, as shown by our empty plates.

I also met up with a friend for drinks at the Diamond in Gastown, right across from Chill Winston’s. I felt extremely cool going there because it’s completely tucked away on the top floor of an ordinary building – you enter through this nondescript little door that looks slightly sketchy, and emerge into a bar with a beautiful view of Gastown, a great cocktail list and a complete hipster vibe. I did feel like I was supposed to give a secret password or something – and somebody actually told me later that they supposedly have this secret room where there is a password and all these rules you have to follow, or you get kicked out. A little too hardcore for me, but interesting to know.

Sunday morning I left bright and early (though I definitely wasn’t bright, but bleary-eyed and stumbling) for Seattle. I assume it was to slightly assuage their guilt about leaving me behind when they go to the Caribbean, but my parents decided to take a day off and take me to Seattle overnight so that I could have a bit of a break before returning to my lair (er, bedroom). My dad wanted to visit a friend who had just moved to Seattle as well, so it worked out. He dropped my mom and I off at the outlet centre and we basically shopped all afternoon. It was nice to be able to spend American money – I made some money at Google the past summer but haven’t been able to touch it because – well – I live in Canada and it’s American money, so I didn’t want to convert it. I got some nice stuff – pretty much all clothes and shoes, but hey, I’m a girl. We like those things.

We stayed at my dad’s friend’s place overnight and decided to spend today exploring Seattle a bit. We went to Pike Place, which reminded me a lot of Granville Island – lots of different food and handmade things.

It appears that my penchant for taking photos of food lingers even when I’m in a market with a million other things to take pictures of. What can I say.

I did find that Seattle reminds me of Portland which slightly reminds me of Vancouver which reminds me of San Francisco. (Well, Vancouver is where I stopped, but there’s a point here.) West coast cities seem to have a similar kind of vibe, though there are definitely differences. I’m a west coast girl through and through, and I figure that vibe is what’s going to keep me sane if I ever have to leave my beloved Vancity.

After Pike Place, we wandered around a bit more – to be honest Mom and I did more shopping. Retail therapy is great. We found these beautiful native art rings in an art gallery that actually fit our tiny fingers!

(Yes, that’s my leg…I got bored on the car ride home.)

We wanted to beat the traffic, so we headed out of Seattle at around two. My parents wanted to hit up Costco and Trader Joe’s before getting home, but before that could happen our stomachs had to be appeased. The solution was the buffet at the Tulalip casino. Classy, I know. It was decent – I had to try multiple desserts before I could find one I actually liked.

I may or may not have eaten them all…you’ll never know.

I was really happy that we got to go to Trader Joe’s though – I am really jealous of my American friends sometimes. Joe’s has such interesting foods and it’s not as rip-the-money-out-of-your-wallet as Whole Foods (though I have to admit, I have a Whole Foods fetish). We got some things that aren’t really around at home – cocoa almond butter, lemon curd sauce, interesting sea salts, that sort of thing. There was a really nice sunset on the way home too, so that finished the day off nicely.

Overall, it was a short trip, but it worked well in its intended purpose of letting me destress (despite – or perhaps because of – the fact that I basically shopped for most of it). I feel a little more ready to tackle the mound of homework that is narrowing its evil eyes at me…gulp.

To Blog, or Not to Blog

My friend sent me this, and because I am a huge English geek I thought it was awesome:

If Shakespeare Had Written the Three Little Pigs

My favourite part is when he runs around squealing like a pig.

I took a Shakespeare class last semester and I’m currently taking a class on Medieval Literature, so I can definitely relate to how many freaking words they have. I laughed when he said that Shakespeare had a vocabulary of fifty-four thousand and we have a vocabulary of about three thousand, because I honestly believe it. (Does that make us less smart, like John Branyan says? Or have we simply become more concise? I like to believe the latter – therefore Internet speak, which is very short, should sound the smartest of all. My theory is rapidly disintegrating.) But even though Shakespeare made me bang my head against a wall last semester, I have to admit that he has a way with words. All the extra “ithers” and “thees” and “thous” make it sound so much fancier than “Hey dude, what’s up?” Wouldn’t we all sound so much cooler if we spoke like Shakespeare?

Me: Pray tell, whither are thee going, dear friend?

Friend: …

Okay, so maybe not. However, they did have some pretty awesome insults back in the day. I’m reading a work called Piers Plowman for my Medieval Literature class, and one lady calls the narrator a “doting dolt.” That is totally what I’m calling the next person I get into an argument with.

Someone asked me the other day why I like that “old crap”, as they so eloquently put it. It was a fair question, since I was complaining bitterly about how I didn’t understand a word of what I was reading. I’ll admit, I used to be convinced that my only literary boyfriend was Modern Literature, and that we were destined to have a beautiful life together. But then in 2010 I took a class on medieval literature with a professor at SFU named David Coley. Simply put, he made me fall in love with another man (Stop that thinking right now. We’re still going with the metaphor here.). I thought it was going to be extremely boring, but he brought it to life for me – hence why I am now taking the 300 level class with him. But in all honesty, I think it’s really interesting to study where our modern day works come from. I mean, everything we have now has been built on this foundation of hundreds of old writers, and even though they speak absolutely atrocious English it’s still fascinating to see how they used to think about things.

That being said, medieval literature can still cause me to put my cheek on my desk and quietly wonder why I am pursuing this crazy fancy of majoring/minoring/something-ing in English. Then I remember that I also have to finish my coding homework, and I sit back up and resume reading. Speaking of which, I really should get back to deciphering their gibberish. Away!

Me Day

This past week has been absolutely horrendous in terms of everything. A combination of many factors, including too much homework and too little sleep, means I have been cranky all week long (so sorry to those of you who had to put up with me. That blank look on my face should not have been interpreted as anger, but rather as the zombie face of someone who is about to pass out.)

I culminated my week with a terrible Friday, so I was really glad that I had plans to go out with my girls for the last Dine Out of the season. Tear, tear. We went to Mills Marine Bistro, down on West Cordova by the water. It was pretty delicious actually – I had mussels, salmon and chocolate torte. I would definitely recommend it. I was also very amused by how they renamed their shots – for example, they called a “dirty hooker” shot an “unkempt street corner pro.” Someone making the menu had some fun. I also tried Shizen-ya on Thursday for lunch. They had an interesting menu, but I was really craving noodles, so I had udon and salmon with black sesame. Nom.

When I rolled out of bed this morning, half heartedly thinking of the homework I should do, the little workers in my brain held a rebellion. Essentially, they picketed off the section of my brain that does homework, and held up signs saying: “TAKE A DAY OFF OR YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.” Well, what can you do when the teeny workers in your head revolt? You gotta listen to them, right? (I mean, who knows what damage they could do.)

So, what do I do when I’m not sitting in my room glued to my homework? I had a nice long breakfast with my mom. It was beautiful outside, so I went for a run (“ohgodthankyousomuch” said the little brain worker who takes care of how fat I feel). I did some of my easier homework (reading for English) – and then I cooked. I love cooking, I really do – I just rarely have time. One of my favourite food blogs is smittenkitchen.com (which everyone should check out), so I made some pretty awesome brownies:

They’re white and dark chocolate brownies, made by cutting out the middles of brownie squares and swapping them. The white chocolate ones actually taste a lot like tapioca, for some reason. It made less than the recipe said because I had to cut them bigger in order to make room for my cookie cutter, since I have some serious accuracy issues. Regardless, nom! The recipe is at http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/02/white-and-dark-hearted-brownies/. I also prepped buttermilk roast chicken and beer mustard cheesy pull apart bread for tomorrow. Hopefully they turn out.

I’ve pretty much tired myself out now, but it’s a good kind of tired, as opposed to the tired where I want to lie down in the fetal position. I think I forgot how important it is to take some time once in a while to do things you love to do. We hear it all the time, but despite our busyness we still need to occasionally stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Maybe I’ll be back to being super stressed out tomorrow – it’s very possible, since now I have do all my work tomorrow – but I just feel better today than I have all week.

Plus, I just got a mental image of the little workers in my brain wearing sunglasses and big straw hats as they laze by a pool (a pool in my brain…er…don’t think about it too much). Lucky little dudes.