what we’re lovin {winter 2016}

Everything I Never Told You - Find this, and other winter loves on And Then I Met RachelRachel just finished reading “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng. Part family drama, part mystery, Ng’s debut novel is nothing short of stellar. Following the personal struggles of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio, Ng binds together each person’s background, resulting in what appears to be an almost blameless crime. Definitely a top read this winter.

 

These super warm, and funky coloured socks from Soulmate Socks. Warm like those big fuzzy wool socks, but without the bulk that comes with them and makes it impossible to wear shoes. And, they’re mismatched on purpose – your right sock will never ever look quite like your left.

Basia Bulat’s new-ish album (apparently it’s from 2013, and she has one coming out in February, so clearly I’m behind…) ‘Tall Tall Shadow’ which, if you’re a CBC Radio 2 listener, you’ve definitely heard parts of. She is an honourary member of the Polish community in her home province of Ontario, and is known for rocking the autoharp. Listen here:

 

Last year, the city of St. John’s put a whack of time and money into refurbishing Bannerman Park. I have no idea what it was like before they did that, but now it’s quite a destination spot. The swimming pool is packed in the summertime, even when it doesn’t seem quite warm enough to be swimming. There’s a massive playground, that’s probably great for children, but also really funny to overhear conversations about the logistics of who is going to slide first, and in what order, and what position, and the various negotiations that accompany such an activity.

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My favourite though is the skating loop, roller-  in the summer, and ice in the winter. As a result, skating at Bannerman Park has definitely become one of our favourite activities on a homework-free evening. The lights are turned on at about 4:30, Beaver Tails and hot chocolate are for sale, and tiny children go whizzing by you as you try not to die. It’s fun for everyone.

Winter brings out the wanderlust in all of us (or if it doesn’t, too bad for you). Rachel recently stumbled upon Fathom, a travel site with city guides, themed trips, volun-tourism opportunities, and attractive photos of a whole bunch of places we would rather be. It is not necessarily a site for the budget traveler (we will never stay in any of the recommended hotels), but the city guides are a great starting place, and who doesn’t love a top-10 list? Check that out here.

And of course, a list of our loves is not complete without food. We made Mark Bittman’s Italian-Style Lentil Soup with Rice (p. 116 ) yesterday, and I think we could have consumed the pot if we didn’t have six other places we really needed to be. It is the variation on the simplest ever lentil soup, but the canned tomato and just a half cup of arborio rice makes the broth almost like gravy, a big hit in our vegetarian house. Add water for more servings, and freeze with ease. Yum!

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What are you loving this winter? (not the weather. That doesn’t count) Let us know in the comments, or find us on Facebook! The thing to click is way far on the right hand side of the screen. I don’t know how to move it any closer. Happy almost-February!

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what we’re lovin {fall 2015}

This has been a crazy fall. Full time work and part time school for me, full time school and part time work for Rachel… no more please. Time for Christmas.

Not only are we in the midst of all this, but being away from home for these four month stretches is killer. Everyone needs some pretty (and useful, and musical) things to keep them going. So here are some of our top ‘loves’ this fall.

R: This lovely version of ‘River’ by Scala & Kolacny Brothers. If you aren’t a Scala fan, you should be, and this will definitely convert you.

J: Fall sweaters + scarves. Wool, cotton, you name it. Layers are the way to go in this terribly awful cold province, and we’re doing it right. Check out our Pinterest board here for my favourites this season.

R: New blog discoveries! I recently stumbled upon Modern Mrs. Darcy, a beautifully designed site, and so many great book reviews. Definitely going to waste many valuable studying hours picking my Christmas reading list.

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J: Pumpkin Chai Tea. Really, there’s nothing else to say. We don’t have a lot of tea options here in St. John’s, but there’s a David’s Tea on our bus route, and that works for us. This pumpkin chai has just the right amount of caffeine, and all the flavours of the season.

R: Yellow Split Pea Soup. We use Mark Bittman’s ham-free version, Caribbean style, from his book ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian‘ and add a batch of hearty Newfoundland dumplings to make it last.

J: Rainy fall days in cafes. We have no shortage of blustery days here on the rock, and although our house is lovely, nothing beats settling in with a hot cocoa in a warm cafe and a good book. Our St. John’s favourite is Coffee Matters on Military Road, with Jumping Bean on Water Street as a close second.

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Pet peeve of the month: guests mix up our doorbell and our neighbour’s bell, because there is absolutely no label on them, so we get their visitors, and they get our mail. Anyone have any good suggestions for weather-resistant labels (not Sharpie- tried it!) for those gosh darn bells? Please, leave them in the comments, along with your fall favourites!