Learning to enjoy living with a boy…

Learning to enjoy living with a boy…

So here we are, at the last major challenge I mentioned in my Hello Milton… post several weeks ago. What it all comes down to is living with a boy for the first time.  That is, living with a “farm boy,” who grew up in Milton, and is the boyest boy (that should really be a term) out there. While I like to think Taylor and I have a great deal in common, our differences are immediately more obvious than our similarities. Taylor is incredibly athletic and sports orientated; I cannot throw or catch a ball for my life. I love to read; Taylor would not pick up a book and read it if his Proline picks for the week depended on it.  I do computers; Taylor does physical labour. I get manicures; Taylor works on his callouses. I enjoy the city; Taylor prefers the country. I think you get the point.  What bonds us together and what brought us together in the first place are our shared values and our goals in life, not our hobbies or interests.

So how do two people who are so different make it work? The truth is, like all things that are worth it in life, you have to work at it.

9 Tips on how to enjoy living with a boy (after moving to the suburbs):

  1. Learn to let go. Of course you have standards, and so does he, but just because something is important to you doesn’t mean it’s important to him. Yes, you go crazy if there’s toothpaste stuck to the sink, but you can’t expect him to be bothered by that too. It’s likely something his eyes just glaze over, and it’s as good as not there. It’s important to have a discussion about those things that bother each of you the most, and come to an agreement on what is most important. Let the rest go.
  1. Find your ‘thing’ as a couple. That is, find something that you love to do together. It may end up being something new to both of you, or it may be something you have always been interested in. No matter what your thing is, it has to be something you can enjoy as a couple and something you reserve for just the
    Taylor and I hiking with Dexter
    Taylor and I out for a hike with Dexter

    two of you. I grew up gardening, and Taylor is a Landscaper, so gardening easily became one of our things. As I mentioned in the Charms of the farm… post, we create a vegetable garden every year. Another hobby, which admittedly we do less often, is hiking. This is something that became a new hobby for both of us, and has turned out to be something we really enjoy doing together.

  1. Maintain your own ‘thing’. While it’s important to have activities that you do
    Kendall and I posing prior to our half marathon
    Me doing my ‘thing’

    together, it’s also important to have your own hobbies. These are likely things that you were into before, but it’s always good to be on the look-out for new ones. My ‘things’ are yoga, running, reading, and going to Toronto for good food and drinks with my friends. Taylor’s are golf, hockey, bowling, and most anything he can do with his guy friends. These hobbies are at the center of who we are and it’s important to keep them up.

  1. Have some shared friends and some friends you keep for yourself. When you come together as a couple from different places, you will naturally have different friends. While you will want to have some mutual friends, you don’t need to share ALL of your friends. He’s going to have friends that you don’t have much in common with, and vice versa. You will likely find that you end up with one group of shared friends that hangs out together all of the time (they probably live where you live), while the rest of
    Taylor with the Milton Girls, my friend Katie and me
    Taylor & some of our shared friends

    your friends are simply your partner’s acquaintances…that is it, and that’s OK.

  1. Be romantic! Make a point of staying romantic. You moved to the ‘burbs for a reason! Taylor is incredibly good at making me feel important to him, and he never misses an opportunity to tell me so. I try to do the same in return. It’s important. We also make a point of having dates on a regular basis, and I’m not talking a few hours here and there. We have date days! Usually these involve a few errands, but we always try to spend most of it doing something we enjoy together. This helps to keep our relationship a relationship, not a marathon of to do lists.
  1. Defined responsibilities. While I am all for breaking that glass ceiling and destroying gender roles, I do think it’s important to openly discuss and determine who is responsible for what on a weekly basis. It avoids that
    Taylor playing hockey in winter and croquet in summer
    Taylor doing his ‘thing’

    whole game of waiting each other out, which you inevitably feel like you’ve lost. Openly talk about what things MUST be done (refer to tip #1), and who will handle them. Living in the suburbs, this list can be long and overwhelming, so divide and conquer!  And, if you want to do something really nice for your partner, you can always surprise them by doing one of their tasks for them. They will notice and they will appreciate it.

  1. Put them first, sometimes. I know they say love is about giving up your own needs for the needs of another, but I have to say, I am not one hundred percent on board with that. You don’t want to lose yourself and give up your entire being for the sake of someone else.  If you both do that, what’s left? Two versions of the same person? Being the same is not what makes the world go round.   What I propose is something less transformational.  Instead of always thinking about what’s in it for me, try to often think of what’s in it for them? It will change your perspective and maybe you can come up with a solution that makes you both happy.
  1. Sometimes you are right. Sometimes you are wrong. That’s about it. Admit when you are wrong, and do not gloat when you are right (well, not too much anyway).
  1. When you are ready… share a new responsibility. Sharing responsibility for something that is important to you both provides a feeling of of camaraderie. Dexter as a puppy and as he looks nowBuying a new house together is a good example, or planning a big trip together, or if you really want to go big, have a baby (I am only kidding – this is not a real tip!). Our first shared responsibility was when we got our dog, Dexter. Dexter has brought Taylor and I closer, in more ways than I am sure either of us realize. He has given us the opportunity to raise him together: caring for him, training him, teaching him, and loving him. He provides endless entertainment and companionship for us both, especially when one of us is away. On top of that, loving Dexter reminds us both how much we love each other.

Of course, I can’t promise that these will come easily, or that they will make for a perfect relationship, because there is no such thing. Remembering that will help keep your expectations in check and remind you why you moved in together in the first place, and will keep what’s truly important in your heart. Now go love and be loved!

Before you go, here is just one example of the pure entertainment Dexter provides us on a regular basis. I promise, there will be more on Dexter in future posts.

Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

They say laughter is the best medicine, so I thought I’d do a listening recommendation that will help you de-stress on the way to work. I can’t think of too many people funnier than Tina Fey. Okay, maybe there’s a few, but I do appreciate her humour, which is why I decided to download her audio-book Bossypants.  Written and narrated by Tina Fey herself, Bossypants is a comedic autobiography that basically covers Fey’s life, from birth to the point at which she wrote the book. Fey hilariously pieces together the story of her life and career, with several quirky anecdotes, and often goes off on amusing rants about this, that or the other thing. You are sure to get a laugh listening to this.

Check out an excerpt from the beginning of Bossypants, where Fey goes on a short rant about her scar. Good news, Bossypants is available on OverDrive, so enjoy!

What are you listening to? 

New to town…

New to town…

Okay, so maybe it’s all of the feel good holiday movies on TV right now, or the number of social events on my calendar this month, but I find myself reflecting on how much Milton has truly come to feel like home, and more and more it feels like the place where I belong. One of the biggest challenges you face when moving for love is the factor of being the new girl, or as many people called me during my first year in Milton, “Taylor’s Girlfriend.” Taylor is a pretty popular guy and he knows a lot of people in his hometown, but introductions are not his strong suit.  Being new to town could have been rather intimidating, but when I started to look for the positives, I actually found myself in a very fortunate position. Here’s why.

First of all, I actually have family here! When I first met Taylor, my Aunt Joanne and Uncle Desmond had lived in Milton for several years, and it was for this reason

Me and my Grandmother
My Grandma and I

alone that I was already familiar with it. From my nervous excitement on the hour long GO bus ride to visit Taylor for the first time, to the early days of living in Milton, knowing my family was nearby was very comforting. It gave me a sense of home and an extra sense of security.  My Aunt and Uncle provided a quiet support that allowed me to make Milton my own, but they let me know they were there if I needed them. Not long after I moved to Milton, my Grandmother also moved here. As we both grow older, it has been an amazing gift to have her so close by. It was something I wasn’t expecting and has given me the opportunity to spend time with her, which I otherwise would not have had.

It is also important that I share the huge role Taylor’s family has played in making Milton my home. Taylor’s family welcomed me with open arms from the first day I met them and quickly became an important part of my life here. Taylor’s parents have a special way of making you feel like one of the family and we have a strong passion for travel in common.  In fact, we have traveled together at least once a year since I met Taylor, to places as far away as Koh Samui, Thailand. It was during this particular trip that I also became very close with Taylor’s sister Chas and her fiancé, now husband, Todd. Both Chas and Todd helped me settle into my suburban life in countless ways, from helping me buy my first new car, to helping Taylor and I get our first pet together.  I feel very lucky to have Taylor’s family as my own.  We get together for family dinners on a regular basis and I look forward to those Sundays when we sit around the table for hours after dinner talking and laughing.

thailand
Our family trip to Thailand

Aside from family, it is also Taylor’s friends that helped turned Milton into my home. The network of friends Taylor has is impressive.  Everyone knows everyone, and they all show up to support one another in both hard times and good.  It really is something special.  For me, it was Taylor’s closest friends and especially their partners that made the biggest impression. From the start, the girls were great about asking Taylor and I to hang out as couples, and sometimes they would ask me to hang out solo too. That gave me the push I needed to be brave and start doing some asking myself. In the end it wasn’t a big deal at all, and meeting up started to happen a lot more organically. We often get together over wine, take the dogs for a walk or to the dog park, and sometimes we even take in the odd Niagara wine tour. Every summer we head up to a cottage for a weekend or two, as a big group (guys and sometimes even dogs included). It’s always a blast. These are friendships that are truly built to last.

Speaking of friendships that last, another fortunate turn of events happened before
I even moved to Milton, resulting in one of my closest Milton friendships. The

The Milton Girls
The Milton Girls and I

summer before I moved to Milton I had a few of my Toronto girlfriends up to Milton for a bonfire. At the last minute, I asked my work friend, Adina, if she wanted to join us. She agreed! She needed a change of pace from the city and she wanted an evening away with the girls. The bonfire turned into a big party, with lots of Taylor’s male friends in attendance. This will not come as a shock to those of you who know the farm. So much for that girl’s night! Sure enough, Adina ended up chatting with one of Taylor’s friends, they hit it off, and six months after I moved to Milton, Adina did as well. It’s been great having a friend from my Toronto life here with me, especially someone who is going through all of the same challenges of commuting and living in the suburbs as I am. We are discovering Milton together, have learned a lot from each other in the process, and I think we both agree that the suburbs and Milton aren’t so bad after all.

In conclusion, how you handle being new to town is all about perspective. It might be easy to feel alone and feel out of place, but I’ve found that focusing on the positive works out a lot better. Look at the people you have around you and find ways to connect with them.  Is there someone else that’s new to town as well? Go talk to them! It might be hard for you and it can be intimidating, but I promise it is one hundred percent worth it.  Having a network of people who care about you and a place you can call home is what life is all about. Happy holidays everyone!

Who is home to you?

Listening Recommendation Week 5: Gotta love that true-crime…

Listening Recommendation Week 5: Gotta love that true-crime…

My listening recommendation this week is another podcast, and another true-crime podcast at that. You just gotta love that true-crime. It’s so addictive! If you’ve finished the first season of Serial, I know that you have been left wanting more. Fear not, I have something for you, and this time you can satisfy your true-crime craving with a story that’s a bit closer to home.

Someone Knows Something Season 1, by CBC, is hosted, written and produced by the award-winning independent Canadian filmmaker, David Ridgen. Raised in Arnprior, Ontario, David Ridgen takes us back to his home town to open up a cold case from 1972. The case involves a five-year-old boy, named Adrien McNaughton, who vanished into thin air while fishing with his family in Eastern Ontario. An intensive search and investigation ensued, but no sign of Adrien, or what happened to him, was ever found. With a proven track record for solving cold cases, David Ridgen may be able to solve a case that has remained a mystery for over forty years.

With a Canadian focus, Someone Knows Something offers up a much more personal listening experience for Canadians. Listen to what David Ridgen has to say about this podcast and why he started it in the first place.

Happy listening!

What are you listening to? 

Craft beer and my evening in the city…

Craft beer and my evening in the city…

As I have mentioned before, one of the hardest things about moving to Milton was leaving behind my Toronto girls and our adventures in the city.  I have found the way to deal with this challenge is to make a point of having a full night out in the city every once in a while, and to do it up right! That means good food, good drinks, and trying something new, all in the company of good friends.

Last Friday I did just that, attending The Art of Craft Beer at the Super Wonder Gallery in Toronto, in support of the not-for-profit organization, SKETCH. It was a wonderful evening of delicious food, beautiful artwork and amazing craft beer. Check out a full rendition of The Art of Craft Beer Event – My evening in the city on Storify.

Sawdust Brewing Co. Stand at The Art of Craft Beer and their artwork
The Sawdust City Brewing Co. station at The Art of Craft Beer
Often my adventures in the city involve Ontario Craft Beer in some fashion, but the craft beer movement is not limited to Toronto. Far from it! Check out this video on the big impact of Ontario craft breweries…

“What about Milton?” you ask. Oh, we’re on it! Check out Milton’s very own Orange Snail Brewers for your taste of local Milton craft beer and follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Who’s your favourite craft brewer? 

Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Since my last post was all about delicious food, I thought I would share a listening recommendation that literally made my mouth water.  That’s right, an audio-book that makes your mouth water! The Lost Recipe for  Happiness, by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Bernadette Dunne, is a delectable story about a female chef, Elena, who finds herself with The Lost Recipe for Happiness on Libraries on the Gothe opportunity of a lifetime –the chance to run her own kitchen.

Of course, opportunities like these are often attended by a great deal of self-reflection and Elena is forced to face her past, while working hard to build herself a happy future. This story offers a bit of everything, with some romance, drama and action, accompanied by several traditional Mexican recipes, that when read aloud, will make you want to either cook or eat, or most likely both.

Barbara O’Neal does a fantastic job of character building, giving you the sense that you are meeting the new characters and getting to know them as Elena does. Likewise, Bernadette Dunne does a beautiful job narrating, giving the characters life as she uses tone and accents to give each one a unique voice. If you love food and love to cook, this is a book for you. Happy listening!

What are you listening to?

Food in the ‘burbs

Food in the ‘burbs

Okay, so I don’t know if I meet the full criteria of being labeled a “foodie,” but I would consider myself a great lover of all things food and drink.  I am passionate about what I choose to eat and I don’t like eating mediocre food. Living in Toronto, what I would consider a food Mecca, put me at the center of endless, amazing food possibilities. As for Milton, well it just kind of fell flat in comparison. That was until I gave it a chance.

As it turns out, Milton is full of fabulous local joints, serving up very tasty bites AND at a suburban discount. Don’t get me wrong, we are still a bit limited (especially after 10 P.M.), but for the most part there is enough to keep me talking about my last great meal.

Here are 6 of my favourite places to eat in Milton: 

Mama Mila’sMama Mila’s is a café in the plaza at Thompson and Derry. It is a simple, yet adorable, family-run café, offering up a variety of homemade sandwiches, soups and pierogies, on top of regular café fare. While the pierogies are delicious, it is their sandwiches that keep me coming back – the South Western to be exact. It is a true South Western, loaded with black beans, corn, red peppers, green onion, lettuce and cheddar cheese, all wrapped in a crepe thin egg, with shaved ham and served on a perfectly soft, yet crusty bun.  Try this with a side of their dill seasoned Borscht (beet soup) for a great lunch.

Mama Mila's Cafe

Fresh AddictsLocated in the James Snow Pkwy and Main St. plaza, Fresh Addicts is a juice and salad bar with a flair for making healthy food choices taste great. While this is a Cold Pressed Juicepricier option for take-out in Milton, it is definitely a good choice and worth every penny to treat your body right.  With a variety of options for any meal of the day, Fresh Addicts makes salads, smoothies, wraps and bowls to order; all of which are made with wholesome, fresh and organic produce. You can also get your “juice on” here, as they offer a wide selection of cold pressed juices to get that necessary boost of vitamins into your diet. My go-to meal is the Sante Fe salad, which is made with romaine lettuce (I swap it Fresh Cold Pressed Juicefor the spring mix), avocado, tomato, core black beans, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. I get it with a side of pesto salad dressing and add an egg for protein. All salads and bowls are priced by weight, so you can add as much or as little as you like and they have a variety of seed options like hemp and flax to further boost the nutritional factor. Shout out to Cousin Chelsea for introducing me to this healthy place and the Sante Fe salad!

For more information on Fresh Addicts and a virtual tour of their restaurant, check out The Joyce of Cooking blog and the post Freshly Addicted to Milton’s Healthy Restaurant: Fresh Addicts.

The Ivy Arms Their chicken wings to be exact! To be honest, I haven’t tried much else at The Ivy Arms, because their wings are just so darn tasty. They are huge jumbo wings, breaded (or not), fried up and tossed in your choice of sauce or dry dusted in Cajun, lemon or salt and pepper.  With the Sargent Farms retail store just across the street, you know they have to be fresh, and they are cheap Sunday through Thursday at 65 cents a wing (with the purchase of a beverage).  The Ivy Arms, or “The Ivy” as it’s called by locals, is a true Irish style pub, located on Main St. in downtown Milton.  Pub food dominates the menu, and they have a wide variety of beers on tap as well as daily specials. I love the laidback, cozy vibe there, and they have a large patio overlooking Main St. for those warm summer days.

Oshima Sushi All-You-Can-Eat  Like many sushi lovers, I was very skeptical of the whole all-you-can-eat sushi movement, so when I moved to Milton and all you could eat was “all-you-can-eat sushi,” I was rather unimpressed.* Toronto has some fantastic sushi joints and I had developed some rather high standards, so you will be surprised to know that I’ve been converted. Our go to spot is Oshima Sushi on Main Street. I say we because you should really do all-you-can-eat sushi with a group of people. Our friends Ryan and Adina usually help us out with that, and after a great deal of practice, we have finally mastered a routine to get the most out of our visits. If you Google search Oshima, you may notice they don’t have the best rating. That is likely due to the service being on the slow side, but I guarantee you it is worth the wait. Oshima is a fairly busy spot, so I am certain the fish is fresh, and they have some pretty awesome choices that rock my food world. I recommend the Fantastic Roll, which is topped with grilled red snapper, the grilled salmon sushi (you’re noticing a trend here) and the white tuna sashimi.

*To clarify, Milton does in fact have a regular Sushi restaurant called Sushi-Ya which is known to be quite good; however, the price comparison for the quantity of food is significant, causing most of our friends to want to go with All-You-Can-Eat instead.

Cheesecake with a candle.
The complimentary pistachio, vanilla and bourbon cheesecake from Pasqualino.

Pasqualino If it’s something a little fancier you are after, Pasqualino is your best bet. Located on Main St. in downtown Milton, Pasqualino is a beautifully designed, family owned Italian restaurant. Recently renovated, this restaurant has a truly elegant ambiance. Add in delicious, high quality food and amazing service, and you’ll find yourself making plans to come back before you even leave. Check out my Google Review of the restaurant after a fabulous dining experience there last January.

La Rose Specialty Foods & Fine Italian Bakery  Another family owned business, La Rose is an amazing place for all things food. Located in the plaza at Bronte and Anne Blvd., they

Mixed Olives
La Rose Mixed Olives

carry groceries, specialty goods, a to-die-for hot table, baked goods, bread and so much more, including a well-stocked and cared for garden center during the summer months.
n top of this, I find La Rose to be incredibly well priced and I visit for many reasons. If I am having a party, I’ll stop in to grab some specialty cheeses, meats and olives from their fabulous olive bar. Try the Sicilian Butter Olives (aka Castelvetrano olives); they are not
your typical olive and they literally melt in your mouth. If I want to make homemade pizza, I will pick up a bag of pre-made dough at La Rose, along with their quality mozzarella and any other toppings we want to add.  Another reason to go to La Rose is their hot table – think fine dining Italian food, to go. If they happen to have their chicken bacon lasagna, I highly recommend it.

There are several other great food places in and around Milton, and I am sure there many more I have yet to try.  When I have a particularly good meal somewhere, I will be sure to report back. Stay tuned food lovers!

Do you have a favourite food spot in the GTA? I’d love some recommendations!

Listening recommendation: Week 3

Listening recommendation: Week 3

I will keep my listening recommendation for this week short and sweet. I am recommending one of the most popular and recognized podcasts out there: This American Life. If you are not familiar with this podcast but it rings a bell, you are likely remembering my Week 1: Listening recommendation, the podcast Serial. The creators of This American Life created Serial, giving Serial increased popularity in the podcast world. It’s a bit ironic that I actually learned about This American Life from Serial.

What I like about This American Life is that they cover a variety of topics and places through storytelling. Each episode has a theme and despite the name of the podcast, they really do cover anything and everything, from places near and far across the globe. Being an Anthropology major, I love it! Produced weekly, they are on episode 602 as I am writing this, and have been producing episodes since 1995. Needless to say, there’s a lot of listening material here.

To get you started, here are three of my favourite episodes so far:

Podcast Episode 560: Abdi and the Golden Ticket

Episode 587: The Perils of Intimacy

Episode 594: My Summer Self

Some episodes will make you laugh, some will make you smile and some will even make you cry, while others will make you mad, but I guarantee you will learn something new and gain a different perspective than you had before. Enjoy!

Listening recommendation: Week 2

Listening recommendation: Week 2

What are you listening to? Here is my weekly listening recommendation…

For my second weekly listening recommendation, I am suggesting an audio book I listened to last fall. I enjoyed this book so much that, although I would primarily listen to it while running, I found myself also listening to it while sipping on a glass of wine on a Friday night and even before bed.

The book is called Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, presented by HarperAudio (HarperCollins Publishers) and performed by Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore.  The story begins in present day, with the move of a successful Hollywood film music composer, back to England after the death of his wife. Moving back to his hometown in Yorkshire, the main character Chris finds himself in an old isolated house that he bought sight unseen. The house proves to be more than he bargained for when Chris finds out that a Book Cover of Before the Poisonprevious owner had died there sixty years ago and his wife was convicted and hanged for his murder.  As Chris gets pulled into the mystery and learns more about the characters that were a part of this event, we the listener find out about the life of a battlefield nurse in World War II and the serious implications that it had.

This story has lots of twists and turns. More than just the story itself, I truly enjoyed the performances of Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore. If you love a good mystery with a bit of historical fiction, you will definitely enjoy this book as well!

You can find the audio book on Libraries on the Go, as part of the Southern Ontario Library Service (and I am sure others) or you can purchase it online. Happy listening!

The charms of the farm…

The charms of the farm…

Okay, so aside from the commute, moving to Milton really wasn’t that bad. I know what you are thinking; I mentioned several challenges in my Hello Milton… post.  One of those challenges was the farm. When I moved to Milton, not only did I move from downtown Toronto to the suburbs, but I also moved from an apartment into a farmhouse.  What I shared with you in that earlier post did not shed the most positive light on farmhouse living; and let’s be serious, I don’t want you going around thinking that it was all ceramic chickens and ‘Home is where your boots dry’ signs. So, here are some of the charms of the farm.

A space of our own.  One of the best things about the farmhouse was not the house itself, but the land around it. Our home was situated on 75 acres of beautiful and wonderful open space. Now that is something you won’t find in Toronto! With Taylor being a landscaper, our house was surrounded by plush gardens and a big open deck that wrapped around two sides of the house. From there our yard stretched out, what felt like forever. I have fond memories of bonfires, golf (Taylor had installed a mini golf course he called Par 3 out front), every lawn game you can think of, and the best part … endless parking (our own, much cheaper version, of the Green P).

Peace and quiet. One of the first things I noticed about the farmhouse was the absolute silence that came with nighttime. There were no city noises like traffic, honking, sirens, drunk people yelling at each other, street fights…I could go on.  Instead, it felt like any noise was sucked up by the expanse of space and any sounds that did reach our ears were the comforting sounds of nature.  On the other hand, if we were the noisy ones, that was okay – we had no neighbors to disturb.

The wildlife.  After a peaceful night’s sleep at the farm, waking up to birds chirping was not uncommon. If the sun was shining they were singing. There were several types of birds from doves to blue jays, chickadees, cardinals, one majestic blue heron that had claimed the pond as his home, and many more. One spring we had a dove build its nest outside of our bedroom window. Back in the city this probably would have been considered a nuisance, but at the farm it offered a A mother dove with her two babiesfirsthand viewing of the Discovery Channel. We watched as the mama bird produced two perfect eggs, nestled on top of them to warm and protect them, and got to see the babies after they hatched. I was mesmerized the first time I got to witness their dinner time and excited to see the babies develop into little teenage birds, ready to fly the coup.

Rustic charm. The farmhouse itself was really quite beautiful. It had original natural hardwood throughout the house, exposed wooden beams, a wood burning Wood burning stove at farmhouse.stove and a hidden back entrance up to the master bedroom, which used to be the servants’ quarters. Despite being cold in the winter the house actually gave off a
very comfortable, homey feel that I genuinely miss.

You can grow your own veggies! My favourite thing about farmhouse living was the option to grow my own vegetables. Taylor, being the green thumb he is, was all for it and we have kept a garden on the property since my first summer in Milton.

There is nothing like the satisfaction of making a meal filled with organic veggies that you have grown yourself and picked fresh. In the fall I love to have my Toronto girlfriends out to Milton for “the harvest,” when they get to pick some of their own favourite veggies from the garden and we make a big feast out of what we’ve picked.
Vegges from our first gardenWe have had some failures and some successes with the garden, and every year we learn something new. I will never forget the first time I went out to the garden to find green onion shoots poking their heads out of the ground. We have had great success with tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, kale, Swiss chard, onions, zucchini, spaghetti squash, raspberries, hot peppers and lots of fresh herbs. We are still working on our wish list of garlic, potatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and corn.  Got any tips? We’re all ears…..or not.

More on becoming a Milton-foodie in my next post.

Listening recommendation: Week 1

Listening recommendation: Week 1

What are you listening to? Here is my weekly listening recommendation…

I am going to start my weekly listening recommendation with a podcast. I know that I mentioned podcasts are my last ‘go-to’ as far as listening options in the car go, but this particular podcast is exceptional. Also, it was brought up in my Foundations of Digital Communication and Social Media class last week. My instructor played the start of an episode and the theme song alone brought back my obsession with it. Almost everyone I have introduced this podcast to loves it.

It was my friend Kate who recommended it to me and when I asked her where she would listen to it (she didn’t drive that much at the time), she said it was so good that she would listen to it any chance she got. Yes, it really is that good! For me, it was the beginning of the year and I had challenged myself to run 1000 km in 2016. Living in Canada, January was a rough time to get back into running outside; that is until I listened to the first episode of Serial.

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life. There are two seasons, each telling a different true story. Week after week, the host of the podcast takes us through a chapter of the story, unfolding the mystery and introducing us to the various characters that come into play. We the listener, learn new details about the story, not long after they are discovered by the producers themselves.  What truly makes this podcast so great, is the host. A former newspaper reporter with a serious talent for story telling, Sarah Koenig uses her experience in journalism to uncover the facts. I could honestly listen to Sarah Koenig talk all day. She is amazing at bringing up and answering questions at the exact moment you think of them. It is like she is reading your mind. As my instructor Donna Papacosta so accurately put it, it feels like she is talking directly to you and only you.

I highly recommend this podcast to get you through your morning and evening commute. I suggest you start with the more popular Season 1, a completely captivating true story about high school love and a murder.

How do I play podcasts?

You can play podcasts on your computer by going to the podcast’s website and either streaming or downloading episodes. You can also play them on your phone, which is the way to listen to them while commuting. Most smartphones come with a default podcast app. On the iPhone it looks like this:

Podcast App Icon

It’s good to note that streaming episodes on your phone will use up your data, which could end up getting costly. A better option is to download an episode while on WiFi and listen to it afterwards.

How do I find Serial?

You can find Serial on most podcast apps by searching for it. You may get other podcasts that are about Serial, but they are not the original Serial. You want the one that looks like this:

Serial Podcast Icon

Be sure to double check the season and episode numbers, as the search results don’t always bring them up in order, and you don’t want to spoil anything for yourself.

That should do it! Enjoy. Oh and uh, you’re welcome!

What to listen to while you drive…

What to listen to while you drive…

In my last post I talked about steps to surviving your commute.  The one thing that really gets me through my commute is listening to something. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy the commute, because of what I listen to. I am not a picky listener either. I will listen to pretty much anything and everything, but some things are definitely better than others!

My top three sources of pure listening entertainment…

  1. CBC Radio 1 – I LOVE this radio station. I promise they aren’t paying me to say this; they really do have great content. I love Matt Galloway’s Metro Morning and if I am driving early enough to hear him, I will tune in. For my evening commute back home, my go-to is CBC’s As It Happens at 6:30 p.m.. Carol Off and Jeff Douglas make me laugh, and sometimes cry, with their quirky rendition of the day’s events. While they can be serious with some of the issues they cover and seem to take a strong stance on controversial topics, they are enjoyable to listen to and interview some very interesting people from across the globe. I always chuckle to myself, both at the odd-ball stories they tell and the inevitable pun that gets delivered at the beginning of every episode.
  1. OverdriveOverdrive is an app I have on my phone that connects me to Libraries on the Go. Many local library memberships in the GTA give you access to Libraries on the Go, which hosts hundreds of eBooks and audio-books. If you live in a suburb and work in the city, you may be able to get a membership at both local libraries, giving you access to even more online books! I use Overdrive to download audio-books, which I listen to during my drive. They are more convenient than audio-books on CD and they are way more affordable. Of course, there are some additional considerations that factor into liking an audio-book or not, the narrators voice and style being major ones. I have enjoyed most of the books I’ve listened to. It’s like being a kid again, listening to a bedtime story… except they are adult books and they do not put you to sleep (hopefully).
  1. Podcasts – I listen to podcasts in the car a lot less often than audio-books or the radio, but there are some fantastic podcasts out there and they fill in the gaps between books. It was also a podcast series that got me through a winter of running outdoors last year. I’ve been hooked ever since. There are so many podcasts to choose from, and with millions of topics and stories there is something for everyone. They are convenient too; you can listen to a podcast episode right on your phone. Apple products come with their own Podcasts App, as do most other Smartphones out there. Many podcast producers also have their own apps from which you can stream or download episodes.

With coming up on four years of listening experience, I would like to share the best of what I have heard. On Sundays, I will start getting you ready for your week by posting an audio-book or podcast that I recommend, and if I happen to hear a good radio segment on CBC, I will share that too. My aim is to spread the word on audio-books, podcasts and talk radio, to help my fellow commuters everywhere find a bit of enjoyment in the ride.  Even if you don’t commute, maybe you run. Consider taking these audio gems out for a spin; they may just get you to run an extra kilometer or two.

What are you listening to?