Accidental #Gainz, Cat Pinkeye and Hell Week

Just a bunch of random things that don’t really flow together but I feel like talking about today…

I bought a new protein powder a couple weeks ago but the same brand as usual, I was just replenishing my stash, so I grabbed it quickly without really paying attention. A few nights ago I was making my overnight oatmeal for breakfast the next morning, and as I was adding my protein powder I caught a glimpse of the stats on the back of the canister. They seemed higher than usual. Like 160 grams of carbs higher than usual and about four times the calories. I turned it around to look at the front and…

Gainer. Mass GAINER. Great. I was using that for like two weeks. You know what’s not my goal? Gainz. Ugh.

I feel like Regina George in Mean Girls with the “weight loss” bars.

Oh well, good thing it’s Hell Week right now at Orangetheory Fitness! In the eight days leading up to Halloween, Orangetheory is “celebrating” by having 8 days of extremely challenging classes. If you can survive 5 of the 8 classes you earn a coveted Hell Week t-shirt! I will do pretty much anything for a free shirt so obviously I’m doing it. All the workouts have fun Halloween names too, and I’m a sucker for kitschy things like that (all Orangetheory’s follow the same schedule so workouts are the same at every studio).

  • OCT 24 – “Don’t Fear the Burpee” – 23 minute row block
  • OCT 25 – “Don’t Breathe” 16 All Outs
  • OCT 26 – “Drag Me to the Hill” Partner workout
  • OCT 27 – “28 Reps Later”
  • OCT 28 – “Thigh Day the 13th”
  • OCT 29 – “I.T.”
  • OCT 30 – “The Inclines of Death”
  • OCT 31 “Helloween”: where tricks OR treats await you depending on the luck of the draw.

I skipped Don’t Fear the Burpee mainly because I fear 23 minutes of rowing (I actually like the rower, but 23 minutes on it would make me hate it), but I did Don’t Breathe on Wednesday and Drag Me to the Hill yesterday, and dare I say they weren’t that bad? I feel okay so I might do 28 Reps Later after work tonight. I think I’ll skip Thigh Day the 13th but do I.T. (I think it’s going to be an intense tornado, which means switching stations constantly and that’s my favourite) and then Helloween. And that’ll make it five for me so I’ll get a sweet shirt with this logo:

Only three more classes to go.

**

The little kitty has a name! She is officially Pepper.

It took us about three weeks to decide, but I think it suits her. She’s a Pepper. She is totally crazy. I feel like I forgot how nuts kittens are, and it hasn’t even been that long since Tilly was a crazy kitten. Remind me to read this blog post if I’m ever thinking about getting a kitten again. She is into freaking everything and she rarely sleeps. But, we love her.

In other more unfortunate cat news, poor Tilly is recovering from pinkeye.

That picture is from before the pinkeye, clearly. I didn’t even know cats could get pinkeye, so that was quite a surprise. It was extremely alarming when we first discovered it because it came on very suddenly and looked very bad. She had just woken up from an evening nap and when she first opened her eyes her right one looked so bad that it appeared she may not even have an eye anymore. We panicked. It was awful. We originally thought Pepper must have scratched Tilly while they were play fighting. Evan and I immediately packed Tilly up and took her to the emergency vet and her eye was already looking better when we arrived there (she definitely still had an eye, thank god). After the vet examined her it was discovered that it’s just pinkeye.

Tilly had an upper respiratory infection when we first brought her home from the shelter, but after a couple weeks of sneezing she’s been fine since then. Pepper also has an upper respiratory infection from the shelter and has been sneezing, so the vet said that the virus has probably just been lying dormant in Tilly and with Pepper sneezing on her it brought out symptoms again. Which manifested as pinkeye.

Cats man, who knew.

I’m so relieved it’s not more serious. We’ve been putting drops in her eye three times a day (she does not love this) and it’s almost fully cleared save a little runniness in that eye. But I will never forget that sick feeling of dread I had when I thought Tilly might have lost an eye. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have kids and having to deal if they hurt themselves. Intense.

**

Well, that’s pretty much it. Except I have NO PLANS this weekend and I could not be more excited about it. Life has felt really busy lately so I’m looking forward to chilling out with Evan. I’m gonna watch Halloween things and read, and maybe do some painting around the condo. We’ll see. Have a great weekend!

 

Follow

Beer Festing

I had been looking forward to last weekend for several months now, and it did not disappoint! Back in July, Evan heard about a craft beer festival happening about two and a half hours away from us in a really cute area of Ontario, so we decided to get tickets, book a hotel room and make a weekend out of it. On Saturday morning we headed to Picton in Prince Edward County for the first annual (I guess they’re planning for it to be a regular thing) Homegrown County Craft Brewing Festival.

We made a quick pit stop at Lake On The Mountain Park, since it’s only 10 minutes from Picton. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while.

It’s a lake that’s not exactly on a mountain, since we don’t really have those here, but it apparently defies all geographical and geological theory because it’s definitely on a cliff.

And below the cliff is Picton Bay on Lake Ontario!

You can’t really tell what’s happening from pictures but it’s pretty bizarre seeing two large bodies of water right beside each other at completely different elevations.

 

It was nice, and a freakin’ gorgeous day for some lake time — a bit too cold for swimming but you know I had my emergency bathing suit with me just in case the opportunity arose.

After that we headed to Picton to get our beer fest on. We stayed at the Picton Harbour Inn and it was super cute, reasonably priced and I cannot say enough about the service. The lady working the front desk was extremely friendly and helpful, and she let us check into our room over two hours early, so that was nice. This inn really is right in the harbour so this was the view from our private balcony.

Well, there may have been a small parking lot before the dock but I still liked it. The beer fest was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel (convenient!) so we dropped our stuff off, relaxed for a minute and then walked on over. Picton is cuuuuute.

I was already fantasizing about moving there and opening my own brewery and/or kombucha and sauerkraut bottling business. It is a hipster paradise there!

The beer fest took place on the grounds of the Crystal Palace, an adorable building on the Picton Fairgrounds.

I don’t know if the plan was to originally have all the vendors inside (because it’s almost the end of October and weather-wise who knows what you’re going to get) but it was unseasonably warm and sunny and everyone was outside enjoying the day.

I got ID’d as we entered the grounds, which of course pleased me because I’m well over 19 (like WELL over), and the lady actually asked me to remove my sunglasses so she could study my face and compare it to my picture, and then she quizzed me about my middle name! I was surprised so I hesitated when I answered and I felt like that made me look suspicious. Oh well, they let me in. Evan did not get ID’d but I’m sure that grey beard of his is a 19+ alert.

They gave us pint mugs, which was a nice touch, and two beer tokens to get us started. One token filled your mug up halfway, which was just right. There were at least 25 brewers set up so we did a lap of the grounds first to see the beers we wanted to hit up. One of my colleagues is from the County and she recommended the MacKinnon Brothers Brewery in Bath, Ontario, so I thought I’d better start with them before I drank too much beer and forgot. They did actually end up being one of my favourite brewers there, and I also scored a pickle on a stick ’cause I’m doing life right.

That pickle was SO GOOD (from Pyramid Ferments and I am now obsessed with their entire line of delicious fermented things) — when we were leaving we bought an entire jar of pickles from them but unfortunately they were lost in a tragic accident while we were walking home later. The plastic bag they were in broke and the jar of pickles fell onto the sidewalk and shattered all over the place. I was devastated. I wanted those pickles so bad. But Pyramid Ferments is at Brickworks in Toronto every Saturday so this weekend I’m going on a serious mission to get another jar.

We hadn’t eaten lunch since we heard there would be food vendors, and eating was going to be a must for optimal beer drinking (meaning we could drink more beer without getting too sauced). We headed to a jerk chicken booth and scored some of that.

Delicious. Mine was sweet with a little bit of spicy and it was perfect.

And then more beer. Then a cocktail. I had a pine vodka (I know, weird right, pine vodka?) Caesar and it was pretty good.

But I was there for the beer.

Evan says it’s less classy to be holding a drink in a photo, but I strongly disagree.

We basically wandered around in the sunshine for six hours and drank beer. It was the best. Everyone, both vendors and guests, were EXTREMELY friendly, like way more than in the city, and we chatted people up and made new friends. And it was also never too busy, which I enjoyed. I think we waited in line for max five minutes, and that was for the one cocktail booth.

There was a great live band playing (they played a lot of Hip which was fitting and I was digging), and there were funny games like a potato sack race and keg throwing competition. Which I participated in.

As one does.

I had a whole stretching routine before the big throw and everything. You had to throw the keg straight up and over a rope that kept getting higher every round.

After that toss a guy near Evan said “Whoa, that was effortless.” and Evan yelled “THAT’S MY WIFE!!!” like the proud husband he is.

I unfortunately did not win the keg toss. I had a beer in between rounds that I thought was going to make me even better because at that point I felt like I was amazing at everything, but I think it was that beer that took me over the edge from being good to being crap, ’cause the next round I choked. You know how it happens. There’s a threshold. I could have been great! I did get pretty far though so I was proud of myself.

Okay, favourite beers. We tried every vendor (but not every single beer that each vendor had, that’s just crazy talk!) and picked out a few faves. The MacKinnon Brothers for sure. My coworker was right about that one. I tried a few of theirs and enjoyed them all. I also enjoyed KingsTown, Signal Brewing, and one of the cider places had a raspberry sour that I REALLY loved (sours are new to me and I’mma likin’). And Wolfe Island Spring near Kingston, they were a good time.

They have a cannonball ale that is brewed with a real cannonball, so hearing that story was quite impressive, and that beer may have been my favourite of all the beers. They had a picture of them with their little daughter at their booth and they are such a cute family. Totally living the craft beer dream.

So it was a pretty excellent beer drinking time with my lover.

And if it’s an annual festival I think it’s going to be annual for us, too.

Eventually we decided we probably should not drink any more beer and we headed out. We walked over to the Accoustic Grill in downtown Picton for dinner, solely because they had live music. It was busy but we scored a table right away so that was great. I remember eating deep fried pickles to make up for the lost pickles fiasco (it didn’t but they were good), and some sort of chicken thing, but the pickles were the most memorable part of my meal.

After leaving there we walked into the movie theatre, basically because it looked like a sweet old town movie theatre and we wanted to check it out (the picture below was taken the next day, it was dark by this point).

They gave us free popcorn for some reason and tried to invite us into a CCR tribute concert that was currently happening but we were in no shape for that. So, we took our free popcorn home and were in bed by 9:30pm. Perfect.

The next day we explored downtown Picton a bit and then checked out an apple orchard/pumpkin patch before heading back to the city. We got home just in time for a Sunday afternoon nap. Good times all around!

Follow

Me Too.

You may have seen this movement going around social media in response to the disgusting Harvey Weinstein situation.

 

Well, me too.

Too many times to count. Many of these encounters I do not feel comfortable talking about but there are a few I will share, because unfortunately my experiences are not uncommon. In fact, I would be more surprised to find a woman who did not experience sexual harassment or assault than one who did. So today I will add my voice to the chorus of others, because for so long this behaviour has been normalized and we need to speak out.

When I was about 8-9, I was walking home from my school bus stop and an older boy in my neighbourhood (probably around 14-15) asked me to come into the forest with him because he wanted to show me something. I knew him fairly well and trusted him, and I was thinking he wanted to show me a fort, or something of a similar cool nature. So I followed him. When we got to a clearing he dropped his pants, exposed himself to me and said some horribly disgusting things that I will not repeat on here but I will never forget. I ran away as fast as I could, and I didn’t tell anyone for 20 years. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, like it was somehow my fault it happened. Like I had brought it on myself. And my mom was friendly with his mom so I didn’t want to “make things awkward” between them. I didn’t want to be questioned about it. I wanted to forget it happened.

When I was in high school my friends and I were all on a band trip in Quebec City and a man was lurking outside of our ground floor hotel room window. He exposed himself to us and began to pleasure himself right there in front of us. We didn’t tell any of the chaperones, because we were ashamed. We actually finally told our band teacher just a couple weeks ago that this happened, and when he asked why we didn’t say anything to him at the time we all looked at each other and said the same thing. Why would we? What would have happened? We thought it was our fault. We felt like we did something to cause it. In reality it happened just because we were a bunch of girls.

The summer I graduated high school there was a big party in a university town at the house of one of our friends who had graduated before us. A bunch of us went, probably a third of our school (we went to a very small school). After the party died down I had gone to sleep and when I woke up a male “friend” of mine was situated halfway down my body, he had my jeans undone and was struggling to pull them down my hips. Alarmed, I asked him what he was doing and he said he thought I “wanted to.” Um, I was sleeping, so how exactly did I give off that vibe? This was someone I trusted. We went to elementary school together. I grew up with him. I got myself out of that situation and I told my friends who were there, who were very supportive, but I didn’t turn it into a big thing because it was awkward. I told myself that maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal. And his friends were friends with my friends and I didn’t want to make people take sides so I just shrugged it off. That was only about 15 years ago but it was a different time, and we didn’t talk about these things.

That same night one of my friends was sleeping on a couch and a strange man we had never met just started making out with her. And that is actually just the first time that same situation happened to that same friend. A couple years later we were at another friend’s university house in a different town and this time a strange man on the street happened to look through the living room window in the middle of the night, saw my friend sleeping on the couch, felt free to let himself inside, and again just started kissing her. What the actual F? If she hadn’t woken up and had such a loud violent reaction that our boyfriends at the time raced to her side and ended up chasing him down the street, I shudder to think what could have happened.

The fall before I met Evan I was in a bar with coworkers and a man reached through my legs from behind and grabbed my crotch so hard that it hurt for two days afterwards. I was wearing jeans. I don’t know why I feel the need to add that fact. I wanted to slap him or something, but it happened so quickly and I felt so shocked and violated that by the time I realized what had happened and turned around to face the person, they had disappeared into the crowded bar.

I cannot count the number of times a man has made an unsolicited comment about my body, specifically my chest. Or touched me without my permission. You get the point. And I’ve been lucky! So many women have stories that are so much worse.

A bunch of my friends and I were talking recently and every. single. one. of us had a similar story to the above. All of us. Back in the summer my friends and I were having a girls night and we were playing a game where someone made a statement, and if that statement was true for another person they had to take a drink. I made the statement: “I have seen a man’s penis when I did not ask to and did not want to.” Everyone drank. Whether it was an unsolicited and sudden surprising d*ck pic, the incident similar to the one in Quebec I mentioned above, or a man coming through the drive thru of a coffee shop with his junk exposed to the teenage girl who was working, we’ve all seen it when we absolutely did not ask to and did not want to. WHY do men think this is okay? Why do they present that like it is some sort of prized fish? Not all men, of course. But #yesallwomen.

I have never been comfortable talking about these experiences and I have largely kept them to myself, especially that first one. I opened up to Evan recently and for comparison purposes I asked him how many unwarranted, unasked for, vaginas he had seen. I’m sure you can guess his response. Zero. Not one.

Maybe #metoo isn’t going to inspire real change, and also know this:

I do agree that it is still easier not to speak. A hashtag probably isn’t going to change much. I’m still seeing comments on these “me toos” that women are only speaking out for attention and for people to ask them what happened (give me a break), or that we’re not talking about men being objectified (that’s not the point of this conversation).

But I do believe that things are slowly changing and we are starting to have the courage to more openly discuss these stories and say this is not okay. And yes it is common from regular women. We’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s our fault, we made this happen, we should have said something, we could have stopped it, we’re crazy for thinking it’s bad, or we’re thinking it’s not “bad enough” to warrant speaking out, or when we do speak out it’s because we want attention. But after seeing my Facebook feed inundated with ‘me toos’ I felt like it is finally becoming accepted that it is the aggressor’s fault, not ours. For me, hearing other people openly talk about their experiences empowered me to talk about mine, even though relatively speaking they’re not that bad, and even though they still make me feel a twinge of embarrassment. Because yes, me too. Of course me too. This movement should be changed to “who hasn’t?”

Follow

Thanksgiving Weekend

Hey girllllllls (and maybe a boy or two), Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! A bit late ’cause that’s how I seem to roll on here lately, but I think you can still be celebrating Thanksgiving week. I’ve still been eating with wild abandon all week. Whoops. I’ve always had my priorities straight.

However these days I’m more thankful for one boy in particular, rather than all the boys.

Anyway, my boy and I had a good weekend. I went to Orangetheory early on Friday, and by early I mean 5:30am if I want to make it before work. That is early, but I tell ya it feels good to get it done and then be free to eat everything all weekend. As I went into the class my favourite front desk lady pointed out that I had hit the 100th class milestone a couple weeks ago and it was actually my 112th class! Crazy! When I came out afterwards she surprised me with a certificate commemorating the occasion.

Uh yeah, I get real sweaty. Don’t judge.

So, that got my day off to a pretty great start. I’ve been working late most nights the last couple weeks because we have a big gala coming up at work this Saturday (however, unlike my old work’s gala, I am NOT planning it alone, I just support, so that’s wonderful) but not on Friday! On long weekends we get off an hour early and I made sure I got all my stuff done so I could take full advantage. Evan and I were heading up to the cottage until family Thanksgiving celebrations on Sunday and we wanted to get up there ASAP. Evan’s mom was staying at our place for the weekend to watch the kitties, since the still nameless Little Kitty is still too young and crazy to be by herself for more than a day (I keep telling Tilly to reign her in but it seems like she supports her behaviour), so I picked her up on my way home and brought her back to our place for the kitty party.

We left for the cottage earlier than usual when we head up on Friday’s but we hit some long weekend traffic and by the time we stopped for groceries, dinner (Mucho Burrito what), etc. by the time we got up there and unpacked it was like 9pm. We just played a game of cribbage on the porch and hit the hay early.

Saturday was dreary and rainy so we went out for breakfast, leisured around inside and read our books and napped. Pretty much a dream Saturday.

The weather cleared up around 4 and it was unseasonably warm (summer finally graced Ontario with its presence in late September and it’s been warm every since) so we hit up the dock and continued our leisure fest.

It actually got kind of hot once the sun was fully out and I was comfortable out there in my t-shirt.

It’s so nice at the cottage this time of year, even though the fall colours aren’t quite at their peak yet. It’s our third Thanksgiving in a row there and I love that it’s become a tradition.

We made dinner around 6, pork skewers and grilled peppers on the bbq (by we I mean Evan, all I did was mix the premade salad).

Don’t be jealous of that boxed Caesar salad but DO be jealous of those bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers! They’re from M&M’s and my friend Joel introduced me to them last weekend and I can’t get enough. I want them at every meal.

After dinner we went for a walk to watch the sunset. It was a good one!

We like to match at the cottage.

Annnnnd then back to the dock until the sun went down.

Followed by more cribbage on the porch with a few drinks until bedtime.

On Sunday we packed up and headed to Evan’s dad and family’s for Thanksgiving dinner (well, lunch). Have I told you lately how much I love eating holidays?!

YASSSS. I look forward to that dinner all year. I love that Evan’s family adds sauerkraut and pork and sausage in addition to all the usual Thanksgiving things. It’s new to me. My family always stuck to the traditional Thanksgiving fare (also delicious!). And we had homemade pumpkin pie for dessert which was amazing as usual.

Evan’s dad has a hobby farm so after lunch we walked around and visited with all the animals, specifically my favourite mammoth donkey Zeke.

This actually marks my 5th Thanksgiving of pictures with him.

Thanksgiving 2016 in my best plaid.

Thanksgiving 2015. Donkey selfie.

Thanksgiving 2014. Whispering sweet nothings.

Thanksgiving 2013 when Zeke’s pal Rosie was still around and photobombing us.

Zeke is 22 and according to the Google donkeys live for 25-30 years so I’m hoping for a few more Thanksgivings with my favourite buddy!

I feel like we have a special bond.

After lunch we drove home and had a sleepover with Evan’s mom, and then on Monday we did brunch with her at our place. Followed by the usual weekend house errands and a quick nap (I napped two out of three days, so not too shabby!).

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Or a great regular weekend if you don’t live in Canada.

Follow

The Kitty With No Name

Guess what, guess what?! On Sunday we adopted a new kitty!

Aww I have a picture with baby Tilly in that same room when she was about the same age a bit over a year ago.

Evan and I had been talking a lot lately about adopting another cat. We have the space for it, loved having Bonnie here for the short time she was with us, and honestly think that Tilly would love a friend. Not that I am an expert on what cats are thinking, but where I could tell Winnie would have been fine with being an only cat forever, Tilly is more like a dog cat. She still has so. much. energy. at a year and a half and seems like she wants someone to play with. She loves going to our catsitter’s, who has two other cats that Tilly has become buddies with.

We have been checking the website of our local cat rescue over the last month or so but didn’t see any kitties that really tickled our fancy. We thought we were looking for a young (under four or so) male cat that would also maybe be a nice lap kitty (Tilly is not, she loves to be pet and be near us, but she will only let me snuggle with her when I first get home from somewhere, and only for about five minutes). On Sunday afternoon we were driving home from Evan’s grandmas and happened to pass the animal shelter we got Tilly from so we decided just to drop in and check out the cat situation. Big mistake, I know. Who can just look?!

There were a few male cats at the shelter, but none were for us. One had a disclaimer that he was totally crazy (we already have Tilly who has her crazy moments), one was 10-years-old and needed to go to a home with no other animals, and one was FIV positive, so again, no other animals. But then there were four kittens that were originally found abandoned on the side of the road and just came in from being fostered, who were all fixed, had their shots and were ready to go. Our new baby was part of that litter. We loved her immediately! Of all the kittens she was the most friendly right away and loved being held by us. I really would have preferred to give an older cat a home and I know how fast she would have been adopted but…I just couldn’t leave her there. So we filled out an application and brought our little nugget home!

She is ridiculous cute. I can’t get enough of her.

She is currently nameless. In the shelter they were calling her Shirley but I don’t think we’re sold on that. Our top name contenders right now are Pepper, Piper, Jasper, Cleo and Ruby but we’re open to suggestions! We’re sort of waiting for her personality to shine through. It’s weird because Tilly was always just Tilly. That was the only name we discussed for her and as soon as we said the name it was clear that’s who she was. This one is a bit of a mystery.

She already loves the cat tree.

One thing she does that probably needs to stop is suckling, on pretty much any part of our bodies she can get her mouth on, but her favourite is Evan’s earlobe. She kneads his neck and just goes to town suckling on his ear. I was reading about it and apparently it’s a comfort thing and a lot of kittens do this when they were taken from their mom too early. Poor little kitty. It was really cute at first but it’s already starting to get annoying and I don’t want her trying to suckle on everyone’s body parts when she’s a grown-up cat.

And as for how Tilly’s doing, she’s really coming around to her new friend! Things are already going better with New Cat than they ever did with Bonnie. If you’re cat savvy you probably know that when you’re introducing a new cat you’re supposed to have New Cat be a mystery guest in a spare room for a couple of weeks and have the cats sniff each other under the door, swap them out so they can smell each other’s spaces, feed them on either side of the door, etc. etc. We did this for weeks with Bonnie and honestly I don’t know if it really made a difference because they never lived in harmony anyway. Tilly always wanted to play and would constantly harass her, and Bonnie wanted to sleep all the time and was having none of it.

The kitten and Tilly are much closer in age though. With the kitten we kept her in the spare room at night and any time we’re not home, and they were immediately showing interest in each other so when we’re home they’ve been chilling in the same quarters. Tilly was quite hissy at the kitten for the first couple of days, but wasn’t showing any signs of aggression, she mostly just wanted to play, and so did the kitten. Tilly’s dream finally came true! She quickly got over her “WTF is this thing?!” and it’s only been a few days but they’re already almost friends!

I can’t get over the size difference. Tilly was still a little baby kitty to me before the kitten arrived, but she looks freakin’ huge now and seems like such a big grown up cat all of a sudden.

I saw them give each other some kitty kisses, and a quick drive-by groom, which warmed my heart. Last night they were even sleeping on the same mat!

Not touching or anything but that would never have happened with Bonnie!

So anyway, we have a new kitty that we are loving on. She is just the cutest.

A bit of a jerk still as you know kittens are, but seriously the cutest.

And Tilly is still the queen of her palace.

I think it’s just a matter of time before those two start snuggling, and I’m excited for it. Tilly is such a good cat so I’m hoping she can give New Cat some guidance. Maybe she’ll teach her how to play fetch.

Also, tell me your cat names!

Follow

Our Toronto Wedding: Ceremony and Reception

(plus I have a couple videos from our wedding videographer in Cuba at the very end of this!)

All photos in this post are again by Nicole Kirk Photography.

So I left off right before the ceremony. After our first look at Brickworks, Nicole, our photographer, drove us over to the venue, only a five minute drive so it was very convenient. We got married at the Globe Bistro, a restaurant in Toronto at Danforth and Broadview, and it was just perfect.

We wanted to be officially married before our destination wedding in Cuba, so our initial plan was to go to City Hall and then take our family out for dinner, however the logistics of that ended up being a bit more complicated than we anticipated. So, we started looking around at small wedding venues in the city and in the end the Globe Bistro won. Okay honestly we didn’t look at very many places, we just really liked this one. We went for brunch there a few times, loved the food and service, and decided that was the place for us.

They had a perfect room upstairs for the reception, and the restaurant was big enough that the ceremony could take place there as well (SO convenient, this way no one had to move to a different location). And since it was a restaurant it was already a nice space, we barely had to decorate, and they handled all the food and drinks (and servers, and plates and cutlery, and table linens and all that stuff that you might have to rent elsewhere). It was easy peasy planning-wise. I’m so, so glad we got married there.

Okay, onto the ceremony. I felt very calm all morning. In the week leading up to the wedding, I just wanted to get the show on the road already! I think seeing the venue with just Evan the day before also helped to calm my nerves. I was just excited and happy and ready to marry Evan.

My handsome dad walked me down the aisle to, once again, the instrumental version of Jack Johnson’s Better Together (I used it at both weddings, I just love it so much).

And my most wonderful groom was onstage waiting for me.

Literally we had a stage, the restaurant used to be a theatre, so that was nice. I felt very important.

We may have been low key with the decor and the details, but the ceremony was something that was very important to us. I still can’t get over how amazing it was, and a lot of that had to do with our officiant Heather. She has been a longtime blog reader of mine who also happens to be a United Church minister, and actually reached out to me through my blog and offered her services to us when I wrote that we were getting married. We met up with her for lunch a couple of times in our planning days and she could not be a nicer or more genuine person. She was so helpful when we were planning out our ceremony and worked with us to make sure that it was thoughtful and meaningful to us. I loved working with her. She did such a great job during the ceremony. Her voice was loud enough for everyone to hear and full of joy and charisma. I feel so lucky to have had her.

Aside from our families, I only had two friends in attendance — my good friend Beth from high school and another friend of mine since elementary school, Allison, who was Beth’s date (which worked out so well, my mom was so excited to see both her and Beth!). Beth and Michael (Evan’s brother, aka Brotherman aka the Best Man) stood up there as witnesses for us.

And Evan’s cousin kicked off our ceremony with a really great reading that Evan and I chose. Here it is.

From The Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, ” You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another —  acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this; is my husband, this- is my wife.

We both had a hard time holding it together during that. We found that reading while we were internet searching it really resonated with both of us. I love that it is practical and less about the romantic, two people becoming one, soulmate bullshit. We both said that we knew very early on that we would get married, and we had all of those conversations. We’ve been all in for a while and our wedding was just the next step in the process, so it felt very fitting. Also, it said “lover” in it and I like that.

Heather said some other nice things, and then before our vows we did our question of intention, which was:

Do you Evan promise to love Lindsey and respect her, to share your life and your dreams, to build with her a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to her in all of her successes and failures, her happiness and sadness, to always give to her your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Lindsey?

I do.

Do you Lindsey promise to love Evan and respect him, to share your life and your dreams, to build with him a home that is a place of love, happiness, commitment and growth?

I do.

Do you promise to be a companion to him in all of his successes and failures, his happiness and sadness, to always give to him your unwavering support and above all else, the freedom to be Evan?

I do. I really do!

My favourite part of our question of intention was the part about the freedom to be ourselves — that is something I think is so important in a relationship and not something that I’ve always felt, until Evan came along.

And our vows, which I loved. We had talked about writing our own, but in the end we found some that again resonated with us and felt fitting to us. Here they are.

<

p class=”p1″>Evan/Lindsey, I promise to be your lover, companion and friend,
Your partner in parenthood,
Your ally in conflict,
Your greatest fan and your toughest adversary.
Your comrade in adventure,
Your student and your teacher,
Your consolation in disappointment,
Your accomplice in mischief.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.

I particularly liked the mention of lover, again, and the ending with “my equal in all things.” Also comrade in adventure and accomplish in mischief — this felt very true to us.

Then we had Heather read the Blessing of the Hands, which we also found somewhere online and just loved. Here it is:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children (and all your cats).

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

That sure started the ol’ waterworks. I think that is such a beautiful blessing.

After this we lit a candle for our loved ones who are no longer with us, specifically my D-Dad and Nana, and Evan’s Bubby and Nana, and said a little prayer for them.

<

p class=”p1″>Although we cannot see you
We know that you are here
Smiling down, watching over us
As we say “I DO”
Forever in our hearts
Forever in our lives
And so we say our vows
In loving memory of you
This light shines
as a symbol of life
and love remembered.

And finally, we have the exchange of the rings.

Evan/Lindsey, as you place the ring on Lindsey’s/Evan’s finger, please repeat after me:

<

p class=”p1″>With this ring, I marry you and bind my life to yours.
It is a symbol of my eternal love,
My everlasting friendship,
And the promise of all my tomorrows.

And we sealed our vows with a kiss.

And I got my lipstick all over Evan’s face and he looked like Howdy Doody for all our family photos.

We signed all the legal things…

And then we were officially husband and wife!!!!!!! YEAHHHHHHH.

And then it was party time!

Our guests mingled in the reception room and ate h’ors doeuvres and drank mimosas while we took family photos — this was originally going to happen outside but it was raining quite heavily so we just did it right there on the stage and it turned out well (they say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day!). Because we only had 35 people in attendance we were able to get pictures with absolutely everyone, which was great. Tracey, our wedding planner was a HUGE help in wrangling people for pictures. We had a list of photos we wanted (highly recommend doing this) but I still don’t know what we would have done without her.

For the reception room we kept it simple with the decor and just did tulips with a local florist as centrepieces (Tracey also arranged this for us — and the florist brought them over and then came and picked them up afterwards, which was fantastic).

We also put framed pictures of Evan and I on the tables in mismatched frames, and our guests could take them home if they wanted to, you know, adorn their homes with our faces.

The mimosas were a’flowin!

Evan’s uncle kicked things off with the most perfect toast.

And then it was food time. We had a brunch buffet which included a veggie frittata, baked French toast, bacon, sausage, a fruit plate with yogurt and granola, greens with field mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, potato salad, and an assortment of pastries and sour dough toast.

Ahhh I love brunch food so much and it was all really delicious. A lot of people say that have trouble eating on their wedding day but I had ZERO issue with that at all. I cleaned that plate and went back for more.

Evan and I sat at the head table with our moms, Brotherman and family. Throughout brunch we did speeches, and Brotherman’s was so great. It was thoughtful, funny without being embarrassing for Evan (not that he would have cared) and with just a littttttle bit of sap.

And my friend Beth’s speech about our longtime friendship was touching as well. She may have shed a tear, or several million 😉

It was cute. When I had my heart shattered into pieces when I was 17 she was the one who came straight to my house with a pint of ice cream. She also talked about how bad of a driver I was in HIGH SCHOOL. (I’m much better now, but you may remember the Captain Hook story…whoops).

And then my dad got up there and was so genuinely touching because he got choked up and left in the middle of what he was saying and sort of left us all hanging. I was like “Dad are you going to close this out with a toast or what?” so he had to come back up and finish that off.

It made us laugh harder than I have laughed in a long, long while.

We didn’t do dancing or anything, just mingling. I loved that it was low key and I had time to go around and sit and chat with everyone. Perfect!

My cousin Allie and her daughter Nora came all the way from BC! (remember Allie’s wedding? One of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to) I was so happy they were there.

And then Evan and I got up there to do our thank you speech together as husband and wife!

Evan started with mentioning that he had planned and written down everything he wanted to say and my plan was just to wing it, and he pointed out that was very representative of our relationship.

Which got a good laugh. And he is not wrong.

I just had a big love burst for him while I was typing this.

After a few hours of eating and drinking and chatting with our guests, we cut the cake. The cake! It was made by a former coworker of mine at Girl Guides, Cathy, and gurrrrrlllll, she slayed.

Evan had one request and that was NO. FONDANT. So we had all the buttercream and it was fabulous. I love that she matched my bouquet with the flowers.

The top layer was coconut with coconut buttercream, and the bottom layer was vanilla lemon. SO FREAKIN DELICIOUS. If you’re in the Toronto area and need a cake check out CakesByNaCJ, I highly recommend!

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I could not have been happier with the way everything turned out.

And then we went off and did it all again in Cuba, as you may know.

So if you made it to the bitter end and you don’t feel wedding’d out yet, here’s a video of our Varadero ceremony, I haven’t shared it here yet!

I still don’t really know what our officiant is saying (well I caught “thank you for choosing our hotel”), but I like it anyway. And a bonus video of us frolicking around with our bridal party, which is one of my favourite things.

I have no regrets about having two small weddings instead of one larger one. I feel so lucky that we were able to have an intimate celebration with so many people who mean so much to us. I’m just going to say, we also saved a lot of money doing it this way, so I definitely recommend.

Follow