Christmas is coming!
Yes, Christmas is, indeed, coming – in exactly 39 days! I have started my Christmas shopping, but since I obviously can’t reveal my purchases, I took the above picture of some Christmas gift tags I bought this year. Just over a week ago, Erin asked me to go with her to a holiday-shopping open house at Lulu & Lavigne Home Studio, in Hamilton, and with the lure of free cupcakes making me tear up Highway 403 in a fit of a blinding anticipation, there was no way I was missing out. My only purchase was the tags at 40% off, but I can say with confidence that Sweetness Bakery gained a new client because I ate two of their mini cupcakes at the event, and then bought four full-sized confections this past weekend (more on that later!).
Staying on the baked-goods track, I made this banana-chocolate loaf (I hate that word) last week, and it was amazing! The recipe said to wrap the loaf overnight, and then cut into it the next day, but that author was crazy to think anyone (read: me) could resist something that looked like this, hot out of the oven. I sold all my bakeware at my yard sale in Edmonton, and I just recently acquired new pans, etc., so this loaf was me, back in baking action. Here’s what my counter looked like mid-bake:
You can check out the recipe for this Two-Tone Banana Bread here.
I got to enjoy the last piece of the bread on Friday, the day after Darcy left for the weekend to visit his friend in Houston, Texas. Yes, I had five days and four nights to myself, and I made them count. The first adventure of the weekend was actually getting Darcy to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which is in Cheektowaga, New York. The flight on Air Tran was so cheap in comparison to WestJet or Air Canada, there wasn’t really a question about choosing this airport/airline, so after getting through the border safely (I always feel so nervous!), we were early, so we went to eat at a local eatery Darcy had looked up – Charlie the Butcher. It was a great lunch!
The view at Charlie the Butcher.
The food at Charlie the Butcher: Beef on Weck, potato wedges, sweet potato fries, and a hot dog with a German name that I can’t remember. And yes, I know my hot dog looks pathetic, but the condiments were at the table, and I put them on after the picture was taken, OK?
After I dropped Darcy off at the airport, I made my way back toward the border, where I stopped at an outlet mall. I bought an olive-green corduroy skirt at Old Navy, but who cares about that when you can shop at Charlotte Russe! Oh my God, has anyone else shopped here before? I had only heard of it on the What I Wore Today blog, but didn’t know anything about it. The sparkle in this place almost made me pass out, and I felt like I didn’t know where to look because I wanted EVERYTHING! The clothes and accessories were also reasonably priced, similar to Forever 21, but all I took away with me was a tank top with metallic chains hanging on the front of it, and a bronzed metal necklace with brown feathers attached to it. I needed to restrain myself because Christmas is coming up, after all, but I will see you again, Charlotte Russe.
So this all happened on Thursday, and on Friday, I went on a thrifting extravaganza, going to every second-hand store in Burlington. I had such a great time, and I found not only Pyrex for my collection (you can check out my purchases on the Pyrex Collective here), but I also bought a creamy-coloured angora-and-wool winter coat with a fur collar at Goodwill for $14.99, a black cross-body purse at Goodwill for $4.99, and three belts of varying golds and blacks at the Burlington Humane Society second-hand shop for $1 each. Yay! These purchases, in combination with my U.S. purchases (Old Navy skirt, $5.48; Charlotte Russe tank and necklace, $16.80), bring my Tally it Up spending to $634.82.
On Saturday, I made my way into Toronto, where I met up with Caroline at her place. We went out for dinner at Ferro, where we split the Spinacce “insalate” and I had the Gnocchi Alla Napoli for my main. Oh, God, it was so good! Caroline, I’m coming to see you again today, OK?
After dinner, we had a drink of Baileys back at the apartment, and settled in to watch the second Sex and the City movie. We also settled in to…our Sweetness Bakery cupcakes! I told you I would mention them again, and here they are:
How amazing do these look?
Here we are, fake-eating the s’mores cupcakes. We demolished Caroline’s couch with their crumbs immediately after this picture.
That pretty much brings an end to my weekend, as Sunday I went out to the Freelton Antique Mall for a browse, but didn’t get anything for myself except for a couple postcards I plan on framing, and then on Monday it was time to head back to the U.S. of A. to pick up Darcy at the airport. Luckily, I had these friendly woodland creatures to guide me in times of crisis:
We had a serious chat about stores in the area, and one of them told me to go Hobby Lobby. I went forth with their blessings, and I discovered ample bounty. Thanks, Mr. Deer! (Along with Charlotte Russe, I now also love Hobby Lobby.)
Next up, I am heading to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this weekend!