an american girl living in toronto • i'm a hairstylist & writer in love with my canadian husband, food, flowers, flowers in my food, lipstick, books, dad jokes, a good mimosa
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it’s only a #tbt to this past Saturday but as I’ve lied here with another terrible cold and fever, it’s been good to have this one taking care of me.

it’s only a #tbt to this past Saturday but as I’ve lied here with another terrible cold and fever, it’s been good to have this one taking care of me.

Despite what these photos might show, I am so sick right now. I am made of phlegm and fever and I am disgusting. Ian came home and immediately got into bed to cuddle with me as I tried to sweat out a fever. He then made me soup because he is the best. I’ve been sick since yesterday especially when I had to go to Guelph to see my sister-in-law, heading home earlier than expected today because I felt like human garbage. But not before going to a restaurant I’ve been dying to go for a long time: 39 Carden Street

It’s the sister restaurant of Baker Street Station which you have heard me rave about many times and I was so excited when I learned Kristine, May, and I would be going to lunch there today. I probably shouldn’t have had alcohol in my condition but who can resist a white wine sangria that’s a peachy shade like this when you have a sore throat? 39 Carden has an amazing snack menu and I went this route with whipped goat cheese (with these little shallots cooked in red wine, yum) and gnocchi poutine. Both were insane and although my stomach was full, my mouth wanted so much more. May got the 39 Carden burger which Kristine and I both tried, with its blue cheese and garlic aioli and onion ring; it was slightly pink in the middle which I love. We brought our own dessert because, well, yeah, made by Kristine which was chocolate whiskey cupcakes. The chocolate whiskey buttercream is insane. I stood in Kristine’s kitchen this morning licking the spoon like a small child because it was that good. It’s around the first anniversary of 39 Carden opening and I’m glad I got to eat there finally.

I felt a little bit guilty for eating at 39 Carden without Ian who was at work because he’s been dying to go there too but I just couldn’t resist. To make it up to him, I not only got him a cute reusable snack/sandwich bag with an owl print on it at EcoExistence but two giant sausage rolls and a wild blueberry/almond butter tart from Eric the Baker. Needless to say, he doesn’t hate me so much now. Oh and it’s unrelated to today but I wanted to commemorate this gorgeous piece of salmon we made on Monday that reminds me of a mermaid tale. Hopefully I’ll be back soon in better health; damn you, Canadian germs.

I thought I would miss the ocean more but I guess being so close to a Great Lake makes me feel less landlocked. I woke up with a bit of a cold again so I guess my body is still adjusting to the change of climate from the move. I don’t have much to say but here is a little bit of catch up from last week mostly from our neighborhood, High Park, which I love along with street cars which make my heart go boom.

what the rest of this weekend looked like:

  • nerdy excitement over finding the Oh Joy! line at Target here in Toronto (literally shrieking and scaring Ian) and getting this charming cooler bag. it kept our beer and then our groceries cold this weekend.
  • speaking of groceries, I let Ian pick donuts for us and he did not disappoint with this glazed chocolate icing croissant thing. jesus take the wheel.
  • while in Guelph for the wedding, we stayed with Ian’s twin brother Ben and his wife Kristine who we had a great time hanging out with. Ian’s favorite part of visiting B & K? Seeing Frank the cat who used to live with Ian and Ben way back when.
  • Eloise spent most of the weekend at her nana’s house but we got to see her Friday night and she showed us her nap tent, zipping herself right up and then out. I won’t lie, I was a little concerned when she bellyflopped right in there but she was fine. Turns out kids are sturdy.

lauren & charlotte’s wedding

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The first time I ever came to visit Canada was a few years ago on Canada Day itself. I was really anxious about meeting Ian’s family and friends, annoying the crap out of my flight seat mate by shaking my leg for the whole trip. Ian and his dad picked me up from the airport and I felt a little more at ease but still internally freaking out for the most part that I was going to meet the rest of his family the next day. That night, Ian’s best friend Julia made me a beautiful turkey dinner (yes, in July) with help from their good friends Lauren and Charlotte to welcome me to Canada; I felt like I was at home with my friends and I could feel how much they loved Ian. Instead of being the kind of people to be wary of this person their good friend was in love with, they welcomed me with open arms. I have rarely felt as comfortable with new friends as quickly as I did with Lauren and Charlotte, primarily because they seemed so comfortable together, at ease and just so generous with their time and kindness. 

We were so thrilled when they got engaged last year and I was so glad to be in Canada last year for their engagement party. When they asked me to not only come to their wedding but to be their stylist for the big day, I was so honored; thank god immigration made it so I got here in time! Much like our big day almost two years ago, Lauren and Charlotte were so calm and at peace when their wedding day rolled around. I headed over to their house to help them and Julia get ready and Lauren was the picture of calmness, much like Ian was on our wedding day; Charlotte had a bit more nerves which I could definitely relate to. Not because of the idea of getting married, of course, but just because you want everything to go so perfectly. Helping them all get ready was a pleasure, there’s nothing I love more than helping people feel beautiful on this kind of day. And I got Julia to not only wear but love how she looked in a bright lip which is obviously my main mission in life.

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The ceremony and reception were at the Belwood Lake Conservation Area, specifically in Hampton Barn which overlooks a beautiful wooded area and lake. Lauren and Charlotte spent a year thrifting for all the vintage floral plates they used and it looked darling with the bunting and handpainted signs done by their good friend. The ceremony was outside in a grassy area and was short and sweet but lovely. The clouds had looked threatening all day but the light misting rain we got didn’t start until the ceremony was over thank goodness. We quickly took photos and headed inside the barn; lawn games would have to wait till brunch the next day. 

Their wedding had so many touches that were just lovely and personal. In order to find your table number, you had to find your photo on this table covered with frames and it would reveal your number on the back. Everyone got to take their photos home too which is such a nice way to always think of the day as well as Lauren and Charlotte. I love how they included their friends and family in every part of the overall design from having me do hair and makeup to their friend who designed the invites and signs to their friend who brews beer providing two delicious beers including a brown ale (“Where the Mild Things Are” it was called) and a hefeweizen that was so, so good; Ian was shocked because he’s not normally a wheaty beer lover. The other beer they had came from a small local brewery called Royal City which had a tasting just the night before the wedding that Ian and I attended. I’m in love with the Morning Stout which has coffee and oatmeal flavors in it.

They had this amazing First Nations food truck do the food and appetizers did not disappoint: asparagus wrapped in wild boar bacon, venison meatballs with a blueberry reduction, and rice paper rolls. All the local Ontario flavors were incredible and the food design was surprising but also just so right once you tasted it. Dinner didn’t disappoint either with deconstructed Indian tacos (fry bread with chili and vegetables and basil creme fraiche), bison sliders with caramelized onions and cheddar on beer/onion/cheddar buns, and heirloom tomato and cucumber salad. I wanted to eat a billion more bison sliders but I knew I’d explode. 

I’m a sucker for speeches at weddings. It’s the main reason Ian and I are planning on having a belated wedding reception/anniversary party next year; there’s just something so wonderful about having the people you care about so much telling funny and embarrassing and loving stories about you. I teared up a bit during some of the speeches because I’m generally a crier and because there was just such a beautiful feeling in the room of togetherness and love for these two awesome people. Lauren and Charlotte took such a personal interest in putting together this beautiful day for everyone and their speech definitely made me tear up; I full on started crying when they thanked me for helping with their styling. I told you, I’m a crier.

The night finished with coffee from the lovely coffee truck parked outside the barn (what a great idea!), cupcakes that literally shocked me and Ian, like shocked us out of our previous beliefs about cupcakes (FILLED WITH CARAMEL), and dancing to tons of great music but specifically Faded by Soul Decision which just confirmed how much I am meant to live in Canada due to my shameless love for it. In fact, I danced so aggressively to it that I unbuttoned Ian’s shirt with my shoulder somehow. This day would have been enough to be the most perfect wedding ever but then they hosted us all at the barn the next day for brunch where we ate peanut butter & jelly muffins, sausage rolls the size of my damn head from Eric the Baker, and a rosé/orange juice combination Ian created that was shockingly delicious. Lawn games were on thankfully and we had a great game of croquet in which I not only beat Ian but came in third overall so not bad for someone who hasn’t played since she was six. I think I’d like to get a croquet set so I can play in High Park with friends and also have a picnic with cheese and wine. Any takers?

It was a beautiful weekend and Ian and I are so happy we were able to be a part of Lauren and Charlotte’s day. They are honestly one of the most meant couples I’ve ever met and I’m so excited to see and be a part of the rest of their beautiful life together. Also, the weekend has kind of led to Ian and I beginning to think more seriously about our own belated wedding reception/anniversary party but narrowing down a date/place at the very least: Ontario, November 2015, get ready!

take offs & landings

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Since this blog is like one fetus away from a mommy blog, I figured I’d share my landing story, rather the day I finally moved to Canada. On US to Canada immigration message boards, which were a huge help to me in this whole process in figuring out things government websites made complicated for no reason, there’s always a landing thread where you post the story of the day you finally land. It’s a big deal, even in the easiest of cases (ours) this is a long and expensive and difficult process so when you make it, it’s just huge.

Zach made the trip with me and it was a good trip although I could feel my stress levels peak sometimes. The morning we left, I threw up and the morning I was supposed to officially land, I threw up. I tend to throw up when I’m nervous and this might be the thing I’ve been most anxious about in my life. I’m the kind of person whose anxiety will not let up until something is official and done and over. Despite outward appearances, I’m a wreck before then. Zach knows so thank god he was the one there with me to keep me not only calm but to give me real talk when I needed it.

We made it Buffalo so fast, on our second day of driving and stayed there for the night because you have to export your car and do your landing during business hours. The next morning, we woke up and got ready to go. Zach made me a hotel waffle and made me eat some even though I really thought I was going to puke. We printed a bunch of extra paperwork I was told to bring and then we hit the road for the Lewiston Bridge (note: the only place in Western NY to export your car to Canada.) Siri gave us directions for the US Customs and Border Protection office where you export your car and as we are passing Niagara, we see this sign that says just that, US Customs and Border Protection.

Maybe that’s where we should go, we think.

Nah, Siri wouldn’t lead us wrong.

Pretty soon, Siri tells us we have arrived and we are on the side of a mountain road. Thanks for nothing, Siri.

We turn around and go back to the original place we saw which to be fair was right by the border where you actually cross. It is an actual maze of parking and I am driving figure 8’s to get over to where the office is. We finally park and I am gathering myself and my things when someone bangs on the window. Zach and I shriek and roll down the window.

"Passport and vehicle title," this guy who I swear to god walked out of bear porn 30 seconds earlier says. 

I hand it to him with shaky hands.

"Come upstairs."

This is the part where I should also mention that exporting my car had become my main source of distress in the week leading up the move because they have recently changed the laws surrounding this where you have to have a shipping/freighter ID code and like, a bunch of other shit to do it. Until October of this year, it’s an informed consent period so they aren’t making people do that or penalizing them but I wasn’t sure what to expect at the border. In other words, I was very afraid I was going to have to walk over the border or something.

We follow this guy upstairs and sit. He is at his computer typing in stuff about me and my car. His coworker comes and sits next to him while he does this and is showing him photos of her dumb dog on instagram. Read the room, lady. I keep waiting and rocking back and forth and expecting him to ask me for info I don’t have or for something bad to happen but instead he gets up after maybe four minutes, hands me my passport and title, and says that I’m all set.

"That’s it?" I squeak. 

"What else did you want?" he said.

"I just thought it would be more complicated or something, I don’t know, I—"

Zach pulled me out of the room before I could fuck anything up.

So we get back in the car only to have to once again navigate the dumbest fucking series of parking lots and exits to get to a place twenty feet away. We get our passports out, I get my certificate of permanent residency out, and we wait at one of those toll booth thingies for maybe 4 minutes. The guy in the booth looked maybe fourteen and he seems very irritated with my overly enthusiastic smile as I tell him I’m landing. Like, as a permanent resident. He approves Zach to come in as a visitor and sends us over to the building marked Canada. Zach and I gather my things and go inside, immediately giving Canada points over its governmental typeface choices even though we aren’t serif people.

We walk in and there is no one there. Now, I knew it would be not as busy as let’s say a weekend at the border but I expected like, Ellis Island lite or just a dash of Fievel Mouskowitz but no, there was literally one other person who didn’t work there in the building and they were just sitting on a bench so who knows what that story is. I walk up to the counter and the hot bearded man sends me over to a hot unbearded man. Also, yes, the majority of Canada’s border agents? Super hot. If you want to move to a different country, I recommend Canada when it comes to border agent hotness.

So anyways, I give this guy my paperwork and he is really nice and helpful. He asks if we are both landing and we said no but in hindsight maybe they would have just let Zach if we kept our big mouths shut. We blew it. So this guy looks over my documents and sees everything is in order and prepared them for me to sign.

"Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" He asks.

"No," I reply. "Well, not yet." Because anxiety makes me a jokester.

Luckily the hot border agent guy laughed along with Zach. I signed and became a permanent resident of Canada. I’m pretty sure I gripped Zach’s hand or something. I was then sent back to the hot bearded border agent who had me fill out forms about my car to import it and looked over my list of belongings (books: value $500 cosmetics: value PRICELESS.) Zach was the best as always and ran to my car to get some number they needed and then I signed more stuff and that was that. They then sent us to the next desk over where the people weren’t so hot but they were nice so there’s that. I didn’t have to pay a thing because I was a settler which of course gave me so many Oregon Trail vibes. I sort of hopped in the air when it was all done because oh my god, it was done! And nothing went wrong! And I could now breathe oxygen into my lungs again!

We exchanged money at the border, marveling at how fake it looked and laughing at the fact there was not only a white guy on it but a snowflake and a hockey player! Zach took a photo of me in front of the welcome to Ontario sign and we hit the road to Toronto (not very far, maybe an hour.) I tried to show the hills-obsessed (not The Hills obsessed) Zach that Canada had lovely hills as well but he sulked at this. At one point, as we were about to cross a bridge, we passed what looked like water but with a weird barrier that was up kind of looked like a field of lavender.

"Is that water?" I asked.

"That’s Lake Ontario," Zach replied.

And just like that, I doomed myself to this being my Canadian Heritage Moment. In 2014, Anaïs Mathers discovered that Lake Ontario was in fact made of water. Damn. 

We made it to Toronto, we parked by my new apartment, and since Ian was still at work and we were actually starving, we walked down the street to get sushi. Zach and I were excited to discover that it was all you can eat and we set about making our list of what we wanted, eating with our eyes as we hadn’t had much for breakfast. What we didn’t realize is that this is not America, land of waste and gluttony where all you can eat means if you don’t finish what’s on your plate, no big deal. So we order like 8 thousand things and start eating, slowing down pretty quickly because no one actually needs as much food as we ordered. At this point, the waitress comes over and shows us the fine print on the bottom of the menu which says that you will pay entree price for whatever you don’t finish. You cannot imagine the horror we felt. 

We eat as much as we can but a huge problem here is, I ordered stuff that has gluten and dairy and meat in it, three things Zach cannot eat. So I am stuffing it all in my mouth, tears in my eyes, literally coughing some up that just would not fit down my food hole. I start putting things in my napkin so I can put it in my purse. Finally, with one or two pieces of things left on some plates, we gave up. The waitress brings over the check and luckily it’s just for the lunch price. The problem now is walking up the hill back home. Zach and I very slowly begin our ascent, looking like footage of people climbing Everest in a blizzard when really it’s a lovely warm day in the summer. We have never felt more useless and American as we did climbing that hill.

We don’t attempt to unpack at this point, instead going inside and lying next to each other on my marital bed. We watched basically all of the Canadian Heritage Moments on youtube in order to get into the Canadian spirit and waited for Ian to come home and find us, American flag scarves strewn all over. And at that moment, I was so grateful to have crossed the border and been there with Zach, my gusband, who would not judge me for puking into my napkin at a sushi restaurant and who would also think it weird that Superman was invented by a Canadian. And that is how I became someone who gets to live in Canada forever.

Most days I feel like the luckiest girl and a lot of this has to do with Ian. Like, last night when I was lying in bed while he brushed his teeth, I saw this bug crawling on the window curtain and I asked Ian to get rid of it, to kill it, to not try to freak me out with it (can you tell I have somewhat of a history with this?) Instead, he gently picked it up and took it outside our building, coming back inside doing a cute bug voice thanking us for sparing its life because he knew it would make me smile and it reminded me more than ever that the right person is the one who will do small things that will make you happy and comfortable even though they don’t matter to them. 

I tell that story not to brag but because I want to stay grateful for what I have. And I know I do the same for Ian. Just yesterday, he was so grateful that when he had friends over for the World Cup, I took over hosting duties and made snacks and got drinks and helped out. I mean, of course I would! It didn’t seem like a big deal to me the way taking a bug outside for me didn’t seem like a big deal to him. I think we just feel so grateful to be with someone who cares so well for you; it’s everything. It has made the last three years, this move, everything so much easier.

In another example of this, Ian woke up early with me Saturday morning to go to the Toronto Flower Market. I’ve been so excited to go even before my move and his not giving a shit about flowers and plants, he went with me. He even bought me the last TFM tote bag they had, something I’d had my eye on since I had seen and loved the design. We adopted a sweet little succulent garden in an old school Campbell’s soup mug and we named the two biggest ones Winston and Mabel. They live on our kitchen window sill right now. We had a good weekend with family and friends, eating good food (roti, tacos, guacamole) and drinking a lot of beer and cider and walking about, seeing our city. It was nice to have the evening to ourselves last night when everything had wound down, reading and just being together. That’s my favorite kind of time lately, just the quiet at home moments where we can enjoy each other’s company. I like how our little life is turning out.

My life is basically #ovaryhiroshima lately because I keep getting to spend with the sweetest little ones ever. We had dinner and game night at our friend myriadplethorae's house last night and I finally got to meet her sweet Elea who is literally the happiest, most expressive, loveliest baby I've ever met. She was an excellent baby to selfie with especially when she was unimpressed.

Today Ian and I had brunch with his brother Ben and his wife Kristine and our niece Eloise (heart eyes here) who is my favorite child of life so far. Four out of five dentists agree. She’s always a little shy at first but then warms up, doling out so many high fives and two eye winks and hugs; she did fake me out on a high five though which damn, way to have skills so early in life. The restaurant owner even brought us free chocolate chip banana bread just because of her so I mean, hello, new brunch buddy. If Ian went anywhere out of her eye line, she said “Ian go?” because I mean, Ian is a little gal’s best pal. And then at our apartment, she immediately went for and hugged Jake the dog (and Eloise the human!) and thus, #ovaryhiroshima.

my parents got this avocado shaped guacamole serving dish as a wedding gift over thirty years ago; my mom thought it kitschy but my dad loved it. Me too. He got it when they got divorced years later and he kept it for me knowing I loved it. He gave it to me and Ian before my move as a housewarming gift since he knows ian is a huge guacamole lover. We are pretty excited to have it for homemade guacamole today as we host people for the World Cup. 

my parents got this avocado shaped guacamole serving dish as a wedding gift over thirty years ago; my mom thought it kitschy but my dad loved it. Me too. He got it when they got divorced years later and he kept it for me knowing I loved it. He gave it to me and Ian before my move as a housewarming gift since he knows ian is a huge guacamole lover. We are pretty excited to have it for homemade guacamole today as we host people for the World Cup. 

It has been a busy week in Toronto. Aside from narrowly escaping being on a wanted poster, I have been getting a bunch of tedious stuff I need to get done before I start working: exchanging my drivers license for an Ontario one (I find it so weird that they don’t just print you the actual license right there the way they do in Florida), getting a Canadian cell phone plan (I was able to use my unlocked iphone from the US which was so great), getting a Canadian bank account, applying for a Canadian credit card, writing cover letters and applying for jobs, and so on. All of this of course while being sick. Apple cider vinegar has helped things along the way as it always does but my throat still feels tired. We’re getting there. Here’s this week through the lens:

  • blackberry tea + apple cider vinegar + real honey has been my medicine and along with sleep, it’s doing wonders. that and listening to my body and going for a walk when I feel like it, eating what feels right instead of guilting myself or feeling bad or binging. Ian just made me another cup of tea because despite the outward grumpy, he is sweetness and light.
  • random sidebar: I feel like you know when you’re with the right person because you can just be your completely ridiculous silly self with them and they love those parts of you just as much as the stuff that looks good on paper. I was such a dork in the bank, looking from the banker to Ian to the banker to Ian and just grinning like an idiot and whispering, “I’m way too excited about having a Canadian bank account!!!!!!” It’s moments like that, when Ian smiles and I can feel him falling more in love with me that make me realize I’m exactly where and when and how I need to be.
  • I love this railway overpass on Bloor that I often pass. I got stuck in traffic right at the perfect spot for this shot yesterday although the gelato shop was closed (sign: “be back in three hours” what?) when I got there.
  • Ian and I went to the AGO this afternoon to see the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibit but first he pulled me into this dark area of miniatures, looking through case after case of amazing Christian imagery and then finding just the thing for me: the goth as fuck case with mini skulls and death masks and tiny pendants with little coffins and skeletons in them. Ian knows what I like.
  • The whole exhibit was beautiful. Bacon and Moore have bodies of work that truly complement each other and it was a wonderfully curated show. It included WWII era photos by Bill Brandt which got me right in the gut not because of the usual reasons but because they looked so still and haunted. I kept leaning in closer because I kept having the feeling I was seeing things in the photos that weren’t there. There’s something so surreal but natural and horrifying in a recognizable way in the work we saw today that I couldn’t help but feel lucky that there are people who see the world like this, who do study after study, maquette after maquette, to make this final thing we look at in a museum or gallery. I love seeing all the works that lead up to the final piece and I’m so glad it was in this show. I have never felt more sure that the most moving, important art is more about the process of making art than the final result. 
  • We were standing under these today while waiting for a streetcar and the light was just so. There was jokey dispute between Ian’s brother and I about my hastagging this as #chinatown but we felt strongly that #orientalburg was growing on us because we have rude dark senses of humor. Or humour as the Canadian English keyboard on my iphone keeps autocorrecting things to. 
  • We had Ka Chi after going to the AGO but instead of getting bibimbap like we usually do, we split spicy beef bulgogi, a kimchi pork pancake, and pork dumplings. There were no regrets. I also had a mango snapple because I am six and Ian made a sassy comment about not everyone getting a snapple that made me inhale liquid. It’s not so good in the retelling but believe me.
  • I always seem to forget a book to read on the subway but I never seem to forget a snack. 
  • Oh! The best part of yesterday and one of the top moments of our marriage so far was when Ian and I were at the bank opening my Canadian bank account and the banker was asking me my info:
    Banker: so are you working? 
    Me: not yet, no. 
    Banker: oh ok, I’ll just put that you’re a homemaker. 
    Me and Ian: *simultaneous grimace* 

    We know my strengths and homemaking ain’t one of them.
  • We went grocery shopping this evening and saw a Laura Secord store and I had  to go in, I mean, Ian had shown me the Canadian heritage minute about her. Basically she snitched and slowed our (America’s!) roll into Canada and is probably the reason I had to immigrate to Canada instead of just wandering into our supposed to be snowy ass backyard. Also, I guess eventually they used her name on a brand of chocolate because she represents Canadian lady badassery and #snitchlife for Americans. I got lemon ice cream which was great. Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.
  • I slathered my face in makeup so I could look presentable in my Ontario drivers license photo but even if I come out looking like a corpse, I’ll tell my half Canadian kids one day, “see how much I love you? I moved to a place that gave me a summer cold and I got licensed to drive looking like that just so I could have you to drive around for eighteen years.” Making memories.
  • Ian and I being gross in love (imagine Crazy in Love remixed by white-ish people) in front of our favorite Riopelle painting.

things not to do in a certain southern state

As I mentioned last week, I got a speeding ticket in a certain southern state. 81 in a 70 mph zone on I-95, a crisp clear morning, moving with traffic. I got stopped and I was just so eager to get back to driving that I didn’t even look at the ticket until almost a week after I got to Canada. I didn’t feel worried, the officer was calm and polite about it.

"Just call the number and you can prepay it and you won’t have to show up to court," he said.

Sure, perfect. On Monday, I made my morning “paying tickets morning” and I tried paying my parking ticket online and it said it had already been paid. I called the city of Toronto and they confirmed that my ticket had been cancelled or something so not to worry about it. I was obviously thrilled. I try paying my certain southern state speeding ticket online and it says I have to call it in, no problem. I give them credit card info and the woman very calmly tells me this will be class one misdemeanor on my record. I say ok and hang up because I am shocked. I immediately freak out, like, lose my goddamn mind thinking about jobs I’m applying for and background checks and applying for citizenship in Canada in a few years and oh my god.

My parents and Ian are entirely flabbergasted. They have never heard of such a stringent punishment for speeding, not even a huge amount and within the context of the rest of traffic that day. Google reveals that this is this state’s racket, charging especially out of state drivers with this in order to get them to pay and be less likely to go to court and fight it. I kept thinking of the cop saying, “no worries, you don’t have to come to court.” Ha, the fuck I won’t.

I found a lawyer in a certain southern state who gets to work on withdrawing my guilty plea (since paying for the ticket is admission of guilt) and showing up to court for me on Wednesday. Luckily, I am a lunatic who has copies and more copies of every legal document I could possibly need for my move and so I sent his paralegal my complete Florida driving record in minutes. We aren’t happy about spending money on a lawyer but we feel lucky that we are able to have that option. I found out today that all went well and they reduced the charge to defective equipment, a minor traffic charge that has no points on my record. I am relieved, more than relieved.

And I know this will sound dramatic but you might not know that I’m as stubborn as a mule: I will never drive through a certain southern state again. In fact, I will never go to a certain southern state again as long as I live. If I have to drive in that area, I will go the long way around to make sure I do not have to ever be in that state again. And you have no idea how difficult this will be for me, I love a certain southern state’s Colonial Williamsburg! I’m a sucker for that shit! I won’t eat a a certain southern state’s ham ever again! Actually, I’ll eat even more of a certain southern state’s ham because a certain southern state’s hams can get fucked but I won’t pay a cent for them, I’ll just eat hams other people buy. You have to take a stand for something. In conclusion, please don’t speed in a certain southern state because it is an actual police state.

I have a summertime cold and if I have never said before, summertime colds are my least favorite. It’s probably the combination of extra sweat with the illness, especially since I am getting used to the lack of AC up here. Not that it gets even close to as blisteringly hot as it does in Florida but because I’m not used to living in just sort of normal air. I’m used to living and working and whatnot in little refrigerated pockets, dashing indoors quickly from the car the way people here do in the winter. At first it was weird but now I’m getting used to it. I drink a lot more water and eat a lot as a result it turns out. I have an afternoon beer now and then including this farmers market rhubarb saison from Wellington Brewery yesterday; I’m not sure if it made me feel better or worse illness-wise.

I’ve been in bed or at Ian’s desk writing cover letters and organizing things I still need to do (cell phone, drivers license, bank account) and skyping with my sister in law and niece who are maybe forty minutes away. Eloise and I had matching breakfasts of fruit this morning and I live for her little hands trying to give me a grape through the computer screen and her little face pressed against the camera to try to give me actual kisses. Life is quiet for now and I know it will get busier once I start working in the next few weeks but for now there’s mornings where I happily blow kisses to the sweetest girl ever.

I took my old house keys off my key ring yesterday, ones for my dad’s house and others from my grandparents’ house. I left them on a little ring in Ian’s desk for who knows what. I don’t know that I’d need them if I visited but it makes me feel secure that I’m one of very few people who have those keys, it gives me some sense of physical bond with my parents and grandparents, that as far as I am, we have the same keys in our possession. My grandparents have had the same house keys since before I was born and I wonder if one day I’ll have someone tattoo the outline of those keys somewhere on my body. I think the same about the little Cuban coffee cup I took from my grandma’s set before moving, without telling her, which is now sitting on Ian’s desk. I want a part of everything with me for as long as I can manage.

I miss my family but they are happy to hear from me because I sound happy. And I am. I feel at home and even when I get stressed out, I feel much more certain than I have anywhere else that things will be resolved. A lot, well, most of that had to do with Ian who as I suspected is an even better husband when he’s not over a thousand miles away. We have our prickly moments as all couples do; he is very precise in how he does and where he puts things and I’m the only child, only grandchild, ramblin kind of rose who wants things where I feel like putting them at that moment. I can already see how we are good for each other, how much we balance each other in our best and worst habits. Ian is good to me, more than good. He knows I am adjusting, he knows I am sick, and he comes home from work and makes us dinner, watching me hopefully while I eat it to make sure I like it. In this regard, I’m his sous chef and I help him prepare, keeping the bok choy blossoms for myself. He shares everything with me and I am learning how much you get when you share yourself completely with someone else, how when two really and truly share of themselves into a life, you get so much. I am lucky.

This is going to sound really silly but I have been secretly and quietly excited about moving to Toronto because of the fact that it has a Momofuku now. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Momofuku in NYC but it’s forever been one of my favorite places I’ve ever eaten. And I mean, Milk Bar, well, yeah. I was thrilled to find out this week that Noodle Bar was taking part in Summerlicious, a two week long prix fixepalooza in a bunch of amazing Toronto restaurants. Lunch at Noodle Bar was just $15 for three courses so it was a steal and something we were instantly up for as I mentioned yesterday.

I’m obsessed with the sculpture in front of Momofuku which is a sort of silvery handbird horse design that is just breathtaking. The city was super traffic filled and busy today and we had to book it to make it to our reservations on time but we made it and thank fucking god. Ian and I both started with the salmon crudo with habanero, green papaya, and nori; it was so light and buttery and perfect, I could have eaten ten servings of it. I almost got marinated cucumber which would have been great I’m sure but my first bite of the salmon made me just thank baby jesus that I chose that first course. To be clear, we were just as glad we chose to get slushies: orange creamsicle sort of flavor for some of us, the boozy sour seven spice for others.

For our main course, Ian had the jjajang noodles fermented black bean, smoked pork, and fried egg which from my tasting of his and his report, you could definitely taste some heat and just perfect layers of smoke and richness. Everyone else we were with also got the jjajang noodles. I was the one dissenter who got summer ramen which I was delighted to find was a chilled noodle soup with dashi, horseradish, shiso, and ham. It was so delicate and refreshing and just so so flavorful. Ian was so impressed with the broth; I could have this every day, so light and filling all at once. We had truffles for dessert, Ian the german chocolate cake one while I had the birthday cake truffle because I am internally five and love anything that has sprinkles and tastes like sugar cookie dough. They were prepping for dinner and closing up from lunch as we were leaving so we only grabbed compost cookies to go but I am very sad I didn’t get cereal milk/double double twist soft serve. SOON. Double fucking double. Jesus christ. Also, this Neil Young related art gave me and Ian dad feels. All the dad feels.

Today included shopping for a dress for me to wear to Lauren and Charlotte’s wedding next week which was so stressfree because they’re having an outdoor wedding and it’s fairly casual so I can basically wear sandals and a maxi dress and some lipstick and everyone will be like “woooooowwwwwwww beautiful.” Because the idea of wearing formalwear and more importantly hearing my husband bitch about wearing formalwear outside in the middle of July is not my cup of tea. I got this gorgeous short/long red orange dress with a stitched bodice that is dying for me to wear my hair curly and NARS Heat Wave with it. So ready. I’m sad Ian can’t wear a summery bow tie to this event since one of the brides wants to be the only one in a bow tie but we’ll still look pretty sharp. Hashtag team escomathers.

Then I had my first visit to the mythic Canadian Tire which I have heard so much about but had never set foot into. Everyone I was with was very excited about me experiencing the Canadian Tire smell which apparently every single Canadian Tire smells like; it smelled like tires and tents and slightly less freedom but still pretty good. I love ambling about stores with home and cleaning supplies so I was in heaven. Then Ian got me a ginger ale so I was even more in heaven. I feel like this sounds like I’m mocking Canada but trust me I’m not. There are few things I enjoy as much as wandering around looking through ladders and propane and LED camping lights. I am a woman of simple tastes. I mean, except for when it comes to food and booze but even then, pretty simple. The only bad part about Canadian Tire was continuing to find evidence of Guy Fieri’s existence in Canada but I hope we can all band together to get rid of him from the human race. Thanks in advance for your help.

Also, hahahaha I update about my life now, I’m becoming one of those people, huh?

Ian and I went to Guelph today so I could do the trial for our friends Lauren and Charlotte’s wedding in two weeks as you previously saw. They are the loveliest and I’m so glad to be able to do their hair for their big day. They are seriously the funniest and most calming people ever, so lucky to have become friends with them through Ian who has introduced me to some of my favorite people.

Afterwards, we had drinks and dinner at Baker Street Station which is seriously one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Yesterday, Ian asked me where I wanted to go eat in Guelph and I sheepishly answered Baker Street because I always want to go to Baker Street. The drinks are great, the atmosphere is wonderful, the food is out of this world. I’ve had something different every single time I’ve gone and it’s always been amazing. Past favorites include the soft pretzels, ham hock beignets, goat cheese croquettes, and the first and to this day the best chicken wings I’ve ever eaten in my life (they have vindaloo butter wings now which I mean, what, but I love the classic salt and pepper). Ian and I are eating healthier and exercising these days but this is half of our cheat day and boy did we cheat.

We went with our friend Julia and were joined by other friends later and everything we ate was incredible. Everyone had amazing local beer and I had an incredible Magners Pear Cider slushie and then several delicious mocktails made by our favorite waitress which included combinations such as pomegranate and lime since I had to drive us back to Toronto tonight. Ian and I split the short rib beignets to start because we are in love with them, like serious heart eyes for those; even the greens that come with them are incredible. Ian had the beef cheek poutine for dinner which was so tender and perfect, he’s still full!

I had the Baker Street Burger because a) I wanted a burger something bad and b) it’s the 4th of July and if I can’t be grilling with my American family, you better believe I’m getting an elevated foodie burger to compensate. This burger had pineapple, H&P sauce, brie, caramelized onion jam, arugula and a fried pickle to top it off, and it just destroyed me for other burgers. The fries and greens were also insane and came with one of my favorite Baker Street touches, their homemade ketchup which tastes so plump and fresh, perfect on salty, crispy fries. Julia also got the burger and we had all the feelings about it. Other people got the fish and chips which looked incredible; it came with this delicate golden beet slaw that was yummy. We had a great time because you always have a great time there even though I was bummed about Brazil trouncing Colombia. I’ll be glad to be back with this bunch in two weeks for Lauren and Charlotte’s wedding. I’m also planning my birthday brunch from now and I am declaring it to be at Baker Street! Be there or else (Zach.)

We ran some errands before hair and worship at Baker Street and we stopped at Wellington Brewery in Guelph which is Canada’s oldest independently owned microbrewery. Ian is a huge fan and supporter seeing as he lived in Guelph for 14 years and is kind of a beer fangirl; if you ever see him outside, you will definitely see him in his Welly hat. I’ve definitely tried my share of Wellington beers over the course of our relationship and so we stocked up on some stuff to have in the apartment this summer: Chocolate Milk Stout, Shangri-La IPA, and two cans of Farmer’s Market Rhubarb Saison which have me written all over them. If you are ever in southwestern Ontario, you should definitely check them out. 

And tomorrow the other half of my cheat day: prix fixe lunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar! Swoon.

i love happy brides👰#bridaltrials #hair

i love happy brides👰#bridaltrials #hair