Friday, February 19, 2010

Retail therapy & hints on upcoming giveaways

Super sale at Naturalizer Canada, with an added 10% off coupon. Total including shipping: $68.91 CDN for a cute pair of shoes and a handbag that I love.

Thank you to Simply Frugal for the heads up about the sale and coupon code!

I also wanted to mention that I have a few giveaways coming up on my blog. Look out for reviews of FertilAid from Fairhaven Health, something somewhat naughty from MyPleasure.com, something definitely naughty from Eden Fantasys, a R&B CD from Putumayo. Most, if not all, will have associated giveaways! All good stuff, all coming up.

Meanwhile you can always enter to win one of the cute butterfly decals by Wilson Graphics here (Canadians only for this one, sorry my American friends!)

The Nothing New Newsflash

This is kinda personal.

Another loooong (37-day) cycle goes by and... not pregnant.

Not exactly news, I guess. More like stale old leftovers you can't wait to throw out. I'm a little sad today. I didn't have big hopes for this month because I knew based on my chart that the chances were nil for conception. But, you know, it's hard to keep that hope from surfacing as the cycle stretches on and on. I'd told myself I'd test at 40 days if my period hadn't come by then.

And did I mention our friends just announced they're three months along? That makes couple #8 among our friends (I'm not talking old Facebook friends that I haven't seen in ages, these are close friends). Seven of those already have their little ones in their arms. And I feel like the only person in the world who is not pregnant or a mother already.

I know it's not true. I know we shouldn't give up hope. It's just hard some days. I'm 33 and tired of waiting.

We're going over to our happy pregnant friends' house tonight to play Settlers of Catan, and I hope I can keep it together. I wish I didn't know they've only been trying since the fall - so it only took them like 2 months to get pregnant. I wish I didn't know we've been trying since November of 2008 and had two losses already, and besides that many months of disappointment. I wish that every time my body bleeds I didn't feel like it's another failure.

So I'm doing my venting here and trying not to be a sad person with my husband or our friends. I don't want advice. I just need to let it out somewhere.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Still loving Swagbucks

FYI - just got another Starbucks card in the mail from Swagbucks. It's a site where you 'earn' Swagbucks randomly for using their search engine (very similar to Google) and can redeem them for good things like gift cards, DVDs and other swag. You can even opt to trade them in for cash in your PayPal account.

Personally, I like the Starbucks cards. I'm absolutely hooked on the Decaf Espresso Roast whole beans in Bold, which I grind at home and use in my expresso machine every morning. At $16 a bag it's a little gaspy, but I keep getting these Starbucks cards and that makes life a little sweeter.

This makes about ummm... $20 in Starbucks cards, and $40 in Amazon gift certificates that I've cashed in for so far. And yes, definitely good for Canada (and the US, for my American friends).

If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks yet, I'm not sure what's keeping you. It's the kind of thing you don't even have to think about - until you discover you have enough to cash in for something nice. Plus it's kinda fun (particularly for a contest junkie like me) to get that random reward for something I do anyway. Pavlov's Emily.

If you do decide to try it (did I mention it's free and easy?), I'd love it if you sign up under my referral link. Thanks & enjoy!

Little things

These baby slippers from my Etsy shop were featured today on Through Green Colored Glasses. Thanks, Paula! I used eco-felt for these and a vintage ribbon from my grandmother's stash.

Despite being less than impressed with the opening ceremonies, I have to admit I've been watching more of the Olympics this year than I have since 1984. I'm so proud of our medalists. I can't stand the CTV coverage, though (I'm sad that CBC isn't doing it this year).

I have a couple giveaways, at least, for you today. I'll probably post some more in a bit. Twitter has kind of taken over my life a little (I blame you, Capital Mom ;) ). If you follow me there, you'll know what I mean. It's just so... sharey.

For the ladies:
For baby:
For anyone:
OH, and don't forget to enter my little giveaway for those butterfly decals!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dear Restaurants -

We've eaten some meals out lately. If you're in the GTA (that's Greater Toronto Area, for the uninitiated), you really must try the restaurant Asian Legend, btw! Seriously delicious. For a filling vegetarian meal for two, I recommend ordering the pan-fried veggie dumplings, green onion pancakes, deep-fried tofu, and vegetable fried noodles. Okay, it's a lot of 'fried' but the variety of flavours and textures is marvelous and each dish is SO delicious. Of course, they have a ton of options for the carnivores, too. We like to go there for lunch. We like it a LOT. I'd go there every day if I could.

We had a Valentine's date - dinner at Milestones, and we went to see Up in the Air at the cinema. Up in the Air was good (I was happy just to watch George Clooney wander around in a suit for two hours). I found the meal at Milestones was not quite up to my expectations. First off, we had to wait despite having a reservation. I know it was busy on V-Day, but, yeah, that's why I booked a table. Our favourite appetizer, the bocconcini garlic bread, was delish but had a bit of a sloppy presentation and had maybe 3 tomatoes (and half a cup of tapenade) on it. I guess they were making up in tapenade what they were lacking in tomatoes. Not really a complaint - I love tapenade - but I usually enjoy the tomatoes, too. My entree - one of only two vegetarian options (both of which have goat cheese, ugh) - was the spinach tomato cappellini. Decent (I got them to omit the goat cheese) but a little boring and the pasta was overcooked. The foccaccia stick it came with was either stale or overbaked, I'm not sure which. I did have a yummy drink - iced tea with mango puree and fresh mint leaves. We skipped the dessert menu (most of which contained eggs anyway) and came home to chocolate ice cream and homemade cookies instead. Not a horrible meal for under $50 for the both of us, but it did kind of reinforce for me why we don't eat out more often.

With that in mind, here's my plea to eating establishments...

Dear restaurants,

I want to give you my money but you've got to give me a reason. Please offer more vegetarian options. There really are more creative alternatives than pasta, salad and eggplant. Don't get me wrong, I love eggplant done well, but if I eat one more disappointing eggplant parmigiana, I'm going to have a hissy fit. Also, goat cheese is yucky and makes me gag. It's cruel to include it in the only vegetarian options you do offer.

Maybe your chefs could take a field trip to a restaurant like Fresh or rebar, and get an eye-opener on possibilities for amazing vegetarian food!

I'd love to feel like I'm not an afterthought when I go out to eat. I'd love not to have to make special requests or go off the menu to get a meal I can eat. And to feel like I can get a better meal in a restaurant than I could make at home. Isn't that the point?

Love, Emily.

It's nothing personal, Milestones. That goes out to all the restaurants.
Okay, rant over.