EATS // no really, it's damn good lasagna

I'm always a bit of a skeptic when I see recipes titled "the BEST....." because I feel like everyone is a critic and people are so particular about the food they eat and what their expectations.

BUT, I was on a mission to make a damn good, but simple and classic, lasagna. I follow A LOT of food blogs and I have far too many cookbooks, so you would think I have a ton of lasagna recipes at my disposal. Well, a little column A, a little of column B.

When I googled and stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman's "The best lasagna. EVER." recipe, I was intrigued. After checking out the ingredients, I spotted the one ingredient I thought pushed it over the edge: hot breakfast sausage. 

I had made a few other recipes from her blog and I was never disappointed. Its comfort food at best, because she does live on a cattle ranch in the middle of America, with her 4 kids and cowboy husband. But simple it was and it was exactly what I was looking for.

TRAVEL // new york, new york

It's no secret that I LOVE New York City. I've probably bored my friends for years with my constant whining about how I just need to live there. ASAP.

I don't know what it is, but this city melts my heart when I see it in movies. When I travel there, I just never want to leave. My obsession with NY started when I was a young, impressionable 7 year old because I fell for all the movies in the 1980's where the power suits and corner offices were a bucket list item of mine. Working Girl, Baby Boom, When Harry Met Sally, Wall Street, and Annie Hall. I was obsessed with these movies (ok, I still am). My father would go to NYC on business trips in the 80's, stay at the Plaza Hotel, get shuttled to and from meetings in a limo, schmooze over oysters at the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar, but always found time to get my brother and I gifts at FAO Schwartz (RIP sweet toy store). 

This city is my home.

But it's not.

title means nothing. impact is everything.

The idea for this post was literally a lightbulb moment. It also came from years of business experience working with some of the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

There I said it.

Yes, its true. Not all of the people I've worked for and/or reported to in the past have been great humans. At least not in business. AND they have the balls to call themselves leaders!

So many people get hung up on the title of their role. They assume that it means more power, a bigger salary, the opportunity to boss more people around, manage a bigger team, earn more accolades. You name it, "title" holds a lot of clout for some people.

Well, I'm here to say its BS and simply not true. Business Lesson #1: Don't get hung up on your title.

there's a little bit of nora ephron in us all.

"Writers are just cannibals. They just are and if you're friends with them and if you say anything funny at dinner or if anything good happens to you, you are in big trouble." - Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron knew how to write comedy (believe it or not, this is not easy). She was relatable, funny, witty, called herself and expert in relationships and she wrote in a way that was very abrupt, metaphorical and utterly hilarious.

I recently watched the documentary, Everything is Copy: Scripted and Unscripted, the story of the famous, bold & very honest screenwriter, Nora Ephron. Some of you may not even know who she is, but if I gave you a breakdown of her movies, she wouldn't be a mystery anymore.

FOOD // flatbreads and fizzy cocktails

I've thought a lot about what I really want to do with my blog. It's one of those things that I would LOVE to focus 100% of my time on, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills (or pay anything at all to be honest with you). It's something I started mostly to just openly share personal stories about my life along with sharing passions that make me tick. 

I recently featured Jill Hatch of Sugarcane Hawaii for Issue No. 12 of my series In Good Company. She sparked an idea in me and basically is the reason for this post.

FOOD and COOKING is an integral part of both our lives and I've blogged about it a lot on this very platform, sharing some personal faves as well as personal flops in the kitchen. You can find all my recipe posts here in case you're interested (and yes, I hope to post more).

So, lets get to the point here. I'm venturing out a bit more to look for contributing content here and there when I feel the spark but mostly on the topics that inspire me as well as those which are a part of my every day. 

in good company // issue no. 12 // jill hatch

Jill and I met serendipitously about 7 years ago. I was visiting my guncles in Hawaii, and they invited me out one evening to their friend Jill and Rogers house for a wine/cheese party. 

(You had me at wine and cheese. That's all I need to hear in order to go anywhere and look half presentable).

My uncle knows me well because the first thing he said to me is "you have to meet Jill and Roger. You guys have so much in common and will get along like a house on fire." He was right. It's like she was my sister reincarnate or something like that. We had similar styles, tastes in decor, clothing and food. All I needed to do now was find a way to move to Hawaii and get an adorable house exactly like her's:)

in good company // issue no. 11 // jillian harris

Who: Jillian Harris, Founder and Creative Director,
What: new mamma, tv personality, (former) bachelorette, busy bee, interior designer
Where: Kelowna, BC
Follow: @jillian.harris

So here goes: Believe it or not, Jillian Harris and I have about 6 degrees of separation to the nth degree. And by that, I mean our lives have not only crossed paths many-a-times, but it turns out we basically know a lot of the same people.

Kevin Bacon, eat your heart out.

a love letter to my cookies

My sweet, sweet Cookies,

My how we've come a long way. I still think back to the early days of debt-ridden anxiety, out-of-control-spending, lack of savings accounts and so much more. We were the poster children for what NOT to do when it came to managing finances.

Fast forward to June 2017 and we found ourselves in Scottsdale, AZ celebrating 10 years since the Smart Cookies were born. I am so glad we made this reunion happen (thanks Handy!). The best part of it? We're already planning on making this an annual reunion, because who doesn't love some solid girl time in 105 degree heat, whilst sipping margaritas in the pool?

a letter to my younger self

Dear Andrea,

Things will get better, I promise you that. Less complicated? Not so much.

Here's what will get better:

  • Your self-confidence
  • Your determination
  • Your drive
  • Your acceptance of others (and their sometimes crazy ways)
  • Your love and appreciation towards your family and friends
  • Your willingness to (continue) learning
  • Your ability to take greater risks, without the promise that it will pay off.
  • Your flexibility when it comes to you're willingness to bend
  • Friendships
  • Your patience
  • True, ever-lasting love

fish tacos with cilantro lime slaw

I am taco obsessed.

Never mind the way I actually pronounce the word taco (those of you who know me, know EXACTLY what I'm referring to....and what it sounds like), but I am always on a mission to (a) find the best tacos, (b) eat the best tacos and (c) make the best tacos. Any sort of filling will suffice with me so long as its wrapped in a corn tortilla.

Having lived in Vancouver, I miss my neighbourhood jaunts, Tacofino and La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop. To me they are everything and have some of the BEST tacos (and other Mexican delights), so I'm constantly trying to recreate in my own kitchen.

EATS // homemade butter chicken with raita

I love Indian food.

What I miss about living in Vancouver is the variety of ethnic restaurants - big and small - including a few very famous staples like Vij's and Rangoli. You just can't beat GREAT Indian food. When it's done well,  you gotta go back for more. And more and more.

Go back for more is exactly what I've been doing the past couple months. My parents were visiting for 3 weeks to help out after I Grayson. One night my mom made butter chicken. 

We all devoured it. Went back for seconds, then thirds.

Licked our plates clean. Needless to say, we enjoyed it.

sex & relationships: the mystery of the sphinx?

o quote a couple of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite TV series of all times....

"What's the big mystery? It's my clitoris, its not the Sphinx"
"Its like the riddle of the Sphinx. Why are there so many great unmarried women, and no great unmarried men?"

It was writing like this that sucked me into this 90's comedy about the mating habits (and rituals) of single New Yorkers. Sex and the City. I miss that show (and for the record, I only liked the first movie. Hated the second!).