AmeriCanadian Christmas 2011

Made it through the holidays as Americans- success! We spent Christmas eve at my parents house where my mom made a delish turkey dinner and we watched old home videos (Buddy the puppy stole the show however there were also a lot of Spice Girl songs involved...my 'choreography' has not stood the test of time...awkward). My brother and dad spent most of the afternoon/evening trying to find the funniest meme's..."highlights" were Karate Kyle, Insanity Puppy and High Expectations Asian Father. We slept in Christmas morning and took our time opening presents- we used the iPhone Face Time to see/talk to family back in the homeland (and to totally freak out all the dogs...they had no clue where the voices were coming from)...very cool to be able to see everyone. Speaking of dogs, I love this
AmeriCanadian Christmas family portrait


Santacon 2011

I never used to understand why people got so stressed around the holidays...thats because I was Canadian. As a canadian holidays = fun, happiness, lights, snowboarding, good food, friends, family,  gingerbread cookies, shortbread cookies, thumbprint cookies...notice a theme? 

But no, not this year...now that I'm Americanadian the full weight of the holidays has turned me into a stressed out mess. This is 80% due to work stress...why do people want to buy furniture before the holidays?!?! go buy Christmas/ Hanukkah presents and leave me alone!!
How awesome is this?!?!


Christmas decorations

Last weekend I headed home to my parents house to help set up all my mom's Christmas decorations...this is no small feat as the woman has boxes upon boxes of decorations. So many boxes of decorations that we actually lost one this year and some key decor (ahem my angel tree topper) is MIA. I'm sure that since a Christmas store has opened up in town recently, my mom will be able to replace (and then some!) her decorations in no time. 

I like to help because, to be honest, I like things done my way...some call this bossy but I like to think of it as helping people make the right decision. Anyway, here is the finished tree looking all sparkly and pretty (despite the angel at the top which I take no responsibility for...she's not my fav but I was overruled):


Patriotic Apartment

So I decided that these geese weren't really the design direction I was looking to take in the apartment so I opted to go with these:
I found these gorgeous type map prints on Etsy...the company is called Bold & Noble and you can find the Canada print here and the US print here. Frames are from Ikea and my roommate Lindsey and I killed our fingers trying to put these together but I guess thats what you get for a $15 frame.

These are going to look so good once they get on the wall...speaking of which who is going to be kind and help me hang them?? If I do it myself its going to get bad real quick...I can never manage to make things level when a hammer and nail are involved. 


The final Americanadian..

my brother!! Can no longer be deported...way to go little bro way to go!
Bummed he didn't dress the part in something a little more like this:

People keep asking me what it takes to be American so here is the inside scoop. First you have to fill out the intense application (do you remember every single time you left the country in the last five years?!?! well you better if you want to become a citizen) and swear that you are not a 'habitual drunkard' (hope they don't count college ;-)) and are not part of a terrorist party. Then you have to read out loud a sentence in English (mine was 'Who lives in the White House?') and then write a sentence in English (mine was 'The President lives in the White House'...and no I'm not joking). Then you have to answer 10 civics questions of which you only need to get 6 right...check em out, they're not that difficult. After that you're done!! Lots of paper work (and repeatedly swearing I was not a habitual drunkard) and it was all over...try and deport me now suckas! Just kidding :-) Glad my family is all Americanadians!


Thanksgiving 2011

First Thanksgiving as an American was a total success!! Typically we don't get to see our Canadian family for holidays so its become a tradition that we go over to Christine and Dieter's to celebrate with our 'fake family' as I call them...its been 11 years and counting of holidays but the first as Americans :-) My mom and Christine are all over the food situation, my dad and Dieter talk about beer and biking, my brother and the boys talk about video games and sports and Elizabeth, Emily and I talk about whatever...this year we talked about Elizabeth's wedding since she just got engaged!!! Very exciting stuff...we immediately started pinterest-ing. 
Holiday appropriate decor...love it
Dieter carving the turkey
Gravy, cabbage and potatoes on the stove



For my awesome family and friends...both American and Canadian :-) Since it won't be Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow, this is like over a month late for them...my bad, I love my Canadian fam and friends and miss them All. The. Time.

One huge thing that makes up for missing my northern peps (and Vancouver) is that I get to live in San Francisco!! I'm so thankful that I live in such an amazing city...here are some pics I've taken while wandering around SF (taken and edited with my iphone...hence the weird borders). There are A LOT of pics and to be honest this is a pretty selfish post (awkward to be selfish on Thanksgiving) but its going to get cold and foggy soon and I would like to remember why I love living here. Pretty soon Muni will be insanely crowded (like 'busting at the seams' crowded or 'no concept of personal space' crowded) with sick people (ugh) trying to escape the rain. 

Justin Herman Plaza- pretty then but now the temporary home of Occupy SF


Last minute Thanksgiving ideas

I'm pretty lucky on Thanksgiving since all I really have to do is show up, eat as much as possible and help clean up...I'm really good at the eating as much as possible part. If you aren't quite as lucky and are scrambling to get ready you're in luck because I love reading cooking blogs (which make me nice and hungry at work) and there are some great ideas in the links below.

Tracy at Shutterbean put together an awesome last minute Thanksgiving post with some of her recipes. She has a cool alternative stuffing idea that looks amazing- baked apples with stuffing. I made the Roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash dish for my lunches this week and it was delish. Keep in mind I grew up HATING brussels sprouts and had to be talked into eating just one at every big family meal by my uncle (obviously I covered it in gravy, salt, butter and mashed potatoes to make that one bite edible) so for me to love this is a big deal...like totes big deal.
Pre-roasting goodness
Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has a quick and easy green bean recipe...just in case you're not a fan of the traditional green bean casserole. Emily with Daily Garnish has a great recipe for rosemary and sage mashed potatoes...plus she just had a baby so super cute photos in all her posts. She also came up with a vegan pumpkin pie in case you have any vegan guests coming. Continuing with desert, Joy over at Joy the Baker has come up with an awesome looking sweet potato pie for all the non-pumpkin lovers. And Deb from Smitten Kitchen has a drool worthy Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream pudding...I will be making it as soon as humanly possible.

Lastly if you're stuck setting the table, Apartment Therapy has a cool post about sustainable tablescapes using produce (bonus factor- relatively easy since all you have to do is fight through all the other shoppers at the grocery store to pick up supplies then fight your way out of the parking lot..done and done).

Good luck!!


Staying patriotic during the holidays...

This year will be the first year my fam and I will be celebrating the holidays as Americanadians. Its going to be a tough adjustment..no moose for Thanksgiving, no Canadian goose for Christmas, no building igloos, no opening presents by candlelight...juuuust kidding! I have been asked if Canadians do any of that and as far as I know (being from Vancouver) that would be a big 'negative!!'...maybe if you're waaaaay up north. Anyways, my Aunt Judy has been on the lookout to help our family stay 'American' during the holidays. She heard that Americans love Ugly Sweater parties (awesome recon on her part) but since she really wants us to be as authentically American as possible she went one step further and found these bad boys: Nauseating Holiday Pants by Betabrand.


Patriotic from head to toe...

I'm winding down from a fun weekend (my headache this morning indicated that maybe I had too much fun) by watching The Notebook and online shopping. Looove that movie and yes, I cry every single time I watch it. Now, I was supposed to be looking for things I can buy other people for Christmas buuut after some creative googling I came across some fabulous footwear that would be a perfect addition to any AmeriCanadian girl's closet...just sayin'

I wear through running shoes pretty fast walking around the city and bootcamping- as it turns out that there are many options which are both patriotic AND functional.


#15 Make an apple pie

So I had to be reminded that today was election day and I wasn't in SF to vote...major American fail. But I am about to write about apple pie (if I can tear myself away from watching Sister Wives- so ridiculously addicting for some reason) and apple pie is totally American so it evens out?? Well it's my blog so yes, I vote that it's an American wash...I'm not more American but I haven't lost any of my American cred.

Now to talk about pie. Delish apple pie. To be honest I don't really like pie and I especially don't like apple pie but I figured it was super American so I had to make it.

All of the ingredients...mmm ice cream

Nov 8th Election Day!

Make sure you get your American on and vote! (Unlike me who forgot about it and won't make it to SF in time to vote...oops). In American related news, who thinks I need these geese for my apartment?


Update to #11 Donating Blood

So it turns out you can get a pretty nasty looking bruise if you donate blood so I'd recommend doing this when its cold out...this is not a good look for short sleeves:


#11 Donate Blood

Today I kicked off 11th month of the year by checking off number 11 on my list. In case you haven't seen the list, the first part of the list can be found here and the second part here.

The idea of donating blood has always kind of freaked me out but after being assured that its not that bad I decided to give it a shot. Bonnie was awesome and spent her lunch hour hanging out with me for support and was the official photographer (with input on camera angles from Ava).

It started out as I had expected...my technician Olga couldn't find a vein! No surprise there since its always a problem whenever I need to get blood drawn. Olga called in Ava 'the expert' who kept asking if I drank enough water (48 oz that morning- yup might have been overkill) and if I had eaten.
Olga (left) and Ava (right) shaking their heads at my teeny tiny veins. Keisha in the background going through boxes. 


Happy Halloween!

I went all Canadian again this year as a Mountie and had a blast celebrating on Polk street. Turns out there are a lot of Canadians in SF who were happy to see an RCMP officer patrolling the streets- although most people were disappointed I didn't have a horse. I won an unofficial costume contest at a bar and the prize was doughnuts and beer- gotta love being a Mountie!


Trail Ride

So its not technically on the list but it should be since a trail ride through the hills practically screams American. Plus there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to ride a horse (its been too long!!).


American gear

In Austin I saw some awesome American flag sunglasses that I decided not to purchase since they were already scratched (plus I had just 'invested' in cowboy boots and spending more money seemed extravagant)...I have regretted that decision ever since. So I decided to do some internet shopping on Amazon. Turns out that the sunglasses I want are out of stock (LAME!) but I did find some awesome clothing options after searching for 'American flag' under Clothing and Accessories...I'm going to get my Christmas shopping done early with these gems. I  mean my dad would look stellar in these shirts:
For the office

For the weekend


#3 Go to a rodeo

Lindsey and I got all decked out in our cowboy gear and headed to the Cow Palace tonight for the Grand National Rodeo. So. Much. Fun!! Although I've learned that next year we will need to add some flair to our wardrobe- turns out western women love their bling. Bedazzled shirts, belts, hats, jeans, boots, saddles, bridles, coffee mugs etc... a good note for future outfits. 


Patriotic fashion...

...so American I can hardly stand it. No clue why they would be selling such a classy hat in a costume store...obviously an error.


Texas State Capital

Last stop on the Austin vay-cay was a trip to the state capital. Decided to stop by the governor's office and get some stuff done...no big deal just being super important.
TWO flags behind us- that means we're legit
Hanging out under the dome


Austin hearts America...

...and I heart Austin!! Its an awesome city and I can't wait to go back! Started off the long weekend by buying the best cowboy boots ever at Allen's Boots.
Ended up with the ones on the far right
If you're going to visit Austin, be prepared to eat as much as possible because the food is fantastic! Delicious tacos at Guero's, best burger of my life at HopDoddy's, amazing pulled pork sandwich at Jackalope, deep fried pickles with ranch AND a chicken, tomato, black bean and avocado pizza at Alamo Draft House (where we saw Drive- love Ryan Gosling but yikes that was an intense movie).


#7 Learn how to shoot a gun

I took a mini vacation to Austin this past weekend to visit my friend Nicole from Davis and her boyfriend Dan.  Not only did we have an awesome time doing all things Austin (and eating everything in sight...amaaazing food) but I also got to check off another thing on my list!! Dan's friend Kent let us stop by his place for some target practice...although since both Nicole and I had no clue what we were doing it was less target practice and more just trying to hit anything while not freaking out over how loud the guns were! Both Kent and Dan are cops so everything was nice and safe (in case peps were worrying).
Gearing up and getting ready at Kent's...thats just one of the guns and some of the ammo we took with us

First rule us novices learned- guns point out of the car while driving


American advice needed...

Confession time...I haven't been very American lately. Instead, I've been keeping really busy at work (and gearing up for what is sure to be an awesome trip to Austin) so I thought I would get some help on #15 from my list 'Make an apple pie'...any tips? awesome recipe? apple suggestions? let me have 'em...if I'm going to go to the trouble of making a pie it better be the best pie ever. On a related note, apparently there is such a thing as Apple Pie gum!! Who knew?!? A friend left it in my purse by accident and I can't bring myself to try a piece but hey, if the real pie doesn't work out I can always use this as a back up.

Ps. I got my first piece of voting related mail today-woo hoo!! Super American :-)


Patriotic Moment...

You might think this is a picture from the fourth of July but no this is just my mom getting ready for a dinner party. When she themes she themes big...she's a very proud AmeriCanadian.


#16 Work on a farm

Ok so maybe 'work on a farm' is not exactly accurate but I did pick food in the fields for a few hours, it was super hot out AND I was dressed like a farmer sooo I'm gonna count it :-)

Looking legit in the field 

Another AmeriCanadian in the country...

Congrats Mom!



I can't believe its been 10 years.

 Ten years ago I was in high school and math class had just started when we found out the first tower had collapsed. The horror, devastation and impact it would have on the country didn't hit me until much later. I don't think I'll ever fully comprehend what it was like for the people affected and to this day I have trouble watching any footage from that day as I get so emotional. Time Magazine has a great interactive website with portraits of people affected by 9/11 and their stories...very moving. 

Today I am reminded how lucky I am and how grateful I am for the men and women who choose to serve their communities in the police and fire departments...I'm also very proud to be a niece of a fireman!


#34 Ride a Mechanical Bull

During my LA vacation the opportunity presented itself to check another item off the list...riding a mechanical bull. Initially we went inside for giant margaritas but were sucked in watching wasted people try to ride a bucking bull. Now THIS guy knew what he was doing:
My bull riding hero

Patriotic moment (on vacation)...

Guess what song I had stuck in my head for 24 hours after visiting the amazing Beverly Wilshire hotel?


The American list: #21-40

Thanks for all the great ideas...let me know if you think of any others to add:

21. Start a blog  (obvi this is already checked off)
22. Go on a shopping spree
23. Get a patriotic tattoo
24. Go to a football game
25. Tour the Budweiser plant
26. Join a kickball or softball team
27. Join the army (per Gabby's note- this is not recommended) 
28. Go to a Nascar race
29. Visit Mount Rushmore
30. Watch the Miss America pageant
31. Host an Oscar party
32. Get involved in a cause I believe in
33. Shop at Walmart
34. Ride a mechanical bull
35. Vote in a federal election
36. Meet a rockstar
37. Go to New Orleans for Mardis Gras
38. Drive across the country
39. Go to a drive-in movie
40. Serve on a jury


Classic American Eats: Denny's

The first time I went to Denny's I was 16 and was pretty excited...mainly due to the promise of mint chocolate chip milkshakes and knowing that the alternative involved my dad 'cooking'...the weather wasn't right for warming up the BBQ (where he excels). After taking a look at the menu, I decided I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and order something other than chicken caesar salad or chicken strips. It was a tough choice, everything was covered in delicious looking cheese and/or bacon (wasn't too worried about clogging my arteries at the time) and I kept getting distracted  by the pictures of milkshakes.

After much deliberation, I decided to stick with what I know and get the chicken strips (no need to get crazy when the strips were bound to be the best ever and noted as an American Dinner Classic). I was however, able to talk my brother into going with the special of the month: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and some kind of vegetable- I was hoping I could steal some of his mashed potatoes and gravy. The meal was fine (I've had better strips), but the best part was that my brother's cranberry sauce on the side was still in can form...ridges and all just cut in half and stuck in a bowl for presentation. My dad wisely decided that should be our first and last trip to Denny's.

Since that was so long ago, I figured probably go there again as it is "America's diner" and obviously as a new American I should check it out....and then I saw this article: Adventures in Gluttony. Denny's has come out with new dishes as part of their Lets Get Cheesy menu- including the star of the article: Mac 'n Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt. The creation involves a beef patty, topped with creamy mac 'n cheese, melted cheddar cheese (can't get enough cheese I guess) and a zesty Frisco sauce on grilled potato bread...side of fries included.  Now you can get all of this for only .............1690 calories!!! Ummm what?!?!? Now granted I love all things mac 'n cheese but this is a bit much even for me...I'll probably just eat half. Or if I'm feeling like watching my calories, I could just go for the Winner Winner Cheesy dinner for only 1520 calories or the Grand Slamwich with hash browns also for just 1520. I mean why bother with spreading out your calories in three meals throughout the day when you can get most of them in one meal! Great time saver Dennys...way to be ahead of the game. Despite their forward thinking in terms of time management, I think I'll pass- I've decided that IHOP is more my style. 


Balboa Island hearts America

I took last Friday off for a quick trip to SoCal to visit friends and get out of foggy SF 'summer' weather. On Saturday Ashley and I drove down to Balboa Island and got to see some super sized American pride...clocks, signs, flags, birdhouses, stickers...they managed to get a flag on almost everything! I can only imagine what the fourth of July is like down there:
My fav American decor


How I roll...

Fashionable, American AND environmentally friendly thanks to my lovely reusable tote bag from Kelda and Gabby. First lady of fabulous is right!

American Brunch

Since becoming an American, I've had to rely on my uber-American friends for support and guidance during this difficult time as I try to learn the ways of the American people...they have not let me down. 

My roommate Bonnie kicked things off with a celebratory American brunch after I passed the citizenship test. The delish feast included a main course of bacon (and lots of it), breakfast strata with basil and tomatoes (seriously the best breakfast food ever) and fruit salad...Americans love fruit salad. 
Photo by Bonnie- I was too busy stuffing my face to take a picture 


#1: Shotgun a Beer

First American activity is checked off and at a BBQ no less (very American)...ok here's how it went...

Step 1: Get beer- extra points if its patriotic 

The American list- first 20

Now that I'm officially an American (woo!) I figure its time to bond with my new country so I can truly feel American-ized. I've started a list of American activities- with lots of help from friends- and will work my way through them...some will be fast (make a pie) and some will take some planning (trip to DC) but I'll do my best to work through them.

So here it goes, the first twenty things on my list in no particular order (and yes I've done some of these before but not as an American so starting from scratch)...
1. Shotgun a beer
2. Learn how to BBQ
3. Go to a rodeo
4. Do a keg stand
5. Go to a monster truck show
6. Do a beer bong
7. Learn how to shoot a gun (yikes)
8. Bet at a horse race
9. Go to a baseball game
10. Visit Washington DC
11. Donate blood
12. Read a classic American novel
13. Visit New York
14. Drive a truck (and not hit anything)
15. Make an apple pie
16. Work on a farm
17. Sell lemonade
18. Go to Disneyland
19. Go fishing 
20. Go to Vegas

Have any ideas on what I should add to my list? Let me know!


Its official!

I'm an American citizen after going through my oath ceremony. They swore in 1201 people from 109 countries at the Oakland Paramount theater (awesome building!). Lining up before going inside was chaotic to say the least. 
Can you find me? Not many Canadians came out for this.  
View from the audience looking up into the balcony.