When I think back to 2017, it’ll always be the year I live in Detroit, Michigan. The year I learned to value a less busy life. A life I now aspire for.
I was so nervous to move to Detroit, and just last night at Veronica’s wedding I told a couple they should visit Detroit if they can, and they looked at me with the same horror in their eyes that I once I had. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in six cities around the world (Pretoria, Auckland, London, Melbourne, Toronto, and Detroit) and I have the fondest memories of Detroit. Sometimes I even get home sick for it, and wonder if I should move back, From that first day I made the five hour trip west to Detroit, it was this adventure that only I was a part of.
I met so many incredible people there, ate delicious food, took some of my favourite photos to date, and learned to value a slower pace. The summer before I moved to Toronto there was a stretch where I was busy for 28 days in a row (and keep in mind, I love love love quality netflix/couch time). Detroit showed me the importance of prioritizing my time, and I’ve been really good at doing it since I’ve been back in Toronto.
I traveled a lot this year. More than I set out to travel. I went to Arizona (the Grand Canyon!) with my mom, headed west to Chicago twice, explored...
I’m sitting at the airport right now with a few hours of waiting ahead of me, but none of that matters, as I’m still on a high from the incredible evening that was last night.
Veronica and Pat got married!
Veronica asked me to give a speech at her wedding last night, so I’ll post my speech under the photos, but I am so thankful for this wonderful woman’s presence in my life. Veronica and her now husband, Pat are moving to Vancouver (as of today!) and I will miss her so much. Spontanously getting drinks after work, going for walks, getting our nails done, talking about jobs and life and I during my speech I had to take a moment or two to catch my breath between tears, as it hit me so hard that she’s leaving! But I’m so happy for her, and I’m already looking up flights to visit them.
Congratulations Vee, on becoming a Mrs., and on your next grand adventure with Pat. You made one stunning bride!
Hi everyone, my name is Liz Morris, and for those who don’t...
I’m on my couch right now trying not to let my freshly painted nails get scratched while browsing nothing particular online, and debating whether I should remove my Instagram story (I get self-conscious when I talk in them). It reminded me of this space. That feeling of should I delete it? That feeling I had so many times writing in this space. Weirdly, I miss it. So here I am, popping in.
Christmas 2017 was a quiet one for me. I’m already back home with work a mere nine hours away, but! But until then, here’s a peek into my little red n’ green (and white!) Christmas with my family.
I think I found the trick to Christmas shopping! I went to the mall from 9am to 10am three times last week and it was joyful walking around with no crowds or line-ups. I will forever do this from now on, as it was truly the best to be able to actually pick out things I wanted for friends and family.
The holiday season has also be scattered with seeing friends. I am so thankful to have so many wonderful ladies in my life (plus a work friend/colleague crew I enjoy seeing every day).
I already posted this on my Instagram a few weeks ago, but when I showed a colleague of mine a photo of my Christmasy apartment, he said, “all that work just for you?!”
A few weeks ago I sat down at my kitchen table to do a little crafting. I’ve wanted to make these wedding invitation ornaments for months, and was so excited to finally do it.
What you need:
That’s pretty much it, but if you’re up for a little more crafting you can grab a glue gun, and some ribbon too.
It’s SO EASY to do, and the result is so beautiful, plus they make wonderful gifts.
And then, ta-da! Here’s Courtney’s one (which I gave her last week)
And here’s Veronica’s (which I gave her today).
Talk about meaningful gifts on a budget!
Back in 2016 I wrote my first budget post (here), and since then I’ve been religiously using my simple yet effective budget spreadsheet, along with (from what I’ve read!) many of you!
It’s honestly the easiest way to track your money, and here I am again, sharing it with anyone who is keen to understand where their money goes, wants to save money, or hasn’t yet found a tool that they actually use.
2018 is your year!
Firstly, budgeting is tricky. There is A LOT of information how there with templates and guidelines and holy batman, let me just close my browser, and look into templates and money stuff later on.
It’s overwhelming and easy to look away from your finances. Easier to not call a phone company and fight. Easier not to wait on hold to get an interest rate down. Easier not to take the few minutes a week needed to keep an eye on your money. Easier not to plan. Easier to not open bills.
I know this, because I was once you.
Actually, over the past ten years I’ve probably created ten different budget templates in Excel. And none of them really worked for me before this one.
I would set budget goals way too extreme, quickly break them, and then give up (similar to weight loss, eh?). Then, a few months back when I sat down to create...
The weather outside is frightful (feels like-18C!), but my (Netflix) fire and blogging is so delightful, so please don’t mind me as I spontaneously post a random variety of items that have happened in my life recently
Christmas is a mere 14 days away, and lights and eggnog and merriment are scattered throughout my life.
Below is from a few weeks ago when Ashley, Veronica and I ventured to the Toronto Christmas market. Last year I went for my birthday and LOL, learned that lesson. Don’t go too close to Christmas, because it’s a zoo then!
Christmas parties are underway! Last weekend I had two! One on Friday night and one on Saturday night, and I have another one this coming weekend.
Toronto is decked out this season, and I always take the long way to work or home or to places I need to be to enjoy the pretty lights.
I signed up for Orange Theory! I really should dedicate an entire post to this, but it’s pretty motivating. Last Sunday morning I met up with Casey, Lindsey, and Michelle for a little treadmill and then brunch action.
In a snippet: You wear a heart rate during the class and everyone’s stats are on the screen. There are five heart rate zones, and you want to get into the orange zone. It’s SUPER motivating to push...
Well, my friends, I am single once again.
I now feel like a bit of a fool even mentioning him a mere week ago in this space, but I suppose that’s life and dating; you never know.
Going into this weekend I was feeling pretty good about the relationship I was in, but then whoa, the difference an evening makes.
On Friday evening I finally invited him to join me and my friends at my first Christmas party of the season. It was going to be his first time meeting not only my closest friends, but my Project Sunshine friends, and colleagues.
The evening did not go as I had imagined it would, and the message I sent him Saturday evening nicely sums up why:
In a word I am “disappointed.” And in a word he was “abrasive.”
Abrasive: (of a person or manner) showing little concern for the feelings of others; harsh.
I suppose there were signs over the past few weeks, but no crazy red flags. When I confronted him during the party because I was SO embarrassed, he must have said, “I’m an acquired taste, take it or leave it” ten times. I’ll leave it, thank you very much.
He spilled red wine on the host’s white couch, he fell walking to the bathroom, he walked into the wooden door frame when trying to enter the bathroom,he yell-asked if anyone else had more red wine when he finished his personal bottle, and he was sure to share his strong (very...
On my actual birthday I spent the morning at brunch with the guy I was then dating (past tense, because I have a fun story for you!), and then decorated my apartment before my family came over.
It was Claire’s first time in my apartment, and she was mesmerized by all my snow globes.
Then the gaggle of us headed to dinner just up the street, with small children hitching a ride on shoulders.
I couldn’t help, but admire Lily’s natural locks.
After dinner we returned to my apartment for presents, cake, and a change into Christmas pyjamas.
I had two little helpers blow out my candles.
After cake Lily and Claire put on a Christmas dancing show for me, which could be argued to be my favourite present this year.
Here’s a very cute video of the two of them doing ballet for us:
After everyone left my apartment was quiet, but warm.
I had a really lovely 33rd birthday,...
Last weekend I celebrated my 33rd birthday! It was the first birthday in years I actually knew what I wanted to do; get myself a Christmas tree, and get my friends to help decorate it with me.
I am a Christmas fan, and with the exception of last year (when I was moving to Detroit), I have always put up a tree, but always ended up decorating it alone, so this year I was proactive and asked my friends to join me on a grand adventure north to cut down a tree, bring it back to the city, and decorate it.
We kicked off the morning with lunch on Main Street Unionville (#memories and fun fact, Unionville is where the pilot of Gilmore Girls was filmed, because it’s very Stars Hollow-y). We then piled back into the car (and after a scramble to get a saw and some rope) we were heading north to find tree for my apartment.
First things first, when we arrived we got ourselves some apple cider and hot chocolate,
And then hopped on the wagon to head to the fields!
My ultimate goal was to find a tree farm with a horse-drawn wagon, but the one we went to had a tractor wagon, which ended up being pretty sweet regardless.
And then the hunt was on!
I have a vivid memory of creating this blog in 2009 and writing a quick caption of myself; a twenty-something year old trying to lose weight. That’s all it said.
Today I turned 33.
And today it really hit me that I’m officially a thirty-something year old (still) trying to lose weight. A thirty-something year old trying to lose weight, but with a long, big list of other things going on in her life.
I’ve kept a lot of my private thoughts out of this space in the past year or two, and taken more to the, “then I did this and this and this…” style posts. It’s not really on purpose though… it’s because life is really good, and it’s easier to write about the bad over the good.
But here I am, at now (whoa) 33, and there is so much more to me than a thirty-something year old (still) trying to lose weight that I want to write down (so please bare with me).
I love my job. Like, a lot. Like a nerdy amount. Sometimes on Friday nights I’d prefer to be at my desk figuring something out than out and about on the town. I work in a male dominated world (my company sits at 18% women), but I have carved out a space and a name for myself. I’m good at what I do, and I know my value. (Years ago when I quit my job to go traveling I went into the office on a Saturday to clean out...
I have such little time free these days that it’s hard to pop into this blog and write, but I wanted to quickly share the second half of Vee’s bachelorette.
We started the next day off with brunch in the village
And then walked around Collingwood
And then headed up into the hills for a casual hike
After our boots were done walking, we headed back to the chalet for a cozy afternoon by the fire. Complete with white wine sangria, of course
One of the games we had planned was a question/answer round with Veronica and Pat (the groom-to-be). Ahead of time we had sent Pat a bunch of questions and asked him to record himself answering them. Just before he’d answer them, we’d pause it and get Vee to try answer the question. Such a fun cute game!
We then turned the music up loud, took a whole lot of posed photos (obviously), and topped...
A few months ago Veronica asked if I’d be okay with planning her bachelorette. Okay? I was thrilled! Celebrating friends’ life events is one of my all time favourite things, and Veronica is one of my best friends, so I got right to work.
My apartment quickly started accumulating bachelorette items, and my Facebook was buzzing with plans and details with the other ladies.
Our goal was for everyone to leave work early on Friday, for me to pick up a rental car, the girls, and then drive up north to Muskoka.
Well. Well at around 11am on Friday I got a message from the Airbnb cottage we were staying at, “our pipes froze over, we’re really sorry, but we have to cancel.” !!!!!!!!!!!
It was nutty and a scramble and I did one of these, but luckily Ashley made some calls, found a new place, and we shifted the weekend from Muskoka to Collingwood (another small town north of Toronto), which meant we were on the road (with a very packed car!) by 5pm.
When we arrived at the “cottage” (it was a big, beautiful challet!) we sent the bride-to-be upstairs to relax, while we set up.
I may or may not have become obsessed with finding cute items online. Should you ever need to find cute items too:
Here’s to love, laughter and happily ever after because nearly three weeks ago (to the hour!) Courtney and Richard said I do!
I slept well the night before the wedding, so at 8:00am I was ready to get the day started. After breakfast together, all the bridesmaids headed to Polish, a salon to get our hair and makeup done.
I always forget how nice it is to have someone do your makeup. It almost inspired me to put more effort into my morning routine, but then… sleep > eyeshadow.
When we got back to the Waring House it was time for our dresses! Courtney used Henka dresses for her bridesmaids. All our dresses were exactly the same, but styled differently. I absolutely adored the deep blue colour she chose.
And then we helped Courtney into her dress! Her lips, the veil, the dress… everything was so perfect!
After her and Richard did a “first look,” the wedding party headed outside for photos.
Music is near and dear to Courtney’s heart, so touches of music were all throughout her wedding, including in her amazing bouquet!
On November 4th, 2017 at approximately 4:30pm I watched one of my favourite humans say “I do” to the love of her life. But before I tell you all about that moment, let’s head back to the morning of November 3rd, the day before the wedding.
At around 10am Angela swung by my place in her trusty
old reliable Volkswagen to pick Annie (another bridesmaid) and myself up. Along with Angela’s boyfriend, Brendan, the four of us (with slightly-burnt McDonalds coffee in hand) zoomed east to Prince Edward Country (PEC) to celebrate the one and only Miss (soon to be Mrs.) Courtney!
The wedding was located at the Waring House in PEC; a charming 1860s limestone farmhouse. I’ve been to a fair number of weddings, but this setup, with everything located in one area, was my favourite. The rooms, the ceremony, the reception, the rehearsal dinner, were all within a 2 minute walk of each other; sooooo convenient!
Once we arrived we checked into our rooms, and? And oh.my. Each room had a unique feel with different wallpaper (which I couldn’t get enough of; see my collage below), a cozy nook, jacuzzi tub, Victorian settees, fireplaces, soft luxurious beds, and (thankfully; you’ll soon see why) ironing boards!
Once we explored our rooms (and after a selfie or two), we headed to...
When I was in Australia I remember talking to my friend Angela on the phone, and her telling me about a new friend she’d met through her running group. She told me I’d like this new girl Courtney, and that I’d definitely be friends with her. She was 100% right.
Courtney met Richard on a fun evening out in 2013. Angela, Court and I spontaneously decided to go to Bier Market, and good thing we did. Richard and Courtney met that evening, and despite him finishing up a law degree all the way west in Windsor, they connected and, as they say, the rest is history.
Courtney’s Bachelorette had been circled in my calendar for months leading up to it. I was still living in Detroit at the time, and thus counting down the days until I got to zip east to celebrate her with an evening out. Her friend Annie hosted the evening, and we celebrated Courtney with a pre-drink and psychic, dinner out at Cibo Wine Bar, a comedy show, and topped the evening off dancing on Church Street (Toronto’s Gay bar area).
I am still amazed at how wonderfully random life is. How if it wasn’t for Angela joining the Running Room and meeting Court, or us heading out that evening, this love story may not exist! :)
We all woke up Saturday morning (we stayed at Meaghan and Henry’s place) with little idea of how our day would play out. It was the Saturday before Halloween, and we had loose plans to go to the Northwestern vs. Michigan game, and perhaps head to a Halloween party somewhere in the city (although none of us had costumes).
Little did we know that as fate would have it, we would be lead to six perfectly XL kids size hot dog costumes, and thus close the day clocking in one of my all-time favourite Halloweens.
The day was a chilly one, so we bundled up and ventured out for food. Over brunch we debated the day’s agenda. I think we all wanted to go to the Northwestern vs. Michigan game, but it was COLD, and none of us were eager to freeze our buns off. Thankfully the cold lead us to strolling into a Target and taking a gander at the adult-size costume area, which had little-to-nothing left, but the kid’s Halloween area… well they had six glowing-calling-our-names hot-dog costumes. Fate, I tell ya, fate!
Here’s the first (of many) Chicago-style hot-dog costume photos which followed on this day:
As we left Target, Meaghan mentioned there was a hot-dog diner(!) on our route home…. how perfect!! I had tears in my eyes from laughing so much. It was the perfect background to a a group shot.
It’s Sunday evening and I just work up from a wonderful nap. A nap that marks the end of a busy few weeks and weekends. I realized on Thursday night it was my first night home in twenty one nights! Somehow I’ve had something to do, someone to see every evening for three weeks!! Nutty, eh?
Lots of fabulous life events have passed my way recently (birthdays! weddings! bachelorettes!), but first I wanted to jot down my incredible time in Chicago a few weeks ago, because I am still riding the high from Hamilton, seeing my good friends from Boston, and having a spontaneous, hilarious Halloween.
Back in May a few friends and I received an email from our friend Claire,
date:Fri, May 5, 2017 at 1:38 PM
subject: Hamilton in Chicago
Hell. Yes. For those who aren’t sure what “Hamilton” is, it’s a Broadway musical which made its debut early 2015 to incredible reviews. I’d seen incredible reviews on Instagram, Facebook and occasionally even TV and knew I wanted to see it, but as it’s only in New York City and Chicago right now (and as tickets are still quite pricey and need to be planned in advance) I hadn’t prioritized it… until Claire’s email showed up in my Inbox!
A few back-n-forth emails later we bought tickets, and I flew into Chicago on an October Wednesday evening, and woke up for work on Thursday morning with a 10 minute walking-commute ahead of me (I’m so busy at work right now, I couldn’t take Thursday...
Hoping to find my way back to these posts at some point. But long story short, the last photo was an accidental photo I later found in my camera roll.
It sums my Norway trip up nicely: wide eyed and taking it all in. What a magical country
Sorry about the lack of words. Time is limited these days, but I wanted to pop these photos into the space to record this beautiful day.