Category Archives: Life

Tea Addicts Anonymous?

Guys, I think I have a problem. I’m packing up since I’m moving next week. This is my tea collection.

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It filled an entire box, and that was after I consolidated the individual tea boxes.

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That’s a ridiculous amount of tea for one person. Oops.

Stay tuned for my moving day Sangria recipe!

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The Science Behind Making Lattes

My obsession with coffee crept into my end of semester project, studying the science of frothing milk. This was done for my class on Heat Transfer, which covers the different ways heat is transmit between media.

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To summarize, stainless steel does transmit heat to your hand faster than any other medium shown (better than a thermos, duh), due to it’s conductivity coefficient. That’s important when steaming milk, as you can quickly gauge milk temperature by holding the milk pitcher. The project was pretty ridiculous and involved lots of measuring temperatures with a meat thermometer. It’s probably the silliest experiment I’ve gotten away with during my Engineering degree, but it was great fun.

We made a lot of assumptions in order to perform the experiment, but the process of milk frothing, one maybe taken for granted by us coffee drinkers, is quite complex. What impresses me is the fully automated espresso machines. There could be more science behind making coffee than you would think.

Remembrance Day

I have not abandoned my blog, I just have the worst crazy busy week of the semester coming up, so I’m going to be right back as soon as my midterms finish/the most exciting thing in my life isn’t studying/I eat other things than frozen leftovers and pb&j sandwiches.

Last year, I forgot it was Remembrance Day and was terrified when the guns were fired. I actually thought the city was under attack and on the verge of tears, I called my family. Needless to say, they quickly figured out that I was hearing the ceremony, and had a good laugh at my expense. This year, I’m determined to not make a fool of myself, and I’m even going to the ceremony. I could use a minute of silent reflection.

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Balcony Transformation

So it snowed yesterday, I saw plenty of snowflakes falling on my balcony. I despise winter, so to protest, I will reminisce about SUMMER! When it’s warm out, I like to spend every minute outdoors, so I did a little DIYing. My studio apartment has a standard, boxy concrete balcony that was ugly and unappealing. This House & Home makeover video inspired me to transform it into a place I’d want to hang out.

Once I was finished, it was like I added a room to my tiny apartment. I had coffee out there every morning, lied down and read on Sunday afternoons, hosted friends for drinks and made the most of the few short months of warm weather.

Like the House & Home designers, I bought almost everything at Ikea, except the pillows and the lanterns, which are from Homesense, and the carpet, which was on sale at Home Depot.

I salvaged an old wicker chair from my parents’ house, but the outdated color didn’t go with my decor, so I spray painted it a shiny black.

I tied down the (fake) plants with old twine, to keep them from falling over when it’s very windy.

Finally, I used sticky tack to attach the fabric pieces to the walls of the balcony, to keep them from flapping around.

Voila!

The whole project cost less than 500$, and most of these items can be reused in the future. Because I know I’m not going to live in this apartment forever, I try to only buy things I can give a second life to.

Anyone can transform their balcony, and I encourage you fellow city dwellers to do it next summer, especially if you have a small apartment. It gives you a little bit of outdoors in the heart of the city. I don’t know how I lived without it.

Alas, with the arrival of snow, I have taken all the small things inside, but I still need to cover the chairs. I am eagerly anticipating the day I haul everything back outside. Happy winter, everyone.

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What Guys Really Think About Fashion Trends

In the male-dominated world of engineering, I’m a very girly girl. I don’t care if jeans, plain t-shirts and running shoes is the uniform, I will still wear whatever makes me happy. If I want to dress fashionably for class, I will.

Now, engineering guys are the best, but when it comes to clothing and accessories, function usually wins over fashion, which makes for some very interesting conversations about what I’m wearing.

I will show you 4 trends that I have worn to class and the comments associated with each.

1) Zippers on the back of a shirt – “It is like a wetsuit.”

During a lecture, I felt my top being unzipped! I turned around to glare at my friend, sitting behind me. He told me he thought my shirt was cool, in the wet-suit way. Interesting.

2) Cameos – “Are those edible earrings? Like, are they made of chocolate?”

Yes, I do realize the Laura Secord logo is a cameo, but still. Edible ____ (underwear, necklaces etc) are usually not class appropriate.

3) Coloured Pants – “Who do you think you are? Peter Pan?”

This trend is huge now and I just bought myself a pair of aqua pants. The first day I wore them, I got asked if I came from Never Never Land. Yes, yes I did indeed! (Also, speaking of the boots “Cool boots, are they real leather?”)

 

4) Rugby Shirt – “You’re such a bro with that shirt”

Now, this is an actual picture my guy friends took of me in class. They then posted it on Facebook with the caption “Amy being a bro in a rugby shirt”.

I should disclose that the guys I quoted are known for purposefully trying to piss me off, and I love them for it. I laugh along with them every time they comment on how I’m dressed. Nevertheless, I really do think they see fashion differently from us with both X and Y chromosomes. When I dress in a trench coat, I think I look like a stylish Londoner, the kind from Burberry ads, but my guy friends think I look like a business woman. Sigh.

 

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Etiquette by Emily Post

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Yesterday, on campus, there was a used book fair for charity. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go and I jumped at the opportunity. I left with quite a few books: a cookbook, a book on ballet positions, a book of sketches of the city, and my personal favorite, Etiquette by Emily Post.

Have you seen the Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris”? One of the themes in the movie is lusting after the golden days, and how no matter how romantic the past seems, it’s not all that much better than today. I may dream about living in the 20s but someone from the 20s probably dreamed about living in the 1890s.

I can tell you one thing. This etiquette book has effectively killed all dreams I had of the roaring 20s. In the age we live in, I can, as woman, study engineering never mind travel alone.

Funnily, some things never change:

Don’t be jealous of every attention your best boy friend pays to another girl. The more you show your dislike for this “interest” the more jealous he is likely to try to make you.

Women giving crappy relationship advice to other women seems to be timeless.

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My neighbour serenades me

Okay, not really. But he used to sing in the shower. Loud enough that I was forced to listen to it. He used to give nightly concerts, his repertoire including Broadway show tunes and some Bruno Mars. Had it been 5 minutes of humming in the morning, I would have had no problem with the singing. His showers were half and hour long, every day, always at midnight! So I complained to the building management several times and he stopped (hallelujah!).

Now, for the past week, at midnight, right in the middle of his shower, a waterfall would form in my bathroom. Drops of water would fall from the ceiling right into my bathtub, dripping and dropping a new serenade.

After several days of testing and investigation the maintenance guy thought he finally fixed the problem but as he was going out the door he told me:

You know the guy upstairs? He is crazy. He showers without closing the shower curtains so his bathroom floor floods and leaks downstairs

Seriously guy upstairs, you have painted quite the picture of yourself. Friends had the ugly naked guy, I have a show tune shower singer clearly lacking common sense! But really, last night it dripped again so it’s back to square 1! Although the plumbing is probably more to blame here than my neighbour.

Argh, neighbours. Did you know that under Quebec law, you must suffer reasonable neighbourhood annoyances, according to the local customs. I think in this case, his behaviour is beyond the limit of tolerance. Did I mention I was loving this law for engineers class? Love love love.

This weekend’s double rainbow, just cause.

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The 4 Stages of F***ing Up

My key chain weighs a ton and looks like it belongs to a janitor. It’s insane. To make matters worse, 2 keys are identical, except that the engraving on one has faded. They each open a different door. Do I ever correctly match the key and the door? NO! I f*** up! Here are the stages:

STAGE 1 aka INNOCENCE: You cannot expect yourself to know the correct answer, because you are new at this. You are f***ing up but it’s okay, because everyone expects you to!

Which key should I use? Oh, I have no idea! I just got these keys. Let me try this one. OOPS! It’s the other one. Silly me. 

STAGE 2 aka AWARENESS: You realize that you consistently make the wrong choice and so you try to train yourself to stop f***ing up.

Okay, the key for this door has the engraving. The key for the other door doesn’t. 

STAGE 3 aka SELF-DISTRUST : Your subconscious points you to the right answer. You ignore your subconscious because you think “I always f***-up, so my first choice MUST be the wrong one”. Then you proceed to select the incorrect answer. They even teach you to never do this on a multiple choice exam. It is proven that we should trust ourselves, but sadly, we don’t.

I think it’s this one! I choose a key, I’m about to put it in the lock, but wait, I always choose the wrong one. I should use the other key instead. I change keys. Damn it! I got it right the first time.  Always trust your first choice, people!

STAGE 4 aka BUILDING CONFIDENCE: This stage is the most tricky. Getting past stage 3 is a huge accomplishment, and it’s so easy to revert back to you old, f***ed up ways.

Oh yeah! I’m so good. I  have used the right key  for over a week! *Goes away for the weekend, comes back, uses wrong key*. Damn it!

Now, if I go  by my engineering training, I should never have had this problem in the first place. I should have copied one of the twin keys and made it recognizable (say with a picture of Elmo on the key, which they sell at Canadian Tire), but where’s the fun in that? I’m a f***-up and I’m okay with it.

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Quebec Food and Culture I

Trip to Quebec City, January 2012.

I am NOT a fan of winter. It is especially dreadful to experience it in the city, where winds howl between sky scrapers, and side walks become ice cross runs (Aren’t familiar with the sport ? Think bobsledding but with skates, through the historic streets of Quebec City. Check out this video, you will not be disappointed!).

As much as I love salads and smoothies, I have no interest in eating these meals during the winter. I crave the warm comfort foods that grand-mamans put on the table when you return after a day of sledding or snowshoeing. Tonight, open a bottle of red wine and rip up a baguette to dip in cheese fondue. Then, bake a poudding chomeur, which literally translates to “unemployed person’s pudding”. It’s a simple light cake floating in syrup and it will warm you right up in case the wine didn’t. I love Ricardo, a Quebecois celebrity chef. Try out his recipe here.

Have a good weekend and remember, only a few more months of winter O_O.

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Mojitos & Mechanics of Materials

Mechanics Mojitos

Studying in Style

This was back in September, which feels like forever ago. I have been utterly unproductive these past few weeks. Also, I’m going stir crazy. Has my apartment gotten smaller? It feels like it. Anyways. All this added up makes for horrible finals preparation. I called the parental units; they agreed to house and feed me for the next few days. I couldn’t be happier, especially since that means I can stop eating chili for breakfast, lunch and supper.  My plan for tonight? Make a fire, study by said fire while listening to Xmas music, then reward self with baked goods and wine.

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