Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our Wedding Announcement

Andrew and I have finally announced our wedding in The News Journal, my hometown newspaper.  It took a little while, but it's officially published.  Take a look here! The picture is a little blurry, but I noticed that all of the wedding announcements are like that...hmmm.  Oh well, at any rate, our wedding is officially announced in the newspaper!  :)

Hope you are having a great weekend!


Meredith & Andrew

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is in the Air! How? Take a look....

You can definitely tell it's fall at our house.. (I say "our" because truthfully that's what it really is...only 2 more months until Andrew and I are under one roof!).  Yes, it's actually FALL here in Toronto. Contrary to popular belief we do get all four seasons!

Here is how we can tell fall is finally here:

  • Even thought it's just me here in Toronto right now, football is on 24/7!  Saturday it's college football, well, the games I get anyway.  It's scarce. I get most SEC games on Saturday afternoon and the games that are broadcasted on the major networks.  It's strange, I get Peachtree TV...I thought that was just an ATL channel, but we get it here in Toronto.  I follow my Hokies on ESPN's play-by-play via my iPad. Sunday is all NFL!!

  • Speaking of the beginning of the season our first game was against Appalachian State, my sister's school.  For the first time ever we were truly a "family divided" although we found ourselves rooting for both teams.  I could tell mom and dad just couldn't decide who to root for. Here are few pics from that weekend. We tailgated with my wonderful college & Europe friends Susan & Katie

  • While shopping on Saturday I bought a fall Yankee candle.  It's a Spice flavored one and it's been burning all day!  Mmmmmm, fall......

  • I started wearing some of my fall clothes...i.e. Boots!  Do you ever get "bored" of the current season wardrobe?  I do! I'm so tired of my summer clothes and I'm anxious to get my swathers and tights out of the drawers!  This may be weird, but I'm also ready to go running now that it's getting colder! I will run in the cold any day vs. the heat! 

  • I was very productive in the kitchen this weekend.  I stocked my freezer and made Chili, Black Bean Soup & Pasta Sauce.  I also made some Pumpkin Bread. You know those recipes you only bring out during certain seasons?  Well this is one of them.  I remember when I lived in California, my roommate, Katie Mack, who also works for Nissan, suggested that we make pumpkin bread as gifts for our co-workers in the office.  We must have made at least four batches in one weekend!  Anyway, this recipe is SUPER easy and I thought I would share it with you. Keep in mind, this recipe is for THREE (3) loaves of bread...
Pumpkin Bread
Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl:
3 1/2 cups of Flour
1 1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix these ingredients in a large bowl: 
3 cups Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil (I use 1/2 Canola Oil and 1/2 water) 
2/3 cup water
1 - 16 oz. pumpkin
4 eggs

Gradually add in small bowl ingredients. Pour into grease pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (each loaf). 

It is AMAZING...I assure you! 

So it's fall, but unfortunately (or fortunately for Andrew's sake) all of our decorations are packed away in storage. Andrew just loves decorating (sense the sarcasm? But truthfully, he is a good sport about it and will definitely partake!) So our condo is not decorated for the fall, but between football, candles & cooking it certainly feels like fall is here! :)


Meredith & Andrew

Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer Recap Part 2 - August

August was filled with fun adventures and new discoveries.

Mom and Dad made their "monthly" visit at the beginning of August.  I feel like I see them more now that I'm in Toronto!  It's so great to see them more frequently and we have a blast every time they come visit. Plus, it certainly helps while Andrew and I are counting down the days until our next visit with each other, and even more so, until he moves here in December.  Here are a few things pictures from the weekend:

We visited St. Lawrence Market and happen to stubble upon this corn festival. Evidently it's very popular in Toronto to eat "grilled" corn on the cob. The line for the corn was in-sane! Unfortunately, we had just eaten lunch and we were not hungry, nor did we want to wait in line.  Here are a few pictures of the festival.

Here is a pic of mom and dad on the subway. We were headed to the mall to get mom a Coach purse, one that goes around her shoulder. Now she's considered a true tourist :) or should I say officially adapting to the "city life."

Andrew came to visit the following weekend.  We did so much in the short amount of time he was here.  We tried to explore as much of the city as possible.   We had an amazing date night.  Andrew took me to Blu. This restaurant was amazing!  Andrew and I took the subway up to Yorkville, enjoyed a nice long dinner.  We are getting into the habit of trying more restaurants by having dessert at a different one. So, after dinner we took the subway half way home.  We stopped at a new place and had dessert; then walked the rest of the way home.  It's great because we can burn off some calories after eating such a big meal!

Andrew and I discovered a new hobby that we can do together - biking! I know I have already blogged about my new bike.  You can view that blog here. So we rented Andrew a bike and we biked about 14 miles.  We went half way, stopped for lunch at Eden and then turned around.  Here are a few pictures from our ride:

Andrew and I cooked one night while he was here.  Take a look at my hubby hard at work in the kitchen. I can't wait for us to cook together on a more regular basis.

During August, I also made a few Discoveries.  These are random but I thought I'd share these with you just incase you are interested:

Joe Fresh - I discovered Joe Fresh when I found one of the grocery store near our condo.  Oddly enough, it's within the grocery store complex.  It's an affordable clothing store with some great clothes.  It has a lot of the "up-to-date" fashions.  I would put it somewhere between Old Navy and Gap.

Adele - I know this is random, but it was in August when I truly discovered Adele and her music.  Her music is totally different and nothing like your normal country or R&B music. She has a very unique voice and I've enjoyed both her 19 & 21 CDs.

LCBO Magazine -  The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, basically where you buy liquor here in Toronto, publishes a free magazine each season with a variety of recipes and they pair them with wines.  It also includes other fun drinks perfect for the current season. I know my US friends may not have access to the magazine so I added the link in the header for you to view and take advantage of the available recipes online.  Feel free to browse. There are some great recipes!

August was a fun month!  But, I'm ready for the fall - football, pumpkins, leaves changing and cooler weather!  BRING IT! :)

~ Meredith

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summer Recap Part 1 - July

After a long break of blogging, mostly because I haven't had the time, I'd like to recap a few highlights of the summer in Toronto! I'll break it up into two months - July & August.

July's Adventures

July 4th Weekend the 'rents and Andrew came to visit Toronto.  One of the primary reasons we picked this weekend, aside from the long holiday weekend, was the fact that the Phillies played the Blue Jays!
We started our weekend by visiting Niagara Falls.  Aren't the blue ponchos the cutest?  Riiiight!  Here are a few pictures from our adventures at Niagara Falls. Surprisingly, we got pretty wet!  The Maid of the Mist goes very close the falls.  What a neat experience to be that close to the falls!

I like this picture of my sister and I and the falls in the back ground. 

On the way home, we stopped at Vineland Estates Winery. On the way to Niagara there are a ton of wineries!  We had a great time sampling a few wines.  We even learned about a new type of wine called Icewine. Icewine is made from frozen grapes and is considered more a dessert wine.  As you can imagine, Ontario is the perfect place to pick frozen grapes since it gets so cold in the winter.  Click here for more details. It's been quite the experience learning about Icewine! :)  Here is a picture of the family at Vineland Estates Winery. 

This is Vice Wine - a vodka infused wine.  Very nice on a hot summer day! 

What can I say...GO PHILLIES! The Phillies beat the Blue Jays!  This was quite an exciting game - we had a fan run the field and a fight broke out on the field.  Never been to such an exciting baseball game! Here are the "kids" cheering on the Phillies...

HAPPY 21st Birthday Ammie - Welcome to club 21 and older club! :)....It's about time! 

I've been exploring Toronto and trying to visit different areas on the weekends.  One weekend I went to Kensington Market with a friend.  Kensington Market is more or less a street with different shops and restaurants.  The last weekend of every month they have "Pedestrian Sundays" and they shut down the street for people to walk.  It is a very artistic community.  Here are a few pictures of my visit:

The life-size scrabble board. 

July certainly flew by!  I am realizing that I need to blog more and take more pictures so I can capture my adventures...August was just as fun...stay tuned...


Meredith & Andrew

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Ride Through High Park

This morning I decided to rent a bike and ride through High Park.  What a beautiful Sunday morning for a bike ride!  There are so many paths along the lake with great views.  The area is very accomodating to bikers, runners....and even rollerbladers!  I was surprised to see the number of people who rollerblade.  I'm not sure I'll join that group just yet; for now, I'll stick with biking :).  The weather was perfect for a bike ride.  I think I rode about 10 miles, maybe a little less, but it was a good work out for someone who hasn't been on a bike in a very long time.  I think this ride prepared me for my first spin class - which I plan to go to on Tuesday!

Below are a few pictures I took while biking through the park.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy 93rd Birthday Nanee!

My grandmother Nanee turned 93 today!! It seems like yesterday that all of my dad's side of the family joined at my aunts house to celebrate her 90th birthday.  I tell you, Nanee is doing so good! She is one determined woman!  I called her tonight and said, "How are you feeling Nanee?"  She responds with, "I'm feeling great, I'm just a little slow!"  God Bless her.  She is so sweet.  And she is right, she sounded great on the phone but I think it bothers her that she doesn't move as fast as she used to.  Nanee is wonderful and I'm so glad she is feeling healthy! I hope we can visit her next time I'm home visiting. 

Andrew and I were very fortunate that she was able to come to our wedding in May.  Below are two pictures of Nanee, Andrew and I.  She was the light of the party and I know she had a great time!

I am so blessed to have my such a happy, heathly and wonderful grandmother (1 of 2 actually, my other grandmother is 90!). I LOVE YOU NANEE! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Welcome to the Echols' New Blog - New Chapter, New Town, New Beginning!

A big thank you to my hubby for starting this blog!  This is something I have been wanted to start and he mentioned something to me yesterday about starting one - great minds think alike, huh?

Anyway, welcome to our blog where we hope to share our adventures and memories with our family and friends!

I purposely titled this post New Chapter, New Town, New Beginnings because we are going through a lot new and exciting changes....

I'll start with our "New Chapter"...

As many of your know, Andrew and I got married on May 14, 2011.  We will celebrate our one month anniversary tomorrow! Yey!  We got married at Smith Mountain Lake, VA.  It was our picture perfect wedding!  We were so lucky to have our friends and family join us for our special day.  These are just a few pictures I wanted to share...when I get my personal computer (Andrew is bringing it to me at the end this month) I will post more pics! Here is a glimpse of our wedding day:

This one is my favorite photo!

We hope you enjoy our pictures as much as we have! I'll be sure to post some pictures of our honeymoon as well!! 

Our "New Town"...

In the midst of wedding planning earlier this year, I also accepted a job transfer to Toronto!  That's right, we were wedding planning and relocating, all at the same time.  It was crazy busy time for us, but we knew it was the right time.  I moved after our honeymoon and got us all settled.  Life, though, won't be complete until Andrew moves in December - yes 6 more months of long distance!  We can do it!  He will move after graduation.  He is so anxious to be finished with school.  While he is in school, he is also doing an internship with a building firm in Atlanta.  He loves it!  It's so exciting that he has a job he enjoys!
We love Toronto!  We thought since neither of us have really lived the "city life" we would take advantage of this great opportunity and life in a high rise in downtown Toronto.  We are a block from the subway, easy access to the sports areas and within walking distance to several restaurants - who could ask for more! :) We explored the city on our home finding trip and chose a condo that over looks Lake Ontario. Here is a view of our condo:

Believe it or not and contrary to popular belief, it actually is warm in the summer.  The weather has been great so far - of course I moved a few weeks ago and missed the winter months. 

Although Canada is 90 miles, or should I say 145 kilometers, from the US boarder, there are several things that I have had to get used to and noticed are different from the US...more on that in a future post...
Lots more to come on our adventures in Toronto...Right now I can't wait to spend July 4th weekend with Andrew and my family.  They are visitng for the holiday weekend! 

And "New Beginnings".... 

As Andrew and I begin our new beginning as a married couple, we are looking forward to new adventures and lots of more memories!  We have had so many fun times together since we met in 2008, that I can't imagine what is in store for the future!  We are so excited to begin our life together and kick off our new beginning as "The Echols Family"