Category Archives: Blogtober

30 Nov

Liebster Award

We’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by Life in German!  From what I can tell, this is kinda like a blogger chain letter, but we’re going for it!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Write 11 facts about yourself once nominated.
3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 11 blogs with 200 or less followers.  Let them know they’ve been nominated.
5. Create 11 Questions for those bloggers to answer.

Let’s start with the random facts:
– I was born and live in Toronto, Canada.
– My first language was Lithuanian, but I can’t speak it now.
– I eloped in Mexico almost 15 years ago.
– I have three cats, who all need special diets and who all want to eat the wrong food.
– I have another blog:  This Fox Cooks
– I like dancing to 80’s music way too much.
– I know all of the words to way too many of Weird Al’s songs.
– I’m an IT geek and have a degree in Computer Science.
– My favourite movie is a tie between “Zorro, the Gay Blade” and “Labyrinth”.
– I watch too many cooking shows.
– I can’t think of one more random fact about myself.

Now for the questions we need to answer:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Tulum, Mexico…it’s so beautiful there!

2. Where do I absolutely have to go and what do I need to do when I get there?

Tulum, obviously (see above.)  There, you need to relax and enjoy the gorgeous water and amazing food.  Once you’ve had some time to chill, drive inland to see the ruins at Coba.  Then, take a trip a little father inland to see the city of Valladolid .   While you’re there, go to the


3. Your top place that you want to travel to and what you would do there.

Tulum – see both above.

4. Do you have any upcoming trips, where to?

Nope.  See my Dream Vacation post.

5. What are your carry on travel necessities?

I like to be covered for almost any emergency, but I also try not to over pack (it’s a tricky balance.)  Definitely:
– Moisturizer and sunscreen
– iPad loaded with magazines, movies and music
– A good book
– A snack (almonds are always good)
– Ginger pills (I don’t like flying and these calm my stomach)
– A giant scarf that I can use as a blanket
– Disinfectant wipes

6. How did you decide on your blogs name?

It’s actually a play on Mary’s and my name. Mary means “Bitter Sea” (in Hebrew) and Rasa translates to “essence” or “nectar” (in Sanskrit).  We combined these and our name was born.

7. Why do you blog?

As a creative outlet.

8. What’s in your purse at this very moment?

Wallet, my makeup/emergency stuff bag and a wooden cat.

9. Wine, beer, or a cocktail?

Wine, please!

10. What is your favorite dish/favorite thing to cook?

Too many to choose just one…I love making pizza for a group or tacos (I even make my own tortillas.) Schnitzel is also very popular in my house. I also love making a curry with whatever veggies I want to use up.

Taco Party Spread

11. What is your favorite side dish/appetizers?

Again, too many to choose from, but let’s a go with a nice cheese board (as an appetizer.)  This lets me put out a selection of interesting cheese and nibbles that everyone can pick at…and I love cheese. And bread.

I’ve never been good at passing on chain letters, so I don’t really know who to nominate, but here are my questions:

1.  Christmas stuff in stores the day after Hallowe’en.  Yay or nay?
2.  Christmas music before December.  Yay or nay?
3.  What food trend needs to go away immediately?
4.  If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
5.  What famous cartoon character or puppet would you be?
6. Your 3 desert island essentials?
7. Biggest pet peeve?
8. Favourite flower?
9. Lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick?
10. What is your favourite book?
11. What would be your last meal?


04 Nov

What We Learned – #Blogtober14 Baby!

It actually felt really weird not blogging for a couple of days after we went so hard core and blogged EVERYDAY for the #Blogtober14 challenge.  A huge thanks and a virtual bouquet for The Daily Tay and Helene in Between.  Thanks for hosting the link up – we had a great time!

What We Learned - Tulips from Above

We saw that Two Little Pigs Down Under were doing a “What We Learned” post about Blogtober, so we decided to jump onboard and do one as well.  Can you tell that we’re a little anxious about Blogtober being over and not having any more prompts??

Here’s what we learned about blogging everyday for #Blogtober14:

1.  Blogging everyday is a lot more fun and challenging than either of us thought it would be.

2.  Having a different prompt everyday is way more fun than we realized…and great inspiration.

3.  Mary writes much longer posts than me.  We wrote almost an equal number of posts, but here are the final word tallies:

Rasa:  3,721

Mary:  5,959

4.  Mr. Fox is a great editor.  Thanks to my sweet husband for being our editor, bouncing board and blog content critiquer-extroidinare.

5.  We can actually blog everyday…who knew??

6.  Everyone really likes to hear Mary rant.

What We Learned - Tulips

7.  Setting a goal to blog everyday for the month and accomplishing it is extremely satisfying for both of us.

8.  There’s an amazing community of bloggers out there sharing amazing and inspirational stories.

So, who wants Mary to rant more??  Anyone doing Blogvember or Blogcember?

31 Oct

Halloween Reveal

We made it to day 31 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Whew!  We have blogged everyday and had an amazing time.  Now, for our “Hallowe’en Reveal.”

Mary and I LOVE dressing up for Hallowe’en, but here’s the real reveal tonight, we’re staying in to watch a movie and only “kinda” dressing up – we can’t help that.  Since we aren’t fully dressing up tonight, here’s a peek at one of our older Hallowe’en costumes, when we went as the cast of G.I. Joe.  With me as the Baroness:

Halloween reveal - Rasa

That’s one wicked Baroness.

And Mary as Lady Jay:

Halloween Reveal - Mary


Halloween reveal - rasa et al

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!!

The Daily Tay
29 Oct

Most Embarrassing Moment

Day 29 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with epic tales of her “Most Embarrassing Moment.”

Oh,  once again how to choose,  how to choose… Even leaving out the multitude of painfully shame-filled moments involving drunken escapades,  bodily functions or ex-husbands,  there’s still plenty.  The time I was in Mexico and the hotel clerk asked me in English for my credit card and I responded with ‘no habla espanol’.. twice…  (Rasa had to step in and save me on that one)  Or the time I called a cat owner by her cat’s name (to be fair I had spent more time with the cat than her).

After a quick poll,  I’ve decided to go with this oldie-but-a-goodie, from my Mexico trip when Paul and Rasa tied the knot at Chichen Itza.

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Paul

It was a beautiful vacation,  hanging out with my friends was wonderful and witnessing  their wedding was one of the highlights of my life.  We drank out of fruit,  we ate delicious gazpacho,  we went to the ruins,  the gorgeous,  spectacular ruins.

At the end of my trip,  Paul and Rasa drove me to the airport and I was heading up the escalators thinking about how lucky I had been,  to not be clumsy at all during the entire time,  I didn’t fall down,  or trip or anything and I was not wearing good shoes!

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Rasa

Daydreaming,  I tripped stepping off the escalator into the small waiting room for departures from Merida.  I fell like a ton of bricks and threw my arms out in front of me,  my bags on one arm flying off to the left and my suitcase flying off to the right as I flew off the top of the elevator like Super-girl.  In a panic and grabbing instinctively to cushion my fall I latched onto the rear end of the woman in front of me.  A buxom,  rotund older woman whose upper half whipped around to stare shocked at a bizarre Canadian woman grabbing her ass and shouting “gracias gracias” over and over again, which  was the only thing I could remember amidst the sensation of my knees slamming into the floor  the gasp of the collective waiting room and the woman herself.

An eternal moment of embarrassment later,  she scurried away and I shamefully limped about the waiting room collecting my things and moaning from time to time about the state of my scraped and bruised knees.  The stares eventually subsided.  When I got home,  my husband at the time took one look at my wrecked knees and quipped,  “I thought I said no pool boys!”

The Daily Tay
28 Oct

Things You’re Superstitious about

It’s Day 28 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “Things You’re Superstitious about.”

I  can be a bit of a superstitious person, but that seems to increase exponentially when I’m at a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game with my family.  Collectively, we all get pretty weird.

Superstitious About - Ellie and Iggy

Honestly, if one member of my clan leaves to get a drink or something and The Rock starts scoring, they are asked to not return right away.  It’s gotten to the point where if you’re away and see that The Rock is scoring, you KNOW not to come back.  I’ve seen my sister trying to watch the game at the door rather than come back and be cast away.

Superstitious About - The Rock Game

Heaven forbid that Mr. Fox say something like, “well, they’ll win now for sure.”  Which he does just to see how wide my eyes get…you never say that.  Never.

Superstitious About - Paul

I’m not sure what it is about a sporting event that really brings out that superstitious  “you can’t say that!!!” side of me…but it comes out.  Big time.

The Daily Tay
27 Oct

A Letter to your Younger Self

We made it to Day 27 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with today’s post of “A Letter to your Younger Self.”

Dear Younger Me,

I know a lot of people do a ‘give advice to my younger self’ sort of thing, but I never took anyone’s advice when I was younger, least of all my own.  So, I want to take it back to a much younger self.  For example, this younger self, this 2 year old self at my dad’s company picnic in Ottawa, circa the summer of 1978.

Letter to your Younger Self - younger-mary-1

First of all, check out how adorable you are, little me! And I still stand in that terrible way with my knees pushed forward like that. I also still sport that charming “surly/confused” look on my face most of the time. Obviously I am about to deliver a powerhouse effect to this tug o’ war game, just as soon as I figure out what’s going on.

I don’t remember that game. But I do remember that bathing suit. Isn’t it awesome little me?  The paperclip chain pattern is still compelling. And you can’t tell in this photo, but it was red and the chains were white and gold. CLASSIC.



Little Me, you just keep doing your thing. I mean, check out that belly. Its proud and probably full of hot dog. Ketchup only. Mustard comes later.  Its going to be quite a bumpy ride to 38, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself, you crazy nut. But you’re going to make it!

You still have all your hair on top, so you must not have lost your blankey yet. That’s the first trial. Its probably the worst of it though, you’ll end up pulling out all your hair for months and months, throwing tantrums and being a wild thing. It’ll be okay, pink teddy will become a solid replacement over time and be a very faithful friend, even after an operation to remove his defunct music box. I still sometimes want to buy myself a replacement blankey. It was yellow and special.

Letter to your Younger Self - younger-mary

You’re in a pretty good place young toddler me. Even though technically where you are standing is a terrible place for a toddler when the tugging o’ warring actually begins. I mean, the middle of the rope will move all over the place and people will be going back and forth. Look at me standing there, I have no clue!  Well, it must be alright since I don’t remember being trampled and it does seem like the kind of thing one remembers.
Anyways, small me, I’ll leave you with something to dream about… one day you most definitely will get to pet all the cats you want. Promise.


The Daily Tay
26 Oct

Who’d play you in a movie

It’s Day 26 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “Who’d play you in a movie?”

A movie about me?  I’m a little afraid of that.  It’s not going to be the most interesting movie right now.  Rasa:  IT Geek, Blogger, Likes to Cook and Shop.  No, I think this movie is going to need a little embellishment…some fun.

For the epic “all about me” movie, I think that I should be animated as a cartoon Fox, a la Disney’s Robin Hood.   For those who haven’t seen it (and why haven’t you??), here is a clip:

Mary would be my animated Bear companion (albeit, a much smaller Bear than in this movie.  Mary’s tiny.)

Who'd Play you in a movie - Mary

We would roam around on adventures, doing brave and noble deeds and generally getting into trouble, but the good kind of trouble.

Who'd Play You in a movie - Rasa

Whose with me?  What animated animal would you be?

The Daily Tay
25 Oct

Favourite Book(s)

Wow!  It’s Day 25 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between and we’ve been doing it everyday so far.  Go us!  Here’s Mary with today’s post of “Favourite Book”, well books…

Oh dear, I’ve really been quite stumped for this one. I read so many books and I love so many books, how could I possibly choose a favorite? I really couldn’t. So, here’s a few of my faves… in no particular order…

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

This book was the first Christie mystery I ever read and it hooked me good. I must have reread this one a thousand times and its always such a treat.  One of the best things about Agatha Christie is that she wrote so many books, so once you’re a fan you have a huge library of great mysteries to choose from.  This book really launched my love for mysteries and gave me a first glance and one of my favorite detectives of all time, the inimitable Hercule Poirot.

Fresh Wind Blowing by Grace Campbell

Gotta shout out for the family on this one. My great grandmother wrote a number of books that were popular back in the day, but this one has always been my favorite.  Set in World War 2 and following the life of a young Canadian woman dealing with the loss of her twin brother and her continued acceptance of hope and life in the face of grief, this book was written after my great-grandmother suffered the loss of her twin sons both shot down over France within a month of each other.  My great-grandmother died before I was born, but in this narrative and her other books as well, I hear her voice ringing through loud and clear. It sounds like mine!

Favourite Book - Pages

The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear

This is a relatively new collection of short stories. The book was a gift and I have read it again and again and I am always finding myself thinking about one or another of the strange and delightful and even horrifying stories in this collection. I loaned it to my mom for about 6 months and I’ll be damned if I didn’t regret it fairly regularly and then became ecstatically happy when she returned it. The Kit Marlowe story in particular I find captivating and have spent many hours thinking about. Its full of interesting ideas.

Whale Music by Paul Quarrington

Here’s another book that is on my short list simply because I cannot stop reading it. I stole my brother’s copy and read it and then refused to give it back. Eventually, I had to buy him a replacement.  It sticks in my head and will not let go. Its the kind of book I like to read and reread, and then listen to the Beach Boys and read their biography, listen to copies of SMILE on youtube and then go back and read Whale Music again.  Yes, I do that.

Slaughterhouse 5
Vonnegut. Pure, unadulterated human being who knows the secret of life. For real. Brilliant. I read this book in high school and never stopped… these days its an annual affair usually.  I really love Vonnegut. I had the entire collection of his works once, but I also had a nasty ex-husband who wanted them because I loved them. Ah, well. So it goes.
SO MANY OTHERS… oh man, this list looks so paltry. I mean, where’s Gormenghast? Or Jane Eyre?  Or anything Tana French writes?  Or Charles Todd’s amazing Inspector Rutledge series?  I LOVE RUTLEDGE.  I just read The City & The City, too and that was brilliant, thank you China Mieville. I was chewing on that for days and days. Le Petit Prince, Siddartha, The Razor’s Edge, for the seeker in all of us. Hilary Mantel’s series about Thomas Cromwell.. oh god, read it now!  And get ready for the third instalment… I think I know how this one ends.


The Daily Tay
24 Oct

One Beauty Product You Can’t Live without

It’s Day 24 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “One Beauty Product You Can’t Live without.”

I love beauty products!  If you want to read about what beauty products I consider essential for everyday use, you can see them in my beauty bag post, but picking only one that I can’t live without?  Here are Make It Bittersweet, we agree that if we have to pick just one thing, it can only be SUNSCREEN.

One Beauty Product - Sun

We both wear sunscreen everyday.  If you don’t, watch this video – we’re willing to bet it will convince you to start.

Favourite sunscreens?  I personally love Kiehl’s Super Fluid.  It’s SPF 50 and doesn’t break me out (that’s huge.  Really.)  Mary loves Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Moisturizer SPF 45 with Helioplex.

One Beauty Product - Sun2

What do you think?  Is it fair to make us choose only one beauty product when it obviously has to be sunscreen??

The Daily Tay
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