Happy Easter from Cedric Bunny!

Happy Easter from Cedric Diggory & City Style Country Smile

Happy Easter to all of you lovely readers, I hope your weekend is full of family, food, and snuggles… but most importantly, a ton of chocolate!  This is about 1/100th of my Cedric pictures… I tell people I am obsessed with him, but I’m quite certain they don’t fully understand the level of my devotion. Everyone who meets him says he’s the nicest bunny ever- I try to explain that all bunnies have the potential to be this nice, you just have to spend every waking moment with them! Legit a dwarf bunny is the best pet you can have as a transient student like myself.   So many people get a cat or dog without realizing the commitment or damage they can cause- get a bunny, all the fluffy goodness, no vocalizations and they live in a cage and can be litter trained! I’m so thankful for Cedric every single day and with it being Easter I figured what better time than to share an excessive amount of Cedric Diggory photos?! 

Have a wonderful Easter weekend my lovelies!

xo, aiyanajane

INSTA-holidays

My Christmas holidays were exactly what they should be- filled with love, family, pets, friends and food! It was a week of snuggling, reading and over-eating!

insta holidaysI hope you enjoyed your holidays xo, a

 

goodbye 2012

I really meant to have a NYE post for you lovely readers, but my the holidays turned out to be a great deal busier than I anticipated and I didn’t get it together.. whoops!

This year I have found myself focused so entirely on the importance of family, and so rather than blog and take outfit photos I was spending time with my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, my brothers, my parents and my friends- the family I choose. The closest my little atheist heart comes to believing in God is when I think about how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. I  am so blessed to have such a supportive, loving group of people at my back, I could never have made it through 2012 without their help.

This was a very difficult year for me, one I have to say I am happy to see the end of.  I was reading my cousins blog, and she posted ” Remember! Every year must end with the feeling that you never had such a good year.” A lovely sentiment to be sure, but sometimes years go by where things just seem to be going badly despite your best efforts.

That positive attitude however, seems to be a distinctly Danish trait from my personal observations. I am so glad to have that Danish heritage behind me, my grandparents came to Canada after they were married to raise their family. The Danish have been ranked as the “happiest” people on earth, but I doubt they are any happier than any other first world countries, it is the cultural attitude that the Danes have that makes the difference, a strong belief in the value of hard work and a positive attitude. I’ve learned so much from my Grandparents, and feel still that there are so many stories left to hear, that I would much rather spend my time with them than primping, shooting, editing and posting. They have always instilled in us the importance of being happy with what you have. As I write this there is Rice Pudding on the stove upstairs and my Grandparents are due to be here any minute.

This year I have felt within me an urgency to be with my family, thinking back I wonder if everything that happened was only to bring me closer to them. 2012 was NOT a banner year for me, and no amount of my Danish heritage can put a positive spin on it.

First I was laid off, then weeks later I discovered my (ex)boyfriend of nearly 5 years had been extensively browsing the craigslist personals section. Jobless, suddenly single and homeless, I moved back to my parents farm. It was lovely to be home in the countryside and I spent as much of those early summer weeks swimming and riding. Then on July 15, 2012, a week before my champagne birthday, I was riding a friends somewhat unruly mount when she reared over and landed on me, crushing me beneath her and fracturing my pelvis in two places. I was bedridden for weeks, and unable to go to school in September as had been my original plan. Since breaking my pelvis I’ve suffered a streak of minor injuries, it seems excessive and I am hoping for a respite. I had an eye infection, dislocated my knee, a painting fell pointy side down and landed on my forehead (you can still see the dent!), I also accidentally gave myself a black eye and most recently, I fell down my stairs and popped the bursa sack in my elbow. I’ve been joking with my family and friends that I only had to make it to the end of 2012 and my accident streak might end, I hope that proves to be the truth! Once I was healed enough, I went back to working at the Rosebud Theatre, and found a legal administrative assistant program at a different school, Robertson College, that started in November.

This year as I said, has been full of challenges but it is the attitude with which we face our struggles that will define our happiness. I’ve been back in Calgary for a couple months now, so being home over the holidays was a welcome change of pace. Though so many things went “wrong” for me, I feel that without those obstacles I would never have found the strength in myself to overcome them. The greatest obstacle is not physical, but emotional, and to the detriment of your heart some times you find out who people really are.  In 2012 I had to let go of a few people who I loved deeply because I finally realized their treatment was not reflective of my treatment of them. As the year comes to a close I look at myself from where I was last year and cannot help but feel pride, because throughout the difficulties, despite sometimes feeling like it was completely hopeless I am the happiest now that I have ever been.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

in 2012 I finally realized I deserve to be loved and treated with dignity and respect. It seems so obvious but “love” is not always true even if spoken aloud with a great many assurances. Words, I believe, are the most powerful tool man has but so often we forget their power, and too often is the truth drowned out by other voices. Love loses its value when people forget that without respect, love is as empty as their words.

This year, for all my trials, I am fortunate to have finally realized my personal value. To those who value themselves, it seems obvious, but there are many who feel worthless, an existence without purpose or love is empty. Questioning the point of your own existence can be a dark path to wander down, but when you find the light, the reason for your search and your purpose,then suddenly the darkness is nothing. It is not the dark we fear, it is the unknown. As a young adult there is so much left unknown, and an immense pressure it put on young people to figure out what to do with their lives, when I graduated high-school I was entirely in the dark, and being asked by every adult what my life plan was was about the least helpful thing of all time. The years I spent after school- working for a company that threw me under the bus as soon as it became convenient, living with a boyfriend who treated me like his personal servant, hiding in the city from the people who would ask me what I wanted to do with my life. I needed those years, those experiences, those revelations- that painful realization that love is not always enough, before I could find the truth in my own heart.

The most important thing to remember, is that without those you love you have nothing. Often over the Christmas holidays I find myself disgusted with our consumer based culture- hoards of people trampling one another on boxing day to save a few dollars. Materialism, consumerism, selfishness and thoughtlessness drive the economy along while family falls to the wayside. Love and family, not material things, are the most important part of life. Part of the urgency I feel to be with my family stems from confronting the impossible- my grandparents both have Cancer. It makes me sad when I speak with people for whom visiting their grandparents is a chore, because for me it has always been one of the greatest joys in my life. How can I think of my personal vanity when I am facing the reality of their mortality? They will be my first priority always, and I find myself wishing for more time. More time to blog, more time to spend with them, with my friends, or family, more time for me, for doing nothing, for doing everything. Time is a fickle thing, moving forward in leaps and bounds- perfect moments that last forever and the rush of time lost in the menial monotony of the day to day.

One thing is certain, every second that goes by is a moment of your life you will never get back. As the last seconds of 2012 tick away I find comfort in the belief that though 2013 will undoubtedly bring with it a whole new series of challenges, each one will be another opportunity for growth, a catalyst for change and an opportunity for something new and better. The new year represents new hope, and it is my hope that each of you may find your purpose, a lightness within your soul that allows you to shine. Every life has darkness in it, if you find yourself feeling as though nothing has changed, as though you are stuck in a hopeless place that seems inescapable, search within your heart and make the changes that will make you happy. As individuals we control our fates, and though we should try to strive to be decent, in our failings we must have empathy for others. Remember that a single kind word can make the difference in someones day, and a single hurtful slur can shatter a heart. Your words have power, your heart has the truth, your mind has value and it is up to you to find your voice.

I wish you peace and love in 2013

xo, aiyana

DIY – Nutella Chocolate Christmas Ornaments

The holiday season often means a great deal of gift giving, which adds up quickly. Save cash and impress your friends, family or co-workers with yummy home made chocolates, inspired slightly by my love of Ferrero Rocher, made to look like cute little ornaments, and not to be opened until Christmas!

I used Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chipits, because that’s what I had available, but I recommend hitting up a bulk chocolate bin- superstore sells Bernard Callebaut!

You can buy pre-made chocolate molds in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I had this empty egg carton which I figured would recycle perfectly for my purpose! Make sure to use plastic, not paper cartons if you choose to re-purpose your egg cartons as well!

Then set up a double boiler, boil water in a small pot on the bottom, with a metal bowl  resting on top; this will melt the chocolate smoothly and evenly. Be sure to stir consistently.

  1. Pour melted chocolate into the molds, and use a spatula to ensure the entire surface is evenly covered
  2. Sprinkle mixed nuts into the chocolate shell, I used whole walnuts and almonds, approximately 5-7 nuts per chocolate. (Significantly more went into the big almond walnut bark bar.)
  3. Pour remaining melted chocolate into the molds, until even and full. I ran out of chocolate at this point (mental note, one bag of chocolate chips is not enough) so I melted down a half bag of white chocolate chips and made half the batch with that. Sometimes the best things come about by accident.
  4. Place tray in the fridge or freezer to cool, (you can leave it out at room temperature it just takes longer and I have no patience when it comes to matters involving chocolate)
  5. Once fully hardened, spoon a tsp of Nutella onto one of the chocolate halves and squish the other half on top, smoothing out any extra Nutella that comes squishing out of the edges. I used one half milk chocolate and one half white chocolate.
  6. Wrap in tinfoil, twisting at the top. Tie a knot around the tinfoil twist and make a loop using ribbon. Secure with tape if necessary
  7. Then tie a bow around it to cover the tape and ensure again that the loop is secure. If you like, add a color to the tinfoil using paint or permanent marker!

nutella filled chocolate, almond, walnut egg ornament

These are the perfect little bobbles to give to anyone on your list – provided they don’t have a nut allergy. Hang them on the tree and unwrap on Christmas morning for a super yummy and festive treat! I’m sure I will revisit this idea when Easter rolls around!

happy holidays! XO – A