I've always been fascinated by the things our mind chooses to remember and the things it chooses to forget.
I can't remember learning to whistle, but I can vividly remember that time in fifth grade when Justin Kennedy flashed one of his perfect smiles at me. That terrible haircut I got to impress him thankfully didn't last for long and my whistling skills have only improved.
I can't remember the moment I met my best friend, but I can clearly recall my recurring childhood nightmares about ET. He hid in my closet mostly and creeped up on me with his weird glowing finger. I'm still terrified of ET, but at least my best friend understands me.
I can't recollect the details of that amazing Radiohead concert, but I can remember every excruciating hour that my cat was lost by the airline. My cat is subsequently terrible at travelling, but my souvenir Radiohead t-shirt is still my favourite despite the holes and faded patches.
Sometimes it even feels like the space between our ears is finite. You learn a new friend's name and suddenly you forget your PIN number. You finally memorize your favourite pizza dough recipe and you forget who your eighth grade math teacher was. You cram for your written driving test and instantly forget which key fits in the back door deadbolt.
Here to illustrate my point is Thomas Bailey Aldrich with one of my favourite poems, both beautiful and aptly named, Memory.
My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour -
'Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue moon in May -
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then pausing here, set down its load
Of pine scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.
I remember seeing my sweetie for the first time. He was framed in my basement apartment peephole nervously shifting his weight to one foot while clutching a bouquet of flowers. I remember hearing his voice for the first time and being startled by how deep and warm it was. I remember how much his whiskers tickled when I kissed him. I look forward to capturing little mental snapshots like these in the years to come.
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope it's one to remember!
Three years. I can't believe it's really been three years. Three years ago today I timidly introduced myself and stepped into the blogosphere. I baked cookies, snapped some photos, met you fine folks, wrote about life and wrote about love, laughed, learned, grew.
I want to say thank you for being so patient with me. I've been pretty absent pretty often and I appreciate your understanding. Life's been a little nuts recently and I haven't had the time to bake elaborate cakes and roll out flaky pie crust.
So I thought you deserved a little something special to celebrate. Hot Polka Dot is as much about you as it is about me.
What could be more decadent that chocolate? How about three different kinds of chocolate? White chocolate cheesecake sandwiched between dark chocolate cake riddled with milk chocolate chips, enrobed in whipped dark chocolate ganache frosting and topped with a trinity of chocolate curls.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Cheers to Hot Polka Dot, cheers to you, cheers to cake and cheers to three more years!
One slice of tart never made anyone fat. One day of exercise never made anyone fit. The magic happens somewhere in between.
I am a firm believer in eating the foods that you love in moderation while balancing it with exercise. No cutting out carbs, no avoiding pizza like the plague, no cabbage soup, no meal replacements, no swearing off cookies, no pills. Just good old fashioned eat your dang food groups! And make sure to indulge every once in a while!
Eating is easy, exercise isn't. We only ever have time to work, cook and clean anyway so why not work exercise in there somewhere?
Forget Jillian Michaels, forget Ab-Doer, forget Bow-flex! Just clean!
Jiggly arm fat? Try some bathtub scrub pushups and dish brush bicep curls.
Mummy tummy? Bust out the Pledge and do some floor wax planks and silver polishing sit ups.
Thunder thighs? Do some laundry lunges and Windex squats.
Throw in some vacuum cardio for good measure and finish it all off with duster stretches.
You'll look fabulous and so will your house! Your thighs will thank you and so will your floors!
While you bask in the glittery glow of your immaculate house and soak your tired feet, why not indulge a little? Slice yourself off a piece of this Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart. A crumbly salty pretzel cookie crust with a rich chocolate ganache filling swirled with smooth peanut butter.
Come on. You deserve it.
Today is a very special day! Today Hot Polka Dot turns two and yours truly turns twenty-six. To mark the occasion I have precisely twenty-six grey hairs sprouting from my right temple. I also had two pieces of this impressive specimen of pink sweetness.
I thought long and hard about what sort of cake to make to celebrate Hot Polka Dot's second birthday. I wanted it to be a symbol. I wanted it to be the embodiment of everything Hot Polka Dot stands for.
It's cute and pink, but also classy and understated. It's fashionable, sporting a trendy ombre outfit and bunting accessories. It's speckled with vanilla bean, sweetened with strawberry and enrobed in luscious white chocolate. She's a little messy, a little out there, but she's able to pull it together for the big day, not unlike myself.
I feel like this day is made extra special by you. You might be new to my blog, but many of you have stuck by me from the beginning and I'm very thankful for that. You've seen how my little corner of the internet and I have grown up and matured into something I'm not ashamed to say I'm very proud of. I've experienced so much and learned so much more. It really is a joy to share it with all of you. Thank you for your patience, your kindness and your friendship.
Here's to another year of pink, pretty and, most importantly, playing with your food!
Two of my very favourite things are in season right now. Cherries and lilacs. To celebrate I thought I'd combine the two.
I made you a Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart and planted my very own lilac bush.
The latter was no easy task. Let me explain.
First you must know that you should consider me a frugal person. Not cheap. Frugal. If I can spend little to no money on anything I'll go for it. Who wouldn't, right? There are things I do not scrimp on. Cream cheese for one – why anyone would put anything other than Philadelphia in their mouths is beyond me. Eyeglasses – Gucci, Armani, Versace yes please. Laptops – sorry, but I'm not going to let an off brand hard drive anywhere near all my photos, videos and documents for fear they might spontaneously combust.
Pretty much everything else is up for grabs. All the clothes hanging in my closet were either very reasonably priced or very much on sale. I compare prices on flour. All the boxes in my pantry are generic brand or the next best thing.
So you can understand why I was not about to spend money on something like a lilac bush when they grow free and wild. I was also not about to be caught cloak and dagger in my neighbour's backyard absconding with their precious lilacs, pail and trowel in hand. So we took a drive. A long drive. And wouldn't you know, the further we got outside the city the less and less prevalent the tiny little flowers became. We drove down muddy roads, over potholes and through neighbourhoods we had no business being in. No luck and no lilacs.
So after all that we ended up spending less money on a lilac bush at the garden center than we spent on gas to fuel our little adventure. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a lilac thief.
Biting into this delicious tart makes me feel loads better though. At least I have that.