Wednesday 31 December 2014

I Wish You Well, 2014

Dear 2014, 

We were not meant to be. I had high hopes for you...2013 was a phenomenal year and I had plans for you to take over where 2013 left off. It wasn't meant to be. Don't get me wrong, we had some good times together, we made some happy memories. But for the most part, I'm happy to see you go. 

The negative was too negative and greatly outweighed the positive. I'd like to say that I'm happy to see you go- which I am- and that I'm happy to forget you- which I have mixed feelings about. I'm not going to rehash all of the bad...there too much of it and I'm trying desperately to forget it all happened. I'm hoping that 2015 will more than make up for all of the bad and negative you threw my way, 2014. 

You weren't all bad 2014, I realize that. We did have our good moments. 
I had a lot of critics this year, often feeling like a punching bag, but I did have a number of Chamber Award Nominations, including Employee of the Year. 

2014, you brought me a handful of new friends and deeper into a circle of friends- you did pick it up towards the end. You started our relationship off by bringing someone back to me, I am thankful for wasn't what I expected and it has been a different ride than what I am used to and had hoped...but at the end, this person is still here. You also brought me my two fantastic Summer Students, both whom I adore to this day- they left me a file for when I need love and provided valuable suggestions in the Suggestion Box.

I shared a major milestone with you 2014- I turned 30. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated or heard it could be. I had a fantastic trip to Toronto, celebrated with friends and had a relaxing day off from work, had a wonderful dinner with family and saw David Myles, where he told me he had checked out my blog (!!!), and the desserts! The best part of my birthday was my gift- a trip to Cuba (Photos 1, Photos 2 and the highlight of the trip)!!!

With you, I said good bye to my great grandparents house. While this was sad, I had the chance to be reminded of memories made at their house and reminded how blessed I was/am to have great grandparents that I got to know and spend a lot of time with. 
2014, you were the year of two of my dad's political campaigns. Doing one a year is tough, but two? I barely had time for anything else- including blogging, which is why my posts are low this year. It was fun to campaign and go to different events. Of course, I was happy to see my dad elected and had fun at his inauguration.

As always, 2014, you brought me a lot of time spent with Brock Alumni: Hamilton Ti-Cat event, outdoor skating and hot chocolate, Raptors game, President's Forum, wine tasting, beer tasting, trivia night, dinners and drinks, Homecoming.

Blog wise, even though the number of times I posted was significantly down, my numbers went up. I saw significant- and surprising- increases across social media and blog related numbers:

So, 2014, we did have a lot going for us. You were good to me in many, many aspects. But you brought a lot of heartache, frustration, disappointment, struggles... more than I needed and, at times, more than I could handle. While I am thankful for everything you brought me, I am by no means sad to see you go. This break up is official, and I'm trying not to have any hard feelings towards you. The kind thing to say is 'it's me, not you' but we both know, it's you. I'm happy to send you off with a wave and no more than a second thought. I can do better. I will do better. 

2014, I am leaving you for 2015. I'm hoping that 2015 will treat me better than you did. You were, at times, fun and games 2014, but there was no love, very little kindness and even less happiness. I hope you wish 2015 and I well...nothing but the best for us. I will remember you 2014, not fondly, but I know I will think of you from time to time- as much as I don't want to. 
One final request 2014, please, please, please, give me space. Allow me the chance to see how things go with 2015. Give me a fresh start, keep our baggage with you, don't send me off with it. 

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.
Write a good one. - Brad Paisley 
I wish you well, 2014.  

Monday 22 December 2014

Inspire Me- Mistletoe

Happy Monday!! I had a fantastic weekend; Friday I celebrated a close friend's birthday, Saturday I went to the market with my dad and got to participate in Christmas at the market-made an ornament, had hot chocolate, saw Santa- before heading over to a friend's farm- they just opened a store on the farm. Sunday was spent with family as we celebrated my grandmother's birthday. 

We are in the home stretch- Christmas is this week, World Junior's start this week and there are only two weeks left of 2014. Today is my first official day of two weeks off!! I've been counting down the days to this much deserved and much earned time off. I'm really only taking 2.5 days off, as our office closes at noon on Christmas eve and doesn't re-open until January 5. I'm looking forward to the time off. 

2014 has been a rough year and I'm looking forward to leaving all of the bad experiences and negativity in 2014. I'm looking forward to 2015 and all of the good it will bring. In the meantime, I'm focused on making the last weeks of 2014 great and really enjoying myself. 
Some inspiration for this week:

This quote is a play on 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'. The idea being, you can be as wild and crazy and out of character as you want, it won't be held against you. You can let loose and have fun. Enjoy life. I full intend to laugh and enjoy the holidays. I'm going to have fun. I'm going to make the most of my time with family and friends and truly appreciate the memories we'll make over the holidays. 

I'm going to have the mind frame that whatever happens over these next two weeks, 'will stay under the mistletoe' and not count in the real world. It's been a long time since I've been carefree and I'm looking forward to going back to my 'old ways' and loving life.

Friday 19 December 2014

Thinking of You: December Ipsy

For those of you who don't know, ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription box. For Canadians, it's about $15 a month; $10 for the subscription, $5 for shipping. With the exchange, I end up paying around $20 a month. I really like ipsy, I think they send great bags and I usually love what they send, but I have been thinking about cancelling my subscription- it's not really worth $20 to me, I feel I get a lot of the same products just different brands and after almost two years, I'm just feeling meh about it. Don't get me wrong, I still like ipsy...and I was happy with the bag they sent me: 

Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream Avocado and Argan - The products from this company are natural, organic, gluten-free and most products are vegan free...all good things. The product claims to make your skin brighter, smoother and younger looking...I haven't seen any changes, but I also haven't been using it that long. So, we'll see. This is an eye cream, but I used it on my entire face because is for normal to dry skin. I'm not crazy about the smell, but it did feel good on my super dry skin. This product will be available in January, so I did like the fact that ipsy members got a 'sneak peak' of a new product before anyone else.
Retail value: Unknown...product not for sale yet.
ipsy value: Unknown
Tarte Deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara- Another mascara...yawn. This product claims to lengthen, curl, volumize and condition lashes. No idea if this is true, I didn't bother to open or try this product. Mascara is mascara to me and I don't even wear (or need) mascara on a regular basis. This is a vegan product and I do like the Tarte brand...just not interested in mascara.
Retail value: $24 for .24oz
ipsy value: $10 for .10 oz
Cailyn Cosmetics Just Mineral Eye Polish in Orchid- I'm a fan of Cailyn Cosmetics and I was actually excited about this product. I had never tried an eye polish before, so this is a brand new product for me. The colour is really pretty too. It's subtle and something I can wear often. I like the applicator too, it's an easy to use/apply product. As per Cailyn's website, this product can be used with other Cailyn products and turn it into, for example, eyeliner, nail polish or a lip product. I love things that are versatile! 
Retail value: $15 for unknow size (not listed on their website)
ipsy value $15 (???) for .09 oz
NYC Butter Lip Balm in Parfait- This colour is a little too pink for me (of the available colours for ipsy members, probably the best one for me too), but I do like that it leave my lips feeling hydrated- super important for our cold Canadian Winters- and smooth.
Retail value: $4 for .14 oz
ipsy value: $4 for .14 oz
Coolway Boost Repair Treatment- This product claims to repair damage from chemicals and heat, add moisture to your hair, shiny and eliminate frizz. I haven't tried this product yet, so I don't know if it works. It says to apply a generous amount (2-3 teaspoons depending on hair lenght) and I have fairly long hair, so I'll need to use a lot of this product, like the entire sample in one shot. I'm not sure if one time use will be enough for me to see if this product works.
Retail value: $29.95 for 8 oz
ipsy value: $3.75 for 1 oz
Total retail value: $72.95 (not including the eye cream)
Total ipsy value: $32.75 (not including the eye cream)
The only product I'm excited about is the eye polish. Overall, I think this was a decent bag and they sent a lot of great products. I've been subscribing for 2 years and I'm getting a lot of the same products...I've been feeling underwhelmed with ipsy recently (if you are a new subscriber, the products are great). I have been thinking about cancelling ipsy the past few months and I have decided to cancel.

Something I like about ipsy is that you can get ipsy points to earn bonus items- usually 500 or 1000 ipsy points. The 500 ipsy point items get sold out super quickly (like within an hour of me receiving the email) and I have yet to hit 1000 ipsy points. Last month I had over 900 points-so close!- but points expire after a year and in lost over 400 points in less than a month. I realized I will never reach the 1000 point mark- which I was holding out for before canceling my subscription.

Final, final, final ipsy verdict? Great company and product. I really enjoyed my experience for the most part and love the majority of the bags sent to me. ipsy is a great starter subscription, but because they send a lot of the same products- but from different brands- it starts to feel like you get the same products over and over. Even though I am cancelling my subscription, I do highly recommend ipsy!

Thursday 18 December 2014

Politically Correct Christmas Carols

I originally posted this two years ago, but think it's too funny not to share again. The last one is my favourite!!

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Project Pinterest: Glitter Magnets

Back in the summer, I posted about thank you gifts I gave to my Summer Students, including a magnet board that I had made. I've made several magnet board but always struggle with magnets. I had yet to find something cute, something that would work with the board, something easy to make/find and something durable. 

I came across this pin (which originated here) and decided to make glitter magnets! This was such an easy project and turned out fantastic! All of the supplies came from the Dollar Store (making this a very cost effective project too). 
You will need:
  • Magnets (I used the round ones found in the crafting aisle)
  • Glitter glue
  • Sponge brush

How to make glitter magnets:
  • Put a drop of glitter glue in the middle of the magnet
  • Use the sponge brush to move the glue around the magnet until it is covered
  • Let the magnets dry
That's it! Because you are working with glue, you have to 'paint' the magnets before the glue dries. But this was still such a simple project and definitely something I will be doing again. Even though these magnets were made to go with the magnetic boards, I have made some to use on my kitchen fridge and my filing cabinet at work. I get tons of compliments on them and I have final solved the magnet issue for the boards!!

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry
That I watched the Girl Meets World Christmas great to see Corey and Shawn back together.

To be taking time off from work. I had yesterday off and will be off for almost 2 weeks over Christmas. It's well deserved and earned.

That I am hoping very, very, very hard for some good news. I'm ready for a change, I just need the opportunity.

To be trying Bowen Therapy. It was suggested to me by a friend to try after my car accident when my healing just wasn't happening. It has done wonders for my pain!! This is something that is actually working! I've done two weeks of treatment (one treatment a week) and there is a noticeable difference in pain and even my mobility.

That I got an advent calendar back in November and still haven't started using it. I need to get on that...

Monday 15 December 2014

Inspire Me: Smiling's My Favourite

Happy Monday!! We are in the home stretch, Christmas is 10 days away! I think I'm in pretty good shape...I just have my mom's present to take care of, I have tons of gifts still to wrap, but shopping is done! Cards have gone out and I decided to pass on Christmas baking this year; time is running out and I decide just to pass on it all together instead of stressing about it. Holiday parties are in full swing and visiting with friends is keeping me busy. 

One of my favourite Christmas movies is Elf and I've already watched it a number of times this year (you can find my other 'must watch' Christmas movies here). So, I thought I would use a line from the movie as inspiration for this week:

It's no secret that I have been struggling and dealing with a lot of negative things recently. It's also no secret that I am (usually) a happy person- always laughing and smiling. In fact, my bio for this blog and all my social media says that I am a lover of laughter. 

With everything that I have had going on, I haven't been laughing and smiling as much as I normally do or as much as I would like. This has not gone unnoticed by those who are closest to me.

This quote is a way to remind me that I like to smile and that smiling isn't that hard. I need to be aware of when I'm smiling, make an effort to smile and eventually, the happiness and laughter that I'm used to, will naturally follow.

When you smile, the people around you smile and eventually your smile will become genuine. The good will overcome the bad. 

Thursday 11 December 2014

Inaugural Fashion- What I Wore

A couple of weeks ago, I had asked a couple of my favourite fashion bloggers to suggest outfits I could wear for my dad's inauguration earlier this month. Some beautiful dresses were chosen and I decided to use Jennifer's suggestion as inspiration. In fact, I actually went to a few H&M's in search of the dress she picked. I couldn't find the exact dress, but I still used her outfit as inspiration.
So, what did I wear?
I wore a similar dress to the one pictured above (from Le Chateau), but in blue. I typically wear A-line skirts/dresses and I thought I'd stick to this style for the inauguration. Black is a popular choice for events like this, so I decided to throw in some colour, which is why I went with blue.
I live in Canada and it can get cold, so I also included an off-white cardigan that I purchased from Target back in the spring.
I own a pair of Ralph Lauren shoes (similar to the ones pictured above), which I wore. I completed my outfit with a simple black clutch, blue sapphire stud earrings, blue sapphire ring and a diamond and blue sapphire necklace.
The actual inauguration was pretty typical; the newly elected official were escorted into chambers by a piper, O Canada was sung, blessings were done, my dad gave his inaugural address (where he told a story from an inauguration 17 years ago- my sister had just learned how to do somersaults and decided to do them down the aisle during the inauguration), everyone was sworn in and introduced their guests, outgoing politicians were acknowledged and thanked, a motion was passed and the meeting adjourned.
After the meeting, pictures were taken in chambers. After the pictures, our family went to my dad's office and hung out for a bit. It was nice to have that little bit of down time as a family and just take in everything that happened in the meeting. We had a few minutes to relax, and go out on my dad's balcony, before heading down to the cocktail reception.
The reception was also pretty typical- wine and food were served, and lots of socializing with people who were there. About 200 people were invited and I only spoke to a small fraction of them, but it was nice to connect with people I haven't seen in awhile and get caught up with old friends.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide

I can't believe that Christmas is two weeks away!! There is so much for the holidays that I love to do but am still working on- Christmas baking and finishing getting my Christmas cards are just two that come to mind. I'm basically done my Christmas shopping (yea!!) but still need to wrap everything. 
I love Christmas shopping, picking out gifts for my family and friends. One of my favourite people to shop for is my little cousin. Every year, I get her a Christmas book and a gift...she has labelled me the best gift giver. I have to admit, over the years, I have given her some pretty cool gifts. I love finding the perfect gift for my family and friends, so I thought I'd put together a gift guide...

  1. Vanilla Bean Noel Hand Soap from Bath & Body Works for co-workers/acquaintance/hostess: We all have a list of people that we want to give something small too and this is my go to gift. It's something everyone can use/needs and the seasonal scents are perfect for the holidays, the price point is great (6 for $24) and it smells amazing!
  2. A Porcupine in a Pine Tree for kids: This is a book that I've gifted to my cousin, and she loves it!! It's a unique and Canadian take on the Christmas classic, The 12 Days of Christmas.
  3. Glow Sno-Man Kit for kids: I'm actually giving this to my cousin this year and hope she will love it! Another unique gift for kids on your gift list, this encourages creativity and playing outside. Snowman will stand out during the day with colours and at night while glowing in the dark.
  4. The Kit's Essie Holiday Collection from TopBox for moms, sisters and beauty lovers: Essie is one of the top nail polish lines and this gift includes 3 full size bottles, 6 mini bottles and a cashmere bathrobe. I know a ton of ladies who would love to see this under their tree- including my sister!
  5. New York Rangers Cufflinks for the man in your life: As a New York Rangers fan, I would love to gift these to the man in my life, but I know he would prefer to get Batman Cufflinks instead. There are so many styles of cufflinks, that it's easy to find the perfect pair for your dad, brother or significant other.
  6. Hudson's Bay Company Multi Stripe Point Blanket for everyone: Hudson's Bay Stripes are iconic and these blankets are stylish- finishing touch to any room- and perfect for keeping warm or snuggling under to read or sip hot chocolate. I gave my dad one last year, and he loves it.
  7. Beef Lovers Collection from Hickory Farms for the person you don't know what to get: Cheese, meat, crackers, spreads, shortbread cookies...anything from Hickory Farms is delicious!! We all have someone on our list that we just don't know what to give them. Hickory Farms is popular with everyone on my list. With different price points and tons of options, you will find he perfect gift for your brother or parents of a friend (aka the people in my life who will be getting a Hickory Farms gift this year).
  8. Olympic Collection Red Mittens for Canadians: Since the Vancouver Olympics, a new pair of mittens are released every year with proceeds going to support our Olympic athletes. These mitts are super warm, comfortable and great quality- and only cost $10. All Canadians know about these mittens and there significance- plus how important it is to have warm mitts for Canadian winters- making them the perfect gift for all Canadians.
  9. Digital Photo Frame for the long time person (family member, friend) in your life: While the digital frame is a great gift, the real gift is what you load on the frame. My mom mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there are no photos of her and my dad- load it with photos of them throughout there relationship. My dad mentioned that he wanted to get a couple of photos from election night- I reached out to a reporter and family and friends who spent election night with us to get photos that my dad might not have seen yet. I've known my best friend my entire life and have given her so many gifts over the years, why not photos from shared experiences? It's the thought that counts, and what's more thoughtful then pictures and memories?

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry
That I have watched Elf more times than I can count in the past two weeks. It's just a really great Christmas movie!!
To need some good luck. I've had a lot of negative things happen the past few months...I just need some good.
That I think I'm done my Christmas shopping!! I need to pick up gifts for my parents (I know what I'm getting them, just need to get it)...but I think that's it.
To looking forward to the World Juniors later this month!! Most people love December because of Christmas, I love it for WJC- which are being held in Toronto and Montreal this year!!
That I'm beyond lucky to have such great and supportive friends.

Monday 8 December 2014

Inspire Me- Better Than You Ever Imagined

Happy Monday!!! Things have been quiet around the blog, but I've been keeping busy. I had a fantastic weekend spent with friends- a Girls Night Out/Christmas Party and a movie night where we watched all 3 Austin Powers movies. It was nice to spend time with so many friends. I was in a car accident almost two months ago and am slowly recovering- lots of pain and soreness, but nothing too serious. My dad's inauguration was last week- it was pretty typical but still fun. 

Professionally I've been busy too. Lots of meetings and events, and of course long days in the office (including today). I've been struggling to keep a work life balance and have been burnt out since February. I constantly feel like I'm drowning, not even keeping my head above water, so to speak. There have been a lot of changes- not improvements- over the past 13 months and there are more to come. I'm desperately trying to stay positive, keep things in perspective, move forward and make changes. Every time I see a glimmer of light or a door start to open, it quickly becomes dark or the door slams shut. It's discouraging. It's frustrating. 
This weeks inspiration is one I've shared before, but it holds true:

I have my dream job and for a few years, it was everything I imagined it would be. Then, the above mentioned changed happened. As time went on, it was a downward spiral of negative, very little good. 

The past 13 months, and everything that happened, are in my past. I knew the changes were coming, but I was told they were going to be good...I was optimistic and even excited. Things didn't pan out the way anyone thought. 

In my case, things were actually worse then I ever could imagine. I was the punching bag and the sacrificial lamb; people were quick to throw me under the bus, risk my reputation and credibility for "the good of the organization". While the work that I do is VERY important, it wasn't seen that way. Me and my work were constantly pushed aside and not taken seriously. 

I can dwell on everything that has happened in the past year or I can move on. The past year was nothing like I had imagined, hoped or lead to believe it would be. 

But I know that something better is coming my way...I know that I won't be stuck in this situation forever...I know that my future will be better than I have ever imagined.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

6 Reasons I Love Influenster

There are many things in life that I love...the beach, New York Rangers, cheesecake, naps, a good book, just to name a few. I also love Influenster. Influenster is a really cool online community were members can share product reviews and experiences. Members also have the chance to qualify for a VoxBox, where they receive full size products to test and review- more on that later.
There are a lot of reasons to love Influenster, and here are 6 reasons why I love Influenster:
1. Influenster Canada- As a Canadian, this is a HUGE deal to me and something that I really love. Influenster has programs designed specifically for Canadians. It can be frustrating to be given a product to test, that you love, and then find out that it's not available in Canada. Never a problem with Influenster Canada...what you test, you can easily find in stores.
2. Influenster Instagram- It is custom for everyone and everything to have social media accounts, especially if the concept. like for Influenster, is an online community. Their Instagram features photos of members with products they are trying, staff around the office and other fun pictures. Their Instagram account kind of reminds me of Kate Spade's 'Things We Love' book. So fun to look at and just make you happy. Their Pinterest account is also pretty good...where they also have an entire board dedicated to Canada.
3. Influenster VoxBox- Who doesn't love receiving mail??? Especially if you are getting full size products to test??? VoxBox are packages that can include a single product or an assortment of products, that you can test out and review. I've had the opportunity to try out a number of products because of Influenster, but two of my favourites (and now go to items) are imPress Press On Nails and Montagne Jeunesse Clay Masks.
4. Influenster App- Truth be told, I haven't had a chance to download and try the app yet- but that happens when you don't have a smart phone or a phone with a data plan. But, let's face it...everything is better with an App.
5. Influenster Review Pages- The Review Pages are a great way to find out about things- products, books, movies, stores, name it- before you try them. You can see ratings and read reviews, but you also have the opportunity to ask questions and have other Influensters answer them. Tons of information...great way to try new things and avoid potential disappointment.
6. The Hub- The Hub is Influenster's blogging platform. Members have the chance to guest blog or be featured, but The Hub also has new product information, tips and tricks, word of the day and other fun articles- Starbucks Secret Menu, #TBT Team Influenster Edition, Games To Play While Traveling.
The above 6 points are just a few reasons to love Influenster. Trust me, there are a TON more. If you haven't already checked out- and joined- Influenster, what are you waiting for???