Monday, 31 March 2014

Inspire Me- Breath & Enjoy

Ugh...Monday. You came too soon. 

I have been on 'vacation' and out of town for the past 10 days. It was quiet and unproductive. It was cold, overcast and snowy. Yesterday, the day I left to come back to the city, is when the sun was out and it was warm enough to spend sometime outside. Of course, I couldn't take advantage of this because I had to head back and get ready for the week ahead. It's going to be a busy one; including year end for work, a couple of meetings, a Brock Alumni event and a visit with my on mat leave boss. 
 
Here's some inspiration to help me get through the week;
 
 
When my life gets hectic, as it will this week, I have to frequently remind myself to pause, take a deep breath and be 'in the moment'...to really experience life. I definitely enjoy life and remind myself on a daily basis how lucky I truly am. I know that I am blessed to have some really amazing and unique life experiences. I also know, it's important to take the time to breath, relax and enjoy everything life has to offer- both big and small.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Favourite Five- Basketball, Books & Beach Dreams

Happy Friday! Today is my last day of vacation...I'm kind of dreading going back to work on Monday; the thought of checking my email scares me. I once left the office for 2 hours and came back to 80 emails...I can't imagine what a week and a half worth of emails will look like...

This week did not go as planned. I wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped and the weather was miserable! It snowed basically every day...so much for spending time outside. I did see some friends...it was great to spend time with them!! 

Anyway, Favourite Five...here we go:

1. Hot chocolate! I pretty much have hot chocolate every day, mostly at night after a long day at the office.
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2. May 2-4 weekend. While this weekend technically takes place in Spring, it's the unofficial kick-off to Summer. I can't wait for the long weekend and (hopefully) getting to spend it at the beach!
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3. University of Kentucky Basketball. March Madness is going on right now and I am not into it...at all. I know nothing about basketball or filling out brackets or anything related to this. But I did watch my first March Madness game (Kentucky vs Wichita) and Kentucky, the team I picked for that game won. So, I'm just going to stick with them for the tournament.
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4. Cardigans. I LOVE cardigans and basically wear one on a daily basis. They are so comfy, go with virtually everything and they keep me warm. 
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5. Books. I just finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club. I love books and I love to read...there's nothing better than curling up with a good book and spending the day reading.
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Book Club: The Friday Night Knitting Club

http://www.amazon.ca/Friday-Night-Knitting-Club-ebook/dp/B001269F9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395799512&sr=1-1&keywords=the+friday+night+knitting+club

Book: The Friday Night Knitting Club
Author: Kate Jacobs
Amazon Summary: 
Between running her Manhattan yarn shop, Walker & Daughter, and raising her 12-year-old biracial daughter, Dakota, Georgia Walker has plenty on her plate in Jacobs's debut novel. But when Dakota's father reappears and a former friend contacts Georgia, Georgia's orderly existence begins to unravel. Her support system is her staff and the knitting club that meets at her store every Friday night, though each person has dramas of her own brewing. Jacobs surveys the knitters' histories, and the novel's pace crawls as the novel lurches between past and present, the latter largely occupied by munching on baked goods, sipping coffee and watching the knitters size each other up. Club members' troubles don't intersect so much as build on common themes of domestic woes and betrayal. It takes a while, but when Jacobs, who worked at Redbook and Working Woman, hits her storytelling stride, poignant twists propel the plot and help the pacing find a pleasant rhythm.
What I have to say: 
As many of you know, I work in non-profit fundraising. One of the board members found out I was an avid reader and she lent me this book to read. Her book club had this book. 

This book was up and down; there were times that I was really into the story and there were other times were it was difficult to keep reading. I enjoy books that focus on characters and their personal stories and seeing how different lives intersect. The characters were all different...reading this book left me with a desire to know them more, to see them fully developed. With that being said, I found out that this is the first book in a series and maybe the other books show how more about the characters. Maybe having less characters or plot lines would have helped make the story more interesting.

I also felt that there was no real plot. The book sorted plotted the everyday going on of the yarn store, and the people connected to it, over a period of time. Well into the book (about 300 pages in), things started to get interesting, this is also where a plot twist was thrown in...a twist that had nothing to do with anything, but it was much welcomed as it actually made the book interesting.
 
Reading this book did make me want to learn now to knit and while I will likely read the next book in the series just to see what happens and if things will pick up, I doubt I would recommend this book, It might make a good beach or rainy day read. I did enjoy aspects of this book and I would like to recommend it, but it just left a lot to be desired. 

It is worth noting that this was the author's first book...a great first attempt and hopefully, with her following books, she will develop a clear voice.
 
 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Hey! It's Ok

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To not be disappointed that Sean Avery was eliminated from Dancing With The Stars. I was watching the show just for him and now that he's been eliminated...I'm done watching. I'm a fan of Sean's...he's very entertaining.

That I'm enjoying my time off. I a met a friend for breakfast yesterday, had a great visit with her and spent the day reading.
To not know anything about basketball or March Madness...and to not really care. But I did watch the Kentucky Wichita game-which was crazy good. I called Kentucky to win that game, so I'm going to pick them to win the whole tournament.

That the New York Rangers won their game last night! Even though they won in overtime, a win is a win. And, they are now second in their division.
To be unimpressed with the amount of snow that has taken place this Spring. I know we are a week-ish into the new season, but it's snowed more day than not.

That today is the last day to enter the Lululemon giveaway


Monday, 24 March 2014

Inspire Me- Beautiful Place

Not only is today Monday, and the start of the last full week of March (where has the time gone???), but it also the start my full week of vacation! My vacation started last Thursday, where I was able to spend some time with my dad and grandma. I'm spending my time off at my family's second home. It's going to be a pretty low key and quiet week. I will see a couple of friends, read and get caught up on some blog things. Nothing too exciting, but I am looking forward to it.

As always, some inspiration for this week:


I wanted to post some inspiration that spoke to how I plan to spend my week. Life recently has been great, but not ideal. I've had a lot going on and a lot to think through, especially based on events of last week.While I haven't been feeling lost, I haven't been feeling myself. I've lost a little bit of who I am; the excitement, fun, positive, optimistic and social. I've still been all of these things, just to a much lesser extent recently.

I am lucky enough to be able to literally escape to one of my favourite places and one of the most beautiful places in Canada (as declared by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother). I like the quiet, the peace, the beauty...I am able to think here, clear my head and refocus. 

We all need that beautiful place to escape to, in order to think and refocus, even if it's just a place in a day dream.


Friday, 21 March 2014

Team Annabelle

We all know about the blogging community; the special friendships that only other bloggers can understand, an international network, a personal support system...all of the benefits. We also know how generous, kind and thoughtful bloggers can be. 
I will admit, I am not very good at being part of the blogging community in general. I am so busy with my everyday life, that I squeeze in blogging moments when I can. Unfortunately, it means that I miss out on a lot of blogger community moments. But, c'est le vie.
However, there was no way I could pass up on the opportunity to be part of Team Annabelle! 
Jen, from JVKom Chronicles, initiated this whole thing, in support of Annabelle from The Carolina Country Girl, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The reasoning, the timing...everything surrounding this is a demonstration of the true spirit of the blogging community.

While I can't imagine what Annabelle is going through right now...I did want to show my support. Annabelle believes that everything happens for a reason. I believe this too. I also believe that God never gives you more than you can handle. 

When it comes to be encouraging and 'saying the right thing', I become a really awkward person. I'm not great at giving advice or insight...but I'm ok with that. I know my shortcoming and accept them. But, I do know how to make people laugh. 

So, Annabelle, in the midst of the touching, supportive, insightful and kind words all the other bloggers will be sharing with you, I'm happy to share a few things I find funny. 

Laughter, after all, is the best medicine.







If you would like to be part of Team Annabelle, or if you want to see what members of Team Annabelle have done, please go here.
Annabelle can be found here

You can also show support on social media by using #TeamTCCG.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Vacation Plans & Lululemon Giveaway

Happy first day of Spring!! I woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground. It's not currently snowing and I hope it doesn't start again until next Winter.

Today is my first day of a 10 day vacation. I started it off by going into the office...I forgot to leave something for a co-worker and it was locked in my desk, so I went it to get that for her. I just have to finish packing and I will be on my way! I'm heading to my family's second home, where I will spend most (if not all) my time off. I found out last night that my Dad and Grandma would be joining me later tonight and staying until Saturday. I'm excited to see them and spend time with them.

Besides a variety of meals with friends and family and potentially spending next weekend in my hometown, I don't have anything planned. I'm hoping to get caught up on all things blog and make a dent in my (book) reading list. We'll see what happens.

Anyway...Lauren from Pink on the Cheek and friends-including me- are giving away a $50 gift card to Lululemon! You can enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Life Update: Psychic Predictions, Birthday Celebrations & Alumni Outings

I realized I hadn't done a life update in a while and I was struggling with a topic for this blog entry...problem, solution, so here we go!!
 
I had a ton going on during the month of February aka my birthday month. This was a month full of meetings- 19 in total, plus 5 networking events. In between meetings, I did manage to take 5 days off as well as really enjoy and celebrate my birthday!

There were a ton of birthday celebrations, including a trip to Toronto, being spoiled by my Secret Sister and seeing David Myles in concert (where I spoke to him after his show, he told me he checked out my blog and that it was "pretty cool").
 
I had lunch with a friend and her new baby. It was great to see them both and spend time with them.
 
Of course I had some Brock Alumni events in February too! We started the month off with a Brock vs Laurier basketball game (both men and women). I had planned to go, but a snowstorm kept me at home. We did a social where we met for dinner/drinks, followed by skating and then to a cafe for live music and hot chocolate! I had a blast and the company was amazing.
 
I attended another Brock Alumni event hosted with the Hamilton Ti-Cats. It was pretty cool to learn about their new stadium and meet people who work for the Ti-Cats. This was another really fun, unique event and I hope to write a more detailed post about this event soon.
 
And finally...one of the non-birthday highlights was a visit to a psychic! My friend is actually a psychic and she lives about an hour and a half away from me. Another friend (the one who hosted my actual birthday) and I took a Tuesday off and went to the psychic for readings. 
 
I always go with an open mind and the mindset that it will be fun and interesting to hear what she has to say. A number of things that she said in my reading have since happened, but the best one was this:
 
Psychic: Who's Steve?
Me: That's my Uncle.
Psychic: Is he getting married?
Me: Uhhh...No (thinking to myself...there is no way he's going to marry his girlfriend of 6ish months that I've only met once. Not going to happen).
Psychic: Well something big is going to happen to him, like a wedding. I see people being happy for him and congratulating him.

Friday, as in 4 days later, after work my dad sends me a text to say that my Uncle Steve is getting married THE NEXT DAY!!! My mind was blown! I was (and still am) so happy for my Uncle and his new wife!

After speaking to my Uncle, I sent Psychic a text saying my he was getting married. She replied with, "I've still got it!!"

February was such a busy, fun and exciting month!! I know that March is more than half over, but I'll save my March doings for another day. 


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To not like technology. My internet at home has been down since Sunday- a tech is supposed to be out today to fix it- and I'm having email issues at work.

That Royal Wood's new CD is out today!! I pre-ordered it and I had a notification from Canada Post that it is en route and should be delivered by the time I get home from work...yea!!
 
To not appreciate having my name and reputation being dragged through the mud...especially when the situation at hand has VERY little to do with me. 

That I just want to go home, crawl into bed and watch Daria. It's one of those days.
 
To be looking forward to having a week and a half off. I don't have much planned outside of visiting with friends and family.
 
 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Inspiration- Joys, Troubles, Sweet

Happy St Patrick's Day! While this is a day that everyone pretends to be Irish, I actually am Irish. I don't do much to celebrate this holiday; I have a job so I can't spend the day drinking and I don't think I even own anything green... But I'm still proud to be Irish!

I had a fantastic weekend! I was off on Thursday and Friday-even though I worked for about an hour and a half each day- but I didn't do much, which was really nice. I spent Saturday with friends drinking champagne, watching movies and just chatting. Sunday I went to a Toronto Raptors game! It was my first NBA game and I had a lot of fun! I won tickets via a contest that Brock Alumni was doing. It was a lot of fun.

In honour of St Patrick's Day, I thought I would share an Irish blessing for this weeks inspiration:



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Make With Me- Campfire Cookies

Campfire Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of chocolate chip cookie mix (I used Quaker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix) 
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1 package of graham crackers
  • Plus any ingredients listed on the cookie mix package. I believe I need some water, oil and an egg.

To Make:
  • Line a cookie sheet with graham crackers
  • Make cookie mix according to the package instructions
  • Add a cup or so of marshmallows to the mix
  • Roll the dough into balls, making sure each ball of dough contains at least one marshmallow
  • Place rolled dough on top of a graham cracker
  • Bake according to instructions for chocolate chip cookies (I think I baked mine for 8-10 minutes)
  • Let cool
  • Enjoy! 

Notes:
  1. I made these cookie for a friend's baby shower
  2. This recipe was inspired by this pin, with this being the original source.
  3. I looked at the pin and just made up my own recipe.
  4. You could also make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Any cookie recipe should work.
  5. Cookies will expand while baking, due to the marshmallows, and will flatten out once cooled.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To hope that Rich Peverly is ok. He is a Dallas Stars hockey player that collapsed on the bench during a game last night. There's been a lot of sadness in the hockey world recently; from missing OHL player Terry Tafford to the death of Matt Stajan's newborn son. Hopefully things will get better.

That I am hoping to take a vacation in May. It's been over a year since I've been on a real vacation and I can definitely use a break. I am using a week of vacation at the end of March, but I'm not going anywhere outside of Ontario...but that will still be a nice break.
To be excited and honoured that Royal Wood follows me on Twitter.

That the fundraiser I worked on last Thursday went really well. There were no major issues and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves. We don't have our final numbers yet, so I'm not sure how much money we raised...but it was still a great event.
To really want a cupcake right now...they are delicious and I feel that I have earned one.

That the barista at the Starbucks I go to in the morning, addresses me by name, over the drive thru speaker. They have a camera, so she sees my car and knows it's me. I don't know if she knows my name because it's great customer service or because I go too often...

To not really be a fan of the new maple macchiato at Starbucks. The maple muffin, delicious. But the macchiato...meh.



Monday, 10 March 2014

Inspire Me- Being Better Than Yesterday

Happy Monday! I'm trying to be positive and upbeat, but I'd rather be back in bed sleeping! Last week was exhausting-I had a fundraiser for work, which always means long days. I had a busy weekend, so no chance to get caught up on sleep, plus the time change...I'm so tired.

Unfortunately, I can't spend the day getting caught up on sleep...I have to go to work. Boo. 

But let's move on to this weeks inspiration:
 
 
I love the message in this quote; be better than yesterday. Continue to improve and grow as a person. Don't worry about being the best, just be better. This is actually how I try and live my life...learn, grow and improve on a daily basis. 


Thursday, 6 March 2014

But Now I Chase The Moon

Happy Thursday everyone! Today is a day that I have both been looking forward to AND dreading. As most of you know, I work in non-profit fundraising and I have an event tonight! It should be a pretty fun event but I'm dreading the 14+ hour day I have ahead of me (on top of the 12+ hour day I had yesterday). I'll definitely enjoy the event while it's happening but I'll be happy once it's over so that I can get some sleep!!

As part of my birthday celebrations, my sister and I went to see Royal Wood (with special guest David Myles). It was such a great night out with my sister! My love for David Myles is WELL documented, but I'm also a fan of Royal Wood...both of them are really great and everyone should see them live.
 
Anyway...just thought I would share Royal Wood's new single!! I love this song and am currently playing it on repeat.
 
 


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Who Do You Admire Professionally?

Last week, a colleague asked me who I admired professionally. I hesitated before answering, there are a number of people I admire professionally. I hesitated because a number of people, including my boss, came to mind and I wasn't sure who I admired the most. Plus, when these people came to mind, I had to ask myself if I admired them professionally or personally. 
 
My colleague asked, if I admired my dad because she knows I think highly of him. I agreed that I did admire my dad and wonder to myself if I admired him professionally- he is the president of his own company, a college professor and a politician. 
 
When I think of my dad, I think of the work he has done politically...I admire his passion for the causes he believes in, his drive to improve situations, and his belief that the right thing to do is most times not the popular thing to do but to always do the right thing.  

When I think of my dad on a professional level, I do not think of his political career. To me, my dad is not a 'professional politician'. His political work is who he is...ethical, high standards, helping others, improving the quality of life. What he does politically, is what he does personally; I look at his public life and I can see similarities in his personal life. He (and my mom) set excellent examples for my siblings and me. My dad has dedicated (a potion of) his life to public service.

I have known this colleague for a number of months and I know she knows of my dad as related to his company (he did some pro bono work for us...thanks dad). I doubt she knows that he is a professor and I'm not sure of she is aware of him as a politician. 
 
After this conversation, I started to wonder if I do admire my dad professionally. After thinking about it... no, not really (sorry dad). I admire him as a parent, as my dad, as a politician, as a humanitarian, as a philanthropist...I do admire him on so many levels.

I started thinking about my dad professionally, about the company, which lead me to think about my grandpa- the founder of the company. He built the company from scratch and I know why he started his own company, which I admire. He would tell me stories...it was this lifestyle from a different era. The travel, contacts, business meetings and time spent at the Club. His personal and professional lives intermingling. 
 
My grandfather always said, it's not about what can be done for us, but what we can do for the communities we are a part of. 
 
It is because of my grandfather that I have decided to dedicate my life to working for a non-profit. Working for a non-profit allows me to give back to the community on a daily basis. I know that I am making a difference, improving the lives of others, leaving the world a little bit of a better place. 
 
I have dedicated my life to service, volunteering and giving back- both personally and professionally.

But lets get back to the questions at hand, who do you admire professionally?

I'm still pondering an answer to this...I have a list of people that I do admire. I admire them for a number of reasons, both professionally and personally. There isn't anyone that I admire strictly for professional reasons.

But, I realize, I admire them all for similar reasons. They give back to the communities that they are apart of, they are successful business people yet are grounded and humble, they have high standards, ethics and morals, they turn out quality work. I look at them, and I see similar qualities in me.

I can see their influence in my life, both personal and professional. Which makes me wonder, maybe there is no need to separate the two. It's ok to admire someone as a whole person and not just who they are as a professional.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To be so incredibly happy for my uncle and new bride...they got married on the weekend!!

That today is not shaping up to be spectacular. I started the morning by blowing a fuse in my apartment, trying to find someone with a key to my office because I had locked my office keys in my office, and things for the event on Thursday are falling a part.
 
To not have any patient with some people. None. I have tried and I just can't anymore.

That I am hopeless when it comes to all things domestic. I don't cook, clean, craft and I definitely do not DIY.
 
To be excited to see a friend on Thursday! We used to work together and I will be seeing her under work circumstances, but I'm still looking forward to seeing her.


Monday, 3 March 2014

10 Favourite Things: The Place You Call Home

Happy Monday and happy March!! I had a pretty good weekend...I saw some cousins, it was my mom's birthday, and my uncle got married!! I am so, so, so happy for him and his new wife!! 

Today, I'm linking up with Brianna for 10 Favourite Things. Every month, Brianna comes up with a topic and then bloggers list their 10 favourite things about that topic. The topic for March is: The Place You Call Home.

Here are my 10 favourite things about the place I call home, Ontario.
  1. Muskoka- One of the most beautiful parts of not just Ontario, but Canada. The Muskokas are one of my absolute favourite things about Ontario. I previously wrote about my love for the Muskokas here and here.
  2. Toronto- While I would never want to live in Toronto, I do like to visit. There is so much to do in Toronto; museums, art galleries, the zoo, the different neighbourhoods and districts. tons of amazing restaurants and shops, live theatre and concerts, plus all of the different events. There is something for everyone. I was in Toronto about a month ago, you can read about my trip here.
  3. TIFF- Ontario is also home to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, Dallas Buyers Club, Omar, Philomena and Gravity all played at TIFF in 2013.
  4. Joffrey Lupul- Toronto Maple Leaf Joffrey Lupul may or may not have been mentioned on my blog before. 'Joffrey Lupul' for the past few months has been one of the top searches that have led people to my blog. While he isn't originally from Ontario, he does live here during the NHL season. Besides being attractive, an NHL All-Star and having an amazing sense of style, Joffrey is also a philanthropist and a supporter of our Canadians Troops.
  5. Lakes- Ontario is on 5 of the 6 Great Lakes and home to approximately 250,000 freshwater lakes. Tons of great fishing, sailing/boating, swimming, etc. Living in a province with so many lakes, no wonder I like water so much!
  6. Four Seasons- In Ontario, we get to experience the cold and beauty of winter, the rain and new life of spring, the fun and heat of summer, and the breath taking colours and crisp air of autumn.
  7. Niagara Wineries- I'm not 100% sure how many wineries are in the Niagara Region, but there are at least 80, including Ravine. Each winery has it's own history and story. The properties are beautiful and so diverse; some overlook a great lake and others look as if you are in Italy. Even just driving or biking around the area is an experience.
  8. Brock University- My alma mater is turning 50 this year! We have won 100 athletic championships and house the Canadian Wine Collection (43,000 bottles). Not only is Brock growing and becoming a leader in research, the campus is gorgeous and located at the top of the Niagara Escarpment. Plus, the Alumni get to do some pretty cool, fun things, like Dragon Boating.
  9. Northern Lights- While you can't always see them and they aren't visible all over Ontario, you can see the Northern Lights in Northern Ontario, and if the conditions, are right, you can also see them in more southern parts of the province. The colours-green, red and purple- are breath taking and a "must see".
  10. There's No Place Like This-