Thursday, 31 December 2015

Farewell 2015

Dear 2015,

Despite our rocky start- lingers of 2014- we had a great year, we were good to each other. We both know that the first 2.5 months was horrible, unbearable, abusive, toxic. I really got beat up. But you stuck with me. We had a little bit of downtime in March, but you showed me that there were opportunities and that you had better things in store for me. 
 
2015, you showed me how much I was cared for. I was constantly surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones. Even when things were else than ideal, you had my surrounded by love. The downside to this year was having to put distance between me and my sorority sisters. I would never ask them to pick sides, so I took a step back. I miss them... but at the same time, it helped me strengthen my relationship with others. 
 
You brought me new friends; Cassandra, the Pod Pals, Pals of the Pod. You also brought old friends back into my life. It was a full social life this year, lots of laughs...with plans to continue into the next year.
 
One of the biggest gifts you gave me 2015, was the organization I work for. You led me to this opportunity, one that I was hesitant about, but you carefully nudged me towards it. Not only do I have a job, a career, that i love and that challenges, enables me to learn and grown, but I have a supervisor that's invested in me and my success. I work for an organization that is my biggest cheerleader and is constantly setting me up to succeed. Not only are they standing behind me when I succeed, but they are there to celebrate with me too. I am never alone. I belong. From this, so many other great things have come.
 
2015, you saw me pull off the biggest event of my career- which will likely never be topped. 1600 people across 10 sites in Ontario, one site in Saskatchewan and one site in Guatemala. I had a fantastic team around me and it went off without a hitch. I'm still riding a high from that.

You were a fun year 2015. The Charity Gala aka Prom 2.0- with my original prom date!! Pan Am Games- including the Opening Ceremony where I met Jason Priestly!! Parades, events, VIP...all the perks of being a political daughter. Being invited to the swearing in of our federal government. Cards Against Humanity nights, Haunted houses, dinner and drinks with friends. Lots of memories and lots of once in a lifetime opportunities. 

There were a lot of dates this year; some good. Some not so good. Besides my change in employment, the greatest thing that happened to me this year was N. He made me happy. Dinners on the patio, salsa dancing, being wrapped in his arms as we talked. Everything with him was perfect. I was so comfortable with him. He was what was missing in my life. He showed me I could be happy...my happiest memories are with him. 


At the beginning of our relationship 2015, I declared that Happy would be our word. For 2.5 months, we weren't happy. But that quickly changed, half way through the year, I was beyond happy. And on the eve of our relationship ending, I still am happy. You brought me so much happiness, 2015. 

2015, the other part of our relationship, my resolution, was to connect with friends. I was really good at documenting this aspect of our relationship until August, and than stopped. I am happy to report, with the exception of November, I was able to fulfill this resolution. I connected with so many people and really built on my friendships. it was time consuming and a lot of effort, but very much worth it.
 
I know in my heart of hearts, no matter how much I love and value you 2015, you are only a matter of hours from leaving me. As much as I don't want to see you go, or let you go, I know that I have too. You are slowly slipping away from me. I will never forget you, all that you did for me, all that you gave to me. 

We both know, that once you leave me, I am going to get into a new relationship, with 2016. 2016 will not replace you 2015, nor will 2016 make me forget you or make you less important to me. It's just that if you are going to move on, I should too. 

Thank you for everything 2015. You truly blessed me, enriched my life, made me a better person, and gave me so much happiness. 

You have my heart, 2015, forever.

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.
Write a good one. - Brad Paisley

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!



Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Saviour Is Born

Christmas Eve is special to me. There are so many happy memories for me associated with this day. There are so many traditions that I love and that my family and friends have on this day. Every year, I take some time, really late at night, and sit in our family room, looking at our Christmas tree. It is in these couple of minutes that I take for myself, that I reflect on what Christmas means; the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God sent His only son to us. 
 
The Christmas Story, aka Jesus' Birth can be found in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20

Give thanks this season. Remember the true reason why we celebrate. Show compassion to mankind. Be generous in spirit. Practice peace. The simplest of gestures can make a huge difference.

I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 
For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11
 
 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo

Oh my gosh...I can't believe how close we are to Christmas!! I absolutely love the holiday season and everything associated with it! I am hosting a Pod Pal Christmas tonight...I'm excited to spend time with my Pod Pals aka two co-workers outside of work, to be reunited with our summer student Pod Pal and our honourary Pod Pal (who filled in for summer student when we went to the haunted house). My cousin, who moved to town two weeks ago, will also be joining us. Today is also my last day at work before a week and a half off!! I love my job, but I am excited to be spending some time in two places I consider home, and seeing friends and family. 
 
One disappointment this holiday season, was not being able to find my David Myles Christmas CD. I have no idea where it is. One of my favourite songs on the album, and one of my all time favourite songs, is Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo, which I thought I would share with all of you today!! Enjoy!!



Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hey, It's Ok

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To be excited for the Pod Pal reunion tomorrow night!! We are ordering in dinner and playing Cards Against Humanity. So excited to have some fun with these ladies and to be reunited with our summer student!!

That I'm kinda sad that Christmas is this week. I love the holidays and everything leading up to Christmas. I'm sad to see it coming to an end. I am excited to have some time off and to spend time with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and as we celebrate the start of a new year. 

To be excited for an upcoming trip to Saskatchewan!! I have never been before, and last week a won a trip from my work. I'm excited to be going with a couple of people from our office and even more excited to see our colleagues in Saskatchewan!!

That I have NO idea where my David Myles Christmas CD is. I have the case/sleeve for the CD, but the CD wasn't in it...and I don't know where it is. I love that CD and I only have a couple of days left to listen to it and have it be appropriate music.

To be so incredibly blessed to work for the organization that I do. I have the most supportive supervisor and the office culture is just so positive and inspiring. I count my blessings everyday and am beyond thankful that my journey has led me to this fantastic organization. 

That I think it's hilarious that a friend of mine is getting two front teeth for Christmas.(He's a hockey player and he lost his teeth years ago, he had fake teeth and is just getting them replaced.)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Fashion Friday: Christmas

Happy Friday everyone!! It's hard to believe that Christmas is one week today!!! I am so excited to be in the places I consider home and celebrating with family and friends!! 

It's been ages since I've done a Fashion Friday post...but here is one for Christmas!!

Shirt // Watch // Earrings // Skirt // Ring // Shoes
We all know that, traditionally, red and green are colours associated with Christmas. I also associated plaid/tartan with the holidays. This Ralph Lauren Plaid Shirt combines all three. I love the cut of this Asymmetrical Pencil Skirt, also by Ralph Lauren. Plus, I like the higher end look of the skirt with the lower end feel of the shirt...what a great combination!

Besides being a Christmas colour, red is one of my favourite colours, so I decided to go with this red Sam Edelman Orella Sweetheart Suede Pump for this look. Since I went with a red shoe, I decide to pull in the other Christmas colour, green, for earrings and I thought with the collard shirt, a simple stud earring would be ideal. Emeralds would be ideal, but these Kate Spade Cueva Rosa Studs work too!!
 
Something else associated with Christmas? Gifts and pretty bows!! This Kate SpaKate Spade Fame and Flowers Pave Ring is a great addition to this look. Finally, to finish the look, another Kate Spade piece, Metro Champagne Pop Black Leather Strap Watch. I love the champagne bottle and bubbles...so festive!!

I really wanted the shirt to be the focus of this outfit, so I kept all other elements simple and elegant. I am so in love with this look and think it would be perfect for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide Part 2

Yesterday, I shared Part 1 of my Christmas gift guide and today I am excited to be sharing part 2!

 
For the past couple of years, Kate Spade New York has put out a new book. This year's book, All In Good Taste, is a how-to entertaining guide. This is a great gift for the Kate Spade lover in your life, and what girl doesn't love Kate Spade, but it's also the perfect hostess gift!! 

I LOVE Hudson's Bay stripes. they are so iconic! While I am listing the Hudon's Bay Company Multi Stripe Point Blanket in this gift guide, and it IS a great gift, the truth is anything with the Hudson's Bay stripes- scarves, mugs, jackets, nutcrackers, trinket trays, ties, ornaments, canoes, etc- make a fantastic gift! 

One of my favourite people to shop for is my little cousin. She is the only kid on my Christmas shopping list and I spend weeks searching for her gift. I have been dubbed by her and her parents and everyone who has seen the gifts I have given her as "the best gift giver", which can be challenging to live up too! This year's gift, is Sparkling Hair Accessory Set, which allows her to make her own headbands and hair clips- which she LOVED!! She also got hair chalk (not pictured) and every year I get her a Christmas book. 

Flower Bomb by Viktor & Rolf is one of my favourite perfumes. I get so many compliments when I wear it and it has special memories associated with it for me. This isn't something that I am gifting to anyone this year, but I know that my sister had it on her wish list.

Adult colouring is a huge trend right now. I even incorporated it into a conference I did in November. It is so relaxing! I will be gifting Color Me Calm, along with markers, to a variety of people in my life. 

Yesterday I highlighted a couple of gifts (S'well and Olympic Mitts) where proceeds went toward another organization, which are my favourite types of gifts to give. This Anvil #HeroesWearCamo shirt is one of those gifts, with proceeds going to the True Patriot Love Foundation. Plus, it actually is a great gift for any male in your life.
 
Another great gift for the man in your life? Taft No-Show Socks. These anti-slip socks stay on your feet and are, well, socks, but when you are wearing shoes, you can't seem them-so guys get the no sock look that they love. 

I am done all of my Christmas shopping- which also includes homemade baked goods, specialty teas and food items, mugs, vintage wines, gift certificates, winter gloves, infinity scarves (basically every girl I know is getting one), some of my favourite beauty and skin products, cooking/kitchen gadgets and Christmas ornaments. I just have to wrap everything!!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide Part 1

I can't believe that Christmas is in less than 10 days!! I am in the full swing of the holiday season and I even have my work Christmas party today!! I love the holidays and I love finding the perfect gifts to give to those I love. I am so excited to share my 2016 gift guide, which includes gifts that I am giving to my family and friends.


I am a huge fan of Lush products and their Little Snow Fairy wrapped gift is being given to some of my favourite girls; perfect for friends, sisters and cousins. Mat & Nat is a fantastic Canadian company and their products are vegan!! Their bags are the so beautiful and I know so many people who would love their Clarke bag.

Cufflinks are such a classic gift and are my one of my favourite gifts to give to the man in my life. There are so many different styles- from classic to cartoon- that not only keep this gift interesting, but also allows you to give a gift that fits him. I know these Vintage Toronto Maple Leafs cufflinks are going to be a hit. 

While classic for guys, pearls are classic for girls! Earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces...you can't go wrong. I am not gifting this Freshwater Pearl Drop Necklace to anyone, but it would make a great gift for the special lady in your life (hint, hint).

Every year I ask for, and give, the Olympic Collection Red Mittens. The Olympic mitts were started for the Vancouver 2010 games and each year they come out with a new design. 30% of the proceeds go towards supporting athletes through the Olympic Foundation, with over $27 million given since 2009. I love giving gifts that support an organization. Plus these mitts are so warm and practical, and a great way to show your Canadian pride!!

S'well water bottles are another gift that gives back. S'well partners with UNICEF to provide clean water. They also support American Forests and Drink Up, and they are helping the environment by eliminating plastic water bottles. S'well comes in a variety of colours and sizes, and is something everyone on your list could use. Another cool thing about S'well? They keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. 

Coastal Cocktails 12-Pack Global Cocktail Mixers are perfect for friends who like to travel, entertain or enjoy adult beverages. There are 12 mixers from around the world- like Mai Tai, Sydney Sunrise, and Moscow Mule. All you have to do is add alcohol and shake with ice and you are good to go. These are a popular gift with a lot of my friends. My dad and brother would love this too.

For the stylish man in your life, or the man that needs some style help, this Polo Ralph Lauren Virgin-Wool Blend Pony Scarf is ideal. It will keep him warm and looking good. This scarf is very classic so he will be able to wear it year after year.


Tomorrow I will be sharing Part 2 of my gift guide.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hey, It's Ok

Airing My Dirty Laundry

To be incredible proud of myself for the event I organized on December 3. The event not only marked the 50th anniversary of my the organization I work for, and the event went according to plan, but it was broadcast (which I oversaw, planned, and organized) all over Ontario, as well as Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Guatemala City, Guatemala. By far the biggest and most important event I have ever worked on.

That I finished my Christmas shopping on the weekend. I have all my gifts purchased, I just need to wrap them. It feels so good to know I don't have to deal with the crowds.

To be so blessed to work for a fantastic organization. The work we do is amazing, the corporate culture is the best I have ever experienced, my colleagues are out of this world, and my supervisor is so supportive, encouraging and a fantastic mentor- and insanely nice to me. 

That I will be doing a Paint Nite with some friends from work in January!! Paint Nite is where you go to a bar, and there is an artist that teaches the group how to paint a specific picture. I'm really looking forward to it!! It should be a ton of fun and a great girls night and I can't wait!!

To have had fantastic weekend!!! My boss encouraged me to leave early on Friday, which I did. I got to spend a ton of time with my sister on Saturday, something I haven't been able to do in months. Also on Saturday, I celebrated a friends birthday- she does these pot luck & Cards Against Humanity parties, which are always a blasted...so much laughter!! Plus I got to see a bunch of friends that I haven't seen in months. Sunday was some family time and than back to my apartment to hang out.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas Cookies

For years and years, my grandmother and I would bake cookies (and in later years, cheesecake) during the holidays, to be shared with our family and friends. The holidays are the only time my grandmother bakes- coincidentally, it's the only time (outside of super special occasions) that I bake too. 
 
 
I think the best cookies for Christmas are sugar cookies!! They are so easy to make and super easy to turn into festive holiday cookies. Sugar cookies, are essentially, a blank slate. They taste like "cookies", meaning they don't have an additional flavour like the rest of the cookies listed in this post. You can easily use different cookie cutters to make holiday shapes (Christmas trees, snowmen, wreaths, etc). Icing and/or coloured sugar can be used to decorate the cookies to make them more festive.

One of the cookies my grandma and I make- and a family favourite- are peanut butter balls.We actually leave the peanutbutter balls in the fridge overnight before dipping them in chocolate. These cookies are by far the most time consuming cookies on this list, but are so worth it!!

The cookie that most people associate with Christmas, in my opinion, are gingerbread!! I have never made gingerbread cookies. A couple of years ago, one of my sorority sisters made gingerbread cookies..she had tried a new recipe and was unsure how they'd turn out, because the recipe had called for salt...you could taste the salt, but that's what made them so good!!

Another cookie my grandma and I make, and my personal favourite, is shortbread. We use the classic recipe, which is super easy and super tasty. There is a bit of debate in my family as to which of my grandmother's cookies- peanut butter balls or shortbread- are the best.


None of the cookies listed above are personal recipes, but links lead to recipes that are very similar, if not identical, to the ones I use (with the exception of the gingerbread, since I've never made it). 

Hope everyone has a fantastic Monday!!
 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Party Ideas

There are so many things that I love about the holidays, but on of my favourite things is the social aspect! I love spending time with my family and friends, and connecting with people I haven't seen in awhile; some of them since the previous Christmas!! 
 
When I think of Christmas party's, I think back to the annual party a friend hosted for years, the highlight of our social season. It was held at his parents house, there was a snowman with a drink luge, awards, hourly drink specials, guitar sing a long, ugly sweaters...it was a fantastic time!! As we grew up, got jobs, moved away from home, and started our own families, this annual kick-off to Christmas came to an end.

Luckily, there are a ton of different kinds of parties you can host during the holidays. Here are three of my favourite.

Gingerbread & Champagne Who doesn't love decorating a gingerbread house or gingerbread people?! I have done this with adults, and everyone loves it! You can buy kits that have everything you need, or go the homemade route, set up a round a table, serve champagne (or wine, or hot chocolate, or...really whatever you'd like), and go to town decorating.

Christmas PJ Party Invite your friends, enforce a mandatory dress code of pj's, and put on your favourite Christmas movie (Elf and A Christmas Story are two of my favourites and highly recommended), serve hout chocolate, Christmas cookies and popcorn.

Potluck & Ornament Exchange I used to work for a company where one of the girls would organize a "Girls Christmas Party"; if you were female and worked for our company, you were invited- no boys allowed! This was also separate from our official office party and our official company party. Everyone would bring a dish to share and picked names for our ornaments...it was kind of like Secret Santa, only all gifts were ornaments. 


There are so many great holiday party ideas out there, and I have hosted all kinds of holiday parties...but the above three are some of the most popular, But really, I don't think it matters what kind of party you have, but who you are celebrating with, .

Monday, 7 December 2015

Joy

Happy Monday everyone!!! Now that all of my (work) events for 2015 are over, I can focus on the Holiday season!! Christmas cards have gone out, Christmas shopping has been completed, decorating has begun, the annual Christmas play at the local theatre has been attended, nightly Christmas movie viewings are lined up, and parties and social outings are being planned.
 
I am ready to experience the joy of the season. And I hope you do too. 


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Little Drummer Boy

There are so many great Christmas songs, and youtube videos to accompany them. My favourite Christmas song changes on a daily basis- especially during the holidays! One of my favoruite Christmas related youtube videos- and I'm pretty sure I post this every year- is this one:

Little Drummer Boy by Sean Quigley

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hey, It's Ok!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

That I have all of my Christmas cards written, addressed and ready to be posted...They will be mailed this week.

To have loved the Winter Finale of How To Get Away With Murder!! If you are not watching this show, you should be.

That I am excited to be hosting a Pod Pal Christmas later this month. Can't wait to be reunited with our Summer Student!!

To be happy that the event on Saturday was such a success and to be hoping the event on Thursday- the biggest event I have ever worked on- goes just as well- if not better!!!

That I had fun being in the Santa Clause Parade, even if I didn't have the chance to speak to Santa one on one.