Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Book Club: Nujeen

Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey From War-torn Syria In A Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa
Image Via Chapters Indigo
Book: Nujeen
Author: Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb

Indigo Summary:
{...t]he inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis.

For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nujeen Mustafa embodies the best of the human spirit. Confined to a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy and denied formal schooling in Syria because of her illness, Nujeen taught herself English by watching American soap operas. When her small town became the epicenter of the brutal fight between ISIS militants and US-backed Kurdish troops in 2014, she and her family were forced to flee.

Despite her physical limitations, Nujeen embarked on the arduous trek to safety and a new life. The grueling sixteen-month odyssey by foot, boat, and bus took her across Turkey and the Mediterranean to Greece, through Macedonia to Serbia and Hungary, and finally, to Germany. Yet, in spite of the tremendous physical hardship she endured, Nujeen's extraordinary optimism never wavered. Refusing to give in to despair or see herself as a passive victim, she kept her head high. As she told a BBC reporter, "You should fight to get what you want in this world."

Nujeen's positivity and resolve infuses this unforgettable story of one young woman determined to make a better life for herself. Told by acclaimed British foreign correspondent Christina Lamb, Nujeen is a unique and powerful memoir that gives voice to the Syrian refugee crisis, helping us to understand that the world must change—and offering the inspiration to make that change reality.

What I Have To Say:
This book is an interesting story about a girl with a disability living in a country rich in culture and history, later a war-torn country, and then here journey as a refugee on her way to Germany. The writing was very...simple, which may bother people (myself included) until you are remind that it is being written by a 16-year old.

I really enjoyed the refugee portion of the story. It was eye-opening to get a first hand tale of living in Syria and then being a Syrian refugee. What's mind-boggling, besides the fact that this is a true story, is that Nujeen's story is not original; there's are millions of refugees that make the same (or similar) journey and that face similar challenges. Nujeen is unique in the sense that she has a disability. What REALLY bothered me is that Nujeen kept using the term "disability benefits", she used her disability to get what she wants. "Disability benefits" ranged from getting to watch what she wanted on TV to cutting the line at refugee camps because she didn't want to wait in line. She came across as bratty and entitled. 

Final Verdict:
Unless you are interested in learning about what a refugee journey is like, and can either accept or overlook an annoying narrator, give this book a pass.  


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Hey, It's Ok!

http://www.airingmylaundry.com/
With Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry

That, while I don't follow soccer, I'm happy for Toronto FC (and their fans) who won the MLS Cup on the weekend! This is the first time in league history that the Cup has a home in Canada!!

To be binge watching Christmas movies. ABC Spark (thanks for the December Freeview!) is playing a number of Christmas movies every night. I'm enjoying them while I can. 

That I am contemplating buying a new-to-me car. My car is OLD I need to either put some money into it or buy a new car. I think I am going to go with the new car. 

To be using the Do Not Disturb feature on my phone recently. Because I can't hear texts, phone calls (unless the person calls twice in a row), and email come in, I'm not feeling as pressured to reply ASAP. I'm also finding it easier to focus on other things and step away from my phone. 

That I am looking forward to what 2018 holds. 2017 has had ups and downs...I'm hoping 2018 will have more ups.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Inspire Me: Better, Not Bitter

Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had a GREAT weekend!! I had a busy weekend, but the highlight was dinner with a long time friend. I haven't seen her in a few months, so it was nice to spend time with her and catch up. Being in her presence is good for my soul; there is a lot of laughter and encouragement. After the situation I have been dealing with, laughter is what I needed.

 
This weeks quote is no way related to my weekend or time spent with my friend. It is, however, something I need to be reminded of. I wouldn't say I'm bitter, but there is something that I just can't shake...it's affecting me in not the most positive way. While I have accepted the situation, I haven't moved on- I'm not sure that I will, or that I want too, but I know I need to grow from it, become a better person and not let it consume me and make me bitter.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Currently- December

My last "Currently" post of 2017...crazy!! Here we go...

Watching
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Love Christmas movies, and love that we get a "freeview" of ABC Spark during December so that I can watch Christmas movies every night!!

Reading
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 Maeve Binchy is one of my favourite authors and I have had this book for ages- happy to FINALLY be reading it!!

Listening
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 Star 102.5 plays Christmas music 24/7 starting in November, so it becomes my go-to station for the Season. 

Drinking
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Perfect time of year for hot chocolate, I've been having a cup almost every night.
Eating
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 I am one of the few people who LOVES candy corn!! My co-worker brought some to work, so we have been snacking on it daily.

Wanting
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 I have my eye on this Spocket HP printer, which is designed to print photos from your phone. I didn't add it to my Christmas list, but I'm hoping to get a Boxing Day deal!!

Loving
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Best way to start the day.
October // June // May // April // March // February // January //

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo

There are a lot of things that I love about Christmas...baking, decorating, the holiday spirit, time with family and friends, movies, tv specials, and, of course, music. While there are a ton of Christmas songs that I love, this is one of my favourites, so I had to share it (and I'm pretty sure I've shared it every year since it came out)!!
 

Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo by David Myles

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Hey, It's Ok!

http://www.airingmylaundry.com/
With Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry

To already be tired of hearing about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and all things Royal Wedding. I'm happy that they are engaged...but I'm already over having every other post in my social media feeds be about their wedding. 

That I am done my Christmas shopping!! I finished on the weekend and I now I just have to wrap the small mountain of presents stacked in the corner. 

To be looking forward to the live adaption of "A Christmas Story". It's one of my all time favourite Christmas movies and I have high hopes for the live version!

That I am not looking forward to the snow that is in the forecast. I know we are into December and have been super lucky with the weather so far...but I'm still nto ready for snow yet!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Inspire Me: Diamond Dear

Heading into the weekend, my Friday was great. There was an incident, but I didn't give it a second thought. Saturday, I had an amazing visit with a long time friend that I hadn't seen in awhile. She made a comment, that I didn't think twice about. When I got home, there was another incident followed by a second...and then a third incident that made me think. This was followed by a series of incidents that confirmed. It wasn't the evening I had planned or hoped for. I was unprepared for what happened next. 

But then I was reminded:


Friday, 1 December 2017

Posts of Christmas Past

Happy Friday! Happy December!

I am a beach baby...I love being at the beach, I love warm weather, I love summer. Love. 

But I also love Christmas. I love the movies, music, spirit, baking, card sending, gift hunting, parties and socials, decorating.

To kick-off this holiday season (which I actually did November 12), I thought I would share some of my favourite blog posts from past Christmas seasons!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 30: Hello/Goodbye

November 30.

Sigh. 

Let's start with the Goodbye. 

November 30 is the day we say goodbye to Edith. 
 
Such a beautiful woman...inside and out.
 
Edith is a woman I have known for many, many years. She passed away on the weekend, at the age of 97. She had a long, good life. Today is her funeral.
 
Her brother (and business partner) is a retired politician. It is through him that I met Edith. Even thought he was retired, he was still interested in politics. He and I would often work on campaigns together- playing very different roles during the campaign; he was the wise, seasoned politician giving advice on the campaign. I was the young, energetic teenager/20-something that worked my way up over the years from doing the menial tasks no one wanted, to running the campaign office. 
 
During the entire time, Edith was there; she was dedicated to coming to the office everyday. Edith would spend time talking to people who came in, as well as the workers. She also, voluntarily- no one asked her to- would keep our office supplied with homemade cookies, sandwiches, and soup. When I think of Edith, one of the first things that comes to mind is me working away, her placing soup and a sandwich in front of me and telling me to take a break to eat. She would keep insisting, standing by my side the entire time, until I started to eat. There was even a time or two, where she actually brought a spoon of soup/a sandwich to my mouth...haha.

Edith was supportive, encouraging, and incredibly kind. She was such a wonderful, warm and caring soul. She was always smiling. She would frequently accompany her brother to functions that I was accompanying my father to, so I got to see Edith many times over the years. She was always so happy to see me, and I was always so happy to see her. Being in Edith's presence, was always a joyful experience. 

Edith, thank you for making sure I was fed during those long days and nights. Thank you for you optimism and sunny personality. Thank you for touching my life. I will miss you so much.



November 30.
 
Sigh. 

This date marks the day that someone said 'hello' to the world by being born. It would be 20-something years later before our paths crossed by chance. He would spend the next 10.5 years being in my life. He was the most influential and important person in my life. 
 
I haven't spoken to him in about 6 months, and I am not sure that I will ever speak to him again. Not everything is meant to last...a reason, a season, a lifetime. He did so, so, so much for me.

He changed me.

He made me a better person. 

He showed me true, unconditional love. 
 
He pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
 
He calmed me down.
 
He made me laugh.
 
He put things into perspective.

He...

So many moments, incidents, experiences, memories...

Not everything was good, there was a lot of negative. But at the end of the day, no one has affected me more than he has. 

Most importantly, he believed in me. Always. More than anyone. Regardless of circumstance. 

He believed in me.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Book Club: The City

The City (with Bonus Short Story The Neighbor): A Novel by Dean Koontz
Image via Chapters Indigo
Book: The City
Author: Dean Koontz

A young boy, a musical prodigy, discovering life’s wonders—and mortal dangers.
His best friend, also a gifted musician, who will share his journey into destiny.
His remarkable family, tested by the extremes of evil and bound by the depths of love . . . on a collision course with a band of killers about to unleash anarchy.
And two unlikely allies, an everyday hero tempered by the past and a woman of mystery who holds the key to the future.

These are the people of The City, a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, their unforgettable story is a riveting, soul-stirring saga that speaks to everyone, a major milestone in the celebrated career of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz and a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share.

What I Have To Say:
This book was gifted to me by one of my sorority sisters a couple of years ago. I would frequently start to read the pick and then abandon it for another book, only to pick it up a couple of months later and abandon it again. I got to pick the November book for my Book Club, and I picked this book; I was FINALLY going to force myself to read the entire thing. 

The book is about Jonah looking back on his life, starting at the age of 8, and telling the reader about his life- events, the day to day, and people he encounters. He meets a woman, Miss Pearl, who gives him a piano, as well bringing people to him in dreams- people he will encounter in real life. 

It awhile to get into the book...as you are reading you are left wondering "What's the story?" and "What do these details have to do with anything?" Just past the half way point, the book starts to pick up and become really interesting. We see how all the characters and their story lines are linked. You want to keep reading to see what happens. 

The last part of the book is so, so, so good! It moves quickly, keeps you engaged, has great plot, and interesting characters. 
Final Verdict:
This book is hard to get into. But, if you stick it out, you are rewarded with a really great story.
Unfortunately, you have to endure the first part of the book to get to the good stuff. If you can stick it out, worth the read.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Hey, It's Ok!

http://www.airingmylaundry.com/
With Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry

That, thanks to online shopping and Black Friday sales that last multiple days, I am almost done my Christmas shopping!! I have two more gifts to buy and I am good to go!

To be a Las Vegas Golden Knights fan based solely on their Twiiter feed, which is hilarious! I am still an NYR fan though...they are my team.

That I can't believe we are heading into the last month of 2017. Better make it a good one.

To think tiny houses are kind of cool, and to love the show Tiny House Hunters, but realize the tiny living lifestyle just isn't for me. There is no way I could live in such a small space and keep my sanity.

That I accomplished my musical trifecta this year!! I saw my three favourite musicians- Joel Plaskett, David Myles, and Royal Wood- in concert this year...and I got to chat with each of them after their shows!


Monday, 27 November 2017

Inspire Me: No Reason

Happy Monday!! It has been a day or two since I've posted. September-November is the BUSIEST time of year for me work wise- I worked on (as in they happened) over 20 events in 2 months! Personally, the past few months have also been busy- lots of ups and downs...but that's life!!

 Anyway, some inspiration for the week:
 
 


Monday, 16 October 2017

Inspire Me: Focus

2017 has not been an amazing year. There are a lot of good that has happened this year- including a really fun night out with friends this past Friday- but a lot of hurt has also happened. When I look back at the past 10 months, it's the hurt that stands out. I believe that every situation- no matter how negative- is a good thing if you are able to learn or take something from the situation. I have had a lot of lessons and eye opening experiences this year. 
 
While it is natural, especially because of the sheer volume, to focus on the bad, the negative, the hurt. I am constantly reminding myself, and forcing my self to do this:



Thursday, 5 October 2017

Book Club: North of Normal

North Of Normal: A Memoir Of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family, And How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person
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Book: North of Normal
Author: Cea Sunrise Person

Sex, drugs and . . . bug stew? An utterly compelling tale of survival—of nature, family and genetics.
In the late 1960s, riding the crest of the counterculture movement, Cea’s family left a comfortable existence in California to live off the land in northern Alberta. But unlike most commune dwellers of the time, the Persons weren’t trying to build a new society—they wanted to escape civilization altogether. Led by Cea’s grandfather Dick, they lived in a canvas Teepee, grew pot, and hunted and gathered to survive.

 Living out her grandparents’ dream with her teenage mother, Michelle, young Cea knew little of the world beyond her forest. She spent her summers playing nude in the meadow and her winters snowshoeing behind the grandfather she idolized. Despite fierce storms, food shortages and the occasional drug-and-sex-infused party for visitors, it was a happy existence. For Michelle, however, there was one crucial element missing: a man. When Cea was five, Michelle took her on the road with a new boyfriend. As the trio set upon a series of ill-fated adventures, Cea began to question both her highly unusual world and the hedonistic woman at the centre of it—questions that eventually evolved into an all-consuming search for a more normal life. Finally, in her early teens, Cea realized she would have to make a choice as drastic as the one her grandparents once had made in order to get the life she craved.

From nature child to international model by the age of thirteen, Cea’s astonishing saga is one of long-held family secrets and extreme family dysfunction, all in an incredibly unusual setting. It is also the story of one girl’s deep-seated desire for normality—a desire that enabled her to risk everything, overcome adversity and achieve her dreams.

What I Have To Say:
This was a compelling read. Cea does a great job of sharing her unconventional childhood, and in a way that makes you want to keep reading. While it was an interesting read, there were also points that were sad and made you really feel for this child. This is a memoir, but the characters and experiences  are so out there, it's hard to believe they aren't made up.  
Final Verdict:
Fascinating is the best way to describe this book.  


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Currently- October Edition

I haven't done a Currently post in ages!! What better time to do one than now?!
 
Watching
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I love this show! I'm excited that Season 4 has FINALLY started, but I am also watching Seasons 1-3 on Netflix

Reading
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I am a Sophie Kinsella fan, and I read this book for Book Club in March, but I wanted a lighthearted, easy read, so I am re-reading this book.
Listening
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 I am LOVING Thomas Rhett's new album- I have it on repeat!

Drinking
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 I have been on a Gatorade kick the past few months, drinking a few bottles a week. Yellow (lemon lime) is one of my favourites. 

Eating
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Breakfast foods are my favourite, I will eat breakfast for all meals. 
Wanting
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I had a pair of Havianas, which broke this summer. I am desperately wanting another pair- these are seriously the most comfortable flip flops ever!
Loving
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My love for the beach is well documented. While Summer is my favourite season, I do love Fall beach days too. The air is crisp, the water is cool but nice if the sun is out, the tourists are gone. There's just something about being at the beach, in shorts and a sweatshirt, with the wind in your hair. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Hey, It's Ok

http://www.airingmylaundry.com/
With Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry

To be sadden by the recent attacks in Las Vegas and Edmonton. There is so much hate and violence in our world.

That I thought the season premiere of How to Get Away with Murder was kind of boring. It picked up near the end, the last few minutes. But for the most part...boring. Hopefully the season gets better, 

To have celebrated the life of a friend in the most epic and "Willy Way" possible. It was one heck of a part for one heck of a life. You are so missed and loved. 

That be sad that Dan Girardi is no longer a New York Ranger, but excited that his and Ryan Callahan are reunited in Tampa Bay!!

To be hope that the weather this weekend will be nice enough to celebrate Thanksgiving at the beach!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Inspire Me: Accept It

Happy Monday and October! I can't believe that not is Summer of over, but so is September!! I have had a busy few months, hence the blog break. And while things are still busy, I'm looking forward to being back to blogging!!
 
I have tons of ideas for posts, but we'll see what happens. There has been so much change and transition the past few weeks- with more to come- that I am really focusing on living and enjoying the moment, and not thinking to far ahead to the future. You never know what will happen...go with the flow, roll with the punches, and all that good stuff!!

Here is some inspiration for the week:


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hey, It's Ok

http://www.airingmylaundry.com/
With Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry

To be sad that summer is unofficially over. It went too quickly and I didn't spend enough days at the beach. While there are things I didn't get the chance to do this summer, I had a fantastic summer!

That I have lost interest in Big Brother this season. The majority of the houseguests, especially Josh and Paul, are so appalling that I can't stand to watch. 

To be sad that my favourite summer smoothie/juice place will not be re-opening next summer; this is their last season. 

That I met Joel Plaskett!! I am a huge fan and this was definitely one of the highlights of this summer!

To be going back to a paper planner this year. Last year, I switched from a Lilly Pulitzer planner to a happy planner- which did not work for me and that I stopped using before 2017 even started. I'm trying a paper planner again. We'll see how this works out.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Inspire Me: Summer

I can't believe that today is Labour Day and the unofficial end of summer! This summer went by so fast. There were a ton of things I wanted to do this summer that I didn't get the chance to do and the weather was not spectacular, but I had a great summer- lots of memories and experiences!!

In honour of summer- my favourite season- I thought I would share some of my favourite summer quotes.