Tuesday 31 December 2019

You Were So Good To Me, 2019

Dear 2019,

It breaks my heart to know that you are leaving me- and in a matter of hours. When we met a year ago, I had so much optimism for us, 2019, and you did not disappoint. You were everything I needed and when I needed it. Things weren't perfect- we had a couple of bumps in the road- but I knew you were by my side and would see me through. 

We got off to a quiet start, which is what I needed. You gave me time to heal from the abuse and negativity of 2018, but were still there to make sure I didn't dwell, and to give me glimpses of what could be. These little bits of encouragement were monumental in my healing. 

2019, you showed me the possibilities of what could be, what I deserved, and as each possibility passed- because it wasn't the right fit- you made sure the next possibility was even better than the last. You showed me a lot of possibilities in a short amount of time, but it really didn't take you long to bring the perfect opportunity my way. 

In March, you were by my side as I started a new job. While this job is one I have been doing for almost 10 years, you brought me into the public sector and a new industry. This is a dream company, with a dream team. Everyday I am excited to make my mark, accomplish goals, and cheer on my teammates. This is a company that rarely says they value employees but on a daily basis shows employees how much they are valued and appreciated- actions speak louder than words, right? I can't thank you enough, 2019, for introducing me to this opportunity and making sure I ended up where I was supposed to be.

S and I faced some challenges this year, but they made us and our relationship stronger. It helped us put things in perspective and to reaffirm our commitment to each other. We had many happy times together- way more happy than sad. I felt loved, appreciated and cared for. You allowed us to grow together and experience life together. You were there to encourage us as we supported one another through the downs, and celebrate with us through the ups. My favourite moments- a May afternoon by the lake, a summer day by a cornfield, drives down country roads, meals together- were simple ones, but happy ones. 

2019, you made sure I traveled- Kissimmee twice, Toronto, Moncton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Nashville, Anaheim, and Chicago. You took me east to Moncton, New Brunswick and west to Vancouver, BC. It was amazing to experience both provinces and two different parts of the country. I enjoyed learning and immersing myself in Arcadian culture, and seeing the Tidal Bore while out east. The afternoon spent in Stanley Park, including the Aquarium, and seeing the majestic mountains in the west was amazing- plus getting to spend time with my cousin!

Nashville was a trip of a lifetime. I loved experiencing and exploring the city! Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Studio B, Hatch Print Shop, Bi-Centennial Park, Marathon Motorworks, Parthenon, Broadway...experienced so much. I truly enjoyed my time in Nashville and had a blast! 

Another fun trip, 2019? Anaheim! While the days were long and filled with meetings, the little extra time we had was so appreciated. It was amazing to be able to kick back and relax for a few hours and and have FUN. No agenda, no timelines, no expectations...just pure fun. We spent this time at California Adventure and Disneyland. Experiencing the magic of Disney at Christmas was the best way to be put in the holiday spirit. The fireworks and light show were amazing! We did so many rides, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars as major highlights! I can't remember the last time I laughed so much, had that much fun, or felt that carefree or pure joy. 

2019, Hometown Hockey was another once in a lifetime experience that you brought me. It was so great to go back to my hometown and celebrate hockey and what hockey means to our community. It was three days of hockey and I had a lot of fun being part of it! Being able to chat with Ron and Tara, connecting with former hockey players, and being part of the National live broadcast were truly memorable.

You really were so, so, so good to me, 2019. You lived up to expectations I didn't know where there, you brought me so much happiness, joy and promise. You took care of me, you guided me, you provided me the chance to explore and experience life, you made sure I ended up where I was supposed to be. 2019, you showed me I was valued, respected, appreciated- that I deserved to be valued, respected, appreciated. 

I really have no words, 2019, to express what you meant to me and how good you were to me.

2019, I know you are on the verge of leaving me- of moving on. I'm grasping to our last moments together before you introduce me to 2020. There are whispers that 2020 will be just as good to me as you were. I hope that's true.

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

Thursday 26 December 2019

A Year In Review- 2019

2019 has gone by in the blink of an eye- \I can't believe we are already at the end of the year!! 2019 has been a good year to me. So, let's look back at some of the highlights...

January and February were two months full of interviews- 13 in total between the two months. I was so busy interviewing and applying for jobs, that I did very little else. January is a good friend's birthday month and she hosted a murder mystery dinner party. It was so fun to dress up and have a night out. February is my birthday. I spent the day with one of my best friends and we had a blast window shopping. The one thing I really wanted was a birthday donut, so we went to a café that makes their own donuts- only they were sold out!! My friend waited with me for about 45 minutes and made sure I got my birthday donut!!

March is when I got my dream job offer and started working for my dream company. Nine-ish months later, I am still loving every day with the company and the work I get to do. In April my dad and I were at our second home and the weather was awful- cold and rainy. So we went on an amazing road trip in the area- we went to see family friends, before going to see our ancestral home, into a couple of small towns, a craft brewery...a day that started with 'what are we going to do?' to one of the best days!!

I came home from work one day in May, and there was a surprise piece of mail from Royal Wood- one of my favourite performers!! At the end of June, I went to a see a movie- Mean Girls- in a vineyard with my cousin and another friend- it was so fun!!

July was a super busy month, as my company hosts a huge...HUGE...conference. This year, we were in Florida. While we had an intense week with a ton of work, the day after our conference we got to live #thecabanalife!! Gaylord Palms, out host hotel, gave us a cabana and the VIP treatment for the day. We had a lot of fun hanging out by the pool. 

My dad and I went on a "Three City, Two Province, One Week Tour' in August. I had the opportunity to visit New Brunswick for the first time and enjoyed my time in Moncton. I got to see the tidal bore- which was so cool! Followed this up by seeing Luke Bryan in September, which was a fun concert!!

I had a last minute trip to Vancouver, BC come up in October. This was the first time I visited BC. While it was a quick trip and I didn't have much time to truly explore Vancouver, I did have the chance to visit with one of my favourite cousins, who lives in Vancouver. It was so great to spend time with her and her husband!!

My hometown had the opportunity to host Rogers Hometown Hockey in November. It was a jam packed weekend celebrating hockey and our community. I had the chance to experience all the public events, and had the opportunity to attend a couple of VIP events/experiences.

This brings us to December, which has been a lot of fun!! I had the chance to travel to California on business, but found myself with 9 hours of free time- from 3pm-midnight. So, I headed off to California Adventure and Disneyland!! I don't remember the last time I had so much fun. We did a number of rides and laughed A LOT!!

January and February were not bad months, they were just quieter months with not a lot of highlights. I actually started 2019 off by going for a walk with my S.O. and his dog on New Year's day- this was probably my true January highlight, but I didn't have a picture to add to the collage! We have plans to do the same on January 1, 2020...I'm hoping this will become a tradition for us. Looking back on 2019 (with the exception of January/February), there were so many experiences and memories it was tough to pick one highlight per months.

I am hopeful that I will have just as many highlights in 2020!!

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas!!

I bring you tiding 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

Tuesday 17 December 2019

From the Archives: Christmas Party Ideas

It's so hard to believe that we are more than halfway through December and that Christmas is days away! December has been busy for me, but I've really enjoyed it. I feel like December has constantly kept me in motion with different projects, opportunities, social events, and travel. This week has a focus on Christmas celebrations and I'm really looking forward to it. 

Because this month has been non-stop for me, this is the first year in a long time that I won't be hosting my own Christmas Party. Part of me is relieved- when would I have time to plan and host a party this month?! Party of me is sad- I love to host and Christmas parties are one of my favourites!! 

A couple of years ago, I shared three of my favourite Holiday Party Ideas- Gongerbread & Champagne, Christmas PJ Party, and Potluck & Ornament Exchange- checkout the original post for more details! 

Thursday 12 December 2019

7 Christmas Movies: 2019 Edition

I have always been a fan of Christmas movies and try to watch as many of them as I can each holiday season- some of them multiple times!! I would be hard pressed to pick an all time favourite movie, or even a top three- it changes all the time and there are just sooooo many great movie to pick from!!

Here are- no particular order- the 7 Christmas movies I am loving this year!
Image via Good Housekeeping
White Christmas This is a classic Christmas movie and features great musical numbers. Set in Vermont, singing sisters Betty and Judy team up with singing friends Bob and Phil to put on a performance to help save an inn. I'm really just here for the music and dance numbers.

Image via Decider
Christmas Inheritance Ellen Langford is on track to inherit her father's business when she has a little mishap at a Christmas party. Her father and his business partner have a Christmas tradition where they write each other a Christmas letter. Ellen is tasked with bringing this letter to Uncle Zeke in Snow Falls. Uncle Zeke is nowhere to be found and she needs to stick around until he shows up- the letter must be delivered in person. With limited resources and hiding her identity, Ellen starts helping out at the inn to help cover her expenses. A snowstorm hits, Ellen endears herself to the locals, and discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

Image via IMDB
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation I do love this movie, and it is a favourite of my boyfriend, so I had to include it on the list! The movie centers around the Griswald family and patriarch Clark trying to make Christmas the best ever. It starts with the family on the hunt for a Christmas tree and it goes downhill from there. One mishap after another make for an entertaining and memorable Christmas.

Image via Hallmark Channel
Reunited at Christmas Samantha journeys home to spend one last Christmas with her family at her late grandmother's home. Reliving past family traditions, trying to write a new book, and navigating her relationship with her boyfriend-turned-fiancé all while trying to find her Christmas spirit. 

Image via IMDB
Two Turtle Doves Doctor Sharon heads home for the holidays to wrap up the last of her grandmothers estate. She's meet her grandmother's estate lawyer and his daughter who help her accomplish a list of Christmas traditions her grandmother tasked her with doing. While working through Christmas traditions, Doctor Sharon realizes one of the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments- the two turtle doves- is missing and she is desperate to find this family heirloom.

Image via IMDB
Santa Girl Cassie Claus, Santa's daughter, has an arranged marriage with Jack Frost's son. Before getting married and taking over for her dad, Cassie want's the chance to experience the real world. Santa agrees to let Cassie go to college and assigns elf Pep to go with her and keep an eye on Cassie.

Image via IMDB

Image via IMDB

Image via IMDB
I am counting these three movies as one (listed in the order they premiered). I love these movies because they happen year over year, we find out what has happened to characters since last Christmas, and get to experience Evergreen: 

Christmas in Evergreen Evergreen, Vermont resident Allie is trying to get to Washington, DC to see her boyfriend, while Ryan and his daughter Zoe are en route to Florida. Due to a snowstorm, flights are canceled and the trio head back to Evergreen. The town takes Christmas seriously and their annual Christmas festival is in jeopardy. Allie, Ryan and Zoe ens up staying in Evergreen- where wishes made with a magical snow globe come true. 

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa Welcome back to Evergreen, Vermont. As a small child, Lisa lived in Evergreen and decides to return as an adult. The General Store has closed and Lisa volunteers to get the store ready to show to perspective buyers. The General Store was home to Santa's mailbox, where a letter written 25 years ago is discovered. The letter is used to inspire Evergreen's Christmas celebration.

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy Writer Katie travels to Evergreen to experience the town she has read so much about. While in Evergreen, she is asked to write a story for a magazine, and finds inspiration in the people and traditions of Evergreen. We also find out about a hidden time capsule that former residents put together and hid for future residents to find and enjoy. 

You can find some other Christmas movies that I love here and here

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Book Club: Christmas Shopaholic

Image via Goodreads
Book: Christmas Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It's always the same – Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.

And now it's even easier with online bargain-shopping sites – if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!

But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky's parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she'll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong?

With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper – surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .

Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?

What I have to say:
I have always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella and the Shopaholic series!! If you are familiar with the series, it's the same loveable Becky finding herself in one situation/mix up/miscommunication after another- as she usually does. We follow her as she prepares to host Christmas for the first time, while trying to keep everyone happy. Love that this book was centered around the holidays and that Kinsella gave us a story that is (mostly) relatable and characters we know and love. 

Final Verdict:
I have yet to meet someone who is not a Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood fan. This book was classic Becky and a must read for any fan of the series. Also recommended for anyone looking for a lighthearted Christmas read.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Memories: The Night Before Christmas

Happy December!! While I am Summer Lover- hello beach!!- I can get on board with the Happiest Time of Year- the holidays!! I've been in the Christmas spirit for a few weeks now- listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, writing Christmas cards...I've got all of my Christmas shopping done- except for my S.O.

There is so much I love about the holiday season, but hands down my absolute favourite is spending time with the people I love the most and creating memories. 

Speaking of memories...I thought I would share one of my favourite childhood Christmas memories, a memory that my brother, cousins and I reminiscent about every year on Christmas Eve.

My aunt, my mom's sister, would host my uncle's (her husband) family on Christmas Eve. My family did our own thing and had our own Christmas Eve traditions- which I loved and have happy memories of- but we would always head to my aunt's house later on in the night for dessert. 

Every year, shortly after my parents, brother and I arrived, my aunt would be ready to serve dessert and it would be discovered that my uncle forgot to pick up ice cream- the one thing she asked him to do- on his way home from work. They would have an argument and my uncle, in his anger, would go out to buy ice cream.

My uncle's sister, Aunt Penny, would take all the kids upstairs and we'd sit on my cousin's bed while Aunt Penny read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to us while we waited for my uncle to get back with ice cream. I remember being all cozy and squished in bed with everyone, and Aunt Penny really getting into the reading.

Every year, while my uncle was out getting ice cream and in the middle of Aunt Penny reading to us, Santa would show up! We would hear Santa, jump out of bed and run downstairs to greet him. It was so exciting to see Santa and have a quick visit with him before he had to get back work.

After Santa left, Aunt Penny would finish reading to us, and my uncke would return with ice cream. Us kids would excitedly tell him how Santa came to see us and that he just missed Santa. He would be disappointed that he missed Santa. Can you blame him?! He missed seeing Santa by a few minutes!! 

What was amazing, is that every year- EVERY YEAR- my uncle would just miss Santa. If only he had remembered to pick up ice cream on his way home from work...he could have seen Santa too.