Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Forever In...Watches

An ex-boyfriend used to celebrate career milestones by purchasing a new watch. Every watch he owned was tied to an accomplishment he was proud of...if you asked about a watch in his collection, he could tell you what he did to earn that particular watch.  

Four years ago, I accomplished something in my career that I agreed should be celebrated but didn't consider a career milestone. In retrospect, I still see it as a huge accomplishment, but not a milestone- it wasn't career defining or even something I call out on my resume. My then-boyfriend disagreed and bought me a watch to commemorate the accomplishment. I still have-and wear- that watch.

I do think watches are practical and that everyone should have at least one good watch in their collection. If I were in a the market for a watch, here are a few I would consider buying:

Image via Hudson's Bay

Mesmerize Stainless Steel & Swarovski Crystal Bracelet Watch by Calvin Klein- I love the stainless steel and black contract...this is such a classic look.

Image via Hudson's Bay
Riley Rose Gold Watchby Fossil- I am a fan of the chunkier band/larger face mens-style watches. The stones added a feminine feel.

Image via Hudson's Bay
Stainless SteelBracelet Watch by GUESS- I love that this looks more like a bracelet than a watch.

Image via Kate Spade New York

Metro Navy LeatherWatch by Kate Spade New York- While I like the contrast of the smaller band with the big face dial, the reason I like this watch is the cocktail where the five should be. The watch also says "somewhere" on it. I love adorable details like this that Kate Spade is known to include.

Image via Ralph Lauren

The Slim ClassiqueCollection 38 MM While Gold by Ralph Lauren- Ralph Lauren as a brand is known for being timeless (ha!) and classic. This is a watch that will never go out of style.

Image via Tiffany & Co
Tiffany 1837Makers 22 mm Square Watch by Tiffany & Co- Is there a better way to celebrate than with Tiffany & Co?! Love the pop colour that the Tiffany Blue adds to this watch and any outfit it's worn with.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Happy Galentine's Day

As Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec claimed, Galentine's Day is only the best day of the year. February 13 is a day to celebrate your favourite gals, the friendships we have and how much these ladies mean to us.

I am so fortunate to have some AMAZING gals standing by my side, that I can call at any time and for anything. The men in my life are important too- and I have some GREAT guys in my life- but there is nothing like strong, supportive, fun, female friendships. I celebrate my gals year round, but it's nice to have a 'holiday' specifically to celebrate our friendship.

Image result for galentines day
Image via TribLive

Reach out to your favourite gal pals and let them know how much you appreciate their friendship. Make plans to meet them for lunch, drinks after work, or Netflix and take out. Send them flowers or chocolate...if you are unable to spend today with your favourite gal, send her flowers or chocolate, or cupcakes, or pizza and let her know you're thinking of her. Do your favourite things, with your favourite gals, make memories and celebrate the fabulous friendships you have. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Book Club: Mrs.

Mrs.: A Novel by Caitlin Macy
Image via Chapters Indigo

Book: Mrs.
Author: Caitlin Macy

In the well-heeled milieu of New York's Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture.

Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa's single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen's husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa's past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.

What I have to say:
Beautifully written and loved the depth of the characters- so many characters each with their own stories and layers. This is a talented author! As for the plot...I read the entire book and I have no idea what it's about! The summary above does sum up the book in a way...having read the book and the summary, I can say 'yup, I see that'. But when reading the book, if I hadn't known the summary...well, I would have summarized it differently. The books is mostly about mother's who children attend the same pre-school. Two mothers- Gwen and Philippa knew each other during their childhood. They hangout with new mom at school, Minnie. Gwen and her husband Dan knew Minnie's husband John in college.John also knew Philippa before she married her husband. By the end of the book, not only did I not have a clear idea what this book is about, but there are a ton- TON- of unanswered questions. 

Final Verdict:
If you are looking for a nicely written book and/or characters that are well developed, and you have zero interest in whether or not there is a plot- I would recommend this book. If you need your books to have a plot that you can follow, give this book a pass.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

10 Ways To Celebrate A Valentine's Birthday

February is the month that most people associate with love. It’s all hearts, candy, flowers and romance. Or disappointment, heartache and tons of ice cream or other comfort food to drown your lack of love/romance in. Thanks Valentine’s Day.

I’m not going to go into how much I loathe Valentine’s Day and the commercialism of this “pretend” holiday. Or even how I’m bitter that Valentine’s Day overshadows and gets in the way of my birthday, which happens to be February 14.

Instead, I’m going to highlight 10 ways to celebrate a Valentine’s Birthday:
1.       Have pizza delivered to them for lunch along with flowers. Everyone loves pizza and pizza, for most people, was a childhood birthday food staple. As for the flowers, flowers just make people happy. But stay away from roses…too “Valentine”.
2.       If you take them out for dinner, try and go to a place that will have live music, like a piano player. Arrange to have the musician(s) play “Happy Birthday” when they enter the room.  Everyone in the room will know someone’s celebrating a birthday and that things besides Valentine’s Day happen on February 14.
3.       Get them a really cool gift that is in no way related to Valentine’s Day and/or love. I suggest the Beanie Buddy octopus named Inky. It’s an octopus named INKY! A friend gave me this in high school and I LOVE it. Especially the name.
4.       Throw them a surprise party. Who doesn’t love a surprise party? The birthday person will be beyond touched that so many people gave up celebrating Valentine’s Day to celebrate the day of their birth instead.
5.       Bake a cake. This is a thoughtful thing. One of my best birthdays involved my roommates making me a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and ‘Happy 19th Birthday Melissa’ spelled out in licorice. It doesn’t have to be perfect…it really is the thought that counts. I don't have a picture of that cake, but I do have a picture of this cake that a friend and her daughter made for me and surprised me with:

6.       Take them out. Blow off work/school/responsibilities to take them to a bar and do birthday shots with them mid-day (or right after work). Valentine’s Day hasn’t really kicked into full gear yet, so they’ll be able to enjoy their birthday without a ton of couples around celebrating Valentine’s Day. If things get a bit wild, that’s ok. And let’s be honest…shots really do make things better.
7.       Spa day. Nothing says birthday like being pampered. Even if you can’t afford a full spa day, send them for something…manicure, pedicure, facial even a massage. This really is the best way to spend your birthday.
8.       Dance party. Just make sure there are no ‘love’ songs on the playlist. Many of my birthdays have included impromptu dance parties and they are ALWAYS fun. Plus, this is so easy to do! Turn on some music and start dancing.
9.       Do something they love but not Valentine’s related. For example, if their favourite restaurant is having a Valentine’s special, skip it. They like to bowl and the local bowling alley is doing rock-and-bowl, this would be good.  I spent a lot of my birthdays at rinks watching hockey games.
10.   Remember their birthday. This really is just basic. Year round so many people remember my birthday because it’s on Valentine’s Day. But then, the actual day arrives and no one remembers/cares because they are so busy and focused on Valentine’s Day. Try and remember their birthday outside of Facebook- send them an e-mail, text message or pick up the phone and call them- all are better than a Facebook message (which points out who’s celebrating a birthday that day).  And for goodness sakes, do not give a combined Valentine/birthday gift and/or card.  Separate the two events.

If you know someone who is born on Valentine’s Day, do something nice for them- forgo celebrating the fake “holiday” that is Valentine’s Day and instead celebrate the day of their birth. They really will appreciate it. Trust me.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

McClain Hermes- Swimming By Faith, Not By Sight

In July of 2019, I had the opportunity to meet Paralympic Swimmer, World Champion, and World Record Holder, and (at the time) recent high school graduate McClain Hermes. McClain was your typical, down-to-earth, energetic teen. She was so funny and a lot of fun to be around. McClain is also one of the most inspiring people I have met.

McClain started swimming when she was six years old and lost her eyesight at 8 years old. She holds 20 American records, 5 Pan-American records, and 1 world record- all before graduating from high school! She graduated high school with high honors and took the same classes with the same academic rigor as her sighted peers. On top of all that, 10 years ago McClain and her dad started a service project to collect shoes for the homeless and have collected and donated over 27,000 pairs of shoes. She is currently training for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

To learn more about McClain's story and to be inspired by her, watch the (short) video below.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Galentine's Swap Sign Up

Chalk Full of Love and Candelles are hosting a Galentine's Swap! I participated in this swap a couple of year's ago, and had so much fun getting to know my partner and putting together a Galentine's package for her! I wasn't able to participate last year, but I am looking forward to this year and can't wait to learn about my partner!!

You can sign up for the swap here, sign ups close on Friday (January 17). Once sign ups have closed, you will be sent a questionnaire to fill out, you'll be matched with a partner, and then you swap Galentine's packages! Super easy, super fun, and a great way to meet- and celebrate- another gal! 

Thursday, 9 January 2020

2019 Book Club Reading List

Over the past 4+ years, I have been in a Book Club with some friends from high school. I love being in a book club and the variety of books and authors we read throughout the year. Here is the list of books that we read in 2019.

January: Becoming by Michelle Obama. This was my pick and I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. Interesting read and I definitely was more interested in the parts that dealt with Barrack's political career, where as my book club was more interested in the rest of the book and thought the political parts were boring.  

February: Bossypants by Tina Fey. Another book that I didn't love as much as I thought I would. I'm Tina Fey fan and I thought this book would be a lot funnier than it was- common thought among my book club. 

March: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. This was such a good book and a must read. This book hits so close to reality with police killing unarmed African Americans. The book follows Starr from the night of the shooting of her best friend through the aftermath. 

April: The Cry of the Dove by Fadia Faqir.This book follows Salma's journey of living in the middle east, going to jail to protect her from an honour killing, the immigration and assimilation of her life in England, and her longing to be find out about her daughter.

May: The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist by Michelle Morgan. Marilyn Monroe is the most famous women ever, but few people know about her influence in Hollywood that arguable changed the studio star system. This book focus on her career and how she took it back and led the way for other starlets. My review can be found here.

June: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. A.J. Fikry is a widowed bookstore owner and each chapter starts with him recommending a book. The book ends up relating to the plot point of that chapter. This was a cute, quick read and one I really enjoyed. 

July: Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson. A little girl goes missing and the search to find her reveals a connection between other missing children. 

August: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. High school friends are spending spring break in Aruba, when one of them- Elise- gets murdered, and Anna and Tate are arrested for the murder. Throughout the books we learn how the friends know each other, the complexities of Anna and Elise's friendship, and whether or not Tate and Anna are innocent. My review can be found here.

September: Pick Your Own Book- September is the anniversary of our book club, so we decided to do something a little different this month. Each member got to pick what book they wanted, and then would share their thoughts of the book with everyone else at our September meeting. I read The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood. Ava joins a book club after her husband leaves her. As the book goes on, we learn the importance of the book Ava chooses for her book club to read.Ava's daughter Maggie is living in Paris and goes missing. We learn about Ava and what she gets up to while in Europe. 

October: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. Long time friends Erika and Clementine, along with their husbands and Clementine's children, head to a BBQ at Erika's neighbour's house. Something happened that puts a strain on Erika and Clementine's friendship, and we learn why everyone feels guilty.   

November: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. A group of women travel to Area X as part of a mission. The women are to explore the area and record their findings. One by one, the women leave the mission- for various reasons and circumstance. 

December: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Mother Bernadette goes missing and daughter Bee is on a mission to find out where she went, what happened to her, and bring her home. My review can be found here.

My top three books that we read in 2019:
  1. Dangerous Girls (August)
  2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (June)
  3. Where'd You Go Bernadette (December) and The Book That Matters Most (September)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Dreams and Colour Reading List

Below you will find a master list of all books mentioned on this blog and my Instagram.

Most Recent:

Book Club List- Books Read By My Book Club



Thursday, 2 January 2020

2020 Word Of The Year Is...

My 2019 word, Value, was the result of something that Graham, aka The 502 Kid aka Drunk Astrology. said to me towards the end of 2018:
"Human to human...everyone deserves to be valued."

And 2019 was the year of value. I valued my friends, family, relationship, and experiences. I went out of my way to let those I interacted with know that I valued them and what they were doing. I was very intentionally about valuing the people and experiences that came my way. 

2019 was also the year that I was truly valued. My family and friends have always made me feel valued. My work situations have always been a different story. I was always undervalued when it came to my work- the work I was doing, the people (superiors) I was working with, and the organizations I was working for. I was so undervalued that coworkers were going out of their way to comment on how much I wasn't being appreciated.

I started working in the private sector in 2019. The company I work for rarely says that they value employees, but they are showing on a daily basis that their employees are valued. I have never felt so valued, appreciated, or respected in a workplace before. 

When selecting my 2019 word, I wanted a word that I felt I could carry out long term for the year and not short term until a specific goal was accomplished. I felt that 'Value' did that. I want the same thing for my 2020 word:

It took me a long time to come up with my 2020 word. I didn't want to repeat a word that I had used in the past, and I wanted a word that I could carry throughout the year. I also wanted a word that I could apply to myself as well as my relationships with others, and any situations/experiences I found myself in. 

After a lot of thought I settled on Joy. I want to feel joy as I experience life and go through my days. Even if I am doing menial tasks or in a tough situation, I wan to be able to find joy in everything. I also want to bring joy to other people's lives. I want people to feel joy when I'm around- whether that means just being in my presence or a shared experience, offering words of encouragement, or a random act of kindness. I want 2020 to be filled with joy for myself and those around me. 

In November 2019, a long time family friend- Patty- passed away unexpectedly. I reflect back on the last time I saw her, at a local restaurant, and I'm reminded of the animated way she waved to me, her smile, and the expression of joy on her face to see me. Patty was always so happy and excited to see people. Being in her presence was a pure joy. I want to make people feel the way Patty made me feel the last time-and every time- I saw her. 

In 2020, I want to be filled with joy for myself and those around me. Cheers to a joy filled year!!