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 want 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!!