Monday, November 29, 2010

PBG Fashion: Swacket


This weekend I had the pleasure of going out shopping with my best shopping buddy - my mom.  We were looking for a dress for my office Holiday Party this week. The shopping trip was a major success.  I found a lovely red and black Mad Men inspired sheath dress by Calvin Klein for $36!!  And my mom tracked down the perfect stacked pumps with a rosette detail to complete the look.  I will be sure to take some pictues of the outfit on the big night.

But, the other major purchase was a swacket.  That right...a swacket.  I bet you have never even hear about swackets until today.  I have to tell you I had no idea what a swacket was until this weekend.  And I have to say, I am impressed.  What is it you ask?  It is a cross between a leather jacket and a sweater.  My purchase was black leather front with knit arms and back.  There are lovely flowette details around the collar.  It was too sweet to to pass up...plus it was on sale.  Score!  I haven't taken any pictures of me in the new swacket but I found this image below on the Nygard website.  Isn't it cute?  (the picture doesn't do it justice).  Imagine it with skinny jeans and knee high leather boots.

Floral Leather & Knit Swacket
The leather makes it sexy, the knit makes it fit nice and snug without being uncomfortable.  What more could you ask for?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Unequally Yoked

"Be ye not unequally yoked together..."

I am starting to talk to my friends and family more deeply about my recent breakup and along the way I am learning a lot about myself.  I have learned that the process of self discovery sounds very different when spoken aloud than it does spoken in my own head.

I was speaking with a good friend recently about my situation and he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since.  It is a phrase from the Bible.  I feel the need to preface the rest of this post with the information that I am not a religious person.  That said, I think there a lot of lessons that can be learned from the Bible (and from good friends over a pint of beer).  The phrase he used to describe my relationship was "unequally yoked".   He explained that if two oxen are connected to the same yoke and one is stronger than the other then they will not be able to work together to plow a straight line. 

I think this is a brilliant metaphor for my situation or any failed relationship.  The reality is we want our partner to be by our side, helping each other work towards a common goal.  We don't want our partner to be plowing ahead and leaving us in their dust or dragging behind and holding us back.  If each person is going in a different direction with a different goal then it will be impossible to "plow straight". 


I realized during our discussion that the things in my life that were really important to me were not really that important to my partner.  I have made some pretty significant discoveries about myself in the past year and a half and the more I look back the more I realize these important aspects of my life were not even on my partner's radar.  So, no matter how hard we tried we were always heading in different directions. 

Now, do not get me wrong, I do not think that my way was the right way and his way was the wrong way.  We were simply headed in different directions with different goals.  We were unequally yoked.  If anyone out there watches Oprah you know what I mean when I said this was an "ah ha" moment for me.  When you are in a relationship it is sometimes hard to see what is really going on because you are blinded by your love.  But the reality is that love is not enough.  There must also be a balance and an equality between the partners.  This must sound pretty obvious to many of you and to be honest as I write it, it sounds pretty obvious to me too.  But it wasn't until that moment that I really was able to understand and articulate the imbalance that was in my relationship.

So, armed with this new information I feel empowered and there is even a sense of calmness I am starting to feel that I haven't felt in a long, long time.  I think I am starting to get it.  I think I am going to be OK. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

PBG Recipe: Orange and Avocado Salsa

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Oprah.com.  I wasn't sure how the orange flavours would taste with the jalapeno heat but it was a great combination of sweet and salty with heat.  I ate mine with tortilla chips but it would probably be really good with chicken or fish as well.

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tangerines
1 pomegranate
1 large avocado , halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup diced red onion
jalapeno chili sauce, as much or as little as you like

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, and pepper and jalapeƱo chili sauce until salt disolves.

Remove all skin, white pith, and seeds from the tangerines, reserving any juice that's squeezed out in the process. Drain juice into a measuring cup and set aside. Cut tangerine segments into 1/2-inch pieces and add to bowl containing lemon juice.

To extract the seeds from the pomegranate, cut the fruit into quarters. Submerge the quarters in a large bowl of cold water. Using your fingers, gently detach the seeds from the membrane and rind. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Discard any pith, drain the water, blot the seeds lightly with paper towels, and add to the bowl with the tangerine segments.

Add the avocado and red onion to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients together, being careful to not mash the avocados. Add reserved orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until salsa is moist but not soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Worker

I have unfortunately been working ALL weekend.  I work for the IT department at a law firm (no I am NOT a lawyer!) and this weekend was the cut over weekend for a marketing rebranding initiative.  The short story is that we have to put new logos on all over our paper stock.  The long story is that we had to update thousands (I repeat...THOUSANDS) of document templates, application dialog boxes, telephones, signs, paper stock and much, much more.  This project has been all consuming for the past 6 weeks culminating in a week of 12 hour work days and a full weekend in the office.


So, how does one survive a weekend in the office.  For starters a whole lot of this...


Grande, nonfat peppermint mocha.  I am sure this is not good for me but it tastes ohhhh soooo good.  It also kept me motivated while I sat at my desk all alone in a very empty and very quiet office.  I kept myself busy with the requisite IT related work while listening to archived This American Life radio broadcasts.  If you have never listed to This American Life you should. 






I kept myself nourished with lots of fruit and water.  I even remembered to bring along a tasty lunch of leftover black bean soup.  The frozen leftovers lasted the whole weekend and were very yummy.




My team did a great job this weekend and worked very hard to get everything updated and ready for our cut over deadline tomorrow morning.  I know it won;t be perfect but I know my team did the best jobthey could given the short time frame and the huge amount of work that needed to be done. 


My weekend was otherwise dull with only a trip to the grocery store for supplies groceries.  I pick up the ingredients for an orange and avocado salsa.  I will share the recipe with you soon.






I have also been meaning to share with you my new haircut and colour.  I am loving it!  My new stylist did an amazing job!



I should be more in touch this week.  My plans include a vegetarian dinner made by my brother followed by Glee and a shopping trip with my mom.  I want to get something fabulous to wear to my office Holiday party.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

12 hour Work Days...

...mean no time for blog posts.  So instead of insightful writing I present to you my goofy dogs for a little comic relief.  Notice the similarities?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Suprise!!!

My weekend was a surprise party sandwiched between a roadtrip and zombies.  How was your weekend?  My weekend started with a 3 hour drive to Barrie so I could be a guest at a surprise party for one of my very best friends.  She lives far away, and I don't see her often.  But, we can go months without seeing each other and strike up a conversation like we just spoke yesterday.  This is why I love her and this is why I drove 3 hours for one night.  Because she deserved it.

Her two very best friends did a great job at arranging the surprise and decorating the house.  A good time was had by everyone.  Between the food, the chatter the drinks and the cake it was an all around good night.

The drive.
The road (in roadtrip)

The friends
The dancing!  Woot!
 
The Birthday Girl in all her glory!



The food















I stayed overnight at a friends house then met with the birthday girl and some new friends for breakfast.  Then it as back on the road for the 3 hour drive home.  I was home around 3pm but needed a nap if I was going to make it through the rest of the day.  I am in my thirties - I can not stay up late like I used to.  After a nap, a shower and some dinner it was time for zombies. 

The new AMC series "The Walking Dead" is so good.  I have to admit I am a zombie movie fan so this weekly program is right up my alley.  Scary, gory, suspenseful and awesome.  If you aren't too afraid to watch you should look for this program on AMC.  Sadly, it is only 6 episodes but hopefully they bring it back for another season. 

I am off to bed.  This is a busy, busy week at work and the days are getting longer as the deadline gets closer.  I need my sleep if I am going to be able to focus. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hugs

As you may have read here it is no secret that I like hugs.  Well, as least I didn't think it was a secret, until this week.  I had the funniest conversation this week with a friend over drinks.  I am still giggling 2 days later. Our conversation went a little something like this...

Friend:  So, I read your blog today.

Me:  Oh ya?  You read the whole thing?  Cool!  I am glad someone besides my mother is reading.

Friend:  So, you like hugs?!?

Me:  Yeah, I love hugs.  A good hug is great.  Some people just give the best hugs, ya know?

Friend:  I like hugs too!

Me:  What do you mean you like hugs?  We never hug!

Friend:  I know.  I think we need to talk about the incident.

Me:  Oh my god I know exactly what you are going to say.

Friend:  That time, at the bar.  We hadn't seen each other for a few weeks.  You came in for the hug and it was all weird and awkward.

Me:  I know.  The worst.  I figured you weren't a hugger and I had invaded your personal space so, going forward there were no more hug attempts. 

Friend:  I know.  But, it wasn't that I don't like hugs.  It was just that you snuck up behind me and I had my big bulky winter coat and the chair I was sitting in was all tall and in a weird position...Then we didn't see each other for a few weeks and then the chance to discuss the incident came and went.  And now a year later I read in your blog that you like hugs. 

Me:  And you mean this whole time we could have been hugging it out and we weren't?  All because of a bulky coat and a badly timed hello hug?

Friend:  Yep.

Me:  We should hug more.

Friend:  Yep.

I guess it might not be quite so funny in writing but I promise you it was hysterical at the time.

Have an awesome weekend.  Hugs!


Hugs make me feel sooooooooo goooooood.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Visions, My Goals

Last week I mentioned that I was going to make myself a vision board to help me focus my energy on achieving my goals.  I have always been good at achieving success but I have never been good with setting specific goals for myself.  So, I decided a vision board would help me focus.  So, what do I want to do with my life in the next five years?

I would like to get fall in love and start a family.  My family is so important to me and my mom is my best friend.  I want to have a child so that I can show that child the love and affection that I received growing up.  And I want a husband to share this love with. 


I want to travel.  I have never really made an effort to save up for a big trip or go on an exotic vacation.  I would love to go to Bali or Belize.  I would love to spend more time in northern Ontario as well.  Muskoka and cottage country are so beautiful.


I want to have a circle of friends that love and support me.  I do not have a lot of girlfriends and I am starting to recognize how important girlfriends are.  I want to have girls nights and dinner parties.  I want to be the hostess with the mostess. 

I also hope I can keep blogging and grow my readership.  I want to reach people who feel the same way I do, who have the same struggles I do.  I really want to make someone feel like they are not the only one struggling with themselves. 


I just started getting into photography in the past couple of years and I love it.  I have a creative side but I just do not have the talent to paint or draw.  Photography on the other hand offers me the ability to be creative and expressive in my own way.  I am hoping to invest in a DSLR so I can start taking my hobby more seriously. 

Needless to say, fitness will continue to be a big part of my life.  I want to stay healthy and strong but I want to do it for my own reasons, the right reasons.  For years I was trying to be a runner because I thought someone else needed me to be one.  But,  that didn't really work out.  I need to accept me (and my body) the way it is and love it no matter what.  If I make fitness a part of my life to keep me balanced and centered I can't go wrong.


These are my goals.  Some of them might be a little lofty but the great thing is that they are mine.  As I start my life over, MY WAY, I am learning to do what I want because it's what is best for me.  No longer will I be trying to achieve other people's goals.  Never again will I define my worth by someone elses opinion of me. 

So, come by and visit me in 5 years and we'll see how I made out on my VISION. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Three Projects and a Tortilla

Today was a super-duper productive day.  To start out it was a beautiful sunny fall day here in Southwestern Ontario.  The sun was shining and although it was a little on the chilly side it was still lovely.  I spent the day doing some much needed work around the house.  For starters, I headed to Rona to buy some leaf bags so I could rake the leaves in the front lawn and some sandpaper for a small renovation project.  A new bathroom fan and a small space heater were also purchased.  Oh, and I got me some workin' gloves to help with some of my projects.

Project #1:  The Stairs

When we moved into this house 2.5 years ago the stairs were covered in a very hideous blue/green carpet.  I am sure it was super fabulous in 1989 but in 2010 is was dirty, gross and ugly.  So, a couple of months ago when I just couldn't stand it anymore I ripped up all of the old carpet.  Finally, today we are ready prep and paint the stairs.  Yay!  So, my job was to remove any remaining carpet staples and carpet bits and sand all the the stairs to prepare them for priming.  It was tough work and resulted in a LOT of dust EVERYWHERE.  But the prep work is done and the stairs are ready to be primed.


The don't look so great right now, but I promise you by this time tomorrow they are going to look a whole lot better. 

Project #2:  Rake the leaves in the front yard

Let me tell you, we only have one tree in our front yard and I managed to fill 11 bags with leaves.  I couldn't believe how many leaves there were. 



While I was raking something happened that brought a smile to my heavy heart.  The woman who lives across the street - Sarah - saw me raking and raking and raking and she kindly walked across the street with a leaf bag and offered to help me finish raking my leaves.  Sadly, I did not get a chance to take her picture.  But she brought a smile to my face.


Project #3:  Bathroom ceiling fan

I can't take full credit for this project but I was responsible for holding the flashlight.  That is a very important role in any renovation.  Very important.  

After this very productive day it was time for some nutritious dinner.  I decided on a vegetarian fajita.  The filling included red and green peppers, onion and garlic.  I mixed some home made hot sauce (a birthday gift from a friend) along with some chick peas for a protein boost.  A little shredded cheddar cheese and salsa on top - all wrapped up in a spinach tortilla.


Yum!  It was so good.

Tomorrow's agenda includes some additional leave raking, this time in the back yard and also some cleaning up of my gardens so they are ready to go in the spring.  The snow could be here any day now.  I will also be priming the aforementioned staircase so we can hopefully get it painted this week. 

Did you have a productive Saturday?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do Anything...

It all started a few weeks ago.  Well, in reality it started 4 years ago but I am just coming to that realization now.  A disagreement with my boyfriend over something petty and unimportant turned into a heated discussion which turned into a break-up.  That’s right.  A break-up.  Right there in the middle of our kitchen in the home we bought together we broke up.  I was crushed.
My first instinct was panic.  “We can fix this,” I thought to myself. “We just have to work harder.”  But, a few days and a few conversations later I came to realize that we might not be able to fix it.  Maybe breaking up was the answer for us right now.  This was a hard reality for me to accept.  It literally brought me to my knees heaving and sobbing.  The right answer was not always the easy answer.  I was learning this the hard way.
A few more days passed, we both went on living our separate day-to-day lives – going to work, feeding the dogs.  We knew we had to deal with the house, the money, the dogs, but we were giving each other some time to adjust to our new situation.  I was (and still am) dealing with feelings of anger and abandonment.  He was dealing with his own issues.  We were trying to move forward but I didn’t know what the next step was supposed to be or if I would be able to take it.
I took a lot of time for myself, away from the house we shared.  I visited friends and family, trying to distract myself from the reality that was my broken home life.  I started to tell people.  Close friends already knew something was up – friends are good like that.  My family was heartbroken for me and cried along side me when I told them the news.  I have had people in my life offering support and guidance every step of the way.  Even people I hadn’t considered close friends were offering their heartfelt apologies and shoulders to cry on if needed.  It turns out I have a lot more close friends than I thought and that has been such a big help during this process.
We are taking things one day at a time because, quite frankly, that is all I can handle right now.  We are still in the house together because work needs to be done before we can move out or buy out.  As the healing process begins for me my emotions are a roller coaster of up and downs.  Some days I feel strong and confident and ready to move forward.  Other days I can barely get out of bed and I start my day with tears and heartbreak. I try hard to focus on the good times we had over the last 4 years but the pain of the heartbreak is still too raw and I am often overwhelmed with feelings of sadness. 
I find myself, on a daily basis, contemplating the situation and my role in all of it.  I am not perfect, I know this.  A close look at myself and how I have changed in the past four years has revealed that I don’t love the person that I am anymore.  Knowing that I lost myself in my own self doubt has been the hardest realization of this process.  The fact that I had allowed others to define my self worth and beauty is overwhelming to me.
Beauty is more than just a pretty smile or perfect blond hair.  Beauty is the ability to be confident, love yourself and to be proud of the person you are.  I had always been proud to be the woman who was confident in herself and strong enough to combat the overpowering influence of family, friends, lovers and the media to be what I thought they wanted me to be instead of being the strong independent woman I knew I could be.  But it seems, somewhere along the way I started to lose this battle.
This is no one’s fault but my own.  I allowed myself to be defined by other people’s goals and other people’s standards.  How could I ever expect to be happy if I was trying to live someone else’s dream?  I couldn't.  I have to define my own dreams and work to achieve my own goals if I want to be happy.  It’s funny, isn’t it, how it takes the big moments in our lives change us, to snap us out of ourselves?
If I could fix my broken relationship I would.  The heartache and sadness I feel for the loss of this friendship is deep and it is very real and if I could fix it, I would.  But I can not control other people’s feelings and I can not change the past.  What I can do is move forward with the certainty that this is my opportunity to…do anything.
Well,  if I can do anything, what am I going to do?  I am going to find me.  My goal in the coming weeks and months is to regain my sense of self and to redefine myself based on what I know is true about me.  Everything else will follow.