Friday, November 11, 2011

Grief

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this post.  A close family friend died unexpectedly in a car accident this week while travelling out of country for work.  I can not even begin to imagine the sadness and sorrow that his family is feeling at this time. 

I am still in shock with the news and find myself unable to really focus on anything else these past few days.  Every day since I heard the news I have been on the verge of tears.  Usually I can hold it in but despite my best efforts have had a few public displays of sadness.  I have only told a few of my friends of this tragedy as I do not want to unload my sadness on everyone.  But, for those that do know they have been so helpful and supportive.  Their sincere and warm hugs when they greet me always bring the tears to my eyes that I have been holding back all day.  This may sound strange but when you are single and alone and you are dealing with a personal tragedy the one thing you miss the most is the contact and affection of a loving partner.  I don’t think my friends realize how important their hugs and kisses really are to me.

The sadness I feel lately is a combination of this particular tragedy along with some other life changing events that have happened in the past few weeks that I have not yet mentioned.  I was also told a few weeks ago that my job was being eliminated and that if I wanted to stay with the Firm I could take on a different role within the department.  I felt like a loser and a failure when I head the news.  I obviously decided to take the position as I do not want to be unemployed at a time when the economy is so flakey. 

But again, during a time when I was down and low my friends came through for me.  My co-workers found out the news and were as shocked as I was.  So many of my co-workers came to me and asked me to stay with the Firm.  They would miss me if I left and though they had no control over the situation they would do what they could to help and support me.  I have felt truly appreciated and wanted in my office these past few weeks during my transition.  And, this life change made me realize that while I may see myself as a failure my friends, family and co-workers clearly see me as an asset.

Lately, I find myself battling grief and sadness all day every day.  And, while I know things will get better and I know things will change, for now, my grief is overwhelming.  So, for those of you that know me, if I do not seem like myself, it’s because I am not.  If I look like I need a hug, I do.  But be prepared because I might not let go!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cupcakes and Stragglers

Do you have any friends that are super talented?  They have a skill, a small business or a talent that is just out of this world and you would be so happy to just see them succeed?  I am lucky enough to have met a few friends in the past year that fall directly into this category.  I wanted to take a moment to recognize them and give them a free plug for what it is worth.

Sweets by Ashley

When most single women go out to a bar with their friends they usually try to find the best looking single man in the bar and try to work their womanly ways on him.  I on the other hand go to a bar and pick up a girl that makes cupcakes.  If I have to choose between a stinky beer drinking boy or a retro Cupcake Fairy I will choose the Cupcake Fairy every time.  And this is how I came to be friends with Ashley Burt of Sweets by Ashley.  Ashley works part time baking and creating cupcakes and other desserts that are out of this world.  Imagine a cupcake with a Reese's Peanut Butter cup baked into the bottom.  Yep, Ashley did that.  Not only are her cupcakes to die for, her eye for design and artistic ability make her creations as beautiful as they are tasty.  I have ordered cupcakes from Ashley on several occasions for both personal events and for my Social Committee at work.  Everyone always raves about how yummy her treats are and I just can't argue. 

So, if you are craving a cupcake fix be sure to stop by Ashley's website and order a dozen or two.  You can always share your leftovers with me.  I won't mind.

The Stragglers


Truth be told I don't really listen to a lot of mainstream music.  I tend to like my music acoustic and depressing with a dash of heartbreak thrown in for good measure.  However, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark this past summer and learned that maybe I should expand my musical tastes just a little.  Mark is the lead singer in a local punk band called The Stragglers.  Just to be clear, I do not normally listen to punk music but Mark invited me to a show this summer and I was more than happy to support him and his band.  And, you know what?  I actually really enjoyed the show. Mark is a talented singer and the rest of the band is equally skilled.   

The Stragglers play local venues and shows when they can and have recently released an EP.  I believe it is so important to support local talent...especially in the music industry.  So, check out The Stragglers the next time you feel like expanding your musical library.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

PBG Recipe: PB & J Sandwich Cookies

To be honest, this is not so much a recipe as it is just a really, really good idea.  Peanut butter.  Jam.  Cookies.  How can these three things together ever be wrong...well, they can't.  Just take a look...


This recipe is super simple but it will please all of the Peanut Butter lovers in your house, I guarantee.  Simple bake up a batch of your favourite sugar cookies and let them cool.  Cover one cookie with your favourite nut butter and another with your favourite jam.  Sandwich them together and voila!  Cookie awesomeness is born.

Need a closer look? 


Now, go make these yourself.  Do it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PBG Recipe: Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies


I adapted this recipe from several I found on my favourite food sights.  I used half whole wheat flour for some health benefits and replaced half the butter with almond butter because I am a sucker for nut butter.  The end product is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Perfect for breakfast as a snack with a glass of milk. 



Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup Almond Butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
4. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture.
5. Stir in the oats, cranberries and walnuts.
6. Chill the dough for 20 minutes in the fridge and then scoop cookies onto a sheet. The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in). Take them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.
8. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sick and Tired

Things have been very hectic around here the past couple of weeks.  I am working on a major project at work that has insanely tight deadlines.  Plus, playing Dodgeball on Monday night, Book club on Tuesday night, All Sort of Sports on Wednesday and I have a Floor hockey double header for two different teams tomorrow night.  Phew.  And to top it all off I got a solid elbow to the cheek last night playing Floor Hockey with my All Sorts of Sports team.  So far my cheek is only red and a little swollen - I think the only bruising is on my ego this time.

I think my body is starting to rebel against my very busy schedule.  I woke up feeling groggy with a headache and stomach ache this morning.  I decided to call in sick and take the day to rest on the couch with some tea and a good book.  I am sure I will feel better in no time.  I know that my body is telling me to slow down, so I should probably listen to it.  But, there is just so much going on and so many new friends to meet that I can't bring myself to rest just yet. 

Just last night I had a post game celebration with my All Sorts of Sports team.  I am new to this team and really only knew one of the girls before I started.  The team is awesome even if they are a little crazy.  As an example of their overall craziness our team name is the Super Mega Ultra Turbo Sharks...SMUTS for short.  Too funny!  We had some Gretzky Pasta (don't ask) and garlic bread while I supplied Celebration Cupcakes and Two Bite Brownies for dessert.  We chatted, watched a vampire movie, had a few drinks and headed home.  I am so happy that my team mates are awesome.  I have played on teams in the past that I did not really bond with and it is just not as much fun. 

So, I have a double header of Floor Hockey tonight to finish off my sports for the week.  I am hoping to go to the movies on Friday night and will be participating in a Games Night on Saturday night with some friends.  Should be a total blast!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PBG Book Club: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb



We read this book for my book club.  It was not my favourite book.  It seemed like more of a "story" than a novel.  I also found it a little confusing keeping all the the characters straight.  I thought it was interesting and tells an important story bur just not very compelling   It also gave me a new perspective on what is/was happening in Vietnam which is a country I know very little about.


 

The next bookclub read is The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross.


Some books on my shelf I have been meaning to tackle:

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
World War Z by Max Brooks (yes, this is about Zombies!)

I just love a good book.  What are yu reading right now?  I am always looking for suggestions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day of the Undead

How is your weekend going so far?  So far mine has been ok. 

Something pretty cool happened to me last week.  A stranger recognized me from my blog.  I could not believe it.  I was waiting some my team mates to get into the gymnasium where we would be playing floor hockey.  I was just subbing on this team for a friend so I did not really know everybody.  As we were making the introductions I got to chatting with one of our players.  After a couple of minutes he asked me if I wrote a blog.  I said I did and he said that he was actually readiing my blog recently.  So random and so exciting!  This brief interaction inspired me to start writing again.  Knowing that there is someone out there who is no my mom or my best friend that is reading my blog is kind of exciting.  Very Cool! 

I had a little too much fun with some friends on Friday night so yesterday was a bit of a write off.  I think this is just a sympton of my recent unexpected feelings about the anniversary of my break up this week.  The last time I did this to myself was the weekend my ex moved out.  Notice a pattern?  Clearly not my best judgement.  A friend gave me some great advice recently.  She said, the first year after a break up is the hardest because all of your memories surrounding birthdays and special days probably include your old partner.  But, after the first year is over, you have made new memories that do not include him.  These new memories are what you can look back on going forward, and maybe not feel quite so alone or sad on what are supposed to be special days.  

I have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks for the first time in my life I am not looking foward to it.  I am thinking about things that never used to cross my mind.  I think about how old I am, and just getting older.  I think about the fact that my life is not what I expected it to be at this age.  I worry that I am getting too old, and that time is running out for me to meet someone and have a family.  I know all of my friends and family try their best to convince me that I am not THAT old, and that I don't need to worry.  They are all certain I will meet someone and find the love that I deserve.  How can they be so sure?

Despite my hangover and personal funk that I have been in I did manage to make it over to my brother's for some awesome home made lasagna and Ceaser Salad.  It was amazing, as usual.  My brother is a very talented cook.  We also watched the movie Win Win last night.  It is a lovely and inspiring movie about a man (Paul Giamatti) who is a little down on his luck who establishes a relationship with the grandson of a man he is helping out. Spending the afternoon with my brother and sister-in-law (and my parents who also stopped in for a quick visit) was exactly what I needed yesterday.  My brother and I did not always get along growing up.  But, as an adult he has become my strongest supporter and my loudest cheerleader.  He would do anything for me, I know he would.  And I love him for it. 

My game plan for today includes a shopping trip with my mom...woo hoo!  And also pizza and zombies with my friend Drew.  As it turns out he is also a fan of the AMC seris The Walking Dead.  As I do not have a television I was worried Imight not be able to watch the season premier on tonight.  But, thankfully Drew came through with an invititation for pizza and a mini zombie marathon tonight.  Sweet!  I can't wait.

Have a great lasy Sunday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Lot Can Happen In a Year


It's been too long since we talked.  Sorry about that.  Life got in the way.
I am supposed to be sleeping right now.  It’s late, I am tired and I have to get up and go to work tomorrow just like every other weekday.  But, I can’t sleep.  This week, despite my best efforts, has not been a good week.  I was a year ago this week that a significant long term relationship ended.  I thought I was OK.  I thought I was dealing with it – not over it, but dealing with it at least.  As it turns out, I was wrong.
I have spent this week in a funk.  More tears than usual, in fact, more tears than I thought I had left in me over this relationship.  I know for certain that I do not miss this individual and do not want him to be a part of my life.  But, I guess I am still grieving the loss of daily companionship and friendship.  I miss having someone around.  I miss having a built in movie date on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I miss the strong confident woman I used to be.  That is what I am grieving.
I did not like the person I was when the relationship was finally over and it is taking me a while to find the old “me” again.  This last relationship really changed me in ways that I am not proud of.  I lost who I was.  I spent all of my time and energy focusing on his life, his dreams and his needs and when I couldn’t make him the center of my attention anymore it all fell apart.  So, when it was all over, I didn’t know how to be my own cheerleader anymore.
There have been a few things that have really helped me in the past year.  I have made new friends, re-established my social circle and had some really great times this summer.  In fact, the friends I have made in the past couple of years are some of the best friends I have ever had.  They are kind and loving and a whole tonne of fun.  They were there for me (when I finally let them in) when I needed them the most with hugs and words of kindness.  They are here for me now with dating advice – some good, some not so good.  And I really hope they are around for years and years to come.
If it had not been for the support of my friends and family this past year I am not sure I would have made it this far.  I don’t think they know how important they were/are in my (ongoing) healing process.  I hope they read this and realize how much I love them for their kindness.
So, with this post I am here to announce that I am on my way back.  Back to the blogsphere, back to being me and back to my life with positive intentions and looking towards the future.  It’s going to take some time but I will get there.  I hope you are with me when I arrive.

Monday, August 1, 2011

PBG Recipe: Best. Brownies. Ever.

Last week I made the world’s best brownies, for the second time.  I made them the first time for the family to try.  I had never made brownies before but I know that I like my brownies to be fudgy, not cakey.  I also like them to be very rich and chocolaty with the added crunch of nuts.  After searching the web for the perfect recipe I came up with my interpretation of brownies.  And, if I do say so myself, they were easy and super tasty.  These will certainly be my go-to recipe for an easy chocolate treat.  They are the perfect compliment to vanilla ice cream.
Make these now.  You won’t regret it. 

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9-inch square baking tin with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side.  Lightly grease the parchment paper with butter or cooking spray.
2.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.   Add the chocolate and with a spatula, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
3.  Whisk in the sugar until well combined.
4.  Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
5.  Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift in the flour.  Whisk batter vigorously for 1 full minute, until batter loses its graininess and becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
6.  Add the chopped nuts and with the wooden spoon, stir to combine.
7.  Pour batter into prepared baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until the centre feels almost set, do not over-bake.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Giant Metal Chicken

I am so busy,  and I am sure you have noticed a shortage of posts as a result.  So, rather than write something whitty myself I am totally going to link you to the funniest things I have read online in a long time.  This story is freakin' hilarious. 

I give you, Beyonce, the Giant Metal Chicken....

http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

Monday, July 18, 2011

Casual Confidence

As you may remember I have been back in the dating game since about March after the end of a long and important relationship in October.  I waited six months before even attempting to date and it has taken me a while to find my groove.  
Out of the dating gate I met a very nice young man through an online dating service.  He had a car, a house and a dog.  He also had the best job ever – he made ice cream.  And not just any ice cream.  Hagen Daas ice cream.  My friends thought that this reason alone made him a good catch, and I didn’t disagree.  He was friendly, and pleasant, always respectful and kind.  Unfortunately, in the end he was also very intense and was moving WAY too quickly for me.  So, after about 6 weeks I had to end it.
Around this time my friend Amanda “set me up” with a friend of hers.  He was tall and handsome.  He played sports and loved children.  I knew he was younger than me but wasn’t sure exactly how much younger.  I am OK with dating a younger man, but I do have some limits.  So, when his birthday rolled around shortly after our third date I decided to ask.  As it happens he was 10 years! younger than me.  10 years!  I am sure I gasped when he told me.  Shortly thereafter we stopped dating and my friend Amanda was fired from any future matchmaking duties.
The next guy I dated was the exact opposite of Ice Cream guy.  He was friendly enough but very reserved and clearly was holding back emotionally.  We had 5 or 6 dates and the only physical contact we had was an awkward pat-on-the-back hug at the end of each date.  While I don’t expect my dates to ravage me like a romance novel character, I do expect some affectionate touching so I know you are interested.  After a month or so I decided I had to end this short-lived relationship too.
After 3 failed attempts at establishing a solid relationship my confidence was waning and I was worried that I had lost all of my flirting skills during my last monogamous relationship and I might not get them back.  It was official, I had lost my mojo.  This was a horrible realization for me.  I used to be an expert flirt.  Meeting men was never this difficult when I was in my 20s.  Was I getting to old, to fat, too desperate?  GAH!
So, I took a break from dating for a while and just decided to not push things too much.  Maybe I was being too proactive.  Maybe a laid back approach might be better.  I had recently realized that one of my issues with meeting men was that I was always out with guy friends.  And, as much as I love them, they put a serious cramp in my game when they are around.  So, last week, some girl friends from work and I (Kate, Jessica and Tiffany – best wing women ever!) decided to have a girls night out on the town. 
Girls night out was a HUGE success.  I decided to take my friend’s advice and approach things a little differently this time around.  Usually I am the girl in the heels and the skirt, full makeup and jewellery, nails done and ready to rock.  Apparently, this can be a little intimidating or overwhelming for guys.  They like to keep things simple.  So, this time out I wore flats (flats!!!  I never wear flats out!), jeans and a simple tank top.  I wore almost no makeup and only a simple necklace to jazz things up a bit. 

 
And you know what?  It worked.  It turns out Kate and Jess were right.  Considering one of them is married and one of them is in a 5 year committed relationship I guess they probably know what they are talking about.  I felt confident and relaxed and soon enough I was striking up a conversation with a very handsome guy.  Now, the most exciting part of this story (well, it was exciting for me!) was that this very handsome guy actually ASKED FOR MY NUMBER!  Usually, I am the one who takes the initiative to ask for numbers but he beat me to it, which was awesome.  And, not only did he ask for my number he also specifically asked to meet up at an event a few days later.  I was all smiles on the way home and I may have fist bumped my girl friend Kate.  That right, fist bump.  I did meet up with this very hot man a few days later and it looks like an official date is in our immediate future.
So, the moral of the story?  Casual and relaxed confidence beats dolled up fake coolness any day of the week







Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Love Summer

In Southwestern Ontario Summer is a fleeting moment.  So short that if you don't pay attention you might miss it.  But, for the 8 weeks a year that we can be almost certain it is not going to snow, it is awesome.  This past weekend was Canada Day weekend and it was super.  The weather was hot and sunny most of the time and just enough rain to save me from having to water my gardens.  I treated myself to an extra long weekend and took Monday off as well. 


The weekend was spent chillin in the back yard, visiting friends for a bbq and taking a road trip with my parents to see some local sights.  Overall it was a good weekend.  To make things even better I am off work all next week as well.  I am not planning any extended vacation time but I will certainly be going to the beach and enjoying lunches on a patio with a cold beer.  Here are some pictures of how my summer has been shaping up so far.











Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Reading List and an Apology









For starters I want to apologize to the few of you who do read my blog.  Life has been crazy and I have been in a bit of a funk lately so blogging took a bit of a back burner. 

To make it up to you I want to give some reading inspiration.  These are some of the books I have either already read or plan to read this summer.  The list is long and diverse.  With no television reading has become my primary source of entertainment and I am not complaining one bit.  Here are some of my recent favourites and upcoming reads.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (one of my top 5 favourite books of all time!!!)
  • Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay (so sad)
  • The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (so interesting!)
  • Every Last One by Anna Quindlan (just finished, started slow but finished strong)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (currently reading)
  • The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (funny, quick read)
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (next on the list for my book club)
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (I read The Road and can't wait to read this)
  • The Success Principles by Jack Caufield (recommended by a friend)
 So, do any of these sound interesting?  What will you be reading on the beach this summer?


Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Secret Garden

I spent all day gardening.  I was literally working on my gardens from 8:45am - 3:30pm today.  Thankfully, my mom stopped by around 12:30 to lighten my workload a little.  We turned the soil, weeded, edged and raked all of my gardens in the front, back and side yards.  This is no small task. 

Once everything looked clean and fresh we headed off to the garden centre to pick up some plants to fill a few empty spaces.  We MAY have stopped for a Marble Slab Creamery ice cream treat before heading home.  It is important to stay cool and refuel when gardening you know.  Once we got back from our excursion it was time to plant all the new stuff in their intended homes. 

My mom is a rock star gardening guru and the time spent working was actually pleasant with her to talk to and offer her sage gardening advice.  She has taught me a lot about gardening and I am so glad she is around to help.  I have a lot of gardens to manage all by my self and she made things seem easy.

My gardens now look like this...

Front Yard

Back Yard

Back Yard

Back Yard

Back Yard
I also planted some tomato plants and a small herb garden this year.  This will be my first attempts at growing something I am supposed to eat...I love fresh tomatoes in the summer and I can't wait to see if these bare some lovely salad additions.  Yum!

Basil, Lemon Grass and Rosemary
Once all the work was done it was time to play.  Bella has been learning to catch a Frisbee for the past year.  She is so quick and determined when we play.  It is amazing to watch.  She is a true doggie athlete.  Look at that form!!!  Remarkable. 




Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mad Men is Good for My Body Image?!

I love Mad Men.  More specifically, I love Christine Hendricks.  She is the most beautiful women on television.  Her character Joan is sexy and stylish and smart AND she is around a size 10.  No not a size 0 a size ten.  My basic google researching skills have uncovered that although her bra size is a little bigger than mine we are about the same size and have similar measurements.  This is an amazing revelation for me.  

I have never been the petite girl.  At almost 5'9 tall it is impossible to be petite.  Even in high school when I was at my thinnest (20lbs less than I am now) I still had curves.  Like most women I have days that I feel fat or ugly but for a long time I was always confident with my curves.  Unfortunately, my most recent long term relationship did a number on my confidence.  I never felt pretty enough or skinny enough or fit enough with my last partner. 

Now, just over 6 months since we ended our relationship I finally seem to be reclaiming my body and my beauty.  I have gained a little weight but I am trying to embrace my curves this time, not fight them.  Sure, I could work out more, eat less ice cream or train to run a marathon but none of these things would make me happy or make me feel better about who I am.  I am learning to accept myself as I am and only then will I be able to make any lasting changes. 

I by no means think that embracing your body is an excuse to get fat and eat junk food, but I do think the depriving yourself of all the foods that you love and wasting all your free time at the gym is never going to make anybody happy.  I would much rather have a glass of wine on Girls Night then have to spend an hour on the treadmill.  That is who I am, that is what makes me happiest on the inside.  I know that I eat healthy 80% of the time, I am not worried about my health. 

Learning to be the best version of yourself is hard, really hard...but I am giving it a shot.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Painting, Threading and Tinting

It is a long weekend here in Canada.  It marks the unofficial start of the summer season.  Many young people mark this weekend with camping or cottage excursions.  Homeowners take this extra time to plant their flowers and clean up their yards.  It is probably the most anticipated long weekend of the while year in my opinion. 

I started my long weekend off with a bang and booked an extra day off on Friday so I could have an extra, extra long weekend.  As it turned out my good friend Lulu was also off work on Friday so we spent the morning together getting pedicures.  I picked a lovely pinky orange colour.  


We then had lunch on a patio drinking white wine Sangria and being served by the very handsome Steele - our server at Bertoldi's.  He was handsome, tall, rugged AND had an Australian accent.  Sigh.  Needless to say it was a good lunchtime patio session.

After our lunch I dropped Lulu off at home then headed to the spa for some Spring clean-up.  I got my eyebrows threaded and for the first time ever I got my eyelashes tinted.  I was super excited about the eyelash tinting as I hate wearing mascara in the summer - it always ends up under my eyes instead of on my eyelashes. 

I was so pleased with the results of my eyelash tinting I am sure I will be going back.  I am naturally blond and as a result my eyelashes are very light.  The lash tinting dyed them a very dark blue/black and the look amazing.  I don't have to wear mascara and my eyes pop now even when I don't wear make-up.  I took some before and after pictures so I could compare the difference.  I think the results are awesome!


After a day of pampering I came home and cut the grass.  With all the rain and warm weather we have been having in London my backyard looked like a wheat field.  The grass was super tall and thick.  I actually overheated the lawnmower trying to hack my way through the grassy tundra.  But, I finished just in time to avoid some brief rain showers that rolled in at dinnertime. 

After whipping up a quick dinner I hopped in the shower and headed back over to Lulu's to enjoy some with with Lulu, her fiance and the best man for their wedding.  It was a low key night and we ended up inside playing darts once it got too chilly to sit outside. 

Overall I have a really great start to my long weekend.  The rest of the weekend is looking pretty low key with not big plans as of yet.  They are calling for rain and thunderstorms tomorrow so I may venture into the kitchen to bake something yummy.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Compliments

A compliment is defined as:
  • an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration: A sincere compliment boosts one's morale.
  • a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard: The mayor paid him the compliment of escorting him.
  • compliments, a courteous greeting; good wishes; regards: He sends you his compliments.
I love compliments. I love to give them and I love to receive them. I will not hesitate to compliment a random stranger on their shoes or their purse if I really do love them. I have to be honest; one sincere compliment from a friend or stranger can literally change my entire day for the better. I walk a little taller, feel a little prettier and smile from ear to ear. It truly means a lot to me when someone has something positive to say about me or the work that I do and I want them to know that their kindness does not go unnoticed.
 
I used to be terrible at receiving compliments always believing the person was just being polite but didn’t really mean what they were saying. However, in the past few years I have tried to change my response to compliments and embrace them for the goodness that they hold. I now try to accept compliments with graciousness and gratitude. And you know what? It feels great!
 
Since I know how good a compliment makes me feel I am always quick to pipe up if I think someone deserves a compliment. I want to make them feel as good as I feel. And, if they feel good maybe they will pass that happiness to someone else in their life – pay it forward.
 
So, the next time you are standing in a crowded elevator and you notice the woman standing next to you is wearing some hot stilettos be sure to let her know. It will make her day just a little bit brighter, I promise.
 

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Second Dates and Self Discovery

I just discovered Adele.  I am in love with her music and her style - she is beautiful.  This particular song is one of my favourites.  It makes my heart ache.  It is so beautiful.
It is yet another cold and dreary Spring day in London, Ontario.  I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of this terrible weather.  We have had just a few days of lovely sunshine this spring but for the most part it has been cold and wet.  Boo!  I want to be wearing sun dresses, sandals and sunglasses.  Instead, this morning I had to put on long pants, a sweater and my leather jacket. 
On a brighter note I ventured into second date territory with a new suitor this week.  He is the friend of a friend.  It was sort of a set-up situation (thank you Amanda!).  We had coffee on Sunday evening then had a Bookstore Browsing date last night.  I chose not to wear the first date yellow cardigan as mentioned in my previous post just in case it had some bad karma associated with it.  This seems to have been a good strategy as things are going splendidly.
As far as what I decided to differently this time.  I decided to break with traditional gender roles and asked him out rather than wait for him to ask me out.  This is always a tricky situation in my opinion.  Some men prefer to be the aggressor and instigator in relationships and it can be a turn off if a woman is too aggressive.  But, the reality is that I am an extroverted person.  I am not even the slightest bit shy and I am rarely embarrassed.  Also, this is part of my personality, part of who I am, so I might as well show him the good stuff right out of the gate and he can make a decision then and there if I am too much to handle. 
Much to my delight he said yes.  I am realizing more and more how important it is to really be yourself in dating situations – in all aspects of your life.  If I had played the shy and bashful roll (which is the exact opposite of my true personality) I may never have gone on the date in the first place, and that would have been a sad shame. 
I know that while the way that I am can make me a difficult person at times, it also makes me the outgoing and social butterfly that I love to be.  My extroverted personality traits are truly what I love the most about myself and I want my partner to love these things about me too.  So, regardless of the long term outcome of this budding relationship I have learned just a little bit more about myself, and that is always a good thing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pillows, a Puppy and Some Peanut Butter

My weekend had been pretty chill.  Had a fantastic bbq dinner on Friday night at my mom's.  My brother was the chef and it was his belated Mother's Day gift to my mom.  And let me tell you, when my brother is cooking you can be guaranteed a fantastic meal.  Do I need to remind you of the home made pizza night?  I didn't think so.

Saturday morning was spent at a local Farmer's Market.  I picked up some fresh local organic eggs, some kale to try my hand at making some kale chips, some multi coloured carrots (purple and yellow!) and some heavenly foccacia bread with roasted red peppers baked in.  YUM! 

The afternoon was spent at HomeSense.  While at HomeSense I made an amazing find.  Some rattan chairs for my living room.  Now, before you start thinking my living room is going to look like the set from the Golden Girls, I promise you these are very cool.  Not old lady Florida I promise.  Then, of course I had to purchase some coordinating pillows to pull the whole look together.  I think it all looks great.  Plus, if you look closely you will see the postcard pillow has Bella's name on it.  What do you think?





Last night I hit up the movie Bridesmaids with my new friends from work, Jessica.  I don't usually love comedies but I have to say this one was laugh out loud funny.  I would describe it as The Hangover for women.  My friend was actually crying at one point. 

Today I am doing laundry (I hate laundry!!) and am currently baking a batch of Peanut Butter Granola in the oven.  It smells heavenly.  I am also sharing the couch with Bella this afternoon.  Catahoula couch Cuddles are the best way to spend a rainy Sunday.  However, she was less than thrilled to have her photo taken.  Apparently I was interrupting her beauty sleep.  Oops!