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!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sometimes They Don't Call

Ladies, you know what I am talking about.  You go out on a first date.  It goes well.  There are no awkward pauses in the conversation, both of you are laughing, you are looking exceptionally cute in your new yellow cardigan.  He walks you to your car and ends the evening with a hug.  You tell him you had a good time, he says he did to and that we should do it again sometime.  "Great!" you say with your biggest grin.  "I would like that." 

We all know there are stupid rules and dating games that need to be played.  So, we wait.  After a couple of days you try not to think about it but you keep checking your phone to see if you missed a call or an email.  You tell yourself he said he would call towards the end of the week and it's only Wednesday, no need to panic.  Then, Friday rolls around and still no call. 

At some point you have to acknowledge that you have been officially rejected.  You must accept that while you were having a good time on your first date he was planning an exit strategy.  You must embrace the fact that even though you are awesome and you were totally rocking your new yellow cardigan (that you got on sale shopping with your mom on Mother's Day) he felt differently.

There is a kind of relief that comes with the recognition of the rejection, don't you think?  You don't have to worry if he is going to call.  You don't have to worry that maybe yellow isn't your colour (because it is, it totally is!).  You don't have worry that maybe you said something, did something, wore something that was unpleasant.  You can just move on. 

While on the surface rejection in dating can be a hard pill to swallow we must learn to take it for what it is.  A bump in the road.  Just because someone doesn't want to date you does not mean there is anything wrong with you.  It just means that you weren't right for him.  He will find someone who is a better fit and so will you. 

So, ladies!  Chins up, yellow first date cardigans ready!  Time to head into the dating battle field with our new scars.  Proud to be single but still looking for that special someone to share your special someone (yes, YOU!) with.

Happy dating!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dating

Those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a while know that I am single.  My long tern relationship of 4 years ended in October and I decided a couple of months ago it was time to get back in the saddle and start dating again.  For starters, I am employing a little technology to help me in my search.  I have joined some online dating sites to help me find some dates.  I am pretty easy going a friendly person but find it really hard to meet new people in my day to day life.  I have a small circle of awesome friends but they are mostly new to the city and we all know mostly the same people, so there is little opportunity for blind date set-ups. 

I actually don't mind dating that much.  I am not shy and am pretty extroverted so I am able to carry a conversation with someone new fairly easily.  So far I have dated a couple of nice men but no Mr. Right just yet.  While, the actually dating part comes easily for me it is the time between dates, wondering if I should call him, should I wait to call him, is he even gonna call that I hate.  No one likes to be rejected.  And, it seems that most men are too chicken to actually reject you to your face so i find what usually happens is that the emails simply stop coming, the texts dwindle and eventually the relationship just fades away.  It would be so much easier if people were honest about how they felt.  While, I certainly do not like the idea that someone may not think I am as great as I think I am, I would much rather they told me then leave me hanging and wondering. 

The other hard part about dating is that you always have to be the cutest, funniest best version of yourself.  That can be exhausting.  I guess when you meet the right person this process is not so exhausting because you are comfortable enough to be yourself right away.  But, how do you know?

How do you know if you have met Mr. Right?  How do you even know you are in love?  I have had three significant relationships in my life all of which lasted around four years.  At the time I was sure that I was in love and he was the one.  Clearly, I was wrong.  So, again, I ask you, how do you know?  This is the hardest part.  Not knowing.  I don't trust myself anymore to make these decisions because clearly I have been wrong a lot in the past.  I like to think I know what I want in a partner but maybe I am being too selective and not giving guys enough of a chance. 

Well, as I try to figure all this out I will keep you all posted.  Maybe Mr. Right is at the grocery store buying organic veggies as we speak.  Oh, maybe the Farmer's Market is a good place to pick up?  Argh.

Source

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

PBG Book Club: The Help


The Help by Katheryn Stockett might now be one of my top 5 favourite books.  This book was soooooo good I couldn’t put it down.  One of my favourite books of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird and this book reminded me of that story in so many ways.  The storyline as well as the feel of the book is what really stuck with me.
The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962.  A young white woman, nicknamed Skeeter,  has just returned home from college with dreams of becoming a writer.  As she tries to find her voice as a writer she starts to realize that there is an injustice in her hometown, an all over the country that needs to be addressed.  Skeeter comes to realize that the stories of the local black women who work tirelessly as maids and nannies to the affluent white families need to be told.
Young Skeeter develops a relationship with Aibileen, her best friend’s maid and Aibileen’s best friend Minnie.  The three of them work together to tell their own stories as well and the stories of many of the local maids.  There are stories of love and affection along with stories of segregation and racism.    These stories are collected in a book that is bound to raise eyebrows and cause serious controversy if anyone finds out who wrote it or who it is about.
I could not put this book down.  The characters were so interesting and deep.  Young Skeeter is trying so hard to find her voice, and to do something meaningful and important with her life.  Aibileen is smart women with so much love for the children that she cares for that you can’t help but fall in love with her.  Minnie and a grumpy and harsh women but you can sense that deep down she wants to do the right thing and her heart overflows with love for the people in her life she truly cares for.  The three of them together are a force to be reckoned with in Jackson. Mississippi.
This story is full of different emotions.  It was poignant, funny and dramatic.  I also think this is an important book and an important topic.  While times have certainly changes since 1962 there are still injustices in the world and people who are not treated with respect.  And, it is important that someone is willing to speak for the marginalized people who can’t always stand up for themselves.
If you only read one book this summer you should read The Help.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Spoke Too Soon

So, in my last post I implied that Spring had sprung in London, Ontario.  Flowers were starting to bloom, there is green on the treas and the sky was blue and clear.  Well, yesterday was a different story.  I had just gotten home from work and was eating dinner while watching an episode of Mad Men on Netflix (my latest obsession...am I the only one who has a girl crush on Christina Hendricks?) when it started to thunder and rain.  "Oh well," I thought, "just another crappy Spring weekend ahead."  Then, suddenly the raid started to get very loud, unusually loud.  I looked out the window and sure enough...HAIL!  Hail pellets the size of chick peas were falling from the sky. 


Usually hail storms only last a couple of minutes then turn back into rain.  But this hail shower would not let up until my garden looked like a winter wonderland. 



The hail fell for at least 10 minutes.  I called my mom on the other side of town and she said they only had a little bit of hail.  So, even though Spring is in the air,other nature likes to remind us that she is still the one in control of this situation. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

...and all because two people fell in love


This past weekend I had the great pleasure in celebrating the impending birth of one of my best friend's first baby.  My friend Jessica is 7 months pregnant with her first baby and I could not be more excited for her.  She is one of my closest friends and I can't believe she is going to have a baby.  I have to be honest, I am not one of those women to "ohs" and "aws" over babies and children.  But, this time, it is different.  This time it is one of MY people having a baby. She is happy and glowing and I imagine more than a little terrified.  But, I know she is going to be a fantastic mother.  Her partner Sean is supportive and loving.  I like watching them together when they are not paying attention.  He looks at her and rubs her belly.  It is beautiful that they seem to be so much in love.  


The baby shower was hosted by Jessica's best friend Hailie.  Hailie and her family pulled together a very fun and entertaining co-ed baby shower.  If you are not familiar a co-ed baby shower is really just a party with baby presents and games involving baby food and pinning the sperm on the egg.  

Of course the presents were pink and adorable for Baby Girl Barber.  A name has been chosen but apparently it is a secret for now.  There were onsies and receiving blankets, party dresses and adorable socks.  There was even a ballerina tutu and a bottle of tequila.  I had such fun watching Jess and Sean open all of their gifts.  I can't believe we start out as such small and helpless creatures and we grow into mothers and fathers.  Amazing!


At any party that is hosted by Hailie and her friends and family you can be sure there is going to be music.  Sure enough, well into the evening good friends and family brought out their instruments and warmed up their voices for over an hour of rock and roll blues jamming.  I am told that one of the songs was even a family original that all the children wrote and performed themselves.  It was amazing to see all the friends and family of the lovely couple enjoying the music and celebrating the new member that will soon join this large and close knit family. 

Congratulation Sean and Jess!  May your future be full of love.













Monday, May 2, 2011

Canada Votes...One More Time with Feeling

It's Election Day in Canada...again.  It seems like every time we turn around we are in a position to vote these days.  I am the first one to admit that I know next to nothing about politics.  In fact, this will be the first time in all my 33 years that I have taken the time to vote for my country.  I know, I know.  It is shameful that I haven't voted until now.  My mom keeps reminding me of that fact.  In my defence, I recognize that my lack of vote means I didn't have a voice so I rarely complained about the government.  But, this time, it was different. 

To be honest, I still hate politics and still don't know that much about the process or the system.  But, this year I made an effort to research the candidates and the Parties and made an informed decision about who to vote for.  There are a lot of issues that are important to me this time around:  the economy, local agriculture, sustainable energy, Health Care and families. 

What I am finding the most irritating when discussing politics with most (but not all) of my friends and co-workers is that the one and only issue that people seem to care about is taxes.  Of course, no body WANTS to pay more taxes but the reality is that it is going to cost money, a lot of money, to fix our economy, continue to provide health care and social service programs and create sustainable energy and resources.  None of these things are going to be resolved without money.  And when the government needs money typically we pay more taxes.  I am not saying this is a great set-up but what I am saying is that I wish people would look beyond their wallets when making their decisions to vote this year. 

Think of all the things that are most important to you right now. Your job? Your family?  Your health?  Vote with your head, not with your wallets and Canada will be a far greater place.