Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Resolution I wish I stuck with

The ride to Conquer Cancer. I went to the orientation and got scared. The presenter made it seem daunting and unachievable. I was afraid of not being able to make it the 200 km and failing. Or not making the expected $2500 in donations and sponsorships. What I should have done was just go for the gusto. A lady I work with did it and she said she saw kids on BMXs and people on cruisers. The whole point of the ride was for it to be difficult because cancer is not this easy ride that professionals face.

They are holding another ride to conquer cancer again this year. I am still on the fence.

And this concludes the best of 2009 series. I think this was a great way to reflect back upon the year. Here is to an amazing 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

62 books in 62 weeks

As part of my 30 before 30 challenge, one of the items is to read a book every 2 weeks.
30 of the books must be non-fiction.

This is where I will list them.

1. Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley (finished January 7, 2011) F
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (finished January 13, 2011) NF
3. The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary (finished January 28, 2011) F
4. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (finished February 3, 2011) F
5. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe (finished February 13, 2011)F
6. A Fairly Honourable Defeat by Iris Murdoch (finished March 5, 2011) F
7. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (finished May 22, 2011) F
8. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (finished June 19, 2011) NF
9. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (finished June 29, 2011) NF
10.The Difference by Jean Chatzy (finished July 23, 2011) NF
11.Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf (finished August 4, 2011) NF
12. How to Make Love like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson (finished August 21, 2011)NF
13. It's All in Your Head by Stephen M. Pollan (finished September 12, 2011) NF
14. The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (finished September 12, 2011) NF
15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roal Dahl (re-read September 16, 2011) F
16.The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (finished November 16, 2011) F
17. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (finished November 21 2011) F
18. My week with Marilyn by Colin Clark (finished January 2 2012) NF
19. Ron Jeremy: The hardest (working) man in showbiz by Ron Jeremy (finished January 4 2012) NF
20. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson(finished January 22, 2012) NF
21. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (finished January 23, 2012) F
22.Poke the Box: When was the last time you did something for the very first time by Seth Godin (finished February 19, 2012) NF
23. The Wealthy Barber Returns by Dave Chilton (Finished February 25, 2012) NF
24. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (March 22, 2012)NF
25. Lessons in Falling by T.B.Perry (March 26 2012) F
26.Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper (April 10, 2012) NF
27. Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel (April 30, 2012) NF
28. Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon (May 3, 2012) F
29. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (June 13, 2012) NF
30. Locavore by Sarah Elton (June 27, 2012) NF
31. The Road Less Traveled (July 4, 2012) NF
32. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (July 29, 2012) F
33. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World  (August 2 2012) NF
34.The Cat Who Came in from the Cold: A Fable (July 31 2012) F
35.Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (October 5 2012) NF
36.How Will You Measure Your Life? (October 10 2012) NF




Join me on Goodreads to see any reviews and to check out my "bookshelf"

Advertisment of 2009

I think that the Fun Theory Ad Campaign from Volkswagen have the best ads of 2009. The idea of making things fun to encourage people to be better is a fantastic idea and definitely helps Volkswagen achieve the image they are going after.
Check out the link if you have never watched any of the theories. My favorite is the bottle bank, but the most well known is the piano stairs I think.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Laugh

The best night of laughing in 2009 was J's stagette. The pin the "tail" on the groom game, the scavenger hunt, the limo ride, and the multiple bars and pubs we stopped at all led to one of the best girls nights out I have ever had.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009: A year in pictures


The best stationary of 2009 came in the form of cards... hand made at an event for AIDS Calgary. We made over 100 Holiday cards to be placed in the clients's gift baskets. The evening was filled with laughter, hot apple cider and creative juices. Working together led to collaborations of ideas and hopefully 100 plus people will feel the care that was put into each card.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Social Web Moment

The social web moment of 2009 was getting my dad (hooked) on facebook. He thought it wasn't something he would use or enjoy. After I showed him how to find old friends using his high school graduating year, as well as how handy it is for keeping in touch with his 5 kids and 5 or so grand kids and utilizing the website to find family members from all over the world, he fell in love with social media. That was really cool for teach my dad something after so many years of learning stuff from him. Sure he is my go-to guy when I need something fixed or built, but now he has a go-to girl when he has questions about uploading albums, finding people, or posting links. Its a nice feeling to give back to your parents.

And just for fun, here is a picture of my dad and I in Latvia in 2008:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aha moment...

My Aha moment of 2009 came on my road trip to Lethbridge with a work friend. She was given hosting duties of our companies Box at the arena and I was her date. We were going to watch Holiday on Ice where I was able to watch Jamie Sale and David Pelltier live AND I obtained Kurt Browning's autograph. One might think my Aha moment was that I should pursue my childhood dream of being an Olympic figure skater, but that wasn't it. Ashley and I were discussing our futures and what we wanted on the 2 and a half hour drive and I mentioned that I would ultimately love to work with a charity, giving back to people, changing lives. I had begun discussions with another friend about this in October, but wasn't sure which avenue I should take. Ashley told me should look into professional fundraising as I am always trying to round the troops up with their wallets for various causes. It was like a light went on in my head...this dream is to be continued as I look for ways to utilize what I am good at in 2010 and possible find a way to make a career out of it.

Friday, December 25, 2009


There were so many gifts today of things I wanted and didn't even know that I wanted or needed them. My mom had read my blog entry about my intention to drink more tea in 2010 and put together a tea gift for me with about 12 different kinds of loose leaf tea, a tea infuser mug set, a timer and other tea gadgets. She also picked me up a food processor after my blender started smoking from the 12 days of cookies.

I look back over the year and think about gifts I have received -- the helicopter tour of NYC from my parents for my birthday, my CD alarm clock from Adam for my birthday, the beautiful necklace from Chuckles picked up on her adventure in the Dominican, the necklace from J for being her bridesmaid. I have some fantastic friends and family that truly know who I am.

Adam bought me a triop aquarium for Christmas! I am excited to set this up and hopefully my little swamp monsters will last longer than a couple of weeks. Adam also bought me a new camera. I intend to learn all of this cameras functions and document 2010 in the best way possible.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Learning Experience

2009 seemed to hold lots of little life lessons. Learning the steps to buy a house top them. Learning my dog is on her last legs of life was a tough one. Learning that I am considered a key member of the department team at work was a fantastic one.

I want 2010 to have better learning experiences. I learned a lot about anger, sadness and hurt in 2009. I learned that for someone I may never be enough. I am still dealing with that today. It won't matter how much I do, it feels like I will never do enough. What i need to learn and what i would have loved to have written today is that i learned that I am fact more than enough this year. Here is hoping in 2010 that learning experience will come.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Web Tool

Today's prompt is the best web tool of 2009. Something that came into my life this year and made my online experience simpler or easier. I can't really think of a single thing. One might say Tweetdeck, a tool every presenter who provided a seminar about social media that I had to attend for work recommended the participants set up. BUT although it's nice to have all the status updates of facebook and twitter in one place, I still receive the same information by actually going to the sites. And being as I do other things when I am on the sites (for example, get lost in the maze of facebook or see what topic is being trend tweeted), Tweetdeck only just really let me know instantly when people were updating.

I can't really say there was an outstanding web tool this year. I did upgrade to a blackberry that is linked to my email and facebook so that now I am constantly receiving updates all day long. That's pretty awesome for a girl like me who likes to stay "connected" or update my status every time something strikes my fancy...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Start Up

I am sure it won't be much of a surprise to many readers of my blog that I think the best start up of 2009 is GirlTalk Events. I think its important for women to make connections with one another, as well as I know how difficult it can be to make friends to have those connections with. GirlTalk offers an avenue where events are offered for women to come out, have fun, meet new people and hopefully find solid ground to create friendships. I have met so many women through this group that are each so different, yet speak to so many sides of my personality. And I love working as a host for this group. I strive hard to make new girls feel comfortable and included so that they will come out again and again. The more you try something, the easier it gets to talk with familiar faces. And look at all of the fun we have had!

If you are in the Calgary area, want to have fun, are a woman over 18 and open to meeting new people, check us out! If you are not in the Calgary area, utilize google and try to find something like this where you live. Or start your own group. Make 2010 the year you find your group of friends for shopping, brunching, and connecting.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The best project of 2009 had to have been the favours I made for the Halloween wedding. The execution of my idea was exactly what I imagined and I thought they turned out fabulous - Halloween-y and sophisticated. And it was amazing to see 15 metres of fabric, 14kg of Jelly Beans, 200 spider rings and 200 hand stamped gravestone gala tags turn into the perfect finishing touch for the tables.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Person

2009 was all about meeting new people and I can't say there is specifically one new person that entered my life and changed it. There were multiple people that did this. Shout out to my new lunch buddies, coffee friends, wine sippers and adventure seekers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Car Ride

I took a couple "road trips" this year, although many were just day trips around Alberta. My favorite car rides of 2009 include a day trip to Drumheller for a picnic with raptors and a T-Rex, a weekend trip to Sparwood for Adam's cousin's high school graduation party, and the week trip to North Battleford for the Halloween wedding of the year. All three trips were with Adam and I liked being his co-pilot. I hope in 2010 we can go on a few more trips together...I hope for a lot of things to work out better in 2010.

The trip to Drumheller was a blast because we went to the museum and looked at dinosaur bones. I also bought some triops which are kind of like sea monkeys but grow way bigger. Unfortunately, my triops only lasted a couple of weeks. They died from shock when I changed the water in their tank. The trip to Sparwood enabled me to meet Adam's nan who is super sweet. I also tried Fish and Brews which is like a cod and bread stew seasoned with copious amounts of salt. And the Halloween wedding was an amazing time. I think all weddings should be costume parties now.

What I spent mad money on....

SHOES! These are a few of my favorite pairs from this year :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Santa,

Last night my blender decided it should start smoking. I am not really into smokers so I ended our affair. Unfortunately, I was counting on my blender to chop nuts and cranberries for some delicious orange-cranberry pinwheel cookies (that I was obviously going to leave out for you). I promise to try and be good next year,if you can put a blender/food processor under the tree for me next week. A non-smoking one please. If this happens, not only will there be delicious cookies for you next year, but, instead of milk, there will also be a thick tasty milkshake.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Word or Phrase to describe 2009

Roller Coaster.

But my plan is to make 2010 more of a Ferris wheel year. Keep going up, enjoying the view along the way, when its time to come down still enjoy the view and do it in a slower, more controlled manner.

Here's to you new decade!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twelve Days of Baking Cookies Update

On December 13th I began the 12 days of cookies. This entails baking a different kind of cookie every day/night up till December 24th. I am doing this for two reasons. 1) I am hoping making cookies will get me in the spirit and 2) I am giving cookies to family and friends for Christmas presents and spreading out the baking ensures a nice variety package can be given.

So far I have made melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies (better home and gardens name, not mine all though they were tasty!), snickerdoodles (which are nothing like snickers in case you were wondering), fudgy cappuccino crinkles and tonight I am baking orange creamsicle cookies as I type this. Most of my recipes are from the Better Home and Gardens Cookbook (the red check plaid covered one) and a few are from our friend Internet.

I am making extra extra extra creamsicle ones as I am in a cookie exchange at work tomorrow evening. This also means I will be bringing home 5 different types of cookies to add to my growing collection. Thank goodness I have a deep freeze to keep them all fresh.

I am excited that I made it one third of the way through my goal. What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?
snickerdoodles in the oven

Tea of the Year

I realized that I didn't really drink enough tea this year to have a tea of the year. Which makes me sad and creates a new intention in 2010 to drink more tea. Especially as I have noticed they are building a new loose tea leaf store in the mall across from my apartment.

This was the year of discovering my new favorite coffee though. Folgers Vanilla Biscotti Coffee fills my house with a sweet aroma Saturday mornings allowing me to lazily drink a pot while I surf(the Internet), read, and contemplate how to spend my day. It is so good, that I often brew a pot on Sunday mornings too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Packaging

I thought about everything I bought this year, or saw in a store, or in a magazine. But no package stood out. I started thinking about what the word package means to me and I realized that the best packaging of 2009 was the package of love. I have two major examples that stand out:

In March of 2009, a new cousin was born and this bundle of joy came in such a beautiful, tiny, perfect package. Danika Lily came into my life and although I don't spend a lot of time with her, I am enamoured whenever I am in her presence.

Last night was my G-Ma's birthday. She had a heart attack earlier this year, but pulled through. I was able to capture a shot of her and my G-Pa stealing a kiss at dinner. The love they have, still strong after many years of being together, 5 kids, 6 grand kids, and countless ups and downs of life, is all packaged inside that kiss. I dream of having that kind of romantic love in 50 plus years.

Love was the best packaging of 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Greatest Rush

This was an interesting question and I thought about how I didn't bungee jump, sky dive or even go on a roller coaster in 2009 (well actually I went on many rides this year at the Stampede, but even though there were moments of "free falling," I wouldn't consider the moments the greatest rush(es) of 2009).

After brainstorming about this, I kept thinking about how I felt when we made the offer on the house in June. Signing a piece of paper that could change my world, give me ownership, and provide some stability was nerve-racking, exciting, stressful and every other emotion one could experience. Being told that we couldn't qualify for financing after all was the drop from the high in those emotions that made life seem harsh and unfair again.

I do not regret attempting to buy that house. The learning experience was needed. And I keep telling myself that as much as I loved the layout, the community, the dreams that came with ideas of summer bar-b-ques and winter movie nights, we didn't qualify because something better is waiting for me at the right moment. Sometimes,I do get a little bit sad thinking that we would have been moving in right about now. I just have to keep my head up and not think about the what ifs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Change made to the place I live

I moved in August of 2009 to an apartment a few blocks from my work. This was the best change for me as it meant less rent and I cut out my monthly bus pass costs AND heat and water were included with my rent. So overall I am saving money every month as well as I needed a change of scenery at that moment of time this year.

Today begins 12 days of cookies. I am not sure yet what I am going to bake. I need to organize the week and go to the grocery store first. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Food

As I mentioned, the book club I am in goes to a new restaurant every month. I have tried Ethiopian this year (which is pretty good and something I always wanted to try) as well as Moroccan. I really enjoyed the experience we had at Sultan's Tent as well as the tasty food. I have dreams of a Moroccan tour now and asking Sam to play it again. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Best Place

2009 was actually a really good year for discovering new places. The Food and Fiction book club's purpose is to read a book and discover new restaurants in Calgary. So I did discover many new places to eat that way. The gem in Calgary that I had wished I knew about earlier in life is The Purple Perk Coffee House. My friend from work took me there for coffee one afternoon and I looked in awe at the massive slabs of chocolate cake considered a piece. Its located in a trendy area of town and I felt "cool" drinking my coffee there. I can't wait to spend more Saturdays in 2010 studying, reading and connecting with friends there.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Album of the Year

I don't have a specific album of the year for's more of a mixed tape created by me. I fell in love with MGMT's Kids which led me to listen to Electric Feel. There is something about MGMT that just makes me want to dance. I have even caught myself grooving while in the mall forgetting that people can see me. I also really enjoyed discovering Metric this year -- a fantastic Canadian band :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The challenge I took on in 2009 that I am most proud of accomplishing was putting myself out there to meet new friends. It's hard when you are older to tell another girl you think she is cool and would like to hang out. So instead of risking rejection, I would sit at home lamenting on how to go about making friends. I wanted to change this about myself so I joined a couple of meet up groups and also started attending more functions at work. I am happy to say that i will be ending 2009 with more girl friends then I started the year with. And I look forward to 2010 and the development of many of these friendships. A few of my new friends read my blog and I want to shout out to you how grateful I am that we met this year. Thanks :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moment of Peace

The best moment of peace of 2009 came with the last payment on my loan this summer. Such a relief and a huge weight on my shoulders was lifted. I worked really hard the last few months to that point to throw any extra money at my loan and it felt great to submit that final payment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Best Of 2009

I discovered this on kaileenelise -- a new blog I discovered through Make Under My Life's DYL series -- a challenge that asks you every day to blog about the best parts of 2009. I am up for this challenge even though I am a few days late. What a great way to reflect on the year and make intentions to look for the best in 2010.

The best trip of 2009 was New York City hands down. I often remember little pieces here and there and dream about going back. From Central Park to the helicopter tour to watching Wicked on Broadway to checking out MoMA. Everything I wanted to do in NYC was experienced in a whirlwind trip and left me wanting more.

Restaurant Moment
On Valentine's Day, Adam treated me to dinner at Piq Niq. I always wanted to go and then head down to Beat Niq (the jazz club in the basement)which is what we did. The dinner was special because I was with Adam and felt really in love. I had lamb that melted in my mouth. And the jazz club after was such a Hollywood like experience.

?? will come to this later. Nothing stands out right now.

The wow book that I read in 2009 was from my Canadian Literature course. Margaret Laurence's Fire Dwellers sucked me in and I found myself relating to the narrator at times, feeling disgusted by the narrator at times, feeling pity for the narrator at times. Its not a book that I have conversed with others about or recommended. It's kind of hard to explain why I felt a connection to a housewife who felt trapped. I just did at the time and couldn't put it down. I read this book a lot while in the bathtub sipping strong drinks.

Night Out
The stagette that we threw for my friend that married on Halloween was my top night out of 2009. Seeing all 10 girls dressed alike made an impact where ever we went, riding in an SUV limo while sipping sparkling wine in champagne glasses was so "sex and the city" and knowing my friend was truly grateful for her friends made that night a blast. Not to mention having almost everyone in the 3 bars we went to sign a giant poster of the bride and her groom with well wishes.

Workshop or Conference
I did not attend any workshops or conferences in 2009 unless you count small business week in Edmonton and area.

Blog Find of the Year
The discovery of Make Under my Life was the gem I needed to stumble upon. I found Jess and her blog when I was at a very low point one night and wanted to make a change in my life. Every week she introduces me to new ideas about living with intention and through that I discover lots of fascinating bloggers who are also on a journey to design their life the way they always dreamed.

I am now caught up and will continue to work on this the rest of the month. I dare you to join me!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Friday night was my company's Christmas Party. This year our entertainment was Kim Mitchell of "Patio Lantern" fame and I was really excited as I know quite a few of his songs. The icing on the cake was at 7:30 when the President of our company announced the surprise guest was Steven Page of Bare Naked Ladies fame. Steven came out, played many of his BNL songs while standing on the back of a truck. Very fun. Kim Mitchell was later on and really rocked out.

The food was pretty good again this year...I fell in love with butternut squash risotto and aged cheddar sliders. And there was a hot chocolate station where you could add different flavoured whipping creams to your hot chocolate and sprinkles. There was also a Christmas Candy stop where you were allowed to fill up paper bags with candy.

Once again another amazing party hosted by my company.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Add to my favorite Sandwich list

I just ordered the special at the cafeteria at work. It was a salmon,pecan and strawberry sandwich on a croissant. And cream cheese. I was skeptical, not sure if those flavours should mix, but figured life is too short not to try. And I am so glad I did. The sweetness of the strawberries and the crunchiness of pecan and the smooth taste of cream cheese all mixed together with the baked salmon and the flaky croissant to create an amazing fan-taste-ical experience for my taste buds. It was simply delectable. I highly recommend just trying this sandwich once.