Tabs

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Weekend

.went on a garlic fueled date at the Garlic Clove with my fiance. He has insisted that we start having a once-a-week-date-night again. Wasn't too hard to convince me.

.attended a Stella and Dot jewelry party, fell in love with a snake ring, gorged on candied bacon and sipped mimosas. Perfect Saturday morning.

.enjoyed a delicious gourmet hotdog at Tubby Dog -- I always feel a bit more bad ass after hanging out there.

.put on my brave face and went to Screamfest -- a series of haunted houses. We made it through 5 out of  6 houses before the line ups got ridiculous. After we kind of rushed through the first house, I told Rainman we should really take our time in the second house and enjoy the details. Which was all fine until some creepy zombie thing chased me with some noise making power tool and I took off running, leaving Rainman for dead. So, now he knows what would happen if we were ever in that kind of situation -- 
EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!

. created and served a Harry Potter inspired brunch with Team McAwesome at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta. The menu included crackled dragon eggs, pumpkin pasties, golden snitches, gillyweed, and magic wands. My outfit of the day (OOTD) was heavily influenced by the characters in the novel. The brunch was well received by both kids and parents staying at the house.

.decided to get about a foot cut from the ends of my locks. My head feels a lot lighter now, despite some anxiety about losing my strength a la Samson.

.finished up my weekend with a Saskatoon Berry Martini and a new episode of The Walking Dead (in which I bawled).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Bucket List Item


  • Participate in the annual Zombie Walk.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Gratitude

This morning I received a voice memo file via text from my beautiful Michelle (this was super cool to me because I had no idea one could do this....). She acknowledged that she knew I was challenging myself to 31 days of thanks and she too was embarking on her own path of gratitude. She then went on to state she felt compelled to share with me the words she had written about why our friendship was important to her.

This brought tears to my eyes as I listened to her appreciation of my characteristics. I was not only feeling very moved by her sincerity, but also because this has been a very awakening year for Michelle and those lucky enough to be a part of her world.

I won't ever forget the phone call I received last November. She stated she had news to share and I excitedly stated that I loved news! To which she revealed that this wasn't super awesome. Her doctor had confirmed that the lump in her breast was cancer. My natural instinct was to try anything to make this feel better, keep the positive in my voice, send her a laugh or two. We spoke for about half an hour until she needed to get off the phone to make more phone calls. I cried a lot for my friend that night. I was scared for her, for her future. I was mad that someone who is always the first one to sign up to make the world more sparkly had to have this happen. That night I stopped believing in karma. I was tired of thinking about "what goes around, comes around" when someone so beautiful with such a huge heart and a caring soul would have to face the most unbiased disease known to mankind.

In the beginning of 2013, she held a head shaving party. It was a week before she began her chemo treatments and it was in honour of words of wisdom given to her--- and to all in attendance -- by her dad. Michelle had told her parents that she had cancer and it really sucked. Her dad replied that cancer absolutely sucked, but Michelle had to "un-suck it." More than 10 people shaved their heads that night, lots of tears ran down faces, lots of hugs and smiles were shared. And we all began our journey to walk beside Michelle as she began hers.

2013 was full of so many ups in this journey and a few downs. We all learned to appreciate each other a bit more. We all learned the importance of letting our loved ones know they are loved. We all learned to celebrate each chemo treatment with a song and a dance. Michelle is not the first person to face this, she won't be the last. Through her guidance we were all able to come together to tell cancer to go un-suck itself.

Michelle sent me a message this morning expressing her gratitude for me -- she stated she loved that I took charge and created a life I wanted to live. This last year she taught me so much about creating a life I want to live. Looking at the positive, looking at ways to embrace the hurdles, accepting help from friends, stepping back for a second to look at the drama being created and deciding if it was worth it,

On Sunday I walk with Michelle and her huge support network in a solitary union of telling cancer off at the CIBC run for the cure. I am so lucky to have such a beautiful person in my close network. Every day I am so very thankful that she is here to share with me the beauty of life.

Gratitude doesn't even express how I feel for this friendship.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thankful

With the changing of the leaves, the drop in temperature, the layers of clothing, and the smell of spiced pumpkin comes October. As we harvest the fruits of our labour from the Spring and Summer seasons, we begin to prepare for the celebration of Thanksgiving.

September was my month to focus -- to reflect on my goals and the direction I wanted to steer my life in. To take the steps and measurements to instilling habits that would serve me better. I spent a month running, a month learning to breath and bend, a month of planning the "new" year.

And I feel set up to jump hurdles, move mountains, swim oceans. I have my priorities in front of me. I am ready to accept my past, my present and prepare for my future. 

Melody Beattie said "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." It's the perfect reasoning as to why my challenge for October is developing an attitude of gratitude. 

31 days of appreciation for the things I have, the people I am surrounded by, the challenges that bring change. 31 days of praising the life I love. 31 days acknowledging my personal cornucopia.

I will be using the hashtag #31DaysOfThanks on Instagram and Twitter. Some days may be an abundance of gratefulness, others may be a struggle to find even one thing. My hope is at the end of 31 days to have a refreshed outlook on life, how I got here, and where I am going. And in the process to grow, have more joy, and bring joy to others.


"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls" Aesop






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

April 20, 2014

My eyes slowly open and I look beside me. He is still sleeping peacefully, my husband. We have been married less than 24 hours. I reach over and place my hand on his, smiling to myself. I am a Mrs.and get to have sleepover parties with my best friend for the rest of our life.

The day before is a montage of moments over flowing with emotions. From seeing his face look at me as I walked to him holding my daddy's arm, my stomach fluttering with butterflies. Our first kiss as Man and Wife. The joy of seeing our loved ones all in the same room. Sitting quietly in the limo, enjoying a moment of solitude before entering the reception and having wishes toasted upon us over dinner. Dancing, laughing, his hand on the small of my back. The decor, the food, the love. Posing for photographs to capture each of those moments, unknowing which moments were caught candidly.

As so many before us stated, the day was over too quickly. We had documentation stating that we were now bonded legally till death do us part. We professed and publicly displayed our commitment to over 100 witnesses while hosting a fabulous party.

And here I am, relaxed, reliving those moments with elation. I test out my new last name, quietly in my head and then aloud. He wakes up, pulls me in close to his chest, and tells me he loves me.

We begin the next chapter of our lives. Happily. Ever. After.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Weekend

.caught up on Under the Dome. A summer series that I still have no idea what it was truly about, although I think corruption. Aliens are not fans of corruption. I also learned that the worst insult EVER is to call a man a politician. SUPER BURN!

.continued with my 30 day yoga challenge. Hot Core is a tough class. You won't realize it until the next day. 

.ran the Rock the House Run 5K for Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta. My Chip time was 28:41:95 -- which means I was able to get my 5k under 30 minutes. And I placed 19th out of 480 for my gender. I'll take it! The mile a day for 30 days challenge was the key to this I think. I am on day 29 today.

.volunteered for TLB Group's YYC Rocks for Future Rock Stars event. 30 bands came together over 2 days, and for a minimum donation of $10, the audience was treated to a thriving indie scene in Calgary Rock music. I am still waiting to hear the final numbers from the event, but the goal is to help kids receive instruments and music lessons.

.spent Saturday afternoon painting. Set up the easel and played with acrylics while listening to Meatloaf. I would do anything for love, but I won't do that.

.watched the final episode of Dexter. And was left incredibly disappointed. Truthfully though, I would probably have been disappointed in whatever way they decided to end it. I won't provide any spoilers, it just tied up too neatly and conveniently for me.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

.breathe

Thoughts racing through my veins, details demanding to be prioritized. My pulse rising to match the tempo of sentences sent to stimulate my sensitive sensories, increasing stress reactions. It's late. I begin to feel settled and a simple notion sets off another wave of never ending ideas linked seemingly by coincidence.

I imagine my body grow heavier, enveloped by blankets, shrouding me in warmth. I count backwards, envisioning each number written out in my mind in the lost art of cursive. I embrace the thoughts, acknowledging their presence, releasing them until the morning. I feel the air fill my lungs, fill my belly, fill me until I release it with those urgent thoughts.

The heaviness gives way to light, I float into darkness. I enter the world of my subconscious. And with a final leap from the due diligence of the day, I begin to breathe.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Focus

I celebrated every single day of August. It was a blast -- some days I had to think outside of the box (example -- how does one celebrate Lighthouse Day in landlocked Alberta? By having lunch at the Lighthouse cafe!), other days were planned in advance. It was a great way to spend a month of summer.

It's back-to-school time. Not for me, although I wish so bad it could be. Back-to-school was always my favorite time of year -- fresh new supplies to help me succeed, new outfits to help me achieve the persona I wished to be that year, seeing friends after a 2 month break and the challenges of learning something new by applying what you already knew. I know I am not the only person who still feels like September is more of a new year then New Years -- Google this and I bet you will find tons of blog posts on the very subject.

It's a great time for me to work on goals I have. Take deep breaths and focus on what I want to achieve. It's the final third of the year, so there are still 4 months to complete goals set out on January 1.

My plans for focus in the next 30 days are as follows:


  • A 30 day yoga challenge
  • Running a mile a day for 30 days
  • Playing chopped again within our deep freeze and pantry to help with budgetting
  • Checking even more off of the wedding planning to-do list
  • Abstaining from alcohol as much as possible (there are plans to hit up the Monster Trucks and, let's be honest, a girl needs draught beer while cheering on Monster Mutt and Gravedigger)
Time to sharpen my pencils and get back to business. September is in session.



Monday, August 26, 2013

The Weekend

.attempted to make and fly a kite. I blame the lack of wind, not my craftmanship


.learned about bees, watched a lady willingly allow herself to be covered in a bee necklace, tasted mead .began to dream about the possibility of one day collecting my own honey

.ordered in volcano rolls and recognized Vesuvius. Recalled my project on Pompeii and the entire magazine .on the history of Rome I created in the sixth grade 

.bought 3 pairs of shoes -- roman sandals, flip flops and new running sneakers!

.also found a Owl ring to rock

.watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower -- the book is better, but that's always the way

.created a fiesta themed breakfast at Ronald McDonald house with a build-your-own-breakfast-burrito bar .and (virgin) sangria

.read The Four Agreements and drank a pot of green tea sweetened with delicious honey. Quite a few Aha moments throughout this book for me

.went on a run

.held hands with my fiance and left a ruby red kiss on his cheek




How was your weekend?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy August

Let's celebrate everyday. Here's a quick reference I found online on what to celebrate each day. My goal is complete every single one of these, plus as it's National Picnic Month, I plan on eating at least one meal outside a day. Anyone else want  to join in on the fun? Share your celebrations on Instagram using #31DaysOfCelebrating  :)

August, 2013 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days:
National Mustard Day first Saturday
Friendship Day - First Sunday in August
International Forgiveness Day - First Sunday in August
Sisters Day - First Sunday in August
13 Chinese Valentine's Day/Daughter's Day - 7th day of 7th Lunar Month
14/15 V-J Day - which date do you mark the end of WWII?
15 Relaxation Day - now this one's for me!
22 National Tooth Fairy Day - and/or February 28
28 Race Your Mouse Day -but we are not sure what kind of "mouse"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

D-Baggery Witnessing on a Tuesday Evening

It was after dinner and we needed to pick up some supplies for the fur brats. The roads were fairly quiet -- even the main highway that is our only hub in and out of the suburban community we call home. We needed to switch over a lane to take the slip road East and although we signaled and started to make our way over, the truck behind us sped up, not allowing us in.

We swerved back over to our lane and as he passed us, he flipped US the bird.

Drivers take note. Rule number one of flipping someone off is to make sure they are not going to the same destination that you are speeding to.

Imagine his surprise when we walked into the pet store behind him. He nervously looked around while he waited in line. I threw him my perfected glare as we made our way over to the kittens and bunnies. He most likely thought we followed him there. I gave him another stink eye, he shuffled a little closer to the till. I looked him over, shook my head and we continued shopping.

We rounded up what we needed and reached the till as he made his way back out to the parking lot, looking over his shoulder once more at us. We made eye contact.

He jumped into his turbo fueled truck and took a swig of his drink.

And then proceeded to throw the bottle in the direction of Rainman's car. Rainman was livid as the D-bag rode off into the sunset, proud of his cowardly act.

We went to the car to make sure it was okay. The D-Bag had thrown the bottle beside our car knowing that our view would just show the general direction of his toss. The point behind it all is unclear. He didn't let us into the lane, he flipped us the bird, he happened to be going to the same place we were.

What is clear is he was a loser. And he threw his bottle of apple juice, still half full (perhaps in this negative situation it was half empty?), for a reaction. A reaction he didn't even get to witness. We had a good laugh.

Apple juice. All the rage for toddlers and the drink of choice for raging douche bags.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bridezilla

I am pretty sure I know why a lady glowing with love and a shiny new diamond on her left hand can suddenly turn into a fiery stress ball ready to take down anyone standing in her way down the aisle.

She is inundated wit text messaging and emails and websites and pictures. And though this can be very helpful in sparking new ideas to mix with tradition, it can also be very overwhelming, especially when the bride would love to incorporate ALL of the great ideas.

She is consistently asked questions about the wedding planning. Which in turn causes the bride-to-be to seemingly only talk about her upcoming wedding. And worried that she may bore her audience if there are not any new developments. And fearful that the little details she wants to make her day unique are being dissected and judged.

She feels this incredible pressure to have the perfect wedding, look perfect in her dress, eat perfect food, dance to perfect music, send out perfect invites, perfect perfect perfect.

And so she can't go for a run without thinking about how this is good for the wedding stress. And while running she thinks about the details of her wedding. And while sipping her after-run coffee, imagines her wedding day. And starts to believe that everyone is this focused on the one day so finds herself frustrated with vendors who have other events closer in date.

She finds herself turning into that Bridezilla she claimed she would never be. Which means she is now stressing that her loved ones may not even want to attend this very important date and are distancing themselves because they are irritated with her trivial dilemmas and dramas.

Her solace is her fiance who knows exactly how to tame the Bridezilla. And her hope that people will still remember the beauty under the beast's cape.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Driving home on Wednesday, I drove up next to my fiance as he was merging onto the highway. I let him in and loved that I felt butterflies in my stomach running into him. Following him home and catching his eye in his rear view mirror the rest of the way extrapolated this feeling.

Guys, I am ridiculously in love. So there's that...


Monday, May 27, 2013

Maya Angelou

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...

enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...
something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...



A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ..

a youth she's content to leave behind....
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...
one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...



A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .......

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...



A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ..

a feeling of control over her destiny.....
how to fall in love without losing herself..



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...

how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship....


EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW....

when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...

that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more.....
how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. .

whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...

where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table..
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...



EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...

What she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

11 months

We made a rule to have a mini count down date night on the 19th of every month leading up to our wedding. Today marks 11 months and counting.

We're in great shape!

We have our theme
We have a venue for both the ceremony and the reception
We know who is in the wedding party and what they are going to be wearing roughly
We have a cake designed
We have a DJ
I have my dress
We have been in contact with a graphic designer for invites
We have sent inquiries to potential officiants
We have started to explore photographers
And many other little details are falling into place.

About my dress. It was a bit of an overwhelming experience. I had my clippings of what I wanted and had both my mom and my dad there. And my beautiful maid of honor. It took 4 dresses. I walked out in the last once and just knew. And the moment I looked in the mirror I started to tear up. They brought out a head piece for me to try and I was crying. I looked at my dad holding back tears and that was it -- full on bawling.

I felt so beautiful and it hit me that I am getting married. And imagining him looking at me as I made my way down the aisle caused me to burst with emotion. It's eleven more months. And then I get to be his Mrs. I get to share his last name. I get to continue being part of our adventures creating our dream life. And I get to start our fairy tale looking fabulous.

#lung


Monday, May 6, 2013

Just a little meme to pass the day away

The Wish List Meme, part one  

1.) What are 3 things on your Wish list and why?   

At this exact moment, I wish I had some chocolate, I wish the work day was done and I wish it was Friday because I have next week off.

2.) What do you miss about your childhood?  

Saturday morning cartoons 

3.) What do you do on your spare time on the weekends?  

I try to read as much as I can. I am often on  the go, especially now that I balance my social life with Rainman's. It's hard to get lost in a novel for days on end and when I can, I try.

4.) What do you appreciate most in your life?  

I appreciate my life the most. Every day I wake up, alive. That's pretty awesome.

5.) Would you rather be rich or healthy? 

Healthy. 

6.) If you could go back in time would you and why?  

Yes. But not back in my life time -- more like travelling to check out dinosaurs, write on a cave wall, hang out with Jesus.

7.) Favorite game as a child?  

I liked jumping rope and singing all of the rhymes. I have always loved board games and as a child we played Frustration and Snakes 'N Ladders a lot.

8.) What is your dream career?  

Being a lady of leisure and getting paid for it -- I mean attending the gallery openings, enjoying food and drink at trendy restaurants and hole-in-the-walls, exploring my own back yard and being paid to report on all of those things,

9.) What do you do in your free time?  

Read. Didn't we already cover this? Spare time and free time seem to be the same thing, no?

10.) Favorite clothing stores?  

Thrift Stores. I also like Jacob and Joe Fresh.

11.) What TV shows can't you live without?  

If TV went away tomorrow, I would survive. I don't mind watching series like Dexter, Mad Men, Walking Dead -- but I wouldn't die without them.

12.) 3 things you need in your life are:  

Coffee, books and  music

13.) What can't you sleep without?  

A blanket. I like feeling snug -- no matter the temperature.

14.) What are you currently a nerd for?  

Social Media platforms. I love them!

15.) What is your favorite seasoning?  

My go to would be sea salt. I like to experiment a lot though.

16.) What is your favorite wild animal?  

Penguins!

17.) Name 3 of your favorite childhood shows:  
The Secret World of Alex Mac

Are you afraid of the dark?
Reboot

18.) If you could live as a character in a movie who would it be?  

Holly Golightly

19.) Favorite vegetable?  

Olives

20.) Favorite Fruit?  

Strawberries

21.) If you had a dragon what would you name it?  

Adrian

22.) What do you put on hotdogs? 

I love hotdogs! Especially gourment ones. I have had peanut butter and jelly on my hotdog and just  plain mustard. My favorite topping is saurkraut. Delish! 

23.) Do you play online games?  

Does my addiction to Candy Crush count?

24.) What's your favorite way to get inspired?  

Reading lifestyle blogs, books and magazines.
Watching documentaries 
Hanging out with my friends and listening to how they are living a charm-filled life

Thursday, May 2, 2013

16 weekends of Summer

Counting from May Long weekend till September Long weekend is how I calculate summer. And now that I am a full fledged adult who works 40 hours a week, 5 out of 7 days, it doesn't leave a lot of time to soak up the summer fun.

Even though summer pleads for spontaneity, I am a planner.

And so I am beginning to rev up for a frugal and fun summer.

My hopes:

  • more bike rides --exploring my neighborhood and the neighborhood next to us, coasting down back roads, leisurely day trips, quick trips to run errands, just more time on the saddle. 
  • early morning coffee on the balcony, late night toasts on the patio. more time outside of the house in our outdoor living areas
  • recharging my soul midday during the week by enjoying picnic lunches sitting outside. kicking off my shoes to feel blades of grass between my toes
  • more fresh fruit and vegetables bought from farmers at the market or their roadside trucks.
  • popsicles. lots and lots of popsicles.
  • mini road trips around the province. stopping at those landmarks along the highway. detouring to those landmarks that are word of mouth must-sees
  • reading everything under the sun. literally.
  • waterfights and surprise water balloon attacks.
  • blowing bubbles and sidewalk chalk murals.
  • sandals, sundresses and straw hats.
There's nothing like getting high on summertime. And making the most of every single moment.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Breaking the first rule of Italian racing: looking back

Oh, hi! It's been awhile.

It's still not quite Spring here despite what the calendar states.
Which I thought was incredibly depressing until I watched a National Geographic marathon of the effects devastating weather in the States had on civilization. Now, this little bit of snow seems like no issue at all. Things could always be worse, right?

This has been my Spring so far:

  • My Russian grandmother passed away. We were unable to make it out to her funeral, so Rainman and I made a traditional meal of Koulebiaka in her honour. I am very thankful that I was able to spend time with her in Latvia a few years ago
  • Wedding planning. It's officially past the 365 day countdown mark. We were already ahead of the game, so now it's about nailing down the photographer and the officiant, and booking a time for me to find my dress
  • Rainman and I have decided to embark on the Insanity challenge. It's been fun, but I have never worked out so hard in my life. Even my half-marathon was easier than this workout has been. It's all worth it though.
  • My lovely Maid of Honor had her baby -- a tiny perfect baby boy. I am patiently waiting for my other lovely friend to have hers (it's scheduled for tomorrow)!
  • I have been organizing a Pay-It-Forward project where every one will help to contribute to care packages for the clients that use the Calgary Drop In Centre. Just a couple more weeks to go and things are really falling into place. We have a venue, people are signing up for the different items, we have someone from the Centre joining us to answer questions and provide an overview of the services they offer. I am really excited!
  • Team McAwesome has 3 brunches coming up over the next 3 weeks. The menus are so delicious, I was drooling while submitting them to the house. Still thinking about fruit sushi, cinnamon bun lollipops, a build your own breakfast burrito station, strawberry pizza, virgin sangria...is it lunch time yet?
  • I have been lost in Russian high society reading about the scandals of Anna Karenina
  • Rainman and I signed up for the Zombie Survivor 5k obstacle race. Hopefully this Insanity workout will help us survive and run faster than the zombies

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wedding Wedding-ness Day

Something to remember during my wedding day: Be Present.

Don't worry about the details. Don't think about what's next or what has already happened.

Enjoy every single moment, every single conversation, every single bite of food, sip of champagne, dance.

You will only do this once -- be in the moment.

Inspired by this post -- so far the best advice to date.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Confessions of a (former) Mean Girl

I attended the screening event of Finding Kind hosted by Womentum yesterday. This documentary follows two girls as they try to understand the phenomenon of "girl world."

If you're a girl from North America, you know what "girl world" is. It starts somewhere in Jr. high and involves girls sneakily fighting to find their place on the totem pole -- all secretly vying for the top spot. It involves gossip, rumours, the ability to perfectly cut one another down with a look all while maintaining the image that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. It's tougher than Survivor, where alliances  are created, trust is broken, and you never truly know if it's your day to be singled out for your flaws as you walk to school in the morning.

It's learning to play the game. Learning that if you are on one side of the fence, teasing another girl, you are not being teased. Learning that even if you are not doing the teasing, but quietly looking on, you are not being teased. Learning the right things to say and do, wear and watch to keep up. Learning to deal with these "mean girls" to prepare yourself for mean bosses, mean mother-in-laws, mean acquaintances.

This phenomenon has been glamorously documented in our culture. The hit movie "Mean Girls" mocks the movement, reality shows like The Hills and Jersey Shore highlight these moments, dramas like Gossip Girl profit from the hurt feelings and cattiness. This reflection of our society in media is in turn creates a society that starts to mimic "as seen on TV" moments. And the circle of life continues.

Watching the documentary yesterday, I felt a stir of sadness. And regret. And embarrassment.

Because I was a mean girl. And I started to think about those friends I stopped talking to, stopped returning phone calls, stopped asking them to hang out. About how I decided they didn't fit into my world anymore and so I severed the relationship.

I wish the movie had asked some of the mean girls why they do what they do. They talked a lot to girls who were victims, none really owing up to the fact that she too probably had played the game. I use sarcasm and wit as a coping mechanism. And sarcasm doesn't always transfer well, which means my way of making light of situations, most often hurt people's feelings. And I have always been able to bounce from friends to friends and circles to circles to suit where I was in life. It never occurred to me that the "best" friends I left behind may be hurting from my actions. Like relationships with boys, sometimes friend relationships don't work out anymore and you need to break up. Sometimes it might be because the relationship is toxic, but most likely it might just be that you are not on the same paths anymore. I can look back and I don't know if there is any specific moment that I felt singled out. When it was my turn for the group of girls I was friends with in Jr. High to exclude me, I was upset for a day, but found other girls to hang out with. I chalked it up to the other girls having the issue, not me!

In the panel discussion following the film, an audience member brought up the fascination she had with this mean girl phenomenon in our culture. She was originally from Kenya and was an early childhood educator in both countries. She couldn't understand the neediness that characterized the Canadian children she taught as it was completely different from the those children in Kenya. And this actually makes sense to me and may actually answer why I was a mean girl as well.

In my home, I was constantly reminded how special I was, how smart and beautiful, cute and talented, etc. etc. Consistently, positive attributes were reiterated to me, to help build my self esteem. So by the time I was put out into the world with my peers and we entered school, I was sure I was the most special, the most talented, the most beautiful. Except, my guess is all parents fawn over their spawn in this manner. And once we get into the real world, we can't all be the best. And so in order to survive this world, we start to secretly tell others that so-and-so is not that fantastic -- look at her shoes, her nose, the way she drew a tree. And we start to play the game in order to fulfill that prophecy our parents told us about being so special. Not realizing that we are actually cutting ourselves down, not just the other person. And because we have been playing this inner monologue for so many years, we now don't even realize that it starts the moment we see another person. Sizing her up on her clothes, her face, her weight -- trying to assure ourselves we are still the most special.

I'm a former mean girl. Some may say I am still  a mean girl. I still cut off relationships that I don't think are serving me well. I still have a horrible habit of gossiping. I still compare my positive attributes to others's negative attributes to feel better about myself. In yesterday's discussion the idea of "checking yourself" came up to stop the inner judgement that happens so naturally. This really hit home for me and I plan on taking that minute to "check myself."

I don't know if the world will ever be rid of mean girls, but it may be rid of at least one today. Because in this girl world it's most important to be kind. And it's time I start finding it.

.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Commitment

While flossing my teeth this morning I thought about the time I decided to start regularly flossing to prove to my dentist that it was his hygienist's poking into my gums with sadistic hooks that was causing my gums to bleed, not my lack of care. I had four months until my next appointment and made a promise to myself that I would floss every single day in that time frame, mark it down and show him when he stated that it appeared I needed to floss more as his office looked like a scene from Dexter. Okay. In fairness, it wasn't that bad. I was just more of an occasional flosser and this would be a challenge to instill the habit. And it paid off. I have minimal bleeding now during my appointments and less scaling occurs.

After flossing my teeth, I normally enter my bedroom and make my bed. This habit started for me during a down period in my life. I read an idea  in "It's called a Breakup because it's broke" stating messy head, messy bed. The world reflects what's going on inside. And if you can't control those feelings, start doing things like making your bed and washing your dishes. And so, I made a promise to myself that until I sorted out all of the garbage going on, I would make my bed every morning showing the world I was ready to take it on.

It's amazing how productive you can feel by starting your day with flossed teeth and a made bed. It motivates you to wash those breakfast dishes, tackle those despised tasks at work, send that email, eat a salad for lunch, walk the dog for a few minutes longer, say hello to a stranger.

And soon enough, you realize you are committed to these two simple tasks with out even thinking about it.

As we all know, I have fallen deeply in love. He is amazing and adds so much to my life. And in the last couple years of our courtship, I have added 20 lbs onto my frame. We enjoy cooking together, we enjoy pub nights, movie nights, board game nights. And although we for enjoy going for bike rides, playing hockey, skating, sledding, walks with the dog, the output is not equal to the input.

And we have the wedding coming up. These are moments that will be captured for eternity on film, instagram and possibly video. I want to look my best. And with 14 months before the day, it means making the commitment to add in a fitness regime that shortly becomes as much of a habit as flossing my teeth and making my bed. I started this week out with 2 runs and 2 yoga sessions. I even opted for water over wine one evening (who am I??).

It's time for me to push myself. It's time to train like a beast and look like a beauty. It's time for me to eat clean while working out dirty. It's time for me to commit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Looking back

I wrote this post in 2010 -- imagining what classes I would like to take if I could create a life curriculum.

This is why putting it out to the Universe works.

One of my fun classes for life was a Cooking with Friends class, another was putting the Fun in Fundraising. Which Team McAwesome covers.

It's interesting to me that the first two have come to fruition and are still developing. Which means I have renewed faith that more of those fun life classes will be passed with flying colours.

For example, just last weekend we took the short drive out to a little town near us (road trips and travelling) to do some antiquing to find pieces to decorate the house with.

And we are going to embark on a 365 day movie challenge to save money in our last year as an unmarried couple and are sure to concentrate on those 80s films we loved as kids.

There are still other classes on that life list that need some attention (ahem...budgeting) and probably a dance class that needs to be dropped as I am not as entertained as I once was with the bar scene.  It's very cool to see this list written over 2 years ago and forgotten about knowing that unconsciously I have been plugging away to complete my personal degree in life studies.

Here's the original class list:


Cooking with Friends (includes special Christmas Baking with Friends workshop every year)

Putting the Fun in Fundraising: planning events that people love attending for great causes

Freelance writing while sitting in a beach chair: How to get there

Road Trips: The Art of Discovering the Hidden Gems Everywhere

Decorating: How to turn your apartment into the place that makes you happiest (with a special "Don’t be afraid to use colour" work shop!)

Understanding Films (with a major concentration on 80s adventure films)

Dance: Grooving the night away to killer live music at your favorite drinkin’ holes

Money Management 101: How to do everything you want while on a budget

Conquering Fear: Getting out there and doing it today!

Travel: See New Parts of the World 4 Times a Year!






Rainbows and Unicorns

Dudes! Registration for the Calgary Color Me Rad  Race opened this morning. And as of 6:01 A.M, I was officially in the race and the Team Captain of The Unicorns.

I wanted to run in this ever since I saw it on Pinterest last year or the year before. And waited patiently for details for the Calgary race. And when I received an email stating the 2012 race had been cancelled due to lack of venue, I cried giant tears of sadness. Tears that flooded my world until this morning, when registration opened for 2013 and a rainbow of colour was promised to me by the powers that be in the Rad world. I quickly laced up my sneakers and left my Ark.

To take this a step further, I have suggested to my team mates that we run with unicorn horns filled with glitter to add our sparkle to the world that day. Fingers crossed they agree.

June 29 2013, we ride. Want to join us?

Also, the word play in this post is making me giddy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Wedding-ness Day!

A few fun developments this week on the wedding front as we start focusing more on pinning down the details.


  • We have selected and booked our venue. Waiting for the contract in the mail to sign, seal and deliver.
  • This means we have also a date set in stone (possible wedding pun that I will overuse in the next 15 months)!
  • As you know, we picked our theme and colours right away -- which has helped me in determining some of the decor items to keep my eyes out for. Think "martini glasses"
  • I have an appointment tomorrow evening to discuss my candy buffet to match the colour and theme!! Not going to lie, but I am really hoping there is some sort of tasting element to this.
  • We have had friends offer their services ( the cake and DJ-ing) at a discounted rate for our day. This is great because it feels like we are supporting their business while they are supporting us on our day. Win-win!
  • We have our tentative guest list and are seriously considering evites. There will also be a hashtag for my tweeters and instagramers on our day too. It just wouldn't be my wedding without social media.
My beautiful maid of honour gifted me with a bride book to keep track of to-dos and our budget. We are well ahead of schedule right now. My thoughts are that we continue being well ahead of schedule and that way, it's only slightly stressful those last few weeks that I still go by my maiden name. I think we all know that it's still going to be hectic with last minute details, but it feels great that big stuff is out of the way!

YAY! I'm gettin' married. This became super real to me this week :)




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Becoming McAwesome

I have mentioned once or twice about the volunteer group I manage called Team McAwesome. We create, cook, and serve brunch once a month at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta.

Do you remember reading the Babysitter's Club and every book in the series always reminded us about Kristy's great idea and how it came to her watching her mom one night try to find a sitter for David Michael? And then her idea grew and took on a life of it's own becoming something that wasn't imagined at first? From just friends getting together to organize babysitting for neighborhood moms to hosting backyard fairs, parades and pageants? This is what happened with Team McAwesome.
2011 Rock the House Run. This is why I started to follow RMH on Twitter

In Summer of 2011, I was looking for opportunities to fulfill a goal of meeting 100 volunteer hours when I read a tweet from Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta about their Home for Dinner program. This program has volunteers come into the house, making a meal for the families staying there to alleviate some of the stress surrounding their stay while their children are at the hospital for medical treatments. We have all been stressed out in life -- maybe not to that extent, but we often forget to hit the grocery store or find time to cook a nutritious meal while we are worrying about other things in life. Thinking about all of the times I have prepared meals with my friends and the fun we had, creatively exploring new recipes while chatting and laughing, this seemed like a great opportunity to give back, hang out with my friends and try some of those food ideas I seem to find on Pinterest.



Creatively combining ingredients
I put out a call on Facebook about my idea to create a group to regularly cook at the House and initially 15 of my friends showed interest. We cooked our first Sunday brunch in December of that year, serving egg-in-the-hole, bacon and fruit salad. Friends told friends who told their friends. I was able to organize a brunch for every month of 2012, filling the 8 available spots in record time (I think the quickest one filled in 24 minutes). I had 2 of my friends sign up for orientation with me, knowing from my experiences with GirlTalk that sometimes life gets in the way every month and I could fulfill commitments with alternate hosts.

We felt we could do more then just cook. In summer of 2012, we held a Bag-o-Booze raffle to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House, The Calgary Children's Hospital and to supplement the cost of our groceries every month. One of my hosts took it upon herself the challenge to complete the House's wishlist with her personal development group and did it outside of a box store in 3 hours, convincing friends, family and strangers to buy items like toothpaste, shampoo and diapers (they raised about $5000 worth of items in that short time frame).

Reaquainting with old friends and meeting new friends


The ripple effect among the team was amazing to watch. We grew monthly (as of today we are at 56 members) and each member had a different way to contribute -- from creative ideas and themes for our meals, sharing their talents with the House (our photographer member donated mini photo sessions to families staying at the house and our baker wants to donate some of her beautiful cakes), promoting events around town that would benefit the House, collecting pop can tabs for the House -- it was inspiring. We have approached a few businesses around town to sponsor our brunch by donating some of their product for the meal and it's creating even more of a community as we promote shopping locally to our group members and to those staying at the House. I now have 6 Team Leads and we are looking at increasing the frequency of the meals we serve.


Super Hero Halloween Brunch
Teen Toy Drive

Our efforts were not going unnoticed. I was invited to speak at a Networking groups luncheon about Team McAwesome and they in turn donated money they had collected all year to Ronald McDonald House on our behalf. The House itself wrote about us in their family newsletter and will be publishing an article about us in their external newsletter this quarter as well (with a distribution list of about 10,000 people!!!). And to end the year on even more of a high note, we were notified by Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta that we had been nominated and selected to receive their 2012 Volunteer Team Award in honour of Leeza Nielson. Last night was the award ceremony where we were recognized and treated to a Death-by-Chocolate buffet.



A fantastic way to celebrate with my team leads while representing all of the milestones the Team crossed in 2012 and to motivate us to raise the bar in 2013. Congratulations Team McAwesome!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013

I made a list of 13 things I wanted to complete in 2013

  1. 30 Day Yoga Challenge
  2. Watch 3 movies from the 1001 movies you should watch before you die
  3. Hike Johnston Canyon
  4. Go to a sushi making class
  5. Take a kick boxing class
  6. Go to the Opera
  7. Have a Go-carting date with my fiance  DONE! March 30 2013
  8. Play Laser Tag
  9. Try a round of golf
  10. Read Anna Karena
  11. Grow my own herb garden
  12. Take a Burlesque Class
  13. Pose for a Boudoir photo shoot DONE! February 18 2013

Last night I was speaking with Rainman about how we should have a shared challenge. Something that is our thing. I put out the idea of a 365 day movie challenge where we watch a new movie every day for the next year. Instead of watching back-to-back episodes of CSI or Duck Dynasty, we could watch all of those films we wanted to see, have been told to see, never want to see again. It's simple, it means we spend time together, and we can switch off who picks the movie every night. We can have nights out at the cineplex, the cheap theatre and the art house theatres. And in the year leading up to our wedding, it would be a way to save some money while still staying connected and close, sparking conversation and making each of us open up to genres we may never have normally chosen. And it also means I won't have an issue meeting goal 2 on my list.

I know that the first month of January is almost over and this post is a bit late -- but do you have any challenges or a list of things you want to do this year? I would love to hear/read about them. I always feel inspired reading about people setting out and completing their goals :)




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Purging

I started my new year like any other and cleaned up my friend list, removing those that I had met once or twice and never spoke to after the initial meeting, deleting old high school acquaintances that I had nothing in common with except for a shared class, and letting go of a relationship that hasn't been on the same path as mine for quite some time.

Normally I don't feel anything when I clean up my "friend" list. Those I am removing didn't have any impact on my life as it stands today. They didn't offer anything meaningful to conversation and I was pretty sure they would never notice that I had quietly omitted them from my profile. My facebook page is mostly public. I don't believe that anything online is actually private and if one does want to be private, social media sites are not really the place to hang out. So, although I have removed these people from my feed and I won't actively show up in theirs, if they have a hankering to check out my life, it's online for others to find.

Once upon a time, I was the girl who danced on speakers, drank copious amounts of shots, while hanging out with people in dark clubs with loud music. One of those people was a girl that became my speaker dancing partner in crime and the times we had at the bar were a blast.We would often meet to shop, or have drinks at a restaurant, or hang out at her place around the fire, drinking the nights away. The one thing we had in common was drinking and dancing. We called each other best friends and enjoyed dressing up and going out for the night. She would listen to the drama I was facing and I would listen to hers, then we would toast the night away.

But, as some wise woman may have said at some point, there does come a time that you let the drama go. I began to focus more on creating the version of me that I am going to be most proud of when I am a rickety old lady, sipping gin and tonics out of tea cups. I started to volunteer more and used my ability to rally the support of my friends to help others in need instead of ourselves all of the time (disclaimer -- helping others in need actually does help yourself, try it for a month and you'll see). I spent less time in dark clubs and more in the light. I created a group of friends that shared this value with me to give back to the world and to make it a better place. We would help each others causes. The support from this group is amazing. Everyday I am more and more encouraged and inspired by this group of people. I let the he-said/she-said BS go. And my life began to seemingly have a purpose and was full of meaning.

The girl that I believed was my best friend was not as enthusiastic as I was about this change and about being the change. She was recently married and just had another son, our lives were on different paths. She wrote a letter to me, filled with accusations about my lack of thoughtfulness, my irritating eagerness, my inability to be a friend, peppered with all of the mistakes I had made according to her. Which hurt my feelings, but worse, marred our relationship. You know when you have this amazing support group that cheers you on in the direction your life is going and then one person you wanted most to be at the finish line tells you this direction is annoying? It's really hard to call that person to talk about anything anymore. You feel like you have to hide who you are and what you are passionate about and this loss of authenticity makes it so you avoid that person. Which creates more and more of a void in the relationship. Until finally, no matter how many times you want to reach out to that person and tell her that you miss her, hoping things can change, when you do, you just feel saddened, and guilty, even though you really haven't done anything wrong in making the decision to live your life in a more positive way.

This is a story about the tough choice I made to remove this person from my life. And though I believe that our paths could cross again in the future, I don't believe we will ever have that relationship where I don't feel judged by her again. And without that absence of judgement, there isn't a friendship. A part of me wishes it could be different, that she could be on this path with me now, celebrating all of this awesome that I have had happen in the last year or so since we have spoken, although I would never give up what I have now for it. And although not being on my facebook friends list really doesn't mean anything in the entire scheme of things, it does have a symbolic impact. And cutting that string was way harder than I thought it would be.




“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” 

Anaïs Nin