Tuesday, July 19, 2011

explore. dream. discover.

Lost: One girl’s passion and creative spark.
And, unfortunately, that girl is me.
As is surely evident by my lack of writing and Debbie Downer posts in the past, I have not been in the right state of mind to write as often as I would like. While I still think that life is great and I'm my happy-go-lucky self the majority of the time, I've got a heavy grey cloud hanging over my head and it's really been raining on my parade. So I’m taking a break from my blog. I need to focus my energy on other things in my life at the moment. I need to give myself some time to unravel the crazy web of 'what to do's?' that has made it's home in my head. Instead of fretting over fun and friendly posts, I've been dreading them. Instead of looking forward to blogging, I'm being bogged down. Instead of seeing all the positives, I'm focused on the negatives – and I'm tired of letting the negatives win. I want to make some changes in my life right now. I know I'm completely capable of more. I know that if I set my mind to it, I can get what I want. I know that if I truly listen to what is in my heart, it will lead me in the right direction. I'm determined, I'm ready and I need to let myself devote all my energy to the changes that are going to get me to where I want to be.

I know I’ll be back because, in the end, this is something that makes me happy. It makes me happy to know that I have a creative outlet. It makes me happy to know that there are so many amazing people out there. It makes me happy to know that even if I step away from this part of the world for a while, it will still be here when I'm ready to return. I hope to be back soon and be back and better than ever...as corny and cliché as that may be, it's the truth. I'm ready to really be me and I know that the me I'm going to be is better than the me I am right now. Mark Twain said it so wonderfully...
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did.
I don't want to be disappointed. I'm throwing off the bowlines and sailing away from the safe harbour.
And I will see you when my ship is back on course.

Friday, June 24, 2011

for all the other kids

First of all, ah-dorable.
Second of all, I think this kid has it spot on. With a little confidence and the determination to practice, it's amazing what you can do. For most of us, riding a bike is easy, it's natural and not something we think about doing when we hop on and peddle away. But when you're learning something new, if it's riding a bike, baking a cake or an accounting equation, there may be some challenges along the way. I imagine the little guy in the video didn't pull his bike put of the garage for the first time and rock and roll down the sidewalk like a pro. I'm going to imagine that it took him a try or two to figure out how to do what he wanted to do. Even after falling down, I bet he got back up, got back on his bike and believed he could do it. He believed in himself. He believed that if he kept practicing, kept trying, kept on going, that maybe the next time he got on his bike would be the time that he could ride it. For such a little boy, it seems like he's got some of the lessons figured out that as adults we often forget. I know that when I'm struggling to see the light at the end of a tunnel, it's hard to give myself a pep talk. It's hard to believe that I can get to the end, figure it out or get back on my bike and ride down the street with my head held high. But you can bet that the next time I get all Debbie Downer on myself, I'll be thinking of this cutie. If he can learn to ride his bike, I can learn something new, too. If he can believe in himself, so can I. If he can practice until he gets it, then I will, too. If he knows I can do it, then I should, too.

As I've said before, the wisdom of children is often so simple but so true and the lessons we learn when we're little are lessons we shouldn't forget once we're big. So to everyone learning how to ride bike, believe in yourself.
And thumbs up for rock and roll.

Have you learned anything new lately? Any advice for someone who is?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

and the livin's easy

Aah, summer. I've been waiting for you. With your warm days and sunny nights, you are just what I need in my life. Skirts and flip-flops, sunscreen and tank tops. Barbeques and patios, ice cream and popsicles. There is just so much for me to love. It may not feel like summer where I am right now but just knowing that summer is officially here is enough to get me giddy for what’s to come.
Summer has always been my favourite season, and today, it’s official arrival, my favourite day of the year. I don’t know if it is because summer meant no school or if it’s because the beach is my favourite place to be but I have always loved the sun kissed season in the middle of the year. There has always been something so appealing about putting away any jackets, leaving the layers at home, and taking in the happy sounds and salty smells of summer. I was fortunate enough to spend several summers growing up on the south coast of Maine, a few blocks away from the beach, and I can still remember the short bike ride down the street, bathing suit on and towel in hand, ready to spend several hours soaking in the sun and splashing in the ocean. Days seemed endless as we would find the perfect place for our beach blankets and let out toes tickle their way into the squishy sand. We’d jump waves, search for starfish and let the water carry us in to shore. We’d eat fresh snap peas from the market and chew on taffy from the corner store. We’d play catch and do cartwheels; we’d run races and build sandcastles. We’d be exhausted by the end of the day but anxious to return and do it all over again. Summer makes me smile. The good memories and sunny days seem to make me happier once the season has arrived. I’m more comfortable in my sunglasses and sandals than boots and big coats. I crave ice cream and lemonade and long days in the heat. It may not be as carefree as when I was young but summer relaxes me and refreshes me. It’s fun in the sun…and for me, it doesn’t get much better.
Thanks for coming, summer. I’m so glad you’re here.

Do you like summer? What’s your favourite summer memory?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a cup of chaos

For any hockey player, the Stanley Cup is what dreams are made of. You work hard all season long, fight for your place in the playoffs and then battle to the best of your ability to make your way through three rounds to find yourself only four wins away from raising the coveted Cup over your head. Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals was last night between the Boston Bruins and my hometown Vancouver Canucks and for me and many hockey fans, it’s a night of uneasy excitement and high hopes. I had hoped I’d be able to write today about how happy I was to see the Canucks take it all but unfortunately, things didn’t quite go that way and, instead, I’ve got to offer my congratulations to the competitors as the Boston Bruins outplayed, outlasted and outscored Vancouver and are now the Stanley Cup Champions. A great season for the Canucks, a great series for the Bruins and a great sport that I truly love to watch.
And while it was certainly a disappointing loss for the Canucks, it soon became a disappointing night for the city of Vancouver. I sat and watched the news in horror as live coverage of the violence and riots that followed the game continued to escalate into total destruction and disregard. How could these people treat our city this way? How could so many people be so violent and vulgar? How do a handful of hooligans inspire hundreds of hockey fans to turn on each other, on the people and places around them and commit crime after crime? So many questions of utter disbelief as the chaos of the city overshadowed what should have been a night all about hockey and a win so well deserved by either team.
{via Andy Fang Photography}
I woke up this morning still proud to be a Vancouver fan but so ashamed that by being one I was going to be associated with the shenanigans. And while negativity has certainly surround the chaos, out of the darkness has come the light. The police, firefighters and city workers were joined by volunteers from all over this morning to help rid the city of the destruction. While it didn’t take long for the trouble to take over last night, it was just as quickly wiped away by so many proud people who came together to breathe some life back in the city. Heavy boards may cover the broken windows and be a reminder of the ruckus, but they have quickly been filled by messages of love and congratulations, by messages of pride and promise, by messages of apology and sadness. The city has calmly responded and while it doesn’t make us forget that our reputation might be tarnished, it certainly has shown that we our proud of our team, our city and our country - we won’t let the actions of a small minority ruin the fun for the rest of us. It is truly inspiring to see people come together to make a positive change.

Are you a hockey fan? What brings your city together?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

through a child's eyes

I've recently returned home from a trip to Ontario, to visit my family and watch a childhood friend marry the love of her life. What is usually a relaxing stay at my mom’s house was almost anything but as my two adorable and active nephews were taking a trip to Grandma’s house at the same time. While I'll never complain about time off work combined with the fact that living far from my family doesn't ever get easier, spending time with them never makes for a bad vacation; however, this was one vacation that I certainly needed a vacation from after returning home. As I'm sure most moms would agree, keeping up with young kids isn't at all like taking candy from a baby! So while rest and relaxation weren't high on our activity list, running around with the rug rats had me smiling from ear to ear and living life from a petite perspective. A lesson on life from a child often offers more insight than the wise words of an adult. When the end of a game of hockey means the start of a game of soccer and having to go to bed seems like the end of the world, it's no wonder that their smiles are sincere and their solutions so simple. When blowing bubbles means big laughs and filling up a kiddie pool makes for a fun filled morning, waking up earlier than you’d like to a smiling face that gives you a slobbery kiss and a huge hug is a darn good way to start the day. My nephews may have been all about being on the go but they've helped me realize that life goes too fast not to slow and enjoy it. Taking in the magic moments, no matter how tiring is what makes me realize how important it is to live life to the fullest and appreciate all the little things. Life with a little one may sometimes test your patience (and limit your sleep!), but it is a priceless lesson in love and laughter.

What lessons have you learned from the little ones in your life?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

are you two twins?

Twenty five years ago today, my little sister was born. And while I can't say that it’s a day I remember (being two years old and all), it's a day that was the start of many memories to come. My sister is one of my best friends. She is someone I laugh with, cry with and love to share clothes with. She understands my fast talking (whenever she let's me get a word in), isn't shy to tell me the truth and constantly cracks me up. She's a Dairy Queen addict, can’t get enough of the colour purple and isn't ashamed to like "With You" by Jessica Simpson. She's the best and she knows it. For my birthday several years ago, my sister got me a sweet album full of quotes about sisters and photos of us growing up. One quote in particular seemed to describe us, and I’m sure many sisters, really well… “A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.” Even though we were asked if we were twins more than any other question growing up (I’m sorry LG, but we do look alike!), some things about us were so different that when we joked about her being from another planet, it sometimes didn't seem that far from the truth. Her loud, talkative never-say-no-to-a-party ways were often in contrast to my shyer, quiet, I'm-going-to-take-care-of-everybody qualities. But none of our differences have ever stopped us from being the best of friends. We were able to share a room for almost 20 years and have never run out of things to say. We have a long list of jokes and one-liners that wouldn’t seem funny to anyone but us. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders and much needed therapists. We probably know each other a little better than we know ourselves. So to my forever friend and little sister, happy birthday champ. I hope your day is full of Thai food, Timbits and some tequila without the lemon.

Do you have any siblings? Do you get along with your brothers and/or sisters?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

sunscreen would be it

By now, you might have seen this video floating around the Internet. And maybe, it's made you think twice about visiting tanning beds or postponing your visit to the doctor. Hopefully, it’s made you tell those in your life that you love them and that it’s important to pay attention to their bodies. And if this message reaches just one person, or saves just one life, than it’s worth passing it on. Skin cancer has unfortunately touched my family a few times and being the fair-skinned, freckled person that I am, believing that pale is the new tan is something I’ve had to convince myself of for years.

Beyond raising awareness for skin cancer and the risks of the sun, which I think is increasingly important these days, the video really got me thinking. What would I say to my sixteen year old self? What do I know now that I wished I'd known then? I don’t know if I’ve got any truly wise words and as I get older I know there is always more to learn but if I could talk to myself ten years ago, there’s a few things I’d want myself to know. I’d want my teenage self to know the importance of always having fun and not taking things so seriously. There’s going to be ups and downs and good times and bad times, but pick your battles, laugh things off and let your stress be a catalyst for positive changes. Take risks! My sixteen year old self (along with maybe my twenty six year old self!) needs to know that taking risks and trying new things are the experiences that will help you grow as a person. It’s okay to weigh the good and the bad, to be scared and unsure, to make an informed decision, but go for it, give it a shot and live your life to the fullest so you never have to wonder what could have been. And most importantly, be confident in who you are. Confidence is something that I tend to struggle with, something that holds me back from being the best I can be, and believing in myself at a younger age would help push me to places I'm struggling to get to now. So dear sixteen year old me, always stay true to who you are and, more importantly, believe in who you are. Because guess what? You’re great and life is pretty darn good. And when your dad says he will give you a million dollars if you guess what's in the box, go with your gut and say luggage - it would really help your twenty-six year old self if you were a million dollars richer.

What would you say to your sixteen year old self?

PS My apologies for posting a video that you might have seen before...with the message hitting so close to home, I just couldn't help it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

courage personified

I had the absolute pleasure last night of attending an event full of awe, audacity and inspiration. The 13th annual Courage to Come Back Awards were presented to six incredibly deserving individuals from all around British Columbia who have overcome seemingly-insurmountable challenges and in turn reach out to help others. They are people from all walks of life who define what it means to be courageous in the face of adversity. They have found a way to fight back, to live their life to the fullest and to help and inspire others. It was a night full of unbelievable stories, inspiring outcomes and handfuls of tissues!
{award recipient Jerome Bouvier via}
What struck me hard last night was how real these inspiring individuals are. It’s one thing to see a video or read their story but to watch them accept an award in front of 800 people as they speak of their emotional journey is humbling beyond words. Real life stories of illness, injury or adversity and the courage to truly come back from what may have been the bottom hits close to home but is not easy to imagine. It had me thinking though, what would I do if I was in their shoes? What would I do if faced with such adversity, if the odds seemed stacked against me? As easy as it might be to say ‘It won’t happen to me’, we can never predict the curveballs that life may throw at us and we most certainly can’t be sure of how we would react. And as tough as it is to imagine yourself living a life like one of these incredible individuals, the hope and optimism that radiated from each and every one of them is inspiring in itself. It’s inspiring to know that even if you’re down, there are ways to get back up. Even if you feel like the world is against you, there is always someone rooting for you. Even if you feel like you’ve got nothing, you’ve got something. And as one of the recipients said, even if your life doesn’t always go to plan, your Plan B can still be a success. So to all those who have stood up to adversity, to all those who didn’t back down to being down, to all those who have truly had the courage to come back…thank you for sharing your stories.

Who inspires you? How do you define courage?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

hostess with the mostess

I think it was my brother who once said when I was younger than guests is just another word for cleaning. This week, I really feel like he could not be more correct. As my husband and I prepare to welcome some friends over this weekend for a little housewarming party, our list of things to fix up, touch up and clean up never seems to end. While I would definitely consider us to be a clean couple, it's amazing the scrutiny our house is suddenly under as we prepare it to be seen by other people. So while guests may mean a whole lot of scrubbing, sweeping, dusting and dishes, it also means a good time. I truly am excited to be having people over and while it may mean a little more work before, during and after the party, it also means that I get to play hostess and that’s something that I really like doing. We’ve never really had the space to have a party, or even much of a gathering beyond a couple of lucky people, and yet hosting one is something that I’ve always looked forward to. I’ve longingly looked at pretty pictures of perfect place settings and bookmarked fun foods and delicious desserts. I’ve dreamed of dining with dear friends over lots of laughs in the luxury of my own home. I can’t say I’m a pro party planner and while this weekend won’t quite be the party I’ve been picturing as it’s a little more low key and casual than my dinner party dreams, I’m really looking forward to welcoming my guests with open arms. The extra work is worth it to be the one watching for empty wine glasses, filling my guests full of finger foods and making the night a memorable one. So with the cleaning supplies going back into the closet, the bar stocked and the fridge loaded, all we’ll have left to do is cross our fingers our friends show up! Should be fun!

Do you like to be the host? Any tips for the perfect party?