Tuesday, August 31, 2010

hair today, gone tomorrow

Yesterday was a scary day for me.
As much as I had spent sleepless nights preparing myself for the amount of hair I was about to have cut off, I was still shaking like a leaf in the wind as I sat down at Beauté Légère and let Simon snip his scissors through my long locks. I made the decision several months ago that it was time for a change and, more importantly, that it was time to let go of my length and donate it to Locks for Love, an amazing non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. With the children in mind, and the amazing encouragement and support from my family and friends, I took a deep breath, surprisingly didn’t shed a single tear and let the scissors do the styling.
I went into the salon with a mane that made its way down to the middle of my back. I left with the longest layers falling just slightly below my chin. Now that’s what they call a hair cut.
Hair is a funny thing. As much as it is ‘just hair’ it often defines who we are. Not in the sense that we are nothing without our hair but it certainly does have a strong grasp on certain feelings and emotions relating to a woman’s beauty and attitude. It can give us confidence when we’re happy with how it looks. It can create a new persona with sassy styling or a chic cut. It’s cut, colour or style can be changed to accentuate or hide other facial features. Hair has an amazing effect on the way we view ourselves and others. Having a bad hair day can not only mean bad hair but sometimes a bad mood as well. I know how much it frustrates me to put time and effort into styling my hair in the morning only to go outside into the humidity or rain and have my once lovely locks flip, flop and curl into a new, not-so-lovely ‘do. I can confess that when unwanted waves appear out of nowhere, I’m a constant complainer. I’ll cross my fingers that cutting my hair will have cutback my complaints (no promises!) but in any case, this new hairdo will definitely take some getting used to!

Have you ever made a dramatic change to your ‘do? Are you a cautious cutter?

Friday, August 27, 2010

playing with dirt

As an aspiring artist and a lover of all things creative, I am often in awe of some the amazing ways individuals choose to express their creative talents. Some make accessories, some draw portraits, some take photographs…but there are many non-traditional ways to make art that often don’t get as much appreciation or attention and I think it’s because they are just that – non-traditional.
This dirty car art fits into that last category. No, I don’t think I would display this in or around my house but it has definitely struck me as not only creative but also so cleverly well done. I am truly in awe of the work done by artist Scott Wade who breaks out his brushes to gently remove sand and reveal realistic and beautiful images on the windows of dirty cars. The closest to art I’ve come on windows in need of a wash is a smiley face next to the words ‘clean me!’. It never really crossed my mind that someone could look at a dirty car the same way I do at a blank canvas. To think that a masterpiece could be created (and destroyed in moments!) on an object that I wouldn’t normally classify as art is such an interesting concept.
But that’s what I love about art…that it can come in the most unusual forms or by seemingly unconventional practices and still demand respect for it’s beauty, difficulty, or just because it’s something that the artist thought of in an interesting way. In my own artistic endeavors, I often get caught up in the rules of what’s accepted or what looks beautiful but then become hypocritical because I believe art doesn’t have to have rules. If you look out your car window and think, it’s so dirty, I’ve got to get it cleaned, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t look out theirs and think, it’s so dirty, I’ve got to get my paint brush. I love that creativity comes in all forms. I love that, in my opinion, art can be defined differently by everyone and can never be defined wrong.

What interesting artists have you come across lately? Would you call Scott Wade’s creations ‘art’?

{Photos via here and here where you can find his whole gallery}

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

simple smiles: a sweet surprise

My husband is the best. I hope there are others who have amazing spouses or partners and would challenge me on this statement but with all the sweet ways he makes me smile, I know I’m a lucky girl. I was already smiling last night after coming home from work to find fresh flowers awaiting my arrival (he reads my blog!) and little did I know that things were going to get better. We headed to a nearby park to get in our daily exercise and after parting ways so I could run one more lap and my husband could begin his stretching (or so I thought), I was super surprised to come around the last corner and see the delightful spread that my husband had so sneakily and sweetly prepared for our dinner. He thought of everything for a picnic at the park…our beach blanket, a delicious chicken and pasta dish, lots of water to stay hydrated after my run, a sweater so I wouldn’t be shivering as the sun went down and a delicious treat that I like to call ‘heaven in a bottle'. (Okay, so he didn’t think to bring my camera but it was easy to forgive him for that one!...)

I love simple surprises such as the one I was so lucky to get last night. It wasn’t an expensive gift or fancy restaurant but it was so full of thought. It was something that I never would have guessed was coming and didn’t cost a lot to prepare. It was something that made me feel so important and so in love. It’s the little things that can make all the difference sometimes. Like getting flowers when it’s not your anniversary. Or realizing he remembered your favourite movie. I think the unexpected surprises are the ones that make me feel the most special. The ones that make me realize that I’m on someone’s mind for no reason other than they were thinking of me or wanted to see me smile. The fact that someone cares about me enough to want to see that surprised look in my eyes is a feeling that I hope never to take for granted. With so many reasons to give and receive gifts or to go out to celebrate, it’s often nice not to have a real reason - a sudden celebration or sweet surprise simply because you’re you. How could I not think I have the best husband?

What unexpected surprises have you received? What simple things make you smile?
PS This was my favourite surprise picnic...when he proposed!

Monday, August 23, 2010

cool to be in school

With back-to-school happening now, or in the very near future, getting back to class means sacrificing some wonderful summer pleasures that many kids (and adults!) have become used to. Not only do lazy days and staying up late become a thing of the past but the freedom to talk, text and type whenever and wherever becomes a weekend pleasure. With smart phones becoming so smart and so much more than just a phone, kids and teens have access to endless amounts of distractions all while sitting in the comfort of their classroom.
Busted, scolded online, and posted on Failbook, for not only updating but also complaining about class, this student is probably wishing they could erase that one simple status update. I would be so embarrassed if this happened to me...and I’d be dying to get my phone back! I remember when I was in school, Tamagotchi’s were the biggest threats to productive teacher time. Those virtual pets that you were ultimately responsible for keeping alive were banned at certain schools because kids spent too much time worrying about the health of their digital pet instead of the happenings of the real world around them. Much different from these days when kids are not only playing games on their phones but also texting and accessing Facebook along with pretty much anything else on the Web that they wish. It’s amazing how times have changed…I was once distracted by daydreams and doodling and now, although I’m not hip enough to have a phone that lets me do all those fantastic things, I sure get antsy if I can’t check my messages for an extended period of time. With technology advancing all the time, teachers are no longer looking out for people passing notes with paper but through cyber space instead. I’m thinking this makes the job a little tougher but I bet there are some teachers who are always itching to check their emails or updates just as much as some of their students. The summer is full of freedoms that we tend to take for granted but once that bell rings, students certainly have some sacrifices to make and some separation anxiety to deal with. It makes me wonder what I’d be like as a student these days!

And another funny Failbook for any students and all lovers of AnthropologieWhat do you think about kids and phones at school? Any teachers with funny/unfortunate stories? Or confessions?

Friday, August 20, 2010

read it: deception point

Books and the summer seem to go hand in hand. Whether it’s on a blanket in the park or a warm evening on my balcony, I love to have several good summer reads to bury my nose in. We know I’m no movie critic and I’m definitely no literary critic but having just finished Deception Point by Dan Brown and found it to be a page turner perfect for getting lost in on a summer’s day, I thought it appropriate to give it a review…even if it is almost 10 years old. (Okay, so I’m a little behind!)

I have to give Mr. Brown credit. For a book that contained so many scientific facts and political jargon, two topics I am not well versed in, I was able to easily follow along with the dramatic developments and make sense of the thrilling twists and turns. And although I may not have understood all the detailed data, which does take up quite a bit of the book, I understood the plot and learned quite a bit along the way. Dan Brown has a way about his writing that certainly keeps the reader engaged. In Deception Point, he develops both several likeable and hateful characters and it’s hard not to wonder what will become of them. However, I did find that a lot of the events, including dramatic escapes and split-second decisions, seemed pretty far fetched and in a book based so much on scientific specifics, it seemed odd to second-guess the reality of the story. It is definitely a novel that will keep you guessing - not only about how it will end, but also how it’s all possible. While not my favourite book I’ve read this summer, I’d say it’s worth a read, especially if you like simple thrillers that are easy to speed through.

What books have you read this summer? Are you a Dan Brown fan?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

and the award goes to

Last week, while checking in on some of my favourite reads, I was making my way through The Bucket List, reading Sara’s post about The Versatile Blogger award she had just received. After learning seven random things about her as the award dictates, I began to check out the 15 bloggers she was passing the award on to…and to my surprise, one of them was me! I am super honoured and excited to be recognized and thought I would love to play along.
ONE. I. Love. French Fries. I can’t get enough of them. I really have a hard time saying no even though I know they’re not good for me. Would you like fries with that? Always yes. With salad or fries? Always fries.

TWO. I am afraid of bridges. Yes, it might sound strange but something about being on a bridge that, in my mind, could fall any second makes me weak in the knees. I think there’s something more to this fear like a fear of losing control or a fear of falling but until I get to the root of it, a fear of bridges is what I call it.

THREE. One day, when I have more money and most importantly, more dispensable income, I would like to treat myself to regular manicures and pedicures and a house full of fresh flowers. I know I don’t need either of these luxuries but they make me smile. Feeling beautiful is important and a little pampering wouldn’t hurt every once and awhile.

FOUR. I don’t like hot chocolate or chocolate milk. This really is unbelievable to a lot of people but I have just never liked either of them. I think there is actually such a thing as too much chocolate, however, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me.

FIVE. I am a huge sports fan. I’m usually a fairly quiet person but when I’m watching sports, I get overly excited and have a tendency to get loud.

SIX. I’ve emailed my mom (almost) every single day since I moved away from home. Even if it’s a one-liner-have-a-great-day email, I like feeling connected to her even though there is so much distance between us.

SEVEN. I can’t tell a joke for the life of me. If you told me a joke right now, and I tired to tell someone else, I would mess it up. Without a doubt. There’s really no point in me trying.

Thank you so much to Sara for this award!
I hope all of the following blogs will appreciate the honour just as much as I did (...and hopefully play along too - seven random facts about you and 15 bloggers to award)! Please wander over to these fantastic blogs by some amazing Versatile Bloggers…
Abigail from SkyWaitress.com
Alycia from Crowley Party
Brandi from not your average ordinary
Brie from i heart kiwi
Gabby from Gypsy*Diaries
Hollie from and baby makes three…
Holly from Holly Knitlightly
Ilene from much love, illy
Jenn from much to my delight
Krystal from Village
Krysten from After ‘I Do’
Lauren from pen.ny
Leigh from Leigh Ashley
Lenore from Lather. Write. Repeat.
Tiffany from Dancing Branflakes

Monday, August 16, 2010

tourist in my town

I live across the country from most of my family and good friends. While the negatives of this outweigh the positives, I have to admit that there is one really good thing about living far away…and that is having visitors! It is not only fantastic to hang out and catch up with friends but to take them around town and act as a tourist is always a highlight of having friends fly in.

This past weekend was one of the best I’ve had this summer and I have to give thanks to the out of town visitor who was the driving force behind our trip to Tofino where the beautiful beaches and the chance to surf always create amazing memories. Taking someone to a fantastic spot that showcases the beauty of my side of the country not only gives me a chance to show off why I love where I live but also to take advantage of all there is to offer. There is so much to take in all around me and sometimes without the push of a foreign friend, it’s hard not to take for granted all that there is to experience. To be able to pull out my camera and see the sights as if I’m seeing them for the first time becomes a bit of a proud moment - and I don’t have to feel like a dork for taking tons of pictures of the mountains that surround me every day or the park that I’ve walked through many times before.

I love being a tourist in my own town but sometimes, without an actual tourist to give me the excuse to act in awe of my own area, it’s easy to say, maybe next time, or, one of these days. But visitors are a great excuse to try out that fancy restaurant that everyone talks about or take a tour bus around town to the sights you‘ve heard so much about. Sometimes, you just never know what your city has to offer until somebody else is around to see it. Anyone want to come visit?

What’s it like to be a tourist in your town? Where do you take visitors?

PS Thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes...what a way to make a girl feel loved! Too sweet!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

it's my party

I love birthdays. I actually love celebrating other people’s birthdays more than my own (I hate to be the center of attention!) but with my birthday coming up this weekend, I can’t help but think about all the fun times and good memories from my birthdays past. I’ve been lucky enough (and loved enough!) to have had several surprise parties thrown in my honour and one particular one seems to stick out. While getting ready to go to my cottage for the weekend, my parents left to go fill the car with gas – a seemingly normal task when taking a two hour drive. However, when the trip to the gas station that is about seven houses away from my humble abode was taking them 15, 20, 30 minutes, I began to think something was wrong. I could not have been more surprised to answer a knock at the door several minutes later to find 10 of my closest friends all packed and ready to take a road trip with me to the cottage to celebrate my day of birth. How they got organized enough to actually pull it off, I will never know but it truly was a happy birthday!


Unfortunately, for some more than others, with a birthday comes aging. I have to say that while there are many people who wish they didn’t have to watch their age creep upwards faster than they’d like, I’m not one of them. Sure, I like being young and I think time is always flying by too fast, but I actually find aging an exciting adventure. I remember seeing Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin, on TV one day talking about what it’s like for a woman to get older. She was saying that if she wasn’t 50 years old, she couldn’t be happily married for 30 years and she couldn't have 20 year old sons who she was so proud of. Not one to normally pay too much attention to talk shows, I found that her words really struck a cord. There are so many milestones in life to celebrate as we get older and without reaching these ages, we can’t celebrate long lasting love or watching our children grow up. I’ve only been married for several months but I look forward to getting old with my husband and that’s not something I can do if I don’t embrace my birthday every year. So as I prepare to celebrate getting older tomorrow, I am looking forward to all the adventures that will come with this new age bracket. Whether I’m turning 26, 36 or 46, I hope each age and each new day brings something exciting to look forward to.

What’s your favourite birthday memory? What do you like to do to celebrate?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

how to quit your job

You can call it crazy and you can call it crass but you can’t deny that this girl is creative! According to the story, this gutsy young lady sent an interesting email to her coworkers. The email, containing 33 photos (see them here!) that tell a story, not only announces that she is quitting her job but also calls out her boss for, among other things, spending a ridiculous amount of time online on Farmville. While not something that I would ever dream of doing, I have to admit that I am slightly in awe of her aggressive resignation tactic!

I’ve had to quit a couple jobs in my life so far and I have to say that leaving every one of them, while for good reason, made me want to avoid eye contact and get it over with as quickly as possible. Quite the opposite of taking photos, sending an email and having a permanent reminder of my exit make its way around the internet. However, I’ve never had a boss whose disrespectful and embarrassing behaviour could overshadow any type of scene I could potentially make. Personally, I think this type of clever communication could be used to land you a job not to leave one. My job applications have always been formal and professional and I’ve envied those who’ve found creative ways to get noticed. However, when this witty woman goes to her next job interview, they won’t have to ask her reason for leaving – they’ll probably already have seen the proof.

UPDATE: It's not for real...but still funny!

Any other creative ways to quit? Or to get hired?
Should quitting a job become more than just handing in a letter of resignation?

Monday, August 9, 2010

to eat or not to eat

I can’t help but smile every time I watch this video. If you were placed in a room with a marshmallow (or a chocolate cake, or a margarita…whatever tickles your taste buds!) and promised that you would receive a second one if you didn’t give in to temptation, do you think you would wait? The reactions and restraint that these children display are priceless. While it seems like a cruel trick to tempt these tots with treats, it is too cute not to watch.

Temptation is a funny thing when it’s placed in front of you in the form of a treat. As much as I know I don’t need it, I have a hard time not wanting seconds when it comes to dessert. After getting over the cute factor and looking into the video with a little more logic, there are too many variables that wouldn’t have occurred to me at such a young age and it makes me question what choice I would now make. I’d like to ignore the fact that wanting two of something when you already have one is greedy but I can’t push that from my mind. And I don’t really think these children are being greedy – who wouldn’t want seconds as a child? But I now know better than to need more than what I’ve been fortunate enough to have received in the first place. And with an unfortunate understanding of sugar’s lack of nutrition, I think I would be more proud of myself if I only went for one tasty treat as opposed to toughing it out and treating my tummy to two. Politely declining the second helping no matter how bad I want it would now take more self control than staring that marshmallow in the face for several minutes in the hopes of its multiplication.

All logic aside, I love this test. I love the way these children take it so seriously, knowing what reward they will receive. I think I could be patient if performing this test at my current age, but twenty years ago? I wonder how long I would have suffered. At what point do you say, I’ve waited long enough and I’m eating that marshmallow? When does the torture of staring at a sweet become too much that the prospect of having two just doesn’t seem worth it anymore? I am more than impressed by the patience that these cuties demonstrate, and their clever ways of avoiding that appealing marshmallow, and I can only hope that my self restraint would have been just as good as theirs.

Would you give in? What temptations are too good to give up?

Friday, August 6, 2010

picture perfect

It may be heading towards the end of bathing suit season but with some of us still heading out to the beach or the lake, I didn’t think it was too late to talk about this interesting ad campaign. Denbenhams, a UK retailer, has taken a stance against airbrushed beauty by banning airbrushing from their ad campaigns. To highlight how unnecessary (and unhealthy for consumers!) it is for models to be touched up, they’ve put an unconventional twist on their ad campaign by comparing an unaltered photo with one that has been airbrushed. Take a look at how interesting the results are…

So first of all, yes, this model, without the airbrushing, is beautiful. From her cute bob to her smooth skin to her lean physique, there’s no way I would ever think twice about her as a model if I saw her in a magazine or store front. Can’t spot all the differences between the first photo and the second? Considering how small some of the touchups are, I’m not really surprised it’s hard to make out the modifications. To see the subtle changes between her ‘real’ photo and the one that’s been altered really struck me as eye opening. The fact that the shape of her arm has been ever-so-slightly skimmed and they’ve done their best to create a helmet of hair shows just how much emphasis is put on living up to an unachievable level of perfection. It’s really no wonder we can focus on the tiniest details about ourselves and wish we could change them.

It’s an interesting way to reject airbrushing and to promote self acceptance. Airbrushing really isn’t necessary when it comes to making people look beautiful. Sure, I’d like to see myself without any wrinkles, no stray hairs and maybe a bigger bust - but really, that’s not me. And it’s not realistic. Nitpicking at the shape of a shoulder (really? a shoulder?) or the shadow of an underarm should never be an issue. Model or not, we all come in different shapes and sizes with different skin tones, different hair cuts and definitely different takes on the definition of beautiful. Accepting ourselves for who we are, “flaws” and all, no matter how big or small, should be reinforced by the fashion world. Us ‘real’ girls are the ones wearing the clothing and considering swimsuit shopping is such a dreaded outing for most girls I know, seeing these models without any touchups might give me a little more confidence to step out of the change room or into the pool. (Okay, maybe not, but no matter how much I hate being in a bikini, I find this ad campaign very refreshing!...)

What’s your take on this campaign? Would you be less inclined to shop at a store with ‘less than perfect’ models?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

who knew i knew that

There are some days when I just don’t want to work.
Today is one of those days.

I can’t put my finger on why I lack motivation today but sitting at my desk seems to be making me very sleepy. It’s making me dream of being at home, snuggled up in bed without a care in the world. As I sit in front of my computer, I’m thinking of all the things I’d rather be doing than working…and that list is getting longer as the day goes on. While I can’t really escape to the countryside or fly off in a private jet, I’m left with several alternatives that allow my brain to keep busy while I wait for my motivation to return. My most recent time-consuming discovery is Sporcle. With thousands of free online trivia games, Sporcle keeps me on my toes and challenges me to recall useless facts that I didn’t even know that I knew. What better way to make the day go by quickly?


It’s amazing what information our brains retain (or don't!) when we’re all of a sudden challenged to remember the things we learned in school or from watching TV. I thought I knew all the words to Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song but put me under a time limit, ask me to list everyone The Cable Guy sings about and suddenly I can’t guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli (Bowzer from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzerrelli in case you were wondering…). These mentally stimulating diversions not only give me something to take my mind off the work I don’t want to be doing, but they surprising teach me quite a bit about trivia that I thought I knew… or never knew I wanted to know. Like 3 letter body parts. Easy, right? Sure, until the two minute time limit is ticking down much faster than I can think of my ribs or my jaw. Suddenly my confidence in my intelligence has me second guessing how smart I really am. Luckily, with so many different categories, I’m bound to get a perfect score somewhere on Sporcle. US States maybe? Corporate logos? Okay, so it may not be the most intellectual distraction but it sure is better for my bank account than the online shopping I’m trying not to do!

What do you do when you’re bored?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

rolling on the river

If you’re a regular blog reader, have spent more than a few hours on Facebook, or even had a look around several blogs, chances are you’ve seen an advertisement for Groupon. Groupon presents a different deal each day for a variety of cities around the world and if there are enough people that want in on the savings, the deal is on and the savings are yours to take advantage of. And although they don’t need any more promoting, I can’t help but talk about them. There have been some amazing deals in my area that I’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of and if you’re a sucker for savings like I am, I’m guessing this introduction to Groupon might come in handy fairly soon.


My sister-in-law is a walking advertisement for Groupon. For months she had talked about it, took advantage of local deals and proudly promoted her super steals to any friends and family that would listen. So when Groupon finally came to my city, she didn’t waste any time in letting me know that I should be signing up for the savings as soon as possible. And I couldn’t be happier I did after the amazing weekend that I’ve just had. It was a long weekend to celebrate BC Day yesterday and celebrate BC I did with an adventure in the great outdoors. A couple of months ago, Groupon featured a whitewater rafting adventure for 40% off the price of a day trip. Almost half off and something I can check off my life’s to-do list? Yes, please! It didn’t take much hesitation to sign up and as I was cruising down the rapids, paddling my arms off and squealing with delight, I’d say it was pretty obvious that this experience was well worth the money. Rafting was a blast and although the water was a little colder than I would have liked, the rush of adrenaline combined with the thrill of rafting through the whitewater really gave me nothing to complain about. Add to that a few nights of camping in the great outdoors with a couple close friends and the weekend couldn’t have been better.

Rafting was an adventure that I would not want to have missed out on and, thanks to Groupon, I didn’t have to…a win-win weekend for all those involved!

Do you use Groupon? Have you ever been whitewater rafting?