Tuesday, November 30, 2010

shop til you drop

I have a confession. This one isn’t as embarrassing as my love of watching The Real Housewives but I do feel like I’m in the minority when it comes to what I’m about to tell you. Are you ready? Here goes...I really don’t like shopping. I feel as though I should because I like fashion, furniture and getting new things and the satisfaction of a good purchase can be so rewarding, but put me in a mall and I’m usually ready to go home soon after I’ve arrived. With Black Friday sales and the crowds of Christmas shoppers making their way into the stores, I’m less and less inclined to go shopping, making it a very good thing that my Christmas shopping is almost done!
There’s several things that really turn me off about shopping. For one, I’m really bad at it. How is that possible, you ask? Well, I tend to look and look and look and end up with nothing! I am completely indecisive about spending my money that even if I find something I really like or really want, I usually need a second opinion. I need some convincing confirmation that somebody else thinks it’s a worthwhile purchase. And if there’s no one around to tell me I’m doing the right thing, then one of two things is bound to happen, the first being much more damaging than the second. It has happened to me so often that you’d think I’d learn...but I haven’t...yet. I’ll see something I want, look around for approval, not find the approval and decide to think about it as if giving it a good night’s sleep will give me more of a reason to purchase the product and plan to come back another day. What usually happens next is that I arrive back at the store, ready to pull out my credit card, only to find that they don’t have my size or they just sold out. I usually take it as a sign that I wanted it more than I needed it and I’m better off without it...but in reality, I’m crying a little inside and know I’ll be thinking about the item over and over in the days to come. The other shopping scenario that gets me if I’m alone is buyer’s remorse. There is something so terrible about overanalyzing a purchase, deciding to buy and then regretting it... and this happens to me more often that I’d like to admit. I am definitely guilty of making a purchase only to rethink it as soon as the shopping bag is in my hand....that is, until I get home to have someone tell me that shopping really isn’t such a bad thing and I, and the other people in my life, deserve pretty purchases every now and then. Add to these issues crazy crowds or not finding what I’m looking for and I am much happier to shop from the comfort of my computer. Another confession: I know I'm ridiculous!

Do you love to shop? Do you get buyer’s remorse?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thank you

In honour of the Thanksgiving holiday being celebrated in the States, it seems only appropriate to reflect on how grateful I am for all that I have been blessed with. It truly makes me feel so lucky that I’ve got so many things to be thankful for. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate the life that I’m living and how much gratitude I have for the wonderful people that make my life so special.
I think at times like this it is especially important to be thankful for all the little things that I so easily take for granted everyday. Like having mittens in cold weather or art supplies for painting. Or having a job that pays the bills or a computer where I can write my blog. I’m thankful for my alarm clock because as much as I hate to hear it go off every morning, it means that I’ve made it to another day. I’m thankful for the pain I feel after a long run because it means I’m able to walk and run and stay active. I’m thankful for having to pay rent because even though I’d love to have more money for shopping, it means I’ve got a roof over my head and a house to go home to. I’m thankful for warm meals and the leftovers I eat for lunch. I’m thankful for the technology that lets me stay connected to my family around the world. I’m thankful that I get to hear the words ‘I love you’ more than once a day. To be able to ‘thank’ the things in life that don’t often receive words of gratitude, like Leah of thxthxthx or Jimmy Fallon on his Late Night show, may seem silly or get a lot of laughs but in all honesty, it might make you take a closer look at all the wonderful, weird or simple things that we experience on a day to day basis. It’s a good reminder that the little things deserve thanks, too.
I’ve truly got so much to be thankful for and as corny as it sounds, I’m thankful there’s a holiday that reminds me of such. Thanks to every one of you for being a part of my life and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating!

What are you thankful for? How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

apology accepted

I couldn’t help my curiosity when the headline Fool Proof Ways to Apologize flashed on my monitor this morning. Really? Four failsafe ways to wiggle your way out of the doghouse? (And in the Shopping section nonetheless! Hmmm…I see where this is going…) Being in any relationship usually comes with it’s fair share of disagreements or arguments that can leave one or both of you needing to say you’re sorry. But considering we're all a little bit different and will react a little differently to any fight, tiff or argument that we get into, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that these probably aren’t the four best ways to fess up and be forgiven.
I’ve got to admit that I’m not won over as easily as is suggested. Yeah, I’ll take a candlelit bath or an unexpected outing and I believe there can be some special sentiment suggested by such shows of love …but a video testimony admitting your mistake? And pouring your heart out? Sounds a little too contrived to me. By all means, give these gestures a try but it may be best to understand the person you’re apologizing to. What I usually need when I’m upset is time. Give me a little time to clear my head and some space to think my own thoughts and then a heartfelt apology or expression of your feelings is going to go a lot farther than an expensive gift or perfectly planned meal. (I will take those too if you’re offering…but it would probably mean more if they came at a time when you weren’t trying to get out of the doghouse!)

Yes, the sweet touches are nice and, if you mean it, they show that you care. And that, to me, is the easy answer for having your apology accepted. Saying sorry shouldn’t be something we do because our mom says so, saying sorry should be something we do because we are actually saying what we feel.

Are you good at apologizing? Or too stubborn like I can be? What makes a sorry sweeter?

Friday, November 19, 2010

simple smiles: learning from life

Sometimes in life, there are days when things just aren’t going your way, when more bad than good seems to happen in a week or the month is speckled with sad news. And then suddenly, someone says something or does something that just hits you the right way and changes your outlook on the way you see the world. After a few days of feeling down this week, I received the perfect email pick me up from my sister. Whether she knew it or not, the email she sent seemed to reach me at just the right time, when I needed someone to remind me that life is full of wonderful reasons to embrace all that I have been lucky enough to experience. The email was a simple list that has probably made it’s way around the Internet for years and for whatever reason, made it’s way to me at just the right time. The list contains simple life lessons from a lady named Regina Brett who wrote the list as she approached her 45th birthday (…and not 90th birthday as is rumoured!...because she’d be looking pretty darn good for a 90 year old!). While so many of her personal life lessons really rang true, there was one that I’ve heard over and over but seemed like the right kind of reminder this time around.
“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.” Such simple words but all too often and all too easily ignored. I can definitely admit that I’m guilty of holding on to a nice shirt or waiting to wear that new dress. I save treats until the time is right. I’ve got the good duvet safely in the closet. But it’s something that I think I should consciously change. Because really, what’s wrong with today? Why isn’t today special enough to take myself out for dessert or pull out that pretty purse? I don’t think I’ll be putting on my party dress to clean the bathroom by any means but I think the lesson I’m learning is that I’ve got to make the most of what I’ve got. Everyday is something to be celebrated and if I buy some nice candles, why not burn them? If I’ve got good things in my life, why not use them? Company shouldn’t be the only reason to get out the good towels! Of course I’m still going to get excited over surprise nights out, romantic dinners or pretty presents…but getting excited that every day is a new chance to experience all that I’m lucky enough to have is a life lesson that I hope I never forget. So treat yourself tonight. Pull out the china. Wear your expensive accessories. Make today the right time because today really is special.

What do you save for a special occasion? Any advice for embracing each day?

Monday, November 15, 2010

an a for effort

I spent the better part of my day today talking about how great I am. Yes, you heard me right, how great I am. It sounds like a weird thing to say, doesn’t it?! But it’s the truth and truthfully, I feel weird about it. It’s the end of my company’s year and with the end of the calendar year coming up quickly, it meant it was time for my annual performance review. That meant my morning was spent analyzing all that I’ve accomplished throughout the year and finding an abundance of adjectives for saying I’m awesome. I’ve got to say that it wasn’t one of my favourite things I’ve been asked to do at work. Sure, organizing business cards or sending out a large mailout aren’t glamorous assignments but having to talk about all the wonderful, amazing, beneficial things I’ve brought to my company this year made me feel more awkward than I anticipated. Like a resume or job interview, talking up your terrific traits isn’t always an easy task.
{an awesome hotdog? i think so!}
As much as I struggled through my own awesomeness, I’ve got to admit that it may have helped me feel pretty fantastic. It made me take a real look at the work I’ve contributed over the past year and realize that I am indeed an excellent employee. I find it all too easy to get down on myself when I have a bad day or when I feel like I could have done more but when I have to sum up my success, I realize that I’m proud of my achievements and that I’ve contributed an awful lot to my office. I’m personable, organized, dependable, always ready for the next challenge, and have stepped in to help others on countless occasions. I may blush at the idea of being boastful or bragging but being able to admit I’m wonderful just did wonders for my confidence. Not to toot my own horn (okay, all I did was toot my own horn!) but I was able to write quite a bit about myself and that’s got to make a girl feel pretty good, right?! I hope we can all see the good in ourselves, even on days when no one asks.

Why are you wonderful to work with? What makes you more confident?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

lest we forget

There's something really special about Remembrance Day for me. I can't be sure but I think the combination of having a grandfather who served, being proud of my country and respecting all those who have fought for freedom has created such a strong connection. I don't let this time go by without proudly wearing my poppy or observing a minute of silence and taking the time to truly remember all those who sacrificed so much. With so few veterans left and battles still being fought on a daily basis, I find it ever important to carry on the message that without the actions of these brave soldiers and civilians, the world would not be as it is today and I am entirely grateful for the courage and honour so proudly displayed during such a tough time.
{In Flanders Fields}
I remember having to do an art project in high school where we had to pick an image to recreate that represented life in the war. I can still remember the image I chose, of a soldier in a trench, looking sad, desolate and heartbroken but still stronger than I could ever imagine having to be. It's an image that I don't think I'll ever forget as it impacted me more than I could predict. It gave me a glimpse into the battle being fought on the front lines as well as the mental battle that I can only begin to imagine those in the war fought everyday. I can't comprehend the violence and I truly wish we could all get along without having to break out guns and grenades but I do think we have so many soldiers to thank for their bravery, selflessness, commitment and sacrifice to the battles of the past and present.

To all those who fought and continue to fight, I am so thankful for all that you have done in the face of adversity and violence and in the name of peace and your country. You and your service will always be remembered.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

snug as a bug

When I was younger, I used to wish for any excuse to stay home from school. I’d secretly hope that I would get sick so that I wouldn’t have to hop on that big, yellow bus yet again. And it’s not like I didn’t like school, I did quite a bit, but there was something so desirable about being able to stay home when you should have been in class, as if being home sick was a rebellious act, as if a sick day was a vacation in disguise. I secretly hoped I would get sick so I could stay home – until it actually happened. Because when you’re home sick, you soon discover it means staying in bed, fighting the flu and missing out on all the fun your healthy friends are having without you.
I had to stay home from work yesterday because a cold hit me hard and getting through the day at work would have been much worse than catching up on what I’d miss. And it made me think of the times when skipping school seemed so worth a sick day. Now, when I get a cough or a cold or a sore throat like the one that kept me confined to the couch yesterday, I fight hard to get better, to get back to the office, to get back normal so that breathing and swallowing become painless and thoughtless actions. I will admit though, as much as I hate being sick, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of the good that comes with the bad. Who doesn’t love an excuse to stay in your pj’s all day? I won’t often say no to that! When you’re so used to getting up and getting dressed and going to work, I’ve got to admit that taking a break from the routine is a plus no matter how many boxes of tissues I may go through. And when soup is my staple when I’m sick, getting curled up under a blanket with a nice warm bowl of chicken noodle goes a long way in making me feel better. Even though The Price is Right isn’t the same without Bob Barker, I love being able to watch it as I dream of seeing myself in the Showcase Showdown even though being on TV is the last place I’d want to be seen considering the mess that is me on a sick day. Add to all that a husband who happily runs to the store three, four or five times just for me and makes sure I’m tucked in tight and I start to think I’ll wish for sick days more often (…minus the sick part, please!).

What do you do when you’re home sick? What makes you feel better?

Monday, November 8, 2010

keep fit and have fun

There’s always something so tough about trying to get back into shape. While I haven’t let it go too long, I’m currently challenging myself to get back into the gym on a regular basis and make working out a part of my regular week day routine again. So when I came across the 20 Biggest Health Excuses That Hold You Back this morning, it was like someone read my mind. Reading the reasons why I, along with many others, seem to put so many other things ahead of our health makes me realize how easy it should be to include exercise everyday. And when the outcome is feeling good (and hopefully looking good, too!) it really should be a no brainer when it comes to being fit.
Staying fit throughout the summer was hard enough...with eating out and weekends away, my outdoor activities had to heavily make up for my unhealthy habits. But taking a break from the ever important routine of getting my butt in gear to get to the gym has only made it harder to get into the groove again. Granted, after running a half marathon, I felt entitled to a few days off. It’s too bad those few days off turned into a few weeks off and after those few weeks off…well…exercising a few days a week is a mental battle harder than lifting some of those heavy weights. But I find that now is the best time to do it. Summer has ended, the days are getting shorter and my schedule has seemed to slow down. All perfect reasons for getting back to the daily grind of burning fat and building muscle. Yes, it’s a shame that when I don’t need the beach body cause I’m covered up by cute coats and warms sweaters, I’ve got the time to work on it. But I know working out now will only benefit me in the long run…like when I want that second helping of shortbread at the company Christmas party or some ice cream on my apple pie. So winning the fight against lazy days is a game I’ve got to become good at. Not only for the guilt-free holiday treat eating but also so I can feel good about myself. I know how awesome I feel when I get a good sweat going and how satisfying it feels to discover new muscles. These are the feelings that I have to keep in mind as I make my way home tonight. I have to ignore the couch who calls my name so loud and instead remind myself of all the reasons that going to the gym is a good choice to make. Because if looking good isn’t enough motivation, feeling good will get me going even more!

What motivates you to exercise? Do you have a regular routine?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my purple pride

It's been several years since I graduated from university and while I may be in denial about the end of those days, I can’t help but relive them and reminisce about all the good times I had while I was there. So you can imagine my delight when I read that my school had rave reviews in The Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report, an annual survey based on assessments by students about the schools they attend. I'm proud to report that the university I attended finished with the highest ranking in seven of the seventeen criteria in which it was graded. Bishop's University was ranked the highest for, among other things, quality of teaching, satisfaction with town/city, campus atmosphere and most satisfied students...not so bad to be at the top of those lists!
Anytime Bishop’s is mentioned in the news, I’m like a proud mother celebrating her child’s achievements. I can’t help but get a little giddy to know that my alma mater did something worth talking about. Even when it’s bad news, like a flood, fire or foolish freshman (which happens all too often!), my heart still warms at the thought of my little university town pushing their way through any tough time or tragedy. Bump into any alum that went to BU and it’s like you haven’t seen each other since being separated at birth but lived on the same street your whole life. You’d think we were being paid to promote the school with the way we can’t stop babbling about our breakfasts at PizzaVille or walks across the arches. The memories, landmarks and school spirit seem to remain the same throughout the years and so reminiscing about life in Lennoxville is something so hard to explain if you’ve never experienced it. Having one small bar in town to raise a toast with your profs but two Greek restaurants for the post-bar poutine is accepted and embraced. Painting yourself purple during frosh week and again for every football game is not unusual...even if it means showing up to an exam that way because you didn't have time to take a shower first. And missing said football game because tailgating takes on a life of its own is a foggy memory for any proud Gaiter fan. Our school song, which is belted out by students every year to serenade the principal at his house, states “we will never graduate” and I don’t think truer words could be sung (…or slurred!). While I may have taken it for granted during those first few days as a freshman, I’ve come to realize that while I can’t go back, those days will certainly live forever in my heart.

Did you go to college? What was the school spirit like at your school?

Monday, November 1, 2010

expect the unexpected

Weekends are my favourite part of the week. Of course, there’s the whole sleeping in and not having to go to work part that always makes it such a relief to get to the end of the week but what I really love about weekends is the extra time to do fun things and the adventures that often ensue. While weekdays usually include errands and exercise, the weekend is often reserved for friends, family or fun and sometimes you never know what that will mean. For me, this weekend involved all three and while I knew it would be a good one, I couldn’t have predicted that I’d be as good as it was.
You know those days or nights when you’ve got good plans but if someone were to ask you about them, you’d say it was nothing special? And then you go out, have more fun than you could have imagined and look back and laugh at all the outrageous outtakes that made your night memorable? That pretty much sums up my weekend. I spent the last few days visiting a good friend a few hours away, and while I was really looking forward to the time we would spend together, I could never have imagined that such simple sentences would unleash a series of unforgettable adventures. When the owner of the pub we went to for a little live music casually told us there was a bowling lane out back (and he wasn’t kidding!) our night took a turn for the random as we suddenly found ourselves setting up own our pins and crossing our fingers for a strike. And when we were asked if we brought anything to throw by the cashier of the movie theatre where we went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show, we shouldn’t have been surprised by the rice, toast and decks of cards that were launched through the theatre. They might seem like you-had-to-be-there moments but they were the moments that made my weekend. They were unexpected, a little strange and a lot of fun.
I love those nights – nights that need explanations with stories that couldn’t be scripted. It’s those nights that are often the most unforgettable, when one unexpected event turns into two and suddenly you can’t remember the last time you had so much fun. It’s those nights that start out okay and end amazing with a roller coaster of ridiculous all in between. It’s the unexpected fun that if you tried to plan for, you’d fail. It’s the rush of being in the right place at the right time without realizing that you’ve got all the ingredients for the recipe for fun. So if anyone ever tells you that there’s a bowling lane behind their bar, believe them. You never know where the night will take you.

What unexpected moments have made for memorable nights for you? What’s your favourite thing about the weekend?