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?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

mucho fun tonight

As someone who loves an excuse to celebrate and has a slight (okay, it’s huge…) obsession with Mexican food, Cinco de Mayo seems like the perfect holiday for a girl like me. But for some reason, it’s not something that I’ve ever put much thought into or really found myself remembering to celebrate. I’m going to blame it on the fact that I live in Canada and it’s not as widely recognized as it is by my neighbours to the south but it’s definitely a day that I think deserves some serious attention.

Can we please just talk about how good Mexican food is for a second? Flavourful spices and colourful veggies…corn, chilies, cilantro, oh my! Just thinking about it makes me wish I had a big, fat burrito in front of me which is why it shouldn’t be a surprise that Mexican food has been my favourite food since I can remember and, to this day, still tops the list. When I was in university, living off oatmeal, tuna sandwiches, apples and cheese, I never made my meals my priority – I ate healthy but I didn’t seem to enjoy putting any effort into making myself much of a meal. However, the second I had people over for dinner, I was all about good grub and Mexican was my go-to. Fajitas or burritos for one never seemed worth the effort but add an extra person or two to the dinner table and my menu was always Mexican. It got to the point where my husband, my best friend at the time, would reply with “Let me guess, taco salad?” any time I would invite him over for dinner. He was usually right which meant I had to start changing things up to be less predictable…it also meant I had to find different friends to invite over for dinner so I could get my Mexican fix. Even now, when asked what I want for dinner, tacos or nachos are almost always the first thing that pops into my head. Some may call it a problem, I call it delicious.
Tacos, anyone?

Are you a fan of Mexican food? What’s your favourite type of food?

Monday, May 2, 2011

stuck in a rut

It may not come as a surprise due to my lack of writing of late, but I'm currently in a slump. I can't get my creative juices following even though I'm fairly certain I can pinpoint the problem, yet without a solution, motivating myself to move past my mental drain is proving to be a problem in itself.
As much as it may sound like things might not be going my way, I really can't complain. My life is great. And just knowing that that is something I can confidently say is certainly something worth smiling about on a daily basis. I've got a husband who loves me unconditionally. I’ve got a house to come home to every night. I've got a family full of love and friends who truly care. I'm healthy, I'm truly happy and yet one nagging nuisance keeps knocking on the door to my happy thoughts - I'm really struggling to when it comes to my career. I currently work for a great company, however, the work I am doing is no longer challenging, stimulating or interesting and the waiting around for the opportunity to move up that just doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon is really wearing on me. With the option to move on as the most attractive alternative, deciding what makes the most sense seems to be my biggest source of stress and a significant contributor to my current state of mind…so what to do? Go back to school? But what if I don't like it? Take a job anywhere else to avoid being down in the dumps? But what if it looses it's luster like the one I'm in now? Be happy I even have a job and wait for the safe opportunity? Take a risk, quit and try something new? When you know you have the potential to do great things but just don't know how to go about doing them, the frustrations of feeling uncertain and invaluable certainly take their toll. With so many options available and an endless array of interesting activities out there, how do I know what will make me happy? It’s the constant struggle inside my head these days – how do I make my nine to five as happy as my five to nine? I may not know right now, but I’m determined to find the answer…and soon…because like I said, I’m happy, and I want to keep it that way.

Are you happy at work? Any advice for loving what you doing?