Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Favourites ver. 5

In which I post fun and favourite things from my week, every Friday!

1. TODAY! Is my last day of work before I'm on holidays for TWO. WEEKS. So many things are going on over the next two weeks I'm sure it'll fly by

2. I made more Christmas cooking this week including these Monster Cookies from The Pioneer Woman (with xmas coloured smarties, duh) and these Peanut Butter Etc Blossoms from Bakerella. Both are super easy and make lots of cookies.

Peanut Butter Blossoms. I found a variety of kisses (cookies & cream, almond, etc) and even tried different chocolate cups (caramel, peanut butter, etc).

3. This soup. It is O.M.GOD. Amazing. Seriously. Even if you just make the soup, but the cheese topping is worth it. It's super simple, you could use an immersion blender if you don't have a food-pro. Trust me. Make this. If you're not following Smitten Kitchen you're missing out.

Straight out of the oven. I used marble rye on top. I could eat this everyday.

4. Tomorrow night, PK & I are hosting a board games night at my place. There will be puppies and games. And puppy games. and Guesstures.

Not quite small enough to fit on the stairs but nice try, bud.

5. We're going to see Stuart McLean on Tuesday for his annual Christmas concert. I grew up listening to the Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio. It's a classically Canadian outing and I hope to continue to go as long as the show comes to Kitchener. Technically this item is for next week but I'm so pumped for it, I think I will listen to podcasts all weekend.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

Whenever something inconvenient arises in my life I tend to reference Murphy's Law in some capacity. Usually a combination of "if things can go wrong, they will go wrong" and "If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong" with the corollary "at the most inopportune time".

Here's the thing though, it's never an 'opportune' time for your car to break down. It's never an 'opportune' time to lock yourself out of the house. And today, it was not an opportune time for the dog to get sick in about 6 different ways.

I could say that it was most inconvenient because:
1. It's Monday
2. It's the week before I leave on holidays and I have lots of work to get done,
3. It's the week before the holidays and dropping my Visa card at the vet is not on my wish list.

But really, had it been 6 months ago I would have said it was inconvenient for 3 other reasons. Some things just aren't ever convenient. Sick dog is one of them.

I'll spare you the bad details. The jist of it is that he needed to go to the vet. X-rays were taken, meds were prescribed, home we went. I put all THREE soiled dog beds in the wash and hoped for a better afternoon.

Not so much.

So now here I am at 6:20pm pretty much just starting my workday. Awesome.

I can't WAIT to have kids. I bet I'll become a regular contributor to Murphy's Law.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Favourites ver. 4

In which I post fun and favourite things from my week, every Friday!

1. I added a 'pages' toolbar. It's just above this post, below my header. It's not very exciting at the moment but it's a good way to add more permanent information lik
e my Life List and where else you can find me on the internet. I'd like to start a 'books' page that lists what I'm reading as that seems to be one of my favourite things to tell you wonderful people

2. I'm almost done reading 'Two Towers' and my mind continues to be blown. Should I be ambitious and commit to finishing 'Return of the King' by the new
year...? We'll see...

3. I made this Sausage and Lentil Soup last night and it was so very tasty and came together in one pot. Always a good feature. I made it with a combo of ground turkey and
chicken.

4. I also made these Christmas Cherry Cookies last night. I was feeling like I hadn't done much Christmas baking (and mostly Christmas crafting) so it was time to whi
p up a Christmas classic.

5. I had another puppy date
this week. I'm pretty sure this is going to be a weekly thing as I was informed that the puppy slept for 8 hours afterward. PK was quite pleased with that. Boomer is getting used to being pushed around.

6. The snow, it's coming. 'bout time!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Gift Guide for your GF

I am a girlfriend. Apparently I'm hard to shop for. I'm going to make this easy, here are a handful of ideas to get for your girlfriend:

1.Circle Scarf from American Apparel. It's super cozy, available in 80+ colours. At $34, get her 2 in her fav colours.

2. 'Hank' earrings from Jill Schwartzentruber. I have purchased earrings from Jill's booth at the One of a Kind Craft Show for the past two years. They are durable, feminine and very reasonably priced for hand-made jewelry. Also available in many colours. Looks like free shipping, too!

3. Cosmetic bags by Stephanie Johnson. These travel pouches range in sizes good for a night away or a week away. Available in cute colours (I'm liking the Lima Purple). Pick up a few based on your GF's travel habits. I have a whole collection of these pouches, I use them for electronics, as a pencil case and for make-up. You can never have too many.
4. BAGGU reusable shopping bags. A few weeks ago I ordered 10 of these so I could give one to every person on my list. They come in fun patterns and fold up super small into your purse so you always have one on hand.

5. lululemon Cuddle-up Sweater/Jacket. My brother's gf got me this last year for xmas and I'm certain I wear it at least twice a week. It's so cozy and great for lounging around the house, running errands, or changing into at the office xmas party (I didn't do that...). lululemon also offers *free* shipping. Which is awesome and dangerous.


Good luck to you in your shopping trips! All items above are available for online order which means you don't even have to leave the house :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Favourites ver. 3

In which I post fun and favourite things from my week, every Friday!

I have been obsessed with Christmas crafts lately.

I finished making my stockings, tutorial here, except for my own. Putting effort into something for myself is not a priority. I'll probably make it on December 23rd. Meh.

Onto some favourite things!

1. I'm almost finished all my Christmas cards! Last year I made all my cards and decided to go the same route this year. I get all my stuff through a friend who is a Stampin' Up demonstrator. Their products are awesome and everything matches which fulfills my OCD tendancies.


2. THIS CHRISTMAS WREATH!! I've been contemplated making a wreath like this but all the tutorials involve a lot of glue. This tutorial is brilliant and I will likely make it on Sunday. Pics to follow.

3. These paper crafts. Pretty sure I'll also make these on Sunday. Easy and totally cute.

4. My work Christmas Party is tomorrow and we are going to Langdon Hall. It is the most exquisite restaurant in the area. It was also named the best hotel in Canada and was ranked 77 on top 100 restaurants in the world in 2010. I think we'll have fun, it's always an awesome night.

5. And finally, the picture below. This pretty much embodies me and my two closest girlfriends. I'm pretty sure I'm going to frame the originals.

Do you have any Christmas or holiday crafts on the go?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finish Line

Hopefully this means the rain is done...

Ohmygod you guys.... this is my final NaBloPoMo post!

It's been an awesome experience. I tweeted the other day that while it's not necessarily easy to post every day, it is always rewarding and I'm always glad that I did it.

WELCOME to my new readers!! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you stick around!

THANK YOU to everyone who read and commented. Seeing responses to nearly every post I've written this month has made writing everyday exceptionally easy. You guys rule.

What's next?? I'm sorry to say that I won't be treating December as NaBloPoMo but I promise that I will do it again at some point next year. It was definitely worth it and I would recommend it as a way to improve your writing and to develop the habit of blogging more often.

Unfortunately, since I've been spending so much time on The Elbow this month, my food blog has been put on the back burner. I'm considering doing NaBlo on My Messy Kitchen but I think I'll need some preparation. It's a heck of a lot more work to put together a recipe post compared to a 'random funny thing that happened today' post. It's also run through Wordpress, which although great, is more tedious to post with compared to good ol' Blogger. I'll let you know how that endeavour goes...

Goodbye for now and thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Puppy Love

Yesterday was a pretty awesome day for coworker PK.

Yesterday, PK picked up his National Service Dog puppy.

NSD breeds and trains dogs to be placed with autistic children. The first phase of the training is where PK comes in. He has the puppy for the first 18 months of her life while she gets accustomed to everyday life.

Another great thing about yesterday is that PK came over with the puppy.

I cannot even explain how heart-meltingly (it's a word) cute this puppy is. Her name is Ilse, pronounced Ill-see. NSD names each litter with a letter so she was from the I litter.

Boomer was his gentlemanly self and sniffed lots and mostly acted confused by the smallness and goofiness of the puppy.

I can't wait for my first dog-sitting opportunity!

You can follow PK's adventure with Ilse on his blog here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teenage Dre-mail

I used to live in an apartment uptown. There were four apartments in the house and I was on the second floor. Two guys that I'd known for years lived on the main floor. It was a good deal. There was also a giant porch fit for playing flip-cup. Win-win.


There are so many things happening in this photo. From the album "2009.08.07 Flip Cup party" (I think that explains it).

As we were cheap students we shared a wireless network, which had it's home in my apartment.

One day, new tenants moved into the basement. Upon moving in, I suppose one of them noticed that there was a wireless network in the house and wanted to jump on that train. She noticed that one of the guys was sitting on the porch and approached him to discuss the sharing opportunity. I imagine the conversation went something like this:


Girl: Hey, I just moved in downstairs and noticed there's a wireless network in the house. I was wondering if I could get in on that?

Guy: Hello new girl, you are correct! However, Erica is the keeper of the internet so you'll have to talk to her.

Girl: What great news! Could you please pass along my email address to her? I will write it down.

Guy: Sure thing.

{takes slip of paper, girl leaves}

Guy looks down at the paper and sees possibly the greatest email address of ALL. TIME.

X
BLACK
X
TEARS
X
KILL
X
YOUR
X
SOUL
X

@randommailserver.com

Yep. Awesome.

I was reminded of this story because I just got a chat request from someone who's email involves the unnecessary placement of the letter X, the word 'cutie', and from an email server that no one I know uses. Sorry, XXcutieXXX, no chats for you.

Did you have a regrettable teenage email address?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hugo

Please don't send hate mail.

Last night, we went to see 'Hugo' at the theatre.

I didn't like it.

In fact, I fell asleep more than once.

Ok, so I was hopped up on cold medicine and I'd been shopping and on the train for 8 hours. I was more tired than normal.

But still.

BO. RING.

The plot was thin and they tried to thicken it up, unsuccessfully. I was expecting magic, there wasn't any. I was expecting more train crashing (as shown in the preview), it was minimal. I guess I shouldn't go in with expectations but isn't that what trailers are for?

The cinematography was AMAZING. The movie is beautiful. Paris looks beautiful from the top of the station tower with snow falling delicately. That component was superb. We saw it in 3D and it was very well done.

Otherwise, ppbbbtttttt.

Of our party of 4, one person did like so if you think it's your kind of thing then by all means, give it a shot. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Best thing I ever ate

Whew! I almost missed my deadline! What a shame that would be to fail with 5 days left!

Thank goodness I had the mind to write something while on the train.

Have you seen the show on Food Network 'The best thing I ever ate'?. Its all about celebrity chefs talking about the best thing they ever ate from a specific category. For example 'cake' or 'salty'. I'm sitting on the train back to Pickering & here are a few things I can think of:

1. Beef: the steak @ Salvatore's Grand Hotel in Buffalo. It was like butter.

2. Dessert: vanilla bean creme brulee @ TBK in Waterloo. I pretty much always love creme brulee, this one is divine, though I'm always looking to trump it.

3. Pasta: the spaghetti bolognese from Giorgio's in Banff. I could swim in it & eat it everyday from the rest of my life. (Italian is my fav food FYI so pasta deserves it's own category)

4. Ethnic: whatever indian dish I ate @ that place in Mississauga w/ GF. It was perfectly prepared & tasted even better the next day. I also love Indian food and this place wasn't fancy, it was traditionally prepared, simple, and perfect.

What are some of the best things you've ever eaten?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Favourites ver. 2

1. New blog that I'm following, Mr Kate, she has some awesome design DIY's and she's super fashionable.

2. My slow cooker. I made this pulled pork on Wednesday and the whole house smelled ah-maze-ing all day. Best meal for little effort/max pay off. Do it. Also, pork shoulder is very cheap. $8 for the roast which fed us dinner and lunch, plus a bit extra.

3. Puppies. On Monday coworker PK picks up his National Service Dog puppy that he will be fostering for 18 months. Pretty much I'm moving in with him. I will post pics next week.

4. I'm heading to the One of a Kind show in Toronto tomorrow. It's pretty much everything beautiful in one hall. You should come, too. Finish up your Christmas shopping, or just buy me something :)

Have a great weekend, y'all!
I'm hoping to finish up my Christmas shopping.... jealous?? Thought so.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Home

Sometimes it's fun to go back through old picture folders. 2 pics I found that I love.

Home
Also at home, fending off my mom's dog as I pick wild blueberries

As NaBloPoMo comes to an end I'm REALLY running out of ideas. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on it (like today) but sometimes it's hard to even have anything to post. Please share your ideas if you have them!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Movies

Yesterday morning, coworker PK and I had the following conversation:

PK: would you call "home alone" a christmas movie?

Me: YES


PK: really!?


Me: and a GREAT xmas movie at that


PK: i disagree


Me: It's xmas holidays!


Me: His family leaves him at home


Me: ALONE


PK: The plot is not dependent on it being christmas though


Me: neither is love actually

Me: I will do a twitter poll


The twitter poll followed:


Which resulted in such answers as:


To which I reply to with "obviously". obviously.

And finally:
Moral of the story: know your Christmas movies.

And so, as December is a mere 7 days away, and Christmas is only 32 days away... what are your favourite Christmas movies?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let's make a list

I'm realizing that the easiest way to get over bloggers-block is to either post pictures or make a list. I've posted many pictures lately so let's go with a list today.

I read this on Sweetapolita's blog this AM and I think I will do the same.

As I'm turning 26 in just over a month let's go with...

26 Random Things About Me
  1. I slept with a stuffed dog well into my 20s. He was my first stuffed animal (from my granny) and I still have him (though now he's on a shelf). He is in surprisingly good shape.
  2. I am obsessed with my fingernails. I keep them as long as possible and try to keep them painted as much as possible.
  3. I had really long hair until first-year. When I was a kid I couldn't understand why my mom kept insisting that I cut it. Years later I realized it was because she was the one responsible for washing, brushing, and braiding it. Thanks, mom for letting me keep it all those years.
  4. I have always drank black coffee. I've tried coffee with cream/sugar in it but it just tastes like a chocolate bar so I stick to black.
  5. I was in French Immersion until the end of Grade 8 (at which point it was no longer offered). I also did a 3 month stay in a small Quebec town. My french was great, it has since deteriorated.
  6. I can fit my fist in my mouth.
  7. My favourite movie shifts between Rain Main and Good Will Hunting.
  8. Don't sit next to me while watching Mean Girls or 10 Things I Hate About You. I know ALL the lines and I will recite them.
  9. I think Daniel Craig is the hottest Bond so far. Choosing a blond was perfect.
  10. I have never eaten a fast food burger (or chicken burger, fish burger, BIG MAC etc) with the exception of 2 Harvey's veggie burgers in 2nd year.
  11. If I could only eat one food item for the rest of my life it would be hard to choose between french fries and strawberries. Who am I kidding - french fries.
  12. I recently took up crafting again (after a university hiatus) and now I try to make EVERYTHING.
  13. I am obsessed with CBC Radio 1. Especially on Saturday and Sunday.
  14. While I excel at cooking, baking, sewing, crafting, cleaning, and many other household tasks, I fail at gardening.
  15. I have a dog at the moment and I hope to overlap every dog I have so that I am never dogless.
  16. I know several different line dances and I want to teach you
  17. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, more nowhere than you've ever seen. I had a tree-house and a giant yard where dogs roamed free. It was pretty epic.
  18. I don't have any tattoos and I don't want any
  19. I do, however, have 5 piercings in my ears. All of which I got within 6 months when I was in grade 11, all of which got seriously infected. They are better, now.
  20. I hated breakfast pretty much until I graduated university. Now, it is THE BEST and I will preach that you should eat breakfast everyday. And brunch on the weekends.
  21. I've contemplated being vegetarian several times. Strangely, I think I could easily give up chicken but the problem lies with steak and bacon.
  22. I am very competitive when it comes to board games
  23. I played volleyball and basketball as a kid but then decided managing the team was more up my alley, I also figure skated. I now play ultimate frisbee and hockey.
  24. My favourite number is 19, fav hockey players are Yzerman & Toews (both wear 19), fav colour is green, fav season is fall, fav meal is lasagna.
  25. I have very neat handwriting.
  26. After having an older brother and spending 6 years in Engineering, I am awkward around girls and have trouble making friends with them, I'm learning :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wedding Showers

I've heard quite a few different opinions of wedding showers.

1. Cash grab
2. They are old fashioned
3. What's the point?

I've kind of felt each of these at one point. Being invited to a wedding shower and a wedding can be really expensive and a big time commitment. Being invited to a shower and not a wedding can make you feel left out.

This weekend I attended a wedding shower for a wedding that I am not invited to. I am totally ok with this. I realized that I was getting the long end of the stick. To attend a wedding is a big commitment, it's usually a whole day, you have to dress up, get a gift, meet and chat with people you don't know and find accommodations for the dog (if you're me, and you have a dog that looks like this. Yes, this is just an excuse to post a pic).



Don't get me wrong - weddings can be a ton of fun but it's rare to attend a wedding where there is a large group of people that you know. And they aren't always fun people.

Attending the wedding shower was like going through the drive-thru, which has a limited menu, but has special drive-thru only items. You follow?

The wedding shower is a much smaller time commitment, you actually get to chat with the bride, and RB doesn't have to go to another wedding where he doesn't know anyone. The bride informed me that the wedding was being kept very small. I was sad that I wouldn't get to share a part of her wedding with her. When my invitation for the shower came it was perfect and I'm glad I got to celebrate with her in a more convenient way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stocking Tutorial

I have made about 10 of these in the past 4 weeks. They are super simple and easy to customize.

*All seam allowances are 5/8"

The first one probably took me 90 minutes but since then I've been able to churn them out in about 45 minutes.

You will need.
  • 1/2 metre fabric for outside of stocking
  • 1/2 metre fabric for stocking lining & hook
  • 1/4 metre fabric for stocking cuff
  • Coordinated thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape/ruler
  • newspaper or waxed paper
  • Iron

1. Choose your fabric. I have the red trees for the outside of my stocking, the plain green for the lining and the hook, and the white holly for the cuff.

2. Trace and cut out your pieces. You need two boots for the lining, two boots for the outside of the stocking, one rectangular piece for the cuff, and one long strip for the hook. Cut small notches in the locations noted, these will help for lining everything up later.

Tip: I drew and measured my pieces on newspaper first, and then traced with a fine tip pen onto the fabric. This is a good idea as you can get everything square and the right boot shape you want, it's also easy to fix if you screw up. And it ensures that your boot and lining are the same size and any future stockings you make are the same size. You can iron the newspaper flat.

Dimensions & notches:

All my pieces cut up:

Now, we sew!

4. For the hook, fold the fabric in half the long way and sew up that side. You should now have a tube. Using a safety pin, flip the tube right-side-out. Use your iron the flatten the hook.

This is before I turned it right-side out & ironed it:

5. Fold the cuff in half the short way, so the two 9.5" sides are matched up with the good side of the fabric on the inside. Sew up this side.

6. Now, cuff the cuff. This is confusing to explain so I tried to draw it. Fold the wrong sides together by folding the cuff in half lengthwise. You've basically folded your original piece of cuff fabric into quarters but there's a seam tucked in. If you put the cuff around your wrist, the good side should be showing out and should also be touching your hand, with two raw edges on one side and a fold on the other. Like this:

And the cuff should now look like this:

7. Now onto the boot. With the good side facing in, sew the 2 lining pieces together (not across the top) and sew the 2 outside pieces up. You should end up with two boots with the bad side of the fabric facing out.

8. Cut notches on the curves of each boot and trim the the fabric on the toe tip and heel. This will make the lining and outside fit together better.

Like this:

9. Now, flip only your lining right-side out. With your outside boot as-is (wrong side out), push this INTO the now-flipped lining. Match up all the notches and pin perpendicular to the opening. This will result in the good side of the lining showing on the outside, and the good side of the boot showing on the inside. Like this:

10. Now, we're going to sew along the opening of the stocking. This is also where when we sew the hook on. Fold the hook in half so the raw edges are together (forming a hook). Pin this raw edge to the stocking raw edge along the back seam (where your ankle or calf would be if you were wearing it). The hook will be facing down. Sew along the top edge of the stocking, stitching the lining, outside, and hook together. Voila:

11. Now we sew on the cuff. Pull the folded cuff over the outside of the stocking. Now all the raw edges should be lined up and your layers should be cuff, lining, outside. Line up the cuff notches with the boot notches. Stitch around the edge, like you did in step 10. Now all our pieces are stitched together.

Flip the whole thing right-side out and fold the cuff down. You're done!

Some additional details I added:

  • I added a monogram to each stocking I made. I cut the person's initial out of felt and hand stitched it to the cuff, under the hook.
  • You can buy decorative edging at the fabric store, I added this cherry-looking edge to the cuff (available in white & red that I've found)
  • I tied a big bow out of sparkly ribbon and sewed that behind the hook.
  • I've been used white flannelette for the lining on a few, it's super soft and gives it a wintery feel.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happiest Day

I'm in major need of a prompt today. Yesterday's unused prompt is "What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?"

When in doubt, make a list:
  • Sunday before Labour Day Monday, this year (September 2011). RB and I went to wing fest, went shopping and then went to the hotel for dinner. It was perfect weather, we started at wing-fest early so there weren't any lines. It was a great day. I was happiest because I was with RB, we were eating amazing chicken wings, people were friendly, and there was nothing to worry about.
  • My graduation day in 2009. I gave the valedictory address in front of my family and friends and the had a killer family BBQ in my brother's backyard. Afterward we played flip-cup on the deck and then headed uptown. It was perfection. I felt like I was on cloud 9 all day long. I was happiest because I was very proud and relieved to be finally finished my degree, my parents were in town, my whole family was around and that night at the bar involved lots of pirate speak and a hilarious pick-up attempt. Have I told you that story? I will look into it. Otherwise, it's coming up next week.

I've been doing a ton of crafting lately and I'm hoping to get some tutorials up. I have about 10 sewing projects on the go that I'm hoping to get done this weekend, we'll see!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Favourites

I'm starting a new weekly feature called 'Friday Favourites'. Basically it will be a random list of things that make me happy and things I've bookmarked/pinned this week. Also encouragement to keep posting once NaBlo finishes

1. This post by Maggie which includes several awesome things that people have said about Camp Mighty (including me!)

2. This recipe which I made this week and sent to work with RB. As I don't work in an office, all my baking goes to his work. They seem to like that.

3. This video which shows you 25 ways to wear a scarf. It's cute & very useful.

4. The fact that it started snowing today. While I'm not liking the cold temperatures, I am loving sitting inside watching it blow a muck outside. Also glad that outdoor Frisbee is over.



5. Smitten Kitchen has submitted her manuscript (yay!) and posted this delightful sounding pumpkin pudding recipe. I think I will try it for my next dinner-club meal

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Camp Mighty: The rest of the details

Today is another post for me instead of you. I'm going to continue my recap of Camp Mighty. Back to our regularly scheduled, unemotional, much shorter and reasonable posting tomorrow.

We left off at Saturday morning.

Again, up too early as I have no idea of what time zone I'm in. I decide to seek out coffee. To the diner!

BTW - there's a diner on site, it is totes adorbs.

I walk into the diner, book in hand, prepared to sit alone, read and drink coffee.

As I'm walking past a table, a friend from my group calls "Erica! over here!" so I turn around and she's at a booth with Eden and Alice. "Come join us!". Well, ok.

These two women made such an awesome impression (I've been reading their work for years). They were exactly how you'd want them to be. Smart, funny, and genuine. It was one of the smallest but best moments of the weekend. We chatted about NaBloPoMo, which Eden created. She also mentioned that she doesn't think she'll ever be able to quit participating each November. I'll let you know how I feel come the end of this month... We also chatted about pets. Which is probably my most favourite thing ever.

After breakfast was more speakers.

Speaker 4: Lisa Congdon. Lisa told us about restarting everything in her mid 30s and becoming an artist. About persevering and not giving up. She is mega talented and I'm purchasing one of her prints. One of the items on my life list is to fill my house with art made by my friends... does spending an hour with someone in a hot tub make them your friend? I think so.

Speaker 5: Kenna. Talk about HEART. BREAKER. This guy, he knows what women want. First, he startted by telling us it was his mom's bday and that he was going to call her so we could all sing for her. The phone call when something like this:

Kenna: Hi mom, Happy Birthday!
Mom: Oh thank you! Did you take you vitamins?
Kenna: Yes, I did mom
Mom: Did you go to church this week?
Kenna: Yes, I did mom
Mom: did you find a nice girl to marry?
Kenna:....no.... not yet, mom

Then we sang. Then he talked about Summit on the Summit, a trek in support of and to raise awareness of cleaner water around the world. He told us that you don't have to be Bono to attempt something so huge. Then he convinced Maggie to join....

Next up was the most intense, amazing, most emotional part of the weekend.

We had our team lunches. We were to go in a circle and every person was to choose 5 items from their list which they wanted to complete in the next year, one of which the group could help with.

There were tears, hugs, laughing, and so much positive energy. Every time someone asked for help, someone else would say "I can do (x) for you". It was awesome. We started the week strangers and now we are offering our homes, our networks, and our cantaloupes.

It cannot accurately be expressed on this blog how moving this session was. I have never felt so needed/wanted/and perfectly at home in such a large group (~25 ppl). I felt like I belonged.

That session made the whole weekend worth it.

Once that finish, we all needed to deflate a little. Thank goodness it was time for more casual 'skill acquisition' session. I chose to instead get in the hot tub. This was a good decision as it ended up being right next to the session for making champagne punch. At one point someone came out and said "We have 40 bottles of champagne that need to be consumed". Oh dear. WHAT are we going to do. #firstworldproblem

Eventually it was time to get ready for our final dinner. We dragged ourselves away from the hot tub and went to pretty ourselves up.

Side bar: Did I mention it rained all day on Saturday? It was kind of a bummer but it made me feel better about the lack of fun clothes that I brought.

Each group was sent to a separate restaurant for dinner. Our group got on the bus and headed to Lulu California Bistro. It was super swanky and we were treated like kings & queens by the staff.

It was nice 'group time' and I got to chat with a few people I hadn't yet. Specifically, Cecily. She is so nice, awesomely funny, and makes you feel so comfortable when talking to her. She is one stand-up woman, I approve.

After dinner everyone headed back to the hotel for more hang-out time and too many farewells.

I went to bed at a reasonable hour as I had a long day of travel ahead.

The next morning, I went to meet my travel buddy (traveling to Denver where I was connecting) and found her chatting in the diner. This was another awesome and too-short moment of the weekend. It was very relaxed and I once again felt at home with people I'd just met.

Unfortunately we had a plane to catch so we said our goodbyes and were on our way.

That ends my trip to Palm Springs for Camp Mighty.

It was unforgettable and I doubt this is the last you'll hear of it.

I made life-long friends. Friends that made me finally feel like I wasn't alone in my seemingly strange ambitions.

Good luck to every single one of you with your life lists. I can't wait to hear about them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Camp Mighty: ALL the details

Hokay. Here comes my entire Camp Mighty recap.

Warnings:
1. It's going to be VERY long
2. I'm going to use the words AWESOME and AMAZING excessively.
3. You're going to be jealous.

Proceed with caution.

Also, I'm trying to include a lot of detail while it's still fresh so I don't forget anything.

I attended Camp Mighty from Nov 10-14 in Palm Springs. A conference focused on setting goals, creating a life list, and making awesome new friends. I've talked about my life list here and here. I hope you understand the purpose of the list, it is crucial to what we did on this weekend.

Thursday, November 10th, at 4:50am I was on my way to Pearson. That is an UNGODLY hour and even more so given that I was heading for the west coast.

I had a pretty uneventful flight to Denver and then through to Palm Springs. I hopped in a cab and headed to the mega hipster chic Ace Hotel.

I arrived, got myself set up in my room (about 2pm) and then said to myself 'now what?'

Back story: All the attendees were set up in facebook groups about a month beforehand and so we had all chatted online before arrival. We were also told that our group (Group 4!) was the most active group and we were known as 'The Cool Group'. Yep, awesome.

So I'm sitting in my room thinking 'oh shit, now I have to go find these people'. I logged on to facebook and saw a note saying 'we're in the diner, come join if you've arrived!' and a 2nd person had posted that they were on their way. Ok, I can do this. So I sucked it up and headed to the diner.

I walked in and was immediately greeted by 3 awesome people. We chatted etc and then decided to move out to the patio. Our patio party grew and grew as people realized we were all there for the same event. I was a bit in awe of how many beautiful people there were and to see some famous bloggers in the flesh.

Eventually it was time to get ready for the Welcome Party.

This is the point when I realized I had packed ALL THE WRONG THINGS. Everyone was so stylish. Note for future self: pack more accessories & fancy shoes.

I head over to the Welcome Party, hosted in a banquet-hall type building that is on the Ace site. This party was sponsored by Ecco Domani which meant the wine was flowing. The glasses we had each had a little black box on them and we were to write 'How we give' in the box. I was completely, deliriously exhausted and a bit hesitant to have any wine for fear that I'd fall over or get a massive headache. (At this point I'd been awake for 21 hours, ugh). Eventually I sucked it up and grabbed a small glass. It was cute to see what everyone wrote on their glasses. I was struggling to think of what to write when one of the girls (met earlier that day) suggested "by getting people where they need to do". It was cute, I had just told her I work in transportation and she came up with that. These people are making a great impression.

While we're enjoying the wine, Maggie & Laura welcomed us and introduce the band, The Tontons. Hello. AMAZING. This band was beyond awesome live. We each got a copy of their CD in our gift bags. I will lend it to you, you need to hear it.

So we danced & drank the evening away but as I was so retardedly tired, I tapped out early.

Because of the 3 hour time change, I was up at 4am. Not awesome. Eventually I got up and got ready. I've learned that, when traveling alone, a book is your best friend. As long as I have a book I'm fine to be anywhere by myself. So, as I was awake 2 hours before breakfast I went to sit by the pool and read.

Side bar: One of the items on my Life List is to read the LOTR series. I finished book 1 on the plane to Palm Springs and was thankfully smart enough to bring the 2nd book.

Breakfast comes and goes. Apparently the people I met the day before are my BFFs as we all sit together and save seats etc. I am very much ok with this. They are all beautiful and awesome.

For our first session we are all together in a tent by the pool. Maggie welcomes us again and speakers begin.

Speaker 1: Brian Piotrowicz, producer of this little talk show called The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Brian was such a peach. He talked about intention and setting intention in everything that you do. It was an excellent start to the weekend as we found ourselves reflecting back to what he said for the rest of our time.Link He told us that when pitching a show for Oprah stating your intention is required. If the intention doesn't line up with the show's direction, it doesn't move forward. Having an intent to be sensationalistic, rude, malicious, or just plain mean doesn't fly.

Try this: Next time you embark on a project, set an intention. It's a good way to reflect back throughout the project to see if you're on the right track. Kind of like a mission statement or mantra.

Speaker 2: Evany Thomas (I believe she is a content manager at facebook...? sorry I can't remember exactly). She was HILL. AIR. EE. US. Hilarious. Her presentation was on "doing things you don't really want to do". She told us about how it's ok to say NO to things as it leaves room for you to say YES to other things. She also taught us our safe word for the weekend - Cantaloupe. You should look up her writing, you won't regret it.

Speaker 3: Buster Benson talked about habits and how we form them and how technology can help us. He's got a few awesome projects on the go including health month and 750 words. He also has an adorable son who wore a cape.

After the speakers came lunch. Did I mention the Ace has great food? Fact.

We had lunch at a long table under an awning by the pool, NBD. As the schedule after lunch was pretty chill, the group I was with sat and chatted for a bit. At this point we had a few of the aforementioned bloggers join us. It was very bizarre. They were all VERY nice. Specifically, Miss Maggie, is the type of person who makes you feel like you're her BFF within 5 minutes of talking to her. Such a treat. Then she told me I couldn't participate in the hand painting. That bitch. (jokes). It was these little group chats that made the weekend. One girl was telling us about working with Kevin Bacon - who I'm not only 2 degrees separated from. NBD.

After lunch we had the skills sessions. These were mini workshops where you could learn how to do one crazy thing or another. It was very relaxed and people took this opportunity to hit the pool or lounge in the giant hot tub. Oh, that hot tub...

There was also the aforementioned hand painting happening. McDonald's had set up a hand painting station and we were all to paint our hands with "What giving means to you". They had all sorts of crazy things like paint, markers, pipe cleaners, stickers, etc. We were all to tweet a picture of our hands with the #giveahand tag. If we got 100 tweets, McDonald's would donate $5000 to the Ronald McDonald House in Palm Springs. Um, yes please! They also chose a winner of the hand painting and had $5000 donated to their local RMHC. They also gave us awesome gift bags. Yay McDonald's!

The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool, chatting and relaxing.

Then it was time to COSTUME UP!

The Friday event party was Space Themed. I dressed as Comet. The cleaning product. With a name tag that said "Property of: Halley". Get it??

Halley's Comet.

I though it was pretty funny.

The degree of awesomness that people put into their costumes was so great. Everyone brought a costume and people were so creative. There were many NASA space suits, a black hole, a space cowboy, space themed clothing, a meteor, aliens, etc. The effort put into the outfits is the most I've seen in a long time. Well played, ladies & gents.

So the Space Party included tang drink (with vodka) and a beer keg (which I seemed to be the only one using? ok by me), dancing under a giant Saturn, and much photography. Once the dancing died down we headed back to the lounge area where I ended up with a plush bull hat on my head. It was great. Then we went to the hot tub!

Then after much more tang & beer, I went to bed and slept LIKE. A. BOSS.

And so ends the first day. This post is ridiculously long so I'm going to finish it tomorrow. And maybe the next day, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Camp Mighty: Pictures

I don't think I'm going to have a straight up 'Camp Mighty Recap' post. Instead, I think it's going to take a few to get the message across.

I've told a few people about it and how amazing it was. That the people were some of the coolest, nicest, most genuine people I've ever met. The response I'm getting is "Oh, that's cool". Which is kind of like saying "Oh that's cool" when you see the Northern Lights* for the first time. It just doesn't do it justice.

Here are a few pics that I took this weekend:

Me & the lovely Jen, rocking our hand painting. McDonald's was at the conference in support of Ronald McDonald House and they made some huge donations and the gift bags we got were very awesome. Also, all their people were super friendly.


Team 4 ladies rocking out their awesome space costumes!


The view at the Ace Hotel. There are palm trees, there are mountains. It was perfect.

I'm thinking about starting a weekly feature to encourage myself to post more once NaBlo finishes. I'm thinking 'Friday Favourite' or something to that effect... stay tuned to see if I follow through.

*Interesting thing: many people had "see the Northern Lights" on their Life Lists. I saw them many times when I was a kid and I guess it was just normal because of where I lived. Thank goodness I still remember it because looking back I didn't appreciate it as I should have. I guess that's just being a kid.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What I find interesting on the internet

***Update: links added!

**I wrote & then published this post with all the links and then something effed up and it's gone. I want to get this up today so I'm going to post it sans-links and I'll add them in ASAP. Sorry & thanks for patience & poo on blogger.**

Do you use an RSS reader? It's pretty much my life.

Here's whats clogging my reader these days:

Food blogs:
Design Blogs:
Lifestyle:
  • Blog Con Queso (met her this weekend, what a peach)
  • Dooce (who I also met this weekend, only spoke to her for 5 seconds but very friendly and still managed to look stylish despite a giant walking cast)
  • Mighty Girl (met her this weekend and omg the nicest, friendliest, great person. I told her that she makes you feel like your her BFF within 2 minutes of talking. She also dissed me, which I"ll never forgive her for!!! Obviously joking and a hilarious story... for later)
  • Mindy Kaling
Funny/Comics:
My awesome friends, new & old:
What are you reading these days?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

home time

hoy boy

En route home from Palm Springs. It was an absolute blast but it's not time to write about it yet. Soon but not yet.

One of my favourite moments was when we were in our little sharing group I mentioned that I wanted to see every NHL team play & someone piped up 'we can get free tickets & you will stay with us'. These are my people. I had a moment later on where myself & a few other campers were saying to each other that we were serious about whatever thing we suggested doing together (eg. hockey game) but we were each trying to convince the other that we were serious. It caught me off guard because I am usually the one to suggest something a bit different but mean it. So often friends will suggest a commitment but there is no follow through. I try so hard to follow through & and I feel like I found my people this weekend.

I will send those xmas cards & I will come see that hockey game.

Looking forward to getting home tonight & getting back to my TB & RB.

sorry for poor editting, my sleep tank is at - 48 hours.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

5 for next year

Saturday, I'm still in Palm Springs. This Camp Mighty thing is going so well & I know I've made the life long friends I dreamed about in yesterdays post.

On the schedule today we are each setting 5 goals that we want to accomplish in the next year. After much deliberation I think my 5 goals are:

1. successfully participate in NaBloPoMo (will hopefully finish end of this month)

2. read the LOTR series (I started the 2nd one this week!!!)

3. left side plank, right arm & leg up (I can do the other side but not the left, I'm getting there!)

4. take an improv class (there is a class in town & PK said he'd go with me!)

5. host a 100 mile feast (next summer, lets do it, you're invited)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

excuse the poor grammar & punctuation, while i love my playbook its not the ideal for writing long text.

its 11/11/11. that means its time to make a wish or three.

1. i wish that my christmas holidays go smoothly. its my first christmas away from my family and my first christmas in ontario. i wish for it to be fun & awesome & merry & bright

2. i wish that the awesome friends im making at camp mighty become life long friends because they are seriously awesome

3. i wish for it to be warmer in palm springs today

flight was good but was seriously tired after such an early day & so much travel

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flight

Hoy,

I'm on a plane somewhere between Toronto and Denver.

RB is looking out for the home-front and taking care of my baby. By baby I mean dog. By dog I mean my baby. You understand.


And for good measure, here's one more.



I'd say I'm a pretty decent flyer. I never used to be. In my post yesterday you may have noticed that I said I puked in my mom's lap one trip. By one trip I mean probably every trip until I was 15. I did not fly well. Eventually my mom started shipping me off on my own to visit family. I'm not sure if it was so that I could have the experience or so that she didn't have to risk getting puked on. Either way, I got over it.

This flight is a bit different for me. I have a connection in Denver. I haven't had a connecting flight in ages and I've never been to Denver. I'm also traveling with only a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. I used to think that travel-sized items were a waste of money but now... NOW, I am the queen. The Body Shop has an awesomely convenient product - they make ALL of their skin-care lines in travel sizes. And they sell them in a little pouch. It's perfect.

I'm hoping this trip doesn't mess up my NaBloPoMo progress, I guess you & I will see!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Life List: Details on #1

Now that I've completed my list, it's time to started crossing things offs.

A few notes on progress:

#1 Visit all Canadian Provinces.

This item is 90% complete (literally, I've been to 9/10 provinces). Here are the facts:

Manitoba: Born and raised, baby. Spent 17.66 years here. Parents still here.

Me in my mom's garden in The Pas

Saskatchewan: Grew up 30km away from the border, attended conferences & wedding in Saskatoon, Regina, and went shopping in Prince Albert (REAL PLACE!) as a kid.

En Route from Manitoba to Saskatchewan... gravel roads to keep it classy.

Alberta: Went on family vacation here as a kid, band trip as a junior high student, spent past 7 Christmases in Banff, and spent 4 months living in Calgary on a co-op term in 2007.

Family Xmas trip - Sunshine Ski Resort, AKA Heaven

British Columbia: Took a while but... went on a ski trip to Whistler with a friend in 2007, visiting Vancouver while we were there. Weekend trip to Kelowna (HELLO BEAUTIFUL!) when I was on co-op in Calgary (2007). Thanksgiving weekend in Vancouver with a friend in 2008.

Kelowna, wine country and one of the most beautiful places I've ever been

Ontario: I probably came here for the first time when I was 2? Ask my mom, I probably threw up in her lap on the plane. My whole extended family lives here, pretty much spent every summer here as a teenager. Oh right, and I live here now. Woo.


Wine tour in Niagara - beautiful

Quebec: First time was probably in 1998 when I did an 'exchange' trip and went to school in a tiny little town (NO English!!) in the Gaspé in Grade 8. I have since returned to Montreal on several occasions.

I have no pictures of Quebec :( but it assure you it's beautiful!

Nova Scotia: First time was on a road trip in April 2008. Then again later that year for a conference in Halifax. Would love to go back, it was amazing.

Our drive on the Cabot Trail - UNBELIEVABLE. Beyond words.

P.E.I.: stopped in on previously mentioned road trip.

PEI beaches are beautiful

New Brunswick
:... same road trip.

The weather was brutal when we were there so the only pics I have are of the grey sky * bugs on my windshield. I'll spare you.

Which leaves.... Newfoundland & Labrador! I will be in you... someday...

Note: picking out these pics makes me 1. Realize once again how GORGEOUS this country is and 2. How lucky I am to have seen most of it. Yay Canada!