Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Where I Am


How did you picture this stage of your life when you were younger? How is it the same/different?

When I was was in elementary school...I was determined to grow up and become a famous author. I spent every spare moment I had writing words on paper. Laura Ingalls Wilder & Lucy Maude Montgomery where my favourite people and I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to get married and have babies but most of all I wanted to be a published author.

When I was in jr.high...I still wanted to be a writer, but I also realized that probably wasn't the best way to make a living. So I thought I'd be a Social Worker who wrote books as a hobby. I still wanted to get married and have a big family but I didn't worry about it too much because I figured it was one of those things that would just happen.

When I was in high school...I still considered Social Work. But I knew camp was my real passion so I decided to study recreation in university. I assumed that I would meet somebody in university, fall in love, get married, have babies and do the SAHM thing for a few years and then focus on my career.

When I was in university...I knew I wanted to be a camp director. I thought I'd find a position where I worked in youth ministry from September-May be a camp director from May-August and in between get my camp fix through retreats and other youth activities. And of course I wanted to settle down, be in a committed relationship and have my first baby by the time I was 25.

Elementary School me probably wouldn't believe that it's been years since I finished writing a story.
Jr. High me would be appalled I'm not married yet.
High School me would be a little more understanding but still be disappointed I'm as single as they come.
University me would be pretty darn relived to know that a year and a half after I finished I would be about to start a full time job as Assistant Camp Director. She would be totally discouraged to find out Mr.Right still eludes me, but if she stopped and thought about it for a few minutes she'd accept that it's better to be alone than to settle for Mr. Good Enough.

Linking up with Hayley & Lauren .

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The People That You Meet

Apartment hunting on short notice has been an experience like none other. In university I lived in residence and then moved in with a friend when one of her roommates moved out. Totally bypassing the ridiculousness of e-mailing strangers on Kijiji and hoping for the best. The fact that I only have a week to find a place just adds to the craziness. I mean, worst case scenario I could stay with friends for a week or two while I find a place but I would rather move once and stay there and not have to move again in two weeks time. That being said I'm not about to settle for sketchy accommodations just because I'm on a time crunch. Some ads I've answered have quickly turned from good to bad with one reply. These are just a few of the delightful folks I've interacted with over the last 72 hours. 

Pinterest

Hipster Girl
She was my first lead, the room seemed nice enough and with just one other person I thought I was home free. Then I creeped her on Facebook. The first red flag was we had some mutual friends. And by friends I mean casually acquaintances who I had either gone to high school with or worked with and are still kicking around my friend list but are super hippies/stoners. I'm a friend to hipsters, I can get on board with oversized/unnecessary glasses, fair trade coffee and plaid. The drug use not so much. Moving Along. 

Family Circus
I don't remember the exact wording of this ad but it went along the lines of "looking for a third roommate in two level townhouse close to downtown...both young professionals, non-smoking, no parties..." So I emailed to check it out and discovered that it wasn't so much they were looking for a roommate as much as they were looking to rent out a room in their house. This husband and wife team had at least two kids and were just looking to rent out a room (for a lot of money considering what was included) in their house with shared kitchen/bathroom/living space. No Thanks. 

Animal House
I'm still not convinced this one was real. And I didn't send an e-mail because there was no way I was ever going to move in with these people. But their ad contained such gems as "2.5 dogs live here, really just two but there's a third that is over a lot", "420 friendly", "Saturday night parties & jam sessions", "communal living", "co-operative environment" and "must not be uptight". If I was a producer looking to cast a reality show this bunch would have been my pick, but I'm not. I just want a place to live for 3.5 months. Keep Looking. 

Christian Girl
When I saw the ad 'female Christian roommate wanted" I was sold. I e-mailed the girl and she seemed really excited and lovely and I was really excited. Good location, no crazy parties or drug use, sign me up! And then I asked for photos of the place and if I would be able to Skype with the roommate (the girl I was talking to is the one subletting her room). Girl replied back that she wasn't willing to sublet her room to anyone without approval from the roommate. Understandable. I replied that I wasn't planning on making the five hour drive to the city before moving and was hoping that we could exchange some e-mails, set up a Skype meeting and decide if we'd be a good match. She stopped responding. I feel like I failed some sort of Christian Girl test. 

The Hippies
I love me some tie-dye. And I'm all about peace & love and all that good stuff. But there's a line. And these folks were past the line. They were looking for another roommate who would agree to attending regular meetings to discuss the atmosphere in the house, has an interest in poetry and foreign languages,  potlucks and highly active in environmental and social justice issues. #aintnobodygottimeforthat If I was embarking on some sort of spiritual journey this would be an experience, but I'm not. I have a job. The last thing I want to do after a day of work is come home to a meeting to discuss the atmosphere of the house with 8+ people who live there.

Big Bang Theory
At the moment this is my most promising situation. But again I'm waiting on pictures. These guys are looking for someone to take over a lease until April (perfect timing). There's a parking spot, it's within my budget, close to work, it's a lot of check marks! And bonus points for the room being furnished. I've got high hopes for this one. I'm referring to them as Big Bang Theory because it's 4 PhD students. Which is great because it means I won't be living with a bunch of undergrads who just discovered alcohol. Fingers Crossed!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Apartment Hunting


I wish I could be one of those people who when adventure knocks leap to their feet to answer the door and then run off without a single thought about what they should bring or do to prepare. 

But I'm not.

My anxiety has been at an 8 for over 24 hours. It feels like a sumo wrestler is sitting on my chest. My mind has two trains of thoughts running in opposite directions. One is listing off all of the things I need to figure out; somewhere a safe/cheap place to live, a budget, packing, unpacking, driving in the city, moving date.... the other is telling me to CALM DOWN, God's got this. I can take the necessary steps to try and make connections and figure things out but in the end it's in His hands.

I'm exhausted but my mind won't stop racing long enough to fall asleep.

I keep reminding myself this is my year to Be Brave. Right now it's not helping.

Apartment hunting on such short notice is HARD. I thought I found a great place, it was well within budget, a good location, had a parking spot and the title of the ad was 'Female Christian Roommate Wanted". Perfect. But when I told the girl I was hoping to see pictures and wanted to "meet" via Skype she wasn't super into it. I'm not really willing to make the 5 hour drive this week just to meet the girl and then turn around and drive 5 hours back when I'm moving at the end of the week. So that's disappointing.

I haven't been able to really start packing yet because I don't know where I'm going. If I don't find my own place I'll be staying with friends and I my packing will be extremely limited to just the clothes I need for a week or so. #stress

On that note I'm going to go make myself a giant stir fry because I'm craving broccoli hardcore. (I don't think I've ever mentioned this before but sometimes when I'm stressed I get really intense broccoli cravings. It's ridiculous. But also kind of awesome?) 


Saturday, 25 January 2014

CampusBooks & Operation Smile

It's always been important to me to help others and spend money wisely. So it killed me when I was in university to spend semester after semester spending hundreds of dollars purchasing textbooks only to have them sit on my shelf gathering dust once I was finished using them. When I heard about CampBookRentals.com's new program RentBack.com I knew I had to pass it along to my college going readers!

RentBack is a new initiative that allows students to rent they already own to other students! I absolutely love the concept. It's a win-win situation for all involved. The student renting their text books makes 2-4 times more money compared to what they would make through buy back options. For the student renting the textbooks not only are they saving money by renting instead of buying but they're also helping out a fellow student. I don't know about everybody else but I would much rather give my money to another student trying to make ends meet than the camps bookstore!

Besides the obvious perk of saving money (up to 90% compared to bookstore prices!) there are lots of great reasons to choose renting over buying. CampusBookRentals.com allows you to highlight the textbooks (a huge selling point for me!), offers flexible rental periods and offers free shipping both ways! This short video does a great job of explaining how the process works!



I mentioned earlier that it's important to me to help others when I'm spending money. I was thrilled to learn that not only does CampusBookRentals.com  support students with their RentBack.com initiative but they also have a long standing relationship with Operation Smile

Operation Smile is a fantastic organization that works to transform the lives of children around the world who were born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Babies born which these kind of medical issues are unable to eat properly and 1 in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. Babies who make it into childhood face continued eating problems, are unable to communicate and in many case are rejected and shunned by society. When I say Operation Smile transforms lives I'm not exaggerating. Just look at this smiling face!!

Via Operation Smile
I love that Operation Smile has a spot on their website called The Smile Blog where you can read all about the work being done and the lives being changed! How awesome is that! Not only are you helping support this program by using CampusBookRentals.com but you can check out the Operation Smile blog to really see how the donations are being used! 

Anyone in the market for textbooks should definitely check out CampusBookRenals.com and RentBack.com


This is a sponsored post from CampusBookRentals.com

Friday, 24 January 2014

God Moves Fast

At least once a week for the past five months I've mentioned "the grant" on blog. For those of you who are new around here "the grant" I'm referring to is a grand my camp had applied for to transform my current job as seasonal program/assistant director into full time. I'm not exaggerating when I say it has been a never ending saga of jumping through hoops and thinking we've reached the end only to discover more paperwork needed to be filled out, or they misplaced information they got over the phone or that the person in charge of our application was leaving that department so it was being passed on to somebody else. When the original proposal and application was sent in the requested start date was October 28. October 28. Needless to say that date passed and with each month we assumed the odds of getting approval decreased significantly. The most frustrating part of the whole thing was the grant was never "denied", it was sitting in limbo. Which meant I was sitting in limbo too. I couldn't sign on a contract anywhere else because if the grant was approved I obviously wanted to be working there. 

Tuesday we heard from the person overseeing our application and he said something along the lines of "things look good". It was so tempting to get excited but "things look good" is a long way away from "approved". So I didn't get excited. Then yesterday morning we got official approval! And a start date of February 3rd. That gives me 9 days to move. Nine days to find an apartment in the city (that meets all my requirements and is budget friendly) and pack and move and start work. 



My anxiety is pretty darn high at the moment. 

I had a bunch of posts planned for this week but with all the chaos I didn't get a chance to edit & hit publish. I suspect that pattern will continue for the next few days while I figure out the details of the move. Things are a bit overwhelming but I'm trusting that everything will work out God is in the details. I'll find a place to live that is near work, has parking, in a safe part of town and affordable. Everything is happening pretty fast but it's all good things! I just need to keep reminding myself to breathe and enjoy the experience. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Liebster Award!

Over the past few days I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by three lovely bloggers! Jenny at Wonderfully Complex, Minttu at I am Mrs K and Katherine at Katherine Nicole . The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers and once nominated the blogger must give 11 facts about themselves, answer 11 questions, nominate 11 other bloggers and give them 11 new questions to answer! 

I'm going to cut corners just a little bit here because 33 facts is A LOT of facts, so I'll share 15 and call it a day. 

15 Facts

I can't stand having dry skin! I always have a full supply of hand cream, cuticle cream, foot cream, and body butter to combat winter skin. (Moisturize Me!) 

I don't understand people who don't like to cuddle. What's not to love!?

I sleep so much better when I fall asleep to the sound of voices (usually a TV show on in the background), I've tried to break myself of the habit but I just can't seem to make it happen.

Squirrels are my favourite animals, but I also have a soft spot for polar bears.

I enjoy a few glasses of wine every now and then with friends but I don't see the appeal in hitting the bar scene every weekend.

I've had future baby names picked out since I was sixteen. 

I've never dyed my hair.

Alton Brown is my favourite Food Network star.

I've embraced leggings as pants it was a life changing decision and I don't regret a thing.

I love ice coffee and anxiously wait for "ice coffee season" to arrive each year.

I don't remember learning how to swim or skate, they're both things I just grew up doing.

I could spend hours browsing books at Chapters.

I really enjoy doing yoga but I'm horrible at making myself do it every day.

I can't stand when my feet are cold.

Gummy candies are my favourite but I don't like when they're covered with sugar. Sour Patch Kids are the only exception.

Now for answers to questions! 

Katherine's Questions:

1. If you could spend a year anywhere in the world--where would you go and what would you do there?  I'd love to just travel about Canada & the US, visit all the provinces/territories and as many states as possible! 
2. Where is your favorite place to shop? Lately I've been buying most of my clothes at American Eagle!  I think Old Navy is my favourite store though.
3. How long have you been blogging? Just under a year. 
4. How did you pick your blog name? I wanted something short, catchy and that wasn't already taken. I knew I was going to blog a lot about camp, outdoors, my faith and everything in-between. Rainy days are my favourite so I wanted to incorporate that and after a lot of talking it through I ended up with Grace & Galoshes. Almost a year later I'm still really pleased with my choice!
5. What are 3 things you can't live without? Faith, Love & Joy. 
6. Would you rather fly or take a road trip to your vacation destination? Tough choice. Road Trip, but only if I have someone else with me. If it's a solo trip I'd rather fly. 
7. What's your favorite comfort food? Meal would be pizza or mac & cheese. Snack would be chips & pop! 
8. Current television show obsession? Lately I've been watching reruns of Iron Chef America before bed because everything else is on hiatus!
9. What are 3 things on your bucket list? Get married, have babies and visit Stonehenge! 
10. Dog or cat person? Post a picture if you have one :) I like both but I'm a cat person. You can read all about my cats HERE & HERE
11. Best way to spend a Saturday? I'm a fan of coffee, friends & afternoon strolls. Maybe a trip to the mall and an evening of wine thrown in there too! 



Minttu's Questions
1. What would be your soundtrack for a relaxing evening at home? Lately I've been listening to the Goo Goo Dolls most recent album Magnetic. 
2. A book that still lingers in your mind. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is one that has really stuck with me. 
3. A human being should always...think of others.
4. What is your dream travel destination? I really want to visit Stonehenge and also Auschwitz.
5. How do you define friendship? I think the quote "Friendship isn't one big thing, it's a million little things." is the perfect definition. 
6. What is your favorite museum? The Rooms
7. What is your favorite ice cream flavour? Brownie Batter.
8. Have you overcome a fear? I have not. I gain new fears faster than I overcome them. 
9. If you could create your own perfume, what scent(s) would it contain? My favourite scents tend to be more masculine; woods, rain, grass, campfire. 
10. How did you decide your blog's name? See above! 
11. If they would make a movie about your life, who would play you? I have no idea, I don't resemble any actresses. 




Jenny's questions!
1. What is one object you can’t live without? I have no idea, object wise I think I could manage without it's more the intangible things I can't imagine life without. 
2. If you were an animal, what would you be? Squirrel!
3. What’s your go-to comfort food? I do love the things I listed above but I will also admit that every few months after a particularly rough day I visit the golden arches. 
4. Why did you start blogging? Something to do, to meet people, motivation to write. I'm constantly discovering new reasons why I started blogging. 
5. What is your dream job? Camp Director 
6. If you had a super power, what would it be? Invisibility. 
7. What do you consider your best quality? Thoughtfulness or a good memory.
8. If you could be the best in the world at something, what would it be?
9. How would you describe the perfect evening? Nothing makes me happier than a campfire and stargazing. 
10. Where would you most like to travel? Stonehenge & Auschwitz and all over Canada.  
11. And the most important question of them all…. Toilet paper – over or under? I'm indifferent!



Apparently I follow a lot of bloggers with more than 200 followers so choosing 33 was impossible but I will go ahead and nominate...


Nikki @ Blushed on a Budget
Erica @ Erica Ashley
Nina @ The Grand Adventures of Me
Charlene @ From Bisons to Buckeyes, And Beyond
Katie @ House.Life.Girl
Ashley @ Love and Wrinkles
Kate @ Odd One Out
Ashlee @ Smith Family
Caitie @ Tales of a Real Housewife
Aimee @ Dear Harper
Jenn @ Ripples & Waves

EDIT

I published this draft this morning and just now realized I didn't add my 11 questions. So here they are!
1. Where is your favourite place to eat out?
2. What is your favourite social media site?
3. If you could shrink any animal down to pocked sized and keep it as a pet what would you choose?
4. Who is your favourite TV character?
5. What is your favourite name?
6. Would you rather never brush your teeth again or never shower?
7. How would you spend $5,000 right this second.
8. What do you order when you go out for coffee?
9. Do you believe in love at first sight?
10. Would you rather own an expensive piece of jewellery or an expensive piece of art?
11. How do you relax after a long day?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Day of Acceptance

Today is being promoted as the International Day of Acceptance by an amazing grassroots company called 3E Love. So today I'm joining people around the world to embrace diversity, educate people about disabilities and empower each other.


Over the past few years I've gotten to meet so many wonderful people (mostly through camp) who have a range of disabilities. I've always known that people were more than their disabilities and not at all defined by the way in which they move or speak but I'm still learning. Each summer I get to interact with more and more campers who are continuously showing me new ways to do things and shattering any lingering stereotypes. 

To today I'm spreading the love and acceptance. Please take the time to get to know the people around you regardless of what they look like, how they speak, how they move (or don't move). Some of the funniest people I know are unable to communicate through speaking. They use spelling boards and their eyes to interact with the world around me, and trust me they interact. But you would probably never know that if you just passed them on the street. 

I don't think I've ever given blog homework before but this is a topic near and dear to my heart so I'm doing it anyway! In honour of International Day of Acceptance I'm going to encourage you all to take a few short minutes out of your day to read about Wheelchair Etiquette. Maybe you're already familiar with some of these things but maybe you'll learn something new. And a little common courtesy goes a long way towards inclusion, acceptance and making the world a better place! 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

24 Candles, 24 Wishes


Pinterest
When R. turned 24 last month H. & I set off to the grocery store to get candles for her cake we made our purchase and reported back to her that "she was a whole box of candles old!". I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled about turning 24. Yes, I'm thankful for another day/year but that doesn't mean I'm excited about it. I'll compare it to being thankful that there are dirty dishes to wash because it means you have food and have eaten, it doesn't necessarily mean you're over the moon excited about washing that pile of dishes.

I'm going to go ahead and declare that with 24 candles on the cake means I get 24 wishes. I grew up with the saying "if you tell someone your wish, it won't come true", so I suppose that by sharing this list with blogland it guarantees none of these wishes will be granted, but I'm going to do it anyway. So without further ado I present my 24 wishes on my 24 birthday.

  1. Grant approval.
  2. Unlimited supply of gummy bears.
  3. A lovely, committed boyfriend who likes camp and is ok with watching Disney movies.
  4. Vanilla Coke to return to Canada.
  5. A nice stack of cold hard cash.
  6. Red Hunter rainboots.
  7. A Beauty & The Beast library.
  8. Someone to follow me around with a guitar and sing about my daily activities. 
  9. Random choreographed dance numbers in my life on a weekly basis.
  10. My Pinterest closet to magically appear in my actual closet.
  11. Wake up and be 10 lbs lighter.
  12. A farm.
  13. The Pioneer Woman to live next door.
  14. Perfect vision. Goodbye glasses & contacts! 
  15. Ellen DeGeneres to arrive on my doorstep and visit.
  16. A Complete Disney DVD collection.
  17. A channel that airs only my favourite shows.
  18. Luke Bryan.
  19. A private concert by the Goo Goo Dolls.
  20. A fully stocked craft room.
  21. A bouquet of fresh flowers.
  22. Someone to pay me to browse Pinterest for at least 3 hours a day.
  23. Macbook Pro.
  24. World Peace.
What would you use your wishes on? 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Cinq

{one}

I've rekindled my addiction with the Sims FreePlay app on my phone. I don't consider myself to be a "gamer" (although I am awesome at Super Mario Bros. and probably should have spent more time studying and less time playing Mario Party with friends in university), but I do love the Sims. I like to refer to it as Barbies for grown ups. 

{two}

I lost track of how many jobs I've applied to this week. There's still no definite 'no' with the grant, but there's also been no 'yes' and as much as I want to stay loyal to the camp I've been at for the past two years life is getting in the way. And by life I do mean student loans and car payments and the fact I don't want to live with my parents forever. If you happen to have some spare prayers I'd really appreciate a few directed that way. I need to have some sort of answer to the grant and also to find a part-time job between now and May so I can save some money and get my life together so to speak.

{three}

Sunday is my birthday and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading it a little. I know every day is worth celebrating, you never know what tomorrow holds and for all I know this could be my last birthday. But I am so far away from where I thought  planned to be at 24 that it's hard not to feel a little sad, frustrated and grumpy. It's my birthday I'll mope if I want to. 

{four}

Lately whenever I need a pick me up I've been reading through Daily Odd Compliments. They make me so happy. They're all so sweet but also hilarious and honest...kind of what I look for in a future husband. 



{five}

It's no secret I love Reality TV. My favourites are the classics; Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother. And I have no shame admitting I watch Honey Boo Boo, Teen Mom, 19 Kids and Counting. But I do not see the appeal of anything that contains the word "Housewife", "Kardashian" or "Bachelor". And I don't get award shows either. Who are these people deciding who was the best actor!? Or the best show!? And why are people so concerned about what dress Jennifer Lawrence is wearing? The world is a strange, strange place. 


Linking up with Five on Friday  and High Five for Friday!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

I'm A Paradox

My friends tell me all the time that my likes and dislikes don't make sense. There are so many things do/say/like that contradict other things I do/say/like. And I don't consider it a character flaw in the slightest! It just means I don't fit nicely into any particular box. R. put it best when she sent this message  during a typical Facebook chat the other day. I can't remember what the statement was I said before she sent this message but odds are it had something to do with my domestic skills or waiting for my Dad or Brother to get home from work to fix something.


I've been keeping a mental list for awhile now of all my paradoxes and decided I needed to make an actual list. This is what I came up with:

Cerulean blue is my favourite crayon, but I hate the colour blue.

I love salads and smoothies, but I hate when foods touch other foods on my plate.

I love being 'outdoorsy', but I often say my dream job is being a 60s housewife.

I firmly believe that butter is better and margarine is nothing but a flavourless chemical spread, however aspartame be darned I love me some Coke Zero.

I love books & reading, but I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies more than the books.

I love Criminal Minds, but I can't watch scary movies (they give me nightmares for weeks).

I sleep with tons of blankets because I need to warm, but I don't like wearing PJ pants

I insist everyone make a big deal out of my half birthday, but I don't care much about my 'full' birthday.

Reality TV is my favourite, but I've never seen a single episode of The Bachelor.

I love showering, but I can't stand having wet hair, and I refuse to blow dry it.

I love adventures and chaos, but I thrive off routine.

I love TV, but I have no interest in awards shows and what actors win or don't win.

I'm a Christian, but I have some views that don't necessarily mesh with mainstream Christianity.

Summer is by far my favourite season, but I rainy days are my favourite. Bonus points for thunder storm.

I really don't like card games, most of them involve math and stress me out, except Solitaire, I love a good game of Solitaire.

I could go on for days about all my paradoxes and if we ever get the chance to have a conversation I can pretty much guarantee within 10 minutes of less I will contradict myself. You can call me out on it, I don't mind explaining why exactly salad is an exception to the "foods touching rule" but soup is not.

Are you an exception to a rule? Do you embrace it or try to change things?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Love What You Do

Hello there blogging world. I promise I haven't forgotten about you, it's just been a crazy few days (and the crazy shows no signs of stopping). I purposely took the weekend off from blogging (Saturday & Sundays posts were scheduled) and avoided technology as much as possible. Which was lovely. Monday I didn't really have anything to post about so I continued on with my limited screen time. Yesterday I was out for most of the day and I had more crazy going on so I let the day slip by. I haven't even been reading blogs (that's next on my list for today).

First on my list is to link up with Hayley & Lauren for this week's The Girl Between The Lines. This week people are sharing "The best piece of advance that anyone ever gave you." I am really looking forward to reading through everyones advice. Unlike the last few weeks where I've really struggled to come up with an answer for the prompt this one I knew right away.


Now, Steve Jobs didn't come pass along this knowledge to me personally, it's something I've always been a firm believer in. Steve just put it into better words and shared it with the masses and it sums up the reason why I think it's so important to do what you love. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blogging Sunday Social



What is the name of your blog? How long have you been blogging?
My current blog name is Grace & Galoshes. 
I've been blogging for years. I started out with an xanga (bonus points for anyone who remembers those days!), then moved to LiveJournal, gave that up in favour of Tumblr, tried out Blogger but didn't post very often and didn't have any readers. Last year I started this blog and it's stuck! I've been blogging here for almost a year!

 Why do you blog?
When it comes right down to it the reason I blog is that it gives me something to do. It's a hobby and it motivates me to write. I also enjoy reading other people's perspectives, adventures and thoughts on life. 

What is the first blog you ever followed?
The first blogger blog I ever followed and read on a regular basis was Kelly's Korner. I don't remember how I found the blog but it was around the time Harper was born so I've been following for a really long time!

What is your favorite post you wrote in 2013?
I think the post I wrote about the end of summer will remain of my favourites for 2013. It hardly has any views but I love it. You can read it here

What are your blogging goals for 2014?
I wrote about them in detail in this post. The main ones are to keep blogging on a regular basis and try to participate in some sponsorship opportunities and giveaways. 

Top 3 favorite blogs to follow
Shawni @ 71 Toes

And an Honourable Mention to Kelly's Korner! 



Saturday, 11 January 2014

Make Up Must Haves

I'm joining Nikki @ Blushed on a Budget where she's hosting a fun link up all about beauty! Nikki was my partner for The Pretty Little Beauty Swap and she made my first swap experience seriously awesome! You can check out all the goodies she sent me in this post. And then head over and share your beauty related post! 



I'm extremely amateur when it comes to make up. It's safe to say you won't ever find me filming tutorials on how to get the perfect smokey eye any time soon. My look is pretty basic, but I still enjoy playing with those neutral colours and throwing in something fun every once and a while. I decided for this link up I'd share my every day essentials. I don't necessarily use all of these products every day but they're the ones that I always have in my make up bag!



The first thing you probably noticed about my must haves is they're all drug store brand. Partly because the nearest Sephora is five hours away in the City and partly because $50 eyeshadow is totally not in my budget. These products are what I use on almost a daily basis when I'm running errands, getting groceries, visiting family/friends and that get tossed in my purse without fear of them getting ruined.

Body Shop Concealer 01
I have really pale skin in the winter months. (Spring & Summer I pretty much live outdoors so things are all good, they go downhill quickly come the end of September.) With this pale skin comes super sensitive under eye area, even with weeks of sleep I would still have dark circles. I bought this stuff from the Body Shop during a sale and even though it's doing the trick right now I don't think it will put an end to my quest to fall madly in love with a concealer. 

Garnier BB Cream in Light/Medium (for Oily Skin) 
I've been on a quest to find an amazing BB Cream, I've tried a few out but so far this one is my favourite. I'm not head over heels in love with it, depending on the kind of skin day I'm having and how pale I am it can look super cake and orange. For now it's my go to though.

CoverGirl 2 in 1 Foundation (Creamy Natural) 
I love this foundation! It provides the perfect amount of coverage and I've been loyal to it for a couple of years now.

NYC Sun 'N' Bronze Bronzing Powder
I'm late to the bronzer love fest. I was convinced that with my pale skin any sort of bronzer would make me look orange. I was feeling brave one day though and invested in some and now it's one of my favourite things. Even if I'm not going to put on a "full face" I'll dust on a little bit of this before Skype or other super low key "event" to give me a tiny bit of a pick me up.

Great Lash Mascara Very Black
If I was forced to choose mascara would be my ultimate favourite beauty product. So I have quite the collection but this is the one I always fall back on. And it's so cheap that it hardly feels like a waste of make up when you go through the trouble of putting it all on for no real reason. I keep one of these in my purse for emergencies and in my regular make up back and on my dresser...

Wet & Wild Sweet As Candy Eye Shadow
So simple, but so perfect. There's not much else I say about these colours, I've re-purchased this over and over again, it's truly a staple.

Essence Stays No Matter What Black Eye Pencil.
I left my entire make up bag at a friends house a while back and so I ran out to replace a few things to get me by until I was reunited. I really like this eye pencil it goes on smooth and stays on all day even though I have a horrible habit of touching my eyes/adjusting my glasses every 15 minutes.

Body Shop Natural Lip Roll On 
I always have some sort of lip moisture in my pocket. I like this one because it adds a bit of shine and I can reapply like crazy without making my lips a weird colour or making me feel like I have layers and layers of stuff on. My favourite flavour is coconut although I've also tried to berry (pictured) and orange.

Essence XXXL Shine Lip Gloss Bright Side of Life
Nikki sent me this in my Pretty Little Beauty Swap exchange and I love it! It's the perfect colour for my skin tone, isn't too thick and doesn't dry out my lips. I am forever indebted to Nikki for sending me this stuff! I wore it Christmas Day to a family gathering and got a lot of compliments!

What are your make up must haves? Don't forget to go to link up your beauty related post!


*I was in no way composted for offering my opinions on these products.

Friday, 10 January 2014

High Five For Favourites!

It's been a week riddled with anxiety thanks to more grant setbacks, an impending quater-life crisis and nights of tossing & turning instead of sleeping. Luckily last night I did sleep for a solid eight hours and when I woke up this morning I felt rested and had a productive morning put on a cute outfit and went out into the world to get groceries and pay a bill. In an attempt to put all that behind me and start the weekend off on a happy note I'm going to take a few minutes to write about five of my most favourite things.

Ice Cold Pop
Via
We all have our little guilty pleasures/vices. Mine is dark pop. Sure it's bad for you but so are a lot of other things. It's not as though I have a full out addiction drinking litres of the stuff each day. 90% of my pop drinking takes place in the evening while watching a favourite show and on weekends. I don't usually drink it during weekdays and even if I go out to eat somewhere other than fast food I usually opt for water. I have given it up before, I think I went about a month without having even a sip. Then I realized that life is short and if I want to indulge in some delicious caramel syrup, caffeinated, carbonated beverage I will. 

Squirrels
Forgive me for the terrible picture, figuring out camera settings for the snow is tough!

Maybe a little unconventional compared to most peoples favourite animals. Then you remember I am a life long camp person and suddenly it makes sense. When you factor in my own small stature (I'm barely 5 ft), my hoarding tendencies  enjoyment of saving things for later and hiding treats around the house so my brother won't eat them, there's really no question that squirrels are my spirit animal.

Books

Novels, coffee table books, children's books, Bibles, notebooks. I love all books. I've been doing a lot of reading this year and it's making me super happy! I do have an ereader and an app on my phone to read books which is great for borrowing books from the library, but nothing beats a real book. And books just look so pretty.


Sharpies

Pinterest
Who doesn't love colourful, multi-purprose writing utensils!? I will confess that I think my favourite colour Sharpie is the classic black. There's just something so lovely about using a black Sharpie fresh out of the package.

Pinterest Humour


No matter how bad your day is it's hard not to laugh within seconds after scrolling though the 'Humour' pin on Pinterest. I have an especially soft spot for puns, inappropriate jokes and anything to do with cats. 

Linking up with Lauren and Five on Friday!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Admiration

Tell us about a characteristic you admire in one of your loved ones! Why do you admire that characteristic?



I've been staring at a blank blogger post screen for fifteen minutes now, reading and rereading today's prompt. And I still don't have a solid answer. 

My first approach was to single out a character trait that I value and then decide which ones of my family members or friends is "the best". Compassion is something I place a really high value on as far as characteristics go, so it made sense to chose compassion. First I thought of how my grandmother is just so kind, at least once a summer while I'm home over break she'll send me back to camp with homemade cookies and bulk cans of coffee just for the counsellors. My uncle to 'secretly' plows his elderly neighbours driveway every time it snows. I thought about another friend who will go out of her way to help an animal in need. There are just so many ways to show compassion and they're all equally important. 

Then I thought maybe I should go another route. I strive to be compassionate towards others and it's something I consistently think about. Perhaps I should choose a characteristic that I struggle with and then choose somebody in my life who really exemplifies that characteristic. Perhaps a throw back to last week's post about being brave? I should figure out who the bravest person I know is and write about them. But I ended up with the same problem, bravery takes on so many different forms. Getting out of bed after a monumental life event doesn't necessary require more or less bravery than jumping out of a plane. And there's a fine line between bravery and making immature decisions. Most of my friends are in their mid-late twenties and I'd be willing to bet that quite a few "acts of bravery" were fuelled by some "liquid courage". 

Back to the start. I should just go ahead and choose a favourite person and determine what qualities they have that make them my favourite. This lead me into some dangerous territory. As it turns out a lot of my friends have very similar characteristics. Picking one over the other just felt wrong. 

So I ended up back at the very beginning. Back to how important I think it is for those around me to be compassionate. Every time I see somebody put others above themselves I am inspired and want to have that same selflessness. Dropping everything to be with a friend who needs you now, offering help and expecting nothing in return, doing things without expecting recognition. Ultimately it all boils down to thinking about how you would want to be treated. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Two Cups of Coffee

Getting enough sleep is something I've really been working on lately. I know I function best when I get a solid 8-9 hours, not to mention I'm a much happier person. I can function without that much, someday I'll regale you all with the time at camp when I went 72 hours with only a few hour long naps in there because of a busy week and a particularly challenging camper. I ended up being sent to bed my direction after I declared I was going to jump in the shower real quick with a bagel in my hand. And then sighed and said something along the lines of "I'm sad my bagel will get soggy". One of my finer camp exhaustion moments for sure. 

Pinterest

My usual bedtime routine involves watching the first 15-20 minutes of the 10 o'clock news downstairs with my parents and then going upstairs to get ready for bed. I brush my teeth, wash my face, put pyjamas on and have my journal/quiet time. By 11 I'm in bed with the lights out. Sometimes I'll end up texting a friend or reading a few blogs that I missed during the day but by 12 I shut it down and declare it "real bedtime". More often than not I'll put on a show with the sleep timer for an hour and I'm never awake long enough to see how it ends. 

Not last night though.

Last night things were going as planned until midnight but I was still feeling really restless, borderline anxious and just couldn't shut my brain off. So I read a chapter of Little Women and then I was still wide awake. So then I read a chapter of Crazy Love. And I was still awake. Wide awake. With such pressing questions as:

I hope all my tossing and turing isn't keeping Peyton awake.
Do I have a blog post scheduled for tomorrow?
I think tomorrow I'll read 1 Peter, it's not a book I think about much but I love the name Peter so I should read the book.
Right now I should go to sleep.
My feet are cold.
I hope the Pioneer Woman had a good birthday today.
I think I want a cheesecake for my birthday cake this year.
I need to find a pair of slippers to fit my tiny feet.
Maybe I should get up, move around a bit then go back to bed.
Nope, too cold. 
What should I have for lunch tomorrow?
I hope Peyton is warm enough.
I should cut my hair.
I could read through my Twitter feed. 
I need to tweet more.
I'm sad Auburn lost. Years of reading southern mommy blogs have made me a SEC fan.
I've never once watched a football game.
If I move to Texas I'll have to go to one.
I hope Tim Tebow does something productive with his life.
Why has Ellen been repeats for so long. I miss her. 
And Tony. I really miss Tony.
It's been awhile since I've had Frosted Flakes.

Somewhere between contemplating a wide variety of breakfast cereals and remembering I don't really like cereal in the first place I fell asleep. At which point I had crazy dreams involving a variety of Food Network Chefs, a marching band from Alabama and Mickey Mouse. And a competition to make the best gravy. Naturally my grandma showed up, made her gravy and beat them all. 

Pinterest
So on that note I'm going to go make my second cup of coffee and probably eat some pizza because it's National Pizza Week and that's something that needs to be celebrated. 

What goes through your mind late at night when you can't fall asleep?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Housewife Without A Husband

This weekend revolved around three main activities: baking/cooking, reading and miscellaneous housework.

Saturday I made cinnamon rolls and read the entirety of The Fault of Our Stars. Now, I'm about to say something that is going to offend the masses, but I'm saying it anyway. I did not enjoy the book. I disliked it. I've read a lot of young adult novels (they're my favourite) and I know everyone is raving about the book. Counting down the days until the movie is released. But I didn't get it. I think it had potential, I wanted to like it and at times I thought it was about to get better, but it didn't. I could go on but for fear of a hoard of angry bloggers showing up at my door with pitchforks demanding I proclaim my love for Hazel & Gus I'll stop.

Moving along.


Sunday I spend a lot of time laying on the couch and finished reading The Pioneer Woman's book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.  And I absolutely loved every word. I did see some pretty negative reviews about it and I can see how people who aren't into reading blogs would find it annoying to read. The format was very much like a whole lot of blog posts put together to create a longer story, which I happened to really love. Plus, it's a love story, and I'm a sucker for a good love story. 

Saturday cinnamon rolls! Cinnamon rolls & coffee are a match made in heaven. 


I fully admit to being in a big ol' rut the last few days. Call it a pre-quarterlife crisis (full quaterlife crisis coming your way January 19) or The 20 Something Blues, either way it's been rough. But for some reason once I finished reading all about The Pioneer Woman and Marlbolo Man tale of romance and adventure I felt a surge of productive energy and had to get to work. By work I mean I showered and used a wide array of scented bath products. (Not that I hadn't been showing before, but I tend to conserve my "fancy" body wash for when I have somewhere to be other than my house. This time I held nothing back.) Then I proceeded to get dressed in something that wasn't jogging pants from my days in residence and a staff hoodie that is two sizes too big. (Before you picture me parading around my house in a little black dress and wearing pearls let me clarify that "dressed up" in this case indicates leggings, wool socks, tank top and fitted zip up hoodie. I didn't totally lose my mind.) I even put on a coat of mascara. Just for good measure.

Now that I was all dressed up and had nowhere to go I needed something to do. I was still feeling inspired my the perfectly un-perfect life of PW so I opted to try out her recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was hesitate about the coffee, but then decided PW is not to be questioned so I went for it (I did opt out of the flax seeds) and they did not disappoint!

While the cookies baked I did a load of laundry, a sink full of dishes and decided what we would have for supper.

After supper was all finished I helped clean up, watched a bit of the news and then Skyped with R.. When she asked what I had been up to all day my response was "housewife stuff", except I'm not a wife, so...just domestic things. Then she made a joke about how much I love being domestic, and we laughed, because she gets me.



I don't watch The Bachelor because I find it depressing. And I flat out don't get Downton Abbey. I watched the first three episodes dozens of times and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get into it. I love historical fiction, Road to Avonlea is one of my favourite shows but DA is a huge nope in my books. For once the rest of the world is glued to their TVs while I am not. Instead I snugged under freshly washed sheets and a pile of blankets and got to work on my reading pile.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The 365 Day Challenge

With 2014 only a few days old BlogLand is full of bloggers making resolutions and setting goals (myself included). There are also a lot of articles like this flying around the internet. Tales of men and women committing themselves to doing one thing for an entire year. Some of them are fascinating to read others just confuse me, because...why? These types of challenges aren't new. (One of my favourite books is The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs.) It got me thinking about what I'd be willing to commit to for a year and I came up with some options that if I was awarded a nice little book deal or cash incentive or was just really bored with life I could totally commit to for 365 days.



Wear Only Tie-Dye
Thanks to years of camp I already have one full "outfit" (pants, underwear, t-shirt, sweatshirt, headband, shoes) plus a ridiculous amount of "spare" t-shirts. If some sort of semi-formal occasion occurred I would be more than happy to put my tie-dye skills to use turning my white sundress into a colourful ode to hippies everywhere. 

Drink Only Coffee Based Beverages
I almost said "only drinking pop" but then I thought about how nice a hot cup of coffee feels in my hands on a cold day and changed my mind. Coffee Based Beverages on the other hand can be hot or iced, perfect for all seasons. Plus, I'd be so hopped up on caffeine that I'd have tons of energy to go for runs and get stuff done. 

Speak Only In Rhyme
Just Kidding. That would be funny for an hour tops. 

Follow The 100 Mile Diet
This one that I legit want to do, it's on my 25x25 list to follow the diet for a least a week. I would definitely need somebody to do it with me, or being living on my own because it would just be too much to tackle alone in a house with other people who weren't doing the challenge. And things would be pretty rough in the winter, but it's still something I think about often.

Try All of The Pioneer Woman's Recipes
We all know about Julie & Julia  but what about Donna & Ree? I could spend a year of my life mastering her famous cinnamon rolls and perfecting pot roasts (I actually don't like pot roasts but whatever). The more I think about this plan the better it sounds. Would I get bonus points if I figured out a way to make all her recipes using 100 Mile ingredients??

Sleep Outside
This would get dicey come December-March (especially in my current locale), but it's totally doable. I have a pretty high quality sleeping bag already, I would invest in a small winter tent and with enough layers I'd be nice and toasty! The questions that would arise from the neighbours would be interesting. My warm sleeping bag and winter tent would only do so much when there is 200 cm of snow down and winds are gusting 120 km/hr. Maybe this is a challenge better suited to someone in a warmer climate.

I just realized most of my challenges involve food. This is probably a sign I need to go eat something. I'll leave you with the question: What ridiculous thing would you be willing to do for 365 days? 


Friday, 3 January 2014

Snow Storms & Bravery

{one}
In my efforts to Be Brave in 2014 I took another step in the blogging world yesterday and made a Twitter Account! I decided to make a new account that is more anonymous, I'm just not ready for the "real world" to know about my blogging. I might be someday, but today isn't the day. So if you're into the Twitter scene and are just dying to read my Tweets about how cold it is around here these days and whatever else strikes my fancy, follow along!

{two}
My anxiety has been way out of control the past few days. The grant situation still hasn't come to a conclusion but it needs too. The reality of the situation that is as much as I want to return to that camp and appreciate the effort that has been done to complete the application process, I can't wait any longer. This was a job that was supposed to start on October 28th. It's January 3rd and I'm still unemployed sitting on my parents couch.

{three}

I know it's only Day 3 of the 2014 but so far I've journaled everyday, read my Bible and am on my third book that I'm reading for pleasure! It's all about keeping momentum and making everything into a habit! It seems like the popular opinion is reading the Bible and reflecting should be done first thing in the morning but I've never been able to get into that habit. I prefer to end my day with Bible, blank paper and a handful of markers and felt tip pens. Maybe someday I'll join the ranks of sunrise Bible readers but it probably won't be this year. 

{four}

To my lovely blog readers who reside in the South (or anywhere where the temperature is above 0) enjoy your ability to venture outside without 10000 layers. It's cold here. Really cold. And it just won't stop snowing. 
{five}

If you follow me on Instagram you've already seen this photo but I had to blog about too, because it's ridiculous. I cleaned out my sock drawer after Christmas and was left with this. There are FOUR purple/black socks and none of them match. Same goes for the two pink/black, blue/black, and the three beige coloured ones with three different coloured heels/toes. So frustrating. I haven't thrown them out yet because I'm trying to convince myself that I can make "pairs" out of them,  but my OCD just won't have it. Back in jr. high I refused to wear matching socks and now I can't even wear two socks that are nearly identical but not. A phycologist would probably have a lot to say about that. 


I'm linking up with the lovely ladies for Five on Friday!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Stress Free Scrapbooking

I mentioned SMASH* books a few days ago in this post and since then I've gotten quite a few comments and questions about them. Since they are one of my favourite things I decided to make a post to share some pages from the books I've completed. 



I used the Pink "Pretty Style" book to keep things from my last year of university. To be honest I wouldn't even say it's 100% full. I keep meaning to take some time to stick in a few more things I have kicking around my room but I never seem to actually get around to doing it. There aren't very many photos in this book. It's full of ticket stubs, random things I cut out of magazines, quotes, notes and cards from friends. 


This page is full of movie stubs, a favourite quote, a random dinosaur that I liked and an "autograph" from a friend. (Just in case he ever gets famous.)


On these pages I taped in a friendship bracelet after it had fallen off, a list of the songs that we listened to on our drive to school each day, a post it note from my roommate and a letter from a friend that she wrote me to read while on the plane for a visit home at the end of the summer.

The second book I did was "Eco Style" it was perfect for camp! I had planned on using it during the 2012 summer but in the end I just put all those photos in a photo album. I knew I had to use it for the summer of 2013. I was much more intentional about taking photos and saving things. I brought the book and a rubbermaid container full of scrapbooking supplies with me to camp with the idea to do complete the book as I went, working on it during breaks and pasting notes at the end of each day. I should have known better than to attempt that though, I didn't do a single page over the summer. Instead once I got home from camp I printed all my pictures and spent almost a month working on the book.

In the end I'm really happy I waited until the summer was over to build the SMASH book. It was a wonderful way to reflect on the summer, remember the good times, move on from the not-so great times and I had time to really make the book what I wanted! I'm really happy with the way it turned out!


These pages are extremely simple, but I love them. I glued in my favourite pictures of sunsets and the moon over the river and added in a pocket where I put a particularly special note. On the side is a clue that was part of a scavenger hunt my secret friend made me one day. The clue is about a romantic spot to stargaze so it fit in with these pictures perfectly.


Back in my scrapbooking days these pictures would have all been cropped into straight lines, backed with coordinating card stock and arranged in parallel lines on a 12x12 piece of paper. Now they just got cropped into whatever shape made the most sense and allowed them to fit on the page. I threw in some dinosaur stickers as part of an inside joke and a particularly hilarious quote from the summer and that was it! 

I had originally planned on including more pages but I had a really hard time taking good photos. And some of the pages I took photos of lost a lot of their splendour once I very unsophisticatedly edited out people's faces. 

I've always been into scrapbooking but stressed about making everything "perfect" with the SMASH* books the point is literally just to smash it all in. Sometimes I organize my thoughts and create pages that do have layouts like you would see in a traditional scrapbook. Most of the time I just create a pile of things I want to include and stick it in where ever it fits! I have two more blank books that I'm not quite sure how to use. I really like the red one and have been saving it for "something special". (Saving nice things for special occasions is a habit I really need to lose.) And the purple one I bought during a really good sale and I was looking through the pages the other night and decided it would be perfect to use if my whole Texas plan happens. 

If you're someone who is a "saver" like me and hangs on to little notes and ticket stubs but has no idea what to do with them I really recommend this method. You can stick pictures along side your "stuff" and at the end of the day you create something totally unique that gives you just as much satisfaction as a scrapbook without the stress. 



**I was in no way, shape or form compensated for sharing this product on my blog. It's just something I happened to learn about, buy and totally love!