Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Maddie

When I was 5 years old, my little cousin Maddie was born into the most amazing family. She was sweet, loving, fun, everything. And from the minute I laid eyes on her I knew we'd be the best of friends. We spent summers together having sleepovers, playing sports, studying (yes we did school work in the summers), playing, doing crafts, they were the best summers ever. She's been my little sisters for the past 16 years and I cannot believe how much she has grown up. I don't get to see, talk or hang out with her as much as I want to, but I miss her so much everyday.

Happy 16th Birthday Maddie! I cannot believe that 8 years ago we were talking about when this birthday would come so you could venture out and get your driver's license.

There are Sixteen things I want to tell you on your birthday: 

1. When you really start driving, give your parents a break. Driving with a teenage is super scary. Trust me, I even drive with people my age and I think I'm going to die. 

2. As talented and amazing you are, LOVE school. It's one of those things that will set you apart from other people. And you're already so smart mind as well show it off! Try hard in all of your classes. The cool people 10 years from now are the ones with all the smarts. 

3. Boys. Without a doubt, at some point in the next few years you will experience some sort of heart break. But trust me, no matter what the outcome is, everything is always for the best and you will be a better person when you get through it. 

4. Boys second part. If a boy ever hurts you EVER. You tell me. First, I will hunt them down and second, we'll go out partying. 

5. Partying. Remember that having fun is great, but being responsible and more importantly safe is crucial. 

6. Always talk to your parents when you are planning on making big decisions in your life. I know sometimes, it's frustrating to be on the verge of being an adult but still be a kid at the same time. Your parents are pretty awesome, and want THE BEST for you. 

7. Speak your mind. Be strong and remember to stand up for yourself and others. 

8. Shower regularly, wear sunscreen and take care of yourself

9. Never let someone else tell you who you are, what to do, where to go or how you should act. You are one of the smartest girls I know, since you were about 2 years old I knew it. You have a good head on your shoulders and make sure you use your gut. 

10. Love your family and friends. At points you might find that family or even friends are put on the back burner. Try to balance everyone and be genuine. 

11. Eat healthy. Ahhh let me say from experience that being a teenager rocks simply because of your amazing metabolism. But when you hit my old age, it can start to decline. I know right?! It's insane. 

12. Have nice clothes. You know what I'm saying! 

13. Your taking care of your body but remember to take care of your mind. Whether you talk to friends, write in a journal, whatever it is. Make sure you are doing something to keep your mental health in sync with yourself too. 

14. Remember your a little girl still. Sixteen feels so old but is still so young. 

15. Be friendly to people outside of your group of friends. Sometimes, well most of the time, we don't do it on purpose but we can act kind of mean to people we don't associate with simply because we don't associate them. Be nice to everyone, you never know who you might need in the future and who might need you. 

16. Remember your family loves you. No matter what you do in your life whether it's winning the LGPA or failing a class or winning an award or being sent to the principal's office. Your family will always be there for you and want the best for you all throughout your life. 

Happy 16th Birthday to you my little sister. Love you. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making New Friends

Isn't that feeling awesome. When you connect with someone and you leave feeling so uplifted. To meet a like-minded person. Someone you could see yourself spending countless hours with just discussing whatever comes to mind next.

I wouldn't say that making friends is hard for me, it's making meaningful connections and keeping them that I think I struggle with sometimes. I like to talk and laugh so meeting new people is sometimes more easy than it is difficult for me. But I have a very short supply of close friends. I tend to keep to myself a lot and not keep in touch with those I love. I proceed to get frustrated that I don't talk with many people, and realize it all goes back to me and my lack of communication.

Tonight after a long, stressful but rewarding day of work, we headed to a restaurant to have a meeting over dinner. I love the people I work with, we have such an amazing team. But it's great when I get to talk with those that I don't see on a more regular basis. I had a great night chatting and just pouring conversations over the future, love stories, engagement plans, potential wedding ideas. It's just so refreshing to get to know someone on a much more personal level rather than the superficial things you tend to hear most often.

Tonight, however, I believe I made a friend. I friend I want to build that connection with. To foster and communicate and grow a relationship. I think it's time that I step up to the plate, and take some responsibility for myself and my actions and my happiness. Here's to making new friends, new friends that last!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Usual Little Life Update

This past weekend I finished the Hunger Games. To be honest when I started the book I thought I'd never get through it. The writing wasn't the best and I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the very dystopian features of the book. But once the actual games begun I was hooked. My friend, Steph had already told me most of the details of the book because I convinced her I wouldn't ever bother reading it. Wrong. As much as it was a good and quick read, I'm definitely craving something more.

The past two days have been busy but good at camp. One of the busiest weeks by far in the summer and we are getting through it. With the hottest day of the summer now behind us, I'm hoping for a great end to the week. Although I have at least three more meetings, a huge special event for over 350 kids and the usual everyday grind, I'm looking forward to it!

But especially today, I am missing classes. That exciting feeling of being inspired by what you are learning. By pouring through a textbook that is amazing. Spending hours in the library writing and writing notes. Getting hand cramps. And head aches. Crossing off finished items in my agenda. Finishing a great paper. I'm missing school and everything that comes with it right about now. And I can't wait to show you all about an awesome series I hope to complete throughout my last year of undergrad this fall.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

So I Failed

I knew that Sar's 15 Day Challenge would be just that, a challenge. But I definitely was excited and up for completing it. But I also knew I was kidding myself. With camp just getting into the swing of things and sleep quickly evading my life as I know it, posting has been on the back of my mind. But of course, I've missed it.

I have been spending my days working far too long at camp, spending far too much time at home working on camp things and thinking far too much about camp stress. It's definitely the most stressful job but in that moment, in that midst of smiles, laughs, tears, frustration...I love every second of it. It's the before and after that I get wrapped up in that stress. And it's hard when I'm one of those people who absolutely love school and cannot wait another second to get back into classes (7 more weeks).

But I am trying to learn as always what I love and what I don't love. And I'm realizing lately that I love working with children with disabilities and I miss it so much. For three years I worked one on one with children with varying exceptionalities but the past two years I have run a day camp, where I definitely do not have as much time to be spending one on one time with those kids.

I really want to ramp up the general moral at camp, but that definitely starts with me so that is my goal for this week. To be a role model for my staff and have the best attitude both at and outside of work.

So in lieu of being absent the past few (many) days, have a peek at some pictures of moments this past week.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day Six, Seven and Eight.

So I missed a few days of Sar's Challenge there...I got stuck on the prompt for Day Six and have been out and about for Day Seven and here we are at Day Eight. And since today has been officially deemed as my "relaxing/do nothing day" I actually have time to do something. My plan is to stay in bed until I absolutely get so hungry that I need to venture to the fridge downstairs and in the afternoon I'm heading to a friends house to hang out by his pool. Trying out the SPF 75 all day and sporting the wide brim sun hat.

Day Six. 

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven't? Why not? 

There are more than just one thing that I wish I've done so here comes a list.

[1] Run a road race.
I've always wanted to run a race, I kind of, sort of wanted to run a 5km race this summer but who knows if that will still happen. I hate running outside, I always run on my treadmill, so it's way easier than dealing with the elements outside. I always don't run enough so that's secretly another thing I wish I was doing.

[2] Travel more.
I wish I didn't spend all my money so quickly. I go out with friends WAY too often, well going out isn't the problem as much as spending money when we go out. Dinner? Movie? Drinks? It's always something. It'd be great if I'd saved all that money and gone on a few trips in the past few years. University seems to be the time when people are always heading off somewhere. Me? I went to Boston last summer for three days for my cousin's wedding. Europe, Australia, Asia...anywhere!

[3] Become fluent in another language.
This is probably the most difficult out of the three (I can't believe I am saying that about running). I took a full year of Italian in my first year of school but could not continue because it didn't exactly fit in my schedule and it took up a lot of time. It was one of my best courses and I should have kept up with it, especially because it's something I love. I'm always looking for Italian courses to take but can rarely find any. It's usually always French or Spanish that are offered. It's also difficult because I have a good base in Italian so finding a class that is not "beginners" can get difficult too.

Day Seven. 

Recommend a book. Why is it important/special?

There is this one book that is constantly in my head as the best book I've ever read. Now I'm not sure that's the entire truth because I've read some amazing books and how many books can POSSIBLY be better than seven Harry Potter books? But this one book has somehow put a serious impression on me and I can't get it out of my head.

Delicious by Nicky Pellegrino. I should have definitely read this book again before I recommended it to the world but it really made an impression on me. Probably because I love everything that has to do with Italian culture (see above on learning a new language). 

"Maria Carozza should be happy living in the lovely Italian village of San Giulio. Ensconced in her mother’s kitchen, she bakes bread every morning, the way the Carozza women always have. But at sixteen, Maria is eager for adventure, so she escapes to Rome, where she has a passionate love affair. One year later, she returns to San Giulio in disgrace—eight months pregnant, with the identity of the baby’s father a mystery. Hastily, shamefully, she is married off to a neighbor’s son. Maria soon escapes again, this time to England, where she searches once more for a new life for herself and her daughter, Chiara. An irresistible saga of three very different generations of Italian women and the old kitchen in Campania that binds them."

Day Eight. 

Describe the good, the bad and the ugly about yourself. 

[The Good]
I am super motivated. I like to have things planned out to a tee and to be involved in all aspects of my life. I like to try new things and meet new people. I never needed someone to tell me to get my homework done or do new things. In grade one I asked my parents if I could have a tutor because we weren't learning how to read fast enough in school for my liking. 

[The Bad]
I am super stubborn. If you ever get into an argument with me prepare for it to be a long and heated discussion. Even if it's on a topic I'm not necessarily interested in, I'll debate it, I'll take you on. But also, once I know I've lost or done something wrong it takes me for forever to apologize because I always want to do it on my own terms. Gross, I know. It's something I'm really trying to work on lately but sometimes it's kind of funny too. As long as I can laugh at myself. 

[The Ugly]
I am very, very emotional. And although sometimes I think of it as a good thing, that I'm not a stone wall, that I am CONSTANTLY feeling some type of emotion. But more often than not it leads into an episode of hot, steamy tears. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, frustrating tears. Almost every emotion in my body eventually leads to tears. I'm not sure if this has always been the case or if it's a new development and I'm just learning to accept it now but I'm probably going to take an educated guess and say the latter. 

Life of Love

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Camp Life

As the first week of camp is quickly coming to an end, I am already feeling drained and I haven't even got my stride yet. I've been a bit under the weather this week and haven't felt my "camp best" which is VERY different than my everyday best. It's taking me minutes instead of seconds to think of new and exciting activities. On Wednesday this week, I couldn't even explain a game to the kids. The counsellors all jumped up and started explaining for me because I was just all over the place. Thank goodness for them. This is why I intend to spend the upcoming weekend doing nothing. Nothing at all. Reading. Planning. Sleeping. That's what I am just yearning for right now.

Tonight is the first night of the week I have spent it utterly alone. As much as I truly love spending time with my friends and family, I have loved having this night to myself. Tuesday I had a HUGE Chinese dinner with friends, finishing with a Starbucks date with Ryan. And Wednesday night Ryan and I ventured to the movie theatre to see the new Spiderman move (best superhero move I have ever seen). It's been nice to do my errands on my own tonight. To sit on the couch alone. And spend the night in my jammies.

Here are some videos that keep me inspired for camp everyday!

A Dinner Party

Five people I would want to have dinner with:

[1] My birth mother.

because I've never met her and I'm sure a random dinner party would be a good ice breaker right?

[2] My Aunt Karen.

because she lives far too far away and I never get to spend any real quality time with her when I do see her.

[3] My roommates.

because we rarely make time for all six of us to be together for a meal.

[4] My policy professor.

because she is knowledgeable, funny, inspiring and I never utilized her as much as I should have.

[5] My boyfriend, Ryan.

because each and every time we have dinner together, I fall in love all over again.

Life of Love

Childhood Memory

Besides a ridiculous collection of beanie babies, pokemon cards and pogs, a love of the Babysitter's Club books and an embarrassing stint with the teletubbies, there's not an obvious memory from my childhood that stands out. When does childhood technically end anyways? I've been thinking about this all day. I'd think of something and then wonder if that memory happened at the appropriate age.

The memory I always think of when I think 'childhood' is being in our backyard with my Dad. This is especially noteworthy because I hate being outside. But I loved it back then. One day my Dad was painting the chairs and benches and I wanted to help, desperately. So Dad fetched me a bucket of water and my own paint brush. I painted the ground, the rocks, chairs, stairs, everything. I loved it, I loved feeling like I was part of the job. That in some tiny way I was really making a difference. In reality I'm sure I was just in the middle and frustratingly annoying.

P.S. the Internet is down at my house so I'm writing on my phone, never again!

Life of Love

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Article of Clothing

Day 3 of 15 Day Challenge: Tell us about an article of clothing you're attached to. 

I can't quite recall if I've ever been asked this question before, if I have I certainly didn't have an answer. I've never really thought of my clothes as things to be attached to, certainly they all hold stories and memories but none that I would hate to see ripped to shreds or misplaced. But since today was the first day of camp and because it's the best place in the world. I thought my work shirt was especially important. It actually represents a lot to me, way more than I thought it did. This was my first real job. My first promotion. My SECOND promotion. Where I've learnt what I want to do with my life and what I never want to do with my life. Tears have been shed wearing this shirt, both happy and sad. And  others tears dried up. Scabbed knees taken care of, sad hearts mended. I love this shirt more than I even knew I ever would. Even though it's a uniform, I'd wear it any day without putting up a fight. The feeling I got when I put it on for the first time, the feel of the material, the collar, buttons. This year, before camp started we were asked to go around the room and talk about why we were at camp this year, what it meant to us, anything we really had to say. I don't know if I'll ever be in a room full of such energy, passion, creativity and teamwork again. Here's to the collared shirt! 

Don't mind this picture. I'm not a pro at those one handed phone shots. 

Life of Love

Monday, July 2, 2012

Holiday Monday

Today marks my last day of a "grown up" summer. Tomorrow is the first day of camp and I'm feeling pretty ancy. There is no job I have ever had that is more stressful, busy, hectic, exciting, fun and challenging. This summer marks my fifth summer at camp and I can't wait for this anxiety to subside and to just finally begin. Ryan is also running a camp this summer that starts tomorrow. We're both so nervous we just really wanted to take it easy today. I promised him breakfast and he promised me he'd wake up at a reasonable hour, both promises were delivered.

After a nice breakfast with the sweetest server we headed to Ryan's house for a SUPER relaxing day. I don't think we moved for hours, at least I didn't. We watched some Wimbledon tennis, I started (finally) reading the Hunger Games and eventually took a nap. I spent the day trying to remain stress-free, not thinking of the chaos to come tomorrow. Maybe I should mentally prepare myself better but I just want to stay as cool as a cucumber. Speaking of vegetables, I've been trying to make somewhat of a more conscious effort to reach for fruit and veggies for snacks throughout the day. Ryan grabbed us a big bowl of blueberries to share....but then he brought down a bag of Smartfood too....close but no cigar. 
With some burgers for dinner, baseball to follow and tea and a piece of cake to come, I'd say it's been a pretty successful holiday Monday. Sidenote: I'm already looking forward to starting classes in September, only a few more days to go. 


As part of Sar's 15 Day Challenge, I must write a few 6-word memoirs. The story behind it is pretty neat so I'll paste it from her blog.

 Six word memoirs are exactly how it sounds: your life in six words. The history behind it is that Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a complete short story in as few words as possible. His response was, 'For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.' This then errupted into a way to tell sad, sweet, honest tales.

Red hair, fair skin. No sun. 

Family here and there, always together. 

Strong love. Frustrated love. Always love. 

Prone to allergies. Always sneezing. 

Clothes I've never worn. Stories untold. 

Life of Love

Sunday, July 1, 2012

15 Fun Facts

Since I had been having a hard time keeping up with the blog for two-three months there and I really am enjoying writing again, I want to make sure it stays consistent! So conveniently, Sar from Life of Love started her own 15 day challenge which I stumbled across last night. Perfect timing if I day say so myself. And since I've been MIA for so long this is just what I need.

15 Fun Facts

[1] I can make a clover with my tongue. It's one of my favourite genetic abilities.

[2] I am very particular when it comes to temperature/weather. Rarely am I ever comfortable at one moment, I'm either too hot or too cold. In terms of weather, since I have red hair I HATE the outdoors, primarily when it is sunny. You know what I mean.

[3] I have three tattoos.

[4] I pretend to be a vegetarian because I rarely actually eat meat unless it is served to me. The summer after my first year of university I went pescatarian - I didn't eat meat but I ate fish. This lasted until Thanksgiving dinner....I had to have some turkey and gravy.

[5] My favourite food probably has to be sushi.

[6] I have changed my mind about what I want to do "when I grow up" at least once a year for the past 5 years.

[7] I love singing along to songs, mostly in the car. I'm a pretty good lyric rememberer and if I don't know a song I am TERRIFIC at guessing the lyrics right away.

[8] It took the first two years of university for me to figure out what courses I really loved.

[9] I've probably tried almost every sport out there. Gymnastics, dance, soccer, t-ball, hockey, tennis, swimming, wrestling, track and field, you name it. My parents were awesome for getting me active and involved at a young age.

[10] I played the cello for eight years, not so well but I played none the less.

[11] I am not particularly a dessert eater but lately I've been loving creme brule, tiramisu, cake of all kinds and enjoying a few cookies with my late night tea.

[12] I absolutely despise when people use the r-word.

[13]  I always shower at night, before bed. Unless there is a pressing reason to shower during the day, I will never! 

[14] I am currently trying to figure out how/what/where religion/spirituality fits into my life. 

[15] I had a blankie when I was younger that I loved with all my heart - it was so soft. But when I was around the age of eleven, blankie was taken away from me. I believe I was told that I was too old for him now. Later I found my blankie in our laundry room sitting in the pile of rags...

My 21st Birthday Part II

After my friends headed home after a great morning of deep conversations and hilarious memories, I headed to get my haircut for the first time in almost a year. Terrible, I know but it's just so expensive and not going was like "growing my hair so long" therapy. I just like to think to myself that the longer I hold out on haircuts the longer my hair will actually be - which is completely false since my hair is just way less healthier and looks bad all together. I went early to my appointment hoping they could get me started earlier too. Not so much, sitting there my phone decided to keel over and completely die on me. I knew it wasn't good, no ordinary phone death. Either way I spent three hours of my day in this salon getting highlights, lowlights, a trim and $160 bucks later I had new hair that I had not idea what to do with. I've coloured my hair a fair amount but I've never really enjoyed highlights. But my mom wanted them and I wanted a change so two birds with one stone. I felt like a ginger skunk for the next two days but eventually it grew on me and I'm starting to embrace it all (all $160 of it).

After the haircut of the millenium, I wanted to head to the mall to see what was up with my phone. I felt bad that people were texting and calling me for my birthday and my phone was completely in service. They people are the store officially pronounced my phone dead and that I would need to get a new one, they would not give me a loaner or help with getting a new phone at all. Apparently my phone had SERIOUS water damage and nothing could be done. (I swear on whatever to swear on that I have never dropped my phone in a puddle or threw water on it or whatever). So that was a little damper on the day, (or plus that $160 ginger skunk haircut). I got home and Ryan was on the couch waiting for me all day with flowers in hand.

My parents were heading out for the night themselves so I quickly opened some gifts, got ready for dinner out with Ryan and heading downtown for the second night in a row. We went to a pretty fancy smancy place in London called the Black Trumpet. The food was amazing and we may or may not have been the most dressed up couple there but I'm good with that. We split calamari as a started, a bit of a tradition we have going and it was like nothing we've ever had at any other restaurant. It wasn't breaded but it tasted spectacular. For dinner I had a bowtie pasta with beef tenderloin, oh my goodness, one of the best things I've ever had. I also had wine, which always makes me feel so cool and mature. After that we strolled around downtown for a bit and headed home early, we're old souls and were tuckered out from all the running around the past two days.

And again, I am just so grateful for so many amazing people to be a part of my life and to go out of their way to celebrate my birthday with me. I thought I would get less emotional as I got older, I think the opposite could be happening and I'm okay with that!