Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gum Throb - A day in a life

There's a heartthrob. And now there's a gum throb.

The big difference?

According to Urban Dictionary, a heartthrob is described as
"A person of superior physical quality who inspires amorous emotions of the
opposite sex."
 
A gum throb on the other hand absolutely does not inspire any "amorous emotions of the opposite sex" or in one self for that matter.

 How does one acquire a gum throb you ask? Well, there are plenty of ways really. You can go for the free route; gingivitis, pulling your teeth, biting on something that should not be bitten, gum disease to name a few.

How did I get this gum throb? Well, it started at an early morning visit to my dentist and orthodontist and ending with me lamenting on how I can't even eat a cookie the nice lady from Subway gave me this morning.

Every 2 months or so I visit my orthodontist (known simply as Dr. Braces ) and must endure being laid out on a cold dental office, shivering, hands folded together or under my butt in a futile attempt to keep warm. Not mentioning that my mouth must be stretched in weird directions, my gums and teeth in the mercy of the dental technician. She armed with pliers, cutters, pokey metal things and even a lighter. Yes a lighter! - the same one used to light up a cigarette or commit heinous crimes like arson. What a lighter has to do with teeth is mind boggling.  My small reward for this? My teeth had one hour of freedom from the all the above mentioned metal contraptions. Ever dental cleaning must have a prerequisite of having all your wires taken out. And I get a glimpse and feel of what it felt like to have my teeth bare and naked again. What a glorious feeling. What a hopeful feeling!!

Up next was an exciting visit to the dentist for my cleaning. I actually look forward to this every visit. Having braces makes it super hard to floss in between teeth, wires, elastics, figure eights and whatever metal contraption is on my small mouth. Not to mention I have very small teeth! Oh Lord have mercy on my poor gums! An hour of torture, drooling, gagging and being sprayed on the face with water while my teeth and cheeks get accidentally sucked in by the suction hose. My new dental hygienist, a nice enough lady, was chatty and upbeat which made my appointment a tolerable one. She was sensitive to my winces and comforted me that according to my chart, the degree of plaque on my teeth has gotten better. *cheer time Wooot Woot* She also gifted me with a toothbrush, dental floss and brace picks. Really!? This is one of the downsides to growing up. We don't even get stickers anymore. Or bouncy balls. Even a pencil would be nice!

So now I'm here finally eating soft foods, while the aforementioned cookie is sitting on the side, mocking me. "Haha you can't eat me!", says the evil cookie. Seriously, the lady at Subway that gave me the two free cookies this morning must have been in on the conspiracy along with the dentist and the orthodontists and their hygienists. They must be cackling away. Ha! Cookie lady of my woe, you might as well have given me a brick to chew on!

Good news is in a couple of hours, gum throb will be leaving me in peace. He will dissipate and I shall be left alone to relish this cookie in peaceful harmony. My taste buds singing and my spirit soaring.

There will be no more owwie in my gummy but a cookie that's yummy in my tummy.

Until next time Dr. Braces and Dr. Yanks and Prods.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Movie Blurb: "Sinister"

 
First of, I'd like to give a huge thanks to Alliance Films for giving us the free tickets to tonight's advance screening of "Sinister" and for Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire for hosting.
 
If you love getting mini-heart attack then you should go and watch this movie in theatres. I really liked this movie because it had an actual story line and not just about the gore. The comic relief interjected at various parts was awesome! It gave me a chance to breathe from holding my breath with all the suspense. There are slow parts in the movie but it all adds up to a great scare.
 
Cons: I got really frustrated with the main character, Ellison (the dad), because he would not seek help! Reminds me of the men stereotype of never asking for directions. He would have had a good chance of doing something about this myth but he comes short. Also, how many Apple plug ins can this movie have!?
 
In the movie we saw a girl scream repeatedly and big husky grown man jump out of his seat and swear! The bf also said that he can foresee a "shitty sequel" in the future.
 
Ratings:
 
Mine: ✯✯✯.5/5
 
BF: ✯✯✯/5
 
In theatres Friday October 12, 2012.
 
Have you seen him? If you see the movie, comment below! If you've seen him? Well, I can't help you there ;)
 



Monday, October 8, 2012

Gobble up the Gratitude!

The adobo turkey has been put away. The pumpkin pie is back chillin' in the fridge. Our stomachs are so full of food and our hearts bursting with love. The end has come for our Thanksgiving and everyone is getting ready to sleep off the holiday and return to normal life schedule.

But before I do the same, I would like to put down some thoughts into words.

What exactly is this holiday we call Thanksgiving?

Sure there's the whole history that Thanksgiving "..celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year" from Wikipedia.

The meaning is in the word and it's quiet simple really. Thanksgiving = "Giving Thanks" Right to the point.

So all weekend I have been trying extra hard to not only list what I will be giving thanks to but also why I should be giving thanks.

Top things I am VERY grateful for:

  • Good health - the fact I have lived another day..THANK YOU!
  • My wonderful parents who have sacrificed so much to provide me the life I have today
  • My patient boyfriend who is my constant support, my rock.
  • My family - group of friends and "support peeps" who have encouraged me to strive to be a better person and who have stood by me all this time. I shall include my cats to this list  ^^
  • Opportunities - It has been an adventurous year full of new things. Doors and windows have opened.
  • Destined to meet strangers - Various people who have, in short spurts, visited my life and have taught me lessons.
Wow! A huge thank you for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family this year. Call it luck, call it hard work but it's all blessings.

So a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all and to all a good night ^_^ (aaak...and another reminder Christmas is just around the corner!)

Leaving with this funny pic - What a Canadian Thanksgiving might look like.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bucket List - 'Round the Reservoir


A year long wish to ride around the Glenmore Reservoir was finally realised yesterday! It was a gloomy day in Calgary and it did sprinkle a bit halfway on our ride but it didn't last long. Perfect weather for a long bike ride which took us -2 hours to do the loop. If it had been sunny I don't believe I could and would have lasted long.

Blabbing about this trip and putting it off last summer, I finally bit the bullet this year and bought a bike. After 5 years of being bikeless, it feels amazing to have the wind in your face and to be able to go anywhere knowing I'm not adding to the pollution. It is also amazingly painful! Three bike rides later and I feel like I should have "buns of steel"! Buying a wider seat for "a curvier butt" definitely helps.

Anywho I digress. I am quiet happy with my first time on this trip and considering that I am nowhere near being fit and I cannot pedal standing up when going uphill, I actually did quiet well. (yeay me!) Like I said the weather being cool definitely helped. There were a few mishaps along the way like all of a sudden careering into the opposite lane (I had just bought one of those cute baskets to put on the front and with all the weight, it ends up throwing me off balance), almost hitting other riders (meh! I could argue they were in my way or that they almost hit me!), almost crashing into the fields, running out of steam in the middle of a long ass uphill stretch (H.A.T.E that "challenge") and forgetting to look at the road before crossing which is VERY IMPORTANT when the bike path automatically (ok well maybe not automatically...there were signs) cuts off to make way for a road. With cars. Dangerous killing machines.


Photo credit: Rafal Komierowski
Aside all that it was a definitely an AMAZING experience. Keeping me company was a great friend who is not only an adventurous soul but someone who is a great conversationalist. It is so great to be with somebody who enjoys being in the same journey. It makes for a great time and a short one at that! We were very surprised and a little dejected to see the end of our loop. It is quiet true what they say "Time flies when you are having fun." I had to get off a couple of times because I could not make it up the uphill but after a few times of having to do this and repeatedly saying sorry to my friend for having to wait yet again, I started to be okay with the whole thing - go my own pace. My friend said it was okay, so why shouldn't I think it was ok as well? Zipping through fields of green, seeing people on picnics and laughing away, saying hello to passers-by, going through gorgeous arches and overlooking the lake while passing by on a high green hill, I got the sense of fulfillment and contentment I often chase. The simplicity of paddling and moving in a direction I don't really know where but being intent on keeping forward was liberating.

Hopefully there will be more opportunities to go on this adventure again. Whether it is back to the same location, or another road perhaps, this experience has taught me more than just huffing and puffing on a pedal vehicle. It has made me re-live my childhood joy, opened my eyes to the metaphor of life and made me realize I need to get out and move forward more often. And it would not have been possible where it not for a good friend, cloudy weather and an amazing bf who helped me outfit my bike and helped me get ready for this adventure. Thank you both for your patience! I am so grateful for this amazing experience. Life is amazing. #bucketlist.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting back on the wagon

Wow! It seems like FOREVER since I have visited here. HELLO!? Are you still alive? Why yes I am :)

Lots have happened since last update. My winter has been more than amazing in that I've checked off a lot on my bucket list. From going on a helicopter ride, dogsledding, learning to ski and crazy carpeting and tubing it at Panorama Mtn. - it was an amazing season! Winter to spring saw me going back to University (yeay!), networking and meeting a lot of souls, festival hopping and being appointed as one of Calgary's Cultural Ambassadors (double bubble YEAY)

So a lot of things have happened that I somewhat regret to have not documented. Everytime something amazing or not so amazing happens, one of my first thoughts is that I should blog/diarize this part of my life. But then procrastination rears its ugly head and the intention flies off with the wind. So maybe I'll be backtracking or maybe not. Would I be able to relive the moment and feel those emotions as close as possible if I were to write about them after all these months?

How does one get back on the wagon after a long hiatus?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movie Review: Cabin in the Woods

Here's our review in exchange for the free advance screening tickets ^_^ Big thanks to Alliance Films!





Honestly I am not really sure what to think of this movie. My analytical brain can't seem to grasp the concept at all. It's so random and I feel like I got taken for a ride. A good ride. The only way to describe it would be riding in one of those fun house roller coaster/track ride with lots of twist and turns and weird things popping up and lunging right at you. You come in thinking you know what it's all about and what's going to happen next - but wait just one gosh darn minute. It's not as simple. But yet it is.

This is the kind of movie that's hard to review without going too much into detail because it's so easy to spoil.

My review: - ★★★½ / 5
- It was hilarious, scary, suspenseful, dumb, unexpected, and totally worth watching in theatres. I loved how it took me for a ride. The SFX were fantastic and the cheesy factor present in every horror flick involving young people was just right, if not exaggerated in a tastefully weird manner. This movie is totally EFFED up. Hilarious.

The bf's review: - ★★★½ / 5
- Grrr..3.5 like mine..really?? Anyway, he liked that it was different. He also came in thinking one thing, and left with another. He can't think of anything he doesn't like.

So overall it was a success for us. Watch it. Don't read too much synopsis or else you might risk having the movie experience spoiled. Just watch it :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

YWCA fund-raising series - What's this about anyway?






If you've read my FB, Twitter and/or the previous blog post or just heard me talking about this fund raising non stop, you might have wondered:


"What is this fund-raising about and why should I be supporting it?"


First of what is YWCA?

- Acronym is Young Women's Christian Association. Though they have kept "Christian" in their acronym, they are now a multi-faith organization that doesn't discriminate on what or whether a client has a religion or not. YWCA was created in 1910 by four forward thinking women to "provide women travellers with safe accommodations". Now they have evolved to offering a more diverse services through their work with women facing domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, advocating for healthy children and families and promoting nurturing the mind, body and spirit as a whole.

YWCA Mission: - To intervene when and where women need us most. They are committed to social change and work to build a healthy community by building strength and capacity in women.

What is "Keep a Roof Over Their Heads?"

- It is a donation based fund-raising event that brings awareness and raises funds so YWCA can continue with their work. In the past four years, Keep A Roof Over Their Heads has raised more than $900,000 with $125,000 raised last year alone!


Oooookkkk....but what exactly is it? What does it look like? What actually happens?

- Well at the moment I am currently looking for sponsors to donate to my page here. Any and all donations made will go towards YWCA. On event night, myself and a bunch of other fund-raisers,  armed with only the clothes on our backs, pillow and sleeping bag will be lining up in the cold to wait for a spot on the gym floor. We will be provided with a light soup supper and an engaging discussion "to explore the unique challenges that women who are homeless face and their battle against poverty."

If you want a sneak peek...here it is taken from YWCA's webpage:

Event Night


When: Friday, April 20, 2012
Where: YWCA of Calgary, 320 5 Ave SE, Calgary, T2G 0E5
6:30 p.m. Line up to guarantee a safe place to sleep for the night
6:50 p.m. Check-in opens
Meet and mingle
Program begins: includes light supper, discussion about poverty and the choices women face.
Time TBC Lights out
Security guard on duty
6:30 a.m. Wake up call
Coffee and breakfast snack provided
Program: award presentations and closing ceremonies
Approximately 7:30 a.m. Departure
What the YWCA will provide: Mat to sleep on, locker for your valuables, light supper, entertainment
What you need to bring: Clothes on your back, sleeping bag, pillow
Electronic Devices: We encourage you to utilize social media networks on event night to raise awareness and solicit donations. However, we do request that you refrain from playing games or answering phone calls on event night.
Parking: Onsite parking is limited. We encourage you to make alternate arrangements to get to and from this event.
Designated smoking area: Provided
Donations: Please bring your offline donations

Do we interact with the clients?

- I was hoping this was this case but not so. YWCA utilizes Mary Dover House and YWCA Sheriff King Home that helps clients transition.

Is there anything I can do?

- YES! You can sponsor me and my team members by donating. You will receive a tax receipt for donations of more than $20 or more. Low on funds? No worries! You can still help by sharing this with your family, friends and co-workers. If their company or yours offers donation matching, then how awesome would it be!!!  Also, a nice encouraging message on the fund-raising page is always appreciated ^_^


Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn

So yeah....Hopefully that answers most people's questions. If not, leave a comment below.

Monday, April 9, 2012

YWCA fund-raising series - Route to Registration

I finally did it.

I bit the bullet and registered for YWCA's "Keep a Roof Over Their Heads" fund-raising event to raise awareness and funds towards helping women and children overcome homelessness. This was something I wanted to participate in last year but I let my fear of the unknown get the best of me.

Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn


So this year when I spotted this on my Twitter feed, I was determined to NOT let fear win again. I took a deep breath and called YWCA and had a great conversation with Lisa Simon, the Special Events Officer for YWCA. She was so kind and helpful answering my billion and one questions and very gentle in comforting me when I relayed my concerns. You know the normal things that goes through most people's heads when you are doing something on your own for the first time. What if I can't get anyone to sponsor me? Who am I going to talk to if I'm doing this on my own? Can I even do this at all? Etc. etc.

After speaking with her I registered RIGHT AWAY before anxiety could have a chance to talk me out of it. I signed up as an individual with a $300 goal. The recommended requirement is $1000 but I just feel that amount is too lofty for my first try. $300 was the first amount that popped in my head and my comfortable number.

I finally finished my page tonight and began my social media marketing blitz. Utilizing all my social media tools available including emailing people in my contact lists. I've told some friends face to face and on the phone, and have solicited the help of the social committee at my office. Hopefully through word of mouth, not only will the fund meter on my page climb higher, but awareness of this event and homelessness in women and children.

I am so excited, nervous, grateful, inspired - among all these other emotions - to be a part of something productive and pro-active. It will be a great experience to support the YWCA so they can intervene, empower and lead when and where women need them most. 


Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn

Next post - more on YWCA Keep A Roof Over Their Heads fund-raising facts, and what and how the money is used.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Raid: Redemption - Movie Review


Tonight, the  bf and I watched The Raid: Redemption's advance screening. Here's a synopsis from IMDb.com

"Deep in the heart of Jakarta's slums lies an impenetrable safe house for the world's most dangerous killers and gangsters. Until now, the rundown apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the bravest of police. Cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness and silence, an elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, the building's lights are cut and all the exits blocked. Stranded on the 6th floor with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city's worst to survive their mission. Director Gareth Evans (Merantau) and rising martial arts star Iko Uwais reunite in this adrenaline-fueled action film."




My review:

Basically it's a slaughter. The film is 90% action. I counted only 3 girls on this film and all of them were bed ridden one way or another- one being pregnant, one sick and the other was just sitting by the bed doing Lord knows what. Also, there were no sex scenes or women being naked. Sad that I would be watching out for those but in a world where sex sells, it's pretty surprising to find a movie that does not rely on this marketing practice.

The film showcases the traditional Indonesian martial art, Pencak Silat. As an Asian, I felt so much pride watching the talent and the old art of fighting using your just your fists and wits (and legs and whatever else). There was a line in the movie where "Mad Dog" (a super baddie) puts his gun down when he could have easily killed an officer, and fights him in martial arts combat. There's a reason why it's called martial arts for a reason.


Overall, out of five stars, here's our rating.

Me - ★★★/5 
      - I loved the martial arts but it was too much gore for me. Bones cracking and blood....eeew. I spent ¾ of the movie hiding underneath my jacket. Definitely a guys movie for sure (not that girls can't take action but it's a guy movie) I also thought the story could have been cleaned up a bit more. I do applaud it for not resorting to degrading women by making them into sexual objects. *Three cheers for you*

Bf - ★★/5
     - To my surprise he wasn't very impressed with this movie. In his own words "meh". He found the quality to be "Netflix material" and that it was too fast. Granted it is an Indonesian movie with English subtitles, it can get pretty frustrating to follow a fast paced fight scene and having to read the dubbed captioning at the same time. He also thought there could have been more to the story.

It's a simple movie, with a simple plot. And that I believe is what makes it a good movie to watch if you are an action buff. This also proves that when you take the girl out of a movie, there's less drama and the movie progresses a lot quicker and smoother. Hard to admit but true :(

Other ratings as of Apr 2 at 10:15pm:

  • IMBd Rating: 8.4/10 - 4,005 votes
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 4/5 - 85% - 72 reviews
  • TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) winner, Sundance Film Fest & SXSW official selection

I would like to thank Alliance Films for giving me 2 free tickets to watch the special advance screening of The Raid: Redemption.

If you've watched it, let me know your reviews/comments below.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Title: Student + Mature

If I had stuck to the original "adult life plan" I had in junior high, I would have finished university by now and gone on to become filthy rich with a successful career under my belt. I'd have a corner office with servants...ahem...employees to boss around and bring me lattes and cower at my feet. While I fan myself with dollar bills. Or better yet an employee would fan me. And another feeds me grapes...

Yup that was the plan.

Never had it crossed my mind that I would be spending my mid-twenties combing through brochures and school websites, deciding on a program and worrying about university applications and funding. But here I am anyway. So I decided that if I'm going to be a student again, I'm going to do it right this time.

Today I attended a workshop held by the university for mature students returning to learning. What an eye opener it was. Being surrounded by "youngins" fresh out of high school can be unnerving. I remember when I went for my upgrading at a community college surrounded by 17-20 year olds. While lining up at the cafeteria (forgot how greasy and sad school cafeterias are until that moment), I couldn't help eavesdrop on the conversations around me. A group of girls were talking about sneaking out from being grounded to attend this party. Which followed by what to wear and if there were going to be any cute boys. Another was complaining about how it was so unfair their parents wouldn't fork over more money. There was also gossiping about how this girl was talking smack about this girl..blah blah blah. I just wanted to scream at them and shake some much needed sense. Then I smirked and laughed inwardly, at them and at myself. I was once like them 5 years ago. So naive and filled with trivial problems. So in knowing that, I was able to appreciate being a mature student and all that it comes with.

At the workshop I felt relief that there were others I could not only relate and discuss my concerns and frustrations with, but there were services to help Mature students navigate towards this "new again" adventure. Here are a few things I took away from the workshop.

  • Even when mature students have been away from school for a while, we never really stopped learning. Instead of an institution, we learned from The School of Hard Knocks. Theory is nice and all, but experience is the best teacher.
  • Being fresh from high school has its disadvantages. Our school system does not do a well enough job to teach students how to transition properly into post-secondary. When the hand holding ends, these students have a tendency to fall off the wagon because they've never learned to be independent in the first place.
  • The commitment is much stronger and the drive greater. Most especially if we don't have the luxury of having Mom and Pops paying for our education.
  • No more messing around. We know what we want and realize that time is important. Most mature students have a big goal in mind whether it's career advancement or a new life direction, etc.
  • We are "juggling experts". Even though we may not give ourselves credit, most of us are experts in time management. It comes from juggling school work with other responsibilities like career/jobs, significant others, household upkeep, volunteer work, socializing and children among other things that take up our days and nights.
  • We bring more skills than our inexperienced peers who haven't really been out in the world.
  • We don't get caught up in trivial matters. Peer pressure doesn't affect us as much because the years have taught us that image and "being cool and popular" in the end doesn't get us to where we really need to be. Looking good and presenting a great first impression is important, but it doesn't distract us from the big goal. We recognize that there's more things in life than getting plastered on the weekend, getting laid by some random person, or what's happening on Jersey Shore or Gossip Girl.

So it's okay to feel a proud to be a mature student. Forget about society's aversion to being "old". When faced with doubts and the occasional envy watching others that are younger seemingly get and have more fun with their school experience, take a step back. It all has to do with perspective and you only need to remind youself of the above. And if that fails to cheer you up, contact your school and ask for services offered to mature students. There are lots of resources out there at our disposal.

Everything will be fine. It will be over before we know it so might as well enjoy the university ride.

And for those thinking about going back, you are never too old to learn. It's never too late.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cable Free Zone

Image source: pnwrancher.com
February's here!! I hope everyone had a good first month of 2012. Aside from Valentines Day, this month holds a special significance in that for the first time in 7 years, our household will be cable free.

After years of trying to convince the boyfriend to agree to cancel our cable, he finally said yes! Like most guys, he has, in my opinion, a very weird obsession of anything to do with the entertainment system whether it's the game consoles, speakers and most especially "his" big screen and the cable that goes with it. He hummed and sighed but we both agreed that not only will we save $$$, we needed to get rid of as many distractions and couch potato aids as much as possible. Our contract free - hassle free cable provider was nice enough to wait a couple of days to cut us off  which helped ease the transition for him. We knew it was coming so for the two days, we spent "quality time" saying goodbye to the numerous channels. When the feed was finally cut off and the TV turned all fuzzy, we both looked at each other. I laughed and cheered while he bowed down his head and if there was an X-Ray machine, it'd probably show his heart breaking :( His words were "I'm ruined!".

It has been a week so far and even though I do miss watching the morning cartoons and he misses his "Gold Rush" show, we are coping better than expected. We are spending more time with each other talking about the happenings of our days and have noticed that the topics have more depth. There's something comforting about sitting on the couch in dim light without the lull of TV noises and just talking or even not talking but just being with each other. I realize this would probably get old fast so I've come up with a list of things to substitute being cable drones.


    1. Netflix = Realizing we cannot quit cold turkey on the TV watching, Netflix was the best alternative. It played a huge factor in convincing the boyfriend to do the unthinkable. For only $8 a month and with a 1 month free trial period, this is a deal very hard to pass up. Hundreds of movies, documentaries and maybe thousands of TV episodes, there's so many to choose from! It satisfies his Supernatural/horror and comedy flix cravings while there's the classics, foreign, and chick flix for me. The only downside is that the new releases are a year+ old. But hey, for $8 a month, that is totally fine with me. As well, lots of TV shows (full episodes) are on the Internet offered by the networks. It may take some time before the episodes are posted but that's a minor detail. Before our service was cut off, we both made a list of which channels we tend to watch. It's a good idea to bookmark them for easy access. No more being inundated with commercials!

Image source: edupics.com
2. Cooking = Nothing like cooking up a recipe for love in the heat of the kitchen. Cheesy but true. We've cracked open the old cookbooks and are starting to hang out more in our tiny kitchen and trying out new recipes. This has also forced us to think more about what we put in our bodies and has made us go outside to shop for ingredients. A great opportunity to explore farmers markets and other off the beaten path for new shoppes and communities to explore.


3. Going outside = Going for a walk in the park, by the river, our street or even around the complex is a great way to get some fresh air and spend an afternoon or evening. One of the things I'm working on is going outside for some much needed fresh air daily to clear my head, even if it's just spending some time in the balcony admiring the trees and watching the shenanigans of the squirrels. Sitting outside in a cafe or patio "people watching" is also a great way to kill time. Great conversations and epiphanies have happened while being out and about in the world.

4. Home bound = I need to learn to balance my constant need for adventure is to not abandon my home. Lucky for me, I have a man who is very neat and proud of keeping a nice home. The annoying thing is that he will tell me when I'm being messy and becoming a slob. It's a good thing but it does get irritating sometimes. Before I used to be the neat freak who had a cleaning schedule that I stuck to religiously and would nag the heck out of him if he wasn't on board to help. Lately I have lost that passion and he's picking up the slack. Good lesson for him, a little demoralizing for me. So now with the cable gone, we've both been cleaning up and tidying our humble abode. We're back to redecorating the place and making it even more homey. A clean house = a clean mind.



5. Keeping up with friends = Something that's definitely in our list is to meet new "couple-friends". It seems that finding other couples we both like is a tall order. Finding two people we can not only relate too regarding couple issues but also go on beer dates with (for him) or go to cultural events with (for me) is proving to be difficult even in a great, big city. Without the distraction of cable TV, we are able to get out there and hope that the stars align and we meet compatible friends we can both hang out with. Aside from couple-friends, we also get to nurture our individual friends.


There are so many things to do when you go cable less. Read more books, catch up on your to do / bucket lists, visit or correspond with old friends and family, take up crafts, etc. It is possible to say NO and peel yourself away from the tube and change your self title "couch potato" to something else like "adventurer" or "social butterfly" or "bookwork" or even "lover of life". Being cable free is definitely not for everyone and I'm not saying cable is bad. But for those looking for a way out, don't despair. It can be done. Life will go on to make you appreciate experiencing it for yourself rather than watching other people live theirs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Fated Canvas Prints

Months before Christmas, I happened to chance upon a group of paintings. You know that moment when you see something you just know you have to have? Something that is meant to be yours? Well this was that moment. Unfortunately, the price was not budget friendly so I walked away. Ever since then, I have had my eye on them. All four of em ;) Every 2 weeks or so, I would come back to the store and watch this group of amazing canvas prints start dwindling in numbers until they went on clearance.

After everyone on my gift list had been taken care of, I went back to the store after boxing week with crossed fingers. And much to my surprise there were 2 left!!!

Did I get it though? Nope. Something I never thought about before dawned on me that day. How am I going to take them home? I have to walk to the train station, take the train and then the bus. With the bags I already have, there was absolutely no way for me to carry them safely home unless I took a cab. Yeaaa.....nope.

So I left empty handed again! I reconciled with the idea that I was not meant to have these paintings at all but it sure didn't stop me from visiting again and again and again. Surprisingly, though the price kept going down (sale prices were dropped 5 times!), these two paintings didn't sell.

There's nothing wrong with them as well. No damage at all!! So one day I changed my mind. I walked right into the store, and come hell or high water, I was going home with one.

The canvas print below is the first one I picked up. It was the cheapest of the two at $11.00 and I already had an idea of where it was going to go. It's much more vibrant in person. Camera does not do it justice.

I really love this painting because it speaks to my creative style. Express. Inspire. Style. Create

Taking this home was an experience in itself. I ended up carrying it from one end to another of 7 Ave (1st to 8th St.) at night. Right before leaving the free fare zone, I realized that I hadn't purchased a train ticket and since I had no cash, I had to find an open convenience store. Very tall order at that place during that time which was very weird. Not only was it creepy, but the painting was also heavy after lugging it for a while.

But now it's hanging on my wall and I love it!




This one below is the painting I purchased tonight! "Go with all your heart" When I bought the first one, I had to leave this one with a heavy heart. Not only was it bigger and heavier then the first one, but it was also more expensive.

While I was at meditation tonight, a thought came that I should go and pick this up. Tonight.
I was very skeptical because it's been on the clearance rack for almost a month now. Yet another surprise when I saw it tucked behind near the back. The next best surprise was how much it was on clearance for now - $10!! Unbelievable! The BF happened to join me at meditation as well and he was in a good mood to take me to this store and carry it for me! Another miracle!


I am a big believer that art should be felt, not just seen. The art on my walls each have a story behind them. They might not be in sync like the ones on magazines but I like 'em that way.

I want to believe that the fact that no one snatched these up at these amazing prices and condition means that they waited for me. I was meant to have them, not only for beautifying my walls and the message but the story and adventures just getting them and the memories I will have in the future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All is well in my world

Image source: Angel Mantra via Happy Inspirational Scrappin

I went back to school tonight after missing two classes plus a tutorial. I was super anxious thinking of what I've missed. Turns out I'm not that far behind and best of all, I actually did well tonight.

I let my anxiety win this time. But I went back and everything was good.

And thanks to the BF, I actually made phone calls that I've been putting off. And of course this was also adding to my anxiety.

What a crazy cycle I weave :) Tonight, I stopped playing victim and owned up to my responsibility.

Hurray for the little victories ^_^

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are we doing this again?

It seems like a never ending tango. Just when I think I've beaten it, it snakes it's way back into my happy, fulfilled and busy life.

Who or what could be this disrupting? This rude? The annoying piece of shit!?

Who else but my "forever friends" depression and anxiety (and they've brought a long a friend, panic attack) How nice.

I just want to scream at the world! Scream at the know it all people who say "this too shall pass".  BULLSHIT! Haven't I paid my dues? Haven't I cried enough tears? Haven't I lost enough of my timeline when a panic attack wreaks havoc to my psyche and freezes everything in my life? Haven't I had enough pity parties?

Please leave me alone. Can't you go torture someone else?

But you won't.

I work everyday to keep you at bay but you seem to be around, just lurking and waiting for me to become weak. Like a virus. Like an unwanted guest. Like a toxic "friend".

Yes you bring lessons. Hard knock life lessons. And yes because of you I have gained wisdom and added to my "old soul" quality.

But you are getting on my nerves. Actually, you have been getting on my years for almost 10 years now. You are downright PISSING me off! I don't want your friendship. YOU SUCK!


You want to know something?


I'm going to keep hoping. Yup, your old nemesis HOPE is on my side. That you can't take away from me. I will NOT let you. It's my security blanket. My stuffed animal. My guardian angel. My defense. My hope. My light. My salvation.


It's everything I've got.


So now that you're back and we're getting reacquainted again, I've made steps to make sure we don't repeat the beginning of 2011. We are soooo NOT doing that again. It's going to be different. We are going to learn to cohabitate until I find a way to finally kick you the eff out! And I'm going to win by staying ahead of the game.

See...I've learned from you. You are a formidable foe, but a predictable one. I have options this time.

And this time...I'm MAD! I'm ANGRY! No more pity parties. No more "Why me!" I've had enough playing the victim role.


No chump - not this girl!


Not anymore.










UPDATE:

After I posted about this subject, I logged on to FB and found this little gem waiting for me. #crazybuttrue



Hmm...this has me thinking...am I using depression as an excuse? A scape goat, something to blame when things don't go my way? Do I have this all wrong then? Does this mean I musn't  blame depression ..."for actions which have led to the circumstances..." I now find myself in?


Should I take the non-victim ideology to the next level and just scrape off depression out of the equation? Is this what it even means or am I being defensive again? Why and what for? Am I? Whaaat??



Hmm....




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

HPR - My Must See List

As part of my price winnings from Downtown Calgary's contest, I now hold in my hot little hands a flex pass for the 2012 High Performance Rodeo!!!


At first glance I thought this was a "Calgary Stampede" related event hence the "Rodeo". So when I was schooled via First Thursday on what this festival was all about, I was like "WHOAAAA *big googly eyes* O_O WHOAAAA"

Lately I have been exploring Calgary's arts and culture scene and have been lusting for more ever since! I am hooked to the core!

For those who don't know what the HP Rodeo is, here's a blurb from their website:
The High Performance Rodeo is Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts. Encompassing theatre, music, dance, comedy and interdisciplinary art, the High Performance Rodeo is the largest event of its kind in western Canada.
For four weeks in January, local, national and international performers converge on Calgary to share many of their award winning performances.
Here's my must see for this year's lineup:
  • Taking Shakespeare
  • The Ugly One - after taking a backstage tour of this play, I am super duper excited to experience this! #1 on my list.

  • Lucha Va Voom - OMG! The craziness of Luchadores and the sexiness of Burlesque = marriage made in heaven! Can't wait!!!

  • +15 Dragon Dance Parade for Chinese New Year = It's FREE! and I love Chinese New Year
  • Sans Facon - Public Art installation. Cool concept. I admit at first I was a little disappointed when I found out this was a "public" installation. Now, I am in love with the idea. If I knew how to skate, I'd be all over this!

  • Snowblower 2012 - I had such a great time seeing this for the first time! A free, mid-winter outdoor dance part with a Winter wonderland theme and KidKoala spinning among other acts. Pure awesomeness

  • Death of a Freakshow - If I have enough money, I am planning on checking out this site specific play! "Dancers in a freight elevator? Acrobats in the boiler room? Actors on a rooftop?!" Very intriguing, yea?
  • Not really sure if this part of HP Rodeo:
    • Soundasaurus Festival - The Delian Mode doc - This was nothing short of AMAZING! As part of First Thursday's, I got to see this documentary for FREE! at The Engineer Theatre at The Epcor Centre. The first two installations were deafening, especially the second one. Next year, I won't be so over zealous as to sit in the first row right in front of the speaker. Ouchie! As for the feature movie, it's a short documentary about the life of Delia Derbyshire who pioneered electronic music. Her most prolific work could very well be the sounds of Doctor Who. Girl power! Check out the website here.
There is so much to see of this great festival! To see the line up and calendar, and learn more about this, go to their website.

Image credits: hprodeo.ca

Rafflecopter Launch Party

I've entered to win an Apple iPad2! Shockingly, this will be my only Apple product. Seems like I'm one of the very few that hasn't joined the Apple craze! Steve Jobs would be shocked :o It's not that I don't want one, it's just that I can't afford one. The one product I did buy years ago, my beloved 2nd generation iPod nano was stolen at the gym!! Boooo!!

So yea, crossing my fingers and hoping I will win! Try entering it as well, if you must. It lowers my chances so I shouldn't encourage it...

Check out Rafflecopter as well. I have already won a grand prize raffle from a blog through them! Great experience.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Shake those goodies!

Tonight I went to my very first burlesque class! And I did this by myself ;) I've seen 3 burlesque performances before and have always entertained the idea of being one of those vixen femmes. So when the opportunity came up via a Facebook invitation to join a Burlesque Burn Teaser Workshop, I jumped at the idea with very little hesitation. Today we had -31 C weather and thankfully, my aunt rescued me by dropping me off and picking me up. Taking the bus or cab would have been a huge hassle and I'm so grateful for the ride. Arrived a few minutes late into the warm-up, but then again, what's new? I made it though and didn't cancel no matter what!! Woot woot!

 Back to the class:
Image source: burlesquedancers.org

The class was a 2 hour workshop consisting of a very rigorous warm-up and workout using muscles I haven't used in a while (ouchie!) and then a 2 minute choreography. The classes, taught by the amazing Daisy Deville, are small in size. Workout or dance wear is worn with high heels no higher than  2.5 inches. Fun colorful boas are provided along with the chairs and music. The choreography to me was intimidating at first because I haven't really learned dance in a while. Daisy Deville really breaks it down though and she teaches her students different ways to make it our own.

Basically to summarize it without giving the experience away, the experience was
  • Rigorous
  • Extensive
  • Boatastic
  • SEXY FUN!
The choreography is super sexy! I can't wait to practice on a scarf and buy my own boa. At first it feels awkward to be doing all these moves in front of a mirror with complete strangers. But after a while, with a lot of laughter with the other girls, it becomes soooo much fun! Screw looking awkward! Every move becomes sexy, especially when I think of the unveiling this little surprise for that special someone ;) And when you mess up, just shimmy and shake that boa!!

This has definitely crossed off one item off my bucket list. I'm hoping to actually take regular classes as soon as my schedule open up and I can save some $$$. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be confident enough to join in one of their performances!!

Man - I feel like a woman! A sexy, vampy kitten.

Every girl deserves to be able to play and get in touch with their feminine, inner diva side. And burlesque is one of the best way to do this. Best part - the more junk and flab you have, the better for shimmying!! No more sucking it in HURRAY!

For more info on these classes, go to Burlesque Burn.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Me a Skier?

OMGosh! The time has finally come. After 13 years of living in Canada and being an hour away from the Rockies, I am finally going skiing!

A friend and I are heading off to the slopes tomorrow and she's going to teach me how to ski on blades! Whatever that is lol!!

I am super scared. I am super excited!!! I am curious.

There are lots of things going through my mind.

  • What if I don't get the lesson?
  • Why are lift tickets so damn expensive?
  • Can I afford this?
  • Do I have the right clothing?
  • Am I going to be warm enough?
  • Am I going to overheat?
  • How do I get on a lift? How do I get off the lift?
  • and most importantly, what if I break my leg/tailbone/crash on a tree!? I'm too young to die!!
OMG how on earth am I going to do this!? With my anxiety levels spiked, I'm so close to backing out!  But I know it's the right decision to go.

Yes it's expensive.

Yes it's scary.

But those things can be overcome.  I can work and save money instead of shopping. I can meditate in the morning and think positive to overcome the anxiety. I have faced worse situations then this and have come out alright!! YES I CAN DO THIS!

The pros to do this?

  • FINALLY!!! I can feel very Canadian like and say to myself and the world that YES I SKI! Even if it's only this one time, I still skied ;)
  • I'm going to live out one of my dreams and it's one more thing to cross off my bucket list!!
  • It's an adventure! I am all about adventure this year!! The fact that I said yes without knowing the full details is amazing!!
  • The gratitude I feel towards a friend for driving, sharing her day with me, subsidizing the lift fee, and teaching me!!
  • Being humbled to be with nature!
  • The fact that I can prove to myself that I am brave to face this challenge!

So I'm off to get ready for tomorrow. It's going to be a very early morning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New: ClustrMaps

Lately I've been noticing that my little blog has been getting visitors from around the world. This got me curious. How awesome would it be if I could visually document where people are from?

Upon researching Google and looking at other blogs, I've decided to try out ClustrMaps. You can find it in the bottom of the right menu bar.

To see a bigger version of my blog's Clustrmap, click here.

I can't wait to see dots clutter all over my site map!! It's amazing how the world is in our fingertips! Technology is amazing ^^

Now...come on world!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First night of school

Tonight was my first class. Despite my uber great effort to be on time for class, I still managed to be 5 mins late. Not bad for me actually! And as consolation, there were 2 other people behind me.

But seriously, I do need to be punctual.

Finding the classroom wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Big thanks to the orientation tour which showed me where my wing was. Awesome!

The class was fairly easy tonight. We learned about numbers. Whole numbers, irrational numbers, etc. And how not to talk in class. Good easy class to start off what will surely be a challenging semester.

In class, we were asked what our goals for the class were. Mine was to finish and hand in my homework on time.

I'm so tired right now. My brain hurts. My body hurts. And I can't breath because I have a cold.

It really sucks but I just have to power through. Now I'm going to sign off because I'm rambling. The lack of oxygen is getting to me.

Blaaaah

Monday, January 9, 2012

MyHaul - Winter & Spring Jackets & Snow Pants


For the first time in a long time, I finally had my first Sunday off last week! To celebrate, I convinced the BF to go shopping with me. Since he was on a hunt for his favorite shoes and has had a hard time finding a pair, he readily agreed to shop at the other end of the city. After getting over the shock, we headed over to an outlet mall and these were my haul that day!

Green pea coat with fur hood -  Urban Planet - $20 SALE
Great for spring and 50% off!! I don't own a lot of green but this green really grabbed me. So beautiful and bright!

Yellow "unhoodie" - BlueNotes - $10 SALE
The clerk called this a hoodie but it clearly doesn't have a hood. So I'm going to call it an "unhoodie". So nice and warm and happy. Perfect for layering or by its cute self.

Dark Blue faux leather bomber - Urban Planet - $15 SALE
Since my leather jacket was stolen last Dec. I've been on the hunt for another one. This one is cute, though not as good as the old one. I love the dark blue color. So unexpected.

Silver cocktail dress with black ribbon band and rosettes - Winners - $30
Ok...this is a cheat. I actually bought this early Dec. 2011 to wear to the BF's Christmas party. It was hanging on my rolling rack so I had to add it to my blog now. Why? 'Cause I can!

A shot of the beautiful colors! The hat, scarf and faux fur (for all you PETA fanatics) vest were already hanging on the rolling rack.

 
The items below I bought at another mall on the same day. It may have been super warm lately but I know Old Man Winter is lurking around. I'm getting ready for a very cold winter to come.


Silver Grey snow pants w/ suspenders - Sears - $25 SALE
Been on the hunt for snow pants for a while and just my luck, I followed my instincts and found these at the children's dept. for 50% off! There's advantages to being tiny :-D

Black hooded parka - Sirens - $25 SALE
Who knew Sirens carried winter gear!? This was so warm and cozy and LONG! Perfect for those cold winter days and nights. Very fashionable looking as well.


It was a looooong day of shopping and going to different stores and malls. In the end I was very lucky in that I found lots of deals and best of all, they had my size! I was totally meant to get these!! And that's not just justifying it ;)

Overall, lots of good deals still to be had. Spring collections are arriving now and the stores are very eager to sell all their fall and winter stock. If you're frugal and smart like me, right now is a great time to shop, shop, and shop some more! 

Happy Shopping!

PS. Yes the BF did find his shoes at the first mall. Had to drive far but he's now got his shoes! ^_^

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Adventures Galore! Need ideas - HELP!


An idea popped up long ago to go spend my days off more productively by indulging in one of my passions - getting lost in the city. But this time I am going to keep track and blog about it. One of the things I love to do is visiting new places and going to events around my culturally diverse city. Calgary has a lot to offer and lucky for me, a lot of them are free or at a low-cost. A big bonus is that Calgary has been named "Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012" so this year will prove to be extra deliciously awesome for arts and culture in cowtown.




The Plan

I plan to spend my day off going to one community for the full day. Whether it's at my favorite community Kensington or others like Marda Loop or Inglewood, I am going to let my imagination guide me and see where the day goes.


Criterias?

1. Most important of all - must be SAFE.

2. Be easily accessible by transit - C-Train and/or buses

3. An event happening on that day - Not a must but would definitely be a bonus!

4. It can also be an event or activity. It doesn't necessarily have to be "community related".





Any ideas?

If you have any ideas of places/activities/events around Calgary, please do share! Even if you don't think I would be interested, let's hear it anyway!

As well...what should I title this blog feature???

I am super excited to be committed to this adventure and to start blogging!! So many ideas and so many things to do!! 2012 will be a big year culturally not only for Calgary, but for little me too!!


Source: Calgary Herald article "Calgary a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First morning of 2012

Good morning world! It's January 1, 2012. Aside from nursing a throbbing headache and gurgling stomach (no more wine for this girlie for a while) everything is looking peachy. I'm sitting on my bed with my head propped up against the pillows, blankets to keep me warm and the bf playing with the cat by my legs. And as I type away on my laptop, occasionally glancing at the playful scene infront of me, I realize that it's the simple things in life that counts. It's just another day. A very good day.
 
I used to believe the old superstition - Spend New Years Eve with the ones you want to spend the rest of the year with. If not then it'll be a bad year for your relationship with that person. Well...that little myth was proven wrong last year. It's not NYE that counts. If life were that easy I would make sure to be with every single person when the clock strikes 12. What counts is the work you do everyday to keep your relationships intact and healthy. Whether it be with your significant other, parents, friends, collegues, etc.  
 
Live life to the fullest and have a strong sense of self.
 
I am ready for you 2012. Question is: Are you ready for ME? 

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