Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bring on 2008

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. With the end of this year almost upon us, as most of us traditionally do, I've spent some time reflecting and thinking about my resolutions. I feel good for the most part, as I jump into 2008, because I have accomplished so many of the things that I set out to do in the past year. For perhaps the first time, I feel ok about where I'm at. I am poised to jump into this next phase of my career, something which I know is going to be life changing. 2007 is the year that the pieces in the puzzle of my life have started to come together. I can finally see the big picture, and I'm happy with the progress.

One of the major things I would like to resolve to do differently going into 2008, is to strengthen my ability to just brush things off. I need to stop letting people walk all over me. I have such a strong tendency to take things personally. It's my nature to want to please people all the time. What I need to realize though, is that there are some people out there who just have horns for an aura. I need to remember that not everybody is going to like me or agree with me all the time. Plus, some people are just mean, or insecure and volatile. I need to learn how to stop internalizing that negativity.

I have many goals with regards to my career and this spanking new role that I am set to take on. My stomach is full of crazy butterflies. I feel like I'm walking blindfolded into an unknown world. I'm going to be travelling a ton, and will be facing a whole pile of new challenges. As a control freak, I hate not knowing EXACTLY what I'm in for. Thank God the powers that be have so much faith in my ability to nail this, cause at the moment, I am terrified. I am resolving to bound into this with great intentions, my strong work ethic and an open mind.

Another resolution on my list is to write in my journal more. There was a time when I made it a priority to reflect and put pen to paper daily. These days, I get caught up and busy. I find that the more I blog, the less inclined I seem to be to journal. It's a different kind of writing though. I can't be as free as I am in my journal anywhere else. To some degree, I censor what I put out there in this forum. I want to get back to writing in my journal, becaue in the past it has been a great means of catharsis for me.

My other major resolution is to start cooking for myself more. Since I moved into my own place, I have found that I enjoy being in the kitchen more; maybe because it's my kitchen. I think in the new year, I'll take some classes and continue to improve my abilities.

I came across a list of tips at to help you create better New Year's resolutions. I think it's worth checking out.

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do tomorrow night. I have to go into the office on the first to finish setting up our showroom and get everything organized for next week so that kind of limits my options. I suppose I still have another day to figure it out.

What are your New Year's Resolutions?

I like to be gone most of the time and you like to be home most of the time

I'm quite sure that I could eat sushi every single day and never get sick of it. When my parents came to visit me in the city yesterday, we decided that there was little better to do on a rainy Saturday than to go and fill our bellies with all we could eat sushi at Tanpopo on Denman before heading to Tinseltown to watch a movie (or two).

Image courtesy of Reel Movie News

We saw Juno. I have to tell you that it was even more amazing than I thought it was going to be and after having seen the trailer, I was stoked on it. The film is brilliantly written. Every actor nails their performance. Hilarious. Sweet. Honest. Warm. The soundtrack rocks too. This is definitely one that I will buy on dvd and watch again and again. The sharp, witty, and acerbic dialogue seems to really catch true "teen speak". Ellen Page is going places, people. This 20 year old Canadian girl is absolutely remarkable in an unforgettable performance. I loved this film. And of course I was all teared up at the end. This is a must-see.

Image courtesy of The Cinema Source

Once our cinematic appetites were whet, we couldn't stop. Up next, we decided to check out The Savages. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one as I hadn't seen it advertised. When I saw that it was Philip Seymour Hoffman though, I knew it would be worth seeing. He is one of my favourite actors and I kind of just expect him to be great. I wasn't disappointed. This film is so true to life. There's not a false note in this one. Laura Linney is pure perfection in her role as well. The characters can make you laugh and cry, almost at the same time. This is not an easy thing to do and requires outstanding actors, a solid script and sensitive direction, which this film certainly has.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Inaugural Lamb Luncheon

It was months ago that Cindy and Salimah first conceived the idea of throwing a Lamb Luncheon. Last night, the concept was finally brought to reality when they hosted one at Azim's house in Kitsilano. No, the meal was not served during the lunch hour, and rather as a late dinner, but we decided to retain the "Lamb Luncheon" name because, well, it just has a better ring to it.
It was Eddie's last night in town before departing to Toronto and then back to Paris. Azim broke out a board game called The Settlers of Catan as the lamb was cooking. We all rolled our eyes as he went over the complicated rules, but once the wine started flowing and we began to figure it all out, we had to agree that the game was a riot. Roads and cities and settlements were popping up everywhere.

We chatted about life and world events. Salimah will be heading to Pakistan shortly to report on the Bhutto assassination. With this particular group, there is never any shortage of intense conversation, debates and witty banter.

The meal was absolutely exquisite; the lamb was cooked to perfection, juicy tomatoes in balsamic and couscous- capped off nicely with warm blackberry pie for dessert. I'd say that the first ever Lamb Luncheon was a huge success.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Look at the stars

Gemini: "You must place sufficient attention on your inner processes now and this could require you to go somewhere quiet. Spending a peaceful evening at home might lead to significant revelations. If you can't find solace there, try a few hours at a public library. The location isn't important as long as you can be alone with your own thoughts."

Friday, December 28, 2007
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Everyday, I read my horoscope. I have done this for as long as I can remember. These days, it appears on my igoogle page, which I have customized. This is even more convenient than the older and more conventional way that I used to check my daily reading; the newspaper. I've always thought that astrology is indicative of something; exactly what, I'm not so sure. I'm a Gemini and I've always identified myself as such. Geminis are notoriously intellectually inclined. Apparently, they are forever probing people and places in search of information, they are word smiths, they talk a lot, are apt to change their mood on a whim. Dual natured, complex and contradictory. I can identify. I've read a great deal about astrology over the years, and what I've concluded is still rather...inconclusive. Perhaps believing in astrology is a little like believing in magic. Nevertheless, some days when I read what the stars (or in this case, Rick Levine) have to say to me, often the words are just what I need to hear at that moment. Whether written just for me, or simply something that I coincidentally happened to come across, I often find myself comforted by the wisdom contained in my horoscope. I certainly don't look to astrology to make my key decisions in life, or for great answers or truths. However, at the end of the day (or in this case the beginning) I do find the whole concept quite intriguing.Is your character true to your astrological profile? Are these decriptions just broad enough that we could all find pieces of ourselves in any of the sign's trait list? Is it just a bunch of bologna? What do you think about astrology? I must admit that today's horoscope couldn't sum up my needs better. I've been in need of time alone with my thoughts all week. Coincidence? I don't know...but either way, a peaceful evening at home sounds pretty good to me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

One sad puppy

Photo courtesy of Paul J Whaley on Flickr

I want more than anything to be asleep right now but I can't get comfortable. It hurts to lay down, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit. I did some damage to my tail bone last weekend (long story involving me -the klutz-, snow, borrowed heels and a slippery staircase). The pain does not seem to be easing up no matter how much Advil I pop. The bruises are a hideous combination of black, blue, purple and red. So here I am, exhausted and back to my old insomniac tricks with the new years blues or some bullshit like that. I'm all emo and self loathing and woe is me. I'm all weepy and lame and lonely. I'm just not feeling good; not mentally, not physically, not emotionally. Sometimes I wish that I could run away from the thoughts in my head, but they chase me. In my dreams, they haunt me. No escape. I am so damn uncomfortable.
I keep fantasizing about staying home by myself on New Years eve, ordering takeout and falling asleep well before the stroke of twelve. In fact, I may just do that.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

With the buzz of Christmas now officially behind us, it's time to gear up for a few months of cold (and often miserable) weather. In the spirit of looking on the bright side, I've compiled a list of some personal necessities of my own. Here is Jen's Winter Survival Guide, to help keep you warm, cozy and smiling all through the next few months:

Photo courtesy of Jeevice

Whether you're a ski bunny or a shred dog, you want to be warm, dry and look cute when you hit the slopes. Who better to outfit you for your winter action sports than DC? They make fashionable and practical outerwear and snowboots. Plus, they also have just launched a new line of snowboards to keep you looking hip, while still being a serious rider on the hill.

Photo courtesy of

The cold winter weather can result in drab, dry skin on your face. The perfect remedy? Benefit Honey, Snap Out Of It Scrub will keep you glowing even when the sun's not shining. It's one of my all-time favourite skin care products, and thankfully my mother replenished my stock this Christmas. It's a morning must for smooth skin. Use daily for unclogging pores, deep cleaning and gentle exfoliating. With triple milled almond paste, you can feel the vacuum cleaning begin immediately. Seriously amazing!

Photo courtesy of Global Gallery

No matter whether you're exhausted after a long day at the office, or a full day at the mountain; soothe your tired body in a warm bath. Origins Calm To Your Senses Lavender Vanilla Bath & Body Oil can enrich this experience for you. Lavender is known for its ability to soothe the soul, calm the mind and inspire a sense of balance and serenity, and the rich aroma of vanilla carries a familiarity that comforts and relaxes. This oil can be used on your body or in bath, it's a real treat for your skin and your senses.

Image courtesy of Style Bytes

There's nothing better to keep you warm and cozy on a cold day than a fantastic scarf and hat. I love throwing a hat over my locks and not having to worry about them- especially in the rain and snow. Scarves are absolutely one of my favourite winter accessories. You can change your whole outfit by throwing on a different scarf. I just picked up a new black and red one last weekend at Winners. My other favourite finds this season have been at second hand stores, H&M and Urban Outfitters. There is so much cute gear for heads and toes.

Photo courtesy of Ugg Australia

Omnipresent and omnipotent, the knee-high boot is the god of fashion this season in the heaven of shoes. How often do beauty and practicality collide? I'm a little boot obsessed this year. UGGs are another a staple, which I couldn't live butter on my feet, I tell you.

Photo courtesy of Mecca Beauty

Bumble and Bumble's Defrizz is the perfect remedy for your frizzy, flyaway winter locks. Defrizz smoothes and tames, leaving hair shiny and amazingly soft. Enough said. Go visit my friends at i.d salon today!

Photo courtesy of Blog Apogee

One of my favourite things to do on a cold winter night is to curl up with a big mug of hot chocolate. Check out this amazing recipe. I don't watch much television but watching tv shows on dvd is one of my guilty pleasures. The Sex and the City and Friends series are classics, but I am always on the hunt for new ones. Up next is: Big Love, season two.

What are your winter must-haves? What does it take to keep you smiling through the coldest months of the year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's all over now, baby blue

Well, another Christmas is in the books; and a white Christmas no less. I can't really explain my complete lack of motivation to write anything over the last little while, except to say that I just haven't been able to conjure up anything interesting to talk about. The last few days have been mellow, relaxing and quiet. Rather than putting myself in the middle of the Boxing Day chaos at the malls today, I opted for one more peaceful day in the country before I head back to the city tonight and work tomorrow.
Christmas itself was, in truth, absolutely perfect. Time with loved ones is something to treasure and that's certainly what I have done over the last few days. I can't say that I'm ready to go back to reality quite yet, but alas I don't have a choice.

I must have ended up on the Nice List because despite expecting nothing at all, I was utterly spoiled on Christmas morning. Plus, Santa must read my blog because he caught my hints and left a Canon PowerShot SD 850 IS under my tree! I was delighted (to say the least) and have been snapping like crazy since I pulled it out of the box.
I hope that all of your Christmas wishes came true! I also hope that I am soon inspired to write an entry that may be somewhat interesting to you all! (I realize that it has been a while!) In the meantime, I'd love to hear how your Christmas was in my comments!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I could say that I haven't posted anything for a couple days because I've been so busy. But today, that would be a lie. The truth is, with all the stress I've been under and the craziness at the office over the last couple of weeks, today is the first day that I have done absolutely nothing. I just haven't felt inspired to write much over the last few days. I cuddled up in bed with my laptop watching season four of Nip/Tuck in my pajamas for hours. I'm addicted and I can't get enough. I think season two of Big Love is going to be up next. It's an absolute pleasure to forget about everything for a few days and just relax with my family. This is what I love about the holidays.

Last night was all about holiday cheer and old traditions at Danielle's annual "Christmas Vacation" party. Another night with those old friends who can make you laugh just by glancing at you sideways was just what I needed. It was the perfect combination of debauchery and jack assery so of course we carried the party on to the local pub. Many, many drinks were had and the traditional 2am stop at Denny's was a must. It has certainly been a while since I've done that. It was fantastic to get the whole crew together in the spirit of the season. Good friends are the greatest treasure in the universe and I am blessed with an unreal group of peeps.

Tonight, my little bro and I are going to watch my most favourite Christmas movie of all time Santa Claus ,The Movie plus some other favourites; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Ernest Saves Christmas. I also still have some serious wrapping to do. Are you all ready for Christmas?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy, happy!

Today is my dear friend Eddie's 27th birthday. I love that his birthday is at a time of year when he is usually in town, especially because his days in Vancouver have certainly been numbered over the last couple of years. A small group of us met for dinner at Guu with Garlic on Robson Street last night to celebrate. I was pumped to get to spend some quality time with Cindy B. as well as Eddie's sister Gillian, who is visiting from Toronto. Eddie has a dynamic group of extremely brilliant friends in this city, so I always enjoy getting to hang out with them and look forward to having the opportunity to hear about their elaborate life experiences. We noshed on tuna tataki, beef carpaccio, duck salad and an array of other tasty tapas. Everyone was impressed that Salimah had called ahead to pre-order some of the famous pumpkin balls, which are known to sell out early on and are absolutely amazing. The highlight of the evening was when they brought out a sizzling mackerel with birthday candles on it and we all sang to the birthday boy. Nothing like a flaming mackerel to get the party started.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Salimah emerged with a shirt for Eddie. Until today, we were unsure about whether the shirt was purchased, or cajoled off some unsuspecting waiter. Salimah has confirmed that the shirt was in fact brought out by Dice Kay just for Eddie. He designs them so he has some in the back. It's the Guu with Garlic birthday shirt. This is a photo of Eddie modelling his new birthday shirt:

There is something sacred and special about the people who knew you when you were young. Connections you had when you thought that bad times were not ahead of you, that they only existed in books and movies. The people who wiped your tears, who knew you when you were really, really dramatic (or was that just me?) and put up with you anyway, because you were loved the way you were. So today on Eddie's birthday, I want to say hey, I am really lucky to have you. You have made my life so much richer and my soul so much stronger. Love you E.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I heart Christmas

Photo courtesy of Lindey Magee on Flickr

I have always gone through phases of feeling completely frozen. My fears feel huge, overwhelming and unprocessed. It has nothing to do with anybody but myself and more than anything, is just a matter of being so completely caught up in my own shit that dragging anyone else into it seems unfair. As much as I want to pull myself out, there is no choice but to let it run its course. I cherish the friends who understand these phases of mine. During these times, quiet is the one thing that makes sense. I have started to see the world with new eyes. I am trying to look outside my own lines and rules into the challenges of others. It is transforming me. The vibration is higher, stronger, and I have much more clarity. This is the most beautiful way to see people, I am discovering.
Although the previous weeks have been filled with Christmas parties, celebrations and cute Santa suits, only today has it really hit me that in just a week, it will all be over for another year. On Saturday I will go out to my mom and dad's to spend some time with friends and family, engage in our favourite traditions and won't return to my apartment in the city until Boxing Day. Unfortunately, due to the short timeline for my upcoming selling season, I will have to go into the office while it's closed over the holidays in order to get my showroom set up and so that I can retain my sanity (at least to some degree) and feel prepared to take on my new role in 2008.

Despite the roller coaster ride of emotions that I have been on recently, I do genuinely delight in this time of year: giant mugs of hot chocolate, candy canes, sprinkles on cookies, coming home to twinkling lights, sipping egg nog lattes in the comfy chairs at Starbucks, hearing carols on the radio. Plus, I am obsessed not only with regular Christmas movies but also the really cheesy made for tv ones (and I recently discovered you can in fact rent many of them!) I love Christmas episodes of any television show too. I wish that they would release a dvd of a whole bunch of them, like Saved By The Bell, Friends, Beverly Hills 90210, Family Matters, The OC’s Chrismukkah episodes. I can't wait for this Sunday's Christmas episode of Brothers & Sisters. Tonight, I'm going to watch A Very Brady Christmas. Classic. I can't wait!

What is your favourite thing about this time of year? Do you have a favourite holiday tv show episode? or Christmas movie?

EDIT: My super awesome friend Leah posted a special shout out to me on her Flickr page today. Thanks Louie! I love it! You rock!

Photo courtesy of Simone Hudson on Flickr

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Imagine all the people

I have mentioned the Union Gospel Mission on this blog many times. I believe wholeheartedly in the work that they do. UGM has proven to be a valuable community resource that reaches out to thousands. Today, the impact of this incredible work that the organization does was right in front of me. The meaningful contribution that they make to people in need is heart warming, to say the least. There are no words to express the plethora of thoughts and feelings that came to the surface for me today. I spent the afternoon volunteering in their warehouse with a group of my co-workers. We organized and packed boxes of food and chose presents and put together gift baskets for specific families in need. When the families, and mothers or fathers arrived to pick up their hampers, with tears in their eyes, all hugs and thank yous, it really put things into perspective. All of the gifts are donated-brand new toys, books, games and clothes, toiletries and food. Scarves, hats, mitts, socks, jackets, new runners.
What I was part of today is something that has a real impact on people's lives.
The smiles on the kids faces when I handed them juice boxes and granola bars while they were in the waiting room with their mothers, were priceless. The excitement I felt when I found a size 10 pair of runners-the last pair-for a single father of three standing before me, wearing orthotics and shoes with holes in them, was unreal. The fact that these families will now have full bellies and presents to open on Christmas morning is just as it should be.

"These people have names. These people have families. These people have hearts, and unless you come face to face with them and understand where they are coming from, it is really hard to conceive whom they are. These are people..."

I think that's what can be forgotten. Keira posted an entry last week in which she described the way that people can be painted with one brush. She wrote, "
They are generalized; they are one face..." How true. Working there today amongst the faces and stories of so many of these individuals, gratefully accepting more than they ever imagined receiving this Christmas, was truly something special. Being the emotional creature that I am, I fought tears several times while interacting with the families. Seeing the difference that UGM makes first hand gave me a clarity impossible to describe. The sincere gratitude and warm hugs I experienced on the part of those being reached out to was worth more than anything in the universe.

UGM is able to bring hope and help to a handful of our city
's less fortunate. For ways that you can give this holiday season, click here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Smile for me now

Photo courtesy of QATAR on Flickr

I spent Sunday allowing myself to unravel, digging deep underneath all those layers of muck to see what was going on in the cluttered up parts of my mind and the empty spaces of my heart. I drove from Langley back to Vancouver last night with Hospital Music blaring from the speakers of my Volkswagon and tears streaming down my face. Today felt long and strenuous. The stress is building, I can feel it. The obsessive compulsive part of me has already started making lists and trying to plan. I can't plan for what is unknown though. This is where the anxiety kicks in. I wanted to bail on every commitment that I had today, since I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep more than a total of two hours last night. Insomnia plagues me. I have been a raging, hormonal beast who may burst into tears at the drop of a hat. I had to fight all urges to call in sick and just stay in bed from dusk 'til dawn. If my plans for this evening had been just about anything but what they were, I would have called to cancel them, in favour of coming home and crawling right back under the covers as fast as possible. Except I had dinner plans with my beautiful friend Terri tonight. I was quite sure that seeing her smiling face would make me feel better. I was right.

We met up at Steamworks in Gastown for a pre-Christmas catch up. Terri is someone who, despite having a hell of a lot to endure for a person her age, has the most positive and upbeat aura. She is such an inspiration and seriously one of the kindest souls I have ever known.

Although Terri and I went to high school and attended French Immersion together as well as going on two trips to Europe with our class as teenagers, we never really spent a ton of time one on one outside of school and really didn't keep in touch post secondary. However, through the miracle that is the internet (and a little website called Facebook), we managed to get back in touch this year. Isn't it interesting the way that we can connect with our past in our present? Randomly. We decided to get together and clicked immediately. We both instantly wondered how we ever lost touch. When we get together, time always flies. There is nothing better than spending time with someone so sincere and genuine and with whom you can be completely yourself. There is never any lack of conversation, laughs, old memories, good stories and new stories. It's refreshing to cut through the bullshit of small talk and just tell it like it is. Tonight, I am feeling a million times better and it's all because of one special lady who is such an enormous inspiration. Keep smiling, Terri. It's contagious. I have realized that I am so over the pretending game. I crave this genuine sincerity in every nook and cranny of my life. These are the most precious gifts that we can give each other: our time, our ears, our compassion.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ho ho ho...

It has been one jam packed, busy weekend. I sit here tonight feeling drained, exhausted, emotional, superficially insecure, grumpy... and did I mention drained? Oh right, yes I did. Something about Sunday nights...I have a case of those blues which are all too common for me these days. I'm just about to put on a pot of tea and then it's bubble bath time. But not before a quick post, because I neglected the blog all weekend and now I feel guilty about it.

I sat through my first day of sales meetings on Friday. It was a good opportunity to get my feet wet and to bond with the crew that I will be working closely with in the new year. Friday night started the weekend off with a bang. Our company Christmas party is always quite an event and this year was no exception. We took over Provence for a glamourous evening of wine and dining...we may have also put away a few rounds of jager shooters (whose idea was that?) The restaurant did a fabulous job; the beef tenderloin was absolutely delicious and miraculously, my wine glass was refilled without so much as a glance at the waiter. With so many guests from out of town, plus the fact that our company has grown so much over the last year, I spent most of my time chatting and catching up. As a result, not much time was left for photos and I didn't take as many as I would have liked. Everyone was dressed to the nines and the booze was flowing nonstop. This, of course, led to hangoverville on Saturday.

Shando and I had to suck it up so that we could go for round two: the first annual Ho Ho Ho Christmas party that she hosted Saturday night. The idea was that you wouldn't be allowed in unless you were dressed in a holiday themed outfit. That was the only stipulation. The creative ideas were impressive and everybody played along. We sang carols, chugged egg nog, and watched the Canucks game. I was happy to put on my Santa suit and get festive for the first time this year. Even old St. Nick himself made an appearance.

Today I popped in to help my parents trim their tree and devour a yummy Greek dinner. Now it's Sunday night and I feel completely devoid of energy. I should go to bed but for some reason, even though I'm exhausted, I don't feel sleepy. I find myself feeling weepy but I'm not really sure why. I kind of wish I could be on vacation in my bed for the next week. But I can't. And as Duane pointed out to me tonight, I shouldn't be sad, because Santa's coming soon. He's right. They do say that 'tis the season to be I suppose I should be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Simply the best, better than all the rest

I wasn't home to watch the season finale of America's Next Top Model last night so I had to avoid all of my blog reads and girl talk at the water cooler today that may have contained spoilers. Tonight, post self indulgent mani at Pure Nail Bar, I settled in to watch the episode that I'd recorded.

The three remaining models participated in a Cover Girl Wetslicks Fruit Spritzers commercial and print ad. While the judging panel had critiques for each of the girls' performances, they were impressed by how Saleisha portrayed herself. The judges decided that while Jenah took beautiful photos, her strong personality made her unapproachable. She was eliminated from the competition.

The next day, Saleisha and Chantal did a Seventeen magazine cover photo shoot and then faced off on in a Royal Fashion Show. Both girls strutted their stuff well in the show, but Saleisha was clearly the more confident and effective of the two.

During the final judging panel, the judges considered looked the the final two girls' photos and performance throughout the competition as well as evaluating how well they did in the runway challenge. While the judges agreed that both Saleisha and Chantal were strong contenders, Saleisha's growth and perseverance gave her the edge. Saleisha, a receptionist from Los Angeles is America's Next Top Model.

Photos courtesy of The CW

This whole cycle has been a bit of a snooze in my opinion. In fact, even the finale was rather anticlimatic. It should be interesting-as it always is- to see what (if anything) the winner will go on to do. (Guest appearances on future cycles of ANTM?)

Thoughts on the finale? Was the right girl chosen? Do you think ANTM is losing its steam?


In other news, tomorrow night is my company Christmas Party, which is notoriously the most important night of the year in our corporate world. Everyone is flown in from all the offices across the country. Everybody will be decked out as if they're going to be walking the red carpet. The girls have been buzzing about their dresses and accessories and dates for weeks. They even let us leave at 3pm to get beautiful for the 7pm dinner reservations and subsequent gala. I am looking forward to getting to see all of the out of towners. I will be wearing an understated Libertine frock that I bought in the summer and have been staring at in my closet since. I plan to channel my earlier mentioned "style idol" Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy tomorrow night. Minimalist and elegant. That's the look I'm going for. Red lips and red nails- that's all the colour I need. Stay tuned for gossip about the event. There's bound to be some kind of drama!

I know you like my style

As Gary was blow drying my freshly highlighted mane last night at the salon, he said,"You remind me of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy with this hair..." Talk about a compliment! "She's one of my top all-time style idols!" I exclaimed. It was at that moment that I conceived the idea for this post of my top five style idols.

Carolyn Bessette- Kennedy : Carolyn's trademark cool blonde locks and her glamourous yet understated style are absolutely timeless. Minimalist, elegant. Her famous silky sheath wedding dress. Black clothes, she wore a lot of Yohji Yamamoto and Calvin Klein, some Versace, with the occasional severe white or beige item, or a warm red coat. Manolo Blahnik stilettos and bright red lipstick. Carolyn embodied New York chic whether out walking her dog or attending a red carpet event.

Kate Moss : Kate is the modern" it" girl. With her eclectic style, she's famous for wearing what she likes and having an impeccable eye for what works plus an uncanny ability to pull just about anything off. She mixes textures and fabrics to perfection. Trademark looks are skinny jeans with flats and jeans ticked into boots, fitted vests. She mixes vintage and modern pieces and layers jewellery to create a unique look that is all her own. Kate’s not ahead of the curve in the sense that she’s always looking for the next big thing; Kate determines the next big thing.

Audrey Hepburn : This classic beauty defined sophistication. Mary Quant called her the "most stylish woman who ever lived". Hubert de Givenchy said she was "a gift from on high". In film after film, Audrey wore clothes with such talent and flair that she created a style, which in turn had a major impact on fashion. Her chic, her youth, her bearing and her silhouette grew ever more celebrated. Audrey Hepburn kept it simple. She loved clean lines and emphasized her tall, slim physique. She wore a little black dress and white gloves like no one else. And thanks to Audrey, the humble black polo-neck is imbued with all sorts of sophisticated connotations since she made it a part of her signature look along with turtlenecks, ballet flats, capri pants and men's button down shirts.

Sofia Coppola : How could the muse of my favourite designer Marc Jacobs not be on this list? Unfussy, cool and classic. On set, Sofia sports a tomboy's jeans and designer sweaters; off, she wears girlish clothes that perfectly suit her gamine-like frame—baby-doll dresses, ballerina flats, and when the Academy calls, a Marc Jacobs column gown.

Cameron Diaz : Perhaps not mentioned in lists of the best dressed celebrities as often as my other choices, Cameron has always been one of my favourites. Her personal style is very much like mine. I don't think that I have ever seen her wearing something that I wouldn't wear myself. Her famously offbeat sense of style, an eclectic mix of high and low, combining pieces by a range of designers—from Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen to Versace and Valentino—with touches of her own: a vintage scarf, an antique necklace worn as a belt, a California-girl Juicy Couture tank top, a pair of hippie-chick jeans and beaded sandals, or a ghetto-fabulous purple velvet fedora. When it comes to what she wears, she's constantly creating. Cozy beanies, cashmere sweaters, and black suede, wedge boots. Casual and beachy or rockin' it on the red carpet, I always love her style.

Who are your style idols? Whose looks do you lust after? Whose closet would you love to raid?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Standing still, dressed to kill, holding a glass of champagne

Photo courtesy of xrrr on Flickr

It seems like every time I turn around this week, somebody is asking me the dreaded question, "what are you doing for New Years?" I've never really gotten all the hype about New Years Eve. People seem to create these unrealistic expectations that no event could ever live up to and they think that it's going to be the best night of their lives. Maybe it will. Never has been for me. I've realized over the years that suspending these "expectations" allows you to be pleasantly surprised...or not. But at least you'll avoid disappointment by limiting the height of the pedestal you place the night on. In my personal experience, New Years has often turned into a drunken emotional fest of sorts. There's usually some kind of drama, or conflict, somebody who gets too drunk to remember anything she did or somebody who passes out in a booth. Last year I was up in Whistler. We went to a casual house party with my friend who lives up there and ended up having a fantastic time despite the fact that I was sick and had lost my voice completely. Since there were copious amounts of alcohol involved, I vaguely remember that there may have been some tears at a certain point. However, the fact that we spent all of New Years day snowboarding in fresh pow more than made up for anything that I may have been crying about the night before. This year, I have no plans yet. I am hoping to avoid disappointment by again ceasing all expectations. Being spontaneous is a good thing. It's one of my resolutions, in fact. I suppose I do still have one little hope for the evening. I'd be a liar if I said that I wasn't crossing my fingers for a kiss at the stroke of twelve. This year has been one full of challenges and accomplishments, I have met some amazing new people and started some fantastic new if nothing else, I have a great deal to celebrate. Plus, something about the clean slate of a new calendar year is always exciting.
What are your plans for the big night? Thoughts on the holiday? How will you be ringing in 2008?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So feel down

Photo courtesy of James Crowle on Flickr

I suppose it's the nature of this time of year. The busy hustle and bustle of the season seems to contribute to me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and like a crazed maniac all at the same time. With my upcoming job change and all the stress associated with the learning curve that will come along with it, I kind of feel like crawling up into a little ball until the next month is over and done with. Despite my daily gym sessions, I haven't had particularly good sleep patterns for the last little while and I've been finding it extra hard to get out of bed in the mornings this week. I'm so cozy under my down covers at 6am when that alarm starts going off and the fact that it's pitch black outside, doesn't exactly act as a motivator to get me up and at 'em in a hurry. I've been feeling like quite the Grumpy Grumperson for the last while, to be perfectly honest. Miss604 wrote a fantatsic post today called Are You Sad? about “SAD” or “Seasonal Affective Disorder." She's listed some great tips for combatting this seasonal depression which affects so many people. The shorter days and change in temperature can affect us more than we realize.

Tonight is one of the few "me" nights that I have left this month. As fun as it is to have lots of plans, I hate to feel like a slave to them and I really enjoy my down time. I'm planning a yummy dinner for one, a long bubble bath and a few hours with a good book. I can't wait.

If you happen to be looking for something to do in the city this month that will brighten up those dark nights, I suggest that you check out Bright Nights in Stanley Park. More than a million twinkling lights transform the forest and train in the park. I went with some friends the other night and I must say that it is truly a sight to be seen. Plus, all donations collected at the event, and partial proceeds from the sale of tickets for the train, go to the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund to help burn survivors and their families. A good night for a good cause. You can't go wrong with this one.

Just to widen the smiles on your faces...I heard today that famed Vancouver chocolatier Thomas Haas (whose shop happens to be not more than a short walk from my office on the Northshore) has just launched a line of handmade chocolate bars containing high quality ingredients. From the office, we regularly stop in for a tasty treat at the Haas; his chocolates, sparkle cookies, pastries and lunchtime sandwiches are almost as sweet and enjoyable as his kind personality is behind the counter. This time of year you can even pick up old fashioned, chocolate filled Advent calendars, and other festive Christmas creations.
Thomas Haas delights are also available at Vancouver grocers Strong's, Whole Foods and Urban Fare. I dare you to try to stop your mouth from salivating here.

A life uncommon...

Photos courtesy of

On my French 12 provincial exam, we were asked to write an essay about one living person we had never met, who has impacted our life, and with whom we would want to go to dinner. At that time, I chose to write about Jewel Kilcher. I could think of no one better for an evening of chitchat than somebody whose political, creative and artistic views I respect so much. Jewel has been inspiring me since I first saw her play out at The Massey Theatre in New Westminster when I was about 14 years old. It was a teeny, tiny, and non glamourous venue. There was this blonde girl on stage with an acoustic guitar, being honest and telling stories, making us laugh and cry. I felt like I could relate to everything she was saying. I can remember being blown away by her voice and I was instantly captivated by her stage presence and charisma. Over the years, I have enjoyed Jewel's work and have been influenced to a large degree by her albums, books and projects. As a writer, she has grown enormously with each new project that she has taken on. A few years ago, I took my dad to see her play an acoustic show at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It was an intensely personal and intimate performance. My dad became an instant fan. The woman knows how to entertain a crowd and she was at once provocative and down to earth.
Perhaps what attracts me to Jewel as an artist is that I could always see a bit of myself in her. She sang about many of the same insecurities, ideals and ideas that I spent hours writing about and contemplating. It's comforting to feel like somebody else is experiencing the same kinds of thoughts and emotions and asking the same questions that you are. I certainly found comfort in this music, and I continue to. She was inspired herself by many of the same writers who I have looked up to; Nin, Bukowski, Plato. And songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. She's not afraid to admit to her struggles and the ups and downs that are inevitable in this life. I have a great respect for that. And for staying committed to this journey on the road of life.
Not content to relegate herself to a traditional music arena, or to be typecast, Jewel has established herself as a culturally significant and relevant brand. Author, songwriter, actress, poet-there are no limits to how Jewel can and will deliver her message. The underlining truth that ties it all together is the integrity of that message. Jewel's lyrics speak to me on a level that few other artists are capable of reaching. She allows herself to be vulnerable, she is a human being, no doubt. She's learning and growing and figuring things out...just like the rest of us.
Jewel got her first record deal when she was 20 years old and living in a blue Volkswagon bus, now here she is multiplatinum and multifaceted. She excels at weaving her introspective lyrics with fresh and exciting songwriting.

As a public figure, she has also raised awareness for some important issues. I applaud her willingness to step out and support these causes. Check out these links to the projects that Jewel is involved with:

Clear Water Project
Doctors Without Borders

And her most recent project:
Virgin Unite: Homeless Youth Among Us


“Reading made me feel connected to the world,” she explains. “The writers I returned to again and again were the ones that were brutally honest, willing to show themselves as heroic at times, grotesque at others. Anais Nin, Charles Bukowski, these were heroes to me.” Heartfelt songwriting became not only an emotional outlet, but a means of survival. During Spring Break one year she took a train and hitchhiked in Mexico, earning money as a street-corner minstrel. “I made up lyrics everywhere I went and eventually it turned into a very long song about what I saw around me,” she recalls. “I made it back to school two weeks later with an unformed song called Who Will Save Your Soul." She was sixteen at the time and had no idea that that song would, a mere three years later, become the first single from her first album, offering not just a day’s meal ticket, but meteoric success.

You can check out some of Jewel's new music as well as some older masterpieces on her Myspace page here.
Jewel's Christmas album called Joy: A Holiday Collection is also one of my favourites. I pulled it out on the weekend and it has been spinning in my cd player ever since.