(let's talk): Books to Read in 2013

I'm grateful to have grown up in a household where I was always surrounded by books. Every night before bed we would read instead of watch TV. When I hit middle school, my best friend and I would have sleepovers that would completely revolve around books. We would take old books and trade them in for new ones at our local bookstore, try to collect full series (hello, babysitters club!), and when we got older, subscribed to "Teen People" and all those other pop magazines (hey, reading is reading right?).

Now that I can appreciate a good story (not to put down Ann M. Martin, of course), I love to read all types of novels. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my mom and aunt are book fanatics. They collect, trade, blog, review and talk books all day long. I am so lucky to have endless stacks of novels to choose from, not to mention, have someone else weed out all the not-so-great ones! So much to read, so little time.

So, I thought when I had finished reading an extremely stellar book, or one that I thought someone else may relate to, I would post a little blurb on here as a new feature, (let's talk): Books to Read in 2013.

Dominique Browning was the editor and chief of House and Garden magazine. Recently I've read two of her novels: "Around the House and In the Garden: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing and Home Improvement" and "Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness".

I always tend to dramatize and imagine an editors life to be glamorous: full of parties, meetings, and deadlines. What I soon learned, is that even the most glamourous of lives from the outside sometimes don't feel so good on the inside. I started with Around the House and in the Garden, which came about 10 years prior to Slow Love. It was a perfect novel for me at the time, seeing as I was moving into a new home, feeling a bit unsure and stepping into new waters. Reading the book gave me reassurance, and taught me to let my life design my house; how to infuse my home with a real sense of self, and make it something that felt warm and comforting to me, not just something that looked pretty for visitors. 

I praise Dominique for having no shame in putting her bathtub right by her window so she could peer outside at her big tree as the seasons changed, and putting her comfiest couch in the kitchen instead of the living room.

Slow Love came years later when the magazine folded and Dominique found herself without a job, and a whole lot of (unwelcomed) free time on her hands. I felt like the universe conspired to give me this book at this specific time in my life (not only because of the tagline, "How I Lost my Job, Put on my Pajamas, and Found Happiness", which is amazing in itself), but more so as it deals with taking a deep breath and living life more slowly.

It reminds you to take the time to figure out who you are apart from all of the life noise. Quite often, I find all my days meshing together: meeting to social gathering, dinner date, coffee date, sleep, work and do it all over again. Slow Love reminded me to take some me time and how important it is to get to know and love yourself first. 

"Someone once explained to me the difference between an introvert and an extrovert: both can enjoy going to a party, but the extrovert is engergized by society, whereas the introvert has to recover from it. My batteries get drained easily these days, and need recharging in silence. Alone, I am willingly, cheerfully, thrown upon myself"
Slow Love/Dominique Browning

I love the consistency in her writing. In both novels, each chapter becomes it's own short story with it's own simple life lesson. For me, it was enough to just pick it up and take even just ten minutes out of the day to read one of her silly, elegantly written anecdotes. 

If you think we may have similar tastes in books, check out my Goodreads page and add me as a friend here!


Strength in (numbers) - What Does Your Birthday Say About You?

 Last week was defined by numbers. Quite literally. The boring kind of numbers that relate to business, but also the fun kind. The life defining, determine-your-fate, kind of numbers. I spent a ton of time reading into numerology and what your birth date can tell you about yourself.

I've always been interested in astrological signs. My last job (not as fast paced, and much more time for contemplation), led me to read my horoscope almost daily. I've been to a tarot card reader twice.

I know, I know: astrology and numerology and all the phenomena around it sounds like bologna, but wait till you read a bit further...

When it comes to numerology, you use important dates in your life to uncover personal character traits. To find out your number, you add up all the days in your birthday. Here's an example of my own:

1+1+1+8+1+9+9+0 = 30

In numerology your "life path" numbers can be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 11 or 22. If your number is a double digit, like mine, add the numbers until you get a single digit, or an 11 or 22.

Therefore, my "life path" number is 3! It shows I'm self expressive, optimistic, artistic, persuasive, and sociable. 

It can also mean I can be moody, lack direction or scatter my energies (or spread myself too thin).

You can find multiple sites and sources that will talk about numerology, but the basics of what each number means are generally similar.

I'd recommend you start here, then go here and here to see a more in depth breakdown of what your number means. 

Take it at face value and it can be fun to see what your birth date can say about you! 


Weekly (un)Wind

If I could pick anywhere in the world to "(un)Wind" right now it would be New York City. I was lucky to visit last year with my family, and I would say it's been one of  my best vacations. I'm a true city girl, I love being amongst the chaos and excitement. Everything that has ever been said about New York is true - it has that buzz. It truly makes you feel different just being there, surrounded by opportunity (or, maybe I've just read The Devil Wears Prada one too many times now...)

Some pictures from my visit to NYC!
 After watching the Tony awards last weekend, there are so many fun Broadway shows I'm dying to see (especially Annie, my childhood favorite). I wouldn't mind doing some shopping and going for a walk through Central Park either!

Pretty NYC storefronts!

New York in the summer is absolutely lovely. I only spent four days, and I can't wait to get back to see everything I missed. Yet, seeing as I have little to no weekend plans, I've settled with having snacks in bed and trading Annie for The Parent Trap (thanks, Netflix).

And if you don't have the cash to book a one-way ticket to NYC...here are some links that are almost as exciting:

- Neil Patrick Harris is just a great human. He deserves his own Tony for this opening performance.
- This floral Kate Spade freebie for your desktop, cover photo, or iPhone background!
- The second installment of Rihanna for Mac was realeased yesterday and it's to die for.
- Also, this sassy Kate Spade iPhone case.
- This cute kids summer to-do list has me inspired to make a list of my own!
- Obsessed with all of the one piece bathing suits that Anthropologie has come out with recently
- A pretty reminder

Happy Sunday!


Finding (balance)

I haven't updated in over a week. I vowed to myself in the beginning that this would be my creative outlet, and not another source of stress or pressure I put upon myself. Yet, when life got in the way and I couldn't write, I had this nagging feeling. You failed. You didn't upkeep your schedule. You aren't doing enough.

 We are all our own worst critic. Sitting on the couch, watching TV and eating pizza after a long day, I gave myself a hard time. Maybe you should be cleaning up your place! Couldn't you be doing something more productive?

 I want to put that voice to rest and say, to you, and mainly to myself: I love sharing. Yet, if I can't keep a schedule, then we can all assume that life has gotten a bit hectic. It happens to the best of us. And sometimes the best way to be "productive" is to let your body and mind have a rest and watch 6 episodes of The Real World on MTV. Oops. 

So, let's play a bit of catch up:

You know that feeling when the book gods come together and put a novel in front of you that you can completely relate to? One that reads exactly what you need to hear in that patricular moment? That's become Slow Love by Dominique Browning for me. Pictured above is a quote from a chapter midway through. With Spring, I hope to continue to breathe deeply and see clearly. 
With Spring turning into Summer, I also plan on renewing my Martha Stewart Living subscription. There is still nothing better then getting excited and running to the mailbox!
It's likely a given, but I love to support small businesses. I love to hear success stories. In Barrhaven, a small suburb in Ottawa, we recently had an adorable cupcake shop open around the corner from my place. I can imagine I'll be frequenting it a lot this summer! Yum.
I also managed to squeeze in a sushi date with mom!
Fridays happen to be my payday. A dangerous time. I've had the week to plan what my "fun" purchase is going to be in my head. Then, for the rest of the pay period, I force myself to be good. Whilst making mental notes of what I'm going to buy next. I think I have a problem. Aren't the polish colours adorable though?
I have lots of links and ideas lingering in the back of my mind. I also have lots of exciting news to share. So, until next time.

Happy Wednesday! xx


(Altered) States

This weekend was awesome. Sometimes it feels good not to plan out your time and go with the flow! Sundays have been a day that I've cleared out to spend with my family - whether it be snuggles on the couch with all of our comforters and pillows, a movie date, or my dad cooking a delicious dinner (owning multiple restaurants will do that!). 

Yesterday we went to Kelly's Landing, a small restaurant in Manotick overlooking the water. We luckily escaped the rain and had drinks and fish tacos, taking in the sun and catching up! We still plan a "family" vacation every year, and everyone knows with a good trip, half the fun is in the planning! This year we're throwing around the idea of Boston, Chicago, or renting a houseboat and just taking off for a few days (think we were inspired by the boats going by us on the water or what? Ha).

All of the recent summer talk has gotten me so excited and inspired for the months ahead! I've put a lot of time into decorating my home, and I love changing up the decor with the seasons. If you've read my first post, you may have learned that I like things to be simple. If I see a recipe with more then 5 ingredients, I probably won't make it. If I see a DIY with a complicated list of instructions, I likely won't complete it. That's just the way I am! (I blame all of my Ikea furniture over the years for this one...) 
Altered States was a name I was throwing around for a small business for a long time. I even made a business plan for it in school! However, timing wasn't right, so here it is, the new title for my DIY posts. Taking something simple and making it unique gives the best kind of satisfaction!

This has been one of my favorite, not to mention easy, DIY projects. I probably started and finished it in about 2 hours - and this was including making a new playlist to listen to!
Before I moved in I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of frames for around the house. The one pictured above is just a clear glass frame, with a black edge. Originally I had placed records in it and put it up on the wall.

I've always loved collaging, and I wanted to display that somewhere in the house. I realized this would be the perfect collage frame! So I went and got another one (under 10$), and took out a pile of magazines.
I cut out "seasonal" pictures from magazines (Better Homes and Gardens & Martha Stewart Living are my favorite go-to's, summer editions) to use as my background. If you're really getting into scrapbooking or collaging, you can buy old magazines inexpensively in bulk online, or at a local thrift store (I've seen tons at Salvation Army and Goodwill in Ottawa!)
Then I picked out my favorite summer pictures I had of Jeff and I, and friends.

I laid them all out on the glass of the frame, moving them around until I was happy with their placement. I put the other piece of glass back on top (no need for glue or tape, the glass will hold it together!) and put the frame on the wall. 
You can save it to reuse every season, or take out the pictures and make a new one once fall rolls around! Easy DIY wall art.
A quick flashback to my fall frame :)

Happy Monday!



Weekly (un)Wind

I'm a day late on my Weekly (un)Wind. I have good reason though! Drum roll...I have the weekend off! So yesterday, I was actually able to celebrate Friday to the fullest. I think I said "TGIF" so many times that I started to annoy Jeff.
(Remember TGIF that used to be on ABC in the 90's? Boy Meets World..You Wish..Sabrina the Teenage Witch..Teen Angel..am I dating myself yet?)
See above picture for what I spent my evening doing. Relaxing on the patio, reading a book, having a drink, enjoying the heat. Happy girl!  

Last weekend was a long weekend for us in Canada, and Jeff and I took advantage and went to Preston street. We went for a coffee, took a long walk, had a delicious lunch and went to the (above) craft sale. I couldn't resist taking home the Giraffe print.
Cheesy quotes and cartoon cats make for the best bookmarks. Pictured right are my new "knuckle rings". Sounds tough, until you see the tiny heart and bow bands. Ha.
New notebooks are my favorite. Finding new designer notebooks for half price at Winners makes it even better!
Although I have two little kitties, I was a total dog lover growing up. Pictured left is my parents  rescue dog, Tucker. He is the sweetest (not so little) puppy you could ever meet. He just turned one, so naturally we had a full-on birthday party for him, gifts and cake included. 
On the right, Jeff's parents asked us to watch their two chihuahuas, Dora and Diego, while they went on vacation. How sweet is the little heart on her head? 

Lastly...I got my tattoo! Tuesday was a big day for me. I made an appointment last minute at Living Colour on Dalhousie in downtown Ottawa. In this post I mentioned my tattoo, and where I got the idea from. I brought my mom with me (which was a blessing) because no one warned me how badly coloured tattoos hurt. Tears were shed. Seriously. But, I absolutely love it, and now I have it for life!

I heard it's supposed to storm here in Ottawa tomorrow, so it's the perfect day to snuggle in bed and get lost in your favorite book (or blog!). Here are some links to keep you company:

- My new desktop is available for download here. I love opening my computer to a little bit of inspiration.
- I thought I'd seen all there was in nail art before I stumbled upon...nail jewellery? I think I like it...
- My favorite advice article ever written.
- Couldn't help but have a giggle at Vanity Fair's "Amanda Bynes Coluring Book" (Like I said..I'm a 90's baby..I grew up watching "The Amanda Show"!)
- Creative ways to use a disposable camera - I want to try them all!
- This print on Etsy was made for me, I'm fairly certain.
- "Why powerful women make the greatest friends" - A must read.

Happy Sunday!

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