Monday, January 31, 2011

Red Rover

Somewhere along the path of life we get it in our heads that we need to “Grow Up”; in some aspects I agree, but there is that Peter Pan inside of me that wants to scream “NO!” When we were kids we got to dress in mix matched clothes, jump in puddles and play awesome games, why is this not ok as an adult?
 I realized how much I missed these childhood games when I became addicted to rock band. This also brought out my inner rock goddess. I realized that along with so many other “childish” things that we let go as we get older, games were deemed so much cooler when we were young.
 When is the last time you played tag, red rover or dress up even? We have so much creative freedom when we are little, with no boundaries of what we can imagine or where our minds get to explore in our games. My favourite thing by far as a child was dress up. I would play with friends and even sometimes by myself for hours. I traveled all over the world solving crimes; I was a Victorian damsel, a secret spy and a famous singer all in one afternoon. I was active, running around outside all day and by supper both my mind and body were exhausted, but from the best day of play ever! By the time bedtime came, I was one goodnight story away from a peaceful slumber. And by morning, I couldn’t wait to jump out of bed to start a new adventure.
 Now that we’re grown up, in most cases, we are what we are and imagining is left for the children, but why? Does that part of our brain shut down at a certain age or is there a secret memo that gets sent out telling us that tag is no longer appropriate?
 I think that tag, twister and tether ball (oh my) are totally appropriate and a great way to get active! So the next time you have some free time and don’t say that you don’t, plan a picnic with your friends and play tag. Have ridiculous themed birthday parties! Have a date night and play twister. Have a girls/guys weekend and go CRAZY, play ninja, have a dress up party and just be silly. We spend so much time being serious that the little fun person in us disappears a little more each day. You don’t want the fun in you to disappear permanently do you? That would just be sad!
Girls weekend at the cottage.
 So do whatever it takes as often as you can to keep the child-like spirit alive in you, you might be amazed at how keeping that alive may drive you to do something amazing in your adult life. Everyday is an adventure and the best part is; you choose your own story!

Lotsa Love,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hokey Pokey

We all have our own comfort zone, some are larger than others, but we all have them. Comfort zones are generally good, unless we never step out of it for fear of trying something new. Could you imagine if no one ever stepped out of their comfort zone and were just content with how things are? You probably never would have tried that great Thai place down the road or gone to that bar where you met your partner. How about all the great artists, where would they be if they never stepped out of their comfort zone?
Yes you can make those shoes work!
 I know that your comfort zone is warm and fuzzy and hard to step out of, but let’s give it a try. Take it from a gal with purple suede knee high boots; stepping out of the zone can be fun. It can lead to new purchases, friendships, jobs and maybe even loves. It can be something as simple as a different shade of lip gloss, a color you love but aren’t sure if you can wear or a new restaurant. I cannot even imagine a time where sushi was not a part of my life, but there was a very sad time where I knew what I liked and there was no way I was eating raw fish. I think what forced me to open up my horizons to new food was when I worked at a fine dining restaurant. They changed their menu once a month and part of the job was that we had to taste everything unless we were allergic. The purpose of this was so we could describe the flavours to the patrons. Nothing there was simple or like anything I had ever eaten before, but guess what, I loved it! That experience opened up my mind to new foods and I am now proudly a lover of pretty much anything edible. Sometimes we need a push from a friend or colleague to try something new, sometimes it can be just that we are tired of our regular routine and our white wall plain comfort zone is going to get a renovation (I’m thinking red).
 This can be said about everything in our lives; our jobs, clothes, food, love and even education. It is the natural course of things to change, evolve. So maybe next time go for that promotion, instead of sitting back and watching someone else get the job. When you are at your favourite coffee shop, try that crazy sounding latte you’ve been eyeing up every day for a month, if you don’t like it then you don’t like it, it’s that simple, but it could be a new favourite. Smile at the cutie down the hall, maybe even initiate conversation. Buy those shoes that you have wanted but just didn’t think you could pull off, you can. You’ll be amazed at how many things start feeling comfortable after a while. Trying new things in general may become a part of what’s comfortable for you.

Challenge yourself to try something new!
 My homework assignment to you is to try something new and step out of your comfort zone at least once a month. Go ahead and dance the hokey pokey with your comfort zone, you won’t regret it!

Lotsa Love,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lady Gaga said it Best- “Just Dance”

You would think that being beside a gorgeous pool and waterfall, listening to salsa music and being in the sunshine would make people want to dance (or at least shimmy), NOPE! As I found out on my recent trip to Costa Rica, people don’t like to dance in public unless everyone else is doing it. The four of us were dancing away enjoying the sunlight and feeling the music. We realized that no one else was dancing, even more that people were staring and either giving the stink eye or had sun in their eye, still not sure which. It must have looked weird four people dancing to MUSIC?

 One elderly lady was obviously very wise because despite just having knee replacement surgery she was getting her groove on in her chair. Now you have to know that this was only day two of a fifteen day trip and I danced all the time (while enjoying food, on the beach, in the rainforest, while showering, I especially boogied when a snake went past me on a trail, and anytime I had to wait in line.) So the weird looks continued throughout the remainder of our trip.
 Now this happens at home as well, it is not just while on vacation. My brother-in-law and I used to car pool and we got stuck in crazy traffic every day. Instead of getting cranky we would crank up our favourite radio station Hot 89.9 and make up silly dance moves (routines even). I can only imagine what we looked like to the other drivers sitting there angry with the traffic while we busted a move. We may have looked crazy, but our insanity was intact by the end of a long 2 hours in traffic.
 I think that we are all so afraid of what everyone else is thinking that we don’t just let go. We don’t stop to smell the flowers, enjoy a good read or just dance. So next time you’re out and you see those very brave girls dancing when no one else is (it’s probably me), instead of judging, think about how much fun they are having and join in.
We tend to judge ourselves harder than anyone else does. So, take yourself out from under the microscope and you’ll see the world from a much better view. It’s ok to be the only one doing something or to look silly, it’ll be fun. So go ahead, even just at home by yourself. Tasks like doing dishes or cleaning the bathroom are no longer as tedious if you boogie while you work- JUST DANCE!

Lotsa Love,

Friday, January 28, 2011

The "L" Word

We assume the people in our lives know we love know them, why wouldn’t they? We are happy to see them and we miss them when they are away from us. We celebrate momentous moments in their lives as they do ours. We go out of our way to do things to make them happy, so it would be seemingly obvious that they are a great part in our life. But how often do you actually use the "L" word to express fully how much you care? I love you, 3 simple words that for many entail a very complex statement.
A Happy Kind of Love!
Once we are in relationships that are “comfortable” (come on girls you know what I’m talking about, fancy lingerie to granny panties, don’t worry it happens to all of us from time to time) we tend to stop the big romantic gestures and the “L” word can get lost somewhere in translation, but why? Do we love them any less then when we first started dating? Do we not love our friends, our family? If anything as time goes on, we love them more. So why does the “L” word get used less?
I think that it is that nasty word “comfortable.” I think when we are that comfortable we assume that they know and I’m sure they do on some level. But knowing and feeling are two totally different things and I’d much rather feel something than just know I’m right about it. You know the saying “if you're told something enough you start to believe it.” Well that can be true in reverse. If you don’t tell someone something we can think that they know they may start to forget how we really feel.
My husband and I probably, according to most people, over use the “L” word. I even have a song that I sing to him occasionally about how easy it is to love him (I know gag right). But, we don’t say it because we feel obligated; we say it whenever we feel it.  My friends and I say it all the time (they don’t get the song though), because without them a big piece of me would be missing. My family and I even came up with different voices to say it in. No we are not crazy, ok maybe a little bit; but mainly we just want the people we care about to know that they are important to us.
Share the Love!
 So next time you are with thinking the “L” word in your head-TELL THEM. It may be weird at first, but it will also feel great and I’m sure they’ll feel great too. Tell your partner, family and friends how you feel about them. It won’t just make them feel good, but you too. If the "L" word really freaks you out (dont' worry you're not the first) then make up a code word that you can use to mean the same thing.
Tell them in a text, on twitter, Facebook, by email or scream it from the roof tops. Whatever you do or how you choose to say it, just make sure they know they are loved!

Lotsa Love,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1,2,3 Magic

Anytime I get mad at my husband he will do the simplest thing of counting to three. It sounds ridiculous, like how could that solve anything? But it's actually really cute. He'll hold up his index finger and say " know you want to smile, 2...don't fight it, 3..." before he can even add another clever antidote I start smiling and more often than not-laughing. I think it's partly the childish nature of it and the face he makes when he does it. I don't remember how it started, but now when he does it he doesn't even make it to 3 and I've already forgotten what we were fighting about.
 This tradition has even passed on to my sister. My husband just needs to hold up his index finger and let one of his big smiles go and Ashley is in immediate laughter. This makes me think that the things that we tend to get mad at regularly are pretty silly after all. If my husband simply counting can bring a smile to my face and make me forget what I was mad at then guess I shouldn’t have been mad after all.
 As a note of caution however, I do not recommend this for everyone. This could possibly back fire depending on the person’s personality and what they are angry about. What I do recommend is the next time you are mad, before you explode, count to three. In that time think about what your mad at, why your mad and if you’re mad at that particular situation or something else altogether. You may realize in that time that you’re not mad at that person, but frustrated with other things that might need to be explored. You may be mad at that person, but realize it’s better to talk to them, rather than explode. (But if in some way you feel terribly wronged, then by all means an explosion of epic proportions may be called for!) 
I am not saying that my husband and I are perfect and never fight. I don’t think my husband would actually try to count if he knew it was a big fight or something we couldn’t simply talk out. Ever since he started this ritual it has actually opened our lines of communication a lot more. Instead of blowing up at each other and feelings getting hurt, we go through our little counting process I tell him it sucks that I can’t be mad at him and then we talk about whatever it was we were going to fight about.
 So maybe this process won’t work for you, but maybe just maybe, next time you’re about to get into a tiff over something silly just remember 1-you know you want to smile, 2...don’t fight it…3...J
Lotsa Love,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meet the Family

We all think that we know our families, how couldn’t we? They're our families. But when you really get down to it how much do you really know? You know the basic stuff, but what about the stuff that most of us don’t talk about with our families? Like what are their biggest fears? What are their dreams? Are they truly happy? What was a nickname they had growing up? Who was their first love or even their favourite color? It sounds silly, but can you answer those questions about someone in your family?
 When we are younger the adults in our family would never dream of talking to us about what makes them tick. It would make them look like less of a superhero.  They all have their roles in making us who we are. As we get older we still are there children, nieces/nephews and grandchildren, but we also can start to fall into that friend category.
Face your fears with your family and come out on top!
 It’s funny to think that most people probably know more about their friends then they do their family. I think it’s because when you ask a question you’re going to get an answer and some of us may not be ready to get those answers. I would like to think that I would want to know if my Dad was unhappy, but do I really want to hear that?
 When I was a teen my Dad and I were like oil and water, but as I got older and took the time to get to know him as a person and not just as a Dad we became much closer. Now I look forward to stoking the fire up at the cottage and listening to his stories or plans for renovations etc… I was also lucky enough to go on an incredible 15 day vacation with my mom, sister and aunt. The four of us probably have not spent that much time together since I lived at home in my teens. When you take people out of their comfort zones and challenge them every day you learn a lot about what makes them tick. Since that vacation I can say that I think we are all closer and have a different appreciation for each other.
 For the few people in the world who get to be best friends with their family I congratulate you, it is a great thing when you can be that close. I was lucky enough to marry into one of those wacky families where everyone is friends and brothers and sisters choose to spend large amounts of time together. For the rest of us who need to work at it a little harder, try hanging out with someone from your family and try (its hard I know) to look at them like a person and not just your brother, aunt, grandma or mom. Instead of slinking off early at family gatherings, try sitting with your Dad and ask him about the good ole’ days. Call your grandparents and have a date with them. Whatever it takes to open the lines of communication! Get to know your family because I bet you they are pretty cool and probably deserve to be put into the friend category with the rest of the non-related folk!

Lotsa Love,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

“Jalapeno Twist”

When we are kids our parents tend to fill our days with all sorts of extracurricular activities. As we get older those tend to slip away and get replaced with work and maintaining the house. When is the last time you played a sport or participated in a group activity?
When I was younger I did all sorts of things; like gymnastics, horseback riding, field hockey and acting just to name a few. Getting older I still thought of myself as active and sporty…but not so much. It wasn’t until I had to fill out my interests, activities and sports section out on Facebook, that I realized I didn’t do any of that anymore! So I started a little at home exercise and thought that might be sufficient-NOPE! It wasn’t until my Sisters birthday one year; she wanted to take a pole dancing class. So we did and boy was I humbled…lol. They make it look so easy! My husband expected me to come home with some sexy moves, instead I went home bruised, with pole burn on my arm (oh yes that exists) and a whole lot of sore muscles. But I also had a TON of fun.  I may not have mastered the “Jalapeno Twist”, but I gained a great memory and decided to try new things more often. Now whenever I am asked to try a new class or something that I would normally say no to right away; I really try to make time for it. I have since trained for and completed a 5k race, fallen in love with Zumba, attended a Yoga retreat in the rainforest in Costa Rica and I am upgrading my French.

So in closing, make time to try something new. Learn a sexy new language, take a fun class with your friends, maybe even a course you always wanted to take in school and can now do through night classes. You never know you may just inspire your friends and family too!

Lotsa Love,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Smile at Strangers

I know what you’re thinking, what will that do for me? How could smiling at someone strange possibly benefit me? Well in my experience only good things have come from smiling.
 I was told in High School that when I would walk through the halls I looked snobby, but that’s not the case at all, I was shy so I looked down and walked fast. I bet I missed a lot! As I got older and a lot more comfortable in my skin I started looking up and liked what I saw a lot better.
It is amazing the kind of reactions you get from people when you randomly smile at them. The best reactions are from children they almost always smile back and wave or even point. Sometimes they tuck in behind their parent and then it becomes a sort of little peekaboo game. Now with adults it varies a bit more, most of people politely smile back, some look away nervously or looked confused, occasionally you get a hi and in rare cases you might even get a conversation or make a new friend. When you think about it aren’t all friends’ strangers at first?
I have had a couple of those rare case conversations and I loved them all. I worked as a server/bartender when I lived in Toronto and as a result took a lot of cabs. One particular cab driver quickly became my all-time favourite. The first time we met he seemed very nice but I had a terribly long night and just wanted to go home, I think he picked up on my energy because he remained quiet for most of the drive. The second time I was in a much better mood; I got in the cab and smiled. He recognized me and commented on the mood change. We started chatting and a thirty minute cab drive felt like five. I think he knew my schedule because out of all the cab drivers in Toronto, I got him a lot. We chatted about life and dreams. He told me about how he bought a small cottage out in the middle of nowhere and that when he saves enough money to retire he wants to live out there by himself and paint all day long. I still think about him sometimes, hoping that he finally made it to his dream cottage out in the woods painting his days away. I would never have been able to have that experience if I didn't smile that day.
Another neat encounter was at the grocery store. I was in the canned vegetable isle looking for canned tomatoes for my husband’s favourite spaghetti sauce. This elderly gentleman was standing beside me so I looked up and smiled, he smiled back and then looked in my cart. He asked if I was making a sauce and proceeded to tell me about his wife who had passed away and how they used to love making homemade sauce together. He said that he had the secret to making a great sauce and he would share it with me since I seemed like a nice girl. He told me to add soy sauce to the meat while it was cooking, not too much "Don't get overzealous with that soy sauce, just a splash is all ya need!". Ever since then that is exactly what I have done and I don't know if it made a difference, but I love it!

Smile Please!
What about all the single people out there? If you’re skulking at the ground when you’re walking you are missing tons of opportunities. You could be walking past your dream guy/girl every day on your way to work. You could even have the same subway stop or eat at the same place for lunch every day. If you never look around, you may never know. So stand up tall, strut your stuff and smile! You can thank me later... :)
 So in closing, show off your pearly whites to the world! Whether your grocery shopping, walking the dog or waiting in line, stop texting or staring at your feet and look around. There is a whole world around...I promise! You never know who or what you might see or what you’re missing. Open yourself up to the world and maybe it will do the same back for you.

Lotsa Love,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Have Date Nights

It sounds simple enough, have date nights! But when all the things we fill our lives with get in the way it’s hard to do. I am lucky enough to have an amazing husband, family and my crazy friends who let me just be me.
 It all started a few years ago with the girls getting together on Wednesday nights to watch one of our favourite girly shows. We then injected a little bit of wine, dinner and then the boys started to join in. It eventually grew from a way for us all to watch our shows together to a weekly check in with the friends. A way to keep connected in person, not just through text or Facebook. Some weeks we have dinner, most weeks we have drinks. We even went as far as having theme nights, crazy hair day, crazy hat day and pyjama party (the pyjama one stuck almost permanently). We rotate whose house it will be at and whose bringing what. You cannot imagine how therapeutic it can be right in the middle of a crazy week to know you have those couple of hours to be you and vent or relax or be whatever you want with your friends. Changing from something to squeeze in to avoid the wrath of and then turning into something we all kind of needed and waited for every week. From there some of the couples adapted it to their own little date nights. It’s crazy to think that you need to schedule dinner and a movie with your spouse, but trust me you do and it works. I think that as we get older and busier we take advantage of the ones we love, thinking that the relationship is already strong so no need to cultivate it, romance it! But that’s how friendships grow apart, relationships in general. We change as people every day, so how can we expect anyone to keep up with our changes if we don't include them?
So in closing get one the phone or text or Facebook and schedule a date night with your group or special person. Catch up, reconnect, laugh, cry, GO CRAZY and just be you. Life can throw you some crazy out of nowhere curve balls, in my little group we've had our fair share, but it’s amazing how much faster you recover with your friends and loved ones by your side with a solid catcher’s mitt.

Lotsa Love,