Saturday, 17 December 2011

Little Things

Sometimes, it's the little things that can make your day.

After a long, stressful week at work, going for a pedicure was definitely a treat.  I don't go for pedicures very often and when I do, I go to the cheap places. This time, a few girls in the office wanted to go to this really nice place in Orleans. We definitely got spoiled. Also, my toes are really cute and festive.

I also love having no plans on a Saturday afternoon. The freedom to do whatever you want. Its a great feeling.

Also, turkey stuffing was $0.99 at the grocery store. After weeks of empty shelves at the grocery store... after weeks of no stuffing...  I am a sucker for stuffing. I may have gone overboard...


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Small Victories

I believe in celebrating small victories.

In October, I met one of the editors of Ottawa Life Magazine. After a brief chat, she informed me that I should write for the publication. A few emails later, I was submitted to submit a draft on a topic of my choice.

I was deeply saddened by the suicide of a 15 year old gay teen who dealt with bullying at his school. I knew of a few organizations that worked with youth but I also wanted to explore other venues where youth could go and look for help.

I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with great organizations who do amazing work for the youth in the community. First, there's Jer's Vision, an organization very close to my heart as I have volunteered with them for the last 3-4 years. I also had the opportunity to talk to a coordinator for for PTY, a youth group at Pink Triangle Services. Finally, I met with Jamie at Operation Come Home, a youth organization that works with homeless and at-risk youth in Ottawa. They offer many services and do such amazing work. It's remarkable.

I am very thankful that my article was published online. Most of all, I am very thankful that I have met and learned about these amazing people who do amazing things. It is my hope that more people will find out about these amazing organizations and will either donate or volunteer.

Friday, 28 October 2011

A Few Tears...

"One foot in front of the other..."

In 2003, when Matthew Good's album Avalanche came out, I fell in love. I fell in love with his music, with his words. Never has an album touched me as much as Avalanche. To this day, it is still one of my favourite albums and I know that won't ever change.

A lot of people would say that Matthew Good's music is a bit depressing. It is. But that's something I love about it... his music is real. It's filled with real emotions, talks about real life. And real life is painful, and it's depressing a lot of the time. I can really relate to it.

Tonight, for the fourth or fifth time, I will have the opportunity to see Matthew Good in concert. And although my life is pretty friggin' fantastic these days, I look forward to listening to his words and feeling a bit sad... and shedding a few tears.

"This key is to your kingdom, this key is to your heart. Neither one is a doorway, but both of them a part."

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Bit of Perspective

Well, it's been over a month since I've last posted on my blog. It's a bit surreal how busy I have been in the last couple of weeks. Today is the first day that I can totally relax and unwind a bit. Just to give you an idea of what's been happening to me in the last month:

Since mid-September, I have been taking an online course at Ryerson on Public Relations. My workplace is paying for the course as "training" so why not jump at the opportunity? How much work could it be? Well, surprise! It's a lot of work... I find myself, sitting at the dining room table many nights a week, reading through a textbook... like when I was in first year university. What have I learned? I don't like reading textbooks. Also, how the hell did I end up finishing four years of university? Looking back, not sure how I was able to handle all the work and graduate. Oh well...

Two of my best friends and I went on a day trip to Montreal. It was a fun day, filled with food, beers, shopping and Chromeo! The concert was amazing, definitely worth the trip. Also, I ran into two actors from Degrassi, making me a bit starstruck.

In an effort to do more writing, I applied for an internship to blog about Ottawa Fashion Week. Having worked backstage at fashion shows before, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to explore another facet of this type of event. I was selected as one of two interns for miss SLY!™ fashion blog. From Sept. 29th to Oct. 1st, I reported from backstage, speaking with designers, models, volunteers, just to name a few. I attended many fabulous fashion shows and met some very cool people. It was a very crazy three days but it was a great experience! Thank you to miss SLY!™ for the opportunity.

Two weeks ago, my dad came to Ottawa for a visit. He's been living in Alberta for about three years now. I was a bit nervous for his visit, not knowing really want to expect. The visit went well, although we didn't do much. I had a few things lined up but the weather did not permit. Highlight of the visit: our lovely, relaxing walk in the woods that turned into a rainstorm survival journey, taking shelter in a nearby museum and going in for a visit.

With my friend Dee's wedding coming up, a few of my friends got together and had a girls' night in. It was such a fun evening, although the plan had initially been to go out to kareoke. We stayed home, sat, had some drinks and just talked all night. It was great to reconnect with all these friends, whom I only see on occasion.

Yesterday was the day of Dee's wedding. Weeks earlier, I had asked her if she needed help on her big day. Naomie, who got married this past summer, told me how much she missed doing wedding-related stuff. I hinted at the idea of us becoming wedding planners and starting our own business. After speaking with Dee, I knew her wedding was the perfect opportunity for Naomie and I to see if we have what it takes to be wedding planners. The day was quite chaotic but we pulled it off. And the weather cooperated! And Naomie had fun! It was a wonderful wedding and I'm happy I got to help my friend.

There's nothing like sitting back and looking at what you've done in the short span of four weeks. I'm either really ambitious or completely insane. Stay tuned.

Saturday, 17 September 2011


At my BFF's wedding in July, I had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. She and I had no seen each other in over two years. We grew up together in NB, but have gone our separate ways since high school ended. For a few years, she was living in Montréal when I lived in Ottawa. I would go up to visit her every few months, and we would have a blast.

She moved away to BC a few years ago and since then, we don't see each other much. She is very far away from her family and I know it's difficult for her. I know she works really hard and I hope her hard work gets recognized.

Growing up together, Mélanie was always my biggest fan. No matter which project I was working on or which passion I was following (writing, singing, etc), she was always there to support me and tell me how proud she was of me. She was the definition of what it means to be a good friend.

She is a wonderful human being, extremely kind and a very gifted artist. She is also a great designer. I am really proud of her and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves. Now, it's my turn to support her and encourage her in her passion. Mélanie is currently working as a graphic designer and she designed my BFF's wedding invitations, which were stunning. I hope she pursues this gift and I am here to support her and let the world know how amazing she is.

I love you, Mel!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Exhaustion (2 more reasons I love this city)

Ottawa is a festival town. Anyone who visits this city knows that. At any given time, there is a festival or cultural event happening in Ottawa. This is one of the main reasons I love living here. There is never a shortage of things to do or events to attend.

The only "problem" (if you can call it that) as a result of this reality is my lack of free time. The good news: I don't like having free time. The bad news: I eventually grow tired and irritated/irritating.

This past week-end was the most hectic one of the summer for me. I attended and volunteered for two festivals this past week-end : Capital Pride and the Ottawa Folk Festival.

One thing you must know about me is that I love music festivals. I have attended and voluntered for most of them. However, I had never attended the Ottawa Folk Festival before. This year, I decided to wander the city and make my way to Hogs Back to experience it first-hand. I was definitely not disapointed. The location of the festival was great: a large, green space surrounded by trees. I felt like I was outside of the city. It was very calm and serene; a great vibe for enjoying folk music.

Folkfest took place from Thursday to Sunday. I decided to attend two out of the four days of the festival, which isn't bad for my first time. Thursday evening, I had the joy of watching Hawksley Workman perform for the first time. I went with a friend of mine who has seen him live about 5 or 6 times. Now, I understand why. His performance is energetic and exciting. His voice is unbelievable. His charisma is overwhelming. His rants between songs are beyond entertaining. I am definitely happy with his performance. My only regret is that it took me this long to catch his show.

Saturday night, my partner and I went to Folkfest see an artist that we both love and respect : Tom Morello. Former guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, Morello currently plays music as The Night Watchman. I expected him to come out on stage, just him and his acoustic guitar. I was surprised that he had three other musicians with him. Although his set started 20 minutes late, I was not disapointed with his show. I was blown away, actually! I am very thankful that I was lucky enough to see Morello play live. This is an experience that I'm happy I got to share with my partner. It's a show that I know I will never forget.
When I wasn't rocking out at Folkfest, I was helping out with Capital Pride festivities. Capital Pride is another festival that I had never really participated in or attended before (other than watching the Pride Parade a few years back). This year, a friend of mine asked me to help out with an event he was organizing. Since I've been volunteering with his charity Jer's Vision for three years, I was happy to help out. So Friday, I was a chaperone at Queer Prom. This free event was aimed at queer youth and this was the first time it was held during Capital Pride. The event was a huge success! Before the doors even opened, there was a huge line-up of young people outside, waiting to get in. I am so happy that I was able to experience prom in a totally different way than I did in high school. It was so touching, seeing these kids be themselves and having fun! It was incredible.

On Sunday, the Pride Parade took place. I was walking in the parade with Jer's Vision. We were lucky enough to walk with the Ottawa Firefighters, which is exciting already. My friend Jenn and I were hanging from the firetruck during the parade, waving the people. It was so much fun! It was very touching to see the people, watching the parade, especially the young people and the families. I loved being part of the Pride Parade and promoting love, acceptance and equality.

Looking back at my eventful week-end, I am utterly exhausted. And happy.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Going Home (why do I keep doing this to myself?)

In 48 hours, I will be on my way home. I will be driving 12 hours to head back to the Maritimes, head back to my first home.

Home is an interesting concept. Where is home?

Is home back in the Maritimes, where I grew up? It would make sense, because my family is there. But it doesn't really feel like home anymore. I tend to feel anxious when I go back. I feel like a stranger in my own hometown. Maybe it's because I've been away for so long... If it's home, should I really feel so strange and uncomfortable when I'm there? And why do I keep going back and keep putting myself through this?

Since 2002, I've lived in Ottawa, an amazing city, in my humble opinion. Almost 10 years ago, I started a new life here. I followed my heart to a city that I fell in love with back when I was 13 years old. I feel like I've made a home here. No, I don't mean that I own property and or that I have a mortgage. I don't have any of those things. I have a great job, awesome friends and an amazing man in my life. All those things are here, around me every day. That definitely makes it feel like home. I've made myself a home here, in this city. Not in the space that I live in (a tiny, one bedroom basement apartment) but in this entire city.

When I go back to the Maritimes, people ask me if/when I will be moving back. I feel bad, answering this question honestly, because I have no intention of moving back. When they ask why, I find it hard to explain it to them, especially since most of them have never left their hometown. They don't understand how powerful it is to leave a small town and establish yourself in a big city. It's something that you cannot describe. When I left, I felt something that I had never felt before: freedom. Freedom to be whoever I wanted to be. Once I tasted that feeling, I knew that was it.

Despite the strange and uncomfortable feelings that come with visiting my hometown, I do go visit once a year, usually for 3 days. I have never been too close with my family but it's still nice to see them or reconnect with old friends, despite how awkward it is when you realize you have nothing in common anymore.

So here I go, back home. I sure will miss home while I'm gone.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Nostalgia (and other things that come with being a Maid of Honour...)

For the last 12 months, I have been helping my best friend plan her wedding. As an event planning gradute/aspiring wedding planner, you would think that this would be an easy task for me. Definitely not the case.

Helping my friend plan her wedding was quite challenging. She changed her mind about every decision she had previously made, regarding the dress, the venue, the flowers, the colour scheme, etc. She then realized how expensive everything was, so she decided that she would create her own stuff. She decided to do her own invitation, her own wedding programs, her guest book, the seating chart... everything! I never knew how crafty she could be! And I never knew how un-crafty I was. Everything worked out though... We spent many nights cutting paper, taping things together and I was also the lucky one, elected to write on the invitations. Apparently, I have good handwriting. Safe to say, we put in lots of hours to get everything ready for her big day. As much work as it was, the benefit was that we spend time together every week, preparing for her wedding but also enjoying each other's company. We saw each other more this year than ever before. I liked that planning her wedding because the "excuse" we needed to spend more time together.

This was my first time being a Maid of Honour and I did not realize how much responsibilities that title entailed. I knew that I had to organize a Bachelorette party, but I have completely forgotten about organizing a Bridal Shower. Luckily, the mother of the Groom was very willing to get involved and help me with the organizing. This, I was thankful for. Regardless, the few weeks leading up to the wedding day were hectic and stressful.

Another responsibility of the Maid of Honour is writing a speech for the wedding reception. I worked on my speech for a few days, and I kept stressing about it. I did a lot of research online to get inspiration, but I couldn't find anything that seemed suitable. I practiced my speech once or twice before the actual wedding. I did not feel prepared at all.

Saturday, the big day finally arrived. My best friend looked absolutely stunning. The weather was gorgeous. Every little detail was perfect. I could not have asked for a better day.

My speech went well. I managed to get through the whole things with some laughs, some applause and I did not cry (which was my fear). Later that evening, the bride's grandmother came to talk to me and said that she really liked my speech. That's how I knew I had done a good job. That's definitely what I needed to know that I had really succeeded at my task.

Although the last few months have been very stressful due to the wedding planning, right now I am feeling quite nostalgic. I cannot believe that after all that planning, everything is over. It seemed that the day went by in a flash.

My best friend of 15 years is now a married woman. She is leaving for her honeymoon in 2 days; she will be away for two and a half weeks in Europe. Then she starts a new job, where she will be gone to Jamaica for 3 months. Although I'm happy for her, I'm a bit sad that she is starting this brand new life, where I won't get to see her as much.

When did we become grown-ups? It seems like just yesterday, we were 18 and we just moved together in residence at U of O. Now, we are both married women in our late twenties.

It's moments like these that make me nostalgic.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Full Circle

And so begins my career... as what exactly? A writer? An editor? A communicator? All of the above? Even now, I'm still not quite sure.

Since the age of 12, I've wanted to be a writer. More than anything, I wanted to write for a living and be a writer as a profession. I even started university with the idea of becoming a writer. Then, reality hit me.

Would a Bachelor's degree magically turn me into a writer? It wouldn't... I pondered the idea of becoming a journalist, so I decided to study communications. At the time, this field seemed ideal as it was broad enough to find a job that would involve some kind of writing.

In the last few years, writing has taken a back seat in my day-to-day activities. Why? I'm not exactly sure... I tend to blame my boyfriend-turned-husband. When I was sad/depressed or confused about life, I could write and write and write. Now, I'm generally a happy human being, and I don't write nearly as much as I used to.

Fast forward a few years, I end up working in a non-for-profit, in a completely unrelated job... a vacancy opens up and BAM! I'm a Communications Manager.

So here I am, a Communications Manager and Editor-in-Chief of a magazine. Two things that I have never done. 6 months in, I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard in my entire life. I love my job (for the most part...) and I feel like my work is actually valuable and will serve me well in my career.

In my career as what? I'm not exactly sure anymore... However, in my current position, I work closely with writers. This has renewed my passion for writing. I work with writers, give them feedback, edit their work and get great articles to publish in the magazine.

When I look at things now, it seems like everything has come full circle. I wanted to be a writer from an early age, and that dream got pushed aside for a while. Now, I'm working in publishing and it has definitely given me the drive to pursue writing and hopefully get a chance to publish my work.

It's funny how life works sometimes.