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friday, i’m in love

fiil.may8

  • if it’s also 30C+/90F in your ‘hood this weekend (OMG, why is it so hot? Yes, I’m complaining. Come back spring.) you should make Chrissy’s you-don’t-need-an-ice-cream-maker (!!) ice cream. We all know I don’t like chocolate ice cream but vanilla with a ton of mix-ins? Ah, ok! I love-hate her for this, of course.
  • i am very, very unpregnant but really, really want a snoogle. #thingsiwouldntknowaboutwithoutblogs I need a snoogle. I have pretty much built a pillow wall in half my bed but it’s not the same.
  • there’s a local bakery and restaurant that has taken to delivering a surprise lunch to businesses doing great work in our community. These are the things that really warm my heart.
  • the worrier’s guide to life. HA! I need to find this at the library. Stickers for accomplishing hard things? Need! A map of a introvert’s heart? Perfection!
  • “did you know that you can turn regular pinecones into gold-covered pinecones with the simple addition of some gold?” A Day in the Life of Pinterest. so funny. Another book to search for at the library.
  • note: neither of the books have been purchased by the Guelph Library. Which is probably fine (not really) because I’m on the hold list for 5 books currently on order. They also don’t have Gilmore Girls. And haven’t ordered Suits season four. And they don’t have The Good Wife for my binge watching pleasure. Sometimes I don’t know why I pretend we’re best friends (me and the library, of course).  And yes, I know these are all on Netflix and no I don’t have enough GB on my account to watch more than like 7 episodes a month and work from home emailing large documents and photo files.
  • tv things: New Girl finale was not bad. It’s been blah all year but the last few minutes were good. Chicago PD: enjoyable like always, yep yep. Scandal: WHAT? YES! Great episode. Season finale predictions? Being the only person who couldn’t stand Mindy and Danny together, I’m completely unshocked FOX didn’t renew the series. Last season was so boring. She goes from being a girl-about-town to long-term relationship with a baby on the way in one season. I love Mindy Kaling, she’s great, but couldn’t single girls (me. It’s all about me) just have one funny, smart show that revolves around a single/dating, self-sufficient, educated female? Obviously not. And don’t quote Scandal to me because everything Olivia does is to impress, manipulate, or smite a man.
  • cue the kittens.
  • I’m still a little sick of tulips but bought some blush ones (my favourite) last week when they grocery store packaged 15/$5 instead of 10/$5. How do you resist?

i like the way you work it

Sweatpants, messy ponytails, and endless cups of (free) coffee are a few of my favourite things. They’re also my favourite perks of working from home.

Sometimes I miss fresh air and having conversations with people who aren’t a barista or grocery store cashier. Sometimes I miss co-workers inflating my ego after a flawless event and sweet talking vendors into doing special favours for me. I do not miss trying to create the department’s monthly newsletter. I do miss office gossip.

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A few years ago, after the not-for-profit I was working for lost the funding that paid my salary I started working for my family’s business which guaranteed me the best office I could ever ask for: the one I created in a spare bedroom.

Did you know working from the couch actually does get old?

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Yes, this is what my office looks like. Yes, most of the time it is actually this clean. Yes, when I move I want at least one wall of my new office wallpapered in the same design as my laptop background (do you know how I can do that? have you seen similar wallpaper?)

My apartment is a bit cave-like and the cappuccino walls don’t help but they do reflect a good amount of light. Add white furniture and my office is actually quite bright. See that gorgeous grey/pink abstract canvas? It’s my favourite piece of art in my apartment. I made the vase and try to always have fresh flowers and cotton or coconut candles on my desk – a luxury you don’t get in a traditional space. I have dance parties in here. I write letters. Make crafts. Do volunteer work. Do work work.  And have more dance parties.

deskthings

A friend of mine just started a new job in a gorgeous, modern, yet completely void-of-personality office. You can’t even bring your own mug. Kate Spade makes such cute mugs! As does Anthropologie. As did Starbucks (don’t like their new city mugs but the old ones rocked). No art. No pouf. [insert crying cat emoji]

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‘Round here, no one objects to swear words and Simpsons quotes on the cork board. Or Suits (or The West Wing or Friday Night Lights) playing in the background. No one objects when Thursday morning hot yoga isn’t immediately followed by a shower. And no one objects to the Jersey Boys soundtrack on happy days, Macklemore when I’m frustrated, Alabama Shakes or The Lumineers or Zac Brown Band on chill sunny days, and oldies or slow jamz on sad days. This is not a quiet work environment.

It’s a good thing I’ve created a warm, perfect-for-me work space because when Toronto records the coldest month in history (this past February), one bundles up, hibernates, and refuses to leave except for a weekly trip to the grocery store, Starbucks, and aforementioned hot yoga. The first day above freezing…sometime in March…I put on only one sweater and trekked to Starbucks to work remotely for the day. (Is it still considered trekking when Starbucks is 500 metres away?) Lattes and people watching, is there anything better? But goodness gracious, I’m pretty sure Starbucks doesn’t want me sitting in the coveted seat beside the plug for seven hours; they recently renovated and got new rustic tables but they also brought in the most uncomfortable chairs. Which makes me wish there was a WeWork, a coworking company that provides shared offices spaces, close to me. Not only would it be nice to work outside my home sometimes but WeWork seems like one of those super-hip, ultra-modern spaces where cool people would congregate and network and get feedback about their newest social media app or community project. I’m desperately in need of being near cool people. Or kittens. I should probably just adopt a kitten.

There currently aren’t any WeWork offices in Canada, but scoping out their locations ignites my waderlust. One of the greatest parts of working for the famjam is that I can work from anywhere. A month in Georgia at Christmas? Can do. Analog in Calgary? See you in June. WeWork South Station in Boston? I WISH!

I bet there are also good looking, eligible bachelors in shared office spaces. There are no hot dudes inside my apartment. Cue the kittens.

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Now, if only I were one of those coolio bloggers who partners with Nespresso and I could have lattes at my disposal I’d be a very, very happy girl.

Looking to curate a beautiful home office? I highly recommend Charlotte, NC artist Kent Youngstrom’s Set Yo’ Space Workshop. I participated (at home, for free) last week and it was magical. So is Kent’s art.

What does your dream office look like?

cream + sugar

I’m fairly certain it’s no surprise that coffee shops are one of my favourite places. Whether it’s grabbing a drink or working for the morning or stealing a little wifi, coffee shops and cafes are pretty much the best. THE PEOPLE WATCHING! We sourced out a great one in Vancouver (Timbertrain), a habit that I think sister and I will be doing for many more of our vacations. Look for the little, independently owned (or small franchise); they have cute interiors (don’t rush, take your time, look around, they’re gorgeous) and friendly baristas that seriously know how to make an exceptional latte.

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Dineen Coffee Co in Toronto:dineen

Balzac’s in Guelph, which coincidentally has the same tiles as Dineen: balzac

Analog in Calgary: (the inside is also super cute – and how handsome is Martin? – but the A on the outside is my fave)analog

Timbertrain in BC: (so good and smooth; must go if you’re in Vancouver)timertrain

Salt Spring at the Ferry Terminal in BC:saltspring

Mirage in Victoria:

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And of course, Café du Monde in New Orleans! cafedumonde

I have a Starbucks across the street so my new travel motto is to try one of a kind coffee shops along the way and now I can’t wait to hit the road just so I can get photos of so many more cute cafes…maybe one of the USA’s 50 best coffee shops? Maybe one of these 25 in Canada?? (also highly recommend Higher Ground in Calgary – the coconut latte, so good. Or Revolver in Vancouver. Or Ella’s Uncle in Toronto. Or Red Brick in Guelph. And definitely have the Phil & Sebastian roast in Calgary; strong but good.)

Take a break. Notice the little things. And savour iced latte weather!

 

Have a favourite? Please share! I’m always looking for a new place. 

for the love of letter writing

Did you know April is National Card & Letter Writing month? Sending cards is my favourite way to say “hi; I’m thinking about you.” Sure a text is quick and efficient but letters and cards and romantic and thoughtful.

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9 reasons not to abandon the art of the handwritten letter (via Huffington Post)

Nowadays we rarely pick up a pen and paper to communicate with one another, but it might not be wise for us to trade this long-standing, cultural practice entirely for the convenience of text messages and emails.

Research has shown that the general act of writing by hand can promote quite a few physical and mental benefits, from improving learning abilities to fostering a more positive outlook on life. And when it comes to writing that is used as a form of communication between two people, namely letters and postcards, the impact of such messages lasts far longer than any alternative version offered in our high-tech world. From the careful intentions of the sender to the value experienced by the receiver, no true match exists for this old-time, traditional means of conversation.

Whether you’re trying to cultivate a little romance, nurture a friendship or simply stay connected with loved ones while abroad, here are nine reasons you should still send a letter or postcard once in a while.

1. They create lasting memories.

Studies have revealed an association between writing by hand and brain development and cognition, increasing neural activity more than typing can. Just as learning by handwriting notecards and study guides proves more effective for students, the moments you commit to paper for others are more likely to stay stored in your own memory as well, allowing you both to reflect back and appreciate them again in the future.

2. They show how much you care.

In the days of oversimplified communication, receiving a “just to say hi” email can feel like a big deal. So imagine the powerful message you convey when you actually write out your thoughts for another person by hand, purchase a stamp, physically deliver your note to a mailbox and wait days for your special someone to receive it. Their beaming smile at your thoughtfulness will say it all.

3. They make you feel good.

Aside from the residual satisfaction of knowing you’re making a close friend’s day with your efforts, science has linked expressive writing to better mood, reduced stress and improved overall sense of well-being. Similar to keeping a gratitude journal or writing about your future goals, sharing your genuine thoughts with another person can be quite the morale booster — not to mention a mini adrenaline rush as you drop the final draft into the mailbox.

4. They make every word count.

Postcards only offer so many square inches, forcing the sender to truly think about the message they want to share and how they want to phrase it. Unlike with a quick text or Facebook message, you only have one chance when you send a handwritten message, so you learn just how important it is not to let it go to waste.

5. They spark creativity.

Taking to pen and paper utilizes the visual, motor and cognitive brain processesdifferently than when we recruit technology to help us out. It is also by nature more labor-intensive, requiring us to slow down and connect the mind with the hand, one word at a time. Together these factors can make the sensory experience of writing just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

6. They require your undivided attention.

By recruiting all of the senses to participate in the writing-by-hand process, little room is left for multitasking (or hyper-speed task switching). To write thoughtfully and coherently, we must focus on the present moment and contemplate — without side conversations or other to-do list items taking priority — the thoughts we’re aiming to coherently convey to the person on the receiving end of the letter.

7. They require unplugging.

Let’s face it — we could all use a little extra screen-free time these days. By nature of sitting down to write a thoughtful note to a special someone, your thumbs won’t be able to scroll your Facebook feed or type out a text message to another friend in demand of your attention. For those few minutes, you will live entirely in the present moment and in the thoughts you’re putting on paper.

8. They honor tradition.

There’s something sacred (and romantic, in the broadest sense) about communicating in the way generations before us once did. We’ve all heard the stories: It’s how your parents communicated with Santa Claus, it’s how grandma and grandpa kept their love alive during wartime, it’s how immigrant families and friends separated by their respective moves shared written snapshots of their new lives. Computers and smartphones may prove more efficient, but they can never take the place of this kind of sentimental history.

9. They’re timeless.

“A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.” — Emily Dickinson

Long after they are written and sent (and even after their senders and receivers are gone), letters and postcards remain to be read, appreciated and preserved. Whether displayed on museum shelves honoring famous historical figures or saved in a scrapbook between two old friends, letters protect the memories of lives lived in a way that technological communication cannot. They are tangible, personal and real, in every sense of the word.

If you really dig corresponding via letters please read Love Letters, the most lovely play by A.R. Gurney. Better yet, if it is being performed near you, GO SEE IT. Magical.